Saturday, October 11, 2014

Jilly's Losers Season 15 starting soon!

I can't believe we're already on Season 15 of my little weight loss group on Facebook.  I've seen some amazing people make incredible changes as well as watched my own life ride quite the wild roller coaster of both weight loss, weight gain and health/lifestyle changes.  It's been a truly wonderful experience and I'm excited to get in one more season before this baby comes in December!  If you've ever wanted to give Jilly's Losers a try, but were too shy, this is a great season to start with.  We'll be split into teams and will even have our own version of "comeback canyon" just like on the Biggest Loser tv show!  It should be really fun.  All the rules are below and anyone is welcome to join.  Just let me know!

  1. Season 15 will begin on Tuesday, October 14. It will last 8 weeks and our final weigh in will be on Tuesday, December 9. Please know that this will be the last official season for 2014 as I am due to have a baby around Christmas. I will most likely be starting season 16 in mid-January (so that I can actively participate!) but during the hiatus, everyone is still welcome and encouraged to weigh in weekly and post challenges in order to keep us all accountable. There will just be no prize pot or rules.
  2. The buy-in fee this season will be $25. Fees should be sent via Paypal to with the note “buyin fee”. All fees must be paid by October 21st.
    3. This season will be a teams season! We've done this once before and it was (in my opinion) the most fun season we've ever done! Here's how it will work.

    All those participating will be divided into two teams. They will be divided fairly so that each team will have about the same total weight (Or as close as I can get it anyway!) This basically consists of listing out invididuals by weight and then sorting: 1 person here, 1 person there...all the way to the bottom of the list. Got it? Teams will be created after everyone has weighed in on our starting day. As the season progresses, there will start to grow a third team via weekly eliminations. Being eliminated in Jilly's Losers does not mean you're removed or that you can no longer compete. I think it's silly to do that in a group where you are paying to join and the objective is to get healthier. So here's how eliminations will work (with a twist this time!)
    ELIMINATIONS: Depending on how many people we have joining us this season (The objective is to end up with no more than 2-4 people on teams 1 and 2 by the final weigh in. They will be competing for the top prizes)...every week the 2/3/etc people with the lowest % of weight loss will be “eliminated” from their original team and moved to team #3. However, if you've been watching the new season of Biggest Loser, you know that there is something called “Comeback Canyon”!! And this season, we'll have our own version of that! Second Chance Sanctuary! Between the two original teams and dropping down into team Second Chance Sanctuary. Let's say after week one, two people from each original team are “eliminated”. They will drop into “second chance sanctuary” for that following week. At the next week's weigh-in, the person who loses the highest % of those 4 eliminated people...will remain in second chance sanctuary. The rest will drop down to team 3 for the remainder of the 8 week season. This will happen each week. Those who are in second chance sanctuary will compete head to head with one another. For what, you ask? When we reach our second to last weigh-in...the last man/woman standing in second chance sanctuary will get to return to their original team to compete for their teams % of the prize pot!! Hopefully this will make a bit more sense as we go along, but I'm hoping it will provide some friendly competition and a lot more fun!
    4. Prizes: 45% of the prize pot will go to the person from team 1 with the highest % of weight loss at the end of 8 weeks and 45% to the winner on team 2. The remaining 10% of the pot will go to the winner from team 3 (the eliminated participants). This means that while you will be working together as a team this season, you will also be competing against one another within your own team for that prize!!

    (NOTE: All prizes are given after 10% is taken out of the pot for myself as insisted upon by you brats a few seasons back *grumbles*.  Thank you lol)
    5. Regarding weigh-ins:  We will still have mandatory weekly weigh-ins every Tuesday.  As for strikes...since this is a longer season I will allow 2 missed weigh-ins per person. That's 1 per month (or 2 in a row). On the 3rd missed weigh-in, you will be disqualified and you will not get your $ refunded. (You may continue to stay in the group and weigh-in but you will not be eligible to win any $) Remember that weigh-ins must be a picture of the # on your scale. Not just a post of your weight. This season I will also allow a picture of any weight watchers weigh in stickers as I know a few people in our group participate in those weekly weigh-ins and I know they are legit. Just make sure that you use the same scale all season.

    NOTE:  For those of us who are current group members returning for season 15...your starting weight will also be your final weight for season 14 as posted on October 14th.6. Before and After pictures are MANDATORY. The pictures may be with or without a shirt (you'll notice more of a change if you do it without), but they must be full body pictures. If your before picture is not submitted within the first week of competition, you will be disqualified. (If you submitted an "after" picture for season 14, that will count as your "before" picture for season 15) Those who win prizes at the end of the season will not receive their prize money until their after pictures have been submitted and must do so within 48 hrs of the winning announcement.
    NOTE: Newcomers to this group always worry that their pictures posted in the group will show up for the public to see.  This group is secret.  As long as you are on the group wall BEFORE posting your pictures, no one will see them but those in the group.  Your pictures will show up on your own feed when you view it, but I promise you no one else can see it!
    7. Starting and final weights will be confirmed with a KEY WORD.  This is to ensure that starting and ending pictures are truly taken on the day of the weigh-in and not before.  I will post the KEY WORD in this group the night before the first and last weigh-ins.  It should be written on a piece of paper or notecard and placed at your feet in the front of your scale before taking your picture.
    8. We will continue doing weekly challenges. After 14 seasons, I have to admit I'm very burnt out on ideas, but this season I will be planning all challenges. Ideas are always welcome though (My pregnancy brain is even less creative than my regular one!) Challenges will vary from individual to team ones. (Team ones are more fun!) Challenges are (usually) posted on Monday and will run from Tuesday through to the following Monday. They will be pinned at the top of the group feed as well as pasted onto the Challenges document under the “Files” tab.
    9. Remember that this group is about gaining health and losing weight through eating right and exercising. Extreme/fad diets are not allowed. Weight Watchers and things like that are fine, but no pills/drops/etc.
    10. This group is only for those who will be actively participating in the competition this season, so while I hope everyone will stick around, please know that if you choose not to join us this season, you will be removed from the group. You are always welcome to join us in later seasons :)

Monday, September 22, 2014


I'm feeling much better since my last blog post/long-winded whiny rant.  I honestly think that's why I wrote it in the first place.  I tend to feel much better after I get things down on paper (even if virtually so).  

I'm feeling much healthier in my relationship with food this week and am grateful for that.  I still have my cravings and I'm still enjoying certain things, but I'm not beating myself up over it like I was a week ago.  I did gain a lot of weight in my first trimester, but over the last 2 months, I've only gained about 3-5lbs...which is actually pretty great.  Average is a gain of 1 pound a week at this point in pregnancy, so I'll be happy if I can just keep up with that.

I've had so many wonderful friends and people at my gym who tell me I look amazing for being 6 months along and while my first instinct is to not believe them, I'm learning to trust that they're not just being nice and that maybe I'm not doing as horribly as I once thought.  As previously mentioned, I do seem to be gaining most of it in the right places, so hopefully it will come off quicker than I'm worried it will.

I had to go buy a few more items of maternity clothes this week and that helped boost my confidence a bit too.  Before pregnancy, I was fitting in size XL clothes from Old Navy.  I'm still able to do so as far as tops go, which is great. Unfortunately, I did have to make the jump from XL back up to 1X in pants (which was hard to do mentally after working so long to get out of plus size clothing) but I'm okay with it and I know it's not forever :)

26 weeks, 14 to go!  I have my glucose screening test with my midwife next week and everything is going great. Second trimester is pretty awesome.  Gonna go enjoy it before things get hard again!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Time to vent...

I gotta say...this hormonal pregnancy stuff is NOT my favorite part of growing a little life inside of me.  I'm pretty sure I hate it.  Things have been a bit rough for a few weeks now, but today felt a bit like a breaking point.  With actual tears and everything.  But maybe that's a good thing.

I'm not even sure I can really find the right words for how I'm feeling, but I'm going to try...mostly because I need to get it all out for my own sanity.  I know most people do/will roll their eyes when they realize I'm getting upset about my weight while I'm pregnant, and that's fine.  Roll away.  But if you had been on the journey I've been on and fought the mental and physical battles that I've fought with my weight and'd understand why I feel the way I do.

I'm 25 weeks pregnant and to date, I've gained about 30-35lbs depending on which scale I use or what time of day it is.  People say, "So what!  You're pregnant!  Enjoy it!  You're allowed to gain weight and eat what you want.  It will all come off quickly after the baby is born, etc."  And honestly, that's what people SHOULD say...because the last thing any normal person wants to do is piss off a pregnant woman by telling her she's fat or that she's gained too much weight.  So I get it.  But at the same time, that response only enables me to do what I had sworn at the beginning of my pregnancy..that I wouldn't do!  It's a tough balancing act.

To be fair, I do know that not all of those pounds gained are my fault.  I AM growing another human being inside of me, and that little guy takes up quite a bit of room already.  I also know, at least by the fit of my clothes and the way I look in the mirror/pictures, that I seem to be (for the most part anyway) gaining the weight in my belly and chest which is where it should be going.  But 30-35lbs is normal for an entire pregnancy.  And at this rate, it terrifies me to think of where I will be come the end of December.

