The Siren Song of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte




There is an insidious evil in the world and thy name is…

the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte!

The morning started innocently enough. Laura and I had an out of town appointment and, due to a comedy of errors and some early morning lack of communication, we were over an hour early. And what can you find around every corner, a hip place to consume empty caffeine filled calories and while away the time to the latest alternative crooners: our best friend – Starbucks!

So of course one found us. And, pumpkin addict that I am, I HAD to have that once a year “Pumpkin Spice Latte”. But I did get the smallest size (well next to smallest), the “Tall”. And then, of course, right beside the barista is the large case with the pumpkin sweet trio of scone, muffin, and bread. Well, the muffin has a cream cheese center so it’s a pretty easy decision. It’s an irresistible siren song of pumpkin, sugar, butter, and cream cheese.

The shame. I admit I was tempted and I fell from grace. But in life I try to look for the lessons in even the smallest, and most addictive, of places. Enter the Pumpkin Spice Latte. First, it doesn’t taste as good as it smells. Forget that at your own peril. Second, by the end of it, it’s cold and all the tasty stuff is gone. Third, the muffin is amazing so that’s worth it, but go for a plain coffee and you (and your wallet) will thank you!

On the good news front, on our way home, rather than being tempted by the dozens of restaurants, we drove to Publix and picked up a much healthier lunch (ok, except for the cookies!) and enjoyed it, chatting, as we drove along.

Pretty sometimes isn’t as pretty as it seems. Resist the Pumpkin!


Slowly relearning, Baby Step by Baby Step

This is a follow up post to 2 days ago when I promised I would update you on how yesterday’s “Anniversary Dinner” and the “lead up” to it went.


  • 1 hour of loving movement
  • All meals except actual dinner healthy ones
  • As much moderation as possible at actual dinner

So how did it go?:

  • Over an hour at the gym – 20 minutes on elliptical, 10 on treadmill, tricep/bicep work, 3 sets of leg presses, a little calf work, 2 sets of ab exercises. Didn’t push too hard but worked up a sweat and felt better afterward.
  • 2 eggs and healthy oatmeal for breakfast, 4 oz tilapia with salsa and some steamed zucchini for lunch, a little pomegranate juice for gym, and an apple afterward
  • Dinner was another story. They spoiled us with off menu appetizers (small though), raspberry mojitos, fresh rosemary rolls, and the meal itself was wonderful. Had a steak (way over-seasoned and with béarnaise sauce!), some garlic mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. Ate too much of the meat! But the dessert was only so-so so skipped it and just had coffee. Really, really good coffee.

Leaving the restaurant I felt absolutely miserable. Bloated, brain fog, and wondering “why?”. And have a bit of a food hangover this morning.

Yes, it was my anniversary dinner (19 years, 4 married) but I think I would rather have gone to a great play, a classical music concert, checked out a new gallery downtown, or went dancing (even though my spouse doesn’t like to dance). Making a healthy dinner at home and enjoying the time DOING SOMETHING together is how I think I want to celebrate things like anniversary’s and even holiday’s like Christmas in the future.

So how’d I really do? Well kept almost all my commitments. Fell down a bit at dinner with all the extra food but learned a valuable lesson from it. It’s ok to be a foodie but in moderation and focusing on “experiences” instead can actually be more fun, certainly more rewarding, and create memories that last much longer than a 10 ounce rib eye covered in béarnaise sauce!

Huge thanks for the comments! Has given me tons to think about and decide what to begin doing. Today is “cognitive remediation therapy”. Trying to get back those brain cells lost to all these years of psych meds. Wish me luck and a healthy eating day and best to all of you as well!

Weekend Foodie Plans?

It’s the weekend – or better know as “2 day free for all”!

What strategies are you going to use this weekend to help you stay on plan with your diet and activity goals?

Since it’s Saturday morning, it’s a perfect time to write down your strategy to stay on track (or at least moderation) so a Monday weigh in isn’t a horror show.

