Skinny Girl Problems

The holidays are over and as I sit here pretending this Fiber One 80 calorie, chocolate cereal is chilaquiles, I can’t help but think of the days when baby had a little more back. This newly skinny girl has gotten her eating back in control, but boy oh boy it hasn’t been easy. My date for all the work and family parties was a big ole hunk of cheese and now I’m paying for it. A few stomach aches and a tad bit more badonk later, this eating lockdown is necessary and totally sucky. Once you get a taste of the dark side, joining up with Luke and Obi Wan isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here now for you, 2013’s first batch of skinny girl problems.

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Going Veg- Let’s talk about wontons baby, let’s talk about tur-ur-key, let’s talk about all the good things and the meat things I can’t eat. My fling with vegetarianism started in high school. I was driving home from a shift at Panera Bread, listening to midnight Metallica on X103, when all of a sudden a flatbed truck carrying about ten million live chickens pulled up next to me. That was all it took. For the last bunch of years, I’ve been on and off the meat, but for the last 6 months, I’ve been pretty darn strict with it. This strigency is partly due to my soft spot for the am-nimals and partly due to the fact that Billie Joe Armstrong is a veg, but mostly due to how much my diet improves without meat. I feel light as a feather and eat a million times more produce. The only problem is…

I WANT TO EAT ALL THE BURGERS- Umami, Shake Shack, Corner Bistro, oh my! The things I would do for a burger right now would make my parents very un-proud. You meat-eating, non-dieters, don’t know how good you have it. I’m at the point where I want to throw in the towel and say eff it. They opened a Steak and Shake in NYC… Have I gone? NO. Why? Because I’m a stupid skinny girl now. This blows.

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I ruined pizza night- There I was last week crawling around on the floor with my nephews, when my sister suggested inviting over another kid and his mom for a pizza night. There were three parents, three kids, and one me. Out came the pizza menu for a classic midwest squares, not triangles, type of place, and I uttered the forbidden phrase, “Do they have any salads?” It was as if I had suggested serving hamburgers at a mosque. (Can’t stop thinking about burgers…) Everyone stared at me, and politely indulged my request, even though it was kind of a pain in the a-s-s. The salad I got ended up being a pile of spinach, a few strawberry slices, and the tiniest amount of feta cheese possible. OH AND IT COST NINE DOLLARS. It was a total ripoff, and totally not worth becoming the pizza night pariah. Lame.

I can’t be Lena Dunham’s body double anymore- I was all ready to dye my hair and everything, but the eight pounds overweight that she claims to be are eight pounds I don’t have anymore. And you never know, there may be a big roller skating scene on Girls where she needs a stand in cause maybe she can’t roller skate and I’ll be too skinny to be considered. This is clearly the biggest skinny girl problem of them all.

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Now it’s time for the necessary disclaimer that this is all (mostly) tongue in cheek. I’m loving my new skinny girl/healthy lifestyle and wouldn’t trade it for anything… except maybe losing eight more pounds. And a burger. Fingers crossed!

For more Skinny Girl Problems, click this link. I promise you won’t regret it.

PS- For the record, Lena Dunham has a hot bod. She is beautiful, and I’m not trying to imply otherwise. Hooray!

Skinny Girl Problems

Boy oh boy it’s been a while since I visited these, but the svelte-related-snafus keep on coming. It’s SO HARD being average. I just. can’t. deal. Here’s the latest installment of skinny girl problems. As always, they’re intended to be tongue in (gaunt) cheek. I have zero qualms with my newly reduced waistline and the license it gives me for sarcastic complaining. 

-So it used to be that my sock drawer contained one or two swim suits that rarely saw the light of day. Now, I barely have room for socks cause all my newly-purchased bikinis are hogging all the space. It’s a slippery slope people. I’m going broke buying these itty bitty pieces of fashion fun and now that the weather’s turning, they’re only useful when I run out of clean underwear. Someone needs to cut me off. Pronto.

-I just emerged from a one month stint of fun-employment and boy are my arms tired. Cause I worked out. A ton. I was at the gym every day Zumba-ing, kickboxing, pilates-ing, stepping, belly dancing, and participating in various other exercise classes that required me to let go of any intention of looking cool. That said, now that I look a little better in my stretch pants, people assume that I know what the crap I’m doing. Problem is, I don’t. As a former gymnast/cheerleader, I can hold my own, BUT all the UWS women and gents put me to shame.  Also, their confused and disappointed reactions to my inability to do a push up were no bueno. Made me wish I was a little chubbier just so they’d leave me alone.

