Tag Archives: diet

Losing Weight (or Maintaining) without Exercise


It can be done.

Although, if you can exercise, you should. That cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart and lungs. But if you can’t, that’s no reason to give up.

I feared gaining weight back when I stopped running (and working out at all, for that matter) in December due to back problems. But I’ve been mostly maintaining. I’ve been fluctuating between the same five pounds back and forth.

Without exercise, I need to be more diligent about what I eat. Sure, in less than a week and a half, I’ll be having surgery on my back. So I could just give up for now and say that I’m gonna “start again” when it’s over… or once I’m off pain medication… or once I’m feeling better… or once I can start running again. We can always say that we are going to start over “when”.

But this is my life, not a diet. I’m not on a diet. I’m learning to make healthy choices every single day. And for me, a healthy choice is sometimes an indulgent one. I believe anything can be enjoyed and fit into a weight loss program if not consumed in excess. It was when I had the all-or-nothing mentality and was totally restrictive that I failed.

So for the days leading up to my surgery, I’m going to document what I’m eating… Good and bad. Not for you to analyze, but for me. I can analyze when I’ve made good choices and when I should make better ones. I’m finding that I’m more aware of what I’m eating when I have to take a picture of it, too!

And since I’m still getting used to this plan to document my meals for about a week, I’ve forgotten to take a few photos but that’s okay.

And with that, here are Sunday’s eats!


Fiber One 90 Brownie

Fiber One 90 Brownie

I also had a banana (not pictured). Oh and I had a few sips of Dr. Pepper before I stepped out the door. {For the past several months, I’ve had very little pop, er… soda, whether it be regular or diet. It’s something I’d like to cut out completely, or at least keep to a very minimum.}


I met my friend Sally for lunch at Cafe Latte in St. Paul. We each ordered a pizza. I didn’t take a photo, but you can check out what they look like on their website. I think they are about 8 or 9″ pizzas. I got the Sonoma Pizza, which was made with basil marinara sauce, spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and mozzarella. If you make homemade pizzas at home, I highly encourage you to combine these toppings! I ate a little more than half of the pizza.


Yes, I went out again for dinner. While we do eat out often, it’s generally not twice in one day. Rob and I dined at The Lowry in Uptown {Restaurant Impression to come soon!} I sipped on a Surly Abrasive, a local Double IPA. (not pictutred). It’s quite hoppy and I always feel like DIPAs whet my appetite. Then, I devoured this salmon dish:


Salmon fresh Scottish Fillet, oven-roasted asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes & olives

It’s some of the best salmon I’ve had in a really long time. It was seasoned perfectly and I loved this combo of vegetables! I would get this over and over again when I go to The Lowry, but there are too many other things on the menu I’d like to try.

Dessert for me was a Founders Breakfast Stout. This stout is bigger and has much more flavor than a Guinness and gets it name from it’s upfront coffee flavor.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Founders Breakfast Stout


With all that dining out, I probably didn’t need an evening snack, but I’ve been pretty good about taking a little wedge of the Double Cream Brie leftover from my canceled Open House, rather than eating the whole wheel.

DCB & Crackers

What are Ancient Grains, you are asking? Here’s what the box top reads:

Ancient Grains

These crackers are delicious and we have a big box of them {leftover from the canceled Open House}. I really have to pay attention to the number of cheese and crackers I eat because I’m a cheese fanatic. {Hey, it’s a given. I grew up in Wisconsin!} So I made my snack into a pretty plate and even got inspired by the picture on the box:

Ancient Grains Crackers topped with Double Cream Brie and tomato

Ancient Grains Crackers topped with Double Cream Brie and tomato

I estimate that snack to be close to 300 calories (the size wedge I cut was about two servings). That’s a little much for a snack, but better considering that I could have just brought the wheel of cheese, box of crackers, a plate and a knife into the living room to sit in front of the TV.

Overall, the day wasn’t perfect, but I’m glad I got some fruit, veggies, protein and Omega-3s in there!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy salmon? If you have a recipe, please share!


