Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Authenticity and Being At Peace


I’m a self-proclaimed self-improvement addict (say that three times fast!). I love learning tips and tricks to improve myself physically, mentally, emotionally and in both my career and personal lives. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the Simmons Women’s’ Leadership Conference here in Boston. I got to attend lectures and classes with amazing women like Juliet Funt (daughter of “Candid Camera” creator Alan Funt), Rita Moreno, Rana Foroohar, Mae Jemison and Hillary Clinton! Yes, *THE* Hillary Clinton. The whole day was amazing and I left feel soul-satisfied. There was a point during Rita Moreno’s presentation about her life as one of the first Latina actresses in Hollywood where she said “You will fail, You will be not what someone wants. But, you always have to be able to get up, dust yourself off, and move forward.” At the time I nodded, taking notes furiously but it wasn’t until hours later that I realized the impact of that statement.

Not everyone is going to love you.

Things will not always go your way.

You WILL have set-backs.

BUT….how you handle those will determine the kind of life you live and the kind of person you are.

I haven’t been blogging much, haven’t felt compelled to share my inner most thoughts on weight-loss or food …not because I’ve fallen off the wagon or stopped pursuing health but because it didn’t feel authentic. Blogging just to say “I’m a blogger! Look! Follow me! Tweet me! Love me!” was never the goal – sharing my life and my journey was the goal. I don’t ever want to look back on something I put into the world for consumption and be disappointed by the intention behind it.

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The truth is my focus has shifted. I have gone from obsessing about being someone else or measuring up to someone else’s standard of healthy and happy to truly being at peace with myself. I know which foods to eat to fuel my body versus fuel my feelings. I know which exercises motivate me to sweat more without affective my self-esteem and overall I am really comfortable in my own skin and with my place in life. I am not constantly criticizing, I’m not holding myself to unattainable goals and milestones and most of all I’m not surrounding myself with people who constantly make me defend my worth. I think that alone is the most crucial shift in attitude that I’ve made over the last few months.

So I may or may not post a lot or a little here…I’m going to play it by ear and see what feel right. There is a gut feeling I get when I execute something that isn’t “me” – as soon as I feel that I will pull back and adjust my intentions. I am at peace with my body (even though I’m not a size 4) and I’m really loving the person I am on the inside – which is priceless.

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Whole 30 Recap!


One of my favorite movies ever is “Training Day” – I am a huge fan of both Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington and I love plot twists – plus stylistically it’s shot in a funky way. Denzel’s famous line is of course “You wanna go to jail or you wanna go home?” and I will jokingly use that often when it relates to make decisions.

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How does this relate at all to my life? Well I survived the whirlwind LA business trip and only cheated once – I had a few Tanqueray & tonics one night. Yup – I avoided hot bread, gelato, amazing looking pasta + paninis and creme brulee! I was super proud of myself and I kept thinking I was navigating the LA streets like Ethan Hawke (wanna get fat or wanna get thinner and stronger?). OK so I’m a little weird – who isn’t? 🙂

I had some amazing food (because let’s be serious – food is the highlight of most trips right?) and of course had awesome client meetings. I really love interfacing with so many awesome people on a daily basis – it makes my world go ’round.

I got home and kept chugging and I’m pleased to say I completed Whole 30 and I have a ton of take-away lessons I will implement in my future:

  • If you feed your body vegetables for 33 days in a row you will actually CRAVE them. For the first time in my life I am at a point where I crave onions, spinach, tomatoes….I want salads! Don’t get me wrong, I still want ice cream and cake too – I just have never craved veggies before!
  • Once you give up gluten you realize how much of a “filler” it really was in your diet (pun intended). I am so quick to reach for a bagel or a sandwich without even weighing in my options.
  • Once you’ve had 30 days of healthy eating, junk food will literally make you sick (I gambled today and ordered coconut shrimp from our favorite little lunch spot – I feel like DEATH).
  • Your body can overcome anything with the right care. I have had psoriasis nearly my whole life – after Whole 30 my skin is still dry but not NEARLY as severe as it was before. I also haven’t had any stomach issues (except for the aforementioned shrimp). Food really does have the ability to heal! 🙂

So, how did I do? I’m down 18 pounds since I started and I’m really excited to keep going! I had my cheat meal (salted caramel cake…mmm) and I had a few of those enchanting candy-coated Cadbury eggs (oh the nostalgia!). I’ve been making my new famous salad (Samantha Kitchen Sink) and I had my family on board with it too (which is just awesome!). I combine red onion, avocado, scallion, pepper, tomato, bacon, shaved Parmesan and mushrooms on a bed of spinach and servings with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar! DELICIOUS and soooo filling!

