One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Sick as a Dog and Watching Paula

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Boy does being sick suck! I canceled classes today and actually slept for hours. I needed it but I still feel like crap. Throat, head, chills, fever, you name it.

So what do I do bundled on my couch? I watch the Food Network of course!

Now I love Paula Dean as much as the next ‘wanna be home cook’ but today I saw her do something, well, insane is the only world I can think it. Imagine this (but DON’T get any ideas now) an 8 oz burger (not even lean) topped with a fried egg, 2 slices of bacon and, get this, 2 glazed donuts used as the bun. COME ON! I mean I love being creative in the kitchen as much as the next guy but that is just ridiculous! Don’t believe me? I found the write up on her web site. It’s called the Lady’s Brunch Burger.

Now, I kind of see the evil genius in this idea but with all the health issues and weight problems isn’t this just going a bit too far. I mean the burger she made on that show was over 1,200 calories.  And it wasn’t the only dish for the event, she also made cheese laden grits, and, get this, a “light” yogurt parfait.  

I also read an article in Prevention yesterday about how average restaurant dishes are actually around 4 portions! And to make it worse our mentality is that, that’s a good thing. Like we are getting more for our money or something.

When will we realize we need to be more aware.  Many of us go through life wondering why we have a weight problem when we skip breakfast, eat lunch out and then order dinner in. We think we are only eating 3 meals a day. What we don’t realize is the lunch at the local burger joint probably had enough calories for 3 people and then we topped it off with 2-3 slices of pizza for dinner each with more then 2 ounces of cheese. Not to mentioned the calorie laden soft drinks, coffees and snack we mindless munch on in the office.

Sorry I didn’t mean to get preachy, but watching Paula make that sandwich reminded me about how I used to eat. I was that person who wondered why it was so hard.

All I know is, just like Paula, I like to feed people. It’s the way I show them I care. But, unlike her, I want to feed them good healthy food that nourishes their body not burgers on glazed donuts.

Sorry Paula, I still love you but please ease up on the “stick of butter”.

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There are 59 comments so far.


    February 25, 2008

    I completely agree 100% with the portions concept. People in the US associate normal portions with “small and overpriced.”

    There’s this great health food restaurant near where we live that a friend refuses to go to because it’s “expensive for what you get.”

    It is MORE than a full meal, I’d say 1.5x what you should be having, but small compared to what you’d get at The Outback.


    February 25, 2008

    Why the heck do we migrate right to the food network? I do it all the time if there’s nothing else on.


    February 25, 2008

    Uh oh, sounds like you’ve got what I have too! Ended up being the real flu, mixed in with a little tonsillitis.

    And about that burger…I’m actually surprised it’s ONLY 1200 calories. Sounds pretty crazy. I still have my “fat kid” moments where I just want to eat bad stuff constantly. I had it really bad when I was sick last week, and even ate McDonald’s a couple times. I really do wish those bad cravings would go away.


    February 25, 2008

    Amen, sister. I love Paula Dean, but for me she serves as a reminder of the way I never want to cook for my crowd (or myself). Ever.


    February 25, 2008

    Ellie Krieger all the way!!!! Woo!


    February 25, 2008

    The portions ARE getting crazy! But I see myself adapt to the size and I always end up eating way more than if I was eating at home. Ba humbug.

    That burger sounds crazy! But there was no picture on her recipe page. Maybe that’s a good thing? (Could you imagine eating that?!)

    I hope you feel better soon- but enjoy the time off!


    February 26, 2008

    Whoa…even as someone who LOVES cheeseburgers, that sounds revolting!


    February 26, 2008

    Hi Roni. I love Paula too. I love watching her, I love her recipes, I love her accent, I love her (period).
    However, recently I have seen her going over the edge so the Donut Burger does not surprise me.
    Not long ago, I saw her batter and deep fry a baked cake. HUH!!! She took a baked single layer cake, dipped it in batter and threw it in the deep fryer. OMG!!! (as my daughter would say).
    I still love her, I just don’t think I’m making many of her recipes as I used to.
    Someone mentioned Ellie Krieger. I love watching her too. I haven’t seen as many things of hers that I want to cook, but she is very entertaining to watch and I get some good basic ideas from her.
    As for not feeling well, I hope you can relax and get better soon. It seems to be going around right now
    (and we’re not even in the same state).



