Tales From A Hungry Life

January 4, 2017

New Year, Same Old You?

by Maria Schulz

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

While ringing in the New Year, I often think about those pesky resolutions that I made last year that never stood a chance. Why can’t I be like those superstars out there that go from couch potato to Marathon boy and girl wonders? Why do I continue to be derailed by Hershey’s Krackle and Mr. Goodbar? How come I never went skydiving, saw the Mona Lisa in person, or ticked off any boxes on my Bucket List?

Wise words from Calvin and Hobbes

Wise words from Calvin and Hobbes

I turned to research for the secrets to New Year’s resolution success, and here’s what I found:

92% of people will not reach their goals this New Year. That’s right! You are not alone. Those lousy 8 percenters are!

The reason most people will fail is because they never make specific goals. If your goal is to “feel better,” “look great,” or “get in shape,” here’s a tip. The more specific you are about what you want to achieve, the better. Instead of “feeling better,” determine that you’re going to stop smoking by March or drop 10 pounds by April to lessen the strain on your joints. Get your hair trimmed and colored every 4 weeks so you don’t look in the mirror and see your grandma looking back. Measure your arms, legs, abdomen, and thighs—and set a specific, measurable goal of losing 2 inches, 4 inches, or however many inches it takes to make you feel less like the Michelin Man. That’s how you will keep track of your progress, and make real time adjustments when you’ve stalled or gone backwards.


Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Don’t tell yourself: “I will lose weight, eat better, and climb Mount Everest,” and then give up a day or two later because:

  1. a) You don’t even know how to begin losing weight
  2. b) Is only half a bag of potato chips better than the whole bag?
  3. c) You hate climbing the hill outside your house. Who really believes you’re going to climb Mount Everest? Not you, for starters.

Reset your expectations. Choose to lose 5 pounds. Once that goal is achieved, choose to lose another 5. Keep going until you hit your intended goal. Saying “I’ll lose 100 pounds by March” this January only sets you up for failure. And P.S.: skip the potato chips. Eat an apple.

Stay away

Stay away

Know thyself. If you’re like me and you know your triggers, do yourself a favor: don’t let them anywhere near you. I can’t have a bag of chocolates in my cupboard because their siren song lures me to their rocky shoals. Keep those b*tches out of your house!

Give yourself a break. Any big change comes with successes and failures. Yes, you will be stoked when you take three steps forward. But will you throw in the towel when you take two steps back? Make believe you are your own child. Would you berate them for failing or encourage them to keep going? Be kind to yourself. Everybody screws up. It takes courage to forge ahead.

Get moving

Get moving

Ditch the “all-or-nothing” and “Weekend Warrior” attitude. You can have a cookie but you have to cut the calories elsewhere or you will not succeed later. You can also exercise a little bit all week long instead of trying to compensate by exercising like a maniac over the weekend. This will only lead to injuries. Do a little bit every day and you’ll see results. Just like the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race.


Replace Bad Habits with Something Fun. Lying on the couch, having an existential crisis (why oh why haven’t I become the next J.K. Rowling???), and wondering what TV show I will watch next gets boring. But popping in Just Dance and figuring out the steps while I rock out to Bruno Mars is never dull. I know it’s funny, because my kids can’t stop laughing.

Are we having fun yet?

Are we having fun yet?

Congratulate yourself for a job well done. Did you accomplish even part of your goals? Give yourself the proverbial gold star. Yes, folks—I am an 8 percenter! I lost 18 pounds last year and I haven’t managed to find them again (yet). The only reason I achieved this goal was that I took the time to:

  • Download an app that lets me log my food intake every single day. Yes, that becomes a drag really fast. But you know what’s a bigger drag? Blindly trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong when the pounds stop coming off. All I have to do is look at my food log and I know what the problem is. Potato chips and chocolate are usually the culprits.
  • Keep up that gym membership. Yeah, I don’t really love the gym. I wish I did, but let’s face it: I’d rather be lying on the couch. But you know what? I’m always delighted by myself after I’ve finished. So, I pull my slug-like body up, lace up those sneakers, and go before I’ve talked myself out of it.
  • Bring lunch to work. I still go out with my friends, but since I’ve already eaten, I don’t need to eat a burrito that is almost as big as me (sometimes I give in to the burrito’s siren song, because being good all the time is an equally big recipe for disaster)
  • I can’t lose weight if my four food groups are McDonald’s, Burger King, Five Guys, and IHOP. I signed up for lots of newsletters that give me great recipes that are healthy, delicious, and fast so I’m not tempted to get take-out…and lay on the couch afterwards berating myself.
Get your gold stars here

Get your gold stars here

I may not have met Mona Lisa face to face yet, but the year is young! Now I’m off to make a plan….


