I’m a 47 year old Personal Chef ( I turn 48 on Oct 1st). I’m told I still look like I’m in my 30’s …so If thats true..Thanks Mom & Dad for those Colombian/Panamanian genes! I had to LEARN to be Darn PROUD of my age ( until recently, I only admitted to 33!! lol).. I EARNED & OWN UP to EVERY SINGLE Month and Year, that I’ve lived!!!
Recently enlightened & new to Raw foods after a couple years of “off and on” Vegetarianism, ONE of my goals/aspirations is to transition to being a Raw Chef eventually…
I currently live in Middletown, CT. I live alone with my 10 year old Pomeranian, “Pookie”. She is THE love of my life!
I am on a raw food journey, where I am intent on reversing my Diabetes and getting into healthy shape again!
I’ve had SO many “Highs and lows” & experiences in my life. I could write SEVERAL books on the different chapters… I already have SOME of the titles!! “Dysfunctional Childhood – Abuse to Mom’s Schizophrenia”, “Teen Trauma”, ” Stung By the Show Biz Bug” , “The Drug Addiction years” ,”From Prozac to Topamax & Everything In Between”, “Dysfunctional Loves & More”, ” But Everybody LOVES a FAT Chef, don’t they?”, “Diabetes 101”, ” Transformation, Is that REALLY Me?”, “Miami Trips & Europe.. on Cloud 9”, “Oh no.. Not AGAIN”, “Raw..REALLY???” & hopefully my best chapter/book: “Success For Life..FINALLY !!” :-)
I’m not going to get into the “deeper” aspects of my life ..There are more appropriate support venues for that! But here’s the “skinny” of my Life Journey so far…
I was born into a Hispanic Family, so food was a HUGE part of our lives! My mother was an Unconditional Loving Free Spirited Beauty from Panama, who was also a singer on the radio in her country.. eventually fell in love w/my Father, a Colombian Air Force Pilot, who brought her to America…
From ages 18-22, I was a vocalist in a couple of blues/jazz bands & thru my 20’s to mid 30’s, I would do the jazz club/piano bar circuit singing blues, standards, jazz/torch songs, etc. Singing fulfilled my desires for praise & the void in my life, for being loved… for approval & acceptance …NOTHING compared to the adrenalin rush & enveloping warmth I felt, from the sound of applause!!
I was never athletic & tended to be shapely but never fat/obese..To be honest.. my eating was atrocious.( late night, emotional eating & I ate EVERYTHING on my plate… Fried Foods, Red meats, junk foods… u name it.. if it tasted good.. it was IN MY MOUTH!).. I was Ignorantly CLUELESS about nutrition & acted like I didn’t care!! It didn’t help that I was an INCREDIBLE cook… I cooked for EVERYONE!! ( Taste testing all the way thru AND After)..
It wasn’t until my 30’s, that I started the Yo yo’ing up & down weight from 160-to almost 200lbs. My self esteem and poor body image was at its all time LOW & it was affecting my “singing career”..I became self conscious about my appearance..my confidence swayed & I eventually stopped gigs & tapered off performing all together.. except for the occasional Karaoke to keep me vocalized. By the time I was approaching 40, I was Obese, well over the 250lb mark( I’m 5’8” barefoot)..I was always a “clothes horse” loving fashionable stylish clothes.. but the bigger I got, the more difficult it became finding NICE styled Plus size clothes in stores( They’ve come a long way in the last 5 years!) For over a decade, ALL I wore was black.. You’d think I was in mourning.. which in a way I was! I NEVER wore anything w/ color, afraid It would attract attention to that Really fat woman, even more… sad..
