WD Slimdown blog - Woman's Day Blog


Keep Calm, Carry On

Blog icon So, uhh, this is it- my last Woman's Day post.  My career as a writer was fairly shortlived, but in my eyes decently successful.  We made it into the magazine and I haven't gained all my weight back! I have, to date, officially lost 20 lbs in 6 months- as well as who knows how many inches.  My legs look great (and I'm smug about it).

I couldn't tell you what size in clothing I am because I have refused to buy new pants. I keep wearing the same baggy work pants with a belt to school because I can't handle the emotional trauma of trying on new sizes and being disappointed.  Plus, the donut on my stomach still exists and I don't want it being squished just to fit in some smaller pants. I mainly live in leggings- so what if that's for tweens only?! My mom bought me new skinny jeans for Christmas which are two sizes smaller and fit but I'm too nervous to wear them yet, so the tags are still on them and they are in my drawer.  I presume that I'll finally wear them when I get washboard abs (not gunna happen). As far as we may come, there is still so much further to go.  I've still got baggage (dumb pun intended), and I realize that my view of myself is a bit distorted.

Life has been super hectic lately. I took my GREs (and did well), potentially reherniated L4 and L5 in my back, stupidly ran a half land/half sand race this past Saturday with said back pain, and have started a research project with my students that has been eating my planning time.  My cooking is still fresh and good, and my meals out have been decent. All around, I'm on track, minus the setbacks of my back pain.

Thank you to Joy, Woman's Day and the other bloggers for this experience and all of their support. I'm thankful for being able to participate in WDSlimdown because it forced me to be accountable and sift through some of the weird food emotions I have and get on a consistent workout schedule, but I'm also looking forward to having my privacy back.  Having people ask about your weight gets you down when you aren't losing constantly, and I can't wait until people just compliment me normally instead of staring at me trying to figure out how much I've lost.  I have quite a ways to go- somewhere between 10 and 20 lbs left to lose- and I want to be left alone to figure it out.  I guess as much confidence as I've gained, I'm still unsure of myself and my body.

I start Girls on the Run soon and I hope to be in Grad classes this summer. A whole new chapter is starting for me and I'm pretty excited.  I don't know when/if I'll be able to run again, given my back pain, but I hope soon, and when I do, I'm gunna be fast.  I don't know when my weight loss journey will end, but one day I'll be happy and strong, with abs of steel that support my weak back.  Until then, look for me, make sure I'm keeping healthy, and encourage me to keep going.  I'll try my best to do the same for you. 

I hope that if you came to this blog looking for some inspiration/motivation, you found it.  If you did, pay it forward- if not, keep searching.  Keep pushing others to find health, and fight poor eating habits. I leave you with my favorite quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."  One day, our kids won't be eating Doritos and macaroni and cheese in schools- they'll know what good, clean food is- and it starts with us deciding to make the change in our own lives.  I did- will you?

--Brittany Chadziutko


Forcing Change

Blog icon Sorry I've been absent lately- I have the GREs (test for Graduate school) on Saturday and I've been MIA.  I ended up joining RetroFitness with my roommate last week and we've been doing a solid job of going everyday (well I missed the last 2 due to sinus issues but I made up for it with sleep and 5am gym time this morning).  Sometimes, getting more sleep is the key to keeping up consistent weight loss (because when I'm tired I get cranky and eat poorly), so I'll take it.  I've been noticing a lot of the bloggers writing about their struggles to maintain or lose the holiday weight still and I figured I'd offer an update on my progress.

I mentioned that one of my goals was to lose 15 lbs by my 24th birthday.  I have since lost 4 lbs, so I have 11 lbs to go in 67 days (or 9.5 weeks).  If I lose just over 1 lb per week until my birthday, I will be golden.  I am really excited and determined by this goal because I think it is completely attainable and realistic.  1 lb per week is not pushing too hard.  I am also excited because I have other people around me working to hit similar goals which keeps me motivated.  I think one of the hardest things about weightloss is being around people who aren't interested in the same things.  For me, a huge challenge has been eating around men.

Continue reading "Forcing Change" »


Shaking Things Up

Blog icon So what happens when a weight loss blogger stops writing about losing weight?  Well, maybe they aren't losing. My battle for the past few months has been to push beyond maintenance of a 15-ish lb loss.  The same 5-6 lbs are plaguing me, and I've fallen into a comfortable rhythm of eating fairly cleanly, and moderate workouts, but not really pushing myself beyond my comfortable limits.  And I still have 15 lbs to go!! How dare I give up now?! I am running several races in the next few months, and I've been slowly building up my Spring schedule. It looks something like this:

February: Signed up for the Manasquan Mid Winter Beach Fun Run (half land, half sand)

March: (Considering a 10 mile St. Patrick's Day Run in Freehold)

April: (Considering an April Fool's Day run with the boyfriend and the Gener8tion Run in Philadelphia)

May: Signed up for the Long Branch Half Marathon and the Spring Lake 5 Mile Run

Continue reading "Shaking Things Up" »


Turning Point

Blog icon I'm going a little stir crazy with all of this snow. I wasn't aware that I lived in Alaska (actually I'm glad I don't). It keeps throwing off my workout routine, and it's hard to keep the house stocked with good food when every other day you're getting snowed in (or when your wonderful landlords have not arranged for the development to be cleared). Report cards for the second marking period are being handed out on Wednesday and I am no where near completion, GREs are in 12 days, and I've worked every weekend since September so finding time to breathe is a bit difficult.

