Where to Begin?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve started writing this post, either on a computer or in my head, over the last year a half (!) since I last posted here. When healthy living and weight loss are not front and center in your life, it’s REALLY hard to figure out how to maintain a blog that’s supposed to focus on those very things. But let me just cut right to the chase – I need to figure out how to make those things central again.

You know the all-too-familiar drill.

Giving in to the pizza for lunch at work one time instead of eating your pre-packed lunch, which somehow leads to being unable to recount the last time you actually packed a healthy lunch to bring to work.

Skipping one workout after work one night to do something more fun with friends somehow leads to getting so far out of your healthy routine that it’s a constant fight to just get yourself to the gym one time.

One pound leads to five pounds, which leads to being scared to know how many pounds it actually is because it’s been too long since you’ve even stepped on the scale.

And let me tell you, it’s definitely not for lack of trying, or thinking, about how to get back on track. I’ve joined, quit, rejoined, quit, and rejoined Weight Watchers during this last year and a half. (I’m currently in the “rejoin” category but haven’t yet fully committed even one of those times.) I’ve joined a new gym and a new-to-me yoga studio. I’ve tried lots of new recipes and meal planning techniques. I even tried a 15 day challenge, which required me to stock up on protein powder, which are currently half full in my pantry. But all of these things have been half-assed, if I’m being honest.

I really do want to lose the weight again. I want to be back to where I once was, where I’d be excited to see pictures after an event with friends, instead of feeling a sense of panic when I get a notification that I’ve been tagged in a photo, for fear of how fat I might look in the picture. I want to feel good when I look in my closet to get dressed in the morning, instead of feeling on the verge of tears with my limited clothing options that fit. I want to be the person who feels that something is missing when they’ve skipped a workout, instead of feeling like a champion if I make it once.

Unfortunately, this post isn’t one filled with answers and advice. It’s just a post that’s a real, honest account of how much I’ve been struggling to get back on track. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me what piece of advice I would have for someone starting out on their weight loss journey. Though I don’t feel like I am qualified to dole out advice at this point, what came to mind is something I needed to remind myself of, so I wanted to put it out there for you, too.

Know that you’ll mess up and fall off the wagon, more times than you expect. What matters is not that you are perfect or that you don’t mess up, but how quickly you make yourself get back on the wagon after you fall. Dust yourself off as soon as you are able, forgive yourself, and make your next choice a healthy one.

Question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or given about getting (re) started on a weight loss journey?

I’m Just Gonna Say It

I need to lose weight. Again. Ugh.

While 2014 was a decent year for me overall, I really let my health fall down the list of priorities, and in turn, this blog. You can pretty much rest assured that if I’m not blogging, it’s because i’m not being good. Even though I KNOW that, and I’ve admitted it again and again, I somehow still possess the power to successfully trick myself into actually thinking the two aren’t related.

I remain an all or nothing person. When I’m on track and losing weight, i eat, breath, and sleep weight loss. When I tried to move into “coast” mode with weight maintenance, it was really difficult for me to navigate having healthy living be just a part of my life and not front and center. It happened slowly at first, missing a workout here or there, or ordering pizza after a night out on the town. Then it evolved into not making it to the gym once while traveling for work for a weeklong stretch, to ordering delivery becoming a regular part of the rotation. And then, here we are, and I can count on one hand the number of times I worked out in 2014 and healthy, home cooked meals have become less and less the norm.

I’m not ready to share the number on the scale yet, and I wish so bad that i didn’t feel a twinge of pain/guilt with saying that. I know exactly what I would say to anyone who came to me and said, “I am so embarrassed that I’ve gained weight back and I don’t know what to do.”

Your weight is just a number.

Your weight doesn’t define you.

There are so many other ways to measure health.

Set goals based on where you are now.

Don’t waste time wishing you were in a different place. You’re not. Accept it.

And even knowing all that and being ready with those forgiving words at the drop of a hat to someone else, I still have trouble saying them, and meaning them, to myself. So I guess I’m still working on just accepting it myself before I can share it with you.

