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by Meghann on November 6, 2008

A few co-workers were gathered at a desk near mine today discussing their weight loss trials. They were talking about different diets, exercise programs and peeing on sticks (to apparently measure fat burning levels?). They were saying what worked and what did not work, why they wanted to lose the weight and how they could not wait to eat normal again.  I kind of just sat back and listened, afraid to chime in with any advice. I wanted to tell them about my blog and success with weight loss, running, and eating But upon listening I decided to not over shadow the conversation and to just take it all in.


Last year I would have been one of those co-workers standing around, considering walking a 5k instead of running it, thinking that eliminating carbs might make me thinner if I stuck with it and maybe even doing more research on those pee sticks. If another co-worker would have came over and told me I needed to start moving and change my basic eating habits to make a difference, I would have laughed and ignored the advice. That solution would be too simple. But the solution is simple and its something I had to discover on my own and it’s a decision my co-workers will have to make on theirs.


There are no quick fixes and no permanent diets. The key to success lies in knowledge of consumption and how our bodies work. I have spent almost a year learning about my body and food and now that I have made it this far I can not go back. My old way of eating does not appeal to me anymore and a week without running seems like a sad week. With this new way of living I hope in another 20 years to still be healthy and strong (even after a couple of kids and a husband). I hope to still be an outsider to those cubicle conversations debating quick fixes. I guess we can only tell in time. But for now I have become a stranger looking in… and still wondering how the pee stick works….


I had to get that off my chest, it was something that was I have been pondering all morning. It really made me think and I wonder if anyone else has come in contact with those conversations as well and it makes them think about things? 

Before I dropped in on my co-workers conversation I snacked on some Kashi Crackers and Reduced Fat String Cheese.



I was actually eating this while a reader was asking me if I was lactose intolerant. It made me smile. J I am in fact not lactose intolerant. I am however not a fan of milk, even chocolate milk. Every time I picture myself drinking it I picture it curdling in my stomach… not very appetizing. L I try to get dairy into my life in other forms, but its spread out few and far between, which is why I try to take a daily calcium supplement to make up for it.


Lunch today revolved around a can of black beans that has been hanging out in my fridge for a bit too long. So what better way to use up some left over black beans, then pouring it over a delish sweet potato?!?!?


I put the sweet potato in the microwave for five minutes and then just topped it with the black beans.


I thought my meal should consist of more then sweet potato and black beans so I put together a simple salad on the side with spinach, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, grapes and mango poppy seed dressing.



For not being that big of a lunch, it was very filling. I feel stuffed right now and am curious to see if I can make it to dinner with no snack. We shall see.




1 caitlin November 6, 2008 at 2:27 pm

interesting thoughts! since i’ve lost the weight, i’ve heard a lot of comments from my girlfriends along the lines of “you’re soooooo skinny, i want to be skkkkkkinnny, how did you do it” and then when i tell them (eating healthfully and running) they are like “ewww but that takes… effort.” well, duh. LOL. it put me in an awkward position because i want to shake them and say there are no quick fixes in life.

also, “Fat Talk” (i’m soooo fat) always makes me uncomfortable and i never know what to say to it.

2 Andrea November 6, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I have a big fat mouth, so I would have totally chimed in! “Dieters” need to be educated! I don’t know how you were able to stay silent. I would have needed duct tape 🙂

3 VeggieGirl November 6, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I wholeheartedly agree – it’s NEVER good to look for the quick-fixes, but to do what’s right for YOU. Great, though-provoking words, Meghann!

I ALWAYS pair black beans with sweet potatoes – such a classic, flavorful combination!

4 Erica November 6, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I feel like that conversation happens in every office nearly every day! Its almost like we’re trying to justify our habbits! Yes, everything in moderation! The only diet that really works hooray!

Love black beans + sweet potato! So filling, so yummy!

5 caitlin November 6, 2008 at 2:32 pm

does anyone have any suggestions on how to respond to “Fat Talk”, by the way? Do you say, “you’re not fat, shut up!” ?? I just never know what to say. sometimes i feel like people say stuff like that just so you’ll compliment them, I don’t want to reinforce those conservations with my friends… does that make sense?

the worst is that my mom is the biggest “Fat Talk”er in the WORLD.

6 graduatemeghann November 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Caitlin – I know what you mean about “Fat Talk” I never know what to say either! I usually just tell the person they’re not fat, but you’re right it’s like encouraging that kind of talk when I say it. My mom is the worst with it too, but she also has a low self esteem and has the type of personality where you need to constantly tell her things like that.