You can still get an A without all the correct answers…


Lately, I’ve been reading about the frustrations of people who are in the process of losing weight or of those who have lost weight and are struggling with maintenance. The theme I’m noticing is feelings of guilt for having gotten off track or not having “figured it out” like they thought they had. We’ve all been there. And I know that deep down, these people know that we have good days and bad days, and that they will eventually pick up and move on. Sometimes it just feels good to get it out and confirm that we aren’t the only one experiencing it. Because we aren’t.

We all have days of clarity when we feel triumphant, where everything just clicks. Then we have days of utter confusion. You know those times when you say to yourself, “Why can’t I get this right?!” Jen, a priorfatgirl even called it a “roller coaster of healthiness“.

So I’m writing this on day of clarity, when I feel great and things just make sense. That way, I can come back on a day when I feel confused, defeated or like I’ve failed.

One day not too long ago, when I was out running, this thought popped into my head:

You can still get an A without all the correct answers.

Let me explain.

I was a pretty good student in school. I got A’s in my classes most of the time. {And yes, the plural of the that letter grade does have an apostrophe so as not to be confused with the word as.} 😉

But you know what? I didn’t get every answer on every assignment and test correct. But I still got good grades. I still learned. My teachers did not fail me for not getting every question right.

So why is it that when we decide to lose weight or improve our health we feel like we must carry out every detail of our plan perfectly? Why is it that if we make one mistake or go off our plan we suddenly feel like we’ve failed. Why can’t we just learn from our mistakes and evolve on this trek, like we do with everything else in our lives? We do we feel like we have to start over?

This is one of the problems with “diets”, in my opinion. So many people {myself included} have started and “failed” because we think it’s an all-or-nothing process. We have an optimistic mindset at first, but when we make that first mistake, we consider it “failure”. Instead, we should focus on progress. When it comes to weight loss, it is the downward trend that matters most. It’s changes you make and habits you form for a lifetime that matter, not eating one cupcake after seven days of not doing so. That’s why I’m not on a diet. Instead, I’m learning to make small changes and evolve on this path toward my well-being.

You can still get an A without all the correct answers.

Think about it. If we get one thing wrong in class, we don’t fail. We still learn. And in life, isn’t learning from mistakes the best way to do so? So let me ask you…

When you make a mistake in life, do you start over from scratch again? If you fall down {literally}, do you have to start all over and learn how to walk again, as if you are a baby? No. You already know how to do it. So you just get back up and carry on. This may come back to you from a previous post:

Yes, I am about to hit you with a bunch of inspiring, positive, motivational quotes. But just remember that:

When I was setting goals to earn trips with The Traveling Vineyard, I taught a class on how to do it. I used this analogy: If you are going on a roadtrip across the country and you encounter a roadblock, you don’t just turn around and go home. You’ve come too far! So what do you do? You find another way!

“When you encounter a roadblock, find a dozen ways to get around it and take action.” ~ Unknown

Sure, that may sound great for a long-term goal. However, what if you make that one mistake and it’s just eating you up. Consider this:

“If you miss your exit on the highway, you don’t pull over and just quit. You make a U-turn and come back.” ~ Unknown

Don’t be so quick to fail yourself. Instead, learn from your mistakes, find new ways, adapt and evolve.

Today, I want to know:

In what area of your health would you give yourself an A?

What inspirational and motivational quotes do you love?


Don’t Wait Until After Vacation


Today we return from vacation. It got me to thinking about my I’m Not on a Diet post.

Vacation was great. It was relaxing and enjoyable. I’m living life. And I’m happy.

I once had the mentality that, in terms of my exercising and losing weight, that I would “get back on track” after vacation. Or… after this big event or that stressful life situation. Or… on Monday. However, about a year ago, I finally realized that:

  • There will always be vacations. {Thank God!}
  • There will always be parties, weddings and big events.
  • There will always be stressful or unexpected life situations.

I had to learn to live healthfully despite all of those things, because they will always be there. I decided to change my habits slowly. I decided not to deprive myself. I decided to indulge once in a while, but not over indulge.

