Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Incrediby Shrinking Woman....well, not quite but sort of

Hey Y'all-

Happy Thursday!  Can you even believe that Christmas is only 10 days away?!?  I am almost done with all of my shopping but still have a few things to pick up:  stocking stuffers, last minute presents for people that show up unexpectedly, etc.  It's just crazy to think that 2016 is almost over.  I am planning to do a 2016 Year End Review since I've done horribly at blogging this year and want to get y'all up to date on what's been going on in my life (dating, clothing, shopping, food, work, friends, etc) but also want a reminder for myself because this has been a pretty crazy year.

Today I am talking about something that makes me a bit vulnerable.  OK, a lot bit vulnerable.  Today I'm talking all about weight---particularly my weight.  And more importantly my weight loss this year.  I contemplated writing this now because I'm still not exactly where I want to be BUT I also don't want to discredit all the hard work I've put in over the past 8 months. 

Before I get all serious about the topic at hand and because I use humor as a deflector, I had to throw this in there.  Have y'all seen the movie 'The Incredibly Shrinking Woman'?  Seriously, one of my favorite movies ever...mostly because of Lily Tomlin and because she's one of my faves but also because I've always secretly wanted to be shrunk, which is probably why I love airplane mini liquor bottles so much (well that and the obvious reason because I love vodka).  I also really love the little condiment bottles that you get when you order room service too.  OK, sorry, I got off track there but you get what I talking about.  Haven't you thought about it before?  OK, maybe it is just me.  But really, movies like that and 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' and 'Inner Space' just seem fun to me. 

Anywhoodle, weight has always been a super sensitive subject.  I can't remember a time in my teenage or adult life where I haven't been on a diet or at least been thinking about my weight in some fashion.  I've done every diet imaginable from the lemon water/cayenne pepper diet to the cabbage soup diet to Slim Fast (even when I was in high school) to starvation and even though I'm not proud to admit it but to be fully transparent with y'all, I've even binged and purged before.  There's so many others that I've tried that worked at the time but I've always gained back.  I've just always struggled with my weight and self acceptable which I know is typical of most women.  I have friends who are gorgeous with what I would consider perfect bodies but they also have areas that they aren't happy with---it's just something as women we have come to accept with not feeling "good enough".  It's funny because I've said numerous times over the course of the last 8 months that I wish I was as thin as I was when I thought I was fat before.  I think anyone who has struggled with their weight has felt that way at some point.   

As I've gotten older and in the process of yoyo dieting and the back and forth of losing and gaining weight, especially in my 30's, I've realized how hard it is to lose the lbs and have my body bounce back---think skin elasticity.  Girls, it just doesn't go back like it used to!  This year I decided it was time to get my life back on track and to start being happy with me...all of me...including the parts that I didn't like to see naked.  So, in April, almost a month to the day before I turned 38, I started a lifestyle change in my eating habits.  I'm not calling it a diet---dieting sucks right y'all?  And dieting has NEVER worked for me...NEVER.  And who likes saying "I'm on a diet" anyway? 

One of my best friends had amazing success right after the birth of her second child with a physician supervised weight loss program.  She had just had her third baby and after gaining some weight back, she was ready to start again.  We had talked for a couple of months about it before but I decided to take the plunge, made the call and that was it.  Now before you get all crazy about the things you may have heard about these types of programs, I assure you that I did a lot of research before starting it.  Because it's a doctor supervised program, they do medical exams, EKG's, blood work, health and body composition analysis and weekly weigh ins, counseling and monitoring of your blood pressure and other vitals.  I didn't go into this lightly but I made sure this program was right for me and fortunately my insurance covered it.  I say all this because I don't want you to think that I've been starving myself and taking crazy diet pills this year because that's not been the case AT ALL. 
My program wasn't exactly like this but I can see this not being so bad...
Long story short, it's a version of the Atkins diet.  Very high protein, low carb. Again, in true transparency I average under 1200 calories a day, over 100 grams in protein and under 40 net carbs a day.  I take lots of vitamins.  I eat a lot of meat and cheese, very little sugar, lots of high water veggies like celery and cucumbers and drink enough water to sink a boat.  I'm not hungry.  But don't get me wrong, this hasn't been easy.  And I didn't lose all my weight in the first month (or even the second or third month)---I've lost it over the last 8 months and I still have more to go.  I increased my exercise (at least 4 days a week cardio) and frequency and gotten serious about working out with my trainer (3 days weight training).  I still think about food all the time.  I still have cravings (pizza is a big one for me and I haven't had a real slice since I started this).  But I know myself, I know my body, I know how easily it can creep back up on me and I AM NOT WILLING to go back to that AGAIN.  EVER!!!!    

