Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Chobani Crunch Simply 100 Yogurt

I LOVE yogurt - more specifically Greek yogurt. It’s great for you, has a tremendous amount of protein, and you can get low and no fat versions. Chobani is one of a few brands of yogurts that I eat and love.

Chobani has come out with a new product line called Chobani Crunch simply 100. There are 3 versions of yogurt with a fruit and crunchy option in all 3. They all also clock in at a low level calorie count of 100!! In addition, Chobani advertises that they don’t use artificial sweeteners, use non-GMO ingredients and buy their milk from farmers who don’t treat their cows with growth hormones. While the jury is still out, in my opinion anyway, whether any of these ingredients are harmful for us consumers, not having them certainly raises zero concern or debate!

So when they contacted me and asked me if I was interested in reviewing these new yogurts and also promoting their living lighter campaign, I was totally on board.







I first tried the Strawberry Chocolate Truffle which is strawberry non-fat yogurt with milk chocolate rice crisps, dark chocolate cookies and dried strawberries. When you open the container, you will see that one large corner contains the yogurt, while the other small corner contains the “crunchy items”. The small corner is made to be folded over so you can dump the crunchy parts into the yogurt. At first glace, it appears that there is not a lot of crunchy items to mix in. But as soon as I folded the container, deposited in the crunchy items and mixed it up, it become clear that there is an AMPLE amount of the crunch making a perfect mixture with the yogurt.











In my first bite, I noticed that the strawberry flavor of the yogurt is extremely subtle. There is not an overpowering taste of strawberry but instead just a hint of the flavor. The yogurt itself was tart and assertive as I expect with Greek yogurt. The strawberries were small pieces of the dried fruit which had a sweetly intense strawberry flavor. The chocolate crisps and cookies both had a very appealing flavor - definitely chocolately, but not overly sweet. I ate this yogurt at a leisurely pace, and the crisps and cookies stayed very crunchy - the yogurt did not soften them up at all.


A couple of days later I tried the Mango Cone Crisp. This is a mango non-fat yogurt with waffle cone, graham cookies and dried mango. I dumped the crunchy parts into the yogurt and mixed it up. On my first bite, I noticed that the mango flavor of the yogurt was strongly present, unlike with the strawberry. It was very sweet and had a pronounced fruity taste which was an excellent balance with the tartness of the yogurt.







The waffle cone pieces tasted just like a waffle cone you would get at an ice cream shop and the graham cookies were fairly large and very crunchy with a perfect graham flavor. Once again, they stayed crunchy the entire time. The dried mango pieces were more subtle and were almost chewy in a way that I loved. This yogurt was definitely a huge hit with me!







Finally, I asked Marc to try the final flavor, Blueberry Cookie Crumble. While I am a fan of plain, raw blueberries, I don’t tend to like blueberry flavored foods. Marc on the other hand, loves blueberry, so I thought it would be interesting to get his perspective. This yogurt is non-fat blueberry flavored with oatmeal cookies and dried blueberries.


Marc tried a bit of the yogurt before dumping the oatmeal cookies in and immediately said that it was a very strong blueberry flavor, but not overly sweet. He mixed in the cookies and he was thrilled that those crunchy pieces tasted just like an oatmeal cookie. He reports that the blueberry pieces were small, but with a little crunch to them and that they tasted like real blueberries. He gave this yogurt an enthusiastic thumbs up.













Some final thoughts. We liked all 3 of these new yogurts, I especially loved the Mango Cone Crisp. I found the corner containing the crispy items somewhat hard to bend and awkward to dump into the yogurt as the plastic is extremely thick. I also found it a little difficult to have “room” to mix the crispy items with the yogurt. However, since I applaud Chobani for not being wasteful with their packaging, I have mixed feelings.

The price of these yogurts are in line with what other single cups of yogurt sell at - around $1.00 per cup.

I have seen a couple people complain that the amount of yogurt is small compared to other yogurts. Well, OF COURSE, it has to be if you want the crispy items and to keep the calorie count low! If you are not concerned about calories, there are many choices out there - both from Chobani and other brands, that have more yogurt and more “add-ins” with additional calories.

For me, I really need a little treat after dinner before bed, and 100 calories is a perfect number for someone calorie concerned as I am. This new yogurt offers something different by giving me some crunchy add-ins while keeping the calories low. It remains an incredibly healthy choice and with a decent amount of protein to keep me satisfied throughout the night.

Speaking of calories, as I mentioned, along with rolling out these new yogurts, Chobani has a cute list of ways that you can burn off those calories that these new yogurts have!

Take a look:


So feel free to take the dog for a walk this afternoon have a nice yogurt snack when you get back! Or have a mid-morning yogurt break at work and then do some yoga for part of your lunch hour. Personally, I would like you to dance around the kitchen - maybe while you’re cleaning up after dinner - your family might think that you’re crazy, but if so, just tell them you’re doing it for the strawberry chocolate truffle you want later!!

Thanks again to Chobani for making a great product and for allowing me to review it!

For more information on this product, visit their website at

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The not so easy road…

Once my co-worker and I were talking about the types of people that are on my program. As I’m sure you guys know, drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t discriminate. So we see men, women, black, white, Hispanic, old, young, rich, poor, people who quit school in 7th grade, people with Master’s Degrees and everyone in between.

