There’s No Goal Without a Plan

Wow, its been a hot minute since we’ve last talked, huh? Its just been crazy over here in the world of Mia Bella Lotta, speaking to my personal life. We finally made the big move that Kevin and I had aways talked about doing. We sold our place in the Dogpatch, San Francisco and headed as far west as we could. We are officially residents of Half Moon Bay, CA. I’ve gotta say, its quite lovely. Words like “lovely” are words I use now that I am part of the “Coast People.” I traded walks dodging needles and homeless people for views of the ocean! Movin’ on up!

I want to apologize for leaving you hanging the last month or so, but now you know what I’ve been up to. As much as I’d rather have been sitting around eating cupcakes and losing weight from using my TV remote hand too much, that was not the case. If you still require a visual for a clear picture of me from the last month or so, and I don’t want to leave anyone behind, I’ve been behind a mountain of boxes trying to figure out which one has all my sports bras. Literally just running around in circles building forts out of boxes.

So where did we leave off? Oh yeah, I was pretty much a Stage 7 Vegetarian, meaning I could not and would not eat anything that casts a shadow. OK, maybe that was dramatic, but its how I felt inside and feelings are important to recognize. In reality, I was coming down from the world’s worst food hangover after having completed my first round of the Whole30 followed by a long weekend in NOLA. No, you don’t have to re-read that sentence. I did say first which implies that I completed multiple rounds of the Whole30. I did. I completed the Whole30 TWICE. The first time I lost about 10LBs. The second time, after NOLA and a little bit of a relapse, I lost about 4LBs. This brought my grand total down just under 12LBs. Don’t worry about my math, and lets not focus on what I did in between. Nothing to see there.

That is what has lead me to today, because as the ol’ saying goes, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” I can say, with all honesty, that the Whole30 was a huge success and a great foundation laid for me, but I still have a little under 6 months until the big day. Now its time to figure out how to live a life as close to the Whole30 without burning out. Lets get real… its not a sustainable lifestyle, and remember I am looking for a LIFESTYLE and not a DIET. So how can I turn what I’ve learned from the Whole30 into something sustainable? This is where trial and error comes in.

First, I want to point out a few thing I liked about the Whole30. I guess we can so say the most important thing is that I actually saw and felt weight loss. That was the big win. Another big win, and most people may not know this, but I have had eczema since I was a baby. Its something that plagues my family. Through the years I have learned that a cause of my eczema may be a side effect of the foods I eat (like dairy). I always brushed that fact aside because “mine is hereditary” (real quote from me to anyone who mentioned my diet being a cause). As a result, I have been using a steroid cream where my eczema was the worst, around my eyes. Yep, I’ve put a steroid around my eyes every day since I was in 6th grade. I worshipped this cream like it was my Windex. It could fix anything. Random rash? Try my cream. Burn? Try my cream. Blemish? Try my cream. Broken tail pipe? Try my cream. You get the picture. You know what a steroid in the eye can cause? Glaucoma. Yep. So while its healing that rash, its slowly *maybe* causing me to go blind or, if not blind, make me look like my 15 year old dog, Audrey, with cloudy eyes. As you may have guessed I am a little vain, so that is not a choice I’m willing to make. I also realized that as I grow up my eczema traveled to different places on my body, never actually finding a permanent home. So there was a good chance that my body’s need for the cream around my eyes could be because of an addiction to the steroid on the skin around my eyes. Steroids can do a number on your body, including making mine a good candidate to hang out in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. I knew if I had any chance of getting my skin to kick this steroid habit it would be when my body was running at its cleanest. I can happily say that I am now FOUR WEEKS sans steroid cream. In the past, I’ve never been able to make it a week without it. Amen.

Last, and I will deny it if you tell people this at public functions, I liked not waking up hungover. Not that I drank that much before, but even taking that one more day a week off of the table made me feel like a million bucks. I walked into work on Monday with less of the Monday Blues. It felt dang good. Of course, as I said in the past, I missed a good dirty martini so this feeling was short lived, but at least I can sustain from over-drinking easier.