-While taking a walk with my friend Ilana this week, I realized I have a touch of body dismorphia. After losing weight, there’s this thing of thinking you’re the size of a house when you’re really more of a reasonably-sized condo. Nobody ever sees %100 reality when they look in the mirror, but I feel like for those of us who have gone through body transformations every mirror might as well  have been lifted from a fun house. It’s like living in a P!nk music video 24/7… except you never know what size to get your checker print bodysuit in. And how are you gonna get the party started without an appropriately sized checker print bodysuit… Come on, people!

-And the hardest part about being a skinny girl is continuing to be a skinny girl. My lips hath not touched cheese in months and the only thing I do at ice cream parlors is window shop. And in the words of the great Seth Meyers…

 

I can’t even tell you what I’d do for a BLT right now… Oy.

Fashion’s not just for skinny people

Project Runway got me all cranky last night. It was the inevitable “Real Women Challenge,” and as always, some not even thin himself butthead spent the whole episode complaining about the thickness of his client. He was overwhelmed with the challenge of designing for someone he couldn’t floss his teeth with, and was very vocal about it. He complained to the cameras, his roommates, the designers, Tim, the Naked Cowboy, a Parsons Janitor, and anyone within a 50 mile radius that would listen. Problem is, he also complained to his client. FYI world, overweight people know they’re overweight and, unless you’re a doctor, don’t need you reminding them of it.

This poor woman who was a, gasp, size 14 got an earful. The belts provided were too small, she had no shape, she made his job really hard, she might as well be a puppy exterminator cause her weight makes her the worst. This designer has some nerve. I don’t know what remote part of the world he was raised in, but clearly it was a place devoid of actual women. Call me crazy, but it’s my understanding that the average woman is a size twelve and the only women that are the same shape as dress forms are actual dress forms. And it is also my understanding that dress forms can’t buy the clothes you design cause they are made of cotton and not real.

Now that that’s out of the way, and seeing how it’s not my style to complain or talk smack, I want to offer some helpful advice from a girl who has spent most of her life being “plus-sized.” Me.

I come from a long line of physically strong and substantial women. We have muscles and curves and strong (big) bones, and even if we all went on a starvation retreat would be more like Cathy Bates than Kate Moss. But if you can believe this, despite our physical features, we are always at the top of the style game.

My grandma and mother are kick ass sewers and designers, and growing up a good number of the clothes that lived in our closets were handmade. I remember pouring over the Delia’s catalog with my mom and picking out what she would copy and make me. I remember spending a mother daughter weekend making a fur, leopard print pea coat that a classmate begged me to sell to her. I remember pictures of prom dresses that my grandma made with little more than a sewing machine and her imagination. I remember them working together to turn my Bat Mitzvah dress from a water-stained thrift shop find to my favorite dress I’ve ever worn. All of these things were designed with ease, by amateurs, for real shaped women.

That’s not to say that for fashion savvy larger women DIY is the only option. Mr. Project Runway Designer would be interested to know that a ton of people have been able to accomplish what he had such a problem with. Unknowns like PR judge Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein have all managed to make entire plus-sized lines. And boutique stores like H&M, Forever 21, Bloomingdales, Target, Torrid, Hot Topic, Ann Taylor, and Macy’s are just a few of the places where the over size 12 set can get their fashion fix. We’ve come a long way from moo moos and leggings being the only option, and I can’t wait to see this market grow even further.

Just because someone happens to be bigger, it doesn’t mean they gorge themselves constantly or are a slob, and just because someone is thin, they aren’t a guaranteed picture of health. Voluptuous women deserve to be just as stylish as skinny ones, and mainstream fashion has made leaps and bounds to honor this. That said, I hope the designer from Project Runway isn’t far behind.

I don’t think I’m on a diet anymore.

So I started this week with every intention to do the Special K diet. It seemed like no sweat… Protein bar for breakfast, shake with green salad for lunch, and whatever I wanted (within reason) for dinner. I didn’t quite stick to it, but I didn’t go apeshiz on a cheeseburger and fries either.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my skinny girl problems and my whole food and weight loss sitch. The brief  update is that I’m still losing lb’s and working hard to be healthy, however there’s obvi more to it than that.

Something happened yesterday that’s never happened to me before. To give some back story, my day started at 4am and I didn’t leave work until about 8pm. As I walked home from the subway, I felt hungrier than any wolf and ready for some serious grub action. This feeling caught me off guard until I realized I hadn’t eaten enough during my 16 hour day. Me not eating enough is like Kim Kardashian taking the day off from having her picture taken. It just doesn’t happen. The crazy didn’t stop there.

