Sunday, January 31, 2016

Goodbye January!

I think January is the absolutely worst month of the year!  I hate it! 

But, once again, we’ve made it through.  Last year, January was extra terrible due to the absolutely miserably cold and snowy season. 

This year, mother nature was decidedly more kind, and I hope as January leaves we will start to improve even more!

So where do you stand after completing the first month of 2016?  For me, it’s a mixed bag…

Eating wise, I was able to get back on track some.  In fact, I was doing pretty dang well for the first 3 weeks.  And then this Friday hit and I fell off badly.  After getting home from work and all day yesterday, I ate and ate and ate like there was no tomorrow.  It was horrible.

And as I saw all of January’s hard work being demolished, I kept at it anyway.  So I’m getting back on track today and will start fresh tomorrow.

But it’s hard.  So fucking hard.  I keep waiting for this magical moment when it becomes easy.  Oh, that’s right, when I turn 70 and will eat whatever I want and get fat again without shame!  We all need goals, right?  Smile

But, putting together multiple days at a time is better than I’ve done in way too long.  So that gives me hope.

I’m doing well on the exercise train.  I thought that I was badly off track with running.  But after my 9 mile run this morning, I checked my stats.

In January I ran 112 miles.  Between the bike trainer and the exercise bike, I went 76 miles.  I walked 18 miles and did 28 miles on the elliptical.  So I feel good about where I’m at there. 

So January has consisted of good and bad.  I just wish I could see some results in the mirror!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Changing my mind?

I am trying really hard to change my focus but I’m having tremendous difficulty. When I look at my life as it stands right now, I have a lot to be happy about.

If I step back for a second and look at my choices that I make daily, I’m doing pretty damn good! I eat really well 90% of the time. Marc and I eat virtually no processed foods. We eat a ton of veggies on a daily basis. I rarely “cheat” as far as eating foods that aren’t good for me. My problem is that I eat TOO MUCH as far as quantity goes. And even eating healthy foods - if you eat too much you gain weight!

I am coming up on needing to make my annual MD appointment. So we’ll have to see what my cholesterol level is this time. But I know my blood pressure is good. I have a resting heart rate of 47. I am exercising regularly and have good muscle tone.

My running is not back where I’d like it, but my Achilles is much better and I ran 6.3 miles today at around a 9 minute mile.

Health wise I’m in pretty good shape - not perfect, but pretty good - especially considering where I started!!

And yet? All I can think about is how fat I look. How much weight I have put on from my lowest. How several pieces of clothing don’t fit. How if I lost weight I might run faster.

It seems like more and more research talks about how we - as a culture - need to be obsessed with being healthy instead of an arbitrary “ideal” weight. If I could change my focus to this, I would undoubtedly be mentally more stable and much happier with myself. Because if my standard was my health instead of my weight, I think I’d actually be pretty proud of myself!

But instead I am pathologically obsessed with how much I weigh and how I look. Which really means FUCKING NOTHING.

From the slogan “Strong is the new skinny” and organizations like Weight Watchers emphasizing a holistic approach to getting healthy (which MIGHT mean losing some weight) it seems like people are starting to “get it”.

So why can’t I get it through my thick skull????


Monday, January 25, 2016

Another number game!


We all know that our bodies don’t operate like perfectly oiled machines. So numbers can only be guidelines. And within those guidelines there are individual variations depending on tons of different factors.

Having said that there is one not so magical number - 3500. That is approximately how many calories in deficit you need to be to lose a pound. So if you want to lose a pound a week, then you need to cut 500 calories per day - which can of course be done through adding in exercise or cutting food intake.

500 doesn’t sound like much, but it totally is, and it’s hard to cut those calories - otherwise we would all be skinny, right?

So what are some ways to slash calories?

Ditch the buns! When you have a burger for dinner, don’t have it on a bun - instead wrap up your burger with a couple big pieces of Romaine lettuce and save about 100 calories.

Speaking of burgers, switch to very lean meat. A 4 ounce serving of 93% ground beef has 170 calories where the same size of 80% ground beef has 288 calories! Save another 100 calories!

Milk is tremendously good for you but 8 ounces of whole milk has 148 calories and 2% has 124 calories - switch to fat free (skim) milk which has 83 calories and you don’t lose ANY of the vitamin or protein benefits.

Choose your breakfast wisely! Cereals tend to be full of sugar and have low protein content. Plus you add in calories when you add in milk. Choose oatmeal - ½ cup has only 150 calories but 6 grams of protein. One hard boiled egg has only 75 calories, but 6 grams of protein guaranteed to make you feel fuller longer and save on calories.

Speaking of breakfast, drink a large glass of water with lemon squeezed into it instead of orange juice and instantly save 120 calories.

Switch from regular fat filled bacon to turkey bacon and save 20 calories per slice and radically slash the fat.

Drowning your potato in toppings? ½ cup of sour cream has 223 calories! Get the same creamy texture by topping with Greek yogurt at a measly 65 calories for ½ cup!

