Feeling Exposed… and Letting that Go

I’ll admit it:  Blogging is a super-weird thing.

I’m working my way into YEAR FIVE here at NTTC, and I’m still surprised by thing that come up through the process.  This week, I had an awesome opportunity to participate in an interview with Women’s Health Magazine.  The magazine reached out requesting an interview for their Weight Loss Success Story series, and I was thrilled to have an opportunity to participate.

I did a phone interview with Ashley at Women’s Health, and we had a great discussion.  She asked me questions about my weight loss story… and I candidly told her about how I lost the weight and about how I gained it in the first place.

Ashley transcribed the conversation into this article that is currently posted on Women’s Health Online.  How amazingly cool is that??

Womens Health Magazine Article | No Thanks to Cake

Excited about the article all week, I got the link from Ashley with the final story, and I completely froze.  I got nervous.  All my words were right there.  All those things I said… talking about how I was embarrassed about appearing larger than someone who was 6 months pregnant and about quitting a 5K halfway through.  It was all true, it was all there for their entire audience (with a much more significant reach than NTTC)… and it scared me to death.

In the blog world, you quickly find your people that you can bounce ideas off of… for example, Emily has been my gut check for my blog redesign, and I immediately reached out to Alyssa for thoughts on the article.

Thank goodness for blog friends!!! In my head, I had made myself nervous about the article… and Alyssa reminded me quickly of why the article existed to begin with:  To help other people who are trying to lose weight and experience what I have.

My story of weight loss is a fun tale peppered with telling progress pics and lots of stories about yoga (the Red Rocks kind, the farty kind, and the one where there were dolphins.)  And, at the same time, it’s a story of the challenges I’ve faced along the way, the emotional eating habits I’ve worked to overcome, and learning to lean on others for support.

Before After | No Thanks to Cake

And in the end, while blogging may be weird… and it may have its ups and downs (especially on the scale,)  every nervous moment of “should I post that” is worth it… if there’s just one person out there that it helps.

Despite my initial pause, I can’t be more thrilled to have been featured in Women’s Health… if real life weight loss is what they’re looking for, it doesn’t get more real than this journey.  And, it continues…

Thank y’all for being there every step of the way!  xoxo

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Strong Reactions to Simple Questions

So… something crazy has been happening for the past few weeks.  I may ramble a little here, but it’s important for me to get this out.  Thanks for hanging in there…

By now, you guys know I lost the bulk of my weight on the Jenny Craig program.  I joined in desperation.  I joined to try something new, and thankfully, it WORKED.

Before-After Rockstar | No Thanks to CakeOver the past year and I half, I’ve moved away from the Jenny program.  I don’t eat their food as part of a structured Jenny Craig food plan, but I do work them into my weekly meal planning.  I don’t do consultations with them on Saturday mornings anymore.  Instead, I stop in just about every week to pick up food.  There are several foods that have become staples to me, and from a convenience perspective, keeping them in my freezer makes sense.

My picky and always-in-a-morning-hurry self loves to pop the JC Cinnamon Rolls in the microwave in the morning before work.  A breakfast that takes 27 seconds to make, is well… my kind of breakfast, especially when it has cinnamon and rolls in the title.

Jenny Craig Cinnamon Rolls | No Thanks to Cake

Regardless, I’ve found a way to maintain my weight by eating half on the program and half off.  This makes it possible for me to grab lunch with customers throughout the week, while eating JC Stuffed Shells for convenience on the days when I’m in the office.  For me, it’s a great mix.

So… something’s been happening when I’ve been doing my “grocery shopping” at my local Jenny Craig location on Saturday mornings.  There’s a new consultant who’s been asking a lot of questions… and asking in a way that just hasn’t been resonating well with me.

“Can we get you on the scale?”

Can you tell me exactly why you don’t come in for consultations?”

Do you know your weight?”

Are you formally on maintenance?”

This sounds like pretty normal chatter for a visit to a weight loss center… but the fact that she’s so insistent has been FLYING ALL OVER ME.  That’s Southern talk for annoying the heck out of me.

Again, this consultant is doing her job.  She is asking the questions she has been trained to ask.  The questions that she’s been guided to ask to benefit her clients most… but to me, I’m reacting as though it is an accusation, an accusation that I need to do more, be more, and lose weight.

It’s been two weeks in a row of considering walking out of Jenny Craig forever, and even with thoughts of stomping out and leaving all those beautiful cinnamon rolls behind, I haven’t.  In each situation, I avoided her questions (much to her dismay) and convinced her to just let me pay and go. In each case, I walked out, feeling defeated, head hung low, and just wanting to cry.   Again, my reaction to this lady doing her job.

This week, I chatted with one of the other consultants regarding the situation… indicating that I was just wanting to buy food for now and asking if we could lower the pressure for a while.  And, in that small little office, I started to cry again.

