Operation Skinny Jeans: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Just a Monday morning rant about body image

I get asked all the time how I maintain a positive body image in a society that promotes the opposite. All around us we have skinny actresses being called fat, diet pill ads telling us that all of our problems would go away if we just lost weight (by simply popping a pill) and our friends and colleges calling themselves fat (when we are heavier than they are!). I am not going to lie, its not easy.

I consume size-ist media at least 20 times a day. Ads, the radio, the internet, it is everywhere. People are valued less if they are a larger size. It is what it is in our society. I freaking hate it. But I don't hate myself because of it. My self-worth is not tied to societies standards of what is beautiful.

I had an epiphany.

We as women have never felt like our bodies were "perfect". When we were in High School, regardless if we weighed 120 lbs or 220 lbs, we hated our bodies and thought we were "Fat". As we gained years, and inevitably weight, our self image just got worse! If we hated our bodies at 120 lbs, imagine how much we hate them at 150 or 170! We WISH we were the size we were in High School, where we spent all that time hating that body even-tho we now envy it!  It's because we are conditioned to believe that we are not good enough until we are tiny picture perfect models of people. Until we look like the models or whoever the standard of beauty is today (it changes CONSTANTLY. "oh now strong is the new skinny. Sucks for all you skinny women, you are no longer beautiful. Now you have to be STRONG!" "Oh not that strong, you look like a man!" etc) we feel like we will never be happy with our bodies.

It is only when we accept, and I mean TRULY, unequivocally, passionately accept that we are PERFECT on the inside, that we will stop worrying about what we are on the outside.

Body perfection doesn't exist.

But if you believe you are perfect on the inside, the IMPORTANT side, then you can stop feeling so much hate toward the outside. Your disappointment will fade, and the daily media won't ruin you anymore. That crap has no affect on me. I am not measured by what society says I should look like. I am fucking awesome on the inside. I know that for a FACT, so who cares if I don't look like a Victoria's Secret model? I sure don't.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

90 Days till Summer Challenge- Week 1!

So if you saw my blog on Wednesday you know how this week went lol. I have been in Bingeopolis so it could have gone better. But I am back on track, meal planning for this week and I am ready to get back on track!

Speaking of meal planning, I am learning this is essential. I used to do it some of the time, and kind of half ass it, but the real fact is when I don't plan, I eat out. I haven't had one home cooked lunch this week! That is bad on my body AND my wallet. If  I am going to rock this bikini this summer, I NEED to get this shit together. So I am starting today. Here is my 3 day clean eating prep plan. Feel free to join me :D

Day 1 (today, obv) Planning.

I am going to spend today planning all of my meals. I am doing the 21 day fix so I will be using the containers to measure portions, but you can follow this too. Now remember, I am in the highest calorie category (2000+) so modify accordingly.
I broke down my containers into each meal so I can plan correctly. (sorry if this makes no sense)

R= protein
Y=starch
P=fruit
G=veggies
B=cheese
O=nuts

m1: RYP (Shakeo, almond milk, fruit)
m2: RPY (breakfast)
m3: RPG (snack)
m4: RGGY (lunch)
m5: RG (snack)
m6: RGGYBO (dinner, tho my B & O float)
m7: P (dessert)


I am working on putting actual meals together, but this is how I categorize it. So to make sense of this, for lunch I have a protein, two servings of veggies and a starch. 

Day 2. Cleaning!

I am going to PURGE my kitchen. It has amassed some shit in the last few weeks that need to go if I am going to be on track. Example- I have potato chips. Gah. Those have to go. I think about those little jerks constantly! I had some for breakfast! They need to GTFO. So I am cleaning out my fridge and pantry- total annihilation

Day 3. Purchase and Prep. 

After my pantry is clean and I throw away all the rotting vegetables I intended to eat last week but never did, I can start fresh. I will take my meal plan, create a grocery list, and go shopping. Then, and this is the most important part, I am going to PREP! This means cutting fruits and veggies, portioning (using my containers) and bagging up. Then separating into meals, and days. My goal at the end of Sunday is to have 7 grocery bags with a complete day (minus dinner obv) in it for me to just grab and go! This is the dream. When I take food, I eat it. When I don't, I don't. Period. 

For my dinners, I am going to start marinading or whatever they need, cut and portion them into freezer bags and then either freeze if I am going to eat it after Wednesday, or fridge if before that. When I have a plan and food to cook when I get home, I cook it! When I don't (like last night) my husband gets Chipotle and I get Fro-yo. Yes, I had frozen yogurt for dinner last night. Haters gonna hate. THIS is why meal prepping is so important! 

So if you want, join me! It wont be easy, but it will be worth it! (And maybe if you want to join me every week, I can set up a weekly 3 day meal prep group on facebook. Maybe. ;) Let me know below if you would join that...)

Link up your 90 Days till Summer post below :D




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Thursday, March 27, 2014

"No Plan" Meal Plan Week 5!

Woo! Week 5 of the "No Plan" meal plan!

