Picking up speed….

I forget how exhilarating it feels once you start sticking to a healthy program.  While trying to get motivated for this change in my life from April 21 – May 21, I discovered that I lost 8 pounds!  That’s with about 25% effort!  It has me geeked for month 2 and I am giving it 100%!

So I have been sticking to a diet consistent with the 1330 calories a day that http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ recommends and I gave myself some freedom and didn’t track over the holiday weekend.  This doesn’t mean I went on a bingefest for the weekend, I just didn’t want to look up and post every thing I ate/drank for the holiday weekend.  I still tried to make smart choices and allowed a few treats.  I was warned by a well meaning friend that 1330 calories was too low for someone burning 500+ calories a day at the gym.  So I posted my stats to Instagram and received advice from none other than the amazing Jillian Michaels herself.



So basically I am not eating up to 1650 calories every day, but on the days I hit the gym, I am not beating myself up if I go over 1330.  If I seem to hit a plateau, I will revisit it.  I am still flabbergasted that someone who gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to train and coach people took time out from her busy day to give me some advice.  She is A-Ok in my book!

I am also enjoying playing with healthier foods and cooking around the calories I have left every day for dinner.  Whole Foods has become a more regular stop for me after the gym and I have found a few things there that I love.  Their spicy Italian chicken sausage is from free range, hormone and anti-biotic free chicken, it’s delish and it’s only 140 calories a link!!  Sauteed that up with a chopped up organic yellow bell pepper, a quarter of a sweet vidalia onion, 1 jalapeno pepper and a serving of Cento tomato sauce and tossed in 1 serving of organic basmati brown rice!  Yummy and satisfying dinner that filled an entire dinner plate and was 394 calories!!  Left some room for the delicious dairy free cherry nirvana by Purely Decadent that I picked up at Whole Foods.  My other Whole Foods favorite (thanks Mom!) is The Republic of Tea’s Hibiscus Pineapple Lychee Tea.  I am not a tea drinker and this stuff is yum-o!

I am not getting in as many runs as I really need to for my marathon training, so that needs work.  I am NOT a morning person, so successfully waking up with the sun to squeeze in a morning run has been a challenge.  I love my spinning classes (now that I’ve narrowed down who the lousy instructors are at LA Fitness) and I don’t want to give them up since I am burning above 500 calories in each 1 hour class AND it’s one of those cardio exercises that pushes your body to burn even more calories after you are done.  So I am trying to get to bed earlier and sleeping with the blinds and curtains open (don’t even think about it pervs, I sleep in pajamas!) so I can rise with the sun.

I think the thing that I feel best about is feeling the bloating going down and my pants aren’t tight anymore.  I look forward to pulling some of my smaller sizes out of the closet in the near future. 

It’s not always easy….  you won’t ALWAYS want to work out…  You will crave ice cream, pizza and an adult beverage from time to time.  But when I begin to lose focus I just look at the screen of my iPhone…



Searching for my “WHY” and it smacks me in the face…

So since my last blog, I have been trying to identify my “WHY”…  the reason for wanting to lose weight. One that is so important to me that it will be the key to getting me thru the low moments when I just want to pull the blinds, put on my yoga pants and t-shirt and plow thru an entire Louie’s large deep dish pepperoni pizza and 2 pints of Treat Dreams luscious ice cream without the outside world’s judgement.  (Yes, I’ve done that…  don’t judge me.)

What some of you may (or may not) know is that I made a decision back in January to try to get pregnant and fulfill the lifelong dream to become a mother.  I had a close friend of 20+ years volunteer to be the donor.  I have my reasons for feeling more comfortable with this option than others, but that’s for a fertility and life choice blog.  This is a health blog.  Again, I realize this decision may open me up to judgement from others, but I am comfortable in my decision and only have one being to answer to for it when all is said and done.