But before I go on, let me also say that I've not been perfect.  I've fallen on the wagon (not hard) but I've fallen off.  For the first four months, I was super strict on myself because I know how I operate when it comes to food.  If I cheated initially, I would have gotten off track and not gotten back on.  Alcohol has been a sore subject and not to sound like a lush but I love my booze!  I did give up beer, which was initially super hard.  I'm a heavier type of beer lover-IPA's, ales, etc.  Going from that to Michelob Ultra was not even an option.  So, I went to straight vodka.  Please don't call AA.  I've completely adjusted to Tito's on the rocks with 2 oranges and this is my go to (and only 80 calories, not including the orange).  And I've eaten a couple of sweets (which has made me super sick) but for the most part, I've stayed completely on track not eating pasta, rice or bread at all.  And I don't miss it at all (ok, well maybe a little).  Also, I still go to the same restaurants I went to before and socialize with all my peeps but I just made adjustments on what I eat at those same places.  It's called a lifestyle change for a reason.

So, I'm thinking you want to know the nitty gritty now, right!  Come on Jenny, tell us what you've lost!!!!  To date, I've lost a little over 56 pounds.  Yep, you read that right...I've lost a 3rd grader!  But in addition to that, I've lost over 10" around my waist alone, decreased my fat mass by more than 45 pounds and decreased my body fat % by over 12%.  Even more than that I feel better.  I feel more comfortable in my own skin, I don't detest myself when I look in the mirror, I love the way I am fitting into clothes.  I mean I'm wearing sizes I haven't worn since I was MUCH younger and nearly fell out of the dressing room when I was able to put on a Medium tshirt.  That was a really big deal. I'm able to put my knees to my chest which may not seem like a big deal to some of you but for a girl with more tummy than she wants, it's a more difficult task. I'm soooo much happier getting my life back on track.  I still have a little more to go--I'm not going to lay out a number because I'm a person who is completely numbers driven and honestly, I haven't seen myself at this weight in a very long time so I don't know what it will look like when I'm even smaller. 

Again, in true transparency, I wanted to show y'all some before and after pics.  I'm laying it all out there because I've actually only shown my close friends these pics.  I think it's one of those things that you know you are that big but I really hadn't come to terms with it but seeing the progress I've made, especially looking at these, just made me elated!!! 

The below left picture is from November 2015.  I went to a friends birthday party at a winery.  When this picture was posted later on FB, I immediately untagged myself because I was startled at who I was looking at.  The picture on the right is from September 2016.  I was about 45 pounds down at this time.  I can't get over the difference...not just in the weight but because I know my disposition (emotionally) is in a much better place!
Both of these pics are from 2015---the pink shirt is from April and the blue shirt is July!  I show these only because it's a reminder of how hard I've worked. 
Up until a few months ago, I hated taking pictures.  Like for reals girls, hated it.  I was always looking at my tummy, my double chin, you get what I'm saying.  Now don't get me wrong, I still scrutinized every photo I take BUT I really like the results now (and I really love me).  These are some of my faves over the last couple of months (and I'm not even going to apologize for the selfie overload). 

Before I finish, I have to give credit where credit is due.  Although this has been my lifestyle change, I have had the very best friends and family supporting me and encouraging me through this whole process.  It's hard to be on different eating plans than your friends because you don't want them to feel uncomfortable or have to sacrifice trying a new restaurant, bar or just a simple dinner together.  But y'all, they are the ABSOLUTE BEST and I couldn't have gotten this far without them.  They have actually taken the cake out of my hands---not even kidding.  But those are the friends I think we all need!!!  FIND YOUR TRIBE, LOVE THEM HARD!


OK, y'all...long winded yes, but there you have it.  My own personal story of  'The Incredibly Shrinking Woman'. 

Hope y'all have a great day and come back tomorrow for some more Jenny fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Happy Wednesday! Start Spreading the News....

Hey Girls-

Happy Wednesday!  Let's just address the elephant in the room first---yes, I's been FOREVER since I blogged.  Yes, I know I said I was going to be more consistent.  Yes, I know that didn't happen.

Y'all know how many times I think this throughout the day?!?  And then it just doesn't happen.  Oy vey!
And then I kind of feel like this!
But I'm here today!  I'm back for today!  And for tomorrow and for Friday!  And that makes me happy!  Y'all, I have so much to catch y'all up on---soooooo much!  And like every time I come back from a blogatus, I always say that I MISSED Y'ALL SO MUCH and I love that at least I've had the opportunity to keep up with y'all on IG or FB. 

Good news is that I am officially done with work travel as of landing back in Charlotte at 8:23 this morning.  The other good news is that I am making a commitment to myself to blog consistently next year.  I want to do this for me because I love being able to go back and read all the things that I've been writing about and thinking over the last year.  Because sometimes I can be crazy and it's a good reminder when I'm not so crazy :) 

It has been a super busy but very successful year for me workwise--thus the primary reason why I've fallen behind on blogging.  I am typically traveling about 10-15 days out of the month.  I'm not complaining but this is my life and all that I know as far as my career goes.  Because of this travel, I try to get in a little personal time whenever I can when I go to a fun city.  And that's what happened on my very last trip which I'm so excited to share with y'all.

