Operation Skinny Jeans: November 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Since tomorrow is all about thankfulness (and turkey, lets be honest) I thought I would take a moment to be thankful today.

I try to be thankful every day of the year, because I think it's important to cherish what you have. Because of that I started keeping a gratitude journal a while back, and it has really helped me focus on the amazing things in my life.

First, my husband. Andy is my best friend and I am so lucky to get to spend the rest of my life with him. Fun fact- tomorrow is our 4 year wedding anniversary :D Every year we take an anniversary photo, and I am excited to take ours tomorrow. These are our past ones.

Secondly I am thankful for my family. My parents and sisters are the bomb and I am glad we have each other .  I am also one of the lucky ones who's in-laws are really awesome. They are my family and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love getting to see them all this time of year. 

I am thankful for my friends. I have some of the best friends a woman could ask for. My friend Alex has known me for almost 10 years, and I couldn't imagine life without her. And my friend Sonya has only been in my life for the last year or so, but I can't imagine life without her either. These women support me through thick and thin, and they are my rocks. And all of my friends that support me on a daily basis. You all mean the world to me. 

And lastly I am thankful for all of you. Having you by my side has made this journey a lot easier, and I am so thankful for that. Thank you for supporting me and inspiring me and keeping me going. You all mean so much to me, and I would tell each of you thank you in person if I could. 

After that mushfest, who's ready for a day off and some good food :D I know I am! 

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What I hate about the 21 Day Fix

It's just one thing, but it's a big thing.

The name.

It frustrates me that a program that makes so much sense has a name that doesn't fully explain what it is. Sure, it is structured as a 21 day program, which I like in a way, but it isn't a "Fix" and I hate the way that word is used. A "Fix" implies something short term, and not permanent, and adding in the "21 Days" part doesn't help the image. I think it gives people the wrong impression about the program, which really is a shame.

The 21 Day Fix is not a "quick fix". It's not a magic pill or wrap that will promise crazy unrealistic results.

It is a meal plan and workout program that is hard, and requires work and dedication, but can yield results if you commit to it. Just like anything else that involves eating better and working out.

The reason it is set up as a 21 day program is because people can see results in 21 days. And lets be honest, people have short attention plans and the program isn't easy. It is easier to commit to a life change for 21 days, than for 90 days. And it only takes 21 days to build a habit, so in theory if you commit to something for 21 days, it will be something you can stick with long term. But the program doesn't only last 21 days. If you look at it like that, the program really only lasts a week. You get 7 workouts, and every week you do them again. Every Monday you do the same workout, and every Tuesday, and so on and so forth. There are ways to switch it up, do doubles, add workouts in, but by and large, week in and week out, its a routine you can follow.

And the workouts aren't rocket science, which I think is what I love about them. You do a set of 3-5 moves for a minute each, then do it again. Then you do 3-5 different moves for a minute each, and then do it again. It's about repetition and pushing yourself to do squats for a full minute, then lunges for a full minute, then something else, then do it again. What is nice is that each workout is different, and you get some variety. There is total body, cardio, legs, arms, pilates, yoga, etc. You get to work your whole body throughout the week just to do it again the next week.

I explained how the program works in this post, and I really believe its not a fix. It's a way of looking at food and portion control (and proportion control) that can change the way you look at food. Eating the right amount is just as important as eating the right things. And while there is no secret to good nutrition, some people need it laid out for them, like me. I do well with structure, knowing I need to eat 6 proteins, 6 veggies, 4 carbs, 4 fruits, and 1 fat a day. I can hit those markers and feel satisfied and not hungry and in control. I don't feel deprived because my carb can be potato chips once a week if I feel like it. Or chocolate or wine. Treats are allowed, 3 times a week. There is a container conversion for pizza, again its a treat, but I can have pizza and not have to think that I am blowing my whole week.

And I love that Autumn continually makes videos (free videos, on youtube) giving more ideas and tips of how to stay on plan and still live. Like this one about Thanksgiving.

And after a lot of thought, and discussion, and going back and forth about what I am going to do to control my eating, I have decided to follow the 21 day fix meal plan. I am still doing P90 workouts for now, but I am eating via the container method. It makes sense, it makes me feel good, and I don't have to pay monthly for it :D

If you are hung up on the name, don't be. Look past that and see what could be a great solution for you long term. Portion control eating is nothing new. But having easy color coded containers to measure stuff in, and a clear cut eating plan of how many of each container to eat a day is, and it makes life a little bit easier, which isn't that the point?