We have had people from extremely privileged backgrounds to those that grew up with nothing. People whose parents were in and out of their lives due to their own addictions and incarcerations and people who grew up in nuclear families who were spoiled rotten.

You name the “type” and for the most part we have seen it. Our program holds people extremely accountable for their behavior and there are consequences to those who don’t comply with the expectations that are put in front of them.

I told my co-worker that sometimes I feel more sorry for the people who have had it “good” or “easy” in their lives than those who have had nothing. The people we see that grew up with nothing - well, they don’t expect anything. A lot of their lives they have been shit on by other people; by the justice system, teachers, people in authority - and so our demands of them - they don’t always choose to do the right thing, but they aren’t surprised by the expectations or the consequences when they make the wrong choice.

But those people who grew up “special”. Whose parents let them get away with everything, who had it “easy”, who were catered to by others, who had the money to hire top notch attorneys when they got in trouble, or even as kids had the police take them home to their parents rather than arrest them? Boy oh boy, are they in for a shock. For some of them it’s the first time in their adult lives that they have been told “NO!” That they are expected to comply with demands and - GASP - given consequences when they don’t comply. Some of those people - they are just utterly at a loss when that happens - they have never once had to face up - truly face up - to their choices.

Today my friend was telling me about how she has never been in a romantic relationship where she hasn’t had to WORK to make it work. I told her that I can’t imagine that. She laughed and said that she cannot conceive of a relationship where it is just easy to be with your partner and not have to constantly and consciously work on keeping the relationship together.

After she left, I was thinking - maybe that’s part of my problem!! Maybe that’s why this is so hard. Like the clients that have always had it easy, I am SHOCKED that I have to WORK to make it work so to speak!

I have always had it relatively easy. Now that’s not to say that my life has been perfect - no, it hasn’t - but compared to what some people endure? I’ve had it easy.

I grew up not having to worry about being loved and fed and sheltered. I didn’t have to worry about my safety or getting abused. Other things in life came easy to me - at the risk of sounding arrogant - I excelled in school without putting much work in. I could probably have been a straight A student if I had worked a little harder, but I could get 90's with barely cracking a book in high school. So I didn’t work too hard. I had friends who would study and work incredibly hard on their homework and had to put in a ton of effort to get by - I didn’t get it.

Even though I was fat, I was pretty popular. I made friends easily. True there were a lot of people couldn’t stand me - I was loud and outspoken and obnoxious - but that’s the exact reason some people were drawn to me.

I met Marc - he was not my first boyfriend, but he was my first SERIOUS boyfriend. And it was and always has been easy to make our relationship work - we’ve had our ups and downs, but we don’t need to work on our relationship - we just connect – easily, comfortably, passionately without effort.

Out of college I was able to find jobs that support my lifestyle well. I make good money, and have great benefits. It’s not like I bathe in money, but since my tastes aren’t outrageous, I live very comfortably.

So maybe that’s why this weight thing is so freaking hard. I expect to have it EASY as I have always had it. Now losing the weight certainly wasn’t easy but really, I had it a lot easier than most. I didn’t have the physical problems that some people with obesity have, and I had the time and resources to devote to losing the weight that not everyone has.

So maybe I am just a spoiled brat. Maybe - like some clients I know - I just can’t accept - can’t internalize - that I am free and clear to make the choices - as long as I’m willing to face the consequences. That if I want to maintain my weight loss I have to WORK for it - that it won’t be handed to me.

Well, that sucks, don’t it?!?!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Try try again…

So..... do you ever feel like a broken record? Because that is the story of my life lately.  I guess there are a lot of you out there that might be reading this and have never even listened to a record, so maybe you don’t even know what that means - I’m damn OLD, people!

But after being mired in self-pity - once again - for the last few days, today I had what I hope was a revelation.

Marc and I went to a party on Saturday. It was a ton of fun. I acted like an idiot. I even kissed a girl just for fun - she was drinking - I did not have that excuse. I remember Fun Jen and she has been absent most of the time in the last couple of years.

I ate WAY too much at this party and spent Sunday berating myself for being such a fat pig. And not being able to run just exacerbates the problem - in my head anyway.

So yesterday Marc and I went on a hike. Probably not the smartest thing for my foot. I thought that maybe walking barefoot on sand would lessen the pain. I was wrong. Sunday night I was hurting but trying to figure out how I could run, anyway.

Marc and I got to talking about next weekend. Remember the post I did on Diana - who died New Year’s Eve after an incredibly courageous battle with brain cancer? Her family is having services for her next weekend. That same day, I have been asked by members of the local recovery community to speak briefly at a tree planting and remembrance ceremony for those who have lost their lives to heroin addiction.

Given the times that the 2 events occur, I think I can fit them both in. But as I was telling Marc about this, I began thinking - how am I going to fit in exercise that day? Should I get up early and do something? I began calculating how early I would need to get up to get at least an hour of exercise in, take a shower, and then get to the place the service is being held.