The challenge with my decision is that my donor lives in Las Vegas.  This means pinpointing my ovulation day and planning my trip around it.  Sounds simple. Well, what most women can tell you is that if you are dieting, exercising or experiencing any stress in your life, your body reacts to that by changing your menstrual cycle on you.  In January, I tried starting a diet before my trip and it resulted in starting my cycle one day early and $120 in fees to change my plane ticket to a day earlier than planned.  This month I started hitting the gym and eating a healthy reduced calorie diet and it resulted in a 5 day delay in my normally “set your watch by it” cycle.  This had me stressed because I had already planned my vacation time at work around this and actually booked the plane ticket too.  After a week of worrying and stressing and freaking out about what the heck was going on with my body (the only other time I had been this late, I WAS pregnant.  Before you ask, that was not possible this month without divine intervention, reference the virgin Mary) I finally decided that this was not the way to go about things…

While I want a child and to be a mother more than anything in this world, I realized that I was worrying about being an overweight pregnant woman, which comes with a whole new set of risks when your 40+.  Then I started thinking how it was going to be extra hard to get not just pregnancy weight, but the existing weight off with a new born in the house as a single mother.

Then something Jillian Michaels said about wanting to see your kids graduate and get married hit me like a brick in the face.  How irresponsible is it to bring a child into this world full of unexpected deaths and health risks when I can control the biggest cause of death in our country today?  Losing weight and eating healthy can significantly reduce my risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  I’ve lost 3 of my grand parents to heart disease already, two of whom had type 2 diabetes.

So I took a step back and made a decision that could eventually effect fulfilling my biggest lifelong dream of becoming a mother, and in that decision, I found my “WHY”.

mother and child
I need to focus on my health and losing weight before I can responsibly bring a child into this world (or adopt one who has already experienced the heart break of losing it’s biological parents).  This means a lot of hard work.   This means being diligent in eating a healthy, calorie conscious diet.  If I want to see dramatic results in a short period of time, it also means working out as much as possible.  My ultimate goal would be to get up and run 5/6 days a week before work and to do circuit training at least 3 days a week after work with spinning on the days I am not doing the circuit training.  Allowing myself a rest day on Sundays.  Until I am under 200lbs I can not feel comfortable making another attempt at having a child.  The emotional eater in me just uses the disappointment to over eat when each attempt is unsuccessful (we’ve tried twice).   I need to be in a healthier place.

Me 1997

So I have found my “WHY”…  This will be my driving force.  Have you found yours?  I’d love to hear it so that I can help root you on in your journey too!

Eat Less. Move your ass more!

Last night was just what I needed to remind me that losing weight does not need to be complicated.  Mom and I went to see Jillian Michaels on her motivational speaking tour “Maximize your life!”

J Michaels

She spoke for 3 hours (no kidding)  and covered everything from food to exercise to defining your why.  She started right off with the biggest secret to losing weight.  This is valuable information and I should charge each of you to reveal it, but I am a share the wealth kind of girl.  The secret is…



She starts with the basics of what to eat (and not to eat).  She explains how to identifying serving sizes (Like the fact that so many single bottles of beverage are RARELY a single serving.) Just for shits and giggles, look at the serving size on the back of a yellow spray butter product spray bottle.  Let me know when you figure out how to measure .25 of a spray and let me know if your bullshit meter goes off on the 0 calorie per serving claim.  She offers to spray bug killer in a woman’s mouth!  (Who actually was going to let her at the urging of her daughter (Happy Mother’s Day!  Here’s some poison Mom!))  This was done to drive home the fact that so many of the foods we eat are covered with Obesogens, which are chemicals in our foods that interrupt our Metabolism (aka: our biochemistry) like bug killers, chemical fertilizers, etc.  She shows us a list of things to NEVER eat, which veggies you should avoid unless they are certifiably organic and which veggies and fruits (thick skinned) aren’t worth going organic, to save you money.

