Category Archives: Diet

Kicking Off Gluten Free Month

Kicking Off Gluten Free Month

Today we began “Gluten Free Month” at mi casa. It’s nothing dramatically new for me; I’ve been largely wheat-free for a couple of years now, excepting breading on chicken nuggets (yum!) and the hidden wheat in some other products.

This time, though, I’m taking the whole family with me on the journey. The idea started a few years ago when I noticed a red rash on my daughter’s arms and back. It just never seemed to go away. The pediatrician wasn’t at all worried about it, but I could not bring myself to equate “persistent red bumps” with “healthy skin.”

IMG_3006[1]     img_30071.jpg

So I started thinking about it, and I realized I needed to give her a full month to “detox” the wheat out of her system and see how she reacted. She didn’t want to. She flat out didn’t want to know that wheat might be hurting her because she loves all things wheat. She told me she would rather not know and that the bumps really didn’t bother her, so why should they bother me? Typical teenager.

So I sweetened the deal. “If you do a month without wheat, a gluten free month, I will pay for the acting camp you want to go to.”

Signed, sealed, and delivered. I had a convert.

Now I just needed to get the other two family members on board.

My other daughter was very much of the “What’s in it for me?” mindset. I don’t blame her. Her sister was getting $150 worth of fun for one month of change. I got her to agree to do it with us, but I still need to come up with a reward for solidarity.

My husband looked at me, looked down at the table, looked at me, and said, “Okay.” But behind his eyes, his thoughts were racing. I knew better than to ask in front of the girls. After they’d gone off to get dressed, he said, “Ok, I’ll be gluten free at home, but you know I love bread. I’m not promising to stick to this while I’m at work.”

That, I assured him, would be fine. All I needed was solidarity in front of the kids. He’s a grown-up. He can make his own decisions. I just didn’t want to have the food around the house that would be tempting to a wheat-starving teenager.

Then came the de-wheat-ifying the pantry and refrigerator. We pretty much had a wheat bonanza this past week, trying to eat up and get rid of all the wheat foods. The biggest culprits were crackers, Pop Tarts, pasta, Girl Scout cookies, and breakfast cereal. I took anything unopened and packed it away out of sight. I tried to share all of the opened items among friends and family. Yesterday, I dumped everything open on the table and told the teenagers to eat anything they wanted from that pile. I know that gorging on wheat the day before will make it take longer to get it out of her system, but it was also a symbolic “going away” party. It showed her what items are going to be literally off the table for the next month and allowed her to satiate any last desire to eat them.

Yesterday, we went to wander through Wal-Mart, an infrequent shopping trip for us, and I snagged a box of Hungry Jack gluten free “funfetti” pancake mix, on the premise that it would be easier to get teenager buy-in to this month if I did go a little out of my way to replace familiar products with alternative versions.

When the kids were ready for breakfast today, they thought this stuff smelled AMAZING. They were actually excited to try it. Now, for those of you cooking it for the first time, it’s going to need a little finessing. It doesn’t cook as quickly through the middle as the pancakes you’re used to making from wheat flour mixes. However, it does cook quickly on each side, so you need to reduce your heat and cook longer to get it cooked all the way through.

The taste was good, the texture was a little grainy, but overall, it was a win. My husband even remarked that when he was done with his test pancake, he went searching for the second (nonexistant) pancake and was disappointed when there weren’t any more.

We played board games and relaxed until lunch time (it was a lazy Saturday, after all), and then I opened up the new-to-me George Foreman Grill my friend had sent my way. I had some chicken that needed to be used up, so onto the grill it went.


Then came the “Oh, crap!” moment when I realized I hadn’t made any vegetables, and the chicken was nearly done. Off to the refrigerator I went, quickly picking out the ones my kids would likely eat raw: shredded carrots and sliced cucumbers. I then called on one of my kids to whip up some minute rice while I was otherwise occupied cranking open a can of green beans. Minute Rice had become their favorite guilty pleasure. Again, easing into the month was my goal. So this is what I presented to the teenager to eat for lunch: Prefectly grilled chicken breast, green beans, shredded carrot, sliced cucumber, and a bowl of rice.