This weekend we have a best friend’s dinner and birthday gathering today. Thankfully tomorrow is back to plan. But here’s my personal plan to stay under some control.


– First 3 mini meals on plan.

Dinner is 6pm at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and here’s what I’m doing for that: small meal (probably a protein shake) before leaving, no soup (too much sodium!), salad with dressing on the side, scallops (good alternative to fatty shrimp), lots of the veggies and will ask for them steamed, lots of water and hot green tea.

– After dinner it’s back to our place for dessert and celebration. Thankfully dessert is a sugar free apple pie (my friend is diabetic) with low fat frozen yogurt. We’re only buying 1 pie to feed 6 people. Can we say portion control! Again, more green tea / coffee and tons of water.

– Sunday, right back on plan!


– Today, lots of walking (shopping for trip), then cleaning in the afternoon

– Sunday: 10:45 Body Pump class, then if any energy left, a C25K session in the afternoon

– Monday: hardcore training session at 3pm

Still working on a plan for our vacation in a few weeks but think I’ve got some good ideas. Will also be researching to be prepared!

Would love to hear your strategies for eating out, celebrations, and vacations!


Help, I’m Out of Control!

I’m Out of Control And Really Need Help

After 6 weeks I finally got the scale back and guess what, I’m almost 4 pounds heavier. Pretty upset about this.

It’s time to admit that I have a problem and figure out what to do about it. Yes, I’ve lost almost 80 pounds and for the most part have kept it off. BUT since losing that bulk of weight and still having 40 that I want to lose, I’ve been fighting a losing battle with emotional and impulse eating for the last 4 months. I’ve plateaued and been ping-ponging on the scale.

One of the reasons I’ve gained back 4 pounds is 2 weeks of limited exercise (no trainer sessions, no body pump classes, only a solid weekend of hard work outside). Even after the major lawn overhaul and then the following week getting ready for and getting some major dental work, the 2nd reason is that my eating is out of control. I try to stay with the plan my trainer gave me but during the weekend and the time around and after the dental work (about a week), it’s been carbs, carbs, carbs and SUGAR. Getting takeout, going out for lunch complete with pancakes two days in a row. Ice cream one night, a half container of caramel almond butter with chocolate chips another. Making mega brownies. Eating half a challah loaf two days in a row. No wonder the pounds are flying back on.

Add sitting on my butt on the couch for hours a day and not using the fitness equipment sitting in the other room and it all makes sense.

Although my trainer says over and over, it’s your fat percentage that counts and how your clothes fit, especially as you gain muscle and lose fat (muscle weighs more), because I am still so overweight that’s not the issue now. Get me down to 10 pounds to goal and we’ll talk.

I feel like I’m at the end of my rope – I’m sneaking sweet stuff again, staying on plan during the day and then blowing it at night, not getting in enough movement, and letting temptation rule my food choices. I’ll go for weeks on plan and then blow it over a weekend. And to make matters worse this Friday and Sat we’re eating out to celebrate with friends. So I’ll do great until Friday night then blow it with the bread at the restaurant. Saturday is a birthday party complete with cake that I’ll be making and dinner out at a japanese steakhouse. That’s what’s been happening the last few months and why I’m not making any progress. I’ll stay on plan and then at the slightest opportunity, fall right off. Sure I get back on but the damage has already been done.

Crappy factoid here: within a few hours of a high fat meal we put on 3 teaspoons of fat around our middle, waiting to move somewhere else on our body. 1 meal!!!

I’m feeling so discouraged when I should be grateful that for the most part I’ve kept off what I lost over the last year. The problem is I’m not at the maintaining stage yet and still have a ton to lose. And my willpower seems to have taken a vacation.

I don’t know whether I need to go see my therapist again for a booster or figure out what’s really going on mentally that’s blowing my progress. Going to a training session today and hopefully trainer will help put this in perspective. That and planning ahead for this weekend’s meals, making a single layer cake (just use 1 pan), and starting to journal food again. The picture journal is a lot of work and a real pain which is why it was a short lived venture. Trainer has nixed the calorie counting but a simple daily listing of intake seems like the best way to go.

