Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

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

Lent: Abstaining from Addictions!

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!




Celebrating The End of Lent….

Easter Sunday was sadly not spent in the company of my fam – but in LA cruising the city alone. It was interesting for me to spend the bulk of my day alone – being such a social person! I decided to take myself out to lunch (more on that in a bit). When cruising for restaurants I realized how many healthy options are available. It’s insane! Every city needs to adopt this mentality! (Hello Tampa, looking at you).

My hotel (super swanky and yet only $160 a night! Score.) has an amazing restaurant in it (Blvd 16) with insanely healthy choices:

How much do you love that the nutritional  value is right there in the open! Awesome. Last night I had the chicken with lemony dressing and it was killer delish.

I’m really doing my best to embrace my lifestyle changes while away. Healthy snacks in my bag, water bottle always in my backpack and making the best choices possible. Am I perfect? God no. But, am I choosing grilled over fried? Yes. Am I drinking water instead of martinis? Yes (though a nice glass of white wine has hit the spot a few times!).

So, while cruising for lunch spots I happened upon Father’s Office in Santa Monica. I’ve been to the Culver City locale, but not this one. The parking gods smiled on me and I scored an excellent space. I sat at the bar (which I never, ever do) and struck up conversation with 2 people also sitting alone. Turns out both were from Boston and one was about to move back! Small world man! 🙂

Oh and can we point out that Lent is officially OVER? 44 days of dessert free-ness ended on Easter Sunday at 12:30am (EST….sue me). How did I celebrate?

crème brûlée (duuuuuuhhhhhh!)

I think the stars aligned when I had to spend Easter in LA at my favorite hotel with my most favorite dessert ever (and it’s seasonal – this month tangerine!). Delicious. Amazing. Decadent. And guess what? I couldn’t finish it. I left a bite and a half (but not the burnt sugar – that’s my favorite part). I embraced Tanya’s words of wisdom – if you want something, make it the BEST something. Don’t half-ass it. Don’t eat something you don’t REALLY want. Make it the best. So, in celebration of Lent I had THE BEST crème brûlée (with fruit!). So glad I waited to celebrate!

One of my favorite bloggers recently posted about this. In Kate’s words, creme brulee is something I love so much I could have it Always, but instead I will make it a Sometimes Food. Sometimes when I have been good (exercised and water) and really want a treat (versus just when someplace HAS treats) I will indulge.

I also need to give a shout-out to “My Fitness Pal“, I’ve tried tracking my calories in 52 places and this one is the best- love it. 🙂 The Android app even has a bar-code scanner so you can scan what you’re eating (and so far every obscure-ass thing I buy has been in tracker. Impressive!).

Part of me didn’t think I could make it 44 days without desserts. Now that I have (and kicked my coffee habit to boot!) I feel more in control of my cravings. I don’t need dessert every night. I might still WANT it most nights but ya know what? I want strong muscles and slimmer physique more! I feel like I’ve had so many little revelations lately….it’s crazy!


The Lent Challenge

I usually participate in Lent (or try to) not because of the religious symbolism but because of the challenge. I like seeing if I can give up something I love for 6 weeks.I was raised Catholic, but now I consider myself more “Christian” than Catholic per se. I don’t attend church on a regular basis – but I do believe in God.

Usually I end up cheating….but I think this year I’ll be able to stick to it! I hope! So, Lent begins Wednesday, the 22nd of February and will continue for 46 long days until Saturday, the 7th of April.

During this stretch I will be in NY, Atlanta, LA, Tampa and all around crazy busy. Normally for me travel = free range to indulge in desserts. So, what is my crazy-ass giving up for Lent? Desserts! Sweets, treats, whatever you want to call it….I’m going cold turkey for 6 weeks. I also want to try cutting my coffee intake down to once a day. I love coffee, but sometimes I think it doesn’t love me back.So just how often am I have desserts/treats/sweets? More than daily. No lie. I will find a way to work in a treat to my daily calories – even if it means giving up something I need (like protein). I’m a sweets-addict. Legit.

