WD Slimdown blog - Woman's Day Blog


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


I'm not that worried about gaining weight on Christmas. It's just one day, and my favorite day of the year at that-I'm going to enjoy it!

What I'm really concerned about is this week before Christmas, filled with family visits and holiday parties and sugar cookies and fudge. For our last Christmas before we get married, my fiance and I decided to split up and see our respective families, several states away from each other. And now that I'm back in my Cincinnati hometown, there's so much to do! I want to see my friends (out to dinner, check) and I want to see my grandparents (drive to Illinois and two meals eaten out, check). I want to celebrate my brother's 21st birthday (long night at the bar, check, and dinner out tonight, check check). Also, it would be great if we could do the holiday gathering with our neighbors like every year (salami rollups, buffalo dip, and lots of cookies on the way). That's at least one meal out / one calorie-laden meal at home every night this week!

I brought home my P90X workout DVDs, and I've been eating very little for breakfast and lunch (though I do make a point to always have a good breakfast). I will try to start every meal with a salad or vegetables so I get full faster. I will try not to drink fattening beverages, particularly on days when I'm eating treats. And fortunately, after having been through a few months of this Slimdown at this point, I get full a lot faster than I used to-so I will remember to eat slowly and stop when I'm truly full.

What are your tips for surviving the foodfest this holiday season?

Pounds lost so far: 24


One Great Christmas Gift: No More Big Clothes


Several of us have blogged about what we're going to do with our old clothes now that we can't wear them anymore. It's a little strange to admit out loud-but I mostly wore 14s and 12s before the Slimdown, and now I'm a size 8!

I know it's a victory, and I am excited, but it's also a bit frustrating to have to drop everything-both my clothes and substantial cash-to rebuild a work and social wardrobe for all the seasons of the year (I was a size 8 in high school so, save one small black dress I keep hanging in my closet for inspiration, I've got nothin!) I'm determined to keep the weight off and keep my body in the wardrobe I'm slowly accumulating. So I'm going to go ahead and get rid of the clothes that don't fit-again!

Plenty of my clothes are in great shape and are pretty new, and I'd love to donate them to people who could use them. But I'm curious-where else can you donate clothes, besides Goodwill and Salvation Army? Both are great and I try to contribute when I can, but there are other great organizations out there with more specific needs that could also use the contributions. So who are they?

I know of two off the top of my head. In San Francisco, the charming charity The Princess Project collects prom dresses to donate to girls who can't afford to purchase their own. Heaven knows I still have a few of those in my closet! The Princess Project is a local charity, but there are other groups just like it across the country. Visit princessproject.org for more information, and to find a list of other groups in other states.

I have also heard of charities that provide suits, skirts, and general business attire to young women who can't afford their own. Dress for Success operates out of 105 affiliates in multiple countries including the U.S. You can find out more at dressforsuccess.org.

Now I need to pick your brain. What charities do you know of that would appreciate a generous clothing contribution?-Katie Bunker

Pounds lost so far: 23


Cold Weather Comfort Foods


It's that time of year again, and the Washington, D.C. metro area is dipping dangerously close to single-digit temperatures. Simply stepping out the door feels like a punishment, and going anywhere from a party to the office feels like a gamble against frostbite and windburn (I know, I'd never make it up north.)

When it gets like this, I usually come home at night wanting some type of toasty, comforting relief. I like to light my Christmas-scented candle, hide under my giant sweatshirt blanket (emblazoned with the name of my favorite vacation spot, Kiawah Island, helping me to think of a warmer time and place). Then there's food!

My favorite cold-weather dinner is a giant bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. It doesn't hurt to throw in a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Then there's chili, or macaroni and cheese, also great cold-weather dinners. When it's freezing outside, a crisp salad will not cut it.

Joy's turkey chili is one healthy option for a toasty treat in the winter months. I like making the open-faced tomato and mozzarella sandwich (and I like adding some tomato soup to that! Low-sodium variety, of course.) I try to ditch the hot chocolate for tea, and I can always have a Lean Cuisine macaroni and cheese if that's what I'm craving. For sweets, I'll take one of Joy's chocolate chip muffins and pop it in the microwave. I also discovered that I can make a s'more that's few enough calories that it about hits my daily extra allotment-you just take one graham cracker and crack it in half, pop a giant marshmallow on one side, and a miniature Hershey bar on the other. It's not the full-size ones I had as a kid, but it still hits the spot.

