via Instagram Before today, the only experience I’ve really had with Greek Yogurt is in smoothies, so I had no preference for brands or flavors going in. After the test, I think I can say that I do prefer one brand over the other. While the Yoplait was okay, I feel that the Chobani is actually better. The Yoplait was too sweet and the texture was a little lumpy. Despite the Chobani being a fruit on the bottom yogurt, it was creamier. It also seemed to be more consistent in its texture and the sweetness wasn’t over the top. The Yoplait wasn’t bad. I just preferred the Chobani. Aside from the taste preference, I had some difficulty using the gift card to get the yogurt. I activated it, took it to the store, told them how much to run it as, and it still didn’t work. I don’t know if it was a cashier error or the card was messed up. I just know that there were issues. Disclosure: I was provided with a $4 gift card from Yoplait to test their blueberry yogurt vs. the blueberry fruit-on-the-bottom Chobani yogurt. All I had to do in return was give an honest review.

Review: Yoplait Greek Yogurt

We ate this for dinner tonight and it was actually pretty good, even though I made it up as I went along. Ingredients 1 bag frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and rinsed 1 lb. ground chuck 1 jar pasta sauce 1 can diced tomatoes, no-salt added, with basil, garlic, and oregano 1 can black olives, rinsed 6 tsp. Parmesan cheese 1 box thin spaghetti (whole grain), cooked 1 cup mozzarella Cooking Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare pasta per box instructions, drain and set aside. Brown the ground chuck, drain and set aside. In a large bowl, mix pasta sauce, tomatoes, and spinach. Add in ground chuck, stir. Add 2 tsp of Parmesan cheese into sauce mix. In 13″x9″ pan, spoon in half spaghetti. Pour half the sauce mixture over the spaghetti. Spoon remainder of spaghetti over sauce mixture and pour the remaining sauce over pasta. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and the mozzarella on top. Cook in oven for 60 minutes. It makes about 10 servings.

Recipe: Baked Spaghetti

I tried to be one of those people who found inspiration in fitspo posts, but the more that I tried to appreciate the posts, the more I found my already bad self-esteem dropping. For me, fitspo is like going through living with Dadada again. Seeing posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr that would be called “fitspo” reminded me of how he used to tell me that my life pretty much wasn’t worthwhile because of my weight. Having friends post their accomplishments is one thing, but when the accomplishments turn into “inspirational” posts that tear down anyone who isn’t doing the exact same thing as them it becomes a lot less inspirational and a lot more hurtful. For people who can do regular exercises everyday, that’s awesome. And if you want to share that, then that’s great. Please don’t tear down others who don’t, though. Please don’t make a post about someone’s struggles with mental illness into your crusade about how exercise will help them overcome it. Please don’t make a post about their eating a certain number of carbs or certain amount of calories or a certain level of protein into a lecture on how if they would only do what you do, then all the problems of their life could be solved. The evangelicalism of fitspo is off-putting. To me, it comes across as a way to rub someone else’s “failings” in their face. I know that isn’t the intent. I know that what people want to do with their posts is help make the world a better, healthier place, but that isn’t always the outcome. I spent the greater part of the last few years doing little more than the bare minimum to survive, so I don’t need to be given grief over counting taking cold showers, cooking 3-5 meals per week from scratch, and hand-washing dishes as exercise. Except for taking a daily shower, I wasn’t doing those things before. I’d shut myself down. And so just doing those things now is a big deal for me personally. That might not be a big deal for your average fitspo-loving individual or even a non-fitspo-loving person, which is why I would never tell you that you had to count them. Right now, I have to consider them as personal victories. I need to feel good about the things that I am doing to make my life better. If I don’t, I will regress. I know this about my own struggles with weight. I need to be able to realize that I can handle this amount of activity before I push on. I need to be my own inspiration. When I do these things and receive some sort of negative response about how if I would only do more or that what I’m counting doesn’t really matter, it makes me feel like a failure. That makes me either want to go binge or restrict my calories completely. Today’s a good example. I read something labelled fitspo that upset me, so today I have eaten less than a 100 calories all day, but I’ve gone for a 0.4 mile walk (barefoot and with shorts/no jacket in 50°F weather), done 60 minutes of food preparation, spent about a half an hour hand-washing dishes, and had a 25 minute cold shower. According to MyFitnessPal, I’ve burned 921 calories. According to another website, I’ve burned around 700 calories. Either way, it is more than what I used to do and it’s way too much for someone to do without eating. But because of the angst/rage/frustration I’m feeling about what I saw, I don’t feel hungry. I don’t want to eat. And, while some people might make some kind of crack about how I should just stop eating altogether because of my weight, I know that not eating is just as bad as overeating. I also know that tomorrow I may be hurting all over and too tired to move from the walk alone. While it isn’t the other person’s fault for triggering bad behavior of me, their behavior doesn’t help. I know that being obese is dangerous. I also know that over-eating and under-eating are unhealthy and going without exercise is unhealthy. I also know that I have limits that need to be respected, not just by me, but by other people. Not every person can exercise at the same level. Some of my limits: tachycardia & arrhythmia anemia & vitamin deficiencies fibromyalgia asthma overheating easily If I do too much, any of these issues can be exacerbated. I know the anemia part doesn’t make sense, but anemia prevents my body from providing the appropriate level of oxygen to my muscles. This tires me more easily. The vitamin deficiencies keep me from having the appropriate level of energy to even start exercising sometimes. I have to take these things into consideration every time I do any activity, even things most people do without thinking. What does fitspo do? It makes me want to ignore the issues. It makes me feel like a bad person when I can’t. It makes me feel like I will never be good enough. Basically, it encourages me to stay in a cycle of negative self-talk. It inspires me to not take care of myself. So I need to avoid fitspo posts for fear that they will do the opposite of what is intended by them. I may even have to block certain hashtags or hide news from certain friends because my self-esteem can’t handle their fitspo.