7 Mel November 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I’m interested in the peeing on stick thing too, do people seriously think that’s going to work? I agree with you about the all the diets, I used to try them and they never ever worked or the weight would just come back!

String cheese is an awesome snack, I should start having it again!

8 lauren November 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I work in an office setting as well and have found that encouraging others to get out there and just do something is the best thing I can do. Its all so relative. I totally remember feeling like I would die after running just one mile and now I am about to run 26.2 on sunday! So sharing that with people and telling them that if I can do it – so can they. We all have been at the start of it and it is hard! It takes committment, determination, and hard work.

9 Jenny November 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Excellent point! I feel like I am finally reaching the point that I initially was aiming for a year and a half ago. Lifestyle changes are definitely the ONLY ways that work!

Have a great Thursday! 🙂

10 jess November 6, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Pee-sticks? Must admit, I’m a bit grossed out/intrigued, haha, because of the oddity of it. I have a feeling that you’ll stay an outsider in these type of conversations for a Long time to come. You seem really pleased and happy in your healthy lifestyle and it certainly works for you (if appearance can be any sort of indication- you’re absolutely gorgeous, slim while still being strong, And intelligent to boot- quite the combo!). That lunch looks fiber-iffic to keep you full for a while.

I have the same issue with cheese that you have with regular milk- to me it just seems Already curdled! Haha. Probably because it upsets my stomach anyway. But I don’t have the same problem with nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese… odd.

I’m hoping to try at least a quick version of your bootcamp today! Can’t wait!

11 Allison November 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

I like the grape addition to that salad! And your sweet potato is making me hungry!

12 graduatemeghann November 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Jess – you are too sweet! I could kiss you right! 🙂

13 wholefoodswholeme November 6, 2008 at 3:29 pm

i think that was so wise of you not to join in the conversation – because even though you actually would have given them such a gift if you had given them your views and feelings on it, you are so right to say that it is their choice, and they will brush it away because they refuse to believe that at the end of the day, it is quite a simple equation. the journey isn’t simple or easy, but the game plan is!

and i HATE milk!!!!!!!!! i have hated it since i was very young – i still remember being little and in pre-school, and being forced to drink this luke-warm carton of milk every single day before break-time, and i used to be the last one left because i would sip at it so slowly, hating every second. YUCK!

14 Amanda November 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

There was an interesting conversation like that at my work too! Funny enough – it was during a co-workers birthday (i.e., cake celebration). A few of the women in the office were having a weight loss competition, and the one who was talking was shoving a piece of cake in her mouth at the same time…. she justified eating the cake because half of her “really healthy new breakfast idea” … oatmeal … had overflowed in the microwave and was inedible. She thought that since her breakfast was smaller, she deserved the cake. I didn’t know how to approach this without ranting and raving so I kept my mouth shut. I think that if people are still making weird excuses for eating junk, the REAL desire to get healthy hasn’t hit. Some people just want to lose weight and look hot, but I can say that it never personally worked for me until it wasn’t just about looks. Wanting to FEEL better is really the key and RESPECTING yourself enough to take the steps, even though theyre hard, it what makes the difference!!!! Sorry for the rant! And “fat talkers” bug me because it’s one thing to think it, but to say it out loud and disrespect yourself just makes me mad!

15 macduff November 6, 2008 at 4:29 pm

It’s funny – I was just thinking about this stuff today. Dieting alone just doesn’t work (especially when you’re skipping oatmeal and stuffing your mouth with cake…sheesh!). You really have to change your lifestyle. Fat Talk is tough because we all have such disjointed perceptions of ourselves, we never know what to say in response. I generally just talk about something I did to make me feel better – a yoga sadhana, walking, running, etc. try to steer the conversation in that direction.

And dude, I’m so trying your sweet potato/black bean recipe. YUM!

16 ashley (sweet & natural) November 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Hi Meghann –

I don’t know if I’ve ever commented on your blog, but I’ve become a regular reader over the past few weeks and your post today made me want to come out of the woodwork. I just wanted to let you know that I think you do a great job of writing very thoughtful posts. And you seem to be a star with the BSI stuff!

Also, as for the “fat talk”…it can make me uncomfortable too. But I usually say something like as long as you eat well, get some activity in and are doing what’s right for YOUR body, you should just feel good about yourself for being healthy.

P.S. If you melt cheese on top of the sweet potato and black beans, it’s heaven!

