Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Uh oh, diet soda just as bad (New Study)

Thought I'd share this study on sodas. It turns out that diet soda is just as bad as regular for you...duh, it's all chemicals, BUT its sad that you can't even have a diet soda in a pinch due to the caramel coloring causing insulin resistance. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

Oh well...bye bye soda.

Happy Halloween!

Alright, it's already started...the offers of chocolates, candies and cookies...and it's still the morning! In fact, one of my co-workers just put a Halloween cupcake on my desk, yet I wasn't the least bit tempted (actually I thought it looked a bit disgusting with orange frosting and candied corn sticking out...blech!) I've been holding strong and steady. The past two days have been really good, no slip ups. I've been right on track with my diet and had a lovely work-out yesterday (I really felt the burn - granted I think that's because I'm terribly out of shape).

I'm currently sipping my decaf coffee and trying to decide what to have for my snack at 10:30 a.m...probably pumpkin seeds...I mean it IS Halloween after all :)

I've already lost a couple of pounds this week (the first two weeks you drop anywhere between 8-13 lbs.) and this while on my's a I really feel good too. Something feels different inside; cleaner, leaner, a definite change is happening. Always listen to your body, it has so much to tell you...mine is certainly speaking loudly. The carb cravings aren't as bad either, which is nice...that usually takes the first 2 weeks to get through. So I have a positive outlook and start to the program and I feel it's going swimmingly.

Now to really up the ante on the working out. I've only been doing cardio so far...Jake and I have had such opposite schedules that we haven't been able to have a training session yet for him to show me the kettle bells. That's alright, I'll figure something out in the meantime. Push-ups, crunches, squats and stretching are simple and efficient enough until I can learn something new to add in...AND it uses your own body weight as resistance, so it seems a safe enough way to get started.

Happy Halloween Kids, and avoid the candy & empty-carb Witches if you can! *cackle cackle cackle*

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So Far So Good...

Phase 1 Week 1 Day 2: So far so good, however it IS only the second day of the detox phase of my diet, but I've held strong thus far and that's in conjunction with this being the 2nd day of my menstrual cycle.

V came and had lunch with me yesterday and I truly enjoyed my black bean soup & lamb kabob w/hummus, grilled veggies & salad. It was so much food that I ate the other half of the meal 3 hours later...and it was still delicious. It's so nice to have her doing this diet with me. It makes it so much easier when the person you dine with has the same dietary needs as you. Of course that's not always the case, but I've got such a great support group of friends and they generally let me pick the location so that I can stay on my diet.

I have some favorite meals & snacks I'd like to share that help me stay on this diet...sure you can have salad...but one does get tired of the same ol' grilled chicken on a bed of mixed greens thing (or at least I do.)

Sample Menu:

7:30 am: 2 eggs (or egg whites) w/Canadian bacon or Morningstar veggie sausage (I happily can eat breakfast anytime...mmm)

10:30 am: 2% String Cheese (so easy to grab & go)

1:30 pm: Fat-free "refried" beans w/fat-free cheddar (just a sprinkle), diced onions, and salsa (make sure it's low in sugar).

4:30 pm: Nuts - 15 Almonds, 30 Pistachios, or 3 tbl spns Pumpkin Seeds...another quick and handy snack.

7:30 pm: Turkey Kielbasa w/onion & cabbage (sauteed in Smartbalance "butter")

Usually I'm done eating by this time, but if I want one more snack, I'll take some whey protein & blend it with skim milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and Ice for a nice smoothie/vanilla protein shake, or just have some sugar-free jello...oh and 2% or 0% Fage yogurt w/a package of Splenda mixed in is always a nice treat too (so thick & creamy).

So that's generally what a day in the life on this diet consists of during Phase 1. Not bad and a lot of food...The cabbage was delish last night by the way :)

Ok kids, I'm off to the gym!

