Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One down

52 weeks of healthy eating.
365 days with a new mindset.
12 months of workouts.

One year of lessons.

On Jan. 26, 2010, I began a journey to change my life. I walked into the Weight Watchers open house with so many hopes and wishes. So much shame and guilt. So much discouragement. So little self-confidence.

A year later I am 90 pounds lighter (yeah, you read that right. I finally hit my 90 pounds yesterday) and a little bit wiser.

At least I’d like to think so.

So what have I learned since last Jan. 26? Here are just a few highlights.

  • As clich├ęd as it sounds, life really is a marathon and not a sprint. I haven’t fallen down and gotten up this much since I first learned to ride a bike.
  • Sometimes big goals seem insurmountable. But sometimes small goals actually do seem possible.
  • Secrets and shame will keep you stuck in the dark. 
  • When you share from your heart, people you never expected will support you when you most need it.
  • Kale really is good. I promise.
  • Every step toward wholeness erases a little bit of chaos. One day at a time.
  • Working out does not, in fact, equal death (OK, except for lunges).
  • Seriously, eating out of the trashcan is not worth it.
  • The ego is a powerful creature. The negative one and the positive one.
  • Taking a compliment is hard, yo.
  • The kindness of strangers can change your life.
  • Diet Coke is a sexy, impossible-to-resist siren.
  • .6 pounds can be both triumphant and devastating.
  • Freedom from addiction is really, really awesome.

The lessons I’ve learned are endless. And continuing. I remember when I lost my first 5 pounds. I whined about how many of those I needed to get to my goal. And a wise, wonderful friend (Hi, Kev!) told me to picture where I’d be in a year if I kept earning those 5-pound stars. It was hard to imagine then. It felt so out of my reach. But he was right.

Though I’m not finished by any stretch of the imagination, I have hope for the first time. I am no longer chained to food. I am no longer constrained by my body from the things I want to do.

And that feels like success to me.

My good friend Carla's birthday is Jan. 25. These two photos were taken at her birthday parties, last year and last night, respectively.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow

I think I’ve worried you guys.  First of all, rest assured that I am not:

• Bingeing
• Quitting
• Spending my day huddled under my desk in misery

I’m just a little down. I’ve gotten some very sweet e-mails in response to Friday’s blog. Thank you, as always, for your kind words. I just wanted to clear something up—I am moving forward. And I am not quitting. Ever.

My food’s been good. I’m working out harder than ever. But my mind and heart are in the middle of a rough patch.

I think I’ve been pretty consistently positive throughout this journey. I’ve tried to be, anyway. I’ve genuinely felt pretty good about this, give or take a few days. Lately, though, I’ve unfortunately been focusing on my “wish I hads” and my “have-nots.” I’m looking at how far I have to go, rather than how far I’ve come. And that’s not like me.

I’m doing my very best to snap out of this mental plateau. Maybe it’s just a feeling I need to experience right now. Maybe I just need to accept where I am, feel the way I feel about it and then move forward. After all, I’ve spent what seems a lifetime ignoring my feelings.

It’s important to me to be real with you guys. Obviously, not everything about life—or weight loss—is sunshine and roses. And for me to present it that way isn’t fair to you. Or to me. But I’m also not in a deep, dark place of depression. I’d describe it as just a little gray.

So, as usual, I’m plugging along. Doing the best I can. I expect to welcome back the sunshine and roses any day now.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Often times when I’m out around the Children’s campus, people will approach me to talk about this blog and my weight loss. I’m always so flattered by your kind words and encouragement.

But today if someone were to come up with me, I might just burst into tears. Fair warning.

I’m having a rough week. Remember when I told you I had done so well while I was snowed in? Well, I think I made up for it with bad behavior during the weekend. I went out to eat several times and overate while I was at the movies with my sister-in-law Sunday.

My weigh-in Tuesday was evidence. I lost 1.4 pounds. That would be a good loss, except because of the storm and the holidays, that was my first weigh-in in three weeks. I still haven’t made it to 90 pounds (I’m at 89). I feel like it’s taking forever.

I admit, like a lot of people, I was pretty darn sedentary for the past two weeks or so. I hadn’t met with my trainer since before the holidays (I took a week off. She took a week off. Then the ice week was, of course, a wash) so I was excited to be back into my normal schedule. I’ve worked out hard this week. Zumba Tuesday here at work. Personal training with Jessica followed by a (super intense) new Zumba class at a dance studio near my home. Cardio fusion here at the Park last night.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I know I’ve worked my booty off this week. I stepped on the scale.

I’ve gained 2 pounds.

I don’t know what’s going on. Is my body rebelling from the lack of movement earlier in the month? My food’s been good, save a Mexican restaurant splurge Tuesday night.

I can’t help but feel totally frustrated. I’m good at being a cheerleader for other people. If someone else told me they were having these same problems, I’d tell them to be kind to themselves. To keep moving forward—we all hit plateaus. But I'm not so good at taking my own advice.

Things have been steady for me up until now. Not easy by any stretch, but steady. And now I feel I’m going backward.

My body feels tired. Broken. I grimace every time I sit down because of the lunges I’ve done. To not see the payoff on the scale feels like a rip-off.

Tomorrow’s another day. Monday is another week. But just keep walking if you see me balled in a fetal position in the corner.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today I’m going to forgo my usual self-centeredness to talk about someone else.

