Category Archives: reviews

drop dead diva review

Drop Dead Diva Review: Season 1 (Netflix)

Drop Dead Diva Season 1 Review: This show has blown my mind in such a positive way.

So, here’s the gist of the premise: Deb Dobkins is a thin and conventionally attractive model who dies in a car crash on her way to audition to be a prize model on the Price is Right; Jane Bingum is a fat lawyer who is shot in her office by someone intending to kill her boss. Due to a kerfuffle at the gates of Heaven, Deb’s soul is returned to Earth, but…wait for it… in the body of Jane Bingum. This is so hah-hah funny because Deb is a model and Jane, being fat, is probably the worst thing that could happen to her (sigh). Let’s get over sad this set up is, shall we?

I have to say this show does not shy away from tackling the complex issues related to being a fat woman in America. Instead of focusing on Shallow-Hal-like depictions of fatness that are one-dimensional, offensive and unproductive, Drop Dead Diva tackles things like sizeism, the pitfalls and dangers of dieting, the absurdity of clothing stores like A&F and the popular conflation of thin and healthy.

While Jane seems to work for a corporate defense, she takes on cases defending the underdog as well as suing on behalf of the underdog (I don’t think this is a realistic depiction of law firms, but let’s run with it).

Drop Dead Diva: Weight Loss Themes

Here are some of the awesome fat-focused themes introduced in DDD (*spoiler alert* these will tell you all the juicy stuff that happens, so read at your own risk!):

  • The

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ok to be fat

Why It’s Okay to Be Fat Review (TED Talk)

Why It’s Okay to Be Fat Review: Golda of Body Love Wellness gave a TEDx talk called, “Why It’s Okay to Be Fat,” which you can watch below.

Golda did such a wonderful job explaining why dieting is harmful and why body shaming is harmful. Her solution: instead of weight loss, why not focus on healthful behaviors? Contrary to popular belief, focusing on healthful behaviors is more healthful for people of all sizes than attempting to lose weight. [see here for evidence-based research]

It is a reality check for me to read through the video comments and see the horrible and disheartening comments left by innumerable people exhibiting these common misconceptions EVEN after hearing Golda give such a well-researched talk:

Misconceptions:

1) Fat (however this person defines it) cannot be compatible with health.

Truth: Fat can absolutely be compatible with health. We have reputable evidence to prove that overweight and even class 1 obesity can be fully compatible with health AND even protective in clinical cases. Did you know that overweight bodies have lower rates of mortality than normal weight (by BMI standards) across the board?!

Did you know the underweight population, while a very small group, actually have the same # of deaths combined as do obese people? But you won’t hear people rallying against our underweight population. Why? [more on this to come in my documentary; for now, watch Dr. Saguy’s talk on why we frame fatness as a crisis when it’s much more complex than that & question perhaps ask if obesity is the peppered moth of the mobile age]

If you are looking for an evidence-based way to live healthfully, I recommend the Health At Every Size(R) approach.

2) We should all strive

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Working Out Your Brain? My NeuroGym Review

NeuroGym: “Train Your Brain”

So if you’ve been reading here for the last few months you know that my weight loss has been derailed by some serious depression and anxiety coming back. I’m working to train my brain and my thinking now even more than I am working to train my body. A few weeks ago I was contacted through the blog to see if I wanted to try NeuroGym.

Honestly I had not heard of them before but it is in line with my current thinking – which is to concentrate on improving my mental and emotional health so that I am able to stop sabotaging myself.

How NuroGym Works

After talking with the people at NeuroGym we agreed that I would try the whole 12 week program and blog periodically about it with my honest opinion of what I think. I am a week into it so far and wanted to introduce it to you. It is a simple program from a user standpoint.

There are 12 levels of meditations/guided thinking and each week you listen to one for 7 days in a row. Each level is designed to create the mindset necessary to lose weight and keep it off long term. There are spaces for journaling and visioning your goals. The weekly themes are things that really resonate with me – Self love and Acceptance, Releasing your excuses, mastering your emotions.

