JENJESS48   53,380
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JENJESS48's Recent Blog Entries

Worst Business Trip Ever

Friday, January 28, 2011

Most of you know that I travel for work. A lot. And that some of those trips have been doozies (ahem, Panamanian hospital). But this past one takes the cake.

The fun began before I even left the U.S. I met up with a bunch of my colleagues, both Americans and Latin Americans, in the airport in Miami; all of our connecting flights to the Dominican Republic went through Miami. Work sent people to coordinate everything, to make sure everyone got herded onto the flight to the DR. The yahoos sent people who couldn't speak Spanish. Betcha can guess who ended up translating...

The hotel was beautiful but my room was....not. The bathroom was dirty and covered in long dark hair (I'm blonde), neither the lamp nor the telephone worked. The kicker? Fleas in the bed!!! After a lot of yelling and pressure we got my room changed - the following day.

The food wasn't great and the desserts were an utter waste of calories. Which is just as well, really, since it kept me from overeating. However, the pina coladas were very good and I had at least one each day.

The gym sucked; very few weights, not enough machines, and no air conditioning. Thank goodness I packed my weights and gym shoes!

One of the Dominicans hit on me to the point where I thought he was going to kiss me. His behavior was utterly inappropriate and made me very, very uncomfortable. I escaped unscathed and unkissed, thank goodness. As a happily married and feisty woman, I was prepared to punch him in the face and run away, but luckily I got out of the situation gracefully before it came to that. Later I found out that this guy has quite the reputation as a womanizer.

The day I was supposed to leave I came down with strep throat. DH had it last week, so I'm quite sure that's what I have. Luckily I had traveling companions who could keep an eye on me; I couldn't carry my own backpack, let alone lug a suitcase. I got some amoxicillin at a pharmacy across the street; no prescription needed in the DR. That started to work almost right away, which is a huge blessing because I got stuck alone in Puerto Rico overnight. Snow in Baltimore prevented my connecting flight from leaving, but everyone else was heading further south and managed to get home. Luckily there was a hotel in the airport and it had a room available, so I didn't have to sleep in the airport itself.

My flight to DC (yup, had to change airports to get home) left San Juan late. And then we sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half, waiting for American Airlines to free up a gate so we could deplane. Ugh.

The kicker? I somehow managed to gain 2.4 pounds. And I have no idea how. So I'm going to blame the pina coladas. And dinner last night.

But it's not all bad news. I got in lots of good strength training by keeping up with bootcamp. I did some, though obviously not enough, cardio by walking/running on the beach. I'm feeling better but not good enough for work, so I can just relax today. DH met me at the airport with two of our best friends, and we went out to an amazing dinner (at which I'm quite certain I ate too much, but didn't care after the trip I'd had). Sleeping in my own bed was a huge comfort last night. As was being back in DH's arms.

So things are back to good now. But I have to work extra hard to get back down to 179, which is where I wanted to be at month end. I only have a few days to do it and I'm not quite well enough for massive amounts of exercise. But I'll stay within my calorie range and do what I can for exercise. If I don't get there, I don't get there. Getting back to 100% healthy is more important.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITHKINCAID 1/29/2011 1:24PM

    Oh man - that's terrible. Make sure you scan EVERYTHING in your bags for bedbugs and put it all in the dryer on high heat. YUCK! So sorry Jen!

I'd say drink lots of water - flush this sickness and water retention out of you and you'll drop back down.

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LOTUSFLOWER 1/28/2011 4:02PM

    I'm sorry you had such a bad trip!!! Yaay for Pina Coladas though, that probably made you retain water for your weigh in, but at least you got a serving of fruits with it! You are amazing and awesome for keeping up with boot camp while traveling girl!!! I am super proud of you, and glad you are back home safe and sound.

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DITZYCHICK 1/28/2011 3:33PM

    Ewww...saw your status that your room was bad, but that's way beyond bad. And to be sick on top of it, I'm sure all you wanted was a nice hot bath and clean bed to crawl into. Strep throat really pulls your energy level down too, let alone while you're traveling. Hopefully the womanizer was close enough that he'll get it and will have some down time to think about his actions. Enjoy being back home with your honey and in your own fleas!!! Sounds like you need to spend the weekend there to recover.