This morning I started thinking that this was probably not normal. I mean, I am NOT a professional athlete. I am not “in training” for something. Yet I am worrying about the exercise I “NEED” to do which is about a week away. Although I have joked about being addicted to exercise, I have meant it as that - a joke. And after all, I saw the MD earlier this month who told me to keep up on my exercising, right?

So today I started to read some articles about exercise addiction from experts. And there were things about the personality of people who tend to over-exercise, like being perfectionists, with low self-esteem who are “obsessed” with body image. It also talked about insisting on exercising when injured (that DOESN’T sound familiar, right?) Or fitting in exercise whenever there is some free time. Or exercising more than 1 hour a day, every day.

But the line that really got me was from an expert who has studied exercise addiction and he said that the line between someone who just is a healthy exerciser and one who is addicted is “Do you fit exercise around your life or do you schedule your life around your exercise?”

How is this possible? How is it that someone like me - always fat who NEVER EVER exercised except maybe taking the dogs on a short walk - how is it possible that maybe there is an issue here? It seems like fiction. I don’t see myself as someone who over-exercises. In fact, I think of myself as normal to low normal when it comes to exercising.

So I decided I have to change my priorities - bursting into tears because I had planned to ride the exercise bike and instead something came up so I couldn’t - that’s fucked up, right? I don’t even know anymore - my perspective is skewed.

But it was nice to see Fun Jen again. I don’t know that she can co-exist with Exercise Obsessed Jen. And Exercise Obsessed Jen isn’t even accomplishing what her goal is - which is to be thin.

So that’s where I’m at today - right now. I hope that this is a positive step mentally, we’ll see. I wonder if this will have a positive effect on my eating as well?

I know that I lost a lot of weight exercising in what I think was a healthier manner. So it can be done - at least I hope so....

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What a surprise….

I woke up this morning to two surprises. Both surprises have everything to do with my distorted view of reality - no one with any sense would be surprised by either of these, but hey - I’m not normal, am I?

The first surprise involved my foot. Can you believe after 1 day of not running, icing and taking Naproxyn that it still swollen and hurts like hell? I know - right? It should be healed by now, right??!!

I did note that it does feel better than it did yesterday, and the thought that maybe I could try a slow run today did cross my stupid mind, but don’t worry, I pushed it out of the way. But if any of you have any suggestions about how I can learn to run without using my feet at all, that would be AWESOME.

Here was the other surprise from team Fucked In The Head. I got on the scale, and much to my shock, not running for one day and talking about resting did not cause a miraculous gain of 15 pounds overnight. I mean the way my body is, it seems like I gain weight just looking at fattening recipes on Facebook, so I was certain the body would know about me needing to take some time off and would respond by hoarding every single calorie it could!

In fact, my weight is exactly the same as it was 2 weeks ago after my doctor’s appointment. EXACTLY THE SAME. This simultaneously makes me feel completely discouraged and completely relieved. I know that I have been snacking MUCH less. And I’ve ben focused on making healthy choices. And yet the scale has not decided to reward my efforts.

On the other hand, I haven’t gained anything either. Which begs the question - if I can maintain my weight right where it is with relatively little effort - meaning keeping up the exercise I do and eating mostly healthy most of the time and not snacking during the week, but being more loose on the weekends - can I live with this? I don’t have the answer to that right now. Because I look at myself in the mirror and see much more fat than I want to have. But I’ve also shown that I clearly don’t have the desire/self-control to fix it.

I have never - never in my entire life - been in a place where I haven’t mentally obsessed about my weight. Now obviously, that doesn’t mean I did anything about it. But when I was fat, I thought about how fat I was ALL THE TIME. In public, in school, at work, while driving, at home - it was always there. And spent HOURS crafting how I would change it starting TOMORROW.

Then I started losing, my life changed and each day would bring the morning weigh in with great anticipation followed by the exhilaration of loss or the crushing disappointment of no loss or - worse - gaining. After hitting my goal weight, the obsession didn’t leave - was I thin enough? Could I go lower? Could I get more toned? Was my stomach flat?

And as weight has crept back on - like lava from a volcano creeping towards a house - slow - inevitable - destructive - I pull at the fat that overhangs my shorts when I work out. I stare at the scale with actual fear before stepping on.

So what would it be like to let it go? To know that if I stay this course, I’m pretty healthy, I have a bit more cushioning than I would like, but I can just live my life not ruled by obsessing on my weight and appearance? To be NORMAL? That thought is pretty fucking appealing, ain’t it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It’s always something isn’t it? Yes, the whiney, sniveling, poor me bitch is back.

Sunday was a perfect day. I mean the kind of day you want to capture in a bottle. For me, anyway, it was. With the cleaning of the chicken house completed, I was relaxed when I got up on Sunday, since my “chores” were done. It was a little cool in the morning, but sunny and predicted to warm quickly.

I grabbed the dogs and we went on a 5 mile run. Since it was warmer than it has been, Chakotay started to get fatigued, and I didn’t want to push him, so we walked a short bit more to cool us all down. Marc and I had lunch and decided to spend the afternoon biking.

It was a bit windy, but we went on a nice longish ride - and my OCD heart was thrilled when we pulled into the driveway at exactly 36 miles.

