Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

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

Food for Thought….

I think I’ve used this blog post title before….but it was just so dang good I had to use it again!

I made some promises in my last post and I am happy to say I have stuck to at least one of them. Oatmeal, I love you! This gem is my newest food obsession and the best breakfast everrrrrrrr!

$2.50 for a box of 5 packs and the pack of oatmeal DOUBLES as a container for water. Open packet (my most favorite is dark chocolate), dump into bowl, add water,  microwave for 2 mins – stir in 1 TBS of cookie butter and enjoy! Mmmm cookie butter. Who knew oatmeal was the *perfect* vehicle for cookie butter?!

No idea what the heck I’m talking about? From Trader Joe’s:

or from Market Basket/Demoulas:

Truth be told I like the Biscoff better – it’s not as sweet. Either way, it’s 90 calories per tablespoon so it’s more than peanut butter but GOD it is so freaking tasty. I could (read: have in the past) eat a whole jar. It’s like crack. Cookie crack. I think it makes me crave oatmeal even more. Like right now it’s 10:30pm and I’m not hungry but man, just thinking about oatmeal tomorrow is making me salivate! #oatmealaddicted #totalfatkid  – um have I mentioned I am obsessed with hashtagging? It drives my friends batty, but I love it.

I bought a book for my Playbook on vacation purely based on title (I love doing that! Authors put a lot of effort into a catchy title, why not play reading roulette once in a while?). The title? “Nice Girls Finish Fat“.

I’ve mentioned a half-dozen times that I still don’t know what’s at the root of my emotional eating. I wasn’t abused as a child (nor as an adult), I’m not depressed, I don’t have any diseases to explain away my affliction to food…it’s always been a mystery. Well, this book is helping me figure it out for sure.

Am I always nice? God no. But, I am obsessed with what other people think of me. Legit, obsessed! I spend probably half my day worrying about it. I go to bed reviewing my day in a detailed, neurotic way, literally affecting my sleep! I obsess over my emails, my conversations, my interactions…’s exhausting. I’m also someone who HATES when people don’t like me. I just hate it. If someone (especially at work) doesn’t jive with my sassy-ness/sarcasm I will make myself crazy trying to find a way to change myself to suit them. No lie. I didn’t used to be like this…I can’t pinpoint EXACTLY when it changed but I know it coincides with being at my heaviest weight. Suddenly I had to overcompensate for my weight by bending my personality to mesh with others. The sad thing is in doing that, I lost part of myself. I stopped being as sassy as I once was. As my mom says, I lost my chutzpah! How did I fill the gap? Oh with food of course!

From the cover: Many women put too much on their plates, both literally and figuratively. In Nice Girls Finish Fat, psychotherapist Karen R. Koenig explains the link between the two and gives overweight women detailed advice on how to lose their extra baggage—both emotional and physical—by becoming more assertive in every aspect of life. For the millions of overweight women in America, diet and exercise just aren’t cutting it. That’s because many of these women have emotional issues buried deep beneath those stubborn pounds, issues that must be dealt with first if weight loss plans are to succeed. In this illuminating book, based on decades of professional experience, Karen Koenig offers on-the-page psychotherapy to help readers attack the roots of their food problems. With her engaging personal style, she teaches women about the biological connections between repressed emotions and eating, revealing the ways many women use food to stuff their anger, control their aggression, and assuage their feelings of guilt—all in the pursuit of being “nice.” Giving “good girls” permission to love themselves first, Koenig offers thought-provoking quizzes and questions to help readers identify and overcome the habits that have been holding them back. Empowering readers to gain the confidence they need to lose weight, Nice Girls Finish Fat not only shows women how to stop obsessing about food and develop healthy eating habits, it teaches readers skills to improve every aspect of their lives.

I once joked with my brother that I was a true emotional eater. Happy? Eat. Sad? Eat more. Mad? Eat. Nervous? Eat. Food is a universal, food is the constant, food is the fixer of all emotions. Anytime I don’t want to feel something, I feed myself instead. Something the book really focuses on is the emotions you’re feeling while eating. Understanding the connection between what you eat and how you feel is KEY – and it’s something I’ve never delved into….probably for fear of what I’d find. This morning was easy – I was excited for oatmeal. LOL. I think I will always be a “fat kid” at heart, I love food! I didn’t snack in between breakfast and lunch (too busy), lunch was anti-climatic. Soup + an unplanned concall with a super chatty client. Then dread set in. My 3pm call is with someone who just makes me uneasy. I can’t explain it but I’m always on edge before we speak (thankfully it’s not often and I am 99.9% sure he does not read this blog, LOL). Suddenly I was rummaging through my snack draw. I needed comfort. I needed buffalo pretzels. No wait, I need trail mix. Scratch that – peanut butter and plantain chips. TIME OUT! I don’t need to eat, I need to get some fresh air, collect my wits and put my big girl pants on! Why the hell am I letting one stupid concall fluster me to the point of mindlessly eating?!!? Stupid! But, I’m glad I paused to reflect on the emotions before eating. Baby steps. 🙂

So, I quasi-own my call. Well, I stood up for myself, I didn’t stammer or talk like the MicroMachineMan (both signs of my nerves) and most importantly, I did not put a single thing in my mouth! YES!


