Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

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

Thin – at any cost?


Sometimes procrastination pays off! I read this article last week and was so heated I need to blog….only then I got distracted (squirrel!) and never came back to finish the post. Last night was the finale of “The Biggest Loser” and of course there was controversy. Usually the big drama is someone went home, sat on their bum and didn’t look any different. Well this time we had quite the opposite problem…and it ties in to the article!

So, my friend Tiffany always posts thought-provoking things and she shared a true gem with this article…”Woman Can’t Have Kids After Gastric Bypass, Still Happy to Be Thin“.

Of course, the title alone was enough for me to be appalled – but then I read the article….

This woman, Jill was never loved by her father (and he admitted it on the Oprah show! Stay classy buddy) and decided to get gastric bypass so she could finally be thin and he would love her.

Hold up – wait a minute – are you fucking kidding me!?

Nope, she was serious. She never felt like she deserved love until she could be thin – and her own father propagated those thoughts. Then she had surgery and guess what? She ended up worse off. She is now thin…..and weak, nauseous AND she can’t have children. Complications from gastric bypass actually caused her infertility!  Was it worth it to be a size 6? I vote no.  I really wish that during my lifetime we could get to a place as society where your size does not define your worthiness or happiness. Going to the extreme just illustrates that there are other issues (emotional usually) being masked. Yay you’re thin! Oh wait, now you can’t have kids and you’re sick all the time….who cares, your dad loves you finally!

Also – I feel compelled to give my own Dad a shout-out. He supports me in any endeavor I take on and loves me regardless of what size jeans I’m rocking. Thanks Dad, I’m lucky to have you! (When I told him about the article his response was “Wow that dad sounds like an asshole”. LOL!).

Now, how does Jill and her asshole dad tie into the “Biggest Loser”? Last night’s winner, Rachel Frederickson was a contestant I was hot and cold about all season. I could relate to some of what she said….then she would totally lose me. She was a competitive swimmer as a child (and looked healthy and vibrant in photos they showed) then she gave up that dream when her parents got divorced. At this point she stopped talking to her Dad (because she thought he was angry she stopped swimming? It was all sort of confusing) then she got caught up with an idiot boy and gained weight because she never felt loved. All season she pushed hard to get back to being the athlete she used to be – which was inspiring. At the end of the season she finished the “Biggest Loser” triathlon in first place and weighed 150 pounds (down from her starting weight of 260). She looked healthy and amazing. Last night she took the stage and I literally thought it was Karen Carpenter. She was frail, weak and she looked like you could snap her in half with a hug. Given the event is live they panned to Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels for a reaction shot….their faces were pricelessly horrified:

Bob Jillian Tanya

They quickly panned away…only they couldn’t pan to the other contestants because they all looked EQUALLY HORRIFIED!!

Finally, Rachel gets on the scale and weighed in at 105. Yup, you read that right….One hundred and five pounds on her 5’4″ frame. She looked scary. She looked sickly and as my friend Sandy pointed out, she looked like she had developed orthorexia nervosa (an eating disorder categorized by an unhealthy obsession with being healthy). Her cheeks were gaunt, her arms were literally just muscle and bone – she looked as though she might drop dead.

Have a look for yourself:

Rachel

Here’s another shot where I’m fairly certain we can see ribs:

Now, I posted to my Facebook saying she literally scared me – I wouldn’t recognize her if I fell over her and I have watched every episode this season. Of course, someone had to reach out and tell me “my opinion was wrong – she was healthy and beautiful and clearly an athlete“. Nope – my opinion is just that, my opinion. You can agree or disagree but I’m not wrong (and you’re not right). 🙂

Here’s a snapshot of Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin – check out the body composition difference:

Now, let’s say Rachel was healthy (despite all the indicators that she isn’t)….my real anger came in when I took to social media to see what people were saying. On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook I watched random girl after random girl saying “OMG she is so thin, I would kill to look like that!”. Really?! REALLY? Why don’t we have healthy role models for kids? Why don’t we teach them that there is more to life than aiming to be a size 0 if you’re not naturally a size 0? Sometimes society amplified by social media makes me sad. Why do we value weight and size above happiness or healthiness?? Where’s the logic here people!?

Did you watch “Biggest Loser”? What was your reaction? Given this is a game it has been speculated that she did whatever she had to do to win the $250,000 – including starve herself. How far would you go to lose weight?

 

 

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It’s been a long December…


One of my favorite songs is “Long December” by Counting Crows – it always feels very final, very matter-of-fact and a little melancholy. Granted, it’s only December 9th but the song perfectly sums up my feelings towards this year already!

