Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pickle on a stick, anyone?

Entertaining is no easy feat when you¹re watching what you eat, and I¹ve failed miserably at doing it the healthy way at previous gatherings.

I¹ve wondered the past few months why cubes of cheese and bowls of chips are the go-to party items. With all the foods on the planet to choose from, that¹s the best we can do for our guests?

The ease of snacking is the main quality party food items must possess. You have to be able to move through the food line quickly, easily and efficiently, and you have to be able to eat said items in various uncomfortable states: leaning against a wall, sitting on the edge of a couch arm, and sitting cross-legged on a patch of carpet. This Fourth of July, on one of the funnest party days of the year, I¹m declaring that it is entirely possible to offer your guests finger foods that are delicious AND nutritious! Believe it.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

1. The Toothpick Tray. All foods on toothpicks are hits. Cut lean deli meats in slits, spread on gourmet mustard or fat-free Miracle Whip, roll them up, and stick them with toothpicks. Or how about olives on toothpicks? Or baby dills? Or little shrimps? Go crazy. But think healthy. No cheese!

2. The Veggie Tray. Yeah, I know, every party has a vegetable tray with dip. That¹s because it¹s super easy to pick up those little carrots and dunk them in blue cheese at parties. But get creative with it. Think outside the veggie box. Try adding more exotic vegetables, such as roasted spears of red and yellow peppers, pea pods, fresh mushrooms and asparagus. And ditch the fatty sauces. Put out fat-free Ranch and your guests won¹t know the difference.

3. To appease the sweeter side of your guests¹ palate, cut strawberries in half, put a dollop of fat-free Cool Whip on each half, and top with a single pecan. It¹s a finger food that¹s cute, sweet, has a bit of crunch and only contains about 10 calories.

4. If you¹re going to do chips and dip, make it whole grain chips and salsa. And I love the idea of portioning out one serving size of chips into individual bags so your guests can pick up a bag easily and not overdo it on calories.

For the salsa, instead of store-bought, which can be loaded with sodium, here is one of my favorite recipes for plum salsa. You can also make peach salsa by substituting peaches for the plums and lemon juice for the lime juice.

Plum Salsa
6 medium plums, pitted and diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 jalapeƱo pepper, minced Juice of
1/2 lime Salt to taste Sugar (or Splenda) to taste
Basically, you just mix up all the ingredients except the salt and sugar. Add those a bit at a time to taste.

Remember, foods can be fun without the fat. Have a great Fourth of July!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kayla Jackson to appear on 'Pregnant' finale

Just a heads up that the season finale "reunion" show of "16 and Pregnant" is 9 p.m. Tuesday (6-28) on MTV.

The preview has included tape of Kayla Jackson in tears and it sounded like they were prompted by questions about her relationship with her former boyfriend. The always dashing Dr. Drew will host.

Jackson of Winthrop was a Mankato West student when she got pregnant and was filmed, mostly in Mankato, for the show. Her episode aired a few weeks ago on MTV and has been rerunning recently leading up to the finale.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I wish I could spend the next 40 days in a bubble

I'm kind of a mess emotionally right now, and I admit to wanting the whole world to forget about my fit-fight.

Bubble boy had it better than he thought. I was thinking this morning how awesome it would be to be protected from prying eyes (and commentary) for the last leg of my journey. Kind of like on "The Biggest Loser" when they go home for a long chunk and get to finish it out sans public scrutiny. If only, if only ...

I don't regret my decision to lose weight publicly. Without my trainer and this blog, I doubt I would have lost 50 ell-bees. There just have been way too many excuses in the past to not get started. I didn't trust myself.

But I do admit that it's been wearing me down lately, especially since I've pretty much sucked the better part of two months now. It's a constant game of stop and go, and it's done quite a number on my self-esteem.

This morning I laid in bed trying to muster the drive to make it to my 7:50 a.m. appointment (non-work related). Instead, I thought, "With 40 days left of your public weight-loss campaign, you'd better get your priorities in order." So, without any drive or inspiration or motivation whatsoever, I skipped my appointment and went to the gym.

Honestly, I have no idea what fueled my hour-long workout this morning. Maybe just the realization that this journey isn't just my own. So very many people are watching. So it's time to just shut up, and to borrow a very successful marketing campaign slogan, just do it.

So there it is. Feeling blue. Feeling uninspired. But every damn day for the next 40 days until the month 7 mark, I will go to the gym. No excuses.

