Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 28...All I Want for Christmas

All I want for Christmas is to be HEALTHY.

Week 28. Officially in the third trimester. We are in the final stretch, folks, and no one is more happy about that than I. (Funny thing is, I find myself still amazed and befuddled when I look down at my protruding stomach, thinking, "How did we get here again?") But I feel generally pretty good, other than a lingering cough from last week's QUARANTINE situation.

Last Wednesday, my 6 year old started complaining of stomach pains and before long was curved over the toilet, throwing up. Needless to say, she stayed home with me. I sent a text to my mother's helper and found out (through an inadvertent text she had intended to send to her sister that ended "WTF?") that she is deathly afraid of stomach bugs, so I was essentially on my own with it. Not too bad, since for the most part my daughter was pretty perky and I didn't have much on my calendar other than a holiday party, and the hostess was gracious about letting her tag along with me.

Sad for me, I had forgotten about the sneakiness of stomach bugs. How they can look benign and short-lived in one person and linger for days in another. Friday, as I went to bed, I start feeling like I was going into early labor, my stomach was hurting so bad. I could barely sleep. Just past midnight, I heard a scream from my 4-year old's room. She had just wretched in her bed. After finally getting her bed sheets changed and getting her settled down, I felt it coming on for me. I had endured 7 months of pregnancy without puking and this stomach bug was taking me down. An hour later, my 8-year old was calling out for help and back in our room, my husband was complaining of feeling queasy. It was going to be a long day.

As luck would have it, I also had some sort of head cold on top of everything else, along with a fever. So, while everyone else has mostly recovered (my husband still complains of queasiness), I am coughing like a 70-year old barmaid with a 2-packs a day habit. I'm still grateful that the bug ran through our house quickly, rather than taking us out one at a time. Christmas is the day after tomorrow and my girls are healthy. That's the most important thing. My husband and I are getting better day by day. This time next week, we'll be in Arizona with my sister and her family and that can only improve our situation.

So, all I want for Christmas is to be HEALTHY. If I get nice jewelry, or a trip to the spa, even better. But honestly, after surviving this last week of nonstop illness, I'm pretty focused on the basic things for which I have to be grateful: my wonderful family, a job I love that pays well, great friends who make me laugh out loud long and often, and of course, if nothing else, at least I have my health.

Stay warm and dry everyone, and be grateful for the little things. The things that you get for Christmas every year without even having to ask.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Testing, Shmesting...Mom's Coming.

I started to write a whole blog about amniocentesis and advanced maternal age and genetic testing and blah blah blah and it was just kind of depressing. What I really want to talk about is the fact that my mother is coming to visit today. I’m really looking forward to seeing her, but I have to admit that I’m a little nervous about how she’ll react to my big old pregnant belly. Is she gonna think that I’m holding it together this time, or is it gonna be obvious that I’ve already gained the recommended amount despite the fact that I’m only halfway through my pregnancy? Overall, I feel really healthy and extremely blessed to be pregnant again, not only with our fourth child but with our very first son. I’m very much looking forward to sharing that joy with my mother, who had five children of her own. I do have to admit, however, that my mother’s reaction to my ever-blossoming pregnant body is not exactly at the bottom of my list of worries.

I come from a long line of women, you’re probably not at all surprised to hear, who were obsessed with their weight. I can still remember visiting my grandmother in the nursing home when she was 93 years old, and her telling me that she weighed herself every day and replaced two of her daily meals with Slimfast shakes. Why they would let a 93 year old woman have Slimfast instead of a meal, I have no idea. I guess I say all that to say that I come by all this neurosis honestly. Anyway, my children are totally excited for Grandma’s meet. She may even get to see my eldest daughter’s first winter swim meet, and we all plan to go out to dinner on Thursday night to a fabulous restaurant in Abington, PA called Timber. It should be a fun evening. By then I should have the results of my fetal echocardiogram and hopefully have been told that the baby is growing fine and is completely healthy. By all accounts, it should be a fabulous weekend…if I can just let go of my age-old neuroses and relax, it might actually end up that way!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week 20 - The Big Reveal

I know I should have been happy enough to have a healthy baby that I didn't even need to know the gender. I am painfully aware of the fact that many women my age want children but can't have them without the help of fertility treatments, if they're lucky enough to have them at all. And so yes, I felt guilty admitting that I had an opinion on the gender of my unborn child. But dammit, after 8 years raising three strong-willed, melodramatic, girly-girls,8 years of arguing about whether they could wear the same dress five days in a row, 8 years of trying to brush through three thick heads of hair, 8 years of princesses and pink and Hannah Montana, I wanted a boy.

Interestingly enough, my husband claimed he would be happy either way. He said he knew how to do girls, was content to just go on ahead and do another one. Was, in fact, tired of getting his hopes up only to have them dashed (as we both had the past couple of times) and expected a girl. I, on the other hand, was not giving up without a fight. First, there was the dream. For those of you who don't remember, check out my blog titled, "The Psychic Sister." Then, there was the fact that this pregnancy felt so different from the others - no tell-tale metallic taste in my mouth, no sweets cravings, no crappy skin breakouts. On the contrary, this was the first pregnancy where people (including my husband) were telling me I was "glowing." I had never experienced that before and assumed it was a cockamamie myth some guy had concocted to get women to get pregnant despite the weight gain, stretchmarks and painful labor. But sure enough, here was my frightfully honest husband telling me I looked like I was constantly bathed in soft lighting. I even tried the old strand of hair tied to a wedding band, and it went back and forth, just like it should for a boy. I was convinced.

All that being said, I was still not patient enough to wait nine months. I hadn't been with any of my other pregnancies, why start now? I did want it to be special, though, this being our last time. I convinced my husband that it would be a good idea for us to have the ultrasound technician seal our baby's gender in an envelope, and we would then open it over a lovely, romantic dinner. Flash forward to this past Thursday. Our ultrasound technician did exactly that, and then handed the envelope over to my husband, who promptly hid it so I wouldn't be able to ruin the surprise (I'm not THAT impatient...but still, better safe than sorry, I suppose).

That night, on our way to dinner, I was already getting phone calls and texts from people wondering if we had done our Big Reveal. (I mentioned we have had three daughters in the past 8 years, didn't I?) So, we sit down to a lovely dinner at Ristorante San Marco in Ambler, PA. (I highly recommend it if you're a fan of Italian and happen to be in the area.) I'm ready to bust out the envelope and here is my husband, reading the menu like it's date night. Needless to say, I told him that he needed to fork it over. "I'm a trained actress," I explained. "I can keep a poker face."

It was hard, though, I must admit. After months of praying for a boy, months of talking myself down from the ledge in case it wasn't a boy, even apologizing to my unborn baby for having such a strong opinion on what his/her gender should be, I wasn't prepared for how happy I would be to see the little ultrasound picture the technician had put in the envelope, annotated with the words, "I have a peepee, Mom! I'm a boy!" (Yes, that's really what it said.)
As for my husband, who was fine either way and entirely prepared for another girl, well I think I saw tears well up in his eyes. I know there are folks who will think this blog is slightly sexist. Maybe not. I hope not. We have three beautiful daughters and we love them all to pieces. But we are very much looking forward to seeing what it's like to raise a son, and our whole family is completely overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that we're going to get to do exactly that.

And as I brushed my daughters' hair the next day, I have to admit I was relieved to know that there wouldn't be another head added to the mix, waiting for me to tackle its tangles. If there had been, I would have been up to the challenge, but I am going to relish every new facet of life this little baby boy is going to bring. Until next time!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week 17...The Brawn

So, last week I promised we would talk about The Brawn. It probably won't surprise anyone to hear that my focus couldn't be any farther from that. I'm not the slightest bit interested in gracing the cover of any magazines bearing my pregnant belly, a la Demi Moore and Vanity Fair. My relationship with exercise has changed, much in the way my relationship with my weight has changed, with this pregnancy.