How’d it go over? Yep, you guessed it. Teenage outrage. “WHY did you have to give me so much FOOD?” And, “I can’t eat this much CHICKEN!” I love teenager logic.

If it had been chicken nuggets, she could’ve devoured an entire plate full.

If it had been 700 calories in cheese pizza from Costco, there would be no problem.

But a meal weighing in at around 300 calories, rather well balanced in its macronutrients AND vitamins? Oh, that’s too much.

Anyhow, it eventually got eaten. She didn’t die from an overdose of vegetables.

My husband was awesome when he went to the store today to get some things he needed; he picked up a loaf of gluten-free bread that looked appealing to him.

Tonight, my teen will have her first self-control trial. She got invited over to a friend’s house to go swimming right around dinner time. I let the friend know that she was going gluten-free, and I told her we would send some food with to make it easier on everyone.

Day 1 is almost in the books. Everyone is grudgingly on board.




I weighed in this week, and I am disappointed with myself and discouraged. I was up a pound. I know in the grand scheme of things that a pound isn’t the end of the world, but I just am angry with myself that I didn’t do better. I just didn’t keep up with what I knew I should be doing. Now I can tell myself little white lies to protect my ego, but the reality is that I just didn’t adhere to a plan strictly enough to see any positive progress. I can tell myself that it’s stress or something, but the truth is still there: I didn’t keep myself from snacking at night, and I sure as hell went on a binge after the funeral.

But it just depresses me to think that I have so little will power on a lasting basis that I can make the significant changes I want in my life.

So what will do it? What will galvanize me into making the changes I want to see?

I just don’t know.

Perhaps this week’s disappointment will do it. Maybe the fact that I backslid will convince me to be more diligent.

The problem is that, for me, it’s an every single day commitment. If I do go off track, it takes me so long to get back on target.

And I keep second-guessing myself: What if I went to the gym more? What if I didn’t eat that extra protein bar? What if I did different exercises? What if I had eaten something different for lunch? Drunk more water? Drunk less coffee? Not used butter? Not eaten onions? Gotten more sleep? Gotten less sleep but been more physically active? Stressed less?

Well, back to square one.


Get on track with the Slim4Ever plan. Drink more water. Do something every morning and evening. Do a little work out throughout the day.

I’ll keep you posted as to how that works and how much will power I have.

Pulling Through


This morning was one of those days when I had to pull myself through.

My first alarm went off, and I figured out not only how to shut it off, but how to completely disable it without waking up. I spent the next half of an hour in a grumpy slumber, trying to convince myself that I really wanted to follow through with my promise to myself to cycle on Wednesday mornings. And then my second alarm went off. And I snoozed it.

Eventually, I dragged my carcass out of bed and to the gym, running a few minutes late, but still hitting the warm-up phase of the class. I had a piss-poor attitude about the cold, about the idea of sweating, and about cycling.

Then about 20 minutes in, I actually started to enjoy myself. And a few seconds later, I started counting down the time until I could reasonably leave. I had promised myself 30 minutes. I got 35. On my way out, I did a weight check, and I was continuing my downward trend, so that was smile-worthy.

When I got home, it was as though I was struggling through molasses to get myself put together for the day. I was sweaty, I needed coffee and breakfast, and I was trying to help my fourth grader finish the rest of her math homework – without having her cry.

I was only five minutes late to work – or so. No one was beating down the door to get to me, so I counted it as a win.

Probably the best thing that happened all morning was a great conversation with my bestie while I was insanely productive at work.

I stole a couple of minutes to type up my monthly menu – my attempt to get on top of grocery spending, ensure reduced food spoilage, intelligently use resources, and plan healthy meals for my entire family that DO NOT require me cooking a separate meal for me and for them. We are on day 3 of the menu, and the first two nights went better than expected. Of course my kids knew I was systematically trying to poison them, but they gave in and ate… reluctantly.