Exchange fat filled mayonnaise which has 50 calories for 1 tablespoon with mustard which has only 10 calories for a tablespoon and will add a punch of flavor instead of fat to your sandwich!

Are you a cheese lover like me? Using cheese made with skim milk instead of whole milk can save 215 calories per 1 cup! And in recipes you can’t even tell the difference!

Trying to eat more salad? Well, you aren’t helping yourself if you are drowning your salad in high fat dressing! A creamy dressing contains a huge amount of fat and tons of calories - 60-100 per 1 tablespoon!! Switch to light dressings or better yet, squeeze some fresh lemon and vinegar on your salads and save hundreds of calories a week!

These are only a few ways you can drastically cut your calories. What are some of your favorite ways to get rid of unwanted calories without a lot of sacrifice?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I want to believe!

As I type this I am anxiously awaiting the reboot of one of my favorite shows of all time - The X-Files!  Those of you who were a fan of the show certainly know the phrase "I WANT TO BELIEVE".

This weekend I was thinking of that phrase and not only that I want to believe but I almost can believe.  Believe that I can get back on track and get back to my goals.

I do give myself some leeway on the weekends - probably too much leeway if I'm being honest.  Having said that, I am still way ahead of the game compared to the train wreck I was throughout 2015.

We are well North of the massive storm that hit the east coast this weekend, but it was COLD.  Really freaking cold.  The dogs kept looking at me impatiently as they've gotten used to running with me on the weekends.  But I couldn't bring myself to go out in the ice cold temps.

So they had to settle for the treadmill and me spoiling them out of guilt.  While they took turns running I rode the exercise bike to the tune of 27 miles.  And when the AFC playoff game came on late today I decided to run on the treadmill myself.

I watched the game and did a slow run.  I got in 9 miles.  Between that and my mostly healthy food choices - I'm pretty happy with how my weekend went.

I do have to repeatedly remind myself that I can't expect results overnight.  Because I know tomorrow I'll put on my dress and be unhappy with how it fits and how I look.

But it's good to feel more in control then I have in a long time.  I hope you have started this year with momentum!  If not, tomorrow starts a new week - it's never too late to make a new commitment to your goals!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Howdy stranger!

Someone who has been long absent from my life has recently made an appearance.

Now, she hasn’t been back around long and sometimes she still is just suddenly missing, but it has been nice to see her around again!

Her name is Self-Control Jen.  She fights on the side of Thin Jen.  But for months, Thin Jen has been battling on her own, and she has been losing BADLY.  She is battered and bruised and came very close to throwing up her hands and giving up – letting Fat Jen win forever and ever.

But Thin Jen decided to give it another try.  She did so without a ton of hope, but when 2016 hit the books she took a deep breath and waded into the battle once again.

One day she looked back and there she was - Self-Control Jen.  But Thin Jen was afraid to believe that she would stick around. 

3 weeks later, she is still here, more days than not.  When Fat Jen was bound and determined to start pounding down some peanut butter after work this week, Self-Control Jen forcibly shut the cubboard door.

Self-Control Jen and Thin Jen made a HELL of a TEAM for a couple years.  They were so powerful that they drove Fat Jen almost into the ground.  But they got cocky – they thought Fitness Jen could do it on her own and they wouldn’t have to worry.

They were OH. SO. WRONG.  Before anyone knew what happened, Fat Jen was firmly back in power and showed no signs of slowing down. 

So here’s hoping that Self-Control Jen isn’t just here for January!  Because we really, really need her!!  Not 24/7 but we deperately need her to be around most of the time.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Shake it, shake it!

There are many runners that run for the pure joy of running.  I've talked to people like this and I've noticed that those type of runners often don't listen to anything when they run. They say they love to be immersed in the whole experience of running and listening to their own breathing and steps and paying attention to the people around them.

I'm most decidedly NOT one of these runners.  I need the distraction of music in my ears - and occasionally an audio book - to pass the time.

Sometimes I need it more than others!  We had a few days of heavy snow and since then it's been cold.  Which means all around where I work the sidewalks are hard packed with snow and uneven ice.  Running on that is treacherous.

But yesterday the sun finally came out and while it was not warm enough to melt the ice, I really wanted to run outside and get some fresh air and sunshine into me!

I looked across the street and saw the large parking lot that was mostly clear of snow - so this parking lot became a makeshift outdoor track for me.

And so I ran around and around and around in circles.  It felt good to be outside and running, but it certainly couldn't be described as exciting!!

So the music was MUCH needed!!

I have an extremely varied playlist which includes some songs that I would NEVER listen in the "real world" but they are awesome to run to.

About 45 minutes in, I was getting a little fatigued - both mentally and physically - when Meghan Trainor's "All about That Bass" came on and it was a kick in the ass - hehe get it?  But seriously - as Meghan told me that she was bringing booty back and I could go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that - it totally perked me up - so much that I re-played it when it got to the end.

