Losing Weight Being Healthy

Monday, July 28, 2014 with no comments

To kick of the month of August, the last month of summer, I’m joining up with my other DCNR (DC ladies group) to get into high gear for my goals. For this month, I’m not making photography plans or organization plans or even de-cluttering goals. My simple goals are fitness and health related. Notice I didn’t say weight loss.

I have so much to say on this topic, that I’m going to break it up into smaller posts (sorry for the book for the first one!), and label them with the category #healthforlife. Health, because in the past few years, I’ve shifted my mentality. I’m not focused on JUST losing weight, although that’s certainly the highlight. I’m changing my whole outlook, and deciding to change how I approach this journey. I’m not losing weight, I’m changing my lifestyle and only adopting things that I can keep up for the long term. And Life, because recently I lost a friend to cancer, and it highlighted the fact that we only get one life. One. I want to make the most of it, and feel my best to enjoy it. I owe it to my family and friends and myself, to take care of myself. I also owe it to my kids to start modeling and enforcing a healthier life on them, before it’s too late and the damage is done to their own health. Living life does not = indulging my every desire and giving in to laziness. Sometimes, yes, because CHOCOLATE = heaven :) BUT not ALL the time, as I’ve been doing. Indulgences are so much more meaningful when they are done sporadically and infrequently. Chocolate tastes SO much better when I only eat it once in a while, versus having it every day ;)

I’ve been struggling with the weight loss cycle my entire life. Gain weight, lose weight. Life changes, repeat again. I go through ups and downs like everyone else. I plateau both physically and emotionally, and have challenges just like everyone. I’m using this blog to document it, share it, and find support.

In the past, I’ve joined programs, tried “diets”, taken pills, you name it. I finally started looking deeper, and looking past the flashy slogans to the underlying motivation I had for wanting to lose weight. Yes, I want to lose weight, but I also want to be proud of the food I eat, and see the results shine through my choices. I want to pass this knowledge to my kids, and watch them make these choices their routine. I also want to be realistic. This will not be easy. I will have times where I can’t control my environment, where the situation calls for some splurges (and weight gains). I won’t be 100% perfect. But my plan is to never just “give up”, and to splurge with the intention of making it temporary, instead of a way of life. I want to find a way of eating that teaches me how to EAT RIGHT ALWAYS, not just how to lose weight in the moment. Something that my entire family can benefit from, not just me, alone.

Yes it all boils down to calories in vs. calories out, but there’s so much more to changing your way of eating, and turning it into living a healthier life. It means that I need support from people outside myself. I still have bad habits, and I still have a lot to learn about the right foods to eat. I need programs that can support me, and people to cheer me on and pick me up when I’m down. I don’t want to invest in shakes that I drink only while “on program”. I don’t want to make meals that only I can eat, while my family enjoys something different. I don’t want a pill that will magically give me super metabolism, that stops when I stop the pill. No more shortcuts.

This is where Weight Watchers and BeachBody come in. Weight Watchers is a game changer. I joined with my mom as a pre-teen in the 90′s, but that program was a little harder to keep as a lifestyle back then, since it relied so heavily on WW specific brand items (anyone else remember those checkboxes and WW scales for portion control?). When they re-engineered and came up with their “points” system, and marketed it as a lifestyle and “eat whatever you want and still lose weight”, I knew it was what I needed. I joined in 2002 and became a lifetime member in 2003. I’ve had ups and downs in the past 10 years, but overall, I still rely on WW to show me how and what to eat AND… more importantly they give me the tools to handle the EMOTIONAL side to this journey. Those meetings in-person with a leader, with weekly check-ins and topics were like a support group for addicts. I am SO much more successful when I attend regularly, and I recommend it to anyone struggling. Don’t hesitate to try different leaders either. I have a few that were “ok” but it made a big difference when I found the ones I loved. I am forever in debt to those ladies!

