WD Slimdown blog - Woman's Day Blog


Getting Creative


What do you do when you're cooped up in the house for 5 days?  That was me last week...here in the crippling Texas snow and ice storm.  I know, all you seasoned northerners must think we're really silly down here.  But truthfully, we don't get that kind of weather, and we certainly aren't equipped for it.  We know we don't handle it well.  But we make the best with what we have.  And me?  I was trapped in the house for 5 days.  So when getting outside (without falling) is impossible, what do we do to exercise?

I had to get creative.  After getting bored of the Wii, I started doing lunges around the house.  (It's hard to make yourself do that!)  I spent time running up and down the stairs, and finally I whipped out a Jillian Michaels Yoga DVD.  I have to tell you, five days of few options is tough.  Getting to the store was hard too...since we couldn't get out.  But we managed. 

We are now predicted to get more ice/snow tomorrow.  I am SO going to the store tonight and stocking up on a few things.  I didn't take it too seriously last week and was stuck for 5 days.  I'm not being stuck without lots of fruits and veggies this time!

What do you do when your workout options are limited?

-Jennifer Willis


Super Bowl of Eating


I saw a shocking statistic this morning on the news:  The average American will consume around 3000 calories today.  3000 calories!!!  That's shocking to me...and then at the same time it isn't.  Sadly, I've partaken in Super Bowl calorie-fests before.  You don't even know what you've done until you've done it.  So how am I making it different this year?  We're hosting a get-together.  Nothing big, but a few friends over to watch.  We're grilling burgers, but we're also grilling chicken.  And having a salad available, along with baked chips and salsa.  So I have some healthy options at my disposal, which means it's easier to make better choices.  And I don't have to feel like I've got to eat something special...I'm just going to enjoy a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun! 

So I am doing my part to make sure I don't consume those 3000 calories today.  I'm just going to enjoy a Diet Coke today and cheer for the teams that are coming to play at my Cowboys house.  (Yes, I know my Dallas Cowboys didn't fare well at all this year.  My heart is heavy about that.)  It's pretty neat to be the host city for the Super Bowl!  We even ventured out to downtown Fort Worth last night to walk around and enjoy all the visitors to our lovely city...and there were LOTS of them!  It's been a long week being cooped up in the house and not being able to get out.  We had 3 inches of ice on our street and driveway, not to mention all the snow on top of it.  And no, North Texas does not handle it well.  We've heard all the national press critique the way we do it here.  We don't have snow plows or any of that.  We're Texas!  We already know we don't handle it well...thanks for reminding us.  

One of the hardest parts about the ice this week was not being able to get out at all.  I tried to go for a walk and fell on the ice two times, so that was enough for me.  So I did lunges around the house, climbed up and down the stairs repeatedly, and basically burned calories every way I know how.  It's hard being stuck in the house!

It's been a long week at home, but I am looking forward to getting to the gym tomorrow.  I am happy to report that I won't be one of those people trying to burn off the 3000 calories consumed today.  And you don't have to be, either!  Just think about it before you eat it, and I bet it will make a difference for you, too!

-Jennifer Willis (38 pounds gone now!) 




I don't know about you, but I often find myself waiting for something.  Waiting in line, waiting for a phone call, waiting for this or that.  Right now I am finding myself waiting to hear if I have a job.  I mentioned in a previous post that back in December I got the word that my entire team had been cut as a result of a corporate restructuring.  I interviewed last Friday and am hoping to hear something very soon.  (I'm optimistic!)  But all of this waiting can really take it's toll, and I have had to work extra hard to fight those urges to munch.  I was guilty of having a comfort food moment on Monday night, and had a big fat cheeseburger at Chili's.  It didn't take me too long to regret that...my body isn't used to that kind of food anymore, and I felt sick to my stomach the rest of the night.  (Thank you, digestive system, for reminding me to make a better choice next time!)  I think next time I am going to stick to a home-made fruit smoothie if I need something special!

But it made me think about how hard it is to fight off old habits.  Even though I've made lots of new and very healthy habits, in some ways I am still purging myself of the urge to splurge.  I've had those bad habits for 38 years...it takes time.  But it also takes vigilance.  I want to make sure that I am really in touch with how I'm feeling and that I can identify possible behaviors before I act on them.  (When I get stressed, I want to nibble.  Solution?  If it's a tough time for me, I can have healthy snacks on hand at home to combat those urges, or I can go to the gym and shake it off!)

So if you find yourself in a stressful situation, what will you do to keep those old habits from rearing their ugly heads?

-Jennifer Willis (36 pounds gone!)


