Archive for the ‘moderation’ Category

Autumn has (almost officially) arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout. I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years! Bring on fall 2014 – it’s time to reach new heights! Wednesday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the work week, and will give me a positive outlook for the weekend. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Wednesday weight loss updates called WonderFALL Weigh-Ins.

Week 65 has been wonderful! I had a great weekend, filled with bike rides, walks with Sofi, spending time with friends, watching my 49ers win, and relaxing after a very busy first week on the new job.  So far this work week has been really productive.  I’m finding my rhythm as I meet with new teachers, gather resources for them, and keep track of all the notes and paperwork. I can already tell I’m going to love this new position, and I’m so glad that I took the chance and went for one of my goals.  Monday I rewarded myself with a shopping spree at Dress Barn, buying tons of new clothes for my fall wardrobe.  The neat thing about this shopping trip was that I think these clothes might last for more than one season.  I’m wearing tops/sweaters in size medium and small (SMALL!!!!!), skirts in medium, and 2 pairs of pants in a size 10! I got a great camel-color water-resistant hooded trench in a medium that I can’t wait to wear because it’s so flattering. 

So, how’s the scale looking?

When I weighed in this morning, I was 173.6, which is a loss of 1.6 pounds this week***, and a loss of 103.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 141.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 23.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. ***The cool thing about this loss is that it only reflects the last two days, because my last weigh-in was on Sunday.  1.6 pounds in two days is phenomenal!  I’m on a losing streak, and I’m loving it! Especially considering how busy my days have suddenly become.

What am I doing differently?  Lately I’ve been concentrating on making sure to get several servings of veggies in with most meals, and I think that’s making a big difference.  I’m still allowing myself the popcorn I love, but only a few times a week.  And of  course, protein is at the heart of every meal I eat. And I’m still getting plenty of exercise and drinking lots of water. Still, I’ve also been having a few glasses of wine on the weekend, but that doesn’t seem to be affecting my weight loss in the least, which is nice.  I love this lifestyle that I’ve created!

In terms of exercise, I’ve been really proud of the workouts I’ve been fitting in.  I did wake up early on Monday to get in a before-work sweat session, which left me feeling super energized and positive all day long.  Most days I’ve worked out in the afternoon, and I enjoy those after work sessions as a way to transition from work mode to relax mode.  As long as I’m getting a workout in, I’m ok with whatever time of day it is.  I actually enjoy working out now, so I look forward to moving my body, rather than dreading it as I used to.  I really think one of the reasons is the communities of support that I’m part of on MyFitnessPal and Instagram.  I love snapping post-workout pics and tagging them with with my ToneItUp hashtags, and seeing all my #TIUsisters’ posts, too.  On MFP, every time I workout it posts a status, and the outpouring of love I get from my pals spurs me on and makes me smile.

As much as I’ve absolutely enjoyed this summer, I have to admit I’m really looking forward to the true start of autumn.  The crisp, cool mornings and evenings.  The sunny days that aren’t ever too warm.  The changing colors of the leaves, the decorations, and the outfits.  Not to mention all the fun that comes with football season, pumpkin patches, Halloween, and simply sipping cups of coffee, tea, and maybe even a pumpkin spice latte or two.  This year I think I’d like to go apple picking, because it just sounds like so much fun and I’ve never done it before.  What are some quintessential fall things you love to do at this time of year? Help me create a fall bucket list.


Until next Wednesday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Did you think I’d fallen off the face of the earth?  I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post, or all that has happened in between.  There is so much to update!

First and foremost – I got a new job!!  It was completely unexpected, but when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to take it.  Let me step back.  For years, since I was in my masters program in 2006-2008, I knew that eventually I would like to become a New Teacher Advisor, which is someone who mentors first and second year teachers and supports them as they begin their careers.  Our local program is run out of the Silicon Valley/Santa Cruz New Teacher Project, which works in conjunction with all of the local school districts in the area.

