Facing Setbacks


I haven’t updated in a few weeks as we’ve had a bout of the stomach flu and then both my husband and my backs have both gone out. So things have been kinda hectic around the household. It’s been hard to stay afloat with our regular activities, much less any additional things like working out or creating healthy, delicious meals. It’s been mostly survival mode the last few weeks.

Life sometimes takes over and it’s all you can do just to hold on. & the fact is that sometimes life just bucks you off. It happens. I know it does. But I think the key for me to getting back on the horse is timing. Knowing WHEN to get back on the horse. Get back on too early- you risk burnout or injury. Get back on too late and risk apathy, or not even getting back on the horse at all.

I’m struggling with this currently. My back is still twinging every once in awhile and is especially painful at night before bed. I’m trying to figure out if getting back into my exercise routine might help me recover, or if I should just continue to rest and fully recuperate before I start back up. I have another mini bootcamp class starting Nov. 30th, so I’d like to be starting off fresh and injury-free. I guess I can play it by ear and if I feel like it’s too much, I can always stop.

I’ve been done with my 8-week bootcamp class for just over a week and I haven’t worked out since it ended (due to illness and injury). I feel slightly guilty that I haven’t been able to continue my workouts, but I do have genuine excuses. I think I need to recognize that yes, I got knocked down, but it’s time to get back up, brush myself off, and get back at it! Setbacks happen. And they will continue to happen. It’s what I do after they happen that really matters.

Today is a new day. & I choose to make it whatever I want.

PUMP’d Up About Fall Food


I think it must be the change in the weather, and the fall-like feeling in the air, but I am craving good, warm, home-cooked meals these days. And throw ‘healthy’ in on that list too. It’s hard to sometimes find meals that can give you that warm, cozy feeling that comes with comfort food, while at the same time is healthy, packed with veggies and/or low in sugar/fat. Now that I’ve finished my noglutendairysugar cleanse, I have a little bit more freedom when it comes to ingredients, but I’m trying to still stick to as clean of a diet as I can.

Last night I tried this amazing recipe and it turned out great: Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash. I made a few mods- I subbed Italian chicken sausage for the pork sausage the recipe calls for, I didn’t have any mushrooms or fresh parsley on hand and I also threw some kale in as well for a little variety. It took a little bit longer than I thought to make but it was well worth the wait! And I have leftovers for days, since it’s such a filling dish.

I also have a major sweet tooth and it seems like at this time of the year there’s a glut of pumpkin-spiced products on every store shelf. Especially at Trader Joe’s. So I’m pretty pump’d up about finding this delicious recipe for GF pumpkin spice dark chocolate chip muffins. They’re so good– and they’re only 140 calories each!

Next on my list to try? These Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls from Skinnytaste.com. I know these contain both gluten and dairy, but they’re only 240 calories each and I like the fact that that they have portion control built right in to their construction, AND that you can freeze them individually or as a dish ready for the oven. How easy is that?

Since I’m seeing a squash/pumpkin theme here in this post, I might as well share my latest favorite fall treat: Jamba Juice’s Almond Milk Pumpkin Smoothie. This smoothie helps squash my afternoon sugar cravings. I think I have all of the ingredients at home so I’m going to give it a shot at making an at-home version. I’ll let you know if it comes close to the original- fingers crossed!

Hit the 10 lb. mark!

Rise Up

Update: -3.3 lbs
Total loss: -11 lbs

Woohoo! Finally broke through that 10 lb. barrier I’ve been shooting for for the last couple of months! I think it was maybe a combination of things, and we will see if it was a fluke and I jump back up a little next week or not. I think it had something to do with the combination of my noglutendairysugar diet for a month, as well as being sick for a few days, that actually did the trick. Although it sucks and I would trade anything to feel better while I’m sick, the up-side is that I usually lose a few pounds because of it. Most likely it was a little bit of water weight thrown in there too. I literally sweated through my pjs 3 nights in a row- I had to get up and change into a fresh pair 1/2way through the night b/c I was dripping with sweat. I got a flu shot, as I do every year, but this year for some reason I really reacted to it. I had aches and pains, hot and cold flashes, a pounding headache, and a major reaction at the injection site. My arm felt like it was hit with a baseball bat and it was swollen and red. It almost looked like I had hives, but it wasn’t itchy. Very strange. Took me down for a few days and I was out from work/workouts/life from Wed-Sat of last week. Finally felt better on Sunday.