 

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Health….like happiness is really a choice. You can choose to eat spinach – or you can choose to eat Doritos. Will Doritos taste better? Maybe at first but over time you will appreciate the nuances of vegetables. I’ve also realized that being healthy really does NOT take more time or money. My only “expense” during grocery shopping is when I chose organic – but luckily I have a CSA starting in June! I cannot wait to cook with things like kolrabi and fennel. I’m excited to spend a spring/summer incorporating new things!

I would recommend anyone out there do Whole30 – it’s truly eye-opening.

 

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The Best of 2013!


I always love reading end of year lists – best songs, movies, moments etc. I decided to put together my very own Sparkly and Slimming – Best of 2013 list. 🙂

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Best workout song – Oooh so many to choose from! I have to say Lil Jon “Work” – we do this at Studio Poise in Danielle’s class and at the YMCA with Stef and I just LOVE it.

Best workout – this has to be the Sunday/Monday Zumba classes this week – we did all the favorite songs from the year and a ton of friends were in attendance (including my BFF Jewels taking her first Stef Sweeney class! Woo!). Zumba has to be one of the best things to happen to me this year – I’ve shaken my ass off (and lost 47 pounds from this time last year!!). made new friends and truly found cardio I LOVE doing.

Best trip – In May I took a whirlwind trip with my sales manager to Atlanta/Chicago/Detroit. The trip was excellent from a work relationship/meeting perspective but also from a food/fun perspective (we ate at some great places!). Sadly it was also the last time I got to see my aunt before she passed. However, I’m happy for this memory because as always she reminded me of the important things in life (appreciating sunsets, getting lost and found again and spending time with my Mom!).

Sunset from my aunt's hospital room - there was something very powerful about capturing this moment and sharing it with her.

Sunset from my aunt’s hospital room – there was something very powerful about capturing this moment and sharing it with her.

Best song for aimless driving (a favorite pastime of mine!) – Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey is always the right answer – but given that’s not new I’ll have to vote for “Take Care” Drake and Rihanna – I’m not a huge fan of either artist but this song is just my JAM in the car especially. My favorite line is “You hate being alone and you ain’t the only one – you hate the fact that you bought the dream and they sold you one“. Truth.

Best treat – I found a company called Sugarfina on Instagram and their cute candies looked almost too good to eat – I bought some for Christmas for stockings and mine were gone by the 30th. Haha. Highly recommend the Champagne Bubbles or the Peach Bellinis. Mmmm.

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Best epiphany – Sometimes letting go really does make you stronger than holding on. In personal relationships and with organizations you were once devoted to. Patronizing a place that mocks and belittles their clients isn’t good for soul – and finally accepting that I was better than the behavior I encountered was a powerful moment (see: A Lesson Betrayal).

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Best quote – Ooooh so many to choose from! I think I will go with “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Buddha. Thanks to my friend Stephanie for posting this on Facebook!

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Best accomplishment – I have two—- conquering my fear of actually going to Zumba and then falling in LOVE with classes (and being able to keep up!!) AND fitting in to a tank top from Lululemon that my friend Stasia bought me in January for my birthday. When I first tried it on I couldn’t get it past my shoulders! Woo!

Best new food obsession – ARUGULA! So delicious and so versatile! It goes with every salad, you can wilt it and it tastes amazing without any dressing. Roasted beets (with goat cheese) might a close second.

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Magic in a bowl!

Best new habitCutting out the salt! Who knew salt made SUCH an impact?! I am less bloated, less sore and overall much happier!

Best book read – “The Good Cop”  by Brad Parks (I love a crime novel!) for pleasure and “The In-Between” Jeff Goins for blog research – this was one of the best books I’ve ever read – so good I’m actually rereading it!

Best new TV show – Oh god I can’t choose! “The Americans” is tied with “House of Cards” – you need to see both!

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Best new accessory – I am shocking myself right now but I am going to say a naked face! I love being comfortable enough with myself to leave the house without makeup. 🙂

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This is me as I write this blog post! No makeup – hair in a messy bun and ya know what? I think I’m pretty!

Of course this wouldn’t be a Best Of post without a few funny ones…..