Sure, I still work out regularly...modifying what I need to to keep myself and the baby safe.  And no, I'm not eating out 3 meals a day and enjoying an entire sheet cake in bed while I watch tv at night. It's not gotten THAT extreme.  But I'm finding that the will power and the drive that I had before just seems to be constantly eluding me.  Maybe I'm just tired. I eat a healthy breakfast pretty much every day.  Lunch too.  But the second I become responsible for feeding anyone but myself, it's like I forget how to do it.  I HATE cooking.  I mean seriously hate it.  If it takes me more than 10 minutes to prepare, I literally get angry at it lol  (again, I'm sure the hormones aren't helping here).  I just don't have the patience, the creativity, the know how...or the desire.  By the time dinner comes around, I'm just exhausted and I just plain don't wanna.  So my pregnancy becomes an excuse...and more often than not...I just don't do it.  Now before I get accused of being a horrible mother...I still feed my kids!! haha.  But we eat out more often than we should/can afford...or I throw a concoction in the crock pot...or they get spaghetti and garlic bread twice a week while I resort to a bowl of cereal.

BUT JILL!  You're pregnant!!!  Stop being so hard on yourself!

Yes, I know.  And you can keep saying that to me, but it won't change my brain's chemistry or suddenly make any of this easier.  My biggest fear from day 1 of this pregnancy was that once the baby comes, I will be back where I started with my weight (or close to it).  The weight is coming on faster now that the baby is growing exponentially and it absolutely terrifies me.  Even on the days when I feel like I've eaten healthy and exercised body seems to hold onto the weight differently than it did my weight gain has an unstoppable momentum.

I realize now that I'm rambling and all the thoughts/emotions inside are just spilling out in no particular order.  I'm sorry for that.  I just don't know what to do.  One day I'll turn to Nathan and tell him that I'm just going to stop stressing over my weight gain because my midwife will tell me if it's an issue and I'm just going to enjoy this pregnancy.  And then the next day I'll ride that mentality all the way to pizza hut, completely binge...and then wake up the next morning feeling guilty and realizing that I can't just "do whatever I want"...because while it might be more relaxing and enjoyable for the next 3 1/2 will send me into a severe depression when January comes and I have 50+ pounds that I have to lose all over again.

I just wish I could find some sort of balance. That's all.  I never realized that being pregnant after such a huge weight loss would have so many of its own struggles to come with it.  But I guess it is just another lesson for me to learn.  More experiences for me to struggle through and overcome.  Maybe the balance should just be to have more good days than bad ones on any given week.  Because I will go crazy (and drive my family crazy in the process) if I can't find some happy medium in this pregnancy.

Funny thing is...I feel like I've become more obsessed over my weight while pregnant than I ever was while losing it in the first place. Maybe that should tell me something.

Vent over.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unsolicited Advice...

I wanted to write this post a few days ago when this incident occurred, but I decided to do what my dad always taught me...which is to let myself calm down before writing/publishing something.  He's a smart man.  So lucky for you, there will be less swearing involved haha.

This past Saturday, I received a text from a Utah phone number that I didn't recognize.  I asked who the person was and got no response.  I am still unsure who wrote it.  Here's what it said (though, the text itself was in ALL CAPS)

":You are a strong woman who went from being weak to food to being addicted to micromanaging your weight.  You are beautiful and a great mother but your children and family are paying for your new addiction.  Enjoy life and all of your blessings. Your appearance is not as important as important as they are"  (typos were left in)

My initial reaction was along the lines of, "Who the hell are you to throw around sugar coated accusations?" Well...actually my initial reaction was, "Is this spam?" but those I've spoken to agree that it's far too personal to be spam.  I was angry.  Not knowing who sent it was the main reason for my anger.  As I told my friend Kate that day, "If I knew who it came from, at least I would know the context of my relationship and where they might have been coming from with these statements."  But I don't.  For whatever reason, this person felt that their words would be better received anonymously.  Because they have chosen not to reveal themselves and have a private conversation with me about their feelings, I'm resorting to a public blog where I can address what was said whether they choose to accept/acknowledge/understand it or not.

I will try to address this message one point at a time.  So here goes:

1) "You are a strong woman who went from being weak to food...."

I am still weak to food.  This has not changed.  I am, and will always be, a food addict.  I have a very hard time saying no to the things I love, and sometimes, even eating them in moderation isn't enough.  I still have bad days and I still binge on occasion.  Especially now that I'm 20 weeks food addiction seems to be 100 times worse!

2) " being addicted to micromanaging your weight."

First of all, this statement tells me that this person must not realize I'm pregnant.  And they also must not realize that in the past 4 months, I have gained 25lbs already.  Yes.  25.  I weighed in today in my weight loss group for the first time since getting pregnant and it was a wake up call.  So micromanaging my weight loss is the last thing I've been doing.  Yes, I run a weight loss group.  But the "management" I do in there is not just about the number on my scale or anyone elses.  Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes in that group can tell you that it's about changing the way you live.  It's about learning a healthier lifestyle and learning to be happy with who you are. You can do those things and still celebrate the number on the scale going down.  It is not a crime to lose weight or to want to do so.  It is also not a crime for me to LOVE helping others do so.  If anything, that is what I'm addicted to.  I love watching other people change right before my eyes into someone that they WANT to be.  They work hard and it pays off.

If I were in fact micromanaging my weight, it wouldn't have taken me 2 1/2 years to lose 100lbs.  I would have broken into the 100's by now.  I would live at the gym.  I would obsess over every little calorie that went into my mouth.  I would spiral into fits of black depression anytime I gained an ounce.  I would never let chocolate pass my lips (among many other things which I promise have passed my lips on a far too regular basis haha).  I am simply living my life and trying to not do it mindlessly.  I am trying to be more conscious about what I am doing.

3) "You are beautiful and a great mother but your children and family are paying for your new addiction."

Thank you.  For the first time in my life, I DO feel beautiful.  And I DO feel like a great mother.  And you know why that is?  Because I changed my life, lost weight and became healthier.  My "addiction" to exercising and eating better has made me and my family happier than we've ever been together. Why?  Because I'm no longer the fat mom who sits on the sidelines while her family has all the fun.  I go on roller-coasters, I jump on the trampoline (when not pregnant anyway), I put on a swimsuit and go in the pool....I actually live my life now.  Instead of hiding away from the world in my bedroom with a bag of chips or on my computer in a game world where no one can see what I look like...I actually spend TIME with my family.  I went from being depressed, miserable and absolutely hating my having happy, involved kids...real live friends...and a marriage that sees a lot more action than it ever did at 330lbs.  (Right baby? *winks*)  This is how my family is "paying for my new addiction."  And I won't ever go back.

4) " Enjoy life and all of your blessings. Your appearance is not as important as important as they are."

AMEN.  In case it wasn't clear enough in the last section...I am enjoying my life.  Finally.  I'm pregnant with my 4th child, I'm teaching Zumba, I'm going out with friends, I'm spending a lot of quality time with my family...and life is AMAZING!  My family is more important to me than anything else in this world.  If I had to weigh 600lbs to keep them, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  But luckily, I don't.  Yes, they are more important than my appearance, but it's true what they say about needing to learn to love yourself before you can truly love others.  And that's what I needed to do.  Of course, I have always loved my husband and my children!  Always!  But NOW...I love them better. Not more....BETTER.

So to the anonymous person who thinks they know me....maybe now you know me a little better.  I wish you a happy life with YOUR family.  May it be happy, healthy and full of all the things you want for yourself and for them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Guest Post by the amazing, 104lbs smaller Lindsay!!!

Over the past (almost) 3 years, the members of Jilly's Losers have lost a LOT of weight.  I've seen people reach their goals, lose weight, get healthier, happier...and completely change their lives.  But for the first time in the history of my group (my own weight loss aside)...someone lost 100lbs.  And she did it in 7 months.

I asked Lindsay to share her story with not only me...but with the world (or the world that sees my blog anyway haha) and she didn't disappoint.  This had me in tears.  I see so much of myself in her and I see so many things that make me want to do even better.  Lindsay pushes me as well as the others in Jilly's Losers and I am so grateful to have met her.  I hope you enjoy reading her story as much as I did.  I can't wait to see where she goes from here!

"My Name is Lindsay..."

My name is Lindsay. I am a 29 year old female with a very handsome husband and 6 amazing children ages 1½, 2½, 5, 6, 7, and 8. I have worked 2 nights a week as a registered nurse since I had my first child 8 years ago. I have spent my married life caring for my home, my husband, my children, and forgetting about myself.