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving- Plan of attack!

I am notorious for going crazy on Thanksgiving. I love food, especially thanksgiving food, and I am always that person who fills up their plate and goes back for seconds. In past years I have tried to be better, but I always end up feeling deprived so I go back and get more and I end up feeling bloated and ashamed that I lost control again.

We all have triggers to overeat. Buffets are mine. Especially holiday buffets. Social situations give me anxiety, and I try to combat that with stuffing my face, apparently. But my plan this year is to be different. And I think the reason it will be is that I am looking at the holiday differently. For the last, at least 6 years, I have been "dieting" over Thanksgiving. I make a sweeping declaration that I am not going to overeat and I set myself up for failure. I grab only a little bit of turkey and veggies, and then stare longingly at the stuffing and mashed potatoes I am not eating. Which usually ends with me caving, grabbing some and then feeling overly full after seconds.

But this year I have a plan! I am not dieting over Thanksgiving (or at all, which I think makes a huge difference) but instead I am just going to enjoy it. I know what portions look like, I know how to eat in moderation, and I am going to have a little bit of everything I want, and I am going to stop when I am full.

I am also going to move that morning, whether at home or if the weather is nice maybe go for a run. I tend to eat better when I workout so I think that will help. But really other than that, I am just going to enjoy it. Thanksgiving is one day of the year, one meal out of literally over 1000. It isn't going to kill me to enjoy it responsibly.

I am learning the way we think about food has a lot to do with how we consume it. When something is special or a treat, we tend to covet it and overindulge. If we look at it as just another meal in a series of lots of other meals, we can set aside our emotions and just eat it. It is hard, but taking the emotions out of food can make it a lot easier to manage your temptations.

Any tips or tricks for getting through Thanksgiving? Leave them below! We can get through it together!

And if you want some help staying on track between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ash and my diet bet starts on Thursday!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Vegan Reese's Cup Smoothie- And a giveaway!

This is a sponsored post for Puritans Pride, through Sweat Pink. I was given products in exchange for my recipes, but my recipes and opinions are all my own. 

I love this smoothie. Or shake, or whatever. It is delicious. I have such a sweet tooth, especially this time of year, and I know that I can satisfy that without going crazy because of delicious shakes like these. 

I am a huge fan of chocolate and peanut butter together. Who isn't amirite? So when I got Vegan Chocolate protein through Puritain's Pride (via SweatPink) I knew I had to add peanut butter to it. And man, it didn't disappoint. The protein powder itself has a great texture, super smooth and doesn't come out too thick which I appreciate. It also has a subtle sweetness and chocolateyness so its not over powering. It really pairs great with peanut butter. 

Here's the recipe!

Vegan Reese's Cup Smoothie

1 scoop Puritain's Pride All Natural Soy Protein- Chocolate1 tablespoon All Natural Organic Peanut Butter 1 cup Unsweetened Almond MilkA few ice cubes. 

Add together and blend away! You can also chop up a Reece's cup and sprinkle it on top for fanciness ;) Double points if you drink it from a mason jar! 

And here are the stats! 

And you can win some awesome stuff (including this protein powder) from Puritain's Pride!

It is a Pin it to Win it! Between now and next Friday, everyone who pins the top picture will be entered to win:

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

When in doubt

This has been a week full of mushy posts but hey, why not add another one ;)

Living your life on the internet is kinda hard. Like most of you know, this isn't my first blog, but this blog experience has been completely different than my past experiences. For one, more people than just my grandma read it, but more than that I have never been as open as I have been on this blog. Which has presented some really intense moments for me. I think its been a huge growing experience being so raw, but it also has left me vulnerable in a few cases. Granted I wouldn't trade it for the world.

It has also introduced me to some of my best friends in the world, and some of the best acquaintances a girl could ask for. I have met so many incredible people and I can't say how thankful I am for it. You guys mean more to me than you know.

But back to my point, I think, like I mentioned on Monday, there can be some pressure to be perfect online. To wear the trendiest clothes, to take the best food pictures, to have the most interesting life, get the best fastest results, blah blah blah. And this pressure can lead people to do drastic things, like fabricate stories or photoshop their photos. I totally get it, because the pressure is real, but I can't imagine actually doing it.

The thing is, I am a terrible liar, and I am not organized enough to remember every detail of my lie, so I really don't do it in general. It never pays off, and its a pain in the ass to keep up with. My motto in life is "When in doubt, be yourself." For real tho, my senior year quote was "How could I have been anyone other than me?" which pretty much sums up my life, which is fancy since I chose it 10 years ago. Trying to be someone you aren't has got to be exhausting, and isn't life already hard enough? I can't imagine trying to be perfect, and I am okay with that.