Leaving The Old Me Behind


I was thinking the other day about how we handle things.  For those of us that deal with being emotional eaters, the slightest thing can really cause us to sabotage ourselves.  For me it can be school stress, work stress, feeling tired, feeling happier than usual...do you see a pattern here?  Any emotion can push me over the edge.  Why has this happened?  Some of it is a learned behavior.  (Mom, this is NOT a dig!  I love you!)  We learn to comfort ourselves, celebrate good times, or even reward surviving something traumatic...like missing a shoe sale or sorting the massive laundry into piles.  (Yes, that can be traumatic!)  So how do we un-learn these behaviors?  It's hard, and I don't know that there is such a thing as an easy fix for this.  But here's what I've learned:  food is about nutrition and sustaining ourselves.  (I know...Duh!  But seriously, to be able to separate food from an event or emotion is tough for some of us!)  I realized that a celebration of an accomplishment isn't about a menu or a dessert.  It's about a person and what they achieved.  And what about those sad times or the days when things go horribly wrong?  As much as we like to believe it, M&Ms just don't make it better.  For me, hugs make bad days better.  A walk relieves stress.  A funny movie with my best friend can bring a much needed laugh.  And funny, none of those require food.

So the one single thing I have done to try and change my emotional eating was to say to myself "this isn't about a menu."  Yup.  That's what I say to myself.  Has it worked 100% of the time?  No, but that's on me.  There have been times when its been harder than others to make smarter choices.  I'm not perfect.  But I'm a much better Me than I was even a year ago.  And not just because I've lost some weight, but because I'm putting more thought into my choices and really using my brain.  I don't have to make bad choices...the old me used to do that.  The new me?  She's doing a much better job of thinking things through, and I realized that I don't ever have to be that old me again.  I can just leave her behind!

-Jennifer Willis (32 pounds gone now!)




I got a pedometer in the mail yesterday, and I began to think about the last time I used one.  I was shocked to find out just how FEW steps I had been taking during the day!  So I was happy to get a new one in the mail and imagine how many steps a day I might be able to log in...I hear that we should aim for 10,000 steps each day.  I wasn't getting near that last time...I was struggling to get in 4,000 and was really surprised. 

So I was excited to get this new tool.  So excited that I managed to forget it this morning in my haste to get out the door and head to work.  (Boo!)  So I am going to have to do a better job of putting it where I will remember to clip it on in the morning.  But what a great thing a pedometer is!  It really helped me understand how easy it is to think we are doing more than we really are.  So how do we know we are doing enough?  Well, I'm certainly no professional when it comes to giving advice on physical fitness, but I know that I have to consciously budget time.  It's not enough for me to think I am moving enough at work or by running errands.  I have to make the time to break a sweat somehow, whether it's the gym or walking in my neighborhood.  And I know I need to give myself an hour for it, too.  I'd love to argue that I don't have the time, but I sat for an hour last night watching TV (before I fell asleep on the couch).  I could have used that time to burn some calories! 

I've ordered another goodie to partner with my new pedometer:  a FitBook.  Fitbook is something I found on Facebook, and while I've not used it yet, I can't wait to give it a try!  It never hurts to add tools to your fitness arsenal, right?  When I get it, I'll share my thoughts here.  I like writing down goals and tracking things, so this may be perfect for me.

What tools have you found that really help you along the way?

-Jennifer Willis (30 pounds)




One of the things I have learned throughout my weight loss journey is the importance of being connected.  I think most of us have a need to feel connected to other people through common bonds.  When it comes to weight loss, I know I hate feeling like I'm the only one.  And sometimes it feels that way.  Often times I have found myself thinking hat I'm the only one in the world who has so much weight to lose.  This is what I like to call "stinkin' thinkin'."  It's isolating and damaging to think that way.  And I've spent many years in that mindset.  One of the best things we can do to help ourselves, no matter what the end goal may be, is to reach out to others when we're stuck.  When we can see something from a different perspective, it can sure help getting over those hurdles!

So while the Slimdown has officially ended, I'm still moving forward.  I'm still working on my weight, but I think it's something that I will always have to be mindful of.  But to help me stay anchored to what's important, I have a couple of close friends that I check in with constantly.  They help hold me accountable and call me out when I make excuses.  (Me:  "I'm too TIRED to work out!"  Them:  "Are you too tired to care about your health?") 

So figure out where to make YOUR connections...stay rooted in what's important and I bet you'll be able to stay focused on what it is that is really important.


-Jennifer Willis


It's All In The Follow-Through


So I did exactly what I said I would:  I spent my first day of the new year planning.  I went through my favorite healthy recipes and put together a plan for every meal and snack for the next week.  And then I did part two of my person plan for this year and clipped coupons out of the newspaper.  (Yours Truly is quite the shopper, so saving money is part of our household plan this year!)  My amazing husband was a willing participant in all of this, and we went off to the grocery store, list and coupons in hand.  Not only did we totally stay on track with our purchases, but smart shopping and coupon clipping saved us almost $30!  So I got healthy food and saved money!  Yay!

