my first goal – mfp

Dear My Fitness Pal, I’m not squabbling over a half pound. My scale says 140.4. IT’S OVER.

So today was the day.

A lot has been going through my mind the past two weeks. I’ve been thinking about weight loss plateaus, and if I’m reaching mine, and I’m thinking about where I want to go with this, now that I got to my first goal, the first ten pounds.

I wasn’t sure that I would stick with this. I barely stick with anything. I’m amazed I’m married, frankly.

I couldn’t stick to the piano.

I couldn’t stick with basketball or tennis.

I couldn’t stick with the literary magazine during college, or teach CCD for very long.

Once Upon a Time is the first TV show since Arthur that I haven’t abandoned while it’s running on air.

And every Lent, I get somewhere halfway through and just give up.

Remember how I was learning manual? HAH.

I drop friends and never look back (oh that’s why her Facebook count is low 70s – yep, and proud of it).

So this? Forget how much I’ve lost — 2, 20, 100 lbs — the idea that next week is May and I started this shinanigan sometime in March?


My stomach is flatter. My face is miles skinnier. My boobs have shrunk. I ran for my bus and wasn’t winded. Husband and I went to the Indiana Dunes yesterday and hiked for two and a half hours through the sand — I mildly sweated and barely ached. My aunt saw for me for the first time since January and the first thing out of her mouth is, ‘How much weight have you lost?’


This is what I focus on when I lose sight on what matters. When I see stick leg girls walk down the street or look at a picture of myself and think I don’t look any different. When I step on the scale and see a 140, tell myself that 140 is still too fat. Losing weight is a good thing, but it also — sorry — fucks with your mind in a way I wasn’t expecting. You can be skinnier, skip that meal, you can lose it faster, you should see how low you can go.

Oh hey there, eating disorder, who invited you to the party?

Today I start chapter two. I already altered my goal on MFP. I don’t know if this is the final goal — maybe yes, maybe no. I’m trying to focus more on gathering songs and finding an used iPod because, with new found energy and warming temps, I’d like to buy a real pair of running shoes and head out on the pavement.

As always, I don’t know if I’ll stick to that. But MFP gives me hope.

This post is all over this place because for the past two weeks, my thoughts about my weight loss have been all over the place. Apologies.


toddlers at the zoo

Friday I went with my sister and niece to the zoo — it was the first time for my niece. So as we walked around and experienced the amazing that is the Brookfield Zoo, I came up with some ideas for taking young children to the zoo.

  • Keep your expectations low. Don’t plan on conquering the whole zoo in one day. Depending on the weather and the crowd, pick a few animals, a section of the zoo, or decide if you want to just stay outside or do only indoor exhibits.
  • Strollers until age five. If your zoo is a good walking work out like Brookfield, you should always have your child in a stroller, preferably umbrella to keep it convenient. It will keep whining to a minimum and maybe even inspire a nap!
  • Don’t limit animal exposure. You’ll never know what will spark your child’s interest. Maybe the giraffes, the lemurs, or the lions. Allow your child to watch the animals until they’re done. This is also why it’s good to go to the zoo with a minimum plan.
  • Don’t force interaction. At most zoos, there are petting, feeding, and interacting opportunities. Keep your reaction to these things natural, and join in with enthusiasm. If your child does as well, great. If not, leave it alone. Expose them to the opportunity, and then drop it. Pushing a child to pet a goat or play in a sensory table when they don’t want to creates an awkward situation for all.
  • Come in a good mood. Visit the zoo at a time where your child is well rested and fed (or bring snacks). I have gone to the zoo with a cranky toddler, and nothing good comes of it. Don’t assume they will nap in the stroller. The crowds and possible long hike back to the car can be made even worse when you have a screaming, tantrum throwing toddler in your arms.
  • Set rules ahead of time. Lay down the rules before you enter the zoo, especially if you’re going at a busy time. Do they have to stay in the stroller, except at indoor exhibits? Do they hold your hand when walking? Can they explore indoors on their own? Do you have time for the playground, a carousel ride, or a popcorn snack? Toddlers need rules, so be sure to give them.
  • Plan activities for education. Bring animal crackers and pull them out to see what animal you’ll see next. Make a scavenger hunt with pictures from the Internet. If you know what animals you’ll see, learn a few facts before you go.

When I went with my niece, we saw a few animals outside and went to three indoor exhibits, covering a little less than half the zoo. We let her wander when we went inside to the play zoo, but I held her hand at the monkey house because the paths were uneven. She stayed in her umbrella stroller for most of it, and we gave her a snack when we left.

Taking toddlers out of the house can seem like a daunting chore, but when you plan ahead and have the right expectations, it can be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

week 4 – mfp

This might be kind of long and maybe boring?, grab a snack.