We then headed out to get something for dinner, first stopping at JC Penney because I had a coupon. I found a cute dress on clearance for less than $15 and using my coupon I paid a grand total of $4.97 for it. You know my cheap-ass was thrilled with this!

I was tired in such a good way as we ate a late - and healthy - dinner and then relaxed the rest of night.

I should have known something would come along to fuck it up!!

As I told you guys, I’ve been having some ball of foot pain. I was pretty confident it was a mild case of metatarsalgia and, based on reading about it, I have not been wearing high heels, have taken some ibuprofen to decrease the swelling and have been icing the foot. But yesterday something happened during my run and it hurt so bad that I had to stop. I figured I was running too much and so I decided I would need to take a couple of days off from running.

But last night I was in AGONY. I kept waking up during the night due to the pain and I couldn’t curl my toes or stretch them without extreme pain. When I got up this morning I could barely walk. Driving to work, I impulsively made the decision to stop at the Urgent Care and get x-rays as I was worried given the sudden acuteness it could be a stress fracture.

I was correct in my guess that early morning would be a good time to get in and out quickly - there was only one woman in front of me. I gave my info to a nurse who noted the swelling and was very kind to me.

Then the doctor came in. She didn’t even introduce herself but came over looked at me and asked me “Why are you running at your age?” She then told me - without even looking at my foot - that I needed to stop running, period. She told me some “light short jogs” on the treadmill is fine for someone my age, but running outside needs to stop.

I was just about speechless and - because I am a HUGE BABY - almost started crying. I couldn’t believe a medical professional was saying this! She then tried to INSIST that the problem was related to a heel spur they had found in 2014. I explained to her that my heel didn’t hurt at all and neither did my midfoot. After some pressing and prodding she finally agreed that it probably was not related to any heel spur. I told her that I was concerned it was a stress fracture. She then said that she could take some x-rays, but that they almost never show stress fractures - you need a special scan for that.

Since I was there anyway she went ahead and did the x-rays. It showed no fracture and my general bone structure is good. She then told me to take naproxen, ice the foot, and no running. She was willing to refer me to a podiatrist, but made the recommendation to see if it gets better with conservative treatment and she will refer me if it doesn’t get better in 1-2 weeks.

I feel like such a IDIOT. I am mad at myself for jumping the gun and going to Urgent Care. It seems like a total waste of time and money. And I am (here comes the pity party) - SO SICK - of having injuries. I mean in terms of INJURY this is not bad at all, but since I’m already at about DEFCON 2 in terms of my weight, the thought of not running is spiraling me into a panic - AGAIN.

Combine this with the comments about my age from the doctor - I am not doing so well right now.

The reading I have done suggests that if this is NOT a stress fracture and since it is not a chronic condition I could heal up quite quickly. So do me a favor guys, and send healing vibes - mentally and physically - towards me!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

4 years later…

April 18, 2012 was a Wednesday. It was my first - and hopefully only - major surgery. Yes, believe it or not, it has been 4 years since I had my excess skin removed.

The memories of that day - and the days following it - alternate between things that are remarkably vivid and other things that feel like a dream or a movie I watched rather than something that actually happened to me. Marc remembers sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office for over 5 hours. I had tried to convince him to do something that day - at least go over to the mall - but he insisted on waiting there the entire time. I think he remembers how much pain I was in that first night better than I do.  You know that the pain of someone we love is always worse than our own.

I wouldn’t expect that 4 years after surgery anything would be changing physically - it hasn’t and that’s probably a good thing. The scars have continued to fade, a thin brown line that circles my whole body. If you decided to stare at my naked body you could see that the skin above and below that incision don’t quite match. And if you wanted to examine my belly button, you would see a dark, slightly indented spot and you would realize that there is no hole - that it’s not a “real” belly button. And there continues to be a small almost perfectly rectangular area which has no feeling at all.

Small prices to pay, really, for such a dramatic change. I ran today and thought about running before the surgery and how the excess skin would lift up in the air and then come slamming down with every step. Of attempting to kind of gather the skin and stuff it into my underwear and pants. Having skin that hung halfway down my thighs...

I can remember a day or 2 after the surgery - when I took off the compression garment so Marc could wash is and laying in bed and reaching down and touching my stomach and realizing that - for the first time in my life - it was FLAT. Not bulging up with fat or skin. The same goes for the first time I took a shower and didn’t have to lift up fat or skin to wash thoroughly.

I remember going shopping and the excitement of buying clothes that I had only dreamt of ever wearing. Or putting on a bikini for the first time in my life. Those things I KNEW would never be in the cards for me - I wasn’t good enough or strong enough to ever “qualify” to be in such an exclusive club.

4 years post op - I’ve certainly had my ups and downs!!

Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come - I am really good at looking at my faults - and I know I have a lot of them - but I also have to reflect on the hard work that allowed me to need this surgery in the first place. And how hard I work every single day to maintain this success.

It ain’t easy, is it my friends? I know you all know the struggle!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Work, play, functional fitness…

Last week was a pretty good week.  To be honest, it was probably “more good” mentally than physically, but as the weather improved, so did my mood.

From Saturday to Friday I ran a total of 36 miles – which is WAY more weekly miles than I have done in a long time.  This was in addition to walking and biking. 