I am exercising regularly again. I made a commitment to myself that I would slog through a two-mile run at least 4 days out of the week, however clumsily, and then tack some weight training onto the end. Yesterday, the whole thing took me a half hour. Today, I was at the gym for over an hour and actually felt some soreness in my muscles. It felt good. And I realize that feeling good is what exercise is all about right now. I could use whatever endorphins I can get, basically. And after I exercise, I feel all glowy and beautiful. Why wouldn't I do something that makes me feel like that?

I guess I want to share this stuff with you guys because it applies whether you are pregnant or not. You're beautiful if you say you are, if you feel like you are, if you strut like you are. Similarly, whether you are pregnant or not, you will benefit from making the time to exercise. Hell, I'm working 60-70 hours a week right now, holding down the fort with three kids and have one on the way, and I'm finding time to work out - even if it's just for a half hour - not because I'm trying to lose weight (clearly) but because I know it will make me feel good. And I'm not leaving that to anyone else but me. So, if I know there's a guaranteed way to get my day started off right (or finished off right), I'm damned sure going to do it. And if I don't, and I feel all yucky and bloated and blah, I have no one to blame but myself.

Give it a try. You make time to shower, to brush your teeth, to help your kids with their homework, to make dinner, whatever it is you've decided is a priority. Get yourself back on that list and see how much more you get out of every single day when you add a half hour of exercise. You'll be surprised how much more you can do when you've got an extra spring in your step.

OK, nuff said. Don't mean to preach. Now I have to keep working out so I don't look like a hypocrite. Or a hippo. Tee hee. Is anyone reading this, anyway?

Good night, all...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 16...Beauty and Brains

This week, I have a couple different topics forefront in my mind: Beauty and Brains. The first, beauty, is an interesting switch from last week’s discussion of pregnancy weight gain. Although I can’t deny that my weight gain is on the high end of the spectrum, I also can’t deny that this pregnancy is the first time I actually feel like I know what people are talking about when they talk about the pregnancy “glow.”

On Sunday, my sister in law was in town and she wanted to take photos of my children – she’s a photographer in NYC. She got me in a couple shots, make up free and all, and she just kept remarking on how beautiful I looked. I had to admit when I saw the pictures, they weren’t half bad. And often when I accidentally catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror as I pass by or as I’m washing my hands in the bathroom, I have to do a double take, because I really like what I see. Pregnancy agrees with me this time around. So, that’s an interesting shift in my perception – that regardless of the number on the scale, I can still look and feel beautiful during pregnancy and hopefully this is something I will carry on into my life well beyond my delivery date.

The second thing I have to talk about is Pregnancy Brain. I have had a lot of experience with the way in which pregnancy causes me to be completely scatter-brained. I can remember putting milk cartons into the kitchen cabinets instead of the refrigerator, and …. well, I’m sure there are other examples but I can’t think of them because I have Pregnancy Brain! Maybe it’s because I have three other children, maybe it’s because I’m working 70 hours a week, maybe it’s just because I’m getting old and there’s a little senility mixed in there with the rest of what’s going on, but this Pregnancy Brain is out of control. As an example, let’s talk about my 4-year old daughter’s birthday party. Granted, there are EIGHT birthdays in September in my family. No, I’m not exaggerating, there are eight: my sister, my two brothers-in-law, my sister-in-law, my two nephews and my two daughters. So, there are a lot of moving parts in September, but I’ve never really had a hard time managing it all before. Well, for my four-year old’s birthday, I decided to do a Little Gym party, which generally is pretty straightforward. You call them up, you make the reservation, they take the deposit, you send them the addresses, they mail the invitations, done.

Well, first of all, somehow they didn’t take the deposit, so I almost lost the reservation. Then, because most of the children I wanted to invite on my daughter’s behalf were in her class at day care, I decided I would take care of the invitations myself. So, I had a little help from my sitter – we put the invitations together, and then after forgetting day after day after day, I finally remembered to put the invitations into their little lockers at school. Then, I realized at 3 am one morning, that I had forgotten to include RSVP information on the invitations. So, I then very cleverly (I thought) made up notes with just the RSVP information. Of course, I didn’t have a guest list so I had to try to conjure up the names from memory. Then, I get a call from the Little Gym reminding me about my party, including the date and the TIME, which turned out to be an HOUR AND A HALF later than what I had included on the invitation. So, I created another “Oops” flier for all the locker (feeling not nearly as clever as I had before), and now could not even slightly pretend that I could remember who had been invited, and who had received the first Oops message. The best I could do was field the e-mails and phone calls that came in, including those from the Little Gym asking if I had my final guest count yet. It has been a mess. Fortunately, Sunday will come and the party will have gone off, one way or another. And people are very tolerant of the way in which the brain functions, or perhaps malfunctions, during pregnancy, due to all the extra attention it’s giving to the little project going on down below.

So, that’s what I have going on this week: Beauty and Brains. Maybe next week will be Brawn, if I can ever get my larger-but-cuter butt back to the gym. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Pregnancy Weight Gain

I know, I know, we all get sick and tired of thinking about our weight, complaining about our weight, obsessing about our weight, and during pregnancy is the one time we won’t, don't, shouldn’t have to worry about it, right? WRONG. My sister Skyped me a couple nights ago to say that someone had told her that the average pregnant woman only needs an extra 200-300 calories a day, and did I know that? Well, when I didn’t Skype her back (I was asleep – it was well past my normal pregnancy bedtime of 8:30), she worried that I got so pissed at her raising the issue of how much I should eat during pregnancy that I’d decided not to ever speak to her again. Seriously. It is that big an issue for many of us.

I’m not going to lie – my pregnancy weight gain stories have been pretty melodramatic, from the pregnancy where I gained 25 pounds by my first 8-week appointment (pregnancy #1 – I gained 90 pounds in all), to the one where I gained a mere 40 pounds (I weighed myself daily and worked out 5 days a week). I have run the full spectrum between not giving a single rat’s patootie to being borderline obsessive compulsive.

Last time I checked, we moms begin worrying the moment we pee on the stick. Is it really two lines? Is the second line too faint to really count? Will I miscarry? Should I have the amnio? Should I tell my boss? Will my husband still find me attractive? Will he mind if I don’t want sex? Will I be a good mom? Do we have enough money saved? Enough stuff for the nursery? Did I pick the right nanny/day care? Should I stay home with my kids? Will they welcome me back into the workforce if I take time off to be a mom? Will my kids resent me if I don’t? And on and on and on…So, do the doctors really have to add this little nugget into the mix, something over which many of us have so little control, especially when more than half of us are puking our guts up and just happy to eat whatever we can keep down and the rest of us are wishing we would puke already because we just spend the entire day feeling like we’re going to and eating is the only thing that seems to take away the nausea?

What I have come to believe is that as mothers, whether seasoned or first-time newbies, we have enough to worry about without adding some arbitrary guidelines about something we may have little control over into the mix.

Let’s take the 200-300 calories guideline, for example. I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m in my normal every day mode, I’m generally pretty diligent about how I’m eating and exercising. That means, I’m dieting. Pretty much all the time. OK, that’s not for everyone, I know. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m just being honest. So, what I want to know is, when they say 200-300 extra calories, one would assume that’s on top of the regular maintenance caloric range of 2000 calories a day, not the Liimu-I’ve-been-dieting-since-I-was-9 caloric range of 1500-1600 calories a day. So, that means that by their standards I should be averaging between 2200-2300 calories a day. That’s significantly more than I’m used to, and about where I’ve been landing (at least since we entered the 2nd trimester and I stopped feeling like Sigourney Weaver in alien, except in my case the alien was going to gnaw it’s way through to the outside of my stomach, rather than popping out in a dramatic, scary burst).