 I have struggled with my weight my WHOLE life. I have tried a lot of crazy diets like…all protein, no sweets, cleanses, etc…always able to lose 20lbs or so but always able to gain it back PLUS some.  I have spent my life as a “closet eater”.  From the time I was a young girl I would sneak food and eat it in private. I would hide food under my bed, in my back pack, or my pockets. My older brothers would make fun of me and how I looked and dressed or how much the car went down when I got in it. It hurt my feelings but obviously not enough to make me want to change. When I turned 16 and was able to drive and had my own money this “closet eating” got worse and I would eat in my car all the time. When I started early college at Weber State, as a senior in High School, it got even worse. I would drive to the grocery store late at night and buy a cake, put it in my backpack, and come home and eat it in my car or in my bed. I was an ADDICT...A FOOD ADDICT and I couldn’t stop. After I graduated high school, when I was at my heaviest (250lbs), my mom told me, “You better figure out a way to lose weight or we are going to a doctor in one month.”  I feared going to the doctor and what they would say so my mom and I joined a group called, CHOOSE TO LOSE. It was a group of women who got together weekly to weigh in and encourage each other to make healthy choices.  I lost 88 lbs by eating very little and exercising A LOT.  . However, I was still an addict to food.  I would do great for a few days and then have a “binge” day.  Like I said, I exercised A LOT.  I would walk up to 9 miles a day plus run on the treadmill after school and I loved Tae Bo.  If I had an awful binge I wasn’t afraid to force myself to puke it up.  I didn’t do this daily or even weekly but I did do it every once in a while.  I would hardly eat anything most days and definitely NO SWEETS and then I would break down and binge. So, YES, I lost 88 lbs but I did not do it in a healthy way.  I met my husband 2 months later and by the time we got married, 11 months after that, I was back to 220lbs. UGH!!  Too much eating out and hanging out and making out and not enough exercise. I became that “closet eater” once again (which was now even easier because I lived in my own home and did all the shopping) I would buy 3 boxes of Hostess Swiss Rolls (one of my favorites) and hide 2 of them so if I decided to eat the whole box I could replace them before my husband noticed they were all gone. We had our first baby 9 months later and my final weigh in of my pregnancy was 298lbs. Long story short…after my 2nd baby I weighed 320lbs. I maintained that awful weight through the next 4 pregnancies. I always tried to lose weight but was never able to break that horrible 300lb barrier. 

My weight has kept me from doing so much!  Too big for airplanes, too big for amusement park rides (I actually got stuck in one of those turn styles that you have to go through to get on a ride…embarrassing), too big to fit comfortably in movie theatre chairs or regular arm chairs at a restaurant, too big to go swimming or go on a water slide.  My seat belt was at its max!!  As my kids have gotten older they have started to ask, “When can we go to Disneyland, Why can’t we go swimming?”  I knew I had to change!!  In fall of 2013 I ended up in the ER twice in one month for blood clots in my legs. I was sure the doctor would explain to me that obesity is a huge risk factor but he didn’t say anything! Why didn’t he say anything?  I had hit ROCK BOTTOM!  I was only 28 and I was going to die if I didn’t change.  He didn’t have to tell me that.

This is the same time my mom told my about Jilly’s Losers, a weigh in group like we had done before, but on Facebook.  I felt sick to my stomach….how could I share my weight with anyone?  I was at my heaviest…327lbs.  NOONE, except my OB/GYN knew how much I weighed and I didn’t want them to.  Finally, the day before the new season started, I decided this was how I was going to change. I WAS GOING TO DO IT!!!! I was tired of people telling me how “pretty my face was” or kids making fun of the size of my butt or telling my kids that they had a “fat mom.” I was tired of being unhappy! So I joined and I posted my before picture and my starting weight (one of the most humbling things I have ever done). I decided at the start that I was NOT going to do any crazy diets or give up sweets. I joined MY FITNESS PAL and started counting calories.  I started walking 3 miles a day, rain or snow. It was December and half the time I did it pushing 2-4 kids in a double stroller or even pushing the double stroller empty just so I wouldn’t slip on the ice. On really bad days I would drive to the mall and do my walk there. I did 20 minutes on my stationary bike (I had to sit on a pillow because it made my butt hurt so bad), and did my 8 minute Tae Bo workout video. I ate breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner.  I stopped eating after dinner and I drank A LOT of water. I have a huge 100 oz mug from Maverick that I kept full of ice water (which I love) and drank it every time I had a craving.  I was amazed after my first week when I had lost a whopping 8 lbs!! Yay!  I was doing it. I continued to count calories daily and never banned myself from treats. Birthday cake was ok and so was a small treat every once in a while. Eventually I started eating wheat bread instead of white, whole grain cereal instead of sugar cereal, brown rice instead of white, and skim milk instead of 1%.  My snacks went from chocolate and sugary treats to fruit, carrots, string cheese, wheat thins, trail mix, yogurt, and Quest bars.  I fought myself daily to stay on track. I forced myself to exercise even if it was 10pm after my kids had gone to sleep.  It all paid off…After my 1st 8 week season I had lost 30lbs. Now, don’t get me wrong…I wasn’t perfect.  One day I ate a whole 12 pack of snack size milky ways (I think 830 calories) for lunch. I got depressed and mad at myself but I knew the only thing to do was rub it off and keep chugging. I got back on the wagon A LOT and the weight kept coming off.

As of today (7 months into my journey) I have lost 104lbs!!  I continue to follow the same routine… my daily exercise consists of walking 3-4 miles, 30minutes on the stationary bike, and a 25-30 minute circuit training workout video (I do a few different ones to change it up).  Of course there are days when I don’t fit it all in but I do my best. I have learned to love exercise and sweat!  I still eat every few hours and I drink tons of water.  I count my calories everyday and I continue to fight myself daily to stay on track with eating.  As long as I don’t ban myself from sweets all together I am ok.  A small treat here and there keeps me sane! Honestly, I thought the cravings would end but I have come to the realization that they most definitely will not!!  Food is an addiction, my addiction, and it takes constant will power and self control to control it. I keep my healthy treats stocked up and close by so I can grab them when the cravings come. I am feeling so good about myself and I love all the compliments I get from my family and my friends…It keeps me motivated.  We are going to Disneyland in September and I can’t wait.  I am so proud of myself.  I enjoy getting dressed and getting ready for the day.  I finally feel pretty. It’s like my life has started over!  I haven’t reached my goal weight yet and sometimes I get frustrated and tired of the journey because it is HARD, so HARD!  I literally had to have my husband stand by me last Sunday while I cleaned the kitchen because I felt like my self control was gone.  I was jittery and I wanted to eat everything in sight. I told him to stand by me and stop me if I tried to eat anything.  This happens often J and he is happy to help me…Thank goodness! When the scale doesn’t move as much as I think it should I want to quit. When I break down and eat 3 pieces of cake instead of the small one I started out with and when I give into my cravings, I feel like a failure. Then I stand up, start over, and remind myself that I AM IN CONTROL AND NOTHING CAN STOP ME!!!!! 

Jilly’s Losers has been my life saver, literally!  Weighing in each week keeps me on track.  I have lost consistently all 7 months and never POSTED a gain.  Yes, Jill, that’s right…I have indeed gained weight on my journey!  But if I see the gain in the middle of the week it motivates me to kick it up a notch and make sure I have a loss to post for the real weigh in the next Tuesday. I fight hard for those losses and I will keep fighting for my goal weight and, most importantly, for myself!!  I have found the me that has been lost under all that weight for so long and I wouldn’t give it up for anything!  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Where oh where has my will power gone...

When things are so rough that I don't want to write a blog about it...that's when I know I need to.  So I'm just going to say this quickly.  Rip off the proverbial bandaid.  Since finding out I was pregnant 8 weeks ago, I have gained 14lbs.  All of which were gained within a 6 week period.  (I've managed to maintain the past two weeks.)  There are a lot of reasons this happened, only a very small percentage is "because I'm growing another human being".

When the pregnancy test showed a positive, it was like some wires in my brain were immediately crossed and all of the healthy eating and exercise I'd spent the last 2 1/2 years working on went out the window.  Well not completely...but a lot of it.  At the time, I was still in the middle of a season of Jilly's Losers and I wasn't ready to tell my group, nor was I ready to give up and drop out.  So I kept weighing in and slowly saw a couple lbs more show up on the scale.  That was hard for me.  Being the leader of the group, I know based on past experience that when "I" am not doing well or am lacking motivation (and gaining weight)...others tend to follow suit.  It's hard to follow a leader who doesn't seem to be succeeding.  I know my group members will tell me I'm being silly and that it's not my fault if people have a bad week, but I am telling doesn't help them.  I toughed out the rest of the season before deciding to tell them (a few weeks before telling the rest of the public world) that I was in fact pregnant.

As the next season began, I decided to sit it out.  I'm still running things, but I'm not eligible for any prizes and I'm not posting a public weight.  I had decided that having the group leader showing a slow gain of 15-30lbs over the next several months wasn't conducive to helping anyone else LOSE weight or become healthier.  Hopefully that was the right decision for my group, but for's been my downfall.  Well...not downfall I guess.  It's not the end of the world.  I haven't regained 123lbs.  But as out of control as things have been, it certainly felt like the beginning of the end.  The problem with not having that weekly accountability is that I completely avoided the scale altogether.  I hear often that the scale shouldn't matter, etc etc...and yes, I KNOW that there is more to my health than the scale.  But for me and my mental health...stepping on the scale every week was a part of the equation that was keeping me in check.  I avoided it for a good month before finally deciding it was time to assess the damage.   And wow.

