I tried. I really, really tried to hang tight with the Biggest Loser home-delivery meal plan but they’ve forced my hand…or tummy…to look for another solution. Remember the vinegar-y taste I mentioned in a previous post? Well, it sent me over the edge…of the toilet.

Every time there was a vegetable in a meal it had a sour, vinegar-like taste. Now, I do like sour things like pickles – I loves me some pickles now! – but the constant repetition of that flavor would make me nauseous and I found myself avoiding the veggies. (Now thats one way to lose weight! Only eat half the meal…) One thing I noticed is they don’t include the ingredients on the package – isn’t that a law?

So it is here that the BLM and I part ways. After spending the better part of two days feeling sick to my stomach I backed off and ate regular food (portion-controlled of course) and felt better on the third day. It seems to me that if they could get rid of that weird taste that pervades their meals they could have a gold-mine on their hands. If the low-cal frozen food lines (Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine etc) can do it, then the BLM plan can to.

Life is too short for flat, tasteless, sour foods and there has to be a better way and I only have to find it.

Do you have a favorite low-cal recipe you’d like to share? Either post it here or email me directly and I’ll post it for you!

Remember waaayyyy back a few years ago when I launched my weight loss journey? I was going to the gym and eating right then went to RT in 2010 and blew my regime. I have no self-control and I admit it. Heck, it’s not like I can deny it – my bulging closets tell the story about how I can’t resist a great hat or gorgeous pair of shoes. :)

In the last six to eight months of Mom’s life I started putting the weight back on. Luckily I managed to get myself back until control after an 18 pound gain. (I’d lost 76)! So after getting into an argument with my doctor, I decided to try having home meals delivered. I figured since I’ve forgotten how to cook for one I might actually save money because I was throwing food out every week.

I choose the Biggest Loser meal plan and the first delivery arrived well-packed in a styrofoam-esque container (except it is bio-degradable) with giant ice packs. Everything was fresh, pre-packaged and cold which is as it should be. I survived the first day and can say that the food was filling though it tasted flat.

Now before someone points out that they don’t use salt, neither do I. Mom and I gave it up several years ago and I can say I don’t miss it. I’ve learned how to use other spices to make up for the lack of salt. The three meals I had were just flat as in, no spices, nothing. So after I juiced it up with garlic, basil or whatever the dish called for – the meals are edible but I do prefer either frozen Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine.

One of the meals was a chicken & shrimp alfredo-esque dish with wheat pasta and it was a disaster. In order to microwave shrimp it has to be barely cooked before packaging or it turns into rubber balls. The sauce (koff) was about as thick as milk and the shrimp was like chewing on erasers. (But the carrots were yummy)

And the chicken/apple sausage that they stick in every breakfast? Ugh! The consistency is just plain weird not to mention the sweet flavor. (shudder)

But today’s breakfast made me giggle. To the left you will see my breakfast as advertised. Not too bad, eh?

Wait until you see what actually awaited me in the package.

Who the heck hijacked my Blueberry Apple compote? That gray bit closest to the eggs is the apple and the two squashed purple things…you guessed it…the blueberries.

This is not a compote, it’s a garnish. :)

How mean is it to swipe the fruit from the hungry fat chick? Isn’t this cruel and unusual punishment?  In some places that could get you cut! (snicker)

So what do I like about the meal plan?

- It’s super easy to follow and very little thinking is involved.

- It’s convenient – everything arrives ready to eat and you just pop it in the microwave.

- You do have choices with your food. With my breakfast I also get a low-fat diary. Hmm…yogurt? Milk? Cheese?

- You can change your meals online or over the phone if you don’t like one.

- You have the option of a 5 or 7 day plan. I went with 5 because I do enjoy cooking and, let’s face it, at some point I will have to fend for myself – that’s the goal!

- Lots of protein in the meals.

- I felt full after each one.

I haven’t made a final decision as to whether I’ll keep with it because I need time to get adjusted. So we’ll see what happens. Even though someone stole my compote at the packing plant and the chicken sausage grosses me out, It’s only been four days and I need to give it some time.

So how is everyone else doing with their weight loss?

