Tuesday, December 29, 2009


So, we are all talking about the "new year." While I admit to being swept up with the motivation and the cleansing activity of putting up a new wall calendar, a small part of me has always thought of New Years Day as somewhat of a birthday: it happens, but what does it really change?

It's not the moment, it's what you do with it.

I'm usually one to stay home on New Years Eve. I'm not a big partier. I get up at 5:00am each and every day regardless of if I have to work or not. I am usually, if not pretty much always, in bed before midnight strikes. I haven't gone out on NYE in years, and I don't remember it being that great when I did.

I suppose that can leave me thankful for the fact that this is one holiday that doesn't lead me into crazy temptation land. Not like Christmas with it's [stupid] [delicious] [fattening] cookies. [and cocktails.]

But, I am one for lists. I celebrate lists. I make like 15 lists a day. I usually end up never ever touching them again, and sometimes it's the same list 12 times. Simply writing something down, putting pen to paper, makes it real for me. It's "officially" something I have to do if I put it on a list.

And so I've made my year of resolutions. Pen to paper, and now finger to key.

What to do in 2010 (aka the year I learn to relax)
  • Practice Yoga 25x. That's roughly every other week. I don't actually like yoga very much, but that's because I had only tried it a few times, in setting that were not at all relaxing to me. Now that I've discovered Bikram Yoga, I think I might be in love. And so I will invest my time (and money) into figuring out how to relax... and stretch my mind [and body] into a new realm.
  • Buy and wear Red Lipstick. I have had this as a goal before. I did buy it, but the color looked different in real light than it did in the store and I hate hate hated it. I intend to take my time, perhaps the entirety of 2010, to find my perfect red. And maybe, just maybe, I'll wear it out on NYE 2011.
  • Leave MN at least 2x. So, before Justin and I took our mini-trip to San Francisco last year, I hadn't left the state in 4 years. That's pathetic. 2009 took me to CA, CO, and AZ and I loved every second I was able to explore new places. I'm excited to see where 2010 will lead me.
  • Drink 30,000 oz of water. For the last 4-5 months, my water intake has been horrendous. Embarrassing even. 30k ounces over the year would be roughly 82oz per day, which will be my base number. I KNOW that staying fully hydrate makes me feel [and look!] so much better, so why deny it?
  • Read 12 books. Hey, I love to read. It sucks that I have to make it a goal, but it's hard to prioritize reading time over the 9389482394 other things I have to do during the day. It feeds in to my over all goal of learning to relax.
  • Save $1,000. Seems like a simple goal, but I've basically been living paycheck to paycheck this year. I was saving $200 per month, but then my car broke. Then my computer broke. Then I took 3 vacations. Then I bought Christmas presents. There was always something eating away and I already have a very tight budget (and a very very very small paycheck). This year I need to rebuild my savings account, because the number in there now is no where near the place I've always kept it [minimum 6 months living expenses]. I need to keep the goal low and manageable so I don't feel like a failure if I don't meet it, and also so that I feel like a winner when I double, triple or quadruple it!
  • Get my sewing machine fixed. This is something that's been on the back burner for nearly 5 years. I allowed an old roommate to use my sewing machine, she broke it, never repaired it, and we're not exactly "friends" anymore after we had to kick her out of the house. I never ended up fixing it, and sewing was always one of my favorite [relaxing] hobbies.
  • Take at least 1 bike camping trip to Stillwater. For those of you who aren't Minnesotan, Stillwater is a beautiful small town on the river. Its full of antique shops and dive bars and miles of beautiful MN forests. It's only 40 miles from Minneapolis, and the camping trip is totally do-able (in fact I've done it before, more than once).
  • Run a 10 mile race. I've done the 5ks, I will run a 10k, but I need to run a 10 mile race. I need a running goal. I hate running so much, but I also secretly love it if it means I'm going to get a shirt and a bib and my name posted somewhere with my time. Mostly, I need this to prove to myself that I am capable of running 10 miles. 2 years ago, I couldn't run 1.
  • Make Goal Weight. The big one.
Secondary to these and the big goal of learning how to relax, unwind, and allow the person I am to shine through the stress, I would like 2010 to be the year I overcome my issues with food. I know I can't conquer them, but I at least want to pin them down until they say "uncle."

I definitely have the "move more" portion of the equation down. I love my fitness routine. It's a part of me. It doesn't feel like work the way I know it does to some of you. I feel like half of me when I don't exercise. The "eat less" portion of the equation, however, isn't going as well. I am intent to focus on portion control in the new year, if nothing else. I am the ultimate binger. I will eat and eat and eat until the button flies off my pants and I won't feel full until I realize what I'm doing, and then I beat on myself with guilt. That needs to end. This year, nothing is off limits, but size is absolutely limited. This goal, however, started today. I've been grazing all day instead of eating real meals. I don't intend for this to be the norm, but I wanted to eat lots of small things throughout the day to teach myself that I can be satisfied with 1 oz of yogurt covered raisins. I don't need the whole box (though I'd gladly eat it by the handful until my knuckles scrap the cardboard). It's going well. I feel satisfied. In fact, I'm not even very hungry and it's way past dinner time.

Tonight I'm listening to my body and having a light meal - just a BAS (big ass salad: mixed greens, spinach, onion, mushroom, cucumber, green pepper, radish and tomato with oil and balsamic vinegar) with some grilled chicken. If that's not enough, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese will follow.

Do you have bigger goals that are dictating your New Years resolutions? It's funny how we can so easily break them down at this time of year, but struggle to see the smaller picture day to day.

Good luck all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back to Back.

Today has been lovely, as well as a totally on track kind of day. I've already gotten in 136oz of water as well as tracking all of my food. I made it to the gym and despite the class I wanted to attend being cancelled, had an excellent (albeit short) solo workout.

I'm going "back to the basics," as I often do when I've fallen off the wagon and need to get back on track. I've made out my meal plan for the week...

And I even made a quick stop at Target to pick up this planner that will hold all of my Health and Wellness information. It has monthly calendars as well as ample space for daily planning. I can write out my meal plan for the day, as well as my fitness plans and still see any upcoming events that might get in the way.

my new motto

For example, every year my boss (our organization's Executive Director) has taken all of the Program Directors out to lunch for the holidays. We usually do this before Christmas, but given the mass quantity of partying and free food, we opted to make it a New Year kind of celebration. I know this will be happening on the 5th of January because it's there in the planner. That helps me to realize that I'll need to step up my fitness that day, and perhaps the days around it as well as really watch my intake the day before.

I know this is easily done by just having my tracker and my blackberry/google calendars, but it really helps me to have everything in one space, even if that means having it in 4 different spaces. Are you still following me?

Now, on weeks when I've gone horribly wrong, I usually have a mental (or verbal - to Jessica) debate about whether or not I should weigh in. I always end up on the scale, deciding it's stupid to not go for it. I need to know where I am, and as I always say, "this is not a race." HOWEVER, this week I am 100% opting out. At this point, via my home scale, I have undone virtually all of my progress for the year. I will be barely netting a loss in the first place, and I just don't want to kill the motivation I have going right now - in this moment.

I want to end the year knowing I am doing everything I possibly can to live a healthy lifestyle, and I do not want what I already know to be a bad weigh in to deter that.

How are you feeling with the new year coming? Have you set some new goals?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweatpants Dance.

Well my friends, I'm back and BIGGER than ever. Or, at least it feels like it.

Jeans that were too big about 3 weeks ago are now crushing my belly. I've got the Christmas bloat (and vacation bloat, and TOM bloat) and it's costing me about 8 pounds. Luckily, the last day of Christmas for us was yesterday. I did not escape without consuming my weight in cookies, but I did make a triumphant return to the gym with my friend "other Nicole." Thank god. I needed that.

It looks like it's going to be a couple days of sweatpants until I can get this under control.