    February 26, 2008

    I love Paula Dean too…but her cooking is too much for me. I watched one show where she made Butter Burgers. She chopped up a stick of butter and addid it to her hamburgers…then topped them with cheese and other goodies.


    February 26, 2008

    Totally agree on the portion thing – and what what makes it harder is when you are the kind of person who is pre-programmed to clear their plate no matter what!
    It’s a matter of education (its frightening how small an actual portion of pasta or bread is compared to what you’d often chow down on) and re-programming. It’s slow but not impossible.
    As a side note – in Scotland we have a great tradition of deep frying food. Fish, chips, sausages, pizza, mars bars, bounty bars….I have even seen deep fried cake on some take away menus….no wonder we are the heart attack capital of Europe!!


    February 26, 2008

    We were in Charleston, SC Saturday & every time I ordered grits they were horribly tasteless! Nothing like a place we get them here. Of course, for us, the creamy cheese grits & she crab soup are a treat, not a staple as they are in many southern homes.

    While in Savannah this weekend (where Paula is from) I actually saw a shirt that read, “Body by Lady & Sons.” The guy was pretty average looking, not too large, not too built, but I just found it odd that he would have on a shirt that read that.

    Ahhh, glad to be back in N Florida. :-) I hope you get better!


    February 26, 2008

    Food Network is addictive, let’s face it. And yesterday in a Rachael Ray segment – now mind you, I am NOT a Rachael-basher, in fact I like her – but when she poured melted BUTTER over baked (frozen) French fries, even I had to admit she’d crossed a line.


    February 26, 2008

    As much as I love watching Paula… MOST of the things she makes really don’t appeal to me. And when you described that burger – “I threw up in my mouth a little”. That (to me) does not sound good in the least bit! And as for portion sizes – people look at me weird when I order a kids meal, but I don’t want all that food, nor do I want it to go to waste! Charge me whatever you want, but I just want a kids portion!


    February 26, 2008

    I have spent years with a schizophrenic need to both be Paula and Ellie in the kitchen. I know how to do Paula’s style…add the butter, fry it, season it well…make sure there are multiple selections at each meal…and send them away full and happy, praising your cooking all the way to the couch where they have to sleep it off. I’ve had to learn how to be Ellie…keep the flavor but make it healthy…smaller portions…fewer items on the table…being true to the cuisine without killing my guests with kindness. I love her, but Paula seems to take pride in tweaking her nose at reasonable eating!

    Feel better and keep yourself hydrated…it really helps!


    February 26, 2008

    Ha, good ol’ Paula, she never fails to make me feel a little bit sicker and bigger just from watching her shows. She seems to do it to be scandalous, too. I don’t know if she regularly eats that way because she’s actually not as heavy as she COULD be.

    As Alton Brown once said “If you’re so concerned, why not drive PAST some of those drive-thrus?” ;)


    February 26, 2008

    I too am a Paula fan, I love her. I made many of her recipes prior to my WW lifestyle. I have to say though, here lately I have seen her go over the top with some of her creations. I watched her one day batter bread and deep fry a slap of her mac and cheese. If that wasn’t enough, she also did the same thing to cheese cake slices. How much more offensive do those foods need to be? A Burger between glazed donuts though? Wow! That tops all! Doesn’t even sound good! I Still love her though! ;-)

    February 26, 2008

    Hi Roni-I’ve seen that post-disgusting to say the least!! I find a lot of her cooking to be gross, b/c it uses so much fat-laden ingredients. Love Paula-dislike her food ideas…

    Anywhoo-I’m sick too-wondering, when do you feel you are still sick, but better enough to go back to working out? I usually make the mistake of going back too soon-and then I’m sick again! Bad cycle…I think I need advice. Got any??