Even bought a book about stopping emotional eating, which I put down after a few chapters and haven’t picked back up. Can’t tell if I’m not ready to face this yet but if I want to achieve my goals I really need to suck it up and figure out how to be the winner when faced with chocolate (and ice cream)! Something has to change and stay changed for this journey to continue and figure out how not to fall back into sabotaging habits. Many of you have inspired me so much and would love your feedback on this. Right now I’m my own worse enemy!

There is NO “I Can’t”

There truly is no “I Can’t” and the only limits we have are those we impose upon ourselves. No one exemplifies this more than South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, a quadriplegic who is competing head to head with the rest of the those running in this summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“Oscar Pistorius, running on prosthetic legs, finishes last in race, first in hearts”

(South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius pops out of the starting block in the men’s 400m semifinals during the Summer Olympic Games on Sunday, August 5, 2012 in London, England.)

At the tiny gym I go to now (not sure it’s really a gym, more like a place where serious athletes and body builders train), one of the owners – my trainer Liz – is going to put a huge poster of Oscar on the wall so anytime anyone says “I can’t” or wants to quit when they still have something in them, she’ll point him out as an example. Not only did he make it to the Olympics, and even with all the padding, those prosthetics HURT! He’s in pain and he’s still running! And maybe he came in last in his first race but he still has the 400 to go. Talk about “never say die”!

I’ve posted the “Versus” motivational video numerous times because it is so powerful. Any goal we want to achieve – mental health, weight loss, getting in shape, relationship or career goals, school, whatever – can be daunting, especially if we don’t have a solid ground of support and/or achievement. There comes a time when it’s necessary to become our own cheerleaders. To discover the strength we have RIGHT NOW inside us to start down a new path. If it helps, print out Oscar’s picture and put it where you’ll see it the most. Use his example to remind yourself that anything is possible, anything that can be dreamed can be achieved.

I believe in you. Now it’s your turn. If you’re already there, I’m working my a** off to catch up!

A little late…But Some Terrific, Healthy Breakfast Ideas

You’ve got to love SparkPeople! Got this in my mailbox this morning and sorry so late in sharing it. But hey, it’s only ___ hours until your next breakfast!

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Eat Right, Even When There’s No Time

— By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer,

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 937 times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why? You just spent eight hours with no food or water. You’re dehydrated, your blood sugar is low and you have little energy. And now it’s time to hurry the kids off to school before the eight-hour workday. More than any other point in the day, you need nourishment. Right now.

Besides, eating breakfast actually helps you lose weight. Those who skip the meal tend to snack before lunch and throughout the day, usually on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Breakfast eaters typically cruise until lunch, while beaming with energy.

So what are some breakfast ideas? Scratch that–healthy and quick ideas? Here are some of our favorites:

  • Prepare a casserole the night before. Pop it in the microwave when you wake up and it will be ready to go when you are.
  • Incorporate complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat toast and bagels. Spread peanut butter and raisins on top of either for added flavor.
  • Bake bran muffins early in the week, then grab one or two each morning. Or check out a local bakery for healthy varieties.
  • Make waffles Sunday morning and freeze the leftovers. You can pop ‘em in the toaster for a homemade breakfast. Also, grocery stores sell frozen whole grain selections.
  • Have you ever tried a tortilla for breakfast? Wrap up cold turkey and cheese, grab an apple and you’re on your way.
  • Don’t forget cold cereal. We’re not talking about those covered with sugar, but the healthy variety. Items such as Wheaties and Cheerios are always good choices.
  • Whole-egg or egg white omelets with fresh or frozen veggies (carrots, broccoli, celery, peppers, onions and even black beans make great additions).
  • Make a shake or a smoothie. Blend fruit and yogurt and then drink it in the car. A side option is a small bag of finger foods, such as a mixture of granola and grapes.


