The Missing Ingredient

So, as evidenced by the increasing infrequency of my posting, I guess you can probably imagine that work has gotten muy loco once again, and this poor, neglected blog is suffering the consequences. Well, there is good news and bad news that comes out of this fact, the bad news being that, of course, my posting has gone out the window… as have my *ahem* weigh-ins. (Oops.)

BUT. The good news is that the thing that I’m working on is a flippin’ huge, rocktastic, amaaaaahzing party that Y-O-U are invited to attend!

Yelp Gets Lucky

Yelp Gets Lucky is taking place on Friday, June 13th from 8 – 10 PM (or 7 PM if you’re part of the Yelp Elite Squad) and it’s going to be a seriously good time. We’re talking tons of noms, draaaaanks, and entertainment, all courtesy of amazing local businesses!

Best of all? It’s 100% TOTALLY COMPLETELY FREE to attend! All you gotta do is RSVP on Yelp. That’s it. For serious. So local readers, you have no excuse not to come out and play, okay?!

Aaaaanyway, now that that shameless plug is out of the way, let’s get back to me making pitiful excuses for why I haven’t been blogging. I mean, wait. What?

Okay, so here’s the real deal. (Buckle in, this is gonna be a long ride, folks.) I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog and where I’m going with it. You know, thinking about where I was in my life when I wrote that first post three and half years ago, and where I am now. Thinking about the goals I’ve achieved, the ones that I’ve failed at, the ones that I first achieved and THEN failed at maintaining afterwards… and how with the onset of this dream job and so many things in my life falling into place, maintaining this blog has lately felt more like a burden than a joy.

I know, I know, that sounds bad, and maybe it actually reads harsher than I really mean it to, but, hmm. How do I say it… I guess I’ve been kind of tiptoeing around the fact that I’m just not as passionate about blogging as I used to be. And I’ve been blaming it on being busy or being distracted or whatever, but I think we all know that it’s not really about not having the time to do it.

I mean, here’s the story of this blog in a nutshell: I was fat and unhappy, so I lost a buncha weight. And it was awesome! Aaaand then I gained a whole bunch of weight back. And that was not so awesome (especially to admit… publicly… on the interwebs) but, unlike before, I was fat and happy. Not happy about being fat, but you know what I mean. But, hey, I write a weight loss blog. So I knew that eventually I needed to own up to regaining the weight, and that I also needed to re-lose it. I had it in my mind that if I did it once, I could do it again just as long as I did all the same things I did the first time around. So that’s what I set out to do.

And sure, it worked for a while, because just paying attention to myself and what I was eating again was enough to help me shed those first 10, 15 pounds again. But then… I dunno. My drive just kinda — poof! — disappeared. And I couldn’t really figure out why. After all, I was doing all the same things I did the first time. Counting my calories, exercising (well, kinda…), cleaning my diet back up. And it was working! I was losing weight again. And yet… something was still missing.

I just haven’t been able to muster up the same enthusiasm towards my weight loss that I had the first time around. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken so many steps backwards that the fact that I’m finally moving forward again isn’t really a big deal. Because I’m still so far from where I once was. So, you know, celebrating a loss that I had already lost but subsequently regained doesn’t really seem like an appropriate thing to celebrate anymore. There’s too much guilt and shame involved now.

Beyond that, though, I think part of the reason why doing all the same things and following the same path doesn’t feel quite right anymore is because while all those things might be the same, I’m not. I’m pretty damn different now than I was three and a half years ago (um, thank GOODNESS, right?). Pretty much everything in my life has changed since then — my job (VIVA LA YELP!), my relationship (I think I’ll keep him), even my family (hello, Auntie Gretchen!). In fact, the only thing that hasn’t really changed is this pervasive obsession I continue to have with losing weight and, while we’re being honest I’ll just say it, being thin.

Let’s just face facts: While I talked a LOT about how, really, this blog is about getting healthy, and, really, it’s about working through my food issues, and, really, it’s about loving myself, you wanna know what it’s REALLY been about? Losing weight. I mean, it’s right there in the title. And I feel like in having that focus right from the start, I was always in the mindset that there was something about me that needed to change. That needed to be fixed. And that one basic thought right there, despite all my best efforts and a lot of denial, led the way for a lifetime of doubt and self-loathing to settle in under every victorious blog post, every one of my successes.

I mean, heck, even when I did lose 60 pounds and felt happy and whole and looked rockin’ in tapered denim, I still wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to continue to “fix” myself, to lose more, to be skinnier… and I’m pretty sure that lack of contentment is probably a key factor in why I started to regain weight in the first place.