Instead of rectifying the day’s abnormality by hosting my own private food festival, I had a healthy dinner and an appropriately-sized helping of Sixteen Handles. And that was it. I didn’t go face deep in a bag of chips or take a walk to my block’s new Dunkin Donuts. I ate until I was satisfied, and that was that. Furthermore, making these choices wasn’t a hardship in the least. I didn’t go to bed counting cannolis and feeling wicked deprived.

Which might be why I didn’t go all the way with the Special K situation.  Over the course of the week it became clear that I didn’t need to. I don’t need to be on a diet anymore. The way I eat now is a lifestyle where the baseline is eating the right amount of food for my body and making the right choices so said amount of food is rich in nutrients and the things I need. The bestest part of this is it makes it okay once in a while to go to Kin Shop or eat the best pizza ever with Emily and Ariele.

After 28 years, I’ve kind of finally figured out this whole eating thing, and I’m proud to say my biggest Skinny Girl Problem is no longer how to stay skinny. And just so you know, I’m determined to do more than cross my fingers to make sure it stays this way. Thanks, Special K!

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On a side note, something new in my non-diet world is this handy chart weight loss rock star Viktoria posted on her FB. I’ve kind of been living by it these days, and it’s making a big ole difference. Mangia!

16 Scandals

As a lady on a diet, I’m always on the hunt for a treat that doesn’t make my Jewish guilt it’s b-i-t-c-h. I want something that tastes good and feels indulgent while also keeping my capability for chub rub at bay. And this summer I thought I found it in frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles.

It feels like as of late you can’t throw a medicine ball in Manhattan without hitting one of their neon-colored stores. I even spotted one in Astoria QUEENS yesterday, so you know they’re taking over. It’s an irresistible concept. Sixteen kinds of froyo that taste exactly like what they’re supposed to, every kind of topping under the sun, and a help yourself/pay by weight policy that gives you total control. You can swirl birthday cake/peanut butter/chocolate/coconut froyo and cover it in crushed snickers, cake crumbs, fruity pebbles and maybe some bananas and berries or something in one supposedly low-cal  bundle.

Problem is, it’s really freaking bad for you.

16 Handles doesn’t necessarily claim to be health food, but the words “non-fat” or “low-fat” are prominently displayed on all of their flavors, and yogurt culture is one of svelte-frames and knowing that there are types of broccoli. Also, since the method is self-service, it’s up to the customer to decide just how much goodness they want to shove down their gullet. That said, both the business and the customer are to blame here.

On a recent late night 16 Handles run, which are admittedly becoming way too frequent in my life, I did the stupid thing of actually looking at the well-advertised facts of what I was eating. Each serving of the yogurt contains roughly110 calories (on average), however a serving size is only 1/4 cup. The cups provided are about 16 ounces (2 cups) so there is the first problem. Most people wanna fill that baby up for a whopping 880 calories, but I try and stop halfway, making the base alone about 440 calories. And that’s before you even add the toppings.

Any dieter worth their lack of salt knows the caloric content of the toppings by eye. For any of the candy toppings like M & M’s, Snickers, peanut butter cups, etc. you do the math based on how much a “fun-sized” serving of those treats have. Going for the cookie/cake/cereal type items follows the same concept of figuring out the proportional serving, and then you can picture the sauce-type toppings (my favs are peanut butter and marshmallow) as liquid calories. Basically, stick with the fresh fruit or otherwise assume you’re adding at least 100-200 calories to however much yogurt you decided to indulge in. So my average 16 Handles treat potentially clocks in at a mortifying 600 calories. Gross.

600 calories is about half of my calories for the full day. It equals approximately a pick-up truck full of all vegetable salad, or a footlong turkey at Subway, or 2 donuts, or 6 veggie burgers. I can’t keep spending that much of my precious cals on something largely made of chemicals that is usually consumed as a snack.

Game over. Sorry 16 Handles. You are delicious and a super fun thing to do with friends, but I’m gonna need to stay away until I can figure out how you work in my diet… Or when I gain some GD control over the hungry hungry hippo that lives inside me… Whichever comes first.

***BTW… All these numbers are an approximation not backed by anyone at 16 Handles***

**Though… I’d love to speak to someone there :)**

Let Them Eat (GOOD) Cake

I didn’t have any cake on my birthday. I had a celebratory pinkberry, which was quite delicious, however not the same thing. Now before you congratulate me on committing to my diet hardcore enough to skip one of the bestest birthday traditions, you should know that cake did happen. It happened the day after. And it was good.