And this week we have our very first recipe submission!! The fajitas this week are submitted by Mandi of itsmandible. Make sure you stop by her blog and thank her! She inspired a week of our Mexi favorites! Enjoy!!


Here's the way it works. 

1. No more than 20 ingredients ever. I like simple things, and if a recipe has more than 7 ingredients, I am not gonna make it. I think you are all like me, and like simple, budget friendly dinners, so here they are. 

2. 5 dinner recipes, ready to go. Does your family have Pizza Fridays? Or do you always go out to eat on Wednesdays? Cool! 5 dinners allows for flexability, and since they aren't assigned to days, you can always eat what you WANT, not what you wrote down 2 weeks ago :D

3. 4 cook time options. Have to go to basketball practice at 6? No problem! There are dinner options for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour and all day with the crock pot.

4. 3 healthy food groups.  Nutrition is important, and so is eating a balanced meal. All of our dinner recipes will include a Protein, a Vegetable and a Grain. Simple nutrition for you and your family.

5. 2 servings. I am a family of 2, so I don't need more than 2 servings. You have a family of 4? Cool bro- double it. Serving 8? Do the math :D Having the recipes serve 2 allows for easy modification for whatever you need :D

6. Just one easy prep time. The days of slaving away in the kitchen for hours a night are OVER! Once a week you will spend about an hour, maybe less prepping for the week. The prep guide is ON the menu plan, so it literally is EASY PEASY.

Just a few more notes:
  • Don't like chicken? Me either. There are substitutions listed for most recipes. :D
  • Don't like ____? Me either (kidding, I like ___) The optional ingredients are listed. Adjust accordingly :D
  • Each meal plan will be posted on Thursday, give you Friday and the weekend for shopping and prep. 
  • Each week you only have to print out ONE THING! It's all there on the one sheet of paper. You are welcome :D


Think your recipe for ____ is awesome and want it to be featured? Submit it here


Without further ado: This week's menu plan!

--

ALSO! I wanted to tell you all about my free group for April- the Ab-pril Challenge! 


Join the free Facebook group HERE! I can't wait to kick abs with you this month!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hump Day Confessions

That sounds like a bad tv show.

So I have been avoiding writing this but I feel like a liar so I am just going to get it out there.

I have taken a few steps back.

I have no excuses. I got into a stressful situation a few weeks ago and I started bingeing again. Not nearly as bad as I used to, but any binge is a bad binge. I would tell myself as I was gearing up to it "This is a binge. You are stronger than this. Just fucking stop!" and I wouldn't.

I actually sat in the parking lot of Wal Mart shoving doughnuts and m&ms into my face simultaneously while crying. That happened.

I am not proud. In fact I am the opposite of proud. I am ashamed as hell. I fell under some familiar pressure and my brain took me down the familiar road.

I am looking into seeing an eating disorder specialized therapist. I felt like I was on the right path to recovery for so long and the ease that I slipped back into my old habits and thoughts scares me. I know I will always be a binge eater, but I want to be able to live without the fear of slipping back at any moment.

I also am going to start a journal of gratitude and self appreciation. I am pretty vocal about my self love, but I have a lot of self doubt still. I am hoping that by documenting something different every day that I am awesome at or love about myself will help with that :D

I am also going to try to actually finish 21 Day Fix. I think being in a better place mentally will help because it wont be a trigger to binge again.

So I am so sorry if I let you down. But it feels really good to get it off my chest. And in this few week long bingeapalooza I have been on, I am horrified to say that I am back in the 240's, 245 this morning. Seeing as in February I was flirting with the 220's, I am pretty much devastated. But I know I can get back there. I know it.

Thank you all again for your continued support. Know that I literally could not do this without you.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

#transformationtuesday

I love instagram. I love looking through everyone's pictures, and seeing their progress or workouts or transformations. Especially on Tuesdays. Inspiration station!

But the one thing I have learned is that this transformation is not just physical. I feel like I have changed more as a person in the last 14 months than I have physically.

I was an extrovert stuck in an introvert's body. I wanted to be outgoing and friendly because that was my nature, but I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I wasn't able to portray that. I would sit at home, behind the keys of my computer, pinning all the things from the "health and fitness" side of pinterest, lonely, depressed and so uncomfortable.

Real talk- being overweight is uncomfortable as shit. I don't remember what it feels like to be a normal size (like in the 100's) but the difference between how I feel now and how I felt then is STAGGERING.

I couldn't sit up straight in chairs. I was always leaning back because my stomach was so large it was uncomfortable to sit up. Sitting in chairs in general was uncomfortable! If the chair had arms, I felt like I was squeezing into it, and it hurt. I remember NOT sitting in the outdoor chairs at Chipotle because they caused me physical pain. Even movie theatre seats were a tight fit.

I couldn't cross my arms over my chest. I have pretty short arms as it is, but they wouldn't cross. I would have to rest my hands on my belly.

I didn't have a lap. I am not even exaggerating when I say that my stomach came out so far while sitting down that I had only a few inches of "knee" It was hard to use a laptop in my lap without a lap.

