Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So far, so good...

Hello, blog-fans!

So, things are looking up... I am re-energized. So far, I've been doing a good job sticking to my plan -- I'm getting all of my cardio in and following my food rules. It's only the 3rd day, but I'm confident that I can keep it up!!!

It's kind of funny... just when I am having to re-commit myself to the healthy lifestyle I want to lead, I have not 1 but 2 friends ask if I can be their "coach" if you will... talk about the blind leading the blind?!? I said yes because I figured that we could support each other, and after all, I have learned a thing or two over the past year, right?

So, Saturday is that next assessment which isn't going to be good... I've gained about 14 lbs over the past 6 weeks... yikes!!! And so, even if I lose a little before then, I'm going to have to deal with a gain. I told Sean that I would try to keep "Crazy Laura" from coming to the assessment, but I'm not sure how I'm going to react... Maybe since I know now I will be prepared, but who am I kidding???

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back to basics...

It's time to regroup. I have done such a great job since February getting my life on track. It's like I'm a new person. I have been making much better choices every day and am committed to becoming a healthier and happier person. I'm proud of all that I have accomplished and of how far I have come.

But I still have a long way to go. Ever since Thanksgiving, I have definitely slacked off some. I've become complacent and it's beginning to show. I've gained a little weight back and it's a little bit frightening. I'm afraid that I'm on a slippery slope and if I allow things to continue, I am going to wind up right back to where I was a year ago... I can't let this happen. It's time to fix things before they get completely out of hand.

I'm committing myself to (in no particular order) --
1) Keeping up with my journaling. I eventually stopped writing down what I was eating and when I was exercising because everyday looked the same. Everything was a habit. I knew what to do and so I felt like I didn't need to write things down anymore. But after a while, I wasn't doing the same things anymore. I need to start writing again and start doing the things I know I need to do.
2) Follow the food rules Sean gave me when I started. Part of this indiscretion was the holidays and fooling myself into thinking that I deserved to have whatever I wanted at the time. And while my holiday indulgences were much better than in years past, I still gave myself a little too much slack. Well, holidays are over and it's time to start again.
2a...this includes drinking my water!!!
3) Doing my extra cardio 3-5 times a week. Exercise is the key to my success. Not only that, it helps me keep my stress levels down. Over the past couple of weeks I have allowed myself to skip exercise because I've been too busy. No more.
4) Staying POSITIVE. I'm going to start giving myself the credit I deserve about all of the great things that I have done. When I begin to slip however, I continue to beat myself up and just get really down. I need to be my own cheerleader so I can keep myself going. I can do this. I am doing this. I deserve this.
5) Focusing on behavior and not dwelling on results. I've touched on the too-frequent weighing before. It's great when I see small successes but when the scale goes in the wrong direction I really get knocked on my butt. It makes me a little crazy and obsessed. It's not healthy. It would be unrealistic to say that I'm not going to weigh myself anymore, but I will limit my weighing to once every week or two. This is a marathon, not a sprint... And maybe I should start focusing on some results that aren't shown on the scale -- my energy, my mood, my confidence level... these are just as important (if not more) than the pounds and inches.
6) Find a better work/life balance. Part of the problem I've noticed is that my life has become consumed with work and working out... I need a hobby! I need to spend more time with my friends and family. I need to find something to give my life some meaning. This one is going to be challenging, but I need to do it.
7) Write on my blog more consistently. Starting this blog has been really helpful for my journey so far. It really has helped me to work through my struggles along the way. It helps me to vent and gives me a place to encourage myself as well as others. And I love having the support of my readers! So, I need to try and write here at least once a week.

Whew! That's quite a tall order... sorry for the super-long entry. I guess I'm making up for lost time... LOL.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking for a silver lining...

So, as you all know, I've been pretty down this holiday season... For the first time ever, I am working on Christmas. Not the way I want to spend my day. It's made it kind of difficult to get into the spirit of the season.

This weekend, my parents and my sister with her family came up to celebrate Christmas early. It was my first holiday at my house. It was really great to see everyone, although I am not very used to having a screaming 2 year old around (even if she is super-cute, she sure can be loud)! We had dinner catered from Ukrops, which made the work involved much more bearable! And this evening, some friends will hopefully be coming over to help me with the leftovers!

But there is a silver lining in having to work on Christmas (fitness-goal wise, anyway). It's going to be much easier to be good and stay on track! And the prospect of a fitness assessment Jan 3rd is an additional motivator to do just that!

So, in case I don't check in again before then (I've been a little slack with the blog-writing lately!)... Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2009!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Hello all,

Well, it's one of those days... I think I have the Holiday Blues. I just can't get into the Christmas Spirit. It doesn't help matters that I am working both Christmas and New Years this year, or the fact that I'm spending yet another holiday alone. It's getting harder and harder to be without someone special as I get older... sigh.

Still haven't lost the weight I gained around Thanksgiving... I'm slowly getting there though. I did some good cardio this morning and I plan to go back again for an afternoon workout. Maybe I can exercise myself out of this funk!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Surviving the holidays...

Good morning,

I hope everyone had a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. This year more than ever I have so much to be thankful for. It was absolutely wonderful to get together with my family -- I don't get to see them often enough...

But Thanksgiving was pretty challenging in terms of my health and fitness goals. I did go for a nice long walk on Thanksgiving Day, but I had been working out far less than I was in the weeks prior. And, to add insult to injury, I fell victim to my old eating habits. I did try to be good but gave way to temptation and my cheat day turned into cheat days... sigh...

