The Weight is Over: Losing Weight the Fastest Way Ever

Editor's note: If you appreciate posts like this and want ANC to continue publishing similar content, become a paid subscriber for as little as $1.35 a month.

A word of caution: Some readers may find today’s subject matter too heavy in the TMI department, or even offensive. Read at your own risk. 


In all my years of battling my weight, I’ve often entertained two primary fantasies, I mean other than that metabolism transplants were possible:

1. That fat would turn into hair (only on my head, please) and I could just snip it away. I’d gladly donate it to places that made wigs for people who needed hair. You’re welcome.

2. That I could develop such a sudden, severe aversion to sugar- and flour-based foods that I would literally become sick at the thought of eating sweets and carbs.

I know this whole food aversion thing can work. When I was 5 my mother introduced my sisters and me to our first rye bread. For me, eating that piece of rye bread unfortunately coincided with the onset of a stomach virus, which is why, moments later, when I threw up the rye bread, in my mind, it was the rye bread that made me sick. To this day, even the smell of rye bread makes me feel nauseous.

That was one of the last times I had an experience like that.  Until this week. I bought some lamb shoulder steaks at the grocery store in the “manager’s special” bins filled with meats that are either approaching their best-sold-by dates or are actually on the date. Yes, my bargain-hunting extends to meat, too. Don’t judge.

The label on the lamb I selected (30 percent off!) said it had been packaged on June 1, and was best-sold by June 5, which was the day I bought it.  My lucky day!

Doni had a little lamb ...

Doni had a little lamb …

I love lamb, and I especially love lamb shoulder steaks, which is one of my best-kept culinary secrets because lamb shoulder steaks have a lot more meat than those cute little – very expensive – lamb chops. And I confess this, even though there are Greeks among you – lamb-eating purists – who will wince when I say this, but I do like mint jelly with my lamb, too. I can’t help it. I just do.

I went home and barbecued the lamb. I cooked it rare – as I like my steak. I ate it with mint jelly. It tasted fine. I did some computer work for a few hours and decided to treat myself with something I almost never do – early bedtime. So by 9:30 p.m. I was showered and under the covers with a book, which I read until I fell asleep.

Life was good. Until it wasn’t.

Food poisoning is the rudest of awakenings, especially at 2 a.m.

Even in my agonized haze, my reptilian brain shouted two words: baaad lamb.

I try to look on the bright side of all things, and during those many, many, many episodes that began in the dark, lasted through sunrise and well into the afternoon, I was just grateful that I wasn’t throwing up, too.  Aware of the dangers of dehydration, I drank as much water as I could, but even so, at some point I was as parched as if I’d crawled across a desert. So thirsty. So dry. So miserable. So svelte.

I texted my sister and asked if she could bring some over-the-counter medications, which she delivered, along with ginger ale, and then she promptly skedaddled, as if I had leprosy, because at that point, we were thinking I had something horribly contagious.

The thought of food – or even my beloved morning coffee – made me ill. I drank ginger ale, water and iced tea all day.

Eventually I made my way to my computer where I diagnosed myself via Google: Clostridium perfringens, or you can just call by its informal name, C. perfringens. It’s one of the most common causes of food poisoning, and its bacteria spores may even survive cooking.

Mainly, I slept. I did go outside once, to throw away the leftover lamb in the garbage can. Just looking at the lamb made me queasy.

It’s often said about me that I have difficulty just relaxing, taking it easy, doing nothing. That day, I had no difficulty doing any of those things. I felt so weak, so tired.

By yesterday morning I was feeling almost completely back to normal. Until it came time to make dinner. I was going to make a chicken salad, but my stomach flipped at the sight at the cooked white meat. I threw it away, too, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make myself eat it. Besides, how did I know I could trust the chicken? After all, I’d bought it the same day as the lamb. (No, even I would NEVER buy discount chicken. Give me some credit.)

So I had a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries for dinner. Better safe …

Today is my weigh-in day at Align Private Training. I’m so excited. I know I will have lost weight.

The trick will be keeping it off. Without the aid of lamb or rye bread.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

30 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Oh, poor baby!  Remember Chef’s Edition on KCHO?  The chef half of the duo had cooked some lamb with lots of rosemary, suffered your experience, but instead being turned off by lamb, he could no longer tolerate rosemary.  One day he grilled some lamb with rosemary, and when he took the the cover off the grill, the rosemary smoke nearly did him in.  I really, really hope you overcome your aversion to lamb  – and mint jelly and chicken.  Rye bread?  Omit the caraway, and I’m OK with it, but caraway ruins lots of otherwise good stuff.

    So glad you’re back.  Let us know how the weigh-in goes.

    • Oh gosh, I remember “Chef’s Edition” on KCHO. I loved that show! I remember listening to it when my kids were young. I even got to be on air once with a question, and won a Chef’s Edition apron, which I wish I still had. It’s funny that the co-host’s aversion turned to rosemary, not lamb. (Come to think of it … I barbecued my lamb with rosemary, too … hey, wait a minute … maybe it wasn’t the lamb …)

      Thanks, Beverly, for being one of A News’s consistently early rises and early commenters. It just wouldn’t be the same without you.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        I was on the show, too, with a question about pressure cookers.  I now have two of them.  I received an apron but never use it.  Do you want it?

  2. Hope you are baaa-aaa-aa-ack to feeling fine again.  And good on you for always finding the silver lining — I do believe that’s the secret to life.

    • LOL. I know. The lamb jokes just keep coming. I’m feeling much better, thank you, and will be back to my workout this a.m.

      And you’re right about the optimistic outlook being the secret to a happy life. I may have said this before here, but my mindset is that if there’s a room full of shit, there must be a prized pony in there somewhere. (Forgive the crass terminology.)


