this is a test post

{ Wednesday, December 7, 2011 }
pay no attention to what's happening here.

 here is text in the form of a blog post. TA-DA!


{ Thursday, May 6, 2010 }
Hi All,

If you're looking for updates about my Medifast-sponsored weight-loss (the good, the bad, and the WHY CAN I STILL NOT FIT INTO THOSE MOTHERFLIPPING JEANS!?!?!), please see my regular blog: She Just Walks Around With It.

My reviews are now part of my regular updates.


Medifast: The First Four Weeks! (Plus Reader Discount!)

{ Wednesday, March 31, 2010 }
After four weeks, I am almost 15 pounds down. I'd hoped it would be more, but I am happy with such a big change.  The best part, though, is that I am psyched to keep going. And let me tell you something: Those are big words, coming from me.

To recap: 

I began Medifast on Tuesday, March 2. 

I agreed to try the plan for exactly one month.  I was highly, HIGHLY skeptical because it is my belief that you have to make small changes in order to make them sustainable, lifelong changes. And Medifast? Is not a small change.

But at the same time I realized that small changes would be helpful to my diet and health and weight-loss goals, I also realized that the kind of weight loss I need to achieve is not, in any way, small.

So I said I'd try, in earnest.

And I did. I did go "Off Plan" on a few select dates, which were scheduled before I agreed to the program and which I've described on my blog.

But I've seen great results, I saw them immediately, and most importantly: I am hooked. Here's why:

  1. It is easy. I mean, Ohmygod it is NOT easy(!!!), but it is easy. It is easy to let the program do the work. It is easy to say: Forget it. I give up trying it my own way. My own way is not working. Someone else: please take over! Figure this crap out for me.

    Because they have. There is basically no wiggle room. Weight Watchers is great in some ways for some people, but not for me. Too many options, too much room for error, too much prepping and planning and figuring if you're trying to be hardcore about weight-loss. Uh, said another way: it's too easy to cheat!

    You can't cheat on Medifast. You eat five of the meals they give you and that's that. Sure, there's wiggle room with the "lean & green" meal of the day, but if you follow the recipes, there is still no mystery, no counting, no planning, no adjusting. You just do it.

  2. I like routine. If you want and need a lot of variety in your life when it comes to your schedule and your eating habits, I feel you.

    I feel you, but I am not you. I love having things like this "automated."  I love the cut-and-dry nature of being on a program that supplies 5/6 of my meals every day. Given that I'm now juggling a baby and a working-from-home schedule and three websites and days that turn on a dime, I LOVE that I don't have to spend time and energy trying to figure out when to eat, what to eat, and how to eat. In fact, THAT part of my day is the only part that isn't totally wacky.

  3. If I do it, it will work. This is kind of a dumb thing to say, but it's kind of not. Since there's no wiggle room and it's impossible to cheat...

    [Okay: it's never impossible to cheat, but it's impossible to cheat and convince yourself you're still on-plan. You KNOW when you're cheating. And THAT is the problem I had with WW -- I could fudge the amounts and make "guesses" at points, and feel like I was still "basically" following the plan when I clearly wasn't.]'s a very simple proposition. If you follow the program, you will lose as much weight as you want.

    Do you know what this means? The reality of that statement is starting to set in. It means that if I do this program -- this thing I don't really have to think about -- I could, if I wanted to, go so far as to get skinny.  That has NEVER been a goal of mine (at least, not in the last 5+ years), because it just seemed stupid and pointless and unattainable. But now I realize that it doesn't have to be.

    There is really a path, and I'm already on it; I just have to choose to stay on it and I can get to any size I want to be. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

So, hey. My goal here is not to try to convince you to do Medifast. I am simply  telling you what I think.  Yes, Medifast is supporting me in my endeavors -- they are providing me with my meals in exchange for my blogging about my experience -- but I in no way obligated to be anything other than 100% honest.

It just so happens that my experience has been overwhelmingly good.  