I was first involved in the program as an inductee during my 3rd year of teaching.  (As longtime readers may recall, I first began teaching for two years, wasn’t happy with my placement, and took an opportunity to work for an internet company during the dotcom boom.  But I missed teaching, so after the thrill of the internet had died down, I decided to get back to it.  Since I’d been out of the classroom for 5 years at that point, the school district where I was working at the time asked me to do the new teacher program, which I agreed to).  At that point, back in 2002, the New Teacher Program was just beginning.  It offered support, assessment, and training, but I still had to take separate classes, which I paid for out of pocket, to clear my credential.  Still, my experience with the program, and especially my mentor teacher, was so phenomenal, that I knew at some point I would like become a mentor teacher.  Plus, my experience at the internet company, where I was training and supervising a group of 20 people, set me up well for the position.

Skip to two weeks ago, when a job posting for the New Teacher Advisor went out from my district office.  It was August 8th, a week before our first teacher workday and less than two weeks before school was starting.  Could I really apply for this job at this point in the summer, leaving my principal in a really bad position to try and fill my spot?  Not that I think I’m irreplaceable, by any means, but my schedule was one that no one else would be crazy enough to want.  I taught four different classes – English 3 honors, yearbook, journalism, and AVID. No one in their right minds would want that schedule (although I loved the variety it brought), especially that late in the year.  I talked to my parents, a couple of colleagues, and did a lot of soul searching.  Ultimately I decided to go for it because these positions don’t come up very often.  The deciding factor was the other teacher I’d be working with if I got the position – she and I had worked closely together last year, and I loved her.  She and I have a very similar style of organization, communication, and planning and the areas in which we’re different compliment each other.  Since you work so closely with the other New Teacher Advisor, working well together is everything.  I knew I wouldn’t have the same opportunity to work with her again in this position.  So I went for it.

I put in my application, wrote my letter of intent, and scrambled to get the last-minute letters of recommendation I needed.  My colleagues and administrators wrote glowing reviews of me, and even if I didn’t get the job, they really boosted my spirits with what they’d said. I’d worked at my school for 10 years, and had forged relationships with my colleagues and students that had created a true community.  I would miss everything about my school, including teaching, but I also knew that the relationships I had with these people would last a lifetime, no matter where the future took me.

The week of August 11th was whirlwind!  On one hand I was preparing to start school as a teacher, but in the background, I was setting up the interviews for this new position.  If I got the position, would I start the year teaching and then move into the new position once they’d hired my replacement?  I couldn’t sleep at night, working through the scenarios of how the school would be able to replace me in the easiest way.  My head was swirling with the different teachers who might take on each of my assignments so we could cobble together a more reasonable position to hire for.  I was at a professional development for our district teachers on the morning of August 13th when I ran into the HR Director in the bathroom, who said she’d heard that I had applied, and she was really excited about it.  She said that if I were to get the position, she’d like me to start right away, and not have me in the classroom at all, because it would be easier for the students.  She said, “but you’re really difficult to replace.  Do you have any ideas?”  I told her a few of my thoughts, which she really liked, and it seemed like a great sign that I might actually get the job.  As luck would have it,  I gave a 15-minute presentation to the English teachers throughout the district about how I use Turnitin to make grading essays easier.  The Director of Curriculum saw me present, as did the Assistant Superintendent in charge of Curriculum.  My presentation was really well received, and it became a way for me to show my abilities in professional development, which would help me in my interview.  Everything was falling into place.

Friday morning I was at my school where I would be teaching if I didn’t get the job.  At the welcome breakfast I felt weird; I wanted to tell  my colleagues what was going on, but knew I couldn’t, since my interview was later that afternoon, and nothing was set yet.  I led my department meeting, since at that point I was still the department chair, but it felt so strange not to tell them about what was going on.  Still, no use in getting everyone riled up if I wasn’t certain about my status.  Later that morning I went into the vice principal’s office with him and our principal to share with them the ideas as to how to replace me, because both of them had the indication that I was going to get the job.  I was thrilled, but didn’t want to be overly confident, because until they offered me the position, it wasn’t mine.  After talking to the four teachers who would take the different sections I was to teach, we had a really viable position to offer someone new.  I can’t explain how appreciate I am that my colleagues stepped up at literally the last minute to take on a brand new assignment so that I could accept the job, if it was offered to me.  One more reason I absolutely love the school I’d been teaching at for 10 years.

