Okay, once in a while I find something that makes me stop dead in my tracks.  I call it being dumbstruck.  Last night after I dropped my car off at the shop so it would be there to get worked on first thing in the morning I headed to the local grocery store to pick up a few things.  Lettuce, a plum, some Kemps frozen yogurt cones… but as I walked up the center aisle of the store I was dumbfounded when I saw this….

Really?! Now why did this catch my eye? Simple!  The flashy watermelon on it!  I love fresh fruits and veggies that is no surprise to anyone!  However this coupon pushes my buttons.  While I am happy to see that it appears to be valid on any coke product (Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite Zero included) not just the regular sugar filled sodas, I think this sends a mixed message about healthy eating. I understand ALL the reasons why the do it intellectually, however I just wanted to point out that this offer just stopped me in my tracks… Literally.  There I was head cocked to the side literally scoffing at the audacity of coke, saying “Really?! Really…?! What in the..?!!!”

I am glad to see the Coca-Cola company trying to encourage people to eat more fruits and veggies, at least that is how I am choosing to interpret this offer.  I just don’t like the fact that not only is it a “buy two” offer but that Coke is capitalizing on the regular sodas but that this coupon was not placed on a single solitary diet soda bottle! Back when I had my 3-a-day or more diet soda habit I would have loved this offer!  (Although I was never a big fan of the 2-liter size) So perhaps my view is a little jaded by my lack of ingestion of diet soda.

Now remember the shop smarter classes with Stacy Klone, of KitchenWerks from a few months ago?  She told us there is no point of buying something just to use a coupon, so I am sure there are a large number of people who will buy either the soda or the watermelon just to save the dollar and will end up spending money they didn’t intend to spend just to get a deal.

I have friends that are currently struggling to kick their diet soda addictions, and here they are taunting us with coupons for healthy foods that we want!  I hope those of you currently have lots of success,  it does get easier.  I am pretty much off the diet crack.  I have one here or there, but not like I used to be.  It just doesn’t taste as good, and it isn’t a reflex anymore.

Do you have things that just boggle your mind?  Things that just don’t belong together?

Shopping Shame!

So Sunday in my house is the one day that I am not on call for work.  It is usually a day spent being domestic.  Sometimes it is a cuddlefest with movies and takeout, sometimes it is filled with visiting family, usually it is my weekly trip to the grocery store.  Sunday I wake up and grab paper and a pen and write-up a list of dinners for the week.  Usually it is 6 dinners.  We keep one wildcard night as a make something with whatever is left in the house, or a “they had good bread at the local shop” night.  It works for us, our food budget shrinks by an AMAZING amount when we plan ahead. 

So when I go to the store I try to shop for only the things on my list.  I make my list based off of the things that are already in my pantry so I am not doubling up on things we don’t need.  This is great, we plan meals around stuff we already have in the house.  For example when I score the buy one get one pork tenderloin one of those goes into the freezer for a later meal. 

Since I moved to Minnesota I never really knew anyone here.  So my time at the store I usually just keep my head down and get what I need without much thought.  So Imagine my surprise when I get home Sunday from a trip to Target and see a Tweet from Ann.  Apparently she saw me at Target!  (And didn’t say hi, if you see me feel free to say hi! this goes for anyone, come say hi, please!) Anyway, my first thought of sheer panic was OMG, did she see what was in my cart?!

Do you judge others by what is in their carts?  I know I do, and I shouldn’t.  That being said the guy with 10 frozen pizzas a pack of burritos and a case of Mountain Dew screams college guy to me.  The middle-aged woman with the pizza rolls, lean cuisine, and Peanut Butter and Jelly in her cart screams Mom to me.  So what did my cart scream?  Well… There is two sections to my shopping cart, the part of the cart that I eat, and the part that I buy for Robb. 

My groceries consist of things like tuna single serve packets, tomatoes, mushrooms, Chobani champions yogurt, minute rice, spinach, eggs and Arnold sandwich thins.  Items that are in my cart that I do not consume included Doritos, and bun length all beef hotdogs. 

So then I worry that I will be judged, which is part of a battle I have had my whole life within myself, because I have junk in my cart.  I talk myself off the proverbial ledge then I wonder if I was doing something awkward or embarrassing in the store.  I always worry about inane things. 

