Tag Archives: Master Cleanser

Bye, bye belly

My pouch was visible when I visited Lipari, one of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily.

Close your eyes and visualize this: A toothpick that swallowed a lemon.

Now open them and you will see how I see myself, which is why I have decided to have tumescent liposuction today.

I’m 50 years and three days old. But the decision to do lipo didn’t just hit me because of my age. Those of you who know me have put up with me complaining about my belly for years. When I texted the news to a girlfriend in Chicago whom I’ve known since the 80s, she texted back:

“Awesome Girl!!! I’m surprised you didn’t do this sooner because you never liked you (sic) “tiny pouch”. lol

I eat healthy 90 percent of the time, work out four to five days a week doing weight-bearing exercises and floor work for my abs and walk the hills of San Francisco to run errands since I have no car. I’m quite pleased with the rest of my body after dropping a dress size while researching The World’s Top Destination Spas story for Elite Traveler this spring. I can’t afford to lose anymore inches. My butt is practically non-existent. My boobs have shrunk. My pencil legs are now toothpicks. Still, my belly persists to the point where it is much larger than my ass. And everyone knows you can’t spot reduce.

What’s a girl to do?

I’m 6-foot-1, 152 pounds, reed thin. My legs are so skinny I have to get all of my boots taken in. Always have.

And I’ve always had a belly too. I’ve grown as adept at holding it in as I have at breathing.

When I was in my 20s, I popped laxatives before going on vacation to get rid of my bulge. Seven, 10, 12 at a time. Whatever it took.

By my 30s that no longer worked and I went to 90-year-old nutritionist Hermien Lee, who turned me into a lean, mean, machine.

And then came my 40s. I opted for more drastic methods such as the Master Cleanser or doing a raw diet with no alcohol for weeks at a time. Being that I’m a travel writer and part of traveling is eating then guzzling lemonade for several days at a time and not eating anything cooked can only work so long for me.

Everyone knows what a foodie I am and my stomach is a bottomless pit. The way I eat, I should be 300 pounds but I’m not because I exercise regularly — plus, I have great genes. Previously, if I needed to get my belly down, all I had to do was really watch what I ate and give up alcohol. Within 10 days, I’d be looking good enough to rock a bikini like I did in St. Tropez this summer.

Kelly E. Carter, Trina Turk bikini

I rocked this Trina Turk bikini in St. Tropez this summer, holding in my belly.

But age has a way of catching up with you.

When I returned from St. Tropez, I learned that the beau would have to endure six weeks of radiation. Before he began his treatment in September I offered to give up alcohol to support him. Oh how we both love our wine! He looked at me with the most loving eyes, for it was akin to me offering to shave my head if he lost his hair. (Thankfully THAT didn’t happen.) Outside of drinking at HBO’s Emmy party, during a business trip to South Beach and in Atlanta, where I went for a funeral, I stuck by my no-alcohol edict. After the beau’s radiation ended, his belly was gone and he was down 20 pounds. My belly still stuck out like a hump in a camel, a further indication that alcohol was not what was causing me to look four months pregnant.

During a visit to the beau’s dermatologist, I spotted a brochure for tumescent liposuction. Curious, I picked it up. I thought back to a recent lipo discussion with a retired dermatologist friend from my beau’s yacht club. He tiptoed around my situation but agreed that lipo wouldn’t be a bad thing for me. And I recalled a conversation from a couple of years ago with a friend from childhood, now a medical doctor with a weight loss clinic in L.A. She told me back then that I was the ideal candidate for lipo. The brochure in hand, I looked at these before and after photos and read when the procedure should be used, the risks, how it is performed and why a dermatologic surgeon should be used.

tumescent liposuction

Liposuction is most effective for removing localized fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise. It is not intended as a substitute for weight loss; rather, it is a contouring procedure, and is optimally utilized in a program of exercise and weight maintenance.

I know a lot of you reading this may look at the before picture and ask “Where’s Waldo? Where’s the fat?” Not me! I looked at the photo and said, “That’s me!” I gave the brochure to the beau, who said if that’s what I want then fine, I could have it. But, he made it clear, he thinks I have a fantastic bod. We returned for a consultation with his doctor and scheduled my procedure for Nov. 30. This gave me license to thoroughly enjoy  myself during a decadent birthday trip to Las Vegas with several girlfriends to ring in my 50th.

