November 21, 2011

I need thicker skin

I feel so fortunate to have such amazing readers that are so positive. I'm such a sensitive person, and I don't handle criticism very well. That is one of the reasons I don't advertise my blog--I'm afraid that if I have too many readers, some of them will start to be critical or I'll have people leave me critical comments. It's a fear I really need to get over. I can be myself on my blog, and I think I just fear that if people criticize, it means they don't like ME.

Today, I noticed that my pumpkin brownie recipe was posted on the Dr. Oz Show website. It's not even a "real" recipe, just something I throw together sometimes--a box of brownie mix + a can of pumpkin + a couple tablespoons of peanut butter swirled on top. It gives me a chocolate-peanut butter fix with a little extra fiber from the pumpkin. (Oh, and FYI-- the food stylist added the lemon zest completely on her own--I would never add lemon zest to my brownies!)

When I told the producers about the brownies, they loved that idea and wanted to use that on the show. A food stylist made them and they looked amazing. I talked about them for a minute on the show (which was cut out). I also talked about how you don't have to eat healthy food 100% of the time in order to lose weight. That I ate healthy all day long, but always allowed for an indulgent (read: junky) dessert at night. I managed to lose 125 pounds doing this, and never thought anything of it.
These were my brownies and wine part of the show that was cut

So today, when I read the comments that were posted on the recipe on the website, a lot of people were critical about it being a boxed brownie mix and not from scratch--and that brownies from scratch are so much healthier. I get that--I totally understand that we should avoid processed foods--but those people have no clue all the other sacrifices I made to get healthy. I used to eat ice cream by the half-gallon, M&M's by the one-pound bag... so it was hard to read people being critical of my making a healthier version of a boxed brownie mix.

I think the producers liked the idea because it was so simple--not everyone wants to make brownies from scratch! People like simplicity, and this was an easy way to make a healthier brownie. NOT a "healthy" brownie... but a "healthier" one.

I could NEVER be a celebrity--I don't have thick enough skin for it! I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to read things in tabloids about myself. I feel bad for the celebrities that have to deal with it all the time. They must have very thick skin!

If I may ask, PLEASE don't try and defend me (or even mention me) in the comments on the recipe page--Jerry wanted to so badly when he saw that I was crying while reading them. It would just make me feel worse. I wrote one comment, and left it at that. I'm just not going to read any more of the comments about it!

I'm really starting to feel soooo lazy. My legs are aching to run, and I can almost feel the muscles turning to Jello. I'm going to give it the full six weeks recovery, but I think I'll ask the doctor if I can at least walk slowly on the dreadmill every day. Then I won't feel like I'm doing NOTHING.

I'm going to post a weigh-in on Wednesday. My doctor said that I shouldn't even look at the scale for weeks after surgery because I'll be so swollen, but I am expecting that, so it's okay to see the number. I haven't been bingeing, and I've been focusing on eating tons of protein to heal as fast as possible. I'm not in any rush to lose weight, so it is what it is.

I actually feel like I could be happy at the weight I've been maintaining for over a year--145ish. Now that my belly skin is gone, my clothes will fit so much better. I don't feel any pressure to reach a certain number (because of the People magazine goal being non-existant now). My sole focus is going to be on eating "normally", exercising for health and fitness, and setting some other goals.

Since my 30th birthday is in January, I am going to compile a list of small goals to accomplish in my 30th year--30 goals, of course.  I used to have a 30x30 list (30 goals to accomplish before I turned 30) and I actually DID accomplish all the major ones. The others seemed unimportant, so I stopped marking them off. I'm going to pick 30 simple and meaningful goals for my 30th year.

For those of you that were asking about whether my Dr. Oz segment was going to be available online, it is! I posted the links here.


  1. This is all I have to say--You can bake brownies from scratch??? What the Hell is Betty Crocker for???

  2. @dupster

    AHAHAHA, Pam, I love you! That comment made my day!

  3. Oh my gosh, seriously? People were dissing brownies from a box?
    PUH-LEAZE!!!!!!!!! Individuals are awesome. The general public sucks. Remember that.
    Its easy to get on a message board and try to pretend you are all perfect but unless these people are growing their own organic wheat, corn, fruit, vegetable and tending to their home grown, organic fed cattle, pigs and chickens in their back yard and then using them/it all to make everything they eat from scratch...well...then they are full of shit and need to shut up. Convenience foods are part of our lives and our culture and are perfectly acceptable in appropriate quantities. To pretend otherwise is simply ludicrous. Screw em, Katie. Don't waste your tears.

