Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Fair Day

I attended the fair on the last day. It was a Sunday and I could see and understand that some of the vendors couldn't wait for it to end. Some were packing up early and others just checking their watches.

The food vendors seemed to be getting all the business. I admit, I was there for the traditional Fair Scone, however, I was also prepared not to eat it for two weeks. We do a few things every time the fair comes to Puyallup. We buy scones, my husband eats an elephant ear, we look at the quilts and fine arts and we watch the hypnotist, who is different every three years or so.

And I did not eat sweets or desserts for the month of September. This was a challenge I accepted on the LoseIt website. ( I chart my daily calories on this app. It is my favorite of all the food logging applications I have tried. So, I am sticking with it. 

Here are a few pictures of places to eat at the fair. 

I didn't eat at any of these food vendor huts. I drank a diet Dr. Pepper instead. I know, diet sodas are poison... well what about those onion burgers, funnel cakes and fried butter? Yeah, those heart clogging choices. I say, if a diet drink keeps me from having a heart attack, I can live with that. Now enjoy these photos knowing I didn't eat at any of the items they sell and saved a boatload of money. 

These were some of the places on my way into the fair. I passed them all by with nothing more than a photo. As I resist more and more temptations, I have found that it is easier to stay in control. When I have a moment of weakness, like I did right after the end of my official Serving Size Summer accountability, I couldn't eat enough food. For the weekend, I ate quite a bit. I also gained five pounds. (None of those pounds contained sweets or desserts.)

That might sound like quite a bit to gain over the weekend but I am still a food addict. It is pretty difficult to stay present when eating. There are times I catch myself shutting my focus down and it is like checking out. Once I am checked out, I can consume a lot of food. 

It might be hard to understand if eating is not your issue. I have spent the first part of this week in "recovery" from my binge. I consider this recovery to be a sign that I will never be able to stop keeping track of my food intake. I will make mistakes but that is not as important as getting things under control again. A deviation from my plan is inevitable and sometimes exactly what I need. Realizing that I can get back on my plan and gain control is the key to having hope that I will be in maintenance and one day fluctuating five pounds every so often will not be the end of all my hard work.

While at the fair, the sunset was amazing and made these next few photos much more stunning than the first series. This photo to the left was one I especially liked. I tried moving to a better spot for the sunset but there were too many people to get around, even though I went dashing through the crowd in an attempt to find a better angle. I could look at things and take photos from many different angles but this was after the hypnotist show and we were on our way out of the fair.

As for Fair Scones?  We waited in line for about 15 minutes. When we finally reached the counter, I realized they were making them as fast as people were ordering. I watched them for a bit and saw what looked like they were adding two tablespoons of butter in each scone. Yikes! That's like... 200 calories. 

I backed up a bit and asked the gal if we could order our scones without butter. The answer is "Yes." And yes, we bought a bakers dozen of scones which I took home, bagged and put in the freezer... in anticipation of the end of my self-imposed ban on sweets, October 1st.

That was today. I ate a fair scone for breakfast. It was delicious. I didn't even miss the butter and it made me happy knowing I saved calories that didn't matter. The good news, was that after a few weeks in my freezer, there were three scones left. Kitchen gremlins must have enjoyed the rest.

I will post in here every so often to update things and also I am being very lax about wrapping things up. So, until next time... have a great week.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Food For Thought

And now, for a little food for thought. It has been a while since I have shared my fun little nutritional food graphic that shows  you all the delicious foods I ate throughout the day. I know you were really missing it so I thought I would bring it out again just for fun and laughs and to also celebrate the end of Serving Size Summer. (I still have a few posts left in me to wrap things up.)

This Graphic shows what I ate August 23, when Elizabeth and I attended the American Idol show at Marymoor Park in Redmond. It was their last show and I won the tickets by calling into the radio station. I thought it was a fitting full circle event because Elizabeth auditioned for American Idol the last time they were in Seattle. It was quite an experience.

Here is the review for the show: It was a very big Karaoke performance... it was their last show and I think they were all ready to move on. It was fun just the same.

August 23 was a difficult day for me in the eating category. I started the morning nibbling on the Olaf cake that was left over from Courtney's birthday celebration. (This was a moment of weakness. It was also yummy.)

If we took the cake out of the picture, my food consumption was not that bad. I had three meals, two of which were restaurant food and the other was a super delicious meal prepared by my son-in-law, Russell, who is a fantastic cook.

