Category Archives: General Weightloss Babble
Anything not related specifically to working out or food
A bunch of people have asked how Whole 30 is going and how I’m doing….a few have assumed my silence means I failed. LOL. I’m happy to say I did not fail! I did cheat a bit – but I did not fail. I lost 16 pounds in 30 days – which is pretty phenomenal!
Overall it was pretty amazing. I had no idea how few veggies I was eating….or how much processed crap I was eating! I also didn’t realize how often I turned to carbs for cravings, bad days or boredom. Carbs are my consolation blanket. I can’t say I’m completely over my cravings for cupcakes – but I can say I will never go back to a gluten filled diet. Ever!
I focused on the healthiest options possible every day – and I found ways to make veggies work for my life. I don’t have time in the morning to roast vegetables and pack lunch. Hell most nights I end up working later than I should and packing lunch becomes a “shoulda done” before bed (a post for another day). So instead I go to Whole Foods Saturday or Sunday and I roast veggies for the week then bag them up individually. Yes, I do realize tupperware would be more ecologically friendly – but I end up not washing it, forgetting it at work or in my car and wasting money. Plastic bags, for the win!
Some of the veggies I simply cannot live without: raw peppers with olive tapende or just plain -YUM! Spaghetti squash with pesto – oh em gee – SO good! Seriously, an awesome substitute for pasta. No it doesn’t *taste* like pasta – it tastes like squash – but it LOOKS just like pasta! Perfect. Oh and of course, cauliflower- especially purple (which they had at Whole Foods and was all the rage this week in my lunch). Love cauliflower!
So how did I cheat? I had dairy – both cheese (yum) and half and half in my coffee. Oh and I had coffee. I’m sorry, I can’t live in a world without coffee. I know the book tells you that’s crap – but it’s not. The caffeine withdrawals were awful. I couldn’t function one day because I was in the midst of carb flu and without coffee. If anyone decides to do this experiment – make sure you’re not traveling….or in back to back meetings. I will also add that detoxing off a processed food laden diet is horrible, I was nauseous, I was dizzy, my thoughts were jumbled but I also was weak. I got muscle cramps places I never get cramps when exercising – and I was sleeping horribly.
Most importantly - I don’t WANT to give up coffee. I have one Venti iced coffee with cream daily. That’s it. I’m not drinking it all day long and I’m not willing to live without it. Some things are worth fighting for!
So what will my May challenge be? More of the same, with a twist. May I’m back to traveling – Phoenix, LA, Dallas and maybe a local trip down to CT. I need to be ON m game. No gluten. Lots of veggies, lots of lean protein, fruits. Oh and lots of moving.
Thankfully I have a little challenge to keep me motivated! Stef Sweeney is hosting a Bikini Buddy Challenge (thank god no ACTUAL bikinis are required – I’m a LONG way from there) and I signed up with my girl Layne. We are team Cantaloop Cuties – inspired by our favorite 90′s song ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwBjhBL9G6U
The rules are super simple:
1) Pair up with a buddy.
2) Arrange a time to meet with me (before/after class, etc) to get your beginning measurements taken.
3) Pay $10 each – $5 registration fee; $5 to go into the Winners Pot.
4) For the next 6 weeks, get your booty into gear!! Stay on top of your working out/being active, eating healthy, drinking water, etc.
5) At the end of the 6 weeks, measurements will be taken again. The team with the most inches/body fat lost WINS ALL THE MONEY FROM THE WINNERS POT!!!!
Week one of Whole 30 is in the books! It was rough, I can’t lie. I’ll highlight the finer points in bullet points, because I love a bullet point!
*The first three days I was convinced I was going to die. Let’s just say I grossly underestimated how much processed food I was eating. My stomach didn’t take well to fresh foods and veggies. By day 4 I definitely felt like my system “got it” and it was easier. Upping my water intake helped. Taking it easy on the exercise front helped too.