I had to go to Memphis on Monday for a meeting in the afternoon but then had to make my way to my office in Connecticut for a meeting on Tuesday.  Monday was a very long day that involved getting up way earlier than I wanted to, missing a connecting flight in Philadelphia, forgetting my protein shake which threw off my nutritional plan and getting in well past midnight when I had to get up super early on Tuesday.  After all day meetings on Tuesday, I trekked back to my hotel near the LaGuardia Airport in NY.  Because I had a 6am flight this morning, I had planned to go somewhere for dinner near my hotel and lay low.  I was tired, exhausted after not sleeping well and being on the go for nearly 36 hours straight.  I honestly even contemplated just putting on my jammies and ordering delivery but while I was searching on Yelp for delivery restaurants an ad came up for Rockfeller Center.  Ummm....hello, divine intervention maybe!  Yes, yes, yes!  If you are not familiar with the NY area, the airport is not far at all from New York City.  Where I was staying at, it was about 25 minutes away.  How could I not fulfill a life long childhood dream of seeing the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center? 

So, after decided that this was the new plan, I made the decision to find somewhere really fun and yummy to eat at and Yelp did not disappoint.  I found an amazing BBQ in Harlem called 'Dinosaur BBQ' that was absolute perfect for what I needed that night.  And the bartender Miko was superfab---not only because she was a bit heavy handed on my double Tito's on the rocks and because she gave me a free lemon drop shot because she had extras leftover for another customer order but because she gave me the best food recommendations off of their menu.  Y'all, the deviled eggs rivaled my momma's---like they were that good! 

If you follow me on IG (nc30grits-which by the way I am planning to change but still trying to figure out what name I like best), you saw these last night but for reals, it was so delicious I had to post them again here. 

I had the deviled eggs as an appetizer.  This was the small portion which was more than enough for me.  For dinner, at the suggestion of my amazing bartender, I ordered the Tres Ninos which was a sampling of their best of the best: brisket, ribs and pulled pork.  I consider myself pretty up on my BBQ knowledge being a NC native--BBQ is in our blood.  My preferred is the vinegar based but I enjoy the sauced kind as well which is what Dinosaur served.  The ribs were definitely my favorite of the trio.  For the sides, I asked for broccoli and cheddar (which was a special side of the day) and the whipped sweet potatoes.  I technically can't eat sweet potato but I didn't really care for the other choices they had...even the mac and cheese that Miko raved about.  Well...when they brought out my order, they mistakenly put the mac and cheese on my plate (Satan was messing with me y'all).  Anywhoodle, I had to taste it (and it was just one bite) but y'all, holy cow, that one bite was delish!!!  The whipped sweet potato was equally delicious.  I would definitely recommend it (and I did on Yelp)!

After filling my belly, my excitement overwhelmed me about heading to Rockefeller Center.  I have ALWAYS wanted to see the tree and I remember seeing the ice skaters and all the Christmas beauty on TV when I was growing up.  Quick Uber ride from the restaurant and I found myself wrapped up in all things Christmas with lights, music, hundreds and hundreds of tourist, decorations, trees---it was all glorious!  I was in love! 

Then, because I was there, I got the wild hair that I was going to go ice skating.  Yep, this 38 year old gal who hasn't skated in 20 years was going to lace up some slippers with a single blade on it and cascade like Kristi Yamaguchi.  Well, it didn't turn out quite like that BUT I only fell one time.  I'm not saying it was pretty but I made it around 2.5 times and called it a day.  Best $39 spent!  Oh and if you haven't watched my video on IG, you must!  You almost caught me bite it while on camera.

After a quick turn around the rink that would make any Olympic gold medalist crowd, I decided to retire and hang up my skates for good and take a walk around the city:  which took me to Times Square, Bryant Park, the library, Radio City Music Hall, enjoying the store front decorated windows of Saks, looking at all the crazy characters dressed up for money on the streets, etc.  I had a ball!

I'm a huge Sex & the City fan...huge!  And I've been obsessed with horse & carriage rides ever since I saw Mr. Big take Carrie on one right before Miranda had her baby.  Y'all, I scoured the city trying to find one.  I knew it was there because I saw them when my Uber driving was bringing me in but alas, I could not find one at all...and I walked what felt like 50 blocks.  Well, lo and behold, I spotted one from afar and literally chased after it for 4 blocks.  I'm not even kidding you.  I'm certain it was a fun sight.  But I got my ride!  And it was all I ever imagined it would be. 
I didn't sleep well at all because I was so wound up about my whirlwind tour of NYC by the time I got back to my hotel.  I had to be up at 345 and didn't fall asleep until around 2.  No Bueno!  But I was super psyched to get up and out because I AM DONE for the year with travel.  And I am ready for a break!  

Well, there you have it girls...a quick glimpse of the last couple of days into the life of this gal.

I will be back tomorrow so make sure you head on back over tomorrow and see what I'm writing about.  I'd tell you now but honestly, I don't know what that will be yet :)