So I woke up yesterday feeling accomplished for the week, but knowing the annual chore of cleaning out the chicken coop was ahead of me – good times.

I headed down and saw that the coop was not nearly as bad as it was last year.  Since this year we got much less snow and it was not as cold, the chickens were out a lot instead of being in the coop continuously for days and weeks on end.

I know some of you out there might have chickens, and if you do, well, you know they are not the most elegant of creatures.  The floor of the coop was a mixture of hard packed chicken crap and old shavings, and the walls were decorated nicely with sprays of poopage. 

Marc had been waiting for a day to get up and tar some spots on our roof, and it was finally warm enough, so while I worked on the coop, he was up there working. 

I pulled the cart up to the door of the coop and began the task of raking and shoveling.  I filled the cart up and then realized that it was going to be HEAVY.  I thought that I would not be able to haul it away and dump it myself.  But I did, and it wasn’t even that hard.

It took a full 6 loads and change.  I also had to remove some extremely heavy stone blocks out that we put the water on and surprised myself by lifting those suckers up from the floor and carrying them into the yard.  Then, after at least an hour of scrubbing down the walls with water and bleach, I had to haul in the HUGE bales of new shavings and get them spread.

Here is the finished product – the chickens were SO PISSED (Smile ):


There was a huge feeling of accomplishment getting this done.  But I also realized – THIS is the reason to work out and stay healthy. 

It’s all well and good that I can run a few miles at a time – this might come in handy if we experience a zombie outbreak and I have to run from the fuckers.  But while running keeps me fit, it’s isn’t exactly what I would call a practical “skill”.

But being able to lift and haul and clean – the ability to do this for several hours without stopping - that is functional fitness. A skill that is useful for everyday life.

I get so into the mindset of working out just to work out – if you know what I mean.  Having demands that I put on myself without really a purpose.  Or running a certain amount of miles just to “earn” enough to have that bagel.  Am I making any sense to anyone?  This is the “working out” mindset of the times. 

It’s like those guys on Survivor with GIGANTIC biceps who can’t do shit when it comes to practical challenges or tasks.  I know some skinny Amish kids could easily outlast them!  Because their daily work is functional.


So, anyway, I was pretty happy with getting this done, and today it’s going to be even warmer, so I worked yesterday – hoping to play today!!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A difference of opinion…

This week is really flying by. The weather is starting to moderate, and the sun has been out which always improves my mood.

Both physically and mentally, I’ve actually felt like I am getting my shit together. I was over at the other office again yesterday and this time, instead of one of those horrible - but alluring - processed danishes, they had horrible - BUT ALLURING - chocolate covered donuts. But this time, instead of standing there like an idiot having an internal debate with myself about whether I should have one, I looked in the box and it really wasn’t that tempting - I don’t think it will ever be NON-tempting, but I’ll take only slightly tempting.

I’ve been running - 30 miles since Saturday. And it’s feeling good! Without trying - my speed is gradually starting to improve. Nowhere near as fast as I used to run, but getting just a little faster. The Achilles is doing well, now if I could just get the ball of my foot to heal up, I’d be in great shape!

And eating? Totally on point. The “experts” say that when a person eats less that their stomach DOES NOT actually shrink - I’m certainly no anatomy expert, but I want to call bullshit on that. As I’ve started to eat less, it does seem like it takes less for me to feel full - I suppose that this could just be psychological, but it certainly feels physical!

So despite my weekend overeating, having been super good this week I knew that when I stood on the scale this morning and I would be richly rewarded for my efforts. Instead the scale showed me the EXACT SAME NUMBER as when I weighed in last Tuesday morning. Down to the .3.


What would be my normal standard operating procedure - feeling sorry for myself and getting the fuck-its - that didn’t happen. I tried to remember what it was like when I was first losing weight. When I didn’t worry so much about the number on the scale - when I just focused on eating right and exercising well, knowing that the numbers would change eventually.

But I won’t lie, it is discouraging. When you know that you are truly sticking to plan, but your body isn’t having any of it. BUT, I feel better physically, in control of myself, and happier. If that continues, I think I will be okay. No matter what number the evil fucking scale shows me!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Capture the moment…

I would love to be able to sit here on a Monday typing away about how after last week’s doctor’s appointment and doing well all week, that I was perfectly on plan and ate like a rock star all weekend and didn’t veer off the mark once. Yes, that’s what I would love to tell you, and if I was a big fat liar, that’s what I would say.

But getting back on track is just not happening yet. I actually almost used the excuse that I don’t start my new pill until this week so it made perfect sense to eat out of control still. Puh leeze.

But there was a rare glimpse of internal peace this weekend and one that I hope to capitalize on.

Like a lot of places, we were COLD this weekend. We avoided the terrible storms, but it was FREEZING. So Saturday morning, I relegated myself to the dreaded treadmill where I was able to get in 10 miles.

When Sunday came, it was beautifully sunny but cold again. I am such a WUSS when it comes to running in the cold!! I know some runners love the crisp air, but I am not one of them. Marc is still nursing a knee injury and I sat at my computer having an internal debate with myself. I couldn’t bear the thought of once again returning to the basement and climbing on the treadmill. But the thought of piling on layers and running in the 25 degree temps was not sounding good, either.

