Tag Archives: balance

Cravings vs. Hunger: Thanksgiving Edition

26 Nov
Last year's dessert table after people had taken hold. Missing are the pies.

Last year’s dessert table after people had taken hold. Missing are the pies.

For the past three months, I’ve had tunnel vision while in beast mode. Sure, I’ve gone out to dinner and drinks a few times. But for the most part, I’ve been sticking to the plan. The 20 pounds I’d gained in the past year are almost gone (*praise hands*). And just in time for Thanksgiving.

I’ve mentioned before about how my family gets down at Thanksgiving. This holiday is not a game to my people. There will be (I believe, I haven’t gotten the menu email yet): three turkeys, two ducks, two hams, two trays of sweet potatoes, two trays of macaroni and cheese, oyster casserole, green bean casserole, corn casserole, greens, rolls and corn bread…at least. And I haven’t even gotten to the dessert table, which will have at least seven pies and four cakes.

I’ve been on my grind recently, preparing my own small meals, eating light and staying active. I’m now in Atlanta where I’m a guest who doesn’t want to crowd her aunt’s already stuffed refrigerators (yes, plural). I’m used to my home where the snacks are few. I’m in Atlanta where my large family keeps snacks in the house because you never know who’s coming by, especially during the holidays.

But most of all, I have to fight the cravings that will trick me into satiating my hunger. The food tomorrow will be plentiful. But I’m going to do my best to stay true the me that’s been kicking ass for the past few months.

1. Leave some white space on the plate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you don’t have to clean your plate. We usually tell the young kids to make a “happy plate” to get them to eat what’s in front of them. It’s different for them because they get distracted by one another and won’t eat, which, of course, is something they must do. For us adults, there’s no need to cover every inch of your plate with food, pile it inches high and take your own advice of making  a happy plate. With all the food we’ll have, there will be plenty to go around if you want seconds.

2. Load up on the veggies. Despite all the casseroles, we’re really good about our veggies. My first stop will be the greens, because I love greens. Like…we have a thing. Add in a cornbread muffin and some hot sauce and I’ll be straight. The green beans, I’m sure, will also be on point. Then the sweet potatoes. If there’s still some room, I’ll take a few slices of dark meat and keep it moving. Keeping up some of the good habits I’ve developed over the past few months will keep me from going overboard.

3. Keep tabs on the bar tab. The wine and liquor will be flowing, I’m sure. Despite my old age of 34, my family still thinks of me as a 15. So my occasional glass of wine is often greeted with a side eye. But after everyone’s had a few, no one notices I’m on my way to killing a bottle. I’ve got to watch that. The fun and merriment tomorrow cannot be greeted by a hangover the following day.

4. Sweetie pie. I know I’ve said I have a thing with hummus, Goldfish crackers and greens. But nothing compares to my love for my grandmother’s peach pie. It is outstanding. The homemade crusts are to die for. The pie filling oozes off the sides. And heated up with some ice cream or whipped cream? You’ve never had perfection until you’ve had one of Beulah Lucille’s pies. I don’t get to Atlanta often, so I have to take advantage of the goodies while they’re available. But my old habit of hoarding the peach pie to myself will come to an end this year. I’ll have a slice or two, but I won’t go face first like it’s a pie-eating contest.

5. Relish the relish dish. We keep appetizers out because my family can’t do anything on time. I make it a habit of arriving hungry to family functions because there will always be an abundance of food. The problem is the food isn’t always ready at the designated time. And I don’t do hunger well. Lucky for me, my aunt keeps the relish dishes out so I can pop some carrots, olives or celery sticks when needed—which is always. Plus, bonus points for the low-cal relish dishes, so I’m not overindulging while waiting for my turkey.

Of course, the best thing about tomorrow will be getting to spend time with my family. I haven’t seen everyone since last Thanksgiving. Being around them will fill me up more than tryptophan.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Keeping It 100

5 Nov

keepit100Every year for my birthday, I do an annual self evaluation. Beyond celebrating the most important day of the year, it’s also a time for personal reflection: What goals have I accomplished, what goals did I let fall to the side, what to I want to accomplish in the coming year, how am I going to make that happen.

In the past year, I’ve accomplished the goal of starting a health and wellness blog that tells some of my stories on the road to weight loss. I have been able to reach so many people and engage with them on the issues that are important to me. I’ve been able to fulfill my passion for writing on my own terms, and it has been amazing.

This marks the 100th post at I’m Skinny, Now What? I’d like to use it to tell you some of the things I’ve learned, some lessons I’m hoping to learn, and what I want this space to become.