No big deal... I'm back at home and back to working out and eating right. But as I think about it some more, I'm a little bit fearful about the rest of the holiday season. For the next month temptations are going to be all around me! There are holiday parties and people spreading cheer in the form of baked goods at work. Usually, I am pretty good at saying no to sweets or other foods that I know I shouldn't have, but I'm not so good when it's everywhere!!!

So, I need yet another game plan... I think it's back to the journal. At least this way, if I plan on cheating I'll have to write it down. Maybe this way I'll be more mindful. And most importantly, I'm not going to beat myself up about the slip-ups.

At least year when the new year comes around I will already be well on my way to becoming a much healthier person.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cleaning out the closet...

Good morning...

I decided that it's about time to start emptying my closet. My body image is still a little skewed, but even I can tell that some things are getting to be too big on me. The problem is I hate shopping and so I have to wear the bigger clothes since I have nothing else to wear. But it's time to bite the bullet and say goodbye to my old outfits and make room for some new ones. (A side note -- anyone know of a place that has cute plus-sized clothing that aren't super expensive???)

So, getting rid of my old clothes is kind of an anxiety-inducing experience. I know I have no need for them anymore (as I intend not to go back to where I was), but I keep thinking what if I were to need them??? I know deep down it's not going to happen, but the thought has crept up nevertheless...

But the good thing about doing this cleaning out the closet now -- it's a little bit motivating to not go overboard over the holidays. After all, if I have no big clothes, what will I wear???

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A small step in the wrong direction...

So, for "funsies" today, I decided to step on the scale... I gained some weight back. Only a few pounds (but more than a couple), but it's in the wrong direction. I think there are a few explanations. I really was super-strict right before my assessment and didn't it up to the same degree after. So, there probably is a component of water weight involved (maybe both extra lost for the assessment and gained now).

The funny thing is, I'm okay with it. Not stressing at all... I wanted to let you all know since so many of you were hopeful I'd have lost those extra 3lbs by Thanksgiving, but it's not meant to be. It'll come off eventually. I haven't really decided on my next goal... it is either 100lb down by Christmas or just not to have gained anything come my next assessment (which is conveniently right after New Years). I'm determined not to drive myself crazy stressing about my weight, especially over the holidays. I'm just going to be mindful not to undo all of the hard work I have accomplished so far!

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys their short work week.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Assessment Day

So, for those of you who didn't know me in high school, I was the girl who stressed about failing every test and actually did just fine... I thought I had gotten better about that, but apparently not so much.

My assessment this morning went great. I have lost another 12 lbs and 11.5 inches since my last assessment at the end of September. That makes my grand totals 97 lbs and 59.5 inches gone forever!

I'm very pleased with the results and proud of all my hard work. And still very proud of all of the things that I wrote about yesterday that aren't measured on the scale or with the tape.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An appropriate reality check...

So, tomorrow's the day! I'm due for my fitness assessment (actually overdue, but I asked to postpone it a week...) and ever since I made that silly goal, I've been obsessing about it. Not a healthy behavior at all... and even though I "called it off", I still stress over trying to reach it.

Truth is, it's not going to happen and I really need to let it go. There's no reason to discount all of the hard work I've done and progress I've made. I need to be proud of whatever I've accomplished and remember that I am in the middle of a marathon and not a sprint.

So, today I am going to try and focus on all of the changes I have made and how far I've come already. I make healthier choices every day. I'm consistently choosing to go exercise (even when I don't want to). I can do so much more than I could when I started -- just this morning I did an hour on the elliptical machine and went 9.6 miles! I can walk wherever I want and don't get back pain anymore. I also eat so much better than I did before. I'm actually cooking!!! I even channeled my inner Rachael Ray and made spaghetti squash the other day. But it's not just the diet and exercise, I really am more confident and more willing to put myself out there. Some of my friends comment that I'm a totally different person -- that I'm coming out of my shell. I don't know about all that, but I am a lot happier and comfortable in my body. These things are so much more important than a number on the scale or a measuring tape!

So I'm going to keep telling myself these things today. I know they're true and hopefully I can embrace them. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes but whatever the result -- I have a lot to be proud of!

Happy Wednesday -- halfway to the weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Learning how to accept a compliment...

So, one thing I've noticed recently is that when it comes to my weight loss I'm really bad at graciously accepting compliments... I have even heard myself credit my progress and change in appearance my sweater (it is one of those sweaters that follows the 'What Not to Wear' rules and so is flattering and forgiving to my shape). How silly I must sound!!! I guess since I mainly see how much more I have to go instead of how far I've come the comments catch me off guard. And if engaged in a conversation about it, I usually say something to that effect -- that I have so much more that I have to lose. So, I'm learning that the best thing to do is just smile and say a simple "thank you".

The best compliments that I have received are the ones from people who I've inspired to start (or keep going on) their own fitness journeys. Just yesterday, my friend Kristen told me that she didn't want to work out but then thought, "I bet Laura is at the gym" and decided to go. I've noticed a lot of my other friends start getting serious about their fitness and weight loss goals. This fills me with so much pride. I have no problems accepting those kind of compliments :)

So, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being my cheerleaders and source of support. And thank you all for the kind words, even if I clumsily didn't know what to say at the time...

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something to look forward to...


It's been a little while since I've written on my blog. Work continues to be crazy and continues to be my greatest source of stress. It seems to go in cycles and I know things will eventually get better; it's just a matter of when. For now I just have to hang on and take it one day at a time...

