JENJESS48   52,101
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JENJESS48's Recent Blog Entries

Prepping for a Day with the In-Laws

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'll admit it. Don't hate me for it. I like my in-laws. Really, genuinely enjoy their company.


Spending the day with the whole family can be rough. My in-laws are a close-knit family, so family gatherings generally involve 30 people from 3 generations. Almost the entire family is overweight. Nobody exercises and the only ones who care about what they eat have severe medical issues. Family gatherings revolve around food. The pressure to eat is intense. And the food is mostly fatty, high-calorie stuff. Delicious, but totally undermines my goals.

I know from your blog and message board posts that I'm not alone here. Luckily my in-laws are really laid back and won't hassle me or cajole me too much. But I am going to get a lot of questions. Uncle Steve will start it. He has had several strokes (and is therefore on a super strict diet) that damaged the verbal centers of his brain and affected his memory. So one of the ways he deals with this is by asking a lot of questions. He could give your average 4-year-old a run for their money in a "But why?" contest. This in and of itself is fine; I understand that it's just Uncle Steve's way. In fact, I'm one of Uncle Steve's favorite people because I tend to be more patient with him than most folks. But what happens is that the rest of the family then listens in and starts asking questions.

Yes, this could be an awesome opportunity to spread the spark. Or it could be Jen in the hot seat for an hour. That totally depends on who's their, what their mood is, whether they notice how much weight I've lost, and how they currently feel about their own weight. I have a BMI of 29 and wear a size 14 misses, and I'm going to be the smallest (grown) woman in the room by quite a margin. So I'm nervous.

But, being the krauthead that I am, I will persevere and (hopefully) stick to my goal guns. And, like any self-respecting Prussian, I have a plan. I will start the morning with a bootcamp video. I will lace my knitting bag with healthy snacks. I will drink a yogurt smoothie and my coffee on the way to the party. DH and I are bringing Swedish rice porridge for the breakfast potluck. This is made from brown rice, 2% milk, Truvia, and a ton of fruit. That, plus a smoothie and some eggs should put me in great shape for breakfast. Lunch and dinner will be tougher since I have no idea what the plan is. Actually, knowing my family, there isn't one, lol. So I'll have to stay focused on making good choices. (Here's where the wheels usually come off.) The good news is that Uncle Steve's dietary restrictions and the diabetic-friendly choices they make a point of having mean that there is always healthy stuff around. So I just have to stay strong and make good choices. DH has the SparkPeople app on his smartphone, so I can track my food on that. As for cardio, I plan to go out on a walk with Uncle Steve. Like me, he isn't deterred by the cold. And it'll be nice to get a break; this loud, boisterous family can put me into introvert overload.

The fact of the matter is that my family are all great people and I'm worrying unnecessarily. But it's what I do, lol. I always feel better if I have a plan. So just writing it out helps. The true reason that I'm worried is because I don't want to let this family gathering undo a week's worth of progress. I've been on an awesome streak this year and want to keep on it. Fretting over my family is actually just displacing worry over my own willpower. Cuz sticking to my game plan is going to take some serious willpower. But having a concrete plan makes it a lot easier.

Wish me luck!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELLYFINT 1/16/2011 9:33PM

    good luck! i like the way you write, btw :) very conversational, easy & enjoyable to read!

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 1/16/2011 12:38PM

    Aha! I knew there must be a blog about the inlaws in here somewhere! lol

Sounds like you've got a great plan, and support from your husband (and Uncle Steve, whether or not he knows it lol) I know how it feels to get overloaded from too many people, so I think that walk is a great idea.

Let us know how it goes!

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KITHKINCAID 1/15/2011 10:57PM

    Good luck! But you don't actually need it. I'm so happy for you that you have an extended family that you enjoy spending time with. You're LUCKY! Make sure Pat backs you up in your plans, and have a healthy mantra going into the day that you can repeat to yourself if the going gets tough. One that I used over Christmas was "I Don't Owe Anyone Anything" - it can sound kinda harsh, but if the questions get too personal, or you feel like you're being pushed to eat, say this to yourself and know that you're in control of yourself - not anyone else.

Have a great time! That rice pudding sounds AMAZING!

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Sleep = Motivation and Will Power

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This past week I have not been getting enough sleep. There, I said it. It's good to have that out in the open, lol. I NEED 8 hours a night. But between one thing and another, I haven't been getting it. Add in long days, more exercise than usual, and fighting off DH's strep throat and I have been flat-out exhausted.

