Swimming in Judgement

Fun Fact: in my nighmare that's always mint chocolate chip...

Fun Fact: in my nightmare that’s always mint chocolate chip…

I live in Los Angeles, California- arguably the epicenter of vanity. As an overweight woman, there’s a thin layer of loathing that I sometimes feel from men in this city. “Why are you here? You’re supposed to be hot. Everybody here is supposed to be hot for my viewing pleasure.” Sometimes the guy giving me that look has bigger boobs than me.

When I topped 200 lbs one of my first paranoia-driven nightmares was that, while taking in the sights of the Venice Boardwalk or the 3rd Street Promenade, my ass would be featured as “camera-about-town” stock footage of the obesity epidemic.

You know how the segment goes:

  • 1.) A 90lb Anchorwoman declares a new study has found being fat is even worse than previously believed.
  • 2.) An Anchorman gasps, and both talk as if fat people (and not obesity) are, themselves, a contagious disease that is costly and unstoppable.
  • 3.) Cut to the fat-asses-walking-down-streets montage footage. With heads cropped out. Y’ah know. For their dignity.

In my worst nightmares the cameraman would catch me waddling around one of these tourist attractions EATING SOMETHING.

To onlookers, a smoker isn’t a smoker until she has a cigarette in her hand. An alcoholic isn’t an alcoholic until he’s stumbling out of the bar reeking of booze. The nose-picker isn’t a nose picker until his finger goes a-digging. But people don’t need to see you stuffing your face with a fistful of cake to know you’re overweight. Your vice is inescapably apparent and is open season for everyone’s judging enjoyment.

I’m especially wary of this kind of judgement as I start lap swimming. Do you want to know what courage is? It’s being obese in a bathing suit. In public. During daylight. But screw it! I’ve decided that the public’s interest in how I look in my bathing suit probably breaks down like this:

And we can't let the Jerkfaces win.

And we can’t let the Jerkfaces win.

So I’ll dive in and start swimming again. And maybe I’ll look forward to a time when a news story featuring stock footage of my ass won’t be about obesity, but about terribly unfashionable pants instead.

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The 64 Calorie Chocolate Sauce That Goes With Everything

Chocolate excuse 139,234,901: Chocolate is full of antioxidants.

I see a lot of dessert recipes on diet blogs that involve making 12 calorie reduced cupcakes, or 2 dozen low fat cookies, or one sugar-free cake. That’s great if you’re cooking for a crowd of dieters, but when we’re on our own isn’t that playing with fire? What am I supposed to do with the other 23 servings of cookies that doesn’t involve a large glass of milk and a two day True Blood marathon?

What about a dessert you can make when you want to be good and you don’t have an emergency pint of gelato in the fridge because you were a champion and didn’t buy any? What if it was Chocolate? What if it was 64 calories? What if it took 5 minutes to make?…

TaDAH!!!!

This is The Chocolate Sauce that goes with Everything! It makes a perfect single portion and tastes decadent and decidedly un-diety. Drizzle it over bananas, strawberries, raspberries, apples, popcorn, even carrots (maybe I’m a freak but I love dunking thin slices of carrots into this). Add it to a hot glass of milk, a cold cup of nonfat yogurt, a cup of coffee. Make everything chocolate! I love this stuff!

Use a high-quality unsweetened cocoa like Ghiradelli or Scharffen Berger, or Valrhona. I forbid you to use a crappy brand. Use the good stuff. Yes, it makes a difference.

  • 2 TBsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 TBsp half and half
  • 2-3 packets of Splenda or Stevia depending on how sweet you like it.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp water or coffee, depending on the consistency you’d like
  • pinch of salt

Heat the liquids in a very small pot over the stove or in a large mug in the microwave until hot (not boiling). Add the cocoa and whisk until there are no clumps and the chocolate is smooth. Last, add the sweetener and salt and whisk to combine.

Now put it on everything!

Calories: 64  – Fat : 4.9 grams –  Carbs: 7.2 – Fiber: 3.6 grams – Protein: 3 grams

Garlic Brocoli with Sharp Cheddar

Apologies for the iPhone pic- but you can detect the hint of cheesiness lurking underneath 😉

Like most kids, I hated broccoli growing up. I remember watching Velveeta commercials when I was little, and seeing electric orange goo slather in ribbons over broccoli. Then the people in the commercial would eat the broccoli by the forkfuls, as though it wasn’t disgusting. My kiddie palate imagined Velveeta was an Excalibur of cheesy flavor that would slay all the icky bitterness of vegetables far and wide. Why oh why wouldn’t my mom buy this miracle cheese?!

She was right not to, of course, because Velveeta is quite gross. But my instincts at least were correct. Even though I like broccoli now, cheese still improves on it’s flavor. And since I can’t eat a lot of cheese anymore, I better make all that cheese count. Sharp and strong-flavored cheeses make every scant ounce pack a bigger punch. Buy a nice aged full-fat kind- It’s covering a lot of broccoli.

  • 3 Cups Broccoli florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oz Sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1/4 C Onion sliced thin
  • 1/4 C Water
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

1.) Coat medium sized saucepan with cooking spray (make sure you have a lid handy for the saucepan, bonus if it’s a transparent lid). On medium low heat, saute onion until just turning translucent- About 4 minutes.

2.) Add water, salt, and garlic and cover until you see the mixture begin to simmer. Add all the broccoli and cover again. Once every minute use thongs to toss the broccoli in the saucepan to prevent the broccoli on the bottom from overcooking. Re-cover with lid after each stir until the broccoli is just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Florets should be bright green and you should be able to pierce the thickest stems with a fork.

3.) Uncover saucepan and take off the heat. Quickly sprinkle grated cheddar over broccoli and toss broccoli to coat. Grind pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Serves 4

Calories: 87 – Fat: 5 grams – Carb: 4 grams – Fiber: 2 grams – Protein: 4.5 grams