And how about the guidelines around weight gain? I just read something today that said I should have gained about 5 pounds by now. Hopefully, they mean give or take 15 pounds. Seriously, though, I read a post on one of the pregnancy boards by a woman who weighed less than 110 pounds pre-pregnancy and when she went to her doctor for her 12-week checkup she had gained 6 pounds. He completely chastised her, saying for her entire pregnancy she should only gain 23 pounds. Where the hell did he get THAT arbitrary number? Honestly, there’s a part of me that feels like there should be a prerequisite for OB/GYNs to make commentary on the weight gain of their patients, unless they’ve been pregnant themselves or have seen their wives through at least three pregnancies. Otherwise, it should be like in the doctor’s office. You can not say anything derogatory or stress-inducing about the pregnant woman’s weight without a qualified nurse in the room, and by qualified, I mean she’s had a baby.

I’ve had three children, and have gained 90 pounds, 40 pounds and 65 pounds with them, in that order. Ironically, my first child just turned 8 years old and is nearly 5 feet tall and wears women’s size 8 shoes. She gets her incredible height from her dad and she’s not the slightest bit overweight. As for my second daughter, the nearly 7-year old with whom I gained the “ideal” amount of weight? A peanut. She’s in the 25th percentile and is barely an inch taller than her not-quite-4 year old sister. Not sure if there’s a correlation there, but I certainly intend to keep my eye on it. If this baby is tall enough to qualify for the NBA by the time he starts high school, I’ll get my answer.

And by the way, when I got pregnant with this child, I was within 5 pounds of my pre-first pregnancy weight, just like my mommy friends who gained 20-25 pounds with their pregnancies. My body knows what to do. It’s proven that time and time again. I’ve never had gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia or any other weight-related issues with my pregnancies and my children are happy and healthy.

Last time I checked, that was really what matters the most.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why I've been so quiet...

I'm PREGNANT! Yep, that's right. Totally out of the blue, but we are thrilled. So, for those of you who don't already know, that's why I haven't been blogging lately. Also, there's the fact that my weight is sky rocketing so that wouldn't be very motivating to those of you trying to slim down. (I always gain a ton with my pregnancies.) Here's the good news:

- You can follow my pregnancy on my other blog, Motherhood Later than Sooner. I will be chronicling my pregnancy every week on Thursday.

- When the baby comes, you will have to come back over here to watch me get back in shape!!! I will share with you all the nitty gritty, including surgery should it prove necessary.

See you in March!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wow...who knew?

OK, so I must admit...I didn't even know you guys were paying attention to whether I was blogging regularly or not. Apparently you are! Yesterday, I got a phone call from a friend who said, "What's going on with the blog? I need your motivation!" And then today, a comment from my bilingual friend (sorry - I had to make an executive decision only to post the comments you provide in English...hope you don't mind) that my post updates are missed.

Well, I'm still here! I've been pretty busy. June - December is the busiest time of year for me, and this year is certainly no different. To make matters even more interesting, my current client requires an awful lot of face time, which is not my usual M.O. My workouts have dwindled and yes, my internet time is nowhere near where it was.

Other things are going on that I'm not quite ready to share at this hyper-public level. I will tell you that I've been posting weekly to another blog, Motherhood Later, so keep in mind that you can always get my regular updates there (though not necessarily fitness-related).

Thanks for the shout-outs, everyone. Talk to you soon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Better Late Than Never

OK, I will NOT be that person who blogs once a month or once every quarter. I wanna know what's going on with you guys, and I'm sure you're all DYING to know what's going on with me, right? Right. S

It's 11 PM and my daughter has an 8 am swim meet, but I am going to get this updated, come Hell or high (and early) water. It has been a full and productive week (I started a new project which requires I go onsite (gasp!) and that has really taken some adjusting. I love it, though, and I also love that once I pack my food, that pretty much takes the guesswork out of my diet. The scale loves that, too. I am pretty much at my all-time low weight today, despite the onset of the weekend AND my TOM. :)

I have truly been enjoying the intuitive fitness way of doing things lately. I have been doing whatever workouts I feel inclined to do - sometimes a DB workout, sometimes running with a friend, sometimes a hike with my sis, sometimes one of her crazy boot camp-style workouts, sometimes a kickboxing class at the gym, sometimes I just chill out and take a day off. (Yeah, you heard me right. I take a REST day. Sometimes TWO in one WEEK! Wait, get this...sometimes TWO IN A ROW!) I've been enjoying summer fruit, and lots of it. I even had a bite of my daughter's hot dog the other day. I am accountable for every morsel that goes in my mouth and I'm still fairly anal about avoiding dairy, thanks to what I learned about the havoc it wreaks on my skin, but otherwise, I am really getting quite good at...


That is not to say that I don't still work my BUTT off (literally) at the gym. Most days, I am DRENCHED in sweat following my workouts. (Partly that's because it has been over a hundred freaking degrees nearly every day since the start of summer, but still.) Training for the half marathon begins in earnest on Monday, so that will only improve my fitness. In addition, I have been doing WW online and LOVING it. It's sort of like a game to me, and it's a game that makes me want to eat less and workout more. A good combination. I'm never starving, though, and I still try to get mostly whole, non-processed foods.

For the first time in a long time, I can really see my way clear to achieving my goals, and returning to the weight I was on my wedding day, maybe even what I weighed before I quit smoking. How's THAT for an accomplishment?

And it only took me 15 years to do it. Better late than never.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Independence Day

Happy 4th of July everyone!

For many people, the 4th of July is about laying by the pool, or about hopping from cookout to cookout, eating tons of hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad, chips and that cake that's iced to look like an American Flag. Hell, I have to admit that I looked forward to the cookouts and the pigouts more years than I care to admit.

This year, the 4th of July is not about eating (for once). It's about freedom. Freedom from compulsive eating AND from compulsive dieting. It's about freedom from addiction of all kinds. It's about freedom from poverty (I start a fabulous new project on Tuesday - YEAH!). It's about freedom from illness - dramatic, life-threatening illness, like the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that my 6 year old faced last year, and from mundane health issues like acne or achy joints. This July 4th, everyone is healthy and happy (and two of my daughters are even swimming, unassisted). It's about freedom from self-pity or martyrdom, freedom from being overwhelmed. Freedom!!!

I woke up this morning without my alarm, as I do every morning, and turned on a mindful meditation MP3 to start my day off right (thanks, Tony D for that...I still do it daily). Then, I got up and made my coffee, read my meditation books and wrote a couple pages in my journal. Ate a yummy vitatop muffin on my way to the trails, and then ran a quick and totally fun 5 miles with one of my dearest friends before the heat became unbearable. Came home and made a yummy protein-rich breakfast, and got the girls together to watch the July 4 relay races. It was hot, kinda boring, and then not one, but two of my three daughters had to pee. We went to the pool to use the bathroom - locked. The community hall, locked. The library, of course, locked. I looked at my girls and said, "You know what? This isn't flowing. Let's go home." "Are you mad?" they asked. "Nope, not mad. Just going with the flow."

Home we came, where they are playing learning games on the computers and in their new workbooks, while I catch up on the blogs, which are long overdue for an update.

I am so grateful to be free today. Not just free in the sense of living in a free country, though of course, I am also grateful for that. But for so many years, I was a prisoner in my MIND, which is so full of shoulds and should nots, I could never hear what I wanted to do in any given moment. Today, I am free to live each moment committed to health, sanity, and joy. And I truly, TRULY thank God for that.

Freedom and love to you all!

Love, Liimu

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Has it really been nearly a month since I last confessed?

Wow, I cannot believe that it's been that long since I last posted an update.

Things have been really great. I celebrated my birthday on May 22 and had many of my friends and family around to help me celebrate my transition into a whole new decade. I kicked off the day with a live performance at a festival to promote drug and alcohol awareness. Totally fun.

Since then, I've been having a LOT of fun with my girls. I've lost my accountability partner, but I've managed to stay on track by myself (and with the support of my friends and family). I haven't talked to T in awhile. We're supposed to talk tomorrow, and we have a lot to talk about, not the least of which being the fact that I'm going to have to go it alone for awhile.

I've stayed fairly steady, which is amazing considering the fact that I spent ten days in Italy and had a huge birthday celebration. I'm headed to Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday for my sister's 50th birthday celebration and I'm so confident that I'm going to be able to have a successful, healthy vacation. What a miracle.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll check in again soon!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm in ITALY!!!