As for the pounds gained...I think retaining water is a pretty normal thing to happen while traveling. I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. You'll quickly be back where you were now that your feeling better and are back home where you can recover from the horrible experience.
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Wrapping Up the Week and Planning for Next Week

Friday, January 21, 2011

This week has been rough. Stupid busy at work, mostly with things that ultimately don't matter. (Isn't that how it always works, though?) Consequently I haven't been paying as much attention to my exercise and nutrition as I would like. I went over my calories two days in a row despite meal planning: my lunch plans got blown to smithereens both days and therefore my calibrated plan didn't work. Ugh. The fact that it was TOM and I was just plain HUN-GRAY all day didn't help any either. With the exception of one beverage each day (amaretto one day, a soda the next) I ate very healthily, so I can live with it.

Fitness has gone somewhat better. I have done my boot camp videos faithfully every day this week and got cardio in every day but yesterday. So I'll still get 6 of the 7 days this week. What I lacked was both duration and intensity. Again, considering TOM and how flat-out exhausted I've been, I'll take it.

I have also consistently drank my water and gotten 8-9 hours sleep. So, on balance, I think I've earned a B- for the week. As I didn't want to put in any effort at all, that's pretty respectable. I'm weighing myself a day early because I'm leaving for a business trip: I won't have access to a scale in pounds where I'm headed and I want to make sure I stay on track and don't gain weight while I'm there. I'm a little concerned about what the scale will say on Sunday but I think it'll be okay; I was probably carrying some water at my last weight that I've since lost. Plus I'm ahead of the game in terms of meeting my monthly weight loss goal (only 2 pounds left of the 6 total). All I ask is that I don't gain. And I have two days in which to make some progress, so I should be fine.

So I'm going to stop beating myself up. This weight loss thing works far better for me if I just keep focused on what I need to do every day, then stepping back every now and again to assess how I'm doing against my goals. Overall I'm ahead of the game. I just need to keep focused. (This worked with the in-law visit, btw. I still lost 0.6 pound last week despite the in-law visit and water weight.)

This coming week will be about getting my boot camp in, doing some extra cardio, and making good food choices. The latter is the hardest part: the conference I'm attending is at an all-inclusive resort. My strategy is to eat as much fish and fruit as I can find while refusing to overindulge in alcohol or dessert. One a day is fine. But no more than that. I don't know what the gym facilities or computer accessibility will be like, so I printed out my boot camp exercises and will pack my weights, gym shoes, and swimsuit. That should be enough equipment for me to get in good workouts; I just might need to get creative. I'm going to the Dominican Republic, which has two seasons: summer and hell. Luckily for me it's summer, so I can run or swim outside without dying.

All I can do is my best. If my efforts weren't enough this week or the above plan fails - or even fails to work as well as I want it to - so be it. Life happens. I just need to keep pushing forward.

Yeah, this is pretty cranky and gloomy for me, lol. Don't worry, I'll cheer up; I always do. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMSOLO10 1/22/2011 1:56PM

    I agree! I think you did well also! And it sounds like you are making a good plan to "survive" in the Dominican. Stick with it and you WILL hit your goals! emoticon

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DITZYCHICK 1/21/2011 7:28PM

    So sorry you've had a rough week...unfortunately we all have those. You may not have been where you want for nutrition, BUT keeping up with your exercise, especially during a tough week, is no small thing.

Sounds like you have some big temptations coming up. My advice...just make good choices. You just might want to allow yourself a "little" of what is calling your name because if you don't...the next day you just might find yourself having alot. Unfortunately it usually works that way.

Most importantly...have fun, and don't be so hard on yourself. This journey isn't something that happens overnight. It's a day by day process and real life will always throw a curve ball into any plan we create.




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JENJESS48 1/21/2011 4:47PM

    Yeah, I know I shouldn't complain about escaping to the Caribbean this time of year, lol. And at the heart of it I'm not. Trust me, I'm grateful to get out of the cold and gloom. The problem is the lifestyle that these conferences encourage. The food, the booze, the sitting around on your butt. And I've traveled so much for work that I'm just kind of done with it, no matter how amazing the place is. Plus, I really don't like all-inclusives that much: you don't actually get to see any of the country. I'm not terribly adventurous but I'm more adventurous than that, lol. And sappy as this sounds, I just don't like being away from DH. What I do enjoy is the work and the people I work with. That's what makes it worthwhile.

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KITHKINCAID 1/21/2011 4:18PM

    Am I allowed not to feel sorry for you that you're going to the Dominican Republic? It's the coldest day of the year here. When I came back from my run I think my ass had frost bite. Haha. But you'll be great and you'll do just fine while you're away. I hope you get a chance to soak in some sun while you're there. Then come back and share with us chilly peeps.

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BONJI40 1/21/2011 2:28PM

    Well, I think you did pretty darn well this week, considering! You got in a lot of workouts and even though your food wasn't perfect each day, you drank water, got sleep--that's great!

Have a great trip! Hope you can do some relaxing while there too!


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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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