My last blog post about the ongoing train-wreck that is Firestone was on March 11th. Shortly after that my mother became ill then subsequently passed away and I had little time to continue the fairy tale…a tale of the mythical world (in my head) in which people took pride in their work and did what they were paid to do. (ie: complete the repairs I paid for without causing bodily harm to the customer or their car)

So to catch everyone up…

February 11 – I picked up my car from @firestoneauto after shelling out almost 2800.00 for new brakes, tires and a myriad of other repairs (differential, plugs etc.) After driving less than two miles, my engine light came on so I went back to the repair shop and the service manager (let’s call him Chuck shall we?) drove the car and pronounced it fit. The issue was they unhooked my speedometer because the cruise control wouldn’t work and something needed to be replaced. Since the housing was rusted to the engine block, they couldn’t fix it so they simply didn’t hook it back up. This is an important piece of info as it comes into play later.

February 28 – I’m driving in Amish-country and my tire comes off the car. Let me repeat that. While in motion…the tire came OFF THE CAR. For a blow-by-blow account, please refer to my March 3rd entry entitled: The Unfortunate Episode in Which my Car and Tire Part Company…it’s quite gripping.

In the seventeen days between when I picked up my car and the accident, I’d drive the car maybe three times as my mother was quite ill and I spent most of my time taking care of her.

March 11 – A date that will live in infamy… I’d blogged that my car had yet to be touched by the dealership I took it back to for the repairs. The first reason was that @firestoneauto was dragging their feet about approving the repair costs. They wanted their own inspectors to check everything out but the problem was no one ever did anything when they said they would. I was told by Firestone that my car would be inspected by March 7th only to learn that five days later they’d yet to appear. The dealership couldn’t start anything because of this. Firestone wasn’t in any hurry because I wasn’t costing them any money…

Mistake 1 – I should’ve demanded a rental car paid for by Firestone. I’ve learned that as long as you’re costing them money they will move their asses.

Mistake 2 – Public Humiliation will also get them to move their asses.

I hit Twitter and within hours I’d received a call from @firestoneauto practically begging me to take a rental car. So I got the rental and my insurance company stepped in to approve the repairs.

Fast forward to March 23rd – I received a call while in the emergency room with my mother that my car could possibly be ready that day. I came to find out that Firestone had been harassing the dealership about the cost of my rental and they wanted my car done asap. Of course they ignore the fact that their incompetence led up to the delay but that’s no nevermind as only NOW was I costing them immediate cash with my rental.

Mom was in congestive heart failure and I told the dealership that I needed them to put off Firestone another day because there was no way I could deal with them with Mom so ill. He agreed and that was the end of the conversation.

March 25 – After two exhausting days in which Mom had emergency surgery and a pacemaker implanted – I’m sitting in the step-down unit (which is the unit between CCU and a regular hospital bed – she had her own nurse and aid plus 24/7 care) when I get a call from the rental company. Without contacting me, Firestone stopped paying for my rental car as of Wednesday the 23rd. (Way to go you corporate fleas!)

Needless to say I was utterly livid. I was exhausted, Mom was seriously ill and I was waiting on the doctors to come in so I could talk with them and NOW I have to deal with returning my rental car and picking up my car. So after the doctors came in I called a friend and she met me at the rental place. I told them what was going on and they told me not to worry about the bill as they’d contact Firestone and see to it they covered all the charges…and they did.

It was only then I found out that they (Firestone) were renting another car from the same rental office due to yet another Unfortunate Episode with another customer from the same shop that I’d used.  Hmm…

So with my car on the road, it only took a day to realize something wasn’t right. The alignment was off, the brakes squealed, there was a concerto of odd noises coming from the engine compartment  etc. I called the dealership on Monday with plans to take it in on Wednesay for yet more repairs. In the mean time, Mom is still in the hospital and they release her Tuesday afternoon but that is another train wreck of a story. I was so exhausted from taking care of her that the car didn’t make it in but I also wasn’t driving it. I spent all my time taking care of Mom, bathing, etc. Quite honestly I didn’t care about my car. Who could when the last of my immediate family needed my help?

Mom passed away on the morning of April 2nd.