And if you WANT to give Medifast a try, I'd love to hear about it. I can also offer you a discount: Use code SHEWALKS to get $50 off an order of $275. (It can only be used once and will expire on May 31.)  

I know that $275 can seem awfully expensive, but I think it's totally reasonable given that this is almost an entire month's worth of groceries!

If you do decide to try it, I can give you my personal favorites food-wise, too.  

Finally, I want to give you a run-down of what my weight loss progression has looked like, because it's exciting and spikey and funny and crazy and weird and frustrating and inspiring, all at the same time:

Tuesday: Starting Weight (0 lbs lost total)

Saturday:  - 5.6 

Tuesday: - 6.2 

Saturday: - 10.4

Tuesday: - 7.2

Saturday: - 11.2

Tuesday: - 12.8

Saturday: -14.2

Tuesday: - 14.6

I know this might sound strange, but the Medifast (MF) page on Facebook is a great place to go to see how people on the program are doing, what recipes they're posting, and how they answer each other's questions. If you're already ON Facebook, it's a really easy and convenient place to check out.

This discussion is all about what foods people like and don't like, in response to Ms. Narf's comment (b/c this blog post was linked there)!

Lesson: Learned

{ Monday, March 8, 2010 }
The "fun," if you will, of being on Medifast is that you know if you stick to the program you are going to lose weight, and you're going to lose weight quickly. Especially in the beginning.

For now, I'm weighing myself every day because I want to monitor how this program works compared to all the self-created, self-guided, not-so-specific programs I've put myself on.

I weighed myself last Monday. I started Medifast on Tuesday. By Friday, I was 6.5 lbs down.

Yeah, I know. Then on Saturday, I had gained a pound of that back.

(Let me reiterate: I know perfectly well that water alone can count for as much as five pounds of fluctuation day-to-day, and so once-weekly weigh-ins are the only ones you should count.)

* * * * * * *
Saturday night we went out with friends. It was the first time we had a babysitter stay with Eve while Mom and Dad did grown-up things, and that was cause for celebration in and of itself.

We met for drinks before dinner, and I decided to have a cocktail. By the end of the cocktail, I felt good but not even a little tipsy, and decided to have a second cocktail. (Which, right there, is the reason the first cocktail is a bad idea.)

By the time we got to dinner, I was super hungry. I had been hungry all day anyway, and the gin wasn't helping matters at all.

As for dinner: I didn't come close to staying on plan. BUT I did eat far, far better than I would have under any of my old, own "plans." I basically tasted Ish's soup, tasted the bread, had 1/4 of the grilled lamb I ordered, approximately two small red roasted potatoes, and a few bites of a shared ice cream dessert.

Plus wine. Not a lot. But not a sip, either.

All in all, for my first outing, I think I did okay. But that wasn't the hard part AT ALL.

Sunday morning I woke up and weighed myself and was relieved to discover I weighed EXACTLY the same as I did Saturday morning.

But then.

Two cocktails and some wine on hardly any calories? That does NOT FEEL GOOD the next day. Not at all. And I woke up ravenously hungry.

And that was the real test. Being hungover is unfortunate under any circumstances. But having to stay on-plan while hungover is sheer torture. I felt gross and hungry and, whether effective or not, practically everyone on the planet solves hangovers by eating a ton of crap.

So I was looking at a full day of hunger, hangover, PLUS we needed to go shopping for the week, PLUS the Oscars, which is basically my Superbowl. I always drink champagne during the Oscars.

But I didn't.

I didn't go off plan even a little. I refused to make one night of questionable decisions become one night and then a full day off-plan. Oh, I thought about it as we drove past Wendy's on our way home from the grocery store (talk about torture!), as I clung to my bottle of sparkling water for dear life.

I chose to look at it as my punishment. Or penance. Or whatever. I made some bad choices, and I voluntarily paid for them. And I'm not planning to make those mistakes again.