Also I talk freely about my weight (in numbers) because NOT ASHAMED.

I ‘m going into my fourth week of My Fitness Pal. When I first started out, I had no idea what I weighed. The last place I lived with a scale was my parents’ house. I can sit here and toot my own horn about body acceptance, but it was basically that A) I didn’t want to pay money for one, and B) I didn’t want to know what it said. So I occasionally weighed myself at my parents’ when I remembered. At my heaviest in the past few years, I have weighed around 160. It’s funny because I remember being 135 at some point in high school and thinking to myself, ‘That’s not great, but you can keep yourself from getting any higher than 140’. And now this.

But when I started MFP, my most recent weight (taken a month earlier) had been somewhere around 154. I think my week of pure nausea from the hive meds and surviving solely on crackers and water funked with my weight a little bit. Anyway, my first week of MFP was mostly trying not to freak out over how much I used to eat (and couldn’t eat now) and getting used to tracking my calories. The Friday of my first week was the first test: we had a gift card for TGIFriday’s and decided to use it (HEY — we ate no meat the day before).

I was very nervous about eating out, because I knew there was probably nothing I could eat with my leftover calories for the day. Usually when we go to TGIFriday’s (rarely, but still) I would get a Jack Daniel’s burger because YUM! But I just knew that was probably an entire day’s worth in one bite, ha. So I scanned the menu for an ‘eating lightly’ section, but there wasn’t (thanks). So I started punching in a couple of things I was thinking about into the MFP and it helped me figure out that a cobb salad without dressing was my best bet. Was it a Jack Daniel’s burger? No, but it was delicious (I don’t think it needed dressing, I used the avocado) and I didn’t feel like I was going to explode from stuffing myself when I was done.

Is it always that easy? No. I feel like there are days where I’m hovering between ‘EAT EVERYTHING, FUCK COUNTING!’ and ‘Oh, this is enough.’ I have days where I just stand in the kitchen, looking at all the food, and wanting to just stuff my face with delicious food. I had a few days where I went over and once was actually a mistake — I grossly miscalculated White Castle’s nutrition menu and ended up 200 over. We also went out Good Friday for dinner because accreditation (and my boss) was stressing me out majorly and I just needed a drink. I saved the burger and went no meat for Friday, but totally blew my Saturday count because I underestimated that a burger with one slice of cheese and one slice of avocado was over 1,000 calories.

But IT’S OKAY. Because as I said in my last post, I’m not calorie counting stressing. I’m aware, but I’m not like, ‘Only celery because of the calories!!’

Here’s how I keep myself full but good on calories.  I have a fiber bar every morning that’s 130 calories, and usually on the weekends I go beyond that, but I’m working with trial and error on how I can scale back on the weekends. Lunch I try to stay between 350 and 500 calories. I must have a good amount of calories because it has to last me from 11 to 5:30 or 6. I have had everything from leftovers to a variety of snack items for lunch. I try to mix it up for lunch because breakfast is standard. For dinner, I use up most of the leftover calories. The measuring cup is my new friend, keeping me on track because my estimation skills are abysmal. I also love how MFP has a barcode scan feature, so I can scan items as I’m prepping instead of trying to search for/add everything up at the end (which I was doing at first and it was annoying).

There are days where it’s beautiful out and I want to grab Husband and say, ‘Let’s go out to eat! Let’s go sit out on a patio and eat greasy burgers!’ It’s an effort, but I have to remind myself that, for right now, there is nothing on those menus for me. I basically have this conversation with myself over and over the entire walk home.

Here’s how I add some semblance of exercise to my tracker. I am blessed to not have a car and so am forced into walking twice a day, five days a week. There really is no greater motivation to start walking than the fact that it’s the only way you’ll get to work/home. It’s only 20 minutes each way for the buses (I tracked it using a pedometer, $10 at Target), so 40 minutes a day isn’t too crazy. But now that the weather is (slowly) warming, I like to skip my second bus in the afternoon and it adds another 20 minutes. I’ve done it twice this week and it works. On the weekends I try to get some sort of walking in, either from going somewhere (mall, zoo) or talking a walk around the neighborhood. If it doesn’t fit in, fine, I just watch my intake. I keep thinking that I want to add more exercise in there somehow, but I’m not pushing myself because this is all very low key, low stress.

What I do not do in regards to calorie counting is skip a meal. First of all, I really cannot do that with my job. It makes me super cranky and it’s very hard to function, especially because my body is used to food at certain times of the day. Also, part of the reason I started this was because I knew I was eating too much and I wanted to track so I could learn about portion sizes. Skipping meals so I can binge later is something I used to do about four or so years ago, and I never felt good about it, plus I didn’t think it helped me at all. If I do skip a meal, it’s usually on the weekends where I’m not as active and not as hungry, but I’m trying not to make that a habit either.