OMG, it is so beautiful here and we are having SO much fun. I am determined to keep my eating in check and just focus on the beauty of this amazing country, though I have to admit that today was wonkalicious. (By that I mean wonky, but in a good way, because I just went with the flow.) We were in transit FOREVER because the flight was delayed three hours and then the baggage handlers in Italy decided to go on STRIKE, but we finally made it here by 6 pm. Suffice it to say, I had no calories until 6 pm and then had a huge dinner. I am proud of myself, though, because I have been having vegetables and I also had 1/3 of my dessert with dinner (my favorite dessert, I might add) and gave the rest to hubby.

I'm hopeful I have the energy to get up and run the streets of Venice. (Not the canals, mind you - steering clear of those.) I don't actually see anyone else running, so I'm a little worried they will look at me like I have three heads, but I'm going to give it a try, anyway. There is a fitness center, too. If I'm really shy, maybe I'll just give that a go. We have to make sure to get lots of spring water, because that's actually where I find myself struggling the most.

But this is really a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. My mom was gracious enough to take the kids, so hubby and I are truly on our own, enjoying this amazing experience together. (He's crashed out in the room right now, and I'm just trying to hold on long enough to call the girls.) Tomorrow, we will take a walking tour of Venice and go on a gondola ride. Romantic, yes!!! (I'd better not come back preggo. BWAHAHA!) Note from Me, 4.5 months later and 4 months pregnant: "Ha, bloody ha."

Anyway, hope you're all doing well. Talk to you soon!

Monday, May 3, 2010

All proteins are NOT created equal...

Don't get me wrong. I like peanut butter as much as the next person. Hell, that's a lie. I probably like peanut butter a whole lot MORE than the next person. Like my latest favorite, Peanut Butter & Co.'s White Chocolate Wonderful. But I know what it is, and I know what it isn't.

Today, I was on the elliptical reading one of the magazines they provide and there was an interesting interview with Kathy Griffin where she talked about how, as a stand up comic, she finally realized that she didn't have to be as obsessive about how she looks (as she might if she were an A-list actress or a model, or something, I guess). But then, she said that she swears by peanut butter as her primary protein source, that she even keeps a jar of it with her on the road.

Now in the past, I would have taken this advice and run with it. Not just because I used to blindly take whatever I read as gospel, but mostly because I love peanut butter and would love to be able to give myself permission to eat it by the jarful. The truth is, I know better. While peanut butter has some protein, it is more accurately a FAT source than a PROTEIN source. Two tablespoons of regular peanut butter has 190 calories and a whopping SIXTEEN grams of fat, and only 8 grams of protein. That is by no means the same as other lean sources of protein: a cup of egg whites has 80 calories, SEVENTEEN grams of protein and no fat. Two ounces of chicken breast also has 17 grams of protein, but only 110 calories and 4 grams of fat.

Don't get me wrong. Peanut butter has a place in my life. I luuuurv it. I have learned to have a teaspoon of it, which has negligible protein but also fairly low calories. I have also learned to relegate it to the fat category so I don't get overconfident about adding it to my meal plan. When I'm calling it protein in my head, I can justify eating a tablespoon of it (or two or three) right out of the jar as I rush out the door to grab my kids off the bus. Just like that, I've consumed an extra 200+ calories and close to 20 grams of fat. SO not worth it.

Skinny as she is, I'm imagining Kathy's not doing that. She's probably much more careful about how she doles out the creamy good stuff. She also is probably working crazy hours and having no problem keeping her calories under control. I, on the other hand, need to really keep it in its proper place.

I love you, Peanut Butter. But you are NOT a protein source in my head. Chicken breast, salmon, tuna, egg whites, yes. Peanut butter, no. You're way too yummy to be an even exchange for any of that stuff. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I did it - another year, another successful Broad Street ten-mile run!! I was about 3 minutes slower than last year, thanks to the extra poundage I'm carrying (and the fact that it was 80 degrees at the race START). Here's a pic of me and my girls right before the race started:

Everyone I ran with was faster than me, but that just makes my competitive spirit kick in. I am DETERMINED to lose the last of this weight, keep training with people faster than me and truly get my 10-minute pace when we run the half-marathon in September. I'm going to register for it today and go online to find my favorite sneakers. I haven't gotten a new pair since before the 2009 Broad Street Run, so needless to say my dogs were BARKING during today's run.

I'm doing so super great, and was happy to see that I was down a pound this morning despite the fact that it's the weekend. Today is going well so far. I thoroughly enjoyed my post-run meal (thanks, in part, to the fact that my Scavenger of a three-year old was down for a nap when we got home, thank you dear Erica the Sitter).

Relaxing now, enjoying some time on the computer with the girls. When the baby gets up, I will join them for a hot bath and wash and braid their hair. Not my favorite part of the week, but eh, what are you gonna do? Oop, she's up and the 6-year old is complaining about a weird bug on her leg. Gotta run! (Pun intended.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another day, another ten miles...

So, I have to say, I'm surprised there wasn't more backlash from yesterday's post on counting calories. Either that means you all agree with me, or no one reads me. :) Either way, I'm a believer. Down 2 pounds this week and feeling stronger and leaner than ever.

Tomorrow is my annual ten-mile run, the Philadelphia Broad Street Run. I'm running with my hubby for the first time and also encouraged by recent training runs that suggest I might actually beat last year's pace of 10:45 min per mile. One thing that has always been a bit of a challenge for me, as most of you distance runners know, is the insatiable hunger that comes with a run longer than 6 miles. So tonight, I have developed a 1700 calories food plan for tomorrow that allows for a satisfying pre-run meal and a generous post-run breakfast.

I'll keep you guys posted, but I think I will actually reach my goal of 165 before we go to Italy, and under 160 by the first day of Summer. We go to a beach house for the last two weeks of summer, and I fully intend to be at goal (150) by the time we get there. I know, I know...I've said that before. But this time, I have a plan of how to get there and it seems to be working!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Old is new again!

For the past several weeks, I have been trying something new. OK, well, it's not really new. It's actually a tried and true method that has been around since Eve first wondered if her leaf made her hips look wide. It's called calorie counting. Are you familiar with it?

Lately, I've been noticing tons of celebrities touting calorie counting as the key to their success in staying lean and fit. Carrie Underwood carries a food diary, and considers her meticulous calorie counting to be the key to her success at losing the last 20 pounds. Other celebrities, such as Valerie Bertinelli and Renee Zellweger, claim calorie counting is a part of what has made them successful at getting and/or staying lean.

I have always known that staying accountable is key. I have also seen over the past several years that I can be working out 6 days a week, three of those days with a trainer who is kicking my a** LIVE in the gym, and still stay within spitting distance of a very unhealthy 200 pounds if I'm not being conscious of what is going in my mouth. For the first time, I'm trying to test the reverse theory - if staying 100% accountable for what is going in my mouth will finally get me the last 10-12 pounds to goal.

Here are ten tips I have found to be helpful to keep in mind:
  1. Find the calorie amount that works for you (i.e., allows you to lose weight without feeling deprived and starved) and then make sure you stay in a range that keeps that calorie amount the overall average. (You should take into account how much you currently weigh and how much you workout.)
  2. Have a rough sketch of your food plan for each day, and pack any meals to take with you on the go
  3. Try to eat every 3 hours so you don't get too hungry. Extreme hunger is a set up for going off plan or binge-eating.
  4. Drink tons of water. Sometimes, believe it or not, you can mistake thirst for hunger.
  5. Find an accountability partner, someone who can encourage you when you're losing motivation, someone who can give you a high-five when you are staying on track.
  6. Make sure you're eating REAL food. Real food keeps you full longer and is often naturally lower in sugar, fat and calories.
  7. Find opportunities to reduce calories in ways that won't hurt too much - will it kill you to have a 1/2 slice of cheese on your sandwich, instead of a whole slice?
  8. Staying positive is key. Look for other opportunities to track your success than just the scale. Look at yourself in the mirror and see how your skin is getting smoother, your face is getting thinner. Take out the tape measure and watch the inches melt off. Feel the pleasure of knowing you are making healthy choices and changing your life for the better!
  9. Don't think of it as a diet - think of it as a lifestyle change. One day, you'll find yourself counting the calories in your head! (But you'll still keep a food journal, won't you? Good girl...or boy).
  10. If you're tired, go to bed! (Which is what I need to do now...if I stay up too late, I start fantasizing about what I can eat...)