  4. There are some miserable people out there that are unable to feel better unless they are putting others down. I know it isn't fair, but it is true. I suggest you sit down and write yourself a letter of how you are currently feeling and how these comments make you feel. Then put it away in the bottom of your sock drawer. Put a reminder in your calendar for 3 months from today to pull out that letter and reread it. After you are done writing your letter about how you are feeling, write 10 things you are thankful for, and put that on the refrigerator. Everyday for the next 3 months try to find another thing to add to your list.

    You are a very positive, supportive, inspiring and wonderful person. Please don't let them get to you. I am so proud of you, as I know everyone else who comes here is as well.


  5. It's great that some people have the time and inclination to always make things from scratch, or spend literally hours at the gym & other extreme workouts, but I for one am glad that you are REAL and have accomplished so much being who you are. It gives me a lot of hope that I can do this being myself too.

  6. Oh man, Katie - I know the feeling. When I had an article on AOL Health, some of the commenters were so horrible to me. Things like how I must have skin like a sharpei under my clothes, and that my thighs were big and that I needed a boob job. That really hurt and felt like I was back in grade school with the bullies.

    I think you just have to think that whatever someone says about you or what you do really is not a reflection of you, but of them.

    And really, if you said you made the brownies from scratch, then they would have bitched that you didn't use your own chicken eggs from the back yard or grind your own cocoa.

  7. Hi Katie, thank you for being you, and sharing with us. We (okay, so I'm speaking for the crowd, but I think they would agree) think you are pretty awesome. As far as stupid people on the internet go, glutenfreegirl had an excellent post a while back on letting go of the hate, and living life proudly:

  8. Well you can't argue with success and you have certainly been tremendously successful! :)

    I have a friend who says that when you step out and show leadership, there will always be people who criticize you. She is absolutely right. It is much harder to find solutions than to criticize.

  9. Thirteen months ago, I had an interview with the NY Times because of something I said in my blog about how my kids had outgrown picture books, even though my youngest was six years old - he was just an early reader. When the journalist talked to me, she said she was writing an article on the decline of picture book sales and how picture books weren't as necessary in modern publishing. She just asked me questions about my kids - when they started reading, that sort of thing. What I didn't know was that her angle for the article was that parents were forcing their kids to read earlier to live up to some middle-class standard, and were not allowing them to read picture books anymore, hence sales dying out. She used a joke I made about my youngest being a reluctant reader (because he prefers to be active than to do any sit-down activity, from reading to watching TV) as the only quote from me, and used my full name and my son's name, and the name of my blog. Overnight, I went from a moderate blog that got 350-500 hits a day, to one that got over 10,000 a day (I guess I should have had ad sense on!!). I wrote up a response to the article, and people were overwhelmingly supportive once they read my side of the story, but the 300 or so comments on the NY Times article were mostly derogatory. I got emails from people saying my kids should be taken away from me, people sending me death threats, that sort of thing. It was really scary for awhile, because despite being from a big city, I'm the only person in town with my first and last name. I'm easy to find. And people DID become uber critical on my blog. The weekend following the article was the 24-hour Readathon, which is a big event in the book blogging world. A lot of us get together and read as many books as we can before we fall asleep. I had people who didn't know what the Readathon was about (a tribute to a book blogger who died a few years ago) coming to tell me about how I shouldn't be reading for sport or competition, etc etc. It was awful. You saw how I switched up blogs several times this summer until I'm now is a relatively anonymous place - that's why. It's why I gave up writing and the dream of publishing for a year, why I quit wanting to be associated at all with The Zen Leaf (which was still getting hits from the NY Times article when I deleted the blog in August). I think I have relatively thick skin, but that was well more than I can handle.

    I'm sharing all this because I understand what it feels like to have people attack you online on an outside website because of something good you're trying to do. *hugs*

  10. Your blog is such an inspiration to me. I just started reading this last week its a daily stop for me as motivation to keep me moving. I have almost the exact same stats as you did in the beginning. Its shocking but a little comforting to know that someone who has accomplished so much gets her feelings hurt. Having your feelings hurt is normal but the healthy thing is you can reflect on it, a lot if people cant. I grew up in home where you couldnt be sad or cry...I wonder why I started eating my emotions :)?

    I cook for a living and I dont make brownies from scratch!