Steak and Blue Cheese Wraps



You can also use sirloin steak (instead of flank steak, if you prefer) and reduced fat mayo with blue cheese crumbles (instead of the dressing). But either way, these wraps are delicious and satisfying.


So, Hungry Lifers…are you one of the 8 percenters? What goals are you trying to achieve this year? What’s your favorite healthy dinner recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and Happy New Year.



January 13, 2016


by Maria Schulz


Happy New Year! Yes, it’s probably getting a little late to wish everyone this, but I’m just wrapping my head around the fact that it’s 2016. That number looks SO WEIRD to me. I remember being a kid and thinking that the year 2000 was so far away. Now, the year 2000 seems far away again, but only because it’s in my rearview mirror. Remember the hysteria caused by Y2K? Good times.

This being January, it’s time to consider how we want to reframe our future, as opposed to letting it all hang out come December holiday time. Yes folks, it’s time to talk about resolutions.

Wait…don’t run away. It’s not that bad! Here are the usual suspects when it comes to the most popular resolutions on people’s lists:


It’s go time

  1. Lose weight
  2. Eat right
  3. Go to the gym
  4. Spend more time with family
  5. Cut down on stress
  6. Learn something new
  7. Volunteer
  8. Cut back on alcohol
  9. Stop smoking
  10. Travel and see the world

Some of these are easy for me. Spending time with family and traveling anywhere comes as naturally to me as breathing, and smoking was never my vice. I love learning new things (or at least trying), I’m always happy to volunteer, and I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. Plus, who doesn’t want to cut down on stress?

augustus gloop

But…it’s the gym/weight/eating thing that gets me. I know I should go to the gym, but there are days I just feel like putting on a snuggly and going to sleep. Of course, they frown on that at work, so I am conscious far more often than I’d like. By the time I get home from work, I don’t want to go back out again. What I would like to do is eat chocolate chip cookie dough while laying on the couch and binge-watching stand-up comedy routines, Jeopardy!, and The Office re-runs.


I’ll just lay here

However, since I don’t want to look like Jabba the Hut by 2017, I will not lay around until they have to cut a wall down from my house in order to get me out. I’ve been looking up inspirational quotes to keep me motivated. Here are some of them:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” –Ghandi

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”—Anonymous

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”—Louisa May Alcott, Little Women


You tell ’em, Liz

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and get yourself together.”—Liz Taylor

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”—Henry David Thoreau

“Do one thing that scares you every day.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” –Colin Powell

ralph-waldo-emerson quote

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.”—Albert Einstein


Here are some of my own quotes:

“I hate change almost as much as change hates me.”

“Why don’t you stop whining and just shut up.”

“Dreams are like the popular kids in middle school who smiled at you but never let you sit at their table during lunch period.”

“What the hell am I doing on the ocean trying to sail during a fx!c@ng storm!!!”


“Where’s my resolution list from 2000? I can probably use the same one.”

“Forget about yesterday…you’re living in the past, man.”

“Did they take The Office off channel 5? I got scared there for a minute.”

“When did sarcasm go out of style?”

“You are right. I should stop laughing at you.”

“Resolutions are for those of us who aren’t perfect. Good luck with yours.”


salmon swimming upstream

Keep swimming

Poached Salmon with Champagne Sauce

I liked this recipe because it looks easy, and Food Network included it for New Year’s  because they said: “swimming ahead and never looking back, fish symbolize hope.”

So, what are your resolutions? What’s your favorite inspiring quote? What are your own personal words to live by? Please leave a comment. Thanks, and Happy New Year.

December 31, 2011

2011 in the Rearview Mirror

by Maria Lagalante Schulz

Last year at this time, I tried to think about what I wanted to accomplish in 2011. I make resolutions every year, and I usually break them by the second week of January. To avoid this, I set up a list of resolutions that I was pretty sure even I would be able to keep. Let’s see how I did.

1) I will not lose weight.