Jillian’s Lists

I love that she encourages you to eat grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free beef and wild fish and used a very startling graphic of the visual difference between a “factory” cow and a grass fed cow.  She explains how the fat in the two is very different.  In the “factory” cows, the fat is Omega 6, which is not healthy for us (never mind all the chemicals that are also in the “factory” beef, like hormones to help them grow to slaughtering maturity in 6 months as opposed to 4 years, and all the antibiotics to keep them from getting disease due to the inhumane factory farm conditions.)  In a grass fed healthy cow that is raised over a 4 year period, there are Omega 3 fats, which we all know are the good healthy fats that your body needs.  I came across some of these facts in an article in “O” magazine a few years back. So when buying any kind of animal product, spend the extra cash and get the wild, free range, grass fed, 100% organic, hormone free and antibiotic free products.  It’s worth your money and your children won’t have boobs by the time they are 6 years old.  I’ve been drinking organic almond milk for over a year (unsweetened) and can’t tell a difference after a life of drinking cow milk.  If I get cow milk, I get Horizons organic milk/cream/cottage cheese/sour cream.

She breaks the myth of “eating small meals all day”…  by doing this, your body will release insulin all day and your body will be in a constant absorptive mode.  She recommends 4 meals a day about 4 hours apart: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack and Dinner.

Thru all the food talk, the point that she drove home that hit me like a lightening bolt is that if you are eating healthy, you can eat ANYTHING and lose weight.  It is very simply about calories in vs. calories out.  I knew that, but she really breaks it down for you.  You HAVE to track what you eat until you are at a point that you know how many calories are in the regular foods you eat and can track it in your head.  Follow the charts above, eat healthy meats and listen to your bullshit meter.  If a zero calorie food looks too good to be true, it probably is!

So she explains to each of us how to figure out approximately figure out how many calories we need in an average day BEFORE adding in exercise.

First, figure out your BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate)

BMR Calculator

Now that you have your BMR, Mine is 1845, you need to identify your normal activity level on an average day.

1.1 Sedentary = Seated most of the day at work.

1.2 Mildly Active = Retail or on your feet most of the day

1.3 Active = A personal Trainer

1.4 Extremely Active = You are working on a chain gang

Take the number before your activity level (Mine is 1.1) and multiply it by your BMR.  This is your Active Metabolic Rate.

(1.1 x 1845 = 2029.5)

  If I ate 2029.5 calories a day and never exercised, I would stay at the same weight.  So it’s simple…  eat less than 2029.5 calories and I will lose weight.  It takes 3500 calories to lose one pound of fat.  So if I eat a deficit of 3500 calories for the week, I should lose 1 pound.  You can’t starve your body either.  1200 calories is the BARE minimum she would want anyone to be eating.  She recommends instead that you find exercise routines that you enjoy and do them…  with a high intensity level to burn more calories.  I use Fitness Pal, a free online service and smart phone app, to track my calories daily and currently it has me consuming 1340 calories a day.  So it’s setting me up to lose around  1.379 pounds a week before exercise.


When it comes to exercise, it’s important to get cardio AND strength training.  Jillian discusses 3 types of workouts that will be very effective.

  1. Body weight training – Intensity level should be “MOVE YOUR ASS”
    • Zumba
    • Cross Fit
    • TRX
  2. High intensity interval training
    • Think measured busts of high intensity energy followed by normal workout energy.  Like sprints.
  3. Circuit Training (Jillian thinks this is the best)
    • This is moving thru multiple workouts in rapid succession to workout your whole body AND get cardio as well.

It’s important to know your maximum heart rate.  This can be figured by:

220 – your age = Maximum Heart Rate

and when working out, 85% of your MHR is the optimum level for losing weight.

My MHR 220 – 42 = 178 x .85 = 151.3

So 151.3 is a good heart rate for me to strive to stay at to burn more fat.


The last part of Jillian’s presentation was about YOU.