BeachBody is a relatively new endeavor, and it helped me fill in the gaps where WW was lacking this time around. Yes, Weight Watchers helps with portion control, and they do also emphasize activity and exercise. But it wasn’t enough for me. WW had become TOO familiar, and I needed help reigning myself in. I also need help figuring out what to do, a routine with excercise, that took the guesswork out. A friend recommended the BeachBody “21 Day Fix” which is basically portion controlled foods with a limited list, plus a workout regimen to compliment the program. It was the portion control I needed and the structure of the different food groups to follow that made the difference this time. If you look closely, the 21 Day Fix foods are exactly the WW “power foods”, but just presented in a different way, along with guidelines on how many of each food group to eat per day. For some reason, those colored containers just made sense to me, and helped in my weekly planning.

I also LOVE the BeachBody workouts, even if I’m not a Shakeology fan. The shakes, as much as people are crazy for them, just didn’t fall into my “things I could do for a lifetime” check… so I am doing the Fix plan without the Shakeology part. I wanted to learn to eat REAL foods, so that if I found myself unable to afford the shakes, or if I was outside my home and didn’t have my shakes with me, I could still make good choices. The best part of BeachBody is that they have a dedicated following, and I was also lucky to have a friend as a coach, who tries her best to keep all of us motivated (love you, Kendra!). She’s an inspiration no matter how much you have to lose, and I always look for her to give us a kick in the right direction. The coaches for BeachBody are definitely in surplus, so you probably all have friends that moonlight as a coach, but if you don’t or want one that keeps you in check, ping Kendra to join her group! I appreciate all her time and dedication to the programs, it’s definitely motivating.

Basically, it all boils down to: I want a healthy life, and I need the support to get there (and stay there). I have found it through Weight Watchers and BeachBody, and through my own decisions to adopt it as a lifestyle.

I’ll follow up with more ideas on things that have helped, and my challenges as I go through the rest of my journey to get to my “happy weight”.

For check-in purposes, at this moment, I’m at 166 lbs. On my 5’1 frame, that’s a BMI of 31.4 (or “obese” as it’s so lovely classified). My goal for August is to average 1.5 lbs/week, so by Labor Day, 5 weeks away, I’ll be down 7 lbs, at 159. If I REALLY go for broke, I’ll aim to get to 158, which would put me in a BMI of 29.9, and into the “overweight” instead of “obese” category. It’s ambitious, but I’m feeling motivated :)

My ultimate goal is to get to 130lbs, a healthy BMI, and exercising in some way, shape or form 4-5 times/week. Using BeachBody and Weight Watchers, I have what I need to get there. Let me know who wants to join me!!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight: 191.5 lbs
Current Weight: 166 lbs
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Total lost (since 5/27/13): 25.5 lbs


Click Away!

Thursday, April 3, 2014 with 1 comment

Join me at Click Away!

So, I’ve raved about ClickinMoms before. I found them when I was attempting to learn my DSLR, and cannot say enough good things about the generosity and overall camaraderie that I have found. It’s a forum mostly for women, and even though the title is ClickinMOMS, there are women from all ages, single/married without kids, etc. There are a lot of us “amateur” and “hobby” photographers, but also a ton of women who are professional photographers that have the talent and know-how to run a photography business. I’ve met some wonderful, smart, witty and creative ladies and love any chance I get to share my love of photography with them.

That said, the admins at ClickinMoms have decided to host a conference, to allow those of us who have been clamoring for a “get together” in the US, and combine it with learning experiences. It will be Sept 11-13, in Salt Lake City, Utah, called “Click Away”.

At first, I’ll admit, the price tag for flying out to SLC and then registering for the conference AND the hotel room was a bit much for me to schedule, especially when we’re still paying for the infant rate in daycare (fondly referred to as our “second mortgage”). I was determined that if I had to miss it this year, I’d make it a priority for 2015. Then they held a contest on Pinterest, basically to just “pin” photos that inspired you. Winners would receive free admission to the conference.

This was the board I entered: Pin Away to Click Away

And lo and behold, I won!! I couldn’t believe it! So I looked at the logistics, and it looks like I can fly stand by down there, and just pay for a one-way flight back to town (to make sure I get back in time that Sunday). I also managed to arrange to share a room with two other ladies, to help cut down on the hotel costs. And the hotel is right across from the conference, so I don’t need a car. We’re still working things out, but I’m getting more and more optimistic! I’m so excited!!!