*Long term I can live without gluten. I feel better when I don’t have it and the “missing it” is truly mind over matter. Lettuce wraps taste better and crunchier to me than regular sandwiches. Pretty sure I had lettuce wraps 4 times this week. So good! (note to self: snap pictures next time).
*Long term I cannot live without ice cream. I miss it. My favorite ice cream stand (Kimball’s in Carlise) opened for the season and their ice cream is just to die for – so fresh and tasty. I will definitely incorporate this back in next month – as a treat for occasions!
*When you focus on whole, natural foods you really notice the flavor. I love artichoke hearts marinated in buffalo sauce but I was drowning them in blue cheese before. Now I have them with orange peppers and spinach, no dressing – delicious! One of my best combos was Saturday night. I tried to emulate a salad I had at Craft in LA - hearts of palm, roasted red peppers, avocado and roasted chicken(I added this, it wasn’t in the original) with a squeeze of lime juice. Incredibly tasty and filling! I wish I could have an avocado tree in Boston – that’s how much I love avo!
*Whole 30 talks a lot about curing disease through food. I can’t say for sure any of my ailments are cured but my skin seems less dry, my plantar fasciitis seems to be under control (stretching helps too!) and I have more energy. Can’t wait to see how I feel in the next few weeks!
*Prepping is KEY. I think anytime I’ve failed at weight-loss in the past can be attributed to lack of planning. Saturday we grocery shopped (Whole Foods for fruits/veggies, Market Basket + BJ’s for everything else). Sunday I prepped. Roasted, washed, cut, bagged and planned for the week. In the fridge I have ingredients for chicken Thai lettuce wraps (enough for 3 lunches), enough roasted cauliflower and broccoli for the week (lunch or dinner), grilled chicken breasts, sliced peppers for dipping in guacamole, strawberries hulled and popped in the freezer for smoothies and sliced salad ingredients ready for a protein. Fruits (er veggies) of my labor:
*Whole truth – I cheated. I love Starbucks iced coffee. LOVE. With cream + 1 sugar. I tried coconut milk, I tried almond milk, I tried black – I can’t do it. I need to conquer this – but if it’s the worst, I’m pretty proud of myself!
*Best part? I noticed my sugar craving are waning. Tonight I wanted sweet. I needed sweet. I did not resort to chocolate or ice cream – instead I opted for some fresh fruit – kiwi, raspberries and blueberries. It hit the spot!
My best friend Julie is trying it starting tomorrow. I can’t wait to compare notes with her. Anyone else just start it? Email me, I’d love to hear about your experiences! firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m all prepped for week two and ready to get some exercise back into my life. Lots of cardio this week and hopefully a strength training class or two are on the docket.
Looking forward I’m trying to figure out how I can keep this up when I travel. I think it will require finding a hotel with a fridge and doing some grocery shopping – which I’m certainly not opposed to doing – it’s just not always an option depending where I’m staying. I’m thinking I’ll have to get creative!
I have been chatting away about life and love over at my new nook on the interwebz – but I decided to pop back here for a chat about my new nutrition focus. Tomorrow I am launching into 30 days of “Whole 30″ – you can read all the details here. Here are the basics:
What is the Whole30®?
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, and your long-term health. The most important reason to keep reading?
This will change your life.
I just finished “It Starts with Food” and I feel like I need to try it. I need a life change!
So what can I eat?
* Lots of fruits
*Lots of veggies
* Lean proteins
* NO eat sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or processed junk (also known as most of my current diet)
Sounds crazy eh? I’m excited. It’s the butt-kicking I need.
Now, I know dairy is not bad for you – but the program cuts it out and I think I can live without it for a month. Maybe. (No cheese? Bah…maybe not)
What made me try this? Straight from the book and the website:
Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here).” This is for you.
It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.
I need some tough love! I need some butt-kicking.
This is my fruit bowl right now (usually empty):
Had I not just bagged up all my veggies I would have snapped a picture of those too!
Breakfast is going to be challenging – I love oatmeal. Love it. No oats. No dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt) so I decided to go with a fruit smoothie made with a bit of coconut almond milk and this:
Hopefully it’s tasty – we’ll see tomorrow!
