Halloween and We’re Back!

Monday, November 3, 2014 with no comments

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Final Results

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 with no comments

Labor Day was the end of my August challenge, and I’m happy to say… I made it!!! Even with traveling and eating out, I STILL managed to lose 3.5 lbs this week, and weighed in at 159.5 on Monday morning. So in August, I lost 6.5 lbs, in 4 weeks. It’s a 1/2 lb shy of my main goal of 7 lbs total, but it’s SO CLOSE that I’m just calling it a win. I had to battle eating out with coworkers, birthday parties, potlucks, a night of drinking debauchery, and traveling out of town this month. Even with all of that, I still lost over 1.5 lbs/week. I was nervous after last week’s “maintenance” weigh in, but it goes to show you, just hang in there. The scale doesn’t always reflect your efforts right away.

Some non-scale victories to brag on: I was able to fit my wedding rings on without a struggle, but sadly, they are still a bit too tight for every day wearing. I think I’ll need to meet my September goal to be able to wear them proudly again. I was able to shop in my old clothes and find my old size 12 pants that FIT last week! It’s so exciting to be able to wear clothes that have sat in my closet for 2+ years (and some pants that I’ve never even worn because I outgrew them too fast). Hooray!

Biggest takeaways from this month: planning is everything. The weeks I did the best and felt good were the weeks I planned out all the meals, including snacks. When unplanned events threatened to guilt me into sabotaging my efforts, I kept this challenge in mind, and used it to power through cravings and weaknesses. Having my group of ladies keeping me accountable was immensely helpful! Never underestimate the power of a support group, no matter what you are struggling with!

The only thing I didn’t do right: exercise. I barely got in any morning workouts this month. It goes to show how important the FOOD portion is to weight loss. But it’s not the only thing, so for September, I’m going to focus my efforts on the exercise portion instead of the food. I feel like I have the food part under control, and will now work on getting my exercise in 6 out of 7 days per week. Hopefully I can also resurrect my Saturday morning Zumba classes that I loved. At the very least, once we are back from vacation, starting next week I’m going to make it my mission to plan out my daily workouts for the mornings, and check in weekly on my progress. It will be interesting to note how adding in fitness will impact my weight loss. I’ll plan another food-focused month in October, right before the holidays. Hopefully, between now and November I’ll have both food AND fitness under control, and be even closer to my goal!!

For my next goal, I’ll use the 1 lb/week guide, and aim for 4.5 lbs (or 155) by Sept 30. That’s 4 weeks away. This week might prove a little tricky since we’re currently out of town, and usually that throws my efforts a bit.. but it’s something to shoot for :) This week may be a wash, but I can give it my all and then some next week :)

For my fitness plans, I’m going to start slowly back in with the 21 day fix. It’s so easy to do in my basement, it’s a fixed time, and I can do it in my pj’s. After September, I’m going to start T25, and see if ramping up cardio helps with the losses in October. But for this month, it will be all 21 day fix. Can’t wait to get started with Autumn again!

On a side note, I did look into the E&E ingredients, and realized that there is artificial sweetener in it. So that, combined with my new philosophy of adopting things I can continue with forever, I decided to drop the E&E supplement. At least, drop it as something I do every morning. I’m going to experiment with different techniques to get me going and power through the workout, and see if I can’t find a better replacement. I may reserve it for those days I have my least favorite or most challenging strength training, but skip it on my easier cardio/yoga days.

We’ll see how it goes!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (September): 159.5 lbs

Current Weight: 159.5 lbs

Goal Weight: 130 lbs
Goal Weight (September): 155 lbs

Lost in September: 0 lbs (4 lbs, 4 weeks to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 32 lbs (29.5 lbs to go)


Week Three Results

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 with no comments

Well, I’m not sure how to interpret last week. I’ve completed 3/4 weeks, and the results were: I stayed the same. I weighed in at 163, BUT I managed not to gain after a night out with a lot of alcohol, and followed by a friend’s potluck. Not a loss, but not a gain either. I’ll take it.

To meet my BIG goal for this month, it means I need to lose FOUR pounds this last week. Which, only in my absolute BEST week ever did I lose that much. So I’m going to get realistic and say I’m probably not going to get to 4 lbs. *Maybe* I could, but most likely, it won’t happen. BUT, my “good enough” goal was to get close to 160, and I am pretty confident I’ll get there this week.