Mission DeBloat:
  • Drink tons of water. At least 120 oz per day.
  • Sweat it out. Attend Circuit Training, Boxing, Bikram Yoga, Spin and Step class this week.
  • Track. Whether using Weight Watchers or SparkPeople.

Consider these my TOTS for the week we're in the middle of too.

Speaking of SparkPeople, (username: nicycle) I joined that site in 2008 and literally never did a thing with it. This morning, for some reason, I was inspired to go and set up my SparkPage and try to figure some things out. One of my side-goals this week is to look into it further. I'd really like to get a better grip on the contents of my food (carbs, protein, fat, etc) rather than just focusing on calories, though I need to [start] do[ing] that too.

The long term goal has always been to live a healthier life. I'm accepting that once again I did not meet my New Year's Resolution to reach goal. I WILL get there.

Have you started thinking about resolutions? Do you even make them? Discuss.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xcitement! Xmas!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

It's been nearly a week away from blogging (and really dieting of any sort). I'm back safely from Arizona. I had a lovely vacation, but have just gotten back and then thrown into the "spirit of the season." In an effort to be more interesting in the week to come, here is just a brief rundown of what I've been up to.

My home computer died on Thursday, pretty much during the most important project ever. In order to TRTMYSLF I decided to join the Mac(ult) and get a hassle free computer. Hello MacBook Pro (and goodbye 2009 savings).

Then I flew to Arizona on Saturday morning and climbed some mountains.

...and drank too much.

and climbed some more.

then got caught in a highly unfair winter blizzard on terrifying mountain highways with no guardrails.

but arrived home safely to celebrate Christmas Eve with my Mom's side of the family.

just the Weiler kids building a snowman.

and there were cookies, of which I ate too much.

and inappropriate cookies as well.

Each year for my Mom's side of Christmas celebrating, we forgo shopping for gifts and collaborate on a cash donation to one of many Women's programs in the Twin Cities. This year, we donated to Kateri House, a program at my organization who lost a lot of funding this year. Between all of us, despite our situations, we were able to scrounge together $500 to give to the women specifically to shop for gifts for their children. It is fun for me to see, since I work there, the impact that can make.

Instead, we draw names and have to hand make a present for that person. This year, my name was drawn by my brother-in-law, Todd. The handiest man on the planet. I can't even tell you how excited I was, Todd gives the best gifts. And he did not fail this year either...

YES! No more ugly college kid furniture on our porch. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I'm highly embarrassed of my front porch and the miss-matched furniture. Obviously not embarrassed enough to go buy new stuff, but embarrassed enough to complain about it all the time. I actually cried when these were unveiled. My BIL rules.

Today we're headed to my Dad's house for Christmas fun, and then tomorrow to Justin's parents house for more Christmas fun.

In weight loss news, there is none. I did not count a thing in the last week, though if I had to guess I'm about 938492830948 points over my target. I did hop on the scale this morning and it appears I'm up about 5lbs from last week, but travel and salty food yesterday could be skewing that. Either way, it is what it is. I wouldn't take back a think I ate or drank on vacation and I'm starting to feel like I'm ready to get back on track. Though not today, because it's Christmas.

Do not follow my example. Stay on track for Christmas if you want to. I don't.

My first day back in the gym will be Saturday and I can not wait. I feel so lost without structured exercise, even though I hiked about 60 miles this last week into elevations as high as 10,000 feet.

How was your week? Give me the highlights, there is NO way I can catch up on blogs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

mobile post.

I'm kind of surprised I can post from my blackberry considering I have an older model and it doesn't let me do half of the things I need.

Last night, in the midst of finishing a work project before officially declaring VACATION, my computer crashed. Its dead.

Today, I'm buying a Mac.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Week, Another Gain.

So, I gained this week. A small one, but a gain nonetheless.

I'm making peace with the fact that this is just where I am right now. If I could give more, I would be. It's been a really rough couple of months. That sounds like a big fat excuse, but honestly there are a lot of factors working against me, so the fact that I've made it through 4 weeks with less than 5lbs packed on is pretty amazing to me. I feel good about that.

I'm extremely happy to report that the Bikram Yoga class was a huge hit. I adored it, I'll be going back for sure. It is the PERFECT addition to my routine for an active rest day. I loved the instructor and the class time complemented my schedule. I'm going to buy a 5 pack of classes and go every Wednesday (when I get back from Arizona).

In Arizona news, I just found out last night that Sedona is apparently the spiritual vortex of North America. I feel stupid for not knowing that and planning a trip there. Also, apparently everyone else in the known universe knew that... but I didn't even know Sedona existed until someone suggested we go there... so. I guess I'm just not up on my vortex news. I probably never will be.

In other other non-vortex news, I was really hard on myself all day yesterday (aside from dealing with stress by yoga). The Yoga seemed to detox me and recenter me (I never believed that before) and I handled my gain at the meeting pretty well. I didn't get too upset over it, I mean... .6? Come on. But once I got home - tired- run down from the week - a stack of paperwork waiting for me.. I rebelled. I started making the popcorn brittle I needed to bring to the Holiday Party at work today, then I started thinking about work, then I started mindless eating dark chocolate chips until I felt like I was going to throw up.

I'm in a funk.

I'm not waiting until I get to Arizona, but I know this trip will be a giant propellant for me. Having structured meals, getting lots of outdoor exercise - it will renew my injured soul/confidence/etc.

The popcorn brittle, by the way, did not turn out well when I worked with the Cooking Light recipe, but when I tweaked it and made it my own by adding Dark Chocolate Chips and coarse sea salt - it was amazing.

I will post the recipe tonight.

Did you try any new holiday themed desserts this year? Were they everything you expected them to be?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TOT Yoga

I woke up on the slight right side of the bed this morning. No good moods or bad, just trying to prepare for what will certainly be an incredibly busy day.

It's Wednesday though, which means weighing in on the scale and weighing in on my TOTS (tasks of total steadfastness) for the week. Let's review:

TOTS for the week of 12/09 - 12/16

•Track Everything. - YES
•Plan Tomorrow's Meals Today. -YES

So, it appears I did well with my goals, but I'm really just giving myself credit for doing what I could. Last week I put in 53.5 hours at work and this week I've already put in more than 18. I'm completely overtired, but happy that - with careful planning - I was able to get all of our Christmas shopping done yesterday afternoon, as well as brainstorm an idea for the gifts we have to hand make (which we obviously left until the last second).

I did track everything, even when I binged. Which I did this week. Having the meal plan helped, and I did follow it all day long. It was only at night, once the plan ended, that I decided I could go back for more. However, last night I divulged this information to my boxing teacher who wasn't aware I had lost more than 50lbs and was trying to lose more. He told me to try eating my biggest meal in the middle of the day, which would actually work for someone like me. I split time between working on site at my organization and working from home. I typically leave the office at Noon and eat lunch at home. Because I've been working out in the evenings, I'm typically not even hungry at night when I get home from the gym, but because I'm from the midwest and because I have food issues, I know I need to eat dinner - and dinner here means a protein and two vegetables.... that could easily be a light meal, but it never is. So... the new game plan is going to be integrating more protein into my afternoon meal and possibly breaking it up into TWO meals, and attempting to eat a light dinner.

I definitely SWEAT it out this week. I totalled more than 4k calories burned! TAKE THAT.

I also READ my books daily. I am drawing so much inspiration from these. They aren't going to solve my problems, only I can do that, but I'm taking away some fantastic ideas. I only hope I feel ready to implement them soon.

TOTS for the week of 12/17 - 12/23

  • Have the best time ever on vacation.

That's right, I leave for Arizona this weekend for a hiking trip with my Honey. We'll be making our own breakfasts and lunches and eating dinner out. I pledge to eat intuitively this week, REALLY listening to my body and finding my sated point again.