There are definitely songs that I love when they come up giving me extra motivation!  Some are dancey type tunes like Elli King's "Ex's and Oh's".  Some are inspirational like Imagine Dragons "Warriors" which makes me feel like I am indeed a powerful warrior while I am running.  And then there's some growly fun like Volbeat's "Lola Montez".  Or when Florence and the Machine tells me to "run fast" for my mother and father, I try 😁

What are some of your favorite tunes to run to??

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Eat up!

Before I lost weight there were many things that I didn’t eat. I didn’t eat tomatoes or onions. I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes. I didn’t use garlic. And while I ate some shellfish, I didn’t eat regular fish.

After I lost weight, I started trying new foods and found that some things that I previously didn’t like or had never tried became my favorite foods! I think that part of my changing taste had to do with eliminating cheap, addictive processed foods from my diet. With that unhealthy triggering of the “instant pleasure” center of my brain deactivated, it opened my body up to experiencing food in a whole new way.

So I hope that if you are new to this, that you are trying new and different types of food and keeping an open mind about eating things that you thought that you didn’t like. Your tastes may change as you begin changing your body and your mind!

One of the foods I DEMAND you start eating ( Winking smile ) is SALMON. That’s what I had tonight with brown rice and veggies! Doesn’t it look AH-MA-ZING?  It sure tasted that way!!


Almost all fish is good for you to eat, but let’s talk specifically about the health benefits of Salmon!

First let me calm any fears you have of mercury. Mercury is particularly an issue in large fish such as tuna and shark. Salmon has a relatively low level of mercury, so it is nothing to be concerned about.  On to the amazing health benefits of Salmon!

The heart:

Eating salmon is correlated with a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure.

Both the extremely high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant selenium are thought to be the protective factor for the heart.

Joint Health:

Intake of omega-3 has been shown to greatly improve joint health and reduce inflammation.

One of the peptides produced from eating salmon is calcitonin – it is made naturally by the  thyroid, and is known to help regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue.

Salmon also has an extremely high amount of vitamin D which is beneficial for many things, including preventing inflammation.

Eyes, Skin and Hair:

Diabetic?  Worried about your eyes?  Salmon improves vision and helps avoid macular degeneration and fights chronic dry eye. Omega-3’s are known to encourage production of collagen and elastin which make you look more youthful and can decrease the appearance of skin blemishes.  Omega-3’s also provide nourishment to hair follicles, helping hair grow, preventing hair loss and giving the hair a shiny appearance.  

The Brain:

Eating salmon is known to increase the mood and decrease anger and depression.  It is associated with decreased cognitive decline in older people. Some studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3’s is linked with a higher IQ. 

Cancer Prevention:

Vitamin D, which is so abundant in salmon, is linked to lowering the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

Omega-3 fats are also connected to decreased risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer as well as leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The pressure is on!

Marc and I were talking today about someone he knows and his weight battles.  This person has been talking about needing to lose weight and get in shape for a couple of years now.  He is quite young but received some dire warnings from his doctor about his weight and needing to improve his health before he is in real trouble.  Meaning NOW.

Every time Marc talks to him, this friend brings up how he knows he needs to do something.  But, like so many of us, he has a litany of excuses why he can't eat healthy and can't get to the gym.  He also has the habit of asking Marc about these quick fix devices - like shakes - to try to lose quickly and with little effort.

Marc is one off the most patient people I know with situations like this and has been very gentle and encouraging and has given him ideas and truly wants to help him.

But as time has passed he has gotten a little frustrated that his friend continues to talk but takes no action.  He said to me tonight that he thinks it's time to give up because he has to want it and he's clearly not ready.

As I well know, that is true!  Until you're ready to change ain't nobody going to make you do it.  BUT - what is the value of pressure?

I think pressure can be a positive motivator.   Having a friend constantly asking you about your food choices and/or exercise, joining an online forum on healthy eating, having an app on your phone that tells you to get up and move - shit, even getting on the scale daily - those are all pressures that can be ANNOYING AS HELL - but also incredibly effective.

The constant pressure of being reminded of your goals?  Of why you need and want to take a journey - as the saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink - but you CAN make him thirsty!!

So I told Marc that since his friend keeps bringing it up, he clearly has some desire to change.  Marc will never be able to make him change, but who knows when he might finally be ready?

So that's why it's important to have someone(s) or something(s) that place pressure on you.  Get the app that asks you what you're eating today, enlist a workout buddy, go to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, get a dog who likes to walk, sign up for a 5K - keep that positive pressure on!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Boring = safety…

A friend and I were talking last week about my food choices.  She commented that she doesn’t know how I stick to a “boring regimen” of food.

She says that she has to have variety and/or just go out and decide spur the moment what she will have for lunch that day.

