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

Cheers to 2018

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

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

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

MIA BELLA LOTTA WAS BORN!

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

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

GOODBYE {SOME} WEIGHT AND INCHES.

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

FIGURED OUT A ROOT ISSUE.

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

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

Now lets take a PROFESSIONAL Look Forward to 2019…

MIA BELLA LOTTA’S HOME

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

MIA BELLA LOTTA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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

In conclusion of 2018…

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

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

I’ll see you next year.

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

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Spell” by Marie Digby

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

Jesus Take the Wheel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fa La La La, F-it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11/30/18

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

Thank-Full Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful Photography by Tiffany Zabala Photography

 

Dearest Second Digit

Muscle weighs more than fat.  That’s something that skinny people say.  Period.

Every morning, I step on the scale and it yells back at me with three digits. I am usually only unhappy with the second of these three digits. The first digit? Cool, it ain’t gonna change. The third digit? Eh, whatever. It changes daily. The second digit? Holy hell, why?!?!

I’m sure most of you have seen the photos where they compare 5LBs of fat versus 5LBs of muscle? Spoiler alert, 5LBs of muscle takes up a lot less real estate than 5LBs of fat- and if you live in California, real estate is expensive- and the muscle is a lot more dense. At least from my non-professional opinion. Check it out….

I have read in multiple articles on the intrawebs, and if its on the internet it must be true, that when you are looking to lose weight you should trust the measuring tape more than you should trust the scale.  In a war of BFFs, the pink measuring tape is your true BFF, and the scale is your jealous “Single White Female” sort of friend.  Who. To. Trust.  I am partial to my pets… 

With the scale, you may not see a decrease in that second digit, but have you checked out what line you are hitting between 33 and 34 inches around our waist? Has that moved? That all seems well and good, except that it still doesn’t take into account that I am still at a weight on the scale that is much higher than I have been in the past.  This would also be great advice if I was just starting out and getting into a hard workout regime.  I am not.  I have been working my ass off at the gym for years.  With that, I don’t think its unreasonable to see, want, and expect a decrease in that second digit on the scale.  I know I have it in me.  I’ve seen it before.  Its also my favorite number that I want there in that second position, the number 4.  Yet I ping pong in the same 5LBs for 2 months now and keep seeing the 6 or the 5 trying to move in as a permanent resident on that second digit arena.

Have you ever in your life drank 100 ounces of water daily, ate responsibly, worked out burning over 500 calories during  said workout, and slept the recommended 8 hours for 3 days in a row to NOT lose an ounce? Not even a smidge.  Not even a .01.  Well, I have. It’s those periods that I want to scream my head off and throw plates.  This has happened the last two weeks in a row. 

And since I am on a great rant right here… With the amount of time I have spent working out the last decade of my life you’d think my legs and thighs would start to resemble cottage cheese less and less. Nope. Let me tell you, whoever finds a cure for cellulite is a god. We can put a man on a moon but we can’t figure out a way to tighten the skin fibers so the damn fat doesn’t poke through. Who’d a thunk? I actually think its gotten worse the last 2 years, which is when I’ve really taken the workouts and “dieting” to the next level.  Why is that?  If there is anyone reading this blog post right now that has that answer, please feel free to message me and give me a good download of information.  I am all ears… or all thighs.

Do I give up, throw in the white towel, and get the white flag flapping in the wind?  Nope.  I brush myself off and get my big, cottage cheese booty off the ground and get back to it.  Wow, what a visual.  I refuse to let that second digit get me down.  If I let it get me down then I will no longer yo-yo between these 5LBs but I will be back to where I started in August.  I refuse to be that Laura again.  I was able to make a little headway this week and get myself out of that 158.8LBs rut I’ve been stuck in. If you’ve been a devoted follower who reads each and every post to the bitter end every week, and also takes the time to compare my weekly stats then of course you know.  Everyone is doing that, right? Right?!?! Papa can you hear me……oh man, another musical break.  Sorry.  It does feel good to get past the little hiccup, but I hope to not get overconfident like I have in the past and blow it.  I have limited my social calendar and I thank my friends that have accepted this as the new, and improved, Laura.