So, that's all for me! Find yourself a good trainer to get you started with a killer workout program. My favorite, of course, is Tony D of Dreambodies. Tony can also help you revamp your food plan so you don't eat 1600 calories of sugar and fat. I generally eat Dreambodies approved meals, and I know I eat super healthy. The only difference is that I'm meticulous about keeping track of what's going in my mouth so that if I do eat something that's not on the menu plan, I'm held accountable for it. Accountability is key. There's a reason people have been counting calories forever and ever. It's cause it works!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breaking through barriers!

When I read The Secret for the first time, it completely changed my life. Within a couple months, I was singing on stage with Patti Labelle. A few months after that, I quit my job, started my own business and tripled my income. I couldn't say enough about how the Law of Attraction had affected my life positively.

One day, I was running a race with a friend of mine, and she was pushing me to run close to her 10-min pace and I just couldn't do it. I kept urging her to slow down, explaining somewhat apologetically that I was simply a slow runner, always had been, always would be.

"As someone who talks about being able to manifest all this great stuff through the power of positive thinking, I would think you of all people would notice how you've defined yourself. You can't run fast now, but why limit yourself? Maybe one day you will."

Well, folks, that day was today. This morning, I ran 6 miles at a consistent 9:45 minute pace. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be running a sub-ten minute mile. Not only that, but running it for 6 miles straight. I am no longer an average runner. I am officially an athlete.

The power of positive thinking works. In ALL situations, for ALL people. It works!!! I'm living proof!

Hare Today, Here Tomorrow...

It is such a beautiful and sunny day and I’m so grateful to have the life that I have today, especially when I think about how far I’ve come. Sometimes, though, I have to be conscious of where I’m going, and how fast I’m trying to get there. Like the tortoise and the hare, I can often be so focused on going, going, going, that I burn myself out and then end up missing the entire point of the journey.

I have a friend who I have known for many, many years. She and I have traveled along together in the journey of becoming our best selves, including losing weight. In fact, I met her online on eDiets, and over the course of time as we became friends, we began to see each other in person and then she moved to live 5 min from me. She saw me gain 90 pounds with my first baby and lose 70 of it in the first 7 months. She saw me quickly get pregnant with my 2nd child, less than 9 months after the birth of my first, and then lose the 45 pounds I gained in less than a year. She has essentially seen me work my ass off, literally. But what she has also seen are three things: She has seen me workout diligently 5-6 days a week since she has known me. She has seen me workout at that pace, regardless of how heavy I am; in 2008, I ran a half marathon tipping the scales at 196 pounds (I am 5’5”). She has also seen that no matter how hard I try, if I am not paying attention to what I eat, I can’t make any forward progress and that often if I work too hard, I burn out and then eat everything in sight, essentially undoing any progress I may have made.

What I have seen in her, if nothing else, is unerring consistency. Initially, she consistently was unable to make any forward progress. Last May, she joined me on a program that I absolutely believe is one of the top fitness programs available today, an online nutrition and fitness program called Dreambodies. Where other programs that touted the benefits of counting points, using meal replacement shakes, or getting in-person counseling and pre-packaged meals had failed us, Dreambodies seemed to have the perfect formula for success. When my friend saw that I had blasted out of the gate yet again and lost 30 pounds, she finally acquiesced and signed up herself. She saw immediate results, and now, a year later is within just a couple pounds of her goal. I still weigh the exact same amount that I did the day she signed up. With her unerring consistency and dogged persistence, she has surpassed my success and gotten even further along the journey, just like the tortoise passed the hare sleeping at the base of the oak tree sabotaged by his overeager start (and overconfident arrogance). I am learning from my friend what it means to be consistent, and the value of patient persistence.

Until yesterday, I was focused on and frustrated by my lack of ability, instead of being motivated and inspired by my friend’s unique constancy and how it has served her. Finally, in these last couple of days, I have noticed my energy and shifted it to a positive mindset and I have realized that if I can learn from her example and exhibit the same consistency, faith, positivity and courage (and keep track of what goes in my mouth), I will break through the barrier of self and have the same wonderful success she is now enjoying.

Yes, this week I’m thinking about the tortoise and the hare and how sometimes the world looks at the hares of the world and celebrates their slick, fast moves – Nicole Richie lose the baby weight in 6 weeks! Kim Kardashian loses 5 lbs in 5 days to get back at her ex! And maybe I’ve been the hare in this whole thing up till now, and it’s done nothing to get me where I’m going. Hare today, here tomorrow, as if I’m the one sleeping at the base of that old oak tree. But I’m awake now and ready to hop alongside that tortoise at a nice, even pace. So, big shout outs to the tortoises of the world. Thanks for reminding us that slow and steady wins the race!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gotta love it!!

For those of you who haven't read Tony's latest post, you need to check it out here.

Now you guys all know I'm allergic to dairy so I didn't comment on his post for the tub of whey protein. I posted there (and am duplicating that here) because Tony hit it on the HEAD for me. I have FINALLY applied the technique of positive thinking to my career and finances - saying all day long how much I LOVE to have tons of money and opportunities opening up every time I turn around!

What Tony's blog reminded me is that I HAVE TO apply this same technique to my fitness life. I have been in a negative mindset, subconsciously at best, other times FLAGELLATING myself inside. Pushing through it physically is a must, but better than that is to say, "I have NO problem getting in shape. I LOVE to push myself to the limit. I LOVE to see the scale reflect all my hard work. I LOVE to feel fitter and thinner than I ever have in my life." Whether or not I feel my fittest today, I can honestly say that I LOVE WHEN I FEEL THAT WAY. And getting in touch with how much I love that is the next step before actually loving that I am feeling it because now it's TRUE!

Can't wait to post here when this becomes reality. It only took 2 days for this practice to impact my financial fitness. I mean seriously - I went from having just a couple hundred dollars in the bank to depositing five figures and having TONS more work coming in.

God willing, it will take less time than that to employ this practice of LOVING MYSELF to fitness. God willing, I will start to really believe that what I am doing is WORKING and will start getting excited about the changes I am seeing in my skin, on the scale, in my clothes and maybe most importantly, IN MY MINDSET and OUTLOOK!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy, sad, tired, whatever...keep it moving and MAKE it happen

Yesterday, I blazed through every interval, every minute of cardio was as intense as it could possibly be. Today I'm tired. I slogged through my workout, but I did it. And the truth is, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what I feel like. I just have to do it, anyway.

Lately, I have become willing to do whatever I can do, to do as much as I can do in any given day, any given moment, to make this dream of mine a reality. Does that mean I've done everything perfectly? No way. I had a 1/2 bagel with cream cheese a week and a half ago that has wreaked absolute havoc on my skin. I'll be paying for that for a month, at least. I'm still at the same weight I was 18 months ago, thanks to how hard-headed I am with regard to loosening things up on the weekend. I could go on and on, listing the ways in which I am definitely NOT perfect. But what I am is honest. Honest with myself, and honest with the people who are kind enough to be part of my support team, holding me accountable on a daily basis. What that means is that at the end of the day, when I achieve my goals (which I will), it will have been in a way that I can honestly sustain for the long-term. I will have found a way that truly works for me, taking into account all my foibles and flaws. And really, that's all that I could ever ask for, because that's all that I can count on to work ... for good.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 2 - keeping in close contact...