Before stepping on the scale, I had felt my will power go completely out the window.  Part of it was the "I'm pregnant, I can relax on my eating a bit and I should probably not spend 12 hours a week at the gym, right?" Well that was just silly because my midwife had okay'd me keeping up my exercise routine (minus anything high impact...darn, no jumping jacks) and obviously healthy eating is encouraged...especially during pregnancy.  But it was like something in my brain (and in my family's collective brain) decided it was party time wherever food was concerned. 90% of the time, I was nauseous and the thought of eating anything at all made me want to run to the bathroom.  But the 10% that I was feeling okay...I wasn't grabbing fruit and veggies and protein shakes. Nope.  I wanted sugar and fried cheesy goodness.  The thought of my hard boiled eggs or my green smoothies made me sick to my stomach.  So I used it as an excuse.  Sure, it's true that carbs (ie: saltines) were the only thing that even remotely settled my stomach...but I let that be the reason I ate wayyyyyyyyyy more than any person should.

So there was the cravings.  And then there was the emotional/stress eating.  I have always had problems with this.  Always.  But I'd gotten better at keeping it reigned in and not letting myself just say "screw it".  Well...after finding out I was pregnant, there were lots of emotions and stress thrown in all at once. Am I too old for this? Will the baby be healthy?  My youngest is 7 1/2, is this age gap going to be too big of a problem?  We have no baby stuff, what will we do?  How are we going to afford this? etc etc etc.  And food became my comfort.  Mostly sugar.

And then I stepped on that scale.  When I saw the number 224 beaming back at me it was like it was taunting me.  It was the very hard slap in the face that I needed.  When I first found out I was pregnant, I was about 210lbs.  The lowest I had gotten was 207, but I had had a few rough weeks already before finding out.  When I did find out, I had told myself I wouldn't let myself go over 230, because that is my 100lbs lost mark.  So when I saw 224, knowing I still have a LONG way to go...I panicked.  That was two weeks ago.

It has very much felt like starting all over again...even though it's not.  I realize that very soon here I'm going to have to switch to maternity clothes (as I gave away 90% of my bigger sizes already)...but when my cute size 16 jeans started becoming tight...I wanted to cry.  I am NOT going to repeat my first pregnancy.  I am NOT going to gain 90lbs because I don't feel worthy of something better.  I am NOT going to restart my entire journey all over again for this.  So I've gotten back into my workout routine as best I can.  That's the part I know should be a bit easier for me.  I never STOPPED working out, but I was lucky to hit Zumba twice a week.  This week will be better.  I'm already sore from a great HIIT workout on Saturday and this morning I'm off to lift weights with Dee.  Breakfast will go back to consisting of greek yogurt and muffins (or a little raisin bran maybe....I've been craving that 24/7 for some reason) and a protein shake or salad for lunch more often than not.  I will continue tracking my calories, but they will start including more fruits and veggies and less cupcakes and cookies.  I was 224 at my last visit to my midwife on June 9. By my 15 week visit on July 7, I'd like to be back below 220 if possible.

Now if only I could be okay with this growing out of my clothes thing.  Ugh.  Can I just say that after it taking 2 1/2 years go lose 3 cup sizes and 10 inches in my bust...I am NOT thrilled that they are growing again? Bras are NOT something I want to invest in again haha.  But I guess it is time to go find me a "Bellaband" or whatever those things are called that allow me to keep wearing my own jeans a little while longer. I'm not quite ready for the maternity switch.  I'm excited to be having a pregnancy where I'm healthy from the get go...but man, this is more of a mental game than it's ever been before.  So I need all the help I can get.  12 weeks down (as of tomorrow).  28 more to go.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Putting my weight loss on hold...for good reason!

I've been wanting to write a new entry for a long time.  The problem is...I've been watching the scale slowly going up...and up...and until now I haven't been able to talk about the reason why.  So I felt it best to just keep to myself until I was ready to share our awesome news!!

Turns out there's gonna be a new member of our family coming at the end of this year and I'm SO excited! Nathan and I have been on the fence for quite a while about whether or not we were done with the baby having thing and then when we realized my Nuva Ring (sorry if this is TMI for people but hey, it's the truth) had fallen out somewhere in the midst of things and that it was possible I could be pregnant....we weren't freaked out by it.  We were actually kind of excited.  We realized that was our answer.  We wanted another one.  So we just let things be and now here we are!  As of tomorrow I'll be 11 weeks along...due on December 30th of this year.  That was our first born's due date way back when, which makes it that much more special.  There will be an 8 year gap between Emma and the baby, which means we are really starting over from scratch here...but it will be an exciting adventure.

We found out pretty early on that I was pregnant.  We've known for about 6 weeks now and it's been REALLY HARD to not shout it to the world.  Even my kids have been able to keep it a secret (which I must say impressed me big time).  It feels good to finally be able to share it with everyone (though our families already knew) and to finally explain why I still haven't hit that blasted 200lb barrier!

I'll admit that part of me is frustrated to know that it will be another year at least before I get to that milestone, but if any reason is a good one for it....this is.  The hard thing for me has been trying not to let things get out of hand with my weight.  I am still running Jilly's Losers, but I haven't been weighing in because seeing the group's leader gain weight steadily isn't going to motivate anyone.  The problem with that is that without that accountability, I've found it VERY hard to hold onto any sort of will power.  If I crave it, I eat it.  The "morning" sickness hasn't helped matters either. Most of my old go-to health foods make me feel sick just at the sound of them and carbs are the only thing that even remotely helps my stomach.  Go figure right?  So I have gained about 8lbs in the last 4 weeks.  I am determined though to reign my eating back in and to not let this be the slippery slope that undoes all my hard work of the past 3 years.  I REALLY do not want to have to lose those 120lbs all over again.

I am going to try really hard not to let myself gain more than 25-30lbs this pregnancy.  I am continuing to work out (though not quite as often due to extreme fatigue) and am still tracking what I with a little motivation, I should be just fine.  I know how to do this..I just need to do it. And not let my cravings win out every time!  Ugh.  Stupid cravings.

So...this blog may have a bit of a different tune to it over the next year, but hopefully people will continue to read and hopefully I can shed a little light on how do do this pregnancy thing the right way.  I will admit I'm really excited to finally have a pregnancy where I am HEALTHY to start out with.  By the end of my other pregnancies I was close to or way over 300lbs.  I never felt I looked "pregnant" just "fat".  I never worked out, I felt miserable all the time...and I just didn't get to truly enjoy it.  I'm excited to see how this pregnancy is different.  I'm at a very different place in my life both physically and mentally and I know that will make for a great experience.  I guess it's a good thing I hadn't yet gotten rid of ALL of my bigger clothes...because those size 16's I was finally fitting into....yeah they're not gonna work anymore.

So give me all the advice you got people.  I feel like I'm doing this for the first time and it's pretty scary.  11 weeks down, 29 to go! :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I've written a lot of blogs since I started and honestly, I can no longer remember what I've touched on and what I haven't.  So if things start to sound familiar to you, feel free to hit that little x in the top right corner of your screen haha.  But I felt like this was something I wanted to talk I'm gonna.  Cause I can.

Addiction is seen by most people as a horrible, awful thing.  It's, in most cases, immediately associated with things like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, etc.  Very rarely do people hear addiction and think "food".  But I do.  It's my addiction.  Now some people may read that and laugh.  "Ha...suck it up girl.  Life could be worse. Be grateful you're not addicted to something that could kill you."  Well to those people I say, "Last I checked, being morbidly obese, having high cholesterol, eating fried/fatty foods every day and thinking dessert is required after every meal....are all things that can kill you."  Got ya thinking now, don't I :)

So what IS food addiction?  Well like most any other addiction, your life revolves around it.  You think about it 24/7.  You plan your day around it.  You look forward to your next "hit".  You squirm and fidget and can't focus when you know it will be a while before you can eat.  FOOD BECOMES YOUR LIFE.  I still to this day...even down 123lbs...see food at the center of my day.  That is one thing that has not changed.  The makeup of my meals may be different than it used to be, but it is still very much my focus. I think about food more than men think about sex, I'm guessing lol.  It's that bad!!

I have some very good friends in my life who have been affected by addiction whether through their own experience or through that of a spouse or loved one.  And it has been a life-changing experience for them.  I've watched them have various reactions to these experiences.  They range from the positive changes of growing stronger and overcoming their addictions to the not so positive reactions that can come from dealing with addiction in your life.  My heart breaks for those who struggle with addiction.  It is a hard hard thing to endure and to overcome or move past.

I got lucky that my addiction didn't end my life, but some people might not appreciate me saying that in some ways, I lump myself in with those people who struggle with those other kinds of addiction.  And in some addiction is one of the hardest of them all to deal with.  Why would you say that Jill??  Your problems aren't any more special or difficult than someone else's!  Of course they're not.  But let me tell you why food addiction might be harder to overcome than say an addiction to smoking.  (Now I will say here that I have never smoked or had to try and quit smoking so I cannot compare how the two feel, but hopefully you will still understand what I'm getting at here....and that I am in NO WAY trying to lessen the struggles of those who deal with tobacco, alcohol or any other addiction out there.)  Most addictions are to things that you can cut completely out of your life and go on living without.  Cigarettes?  Bye bye, nice knowing you.  Alcohol? You might miss your buzz and think about it 24/7 but if you went a month or a year or a decade without a single'd live.  But food? No.  Unfortunately for us food addicts, you cannot just cut the problem from your life.  Food is necessary to keep us provide us nutrients and energy and to help us grow.  Therein lies the added difficulty. And sucks.