My call to action this week: Measuring, weighing, it doesn’t matter.  Maybe you even prefer to use your favorite jeans as a way to measure your weight loss on this fight… Just make sure you read my “Little Black Dress” post from October to make sure these jeans aren’t from the disco era (link below).  Throw those out.  What I am trying to say is, different strokes for different folks.   Whatever your method is, use it and keep using it consistently so you don’t get a false sense of accomplishment from a “new method” because thats how you fall back on bad habits.  So make the decision, which one have you been using and which one works for you and only you.  Don’t let Dr. Skinny McBonehips tell you whats right for you to measure your own success. 

Bye Felicia.  

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 157.2 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32, Below Hips 38.25, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Machine” by Marie Digby

My body is here but somewhere along the way 
I lost my mind 
It’s never too late to be found 
Waiting on someone to pick me up 
But I got left behind 
But it won’t bring me downCause I’m gonna cut these strings 
Cut them and set me free 
Nothing controlling meI’m not a machine, I’m not a machine 
I’ve got the breath in me 

Sovember

We’re well over 2 months into this relationship now, so we’re friends, right? Okay, awesome. Maybe this is a good time to give you a little more background on myself besides the very general fact that I have a long history with trouble losing weight.  Let me tell you that I have tried almost every diet under the sun.  Many times I was lucky enough to lose a pound or two. The one thing they all have in common is that I quickly lost focus like a dog with a tennis ball and gained all the weight back, plus some.  So when I say I am an expert on “Fad Diets” I don’t mean that I am a successful dieter, but rather that I have tried them, put in some elbow grease, and still came up short… or heavier.  Whichever way you want to look at it.

So with that, I present “Mia Bella Lotta’s Diet Reviews” based on a 5 Star rating scale, of course.

Weight Watchers:  Weight Watchers, the OG, the first stop on most dieters train to Skinnytown. I first started the WW when I was in college.  I distinctly remember going to meetings at a random location in Santa Monica not anywhere close to the water and certainly no view.  I walked into that sad retail front, waited in line to weigh myself with all the other ladies, took off anything I thought would add any weight (including my giant watch), then went and sat in a circle while we talked about our highs and lows that month.  Then I’d leave that sad parking lot and count points.  That was my life. Just rinse and repeat.

I wasn’t successful with WW until my second, third or fourth time sometime after college.  I had a friend that joined me and we became “accountability partners” wahoo! I lost about 10LBs that go around.  Then the holidays came up on my calendar and, BAM, back to where I started.  We tried to pick it back up again as our New Year’s Resolution, but it was a lost cause.  I had lost focus and the PTSD from counting points breezed back into my life. You can develop every app in the world but if I have to try and search every single food item that was used to create my lunch at Panera Bread in order to figure out if its 1 point or 2, I will quickly lose focus.

Review:  * * = 2 stars due to hassle of counting and searching point scale. What brand of olive oil is it, Betty? It matters!!!

Nutrisystem:  Marie Osmond said it right, “if you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.”  Well, I should have then, and I will now, laugh about my attempt at Nurtisystem. How in the world is that still even a thing?  Why would you want to get deep into a diet that doesn’t teach you how to go out into the real world and eat?  Also, who wants to eat food that is the equivalent to what astronauts eat?  Seriously, your food for the month gets shipped to you in a box.  Before you start to comment that there are a lot of boxed meal programs out there today, this was before Blue Apron, Plated, Good Eggs, etc.  This was in the early 2000s and there was no refrigeration inside the box to keep anything cold.  Nutrisystem is a whole bunch of boxed foods that can sit in your pantry through the apocalypse and still be good. Just add water! Cray, right?

I can’t even begin to remember if it was successful even a tiny bit as a diet because the obscene premise is the one thing I get stuck on. I laugh that the Laura of Early 2000’s was so desperate to lose weight that she, a person who loves to cook and eat delicious food (maybe thats the problem?) would be OK just adding water to something and calling it a meal?  I also wholeheartedly believe that you cannot call a diet a success if it doesn’t teach you how to live a life.  Those on Nurtisystem would need to live off of “Just Add Water” Astronaut meals for the rest of their lives.  I do not want to live in a world like that.

Review: * = 1 star. This is one of those “If I Could Give It Zero Stars I Would But Yelp Won’t Let Me” reviews. Oh wait, these are my reviews. Zero stars.

