Welcome to Mia Bella Lotta.

I consider myself to be a pretty normal person, nothing too special, but also not a wallflower.  I honestly believe that a majority of today’s population, both men and women of all ages all around the world, can relate to my every day fight…So follow along with me, a 35 year old girl located in San Francisco, California, as I traverse the mountains and mole hills that are my fight with a healthy weight-loss lifestyle.

I will struggle through this fight, but you will never see me quit.  That is my promise to you and, most importantly, to myself.

A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Step off the Scale

I am going to change my usual weekly post where I just go on and on about myself. Recently I read a great article in BRIDES Magazine. I’ve gotten really into this whole wedding planning chapter of my life and have dove head first into all cliches. To be completely honest, this article just really spoke to me. I believe there are two types of people in this world, the ones that read the entire magazine, every word, and every single character until there is no more to read, and there are those that just flip through and look at pretty pictures. I am the latter of the two. So for me to actually stop and read an article in a bridal magazine with no pictures is cray. So you know this article is good.

Anyways, I think this article can speak to every person at any time in their life that doesn’t feel beautiful. The article is entitled “Why I Didn’t Consider Shedding for the Wedding” and it was in the October + November 2018 edition of BRIDES Magazine. If you like my little review and opinion piece on the article, then I encourage you to read it. I have included a link at the end of this post for your viewing pleasure.

The author of the article is Lauren Chan. She is a plus-size model and a fashion editor. Think Ashley Graham, with those drop dead gorgeous and beautiful curves. She discusses her great displeasure with the fashion and bridal industry, who size-shame those that are not rail thin, like most fashion models, and what this does to the psyche of the average consumer, like her.. or me… or you. This all stemmed from a conversation that a “friend” had with her at lunch one day when she was eating a salad. Her “friend” wanted to know if she was “shedding weight for the wedding” and that caused Lauren to spiral into an internet frenzy to confirm that this was, in fact, a thing that was normal…and what she found pissed her off.

Lauren asks a question that I have indeed asked myself before, “why is losing weight a prerequisite for marriage?” And I don’t even just leave this question open for brides, but also for bridesmaids, mothers, aunts, or even just being a guest? Do you know how many times I’ve gone to dinner and ordered something sad and explained to my dinner guests “its wedding season!” What a dumb dumb.

Now that I am a bride myself, this has hit home in a whole new way. I have recently fallen in love with a new past time, wedding dress shopping. My friend Jessica said to me once that wedding dresses were made for our body type. First, I took this as a HUGE compliment because she has the best pilates body ever known to walk this earth. To describe Jessica’s body I would have to say its mine, but minimized on your computer screen many, many, many times, and a lot less of the cottage cheese. I once again digress.

Jessica was right in many ways, I do feel good in a lot of wedding dresses. Here is my complaint, and Lauren hits this in her article too, there is a huge lack of representation for any woman above sample size. First, you have the models in most bridal magazines that look to be the size of the flower girls or junior bridesmaids. Then you have the sample size dresses in most wedding shops. Good lord. You have never really gotten to know your body size until you have a square piece of fabric covering up your plumber’s butt. I think Lauren put it very well when she draws the picture herself for her readers:

Things you would’ve heard in my dressing room: “You can add a corset to make your waist smaller.” “Don’t worry, you won’t see Spanx through this fabric.” And “What if you buy a size down and lose some weight?”

What you would’ve seen: a dress four sizes too small gaping open in the back, an attendant trying to not break the zipper of said dress, and me sweating while holding back tears.

I don’t think I could put it better. It paints the exact scene, me putting my size 8-10 butt into a size 4 wedding dress, literally sweating and wiggling. I just experienced PTSD while I wrote the above quote. I held back the tears and instead made a hard left into my normal avoidance of feelings, I made a joke about it. Yep, that is a “Classic Laura Feelings Avoidance Method.” I hated hearing that if it was in my size it would look so good, or that I had to imagine the dress in my size. I mean, I have a great imagination, but not that great. If I did I’d be in another line of business and be in a lot more debt!

Lauren eventually got fed up with her feelings of self loathing and instead decided that enough is enough:

You got engaged, learned to love yourself, and will get married at your heaviest. If the best things happened when you were bigger, what would being thin get you?

She went on to say, and this is what really brought it home for me:

…please remember that the person who asked you to marry them- to be legally bound to them, to take on the role of forever roommate, to maybe have their kids or at least adopt a dog, to share their debt no matter its magnitude, to fight and make up, and fight and make up, and fight and make up- fucking LOVES you as you are. So don’t you dare let anyone- or any dress or Google search- tell you to shed for your goddam wedding.

A-fucking-men. Hallelujah. I rejoiced and got excited just typing that out. Its so true. I have this deep seeded fear that one day Kevin is going to look at me, take off his rose-colored glasses, and think to himself “oh shit” because I don’t look the way he thinks I look in his head. That is ridiculous. He’s never ever made me feel for a single moment that I wasn’t beautiful. Crazy? Yes. Ugly? No. Controlling? Absolutely. Fat? No. Loud? Every day and twice on Saturdays. Thats it. Why do I have this unreasonable fear that he will think otherwise? Cut to me in the wedding dress with an extra fabric added to my butt. Bam.

When Kevin and I met I was actually at my skinniest. I was just out of another relationship and was back on the market after almost 3 years of being put on a shelf. In my past relationship, I stopped taking care of myself because I didn’t feel like we were really giving our best to each other. So once I was out of that relationship, I started to take care of myself. As the same friend Jessica dubbed post-break up, “don’t call it a comeback!” I was back and better than ever.

Then I met Kevin and I put on my happy weight. You know that weight… the weight that is one bottle of wine each a night, cooking dinner to impress him with my skills (which mostly consisted around pasta this and pasta that), going out all the time, eating out all the time, and doing whatever people do when they fall in love. Then I woke up late August 2018 and you, my faithful follower, know the rest.

