i have weight issues.

like, i'm not obese, but i am overweight. i got my my yearly check up and i'm perfectly healthy, but my BMI puts me at risk. which is a mess because i know more unhealthy thin people that i know unhealthy overweight people. you could argue that it's because bigger people are more aware and under a scope and thinner people feel as if they can eat whatever the hell they want. actually, you couldn't argue that because i would have no comeback. congratulations.

be that as it may, i could stand to lose some weight. i know that it would not only make me look better, but feel better. you know what sucks about losing weight though? a lot of things. but, here are four of them right off the top of my head:

1. the damn gym

heaven if you're a fit gay man. hell if you're a fat anything else. let that irony wash over your brain.

scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, i stumbled on this status:  "i shoulda took my chunky butt to the gym, but no what did i do. i stayed home and relaxed. UGH WHY DO I HATE THAT PLACE SO MUCH! WHAT CAN MAKE THIS EXPERIENCE BETTER BESIDES MUSIC! JESUS...I KEEP PRAYING ON IT."

and i felt an immediate understanding. here's the rub though. it's not the actual working out that makes the gym uncomfortable. it's the people. here is another status i read on Facebook: "ugh! so many fatties at the gym today hogging up the ellipticals!" all i'm trying to do is defattify myself and i have to field stares and snarky laughter, whether real or imaginary, from all of the hot people who seem to be working out for no damn reason. i just wanna yell, "get your skinny ass off the machine! what are you doing here anyway? don't you have a perfect party for perfect people with perfect asses to attend??" which brings me to point two, because the damn gym is full of...

2. judgy people
there is no denying the stigma that surrounds being overweight. most people believe it to be as simple as 1,2,3. put the fork down, jump on a treadmill, stop being a loser. but no one takes the time to realize the huge mental roadblock involved in being fat and losing weight. people don't put on weight for no reason. i can easily say that at the happiest point in my life so far, i was also at my healthiest in terms of weight. conversely, at the most unhappiest and stressful point in my life, i am the heaviest i have ever been. some people thrive on stress... others do not. just tune in to one episode of biggest loser and you will see that emotions and weight go together like hazelnuts and chocolate. it's not so easy as jumping on a treadmill, and those that do take this route will not see long lasting benefits. you have to deal with the inside and let the outside follow suit. which brings me to...

3. losing the protective force field
i watch ruby, on style channel. it's the journey of a woman who lived most of her adult life being over 400lbs, being 716lbs at her heaviest, to lose weight. this past season, she got down to 330lbs before she hit a wall, finding life approaching the 200s as scary and unfamiliar. she was just starting to explore more options in terms of food, fashion, and dating. but, subconsciously, she started to eat more and put back on the weight that she had worked so hard to lose. why? neither she nor the audience knows the answer, but there was a traumatic event that occurred when she was younger that she cannot remember. she only has memories after the age of 12 and in all of those memories she was fat. in talks with her counselor, friends, and family, they all believe that she was probably abused. her mother knows more that she lets on but does admit that she may have contributed to her being larger to protect her from people. (o_O)

i can't lie and say that i don't understand this thinking, even though intentionally fattening someone up just to "protect" them is akin to abuse, but there are countless anecdotes from people who are overweight who also have troubles letting go of tragedies and past abuses. I can say that when i was thinner, i would get a lot of attention from people. not all of that attention was positive and i've ended up with a broken heart or two. conversely, i can say that, being larger, i am usually surrounded good natured people. the men whom i date seem to like me for who i am inside and aren't so much hung up on physical attributes. the friends i have made are true, because if you don't like a person just because they're fat, you're an asshole right?

4. nothing
i have to say, compared to cuisine and travel, being fat is escapism at it's worst. it's expensive many times over. i have a group of friends with whom i do dinner once a month. once a month, we pick a restaurant, preferably one that none of us has been to before, and we catch up on life. it's great because we are all in grad school, which dominates +50hrs of our lives a week, so we have a chance to stay connected. however, since we are all in grad school, looking at the bill for these lengthy dinners, which almost always is at an upscale restaurant and includes much needed cocktails, my student budget suffers.

on top of that, when the seasons change and i switch over from winter to summer wear, or vice versa, and things don't fit like they did last year, that means i have to invest in a whole new seasonal wardrobe that i, again, can't really afford. not to mention, it feels really wasteful buying clothes for what one deems as a temporary phase in their lives, all because "i'll start working out tomorrow" has been a mantra for three months. if i actually did work out today, instead of tomorrow, and continue that pattern, i would unlock a wardrobe of fly clothes that i haven't been able to wear in years.

living in tomorrow doesn't work very well for the overweight. when i think about how much time i have wasted so that my today can be better, i get really depressed about it. if i had kept up with working out/yoga/tennis that i started last semester, i'm pretty sure The Life of Sarah would be a much different one. on the flip side, dwelling on yesterday doesn't work either. lamenting about was happened or didn't happen last week/month/year only digs a deeper hole. and when you're fat, climbing out of a hole seems damn near impossible.
while in Club Wegmans, i saw some good looking wings and decided to take them home and spice them up. i rarely eat wings, mostly because i didn't really grow up eating them a whole lot. rarely was night in my house where my mother would fry some wings, or anything else, for dinner. it was baked chicken or baked fish. but this wasn't my mother's house. i was NOT going to bake these wings.

i saw a good recipe on Food Network the very same day, thanks to my DVR, on Big Daddy's House. i sort of don't care for the show because the host really grates on my nerves with his loud voice and over-usage of the words "can you feel the love?" and "tuhmaytuh". but his food is banging. must be all the garlic.

