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

On the Road Again

Initially I started writing this blog last week, but it got sidelined because things got nutty in my personal life. This is just a little caveat because this week’s post may feel a little disjointed since I have been living this for the last 2 weeks. So, in the spirit of lent, please forgive me.

Good news! I have been given the green light. I am locked and loaded. I take off in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. BLAST OFF. Diet time.

As I I have discussed at length, since Thanksgiving I have been working with my doctor to fix some internal hormone issue with various natural supplements. Just after the new year my doctor suggested that we test again to see how my body is reacting to all the new supplements. She explained that this test will give us a good indication as to whether we are on the right track or if we need to adjust anything.

Man, was I nervous. On one hand I wanted to be ready to move to the weight loss portion of my program, but on the other hand I knew that once the excuse of my internal body was taken away from me, I had no other excuse to lean on as to why I had been failing so miserably at dieting. At that point, it would just be me and my efforts. Talk about pressure. I sulked into my doctor’s office. I felt like a kid that was called into their principal’s office not knowing if they did something horribly wrong or if I was there to win “Best Student in the History of the School” award. Who doesn’t want to have the west wing of their grade school named after them?

Results are in. It’s go time. At first I was excited, but then I realized that this meant that at that very moment my worst nightmare was coming true and the only reason I wasn’t losing any weight was because I had taken my “status quo/ laizzez-faire” attitude to just plain laziness. I used the excuse of traveling and wedding planning as why I had regressed in my daily routine In reality, I was having a hard time reprograming myself back to healthy Laura, instead of the “Eataly A Day” dream.

So here we are, hitchhiking to get back Dieting Drive. I know I said that I wasn’t looking into dieting, but rather a healthy lifestyle, but maybe it takes something like a diet to reprogram the ol’ computer that is my body in order to get to the healthy lifestyle destination. Whenever something in my office breaks, my partner, to my complete annoyance, always asks me if I turned “it off and back on again?” Although I will never admit it to his face, he may be right this time around. I needed to turn my body off of dieting and monitoring what I was eating, then turn it back on again to work more efficiently and effectively.

At the direction of my doctor and her nutritionist I started the Whole30 AND intermittent fasting diet that week. Here I thought walking into my appointment with the idea of giving up dairy for lent was going to impress the socks off of my doctor. Talk about amateur hour! Like I said, full reset was needed.

A little background on the Whole30 for those of you that haven’t had a friend ask you to join them in the Whole30 Challenge (misery does love company)…. The Whole30 Diet consists of NO dairy, NO grains, NO sugar, NO legumes, NO alcohol, basically NO fun for 30 days. I am not exaggerating. Any form of fun is strictly prohibited. Smiling? Nope, you’ll gain weight from the muscle movement. Watching TV? Don’t work out those thumbs! OK, kidding, but thats what it feels like.

Now a little background on Intermittent Fast, for those of you that constantly see if promoted on some sort of social media application. There are many different types of Intermittent Fasting. The program I am following is not eating for X hours between dinner and your next meal, including coffee if you take it any other way but black. I like my coffee like I like my men- creamy? Sure, thats a word I’d use when describing Kevin. He’s creamy. At first I was told to not eat for 16 hours between meals. For someone that doesn’t actually get to eat dinner until anywhere between 6:30-8pm, the mornings are rough. This week we changed that to anywhere between 12-14 hours. This is a little more realistic.

In a nut shell, my life has become so restricted when it comes to my food and meals. I am restricted as to what I eat and what time I can eat. Prison for a foodie! As a result of the Whole30 program, I have turned to putting mustard on everything. Its pretty much the only condiment I can eat. Last night I made dinner for Kevin and my Dad, chicken “tortilla” soup. Really, I had a bowl of tortilla-less soup with chicken and avocado while they had a pile of tortilla chips and cheese with a soup bottom. I wanted to cave so bad. Tonight we are going out to dinner to one of our favorite steakhouses by my parents’ house. Its going to take every ounce of my body to not order a dirty martini with any type of cheese stuffed olives. EVERY. SINGLE. OUNCE.