His lunch sub was not dripping with grease like my breakfast.

The real diet killer was my restaurant prepared two egg breakfast with hash browns, bacon, sausage and a biscuit. I do not eat butter on my food, so that didn't get added in to my 1270 calorie breakfast. That is half of my entire day's calorie limit.

I put this graphic together to show how easy it is to get hosed up in our good plans by eating what should be a relatively harmless meal, like breakfast.

I could cook this meal at home, controlling my portions, eating turkey sausage or bacon, skipping the biscuit altogether and using pam to cook my food with would also cut down on the grease that was dripping off my over hard fried eggs.

Later, at the concert, I was prepared to eat healthier.

I packed flatbread and snacks. On the way to the concert, we stopped at Taco Time and bought two of their low calorie salads: the Fit Hit Bowl 301 and Chop Salad 250. We used our flatbread to make a wrap and then ate the rest of our salads. We also brought water bottles and filled them in the park.

This was a no guilt meal.

I have found that it is important to find places that will serve food compatible with dietary restrictions. Taco Time is one of my favorites because their salads have beans and rice, are tasty, and the sizes are reasonable and filling. Salsa is a great topping for salads, although we used a little ranch for flavor.

My total Calorie content for the entire day was way over the top.I doubled my usual counts. In my daily count I try to stick to under 2000 calories per day.

August 23, 2014 I ate almost 4000 calories.

I thought it was amusing that I gained only a few ounces the next day. But then I ate more cake the next day and then the next and before I knew it, five pounds had sneaked back on to my scale.

This is an example of how easy it was for me to slip back into my "not thinking" mindset and just shove food into my mouth, even though I really don't want to do it. I just do.

I mentioned before that August was a difficult month for me. I began August at 250.8. I ended August at 249.6. I spent the entire month losing and gaining and losing the same seven pounds. I feel like it is a success to have ended the month down almost one pound.

Today marks the end of my Serving Size Summer Experiment. I will posting a few more times to wrap things up and post some of the other pictures I have gathered. So stay tuned a bit longer...

And since you read to this point, you should get a prize! It is below.

"Such Fun!"

For a little comic relief, enjoy this clip of Miranda while you contemplate the joys of examining my nutrition food graphic.

For those of you who don't know, Miranda is a very funny comedian from Great Britain.

Enjoy this clip, compliments of the BBC.

If you happen to have Xfinity, you can watch full episodes from your Comcast/Xfinity account.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The End Is Near!

As I anticipate the beginning of fall, in 14 days, I am thinking about the end of Summer.

The end of Summer will also be the end of my experiment, Serving Size Summer and the accompanying blog. I thought I might continue with it but have decided there are so many more topics to write about than every bit of food I put in my mouth. I know, it's compelling stuff, but let's face it, I can only say so much about my meals.

This afternoon's excitement: Today I ate two English muffins with a tablespoon of peanut butter on each one.

"What," you say? "How can this be?" We all know that a serving size English muffin is one. (And everyone would know if they were reading product labels, that two tablespoons is a serving size of peanut butter.)

Captivating as it may be, I ate one for breakfast and then later in the day after lunch, I had a hankering for the same thing... heart be still!

The thrill of reading about this is second only to writing about it. I do love a good blog, for sure, but to do a diet blog effectively, requires much more research. I have tips and ideas for how to be successful... most women trying to lose weight know quite a bit about dieting tips and hints. Send me a question and I will do my best to answer it or find an answer or find a way to help. There is just too much to talk about and not enough time.

Listed below are a few reasons why I will not miss Serving Size Summer when it comes to a close September 21, 2014.

1) I am tired of taking pictures of my food. I do this every time I eat, from one piece of candy to 10 chocolate chips to samples at Costco. I have thousands of pictures of food. (For the record, not eating sweets for the entire month of September.) You can thank me later for not posting every single picture.

This is just a fraction of the photos I have taken over the course of the last three and a half months.

At the beginning of the experiment I took several shots of any given food item to get the best light and angle. That got old very quickly. I rarely take more than one photo for any food these days.

I do take more photos if I add items to my plate, so of course, I must retake the image for accuracy.