Ginger Wings
by Aaron McCargo, Jr. of Big Daddy's House

this recipe originally serves 6 people and comes with a peanut sauce recipe. but, i'm only lil ole me and i had one pound of wings, so i easily scaled down this recipe for 2 people and kept the leftovers. and, yeah, i didn't make the sauce because, who cares. there is already a TON of flavor in the wings; no need to muttle it with a sauce.

1T any hot sauce (i used Frank's Red Hot Sauce)
1T soy sauce (i use San-J Tamari in place of soy sauce every time as it has a richer, rounder soy flavor, instead of just being salty)
1T grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1T sesame oil
2t sesame seeds
1T hoisin sauce
1lb chicken wings

1. combine all of the ingredient, except the wings (patience my friend) in a bowl and stir to combine. taste it. roll eyes in the back of head. proceed.

2. put wings the in bowl and toss to combine, making sure all of the wings are coated in the nooks and crannies.

3. place the wings on a wire rack atop a baking sheet that is lined with foil. the wire rack helps the air ciruclate the chicken to make it crispy and the foil makes for easy clean up :)

4. put the baking sheet in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 minutes. then, turn the wings over, baste with any leftover marinade and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

5. take the wings out of the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes... if you can. enjoy!

i paired my wings with some sesame noodles tossed with sauteed onions, carrots, mushrooms, and kale. i seriously just threw some stuff together in a pan while the wings were cooking, but you can find a more legit recipe at the Food Network website.
so, i basically had a redo of last week. seriously. i followed the same exact script. cereal for breakfast. veggie sukiyaki for lunch. i gotta spice things up, because i think monotony is also a killer of the Meatless Monday.

but change came around dinner time, and i realized that i could either choose to fail or succeed. so, i mosied on to the kitchen and, realizing it was already clean and waiting for me to just cook, i made the decision to stop being lazy and just keep steadfast. it wasn't as hard as i was trying to make it seem. i whipped up my favorite summertime pasta dish with a bit of tweaking, using olive oil instead of pancetta. check it.

Sarah's Summertime Pasta

during the summer time, i make this pasta dish probably once a week. it's easy and fast but has big time flavors thanks to simple ingredients. you can sub in certain ingredients, like i did this time... i usually don't add anything else, but i had some leftover asparagus and decided to throw it in.


pancetta (i used olive oil this time. you can use bacon too if you like.)
a pasta of your choosing (i recommend penne, linguine, or even angel hair)
white, yellow or sping onions (i prefer spring onions, but i didn't have any this time, but found out that regular onions work just as well)
wild card ingredient
fresh tomatoes (any type/size, just make sure they're ripe and sweet)
splash of wine or stock or even pasta water
squeeze of fresh lemon
parmigiano reggiano
salt and pepper to taste


1. bring water to boil in a large pot, add salt then throw in pasta of choosing, making sure to stir so it doesn't stick.

2. in a sautee pan or wok, render pancetta over medium heat untile crispy, then remove. if using olive oil, just heat until fast in the pan.

3. cut the rest of the ingredients as small or large as you like. seriously, this recipe is easy as a summer's breeze, so you don't have to worry about cutting things just right. if you want large bits of onions and tomatoes cause that's how you roll, do you! i do suggest that you salt the tomatoes after you cut them, but before you add them to the pan to draw out it's natural juices.

4. first heat onions until almost cooked (about 5 minutes for regular onions, but about 2-3 minutes for spring onions), then throw in the garlic and your wild card ingredient and cook until done, heated through.

5. add tomatoes. cook until just heated through, which should take about a minute or two. don't cook too long or the tomatoes will becoming mushy pulp, unless you like it that way.

i used heirloom tomatoes in my dish, tis the season, and they were sweet and succulent.

6. here's my favorite part! add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan. if you don't have wine, you can use chicken/veggie stock or even some water from the boiling pasta, which will help the pasta amalgamate anyways. take this time to put your face over the pan and smell the goodness from the food. it's intoxicating.

7. add a squeeze of lemon, turn off the heat and stir in the cooked pasta.

8. roll about 6 leaves of basil into a cigar and cut it into ribbons (congrats, you just did a chiffonade of herbs!) or just rip it in your hands :) shave some parmigiano reggiano cheese (you can use the stuff in the green canister that we grew up on, but getting a small block of the real stuff is well worth the investment. just keep in wrapped and in a cool, dry place).

then add to the pasta and stir through until it's fragrant and you can no longer resist from sticking your fork in the pan.

in the end, i put a a lot of freshly ground pepper atop, because i just love pepper. what i didn't miss was meat. okay, maybe i missed the pancetta. baby steps. enjoy!