Another great point in the book focuses on why we feel compelled to always be “nice”. Is that an adjective we use to describe ourselves? Do we go above and beyond to the detriment of our own health? Reading this section struck such a chord. I am so focused on being a “sweetheart” at work that I have actually stood back and let other people get promoted instead of me. No lie. I have sold myself short to make sure someone else shined. Who the hell does that?! Someone desperately trying to keep the title “sweetheart” at any cost. I should be sweet because I want to – or because the person is nice to me in return. I shouldn’t do nice things that in turn drive me crazy or lead me to emotional eating. Oh and I should never put myself second. If I don’t make myself a priority why should anyone else?? Other amazing self-care tips highlighted in the book are mentioned in this article. We’re all guilty of not doing a few of these!

How perfect is this? I need to print it, put it on my nightstand and my desk and in my phone. #preach

Let’s be frank – If I want to conquer this shit once and for all – I need to find my backbone and keep it intact! I can’t wait to finish the book because I’m so excited about everything I’ve learned. I know it’s something I will read and reread a bunch of times in the coming months. If you’re struggling with being too nice – or with not being yourself, I highly recommend it. As always, no one endorses me to share my 2 cents with you, I do it simply because I love talking. 😉

Now my last gem of the day is the best – this is so true and something I really, really need to OWN!


Musings from Vacation

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!

View from our hotel at sunset!

Malibu = amazingness!

Mom posing in Santa Monica!

Self-portait! (note: my arm is reflected in my glasses, LOL).

I could seriously get used to these views!!

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!

Steel-cut oats with maple syrup and berries! SO YUMMY!

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!

Trying NOT to look creepy…..

A barre! Note: those balls are the DEVIL, not squishy!

This one is for Stasia. I did abs at the barre and thought of you girlfriend! LOL

A barre! So excited!!! #b94lyf

Back to vacation! More when I return!


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Breakfast and some Friday Blah-Blah-Blahing!

Happy Friday!

Is it just me or has this felt like the longest week EVER? I’m ready for a weekend, like woah! 🙂

Sadly, I’m not ending my week on a good note. I’m up 1.5 pounds. I will say I think 2 things are to blame: lack of exercise (I was a slacker this week, I can admit it) and salt. I have been eating a LOT of salty food lately and I have the bloat to prove it. So, this weekend I am going to get hardcore! I have 4 workouts planned (2 outside, with moves inspired by Bob Harper. Love him!) and 2 at the gym using a combo of machines and free weights. I think the secret to consistent weight-loss is going to be mixing it up a lot. My body seems to get used to the workouts I do, then they aren’t as effective. So, I shall mix things up and hope for a better weigh-in next week. I would REALLY love to be under 300 by San Fran (I leave May 18th) – but I’m afraid losing 15 pounds in 18 days is just not feasible. Oh well, I came close!

I’m having a bit of a food dilemma, and I’m hoping to get input from you guys. I cannot seem to find a low-calorie breakfast that I enjoy eating and doesn’t bother my stomach. I love eggs, but they just don’t sit well. Neither does yogurt or cottage cheese before lunch. (I know it’s weird, my stomach has a mind of its own). As a result of this I end up usually having toast / english muffin / bagel / muffin. All of those options aren’t ideal as they don’t keep me full very long.

So, I need a breakfast idea that incorporates some protein (to keep me full) and doesn’t have dairy/eggs.  What are you guys eating? (Sidenote: I’d prefer something that’s quick to make – I’m not a morning person and if I have to clean a pan after making breakfast, I probably won’t bother).

Someone at work suggested oatmeal, and pointed out that if I was running late in the morning I could even get it at Starbucks or McDonalds. I laughed on the inside, because I am completely anti-McDonald’s (as you guys know) and because my friend Cecilia posted a link about that infamous Mickey D’s oatmeal earlier this week! Why oh why would there be 21 ingredients in oatmeal?!  “A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.” Yuck!

Has anyone tried it? It only has 300 calories, which I’d be fine with – it’s the 11 weird ingredients I can’t get with. I have had Starbucks Oatmeal and it’s pretty decent. Of course, I find oatmeal is better when loaded with brown sugar and maple syrup…not exactly a healthy choice! 😉

There has to be a quick, tasty breakfast solution out there right?

An update to my migraine post- I think I may have found part of the culprit! I looked closely at my food journal and chatted w/ my mom and my BFF Jewels. Coffee at night (after dinner) is present about 80% of the times I wake up with a headache/migraine! So, I’ve cut the coffee at night. It’s painful, I can’t lie. I am a “little treat” or “little dessert” person and coffee at night took the place of that. Now I need to find something else to take the place of the coffee! Since summer is here, I might need to bring back the all-fruit popsicles or Crystal Lite – but I’d love to hear suggestions. What “treat” do you guys enjoy during the summer that won’t break my calorie bank or give me a migraine? (Sidenote: I could switch to decaf – but I think cutting it out all together would be better). I’m thinking of actually cutting out coffee from May 1st- May 15th as a kick. We’ll see, I’m not completely sold the idea just yet.

Is the weather going to be nice where you are this weekend? Boston is supposed to be sunny and in the 60’s – which is divine weather for exercising outside and doing a nice spring cleaning. I am a complete clotheshorse and really need to pare down what I currently own. If I’m not wearing it now, and it won’t fit in the next 6 months – it’s gotta go. I’m big on donating unused items to organizations like Goodwill, and I just read somewhere that a lot of donation sites up here will be sending things down to the folks in the south who have been devastated by tornadoes. That motivates me even more to get my unworn clothes to a good home!

Have a great weekend everyone!


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