I'm very much looking forward to Thanksgiving. I have a decent stretch of time off and I will get to see the fam, including my cutie-patootie niece, Jasmine. She just turned 2 and she is an absolute delight... well, when she's not being a terror! But I always enjoy when I get to spend time with her. I was supposed to host Thanksgiving this year but since I don't have a dining room table as of yet, we will spending the holiday in Raleigh at Mom & Dad's. I think it will be really good to get away for a while...

Anyway, I have my next fitness assessment Thursday. I really hope that it goes well. I've been working really hard but with the stress of work it's been more of a challenge to keep on track. I'm really proud that I've kept going because there have been times that I've wanted to call the whole thing off and just give into temptation. My life has changed so much in the last 9 months and there is no going back. It's kind of weird and pretty cool to think about at the same time...

Happy Monday! Only ten more days til Turkey Day...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Easy like Sunday morning...


I'm beginning to feel like my normal self... Yesterday was spent again just chilling out, napping, and watching mindless TV and then last night, I got together with some friends and played poker. This morning I slept in, which was much needed. After that, I was ready to start the day -- cleaning/organizing, catching up with emails and now checking in on my blog...

I have recognized a couple of patterns that are likely the barriers to success with my previous weight loss attempts. Over the last couple of weeks I caught myself eating out of stress. Last night I caught myself mindlessly snacking out of boredom (which is why I was so thankful when Hope asked me to come hang out). I've rid myself of so many unhealthy habits so far but apparently there are others I need to address. Just being able to identify the issue is encouraging; now I can be more mindful of this tendency and try to change the behavior. It made me think of something I learned along the way (not sure if it was from weight watchers or med school or some random girl's fitness magazine): the HALT mnemonic --for me, it should really be the HALTS mnemonic. It's designed to ask yourself "Am I going to eat this (insert food item here) because I'm Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (or Stressed)?" Any answer other than hungry should prompt you to take other action. I'm going to try and use it this week... I wanted to give it to you all in case it will help you, too.

Anyway, it's back to "work" for me. I want to get rid of all the clutter so that I can relax in a comfortable environment (and not worry should someone just stop by)...

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Hello everyone...

Happy Friday!! I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure that this is a great day. I'm working the afternoon shift today (which goes from 1pm-11pm) which means I got to sleep in a little. Having breakfast now and then I'll be heading to the gym for some cardio. The Friday afternoon shift is always extremely busy and can be kind of stressful, so I want to make sure I'm well-prepared...

I must say while I really did have a wonderful 2 days off earlier this week, it definitely wasn't enough to recover from my time on the wards. The last 2 days at work were kind of miserable, too. I was on edge the entire time and things that should be minor annoyances at most were completely stressing me out... and in turn I'm sure I was affecting the people who work most closely with me (sorry, Nikki!). I need to find a better outlet for my stress while I am at work, because being overtired seems to be the rule rather than the exception. After tonight I have a little longer of a break (I think 4 days) which will help. It should be enough time to get back into a healthy routine and maybe reprogram my negative attitude...

As for my nutrition and fitness, I'm doing okay. Not great... but okay. I'm making it to the gym regularly and that has been great. My food choices have been inconsistent. I've been doing a great job during the day but when I get home, things fall apart a little. The upside is I don't buy junk anymore so the damage is not that bad. But I probably need to do a better job with dinner than having low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers (especially when it's so easy to eat more than one would need of that kind of meal). I guess it all comes down to proper planning... maybe on work days I should start making dinner the night before too in order to prevent having to think too much about it. I think I'll give it a whirl next week and see how it goes. Tomorrow is my weigh-in day (not an assessment, but just a weekly weigh-in). I'm pretty sure my progress has stalled some. I hope I'm not gaining and will deal with it if I am (I've adopted Sean's "don't beat yourself up" strategy). I just need to get back on track...

Well, that's about it. I hope everyone has a wonderfully relaxing weekend!


Monday, November 3, 2008

What a difference a day makes!!!


I am happy to report that I have had a wonderfully unproductive day and enjoyed every second of it! I did get my cardio in and got my nutrition on track, but the rest of the day was filled with a whole lot of nothing -- I played on the computer (I'm a huge facebook addict), took a nap and caught up on my recorded television shows. I did play personal trainer for my friend Brianna tonight which was a lot of fun. But it was a very nice, no-stress day!

Today was just what this doctor ordered... I look forward to having a wonderfully productive, no stress tomorrow.

Happy Monday! Have a great night!

Sunday, November 2, 2008



So I survived. It was difficult, but I managed to get through the last few days without anymore breakdowns! And now I have 2 days to relax and do absolutely nothing. What I will be doing is getting my life back in order... as you might imagine, it's easy to let things slip if all you have time for is work and sleep. But I look forward to many hours of just sitting and enjoying some peace and quiet...

I do have to renew my commitment to my health. I took my trainer's advice and didn't beat myself up when I was maybe a little more self-indulgent than I should have been. But it's time to get back on track! I look forward to getting back into a routine... it's definitely key for my sanity.

So, I may have to rethink the 100# by Thanksgiving goal... We'll just have to see how things go. Not going to stress about it - I'm just going to keep doing what I know I need to do. With the right behaviors I can't go wrong (even if it does take me longer to get there)...

Have a wonderful week... I plan to.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time to be selfish...