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So yes, I obviously would love to get back to that place, that weight, how I felt at that time. But I don’t want to get there by spouting positivity on this blog but secretly wishing I could chop off the rolls on my stomach in private. The truth of the matter is that I’ve spent far too much of my life punishing myself for my body, being mad at myself for lacking the self-control to be thin, hatefully comparing myself to other women.

Now, let’s just hit the “pause” button for a hot sec, because I want to clarify that this post is in no way a declaration that I’m going to stop blogging. I’m obviously waaaaay too egomaniacal to ever do that. Please. But I am starting to reevaluate what it is that I’m looking to get out of this and put into this blog. Because I don’t think my real goal is just to lose weight any more. Or, at least, I don’t think I want it to be.

Maybe I’m finally getting to a place where I truly do want to work towards being able to fully accept and love my body as-is. No improvements needed. And I promise, I’m not trying to use this as an excuse to be lazy and eat whatever I want and be unhealthy. This is all about trying to implement a shift in my perspective, and I think it’s time for me to take a break from this total fixation I have on my weight, my size, and my body in general. Or at least, to TRY to take a break from it.

And you know, while I’m working on the full mental overhaul that I’m sure will be required to get me to see things just a little differently (I tell ya, the media industry really has done a number on me), I’ll continue to eat healthily (for the most part, as I do now) and go to the gym (for the occasional part, at least) and we’ll see where that gets me for the next little while.

Aaaaand since this post has LONG since passed the “eyes glazing over” stage right into TL;DR territory, I’ll go ahead and stop myself here. Let’s see how this attempt at a shiny new perspective goes, shall we?

Quick Update (Weigh-in)

Not a ton of time today (as has been the case every day this week), but I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to pop my results up on the blog today. So here we go, quick like a bunny:

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 223.7
This Weigh-in: 222.2 lbs
Difference: -1.5 lbs

And the train just keeps on rolling! Huzzah! Let’s just hope that this isn’t some kind of weird streak of stress-related weight loss due to my crazy schedule right now, hahaha.

See you guys on the flip!

Change Your Diet, Change Your Results (Guest Post)

Hi folks! Apologies for being AWOL this week, but as you know, I’m up to my ears in daily Yelp events for my big Passport to Mosaic marketing promotion, so time’s been a little tight lately. But for those of you who are itching to get their eyes on something new, I have a guest post from Andrea Singer with IHM today!

So without further adieu, I’ll let her take it away with her tips and advice for changing your diet to see better health results!

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I am a firm believer in nutrition. I think we spend too much time looking at what we “can’t” have, and not enough time thinking about all of the great foods we can eat and still see results.

For Weight Loss — Watch Your Macros

Cutting out entire food groups is not the answer for weight loss. It may help you drop a few pounds initially, but it is generally not sustainable. Once you go back to your normal habits, you gain all the weight back.

Instead you might have better luck counting your macronutrients — calories, carbs, proteins, and fats. That way you hit all of the major nutrients, but can create an overall calorie deficit which will allow you to lose weight and enjoy small treats that might otherwise be “forbidden”.

There are programs like IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), or if you need more structure, the HMR Healthy Solutions program is a low-calorie nutrition plan that allows you to enjoy all of your favorites in moderation.

For More Energy and Strength — Time Your Nutrition Better

Night snacking is a common mistake in weight loss. It’s not a terrible thing if you eat past 8pm, but you will have better results if you eat the majority of your nutrition during the daytime. Eating too much too late can also make it more difficult to fall asleep, and whether you are trying to lose weight, gain strength, or both, a good night’s sleep is vital to either.

What you choose for breakfast may make or break your nutritional success for the day. If you start out with sugar and refined carbs your insulin will spike and crash, setting you up to become hungry more quickly and make poor choices later on. Starting your day with protein and fats, however, will give you steady energy throughout the morning.

You should also plan on eating around your workouts. Eating a combination of carbohydrates and proteins an hour or two before working out can help you perform better and work out longer, and eating a similar combination within half an hour after working out will help your muscles recover.

For Everyone — Don’t Fear Saturated Fats

For optimal strength and energy, try starting your day out with proteins and your saturated fats in the morning — a few eggs cooked in coconut oil or a hamburger patty with vegetables would be good choices.

It has been long thought that saturated fats have negative effects on your health, but new studies are showing that that may not be the case. Saturated fats can keep you fuller for longer as opposed to carbohydrates, and assuming that it is a part of a healthy diet, can aid in weight loss and building strength.