And I learned the hard way this week that SP is totally right about the importance of sleep. The more tired I get the less motivated I am to work out and the less will power I have to to eat properly. This meant KITHKINCAID had to send a garden gnome after me to get me to the gym on Tuesday and yesterday I put in the bare minimum for my workout - and it was a struggle to even do that. I exceeded my calorie budget both Monday and Tuesday and was too afraid to see how bad the damage was.

Last night I insisted on 9 hours of sleep and got it. Today is a whole new world! My attitude has completely turned around. I did my bootcamp video this morning (forgot to do the bonus one like I intended, doh!) and packed healthy food for the day. I'm feeling alert and rested. I'll go to the gym this afternoon. And I found the courage to add my dinners for Tuesday and Wednesday - only to discover that the damage wasn't that bad. I went over by about 200 calories both days. Whew, that's a relief! I can live with that. emoticon

Lesson learned: 8-9 hours of sleep a day it is!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UMUCGRAD 1/16/2011 6:12PM

    Absolutely! I had to learn this and it makes all the difference! Soooo glad you got a good night's sleep.

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BARBARA_BOO 1/14/2011 12:38AM

    Stuff happens, and there are times when things out of our control cut into our sleep time. It's usually temporary, though. Good for you for finding a way to get your 9 hrs last night.

I agree that SP is right about the importance of sleep. I'm working on getting 7-8 hrs per night, finally. My excuse was always, "I'm a night owl."
emoticon emoticon

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KITHKINCAID 1/13/2011 4:58PM


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DITZYCHICK 1/13/2011 4:15PM

    I agree...sleep is definitely a huge factor in the big picture. Looking forward to the weekend here so we can get caught up!

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MERNEITH 1/13/2011 1:14PM

    Good for you, for taking care of yourself! I'm the same way, if I don't get my sleep I just can't muster the motivation. Sweet Dreams!


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LOTUSFLOWER 1/13/2011 12:35PM

    I need my sleep too!!!! You are rocking it though, great job getting your BC in this morning and packing your food! I overslept, so got my food packed, but BC will have to wait for tonight, LOL!!

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What I Did in a Year Here

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Technically I started Spark in November 2009 but I didn't get serious until January 4, 2010, so I'm counting this as my one year Sparkversary.

This year I lost 22 pounds, 24 inches, and 2 pants sizes. This isn't bad, but I feel like I could have - and should have - done more. But then I reflect on my non-scale victories and realize that those have been truly huge.

I reworked my eating habits and learned a ton about proper nutrition. This has been my biggest victory. I generally ate pretty healthy before but fell for the fad diets (oh, the shame of South Beach...) and didn't have a solid grasp of nutrition. I've also mastered the art of portion control, and that has been key. So much so that I maintain my weight even when I'm not working out or paying especial attention to my eating habits.

I completed the Healthy Eating Challenge. The two best things to come of that were meal tracking and kitchen reorganization. Meal planning has been a game changer. Not only do I eat better but I waste less food and money. Grocery shopping is less of a chore because my trips are shorter and more focused. Meal planning has also led me to discover the joys of the crock pot. It's also helped my husband improve his nutrition since he eats supper with me every night. The kitchen makeover was mostly about reorganizing our food storage. DH installed sliding drawers in our pantry so I can actually see - and reach - what's in there. It's a revelation.

I definitely learned about fitness and got in more exercise. But consistency eluded me. That ends in 2011. I learned what kinds of cardio I like and which don't work as well for me - mostly by trying anything and everything I could. I tried zumba, spinning, pilates, yoga, running, and cycling. I bought a bicycle and struggled to become confident riding it.

My balance and coordination both improved. Going up and down the rickety stairs to my basement used to be nerve-wracking; now I bounce along without thinking twice. I can squat down and stay there for a long while without losing my balance. I can easily wend in between parked cars and the ellipticals at the gym. My hand-eye coordination is also better.

I have more self-confidence. This has shown up in how I look: I've bought nicer, better-fitting clothes and pay much more attention to my hair and make up. My friends and colleagues have definitely noticed. As has DH. emoticon

My energy levels are much higher. I used to be exhausted by the end of my (12-hour) day. Now I'm just tired. emoticon Seriously, though, it's a huge improvement. I think working for ten hours with an hour commute on either side will always wear me out. But now I'm consistently alert and energetic during the work day. And I have energy to finish up dinner and do some little things before bed. That was definitely not the case before I discovered SparkPeople.