The last 2 weeks have been overwhelmingly rough... Working 14 days straight is tiring at any time, but 14 days of staying really late and having to look over everyone's work because you can't trust that things are being done correctly is pure torture. Last night was the first night that I got more that 5 hours of sleep since I started this stretch (I almost always get at least 7 or 8). And yesterday, I lost it. I was at my wit's end and got pushed just a little too far. It got to be so bad that I couldn't even keep it together at work; I must have cried at least 3 times. Not cool -- not cool at all.

I'm doing the best I can and I hope people know that. But I feel like I'm being pulled in 500 directions and I can't take it anymore. Something has to change and NOW. It's time for me to take care of myself so that I can better take care of everybody else.

I have 3 more days to go before I get a couple of days off... I look forward to a little rest.

Take care,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Checking in...

Hey guys,

Thanks for the support (and tough love)... This has been a pretty stressful 2 weeks but I'm getting back into the swing of things. I'm cutting myself some slack (and remembering my own advice about celebrating imperfection). Things will get back to normal in no time.

So, unfortunately there is no rest for the weary this weekend. I'm in the middle of a stretch of working 14 days straight. Hopefully the second half of this block will go more smoothly.

Have a wonderful weekend... Have some fun for me!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another roadblock...

Let me preface this by noting that it seems like everytime I get super-excited on this journey I hit a wall and get super-frustrated...

For reasons unknown to me, I am in a slump. I am losing motivation and I'm losing it fast. Not sure if it is just a lull after going all-out last week or if it's the culmination of all of the stress I'm feeling. I dragged myself to the gym this morning and half-assed my workout -- I hate when I do that (not that it happens often...). My nutrition has not been up to par over the last couple of days and today I decided to nap over getting my extra cardio in. I'm afraid of failing and I feel like I'm teetering on a dangerous edge. Please don't read this as I am planning on quitting, because I know that is not an option. I'm just saying that I need to get my little slip-ups under control before they become big ones...

Hopefully, this too will pass... sooner rather than later would be preferable.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lofty goals...

Hi guys,

I have been thinking a lot about my progress so far... I have been blessed with a tremendous amount of success to date. My lifestyle is 100% different than it had been only nine months ago -- thankfully, everything has become a habit and there is no going back. I do want to add that I am proud of what I have accomplished so far (just so there is no confusion about this)...

...but I need a new goal -- something to keep me going forward. Since I started on Valentine's Day 2008, I thought that wouldn't it be fitting for my goal deadline to be another holiday (this could be a cute theme for the rest of my fitness goals, too). So, I have decided that I want to have lost a hundred pounds by Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is 6 weeks away. I haven't weighed myself yet this week, but I think I have anywhere from 10-15 lbs to lose to reach this goal. So it's an obtainable goal, but ambitious. I wanted to share it with you all so that it is more real... It sets up some accountability. My trainer supports this goal, but suggests that I boost up the cardio to help me attain it. To that end, I have been doing cardio twice a day. I know that I may not be able to keep that up during busy stretches at work, but I can always add walking the stairs to those days (elevators are kind of a guilty pleasure for me). I also plan on continuing the journaling and the good nutrition. I will also have to try to limit the number of cheat days I take.

So, I'm putting my goal out there. I figure if by some chance I don't make it, all of that hard work will at least put me close to it... so what do I have to lose???

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Riding the roller coaster


Sorry that I haven't written in a while. I had a pretty dramatic last few days. I'm happy to report that things are much better now. My grandmother (same grandma I spoke of in my Sept 26th post) fell last Friday and hit her head. She was unconscious and on a ventilator. For a while there, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I was a bit of a mess for a while. A lot of you know all or part of the story by now, but I'm happy to report that she is recovering nicely. She was taken off of the ventilator yesterday and is now getting close to back to her old self. They think she will be discharged from the hospital early next week. Thank you for all of your prayers and well-wishes...

So, it looks like this roller coaster is nearing its end and life will get back to normal very shortly. I personally am looking forward to a little more calm and normalcy...

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Time for a breather...

Hey all,

So, I start a kind of long stretch of time "off" from work today. It wasn't asked for initially, but the schedule came out with 9 days in a row of no shifts for Dr. Paletta. I usually don't want to "waste" days off like that (when I have nothing planned) because it usually means working a harder stretch later, but I've got to tell you, this couldn't have come at a more perfect time...
Work has been a little stressful over the last few weeks (and yes, I know I had a vacation in there, too). Most of the time I love what I do, but there are those occasions (yesterday was one of them) that I just wish I was a carefree kid again with no job or responsibilities whatsoever. So this break from being at the hospital is just what I need.

Unfortunately, I'm a little bit of a procrastinator so there are things that I need to do to catch up -- both for work and at home -- but I'm sure there will be plenty of time for me to decompress and relax as well. And I'll have plenty of time for my new favorite stress reliever (which actually is doing cardio -- something I never ever thought I would say) and for spending time with friends and family. And the absolute treat at the end of this block of time off -- my cutie patootie niece Jasmine (pictured with me in my profile pic) turns 2 and I'm heading to Charlotte to spoil her as any good aunt and godmother should do...

I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing weekend.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Starting a cleanse (body, mind, and spirit)...

Now that I'm back on track, I'm starting an herbal cleanse. I know what you're thinking -- and it's not that bad (nothing at all like a colonoscopy prep so you can rest your mind). It's a 10 day regimen of super clean eating and increased fiber. To be honest, I was scared to do the first one... and even though the fiber drink can be hard to swallow, I really liked the way I felt with it. It made me feel much healthier. Advocare (and Sean) recommend a cleanse every 3 months, and so here I am.