Why I Hate: Fitspo

A few months ago, I decided to quit eating potato chips. I decided that any help they were giving me in certain departments was being negated by the high fat. Well, I’ve learned that my sandwiches that I’ve been eating every day are also not so great for me. Even with very little mayonnaise on them, they were eating up a lot of my daily calorie amount. Also, the meals that my family had been eating were ranging anywhere from 650 calories to around 1100 calories. Tonight I decided to try cooking again, because I had quit actually cooking a while ago. We had Crispy Fish and Peppers and French Fries. I’d never cooked fish from scratch. This time I did. (Well, from scratch as in it had already been turned into individual fillets.) Tonight’s calorie total for dinner? 391. There were a few technical issues. The fish fell apart and the batter decided that it wanted to stay in the pan when it was done. But it tasted good. My parents even said it was good, which really shocked me because my mom hates tilapia, which was the type of fish I used. I could have used catfish, but I hate everything about that. (That makes me weird for a southerner, you know.) Tomorrow, I’m planning on making Beef and Black Bean Chili. In the meantime, I am trying to get across to my parents that I want this to be more of a family effort. I didn’t particularly enjoy that, when they went shopping, they came home with ice cream and donuts. I told them this and explained why. Anyway, I hope that MyFitnessPal will help me keep myself on track. Hopefully, I’ll start losing weight. I’m also planning on trying Pilates or just doing some stretching and walking. Eventually, I hope to actually start using my membership at the Wellness Center that is a part of my Humana Medicare plan.