  11. I, for one, can't wait to go get your recipe and use it. Might even share it with the family for Thanksgiving. Thank you for being real and so sorry for the pain that comes along with it, but hopefully, deep down, you know that the supporters outweigh the haters. And maybe some of them will even try your recipe and enjoy it! There are a LOT of us out there who read your blog religiously and don't comment. Know that we are there and we applaud all you are doing to make healthy lifestyle a REAL and ATTAINABLE goal. Thank you thank you thank you! (And Amanda, after reading your comments, I totally want to read your blog! You deserve support too!) I am so thankful people like yall (yes, from the south) are putting yourselves out there to lend support to others. Such a blessing!!

  12. OnceUponADreamNovember 21, 2011

    The thing is, no matter what aspect of life you walk in, envitably there will be the jerks along the way. The ones that x isn't good enough for or find something wrong y, because they are something missing in their lives.
    Those jerks do not define you or who you are. But by their own behavior, they are only defining their own pettiness and lack of fulfillment in their lives.

    And yeah, I've been there too. I had a crazy seller put me on blast to every message board manageable with my full name and email, because I wouldn't refund her for her buyers remorse. Claiming crazy things that anyone would knew me would scoff at, but those who didn't of course, wouldn't know better. And man, the comments from some of those people..

    But in the end, they didn't define me, and they wont define you either.

    You are too good of a person for such things. And anyone who reads your blog for more than 2 seconds knows that. Just keep being you, and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.

  13. People are stupid.....seriously! F em! : )

  14. When those people are on the Dr. Oz show they can feel free to share their from scratch brownie recipes.

    Me? I can't wait to try your pumpkin brownies! I've done the can of pumpkin with spice cake mix and it was so good.

  15. I wanted to write a comment on the Dr Oz site, but won't since you asked us not to.

    I thought that I would try to help you out (sorry if this is the wrong thing to do!) by giving you some stats to help you put it into perspective...

    There are 28 comments on the page (not including yours). Only 6 comments are "negative". That means that there were 22 people who liked your recipe, were looking forward to trying it and thanked you for sharing it! That's 78%!!! That's 22 people who are grateful for your help.

    That's not saying that you shouldn't have been upset by it. They're your feelings and your feelings are never wrong. But please don't feel bad about it. The Internet can be harsh sometimes and it sucks!

    Emma (Australia!)

  16. I've been sort of lurking on your blog for awhile, and wanted to say, you are a great writer and blogger. I think your food ideas are fantastic! So what if you use a boxed mix, there are only about a billion options for boxed mixes.

    I have a blog too, and what I have found is that unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will use spread nastiness whenever they can. Please don't let that change how you write or what you write about, or let it change any other goals that you have. I really like your blog and look forward to reading it. Keep up the good work!

  17. Wow, I' surprised people were upset by that recipe! Try to remember that their comments are not meant as a personal attack on you. I left a nice comment under your recipe with my two cents.

    Seeing the negative comments some of your readers left here (calling posters on the Dr. Oz site 'stupid,' 'pathetic,' and 'jerks) really made me sad. Should we really be insulting a bunch of strangers who voiced their dislike for a recipe?

  18. hey Katie,
    Thankyou SO much for posting the links to your spot on Dr Oz so that people like me in spain can see it.It honestly made me cry (don't worry...happy crying for you!!).You looked so beautiful and inspiring there.I have now lost 50 pounds since I've been on Spark,but it was your video that made me join and you continue to be an inspiration.
    So pleased that you're healing well from your op.You look great already even if you do have inflammation,although I have to say that I didn't think you looked as bad as you thought before either.I think my saggy skin is going to be double at least as it's on an older body and I have belly droop from a cesaerean section.Still,you look and are fabulous.
    And I think people critising the brownie mix thing were missing the point.If you're not prepared to spend the rest of your life slaving away in a kitchen (or eating salad ;) ) you don't do it now.Positive changes that you can stick with forever.
    See you on spark.

  19. I haven't read all of the comments yet, but all I could think of is "You can't argue with stupid." Also, most hate comes from jealousy- they are jealous you lost all of your weight; they are jealous you ate brownies while doing it; they are jealous because you were on the Dr. Oz show since you lost all your weight WHILE eating box-mix brownies! They feel bad about themselves and so must make you or anyone else with "more" than them to feel the same. Don't fret over it. It could have been ANYTHING and they would have had something to say about it. So when someone criticizes you, just think "I must be doing something right."

  20. @Amanda

    Amanda, I've seen you reference the NY Times incident before, but I never knew the details--and I didn't want to overstep any boundaries by asking. I think it's awful that you were attacked by something taken out of context and used against you. And that not only effects you, but your kids as well! I completely understand why you shut your blog down--I would probably do the same thing.

