• Laura Daniels

From the Archives: Results Not Typical

Updated: Nov 12, 2020


In 2007, during my radio career, I was a spokesperson for a weight loss system*.

I agreed to blog my entire experience: good, bad and ugly.

This was my journey.

*Since I am no longer a paid spokesperson, I have omitted the program's name from these previously-published blogs. Feel free to email me .

(February 5) Day One: FEED ME.

So...here I am, the first day of my long journey.

My goal? To shed 40 pounds of COMPLETELY unwanted "me".

And to do it the right way. The healthy way. The permanent way.

Some things you should know about me, before we begin:

  1. I have struggled with my weight my entire life. (Ok, maybe since I was 3 or 4...but that's pretty much my entire life...)

  2. I am 32 years old, and have gained and lost probably 200 pounds throughout my weight loss trials...and failures.

  3. I LOVE food. I LOVE cooking. I LOVE wine. I LOVE anything that can be handed to me in a paper sack at a drive-thru window.

  4. I HATE working out. I mean...HATE it.

However....I WILL wear a bikini this summer, and not spill over it like a well-tied ham.

Some things you should know about weight loss, before we begin:


  2. Healthy weight loss, the kind that does not pose risks for your body, and the kind that gives you better odds of keeping it off, is 1%-2% of your body weight a week.


  4. Food is not the enemy. Right now, food is certainly my best friend. But it's not a healthy relationship. PEOPLE (or at the very least, animals...) should be best friends.

  5. THERE IS NO MIRACLE ANYTHING WHEN IT COMES TO WEIGHT LOSS. Please, do not waste your money on pills that claim to speed your metabolism, shakes that say they'll completely tame your appetite, or anything else that does not incorporate the "calories in vs. calories out" formula. Period.

If I could add up the amount of money I've spent on diet pills, shakes, subliminal tapes, crystals to realign my chakra, whatever....I could probably buy a [program] membership for you and 10 of your friends. I'm not going to do that, but you get my point: been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and got too fat for the t-shirt. Save your money. Put it towards a vacation. Put it towards a [program] membership. Put it towards a facial. Throw it directly in the garbage, I don't care. Just know that when you buy that stuff, you're wasting your money.

There. Enough with my Public Service Announcements....

Now, in the posts following...the meat'n'potatoes (oh God...meat and potatoes...so delicious...). The journey begins. Come with me. It's not always gonna be pretty, I'm pretty sure of that. But it will be REAL. And we'll do it together. Ok? :)

(February 6) Day Two: Getting the Hang of It

Just a quick note, because when you get up at 3am for work, 9:30pm is LATE.

After Day 2, I'm actually getting a hold of this thing...I'm not going to lie, I was hungry a few times today. But the cool - and almost empowering - thing about that is that I legitimately FELT "hunger", and responded by having a small snack (in today's case, a small fat free yogurt). This opposed years of how it USED to be: I ate because it was a certain time, or because I was bored, or because I was sad, or because I was happy, or becomes someone brought cupcakes. Really, I ate for ANY reason, other than actually being HUNGRY.

Don't get me wrong, at one point today, I was close to cold-cocking the guy in front of me at the [grocery store] checkout for no other reason than because I was holding a bag of farmer's market items, and he was holding a pizza, a 6-pack, and 2 candy bars.

Then the woman at the bank inside the store was handing out samples of my archenemy: the pizza roll. (Why a bank would be touting pizza rolls is beyond me, but they were, and it was evil.)

So, I guess my first self-taught lesson has arrived: the difference between FEELING hungry, and actually BEING hungry. Fine line to walk there, but it's starting to make sense.

Could it be...that I'm actually going to DO IT this time??? :)

I do have to point out real quick that the food on [program] is DELICIOUS. I'm not just saying that because I'm trying to get you to do it too, or because I'm endorsing the program. Mano e mano (or ladie a ladie...I don't know, I took French), it's really, REALLY tasty. So far I've had fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, a turkey burger, a breakfast scramble with ham and cheese, and meatloaf. The turkey burger was good; I just wanted 3 of them. BUT, in due time, I'll realize that ONE is CERTAINLY good enough!

Till next time...nighty night....

(February 7 ) Day Three: Wait...I have MORE to Eat?

If you've ever quit smoking (or any other addiction), you know they say "just get through the first three days and you'll be fine". I know this to be true because about six months ago, I quit a 15-year, pack-a-day habit, and the first three days made me want to put my head through a plate glass window wanted to hurt cute, tiny things. I pitied anyone who didn't know I had quit and dared to ask me "Hey, ya wanna go out for a smoke?"

I digress...this is supposed to be about my weight loss....

I'm realizing I had a bit of a food addiction - at least, that's what I'll call it - because for the first 3 days, I felt very irritable, moody, angry, guilty, anxious...all the things I felt when I quit smoking. BUT, like when I kicked the butts, I knew (know) I'm doing something GOOD for me.

As I approached the end of Day 3, I took a peek at my [program] menu. I have chosen to do the first 2 weeks VERY regimented and planned, since I need help jump starting my discipline. Much to my surprise, I actually hadn't eaten everything on the day's menu.

ME, not eating everything put in front of me? WHAT?

It was true: I still had a piece of cheesecake (yes, cheesecake), an orange, and my "bar" left. I'm learning to only eat when I'm actually hungry, and evidently, when it was time for my bar, I wasn't. That may not seem like anything to you, but to me, this was HUGE. So, I leisurely enjoyed my cheesecake (yes, cheesecake...) at the end of the night, with no guilt.

My first "weigh in" is Monday. I'll keep you posted!

(February 9 ) Day Five: The Weekend Challenge

Most people get jazzed up about the weekend finally being here. Freedom from corporate jargon, allowance to sleep in, and anticipation of two days of "laissez-faire". For me, this weekend comes with many concerns. In the recent past, "weekend" was defined by "eat what you want, we'll start the diet on Monday".

So far, so good (although, I am craving a GIANT glass of wine. I mean one I could swim in; one that's served in a goblet the size of Friendly's Jim Dandy. You know you know the glass I'm talkin' about...)

I want to point out that I CAN have a glass of wine, or seven, if I want to. [Program] is not about stopping your life and telling you what you CANNOT do.

However, if I DO chose to have that glass of wine, there are other smart choices I need to make for the rest of the day. Honestly, I'm stubborn, and I don't feel like it.

(Insert mental picture of me here, crossing my arms and pouting like a 4 year old, complete with foot-stomping and alligator tears...)

SO, here I am on a Friday night, the first Friday night in a long time that does not entail me eating a a large portion of WHATEVER and having a glass or two of whatever else. I won't lie...it's tough. But I know it's worth it.

I AM being realistic about it though. It's not like I'm going to die or suffer some major life-threatening condition if I don't get to scarf down my usual plate of Friday-night-pasta-fat-cheese-butter-love. As a matter of fact, I have a BETTER chance of dying if I DO! So that's my motivation (though I'm wishing I had more of it). I WILL get through tonight. I WILL get through tomorrow and Sunday too.

I remember a mantra I once heard: "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Allow me to channel this for a moment, because I do know how good pasta-fat-cheese-butter love tastes, but I don't know how good being thin tastes.

My saving grace? I still have my [program] snack left to eat...my yummy bruschetta chips. I'll go enjoy that now!