I am about 1 day away from being 2 weeks in. The 1stt week, the LBs literally fell off. This 2nd week I’ve been stuck, slowly creeping up .1 of a LB at a time. I am hoping that this is just a part of the process. I am working my best to not become discouraged because its become a challenge for me to make it through the entire 30 days Again, I will not give up. This has become quite a theme here. This fight has no idea what kind of challenger it has in its opposing corner.

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S CALL TO ACTION: Did you give up or add anything into your life this Lent(al) Season? Last year was the first year I added something instead. In the spirit of positivity when I wasn’t feeling very great about myself, I challenged myself to reach out to a new friend every week that I had lost touch with or had not talked to in awhile. Just wanted them to know I was thinking of them and was still there for them. So don’t think you need to deprive yourself of something, because I believe the spirit is to do something in order to better you life. So go out there and better your life.

MEASUREMENTS; In the spirit of this process I will not be disclosing my weekly measurements and weight, but rather waiting until the last day to post my beginning and ending results- no matter the actual numbers.

SONG OF THE DAY: “Hard” by Rihanna

They can say whatever, I’ma do whatever
No pain is forever, yup, you know this
Tougher than a lion, ain’t no need in tryin’
I live where the sky ends, yup, you know this

Beauty Sleep

For many, many years I have had a lot of trouble falling asleep. Not sleeping, just falling asleep. Once I’m asleep, its all good. Even if I get up in the middle of the night to visit the “Little Lawyer’s Room” or to help my elderly pup use the “Little Weenie’s Room” I have no trouble falling back asleep. Its that first hour or two that I will toss and turn. My brain runs at a million miles per minute, which can be expected with my day-to-day routine and career. The hamster in my head, as I picture, is running on her wheel, doing her taxes, redesigning her kitchen, and planning her quinceanera all at the same time. I need help.

I’ve tried everything under the sun to get myself to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time excluding any prescriptions. I come from a long line of addicts who have struggled with various addictions so I have made a life commitment to try and stay away from any controlled substance that was not medically necessary.  What methods have I tried, you ask?  Let me count the ways…

I started with keeping the room dark for the last hour before I went to bed so my body could go through the cycle of producing melatonin to help me fall asleep. Fail.

I started taking melatonin supplements. At first it helped a little, but then it started to wear off no matter how much I upped the dosage.

Alcoholism wasn’t an option.

Then I turned to  turning off all “blue screened” electronics about 30 minutes to 1 hr before going to sleep. Nope.

The one thing that did help was Sleepy Time Weed, as it was known around my house. Don’t worry I only started this when medical marijuana was legalized in California, so don’t get your panties in a bunch. Also, my Grandpa knew about it, so it can’t be that bad, right? I’d meet my “dealer” (AKA the very nice guys from a delivery service) outside and exchange my cash money for something in a brown paper bag. No, I wasn’t rolling joints or doing anything cool like the kids did when I was in high school. Instead I vaped it. No pomp and circumstance here. This seemed to be a good method for getting sleep, but here’s the tricky part- although it worked for me when I was home or in the bounds of California, we also travel a lot. This put the lawyer into a very legal predicament. Do I take the chance and travel with it breaking all sorts of federal laws? I am too cute for prison. So instead when I traveled, and I know this is breaking one of my rules I stated above, I’d pop a Xanax. This was a solution, although not a good and viable solution. As you can see, I hit rock bottom and needed something healthier than smoking and dropping Xanies.

