Category Archives: Uncategorized

You are more beautiful than you think

This article was floating around my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, about how, typically, a woman’s description of herself is more harsh than a stranger’s description.  Dove hired an FBI sketch artist to draw the women as they described themselves, then draw the same woman as described by a stranger.  The women’s self described drawing often centered around the things they dislike about their appearance, and the stranger’s drawing was more beautiful and more like the women.



The video brought me to tears.  Why are we our own harshest critic?  Why can’t we see ourselves the way other see us?

I know I am guilty of this.

One of the lines in the video says something to the effect of “we spend so much time trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right when we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like.”

Instead of tearing ourselves apart, we need to build ourselves up.

Stop the negative nitpicking; work on positive self-esteem.

I was moved by the video, and I felt I needed to share.  I spend a lot of time thinking and blogging about my attempt to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.  I think a healthier perception of myself needs to be included in that.

I want to challenge anyone who reads this and struggles with this – the next time you start to tear yourself apart, instead, find something that you like about yourself and focus on that.   The next time someone pays you a compliment, accept it graciously and BELIEVE it.  The next time someone wants to take a photo with you in it, let them.

You are more beautiful than you think.

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National Walking Day

It seems like every day has some special theme attached to it these days.  My Facebook friends are always posting something like “It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day” or “It’s National Pancake Day”.  I don’t feel like we need a day to celebrate everything, but I do like today’s theme:  National Walking Day, as declared by the American Heart Association.

A couple of years ago, I read this article that mentions people who sit for most of the day are 54% more likely to die of heart attacks.  Granted this article does not go in depth on the research and does not mention if there are other factors, but taking it at face value – desk jobs are scary!

I’ve been trying to get out and walk at lunch anyway, but I’m pretty finicky.  If it’s too cold or too hot or looks like it might rain, I skip the walk.  Today’s it’s cold and gray…and I was planning to work through lunch.  But I think I will get out and take that walk.

(On a similar note, Blue Cross Blue Shield declared April 24th National Walk@Lunch Day so if you aren’t prepared today, you can be for the 24th…or for tomorrow…)

Will you take a break today and get in an extra walk?


Ripped in 30: Day 1 and 2

It has begun!  Bring it, Jillian.


I wasn’t able to get up yesterday morning, so I did the first workout yesterday afternoon.  I always struggle working out in the afternoon, tired from working all day and thinking about all I need to do after the workout.  As I struggled through, I loathed Jillian, even though about half of the movements are repeats from the three levels of the 30 Day Shred; I was exhausted…and she looks phenomenal in the video.  Her arms are my motivation.

I did manage to get up this morning and repeat the workout.  This time, while still challenging, it was much better.  To me, I think this routine is equally as hard as Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred – mostly because she ramps up the speed for the “bad-ass” version on most of the cardio…plus some new cardio moves that definitely get the heart rate up.

Now, I am feeling a little sore – mostly in my upper arms, glutes, and hips.  I love it.  I’ve always loved the slight ache of sore muscles after a good workout.  Maybe that’s weird, but it makes me feel like I really did something.  So far, I like the video.

A couple of changes I noticed in this series is that instead of two moves for the strength circuit, there are three; I like that change.  And I watched the intro part (which I never did for the 30 Day Shred); she tells you to do the workout 5 or 6 days a week, not 7 like I had been thinking.  Thank you for the rest days that I would have taken anyway!  And there’s a free downloadable nutrition plan.

The nutrition plan is based on 3-400 calorie meals and 1-200 calorie snack.  Most of the recipes sound pretty good.  But I am not following the plan 100% for several reasons – the main ones being too many ingredients per week and too much food going to waste (b/c of partially used ingredients). Plus the recipes repeat every 10 days or so, and I like a little more variety than that.  So…I made my own meal plan, using a lot of Jillian’s recipes, my own recipes, and recipes from another 30 day challenge that I had downloaded previously.  I will stick with the basis of her plan – 3-400 calorie meals and 1 snack (though yesterday I didn’t eat it…).  I’m incorporating a few other things – Meatless Monday, using the slow-cooker once a week,  larger portions for the husband and leftovers for his lunch the next day, a night off every now and then, and a meal out with friends after church, as is our routine.  The nights off are for events that we already have planned, and I feel like as long as I don’t go overboard, this should be okay.  I’m no nutritionist, but I feel like these modifications make a plan realistic for my husband and I.