How have you adjusted your comfort foods to fit into your meal plan during the Slimdown?-Katie Bunker

Pounds lost so far: 23


To Supplement or Not to Supplement?


When you're cutting calories to lose weight-or any other time for that matter-do you take vitamins or supplements? I have never had a doctor tell me I need them, so I usually don't bother. Only recently have I started taking a combination calcium-Vitamin D supplement because of all that I read about the health benefits-that they strengthen bones, bolster immunity, and may even ward off cancer and heart disease.

Well it turns out even this small effort on my part may not be worth it. According a new report from the Institute of Medicine, Vitamin D and calcium supplements may contribute no added value, and may even be detrimental to your health. Too much calcium can lead to kidney stones, and excessive Vitamin D can damage the heart and kidneys.

Several studies in the past have linked heart disease, cancer, and diabetes to deficiencies in these nutrients. But this new report, which is an analysis of 1,000 studies, says that all I can really count on if I stick with my supplement regimen is improved bone health-and that is something I could just be getting from a healthy diet alone.

Do you take supplements? What do you make of the latest recommendations?-Katie Bunker

Pounds lost so far: 23


Progress Report: P90X


"I hate it, but I love it." That's how Tony Horton, founder of the P90X "x-treme" fitness DVDs, would describe his program. I'm not sure I love it, but P90X is definitely working.

I am now a month into the 90-day program, and I can definitely see (and feel!) a difference. I have creases in my shoulders that I've never seen before, and when I tried on my wedding gown (yes, my dress arrived!) my mom was shocked by my toned arms. What? Was she talking to me?

Continue reading "Progress Report: P90X" »


A Thinner Thanksgiving


I spent a full, wonderful week off of work visiting my family in Cincinnati over the Thanksgiving holiday. And that translates into more than just one day of temptation–it's lunches out shopping, family dinners, new restaurants to try, and Thanksgiving leftovers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But when I got back on the scale after all was said and done, I had a couple of pounds of water weight, which I expect I can get back off in a couple of days. So what gives? How was my Thanksgiving different this year?


My fiance, me, and my little brother at the local chicken joint we love!

Continue reading "A Thinner Thanksgiving" »


Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving! This year I'm thankful for so many people and so many things; but since I know others are writing about that I thought I'd focus on the things I love about Thanksgiving-apart from the food!

Thanksgiving is one time of year when I get to see my family for more than a weekend. It's the only holiday my fiance gets to spend significant time with my family. This year, I'm thankful that we get to see them for a whole week!

I have always loved going for a run on Thanksgiving morning. I used to take my dog, run a few laps with him, then drop him off at the house and go on by myself. The other people out walking in my parents'neighborhood are cheerful and always wave hello. I come back feeling happy, refreshed, and ready for the big dinner that comes later in the day. Right now it is pouring outside, and my dog passed away a couple of years ago. This is one of my Thanksgiving traditions I will miss this year. But I hope to do a workout video with my fiance, at least.

I love getting my workout in early-so that I can watch bits of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! The best parts are the marching bands and the theater / dance performances on the ground.

My parents do much of the Thanksgiving prep on Wednesday, so I love sitting in the kitchen and chatting while they finish things up on Thursday. I try to help, but they don't love that so much. I wasn't kidding when I said I'm no good in the kitchen. So I'm usually in charge of setting the table and washing dishes.

After dinner, we always go around the table and share the things we're thankful for. I'm happy to have my family and my health, and a job. This year I'll be praying for our neighbors, who just lost their daughter in a car accident, for the men and women serving our country in the armed forces, and for all the people who are struggling financially and looking for work. It's been a tough year and I've been pretty lucky.

Finally, I love Thanksgiving evening. We always pop in a Christmas movie, anticipating the next morning's tradition-going to the tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree.

