About my blog

In the past year, I have lost over 55 lbs while working full time and being a full time mom to Maddie, 5 and Carter, 2. I want to encourage other moms who are pulled in a million different directions every day - if I can do it, you can too. I promise it IS possible.

On this blog, you will find information about how I lost the weight (this is an ongoing endeavor!), recipes enjoyed by me and my family, couponing and saving money, thoughts on parenting, yoga, people in general, or whatever else I feel like blogging about that day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Here are just some of the things I feel I am supposed to do in my daily life:

As a Parent:

Be an a fun parent who is strict enough but not too strict.
Read parenting books so I know what the hell to do when my kids are misbehaving or doing something weird. Then feel guilty because I do a lot of the things the parenting books say not to do.
Come up with cute crafts and projects for my kids and I to do together.
Come up with interesting educational stuff for my kids and I to do together.
Write down all the cute stuff my kids say so I don't forget these precious days when they are saying cute stuff.
Take pictures and videos of my kids so I can go back and remember how cute and lovable they were when they are teenagers and not so cute and lovable.
The previous 2 include keeping up with their baby books.

At Home:

Balance our household budget (never really knowing what our income will be from month to month), pay all the bills, and keep us out of debt.
The above also requires me to keep up with all the piles of mail.
Plan healthy meals everyone will eat.
Shop at the grocery store for ingredients for the healthy meals, buying only the stuff on sale and with coupons to stay in budget.
Cook the healthy meals everyone probably won't eat.
Keep my house clean. Except for (usually) dishes and laundry. On the weekend, try to figure out where all the crap that piles up all week should go. Stay organized.
Maintain the yard - landscaping, green grass, rake leaves, decorate for holidays, etc. Except mowing.
Be crafty. Knit or scrapbook or sew or something.


Eat healthy and exercise. At least 5 times a week.
Take all the various vitamins I should be taking.
Take care of my body when everything hurts, which is often. Especially when it rains.
Plan date nights with my husband.
Do romantic things for my husband.
Be romantic with my husband.

At Work:

Work full time. Though I am lucky and really like my job, so most of the time I look forward to it. But I still have to be there 40 hours a week, including some nights and Saturdays.
Figure out how to balance my schedule with my husband's schedule, which changes every single week. And make sure someone is around to watch the kids or we can take them somewhere to be watched.
At work - be productive, be a leader, particpate in committees and groups, come up with innovative ideas and interesting programs, deal with pissed off people, try to keep everyone motivated, try to stay motivated myself, do all my work and help with the everyday stuff that has to get done, answer emails in a timely manner, make and keep professional connections, participate in outreach opportunities, etc.


Watch the news or read a newspaper so I can act like I know what's going on when someone asks me about the election/economic crisis/weather/crisis in whatever country.
Do fun and active stuff on the weekends - festivals, parks, birthday parties, the zoo, the lake, etc. yes, a lot of the time these are things I don't want to do. I just want to stay home. Because my house needs to be cleaned.
Participate in whatever family stuff is going on - and people, I have a lot of families. Who don't usually like to do things together. Like birthday parties or holidays. So I get to run around to everyone's houses.
Stay in touch with my friends and know what's going on in their lives so I can be a good friend to them. My friends are the ones who don't put pressure on me to do stuff, and where does that get them? On the bottom of the list. I'll fit you in when I can cause I know you won't guilt trip me if I don't.
Remember everyone's birthdays for my entire family and most of Scott's; send them cards and/or gifts.
Send thank you cards.
Volunteer to help those who have less than me.

Yes, I'm whining. I'm feeling sorry for myself. I'm not looking for people to feel sorry for me, though. I am just figuring this out for myself. Because I CAN'T DO IT. It is completely impossible for me to accomplish all these things. And yet I keep running in circles trying to make everyone happy, trying to be the person I need to be for whoever needs me at that moment - a good wife, a good mother, a good daughter, a good co-worker, a good person. I'm not sure if I'm doing this to myself or if society is doing this to me or if it's both. But guess what? I fail at being superwoman.

Here's what I want to do:

Have a dance party with only me and the kids.
Watch a football game with my friends.
Have a glass of wine every night.
Eat something unhealthy.
Watch a movie.
Be left alone.