In more upbeat news, a few concrete things I’m doing to help with my vague health goals for 2015 are:

  1. Set up a Beth’s Journey DietBet to start on Monday, January 12, 2015.
  2. Rejoined Weight Watchers.
  3. Looking into getting a Fitness Tracker – interesting discussion on this FB post: https://www.facebook.com/bethsjourney/posts/824367797624679. I still haven’t decided, but that conversation definitely tells me that people are passionate about their fitness tracker, whichever one it is!
  4. Signed up for the 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler for April 13, 2015. Yikes.

Needing a Reset

Lately, I’ve been feeling in need of a reset.

I’ve been so swamped with work and life that I haven’t really been focusing on myself or my health (or this blog… elephant in the room) in quite some time. This is not to say I’ve gone completely off in the deep end or anything, but I’ve just been feeling more tired and less focused than I want to be lately. I’ve put on a few pounds, and also my skin has been awful with breakouts lately. (And I’m 30! wtf) Besides the short-lived “I’m going to try not eating carbs!” and “I’m completely recommitted to Weight Watchers!”, nothing has really stuck. I’ve been eating crappy food more than not, not exercising as much as I should be, and just not taking the best care of myself. I’ve been toying with lots of ideas on different approaches I might take since the usual suspects have not been sticking around long enough to help snap me out of this rut. And yesterday, I finally took the plunge and started something new.


I first stumbled across the program several months ago, but immediately dismissed it because it seemed so extreme and wasn’t something I was even willing to consider. But Whole30 kept coming up again and again in my searches, and I started reading a little more about it each time. The tagline of the program is, “let us change your life” and while I’m still feeling really skeptical, I’m willing to give it a try. You can click on over to the site to read all about the specifics of the program (its free), but it’s basically a strict 30 day program where you eat very clean and detox your body from all potential allergens. That means no gluten (bagels), dairy (cheese), legumes (chickpeas), sugar (all), and the clincher – no booze (wine). (In case you were wondering, I put my favorite option from each category in parentheses.) By eliminating all of these items from your diet, you give your body a chance to reset and start to feel better, more alert, and just generally healthier. Also, you lose weight because of the kinds of food you’re eating. At the end of the 30 days, you reintroduce the groups back into your diet one by one to see how you react to them and figure out what foods affect you negatively. Please don’t tell me my results are cheese and wine. And bread.

So what can I eat? Nothing. Ha, just kidding!

But really, what I can eat is meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, healthy fats, and some fruit. That is it. Each meal has to be built around a protein source and then have a few types of veggies and a fat source (like avocado, coconut, olives, or nuts). Fruit is optional and can be part of your meals if you wish.

For me, the equally compelling part of the program besides the lose weight, clear up your skin, and feel less tired part, is that it claims to break psychological holds food has over you, too. I’m not allowed to weigh myself for the duration of the program, and I am supposed to eat three meals a day (no snacking unless really hungry). While this leaves me partly terrified, it’s also partly exciting because it takes the guess work out of it all. I am not allowed to cheat or have slip ups for the 30 days, and I kind of love the strictness of that because I think it’s a good test and I really feel like I can give 30 days if it makes so much of a difference.

Anyway, while it does seem drastic in a way, I’ve never been one for moderation, so this is no exception. With that said, it really isn’t THAT drastic – it’s just a focus on eating real food for 30 days straight and paying very close attention to everything I’m putting in my body. It’s already been pretty eye opening to be reading the labels on foods (I’m not talking nutrition labels) and see how many random things are added to everything that has a label. Also, I don’t know if I should be afraid of putting this out there on the record, but the thing I’m most worried about giving up is the booze! Maybe that should say something.

I’m planning to document my Whole30 experience and will definitely share menu plans, results, struggles, reflections, etc along the way, but if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

Day two!

Avoiding Boredom With Minimal Effort

Anytime I am being good about cooking healthy meals at home, I find myself eating the same things for meal after meal. I tend to make a few things at the beginning of the week and then eat leftovers for several meals to come. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can get old kind of fast if it’s more than a few meals in a row. But, it can be tough to cook for one with enough variety to keep me from getting bored, while still using up all the ingredients and keeping the effort minimal. This week, I figured out a way to take three super simple staple ingredients and make them into several different meals that were easy to prep side by side.

I started with 1 pound of lean ground beef, 1 can black beans, and 1 bag of frozen brown rice.

photo 1 (12)

I cooked the beef in a pan with half of an onion that I found in my fridge. After it was browned, I set aside about half of it, and then mixed some of the brown rice and black beans into the beef left in the pan.