Okay so I am not 143LBs, but I can tell you that right now I am the strongest I have ever been in my life. I am also more in tune with my body then ever before, and I am making me the priority in my personal life. So which one is really the better Laura? Ha! Eat that 2014 Laura!

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S CALL TO ACTION: Let’s take Lauren Chan’s words to heart. We all have someone in our life that loves us. This doesn’t have to be a significant other, it can also be a friend or family member. Remember that this person loves you for who you are right now. There is nothing you need to do to yourself to change what others see or think about you in order for this person to continue to love you. You are beautiful. Also, do yourself a favor and read the entire BRIDES’ article. Its good.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.8 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 31.75, Below Hips 38, Largest Part of Butt 41.25.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

No matter what we do (no matter what we do)
No matter what we say (no matter what we say)
We’re the song inside the tune (yeah, oh yeah)
Full of beautiful mistakes

And everywhere we go (and everywhere we go)
The sun will always shine (the sun will always, always, shine)
And tomorrow we might awake
On the other side

Cause we are beautiful
No matter what they say
Yes words won’t bring us down

FOR THE FULL ARTICLE:

https://www.brides.com/story/essay-shedding-for-the-wedding

A Week in My Life

Before the holidays I touched base in some things going on in my life that have precluded me from being able to hit my goals and, instead, stay stagnant. The main reason being stress, and not just emotional stress, but also physical stress and environmental stress. All 3 of these together, I have come to learn, are a dealbreaker in weight loss.

With all of that in mind, I wanted to give you some insight into what my typical week looks like by taking a look at the last week of my life. Just in case you are sitting at home reading week after week and thinking “Self, this girl isn’t working hard enough. Cleary she is eating pie and Taco Bell every week while sitting on the couch with her 2 adorable dachshunds and her handsome as hell fiancé.” Rest assure, I am not. I wish I was, but I am not. But you are right, he is super handsome and my pups are freakin’ adorable.

This last week has been a pretty typical food and workout week. I worked out a ton (despite two days in a row forgetting to bring my shoes or sports bra to the gym) and I ate pretty standard. What you will notice is that I am not a HUGE snacker (::she says while she is snacking on Bubba’s Fine Foods Grand Garlic Parm ‘Nana Chips::). Key word is HUGE. I normally don’t, but as we all know there is an exception to every rule. Or is that just an attorney saying? Anyways, I will let you be the judge.

Please not that everyday I drink AT LEAST 90OZ of water. I always start my day with AT LEAST 16OZ of water before I put anything else in my body. OK, lets get to it…

Friday, January 4th:

  • Breakfast around 8:30AM: RX Bar (honestly I can’t remember which one because I have a variety pack).
  • Lunch around 12PM: Poke Bowl with half sushi rice and half mixed greens. Bowl included salmon, jalapeno, seaweed salad, avocado, cucumber, ponzu sauce, and some fried garlic sprinkles.
  • Dinner around 7PM: Chicken breast w/ a pesto sauce and roasted potatoes and tomatoes w/ parm cheese sprinkles. This was homemade, B-T-Dubbs.
  • Exercise: 60MIN OrangeTheory Class

Saturday, January 5th:

  • Breakfast around 11:45AM: I tried to skip since I had a late morning workout and tend to cramp easily, but after my workout I was famished. So I had a small breakfast sandwich from Starbucks w/ an unsweetened ice team. I was still hungry after, which reminds me of why I don’t eat that crap. Empty calories.
  • Lunch around 2:30PM: Now you see why I ate the breakfast sando. I had appointments all day and knew I wasn’t going to get a homemade lunch until late. For lunch I made (overnight) chicken tortilla soup. I added about 1/2 a cup of rice, 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese, and about 7 tortilla chips.
  • Dinner around 7PM: Old school taco night. It was a rainy day and wanted some comfort food. Got some ground beef and some crunchy shells and made dinner in record time! My tacos included, besides the above, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and TB taco sauce (that was as close as I was going to get to actual Taco Bell). I also made a side of black beans and some fresh guacamole. For my guac, I have the world’s best recipe that is mostly just avocado, jalapeno, and lime- and my secret seasoning combo.
  • Exercise: 60MIN OrangeTheory Class

Sunday, January 6th:

  • Breakfast around 8AM: RX Bar, again.
  • Lunch around 1PM: Stopped at Sam’s Chowder House while we were on the coast. I had a Lobster Roll (“naked”) and a salad on the side. They are famous for their Lobster Rolls, even having a dedicated food truck that goes around the Bay Area, and I live by the motto that I want to be able to live a life that doesn’t deprive me of all that is good. So every now and then I throw myself a treat- in moderation, of course.
  • Dinner around 7PM: Steak salad w/ shishito peppers and a cilantro lime dressing (homemade). I was clearly in a Mexican mood this weekend. Haha.
  • Exercise: As God did on the 7th day of the week, I rest.

Monday, January 7th:

  • Breakfast around 8:30AM: RX Bar.
  • Lunch around 12PM: Brought back the delicious chicken tortilla soup. I added about 1/2 a cup of brown rice, 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar. cheese, and about 7 tortilla chips/crumbs (soup is a good way to get rid of the bottom of tortilla chip bags). I also stole an egg roll from my Dad.
  • Dinner around 7PM: Chicken Thighs with an apple-dijon sauce, roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and spinach (homemade).
  • Exercise: 60MIN OrangeTheory Class

Tuesday, January 8th:

  • Breakfast around 8:30AM: Breakfast burrito… psyche! Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Clearly it was an RX Bar.
  • Lunch around 12PM: Last serving of my delicious chicken tortilla soup. I added about 1/2 a cup of brown rice, 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar, a couple last crumbs of tortilla chips.
  • Dinner around 7PM: Chickpea pasta (Brand Banza) w/ a homemade beef and pork ragu. If you haven’t tried the chickpea pasta, run, don’t walk, and buy some. They are at almost every store in the Bay Area. They don’t only taste delicious BUT they also are packed with 25G of protein and 13G of fiber. SAY WHAT!?!? Heck ya.
  •  Exercise: 60MIN OrangeTheory Class