17 Heidi / Savory Tv November 6, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Your salad looks delicious and so healthy! The stick measures the ketones in your urine, and is often used by Atkins dieters to ensure that they are in full fledged ketosis, which enables fat burning. As a previous Atkins dieter, nurse, and foodie, I do not endorse Atkins as it frequently lacks healthy grains and veggies, but a modified South Beach approach along with exercise works well for me and is much healthier. Cheat days, of course, are essential 🙂

18 graduatemeghann November 6, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for clearing that up Heidi! 🙂

19 Maggie November 6, 2008 at 6:22 pm

The guy who sits next to me is going to a trainer and he “hasn’t had sugar in weeks” – which is definitely not the case! A few of us had a long chat last week about dieting/exercise.

When people at work talk about how diets are terrible and I chime in with talk of brown rice and oatmeal, they say “oh but I could never live without carbs!” – and when I try to explain that there are carbs that are not white carbs they zone out. So I’ve learned to shut my mouth.

I liked this post 🙂

20 bobbi November 6, 2008 at 6:24 pm

haha….this is funny because I have a co-worker who pulled me aside today and said that we needed to grab chi sometime. I was like why? She said she just watched the movie Run Fat Boy Run, and now understands how hard a marathon must be. I thought this was funn because it’s not really the marathon that was hard but the years leading up to it. I think people don’t relize that getting in the best shape of your life dosen’t happen over night, its a life long process 🙂

O and I am so eating your lunch for lunch tomorrow 😉

21 seeleelive November 6, 2008 at 7:32 pm

damn girll….that post was so intriguing it kept me reading and mouth wide open! i think that was SO mature of you not to go boasting around with your success–and very wise to stand back and let the coworkers keep gossiping. americans seem absoltuely obsessed with dieting, if they knew about all our blogs theyd realize– healthy eating is lifestyle choice, not a 2 week detox. Psh!

22 Erin November 6, 2008 at 7:55 pm

I think it was great that you kept your mouth shut. I used to try to impart my knowledge on people, and my mom told me I sounded like I’d just found Jesus or something. So I stopped.
You’re so mature, and I’m very proud of you!

23 Sarah November 6, 2008 at 8:28 pm

How timely! My sister and I were just talking about the idea of a reputation as “the healthy eater” in the office. She has just started a new job 2 weeks ago and already has the reputation. I have the same at my job- which we attribute to the fact that we pack our lunch and it usually includes a fruit/vegetable! I agree that it is difficult to respond to comments such as these. And it gets tiring trying to explain to people that you actually LIKE that kind of food. I think the best way is to just make some sort of comment to that effect and then just not respond to anything further and try to avoid giving advice to anyone unless he/she specifically asks!

24 HangryPants November 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm

You’ve come such a long way, Meghann. Reading your posts, it seems like you’ve always had this great healthy mindset! It’s interesting to read your challenges.

Oh, and re: your next post – when I was little I was convinved I hated most foods, including peanut butter. Never had it until a few years ago! Not with you on the macs and cheese though!

25 Lindsey November 7, 2008 at 8:38 am

I think you probably did the right thing by not piping up at that moment about lifestyle changes. However if you’re ever talking one on one with any of those coworkers and they’re sharing about their diet woes, definitely take the opportunity to share with them what you did and are continuing to do. You really are quite inspiring! I’m sure some of your coworkers really would benefit from knowing about your blog. 🙂

26 Lori November 7, 2008 at 9:17 am

Such a great post, so glad you shared it. Congrats on your healthy thinking. You inspire many! 🙂

I work in health so fortunately it was a comfortable atmosphere for healthy attitudes, but the fads and out-there ideas were still floating around. Most people don’t want to accept how simple it can be because it takes a lot of personal responsibility.

27 April May 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I’m catching up on all of the blogs since I just discovered Meghann’s blog. LOVE IT! She’s so inspiring. Anyway, I also never know what to do when someone fat-talks… there are so many things I want to say, but I do keep my mouth shut, which seems to be the trend. Then, I feel bad later… did I just help contribute to this nation’s obesity/overweight problems because I didn’t want to say anything? It can also be a challenge to be healthy in the office… I recently went on a week-long conference with coworkers and caught crap every time we went to a fast food restaurant and I ordered a salad instead of a burger: “April, are you scared of beef?”, “April, should we be worrying about you, do you have an eating problem?”….. umm, yes, I AM scared of beef that is slathered in oil and trans fats and no, don’t worry about me, if eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains is a “problem” then sue me.

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