This post is to one of my closest friends, cheerleader, support person and overall badass: Nikki.  Happy Birthday Girl!


In May of 2013, I told Nikki I was going to try to start eating healthier and that I wanted to lose maybe 50 pounds.  When you’re morbidly obese, everyone knows you talking about dieting every now and then and tell those around you you’re going to try.  The response from most is just a passing “ok” with the added feeling of “yeah right” behind it.  But Nikki didn’t make me feel this way.  Right away she offered advice as she was naturally a better eater than I was.  She would comment that my pants were getting loose even when I didn’t believe her myself.

That’s the number one thing I love about Nikki: No Judgement. Ever.  I never feel judged by her or looked down upon.  She is one of the best people I’ve ever met.

Over that summer I lost 30 – 40 pounds and returned to work in the fall.  Nikki and I didn’t see each other much that summer since we both travel, work and enjoy every last second of our summers.  When we got back to work, she jumped on the band wagon.  We started having ‘pot luck style’ lunches where we and a few friends would bring different things for lunches that week.  She would force me to try new things that I didn’t even know I liked.  Where would I be without her encouraging me to eat hummus or black bean burgers? My life would be so sad! We would check in and talk about our weight and what sucked that week.  Since we were under the same stress it was really easy to counsel each other.


That January I joined my gym.  She joined too!  They were running a groupon so she bought one and would come workout with me in the beginning.  She quickly found that my gym wasn’t her style, but since we had started together, I could always talk to her about what was going on at the gym.  She started running, biking and 5k training while I worked on strength and cardio.  That spring, we both got new jobs.

We still make it a point to get together and we still check in about our weight and how things are going.  We love to go to a local vegetarian restaurant where she turned me on to THE BEST bean and quinoa burger EVER. We’ve ran a 5K together and are running a 7K together in March.  She constantly reminds me how much of an inspiration I am for her, but she’s just as big for me.


Nikki is an amazing Mom.  When I’m at her house, I hope to be the kind of parent that she is.  Not only is she finding time for herself and her health, but she models those healthy choices for her son Will and her hubby.  She’s also an amazing teacher and advocate for her students.  She’s involved with galleries all over town and is often looking for charities and causes to support.  So while Nikki thinks I’m the support for her, it’s really the other way around!  I think you’re amazing in everything you do.  So the HAPPIEST of birthdays to my kick-ass friend.  You go girl!

A New Yardstick

Lately the switch from losing weight to maintenance has been really difficult.  I’ve been feeling less sexy, confident and proud of what I’ve accomplished.  THIS IS NOT a ploy to get tons of compliments of how good I look in this post’s comments.  It’s just the truth.  My hubby and I were discussing it last night and he helped me figure out part of it.

I’m addicted to the numbers on the scale.

I would get excited every morning to get on the scale.  I’d step on and see the lower number I was hoping to see and I would feel PROUD.  I’d fist pump the air and think about how awesome I was.  This would be the height of most days.  Seeing your hard work pay off is such an emotional high!


Now when I get on the scale in the morning, I’m hoping to see the same number.  I keep coming back to this.  I know I should see the same number.  The doctor told me not to lose more weight.  I am actually NOT wanting to see it go down. So I get on and think, great, I ate enough yesterday.  No fist pump.  No rush of awesomeness. Just……ok good.

So much of my ‘awesomeness factor’ was tied to seeing the number go down.  I thought I wasn’t so bad or addicted to the numbers, but now that I don’t have them, I’m feeling lost.  It’s the easiest way to measure your health and fitness right? If the number goes down, you made the right choices. What do I measure by now? My abilities in fitness change so slowly that over time it’s hard to feel like you’re getting better.  It could take me another 6 months to be able to meet my pull up goal.  It’s too cold to hike my first 14er or start marathon training.

I know in the spring it will be a lot easier to measure my fitness when I’m training for a half marathon.  I will be able to literally measure how far I can run.  Right now though……I feel lost. I know it should be a great relief to not be buying new pants every month and have met my goal weight. But I just……don’t.  I don’t think I need to lose more weight and I’m really happy with my fitness level……..what’s my new yardstick?