I’m about 90% recovered from pneumonia that struck right before Thanksgiving and I’m getting back into the swing of things. This time of year it’s SO easy to fall off track and just say “eff it, I’ll start fresh in January” – but think how much better you’ll feel if you stay on track through the most challenging month and continue that great streak right through January! As my friend Stef says – stay accountable!

How am I doing this?

*planning workouts with friends – lots of Zumba dates, circuit dates and checking in with my brother and my fit friends. Workouts are a great excuse to meet up with someone and burn calories at the same time!

*avoiding the “but it’s the holidays!” food pitfall. I avoided Halloween candy completely, I barely ate at Thanksgiving (because I was sick) so I was far from overstuffed…now I need to keep that momentum straight through the season of gingerbread lattes, salted caramel hot chocolates and Santa sugar cookies!

*making the most of my time on and off! I have vacation from December 20th – 31st. While I’m super excited for time with family and friends I need to ensure I wrap up all my projects and meet my work deadlines without going nuts. Balance + prioritize!

*reminding myself that I’m striving for good, not perfect. I will never exercise 7 days a week and stick perfectly to my calories – but I can compensate for splurges and  ensure to up my water intake etc.

*last but not least- remember that the year is coming to an end and that means an exciting new beginning is on the horizon. I mentioned that I love sunsets and sunrises because they symbolize that everything (good or bad) will come to an end. I fully believe in that concept. 🙂

This past weekend my family put up our Christmas tree with old and new wonderful ornaments. I’m the family gift wrapper so those gorgeous presents were created by yours truly (and I’m modest too!).

image

As we approach 2014 one of my favorite bloggers and writers, Kate Northrop suggested something I can’t wait to do with my family: “Release it. Mike and I are having a Winter Solstice party this year. We’ll have little cards by the fireplace on which people can write down what they’d like to release and leave in the darkness of the shortest day of the year. Then we’ll have other cards where they can write down what they’d like to welcome in with the light as the days grow longer starting on Dec. 22nd. The end of the year is a beautiful time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not, and let go of what’s not. Spend some time letting go instead of accumulating and you’ll fee more free.”

What are you ready to release?

What would you like to welcome?

I’ll share mine: I’d like to release self-doubt (because this year I have really questioned my place in the working world, in friendships, in life etc.). I’m ready to release that worry and negativity about past mistakes that I harbor.

I’m ready to welcome in a romantic partner who pairs with me in a fabulous way. I feel like 31 was my year of trying new things and opening myself up to new ideas. I found Zumba, I got healthier and learned to focus on whole foods,  I grew through some challenges professionally, I lost someone I loved dearly and learned to appreciate the family (and friends) here. I tried my hand at cooking (and had a few successes!), I spent time alone and appreciated my quirks (and tamed some of annoying traits). I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life with someone I love by my side. ❤

As for resolutions, I had a giant list I started to build (42 things and counting) and I decided to go in a different direction – next year I will focus on being happy. Period. I will spend more time with my mom and less time on menial tasks. I’ll remember to pack my stuff for work/Zumba the night before so my mornings are less stressful. I’ll smile at strangers and try to be less sarcastic. I’m email friends I don’t see enough and take impromptu road trips to try new things. Little tweaks will add up to big happiness in the end. I’m sure if it!

Are you making resolutions? If so will you focus on one out two things or try to tackle a laundry list? I’d recommend trying to conquer one or two meaningful items. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of the Plan


november

October I went unprocessed and it rocked – I made delicious overnight oats with the help of Bob’s Red Mill Oats and this recipe. I feel back in love with couscous and quinoa (two things I avoided during my gluten-free experiment). But, I got lazy. I stopped doing Sunday food prep (which was one of the keys to my successful summer). I resorted to buying a lot of salads and soups (which is fine, but you’re not in control of what you eat unless you make it). So for November I am focusing on two things:

  1. Planning. Planning. Planning.
  2. Logging 25 cardio hours and 10 strength hours this month

So what do these goals look like?