Now lets talk about the things I didn’t like about the diet. First and foremost, how strict it is. There are no small “cheats” and it turned me into the person I hate to be at restaurants, “excuse me but what ingredients are in this steak tartar?” or “do you add sugar to your mayonnaise?” It took us what seemed like hours to order a simple salad with all my questions. I hate being that person. I make fun of those people. Besides that there wasn’t really anything else I didn’t like about it- besides not being able to eat ice cream cake, or ice cream, or cake.

So that leads me to my plan, or my “working” plan. How can I use the elements I liked and fix the ones I hate in order to get me through at least the next 6 months?

Rule #1: On School Nights, Paleo. What is Paleo? Its Whole30 without being so strict. So no alcohol, sugar, dairy, carbs, or legumes on school nights. If I happen to have a bunless burger with ketchup with added sugar, so be it. If thats the worst thing on my plate I’d say I’m winning.

Rule #2: Weekends 80/20. This is where my trial and error comes in. I need to figure out what 80/20 looks like to me. I can’t count past 10 with my shoes on, so making me do actual math between meals and ratios would be a pure disaster. For now, I am walking the fine line between the right amount of carbs and balls deep in carbs like a tightrope artist. I’ll let you know when I come to a solution.

Rule #3: Workouts *at least* 4 days a week. This rule will not be hard for me to follow. I am addicted to getting a workout in. Our new community has a pool, and I can’t wait to jump in and start swimming laps again!

Rule #4: Lots of water! My body has come to the point that if I don’t have at least 60Oz of water by 3pm my lips get dry. Chalk this up to another rule I’ll ace.

Rule #5: Intermittent Fasting. Before, one week I would fast for 12 hours between my dinner and next meal, then the next week I would make it 14 hours. This is another aspect of my plan I need to experiment with. It was a successful cycle during the Whole30, but that may have been because of the clean eating. Since being off, it seems my best weeks for weight loss are the ones where I stick to 14 hours. I may just stick to 14 hours for a couple weeks and see how it goes, so stay tuned. This may seem easy to some of you, but remember that coffee is considered a meal if you don’t take it black.

Goal: My goal moving forward is to lose at least 2 LBs each month starting in June. This may seem easy, but for May I started at 151.6 and ended at 150.2. Thats -1.4. Note that I ended my second round of the Whole30 on 5/10, so that is a couple weeks of me with my trial and error experiment. So at the end of June I want to be at 148.2. Just as I had a hard time with breaking through the 160 into the 150s, I know that its going to be just as hard breaking out of the 150s into the 140s, but man do I have the motivation.

Here are my stats for June. I am going to keep my stats to monthly moving forward to see if I hit my goal.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 150.2, Chest 36, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32, Below Hips 37, Largest Part of Butt 40.5.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “What I cannot change” by LeAnn Rimes

I know what makes me comfortable
And I know what makes me tick
And I when I need to get my way
I know how to pour it on thick

Cream and sugar in my coffee
Right away when I wake
I face a day, and pray to God
I won’t make the same mistakes

All the rest is out of my hands
I will learn to let go what I cannot change
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change
I will learn to love what I cannot change
But I will change, yeah I will change
Whatever I, whatever I can

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

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!

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

My Apology

I had an entire blog post set up and ready to go, but I had to scrap it.  I crinkled up that piece of paper and threw it into the trash of other scrapped rants.    Not going to lie, but I am a little frustrated at the moment, with hints of despair.  Right now I feel like I have not only let myself down, but let some of you down.  The feeling of letting a friend down is so much worse than just having myself to live up to.  This 2nd blogiversary did not end like I wanted it to end.  Last week things were looking on track. I was dusting off the ol’ gold star stickers from elementary school, but I might have put the cart before the horse and got too cocky.  Here I was all ready to post about fruit, vegetables, and eating in moderation, when just until recently I wasn’t doing anything in moderation.  I guess its true….Those that can’t, teach, or blog.