Now, a bon vivant like me disdains buffets but Kitty Yancey, a USA Today travel writer whose opinion I trust, assured me in an email that the new, $17 million Bacchanal Buffet at  Caesars Palace was worth it and wrote that her story in USA Today didn’t give it justice. You have to go, she implored.

So off me and my girls went for my birthday lunch. With each plate, I reminded myself that everything I was eating would be removed on Friday.

bacchanal buffet Caesars palace

After starting at Bacchanal Buffet’s seafood station, I moved on to Italy, pausing to pick up a slider during my birthday lunch at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

At Bacchanal, I took it upon myself to gorge on fresh East and West coast oysters, prawns, shrimp and grits, mussels, grilled salmon, pepperoni pizza, meatballs, sliders, French fries, chips and guacamole, Kung Pao chicken, edamame, low mein, crème brûlée and lots more. With more than 500 dishes to choose from, I couldn’t try everything – though I wanted to.

That night, my birthday dinner took place at James Beard award-winning Chef José Andrés’ Jaleo in The Cosmopolitan. I devoured cured ham from the legendary, acorn-fed, black-footed Ibérico pigs of Spain, 18-month salt-cured Serrano ham, white asparagus with idiazábal cheese, grilled skirt steak with piquillo pepper confit, traditional chicken fritters served in a shoe and so much more, knowing that it would all be gone be in just a few days.

Jaleo Las Vegas Jose Andres

My yummy birthday dinner served tapas style at Jaleo by Jose Andres in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas.

Before I left for the trip, I went clothes shopping in San Francisco for a couple of new birthday outfits since it was Black Friday.What a frustrating experience that was! I looked longingly at dresses that I knew were not right for my body type because they hugged the mid-section. I was nearly in tears as I went from one store to another, unable to find anything despite the Black Friday sales. I admit I do a pretty good job of hiding my belly. One saleswoman convinced me to try on a dress that she said would hide the belly that she couldn’t see. I wiggled into the cute red dress and her eyes nearly popped out when she saw my belly protruding like a beach ball. Oh, she said, before finding the one dress in her store that hid a belly. But I didn’t care for the dress. I told her I was having lipo in a few days and she said she looked forward to seeing me back in the store in a few months. I waddled further down Chestnut Street and into BCBG Max Azria, where I picked up this darling shirt dress that hides my pouch, and a couple of other items that would suffice.

Kelly E. Carter, Ghostbar Palms Casino

Me at Ghostbar, on the 55th floor of Palms Casino for pre-birthday drinks.

As much as I absolutely love, love, love this BCBG shirt dress, in a few months I won’t be limited to dresses that flow. Thanks to the beau and his generous birthday present. Even though he doesn’t think I need lipo, I do. And that’s what matters.

Check back later for updates.

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Filed under Aging, Beauty, Dining, Health, Las Vegas

Pigging out but avoiding the pig

Nobo Matsuhisa

I’m just home from the American Wine & Food Festival.  The first thing I did when I walked through my door was turn on ESPN to catch up on  today’s college football games scores (congrats Trojans!!!). With nothing else on until the 11 p.m. news, I decided to watch the Food Network for the first time ever. REALLY.

I know there are many people addicted to the Network. People who have no interest in cooking find it therapeutic to watch cooking shows and they’re chef groupies. I’ve been a foodie for years, have written about fine dining trends for a couple of years, co-host a food-related radio show and have attended a few food festivals over the years. But I have never felt any more compelled to watch chefs cook on television just like I’ve never had a desire to watch my favorite clothing designers sketch any designs. Just give me the finished product, whether a dish or a dress, and that’s the best way to satisfy me.

I do love to get to know the chefs and was in heaven at tonight’s event, held at Universal Studios Backlot to benefit Meals on Wheels programs of Los Angeles through the Puck Lazaroff Foundation. I couldn’t help but gush when I saw Nobu Matsuhisa. That’s him above (right). I told him how honored I was to eat a spicy tuna roll personally rolled by him. And he truly seemed to appreciate my comment. Then I had two of his Kobe beef tacos and a chunk of black miso cod. I had a time getting Laurent Tourondel to remember me. Then I reminded him that I gave him hotel suggestions for Antibes and he remembered our exact meeting at one of his New York eateries. Wolfgang Puck asked if I had grown taller since he last saw me in his Spago Beverly Hills restaurant three weeks ago. He’ll never forget me. He had so many restaurants set up that I can’t remember what I had at which one but everything was sensational. I introduced myself to Patina’s Joachim Splichal and told him I’ve quoted him before in my stories. “Quote me again,” he said, handing me his card before I gobbled down his oh-so-fab ravioli with mango. I recognized Thomas Keller, whose mussels, clams and Louisiana sweet shrimp were so delicious, although he doesn’t have his name on his chef’s jacket like most others. And as much as I think he’s a rock star in the kitchen, I didn’t introduce myself to him. I only wanted his food. I wanted to meet Gino Angelini just because he’s Italian but I was pretty full by the time I found his station and wasn’t in the mood to chat.