And here's the conclusion I have come to in light of recent events: I'm going to start doing more of what I want to do. And if anyone thinks that makes me a bad parent, or a bad wife, or a bad daughter, or a bad person - I really don't care. Becaue I am killing myself trying to do everything and be everything. So next time I might tell you no, instead of saying yes and then resenting having to go or dragging my kids somewhere when they are tired and hungry or forgetting to show up at all. Then I am going to stay home, drink a glass of wine, and read.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The yoga itch: my new addiction

Today I had a new experience. I haven't been able to get to a yoga class in a week. Today my muscles itched - I can't think of a better way to describe it. Like I was going through some kind of withdrawal. Every time I bent down to put a book away, or carried a big stack of books to the desk, my muscles would get all excited thinking I was going to start working them out. Then they would feel all itchy and I would need to bend or stretch a little to get them to settle down. Those of you who work out on a regular basis - do you know what I'm talking about? Does this happen to you? It's the weirdest feeling! Tonight I came home and did some yoga on my own and it felt SO GOOD. My muscles were like, oh thank God!

I think I'm going to just start doing my own routine at home. It's so hard for me to get to classes with my schedule and Scott's schedule. I have yet to find a yoga video I like. I found this website http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/sequence_builder where you can build your own routine.

It makes me think about how I'm changing and how I felt when I started. I remember thinking after my first class that I would never be able to do those poses all the way through. I couldn't breathe in child's pose. I couldn't imagine ever being able to hold plank. I remember the yoga instructor telling us to tighten our stomach muscles and I tried but I couldn't even tell if they were tightening or not. I thought, "what stomach muscles"? If it wouldn't have been for the little resting part at the end where you get to lay there and feel your body all warm and stretched out, I don't think I would have gone back.

I love many different aspects of yoga. Many of these came much later, 6-9 months into my yoga practice, like the breathing and the spiritual aspect - mostly due to one amazing instructor. But I think the best thing is how you can see how much stronger you are every time you practice. It's not a cardio class where you just repeat the same routine over and over. I went from not being able to do anything to being able to hold downward facing dog for more than a few seconds, then holding plank for a few seconds, then seconds turned into minutes, and I could do upward facing dog, and finally I could breathe when I was in child's pose (partially due to the weight loss, I'm sure). I could feel myself getting stronger with every tiny goal I accomplished and I was able to do more every week. This is the best feeling - my body getting stronger and stronger. I can feel my stomach muscles now! And with yoga there is really no end to the challenges you can give yourself. And who wouldn't love an exercise routine that includes, as a friend of mine put it, "a little nap at the end"?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quinoa, or as Carter says, Keeen-WAAAaa

I spent Labor Day with family and friends and ate lots of stuff I shouldn't have - hot dogs, brownies (my mom made them so I CANNOT RESIST), and lots of chips. We played a lot too - swam, kayaked, walked - so I would like to think it all evened out, but I doubt it. It's cool with me though, I had a great weekend and I can start over with counting and measuring today. Even if I gain I will lose it again next week. I enjoyed every bite this weekend! Totally worth it.
In the kayak with Carter - we loved it!
I made an awesome dinner tonight and just have to share! Wish I had pictures but we ate most of it. I made chicken enchiladas (8 points) and Mexican quinoa (3 points). I made it because I had leftover chicken from the tacos we made this weekend. I love making chicken tacos - so super easy! Here's how I made the chicken: put a bunch of chicken breasts in the crock pot. Sprinkle with some kind of Mexican seasoning. Top with a can of diced tomatoes. Turn it on low and leave it alone for 6-8 hours. This makes the BEST chicken for tacos!

Here's the recipe for the Chicken Enchiladas:


Saute green pepper and onion over medium heat for 5 minutes with any desired spices (cumin, chili powder, garlic). Add cooked shredded chicken to heat. Place a heaping 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in each tortilla and roll up, placing face down in a pan. Mix together sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro and salsa. Pour over the enchiladas. Top with 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Here's the recipe for the Mexican Quinoa:

After many failed attempts at making quinoa, I finally got it right tonight! My conclusion from my failures: don't put any other stuff in the quinoa (other than water or broth and spices) when it's cooking and cook it till the water is gone even if the recipe says 15 minutes. If you want to add other stuff add it at the end. My kids love saying quinoa..."Mom, can I have more keeen-waaaaaaaaa?" They compete to see who can say the "waaaa" part the longest.