The funeral was held on the 5th and on the 6th a friend and I took the car back to the dealership. Needless to say this was the very last thing I wanted to deal with. We had the service manager take a drive with us and he verified the issues, noisy brakes, alignment being off etc…so they kept the car Another Week and they replaced the brakes (again – second time in two months) and did some other stuff.

When I went to pick up the car, the insurance company who had already verbally said they’d cover the bills, hadn’t made payment on the $800-some dollar bill. Because of the verbal agreement, the car was released to me and I tried to go on with my life such as it was.

Then the real fun began.

Two weeks later I got a call from the dealership, Safeco had yet to pay the bill. So I called them and was told they didn’t receive the fax that was sent to them from the dealership. Hmmm, where had I heard this excuse before? Safeco? You betcha. It was their favorite and often-used excuse up to this point. I’d sent in my towing bills several times via fax and email and to this day they’ve yet to be paid because…they didn’t receive them.

So I spoke to Nicole, my claims adjuster, and she assured me she’d call the dealership and all would be well. (Ahh, it’s good to dream)

Less than three weeks after picking up my car, the alignment was shot, the brakes were squealing and that’s only the beginning. I contacted my credit card company to reverse the charges and after spending much time writing letters, gathering documentation etc…my claim was denied. Why? Because they couldn’t tell what happened in the 17 days between picking up the car and the accident. thanks to the speedometer being unhooked, I couldn’t prove that I’d only driven the car for only 150 miles and they couldn’t prove the accident was based upon the work that Firestone did. (rolling eyes) Oh the incompetence only gets deeper…

At the end of May I get another call – Safeco still hasn’t paid the bill. Yet AGAIN I called Nicole and AGAIN she assured me it would be taken care of…Needless to say it wasn’t.

At the end of June I get yet another call – Safeco still didn’t pay and the dealership was threatening to take it out of the service advisors paycheck. Yes – the guy that was helping me was about to be screwed. Yet another call to Safeco in which I was irrate and was…once again…lied to.

Fast forward to yesterday, July 30th – I get a call from the dealership and they are going to turn ME, yes ME, into a collections agency because Safeco has yet to pay them. They were the ones who guaranteed payment – how did I get drug into this fiasco?

I figure its one of two things – insurance companies are notorious to weaseling out of paying what they are supposed to. (Go watch Erin Brockovich if you don’t believe me).  Their first-line of defense is to deny claims in the hopes the claimaint (myself) will give up. (Like thats going to happen) The other potential issue is they’re pissed I dropped them as my auto insurance carrier on June 1st. Why? Because they jacked up my monthly rate to…are you ready for it…$160 PER MONTH. Yes, that is a one six zero decimal point zero zero. What the hell is that about? My rates are sky high because of an accident that wasn’t my fault? Yep – that’s what happened. Needless to say I dumped them as fast as I could and went with Nationwide for a low low amount of 70.00 per month.

Yes – a 90 dollar savings per month.

So where do things stand now? Monday I need to go to the dealership and pay the bill to avoid a collections agency. Then I’ll have to go after them to pay up not only the bill but my towing costs that they’ve yet to pay. (roughly 1k total) And if that weren’t bad enough…I have to look into getting a new car.

YES, FIRESTONE HAS COST ME MY CAR.

My beautiful Jeep that survived Hurricane Katrina relief work, me living in the back of it for weeks at a time…has been felled by Firestone’s sloppy work ethic. It won’t keep an alignment at all. which means I’ll go through tires like Hugh Hefner through Viagra.  The brakes are still squealing and it doesn’t drive anything like it did before I took it in. Noises in the engine, shaky handling – the list goes on and on. So not only have I lost untold hours to this insanity, I have to cover the bills Safeco failed to pay and NOW I have to fork out 20-ish k for a new car. Mine was paid off and in excellent condition and now its crap.

Oh, and inflated insurance rates plus an accident on my driving record. Did I get screwed or WHAT? And I didn’t even get dinner or a reach-around for all my troubles. So Firestone…I wouldn’t send a pine-car derby model to them and Safeco? Well, you sure as hell aren’t safe wit them. Typical corporate sharks, only out to screw the consumer until they’re bled dry.

Well, we’ll see about that.

#firestoneautoepicfail #safecosucks

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