I stuffed that beef/rice/bean mixture into two green peppers, and added one can of tomato sauce underneath and on top. I cooked those stuffed peppers for 45 minutes at 350 and that was it.

photo 2 (15)

Then I took the rest of the black beans and brown rice and mixed them in the same pan I cooked the beef in until they were heated through. That left me with a good amount of rice and beans, plus the rest of the beef.

photo 3 (14)

I made a salad with some of each of those to eat right away, and then added some sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and shredded cheese. I ended up packing up ingredients for a repeat salad for a future lunch.

photo 4 (9)

Tonight I’m going to make fried rice with what is left of the rice and beans, plus an egg and whatever veggies I can find in my fridge to throw in there.

So this meant I was able to stretch those three staple ingredients into two stuffed peppers, two salads, and fried rice, so basically 5 meals for one person. And while each meal has a lot of the same ingredients and are fairly similar, adding in a few extra things for each dish makes it feel different enough.

How do you keep from getting bored with your eats?

Ending the Week on a High Note

I wanted to end the week on a good note, so let me share with you two exciting things.

1.) The bruising on my back has made incredible progress. Check it.

Bruising Progress

Isn’t that a crazy difference in just 5 days (from PO Day 6 to PO Day 11)? It’s practically gone! I’ve been using arnica gel on it a few times a day, as well as been taking Arnica supplements since 1 week before surgery, which is a homeopathic drug that helps with bruising and muscle soreness. Seems like it’s working!

2.) Yesterday, I bought my first ever bikini!

Well, let’s be real. I bought three. When I say first ever, I mean it. I have always been too chubby and more so too self conscious to ever even consider wearing a two piece suit. I remember going through a tankini phase but I would always make sure to buy the ones that overlapped with the bottoms, and even then, it caused that same intense fear of it coming up when I jumped in the pool or moved the wrong way. Not that there’s anything wrong with a one piece, and I’m sure I’ll continue to wear some, but as you know I was feeling a little blue, so I decided to do something to make myself feel better. I headed to Target just to try a few on and see if the incision would be covered slash if I would feel comfortable enough to wear it, and I ended up almost freaking out in the dressing room because not only did they fit and cover the incision, but they actually looked ok!

Bikini 1:


Bikini 2


Bottom from Bikini 2:

bikini bottom

The scar is TOTALLY covered. (That redness just above the bikini on the left side is irritation from the steri strips that were covering the incision – not the incision itself – so that will go away.

And yes, I still have a lot of stretch marks, and yes, my body is definitely not perfect. But you know what? I am TOTALLY going to rock these bikinis anyway!

Happy Friday!

New Design Coming

Hi guys! I’m in the process of updating my blog design and theme, so it might be a little funky for a bit as I get everything to where I want it. Thanks in advance for bearing with me and see you soon!

Five for Friday

1.) I was in Orlando this week… for one night for work. I got VIP treatment all the way.

photo 1 (6)

It was amazing weather

photo 5 (4)

and I stayed at a beautiful resort

photo 2 (8)

But I am so ready to stop traveling for a bit!

2.) Speaking of not traveling, I am going to Peru on June 21! When I first booked the trip, it felt SO far away, but now it’s just over a month away! Within the last few weeks, Stacy (my travel buddy) and I have booked everything we need to – including our internal flights in Peru, a 6 night/7 day Amazon Jungle Tour (!!!), and all our accommodations outside of the tour (hostels in Lima and Cusco and an apartment in Cusco for 5 days after the jungle tour). It feels so good to have all those details taken care of!

3.) I had my third (and final!) consult with a plastic surgeon last Thursday, and I cannot believe what a hard decision it is to pick a surgeon! I’ve been going so back and forth between the first and third, but think I am getting very close to making a decision. It feels so adult – I almost wish I could call my mom and make her choose for me. That said, hopefully I will finalize everything in the next week or so and set a surgery date. I’ll be posting about my consults and background research into tummy tucks in the next week, so stay tuned!

4.) I haven’t been counting WW Points for a few weeks now. I’ve actually been maintaining my weight and losing a little (still am a daily weigher), which makes me feel like I am getting closer to being able to eat intuitively. I do still want to lose a few more pounds before said surgery, so I know I need to get back to counting sooner rather than later, but for right now I’m enjoying the break.