1 cup(s) uncooked quinoa

2 cup(s) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin    
1 tsp chili powder    
1 tsp garlic powder    

1/2 tsp garlic salt    

Rinse quinoa and toast over medium heat in a saucepan for a few minutes until it starts to brown. Add spices and stir. Add chicken broth and cook, covered on low heat for 25 minutes.
Serving sizes are: one enchilada and one half cup quinoa. 11 points total for both and it's a lot of food! I thought this was one of the best dinners I have made that didn't come from a cookbook. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Bob is no longer my friend

I love watching the Biggest Loser. I love any show about transformations - people, houses, rooms - especially ones where they clean up and organize a room. I used to be one of the people who would sit on the couch and eat ice cream while watching the poor people on the Biggest Loser sweat and cry. I would think, "I can do that. And I will start tomorrow, or next week, or sometime in the future, but right now I am going to enjoy this bowl of ice cream." It was nice this past season to watch the Biggest Loser and think, "I am finally doing it too! Not as fast as they are, but I am seeing results." The future had finally arrived.
One of my favorite reasons to watch the Biggest Loser was Bob Harper. I love the way he pushes people really hard but also seems to be understanding about whatever they are going through and provides a shoulder to cry on. Plus, he's nice to look at. He recently released a book called, "The Skinny Rules," which I was excited to read and see what wisdom he had to share after so many seasons on the show. As I read the book, I grew increasingly more angry and disappointed. There are 20 "Skinny Rules" in the book, and some of them are great advice:
Don't drink your calories.
Drink a glass of water before every meal.
Get rid of fast foods and fried foods.
Eat a real breakfast.
Plan one splurge meal a week.
Make your own food and eat at least 10 meals a week at home.

But some of them are ridiculous:
No more added sweeteners, including artificial ones.
Go to bed hungry.
No carbs after lunch.
Eat apples and berries every single day.
Get rid of white potatoes. (!)

AND THERE ARE 20 OF THEM. 20 rules to follow and remember to become skinny. So here's why I'm mad: Lots of people love Bob Harper. I'm sure lots of people ran out and bought his book. And lots of people probably tried to follow "the skinny rules." And I'm positive most of those people were not able to do so. All these people who love him, all his fans who want to lose weight - he is setting them up to fail. His rules are not realistic for people living a real life!! Who the hell can not eat any carbs after breakfast, not eat anything sweetened, go to bed hungry, etc, etc. When you have small children, work full time, have to grab food on the go sometimes, and have a real life I just don't think it's possible to follow all these rules.

When you are trying to lose weight, you have to have a plan that is reasonable and create habits that become the way you eat every day. You have to be able to accomodate real life situations. You can't expect to be able to follow a set of 20 rules like these and keep it up for a lifetime. Way to fail, Bob. You are no longer my friend. And I wonder - how many of those Biggest Loser contestants keep the weight off? I bet not many.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Big 4-0

Today was an important day for me in my weight loss journey. Today my weight loss total was over 40 lbs.

This is important because:
1. This is the lowest weight I have ever been in my adult life. Including high school and college.
2. I lost 40 lbs, people!! That's the same weight as a Maddie!

Taken tonight by my personal photographer, Maddie. I think I closed my eyes...
It's kind of surreal. 40 pounds seems like a LOT of weight. But in a lot of ways I was still seeing myself in the same way - I was still seeing all my problem areas. Today I looked in the mirror and for the first time I really saw my new, skinnier self instead of the person I have always seen. It's like I passed a magic number (for me, anyway) and the blinders came off.

If any of you are reading this and looking for some tips on how I did it, here are a few (but they probably aren't anything new):
1. Drink lots of water. It seems stupid but it really does help you feel more full.
2. Eat whatever you want for one day a week. Losing weight is hard work and sometimes you need a break. I need a break once a week. One day a week where I don't have to measure, count, and record. One day a week where I can have a hamburger and ice cream. I don't go overboard - mostly because overdoing it or eating a lot of greasy food doesn't sound that good to me anymore. But I eat whatever I'm craving.
3. Try to pay attention to whether you are really hungry - if you are wandering around in the kitchen at 10 pm opening and shutting the fridge and pantry doors, you probably aren't. Go paint your toenails or give yourself a facial instead.
4. Find something, anything, you like to do that keeps you active at least a little bit. Don't force yourself to do something you hate. Even if its gardening, or playing in the yard with your kids, or taking a 15 minute walk at lunchtime to get away from work - anything active. And keep doing it.
5. DON'T GIVE UP. I have bad days. I have bad weeks. But you get new days and new weeks. Keep trying and the weight will come off. Even if it's half a pound a week - in a year that's 26 pounds.
6. Find someone to do it with you. I wouldn't have done this without my mom and my friend Karen's support. I wouldn't have done it at all if mom hadn't asked me to go with her. Thanks, mom!
7. Don't look at what you can't have. Don't even think of it that way. You can have it - in moderation. Split a dessert with someone, or several someones. Order the appetizer or kids size hamburger. If you say "I can't" all the time you will convince yourself you are deprived of what you really want and you won't stick with it. Also, people won't want to hang out with you if all you do is bitch about what you can't have.
8. Try new things. I have discovered that I LOVE greek yogurt and corn tortillas (not necessarily together). Both of them are very low in points. I have also discovered I'm not a fan of anything with the word "fiber" in the title. You don't want to know why. But it's good to go outside the box sometimes and find new stuff to eat.
9. Try to plan ahead. Still working on this one myself. I wouldn't have lost 40 pounds without the help of Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice. Try to keep a few things around in case of emergency - no time to make something to eat. I keep hummus, greek yogurt, eggs, cut up veggies, etc available - high protein and I can grab it fast if I need to.
10. Use the high point stuff sparingly, but use it. Bulk up on the 0 point (veggies and fruits) foods. For example, you can make a huge omelet with an egg, some extra egg whites, lots of veggies and a little ham and cheese. I also like the bacon bits in a jar - they add a lot of flavor for little points. I also like using cheese with lots of flavor - like blue cheese or feta cheese on my salad. I would rather eat a little of the full fat stuff than a lot of the fat free stuff.