By then, I was ready to go home having eaten more meat than I should have considering I just finished 10 days on the Master Cleanser. But I did avoid all wine and pork, including this little fella:

AWFF 2009 002

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You can’t cheat the Master Cleanser

sixpackabs

In case you’ve wondered how come I haven’t Twittered or Tweeted about or posted a photo of my latest, greatest dish while on L.A.’s dining scene, it’s because I haven’t eaten since Tuesday. Well, that’s not entirely true.

I started Stanley Burroughs’ Master Cleaner, a.k.a the Lemonade Diet, last Wednesday so I could get rid of my nagging belly — again. I did it two years ago and loved the results. And I was soooo good two years ago. I never cheated. This time? Well, not so much.

Day 1: I grew a little hungry at night and since I hate to throw food away with so many formerly middle-class people starving these days, I decided to have the last tomato and avocado in the house. I drizzled a little olive oil over it and that was it.

Day 2: I grew a little hungry at night while reading. I had to interview Isadore Sharp, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Four Seasons  Hotels and Resorts, the next morning at 8 o’clock and figured it would be wise for me to read his book, which was quite fascinating, in its entirety. Ever trying reading a 278-page book in one sitting without eating? It’s hard. A third of the way through I went to the kitchen and microwaved a small bag of popcorn.  Two-thirds of the way through, I went back in the kitchen and found a small box of raisins. As I neared the end of the book, I wanted to jump in my car and go through the drive-thru at the 24-hour McDonald’s near my house even though it was 1 a.m. But I reached deep down and found my discipline. I could deal with cheating with a 100-calorie package of popcorn and 130-calorie box of raisins. I would have beaten myself up if I ate Mickey D French fries and a cheeseburger while trying to cleanse.

Day 3: I grew a little hungry at night. By now I figured if I just stuck to the box of raisins and maybe added a handful of raw almonds that my stomach would still be flat in a few more days. So I indulged.

Day 4: Now I was hungry during the day.  No surprise considering I went to the gym in the morning and did 20 minutes of ab work then a 60-minute turbo kickboxing class. Maybe it was imagination but while watching myself in the mirror at the gym, I think I saw the abs I’ve known all along were hiding under my belly fat. Hoorah! I was on my way. When I got home, I knew I’d be on my feet for a concert all night and figured, well, maybe I should have my box of raisins and TWO handfuls of almonds while I worked on my book in the afternoon instead of waiting until nighttime. So I did. After all, I didn’t want to pass out at Common’s concert and have to have that hunk of a man give me mouth-to-mouth.

Day 5: By now I’m convinced I have completely fooled the Master Cleanser. I ate two boxes of raisins and two handfuls of almonds while writing.

Day 6: Today is the day I should have a flat belly, based on how long it took me to achieve my desired results the last time I did this crazy thing. I got up this morning, looked in the mirror and gasped. I look like I’m five months pregnant again! Where did this belly come from? I’ve eaten nothing except an avocado, a tomato, a small package of popcorn, a few boxes of raisins and maybe a cup or two of almonds since Wednesday. I haven’t consumed any alcohol since the pomegranate margaritas at Rosa Mexicano’s a week ago. Only water, my lemonade concoction and my morning salted water for cleansing purposes.

Now I’m back to where I started and I’ve learned my lesson. This morning I vowed to be good. When darkness falls tonight, I am not giving in to cravings. I put the remaining raw almonds and raisins in the cabinet so I can’t see them. I was looking forward to getting off the Master Cleanser on Wednesday but judging by the way I look, I think I better stay on until Thursday or Friday.

Of course Saturday I’ll be at Wolfgang Puck’s annual American Wine & Food Festival at the back lot at Universal. I doubt any of the booths will have raw almonds and raisins but I’ll eat wisely. Or at least I’ll try. For now, it’s time for another glass of lemonade.

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