    February 26, 2008

    Hey! I saw that episode last night and when I saw the burger I was in shock! I agree, that’s just too much and it also reminds me when I used to eat that way. Plus doughnuts are a tigger food for me anyway. Eating that way should be against the law! LOL!!


    February 26, 2008

    Hi Roni! I read everyday but have never posted before but just had to…I love the Food Network but Paula does over do it. If she would make great meals made healthy she would still have a good show.

    As for the portion control, my husband and I went to Olive Garden a couple of weeks ago. Before we went I pulled off the nutritional information and figured out the points. I ended up eating the Shrimp Primavera with whole wheat linguine for a whopping 18 grams of fat and 706 calories. Hardly looks healthy and there is NO portion control. Fortunately, I only ate half of it but CRAZY!!! Oh, and I didn’t see the value because I ended up leaving the other half since we were heading to the movie theater.


    February 26, 2008

    Hi Roni, I love Paula too, but some of her food is outrageous. That burger is almost as bad as the FRIED BUTTER she made on Her Paula’s Party Show. She actually breaded a stick of butter and then fried it!!


    February 26, 2008

    Paula is great, but more often than not I’m disgusted by how she cooks. Your stick of butter comment is totally right, everything she makes is LOADED with butter and fat. Gross.


    February 26, 2008

    That is awful!! I can’t imagine that being tasty to anyone.

    I hope you feel better…I had the flu shot and the flu…they missed the mark this year! :(


    February 26, 2008

    OH MY GOODNESS!! I SAW THIS!! I saw Paula Dean make this and I could not believe it. It didn’t even sound good at all. Of course I am not a huge donut fan. I mean who ever thought of using donuts as buns. CRAZY!! YUCK!!

    Scrumpy's Baker

    February 26, 2008

    Feel better soon!

    I used to like Paula in the old days. Now, I get the sense that she has run out of actual recipes and it basically just going for the shock factor.

    Now, Barefoot Contessa… I’d like to be her house girl for a month and soak up her lifestyle.


    February 26, 2008

    I saw that episode too and this is the last place I thought I would find comments about that sandwich. I couldn’t even stomach watching her make it, let alone the two of them taking a big bite out of the massive heart attack waiting to happen.

    It’s a joke around our house about the amount of butter she generally uses. Though I have to say, my mom made the Krispy Kreme bread pudding one year for a party and I admit it was delicious. I didn’t eat a ton of it (portion control) – but even a spoonful was too much.

    Has anyone seen the promos for Rescue Chef – can’t wait for that one to start!


    February 26, 2008

    I am having a Dejavu. Last week, I was home for 3 days with the flu. It was horrible and it knocked me down. Like you, I laid on the couch and watched the Food Network and I also read the new Prevention Magazine from cover to cover, and read the exact article that you are referring to. Our society is encouraging us to be fat with the gigantic portions, video games and television hobbies….and then they are marketing Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and Nutri System like no one’s business. Someone….somewhere is rich and fat and happy.

    I honestly feel that a nutrition class needs to be required each year a child is in school. And parents should be required to attend as well. That should be part of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ act.

    Wow….I got a little crazy there with my rant. Sorry!


    February 26, 2008

    I love watching Food Network, but that burger sounds awful. I wouldn’t even be tempted. For the record though, I’m not really a Paula Dean fan. Most of the food she makes doesn’t really appeal to me.

    Ms Bart

    February 26, 2008

    I do adore food network. Paula is definitely someone I love to watch. She is a fabulous entertainer.

    I read at first in shock that American meals are actually four portions! The more I think about it, the more this makes sense to me. Italian restaurants in particular seem to be putting a whole pound of pasta on every single plate. Multiple chicken breasts are served. At steak places, we are ordering 14 ounce cuts of meat. Growing up, a 14 ounce steak would feed my entire four person family.

    I don’t generally order children’s meals as a previous poster suggested. That’s a great idea. Sometimes, the kids meals are miniature versions of the adults (fast food places, for example). Sometimes though, the children’s portions are still large and even less healthy. American restaurants seem to think kids want chicken fingers, pizza, or mac-n-cheese type entrees only.