And we also got in some exercise over the weekend by doing some yard work.  We cleaned out a flower bed (to be planted with flowers in March/April), and we cleaned and did laundry.  I can feel the muscles in the backs of my legs from running up and down the stairs!  Tonight we have a date...we are meeting at the gym to get in a good solid workout.  We're easing into a more consistent routine this week by meeting at 4:30pm on my way home from work, because next week we're going to start up with the 4:30am workouts!  We used to do that a couple years ago and it worked very well for us, but we got lazy.  No more!  The 4:30am will be for strength training, and then the afternoons will be for training for my 6 mile leg of the half-marathon. 

So see?  It's all about planning.  While I've come so far last year, it's a brand new year and I'm ready to tackle it!

How are you making this YOUR year?

-Jennifer Willis (30 pounds gone forever!)


New Years Resolutions


New Years resolutions are for the birds.  I mean, think about it...how many have you ever made that you kept for the whole year?  And when you didn't did you feel like a failure?  I know I did.  So I refuse to put that kind of pressure on myself ever again.  Instead, I'm just going to spend January 1st taking inventory.  I'm doing an awful lot of things right and I want to keep doing those things.  (The first on the list, though, is to go back to week 1 of the Slimdown program and just detox from my vacation!)  I've been exercising, but I want to ramp it up.  I've got that half marathon relay to prepare for!  I'm also going to get out of my comfort zone and find a new class at the gym and commit to four weeks of it.  If I like it, I'll keep going, and if I don't I'll find a new class to try for a month.

So as you can see, I am making 2011 a year of continued success.  I want to keep on doing good things for myself.  I came back from my vacation to find that my team at work has been eliminated.  And it scared me at first, but then I realized it's part of a bigger plan...I'm going to shake things up in 2011!  (I'm employed until March 31st, so I'm going to be just fine!)  It's scary to get out of your comfort zone, but we can all do it!  Find something new to try, dare yourself to be adventurous!  It's exciting!

So yeah, January 1st might sound boring to anyone else, but I'm making a plan...not a resolution or a promise, but a plan.  I'm going to figure out how to be the best Me I can be, and I can't wait to see how 2011 shapes up!

How are YOU going to be the best You??  Think about it, and then make it happen!

Jennifer Willis (30 pounds gone!!)


Christmas Eve


Can you believe Christmas Eve is here?  Where has the year gone?  And for that matter, where has my vacation gone?  We're in London now...our last stop before going home.  We have dinner scheduled at a Scottish pub next door to our hotel in Trafalgar Square, and it should be lovely.  I have truly enjoyed my trip, but it will be nice to get back home.  Our hotel was kind enough to make me an egg white omelette this morning...people are very accomodating!  And I think I'm doing pretty well.  My leg muscles are a bit achy from all the stairs, but it feels good!

When I get home I will be kicking the training into high gear.  My rock star friend, Kim, is doing the half-marathon relay with me in March and I need to be ready.  If it goes well, then I think I might try and talk her into doing a half-marathon with me.  She's been a key person and one of my biggest cheerleaders along the way, and somehow it seems fitting that she be the person to do this with me.  (Hear me, girl?  We gotta get it going!!)  Also, it will be good to get home and get on the scale and see how the trip REALLY went!

So my next post will be from the comfort of my own home.  It's been fun, but Dorothy was right...there is no place like home!

Merry Christmas everyone!

-Jennifer Willis (26.5 pounds gone...and hopefully more!)


In The Land of Cheese and Crepes


Sorry it's been a bit since I could post...I've had a terrible time finding a reliable internet connection.  But I am in Paris now, and it's a bit easier to blog!  Our trip has been wonderful so far, and believe it or not, I am able to make some smart choices with my food.  On the ship we could opt for grilled items and veggies, so I did plenty of that.  Now that we have ended our river cruise, I've had to really read menus and ask for help.  In Germany it was actually a bit more difficult, but in Paris I am finding it a bit easier.  All restaurants have soups and salads on the menu, so I am good.  However, with that being said I enjoyed the first of a couple of planned treats:  the creme brulee.  Not to be missed here in Paris!  I told my husband that it is different over here, and he agreed!  We actually shared one, but I have to tell you that I didn't really want to.  But I wasn't going to tell him no, and I also knew it would be better for me to share.  But it was divine!

Tomorrow we head to the Eiffel Tower, and I am planning for treat number two:  The chocolate-hazelnut filled crepe.  This and the creme brulee were the two things I knew I wanted and refused to miss.  But to counter this, I have been walking my legs off!  That's one of the great things about Europe...you can get out and MOVE!  I haven't had a gym or even a scale to access, but I am feeling good and I think I am doing well.  It helps to have bought menu guides for France and Germany, so I know how to ask for things like low fat or sugar free.  If you go to a foreign country, I highly recommend this!

On Thursday we head to London for our last stop.  My treat there?  Fish and chips.  After we get home on Monday next week, I will be ready to get to the gym.  I can feel that I am missing it, and although we've been walking a lot, I do miss my strength training and elliptical.  Ooohh...did I just say that??

-Jennifer Willis (26.5 pounds and counting!)

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