I rushed home to change for the interview, because I had decided that I would go into it as if I didn’t work in the district.  In other words, I was taking it very seriously and wanted to present myself in the best possible light.  I would talk about myself as if they didn’t know who I was and what my accomplishments were.  I would go in there and prove that I was THE person for the job.  I had the interview at 3:30, and it went well.  It was a quick 30 minute back and forth where I answered a set of 12 questions.  I had thought that because of the timing I might have the second interview right away, but they told me they’d be in touch and sent me on my way.  I left the district office confused about when I would find out.  School started on Monday.  As I was pulling up to a colleague’s house to attend his TGIF, I got a call from the HR Director who said she’d like to do the 2nd interview on the phone.  All I kept thinking was that I hope my cell reception would last because I was in the hills, and it could be spotty.  She asked me a few hard-hitting questions, which I answered easily, and then, after about 20 minutes of the interview, she paused and said, “well, we’d like to offer you the job!”  Yay!!!!  I was elated, because even though all indications had looked like I would get the position, that my background and experience made me the ideal candidate, I still didn’t want to take anything for granted.  I was elated that I had the position!  I thanked her so much for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity, and went into the TGIF party, where my principal was in attendance, to tell everyone the good news.  It was bittersweet, because I will really miss working at my high school, but it was also amazing, because I was about to start this new adventure.

I spent all of Sunday cleaning out my classroom.  I worked hard, shed tears at all the memories, and also looked ahead to all that I was about to take on. As a New Teacher Advisor, would mentor new teachers, observe them, offer guidance, and gather resources that they needed.  I would be their lifeline into this new world of teaching, which can be daunting and overwhelming, but ultimately so satisfying. With the new position I also have the opportunity to create and present professional development for the new teachers, as well as any other teachers who want to come to them.  Presenting to adults is something that many educators find difficult, but something at which I thrive.  I’ve never felt nervous presenting in front of anyone, whether it’s a 16-year-old honors student or the CEO of a company.  My confidence allows me to command a room, and I was excited that I would get the chance to display my strengths in this area.

This Monday was my first day, and it was hectic.  I had a new office, a new position, new responsibilities, and a new schedule.  Because I work around when the 1st and 2nd year teachers have time to meet, my schedule isn’t set.  Eventually I’ll get into a regular schedule of meeting with them, but for now, my day-to-day routine was very scattered.  As much as I like change and variety, I also crave structure.  I like knowing my schedule, getting into a routine, and working within those boundaries.  It keeps me organized and sane.  Not to mention fitting in workouts.  I was a bit uncomfortable and overwhelmed at the beginning of the week with the amorphous nature of the days, but after I was able to take a bit of time to organize my appointments, I felt so much better.  Never once did I think I’d made a mistake, and I can already tell that I made the right decision.

This week has been chaotic, but it’s been wonderful.  I didn’t workout as regularly as I would have hoped, but I did fit in several cardio workouts.  I lost weight (more on that in a later post), and I was able to set a bit of organization in place.  I attended two trainings, drove to 4 schools, went to Santa Cruz for a forum, met individually with 4 new teachers, sent countless emails, and even prepared and presented an orientation for our 1st year teachers.  What a week!

I’m so excited with this new direction my career and my life has taken.  My main focus, besides doing an awesome job that supports these new teachers, is to retain a work/life balance.  I have struggled with that in the past, because my natural instincts as an overachieving perfectionist make me a workaholic.  I am bound and determined not to go down that rabbit hole as I have in the past.  I know that this new position will make my schedule challenging, but once I get into the rhythm of meeting weekly with the 18 teachers on my caseload, I know I’ll be able to build a manageable schedule.