So that's a little of what I have learned and what has worked for me. Only 25 pounds to go until I make my goal weight!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grandparental love

Not sure if grandparental is a word, but if not it won't be the first word I made up. I am not in a happy place today. Scott's grandpa, Gigi, died yesterday. Scott was very close to him and everyone in the family loved him so much - he was funny, talented, loving, entertaining, and just a good man. I think part of the reason Scott and I have a lot of the same values and probably part of the reason we got together and stayed together has to do with the part our grandparents played in our lives. So today I've been thinking a lot about grandparents, and how important their role is in the lives of their grandchildren.

I don't know if I can explain this without offending anyone who may read it - but a disclaimer: I do not wish to offend or bring up anything painful. It's the truth for me, but it may not be for you, and that's ok. For me personally, my grandparents played a huge role in my life. Here's the truth: I have daddy issues. I have never been a daddy's girl, I don't know what that's like, and I am jealous of people who do. I didn't begin a relationship with my biological dad until I was 16. I grew up with a stepdad who adopted me when I was 3. I have no doubt he loved me, and still loves me. But I also have no doubt he felt a different kind of love for his own children, my little sisters. Whether he meant to or not, I was treated differently. The same thing happens on the other side, with my biological dad. I didn't really know him until I was 16. I never had a chance to go through all the things daughters go through with their dads when they are little. I never developed that special father daughter bond with him, and for that I am sad, but I know it is what it is - you can't go back and change the past. I don't know if my sisters know how lucky they are to have that bond, something they have always known and never doubted. There's lots more to this story but it's in the past and I don't blame anyone for how it all worked out. We are human and shit happens and doesn't always work out the way we want it to. And if I didn't have my life and experiences, I wouldn't be the person I am today. And I like the person I am today. Despite lots of growing pains in our relationships, I am lucky enough to have all my dads involved in my life and my children's lives. It does make for an interesting trip to CVS every year to pick out cards on father's day...most of them don't really fit.

However, my stepdad's parents - my grandparents - never treated me any differently. They accepted me when I was 3 as their own and loved me unconditionally from day 1. Children can feel the difference when they are loved in such an unconditional way. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up and to this day have a fierce and protective love for them - because of the way they loved me, because they gave me stability I needed growing up, because they are amazing people.  Especially my Grandpa - so I guess you could say I'm a Grandpa's girl instead of a daddy's girl.

Scott also spent a lot of time with his grandparents. He talks a lot about spending time at their general store, about funny stuff Gigi said or did, about Christmases filled with music and laughter. His grandparents, like mine, were married for over 60 years. Though they are very different in where they came from and how they lived their lives, the basic values were the same. The memories they created for us were invaluable.

Grandparents provide us with such an incredible relationship. They may be unconventional, or they may be straight out of a storybook, but (for the most part; I know everyone has different experiences) they are there for their grandchildren. They provide that soft place to land, they cheer us on in life, they are available to encourage us or help us out. I could always go to my grandparents house and find a connection with myself as a little girl through them. It's a different relationship than the one we often have with our parents - not so difficult to navigate, especially during those teen years when you are temporarily insane from hormones. Today, I watch my mom with my children and my heart melts to see her creating that special relationship with them.