Thats when my weight loss doctor introduced me to NeuroScience Kavinace Ultra PM, a dietary supplement. Ready for some copied and pasted nerd talk? I’ve tried to explain as well as I can without a PHd. Here goes nothing… This magical supplement includes the GABA derivative, 4 amino-3-phenylbutyric acid, which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts as a GABAb agonist (a substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor). GABA is the body’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning it slows down the brain or a reaction. It also contains 5-HTP to support serotonin production, a precursor to melatonin. Serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals for regulating the sleep/wake cycles. Last, it also contains good ol’ melatonin to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promoting restful sleep. So, in a nutshell, this is like your grocery store bought melatonin supplement on steroids, which also takes care of what your body needs to do and produce before it can even effectively get to the melatonin stage.

I guess you can already guess what I am obsessing over this week- Neuroscience Kavinace Ultra PM. I have slept better than I have in a long, long time. I’ve been weed free since Thanksgiving 2018 and sleeping soundly. I take the supplement about an hour before I go to bed and wake up in the morning with no residue effect. It doesn’t “knock me out” so I am still able to hear when Audrey, my senior citizen dog, needs to powder her nose.

In addition to taking Kavinace Ultra PM, I also try to stay away from all electronics an hour before I go to bed. I have found that reading a good book helps to get my “sleepy process” started. Right now I am almost finished with “The Witch Elm” by Tanya French. Nothing like a good murder mystery to lullaby you into a great nights sleep, but it works for me!

I’ve found the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

Collagen. Okay, maybe I didn’t discover it, but I bet I got your attention.

Yep, thats right my first Obsessions review will be on the new (ish) sensational, stay young, hip like slap bracelets in the 90s, product- COLLAGEN PEPTIDES. I say “new(ish)” because collagen has actually been a product that many in the Chinese culture have used for years to ward off all sorts of evils, like aging.

Is it just me or has the idea of aging finally out ranked our fear of gaining weight? I swear every product, not just food and cosmetics, has some sort of “anti-aging” element built into it. I was looking for a new makeup brush, because mine is shedding more than my dog in the winter, and some brushes are now claiming to have vitamins and supplements to stop the aging process. Yes, I fell for it and its in my Sephora cart as we speak.

I started looking into collagen, and more specifically Collagen Peptides, last June. I was about 30 days away from living in a bikini in Mexico (also known as my own personal hell), and wanted to look as fabulous as this curvy body could. I can accept my curves, but where I draw the line is that patch of cellulite that has crept up over the tops of my cinnamon roll, italian knees. Cellulite on my booty? Sure. Who cares? Child’s play. Up top my knees where I MYSELF CAN SEE IT? OH HELL TO THE NO. I have no idea when this genetic catastrophe started to grow, but now its out and its proud. So I got on the googles and started researching ways to get rid of cellulite, even though I knew deep down inside there was no way to get rid of it. Collagen Peptides was one of those suggestions, so I purchased the largest tub of it I could find and went to town.

Now, over 6 months later, I still have the cellulite (even after dry brushing, buying lotions, and coffee ground scrubs), but since I have looked into other benefits of Collagen Peptides. I swear, once I started taking it every morning, it started to pop up everywhere I looked. Big Brother is always watching…..

After some research and self exploration, these are the possible benefits, the jury is still out on many, of adding more collagen to your diet:

  1. Anti- Wizard of Oz Tin Man Syndrome: Ever wake up in the morning reminiscent of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz because of your stiff joints? Collagen is the glue that holds your body together. Its literally found in almost every aspect of your body, including muscles, skin, blood, bones, cartilage, and ligaments. Thus, collagen can help with those that have joint pain, including arthritis (which some of you may know I currently have in my right foot). Thus, the “Oil” for your joints.
  2. Nature’s Botox: Collagen makes up about 75% of the dry weight of your skin, providing volume that keeps skin looking plump and keeps lines at bay. Thus, it helps reverse the beauty clock by promoting skin elasticity, better known as anti-aging benefits.
  3. Protein Power: As stated above, collagen can be found in so many different parts of your body, it can also help with weight loss. Collagen contains a concentrated amount of glycine. This can provide muscles with the fuel needed to power through a workout. So throw a scoop in your pre-workout shake for some added fuel.
  4. Tummy Troubles: Collagen is in the gut’s connective tissue and can help support and strengthen the protective lining of your digestive tract.  Maybe this will help next time I experiment with burrata cheese….