I’m already going to call it – not having my iced coffee with cream and sugar is going to be the hardest. I love me some Starbucks! Send me some willpower friends, I’m going to need it.
I’m going to snap a before picture before work – we’ll see if you guys notice a difference in 30 days!
I can’t believe how early Lent is this year! Thanks to the power of the blog I know that last year it was on Feb 20th and the year before was March 7th. Sheesh! It’s only Feb 13th! Soon we’ll be celebrating Christmas and Lent together!
Joking aside, this year I think I’m in a good place with eating. I love desserts (no secret there) but I’m not indulging every night and just last week in NYC I only had dessert ONCE and I only had about 4 bites and decided that was sufficient. Holy progress! Speaking of NYC, the trip overall was a success. Sadly I lost my FitBit one night after only having it a week, but the fine folks at FitBit are replacing it. Woo! The bummer is I have to use my phone as a pedometer until then and honestly, it lies like a rug. LOL.
Texas has been postponed for me, in part due to Nemo – thanks so much for 30 inches of snow, I was just thinking “Man I miss winter” (said no one ever). BTW this graphic cracked me up:
So, this week I am home, getting steps in, balancing long days at the office with healthy meals and of course taking as many barre classes as I can swing! Love me some barre n9ne. Then I realize I need to figure out what I’m over-indulging in and can give up for Lent. Sweets wasn’t making the cut this year (it wouldn’t be a challenge), I’m never giving up coffee again (love it too much, can’t function without it), I don’t drink soda, I barely go out for lunch anymore (at one time a Lent from lunch dates would have suited my wallet and my waist well), what am I in need to a detox from? Ha. Facebook. It’s true. I am literally addicted to Facebook and honestly, 9 times out of 10 that I visit I conclude everyone in my life is having more fun than me, is more successful and generally happier. It’s a bummer. Now, I am a happy person – I love my life. But, social media has a knack for making you feel inadequate doesn’t it?
You are seeing the best of everyone’s life in one continuous feed while you sit in your pajamas feeling like a slug (despite the fact that you did get 10,000 steps today, you did get a workout in and you are well within your “number” of calories!). It’s disheartening! It remind me of this:
HA. Yes, Steve Furtick you nailed it. And as my friend Tiana pointed out, Facebook is the ULTIMATE highlight reel, complete with an edit button.
So, I’m going to resist the urge to post mundane things about my life or cute picture of me working out or nonsense I think of during the day or motivational quotes. I’m going to quit Facebook for 6 weeks (even Sundays). I barely tweet so I guess I’ll keep Twitter (but don’t expect brilliance to be posted there, I usually forget I have it. LOL). I like taking photos with Instagram so I’m keeping that, but I won’t publish to the book of faces. My handle on both is sheissparkling if you feel compelled to check up on me!
I’m most sad about not checking in barre n9ne (spoken like a true addict). I love seeing all the friends I’ve made from Danvers and Andover commenting about classes they’re taking or how hard Jess/Jolene/Amy/Erica/Stef/Steph/Tanya is as an instructor! I took to Google to found out how other people fared when giving up Facebook and I found this article very interesting and this one funny as hell. Sounds like I am going to be challenged! Heck, maybe I’ll blog more (something I secretly vowed to do this year).
While doing this “Facebook detox” I’d really like to reconnect with friends through avenues like email, IM or *gasp* phone! It’s amazing how much social media has taken over my interaction with others (and sad!). From now until March 30th here are the things I will not be telling you about via FB: I’m going to LA for work, then to take Mom on vacation again (yay fake life!). I’m hiking to the Hollywood sign. I’m going to eat some fabulous food and see fabulous friends. My BFF is running her first half marathon. I’m super excited (and proud) of her! Mmm yup those are the major ones! So do me a favor and please don’t get engaged, married, divorced, have a baby, switch jobs or move to Abu Dabi without emailing me, k?
So, what are YOU giving up for Lent? Oh and before I forget and because I love a Lent funny, here’s a Rick Astley meme. LOL!
