WD Slimdown blog - Woman's Day Blog


So Far So Good!

6a0133f24e35c8970b0147e0853bf7970b-800wi So far, I think I've done well on my vacation. There has been plenty of salad, fresh veggies, and fish to keep me on track.  I've been able to make some great choices and feel content.  I've taken a bite of dessert, but it's usually my husband's and a bite is about all he will share!  Hopefully the rest of the trip will go smoothly.  I think when I get to Paris I will allow myself a couple of treats that I already know I want.

We've done a good amount of walking and sightseeing, so I have also been active.  (This is good, as there is not a fitness center here...it's a small river ship, so it's not like a large cruise ship such as Royal Carribbean.)  It's been cold, but that doesn't stop us.  Snow flurries only add to the fun and excitement, as well as creating a romantic holiday feel.  I love it!

I'm taking it a day at a time, but I honestly don't find myself so food-focused.  Eating carefully is coming easily so far, but I know it won't be so easy in Paris or London.  I want to enjoy some favorites but I have to find a balance between that and being healthy and smart.  I can do it!

Jennifer Willis (26.5 pounds gone!)


On My Way!


As you read this I am on my way to start my vacation!  While I am excited about the trip, I know I have some food challenges ahead of me.  Sausages in Germany, chocolate filled crepes in Paris...can you see my concerns?  I bought a book that helps translates menus in French.  This should help me to make sure I avoid things that I want to stay away from. 

All this being said, I do plan to sample some things while I am there.  But I have every intention of staying in control and making wise choices.  Thankfully, the portions over there aren't anything like what we get here when we eat out!  And we'll be doing lots of walking, so staying active helps.  All in all, I think I should be okay.  I've worked really hard to get where I am and I really don't want to backslide now!  I'll still be blogging, so I'll let you know how it all goes!

What are your vacation strategies?  Any suggestions to help keep me on track?

-Jennifer Willis (25 pounds gone)


Time Out


Don't worry....it's not a time out from the Slimdown!  I realized today that I am feeling so run down.  I am taking my Statistics final exam at 1pm today, and between that and trying to get ready to leave town Friday, I am beat.  I think it's okay for me to say that today I am just not going to work out.  I simply can't.  I don't have the energy.  It's simply time to give myself a break.  I don't have to go back to work after my final, so I think today I am going to go home and take it easy.  I have the stuff to make some Skinny Soup, so a nice hot cup of soup sounds perfect!

It's been a busy semester with school, and between work stress and trying to get things done in a new home, I'm worn out completely.  I even have to take an online final while I'm in Austria!  We are jokingly calling my "study abroad" experience.  It's not a difficult final, but the whole idea of not being done with school when I leave on vacation is a real bummer. 

Now that I've gotten all that negativity out, I look at this and I am proud to say that my first thought was that I need to make sure it doesn't snowball into old behaviors.  You know the ones...we eat to console ourselves, or we allow ourselves to skip one workout and it turns into never going back to they gym?  Yeah, been there, done that.  However, I can allow myself to rest one night without fear that I will ruin it all.  This time it's truly about taking care of myself.  Since I have finally made myself a priority, making sure I am well rested is part of that.  So after draining my brain with my final today, I am going to kick back and rest.  I'll need it when next semester rolls around for sure!  (Big shout out to Texas Wesleyan University!  Go Rams!)

When you feel like you're hanging on by a thread, what do you do to help your body and mind recharge?

-Jennifer Willis (25 pounds gone!  What a loser!!)


Really Stepping It Up


This has been a stressful week for me.  I feel like I'm going mach 10 with my hair on fire...lots of homework and getting ready for next week's finals, trying to think about packing for my trip, and then on top of that we are going through phases of a reorganization here at my office.  (Seriously...why do this around the holidays?  Should I just stay in Paris and not come home?)  Truly, things should be fine but I don't like to take anything for granted. 

So all this to say, I feel really stressed out.  This is the time when I want to much, so I have made good friends with carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes.  I have also started having a Yoplait smoothies.  I found them in the freezer section and they are awesome!  Low calories and very tasty, creamy, and satisfying.  They remind me of ice cream, so they are perfect for satisfying cravings for sweet things.  Trust me, it helps to have something like this to turn to.  I have a freezer full of them!

I am also relying heavily on sugar-free gum.  This has been a life saver for me!  Joy suggested it at the beginning of the Slimdown, and I have been keeping a pack in my purse at all times ever since.  Right now, I am really trying to make sure I have things like this in my arsenal.  Part of being successful is knowing my behaviors and being ready to redirect myself when necessary.  Gum is my new BFF.

And one more note...I'm down 25 pounds now!!  That's a milestone!

-Jennifer Willis (25 pounds gone!!!!)