Wednesday, January 9th:

  • Breakfast around 8:30AM: Tried out a new protein shake that has over 40G of protein. It was okay. I read that someone with stress issues should have at least 35G of protein in their AM, so I am searching for a great protein shake. Please send suggestions.
  • Lunch around 12PM: Chicken pita w/ tomatoes, feta cheese, onion, and (my fave)  tzatziki sauce and squeeze of lemon (homemade).
  • Dinner around 6:30PM: Trout w/ a salsa and potatoes. Light, with a kick!
  • Snack: Cherry Chocolate Protein Bar (I was in the mood for sweets).
  • Exercise: 50Min Run/Walk- almost 4 miles.
  • Weigh In: 159.6LBs. I have a golden rule to not weigh myself after a long trip for at least a week. This was my first weigh in for 2019.

Thursday, January 10th:

  • Breakfast around 8:30AM: RX Bar (getting sick of this yet? Well until I find a good protein shake you are stuck with this!).
  • Lunch around 12PM: Spicy Chicken salad with tomato, corn, black beans, avocado and herb vinaigrette. The chicken is breaded, but there is not much. This was because of a board meeting that I actually ate out. I also had two pickles. They are delicious. Here is where I blow it, a piece of cheesecake for a work birthday BUUUUUT it was MAYBE the size of a business card. I did not completely indulge.
  • Dinner around 7PM: Lemon and Herb Butter Chicken w/ potatoes and swiss chard (homemade).
  • Exercise: 60MIN OrangeTheory Class
  • Weigh In: 158.8LBs

Friday, January 11th:

  • Breakfast around 8:30AM: You guessed it- RX BAR!
  • Snack: about 1/2 cup of Bubba’s Fine Foods Grand Garlic Parm ‘Nana Chip (I believe the ‘Nana is a cute way to say Banana)
  • Lunch (planned): Chicken pita w/ tomatoes, feta cheese, onion, and (my fave)  tzatziki sauce and a squeeze of lemon (homemade). Round 2.
  • Dinner… I do not know. TBD. Its dinner with the girls, but we are all aware of each and every one of our own fitness and health goals.
  • Exercise: 60MIN Training session with the very talented, Jaime McFaden (you can follow her on instagram at @wheybj ).
  • Weigh in: 159LBs (I blame it on the cheesecake)

I can read your mind right now, “Self, this girl didn’t have ONE alcoholic drink in this week? She sits on a throne of lies!” You are wrong. I did not have a single adult beverage this week. After the holidays, like 90% of the world, I swore off alcohol for a bit, but unlike 75% of that 90% I have actually been able to hold true to it. No alcohol since Tuesday, January 1st, and its kind of fun so I want to see how long I can do this. Prediction: Until tomorrow when I got to try on wedding dresses and they hand me a glass of champagne. Does that even count?

The point I am trying to make is that I don’t sit at home drinking a bottle or two of wine, while eating Taco Bell and lounging with the adorable pups and my hot man. I actually eat pretty well, not perfect, drink a lot of water (nature’s beauty secret), and workout a ton (6 days of the 7, but who is counting?). So I am trying. Right now I am working this hard to keep status quo while I work through the witch potion my doctor has me on. Like I said before, the last time I saw her I had expressed concern that there had been no progress in my weight loss and was surprised when she responded that she didn’t expect me too yet. So I loosened the reigns on myself and cut myself some slack. I don’t want to take this time as an opportunity to lose the progress I have made, but I do want to take this time to not take life so seriously.

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S CALL TO ACTION: Take this next week to write down everything you do every day to make yourself feel better both inside and out. It does’t have to be a food log or a workout log like I did above. It can be just about what little changes you have made. Do you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Do you say hello to your mailman daily? Do you smile more? Do you floss more? What is the little change you can make or have made? Perhaps we should all try to adapt a new healthy habit a month? This month I have started with taking pressure off myself. What will you do?

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 159 LBS, Chest 36.5 (there was a typo from my last measurement), Under Boob 30, Belly Button 31.75, Below Hips 38, Largest Part of Butt 41.5.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Looking For a Place to Shine” by Clare Bowen

I jumped in, looking to make a wave,
I was working what the good Lord gave,
Baby, here I go, you’ll be praying for land
While I’m rocking the boat!
And I’m moving, come on and join in my parade,
I’ve been waiting for the rhythm to change,
Now the time has come,
So turn on the flames and turn up the sun!

No Legacy is Built on a Single Moment

Come on in, 2019. Welcome. Here, let me get your jacket. Can I get you something to drink?

I am majorly welcoming 2019 into my life. Not only because its the year that I get to marry my favorite person in this entire universe, but I am also welcoming this year because I feel really good about it and myself in general. I took some time the last couple of weeks of 2018 to really look into both the past and my potential future. I wanted to better understand where I had been in order for me to move forward. I am very proud of myself for finally taking the first step in making myself healthy and talking to a doctor about my fight with weight loss. As we all know, the first step in making a change is admitting you have a problem. I also feel my timing was perfect, to take the last half of 2018 to better understand my fight so that I could jump into 2019 kicking and screaming.

Right before the holiday I had another appointment with my doctor. It was a catch up to see how things were going before we got into the thick of holiday nonsense. I went in there with a major bad attitude because I hadn’t seen any progress in terms of weight loss. When I mentioned this to my doctor, she quickly replayed that she didn’t expect that to happen because that would be putting the “cart before the horse” (so to speak). I guess what I didn’t realize was that the first step was a hormone cleanse, and once we are able to see a shift in my test results, then we could work on the weight loss portion of our program.

