How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet

I’ve been “on a diet” most of my adult life.  Heck, I remember when my mom put me on what I remember to be my first diet when I was maybe 8 years old, suggesting that “we” were on a diet… and “we” weren’t going to be eating the frozen brownie ice cream treats in the freezer.

As a result of being on so many programs for 30+ years, I’ve had a lot of folks try to give me outside advice on how I could be doing what I’m doing better/smarter/faster/with different ingredients/etc.  I’ve had great suggestions, great support, and well… I’ve had the other as well.

Inspired by this little life of mine and my lovely friends who supported me so well along the way, I’m going to share a few suggestions on how to offer great support to a friend/family member/co-worker who is watching their food intake.

How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet | No Thanks to Cake

Understand that this is a BIG Lifestyle Shift

Your friend/sister/brother/wife is embarking upon one of the most difficult feats!  Consider this:  If weight loss were easy, obesity wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is in America!  Your loved one is in the process of trying to navigate this brand-new lifestyle that they have committed to and they likely have a range of emotions brewing about it.  They may be nervous, afraid, eager, and impatient.

Change Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Change is not always as simple as flipping a switch.  Be patient and compassionate.  Know that they may implement trial-and-error along the way to create the best possible program for themselves, and that they may stumble 150 times along the way.  Be supportive of the change… and mostly of your loved one.  They’ll need it!

Do Not Play Diet Patrol

“Is that on your program?”

“Um… I thought you were eating healthy now?”

Danny Devito Friends | No Thanks to Cake

As someone on a journey to getting healthy, I’ll tell you right now… I don’t always do it right.  There are times that I want to eat everything in sight.  There are times when I just can’t resist driving through Chick-Fil-A (and getting the real-deal fried chicken sandwich.)  I don’t perfectly all the time… and, I even have the nerve to call myself a “healthy living / weight loss blogger.” :)

But… those decisions are mine.  I have to face My Fitness Pal at the end of the day to track my eats.  I have to look in the mirror and face the music… I’ll deal with me.  You deal with you.  Sound good?

Avoid the Urge to Fix Things

How many times in my life have I said this: I don’t want to get off the couch and go to the gym.  Um, many many times… my friends can attest to this.  Often times, I just don’t want to go and sometimes, I need to share that.  I don’t always need a rah-rah-ree, kick ‘em in the knee kind of response… sometimes, I just want a friend to listen.

Rachel Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Natalie is one of the best when it comes to offering support… I really don’t know how she does it, but she always says just the right thing.  Lots of “Get it, girl” text messages… or, “Maybe you need a break.  Go tomorrow!”  Regardless… she walks the line perfectly for me.  She listens to all my shenanigans… and offers support.  This is all I need…a sounding board to my thoughts.  I’m so lucky to have her!  Now, if only she lived closer… 

Consider Hosting Healthy Food Events

Eating out when you’re watching what you are eating can be a HUGE challenges.  Even visiting a friend’s house for dinner can be a challenge!

Thanksgiving Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Deb does an amazing job at making sure that we’re all going to have a blast when we get together while taking into account everyone’s eating preferences.  For example:  Deb likes to make healthy choices too, so when I was in the beginning of my process.  She sensed my nervousness about gatherings, and always called me separately to assure me that she would have healthy options on hand that she wanted to enjoy too!  I never felt like I was putting everyone else by “needing” healthy options… and I always appreciated (and still do!) her kind approach to making sure I could stay on track.

Join in on the Fun

Early on in the process and when things were getting a little bit tough for me, my sister-in-law Beth jumped on board with Jenny Craig and signed up for the program.  This was amazing support for me.  I finally had someone to talk about the food with, to talk about the process, and someone who was participating with me.

Door Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Beth, while miles and miles away, was on board and also had some success with Jenny.  It made the process that much more fun!

Not Everything Has to Be Food-Related

Before I started on my healthy eating journey almost 4 years ago, everything we ever did was food related.  Wine night, dinners out, game night with snacks… with no regard to the calories we would be eating.

In the beginning, I just stopped joining my friends…. but over time, we’ve found other ways to have fun that include healthy activities!  We go on lots of walks… Denver has SO MANY beautiful spots to walk and hike that this has become a common outing.  My friend Tiffany and I do this quite often…

Friends Phoebe Running | No Thanks to Cake

Instead of meeting for lunch, maybe we meet for coffee instead.  My friend Kristin and I have worked this into our regular “catch-up” routine, and I love it!

