Conversations and the Maintenance Tightrope



This past week was a social one, and I am reminded of certain comments I received.

At the Chocolatefest on February 20:  “Kristie, you are the most disciplined person I know,” said a cute friend from church.

The next night out to dinner with friends:  “You are just doing so well!”

Yesterday when I took a dress to my tailor, “I am so proud of you. You keep the weight off!”

Believe me, I appreciate these kind comments. I really do. Regarding being disciplined, yes, I am most certainly more disciplined than I used to be. Maybe I am the most disciplined person she knows, and that is GREAT. Am I the most disciplined person I know? I wish I was, but probably not.


There are 2 phases to success weight loss. Phase 1, losing the weight. Phase 2, keeping it off.

I’m terrific at Phase 1. I’ve done it 4 times now. When I was 18 and a freshman at BYU, again in my late 20s, then my 30s, and now.

Phase 2–keeping it off–is the challenge. I know it is a challenge for many other people too. The idea of “dieting” for the rest of your life seems SO unappealing, which is why one of the things I had to do this time was convince myself that this was a lifestyle change, not a diet.  “Diet,” by definition, is a temporary thing. I refuse to make this temporary.


I’m a visual person and, to me, keeping the weight off and being successful at Maintenance is like a daily tightrope walk. This is what all of these nice people who offer their verbal pats on the back do not see.

It is about making choices…DAILY…about what I want to eat and what I know I should eat. (Most of us know what we should eat, right?)

It is about finding my motivation…DAILY…and telling myself WHY I’m doing this.


If you are doing this for anyone else but yourself, you will probably fail.

Losing weight and keeping it off is one of those rare endeavors where it is OK for you to be #1. Doing it for your husband, your mother, your kids, to compete with friends, to be someone else’s “weight loss buddy,” those are not good enough reasons. Why? Because you’re trying to find your motivation externally instead of internally.

It has to come from YOU.

It has to be at the right time for YOU.

The person who wants it the most has to be YOU.


This morning I woke up at my normal time, wrestled with the Snooze button for the normal amount of time, and then wrestled with my conscience.

I was craving pancakes. I’m still (at 1:40pm)…craving pancakes.

Hubby is at work. The day is mine to freely schedule in any way. Picture, instead of a little angel and devil on each shoulder, a little chubby person and a little thin person.

Little Chub: It’s early, you can get your pancakes and then go for a 5 mile walk. What’s the harm?

Little Thin: You indulged a lot last weekend. But yesterday you did so great! I’ll bet if you step on the scale this morning you will like what you see…

Little Chub: Just get your pancakes. If you don’t do it today, you’ll keep thinking about them and wake up wanting them tomorrow. Give in and get it over with.

Little Thin: You know you’re going to feel guilty if you give in. That’s over 1000 calories for, maybe, 20 minutes of pleasure. Is it worth it?

Little Chub: Yeah…

Little Thin:  Um, no. Get your sorry patootie out of bed and over to the gym. Now.

Little Chub: *sigh* (Knows he’s beat.)

I went to the gym, did stair climbing, weights, elliptical, and treadmill. I felt good knowing I made the right decision and my thoughts were clear as I read a college textbook that I’m currently rereading for “fun.”


We all have them. Mine are usually for pancakes or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream.

I’m not sure what it is, but I usually feel less guilt about the ice cream. And yes, I can eat the whole pint in one sitting, usually under half an hour. It’s a gift.

Part of the Maintenance tightrope for me is discovering what my body will allow.  Just like there isn’t a great variety to my healthy eating, there isn’t really a great variety to my cravings. That has actually turned out to be a very good thing, because I know what my recovery time is on those days when “Little Chub” does win.


So what do I do to make sure that “Little Thin” wins more often than “Little Chub?”  I think about my motivation. What I like. What I don’t like.

I like being a size 6!

I like being successful at this weight loss thing.

I like feeling good about making the right choices for ME.

I like the clothing choices that have opened up to me now that I’m thin.

I like myself.

I don’t like failing.

I don’t want to think about buying double-digit sizes again.

I don’t like letting people down who have been rooting for me. (Not the greatest reason, but it’s one of them and I’ll own it.)