I took this as a sign. It was a sign to take a step back, stop putting so much pressure on myself and let the process work. This was a big reason for my “break” over the holidays, which also came at a good time since I woke up the day after Christmas with the stomach flu. I guess we are all just one stomach flu away from our ideal weight, right? I did weight myself the day after I started to feel better, for no reason at all, but I didn’t gain any weight over the holiday (wahoo!), but then we went away to Canada and I came down with “all this food is delicious-itis” and I am pretty sure that weight loss went right out the window. I am only human.

After my meeting with my doctor and my time off I came up with one big resolution. In 2019 I am going to take the pressure off of myself. I have the fundamentals to win this fight, but first I need to be able to get my inners to match my goals.

Over the last 2years I have been stressed out in a huge way. My job became a lot more stressful with many of our projects shifted and began to not go the way we had expected them too and in the timeframe set out. With most jobs, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I work with my family and there is a lot of added pressure there. Just as a spoiled child does, I didn’t handle things not going my way very well, and it stressed me the f-out. That was the beginning of the end. I started to take things professionally very personally. I internalized a lot of my stress not wanting to bring my stresses home with me because I didn’t want to add more stress to Kevin’s professional stress.

I was also stressed about my personal relationship. I am someone that needs forward momentum to know that they are doing a great job. There was no forward momentum in both my professional and personal life, and I felt stuck. So the stress built up, not knowing which way I needed to go to make myself feel better. This all resulted in me feeling pretty crappy about myself. Talk about a self-esteem bomb.

Then September 27th, 2018 I got the relationship promotion that I always wanted with Kevin. He proposed, and something about our relationship changed. He had been putting on this role to throw me off the engagement scent which made me think that getting married wasn’t on his radar. Think Chandler and Monica from Friends. Every time I brought up getting married he’d make a face or make a grunt noise that was not very becoming of him or our relationship. Man, did it chap my hide. Then after we got engaged I got to see what was really going on behind that scenes. That he had made a resolution last year that he would propose. Now, I see how truly in love and excited he is about our future. This lifted a huge weight of sadness and anxiety about our relationship off of my shoulders. It also made me fall more in love with Kevin knowing how excited he was/is about this next step for us. I didn’t think this was possible. Now the stress of my personal relationship has been replaced with the stress of planning a circus of a wedding, and I can’t wait to celebrate.

Knowing that I won’t be able to rid myself of all these moving pieces, I need to figure out how to handle my day-to-day stresses better. So this is where taking the pressure off of myself is going to take a front seat in this bus called 2019. I am going to have fun with the process of planning a wedding. I am going to try and not sweat the small stuff. I am going to learn better ways to handle the stresses of my professional life. I am going to take things one step at a time. I am going to not take things so personally that don’t need to be. I am going to speak up when I don’t believe in an action, instead of holding it inside. I am going to take a leading role in my professional life and not let others walk all over me because I am a female in a male driven world. I am going to believe in myself and remember my motto- A smart person surrounds herself with even smarter people. I know what my abilities are and I know my limitations. Knowing that, I will ask for help.

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S CALL FOR ACTION: I think its only appropriate to plead to my reader’s that they also ask for help and recognize their own limitations. Especially if you are a woman. 2018 was a big year for us bad ass females in taking a leadership role and grabbing the world by its metaphorical balls and saying “no more!”, but that can lead many of us to take on too much and get in over our heads because we don’t want to be looked down upon for not having the abilities. That only makes this fight worse. Being able to recognize our limitations means we are smart enough to ask for help and strong enough to admit our limitations. So here it is, what are your limitations and how do you overcome them?

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

I might only have one match
But I can make an explosionAnd all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Cheers to 2018

In light of last weeks post about stress, I made the adult decision to take a couple weeks off from everything… so, sadly, this will be my last, official post for 2018 filled with witty commentary and clever puns.  I will make sure to have a “Monthly Check In” next week, but expect only one little chuckle, not the usual belly laugh you get week to week.

With this being my last, I wanted to look back on the fight thus far.  Even though its only been a couple months I do think that we have a come long way together. I also want to take a little time to talk about what my “Mia Bella Lotta Resolutions” are for 2019.  No, this won’t be my personal goals or resolutions as I want to take the next 2 weeks to really figure out what I want for me and this fight.  These “Mia Bella Lotta Resolutions” are for the “professional” portion of this fight.  Haha, I realized I just used the word “professional” for a space where I figuratively get naked in front of you all each week.

So join me on a journey to the past, as we take a look back…

MIA BELLA LOTTA WAS BORN!

I guess a good place to start while I look back at 2018 is that Mia Bella Lotta was created this year.  I made lemonade out of lemons.  I stood on that scale this past August and my stomach did back flips and sank to the ground.  I had hit rock bottom.  Besides cry, and cry a lot, I had the sensation that all I wanted to do was run up to the roof of my building and scream for the world to hear.  Seeing as the HOA strongly disagrees with my methods for stress relief, the next best thing was to write about it.  I had a thought “who else feels like this?”

I think we live in a world of extremes.  You see a great example every day in politics.  Its the two sides, the far right and the far left, that are constantly in the media, fighting to control politics, but you have those of us in the middle, the moderates, just running around in circles trying to be heard.  I feel the same is found in the weight loss and health community.   You have the fitness models and trainers who’s health is on point.  Then, on the other hand, you have those that strongly put themselves out there with a long journey ahead of them.  I want to be PC about this because I don’t want to look like I am making fun or bullying anyone.  I respect both sides because they are doing something to better themselves and not being lazy about their health and wellness.  There was a whole world of people that aren’t really represented here and its where I tried to fit in- the middle, the moderate health and weight loss seekers.  I have dubbed thee the “Everyday Girl” when it comes to health and weight loss.  I am not obese, but I am still not happy with where I am.  I am not lazy, but I am also not a crazy, health fanatic.  I am just your average, everyday girl that has some issues she needs to work out…. and I think I am massaging out the rough edges and will continue to build on this concept in 2019.