I read a lot of blogs, and I stop reading a lot of blogs when I feel like the person behind the keyboard is being inauthentic. I love a little realness in the people I follow, ya know? Who can relate to someone who is perfect all.the.time. Granted, I am kind of a hot mess most of the time, but I own it. I think way less of us have our shit together than we pretend to on the internet amirite?

So I am gonna be over here, lovin on some dinosaurs and rhinos, bingewatching netflix shows,  and dressing up as Katniss for a quiz and then a midnight showing of the Hunger Games, being me.

Take me or leave me, I am who I am.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Staying on track this holiday season

I can't believe it's the holidays already! I feel like the years are passing by like crazy these days.

I feel like the holidays are one of the hardest times of the year to stay on track with your goals. Statistics show that people gain, on average, 8-10 lbs (or less, I stand corrected.) between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. That's crazy! And not shocking at all. There is an abundance of delicious food, social situations, and stress. It can be a disastrous combination.

But the good news is, it doesn't have to be! In the past I have struggled with the holidays, but I have a few things that help me stay on track.

1. Be prepared. Know when you have events coming up and plan for them. Make sure to eat good nutrient rich food before you go, and plan to indulge a little bit. Don't go hungry and make sure to drink lots of water. It's alright to indulge, especially in the foods you love and only get once a year, just make sure to do it in moderation, and don't feel guilty about it.

2. Limit your alcohol. I know, this takes all the fun out of it, believe me, but try not to drink an entire day's worth of calories in a night. Stick to drinks that don't have a lot of excess sugar, and limit yourself to one or two.

3. Bring a dish. When we go to a family get together, I always bring my favorite dish. That way I know what is in it, and I can turn to it without feeling guilty.

4. Set a goal and stay accountable. I think we get in the mentality that the year is almost over and we can start over next year, so we stop thinking about it. Its nice to take a break, but sometimes what we need is to stay focused and work toward our goals.

Last holiday season, my friend Ash and I co-hosted a diet bet that went from Thanksgiving day to Christmas eve, as a promise to lose weight between the holidays, and not gain (like most people do). It was awesome and really kept us accountable over the holidays, so we are doing it again!

Along with this Diet Bet will be a private Facebook group for all the support, accountability and comradare you can imagine. 

I am looking forward to the support and accountability of a Diet bet this holiday season. Are you up for the challenge?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why I am a coach

Having an eating disorder is lonely.

You start to doubt yourself, and how you feel about other people. You begin to wonder if you are even yourself anymore. When you make sweeping statements that NOW is the time you are going to lose weight, your friends and family don't understand. They have seen this before, a swing of mania to your upcoming inevitable depression. Its not that they don't respect you or love you, they just don't know how to react anymore. Your declarations of weight loss become as silly to them as saying you are going to build a rocket ship to the moon!

There is only so much patience and love they have before they tune you out.

But what they don't understand is that when you declare, you mean it. But your brain sabotages you slowly but surely. Every positive step in the right direction is met with an equal step in the wrong direction until you are eating ice cream from the carton in the shower so your husband doesn't see you. True story.

Losing weight is lonely. People who have never struggled with their weight don't understand. Eating the way you do is your normal. Your family eats this way, your spouse, but this way of eating is killing you. WHY YOU? Why do you have such problems with it? And your family doesn't want to change, there is nothing wrong with them. You add more veggies to dinner plates, action that's met with groans and eye rolls. You encourage the family to go on walks (so you don't feel like the fat girl walking on the side of the road with everyone staring) and they refuse. You ask your fit friend to go to the gym with you so you aren't alone, and while she starts running on the treadmill, you struggle to keep a steady walking pace.  You just end up feeling more ashamed than when you started and you go home and stop trying. It's too hard.

I have done this alone. And I have done this with support. And I can tell you, having people that are on the same journey, supporting you, encouraging you, keeping you accountable, makes all the difference.

I didn't become a coach for money. Money was never a goal of mine. Nor rank advancement. I became a coach because I wanted a coach. When I was starting out I would have KILLED for someone to message me and say "Hey girl! I was thinking about you today, how was it!" I yearned for someone to celebrate the fact that I didn't drink a soda today. I cried at night because I wanted someone to care.