I have to admit that sometimes it does get a little boring.  I have almost the same thing for lunch on each prescribed day – like Mondays are almost always a bag of steamed green beans mixed with a can of grilled chicken.  And every day, it’s a banana for lunch “dessert”.

I’m a little more “wild” (NOT) with dinners.  I try to mix it up and try new recipes, but I don’t have the energy to put the time and effort into seeking out healthy recipes and gathering the ingredients and making them.

Therefore dinners usually consist of a lean meat (chicken, turkey), a healthy grain (barley, brown rice) and a ton of veggies.  Most times on Sunday night I’ll know what we are going to have most of the nights of the week.

Sometimes I do get sick of the same thing.  But I know myself – if I don’t plan, that’s when I get into trouble.

If I headed home not knowing what we were going to have, the thought of just picking up something would enter my head and that choice would typically be something unhealthy. 

And lunches?  Well, going to work without lunch would add up to me wondering what I was going to eat.  And I work with some people that go out every day and get their lunches.  I could go with them and I could get something healthy like a salad.  But I wouldn’t.   

The routine does sometimes make me feel like I am boring and that maybe I should give spontaneity a shot.  But I think I would totally be setting myself up for failure!

Hopefully I’m a little more exciting in other parts of my life!!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Thanks Shaun T!

I have done a few of Shaun T's Insanity DVD'S as well as some of his T 25 DVD'S.  Marc has done a lot of them multiple times and really enjoys those workouts, but I'm not a huge fan of his style.  So I'm actually offering thanks to him for a totally weird reason...

For being totally neurotic like me!!

I've told you guys that I never watch those weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser, because I think that those shows often show unrealistic and sometimes harmful approaches to weight loss.  So when that new show called My Diet is Better Than Yours came out I paid little attention.

I didn't realize that Shaun T was even involved in that show but I happened to see an interview with him yesterday and stopped to read it.  In the interview Shaun talked about how he ran a 5K every morning during filming because the camera "adds 10 pounds" and that he hates seeing himself on film if he hasn't worked out - he starts picking apart the parts of him that "need work".

SERIOUSLY??!!  I mean this guy is in AMAZING shape and looks beyond incredible!  And he worries about how he looks?  It seems utterly ridiculous!  I was kind of shocked that someone like him would have those insecurities!

If someone like that feels insecure, maybe it's not so crazy that I get insecure!

Maybe it's just something that certain of us deal with - questioning ourselves, doubting, always wanting better.  As I took the dogs out for a run and was contemplating this, I asked myself what it would take for me to be totally satisfied.

If I got back to 120 pounds and started running 7:30 minute miles would I be thrilled?  Yes, I guess, but I also would look at the extra skin on my thighs and arms and be disgusted.

So if there is no magical place where I'm going to suddenly be 100% satisfied?  Then maybe I should accept that.  Wanting more, wanting different is totally OK and I'll be working towards a better me.  But realizing it is a never ending process means that there is no end game!

So if there is no end game, it means this whole thing is a journey, not a destination.  Am I making any sense here?

  So thanks Shaun, and P.S. you look freaking fabulous!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Recipe: Chicken and White Bean Stew

This is what I woke up to this morning!


Ugggggg, RIGHT? I feel like I’m never going to get outside to run again.  Check that – get outside to do ANYTHING except run from home to car to work to car to home!!!

I can’t say that I’ve been as on point this week as I planned and wanted to be. However, I stared LONGINGLY at the peanut butter in the pantry last night and narrowly managed to avoid rationalizing why it would be okay to “just have a taste”. For me, this is a victory!

And when I come home from work and the weather is freezing cold and snowy, it is tremendously hard to keep up the motivation to work out. I really just want to get in my PJ’s and curl up on the couch with some comfort food and not move all night!

Anyway, on to the recipe!  What is better on a cold and snowy night than a hearty stew? This is one of my favorites, because it is healthy and super easy to make!!
What you’ll need for this recipe:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Light Italian Dressing
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added navy beans, drained
  • Shredded light cheese (optional)
First take the onion and chop it up.
Throw it in a large saucepan with the Italian dressing and cook on medium heat until the onions are softened (approximately 5 minutes).

Next chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add that and the minced garlic into the saucepan.

Cook up until the chicken is cooked through - around 5 minutes.


Add the diced tomatoes, the beans and the basil.

Stir it all up and simmer 15 minutes.

Split it up and add some cheese on top.


YUMMY - and so easy!
This turns out very thick – it is a stew (which is how Marc likes it).  If you want it more soup like, you can easily add some chicken broth!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Weight loss strategy...

Of all the challenges we face in trying hard to eat healthy and improve our fitness snacking can be a huge problem.  For me, resisting the call of the kitchen in the late evening after dinner is sometimes overwhelming.