Most of all, I don’t want to let myself down.


If people only knew HOW OFTEN I self-talk. Pep talks, tough love talks, motivational speeches..A LOT goes on in this brain of mine.

I am my own counselor. I am my own advocate. I am my biggest supporter.

And yes, sometimes we can let ourselves become our own worst enemy, which is why self HONESTY has to play a great role too.

And so does self LOVE. Love and validation from others is wonderful, but it has to come from yourself first.

It took me into my 40s to really “get” this.


Sometimes the most important conversations you can have are the ones you have with yourself.


It’s OK to Indulge


Tonight was one of those nights when it was possible to toss all discipline to the wind. Chocolatefest. A yearly gathering of women, chocolate, and no guilt. My friend, Turia, began this tradition 4 years ago.

Since it began I have approached it in different ways. The first year I pretty much ate until even the thought of chocolate made me nauseous. Year Two I sampled with restraint (I thought.) Year Three I had to miss due to an untimely headache. Tonight, Year Four, I ate dinner early with my husband and used the gathering as a (very large) dessert.

Now, 8 months after reaching my weight loss goal, a night like tonight doesn’t frighten me the way it would have before. There was a time when maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying Chocolatefest didn’t go hand in hand.

For one thing, it wasn’t special. Who cares about a night of chocolate desserts when I would just eat chocolate any time I wanted? Sweets have increased value now.

For another thing, eating is never fun when you eat to excess. (Is anything fun when you do it to excess?) Now that my body and I communicate better, I know what my limit is, and I reach it long before the ensuing tummy ache has a chance to appear.

And guess what? I don’t feel like I denied myself at all. I had truffles, chocolate-dipped mandarin oranges, mousse, bacon-stuffed mushrooms with chocolate drizzle, and a few other delicacies I cannot remember. Not to mention small wedges of “artisan” chocolate during Turia’s mini presentation on the history and science of chocolate.

When you’re disciplined, buy/eat organic, and work out 5-6 days a week, you can indulge once in a while without guilt. You’ve earned it, and it won’t sabotage weeks or months of hard work. “Once in a while” means different things to different people, but we all know that there is a big difference between “once in a while” and “all the time.”

The great thing about “once in a while” is the value created in what you’re doing. Indulging…once in a while…gives it value. And those other times when you’re exerting discipline, perhaps telling yourself no to those easily accessible temptations, is giving yourself value.

That is empowering.

Source of Life–Our Daily Breakfast Treat

Lately I have found myself touting the merits of our daily breakfast shake. Nearly a year ago Eric came home from the store with a suspicious green powder called Source of Life. I shouldn’t have doubted him. It has become a part of our daily nutrition!

  • It’s delicious.
  • It’s loaded with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • We stay full for hours.
  • The shakes we make range between 320-420 calories.
  • It is also non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegetarian.
  • And yes, did I mention–DELICIOUS?

IMG_0804 IMG_0805 IMG_0806Here is my attempt to be artistic:


What you see here is a sample of the things we mix together with the shake power: usually an apple, banana, some berries, and homemade almond milk. Other fruits I have tried are pears, mangoes, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe. EVERY combination has been delicious!


We use the Nutribullet–Hubby and I each have our own cup and holder that we use each morning. Clean up is very fast. Just a quick rinse and you’re done. Yum! Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water! I took this picture on a day I chopped up a banana, apple, pear and added some organic mixed berries.

Now, where does one find this magical powder?  We buy ours at Fred Meyer, but I have seen it online on Amazon, The Vitamin Shoppe, and other health sites. A simple search online will yield many results and you will find lots of positive reviews as well. The price? It will seem expensive–approximately $45 for one canister. But one canister lasts one month for one person.

I do not take a multivitamin. My morning shake IS my vitamin supplement. And guess what? I haven’t been sick in ages. That nasty winter bug that hits everyone did not touch me or my husband (despite his exposure to it at work.) Sore throats, coughs, colds, the flu…all of these things feel like a distant memory. (Keep in mind we eat *mostly* healthy, organic food each day.)