That being said, I found a lot of comfort last week in eating the same meal everyday for a week, boring as it may be.  I guess some element of control amidst the chaos is helping me stay calm.  If I have controlled what I ate- just this once throughout a period of stress- then this is all worth it.  It means I've finally stopped using food to cope.  Yes, the nights of eating out are awesome, but I've learned to balance it the next day with lighter fare- because that's what keeps me on track to losing.  I guess this is an awesome turning point for me.

It only took me 7 years to finally catch on, but I don't have much time to waste spending thinking about food either- I'm too engrossed in LOST to care.   I can't eat because I need to look good for my dream man Sayid.

--Brittany Chadziutko


But diet food is SO boring!!

Blog iconThere is nothing better than a fresh simple meal after a long weekend of work and smelling like fajitas.  Homemade turkey burger, sweet potato fries, brussel sprouts, and a spinach salad.

Now riddle me this- do you REALLY need a bun with your burger when you have such awesome sides?

Yea yea, diet food is SO boring- I've heard (and made) the excuses a million times before.  But, fresh, colorful food makes you feel good! It isn't full of salt or mono-whatevers and it's real and from the ground or trees and some dude didn't make it in a factory (but let's not talk about meat for the moment).  Why do we put Cheesy Gordita Crunches (yes, my fave from Taco Bell) in our body when we could choose green and red and orange and REAL?  I still choose those less fresh options sometimes, but it's becoming less and less frequent.

On the flip side, Ruby Tuesday's has mini cupcakes. My life may be over.


--Brittany Chadziutko


How to Get Started

Blog icon So I've talked to a lot of people recently who want to start getting into shape but can't really find their motivation.  I've been a January Joiner in the past, using my New Year's Resolutions as my motivation to keep working, but eventually fizzling out on those dreams by the end of February.  When I started this project, the sense of accountability to my reading public kept me interested and motivated, but there were distinct times when I wanted to throw it all to hell and just stop.  It was at the 20 lb mark (which I strayed away from back in November but slowly moved my way back towards now), it was right before Christmas, and other random days thrown in between.

Whatever your excuses for not starting today, let them go.  My accountability was in starting a blog, but you can join a group, tell a friend, or document everything you eat (even the handful of M&Ms count) to maintain some sense of accountability.  I remember finding solace in a quote from Joy Bauer in Your Inner Skinny (the book we've used throughout this project) which said, "You do not have to remain loyal to who you have always been."  You don't have to hold onto the excuses, you don't have to lose 5 or 10 lbs before you start running, you don't have to workout on your own before you go back to the gym.  Everyone else has their own battle to fight. Trust me when I tell you that they don't care about yours, or what you look like.  Just start.  Pick an attainable short term goal and start working towards it.  10 lbs by March 1st? Okay, I'll meet you there.

I was listening to my girl Taylor yesterday and she says in one of her songs, "Minds change like the weather. I hope you remember... today is never too late... to be brand new."  Yep, be brand new. Start now.  All it takes is the decision to change.

--Brittany Chadziutko

Total weight loss: 20 lbs



Searching for Chile

Blog icon The last time I ever really felt "sexy" was when I lived in Chile.  Not that I require sexy to be a fixture in my daily life, but at that point in my life I was comfortable with my body and my attitude.  I was living in a foreign country with a family that only spoke Spanish, going to school that was conducted only in Spanish, making friends who were Chilean, and going out to clubs on school nights. I was with friends picking up and traveling to wherever we wanted (until our parents stopped paying), eating as much bread as I could possibly handle (with the most delicious marmalade), and dipping my favorite chocolate covered cream filled shortbread cookie (Nestle's Negritas) in peanut butter. 

(my last night in Chile- eating completos w/Maribeth and Alli)

Continue reading "Searching for Chile" »


Making Modifications

Blog icon I think one of the biggest things I will take with me from this Slimdown journey is the idea of modification: taking something I love dearly and tweaking it to fit into my healthy lifestyle.  I'm not the kind of girl who eats 10 almonds and says, "Oh I'm full"- I just don't work that way. I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family with some of the best holiday party spreads known to man.  I AM an appetizer and dessert kind-of girl.  However, I've learned to modify the things I used to love to still get that same taste sensation.