This morning I weighed myself, and while I've only been on Medifast for six days, I have held steady for the last three days at being 5.5 lbs down.

I'll take it.

The Blow-By-Blow

{ Saturday, March 6, 2010 }
The day before I begin (aka, "The Day I Receive The Shipments"):
I open the boxes of boxes of foods. I read the overview. Everything looks good and then I have a slight panic attack. I really signed up for this?

After a few hours, my panic and worry shift from overall dread to pinpointing my frustration on the whole, "have to make one meal a day yourself" thing.

I have a long talk with Ish, the best husband in the universe, and he offers to be in charge of making dinner for a while. He's a good cook, and he wants to support me in any and every way possible. And he gets the added bonus of eating super healthily for dinner, too. (Even if he does get to finish his dinner off with pudding and whipped cream.)

Day One
I sign up for the "MyMedifast" thing on their website. I can track my meals and tick things off all day long, which I love. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. (It honestly also helps me remember what I've eaten. Harder than it sounds.)

My 5 items, for example: a ready-to-drink shake; chicken-noodle soup; lemon meringue crunch bar; ready-to-drink shake; and then I have another chicken (with wild rice) soup to eat with dinner, which is plain chicken breast with steamed broccoli (with a tiny bit of olive oil a little garlic).

I feel fine. Hungry, but not starving. Not sluggish. Dinner felt especially satisfying after a day of eating so little.

As for my thoughts on the ready-made food? The obvious downside is that ready-made food is never going to taste like the real thing. I get this and know it and whatever. Fine.

The upside is: I've had a LOT of these kinds of foods in my life, and I am very surprised at how comparatively good these taste. The chicken noodle soup was especially surprising. Where your standard boxed soup tastes mostly like salt, this actually tasted like chicken.

Day Two
Proceeds much like day one. By dinner time, Ish is asking me all kinds of questions about what I can eat for dinner, and I realize I don't actually know and have to go digging around on the Medifast site.

If you don't mind me babbling a little about the site itself, I will summarize my experiences. The "MyMedifast" part of the site is fantastic. The UI is great and intuitive and very easy to use and friendly to look at.

The site is another story. It's not bad, it's just not especially easy to use. And I personally HATE having to download PDFs. I understand their overall utility, but I don't want to have to download stuff to my computer -- I would rather do everything online. I find having to reference PDFs clunky and cumbersome.

I especially don't like that most of the PDFs say, "for more information, go to" So you end up in this cycle of hunting around the site, downloading documents that aren't searchable (so you have to guess if they're what you want), and then needing to go back to the site to get more information.

Lastly -- and then I'll stop harping on this -- I found it very surprising and frustrating that there are almost no actual "recipes" for your make-it-yourself meals. Given that this is, for me, the hardest part of the whole deal, I feel like it's a giant oversight on Medifast's part.

There ARE recipes within the community discussion boards and on the Facebook fan page, which is fantastic, but that's totally not the same thing as Medifast itself saying: here, make this. The user-submitted recipes should be supplemental.

Note: the good folks at Medifast have told me that there is a recipe book coming out.

Day Three
Starts out the same as the first two, but by dinner I am sluggish, cranky and really hungry. I know this is all part of the plan and part of my body's adjustments, which helps. We start watching something on the Food Network (habit) and then have to turn it off.

Day Four
The hardest day yet. I wake up hungry and feel hungry all day long. I have to make a concerted effort not to eat my small meals like a vacuum cleaner. By the end of the day, as I'm going to bed, I realize I actually feel sad.

Not sad about anything in particular, though. Sad about sort of nothing and sort of everything all at once. Which is a dead giveaway that my sadness is hormonal/chemical and will go away.

Day Five
That's today. I woke up in a fine mood, and though I'm still hungry, it's not as pronounced as yesterday.

The big hurdle will be tonight. I'm going out to dinner.