So, I think it fitting while I am "cleansing" my body, that maybe I should work on "cleansing" my mind of the negativity. To that end, I am renewing my positive attitude. (Of course, if and when I slip up, I will just start over).

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Something to think about...

I totally stole this from a friend's favorite quotes on her Facebook page. I thought it was an great quote.

"Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. - John Maxwell

So basically, the pity party is over...

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Checking in...

Hi all,

So, even though I know I shouldn't, I really am beating myself up about the blip in my progress... And the not weighing myself is killing me -- since I was on my way up, in my head I've gained 15# so far (even though that is probably not the reality). And as I mentally went over my routine, I couldn't figure out what I could do to step things up... It's a helpless feeling to think that you are doing all you can and your progress has stalled despite your efforts.

Which is why I love my journal... I decided to look over things and see what I could change. And I actually noticed some interesting stuff. Since August and my leg injury, my cardio has tapered off. Initially the "taking it easy" was justified and important but this far out probably isn't necessary. I was doing 45-50 minutes of cardio every "non-trainer" day (except Sundays) in July and going at least 5 miles on the elliptical. Lately, I've only done about 30-35 minutes and I haven't done any interval training. Aha!... something objective I can change. Suddenly, I've been given back some control. Time to kick it back into high gear!!!

So, take home message: journaling isn't just a chance to use pretty pens and cool office supplies or a place to write what you're doing as a meaningless exercise. It can provide some objective data and show you about what you can do to change things... And to Jason and the fam: thanks so much again for my new journal... I can't wait to start writing in it!!!

Happy Sunday! Have a happy and healthy week...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Water weight -- a dieter's best friend (and worst enemy)...

Hi guys,

Time to complain a little again (insert your sighs here)...

So, I think that I have mentioned (at least once or twice) how I back-slided a little with my recent vacation and gained some weight. Since my trip I have been weighing myself each day to get feedback and try to will the scale into saying something different. My trainer Sean HATES that I do this -- if he had his way, I would only weigh myself once every 6 weeks at my assessments (we compromised on once a week a long time ago). When I asked him why, he told me what I already knew -- that my weight is going to go up and down a million times a day and so it doesn't mean much of anything. I understand this, but I like to know anyway...

Which brings me to the topic of this post... ever notice how the beginning of any diet (or in this case "lifestyle change") is associated with huge numbers on the scale??? This loss is 95% water, but nevertheless is a huge ego boost... it often motivates us to keep going. Well, unfortunately the opposite happens when we cheat (by eating less healthy foods or drinking alcohol) we gain big numbers, which are at least in part water weight. (WARNING--- boys may want to just skip to the next paragraph... read at your own risk). And throw in the water weight that comes around that "wonderful" time of the month... it's enough to get even the most optimistic dieter discouraged!!! Aggh!

So, don't tell Sean, but maybe he is onto something -- I'm going to try and stay away from the scale... at least for the next week or so.

Thanks again for letting me vent.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getting back on track...

Hello blog-fans,

So today was a little better... I did get a good night's sleep, which made for a better morning. And I got myself to the gym for some cardio this am, which is great, because it always makes for a good start of the day.

I did pretty well with my nutrition, too... I diligently journaled and stuck to my nutrition rules. I took my supplements this am and had a shake with a banana for breakfast. I remembered to have my morning snack (one of my faves -- almonds and craisins). We had lunch provided by a diabetes educator today at work so it was a good and healthy lunch. But one thing that I struggled with today was that I was just so hungry! I guess my body is just getting used to my old routine, but I was pretty much starving about an hour and a half after lunch!!! I waited it out, had a protein shake and apple slices for my afternoon snack (which helped a bunch) and then an on-point dinner (grilled chicken and broccoli).

I did have to whine (via text messaging) to Sean during the day but I guess the important thing is that I got through the day. I think tomorrow (and each day after) will be easier, or so I hope...

Have a happy Hump-Day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feedback is a b*tch...

Hey guys,

So the scale was not my friend today. I was 5 lbs heavier this am... yikes! And to add insult to injury, my appetite is out of control... I've done a pretty good job with choosing healthy foods to eat, but I am just so hungry today! Sean thinks it may be that my metabolism is messed up from being off of my routine while on vacation. I think it may be because I'm doing that cleanse, I didn't take my regular supplements... Needless to say, I'm a little bit frustrated. I'm also exhausted, which is strange because I usually have a lot of energy...

Whatever is going on needs to be nipped in the bud before it spirals out of control. I need a game plan... First, going to have to diligently write down what I'm eating and what time in my journal. Second, I think I'm going to need to put the cleanse on hold in favor of being back on my usual supplements until I get back into a routine. Also, I need to boost up the cardio. Wow, just making this plan is making me tired. Which reminds me... I also need to make sure that I'm getting enough sleep!

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent... Hopefully my next post can be more positive!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 29, 2008

You can go home again...

Well, my whirlwind trip to the NE is now over. I had such a wonderful time meeting up with all of my old friends. Everyone is so grown up and doing such great things... I am really so proud of all of them.

On Friday, we all arrived to the big reunion event. Our friend Jen has a lovely home in New Milford, CT and she graciously invited all of us to get together for a girls weekend. The plan was simple: good friends, great conversation, and fun times... We listened to 80's tunes, which included singing Bon Jovi and Bonnie Tyler at the top of our lungs, played beerpong and catchphrase, and drank some wine.