The hardest part is going to be 2-fold:

1. Not treating myself when I travel/go out (I always feel like being on the road warrants a treat)

2. The CRAVINGS. Oh god this is always the worst part. I think I’m fine….I’m strong….I can do this….. then I smell chocolate and I literally salivate. Then I get a headache – but not an ACTUAL headache, like a “mind over matter” craving headache. It’s horrible. This is usually when I end up caving.

How can I combat the cravings? I’m thinking more water, more protein (so I feel full) and a calendar to mark my progress. Thank you for kickass, customizable free calendars!

So what is included in this “no sweets” manifesto? No dessert (cheesecake, ice cream, cookies, chocolate etc), no sweet snacks (Skinny Cow PB bars that are only 2 points so I usually have 2….or 3 – LOL) and no “dessert” coffees (blended with whip – or without). Not included? Wildberry smoothies from Panera (7 points – delicious and full of calcium) and Starbucks coffee (caramel macchiatos once a week, regular iced the rest of the week). I think I might have to join Pinterest just to oogle over delicious things I will not be eating….though seeing it might make me want it more!

Are any of you participating in Lent? What are you giving up? What’s the hardest part for you?

Before I go, a Lent funny that made me laugh my butt off:


“Lent” and Letting Things Go

Good weekend – the weather was lovely, and I even broke out my sandals! Love that. I got to the gym both Saturday and Sunday – which made me feel awesome. Oh, and I had fat club on Sunday and I lost 8 pounds (over 3 weeks – don’t get TOO excited). 😉  8 pounds is awesome, but I needed to put it in perspective.

I’ve been feeling more positive, and in control of my eating – which is a huge victory!

I’ve also had 3 friends and 2 co-workers tell me I look thinner – love that! 🙂

My version of “Lent” started early (because during actual Lent I’m going to be in Vegas). I was raised Catholic, but now I would consider myself more spiritual/Christian than Catholic now. I haven’t been to church in eons. Anyways, my version of Lent wasn’t so much about religion, it was more about challenging myself. Can I live without alcohol and desserts for 6 weeks?!

One of my new favorite bloggers is HealthierUJunction and there was a post she made that triggered me to write mine. She talked about why giving up desserts will help her get a handle on her attitude towards dessert. I completely agree. Last year for Lent I gave up dessert and cheated twice. They were planned cheats, but I still realized how dessert was an EVERYDAY occurrence, not a treat.  I am  a sweet addict, and if I’m not careful I get into a pattern of needing something sweet every night (sometimes after both lunch AND dinner. Crazy, I know).  So, “Lent” will be good for me.

I have one more month left, and I suspect it will be the hardest!

Retail stores are in full “Easter swing” and I keep seeing bags of Cadbury eggs. GAH! I love them. The ones with the candy shells – not the ones with the creepy stuff inside. I also love Reese’s PB eggs. The two seasonal candies are my weakness, but I will resist! However, I will torture us both with pictures:

I’m not a huge “generic” candy person (I mentioned my favorites are from a little shop in Marblehead) – but these are my 2 grocery store weaknesses!

Since Lent is the time leading up to Easter, and Easter is a rebirth (involved a bunny who hands out candy…anyone know where that tradition came from?!), I like to think of it as a spring cleaning for the soul. In the last few months my personal life has had far more drama than I care of. I’ve decided that by Easter I will let go of all the things nagging at me. I’m not going to continue hanging on to the images people have of me, or what someone might have said. I don’t care. Ok ok….I DO care, but I’m working on NOT caring. 🙂

I have to accept the following: not everyone is going to love me in this life.

It might sound obvious, but it’s hard for me to come to terms with someone who gossips about me – or outright lies about my actions or intentions. I’m a pretty up-front, no bullshit person. So, I take it to heart when drama happens and lately, I’ve had a whole lotta drama!

So, I’m not going to let it affect me. People will say and do as they please and I can’t change them – but I can change how I react to their outbursts. I saw this one someone’s FB recently and loved it: “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” — Maya Angelou

Are you guys participating in Lent? What are you giving up and why?



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