So, today I dropped off the girls at 8:30 and was at the gym by 8:45. I had hoped this would give me enough time to get Tony's workout done, but I left at 9:40 and still had abs and closing cardio to do. I called Tony to let him know and to check in. He gave me really good advice moving forward and said I could just skip it for today, but in the future I really need to prioritize getting that closing cardio in. I still may try to do the abs and cardio after my 10 am meeting. (Remember the one from yesterday? Yeah, me too.)

I don't know if it's the sun shining so brightly outside, the daffodils and tulips that are now dotted all over our yard or the fact that one of my clients finally got back to me to say that yes, we are going to move forward with the project we had been discussing, but I gotta feeling...woo hoo...that today's gonna be a good day...

Funny how when I'm eating crap food and shortcutting my workouts I feel so crappy and when I am eating well and exercising hardcore, I feel so great. Why do I ever forget that? Let's hope that when Aunt Flow comes to visit this month, she doesn't knock me off my square again like she seems to every month. Just going to appreciate THIS non-PMS day. Hope you guys are all happy!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 1 - SUCCESS!

So, after a rocky morning, I can definitely declare today a success. I got to the gym at about 9:15, knowing that I had a FOUR-PAGE workout to finish (a CRIT, no less) and a teleconference to attend beginning at 10 am. Yeah, exactly. How was THAT going to happen.

Instead, I walked for 20 minutes and chatted with my sister, who made me feel infinitely more calm and happy about my current situation. I left the gym with the intent to come back later in the day, only to get pulled over 5 minutes before the teleconference was due to start. Or so I thought. After getting a ticket (downgraded, at least - no points), I got a text from my business partner that the meeting was TOMORROW. Oy. So, I went home and had a protein shake and then went back to the gym. Yes, I did!!! Worked hard for an HOUR AND A HALF...sprinted so fast, I almost puked.

And now, at 5:30 PM I can say I am most of the way through my liquid diet day. Tomorrow is regular food. Yay. Still not stepping on the scale, per Tony D, but I'm sure this will pay off. I know it. So, now it's time to print tomorrow's workout and plan tomorrow's food.

Hope you guys are all doing well out there! Keep it tight!

Monday, April 5, 2010

HA bloody HA! So much for daily blogging...

I just got back from a week down South visiting friends in South Carolina and hanging with Mom and Bob in Myrtle Beach. Fun, fun, FUN! I worked out, tanned, drank tons of ACV water, and generally did not stress out about "dieting." In fact, at one point, my mom asked me what I was doing as far as dieting and I said, "I'm not. I basically eat the same way I did on Dreambodies, but I'm not obsessive about it. I try to always drink at least 4 L of water a day and I work out." My main thing is to avoid dairy at all costs, which helps keep my skin clear, but even that I refuse to be anal about. I'm not even being militant about avoiding refined sugar anymore. I would say I generally don't eat it. Which means 99% of the time, I don't eat it. That works for me.

All that being said, I'm about to kick things into overdrive, as I have 5 weeks until we go to Italy and I'd love to lean out a bit before we go. I'll keep you guys posted, of course, on how that's going!

Thanks for the nudge back to posting, my friend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Addicted to food? Or just weak?

I'm not sure. I do know that I am back to the place in my head where I JUST PROMISED myself I would not allow myself to get back to. The place where the food is calling the shots, driving the bus, making the choices for me. That feels like addiction. Despite my best planning, my best prayers, my best laid intentions, I find myself struggling to right my boat, yet again.

Some tell me to relax. It's hormonal, they say. It's not that deep. You'll get it together, just stay focused. Others tell me to treat this with the same passion and intensity I would use to protect my children. Imagine that eating that first compulsive bite means their little lives, they say. And yet, my gut, my spirit, that voice inside me that tells me what's true (my Higher Power?) says the truth lies somewhere in between.

Truth: I have to just pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going. Bludgeoning myself to death over this misstep isn't going to fix the problem and it may very well give me one more thing I don't feel like feeling for which food could be a quick fix.

Truth: I cannot NOT take it seriously. I have to, at some point, take this whole thing seriously and decide whether I want to be healthy and average (which I am) for the rest of my life, or whether I want to go the next short distance to having the body I always dreamed I could one day have.

Truth: The only person who can get me to the next level is me. And at the end of it all, when it finally clicks in and I make the connection, everything I'm going through, every day like this when I feel like I may never get things back on track, will be an experience I've learned from and one that may help someone else get their very own Dreambody.

'Nuff said. Tomorrow is another day. Hell, I can start my day over anytime I want, so today is another day, for that matter.

I intend to blog daily again, like I did in the beginning, and really chronicle this next phase in my recreation. I'd love to have you join me on the journey.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How I Came to Believe, Reflections of an Almost-40 Mom

When Robin asked me whether I wanted my very first Motherhood Later blog post to run on March 4th or March 7th, I didn’t hesitate before answering that the 7th would be the perfect day. It’s a day of reflection for me, every year, as it is the anniversary of the day I got sober, 15 years ago. Who would have thought, 15 years ago, when I was sitting in rehab listening to others share their experience, strength and hope about how they accepted that they needed to avoid a drink one day at a time, that I would one day be sharing my experience, strength and hope about being a nearly-40 mom of 3??

Before I got sober, I didn’t really think I would ever have a husband, let alone children, someday, though it was my deepest desire from as far back as I can remember. Sobriety has given me so many gifts, not the least of which being the courage to dream and the faith in a Higher Power and in the fact that He/She can make those dreams come true.

The recovery process is not just about recovery, it’s also about discovery. Over the past 15 years, I have learned ways of discovering what I do and don’t like about myself, what I do and don’t like to do, and who I do and don’t like to do it with. As a result, I have the life of my dreams. I run a business that offers me the financial freedom to travel and enjoy doing the things I love to do, while also giving me the flexibility to spend time with my children. I have a husband who I often look at and think, who is that hot guy? Oh, wait! That’s my husband! I get to go home with him! (And it’s not just me – just the other night at a gig, another singer said, “Is that your husband? WOW – he’s hot!” Yep, and he’s all mine…tee hee.)

In addition to having my own business, I have always had the dream of being a singer. This past year that dream has come even closer to coming true. Before I got sober, I wrote a song about believing in your dreams, and this past year, that song was recorded with a real band (the drummer played for Stevie Wonder!!) and even played on the radio. People tell me that when they hear the song, they tear up with emotion. It makes me feel so good to know that I’m not only realizing my dreams, but touching others in the process.

And of course, the greatest dream I have realized over these past 15 years was to get married to the man of my dreams and have three beautiful, spectacular, breathtakingly wonderful daughters. With my 40th birthday fast approaching, I’m feeling an even more intense desire to continue to follow my dreams not just for my own selfish reasons, but also for them. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to get them to pursue their dreams is for me to pursue mine.

‘Cause if you believe in yourself
Then you don’t need anything or anybody else
If you believe in your dreams, then your dreams will come true
So believe in yourself, as I believe in you.
Believe in Yourself, © 2009 Liimu

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm exhausted

But I'm gonna post, anyway.

I feel like I have had a mini-breakthrough, and I am SO excited about it. I have been doing hypnosis MP3s for a couple weeks now, and it really seems to be affecting my willingness in the evening to be conscious of what I'm eating and stay vigilant. The night-time eating has been my downfall, truly. I will be conscientious and eat healthy all day and then as soon as my kids get home, it's a handful of pretzel goldfish here, a tablespoon of almond butter there, and before you know it, I've standing snacked my way out of all the good hard work I did all day.

Well, no more. I'm getting back into the lower 160s and beyond. I'm entering the Spring and Summer fiercer and fitter than I have been since I was in my 20s. I can feel that 2010 is going to be the best year yet, and I will be the best me I have ever been. I know this to be true.

It's been a difficult couple of months for us. It is a challenge to keep my business going during the early part of the year but you know what? I'm working. It is a challenge to keep myself active and upbeat when there is 2-feet of snow on the ground that's nasty gray and dirty from being there for so long, but you know what? I'm working out and I'm staying accountable. My husband, children and I are stir crazy and ready to go bananas from wanting to be able to hang out outside, but you know what? They're still my favorite people in the world (and I think I'm on their short lists, too).