One important additional tip:

If you’re working out fairly soon after your first meal of the day, you’ll want to have a small protein/carb combo shortly before you work out, in addition to your breakfast. Why? Your body is in starvation mode after no food for 8 hours so rapidly processes what you first put in it. You’ll want to give it some extra fuel about 1/2 hour before putting stress on it. And don’t forget your post-work out protein boost. Taking a shake with you to sip in the car on the way home is easy and quick. And of course, don’t forget your water for during and afters (sorry, know that one’s obvious!).

Food & Activity Log: 7-22-12

Well, you’ve had a whole week of my new “Daily Photo Log”. What do you think? Have had a comment or two and they’ve been super positive but would like more feedback to continue this project as part of my blog. Please either “Like” or “Comment” – you’re a huge part of why I’m on here!

Glad you liked yesterday’s “Skinny People” post. Some nice tips, one of which I took today – eat early. We had dinner before 5 pm and that’s all the food for the day. And now, without further ado, here’s today’s Photo Food Log!


Breakfast: Total Calories – 220 calories

Coffee w/ fat free half & half –25 calories

Hot water w/fresh lemon juice – 3 calories

Protein shake w/ unsweetened almond milk – 150 calories

Oatmeal (less than ¼ cup) – 42 calories

Lunch (?): Total Calories – 820 calories

Cherry Danish – 410 calories

Puff Pastry – 410 calories

Dinner: Total Calories –741 calories

Cuban Ropa Vieja – 264 calories

Cuban Yellow Rice – 64 calories

Cuban Black beans (1/4 cup) – 153 calories

Fried (Plantains) Tostones (4) – 260 calories

Green Tea (large) – 0 calories

TOTAL CALORIES FOR DAY: 1,781 of 1,700

Net Calories For the Week: -481 Calories


Had a bad “emo” day. Went to a meditation / reike class and it sent me right into a bp episode. Stopped for pastry at Publix on the way home and then napped all afternoon. Needed to take xanax early and will go to bed early as well. But only 81 calories over daily target.

Food & Activity Log: 7-21-12

Here you go with today’s indiscretions! Just kidding, not really!


Breakfast: Total Calories – 214 calories

Coffee w/ fat free half & half –25 calories

Egg white scramble w/spinach and mushrooms – 186

Hot water w/fresh lemon juice – 3 calories

Lunch: Total Calories – 375 calories

Protein Shake – 195 calories

Chicken Breast (4 slices) – 180 calories

Afternoon Snack: Total Calories – 304 calories

Celery sticks w/ peanut butter – 304 calories

Dinner: Total Calories –580 calories

Chipolte Burrito Bowl – 450 calories

Ciao Bella Greek Frozen Yogurt – 130 calories

Green Tea – 0 calories

Night Snack: Total Calories – 358 calories

Quaker Natural Granola w/ 1 cup almond milk – 358 calories

TOTAL CALORIES FOR DAY: 1,831 of 1,700


Lots of walking (i.e. shopping). But lots of sitting too. Back to gym tomorrow!

Breaking Up (with Junk Food) is Hard to Do

This is a “reblog” (courtesy of and with thanks to SparkPeople) but truly funny to get your Sunday started off right! We’ll resume our regular programming of pretty food pics, scary exercise tips (ok, not really – have a foam roller one planned for tommorow – spoiler!), and all around good times!

But first, are you and junk food still doing the tonsil tango? (That sounds wrong doesn’t it!) Got this email recently and just roared! Hope you enjoy it to, so without further ado, here’s the:

“Top 3 Finalists from our Break-Up Letter Contest”

— By The SparkPeople Community

Editor’s Note: The following three letters were finalists in our June 2005 Break-Up Letter Contest. We’d like to thank everyone who participated and voted. While the contest is closed, you can still read the top three letters below.