Here is a weightloss strategy that seems to be working well tonight - place an immovable 75 pound weight on your lap so you can't get up and raid the pantry!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Try and try again…

Someone today was filling me in on the new “21 Day Fix” program that is a combined system designed to teach healthy eating and portion control with an exercise program. This seems to be a new and very popular system and not knowing much about it, I was pretty interested. The person had just bought it and was extremely excited to get started with it.

Suddenly - almost mid-sentence - she stopped talking and said to me: “You must be thinking how ridiculous I am right now!!”

I asked her what she meant by that. She then said that she has been trying to eat right and exercise for 2-3 years now. She’ll lose some weight and then promptly gain it back. She has tried committing to running, she joined a gym, she tried Jillian Michaels’ workouts, she tried yoga, she tried P90X and then Shaun T’s T-25 programs. All of these she stuck to for only a short time before abandoning them.

She told me that I must think that she is a joke because she tries all these things and then stops. She loses motivation. She’ll eat right for a while and then immerse herself in a world of pizza, ice cream and food that comes out of a box. She told me that she doesn’t know how I do it, and that she feels guilty and “like a failure” when she sees me running or when she sees what I am eating for lunch.

I told her that it’s not easy. I asked if she thought that one day I just decided to get healthy and “TADA!” I did so. No, I attempted many times over many years to make a change. I tried walking and Zumba. I made the absolute VOW on many occasions to eat right - sometimes the promise lasted a few days sometimes I didn’t make it until noon that day!!

Making a major life change takes time and there is no predicting when something will finally “click”. There may be a lucky few in this world that “get it” and achieve the first time they attempt the change. But the vast majority of those who attain their goals have attempted MANY, MANY times and “failed”.

Who knows when we’ll do the thing that allows us to succeed this time. Maybe the 21 Day Fix is it for her. Maybe she is ready now. But the point is that you can’t give up because you haven’t found success yet! Success may be right there.

So if you have tried and failed in the past. Even if you made a resolution on New Year’s and it’s already been broken - IT IS NEVER TOO LATE!! Try again, try something different, but TRY.

I am so glad that I didn’t give up and that I am not giving up now. The whole new life you seek is right there. It always has been. You just need the key to unlock the door. It may be the 2nd key you try or the 50th, but it’s there - just keep searching!


Monday, January 11, 2016

What can you live with?

After a super on track week last week, I relaxed the rules over the weekend and was most decidedly NOT totally on track. Now I didn’t go completely crazy, but I definitely ate more than I “should” have - or did I?

“Should” is one of those magical words. Over the last couple years, my life has become filled with those - “I should have run today!” or “I shouldn’t have eaten that cookie, what the hell is wrong with me?!?!” are thoughts that I get plagued with whenever I do something that I have defined as “naughty” - because I have determined that I SHOULD weigh no more than 120 pounds and anything that I do that doesn’t lead me to that goal is WRONG and BAD.

Which, of course, is silly, right? I once had a “zero tolerance” policy. I virtually never strayed off plan. I went on vacations and didn’t allow myself to eat ANYTHING that wasn’t on the “ok to eat list”. And running? Well, there were a certain prescribed number of miles and scheduled days per week that I HAD TO run and anything outside of that was unacceptable.

And guess what - it worked! I stayed at a lowish weight and ran races and won them. I also found myself driving past an ice cream hut on vacation and bursting into tears because I hadn’t had ice cream in SO LONG and wanted some SO BADLY but I would not allow it because it was BAD. I started to see running as a chore, but continued to run even with injury.

It sounds completely crazy when you see it in black and white like this. But it was my life. A lifestyle, that it turns out I have apparently unable to sustain.

I think that I am almost there. That maybe I can live with not weighing 120 pounds. That maybe I’m not going to win any more races and this is not the end of the world. I still plan to eat right more days than not. And I have no plans to give up my fitness activities. I hope to lose some weight. Ideally without losing my mind!

Where do you stand in your journey? Are you happy with your routine and is it sustainable? How do you balance being happy and healthy while still striving towards your goals?


A quote to live by!



Saturday, January 9, 2016

Entering the fantasy realm...

OK, I think of myself as a pretty rational, pragmatic person.  I don't gamble because the odds are so stacked against winning.  And that's especially true of Powerball.

But we're talking $900 MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS.

Can you even imagine???  I can't conceive of having a fraction of that amount of money!!

C'mon some of you out there bought at least 1 ticket, right?

Did you spend some time today thinking of what life would be like if you were to win the grand prize?

What would you tell your boss come Monday morning?  What charities would you give to?  How would you change the fortunes of people you love?

Would a personal trainer or chef enter your life?  Would you immediately move to a new house?

The odds are astronomical!  But I've spent $2 on stupider shit before.  So it was fun to envision living the life of an obscenely rich person today!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Assessing Friday…

As I type this, the day is not over yet, but we are on the home stretch. This was an interesting week. My goal was to achieve some semblance of getting back on track.

One of my goals was to avoid peanut butter during the week. I have gotten in the bad habit of coming home from work and picking, picking, picking, picking at the peanut butter - a food that it certainly good for you but is extremely calorie dense!