This is a new feeling- the feeling of letting others down.  I am trying to make myself an inspiration to others that feel the same way as I do, and I screwed it up.  I don’t like to disappoint, but what I lack in self control I make up for in backbone.  I will always be the first to admit when I did something wrong and apologize.  So, here it is- My Apology.

I am sorry.

Plain and simple.  Three short words that are packed with so much meaning. I also know you can’t just say “I am sorry” without knowing what you did that was wrong. In light of that…

I am sorry for getting cocky which resulted with me getting clumsy with my fight.  As I’ve said before, I am a planner who plans to plan.  So there was, and is, a plan to come out of this fight with a big “W” and all of the gold star stickers…

MY “KICK WEIGHT LOSS IN THE ASS” PLAN

  1. Upon wake up weigh yourself to help reflect the events of the previous day;
  2. Drink 16 oz of water before you put anything else in your body;
  3. Drink at least 100 oz of water in one day;
  4. Track anything and everything you put in your mouth for consumption;
  5. Carbs are your Brunch Buddies, but avoid carbs like your friend who gets sloppy drunk around sunset;
  6. Drink a glass of water when you find yourself hungry to make sure you really are in fact hungry;
  7. Workout. Like a lot. And hard.  Make it count; and
  8. Drink alcohol only one night/time/event a week, but stay away from wine (too much sugar- makes me bloat).

And done. Easy peasy.  As the time went on, I started to see a pound here and there each week shed off. Then, BAM. I got derailed from my perfectly put together plan.  Little by little instead of the pounds, my plan started to shed.  As of this last Monday I had gained 5 LBS from Friday, drank two days that weekend, didn’t track my food consumption from the weekend, ate carbs after lunch, and snacked without drinking my water.  So there it is.  My stumble.  I Paula Abdul’d this diet and took three steps forward and two step back.

Another thing that is very discouraging is knowing how hard I worked physically this month and knowing that this may be how hard I’ll have to work for the rest of my life to NOT gain weight. And listen to me carefully here. I am not saying that’s how hard I’ll have to work to LOSE weight, but rather how hard I’ll probably have to work to NOT GAIN weight. Makes me want to beat up the spokesperson for Walk Shop who always says “walk 10,000 steps a day for the rest of your life and never gain a pound.” Lies! You sit on a throne of lies!

Right now I am at an important crossroad in this beautiful fight.  I have two weekends away in a row starting today.  This is going to be a big test for me and my commitment to myself.  Do I drown further in this misery or do I pick myself up, dust myself off, grab my tracking book and 30 oz water bottle, and get this shit back on track?  I don’t consider myself one to really just give up so easily……So “Shit Back on Track” option it is.

I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  There are going to be setbacks.  I am not perfect.  You are not perfect.  We have to all recognize that.  If it was easy, this wouldn’t be a fight and everyone would have the body of Khloe Kardashian post Lamar Odom break up.  This isn’t for the weak, this is a fight for the strong.  I will be strong even when I get punched.  Will you?

I will end, as I always end my weekly posts, with a call to action, but this time this call to action is for me.  Self, you will not give up on this fight.  You are going to drink that 100 oz of water and get back into the ring and kick this weight loss’ butt.  Now.

And thank God I see the thyroid doctor on Monday.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.4 LBS, Chest 36.75, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32.5, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “You’ll Be Okay” by Great Big World

You’ll be okay
You’ll be okay
The sun will rise
To better days
And change will come
It’s on it’s way
Just close your eyes
And let it rain
‘Cause you’re never alone
And I will always be there
You just carry on
You will understand
You’ll be okay
You’ll be okay
Just look inside
You know the way
Let it go
Fly away
And say goodbye
To yesterday

John Mayer Was Right

Spoiler alert…. It may not be entirely your fault that you can’t lose weight. Say what? Okay, John Mayer never said that, but he did say that “your body is a wonderland” and gosh darn it he is right.  It is.