First – Planning to succeed means Sunday Food Prep  *every* week in November – no excuses. I have no travel until December so this is a good time to focus on this! It also means planning my workouts and sticking to them. I am the QUEEN of lofty goals and poor execution. Queen.  Lastly it means sticking with a calorie plan/sleep plan each day. I have been great about eating my assigned calorie number….however I’m eating WAY too late at night and not getting nearly enough sleep. I am not just the queen of lofty plans but also of procrastination. So, I work until 5/6 most days and don’t get everything I need done because I’m chatting/spending time poorly on projects that don’t require the level of effort I’m putting in…then I go exercise for an hour, come home and have dinner around 7/7:30 (which is fine – except for what happens NEXT). Next I end up working 2-3 hours on things I should have finished during the day – then I have house things to do (dishes, lunch packing, picking out clothes) and of course I need to catch up on my favorite shows (“The Blacklist”, “Top Chef”, “Hostages” and “Criminal Minds”) which I do while munching on a snack….and pretty soon it is 12am/1am and I’m just THINKING about sleep. This means I end up in bed and actually asleep by 2am – then up at 6:30/7 to start my day. It’s not working. I’m tired, I’m cranky and frankly I’m plateauing in my weight-loss when I should be excelling. How can I fix this?

A few thoughts;

Plan breakfast options, lunch options and make them easy to grab before work (overnight oats, Samantha salads, leftovers – whatever!).

During work – limit “chatting” to 15 mins and include a walk or water break – sometimes these visits are project related so they are beneficial, they just need to be structured.

Finish as much of work AT work as possible – take home needs to be minimal. If I could prioritize my day better I KNOW I could do this.

At dinner – include more protein and more water so I feel more full. I’m a big veggie fan so I have that covered!

After dinner – No snacking after 8:30/9pm. One hour after dinner. Brush my teeth and be DONE.

Set a bedtime alarm. I used to do this….then I stopped. New bedtime alarm will be for 11:11 (my favorite number) – by this time I need to have my teeth brushed and be wrapping up whatever I’m doing to be in bed by 11:30.

These all seem doable right? You guys do these things without thinking about them I bet! 🙂

Now for the second goal:Reach 35 hours of logged exercise by November 30th!

I’ve been slipping slowly into the cold weather slump. Gotta snap outta it  ASAP! How can I hit the magic 35? Let’s add it up:

Sunday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio (class with Stef)

Monday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio (class with Stef)

Tuesday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio + barre class – 1 hour of strength (classes with Danielle)

Wednesday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio (class with Kerri) or Legs class – 1 hour of strength (class with Ali)

Thursday: Zumba – 1 hr cardio + 1 hour Pilates (at home workouts)

Friday: Zumba or Piloxing or Pound – 1 hr cardio (at home or at Studio Poise workouts – TBD)

Saturday: Circuits – 1 hour of strength OR Zumba Toning  – 30 mins cardio/30 mins strength (at YMCA or at Studio Poise workouts – TBD)

This roughly gives me 28 hours of cardio and 8 hours of strengthening this month – that ROCKS!

It’s lofty – I’m not going to lie — it leaves 0 “slack” days….but here’s what I know about myself: When I start my week with Zumba I feel awesome and I am MUCH more likely to stick to workouts for the rest of the week.  When I slack on my weekends I feel awful  for the week and stiff as a board – and I end up off-track all week. So, go big or go home!

So there you have it – my two detailed goals for November – wish me luck!!

I always say I want to try a ToneItUp or Blogilates calendar challenge – but I always end up traveling during the month and then I’m all thrown off! Maybe in 2014 that will be a goal.

What are you tackling this month??

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A Lesson in Overcoming Betrayal….


My freshman year of high school I joined the school newspaper. I loved writing and I thought it would be a great outlet to hone my skills and train me for my future career as a contributing editor of Rolling Stone (funny how things turns out eh?). I was fortunate enough to work under an amazing student adviser and an equally amazing editor who pushed me to dig deeper in my stories (thank you Katie Ehresman + Dave Morrissey!) and they taught me not to just write fluff pieces (as fun as those are) – find the emotion in the story, marry it with facts and give the writers a perspective they may not have considered. I wrote some pieces during high school that I’m still proud of to this day. I would come home from school fired up about something (silly administration policies, nonsense events getting more publicity than plays, musicals or just normal teenage angst etc.) announce to my mom I was “Going to write an article!” and march right to the family room to furiously type  my next masterpiece. I was unphased by challenging authority. I didn’t care if I wasn’t popular (and I wasn’t) I had friends but I didn’t need to fit in – I wasn’t someone who jumped on bandwagons (I usually boycotted them!).  I spoke my mind and often times I was able to connect with someone I wouldn’t have imagined I’d reach just based on my words. I had gusto – and I wasn’t afraid to use it.

I’ve been sitting here for hours trying to channel that girl.