FastDiet:  This one is interesting and little misleading at first.  No, its not a fast diet in the sense that the weight loss happens quickly and just falls off.  Quick weight loss usually only works with illness and heavy drug use, and I am not into things that go up my nose, make me hallucinate (I already have an active imagination), and I hate needles even though I have 5 tattoos. Instead, the FastDiet includes fasting.  Two days a week (each for 24 hour periods) you stay under a certain amount of calories during that period, which varies based on if you are male or female.  Then the rest of your week you eat like a reasonable person.  Easy, right?  Sure.  The first time I started the FastDiet it actually worked.  I think I took off about 10-15 LBs.  Again, and like Nurtisystem, how is it sustainable for the rest of your life to not eat two days a week? It still didn’t teach me anything about living my life after the diet.  I also got very claustrophobic at the end.  So I moved on and left it in my past, never to be heard from again.

Review: *** = 3 stars. The book that I picked up to begin the diet helped to explain a lot about the diet, its concept, and answered about every question I could possibly have.  For example, won’t my body hold on to all the calories, fat, etc. to preserve because its fasting?  Per the authors of the book and science like facts, nope.   If for some reason you can tolerate this type of diet and life, God bless your soul, click on the pic/link below for the book that got the ball rolling. No, I am not being paid or compensated at all for this.

Low Carb/Keto (Ketogenic) Diet:  For the sake of your Friday, I am going to lump these two together, and not only because they are pretty similar but because I did them around the same time and I accidentally got myself into Keto thinking it was the same thing as Low Carb. Spoiler alert, they are not. To keep it simple, because as my Mom always says “keep it simple, stupid,” Low Carb is just want it sounds like, you just try to stay under a certain amount of carbs, in grams, per day.  I personally tried to stay under 20g.  Keto on the other hand is a low carb, high fat diet.  While on the Keto Diet I spent a lot of time testing my blood throughout the day to see if my ketones level were high enough to start burning fat. Remember the needle thing, yeah…

Although the two are pretty close in fundamentals, the two diets have some similar cons but also have very different draw backs for me.  One similar con is that I love to indulge in a carb here and there.  I get that the key is moderation. You don’t know how many lunch meetings I looked around the table and everyone else was having pasta or a sandwich and I had a tuna salad.  Not to mention the times we went out to lunch with clients and I had a hard stare on the bread or chip basket convincing myself to not even think about trying one.  BUT ITS ONLY ONE! Its never only one, Laura.  Never.   A big con on the Keto side of the list was that if you aren’t being closely monitored by a professional and/or doctor, you could overdue it on the amount of fat you put into your body and take the fast track to Diabetes-ville.  Thats a no bueno.  Who would have thought that a diet that consisted of me eating endless amounts of cheese, bacon, avocados, salami, and more cheese was bad?  Funny thing this world is.

Review: ** = 2 stars. I had to weight the diabetes versus the endless amount of bacon chips versus no pasta.  Pasta always wins. Always.

Whole 30 Hybrid:  My experience with the Whole 30 Hybrid is being called a “hybrid” because it not only came along with clean eating meal plans but workout plans too.  It was a 30 day challenge I roped myself into because it was ran by a contestant from The Bachelorette.  I’m such a sucker… Every Sunday for 30 days I was sent my menus and workouts for the week.  Meal prep on Sunday, workout 6 days a week, and eat clean the entire 30 days.  Every now and then there would be a “treat” meal thrown in.  Mini yay! You know why I failed?  My social calendar.  It probably would have been really good if I didn’t partake in adult beverages one day a week.  Also, I believe I started this diet around the time when I had a bachelorette party every weekend. So instead, I gained weight and got sad.  End of story.

Review: ** = 2 stars. A constant cycle of working out, meal prepping, and my social calendar burned me out.  Not for a social, busy person.

Sovember:  November 2010.  This was a bad, bad month. I remember it well….It was my second year of law school and the initial 15LBS I had lost my first year was coming back and it was coming back strong. So that November I dubbed “Sovember” because I would abstain from all adult beverages. Simple, no alcohol, lose weight.  Sober November, or Sovember.  Before you think to yourself, “Wow, she made it through a month of law school without any alcohol? They are right, not all superheros wear capes.” Nope I did not.  Due to a tragic event in my life, after three weeks I raised a glass of whiskey in honor of a law school friend who had suddenly passed away.  Seemed appropriate.  BUUUUT before that happened I was tracking my weight weekly and I gained weight.  Yep, not kidding.  My good friend Santiago also couldn’t believe it and asked if every time he went to the bar to order another scotch did I order a piece of pie?  Touche.