It sounds SO easy - just don’t eat any peanut butter, right? I wish that is was that easy. Like saying to the smoker - just don’t smoke!!

My co-worker (a perennially normal weight person) doesn’t eat peanut butter at all. So a couple of weeks ago when I was lamenting my waistline and talking about peanut butter she encouraged me to just clean out the cupboards and throw all of it away - I told her (not totally tongue in cheek) that a life without peanut butter is not a life worth living!

But what I couldn’t really explain to her adequately is that is really is NOT about peanut butter. I truly do eat healthy now-days - it’s my portion control that is the problem. So if it wasn’t peanut butter it would be hummus, or almonds, or chicken, or strawberries, or just about anything I can get my hands on. It’s the over-eating that is the issue, not the “substance”! I don’t think as someone who has a healthy relationship with food she could totally understand this concept.

But I did it! Assuming I don’t lose my shit and raid the peanut butter cupboard in the next few hours I will have succeeded in at least one of my goals! And while it’s going to take a lot more than 5 days to get back to where I want to be, I’ll take the victory for this week.

A victory not over food, but over Fat Jen! If I can string enough of these weeks together, I might just get back to my goal weight – wouldn’t that be something!

How about you - how did you do in your goals this week??

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Like any good addict…

The floor that I work on doesn’t have any good bakers. Ok, let me re-phrase that. There *might* be good bakers on the floor, but - FORTUNATELY - they are not the type of bakers that enjoy baking and then bringing in the products to share with their co-workers!

I have a hard enough time resisting crappy pre-packaged treats that someone does bring in frequently, but if there were fresh baked goodies constantly present??!!  I would be totally screwed…

On another floor, there are a few people that are WONDERFUL bakers and quite enjoy baking cakes for birthdays or just making some cupcakes and bringing them in. Recently, one of these bakers brought in some DELICIOUS looking frosted cookies that she had made the night before because “I was bored”.

I do have to visit this part of the building on occasion and often have to talk with others on business issues while these irresistible sweets sit on the table screaming “EAT ME - I AM SOOOOOOO GOOD!” I do my best to resist with varying degrees of success.

Today I was there and there was a cake. I had a gigantic piece. It was SOOOO good. As I went back for my second piece and covered it with whipped cream, I found myself feeling SO guilty and I was so DISGUSTED with my lack of self-control! And yet I keep eating. I was thinking that it was only Wednesday - that my resolve to get back on track had lasted a total of 2 freaking days and how pathetic that was. I also had in my head that I needed to tell the truth here - to be honest with you guys - but that I was severely tempted to LIE and do a post telling you guys that I had another day on track and woo-hoo I am so awesome.... These thoughts were going through my head as I was shoveling that cake right in....

Which is precisely when my eyes flew open. I was completely disoriented as I stared at the clock next to my bed which read 5:32. I realized I had to pee badly and jumped out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, that’s when I realized - IT WASN’T REAL. I hadn’t just scarfed down 2 huge pieces of cake. The day hadn’t even started! And this huge RUSH of relief just surged through me. You know that electric feeling that goes through your body when you think something bad has or will happen and then realize it’s all ok? That’s what I felt.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a dream like this, but it has been a while. And it was SO REAL. Every detail of eating that cake - from cutting off a chunk, to putting it on the plate, to spraying on the whipped cream - all of it was as real as it could be. In addition, the intense feelings of having let myself and others down, the guilt and shame - it was almost tangible.

I have had so many clients describe to me their intense dreams of using once they have stopped. Of driving drunk and hitting something, of melting down heroin and sticking the needle in their arm, of smoking a joint and then realizing they will be drug tested the next day and flying into a PANIC. While the consequences of me chowing down on cake is RADICALLY different than a drug addict relapsing, it is just amazing to me how same this experience is - if that isn’t yet another clue of my food addiction, I don’t know what is!!!

This is neither good nor bad - it just IS. In some ways it is almost funny.  I gotta say, it is a welcome relief to be able to post here honestly and claim another day of staying on plan, of being successful at trying to get back on track.

By the way - just in case - I avoided that area of the building today as if it was PLAGUE INFECTED!!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Embracing the pain!

If you are new to working out let me officially welcome you to world of PAIN. For me, when I started, pain was a scary concept. I mean, we’re not supposed to feel pain, are we?


The answer is a rounding YES - YES WE ARE. Pain in normal. The difficulty is determining the difference between good pain and bad pain. It is really hard to do, especially if you are a whiny wimp like me!

But pain is necessary for growth. Physically, we need to put stress on our muscles in order to encourage them to grow. There is no way around it.

So let’s talk about pain. Good pain is the kind that happens in the muscles. It is a diffuse pain throughout the area that you are working. That area might start to shake. But when you are done with the movement, the pain stops. There might be soreness or fatigue in the muscle but it is not PAIN.