Here’s what this week looks like:


I was so disappointed that there were no good avocados at the grocery store last night.  No avocado on my turkey avocado wrap tomorrow.  This week includes a lot of tacos and burritos – to use up the tortillas that I would have been buying for some of Jillian’s recipes anyway.

I’m excited to see how this month goes!

Day 34 – Thinking about what’s next…

Like a good girl, I went home yesterday after work, put some rice in the rice cooker to go along with the leftovers we were having for dinner, and did the morning’s missed Level 3 workout.  Sometime during the day, I got sore.  It was sometime after I snuck in a 3 mile walk over my lunch hour that I noticed my hip flexors, glutes, and lats were stiff.  Between that and being tired, the workout was even more challenging.  I really began to question what I was thinking, saying the third circuit was the hardest, as I was struggling with the first circuit.  I spent the rest of the evening walking around like a zombie before crawling in bed at 9.

This morning I fought through my desire to sleep as much as I could, pulled myself out of bed, and did the workout again.  The workout went much better – as I rocked the up and down planks that started me off struggling yesterday – and even managed the regular version of the plank rows w/ leg raises that I had previously been modifying.

Foodwise – I’ve been staying on track so far this week, even though I haven’t been reporting it here.  Monday and Tuesday were good days, and I have a plan to make the rest of the week follow suit.

Having completed the 23rd workout, with only 7 left, I have started thinking about what comes next.  I’ve been thinking about sticking with Jillian and trying “Ripped in 30” or “6 Week Six Pack”, but then I’ve also found a couple of other routines I’d like to try out – just for the sake of doing something different and not getting bored.  This P90X inspired 14 day workout looks interesting, as well as this adaptation of the Two-Week Total Body Turnaround.  The strength part of the later almost seems a little too easy, but I like the inclusion of the walking plan, which I could do over lunch.   In the next few days I plan to develop a workout plan to take me at least through Memorial Weekend – when we are going to the lake and I will have to get into a swimsuit.

Oh, Swimsuit:  you are the ultimate motivation, aren't you?

Oh, Swimsuit: you are the ultimate motivation, aren’t you?

PS – The above image is from an article about the best swimsuits for pear shaped bodies.  Lots of good tips for ladies with hips!

Back At It Again…

To quickly catch up, last week, I prepared a menu to get us back in the Zone starting Saturday.  Friday afternoon, I went grocery shopping to stock the fridge and pantry with all kinds of fruits, veggies, and ingredients for great sounding recipes.


Best thing I’ve made so far was last night; I made a recipe I found on Pinterest for dinner:  PF Change copy Lettuce Wraps (only I used ground beef instead of chicken).  YUM!  The husband gave it the “You can make this again anytime” approval.


This morning, I woke up with the husband at 5am and worked out while he got ready for work.  I modified the P90X Chest and Back Routine (Week 1, Day 1) to include a little cardio:  one set of pull-ups (aka pulling on resistance bands) at 15 reps, followed by either knee push-ups or bench presses with 15 lb dumbbells (I alternated every set) at 10 reps, then 20 jumping jacks.  Rest for 30 seconds and repeat, for a total of 8 times.


The P90X Chest and Back routine is probably my least favorite of all of the workouts for two reasons:  #1 – I can’t do pull-ups; #2 – I can’t do push-ups.  The workout is pretty much just different types of pull-ups and push-ups.  One day, I’ll be able to do a set of pull-ups and a real set of push-ups, but that day is not today.


So, getting back on track is off to a great start and today I feel completely full of energy.  I know it has to do with both the eating better and working out this morning.  I just hope I don’t crash this afternoon…or a couple of weeks from now.


What I mean by that is that this isn’t my first rodeo.  You can read my About page for a little more detail, but it seems like the last few times I’ve tried to get the weight back off, I’m on fire for a while, but quickly fizzle out after my first bad day.


Knowing that, I have a lot of questions:


What is different about this time around that will make me stick with the plan until I meet my goal(s)?


Why did I not stick with it the other times I “tried”?


What happens after I reach my goal?