Today I'm trying something new. Bikram Yoga. I don't even like regular yoga, and I really really don't like being hot, so all signs are pointing to me hating this, but I'm going to have a VERY open mind about it. A friend invited me, I'm interested, and I definitely feel like I need to detox. I look at Wednesdays (the beginning of my Weight Watchers week) as a new beginning, and I think this yoga class will help with that. It's also going to assist me in giving an unreasonably inaccurate scale number, which is fine with me.

We'll be hitting the mats at 4:30pm, ending at 6:00pm, and then I'll be changing and going straight to my Weight Watchers meeting where I will weigh in with (most likely) a nearly 3lb loss due to sweating out water. I won't be weighing in until the week after Christmas, so I'm interested to see if I can match that with actual weight loss by that time.

Have you ever been to hot yoga? What am I supposed to wear?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Extrovert Introverted.

I have a few theories to pinpoint my ridiculous amount of binging in the past few months. A lot of the friendships that I've really come to need, depend on and just truly enjoy have fallen away. I'm sure a lot of it is my fault. I put the needs of my family and the gym before just about every thing else. I've become increasingly "flakey" over the past year due to an overwhelming and confusing schedule without an organized way to keep track of it.. but I'm lonely.

My partner/boyfriend/manfriend works nights most of the week which basically means the only creatures stirring in the house are me and sometimes the dog (who mostly just lays on the couch). I know no one is watching, no one will know if I eat a whole damn box of granola - especially if I hide the evidence. I've become a secret eater out of loneliness.

I've always kind of played the role of "I don't need help," "I'm tough," "I'm fine, I'll figure it out." But I guess I should just admit that I'm not. I'm not fine. I'm completely immersed in my routine because it keeps me from admitting that I have failed so many of my friendships. If I stay busy I can pretend I'm just "too busy" for social stuff right now, but I probably wouldn't have many invitations otherwise. And all of their lives go on without me, on to bigger and better things that I'm not celebrating with them, that I'm rarely even informed about. Maybe I'm eating to fill a need to be needed, or even wanted. I still think of food socially, even when I'm eating alone.

I know this all sounds so self-pitying and oh look at nic, trying to get attention... and maybe I am. This is hardly the forum for self discovery of this magnitude, and in fact it's quite embarrassing.

I'm embarrassed because I have very very few important people in my life.

I guess my New Year's Resolution will be trying to figure out how to salvage any of that, if it's even possible at this point.

Maybe I'll just move to Colorado.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holding Back.

This time of year always makes me a little nervous. There is a lot of emphasis on spending time with family, which I suppose for normal families is a positive thing. Don't get me wrong, I genuinely love my family. We're very close, sometimes too close [with our hands wrapped around each others' necks]. My family leans on me quite a bit. I'm loyal, dependable, and if I don't have a genuine emergency type reason to say "no," I will always answer "yes" to whatever you need from me.

This is a fault.

Family abuses it with little to no reciprocation. Friends do also.


That's not even why I'm anxious about the season. I've grown up quite a bit, as we often do when we get older (not all of us, mind you). Specifically in the last 2 years as I've changed myself on the outside, I've also made drastic changes within. I've learned to say "NO," and it's backlashed. I've also done quite a bit of emotional maturing, though no family members would agree.

The real problem is that I have been boxed in.

My family still sees me the way I was nearly 10 years ago: a bratty, selfish, immature snob. I'll admit that's who I was then, but it's very far from who I am now. I'm still bratty from time to time because, hey, who's not? However, I'm not "allowed" to be who I am now around family. People assume I'm feeling one way when it's completely the opposite. I find it very irritating, almost to the point of giving them the satisfaction of reverting back to bratty teenage status... but I don't.

I suppose this is a tangent of sorts, but it is one of the key reasons I overeat at holiday family functions. I'm trying not to talk. Trying not to say anything wrong so that family members don't have the opportunity to misinterpret it. I eat so I'll shut up.

I haven't yet found a constructive way to deal with this, but it's a goal and I plan to be very aware and mindful of it this year. I would like my family to really meet me. Learn about who I am now, but I suppose that really would need to be a willingness on their part to begin with. Truth is, I really just need to say something; address the problem. $10 says they have no idea I feel this way.

In other news, I just signed up for the Pound For Pound Challenge due to inspiration from The Broad Broad. She lives just across the state line from me, so we'll be supporting the same fantastic organization - one I work closely with in my professional life Second Harvest Heartland (in St. Paul, MN). I've pledged to lose 9 pounds and in exchange, people in my community will receive meals they so desperately need.

Why not join us in eating a little less to feed your community? Sign up!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

21 and three three three.

This is my 333 post which seems significant for some reason, it's not of course, but we'll pretend.

I haven't felt much like writing this week. I've been fully immersed in all of my new books and my new found motivation and steadfastness. I'm extremely proud of how well I've been eating this week as well as the fact that today is my 21st day of being smoke free! That's three weeks (hence the 333 significance).

Rebecca at Durch DICK und DUENN had a fabulous post on Friday that summed up a lot of what I'd been thinking about for the last few weeks (possibly months). I've been on this weight loss journey for a while now (2 years as of last Monday). I've accomplished a LOT (more than 50lbs lost)! Sure, it hasn't happened as quickly as a lot of other bloggers, but I'm more than satisfied with it. I figured out how to work the program to fit in to my life which is why I've maintained, gained, lost, and anything else that can happen on the scale. It's not yo-yo dieting so much as participating fully in the things I felt were important at the time and I wouldn't take them back if I could. It's been an amazing learning experience. I needed to fall all of those times so I could get back up and come away with an important lesson. It's not reasonable to count every calorie every day and hole up inside the house where cookie temptations can't get to me. That is not living. Life is full of cocktails, cupcakes and burgers.

I started this journey because I wanted to live a fuller life, and I'm doing just that.

And like Rebecca, I'm happy with my body right now. I don't look at the mirror and despise what I see, so naturally my motivations have changed as time goes on and weight comes off and muscles become more and more prominent.

For me, however, I must reach that goal weight. For a few reasons...

  1. I am not yet in a healthy weight range for my height and I would LOVE to see a "Normal" BMI. [mostly out of spite for insurance companies]
  2. I set a goal. I am not a quitter. I would really like to see this through and know I've accomplished something gigantic - exactly what I set out to do.
  3. I must reach my goal weight and maintain it in order to be a Weight Watchers leader, and this is something I really want the opportunity to do.

I know a lot of the people in my life are trying to be helpful or supportive of the struggle when they say "You probably don't need to lose those last 10lbs," or "You're already so much skinnier!" but that (to me) would be like walking back down Mt. Everest when you're 2 miles from the peak. You still climbed Mt. Everest, and that's an accomplishment in and of itself, but you didn't see it from that prideful peak. You robbed yourself of an incredible experience because you could see "most" of it from where you were. You never know what you're capable of until you just do more.

So, press on I will.

I have eaten 21 points (my daily target, like a caloric goal) exactly every day this week. I'm ecstatic. I'm hoping to treat myself to a little something special for dinner tomorrow night since I probably need the extra calories. I've had fantastic workouts this week and it really is satisfying to see the APs (activity points) pile up and still have that whole 35 point WPA (flex point - a bank of extras to use throughout the week if and however you choose) cushion. My head is absolutely on straight. Just for Today I've got it all together.

I can't imagine a point in my life where I wasn't striving for something better (weight loss or not), which is why I need to keep on keepin' on.

Are you really satisfied where you are or do you want more?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Love and Loss.

Good morning!

I'm very happy to report some wonderful news from my Weight Watcher's meeting last night... a .2lb loss!

I'm sure some of you are like "Uhh... .2? Seriously? I could sneeze that out."

Well guess what nay-sayers... I can't. And it was hard for a giant number of reasons and that is why I am so proud of my adorable .2lb loss.