As I said before, I am not going to go the "abstain from ordering anything on the menu and drink a Medifast shake" route, because that's crazy. I'm also not going to go the "I'll have a plate of wilted greens" route, either, because frankly? I'd rather the shake.

Tonight's challenge for me is simply going to be about going out to eat and not using it as an excuse to eat anything and everything I want, simply because I'm "out." Instead, I'm trying to think of "splurging" on a relative scale.

Splurging before meant ordering anything I wanted and eating it all, from pre-dinner cocktails to fries with that, to wine wine wine, to dessert with a night cap.

Splurging now means something like ordering a (reasonably) healthy salad and not getting the dressing on the side. Crazy!

And yes, I realize that's how "normal" people eat every day, but I'm not like that. I've never been like that. So sure. You could look at my dinner tonight as though I'm already going "off plan" only five days in.

But that's not how I see it at all.

I see it like this: If after only five days of this new plan I can go to a restaurant and order a salad and a glass of wine and actually feel like that's splurging? Then something is definitely working.

Medifast: The Beginning

{ Friday, March 5, 2010 }
I could already write novels about my THREE whole days' worth of experiences on Medifast, so it's hard to know where to begin.

Yes, there are plenty of details, and I'll get to those. But I think for my sanity, I need to explain why I'm agreeing to take such a regimented approach to losing weight.

The Medifast program works like this: Medifast makes a bunch of prepared and almost-prepared foods. You eat any five of them (they're all interchangeable) throughout the day. You supplement this with one meal you make yourself, following their guidelines.

The foods are all low in calories, low in carbs, high in nutrients and high in protein.

All-in-all pretty simple.

So, from a 30,000-foot view, here are, FOR ME, what I see as the pros and cons of this program, off the bat.

In The PROs Column...

At this point, I want to be taken out of the driver's seat. I want to be off the grid.

When I have all the food choices in the world and just ("just") have to make good choices, I tend not to. I come close, yes. But I am QUEEN of the slippery slope. If having X means giving up Y later, I'll have X and then find a way to convince myself that Y is fine, too. (And since I'm having Y, I may as well have Z...)

A great example of this is the Weight Watchers points system. It's one of the coolest weight-loss ideas in the world, and I SUCKED at it. Too many choices, too much room for error.

Again, though, I want to be clear. If I'm trying to lose weight, I don't "err" by eating a bag of potato chips or a box of cookies. I pretty much don't even buy those things. Like, ever.

If I "cheat" it's by allowing myself giant portions of something otherwise reasonably healthy. It's by not eating enough during the day and then having a gigantaur dinner plus like, gallons of wine. It's by small indulgences several times a day that I tell myself don't "really" matter but that do, totally, add up.

It's by taking liberties with dietary guidelines, little by little, every day, until I'm not even dieting at all.

Medifast, with its prepared meals, is taking me out of the game. Hitting the reset button. The slope isn't slippery because there is no slope.

You eat only what they give you to eat. You eat only as much as they give you to eat.

It's restrictive, yes. It'a also a relief.

"Food" as I've come to know and love it, is out of the picture for now. I kind of can't have anything, so there's no way for my sneaky self to get all sabotage-y.

In The CONs Column...

My guess is that most people don't warm to the idea of the Medifast program for a few key reasons:
- They want to make all their own food
- They want more variety in their foods
- They want to eat more "real world" food

Which aren't my hesitations at all. I mean, not really.

For the reasons I stated above, I don't mind that I'm eating pre-packaged foods. I'm also a creature of habit, and am perfectly happy to have my meals totally routinized within the Medifast spectrum.

For these reasons, though, I really HATE that the program starts out with one meal being totally open-ended. And not open-ended like, "do what you want." The meal needs to fit very restrictive criteria, so you're basically eating a controlled amount of calories, protein, greens, and almost no fat.

And that's really hard for me. Much harder than eating packaged foods I don't have to think about.