I couldn't cross my legs. Not even ankle to knee. And I have short legs so most of the time they don't touch the ground, and there was nothing I could do but sit there in pain.

I couldn't lay flat on my back without my neck and boobs smothering me. Like I literally couldn't breathe. I have a special pillow (that I still love) that I had to use to sleep so I don't snore/ suffocate myself in my sleep with my body fat.

Ok this post has taken a turn. I am gonna go with it. Things like this are things you don't know unless you experience them yourself. And I will be honest, I am not done yet. I still have 90 lbs to lose. I am sure in another 60 lbs I will be saying "Oh man! 60 lbs ago I couldn't do ___. As I slowly peel the layers of fat off my body, I realize all the wonderful things it is capable of! I can't even imagine the amazing things it can do when I keep getting smaller.

That is why I am working so hard. I want to push myself. Do what I never thought or knew was possible. Its not about vanity, its about strength. I want to be the best me I can. Period.


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Marathon Mondays! NOW a Link up!

So last week I totally failed in SO many ways. With the blog, my running has been fine :D

I posted the wrong post my sister wrote AND I didn't make this a link up! If you are training for a race, even if you don't write about it on Mondays, Link it up! I wanna read about what other people are doing! And if you just watched an entire show on Netflix and wrote about it, link that shit up too. All marathons welcome here :D

Lets be honest- the hardest part about training is fitting it in. If we all had all the time in the world to run for as long as we want, in perfect weather, we would all be marathon runners! This can be said for working out in general, fitting it in is the hardest part.

I have TRIED to be a member of the 5 am club, and in a way, I am. I am a member of an EVEN LARGER 5 am club, the club of us that are still in bed. Because it's 5 am. #thereal5amclub Anyhoo, I just do not have it in me to wake and work. I have tried. The only time this really works for me is if my husband is waking up and sometimes literally dragging my ass out of bed with him. I just don't have that intrinsic motivation to lose sleep to workout. #sorrynotsorry

But after a long day of work isn't ideal either. I am usually fine the second I leave work, but after a 30 minute commute through traffic, I am usually over it. If I could harness that excitement and awake-ness the WHOLE drive home, I could make after work work.

Then there is my lunch break. I didn't even realize this was a viable option until last summer when I was part of the Denver's Healthiest Companies competition putting in 3 a days. I found that my favorite time out of those 3 were my workouts in the middle of the day. It broke up my day, made both the morning and afternoon go faster, and I seemed to elude the dreaded 2 pm slump that had almost always resulted in a trip to the vending machine or 7 11. Sometimes both.

But at my new job, I don't really take a lunch break. Probably my fault, I never made it a point to do so, and since I am an office manager managing employees who work in the field, there is sometimes not a great point in the day to leave and take a break. But I am making it a point this week to do just that. I am going to try to get my runs in during my lunch this week. I work in a safe area, there is a quiet street I can run on, and a loop I have already mapped out. All I need is a little E&E to get me going, my shoes and compression pants (and sports bra) at work, and the courage to lock the door and leave for 30 minutes.

So that is what I am working on this week, training wise. Week 3! WOO!

Here is what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic :D

Hi all!  Pokey again!

I just wanted to touch on something Jess mentioned during the week over her Facebook about setting big outrageous goals. That’s basically what this half marathon is, the big dream.  Something at this point is still realistically impossible, but with that in mind, I can’t believe what I’ve achieved this week.

I completed the first week of Couch to 5K, I ran 5K on Saturday and started the second week of Couch to 5K yesterday.  Last week I had just one run behind me, but they’re adding up and with each one I’m a bit stronger.

I’d like to share a few wee things things I’ve learned this week:



  • The Get Running app is amazing and was worth the purchase.  The voice that guides you through the runs is encouraging and not annoying.  I’ll miss her when I graduate!
  • Running leggings/tights are the absolute best for those of us that experience ‘cricket thighs’.
  • My shoes have one week to stop hurting before I take them back the shop, still not 100% happy with them, but I figure I might still be adjusting to wearing supportive shoes (I spend most of my life in flats, heels and Ugg boots. . . in others zero support.
  • Mornings are my favourite time to run.  It’s cool, the sun is just coming up and the path is quiet.  And I feel amazing about it the rest of the day.
  • I’m sleeping like a boss.

On to destroying week 3 :D

And here is where you link up :D



ALSO! I totally forgot! This is a thing I am doing! 

Have you seen my posts about Shakeology® or P90X3 or 21 Day Fix and are curious about what all that means? I have been a Beachbody Coach since December and it has been awesome. I already earned a free trip to Vegas in June, and I am working my way toward a trip to Cancun next year. I have made enough money to pay back almost half of my debt, and I am finally chipping away at my student loans. I have helped people find their self confidence again and even helped one friend realize she didn't need weight-loss surgery.