I hadn’t cried about my weight in some time, and it’s amazing that it always seems to happen in that same office.   With the centre director when I joined, with Amalia (I’m sure I cried with her – love that gal!), and now again this week with Crystal.  As I cried, the words that poured out were my truth (Cue the waterworks): I’m tired.  I’ve focused so hard for the past four years on losing weight, and I just want to be okay with living for a while.  For now, living means I buy food to have on hand, just like I would at the grocery store.  Some days I eat Jenny, and some days I eat Subway; other days I may cook a full meal at the house.  

Crystal was AWESOME, and she totally got where I was at… and she told me to just let her know if/when I’m ready to try to lose again and she and the team would be happy to help.  Love that response!  Until then, she took my order for 7 cinnamon rolls and 4 stuffed shells, and I headed out.

When I look a little closer at my reaction, I realize the consultant who I struggled with for the past few weeks was simply verbalizing the things I ask myself every single day.  I’m really trying to lighten up on myself in the area of self-criticism, especially in the area of weight loss.  In these moments, it was like all my own thoughts and judgment were spewing out from a stranger, a stranger that doesn’t know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am, and a stranger who had no intention of pushing my buttons like she did.

I wish I could just smile and step on the scale for her, but I just don’t want to right now.  I’ve worked my butt off to lose 60+ lbs over the past four years… and one day, I’ll lose that extra 15 that I’m carrying that I have on my “to-do” list.

For right now, I’m filling my to-do list with things like making plans to see the Cartier exhibit that’s coming to Denver, planning a CAbi Party for later in the month, and knitting a capelet to wear when it gets cold.  Eating healthy and losing weight are always on the list, but in all honestly, they’ve become a given, and are just how I live… frankly, they don’t even make the paper list anymore.

I absolutely know that there will never be a day where I can just eat anything in sight.  That’s not who I am, nor what my body needs.  I’ll always have to be cognizant of what goes in, and I’ve made peace with that… it’s the judgment I’m trying to curb, both internal and external, and man, it’s just not easy.

So, you too might have been wondering when I’m going to share my weight again or to talk specifically about weight loss.  To be honest, I really don’t know.  All I can tell you is that as soon as it happens, you guys will be the first to know… and that in the meantime, I’m working on maintenance and being nice to myself about it.

Thank you to each of you for (albeit virtually) standing beside me on this journey, for celebrating my successes, and listening to my woes.  It’s all a part of the process… and the details are what make them real and what make the process continue.  Even this specific moment contains learning, I just know it… xoxo

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3 Things I Learned from Menu Planning

After a summer of eating out, grilling out, and spending time on vacation, I used labor day weekend as an opportunity to get my “life” back in order.  

I woke up on Labor Day feeling out of sorts.  In my head, I had deemed September 1st “the first day of the rest of my life.”  And, as an important “start-over” date.  Despite all these great intentions, I just felt nervous.

Would I be able to stay on “plan” this time?  

Would I be able to curb my night-time eating that had been spinning out of control?

How would I incorporate all my work-related dining out activities?

Could I make this work again?

In the midst of all the fears that were running through my head, I realized more than anything that I didn’t have a plan.  I did what any girl in 2014 does, I jumped on Pinterest to find a meal planning resource that would help me along my way.  First and foremost, I wanted to decide what it was that I would be eating for the next week, and food-prep the crap out of my Monday afternoon.

I found several different meal planners out there, some that tracked daily meals, many that focused on family dinners, and only one that tracked all the meals and snacks I wanted to plan.  This one ended up being my favorite, and I have plans to create my own on a rainy day.  We’ll see…

In filling out the squares last week, a lot of lightbulbs went off and I learned more than I ever could have imagine.

3 Things I Learned from Menu Planning | No Thanks to Cake
1.  Without a plan, I had no plan.

We’ve all heard that saying “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  When you write everything down that you plan to eat on paper, you realize this very quickly.  I quickly began to reflect upon how previous weeks had gone.  I had to make healthy choices every single day, and competing with those healthy choices were their unhealthy cousins… unhealthy meals.

I was counting on my will-power to help me make it through the week.  When co-workers asked me to join them for lunch, I could easily say yes… because I was hungry.  I hadn’t had a snack all morning and was ready to eat anything I could find.  When friends suggested dinner out, I didn’t have a plan otherwise… so, why not join them for Mexican food?  And, then, sitting at the table, I’d have to once again make healthy decisions.  To stay on my “virtual” plan, I’d need to muster up the willpower to skip the chips and salsa, and to forgo the quesadillas in lieu of a simple grilled chicken salad.  Sometimes I did well, other times, not so much.

In the end, there were too many decisions to be made every single day, and too many opportunities to slip up.  With a concrete plan in place, I found myself with structure, convenience, and peace of mind.  I’m not saying I executed the plan perfectly, but I was about 150% better than weeks without a plan!