As you might imagine, not the healthiest of weekends. I promised myself I wouldn't stress about the cheating that would inevitably go on (there was a whole lot of "celebrating imperfection" on this trip). I had a wonderful time and have no real regrets... although I step on the scale to get some "feedback" tomorrow...

And so, come tomorrow it is time to get back on track. Going to the gym, staring a cleanse, and eating right. It may be hard (like going back to work after an awesome vacation) but I can do it... besides, I have to report to all of my loyal readers :)

Have a happy Monday night!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Progress Pictures (as promised)

Hello everyone...

So, I made Lori take a picture with me so that we could see if I look any different from 3 years ago (I don't actually remember what I weighed then, but I think it was like 60-70 lbs more than now...)

This is Lori and me, from Lori's wedding, in November 2005...

And to the right is us now...

I actually thought there was more of a difference to be honest. It could be my choice of sweater, but I feel smaller than I look in this picture...

I'm just going to use this to motivate me further... maybe the difference will be more noticable the next time.

Have a nice day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Counting your blessings...

Well day 2 of my NE reunion with family and friends has come to an end... Last night I stayed in Carmel, NY with my uncle and his family, including my paternal grandmother who suffered from a stroke in April that left her with an aphasia -- or an inability to communicate (she speaks, but gets all of her words confused and so you're often not sure of what she's trying to say or if she understands what you're saying...) My uncle has a heart of gold -- he's always giving to everyone. His house has a revolving door with a million people coming in and out and he and his family are very gracious hosts making sure their guests feel right at home.

So, after dinner, my grandmother asked me to come talk to her in her room (they've set up one of the bedrooms with some of her furniture so that she would feel more at home). She expressed a lot of frustration about losing her independence, not being able to come up with what she wants to say, and missing my grandfather. Then as clear as day she told me that she just wanted to be with him and that she always thought that they would "go together". This absolutely broke my heart. What do you say to something like that??? I reminded her of how she is surrounded by love here and that Grandpa is looking over her always, but I can't imagine that I really helped.

Anyway, my conversation with my grandma made me think about everything I have and how lucky I am. How in an instant the things and people that you value and love most can be taken away from you. So today, I urge you to count your blessings and let those you love know just how much you care. And to that end, thank you for all of your encouragement and support -- it means the world to me...

Looking forward to some more fun on this vacation this weekend partying with some girlfriends from HS and a reunion lunch with a dear old friend!!!

Have a blessed Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"You're on vacation, but not from your health"...

Hello everyone!

So, yesterday began my whirlwind trip through the Northeast... It started with a trip to Laurence Harbor, NJ to visit my friend Lori who I had mentioned in an earlier post. She made me an awesome dinner (that was both healthy and delicious) and then we spent a good portion of the night just catching up.

This am, we went on a walk... I had asked that we incorporate some exercise into my visit (I know that I'm probably going to go astray multiple times this weekend so I figured that I better be good when I can). She lives near a state park and so we went their and hit their walking trails. We were having a fine walk when all of the sudden she "surprised" me with bench dips and lunges. And to think, I was worried about missing my workouts with Sean...

Then she reminded me, "You're on vacation, but not on vacation from your health". This resonated with me. I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. And while I fully intend to enjoy this crazy trip I have planned including cheating when it's worth it, I have no intention of blowing all of my efforts. I'm trying to learn the balance of maintaining my healthy habits while having fun and not stressing too much. But practicing this, just like me and the title of my blog, is a work in progress...

Have a wonderful Thursday night!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Assessment Day...

So, I started my last day as a 32 yo with a fitness assessment. I've been working out with Sean for just over 7 months and every 6 weeks or so, we stop to gather data about how I'm doing...

...so far, things are going well. Since my last assessment, I lost another 11.5# (which, as I have mentioned in an earlier post was all from the Lean in 13 program) and another 6". That makes my grand totals 84.5# and 48". Still have a long way to go, but I'm going...

When I first started, I was putting up pretty big numbers at these assessments... And while Sean would be fired up for me, I lacked his excitement. I would call it my "guarded enthusiasm", mainly because I was so upset with myself about how bad I let myself get in the firstplace. I had to learn to get over it... after all, I couldn't change what was already done. I only had control over what I was going to do next...

So now I celebrate every little success. I know that eventually the amount I lose at each assessment is going to be smaller but I think I am prepared for the decline (or so I tell myself). When I think back on the changes in my life over the past 7 months, I can't help but be proud. And I can't wait to see where I am a year from now...

Have a wonderful Tuesday night!

p.s. -- the promised progress pictures will soon follow!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why does failure have to come in multiples of 5???

Sometimes, when Sean is unavailable, he has me work out with Hope. He writes up a workout for me and then Hope leads me through it. Saturday was one of those days...

... and they worked me hard. It was a great workout -- very challenging! I'm sure some of the weights that we did were completely new to me. I even looked at Hope a few times in a "are you kidding me?" kind of way. And as for the number of reps that I had to do, there were many, many exercises that I had to do "until failure" -- meaning, until I couldn't physically lift the weight one more time...

Before Hope was a trainer, she was an accountant, which means she's really good with numbers. I can appreciate this... my muscles, however, did not. For example, even though my muscles reached "failure" for a given exercise at let's say 17 reps -- since 17 is not a nice round number-- I would be "encouraged" to do 3 more. And, don't get me started on ball crunches -- let's just say that with that exercise in particular, failure is a very difficult place to reach...

