Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

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

Fitness Goals for 2014

As I said in my last post I am really trying out an unresolution – BE HAPPIER (because really I’m already a fairly happy person). However, I am setting some pretty specific fitness goals for myself – along with a few other goals. Do you make fitness goals for a new year? I really can’t remember if I did last year – but I know I had different priorities coming into 2013. I really wanted to be a runner – I’ve since decided running stresses me out, causes knee pain and is generally not enjoyable. If something doesn’t feel good – why do it? OK the one exception to that is the dentist – I never like the thoughts of sitting with my mouth opened for an hour while I get my teeth cleaned but I always feel amazing after. 😉

I work in Corporate America and we like to use the acronym “SMART” to describe goals – I figured the same principles apply to fitness goals so I kept those in mind when forming  my to-do list! What is a smart goal?

smart goal setting concept

Keeping that in mind – here are my 5 fitness goals for 2014!

1. Log 300 hours of Zumba (yes I realize this one is LOFTY). This means doing Zumba 6 days a week most weeks. Here’s the thing – if I was going to be a runner I would need 4-5 running days a week. I’m replacing those with Zumba and of course I made myself a cute calendar to track! Now of course I travel for work (and for fun). How am I going to accomplish this? Two ways – Zumba DVDs I bought ages ago and “THE ULTIMATE ZUMBA PLAYLIST” I just made in my iPod. It’s a collection of all my favorite Zumba songs from all 5 teachers I take from!

I love color-coding and I like organization. I know I'll be away next week so I'm already accounting for it and planning. Also, Thursday and Friday classes may switch depending on my work busyness!

I love color-coding and I like organization. I know I’ll be away next week so I’m already accounting for it and planning. Also, Thursday and Friday classes may switch depending on my work busyness!

Dying to see this kill mix of mine? Feast your eyes and ears on this! This is a combo of Stef, Kerri, Danielle and Ogechi songs! I don’t quite know Laura enough to know her music yet. 🙂

Zumba Mix

2. Try one new fitness DVD a month. Originally I said one per week but with my Zumba obsession that just won’t work. Haha. I have a ton DVDs I’ve stockpiled that I need to work through – I’m really looking forward to these two:


3. Complete 10 real push-ups by the fall! I can do the kind on bent knees but I want to do legit, straight out push-ups! Since you know I love a funny:

4. Hold a plank for 3 mins by December! I’ve done several plank a month challenges and I always fall apart at the 2 min mark. I want to hold a plank for 3 mins this year. 🙂

5. Jump rope by the summer. I used to LOVE doing this when i was little and I really want to get a jump rope now as an adult. Along the same lines I want to do legit jumping jacks – instead of the ghetto side step side things I do now. LOL. Of course, this cracked me up so I had to share:

jump rope

There you have my fitness goals for 2014! What are yours?

Have you ever considered making a fitness bucketlist? I saw this while searching for funny graphics and loved it!

Definitely a project for a rainy day. 🙂


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. 🙂

best of 2013

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.


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).


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!


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.


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!

TV shows

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. 🙂


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.


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


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!).


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 »


The Power of the Plan


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??


Zumba Obsession!

I fought it for years – I made excuses about why it wasn’t for me…..friends I was wrong. I am IN LOVE with Zumba! It took finding the right teacher and the right location but I am now one of those crazy people who counts down the hours to cardio class!! (I so wish I was joking). 🙂

2013-09-29 22.52.04
First, what is Zumba? It’s a Latin-inspired dance cardio class that draws from salsa, hip-hop, bellydance and uses music from everywhere. If you try only one new fitness adventure, make it Zumba. There are people of all ages, ethnicities, sizes and shapes SHAKING it. You can be a fabulous dancer or you can have two left feet and still get an amazing workout. Plus the music is so much fun the time literally flies. When’s the last time you thought an hour of sweating went by quickly?! Exactly!

Sidenote on the music: if you’ve seen “Rio” every, single song in it reminds me of Zumba. Especially the part where Blu says every song sounds like “Taco, taco, yah, yah, yah” (sooooo funny and so true!).