    I guess I’m going to have to start putting my portions in fourths!


    February 26, 2008

    Holy Artery clogger batman! That is insane. Why would someone even do that?

    Like you said, it’s amazing how out of control portions had gotten, pre-WW’s I had no clue either…at least I know now.


    February 26, 2008

    My DH and I watch Paula just to see how many sticks of butter she will use in an episode. We sit and laugh at the cr*p she makes. Don’t get me wrong, some of it does actually look good…but then we’re like “can you say heart attack??” It’s nice to know there are others out there that think the way we do.


    February 26, 2008

    This is my take on Paula…everything in moderation. So, I view her recipes and cooking as fine for those who can eat like that again, IN Moderation. Who am I to judge :-)
    However, a burger on 2 doughnuts. Now, I judge. OVERBOARD and just plain unneccessary. Even in moderation!!!


    February 26, 2008

    Hi Roni, Ive been reading/using your site for a few weeks now and have never posted before but after reading this I just had to share the thoughts I had the other day, and what made me think of it was “MS. BARTS” comment….My niece is 2 1/2, we are extremely close, I have her spend the night just about every weekend and I always take her out to eat, most of time to McDonalds since they have the playground. She always get so excited when we pull up and she spots the lovely golden arches and she starts yelling “fwench flys”, now why oh why do I do this to this poor innocent, fruit and veggie loving child?? Why would I start her off so early in life loving and craving this horrible food? Even when I take her to other places like maybe a Dennys or Bob Evans, her choices are always chicken tenders or mac and cheese………two such tremendously fattening foods. I dont want her to end up like me, in the sense that Ive been struggling with my weight for years, and the negitive affect its had on me. Well, this stops now! No more getting her all excited about going to Mickey D’s, from now on either Im making her something healthy at home or taking her out for a healthy meal then to the park to play. I never realized the injustice I was doing her until a couple of days ago when I was watching Biggest Loser and it just hit me! Your right “Ms. Bart”, we shouldnt assume kids automatically WANT those fat packed foods on the childrens menus.

    Roni, thanks for a such a great site, Im making your simple spaghetti squash tonight, can’t wait!


    February 26, 2008

    I agree that a burger between two doughnuts is gross, but isn’t the solution to just not eat it? I don’t think it’s fair to blame the cook when it is the consumer that needs to be paying attention and taking care of their own individual needs.


    February 26, 2008

    Forgive me if someone already did it, but for grins I did the calculations-28 HUs!

    I love watching FN, but can’t stomach watching her like I used to. Makes me queasy.

    Crazy MomCat

    February 26, 2008

    I love Food Network too! My favorite semi-healthy show is Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller, and Ellie Krieger’s show is good too. I watch Paula on occasion. Paula is my grandmother, my mother, and most everyone I grew up with. Paula cooks how I was taught to eat–put in a stick of butter, some mayonnaise or a brick of velveeta to make things better. But, I have had luck taking some of her recipes and making them more healthy with waht I’ve learned, so that’s an option too.

    No more sticks of butter for this girl…


    February 26, 2008

    Yes you are right about the the size of restaraunt entrees. Now I have met my wight goal, I concentrate more on fitness than ever. I love Men’s Health Mag and Women’s Health Mag “believe it or not.” Roni you will find some very interesting info on this site: Check out the “Eat This Not That” section. There is actually also a book written by the editor of Men’s Health “Eat This Not That.” It is very interesting and you will most definitely learn something and may find that your last entree from the restaurant or fast food joint you went to wasn’t as healthy or wasn’t the best choice after all. Cheers from DDDDDDDDDDDDetroit!!!! Techno Capital of the world!!!


    Girl on a Mission...