This week Children’s is losing an amazing employee in LaTonia McGinnis, who is leaving to “spread the wellness gospel,” as she calls it, to another company.

LaTonia, for those who don’t know her, is a huge part of the success of Strong4Life. She developed much of the program and has been a tireless cheerleader for those of us making our way to better health.

I first met LT while taking Cardio Fusion, the Thursday night class here at the Park. To be honest, I have had a bit of a girl crush on her from the beginning. She’s gorgeous and kind and I’m totally jealous of her dance ability.

LT is my Zumba BFF. We stand next to each other during every class and giggle about the moves we can’t quite seem to grasp. Class just won’t be the same without her.

I feel so lucky that LaTonia has evolved from a work acquaintance to a true friend. And though I’ll miss her terribly, I am grateful for her friendship, which will continue.

All of us at Children’s owe a great deal to LaTonia. I’m so excited to see where her new ventures lead.

Congratulations, LT, I’ll miss you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ice, ice baby

I made it out alive from the Great 2011 Ice Capade of Atlanta.

For those of you who don't live here and aren't aware, Atlanta and its surrounding areas got a heavy (well, for us, anyway) snow fall Sunday night. Cue the excitement from everyone about a snow day. Yay, right? Right. Until the snow day turns into days of being stranded in our homes. I was iced in through Wednesday, like most people, and finally chipped my way out to come to work Thursday. I have never been so excited to get to work in my life.

The worst part is that I was without Internet until Wednesday. I kept my power, thank goodness, but the Internet was not so cooperative. So my apologies for this late-week blog.

It was interesting to be snowed in this year. In the past, I would have loaded up with junk food and hibernated like a polar bear. But this year is different. I went to the grocery store (where I feared for my life) Saturday and bought enough to get me through the week.

I made recipes--chicken enchilada casserole, tomato soup and pork tenderloin. I really tried to be conscious of my eating, despite my boredom, and I think I was pretty successful. It's strange to literally have no way to go out to eat. I think I really benefited from that. And now I think I know what I'll give up for Lent this year.

I stepped on the scale this morning and was pleasantly surprised. I was bummed to miss my weigh-in last week because of the snow and ice. But I'm hoping this morning's scale will be a good sign for next Tuesday.

And I refuse to go crazy just because I have access to temptation again.

Those of you who were also snowed in, how did you fare, health-wise?

Oh, and that's two Vanilla Ice references, for those keeping count.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feature obsessions

I have some of my ideas for this blog. I want to keep things fresh, and, to be honest, sometimes it's hard to come up with things to write.

So I thought I would start writing regular features. On different days during each week, I'll feature recipes or new obessions, photos, reader comments with answers and then general blogs like I've been writing all along.

Any thoughts? Anything else you'd like to read about? I'm very open to feedback.

Here's a start. My new obsession. Chocolate + peanut butter = true love always. 4eva.

At least for me.

So lately, I've been taking about a teaspoon of peanut butter (I like the Simply Jif) and heating it up in the microwave. Then I stir it into a sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding cup.

Love at first sight. Er, bite.

It really satisfies my sweet tooth and also adds a little bit of protein. I get so excited for my little dessert that the other night when I went to my fridge and realized I was out of pudding cups, I almost cried.

Try it. You'll love me. Promise.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All right, stop

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday with friends and family.

I was hoping to report to you today that I had reached my 90-pound loss. Alas, that was not meant to be. I lost .6 this week. I suppose I should be grateful to have lost at all during the holidays. I’ll take it.

I took the week after Christmas off. Because my gym is close to my office, I also took the week off of personal training. But I promised to work out at my apartment gym, and I’m happy to say that I did indeed make good on that. I went a few times, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

I did have one experience I wanted to share with you guys. One night I went out for a friend’s birthday—lots of yummy sushi. I had to stop by Walgreen’s on the way home to drop off a redbox movie. And all of a sudden, I felt this overwhelming urge to binge. I started walking around the store, so restless, trying to find something that could curb my cravings but not be terribly unhealthy.

But something made me reach for the Pringles. Ah, Pringles. It’s been ages since I had them. And all of a sudden I wanted them, with a capital W. They used to be one of my go-to binges. I’d sit on my couch, can of Pringles in one hand, container of sour cream in another. I’d dip and eat, dip and eat, over and over again. Mindless. Robotic.

I rushed home giddy with anticipation. I grabbed my container of reduced-fat sour cream and started doing it again. Going through the motions. Dip and eat, dip and eat.

Cue the needle on the record.

All of a sudden I stopped. What was I doing? I don’t eat mindlessly anymore. Where did this come from? I had had a triumphant shopping day (bought a size 16 pair of jeans. For the record, I was a tight size 24 this time last year) and I was ruining it.

So I did something I’ve never done before. I stopped—mid-binge. I actually hadn’t done that much damage—maybe about 15 chips or so. Throughout this journey, I’ve avoided binges. I’ve worked to forgive myself after I’ve had one. But I’ve never stopped in the middle of one. It made me realize how much more conscious I am now. Thank goodness.

I’d learned my lesson before. I knew I couldn’t just throw them away. So I poured my can of Diet Coke over them. Worried that wasn’t enough to keep me from them, I reached for a nearby bottle of Windex. Spritz-spritz. Bye-bye binge.

I am happy that I’m still having these a-ha moments. I know there’s always more to learn. And I’m grateful for every lesson that brings me closer to my goals.