If homemade almond milk is not for you, I recommend Silk Unsweetened as a milk alternative for 3 reasons:

  • It tastes great.
  • There are only 30 calories/8 ounces.
  • There is no carrageenan. (You can read about the nasties in this ingredient on the Food Babe site.) Silk is the ONLY dairy alternative I have seen of any almond/rice/soy/hemp/coconut type of beverage that does not have carrageenan. Trust me, I have looked at a lot of them in our local stores.
  • A note: if you use Silk in the shakes, add some water as well. The Silk makes the shakes very thick, especially if you use a lot of berries.

Yes, we love our daily shakes!

A California Trip and 2/3 of the Big Holidays Down!

Santa Claus Measuring Fat Belly

Hi there Holiday Eaters! Is there anyone else who still has Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge?  We do.  Yummy salty ham and some cream cheese frosting are all that remain from our little meal of gratitude, but they sure are good!

A good reminder this time of year:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are a mere 3 DAYS. There is no reason to make this the season of pigging out daily for 3 months and therefore, no reason to make that pointless, yearly resolution to lose all the weight starting in January.  Yes…I began last January, but it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution that motivated me.

It has now been 5 months–5 MONTHS–since I reached my goal and I have not gained the weight back. The feeling of success and empowerment is hard to describe after multiple failures in the past. I still go to the gym, I still count calories (usually,) and I still make choices about the quality and quantity of the food I eat.

Something to note, since we have been buying mostly organic, Hubby’s and my health is so much better.  Not only that, we are less susceptible to those nasty cold and flu bugs that seem to go from person to person this time of year. Hubby said that he is the only person on his crew at work that has not come down with something this season. That’s no accident.


Just a look back at my before and after picture:

IMG_3553I’m taking this quick trip down memory lane because I’ve had a new group of people ask about how I lost those pesky 50lbs and I’ve referred them here, to my blog. Please, I highly recommend and encourage you…START READING IT FROM THE BEGINNING.  Also…go to the Fitbit tab at the top and read about it. If you already have one, like a lovely lady I met today , use it. It does nothing just sitting there in a box.

Again, people ask how I get so many steps in per day (16,000-21,000 steps.) We are all encouraged to get in 10,000 steps a day. Normal daily activity will rarely achieve that, so I get my 10,000 steps in at the gym. Half an hour on the elliptical and the rest on the treadmill. It takes dedication, work, and making difficult choices. There are no shortcuts, I’m afraid. No program in the world will work unless you put in the time, but I’ve had it with “programs.” The Fitbit is simply a tool, like any other activity monitor. The rest has to come from you. I PROMISE YOU, the payoff is so, so worth it. Not only that, after years of failing at keeping a healthy weight, working with the Fitbit and losing the hard, old-fashioned way, has allowed my metabolism to reset itself and has made me more in tune with my body than I have ever been before.

So if you’re new, go back to my first posts and read about my journey from the beginning. I’m just a normal woman who had had enough and was finally ready to buckle down and lose the weight and keep it off. I’m not an expert, just someone who is chronicling their own experience and findings. And no, Fitbit is not paying me. If you want to use a different activity monitor, that’s fine.

Just do something.


About a month ago I went to California for a week to see family.  That was a good thing. The other good thing was having tons of choices of where to eat. Sushi, In n Out burger, Kathleen’s in Pasadena, Mimi’s Cafe…all of my favorites!  I ate out for lunch or dinner every single day I was there. Sometimes lunch and dinner.

For breakfast I took my Source of Life shake powder (look it up or see my post to learn more) and our backup Nutribullet. I kept a supply of apples and bananas at my mom’s house, where I was staying, along with my Vitamin Water Zero.

Each morning I would get up around 7am, my normal rising time, and go for a 5 miles walk. Those were my 10,000 steps. It took about 3 days to perfect the route, but when I did, it was a great route through the lovely San Marino neighborhood that borders the city where I’m from, plus a couple of laps around Lacy Park. With every day quite busy, these walks were a treat.

The result? After eating out so much (eating out but not necessarily pigging out) I gained maybe 3 pounds that came off in a couple of days once I was home, going to the gym each day, and eating the foods I eat on a regular basis.