Monday was pork tenderloin, butternut squash, and broccoli. Fortunately, it made enough that I have lunches for me covered for the week. Last night was turkey “steak,” Asian-inspired cabbage slaw, shredded carrots, and cucumber slices. Tonight should be oven-baked chicken with bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles. Thursday nights are my nights to rebel against cooking, so I put “Breakfast for Dinner” on the menu, hoping someone will step up and do the honors. Or the horrors.

The really good part about today was how my body felt. I felt energetic, and my stomach wasn’t bloated or rumbly. Last night I caved and made these “no added sugar” cookies. It was almost cheating because they contained bananas, applesauce, cranberries, and chocolate chips. You want to talk sugar? But at least it didn’t call for a cup of sugar or honey or any other added sweetener. Anyhow, I kind of went crazy eating these wonderful warm gooey bits of heaven, and I probably need to (a) not make them again unless I have people with whom to share them (b) reduce the recipe to have fewer cookies. But, oh, they were good, and my body didn’t rebel against them. In fact, it was quiet and calm and allowed a friendly weigh-in this morning.

The weather has changed. It went from warm and sunny to gray and ominous. The weather wasn’t supposed to deteriorate until tomorrow, but it’s here. Just in time for a work meeting that everyone knows will have BAD NEWS. We just don’t know how bad… yet.  And that’s killing my tenuous resolve to go to the gym tonight.

Hopefully I can pull through and make it to yoga. I need it after the workout I’ve given my knee today.

Test results!


Wow! That was fast! Only yesterday I went to have my blood drawn for allergy tests. Today I get the call that they came back NEGATIVE. That is reason for rejoicing because I do NOT have food allergies!

On the other hand, what is happening to my body? Why am I experiencing reactions to certain foods?

What is the next step?

The reason I’m asking is that I seriously think some foods are BAD for my body, but I want to be able to prove it scientifically rather than circumstantially.

I want to know I am not just making this up.

However, I can continue to eat clean and take care of my body doing what I know is effective. It just is a letdown that I have no proof to show anyone that certain foods are my nemesis.

On that note, I am down nearly five pounds since the weirdly explosive, pain-filled day. That’s still up from where I was before I indulged in the evil cake of doom, but it’s approaching what I consider my “starting weight.” I hope to get back there this week.

Here’s my current theory about what I should do:

  • Reduce sugar consumption – that means reducing fruit intake. And I love me some fruit.
  • Increase water intake – and not just coffee *pout* – but actual water.
  • Continue to work on lifting/muscle-building exercises – my theory is that building muscle early on might not affect weight now, but should pay dividends later.
  • Continue to do targeted cardio – cycling, eliptical, things that work my legs – I really would like to reduce the real estate of my back side.
  • Continue to do yoga – the flexibility and mental health benefits of yoga are my payoffs.
  • Continue to “eat clean.” – I’m currently not plugged into any particular regimen, but I think I’m going to stick mostly to the Whole30 with some allowances for alcohol, butter, and some chemical-saturated water flavorings (which I’ve been avoiding, but might use to encourage myself to actually drink enough water.)
  • Buy some gas-relief medication such as Gas-X or Beano to help manage the symptoms of intestinal distress.

On the realistic side, the part wherein I admit to my human failings, I went to the gym this morning to catch the barbell class, but the regular teacher wasn’t there. I put away all the equipment I’d gotten out and decided to go do my own thing instead. I did the elliptical for a five minute warm-up, did legs, shoulders, chest, back, and arms, and I found a “new” machine that works calves. I really pressed myself to increase weight and do reps until my muscles tired. I only spent 35 minutes working out instead of 45, but I think I covered my bases. I just feel a little guilty about not going to a class where I didn’t know the instructor. At least I didn’t go home!