If you are having trouble losing weight it may not be entirely because you are doing it wrong, or your efforts aren’t the right efforts, or that low calorie diet isn’t the right diet. It’s crazy to think that a diet could be wrong, right? Isn’t that why its called a diet? Because you are on a special course of food to which you restrict yourself? We are living in a time where there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of different diets- Low Carb, Keto, Atkins, WeightWatchers, Jenny Craig, Mediterranean, Paleo, Whole30, Nutrisystem, Wedding Diet (nothing like a diet based solely on financial stress, haha)… the list goes on and on. Yet there is a chance that if you are exercising, eating healthy, drinking water, and getting a good amount of sleep you would still be in for the disappointment of not effectively losing weight. That is just craziness.

Before I dive head first into this topic I would like to slide into your DMs for a moment and remind everyone that I am not a nutritionist since I believe that Taco Bell is an actual food group. I am also not a fitness expert, although I hang with one, but that is for another day and another time. Last, I am no doctor. Well actually that is technically a lie. I am a doctor, just not that kind of doctor. Lets just say if the law needed to lose weight in a healthy way, I am that doctor. Okay, went off on a tangent there, but I am telling you this because I don’t want you to take anything in today’s post as the Bible. For the first time I am actually going to try and do a little light “research” on this issue and wet your metaphorical palette with some knowledge grenades. Then maybe from my 30,000 foot view on the issue, it will motivate you to dig a little deeper and actually talk to someone who is a doctor and/or expert in this field.  Just make sure its a medical doctor, not a law doctor.

When I first started this this fight I had a tremendous outpouring of well wishes and support from friends and family. As I have said before I received a ton of texts, messages, and even a couple drunk phone calls from girlfriends expressing their love for me. Among these messages of support, I also received a couple asking if I had ever had by thyroid checked. This wasn’t really news to me as I’ve heard others talk about this issue before, but I truly thought that this issue was reserved for someone with far more weight to lose. The moment where it really sunk in that a thyroid issue can happen to anyone is when an old friend of mine, Felice, texted me to send me over some information. If I can paint you a quick mental portrait of Felice- she is dark haired beauty of a slender woman who, when I met her in Los Angeles years ago, was writing the witty and smart intros to those Netflix DVDs we used to all receive in the mail, but has now grown to be a full on writer.  The key word here is “slender” meaning that she didn’t need to lose a freakin’ ounce of weight, and she will wholeheartedly admit to that. Felice had other issues that were controlled by her thyroid- sleep. So I started to do some digging…

Oh, thyroid gland. The turtleneck to your throat. The inside winter scarf to our necks. This bugger can cause all sorts of issues. Through the hormones our thyroid produces it is the social influencer of a majority of our bodies metabolic processes. It is the Bachelor contestants of the Fab Fit Fun box, where for some of us what is in that box is just the right amount of hormones our body needs to function effectively and the way its suppose to. On the other hand some might have been dealt a Fab Fit Fun Box of the throat that contains a bunch of ineffective amounts and types of hormones causing the exact opposite effect, and to be on point with this blog, lack of weight loss. Okay, thats enough science today. I can already hear you all calling me a nerd and moving on.

The point is, maybe my current frustrations with my lack of weight loss isn’t entirely because of me and the efforts I am putting into it. It could be something that is currently completely out of my control, and, as many people know I hate the idea of being unable to control something. Thats why I don’t appreciate the ocean or flying. I am not in control of what happens once I am Snoopy Floating in the ocean or leavin’ on a jet plane- since I don’t know if I’ll actually be back again. Thus, after some discussion with Felice, I decided to reach out to my doctor about this possible thyroid issue. Frankly, I was about 6 months away from turning to modern medical procedures and have the lot of it sucked the f out. Okay, maybe I am being dramatic, but you get the point. I had literally hit rock bottom.  If there was an avenue for me to explore to help on this fight, you best believe I was going to run down it.