It’s not lost on me that I have achieved another goal that I set for myself years ago.  I am so proud of myself and my accomplishments, and happy that my hard work over the years has led me to this point in my career.  I wanted this job for so long, and now I’m going to be able to do it! I’m thrilled at the possibilities that are laid out before me, and I want to appreciate all that I will experiencing.

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We’ve hit the time in the summer that is both a blessing and a curse for me.  A blessing because celebrating special events with friends and family is always fun.  A curse because these memory-making events always come with indulgent foods and drinks. Still, I feel lucky to have so much to celebrate over the course of these two weeks:

  • Italian Heritage Night at the SF Giants (Tuesday night)
  • My dad’s birthday (Wednesday night)
  • A Silpada party (last night)
  • Impromptu BBQ w/ my parents (tonight)
  • SJ Giants baseball game (tomorrow night)
  • Dinner out with a friend for my birthday (Tuesday)
  • My birthday (next Wednesday)
  • 4th of July
  • My friend’s annual 5th of July party

At each of these events, I’m going to make the best choices possible.  For example, Wednesday night at my dad’s birthday dinner, which we had at a local bocce court and restaurant, I ordered steamed clams and mussels in a white wine/tomato/garlic broth.  Healthy and very delicious, but we also had red wine. Which is fine, and wouldn’t affect my weight loss, except that I had a beer at the Giants game the night before, and I had cucumber sangria at my party last night.  See what I mean?  None of these choices alone are bad; but together they make it hard to lose weight.

Which is honestly why I didn’t weigh in on Wednesday.  I’d had an Italian sausage (no bun), beer, and a bit of kettle corn the night before at the game, and I knew it would put me up on the scale, even if it is just water weight.

Now I’m not saying that during this next week and a half I’m going to throw everything out the window and eat with wild abandon while lazing around at home inactive. That’s just not me anymore.  I’m still making good choices, I’m still eating small portions, and I’m still working out as much as ever.  But at this point in my weight loss journey, indulging a bit and working out equals maintaining my weight, not losing. 

Which I’m fine with – until July 6th.  I’ve decided that I’m perfectly happy to maintain my weight loss for the next week or so.  I’m actually really happy with the way I look and feel right now.  I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished and enjoy seeing the person who looks back at me in the mirror.  But I still weigh more than I’d like to, so I’m not quite ready to call this my goal weight.  Not just yet.

So beginning on July 6th I’m going to get back to my weight loss mode.  I want to drop another 30 pounds, and while I know it’s going to be a lot harder to do it now that I’m at this weight, I know I can do anything I put my mind to.  Those 30 pounds aren’t going to come off in just one summer, but I can lose 1/3 – 1/2 of them if I get back to being a bit stricter with my food choices.

Which is not to say that I can’t have fun this summer, but I want to keep my ultimate goal in mind. My journey isn’t over just yet, and I’m excited to continue on with it after this brief rest stop.

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bilbl_mainToday I had my 1-year post op appointment, and it went fabulously!  I was looking forward to it for the past couple of weeks, because I knew I was going to hear good comments.

(You guys might have noticed that I skipped my weigh-in post yesterday.  That was because for the 4th week in a row, my weight stayed the same, at 180.  That was confirmed again today at the doctor’s office.  More on that in a bit).

As soon as I got to the office, they took my vitals, including my blood pressure.  This was actually the only area of concern.  My blood pressure was elevated  (150/81) on Thursday when I went to the doctor to have the stitches on my hand removed, and at the time we wrote it off to the fact that I’d taken two flights of stairs up to the office. But when it was elevated (145/77) again today, I did get a bit concerned.  The bariatric doctor wasn’t overly worried about it because she said the diastolic number was good, and my previous records showed excellent blood pressure.  I need to get my blood drawn soon, so I think I’ll get my blood pressure checked again then, too.  Better safe than sorry.

