Dieting and Writing

 

I had a dreaded epiphany last week. Yes, you heard me right. I used the words “epiphany” and “dreaded” in the same sentence. Now, most people would consider an epiphany to be something positive. But not me. I call my epiphany dreaded because that’s exactly what it was. You see, last Monday, I woke up like every other day, and dragged my tired self into the shower.  Once I got out of the tub, I confronted a stark, ugly reality staring back at me from my full-length mirror. There was no denying it anymore. No excusing it. No ignoring it. I have apparently been wearing my “fuzzy food” googles for way too long. It seems my holiday binging (from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day) has finally caught up with me and I couldn’t avoid the undeniable, hard truth. I needed to lose weight … a lot of weight.  You see! I told you it was dreaded! 

The fact that summer’s bathing suit season is only a mere four months away is causing me massive anxiety attacks. The thought of trying to squeeze into anything latex that highlights my problem areas like a flashing neon sign is making me sweat at night (and not of the menopausal kind). It seems that writing all day while sitting on my squishy behind has certainly not helped my cause. In fact, it’s made it worse. So I decided right then and there, while pointing an accusatory finger at my much fuller self in the mirror, that I would get up off of my very comfortable chair (did I mention it has lumbar support?) and do something about my “junk in the trunk.”

I knew the only way to start my quest was to do my research. Any good writer worth her weight in gold (no pun intended) knows that it all starts with research. In trying to find the perfect combo of dieting and exercising, I came across the idea of carb cycling. It immediately grabbed my attention and I was excited at first. Finally, a diet I could stick to! Imagine, eating spaghetti or munching on a loaf of french baguette while peddling miles away on a stationary bike.  Now that’s my kind of weight-loss program. Where do I sign up?  But after I did a little more digging, I found out what carb cycling is really all about. Poof went my vision of stuffing my face with pastries while running. I knew it was too good to be true.  What carb cycling involves is a system of rotating or cycling the carbs you eat over the course of several weeks.  Now what is the fun in that, I tell you. But I decided to give it a try, along with a moderate exercise regime. I set a goal to lose weight and I was not going to back down.

Five days in and I can tell you it’s been hard to stay on track! I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about quitting. In fact, I think about it all the time: every second of every minute of every day. I desperately want to pack it all in and fling my diet out the window (along with my gym membership), especially when there are boxes of Girl Scouts cookies calling out my name from the kitchen counter. But I will not be swayed or tempted or cajoled.

Then it hit me. Dieting is a lot like writing. Now before you tell me otherwise. Let me explain. Taking an idea for a story and trying to put it on paper is very difficult. Starting a novel is hard work. It takes a lot of self-discipline like losing weight does. I’ve often found myself staring at a blank computer screen waiting for inspiration to hit me.  Like dieting, it’s so easy to be distracted away from doing what you set out to do (I have a love/hate relationship with the internet like I do with my food). But I find once I get going and the words flow out, it’s exhilarating.  Exactly like when I step on my scale and see that I’ve lost a few pounds. At that moment, I feel like I can do anything!  It’s a natural high and it keeps you from giving up. 

So I vow to keep up with my quest to lose weight while bringing to life the idea for my next book. I’m cautiously optimistic that in a few months, I’ll have a smaller waist and a finished novel. If not, it’s back to carbs for me (without the cycling, thank you very much).

Erin

How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

 

Last summer, I spent a week on a writing retreat in the heart of Manhattan. Along with two of my closest friends, we spent the time living it up in the lap of luxury while writing and brainstorming new book ideas. We were fortunate enough to be staying in a beautiful penthouse apartment in Soho (courtesy of a friend who was traveling for work) with sweeping views of lower Manhattan.  It was the first time I’d ever stayed in a penthouse and if there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s that I had a hard time going back to my humdrum life at the end of the week.  It was intoxicating. Like like flying first class or shopping for shoes at Chanel.  Once you get a taste of first class, you never want to go back to coach! And, once you slip your feet into a pair of Louboutin’s, you can never imagine wearing anything else, or so I’ve been told, anyway. I guess the same can be said of my six days last summer living the high life in a penthouse with a hot tub. With a hot tub! I felt just like a movie star (minus the paparazzi following me around and the extra zeros in my bank account). Of course, I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea.  We were working hard, busy writing and knocking out our next novel (in between soaking up the sun while relaxing in the hot tub). 

