Monthly Archives: May 2009

A Different Perspective on Reunions

Years ago I literally hid from anyone who had known me in my thinner days. I would send my husband ahead of me into stores to scout out the aisles and make sure that there was no one I didn’t want to see in there before I’d enter the door. The list of those I didn’t want to see was actually a really long list. So he had his work cut out for him.

I avoided old friends and even family members because I didn’t want to face their scrunitizing comments of “Wow, Julie you really have packed on the pounds!” The words that weren’t said were just as deafening. I felt like I could read their minds as I watched them size up every pound of me. It was excruciating in those days. Just little, normal events were just more than I could stomach. I missed my fifth, tenth and fifteenth high school reunions all for very similar, superficial reasons.

Reunions were the worst. But this past week I got to go to a special reunion. And this time I felt altogether different.

I flew to Los Angeles to appear on the Biggest Loser Season 7 live finale. It was a wonderful trip and such an exciting time. I have never gotten tired of the show that changed my own life. I marvel right along with the rest of America at the jaw-dropping transformations of the contestants. My own finale was only about 18 months ago, but they have already graduated three more seasons of Biggest Loser alumni. I have attended each and every finale since my own. It’s a “reunion” I look forward to.

So I started thinking about how I use to feel about reunions versus the way I do now. And I realized that getting together and seeing people you don’t see every day doesn’t have to be a dreaded occasion. It can actually be a wonderful accountability! So that’s how I choose to view it now.

When I am reaquainted with all my Biggest Loser family, we continue to support each other and cheer each other on. We can also relate to each other and share common struggles. And that’s what accountability is all about. I still talk to Hollie from my season every week; usually several times a week. We quiz each other about our workout regimes and how we’re sticking to the healthy eating routines we learned together on the show. It reminds me of the scripture from Proverbs 27:17 that says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another.”

So find a friend or a group of friends that will provide you with accountability and help you remain sharp. And then when you have your reunion look forward to it and be proud!

The Chicken Dance

It seems like this is such a popular time of year for weddings. My husband Mike and I traveled to the Orlando area this past weekend to attend the wedding of my good friend Kelly Fields, who was also a Biggest Loser contestant. The ceremony was beautiful and it was nice to catch up with old friends.

But after we left the site of the wedding itself and traveled to the reception my mind started racing with what would be on the “menu” that I could eat or would want to eat. The problem is everything on the menu I would want to eat. But now I set limits for myself. And rarely—if ever—do I go blindly into a social situation involving food without first setting a “game plan.”

So I thought I’d share those thoughts with my blog readers. Because you too may be enjoying the wedding season and want to partake in the reception festivities without feeling like you’ve blown it.

Let’s face it, nothing can kill good intentions of healthy eating like walking into a wedding reception and getting smacked in the face by the smell of wedding cake and homemade potato salad.

My mother-in-law reminisces of the day when wedding receptions were a quaint time to greet the bride and groom, snack on a small handful of peanuts and enjoy a sliver of cake before throwing the rice and wishing the guests of honor the best for a happy life.

Those days are no more. Most wedding receptions now are full-blown catered meals! And decadence and lots of delicious food seem to prevail. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to offer a beautiful spread for your guests. I don’t suggest that those planning the wedding alter their actions (much); but rather that those of us in attendance do. (However, if you are planning a wedding—be sure to include some items for your health-minded guests.)

Here are some of the practical things I do, that I wanted to share:

  • Don’t show up hungry.
  • Drink water.
  • Admire the cake from afar…
  • Get out on the dance floor.

Of course not all weddings offer dancing. But many do. Remember, if you participate in the planned activities (like “The Chicken Dance”), you can actually burn calories. But keep it off your plate.

Now if that sounds like I am trying to steal all your fun, maybe you can split a piece of cake with your spouse or a friend. But many wedding cakes are very sugary and a little taste is usually enough. Try fruit instead for a sweet alternative.

Drinking water is a wonderful habit in general and most wedding receptions have water as a beverage option. Unsweetened tea is also a good choice. Most wedding punches are very high in calories, and alcoholic drinks are also very caloric. By not drinking your calories you can spend them elsewhere.That’s really a good rule for any social event if you are trying to control your eating. Have a little healthy snack at home before you walk out the door.

I really don’t want my suggestions to ruin anybody’s fun. But I do want to encourage you to be deliberate in your choices when it comes to food not just at weddings, but any social event.

I thought back on what I might have indulged in a couple of years back at the same wedding. So I wrote down what I might have eaten, and then I decided to do a little research (at—just so you can have some information to make educated decisions I thought it was interesting to learn the following based on my old preferences:

1 slice of wedding cake (on the average) = 391 calories

  • 8 ounce punch = 120 calories
  • 1 ounce potato chips = 159 calories
  • 2 tablespoon onion dip 60 calories
  • 1 small brownie = 160 calories
  • 1 dinner roll = 180 calories
  • 1.5 ounce of ham = approximately 100 calories

For a total of: 1,161 calories

And that was probably the snack I’d have before leaving the reception and going to dinner with my husband. That’s an incredible amount of calories to spend in one sitting. So I thought about what I actually enjoyed at this particular wedding. Again, looked it up and was pleased with the alternative caloric count.

  • 1/2 cup pineapple = 39 calories
  • 8 ounce water = 0 calories
  • 5 fat free wheat crackers = 60
  • Carrot slices = approximately 15 calories
  • 1 ounce of sliced turkey breast = 51 calories

For a total of: 165 calories

I enjoyed socializng, flapped my arms and wiggled to “The Chicken Dance” and left the reception feeling great! So just keep simple things like this in mind if you are headed to a wedding in the weeks to come. You’ll be so glad you did.