Monday, October 29, 2007


That's right kids I'm back from a quick weekend tour and it's D-day: as in Disembarkment Day...DETOX Day...Diet Day? Ok, that last one stinks. Don't you hate that last word? Diet? That 4 letter word has become a 4 letter word to a lot of really has been given a bad connotation yet is perfectly harmless in meaning:

diet (1)
"regular food," c.1225, from O.Fr. diete, from M.L. dieta "parliamentary assembly," also "a day's work, diet, daily food allowance," from L. diaeta "prescribed way of life," from Gk. diaita, originally "way of life, regimen, dwelling," from diaitasthai "lead one's life," and from diaitan, originally "separate, select" (food and drink), freq. of *diainysthai "take apart," from dia- "apart" + ainysthai "take," from PIE base *ai- "to give, allot." Often with a sense of restriction since 14c.; hence put (someone) on a diet (c.1440). The verb meaning "to regulate oneself as to food" (especially against fatness) is from 1660. An obsolete word for this is banting (q.v.). The adj. in this sense (Diet Coke, etc.) is from 1963, originally Amer.Eng.

That's what I plan to do; EAT "regular food" in small to moderate portions, 5 to 6 times a day. No pills, potions, packaged or processed foods...whole foods, organic if I can get them. I'm just cutting out the crap and letting the body detox & re-balance itself. No sugars, flours, hydrogenated or high-fructose anything. Lean proteins, green & colorful veggies, with some low-fat dairy thrown in for the next two weeks. After those couple of weeks are over, then I'll slowly start adding in the complex carbohydrates, like a piece of fruit with dinner. Why the slow add pace? To see how much insulin MY body can truly process before it stores it on my hips or around my waist.

I'm also starting the resistance training this week. Jake will be back today from sunny Florida (I did miss him terribly). He kindly called me on Saturday while laying on the beach to let me know that I'll see him tonight around 8 pm, so perhaps we'll get in some weight training after-all? Just a note: While he was laying on the sunny beach, I was riding on a bus in the cold & damp northeast *sigh*. It's all right, I had fun anyway (I always do!) And looks like I'll be having fun tonight too...YAY working-out, I just LOVE working-out (keep telling yourself that and someday you'll believe it).

So now you know the plan and the goals. I'll be doing it in 12 week increments, so this is now Day 1 of Week 1 of Phase're #1...sorry couldn't help it...I'm still very groggy from the LONG weekend and way too many hours on a tour bus.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A touring we will go...

Ok, off on tour today...a very short one for that matter. We leave for Massachusetts at noon and as soon as we get there, off the bus, into walk-thru, hair & make-up, and then wardrobe...the show starts at 7:30 pm, so I hope the bus doesn't get lost this time.

The plan....have Brunch with my cousin Philip and then get on the fancy schmancy bus and watch dvd's until we arrive in good ol' Mass. 5 hours later. Note to self: don't drink too much coffee, you've got a long road ahead of you! Granted there's a bathroom on the bus...but they always creep me out a bit...and this coming from a women who lives in NYC. Oooh...maybe I'll nap, that's always nice (unfortunately, I've never been one to be able to sleep while traveling...oh well).

So I'm off kids and will be back blogging on Monday...


Friday, October 26, 2007

Diet Opera Blog?

Well it IS called "Not a Fat Opera Singer" and that is the goal...not to be fat, plump, or even pudgy while pursuing my opera career (or EVER for that matter)...heck I'm burning calories even as I type ;)

So, Jake (the personal trainer boyfriend) flew off to sunny Florida at 5 am this morning...yeah you guessed it South Beach, Florida. Isn't that a funny coincidence he's in South Beach, Florida at the same time I'm about to start Phase I of the South Beach Diet...However, I think he's currently getting the better end of the deal here. So while he's on the beach, soaking in the sun and catching some waves (do they do that in Florida?) I'll be going off to Massachusetts on tour with the National Lyric Opera. I'm not complaining...I love going on tour and I think Cape Cod is fabulous...I just want to point out that the North East is a bit nippy in late I don't think I'll be doing much sun and wave catching action, but at least it's pretty :)