Please Talk to Me about Other Topics

Just because I’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean I want to spend all my time talking about the do’s and don’ts of the latest fad diet on the market, what I had for breakfast, or how I’m spending my time at the gym.

Turkey Friends | No Thanks to Cake

I’m still your friend.  That fun-loving, shoe-shopping, wacky story-telling friend.  Let’s talk about all of those things… I love that you take an interest in my weight loss process… but even I need a break from it from time to time, and I get together with you to take that break.

Celebrate Success with Me

When the celebrations come… I’m going to want you to be there with me.

Cheesecake Friends | No Thanks to Cake

It could be to celebrate that I didn’t eat the free pizza at work… or that I hit my 10K steps for the day… or it could be that I reach my weight loss goal.  Let’s celebrate together, ok?  I love to share my life’s high points with you.

Ultimately, I’m going to win no matter what, I’m going to learn, and I’m going to change… but I’d like you there beside me along the way as my friend.  Thanks in advance for all your support, love, and encouragement.  xoxo

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Wear Teal Day: September 5

I hope you woke up this morning and chose to wear teal, like many Americans will today.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month | No Thanks to Cake

September is National Ovarian Cancer Month, and a month dedicated to a cause that’s near and dear to my heart.

A little over 4 years ago, my friend Bev got diagnosed with Ovarian cancer and cancer made its appearance amongst my peers for the first time.  While I lost my grandparents and many family members to the terrible C, I always saw it as a disease that hit the elderly, those who had lived a rich life already.  When Bev was diagnosed, the reality that cancer is everywhere… and that it truly doesn’t discriminate.

Team Bev Jodi's Race for Awareness | No Thanks to Cake

When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, it sucks.  You don’t know what to do.  You don’t know how to help.  And, well… you just want it to go away.  Thankfully, Bev was strong enough for all of us… and all we had to do was be there to support her.  She plowed through chemo with grace and came out on the other side, free from this terrible disease and with a fantastic outlook on the rest of her life.

A group of friends and I found the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance, and immediately looked for ways to get involved.  We signed up to walk/run in their Jodi’s Race for Awareness in 2010, and we’ve been participating as Team Bev ever since!

Team Bev Jodi's Race | No Thanks to Cake

Here is part of our rowdy bunch, but we’re missing quite a few from this pic.  Our first year, we might have had 20 people.  This year, we were well over 50… all for that great lady in the center wearing the teal tiara.  We walk in support of Bev, still cancer-free 4 years later!!

Team Bev Jodi's Race for Awareness | No Thanks to Cake

Now, walking as a team and inviting my friends to participate raises awareness… wearing teal today draws attention to Ovarian cancer month, and donating money helps fund programs for the diagnosed and support research.

To me, I recognize that I have a audience made up predominantly of women, and as such… I’m going to share some information about the symptoms associated with Ovarian Cancer.  After all, there is no life more important than yours.  There is no one who knows your body like you do.  It’s important that you know the symptoms… so that you too can live a rich, full, healthy life like my friend Bev…

Wear Teal Day | No Thanks to Cake

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Ovarian Cancer Symptoms  | No Thanks to Cake

Source: Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

Statistics show that 95% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer had 1 or more of these 4 common symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

Often known as the “silent killer”, ovarian cancer often goes undetected due to the subtle nature of its symptoms.  If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please seek medical attention.

Why is ovarian cancer so misunderstood?

  • Annual gynecological exam does NOT check for this cancer
  • It’s NOT rare! 20,000 Americans/330 Coloradans diagnosed annually
  • It does NOT happen only to older women – all women and girls at risk
  • There’s NO specific screening tool for ovarian cancer – undefined symptoms are key
  • Majority of women with ovarian cancer had no family history of it
  • The medical community often misses diagnosing this cancer
  • While nicknamed “the silent killer,” the latest research shows OC is NOT silent, with 4 common symptoms

How can women become aware of ovarian cancer?

  • Know the symptoms – listen to your body – Know the 4 common symptoms!
  • Advocate for yourself in your doctor’s office – Missed diagnosis is common
  • DON’T WAIT!  If you’ve had one or more symptoms for more than a few weeks, see a gynecologist, ask about ovarian cancer and request a CA125 blood test, a pelvic/rectal exam and a transvaginal ultrasound

Disclaimer:  I am not a physician, just a woman who loves her friends… and wants us all to live long, healthy lives.  For full detailed information about Ovarian Cancer, please seek information from a medical professional.