Day 2 Progress


It’s sad but good to say that on only the second day, I feel 100% better.

Yesterday I was still miserable. I felt fevered, sore, lethargic, and basically sick through and through. I left work “early” – which is on-time – got fuel and actually felt hungry. I allowed myself a packet of sunflower seeds from the gas station.

I got home on a mission – go to bed. First, I knew I was running basically dehydrated, but the idea of water left me (literally) cold. So instead I made a “green” smoothie, though mine turned out a really awful puce color. Banana, apple, spinach, a couple raspberries, a couple blackberries, and almond milk.

And then bed.

I crashed from 5-7, and it was one of the best decisions of 2015.

I awoke to an empty house and went to make dinner: ground beef, grilled onions, cabbage, and celery. I settled down with a cup of hot tea and a good book about the time everyone got back. I was still feeling pretty punk, so I ate on the sofa in approved “Mommy is sick” formation.

We opened some leftover Christmas presents (yes, it’s the middle of January, and we still had a stack of presents – mostly books – left to open) and then scooted everyone off to their respective beds by 8:30. Snuggled under the heating blanket, we watched the rest of our movie and collapsed into slumber by 10pm.

And then this morning? Oh my goodness! This morning, I felt like myself again! I was energetic! I was excited about making breakfast for people! I was ready to go to work! Granted, I did skip my yoga class for extra shut-eye, but I rationalized it that the sleep was what my body needed MOST.

And today I have felt capable. I have felt able to be on my game and do what needs doing. I have been cheerful and responsive and quick-thinking. I have been motivated and a problem-solver.

This is the me I expect to see, not the person who steals a nap over lunch, not the person who hibernates at her desk, hiding from work.

I’ve got to see this through and see what happens. I am (again) keeping a food journal, but this time I’ve added a new column – Body Check – to it to see how my body is feeling at any given time in response to food and drink.

Now my next goal is to convince myself to start drinking straight water again. I fell off the bandwagon with that one when simply drinking water made me cold inside. I started helping myself out by making pitchers of that lime-infused water again, and the bonus is that my older daughter also was cheerfully drinking from that.

(I’ve gotta brag – I’ve almost entirely eliminated sodas, sweet tea, sugary drinks, and juices from my kids’ daily diet. Yes, if we are at a restaurant or going out to eat, they usually choose sodas, but I’m not purchasing them for the house, and we’re not making pitchers of sweet tea. Milk, water, and hot tea – with the occasional hot chocolate – are the most common beverages for the girls now, and I have no problem with that at all!)

Must Have Testing


Ouch. Looking at my last post just lets me know how far off the reservation I strayed in the past five months.

Today, I am writing from a place of being in pain, in physical discomfort, as I try to figure out what I did to poison myself. Yes, poison. Something I ingested has brought me pain, inflammation, lethargy, fatigue, gas, bloating, and possibly even this low-grade fever I can’t knock.

So I decided to do something completely out of the mold for me – I called the doctor and conferred with my insurance and got set up for an appointment to possibly be followed by food allergy testing. I simply cannot tolerate this pain and discomfort any more.

Now, if I’m eating clean, if I’m taking care of myself and NOT eating inflammatory foods, I actually feel pretty great.

Last night, I re-committed to it. I promised myself no cheating, no “just-a-bite” of anything, no weakness. This is my battle, and I must fight it daily. Because the alternative is pain.

I will conquer this. It’s only willpower, so I just have to *want* it. And I want not being in pain.

On 1-15-15, I committed to it.

I just want to eat clean, track how I feel now, and wait and see until I get results from any allergy testing I have done.

Good Food and Wacky, Wacky Machines


I’ll get to the machines, but first: PICTURES OF FOOD! 

 Breakfast looked like this: two eggs, a banana, and a handful of blueberries. The coffee mug is, in fact, full of coffee. The LAST cup of caffeinated coffee in the house.