I’ve been wronged, I’ve been deceived and dammit I want to share it! I want to tell the whole world all the awful things someone I trusted has done and said about me. I want to tell you how betrayed I feel for entrusting my weight-loss and my health to them only to be ridiculed behind my back.

Be-careful-who-you-trust

Alas, sometimes being an adult means taking a terrible experience, using it to measure future interactions against and putting the person who has wronged you and the circumstances surrounding it behind you. So rather than share my pain and humiliation with you I will instead give you the top 5 new life lessons I’ve acquired over the last few weeks along with some perfectly paired quotes:

1.Confucius once said: “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth”. When multiple sources report the same story chances are it’s true even if you don’t want to believe it at the time…..

betrayl

2. If something feels wrong – it probably is. I am terrible at trusting my intuition and often times I change my mind on someone I initially did not like. Trust your gut, it knows more than you think!

trust

3. Tomorrow you’ll have to live with the words you said today – make sure you’d be proud of that

choose

4.  Karma – it’s everywhere you want to be….

karma 1

5. “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Let it go”.

hot coal

There you have it – new mantras to live by.

Be careful who you trust – be careful who you share your dreams with…not everyone touting health and fitness has your best interest at heart or wants you to succeed.

A few friends have told me I need to stop being so “glass half full/benefit of the doubt/rose-colored glasses” …eh, I can see where being this way gets me hurt more often – but it also means I’m usually happier and I’ll take happy any day. Onward and upward!

rearview mirror

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Whole Lotta Veggies….and May Challenges


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!!!!

So gluten-free, veggie heavy diet plus lots of Zumba and cardio (more about my new favorite cardio in the next post!) = Awesome track for getting myself slimmed down!!
Wish me luck – I feel like I’ve finally got a secret formula down for success – I’m looking forward to having a healthy summer!
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Shifting Focus, New Blog!


It’s been a month since I’ve posted. I’ve had a million things to say, but none of them felt right for this blog. I went on a great vacation, I did some soul-searching, I figured out some key elements from my life that need to be incorporated somewhere but none of those things fit neatly into the category of Sparkly and Slimming. I love this blog and it has served me well in the last 2.5 years. I’ve lost weight, gained friends and truly had an outlet to vent/celebrate all things related to weight-loss.

But, I’m starting to think I need something else. I still have things to say, I am still pursuing weight-loss goals – but I don’t always want to talk about that. Right now for example I REALLY want to talk about happiness, the pursuit of happiness and how I think I can make myself more happy in the next year after reading this fantastic novel “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.

So, I am shifting focus away and starting a new blog – a She Is Sparkling blog if you will – one where I can blog about anything and everything without limiting myself to one or two topics. I’ll probably bounce between them eventually but for now you’ll find all my non-weight related banter over there. 🙂

Link to my first post: http://sheissparkling.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/new-blog-new-projects-new-goals-hello/

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Is Weight-loss an Accomplishment?


I follow a lot of weight-loss / healthy blogs –  some have amazing tips and give me warm fuzzies, some get me fired up and thinking. Recently someone posted a negative comment they received about fat people getting praise when people who have maintained a healthy weight their whole life never get accolades. The commenter said she was sick of seeing fat people get praised of overeating then undoing their mess.  Of course, people went rabid like Justin Bieber fans at a free concert in Time Squares. Insults were hurled, angry faces were thrown, swear words exchanged etc. etc.

I sat back (for once) and pondered this. Do we (“society”) praise people for unfucking their lives? We do! There are TV shows dedicated to losing fat, giving up additions (“Addiction”) or getting over a failure (or failures) ala “Fix My Life”. There are magazines and news specials all about transformations. We are obsessed with success stories, we thrive on progress and we live for triumphs over adversity. Right? So then how do people on the other side of the coin feel? Should we in fact be celebrating people who have kept it together all along?

awesome

This graphic made me laugh out loud, I had to use it!

 

Weight-loss is a perfect platform for this argument. I was once 450 pounds. I got there 100% of my own accord (special shout out to food for being my once BFF and main accomplice). I am now coming out of the downward spiral with exercise, healthy food options and lots of support from friends and family. Is my struggle “worse” or somehow more tragic because it was of my own making? No. Are my accomplishments somehow more impressive because of my size? Nope. So why then do I get so much praise from the folks around me for getting my butt to the gym or fitting into smaller jeans? I’m guessing it’s because the people in my circle – my community want to see me succeed. Sometimes I feel like a sham – I write a weight-loss blog for 2.5 years and yet I am not at my goal weight – how the hell is that possible?! I’m still struggling. But, maybe that’s the beauty of it. I have flaws (loves cupcakes, hates to cook), I fall down – I make mistakes – hell I straight up give up sometimes! But, I always get back on the proverbial horse and try again. I am resilient (I wasn’t always) and I share those struggles with the world. This blog is a lot about my success but even more about my real-life on-going struggles with my weight and my choices.

