Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eating on the Job: Guest Author Janice Cantore

Weds. March 20th 12:30 PM: CONGRATULATIONS to our book giveaway winners: Lourdes and Gram (Dee).  And thank you ALL for stopping by to make Janice feel welcome.

It is my great pleasure to welcome bestselling author Janice Cantore to the Authors' Galley kitchen today. I feel a certain kinship with Janice, not only because she and I have the same (great) publisher, but because we're both veterans of service careers--my long stint in the ER, and her 22 years as a Long Beach, California police officer. Trust me, we would have crossed paths before now if it hadn't been a matter of north-south geography. Nurse and cops, it's inevitable.

I especially appreciate that Janice is offering a twist on our apron-time by sharing her battle to maintain healthful eating habits--especially difficult for folks doing "shift work." I can relate to that, and I'm betting--regardless of employment--many of you can as well.

 Welcome to my cyber kitchen, Janice! 

Eating on the Job (Lessons learned from the land of junk food)

When I graduated from the police academy, I was in the best shape of my life. I had even won an award from the academy staff congratulating me on my hard work during physical training sessions. I could run fast, scale walls, jump fences, do take -downs and control holds and fit easily into my shiny new police uniform.

Then I went to work in a black and white police vehicle, mostly with male partners who never had an issue with weight control.

I’ll rewind a bit; when I took the physical agility test during the application process, I barely passed. I was over weight and almost didn’t make it over the six-foot wall. If I hadn’t scaled that wall, I never would have made it to the academy. When the academy started I, and about five of my classmates, were placed in a select group singled out by the tactical officers for our lack of physical fitness. We were the “puss guts and banjo butts.”

I never minded the nickname because I knew I was out of shape and I knew that I wanted to be in shape so I was highly motivated. So, for the next five and a half months I ate right, worked hard and got in shape.

Now it was time for patrol. The first afternoon shift I was assigned my partner was a skinny guy who stopped first thing for a 5 PM snack at a greasy fast food place. A couple hours later we’d stop for lunch, usually at a restaurant not a greasy spoon, but I learned to eat fast because you never knew when a call would interrupt a meal. And before our shift ended at 2AM, we’d likely stop again at an AM/PM or a 7-Eleven for sweets.

A similar pattern emerged when I went to graveyard shift, 10PM to 8AM, but it was generally worse because the only options for meals were all night greasy spoons or donut shops (yeah, donut shops).

 It wasn’t long before the belt was moving out a hole or two, the vest was feeling more restrictive, and I needed a larger size pant. Apparently I was entering a phase of life where I just couldn’t take the weight off when I wanted to.

I was still jogging when I wasn’t too tired, but I was eating all the wrong things. In Long Beach there were places with great Mexican food, an excellent barbeque place or two, and a lot of great places to have huge breakfasts, and I loved thick Belgian waffles smothered in peanut butter and honey.

And you thought police work was all about fighting crime!

Being over weight before starting the academy was one thing, but being overweight at work was a whole different animal. The gun belt was tight and uncomfortable, the vest nearly unbearable in the summer. Moving to a desk job made things a bit easier because I didn’t have to wear a vest and I could wear a small belt holster and not the full Sam Browne, but the bottom line was; I needed to lose weight.

I would love to end this post saying that I found a magic pill and all the extra weight melted away. But poor food choices and inadequate exercise created for me what became a continuous struggle. I eventually lost most of the extra weight the old fashioned way: exercising and eating right: no junk food,

 but the battle is never ending and I must always pay attention. I can’t help it, I like just about everything that is not good for me and will put on weight, but I have stopped hating all those forever skinny guys I worked with.

(Standing, waving a wooden spoon over head) Well said, Janice!
And now, to add a second treat, our guest has kindly offered TWO signed copies of her new book release, AVENGED in a giveaway! Please leave a comment below--perhaps something you struggle with regarding a healthful diet--and your name will be included in the ( drawing. Please leave an e-mail address. And note: this drawing will be limited to US entrants only. 
I'll draw the winning names on Wednesday March 20th, post the name here and notify the winner via e-mail.

Best of luck to you all, Bon Appetit and happy reading!


Richard Mabry said...

Janice, Good luck in the continuing battle of the expanding waist line. I love the cartoon that says, "I've lost the same 10 pounds half a dozen times." I have, and continue to try to lose it yet again. Thanks for sharing your story.
And, Candace, thanks for introducing us to Janice. I like the format of your new blog.

Trudy said...