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Saturday Adventure Day

Way back in May, Tiffany and I started looking at calendars to pick a date for our planned “Adventure Day.”  With 2014 being the busiest summer ever, the first weekend where we both had a free day open wasn’t until August 2.  That seemed so incredibly far away, but we wanted to make sure we got it on the calendar.

Within a blink of an eye (because that’s how fast this year has been flying by), August 2nd arrived and we jetted off!

First Stop:  A Quick Brain Damage

You’ve probably seen me post on Instagram about the infamous Brain Damage coffee drink at Dazbog Coffee.  Well, during our Adventure Day, I wanted to make sure I introduced Tiffany to its deliciousness.

Dazbog Brain Damage | No Thanks to Cake

What is this amazing drink??  It is pretty much the best frozen coffee drink on the planet… and you can only find it in Northern Colorado.  They use mocha, shots of espresso, and the BEST part… chocolate-covered espresso beans.  All blended to perfection!  I also love that they make it fresh – no mix! – and you can customize it to make it “your way” – for me, that’s sugar-free, non-fat.  Delish!

The verdict:  My Colorado BFF loved this drink as much as I do!  What a great way to caffeinate for a long car-ride!

Next Stop:  The Shambhala Mountain Center

Our travels took us further north… not to Wyoming, but to Red Feather Lakes, CO to the beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center.  It had been about 10 years since I had travelled to this area, so I was excited to get back.  The Shambhala center hosts spiritual retreats, meditation classes, and getaways.  People travel from all over to see this beautiful place… and soon you’ll know why.

It’s tucked away from the main path, and I always think it’s a sign that I’ve left civilization when the roads are no longer paved.

Shambhala Mountain Center | No Thanks to Cake

About 2 1/2 hours from Denver, we arrived at our destination parked our car and started our trek into the property.  On our way to a very sacred spot in the mountains, the 20 minute walk/hike was totally worth it… even in flip flops!

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The main attraction here is The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing.  And, it is a breathtaking site.  

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

It’s hard to believe this shrine is tucked away in the middle of the mountains.  What stands out most when you see it in person is the brightly colored features and the gold accents.  So unusual to see in this natural backdrop.

As you approach the stupa, you first see an alter of sorts where many have left items behinds.  Offerings, gifts… and the most random of items.  We got close enough to see the items, but you don’t dare touch any of them… they were all placed there with purpose.  Who am I to alter them?

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

 

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

As we approached the stupa, I got really excited.  From my previous trip, I remember the energy inside being amazing and I was excited to get inside – - to spend a little time in silence.  But, a few pics before we walked inside…

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

From the Shambhala Mountain Center Website:  Stupas are said to promote harmony, prosperity, longevity, good health and peace. They bring blessings to the environment in which they are built, to those who build them, and to those who visit and venerate them. In this way, stupas ensure that the living quality of the Buddhist teachings will always be available.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

Taking off our shoes and leaving them outside, we entered the stupa to find two others seated inside and a few others exiting.  It was quiet and perfect inside, and keep in mind… this is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

So majestic, yet so peaceful.

I found a seat and settled in to meditate for a few minutes.  I’m not a master meditator, by any means; however, my yoga practice has taught me how incredibly powerful breath can be… and I love to practice.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

After about 10-15 minutes in silence, my eyes opened up, feeling refreshed and just happy.  There is something about this place, I tell ya… the energy is fantastic.  Before leaving the room, I spent some time looking around… noticing all the ornate details… and just soaking in that beautiful energy.

We left shortly after, stopping to watch a video along the way… and then deciding to simply take a selfie instead of sitting through the video.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The walk back was gorgeous… with lots of wildflowers and beauty along the way.

Colorado Wildflowers | No Thanks to Cake

The Great Stupa| No Thanks to Cake

Third Stop:  Refueling in Fort Collins

When we arrived at the car, we were officially STARVING.  We raced back to Ft. Collins to have lunch at Coopersmiths.  Ready to refuel, we each enjoyed the Coopers Pub burger with a side of cucumbers.  I love that you can get a side of veggies and ranch, instead of fatty fries or onion rings.  Genius!

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

After lunch, we headed over to O’Dells Brewery.  They have a beautiful tasting room, and this was officially my first experience “beer tasting” in Colorado.  I know… I live in a beer state, but I’d never been!

O'Dells | No Thanks to Cake

And… while the tap room was cute and the beer was cold, I think I’ll stick to wine tasting.  Just not a huge fan of beer, but I was glad to have experienced O’Dells just the same!

