About Eating with Angela

Angela C. Buraglia
This photo of me was taken on May 16, 2010.

"Back in early 2000, Angela C. Buraglia was a makeup artist for independent film, but she needed a career that would allow her to work from home and raise her son. Although she intended only to be a web developer, life's path has led her to become that and more."

That's a snip from my professional bio. You probably don't care a lick about that though. You really want to know about me, particularly in the context of Eating with Angela -- right?

Much like you, I've been eating since birth. I prefer not to eat alone, so Eating with Angela makes a lot of sense in that context. Oh alright, I'll stop being a punk and tell the truth.

A little bit about me...

It may seem hard to believe, but I really hate writing about me. So I'll just stick to the facts. I was born May 30, 1975. I'll let you do the math! I have a son, Gaetano, who I am incredibly proud of and a fiance, Dan, who I love dearly.

I was born and raised in southern California and lived there until July 2006. I now live just north of Austin, TX and I absolutely love it here.

About my weight problems...

I love it here so much that I gained a little over 30 pounds over the first 3 years I lived in Texas. They say everything is bigger in Texas, but I didn't expect that to include me!

I tried various things to lose weight, but I have two strikes against me that make it hard to do so. First, I have a low thyroid and second, I had my gall bladder removed in September 2003. Losing weight just isn't easy for me to say the least.

On September 11, 2008 Dan proposed and I said yes. Talk about good motivation to lose weight! Being engaged is probably the most common time in a woman's life to attempt at least a little bit of weight loss. In October 2008 we bought a pair of treadmills and it seemed to me that no matter how much I walked or jogged I was not going to lose weight. I tried changing my diet and that didn't help either. The holidays came and went and I put on more pounds.

In April of 2009, after having been mistaken as pregnant (twice!) I knew I needed to get serious about my weight. I was a size 16 and if I gained any more weight, I'd be in an 18. I'd never been heavier in my entire life!

At the end of April Dan and I joined the gym and got a trainer. Joe (the trainer) kicked our butts! I worked out hard about 3 days a week on average. Sometimes it was 2 days, sometimes it was 4, but we made it there as often as we could. By August, I'd lost about 20 pounds. Trainers are expensive and we couldn't afford to keep that up forever. Luckily we'd learned enough to keep it up on our own.

School started up and life got busy again. We weren't making it to the gym often anymore. I joined Jazzercise with a friend in hopes to stay active. December was busy but I made it to class a few times. I was eating healthier and refused to let the holidays ruin all that I'd achieved so far. 

By December I'd lost a total of 29 pounds but I hit a plateau; I didn't put on any weight and I wasn't losing any weight either. Before I knew it, 2009 had passed and I'd survived the holidays without gaining any weight. That seemed like a miracle!

I made it to even fewer Jazzercise classes in January and was getting really tired of not seeing any weight loss from changing my eating habits. I knew I was going to have to make a big change, but had no idea what was in store for me. Tired of feeling deprived I was looking for something new to try, something that wasn't a "diet".

The first week in February I decided to indulge in all the things I'd deprived myself of the past 9 months. I ate whatever I wanted. One might think I "fell off the wagon" but I didn't. I was hoping it'd kick my metabolism into action again. I gained 4 pounds that week!

"I'm not on a diet; I'm eating well."

Mom and dad, if you're reading this, you can stop now. It's boring I assure you. You won't be interested, you know the story because you watched it all unfold in real life. (I can't believe you read this far.) I think the dog is barking, go check on him...

I'm going to back up to the end of January for a moment... It was then that my mom mentioned to me that she saw some cookbook on a talk show (probably Oprah) that was full of 500 calorie recipes. She said she wanted this cookbook but couldn't remember the name of it and wanted to know if I'd heard of it. I had no clue what she was talking about, but I went to the book store to see if I could find it for her -- well, for my dad since it was almost his birthday.

I found EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners and 2 other EatingWell cookbooks. I bought two copies of the 500 Calorie Dinners cookbook - one for me and one for mom. Let's face it, even though the cookbook was a gift for dad, mom was going to be the one cooking from it for him so it was really a gift for them both. I also bought EatingWell's Comfort Foods Made Healthy and EatingWell for a Healthy Heart. I wasn't even really sure what I was going to do with the cookbooks just yet, how useful they'd be to me.

It was around the same time that Dan decided to try p90x -- you've probably seen the infomercials for it but in case you haven't, it is a really intense work out system that when combined with eating the right amount of calories, you lose weight and get tone within 90 days. I figured I'd give it a try too and the cookbooks would help with the eating part since the few recipes p90x had in its brochures were not enough for me to choose from.

We decided that we'd give my dad the 500 Calorie Dinners cookbook. We'd tell my parents that we're starting p90x and we can't visit for dinner unless they cook from the cookbook. That way we would know what we were eating and could track calories easily. I would cook for them too when they visit and if they liked what I cooked they'd have the recipe already. (Mom & Dad, I said stop reading this!)