GOODBYE {SOME} WEIGHT AND INCHES.

Isn’t that what we are here for?  I can’t lose sight of the fact that, even with so much fight against me, I have been able to lose SOME weight.  As of my last Monthly Check-In I was surrounded by the number 5.  Thats 5LBs and 5 inches I’ve lost.  Thats about 10LBs and a handful of inches away from where I wanted to be, but its still something.  I can’t let that go.  I have to focus on the positive.  I have a couple factors working against me right now, as I discussed last week with stress being the most prevalent, but I have still been able to (literally) inch away less of me.  So… Yay!  Celebrations!  But don’t worry, I will stay grounded and won’t let my head get too big.

FIGURED OUT A ROOT ISSUE.

I always wondered why it was so hard for me to lose weight, no matter what I tried.  I would put my heart and soul into something, and, yes, sometimes I would get cocky and lose sight of the goal, but many times I also just felt like maybe my efforts weren’t good enough.  I knew that I had it in me to lose 10-20LBs because I had some success in the past, but why not now?  What changed?  Me, thats what.

This year I took the necessary steps forward to figure out what might be going on inside me.  Sometimes we have to look under the hood to see if all the engine parts are running smoothly.  What we found is that some of the inputs and outputs are out of wack which is causing stress on my body and that results in my body setting itself to “fight or flight” instead of normal.  Was it a relief to know that my efforts weren’t done in vain?  Absolutely.  Was there a clear and fast solution?  Nope.  This I will discuss in a later post about my 2019 Personal Resolutions.  Just know that I am trying to learn as much as possible about how someone in my situation functions AND how I PERSONALLY function and handle everyday stresses from work, wedding, social demands, etc.  I have the rest of my life to figure this out, with no deadlines needed, so I might as well learn everything I possibly can, right?

Now lets take a PROFESSIONAL Look Forward to 2019…

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S HOME

I will not just be taking these 2 weeks off to spend time with my family and friends for the holiday, but I also want to work on upgrading this entire thing.  I am a true novice when it comes to technology, websites, and such.  Ask my old business partner.  He says that when I am in a room with an electronic, the electronic breaks.  So I started off very beginner with the “look and feel” of Mia Bella Lotta.  My plan is, when Kevin and I go on our NYE adventure in a couple weeks, while he is skiing the slopes in Canada I am going to cozy  up in front of the fireplace with my laptop and get to work on Mia Bella Lotta 2.0, Mia Bella Lotta Alpha.  I have no idea what any of this means, but we will see what happens in 2019!

MIA BELLA LOTTA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

I made a goal for the end of 2018 to have 500 followers on Instagram.  That may not sound like a lot to you, but I haven’t been very active on it.  I need to step up Mia Bella Lotta’s social media game.  If I make Mia Bella Lotta a priority, then I am also making my health and wellness fight a priority.  See how that works out?  So I will post more.  I will let you all in more on my daily life and struggles in this fight.  Its not enough to just give you a weekly glimpse with the written word, but I want to visually show you the punches and falls I make and take.  Come on in.  Take a look around.  Open some personal drawers.  The water is warm(ish).

In conclusion of 2018…

This year I talked about my fight, and you joined me.  We talked about my feeling of solitude, and you lifted me up and joined my Girl Gang.  We talked about the importance of not playing the game of social media and let your friends in on your everyday life, and you did! We discussed travel and its pitfalls, and I made some baby steps to improve that!  We asked family to stop hiding our failures and let us know about them in a gentle way, and my Mom is STILL working on the gentle part. We discussed taking some responsibilities off our dance card and you should see my open January!  I have not thrown away that little black dress, but I did burn those fat sweats… so, baby steps.  I fell down and got back up.  I hugged my friends and did an inventory of who is supporting me.  But most importantly I felt love.  So thank you.

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S CALL TO ACTION:  Cheers my friends.  Cheers to you and all you’ve accomplished this year.  I, for one, am darn proud of you. So have fun with your family and friends, and make smart choices this holiday season.  Hug your family.  Tell your friends how much they mean to you.  Tell the person you love that you love them everyday… then sit back and cheers.

I’ll see you next year.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 157.8 LBS, Chest 31.75, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32, Below Hips 38, Largest Part of Butt 41.5.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Spell” by Marie Digby

A spotlight’s shining brightly
On my face
And I can’t see a thing
And yet I feel you, looking my way
An empty stage
With nothing but this girl
Who’s singing this simple melody
And wearing her heart on her sleeve
*Photo by Katie Mick Photography

Jesus Take the Wheel

I don’t even know how or where to begin this post because its just so damn complicated.  Crazy that I don’t have a clever opener here, right?  Thats how confused I am.  Let me give you a visual- I am like a puppy running in a circle around it’s self chasing its own tail.  Its funny because that is also exactly how I felt right after we got engaged.  I was so excited but I didn’t know where to start. This time I also don’t know where to start but I am not necessarily excited.  

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been eluding to some test I had done and some results I was trying to make sense of.  I consider myself a pretty smart person.  I’ve overcome some of my own personal odds to do some pretty remarkable things (at least to myself).  Yet here I am just not getting it.  I was initially hoping the doctor would give me the easy answer like, “Yep its your thyroid” while she throws a bunch of magical pills at me. Then the following week I’d be steadily starting to shed unwanted weight.  Nope, not that easy. 

Yes, my thyroid test did come back a little erotic when looked at over the last 3 years, but that is something that we are going to continue to monitor over the next couple months.  So for our sakes, lets just put a pin in it for now.  The biggie of the blood and “dry urine test”(there’s a visual) were my cortisone and my cortisol levels.  They were off the charts.  No, I am not using that as a turn of phrase, but 0 literally there was a chart and I was not on it for 1 -2 of my 4 check ins throughout one day.  So in a nut shell, my body is in a constant state of “fight or flight” holding on to every calorie it can because it thinks I am about to go to battle with no food to consume.  Silly body.   