It has been an awesome ride and I want to share it with you. So I am doing a Free 3 day "Coaching 101" group to share what it's all about  No pressure to participate, you can join and be a fly on the wall. I will start on Wednesday, but you can ask me questions in there before that if you want 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/coach101/

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Friday, March 21, 2014

90 Day to Summer Swimsuit Challenge! LETS GOOOOOO!

WOO! I am pumped!

90 days until summer! 90 days to get my body to a place where I feel comfortable in a two piece! We will see what happens, but I am super motivated to kick ass. If you are joining us, link up below and we will follow you!

My Plan:

I am going to finish 21 Day Fix, then start T25 April 1st! I have a small group of other women also doing T25, so if you are looking for some one on one coaching and a plan for this challenge, let me know and we can talk :D

On June 1st, I am going to do the Ultimate Reset. It is a 21 day cleanse that I am STOKED for. Clean eating, badassery, etc. I know it will help me crush this challenge at the end! (I will be doing a group for that so if you are interested, we can talk ;) )

I am going to keep eating clean, planning my meals and working out. I am trying to get a lot more fish into my diet, so we will see :D

So I guess just business as usual, with a little more focus.

What about you? Check out Marcy and Val's blogs to see their plan. Link up yours below :D



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Thursday, March 20, 2014

"No Plan" Menu Plan- Week 4!

Yay we are on week 4 of the "No Plan" Meal plan!!! Have you been using these? Tell me in the comments! We LOVE feedback! And don't forget to submit your favorites through the link below!

I love this week's menu. Comfort foods are called such for a reason and this week is full of mine. But with whole wheat pasta and pita bread for pizza crust, you can have your cake and eat it too!


Here's the way it works. 

1. No more than 20 ingredients ever. I like simple things, and if a recipe has more than 7 ingredients, I am not gonna make it. I think you are all like me, and like simple, budget friendly dinners, so here they are. 

2. 5 dinner recipes, ready to go. Does your family have Pizza Fridays? Or do you always go out to eat on Wednesdays? Cool! 5 dinners allows for flexability, and since they aren't assigned to days, you can always eat what you WANT, not what you wrote down 2 weeks ago :D

3. 4 cook time options. Have to go to basketball practice at 6? No problem! There are dinner options for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour and all day with the crock pot.

4. 3 healthy food groups.  Nutrition is important, and so is eating a balanced meal. All of our dinner recipes will include a Protein, a Vegetable and a Grain. Simple nutrition for you and your family.

5. 2 servings. I am a family of 2, so I don't need more than 2 servings. You have a family of 4? Cool bro- double it. Serving 8? Do the math :D Having the recipes serve 2 allows for easy modification for whatever you need :D

6. Just one easy prep time. The days of slaving away in the kitchen for hours a night are OVER! Once a week you will spend about an hour, maybe less prepping for the week. The prep guide is ON the menu plan, so it literally is EASY PEASY.

Just a few more notes:
  • Don't like chicken? Me either. There are substitutions listed for most recipes. :D
  • Don't like ____? Me either (kidding, I like ___) The optional ingredients are listed. Adjust accordingly :D
  • Each meal plan will be posted on Thursday, give you Friday and the weekend for shopping and prep. 
  • Each week you only have to print out ONE THING! It's all there on the one sheet of paper. You are welcome :D


Think your recipe for ____ is awesome and want it to be featured? Submit it here


Without further ado: This week's menu plan!


Make sure to come back tomorrow to see my plan for the 90 Days to Summer Swimsuit Challenge and how to join me in an exclusive, small group for accountability and guidance! 




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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Please bear with me.

So I have this problem.

Part of the way I grew up, with the mindset of a binge eater, I never learned that I was deserving of praise. I didn't hear it a lot, or if I did it always seemed insincere in comparison to the huge amount of negative feedback I was getting. When all you hear is negative, and someone throws in a positive in there, you tend to not believe them. Not because you don't trust them, but because it goes against everything else you have been told. Does that make sense?

So to get to my point, I am bad a taking compliments. I appreciate every single one I receive, but they can be overwhelming. At this point in my journey I KNOW I am on the right track, and that I have made progress, but I can't seem to accept that praise in my heart. I don't FEEL like I have done something "amazing", despite hearing it in your compliments. Its not that I don't trust you, I just don't know how to believe you in my heart. And to be honest, it makes me a little uncomfortable.

Not that I want you to stop. I mean, crap, now it sounds like I am ASKING for compliments. I'm not. I promise. I am not asking you to stop either. I think hearing them is slowly chipping away at the wall I have built around myself. The "fat ugly unsuccessful girl" wall I have that in my head is just as fat, ugly and unsuccessful as it always has been. While I can't accept it now, I think your praise is helping me see myself through your eyes.

I guess what I am trying to say is thank you. Thank you for seeing things in me I still can't seem to see in myself. I am not lying when I say that I love myself and my body, even tho writing this it kinda seems that way. I do. I couldn't post a picture of myself practically naked on the internet if I didn't. But I can tell you that I don't look like that woman in my head. When I close my eyes and picture myself, I am still 290 lbs, unhappy and uncomfortable in my own skin. It's like I have this bi-polar view of my self. When I see it with my eyes (especially side by sides, which is why I try to look at them fairly often, to try to convince myself that I look different), I see that I am smaller. But in my head, I am not explaining this right. ugh.