This shame goes back as long as I can remember.  I can recall a time when I was 16… I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from the pool I was feeling good about myself I bought some fresh fruits and veggies for the next few days and as I walked across the lot to my car, which I had parked a decent distance away a car full of kids I went to school with drove through the lot and yelled my name and started mooing at me.  Yep, real mature.  I flipped them the bird and got to my car before I started crying.  Why was I ashamed?  I had made good choices, oh because I bought food.  I used to pick up takeout for my ex and I.  He would want 2-triple burgers from Wendy’s I would DIE if I had to order that in one order.  I would go through the drive thru and get one, then park in the lot next to the place and walk over and get the other.  Who was I kidding?  Myself of course, but I am sure they thought they were for me.  They were not. 

I am working on my food shame.  I don’t hide my food anymore, well not from anyone besides myself.  I found a white chocolate candy bar in the cabinet today that I had forgotten was there I hid it so well!  I make my food hard to get to but Robb is welcome to it.  My LaraBars are in a see-thru box on the counter so I don’t forget about them, my Popchips are in a see-thru box on top of the microwave.  I don’t buy things and not tell Robb about them.  If I buy it/bring it into the house it is fair game for anyone to eat. 

So as I grow, and shrink, I think maybe the next time I see someone with 7 pizzas I will try not to think about that being dinner for a week.  Maybe they are throwing a party 🙂

But I swear… Cool Ranch Doritos are doing nothing for me!

Gain weight for $.50! What a Deal!


So I assume my readers have not lived under a rock their entire lives right? I know some of us lived as shut-ins, hiding away because of our weight, avoiding potentially humiliating situations like not fitting in an airplane seat.  Heaven forbid not fitting in a booth at a restaurant, or the snapping of a chair under you! All things that have been made humorous in movies right?  You have been to the movies right?

Would you like to make it a bucket larger than your head to shovel into your pie-hole in the darkness of the theater for $.50 more? That Coke can be twice as large for only $.30 cents.  How about at the drive thru or local sub shop?  Even Subway has started pushing their combo meals! For only $.XX more you can make it a combo! It’s a deal!  Yeah a deal I don’t want!!!

I had not really been faced with this up-sizing of America much in recent times.  I avoid places that make things combos.  The only time I am really searching out the golden arches is to use their free wi-fi to get directions when I am lost for work. 

I had a first time incident at a Starbucks yesterday.  I ordered an Extra Hot Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte, I know what I wanted, ordered it that way for a reason, had calories under consideration was good to go. For the first time EVER I had the girl behind the counter try to up sell me! Did you know for $.xx more you get a full 4 ounces more in your drink?

Since when did they start up selling their customers?  I have been a customer of Starbucks since I was a young teenager.  I remember being in New York City in the 90’s with my mom sharing a cappuccino before going to a show. 

I have not always ordered the largest size.  So I know it is not a case of being unaware of this.  It just really rubbed me the wrong way.  I smiled politely at the barista and asked if she knew what the caloric or nutritional difference was in the drink, she didn’t.  I wasnt going to change anyway, it was too early in my day to splurge on any more calories in a beverage anyway. I said I would stick with what I had ordered but thanks anyway.  I swiped my gift card and waited for my drink. 

As I put my wallet away my mind was reeling with the thoughts of how many times over the years I “saved money” by up sizing or making a combo out of something that I did not want or need.  Really, I wanted the size I ordered and would really end up bullied by the person behind the counter or window into getting something else.  Paying more money for something I had not intended on getting in the first place.

I was trying to think last night of a way to fight this.  We know it exists.  There is no escape, and sometimes it really is okay to grab the deal, if it fits your needs.  But do not allow them to bully you into something that adds garbage that you do not need!  Heading to Subway or McArchs or the local Deli? Hate saying no when they say want to make it a combo? Write down exactly what you are buying before you go in. When you go into the shop, now place the order like you are ordering for someone else.  Read it off the paper.  Do you want to make it a combo… look at that paper… does it say chips and a drink, how about a cookie?  Hell NO!