The scale is headed in the right direction again. I feel totally in control yet totally relaxed. It's so easy to forget how SATISFYING such small amounts can be (well.. normal amounts really) when you plan well and eat real food.

Speaking of which, I need some new REALLY fast meal ideas that are tasty and creative. What have you got for me?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Time To Tell TOTS.

I set very simply TOTS (Tasks of Total Steadfastness) this last week. For those new or out of the loop, I quit smoking 17 days ago after smoking for more than 10 years. I'm kind of re-learning how to live in general, let alone re-learning how to look at food as more than something to shovel into my mouth in the absence of cigarettes.

So, last weeks TOTS were...

TOTS for the week of 12/2-12/8

•Track Everything.
•STOP at 21.
Stay Smoke Free!

The only two I feel uncomfortable celebrating successes on are stopping at 21 and blogging. I did both the majority of the time, but not in the way that I wanted to. I stopped at 21 points 4/7 days this week but it was still due to poor planning and I never felt satisfied having to alter my dinner in a manner that suited the 2-3 points I had left for the night. I definitely need to make better plans. I also blogged, but not in the way I intended.

I'm setting simple TOTS again this week. I realize this morning that I am not taking this challenge seriously, but honestly, I can't right now. The best I can do is participate and just genuinely give it my all. The last 3 weeks of December are the busiest of the entire year for me at work. That, coupled with quitting smoking, trying to lose the 5lbs I've gained from quitting smoking and the additional 5 pounds I have to lose to meet my Weight Watchers goal weight, AND Christmas... it's all a little overwhelming.

Setting my TOTS each week gives me something to focus on, and I find this helpful during this busy and stressful time.

TOTS for the week of 12/09 - 12/16
  • Track Everything. This is really beginning to be second nature again. Almost like an immediate reaction. I've tracked every binge I had in the last 2.5 weeks, which is something I definitely would have hidden from the tracker last year.
  • Plan Tomorrow's Meals Today. We're going back to the meal plan. I'd like to eventually try to eat intuitively as an experiment, but I think I better save that for maintenance.
  • SWEAT. 5-7 days a week. Considering building in rest days, but I don't really know how or when to do that. I almost always over eat on rest days... reflections on this coming soon.
  • READ. All of those lovely self-help books I picked up on Sunday have been giving me some peaceful relaxation time with a mug of tea in my favorite chair. I've come to cherish this routine on a nightly basis and I want to keep it up. De-stressers mean I stuff less food in my mouth.

Simple simple goals, but sometimes the most basic stuff is the hardest to wrap your head around.

P.S. We got about 7" of snow last night. Winter is finally here!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

(Black and) White Christmas.

My office doesn't have a color scanner... just a lame pixel-y mess of a scanner. I'll figure out a way to get better digital copies but for the sake of fun...

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009


Today I reached 50 followers.

I'm in awe of this number and eternally grateful for the opportunity to follow so many of YOU that it feels like a blessing to know that people read my rants, advice and struggles. Thank you for supporting me and allowing me to support you.

I just got out of the shower, which in the winter in Minnesota is a huge indulgence. Feeling warm in the midst of below freezing temperatures feels fantastic, as well as washing off the sweat of yet another fantastic workout at The Firm.

Now that I'm smoke free (16 days and counting!), I find that I have a lot more free time on my hands than previously thought. I am one of those high-stress people who thrives off being busy and ever-occupied. Stress, to me, is not always negative. I enjoy deadlines and hard work and tasks and other things that make me think and move. That's just how I operate.

Because I've found these outlets of time, I've been reading a lot more. It's something I tend to do more often in the winter also as there is less thrill in sitting around outside or going for walks in the evening.

Saturday afternoon I picked up a book I had sitting on the shelf for quite some time. My sister gave it to me in 2005, after I had won and then subsequently lost a battle with weight (and weight watchers) for the first time. I was looking for an easy way out and my sister, wanting to help, gave me the book French Women Don't Get Fat. I never read it.

And so it sat on my bookshelf... until that fateful day when I decided enough is enough and I'll try (read) anything that might spark inspiration to get back on track from the ridiculous amount of snacking and binging which has become the norm after quitting smoking.

I was hooked instantly. I love the idea of this book. I'm only about 115 pages in, but I've already taken a lot away from it. I believe it helped me through the pizza party on Saturday night. The book preaches about indulging, eating well, never filling up. True quality over quantity.

French women shop often, in season, and cook almost all meals - like me. I LOVE going to the market in the summer and fall (I'm in MN, remember) and to the Co-op during off seasons. I love making the most of the produce we have here when it's ripe and delicious and I certainly love good real food. The book encourages making an event out of eating a meal. Set the table, light a candle, use cloth napkins. Savor every bite. Never read or distract yourself while eating, focus entirely on the pleasure food brings.

I can certainly see how through this lifestyle you learn what you truly like and what you could take or leave. This helps you to select things in moderation and cut back when you have indulged. It also makes you feel sexy. I'm not kidding. All day, the way I've treated my food, my coffee, my tea... feels feminine. It feels special.

...it's a freaking Monday!

I highly recommend this book. I'm reading it and The End of Overeating simultaneously, and I find that extremely helpful considering that one of them is touting delicious full fat foods and the other is explaining precisely why those sorts of foods cause us to over eat, which in turn helps me savor them but realize the conspiracy that is making me want to continue far after I've reached a satisfactory point.

I'm headed to the table now to enjoy a very small, very light dinner. I had something large planned, but it turns out I'm truly not very hungry. I'm quite confident I'd be satisfied with just a mug of tea, but after tonight's workout I know I need to replenish just a bit and so I'm having 1 cup of spaghetti squash with delicious veggie spagsauce (peppers, onions, zucchini, mushrooms and basil).

Because it's going to be a long winter and I'm truly enjoying revisiting one of my favorite activities, help me grow my list by filling me in on some of your favorite inspiring or informative books?

NS Victory is mine!

So friends, I've had a busy weekend. I forgot to do "What I Planned vs What I Ate," but I am celebrating some seriously awesome NSVs. [Non Scale Victory]

+ Saturday night we went out for pizza with a few friends and all of our kids. With all the kids it's just easiest to get something like that - saves ordering entrees for everyone. I genuinely wasn't very hungry but still felt like indulging. I ordered a glass of wine and had a great time visiting with everyone while they ate their pizza. No pizza for me. Not a piece, not a morsel of anything. I knew I could wait until we got home to prepare myself something that I would enjoy.

+ Sunday we made it downtown to see Santa. [long story, but Saturday the line was too long, etc etc] I did not get a cookie at Mrs. Claus' Bakery. It's a tradition that has spanned nearly 30 years, but this year I broke it. Cookies are off limits and so they shall stay. Also, our family Santa picture this year is REALLY cute. It's fun to look over the last few years of pictures (we always sit in the same spots) and compare how BIG Eli is getting and how much smaller I am getting.

+ I am doing an excellent job having tea after meals as "dessert." I think I may be able to retrain my brain to not crave sweets after lunch and dinner this way and it's very exciting.

It feels great to be celebrating something again!

I treated myself to an early Christmas present at Barnes and Noble. I purchased 5 books, 2 of which I have wanted to read for a very long time. In fact, I've been on the waiting list through our Library system for more than 3 months, so I figured I might as well buy them. Buying books feels so indulgent to me. I really enjoy spending time in a book store, strolling the aisles, judging them by their covers. I can spend the most time in the cookbooks aisles. I bought a new low fat slow cooker book, the SkinnyTini's recipe book, a self-help relationship type book [self help is the other section I could spend my whole life in] as well as The End of Overeating and The 4 Day Win.

I started reading The End of Overeating last night and I'm hooked. I will be sure to review it when I'm done, but I already recommend it based on the first 50 pages.