2) I am tired of eating half a sandwich. On September 21, I am going to make a whole sandwich with two pieces of bread. Yes I will still be counting calories and for the most part, eating serving sizes, but with some things, like bread, you need more than one serving to make your meal. This photo depicts our lunch today. Half of a grilled cheese sandwich (made using butter flavored pam and garlic salt) and a cup of clam chowder. (Amazingly delicious, I might add.)

Actually, now that I think about it, I might stick to half sandwiches, because it was perfectly satisfying and I split it with my husband, so we both ate well. Hmmmm.

3) Taking selfies is overrated. Smile, don't smile, to the left to show my good side, or to the right to show my good side, hair forward or back... so many things to consider.

I know, I didn't have to take them, but more than showing other people the changes, it showed me the changes and I would study these pictures very carefully to see where the weight was coming off and most often being disappointed that it wasn't showing where I would appreciate the difference. But it shows and I have no real complaints about the project itself.

Overall, I really enjoyed this project and of course I like writing and photography... hey, new career path... food photographer... no, not going to happen.

I have received a few comments from people who liked my honesty and also from readers who became inspired to work on their own health. That is the real fun of something like this, knowing that it helped someone think about their choices.

I also had someone say "what? You told how much you weigh? What's wrong with you?" I still looked the same before there was a number attached to it. I have heard people tell funny stories about the fattest person they had ever seen "...and they were like 250 pounds..." At the time, I was 280 pounds and working my way up to 300.

Now we have a visual of what 250 really looks like on this person. I started this blog at 263, after losing weight over the winter. I am not the fattest person I have ever seen, but I was getting up there into frightening territory, often I was the fattest person in the room. The important point here is that because of my weight, I am often the most unhealthy person in the room.

What I will be doing, is continuing to work on this challenge of getting back to health.

So now I am on the home stretch of this project and I happy to report the end is near and even happier to say I can stop photographing my food!

In honor of all those photographs, I posted some of my favorites. It is either special because of the content or the quality of the photo itself. Yes! I am weird.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Take Me Out Tonight

My First Taste of Ethiopian
I do enjoy dining out. First and foremost, restaurant food is delicious. The flavors are more delectable and savory than the meals I prepare at home, the salt and seasonings used to create tastes that I find delightful are combinations that I don't use everyday. My cooking is fairly simple, as I am not a gourmet chef and the meals I prepare these days are more organic and plant based because of limiting saturated fats and added sugars.

Restaurant food should be more complicated, or different or interesting in ways I don't eat on a day to day basis or why else would I go out to eat? There is that wonderful part of being able to savor and enjoy the meal without looking ahead to the inevitable clean-up that is there waiting for me when I cook in my own kitchen.

My Favorite All-American Breakfast
This Version Was Very Greasy 
A few of my first choices for eating out are Thai, Mexican, Greek and American. These are my favorites and the go-to restaurant choices I make whenever I eat out. (I do not have the budget for superfine dining and I am not sure if I would appreciate it if I did.)

Lately, it has been more challenging and sometimes disappointing when I go out to eat. I like what I like and I often choose the same foods because when I buy these dishes, I know they are going to be delicious. I admit my choices prior to Serving Size Summer were rarely salad or plant based meals.

But these days, I have found that when I choose the foods that fit my plan, I am happier than when I choose the foods that have added to my weight problem.

My first "Dining Out Challenge" occurred shortly after June 21st, the beginning of this experiment. A friend and I from work had developed a weekly habit of eating out, sometimes two or three times. Subway, Branks BBQ and Puerto Vallarta were our go-to restaurants. Surprisingly, Branks BBQ was the least harmful to me because we always ordered their Schooner Salad with chicken, dressing on the side. 

Subway also seemed like a fairly good choice, even though I really love their tuna sub and don't choose it because of all the mayo. Subway is safe, right? After all, Jared lost so much weight eating subway that it seemed like we were doing ourselves a favor by eating there. Never mind that I always ordered my sandwich with a bag of chips.

Thirteen tortilla chips and two
tablespoons salsa are serving sizes.
No, the real challenge was my favorite Mexican restaurant, Puerto Vallarta. 

An example of what I think is the best dish at the Puerto Vallarta Mexican restaurant I enjoy with friends is the chicken chimichanga meal. This oversized burrito is a deep-fried flour tortilla wrapped chicken and bean ball of deliciousness and wonder. Very few establishments get this dish wrong, which is why I like it so much.