O'Dells | No Thanks to Cake

After our stop at O’Dells, we made our way back to Denver convinced that we need to schedule another fun adventure day like this again soon!

 

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The Del, A Massage, and Wine

I feel like I have been writing about this trip to California forever, recapping all the fun I’ve had along the way. In its own fabulous way, NTTC is sort of my very own scrapbook.  A great way to recap trips, outings, and recipes for my friends and family!

So, I’ve got one more day to share about this awesome week.  And, then, I will get back to my normal blogging schedule… whatever normal is… :)

The day after the concert, I woke up and had to get my things packed to head out.  Notice, I didn’t say HOME, I said out.  Whenever I get a chance to travel to California, I usually try to extend my trip a little to visit friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough!

Now, when I visited my friend Crystal in early June, we agreed that if I had a chance to travel to Rockstar again… that I should come back to visit her family!  You don’t have to ask me twice… the plan came together so nicely!

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

Before I met up with her, I decided to spend a little time unwinding on Coronado Island.  And, my favorite way to unwind… I scheduled a massage at a nearby hotel.  Not just any hotel, however… I scheduled it at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

My goodness… what a beautiful place.

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

The hotel is an institution on the island…. and so incredibly gorgeous.  I can’t even believe I got to spend the day here.  I checked my luggage at the bell stand and headed off to the spa.  To get there, I had the option of walking through the hotel or walking outdoors on the property… I choose the outside path and had a chance to experience the beauty that is the Del.

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

From the white buildings with red roofs to the lovely outdoor cafes to the exquisite view of the Pacific… the Del is perfection.  The guy at the bell stand told me to walk until I saw the herb garden and the spa would be on the right.  I absolutely love that the property has such a delightful herb garden.  Just made it all that more perfect… 

Herb Garden Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

Inside the Spa at the Del, I quickly got changed into a robe and slippers and waited for my massage.  I had scheduled myself a Hot Shell Massage and was so excited to see how this would work.  I’d had hot STONE massages before, but never hot SHELL!  How perfect for this trip!

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

When I got called back into the spa for my service, I found that the shells weren’t REAL shells, but instead ceramic shells created specifically for this purpose.

Hot Shell Massage Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

The massage was WONDERFUL.  Relaxing.  Perfect.  After all the excitement of Rockstar, my feet were incredibly sore… so my masseuse spent some extra time on my toes.  HEAVEN!

After the service was completed, I ordered some lunch and found a spot at the spa pool to relax.  I had intended upon reading a book, but it felt better to just relax and soak in the atmosphere.  There was beautiful people watching to be had… families vacationing, couples walking by hand in hand, and that gorgeous ocean in the distance.  I soaked it all in… and a little sun.

Lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

The Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

At the end of the day, my friend Crystal picked me up to whisk me away to Temecula.  One of my favorite people, I am so thankful that I had a chance to visit with her again this trip!

We spent our time catching up, cooking, and tasting local wines… you can only imagine how much I loved that!  We also spent some of her favorite wineries.  First stop:  Miramonte… Such a beautiful patio for tasting the most delicious wines!

Miramonte | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve always thought of Napa or Sonoma when I’ve thought of California wine country; however, I have to say… Temecula should be listed right there in that list.  I’ve loved so many of the wines I’ve tasted here… and the tasting rooms are so lovely.  Highly recommend touring this area if you are ever close.

Miramonte Winery | No Thanks to Cake

The next day, after a lovely lazy morning, we headed out to Robert Renzoni for the most amazing round of wine tasting!  His Concerto was my favorite… and I was able to get a signed bottle to take home!

Robert Renzoni | No Thanks to Cake

 

Robert Renzoni | No Thanks to Cake

After our first stop, we set off for some lunch (and more wine!) at Ponte Family Estates.  SUCH a beautiful place!

Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

Ponte Grapes | No Thanks to Cake

The magic happened at lunch…. Crystal and I ordered a Watermelon Tomato Caprese that just knocked our socks off.  Expect to see a version of this on NTTC soon.  It was that good!  Doesn’t it look gorgeous??

Watermelon Tomato Caprese Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

While the massage, the wine, and the food were amazing, the best part of the weekend was getting to spend it with this girl…

Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

We’re in the early stages of planning another adventure early next year… I absolutely can’t wait!  Thanks, Crystal and Adam, for a wonderful end to a wonderful trip!

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