    February 26, 2008


    Here in my province (the most easterly province in Canada)…we have a clinic in the hospital for children under the age of 5 years old who are OBESE! Imagine, they have hired specialists, nutritionalists, dieticians, etc for the little babies in our province. Our region has been raised on deep friend fish, take out restaurants, home cooked meals (consisting of a 10lb bag of veggies boiled in a pot with salt beef), etc….and our children are at risk. Eating one of those burgers is equivalent to a meal at the local “Battered Fish” joint. Its crazy!
    Its depressing…
    and its lethal!


    February 26, 2008

    i saw that paula episode over the weekend and had to laugh at the yogurt parfait after all the other crap she made… i love that channel and love her but seriously – between all the butter, sugar and mayo she uses – i’m surprised she’s still breathing… ;o)


    February 26, 2008

    Roni, thank you so much for the portion reminder post. I am just re-starting my weight loss journey (or trying to) and really needed a friendly reminder to examine my portions! :)

    I love your sites! I know I can re-start this journey with you as a great resource!


    February 26, 2008

    I saw that episode on Sat. morning and was so grossed out! They were like Krispy Kreme donuts, too!
    I missed that it had bacon on it, too. I love my sweets, but that was seriously nutty.
    I did laugh when she said, “we should be arrested”. Yes, Paula, you should be!


    February 26, 2008

    yuck! that burger just sounds gross. At my college they have a famous competition every year to see who can eat the most “Gus Burgers” (burger topped w/ fried egg). Talk about feeling sick (not that I ever even tried 1 Gus Burger!) Americans eat some pretty gross concoctions sometimes….I think we’ve forgotten how to enjoy just a little bit of something wonderful rather than a boatload of flavorless junk. I am a true Southerner but I literally get sick if I eat the way Paula cooks!


    February 26, 2008

    Wow, that sounds really gross.
    I’ve never been a Paula Dean fan, I guess because I’m not Southern, or something.
    I’m a Good Eats fan though, except when he makes cheesecake. Come to think of it, Alton Brown is a Southerner too isn’t he?


    February 26, 2008

    Ugh, oh man. That brunch burger description makes me want to hurl. Especially the way I feel right now (I ate too much today. Too much of the wrong things). I’m sorry you are under the weather. I hope you get feeling better soon.

    The Rice Way

    February 26, 2008

    Mmmhmm why can’t they come up with some healthy recipe cooking shows? I know I’d definately be watching :)


    February 26, 2008

    omg! 2 glazed donuts? that sounds disgusttttting!

    Roni I’d prefer your recipes over hers anyday! I hope you feel better soon!


    February 26, 2008

    HOly MOLY, glazed donut burgers??? Now Ive heard it all!! At least we can watch someone ELSE eat them instead of hear ourselves getting fatter and our veins and arteries clogging up with fat!! I wonder what it tastes like….crap! there i go again!


    February 27, 2008

    OMIGOD. Well said! My mom is a Paula fanatic, and she has a ton of her cook books. I hate eating over there when she cooks from that book because I just know it’s laden with tons of butter and fat.


    February 27, 2008

    It’s such a coincidence, I’m all the way over here in the West of Ireland and there is a really nasty cold/flu going around like wildfire, everyone has it and I’m four days in and no improvement! Makes you wonder if the western hemisphere tends to get colds all at the same time! I suppose with the time of year and all the international travel it’s possible?

    As for portion sizes, I had the great experience last year of visiting New York in February and as it was my first time to the USA I decided to sample all of the famous brands of food that you don’t get here in Ireland but hear about on US Tv shows, like NutterButters,Twinkies,frootloops etc, and myself and my partner went on a mad eating spree. What we couldn’t get over after two weeks were the portion sizes! In a deli in New York the size of a sandwich is about five times the size of one here! A ‘slice’ of pizza is three times as big! And not only that, we found the food to taste really processed, everything was covered in cheese, and after a week we had to stop ‘trying things out’ because of how it felt after eating it. The one big conclusion that everything, and I mean everything, tasted much much sweeter than at home.
    Now I haven’t had the opportunity to visit other parts of the states yet, and I am really looking forward to doing just that,but is New York much different to everywhere else in that regard? Ireland is one of Europes unfortunate up-and-coming Obese nations (though trailing far behind the UK), so we have all the McD’s and the famous binge drinking habits (although the stereotype is quite exaggerated), but I would imagine from the glimpse that we got of America’s food that it is really quite difficult to choose wisely in the supermarket. Also, much like here, I found that any good unprocessed food was much more expensive (Wholefoods was more like home, but pricey!).