I NEVER took pics ..except for the mandatory vacation ones..& even then, I would LITERALLY HIDE my “HUGE Butt” behind whoever I was in the pic with! ( see pics) I would be SO SHOCKED everytime I saw pics of myself… in the mirror, 1/2 delusional, 1/2 denial … but in truth I HATED myself! I was so ashamed and miserable at how I had “let myself go”!.. I NEVER thought I could ever be one of those smiling happy before & after success stories I used to see on TV & cry over! I suffered severe depression & mood swings..I was diagnosed w/ clinical depression and even bi-polar.. From about age 33 till I was 44, I was given a slew of anti-depressions( Zoloft, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Prozac, ect) & up till 2004, I was on mood stabilzers( Topamax). I was horrendously miserable.. but I NEVER let anyone see this side of me.. To my friends and family, I was ALWAYS the cheery happy bubbly funny.. “Mandi”!
By the time I was 42, I was over 270lbs & a size 24( 4x).. On Feb 26th, 2003 ( I’ll NEVER forget that date!), I was diagnosed w/ Type 2 Diabetes ( Gee I wonder why??) I was devastated.. So I figured, I could either go into a depression funk, wallow in self pity or FINALLY DO something about it!! THAT was my “Rock Bottom”! THAT was IT… Something SNAPPED & I was soon on a “ROLL”!
I started Hitting the gym obsessively EVERYDAY, like a madwoman ( no trainer or classes) & gave up carbs. I was absolutely driven and determined to get the weight off & Diabetes OUT of me!! I eventually lost close to 100 lbs, down to a size 10 by Summer of 2004!! My blood sugar was totally normal & weeeeeee..No more meds!! I literally sweated and dieted the Type 2 Diabetes OUT OF ME!! I totally transformed into a different person.. All of a sudden I had a Small waistline, cheekbones and an Hourglass figure!! WHO KNEW??.
I felt like I was 18 years old again.. except I looked waaaay better than I ever had in my life & I was almost 44 years old! For the first time, in a VERY LONG time.. I actually FELT “pretty” again. Maybe its the good genes or the fact that I religiously massaged myself w. cocoa butter and oils every nite, or my bi-weekly massages… but I swear there are no visible stretch marks on me anywhere & my skin eventually “tightened/toned” up!! ??? My masseuse at the time was amazed & so was I !!
Friends I hadn’t seen in years, swore I must have had lipo, tummy tucks & a new boob job!.. I assured them I hadn’t! The only cosmetic work I had EVER done in my life was having my breasts augmented when I was living in NYC at the age of 20 & then again when I was 30( 13 YEARS before).. but because I had become so heavy.. You COULDN”T Even TELL!!!
All of a sudden, I was getting MAD attention everywhere I went! This was sooooooo alien to me.. & from REALLY Hot Guys LESS than 1/2 my age!!?? It was like I made decades dissapear!! I have to admit.. the attention was Intoxifying & I LOVED IT.. I couldn’t get enough!!!! ..I became OBSESSED w/ taking pictures.. I couldn;t believe the image staring back at me .. was ME!! I had ENERGY for DAYS.. so that same year & now a Platinum Blonde, it was time for a 3 week trip back to Miami, to surprise my friends .. I became a sun worshipper again, after years of “low self esteem” & hiding my body.
After my “one & only” botox injections to get rid of some sun wrinkles I had developed on my forehead, from my “OVER” Sun Exposure in Miami & the 2 months prior trying to achieve the “Base Tan”, I was off & ready to go on a SOLO whirlwind European trip for 7 whole weeks in late 2004!! (Spain, Italy & Greece) I was Fearless!! I celebrated my 44th birthday in Mykonos, I explored & walked from one end of the city to the other(Barcelona, Rome & Athens) & languished in the sensual Greek islands & partied like it was 1999!!!
Greece seemed familiar to me.. Deja Vu.. as if I been there in a prior lifetime.. I knew my way around Athens, Mykonos & felt such a spirtual epiphany on the uninhabited sacred island of Delos.. It was truly magical.. Europeans were so wonderful to me & the men were much more vocal & “appreciative”, than I was used to back home.. lol!!! Oh My God..I know it sounds superficial, but having male attention EVERYWHERE I went & being told I was actually “Beautiful” & “so sexy”... absolutely made me feel desireable, loved, wanted, & YOUNG again.. It was shocking after wasted YEARS of low self esteem & being known as the fat one!