When it comes to food addiction, there is no "overcoming" or becoming "sober" or "moving past".  There is only "learning to deal with it."  There is learning to eat in moderation and to control portions or count calories.  There is learning to say no to that second donut or that extra slice of pizza.  And sure, you can cut certain KINDS of foods out of your every day diet and live a long, happy life...but it's a lot harder to do.  The body runs on so many different chemical reactions that have us craving different things on different days and then deciding what parts it wants to burn and what parts it wants to turn into more jelly rolls sitting around my middle.  It's like figuring out a puzzle on a daily basis.  What does my body want today?  If I eat that thing I'm craving so badly, will my body punish me for it later?  Will my mind have the power to trust that the body knows what it needs?

My mind and body are CONSTANTLY at war and I don't think that war will ever end.  My mind is slowly catching up to my body in learning what foods make it feel better and what foods will make me feel like death for 24 hours afterward.  But my mind will never let go of certain things that it knows it enjoys.  It's a true, real, certified, 100% serious addiction.  And I have it.  Maybe I should join a program, who knows.  All I know is that the world's view of food addicts is not a kind one and it's hard to be in that club.  And while I know I will never be completely free of my addiction, I am grateful to know that I have improved...vastly.  I am grateful to know that my addiction is no longer killing me...and that because of that, I can give a better version of myself to my husband and my children and to those around me that I love.

In closing I wanted to post a link to one of my absolute favorite dances that was done on "So You Think You Can Dance."  It was performed to the song "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles with a theme of addiction.  The dance is so powerful that it still moves me years after it was performed.  It speaks far more powerfully than any blog entry I could write.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Bod Pod... a Bod Pod

This is what I had to wear to go into the Bod Pod. (Behold all my lovely extra skin!!)

I've been wanting to do this for a very long time, and I really wish I had forked over the dough to do it when I first started losing weight so that I could compare.  But it was still really cool!  (I did find my results from my very first pinch test back in 2010 when I was 330.6lbs and that showed me at 47% body fat, but the pinch test isn't super accurate.) The Bod Pod is the most accurate way to find out your body fat % and weight.  After going through many weeks/months where I wanted to throw my own scale out the window...I'm glad I finally took the time/spent the money to go and find out where I REALLY stand.

You basically step on a scale and then go sit in the pod (which is freezing against your bare skin) for three 40 second timed sessions where they open and reclose it.  It seals up and you can kind of feel/hear it working.  It is measuring the amount of air displaced by your body.  It's quick and painless!

Here's my results!

It's kind of hard to see, but it says that my body fat is 33.5%.  My lean mass is 139.2lbs and my fat mass is 70.1lbs. My weight on their scale was 209.3. (My home scale is only about .6lbs less than that which is great) Can I just tell you how much I squealed and jumped up and down to see that?  Both my scale at home and the body composition tester at my gym have me at about 40.5%.  They are far less accurate.  It was SOOOOOOOOO great to see that I am 7% less than what I thought!  It's also pretty damn great to see that I am only 3.5% away from being in the "moderately lean" category which "indicates general good health".  That is pretty freaking great.  I feel very proud right now!

Another thing I did learn is that with my resting metabolic rate being 1,756 kcal/day...I'm most likely not eating enough.  That's the amount of calories my body burns every day just existing.  I'm only eating about 1,500 calories a day AND exercising on top of that.  But the lady told me if I'm feeling okay and have enough energy doing it that way then I'm fine.  But it's still really neat to see that number and know that even on my rest days (when I actually take one), my body is still burning a good amount of calories!

I highly recommend that anyone trying to lose weight take the time to track down a bod pod screening.  I always tell my Jilly's Losers people that there is SO MUCH MORE to this journey than the number that shows on the scale.  That number doesn't tell you anything really.  You could have 2 people who weigh the exact same, but one of them have far more fat than the other one and you wouldn't know it just by looking at the scale.  Seeing where I really stand has re-motivated me to keep going.  I'm going to do this again in 2 months and see what's changed!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SBD - Take two

So after that horrific fall off the wagon (which lasted a good week and a half), I decided to rewind and go back to phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  I know that's not how it's intended to be done, but I feel like I had no other choice, honestly.  My cravings were off the chart.  I have had much worse weeks in the past, in that I didn't go on a Big Mac binge or eat out every night.  But I was inhaling sweets like there was no tomorrow.  I can't even tell you how many donuts and girl scout cookies I ate over a one week span.  I'm glad I didn't keep count.

The only GOOD thing about the past week and a half is that I haven't stepped on my scale.  Well okay two good things.  I didn't step on MY scale, but I did do my body composition again at my Burn It class and I've lost another 2% of my body fat in the last 3 weeks.  So I'm glad to see that my binge on sugar hasn't completely ruined me.  I'm not going to step on my scale though until I've got a few good, clean eating days under my belt.

I started yesterday.  And I have to say that doing SBD when your house isn't stocked for VERY hard. And boring.  The grocery shopping for the week had been done while I was hungry and we bought lots of unhealthy stuff.  The next trip isn't until next week.  So I have to make due with what we've got.  I've been eating grape tomatoes like they're candy.  Better than actual candy I suppose, huh?

I really wish I could understand my brain and why I do this to myself.  This self-sabotage stuff is getting really old.  I'm so close to hitting 200 and it's almost like my subconscious is afraid of hitting such a huge milestone. God knows would be AWESOME.  Maybe I feel pressured.  Between my weight loss group and this blog, I know everyone is watching and waiting.  And while I love that support and encouragement, it's also a lot of pressure that I have invited onto my own shoulders.

Why does food have to be such an issue.  Instead of weight loss being 80% food and 20% exercise, why can't it be the other way around?  I'd have this thing done and over with by now!  I used to HATE exercise with a passion and could come up with any excuse to avoid it.  Over time I became addicted to it and refuse to go without it.  Why can't my addiction to food change that drastically?  It's hardly fair.  I mean sure, I don't eat the way I used to with the Big Macs and french fries twice a week.  I don't drink soda except for once in a very rare while and my stomach has begun to punish me for fried foods or overindulgence in dairy. So I guess that's a change...but to me it's not enough.  Why can't I stop craving bakery goods and bready cheesy goodness.  WHY lol.  I know life wouldn't be as fun without those things and that it's okay to have them in moderation blah blah blah.  But that's my problem.  I allow myself to have a little bit and then BOOM!  I've slid down that slope and I'm eating everything in sight.

Maybe one day I'll find a balance between the strict and boring phase 1 of SBD and a healthy diet that includes the occasional splurge.  I always seem to go one extreme or the other and it sucks.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stupid freaking wagon...

The worst part about falling off the wagon is when you KNOW it's see it from a mile away...and you still do it.

As my 2 weeks of South Beach phase 1 neared the end, I knew it wasn't going to go well for me.  I knew it. It's my pattern.  And it terrified me, the closer I got.  I was hoping and praying that I'd have the strength to EASE out of it and into phase 2, but no...I had to go down in a blaze of glory.  Every time I manage a streak of perfection I always end it by going to the other extreme. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF!!!!!

During the first week of phase 1, I lost 9lbs. That's pretty freaking amazing.  I was so proud and excited and sure that during week 2, I'd lose another 7-9 and break through that elusive 200lb barrier. But the scale stopped dead in its tracks. 207.  207.  207.  It would NOT move.  I should have stopped weighing myself...and I did for about 2 days.  And then again...207.  I was eating the same, working out the same, drinking enough, sleeping enough....but nothing.  I got really frustrated.  There is nothing worse than KNOWING you are doing everything right and seeing that number stall.

And then on day 13, we decided to celebrate Nathan's birthday.  13 days is close enough to 14, so we went to Tucanos for dinner and it was amazing.  I ate pretty healthy for the most part, though I did OVER eat.  And I had carbs. And a donut.  Happy birthday to Nathan.  That wasn't so bad...but then the next morning (on his actual birthday) my cravings decided to taunt me.  I had my favorite breakfast of homemade apple bran muffins and greek yogurt and thought I was doing just fine.

Three words...


My husband decided to sneak out and buy a cake so that I didn't have to bake one.  And he bought my absolute favorite kind.  It was HIS birthday and he got MY favorite cake.  Love that man.  But that cake was my undoing.  Here I am 5 days later and I've had at least 3 separate binges.  It's like all the sugar and carbs in the house that I had no problem avoiding for 2 weeks are suddenly screaming so loudly that the only way to silence them is to eat them...ALL.

Yesterday we sat and watched a movie and ate half a bag of chips with dip and a box of girl scout cookies.  Sure, I've had MUCH worse binges than that.  But the night before that we had pizza (which I haven't had in months) and 3 slices of stuffed crust pizza is enough to throw anyone right off the wagon and onto their ass.

Last night I was deciding what to eat before heading out to teach my Zumba class and a big part of me wanted to say screw it and eat like crap and gain 10lbs, who even cares anymore.  But I do.  I care.  As much as sometimes I get so sick of this whole journey...I very very much care.  I have this horrible habit of self sabotage when I get really close to a big goal.  I did the same thing when I neared 250lbs.  It made me sad to see myself doing that again.  And I really really don't want it to take another 6 months for me to break through 200.

