Tag Archives: east coast

Vacation Eating: East Coast Edition

10 Apr

We only get to go to New Jersey to visit my husband’s family about once a year because it’s hard to budget for the airfare these days. But when we get there, it’s a whirlwind of house-hopping to see each of his FIVE brothers, his mother, his aunt and cousin, and our friends in the area, all set to the sounds of merengue, salsa, bachata, and hip hop, and the smells and tastes of Peru, Brazil, and Newark. It’s always an amazing time. I fell in love with Newark when I moved out there to go to college…and then I fell in love with my husband, whom I met there. His family moved to Newark when he was a little kid. Being from the west coast, it was a crazy culture shock at first

Newark bridge

A Newark bridge on a cold, overcast morning.

to move to Newark, but after the first week, I knew I’d found a new home. I spent nearly five years there before we decided to move to Los Angeles for a while. It’s an area that has a little bit of everything from nearly every part of the world…with a distinct New Jersey attitude about it. Plus, it’s only a 15-minute train ride from Manhattan, which is awesome, of course.

Newark sunny

Newark on a bright sunny day during our trip. Beautiful springtime.

I can imagine us moving back there someday, but LA is my home too, so we envision a life of living in several places in the future. As long as we’re together, home is where your heart is, right? Anyway, my point is that we have a blast when we go there. And a lot of the fun and visiting is centered around food, which is a terrific, bittersweet problem to have because everything tastes great but I’m trying not to eat too much. When you’re around family and on vacation, it can be extremely difficult to not over-indulge or even feel pressured by others to eat more, as I described in this previous post. For example, practically the first words out of my Peruvian mother-in-law’s mouth were, “Estas rellena. Toma, come,” which, loosely translated means she told me I looked like I had filled out (was a little heavier) than when she last saw me and then she told me to eat the huge plate of food she was handing me. She cracks me up. I love her to death and she’s an awesome M-I-L, but how am I supposed to eat after being told I look ready-to-have-babies heavy? Ha! Because she raised six boys, bless her heart, she typically overloads a plate for me–even if I tell her it’s too much, she insists I eat it–so sometimes, when my husband finishes his plate before me, I’ll switch my half-eaten plate with his empty plate when no one is looking. :) He happily eats more, I sit there happily stuffed.

I noticed a few general diet-saboteurs that occur when traveling:

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Weigh-In Wednesday: Dropping Centimeters

4 Apr

Today is our scheduled first weigh-in since we launched Diet Drop. Vita was sneaky and did her measurements while I was out of town visiting family. You can read about her progress in her post, “Bye Bye 1/2 Inch.” I’m so happy for her that she’s seeing results. When I saw her post–while I was eating tons of Peruvian food with my in-laws in New Jersey–I felt excited for her, proud of her, and scared that I wouldn’t see the same results in my own numbers. For the past month, I’ve dropped bread and soda almost completely, I’ve adjusted my meals to include more veggies than carbs, and I’ve tried to eat less. These small changes–and working on this blog with Vita–have improved my outlook and attitude toward weight loss and myself. But this is so obviously just the beginning.

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Diet Drop Preview for Next Week

30 Mar

Dear readers,

Happy Friday! Here’s a quick update of some things you can look forward to from us next week:

–Michelle will return from a weekend trip of visiting with her in-laws in New Jersey and will post about vacation eating on the east coast with a bunch of Peruvians.

–Both of us will be posting our first Wednesday Weigh-In since we started Diet Drop. Yikes! The thought of stepping back on the scale makes us both a little nervous but it’s a necessary part of measuring how successful our efforts are as we move toward our weight loss goals.

–We also plan to go to the grocery store together again and pick out an ingredient to use in a dinner (separately) for a new Rashomon-style post.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @DietDrop! We’re posting little notes and tips throughout the day on Twitter along with links to the blog and retweets of health-related articles and recipes we like.

Have a great weekend!

Best always,

–Michelle & Vita

Rainy Day Adventure — Michelle’s Story

26 Mar

We decided it’d be fun to do more joint posts so that you can get a more intimate look at our friendship and have fun hearing about the same day from two points of view (giving you the Rashomon effect). Enjoy!


Sunday was a blustery, rainy day in Los Angeles. Normally such dark, ominous, wet weather makes me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and an old movie. I appreciate rain but I prefer to not be cold and wet. However, Sunday was different. Vita and I had planned to go check out a JCPenney because they’re advertising new rebranding efforts as an always-affordable, no-gimmicks kind of store and we both wanted to look at dresses (I haven’t decided yet what I’m wearing to a big party next weekend). We both thought we knew where there was a JCP near our neighborhood…but we were both wrong.

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Family Eating Habits That Shape Us

22 Mar

There’s no denying that our environment and social behavior affects how and what we eat. Social eating as a separate issue will be a future post on this blog. But let’s start with a look at how we were raised to eat. Below, we both share descriptions of how our families approached meal options when we were growing up and how our perceptions of those choices affect our own approach to food now. We look forward to sharing how our meal-creating skills evolve as we continue to pursue our weight loss goals. [By the way, does chasing weight loss goals burn calories? ;) ]

Michelle’s Family:

I was fortunate, in a way, that I grew up with a few picky eaters in my family because they never forced me to eat anything I didn’t like or made me clean my plate if I was already full. My mom, for example, is lactose intolerant and has trouble eating many types of vegetables, so she has to get creative to keep up a balanced, nutritious diet. However, she is a wonderful mother, so when I was very little she wanted me to try lots of different foods to learn what I liked. Continue reading

How Healthy Is To Be Healthy?

9 Mar

One sunny Saturday afternoon Michelle, my husband and I were sitting outside enjoying beautiful weather, sipping on our iced teas and discussing how different regions of the country and the world have a different perceptions of a healthy food. Michelle, who spent considerable part of her life living on the East Coast, mentioned that over there healthy food equals real food, with real ingredients and no fast food, no MSG’s, and no processed foods. It’s pretty much Big Mac and chicken nuggets versus grandma’s home made lasagna and meat balls. “The same in Spain, natural food is a healthy food”, my husband confirmed, “Even more, it’s considered healthy and widespread tradition to have glass of red vine with your dinner”. I couldn’t agree more with them, in Russia healthy food is a home made style food, and since cows and chickens are not shot with hormones or fed with processed corn, that meat and poultry sounds as a pretty healthy food to me.  Continue reading

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