Letter #1

Dear Abby,

Help! I have been trying for a long time to break up with this friend of mine (we’ll call him Snickers because that is his real name. He’s not innocent and does not need to be protected). He just can’t seem to take the hint. We’ve been together for longer than I care to admit. We’ve had some wonderfully sweet times together. No matter how tired I get of my other friends, Snick is always there. At first it was okay. We were a pretty good team. But then he would just never go away. Sometimes I wanted to be alone, but every time I turned around he was there. For a long time I enjoyed having him in my purse or in my top dresser drawer. Then I realized he was keeping me from some very important relationships. I barely knew Apple and Banana, and Broccoli just didn’t feel welcomed when Snick was around. It would have been different if he liked my other friends. We could have all spent time together. But Snick became so selfish. He wanted to be the only one. I’ve tried to explain how I feel. He has become so possessive of me, wanting all of my time and attention. Frankly, I’m afraid of him. Sometimes I see him watching me from the pages of a magazine, from the TV, even from my own kitchen cupboards. I’ve become a victim of Snicker stalking. Please help me! If only I could make him understand there still is room in my life for him. But there are others I want to spend time with also. What can I do?


Dear Desperate,

Your problem is not uncommon. Many people out there find themselves in relationships that are too possessive, too selfish. I can sense from your letter that you are very upset with Snick. Take a moment to calm down and think clearly. Snick is feeling threatened right now. He used to be tops on your list. Now you’re bringing in more Apples, more Whole Grains, more Green Beans. Of course Snick is going to try harder than ever to get your attention. My advice to you is not to shut him out entirely. Invite your other friends in so you can all get to know each other. Let him hang around. As soon as he feels your friendship is secure, he won’t be so apt to require all of your attention. Let him know you still care. Let him know that most of your time is going to be devoted to Apple and Broccoli, Whole Grains and the others. If he feels you still care for him, he will be content to share you with others.


Letter #2

French Fries, we have to talk.

I don’t know how to say this, but –

I can’t see you anymore.

I just can’t do it—the clandestine meetings, the sneaking around—it’s just too much for me. My husband is beginning to suspect something.

Just yesterday, he found one of you on the floor of the car. I laughed nervously and denied everything but I think he knew I was lying.

I felt so ashamed!

And it started me thinking – I really love him!

We made a promise to each other, and I know you probably can’t understand this, but our life together means more to me than anything.

I know, I know, we’ve had some good times together and yes, you’ve been there for me — like the time I was so upset when my boss got mad at me. And when I was so nervous about giving that speech.

No, no, it’s not you, it’s me! I’ve changed.

I’ve found some new ways to deal with my emotions. And they’re really helping. One thing I do is meditate or pray every night. Nothing happened at first, but over time, I find myself a little calmer, a little more capable of handling life’s everyday stresses.

I also try to walk every day. You should try it, it really does clear your head!

And if I really get stressed, I write it all out in my journal.

So, you see, French Fries, I have to thank you for helping me out when I needed it.

But I think I can take it from here.

Letter #3

My Dear Beloved,

I’ll never forget the day I met you, Mr. BLT Pizza. I was on a church youth group retreat in the winter of 2003. We stopped by a Happy Joe’s Pizza Parlor on our way back to the cabin. I was expecting a pleasant time, for the parlor name indicated a cheerful, delightful atmosphere. I certainly wasn’t looking for anyone new. A new love in my life was out of the question, for I had been dragged down and chubbed up by your kind before. The other women at the table spotted you first. They said you looked “delicious” and just wanted to “eat you up!” To be honest, you weren’t my type. I wanted something safe and reliable; I wanted the strong, sturdy type. Plain ol’ Mr. Cheese beckoned to me; however, the women were wild cats and insisted on you. Now, I don’t hold them responsible. H How were they to know you would slowly destroy my life? How could they know that your initials didn’t only stand for Bacon Lettuce Tomato, but they also stood for Big Lying Traitor?

