As Seen on TV


More appropriately I should say, “As will be seen on TV.”  This morning I recorded a TV show at WTVD, ABC -11 with Angela Hampton called the Heart of Carolina Perspectives that will air on this Sunday at 11:00 and again the following week at the same time.


The show is about the Heart of Carolina Food Drive that ABC-11 sponsors for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC and the Fayetteville Food Bank.  It is our largest food drive of the year and is running now until December 5th, which is drive through day to drop food off at Kroger’s in our local area.


I want to take this time to thank all of you dear friends and family who have donated to the Food Bank of CENC through Less Dana.  Your generousity has been overwhelming.  230 families made pledges.  28 pledges came from people who do not even live in North Carolina.  Thanks to my friends from Ethel Walker’s and Dickinson College who have supported me in this effort from afar.  Thanks to my old friends spread out across the country and to all you saints in North Carolina.  A number of children also made and paid off pledges with money they earned, what an inspiration you are.  Thank you.


Sharing your gifts and treasures with others who have less is a noble thing to do.  I want you to please take credit for your contribution to your fellow man, woman and child who appreciates the food you are providing them.  You worked hard to earn that money and yet you still shared it.

As I gather around my Thanksgiving table this year I will be giving thanks for you, especially as I try and eat only what I actually need and not all that I have available.  As anyone who reads this blog knows I am always one who is going to try the funny in any situation, yet my passion is making sure that no one goes hungry which is just not a laughing matter.  Forgive me this serious blog posting today.  I want you to not miss my sincere gratitude for you and your help in providing food for those who in need.

The Secret to Diet Success is a Four Letter Word

When anyone asks me what the secret is to losing any amount of weight I tell him or her it is a four-letter word.  For those of you who know me, you know I know a lot of four letter words which I use often and with gusto, but none more than the “S” word.  Before you think laxatives are involved the word is “S-O-U-P.”

That fact has not been evident during the last few months in the blog because soup is not most people’s go to food in the warm weather, but as the days are growing shorter, (Can you grow shorter?) and our part of the world has less light you need to add more soup to your meals.

Not all soups are equal so don’t get excited about jumping into a big bowl of broccoli cheese or New England clam chowder, that is unless that is all you are planning on having.  I am talking about broth based, mostly vegetable soups or creamy ones made with fat free condensed milk.  My strategy is that as long as I have one or two homemade soups in the fridge I have the best defense against hunger.

Starting a meal with a small cup of hot soup or having one as a four-in-the-afternoon-I-think-I-need-a-cookie deterrent some how sends a message to your brain that you have had real food and tends to turn off or at least down the hunger pangs that seem to attack you like “Twilight” wolves.

Making homemade soup is so easy, but if you really don’t want to cook you can use canned, just get the ones that are lower in calories and make sure you know what the serving size of the can is.  It is easy to read the calorie amount and only after you ate the whole thing find out you just ate three servings.

In the spirit of teaching you not just my recipes, but how to think like a chef and try and make things up I am going to post three or four different kinds of soups over the next couple of weeks with notes on making variations to them.

As the eating holidays are approaching having soup around is your best weapon to party food.  No matter what kind of event I am going to I have a cup of soup at home before I go and then I am much less tempted by the “This holiday only comes around once a year” food being pushed my way.

So save yourself from those four letter words that come out of your mouth when you stand on the scale and stock up on SOUP.

My Life as A Hybrid


We recently got a hybrid car.  You know the kind, sometimes it drives on a gas engine and sometimes it drives on a battery engine.  The crazy thing is that the car charges the battery itself when I drive it or when I break.  How do it do it?  Don’t ask me.  But I really love to watch the gauges that tell me when I am driving for free on battery and hate when I use gas.  I probably should turn that feature off in the name of keeping my eyes on the road.


As I was driving to Raleigh today watching the dial move from gas to battery power I realized that for the last six months I have become somewhat of a Hybrid.  I put food in, which is akin to gasoline and sometimes I am running on the food I have eaten and sometimes I am running on my battery of fat storage.