She explains that no one can motivate you.  Only YOU can motivate YOURSELF.  If you want to be successful, you need to figure out your “WHY” to get you thru the “HOW” and “HELL”.  Examples she used were:

  • How do you want your relationship to look?
  • What qualities do you want in a potential partner?
  • Do you want to live to meet your grandchildren?
  • Do you want to be able to fit into your skinny jeans at 75 a la Jane Fonda?
  • Do you want to be able to wear a bikini at 50?
  • Do you want to have more money?  Because all the health risks that are caused by being overweight and unhealthy will cost you way more.  The number one reason for bankruptcies in the USA is medical bills.  Chew on that.

Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight, it needs to be personal and powerful to YOU.  It needs to be the thing you can plaster on a life board and look at to remind yourself “WHY?” when life throws you a curve ball.  Because life’s NOT fair and you will give yourself excuses to eat things you shouldn’t or to skip workouts…  it’s human nature.  Your “WHY” needs to be stronger than that.  Be aware of your emotions and be present.  Live in the NOW!

She suggests an exercise where for 2 weeks you set your phone alarm to go off once an hour or every two hours.  When it goes off, stop and ask yourself “What am I doing right now?” and “How do I feel?”

Finding happiness in life is simple:

Find things you love to do and do more of them.  If you hate doing certain things, limit how much you do them.  If you despise your job, only you have the control to change that.  If you are passionate about caring for kids, find something that will help you do more of that!  Be “all in”…  Identify what you are passionate about and GO FOR IT!!!

Also remember that rejection is the universe’s (or in my case God’s) way of protecting you.  So if you go for something and it doesn’t happen (ie: asking out the cute guy in the next cube at work) it wasn’t meant to be.  Don’t dwell over it…  move on!


So as a finale Jillian shared 4 points for being successful at whatever you are trying to do.

  1. Deep dive information
    • get the proper information before you take action
    • learn everything you can
    • take what works for you and leave what doesn’t
  2. Willpower
    • It’s like a muscle…  Use it!
    • If you overuse it, you can fatigue it, so remove temptations.
    • Think all decisions thru.  Visualize the outcome.  If it’s not the outcome you want, change the decision and repeat the process.
    • a moment of impulsivity can destroy all your hard work.  Find healthy coping mechanisms
  3. Communication
    • Learn to listen Empathically
    • Communicate your needs
    • Express your Fellings
    • Don’t use “YOU” statements.
  4. Boundries
    • The friends in your life that aren’t supportive – CUT THEM OUT!
    • “Hurt people will hurt people”
    • Share the things you are passionate about with supportive groups/people who share this passion with you.

I can’t begin to hope that everything I captured here covers everything that Jillian tries to share with you, but I gather all the information I could and I feel ready more than ever to dive forward into my life.  To live every day in the now and to find the why for me and use it to drive results that I will be happy with.  Thank you so much Jillian!


The beginning of the end

How do I look like this in photos?!?! I see a tall, balanced, beautiful woman when I look in the mirror!!! Who is this Biggest Loser wannabe?!?!


Well, I know what I look like as a fit size 12, and now I have a clear image of what I look like right now as a obese size 18 (probably more like a 20, but I refuse to buy bigger sizes.).

So all I can do is focus and work hard from here. This week is insane, but I’m going to try to hit LA Fitness to re-sign up on Friday morning and then I’ll have somewhere to go run in the morning when the weather’s crap and I am going to start hitting spinning classes again after work. (I ❤ spinning!)

Now I need to get thru this crazy weekend without going off the wagon. Tonight I’m having veggie sushi and edamame. I will miss a nice glass of plumb saki and chilling out to the smooth sounds of Ben Sharkey an Chris Mann won’t be quite the same sipping on water, but this is the reality of my life for now.

I’m doing this for me!


You’re only a loser if you quit trying

So I’m back! Sort of!

I’ve been struggling for months to get back on track with my weight loss. To make my journey harder I thought I’d just throw all the rules out the window and eat like a bear going into hibernation for most of the winter. Brilliant idea! That resulted in packing the pounds back on to my heaviest weight ever. I know I feel better when I am losing weight and working out, so why do I keep sabotaging myself?

