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.




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*.


Rewarding Myself

Whenever I have attempted to lose weight in the past, I do really well in the beginning but as soon as I have the smallest setback (a cheat day that turns into a cheat week or an unexpected plateau on the scale) I give up. Since I am the type of person who responds extremely well to positive reinforcement, I decided to tie my fitness success to earning things I like. I have a list of rewards that includes Jamberry nail wraps, LipSense lip color, books, kitchen accessories, jewelry, and several other things. I have a chart posted on the fridge and I give myself a point each day that I meet my calorie goal, drink the recommended 64 ounces of water or exercise at least 30 minutes. I also give myself a point for every pound lost and take away a point for every pound gained back. Once I reach 50 points, I can redeem them for an item on my rewards list. Here is my rewards chart:


As you can see on the bottom, I randomly chose my first reward to be an item from Perfectly Posh. I haven’t decided exactly which item but I think it will be something for pedicures. As I write this, I am at the end of day 3 and have earned 8 points. Hopefully, in addition to the long term reward of a healthier, happier me, the short term reward system will help me stay motivated. We shall see.


Starting Over…Again

So here I am again, trying to lose the same weight I’ve been trying to lose since 2009. I gained 45 pounds during my first pregnancy. In the ensuing years the stress of life, another pregnancy and struggles with my anxiety have prevented me from meeting my goal. When I found out I was pregnant with my son I weighed 133 pounds which I thought was seriously fat for my 5’2″ frame. Here we are with that baby now almost 8 and about to start 3rd grade but I am still nearly 30 pounds heavier than that first prenatal weigh in. That 133 pound weight is my first goal and will be in and of itself a huge victory. If I can make it there, I would like to try to push myself to my ultimate goal weight of 125. My body and my life have changed so much since my scale last reached that number. I am married. I have two beautiful children. I have a successful career in Human Resources for a government contractor.

I have always struggled with my appearance, not just my weight, although weight has always been a problem. My mom is 5’6″ and barely weighs 100 pounds soaking wet. While I inherited most of my personality from her, I inherited all of my physical genes from my dad. Dark hair, dark eyes and the ability to gain 5 pounds by just looking at food. Due to mental illness and drug addiction, I wasn’t raised by my parents. I was raised by a group of relatives who treated me like a doll. They didn’t care about my feelings or desires, all that mattered was that I looked and behaved in the way they wanted. They berated me about my weight, bought me frilly dresses that didn’t fit in with my tomboy style and forced me to have long, thick hair that I hated. I rebelled by cutting my hair at 15, refusing to wear makeup and living in jeans and t-shirts. I left home at 18 and haven’t had a relationship with them since. For most of the following years, I held on to that rebellion. However, at the age of 32, I am starting to allow myself to explore my more feminine side. My nails are always done, I mostly wear skirts and dresses to work and I have even started wearing lipstick. One thing that won’t change, however, is the empowerment I get from having my short hair.

Part of this journey to self-exploration and self-love is deciding to finally get serious about getting my pre-baby body back. So here I am…again!