Being sick those few days really did give me a huge sense of gratitude for my general good health and the fact that my body, although it’s not “perfect” and where I would like it to be, works well and does a great job of letting me do the things I love, like exercising, keeping up with my almost-2-year-old, etc. This week I am feeling good and am renewed in my inspiration to reach my goals!

Yes, I love technology.


I used to hate technology.

I was a late cell phone adopter, and I had no idea really what the difference between a Mac and a PC was. I wrote all of my appointments in a Day-Timer (some of you may have to Google what that is) and kept a (very loose) running total of my bank account balances in my check register. I rarely checked email after college and if I ordered a pizza, it was by looking the phone number up in a phone book (again, Google may apply here for some) and calling the pizza place on a landline. Am I dating myself here?

About 10 years ago I finally caved and got a cell phone. And then went back to school in a field that was based on use of computers (graphic & publication design). I quickly learned the difference between a Mac & a PC, btw.  From there it was a slippery slope and I soon traded in my cell phone for a Razr–which at the time was the most futuristic thing I owned—which I then traded up for a (gasp!) smartphone. And can I just say… I really, really love my phone. Like a lot. Maybe too much?

My phone is one of the things in my life that can make things easier. I am a working mom who is trying to be a good wife, have a clean(ish) house, serve nutricious(ish) meals to my son, all while trying to maintain somewhat of a social life… and btw, lose 40 lbs. (no ‘ish’ there). So, there is very little time for doing things like pulling out a phone book to look up a phone number. (And really, does anyone even have phone books anymore?) I am constantly looking for ways to shave minutes off of monotonous daily activities so that I can put more energy and time into the things in my life that really matter.

Right now, three of my favorite features on my phone are:

  • Amazon Prime Now
  • Starbucks Mobile Order
  • Apple Pay

Amazon Prime Now is available to us in Portland, OR, as one of a few select test markets. It’s a service that allows Amazon Prime users to download the Prime Now app, and then order products thru that app to their doorstep WITHIN AN HOUR. I mean, c’mon. Mind- blown.  Did I mention they will deliver groceries from quality stores like New Seasons and World Foods… and cupcakes (yes, CUPCAKES!) from the yummy Cupcake Jones. All to your door within the hour. I do not live in New York City so this phenomenon is very exciting to me and one that I hope to use a lot, as taking a toddler to the grocery store can be a bit of a, ahem, CHALLENGE sometimes.

I should note that they do have limited stock, hours and delivery zip codes, but overall- what a great idea!

Starbucks Mobile Order is just about the most brilliant thing Sbux has done in a while. Customers can use the feature in the Starbucks app to order custom drinks, pay, and then (in 3-7 minutes) pick up ready-to-go drinks in the bar area. Today, I placed my drink order immediately after dropping my son off at daycare. I then picked my drink up 3 minutes later, a few miles down the road on my commute into work. It took me longer to navigate the traffic and cross the street than it did to walk in, have the barista verify my name, and then hand me my drink. I walked right past the to-the-door line that had formed and picked up my drink. Awesomeness.

Apple Pay is also a great feature that I love using on my iPhone. Apple Pay allows iPhone 6 (or higher) and iWatch 5 (or higher) users to pay in stores (and within apps) using your fingerprint, with Touch ID technology. When you are at the checkout stand with a grabby toddler, the faster you can get through the checkout process the better! Touch ID can also be used for awesome things like logging into your online banking accounts as well (if your bank participates).

Let me just say that Kip was right when he said/sang:

No glutendairysugar: Week 2


Did you know that couscous is NOT gluten free? No? Well neither did I. I thought it was some ancient, healthy grain that also just happened to be delicious and easy to cook. Turns out it’s pretty much pasta and therefore, chock full of gluten. I mowed down 2 bowls of it last week, unknowingly. The only reason I finally figured it out (I mean, besides the fact that it was delicious) was that I started having stomach pains a couple of hours later both times I ate it. I thought ‘I’m pretty sure it is GF, but I’ll just Google it to be 100%.’ It is not. It is pretty much the gluteniest gluten thing you could probably eat. Like, instead of ‘couscous’, it should be called ‘wheatwheat’. Alright, lesson learned. Moving on…

