Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This Might Help

If you still need help getting motivated, I'm giving away a Wii and a Wii Fit Plus over on my review blog.

I'm not guaranteeing anything, but it can't hurt to try.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday: Good News on the Homefront

I don't think I am going to win this contest, but I have great news.

For the first time in a long, long time I am under 180. Yes, this morning I was 179.

I still have a long way to go but for today I am pleased.

Don't forget to weigh in! We are only a few weeks away from the end of this!

- Sarah

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Front Lawn Diet

A couple of years ago I was on the phone with my friend Laurel.  See Laurel is a Girl Scout Leader, and it was cookie season. I was lamenting to her about the fact I had consumed far too many "Samoans." Yes, I realize they are technically "Samoas" but I continue to refer to them as "Samoans" because I know it drives Laurel crazy.  Makes me a good friend, I know, driving her crazy on purpose. Friend of the year? YES! But back to our story...

We're on the phone and I am eating Tagalongs. Having eaten all of the Samoans, I had no choice. However, I could feel my ass expanding almost immediately with every bite. I finally thought, "Dammit, I need to get these things out of the house." So with Laurel on the phone with me, I opened the front door and threw the remainding Tagalongs onto the front lawn.  In my ferver to get rid of the little bastards cookies, I hadn't noticed my neighbor walking his dog.  While I am confident he saw me tossing my cookies, he has never brought it up, but at the same time he doesn't maintain eye contact with me all that much either.

It is once again cookie season and this morning I noticed my son had left half of a Thin Mint on the kitchen table.  I decided to maintain Pie Hole Control. Grabbing the cookie, I raced to the front door, swung it open and tossed the little bastard cookie outside. Only it landed on our front walk.  I did what any normal person would do, I walked outside, picked up the cookie and and in mid-throw something caught the corner of my eye.

My neighbor, walking his dog.  I'm confident he saw me. Especially since this time I was wearing these.  But I don't care because I am also confident the next time I throw those little bastards cookies onto my front lawn, my PJ's will be really baggy on me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Forget Weigh In Wednesday

We're still here. We're just busy exercising.

Or something.

We still love you.

Don't forget to weigh in! Progress reports to come as soon as my children go back to school.

Did I say I was exercising? Ok, I lied. My twins both have strep throat. Ian lost three pounds. Can I count that?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Numbers Game

I've lost 30.8 lbs since January 9, when I unboxed the scale purchased especially for this contest, stepped on and tried not to cry. When I weighed in on January 15 for the first time officially, I was already down 9 lbs from that original scary number. (New number: still scary) I attribute that quick and sudden drop to a lot of things, but I'm fairly certain it's accurate. You see, after years of being anti-scale, relying instead on clothes sizes and family photographs to measure my successes (and failures) at weight loss, I am now totally and hopelessly committed to my little bathroom scale. I've become a full-fledged player of the numbers game.

I weigh myself daily, sometimes more than once a day, but I only record the number first thing in the morning. I'm using the Lose It! iPhone app, and I will admit to a bit of a thrill when I open it and see the steady downward slope of the weight line. I record negative changes by the ounce as they occur, but I prefer nice round numbers. Who doesn't?

But how much is too much of the numbers game?

During February's snowpocalypse I fretted over my loss of momentum and will power being stuck inside for most of a week. I gained 8 ounces in 4 days, then worked twice as hard to lose that and more to get back on track. While I have heard similar stories from everyone else on the East Coast dealing with being cooped up this winter, I've started to notice other trends in my numbers game. For example, we are going to the beach at the end of August, and I recently added up my weekly average weight loss so far (about 4 lbs) and applied that to the remaining weeks until we go (about 24) to come up with a ridiculous potential additional loss (96 lbs). When I giddily shared that aloud, my husband was quick to admonish me. Goals are one thing, but this had never been about the number for me in the past. Why was it now? (He has been incredibly complimentary and supportive, by the way. Important to note.)

I've thought a lot about this, and I think the numbers game is a product of several factors. First and foremost, it is EXCITING to see that scary number going down! I am so proud of myself, and I feel great. I posted to Twitter yesterday that there must be something about 30 lbs that just opens the door for people to notice, because all of a sudden this week people are. And that is AWESOME. But it's also the way I'm going about this that is in fact all about numbers - my weight is just one of them. I'm tracking calories, fat, protein, sodium, fiber, carbs, sugar and cholesterol with Lose It! I enter every single thing I eat into the app and record every minute of exercise. (We joined the brand new gym in our neighborhood and I go at least four times a week with a gym buddy.) I cook daily, experimenting with recipes and dutifully writing down alterations to ingredients, portions and procedures. I've cut out almost all processed foods so I'm constantly dealing with calculating the numbers from combinations of raw ingredients.