Upon reflection, I don't feel bad about losing "only" 22 pounds. I have learned - and largely stuck to - healthy habits and made vast improvements in my health and well-being. These are big achievements and I should start recognizing them as such. This year is about building upon this solid foundation. I will continue my good habits, develop a consistent but flexible exercise program, and lose the 40 pounds I have left.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DITZYCHICK 1/11/2011 1:31AM

    That's a fantastic reflection on the year! The knowledge of nutrition and fitness have been big ones too...don't you just love what Spark has given us! Now that we have this knowledge, it really puts us in charge of what we want! CONGRATULATIONS to you and all your successes on your journey to a healthier you. Watch out 2011...we're armed with knowledge and determination!!!

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TEMPEST272002 1/8/2011 1:48PM

    Congratulations on all of the life changes you have made in the past year! 22 lbs is a significant loss when it comes to your overall health. With all you've learned in 2010, you're sure to rock 2011 too!

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LOTUSFLOWER 1/7/2011 4:42PM

    Great job this past year, you are gonna rock 2011 too!!

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TRAVELGRRL 1/5/2011 6:43PM

    I'm beginning to understand that it's not always about the numbers...when we truly change our habits, the numbers take care of ourselves. When we white-knuckle our way down to a lower weight it doesn't work so well and we bounce back up. Good job, girl!

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KITHKINCAID 1/5/2011 3:52PM

    I think you did pretty dang well this year for all your traveling and everything else that you had to do. It's not "just" 22 pounds, it's 22 POUNDS! On top of all of those other accomplishments. I think you've got your game face on for 2011 and you're going to bring it!

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WM_STAR 1/5/2011 2:16PM

    That's HUGE! How amazingly awesome you are - and with such a great attitude, too.

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SLIMSOLO10 1/4/2011 6:57PM

    That is funny, I was just thinking of what 22 pounds of butter would look like as I read your blog!
You have changed so many things for the good and also been a very good motivater to many people. 2011 will be your goal year- I'm sure of it. but you will always remember 2010 as the year you started to create the new you.
Blessings! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/4/2011 6:58:30 PM

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SLIMSOLO10 1/4/2011 6:56PM

    That is funny, I was just thinking of what 22 pounds of butter would look like as I read your blog!
You have changed so many things for the good and also been a very good motivater to many people. 2011 will be your goal year- I'm sure of it. but you will always remember 2010 as the year you started to create the new you.
Blessings! emoticon

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CORTEGA1 1/4/2011 6:05PM

    Only 22 pounds... have you ever put 22 pounds of hamburger in your shopping cart. That's a lot of poundage. Congratulations and keep up the fantastic work.

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Sexy Breakfasts Really Work

Monday, January 03, 2011

Last night I had a bout of insomnia. A bad one. And for no good reason. So when I woke up late this morning I faced a choice: rush through my morning and get to work on time or take my time, do things right, and get to work late. The choice was further complicated by my desire to start the year out right. Do I focus on health and fitness or on being a good employee?

Well, let's see. I got promoted last year and won't get promoted this year. I still have more responsibilities than I get paid for. And I've decided that I want to get to my goal weight this year, which means taking fitness much more seriously. So emoticon work! Sexy breakfast it is!

I pulled on my workout clothes, gathered my free weights and a kitchen chair, and did the Day 3 ST routine of the 28-day bootcamp. I only did one rep, but I did it. And that's what counts. I celebrated by wearing my favorite pink dress, sexy boots, and cashmere sweater. (It's impossible to have a bad day while wearing pink, sexy boots, and cashmere.)

Then I prepped my breakfast (Einstein Bros. good grains bagel and reduced fat honey almond cream cheese with some coffee) and snacks (fruit and yogurt). I didn't pack my lunch because I ran out of room in my lunchbox and know that the cafeteria has good, healthy choices.

So guess what? I sauntered into work only 15 minutes late, with a workout under my belt and healthy food in tow. This set the tone for my whole day. I made a good choice at lunch (broiled cod with broccoli and roasted potatoes) and ate my fruit for a snack. Stuff that would have made me climb the walls on most days rolled off my back today. And now I'm off to the gym for a cardio workout.