You were so deceiving. You covered yourself in layers of crisp lettuce and ripe tomatoes that I had to peel away to find the bad parts like fatty bacon, oozing mayo, and greasy crust. I couldn’t figure out what I craved about you. What was I drawn to? I tried to convince myself that your lettuce and tomato exterior drew me to you. I told myself you were really a lettuce and tomato type of guy at heart. I’ll admit it now; I was drawn to the bad boy in you. The mayo got me! The mayo! My family begged me to bid you farewell, but I couldn’t. I was addicted to you. With a wild heart (and stomach and tongue and lips), I defied my family to be with you. When you invaded my mind, I wanted you right then and there. I’d throw you on the table and devour you. I found myself staying in with you more and more often. I invited a friend to hang out with us a few times, but I was too greedy. I couldn’t share you!

Soon my thighs were straining to escape my jeans. I think they were trying to tell me to escape you. My stomach was rolling over my waistband. I felt it. I saw it. I saw the me that was the result of you. I saw my chin, Mrs. Chiseled Chin, and her new partner, Mr. Chubby Chin, who moved in after you came into my life. They had united to form a chin family. I didn’t want to wait around for their children to emerge. It was enough.

I tried weaning myself off of you. I saw you less frequently and asked for smaller portions of you, but I couldn’t bring myself to a complete halt. I kept going back to you and forgiving you for mistreating me. But not anymore! I’ve burned all your boxes with relish. I’ve rid my phone of your number. I’ve realized that I’ve mistreated myself more than you have mistreated me. I’ve allowed you to take control of my life. It’s MY life. It’s not OUR life. I have control of my life, and you don’t belong in it with me. I don’t need to be Mrs. BLT Pizza and have my initials stand for Bulky Lard Tooshie. You were a little too wild for me. I think it’s time for me to find a real life partner, and that Mr. H2O over there is looking pretty refreshing!

You Don’t Deserve the Sincerely Here You Jerk!


And Now: Some “Ultimate Motivation” – try not to feel empowered after watching this one!! (I get very sniffly!)

Day 4 – Food and Exercise Log

A much better food day! Pathetic on the exercise side. Was quite braindead this morning and that put off plans with my sweetie. Instead of the Orlando Museum of Art, a vegan lunch, and other fun times, we stayed home and watched rented dvd’s. They’ve been good videos: Secretariat, Under the Tuscan Sun, and City Island. But that really doesn’t constitute raising the heart rate and getting a good sweat on.

But think you will enjoy today’s food log!

Breakfast: coffee, no fat greek yogurt, small bit of honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries





Snack: 1 package 100 cal butter popcorn






Lunch: 6″ cuban sandwich, 4 tostones (fried plantains) with special sauce








Dinner: leftover Olive Garden chianti slow cooked ribs, small portion portabello rissoto, green bean, and AMAZING fresh roasted asparagus (recipe to follow)





Dessert: fresh strawberries with homemade dark chocolate ganache dip









For the most part, except lunch and maybe the risotto, did pretty good today! The best of all though was the homemade roasted asparagus. It almost caramelizes the asparagus and the tops get crunchy and nutty. Recipe below and oh so worth it!

Roasted Asparagus w/ White Truffle Oil


Small bunch fresh asparagus with hard bottoms removed (just snap off), wash and pat dry

About 1 tablespoon olive oil

white truffle oil, about 1/2 teaspoon

garlic salt

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, place a piece of aluminum foil. Arrange the asparagus close together on the foil. Spritz the olive oil over the asparagus. Shake the garlic salt loosely over them, not too heavy. Lightly sprinkle sea salt to taste (any type), then a bit of pepper. Then drizzle a bit of the white truffle oil over them (optional but oh, man!). Put the asparagus in the oven for about 25 minutes. They will look a little wrinkly when they come out but that’s perfect.

Transfer to a plate to serve or your plate to eat – and enjoy!

The good news: even if you don’t really care for asparagus, these come out sweet and nutty and absolutely delicious. Worth giving them another try!

Exercise Log: my hands hurt from holding a fork and knife – enjoying this while it lasts. As of mon, will be working with demon trainer from hell and this food log will look RADICALLY different! Prepare!

Oh, an important aside, we were looking at the blog on our phones and saw that I have 575 followers! 575! And love each and every one of you!!! (That’s after I pass out!)