This morning I'm headed out for breakfast with 2 girlfriends. I happily chose our destination at The Seward Cafe which is mere blocks from my house and a Minneapolis historic landmark (probably not really, but it is in my mind and neighborhood). I've already planned what to order but I'm mostly excited for the company. One of the GFs is a friend who moved to Iowa in September and I'm very excited to see her!

I have no plan for today beyond breakfast, which means that after breakfast I'll be planning my day, cleaning the kitchen, working and then working out.

Promises of more exciting, informative and interactive posts this week!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

Goodbye cereal.

You are officially added to the "BANISHED" list along with cookies. I'm sure this list will continue to grow, especially right now as I've figured out that while moderation has worked for me at one time, it is not working for me now.

I kid you not when I let you know that in addition to dieting and having quit smoking [two weeks smoke free today!] I am going to try to cut back on sugar in December. December... the month of sugar plums dancing in our heads.

I am being realistic. It's not being cut out completely. I still want to eat yogurt [fructose... naturally occurring sugar] and fruit and put sweetened soy milk in my coffee, but things like cookies in the office kitchen or a tasty looking chocolate bar at the Co-op checkout - those are banned.

That means no more dessert food. Dessert is my favorite thing in the world, so I have to reframe what dessert means for me. Dessert could now mean a banana or a mug of tea, or it could simply mean nothing at all. It will not mean: ice cream, cookies, cereal, etc. Instead, dessert will be a time of day, the time after dinner where I relax and reflect. Dessert may mean I get to finally finish the book I've been reading for 3 months.

I am going to start attacking this, military style, as of today. The meal plan I made for today isn't optional, especially because it only includes breakfast and lunch. I need to DO this.

I need to lose these last few several pounds so that I can reach my goal, be in a healthy weight range (technically, medically speaking, I am still overweight) and be a Weight Watchers leader. That is the main driving force for finishing this up. I MUST reach this specific weight goal to be a Weight Watchers leader, plus, I'm not a quitter. Plus, things usually don't take me this long. Plus, I guess I got a lot of other really awesome stuff done along the way.

So, I'm dedicated to myself again. I'm safe from my dangerous foods. I'm headed to Step class with my friend "other Nicole" and then today the boys and I are headed to the Franklin Frolic and to see Santa and to watch the Holidazzle parade. These are all fantastic distractions and also involve a lot of walking. There are cookies where Santa lives, but it's easy to get away with not having or wanting one because they are ALWAYS dry and gross. Always. Gross.

Tomorrow is going to be a "What I planned vs What I ate" kind of day. Check back tonight for the meal plan and tomorrow you'll get a slew of pictures of what I actually ate.

That sounds less exciting when you type it out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Return of the TOTS.

So, meeting attended.

Another gain. I've put myself back to where I was at the beginning of November and I'm ok with it. I know that I needed some time to discover what life would be like as a non-smoker without having to discover what it would be like as a dieting non-smoker.

I'm ready again, and I've had 2 SPOT on perfectly OP days. I'm excited to be back. I feel amazing, I feel in control, and I'm holding on to this feeling with Kung-Fu grip.

And so, new goals must be made and carried out through the next week of the No Mo' Potato Challenge. Goals, or TOTS (Tasks of Total Steadfastness), to keep my eyes on the prize.

TOTS for the week of 12/2-12/8
  • Track Everything. This has been a great goal for me, and I'm happy I've been able to comply. Even when I was tracking HUNDREDS of points over my limits for the week, I was at least conscious of each bite and looking over these records has actually helped me recognize and correct patterns. So, tracking is key.
  • STOP at 21. I have definitely gotten in the habit of over planning my days. Sure, I work out a lot, I have a lot of APs, but they get burned through quick. I need to stick to my meal plan, and rearrange if I have a slip up. I am truly FOLLOWING the WW program this week for the first time in weeks. I will stick to my points.
  • SWEAT. I don't need a set number of days. I promise only to work my hardest when I decide to be active, which lately has been every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Fitness raises my self-awareness and always leaves me feeling extremely self-satisfied and proud. I need those feelings right now and I'm happy to earn them through hard work.
  • Stay Smoke Free!
  • Blog. Get ready for a few doses of "What I Planned vs What I Ate," my favorite food accountability project complete with pictures.

Next Wednesday I WILL see a loss on the scale, it is not an option. This is the outcome I want, so I will put in the hard work and make the correct choices to get me there. Just you wait and see...

In the meantime, please read this really fantastic post that came through my blogroll today. What I wouldn't give to feel so in control...

Food Addiction: Questioning the Concept of Moderation from Susan at The Crazy Woman Inside Me...

The whole idea is giving me my own for Christmas - the celebration of cookies (always my downfall). What would a cookieless Christmas look like?


So, another week smoke free and I'm hella proud. However, this non-smoking is sure coming at quite a cost to my hips. I need to be gentle with myself. There's obviously going to be a transitional period where I figure out new replacements for old habits, but I can't help but feel like a failure sometimes.


I reached all of my TOTS this week! Let's review...

TOTS for the Week of 11/25-12/1

  • Track Everything.
  • SWEAT 6 days a week.
  • Plan Tomorrow's Meal Plan Today.
  • Stay SMOKE FREE!

I did all those things.

I tracked everything... all the way into the negatives (by a lot).

I sweat 6 days, and three of those days I sweat twice. I mean SWEAT. I worked my ass out this week. Genuinely. I'm hoping the sheer amount of physical activity will allow me to maintain rather than gain again. Fingers are crossed.

I planned tomorrow's meal plan at night. I really only followed the plans from Breakfast to Lunch, but I gave it an honest shot.

Stayed smoke free!

So.. I'm going to hold off until later tonight to reveal the TOTS for this week. I need to see what the scale says at my meeting tonight before I can be sure to add or subtract a few of my goals.

I know it takes 21 days to form a habit, is that also how long it takes to break one? I think after my 21st day of not smoking, I won't be able to make excuses any longer. I'd like to stop making them sooner, but truly, these are automatic responses. I'd rather toss dark chocolate into my body than ruin my lungs any longer. At least dark chocolate has anti-oxidants......


Did you make goals for this week? Give me some ideas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

NON-Food Rewards.

"They" always say it's so important to reward yourself in your weight loss efforts. Setting mini-goals and treating yourself when you reach them actually has helped me in my journey. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite NON-Food rewards to spark some ideas and motivation.

Philosophy Bubble Bath in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever said you love something so much you want to "bathe in it?" Well, you can. Philosophy bubble bath/body wash/shampoos are so delicious smelling, and they come in ridiculous flavors like Vanilla Birthday Cake or Strawberry Milkshake. This particular flavor has really helped me to feel indulged and relaxed at the end of a stressful day when I know I'm not hungry but rather just need to feel relaxed. I skip the actual cookies (most of the time) and sit in a tub full of chocolaty bubbles. Heaven.

Eyebrow Wax and Shape

This pops up on my reward list often, possibly because I am part Italian Werewolf. In the same vane that getting a mani or a pedi makes some women feel sexy and pampered, getting my facial hair ripped off with a bunch of wax makes me feel womanly. It also helps that if I set this reward for a mini-goal that's been difficult for me to reach, the shame of unruly eyebrows usually makes me work just a little bit harder to get there.

Moving Comfort's "Fiona" Sports Bra

This is hands-down the best sports bra I have ever worn. The link above is a super secret website where you can get them for 1/2 the normal price they retail. They're adjustable in the straps, have a bra-like closure in the rear (no sweaty sticky bra going over the head here) and they actually prevent bounce. I'm serious. I box in these, run in them, jump rope.... every high impact sport and they just... stay where they're supposed to. I highly recommend them, especially because they come in cute colors. This is one of my next rewards because I haven't replaced them since I moved down a band size and it's starting to get uncomfortable.