I don’t vs. I can’t

Ah….the end of January.  We are finally getting through what I think is one of the most obnoxious months of the year.  Everywhere you go and everywhere you look right now there are motivational signs.  “The New You!” “Meet your Goals!” “Miracle Pill”……blah blah blah.  I do think this is an awesome time to start new things and set new goals, I just don’t want it crammed down my throat everywhere I go.  Also….the lists……… Every facebook post, article, and recommended ad link is a list.  10 ways to use coconut oil, 15 diets to try, 27.3 breakfast recipes, The top ten pairs of underwear from 2014……….yuck.

A few weeks back, my aunt posted one of these lists on Facebook and I’m so glad she did.  After reading it, one of the points has stuck with me and I keep returning to it.  Here’s the full article, yes it’s another list: 15 Phrases that Will Change Your Life in 2015.  I have to admit, when I read the title I threw up in my mouth a little.  Change my life? Really.  I clicked anyway and so should you. After reading the first one, I kept reading and ended up loving this list.  While I found the whole list to be helpful and inspiring, #8 has stuck with me for weeks now. Here’s a blurb:

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 2.56.18 PM


After reading this article, I found that this is something I naturally did throughout my weight loss.  “I don’t” feels so much better than “I can’t.”

“I can’t” implies, I should be able to but I’m too fat and gross.  I’m not normal like you……. 

“I don’t” implies, I’m choosing not to for my health, and gross, you shouldn’t either!

Start paying attention to the language you use around food.  Saying “I don’t” can be really empowering especially for your brain.  Studies show the more you say “I don’t” vs “I can’t” the easier it is to say no and stay on track. I say “I don’t eat that” a lot, especially around my students.  I even think there’s a tad of judgement when saying “I don’t”.  When a student offers me hot cheetos I say, “I don’t eat those because…….” and I think it makes them think twice about eating them too.  If I say, “I can’t eat those” then it implies that I want to eat them, I just can’t and I can honestly say, I never want to eat hot cheetos!


My I Don’t List

Here’s a list of foods that I just don’t eat.  Some are hard and others are easy.

I don’t eat doughnuts. They are too sugary and I threw up the last time I had one which was over a year ago. My body rejects them they are so awful.

I don’t eat regular chips.  I do eat baked chips when craving salty snacks but I avoid regular chips at all costs.  Especially hot cheetos.

I don’t drink regular soda.  I’m hoping to get to a point where I don’t drink ANY soda at all but for now, this is my mantra.

I don’t eat sides of bread or a whole bun. Whenever I get a roll or biscuit, I just don’t eat it.  If I’m having a full sandwich, I cut out half the bread.  It’s just habit now.

I don’t drink beer.  I don’t really enjoy beer and it has soooo many calories so I have a low cal cocktail instead.

I don’t skip the gym. In the past year I have ‘skipped’ less than 5 times.  I’m not talking about missing a day for a meeting.  I’m talking about days I need to spend more time at home or I’m feeling overwhelmed by deadlines.  When I tell myself I’m going, I’m going.


Even if you’re not saying “I don’t” yet, create a list of what you’d like to be able to say “I don’t” to.  Maybe it’s a goal list but at least it’s something to work for.   Try to cut out “I can’t” as much as possible in all areas of life.



Off Track……

Ever since the holidays, starting a few weeks before Christmas until now, I feel like I just can’t quite get it back.

In September, I hit my goal weight.  Ever since then even…..I feel like I’m just not quite figuring it out.   September, October and even most of November I was struggling.  Once I hit my goal weight, I had trouble not losing more weight for about 6 weeks.  Then, I finally figured out how to eat based on my amount of exercise and maintain the same number on the scale.  This lasted for about a month and then the holidays hit………


While I don’t feel like I ‘fell off the wagon’ these past two months, I just can’t quite get back to my eating schedule.  Between having time off and sweets galore every other day, things have gotten mucky.  I felt like I had to loosen my purse strings after hitting my goal weight and then maintain.  It was fine to have a sweet treat or big meal now and then but now things are getting hard.