I am embarking on a month of epic work travel, starting tomorrow. In the morning I am heading to NYC for 4 days for client visits, then I’m home for 3 days and doing a tour of Texas next week (Dallas, Houston, Austin in 3 days!). Lastly I am spending a week in LA for work followed by a lovely week of vacation with Mom. There’s no way I could stay on my number and continue losing weight without some serious planning!
For NYC I am driving (with my new manager and a coworker) because we have to stop in Stamford to see clients. I have snacks packed, I picked the hotel (because of their healthy restaurant menu!) and I scoped lunch and dinner menus for all my meetings and veto’d one place I know I could never be healthy in. It’s important to be honest with yourself. I know I have a weakness for dessert – going someplace with world-famous dessert is not a good idea for me right now! I also have armed myself with the mentality that I DO NOT get to eat like I am on vacation. I will choose grilled proteins, salads/steamed veggies (or grilled or braised – some healthy cooked veggie!) and minimal salt. I get really bloated when I travel (think Michelin Man) because I have a weakness for all things bacon / salty delicious. Gotta be careful about this! As for exercise I have balls and bands packed so I can do an improv’ barre n9ne style workout and I have my sneakers and my FitBit. 10,000 steps should be a breeze.
For Texas I am meeting my sales manager and a coworker in Dallas then driving to Houston then driving to Austin and flying home from Austin. That’s 440 miles total in a car. Whew! I picked restaurant options near my site visits and I planned which snacks I can fly with and which I can pick up en route. I am going to be “that guy” about restaurants – looking up menus, veto-ing things that don’t offer healthy choices etc. I don’t have control over the hotels, but my sales manager has excellent taste, I know he will stay someplace classy that offers me a gym (which I will need for stretching after spending 4 hours in the car!) and nice restaurants for healthy breakfasts. Again I will have some fitness essentials – Zumba DVDs, iPod and sneakers. 10,000 steps will be cake!
After Texas I am home, sweet home for 12.5 days (in which I have 9 barre classes – yay!), then I head to LA for a week of business, followed by a week of pleasure. Mom asked if we could have “fake life” again in LA and I was happy to oblige! So I will meet clients, do some future planning with them and drive my butt off then I will pick up Mom at LAX and spend a week relaxing and enjoying being a tourist in my favorite city! I can’t wait. LA is the one place I know I can eat healthy ~ and exercise. The hotel has a healthy menu and a gym – WITH A BARRE! I’m worried about this trip the least. Oh and during this trip I get to hike to the Hollywood sign!! So excited for that.
The keys to rocking this epic month will be:
#Planning, planning, planning – which I’m good at. I love to plan!
#Staying “in the moment” and NOT getting swept into “I’m traveling and can eat anything I want” mode
#Moving. Zumba, gym, walking – being active will not only keep my weight down, but it will also help with the bloating AND maybe even let me come into March 1 size smaller!
#Remembering the goals I have (especially the clothing ones) and keeping those in the forefront of my mind before making decisions!
I’m sure I’ll blog between now and then – but wish me luck on rocking this epic month!!
Normally birthdays are an area of complete trepidation for me. While I love to celebrate and reflect on my year, I just hate the thoughts of being older and not being “where I should be at this age”. Sometimes being successful in life (great job, wonderful family and friends) seems to pale in comparison to the fact that I am single and don’t yet have a family of my own. My mom always told me to appreciate the age I am now because I can never go back. Well some days I wish I could go back and relive being 11 or 13 or 21 just to realize how far I’ve come and how lucky I am! I was joking with her that 31 and single isn’t dreamy and she retorted with “Neither is 60 and married with 2 kids some days! Wanna trade?“.
I’m always someone who has a hard time measuring my own progress. I live in this body, I don’t always see it change because it happens so gradually. Recently a few people in my life made comments about not seeing my progress – or not thinking I looked any different. Well, I present you with a picture from my 29th birthday (January 30th 2011) pulled straight from my blog:
And a picture from today:
I see HUGE differences – but not just in my hair (ditching those bangs was key) or my weight but in my smile. I’m HAPPY. Actually, legitimately happy. And that is priceless my friends! So maybe you’re not seeing me progress fast enough, but trust me – I am exactly where I should be right now (even if I don’t always see it).