So, if you still have your grandparents in your life, give them a call this week and tell them you love them. Tell them how much they mean to you and how much they have done for you in your life. If you don't have them with you anymore, stop and reflect on a memory or two in appreciation. In honor of Gigi.

Gigi - I hope there is REALLY good wine in heaven. They are lucky to have you - and your fiddle - to entertain them up there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This is why it's addictive...

Not food. Couponing. On Sunday I saved 90%. This is rare, but it happens! Total retail was $121.73 and my total (with tax!!) was 12.81. Here's a picture of what I bought:

If you want to know exactly how I did it (Shelly and Karen), I will break it down for you here. If you don't care, you can just marvel at my amazing coupon abilities and skip the rest of this post.

I get almost all my coupon matchups from The Krazy Coupon Lady (not me).

Keep in mind, my total savings reflects the CVS Extra Bucks (EB) and Walgreens Register Rewards (RR) for each item.


Transaction #1
Spend $30.00, Receive $10.00 Extra Bucks (Tide, Gillette, and Aussie, etc.)
Tide or Gain Liquid Detergent, 48-64 loads $11.94
Spend $30.00, Receive $10.00 Extra Bucks

Use $.75/1 Tide Detergents manufacturer's coupon
And use $3 off $10 Tide CVS Coupon from the Magic Coupon Machine at CVS
Gillette ProSeries Shave Gel  $4.89
Spend $30.00, Receive $10.00 Extra Bucks

Use $1.00/1 Gillette Fusion ProSeries Skin Care Item or Gillette Fusion ProGlide Shave Prep, excludes trial/travel size, limit of 4 like coupons in same shopping trip from PG 7/29 (exp 8/31)
Puffs Plus Tissues $1.50
Use $1 off $5 Gillette, Puffs, etc. CVS Coupon from the Magic Coupon Machine at CVS
Aussie or Herbal Essences Shampoo or Conditioner, 10.1-13.5 oz, or Styler, 6-14 oz $2.99 (buy 4)
Use 2 $3.00/2 Herbal Essences or Aussie products, excluding trial/travel size, limit of 4 like coupons in same shopping trip from RP 8/5 (exp 9/30)
And use 2 $1 off 2 Aussie CVS Coupon from the Magic Coupon Machine at CVS
AND use $3 off $15 CVS Coupon from the Magic Coupon Machine at CVS
AND use $3 EB from transaction #1

AND Use $5 Extra Bucks (EB) I got for filling prescriptions at CVS
Total: Spent $5.54, got $10 back in EBs 

Transaction #2
Buy 3 Nature Valley Protein Bars $2.00
Buy 2 General Mills Milk ‘n Cereal Bars $2.00
Spend $10.00, Receive $3.00 Extra Bucks, Limit 1

Use 3 $1/1 Nature Valley Protein bars (I got these from the desk at the YMCA)

Buy 2 Maybelline Volume Express Mascara $5.00
Spend $10.00, Receive $3.00 Extra Bucks, Limit 1

Use 2 $1.00/1 Maybelline New York Mascara from RP 8/5 (exp 10/5)
And use $2.00/$10 Cosmetic Purchase, CVS Coupon Machine
Bic Sensitive Skin Disposable Razors, 12 ct. $3.99 or Silky Touch Disposable Shavers, 10 ct
Buy One Get One 50% Off
Use 2 $3.00/1 Bic Disposable Razor, Limit 4 per shopping trip from SS 8/5 (exp 9/2)
AND Use $10 Extra Bucks (EB) from transaction #1
Final Price: Spent $1.99, got back $6 EBs
Transaction #3
Leggs tights on clearance 75% off: $1.62
Hanes underwear on clearance 75% off: $1.99
Use $3 Extra Bucks (EB) from transaction #2
    Final Price: Spent $.61

TOTAL AT CVS: $8.14 with $3 EB left for next week :-)

Transaction #1
Carmex Healing Cream or Ointment, 4 oz or Lotion, 5.5 oz $4.99
Buy 1, Receive $4.00 Register Reward
And use $1 on one Carmex cream printed coupon
Lipton Tea, 20 oz $0.99
Buy 1, Receive $0.99 Register Reward
Pay $0.99, Receive $0.99 Register Reward
W Perfection Tampons, 8 ct $1.50
Buy 1, Receive $1.50 Register Reward
Pay $1.50, Receive $1.50 Register Reward
Final Price: Spent $6.48, got $6.49 RR