Good thing I start Phase I on Monday (doing that restrictive part of the diet would have been pretty difficult on tour over the weekend...they always feed us pasta on the road or chips & sandwiches.) But I'll be back late Sunday night / early Monday morning and ready to hit the detox trail. Oh and hopefully my program will be ready from PT Jake so that I can get a good start to the week...actually he doesn't arrive back to the City until Monday night, so I'll more than likely do cardio and calisthenics and then Tuesday start his training program...kettle bells?...boxing?...who knows, but I can't wait! Really...I'm ready to get seriously lean & healthy!

Oh, I just celebrate the start of Phase I on the SB Diet, V and I are going to get together and either eat an authorized meal together for Lunch or we're going to work-out during the Lunching hour...either way, it's a win/win situation. It's good to have a buddy on this journey...we just love her! (yeah, I do occasionally break-out the "royal" WE...I AM a bit of a Diva).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 2: Uh, Right.

Day 2 my @$$...I mean really. Ok,'s day 2 on this blog at least.

Let me be honest with you folks. As you know, I once weighed 186 lbs. My drop to 140 lb-land didn't happen overnight, nor even in a year. It's taken me almost a decade to whittle it down...Yeah I know...soooo encouraging, but I've had a lot to learn about the whole eating healthy and working out thing. I actually lived on fast food & Dr. Pepper during college (never a good idea)...I was seriously addicted too...I'm not kidding. Some people smoke, or drink, or take recreational drugs, but my addiction IS food, especially fast food. I love me some Taco Bell.

Now on to the positive. I've changed my approach, thoughts, way of eating AND am much more active in my lifestyle...I live in NYC for "Godsake", it's a hard City to sit still in. So I'm on the right track and my weight has been the better for it.

Just recently (the past 4-6 months) I've lost 20 lbs. doing the South Beach diet. No I'm not talking about eating the marketed "South Beach" products...I'm talking about detoxing the body and re-balancing it with good healthy foods. This "diet" was actually designed by a doctor in South Beach, Florida for his diabetes and heart patients. It was created in order to help increase their health and gage how much insulin their body could process. The weight loss was just a bonus side effect to their new way of eating. What got me to try it, was my own sensitivities to insulin and my family history of diabetes & heart disease. I figured "might as well nip it in the bud before it grows into an actual problem." Not to mention, I'd drop some unwanted pounds in the process. So I finally found what works for me, and when I cheat (WHICH has been as of late) I feel crappy and find that my body really can't handle processed sugars and carbs.

So the plan: My friend V and I are starting Phase I of South Beach again THIS coming Monday Oct. 29th. We will detox on this phase for the next two weeks and re-balance our body's insulin levels. Then I will slowly add back one serving per day of complex carbs and then another serving per day the following week and so on and so on...until I find out how much insulin/carbs my body can handle. If I cheat, then I have to do Phase I again in order to re-balance the body I'll do my best not to cheat...cuz Phase I ain't no picnic. Sorry, sometimes I'm soooo "country."

*Oh...and as you know, I will also be working out with the goal to change my body composition to a much leaner body fat percentage. Nice side note huh?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 1: Always Promising

So here we are, it's Wednesday, that's right, the middle of the week. WhAt? I'm starting my "program" in the middle of the week in the middle of the day in the middle (almost end) of the month? Eh...why not. No time like the present, so let's get started.

Day 1: The goal to eat well (healthy) and get at least 30 minutes of exercise.


8:30 am - 1/2 a blueberry muffin and a decaf coffee w/half & half.

*Note: That's soooo not healthy, let's try some eggs or something tomorrow morning body doesn't handle sugar very well.