And because enclosing myself in a plastic bubble isn't an option, take it easy on me, if you would. Let's talk about something else when I see you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm the reason Taylor Call thinks she's fat

Taylor Call is an adorable 6-year-old from Houston. I saw her on “Good Morning America” this morning saying on camera that she thinks her tummy is too big. She hadn’t realized that until one of her pre-kindergarten classmates told her she was fat.

I thought 11 years old was young to have body issues. That’s when I first decided I wasn’t as pretty or as thin as my fellow fifth-grade girls, who were all being asked to dance by boys at Chrissie Hauser’s birthday party and I wasn’t.

Six years old. ... A panel of 6-year-olds were asked by “GMA” if Taylor needed to lose weight. They said she didn’t, albeit prompted in a sympathetic tone by the reporter. But when shown a photo of four other very young girls, they immediately pointed out the one who was slightly larger than the others, and one said: “Yeah, she needs to lose weight.” Another girl described her as being “really chubby wubby.”

I was horrified as I realized my eyes had been drawn to the larger girl, too, and whether I wanted to or not, I was judging her. A 7- or 8-year-old girl.

Weight obsession is an American tail as old as the state of Minnesota, with some historians saying fad diets began about 150 years ago. So none of this is news. But the level to which we’re focusing on it -- myself included -- makes me so sad when I think of girls like Taylor, whose self-image shouldn’t go beyond pretty ribbons around her pigtails.

It made me take a hard look at myself. How I’m perpetuating this.

In this whole weight-loss campaign, the word “health” has been much less of a concern than the word “thin.” Even my blog says at the top: For now this blog has been taken over by Amanda’s fight to be fit. She will be back with entertainment commentary when her tush is smaller.

My supporters are just as guilty. “How many sizes have you gone down?” “You look great; how much more weight do you want to lose?” “Your face looks so much thinner.”

At 45 pounds lost, my visceral fat level was in the healthy range. My risk for cardiovascular problems has practically diminished. I’m exercising almost every day, resulting in greatly increased strength and cardio stamina.

These aren’t things I get excited about. I’m concerned about getting back into my skinny jeans. I fixate on organizing my closet into sections: clothes I can wear, and clothes I still have to lose more weight to get into.

I write about these things. I publish them. People read them. And in a way, I reinforce the bars of the mental prison most women (and men, too) have been in since their teens.

The trouble is, I don’t know how to stop thinking this way. Tens of thousands of public images and messages per week reinforce the idea that I should be a size 4, and it makes me less attractive and less important that I am not. I don’t know how to convince myself this isn’t true.

These thoughts are with me in one form or another dozens of times per day, when I scoop out some of the cereal I pour into my bowl to save calories, when I look at my outfit from the side to see if any unflattering puffy areas emerge, when I keep my eyes on the sidewalk while passing a guy to avoid seeing disapproval on his face.

It’s too late for me. Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. I will never get out of this mental prison of body issues. I will always want to be thinner, rather than healthier.

But I wish the same wasn’t true for Taylor. For feeding into all of the demons above, I feel responsible that at 6 years old, she doesn’t like herself. It’s my fault she thinks she’s fat, just as much as it is yours.

Taylor, you are healthy and beautiful. And I’m sorry we made you think otherwise.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ha! This is great ...

We ran this column in today's paper. It's so funny, and SO TRUE ...

What’s a few pounds among friends? Women obsessed with their weight

“A woman would never do that,” I said to my daughter.

“Certainly not,” she answered.

Her husband had just stepped on a scale to weigh himself. It was 8 o’clock at night. He had just eaten a full meal. He was fully clothed, pants, shirt, heavy shoes, a belt, and was holding one of their 9-month-old twins.

He stepped on the scale, wait­ed for it to register, stepped off and announced his weight to the room. Only a man would do that.

A woman weighs herself in the morning, not the evening. A woman weighs herself before she eats, not after. A woman also weighs herself before she showers — water droplets add pounds.

A woman does­n’t broadcast the weight a scale gives her because a woman doesn’t accept the weight a scale gives her. She argues with it: Is this thing on an incline or what? It was that ham sandwich; ham makes me retain water. I wonder if I have that disorder where peo­ple crawl out of bed and eat in the night? It’s all these hair products weighing me down.

No woman believes the scale at the doctor’s office either. Every last one of them weighs heavy. It’s a conspiracy that Oliver Stone should look into. I know a woman who turns her back to the scale when she is weighed at the doc­tor’s office and asks the nurse not to say her weight aloud. It’s a good weight, but she’d rather not know.

There is a line of diets that advocate eating like our early, early ancestors. They are refer­ring to the ancestors that crouched when they walked.