Best phrase I cannot wait to retire: TOTES. I freaking hate it when people say “Totes” instead of totally! Drives me batty.

Best band I can’t wait to stop hearing: ONE DIRECTION! I hope they fall off the earth in 2014!

Best meme I saw all year: Thanks to my brother for sending this gem along! LOL.

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Thank you all for reading – messaging me – commenting and being my support system. I am a lucky girl to know so many fabulous people!!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

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The Unresolution


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2014 is the year of the horse, the year of the Winter Olympics in Sochi and I propose we make it the year of the unresolution. What is an “unresolution”? It’s the notion that rather than make a lengthy, unattainable resolution list you should focus instead on improving one area of your life through little changes. I coined the term (at least as far as I’m concerned) and I’m really excited about it! Every December I make a ridiculous list of things I need to do in order to be a better person. Guess what? They just cause more stress and I end up a miserable person! For instance every year I vow to complete a 5k. This year I finally figured out I actually hate running. I hate it. I’m terrible at it and it brings me 0 joy. So, this year I will not push myself to complete couch to 5k, I will not read running blogs and curse myself for not being as passionate as the authors. Nope, this year I will accept my chosen cardio (Zumba!) and plan to attend 5 classes a week. Zumba makes me happy and thinner – it’s a win win!

This year’s unresolution will be simple: be happier. Happy for me means coffee dates with friends, quality time with my Mom (especially in our favorite vacation slot ~ Los Angeles!), more Zumba, more strength training, more healthy foods,  more sleep and more smiles. Less comparing and more acceptance. Less complaints, more compassion.

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Last year I wrote a novella about what I would accomplish – let’s just see how I did for giggles.

* Complete Couch to 5K (using the fancy new heart rate monitor I bought – in pink of course!) – FAIL – turns out I hate running and this goal lasted all of 4 days.  LOL!

* Hike to the Hollywood sign! (I have ALWAYS wanted to do this – and I finally conned someone into doing it with me. So come February I will be hiking my cute butt up to see the sign and the lovely city of Los Angeles!) – Semi-pass. I went to the Hollywood sign…and I hiked but they weren’t mutually exclusive.

* Go gluten-free (like legit. I want to go hardcore for a month and see how I feel – then adjust as need be). PASS! I actually liked this and while I am not totally gluten-free I do avoid most bread/flour in my daily life.

* Get more fruits/veggies into my day (roasted, chopped, pureed – any form…just do it!) PASS! I rocked this.

* Stop stressing out about shit I can’t control (As the story goes: “Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.”  Eh, Semi-Pass. I did better but I still let my mind wander and dwell often.

* Cook an actual meal – like 3 courses that go together for someone I love. PASS! I cooked this year! I am excited for new cooking tools for Christmas and new cookooks.

* Buy cute workout clothes at Lululemon (Stasia this means once they fit we’re going on a shopping spree!) – FAIL – mostly because I boycott the terrible things Lululemon execs did this year. Their tops fit – but their bottoms are still a ways off and I’m fine never fitting into their stuff.

* Have more adventures – who doesn’t love an adventure?! Semi-Pass – I took some chances and tried some new things but I also became a bit of a homebody this year.

* Spend more time with the people who make me smile – and less with the ones who make me self-doubt PASS! This means I flat out don’t see some people anymore – and that’s okay. Not everyone was meant to stay in your life forever.

* Write more (not necessarily here – just in general. I have these moments of brilliance…and I lose them on scraps of paper and random note pads in between life) – PASS! I write a lot more, even if I don’t always share it.

* Stop trying to make everyone like me. I’m sure I’ve confessed this before but in case you missed it – I HATE when people don’t like me. Hate it. At work. At the gym. Anywhere. I need to be liked. In 2013 I will build a bridge and get the fuck over it. Not everyone is going to like me – and that’s OK! Semi-pass ~ I did better about this at work and at my activities but I still struggle with it. I think the great betrayal of 2013 made me realize sometimes it’s NOT about me. 🙂

* Complain less. I am a habitual whiner, I know I am. Sometimes my inner monologue becomes my OUTER monologue and that just isn’t sexy. Time to kibosh the bitching! PASS –  I think I have done a lot better with this one – though I still have my moments!

* Be more awesome (I know, this sounds so arrogant right? But I figure it this way – if I am more awesome I will attract more awesome into my life and frankly – that’s what I need!  PASS!