Transaction #2
Lanacane with Aloe Spray, 3.5 oz $6.00
Buy 1, Receive $6.00 Register Reward
Pay $6.00, Receive $6.00 Register Reward
Final Price: Free
Buy 2 memo pads $.49 each filler items (and made Maddie and Carter happy)
Use $6.49 Extra Bucks (EB) from transaction #1
Final Price: Spent $.49 got $6 RR

Transaction #3 (repeat of #1)
Carmex Healing Cream or Ointment, 4 oz or Lotion, 5.5 oz $4.99
Buy 1, Receive $4.00 Register Reward
And use $1 on one Carmex cream printed coupon
Lipton Tea, 20 oz $0.99
Buy 1, Receive $0.99 Register Reward
W Perfection Tampons, 8 ct $1.50
Buy 1, Receive $1.50 Register Reward
Pay $1.50, Receive $1.50 Register Reward
Use $6 Extra Bucks (EB) from transaction #2
 Final Price: Spent $.48, got $6.49 RR
TOTAL AT Walgreens: $7.45 with $6.49 RR left for next week :-)
Whew! My head is spinning! But my wallet is full.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Shameless Parenting

I read an article today that really made me stop and think:
Raising Successful Children

I know none of us are perfect parents. I try to be an excellent parent. I (most of the time) am honest with my children, consistent with rules and consequences, loving and encouraging, feed them nutritious food, teach them important things like their phone number and address (you would not believe how many children don't know their phone number and address!) and read to them every day. I truly try not to helicopter and let them make their own mistakes. But I also have my faults and I am acutely aware of them even when I am actively screwing up, and it doesn't seem to stop me. I yell at them when I am frustrated. I spend way too much time in front of screens, either phone, computer, or TV. I put them in front of the TV too much. I don't play with them enough - just get down on the floor and play. I spend way too much time wrapped up in my "to-do" list. I tell them "in a minute" ALL the time. There's more, but you get the picture.

I was thinking while I was reading this article...people can change. I have changed. I look at my body differently. I eat and exercise differently, and I cannot imagine ever going back to being over 200 lbs. So it IS possible to change if you really want to make the effort.

I noticed the other day that Maddie has become very full of herself. She's smart, sarcastic, easily frustrated, and she's bossy. This combination may not be such a great one if she wants to make friends when school starts. And according to the article, this is partly (mostly) our fault for telling her how fabulous she is all the time (because, of course, she is amazing and fabulous). I tried explaining to her last night how important it is to be kind to others rather than trying to seem like the smartest one in the room all the time. So maybe I should start praising her for being kind instead of being smart.

From the article, "A loving parent is warm, willing to set limits and unwilling to breach a child’s psychological boundaries by invoking shame or guilt. Parents must acknowledge their own anxiety." I have a lot of anxiety and feel that I was raised to feel a lot of shame and guilt (sorry mom, but really, most people are). This quote really struck me. I definitely use shame when parenting ("Maddie, how could you color on the wall, you know better!" or even worse "Maddie how could you let your brother color on the wall, you know better!). I don't like the way shaming my children into good behavior makes me feel. And now I think I understand why: I am forcing my own anxiety onto them. And that really, for lack of a better word at the moment, sucks.

"The happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing, or almost capable of doing; and their parents do not do things for them that satisfy their own needs rather than the needs of the child."

So much easier said than done. But recognizing where the behavior is coming from (and I mean my behavior) is a beginning. And as I have learned from my weight loss journey, it all starts with a few small steps and a committment to making a change.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I think I saw an ab!

I am so excited. I love the way my body is changing through yoga. When I started doing yoga, I couldn't do most of the poses at all. I couldn't hold plank or do an up dog or balance for very long on one leg. When I did the breathing, I couldn't seem to breathe deep enough to get my stomach to fill up. On Wednesday night, the yoga instructor said to put our hands on our stomachs to feel our breathing (we were laying on the floor) - and I put my hand where I thought my stomach should be and was surprised to find it much lower. It was kind of like when you don't see a curb or step coming and your foot steps down and it makes you freak out a little because you weren't expecting it and think you might fall down. I put my hands in the right spot and - whoa! - they moved down lower than I was expecting.

Then today I was changing in the locker room at the Y after yoga and I was sucking in my stomach so other people wouldn't see the roll and when I looked in the mirror I was like..."what's that line on my stomach...OMG! I think it's the beginning of some abs!! Whoo-hoo! I have an ab line!" It's a very flabby looking ab line...BUT IT'S THERE. Whose body is this? Oh yeah, it's mine!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just Keep Swimming...