In weight loss, what we eat is very important, but how much we eat is important as well. Knowing how much of which nutrients will help you reach your goal no matter what you are looking to do, and considering adding in more fats might help both for weight loss, and to increase energy.

Back to the Grind (Weigh-in)

Well, I know it’s been a minute since I actually last posted about something related to weight loss. Which is no big deal really, except that it’s, oh, you know, just the whole main subject of this very blog. And I’ve really only recently gotten back on the bandwagon, as it were, so it’s pretty bad of me to fall behind already.

That being said, you all already know the reasons why I have fallen behind, so I’m hoping you’re willing to cut me a wee little bit o’ slack. Trips galore, planning gigantic promotions for local businesses, and a mind-boggling sickness (stupid #CMWeekPlague!) that lingers on EVEN TODAY… but whatevs. I’m here now, and that’s all that really matters, ain’t it?

So let’s not dilly dally here. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you all that I wasn’t exactly on my best, most rigorous weight loss behavior on my various jetsets across the country, so I was pretty much bracing myself for the worst when it came to the scale this morning. Shall we take a look?

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 226.2
This Weigh-in: 228.7 lbs
Difference: +2.5 lbs

So, I gained a couple of libbies back, surprising nobody. But really, i’s not the WORST thing that could’ve happened. I mean, it’s not great, but if we’re all being honest here, I think we know it could have been waaaaaaay bad. I mean, eating out for literally every single meal while I was in SF with a group of other gorgeous people who are experts on goooood fooood, drinking at night (and I don’t really drink much, so I’m sure that had a big impact) all the cakes and candy and ridonkulous sugar highs that came with planning and executing a one year old’s birthday party… Plus, we all know that I can gain 5 pounds by pretty much just looking at a stack of nachos, so all things considered, I’m actually not that discouraged.

Well, actually, now that I’m really thinking about it, I probably DID gain more than 2.5 pounds back, but since I’ve been back home for almost a week now, maybe I’ve already normalized a bit. Which does make it ever so slightly more depressing, but… meh. What’s done is done, eh?

After all, I’m nothing if not resilient. So I’ll just keep on keeping on (it’s kind of my thing). I’ve got some new inspiration for some awesome recipes, I’m focusing on consuming more protein and healthy fat, and fewer carbs (I’ve given up potatoes for Lent which should help eliminate about 60% of my current carb addiction problem… man, I love potatoes), and in general, I’m feeling pretty good about how things are going. Or, rather, how they will be going, from hereon out.

PLUS, I just got my braces adjusted, which means that I’m pretty much limited to a diet of applesauce, pudding, and mashed avocado for the next few days. I mean, sure, it’s kind of an involuntary diet, but hey, if it works…!

Thanks, as always, for sticking around with me on this crazy ride. And, you know, not judging me toooo harshly on weeks like this. And hey, since I kickstarted this weightloss thing back in January, this is my first weigh-in reporting a gain, so that’s one way to justify look at it, right? #silverlining

PS: There’s still time to enter the AllWhites givewaway for a $100 gift card! Check it out if you haven’t already and get paiiiiiiid, yo!

Snapshots & Stitch Fixes

Happy Monday, friendos! I hope you all had wonderful weekends, the lot of you. Sean and I continued our 2-year anniversary celebration this past weekend, so it was pretty fab… though, as you can probably guess, involved a liiiiittle more foodstuffs than I probably should have indulged in. Thank goodness my weigh-ins are on Fridays now, eh? Hahaha.

Anyway, in the spirit of always being honest and transparent with you guys (plus the fact that I’m a weirdo and I love seeing what other people are eating), I figured I’d share a few snapshots of some of the things I’ve been eating recently. I promise it’s not all from dining out, too! I even have a couple of recipes to share with you guys this week, so there.

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Whipped up a glorious batch of my (and Katniss’s) favorite Lamb Stew with Dried Plums — although evidently the Polar Vortex made it so that there was no good lamb at the grocery store, so I used beef instead. Still delicious!

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Played a game of pantry roulette and ended up creating a hot steaming bowl of deliciousness that included farfalle pasta, bacon, peas, and amazing mushrooms with a super light cream sauce just to bind it together. I know you all probably read the word “cream” and your collective buttcheeks all tightened, but I promise that it was still a very diet-appropriate dish. Recipe to come soon!