The program was developed in conjunction with neuroscientists, psychologists, medical doctors and researchers so I feel confident going into this with an open mind. (ha)

While I believe that the brain can and does change I also wonder about my mind’s own stubborn connections to its habits and thoughts. Still changing my brain is exactly what I am trying to do with my pit crew so I am going to try NeuroGym out as another tool in my toolbox, and post my review.

I’ll Be Trying NeuroGym

NeuroGym is kicking off a new webinar on “Winning the Game of Weight Loss” on Thursday. This is the program I am following and if anyone would like to join me I would love to walk with you in this.

I’ll be posting about my experience once a month and reviewing NeuroGym as I go through the program.

NeuroGym is unlike anything I’ve tried before, but I believe in the science behind it so I am going to give it a shot. I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted!

Torani Sugar Free Syrups Review and Giveaway

Nearly 4 years ago I gave up soda entirely. In those four years I have had a Sprite in a kiddie cocktail a few times when I was pregnant, and some ginger ale to soothe my stomach, but I have not had any real soda for soda’s sake since. It was not an easy transition but a good one for me.

I did not however give up caffeine, because I am a mom of young kids and there are only so many bad habits I can fix at one time. Enter two of my staples: coffee and tea.

My favorite however is coffee. Everyday a cup of coffee or some iced coffee keeps me going. Sometimes it is from Starbucks, sometimes it is from Caribou, and sometimes it is from my house or from work. The problem with coffee shop coffee is the price. The problem with my own coffee (at home or work) is that it doesn’t taste nearly as good. It lacks the mix-ins.

I like some dairy in my coffee, but I also like some sweetness. Going with real sugar in my coffee can be dangerous because it makes me crave sugar throughout the day, especially if I am having coffee with breakfast like normal. SO, enter Torani Sugar Free Syrups. I had looked at getting these before to help curb my coffee shop addiction but hadn’t pulled the trigger when I was contacted with a chance to review them and to give some away.

Sold.

They sent me three Sugar Free Syrups to try: Vanilla, Caramel, and Raspberry. I was expecting small bottles but I got the giant coffee house size!

The first one I tried was the Vanilla since my go to splurge is a skinny vanilla latte. That came to live with me at work. It goes into my work coffee daily, and even into my tea if it needs a bit of sweetness. What I like is that it is not too vanilla-y but it lends sweetness and fragrance to the coffee. I would like to add it to an espresso sometime, but given that coffee is what I have then it works with that.

I have even been known to get a latte unsweetened (cheaper) and bring it back to work for sweetener. I also love that I can just as much as I need. I find most of the coffee places add WAY too much and I do better with about half of the quantity. It works perfectly for me.

The second one I tried was Caramel – this lives at home where I can put it in coffee but I can also put it in some hot chocolate with a bit of salt for a salted caramel hot chocolate – made with skim milk it is a reasonable treat for me, especially when it was cold out. One of the reasons I like this one is that it is not a burnt caramel flavor. Some of the coffee shops have really nasty Sugar free caramels, but the Torani one is not bitter.

Finally I tried the Raspberry. I am rarely a raspberry syrup fan and don’t think I have anything to compare it to in my beverage drinking world but it is really delicious. I don’t mix this with coffee, but I do get unsweetened sparkling water and put a few pumps into that to make it fruity and delicious. Sometimes I add a few real raspberries as well. It will serve me well as a mix-in for lemonade, sparkling water and possibly even cocktails this summer especially.

Aside from the flavors there are a few things I like about them. One I already mentioned is that I can control how much I put in. I often find I need less than I think I do and it really has reduced my sweetener habit. Two, I like that it is made with Splenda and not Aspertame. It may be a minor thing in terms of the sugar free sweeteners but it goes a long way in my book. Of course if they made one with stevia then I would be all over that as well.

In a world where I choose my food battles, I am not at a point to give up sweetening my coffee and with the syrups available I don’t feel like I have to give them up but I can have some control over it. My budget is happy that I spend less at Starbucks too. (Of course now I have my eye on the Sugar Free English Toffee)

Would you like to try some Torani Sugar Free Syrups? They have generously provided me with TWO 3-packs of the syrups to give away. Follow the rafflecopter below to enter

I was provided the syrups free to review, however all views expressed are my own.  In addition, I was given the giveaway items but since I am shipping myself read more