So I made myself a nice thick strawberry/banana protein shake and went off to teach.  I sweat my butt off (and hopefully most of the sugar I'd eaten) and went to bed without eating another cookie.  I had to start somewhere.

This morning I caved and had a little bowl of raisin bran with my hard boiled egg, but my resolve has been renewed and I really want to buckle down.  I did gain back 2-3lbs over the past 5-6 days, but I've become a pro at losing weight that I've already lost.  I won't let it set me back any further than it already has.  But man, I wish there were some way to fix whatever is wrong in my brain that sets me off on these downward spirals.  After experiencing it so many times you'd think I'd have the process perfected by now.  But I'm pretty sure my butt will get a lot more bruises from falling off that wagon.  But at least if I'm falling off....that means I got back on :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Connnnstannntttt Craaaaavinggggg..."

I love that song.  And it's so appropriate for so much of my life.  Well..those two words anyway. I feel like I am always craving SOMETHING.  But usually it's the bad things like donuts and cupcakes and french fries covered in cheese and bacon and sour cream.  Mmmmmm bacon.

One of the big things that the South Beach Diet preaches is that it helps to ease/get rid of those kinds of cravings within the first 2 weeks (Phase 1).  But now that I'm 1 1/2 weeks into that phase, it has me asking...what exactly defines a craving? says this:

great or eager desire; yearning

I've always thought of food cravings as a chemical thing.  A physical reaction in my body that makes my brain scream for something that it thinks it wants.  "YOU NEED CARBS LIKE RIGHT NOW!!!".  And from all the studying I've done on the subject, I've learned that that is true.  Cravings are caused by fluctuations in our blood sugar levels.  Eating something high in sugar or refined carbs sends our blood sugar through the roof, easing our craving quickly...only to have it crash back down equally as fast and send us rushing for the next quick fix.  It is a very chemical thing.

But then here I am halfway through week 2 of this diet and I'm starting to feel like maybe it isn't ALL chemical. I'm not feeling those physical pangs of NEEDING a donut or obsessing over a plate of something fried and greasy...however I am still having the occasional “eager desire and yearning” for things that I know from experience...I love. Is THAT going to go away with this diet? I'm starting to think the answer is no.

I didn't go into this thing expecting to come out on the other side with a hatred for all things unhealthy. I know better. And honestly, I don't want to live a life that doesn't allow for the occasional indulgence in something decadent. Whether I'm physically craving it or not, I know that my Grammy's chocolate mousse is my absolute favorite dessert and that if I make it, I'm going to eat the whole pan by myself. And if I think about it for too long, I start to think about how good it sounds and how long it's been since I had it. And I really want some. That's craving...isn't it?

So for the most part, yes, my cravings are gone. I feel full and satisfied all day long. But I am finding that I cannot wait until I can have fruit again. I really miss my apples with almond butter. I really miss my morning apple bran muffins with greek yogurt. I REALLY would love a warm slice of homemade wheat bread. And those aren't bad things to want. I guess it's better that I crave those things than if I crave a trip through the drive-thru at Betos for a giant burrito with all the fixings. Right?

I'm never going to be one of those people who eats perfectly all the time. I'm just not. What fun would that be? The trick is finding a good balance...and learning to be strong in the face of those constant cravings. At least most of the time :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Obese shmobese!!!

While I know that BMI is not a very accurate way to classify a person (it only takes into account weight and height...not body fat % or muscle mass)'s still something that I have had my eye on for a long time.  And as of today, I have finally moved down a category!!

For the past 15 years of my life, I have been classified as Obese/Morbidly Obese.  No one likes to hear it from their doctor or an internet calculator.  Hearing you are "obese" brings about all sorts of feelings of depression and inadequacy.  And it's been hard to keep hearing that word even after losing so much weight.

But as of today, I am excited to yell from the rooftops that now I'm just OVERWEIGHT!!!  HAHA!  It's not often, if ever, that you hear a person being elated over being called "overweight", but man...I am freaking thrilled.

How freaking awesome is that???  I'm just barely below it but I don't care!!  It totally counts!  It saddens me that I had to lose 123 lbs to get there, but I finally made it and it's worth celebrating.  It makes me even more excited to get my body fat % tested again to see a more accurate representation of how far I have come.

I'm telling you, this South Beach Diet thing is amazing.  I have now lost 7.8lbs in 5 days and that's while sick and missing workouts. Normally I have to bust my butt at the gym to lose 1-2lbs a week but just cutting a few things out of my diet for 5 days has made all the difference in the world.  And it's not just me!  My dad has lost 5lbs in 5 days on the same diet. I'm SO SO glad he convinced me to try it and I cannot wait to see where we're both at at the end of Phase 1 next week.

Next big milestone?  The 200lb mark.  It's 7.6lbs out of reach and words cannot describe how excited and motivated I am to get there. I haven't been under 200 since 1998 and now it's just barely out of reach.  But I'll get more into that when I reach that goal.  It will be worthy of it's own post :)


Thursday, March 20, 2014

South Beach Diet - 3 days down, a lot more to go.

Days 2 and 3 seemed a lot easier as far as getting in enough (well...more) calories. Though I found at the end of both days that my sodium intake was off the charts!!!  Sodium is something that I normally am very careful about because I tend to retain water and sodium affects my Tuesday weigh-in #'s.  I was sure when I stepped on the scale this morning that all that sodium would have my number in the plus column, but I was WAY wrong!  Since starting this diet on Monday, I'm down 5lbs.  In 3 days!!  It's insane. I have never lost weight that quickly (except when I did HCG and if you've read my blog from the beginning you know how horrible that was).

The book told me this would happen.  And I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Cutting out refined carbs, sugar and starchy veggies makes a HUGE difference. I guess I was eating more of them than I realized.  I do realize that this phase is only 2 weeks that that it is in fact part of a healthy, balanced diet to eat fruits and whole grains...but I'll admit that I'm loving the lack of serious cravings and the quick weight loss.  I feel like I'm eating enough...even too much at times...and I have the energy I need to continue with all my workouts.  It's great!

My main reason for doing this diet was to try and get myself closer to that 200lbs barrier and now it's only 10lbs away!  Talk about motivating.  I cannot wait to see a number that starts with "1" showing up on my scale.  I haven't seen that since 1998.  If I can keep up this diet, I might be there sooner than I thought :)

I would highly recommend this diet to anyone who has more than a few lbs to lose or who struggles with horrible cravings like I normally do.  I've fought with my food addiction for a very long time...and while I was still able to lose weight (very very very slowly), every single day was a struggle with those cravings and I kept hitting plateaus every couple of months.  It got very frustrating.  Now...I'm not naive.  I know that I will still struggle in the future.  I will always be a food addict and I will always love baked goods and french fries and cheesy goodness. But when those things come up and I have a bad binge day, I will fall back onto phase one of this diet and I know it will be okay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"South Beach - Day 1"

Don't worry, I'm not going to blog about every single day of this diet (unless I feel I have something to say haha).  But I felt that Day 1 deserved it's own entry.

Let me start off by listing what I ate yesterday (Feel free to skip this part, it's more for my own benefit)

Omelette w/ 1 egg & 2 whites, tomato, avocado, low fat mozzarella & oven roasted turkey breast

Salad w/ Romaine, oven roasted chicken, slivered almonds & Panera poppy seed dressing

6 oz. oven baked chicken breast w/ worcestershire sauce
2 cups steamed broccoli w/ lemon & light salt
Vitamin Zero Orange

2 String Cheese
24 raw almonds
White chocolate raspberry Quest bar
hard boiled egg

Total calories: 1258   Total Fat: 66  Total Carbs: 83  Total Protein: 125  Total Sugar: 17

On paper that looks like a pretty healthy day.  And for me, it really is.  I had zero problems avoiding carbs or sugar (which really surprised me for day 1).  The problem, I found, was eating ENOUGH.  1200 calories is the minimum a woman should be eating to avoid having her body go into starvation mode.  I barely cracked that...and I had to force myself.  With as much as I work out (3 hours total yesterday between weights, zumba and volleyball) I should be eating at LEAST 1500 calories if not more.  But holy crap.  I just couldn't!

I felt like I was eating all day long, and I guess I kind of was.  But because I cut out carbs and fruit, it made it very hard to get in enough calories. One piece of fruit usually knocks out 100 calories by itself and we all know that breads/pastas are also very caloric.  Needless to say I'm feeling frustrated and may just have to accept that this is how the next 2 weeks will be.  I'm grateful that the day went so smoothly, but I'm going to have a hard time with this if I feel like I'm eating to the point I want to vomit and yet still not eating enough.

Funny huh?  Not often you hear someone complain that the diet they're on is making them too full ;)

Monday, March 17, 2014

South Beach Diet - Trying Something New!

So as some of you already know, my dad is in town for a while on a business trip.  He and I talk a lot about my weight loss and what things I've tried/done to get as far as I have.  Recently he told me that his twin brother, my Uncle Mark..and his wife LaShel started doing the South Beach Diet.  I had heard of it, but I had no idea what it was.  I honestly figured it was some other trendy crash diet like HCG and blew it off.  But then he told me that my Uncle and his wife have both lost significant amounts of weight in just a few months!  So I became curious.