I too have fought the battle of the bulge all of my life. I am horrifically carb sensitive, and I found that I gained weight not because I eat a lot, it's that I eat the wrong things. I am a bread junkie... not a huge sweet eater. But I tried a low carb diet, and nearly went crazy because I could not have bread or pizza or bagels etc. ARRRGH.. I love fresh fruit and fresh veggies, but I can get real cranky if I can't have my pizza!

Trudy said...

I forgot to leave my e-mail addy!

am definitely going to look up your books, I LOVE cop stories, and medical stories. Yay Candace Calvert books!

MaryAnn said...

I didn't have a problem with weight when I was younger, but especially after my daughter was born it has become a challenge. I give in to easily to snacking. The older I get the harder it gets.

Beth said...

Janice I too have that battle w/ healthy weight. I am a sugar addict and I know it. I have had to cut all sugar except my one Coke a day. I also haven't met a flavor of ice cream I didn't like. =) I walk everyday and try not to focus too much on losing weight.........I am glad to know I am not alone.

Mocha with Linda said...

Amen and amen! I just finished a nursing refresher course, and those 12-hour shifts at the hospital with one 30-minute meal break just beg for snacking! I could feel the tug toward grabbing a candy bar or something equally unhealthy and had to really be diligent in taking almonds or something that wasn't so dangerous to the waistline. Because of course, the last time I worked a shift, I was 23 and skinny and could eat anything I want and drop an extra pound with ease!

So fun to read this feature, Candace! Janice has become one of my new faves after reading and reviewing her books!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read one of her books! Great interview! Love learning more about the author behind the book! :)

Unknown said...

OOH!!! I love Janice's novels! Read the last two and LOVED them both! I've battled food and weight all my life, and now that I'm turning 50 it's about feeling healthy, not numbers and sizes.
thedeena 63@ hotmail . com

Andrea said...

I just downloaded a book of Janice's. Now to find the time to read it! VEGGIES!! I need to like them or eat them whether I like them or not. There are not many in my diet. Lots of chocolate, though!


kaskaggs at fourway dot net

Michelle Prince Morgan said...

I struggle with my weight too, but this year has been a real struggle. I spent many months in a wheel chair so I packed quite a few on. I know for my health I need to lose some but can't seem to find the willpower. Thanks for sharing.

Gram said...

My two favs. Nurses (I am retired) and cops - too many in my family to count. As we age weight becomes a problem, and it is becoming mine - again. Dee grammyd01 (at) comcast (dot) net

Unknown said...

Although not in either career field you both are in I still have had a fight with being really overweight most of my life. Now with being disabled, it is even harder. I am only allowed to swim or use elliptic bike to exercise. Trying to do more of eating raw. Notice I said trying, no snickering Candace. Lol. Would love to read your book

Thanks Candace for the review

Cathy Weber

Cheri swalwell said...

I have struggled with losing weight my whole life too. When I started working at a desk all day 6 years ago, it was really hard not to have pounds add up.. Combine that with not much exercise, too much coffee, and too little sleep and it was a recipe for disaster. it is just this year when God is teaching me balance that I'm starting to get a little of that. I'm finding that I enjoy walking and hiking with my family and the less I eat and the more healthy I eat, the better I feel. I didn't put it all on in one year, so it will take awhile to come off, but God and only God is helping me find the balance I so want to achieve. Thanks for being honest about your struggle too. It's nice to know we aren't alone.

Thank you for this opportunity to win one of your books.

In Him,


Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

I struggle with junk food, and seconds on foods that aren't good for diets.. like mashed potatoes and gravy. Love your books, can't wait to read this one

Kelly said...

I truly know how you feel. I heart junk food especially chocolate stuff. It is soooo yummy! I have also battled my weight for the last twenty years. When I got pregnant I got even bigger. Thankfully, I found a chiropractor who is helping lose the weight. In six months time, I lost 50 pounds. Now, over the winter I gained some of it back. I have a ton of stress and a long commute. I have started again and hope I can lose the last 50 pounds. I already feel better and in smaller clothes, but sure do miss my chocolate.

Lourdes said...

I have struggled all my life with my weight as a child other kids were terrible. As an adult adults weren't much better, but it wasn't till I was faced with diabites, high blood pressure and sleep apena that I finally realized I needed help,plus at one point Ihad weighed 330 So five years ago this coming Sunday 3/17 will 5 years since I had my gastric bypass. Today I am so very grateful for my second chance at life. I know weigh 149 a believe it or not I am still considered obese go figure. But glad to say my whole eating style has changed and I am forever grateful.


Unknown said...

I feel for you as I am a carbo-holic. and when I am reading a good book is usually the unnecessary munching. I am getting better. if I don't take I really don't miss but its hard work.Cant wait to read your book its right up my ally for entertainment

Jordyn Redwood said...