(February 11 ) Day Seven: Weekend Survival with The Food Network

Well, I made it. I made it through the weekend without cheating, even once. (I say "cheat" lightly because even if I DID decide to indulge in something not on my menu, it's not like the [program] police are going to come to my home and steal my dog. (At least, I don't THINK they will....hmmm...better check that fine print). Once again, I digress.

Honestly, it wasn't really as hard as I expected it to be. Coming into the weekend, I figured I'd find myself pacing back and forth in front of my refrigerator by Saturday afternoon, biting my thumb nail and marching maniacally, torturing myself with vivid memories of the meal I had exactly one week prior: how Swedish meatballs, pigs-in-a-blanket, fried cheese squares, and a shrimp cocktail towered over my plate at a cocktail party. And how each luscious bite was washed down with a hearty, overly-poured glass of wine (or three). And how not for one single, solitary moment did I think about what it was doing to my thighs.

Until the following Monday, when I had my first [program] consultation which entailed photographs and a tape measure. THEN I sure thought about my thighs...and my wide butt, my back fat, my jiggly arms, my double chin, my....you get the idea.

What's been interesting is that in just ONE week, I've started looking at food differently. Really, I had no prior "respect" for it. I ate with no consequence, no regard to what I was putting in my mouth, how MUCH I was putting in my mouth, and more importantly, WHY I was putting it in my mouth.

I'm still not a big fan of fruits and vegetables...never really have been. But now, when I eat them, I think about the REASON why I'm eating them: eating veggies with a meal makes me feel full faster, which means I don't eat more, and I feel full longer. [Program] folks tell me it's the fiber; I don't care if it's an alien chemical composition that turns food into tiny little typewriters in my stomach...just as long as it continues to do what it does.

Now, as I've said on the air many times, I am ADDICTED to the Food Network. I love it. I watch it more than any of the other forty-thousand channels I pay for. And guess what all my friends at the network's programming department decided to do to me this weekend? (I do often assume they program specifically for me...they should; after all, I probably pay their electric bills with the amount that I watch.)

They ran all the chocolate, all the time, all weekend. I'm not even a chocolate fanatic; I'd much rather sit down with a loaf of Italian bread and a bowl of olive oil than eat chocolate. But while watching OTHER people pack their "chocolate holes" with pounds and pounds of the confection, I actually thought "Wow, that's like 400 calories right there. They should have just stuck to ONE piece".

WHAT? Did I say that??? Even though I'm not a chocolate-head, I've been known to polish off a bag of mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups in one sitting. But it was insane that I was actually considering the caloric composition of what people were eating!

I know I make this reference a lot, but it's a lot like smoking...I smoked about a pack a day for almost 15 years. I loved my Marlb's...I'd defend them and my right to smoke them to no end. But now, after having quit for almost 6 months, when I see or smell someone smoking, I think "How can they do that to themselves?" So many strange parallels....who would'a thunk it....parallels between food and cigarettes....

Just don't take away my Food Network....THAT, I could not handle.

PS I forgot to mention, tomorrow is my first weigh-in since starting the program. I never thought I'd EVER be excited to step on a scale, but I am. I've been told the first week's weight loss is usually quite significant, because "it's mostly water". (I don't know what that means, but if it means I'll fit into my fave jeans again, I guess I don't much care.) It's something I plan on asking my [program] consultant about tomorrow.

That's another thing I really wanted to point out. I can NOT believe how incredible the [program] staff have been, and I've only been doing this a WEEK. The woman who runs the center called me on my first day "just to see how I was doing", and if I had any questions. A couple days later, I had to call to ask a quick question, and they went above and beyond in their answer. Then, they called me to confirm my appointment for Monday, and asked how I was doing. They are just so supportive!

I continue to be AMAZED by how delicious the food is. I'm a bit of a foodie, and I was worried about boxed, pre-packaged food that tasted like cardboard with no flavor or texture. Boy was I surprised...I had cheese curls yesterday...CHEESE CURLS (without naming names, they tasted EXACTLY like the ones you know and love from childhood, now represented by a cheetah). And let's not forget about the tasty egg, cheese, and turkey-ham breakfast sandwich I had this weekend. If I hadn't known better, I would have SWORN it was handed to me at a drive-thru. I have discerning tastes....and this stuff is GOOD!!!

(February 13 ) DRUM ROLL, Please...

First weigh in, one week: DOWN 5.1 POUNDS!!! I'm beside myself. I've never lost more than a pound, let alone over five, in a week. This is insane. More later. I'm just still in awe of this number.

(February 14 ) No Business Like SNOW Business

If you're reading this in the Capital District (or pretty much anywhere in New York State), it's no shocker that we're all pretty much home-bound with a ridiculous amount of snow. I'm originally from Western New York (out towards Buffalo...take I-90 West till you hit a Great Lake, then turn left), so I'm no stranger to inclement weather. But it still angers me.

And guess what I like to do when I'm angry (and bored)?


Normally, on a day like today, when I could sneak out of the office a little early and enjoy the warmth and sanctity of my cozy apartment and the Food Network, I'd stop at [grocery store] and pick up a frozen pizza, among other comfort foods, and have myself my own little "snow day party".

Oh, let's throw something else into the mix...Valentine's Day!

I was handed approximately 18 pounds of chocolate today. Whether it was left on my desk, stuffed in my mailbox, or just dropped off in the studio when I wasn't looking, calories were everywhere today. I was tempted with - nay, CRAZED by - the desire to just say "SCREW IT". (Sorry, that wasn't very "family friendly"...but I'm guessing 6-year-olds aren't reading this.) It was a true test. Combine that with the fact that hormones have had me particularly hungry this week (when I'm known to be a bottomless pit) and we've got a recipe for disaster.

SO, I went chocolate-less (yay, me!) and junk food-less (woo hoo!) on this snowy Valentine's Day. However, I DID have pizza! Just so happened that on my [program] menu today, there was a personal pizza for lunch. Holy MOLY that was good. I savored every cheesy, crispy, satisfying bite.

The weekend is rapidly approaching, but with that, brings more temptation. Will I survive another wine-less weekend?

Stay tuned! (I'm REALLY looking forward to another weigh-in. WHO AM I?!)

(February 16) This Weekend, the TV is After Me

As you may know from last Friday's post, I'm a little anxious about the whole weekend thing. Typically, Friday thru Sunday was filled with pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, burritos...basically, it was a smorgasbord. Every weekend.

Why? "Because it's the weekend". I can eat what I want, "because it's the weekend". And then...it was always followed up with "I'll start my diet on Monday".

Now, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I remember seeing that phrase on a Garfield sweatshirt sometime in the late 80's, it's a mantra I adopted to make me feel proactive. But really, it wasn't doing anything except making me fat. Even if it's "because its the weekend", those 2.5 days of gluttony certainly added up. Just ask my hips.

I feel good about this weekend though, because I know I can do it, because I did it last weekend. I just found out that I get one "splurge" a week, meaning I can "play around" with about 150 calories a week. Coincidentally, what has exactly 150 calories? A (normal-person-sized) glass of my favorite pinot grigio.

As I also mentioned before, I'm addicted to Food Network. And I just sat through a grueling thirty minutes of watching Sandra Lee frost an enormous cake with buttercream frosting (one of my fave's). While I salivated like Pavlov's dog, I challenged myself to watch the ENTIRE episode and not give into the temptation of an extra snack.