The summer before I became a coach, I held 2 groups to encourage people. I loved having that support and accountability part, but people begged me for a workout and meal plan, or at least guidance. I couldn't give it. I am not a trainer, I have no nutritionist training, I couldn't help them. And it broke my heart. For my 2nd challenge, I got a trainer and a nutritionist on board, and I was so happy to be able to offer the complete package. Support + workout+ nutrition = success, every time.

When I was approached (for the 3rd time) by a friend and mentor of mine about coaching, I decided to give it an honest thought. I was happy to give people the support and accountability part, but I had nothing I could offer for workouts and nutrition. Enter Beachbody. I decided to try P90X3 and I loved it, and fell in love with Tony Horton, Beachbody as a company and Shakeology. And it gave me the platform to offer people a workout and nutrition solution I believed in, along with the support and accountability I loved providing.

I am not a trainer, I am not a nutritionist, and I don't claim to be those things. I am a cheerleader. I am the person that will be there for you to celebrate every victory, whether big or small. And I am the person you can come to with no judgment when you are riding the struggle bus. I am not perfect, but I am positive, and I have been there.

I coach because I desperately needed a coach. I want to be the person I needed most when I struggled most. And even tho I am still figuring things out on the workout and nutrition side of it, I am a pro at being positive and supportive.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Keeping up with the Joneses

We have all seen this message in one form or another.

Yet we continue to live our lives comparing ourselves to those around us. We all do it, I think it's human nature, but at what point does it become destructive? I think especially when we do it from behind a keyboard and compare our reality to someone's highlight reel (aka blog) it can really warp our sense of reality and our own personal accomplishment.

I wanted to lose weight before I decided to blog about it. I didn't know how, but I was going to try. I was going to eat better and workout and that would take me there. I would probably use Weight Watchers, because thats what everyone does, and I would probably take Zumba, because thats what is popular. In fact, for a while I was on the Weight Watchers/ Zumba plan, and it was great. It wasn't until I started blogging that I discovered what I should be doing.

I was never a runner. Until I started blogging, I never ran a mile. Until I started blogging, I hated running. But after following other women on this journey, I started to think "If I want to be successful, I have to start running..." Everyone (back then) was running. It was the thing to do. If you weren't running long races, you didn't fit in in "blogland" (at least thats what it felt like). I stopped listening to my body and started listening to strangers on the internet, and that was when things started to fall apart.

I ran my first mile in the summer of 2013. I was incredibly proud and I was pushed to do so by my desire to "fit in" with the other weight loss bloggers. I am thankful I was motivated by them to push myself further (which is a healthy type of competition) but what came after that was less positive. I became obsessed with becoming a "runner". I didn't even like running but I felt like I had to in order to be a part of the "fit crowd". I started C25K attempt #7/109 but instead of feeling proud when I pushed further than I had before, I felt ashamed and disappointed that I couldn't run as far or as fast as the people I was trying to keep up with. Instead of feeling accomplished, I felt destroyed. I thought maybe my goals weren't "big enough". Seen this one?

My goals scared me, but I still wasn't progressing as a runner as fast as I wanted to, so maybe they weren't big enough. Maybe I was failing at making the right kind of goals, and thats why I was failing at running. I think we all know what happened next.

I set myself up for certain failure by signing up for a half marathon when I couldn't even run a 5K. I couldn't run more than a mile, how was I going to run 13 of them in a row? But I kept repeating "If you goals don't scare you, they aren't big enough." because thats what the women I looked up to said.

When I had to pull out of the race (because I was not prepared) and had to admit that to all of you, a piece of me died. I think you all know things haven't been the same. I failed at being the fit blogger I was "supposed" to be. I failed all of you.

Same thing with eating. When I started blogging, clean eating was THE way to eat. If you weren't eating clean, you weren't dieting appropriately. I learned a lot about processed food and "cleaned up" my diet a lot, but there is also a lot of shame if you don't eat clean. So I looked into IIFYM, but probably because it's what is trendy and what all the fit bloggers are doing at the moment.

I think it's important to check out new trends, and learn new things. And every thing I have tried I have learned something new about myself. But something that was really getting to me is the shaming associated with all of it, whether self inflicted or otherwise. If you aren't an all or nothing clean eater, shame. If you eat Poptarts cause it fits your macros, shame. If you enjoy cardio instead of lifting, MEGA SHAME.