1. Blogging is not as easy as you think. Everyone knows how to write, but not everyone is a writer. I’ve been writing fiction since I was 7. It was easy to make things up and tell different tales that I didn’t have to be a part of. This blog is a different animal. I am innately private. I don’t like people in my business. So I had to balance my need to write with my need for privacy and also my need to engage an audience with stories they could relate to. Luckily I am a trained reporter, so getting the facts to you all wasn’t  as much of a bear as I had expected. I’ve been walking a narrow tightrope deciding what to divulge and what to keep close to the chest. Still, I appreciate the feedback on the stories you all relate to. It gives me a little more confidence each time I tell an embarrassing story.

2. Building an audience is even harder. Not that I don’t appreciate all of you who check in on post days and those days in between, but building an even bigger audience is difficult. When I’m Skinny, Now What? started, average page views were in the low single digits. Now they’re in the mid-30s. Good, not great. The business side of this is something I didn’t plan for, but it is something I’m learning and hoping to conquer soon.

3. You never know what will click. Posts that speak to current events, like Prince Fielder’s Body Issue cover or the recent street harassment post, I had a feeling would do well. But personal stories like The Gym Rat’s Ugly Truth or How I Got Into a Bikini really hit with audiences. Sharing how I deal with the ugly side of losing weight or even the mental workout it takes convincing myself it’s OK to wear a two-piece were some of the hardest stories I wrote. But I appreciate your support in getting those out there. I will do more.

4. Never give up. This would seem like a gimme, but there were a few times when I thought of letting the blog fade. I kept running into writing blocks. My page views were decreasing. I wasn’t feeling motivated. But I’d talk to friends or family who really appreciated what I was doing. I’d post something that would just click with an audience (like my recap of the BET Awards). Or I’d just start having fun again in my posts. This blog is for you, but it’s also for me. It’s a way for me to vent and to share. It’s a way for me to improve on my craft and to motivate myself to stay healthy. This blog holds me accountable to you.

Thank you all again for a great year. It has been such an honor to take this journey with you. Let’s see what the next 100 will bring!

What’s the Goal Today?

6 Oct
How I feel every time I cross something off my to-do list...

How I feel every time I cross something off my to-do list…

Every week for the past couple of months, a friend and I meet up at a coffee shop to pow wow. We discuss what’s going on in our lives, be it work (even though we work together), love lives, travel plans, family, whatever. We encourage each other to pursue our goals and to keep up whatever good works we have going at the moment. But before we start the pow wow, we always ask each other: “What’s the goal today?”

This simple question can produce so many outcomes. Is the goal to write great posts for the blog? Is it to see what other opportunities are out there? Is the goal to research topics that have been floating around in my mind? Or is it just to piss around on the Internet and gossip with a friend?

Whatever the goal may be, it’s important to be reminded of their necessity. Even the short-term, temporary goals for that day need to be expressed so there won’t be any excuses to default on them. The desired achievement for that day could help inform what planned achievements for the future.

I like to keep a mental check list of both the short-term and long-term goals of the moment. For example, one of my short-term goals right now is to clean my apartment (I’ve told you how bad it can get). One of my long-term goals is to drop another 10-15 pounds in the next three months. And now that I’ve told you, I’m going to be held accountable.

Expressing your goals to someone else is only one way to keep your eyes on the prize. Here are a few more:

1. Vision board. The advent of Pinterest has made the paper vision board seem like a crime against nature (do you know how many trees you’re killing for your trip to Johannesburg?) But if you must keep a pictorial reminder of what it is you want out of life, a vision board is a good one to have. I have a friend who hangs hers up in the bathroom. You always have to got to the bathroom, and there you’ll find your daily reminder to get your isht together for that trip.

2. Goal outfits. When I began my weight-loss journey, one of my top goals was to stop buying larger sizes. I was a size 16 that would have fit better in an 18. But my pride (and my pockets) said, “Nah, girl!” So I just kept squeezing my wide behind in those too tight pants. I kept getting the mark around my belly that says your clothes are too tight. I kept getting that mark…until I didn’t. It was great the day I could just slip into my pants without busting out the jaws of life.

3. Things to-do. A to-do list can be the unsung hero of goal setting. I always have a list of groceries I have to buy. I keep a paper pad with a magnet on the back attached to my refrigerator. I don’t go to the store every day, but when I do, I know what I want and I don’t have to spend more than I should.

I’m human and to err is divine I will slip up and eat a bag of cookies instead of sliced fruit. I will splurge on a weekend of kicking it instead of saving for my next trip. But I will also recover, because mistakes are just the lessons we learn on our journeys toward reaching our goals.

What is your goal for today? How do you keep yourself on track?

Gif courtesy of Tumblr

Rest and Relaxation Time

23 Sep
How you feel on rest day

How you feel on rest day

Beast mode is no joke. I’ve been in beast mode for three weeks (and lost eight pounds in the process—yay!). I let things get out of hand over the winter, spent the spring enjoying the anniversary of my birth and the summer—well, I don’t have any excuse for the summer.

However, I’m making up for it now. I have sweat more in the past few weeks than I have in ages. I’m working out five to six days a week for about an hour a day. And on the seventh day, I’m resting.