I’m excited for the learning opportunities, but more-so, I’m excited to meet these women. I’ve “known” them online for a long time, and I can’t wait to see them in person. 3 whole days of non-stop photography AND I get to explore a new place?? I love to travel and even though I wish the whole family could go, I’m also admittedly excited about the opportunity to just do it on my own.

So cross your fingers for me that we can make this work! If you are interested in going, let me know! I can give you a discount code to use towards admission :)

(Benjamin is 5 years 3 months 2 weeks and 5 days old and Juliet is 11 months 3 weeks and 5 days old)

Project Life for Blurb

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 with no comments

Just popping in to give a quick shout out to something I stumbled on today. I’m still trying to perfect my workflow for my photobooks. I’ve waffled back and forth between printing photos and going digital and doing a “photobook” vs. a traditional album. Even when I decided to go digital, the process for editing in Photoshop was proving too cumbersome. I needed a book software that already had these templates in them, that I just had to drag my photos into. Voila, I found Molly’s site and her Project Life Blurb Templates. They are templates specifically for Blurb, that allow me to just drag my photos into the software and put into the templates. I seriously can’t wait for tonight to put them into action. Molly, thank you for your hard work in putting these together, I can’t wait to get my first book complete! What a timesaver!! And I love Molly’s site… her post about over-analyzing the bookmaking process was spot on for me (obviously) ;) Looking forward to reading more about her!

Off to get started! Well, after I get caught up with Juliet’s baby blog, that is ;) One thing at a time!

(Benjamin is 5 years 3 months 2 weeks and 2 days old, and Juliet is 11 months 3 weeks and 2 days old)

Protected Posts

Friday, June 28, 2013 with no comments

Just a reminder that there are password protected posts on this site, that do not appear unless you’ve logged in on the right hand side of the page. If you need the username and password, just contact me using one of the methods on my contact page and I’ll be happy to share it with you :) It’s not super secret, it’s just a way for me to control who sees the more personal posts.

Happy Friday!


(Benjamin is 4 years 6 months 1 week 6 days old and Juliet is 2 months 2 weeks 6 days old)

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Baby Updates

Saturday, April 20, 2013 with no comments

Eventually I’ll start posting the baby updates over here, but for now, it’s easier to keep all her photos at the baby 2.0 site :)

Welcome, baby Juliet!

For this just now hearing the news, Juliet Christine was born at 1:25pm, on 4/8, weighing 11 lbs 9 oz and measuring 22 inches. For comparison, Ben was 11 lbs 7 oz, and measured 21 inches. I thought she’d be smaller as a girl, but nope, she passed her big brother! So crazy!

We’re all doing wonderfully, and enjoying the time off together :) Here’s hoping these next few weeks don’t fly by!

(Benjamin is 4 years 4 months 5 days old and Juliet is 1 week 5 days old)

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Goodnight and Goodbye, Sweet Lily

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 with 7 comments

Today was one of the hardest I’ve been through. We knew this day would come sooner than later, and today, we said goodbye to our wonderful baby, Lily. We watched her closely this week, and each day as she regressed a little more, we knew it was time. She had progressed to the point where she no longer could navigate around the house (we think vision in both eyes were now affected), she seemed confused and weak, had trouble standing on her own, and didn’t even flinch when we mentioned “treats” or “hungry”. She no longer wagged her tail, and seemed to be so, so tired. She was tired of fighting.

I called on Saturday to make an appointment when it was clear that it was the right thing to do, and then prepared ourselves to say our final goodbyes. It was the hardest call I’ve had to make, and all weekend it clouded my thoughts to think about her leaving.

As the weather turned warmer this weekend, I took her outside and also looked for my opportunity to capture some final photos of her. She’s so beautiful, even when she’s sick and not feeling like herself. She picked this spot Sunday afternoon. Words can’t express how much I love this dog, and how much my heart aches with missing her.






This morning we got Ben ready for school, and then Joe dropped him off while I stayed with Lily for a few more hours. He met me back at home, and we rode to the vet’s with Lily together. The hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to face. She went to sleep peacefully, finally relaxing and getting the rest that she needed, with Joe and I by her side.