I think its really awesome we aren't alone in this extremely lonely journey because of the internet. And having so much information at our finger tips is awesome. And I am fully aware that my perceived pressure to do something is all on me. But I think we all want to fit in, we all want to do what is "right" according to the people we look up to, and we all feel internal (and often external) shame if we aren't doing it "right". There is so much cardio shaming right now. I totally get that lifting weights burns more calories in the long run, and that building muscle has SO MANY benefits, but shaming women because they like cardio is like the new black or something. Between memes and blogposts and advise that all women should hate the treadmill (or if you aren't doing HIIT, you are doing cardio wrong) etc, is more destructive than constructive.

I took last week off to clear my head. I have felt like such a failure for so long because what was "cool" wasn't working for me, or I couldn't make it work. I was letting all of that pressure build up on me and it wasn't good. I needed to step back, re-assess my situation and priorities, and figure out what I like to do. I am done keeping up with the Joneses (or Laughlins) and I am ready to do what makes me happy. This is my journey. It hasn't been perfect, it won't be perfect, but I am doing myself injustice by trying to be someone other than me.

Maybe its just me. Maybe I am the only one who feels the pressure of being fit blogger, and if so, that's fine, I own that. But if you feel the same way, you aren't alone, and you don't have to do something just to fit in. If you love counting points and running on a treadmill, that is so awesome. If you love counting macros and lifting ALL the heavy things, that is so awesome! I think we need to be more accepting that we are all on this journey of health and fitness together and that any way that we choose to get there in the end IS awesome. We aren't competing. Your way of doing it isn't better than mine. And my way isn't better than yours. This isn't a race.

If you want to read a blog about a girl who is doing her best to live a healthier (mentally and physically) life, who often messes up and definitely doesn't have all the answers, then stick around. If you are looking for someone who will lose 2+ lbs every week, provide workout videos and be a beast, I can't promise that, and my blog might not be the one for you. I can promise candor, and I can promise positivity, but I can't promise perfection. I am not an after. I am right in the sticky, hairy middle, and I am putting one foot in front of the other every day. That's all I can do.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Staying Motivated- Guest Post by Mary

Hey Guy's!!! Happy FRIDAY!!! You made it!

Okay, enough with the exclamation points...

Today, I am guest posting for my friend Jess. I have been blogging for about 7 months now, over at Other Side of the Lens
, and have also been a Beachbody Coach the same length of time. One of the biggest struggles I see with people is they buy the product after watching a promo or those late night infomercials and they decided now is the time to change. They are pumped for about a few days, maybe telling everyone you know that you are going to ripped soon, and started you Motivation board on Pinterest. Atleast, that's what I did. haha Then the day comes and you now have the program, in all it's glory. Today is the day you'll look back and say that was the last day I ever wore a size XX in pants. Then life happens and you never really even start the first disk, and it just sits there on your entertainment center taunting you every time you are trying to watch Game of Thrones......for the next few months.

The real problem here is that I....I mean, other people, were relying on short term motivation to carry them through a lifetime of change.

What I mean by that is those little "tips" that people talk about to get the motivated to get up at the butt crack of dawn to run a half-marathon 4xs a week. For example, wear your workout clothes to bed so all you have to do is put your shoes on in the morning (well, jokes on you- I wear my workout clothes ALL day!), or put your alarm clock on the other side of the room (yeah...I feel like that would just make me angry), or keep your shoes by the door (so when you decide to sleep in, they can taunt you for missing your workout).

I call those things the 5-Hour Energy of motivational techniques. I'm not saying they don't work but for those of us that are great at making excuses about our workout, they don't fly.

I have told people who have had issues with finding their motivation to workout (or anything for that matter) is to really self-reflect on what matters to you. Do you wish that you can live long enough to see your great-grandchildern? Or does setting a good example for body-loving for your daughter, so she doesn't fall into the trap most young girls do of body-hating or shaming? The point is to find something that to your soul gets you excited and creates a sustaining emotion. Then that is the thing that will carry you through a tough workout or week 3 of your plateau or even just STARTING the workout program.

Then I like to add what I like to call "The Oh-Shit List". This is where you list things that will get you energized for your workout. Because lets face it, you can be motivated but straight up exhausted at the same time. So what this list is, is 3 or 4 different things that you know gets you energized.


1. listen to Jay-Z (yup.....that's really on my list lol)

2. Watch 1 transformation video online

3. press play and watch (and when I feel pumped enough to join, I restart the workout video)

Hopefully, you can do atleast one of these things to get you movin and grovin and kill that workout. I find motivation soooo important to keep you going. Without it, you are alot more likely to stop when things get hard or you aren't seeing the results you want. But if you get both of these things down (true motivation, and your list) then I think you will be unstoppable!