I’ve hit my goal before and then couldn’t sustain it; what really caused me to gain the weight back?


Did I set an unattainable, unrealistic goal?


Will I change enough this time around that this really can become a lifestyle, not a “diet”?


Will I be back here again, having lost the weight then gaining it back, trying to start all over?


Even though this is starting out great, I’ve got some negative thoughts floating around that I just needed to get out.  I know the answer to some of those questions, while others leave me guessing.  I know this is not an easy process, and that I’m looking for progress, not perfection, but I want this to be the last time I’m “starting over” on my journey to a healthier me.

Derailed, but getting back on track

I admitted in my first post that only a crazy person would decide to start a diet and exercise program right before the holidays.  It wasn’t too long after we started P90X and The Zone Diet on December 1st that I came down with the stomach flu.  Actually, I’m pretty sure that was the 7th, and I remained weak for several days after it had run it course.  Then the husband came down with a bad cold.  P90X was quickly derailed.


I kept us following the Zone for as long as I could, but then Christmas came, along with lots of family and food.  We ate every meal with family or friends from Christmas Eve dinner until January 2nd, when I went back to work again.  Then, we were without a refrigerator; a huge ice storm hit, taking out the power for a few days…and our refrigerator motor for good.  We got that replaced last week, but we have had a house guest, my cousin who is taking a certification class, who insists on treating us to dinner every night since he doesn’t have to pay for a hotel.  And the indulging continues.


Excuses aside, life gets in the way of plans sometimes, but we are getting back on track this weekend (after my cousin heads home).  Once again I am preparing a Zone friendly menu and plan on getting up early in the mornings and working out.  The husband started a new job and gets up at 5, so I think I’ll try to get up then too and spend some time with Tony Horton.


Time to Bring It…for good this time.


Days 1 and 2 and Peer Pressure

Saturday marked the start of December and the start of P90X and changing the way I eat.  I am happy to report that everything is off to a good start, even though we aren’t exactly following the meals I planned last week.  We were invited a lot of places, and actually ended up eating away from home for both lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday.  Such is life, but I was determined to make good choices, and for the most part, I did.


However, being around so many people this weekend brought up another issue to deal with:  peer pressure.  As an adult at 28 years old, I thought I was done with peer pressure. But Saturday proved that no matter the age, peer pressure exits.  On two separate occasions, I had friends, without really meaning to or knowing that they did, put down what I am doing for myself.

Before dinner, we got together with a few friends for a bonfire.  I mentioned to a couple other ladies that I had started P90X, and that day 1 was basically all push-ups and pull-ups. While they all made comments like “That’s great!”, one of them also started saying something to the effect of “Just don’t get too toned. Women who are toned are sort of scary”. I didn’t tell her that I think strong is the new sexy, but I did tell her that there’s nothing to worry about; it will be a long time before my arms are toned.

I’m tired of the mentality that strong women are scary. Ok – I agree those women-as-big-as-men body builders scare me, but having toned arms – that is sexy. I’m going to try my hardest to have toned arms, and if my friend thinks that they’re scary – oh well!

After that, we went to Macaroni Grill, and I decided to forgo the delicious, over-indulgent pastas that I would love to have eaten for something Zone friendly. I ordered the Grilled Chicken Splendini – basically 2 grilled chicken kabobs with grilled vegetables and a side salad. When the waitress had delivered all our dishes, someone made the comment to me, “When are they bringing the rest of your food”? Then, of all people, my husband started making a few comments like “Did you order off the kids plate?” to which everyone at the table had a discussion about my meal choice. While I was not ready to discuss that I was “dieting” – or rather trying to change my diet to a healthier lifestyle – I did say that this is plenty of food, and later had a discussion with my husband about peer pressure. I knew that if it had been just the two of us at dinner, and even later after we were alone, he would be proud that I ordered smart, and that type of comments were unnecessary.

The dinner ended up being delicious, and I was not so miserable after dinner like I would have been if I had filled myself on bread and pasta. So what if everyone had made fun of it; they were probably thinking to themselves, “I should have ordered something like that instead”.

So I feel like there’s a lesson here, but I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe it’s that despite other people’s best intentions, there will be times when they don’t understand what you’re doing – but you have to keep doing it – for yourself.