Progress Updates

Good News, Bad News

Another week is done and I find myself still feeling down about my progress despite today’s weigh in being a “good news, bad news” situation. The good news is that I finally crossed the 10 pound barrier but the bad news is only barely. My weight is now 148.8 pounds so I am down a total of 10.2. I didn’t lose a full pound from last week to this week. I had one bad eating night and was not as good with my water intake this week as I should have been. But I exercised every day and despite stress at every turn (work stress, marriage stress, mom stress) I didn’t give in to my desire for bad food as much as I wanted to. I even resisted donuts provided to everyone in our office building by the property manager. I don’t know what else I can change about my eating or my exercise that will get the scale moving in a significant way again.

Back to the drawing board I guess…..

Progress Updates

Greetings from Guilt

First things first…the results of last week’s weigh in. Despite not meeting my calorie or water goals during my entire staycation week, thanks to daily exercise and not going completely off course with my food choices, I lost 1 pound. My weight is 149.2 pounds so I am down a grand total of 9.8 pounds. My measurements were all the same this week but still…weight loss is weight loss.

Tonight has been another story altogether. I ate well during the day, did a cardio workout and swam for an hour. Thanks to the stress of worrying about the pile of work that awaits me when I return to the office tomorrow and my 8 year old devolving into a brat with a capital B, I couldn’t resist the urge to stress eat. I ate tons of rotisserie chicken (including skin), a handful or oreos and a bunch of graham crackers. My stomach hurts and I am riddled with guilt. This is the first time since starting this new routine that I have totally caved and I hate myself for it.


Workouts & Worries

I have been on “staycation” this week with my husband and kids. We had been planning a week long beach getaway but this past spring we were forced to spend $1400 on repairs to both of our cars. Those unexpected expenses drained our vacation fund so during the week that our babysitter was out on a cruise, we decided to do a staycation. We stayed home and have taken the kids to a local waterpark and to a nearby lake with a sandy man-made beach. Today my in-laws took the kids to the pool while my husband and I had a rare date day. Tomorrow, our plan is to take the kids to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

I have exercised every night this week and have tried to stay on plan but have failed miserably with my water intake. Today was my only outright bad day though because while out on my date with Ryan we stopped for gelato. In addition to my dietary indiscretions, it is also (TMI alert) my time of the month. This means that I am terribly nervous about tomorrow’s weigh in and measurement.


Watching my daughter at the lake without worrying about how I look in this swimsuit

Since working out has been my only real success this week, I thought I would highlight my workout routine. I hate exercising. The only exercise that I have ever really liked is dancing. I danced competitively for many years as a child and teen in ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical. For the first few weeks of this new routine, I combined boxing on the heavy bag in our garage with cardio workouts from YouTube. As the summer went on and my garage got hotter and hotter, I dropped the boxing and began alternating cardio routines from two different YouTube channels. These two channels represent the two different sides of my personality.

The first channel is The Fitness Marshall. His channel represents the fun, sexy, wannabe popstar side of my personality and I love his workouts.

The second channel is Dance Fitness with JessicaHer channel represents the strong, empowered mom side of me.



Progress Updates

One Month In

Wednesday marked one month on this new weight loss routine. I didn’t take pictures when I first started but I have decided to take progress photos when I reach each monthly milestone. Here are the photos I took one month in….




I really hate that side profile picture. My youngest child is nearly three and I look about 4 months pregnant. I really hope to see a difference in that shot when I take these pictures again in August.

Aside from being a big milestone day for my diet, Wednesday was also an emotional day. I went with Ryan to get his test results back from his specialist. It turns out that he not only has one rare illness, sarcoidosis, but he also now has another, reactive arthritis. There less than 20,000 cases so while the stats are unnerving, it goes in and out of remission and treating the flares is fairly simple. After this appointment, we continued our argument from the day before. Sigh….

The bad luck continued on Thursday when I was leaving for work and discovered a drywall screw in my rear tire. Ryan said he would plug it in the evening but commuting in one car, with a stop to drop the kids off at daycare made me late for work. In all this stress, my anxiety and panic were in full effect and I was cursing the Universe for being against me. The Universe, however, decided to send me a very direct message. I am not a religious person but I do consider myself a spiritual person. I have a friend who is a Reiki Master, does tarot readings and helps people discover their spirit animals. A while back, she helped me determine that my spirit animal is the turtle. Turtles embody the need for determination but also the need to slow down. As we were driving in to work and I was in panic mode, traffic had to slow down for a massive turtle that was in the middle of the road. It was a huge slap upside the head from the Universe telling me to slow down and relax.

Today was my weigh-in and measurement day. I weighed in at 150.2 pounds. Overall I am down 8.8 pounds. I have 17.2 pounds to go before I make my primary goal and 30.2 pounds to go before I make my secondary goal. Also, since I started taking measurements 2 weeks ago, I have taken an inch off my waist, an inch off my thighs and two inches off of my hips. I am overall really happy with my progress and can’t wait to keep going.