Have a Happy Friday Lovlies!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why Giving Up on Perfection Doesn’t Make You Lazy - Guest post by Kristin

Hey everybody! My name is Kristin! This is my face:
I blog over at My Year in the Making and I'm taking over Jess' blog today!
My Year in the Making is a lifestyle blog, so basically I write about whatever floats my goat. But as a long-time reader of Operation Skinny Jeans, I knew I wanted to make sure to stick to a topic that Jess’s readers would really enjoy, and I think I may have just the thing.
Why giving up on perfection does not make you lazy: 
Tell me if this sounds familiar: "Oh my god I'm so motivated! Tomorrow I'm gonna wake up early and go to the gym! Then I'm gonna finish that work/school project! And I'm gonna eat exactly 1311 calories! Then I'm gonna make a four course meal for my significant other and be awesome and rescue some puppies from a burning building and become the mayor and and and."

We all at one time or another have had these thoughts hit us (and if you haven’t then you're obviously a superhero and I am in awe of your greatness.) We overachievers make all these plans to change everything overnight and then somehow once the alarm goes off the next morning we suddenly lose all of our motivation and roll over and go back to sleep.
We’re so busy planning out how to be overacheivers that we get overwhelmed and hide under the blankets.

If you're anything like me, this makes you feel really bad about yourself. It makes you feel lazy and unaccomplished. But are you?

No. You’re not. I’m here to tell you that right this very second, if you haven't already, you need to give up on being perfect.

Go ahead and entertain the idea for a minute. It’s fine, I’ll wait. Now...Did you hear that? The sound of explosions? Buildings burning? The sound of the zombie apocalypse beginning?

No. You didn't hear that. And to be fair, I’m absolutely not telling anyone to give up on bettering themselves. But sometimes when we are trying to better ourselves, the goal setting gets a bit out of hand. It becomes a burden. A huge anxiety. So knock it off. Stop burdening yourself with too many changes all at once. It does not mean you failed. It does not make you lazy. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay not to be perfect. Why?

Because you will never be perfect. 

It’s as simple as that. You will never be perfect. And giving up on something you truly will never be does not make you lazy. It makes you a reasonable. It keeps you sane.
We’re constantly bombarded with unrealistic expectations everywhere we turn. It’s a part of life that will not go away. So we have to take some of the pressure off of ourselves by being able to say “I am not perfect, and that’s okay.”
When we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, it is a one way ticket to discouragement. Expecting perfection for ourselves will leave us saying “Wow, I suck. I can’t do anything.” And that’s not bettering anything, that’s just making yourself feel bad unnecessarily.

I am a firm believer in baby steps. 

So the next time you let the laundry sit in the washer a bit too long, you didn’t have time to try out that recipe you wanted to for dinner, or maybe you’re just freaking out in general over not having your s**t together, just remember: it is not the end of the world.
Take a breath. You are perfectly imperfect. Embrace it. 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Choose your own adventure- Guest Post by Courtney

Hi!  I am Courtney from A Few Days in the Life of Courtsie Ann B!  A big thanks to Jess for allowing me to hijack her blog today!

Do any of you remember these books?  The books where you would read up to a certain point and then you would get to choose what to do next.  You would turn to a certain page and learn your fate. These books were always so popular in my elementary school library.  They looked like this back in the day:

I had to choose this one because I liked the title.  Apparently, I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy, so anything with "booti" in it has to be chosen.   Come on, you chuckled.  Right?! Right?!

Anyway, I feel like my life lately has been one of these books.  My current story would go something like...

Courtney was having a wonderful day.  She worked out the night before and could feel her sore abs. She was wobbling around work like an old lady, but she knew she had earned it through her hard work and re-commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  Suddenly, all hell breaks loose in teenage drama land, and Courtney's school counseling skills are put to the test.  She is so tired.  What does Courtney do to make herself feel better??  

Courtney relieves her stress by doing some extra exercise -- turn to page 36.
Courtney grabs a snack to re-energize herself -- turn to page 42

If you chose page 36:
You would see this picture:

because lately, my effort towards exercise has been somewhat laughable.

If you chose page 42:

Courtney is so stressed and tired from her day that she comes home only to raid the pile of Snicker bars that her children have picked out of their Halloween candy and deemed as "yucky."  Are these children really hers?  Would anyone with her blood running through their veins REALLY deny Snickers?!?! Preposterous!  