Stay strong! You do NOT need to Value Size or Combo Everything… and that Free with purchase item… find someone to give it to! Coworker? Break room with a Free sign on it, there are hungry people everywhere! Someone will take that food and you can always say, no thanks!

Shop Smarter!

An Example of a Byerlys Store

Image by revrev via Flickr

So this evening I was afforded the opportunity by Jen the chance to attend the Shop Smarter class put on by Stacy Klone of Kitchen Werks.  I was super excited to have the chance to see Stacy speak again.  She has presented at the last two PriorFatGirl events.  I take something away every time I see her speak and this time was no exception. 

Class was held at Byerly’s in Minnetonka.  If you aren’t from the Twin Cities area both Lunds and Byerlys are local very nice stores!  Great selections of higher grade meats and cheeses excellent produce selection and for those that choose to indulge a bakery section that is to die for!

So for those that were unable to attend class tonight, there are things I just can’t recap, you missed out!  The conversations that were sparked from the interactions with participants in class were just incredible, I do think several people were shocked to learn that Trader Joe’s is owned by the same company that owns Aldi.  (I did know this, it falls into my useless trivia that will help me out someday file).

I did take a bunch of notes, nowhere near as comprehensive as the recap from the PFG event though.  Sorry guys, my ODC wasn’t working on no sleep overtime tonight.  I was well rested and only one 1 Latte and 1 Tea. 

Some of what was touched on was covered at the first PFG event, and I was happy to have a refresher course on it.  I have taken many of the suggestions to heart and use them in my life.

  • Write your weekly menu.  I do this on Sunday.  In fact it is possibly the least favorite part of my Sunday.  Robb and I wake up and play the… “What do you want for dinner this week?” game.  We have a book in which our “go to” dinners are listed in.  Everything from Sloppy Joes or Chicken Sausage with Rotini and zucchini to Salad or Soup is in that little book.  We flip through it and try to imagine what will work best for our weekly schedule. 
  • Make a Shopping List and Buy only the items on that list!  Take an inventory of what is in your pantry when making your list when we decide our menu I often pick foods that we already have in the house.  For example, if I have a hunk of pork loin in the freezer then I know I don’t need to buy that and we can have a loin roast, so if I need to buy something for it, specific to whatever I am serving with it, aromatics or whatever I can plan other dishes for the week to go with it.
  • Don’t shop when you are hungry! (Duh!) My wallet has felt the brunt of this a few too many times.  Robb and I will go shopping and all of a sudden the cart will be full of junk, and there we are at the checkout line and I am tossing junk out of the cart because I KNOW it wasn’t on the list. 

I don’t want to give away off of Stacy’s class info because I want you to take her class but there is some valuable info I want to share with you about organic produce.  Yes it is more expensive.  But when you put better things in your body your body will treat you better and thank you for it.  Also the more local organic foods you buy the cheaper they get.

The Dirty Dozen

That being said here is a Dirty Dozen Produce List.  These are the 12 items that contain the some of the highest levels of pesticides and chemicals.  So if you are going to buy organic these are the items you probably want to spend your money here first.  In no particular order…

Apples, Nectarines, Pears, Raspberries, Bell Peppers, Imported Grapes, Cherries, Peaches, Potatoes, Strawberries, Celery, & Spinach.

Honorable mentions to this list, as I know they have been on previous versions of the Dirty Lists, (Maybe top 15 lists somewhere?) Blueberries, Peaches, Kale, & Carrots

Rinsing and peeling veggies and fruits can reduce pesticides but will not eliminate them.

The Clean 15

The Clean Fifteen list is the list where you can opt to skip the organic label.  These are often fruits and veggies with heartier skin, where their flesh is more protected.  (not a hard fast rule though) You always have the option to buy organic, but if you are on a limited budget these are where to skip for sure! 

Asparagus, Avocado,, Broccoli, Cabbage, Eggplant, Onion, Sweet Potato, Sweet Corn, Sweet Peas, Tomato, Kiwi, Pineapple, Mango, Watermelon.

Honorable mention goes to Bananas!