It means I DO have to shop, DO have to cook, DO have to make incredibly difficult decisions about meal planning every day. This, in turn, makes me cranky. I mean, if I'm supposed to know how to prepare this kind of meal, why couldn't I just be eating this way all the time and skip Medifast altogether?

Of course, the answer is obvious: Because I wouldn't just be eating this way all the time.

And yeah: if the theory is to "learn" new, better, long-term eating habits, you can't rely on pre-packaged foods forever. You need to be able to know what the hell you're doing when you re-enter the world of unprogrammed foods. I get it.

But man, it's hard to make this transition all at once. On the one hand, you have to gear up mentally to take yourself out of the normal food world for a while, and accept the Medifast meals as your standard. On the other hand, you also have to embrace eating and cooking in entirely new ways.

It's kind of like sending me in two totally different directions, and it's hard to embrace them both at the same time.

THE OTHER giant, huge, how-on-earth-will-I-do-this hurdle is going out to eat.

Frankly, there's no way I would have agreed to this diet a couple years ago, when all my social activities centered around eating and drinking out. And you know? I was very, very social. I did a lot of eating and drinking/socializing, because they were one and the same.

Now that my life has shifted gears entirely, "going out" has become more of a rare and special occasion. There's no running out to happy hour with my work friends anymore. No work lunches to manage every single day. No going out to dinner and staying for drinks, even just with my husband, just because we feel like it.

But I still LOVE to do it. And I am completely unwilling to even try to convince myself that going to a nice restaurant and ordering a plate of greens and a Diet Coke is just as good and fun and satisfying as anything else I could order. That is just never going to be acceptable.


I am willing to make two big shifts.

1) Eating out way, way less often.

2) NOT treating going out as a reason (or excuse) to go crazy. I won't limit myself to steamed broccoli, but I also need to stop thinking "OH, I'M OUT" means I should order the fattiest, fry-iest thing on the whole menu. And then have it with extra cheese. Plus 80 million cocktails.

* * * * * * * * *

So, that's the birds-eye view. More details to follow.

So What's An Aquaphor? Find Out Below & Enter To Win A Gift Basket PLUS $100 Visa Gift Card!

{ Tuesday, November 17, 2009 }

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Aquaphor.

Yes, this is a compensated review from BlogHer and Aquaphor, BUT! I would have totally written it anyway because I am in love with this product. In fact, I owned so much of it already that when I received the free samples I'm supposed to be reviewing, I gave them to my pregnant friend so that she could learn the joys of a diaper cream that doesn't smell AND that doubles as a heal-all for baby's skin.

That should be my review right there, but I'll actually go ahead and say more.

Growing up, my mom used the same diaper cream that everyone used. (I can actually conjure up that smell in my mind if I think about it.) When I got pregnant, I just assumed everyone still used smelly creams, and I was resigned to using them myself.


The day after we returned from the hospital with our darling daughter, and my visiting mother-in-law asked if I'd heard of Aquaphor.

"NO! WHAT'S AN AQUA FOR?" I replied, thinking I was clever. Because I was covered in spit-up and boob juice and quite possibly my own drool. I don't think my MIL was half as amused as I.

She explained that Aquaphor is the only thing her daughter will use because it is awesome AND completely odorless. And then just in case I wanted to try it, she went out and got us some.

I do not know if I am capable of writing what it's like as a new mother, freshly back from the hospital in a shocked-and-awed stupor, to use a product that just works.

Personally, it's not like anything went wrong when I got home...I just couldn't tell if I was doing anything right, either:

Is she eating enough? Am I holding her okay? Is she sleeping too much? Do I need to wake her up to change her? Is she too hot? Too cold? Is it okay that she fell asleep here instead of there? Should she be wearing a hat?

So the first time I saw the faint red marks around Eve's thighs where her diaper gathers, I knew enough to say, "Okay, this is not good." But I didn't know if that's what I was supposed to use the Aqua-for. (HA! I crack me up!)