All that said I can’t help but wondering (in a very Carrie Bradshaw sorta way) – should “normal” people be getting the accolades for getting up every day and just being awesome? Shouldn’t those folks that have never strayed more than a few pounds from their ideal weight be saluted and revered more than those of us that slip up (time and time again) only to (someday hopefully) reach success?

Are you more drawn towards success after immense failure or status quo awesomeness?

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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…..it’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!

TWSS? Ha.

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!

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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!

XO

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Negativity, next steps and “now”….


First and foremost thank you all so much for the comments, emails and love after my mini-meltdown last week. It really means a lot to me to have so many wonderful people in my life (and in my corner) who support me and want to see me succeed! You guys are the best!

Second,  I feel compelled to say this because I think my frustration with my body and my weight was taken out of context by some. I love barre n9ne – but I am not sponsored by them nor am I affiliated with them in any role other than as a paying client. I buy classes or challenge packs just like everyone else who attends. When I say I’m upset that I’m coming 5 times a week and not seeing a difference I am NOT saying “barre doesn’t work”.  It is a great form of exercise with great people, otherwise I wouldn’t patronize it. That said, I cannot give it or anything sole credit for my failure or success. At the end of the day I am responsible for my body. My food intake, my steps, my exercise are all dependent on me and my level of effort at that given moment. I’ve hit a plateau and barre isn’t “to blame”. I hope that’s clear. I will still be enjoying barre workouts at barre n9ne as a tool during this journey, I will just be supplementing it with some tweaks (see below).

Moving on I have accepted where I am (which I think is one of the hardest parts of this whole journey – accepting your state of mind/body at a moment in time…. especially when it’s not where you wanted to be or thought you’d be). Being jealous of people around me isn’t going to get me where I need to be. Neither is dwelling. Lying to myself only placate my mind, it doesn’t help my body or my spirit.

As Baz Lurhmann once said:

Don’t waste your time on jealousy;
Sometimes you’re ahead,
Sometimes You’re behind.
The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

In the end I am only accountable to myself and only I have to live with myself and my decisions. If I did give up I would disappoint a bunch of you – but I would devastate me. I didn’t come this far only to turn back now. I’m gotten over the hardest part! I lost my first 100 pounds, I’ve changed my lifestyle – now I just need to tweak in order to keep moving in the right direction. Fall down 7 times, get up eight.

So what is my new plan?

4 times a week: barre classes (3 classes of either TFFR, method, barre fusion or cardio and 1 class of legs/arms/mat fusion/lean and tone). I really want to pump up the barre. I think that will be where I see the most “bang for my buck” if you will.

2 days a week of circuit training + cardio at the gym. Once upon a time I had a personal trainer who advocated a 20 mins cardio, 20 min circuit, 20 min cardio set. I need to add that back in again.

2 days a week of pure cardio (trying ZUMBA! today with Stefanie!  ~ also lined up to try CrossFit and spinning. I’ll give anything that gets my heart rate up a go!)

I’m ready to kick it up. I know the next 30 days are going to be killer (especially with the aforementioned travel thrown in) but ya know what? That’s life! Life is never going to be this perfect linear progression. There will be hiccups and setbacks and changes, it’s not always going to work out as I plan.

Speaking of perfect, I wrote my last post and never even realized I used the word “perfect“. There is no such thing. My mom used to always joke “There was only one perfect person and they crucified him”. Region aside, NO ONE is perfect. I can’t expect that of myself. Not in work, not in fitness not in life. Life is not perfect.

I’m committed to kicking ass the next 30 days ~ so committed that I made myself a calendar inside Gmail with the aforementioned schedule.

In addition I will be eating my number + sticking to 10,000 steps a day. I sleep better and FEEL better when I get those steps in. Why stop a good thing!? I’m also excited  because for the next 30 days I have NO PAGER for work. Wooo! I will mot likely resume my responsibility in September – but this gives me a full 30 days to dedicate to myself after hours. I’m excited to see how it goes.

That’s where I am. Thank you all again for being real with me – for sharing your missteps and setbacks, it’s nice to know I’m not alone! 🙂

A good reminder:  You have to have a setback in order to have a comeback….otherwise you settle in your setback.

 

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