We toured the store, which is different from shopping.  We looked at labels of a few products, learned how to pick out a piece of fish.  I learned why the deli counter should be a priority stop for me as opposed to those Hillshire Farms deli meat’s that I buy all the time.  No more seaweed and salt/sugar fillers for my sandwiches.  Other people can eat the junky stuff I want whole muscle meats! We sampled 3 different typed of ham.  Including one that is close to $17.00 a pound!  (Which I actually didn’t care for the taste of, but that is due to my dislike of orange as a flavoring for foods) I loved the texture of the ham though.  Lucky Pigs get massages before they are roasted for 18 hours!

The class ran longer than Stacy had planned, but I think everyone really took a lot away from it.  I look forward to getting to see Stacy again in the future.  I hope that she finds a way to run her No More Carrot Sticks class on a weeknight.  I would love to attend that class. 

Hope you learned a little something from my shortie recap, but since there is another one of these classes coming up in March I don’t want to do a full recap and talk someone out of taking the class because I couldn’t do it a justice!

18 Again!

Mall of America Entrance Sign

Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

Oh to be 18 again.  No Thanks!  The words young dumb and naive come to mind when I think about when I was 18 years old… but that is not what I am referring to ladies and gents. Today I went to the Mall of America… And here is my adventure!

I was a woman on a mission.  Mostly on a mission anyway.  I only worked out one day this week at the gym.  My body has been a hellish place to be the last few days, which of course leaves me feeling like crap.  If I don’t move I feel worse but if I do move I hurt more.  Double edged sword.  So today I decided I needed to head out and get at least a little holiday shopping done.  Some walking, stretching, standing all in the climate controlled shopper filled holiday atmosphere of the mall. 

A few months ago Groupon had a deal for The Body Shop, spent $20 get $40.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.  So my goal was to head there.  I know where the store is located from where I park… the other side of the mall.  This is good news!!! This means I will have no choice but to get some walking in. 

So I was greeted with the ear-piercing sound of the bell-ringers after parking my car, and made my way into the rotunda where there was caroling going on.  Awesome! I groove on holiday music.  Yes I am guilty there are carols on my iPod that I do listen to when I work out this time of year.  I also sneak in a listen when I am bummed out.  (James, Mary, I guess that is part of my Nourisment Menu right?)

Anyway I made my beeline to get my task done, and made a killing stacking my Groupon with a Buy one get one free coupon! Heck yeah! After that I headed to Harry and David‘s To stock up on some more Sahale Snacks I have an order in with the but you can never have too many of these tasty treats! I first found them from PriorFatGirl’s event and have been addicted ever since. (There are Still Tickets Available for the next Event!!)

After going through a few more stores, feeling like a teenager bounding from store to store, I headed to Lane Bryant to check out the clearance racks.  I don’t buy full priced clothes while I am still shrinking, at least not unless I need something specific. 

So I tried on a 24 which is what I was sporting… Too big… I strutted back out of the dressing room and back in with a 22.  Back in with a 20, and back out to grab an 18The 18 was a bit loose but OMG IT ZIPPED… I grabbed a 16 and it zipped too!!! I was muffin topping something awful, but it zipped too! I will always muffin top I am sure, the way I am shaped it just works that way.

But did you read that The size 18 ZIPPED. Now I have clear memories of it being the summer before 6th grade and I could not fit into the 18/20 pants that I had.  We had to go and buy me new jeans.  It was that year that I broke my hip the first time, that year that they told me I was not allowed to participate in gym or exercise.  That left me with a lifetime really of, You cannot go near a gym or you will hurt yourself forever fears. 

It has taken a lot of work to overcome those thoughts.  I know I still need to be careful with the activities I do.  But My goodness, what an amazing feeling sitting the tag on what had to be a generous cut but an 18 none the less.  I bought those pants! Slowly I am Shrinking as I grow.  Progress in the right direction. 

Shopping bags in hand I walked around the mall a little bit more, knowing I would not make it to the gym tonight because I had work obligations.  I held my head high knowing how far I had come. I am still a work in progress, we all are.  My journey is not over, it has only just begun.  But Santa… don’t look for cookies this year… remember those carrots I leave for the reindeer? You’re getting them too! Hummus is in the fridge to dip with and the Brita Pitchers full of nice ice cold filtered water!