How did the rest of my week go? Well, I’ve done a pretty good job of staying away from all things glutendairysugar, but I had some pretty intense sugar and dairy cravings pop up. I realized I use dairy as a quick-fix staple for blood sugar crashes. I’ve been having to keep a closer eye on the clock to make sure I’ve eaten recently, so that I don’t find myself in the position of trying to use cheese to pull out of the blood-sugar-downward-spiral-nosedive, aka this:

I am a little worried for this upcoming weekend, though. My husband and I are going on an actual date (can’t remember the last time) and we are going out to dinner at a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for a while. I am going to try and stick to my guidelines as best I can, and I’m going to ask him to NOT let me look at the dessert menu. I have a huge sweet tooth and dessert is one of my favorite things. Unfortunately, dessert is almost completely made up of glutendairysugar. I have looked at the menu online and I think there are a couple of good options and I should walk away feeling OK with my choices.

I also have a brunch potluck I am going to at a friend’s house on Sunday. Brunch can be pretty treacherous as it typically contains lots of gluten (bagels, muffins, pancakes, etc), sugar (donuts, syrup, coffee cake, etc) and dairy (cheesy eggs, cream cheese, creamer, etc). My plan is to bring a couple of options that I know will be safe. I’m going to try this recipe: http://www.jesselanewellness.com/recipes/gluten-free-quiche/. Not sure how it’s going to taste, but I hope it’s semi-decent! I’ll be serving it to others who are not on my same diet and might not appreciate the lack of glutensugardairy. As a back-up, I’ll bring some lower-glycemic type fruit–like strawberries & blueberries as well.

I think the key to getting through the weekends is to have a plan, and to try to stick as closely to it as I can. Part of that plan should also include Plan B for instances when Plan A is just not going to work. For example: having nuts stashed in my car or purse for situations when I get too busy and feel my blood sugar dipping and can’t get to a healthy snack. Or having some kind of “sugary” substitute–raspberries, dried fruit–for when I feel like I MUST HAVE SUGAR. (It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.)

I’ll report back next week on how my No Glutendairysugar Plan A & B (& possibly C) worked out this weekend. Wish me luck!

I am not a runner.


Update: -1.1 lbs.
Total loss: 7.6 lbs.

Last night I went to the first session of my 8-week boot camp class. I was a little nervous going into the class because the teacher sent out an email a few days before giving us a heads-up that we were going to be doing some physical assessments on the first day and that part of the assessment would be A MILE RUN. RUNNNN. As in, not walking. Running the whole time. For A MILE.

Let me just tell you that as soon as I got the notice, I was dreading this.

I am not a runner.

I’ve always wanted to be a runner- I’ve had dreams of effortlessly training for my marathons and triathlons in my new training shoes and sleek running clothes. Of putting in 5-milers in the early am hours before work. But yeah, then I actually START running. And I hate it. I am the kind of runner that needs a million distractions to try and divert my mind from obsessively repeating to me that I am dying of running. I need music, or games, or tricks, or peer pressure. I need to make sure I don’t have to go to the bathroom. Or am thirsty, or am hungry. I need it to be not too hot, not too cool- I am essentially the Goldilocks of jogging. If all of these conditions do not exist at optimal settings, it is disastrous and I usually end up walking back home and thinking, “why did I think I wanted to run? (shaking head) I won’t make that mistake again…” So. When I was told I would HAVE to RUN an ENTIRE MILE, I was slightly terrified.

So how did it go?

I arrived at class a little early to do some measurements, the teacher talked a little bit, we all warmed up and then… we were off! Running! And to my complete and utter surprise- I did it! I ran an entire mile without stopping! Or dying! Granted, there were points when I wanted to walk, but I played the at-the-end-of-this-block-if-I-can’t-do-it-anymore-I-can-walk game with myself. But each time I reached the end of a block I would see the woman ahead of me getting a little farther and farther ahead and I would think, “if I lose sight of her, I might not know the route of the run and I might get lost. And that might mean I’ll have to run MORE.” And apparently this worked.

Maybe I am a runner after all!

What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?


Recently, topic I’ve been avoiding trying to think about—and definitely avoiding writing about– has been my job. I haven’t written about it yet because I’m not sure what I want yet. And this blog is about getting what I want, and the steps it takes/progress/obstacles I face on my way to said wants. But when it comes to my job, there’s a lot that I like about it. I have a great boss, nice co-workers and have a pretty low stress level- which are all great things! You know this, especially if you’ve ever worked somewhere where any of those 3 components have been missing. They’ve also been really great flexible with me when it comes to my 19-month-old son. He started daycare about 6 months ago and he was sick at least one day a week for what seemed like months. My boss set it up so I was able to work from home, when needed. I’ve also spent many a workday (after a sleepless baby-keeping-you-up night) thinking ‘I’m glad my job isn’t more stressful- I don’t think I could do this if I wasn’t able to auto-pilot my way through this day’.