My dad lent me his copy of "The South Beach Diet: Supercharged" and I got to reading.  Without reading very far, I realized that it was all stuff I already know!  It's not a crash diet at all!  I got excited and kept reading.  It's basically teaching you how to get rid of cravings and then how to maintain a healthy, BALANCED diet...combined with exercise.  It talks about good carbs vs. bad, good fats vs. bad...and even encourages splurging once in a while.  This is a method I can totally get behind...because it's what I preach! But what was so different about it that my Aunt and Uncle were losing so much weight so quickly?  That's where the specifics of the diet come in...and it's not easy.

My dad and I agreed to start Phase 1 (of 3) together today.  It lasts two weeks.  Phase 1 is the hardest, as you would expect, but also the most important (for me) because it is designed to clean out your system and get rid of cravings!  AHHHH cravings.  They are my biggest problem.  I have a very hard time staying strong when my cravings hit.  And they're not always cravings for sweets.  Sometimes I crave the fried or fatty and cheesy goodness too.  And when I crave something, I OBSESS about it until I get it.  So I'm nervous, but excited to do Phase 1 and hopefully get rid of those cravings so that I can focus on my goals with a bit more ease.

Phase 1 is basically cutting out all refined carbs and sugar.  No fruit, no bread, no cereal, no pasta, no rice, no oatmeal, no fatty cuts of meat, no starchy vegetables (like corn and carrots)'s definitely not going to be easy.  But it makes total sense.  The reason we have cravings is because we let our blood sugar get all out of whack.  We feel it dropping and reach for a quick fix (chips or a candy bar or some high glycemic carby snack) which shoots our blood sugar way up...but then just as quickly, we crash.  And we're craving the next thing.  So in phase 1, you focus on lean meats, non-starchy veggies (we're talking 2 cups with every meal here), low fat dairy, beans, nuts, eggs and healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados.  The "foods to enjoy" list is actually REALLY long, whereas the "foods to avoid" list is only 1 page.  So if done right (eating every 3 hours and snacking before your cravings would usually hit), I should actually never feel hungry.

From experience, however, I know that the first 3-4 days will be the hardest.  Whenever I've binged or eaten things I shouldn't and I decide to get back on the wagon..those days just plain suck.  They just do.  It's more about will power than anything else.  But once your system is cleaned out of the junk, it's amazing how great you feel!

So today was day 1 and I've started out strong with a big stinkin' omelette for breakfast.  1 egg & 2 whites, tomatoes, avocado, low fat mozzarella and a tiny bit of sriracha for flavor.  It's going to be tricky though.  This 2 week phase cuts out a lot of my usual go to foods like my apple bran muffins and flavored greek yogurts.  Luckily I can still have my Quest bars and Stevia for sweetening.

I can do anything for 14 days, right?  And maybe, just maybe...this will get me closer to breaking that damn 200lb barrier that has been taunting me for months!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Burn It!!!"

This weekend I finished up a 6 week program that I'd been doing at my gym called "Burn It".  Run by one of our amazing Zumba instructors, Angie, and her personal trainer husband, Keith..."Burn It" promised to kick my butt hardcore. And it did.  I'd seen the fliers a few months before when they did a fall season, but it was around the time I was heading to the Biggest Loser resort in Chicago, so I sat it out.  When I saw the fliers go up again in January, I wasn't going to miss out.

They had a free session one Saturday morning so that we could all come get a preview of what we were in store for and I knew within the first 10 minutes, this was going to be a hard 6 weeks.  I also knew it would change my life.  I signed up and paid then and there (with my awesome new friend Kate, who pushed me for 6 weeks!!) and we committed to 6 weeks of the most fun kind of torture.

Burn it is essentially this...

High intensity training that gets your heart rate up quickly and burns calories just as fast.  A 10 minute workout with Angie and Keith had us swimming in pools of sweat.  But it proved to me and I'm sure to everyone else that you don't have to spend hours and hours at the gym (though you all know I do haha) in order to get in a good, hard workout.

Every week was different.  The workouts ranged from fun Olympic style circuit training workouts to Tabata training to working with a partner.  We'd spend 10-12 minutes doing an AMRAP (As many reps as possible) that had weights and squats and pushups and burpees...and feel like we'd been working out for hours.  And then with only a few minutes to catch our breath, we'd launch into a fun group workout where we'd do relays in teams!

I learned and got to try out all sorts of new exercises as well as some old not-so-favorites.  I learned I cannot hold a plank for 2 minutes straight, but I CAN do spiderman burpees without dying!  I can't run or sprint nearly as fast as 99% of those in the class, but I was able to do box jumps on the bleachers and do squats while holding Kate's legs as she does a plank on the ground in front of me!  I am stronger than I ever knew and it just keeps getting better.

Angie and Keith are amazing.  I already knew Angie was great.  She used to teach my girls' dance class when they were little and her Zumba workouts are just plain FUN.  Pairing her up with her hubby made for some really fun and inspiring workouts.  On top of our weekly sessions, they put together videos and daily ab challenges for us to do at home during the week.  I had a hard time remembering to do those every day on top of my usual workouts, but when I did do them...I felt them for days!  I really can't thank them enough for their motivating personalities and their willingness to push us through things we never thought we could do.

Here is a picture of our amazing group of people.  Taken POST workout so you can see our sweaty and red (in my case) faces!!

But the best part was seeing the results.  They used a body composition scale to see the changes in our bodies over the 6 week period.  In 6 weeks I:
-Lost 8lbs
-Lost 1 point in my BMI
-Lost 2.2% of my body fat
-Gained 1% of skeletal muscle!!!

In 6 weeks!!!  (And I was only eating cleanly for about 4 of those weeks or I could have seen even better #'s I'm sure)  The results speak for themselves and I will most definitely be doing this class again when they start up at the end of March.  This class is what helped me to FINALLY break through a stubborn plateau and push me closer to that milestone of breaking 200lbs that seems to be just out of reach!

To all my friends in the area, I HIGHLY recommend you do it with me!!!  I know I sound like a commercial, but I wouldn't write it if I didn't mean it.  This class will change your life.  I can't wait to Burn It again!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Jilly's Losers Works...

Anyone who has ever read my blog knows about my weight loss group, Jilly's Losers. It's a competition that I run on Facebook for friends and family where they can become healthy and lose weight and have fun all at the same time.  

Yesterday we finished up season 10.  I can't believe I've done that many!  Time just flies.  This group has literally saved my life.  Since I began the group in 2011, I myself have lost 119.4lbs.  It has been such a blessing to have so many people that have come and gone...influencing my life and motivating me to keep going.  They are such an inspiration and I love that I am able to help others in such a wonderful way.  My life is completely different now than it was before Jilly's Losers and I hope there are other people who can say that same.  Since it's inception, Jilly's Losers has lost 1238lbs and I love watching that number grow more and more every time a season ends!!

Now it's time to start planning for season 11 and I would LOVE to have some new people join us for what will hopefully be the biggest season yet.  So I thought I would post the rules for season 11 here on my blog for those who are curious how it works.  Let me know if you want in and always feel free to ask questions!

1.     Season 11 will begin on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. It will last 8 weeks and our final weigh in will be on Tuesday, May 13.
2.     The buy-in fee this season will be $25. This is a singles season. Fees should be sent via Paypal to with the note “buyin fee”. All fees must be paid by March 25th.
This season will be a combination of the "biggest loser" format and the "diet bet" format.  Here's how it will work!  Everyone will have 8 weeks to lose 6% of their body weight.  Anyone who reaches this goal will win part of the prize pot.  However, this time around...the person who loses the highest % of their body weight will win the most!  The person with the highest % of weight loss at the end of 8 weeks will win 50% of the prize pot.  Everyone else who reaches 6% will split the remaining 50% of the pot evenly. So there is motivation to beat yourself but to also let others push you even harder!!  

NOTE:  For those of us who are current group members returning for season 11...your starting weight will be handled a bit differently.  There will be a 3lb gain cap between seasons 10 and 11. (Example: If your season 10 final weight was 200lbs and your season 11 starting weight is 207, you will have an official start weight of 203.) This is to discourage anyone from gaining weight in the two weeks between the end of season 10 and the start of season 11.  Both to try and keep us all on track as well as to discourage any binge eating that will make it easier to lose the 6%.