Anyhoo. My point really is thank you. I appreciate that you all think I am beautiful and amazing and whatever, and I promise that I think those things about myself 96% of the time, but hearing it from you is harder. So excuse my awkward reply because I don't know what to say besides "thank you" as a silently twitch and writhe from the uncomfortableness that I feel about it. Does that make sense?


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Open Letter: Yoga Pants

Dear Yoga Pants,

Thank you.

You make me feel warm when I am lonely, and I am comfortable in your embrace. Your waist band is like a soft hug, like that of an old friend you haven't seen in months. So familiar even after an extended absence. I often crave your embrace, longing to feel your soft support around my waist.

As I slip you on after a long day, I feel at home. You are home for me. Whether I am doing yoga or just sitting on the couch, I know you will be there for me every step of the way.

You are the cheese to my leg's macaroni. The cinnamon to my buns ;) I don't even know what I would do without you.

Love,

Jess

:P
--

Do you feel like proclaiming your love for an article of clothing? Do it here :D Say it loud and say it proud! 


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Marathon Mondays- Week 1 recap!

So I don't know if you know this, but C25K sucks. It is hard, and even tho it doesn't seem like it should be, it will totally test your physical and mental strength. It is also hard to commit to running on such a structured schedule. But you know what else is hard? Running a half marathon. Or losing 60 lbs, or even being unhappy with your body. It's all hard.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that life is hard. It is all hard. You have to choose your hard. I came to terms with that during my first C25K run this week, at the last running interval. I was over it. I was tired and ready to go home, and I said to myself "no one will know if I just walk this one..." but then I thought "I will know!" so I just did it. And I am proud that I did. The first run is always the hardest.

After that run, this week went great. I am starting to get more into a schedule which is nice. My goal this week is to run at work, on my lunch breaks. It will mean planning ahead and packing my gear, but getting it done in the middle of the day will mean that I can sleep in a little longer and do 21 Day Fix when I get home from work :D

Pokey was feeling reflective and wrote about why she is running. I love it!

I am running because I want to prove to myself that I’m no longer a scared little girl, who felt ugly and awkward and wholly unwanted.  I’ve carried her long enough and this is where we part ways.

I am running because I am not bound by genetics and I am not destined to be out of shape and overweight.  I choose to be healthy.

I am running because I am tired of carrying this heavy shell of weight, disappointment, and shame.  
I am running to be me and to please me.  

I am running to control my body in a way that serves me, not in a way that destroys me.

I am going to think about this this week. I completely agree with her, especially the last one :D

Are you training for anything? How's it going? Doing C25K again? 
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Friday, March 14, 2014

90 Days Til Summer Swimsuit Challenge!!

So as you might have saw on Instagram, I have lost my damn mind.

I blame Val and Marcy from Fabulous Chick Gets Fit and Will Run For Beer, respectively.

Bitches.

But really I am excited in a sick sort of way. It's story time.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Jess. She hated the summer time and swim suits and all of that nonsense. She was uncomfortable and felt fat as hell and even tho she liked tanning and swimming, the whole idea of it made her want to barf.

She even spent over $100 for a swimsuit two years ago that made her feel okay about herself.


So yeah. 

60 lbs later, I am ready to make a change. I don't want to wear a one piece this year. I am so excited to go to Beachbody summit in Vegas this year, but I am mortified to be the fattest woman there. Stupid, I know, but I don't want to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I want to feel awesome, especially at the pool parties. 

And I was talking to Marcy and Val about Val's amazing progress, and we decided that having a goal where she would have to be naked helped, so we made a naked goal too. A stupid, terrible idea of a naked goal. 

Bikinis by June 21st. 

Kill me. 



But really we are all in this together. Marcy and Val are going to be amazing accountability for me, and we will be accountability for you! 

Wanna join the challenge? Here's how!

So here is what you have to do:
1. Get a really small bikini. Just kidding. GET WHATEVER SWIMSUIT YOU WANT! 
2. Take a picture in said swimsuit. 
3. Work your ass off for the 90 days leading up to summer to look amazing in that swimsuit. 
We will be checking in weekly on our blogs. Feel free to check in with us weekly, bi weekly, every 30 days, whatever. We just want to help hold ourselves and others accountable until summer comes and we can rock out with our new bodies for summer in a hot new bathing suit.

During this challenge, do whatever workout you would like. I am doing a mix of 21 Day Fix and P90X3. And maybe Pump... I am thinking about it. But you must dedicate yourself to being consistent for all 90 days!

Here is my before pic. I just did it in my underwear because I didn't find a bikini I loved. Mama needs more support.



My goal is to work on my core and legs. Arms would be nice too, but those are my goal.


90 days, ready or not, here we come!!