These were apparently our ances­tors that had a good BMI, but extremely poor posture.

The big idea is to only eat foods that you can catch, kill or pick.

Talk about a win-win. If we began eating the same way our early ancestors did, we could lose the stoves and refrigerators. We could just dangle slabs of meat on a stick over an open flame and eat berries right off the bushes. Food prep and kitchen clean-up would disappear. The average woman would gain an extra 20 hours a week with the catch-kill-pick plan. One of the early ancestor diet advocates also advises short spurts of intense exercise, “as if running after wild game or doing heavy lifting.”

The guide says: “ Squeeze your wife and slowly lift her off the floor.” Burning calories and renewing romance all at the same time. Great. But who is the wife supposed to lift off the floor?

The early ancestor diet operates on the same principle they all do: if it tastes good spit it out. I always liked my mother’s attitude toward dieting. “There’s nothing like Slim-Fast with a scoop of ice cream.”

If you take the early ancestor diet seriously, we would all be in the woods hunting or at the river fishing for so long that there wouldn’t be any time for eating.

Fewer calories and less time in the kitchen.

What more could you ask for?

OK, besides a scale that weighs light.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Contact her at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The 77 in 7 Calendar ... 50 days left

50 days left ...
I made a calendar for exactly the next 50 days, which takes me to the first day of August, where I will track my progress until I hit my goal. I put it on the blackboard right by the fridge. Tactical move.

77 in 7 ... let's do this!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back in the saddle again

Hi, folks! It's been a while. I hope you are all well!

I'm back at it. I had a nice, long break from work and it's good to be back, for more reasons than one. The reason that pertains to this blog in its current state? STRUCTURE. Routine and structure are a dieter's best friend.

I did OK. I'd give myself a B-/C+ for my efforts while on vacation. Wisconsin was tough. There were cupcakes and blueberry coffee cakes and chocolate-strawberry desserts. There was pizza. There was wine. There was cheese (Wisconsin cheese!). There was barbecue. Something about being away from home makes a couple of girls on the road go buck wild.

When I got home last week, I did much better for a couple of days. But then I had a party Saturday celebrating my house's 130th birthday. (More of an excuse to gather and drink, really.) So then, again, there was wine, there was cheese, there were cookies.

The bad things have left the house, except for huge amounts of leftover wine and Summer Shandy. But I usually don't have any trouble staying away from those unless there's a social/group atmosphere.

So, like I said, I'm back at it. 77 pounds, here I come. I'm really, really going to start pushing hard to get there. The goal is the end of July to hit it. Maybe even sooner? We shall see ...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fitty is back! In full effect! Raise the roof!


I was watching “Regis & Kelly” one morning, and Kelly was pointing out how women, when they see they’ve gained weight on the scale, their reaction is exactly the opposite of what one might expect. Logically, you see you’ve gained 2 to 5 pounds, what would you do? Work your butt off to lose the weight, right? Yeah, no.

A woman sees she’s gained 2-5 pounds and it’s an emotional punch to the gut, and her reaction is to say, “Well, I might as well just eat the rest of that fudgey cake in the fridge ... with some ice cream ... and Reese’s Pieces later on ... and then something salty to cut the sweetness.” It’s crazy! But I, like many women, am an emotional eater. So I get trapped in that vicious circle of getting sad or mad and eating.

What does any of this have to do with the “Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” from above?

Wellll ... as you may recall, I essentially, inadvertently took the entire month of May off by eating bad stuff and then recovering for a couple of days. It resulted in a net gain of 5 pounds for the first big part of the month. But, the past week or more, I’ve really been working hard to get back on track.


I lost the 5 I had gained plus one more. I really can’t feel bad about that. Sure, I mean, month 5 was essentially a wasted effort. But it could have been worse. And being still three days from the official month 5 mark, I could be down another 2 or 3 pounds, AND ending a month with ANY loss is good news.

So! Here’s the cliffhanger. I’m outta here until the 13th. I’m on vacation with my sister. Instead of New York, we’re going to visit our old man in Wisconsin. So, I probably will not blog until then, which is in two weeks. Two weeks that can either go fabulously, where I report to you I have lost and additional 10 pounds on my way to my overall goal of 77. ...

Or, I could report to you I have spent a week camped out here, a delectable Madison, Wis., discovery my sister made that has me mentally testing my own will power already. We shall see ...

(By the way, the first photo up there is my shoe, which has a broken sole, after 5 months of working my tush off, quite literally. Strangely, I was kind of proud to see that this morning. I felt accomplished.)

Talk to you mid-June, folks!