  3. Avatar Karen Calanchini says:

    Yikes, I have a beautiful  leftover leg of lamb in the ftidge awaiting my creativity to  kick in for a wonderful second dinner. To bad that happened and hope you are back to normal by now.


  4. Deb Deb says:

    Eek!  I’m glad you are feeling better!

    I had a similar incident with a Big Mac years ago.  Put me right off Big Macs.  After years of avoidance I overcame it though because, y’know… Big Macs.  Yum.  (Sem shudders at my love of Big Macs.  He is not-so-secretly glad that we live 70 miles away from the nearest McD’s!)

    We eat lamb pretty often – they surround us in the fields and on the hills, but the tasty lambs we actually eat come from New Zealand because import/export is just nuts like that.  We have it with mint sauce, which is different from mint jelly.  It’s vinegar-y and just perfect with lamb.  But you probably don’t want to hear about that right now!

    • Glad you recovered enough from your Big Mac incident to eat Big Macs again.

      And gosh, your mind sauce sounds pretty tasting. I’ll have to see about making some (when I’m back to eating lamb again).

  5. Avatar Ginny says:

    Sorry to hear about the bad time your lamb gave you. But, very happy you are on the road to recovery. Somehow I doubt the weight will stay off. Mine never has, yet, I wish you the best, dear… ;o)
    Just know you are loved and cared about…

    • Well, I lost 5 pounds, and darn it, I’m going to try to keep it off! (It’s nice to be loved. Thank you!)

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        At this rate, Matthew will return your scale.  Lousy way to drop pounds and don’t be surprised if a bit of it returns as your system returns to normal.

  6. Avatar Denise says:

    In my professional capacity, my diagnosis is Staph as the offender. It is also swift and terrible.

    Cloister Perf is more linked to old bad spices.

    Regardless, I’m sorry to hear this. Ewe have a lot to do, didn’t need this!

    • I trust your judgement. Either way, yeah, it was awful. (One of my greatest fears as a cook is making someone sick. I remember doing a story about food safety once and learned that potatoes are one of the worst culprits for causing food poisoning.

  7. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Did Matthew’s scale change any after your bout with Montezuma’s Revenge?

  8. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    Doni had a little lamb LOL.

  9. Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

    Good to hear you’re feeling better.  I almost said baaa aaa aa ack … but I don’t want to steal Erin’s line.  Nice to hear your sense of humor’s there, too.  I got a chuckle too when I read you were eating oatmeal and blueberries, because I was eating blueberries as I read your article.  Good luck on the weight in.  I hope you got great news!

  10. Mistress of the Mix Mistress of the Mix says:

    Hey, 5 pounds!!!! There’s your prize pony! For some strange reason, when we get together for extended family dinners, the talk eventually always turns to our favorite vomit and crap stories. I don’t know why. It’s just what we do. My best story – and pretty much everyone agrees I take the cake with this tale because it has both  – includes a salad bar, a trash can, and a ruined pair of pants…all within 10 seconds of going on the air AND the chief engineer and his hot new assistant walking in the door.


    • Oooh, I remember that story. It really takes the prize, so much so that perhaps the Mistress of the Mix should write about it one day. No pressure. 🙂

      • Mistress of the Mix Mistress of the Mix says:

        Ha! I don’t know if people can handle that one….it had to be the least professional moment of my life, although I had a pretty great excuse.


        • Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

          I would love to hear this story.  I know that with all of the great words in our language you could craft a story that would  enthrall the reader and  maintain decorum and literary excellence!  I’m enthralled already!

  11. Avatar Karen C says:

    OMG , Mistress….what an awful happening.  I recall, so many years ago as a young lady with my new husband.  We were in his pride and joy, a Mercedes  350SL Gull Wing .  We were in a parking lot, he needed to deliver a paper to someone, and I remained in the car.  All of a sudden I had an eruption  from my stomach all over me and the car.  I had nothing to clean it up with.  Poor guy came back to his bride and this awful mess.  I was in tears, embarrassed, and sure he was going to be furious.  Instead, he was very concerned, we drove home in that awful mess and once he got me to the shower, he went out and cleaned it up.  We have been married 54 years!

    • Mistress of the Mix Mistress of the Mix says:

      Oh what a story Karen! I won’t name names here…but once upon a time I had a party and one of my friends had too much to drink. Another friend offered to drive him home in his Porsche. My inebriated friend tried to roll down the window and throw up outside the car, but he didn’t quite make it, and instead threw up in the inside pocket of the door of the Porsche. That poor car. Also…my drunk friend didn’t quite make it into his house that night…he kind of passed out on the front lawn, and woke up at 5am when the sprinklers went off. At least he got a shower!

    • Oh, now that’s love!

  12. Avatar Karen C says:

    Oh, we all have stories of our youth, don’t we?   Quite…..don’t  tell the kids!

  13. Avatar Sally says:

    I had not read this story until today (Friday), but had heard about it.  Growing up in L.A. real barbecue cooking was an all year treat.  In those days (yes the dinosaurs were gone) my Mom would go to the butcher and order a boned and fileted leg of lamb to be cooked. Yum, yum, yum and yes, mint jelly was not allowed.  Sorry.  To this day I adore lamb and hope you recover a taste for it.  Sorry for your yukky experience!

    • Avatar Steve Murray says:

      Sally, we raise and butcher our own lambs, a meat breed without wool. We eat lamb a lot, and my favorite way to eat it is as you describe, a boned and butterflied leg bbq’d on the charcoal grill.  Salt and pepper only, no mint jelly(?)…. unbelievably delicious. I’m convinced local pasture raised lamb is WAY better than any store bought or foreign lamb.

      Doni, I so hope at some point you can eat lamb again… try local product when you’re ready.