These dinners are usually served with cheese-topped refried beans, salad and rice. Add guacamole and sour cream and it is heaven on a hot plate. (Just writing this makes me want to make refried beans for lunch. A serving size, of course.)

June 25th we went to the Puerto Vallarta restaurant, I remember feeling very anxious about how I was going to make the huge dish of food into a reasonable serving size. I had only been eating serving sizes for four days. Blowing my plan in the first week wasn't an option, but I didn't want to cut the chimichanga in half and the better way to go would have been to order something to share, but I stubbornly stuck to my favorite. 

Luckily the chimichanga wasn't one of those gigantic ones that we all are so happy to see on the plate but that really do some damage to the ol' arteries. So, I cut the beans, rice, sour cream and guacamole in half and moved them to another plate. In doing this, I felt like I was tricking myself into thinking it wasn't my food and I didn't need to eat it.

This is a very good way to do it, I have decided. If I only deal with the food on my plate, it feels very satisfying.

The wait staff was very curious about what I was up to because I kept taking pictures of my food as well. But, this worked for me at the time. It was the first of many attempts to navigate the very difficult task of eating out and still feeling satisfied. I like to think they thought I was some fancy schmancy food critic.

One of Our Shared Lunches... My Contribution
Because dining out is so expensive, calorically and financially, my friend Nannette and I devised a plan that has been fun, economical for us both and saved me many tough decisions about eating serving sizes at restaurants. We make lunches for each other. It is almost like going out to eat because someone else has prepared the food for you. We just alternate days of brown-bagging, which gives us each every other day off meal prep.

Nannette is very good about making sure I know the nutrition information and will text me a picture of the packaging while she is preparing lunch at her home. This is an awesome instance of gathering people around myself who are totally supportive of my efforts to improve my health. She makes it very easy.

After working at this project for two months, I do try to make better restaurant choices. The last time I ate Mexican, I chose a taco salad and left off the sour cream. The plate was still way more than one person should eat. I am not such a good dieter that I took part of it home to finish at another meal. 

When faced with these difficult choices, made more challenging because I am a food addict, I can't promise to make the best decisions, but I always try. 

I have several events coming up in the next week that are going to be tricky. I know what the consequences are for not staying to my plan of serving sizes, and not choosing "no seconds." I spend a week or two trying to get myself back to my lowest weight. As much as I try not to focus on the weight, I have to keep diligent and remember I gain weight so quickly that it takes two extra bites over my calorie limit to cause an immediate gain of a few pounds the next morning.

I am not so nervous about eating out as I was in that first week. I have a better idea of what works for me and what doesn't and I also have a choice of sticking to the plan or eating the restaurant serving size and not beat myself up if it wasn't a perfect choice. I will have a chance to make a better decision at the next meal or the next day. It has to be no pressure. And it is all okay.

Yoda said "Do or do not. There is no try." He got it wrong. None of us are perfect and some days all we can do is try. If we can't "do," we try again.

So bring it on and take me out tonight!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake!

I know Marie Antoinette is attributed to saying this quote but, I believe that was discounted because she was known for her sensitivity to the poor population of France. ( )

August was one of the best months I have experienced in a long time. It was so much fun to see all my kids so often. Courtney came home from Guatemala and that was fun because my kids all came home to visit here before she went back for her last few months teaching for UPAVIM. She writes about her experiences in Guatemala in her blog Concientizacion y Otros Pensamientos )

We celebrated birthdays this month as well. I should have let everyone else eat cake but, alas, I did not. I ate cake this weekend and more than that... I have been struggling with my food intake for a few weeks. I don't want to clog up the story with excuses, because it doesn't take much to derail my good intentions and excuses are just that and nothing more.

I chose to eat more of the items that I know to be detrimental to my weight loss. Although, this blog is more about choosing to eat serving sizes, not necessarily about losing weight. The weight loss is a side benefit of limiting my caloric intake. Because I weigh so much, limiting my consumption of calories to 2000 is going to effect my weight.

August is the middle third of this experiment. I would say that this month was the most challenging. We had more food related celebrations than usual and it was difficult to limit and track what my serving sizes were.