What do you love about Thanksgiving that has nothing to do with turkey or pie?-Katie Bunker


Conquering the Weight-Loss Plateau


Prior to Friday, I had not lost weight in two weeks, despite the fact that I'd been working out like a fiend and was constantly on the go. I know I'm not the only woman on the Slimdown who has had to overcome a weight-loss slump. But my timing was just horrible-it's almost the holidays, so if I'm going to lose more weight, I'd better hurry up and do it already!

I don't know about the rest of the group, but the closer we get to the end of this Slimdown, the more I've been taking liberties with the rules of the program. I don't always measure my portions properly or count my "extras" to make sure I'm not having three extras a day. Sometimes I splurge at a birthday party or office luncheon and I forget to offset my meal with a smaller dinner or fewer daily snacks.

My weight-loss coach had been suggesting that I keep a food diary to really keep track of what I'm eating and where I can make changes, so I finally agreed to go ahead and do it. Keeping a food log has got to be the number one thing recommended for weight loss that I hate the most. It's annoying to stop in the middle of what you're doing to write down everything you eat! And I constantly forget, so I'm trying at the end of the day to fill in my log with what I can remember from my earlier meals.

Guess what my weight-loss coach said when she saw my diary? I was eating too much cheese, not enough fiber and protein, and not enough overall. What, I wasn't eating enough? No matter how much people tell you "you have to eat to keep your metabolism going," you still always expect that skipping a dinner here or there is going to be a great way to drop a couple of pounds. (I don't make a habit of skipping meals, I just have been working out late at night which makes it hard to want to eat.)

So I haven't gotten to the best part: After my second week of keeping the food diary-and my first week of doing the P90X workout program-I got past that plateau. On Friday I weighed myself and saw that I was down more than 2 pounds! That brings my total weight loss to around 21 pounds.

I have a few weeks left in December during which to lose those last few pounds, but I am feeling good about my progress. I am now in my "normal" weight range on the BMI scale. I can now wear those size 8 jeans I was aiming for. I've learned healthy habits to continue in the kitchen and I'm fit enough to run a race or just about any athletic activity I'm interested in. All great things to be thankful for this November!

Pounds lost so far: 21


Staying Out of the Kitchen


I just got home from work, it's dark and cold outside, and I'm alone. I'm waiting for Kevin to get home to do our next P90X workout DVD. So I'm in my living room, typing this blog on my laptop, in front of the TV. It's only a few steps away to delicious snack foods! Which is pretty much why I decided to do my blog now-to keep my hands busy.

Seriously, there are times of day when I make plans specifically to avoid the temptation of eating junk food. It's why I got into the habit of going on a run or going straight to the gym after work (because all I want at 5 p.m. before dinnertime, when I'm alone in the kitchen, is junk. Carrots don't do it for me past 3 p.m.).

Yeah sometimes I'm hungry at work, or hungry in the morning. But I actually want healthy foods at those times of day. Other times, not so much. My munchies tend to hit:

-Late afternoon at work, especially when working late

-At home immediately after work

-After dinner if I'm watching TV

-Late at night when I get home from a social function

So far the best methods I've found for avoiding the munchies are going to the gym, holing up in the upstairs office, brushing my teeth, and keeping most delicious snacks out of the house. Everyone talks about how tough it will be to stick to this plan through the holidays, but if you think about it, we're resisting temptation every day! What are your trouble times, and how do you stay out of the kitchen?-Katie Bunker

Pounds lost so far: 19


A New and "X-treme" Workout


This weekend my fiance and I started the P90X 90-day "X-treme" workout program! And let me tell you, it was an exercise just to brush my hair this morning.

The way the program works, you exercise each day to a DVD that lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours. Every day, the workout is slightly different, focusing on a specific muscle group. Day 1 was chest and back, day 2 was plyometrics, day 3 was arms and shoulders, and so on. Then on two of those days, you add an ab workout. Technically, we should also be following a meal plan, but I'll still be on Joy's program, and as the P90X gets harder, I may add more protein to my diet (as Joy's book prescribes for active people). P90x

Continue reading "A New and "X-treme" Workout" »

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