Two eggs, a banana, and blueberries

Two eggs, a banana, and blueberries

Then I was hungry on the way to the gym, so I had some mixed nuts – almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, and maybe hazelnuts.

Emerald Energy Smoothie from Lifetime Cafe

Emerald Energy Smoothie from Lifetime Cafe

It was Try-It Tuesday, so they offered $1 off the price of the smoothies. Since I figured it was smart to refuel right after working out, I didn’t mind trying something new. This was super-yummy. The weird thing was that I got completely full on half the glass. I just drank water afterwards and stowed the rest in the fridge for a snack later.

When I got home, I had a handful of banana chips while I made lunch: reheated baked chicken breast, fresh green cabbage cooked in coconut oil with sea salt and crushed red pepper, and a slice of sweet potato.

Half chicken breast, cabbage cooked in coconut oil, and a slice of sweet potato

Half chicken breast, cabbage cooked in coconut oil with crushed red pepper, and a slice of sweet potato

Dessert was watermelon, but this time I monitored my intake so that I didn’t overindulge or just simply eat too much. I’ll confess I also wound up eating another slice of sweet potato the same size because no one else was going to, and it was super-yum.

Today was also weigh-in day. Yes, actually. Yes, yes, I know I weighed in yesterday, but Tuesday is the magical day for the 90DC.

Now, I had planned to go to yoga this morning, but Everything Conspired Against It. To the point that I got in the car, was about to pull out of the housing development, looked at the time, and realized that there was no way I would be on time to my yoga class. 

Eventually, after two more abortive attempts to leave to go to the gym, I got there (wearing shoes!). I decided to “Lift All the Things,” which is what my friend Amie calls weight training. Today I worked my chest and back, taking the advice to set the weights to something I couldn’t lift many times. I actually surprised myself with how heavy I needed to set the weights to make myself strain a bit. I thought I would have lost most of my strength and tone from not doing much over the past month, but I was able set the weights at or above where I’d had them before.

After lifting, I went to weigh in, and the numbers shocked me.

Either my body is super-responsive to slight changes in diet and exercise inside of a 24 hour period (which is entirely possible knowing my history for being able to gain and shed weight), or the computers are calibrated differently at the two different Lifetime Fitness Gyms I went to, which is equally possible.

So, the results were Total Body Weight 153 lbs (down 3.3 lbs) and Percentage Body Fat of 19.2% (down 3.6, which is a 15.78% change). Yeah, I don’t get it either.

All I can think is that I need to just keep up the good fight, keep plugging away doing what I know to be good for me, and add in anything that sounds like a good idea.

I’m really not looking forward to a shift in the opposite direction.

I am looking forward to getting back to my home gym and weighing consistently there because then I won’t have any of the worries that it’s the machine and not me making the change.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that being a transformation winner at the national level could win $10,000 plus a free membership for a year. I mean, not that I’m motivated by money or anything, but… well, there are probably some people who are investing a lot of time and money into this just to net that win. But it would still be cool, ya know?

At Odds With Myself


I feel at odds with myself lately.

Last night, it was awful. I didn’t feel like the right size in my own head. The ground felt uneven, curved and broken. I felt like the parts of myself were strung together on a piece of Scotch tape.

This was after a weekend of slight craziness. It was as though nothing was the way it was supposed to be, and yet everything that was supposed to happen actually did – it just didn’t match up to my feelings of expectation. We went to the beach on Galveston island, but it was overcast and therefore cold.

Lately I just don’t tolerate cold very well. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like strong air conditioning. I have taken to eating outside at restaurants, drinking hot coffee, or just craving hot food to keep me feeling warm inside. I mentioned this to a friend last night, and since he works in an ER and has some medical knowledge, he immediately thought of medical reasons, asking if I was anemic.


I shouldn’t think so. I mean, don’t I tend to eat a variety of healthy foods anyway? So then I looked up the iron-rich foods that should be good for anemia, and I realized that I had almost systematically eliminated most of them from my diet.

