Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Outside of the Box

First and foremost, all Glory and Honor to God for without Him nothing is possible. I'm so highly favored and blessed.

Phew...Where to begin. 2012 has been a remarkable year. Oh, the places I've been. The people I've seen.

I've met lots and lots of people. I've been the guest speaker at many places. I've hosted upwards of 20 cooking classes. Formed a women's group. I've shared stories with you, recipes with you, and offered my tips for a sustainable healthy lifestyle. I authored not one, but two cookbooks. One of which, "Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box" is a required textbook for Health 100: Food and Your Health classes at Clark College. Seriously!

"Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box" is in circulation at two library systems: Fort Vancouver Regional Library and Multnomah County Library -- earning me not one but two Dewey Decimal numbers. 641.563 MOSLEY and 641.563 M912s 2012. Woo hoo!

I'd have to say of all the great things I've done this past year. My greatest honor was writing "Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box." Authoring that cookbook has opened up countless opportunities for me and in turn I've been able to  help, inspire, and encourage more of you to eat healthy and outside of the prepared food box.

Thanks to every single one of you who bought a copy of "Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box"! And, thank you for your willingness to embrace my ideas and supporting your own healthy lifestyle.

Thank you! Merci! Gracias!

Extra-special thanks to:

Clark College, but especially -- Veronica Brock, Kristen Myklebust, Jeanne Hoff, and Marti Earhart.
Chuck's Produce & Street Market -- Angee Murray for making things happen.
Fort Vancouver Regional Library -- Teresa Torres of Cascade Park Community Library for her help and support with my ideas and of course getting my cookbooks in circulation.
Multnomah County Library -- Patricia Welch for her determination in getting my cookbooks in circulation.
LiveWell of The Columbian
-- for putting my words in print. I met so many people who say they follow me regularly in the paper. Cool beans!

Northwest Personal Training, Minuteman Press, Mother's of Preschoolers, Vancouver Community Library, Cascade Athletic Club, TOPS Weight Loss Support Group, Fisher's Landing Assisted Living, Professional Connections, Focus Group, Courtyard Village, New Seasons Market, The Skanner, The Portland Observer, The Independent, KBOO Radio, Lydene Robertson Photography, and Camille Goldy Saari.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The better part of my life

I'm always in a reflective state, but particularly so as 2012 comes to an end. Losing 170 pounds isn't easy and it didn't come without reflection. I blog about it all the time -- taking onus, accepting responsibility for oneself, and making a commitment to yourself.

By now, you have heard some version or another of my story. If not, here’s a synopsis: I’m a product of childhood obesity. At my heaviest, I weighed in at a whopping 388 pounds. To date, with a conscious change to my diet and regular exercise, I’ve lost 170 pounds. Yes, 1-7-0! Ideally, I still would like to lose another 60 pounds to meet my goal weight. That’s a total of 230 pounds. Yeah, I know, those numbers are inconceivable to most. Those numbers are not for the faint-hearted.

By far, battling obesity is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Today, 170 pounds lighter and I'm still considered obese. I started my bid to a healthier lifestyle in the late fall of 2009. Since then I've had many trials, triumphs, victories, and losses. But, battling obesity isn’t just about losing the weight. This is so much more than a physical transformation. It’s about finding myself and learning to love myself. It's about talking down the demons on a regular, "You're fat and always will be. "You can't." Every single day, I’m at war with myself emotionally and mentally, and boy do I the have scars to prove it.

I realize though that for the better part of my life I've been obese. So, I can't magically become healthy and fit with a wave of a wand. It takes work. Hard work. Dedication. Commitment. This is my life. My new life --  I'm creating it everyday. Sure, I'm not exactly where I would like to be, but I'm not where I use to be either. I will never, ever return to that dark miserable place. I find resolve in knowing that. I find victory in the fact that I found the courage to change, to battle obesity. I refuse to allow myself to wallow in self pity. I refuse to remain the same.

Sometimes I encounter road blocks. In fact, I haven't recorded a lose on the scale in months. Some would call this a plateau. I say, it's "Where I am now." I'll keep plugging away one day at a time. Tweaking my diet. Finding new forms of exercise. Silencing those demons. Loving myself. Truly loving myself. Beyond the scale, the mirror. In due time, I'll get there. I'll be there. One thing is for sure, I have never ever given up. Nor will I. There's no race to the finish line because there is no finish line.