How did I become so obsessed? I recently gave up my gym membership in exchange for a YMCA membership…at first I thought the idea was crazy (gym = $25, YMCA = $50 a month)….but then I really did the math. YMCA includes unlimited classes (yoga, Pilates, TRX and ZUMBA!) plus a gym plus a pool. If I was to pay for 4 Zumba classes a week it’d be $30-40/week. So I get all that plus a gym with brand new equipment and no meatheads?! Yup, no brainer! The YMCA offers classes 4 times a week: Sunday and Monday classes are with the fabulous Stef Sweeney whom I just adore (more about her in a second)! Tuesdays are with Danielle and she is awesome and uses a disco ball in class! Disco Tuesday Zumba? You know you’re jealous! Wednesdays are with Kerri, the salsa queen and she is equally as fantastic. I’m so fortunate to have THREE fabulous teachers at my disposal! 🙂 2013-09-30 00.04.44

So what makes Stef so fabulous? She is one of my favorite barre teachers (her signature lean & tone is beyond kickass) and hosts one of my favorite blogs (Simply Fit) with advice worth hearing, excellent tips for staying active and motivation. So when my friend Layne conned me into coming to Zumba a while back she used Stef as the bait -smart girl! Not only is Stef one of the most fun and encouraging teachers I’ve ever met but she’s just a great person too. She cares about your progress, she goes out of her way to make sure you feel welcome and she extends that to you whole family. Yup, this past Sunday I convinced Derek to join me for Zumba!! Apparently the planets aligned, it was a full moon or maybe he was just sick of my relentless nagging (what good are sisters if not to nag?!) – either way he joined me. He died a little bit he sweat his butt off and he discovered why I’m so obsessed (it’s exhausting, you can be awful and still burn a ton of calories and no one is judging you!). He also remarked how fantastic Stefanie is. She makes you feel like part of the Zumba family, she’s 100% in it with you (I’ve never seen someone get so excited about Zumba before!) and she *never stops* – she’s like the energizer bunny! I’m psyched he joined me and looking forward to some sibling progress pictures soon! The Simply Fit lifestyle is extending to the family – love it!

2013-09-29 22.53.34

I really believe people are put into your path at the exact right time to change things up – Zumba and Stef came just as my work travel quieted down, my gym membership expired and my desire to amp up my cardio finally kicked in. I’m thankful for that perfect timing and thankful to have such wonderful, motivating people in my court. Thanks Stef!

So I’ve got a new schedule and it’s working quite nicely:  Zumba Sun – Weds,  circuits Thurs-Sat with one rest day sprinkled in for good measure. Hooray! After a monthish I’m already seeing changes in my body and my stamina – I can actually keep up without stopping in class! I’m sleeping better and noticing slimming in my stomach and my thighs. I can’t wait for October measurements/weigh in! If you’re in my area and up for a challenge come to a Zumba class with me, I promise you won’t regret it!


Ten Things to ponder for Tuesday

My friend Lauren posted this to Facebook yesterday and it just struck a chord with me. At one point in my life (not too long ago) I was doing all of these things. Now I would say my biggest problems are #1, #2 and #4. I have been making progress with  #1 thanks to the “Nice Girls Finish Fat” book – but it’s been tougher than I imagined!

What do you need to give up in order to move forward in life? Maybe it’s someone, maybe it’s something, maybe it’s the image of how things were supposed to be. One of my favorite song lines is from Matt Kearney’s “Annie” : “Maybe the hardest things are the dreams that we’ve been given”.  I love the line, but I can’t relate personally. My parents didn’t give me dreams – they pushed me to create my own. Now, I need to push myself to execute those dreams. I have been big time procrastinating lately, and it needs to stop.

My pal Jess blogged about not being able to relax – yeaaaa I have the opposite problem. I made a 12-point to do list this weekend and accomplished 1 thing. No lie. ONE! Insane. I need to get my butt in gear! Today is November 13th. I have 48 days until New Years and 78 days until I turn 31!  Time is slipping through my hands, while I sit on the couch relaxing. HELLO? Earth to Samantha? Let’s go!

So, in hopes of keeping myself accountable I have made a schedule for the next 3 weeks. Did I mention I have crazy (fun) travel coming up? I am in LA from Dec 3rd until Dec 15th for work visits and an upgrade. I’m excited because I have lots of LA friends to visit, lots of healthy food choices and a barre at my hotel gym! I’m nervous because I know myself and the temptation to drink every night and have dessert will be high. I need to keep up my gusto….which means I need to get my gusto going before I go. Capisce? 🙂

Here’s the plan from now until I leave. Color-coded (red = Danvers barre n9ne, purple = Andover bare n9ne, black = Zumba DVD). It might sound crazy but I am supposed to get 10,000 steps a day and Zumba accounts for 6,000. In my average day I get about 4,000 so I do hit my number, just not in the traditional fashion.

