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!