If I take in more food than I burn then it goes into battery storage as fat, but if I am smart I take in a little less fuel than I need to run thus moving into battery back-up and burn up fat.  The dial I have to use is the scale so I am only finding out after the fact that I was efficient or not.


What I really want is the real time indicator that registers when I have depleted all the food energy and have started in on the long life fat stores.  Before I started this diet I could have been considered a strategic energy reserve site, like the government keeps for emergencies.  Now, I am about half a reserve, not enough to be considered strategic, maybe just a tactical reserve.


I know children who are such excellent hybrids that you can actually see them completely run down when their food energy runs out and they have no fat reserves to switch over too.  I don’t know many adults who live that close to the edge and I am not anticipating ever running that low on fat back-up, but it sure will be fun to see if I can get to be that efficient.


I have learned some lessons from my car, which I need to reverse for my hybrid body.  First, driving up a hill at a normal speed almost always requires gas to be used.  Going really fast or speeding up suddenly also requires gas.  Driving at a steady pace is battery friendly.  When I take these insights and apply them to my body it teaches me that in order to burn more fat I need to go up more hills, faster and more erratically.  So if you see me out running up the hill by my house and I look like I might have been drinking know that I am just pretending to be my car.

The Day After

Yesterday was e-mail hell and heaven all in one.  The hell part was that I had to send out almost 250 personalized e-mails to all you generous supporters who pledged to the campaign.  I hope most of you did not feel like I was sending you a bill.  I am truly appreciative of how generous you are.

Yesterday was taken up by meeting with a friend to ask them for money for something else, writing my blog which took extra long because I had to figure out how to put all my pictures in side-by-side so you could see a change, going to workout and then spending over seven hours sending out the “end of campaign” e-mails.  In between I read so many kind messages from so many of you.  Please forgive me if it takes me a while to respond to you all.

Today I went to visit my Uncle who has been undergoing cancer treatment.  I had a wonderful visit with him and had a bowl of soup with he and my Aunt.  On my way home I was hungry.  I pulled into the McDonalds and although a cheeseburger sounded really good I ordered a cup of coffee at the drive through and went on down the road.  I felt a little triumphant at that moment.  I was alone in the car, with a good 45-minute drive ahead of me and my weigh in tomorrow would not count for anyone except me.  I made the right choice and I did it just for me.

I was rewarded when I pulled into the parking lot at Carter’s school.  When she got in the car she told me how a substitute teacher at school today, who is not someone who was one of my supporters or a registered follower of my blog, called her name in the role stopped when Carter said, “here.”  Carter said that the sub then said, “Class, did you know that Carter’s mom just lost 53 pounds.”

I looked at Carter and said, “Sorry, was that embarrassing?”   She looked right at me and said,  “No, Mom.  I am proud of you.”  It was a little slice of heaven for the mother of a thirteen year old.

Your Final Number, But Not Mine

Today is November 1, the end of my weight loss challenge to raise money for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.  Before I give you the number of pounds I lost I first want to thank all of you who supported me by pledging money, reading the blog, writing comments, posting encouragement on facebook, cheering me on, asking me what I was eating for lunch, working out with me and just generally being the best kind of support I could ever imagine.

I have never had so much fun not eating in my whole life.  Even though I am about to tell you good news I am a little sad it is over.  I am thrilled with the 226 individuals, families and couples who pledged to the campaign, especially the teenagers who surprised me with their generous pledges.  Such self-sacrificing inspired me everyday.  That is what I am going to miss.

See, the campaign may be over as far as how much weight I can lose that people will pay for, but my personal weight loss must go on.  Today I will eat nothing different than I ate yesterday or last week.  I still want to lose at least 35 more pounds.  So the blog will go on and I will continue to chronicle this journey and write recipes.

The only thing that will change is that now I begin the money-collecting phase.  As of today I have pledges totaling about $679 per pound give or take a little depending on how some individuals did on their personal weight loss wagers. I set a crazy goal to try and raise $50,000.  So far I have not met that goal, but I am very hopeful to get close.