This may seem like a really dumb statement, but I never really equated that how I felt emotionally could actually be related to how my body felt and reacted inside, resulting in producing some sort of chemical reaction and throwing my body’s normal course of business into Black Friday mode.  The 2 didn’t connect in my head.  I had separated emotional reactions and body reactions.  Let me explain this a little further.  If I was sad it was because of an emotion.  If my stomach hurt after eating it was because I overate.  I didn’t realize that because of the emotional sadness I could put stress on my body and when I ate a certain food my body may not be equipped to handle it because my body was too busy taking care of the emotional stress part.  Again, you may be saying “DUH LAURA!” but this didn’t occur to me until these last couple weeks.  Its like a light bulb went off. I am still not sure what I need to do with the light at the moment, but I am trying to figure that out.  

I saw a very good example just this week about how a body can react under stress.  Here is a real life situation comin’ at you… Part of my daily diet process is that I weigh myself every morning when I first wake up.  I’v been doing since we met.  When I started, I was doing this because it gives you a good read on how the foods you ate yesterday reacted with your body.  So Thursday AM I wake up and weigh myself.  I clock in at 157.6LBs.  I think “This is great news! I am on track for my weekly weigh in tomorrow!” Celebrations and confetti get ready!  Thursday goes like this: Weekly status meeting at work that I run.  They can be stressful especially when you work with your family. At the conclusion of the weekly status meeting, I then  quickly tried to get myself together for next week knowing that I won’t be in the office on Friday since we are leaving town for the weekend.  I tie up some loose ends and write some nasty emails that really get my blood boiling, but its all apart of the job, right?  After work I workout.  Then I ran around the City trying to get some last minute errands done to get the house ready for the Dogsitter.  Get home, take care of the dogs, make dinner, eat dinner, take shower, clean up house, sit down and read a little, then go to bed.  My food for yesterday was my usual protein shake in the AM, homemade chili for lunch (which I have been eating all week) and  a fish “taco salad” for dinner.  Yes, I ate dinner a little bit later than I like to , but I needed some fuel after my workout.  I also drank a hell of a lot of water yesterday, around 120oz.  Wake up Friday AM bright and early to start my day with a good weigh in and measurements.  Step on the scale excited to see some movement.  I am sure you all know where I am going with this…  158.2LBs.   Yep, I didn’t overeat and when I did eat I ate pretty clean, drank water, worked out, and still gained .6LBs. 

As I reflect on my day what was so different?  Well, its the meetings, the rushing to get things wrapped up for the week and ready for next week, the constant list of things that need to be done before we leave and never once did I sit down and take a deep breath.  The only relaxing part of my Thursday was that at 10PM I sat down to read a little more of my book.  10PM! 

I used to joke that I lost more weight when I was eating Taco Bell every weekend and going out drinking with my friends.  But maybe it wasn’t what I was putting into my body, but more how my body felt.  That was during a time when I had a lot less stresses in my life.  Also, when I was studying for the California State Bar I really thought it would be a good 12 week period of weight loss since I was working out about 5-6 days a week and not drinking.  Nope.  I can’t remember how much weight I gained, but I remember being very disappointed at the end of the 12 week period.  At the time I blamed emotional eating, but I guess now we know the culprit.   

I am not going into too much detail behind the science of how stress and weight loss interact because I still have a lot of information to manage through and a lot of conversations to be had. I more wanted to introduce the concept to you guys as I think this may become a major theme in upcoming posts. 

My doctor did caution me that that I should not make any major lifestyle changes when it comes to my diet and exercise at this time.  Especially seeing as the holidays are coming up and any drastic change may just cause more stress.  I did do some “extra credit” by grabbing a book to help explain the relationship between stress and our bodies.   Its a good read and does a pretty good job of explaining something very technical and medical to us “laymen”, but I am still confused as all hell.  Maybe that is why my doctor told me to sit back for a little and just take a daily regimen of holistic, witchcraft vitamins through the holidays while also trying to find daily tweaks to my routine to calm the fuck down. Huh!  Good luck telling that to a woman with a self proclaimed PhD in planning and filling up the social calendar.  

Now that I have seen this happen in real time with the .6LBs weight gain in a 24 hour period of solid work, I will admit that there are some little tweaks that need to be made to my daily routine.  So far, at the request of my doctor, I have hired a wedding planner, at least an hour before I go to bed at night I take away all technology and screens so that my body can start to make its way into sleep mode, and I am currently trying to get myself to take 5 minutes before I start my work day to meditate.  This one has been quite difficult because I am someone who just wants to get started on things once she walks through the office doors.  Also, its really funny to explain to your old school, Italian uncles that you need 5 minutes to meditate then she will get on that phone call.  This is just something that needs to be done, and maybe its not meditating but something else that I can find to do daily that will help me to relax a little more. 

Mia Bella Lotta’s Call to Action:  What is that small, yet significant change that you can make in your life to slow down and relax?  I always said I would do anything to get some weight loss going.  I even “joked” that if I couldn’t get a leg up I was going to turn to some more extreme medical intervention.  So if I was going to spend a butt ton of money on medical intervention why not actually do something free, daily that helps?  I get it, we are the generation of instant gratification, but this is a little ridiculous.  So lets all slow down and find what brings us a little inner peace so that maybe we can just make it on to the chart next time.   

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.2 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32, Below Hips 38, Largest Part of Butt 41.5.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “That’s the Way” by Jo Dee Messina

Well I know from experience
Nothin’s ever gonna make perfect sense
Oh, one day you get what you want
But it’s not what you think
Then you get what you needWell, oh, that’s the way it is
You gotta roll with the punches
That’s the way it goes
You gotta bend when the wind blows
You live you learn
You crash and burn
It’s hit or miss
And that’s the way it isYeah they say your soul is growin’
But sometimes I feel like throwin’ somethin’

Fa La La La, F-it

God rest ye merry dieters, let not this season bring your weight loss dismay.