It’s the small moments that are the hardest. The treat jar on the shelf, her favorite ball in the corner. The quiet of the house. No more padding of her feet, no more jingle of her collar. When I accidentally drop food on the floor, and look to call her to clean it up, and she’s not there. It’s the little things, that after nine years of having her underfoot and in my heart, that trigger the sadness all over again. She was so much a part of my life and my family that it just feels so empty without her here. There is definitely a hole in my heart that will take a long time to heal.

To the “seat stealer”, “baby bean”, “fun police”, “crazy dog”, “pie stealer”, “bean-bean”, “baby dog”, “baby girl”, “lovey”, “lickey-dog”, “smiley”, and “sweetheart”… we love you so much, and our hearts are breaking without you. We know you are in a better place now, with no more pain, and no more sorrow. I long to see the day again where I can feel your licks on my face and rub your velvet ears once more.

I know somewhere up there someone is giving you lots of belly rubs and tennis balls to chew.

Goodbye, baby girl.

filed under Lily, Public

Happy Birthday, Lily!

Friday, February 8, 2013 with no comments

A bittersweet day today… 9 years ago today Lily was born at a breeder’s home in Massachusetts (family friend of a friend). We picked her up 9 weeks later, but I always celebrate her birthday on this day. So to the baby girl who the vet didn’t think would last until Christmas, Happy Birthday, you made it, old girl! :)

It’s bittersweet because though she is still here with us, and still coping with her tumor and the medication side effects, I know it’s most likely to be her last birthday. So last night I stayed up really late and fired up iMovie. I put together a slideshow of all my favorite photos of she and I, and later of her, Joe, and even Ben.

I hope you can see the love shine through that we have for her, and how happy she has made all of us:

Lily Tribute on Vimeo

We love you, Lily, and are so happy you are still here with us, short as your time may be.

(Benjamin is 4 years 1 month 3 weeks and 3 days old and baby girl is 31 weeks growing)

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New (to me) Camera!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 with 2 comments

You know how they say that if you put an idea or a request out into the ethers, and if you visualize it (sort of a la “Law of Attraction”), it will come true? A few weeks back, I decided that for giggles, I’d put an ad out on Craigslist that said I was in search of a used camera. That if any photographers out there had recently upgraded their own camera, but had an older body sitting around, I had $100 to give them for said camera. I actually got some emails saying what a ridiculous request it was, that why don’t I “go buy a point and shoot” for that kind of money. Because no one believed that anyone had that big of a heart to generously donate an expensive DSLR “just because”.

Of course, these people have never heard of the wonderful women (and men!) at the ClickinMoms photography forum. I see that sort of generosity on a daily basis, from the abundance of business and technical knowledge and critiques that the professional ladies dole out, to the friendships and positive thoughts others provide. It was here, that I stumbled upon a “Pay it Forward” post. These posts are entirely about just paying generosity forward… and her gift was her used Canon 40D DSLR camera. The exact one I was asking for in my Craigslist post. You simply had to respond that you were interested, and she would do a random drawing to determine the winner.

Long story short, I won the random drawing, and am now awaiting my own Canon 40D camera!

Even though it was introduced way back in 2007, it’s still an upgrade from my current Canon Rebel XT. I love my Rebel, and even though it’s a “beginner’s” camera, it still took wonderful photos, and I feel like I know it inside and out. But I’ve long outgrown it, and have been attempting to save for a “newer” body. But with Lily’s health and a new baby, my camera priorities took a back burner. With this upgrade, the 40D will definitely bump me out of the “amateur” realm, and I’m so ready to take on that challenge of learning this new camera! I still don’t have any plans on going “pro”, but love taking my hobby up a notch!

Alicia of Alicia Gould Photography was the generous contributor, and she requested that my only requirement was to also pay it forward. So now I’m trying to find a way to pay this amazing generosity forward in my own way, in my own local community. So if you hear of any opportunities, let me know! And thank you again, Alicia, from the bottom of my heart… I’m so grateful for this camera!

(Benjamin is 3 years 11 months 1 week and 5 days old, and baby girl is 20 weeks 4 days growing!)