The opposite side is bad pain. Bad pain comes on quickly and can be described as a stabbing or shooting pain. It is usually in a very specific area - usually in a joint. As soon as you stop the movement, the pain continues. That is not the type of pain you want and you need to stop whatever it was you were doing.

Now let’s look more specifically at a couple examples. When I first started working out just about every single workout I did caused pain. Of course it did! I was using muscles that hadn’t seen action in YEARS. The muscles were under developed and challenging them hurt.

I can remember doing squats. My knees hurt, my thighs (quads) BURNED, my butt was ACHING. And I was barely squatting down at all. But the pain in all of these areas was an aching ouchie, not an intense pain. And squats are one of the best exercises you can do. People worry about squatting hurting their knees. Trust me, your knees are MUCH worse off carrying 100 extra pounds around every single time you walk and not having muscle surrounding them than doing some squats.

These days, I grab a 25 pound dumbbell in each hand and squat way down. My knees don’t hurt AT ALL. Not even a tiny bit. By reducing my weight and building up muscles around the knees to support them I have eliminated that issue.

I still feel pain when I work out. Yesterday I did P90X Plyometrics. It has several sequences of jumping up in the air. Gawd it SUCKED. But there was no sharp shooting pain - it was the pain of growth and taking it to the next level. I also know that impact exercises - like lifting weights and jumping exercises is great for bone density. Especially as a woman who is nearing menopause, this type of stress put on the bones and joints can keep osteoporosis from happening and can prevent broken bones (like breaking a hip) down the road.

While we’re talking pain, let me talk about DOMS. DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It typically happens 24-48 hours after a workout. So say you did a bunch of squats and you feel really good - and then the next day you can’t sit down on the toilet without screaming in pain because your quads hurt so bad.

That is also GOOD pain. When you do a hard workout you are creating mini tears in your muscles. The soreness is the body repairing them and this causes the muscle to grow.

Why is muscle growth good? Muscle looks great - nice and firm. It can fill out some saggy skin. Muscle BURNS CALORIES - even at rest. So a 150 pound muscular person burns way more calories – even at rest - than a 150 pound person with low muscle tone.

So embrace GOOD pain. Suck it up. Lift some weights, jump around. It is good for you!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Start it off right!

I know that January 1st was actually a few days ago, but many people waited until today to truly give it their all in a new start.

So how are you faring? Did you happily get up this morning all motivated to start your new life? Or did you glare at the alarm clock when it went off?

Whether you are brand new to this journey, whether you’ve had some success and have been off track for a while like me, or whether you simply had some “bumps in the road” over the holidays, getting back on track is never easy.

After some mild weather so far this winter here, we woke up to temperatures of  -5 degrees. Ok, that certainly doesn’t help the motivation!! Fortunately, this super cold snap is expected to be short lived. But when all you want to do is curl up in flannel PJ’s and drink hot chocolate and eat carbs? UG!!

So no matter how you felt today, here’s some of the challenges we have to look forward to in the near future: Intense cravings for sugar. Eating something off plan and feeling guilty. Missing a workout. Feeling tired and irritable. Getting the “fuck its”.

All of these things are NORMAL when coming off of processed foods and/or making a lifestyle change.

But if you keep at it, things WILL get better. The cravings for processed sugar and other foods begins to go away. You’ll find that your energy will increase as you begin to incorporate more fruits and vegetables. Your body will thrive on multi grains and complex carbohydrates and lean proteins and healthy fats!

As you start to do some exercise - even something as simple as walking - you’ll start to sleep better and you’ll be less irritable.

And when the scale begins to drop? That’s major motivation!!

Are you looking forward to a shopping trip and buying smaller clothes? Do you want to run a 5K this year? Going on vacation and wearing a bikini? Getting off your high blood pressure meds?  Whatever the reasons for change, keep your eye on the prize!

Make sure you are patient with yourself. Again, it’s about progress, not perfection. We are all going to make mistakes, to make poor choices. But it WILL get easier. For me, it has never gotten EASY, but it has gotten much easier.

Today? It is the first day in the rest of your life!! 2016 is going to be a great year - I just know it :)


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Zero balance…

Are you wondering if I am talking about my bank account?  No, I’m not quite in that bad of shape!

No, I am talking about my complete lack of balance in my body!!

Shortly after I started losing weight and trying to get fit, I started doing yoga.  Although I’ve always been reasonably flexible, obviously when I started I was very out of shape.  So stretching and doing simple yoga poses was very difficult!

So my yoga “practice” started with these cards I got in a kit that I bought on clearance somewhere and also included a stretching strap.

What I did starting out really was more a stretching routine than a yoga routine.  But I liked it and felt it was helping me.

Marc initally shunned yoga – thinking of it as most people uneducated in yoga do – as a “hippy dippy” meditation type thing and not very physically challenging.

But as I got more into it, he also gave it a try – especially after he got the P90X series which had the 90 minute intense yoga routine.  And he liked it as much as I did.