Life is too short to complain and be miserable. I have tons of things I could complain and worry and what if about. But I'd rather what if about the good things the Universe may have in store for me.

What if ... I lost this last 20 pounds and rocked a string bikini this summer?
What if ... all the projects that are potentially coming through CAME THROUGH and I was making mad money every month?
What if ... we had enough money to travel to Italy in May AND go to the shore for a week in August?
What if ... my songs became viral hits on the Internet and we got picked up by a major record label?

What if? And why not?

Dream big, y'all. Cause what you think about, you bring about...

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm still here...I've been seriously slacking with the blog posts, I know.

I cannot believe it is snowing...AGAIN. My daughters were let out at 11:30 this morning (I missed the bus drop off - miscalculated and had to drive to their school to get them...felt like the worst mother in the world). We went right from school to the gym, though, a fact of which I am very proud.

I have been working SO hard lately (at work) and have been falling into the trap of rewarding myself with food, or feeling like "I deserve." The way I put it to Tony is that I let food get the best of me. What I need to do is let ME get the best of me.

So, lately, I have been thinking about that when I want to eat something I know I shouldn't eat.

"Am I going to let food get the best of me? Or am I going to get the best of me?"

So far it's working. Will it work all the way to 155? Who knows? But my hope is that it will get me back on track with cardio intervals (I have seriously lost my mojo there, opting for the elliptical every time) and keeping my food squeaky clean. One day at a time, we'll see what happens.

Hope y'all are well. More later.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Loving this time of the month...

Yeah, RIGHT. I was crowing to a friend of mine yesterday about how proud I was that I had a kick a** workout, despite the nasty PMS attitude I was wearing around me like a comfy old sweater. She said, "Poor baby, a week of PMS and then a week of no sex. It's just not fair for us women." When she put it like that, it made me realize that it's probably way LESS fair for my poor husband who has to endure my nasty attitude (and not just nasty, but completely unpredictable and perhaps borderline psychotic, I vacillate so severely between bit**y and apologetic). And then he is the one who has to wait two weeks for lovin' (cause I ain't even in the mood when I'm PMSing and honestly, he's not particularly feeling my crazy a**, either).

Anyway, add to that the fact that I, like so many others, loosened the reins over Valentine's Day and there's at least a reason why I'm puffy and bloated and carrying around an extra 3-4 pounds than I was a couple weeks ago.

But I'm still here, and I'm still not only getting my workouts in, I'm KILLIN' at the gym. I'm drinking all my water and I'm eating clean. I'm also getting good work done and staying in a pretty positive, yet practical mindset about this slow season I'm in. January and February generally just SUCK in my line of work because no one really knows what they have as far as budget and even if they do, they don't want to spend it unless they have to. By May or June, when projects are really looking like they won't get done with internal resources, that's when they decide, okay, we have to. Bring in the cavalry. That's me. The cavalry. :)

Still plugging away getting ready for the show on the 27th. I love my band, and we're going to have SO much fun, no matter what may come of it and no matter who shows up. If you're in the Philly area that weekend, come on through! Fluid Nightclub, 616 S. 4th Street, from 6 to 9 pm. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, they're calling for another foot of snow on Monday. I just had to steal this from Tea's blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is it a dream or a calling?

The past couple of days, I've been letting myself settle into the idea of giving the music a break. Those of you who know me outside of cyberspace (and some of you who don't) know that for the past year or so I've had somewhat of a resurgence of my music career, which I thought was pretty much dead and buried after I got married and had kids.

Back in 2007, I had the blessed opportunity to participate as a lead soloist on Patti Labelle's choir on the NBC reality show, "Clash of the Choirs." My rendition of Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" was seen by 10 million viewers around the world, and the YouTube of it has been viewed over 20,000 times! Last year, when business was slow, I started poking around Facebook and got connected with one of Patti's producers, who convinced me that I could still make a go of this. Since last April, I have done a half-dozen showcases, have written over 20 songs (6 of which I've performed to rave reviews) and am almost finished recording my first studio EP.

The thing is, I also own my own business, and it's obviously a major part of the financial equation for my family. So, essentially I now feel like in order to make these two things succeed, I have to go 80 mph in two entirely different directions. So, lately I've been walking around seeing how it feels to settle into the idea of not doing the music as much. Here's where it gets kinda wild. This morning, I sat down to read the three meditation books I read every morning and every single one was about following your dreams and relying on God and His angels as the source of all power, sweeping away the fears and doubts and allowing Him to fan the flames of the deepest heart's desires and passions. Umm...okay...

I don't know about you, but I take that as a sign. I'm just gonna keep doing what's in front of me each day. In a couple weeks, we are doing a fundraiser for a local school. On the 27th, we're doing a concert at a nightclub in Center City that will raise money for Philabundance, the largest organization combating hunger in the tristate area (PA, NJ and DE). I refuse to let fear take the wheel and drive this bus, when I know who really needs to be driving. So, I say again...

"Jesus, take the wheel."

Love to all,


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reach for the moon...

Because even if you fall short, you'll still be dancing among the stars. That is what I have always tried to do, despite friends and family often thinking I'm taking on too much, or spreading myself too thin or dreaming too big.

  1. I started my own business two years ago this month, and it has not only been the source of a six-figure income since the very beginning, it has afforded me the flexibility to travel, to spend time with my kids and to work from home almost 100% of the time. Not too shabby.
  2. I've embarked on a singing career. So, I'm not multi-platinum yet or nominated for any Grammy awards. I've recorded two songs, and am working on the third and fourth, all of which I hope to have on iTunes by the Spring and I have been getting recognition for my songwriting skills by folks all around Philadelphia. An even bigger bonus by product is that it has revealed that my husband and I are a great songwriting duo (the new Ashford & Simpson?) and has laid the foundation for him finally finding the career of HIS dreams.
  3. Finally, my fitness path - okay, so I'm still hovering within the same five-pound range I've been in since January of last year. But how's that for a miracle? I didn't gain any weight at all last year! And I'm set to finally achieve my goals this year, closer than I've been in years. More than that, my skin is finally clear, my muscles are taking shape and I am happy with my body and only getting happier.

I did set up my star chart today. I really like it, too. I have set up rewards for getting to Friday with no misbehaving, rewards for getting through the weekend, and super rewards for getting through the entire month. Just like my daughter - and if it can work for her, it should be able to work for me, too! Here's what it looks like:

I'll keep you guys posted on how I do with it. Tony has been right there with me, calling me and texting me to make sure I'm on point. I feel grateful I have his support, and the support of my dear friend Jacquie, who also texts me all day and keeps me accountable. It's going to be a wonderful spring and summer. Thanks to all you guys for the votes of confidence! Oh, and if anyone wants a copy of my star reward chart for yourself to use, let me know!!

For now, off to make spaghetti for the girls and salmon and greens for me. Then have to wash their hair (bleah...) and then to BED, finally. I was in the studio until 11 pm last night, so I am WRECKED (i.e., beat).

Till tomorrow...


Sunday, January 31, 2010

I need a time out.

Someone really needs to give me a timeout. For real.

I was going along on my merry little way...chip chip chipping my way down into the 150s - finally (haven't been there since before I got married and had kids) - and out of nowhere, I get knocked on my behind and off my square.

Each day of this weekend got progressively worse, eating-wise, and although I woke every morning and said my intention prayers and envisioned myself having a great day, and got to the gym and had intense workouts, by 3 pm each day, I was face-down in whatever salty snacks I could find.

I'm not sure why I am sabotaging my own success. I want to get back on track. I'm thinking maybe what I need to do is apply the same principles to myself that have proven successful with my 6-year old.