After the holidays, I went on a two week candy and sweets detox.  I ate so much that I had avoided that I’m starting to crave it again.  I find my thoughts wandering to chocolate and fried things…….. not good.  I’ve also been missing my snacks  between meals.  At first, my metabolism kept up no problem.  (NAUGHTY METABOLISM!)  This is both a blessing and a curse.  When your metabolism ‘forgives’ a sweet treat now and then, it’s easy to get out of control.  Suddenly I thought I could drink alcohol, eat fried appetizers and have dessert every weekend.  Which then creeps in to weekdays…….

Needless to say, I finally saw the scale going up.  I’m still under goal weight but I’m not at the magical number I like to see.  I could just put it to the back of my mind and think, “So what? At least I’m still under goal weight.” But for me it needs to be a red flag.  I know I could easily fall back into my old habits.  I don’t fear gaining all my weight back, but I want to keep up the healthy choices that have gotten me to this weight.  It’s always been about being healthy for me, not getting skinny.  So I need to make sure that I keep that at the front of my mind.

So today, I ate perfect.  I counted my calories and watched my sugar.  I’m hoping to drop the two pounds that added up over the last two months but then maintain healthily!  I thought I had it but I’m still figuring it out.  Also, this last two months have been a great reminder that no matter how I look on the outside, I’ll always be a fat girl on the inside. I’ll always want to eat more than I should.  I’ll always want to eat the whole chocolate cake. Maybe I always will but I’m recognizing it and trying my best to make peace with those demons and keep trucking on!

Half Their Size

This year, I could NOT WAIT for the “Half Their Size” issue of People to come out.  I see it every year.  This is the first year I actually read it!


Every year I see the magazine.  Two years ago here’s what would run through my head:

“HALF my weight? Yeah right!  That’s like…….150 pounds.  I could NEVER lose 150 pounds.  Those people must have started at like 400 pounds!  There’s NO way that could ever be me. Who does that? No one.”

This year:

“Bah!  She only lost 115 pounds.  I lost more than that!  She wasn’t even that heavy to begin with!  He lost under a 100? Why is he in the magazine?”

So two years ago I could not even imagine what it would be like to lose even 50 pounds.  This year, I’m laughing at the people in the magazine and wishing I’d applied!

There were several stories within the magazine that I enjoyed or hit a note with me.  I found myself agreeing or finding common ground with almost everyone of them.  If you are on your journey now, I would greatly recommend picking up a copy.  It’s always good to hear about other people’s journeys.

There was a lot of buzz when the edition came out around the language they use.  There’s actually a petition you can sign to ask People to stop using the terms “No Surgery, No Gimmicks”.  Supporters of this petition suggest that weight loss surgery should not be considered a gimmick or that those who have it should be ashamed or considered ‘less than’ those that don’t.  So, what do you think? Is weight loss surgery a ‘quick fix’? Is it a cop out? I’ll let you ponder on that for a few days before giving you my thoughts……..Comments!!!!!!

The Black Sea of Diet Books

Yesterday I was at Barnes and Nobel and I was overwhelmed by the New Years Resolution theme they have going on right now.  Every single table is covered in cook books, diet books, self help books and ‘new you’ books.  Everywhere you look there are phrases like “The New You” and “The Tools You Need” and “Your Best Year Yet”.  Here’s an example of one side of one of the tables:


I was looking for a particular health book, and found it completely overwhelming to find it.  So even when I knew what book I wanted, I couldn’t find what I needed.  I started to think of some of you or someone wanting to start a journey, I would have been so overwhelmed by the choices that I probably would have walked out empty handed.  I ended up not finding the book I was there for but instead found a hilarious book on running.

Anyway, I wanted to offer some advice when trying to find a new book about dieting or fitness.

  • You Don’t Need More Than One –  Don’t buy five different books about five different diets that are just going to confuse you. If you want to check out a bunch, check your library first and narrow down your options.  I ended up buying ZERO books for my journey. After checking some out from the library, I realized I knew what I needed to do and wanted to set my own rules.  It helped me realize I didn’t want to follow a plan.
  • Set Your Goal First – Even before starting to choose a diet plan (if you need one) you need to consider your goals first.  Some diets are not appropriate for long distance runners.  Others are not for anyone not ready for fitness.  Some diets help with lean muscle others help with cardio conditioning. If you know where you want to go, it’s easier to narrow down the diet plans that can get you there.
  • Stay Positive! – While you are scanning books, if you are thinking to yourself, “I could never do this”, then DON’T BUY IT!  Find one that you’re excited about or a set of recipes that looks delicious.  If you start your journey thinking about how hard it’s going to be, you’ll probably give up.  There are different plans for everyone based on how fast you want to lose your weight, how much fitness you’ll be doing and how much time you’re going to dedicate to it.  Find one that fits you because there are hundreds and there’s a good fit for whatever you’re looking for.