I also ADORE Seinfeld. Tonight's repeat was when George goes to Puddy's car dealership with Jerry and Elaine, and wants to buy a Twix (ALSO one of my fave's) out of the vending machine. George's dreams (and cookie crunch) crumble in front of him as the Twix he purchased gets stuck in the machine, and while he's away trying to get someone to help, one of the mechanics frees said Twix, and eats it, with a vengeance.

Just SEEING someone eating the chocolatey goodness got my mouth watering...but [program] TO THE RESCUE, because tonight's dessert is chocolate chip cookies.

If I don't post again, have a great weekend...and STAY TUNED for my next weigh-in results. TV temptation be damned - I'm in this to win this.

(February 19) Another Week, Another Weigh-In

Another 2.8 lbs of me...GONE.

This brings my total to 7.9 lbs in 2 weeks (leave it to me to skimp out on that one-tenth of a pound to make it a cool 8...oh well). NEVER did I dream I'd be almost a pant-size smaller in two weeks (they say 10 pounds is a pant/dress size). Even better, I'm at my 5% weight-loss, which means in 2 weeks, I've just decreased my risk for heart disease (still the #1 killer of women), certain types of cancers, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. THAT is amazing.

During today's consultation, Christine (my super awesome consultant) and I talked about my goals for this week. I said doing a work-out DVD at least 2x, and upping my water intake. These are 2 things I am notorious for stinking at.

As I said in my very first post, I HATE working out. I mean, I HATE it. I don't get that euphoric, satisfied feeling everyone else seems to rave about. I get angry that I'm sweaty and my hair is screwed up for the day, and I don't like being out of breath.

THAT is something that has to change...not the sweaty hair thing, but the attitude I have about it. I know that the more I exercise, the better my weight loss results will be, and the healthier my body will be. I also realize that I don't have to do full-on boot camp style workouts. Even just walking on a treadmill for a half hour would do it. I just have to get myself into the habit of having that be part of my day.

Hey, I learned to make vegetables a snack. I can learn to make exercise part of my day.

Water is something else that I know is important, but that I don't always pay much attention to, mainly because I should be in a 12-step program for Diet Pepsi addicts. I love the stuff. I could wake up at 3am, slam half a bottle, and drift happily off to sleep like an milk-drunk infant who just chugged 5 ounces of warm liquid love. I scoff at anyone who offers me a Diet Coke; I'm Belushi at The Olympia with this stuff.

My first Diet Pepsi of the day is/was usually around 5am. I'm trying to replace that one with water, and maybe some skim milk, and save the carbonated love for lunchtime. It's working so far.

Well, my Salisbury Steak with mushroom gravy, seasoned potato wedges, and peas and carrots are about to come out of the microwave (side-benefit: I love dinners prepared in 4 minutes every night with NO DISHES), so I must bid adieu...

(February 20) The Ugly, The Bad and The Good

The Ugly:

In my first post (and honestly, I think in my last one too), I noted that I HATE to work out. After tonight, I've found this remains true. Also in my first post, I mentioned that this entire blog journey wasn't always gonna be pretty. This is one of those not-so-pretty entries.

I promised my [program] consultant that I'd make a goal to pop in a DVD workout at least 2x this week. So tonight, I decided to use one of the 497 exercise DVD's I've purchased (and not used) over the years.

Tonight's was the workout from the show "The Biggest Loser". I've done that one before, but figured now that I'm almost 8 pounds lighter, it wouldn't be as tough.

"And wrong-o was her name-o..."

If you own this workout, you know that the "low intensity" workout is surely mislabeled. I was out of breath and sweating after the WARM UP. Then we progress into a series of lunges. Who invented lunges? They should be shot dead.

And then shot again.

As I'm lunging, my knees are literally making the same noise you'd hear if you were walking through a 200-year-old house constructed entirely of rotten, dry wooden planks and bubble wrap. (No exaggeration there. None at all.)

The Bad:

I hated every moment of this workout tonight, but my motivation? Being able to tell my consultant I did it. Honestly, being able to tell anyone I did it. I might not like it, but I'm going to do it. And isn't there some kind of corny bumper sticker or something that says "Winners do things they don't always want to do, but they do them anyway"?

Even if there's not, humor me. I'm in pain.

The Good:

At the end of this particular DVD, the cool down is almost yoga-like. It's very calming, soothing and relaxing (plus I get to watch Bob the Trainer show a little bit of his flattened, shaped gorgeous tummy, complete with "the V"...) with wonderful stationary poses that really feel good. This got me thinking: in the past, I've typically preferred to do cardio workouts that involve dance moves, choreography, and other torturous activities. But maybe, yoga is the answer for me. Yoga certainly does get your heart rate going, and burns a ton of calories too...something to think about.

The Good, Part II:

Another motivating factor for getting this workout finished was the fact that I knew my dinner was going to kick some major tasty butt: beef sirloin with white rice and tangy barbecue sauce. Yes, it was [program]. Yes, on a "diet", I'm eating beef friggin' sirloin. AND WHITE RICE. I cannot tell you how good this thing was. It was something I'd go back to a restaurant for if I found one that served it. Oh, and tonight's desert?


(February 25) Long Time, No Blog - Bad Laura!

I must apologize for TOTALLY slacking on blogging this week. Don't think for a second it's a reflection on my commitment to [program] because I'm still going strong. It's just been a busy week (which amazingly actually HELPS in this weight-loss thing).

First things first: My consultant will be SO proud. My "goal" I set with her last Monday was to work out at least 2x in the week. Well, I did work out: not once, not twice, but THREE WHOLE TIMES! Granted, if you read my last post you'll know how much I just ABHOR working out, but I did it. As I sit comfortably on my sofa waiting for my [program] rising crust deluxe pizza to come out of the oven - in all it's sausage laden, bubbly goodness - I am happy to be able to say I DID IT.

Actually, as a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe I'm hesitant to even say it...but this week kind of made me want to make Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday my "work out days". That way I'm getting it in 3x a week, but I'm not torturing myself with committing to a Monday. I'm also not being unrealistic in expecting myself to work out on Fridays...because, um yeah, that's never gonna happen.

I also was trying to cut back on my Diet Pepsi (just saying it gives me the shakes) and really try to increase my water. I've done ok with the water and I have cut back on the Diet Pepsi, but probably not to where I should. Don't get me wrong: diet soda is "free" on [the program], meaning I can pretty much have as much as I want. BUT - and this is strictly a personal thing - for health reasons, I should cut down.

My best friend is a dietitian and she shared with me that there is a direct correlation between the amount of phosphates you take in (which are in diet soda) and the amount of calcium your body and bones will absorb. At this point in my life, I really should be concerned with calcium issues. Prior to [the program], I did NOT get NEARLY enough calcium in my diet. My grandmother had the "hump" on her back, and I don't want that "hump".

My pizza's almost ready, and I'm about ready to settle into my regular Sunday night regime of trashy reality TV. Oh I love it so. I think it subconsciously makes me feel better about myself, heading into a new week.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. Tomorrow is weigh-in!

(February 26) Three Weeks, Three Weights

Yet ANOTHER 2.7 pounds of me...GONE!

This brings my total to 10.6 pounds lost in 3 weeks! This is unbelievable to me...as a matter of fact, I did a double-take when I stepped on that scale this afternoon, as surely it was lying to me.