The great news is that I surpassed the weight loss goal I predicted and I lost a total of 53 pounds.  Good for you people who pledged I did not pass it by much so your payment is not wildly more than I had forewarned.  A couple of people worried I would game the system by cutting off a limb, having liposuction or just plain starving myself.  I can honestly report I did none of those things.  I did not even weigh-in completely naked just to make the number lower.

Thank you for being there.  Thank you for helping feed hungry people.  Thank you for keeping me laughing.  If you pledged you will be receiving a personalized e-mail giving you your pledge amount and campaign total.  If you did not pledge it is not too late to give.  I have a personalized web page at the Food Bank at, or go to the pledge tab on the blog.

So I toast to you, my benevolent supporters.  I do it with my unsweetened Ice Tea as I go out to the garden to harvest my arugula to have for lunch before I go to the gym…just another day.

I’m Going as Superwoman for Halloween

If I were dressing up for Halloween I would go as Superwoman.  Before you even think, “That Damn Dana is so full of herself,” here is my reason.  Halloween is all about sugar, candy corn, mini snickers, resses peanut butter cups, skittles, junior mints, rolos, heath bars, hershey’s chocolates, milky ways, nerds, butterfingers, M & M’s I have gained two pounds just writing these things.

See, sugar is my Kryptonite.  Superman was powerless around the stuff and just like him sugar can bring me to my knees.  When I am away from all things sugar I am fierce.  I have will power and can leap tall bakery counters with a single bound.  But just one bite of a brownie and my resolve is weakened.

Today is the last day of my weight loss challenge.  What was I thinking?  Ending on Halloween – my day of greatest challenge. Tomorrow I will get on the scale and report how much weight I have lost since May.  I will be sending personalized e-mails to all my supporters to let them know how much money to send the food bank.

But tomorrow is not the end of my healthy eating.  With all that candy around I am going to have to double down.  The challenge has been great at doing for me what I needed it to do — break the grip that sugar and white flour had on my life.  I still have about 35 pounds I want to lose so I have to continue doing exactly what I have been doing, just without any money on the line to keep me motivated.

Even though my accountability will change from those who have pledged to just myself I am going to have to resolve to not be weakened by my personal Kryptonite, sugar.  To me, Superman is powerful because he knows his weakness and does everything to stay away from it.  I think for many women sugar is their downfall, so we all need to become Superwomen and do our best to steer clear of what we already know cripples us.

Like that mild manner reporter, Clark Kent, I am going to keep blogging.  I know that this forum has given me strength to be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive or maybe just a strange visitor from another planet, as long as I am a skinnier visitor.

Putting It Out There in The Universe

I am a fairly practical person.  Although I have a faith, I also like the tangible and scientific parts of life.  I don’t believe in living life by luck.  I do think some people get lucky, but most of the time things happen to us for a reason.  That reason is not always of our own making, but more times than not we need to be masters of our own universe.

Yesterday I complained of my scale moving up a pound, today it went down by two.  It was not luck or an uneven floor.  I put it out there in my blog that it had gone up.  That caused me to be extra vigilant in my food choices yesterday and thus the pay off.

Writing about my struggles, or putting it out in the universe, has helped me not hide from them.  Once a problem is uncovered I have nothing left to do but face it head on or just be some whining bore.  I would prefer to laugh at my problems than have them control me.

Now I am not so naïve to think that gaining a pound one day is really a problem, but ignoring the trend could be.  All I am trying to suggest is that no matter what issue you carry around, doing it alone makes it far more heavy than sharing it.

I am going to continue writing, and most of the time I hope what I write is more entertaining than serious, but I want to encourage you to put things out in the universe too and see what happens when you share your burdens.  Perhaps you will find the strength you need to fix them, or you will be able to change your perspective on them.  Just don’t be controlled, be your own master.

Body Sabotage

The count down to the end of this weight loss challenge has really begun.  I have five more days to earn as much as possible for the Food Bank and the pledges are still coming in.  I am a long way from $1,000 per pound so the only way to get to $50,000 is to lose as much as possible without doing anything insane like the previously discussed limb removal.