I’ve found that happy medium. And it truly is happy.

How many times do we overeat or eat something we consider bad and then feel guilty afterward? The food did not make us happy.

On the other hand, how many times do we start a diet with the intention of sticking to it, but then become anxious in situations where we encounter something we can’t have? We feel deprived. The thought engulfs us. It’s all we can think about.

Neither of those situations makes us happy.

Instead, happiness, for me, can be found on a line between the two. I learned that I can have anything I want in moderation. I’ve even learned that some things I think I wanted, I really didn’t. {Really, the thought of Oreos are better than Oreos themselves.} I don’t feel guilty, nor deprived. Sure, I may slip over to one end of the spectrum or the other from time to time. But I recognize how I feel when that happens and now know how to find my way back to the middle.

For me, happiness also means relaxation. I used to be believe that if I had a rough day that I “deserved” to relax. But I never truly relaxed sitting on the couch when I knew I should be working out or cooking something healthy. I felt guilty instead.

However, when I discovered that working out led to relaxation, the more likely I was to do it. After getting a run or workout in, I felt like I had accomplished something. I didn’t have to worry about it. I could sit down and truly relax. That kind of relaxation feels 100 times better than the kind where I tell myself I just deserve to relax and  do nothing.

For me:

Happiness in Health = Moderation + Relaxation

In the past year, I could have made plenty excuses to go off my path. I could have “started over” every time I made a mistake. I could have waited until after the next holiday, vacation or event was over to do so. And I could have inflated my Day 1 weigh-in every time with a “last meal” that I knew I couldn’t have on my plan. But I decided not to do that this time. I decided to do all of these things instead:

  • Go on a food tour of Northeast Minneapolis.
  • Take cooking classes.
  • Attend a Leadership Convention for the Traveling Vineyard. {Lots of wine and good food!}
  • Go to a Twins game and a Saints game.
  • Host friends and family in town.
  • Go up north.
  • Go to an out-of-town wedding.
  • Try new restaurants using Groupon.
  • Attend concerts and plays.
  • Watch numerous Packer games out.
  • Exercise on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Conduct in home Wine Tastings.
  • Go out-of-town and enjoy Christmas with my family.
  • Enjoy fondue with friends.
  • Play lots of Texas Hold ’em.
  • Start a blog.
  • Vacation in Hawaii.
  • And Much more…

What would my life last year look like if I decided to either:
Wait to get healthy until after each of these events was over
Wait until I was “done” losing weight and getting healthy before I did any of these things or skipped them altogether?

I would feel guilty in either situation!

So, I didn’t wait until after vacation. I just started. I knew that I had to learn along the way and that I wouldn’t have all of the answers or be perfect. But most importantly, I knew I didn’t have to.

Was I considerably healthy this past vacation? No.

Did I overeat? Yes, a few of times. {Boy did I learn from that stomach ache!}

Did I incorporate some healthy pieces? Yes. {I actually craved good salads!}

Did I workout? Yes! While I wanted to do more, I did get my three proposed runs in.

Did I enjoy myself? Absolutely.

Did I learn what I can do next time? Without a doubt.

We’ll see what the weigh-in says tomorrow. I fully expect to have gained five pounds. But I’m not starting over. I’m learning and making changes every day from the day before. It reminds me of what Kate said in a cooking class: “Success is made from mistakes well-handled.”

You will always have vacations and weekends and parties to tempt you. The challenge is to learn how to deal with them now. If you are looking to get healthy, don’t wait until after vacation. Don’t wait until next Monday. Instead, do it now! Let yourself evolve and improve with each passing day…



I’m Not on a Diet


I’ve had a lot of people asking lately what I’m doing to lose weight.

Here’s the thing: I’m not really on a diet.

I despise that word – DIET. We all know what diet is really supposed to mean; but somehow along the way it became an ugly word. It became a word that we associate with deprivation. If I knew how, I would do everything I could to erase this stigma!