I’m at a new phase in my weight loss. In this phase, it’s no longer about completely restricting and just saying “no.” It’s now about letting myself indulge in things, while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, once I pop, I can’t stop, and I’m always one chip away from finishing the whole bag. So I’ve worked out a little system.

If I want something bad enough, I go out and get the best version of it. A one time isolated event of junk food eating that can’t carry into any other moment but the present. Pizza means a trip to Artichoke or Bleecker Street, ice cream cravings– Emack and Bolio’s, and on the odd chance I want a burger, I’m going to Shake Shack. Also, there’s a waiting process involved. The same way I force myself to wait 20 minutes to figure out if I’m still hungry after a meal, I try hold out to see if I can first mentally get over my appetite for diet destruction. This could be a week, a month, a few hours, a fortnight but in the case of my birthday, I only had to wait a day.

I was out with co-workers and kept getting texts from my roommate Staci about when I was coming home. This isn’t normal, but it’s not totally crazy either, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I finally did get back to the apartment, Staci and Marlo were waiting for me with this:

A birthday cake. And not just any birthday cake. THE birthday cake birthday cake from Momofuku Milk Bar. I’ve wanted this cake for two years and over the course of that time, during any trip to Milk Bar, one could hear me pointedly gushing to anyone who would listen that “that cake is all I ever want for my birthday.” Now, while a bunch of strangers never came through, my roommates did. And let me tell you, the cake was worth the weight. Pun definitely intended.

Decadent and sweet, it tasted like Katy Perry’s video for “California Girls.” The frosting on top was a little cream-cheesy and was covered in crushed cake truffles, encasing layer after layer of vanilla cake, sprinkles, and more of the amazing icing on the inside. If I had to hold out to eat my birthday treat, I held out for the best. And sharing it with some of my favorite people made it taste that much better.

So in the words of Janet Jackson, when it comes to treats, “let’s wait awhile.” Cause indulging isn’t entirely about eating the forbidden fruit, it’s the experience that makes it special.

Fam Fat

The first step to getting back on the wagon is admitting when you’ve fallen off. So while I admit to you my recent short comings on the ole diet, I hope you will be gentle. Last week took me on a trip home to my momma in Seatlle, and there’s nothing like family to make you eat a whole lot. It turns out outside of New York City, people have things called pantries and refrigerators that are fully stocked with food at all times. And you can eat things from them whenever you want. It’s crazy.

As a foodie, the week was a rousing success, but as a lady determined to be a size 8 by September, I kind of failed. I had three amazing meals and three million billion snacks and there wasn’t the opportunity to walk it off since my mom and I got around mostly  by car. I definitely gained a couple, and even though the quality mom time and food adventures made it worth it,  I’m currently summoning my inner Raven Simone to try and make up for the damage. Fruits and veggies will once again be my besties and junk will have to step aside. At least until my birthday. A girl’s gotta eat cake.

On that note, here are the three amazing meals. I’m grateful me and these restaurants are 3,000 miles apart.

Seafood Pho at Janbo:

White Chicken Chili from Taco Time (the ONLY fast food I EVER eat):

Dork burger (duck&pork) with sweet chili mayo, havarti cheese, and homemade chips from Lunchbox Labratory (Thanks, Farley for the tip!):

BONUS: Birthday cake chocolate bar

In the end, it’s okay to indulge sometimes. Healthy even. As long as in the end, you keep your eye on the prize.

10

In 8th grade I wrote a list of goals in my diary. One of those goals was to be a size 10. So many years later, 8th grade me has cause for celebration as I’ve finally reached that goal. For the first time in my adult life, I’m a perfect ten. In clothing sizes. The rest is still work in progress. Obvi.

When I made the decision to lose weight, I anticipated that the majority of the changes I would experience and have to deal with would be physical. I was excited to of course be smaller, but also do things like run faster, look better while playing my guitar, and walk around in a skirt all day without tights or shorts. After six months, I’ve achieved all those things, but have been surprised to find out that most of the changes are things shifting around in my head.

I am not the person I used to be. I have nothing to hide behind anymore. I know I was never the size of a house or even a small condo, but I’m starting to figure out that I used my weight as an excuse for so many things. Guys didn’t pay attention to me because I was fat. I wasn’t going to get that writing or acting gig cause it would go to someone thinner. There was no hope of looking good in a t-shirt. And I wasn’t allowed to be the center of people’s focus. All because I was a little bit bigger.