Hooray for sexy breakfasts! I'm going to have to do them more often!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARIE_S 1/26/2011 4:24PM

    What a great idea!

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 1/4/2011 12:27AM

    I have "buy cashmere sweater" on my weight loss rewards list!

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-FEMALE- 1/3/2011 9:30PM

    GO YOU!!! You're amazing!!!

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JDALE528 1/3/2011 6:34PM

    Loved your story! Congrats to you, I completely agree about the boots and cashmere ;)

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SROUS1340 1/3/2011 6:31PM

    Woo Hoo for you! I got day 1 done and am feeling real good!

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WELSTEACH 1/3/2011 6:29PM

    What a great start to a day! Just think what you can accomplish.

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KITHKINCAID 1/3/2011 6:28PM

    Woohoo! Sounds great! I had a sexy breakfast AND lunch today too. Going home to do Bootcamp Day 2 and my cardio and make a Sexy Dinner :)

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Starting Over Starts Now (2011 Goals)

Monday, December 27, 2010

December was a total wash. I didn't lose but I didn't gain. I didn't watch what I ate or exercise much at all, so this is a miracle. However, I'm getting tired of feeling sluggish. So this lackadaisical attitude ends right here and now. The New Year starts now; there's no sense in waiting another week to get started. emoticon

This year I need to push harder and achieve more. 20 pounds is good, but I know I can do better. In fact, I'm aiming for double that. And some other stuff. emoticon

2011 Goals:

emoticon Lose 40 pounds by December 31, 2011.

emoticon Shrink to the point that my hats and gloves aren't the only size S/M in my wardrobe.

emoticon Do 1,000 fitness minutes a month.

emoticon Complete C25K program.

emoticon Raise every indicator in the MicroFit test to "fit" or "excellent."

emoticon Do 3 strength training sessions a week.

emoticon Blog once a week on SP.

emoticon Get 6 Perfect Attendance awards on SP.

emoticon Get more active on the Determination & Accountability Team.

emoticon Complete one challenge on SP.

emoticon Cross one thing off my bucket list.

emoticon Finish all the knitting projects in the Unfinished Object (UFO) cabinet.

emoticon Knit Christmas gifts for all my family members.

emoticon Burn CDs of wedding pictures and print a photo book.

emoticon Beat all my Ravin' Rabbids games.

emoticon Read one book a month.

emoticon Wear one "special garment" for my husband a month.

emoticon Do a monthly goal check-in blog.

January Goals:

emoticon Find or build a strength training workout I can do at home.

emoticon Do two cardio and one ST workout while in the Dominican Republic.

emoticon Don't gain weight while in the Dominican Republic.

emoticon Drop to 179 pounds.

emoticon Do 1,000 fitness minutes a month.

emoticon Do 3 strength training sessions a week.

emoticon Blog once a week on SP.

emoticon Huddle with the Determination & Accountability Team every day.

emoticon Participate in Determination & Accountability monthly weigh-in and fitness minutes challenge.

emoticon Make significant progress on one large project or finish a small project in the UFO cabinet.

emoticon Cast on one Christmas present.

emoticon Read one book.

emoticon Wear one "special garment" for my husband a month.

emoticon Do a monthly goal check-in blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMMYSWEETPEA 12/29/2010 12:11AM

    Great goals! You're a very organized lady!


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MJMONE 12/28/2010 12:28AM


you've really thought these out..motivates me..thanks for sharing!!

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LOTUSFLOWER 12/27/2010 8:20PM

    You can do it!!! Great goals, and I have a ST DVd that I totally recommend, it's called "Personal Training with Jackie - Xtreme Timesaver training", it's with celebrity trainer Jackie Warner, Spark did a review on it a few months ago and I purchased it then for about $10 on amazon, it is great! She combines cardio w/ ST which is supposed to be more effective, and it only takes about 20 minutes.

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-FEMALE- 12/27/2010 6:43PM

    You're so right!! Why wait until the New Year! Lets get back to it NOW. I LOVE your goals, I'm definitely adding some of those to my list.

Happy Holidays!!

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PERSONALTRNR 12/27/2010 5:32PM

    Awesome!! We're with you all the way!

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KITHKINCAID 12/27/2010 5:19PM

    Way to go Jen! We got your back!

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ZZYYGGY 12/27/2010 5:02PM

    great goals. You can do it.

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