What pushed me over the edge was my wonderful dogs who sat giving me the hard STARE. They have been feeling the cabin fever, too! So I decided to take them over to a nature trail a few miles away. I began bundling up as they happily ran around the house - somehow they KNOW when I’m getting ready to take them somewhere.

We piled into the Edge and drove over to the trail. Although we walk and hike all the time with the dogs off leash, I typically run with them along the roads so they are always leashed up. But when I got to the trail there was only 1 car in the parking lot, so I strapped the running leash on myself in case we met anyone, but allowed them to be loose.

The nature trail is mostly flat - 2 miles long from one end to the other, and is covered with a fine gravel surface. Although it was cold, the sun felt good and there was - blissfully - almost no wind. I started running and the boys were so excited, running ahead, sniffing - I might not have been thrilled about the cold, but it didn’t seem to bother them. We were only a short 1/4 mile in when the owner of the car that was in the parking lot came walking towards us. So I hitched the boys up and kept running.

After we passed him, I let them off again and we continued running. They would run next to me for a while and then take off to the side or lag behind as they caught a particularly alluring smell. We reached the 2 mile point where the opposite parking lot is and I made a wide berth and the boys were both running beside me and I felt like we were almost of one mind.

We headed back and as we reached 2.5 miles, something got into Archer. He suddenly took off like a bat out of hell. He was running so fast and his ears were flying backwards and he joyfully ran full speed through a mud puddle and then made a wide turn and ran back towards Chakotay and I - just full out running like a crazy person, covered with mud and thrilled about it.

I smiled at how much fun he was having. I then realized something. I had been running and I wasn’t thinking about the following: How fat I am. How many calories I was burning. How fast I was running. What I had to do for chores later that day. Was I going to run far enough to “earn” the bagel I wanted for lunch. Why I am such a failure.

No, I wasn’t thinking of any of those things. I was just in an easy run, enjoying myself and watching the dogs having a grand ole time as only happy dogs know how to do.

When we reached the end where we had started, I looked at the dogs and they stood there wagging their nubs and staring at me. So I turned around and started running again, and they followed without hesitation. I ran just over a mile and noticed Chakotay was starting to look a little spent, so we turned around and finished out a nice 10K.

Post run:


It was only an hour of time, but it felt SO FUCKING GOOD to get out of my messed up head. I totally and completely recognize that the vast amount of drama in my life is self-imposed. But knowing that fact and changing it, are 2 completely different creatures.

Today, I feel calm and in control. The weather is predicted to take a turn for the better this week. I hope that this means that things are looking up. That I can hold on to some inner peace. I know that for me, emotional upset, stress and overeating go hand in hand. Finding some peace and holding it tight will most certainly lead to my goals... at least I hope so...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Play the tape…

When I first started in the substance abuse counseling field, we used to play this old video made specifically for agencies that did counseling. In the video, it showed a middle aged man who had stopped drinking. One night he was really tired, walking home from work and he walked by a bar. He looked inside and saw people laughing, drinking, and having fun. He envisioned going in and joining in on the party - seeing himself sitting at the bar having a grand old time with the other patrons - downing booze, telling jokes, cheering at the game on the tv.

Then he hears in his mind, his counselor’s voice saying “play the tape through”. He then envisions himself still sitting at the bar, long after others have left and getting into a drunken argument with he bartender. He then sees himself stumbling out the door and violently puking in the bushes. He sees himself going home and getting in a screaming match with his wife and out of the corner of his eye seeing his daughter hugging her Teddy bear as she watches her parents fighting.

In the video the guy pulls his hat down and keep walking past the bar - making the right choice.

It was a badly made, lame ass video with bad acting. But the message of playing the tape through is one well known in the field of counseling and one that I have repeatedly used with my clients - not just in terms of whether to use drugs and alcohol or not, but their whole behavior.

And I found myself this week, needing to play the tape through. Wednesday, I walked into the staff break room to use the bathroom. The room was empty and there on the table sat a danish cake. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those pre-packaged, highly processed Entenmann’s cake things.


I stared at it - it was about ½ gone and the knife to cut off a slice was laying there.

So instantly I wanted to cut myself off a chunk. I knew what it would taste like - crappy, artificial, dry cake with a sweet processed frosting on top. That I still wanted. And so the internal debate began with Fat Jen trying to convince me to have “just a tiny sliver” and Thin Jen telling me that it wouldn’t be worth it - that it wouldn’t even taste that good. And I forced myself into the bathroom.

As I peed (yeah I know TMI!) I began playing the tape - watching myself cut a small slice and eating it and it not even being that good, but then cutting yet another piece and shoving it in my mouth. I envisioned myself after eating it and how I would feel guilty. I played that tape down the road of me sitting in my office later that afternoon feeling like a failure for only being able to be on track 2 freaking days before blowing it. And knowing that this type of behavior and ensuing guilt often leads me to the FUCK ITS - where I think I’ve screwed up today anyway, I might as well go whole hog and going home and starting to dip into peanut butter and other foods that would just fill me with calories.