Courtney eats multiple candy bars while hating herself at the same time -- negating all calories burned the night before.  She lays on the couch and falls asleep in front of the television. Chocolate drool runs slowly down the sides of her mouth...

So, what is the point of this sad story telling?

Well, it is that it has taken me a really long time to really understand, but I have realized that I can choose the ending to my story.  Even though I have struggled lately, and there have seemed to be laughing orangutans at every turn, that does not mean that I cannot turn to page 35, flip the stinkin' primates off and get on with my life.  One Snickers-induced coma does not define my adventure.

The truth is that even though I have not been as motivated as I would like to be lately, I am waaaay better off than I was 10 years ago...or even just one year ago.  I think it is because I have gained confidence where I never had it before.  I am a different woman.  So, really, my exciting ending, isn't really an ending at all.  It is a beginning.

So, instead of focusing on what I haven't done lately, I am not going to focus on what I HAVE done:

  • I started going to yoga classes on Sunday afternoons.  This is a big deal for me because it required me to step waaaay out of my comfort zone.  I was so worried about my form and not being able to do the moves, but the instructor actually told me that I did very well.  
  • I have begun working with a trainer every week to help me refocus on my goals.  She kicks my butt and I can barely walk when it is over, but it is awesome!  I feel really comfortable with her and I feel a love for fitness starting to creep back in!
  • I left the house feeling confident in actual active wear rather than baggy sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt!  I know this does not seem like a big deal, but I can tell when I am at a low point, when I try to hide my fat behind unflattering, baggy clothes.  I wore these clothes with a smile and felt good in them!

  • I have come to understand that lack of perfection does not equal failure.  

So, I guess I will wind up this rather long blog entry saying that although I may not choose the right path during this adventure, I can still flip back and rewrite my story.  You will not always visit my blog hearing tales of perfection, but you will always see honesty and the story of a real woman working towards her goals who struggles every single day.  Be proud of who you are.  Be proud of your story.

- Courtney

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Biggest Struggle- Guest Post by Ashlee

Hi Jess's readers! I am excited to be guest posting for Jess today :) Good for her taking an internet break this week. Some of you may know me and some of you may not so I will do a little introduction.

My name is Ash Z and I blog over at Ash's Right Direction. My blog started off as a way to keep me accountable for my weight loss, now I blog about not only my fitness and weight loss, but my life. I have currently stalled with my weight loss and it is driving me nuts.

I joined Weight Watcher in July of 2011 after seeing my wedding photos and feeling like a blob. I lost 35 lbs before getting pregnant with Mason. I stayed active throughout my pregnancy and felt great. After having Mason in July 2012 it took me almost six months to finally get back into the groove of weight loss. I was active, but I could not get my eating under control.
I got down to my lowest weight in my adult life this past spring - I weighed in at 167.4. I was sooo happy and proud of myself. Something happened over the summer though, I gained 10 lbs. When I went to put my jeans from the spring on last month they were tight and a couple pairs did not even go over my thighs! What the heck? Again this was due to my eating habits.

I ran my first half marathon in the beginning of June and I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to after. I also felt like I deserved a little break from running and I let myself indulge. Apparently that break lasted three month.

Eating is the hardest part of the weight loss journey for me. I can get into a workout groove pretty easily, but I cannot get my food sort out. I recently jumped on the Advocare bandwagon. Today is my last day of the 10 Day Cleanse part of the 24 Day Challenge. I have been tracking my food on MFP everyday and I have been eating clean. I feel great and I have seen a difference on the scale. I know that I will not be able to keep up this habit in reality. I know that people eat clean everyday and that it is possible, but it is not our lifestyle to do it 100% of the time.

What I am learning is that if I track my food and I am consistent I will be successful. I am also getting my body back into feeling full with less and not snacking as much. Oh how I loved my snacks! But, I love how I feel when I take care of my body and when sizes fit that didn't fit before. With determination and heart you can accomplish anything you set your mind to!
I am co-hosting a Turkey Day 5k this year - check out my blog today for more information. You can also find me on --- Instagram - Facebook - Twitter

What is your biggest struggle? eating? working out? your schedule?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Not Perfect, Not “Good Enough”- Guest post by Carolyn

I am so excited to take this week to feature some of my favorite blog friends! Check out my friend Carolyn!


Last week Jess wrote about the pressure of perfection in the blogging world. There are plenty of “perfect” (but not really) bloggers, but I’ve never tried to be one of them because a) that would be an exhausting charade and b) I love tacos too much.