2.  My kitchen was snack-deficient.

By the time I filled out my meal plan, I had already gone grocery shopping for the week.  Now, I was sure I had healthy foods busting out of my fridge and cupboards; however, when I looked at the food I had planned to eat, I found out very quickly that I was completely deficient in the snack department, and I made plans to correct it immediately.

Why are snacks important?  Because in those moments where you get hungry, you define your day.  Do you reach for a bag of carrots and Laughing Cow cheese (a favorite snack of mine) or do you start digging through the cupboard for something-anything that might be tasty?

I had healthy snacks on hand to get me through maybe Wednesday, but I needed snacks for a full seven days.  Outlining what I would eat each day shone a flashlight on the situation and helped me make sure that I had plenty of snacks on-hand, pre-packaged, and ready to go.

Food Prep | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Having a Plan Reduces Stress

Overall, I felt much less stressed throughout the week when it came to making healthy decisions.  I was able to anticipate the needs that came up throughout the week, both planned and unplanned.  I was able to travel out of town and stay completely on-plan with oatmeal from home and a build-your-own salad at a pizza place.

Meal Prep | No Thanks to Cake

My schedule is also nuts.  By the time I get home, I’m tired and hungry.  Having a plan of what was for dinner… and having those foods on-hand and ready to eat/prepare made things so much easier!  And, again, kept me on track…

I felt at-ease, knowing that this area was all planned out… all week long!  One less things to worry about!

I’m going into the this week and have once again written up my plan.  It may change a little bit.  I may eat Subway on Tuesday, and eat chicken on Monday.  Who knows… but I’ll stay within this framework and make good decisions.

3 Things I Learned from Menu Planning | No Thanks to Cake

Mostly, I’ve got all the foods I’ve outlined in my home… prepped and ready to go.  Even if I hit 80% to this plan, I’d call that a win!  I love the feeling of being prepared to be healthy for the week, and I plan on doing just that!

Have you considered meal planning? 

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Thanking My Rock

I got an email this week from Red Envelope, that made me pause.  They have a new campaign that they are running: #RedGift Thank Your Rock.

Hailey from Red Envelope reached out and asked me if I wanted to take an opportunity to “Thank My Rock.”  That person that has been there through my weight loss process, who is always there when I need someone to lean on.

I could resist participating…. so today, you’re going to hear all about my rock:  My Sister-In-Law Beth.
Thank Your Rock | No Thanks to Cake
I have the best sister-in-law.  I don’t say that lightly… yes, I only have one, but seriously, she’s amazing.
Thank My Rock | No Thanks to Cake
She took the plunge and married my stinky brother back in 1999.  I always jokingly tell her that she got so lucky that day, because she picked me as her sister-in-law as part of the process.  But, looking at our relationship, I completely know that I am the lucky one.
Thank Your Rock | No Thanks to Cake
She is a wonderful wife to my brother, shares my passion for cooking, and is raising the two most adorable Guys I know.  And, she makes it all look so easy… aside from the many loads of laundry she washes. That still scares me.
Thank My Rock | No Thanks to Cake
Even though we’re more than 1600 miles apart on a daily basis, I always have a chance to catch up with Beth.  During my hour plus commute home during the week, my first call is always to Beth.  It gives us a chance to catch up, chat about the kiddos, and ponder about life.
Thank My Rock | No Thanks to Cake
When I first started my weight loss journey, Beth was one of the first people that I talked about it with.  And, REALLY talked about it with.  I always feel like I can tell her anything… and she heard all the nitty gritty details of how I felt.  How the weight felt like it was holding me back, and she witnessed all the tears.
Thank Your Rock | No Thanks to Cake
Beth encouraged me to try the Jenny Craig program, and even joined the program with me.  We lost weight and shared Jenny stories back and forth… and shared recipes!  When I began to eat non-Jenny foods, Beth introduced me to the Weight Watchers cookbooks I love so much…
Thank Your Rock | No Thanks to Cake
This process hasn’t been easy.  I always say that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the most valuable change I’ve ever made, and the thing I’m most proud of… and I couldn’t have done it alone.
Thank Your Rock | No Thanks to Cake
You’ve been such an amazing support throughout this entire process and beyond.  I can’t even begin to thank you enough for the countless hours you’ve spent encouraging me, offering suggestions, sharing ideas, and mostly, being you.  
I absolutely know that you came into our lives for a few reasons:  1) To build that beautiful family that you share with my brother, and 2) to be my sister.
I think the world of you and can’t thank you enough.  Love you, mean it!
xoxo – 
Everyone has a rock…. someone who’s there with you, supporting you through life.  Who’s yours?
Disclosure:  RedEnvelope.com did not compensate me for this post.  I just loved their campaign and couldn’t resist participating.

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