When I completed my first fitness reward chart, I rewarded myself by ordering some Lipsense. Lipsense is a long wear lip color to which I have recently become addicted. Tying the things I love to healthy habits makes staying on plan a little easier because I know I have these nice little treats to look forward to. Amanda, my Lipsense distributor, gave me a 20% discount when she heard they were weight loss rewards and I earned a free color from her online party which just happened to coincide with me earning my first reward. I ordered a new gloss, since mine was nearly out, and two new colors. My reward arrived in the mail today so it was a nice surprise when I got home.


Just Venting

Today Sucks

Today sucks…there is just no other way to look at it. I got out the door late which means I got stuck in traffic and had a choice to make. I had to choose between stopping off at Starbucks for my double espresso over ice or being on time for work. I chose being on time so I had to start my day a little less caffeinated than I would have liked. Bad decision.

During the course of my workday I was buried with multiple urgent priorities all needing my attention at the same time…payroll, benefits open enrollment, scheduling interviews for positions that need to be filled, etc. On top of that I had a nice little tiff via text with Ryan which always puts me in a fabulous mood. I have had a headache all day that won’t go away. It is about 300 degrees outside but about 30 degrees in my office. All of this stress means, I’m hungry. Not hungry for carrots but hungry for carrot cake. I am my number one saboteur when it comes to getting in shape. Between the stress of life and the stress of my anxiety, food is a great comforter. It makes you feel so good. Spicy food and chocolate both release the same endorphins as sex. In my life, it is so much easier to have a brownie or a spicy burrito than it is to have sex so I often choose the former. They say that exercise releases those same feel good chemicals but I haven’t reached that stage yet. Me and exercise are currently in the pain and agony stage of our relationship and I don’t mean the fun “50 Shades” kind of pain, I mean the “dear god someone kill me” kind of pain.

The sad thing is that I know the rest of the evening is going to get any better. I have to leave here, fight traffic, wrangle my kids from daycare, fight more traffic and go home. Once home, I will have 4 dinners to prepare (mine, Ryan’s, Aidan’s and Kaia’s), do dishes, do laundry, workout, wrangle the kids into baths and bed, bathe myself and probably end up in round 2 of the tiff with Ryan from earlier in the day.

Normally, if I didn’t give in to stress by eating it away, I would drown it in a bottle of white wine. But alas, I am giving up alcohol until I get this diet well underway.

It is going to be a looooooooong night….



Week 4 Wrap Up

Week 4 was frustrating on a few different levels. When I weighed in on Monday, after an entire week of staying on plan, the scale read 153.8. I hadn’t even lost a pound after a full week of workouts and resisting all food temptation (including a make your own sundae bar set up by the property manager in the lobby of our office building). On Wednesday, I did an ab workout routine that left my hips and lower back extremely sore. It was so painful to go from a sitting to a standing position and vice-versa that I was audibly wincing with every movement. This made for a very awkward trip to Starbucks for my double espresso over ice. To try to recover from this injury, I reluctantly took a rest day on Thursday. When I was back to working out on Friday, I was still hurting so I over compensated for my messed up hips and hurt my left ankle in the process. I worked out today with the painful ankle but I think tomorrow may need to be another cardio-free day to give this ankle a rest.

Normally, this many setbacks in a week would send me face first into a cheesecake but I am determined to see this through. I have decided to streamline and simplify my efforts by making a few tweaks to my current plan:

#1 – Changing my weigh-in day

I read an article by a fitness blogger (I wish I had pinned the link) that said Mondays are a bad day to weigh in. The weekend distorts your progress because you tend to sleep in later, go to bed later and eat on an off schedule. Since sleep hormone disruptions and diet changes can both affect your weight, it is best to weigh in on Friday when you have had at least four solid days of a steady sleep, diet and exercise schedule. Starting week 5, I will chart my weight and measurements on Friday mornings.

#2 – A Notebook

Up to this point, I have been documenting everything but in multiple places. I have a chart for my fitness rewards and a separate chart for my weight and measurements both on my fridge. I have been tracking my menu and calorie intakes on excel spreadsheets on my laptop. After some Pinterest surfing, I decided that I should put everything into a fitness journal. I have a page at the front for my rewards tracker and a page with my stats. Each page after that is devoted to tracking daily calorie and water intake. I got a 7 x 5 notebook so that it fits in my purse and I can take with me everywhere.

#3 – Rethinking Dinner

When Aidan was a baby, I made my first serious attempt at losing the baby weight by joining the Nutrisystem program. Because this program was stupid simple and required zero prep, I was extremely successful and lost 15 pounds in my first month. Due to the cost of the program, I wasn’t able to continue it and eventually gained the weight back. Fast forward to my current journey. My breakfasts, lunches and snacks are perfectly portioned and it is easy to track my calorie counts but dinner is a different story. I have been cooking my own meals for my husband and I using recipes from Hungry Girl. For most of these dishes, it is really hard to match the portion sizes (and therefore the calorie counts) to the recipes as written. I have decided to take a page from the Nutrisystem playbook and will be buying frozen meals (i.e. Weight Watchers Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, etc) and eating those for dinner. Ryan has agreed and given me a list of meals for one to make for him so that I can keep making progress.

Hopefully, these changes will get the scale moving again and help me stay on track.


Motivation Monday #1

I know it’s Tuesday but I meant to write this post yesterday.