And sometimes, you have to reward yourself just for not quitting. Just for hanging in there. Just for continuing to try even when you're gaining or falling off the wagon every 3 hours. Maybe a reward is exactly what you need to get back on track.

For me, rewarding myself is all about reminding myself that I AM WORTH THIS. That I am losing weight and getting fit so that I can accomplish all the things in my life that I want to tackle and that I am worth it. I'm doing it for me.

So, my very next reward, whether I hit a weight goal or not is that trip to Sedona, AZ with my honey.

We are going to hike, hike and hike some more. We literally have no other plans except to walk for days. I found a great place on VRBO.com so we will have a full kitchen and the ability to make our own breakfasts and lunches and treat ourselves to dinners out.

I literally can't wait.

What's your next reward?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cookies are banned.

Back on track - that's me. I'm amazed at how well I did on Thanksgiving, aside from a little battle with some damn cookies (ITS ALWAYS COOKIES).

I really enjoyed spending time with my family and forming new traditions every year for myself that involve less focus on food.

I had a great handle on yesterday. I tried a new class at the gym and I loved it and my food was right on the money.

Today I attended my Saturday morning Step class with Doug (the speedo master). After class I took my dog for a big walk along the river and decided to also take him to the dog park. The sun was shining and I'd been moving since I got out of bed, I loved it. In the spirit of things, I also went BACK to the gym for a special Spin class with my favorite teacher. I just got back from that and I am still dripping sweat, which is pretty gross.

It's also why I'm going to go shower and have a snack.

I can't wait to catch up on everyone's Thanksgiving stories.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble Gobble. Gain.

Good Morning, my friends! I just got back from a most amazing workout at the gym. Can I express how THANKFUL I am to have a gym that's open on Thanksgiving?

It surprised me to realize that this was the first solo workout I've done since joining my new gym. I had been relying 100% on classes for my workouts. That definitely doesn't mean I've been doing 100% cardio. No siree. Boxing and Step both have strength training elements and I still play around with my resistance bands and the 30 Day Shred at home.

It really felt amazing to push myself. I was the only one accountable for this workout. No one told me what to do, there wasn't choreography or assignments or instructors barking orders. I really worked it hard and I left the gym a sweaty mess. It was the perfect way to start a day that revolves almost completely around food, especially after the results of last night's weigh in. I knew I had gained, so it was no surprise, and I'll be honest that +3.2lbs actually elated me. I was positive it was much more. I have nothing but confidence that I can take off at least half of the gain this week - if not MORE.

(just throwing that in there for fun)

I'm in the 120th hour of being smoke free and I feel fantastic. Yesterday I was finally able to get it together. Writing out my TOTS for the week really renewed me and remembering that if I can focus on this goal, these goals rather, distracting myself, I won't even think about the fact that I quit smoking 5 days ago. I've been reframing in my mind. It's not "I don't smoke anymore." it's "I don't smoke." Past is past.

I don't really have a plan for "the big meal" today. I know that's dangerous, but I don't actually know what will be there - which makes it difficult to choose. I made my ultra-super-delicious Cranberry Relish to bring to my Aunt's, as well as the (now) famous Fall Potato Salad. I apologize but I've apparently lost the recipe to my Cran-relish, so I had to wing it. I'm not even going to try to explain my improvisation, but there are many delish recipes out there. Cooking Light's version with oranges is pretty close.

Knowing that I have a dessert I can eat, a side I really enjoy and that turkey is really pretty safe in general, I feel confident that I will make the right choices at the table. I'm not a fan of the way that side of my family prepares Green Bean Casserole or Stuffing, so those won't be hard to turn down. I've already written my script for asking the hostess if it would be ok for me to use my salad plate as my dinner plate and remove the larger one from the table, and I have planned for 2 glasses of wine alternated by LOTS of water.

I'm trying to be mindful of what this day is REALLY about. It's not about the dinner, though that is what we focus on. It's about celebrating unions and family. For me, it will be about catching up with a side of the family I truly only see once per year. Focusing on them, what they're up to, who they are right now. I will help in the kitchen and wash dishes and distract myself. I might curl up on the couch and take a nap. Relatives and relaxation.

I KNOW starting the day off with that workout will keep me in the right frame of mind. I know I am prepared for the stresses of this traditional day without the smoking/bonding time with my Uncle. I know that I am strong enough to still go outside and catch up with him and not smoke. I also know that I do not need to eat the appetizers set out because dinner is very soon to follow. I'm rehearsing mental mantras for both the snacking/smoking dilemmas and I feel strong.

What is your plan today?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Po-tate-o Po-tot-o, Let's Call the Whole Thing TOTS

So, according to the No Mo' Potato Challenge, today I'd be reviewing my sparkling accomplishments. I'd be spelling out all the ways I was awesome and met every single TOTS I set last week.

Well I didn't.

You know what I did instead?

I quit smoking, so I win.

In a way, I'm kind of pretending that the challenge RE-starts today. I finally feel a little back to myself. Yesterday was a tough day, and I'm surprised it was the lowest of the binging for the past couple days. Just those Dove Chocolates, and nothing else.

So, this week, the TOTS are...

TOTS for the Week of 11/25-12/1

  • Track Everything. Even if the binging comes back. Stop, think, track and then eat. If I have to track before I eat something (which I typically don't) then it might change things around. So, I'll track every morsel FIRST.

  • SWEAT 6 days a week. This might end up being 7. I realized that Sunday and Monday of this week mostly sucked because I didn't SWEAT. That's not to say I didn't do any exercise, but I didn't work hard, and I always feel motivated after a good workout. I made a fitness schedule and I fully intend to follow it.

  • Plan Tomorrow's Meal Plan Today. Each night, I'll sit down and make a meal plan for the next day. I do this most of the time, but lately it's been difficult. I'll factor in room for little snacks, but I WILL follow this plan. I have to, because I want to.

  • Stay SMOKE FREE! Woo hoo!

So, next week, I will come back and being a shining example of goal setting and reaching. Today is off to a fantastic start. I ate breakfast according to my meal plan and I packed my snack. I spent about 10 minutes stretching, relaxing with coffee and petting the dog as a way to calm myself before work.

I really feel like I'm starting to be ME again and not some hormonal lack-of-nicotine monster. I can't believe the Triple Whammy. I also can't believe I did it with some success!

Today at 2pm I will have reached my 100th hour smoke free. I'm rewarding myself with a Latte.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Enough Already.

I'm not going to lie and say today was awesome. It wasn't. Actually, it most was, with just a few hiccups.

I got to work and immediately started crying because of the overwhelming amount of work I had to do. Then, I remembered I hired someone last week and he was starting today.

The day at work went quickly, swimmingly, and without a cigarette.

I made a run to Target to pick up some much needed supplies. I grabbed 6 3-packs of delicious sounding sugar-free gums, some tootsie roll pops and I might have accidentally purchased a bag of Dark Chocolate Caramel Dove Promises. ... on sale for $2.99.

Plus side on that is - knowing full well I was freaking out- I stopped over to my girlfriend's house. The one who just had adorable baby Juniper. After eating 9 promises in the car, I pawned the rest off on the nursing mother. She loves chocolate. It was an easy task. The baby made it all make sense. She also reminded me of all the reasons I'm doing this, and I really had a chance to relax and talk with my friends.

Everything clicked.

Since then I had a healthy lunch, I took TWO classes at the gym, and now I'm heating up some Spaghetti Squash with Zucchini, Onion, Spinach and sauce. Yum.

As an aside, and somewhat of a TMI one (and not in a funny way) it dawned on me today that this was not a Double Whammy, but a TRIPLE WHAMMY and one to celebrate. I managed to quit smoking, without blowing anything up the week before TOM.

You see, my anniversary was last week, remember? So I was going to use my birth control to skip TOM (I do it a few times a year), only I forgot to do it. It was only supposed to be as a back up in case things came early, but they didn't, so I didn't. Today I got it, and I think it helped everything click.