The good news is I did lose a couple of pounds. The better news is I didn’t gain any. Win/Win. I’ve been eating more fruits and vegetables, when all I really want is a Snickers bar. I’d say that’s progress.

2) I will not climb Mount Everest. I did keep this one. I don’t like heights or the cold. I tried climbing the stairs at work a few times, but that got old fast. The best was when I had to climb those 5 flights in the pitch-black darkness following Hurricane Irene. I realized that deadly conditions and heights were not a good combination for me.

3) I will not buy the world a Coke and keep it company. Yes, I was able to give up Coke for a few months. Then I went back to it. I’ve cut way back on my Coca-Cola habit, but as far as addictions go, this one is hard for me. I’m drinking a lot more water and iced tea these days, but it’s just not the same.

4) I will find a fitness program that I like and stick with it. I rode my bike, swam all summer, walked farther and faster with my dog, and did kettle bells and exercise videos. I even joined a bowling league. There is nothing quite like bowling against senior citizens to make you feel young and healthy. Now if only I could bowl better than them.


5) I will read more books and watch less TV. Since there is never anything on television, this wasn’t too hard. My last blog post was about my favorite books from the year, and I mentioned that I joined a book club. That keeps me honest and makes me read something I wouldn’t necessarily choose myself.

6) I will write every day, or maybe every three days.  Although I feel like I never write enough, I did write more posts this year than last year. Plus, I actually made a lot of progress on my book. I wanted to get it published by the end of the year, but it didn’t happen. But to quote Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, “as God is my witness, I will never go hungry again…or unpublished.” Okay, so I made that last part up, but you get the idea. Look for my book in the Spring of 2012.

7) I will not start smoking. This one was easy. I am blessed (or cursed, depends on how you look at it) with a borderline bionic sense of smell. Cigarettes are one of those things that make me gag. I’m like Tony Randall (Felix Unger in The Odd Couple) in that way.

8) I will take a class and learn something new. This was the year I tried a lot of new things. I took my soup class and blogged about it in “Soup’s On.” I also took an introductory Spanish class. The teacher liked me at first because I have a fantastic accent (my Mom and Grandmother would be proud). Unfortunately, it became apparent pretty quickly that an accent was all that I had. I liked going to the class every week but it wasn’t the same as when I was in high school. It’s just not as much fun without my mother around to do all of my homework.

9) I will enjoy more time with friends.  Being an adult and having to take care of my family, house and work really puts a crimp on my ability to see friends all the time. This was the year that my old friend Lisa and I made time to see one another. We saw Billy Elliot on Broadway, and then had dinner at Carmine’s. It was wonderful! I also got to see more movies with my husband this year, including True Grit and My Week with Marilyn. Good times!

10) I will write more blog posts about my sister-in-law, Kathie. I promised to write about my sister-in-law, Kathie, but I never devoted an entire blog post to her. However, she did make it into the book, so at least I know one person will be buying it.

11) I will not bring a chimpanzee into my home as my surrogate son/pet.

While I would certainly love a son, I always figured he would be human. Besides, it has taken me five years to figure out how to get my dog off the couch. She’s a happy go lucky lab, and even she grumbles a little. I hear a chimpanzee can get crazy and rip your face off when provoked, especially when he’s been trolling on the Internet all day and drinking red wine. So this one was easy to keep!

This is why you should not get a pet with opposable thumbs

12) I will eat more chocolate. I have found many new ways to work chocolate into my day. One piece of dark chocolate goes a long way, and I hear it’s good for me. Plus chocolate milk in the morning and hot chocolate at night makes any day better!

I’ve heard a lot of people say that 2011 was not a very good year. I don’t agree; it wasn’t the greatest year of my life, but it was still happy. My family and friends are well and life is good.

I spent most of today whistling “That Old Black Magic” because New Year’s Eve was the time that my mother and father would throw a big party and then get up and sing that song together. All of my relatives were around us: my brothers, grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends. Everybody was there and they were all laughing.

Tonight, while my little family and I celebrate a low-key New Year’s Eve, I will think of my mother and father…and I’ll be smiling.

Mom and Dad performing That Old Black Magic

Happy New Year! See you all next year.


Make any day better with this Hot Chocolate to recipe:


So, how did your New Year’s resolutions go this year? Do you have a funny story to share about resolutions gone wrong? Share your thoughts and let us all in on the fun.