I opened the jar and was relieved that there was no scent at all. I dabbed my finger into it and was relieved that it wasn't gross or greasy. I put a little bit on Eve's red marks, and then just hoped for the best.

Not much later, when she needed to be changed again, I didn't know what to expect. But you can imagine my astonishment when her red marks were totally gone. The truth is, I felt like Florence Nightingale. I was a healer! Something was wrong with my baby and I used the right thing and then the thing that was wrong wasn't wrong anymore! I AM A GREAT MOTHER! TA-DA!!!

(Yes, it was really the magic of Aquaphor but I will totally take the credit.)

But then? IT GOT BETTER!

One day while breastfeeding, I was staring at Eve's face, wondering when the skin on her forehead would heal. (Newborns go from being in fluid to being on dry land, and their skin can get/stay very dry as it "sheds" its in-womb properties. Regular grown-up moisturizers are not good for baby skin, and even gentle lotions aren't so good for babies' faces.) I looked to my side table and noticed the tube of Aquaphor just sitting there. I wondered...

The label said it protects and relieves chapped skin, so I figured I'd give it a shot. LO AND BEHOLD. Obviously it didn't clear up her dry skin in one shot, but regular application seemed to make it better. (Of course, her skin was a little shiny for a while, what with the ointment glistening on her forehead, but whatever. I'll take "glisten" over "red and flaky" any day.)

But once I realized what a miracle salve Aquaphor was, I started using it for everything. Sometimes Eve will still get pink patches of dry skin on her face, and I'll dab some Aquaphor on them and they clear up right away. (Note: VERY helpful for photos!!!) I smear the Aquaphor all over her legs when they get really dry and baby moisturizer just won't cut it. I also use Aquaphor to protect her skin from further damage/inflammation when she scrapes herself with her fingernails (which happens because I am still not very good at clipping them, whatever). I even use it on my hands when they get chafed (from my obsessive hand washing and sanitizer using -- it is flu season after all!).

And again, for the record? ALL of this was true before they ever sent me a single sample. Lucky for you, because now it's your turn to benefit!

Enter my "What's YOUR AquaPHOR"
contest below (Get it? What's your Aqua FOR? Does NO ONE find this amusing but me?), and you can win over $200 in cool stuff! Details as follows:

::::What You Win::::

Winner (chosen at random) will receive a use-as-you-please $100 Visa Gift Card. Just in time for the holidays!

More importantly, Winner will ALSO receive an Aquaphor Gift Basket worth over $100, stocked with:
  • 2 Aquaphor 14oz Baby Jars (these are the big daddys I have at our changing stations)
  • 2 Aquaphor 3 oz tubes (the ones I have in the medicine cabinet and next to the facial tissue in the bathroom)
  • 2 Baby-to-Go Aquaphor .35 oz tubes (for the diaper bags)
  • 2 Aquaphor 8 oz bottles of Gentle Wash and Shampoo
  • 2 Eucerin Hand Crème
  • Eucerin Original Lotion 8 oz bottle
  • Eucerin Original Crème 16 oz jar
  • Eucerin Calming Crème 14oz Tube
  • ...and a Rubber Ducky!

::::How To Enter::::

Leave a comment about how you do, would, or could use Aquaphor.

  • The contest will begin on Tuesday, November 17th and will end Tuesday, December 15th (at 5 pm PST).
  • No duplicate comments.
  • Make sure the email address you include/leave in the comment is correct.
  • You may receive ONE additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
  • You may receive ONE additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
  • You can enter up to 7 additional contests by checking out the other BlogHer reviewers' posts!
  • This giveaway is open to US residents, aged 18 and over.
  • Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
  • You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • Please see the official rules here: Official rules
For more information, please visit Aquaphor's official website: TO SOOTHE, PROTECT AND HELP HEAL:


Check out the BlogHer Sweepstakes page! Join the conversation and enter to win $1000 from and Aquaphor!