Last week I gained .2 at Weight Watchers. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it was only my second gain since I started. The gain was a result of my not tracking my points and a very teenager like attitude of "I want to eat what I want, when I want, and in the amounts I want." Since I've been doing Weight Watchers for so long, this is not as bad as it could be. Last weekend I was remembering what it was like to eat whatever the hell I wanted. Fondly remembering. Sometimes I just want to go get a hamburger and fries (and not the happy meal size). And then follow that up with a big cup of frozen custard. And maybe some pizza. Or a donut. But only from the donut place across the street from the library - where I work!! But I don't - well, usually I don't. Or if I do the hamburger just isn't very good after the first few bites, or the french fries are cold, and I wonder why I wanted them in the first place. (I have to say though, the donuts are always worth it).

On Saturday I went to buy some new clothes - and was very pleasantly surprised to find size 14s were loose and I could squeeze into a size 12. I started out this journey a size 18/20. So I know it's working, slowly but surely, and there are results worth not getting the hamburger. On Sunday I started counting my points again and getting back on track.

My point is there are always times when I want what I shouldn't have. There are always times when I'm tired of doing the work and want to just say "f*** it" and give up. And sometimes I do - for a little while. But I always manage to get back on track and keep moving forward. That's what matters - not the fall, but the getting back up again.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My daughter, the vegetarian

My daughter is 4 years old. A few months ago she started asking me questions about where the meat we eat comes from. I always want to be as honest as possible with my children, so I told her. We would be eating dinner and she would ask, "What animal does this come from?" and I would tell her - a chicken, or a cow, or a pig. Then one day she tells me "Mama, I don't want to eat animals anymore. I don't want animals to be killed because I am eating them." So I explained to her that many people feel this way and they are called vegetarians. She was thrilled to find out there were other people in the world who felt the same way she did and that she had a name for it now. (In my head, I was thinking - uh-oh maybe I shouldn't have been so honest...). 

She has not eaten meat for 2 months now. Not even Chik-Fil-A or McDonalds. I am impressed with her determination to stick with her beliefs at the age of 4! But sometimes it can be hard to find recipes to make everyone happy. Of course my son wants to eat nothing but meat. I don't want to cook separate meals for her, so I have to either cook a vegetarian recipe everyone will eat, or cook a recipe that will allow the meat to be added separately. Oh, and it has to be points plus friendly for me. Here's a  vegetarian egg casserole that was successful in making everyone happy. Which I only need to try and do every day...

Vegetarian Egg Casserole 

(5 points plus value per serving)



  • Heat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Add stuffing mix, boca crumbles, veggies and cheese. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over ingredients in the pan. Cook uncovered for 50 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving. Note: you can add other veggies to this dish, whatever you have on hand!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gettin' jiggly with it

I went to see my doctor a few weeks ago (during which there was a conversation that is a post all in itself to be shared at another time) and my doctor recommended that I add exercise to my routine that would get my heart rate up - evidently she has not been to any of my yoga classes. She suggested I try Zumba. I found a class right after work on Tuesdays, so I thought I would try it out today. Whoa. I am really, really uncoordinated. It was pretty comical - the entire class would all be moving to the right, but I would be moving to the left. Everyone's left arm in the air... and my right arm in the air. Or I would just sway as I tried to figure out what the hell everyone else was doing. There was LOTS of jumping and bouncing. I may have lost 35 pounds, but I still have many jiggly parts. Actually, most of my parts are still pretty jiggly. The jiggly parts were not happy about being jiggled around vigorously for an hour. I left the class with no desire to ever go back.

Then when I got home I looked up the activity points value for an hour of aerobic exercise. (Activity points can be traded for food points in Weight Watchers). My hour of uncoordinated jiggly misery was worth 12 points! That's like an extra meal! 3 extra snacks! A good sized piece of cake! Maybe that hour wasn't so bad...

Later on this evening after Zumba my daughter wanted to have a "dance party." I got my tired butt up off the couch and ended up dancing with my kids for almost an hour. I didn't get tired or need to sit down. I laughed with them, shook my bootie with them, and sang off-key with them. I don't think I have ever played with them at such a high energy level for so long. Before I put them to bed, my daughter asked "Mama, can we do this every night?"