When I look at that picture above, here’s what I see: A lot of books claiming to all have the secret.  (Other than the super hot Chris Powell!) The real truth behind diet books is……………THEY ALL WORK. Each one claims to give you the results you need because each one can.  There is no one true diet plan.  Every single one of these plans will give you some sort of results.  However, it’s your choice and within your power to decide which is best FOR YOU.

There is one book that I would highly recommend and my original reason for going to B & N.  I never shop there because I try to shop local but I knew Tattered Cover didn’t have a copy.  This is the only diet book that I will probably ever recommend to all who are on a weightloss journey:

18476763Diet Cults is written by Fitness and Nutrition Writer, Matt Fitzgerald.  He takes you through several diets that we’ve all heard of: Weight Watchers, Paleo, Atkins…..and so on and explains why each isn’t any better than the other.  Matt is an extreme endurance runner and suggests a much simpler way of eating that doesn’t require so many rules.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Even if you are following a plan because that’s what works for you, I still think it’s worth reading!

Wow.  I feel like I’ve rambled in this post so let’s recap:

  • DO NOT walk into a bookstore to get a health related book without knowing what you are generally going to get right now. They are really overwhelming.
  • IF you think you need a diet plan with rules, choose one not fifty.  If you’re unsure, go to the library instead.
  • All diet plans work.  If you put in the work, you’ll get results.
  • Not everyone needs a diet plan.  Don’t be afraid to create your own!

Delightful? Maybe

This morning I tried a new breakfast.  People have been telling my about the Jimmy Dean Delightful breakfast sandwiches for some time now.  I finally tried my first one this morning.


I decided to go for it when they were on sale during the weekend grocery trip.  I figured it couldn’t hurt.  Also, I am looking at more ways to get protein so I thought this might be a great alternative to my usual half a bagel and banana breakfast!  They meet my requirements: low in calorie, (280 calories) Low-fat, (13 g) and decent protein (16g).

My rating: eh.


  • They are very fast!  I put mine in the fridge overnight.  Someone recommended this to me so that the bread doesn’t get as hard.  So after  1 minute, breakfast was ready!
  • You can get them everywhere.
  • Wrap a paper towel around it and you’ve got a great out the door breakfast.
  • Pretty tasty


  • Lots of sodium.  Not TONS but still a lot. 740 mg
  • It’s a heavily processed food.  While Jimmy Dean is on the less artificial side, they are still full of junk. I don’t understand all the ingredients.
  • Have to remember to defrost it
  • Not filling.  I got hungry again really quickly!  I had to have my mid-morning snack early.

Overall, they are fine.  I’m sure lots of people like them and eat them regularly but I think I’ll pass in the future.  Maybe I’ll keep an emergency box in the bottom of the freezer.  For now I’m going to stick to my bagel and banana.  I found it’s almost the same about of protein, fat, calories and carbs. Also, the preservatives and processed ‘stuff’ make me nervous.  So my vote is to pass but this might be a good option for some of you!



Green Monster

This week I’m back to work!  I am greatly looking forward to getting back on my regular eating and fitness schedule!  I love being on vacation but I feel like I’ve only been eating crap for two weeks straight.  It isn’t true of course but it definitely feels true!

Today I thought I would share a go-to breakfast from the beginning of my weight loss.  I still will do this occasionally when feeling off balance or needing a good reset.

The Green Monster

I love smoothies because they feel like a treat.  Also, it’s a much easier way to get whole fruits and vegetables.  Below is a recipe that I make all the time: The Green Monster.  It’s great in the morning!  It gives me lots of energy and keeps me full all morning.  It is packed with spinach which keeps you fuller longer. Also, since it’s thick, it is easy to drink slowly on your way to work or even in the first hour at work.  My hubby even loves this recipe because it tastes like a peanut butter and banana milkshake.