Sometime back in August I wrote a post on the baggage I carry, and the foods that trigger my bingeing.  Since August, BBQ sauce, milk, and alcohol haven't been on my "most craved" list.  After I got over the initial shock of having to stop spreading peanut butter on EVERYTHING, peanut butter's novelty wore off as well.  I used to love peanut butter and jelly, but learning about the amount of sugar in jelly and the lack of nutrition it presented me, I just didn't feel like I needed it anymore. So, I modified to fit those same sandwiches without the jelly, but with the same tastes into my diet. I began to look forward to my Saturday morning breakfasts of a Bagel Thin with peanut butter and banana before my runs, and now sometimes I eat peanut butter on toast with strawberries, to give me the illusion of jelly. 

I still struggle with pizza (and Dad- coal-fired pizza is so damn good), and I don't eat it as often, but I have figured out new ways to modify it to fit into my life.  I like to use a whole wheat/whole grain flatbread (I use Kontos brand- 250 calories for an entire flatbread), and add different combinations to make my own savory pizza.  None of my varieties contain more than 450 calories for an entire pizza (although I think you'd be fine eating half a pizza). One type I've made is hummus pizza- spread roasted red pepper hummus on the flatbread, add sliced tomatoes and a small sprinkle of skim mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven.  One of my favorites contains bruschetta (homemade or store bought) and a small sprinkle of low fat feta cheese (a bit higher in sodium if you use store bought bruschetta).  I think it would also be really amazing with just a bit of olive oil (I love healthy fats), some sliced tomatoes, cracked black pepper and basil.  It's exciting because pizza hasn't permanently left my diet- I've just dreamt it up in new ways!

What modifications have you made for your fave old foods?

--Brittany Chadziutko

Total loss: 19 lbs


Big Plans for 2011

Blog icon The new year just kicked off but I can't help feeling so excited for it already.  Mainly I can't stop reading my email over and over again.  When I woke up on January 1st, my brain a bit addled by sugar from the night before, the first email I read was from Girls on the Run. I had been moaning and groaning for awhile about how the NJ division hadn't responded to my phone calls/emails so last week I decided to call the Council Relations Manager of the organization.  She got in touch with me and must have got something moving, because I then received an email back from the head of the organization for my county.

Long story short, I will be joining the coaching team for Princeton! I really wanted to start up a group for my school/the surrounding area, but it seems that this was not a possibility at this time.  What coaching Girls on the Run means is that I will commit to 2 days a week on weekday afternoons (for an hour and 15 minutes) or on a weekday afternoon and a Saturday morning.  The time commitment is 2.5 hours/week for 10 weeks early April to mid-June.  Girls on the Run focuses on working with 8-13 year old girls to combine training for a 5k with self-esteem enhancing programs and uplifting workouts (that's how the website describes it). 

Then, the woman emailing me asked if I wanted to join a running group that trains for a Spring half-marathon.  Now, I mentioned that my plans were to do the Broad Street Run (only 10 miles) this Spring, but I may change my plans to train for the Long Branch Half Marathon, which is on the same day as the Broad Street Run and was my first half marathon this past year. I would run and raise money for SoleMates, the charity running leg for Girls on the Run.  Training with a group means working on my pace, meeting new friends, and becoming a more serious runner. It's exciting! Whatever decision I make, I can't believe the incredible door that just opened for me on January 1st.  If this is any indication of what is to come this year, I absolutely cannot wait. 2011 is my year to give back.

P.S. I'm really nervous. These little girls are going to be fast and that means I need to step my game up.

--Brittany Chadziutko

Total weight loss: 18 lbs



2010 in Photos

Blog icon I can assure you that if you can't look back and laugh, it wasn't a good year. 2010 was a great year. I had a lot of milestones (2 half marathons, moving out, starting the WDSlimdown) and plenty of low points, but the good certainly outweighs the bad. Looking back, there are some things I'd love to leave behind in 2010, and some things I can't wait to do more of in 2011!

But before I share, I want to reach out to those who are stuck.

I know that there are so many people out there who feel too far gone to even think about starting over AGAIN (yep, that dreaded word again), but it's so worth it. It's never too late to care about (and take care of) yourself. Who gives a #@$& if someone around you lost all their weight in only 3 months and it's taken you 6 months to only keep off 15 lbs? Who cares how long it takes? All that matters is that you've started to think about it. Once the idea of becoming a healthier, more whole YOU gets planted in your brain, you'll never want to give that ideal up.  So you jiggle while you run?! If it's jiggling, it's working. Start! Ask for help! Find a workout buddy. Just get moving. Teach your friends, teach your parents, teach your kids how to be active. Let's stop accepting obese as the norm.

So now, in pictures...

Continue reading "2010 in Photos" »

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