Not bad!!! I think some of these will be things I will continuously work on for life. 🙂

This year I will put myself out into the dating pool and pray to God I remember those swim lessons I took that summer at the Tech. 🙂 I’ve come a long way in the last year and grown through several challenges. I’m renewed, restored and ready to tackle this amazing new year. Bring it on 2014!

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Elf4Health Challenge Wrap-up!


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While I LOVE Christmas and it’s my favorite time of year I’m super sad to see the Elf 4 Health challenge come to a end! It’s been an interesting 4 weeks for sure and it’s made me want to continue focusing on daily challenges for my mind, body and soul. Here’s a recap of my highlights (and lowlights) of the event! 🙂

Top 5 Highlights:
Unsubscribe! I wrote a whole blog post about the power of this challenge! Also a fellow elf turned me on to unroll.me – it quickly compiled a list of everything I receive currently and helped me seriously slim down my subscription list!

Share your expertise! I wrote a guest blog post about fabulous ways to start 2014 (as an expert in self-improvement):  http://cucinakristina.com/elf-health-share-expertise-challenge/

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I offered free gift wrapping to the guys at work. It was such a success (and so much fun) I’ll do it on Friday’s next year for sure! I am a fabulous wrapper! Pun intended.

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Makeup free – I could never do this at work until last year. I was in L.A. for work during the challenge and had to bite the bullet and go au natural during a day with big client meetings. It was scary but a success ~ and I’ve carried this on once a week ever since! I appreciate my good genes a lot more now than I ever did (thanks Mom!).

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Setting a new fitness goal was fun – especially since it’s end of year and it’s easy to fall pray to laziness. 🙂 Next year I will take a hip hop class, focus on 4 days of Zumba and 2 days of strength training and bust out my DVDs: yoga, Tone It Up, POUND (coming soon!) to continue mixing things up and confusing my body into weightloss.

Wall-sit – this was the most fun challenge! I lasted 3 mins and now I’m inspired to keep these going! I can feel my quads getting stronger already!

Top 3 Lowlights: (I only had 3 fails and they’re worth sharing)

100 burpees – sweet Jesus these kill me! I think I did 10 total. My goal in 2014 is to try conquering these wretched little exercises.

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Go meatless – I spaced and had chicken pot pie soup for lunch! LOL. There are ton of awesome recipes I could have made and I totally effed up.

Meditate – this is my brain when I try to sleep or mediate or be quiet for more than 10 minutes….

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All in all I’m really glad I participated! I’m going to bring back the goal jar in 2014 and fill it with goals like “100 oz. of water” or “ten minutes of stretching” then do those every day for a week. Little changes make big differences right? 🙂

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Coping, that’s all…..


I should have saved that “Long December”post just a few more days….

On Thursday December 12th my fur companion and sweetheart of 20 years went to heaven. Ebony was my first pet ever ~ we got him when I was 11. A boy named Ebony? Funny story…we thought he was a she because he was SO furry we didn’t see any boy bits. Then we got a female kitty (Autumn) and quickly realized our mistake….LOL. The name had stuck and morphed into a million nicknames (including my favorite, Charlie Tango). He was a complete character (and more like a dog than any cat I’ve met to date) – he came to the dinner table ready to get his plate filled with whatever we were eating, gave high fives, liked to talk back,  loved to snuggle and would force you to simultaneously scratch his chin because let’s face it – it was all about him. 🙂  My life is empty without him – there’s a tangible void that I just don’t know how to fix or fill.

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You don’t realize the impact a pet has on you and your daily life until you’re at the grocery store on a busy Saturday before a storm surrounded by strangers and have a breakdown, aisle 12. For the first time since I can recall, there is no picking out special cat food. There is no cute face waiting at the door to see what was bought (and to watch you put his food away) –  told you he was more like a dog! Haha.

He had been sick for a bit and on medicine for arthritis. In the last few weeks he’d gotten too weak to get up easily and no one in the family could bear to see him suffer so we had to make a painstaking decision. Ebony was a beloved member of the family (especially after two wonderful decades) and I feel like a piece of my family is MIA. I want to send out a search party. Missing: Wonderful, sweet, sassy black cat. Answers to many names and is irreplaceable.

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I am usually not one to focus on the negative but 2013 has had more suck than any previous year I can think of in my 31 years. Illness, loss, suffering… my favorite aunt, my beloved Charlie Tango… my heart is broken. I’ve cried so much in the last few months that I keep expecting to run out of tears. Alas, the human body is amazing and here I sit with big, fat tears streaming down my face.