After a full month in Greece, I CRIED when I had to come home again.. hugging everyone at my favorite Taverna… receiving a bottle of native Greek wine for my trip. One of the hardest things I ever had to do was saying goodbye to a couple of loves, I had grown attached to.. Sasha & Giannis… Or waving goodbye from the port, as the ferry sailed away my cherished actress friend Esmee, back to Amsterdam…whom I had met on the island of Santorini & with whom I had spent 4 glorious days with in Mykonos!
My whole European experience was like a dream.. the kind you hated waking up from… Like a movie..I would have wanted to watch over and over and over…I came back a size 8..bringing my weight loss total to OVER 100lbs!! ( Can’t show ya the nude beach pics from Mykonos & Santorini! lol)
Back home, just in time to vote OUT Bush, that November of 2004… Yeah RIGHT!! It was anti climatic being back home..after having a different life in Europe for almost 2 months..I found myself slipping into slight depression and eating unhealthy again…not as bad as my Obese years.. but just not as conscientious of how I SHOULD have been. My psyche meds weren’t working and I was feeling unfullfilled and restless,, Instead of hitting the gym, when I got back home.. I started feeling myself slowly gaining weight & hibernating,,,I was conscious/aware of it happening,. yet I did nothing to stop it..
By 2006, after a couple of colonics, I told myself I wasn’t putting anymore JUNK in my body.. it was defeating the purpose of colonics to begin with!! I became 100% organic & a vegetarian/vegan & started doing carbs again. I gave up ALL my Psyche meds & became anti-toxins/chemicals! I THOUGHT I was eating healthy( ALL/Mostly Organic, , no animal/ dairy, no fried foods, only whole /multi grain breads/crackers, no white flour, etc..) Then late last year, I started doing seafood.. then eventually dairy .. then poultry around June of 2008… Though I was feeling better & hadn’t felt depressed, Sizes 12, 14 & 16 started creeping up again..little by little!
By late 2007, I had to start taking my dreaded Diabetes meds again, since my blood sugars were rising!
I made a 2nd trip to Italy in Late Sept, 2007. My Sister Diana & her daughter( my beautiful 19 year old neice) Amanda ( Named after yours truly!!).. were going to Italy & wanted me to go with them.
We met in Rome & I showed them the sights, ruins, the WHOLE city & then we eurorailed our way for 2 weeks to Cinque Terre ( The Italian Riviera), Florence, Venice ( part 2 of my next slide show!) & back to Rome,, I had a great time exploring this beautiful country w/ my family!
Since I was the designated photographer, there weren’t many pics of me.. besides I was up to a size 16 , & I wasn’t feeling my most “photogenic”!! (They say that size 14-16 is the average “American Woman size”..but does that mean its healthy???) Tho it was great seeing my family & Italy again.. It was a “DIFFERENT” kind of European vacation this time.. Not as “whirlwind” and “hedonistic” as my prior visit…
I am currently up to a size 18 & NOT very happy about it… My energy level has slowed down & I haven’t hit the beach OR taken pics much this year! I’m freaked out at the fact that I’ve thrown away all my “fat clothes”( sizes 18 & up) BUT I REFUSE to buy my current size 18 or higher ( I get away with it, by usually wearing lose clothes..baggy t-shirts, sweats, stretch waist long skirts & baggy gym wear)..