When I saw the bariatric doctor, she was incredibly pleased with all of my numbers.  She was thrilled with my weight loss, which was 3 pounds away from losing 100 pounds in the 1 year since surgery!  I’ve lost over 80% of my excess weight, which is above average. When I asked about my goal weight of 150 lbs (30 more pounds to go), she said that it would be a perfect weight for me and there’s no reason I shouldn’t reach it.  She actually thinks that anywhere around 160 would be great for me, because it would put me in a solid BMI range. She was extremely pleased when I told her about my workout schedule (5-6 workouts a week, including cardio and toning), and said that I’ve completely transformed my lifestyle from top to bottom.  The doctor gushed about my progress, and said, “if only I could clone you!”

Then I met with the nutritionist who was also really pleased with everything I’ve been doing, especially the logging.  I told her how much I enjoyed it, especially all the connections I’ve made on MyFitnessPal. She said she really likes what I’ve been eating for lunch and dinner, but once again recommended that I eat more than a protein shake for breakfast.  Her feeling is that a protein shake doesn’t hold people long enough because it’s liquid, which runs right through you.  For me, I enjoy the shake because it does keep me satisfied, and it’s really easy.  She did like the green smoothies I’ve been having sometimes, and her only tip was to cut out the mangoes I’ve been putting in, because of the carbs.  She said she’d cut out the fruit altogether, or use berries if I really wanted fruit in them.  She also liked that lately I’ve been mixing it up by having a Quest bar and yogurt for breakfast.  So, I may try to have that more often.  The only thing she wants me to tweak is my afternoon snack – she suggested that I skip the popcorn (too many carbs, no protein) and the nuts (too much fat & calories for the little protein payoff).  She’d rather see me have string cheese and lunchmeat, cottage cheese with veggies, or Greek yogurt with Kashi Go Lean, and a 1/4 cup or less of berries. Basically, snacks = protein and fiber.  But overall, she was really happy with my food diaries. She said she likes that I enjoy cooking, and that I prepare most of my meals.  I definitely think not eating out too much has been a huge part of my success.  It’s so much easier to control what you eat when you cook for yourself, instead of not knowing exactly what they’re putting in the meals they make for you at restaurants.

When I mentioned my weight loss plateau, both the doctor and the nutritionist said that this was just my body catching up with all the weight loss.  They said that most people experienced plateaus throughout their weight loss journey, and that I was lucky that this was my first true plateau, one year out.  Neither one was at all concerned, and both seemed to think that I should just keep up with what I’ve been doing, for the most part.  I think the nutritionist’s ideas about my snacks will definitely help me reign things in and get myself back on the losing path.  If that doesn’t shake things up enough, I may do 3 days of shakes and Greek yogurt to jumpstart the scale a bit.

Today’s appointment was wonderful, and reminded me of just how far I’ve come.  To think that one year ago I was going in for surgery and today I’m only 30 pounds from my goal weight.  Amazing.  More celebratory thoughts tomorrow on my actual surgiversary.


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For the month of September, I’ve been attempting the 30-Day Plank Challenge, and for the past 11 days, I’ve really been pushing myself each day to complete it.

Until today.

Today the challenge has us moving to 90-second planks, which I just attempted, and I couldn’t hold it past 65 seconds, and that was torturous enough.  In looking at the calendar and seeing how the time ramps up, I’ve come to the decision that this challenge is not for me right now.

Some might say I’m giving up.  I say I’m realizing my own limitations and making a conscious choice to let myself out of a challenge that is, well, too challenging right now.  I hate feeling inadequate, and this plank challenge has made me feel that way from the beginning.  It’s just too tough.

So instead, I’m going to do a Kettlebell Challenge. (To join me, click the link).

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7789e94bca6366dd3748ea99f7caa512 It’s been three days since surgery, and I today I hit a turning point. Thank you to everyone who has left such nice comments, tweets, FB posts, and emails. I’ve read and appreciate every single one.  They mean more than you know.

Since Monday, the day of surgery, I’ve been in terrible pain.  Pain from the incisions and the surgery itself.  Pain from the extra gas they flooded my stomach with so they could work.  Pain from the staples and the fact that they cut away 80% of my stomach for the VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) surgery.