There are also many different ways to add collagen to your diet. I prefer adding a scoop to my coffee in the morning, Seriously, I don’t even notice its there. I have read many reviews of different products and even tried a couple brands, but I prefer Sports Research Collagen Peptides. We have it in both the canister and packet form for when we travel. It doesn’t clump at all and perfectly hides behind my morning coffee. For the reasons above, and not for the cellulite reasons, I would highly recommend adding it into your diet.

Article References:

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20180308/collagen-supplements-what-the-research-shows

https://www.healthline.com/health/collagen-powder-benefits

Writer’s Block

I think I need to explain why I was absent the last 2 weeks, completely throwing one of my 2019 NYE Resolutions out the window like some old trash (Please don’t think I throw trash out my window. That would make me a terrible person). I was absent the last 2 weeks from writing because, one, we had a lot going on and adding the pressure of writing something here that was meaningful felt like a chore, and, two, if I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t that inspired. I guess that would be what writers call “Writer’s Block.”

The last 3 weeks have gone a little something like this: good food, good water, good workout, great weigh ins all week that I can’t wait to share with you everything I’ve accomplished. Then Friday comes along and, “oh farts, how in the world did I gain X amount of weight overnight?” This “oh farts” moment would follow a day where I worked out and ate great. On the other hand, there would be weigh ins following days that maybe I didn’t workout and I’d lose weight? Which, once again, makes me a puppy running in circles not knowing what to do. Do you know what the worst part is? The last 3 weeks I’ve felt like there was a shift in me, like a lightbulb had gone off. I felt like I was getting the hang of this “less stress” lifestyle and finally calming the F down even in a time when there was, in fact, a lot going on. It even got to the point where earlier this week I was not only excited to tell you all about it, but also inspired. So I started to write…it went little something like this. HIT IT….

The last 2 weeks have been cray. Like cray, cray.

2 weeks ago Kevin and I celebrated our engagement with close friends and family. Then this last week we tried to pack up 2 completely whole individual adult lives into some boxes so that we can finally fulfill a lifelong dream of both of ours, moving closer to the ocean. Man, it took a lot out of me and I didn’t want to try and force a weekly post knowing in the back of my head that I didn’t have it in me, and I didn’t have the inspiration that I normally find. So, in keeping with my 2019 NYE Resolution, I took the pressure off and just didn’t. You know when they say “I literally just cannot”? Well, I literally just could not.

Moving forward I am going to use what I learned the last 2 weeks and if I can’t, I won’t. I don’t want to force something out to you guys because then there is no heart, and there will certainly be no humor. Without heart and humor I am just flesh, bones, and cellulite. I’d be as useful as Lindsay Lohan is to TV right now, useless. No offense Lindsay, but I’d say your days of entertainment outside of a MEME are over. I’d say time to audition for Celebrity Big Brother, but your Mom already beat you to that.

Today, though, is different. I’ve felt something in the last couple weeks that has been on a slow simmer. Then this week I had a check up with my doc and as we talked through how things were progressing something inside clicked. The cartoon lightbulb appeared. The good news is, I wasn’t the only one who saw it, so did my Doctor. She looked me right in the eye and said “I think its time to run tests again to confirm.” This is literally the only test I’ve ever been excited to take.

So what changed? What made the light turn on inside? I don’t know, but if I can make it through the last 2 weeks without murdering anyone I think we are on to something.

First, I’ve decided I need to handle stressful situations at work and home differently. I need to take a step back and look at it from all angles and figure out the different options available to me for results. Usually I would just react, which usually manifests itself in the form of a good ol’ fashioned, Italian freak out, then have clarity after I stomped my feet like my niece when I take away her Barbie doll. For a 5 year old thats OK, for a 35 year old, grow up.