    So are donut burgers and huge portions representative of America? And do you find that when/if you travel to Europe that you are left feeling hungry in the difference?

    Sorry for the long post but it’s just a contrast I thought might be useful. One last question: What are grits?

    Laura N

    February 27, 2008

    Hope you feel better quickly!

    I can’t stand Paula Dean, but it’s because she reminds me of my dad’s 2nd wife mostly. It’s my own issue there. BUT, I remember hearing that she made a dessert that was basically deep fried butter. And that burger is just stupid–donuts? Give me a break!


    February 27, 2008

    Get better soon, I’m missing your posts. But I have to be honest. THAT SOUNDS AWESOME. A breakfast burger, when I have the points to waste some sunday I am going to try that, but instead of a burger I’ll use a sausage patty. My mouth is watering, and for me I have to indulge in something so horribly bad for you every not so often.


    February 27, 2008

    Feel Better….I didn’t feel well yesterday myself that I didn’t even make it on to blog :(

    hope things are well…


    February 27, 2008

    That sounds completely disgusting, but unfortunately a lot of her other fattening stuff (ok, not the stuff mentioned in the comments above, but some other things) is very appealing to me. When I’m cooking I have to fight the urge to add the butter, etc. I had to train myself that love = not killing my husband (as opposed to love = feeding him yummy things that may not be healthy).

    Hope you’re feeling better.


    February 27, 2008

    I saw that episode the other day.. I couldnt even imagine eating that.. Yuck.. And she thought it was the greatest meal ever.. Why in the world would anyone want to eat a hamburger on glazed donuts?!?! I love Paula Deen though =]


    February 27, 2008

    All I want to know is what’s Paula and Michael Gruber’s cholesterol like???


    February 27, 2008

    I just wanted to let y’all know, Paula did not invent this burger. It is often called a “Luther Burger” (after Luther Vandros), and has been a staple at many Soul Food eateries for a while now. I have yet to meet one person who has tried a bite of one who didn’t like it.

    Yes, it is not something you eat everyday, and most people cannot finish an entire one themselves (like a Monte Cristo). I will split one with my husband, and be quite sated on that 15 point “splurge.”

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that don’t knock something till you try it.


    February 27, 2008

    Sorry anon – I don’t want to try it! Glad you enjoy your splurge, I’d rather spend my 15 point on 3 slices of pizza! ;~P


    February 28, 2008

    First of all, I want to say that I LOVE your blog! It’s one of the first things I check when I get to work in the morning. As a mother of an 8 month old you are especially inspiring. Ok, now that that’s settled on to the reason why I finally decided to post something after several weeks of reading everyone else’s comments. I saw that Paula episode and I was dumbfounded. Now I’m from the south and I’m not usually surprised by the “stick of butter” lady’s concoctions(they’re not particularly things I would make myself but I like getting ideas for flavor combinations), but this one was over the top.


    February 29, 2008

    IrishLuci – I’m so glad you posted that!! and to answer your question, YES! it is a representation as sad as it is. I’ll probably get beat up for saying that but it’s true. We eat too much processed crap and our portions are OUT OF CONTROL!

    That being said there are people, restaurants, grocery stores, etc that are changing. I’ve noticed it and I welcome it.

    I’ve never been to Europe so I can’t comment one that. I hope someone else does.

    Melinda Feucht

    December 28, 2009

    I love watching Paul Deen when I’m homesick and miss my mom. She’s got such a comforting, warm presence!

    Maybe you’d be interested in a service I started where I make customized dinner plans for individuals that include grocery lists and recipes, and take into account your time, budget, nutritional needs, and taste!

    I’d like to hear your thoughts about the new service and if this is something you would consider trying or hearing more about? You give me a data and I give you a plan. Contact me at