Now the challenge of “Can I stick to this?” sets in. I hope so! I do have pager, I do have friends in town but I can’t use those as excuses to fail! Write it down, make it happen!

Oh and Saturday if you’re looking for something fun to do come to Zumbathon hosted by my pal Stefanie Sweeney! She is the only Zumba instructor I like, and teaches one of my favorite barre classes (lean and tone). 🙂

You don’t have to be coordinated to have a good time (trust me)!

There we have my new mantras (let go, get moving, stop comparing) and my hopeful schedule. Please help me stick to it will ya? 🙂

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Eating On Zee Road

En route from Boston to Los Angeles last night I had a great convo about eating while traveling. I was sitting in the waiting area next to a man in his late thirties/early forties reading Runner’s Digest (or something to that effect). I had packed a ton of healthy snacks for the plane and I was munching while waiting to board. On the roster was hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt bars from Rickland Orchards (love these!), cocoa almonds and Healthy Bites. What are Healthy Bites? I got turned onto them by Jess and Jo a few weeks ago. They are little protein bites in AMAZING flavors that keep you full for only 50 calories a pop. I ordered pineapple rum, cookie dough and toffee PB. All three were super yummy. More deets here.

So I bust out my snacks and Mister Runners Digest inquires about my choices. I explain my MO when I travel is to try to stick to what I normally eat within reason.

If I fly out in the morning, I eat something small before I fly then I have “breakfast” on the plane. A bagel slim with cream cheese or peanut butter, a banana or some other fruit and a granola bar as a snack etc.

If I fly out in the afternoon I usually try to have lunch before I go. If it’s not possible I will pack a wrap or stop someplace with wraps (au bon pain for instance) where I can also get the nutritional value.

If I fly out in the evening, like I did yesterday I will opt for a late lunch + some planned snacks. I never like having a heavy meal before flying.

So, I’m sharing my Healthy Bites and chatting about traveling and eating and Mister RD says “Oh I eat total crap when I travel” and points to a bag from au bon pain with 3 different croissants. I can’t lie – for someone in such great shape I’m pretty shocked he’s eating that kind of stuff!

But, I can totally relate. Traveling used to be a free-for-all where I would eat anything I wanted and calories didn’t count. However, when I would get dressed on day 3 or 4 of the trip and felt like a bloated mess I knew I had made bad decisions. Now, I do a LOT of planning (and contingency planning).

Flight to LA is uneventful. I avoid snacks beyond those I brought (though I will say, JetBlue has great snack offerings compared to other airlines. Especially their snack boxes. For under 500 calories you get a lot of food! Beef Up and Shape Up are my two favorites). I never drink soda in air carbonation generally does not sit well with me, add in 35,000 feet and you have the recipe for a stomach ache. Oh same goes for alcohol. I never drink and fly.

I get my luggage, get on the bus to get my rental car and suddenly I am bowled over by hunger. I do a quick tally in My Fitness Pal and I am under my goal by 400 calories. That explains the hunger pains! I get my rental car and quickly assess my options: 1. Stop someplace en route to the hotel to get a snack (though this will likely be fast food which I am very against). 2. Suck it up and drink water. 3. Wait until I reach the hotel and order room service.

I opted for door #3. I was thinking “If you’re really still hungry once we get there – then we’ll address it”.

I arrived at my favorite hotel, Hotel Palomar (its super cute inside, conveniently located to everywhere I have to be and best of all I love their restaurant!) and guess what? I’m still famished. The overnight menu is small,  but has some good choices including a cheddar/egg white omelet with arugula. I opted for that, ate about 3/4 of it and promptly fell asleep. 🙂

This morning I was excited for room service (be honest, it’s the best part of traveling!) and even more excited to see they had chilaquiles (Mexican tortilla strips baked with spices and peppers, topped with an egg over easy). 450 calories and AMAZING. Not to mention “stick to your ribs” hearty. I think that’s important in a breakfast – it needs to last you until whenever you eat next because snacking may not be an option.

I’m heading onsite to see my clients now and I know we will do 1 of 4 places for lunch. Luckily all have really healthy options. After the site visit I am hitting up the hotel gym and doing a 30 min Zumba workout. Did I mention I bought this? Love it!

Then tonight I’m seeing Rachel and Kelly (two gals I used to work with, both sweethearts) for dinner at a wine/tapas place I’ve been to before with Rach. They have lots of options, some healthy and some a splurge. All in all I know I rocked today and will start preparing for tomorrow’s adventures!