I want to usher in a new year with promise and positivity but I know my life will always be a little sadder without him and that deserves acknowledgement and reflection. Rest in peace my sweet friend, I will miss our time together more than you know. ❤

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“Grief is like an ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can is learn to swim.” – Vickie Harrison

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The Power of the Unsubscribe


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Do you ever think about the stress in your daily life and wonder where it comes from? Do you ever feel anxious or annoyed without good reason? We all have busy jobs, crazy lives etc. but what is the *one* thing we all do far more than any generation before us? Engage in social media.

Stay with me for a second – how many times a day do you pop onto Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn only to read or see something that rubs you the wrong way or makes you sad or angry (sometimes completely without your knowledge!). It changes your mood. It stress you out.  It affects your life and it steals your joy. It’s time to reclaim that happiness and get rid of the noise.

If you can’t buy silence you have to eliminate the source of the noise” (a quote from one of my new favorite shows, “The Hostages”).

So, here’s what I propose we do to fix this noise and stress –

Unsubscribe from mass emails (especially those that sell your information – Yuck). You know the ones I mean – companies you like, bands you listen to, political affiliations you may still support but don’t need 4,000 emails from on a daily basis. I was a big fan of this writer whose book I bought a while back….until I joined his mailing list and got 5 emails A DAY. It was overwhelming and frankly felt harrasive. Once a week? Not bad. Thirty five a week? Unacceptable.

Opt out of text messages (I might be alone here but I HATE receiving texts from anyone but friends). I don’t want texts from the library about overdue books or from my eye doctor saying I need to make an appointment and I certainly don’t want them from my cell phone carrier who already gets paid way too much each month promoting their latest deal. No thank you!

Unfollow people/companies on Twitter that don’t contribute anything positive to your day – or just retweet everything a celebrity says. Consider the “post the exact same status on 6 social media avenues under multiple names” offenders in this category as well. It’s just spam to send the same message to multiple audiences. Not everyone in your life needs to know that you just Shazam’d “Wrecking Ball”.

Most important – unsubscribe from people on Facebook who do nothing but complain, post horrible news or constantly start drama – no one needs that (and we ALL know these people!). If you don’t want to unfriend them then do yourself a favor and hide their statuses. Trust me, you’ll feel a million times better not being subjected to their nonsense!

While we’re at it – take this opportunity to think before you post. It’s way too easy to be negative. I’ve been coughing for 8 days straight and haven’t slept more than hour uninterrupted since the cough started – but I made a conscious effort not to bitch about those things on Facebook (I realize the irony in posting it to my blog but it was for the sake of explanation, LOL). Now I’m not saying you need to be Pollyanna but if your last ten statuses or tweets have more complaints than positivity – it’s time for a change. Unsubscribe from only sharing the junk and find something nice to put into the world. If you can’t find something nice…..yup, I’ll say it – don’t bother posting.

The days are long but the years are short – don’t spend them being brought down by garbage (your own or  someone else’s).  🙂

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Thankfulness for 2013


Every year I try to reflect during the month of November on things I’m thankful for – sometimes it’s serious. sometimes it’s silly but either way it always puts things in perspective and ends up being a great activity.

I just reread my list from last year and I am surprised by how many things are the same and how many things have totally changed- what a difference a year makes eh?

I can’t lie – this has been a tough year emotionally. I’ve had set-backs professionally, personally and I’m just generally feeling a little more somber as we enter the holiday season. I decided rather than wallow in that I need to refocus and be thankful for all the things going RIGHT. As I quoted last year – if tomorrow you only had the things you were thankful for today would you be happy with what you had?  (if the answer is no, consider saying a few words of thanks before bed tonight – you’ll feel amazing after a few days!).

Without further ado –

13 things I am most thankful for in the year 2013!

1. My Mom – she is not just my mom but also my best friend and the one person in my life who I tell absolutely everything (and who still loves me after hearing it, LOL). She is 100% no-bullshit (which could make her tough) but she is also filled with love and has one of the best hearts I know (which makes her sweet). I would be lost without her and our silly jokes and weekly pedicure/coffee dates! ❤

2. My Dad – he and I are so much alike that we often but heads but I *always* love him and value his opinion. He is honest, fair and a family man – in addition to being funny and driven – all qualities I hope to find in my future husband!

3. My brother, Derek. We have thousands of inside jokes and funny stories that can be triggered by just A LOOK. I’m so glad we’re as close as we are and that he ALWAYS has my back.