Really Spinach?!?

  • Spinach is fat free, cholesterol free, low in calories, and very low in sodium
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, K, iron, fiber, folate, and lutein
  • Leutin is an antioxidant that promotes good eye health, and may help prevent cancer of the liver, ovaries, colon and prostate, and even dementia.
  • Dole lab tests found spinach juice has twice the chlorophyl, eight times the calcium, six times the magnesium, 10 times the potassium, 15 times the vitamin C and 43 times the vitamin A of wheatgrass juice!




Original Source: Pinterest!

Serves 1

1 frozen sliced banana
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup 0% Vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup light Soy Milk
4 cups baby spinach (or more, or less)


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional stats:

350 calories, 10g fiber, 21g protein



  • I have a cheap cheap blender and it works just fine!
  • The bananas really should be frozen.  I do mine at the beginning of the week. If you don’t freeze them, your smoothie will be warm.
  • Use disposable straws or soak and sanitize reusable straws.  I love reusable cups and straws but you really can’t clean the smoothie out properly unless you really work at it.

Hope you enjoy!!!!

In the last year……

Today marks my one year anniversary of joining Cole Fusion Fitness here in Denver. So today, I wanted to focus on what I’ve been able to accomplish, fitness-wise, in the last year.

I joined the gym on this day, 2014.  I had already lost 80 pounds and was feeling really good about myself but I knew I wanted and needed to add fitness to my routine.  On New Years Day I looked at Groupon for local gym deals.  I was looking for a smaller gym where I could not only get healthy but socialize.  I wanted the owner to know my name and recognize that I was coming in and say something if I wasn’t.  I wanted a gym with strong athletes, not skinny bitches and meat heads. That’s exactly what I found.

When comparing what I can do now to what I did before, sometimes I have to guess.  I was not very good about recording the beginning process of my journey like I am now.  However, I did take measurements in my first weeks at the gym.  ***Remember, I had already lost a significant amount of weight at this point so you aren’t going to see 100s of inches lost, even though that’s probably where I started!  Also, I’m not very good about taking measurements.  I forget to wear the same outfit each time and I’m not very consistent about how I measure.  If you are taking some beginning measurements, choose the same outfit to wear every time. (bra/no bra, naked/clothes) Also, I’d recommend someone taking a picture of each tape measure placement so you know you’re always measuring in the same place.  Just some advice… Let’s compare!  Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 11.07.47 AMIn case anyone was counting, that’s 35 inches!  That’s almost a yard stick! I was shocked by a few of the measurements like waist and hips!  I had totally forgotten that I wrote these measurements in my food journal but now I’m glad I did!

It’s also important to think about what you want to be able to do when starting a gym.  My gym is very intense and does full body workouts most days that focus on strength, cardio and agility.  Not all gyms have the same focus and vision so you want to look for one that does.  Some gyms, it seems to me anyway, don’t have a focus.  There are lots of ‘big box gyms’ that basically provide the equipment and it’s up to you.  If you are new to working out, I would suggest getting a few personal trainers sessions before trying to figure out what to do on your own.  At this time of year, a lot of gyms offer free sessions when you sign up for this reason.  Gyms can be really intimidating if you’re new so make sure to educate yourself on what to do!

Setting goals is about numbers for me.  Maybe for you it’s distance or just about the weight coming off.  When I started the gym, I wanted to see how far my body could go and what I could do that I never would have imagined.  But when I look at the numbers, that’s when I feel like I can really compare. Here’s another chart of where I started and where I am now:Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 12.03.41 PM

You’ll see a few question marks because in a few categories, I really don’t know!  I’ve never tried to see how many push ups I can do and I know I can run 33 minutes because of my last 5K, but maybe I could even run longer! It’s crazy to see it in this chart.

So if you’re starting, remember to track where you are and where you want to go!  Below is a more concise list of what was talked about above.

Gym Tips

#1 No what you are looking for   Why are you joining? Do you want to be alone or socialize? Do you just want to do your own thing or be part of a class or group? Cardio fitness? Weights?