I knew somethin' was up this morning, because I grabbed an old stand-by pair of jeans You know, the ones ones you can kind of fit in, depending on what day of the month it is, and only if you wear a big, baggy sweater to hide the muffin top (that's the plethora of fatty fatness that hangs over the waistline of of jeans that just shouldn't be worn). Just for fun, wanted to see if I could get them on without having to lie on the floor and suck in all the air in the room before attempting to get the button to even MEET it's counterpart hole.

And ya know what? They not only buttoned, but they ZIPPED, comfortably!

And ya know what else? NO MUFFIN TOP.

Here I am, a quarter of the way to my goal, in THREE WEEKS. When they said "Laura, in order to get to your goal in a healthy way, you'll probably do this for about 30 weeks," I laughed. I don't know that I've ever stuck to anything for three weeks, let alone 30. But this[program] thing? It makes it EASY.

I'm eating better than I did when I lived at home and had Mom cooking three squares for me a day. Heck, I'm eating even MORE than that, because there's snacks and salads and fruits and well. I just can't believe that eating Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken can result in losing weight. I don't get it! But ya know what? It's working, and that's all I care about!

If you've EVER thought "I'll never lose weight, I'm just going to have to get used to this fat body," you're singin' my song, sister. I've said it for YEARS.

And in three WEEKS, I'm over 10 pounds lighter. It sounds cliche, but if I can do this, anyone can. And anyone includes you. I don't even care if it's not [program]. Do yourself a favor, and make the decision to make YOU better. YOU deserve it!


(February 28) At Least I have Wednesday

Ok, ok...I have to come clean. I'm a little disappointed in myself, and I need to be completely honest with you.

I know I said I wanted to make Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday my workout days...but I totally flaked on this Tuesday. Why? No excuse...just plain ol' didn't feel like it. I know that's not good enough. I'm almost ashamed to share this with you. Here I am trying to be the motivating, positive, committed participant, and I flake on one of my two goals for the week.

But I vowed the good, bad and the ugly, and that's what you're getting.

Now, the [program] people are not going to come to my house and steal my dog. They are not going to scold me and shake a finger in my face. They're not even going to tell me "Shame on you". They're going to say "What can we do to help motivate you?"

And that's the difference, and why I love this program. I have my own guilt to deal with, they're not going to give me more. Yes, I'll beat myself up about this for a while, because that's just the type of person I am. But at least I know on Monday when I go for my weekly consultation, Christine is not going to make me go to reconciliation. At most, I'll have the penance of trying to drink more water.

On the up-side, I DID work out tonight. Another toning segment from my "The Biggest Loser" DVD. I like that segment because it doesn't involve jumping all over the room (my apartment is very small, and not exactly conducive to 100 meter sprints anyway) and trying to keep pace. It's strength training, which makes me FEEL strong, even though I'm not (yet)! Lean muscle burns calories, so at least I feel like I'm accomplishing something, despite my lack of movement yesterday!

Ooooh, there's that guilt again...can you tell I was raised Irish-Catholic? That's a little joke...even though it's true.

I am facing a bit of a challenge this weekend, as it's a friend's birthday and I may be at a restaurant for a small dinner. I'll admit, I'm a little nervous, even though I'm fully equipped with everything I need to know about what to order.

But what's going to get me is wanting to have a glass of wine or two. I'll tell you now, I WILL have one - maybe two. But I know what I have to do to equal out my calories so I'm still on a weigh-losing streak. Despite being nervous, I'm still pretty confident I can do this!

And ya know what? After 4 weeks of being BY THE BOOK and losing over 10 pounds, dammit I deserve a lousy glass of wine!

(March 3) Dinner Out: The Final Frontier

Ok, here we are...staring down the barrel of my first really, REALLY big challenge: going out to dinner with friends. I have less than eight hours until I will be sitting down in a real restaurant, with real bread, real butter, and real temptation all over the table. In my preparation, I got up early and worked out (UGH....), so I know I've burned up a few of the calories I have available to "play" with...you know what this is all about, by now, don't you?

The coveted glass of wine.

I have to point out that I'm really not a HUGE drinker. Sure, I enjoy fine wines and spirits as much as the next guy, but it's not like I've ever been a daily drinker. However, now that I'm committed to something that doesn't really include alcoholic calories at all (did you know ONE glass of wine - or one drink of any kind, for that matter - has about 150 calories? SCARY!), I'm actually missing the taste of my favorite pinot grigio! So tonight, I'm taking the 150 calories I have available to "play" with each week, and I'm going to apply it to a delicious, crisp, gorgeous glass of pinot grigio...and I'm totally ok with that!

What's going to be tough and tempting is the goodies that will be right in my face (e.g. the plates of buttery cheesy goodness that I'm sure my company will be enjoying). I talked to Christine yesterday about my concerns, and I'll tell ya, one 10-minute conversation with her made me feel completely in control. I know exactly what I can order, and I'm quite confident about my choices, because I'm so incredibly conscious of them!

Before, going out to dinner wasn't always necessarily about enjoying the company and conversation and ambiance; it was more about eating WHATEVER I wanted, and in GIGANTIC portions. After all, someone else was cooking it, someone else was bringing it to me, and someone else was doing the dishes! All this added up to me feeling ZERO responsibility for making healthy choices and believing no matter where I was dining out, or how often, I could throw caution to the wind, and dine like royalty. FAT royalty.

So, with a workout under my belt already, and still a meal and a snack or two away from my dinner, I'm going to try to keep a very positive attitude about this, and remember why I'm going out to dinner in the first place: to celebrate my friend's birthday, to enjoy conversation with people I don't see all that often, and to make healthy, CONSCIOUS decisions about what I'm going to be putting in my mouth.

Because after all this, I STILL have a goal of wearing a bikini this summer without looking like a Christmas ham.

Mmm, ham.

(March 3) Food, Glorious Food (and Wine)

Well, I made it.

I went out to dinner, made great choices, and enjoyed a DELICIOUS glass of wine. And after about 24 hours of torturing myself with asking "Did I do the right thing?" (Irish-Catholic guilt comin' up again), I finally feel OK with it!

There were about 17 of us at one table, which meant as soon as I sat down, I automatically thought about the 16 other entrees on the table that I'd inevitably be eyeballing. My date and I were the last two to arrive, so the first round of drinks had already come out.

Hey, look over there, a huge glass of red wine. Oh look at that, a bottle of my favorite beer. Cool, check out that beautifully mixed cocktail. And my two favorite people down at the opposite end of the table? They had a BOTTLE of PINOT GRIGIO.

But I had a plan in place, so I felt totally fine ordering a diet soda and sipping on lemon water. I was going to have a glass of pinot, but I wanted to pace myself so I'd really, REALLY enjoy it. So I enjoyed conversation, and a diet soda (as much as one can).

First course: salad. Not just salad...salad BAR, which means macaroni and potato salads, cheeses, and loads and loads of BREAD!! But, I was good. I was like a seasoned CPA at tax time, I knew just what to do! I loaded up on my favorite salad veggies, and low and behold, there was FAT FREE ranch dressing (only 60 calories per packet!) RIGHT ON THE SALAD BAR! It was like they KNEW I was coming!

Second course: NO SECOND COURSE. For once, I was actually satiated with my salad, and had absolutely NO need to order an appetizer or soup. This was a first for me in 2 ways: I didn't order an app, and I felt satisfied after SALAD.