First things first. I weighed in this morning and have lost another 2 pounds for a total of 4.6 pounds lost in two weeks.

Starting Weight 159
Current Weight 154.4
Pounds Lost 4.6
Primary Goal 133
Pounds to Primary Goal


Secondary Goal 125
Pounds to Secondary Goal 29.4

This weekend was a rough one. I didn’t meet my water goal or calorie goal either day. I also didn’t get a chance to exercise. Ryan and Kaia were both sick on Saturday and I had to bake Aidan’s birthday cake. Sunday was Aidan’s 8th birthday so I took the kids to Chuck E Cheese but I did come prepared for weight loss success. I brought my water bottle, ordered a salad bar, brought my own dressing and avoided the pizza. I guess you could count chasing the kids around Chuck E Cheese as exercise but I didn’t work out in the traditional sense. When the kids and I came home, Ryan still was not feeling well so I ended up taking him to the ER. On the drive to the hospital I drank a meal replacement shake since I didn’t have a chance to eat dinner yet and stuck a Kind bar in purse in case we ended up being there all night. We sang happy birthday to Aidan and he blew out his candles right before we headed out so I didn’t get to miss celebrating with him but I did get to avoid the cake, which for me was a good thing. I am proud of myself for sticking with it because normally this kind of chaos causes me to give up.

As for Motivation Monday, this is the affirmation that I chose. On Friday night I was so tempted to dive into the deep dish pizza that the kids had for dinner that I felt like I was being tortured.




Dealing with Impatience

When it comes to my struggle to get in shape, I have always faced two major hurdles: impatience and expectation. Today is day 12 and I am beginning to fight impatience. I have met my calorie goals each of the last 11 days. I have met my water goals each of the last 11 days. I have exercised for at least 30 minutes on 8 of the last 11 days. Today was supposed to be a rest day from exercise but since I was working remote thanks to a sick child, I had time in the afternoon to squeeze in 35 minutes of cardio. I know I am doing everything right and I also know that these things take time. But I want to see results. After my first week, I lost two pounds, but that enthusiasm was short lived. I wonder if my exercise is making a difference? I wonder if I cut enough calories or if I cut too many. I have failed so many times and I want this so bad that it is hard to be patient and wait for the results.



Day 4

I am on day 4 of my new routine and for me that is always the first big hurdle. Day 3 usually feels like hell and this time was no exception. All day yesterday I was tired, cranky and feeling completely zapped. Today didn’t feel quite so bad.

The highlight of the day though, was dinner. Before I started this new routine, I would plan, shop and prep for my dinners on Saturday or Sunday so that they would be ready for me when I got home or would require minimal work to put together on a weeknight. I am working mom who fights Northern Virginia traffic every night and if you aren’t familiar with the veritable hell that is driving around here, there are no words for how bad it is. My 16 mile commute (which most nights includes a stop off to pick the kids up from daycare) takes about 2 hours. This means when I get home, if I don’t have something prepped for dinner, I will cave and order bad food.

Since I knew I was starting this new plan this week, I planned and prepped everything last Saturday. One of the recipes that I planned to make for dinner was Hungry Girl’s Skillet Taco Meatballs. This was a low calorie meal that I wanted to make but knew that I would not have the time or energy to do it on a Thursday night so I hacked it by turning it into a Crockpot meal. My Crockpot is my single favorite thing in my kitchen (shhhh….don’t tell the coffee maker) because it makes my life ten thousand times easier. I made the meatballs (using Turkey instead of beef), popped them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I made the sauce separately and stored it in a separate container in the fridge. This morning before I left for work, I poured the sauce into the Crockpot, put in the meatballs, set for 6 hours on low and headed out.

The result was absolutely delicious. I wish I had taken a picture but I couldn’t wait to eat them that I forgot. I also set aside a separate portion to take as my lunch for work tomorrow.

Here is the recipe, copied from the Hungry Girl site.

Hungry Girl's Healthy Skillet Taco Meatballs Recipe

Skillet Taco Meatballs

1/4th of recipe (5 meatballs with sauce): 263 calories, 8g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 640mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 31g protein

SmartPoints® value 5*

Take the flavor of classic tacos, roll it up into meatballs, and top with cheese — how can you go wrong? (You can’t. That wasn’t a real question.)

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes


1 cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less), or HG Alternative

1/4 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large eggs’ worth)

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese


Bring an extra-large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Cook and stir pepper and onion until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.

Add garlic, and cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Transfer skillet contents to a large bowl. Add crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Mix well.

In another large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, egg whites, and remaining 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Mix thoroughly. Firmly and evenly form into 20 meatballs.

Clean skillet, if needed. Re-spray, and return to medium-high heat. Place meatballs in the skillet. Cook and rotate until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low. Carefully add tomato mixture, coating the meatballs. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

Rearrange meatballs so they are close together in the center of the skillet. Sprinkle with cheese. Re-cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until cheese has melted.


HG Alternative: If made with lean ground turkey (7% fat or less), each serving will have 278 calories, 11g total fat (4.5g sat fat), 660mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 30g protein, and a SmartPoints® value of 6*.