It was two years ago this week that I decided that I needed to make a change. I was 23 years old, 5'6", 228lbs, and stuffing myself into a pair of size 16 jeans (the only pair I had that “fit”). Also, someone took this picture of me, which was a harsh reality check that I didn't carry my weight as well as I hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I was still confident and a happy person and I didn’t hate myself and felt “good enough.” I almost think I had some type of reverse body dysmorphia where I truly didn’t realize how much weight I’d gained. I wasn't "just a little curvy" like I had always thought, I was more than 70lbs overweight:

Highest weight, November 2012, about 228lbs here.

So I bit the bullet, set aside my thrice-weekly Jimmy Johns habit (*crying emoji*) and jumped on the Weight Watchers train full steam ahead.

I reached my lowest adult weight of 162lbs in April 2014. I was running 25-30 miles a week. I had gone from a 2:25 half marathon to a PR of 2:09. I was still technically overweight, but I was pretty damn close to my goal of 150lbs. I wasn’t perfect, but I had been challenging myself with my workouts and constantly in pursuit of my goals. And then I got complacent. 

Lowest weight in April 2014, about 162lbs here (and obviously still loving stripes).
I stopped running due to an achilles injury, but I stopped being disciplined food-wise because I thought: "good enough!" And, sure, I was a lot healthier than when I was heavier. But I wasn’t at my goal, and certainly wasn’t running enough to justify more and more frequent indulgences.

Fast forward to last week. I spent the early fall half-assedly trying to lose weight gained from a summer of little running and lots of tacos (god I love tacos). I had a bridesmaid dress to fit in, and I lost juuuuust enough weight that it fit. Once the wedding was over, old Carolyn was back with a vengence, because "good enough" is a dangerous mindset for people who struggle with portion control and choosing salad when you really want a burger. Last week I weighed 179.8lbs. I had gained almost 18lbs in 7 months.

I’m not perfect, and neither is this process. I’m obviously fine with not being perfect, but I’m not fine with “good enough.” “Good enough” eating won’t get me to my goal weight, and “good enough” workouts won’t help me chase my goal of running a <2 hour marathon. So far, it’s done the opposite.

Highest weight, October 2012. 175lbs, October 2014.

Last week, I re-joined Weight Watchers and quickly remembered what the challenge is like. You know what is way better than “good enough?” The empowerment of saying no to candy all over the office. The accomplishment of tackling a hard gym workout when you’re still sore from yesterday. The satisfaction of getting off the couch for a run when you’d rather watch 19 episode of Law & Order SVU (this was me on Saturday).

I’m never going to be perfect, but I’m embracing the challenge that comes with chasing my goals. I’m done settling for “good enough.”

- - - -

I’m hosting an informal “support group” for other people who want to get on track before the end of the year. Check out my blog if you want to join and get #fit4fifteen!


Thursday, November 6, 2014


Week 1 of November is almost over and I have a few reflections.

1. I am a terrible planner. It's a hard fact to face, because I am the queen of "plan plan plan" but when it comes to actually doing it, I ride the struggle bus. Actually I think I am a fine planner, I struggle with the follow through. Things are always going to happen that derail my day, fires at work, family stuff, etc. I need to be better about rolling with the punches, especially this time of year.

2. I am not very good about spending my time wisely. This month, on top of work, working out and blogging, I decided to write a novel and get back into reading. I have to say on day 6, at least ONE of those things have fallen to the wayside. Even when I wake up early, like today, and get my workout in first thing, I am up late thinking of all the things I didn't get to today. I need to schedule my time better.

3. ACTUALLY cooking is the hardest part about eating healthy. I love healthy foods, I have discovered that, but I don't always feel like cooking after a long day of work. I do it anyway, but its not my favorite. Maybe I should use my crock pot more...

4. My mood and attitude greatly affect the intensity in which I workout. I don't like working out right after I wake up because I am not really in a good mood right out of bed. I need to figure out how to get in a better mood before I press play, so I can kick ass at every workout, instead of groaning through them some days.

5. I am not perfect. That's nothing new, I knew that, but accepting it is hard. I feel pressure (probably imaginary) to be perfect for you guys, and it is exhausting. I don't live in a bubble, I am not a perfect person. I need to let myself off the hook for that sometimes.

The good news is, November is just beginning and I have some time to improve. This journey is so up and down, emotionally and weight wise. I will feel like a rockstar for a month, and then have a bad couple days. And not bad like I binged or didn't workout, just bad emotionally. I gotta shake it off, and keep on trucking. Motivation is something you do daily, not something you have inherently.

This week I am gonna be better.
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