Third course: Entree. I ordered Garlic Chicken, which was grilled chicken breast with tomatoes, green onions, roasted garlic cloves, and Swiss cheese. All I had to do was ask them to leave off the cheese, and I was golden! I also ordered a plain baked potato and a double order of steamed veggies. The portion of the chicken was enormous, easily enough for two people. So, following my guidelines of the protein being the size of a man's palm, I cheerfully slid about half of it over to my date's plate! And get this....after all my chicken and garlic, and only HALF of my baked potato, I was FULL!

Fourth course: I had my glass of wine. I relished it. I sipped it languidly as though it were my last (liquid) meal. After four weeks of no alcohol whatsoever, it tasted like magic and rainbows.

Fifth course: Well, it was two people's birthdays, so you KNOW the night wouldn't be complete without a singing waitstaff delivering gargantuan pieces of chocolaty goodness to the table. The birthday boy and the birthday girl both take their respective bites, and the dishes make their way around the table. Luckily, they stopped two people in front of me. Honestly, I would have been totally fine with staring this beast down and not giving in.

I left the restaurant feeling satisfied, NOT STUFFED, like I usually would. I felt good, I felt healthy, and I felt confident.

For about 10 minutes.

Then all the questions came into my head: was the roasted garlic on my chicken SLATHERED in oil before going in the oven? Did they marinate the chicken in oil before grilling it? Was the glass of wine too big? Should I ever eat anything, ever again???

I got over that quickly (well, by the next day). It's my own mind playing tricks on me. But it DID motivate me to work out another time this week! I guess everything does have it's purpose.

I'm hoping my Monday weigh-in is not disappointing, though I don't feel it will be. Time will tell...I'll let you know...

I'm off for my 2 hours of Sunday night TV...oh how I love my gluttonous trashy reality TV...it's calorie free!!

(March 6) What Do You Mean It'll Be Different Every Week?

I do apologize for not posting with my Monday weigh-in. I had to finish beating myself up and doing some self-loathing for only losing half-pound last week...and once again Consultant Christine came to the rescue.

First things first, yes, I DID still lose last week, albeit a lousy half-pound (sorry Christine, there I go beating myself up again...bad Laura, BAD LAURA!), so that's a positive. At least I'm moving in the right direction. So my total loss is now 11.1 pounds in four weeks. Hey...I kinda like the sound of that!

So, of course I was hellbent on convincing myself that going out to dinner and having a glass of wine damned me into eternal half-pound-weeks...but Christine and I went over my menu selections, and I did everything right. Even though I was out to dinner at a very nice restaurant, I made healthy choices and was WELL within my calorie range, even WITH my wine. Christine explained to me that the body is a complicated machine (boy don't I know it...) and that some weeks it's going to lose a bunch, some weeks it's going to lose a little less.

We figured out my average weight loss for the past four weeks, and I'm at 2.775 pounds per week (but who's counting...ANAL RETENTIVE, MUCH?). This is far above and beyond the anticipated one to one-and-a-half pounds per week that [program] figured for me, so overall, I'm actually doing very well. Yes, I know I should be cheering and jumping up and down at my follow-through, but I'm still a little sore from beating myself up.

Also, from working out - I'm on a roll, here, people!!! In anticipation of my dinner on Saturday, I did a DVD on Saturday morning. In anticipation of being over my calorie limit (which I wasn't), I did another DVD on Sunday night. In anticipation of getting bored with my current DVDs, I bought some resistance bands with a DVD set from [program] and did that workout Monday evening. And in anticipation of me lying on my couch for the next 5 days as a result of all this pumping iron, I went to the gym (that I've been paying a membership on for four months) today and did 30 minutes and 4.2 miles on the elliptical machine. Go me.

NOW, time for dinner: Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken...don't be jealous.

(March 8) I AM IRON MAN (Woman)

Not much exciting to report today, but thought I'd share that I am complete awe of the fact that I've worked out almost every day this week! If you're a regular reader, you know how much I DETEST working out...the sweating, the heavy breathing, the not-sitting-in-front-of-the-tv thing...but I made a commitment to myself that I'd try just a little harder to boost my activity level this week. What I am enjoying is seeing the digital readout on the elliptical machine that says the distance I've gone and the calories burned: today, 4.2 miles and 450 calories! (Accurate? Don't know, don't care.)

One BIG benefit is I've noticed I'm sleeping a lot more soundly - no doubt because my weak and previously inactive body is saying "Um...yeah...WHAT? What are you DOING to me???" Either way, sleep is ALWAYS a good thing.

All I can say is Monday's weigh-in better bring some amazing results, or this girl's quest for ONE glass of pinot grigio may turn into more of a mission.

(March 11) Comfort Food: Neither Comfort, Nor Food

Saturday morning I woke up with a BLARING sore throat. The kind that hunkers down on one side and every swallow brings lightning-like pain, not only to that side of the throat, but also to every gland on that side of your body. I knew something was coming.

I had to work on the air from 6am to 9am and by the end of my shift I was still feeling "off". But since I was up that early on a Saturday, and the gym was literally right around the corner, I forced myself to go. And after 30 minutes of sweating on the elliptical machine, it was nap time.

I came home and napped, sleeping better than I ever slept in my life. But then I woke up, and it was all over: I was sick. The sore throat pain had morphed into severe malaise and brought along some friends: stuffy nose and body aches. Immediately, two words came to mind: comfort food.

I realized, even in my sicky-haze, that unhealthy junk food has had a big place in every part of my life, even when it SHOULDN'T be there. When you're sick, you should probably focus on foods that are HEALTHY for you; all I ever focused on was "junk" factor. I craved pizza, fries, burgers, and macaroni and cheese. But wait, I can have macaroni and cheese and still follow my [program] plan!

A more clever plan has never been devised (at least in my illness-induced thought process at the time).

I immediately cooked the ooey-gooey [program] macaroni and cheese and doused it in Frank's Red Hot (like a good native Buffalonian). The hot sauce temporarily cleared up my nose, and the mac and cheese made me feel comforted and soothed without having consumed 500 grams of fat and 39,372 calories. Crisis averted.

So it's back to the couch for me, where I've spent the majority of my weekend, nursing whatever this thing is. It's a shame that this happened to plague me when the weather was actually decent enough to take a nice long walk outside. Hopefully we're out of the woods weather-wise. I'm about all set with the negative temperatures.

Next weigh-in is tomorrow...hope I can pull myself from the couch to make it!

(March 12) Take THAT, Half-Pound Week

Don't have much energy to write this minute since I'm nursing this incredible illness plaguing my weakened body (sniff sniff, feel sorry for me)...but I needed to share this with you.

My most recent weigh-in showed another 3.1 lbs, bringing my total to 14.2 pounds GONE! I literally cannot believe this...especially since I went out to dinner AGAIN this past Friday.

Ya know, if anyone ever told you diet and exercise wasn't the only safe way to lose weight, they're lying. I'm still not a huge fan of exercise, but being less than six pounds away from my half-way point is certainly making it a bit more palatable.

Back to "big red" (my red leather sofa). When I'm sick, she seems to wrap herself around me in loving goodness.

I'll be on the mend in no time, and ready to hit the gym again!

(WHAT did I just say???)