What tips do you guys ave for traveling? How do you adjust to time differences and eating?

P.S. – My flight from Boston departed at 7:22 so I got to watch the sunset all the way across the country as I reached LA. Pretty freaking cool! I snuck a shot with my camera phone. Please don’t tell TSA!



Just Breathe.

Sometimes life is so overwhelming that you log in 17 times to blog and all you come up with is:






Yup, that’s it.

I’m crazy right now – with emails and phone calls flying at me from all angles. I have deadlines looming and friends I haven’t called in so long it’s not funny and trips I need to book. But overall, I need to stop for a second and BREATHE.

So work is nuts (but honestly when is it not???). I’ve got a bazillion projects floating around me ~ I need to start implementing the to-do list to keep track of what’s next!

I’ve been rocking my food intake – sticking to my number like glue while still having the occasion amazing treat (currently in the roster: Talenti gelato. OMG a little goes a LONG way and it is DELICIOUS!). Best of all it’s made with real ingredients that you can pronounce!

I’ve been rocking my exercise (hello Zumba, I love you! hello barre, I love you too!). I have a lot of travel coming up and my priority has been finding a hotel with a good gym + finding things I can take with me to spice up my workouts. I’m heading to LA next week and I’m bringing Zumba DVDs and a barre DVD. Nothing competes with a class ~ but doing *something* is better than doing *nothing*.

Sleep? Yeah well, that’s not happening much these days. I need to disconnect. I need to turn my brain off. I need to find my sound machine – that seemed to help last time I wasn’t deprived of Z’s!

Most of all – I need to breathe.

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Mumbo #5 Monday!

This morning I have this song stuck in my head and I swear it makes me want to Zumba! It was the catchiest freaking song back in 1999! (Sidenote: I was always sad he didn’t say Samantha in his little homage to the ladies!).

So last Monday I went with my friend Layne to Stefanie’s Zumba class and I LOVED it! Holy tomato it was hard!! (thank you Julianna for that cute phrase!). I literally was a WRECK when I left – but it was great! I found out my gym offers Zumba 4 nights a week so I’ve arranged this week’s schedule to add in some of those classes. I needed a cardio I liked doing and I think I FINALLY found it. An hour on the dreadmill is just that, DREADful. An hour of Zumba literally flies by! I had considered this back in my bellydance days and I thought it wouldn’t be up my alley. Now my goals and preferences have changed. I need something sweaty and fast-paced ~ Zumba fulfills that need.

Wanna come Zumba with Stefanie? barre n9ne is hosting a Zumba dance party on September 07, 2012 @ 6:30pm. Register here:

So how did my last week go? I was in NYC from Tues-Fri. I was emailing with FitBit tech support Friday because my 67 total blocks (5.3 miles!!)  of walking WERE NOT REGISTERED on my device!!! Booo! But, I did it. I wore my old school pedometer and I walked my butt off AND I went to the fancy gym at my hotel to get a little impromptu 55 min circuit in before work one morning. I was proud of my food choices – but disappointed in the number of cocktails I drank. That’s not me. I’m not someone who drinks every night….and I drank Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! Granted I counted those calories (thank you Jess + Jo for calories on wine/shots – I saved that post in my phone). White wine = 150 cals a glass. Tanqueray and tonic w/ lime also = 150 calories. But, I need to remember that just because I’m traveling doesn’t mean I can go off my normal program.

I realized during this trip that I am NOT a city mouse. I like the city….but I am a country mouse at heart. I like trees. I like driving. I like fresh air and open spaces. NYC doesn’t have any of those.

Sunday morning I decided to try barre n9ne cardio w/ my fabulous friend Stasia. Holy TOMTATO ~ it was brutal. I sweat through my clothes + my hair was drenched. I’d call that a success! FitBit (still acting a fool and not displaying correctly unless synced) says I burned 1400 calories and got 4200 steps. SCORE!

This morning I faltered – I set 3 alarms and still managed to sleep until 6:45 – missing barre method. Alas, I had a backup plan. Tonight I will do Zumba @ the gym + a 30 min circuit set with light weights. It’s not the same, but I will still get a good calorie burn. Tomorrow I will do barre fusion in the evening. Wednesday is Zumba + circuits. Thursday is barre method with Jo (and Jess!) and Friday is TFFR and cardio sweat-fest at night. BAM!

I feel like I’m back. I have a plan for the week ~ I have some back-up options built-in just in case….I’m on point. I will kick August’s ass!


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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