Damn. Looks like I'm going back to Zumba. Hopefully the jiggly parts will become less jiggly if I go on a regular basis.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The beginning of the Journey

I didn't start out this year planning to lose this weight. I lost quite a bit after the birth of my son two years ago just by breastfeeding him until he was 15 months. He weaned himself and the pounds started creeping back on. I started to notice my clothes were getting tight...and then my clothes didn't fit. In the time period from last July to January 2012 I gained about 20 pounds. I was kind of ambivalent about the gain. I had been heavy my whole life, dieted on and off my whole life, lost and regained the same 40 pounds over and over again. So this was the pattern I lived - nothing new.

My mom asked me to go back to Weight Watchers with her in January 2012. We had been members before and lost weight for a while, but didn't stick with it. I didn't want to go. I wasn't really interested in counting points. I didn't want to do the work. I didn't want to look at my weight issue and deal with it. But I went to support my mom. And I started losing weight - more than 10 pounds in the first few weeks.

I'm not sure I can pinpoint when it clicked for me. It's weird but I think my attitude of not really caring was a good thing at first. I wasn't too hard on myself if I didn't lose much - it just wasn't that big of a deal. I was just there supporting my mom, and if I lost some weight too that would be cool. I started losing more weight, and feeling better. My clothes fit better and then became too big. I started doing yoga several times a week. And all of a sudden I was the one who was serious about following the program and losing the weight.

Maybe I didn't expect results and so didn't want to get my hopes up too high. But when I did get results I started to hope. I started to believe I could actually do this. I've spent my whole life failing at losing this weight, but I didn't have to stay in this pattern of behavior.

I think the key this time is about my attitude towards myself. If I don't lose weight one week, or don't lose much weight, or even gain weight, I don't beat myself up about it. Next week is a new week. This is a lifetime coming and it's not going to happen overnight. And I'm not perfect. I still eat a spoonful of peanut butter right out of the jar sometimes. But that's OK. I've finally let go of my guilt about eating and cut myself some slack.

I had a moment the other day when I saw a picture of myself and I was like - "wait, is that me?" - wow. What a moment.

February 2012 - In Vegas with my girlfriends

In June on vacation with family - ignore the no makeup!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shopping with coupons

I have a love/hate relationship with couponing. I love saving money. I hate doing all the work to prepare for a shopping trip. Couponing is incredibly frustrating: you can't find a coupon, or you can't print a coupon, or they won't take the coupon, or it's not for the exact thing you thought it was. Not to mention I'm really horrible with math. So I go through phases where I do all the work and save lots of money and build up a little stockpile...and then I get tired of messing with it all and quit for a few months. Then I start paying full price for stuff I know I could get for free or very little and I go back to the couponing. Anyway, currently I am in a couponing phase. Today I went to CVS (my favorite couponing store), Target (my second favorite couponing store) and Walgreens (my most hated couponing store - there's nothing more confusing than couponing at Walgreens) and I saved 69% on mostly stuff we will actually use. Not bad. But any couponing website or person who says you should only spend an hour or even a few hours a week on preparing for your shopping trips is LYING.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The skinny on "The Skinny Roll"

My focus for this blog is the changes I have been going through in the past year, in particular my weight loss journey. I hope to expand it to include posts on cooking, parenting, yoga, and saving money, but my original idea was a blog about weight loss.

So - why "The Skinny Roll?"

My kids have always loved my fat roll. The big one, the one I hate with a passion, right around my middle. The one that prevents me from wearing anything that ties around the middle or has a belt. The one that makes me want to buy shirts that are too big. That fat roll.
A picture from last summer of the fat roll
taken by my 4 year old photographer.
My kids like to play with the fat roll - it's kinda like play-doh, all squishy and soft. They pat it, squish it with their little hands, lay on it, form it into different fat roll shapes, knead it like the cat (the cat loves it too for this very reason). My son went through a phase when he wanted to lay his head on it every morning for a little while. Of course, he had to lift up my shirt and have full access to the fat roll. I think it was some warm memory he had leftover from breastfeeding that he associated with the fat roll.

Sometimes I get annoyed when they want to play with the fat roll. They squeeze or pat too hard, or poke it like I'm the Pillsbury dough boy (they are 4 and 2, so they don't realize why that might be funny - or not funny). So the other day my daughter was patting on my fat roll. I didn't feel like being patted, so I jokingly asked her to quit messing with my fat roll. She said "Mommy you don't have a fat roll anymore - now it's a skinny roll!" Ahh, out of the mouths of babes. It made my day. Maybe even my week.

Watching that fat roll get smaller and smaller has been one of the best things in my weight loss journey. And having my daughter rename it changed the way I feel about the part of my body I hated the most.