So we incorporated yoga into our fitness lives and have really loved it.  I’m not sure that I am great at the “Zen” part of yoga and getting in touch with my body and the earth. 

But I have gotten much stronger and more flexible and find that yoga both physically and mentally compliments the rest of my physical fitness activities.

Except the balance part.  The FUCKING balance part of yoga is my NEMESIS!

I suck so bad at anything that has to do with balancing – especially on one leg.

As we were doing a yoga yesterday (Baron Baptiste’s Power Vinyasa Yoga) and there was a whole balancing sequence – of which I FELL out of EVERY SINGLE POSE I got so frustrated!  I feel like in this area I haven’t improved one little bit since I started trying yoga.

And when Baron Baptiste kindly informed everyone listening that it’s okay to fall, because “falling is learning”?  Well, I became very UN-ZEN and wanted to crawl in the television and punch his face!

I have tried everything that is suggested for helping people improve their balance in yoga.

Things like focusing on one spot in balance postures and moving into positions slowly and tightening my core.

And guess what?  It doesn’t work!  I fall out of even the simplest standing poses, like tree pose!


So if any of you are into yoga and have any suggestions to help – PLEASE let me know!!

I certainly won’t give up trying, but it would be nice not to completely suck!! 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Stupidity free zone!

Trust me guys – I KNOW the desire to find a quick fix!  The desperate search for something that lets you lose tons of weight through minimal effort and work. 

I lived on that planet for MANY years – hoping that one day I would find (insert angelic music here) THE ANSWER.  And suddenly I would become fit and beautiful and would skip through daisies everywhere I went. 


If you are new to attempting to lose weight and/or if you’ve tried many times and haven’t been successful, you might be tempted to try outrageous suggestions to lose weight.

The reality is there is NO. QUICK. FIX.

Say it with me now – THERE IS NO QUICK FIX.

So promise me that you won’t try any of these stupid and at times dangerous fad diets that always pop up - especially around this time of year.

The latest one I saw was the cinnamon and honey diet.  Where you have honey and cinnamon in the morning (which is apparently supposed to suppress your appetite all day) and then have another dose before bed and… TADA!  Before you know it you are skinny as a supermodel.


If that were true, every doctor in every country on EARTH would prescribe the honey diet and fat people would disappear from every where!!

The killer with these fad diets of course is that you can find some success for a short time with them.  When you go on the “cabbage soup only” diet you’re going to poop like crazy and drop some initial poundage.

And if you drink ONLY shakes at 150 calories for breakfast and lunch and then eat a “sensible dinner” – of course you are going to lose weight. 

Until, that is, you go stark raving mad and begin stabbing people in the neck until you eat enough pizza to choke a horse!!

The only way to lasting weight loss is to make a complete lifestyle change.  Which means that your diet has to be sustainable in the long run. 

Eating more fruits and veggies, eliminating soda and processed foods, increasing lean meats and dumping fatty ones, beginning an exercise routine that you can stick with.

That’s the way to reach your goals.

No one here is stupid, right?  Deep down inside you KNOW these fads won’t work.  I knew they wouldn’t work.  But I wanted SO BADLY to believe them – to have a new life for myself.

But I worked for it.  It was hard and exhausting – it still is at times – it was also worth it.

And if you need support and assistance, well there are lots of programs out there that encourage healthy choices and give meal suggestions.  I haven’t been on myfitnesspal in AGES.  But when I first started?  I was on there constantly!

I had no idea what a healthy meal truly looked like and I sought guidance there. 

There are also programs now that give you color coded containers that you fill the different colors with different types of food.  That’s not a fad diet, that teaches you what healthy, normal portions look like.

So stay away from these stupid “lose weight FAST” schemes.  Instead, employ patience and enlist support in order to make it happen!  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!


Here we are guys!  It’s 2016! 

I for one am delighted to see the new year arrive!

I will not rehash the past, as I want to take this opportunity to look towards the future – which is wide open.

What lies ahead of us are dreams waiting to be fulfilled – are you ready?

What goals do you want to accomplish this year?  Because they are all attainable!

Lose weight?  Quit smoking?  Start running?  Save money?  Laugh more?  Whatever it is, let’s start today!

Remember, though – these life changes won’t happen in a week.  They will take time and patience.  There will be setbacks and bad days.  There will also be goals and accomplishments that will blow you mind!

On January 1, 2010, I weighed 344 pounds.  If I had thought about losing 225 pounds, and how long it might take?  I think I would have quit before I started. 

It took me 2 1/2 years to reach my goal.  But you know what didn’t take 2 + years?

Getting under 300 pounds.  Doing a 45 minute Zumba DVD without stopping.  Running 2 minutes straight on the treadmill.  Going to Kohls and finding pants that actually fit!

All of those small attainable goals added up and suddenly I was a brand spanking new person.

Today the pages of 2016 are blank.  Start filling them with great things!!