There's no longer blame, or shame, in all of the mistakes I made over the past 3 days, because honestly - quitting smoking is SO much harder than losing weight. No offense to anyone's journey or struggle, I've been there, I've lost weight, but this is way harder. A THOUSAND TIMES HARDER, and I'm only 83 hours in.

I'm in it for the long haul. My new strategy is just to label myself a nonsmoker, the same way I am trying to accept myself for the fit thinner person that I am now, I need to also let my smoking past go with my fat past.

Ok. This was a ranty post. Tomorrow I'm talking TOTS. It's going to be a harsh look at my epic failure of the week, and also a celebration of my epic AWESOMENESS this week. You'll see what I mean.

Clearning up the Lies.

Ok friends, in my last post I acknowledged my current overeating due to having quit smoking (69 hours) after 10 years.

I also said it had stopped, which was true (for about 4 hours).

I simply can't seem to get it together. Even last night as I was shoveling Pecan Pie (500 calories) into my mouth, I didn't really want it, I just needed to fill the void.

How do you get to a place where you JUST STOP? I've been there before, I know how good it feels to just choose to throw something away. Waste it in the trash rather than waste it in your body. I just don't remember how I got there.

I'm really really hopeful that Boxing tonight will shove me back into motivation mode. I always feel very powerful after that class.

In the meantime, motivational tricks are more than welcome, and/or please follow me around all day and knock things out of my hand.

Monday, November 23, 2009

USAA: Un Smokers Are Awesome

The part Uncle Sam doesn't mention at the bottom of his ultra clever poster is that he wants you to put down that cigarette so you can pick up cookies/a turkey burger/a bag of pirate's booty/ice cream/whatever seems edible.
Saturday actually went amazing. I checked in with y'all after 7 hours, and I was doing fine. I stayed on plan all night long. Sunday I woke up feeling WIPED OUT. I laid around for most of the morning, lamenting life, drinking coffee, dozing in front of the TV between bloated bowls of cereal.
I didn't track anything.
Sunday night, Jessica and I and a new friend Renee headed to see Precious. I packed all my own snacks. I weighed them, packaged them, etc. I didn't track the points for them of course, and I also ate all of them before the first half of the movie had shown. They were healthy though, just in bulk.
Sunday did contain a massive NSV. Whilst shopping the mall before our movie date, Jessica found a pair of 8 Short jeans on the clearance rack. Since she is very tall, she handed them over. Just to try. And try I did. AND PURCHASE I DID because the jeans are hot.
So, I fit into the coveted size 8. That means I'm perfect now right?
Sunday continued to be horrible after the movie when I came home and made myself a Lean Cuisine lasagna and a huge pile of roasted veggies (sounds good right?) followed by an entire freezer's worth of desserts.
Today I was wiped again. I took my vitamins twice though, in an attempt to pick things up. I ate too much cereal, but I recognized it right away. I skipped lunch because I genuinely wasn't hungry (when I say too much cereal, I mean 3 bowls... ok?). Now I'm headed out for sushi with a friend I haven't seen in a long time. We're going to talk goals, for her - not me, which will be very helpful in reminding me how EASY it is to tell someone else how EASY everything is to do, even though it's not. But it kind of is. Really. I mean, 10 years of smoking and I've already made it 57 hours! Every minute feels like torture but I'M DOING IT.
Also, Jessica says that quitting smoking trumps dieting right now. I agree with her, but I'm still going to follow through with my No Mo' Potato Challenge. I just might not score well this week.
So - basic summary: I'm 57 hours smoke free, I'm over eating, I've acknowledge it and it stopped 5 hours ago. I made a meal plan for tomorrow which involves small meals all day long to help with the fact that I can't stop eating. I also intend to run to my friend's house to visit her new baby and then run home and also go to Boxing Class because I have some serious angst to punch out.
I apologize for not commenting on your blogs for the last few days. I did just catch up, but only commented where I felt it extremely necessary. I think you're all awesome and tomorrow I return to my routine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


"Big Ass Salad"

mixed greens, carrots, onions, tomatoes, radishes, edamame, mushrooms. dressed in 1 tsp each balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Salmon, Sprouts and Spinach

egg white omelet with 2 oz lox, spinach, onions and 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese

hash: halved brussel sprouts, turkey bacon and diced potatoes

Oh HENry Scramble

cornish hen salad: c h, red pepper, pineapple, onion, sweet potato, vinaigrette + chipotle smoked salsa + egg whites

2/3 cup Cultural Revolution plain yogurt + dash cinnamon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Speedos to all, and to all a Good Night.

That is my Step teacher.

No, I'm not kidding.

Yes, he always wears that, though not always flesh colored.

This morning, Doug, the man to your right, kicked my ass. He also kicked two of my lady friends asses, and then our three kicked asses went out for coffee and breakfast.

I have to say, it might have been the absolute best way to start a weekend.

Even though Saturday Step is the way I spend EVERY Saturday morning, it's not often I am able to do it with 2 fantastic ladies and have girl talk after. We went to Common Roots and I had a Skim Miel and a small bowl of fruit (mostly cantaloupe). Great choices! I was proud.

These 2 ladies are also Weight Watchers. The two of them had never met, and I knew it would be gab at first sight. I was happy that we were all able to go out, because I love connecting new friends. I have been feeling down lately about how difficult it truly is to make new friends as an adult. It's awkward, like dating. Do I call her? Do I email her? How long should I wait? Will she remember me?

As a very extroverted being, it's not hard for me to make friends if I'm in a situation where I can talk, outloud, in a group. My weight watchers meeting has been fantastic for this. I've made a lot of connections here - and I love it because it's already something I'm doing for myself. My new gym is somewhat of a flop for socialization so far. It's really more of a fancy-pants kind of place so I don't have too much in common with the other clientele other than our love for fitness. I'm still trying to start some regular conversations, doing the head nod, the "Hello," etc.

Other than at work, where have you made friends as an adult?

I'm so incredibly grateful for the support I get from all of you. It's so interesting to me how easy it is to open up to "strangers" about such difficult subjects and I so appreciate all of your encouraging words and all the lessons (and tricks!) I have learned through comments on this blog. You are all lovely and I wish you all lived in Minneapolis, or within a close proximity. [Unless you live somewhere warm, in wish case... I'm packing my bags.]

I am actually. Packing my bags that is. Justin and I are headed to Sedona, AZ on December 19th for a little R&R. Just kidding, unless R&R stands for RED ROCK (HIKING), which it does. I'm so incredibly excited for this trip. Sedona isn't too warm that time of year, but it will be sunny and fall-ish weather, my favorite. I have planned 2 epic hikes, and we're also renting a car to make a trip to the Grand Canyon (for a hike). I found a great place on VRBO.com that is running a special for $100 per night. We'll have a full kitchen (YES, staying on track while on vacation!!!) and a private patio. Don't even THINK this vacation is going to derail my goals, if anything it will push me forward.

Hiking in a new state? YES PLEASE!

So, I've been smoke free for 7.5 hours. Last night, I had one cigarette left and I opted not to go buy more seeing as how my quit date was so close (Sunday). I had that cigarette around 10am this morning. I know that 7.5 hours might not sound long, but that's about 2-3x longer than I'm used to not smoking. Even watching a movie without a smoke break felt pretty rough sometimes.

This hasn't really been hard though. I've had a mug of tea and chewed a Tea Tree Oil stick. There was only one points where I felt I actually wanted a cigarette, and it quickly passed. I think the Chantix is working wonders and I'm very grateful to have that crutch. When I make it to Tuesday morning smoke free, I'm going to reward myself with a haircut. I need one desperately and that 3rd day (Monday) is always the worst for me.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'll be out walking and running all day tomorrow, hopefully, to keep my mind off distractions and to test what 24 hours without a cigarette can do for your lungs.