11:30 am - 15 almonds and a cup of chai tea (redundant)
*That's better (yay vitamin E)

More times and foods later as the day progresses.

Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio
(Treadmill - 4.0 speed, 10 incline, 314 cals. 3 miles)


Height: 5'4

Weight: 140 lbs. (not terrible)

Body Fat %: 35% (oye! are we did this happen?)
*Note: The Goal...I really want to be 18%...whew, now you know.


At my heaviest I weighed 186 lbs., not good on my 5'4 frame, and just recently I lost 20 lbs. on the SouthBeach diet. However, I don't think my Body Fat % has ever been so high. It was only 30% when I was at 186 lbs. and then it was 26 % when I was in the middle of loss at 168 lbs. I've definitely done something wrong, or at least I haven't done enough right. Dieting is just not enough, nor is just Cardio. I have to do resistance training...not only for my bod to tighten up and look good in a bikini ;) but for my well-being, and bone density...hello, I'm not getting any younger AND osteoporosis is another lovely affliction that runs in the fam. So, I've got to visit the dreaded weight section of the gym and really do something in there.


Pro: The boyfriend, Jake, is a personal trainer and a good one at that. All his clients see results and are very happy.

Con: Our schedules are crazy, and we hardly see each other, except to say good morning and good do I utilize him?

Pro: He has volunteered to help me (how nice)...and create a program for me to follow.

Con: I'm such a stubborn, pig-headed person and I suck at taking advice...I want to do it my way and take all the credit (This is definitely one of those times to suck-it-up, shut-up and listen to what others have to offer...especially if they know what they're doing)

Pro: I'm learning, even as I type this (hmmm...somebody IS home)

Con: Now I have to STICK WITH IT! Did I mention Stubborn & Pig-Headed?

So I guess the moral of the story is: Be big enough to accept help and listen to what others have to offer. Not brain surgery is it?

Addition: I'm inserting a page of what my fitness & nutrition log looks like, not the most legible...I'll do my best to insert a better pic.

Here Goes:

Ok, so what the heck am I doing? Well, I guess I want to keep a journal that I can share with people who care, or at least might have a passing notion of interest in this blog. I will warn you, I do tend to write in run-on sentences and do have the occasional fragment. So if you're looking for brilliant writing with incredible grammatical skills...This isn't the place for you.

Now, to get started. My reasoning is to keep myself honest and accountable for my actions. Mainly in the realm of diet and exercise, thus the name of the blog, Not a Fat Opera Singer. That's really the goal, to no longer be nor to become the stereotype that has been long associated with the world of Opera and it's singers. You know what I mean. If you're not really involved in this world, what image comes to mind when someone says Opera Singer? Is it the large, buxom woman with viking horns on her head? Unfortunately, that seems to be a widely shared thought of how we opera singers are viewed. Oh what I wouldn't give to wear that horned hat and seriously sing Wagner, however, I'm just a lyric coloratura soprano trying to make it in the world.

The Opera World is-a-changin' however. Have you seen all the press on Dramatic Soprano, Deborah Voigt and her gastric bypass surgery? Or the Vogue spread of Anna Netrebko? The craft of Opera must survive in a multi-media world and to do that, it must present the whole package for the audience to least that's what we're being told. It's no longer just about the voice, but the acting and the believability of the character. I personally have always been on-board for good acting and believability...but in this endeavor let's not lose the beauty of voice. Alright, so now all I have to do is sing great, act great and LOOK great (not to mention have some nice networking on the side) in order to get the job.

But let me make one thing clear: This is not just about my career in the arts, this truly is an endeavor to be HEALTHY. Diabetes and heart problems run rampant on both sides of my family, and I don't want to suffer as many members of my family have and still are. I don't want to die of a heart attack or stroke by the age of 50, nor do I want my legs amputated from diabetes. It happens, it has happened to my loved ones, and if I can eat right and exercise my way to having a long and healthy existence, THEN LET'S DO THIS THING!