So I am back to eating a heathy vegetarian diet. I am trying to get back into my marathon training, but I feel like everything from the waist down is full of lead! Ugh! Time and persistence… That’s what I keep telling myself.

So I am actually feeling good enough mentally to focus on this. I hate being an emotional eater!

I’m aware that eventually I’ll need to kick my cream with coffee addiction. For know I am using agave and going easy on the cream to keep the calories down.

So follow along on my journey. Root me on! I need the support.


Remember me? The fat woman?

I am back… in more ways than one. Back to my blog which was tossed by the wayside when a weekend pub crawl derailed all the hard work I did to lose 20 lbs back in 2011. Back to my heaviest weight ever.

More importantly, back to eating healthy and working out. Keep an eye on this blog for more info. 😉

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

I knew this day would come…  I knew this weekend would happen sooner or later…  I did a little cheating this weekend.  Unfortunately this translated to no pounds lost for this week.  But it has been a month since I started this challenge, so the fact that I haven’t been unfaithful to my new lifestyle is a true testament to my determination.

But so many of you talk to me about how hard it is to lose the weight and work out regularly, so I feel I owe it to you to be honest with you.  I’m a cheater!  Well, I’ve always been a cheater.  It’s a big part of the reason I could never lose weight before.  I would lose a few pounds and “treat” myself to a binge weekend drink-a-thon or a whole pint (or two) of Ben & Jerrys.  Not healthy and not the way to “reward” myself.

I wasn’t “BAD” this weekend…  just off my chosen path a bit.  Friday night, my friend Karen & I, went up to boat night in Port Huron.  This was a great chance to visit one of my old favorites, The Raven Cafe.


It’s a very unique cafe/bar/coffee shop.  It reminds you of a bi-level library but with food and drink and live music!  I had forgotten just how good their food was.  It’s all fairly healthy food, but I should have just stuck with my Annabelle Lee Gorgonzola Cherry Salad.  Instead I also had their delicious appetizer that is Gorgonzola cheese, red onions, scallions, pecans and a touch of brown sugar all on top of a warm and fluffy pita bread!  All topped off with a glass of reisling.  None of this is bad in moderation, but I am sure, way beyond my 1230 daily calorie allowance.  I followed this up with a mojito fest on Saturday, thanks to my Cuban roommate who has nearly perfected his mojito recipe.  Then again going out to eat Saturday, we went to Pronto’s in Royal Oak where I was pleasantly surprised by the plethora of healthy and vegetarian foods.  I stuck with a vegetarian roumalade  wrap sandwich and sweet potato fries.  This of course after sharing their hummus (you have to try it) and a roasted garlic with red peppers and chevre cheese appetizer.  Again, none unhealthy, but definitely in excess of my 1230 daily calorie allowance.  And I figured since I was cheating, I may as well top it all off with a Sasha dirty martini at Gracies, although I did refrain from eating my blue cheese olives.

Now I should mention that I busted my ass in the gym this weekend too.  I did 2 hours of spinning Thursday night, and hour of spinning Saturday morning, 1 hour boot-camp in Memorial Park on Sunday followed by a very active afternoon playing in my friends Ivana’s pool with her daughter (who I am convinced is part mermaid).  Had I not done all this work, I am sure this weekend’s outcome would have been pounds gained!

So what I took away from this weekend is that every so often I need to give myself a break and indulge in a few delicacies that I love.  But only after a good stretch of sticking to my plan.  I could be beating myself up over this right now (which would only send me reeling towards a 3 cheese pizza) or I can understand that I have lost 17 POUNDS IN ONE MONTH!!! So I took a break this weekend and as of Sunday, I was right back on track. It also puts the upcoming pub crawl into perspective for me…  Do I really want to drink a bunch of empty calories and negate all the hard effort I put in this week?  I guess we’ll see.  But I am still in this to win it!