Now that my body has finally reset itself, a few fun meals at the holidays does not have to mean starting from the beginning with weight loss once the holidays are over. In the past few weeks I’ve “sampled” some of the Halloween candy, attended a cookie exchange at church, eaten a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast with pie, done some holiday baking and sampled some more, and had some much craved Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

BUT…I’ve also worked out 5 or more times a week and have not overindulged every single day. This is something I can do now that I’m working to maintain my weight. So honestly, if you have not started losing yet, I wouldn’t go full force right now. I WOULD start scaling back right now, but enjoy the holidays, and then begin when you are ready to get serious about it.


You can.

I used to be one of those people who used those excuses “I’m just big boned,” or “my body just won’t let me lose the weight.”

Baloney, I say to my former self.

If you really want to do it–you’ll do it.  We are all capable of so much when we put our minds to it.

Some last things to remember:

The body was made to move!

Your body wants to be slim!

If you are kind to it, it will be kind to you, I promise!

Onward and upward my dear readers.  Good luck!

(As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Truly, I want to help in any way I can.)

The Holidays are Here…time to decide…

avoid-holiday-weight-mr-article-1857469-lThere’s no escaping them–the holidays are here!  I’ve got a “home products party” I’m attending tonight where dinner will be served, a neighborhood gathering tomorrow with soups and appetizers before the trick-or-treaters arrive, next week a trip to California to visit family, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. Yowza.

There is only one thing I can think of to combat the many tempting foods that will, undoubtedly, be in my path. And that is to decide NOW that the upcoming holidays and their accompanying foods WILL NOT sabotage my hard work. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be sampling the tasty yummies, no Sir.

I’ll back up.

4 months into maintaining my goal weight, I’m doing great.  I hover between 135-138lbs most days, exercise as diligently as before, and I don’t stray from the things that work.  I’m awake between 6:30-7:30am, go to the gym, come home and have my shake, eat some eggs around 12:30pm, with a sensible dinner between 5-6pm. I don’t avoid dairy 100% (I’ve indulged in some ice cream cravings lately) but I span out when I have it. I weigh in each morning before going to the gym. Still no fast food evils like McDonalds and Burger King. (I’ve had some burgers, but not those.)

I’m a very comfortable size 6 (sometimes 8.)

For the first time in my entire life I feel like my body and mind are working in sync. I’m sure my metabolism has increased, which accounts for no major weight gain when I do indulge. But indulging now and indulging in the past have also changed.

The amount of work it took to lose and then maintain have motivated me a lot. I have no desire to fill up on ham, potatoes, and pie. Large portions are gross to look at, much less eat. And yes, I still count calories EVERY day. Even if I have to guess, I count them.

I am so glad (and lucky) that I was motivated to lose the weight early in the year, because now that the holidays are here, making good decisions and working with my slimmer self will not be as difficult.

So, to come full circle, yes, I’m deciding now. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like a huge decision. I simply don’t want to indulge. But since I have learned that “one heavy meal won’t make you overweight just like one light meal won’t make you slim,” I’m not too worried about what I eat on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Gaining a lot, like losing a lot, is a consequence of certain habits that have developed over time. Yes, it is common sense, but it has taken years to pound into my brain. Happily, I have morphed into a person with good habits! No starving, no denying, just good sense when it comes to eating. This is the luxury of successfully being on maintenance. Successful, the key word.

There are tips all over the web on making smart eating choices during the holidays. Here are some I’ve found:

Consider These Ideas:

  • Don’t feel obliged to eat out of courtesy – especially if you don’t want the food or you’re full –because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.  Get over it – the calories are going into your mouth, not theirs.
  • Give yourself permission to NOT eat something just because it’s tradition. Whose tradition?
  • Only eat it if you want it. Eat what you want not what you think you should.
  • Say no to the friend or relative who is pushing the extra piece of pie. You’re the one stepping on the scale or zipping up your jeans the next day – not them.
  • Have some personal rules and commit to them.  An example might be:  I really want pecan pie for dessert so I’ll have only one biscuit without butter with my meal.
  • Make a deal (with yourself) that you can eat what you want during dinner. Put the food on your plate and enjoy every last morsel. Clean your plate if you want to. But – that’s it. No seconds and no double-decking the plate.
  • Make trades. Trade the biscuit and butter for a low calorie option with dinner. Limit the hors d’oeuvres. They really pack in calories. Make eating one or two your rule.
  • Choose your beverages wisely.  Alcohol adds calories (7 calories/gram). Alcohol with mixers adds even more calories. Plus, alcohol takes the edge off lots of things – including your ability to stick to your plan.
  • Drink water. It fills you up. Have a diet soda if you want. If you’re going to drink alcohol, try limiting the amount – think about alternating with water, seltzer, or unsweetened beverages.
  • Control your environment. Don’t hang around the buffet table or stand next to the platter of delicious whatevers. Why are you tempting yourself?
  • Talk to someone. It’s hard to shove food in your mouth when you’re talking.
  • Get rid of leftovers. Leftover stuffing has defeated the best-laid plans.
  • Don’t nibble during clean up (or preparation for that matter). Broken cookies, pieces of pie crust, and the last spoonful of stuffing haven’t magically lost their calories.
  • Don’t starve yourself the day of a grand meal. If you do in an attempt to save up calories for a splurge, you’ll probably be so hungry by the time dinner is ready you’ll end up shoving food into your mouth faster than you can say turkey.
  • If you end up overeating, add in some longer walks and a couple of days of moderate eating afterward. (Great advice, says I. Your body will reset itself. I have had great success with this method after indulging in a no-no meal.)

(found at

1. Bring what you want to eat.  When you’re invited to a party or holiday gathering, it’s nice to show up with a dish to pass.  If you’re not sure what to bring, bring something healthy that you like and are sure to eat.  That way you’re sure to eat at least one thing that’s healthy.

2. Eat regularly before a party or gathering.  Never – I repeat – NEVER skip breakfast and lunch before a big meal so you feel OK pigging out.  It’s almost impossible to eat healthy when your body feels like it’s starving.  Instead, eat normally during the day so you can make rational decisions about what to eat and what not to eat.

3. Take small portions of everything.  There’s no reason you can’t enjoy all of the amazing dishes made by your family and friends, in moderation.  If you want to try everything at the buffet line, simply serve yourself enough to have a few bites of each dish.  You’ll be full by the time you sample each one.

4. Don’t eat anything that isn’t awesome.  If the first bite isn’t awesome, don’t finish your serving.  It’s not worth the calories or space in your stomach.  Give it away or toss it, and save room for dessert instead.

5. Don’t leave the house without snacks and a water bottle.  This goes for long car trips and marathon-shopping events (because Black Friday is coming too!).   Prep snacks and meals ahead of time so you don’t have to frequent fast food restaurants and mall food courts.  You’ll save time and money too.

(found at

Great tips!  For more, just Google “holiday eating.” There is a wealth of information out there with good, healthy ideas on how not to gain those holiday pounds. Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, let’s just not gain it in the first place, right?

P.S.  As you know, the Fitibit One is my go-to tool. If you prefer wearing a wrist activity tracker, there is a new model (aside from the Flex) called the Charge. It is $149. The One and Flex are $99. You can check it out here and see its features. I think the caller ID feature is kind of cool. A Fitbit watch is going to be released soon too, no doubt around the same time as the Apple Watch.

Choices, Choices, Choices

Eating Healthy

I wish I could say that I have easily settled into making healthy choices all the time at this phase, but I haven’t. The key word here being “easily.”

As I move into my 3rd month of maintenance, I still find myself having to decide what and how much to eat.  I haven’t lapsed back into the Burger King and McDonald’s habits, but maintaining does have its challenges.  After all, I can eat more than when I was trying to lose because I’m not trying to lose.  And, while many things have not found their way back into our kitchen (bread, potatoes, pasta, Milky Way Darks,) even healthy snacks can make you gain when the quantity is excessive.

This is all about creating a lifestyle, which is all about choices.  Eat in or eat out? Fast food or sit down? Burger or salad? Fries or fruit? Dessert or skip it? The list goes on and on because we live in a society where a multitude of choices “feels” like a luxury. Sometimes it can be a trap.