The People Who Want Your Blood Recommend You Eat This Stuff – Vampire’s Guide to Iron-Rich Blood

Basically, the only foods I had recently been consuming that were high in iron were eggs, chicken and figs, and, to a more sporadic degree spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and watermelon. The animal sources of iron are more easily absorbed than the plant sources, the “heme” iron versus the “non-heme” iron, and combining the two increases the absorption rate for “non-heme” iron. Lastly, if you eat anything with Vitamin C, it increases the iron absorption rate.

So now it gives me some ammunition for menu-planning. It’s not enough to just eat foods on a list, but I need to really plan around specific nutrients and their interactions together.

Oh, and the part I left out is that if you have caffeine or calcium rich foods in conjunction with your iron, you block your iron absorption. This was the least happy news of all to a coffee junkie.

As a matter of fact, I felt that was a personal insult.

I guess I’ll live.

Then I got worried looking at the list of foods because I have been eating a lot of cabbage lately as an inexpensive vegetable of choice that holds up well in the refrigerator over several days. Some vegetables are overly tempermental and need to be used immediately; cabbage is one that you can cut a hunk of it off to eat, wrap the rest up for a few days and then come back to it.

So I did a little digging just now and found a pro-cabbage propaganda page that made me happy:

Crazy Cabbage Lovers’ Page of Rationalizing Their Brassica-Inspired Lust

Okay. So I wasn’t completely bonkers crazy for eating cabbage. Neither am I the Witch of The Nutrition Psychos for wanting more variety in my vegetable choices. Because it looks like not only do you need to plan intelligently, but you need to hit a broad spectrum to get the nutrition you need. And apparently, when I’ve been craving certain foods back in my diet (sweet potatoes), there’s a good reason.

But it looks like there are some “Super Foods” that I need to continue to have as staples:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Salmon

And I need to introduce Kale. Because kale is the new kick-ass vegetable on the block. 

Now, it’s pretty easy to plan a healthy breakfast that hits the major groups because all I need to do is pre-make little breakfast frittatas in muffin pans with eggs and either spinach or broccoli.

More later. I’ve gotta run.


Okay, so breakfast frittatas are easy, because you can make a dozen of them Monday morning and have them to quickly warm up the rest of the week. Pair that with a slice of pre-cooked sweet potato and some berries, and voila! Breakfast!

Lunches are more difficult for me. I need to either have a plan and make ahead several lunches or just make extra at dinner the night before and plan to take the rest as lunch the next day.

And dinners are just plain work. It’s different when I haven’t been running all day, but when I have, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. I just flat out don’t have the time to do it, nor do I want the clean-up afterwards.  

I suppose I’ll spend the next few months exploring hits and misses with my meals, and I really want to invest some time in planning nutrient-based meals.

90 Day Challenge


I’m participating in this thing called a “90 Day Challenge” through my gym, Lifetime.

First, let me get a few things straight:

  • I’m not doing this for my wedding.
  • I’m not doing this for anyone else.
  • I’m not doing this “to lose weight.”

Yes, as a side effect, I will look a lot better in my wedding dress, but that’s next year. I still have a lot of room to screw up between now and then. Besides, the dress is stretchy anyways.

Okay, and yes, my fiancé might enjoy seeing me slimmer and more toned. And that could be a lot of fun.

Yes, I would enjoy “losing weight” because I would like to see that scale number dip a bit lower. But then there’s always the argument that people don’t believe they are thin enough, toned enough, whatever enough to be happy. I used to think I would be happy if I could just get to the weight I am now. Now that I’m here and have stayed in this weight range reliably for 6 months, I know that it is not the specific weight that matters, but how you feel – and most importantly, how you feel about yourself.

Why am I doing it?

I am doing it to feel in control of my body. I’m doing it to reach for my potential. I’m doing it to fit into clothes I want to wear. I’m doing it to tone and transform.