Season’s greetings, Mia Bella Lotta Elves!  It’s that time of year when the herpes of crafts, glitter, explodes in your home along with yards and yards of holly, wrapping paper, and ribbon!

This seasons always makes me feel all toasty inside.  I’ll deny this if ever asked, but I still have hope, deep down inside of me, that Santa is still a real person who only works a seasonal job.  This hope brings be great joy.  The Danish and Norwegian have a word for this feeling, “hygge.”  There is no literal translation in the English language, but I found a pretty good explanation on the Googles of what exactly hygge is, “a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.”  Profound and deep- thats me in a nutshell.  Full disclosure, it took me 3 tries to spell “profound.”

Two years ago, Kevin and I spent Christmas and New Years in Copenhagen much to our parents dismay.  I believe the term “heathens” was thrown around a lot that year leading up to our departure.  The feeling you get when you are in Copenhagen during Christmas just screams HYGGE!  Maybe its the California girl in me, but there is something about that chill in the air, being bundled up, the twinkling lights, the colors of Copenhagen, and the endless supplies of glogg that just speaks to me.  What is glogg you may be asking?  Glogg is the warm, long island iced tea of Scandinavia.  More specifically, its mulled wine mixed with brandy and some accoutrements that have also been soaking in brandy for hours/days.  It will put you on your ass faster than you can say your name. One or two of these and you are in full hygge-mood.

The reason I bring up this hygge feeling is because of what is represents- the feeling of wellness and contentment.  Is it only me or do we all feel that as soon as December 1st comes around we get a false sense of security and contentment of where we are in our weight loss fight?  This results in us, once again, coming up with an excuse to throw out all the hard work we’ve put in training ourselves to break bad habits.   I mean, thank GOD swimsuit season is exactly 6 months away so you have time to maybe get back to where you started when you decided to take on this weight loss fight, right?  No. Not right. Wrong.

We have to break this self sabotaging habit of ours.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  So Spring comes around and we see that Summer is right around the corner, meaning time to step up the diet and exercise.  So we work and work and work until we are physically and mentally stressed for months to lose 5-10LBs.  Then December 1st screams at us and we say fuck it.  Rinse and repeat.  Sorry for the sailor talk, but we are all adults here. and I need the f word for dramatic purposes.  When ABC calls to make this blog into a television series, I’ll clean it up.  Until then, its warranted.

I have to give myself a little props this week.  I made it through the Turkey Day Food Extravaganza only gaining about .8LBs.  I even took a day off of working out this week because I was just so tired and needed a Laura Day on the Couch, like the good ol’ days.  The only difference was this time it didn’t end with a to-go container of my favorite delivery pasta from Defina on my chest.  Instead that pasta was replaced with my dog, Grace.  Grace and I got deep into the Netflix series “Making of a Murderer, Part II” and it was worth every relaxing second.

OK, so I passed Midterm Exam, but how will I fare with the final exam, Christmas?

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is going to be tough.   This is a holiday literally built around cookies, and pies, and sugar plums, and candy canes, and awesome holiday drinks like glogg… OH MY! What is a girl who literally loves every single one of those things to do?  Time to make a plan to plan.

Here is my November 30th, plan of attack for the month of December.  I am going to keep on, business as usual, with my workouts and my hybrid of a diet (100oz of water, don’t eat carbs after lunch, keep wine down to a minimum, etc.).  I am also going to try and limit my social events, but on the days when the unavoidable family activities occur, I will work that much harder with my workouts and my nutrition.

Doing a little self exploration I looked back at my weight tracking from the last couple of years to see how I have fared in this Christmas Story.  I’ve got to give myself another high-five.  I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping it tight during the Christmas season.   In 2016, I must have been some medical phenomenon because I actually lost 1.5LBs between early December 2016 and early January 2017.  In 2017, I only gained 3LBs.

That was the Laura of Christmas Past and a lot has changed.  Spoiler alert, for a future post I am working on, but test results have come back and, to make a long story short, my body hates me.  OK maybe thats a tad bit dramatic, but I believe you should come to expect that exaggeration from me by now.  Since October of 2017 I have overwhelmed myself both socially and professionally so much that my body, physically, is maxed out.  It threw in the towel.  Raised the white flag.  Result?  Until I can figure out how to handle stress better I will be on an uphill battle trying to lose weight.  If there is one theme you can take from this blog its that I don’t give up easily.  Challenge accepted.

Mia Bella Lotta’s Call to Action: Make a plan for December today.  Today is the last day of November.  Officially tomorrow you can cry glitter tears of happiness and feel all the hygge feels, but first make sure you make a commitment to yourself this Christmas season.   I keep reminding myself of how awful it felt to step on that scale last August, and 5LBs is easy to gain over the Holidays. Then I’d be back to step one.  No, I refuse.

So what is your motivation going to be?  What is your “August Gut Punch” feeling?  The holidays are a time to be around family and friends, so I don’t expect you to be an unsocial Grinch.  Thats why if you attack this season with a plan and a commitment, you are more than likely to come out better than you usually do.  Don’t think I’m right? Prove yourself wrong.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32, Below Hips 38.25, Largest Part of Butt 41.5.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “My Grown Up Christmas List” by Amy Grant

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies
Well I’m all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I’m not a child but my heart still can dream
So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself but for a world in need
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, no
This is my grown up Christmas list

11/30/18

There was ZERO chance I was going to weigh myself the day after Thanksgiving for my Monthly Check-in.  I am not a monster.  I think its important to also be reasonable when setting goals for yourself, as I talk about in this week’s post.  So here is the win for me this past month- the magic of the number 5- 5 LBs and 5 inches down.  Thats awesome, especially considering what’s been going on these last couple of months ::metaphorical pat on my back::

Thank-Full Heart

In the spirit of this Thanksgiving holiday, all week I’ve been posting on my Instagram (shameless social media brag in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….@miabellalotta) what I am thankful for. On this blog I’ve spoken about many of the subjects of these “thankful” post- family, friends, my health, but there is one very important subject of my life that I’ve kept kind of quiet. At first it was because I’ve wanted to hold it close and dear for me only…. but when you’ve posted your weight and measurements weekly for the world to see, is anything really left to be private? Probably not.