Second, I was stressed about finding my destresser. That is ridiculous. I am already a planner that plans to make plans, I can’t also be a stresser that stresses about destressing. That is too long of a resume. So why was I stressing? I have been trying to figure out what it was that helps me to really “zen out” and bring me inner peace. Here is what I came up with- traveling, massages/spa days, hanging out with my friends, shopping, and cooking. All of those are going to leave me fat and broke. I am very jealous of the men out of there that go fishing. I wish I had anything inside me that found that enjoyable. To me it sounds as enjoyable as watching paint dry. People have advised that I should meditate. At first I tried it in the AM right when I walked into work, but I am so ready to start my day that I usually press completed on my iPhone reminder and moved on. Then I tried to fit it into my day at some other time. Cut to 10PM and its bed time. You know what the only thing is that gets me to stop thinking? You know what my “fishing” may actually be? Either a good Netflix and Chill OR working out. So I will stick to Naps, Netflix, and a clever workout that starts with the letter N (I googled it and didn’t find anything).

Third, like my 2019 NYE Resolution, I’ve taken the pressure off myself to lose weight. My motto has been “Status Quo and Go.” Meaning that if I am in a place right now that I won’t be able to lose weight, then why am I beating myself up so much trying to succeed in an impossible task? Instead just fight to keep everything as you are now. I think that is helping. I keep my regularly scheduled program- tons of water, exercise 5 days a week, eat healthy, and only choose vices in moderation- unless that vice is Justin Timberlake than you always go overboard.

Fourth, I need to stop multitasking so hardcore. Stick to one thing and complete it. I always thought my multitasking was something to be proud of. I wore it like a badge of honor. I always found it quite funny that Kevin can never multitask, but I can juggle four things at one time. Look at me over here spinning 4 plates on sticks while you just bounce one ball! Haha. I am the best. Nope, fail. It is said that when you multitask you never actually efficiently and effectively finish each task. So get in line “Things to Do” we are taking you in one at a time. NO CROWDING!

… see! I thought I had it all figured out. Silly Laura.  

Just as I wrote above, early next week I get to retest with my doctor. I don’t know what I am more afraid of? Finding out my cortisone and cortisol levels are fixed but I am still not able to lose weight? Or have I not done enough to actually shift my levels and now I need to change my entire lifestyle and personality? I know that’s a crazy fear, but that’s what I am worried about deep down in my gut.  This fear sits chickpea pasta adjacent.  

So I don’t have it together and I don’t know what to do.  Hence me being a puppy running around in a circle.  Hopefully there will be a break in this circle soon so I can get some clarity and better directions.  

This week there will be no “Mia Bella Lotta’s Call to Action.” I don’t really feel like preaching right now. Here is a promise, I can see the correlation between me not posting and my progress. I need and thrive with accountability.  So instead of me forcing a post each week for you all, on the weeks I don’t feel inspired or I don’t have the time to write my poetic justice, I am going to write and/or post about products, services, or things I like that week/things that are helping me. This will be another layer added to my fight- the tools that are in my corner. I hope you enjoy.

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: “Rain on our Parade” by Duffy

I pity the fools who believe in you
Cause I know someday now they’ll see your colors too
And if you see a smile besides my face, no, I’m doing good now
Since you’ve been erased
Cause I know in time you’ll see what you did to me
And you’ll come running back
 
I’m gonna rain on your parade, no, I won’t take it again
And I’ll keep raining, raining, raining over you

1/25/19

This weekend we are celebrating our engagement surrounded by our loved ones. Today, there is a lot of family and friends that are coming into town early to spend some quality time with both of us. So this week there won’t be a weekly blog, but next week we are back to our regularly scheduled program.

Until then…

XOXO #MIABELLALOTTA

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