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Thursday, March 13, 2014

"No Plan" Menu Plan- Week 3!

I am so excited about the response this meal plan has gotten!! If you have tried a recipe- let me know below! I am dying to know how this has worked for you and your family!

I am so excited for week 3! The weather is finally starting to warm up and these recipes are PERFECT for spring! That pasta salad is to DIE for!! And all of these recipes are 21 Day Fix approved- just make sure to measure your portions accordingly :D



Here's the way it works. 

1. No more than 20 ingredients ever. I like simple things, and if a recipe has more than 7 ingredients, I am not gonna make it. I think you are all like me, and like simple, budget friendly dinners, so here they are. 

2. 5 dinner recipes, ready to go. Does your family have Pizza Fridays? Or do you always go out to eat on Wednesdays? Cool! 5 dinners allows for flexability, and since they aren't assigned to days, you can always eat what you WANT, not what you wrote down 2 weeks ago :D

3. 4 cook time options. Have to go to basketball practice at 6? No problem! There are dinner options for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour and all day with the crock pot.

4. 3 healthy food groups.  Nutrition is important, and so is eating a balanced meal. All of our dinner recipes will include a Protein, a Vegetable and a Grain. Simple nutrition for you and your family.

5. 2 servings. I am a family of 2, so I don't need more than 2 servings. You have a family of 4? Cool bro- double it. Serving 8? Do the math :D Having the recipes serve 2 allows for easy modification for whatever you need :D

6. Just one easy prep time. The days of slaving away in the kitchen for hours a night are OVER! Once a week you will spend about an hour, maybe less prepping for the week. The prep guide is ON the menu plan, so it literally is EASY PEASY.

Just a few more notes:

  • Don't like chicken? Me either. There are substitutions listed for most recipes. :D
  • Don't like ____? Me either (kidding, I like ___) The optional ingredients are listed. Adjust accordingly :D
  • Each meal plan will be posted on Thursday, give you Friday and the weekend for shopping and prep. 
  • Each week you only have to print out ONE THING! It's all there on the one sheet of paper. You are welcome :D

Think your recipe for ____ is awesome and want it to be featured? Submit it here

Without further ado: This week's menu plan!
Menu plans will be posted every week on both on A Modern Commonplace Book and Operation Skinny Jeans.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

At home vs in gym workouts

I am by no means an expert, but having worked out both ways, I thought I would weigh in on the subject.

I used to be anti-at home workouts. Like very anti. I knew it worked for some people, but I knew it wouldn't work for me. I had tried Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred like 30 times and I knew that 1. I got bored easily, and 2. My couch was WAY more enticing than working out was. And 3. I kinda hated Jillian.

I was okay being a cardio drone, spending an hour on the dreadmill plugging away. I lifted weights, but not really heavy, and never on a bar. I had a trainer for a few months which helped, but we never got into weights. So after a while, the gym became a chore for me. Not going, but planning what I was going to do. There were only so many bicep curls I could do and keep my sanity. I wasn't seeing any progress, and I was getting frustrated. But when I tried 30 Day Shred again, to see if I could make working out at home a thing, I effing hated it. I even told my coach Jackie that I would never work out at home because I hated it.

Fast Forward a few months. Still so bored at the gym, I decided to re-think the whole working out at home thing. That was right around the time P90X3 was coming out. I had watched hours of infomercials for beachbody products (yes I was one of those people) and P90X always intrigued me. But I knew I wouldn't do it for a full hour. That was my one draw to the 30 day shred- it was just 30 minutes. So when I saw that they had condensed P90X into 30 minutes, my interest was piqued.

I was pretty fed up with the gym, and the cold weather was not making me any more excited to have to walk the half a mile to go workout. (I am a wimp). And my friend (who is also a coach) Josh was living proof of some pretty amazing Beachbody results, so I decided to take the plunge, and I will never look back.

SO I thought I would do the 5 differences between working out at a gym, and working out at home.

1. The Crowd. 
When I started out, I was pretty self conscious about my body. Even tho I am sure I have never actually been judged at a gym, my insecurities made me feel otherwise. I felt uncomfortable and like people were staring at me (they weren't) so I didn't feel at home. And I felt uncomfortable waiting for a machine, like someone was going to judge me for standing there waiting lol. Who knows.

At home I feel more comfortable. I rarely wear a shirt while working out (just a sports bra and compression pants) unless I am filming it, and I know if I need to take a rest for a second, I can do that without feeling like "the fat girl who can't keep up with Zumba" (fun fact- I have walked out of more than one Zumba class for that reason.)

2. The Commute.
I am not going to go out and say that I am "lazy", but I am certainly less motivated to go work out if I have to put on a parka and walk through snow for 10 minutes to do it. Even when I had to drive to the gym, the amount of planning and pep talking it took to get me to go was probably a sign that I wasn't the best gym goer.

I have to say that the commute from my bed to the living room is way more manageable.

3. The Equipment. 
Not even a competition, the gym has more equipment. Cardio machines, weight machines, barbells, etc. I can't even compare.

