Still Going Strong

I’ve made it to the end of the week and I’m still going strong. This has been the longest streak I’ve had in months. Not a single slip-up.

My “cheat day” this week was having carbs after 3. Not too shabby considering this time last week I was living on a diet that consisted, primarily, of different varieties of donuts.

I’m now two sessions in with our personal trainer and it really seems to be the kick in the pants I needed. I’ve really enjoyed the structure and the fact that I don’t really have to put thought into it at all, just the physical effort. Having someone tell me exactly what to do and how to do it has made a HUGE difference.

A lot of my issues with working out have been related to my anxiety about either A) getting injured again or B) not actually working hard enough to burn anything off. Fortunately, my trainer takes care of all that for me! While I certainly don’t expect to use him long term, it’s really helped me to feel “safe” about pushing my workouts again.

Plus, it also helps that his gym is a pretty stellar place to work out.


*From BodyQuest website


*From BodyQuest website

Food has also been on point this week. I made sure to make, at least, one dinner I could warm up on evenings when we had several errands to run. This week I decided on another amazing recipe from the Skinnytaste website.


*From Skinnytaste website

The only modification I made was using bacon instead of the ham steak. While I’m aware it increased the calorie count, the bacon was already in my fridge and I was more concerned about carb content than calories anyway. It was sooooooo delicious! I had it for dinner several nights, but it would be perfect for any meal – especially a dish for a group breakfast/brunch. Next time I plan to cut the recipe in half since there’s no way I can finish a whole 9*13 dish.

Tomorrow I’m making her Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole to take for lunch this week. It’s grown to be one of my favorite meals! Even Cliff got in on the food prep action today and made a large batch of tuna salad and lots of extra hard-boiled eggs to snack on through the week.

We just set up our official home offices (I start working from home one day a week soon so we decided to set up legit work spaces) so it’s time to say farewell and nerd out until I can’t keep my eyes open.

Ready to see what Week 2 brings!

Embracing the Gray

All you need to know about the last 6 months is that I:

• Finished my Bachelor’s degree
• Had an amazing birthday surprise celebration
• Saw an NFL game on Thanksgiving Day
• Went to a SUPER fancy wedding
• Played laser tag for the first time
• Hosted a baby shower for one of my best friends
• Went to 3 concerts and saw countless shows including an evening with Ira Glass!
• Really got into board games
• Rang in 2017 on the beach where we got married
• Gained 30 pounds
• Hired a personal trainer (see above)

Most of you know that the past 18 months have been filled with a lot of ups and downs for the hubby and me. Injuries, IVF complications, health issues, all on top of working and going to school full time. While I’m definitely on the upswing, there’s a lot that’s still raw.

Like being 25 pounds heavier than I was two years ago at this time.

It’s still very hard for me to focus on the amount of weight I’ve kept off versus the weight I’ve put back on. While I know it’s important to cut myself some slack, I feel like (lately, at least) I’ve cut myself WAY too much. At some point, I got comfortable with 190…then 200…then 215.

Then I woke up one day at 225 and I wasn’t so comfortable anymore.

For months I told myself I would “Get my shit together on Monday.”

I lost count of how many Mondays came and went and I had yet to follow through with a single plan. Working out no longer had any appeal (except the week we rode our bikes in Florida for vacation, more on that later). I had zero willpower and felt like I ate everything in sight. The only habit I managed to get back into was logging my calories in My Fitness Pal – no matter how terrible the day might be.

And there were A LOT of terrible days over the past couple of months.

Finally, on January 10th I said those magic three words out loud:
“I need help.”

Even though I knew what I was supposed to do, I just couldn’t seem to make myself follow through with anything.

It’s been a week since I sent that text to a long-time friend of mine who has been detrimental in my weight loss journey. As usual, she helped to remind me that I’m not alone in this struggle and this journey is anything but linear.

Cliff and I have now committed to 3 months of no restaurants (one exception being our annual trip to Nashville for Valentine’s Day), no alcohol, and no soda. (That alcohol one might get scratched altogether 😉

I also bit the bullet and hired a personal trainer and had my first session yesterday!

I was terrified I wouldn’t even make it through the first 10 minutes, but I surprised myself (and my trainer) and made it through the ENTIRE workout without a single extra break.

Needless to say, sitting down today as been…interesting.

Unfortunately, I didn’t grab a picture of his studio, but it’s amazing! Next time I’ll be sure to snap a few to share. It’s a really nice setup and I felt like such a badass working with him.

I’m both dreading and looking forward to my next session tomorrow.

Right now, I’m just trying to focus on balance. Understanding that everyday isn’t going to be perfect, but everyday isn’t going to be terrible either. I’ve always lived very much in the black and white; however, I’m trying really hard to embrace the gray.

And now, because it wouldn’t be the same without it, here are some random pictures from my life over the past 6 months.

The view from our hotel room in Ormond Beach for New Years.

The annual birthday tradition of going to Build-a-Bear.

Super fancy digs for a super fancy wedding. #MaynardPartyof2

Thanksgiving Day game – Lions vs. Vikings.

5 Ways to Maintain Weight Loss During Stressful Times

Well, today marks one year since we lost 500 pounds (180 for me and 320 for Cliff) according to My Fitness Pal…who will no longer allow me to export my weight loss data without paying them money, so you’ll just have to take my word for it).


Does it count as maintenance even if you haven’t met your goal weight?

Meh, I’m going to go with yes because it just feels much better to say “We’ve lost (and kept off) 500 pounds” rather than “We still have about 100 pounds before we hit our goal.”