I was super sore on Sunday... It felt like I had a "last chance workout". Hopefully it will pay off tomorrow morning!!!

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Looking forward to some R&R...

Hey guys,

I have had a pretty stressful week. Work has been crazy and I have been sleep deprived which has not helped matters. Anyone who knows me well that stress management is, ahem, not my forte but I am really trying to work on it. Getting on a regular schedule of sleep and exercise helps tremendously and to that end I have been doing a lot better in the stress management arena -- most of the time...

I have a day off tomorrow which will be great and then I have a long break starting on Wednesday. I am so looking forward to some much needed and well deserved time off... For those of you who don't know, Wednesday is my birthday (I'm getting a little old to call it my twenti-thirteenth, huh) and also the day of my next fitness assessment. I'm not worried though... I had a sneak preview of the scale today (the 12th day of the Lean in 13 -- which I plan on following for 16 days)... On this program alone I have lost 10 lbs so far!!! Needless to say, I am super excited and highly recommend the program to anyone needing a boost... (email me if you want more info). But that's not the only reason I'm looking forward to Wednesday...

... I'm hitting the road!!! I'm going to see a bunch of friends from high school. We are having a girl's weekend and it is going to be tremendous fun! Lots of time for relaxing and catching up and there may be the occasional drink or two. But I've been so good that I can let myself have a cheat day (which let's be honest may actually be days)... I know I'll be back on track come Tuesday when I'm back in town. (I can always start the Lean in 13 process over again if need be!)

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spark People

No, I'm not talking about people who love Advocare's energy drink, Spark. We all know it's awesome, but this is about something completely different...

People who know me well know that I am a school-supply nerd. I love any chance to go out and get new pens and notebooks and post-its. So, when I was told that I needed to keep a nutrition journal I was excited to go buy new supplies. I'm on my second notebook now, all decked out with multiple colored pens (black for what I eat, blue for my editorial/commentary, red for injuries or things to tell my doctor, green for questions for Sean). Journaling is a key component to weight loss success -- at least in the beginning until you get the hang of things.

For those of you who do not share my passion for Staples or Office Max, I want to introduce to a really cool website: www.sparkpeople.com. It is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking to get on track with their nutrition and fitness. Not only does it have an online nutrition journal that helps you stay on track, but it is loaded with articles about wellness. For those of you who actually cook, there are a bunch of healthy recipes, too.

So if you're looking for a new tool to help you with your efforts, check it out!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Hey all,

So tonight starts the newest season of The Biggest Loser. I am so excited. I've always enjoyed watching this show, although I used to feel really guilty watching it (probably because I would be sitting on the sofa snacking on something bad). BUT NOW, I can watch it guilt-free!!! I know that I'm doing everything that I should to be healthy, and I can take pride in that.

They may be the "Biggest Loser", but as my friend Rebecca has dubbed me, I am the "Incredible Shrinking Woman!"

Have a great night!

Celebrating Imperfection

When life gets a little hectic, I need to remind myself of this: I'm aiming for excellence, not perfection. There have been too many times that because I wasn't perfect at something I eventually got disheartened and gave up. This has come into play many times with my previous weight loss efforts -- if I wasn't following all the rules perfectly, I'd begin to give myself enough slack to follow none of the rules and my motivation and efforts would eventually dwindle.

Now I think I (finally) learned what was blatantly clear to everyone else around me; it's okay that I'm not perfect, because nobody is. Trying to be perfect will only lead to failure and disappointment... it's an impossible task. Giving myself this out and celebrating my imperfection has helped me out tremendously. I need to be my biggest cheerleader, not my harshest critic.

So now, when I'm unable to get to the gym because work keeps me there into the wee hours of the morning, or I get so wrapped up in something that I don't eat what I'm supposed to, I am able to shrug it off and keep going. I know that I'm making forward progress even if I have a slip-up now and then.

If this sounds like you too, sometimes it helps to just remember... Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lean in 13 -- halfway there!

So, I mentioned in an earlier post that I was doing Advocare's Lean in 13 program to push through a plateau. So far, it's going great! I have had a lot more energy and have really felt good. My nutrition has been on point (except one little slip-up with some late night snacking at work one night). I decided to take the weekend off from exercise (there is a suggested plan for daily exercise, but it does say optional) given that I hurt my leg again Friday at the gym, but I'm ready to get back on track (cautiously) tomorrow...

As for my leg, it feels okay most of the time. I feel it most on the stairs or if I try to run-walk somewhere in a hurry. Last time I was okay on the elliptical, so that's what I'm planning to do...
If not, I guess I'll have to brave a swimsuit and hit the pool.

Have a great week!


I just got home from a busy night at work. I'm pretty tired, so I'm going to keep this post short...

I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the support and encouragement that you have given me. You are my champions. I can't begin to express how much it means to me to know that I have so many people in my corner.

Thank you all.

Friday, September 12, 2008


So, this would be one of those lower points I spoke of in my first post...

In August I had a mild injury -- a small tear in my left calf muscle. It made for an interesting couple of days (icing, wrapping, wearing sneakers whether or not they were appropriate for my outfit...), but I took care of myself and got through it. Right before Labor Day, hurt the same leg, albeit to a much lesser degree. Since I was wearing the same shoes both times (cute ballet flats but with no real support), I blamed them and got rid of the shoes. And things had been going well...