Yes. These are all great things.


I’m also wondering if I’m stagnating here. I feel that I’ve mastered the job that I’ve been given. I can adequately handle most of what’s thrown my way and have been successful in learning everything that’s been required of me to complete any job tasks. I think that the problem is, is also the thing that I sometimes like about this job- is that it’s a small, local company. So if I want to learn something, I have to teach it to myself. If there’s a problem, I have to figure it out myself most times. It would be nice to be inspired by someone who was willing to teach me new programs, skills, ideas, etc.

One of the other problems is that there is a ceiling here. Since we are such a small department, there is nowhere to go. There’s no ‘marketing manager’ position to strive for- because there’s no one to manage but me. Which also brings me to the fact that there’s no way to get raises beyond the yearly cost-of-living or merit raises. Don’t get me wrong, I think that I’m paid adequately, and I work for a non-profit, so I know every $ counts. But still. When you don’t have that carrot, it’s sometimes hard to muster the gumption to pull the cart.

The 3rd issue is location. My job is about 30 mins from my house. Granted, we are hoping to move soon (slightly closer) but I still don’t love the area where I work. It’s a pretty industrial, blue-collar part of Portland- which is a really cool city! There are so many great neighborhoods that I love to eat, shop, explore in. But this. This is not one of them. The only time I’d been out here previous to working here was when I was lost and trying to find a gas station on my way home from the airport. So yeah. There’s that.

And I guess the 4th – and really the heart of the issue- is that I’m not sure of what I “should” be doing for work. Am I a “live-to-work” person? Or am I a “work-to-live” person. Right now my job is something that provides me with a salary, which allows me to pay all of my bills and do some of the things I want to do in my free time that are important to me. I like the hours, the flexibility with a young child, and the low-stress atmosphere. But this job is not feeding my soul. And I think I need to do some work trying to find out what does.

So, that’s where I’m at. Not really sure if I’m ready to move forward on this one… but not really sure I want to stand still, either.

No glutendairysugar- Week 1


Update: -.2 lbs
Total loss: 6.3 lbs.

I’ve been doing the no glutendairysugar diet now for about a week now and, surprisingly, I actually feel a little better, a little less tired, a little lighter. I’m not sure if it’s cutting out the dairy, or the gluten, or the sugar- or a combination of all 3- but it’s interesting to me that I actually do feel a pretty significant change, and it’s only been a week. I had expected to feel pretty crappy, so this is interesting. Maybe my body is just in a state of denial.

As far as the ‘no sugar’ suggestion goes, I’ve been pretty good about eliminating it, but I’m not going completely cold turkey. I’m not eating obviously sugary things (pancakes, sweets, pastries, candies) but I’m still eating things that might contain small amounts of sugar, like protein bars, protein shakes, fruit, etc. I’m trying to be mindful of eating things with lower sugar content- but not completely ruling something out just because it has sugar. I have had the occasional craving for say… a brownie sundae, or a s’more, or a fruit tart- but nothing that hasn’t passed when I’ve either a.) eaten something, b.) drank something, or c.) distracted myself with something.

I will admit that I was surprised by the lack of weight loss this week, though. I thought there was going to be another big jump. .2 lbs does not equal “big jump” in my mind. It equals “Huh. OK. I guesssss?” But I need to remember to keep perspective on this and realize that I’m still on track- ahead even- for my 1lb a week goal.

On another note- I’m signing up for an 8-week fitness program, tapered specifically for busy moms who need to get the most bang for their buck. It’s a results-based program, designed for moms who want their “body back”- and catchily enough- that’s what the name of the class is: Body Back. It includes meal plans & tracking, DVDs, and results-based direction from instructors. It starts next week and classes are 2x/week. It will also be a great way to meet moms who may be experiencing some of the same challenges. I’m excited to get started and report back what I find!

