Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get Real: Confession

It's time for me to be honest. I have some secrets.

If we're going to be going through this "Get Real" Challenge together, I think it's time I "get real" and tell you a few things about myself.

Confession #1 - I do not own my own belt.

When I moved to NYC and put on the weight, I had a hard time accepting my new body. I used a belt that was a leftover costume piece from a play I worked on. It was a small man's belt and it wasn't long before I outgrew it. Not wanting to purchase my own daily measuring device, I stole my boyfriend's old belt. It's been a slow and steady process, but I am finally on the smallest setting of this tattered piece of leather. It might be time for me to invest in my own beautiful woman's belt. I don't know if I am scared or excited.
Confession #2 - I have a box of clothes in my apartment labeled "Almost Fits Me"
I have dragged this box around for 3 years, through 5 moves, and I can't seem to get rid of it. I am not even sure if the clothes are a realistic size for my goal weight/shape, I've gained some curves in the past years that I think are here to stay. But man I love some of those pants! I went on an extreme clothes shopping binge right before moving to New York (pre-20 lbs of weight gain) and have only worn some of those clothes a handful of times. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly thin I go into my "Almost Fits Me" box and put on a pair of pants. Most recently I can get them on, but cannot button them. That is HUGE. Before I couldn't get them past my thighs. But I think my little dress up ritual is unhealthy and may be setting up unrealistic expectations.

Confession #3 - If given the option in a restaurant, I will ALWAYS choose the cream sauce.

I'm sorry but I have my own limits. I can "get real" when it comes to eating more vegetables and doing some yoga, but I can't give up my creamy alfredos, gorgonzola, or any form of cheesy sauce goodness. I am human. The way I have combatted this problem is portion. I think that's still getting real.

Ahhh, I feel better already. Now that you know these deep dark secrets of mine, do any of you have similar stories? A specific item of clothing you idolize? Your kryptonite food? Let me know so I'm not hanging out on this limb all alone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Little Garden Lites Blog Love

We've had lots of online love for Garden Lites recently and I wanted to share some reviews with you!
Hungry Girl creator Lisa Lillien, known for steering health conscious ladies in the right direction, recently highlighted Garden Lites in her "Spotted on Shelves" section of her daily newsletter.
"Stop whatever you're doing/eating and pay attention! These freezer-aisle veggie
souffl├ęs are SUPER tasty, come in AMAZING varieties, and have GREAT stats."
Read the full Hungry Girl article here.
Florida Coastal Cooking recently highlighted Garden Lites as her most recent Food Find.
Gluten-Free Fun shared with her gluten free community how Garden Lites changed her views on pre-packaged foods.
Thank you for taking the time to share with your readers about your experience with Garden Lites!
If you have a product review you'd like for us to share, email it to!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 6: Time to buy new pants?

It's been a while since my last update, but that doesn't mean I've stopped challenging myself!

Let me give a quick recap of how the first month (or so) has gone for me...

Week 1: Lost 4 lb - Added lots more water.
Week 2: Lost 1 lb - Started reading food labels.
Week 3: Lost 0 lb - Worked hard to maintain loss during Labor Day weekend.
Week 4: Lost 1 lb - Started yoga in mornings.
Week 5: Lost 0 lb - Family visited, leading to a food tour of NYC.
Week 6: Lost 2.8 lb - I'm back!!!

I am just shy of the 9 lb mark and I couldn't be more motivated. Even though I have had a few weeks with only small changes, it's the fact that I haven't GAINED anything back that I am holding onto.

This past week has been tricky. The passing of a family pet and week long celebration of my mother's birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!) would - in the past - cause me to over indulge in sweets and comfort food. But this week I focused on portion control, and didn't eat just to make myself feel better. I even treated myself to some great desserts along the way!

Now that the house guests have departed and life is returning to normal, I'll be sure to add back in the regular exercise and earlier dinner times that weren't there before. This way, if all goes well, those will become the new normal and it won't feel like making an extra effort. Dinner time alone has been a huge change. With opposite work schedules than my boyfriend, I'd find myself eating my dinner at 10 o'clock most nights. That's not good for my body no matter how healthy the food is! I've heard many people have 8 pm as a cutoff, so I will give that a try starting this week - stay tuned for the results!

So overal, 8.8 lbs is a great achievement and I can definitely notice the change! My clothes are fitting more loosely, I'm on my last belt hole, and I've gotten many compliments from friends! I highly recommend this challenge to those wanting to feel better inside and out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GL Focus: Kosher

What does "kosher" mean?

When I applied for my current job in the kosher food industry, my understanding of "kosher" was that a rabbi would come into your home and say a blessing over your microwave or stove, and then it was kosher. Boy I had a lot to learn!!! During my interview process I would go home and Google as many terms as I could. I started inquiring about the little symbols I had seen on products all my life but never took the time to understand. I wanted this job and I knew with a bit of research I could impress my future bosses with my wealth of kosher knowledge. Months after hiring me, my manager told me, "You had me at 'hechsher.'" So what exactly are those symbols and what does it take to be able to certify your product as kosher?

[Blogger's Caveat: This by no means is a total rundown of the Jewish law, but it is an understanding for people who, like myself, never understood what being "kosher" entails.]

Back in April, The New York Times ran this article on the rise in popularity of kosher products, citing that only 15% of kosher product consumers do so for religious reasons. So what is it about kosher food that attracts the other 85%?