Last month, we found that her transition to Kindergarten was not as smooth as we had hoped. After getting notes sent home from the bus driver, her music teacher, her teacher and finally a call from the principal (followed by her getting sent home early), I instituted a Star Award program to incentivize her good behavior. For each day that she exhibits good behavior (or at least doesn't get in trouble), she gets star. If she gets a star each day of the week for one whole week, she gets to have a playdate. If she manages to get through the whole entire month with no incidents, she gets what I am calling a Super Playdate - to Chuck E Cheese, or the movies, bowling or ice get the idea.

So, tomorrow is February 1. A perfect day to start my own Star Reward program. For me, there will be a separate reward for making it through each week (M-F) and weekend (Sa-Su). If I make it through the week, I'll get something special (a couple magazines, a manicure, etc.). If I make it through the weekend, same thing. When I make it through an entire month - a big reward - a massage, an outfit, etc. I'm even going to use a calendar and put my own gold stars on there for each day.

Hey, if it works for my 6-year old, why shouldn't it work for me? :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When life gives you lemons... squirt a few drops of juice in some water, add ACV and stevia and get your behind to the GYM.

This morning, I felt like everything that could go wrong WAS going wrong. I don't know why, but even though we left the house with plenty of time, we got stuck at every red light and almost missed the bus. My poor 7-year old was rushing to get out of the car and hit my second liter of ACV water, it fell out of the car and splashed to the ground. I couldn't get a hold of my husband to see if he'd left the door open for the cleaning lady, so I went back to the house. Everything in me wanted to just skip it. And yet, I went anyway. Was it the best workout ever? No way. My machine was losing battery power while I worked out, and OH WELL. I kept going, anyway. Midway through the workout, Aunt Flow decided to finally rear her ugly a** head. I kept going, anyway.

And now, I'm trying to get work done, and everything seems to be going wrong. And guess what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna keep going anyway.

165.1 this morning. 161 by the end of the month. I'm DETERMINED to reach that goal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Did you just call me out?

OK, fair enough. It's been a week. More than a week. And I haven't posted. But you know why?

BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN BUSY!! Yay, me!! This year is starting off with a HUGE bang. I am SO excited and optimistic about what is coming down the pike.

But seriously, I have been really struggling with hormones and wish TOM would just go ahead and come already. That being said, I have managed to keep it together fairly well and hope to achieve my goal for this month. Fingers crossed. Tony wanted me to be closer to the goal by today. Has anyone out there ever talked to him about the hormonal impacts on weight loss? It's just not realistic for me to lose 2 lbs a week consistently. My body doesn't work that way.

OK, well, there you have it. I posted. Signed in. Present and accounted for. Not really much to say otherwise. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hanging on, hanging in!

OK, so yesterday I gave in to some salt cravings but today is a new day. Tony wants to see me lose two pounds by next Wednesday. It doesn't help that I was up a pound this morning. Dang water retention.

But today was SUCH a good day! First of all, I've already downed 4 liters and had a killer workout. I did squats with 135 lbs and leg presses with 500 lbs, then I did my ending cardio like this:

  • Minutes 1-5, 30 sec at 4 mph, 30 sec at 7 mph
  • Minutes 6-10, 30 sec at 4 mph, 30 sec at 8 mph
  • Minute 9, 30 sec at 4 mph, 30 sec at 9 mph
  • Minute 10, 30 sec at 4 mph, 30 sec at 10 mph.

Woo hoo!

And then, I did all this:

  • Dismantled the tree, put it out and put the decorations up in the attic (with some help)
  • Finished three documents for one client
  • Finished drafting another new document for another client
  • Sent off the last of the 2 birthday invitations for Amelia
  • Emptied the dishwasher
  • Cleaned up the living room (with some help)
  • Called Verizon about my rebate

I could go on and on...I was on FIYAH!!! Then tonight, I made a homemade protein bar. It was kinda nasty, so I'm gonna buy some chocolate Better 'N Butter at the new Whole Foods tomorrow and see if I can doctor it up and salvage it. I can't have regular protein bars because I'm off all dairy, including whey. Say what you want, my skin is almost COMPLETELY clear! It's just a matter of time before my skin is flawless (like my children's skin, if I'm lucky)!

Oh, and guess what else? Pretty soon I'm gonna be a regular guest blogger on a website of a friend of I hope you'll come check me out! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I watched a movie!!!

And that's it! For the first time, in I cannot remember how long, I went to the movies and I didn't have popcorn or diet soda for the first time! I had my ACV drink and my clean DB approved snack. (Yes, I smuggled it in.) The entire time we were in the movies (seeing Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, and it was awesome), I had my 3-year old in my lap and several times I actually picked popcorn out of her bag and PUT IT BACK. Not a single kernel passed my lips. I cannot believe it even now. This is a huge milestone for me, as going to the movies has always been a huge trigger. This time I just watched the movie, and I really enjoyed it.

I think I may actually make it to the 150s this time! My goals is 145, and if I could get there by my 40th birthday that would be the best present I could ever possibly get!

And my body is changing! I had a photo shoot last week, and my stylist bought size 10 and size small outfits, and they fit! And last night, I got all dolled up to go to my friend's birthday party and when my husband took the photo, I was thrilled to see it!

Hope everyone else is having a great day!

Friday, January 8, 2010

As I suspected 2010 is gonna ROCK!!!

OK, for those of you who aren't on Facebook, we have another GIG on February 27! If you're in the Philadelphia area, please come on through!

Tons of cool stuff happening already this year. I just had an awesome photo shoot last night. And guess what? My stylist bought all the clothes, and I was sliding easily into Express size 10 suits and dresses! WHAT? How wild is that??? I have 20 pounds to go and I'm rockin' size 10s? Does that mean I'm going to be a nice size 6 when all is said and done? How wild would that be???

I'm truly in a zone these days. Am I 100% clean? No, I have to admit that I am not. But probably 90% clean, and no cheats planned until probably Valentine's Day. A nice dinner and night with hubby. Hopefully by then, I will be solidly in the 150s.

This morning, I was 164.1. That means I am down a full SIX pounds since I got home from California on New Year's Day. Amazing. I'm weighing less than I did before the holiday!

This is my year. Work is going well - I know I'm going to have a good and lucrative year. The singing is taking off like wildfire. I'm having a wonderful year in all areas except my family. My brother is in the hospital, I just found out a couple days ago. I hope you guys will keep him in prayer.

OK, back to "Jersey Shore" and then off to bed. Have a great night, everyone!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Blessed to be binge-free!!!

I have so many things to be thankful for. A wonderful husband and three beautiful daughters (shown here with Mary Poppins...not me), a lovely home, a successful business and a budding music career. Add to the list that I now have health and fitness in my life and everything is finally feeling like it is as it should be.

I was away for 10 days over Christmas and New Years, with my children and husband who ate whatever they wanted and did not exercise, not one single time. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I did not plan to binge over the holiday. And guess what happened?

I didn't binge.

I am actually pretty much exactly where I was before the holiday just a couple days into January. I gained maybe 2 pounds? What the heck? You gotta realize, I am someone who just thinks about eating certain foods and gains weight. I gained EIGHT POUNDS over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday!!! Two pounds? Two pounds? Two pounds is NOTHING!

So, yeah, I am grateful. I am grateful for all the wonderful things I have in my life, the wonderful people, the support, the relationship I have developed with God, my job, my singing/songwriting, and I am grateful for having a sane relationship with my body and food...just for today.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My resolution for this year not to make any resolutions.

I choose to make goals, instead. The nice thing about making goals is that you can make progress, without an all or nothing, without straight success/failure. I have had years where I have achieved more than I realized, and years where I realized halfway through that I didn't want to achieve the goals I thought I did, and where I achieved goals I hadn't even known I had.

This year, I have a lot of goals that I'm excited to achieve: finishing my CD, bringing business to my consulting company so I can pay down our credit card debt, finally getting to my goal weight. This year is going to be A....MAAAA....ZING. Guaranteed.

It was a great holiday. Hubby got me my very own iPod Touch, so I downloaded apps to help with my fitness goals. Can't wait to share with you guys my success as I achieve it!!