4. Ebony. My 20-year old all-black cat who literally is the love of my life (as cheesy as that may sound). He’s older and not quite as spry as he once was but he’s still sassy and sweet. ❤

5. My friends – I once read you are a combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Lucky for me that’s a mix of fabulous, fit, funny and articulate ladies who bring out the best in me!

6. My health. I bragged on Facebook about being healthier now than I ever had been (then I was smited and got the stomach bug from hell, LOL). But overall I am more in tune with my body than ever before and that’s powerful.

7. My favorite aunt, my Aunty Roma passed a few weeks ago after a long battle with bladder cancer. It’s still surreal for her to be gone and I’m thankful for the time we spent together and the lessons she taught me (like “you might not pass this way again”).

8. ZUMBA! I originally got into this as a means to an end (cardio to lose weight) and for someone who hates the dreadmill and hates the elliptical it seemed like the lesser of all evils. Low and behold I LOVE Zumba and look forward to my workouts every week. I went from not wanting to try it to going 5 days a week!

9. My job. In just a few weeks I’ll celebrate my tenth anniversary at my company. It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but I can honestly say there’s no place else I’d rather work. I love my industry, I love my co-workers and I’m finally in a position where I can influence positive changes. This job also affords me the opportunity to travel, collaborate with people from all walks of life and live a really great life.

10. Random Acts of Kindness – one of my favorite things each year is when I see people randomly doing nice things for other people. I feel like once you put positivity into the world you are much more likely to see positive acts around you. Hold the door – ask someone how their day is (and really listen to the answer) – I’m thankful for these little moments throughout the year.

11.  Unanswered Prayers. I can’t tell you how many times this year I wished for something I wanted SO BAD to come to fruition….and now can see it just isn’t right for me. I’m thankful those prayers went unanswered – and I know a better something is just around the bend. 🙂

12. I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant – but I am thankful I have a way with words. All day long I read things written by people with no pizzazz and no story telling ability – I’m thankful I can express myself through words!

13. I am thankful for the people who have hurt and betrayed me this year – you have shown me EXACTLY what I don’t what to be – thanks!! 😉

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Current Annoyances and Truths of Fatness


I have blogged about this twice before in different forms (here and here if you’re curious) – but recently I have been mulling over these and decided in my return to blogging I would share them. You might agree, you might disagree – either way I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

Also, I usually speak from a “fat people” point of view – but I realized that I am not some sort of delegated fat ambassador, I am not in fact speaking on the nation’s behalf – this is just my 2 pennies worth.

Current Fat Annoyances:

Strangers “Praising” Me for Exercising:

I can’t tell you have taken aback I was when twice last week (once after a Pilates class and once after a Zumba class) a stranger tried to high-five me or shake my hand for finishing a workout. And no, it’s wasn’t “Wow that was hard we finished! (those times are totally acceptable, like after Jess’ arms + smabs class – ouch!). No , this was “I’m so proud of you for finishing this whole class!” and “Look at you not having to sit down girlfriend!”. Really? REALLY? I have been taking Pilates for 2 years consistently – I’ve been coming to Zumba on and off for a year. Last I checked I have been a functioning member of society for all 31 years of my life – I don’t expect (nor do I want) praise for being the fat girl at the gym. Please don’t give me a trophy just for showing up and sweating.

People Sharing a Blog Post I HATE on my FB Wall or via Email:

In the last month I’ve been sent this three times, seen it posted to different groups I belong to twice and had it printed and left on my desk (yes, I’m serious).

hey there fat girl – http://flintland.blogspot.com/2012/05/hey-fat-girl.html

I hate this so much I actually see red when I read it. Why?

While the author is telling a stranger how much he “respects” and “admires” her he simultaneously degrades her to the name “fat girl”. No one likes being labeled – certainly not by physical appearance. How would you feel if I said I “respected” and “admired” you, horse face? Yeaaaa, you’d hate me too! Not to mention the writer makes a LOT of assumptions about a strangers history and level of fitness (You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter.). If you knew me 5 years ago you could be impressed by how far I’ve come. If you met me today you could think “Wow, what a fat ass! She needs to work out more” – without realizing where I’ve been – or where I’m going. I was not “moved to tears” by this post, nor was I “in silent awe of a supportive community”. No, I was (and still am) irate, annoyed and downright saddened that this day in age I am still considered “the fat girl” by strangers. I hate back-handed compliments. Also, I read through a lot of the comments on the original post and noticed someone said the writer was addressing the girl “as she sees herself”. I assure you – I have never nor will I ever call myself “fat girl”. I don’t just see my size when I look in a mirror – I see my sparkly persona, I see my soulful eyes – I see *Samantha* and that’s more than just a size or a label.