    Thanks for sharing the story!

  21. Katie,
    A brownie from scratch would never be made in my kitchen. A healthier version of a brownie from a box will happen. Thank you.
    The trade off to brownies from scratch might mean less time with your kids or running, so stay with what works for your whole balanced life. You are doing what is best for you and your family.


  22. Screw those commenters. You are right about people wanting simplicity. They have not been in your shoes and if they have the time and money to make brownies from scratch then good for them, but I and several others DON'T! Your recipe sounds awesome and I'm making them for Thanksgiving to share with my family. I turn 30 next year too, so I think I'll also make a list. You're wonderful Katie and you inspire so many other just by being you...and don't you forget it. We love you!

  23. Wow, Katie! I haven't been online much lately (had some family drama), and I can't believe how much I missed! Surgery, newspaper, Dr. are one busy, beautiful woman!

    Congrats on all the good stuff, and try to ignore the bad stuff. Having thin skin isn't a bad thing. You just have to work harder to ignore the bad stuff.

    I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving!

  24. This broke my heart and I'm glad you told us not to get on the website and add comments because that is what I was going to do but I didn't because you asked us not to! The reason I love that recipe is because it is easy! I am a mom to 3 kids and I babysit so I don't have a lot of time to do everything by the book! If it wasn't for quick and easier recipes like yours and other ones I have found on sparkpeople I wouldn't have lost the weight that I have! I'm sorry that those people made you sad but I along with a ton of other people think you are such an inspiration and I'm very thankful for your blog and your recipes! Thank you for being the person you are and sharing your life with us! Hugs!

  25. I agree with the comments above! I rarely make brownies so those NOT in a box would never be made in this house. I don't feel the need to MarthaStewart it up like that even if I did have the time.

    I'm so sorry that the comments have upset you. People really do suck. I adore the internet, but the anonymity of it has given mean girls and bullies another place to spew their hatred. I think they're jealous of your success or have such self-loathing that they just lash out at others to make themselves feel better. Try not to take it personally. I know it's hard but they don't know you and are doing the same to others' recipes, ideas, opinions because they can. I'm not defending them, but THEY are the people with issues, the issue is not with you.

    I write online consumer reviews and every day I get comments from total random strangers telling me that I'm nuts for loving/hating something, accusing me of being an employee of whatever product I've reviewed, or even accuse me of having never used it. People just really suck, but you do not. Hugs.


  26. Katie,

    I know the comments were hurtful but remember how much you help the rest of us who really appreciate you.

    Keep up the good work and have a great Thanksgiving! You look wonderful!


  27. Hi Katie! My name is Taylor and I just think you're amazing! I also have 2 boys (16 mo) apart and I could never lose the weight but after finding your blog a week ago I decided to start changing my life! My first weigh in is tomorrow but I wanted to thankyou and tell you that you may have ppl who criticize you but you have MORE ppl who love you and stand behind you! Those are the only ppl that matter! Keep it up and thankyou for being an inspiration to us all!

  28. I just checked out your recipe and read all of the comments. Most all of them are very positive. I think lots of people will be trying them out in some form or another. :) Including me.

  29. You and I are kindred spirits. I don't advertise or even have a contact form because I had one up for 1 day and the first email I got was some hump reaming me.

    Let me tell ya something though, you could give someone a million dollars and they'd gripe about the taxes they have to pay on it or how many people came out of the woodwork or why only 1 million and not 2. I can't say ignore the idiots because I'd be a hypocrite but I can confidently say the good people out there outweigh the bad and those who choose to gripe about something as trivial as homemade vs. from scratch can sit on their high horses and mill their own flour from wheat they've harvested from their backyard while the rest of us are enjoying your brownies that have already been baked and cooled so pffft! ;)

  30. The world is a funny place. In Germany, we don`t get canned pumpkin. We HAVE to buy the whole pumpkin and do all the work so we can have a simple pumpkin soup. Or pumpkin brownies, for that matter :-) believe me, if there was an already-made pumpkin mix, I would use it! I do make brownies from scratch (about once a year, hehe) but I just can`t get over the fact that people are actually upset about something like this...don`t we have enough problems in this world?!
    Anyway, keep going and stay the way you are....that's how we love you!

  31. My mother always told me "opinions are like assholes, everybody has one". People will always feel free to give their opinion and be overly critical just cause they can. It seems like people rarely think before they speak (or type in this case) these days and like some of the other posts have already said it's is very easy for someone to hide behind the computer and rid someone to shreds because it makes them feel superior. Just pop your collar and brush those comments to the side. The reason people love you and follow you is because you are just like us, you aren't holier than thou and you are real boxed mixed and all :) ((hugs!!))