The last two weeks have been very successful, thus giving me hope to bring in the big bucks.  That was before I got on the scale this morning.  I know that no matter what I eat, even when I eat the exact same foods and amounts of food everyday it does not mean that I will decrease.  What I really get furious about is how I can go up despite my best efforts.

Does not my scale know that I am working to feed hungry children?  Why does my body decide it needs to retain something, I hope its water, right at this vital point?  For true confessions, I did eat two corn chips yesterday.  I looked the calorie count up on those and it was 15 calories at the most.  That alone should not cause a weight gain of 1.2 pounds.  Or should it?  Has my body become so virginal that the slightest violation of its purity and it goes into full on whore.

Perhaps I am not praying enough for weight loss.  Not that I would waste my prayers on that, there are many more important things that need some divine intervention.  And my praying is not that inspirational, but perhaps yours is.

I ask that you pray in any way you do whether it is to a god or your dog, that the world becomes a better place, that those who are sick can feel some relief, those who are lonely can find a friend and those who watch TV can get a phone call right as all the political ads are running.

Paraphrasing the words of Evita, “Don’t pray for me, North Carolina.”  But instead, watch me, watch me like a hawk.  Don’t let a chip, or a cookie or a bite of coconut cake near my lips.  Keep me busy, too busy for even water weight to build up in me.  It’s just five more days, five more days to change the world, at least for one small hungry child.

Love Jeans, Hate Jeans Shopping

I don’t care who you are or how thin you are; I think most of us find shopping for jeans a real pain in the ass.  Well, maybe those guys who really only wear their jeans as an accessory to their boxer shorts don’t have trouble.  They just go in a store and hold the pants up and if they look like they fit their whole body in one leg they buy them.

Fortunately most of don’t purchase jeans on an approximation, but it does require dedication, time and more energy than I like to spend shopping.  I remember the olden days when I bought my jeans at the Wilton Department store.  They all were Levi’s and I don’t care what Levi’s advertises now about 505’s or 501’s or all these other 5’s.  We only had one kind.  It had a zipper, no buttons and there was one kind of blue, dark and rough and had not been washed yet.  All you had to do was figure out both your waist size and inseam and buy the pair that had that printed on the leather tag on the back of the waist band.  Of course there were two other brands, Lee and Wrangler, neither of which were sold at the Wilton Department store and thus deemed inferior.

Granted I would have to estimate the shrinkage amount since those Levi’s were made of virgin denim.  Once purchased, you were not going to wear them for a few days because they required multiple washings to remove the extra dye and not make them look so new.  The worst thing you could wear would be a brand new pair of unwashed blue jeans and a new white pair of tretorn sneaker together.  You would look like someone from Russia who did not know that you never wore “new” things off your property until they were broken in. or scuffed up.

Granted considerable work went into new jeans back in the 70’s, but most of the work was done at home.  Then Calvin Klein and Jordache had to get in the game opening up the jeans world to everybody in the rag trade.  That was the beginning of people wanting jeans to actually fit their body.  Granted the number of styles was limited.  When high waisted jeans, (Now called mom jeans) came in, almost all of them were high waisted.  During bell-bottoms heyday the smallest leg you could get was still a fairly wide boot cut.

Today the choices are overwhelming, from skinny to boot cut, curvy to straight leg, dark wash to distressed, ankle to floor length, zipper to button, plain pockets to flap pockets and on and on.  All these choices and then you still have to figure out your size, but it is not as easy as your waist and inseam.  The worst part now is that you have to really make sure they look good.  No longer are jeans that utilitarian pant.

So after my “hitcher’ up” episode at the State fair I finally went to find new jeans.  What a god awful waste of my life because they may fit today, but as long as I keep losing weight they too will get to be too big, or I will get to be too small and I am going to have to go do this all over again.  My only promise is I won’t wait until these become “pants on the floor” like the boxer short guys.