Amen, sister. Even though I've published two novels I'm still doing shift work-- 2 11-11 shifts per week.

You would think as a nurse we would eat very healthy. Let me just say most units I've worked literally have a dedicated candy drawer.

Over the past three years or so I've whittled off 49lbs and still have about 15to go. Honestly if I could eat junk food and be skinny I totally would so I understand the struggle.

I am right there with you.

Jordyn Redwood said...

Ugh... 40 lbs. though I will get to 49 someday!!

My e-mail: jredwood1 at gmail dot com

Anne Payne said...

I love Janice's books! I can relate to this post, a little too well. Not in the police work, but with the snacks in the middle of the night. My husband goes to work at 3 am and I have a bad habit of snacking after he leaves. Since he started this job 6 yrs ago, I've put on about 20 lbs. That was bad enough but then after our daughter passed away last year I put on another 18 lbs. BUT, I have lost that extra weight now, so only the original 20 to go :)

Anne Payne said...

oops...forgot my email -
homesteading at charter dot net

Kelli Jo said...

I was on Prednisone for over 2 1/2 years and put on over 100 pounds. I couldn't take it off for YEARS!! finally, I saw a show and then bought the book - Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin. Following his life-style changes, I am almost back to where I was before! Yay!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Janice and Candace, thanks for the great column. You definitely spoke to a lot of hearts. I broke up with Jelly Belly earlier this year. Why? Because I noticed that my belly was taking on the characteristics of the name. :)

Sorry - forgot the email.

Bethany said...

I dislike eating most fruits and veggies--- I definitely enjoy eating dairy and breads more! ;-)

Cbus.blogger at

rebekah said...

I am a stress, bored, upset eater. So I vedge when I'm stressed, depressed or upset. I try not too as much as I can help it.

rebalynne said...

I have always battled the waist. I try to eat right and exercise when I can, but due to my condition, that is rare. I love your books and enjoy the action! Please keep writing the thrilling novels!

Mary F said...

I have a theory that people in service jobs often have weight issues. Not because they don't know how to eat...these are smart people! And not because they don't know how to shop. I think that changing any habit, and staying on top of weight issues requires us to focus on put ourselves and our eating quite high on the top of the list. And...that's just not in the nature of us service people. It's hard to convince a cop or a nurse or a teacher or a mom or a doctor that planning their next meai, making sure healthy foods are available and less healthy foods are not, is more important than the person who needs their help in a life and death kind of way, RIGHT NOW!

CandaceCalvert said...

Richard--thanks for stopping by the blog. I'm looking forward to having you as a guest soon!
Trudy, MaryAnn,Beth, I hear ya!
Linda: I commiserate with your return to 12 hour shifts--ironically hospitals can inspire unhealthy eating for sure.
Deena: yes, "healthy" is the goal.
Andrea: LOL, I know you so well.
Lisa: thanks for stopping by!

CandaceCalvert said...

Michelle: Can only imagine how hard it would be to maintain goals when immobile. Blessings, friend.
Gram: nurses and cops indeed--I'm going to be doing a guest post for Janice on exactly that!
Cathy: I love the elliptical. LOL, and not really snickering, promise. I can only go so far with raw myself--hard on the tummy.
Cheri: Balance--the key word. Second to "God's help." Amen.
Mark: Mashed potatoes and gravy! I love that comfort food myself. Keep the turkey, just give me tater seconds.
Kelly: I've never heard of a chiropractor helping with weight loss. Interesting.

CandaceCalvert said...

Lourdes: amazing! You. are. Amazing! Thank you for sharing.
Bonnie: I hear you. I sometimes have to brush crumbs off my Kindle.
Jordyn: I know you know the challenges of shift work--rugged in so many ways. Congratulations on your weight loss/health gain!
Anne: Praying all of it gets easier, dear friend. Thank you for sharing.

CandaceCalvert said...

Kelli Jo: Congratulations! I knew that weight gain was a side effect of that med, but had no idea how tough it could be. Good for you!
Ms.Elle: I'll admit to understanding the Jelly Belly deal. I have a hard time resisting the popcorn flavored ones . . .
Bethany: it's tough to develop those new habits, for sure. Understand.
rebekah: I think you've hit the nail on the head with those triggers for sure. We can relate.
rebalynn: thank you for stopping by!

CandaceCalvert said...

MARY: What wise words!! I never thought about it that way, but you are SO very right. Service folks tend to give and give . . . and sometimes when we refill the well, it's with comforting (and not so healthy) things.

CandaceCalvert said...

CONGRATULATIONS to our book giveaway winners: Lourdes and Dee (Gram)!