I vowed to take more full-body pictures. Here is one from May 29th (posted as part of this post):
And one from today before TFFR (toned, fit, firm and ready):
My legs are finally getting slimmer – woo! I love being pear-shaped but sometimes it is frustrating to see changes everyplace but where you want to see it! I also suck at taking selfies, need to work on that!
Today on my second day of being 31 and loving it, I am going to renew my vows to myself. I will continue to focus on being stronger and slimmer through activities I enjoy like barre n9ne, Zumba etc. I will choose whole, natural foods over processed junk and most importantly I will continue to believe. Believe I can accomplish my goals (like running a 5k!) and believe that everything (including being 31 and single) happens for a reason.
In the end only the promises I make to myself will really matter anyways! Oh and yesterday’s was pretty great too! I am seeking love, fulfillment and happiness. Those things are seeking me too.
I watch a lot of weight-loss shows. Despite knowing how unrealistic it is I still watch Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover etc. religiously. I’m a sucker for transformation stories. I’m a sucker for watching people change their lives. However, there is an alarming trend amongst weight loss success stories that I am fucking sick of – and I need to rant about!
92% of people who go on one of these weight-loss shows and lose weight go home and become…..a PERSONAL TRAINER! You can get certified online (no lie) in just a few hours. It infuriates me. Not just because losing weight doesn’t make you an expert in weight loss but because they have learned unrealistic habits – things like cutting everything but vegetables from you diet to dropping 11 pounds in 5 days by working out 9 hours a day. That is NOT real life. I’ve ranted about this before. Now set that aside and I will share what really grinds my gears about this….
Every time I hear a past contestant say they are pursuing a job as a trainer (or worse - a motivation speaker – gag!) I think to myself -
What did you want to be when you were little? What’s your PASSION? What dreams did you have before you gave up on yourself? What did you want to be when you were little? What are your passions? Now….why aren’t you pursuing those dreams??
I understand that once you’ve changed your life you want to share that with everyone and their Mom – but to me it seems like a cop out. Anyone who becomes obese has more going on inside them than just a love for food. I was a workaholic, overachiever who wanted to be perfect in any capacity she could – since she had failed at having a perfect body. I’m mostly over that now. I schedule workouts and usually stick to the schedule. I don’t turn to food for comfort from stress. I’ve made awesome strides; all while succeeding at a job I really enjoy doing. I didn’t give up on my career just because I was fat.
I also understand that some people were lost before they lost weight (no pun intended) or before they found the exercise that changed their lives. So, I don’t consider Zumba instructors or people who pursue their new-found passion for healthy cooking to be in this boat. It’s the personal trainer / motivational speaker schtick that kills me.
I took to Facebook to rant about this last night and my friend Sandy had a great point I wanted to share: You know why? Because these people lost weight in a way that makes health and fitness their entire 24/7 lives. They never learned how to fit it into a normal life. Therefore, if they have a job where they’re not working out at least 8 hours a day, they are gonna pack the poundage back on SO QUICK.
YUP – exactly. I have learned how to lose SLOW (unbelievably slow) and I’ve gained and lost again. I’m human. Humans fuck up. Humans have lives outside of weight-loss and counting calories and tracking calories burned. Humans are not machines. My brother used to tell me that dreams are what separated us from the animals (pretty sure it’s a move quote I’m hacking) and he’s right. So, what are you dreaming about? What can you not wait to do once you’ve conquered a hurdle like excess weight? I can’t wait to live a more active life than I have now. I can’t wait to have a family of my own so I can pass on healthy habits to my kids and I will do that while maintaining a career I’ve had since I was 21 in a field I am passionate about!
It’s been a seriously crazy few weeks. I’ve neglected my blog. Forgive me!