But for living in an apartment, my home gym collection is growing nicely. I now have 4 resistance bands, a pull up bar and 3 different sized weights. My goal is to have a complete home gym when we buy a house. I fantasize about it lol #fitgirlfantasies

4. The View.
Sure, the gym has better views. I can't even tell you how many times I would walk on the treadmill while watching buff men do pull ups. I am not even ashamed.

But being at home, I get to see my husband do pull ups, which is even sexier because I can touch him without getting a restraining order.

5. The Trainers.
My trainer was kind of eh. He taught middle school football, and I am not sure he ever actually trained a woman before. This resulted in obscenely strong peck muscles from doing ALL THE PUSH UPS, but little progress anywhere else. I did enjoy training with someone tho, he pushed me further than I would push myself. But also $$

Tony and Autumn (P90X3 and 21 Day Fix respectively) have been amazing. I was worried I would want to punch Autumn in the face (like I wanted to do with Jillian) but I don't! I love her! I hope I get to meet her! And Tony is the trainer I always wanted. He is funny and smart and knows what to say. It is no wonder that he sells a shit ton of DVDs. The man is good. And I follow Shaun T on facebook and even tho he isn't on any of my DVDs (yet) his posts motivate me to do my best. I am not sure how they do it, but they manage to jump off the tv and feel like actual trainers.

So as you can see, each has their advantages. Not saying that either are better than the other, but I think for right now in my life working out at home is going awesome. But I do think that is REALLY dependent on the program you choose. My favorite thing about P90X3 and 21 Day Fix (as well as other beachbody programs) is that they are a complete program, that works all of your body. It's not a dvd you do the same thing every day for a week then want to chuck the dvd while you eat ice cream on your couch as you say mean mean things to Jillian on the TV. Just me?

Which one do you prefer? Have you done both? Want to try the other? 

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Marathon Monday- Lets do this!

Last week, I mentioned how my sister Pokey and I are going to start chronicling our half marathon training on Mondays in a feature I have so creatively named "Marathon Mondays".

We officially start C25K training today, but since I did something this weekend, and she has already run, we have an update :D

After a good long run on Saturday (3.5 miles in 1hr, a PR) I finally felt compelled to register for my half marathon. Finally.


Well shit just got real. I think this was the kick in the pants to get my ass moving!

AND because my sister is loquacious to a fault (it runs in the family), she has more to tell you than I do. Take it away Poke! (side note, did I mention her name isn't actually Pokey? I have called her that since we were little. Anyhoo, didn't want you thinking my parents were crazy lol)

Hi there, Pokey here.  Jess is kindly letting me share my experience as I work up to run the Belfast Half Marathon on the 14th of September, a mere 6 months away.  I’m not completely new to running and last year was covering 4 miles in about 35 minutes without much walking, but as is the way of things, I just fell out of it.  

I got an email through at work, looking for relay runners for the Belfast Marathon, I clicked through the link just to read and saw the half-marathon in September and decided I wanted to do that.  I lost a significant amount of weight before, by doing weight watchers.  I’m sad to say that it’s all come back on, but I decided to take care of my head and heart and how I view food and my body before attempting anything in the way of changing my diet or exercise habits.  I needed to get rid of the noise inside my head (you must count calories, you can’t eat that, that’s too fattening, etc etc etc).

I travel quite a bit for work and spend a lot of time eating out as part of my job.  I try and make smart choices, but I more or less eat what I want and in the quantity I want.  Sometimes, I overdo it and I feel quite uncomfortable and full, but I’ve begun to start pushing food aside when I’m finished.  And this has been incredibly empowering and a sign that I’m beginning to treat food as food, not as comfort or a treat.  It’s been a long road, but I feel like I’m on the right path.  

So that’s where I got to this point and where I’m at mentally.  

I decided I was going to to do this as properly as possible and went on Saturday to a shop called Pure Running, in Belfast.  I did a gait analysis to get fitted for shoes and the sales woman presented me with 4 pairs of shoes.  I went with a pair of Nike Lunarglide 5’s. Then it was off to pick up some inexpensive running clothes and I was ready for Sunday.  

Strapped on my shoes, drank a big glass of water and did Week 1 Day 1 of the Couch to 5K programme.  I’m using the Get Running app, which while not a free app, was definitely lovely to follow.  

I was really ready for this to be a hard run.  And I was completely shocked when it wasn’t.  I had a small stitch in my side on the 2nd to last run, but was able to breathe through it and was fine to finish strong and I recovered rather quickly.  This is really encouraging, that I was as unfit as I had anticipated.  My big sore spot, however, are my feet.  My arches feel quite sore and I’m hoping a combination of breaking in the new shoes plus building up my strength should sort this out.  But if anybody has some thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them! (Poke I used to run in Lunarglide 3's and the arches killed my feet, and actually made me over pronate. Just a thought, flat feet sisters and all..)