Silver lining and all that.  😉

We’ve certainly gained and lost over the past year, but to realize that we’ve kept off 500 pounds for an ENTIRE YEAR was pretty terrific.

And this wasn’t just any year…

This was a TERRIBLE year.  Just awful.  Really.

  • Our fertility specialist put me on thyroid medication (only because my levels were too high for IVF, not high in general).
  • On vacation (last August) I got sun poisoning which resulted in TWO rounds of steroids.
  • I completed two rounds of physical therapy and several scans on my leg (which turned out NOT to be a torn meniscus as initially thought) that showed a plethora of other pulls and strains and just a touch of bursitis in my hip.
  • <insert other random anxiety inducing life events here>

All of these…let’s call them “life lessons”…caused almost constant urges to binge.  Upset about bad news?  Let’s eat!  Happy about good news?  Let’s eat!

The medication certainly didn’t help things.

There were weeks where I just watched the scale creep up and up and it seemed like there was nothing I could do about it.

I would love to tell you that I stayed strong 100% of the time.

That I didn’t have a single large fudge-filled Snickers and Oreo Blizzard…or 4.

That I kept my diet full of healthy food and did upper body work while my legs healed.

But that would make me a liar.  Well, mostly a liar.

At least it seems as if I managed to make more good decisions than bad ones on some level.  I wasn’t able to keep off 190 pounds, but I’ll take 180 any day of the week.

So, here’s the $64,000 question.

HOW did I keep off the weight through it all?

1.  Trust the system.  It’s working.  Even when it seems like it isn’t.

There will always be weeks where you work the hardest you’ve ever worked, then step on the scale fully expecting to have lost 23 pounds (at least!) only to see you gained 2.


After you’ve smashed the scale to bits with whatever hard, inanimate object you can find, take a deep breath and accept that you did all the right things. There are many more changes happening in a healthy body than just the number on a scale or inches on a tape measure.

Plus, your weight fluctuates more than the stock market.

2.  Take time for yourself. Single. Day.

Even if it’s just 10 minutes to breathe and reflect.  Do it.  It helps.  Over the course of the past year I’ve learned much more about breathing and meditation than I ever thought possible.

Two words.

Square breathing.  (thanks Erin!)

3.  Stay out of restaurants as much as possible.

Most of you are familiar with our many, many restaurant challenges . One thing they have taught me (other than people spend WAY too much money in restaurants) is that they’re a huge binge trigger as well as the start down a slippery slope of bad eating and no exercise.

Not to mention the ridiculous amount of sodium in each meal.   Talk about weight fluctuations!  (See #1)

Even though it seems like a time saver, it really isn’t when you’re trying to get (or stay) healthy.   Take a “healthy” piece of pizza for example:

2F5DCFD200000578-3359403-image-m-45_1450104237003Try to ignore how much longer it takes women to burn it off than men.  I know it’s hard.

Instead of adding that extra 71 minutes into your workout routine in hopes of burning it all off – try skipping the pizza and putting an hour into meal prep.  You’re going to be spending the time either way right?  May as well front load the convenience and let your future-self (and tummy) thank you for it.

In that same 71 minutes you could:

  • Prep a ton of fruit and veggies for the week
  • Make a one pot meal (this Cajun Chicken Pasta is amazing!) and split it up for lunch each day
  • Make smoothie bags
  • Freeze waffles (from box mix! The trick is to toast them rather than use oil/butter for maximum crispiness)

4.  Build a support network by reaching out to others (both virtually and in daily interactions). 

A friend recently taught me a very valuable lesson.

I am not special.

I know, without context, that sounds really bad, but it was truly an eye-opening conversation that I’m sure will help me for the rest of my life.  When I say I am not special, it doesn’t mean that I’m not unique or that I’m not important, it simply means that I am, almost certainly, not the first (or only) person going through hard times.

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful, loving husband who is a constant inspiration to me.  He’s my number one fan and vice versa.  I have also built a solid support base through friends and other bloggers and health nuts I’ve met online.

If you don’t have those kinds of people in your life, find them.

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There are also two women that have, unknowingly, helped to change my life.  Janae at Hungry Runner Girl and Katie with Runs for Cookies.  These ladies never shy away from sharing the hard stuff.  They remind me that we all stumble, we all cry, and we all go through times in our life that are just downright rude.

But, even more importantly, they remind me that I am the only one with the power to decide how my story ends. 

Thank you ladies, from the bottom of my heart.

If you aren’t familiar with their blogs, change that right now.

5.  Try something new…but try to keep it health/fitness focused.

This could be a new recipe, a new workout, a new city.  Anything your heart desires, as long as it centers on something that is good for your health.

  • Pick a new recipe from one of the websites above and make a date night out of it (or have the whole family pitch in).
  • Try out a site like Fitness Blender or Yoga with Adriene
  • Rent bikes in your hometown and pretend like you’re a tourist (or do the same in a city close by)
  • Plan a healthy picnic in a park with lots of trails to explore
  • Try Geocaching!

Do whatever it takes to make the event fun as well as healthy.  Not only is this great for your waistline but it does amazing things for anxiety levels.

Personally, I’m partial to anything involving a bike ride.


Bonus tip – Give it 5 minutes

The first place I slack when I’m stressed is exercise.  “I don’t have time!”  “I’m exhausted!”  “I’m just too mentally drained!”

While this may all be true, the only way to guarantee that you’ll stay that way is by not even trying to get off your ass.

Promise yourself 5 minutes.  Start working out for just 5 minutes.  If you want to quit at the end of five minutes, fine; however, I have found that just getting started is the hard part.  Staying with it is much easier.


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