#2 Don’t be afraid to shop around Now is the perfect time to try a few places or classes.  Until a company or gym has invested it’s time and money in you, there’s no loyalty.  If one place seems too easy or hard, try another!

#3 if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t  I was looking for a certain feeling at my gym.  I wanted to be part of a group of athletes that would hold me accountable.  I heard a horror story from a friend who joined a yoga studio, where you couldn’t talk……ever!  Obviously, that’s not for me.  So if it doesn’t feel right, go somewhere else!

#4 Start with a trainer If you don’t know what to do in a gym and don’t have a buddy to show you, ask for a free training session.  A lot of gyms offer them when you sign up right now.  They know people need education and you might get some for free!

#5 Buy new clothes  I get excited about anything that I get to buy clothes for.  So don’t forget to buy some super cute new clothes and SHOES for the gym!  Get excited and invest in yourself!

Redos and Resolutions

Happy New Year Everyone!

I love the New Year because it is just the perfect opportunity to do something new, to try something again, to forget a failure and set new goals!

Last night, we went out with some friends for the traditional crazy-confetti cannon-commotion of New Year’s Eve.  Similar to my Halloween post, I wanted to find a tiny dress to wear because I COULD.  I didn’t get any good photos of how tiny this dress was but I’m sure you can imagine.  I felt so sexy, so confident, so NORMAL to go out for NYE.  We went to an 80’s themed party where all the music and outfits were 80s.  It was so much fun dancing the night away.  I think I danced for HOURS straight based on the way my legs feel today.


All night I kept seeing women that I knew were uncomfortable in their outfit choice.  You know what I mean.  Either their outfit was too small for their figure and they couldn’t dance.  Or they didn’t have the figure to wear something sexy which leaves you feeling awkward.  I have been this girl SO MANY times that I recognize it instantly.  It was awesome to not only be able to wear a tiny dress but to dance the night away and not think twice about it.



This year I’ve decided not to make any resolutions except to my husband.  Every year we write letters to each other on New Years Eve and read them on New Years Day. We make promises to each other about what we would like to do better for the other person.  I’m not going to make any of the normal resolutions.  Not because I don’t have anything I want to change (my weight was only one area of my life that needed taken care of!) but because I don’t feel like I need to!  My self drive and motivation is stronger than ever and I know I’ll be able to accomplish what I want to do this year.  Plus, I already set new physical goals for the year.

The New Year is a great marker for anyone ready to start a journey.  Don’t forget, you don’t have to tell anyone you’re doing it!  Some people need a circle of support before they begin, others build theirs as they go.  There is a lot of pressure to start a new healthy lifestyle at the beginning of the year and you can find tons of others at the beginning of their journey too.  But now is the best time to purchase diet plans, a scale, diet books, exercise equipment and even exercise clothes.  All stores run deals on health related products at the beginning of the year.  So now is the best time to start if you’re just beginning!

InXp3U0RvBFXE-dAyADHiWTX5zhpojXDy0nEboqP8bmt1hf8Up50Qa8SztQvxMPxw0eE=w300 found my gym, Cole Fusion Fitness, on this very day last year.  I was just browsing Groupon for what gyms were offering deals and one that looked like what I wanted.  On January 2nd, I went in and saw the gym and joined.  Don’t forget to check local gyms for deals!  A lot of ‘chain gyms’ offer no registration fees or even free months right now. So even if you decide it’s not for you later, it’s still the best time to try! If you don’t know Groupon, you should!  Check it out.  Click the picture!

nexusae0_231Another great place to find local fitness deals is Living Social.  It works just like Groupon if you are familiar with that.  I often register for 5Ks and events through Living Social.  Sometimes the two sites have the same deals but not always so it’s worth a look at both sites.  If you are just starting out, I would suggest one of these deals.  It’s a great way to try a few places or different style classes and then decide if you want to commit.  Just go for it!

If you are nervous about joining a gym or fitness class, check out this old post: Gym Goggles. 

In the last year, I’ve become the person I always knew I could be both physically and emotionally.  This could be your year!  On New Year’s Eve 2015, what will you see when you look back through this year? Will you see missed opportunities or that you took control of your life? Will you be happy with the decisions that you made or disappointed for another year? You can do this!