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A iPhone pic collage of some of the amazingness that we experienced at Tuscarora Mill, where Sean took me for our anniversary dinnah. It’s in Leesburg and it is DEFINITELY worth the drive. You can peep my review on Yelp if you want deets about everything we ate (spoiler alert, it was a lot more than what is shown, hahaha), but that on the right there is a truffled goat cheese ravioli with mushrooms and pulled short ribs. I KNOW. I had never been so excited to eat leftovers the next day IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

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And, finally, last night my friend Reema came over and we whipped up a recipe from my homegirl Cassie’s AMAZING new cookbook: Beer & Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. It really was just as delicious as it sounds, and even Sean got on board with the hidden butternut squash in the sauce. Mm-mmm, good. I’ll post more deets about the recipe (and Cassie’s cookbook!) soon!

So, lots of good eats (though in retrospect, I realize that there is a lot of pasta pictured. I promise I’ve been eating, like, vegetables and salads and stuff, too, hahahaha.) over the past few days, and even better ones to come!

So, in addition to all the deliciousness, time with friends, and anniversary celebration stuffs, I also had another fun addition to last week: I received my first Stitch Fix! Those of you who are already familiar with Stitch Fix are probably sick of hearing about it, and honestly, I kinda was too. But just before the holidays I had a chat with my friend Rachel about how much she was enjoying it, and I finally gave in and figured I’d give it a try. And when they hit it RIGHT OUTTA THE PARK with my very first box, I knew I had to share it with you all!

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So, for the uninitiated, Stich Fix is like a mail-order personal shopping service. You set up a style profile and you can do one-time or monthly recurring “Fixes” (same price either way, $20, which is applied to the cost of the clothing if you end up wanting to keep anything) and they send you five items that they think you’d like! I was skeptical as to how personalized it would really be, but they let you link to things like your Twitter, your Pinterest fashion board (if you have one), and I even put my blog address in the extra field at the bottom. And when I received my box, and it came with a personal note explaining all of the items, AND it also pointed to my love of polka dots which they would only have known if they really HAD checked out my Twitter and blog and whatnot, I knew this was pretty legit.

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Of course, it helped that the totally knocked it out of the park! I received a dress, two cardigans, a shirt, and an infinity scarf. Every single item is absolutely my style, and has details that I looooove. The dress has a light polka dot pattern and has that vintage-ish silhouette that I love, the blue cardi has polka dot detailing on the pockets and down the button closure area, the red cardigan has a light butterfly cut-out print and AWESOME buttons — each button is different! — and the infinity scarf is a bright, fun orange and THEY PUT A BIRD ON IT. Many birds, in fact.

The striped shirt was the only item where, before trying it on, I was kind of meh about, but once I did put it on, I LOVED it. It’s actually really flattering, incredibly soft, and super comfortable. Horizontal stripes! Who knew?!

I ended up feeling the most iffy about the red cardigan after trying everything on, just because from a distance there was nothing too special about it. But because Stitch Fix offers a 25% discount if you end up purchasing all five items, it was essentially free — the cardigan cost less than the amount I ended up saving from the discount! Plus, it ended up being way cute when styled with the dress instead of on its own — I ended up wearing the combo to Tuscarora Mill for our anniversary dinner!

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Speaking of pricing, you can set your price points for all the various categories of stuff they offer. So in that way, you can totally emphasize the clothing items that are most important to you. For example, for jewelry and accessories, which I don’t particularly care about, I put “As cheap as possible,” but for dresses and outerwear, I said I was comfortable with paying over $100 for those. Now, it just happened that every single item in my first box was between 28 and 48 dollars (yes, even the dress! I ended up paying just over $100 for all five items with the discount and the $20 styling fee I already paid going towards the total), so this was like a double-win in that arena.

ANYWAY. Enough talk about Stitch Fix and my latest obsession. I promise that this is not a paid promotion or a sponsored post or anything like that — they’re not paying me to say these things! (Though, as a disclaimer, the “Stitch Fix” hyperlink above is my referral link for the site.) I was just REALLY impressed with this service, especially because I was admittedly worried that I was too big to fit anything they offer. Which, now that I bring that up, is probably the only real problem with it, because the biggest size they offer on their style profile is 14… and, let’s be honest, that is deeeefinitely pushing it for me right now. So it bodes well for my continued weight loss efforts, but it was kind of a crapshoot whether I’d be able to fit everything they sent this time around. Thankfully it did all fit… but still. Broaden your sizing horizons and you will be utterly perfect, Stitch Fix!

OKAY. Sorry, sorry, enough chatter for now. Hope you’re all having utterly tolerable Mondays, and I’ll see you on the flip side!