(March 15) That "Bad Day" Song

UGH, that SONG. You know it; it was used every time someone got booted off American Idol last year. It's a catchy little tune. Today, it was my "ear worm" (that's when a song gets in your head and no matter what you do, you cannot stop singing it in your head, over and over and over...). However, my version had different words:

"Ya had a fat day, you're gaining a pound. Ya work out so hard but when ya look around,

you're surrounded by thin, I mean really really thin, college-aged blondes....."

Well, I don't remember exactly, but that's pretty much how it went.

I was feeling pretty good this morning, because I fit into a pair of jeans I haven't worn in over two years. This was a major accomplishment, because as you probably know, jeans are not very forgiving. Score one for my self-esteem!

Then, things changed.

I've been really good about working out lately. I'm even starting to make it a regular part of my day, like lunch or brushing my teeth. Well, I was walking into the locker room today, and by some glitch in the matrix, every single person I passed was not only 23, but also model-thin, model-beautiful, and model-in shape. I felt fat. Really fat. I realize this may not be the perception of those around me, but this is how I felt. It was a kick in the gut...literally.

Self-esteem, one; self-belief, zero.

I fully know that I'm doing a great job on my program, even ABOVE average. And as I said in my very first post, there's going to be some highs and some lows through this journey...and I vowed to share them all. I know I've lost almost 15 pounds; I know that I'm doing something healthy for me; I know that I will certainly bounce back from this. But today, for whatever reason, I kept telling myself, "I'll never be thin. Why am I bothering?"

I also know that any time something like this happens, help is a phone call away...if not from friends or family, then from the 24/7 staff at [program], who are there for these such issues. But hey, I'm a stubborn Swede...can't help it.

In today's society of instant gratification, unfortunately I have fallen victim to having a very low tolerance for anything that takes longer than 20 minutes. I know the healthy body that I want, and when I began this journey, I had a clear picture of that in my head. It's still there, but somehow it got buried behind 32 years of assuming I could not have that body. I know this is not true; the fact is, I am on my way to having that body. All the [program] cd's I listen to have a recurring theme: "Stop beating yourself up!" I should probably listen to those again.

Anyway, if you're also trying to lose weight right now, and you've had similar feelings, I'm just putting this out there so you know you're not alone. I've just chosen to make my feelings public on the world wide web. (Mental note: re-think offers to share self-deprecating humor in the future...)

STAY STRONG....It certainly isn't always easy, but this time around it's got to be different!


(March 19) Stupid Water.

DISCLAIMER: For my male readers, you may want to just skip this entry altogether. It will have several lady-problem references, which will leave you A) running scared, B) scratching your head saying "Whaaaaa?", C) blushing, D) most or all of the above. Thank you.

So today I had a rather frustrating weigh-in, but one to be expected I suppose. As soon as I got up this morning, I knew there was trouble. My jeans didn't fit right, my joints were wobbly, my back ached, and my chest felt like I was carrying giant, painful balloons filled way passed capacity. I was retaining water like a camel...a FAT camel.

Despite not having gone out to dinner, not having ONE SINGLE GUINNESS on St. Patty's Day, working out 5 times, AND sticking strictly to my [program] plan, I didn't lose one ounce. As a matter of fact, I gained two tenths! It wasn't exactly "devastating", because I had already experienced a half-pound week, but it certainly wasn't encouraging. Christine explained to me that some clients will gain POUNDS during "the week before the time", but still, I felt cheated.

DAMN YOU, MOTHER NATURE!!! (or whomever I need to damn for this phenomenon.)

It's times like these I really DON'T like being a woman. Men don't get bloated and stop fitting in to their clothes for a week. They just drink another beer and pass the chips! Then again, in their defense, they do have to put up with us bitching about the fact, so I guess in the long run, it's all a wash.

So, I'm slightly disappointed, but certainly not going to change anything. I'm going to drink more water and work out as much as I have planned: at least 4 days this week. If I don't lose any poundage next week, heads will roll.

(March 25) Overdue Updates, Quoted

I know, I know...I'm sorry! I've been SO bad about updating this, but it's not because of laziness or lack of drive; it's because this whole healthy-living lifestyle is now PART of my life! It's "second nature" now, and I'm barely even thinking about the fact that I'm doing something MAJOR. It's finally starting to sink in. So, here's an update on what's been goin on...

1. "I fall down, go boom."

Wednesday morning I was feeling particularly sassy, so I donned my cute cowboy boots for the first time since last Spring. They pulled my entire outfit together, despite having a slightly higher heel than I was used to during the snowy months. I'm up at 4am, which means it's still dark out when I walk my dog. Long story short, I turned a corner, caught my heel in a pothole that was too dark to see, and I went DOWN. I mean a full-fledged wipe out, landing with ALL my body weight on my left knee. Now I already have a pretty good case of osteoarthritis in my knees, but my left knee was my "good" knee - not anymore!

As I lie motionless, in so much pain that I was convinced I'd be there until the sun came up when some unfortunate soul would discover me, one of the first thoughts I had was "Now I'm not going to be able to go to the gym today..."

What? ME? I'm in severe pain, 4:30am, lying in a puddle, dog leash in one hand and a bag of dog crap in the other, and I'm upset about not being able to work out? A few weeks ago, I'd say "YES! Now I don't have to go to the gym!" But not this time; further proof that this really has become a part of my life. I never saw it comin'.

So, I did have to take the day off at the gym because my knee began to swell to three times its normal size, and it was pretty wobbly. I didn't want to risk further injuring myself to the point where I'd miss MORE than a day at the gym.

Today, three days later, it's not quite as swollen, but it has changed to a lovely shade of navy blue with speckles of green and yellow, peppered by tiny little dots of dried blood from where my jeans grated my skin like dry Parmesan. It's really pretty.

2. "Please RSVP so we know how much PIZZA to order..."

I am a member of the marketing committee for the Animal Protective Foundation in Schenectady County, and our first big meeting was Thursday night. The email clearly stated there would be a surprise guest on the panel: pizza.

Almost automatically, my brain started playing "Danger! Danger, Will Rogers! Danger!" with sounds of cruise-liner warning horns. First I'm crippled and can't go to the gym, now the temptation of five different kinds of pizzas in an enclosed space? Surely the Gods must be joking.

I went into "planning mode", and selected a [program] meal I could bring with me. Crisis averted. Everyone ooh'd and aah'd as I walked in with a delicious serving of Pasta Fagioli while they stuffed their faces with greasy, sausage-lined pizza! There was a BEAUTIFUL homemade salad available too, with sprouts, field greens, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, peas, and feta cheese, so I helped myself to a big plate. The really tempting part was the plates of jelly beans that were strategically arranged in front of each seat. I let my friend Patrick take care of those. As I watched him mindlessly pop the beans in his mouth, one after another, I kept leaning over and whispering, "Ya know, that makes like 14 jelly beans in the last seven minutes....any idea how many calories and how much sugar are in those bad boys?"

3. "Water weight BE GONE!"

My next weigh-in is tomorrow and I am definitely feeling better on the "bloated" issue I had last week. My joints are back to regular size (except my left knee, of course), my pants are fitting a bit better again, and my chest is no longer in competition with hot water bottles (women, you know what I'm talking about). So I'm anxious to see if the no-pounds-lost-Monday from last week will be banished in to another "TAKE THAT!" blog entry...Wish me luck!