Without further adieu, the person that I am most thankful for is the love of my life, my lobster, my partner, my person, and my roommate- Kevin.  I used to hate when people said that they finally found their “other half” because I believed that when you finally give yourself to someone wholly you should also feel that you are whole.  How could someone else love who you are if you didn’t love yourself enough to think of yourself as a whole person?  Then I met Kevin and figured out what that meant.

When I first started this blog, I made the decision to not really talk about Kevin simply because he is a very private person.  This is one of my favorite parts about him.  Yes, I may every now and then crack a joke about him, but besides that I haven’t given up much information about him or our relationship.  Kevin isn’t one to post a lot on social media, talk about himself, or really make a lot of noise in general. Clearly, I hold the position of the loud person in our relationship and with great pride. If you looked up “the strong and silent type” there would be a picture of Kevin. He’s an old soul, and he’s my old soul. I’m pretty darn lucky, if I do say so myself.

It’s kind of funny that over the last three months I haven’t really mentioned much about him, especially since he is the one that has been second to most affected by my fight- and he’s never once complained.  Every single time I’ve said “honey we need to reschedule dinner with so and so” he doesn’t even miss a beat and understands. When I have a crappy day caused by a bad weigh in, he reminds me I am beautiful and that he thinks I am perfect. He understands when I get home late because my usual schedule is messed up and I just have to fit that daily workout in, he just picks up where I slack and feeds and walks the girls (our dogs). Once my Mom asked him if he’d love me if I was 500LBs? His answer….. 400 LBs would be his limit (smart ass).  In his little ways he’s been so supportive even when this fight has been disruptive to our usual way of life- and he’s made me laugh in the process. I couldn’t ask for a better half.

Kevin and I met back in 2008 back when we were both very different people. Although at first our relationship didn’t stick because of life events, when we did come back into each other’s lives almost 6 years later we had both become very different people. It was finally the right time for the both of us. I don’t think either of us had the maturity in 2008 to handle the type of relationship we were meant to be. I thank the time apart to grow up to make us the human beings we needed to become to fit together, and be each other’s halves.

We had both been in relationships in between our 2008 and 2014 meetings, but, at least I can speak from my experience, no relationship before Kevin supported me the way Kevin does.  I pretty much put my life on blast daily, weekly, and, even though that isn’t his cup of tea, when I ask him to take a ridiculous picture of me it only comes with 1-2 jokes. He will happily click away. Wow, did the “click” part of that sentence just date me pre-iPhones? Hours before he proposed to me I was making him take photos of me in Central Park, and he even thought in those moments “Wow I’m gonna marry that girl” and he proposed that night! Right? All the feels.

Kevin and I have very different road maps that make up our bodies.  Kevin comes from a small family where every thing didn’t revolve around food and big meals.  I come from a large, loud family where everything revolves around food and big, big meals.  My Mom is a fantastic cook.  She even used to have her own catering business with her best friend, Jan.  The two of them could out cook any James Beard awarded chef.  Have you tried their bacon wrapped shrimp?  I know the recipe and its for sale… kidding. I will die with it as promised.  The picture I am trying to paint in your mind is a large table full of family, but completely outweighed by the amount of food that could collapse the table from the weight.  That was/is my life.

Besides our family food priorities, both of our genetic make ups are completely different.  My family is Italian.  Kevin is Eastern European and Norwegian.  I’ve said before that if Kevin goes for 1 run a month, he is good. I, on the other hand, miss one day a month and I gain 2LBs.  Every person’s body chemistry is different, and he won the genetic lottery in metabolism.  Awhile back, before I started this whole crazy blog, I had a moment where I felt down not only about where I was in life (I am someone who needs forward momentum to feel like I have accomplished something- hence my weekly weigh ins), but also about myself wholly.   Kevin and I had a long talk about how I was feeling. I talked about where I was, weight wise, when we first met about 3 1/2 years before, versus where I was at that moment and how I was unhappy.  When we first started dating we went through a bottle of wine, each, every night.  I had to explain to Kevin the bottles of wine are more than likely why I had gained 20LBs since we started dating.  This was something foreign to him.  After that talk, he seemed to understand what I was going through, internally. Six months later, the lightbulb really went off when he found me in bed ugly, Kim Kardashian crying.  Since then, he has been nothing but a fantastic partner in my corner of this fight.

So I need to thank you, Kevin, for everything.  Thank you for helping me, supporting me, guiding me, picking me up, letting me cry, and reminding me not to over order at restaurants or to order dessert.   You’ve seen first hand the feelings I had that morning back in August when I laid in bed and cried from disappointment.  You seemed so defeated when you didn’t know what had happened to break my heart like that, and maybe even more defeated when you realized the cause of the cry was outside of your control.  I know that wasn’t easy, but thank you for giving me a hug and telling me you loved me, no matter what.

And in exactly 365 days I will become his wife and I am so dang excited I can hardly control myself- especially around cake.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: Last night was Thanksgiving, I’m not a monster.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Baby Hold On” by Dixie Chicks

Baby, it’s good to see you smile again
I know we can’t escape
So let’s pretend
We’re someplace else
It’s a new day
Let’s look at all we’ve got
It’s everything we thought
We ever wanted
It’s beautiful
Let’s start this over
(Baby, hold on)
We’re not much older now
(Baby, hold on)
If you still see what I see
Keep holding on
Hold on to me
 

Beautiful Photography by Tiffany Zabala Photography