Of course the other big choice is: should I exercise or not?  There is only one correct answer to that question. (Quick tangent: I have not been able to skip my morning exercise. My body craves it!  But I did dial it down this morning by walking around the neighborhood. #10KStepsbeforebreakfast)  🙂

As far as food, I have definitely found that if tempting things are in the house they are very hard for me to resist. Truly, the less choices, the better.  Recently we discovered the Blue Diamond Nut Thin crackers.  130 calories for 16 crackers is great if you can stop at 16!  The Country Ranch flavor is like Cool Ranch Doritos and Eric and I both love them.  But we have to be careful. (As much as I want to get away from it, I still need to count calories. It’s the only way to stay on track.)

Speaking of counting, another challenge has arisen.  My iPhone 5s is dying on me (Nov. 1st, when I’m eligible for the 6 can’t get here fast enough!) My Fitbit app is not entirely accurate because of this. I can log my food just fine, but my leftover calories are usually wrong…they’re way too high. It took me 2-3 days to catch on when I was paying too much attention to “calories remaining” instead of “calories eaten.”

While we are on the subject of iPhones, Fitbits and other electronics, Apple announced yesterday that they are coming out with an Apple Watch in early 2015. I love, love technology, so I find this pretty exciting:


What makes this news relevant here is that the Apple Watch will have some great fitness features to record your standing, sitting, and movement throughout the day.  And, since Apple also sells Fitbits, the watch will work with 3rd party apps, which I’m assuming will include the Fitbit.  That should be interesting! They start at $349.

Between the Fitbit and other trackers, apps like My Fitness Pal, and now the Apple Watch with its movement monitoring, it does feel like the pendulum of mindless eating and calorie apathy has finally begun to swing the other way.  Maybe the next generations will have longer life spans because of it.  I hope so. I hope this is the beginning of our nation, as a whole, finally getting healthier. If we make good choices, collectively, then the faceless evil-doers will have to start lessening the GMOs and organic food will be more affordable, right? (Our grocery bill the other day was ree-dik-oo-lus.)

OK, maybe that’s a tad optimistic. But every little bit helps, starting with our individual eating  and exercise choices.  (See? I came full circle.)


I TRULY believe this.

The Transition Position


It wasn’t in my plans, but that trip to Utah led me into a new phase of weight maintenance.  How many phases are there? I don’t know, I’ve never done this before.  But I do know that something has changed.

After skipping the gym that first full day home, I decided that it was OK to start decreasing the intensity of some things I’ve been doing for months.  I’m giving myself permission to “dial it down” a little.  For instance, maybe going to the gym 5 days a week.  Maybe not counting calories so rigidly as before (although I still count.) Telling myself that I don’t have to get to 20,000 steps each day.

I’m doing this for 2 reasons.  First, because I’m not trying to lose weight anymore.  Second, there is a part of me that worries that if I don’t tone it down consciously, I’ll do it unconsciously and lapse into some bad habits. I don’t think I will, but…

This is all about creating a lifestyle with good habits that last forever.

I still weigh myself each morning and stay very aware of my activity, keep away from cow’s milk/soda/fast food, and try to make healthy choices whenever possible.  In my 3rd month of Maintenance I’m as determined as ever not to gain my weight back.  But do I want to be extreme? No.

The good news is that, after months of eating certain foods and exercising every day, my body craves those things anyway. This body loves to move!

This morning I gave myself the morning off from the gym because of a 10am dental appointment.  But I still went for an 8,000 step walk beginning at 7am.  That took an hour.  Breakfast was my shake, lunch was some teriyaki chicken, and dinner will probably be some scrambled eggs and an apple.

This afternoon, after sitting too long, I got off my duff and went for another walk.  Without too much effort I’m already at 17,000 steps. That’s over 8 miles.

The next 3 days I’ll head back to the gym, which I do enjoy. Sunday will be a rest day and Monday I’ll go walking because the gym will be closed for repairs.

This is me, transitioning into a new lifestyle. The good habits are there, the knowledge is there, and the initial weight is lost. It’s about moving forward, eating smart, and reaping the benefits.


Pictures from today’s walk at the lake. A lovely afternoon.