(March 27) The Results Are In...

I'm back, baby!

After a disappointing week last weigh-in, I was even MORE motivated to stick to the program. Nothing tickles me more than when I step on that scale, look at Christine, and see her eyes light up as she says "WOW...you did such a good job! You're down another ___ pounds!"

Last week, there was no light in her eyes, there was no "WOW", there was just a "Ok...that's not so bad...", followed by my own mental temper tantrum.

THIS week, thought? Redemption! Down another 2.5 pounds, bringing my grand total to 16.3 pounds GONE.

I gave myself a little "retail therapy" and went shopping on Sunday, and actually bought a NEW SIZE, a size I haven't seen in well over three years. Instead of automatically grabbing tops in Large, I went for the Mediums. I told myself I'd pile up with Mediums, and just give it a shot.

The Mediums fit...mostly. Ok, some of them just automatically went back to the rack. But I didn't find myself saying the usual "That'll never fit."

Instead I said, "Next time." And that felt great.

So I promised myself a reward: after I get to my half-way point (20 pounds, just 3.7 pounds away), I get to go on a shopping spree. (Sunday was just "therapy", that was no spree. I can do MUCH more damage than I did on Sunday.) And since I'm so close, as an extra motivator, I treated myself to a wonderful massage at my favorite day spa.

It's really amazing what losing weight can do to my credit card, but it's a warm fuzzy all around.

My goal THIS week is to work out even harder and try to get to that 3.7 pounds. I realize it's not only not HEALTHY for me to lose that much in a week, it's probably not realistic. I'll settle for two. That will only make me work that much harder next week!

Look out bathing suits, I'm on my way.

(April 1) Another Weekend, Another Pound or Two?

I had a good week workout-wise (not a word...oh well). I went Tuesday through Saturday. The great thing is that I'm not KILLING myself at the gym. I go, I change, I do 30 minutes on the elliptical, I change, I leave. That's it! I'm not a big fan of the whole "pumping iron" portion of the gym. I'll leave that to what my gym partner and I have coined "Mimbo's".

Mimbos are are the male version of the bimbo: these are the guys that walk around with BULGING muscles (FYI, guys, if you can't put your arms down, that's not real sexy. You looking like a walking slice of pizza.), sleeveless shirts, shorts that leave nothing to the imagination, and those terrible bacteria-infested fingerless gloves. These are also the men that grunt insatiably as their "lifting". Guys, if it's so heavy that you sound like a woman during natural childbirth, it's probably too heavy. They also tend to have their cell phones clipped to their weight-belts, just to look a little more important. Their hair is typically over-gelled, you can smell their body spray across the gym, and I've even seen one eating a protein bar...WHILE lifting. This just can't be good.

Anyway, those are "mimbo's", and they are my source of entertainment for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Now you know.

I've really been trying to up my water intake too, as I have successfully weened myself out of my Diet Pepsi addiction. Sure, I still have one a day, but not the gargantuan size I usually got. Just a regular old 12 ouncer. And I bought a liter-size bottle of water that I keep refilling, so I reI can track my minimum of two liters a day.

This weekend was not great food-wise, I have to admit. I never really eat everything I'm supposed to on the weekends, because my schedule is just so completely different. I get to sleep past 4am, which is a plus, and then the day isn't nearly as structured as my weekday routine. Then throw in a bit of emotional turbulence, and things get even more "un-routine" (again, not a word...oh well). I used to stuff my face like crazy if I was emotional. Now, it's like I have trained myself so well NOT to be an "emotional eater", that while I'm emotional, I forget to eat. But instead, I shop.

This losing weight thing? Yeah...definitely affecting my credit. I bought another pair of pants today, in a new size, and I didn't have the muffin top. So with new pants, I needed new shoes. and with new shoes, I needed new "unmentionables", and with those, I needed new gym clothes. It's a terrible, vicious cycle...and I'm pretty OK with it. Retail

So, big weigh-in tomorrow...I'll keep you posted!

(April 3) Almost Speechless. Almost.

Anyone who knows me knows my being speechless would take either an act of God or something really, really special...and this time around, I'll give credit to the latter.

I had another great week. At Monday's weigh-in, I had dropped another 2.3 pounds, bringing my grand total to 18.6 pounds in eight weeks. I literally wouldn't believe it unless I saw it right there in front of me on the scale.

It's true...once you make the decision to commit to this new lifestyle, active and healthy, eating healthy and making good choices, it really just all falls into place.

Sure, there are some UNBELIEVABLY tough times that come and go, like on weekends when everyone else is scarfing diner breakfasts (which I LOVE), having a few cocktails (which I certainly don't mind), and laying around completely sedentary (which I'm also a big fan of). Every now and again, I kind of miss that stuff. But I need to remind myself that it's not like I'll never have a combination omelet with a side of bacon again, and I've already proved that enjoying a glass of Pinot Grigio does not spell disaster! Everything in moderation is one thing, but a BIG difference is staying active. It's something I've NEVER been good at...until now.

Typically, I take Sundays and Mondays "off" from working out, but this Monday, I heard a little voice in the back of my head that said "Ya know....you don't HAVE to take today off" and I threw in a challenging DVD workout at home.

Me. Working out when I didn't really "have" to. What is happening to me?? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, [program]???

Whatever it is...I like it. Thank you.

(April 9) Lousy Point Six

9.6 ounces = the only thing standing between me and losing 20 pounds. Don't get me wrong, I'd still take 19.4 pounds lost any day (like today). But leave it to me to be 0.6 of a pound away from where I really want to be.

However, this is still quite a success, especially in nine weeks' time. Really doesn't seem that bad, does it? I've definitely learned that there is no "quick fix", and there is no secret formula of a certain amount of carbs within 20 minutes of a certain amount of proteins or any of that other fad stuff. Calories in vs. calories out. That's it. Now that's math even I can understand!

Since I'm at my half-way point, I get to start trying out some "meals on my own", which admittedly, is terrifying. It's normal to be a little nervous about going off the [program] food. I feel like a baby bird about to take her first flight. Of course, Mama Bird (Christine) will be right there to help me on my way. We carefully planned out a day's worth of non-[program] food, and it's great to see I STILL won't be deprived. I even got creative and have a grilled cheese sandwich worked in there! Balance, moderation, and sensible choices, and I should be good to go.

I've got quite the busy week coming up, including cooking a birthday dinner (which I feel quite confident about, since I know what choices to make) for a special someone, so I'll try my best to keep the blog up.

Here's to another pound-losing week!

(April 12) Something's Different - Have You Lost Weight?

Ever heard this one?

Ever been able to say "Why, yes! Yes I have!"

Well, until recently, neither had I. It was certainly nice to hear that something was different about me, but it was even more frustrating to say "No, I haven't lost any weight. In fact I've probably gained some. But, I guess maybe I don't wear this color that often..." or whatever came to mind at the time.

For the first time in a long - I mean L O N G - time, coworkers and friends are starting to say "Wow...you're losing weight, aren't you?" And for the first time, I'm able to say "Yes, I've lost 20 pounds." It's so amazing, I almost feel like I'm lying sometimes. But then I look at the label on my new size of pants, or at my gym bag that always packed and ready in my car, or at my healthy snacks of fruit or veggies, and I know I'm not. I'm on my weigh...and on my way!