Review: * 1 star. Any month that starts with a pledge of no alcohol, that mid way through ends with a weight gain, then ends in a death is no friend of mine.

The Mediterranean Diet:  The Mediterranean Diet would seemingly be made for this body.  I mean a large majority of it is Mediterranean with a sprinkle of who knows what on top!  Its a high protein, high veggie, low carb and low fat diet.  Its like the hotter cousin of the Low Carb and Keto Diet- it also vacations in the South of France, but never indulges in a pastry while visiting.  I don’t even like calling this a diet, but rather a lifestyle.  This is more on par with what I can handle in life and grow old with. Although, I don’t know if it’s a good kick start to a diet but rather more for maintenance. To me, there is a fine line between the two. So, first I need to get a head start on some good weight loss. Then I’ll be adding this diet to my girl squad. Hot.

Review:  ***** = 5 stars, but also TBD.  Anything that lets you have a little of everything but concentrating on protein and veggies has to be attainable and sustainable.

2B Mindset: Currently I am attempting the 2B Mindset “lifestyle.”  I won’t call it a diet. There are some key fundamentals to it:  Lots of water, thinking of your plates for each meal split up between the food groups in different ways pending on the time of day (I won’t give away their secret sauce), tracking everything you eat, and a lot of discussion and helpful tools to help you overcome what your personal roadblocks are.  Although I have stalled as of late due to all the engagement celebrations, once I am able to focus on the fundamentals of the diet I actually achieve results.  After this whirlwind of a month I have made the decision, as promised, to slow down my social calendar and take a step back.  This is especially important with the holidays coming up.  We all need to get a leg up on this fight so that the holidays don’t drag us too far down.

Review:  TBD.

So why did I just spill to you all my diet horror stories?  Well, because we all shouldn’t be looking for a diet, but rather a lifestyle change.  From what I’ve learned and experienced, anything that takes off weight fast, puts on more weight even faster. Also, and I think this is the most important lesson I’ve learned and can teach, most diets don’t work because they don’t teach you how to live an everyday life.  We can’t all just shut ourselves out from the real world, because life is what happens when we are busy making plans.  You could get engaged or a friend could suddenly pass away and your sober month rightfully ends with a cheers and many tears.  Life derails our plans. Period. So if we think of this fight as just a “diet” that we are derailed from, then the effort to get back into the diet can seem tedious or overwhelming, but if it was a new lifestyle instead of a diet you can simply pick back up and start again on a new day.  When I think “diet” it reminds me of a kid that doesn’t want to go to school that morning or do something their parents are making them do. So we drag our feet to pick back up again. When I think of my eating habits as a lifestyle, I see adventure and new experiences. Which would you rather be apart of?

Let us end this Friday with our weekly call to action- I hope that my fight so far has encouraged you to take on your own.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a weight loss fight or something else you’ve struggled with. If you did, is your strategy one that is sustainable?  Simply put, if this fight is one that will be with you for most of your life it has to be accomplished with a strategy that won’t burn you out.  So is this a new lifestyle with new challenges and adventure, or is it a “diet” that will burn you out and frustrate you? Really think about it.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.4 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32.25, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “99 Times” by Kate Voegele

So, you see
You’ve got me back again for more
And it seems
Your song is in my head
This is war
Mystery, how I could feel you breathe me
I was sure you would keep
Every promise; you would keep
Every word

Whiskey for my Women

A famous author once said, “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.”  This gives me all the feels because I couldn’t relate to this more.  I have been blessed in so many ways in my life, but the one blessing I hold most dear are my friendships.  Whether its with my family, or friends I’ve know since I was a young girl, or friends I just met- my friendships are my most valued assets. They’re the first things I’d grab in a fire.

Throughout the written chapters in my life I have had many supporting characters there to encourage me and my crazy choices. They are the strong ones when I am weak. They are the comedian when I need a good laugh. This past weekend couldn’t have been a better example of my friendship wealth. I went away for a good ol’ fashioned girls’ weekend with two close friends- one I have known since preschool and the other I just met this year.  We ran away for a weekend to just be together and to just be well. This was our “wellness weekend.”