No dairyglutensugar

Stack of donuts with milk in a jar

Update: -3.4 lbs
Total loss: 6.1 lbs

My naturopath has suggested I do a “gut re-set” to help cut down on possible inflammation and related side effects. I’ll be taking a series of pills for two weeks and then smoothies for 2 weeks. In conjunction with this she is suggesting I eliminate all gluten (whaa?), dairy (noooo!) and sugar (gasp!). For a month.


Soooo, yeah. I need to, once again, get organized about how I’m going to pull this off. Gluten, dairy and sugar are, I wouldn’t say staples, but they are definitely part of my day… like, every day. I’m going to have to get creative.

In the morning- instead of coffee, cream & sugar, it’s going to have to be coffee (oh don’t even think about taking that away from me too) & unsweetened almond milk. To this I say: blech.

In the afternoon- I usually snack on some sort of cheese for protein throughout the day. I also eat protein bars (which are jam-packed with sugar and probably contain dairy and gluten too). I am going to have to replace all of my normal snacks with new low-glycemic, high protein, gluten, dairy, and sugar-free options. (God, I soooo sound like a character on Portlandia right now.)  Do these things even exist? Like, am I just going to be carrying around a baggy of shredded chicken? Or more likely, air?

In the evening- I find that every night after dinner and before bed I crave something sweet. I’ve recently tried to steer myself to a healthier snack of Greek yogurt and bananas, but that is going to have to change too with these new diet restrictions. She is allowing me to have 1-2 pieces of fruit a day so that may have to be the thing I fight my evening sugar search with.

I’m hoping to do my grocery shopping this weekend and get ready to start it this coming Monday. We’ll see how this goes!

The Ups & Downs of Dieting


Update: Down 2.5 lbs!

I have been doing the pre-portioned meals and trying to work out 2-3 times a week and so far I think it’s working! I have also been tracking my meals and calories with the MyFitnessPal app. I have my calories set to lose 1 lb. a week so that I’m not feeling super deprived. I do feel a major difference (am hungry quite a bit throughout the day) but I am adjusting.

I think the hardest part about dieting for me is the blood sugar piece. I will put off eating because I don’t want to eat junk so I’ll try to wait until I can have a good, high-protein, low-sugar snack, and then suddenly, I go past the invisible blood sugar line and plunge into a sugar crash. I get shaky and sweaty and feel like I might pass out. And it all happens very quickly. It can be pretty scary- the symptoms feel very similar to an anxiety attack. It’s also scary that, even after eating something to bring the sugar levels back up, it takes a few minutes for my body to recover. So I will have eaten some fruit and protein to help levels rise again and it seems like nothing is happening. But I do recover usually within about 20-30 mins.

Every time I go too long and have a blood sugar crash, I always promise, “never again!” And then life happens and I get busy and I go too long after breakfast without eating and then I feel that shaky feeling start again and I think “Oh crap! Protein, now!!” I sometimes wish I was attached to a little glucose monitor that would beep every time my levels started to drop and it would remind me to refill my stores. But since I don’t have that I have to use other tools to keep my blood sugar balanced. It is something I am constantly working on and have to pay special attention to when I am changing my diet.

Here are some great tips from my naturopath about how to balance blood sugar:

Eat Breakfast:

  • It is important to not skip breakfast to prevent the adrenal glands from over-working.
  • Eat high quality protein and fat
  • Nausea and lack of appetite are side effects of low blood sugar. Eating protein will relieve nausea and will stabilize blood sugars in a few days.

Avoid or Limit Caffeine:

  • Caffeine overworks the adrenal glands, therefore causing nausea and exhaustion
  • Eat breakfast before you drink that cup of coffee! You may not need it!

 Eat protein every 2-3 hours: (just a snack)

  • Protein keeps blood sugar balanced for longer periods of times
  • Eating consistently allows the adrenal glands to rest
  • Eat often allows for normal brain chemistry balance

 Limit Carbohydrates:

  • High carb diets spike blood sugars
  • If you feel sleepy or crave sugar after meals– you have overloaded carbs
  • Look for food intolerances or sensitivities
  • Eat high carb foods with fiber, fat or protein to aid in glucose absorption
  • High Carbs: grains (gluten, rice, corn), legumes, starchy vegetables (potatoes), and sugar

 Avoid Sweets/Carbs Before Bed:

  • Sweets before bed will spike blood sugar making it hard to fall asleep
  • Blood sugars will crash in the middle of the night calling on the adrenal glands for help and cause you to wake up restless or anxious