Sidenote: Motivational memes and quotes are totally awesome and I love those. It’s just this blog that makes my skin crawl.

At my size I MUST have high blood pressure and diabetes

A few months ago I was taking Motrin at my desk and one of my co-workers saw me and said “High blood pressure? Pre-diabetes? Full blown diabetes?” in rapid fire procession. Um no, headache….likely caused by work annoyances. LOL. The only medication I’m on is birth control. I have low blood pressure and my blood sugar is always normal. I am not the reason health-care costs are so high and I resent the implication that fat = diseased. Not everyone who’s overweight is diabetic and not every diabetic is overweight. Stop assuming.

You have the right to judge my food

At work I have been in the good habit of making my lunch for the last 4-5 months. Normally that is a salad (arugula or spinach, roasted and fresh veggies, some kind of protein and maybe a carb like couscous on the side…sometimes with goat cheese on top sometimes without). I rarely use salad dressing (I’d rather spend my calories somewhere else). I don’t load it with bacon bits, croutons or other bullshit “salad toppers”. Alternatively I will sometimes have leftovers (protein + veggies + carbs/starch). I never eat frozen meals (too much sodium/crappy flavor) and if I do get takeout (which is rare) it’s from Panera – where I customize my meal. Why does all this matter? Every.single.time I microwave my lunch someone in the lunchroom or on my walk back to my desk makes a comment like “Wow that looks healthy!” or “Look at you eating  your vegetables!” in a voice that illustrates how shocked they are at what I’m eating. My favorite is one person I am lucky to not see very often. Twice last week after seeing my salads she has commented: “I don’t know how you ever got fat eating like that Sam!”. I’m going to tell you something that will blow your mind: Fat people, like skinny people may like eating fruits and vegetables. Sometimes we even put them in our meals. WOAH NELLY! Yes, it’s true. I shop at Whole Foods. I read labels. I buy organic and local when possible.  I don’t buy broccoli in a bag with cheese sauce or peaches in a can drenched in syrup.  I may be fat – but I’m not an idiot. Was I once an idiot about food? Absolutely. Do you get to comment on my healthy foods simply because of my size? No.

Truths:

I have probably heard of and tried any diet  or fad you can recommend

Diets don’t work. I’ve figured this out and finally, FINALLY come to terms with what does: healthy living. I’m not interested in eating just grapefruit, I don’t want to hear about your Mom’s cousins friend who lost 100 pounds with cabbage or with diet pills. It’s all nonsense. I want to focus on eating real food made without chemicals I can’t pronounce. If you want to show me a success story, please make sure it doesn’t advocate gimmicks.

I got where we I was by not making myself a priority

I got to my heaviest by making poor choices, by putting myself second and by taking the easy way out. I opted for easy/fast food over healthy ones. I considered “potato” my favorite and only sources of vegetables. I never drank water. I loved processed, crappy snacks. I didn’t think I mattered enough to take care of myself and in hindsight that makes me very sad. I’m glad I’ve moved on from that place.

l wish there was a magic pill

Some wish for a pill that made them like veggies, some wish for a pill that emulated exercise without effort – me? I wish for a pill that allowed me to lose a pound for every healthy choice I make. LOL. Imagine!? I’d be at my goal weight by now! 🙂

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Blogtember (or “Where Did Summer Go?!”)


Sometimes you take “a little break” from something, like say blogging – then look up and realize it’s been  4 months. Whoops! H! Thanks for still following me. 🙂

So where have I been? I wish I could say “traveling the world” or”curing cancer” …. but alas, no. I have been going around the same mountains – and beating myself up about the same failures. My mom is a fan of Joyce Meyer and even if you’re not religious, I encourage you to read this on behaviors that hinder instead of help.