Now, if something doesn’t quite work out the way I want, I only have me to blame.  My crutch has disappeared and instead of looking for the problem externally, I have to turn my attention inward. Maybe my personality wasn’t at its best or maybe I just didn’t bring the greatest idea to the table or maybe I came from a different point of view than the situation called for. It appears skinny chicks have a lot more thinking to do and the opportunities for self-improvement are all a little less concrete. I’m not going to fix things simply by substituting water for soda.

And I’m excited. I’m excited to figure out who I am and who I’m going to be without using my tummy as a scapegoat every time there’s a bump in the road. Now instead of being Brianna the chubby girl, I’m just Brianna. My security blanket may be gone, but I have a new one and it’s just me. Minus a couple pants sizes. Obvi.

Skinny Girl Problems

Hey buddies. It’s that time again. Here’s the latest helping of ironic complaints about the oh so terrible side effects of my weight loss journey. Skimpin’ aint easy!

-Remember the days when I could randomly get froyo just cause, or when a helping of afternoon soy crisps was not that big of a deal? I don’t, cause now if I so much have a few poorly-timed almonds, I risk spoiling a meal. Snacking has become serious business that requires all sorts of planning. Also, my desk is waaaayyy farther from the cafeteria now, which is good and bad. It takes longer for me to get something to eat, but I’m also usually too lazy to do it.

-I can’t eat as many fries. Bummer. I indulged in some the other night and was full for a solid two days.

-I know in every other edition of Skinny Girl Problems, (like here and here) I talk about my clothes all being too big. For a while it was alright. I could play off the baggy clothes as Olsen twin-idolatry. But now, I’m running out of pants. And shirts. And I still haven’t gotten appropriately-sized funderwear. Can anyone lend me a few dollars? I could repay you by looking mad cute and not being constantly nervous that I’m gonna drop my drawers in public.

-This weekend, I tried to take myself shopping and boy are my arms tired. I’m having a fun in between sizes moment and now have to try on two of everything. Sure it saves the trouble of running back and forth between racks and room, however my biceps are still burning from lugging around two sets of duplicate duds.

-I never thought I’d say this, but everything on the shelves is so big. I think Murphy wrote his law about stores never having the size he wanted. When I was an Extra Large, they only had smalls. Now that I’m a Medium, they only have Extra Large. Booooooo.

Okay, so I know if you made it this far, you must think I’m a total biotch. I swear on my Dave Grohl guitar pick that I’m not. I’m just using the sense of humor I developed as a fat chick as a coping mechanism for all these new changes. It’s pretty heady to finally be confident in my body, and that is proving to be the biggest skinny girl problem of them all.

Skinny Girl Problems

Okay. So. We’ve established I’m losing weight. Glad to have gotten that out of the way. Glad people don’t give me as much of a hard time over the vegan hot dogs I eat for lunch. We cool. Here’s some more skinny girl problems to add to the list.

-Meeting new people poses a challenge because everyone new to my life post-diet has only met this skinnier version of me. They don’t know about my potential to be mistaken for a brunette Mario Batali. They also don’t know about why I’m so ravenous all the time. They haven’t met the fat chick just DYING to come out and finish their lunch. It adds a lot of pressure to keep us this idea that I’m naturally a normal-sized person, but maybe that’s not the worse thing.

-I only take up one seat on the subway now.

-When I eat, my belly gets bigger. Full is not just a feeling anymore, it’s a condition that I can see with my eyes. So I’ll be having a great day where I’ve stayed on track diet-wise and then look down and see a vegan hot dog shaped lump on my tummy. Well, that’s not entirely true, but there’s definitely a noticeable change that does a good job of messing with my head.

-All my undies are too big. Uggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh. Why does the garment that uses the least amount of fabric have to cost so much money?

-I can’t enjoy Shake Shack, Stand, Corner Bistro, Bill’s or any of my other favorite burger places anymore. These kind of meals used to be my favorite, but now it’s a super stressful experience full of checks and balances. Is it worth getting a veggie burger or can I cheat and get the real thing… If I let myself get cheese, then I can’t get fries… Do I only get a milkshake and sacrifice eating any other food… It makes me tired just blogging about it.

As always, I want to remind you that I’m not actually complaining. These are merely my Seinfeld-esque observations on my weight loss journey. Skinny people don’t have it any harder than bigger folk, and I hope you’ll continue to support me as I keep this diet party going. Stay tuned for more skinny girl problems…