I also bought dad a cookbook that was focused on low-salt eating, which is what my dad really needed. Between the two books and seeing Dan and I start taking our health more seriously, I hoped it might inspire my parents to do the same. My parents didn't seem to really understand how serious we were and they asked if we were really going to only eat from the cookbook for 90 days. If I said no, my plan to get them eating healthier might fail. I did what any 1/2 Greek daughter would do and said, "Yes!" Now I had to do this or I'd be lying...

The proof is in the pudding...

I knew that in order for me to keep my word and stick with it, I'd have to make myself accountable somehow. I decided to photograph what I made and I was going to show mom and dad how good everything was so that they'd want to eat what I made. I tweeted about p90x and the EatingWell recipe I was trying  and that seemed a good way to hold myself accountable. Now the twitterverse knew what I was up to, so I had to keep it up.

Concerned that twitpic.com might not be the best place for my pictures, I decided to put them up on facebook. I knew facebook wasn't the right place either but as busy as I was I just couldn't take the time to put up a new blog. (I have another blog, but all the food talk didn't fit with its theme.) For the time being, facebook was the best choice I had. I figured I'd move it to my own blog as soon as I could, hopefully in a few weeks. That didn't happen though; I was too busy cooking and working out!

I was sore every single day from p90x. It was absolutely miserable. I kept up with eating the right amount of calories but had to face reality; I wasn't ready for an exercise routine that aggressive. We lasted at p90x for about 3 weeks. I was in a bit of denial, saying every day that I'd start back at p90x in a couple days. I switched back to Jazzercise instead but even that was hard to keep up with. Before long, I was not working out more than once a week.

Still, from the first week I started, I saw far better results than I did with a trainer at the gym! Even without exercise, I was losing weight. Since I lost my gall bladder in 2003, I have never lost weight with just changes in eating habits. This was AMAZING!

My goals...

Initially I had one goal and that was to eat dinners in under 500 Calories. As time went by, more goals emerged. Over the 90 days my goals were :

  • to only cook dinners from the EatingWell cookbooks or website
  • keep dinners with dessert under 500 calories
  • always eat at least one EatingWell recipe per day
  • avoid eating out as much as possible; keep it to special occasions
  • Learn to eat left overs (which were always EatingWell recipes since that's all I made for dinners)
  • Make at least 45 recipes in 90 days

I'm please to say that I did all of the above, with only one meal being about 650 calories but I'd had 150 less calories during the day to make up for it. I made 50 EatingWell recipes in 90 days! Mom made two EatingWell recipes for us and one where she didn't invite us. Some nerve, I tell ya...

My weight loss...

In 90 days, I lost 14 pounds. It's been an incredible journey that has turned into a lifestyle change. I've learned how to eat healthy and lose weight.

In these 90 days I've never felt deprived, nor have I denied myself the foods I had been denying myself. I ate dessert: Tiramisu, Chocolate-Swirled Brownies, Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Carrot Cake and more. I ate pasta: Fettucini Alfredo, Skillet Gnocchi, Athenian Pasta Primavera, and other yummy pasta recipes.

Often it felt like I was eating at gourmet restaurants, having meals I never thought to cook before. I've never had so much variety in my daily diet and it's been great not having the same old same old all the time.

In one year, I've lost 40 pounds. Just one year ago I was squeezing into a size 16. Well now I can squeeze into a size 8!

I still have roughly 15 pounds to go though, so my journey is far from over yet. My goal is to be a comfortable size 6.That may take 10 pounds, it may take 15. It is less about the weight at this point and more about my shape and how clothes fit.

UPDATE (7/26/2010): I got married on July 10th, 2010 and lost a total of 51 pounds! I'm a comfy size 6 and even fit into some size 4's.

UPDATE (12/10/2010): I put 7 pounds back on since being back from the honeymoon and falling out of my routine. I just need to start working out again. My new goal is to fit into my size 4 jeans well enough that if I put on 4 pounds they wouldn't be too tight. I think 120 to 125 pounds should do it.

UPDATE (05/02/2012): My weight has changed since my last update because I haven't put for the effort to do so. (At least I haven't gained any weight!) Summer is coming and I'm starting to feel like it's time to do something about that last bit of weight as I approach our second wedding anniversary. Can I do it? Yes, if I put for the effort. Will I do it? Stay tuned...

Why blog...

First, I'm seriously annoyed that facebook has been losing the pictures I post. Second, it is a pain to post the pictures on facebook and organize them. Third and most importantly, I really love cooking and want to share this experience with others. I've learned so much in these 90 days and it is only the beginning. I've learned so much from other people online about so many topics. It's time to give back a little.

What you can expect from my blog...

I'm not entirely sure what this blog will involve into just yet, but here are some of my ideas so far.

  • continue sharing photos and comments about the EatingWell recipes I've tried
  • talk about some of my my favorite foods, snacks, drinks, desserts, food-related products, etc.
  • sharing what's worked for me in terms of my weight loss and overall health (call those tips if you'd like)
  • point out restaurants that have foods that I enjoy ("healthy" or not!)
  • share some of my own recipes

I'm excited to share my "journey" with you. I hope you enjoy watching me morph into a smaller me, that's healthier and happier than ever before.