Sure, weight loss was never about the numbers for me, but it is now. And it's working. I think as long as I keep things in perspective and continue to approach it in a healthy, realistic way (i.e., no more multi-week pound projections!) I might really be on to something here. It may have taken five years, but I'm pretty confident I can finally lose that thousand or so pounds I gained when my son Avi was born. Thanks to the numbers game.

Andrea Shockling is an arts manager, designer and educator in Pittsburgh. She's also a huge hockey fan and is bummed that Sarah can't appreciate Sidney Crosby as the gifted player he is. Find her

Monday, March 1, 2010

Worth It: The Inspirational Guest Post

Worth It

Think back to two months ago: January 1, 2010. This was it. It would be different this time -- the start of a new decade and the start of a new you. The fitness goals were set, the determination was there, focus was rock solid. You jumped into your new fitness routine and perfect nutrition with gusto.

Fast forward to now. Slow (or no) results. Snow, snow, and more snow. The oatmeal is not hitting the spot anymore and there seem to be more reasons why you need to do drive-bys of the neighborhood Dairy Queen. The goals and focus have given way to boredom and burn out. What is the point, anyway?

That’s a good question: What IS the point? Why should you stick with this? Well, I’ll tell you the point:

You are worth it.

I was putting my kids in the minivan the other day and laughing with them while getting them buckled in. My daughter asked, “Why are you in such a good mood, Mom?” Before I could say anything she answered her own question, “Oh, you worked out, that’s why.” Nice.

After years of extensive research and experimentation, these are my tried and true formulas:

Workout + Eating Well =

Happy Mom

No Workout + Eating Crappy =

“You’d Better Do What I Say NOW ‘Cause I Just Might Bite Your Head Off” Mom

Being a mom is synonymous with giving. You are giving to the kids. Giving to the PTA. Giving to your husband. Giving to the neighborhood. Giving to work. Giving to your dog. Giving to everyone. You must give back to yourself. It’s that simple.

Regular exercise and awesome nutrition are healthy, productive ways to give back to yourself. Sure, you could sit in front of the glow late night TV, finishing off the half-gallon of ice cream and coin it as “Mom time”. However, this is undermining what you really want – time to feel like yourself again, and the energy to meet the demands that are being thrown at you from every direction.

Your kids are worth it.

Our kids are watching our every move. If we are taking the time to care for ourselves through healthy, smart food choices so will our kids. If we are carving out some time to exercise every day, so will our kids. Perhaps not immediately, but someday they will fall back on our example of health.

As a child, I would wake up early to watch The Electric Company on our old, black and white television that could only change channels if I turned the knob with my teeth. I would watch my mother silently sneak out the back door every morning to meet her running group. I also watched her eat a huge salad every day for lunch as I downed my PB&J.

I became and adult and found myself heavy and miserable. When I was ready to commit to make changes in my life, guess who looked to for guidance? Mom. Her example had always been there, I had just chosen not to follow it for quite some time. The healthy habits that were instilled in me as a child got plucked off the shelf and finally put to good use.

Your future is worth it.

I have a client who is 75 yearsold. Mrs. J has never, I’m talking, never exercised or stepped into a gym in her life. Ever. She complains about having to exercise and I finally asked if she hated this so much, why did she call me? At first she said she called me because she liked my teeth (the channel changing as a kid must not have done much damage). But then, she went on to admit she has been stubborn and stupid (her words) about fitness and knows she has no choice. She has 13 grandchildren. She is tired of being left behind and passively observing the action from the perspective of her La-Z-Boy recliner.

It is never too late. Whether you’ve had no children, one child or five. Whether you are a former college athlete or were a dedicated band geek. Whether you are 35 or 75. None of this matters. We are doing this for our life 40 years from now. We want and deserve a high quality of life now and then.

Our bodies don’t like being inactive. Our bodies don’t like eating lousy food. Our bodies let us know that by rebelling in not-so-kind ways:

Heart disease.


High blood pressure.



Sleep apnea.

Abdominal hernias.

Varicose veins.


Gall bladder disease.

Respiratory problems.

Liver malfunction.

We are not just exercising and eating clean to fit into our skinny jeans, gals. Weight loss is a very welcome side effect, but we are also doing this for our overall and long term health. We don’t want to be left behind and just observe life. Now is the time to live it.

Your future is worth it.

Your kids are worth it.

You are worth it.

-- Mandi Reading is a certified personal trainer and a certified nutrition consultant. She works part-time training clients, then spends the rest of her day (and some nights) chasing after her three rascals. Check out her blog Trainer Momma at for daily fitness and nutrition tips for mothers and their families.

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