5.) This is the first weekend in I can’t remember how long where I have no set in stone plans, and I could not be more excited.

Take Three

Thank you SO MUCH for your supportive comments on yesterday’s post announcing my decision to move forward with plastic surgery on my abdomen. It was a little terrifying to write, but also oddly freeing to put it all out there. You guys are the best.

Personal accounts of the process were one of the main things that helped me make this decision, and unfortunately it’s a very under discussed topic, so I am happy to be able to contribute another first hand account of it all for people contemplating the procedure. I plan to document much of the process of going through the entire procedure from start to finish. This will include everything from the consultations, to the preparation, to the procedure itself, to the recovery. And really, please feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions. Nothing is off limits.

And in other news – I am really trying hard to get myself back to my goal weight prior to moving forward with surgery for the best results. Because of that (and many requests from you guys!), I’m hosting another DietBet for May which will start Monday, May 6, and will run through June 2!


For a description of how it works, you can read this post, but basically, everyone pays $25 to play and has the same goal of losing 4% of their starting weight during the 4 weeks that the game runs. Everyone who hits that goal splits the total pot, so in theory you will make back your money if you hit the 4% goal, and likely more than $25 because not everyone will hit it (like yours truly in Round 2). For Round 1, everyone who hit 4% got paid $43.25 and results are still being calculated for Round 2 so I don’t have the exact figures yet.

Hope to see you over at Beth’s Journey DietBet: Take 3!

How to Help: Boston Marathon Tragedy

I was planning to come and update you all on what’s been going on in my life lately, but in light of the horrific tragedy that took place in Boston this afternoon, it seems inappropriate to discuss anything else.

It’s not only devastating that so many innocent people were deeply affected during a day that would surely be the highlight of many of their lives otherwise, but it’s also tragic how the spirit of the day and the race was changed so drastically. Races are a time when runners come together, supported on the sidelines by runners and non-runners alike, and the amount of energy, comradery, and excitement that surrounds the race is unlike anything else. It’s so sad that someone intentionally robbed that uplifting spirit from those involved, and instilled fear in so many beyond those in Boston today.

Mr. Rogers

Here is a list of some concrete ways that we can all come together to help in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy:

    • Reach out with tips by calling 800-494-TIPS.
    • Donate blood in the future. The Red Cross has said the shelves are stocked to capacity at the moment, but to schedule a time to donate to make sure there is enough going forward.
    • Offer housing to those displaced from the tragedy if you are local to Boston.
    • The Salvation Army is offering food, beverages and crisis counseling to survivors and first responders. Find out how you can get involved here.

My heart goes out to everyone and their families who were affected today.

Here is a link to an article from the Washington Post that’s worth a read.

And another one from the New Yorker.

The Results Are In

Round 1 of the Beth’s Journey DietBet ended this past Sunday, and the results are in!


The numbers are as follows:

    • 405 players
    • $25 buy in, so $10,125 total pot
    • 2,554 total pounds lost
    • 6.2 pounds per person on average
    • 199 players hit the 4% goal
    • $43.25 was paid to each of those who made the goal

I am so excited with these results! It’s insane to think that over 2,500 pounds were lost in just those 4 weeks. I think the money aspect keeps people a little more dedicated than they would be otherwise, and I absolutely LOVED how supportive the conversation in the game was. People would share their meals, photos, struggles and frustrations, and get tons of support from everyone else in the group. I also think it’s very telling that 6.2 pounds was the average loss per person – that is a HUGE number for 4 weeks! So even people who didn’t hit the 4% still made a lot of progress, which is really exciting. It added a new level of community to weight loss, and I loved organizing and participating in the game.


Today marks the start of Round 2 of the Beth’s Journey DietBet. Head over to http://www.dietbet.com/bethsjourney to sign up to participate if you’re interested! It runs through April 30 (4 weeks from today) and everyone who signs up will aim to lose 4% of their starting weight. Starting and ending are verified by DietBet staff, though you can weigh in unofficially as often as you’d like during those 4 weeks. The buy-in is $25, and so far there are 186 participants and the pot is at $4,650!

Hope to see you there!

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