Challenges that I think impacted my results: hormones (maybe even from new medication that I started). Not enough water. I was using coffee as a way to hydrate instead of including glasses of water, so for this last week, I will up my intake of water significantly. I think it will help at least lose some of the bloated feeling. Too many snacks. Too many nights after work I found myself eating my kid’s dinners or snacking on random food. This last week I’ll reign in the “bites and tastes” after work, and get myself some veggies to eat if I’m really hungry and dinner is not ready yet. Mint gum after work is also a god send, and keeps the cravings at bay until dinner time.

With that plan, I’m feeling good that I will get super close to my goal. Even though I could fit my wedding rings on last week, it still hurts to wear them for more than a few minutes. I think it will take a few more pounds (maybe when I get to 155) where I can wear them all the time. My pants are definitely looser, and I have a pair of black pants in size 12 from Old Navy that I’m also close to fitting in. We leave for vacation on Friday, and I will use both of those as reminders and motivation not to go crazy on break all next week in New York!

For the most part though, my meals were really good. I wasn’t going overboard at meals, snacks were healthy, and I didn’t even splurge on dessert at all. I’m going to carry that into this last week, and really go for broke. My meals for this week are planned out (save for our time in New York on Saturday/Sunday), and I have focus and motivation this week to stay on plan.

Here’s hoping it pays off!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (August): 166 lbs

Current Weight: 163 lbs

Goal Weight (August): 159 (7 lbs)
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Lost in August: 3 lb (4 lbs and 1 week to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 28.5 lbs (33 lbs to go)


Week Two Results

Monday, August 18, 2014 with 1 comment

It’s Monday check-in time!

I completed week 2/4 today, and the results are great! I am down to 163, which is a 2 lb loss from last week. With last week’s loss I’m back to averaging the 1.5 lb/week that I had hoped to accomplish. Woohoo!

This week wasn’t without its challenges. I was due for a “hormone imbalance” around this time of the month, and that always threatens to derail me when I get overly emotional. My “fix” involves chocolate of some sort, but this week I resisted the urge to overdose on M&M’s and resorted to using chocolate flavored whipped cream (from the can, easier to limit my intake that way) in my coffee ;) It was delicious AND hit the spot for my cravings. Win!

That said, I am a HUGE coffee fan, but it has to be sweet and creamy. In my effort to make all my foods healthier, I dialed down the extras and am now happy with just some skim milk and a little flavoring in my coffee. I try to avoid the fake sugars for the most part, despite their being more calorie friendly. Even though they help avoid consuming extra calories, I’m not convinced they are “good”. Even so called “natural” ones like Stevia. So for myself, it’s either straight sugar (or flavored syrup like Hershey’s) or just milk. Sometimes I give in, but for the most part, I’m pretty good about it! Not that straight sugar is super innocent or even “healthy”, but for now, I feel it’s better than the artificial ones. So I’ll go for “healthier” at least.

Working out this week was also still a challenge. I found out that I was at risk for a potential hernia in my abdomen, so I was nervous to do anything last week until I had my ultrasound this morning and get more information on what was going on. Turns out, I’m all clear, and I can go back to my workouts! It will be a little tricky this week since we have visitors, and they will be staying in my workout space (our basement). But, since I’ve gotten my food under control and the all-clear from the doctor, I’m going to use these last two weeks of the challenge to really get serious about committing to exercising in the morning again. Even if it means just jogging around the block if our basement is occupied. I have a route mapped out that is almost 2 miles, which is a perfect length (should take me under 30 minutes to do, but includes hills, so will get my heart rate up). I can then finish with some strength training (situps/pushups) at home, which shouldn’t wake anyone up. It’s just a matter of prepping the night before so that I don’t have any obstacles to leaving the house in the morning.

Looking back to when I was consistently working out, one thing that has helped in the past to get me going for morning workouts was a product by BeachBody. I don’t usually promote products unless I use them often. I tried their E&E supplement after Kendra had sent me some samples when I complained that mornings were a big struggle for energy. I just needed something I could drink quickly, that had caffeine but wouldn’t make me jittery. Coffee was too hot to drink quickly, and this I could just mix with water (cold or room temp). It has a lemon-lime flavor, and after about 15 minutes, I definitely felt it kick in. I just felt more awake, not crazy, and could give that extra push during the workouts. It also kept me going through the rest of my morning routine, and helped me get the rest of my family up and out the door :) It does have caffeine though, and I did notice that after taking it for a few weeks, when I went on vacation I got some wicked headaches from the caffeine withdrawal. Coffee helped, but I keep that in mind now when I travel. Still, I love the stuff!