I refuse to let the past forty years of my life determine my entire life. I have plenty more living to do. I plan to be a healthy, active beacon of light for others who are looking to make the necessary changes and to live a similar lifestyle. The best is yet to come. The better part of my life awaits me. I'm not into making new year's resolutions, instead lifelong resolutions. I'm claiming 2013 as one of my better years.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 7: Holiday Samplin' & Signin'

Happy Holidays! Today, I wrapped up my Holiday Samplin' & Signin' campaign at Chuck's Produce & Street Market. I sampled lots of good food, signed and sold lots of cookbooks.

Every day was different. Every day brought about lots of women, men, and children. Over the course of several weeks, I've had great conversations with you. Some of you already knew me from here, there, every where, some of you read about me in The Columbian newspaper, some of you are enrolled in "Food and Your Health" at Clark College, and some of you never heard of me before. No matter how our encounter began we always talked about food, grocery shopping, and eating OUTSIDE of the Box!  I learned that a number of you are already OUTSIDE of the Box and those who aren't quite there yet are eager to take the steps to get there! I am impressed and inspired by you all.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your willingness to try my OUTSIDE of the Box concept and ultimately take control of your health.

Happy Shopping, Cooking, and Eating OUTSIDE of the Box! ~Chrisetta

Day 7

Day 6

Day 5

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"All the things I like"

Marissa -- OUTSIDE of the Box
I was hangin' with my friend, Patricia, and time flew by as it often does when I'm with her. Something about me and her we just have this special bond. Anyhow, before we knew it our play time was up. She needed to pick up her youngest daughter, Marissa from preschool.

As soon as Marissa got in the car she says, "Mommy, I'm hungry." Patricia offered to stop to pick her up a bite to eat. It was like a symphony. Music to my ears...Marissa said, "No. No. I want to go home so I can have all the things I like." How sweet is that? Super sweet!

Little Marissa could have chose to eat out. The offer was made, but she declined. Instead, she wanted her mommy to make her food in their kitchen. She wanted to eat and enjoy food in the confines of her home. Good job, Patricia. You make me proud. You are creating lifetime food memories for your children. At the young age of four, Marissa is already OUTSIDE of the Box!

Parents: A child's food preferences, habits, and his/her relationship with food are determined at HOME. Remember, you set the standards. Set them high. You create their food memories. Choose wisely.

The things she likes

Monday, December 17, 2012

MOPS: Steps OUTSIDE of the Box

One of the reasons I love what I do is that I empower people to make changes. I empower them to step Outside of the Box. Last Thursday, I did it again!

I was invited to be the guest speaker at Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. There were nearly 60 women. A golden opportunity. Lots of potential to make changes. These women are raising the next generation.

I began the talk as I normally would sharing my story of self-discovery and weight loss. Coincidentally, I use to live in the area of the church I was speaking at. "I use to pass by here all the time on my walks." I said.

Next, I shared simple, recipe ideas. Urging them to go back to the basics. Cut up an apple, orange, and slice a banana -- a fresh fruit cup. Pleading with them to not introduce their kids to jarred baby food. "That's boxing them in at a very early age." I said. "Why not just mash up a banana?" I questioned. I challenged them to feed their children the same real food they eat. 

My message resonated with many of the women. Many of them spoke with me afterwards. Many of them purchased a copy of my cookbook. And, then on Sunday morning this email from Angie, mother of an infant and a toddler: "Hi Chrisetta! It was great to meet you at MOPS on Thursday. I've already been to the bulk section of Winco and made Quinoa for the first time (and baby food). I made fruit snacks from REAL fruit."

YES! She made baby food. And, fruit snacks even. All in a day's work. I'm so very fortunate to do what I do. Thanks MOPS for having me. MOPS is officially OUTSIDE of the Box!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Repost: I apologize

Dear Body,

If only I would have cherished you long ago, but instead I abused you and took advantage of you. For years, I ate all the wrong food. Not once did I think of how the food I ate affected you and your ability to perform. It was very typical of me to eat enormous servings of fat laden foods and then wash it all down with sugary drinks. I avoided physical activity like the plague. I never stopped to think about the damage I was causing you by my lack of exercise.