This week, I was thinking about all the things people say when you tell them you’re going to work out.

You don’t need to.

Thank you. It’s a choice, though. I want to work out. It makes me feel good in my mind and my body. It keeps my trick knee from killing me. It releases endorphins and I feel more at peace with my life. I am a better worker, parent, and person when I get my chosen work outs. Also, the doctor told me I need a steady regime to keep off blood pressure medication.

But you’re already great at…

Thanks! I’m flattered that you think so. I know I can do some things well, but I also know where I am striving to improve. I’ve seen the things some other people can do. If I keep with my routine – and change it up a little for maximum benefit – I might reach my personal goals of being able to do different things. I couldn’t always do a handstand. I only got that through consistent practice, and I have so much more I want to be able to do.

Surely skipping one day won’t hurt.

True. Sometimes it’s even good to skip a day, or at least an afternoon to rest. You can approach the next work out with more energy. However, I’ve got to do something, or I’ll lose some of my hard-earned flexibility. I might even re-injure my knee if I don’t keep it in use. The next time I try to do something I know I can do, I might injure myself because I might be stiff or sore or inflexible. You don’t hear my joints pop and creak when I’ve missed a day. You don’t feel the stiffness in my knee when I haven’t taken the time to work it carefully, slowly, thoughtfully. You don’t feel the tightness in my shoulders or my legs when I try to go into a posture. On the same note, only I know how it feels to sink straight into what I want to do because I’ve already put the work in and I’m maintaining. Only I know how it feels to me when I realize I’m the only one in class with the flexibility to get the posture I want. It’s a heady feeling, and it immediately humbles me to think of how far I still have to go.

Why do you spend so much time at the gym?

First, I like the people at the gym. I feel welcome, so it feeds my soul to go and be around my gym friends. They want nothing out of me. All I need to do is work out, be myself, and kibitz. I don’t owe them work; I don’t need to volunteer to help run something; and I don’t need to make my life pretty for them. I can just be. Also, I know myself. Sure, I could work out at home or just go bike riding with my kids. Does that push me? Does that make me put out my full effort? No. I always hold back. I’m riding rear guard to make sure I’m there if someone crashes or falls behind. I get interrupted at home. I’m not challenged enough by myself. I see other people, I not only get inspired, I also have a streak of competitiveness that drives me to see if I can do something at least as well (if not better) than the people around me. It takes an hour for a class, plus fifteen minutes around it for transit time. Add in a shower at any point, and I’ve dedicated about one and a half to two hours for one work out. And I really need about two each day to get where I need to be.

You’re not fat.

Thank you. In my head, I am the fat chick. I self-identify with the fat chicks. I look at the skinny, lean, beautiful women, and I put myself outside of their group. I even look at the yoga teachers in all their grace and muscles and feminine curves and strength and beauty, and I can only admire them. Even though a number of people recently have told me that I should be a yoga teacher, in my head, I’m not good enough yet – and not just in needing to develop and hone skills, but also in looking like someone who treats her own body as a temple. (The super funny thing about this comment was I even got that last night. A guy was talking about how he likes skinny chicks – like size 2 skinny – and he was trying to make a point that “Big Beautiful Women” think they deserve “Fabios.” As he was talking, he’s was like, “Not girls like you – you’re not fat.” And I’m wondering how I must look to him with my current wonderful little muffin top rolling over my gym shorts.)

What do you do with your kids?

Thanks for asking. Are you volunteering to babysit for me? Honestly, I pay for child care at the gym, and I try to arrange some of my work outs to coincide with fun kids’ activities at the gym so that they get something out of going, too. I’ve begun experimenting with allowing my daughters increasing levels of responsibility, staying at home by themselves while I’m at the gym. I constantly juggle day care, gym child care, play dates, and self-reliance. Occasionally, I’ll even take them with me to a class. The thing is, most of the time when people ask this question, they don’t really want to know what you do; they’re horrified that you are doing something without your children and want to shame you into their concept of appropriate behavior. These are frequently the women who don’t work outside the home and cannot conceive of not having time to work out while their kids are at school. These women also are usually married, so they can leave the kids with their husband and have no worries.