Keep up the good work this weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Yesterday Was Awesome.

I checked out yesterday. Unplugged.


It was my Anniversary. It was also just an amazing day in general.

Work went by in a flash, I got to meet one of my best girlfriend's new baby Juniper in the hospital, and then I dragged Justin to spin class. He was less than thrilled to be having a sweat session outside of the bedroom on our Anniversary, but after the class - exhausted and energized at the same time - he was thankful I forced him to go.

With adrenaline surging and hunger out of control, we made our first stop of the night.

Now, Justin and I fancy ourselves foodies, which is mostly how I gained so much weight. Because we do not eat out very often (because I'm such a fantabulous cook) it is not uncommon for us to drop $130+ on a dinner out with drinks, especially on a special occasion. So this year, in an effort to both be ON TRACK and have a little more fun than the typical dinner date, I got to plan. I chose to go back to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants ever, El Loro. (A favorite also of Jen at a Prior Fat Girl!)

I ordered my super favorite old stand-by: Vegetarian Fajitas. I'm not in any way a vegetarian, but the first time I went to this restaurant (possibly almost 10 years ago now) I was. It is the only thing I've ever ordered there, and I feel no need to change that. I live less than a mile away from Mercado Central, a Latino neighborhood of Minneapolis with upwards of 20 Mexican owned restaurants of pure authenticity.

Let me tell you my friends, I walked in to that restaurant with a plan. I KNEW I was going to order a margarita. I planned for it. I also knew that this is the kind of joint that brings you endless baskets of homemade tortilla chips with delicious chunky salsa and queso fresco... and there they were. Hogging half the table, and sitting right between me and my lovely date. I didn't touch them. Not one frickin' bit. I plugged back in for 10 minutes to distract myself with Twitter until Justin finally made up his mind about what to order. I didn't even open the menu. I wasn't giving El Loro a single chance to mess up my plan. Just bring me the delicious.

So, I survived the dinner portion.

And because we decided to screw the white linen and opt for paper napkins, we knew we could play with the rest of our date budget. And play we did.... blackjack!

Next stop, Mystic Lake Casino. We have not been to the casino in about 3 years, and coincidentally the last time we went was on our Anniversary. We were in Duluth, had just finished dinner (de ja vu) and were walking down Lake Avenue and decided to stop at Fond-Du-Luth casino. We ended up winning $350 between the 2 of us and upgraded our hotel room to a ridiculous sweet. It was a blast.

This time, I was the only one who left a winner, but fun was had by all. And, I brought home the bacon. $280 worth. Hell yeah!

We decided to stop for a nightcap at our neighborhood bar. This I hadn't planned for, so I stayed safe with white wine. I knew I could afford 3 more measly points (3 because the servings are always bloated, not 5oz like they're supposed to be) and I wanted to enjoy the night.

Truly a fantastic day as a whole.

Today is a gorgeous day outside and I plan to get out and run the lakes. Remember how I power cleaned the house last weekend? Well, dog-sitting puppy has destroyed all that (along with 5 of our dog's toys), so I'll be keeping myself busy today with sweeping, washing floors, doing dishes and shaking out rugs. I think tonight the boys and I are going to rent UP and spend some downtime on the couch.

How are you staying busy today?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh Oh Oh!

LOOK ---------------------------->

New No Mo' Potato Challenge goal: 5.4lbs


Nudge Me.

The reality of my current situation is setting in, and it's making me all the more wise to the fact that I REALLY need the No Mo' Potato Challenge right now. You know what else I need?

Your help.

Remember how I said I was quitting smoking? Well that day is just 4 short days away. I feel like a mad woman attempting to lose the final 7lbs AND quit smoking at the same time, but I know I am stronger than I feel, and I can absolutely do this. I just need you to nudge me.

I need your strategies. I need you to hold me accountable. I don't want another cookie episode. I WANT this. I CAN do this, I just sometimes forget that.

Today is the first day of the No Mo' Potato Challenge and I've already planned out my meals, dessert too, to be no MORE than 21 points and contain my Good Health Guidelines, so I'm fueling rather than feeding. My sweat session will be run/walk intervals around Lake Nokomis (twice) with the crazy dog we are dog sitting, and I bought a new notebook last night to hold my evening reflections on the day that passed and strategies for success for the day to come. I feel very prepared. I love this feeling all too much because I know it doesn't last long. I'm brainstorming right now how to bottle it up so I can get it back when I need it, but so far... no great ideas.

Instead I usually end up with one of these...

My plan today is to simply keep my spirits high and expect the best. I'm totally unsure how my weigh in is going to read out tonight. I genuinely had a HORRIBLE start to this week, picked it back up, dropped it a few times and got back on track. I guess my *hope* is that I maintain or lose at least a little bit, but I hold no expectations at this point.

No matter what, I will not let it kill my motivation, though it might change my ultimate goal for the Challenge.

What are you doing this morning to make today a better day?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Mo' Potato: On to(t) the Goals!

Just in case you missed my moment of sheer insanity this morning where I made up a ridiculous weight loss challenge on the spot called No Mo' Potato, just look here to get filled in.

As promised, weekly I will be setting Tater TOTS, little goals to get me through the week. TOTS stands for Tasks of Total Steadfastness and Tater stands for nothing.

Wednesday marks the beginning of a new Weight Loss Week for me because it is the day my Weight Watcher's week turns over, I have a clean calorie/point slate and that fresh start is exactly what I need to begin this challenge.

This Week's Tater TOTS

  • Treat 21 points as 21 points. Do not debt yourself more than 1/2 the Activity Points you earned each day, save for Thursday, which is your 800th anniversary with Justin and you're allowed 10 extras. Permission granted. [for 10, only. I'm serious. Just 10.] Also, track everything.
  • Sweat it out 6 days a week. REALLY sweat. Repeat your mantra "It's only 2 minutes." [it is my theory that no one move in any routine or class goes on for more than 2 minutes. I can totally do something for 2 minutes, regardless of how long 2 minutes can feel, and regardless of how many increments of 2 minutes make up 60.]

  • FUEL not FEED. This little saying, fuel not feed, works for me when I think of feed as a noun rather than a verb, because that's gross. I'm not a pig.

  • Reflect and journal each night after dessert. This accomplishes two things: 1) To give myself enough time to decide not to have the 2nd dessert I always want after having dessert and 2) allows me to give myself the credit I deserve for the things I did well, all day, thus ending my night on a positive note and building my confidence that all of this is possible to continue again the next day.

I also decided that maybe this should be a real challenge. Just because I don't know HOW to run a challenge doesn't mean I can't figure it out. If you want to participate, here's your badge of honor.

[pull this picture and link to this post]

The only rules of the challenge, as far as I can see, is that you must SET A GOAL. It does not have to be weight related, but it should be something that has been EXTREMELY difficult for you to achieve. For me, the last 7.2lbs I have been chasing for more than 8 months. Don't take the easy way out, I'm really pushing and you have to too. Maybe you walk for exercise but dream of running a 5k? Or perhaps you're scared of the weight room but want to see some sculpted bi and tricepts? Additionally, you'll have to update us on your TOTS each week in your blog. Initially, you'll set them, and then each week you'll revisit your progress as well as set new TOTS for the week ahead.

Whomever reaches their impossible goal on or by December 31st, 2009 will WIN A PRIZE!

Notice, that's not "whomever reaches their impossible goal FIRST..." anyone who participates in this challenge and meets their goal will win something. I'm not promising the stars, just in case suddenly this catches like wildfire and 900 people join the challenge, but I promise something of substance, because I would be embarrassed to send it to you otherwise, and because I have good taste. [P.S. if you just complete the above tasks for the entirety of 6 weeks, you're a winner. After all, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that truly counts." w. churchill]

So let's get crack-a-lackin!