Oh, precious body. I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done to you. Thank you for hanging in there with me despite all the abuse. I realize how fortunate I am to not have developed any major conditions or diseases due to my neglectful ways. It has taken me the better part of my life to figure out what a truly intricate, amazing, and beautiful machine you are. You deserve the highest of respect. I vow from this day forward to never forsake you again. I promise to eat healthy foods that nourish you and to exercise regularly to keep you strong.

Love always,


*Originally posted 12/29/10

Monday, December 10, 2012

A win, win

Bright, fun cover of card
Seriously! I've said it time and time again -- I love what I do! Every day I'm reminded how my cooking classes and presentations, cookbooks, blogging, and speaking events touch others lives. It's the greatest reward to do what you love and positively impact others too. As my friend Rebecca says, "It's a win, win."

Saturday, when I picked up my mail...Surprise, surprise... A teary eyed surprise. A thank you card from the Clark College "Food and Your Health" students and a Chipotle gift card for times "You don't feel like cooking" wrote Kristen Myklebust their instructor/my new friend. The card was signed by all of the 100 students I hosted last month. So thoughtful. So sweet. In today's cyber age, it's so nice to receive a handwritten card. The card has a permanent spot on my desk and in my heart.

I feel so proud of what I do. I feel so honored. Thank you for allowing me to be your real example, share my knowledge of food and cooking, and love of life with you. Thank you all for the bright, sunshiny card. It seems this is reciprocity at it's best. A win, win.

Here's some of their comments:

"I loved the energy and info. Walking through Chuck's with you was a blast!" ~ Ryan
"Your food is bomb! And so is your personality" ~Vish
"I love your great personality and amazing cooking! Thanks for a great time." ~Naomi
"Thank you so much for letting us cook with you. You are an amazing person." ~ Tuyen 
"You're awesome and you made cooking class fun!" ~ From your favorite student, Brandon
"Great class. Great food. Wonderful personality." ~ Travis
"Thanks for taking time for us." ~Connor
"You are truly inspiring." ~ Emily
"You rock!" ~ Aaron
 "Chrisetta -- Cooking's back! Thanks to you." ~Kristen, Instructor



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Outside of the Box: Holiday Side Dishes

Today, marked my final cooking class of 2012. I went out with a bang! Showing this lively crowd how to whip up OUTSIDE of the Box side dishes for their holiday meal. On the menu: Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sage Butter, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sautéed Collard Greens, and Wild Rice Sauté.

Good food. Good folks. Good times.

Here's a peek at the festivities.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An OUTSIDE of the Box thank you

Oh, how time flies when you're having fun! It's hard to believe that only a year ago I authored my first convenient little cookbook, Bringing Cooking Back. As I type, the press is rolling for more copies of my latest cookbook -- Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box.  The books will hit the shelves of Clark College Bookstore, Friday, December 7th for winter quarter 2013. This will mark the second quarter that my cookbook is a required text for Health 100: Food and Your Health students. Yay!

Thank you Clark College for believing in me to author the cookbook and your continued support. For those of you, yeah you, who bought the cookbook and embraced the OUTSIDE of the Box movement -- thank you, thank you, thank you. The last few months have been delicious fun and I'm looking forward to many more!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Samplin' & Signin'

Throughout the month of December, I'll be at Chuck's Produce & Street Market servin' up select recipes from my NEW cookbook -- Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box.

Stop in grab a sample and get a signed copy of my cookbook for you or a loved one. Give the gift of health this holiday season!

Here's some photos of the fun today!

Chuck's Produce & Street Market
13215 SE Mill Plain Blvd.

I'll be in store on these days:
Friday, December 7, 11-2
Tuesday, December 11, 11-2
Sunday, December 16, 11-2
Tuesday, December 18, 11-2
Friday, December 21, 11-2
Sunday, December 23, 11-2

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Jensen's: Outside of the Box

Jennifer admittedly can't cook. It's not that she doesn't have a desire to cook. But her parents didn't cook and so she never learned.

As an adult and now a mother of three, Jennifer realizes the importance of home cooked meals. She doesn't want her children to grow up eating restaurant fare and boxed, processed food. She wants to  feed her kids, her husband, and herself real food. She wants to pass down loving food memories from the comfort of their kitchen at home.