... until today. I went to work out with Sean and I was in a fantastic mood. I was ready to get some good work done. And then in the middle of our second exercise of the day, my injury reared its ugly head once again... I felt a sudden pain, and had to stop. We iced and wrapped my leg and then focused on other muscle groups, but I was practically in tears from the frustration. Up until this point, I had been doing so well, and I'm really afraid of any setback that is going to hinder my progress... I know I'll get through it, but it's really really annoying.

Well, thanks for letting me vent...

Progress Pictures (or lack thereof)...

Over the past year I have been so grateful for the support of friends and family while I'm on this journey. One of my dear friends, Lori, often leaves me voicemail messages cheering me on. Unfortunately she lives in NJ, which means that she doesn't get to see me very often, and so to that end is always asking for new pictures so that she can see my progress...

It may come to no surprise to you that I can't stand having my picture taken. I'm too self-conscious and like many people (heavy or not) I never like the way I look in pictures. I'm getting better about this, but I still tend to shy away from the camera most of the time. I will take new shoulder-up pics for my Facebook profile to give Lori some idea of how I'm doing, but I haven't been into documenting the journey with pictures... In fact, I didn't even take a picture when I started working with my personal trainer, Sean.

Anyway, because I'm also trying to change my negative thinking as well, I'm thinking that I have to get over this "fear of seeing myself in photos". As soon as I muster up the courage, I'll put up some pics -- maybe after my next assessment at the end of the month.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where will you be in a year???

Today I had to take my car in for it's 55K maintenance. So, I spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out in the customer lounge of the Honda dealership. I came prepared -- I brought my computer and cell phones, but unfortunately, my activities were not enough to occupy my child-like attention span. Luckily, they also had a TV to pass the time...

It was the prime time for talk shows and Dr. Phil came on. The episode was about his new weight loss challenge... The Ultimate Weight Loss Race, which is kind of a follow-up to his book from a few years ago. He's challenging overweight couples to race around the country in a quest for a healthier lifestyle. He had these couples on the show and they told their stories about why they should be chosen. In the past, these types of shows either gave me a short-lived inspiration (which would often peter out in less than a month) or just made me feel bad about myself and how bad I let myself go...

But then Dr. Phil posed a question that inspired this post. He asked, "Where will you be in a year? You could be on your way to a healthier life, or exactly where you are right now [at the same weight or heavier]." It made me think... He had posed this same question on his episode where he was promoting his weight loss book (which aired a few years ago). And, a year from then, I was in the exact same place in terms of health. However, this time was different... I'm very much in a different place, and in a year, who know's what I will accomplish??? The daydream about where I'll be in a year just made me smile...

Have a great day!

Lean In 13 -- getting started...

Hi again…

Last month I went on a fantastic trip to LA for a friend’s wedding. And when I got back, I was so pleased to learn that I didn’t gain a pound. Well, I guess I must have been complacent with that good news, because I kind of slacked off a little bit. Which is probably why I haven’t lost a pound since that trip.

So, it’s time to get serious again. And to spark my progress, I have decided to do Advocare’s Lean in 13 program. It’s basically nutrition and fitness “boot camp” if you will, designed to jump-start a fitness program or push through a plateau. It’s a combination of Advocare supplements (protein shakes, metabolic nutrition system, and thermoplus) as well as an exercise and healthy food plan with “burn” and “refuel” days (for more information about the program, email Sean at spmfitness@hotmail.com). And then there is the water… they recommend a gallon a day, which is a challenge but not impossible.

I initially had concerns about 2 aspects of the program. First, Sean allows me to have a “cheat day” once a week so that I don’t have to deprive myself of things I really want but shouldn’t have (like my fave – eggplant parmesean) and there would be no cheat days on the program. And second, the program restricts all dairy and only allows fruit on “refuel” days and so I would have to give up my evening glass of skim milk and my banana that I blend in my morning meal replacement shake. But, it’s only 13 days so I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.

I just finished day 2…. So far, so good! I really feel great. My energy is way up – today I worked out with Sean, then did 30 minutes on the elliptical, and then went for a 90-minute walk around University of Richmond with my friend, Sarah. Even after all of that I was ready to keep going!!! I’ve been okay without my milk and fruit, and the eggplant will just have to be my birthday dinner (which conveniently falls at the end of the program)!

So my motto for the end of my 33rd year: Go hard or GO HOME!!!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An introduction...

Hi all --

So, I wanted to start by telling you about how I got to this point... 2007 was a pretty rough year. I lost my grandfather, my dad's health was getting worse, and I was the unhealthiest I have ever been. I am a doctor and part of my job involves counseling patients on making healthy choices. I was at my heaviest weight and I was having problems walking longer distances without getting back pain. I was a horrible role model... I decided that enough was enough.

A friend of mine introduced me to Sean Murphy, owner of Fitness Together, in Feb 2008. He specializes in one-on-one personal training. At the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but my life was about to change...

I've changed the way I think about nutrition and fitness in general. I have totally changed my eating habits and have been consistently working out 5-6 days a week. I added Advocare nutritional supplements to the mix and my success was amplified. It's been only about 7 months since I began, and even though I am a work in progress and have quite a way to go, I'm pretty excited about what I have accomplished so far... I have lost over 70 lbs and over 40 inches, and it's just the beginning... I am well on my way to becoming a healthy weight.

As one might imagine, I have taken on a huge endeavor. I have highs and lows but continue to persevere... I decided to start this blog to chronicle my successes and setbacks. This way, maybe my friends will hear less of my whining when the road gets rough (although somehow, I doubt it).

So welcome to my journey!