A couple of years ago on one of my trips down to FL, my friend Lissa from Boca, had let me borrow her book ” Living Foods for Optimum Health” by Brian Clements,. It made alot of sense about food & was very informative ..so..I eventually got my own copy. It was the 1st time I’d ever heard of the term “raw foods”.. But frankly, I wasn’t ready to give up “cooking”.. But After seeing the 10 part video called “Eating” recently , that Lissa sent me from youtube, I realized I needed to do something healthier, before I gain ALL my prior weight back..Thank You Lissa for keepng the “raw idea” in the air! I ordered & saw the “Raw for 30 days-reversing Diabetes” & “Raw For Life” Dvds & became even MORE determined and enlightened! So on August 14th, 2008, I gave up seafood, poultry & dairy ..along w/ all cooked foods … Completely 100% RAW and JUST started working out again… One thing I’ve learned about myself is that, I am one determined individual with the potential of relentless discipline.. once I set my mind & focus on something! I feel like I’ve woken up from that “fog ” once again!
Though I suffer from poor self body image, I am trying to learn how to love myself more and more..You ever notice how Loving others is sometimes easier than TRULY loving yourself!
(Stay tuned for “after” pics. once I start losing weight!! Positive thinking Amanda.. lol) I wanna get back to my former sleeker sexier self & STAY THERE This time… HEALTHIER & HAPPIER than ever!!!!! :-)
I have known NOTHING but COOKING my whole life!! I’m ONE HELL of a cook!! “Cook” being the operative word.There were only a few choice moments of praise/affirmation in my life that greatly affected my self esteem.. My singing, my cooking & when I lost all that weight. am in the process of Re-training /Erasing everything I have known about heating /cooking food, exploring recipes/preparation methods & tweaking my creative recipes into Raw meals for myself and my future raw food clients! Though I only use organic food products, currently ALL my present clients, except for one, are conventional food eaters( See my website)
I started Buddhist meditation 6 months ago & my thirst for knowledge & journey for self awareness and betterment,, is Insatiable!
I’m at a crossroads about having to “cook” meals for work…the principle of how bad it is, the guilt that I’m serving animal foods and the overall mind set is getting to me. Unfortunately, this is my ONLY income at the moment. I hope that the “raw food” info flyers, that I leave behind, w/ the meals are looked at! .. My goal is to re- do my website into a Raw menu/ info site & eventually transition to a 100% raw food clientele, ...even if it means losing my current clients!
Ya know… protruding cheekbones, a shrinking waistline, increased male attention & an improved sex life are GREAT! .. But this time, my main priority is my Health. My goal is to maintain a healthy weight & to STAY Raw for LIFE! I’m REALLY Determined to manage/reverse my Type 2 Diabetes, lose weight & STAY healthy FOR LIFE…
So any of you fellow raw foodies & ex-overweight/Diabetes individuals, who got Healthier by going raw.. PLEASE “hit me up” for inspiration and added motivation!!
I will keep you posted/updated on my progress :)
Thank you all for reading my story & for being a part of my journey! The supportive affirming comments I’ve received so far.. makes me smile ALL day.. I feel so blessed & It means more to me than you know! :)
I wish you all peace of mind….a life w/o stress… continued enlightment, spiritually, rawfully & EVERY other way!!
Update: September 1, 2008
After going completely raw on August 14th, 2008, I went off my Diabetes Meds, exactly a week after starting On August 21st!! After a couple of scary days, where my blood sugars ZOOMED Dangerously high, after having been injected w/ Prednisone, due to a Peanut allergy reaction, while taste testing my freshly made Asian peanut sauce, my blood sugars have been decreasing little by little!!
They have been COMPLETELY normal for over a week now ( 95-100 in the morning & 115-125 after dinner!!) Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
This is the FIRST time that I’ve been off my meds, w.o having to have lost 60 lbs 1st!! The last time was when I was in the process of losing all that weight & my blood sugars normalized after losing 60lbs!
I am fitting into my size 16 jeans again & I can feel the weight slowly starting to come off! I can’t WAIT to see the dimples on my cheeks again & I DON’T MEAN The ones I SIT ON!! lol … I notice I sweat PROFUSIVELY when I work out.. like I all those unhealthy toxins are just READY to come out of me..I go to the bathroom VERY regularly again ( 4-5 times a day) & I have so much energy.. its ridiculous!!