But more importantly, we were also charged with watching the penthouse owner’s dog, Roxy. Mind you, I’ve never taken care of a dog before (proud owner of one cat and a parakeet) so there was quite a bit of on-the-job training (with detailed instructions from Roxy’s mommy).  I can tell you that at the time, I had no idea how much work went into caring for a dog. Who knew? Between the feedings, scheduled walks, and grooming appointments, to the neighborhood play date, it was like having a toddler except with more fur and fewer temper tantrums. 

Yet with all the work that went into dog sitting Roxy, there was an upside I hadn’t counted on. Because it turned out to be much more fun than I thought it would be.  No one warned me that I’d fall in love with her big brown eyes and soft velvety tongue! Three days into my dog sitting, I was surprised by how I grew to love my furry charge, Roxy.  And, what I learned, was that a dog loves unconditionally. It’s the kind of love I’ve spent years writing about in my books.   The kind of love most people spend a lifetime looking for. We crave it, don’t we and when we find it, we celebrate it. I mean, don’t we all just want someone to love us unconditionally? To love us not just during the best of times, but during the worst of times, too. And, that’s exactly what Roxy did.  She didn’t mind if I was in a bad mood or if I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet.  She couldn’t care less if I binged on chips and salsa all day and didn’t go to the gym to work it off. She didn’t judge me when I had too much to drink and spent the entire next morning in bed, nursing a hangover. She loved me despite all of those things.

So, during that week I spent with Roxy, I decided to write a book with my friend Gina McBride, about our experience dog sitting.  Many of the scenes in The Dog Walker really happened (the trellis, Roxy’s nervous breakdown, and the chocolate scare. I’m still recovering from that one). And like most romantic comedies, there’s a leading man and a misunderstanding that gets in the way of true love. But more importantly, this book is really about my love affair with Roxy.  A love affair that has me considering becoming a dog owner. Perhaps it’s time to start looking into doggy adoptions?

Erin 

Where in the World?

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted on this blog.  It doesn’t seem possible.  I’ve been away for 365 days, 8,765 hours, 525,600 minutes  and 31,536,000 seconds. (Oh great. Now I can’t get that song from the musical Rent out of my head). Needless to say, that’s a lot of time.  So, I’ve thought long and hard about what I can say regarding my very long absence. Where have I been?  What have I been up to? And, to make things interesting I thought it would be fun to come up with a “Top Ten” list of reasons why I’ve been missing in action. So here goes:

Top Ten Reasons why Erin was MIA

10. She was crowned Miss America and was under contract to go on a year-long worldwide tour.

9. She went through the stones in Scotland and has been shacked up with a red-headed 18th century Scotsman.

8. She took a wrong turn while driving home when her GPS malfunctioned and somehow wound up on an episode of Naked and Afraid.

7.  She’s been hanging out with her BFF, Kim Kardashian, in Los Angeles.

6. She won the Mega Millions and bought herself a castle in Tuscany.

5.  She joined Soul Cycling and actually cycled herself to death.

4. She thought it would be fun if people started asking the question: Where in the World is Erin Brady?

3. She’s gone into the Witness Protection Program, has assumed a new identity and now goes by the name of Eunice Poppers.

2. She’s been trapped in a Red Room with Mr. Grey and lost the keys to the handcuffs.

1.  She has a new job as a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream taster and moved to a remote part of Vermont.

Of course, none of the above are true (as much as I wish #9 was…sigh) and I’m obviously not that Erin Brady (aka Miss America) even though it would be amazing to look like that in a bikini. Sadly, the truth is much more boring than any of the items on my list. The truth is I’ve been writing and writing and then, writing some more. And, in between, I’ve been taking much needed time off to spend with family and friends.

It’s true what they say about time flying when you’re having fun because I really have been enjoying my life while creating new characters who find themselves in crazy predicaments along the way. And now I’m happy to report that I’m back and better than ever! With that said, I’m announcing the release of my newest book, The Dog Walker. I have to tell you I’ve had so much fun writing the storyline to this novel along with my friend and co-author Gina McBride. The idea came to us while we were on a writing retreat in New York City with another author, Sarah Price. Many of the scenes in the book are based on events that happened that very weekend. Events so hysterical and outlandish, we decided to put the words to paper and share the craziness of those two days with others.  And so, after a year of writing (and daydreaming of #9 on my list), I’m thrilled to report that The Dog Walker is set to release on February 6th. I hope you feel compelled to check it out because if there’s one thing I can promise, it’s that it will make you laugh out loud.  And can’t we all use a little laughter in our lives?  If the past year’s sabbatical has taught me anything, it’s that we all do!

Available on

Amazon

 

Erin