Food Feelings


Why is it that there are just certain foods that we can hear whispering our name from miles away?  Every day on my way to work I can hear these tiny little donut holes calling out to me.  I have managed to keep driving and not be lured by their siren song, but some days it is really hard to avoid them.  Why is that?  It's basically fried bread.  (Yuck!)  But there must be some sort of emotional attachment to them.  I've tried to think through that and I have no idea.  It's taking some amount of willpower to not be stopping, but I'm pleased to say that so far, so good.

But really, what is it about certain foods that call to us?  Why are some tasty treats so much harder to say no to than others?  Is there some sort of chemical reaction in our brains that sets off when we get near brownies?  I don't even have to be within sight of some of these things to crave them.  While I have (for the most part) managed to rid myself of so many challenging cravings, there are still times when feel like I could dive face first into a bowl of ice cream.  And I know there are all kinds of alternatives, but I have a concern about giving in to the craving, even if it is for something fat free.  I know I have trigger foods that might set me off.  (I love the 100 calorie snack packs, but eating one would most likely send me over the cliff and I'd end up eating the whole dang box!) 

So maybe fear is a good thing?  Being afraid of the consequences of my actions has kept me in line on more than one occasion.  Admitting to myself that I probably have a very ugly food addition has been good for me, too.  For years I just accepted that I was this way and lived with it.  But I'm staging a coup and overthrowing that mentality.  If I haven't learned anything else, I've learned that I'm worth the hard work.  (But trust me, I've learned much more than that!)  Is this an easy journey?  Some days are much easier than others.  In the beginning I thought it was a snap.  But I have learned that it runs much deeper than what I made for dinner...it's about self-respect and acknowledging that yes, I am very worth the hard work!

So all these food feelings I have swirling through my brain?  I'm working on dealing with those.  And as for those donut holes?  Yeah, I'll keep on driving right by.  No need to break the good habit I've already created!

-Jennifer Willis (23 pounds gone!)


Post-Turkey Day


Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving in my new home.  It was everything I had hoped it would be!  Family, friends, and so much love and laughter...it was perfect!  I threw aprons on the ladies and we were all in the kitchen putting the final touches on the food and getting it all ready to be served.  It was wonderful.  For me, that was what the day was about. 

With as much hard work as we put into the menu, I found that when it was time to sit down to eat, I was much happier to have a few bites of turkey, some crunchy veggies, a bite of potatoes, and lots of water.  I really stayed clear of the things that I knew I should, and I am so proud!  I helped my best friend with her twins, and made sure everyone had what they need.  I didn't feel the need to stuff myself with things I'd regret when I got on the scale this morning...this is a HUGE victory for me!

So this morning when I got on the scale I showed a half-pound loss.  I was bummed at first, but I have to remember that I weighed in on a scale that isn't my usual one.  Perhaps the news is actually a little bit better!  But you know what?  I'll take that half pound and run with it!  I lost weight for Thanksgiving, and for that I am truly thrilled!

I hope you had a most joyous Thanksgiving with your friends and family!  I suppose we can all say that the holidays are truly here!  And two weeks from today I will be winging my way to Europe.  This feels much tougher than Thanksgiving (food-wise).  Lots of things I won't be familiar with, and lots of languages I don't speak, but that's okay.  I'll figure it out!  (And you'll get to laugh along with me as I make my way through 17 days of what is sure to include some foreign language food fiascoes!)

-Jennifer Willis (23 pounds gone!)


Tall Boots and Thick Calves


I've never been able to go buy boots in the store.  You know the ones...the elegant tall boots made of all the beautiful leathers?  They make them for people with thinner calves, so I haven't ever really fallen into that category.  But being as heavy as I have always been, I've even had trouble getting into the boots that are made for the "wide calf" population. 

All of this to say, I had something exciting happen just recently!  I decided to give a pair of the wide calf boots a try.  (Again, let's remember that hasn't worked for me before.  Sadly.)  So I ordered a pair online, and they arrived last week.  I let them sit in the box for a few days before I even dared to try them on, but when I did, the end result was very exciting!!  They fit!  I actually own a pair of knee-high boots that I can wear!!  Do you have any idea of the hope this gives me?  I might someday own a pair of regular calf boots that I can walk into the department store and buy! 

So I wore by sassy new black boots with the shiny silver buckle on the side to work yesterday.  I had a pair of black pants on and a great grey sweater...I felt really good about how I looked.  I guess it must have been radiating out of me, because I had a couple of co-workers stop and fuss over how I looked.  This made me feel like a million bucks!  (Thanks Dee and Denny!!)  I think I must have walked a little taller and smiled just a little bigger.  It sure is nice when people recognize your hard work!

I think these black boots, as silly as it may seem, have been a real morale booster.  I got them on sale and had an online coupon, but there just isn't a price tag on how they make me feel.  My husband works in the footwear industry and he's even ordered me a new pair of boots, too!  They don't come up as high, so I think they'll fit just fine.  And even if they don't right now, I just know they will in the future.