Here is something else I was warned about, many of your everyday doctors won’t look into thyroid issues. If your one thyroid test comes back normal, that is where the doctor will stop. Look, I don’t want to tell doctors how to do their jobs, but I can tell you if a client came in with a legal issue and I only looked at it from one angle I would be committing my own form of legal malpractice. But again, they have a couple more years of schooling on me. So my doctor told me, point blank, no to any further testing and instead set me up with an appointment with a nutritionist.  Girl, bye.  I’ve got one of those already. My doc figured that since my one test result looked fine, nothing more was needed.  Take that AM donut out of your diet, mission accomplished.  But she was ignoring the fact that my mom has a thyroid issue, which I can’t entirely blame since its not a hereditary thyroid issue.

Do not think that is where I stopped. I am one stubborn Italian.  I jumped on my computer and went, wait for it, out of my health insurance network and tried to find someone who would listen and would help on this fight with me. After an initial phone call with a doctor, I was informed that it very well could be my adrenal gland, my thyroid gland, any gland that is responsible for our hormones, that is causing this uphill fight. Also, yes, many doctors fail to take it the next step when their patient only has about 10-30 LBS to lose because they just consider it lack of trying or effort. I don’t know why there is this push back from many western doctors, but I am going to move forward and look into my thyroid even if it costs me a few Lincolns.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, here is my call to action for all of you.  I currently have a follow up appointment to get started with testing my variety of glands and what nots to see if this is possibly not entirely all about the efforts I am putting forward, but could also be something that I am not entirely in control of. Since I hate not being in control I am going to take the control back. If you are relating to this fight because you have your own weight loss issues and frustrations- Get on that computer and find a doctor or a nurse practitioner who will help you take that extra step. Jump on the Google machine and make some phone calls. I want us all to be in control of our weight loss fight.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 156.8LBS, Chest 36.75, Under Boob 30.25, Belly Button 32.75, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake

Don’t be so quick to walk away (Dance with me)
I wanna rock your body, please stay (Dance with me)
You don’t have to admit you wanna play (Dance with me)
Just let me rock you till the break of day (Dance with me)

 

Little Black Dress

That Little Black Dress.  Beautifully crafted with fabric that transformed into ribbon that had been strategically wrapped around me.  It hugs every curve like the dress was made for me and only me.  I wore it to Barrister’s Ball during my second year of law school.  I wore that dress with such confidence, and felt damn sexy in it.  And why would’t I?  Law school had such a negative effect on me in so many different ways except maybe one- I lost so much weight.  All that stress, heavy book lifting, multiple highlighter arm curls, getting my steps in as I paced the Law Library, and running up and down the stairs of my law school’s high rise building really paid off.  I had also stopped working out entirely for the first two years because there was absolutely no time for working out.  I figured if I had time to workout, then I had time to read and study instead.  Screw the low carb diet, try the law school diet.

We all have that one article of clothing.  It could be my Little Black Dress, skinny jeans, or a tube top (they are bound to come back into style one of these days).  It doesn’t matter what it is but we all have one- the “I Will One Day Fit Into It Again So It Will Hang In My Closet Until The Day I Die And They Have To Pry That Sucker Out Of My Cold Dead Fingers” article of clothing. Its the article of clothing that we leave in our closet hoping to one day fit into again. Its our benchmarker for when we will finally be satisfied with our weight and/or size.