I can only describe the last few months and my summer as “trying” (as in “trying my patience, LOL). I’ve had some ups – and a lot of downs both in my personal life and in the weight-loss sphere. I felt like I could just keep doing the same things and see different results – which is just silly. We all know the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing and expecting different results.

life-begins

So rather than eating the exact same meals and doing the exact same workouts and over-committing myself to 90 projects at work I stopped – took a staycation and chilled out. It was blissful. I have to return to work on Monday and I don’t want it to end truth be told! This last ten days taught me to SLOW DOWN, stop being “everything to everyone” (because it’s really NOT possible), spice it up (workouts, food, different things keep you on your toes!) and most importantly – stop thinking. I am such an over-thinker….it’s honestly exhausting being in my head sometimes!

In the weight-loss sphere I’ve tried a bunch of different tweaks and finally concluded there is no “perfect diet” or “magic pill”. However, there is a nice balance that yields success for me. It looks something like this:

Samantha Success

“Healthy Diet” for me now includes lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins (eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish), some starches (couscous, quinoa, potatoes), dairy (Greek yogurt, cream in my coffee) and the occasional treat (ice cream, a martini etc). Giving up gluten long-term doesn’t work for me – but I’m glad I tried it. I am also much more conscious of my “carb” intake now – and avoid mindless eating (like crackers, white bread etc).  Giving up treats makes me feel deprived and then I binge (which leads to feeling awful….which leads to mindless eating to self-soothe. Lather, rinse, repeat bad behavior). I love vegetables even more now  than ever before – and I can eat salads sans dressing and enjoy the flavors (arugula or spinach + roasted and fresh veggies + lemon juice = best salad *ever*).  I love fruit, so that was never an issue. However, I’ve learned how to shop seasonally and enjoy what’s ripe and fresh at the moment – which makes a huge difference! Check out this delicious caprese salad from a few days ago:

tomato caprese salad

and check out my “loaded” fruit bowl (now a weekly feature in the house)

Peaches, pluots, bananas, avocados, oranges and two kinds of apples!

Peaches, pluots, bananas, avocados, oranges and two kinds of apples!

Sleep is an obvious one – and something I’ve blogged about before. When I get 7 hours of sleep I feel better (and I’m much less bitchy). 😉  ‘Nuff said!

Exercise is  TRICKY one. I threw myself into doing JUST strength training and discovered it does not take the pounds off. In order to lose weight AND reshape my body I need a combo of cardio (currently loving Zumba and Pound – which is a cardio class that includes neon green drum sticks. Dead serious. It’s sooo much fun!) as well as strength (my beloved barre n9ne – often imitated never duplicated + circuit training). Over the last few weeks I have finally balanced a schedule that allows me 4 cardio workouts, 3 strength training workouts and overall a good variety of exercise. I am convinced that the secret to success is spicing things up! Oh and to achieve this balance I dropped my gym membership and joined the YMCA – slightly more expensive, but tons of Zumba classes at 2 locations nearby was a huge selling point.

Minimal stress eh? Well the last few months have been stress-filled in every avenue of my life. My favorite aunt is ill, my job has been just nuts (not good nuts either – lots of changes and challenges that I really wasn’t ready to rise to) and I was finding myself “not where I wanted to be by this point in my life”. Do you ever do that? Do you ever look around and think “Fuck! I was supposed to have accomplished so much more by 31!”. I do. ALL THE TIME. I got into a really negative frame of mind and all I could focus on was *STILL* being over weight, *still* being single and *still* conquering the same demons I’ve been fighting since my early twenties. I got to a place where I thought “This must be as good as my life gets and there’s no use in wanting better” – but honestly, that’s crap and we both know better. 🙂  I am fabulous, I will conquer this weight demon and I will meet someone – when the time is right. I think sometimes you need to focus on where you’re going and not where everyone else around you is going. So, getting out of my head and allowing work to stay at work has been the focus of the last few weeks – so far I think it’s paying off!

During my staycation I noted a few things I want to focus on for September:

*Positive self-talk (every day, find something awesome about myself and share it – with myself). I don’t need to turn into one of those people posting constant selfies “looking for shout-outs”. No no, this is just for me to get out of a negative frame of mind and focus on the positive. Today’s positive is recognizing how much I eat intuitively now-a-days instead of mindlessly. Woo!

*Stop going around in circles (ala Soul Coughing — “I don’t need to walk around in circles, walk around in circles….”). Find a new path – change your mind – don’t react the same way you normally would.

*Letting it go. Sometimes, no matter how much I want to – or how hard I try I cannot change a situation. I need to continue working on letting go of what I cannot control.

That’s it – just 3 little goals. I figure if I can strive towards those things, other things will fall in line. What are you focusing on this September?

 

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