I expected there would be discomfort, even some pain, but what I’ve experienced the past several days wasn’t anything I was prepared for.  I think it’s sort of like childbirth – everyone who has had WLS is so pleased with their results that they forget about the pain of the process immediately after surgery.  Of all the people I’ve spoken to about the surgery, no one mentioned this kind of pain.  And the thing is, I have a really high pain tolerance.

But today I turned a corner.  I went on the Sassy Sleever group on FB looking for tips and was reminded about taking GasX to help with the bloating.  That worked like a miracle!  Then one of my friends pushed me by saying I needed to get up, get out, and walk – no excuses.  I’m so glad he gave me that kick in the butt, because it was what I needed.  I’d been walking around the house, up the stairs, etc., but I hadn’t ventured outside yet.

Today I decided that I had been in this slump long enough.  I cleaned myself up, put on a bit of BB cream and a touch of blush, got dressed, and went outside to take a slow, short walk in the sun.  My mom accompanied me, because I don’t feel strong enough to go outside on my own for a walk just yet.

Between the walk, the GasX, and a more positive attitude, I feel like myself again.  I am so glad that I made the decision to have the VSG, and I’m so proud of myself for the steps that I took to get here.  I’m looking forward to heading home tomorrow and really starting to live my new life.  My journey is just beginning, but I’m confident about where I’m heading.


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222857881530160080_Kp2dmjFr_cLooking at my bank account and the weight I still have to lose to get to WLS, I’ve spent the morning thinking things through with my mom and sister.

I have enough money left for 3 1/2  more weeks of Jenny Craig, and realistically, I’m not going to be able to lose 17 lbs in that time period.  My mom told me that she and my dad can’t help me with any more funds, so when this money is spent, that’s it.  Jenny Craig food alone costs $500/month, not counting the produce and dairy supplemental food, so we’re really talking about almost $700/month.  I simply cannot afford that much.  So I had to think of what comes next.

When I was talking to my mom, I asked her whether I should even buy Jenny Craig during the week of Christmas, since I wasn’t going to have a loss that week.  Should I really pay $175 just to maintain my weight or even gain?  My mom asked why I couldn’t put the principles and eating plan that I’ve learned through Jenny Craig to use with food from the grocery store.  And then it hit me – I can!

The week of Christmas I can make my breakfast cookie or green smoothies, I can have Light Progresso soup and a salad for lunch, and I can have Hungry Girl Crock Pot chili and veggies for dinner.  I can keep my meals to 200-250 calories plus veggies.  I can eat two snacks of fruit + yogurt/string cheese.  And I can have a Fiber One bar or 100-calorie dessert.  I can indulge in family meals on the 24th and 25th and workout to mitigate those extra calories.

And as I was telling all of this to my sister, she said, “why can’t you do that starting now?  Why can’t you weave in other options with the Jenny Craig food? That way, the Jenny Craig food lasts longer.”  She’s absolutely right!  This way, I can make the Jenny Craig plan last 7 weeks, which is more than enough time for me to hit my goal weight.

I’m going to have to be very careful about my portions, because overeating has been my main downfall in the past.  One of the great things about Jenny Craig for me is that I know that I only have a limited amount of each treat.  I don’t eat more than I should, because there isn’t more to eat.  With this new idea, the key is going to be keeping the extra food out of reach, in my garage, locked with a key that my sister keeps.  That might seem a bit extreme, and I may not even need it, but I’m not taking any chances at this point.

I’m so glad that I entered my daily Jenny Craig plans into MyFitnessPal so that I can go back and see what each day looked like and find the right substitutions.  I’ll follow MFP to drop down calories as my weight loss continues.

And of course, I have to make sure to get my workouts and water in.

I can’t explain the relief I feel, because watching my money dwindle down and not knowing what to do to continue the weight loss was incredibly stressful.  It made me lay awake at night.  This new plan combines the best of Jenny Craig, with a realistic way to make it all the way to my goal.


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