#1. Kosher is not just for the religious.

It means the health standards are higher and supervision is key to maintain those standards. Kosher laws regarding slaughter are so sanitary and supervised, the USDA's regulations are not as strict and often kosher butchers are exempt from the USDA rules since they already go above and beyond the USDA requirements. [Dietary Laws explained]

#2. Bug free.
When it comes to produce, being kosher means the fruit or vegetable you are about to eat has been inspected for bugs. This is key for any consumer. Each Garden Lites souffle and dish has gone through rigorous inspection to ensure every fruit and vegetable used meets these laws. Also, the fruits and vegetables go through a series of washes in order to ensure the best quality possible.

#3. Classifications of Dairy, Meat, or Parve help those with specific dietary needs.
Since kosher products define themselves on the label in order to keep dairy and meat products separate, it is very helpful to certain groups with dietary needs. If you are a vegetarian, you can avoid the meat labels, or if you are vegan, you know which foods contain dairy. Be aware that there are some ingredients that vegans and vegetarians do have to look out for - fish and eggs are considered neutral so for those avoiding them, be sure to read your labels!

These are just the basics of all that goes in to being a kosher product, but I feel it gives a good understanding to those new to the concept of "kosher." I know from personal experience, after learning about the standards that kosher products are held to, I began looking for the notation on products I would typically purchase. Each symbol, or hechsher, represents a different certifying organization. Depending on how strictly you follow the kosher law, different hechshers also come with different levels of supervision. To learn more about one of our certifiers, Star-K, you can check out their website.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Year Resolutions

One of the great things about Garden Lites is that it's Kosher (Look for details on what that entails in an upcoming GL Focus!) and one of the great things about working for a Kosher company is the extra vacation time! Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown (Shana Tova!) and thus kicks off my 4-day weekend. To most, that would seem like a great thing, but I am terrified. I do not know if I can survive 4 days of trusting myself to not eat my way through my apartment. If I just winged it and went in with high hopes I know I would fail, so I have put together a list of reminders for myself.

  • If Hoda and Kathy Lee are on, you should have eaten breakfast by now.
  • You may think "It's okay, I'm on vacation!" and want to go to the bagel store around the corner but resist. Not worth it.
  • If a cooking show comes on TV, turn the station. Or better yet, pop in a yoga video! Sitting and watching food is just mean.
  • Get out to the local park once a day. Don't wear a watch, just keep walking until you start to feel tired from walking. Then walk a little more.
  • If you feel like there's only bad food choices for you in the fridge/cupboards - make a list. Really think about what would help you to stay on track. Then go grocery shopping, but stick to your list.
  • By eating several small meals it'll save you from binging on fatty snacks and raiding your boyfriend's ice cream stash.
  • If you find yourself standing at the fridge, ask yourself "Am I really hungry? Or am I bored?" If you're bored (which I know you are) then leave the house and don't come back until you're no longer bored.
  • Only go out to eat once (if at all). Challenge yourself to let those leftovers last 2+ meals.
  • Drink 2 water bottles a day.
  • Stop eating by 8pm. If you get hungry after that, have some water.
  • Don't weigh yourself. Losing a pound may encourage you to treat yourself... it's better for you not to know until Monday.
It might seem like a lot, but it's good for me to acknowledge my weak points and to have ideas on how to improve myself. I find a lot of times I realize that what I am about to do is bad (turn off my alarm instead of getting up to exercise, have a piece of cake, eat an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers) but I make some excuse to justify my actions. "I deserve it" should be banned from my vernacular.

My personal belief is if you acknowledge something in your life should improve and you let it continue to be sub-par, then that's a reflection on how you value yourself. I owe it to myself to find my willpower. After all, I deserve it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weigh-In #3: Have you seen me?

Name: Julie's Willpower
Reward: 20 pounds
"Nah, I'm not really hungry."
"That looks great, but I'm trying to get real about what I eat."
"Oh is that chocolate? I'll just smell it instead."

Julie's Willpower was last seen 2 weeks ago when she began the "Get Real" Challenge. It went missing sometime this past week when it seems everywhere she turned there were street festivals in the city and great aromas floating around. Julie's Willpower has taken hostage the 1 pound she had lost during the middle of the week and has only given back a tiny percentage of it.

If located, please return Julie's Willpower to her and then remove all the sweets from her house.


In other news, I have lost a visible (and measurable) 2 inches off my waist and was told by my boyfriend that my arms look smaller. Two target areas that I am thrilled to have noticeably changed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weigh-In #2: Peg Shares Her Successes

From the desk of Peg...

I don’t have a scale that measures at the 1/10 of a pound… so I am holding at zero for the week in additional weight loss to the 3 lbs total since the start of our program. For me, weight loss is a very slow process, I can put it on quickly but it takes a loooooooooong time to lose - especially at 50!

My progress: I am making better choices, trying to eat more protein, drinking more water, getting my exercise on the weekend –we went for a long bike ride over the weekend, took many walks and went swimming, but during the week it is a challenge. (I sit too much at the laptop or on the phone)

My downfall: Good wine & cheese on the weekend, bread (carbohydrate) is not my friend :) goes to my belly not my hips.

Things to work on for next week:
• don’t eat too much at the labor day block party (I like to nimble everything)
• more exercise during the week (I sit too long at the laptop)
• start writing down what I eat
• start attending weight watchers
• keep making small changes