When I left the bathroom I looked at the danish. I’d love to say that I easily just trotted by it and felt oh so proud of myself. But instead I reluctantly walked by it and made a conscious choice not to have any. Don’t get me wrong, later I was glad that I hadn’t eaten any of it. Giving myself a minute to play the tape through definitely helped me make the right choice. But it was not easy. I don’t think it ever will be for someone like me.

It’s like any other choice I make on this journey. Last night I was tired and pouty from the shitty ass weather we are having. And I was COLD. So I wanted to just cuddle up on the couch in PJ’s. I played the tape of how I would feel going to bed having not done a workout. So 7 miles on the treadmill it was. It sucked for at least the first 2 miles. But after, eating dinner, I was gratified that I had done it.

I am an instant gratification person. So playing the tape through is very foreign to me. I talk without thinking and start projects without reading the directions. So sometimes I won’t play the tape through - or sometimes I will and still will make the wrong choice. But I think trying to stop and think can definitely help!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The enemy is myself…

“Dear Jennifer,

I totally hate the new you and will do everything in my power to make you like you were before.


Jennifer’s Body”

In a world completely saturated with fads, advice, schemes, meal plans, workout videos, support meetings, and countless other methods to attempt to lose weight, there is little focus on what to do once you have lost the weight in order to maintain the weight loss.

There’s a dirty little secret that no one talks about. I have never watched any of the weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser. But from what I’ve heard they focus exclusively on how to lose weight and they don’t tell the contestants - in any real way - what it is going to take to keep off the weight once it is lost. And guess what? The latest research shows that 90% - a staggering number - of those who have lost a significant amount of weight, regain all or mostly all the weight that they lose.

We are told by countless doctors, psychologists and nutritionists that we need to keep up on healthy eating, portion control and exercise. But from what I have been reading, it is not that simple - not by a long shot.

Now first, let me be clear that I am not talking about historically normal weight people who pack on a few pounds and then decide to get those pounds off and do. They are much more successful - statistically speaking - at keeping weight off. What I’m talking about are people who have been significantly overweight or obese for a long period of time who then lose a large percentage of their body weight.

I happen to fall into this category, as I assume many of you do, too. I was fat my whole life until I started losing in my late 30's. From my known highest weight to my lowest weight, I lost approximately 65% of my body weight.

And guess what? Not just for me, but for every single one of you out there who have also lost a significant percentage, there is a growing body of research shows that our bodies actively and aggressively work against us in keeping this weight off.

One of the latest studies shows that those people who were obese burn 20% less calories at any one time than a person of the same exact weight who has never been obese! So for those of you who have read this blog for a while, you may remember that when I saw the nutritionist a few years ago she told me that I should be eating 2200 calories a day to maintain. Doubting that number - I used some of those online calculators and when I plugged in my numbers, 2200 was around the number.

BUT, both those calculators, and I’m guessing the nutritionist, were using numbers based on a normal human. I am not a normal human. I am “formally obese”. So if a normal person with my height, weight, age and activity level can eat 2200 and maintain, at 20% less, I need to eat 1760 to maintain!

So our bodies actively slow us down metabolically to not just keep us from losing, but to encourage us to regain. I read an article yesterday that indicates that those who have lost a significant amount of weight are chronically cold - like I am. The researcher compared it to the body “turning down the furnace” to keep us from burning calories and to encourage us to eat and put on body fat.

Then we look at the hormone Leptin. Leptin is the hormone who says “You’re eaten enough, time to stop eating.” In those of us who are formally obese our Leptin levels drop to extremely low levels. Meaning that our brains are telling us “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE - YOU NEED TO EAT NOW!” even when we have eaten enough. I have been thinking all along that this is my dysfunctional psyche - but it is becoming increasing obvious that there is a hormonal/physical basis to this.

There are ways to counter the ways that the body works against you. Exercise - both cardio and strength training - help increase metabolism and try to force the body to work like a “normal” person’s body does. Researchers are looking in to how to increase Leptin, but since you cannot ingest Leptin to increase your levels it is a difficult task.

The National Weight Control Registry which tracks successful maintainers, basically says that people who keep the weight off - well they suck it up. They exercise more and harder than a normal person does to maintain their weight. They learn to accept that fact that forever, they cannot eat like other people without regaining weight.

This is something that I guess I knew intellectually, but I have been adamantly refusing to accept - like the severe alcoholic who insists that he can find a way to drink “in moderation”.

Does all this sound depressing? In some ways it is. But the facts are what the facts are and whining about it won’t change it.

As I was reading all of these articles, some of which my MD directed me to, I chose to look at it this way - I keep hating and berating myself for being such a miserable failure, seeing myself as a weak willed person. But maybe, with all I have working against me, I need to see that keeping off MOST of the weight is a success given what I have working against me. Acknowledging that I am not crazy, but that there are a myriad of biological factors working against me keeping the weight off.

There are also other things I need to accept - that I will have to work harder than other people, exercise more and will never be able to eat like others if I want to maintain a lower body weight. And maybe I need to accept that weighing 120 pounds consistently may not be in the cards for me. Being the weight I am now is unacceptable. But maybe I don’t need to lose as much as I think.