Here are some things people could do to be supportive:

  • Positive remarks on my progress. If you see that I can do something I couldn’t do before or you see a change in my attitude or physical being, say something nice.
  • Share a recipe with me for something that looks healthy. I don’t care if I can eat it or not based on my meal plan. It’s the thought that counts. Really.
  • Talk to me about what you’re doing. Tell me about the stuff you’re trying to reach your own goals. It doesn’t have to be health or fitness related – I am genuinely interested in your progress because I want to be your cheering section, too.
  • Offer to come with me to a class or have me join you in one of your favorite classes. There are few things more motivating to me than working out with a friend.
  • Talk me up when I want to quit. If I’ve had a rough day, remind me how much better I’ll feel after I go to the gym. Don’t be too kind to me. I probably just want to curl up in a cave and drink alcohol and eat myself into a carb coma. Encourage me to get out there are reach my goals. I’ll feel better when I have done something toward my goal.
  • Invite me to go do something fun or exciting – or just to have a cup of coffee. Whatever you’ve got going on that lights a fire in you, invite me along. I’m a pretty social little butterfly, but I don’t get out much, and I have fewer going out friends than you might think.
  • Ask about my progress. Show interest in the little gains I make. I know they might mean nothing to you, really, but fake it just a little. You know a fake orgasm is only fake for the person faking it. 

Anyhow, Monday is my weigh-in day. I really start my challenge August 11, after I get back from seeing my BFF. 

My goal is to make a measurable difference in my body fat percentage, increase my strength and stamina, tone my core and thighs, and see more definition in my shoulders and back. Food-wise, I want to be more consistent with water intake, reduce toxins in my system, and find a meal plan that is tenable for the long haul.

Coffee Hot Toddy


Summer colds suck.  Let me just get that straight. I don’t want you to think for one moment that I’m enjoying this experience…

Except that maybe, perhaps, I have found a way to make them suck a little less.

Two days ago, my fiancé caught me doing a throat cough.  You know, one of those little coughs you don’t even think about because it’s like you’re clearing your throat.  Except that it was during the conversation about me being concerned about my daughter’s symptoms – runny nose, cough, congestion, but thankfully no fever.

This morning, I woke up at 3 am thinking I was going to die. Yes, I think one of my dreams was the funeral eulogy, in which I’m sure coffee was praised for its significant role in my life.

Rolling out of bed this morning, I imitated a toad croaking as I informed my fiancé that I felt as though the French resistance had installed barbed wire in my throat.

Immediately, he brought me water and medicine (Can you see why I love this guy?), which I downed and then realized that hot liquids would make me feel that much better, thank you.

Then I recalled my BFF mentioning a “hot toddy.”

This involves tea.


Now, tea in the abstract is a good thing. Tea in the specific is a good thing. It’s just that tea in my mind happens post coffee. 

Coffee is in its own food group in my life.

Morning: Coffee. Breakfast. More coffee.

Mid-morning: Ah, there’s my coffee.

Lunch: Water before more coffee.

Mid-Afternoon: Coffee. And, why yes, thank you, I’d love another cup of coffee.

Evening: Water. Hmmm… you know what would go great after dinner? How about a coffee? Oh, my cup is empty. Do you have free refills?

Now, it just so happens that I managed to procure Bailey’s Irish Cream the other evening.  And my fiancé just so happens to believe in a fairly well-stocked liquor cabinet.

So, coffee + whiskey + Bailey’s Irish Cream + whipped cream + chocolate syrup = coffee hot toddy = deliciousness = yay happy goodness.  The only sadness is that it is completely a non-menu-friendly food. 

**Update: a couple of hours later, my throat still feels happy, and my day is going great.