I’ve outgrown the weekends away in Vegas with my friends, laying poolside with a cocktail….. Especially because we all know that ends with me balls deep in a pizza yelling at the blackjack dealer that I just “took us out of a relationship on Facebook” due to the crappy cards he dealt me! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, JEREMY! UNCOOL. Clearly, this has happened more than once…. Anyho…. I don’t have the energy, the patience, or the room in my waistband for the weekends away of my past. My day to day dance card is already filled, I need to actually relax on my weekends.

As I’ve said before, traveling is hard on this fight. I’ve given myself some “Chubby Girl Travel Commandments” to live by but it’s not easy. That’s why I appreciate weekends like last weekend. Just a couple of good friends, in a beautiful spot, locked away and focused on the same goals- being healthy both inside and out. No, this doesn’t mean we just gnawed on vegetables and ice cubes all weekend. Instead it meant getting things done, both personally and professionally, to take our personal practices to the next level. We did just that while also eating well (think tacos, homemade flat breads, and BBQ) while sipping fun cocktails (I arrived with two different types of vodka and one bottle of whiskey. That’s a bottle a person. Do the math.).  Thankfully, gone are the days of acting like a bunch of 21 year olds experiencing their first beer. Instead they’ve been substituted with home cooked food and fun cocktails. I have finally perfected my night cap.

At the end of the weekend we threw a real grown up, family dinner. The table was surrounded by not just blood family, but also the new family we made that weekend.  We were in the middle of Nowhere Town, USA.  There was no cell reception, barely any WI-FI, and absolutely no TV.  So we invited not only other girlfriends from each of our own squads, but we also invited the women who worked on the farm to break bread with us. You’ve never seen a more efficient kitchen before. I’m impressed by what can get done when it’s only women. So we sat, ate, laughed, sipped, and we got to know not just one another, but also ourselves a little deeper.

On the final morning, as I sat on the porch of the beautiful farm we were blessed to call home for four days, I was able to really think about what the point is to this fight. Look, there have been some major ups. For example, the first five pounds I lost. There have also been some downs. For example, being stuck in those first five pounds. But besides the ups and downs there has also been a lot of learning, and not just about weight loss, but also about myself and the people I have chosen to surround myself with. Let me tell you, the metaphorical cream of my friendships have floated to the top since I started this fight, so to speak. They are the ones that have supported me through this. They’ve recognized that I am battling something and support me, no matter what that means. They get when I say “no” to things it’s not because I don’t want to see them, it’s because I want to see literally less of me.  There is zero pressure.  I like my friends like I like my cakes- guilt free, sweet, and full of ice cream.

Last weekend got me thinking that maybe it’s not just time to lose weight but maybe it’s also time to lose some metaphorical weight that has been holding me down. Meaning, maybe it’s time for a friendship spring cleaning. Now this doesn’t mean I am looking for an influx of phone calls and texts from friends seeing if this is a message to them because this isn’t to anyone in particular at all. Also, anyone who knows me well knows that I am a very direct person. So I would tell you. What I am saying is, I just need to figure out, now that I’m in my mid 30s and a lot of big things are happening in my life, who are the friends that are still supportive of my crazy ideas (like this blog life I’ve decided to take on)? Who makes it easy to call them my friend? Who just let’s me be me living my own version of my best life? Those are the people I want to surround myself. They are the frosting on my cake.

So I will end this blog as I always do- with a call to action. Mia Bella Lotta Faithful, take stock of the people in your life that you call your friends. Do a real good inventory. Look, the end of the year is coming up so this is a good time to do a little accounting. Next, who in your inventory is someone who supports you, loves you unconditionally, and is the effortless type of friendships where no work is needed but you want to put the work in? Right there are the ones that you should grab hold of and put in your MySpace Top 8. Don’t let them go.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.4 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32.25, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Drink You Away” by Justin Timberlake

I can’t drink you away
I’ve tried Jack, I’ve tried Jim,
I’ve tried all of their friends
But I can’t drink you away
All these rocks
I can’t swim
Out of this skin
I’m living in.

Photo by Katie Mick Photography @katiemickphotography on Instagram. She’s a genius.