I don’t know - it is such a mind fuck!

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Doctor, doctor give me the news…

Yesterday was my annual doctor’s appointment. A doctor’s appointment that I had been both dreading and looking forward to at the same time. Dreading because I knew I would have to face the scale as well as the doctor and address my weight gain. Hopeful, though, that I would have a “magic answer” and an ensuing “magic pill” given to me to make it all better.

Sunday night I didn’t sleep much. I tossed and turned. I attribute this to the combination of worrying about my appointment as well as having watching the horrifying season finale of The Walking Dead. (Did you guys see it? OMG - don’t even get me started!!)

But I digress.

I worked most of the day and then headed out to the appointment. I paced the waiting room until I was called back and, as usual, the first thing the nurse did was ask me to “hop on” the scale. I asked her if I had to as I reluctantly stepped on.

Doing this blog for several years, I believe I have been brutally honest and totally open about my life - the highs and lows, the struggles and the successes. This honesty has caused people to offer me praise and to thank me for sharing myself. It has also opened me up to an incredible outpouring of criticism and harsh judgement - from both strangers and people I know. And yet I have continued until recently to try to be authentic in case it helps, even a little bit, others.

So in that spirit, I feel like I owe it to anyone reading to tell you the number I saw on that scale. But I feel so humiliated, so guilty, for having let myself regain so much, that I just can’t bring myself to write it down. Let’s just say it’s worse than I thought it would be.

I was brought back into the exam room to have my vitals taken, and my chest felt tight and my stomach churned. Even though I was no fatter than I had been before knowing the number, the cold red digital readout made any remaining level of denial pretty impossible.

My blood pressure was good although a little higher than normal, probably because of my anxiety 125/78. O2 levels and pulse rate were normal. And so the nurse then left as I stewed and felt so sorry for myself.

Finally the doctor walked in and immediately handed me my lab results. The thyroid that I was OH SO SURE was fucked up and was causing my problems? Perfect. Ideal. Every single number was SOLIDLY in the normal category. So that excuse was instantaneously tossed right out the proverbial window.

My cholesterol numbers were again super high - both the overall number as well as my “bad cholesterol” number. BUT my “good cholesterol” number of 71 is just about off the charts excellent and my triglycerides were bottom level low at 55. So when the doc placed my numbers into his “Magical Doctor Calculator” - even with my miserably bad genetics I have a “approximately 1% chance” of having a heart attack. The doc said that he is “pretty aggressive” at treating high cholesterol and that he is not worried in my case.

So immediately we jumped into the weight issue. I was completely forthright with him. About exercising 2 hours per day, about thinking about food “all the time”, about restricting during the week and then binging the entire weekend.

He asked me about my meals and what exactly I eat and how much I exercise. He said that I am right on track there. He asked me about how often we eat out - almost never. He told me - and I agree - that what I was referring to as “binging” is not really binging - there is no feeling of loss of control and I don’t eat until I get sick and it’s generally healthy foods. I’m just eating A LOT.

As we talked more about my lifestyle he said that he believes that I’m actually not eating enough and that my body is holding onto weight. I have heard this before from other people about their struggles and when they increased calories they end up losing. But I probably don’t need to tell you guys that when your weight is so high the thought of INCREASING calories is not just counter-intuitive, it’s terrifying. His suggestion was “don’t go crazy”, but add in 100 calories more at breakfast.

Because I wouldn’t want to leave there without looking like a complete fool my eyes filled with tears. [Which given the doc is young HOT and fit it somehow made it worse!] He said to me that what I am doing is not working so I have to try something different. He said “on paper” it appears that I’m doing everything “right” and yet here I am....

I then asked him about my birth control pill. I have been on birth control - continually and without a break - since age 17. Could those hormones, especially as I near menopause, be effecting me differently? He said that it’s possible and that we can try a lower level birth control pill. We talked about how this might effect me and what issues I might run into.

We ended up with this plan - stay with what I’m eating but at the very least try to limit the “cheating” to one day instead of 2½. Keep up with the exercising. Try the new pill for a month and see what happens. If I don’t lose any weight, try adding in some additional calories at least 3 times per week. And then he’ll see me again in 3 months. From there, there are options, like Contrave, a new weight loss pill, but we’re not there yet. So there’s the plan... Not exactly what I envisioned.

I went home and ran on the treadmill. Marc is nursing a minor knee injury so I was in the basement alone and had some time to think and process. Given my historical modus operandi, this should have thrown me into a sea of depression and self-loathing pity. But it didn’t - at least not yet.

I felt, instead, a sense of relief - I know where I stand and I have a time table. I managed to not snack on anything last night. I woke up this morning and weighed myself. My scale said 5 pounds lower than the doc’s scale - apparently just thinking about a different plan can make you lose 5 pounds - hey, now THAT is a diet plan I can get behind LOL!!

I imagine it’s only a short time before some old habits sneak back in and/or that I start feeling sorry for [insert sniveling whiney voice] how hard this is. But I’m trying to get back to the woman I was in 2012. That woman was pretty proud of what she had accomplished. She was about to have skin removal surgery and she saw a whole new and exciting life laid out before her. If she existed then, can I find her again now??