And while some people are wondering what I’m doing out of curiosity, I know that others are merely looking for THE ANSWER. Well, I’m going to give it to you. I’m going to let you in on something I’ve picked up reading in the blogosphere. So here it is:

You need to find what’s right for you.

Not what you wanted to hear, is it?

That being said, I’ve found that what’s right for me is to take little tidbits that I’ve learned along the way and put them together. This go ’round has been complete trial and error for me. As of yesterday, I’m officially down 30 pounds. But that is since June 15th, 2011. That doesn’t sound entirely impressive, does it? That’s just a little over 1/2 of a pound per week {or .63 pounds per week, to be exact} over 47 weeks. Most people want to see results MUCH more quickly than that.

However, my intention now is to change my habits. In the last few years, I’ve read and heard a lot of people in the weight loss world talking about needing to “make a lifestyle change”; but to me, this sounds cliché. While making a lifestyle change is really important to do, I feel the phrase has been overused to the extent that it has lost it’s meaning. Obviously, to make a lifestyle change, you need to change your life.

But you can’t make drastic changes and expect them to stick.

So I decided that to make a lifestyle change, I wasn’t going to be strict. Nothing would be off-limits and I was going to use everything I learned in past experiences to evolve on my own healthiness journey. {Sidebar: Journey – another word I’ve seen repeatedly lately. I’d like to reinvent that one, too. But I’ll save that for another post.}

Lately, I’ve been reading over and over again that losing is easier than maintaining. This can be scary and intimidating to those who are just starting to lose weight! However, I’m very grateful to have gained this insight from those who are in the maintenance phase.

So I’ve been giving it some thought. Perhaps one reason why people find maintaining after they’ve met their weight loss goal more difficult could have something to do with this: Many people think of dieting as a stretch of time you “endure” until you get to your destination. {At least this was me!} Everything will be better at the finish line. We will be the size we want to be and feel healthy. We feel like we should be done. Sometimes, we think that when we are done,we can go back to being who we were. When we are done, we can “relax”.

But this isn’t the case. It is called maintenance for a reason. If we are making a lifestyle change, it cannot be for a short period of time. We have to maintain it for life. So, I ask you: Are those “diets” that make drastic changes out there ones that you can maintain for life? In fact, this is all connected. Think about it. We need to incorporate the right foods into our diet {correct definition} to maintain life.

Did I lose you yet?

We’ve all heard that “It’s the Journey, not the Destination, that matters.” Think about that one a little bit. Life is a journey. If we were all more focused on the destination, what would that be? Death? Are we focused or racing toward that? Most certainly not! We want to fill our time with things we love to do and accomplish things that are important to us while we are here on this earth.

So I put this philosophy toward my health and my weight loss goals. My destination? To lose 75 – 80 pounds. Actually, that was what I used to think. Now it’s just as important to maintain that once it is lost. So instead, I’m going to:

I decided that I couldn’t stop my life to “diet”. I couldn’t not go on vacation. I couldn’t not attend friends’ parties. I couldn’t not LIVE MY LIFE. Sure I could not do those things for a certain period of time. But then where would I be when I’d have to actually face these activities in my “real” life? I had to learn how to implement healthy habits in my life NOW, but by making small, lasting changes.

Sure, I am willing to share in the coming weeks what is working and not working for me to help you make decisions on what may be right for you. Whether you are attempting to lose weight or to just live a more active and healthy lifestyle, we all can learn from each other. This wasn’t meant to be a weight loss blog; but I’m willing to share tidbits with you because everyone seems to be much more interested in my health/weight loss posts than what I think about restaurants. 😉 {But, I’ll still continue to post those, if only for my own benefit!} I hope you will share your own tidbits along the way, too. I welcome your comments!

I’ve still got about 45 to 50 pounds to go. And I actually don’t have a goal date. And while I normally push toward goals {like earning incentive trips!} when I’m doing Wine Tastings, I feel this is different. I want to change my habits for good. And I think the only way I will do it is by learning every day, one-day-at-a-time. Because that is how we really do learn all life lessons, isn’t it?

A votre santé!