What do you wear that makes YOU feel especially good about yourself?  Do you have a favorite garment or pair of shoes that you love to wear?

-Jennifer Willis (22.5 pounds gone!)


Time For A Treat!


Having lost 22.5 pounds now, I have decided it is officially time for a treat.  So tonight I have a date with myself to go buy something special.  What am I buying?  New running shoes!  My current ones are letting me know they need to be retired, so it's time to find the ones that will help me do the things I need to do to be healthy.  I look at my running shoes differently...they take me places.  They cross finish lines, they help make me stronger, and they help me achieve goals I didn't know I even wanted to have.  My running shoes are special.  My current ones are so awesome...they're hot pink!  I'm going to try and get a new pair of the same ones...hopefully they still make them!

With the weather turning chillier here in Texas, I think it just may be time to find some healthy soup recipes.  (Skinny Soup is always a good option!)  I love fall/winter, and it's fun to bundle up and enjoy some hot soup by the fireplace.  Just last night I had a mug of hot tea, and it just felt like such a fall thing to do!  What are your cold-weather traditions?  And if you've got any healthy soup recipes, please share!

-Jennifer Willis (22.5 pounds gone!)


Getting Through The Food Holidays


I remember reading an article last year about a few small things we can do to burn extra calories and help stop holiday weight gain.  I have been frantically searching for whatever magazine that was, but I can't find anything since we moved.  I'm still missing a handbag and some pots and pans...I'm pretty sure this magazine is in a black hole out in space somewhere.  So rather than just saying forget it, I am coming up with my own list of small things that will make a big difference:

Parking farther away when I go to the grocery store or mall.  As much as I love parking close, it seems like it might be a good idea to park at least midway back.  That way I can take a few extra steps into the store!

Get up early on Thanksgiving Day and go for a walk.  I can get up early enough to do that and still enjoy the parade on TV!  And honestly, at 7am, no one in my house (cats and husband) will be awake to miss me.  I can pop in my earbuds and my iPod and I can have some quality time together.

Smaller plates.  I can't possibly squeeze the same amount of food I used to eat onto a smaller plate, can I?  And I am limiting my trip to the serving dishes to just one time, so one trip and a smaller plate can only equal one thing...success!  Oh, and I am leaving space between each food item.  I have to be able to see the plate between my turkey and my roasted veggies!

End of day walk.  My husband and I can enjoy a nice walk at the end of the day to make sure we keep the calories in/calories out in control.  Two walks in one day?  You bet!  (And David, if you are just finding out that we're going for a walk that night, well...surprise!!)

I'm going to sit at the end of the table so that if someone needs something, I can hop up and get it for them.  If I'm getting up and down, that will mean I am not constantly putting food in my mouth, and I am also getting up and down and moving.  It may just be a few extra steps, but they count!

Some of these might seem silly, but it is VERY comforting to feel like I have put thought into this and really will be able to stay in control.  That saying about if we fail to plan, we plan to fail?  I like it and it works for me.  But it does take thought and preparation.  However, I think we are ALL worth the effort. 

So you've seen my ideas...what are yours?  How are YOU going to burn a few extra calories this season?

-Jennifer Willis (21.5 pounds gone!)



Bring on the Holidays! I Have a Plan!


That's right, folks!  I'm going to keep my weight trending downward this holiday season!  I'm hosting Thanksgiving in our new house (and on our new dining table if Pottery Barn will hurry up and deliver it!) and I am very excited about this.  You know what's nice about hosting a gathering?  I'm in charge of the food.  So not only am I eating healthier this Thanksgiving, the whole family is going to eat healthier!  (I'm not telling them, either!)  However, they've been eating reduced-fat green bean casserole for years and didn't even know it!  Ha!  We're going to have oven roasted veggies in addition to some of the old favorites.  Honestly, the oven-roasted veggies are for me.  I love them and thought it would be a great alternative for me and anyone else not wanting buttered mashed potatoes. 

I am also working on looking at the holiday differently.  Thanksgiving for me needs to be more about the family and less about the food.  My mother and I share the tradition of cooking together because it's OUR time.  We bond, we reminisce about family members who aren't with us, and we get incredibly silly.  We'll wear funny aprons.  (Mom, this is a new tradition.  I just decided on it, so bring the apron I got for you last month!  We're going to get crazy in the kitchen!)  We'll most likely uncork some wine and enjoy a glass, and spend the day making more memories.  And on Thanksgiving itself, I want to celebrate family and friends, and not just a menu.  While food is something we will all enjoy together, it is not the reason we're together.  We're going to celebrate each other.  And that is what it will be about for me.

One more thing...to my dear cousin - and you know who you are - Mom and I will NOT be reenacting the year that we drank too much champagne.  We are far too refined and ladylike to do that again.  So there!

-Jennifer Willis (19.5 pounds gone!)

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