Today at the gym, I stepped on the scale in the locker room. This is something I would have NEVER done before unless I was 100% sure that NO ONE else was in the locker room, and that there was NO CHANCE of anyone entering the locker room for the duration of the time it took me to gently tap that annoying little slider to the proper weight. In fact, the very sound of that antique doctor's office-style scale often reminded me of the "clink CLANK" noise of jail cell bars slamming shut. I assume the terror of knowing my weight was only slightly less severe than the thought of being locked in an 8x8 cell. (Drama, anyone?)

However, today, there was sufficiently less "clink" than there was "CLANK", as I had moved DOWN an entire 50-pound block increment. The humility of moving it UP from the previous skinny-mini that was on the scale before me was not unlike the sinking feeling you have when you realize you've had an 8 inch trail of toilet paper stuck to the back of your shoe. Today: Pay dirt. I "clanked" DOWN to one whole increment lower.

So, yes, something IS different...it's my weight. It's my health. It's my size. It's my clothes. It's the damn increment on the scale from hell. It's a whole lot of things...and it's pretty damn awesome. Water weight gain (which I KNOW is coming) or not, I'm getting progressively smaller, and that's all I ever wanted when I made this investment.

The weekend's almost here, and after my first 20 pounds, that means 2 things: a celebratory glass of Pinot Grigio, and more importantly, some serious shopping. Look out Gabbiano...and MasterCard.

(April 16) Reason #438 Why Men Just Have It Easier

Three words: Water. Weight. Gain.

This phenomenon is something every woman, whether dieting or not, is all too familiar with. On the converse, it's something men never have to - and never will have to - worry about, take into consideration, or even understand.

But us gals? We all carry this Beast of Burden every single month.

So, yes, this is the problem that presented itself at today's weigh-in. Now, I've still lost my 20 pounds, which is AWESOME. I'm still quite proud of that. However, it can get a bit discouraging when you've done everything right, worked your butt off, and don't see a loss. But, we've now established a pattern:

Week One: 2-3 pound loss

Week Two: ~2 pound loss

Week Three: around a pound loss

Week Four: Nada. Nothin. Zero. Zilch. Sometimes a quarter of a pound GAIN.

This is very much a pattern we can see on my weight graphing, and apparently, it's pretty common. Those of you who are on this weight-loss journey with me may have seen similar patterns; the woman in the waiting area of [program] today said she looses every other week, and nothing happens during the weeks in between. She said she fights PMS (join the club!) and menopause (not quite yet for me, thank you...) and all the other hormonal things we women have to go through.

So, if you're seeing this pattern too, you're not alone. This, in and of itself, is my ONLY comfort in these non-losing weeks, because it can get incredibly frustrating. However, I'm not going to change a thing. I'm going to stick to my menu, and continue my new active lifestyle (holy moly, I worked out SIX TIMES last week! SIX!!! Am I INSANE???).

So, I am sorry to report, no major loss this week. Actually no loss at all. But by next week, if I follow my pattern, I'll make up for it, and will have a much more chipper post.

By the way, I did do a little "retail therapy" this weekend, and found a store who's sizes sometimes run a little big. There is nothing better than trying on "your" size and finding that it's too big, even if you KNOW full well that it's just because the sizes run big. I don't care, I had to buy a size I haven't seen since the late '90's. They're my new best friends, for their sizing faux pas, and I'm going to wear those pants inside-out tomorrow. ;)

(April 18) A Different Kind of Regular

Going to be a quick post tonight, because I've been staring at this computer screen for the better part of the past four hours, and I'm about to start eating the keyboard. But I had to share this.

The funniest thing happened today. I had an extremely busy day, loaded with meetings and appointments, and that made me get to the gym a little later than usual. Honestly, I was so beat by the time I was on my way, I almost turned around and headed home to take a nap! But I persevered...I'm committed...and I wasn't about to try to come up with a creative excuse for Christine as to why I didn't work out today. "I didn't feel like it" just doesn't fly anymore.

So, I walk into the reception area, where I have to give my member ID number. The guy behind the counter says "Wow, you're here later than normal today, huh?"

I was totally caught off guard. I looked around behind me, because surely he was talking to someone else. Have I been so regular at the gym that the EMPLOYEES actually notice what time I usually go? From hating - I mean HATING - working out, to being "a regular" at the gym. THIS is weird!!!

Don't get me wrong, I still don't LOVE it. I still hate the out-of-breath, sweaty, uncomfortable, ugly-looking aspects of it. I still don't get that "runner's high" endorphin rush everyone talks about. But I AM committed and THAT is AMAZING. Again, it's not like I'm giving up two hours a day to go pump iron like some obsessive crazy person. I go, I change, I do 30 minutes on the elliptical, I go home. That's it.

And for now, that's enough.

Hey, it was enough for the guy at the gym to notice I'm "a regular". Before now, the only place I've ever been considered "a regular" at was my corner bar for a quick burger, fries and too much beer.

I'm really hoping to drop another two pounds this week, but I'll take ANY loss after this past week's water problem. I'm just going to keep at it...cross your fingers for me.

(April 23) Wait...WHAT?

That's all I could say to Christine today, after stepping on the scale and seeing that - after a water week from hell - I had lost another 4.9 pounds, bringing my grand total to 24.1 pounds lost. This means I am 1.5 pounds LESS than I was when I graduated college in 1997. This also means I'm a little over 15 pounds away from my GOAL.


Honestly, it's so hard to believe because I have NEVER stuck with something this lon - and it hasn't even been that long! 10 weeks. That's it. I'm FAR from what you would call "patient" and in the past, if I didn't see a DRAMATIC loss in the first two weeks, I threw in the towel. This has been a completely different experience though.

What makes it different? The one-on-one support, the nutrition, the REALISTIC approach. I can't tell you how much THAT means! Anything that promises you immediate and rapid weight-loss (shakes, pills, crash diets, fads, high carbs, low carbs, whatever) is garbage. Sure, you may lose weight...you may lose a TON of it in just a few weeks.

But, let me ask you...can you live like that the rest of your life? Can you go to your favorite restaurant and say "Yes, I'll have lemon water, some salad, and a giant protein shake"? Do you really want to go out to dinner and request four ounces of organic granola while everyone else wolfs down a ribeye? Are you going to be satisfied sipping broth while your family splits a pizza?

With those "quick fix" plans, YOU WILL GAIN THE WEIGHT BACK. Not you "might". You WILL. Why? Because you've done nothing to change the way your live your life. [Program] is not a DIET; it's a lifestyle change, and you have to be ready to commit to that in order to make a difference. I don't mean commit to [program], I mean commit to ANY kind of weight-loss plan. Trust me, it's not always easy. It's not always simple. It's actually kind of terrifying, especially if you had the kind of relationship with food that I had: a bad one. A controlling one. A losing-battle one.

I want to leave you with two things that have kept me going:

1. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

2. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

That's my little brain-nugget for you today...enjoy. It was fat-free and had no calories. ;)

(April 30) Even with Cheese, Every Ounce Counts

This has become my mantra every Monday, as it is for many people who insist on COMPLETELY emptying their bladder right before a weigh in. I only wish I could have also cried or sweat out an extra tenth of a pound, because I lost .9 lb this week. But the cool thing is, that brings my total to an even 25 pounds lost!

What's even more amazing is seeing how much participating in this program has changed my life, without imposing