3. Regarding weigh-ins:  We will still have mandatory weekly weigh-ins every Tuesday.  As for strikes...since this is a longer season I will be changing the rule.. I will allow 2 missed weigh-ins per person. That's 1 per month (or 2 in a row). On the 3rd missed weigh-in, you will be disqualified and you will not get your $ refunded. (You may continue to stay in the group and weigh-in but you will not be eligible to win any $) Remember that weigh-ins must be a picture of the # on your scale. Not just a post of your weight.
4. Before and After pictures are MANDATORY. The pictures may be with or without a shirt (you'll notice more of a change if you do it without), but they must be full body pictures. If your before picture is not submitted within the first week of competition, you will be disqualified. (If you submitted an "after" picture for season 10, that will count as your "before" picture for season 11) Those who win prizes at the end of the season will not receive their prize money until their after pictures have been submitted. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize.
NOTE: Newcomers to this group always worry that their pictures posted in the group will show up for the public to see.  This group is secret.  As long as you are on the group wall BEFORE posting your pictures, no one will see them but those in the group.  Your pictures will show up on your own feed when you view it, but I promise you no one else can see it!)
5. Since this season we are competing against ourselves as well as each other, I will only be posting weekly results instead of overall results.  It's more fun if we don't know who is winning until the end!  I will, however, remind everyone throughout the season...what their goal weight is to reach 6%.  Keep in mind you have to be at or above 6% on the final weigh-in day.  So if you lose it all in the first few weeks, you have to maintain it or keep going!  NOTE:  Just like on dietbet...starting and final weights will be confirmed with a KEY WORD.  This is to ensure that starting and ending pictures are truly taken on the day of the weigh-in and not before.  I will post the KEY WORD in this group the night before the first and last weigh-ins.  It should be written on a piece of paper or notecard and placed at your feet in the front of your scale before taking your picture.
6. We will continue doing weekly challenges. After 10 seasons, I'm sure some of you are getting tired of my ideas.  There is a Season 11 Challenges & Ideas doc where anyone is welcome to post any ideas they might have for a challenge!  However, I will be the only one posting official challenges so as not to confuse everyone.
7. Remember that this group is about gaining health and losing weight through eating right and exercising. Extreme/fad diets are not allowed. Weight Watchers and things like that are fine, but no pills/drops/etc.
8. This group is only for those who will be actively participating in the competition this season, so while I hope everyone will stick around, please know that if you choose not to join us this season, you will be removed from the group. You are always welcome to join us in later seasons :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

The search for the perfect protein bar...

Anyone who has ever tried a healthier approach to eating knows that one of the key things is getting enough protein in your diet.  This is probably the one I struggle with the most.  Not because I don't like meat or anything like's just A LOT!  It's hard to really know how much protein a person should get in their diet.  It can depend on various things like your current weight and the amount of exercise you get.  The more you workout, the more important protein becomes.  A few great ways to get protein are lean meats such as chicken (yum, but gets boring) and fish (which I'm not a huge fan of).  Red meats count too but take your body longer to process and should be eaten in moderation.  Nuts/seeds and a bit of dairy can be great too. But if you're aiming for 75-100g of protein a day it can start to feel like a daunting task.

This is where things like protein shakes and bars come in.  Shakes are a whole other topic to tackle, so today I'm just going to talk about protein bars...because I FINALLY FOUND THE PERFECT ONES!!!

I have tried pretty much every kind of "protein bar" that's out there. I put it in quotes because some of them are just glorified candy bars and you may as well eat a snickers.  The trick to finding a good protein bar is finding one that has a good amount of protein (20+ grams) but doesn't also have a bazillion grams of sugar. Fiber one and Special K protein bars do okay on the protein front but one look at the sugar content and you'll see them as more of a chocolatey granola bar.  But hey, they're cheaper than most.

When I first started trying to lose weight, my nutritionist suggested "Think Thin" bars.  They have 20g of protein and only 1 or 2g of sugar...but one bite and I wanted to hurl.  I had to force myself to finish them.  My dad then introduced me to Pure Protein bars.  After having the Think Thin bars, they were a welcome change.  But after a couple weeks of the chocolate peanut butter bars (the only ones I liked even a little), I was tired of them.

The Biggest Loser talks a lot about larabars because they're all natural, etc...but their texture was so nasty to me that I was done after eating a half of one.  No thanks.

After my trip to the BL resort last fall, I was introduced to Kind bars.  Now these really tasted like a treat.  They are made with just nuts and honey...with a bit of dark chocolate.  Health wise, if you want a candy bar they are great.  However, their protein to sugar content still wasn't what I knew I needed.  *sigh*  I was seriously becoming frustrated.  I can get pretty lazy when it comes to eating and I just want something that I can grab quickly that is healthy and filling and doesn't taste like crap!  Is that so much to ask?

Enter...the Quest Nutrition bars.

I follow a few of the Biggest Loser alumni from past seasons and more and more I began to notice that they were all raving about Quest protein bars.  I was curious about them, but from what I could tell they're really freaking expensive and only available online or at stores like GNC.  I put off trying them, telling myself that they couldn't possibly be as good as everyone was saying.  They're probably paid to say those amazing things, right?

And then I decided to just suck it up and spend the dough.  HOLY FREAKING COW!!!!!!!!!!  Where have you been all my life, Quest bars?  Seriously.  I tried probably 8-9 different flavors and not one of them was "ew gross get it out of my mouth" nasty.  But my 3 favorites...are truly like a dessert.  The best part?  They are everything you need in a good protein bar.  Most of them are around 160-190 calories, 20-21g of protein, 1g of sugar and LOTS of fiber!

These are my 3 favorites.  Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Raspberry...and my newly ordered (they're sold out EVERYWHERE) Cookies n' Cream.

And I am not even slightly exaggerating when I tell you that they taste like their names.  The cookie dough tastes like you are unwrapping a roll of raw dough and if you know me...I could eat raw cookie dough all day.  The white chocolate raspberry has chunks of white chocolate and you can even get the raspberry seeds stuck in your teeth!  And wow...the cookies n' cream was so worth the hassle of ordering online and paying shipping.  (A box of 12 bars (including shipping) was $30.)  I made the mistake of letting my kids try a bite when the box came today and had to hide the rest.

My search is finally over.  I love love love these bars and have zero problem forking over a little more $ to get them.  I have met one person who hates them (Yes you, crazy person!) but every other person I know who has tried them has raved about them.  So there you have it.  If you are looking for a good protein bar and don't want to torture your taste buds for 3 years like I're welcome.  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On the move again...

Man I hate plateaus.  I'm sure that in the 3+ years I've been writing this blog...that I've mentioned this before.  But it bears repeating.  A lot.  I HATE plateaus.  And this one finally seems to be OVERRRRR!  Woohoo!  *happy dance*.  Today I weighed in at 214.8, which is 115.8lbs total lost! It was not my worst plateau by far.  I remember being stuck in the 260's for about 6-8 months and that had me ready to give up completely...but I didn't.  This one had me stuck in the 217-224 range for about 3 months and it felt just as long.  But when I realize that between the 260's plateau and the 220 plateau, I lost more than 40lbs...I guess it's not so bad huh?

I was feeling very frustrated a few weeks ago and I was ready to just accept 220 as my final weight and just maintain from there.  I didn't want to give up my treats or eating out.  I didn't want to have to "eat clean" for more than a day at a time. I was tired and I wanted to just do what I wanted when I wanted.  But I was miserable.  I knew I wasn't done.  My awesome sister Heidi told me, "Jill just look at it this way.  If you had buckled down and done those things you say you don't want to could have been done by now.  But you can do it NOW.  Work really hard, eat really well for the next 6 months and THEN you can maintain!  You can eat out once in a while and enjoy your favorite things and just focus on your workouts.  You won't have to lose weight anymore."  When I looked at it that way, it made perfect sense.  I could keep beating myself up and eating horribly more days than not and maybe lose 1 pound every 3 months or I could be a little more strict and get it out of the way NOW instead of in another 2-3 years!

So that's what I've been trying to do.  Instead of allowing myself an indulgence day, like I used to...I've reigned it in.  I would always let 1 day become 3-4 and then I was scrambling to get it all out of my system by weigh in time.  Now I'm trying it a little differently.  I'm allowing myself a little treat here and a little treat there instead of having a 24 hour period where all rules go out the window.  Take today for example.  It's my baby Ari's 10th birthday!  (Man I feel old)  Tonight we're going out to Pizza Pie Cafe for dinner to celebrate. Normally I would see that coming and just make the whole day a free for all, but not today!  Today I had my apple bran muffin breakfast and am eating a healthy lunch and snacks and will WAIT until dinner to have that treat.  And even then I'm not going to see it as a free for all.  I am publicly announcing this NOW so that I'm held accountable to myself.  But tonight, I am going to have a giant salad FIRST.  And then I will allow myself 2 pieces of pizza, a breadstick (or 2...they're amazing) and then a slice of her birthday cake.  It will be a fun indulgence and it won't spill over into tomorrow.  Tomorrow night, however, I know I'll be having dinner with my dad in the city so I will plan accordingly!  No more day long binges.  I'm done!

So yes, it's nice to see the scale moving again, but it's more than that.  In my Burn It class that I take on Saturdays, we've begun using a body composition scale to track our body fat and muscle mass.  After 2 weeks of that class (and 2 weeks of clean eating), I've lost 6lbs, over 1% of my body fat and gained some muscle!  That is so much sweeter to me than just the number on my stupid scale.  My clothes are finally loosening up again, my wedding ring (which I have to wear on my middle finger now) is starting to fall off...and I feel GREAT!

I know that eventually I will have another plateau.  I know that this amazing will power I'm feeling now won't last forever and that I'll have another bout of feeling miserable and stuck.  But blog entries like this one will remind me that it won't last forever.  I'll always come out the other side.  And when the will power and drive hits me like it has these last 2 weeks...I'm going to RUN LIKE HELL with it!!!