Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cleaning My Plate

I have been trying to trim down for third trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. My workouts have been on track, but, as always, I was struggling with food. I could come home from the grocery store with the same old stuff -- quick, but not exactly quality. I hadn't been paying attention to portions.

Even though I had stepped up my workouts, the scale wasn't moving down.

While I was visiting my mother, she handed me The Eating Well Diet Cookbook. She used it to help get her and my step-father on a healthy track. She also issued me a challenge: If I drop 60 more pounds (which is my goal) she will donate $200 to Global Alliance for Africa on behalf of my trek.

I got home and got right to work on, well, Eating Well. So far, so good. The pounds have been peeling off as I have been following (more or less) the 28-day plan in the book.

Most of the recipes are simple and beautiful healthy concoctions. Sometimes my kitchen is like some scenes in Julie & Julia -- with me cursing through a recipe that is taking me too long to prepare (ehem, Chicken Divan!).

Cooking more has helped me be more mindful about what I am eating. For example, the egg recipes for breakfast sustain me longer than the Blueberry-Coconut Macadamia Nut Muffins (though they are damn good). I am not rushing through a super-sized bowl of cereal anymore.

I am happy to report I have dropped 20 pounds since that July Vermont visit just by cleaning up my plate.

Fat Woman on the Mountain, the story of my 120-pound weight loss and quest to hike Kilimanjaro, will be available Sept. 14 on my website, http://www.fatwomanonthemountain.com/.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Hardest Part of My Story

"The ax forgets, the tree remembers." -- African Proverb
One of the hardest but most important things for me to write about in Fat Woman on the Mountain was about being sexually assaulted at age 12.

The story about my 120-pound weight loss and quest to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, which will be released Sept. 14, also details my journey up the scale.

I gained 40 pounds the summer after after I was molested. I am not alone, several studies have shown a strong link between survivors of childhood sexual abuse and obesity.

"Abuse also is a form of control by adults over the child victims, and overeating may be a way for abused children to gain some control of their own... Others have argued that being overweight is a way to make oneself unattractive and ward off undesired attention," according to a 2007 issue of Psychiatric News.

I have spent years in therapy trying to sort out the aftermath of what amounted to a few afternoons as a pre-teen.

Perhaps I struggle with food because it was a comfort, a protection. (I wrote about how heading to the pantry actually saved me from one incident). Then, it became a "weigh" of life for me. While the abuse may be a distant memory the eating habits gained after it still gnaw at me.

Still, I do my best to move forward with strength and purpose. I hope to inspire others to do the same.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Hug A Tree

My neighbor was cleaning out some of her daughter's things that she had outgrown and invited my daughter to pick through the stash. (A great form of recycling!).

My daughter is a bit of a book worm like her mom and took every book she had to offer. When we went home and sorted through the pile. There, I found gold: Hug A Tree (and Other Things to Do Outdoors With Young Children).

I am looking for ways to encourage my daughter (who is now 2) to explore. Now we can Take a Bird To Lunch, be Texture Collectors, make Water Clocks and more...

Kids could use some encouragement to get outside... according to a Bay Area Wilderness Training newsletter, the average child gets less than 10 minutes of outside play time versus 120 minutes of screen time. (If you didn't know Bay Area Wilderness Training helps get at-risk youth out of the city and into the wild for life-changing adventures.)

Don't forget, Fat Woman on the Mountain, the book, comes out Sept. 14. Get your copy at www.fatwomanonthemountain.com

Friday, August 20, 2010

08.20.10: Newest Adventure!

I have some incredible news....I am heading up Mount Kilimanjaro a third time! This time, I am going with a group of celebrities who have also struggled with their weight. Each one of us is using the trek to get in shape and raise money for charity.

I have former Biggest Losers Heba Salama and Ed Brantley coming, Muhammad Ali's daughter Khaliah Ali, Top Chef contestant Andrea Beaman and others on board thus far.

We will begin filming the training this fall. We will leave for the Kilimanjaro trek on Feb. 12.

We are thrilled to be joined by Emmy-winning Producer Denise Cramsey and Director Scott Farquharson to make a television series on the project. Denise is now working on NBC's School Pride.

I promise to share details as I can... but I just can't wait to share this journey with my fellow hikers and the world.

Fat Woman on the Mountain, the book, will be available Sept. 14 on www.fatwomanonthemountain.com