What about holidays? First of all, let me state that I don’t know how long I’m going to do this program. I’m not limiting my time, but I’m not committing myself to a lifetime membership either. So as I go on with the program, I’ll take each holiday as they come. Easter was a fairly easy decision for me. We were going to brunch, just the two of us, at an excellent local restaurant by us, and then for dinner we were going to my grandma’s and my aunt’s for dessert. I didn’t know until I woke up that morning how I was going to ‘handle’ calorie counting for the day, until I just decided, you know what? I don’t really feel like tabulating a million things and pulling out my phone at other people’s houses. Plus we were paying GOOD MONEY for this brunch buffet! So I ate what I wanted, within reason. I ate lots of fruit at brunch, and I made sure half my plate was a salad at my grandma’s. But I had two desserts at my aunt’s, hee! We also went to Lincoln Park Zoo and so I got in some exercise there. I didn’t stuff myself, and I felt comfortable with my choices, and it was fine. I recommend no guilt, it is nice.

What else? Well, how public am I about MFP? Not very much at all. Only three people know that I’m on it — Husband, my one sister, and the cook at work. I tend to put insane amounts of pressure on myself the more ‘HEY, LOOK AT ME!’ I am about things, so I’m keeping my mouth shut. Plus I already have way too many people on Facebook who enjoy excessively screaming ‘I AM AMAZING BECAUSE I WENT TO THE GYM TODAY!’, so I don’t want to be one of those obnoxious people. It was actually kind of funny because my one cousin is on MFP with me, and when I saw her on Easter I thought she’d say something to me about it, because she’s very encouraging to me on the site, but she didn’t say anything, so I kind of felt like we were in fight club together. Ha ha.

How about some results? Can I just say something first? My daily calorie goal is 1200 calories. I think I used to eat over half that in one lunch sitting. I think about when I dating Husband, working at the daycare, eating the school food plus Wendy’s for lunch plus a variety of fast food (Taco Bell/Burger King/Jimmy John’s) for dinner, two 24 oz Mountain Dews during the day, and thinking to myself ‘Well I had a salad instead of fries so it’s okay’. I am really extremely lucky that my metabolism was in good shape because I feel like that diet should’ve equaled me weighing 200 lbs. And maybe dead of a heart attack. I also don’t know how I was that rich to afford all that every day. My point is that my greatest gain from MFP is that I can eat 500 calories and everything will be all right. In fact, it will be surprisingly satisfying and I won’t want any more food (just maybe one Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg, which I am almost out of, and it makes me sad).

That’s very sweet. Results? Okay so I started off MFP with a shaky guess of 152 on March 18th. Then on March 25th I was down to 145.4. I call faulty estimation on my part, plus water weight loss. So that’s a down of 6.6 lbs. When I weighed myself on April 1st, I was still 145.4, which is fine, because White Castle, the shifty avocado burger, and Easter threw things off a little. I weigh myself whenever I want, FYI, just to see a number in the 140s, which hasn’t happened since maybe college, if I’m generous with myself. I weigh myself in boredom, after bathroom business, before/after showers, and to jump start my mornings. I think it’s a ‘new cute zebra scale’ phase. But I don’t count it ‘official’ unless it’s a Monday. Today, April 8th, I weigh 143.2. So I’m about 3 pounds away from my first goal. Not bad for a month, I think!

I write candidly and honestly about this because I believe eating should be candid. It should not be a fearful and depressing activity, nor should it be a stuff to the brim activity. I will never be ashamed of putting mayo on a sandwich, I will never be ashamed of my weight, I will never be ashamed that I have to track numbers to get myself to eat correct portions. I participate in MFP for help on portion control. So far it is helping me understand the problem was not always what I was eating so much as how much of it I was eating. As long as I am doing MFP, I will update every couple of weeks, but probably not in much detail as this.



Simon and Garfunkel Radio  by Pandora

I have mixed feelings about this radio station. I listened to it for about two hours while I was drafting a post, and it seemed to be amazing and pick a flawless set of music. Then about halfway through the second hour, I realized it had been quite some time since I heard an actual Simon and Garfunkel song. WHICH WAS THE WHOLE REASON I MADE THE STATION IN THE FIRST PLACE. Ugh, nothing is sweeter to me than Bridge Over Troubled Water or America.


The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

One of the best books (it’s non-fiction!) I’ve read about the Holocaust. The end.


Hello Apparel

Look it up. Pricing’s a little much, but if you follow them on social media they have good deals every month. Shirts are incredibly soft and wear well, and are adorable. Also they ship super fast; got mine within four days of ordering. Finally, every time I put my shirt on I want to sing “YOU SAY GOOD-BYE, BUT I SAY HELLO!”