I’ve gotten to the point now where I look forward to my rest days more than anything else. Rest days are just as important as workout days. They are the days your body recovers from the punishment you are putting it through. Think of it this way: you don’t work seven days a week, do you? If you do, we have other things to discuss.

One of the benefits of rest days is you are being proactive in preventing injury. I’ve discussed before how I strained my IT band by running so much. Before my injury, I was running maybe five days a week. I’ve now cut down to two to three. I spread out the days between runs to give my knee the chance to recuperate, but I’ve still got a couple of other days I need to get my sweat on. So I use those days to challenge myself with a different form of exercise, be it spin class or even the elliptical machine. Over the past few weeks, my knee hasn’t hurt me once. I credit that to rest days.

When I take a rest day, I do nothing. Last week, I took my first break in six days. Because I had been working out so much, I had completely neglected my apartment, as I am wont to do. I had plans to use my day off sweeping, mopping, putting up clothes, buying groceries, spending time with my dog, etc. The only thing I did was spend time with my dog—and we slept and binge-watched Netflix.

Rest days remind to you to stop and smell the roses. You’ve done good things; you should take time to appreciate them. You’re not as winded when you take the stairs. That reheated black bean and rice recipe you tried tastes pretty good. And better yet, you don’t have to work out today. For 24 hours you can exist in chill mode with no worries. Doesn’t that sound nice?

I’m not just touting this because I’m a self-confessed bum who’d rather clear out her DVR. The American College of Sports Medicine agrees with me.

Rest is a critical component to any good workout routine and time spent allowing the body to recover is a great way to prevent injuries. A rest day must occur at least one to two times per week. Even small breaks during a workout are sometimes required to get the most out of the workout and prevent injuries.

You’ll do more good than harm to put the weights down for one day and rest. Go ahead, take a nap. Go to a movie. See the friends you’ve been neglecting while you tackle the beast. That’ll do you some good to.

What do you like to do on your rest days? What do you enjoy most about them?

gif courtesy of Tumblr

You ARE Beach Ready

11 Aug
Don't you just want to wiggle your toes around in that?

Don’t you just want to wiggle your toes around in that?

While many of you parents are jumping for joy now that your kids are out of the house and back in school, a lot of us footloose-and-fancy-free folks are lamenting the last few weeks of summer. There are fewer cookouts on the horizon. Fewer screenings in the park. And, worst of all, fewer beach days to take advantage of.

I love the beach. I love the sand in my toes, the smell of the ocean, even the guy trying to sell me a bathing suit from an umbrella. Many of you worked really hard during the winter and early spring to prepare for this moment. You wanted a summer slim down. You wanted to be beach-body ready. But what if you were ready the whole time?

Stick with me, Dorothy. The idea of being beach-body ready is all subjective. I’ve put myself through this same mental torture.

What if my thighs jiggle too much?

What if my stomach isn’t flat enough?

What if somebody sees me?

Here’s the thing: all of these things have been true the entire time. Does that mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself? Absolutely not.

The only thing you need to be beach ready is sunscreen. If you’re like me and enjoy the beach, then go to the damn beach. Put on a bathing suit that you feel comfortable in. It doesn’t have to be a teeny-weeny bikini. It could be a one-piece with a skirt or a sarong. It could be a nice tank and boy shorts. Hell, it could be a muumuu. Don’t let the current state of your weight-loss journey prevent you from doing the things you enjoy.

The sun isn’t always your enemy. Slather on some SPF 50 and get some Vitamin D. Let the salt water and sand exfoliate your skin. Get in some cardio with a swim. And do it all in beach wear that is comfortable to you.

That’s what some women are doing with the hashtag #fatkini. If you haven’t seen it on Instagram, women (mostly of larger size) around the world are posting pics of themselves in their two pieces. And they are werking it! They are on the beach, in the pool or even hanging out in the park looking like the fly divas they are. They are enjoying themselves regardless of societal pressures to look another way.

The messages they’ve posted with these photos are inspiring.

View this post on Instagram

I love high waisted bikinis.

A post shared by Kristen Lively (@_lovelylively) on

This woman preaches body positivity. And that’s one of the things this blog strives for. I want you all to just be comfortable in your skin. The weight-loss and healthy-lifestyle journeys are difficult. You will leap tiny mounds and giant mountains to reach your goal. But you still have to live life in the process.

I’ve said before that there are tiny steps up this big mountain. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the progress you’ve made. So what if you haven’t lost your goal weight by the end of summer. Are you going to wait until next summer to enjoy the sun and sand? That’s ridiculous. Enjoy it now, enjoy it again next summer. There’s no need to punish yourself when there’s so much life to live.

So go out, find that suit that suits you, and rock it in the sand. No one’s going to live this life for you.

How are you taking advantage of the last few weekends of summer?