  32. Ppl pick because it’s easy to do when you’re not in the situation or when you don’t want to reflect on yourself. This is your take on a recipe…they can make it any way they want in their kitchen. Think skin wouldn’t help ppl will find a way to judge…I’m sorry your having to deal with it. Stop reading is a good idea and keep going. Don’t let other ppl dictate how your feel.

  33. The anonymity of the internet makes people very brave, indeed. They say things they would never even dream of saying if they saw you in person. In those cases, I just ignore them.

    Box brownies are DA BOMB. :o) Tricking them up with pumpkin & peanut butter? Mmmm!

  34. Kaite,
    I have not read any of the other comments, but you are amazing! If people want to make brownies from scratch then good for them! You have worked your butt off (literally) and maintained by doing it your way. You have never said that you are a food specialist and have been nice enough to share your tips and journey with everyone. Don't let others get to you, YOU ARE AMAZING! You are right, those people don't know your struggles, and the fact that you can have brownies in your house at all and have control is better than a lot of people.
    I am glad you are finding your "happy" weight. Some times our bodies have a different idea of what is healthy than we do. You look gorgeous and are a fit person. Find what works for you and stick with that. ((Hugs))

  35. Hi Katie-
    My name is Amy and I am from Michigan too. I have been following your blog for quite a while. I just want to tell you that you are inspiring. I have a large amount of weight to lose and you have helped me believe it is something I can do, even on a limited budget.
    If people want to make brownies from scratch then that's wonderful. I personally don't like cooking and baking all that much. I am trying to be better but it's a struggle sometimes and quick, easy and healthier are music to my ears. Even Rachael Ray isn't afraid to "take a little help from the store" now and then and she "is" a food guru. ;) Keep on shining and ignore the negativity.

  36. Katie- I hate that these idiots have you upset!!!! I haven't looked at them yet, but I can just imagine what some morons said!!! I am continually shocked at the comments that people put on websites, it is ridiculous!!!
    I wanted to tell you that I referred my first person to SP because of you today!!!! I was talking to ladies at MOPS this AM, and someone brought up Dr. Oz, and I mentioned you and SP, and she joined!!!! Yay!!! You are such a positive person and have "rubbed off" on SO many people!!!!!

  37. Your pumpkin brownies with peanut butter atop recipe is very similiar to a Hungry Girl recipe, maybe that's how you discovered this yummy delight? Either way, its simple, delicious and easy on the waistline.

    Opinions are like a**holes, everybodys got one. Quite a while ago I made a decision to stop worrying about what other people think of me, and it was one of the best decisions I EVER made. People who make rude/snide comments typically do so to feel better about themselves, and forget what they said two minutes later. Don't let it get to you. Easier said than done? Nah!

  38. I think your recipe is great. Sure it's healthier to make them from scratch but not everyone has the time or is willing to do that. I think it's unfair that they shared your recipe but cut out the part where you talked about it because I don't think people would be critical of it if they knew what we know.

    Anyhoo, I'm like you when it comes to criticism but in this case the criticism is coming from the people NOT knowing you personally or your reasons behind the specific recipe. I know it's hard to read negative things but do your best to keep it in perspective. *hugs*

  39. Katie, I want to try your recipe! I ALSO use a mix to make my brownies...I use applesauce instead of oil and they come out great. Don't worry about what anyone thinks.


  40. Im so thankful you are 'real'!!! Makes me feel more real!! I love walking this journey with you! YOu have inspired me and so many others!! Thankyou!!

  41. I LOVE boxed brownies, and I really love your idea to put pumpkin in them! Such a great idea for dessert. Plus I really love the idea that you can look forward to a real dessert and still lose the amount of weight that you did! Screw those people, you've got us!

  42. You shouldn't feel like you have to justify yourself at any point in time! I hate that people made you feel that way. It's your recipe and people should be greatful that it is shared for others to enjoy. If someone has an issue with the contents then they can change it and move on, but don't feel like you did ANYTHING wrong or to be sad about.

    It has to be difficult putting yourself out there every day in this blog, but just remember that for every person with negative things to say there are at least 3 who you've had a positive impact on! Everyone here thinks you are an inspiration and a rockstar. Screw the haters! :-)

    P.S. As much as it pains me I won't leave any negative comments on the recipe page. HAHA!!!

  43. Uh. Yeah. Totally gonna have to try that recipe. Yum!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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