Come-to-Jesus Moment

Apparently, Maria Kang hasn’t gotten enough attention lately, so she has decided to stir the pot again. In an opinion piece that she did for the Time, Maria decided to continue on with her shaming of overweight and obese people. Saying things like, “Will a “real woman” please stand up? In the age of Photoshop, plastic surgery and celebrity idolatry, it seems women are constantly debating what is considered a ‘real’ woman. And, as I found out recently when I posted a picture of myself looking fit and healthy in workout clothes with my three sons (playfully asking the question ‘What’s your excuse?’), apparently I don’t count.” Or, “Constant campaigns promoting self-acceptance and embracing one’s curves are placing the psychological need for a positive body image ahead of health.” Or, “So, let’s set the record straight. There’s the normal, overweight woman. There’s the photoshopped fake woman — and then there’s an array of real women.” Well, here‘s what I felt compelled to say on her Facebook page: If you want to have your opinion count as a “real woman”, then perhaps you need to stop shaming other “real women” just to make a name for yourself. When your “playful” little picture came out, I felt horrible about myself, my body, and my past (or, as you would call it, my excuses) for days. Your attitude does real harm to the self esteem of people. Your idea of playfulness is the same as any bully on a playground or any emotionally abusive friend, relative, or significant other. You know that this kind of attitude can harm a person’s emotional well-being and, yet, you continue to shame people over their appearances. Perhaps you should do some research into why people have problems with their weight. Perhaps you should learn that people who have weight problems are often people who have histories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Perhaps you should learn that they are often people who have been bullied, suffer from depression, and are at greater risk for suicide. Maybe if you did that research and learned those facts, you would step off your bully pulpit and realize the actual harm that YOUR words are creating. You want people to lose weight? Great. Why not be a positive influence? Why continue to stir the pot? Why not try to help people feel better about themselves and feel more empowered, instead of tearing them down? If you want to promote fitness, promote fitness, but do not tear another human being down in the process. Don’t continue to be rude. You can promote fitness and healthy weights and all of that without hurting other people in the process, but you choose not to and that is something that is really disturbing to me. I have no problem with people who are fit, as long as they don’t promote an attitude of hatred, intolerance, and ignorance towards those who are not. There are people out there who are fit who manage to promote fitness without coming off as dismissive and rude. Maria Kang is not one of those people. She seems to be out to make a name for herself as the biggest bully on the playground, and I am so sick of that. If I wanted to be exposed to people’s hateful remarks about my body, then maybe I would just go hang out with some of my relatives or go to a mall or a store or any number of public places where it is very easy to encounter people who body-shame others. Maria Kang’s words may be meant to inspire people into losing weight and improving their lives, but every time that I see them, I feel the need to go stuff my face full of food. Her “helpful” and “motivational” words make me remember just how much I hate myself, my body, and to remember the things that have led me to the place that I’m at today. I would love to be skinny and fit the societal ideal of beauty, which is not one that includes the overweight or obese, but that’s not the case right now. And every time that some person is given the chance to continue to tease people based upon their waist size, I feel like they aren’t helping, but hurting. Is it her fault that I cry or overeat after seeing those words? No. It is her fault that she said them. And she needs to realize that what she is doing is not going to inspire a lot of people, but will, in fact, hurt them. I would love if the media would step away from giving her more opportunities to be in the limelight. She’s the kind of person that if you ignore their bullying, then eventually they will go away. Unfortunately, they keep promoting her and allowing her to make these statements, and they are enabling her abuse. And it isn’t just her. There are stories on the news about obesity that can inadvertently harm people’s self-esteem. And by doing that, they can end up causing both physical and mental health issues for the people who view them. Yes, it is important for the world to know that being obese can kill you. It is also important for every person to feel valued and worthy of love and respect. Every time that we promote this bashing of individuals, though, we teach the opposite. It enables people out in the real world and on the Internet to make comments about people based upon their looks. The other day, I was told by a stranger that she was only arguing me because she thought that I looked like a linebacker and that my appearance offended her. In other words, she felt that it was okay to be rude to me because I’m fat. That compelled me to make this post on Instagram. Size alone doesn’t determine a person’s worth, value, or even their health. While obese people are more likely to have certain […]

Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

This is my Mamama’s Beef Stroganoff recipe. Ingredients 1 pound ground beef 1 small onion, chopped 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 cup sour cream 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded Cooking Instructions Brown ground beef with onion, pour off any fat. Stir in cream of mushroom soup. Cover and let it cook until it begins to boil. Mix sour cream and cheese in a bowl. Lower heat, then stir the cheese mixture into the beef. Let cook five minutes or until cheese has melted thoroughly. Serve with egg noodles or toast.

Recipe: Mamama’s Beef Stroganoff