My next run is on Tuesday but I’m really looking forward to it, but I want to be careful not to do too much too soon and burn myself out.  Overall, a brilliant start, really pleased with myself :D

SO there you have it! My first run will be today so I will have a full report next Monday.


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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The "No Plan" Menu Plan- Week 2!

Ginny from A Modern Commonplace Book and I got such an awesome response last week about this new meal plan series that we knew we just HAD to keep going! So if you tried out any of our recipes last week, let me know in the comments! I can't wait to see your creations!

Here is week #2!


Here's the way it works. 

1. No more than 20 ingredients ever. I like simple things, and if a recipe has more than 7 ingredients, I am not gonna make it. I think you are all like me, and like simple, budget friendly dinners, so here they are. 

2. 5 dinner recipes, ready to go. Does your family have Pizza Fridays? Or do you always go out to eat on Wednesdays? Cool! 5 dinners allows for flexability, and since they aren't assigned to days, you can always eat what you WANT, not what you wrote down 2 weeks ago :D

3. 4 cook time options. Have to go to basketball practice at 6? No problem! There are dinner options for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour and all day with the crock pot.

4. 3 healthy food groups.  Nutrition is important, and so is eating a balanced meal. All of our dinner recipes will include a Protein, a Vegetable and a Grain. Simple nutrition for you and your family.

5. 2 servings. I am a family of 2, so I don't need more than 2 servings. You have a family of 4? Cool bro- double it. Serving 8? Do the math :D Having the recipes serve 2 allows for easy modification for whatever you need :D

6. Just one easy prep time. The days of slaving away in the kitchen for hours a night are OVER! Once a week you will spend about an hour, maybe less prepping for the week. The prep guide is ON the menu plan, so it literally is EASY PEASY.

Just a few more notes:

  • Don't like chicken? Me either. There are substitutions listed for most recipes. :D
  • Don't like ____? Me either (kidding, I like ___) The optional ingredients are listed. Adjust accordingly :D
  • Each meal plan will be posted on Thursday, give you Friday and the weekend for shopping and prep. 
  • Each week you only have to print out ONE THING! It's all there on the one sheet of paper. You are welcome :D

Think your recipe for ____ is awesome and want it to be featured? Submit it here

Without further ado: This week's menu plan!

Menu plans will be posted every week on both on A Modern Commonplace Book and Operation Skinny Jeans.

And definitely let me know if you try any recipes or submit a recipe for us to try! We are always looking for new things!



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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You don't need weight-loss surgery

I had the profound pleasure of meeting reader turned friend, M, about a month and a half ago. It was a "blind date" of sorts, but I love meeting people and hearing their stories, so I was more excited than nervous. And I was about 96% sure she wasn't going to kill me, which is higher than my standard 70% minimum for one on one interaction.

The second we met, we hit it off right away. Conversation came naturally, and we were chatting like old buddies in no time. As we were sitting there, drinking coffee, spilling all of our deep dark feelings (as you do with a complete stranger) it came out that M was considering weight loss surgery. Staring at this beautiful, average sized woman, this boggled my mind. After hearing more of her story, I learned that she had gained a lot of weight, LOST a LOT of weight, and was no somewhere in the middle, and not loving it. She struggled with emotional eating and was jealous because her husband had weight loss surgery and had great success with it. It was starting to make sense.

I smiled warmly and told her plainly, "You do not need weight loss surgery."

Here's the thing. Obesity is a disease, and one of the mind. Same thing with Binge Eating (or any disordered eating for that matter) and not one that can be cured by shrinking the size of your stomach. It's like bankruptcy. A person can file bankruptcy, which is a very effective way to wipe away debt, but unless you teach a person to budget and take control of their money, bankruptcy is just a band aid on a bigger problem.

Same thing with weight loss surgery.

Not saying that you can't be successful after it. Lots of people are. But if there is a deeper issue, treating THAT, the mind, is the only thing that will make the difference.

Anyhoo, back to M.

I told her she didn't need weight loss surgery, but I understood she was at her wits end. She couldn't control her eating, she felt defeated in her workouts, she was done.

Until I got the 21 Day Fix in her hands.

**Note- This is not a long elaborate ad for the 21 day fix lol. It could have been anything, any change, but I believe this program made a difference for her.**

She was nervous about the eating plan, and the workouts, and if they were going to work for her. I told her to trust, and work, and if it didn't work after 21 days, she could send it back.

Well, work it sure has.

She is 16 days into the program, 15 in these pictures, and I am floored. She shared other comparison pics with me and someone mentioned that they were deceiving blah blah blah so she took them as close to the same as the originals.


This is 15 days. This is 15 days of hard work. This is 15 days of daily workouts and portion controlled clean meals. This is 15 days of a woman who was at her LITERAL wits end with weight loss, sucking it up and proving she can do anything. 

This makes me 15 shades of proud. 

I can't help but grin from ear to ear when I see this. And because of that I wanted to share it with you. And to give M the public praise she SO deserves. 

I am so proud of you girl. You rock my socks off and I know what we shared that day was the start to a beautiful, life long friendship. 

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