Over this month, I have gained about 5 pounds. Some of that was gained and lost several times over as I struggled to control my food intake during all the different celebrations. There was so much deliciousness around that I couldn't resist.  The celebrations were wonderful and I wouldn't want to diminish their import based on my food choices. This is just worth mentioning because part of gaining control of what I eat is learning how to manage this when I have less control over what food is laid out before me... and learning to not make eating any certain thing more important than feeling in control, since I am responsible for what goes into my mouth.

So there is one month left on this Journey. Serving Size Summer officially ends September 21, 2014. That is the last day of Summer. The Autumn Equinox is on September 22.
( )

Here is how I am going to spend this last month:

  • 1) I am going to get back to drinking about 72 ounces of water a day. I enjoyed this because it made me less hungry and helped me keep my snack calories at a lower level.
  • 2) Use my hobbies, writing, painting, scrapbooking, Christmas present making, as a way to avoid spending time looking in the fridge to see what I can eat. I usually do this when I am procrastinating to avoid some task that I don't want to complete. 
  • 3) Try, try, try to workout at least 15 minutes a day. I would say I am going to workout 30 minutes a day but I will be realistic in knowing that because of my Fibromyalgia, exercise hurts and I do not like it. I can do 15 minutes a day, but on those days when I have flare-ups, even that is going to be a challenge.
  • 4) I am participating in a LoseIt Challenge to not eat sweets for the entire month of September. No desserts, no candy, no sugary treats. This doesn't seem too difficult because sweets are not really my temptation. (Put chicken, potatoes or cheese in front of me and that is a totally different story.)

Although I am thinking ahead to a possible continuation of this blog into a new version called Serving Size Season, which will be an attempt to continue with the serving size theory of controlling food consumption, I haven't created that blog yet.

Its more of a long term plan but something to keep in mind if you would like to continue to follow this journey with me.

Today is a new day and like all good dieters know, Monday is a great day to start anew or renew the commitment to get back to the business of working towards better health.

Onward and upward or downward, depending on your perspective.

I am determined to get to the finish line with this last month being as good as the first month was. The middle was the challenge... now I carry on to the finish line.

Keep Calm and Serving Size On... oh, and no more cake, please!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Talk to the Hand

Forgive me, it has been a few weeks since my last post, but I have been very busy with projects and freelance and family - all my kids were home! Despite this flurry of activity, I have continued to keep track of everything I eat and I diligently take time to include pictures of my meals. Most of my friends and family have become accustomed to me taking pictures of my food before I eat it.

Shown in the photos above is a family favorite meal of the Fruit & Veggie Plate, usually consumed while watching a movie (it was ParaNorman this time.) On the left is the beautiful display my kids set up for us all to enjoy. On the right is my serving size portion. It is a delicious meal even in reasonable servings.

As a result of my persistence, I have thousands of images of food. It could appear a little obsessive to the untrained eye. I do not deny a certain compulsion that has almost replaced my desire to overeat... almost.

My desire or craving to eat has led to the unmanageable size of my stomach. The circumference of my stomach measures (after losing 29 pounds since November of 2013) 57 inches. I am only 64 inches tall. I am close to being a perfect circle... or maybe an imperfect circle.

I dress to hide my stomach, but it makes little difference, the amount of fabric I use to cover my girth. Being the photographer has kept me out of the pictures... another form of invisibility. I also fill my schedule with work and projects that need my attention, thus keeping me from having to hide in the middle of a gathering, party or event.

Day 1 - Serving Size Summer
However, everyone sees me as I am. They see my stomach too.

There have been occasions in which the person I am talking to, stares at my stomach. We are in a conversation and then all of a sudden the focus shifts and instead of looking me in the eye, they are looking at the part of me that creates such angst in me that I could sob uncontrollably at the inevitability of someone touching my stomach. It is all I can do not to put my hand over their focal point, but talking to the hand wouldn't make me more comfortable, it would only make my companion less... or maybe spark the idea that I was carrying a baby. (That vessel has sailed).

I wrote about this fear in my blog Art In The Life It is a long post, but it does go into depth about my fears of people finding out I am fat.

I am very self-conscious of my stomach. So when I think about how to love myself, I think in terms of "despite my stomach," as opposed to "I love my whole body, including my stomach."  I am working on changing this Stinkin' Thinkin.'

I was looking at children's illustrations on Pinterest
and I had to laugh when I saw this Jana Christy art.
Last year, I discovered a lump in my lower abdomen. I thought I had a tumor caused by carrying my cell phone in my sweatshirt pocket. It turned out to be a hernia that had been there a few years. It needed repair, so I had it repaired.