On the other hand, some of us have the exact opposite article of clothing- our Fat Sweats.  You know the ones… the ones that you literally have to wash before you can even put them on because they’ve been rolled into a ball in the back of one of your drawers.  Its probably not even in your pjs/sweats’ drawer.  Its probably rolled into the back of your unmentionables’ drawer for safe keeping. My old-roommate, Shannon, and I had a very fond name for this “fat” outfit.  It was our “Football Uniform” because the accompanying shirt was usually the same heather gray as the sweats.  It was our secret (well I guess not so secret anymore, sorry Shan) that if we ever wore this outfit in front of a significant other then we felt that person was “our person” and could be trusted to look past the Football Uniform and at the beautiful butterfly inside it. My Fiancé (ahh love saying that), Kevin, calls this outfit my “Golden Gate Griffin Grays” and witnessed this piece of fashion forward art around date number two as I raced for the door to meet Comcast one morning.  I, once again, digress.

The point I am making is that we have these various articles of clothing in our possession and I don’t think either of them are doing any of us any favors as we journey on our fight for healthy weight loss.  On one hand you have the Little Black Dress.  I wore that dress almost TEN years ago.  I was in my mid 20s.  I don’t have any business trying to look like I did when I was in my mid 20s as I try and own my mid 30s.  We have all created this unrealistic expectation that we can travel back in time, defying gravity, and flip our no longer nimble bodies into the Little Black Dress, sashaying in public while heads whip so fast to check out the hot babe that necks literally break.  I’m sorry, but it ain’t gonna happen.

We need a new Little Black Dress or a new metaphor.  We need to stop trying to move backwards, and instead move forward to a new, healthy goal that works for your mid 30s arthritic toe’d body.  I workout more today than I ever have.  Before I left for my last trip I literally googled gyms in the area of my hotel in New York.  WHO IS THIS PERSON?  As I packed for our trip I ran my fingers across that Little Black Dress.  THE Little Black Dress, and thought “hmmm I wonder if I should bring it?”  WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD I DO THAT TO MYSELF WHEN I HAVE COME THIS FAR!  So I passed on it and moved on to dresses I bought in this decade instead.  I moved to dresses I bought for 30’s Laura, and when I got home I made the decision that I am going to throw the dress out!  Okay, well not actually throw it out. That was more of a visual for you all.  I am not a monster.  Let me try that again.. and when I got home I requested that ThredUp send me another discard bag and I’ll wait for that bag for about 3-4 weeks and once I receive that bag I will lovingly fold that dress up and place it in the bag which will sit in the corner of my apartment until I have filled that bag and THEN I will put the UPS label on the bag and send it off for someone else to wear and feel like the dress was made for them.  And breath. Phew.

Now to the Football Uniform or the Golden Gate Griffin Grays- whatever you may call it in your house.  Yep, I see you cowering in the corner.  Get out here.  See the daylight for the first time in months.  You’ve got to go.  I know its unfair because we all want to have a “fat” night, but why do we want to have an article of clothing we can wear when we are fat?  If you can’t get on this journey for the sake of yourself then do it for your wallet.  Throw those fat sweats out and tell yourself “Self, you can’t gain weight because we can’t afford to buy new clothes. End of discussion.”

Now if you lose so much weight that new clothes are a necessity, well then its time to celebrate and please don’t forget to call me to go shopping with you!  Who am I kidding? I haven’t stepped into a brick and mortar clothing store in years….. Oh, and the Football Uniform does not go into the ThredUp bag.  They do not take articles of clothing with holes in them.  Those go into the trash.  Now.

Okay, its that time.  Its time for a call for action.  Walk your hot, curvy butt into your room and grab your Little Black Dress and  Football Uniform.  Little Black Dress, donate or sell yourself (Might I recommend ThredUp, Poshmark, or eBay?). Football Uniform, burn.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.4LBS, Chest 37, Under Boob 30.25, Belly Button 33, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 42.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Going Out In Style” by Kellie Pickler

When my time comes to an end
Don’t be sad
Don’t you shed one tear
Take me back to the place
I love the most
All my best memories were made
In my time here
Don’t be sad or broken hearted
Spread my ashes in the shoe department
Everybody knows that’s where I want be
Jimmy choo choo, saks fifth avenue
For all eternity smells like heaven to me