So rather than sit on the sidelines. Jennifer decided to take control and she's involving the entire family: Josh her husband and her beautiful kids, David, Bella, and Sarah. She discovered the free cooking classes offered at Chuck's Produce & Street Market and decided to give the classes a try.

I had the pleasure of having them for their first ever cooking class a couple of Sunday's ago. What a delight it was to have them.  The kids added real spunk to the class. Bella is the cook of the the family and she was just too cute. After class they hung out a little longer than most of the crowd.  They purchased a copy of my cookbook, we chatted, took photos and away they went. Or so I thought...They showed up again this past Friday for my Soup & Sandwich class. It was such a surprise to see them all because this class was during the mid-day. Typically the kids would have been at school, but they so happened to have a half-day. They could have been anywhere, but they were spending their afternoon with me. Learning how to cook. Heavy, heavy sigh. The pure joy of what I do!

I barely know Jennifer, but I am very proud of her for stepping OUTSIDE of the Box, taking control of her family's health, and ultimately passing down the art of cooking to her children. I'm confident that you'll be whipping up meals at home in no time, Jennifer.

The Jensen's are OFFICIALLY Outside of the Box!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Outside of the Box: Soup and Sandwich

Another SOUPer day at Chuck's Produce & Street Market! Today, I whipped up my Simply Unforgettable Tomato Soup paired with Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Provolone and White Sharp Cheddar). Bonus: I served Organic Honey Crisp Apple slices to go with.

Good eats. Good folks. Good times. I love what I do! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

We are SMART

"We've been playing it safe." I said to the group. "I've been treading lightly with you all. But, it's time for us to up the ante. I want more for you. I want more for me."

Filling out the end of year survey
Last night, marked our final "5 or 50" meeting for 2012. As the facilitator, as the leader, I'm supposed to well, lead. I've spent the last five months getting a feel for my role (this is my first time ever doing this), but more importantly I've been learning who the women are that make up the group.

I want the group to be a safe place, a comfortable environment. Where we can share and grow. In order to grow, however, we are going to have to get a little uncomfortable. I told the ladies. "We have to come out of our comfort zones."

Now that I have a sense of who the regulars are that attend the meetings and their personalities -- it's time. It's time for me to really start helping them make significant life changes.

With a fist pump, I said, "We can't stay here and change."

I created the group with them in mind. I want to empower them to change and I want them to own the group. So for our meeting last night I put together a survey to get their feedback about the group thus far and to help guide our future time together.

"I want to start 2013 off STRONG." I said. "Let's claim 2013 as our best year yet."
"2013 will be our best year yet." The group said together in unison.

To gear us up for the new year I put together a SMART GOALS and ACTION PLAN packet (the Wellness Coaching class I took last year at Clark College in full effect). Then we went around the room going over small changes that we can implement between now and the new year. The SMART packets are our homework over the holiday break. When we come together for our first meeting of 2013 we will share them with one another and then get to work, making the changes. And, ultimately changing our lives.

We are beautiful, strong, capable, and SMART.

Gen and Peggy -- Newcomers

More about SMART GOALS---

A SMART goal is:
  • S is for SPECIFIC. Decide what you are going to do and how to do it.
  • M is for MEASURABLE. Keep track of how you are doing.
  • A is for ACHIEVABLE. Pick something you think you can do. Start with small changes. Is running a 4-minute mile possible for you?
  • R is for REALISTIC or (REWARD). Be realistic about the goals you set. Getting down to your high school weight after having 3 children may not be realistic. Set a goal that you can not only attain, but is in reason for you. You know yourself best.
  • T is for TIME-SPECIFIC. Give your goal a deadline.
SMART goals are to be written down in a certain way, it gives them even greater power. 

“Goals not written down are just wishes.”

The blog post that inspired the group:

Join us for our first meeting of 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
6 - 7:30 p.m.
Cascade Park Community Library
Family Room
600 NE 136th Ave

The Obesity Epidemic is REAL!

The evidence of an epidemic is everywhere.

· Two-thirds, more than 190 million Americans are
overweight or obese.

· Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar
medical burden every year.

· Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years

Source: CBS News