I was nervous... yes my weight, my stomach, my health. I was very worried. While being prepped for surgery, the nurses, anesthesiologist and my doctor were so positive and upbeat, telling jokes and making me laugh that I began to relax.

One nurse had the job of pushing my weight and the bed into the operating room. I mentioned that she had to do all the work. She said it was easy... motorized beds and all. I remember feeling relieved that she didn't have to push all the weight by herself.

After she brought me in and parked me next to the anesthesiologist, he informed me of what was going to happen. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was my lovely nurse looking directly into my eyes and saying "we will take good care of you."

Because of this experience, I don't hate my stomach and I rather love that little crescent-shaped scar by my bellybutton. It sits proudly above and to the left of my vertical c-section scar which allowed my son to come safely into the world. This c-section scar runs down and crosses over my horizontal hysterectomy scar that saved me from a uterus that had grown so full of fibroids that it was seven times its normal size. This scar points off towards my appendectomy scar that has decorated my abdomen since I was six.

I am learning to love all my parts. It is not always easy because I have not been very fair to myself. I have spent most of my adult life on a diet and when those diets failed, I replayed hateful thoughts in my head, punishing myself for failing.

I have finally stumbled upon something that works for me. Control. Remember, I said in an earlier post, "I am either in control or out. On a diet or gaining." There is no middle ground. Knowing this about myself is important for finding a food plan that will allow me to eat and feel satisfied, while having the added benefit of losing weight.

Measuring out my serving sizes has been good for me. I am almost halfway through this experiment and I am thinking ahead about how I can carry on and roll right on through Christmas... and the New Year and so on.

I am down 15 pounds since June 21, 2014. That's good for me!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Running The Costco Gauntlet

Shopping at Costco can be fun. We can shop and eat what amounts to a sample plate of appetizers during happy hour. (Costco in Tijuana, Mexico served Tequila samples - I thought I heard since the privatization of liquor sales, this happens here in the U.S. as well.) Saturdays are especially delicious. I brought my son with me and told him, "this is lunch so eat up!"

But as soon as we started, I realized, this Calorie Loading Zone was going to trash my food budget for the day. "I have a Barbecue to attend tonight. I can't afford to snack on..." chicken nuggets in BBQ sauce, cheese & crackers, bread & jam, marinated beef ribs, chicken & veggie wraps, taco salad, mango nectar... it goes on and on. Those were just the ones I remembered. Ah, but lucky for you, dear reader, I took pictures.

Right there! That is the kind of trouble a dieter can get into when running the gauntlet that is made of Costco samples. The nicest people are there encouraging us all to taste and if we happen to roll by a second time, have another taste, it's okay because we know all the calories in Costco samples get worked off when putting away that mega-load of must-haves we can only stockpile from our favorite warehouse store.

I estimated the caloric value as best I could. Most servers cut the samples into eight pieces, except for the burrito, fruit leather, dried fruit and bread. Here are the estimates: 41-ChickenWrap, 32-Chicken Skewers, 67-Beef Ribs, 21-Chicken Nugget, 42-Jam & Toast, 10-Pickle, 15-Fruit Leather, 30-Dried Mango, 58-Corn Dog, 27-Pork Jerky, 23-Coconut Water, 100-Burrito, 40-Mango Juice, 36-Tortilla & Guacamole, 20-Cheese & Cracker, 27-Taco Salad.

Almost 600 calories if I ate all of it. 389 was the total of which I consumed without a thought, except I did take pictures of everything we ate so it was really a premeditated devouring. Not mindless, mind you. And... we didn't try every sample offered. I could have done even more damage.

As we left Costco, I knew I had not managed the Costco Sample Gauntlet well at all. The lure of it was that once I started sampling, it was difficult to stop.

The trick now is to live and learn and not go whole hog the next time. We will see.


Definition of GAUNTLET


a :  a double file of men facing each other and armed with clubs or other weapons with which to strike at an individual who is made to run between them —used with run
b :  a line, series, or assemblage; especially :  one that poses some sort of ordeal <a gauntlet of autograph-seekers>
:  a severe trial :  ordeal <ran the gauntlet of criticism and censure>

Special thanks to the nice lady who helped me with the Gauntlet research... the one who didn't like the Coconut Water.