Back to planning for this week, I have meals planned out for the most part, and no big splurges planned for the weekend, so I should be able to stay on track with food. I’m going to put my game face on for tomorrow morning and get myself OUT of the house and jogging. Rain or shine, I’ll be out there! These last two weeks I’m definitely going to give it my all! Then I can enjoy my week long vacation in New York for Labor Day! :) But still “on plan” of course. My goal weight is still out there, even though I don’t have a deadline after August!

My kids are also benefiting from the challenge. I’ve had veggies to give them for every meal, and thankfully they both eat them (even it does require some tough coaxing for Ben). Slowly, I’ll get them into the habit of eating veggies that they like. :) But at the very least, we won’t have bad food in the house anymore!

Week Three, here I come!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (August): 166 lbs

Current Weight: 163 lbs

Goal Weight (August): 159 (7 lbs)
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Lost in August: 3 lb (4 lbs and 2 weeks to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 28.5 lbs (33 lbs to go)


Week One Results

Monday, August 11, 2014 with no comments

I completed week 1/4 for my August challenge last week, and the results are in :) My start weight last week crept a little higher, since I had just come from a 3 day vacation. Then this past weekend, I went out for lunch and also had brunch on Sunday with copious amounts of bacon, pancakes, and comfort food hash brown casserole.

Even so, I am down to 165 (down 1 pound)! Not quite the 1.5 lbs I wanted to average, but close, and in the right direction. My exercise has been off, and that’s been my biggest struggle this week. But since food was spot-on, I still lost weight. I planned out my meals, and other than the splurges over the weekend, I was solid with staying on my plan. Even outside of those meals out, I didn’t go overboard on the other food of the day, so it was still a win. My basic meals revolved around this:

Breakfast: 2 eggs (scrambled, fried, or just hard boiled) and an english muffin with 1 tbsp peanut butter

Lunch: salad (either black bean with mango and quinoa, or chicken with quinoa, broccoli, and balsamic vinaigrette), or leftovers from previous dinners (usually a protein, veggie, and starch/carb)

Dinner: a protein (chicken, pork, beef, fish) with veggies (salad, carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc) or fruit and/or starch (rice, quinoa, or potatoes). I get most of my meals from my emeals.com subscriptions (their “Clean” and “Paleo” menus are fantastic).

Snacks (usually in the afternoon or early evening): apples, cucumbers with yogurt dill dip, carrots and hummus, applesauce, almonds (plain and cinnamon flavored), or coffee

That’s it! Super simple, and easy to plan. Exercise… ugh. Juliet is going through some wicked pain lately (either teeth or ear related) and it’s keeping her (and us) up at night. I’ve been way too tired to get up early to get in the workouts, so I’ve been a total slacker.

But, I know it won’t last forever. I still keep my alarm set in the hopes that one night she’ll start to settle down, and I’ll be able to force myself to go. I’d love to get back into running in combo with some of the 21 day fix and T25 videos. Baby steps. I’ll start with just waking up early instead of hitting snooze. I’ve also taken to sleeping in my workout clothes, to remove one more barrier to getting out the door. So after I wake up, all I should need to do would be find my glasses, turn on my phone, and put on my shoes (in that order) ;)

I also shared online the things I have noticed/learned this week that will impact me over the next few weeks. The biggest one: I still have issues stopping when I’m full. We went out to eat at District Taco for lunch. I had a burrito bowl, with just lettuce, rice, grilled chicken, black beans, onions, green pepper, and sour cream. BUT, it was HUGE. I was hungry, I ate fast, and if I had slowed down, would have realized I was full after eating half. But it was SO GOOD, that I ate the entire thing. I just wanted to keep tasting it, and then regretted it when I became too full, and overstuffed. I kept my dinner later that night lighter, to make up for it, but I still would have felt so much better if I slowed down and listened to my body. My goal next time we go out to eat (or face any big meal, for that matter) will be to SLOW DOWN, savor bites, and make a note to pause after I eat half, and gauge whether or not I need the 2nd half of the meal. Juliet obviously also enjoyed her black beans :)


Here’s to beginning Week Two!


My stats for this check-in:

Start Weight (May 2013): 191.5 lbs
Start Weight (August): 166 lbs

Current Weight: 165 lbs

Goal Weight (August): 159 (7 lbs)
Goal Weight: 130 lbs

Lost in August: 1 lb (6 lbs, 3 weeks to go)
Total lost (since 5/27/13): 26.5 lbs (35 lbs to go)


Losing Weight Being Healthy

Monday, July 28, 2014 with 2 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)