A few bulleted updates….then some goals I plan to work on post-vaca!
* I took my PMP (Project Management Professional) exam October 10th. I thought I was prepared….I wasn’t. It was 1000X harder than I imagined and I failed. I cried. I considered just giving up. Thankfully I have family and friends who do not feed into “Poor Me” Samantha. Back in the saddle, I rescheduled for Oct 22nd and studied my ass off for 12 days. It paid off – I passed! YAY! I am officially a PMP – how fun is that to say?!
*Work friends from far and wide were in town last week for training. It’s always so nice to see people you only talk to on email or the phone in the flesh! Especially when they have super cute accents…. I went out a few times and while I didn’t eat terrible….I wasn’t a rockstar either. I thought I had learned not to splurge just because I had friends in town….but I seem to have lapsed a bit on this! LOL.
* I’m officially on VACATION and I’ve done REALLY good not checking work email or calls. I am normally a bit of a workaholic, so it’s tough for me to leave work up to someone else! I’m also someone who has few boundaries when it comes to calling/emailing someone on vacation (cough Tony cough) – this week has made me realize how sacred time off is….and how annoying it is when someone bugs you! LOL. I vow to do better respecting boundaries in the future.
Speaking of vacation – wanna see some pics? Of course you do! Who doesn’t love a good beach shot?!
So we’re here for Mom’s 60th birthday. I think birthdays are a huge deal and should be celebrated properly – she’s never seen LA and was loooong overdue for a vacation. I am writing this while she naps – I think I’m wearing her out. LOL. We’ve been all over- Malibu, Santa Monica, WeHo, Culver City, Burbank, Hollywood – quite the tour!
So, like all good vacations I have had a ball so far but I’ve also reflected on my current status. I’m working too much, not working out enough and not giving myself a break. Before vaca I couldn’t tell you the last time I spent an hour with a novel or taking a bubble bath or just stretching! I’m constantly go go go go – and part of that was my PMP, but part is just my nature. I need to chill. Relax. BREATHE!
So, some November goals are in order:
1. Work out each day – physically (barre, zumba) or “mentally” (stretch! read! enjoy quiet). Work it out!
2. Stop making excuses. Everyone works long hours – I’m not a brain surgeon….put work away at night when possible! I honestly need to stop using the work crutch as an excuse for not doing # 1 or # 3.
3. Start cooking. Oatmeal. Breakfast. Something! I enjoyed this bowl of deliciousness today in the hotel and it made me want to cook!
Those are my November goals. I have no excuse not to stick to them! In fact, I started today, early! I went to the gym @ the hotel and got a kickass barre n9ne-style workout! Yes, my hotel gym has a BARRE - how freaking cool is that?! Hotel Palomar – I heart you!
Back to vacation! More when I return!
Sometimes life is so overwhelming that you log in 17 times to blog and all you come up with is:
Yup, that’s it.
I’m crazy right now – with emails and phone calls flying at me from all angles. I have deadlines looming and friends I haven’t called in so long it’s not funny and trips I need to book. But overall, I need to stop for a second and BREATHE.
So work is nuts (but honestly when is it not???). I’ve got a bazillion projects floating around me ~ I need to start implementing the to-do list to keep track of what’s next!
I’ve been rocking my food intake – sticking to my number like glue while still having the occasion amazing treat (currently in the roster: Talenti gelato. OMG a little goes a LONG way and it is DELICIOUS!). Best of all it’s made with real ingredients that you can pronounce!
I’ve been rocking my exercise (hello Zumba, I love you! hello barre, I love you too!). I have a lot of travel coming up and my priority has been finding a hotel with a good gym + finding things I can take with me to spice up my workouts. I’m heading to LA next week and I’m bringing Zumba DVDs and a barre DVD. Nothing competes with a class ~ but doing *something* is better than doing *nothing*.
Sleep? Yeah well, that’s not happening much these days. I need to disconnect. I need to turn my brain off. I need to find my sound machine – that seemed to help last time I wasn’t deprived of Z’s!
Most of all – I need to breathe.