Sunday, August 17, 2014

Empire State of Mind

(I wrote this on Thursday...)

Today is an exciting day. I can't go into details right now, but I am on my way to New York City for an adventure! It's crazy how fast it all happened, but I am grateful for what promises to be huge opportunity. 

Remember how a little over two years ago I got to go to New York City for Slim-fast when I was a blog ambassador for them? And do you remember how I blogged about how miserably humiliating the plane ride was? The small jet and the seatbelt extender... How my legs pressed against the seat in front of me and how I couldn't lower the tray table? And how the seat handles pressed into my thighs and made bruises... It was emotionally and physically painful. I weighed around 320 lbs then.

Well, fast forward to now. When I got my flight confirmation for this trip, I immediately noticed that this flight had also been booked on a jet. My anxiety level grew... And I prayed that even though I've gained about 10 lbs (back up to 271 as of yesterday) this flight experience would be better.

So far, so good! No seat belt extender this time. Plenty of leg room and I'm not smashed into my seat. My tray table comes down and doesn't touch my legs or belly. I was even brave enough to go to the restroom (which involved traveling down the aisle a good way). The restroom was SUPER TINY but I fit!

Who knew little things could be so huge! I mean... Fitting in an airplane bathroom, lol! But when you've been morbidly obese for the majority of your life, and when you've had painful experiences as a result, these things matter a lot.

(Flash forward to today!)

I am back from New York. I can't talk about details, but I promise to give them as soon as I have to ok! Just know that it was a great experience.

While flying back, I made a big decision. It's time for me to really, SERIOUSLY get my eating under control so that I can start losing weight again. 

More on that tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Diets Don't Work

This seems to be the new catch-phrase in my life lately.

As much as I wanted it to be the answer, the Whole 30 didn't last long for me. I tried to even ease out of it into a Paleo-style way of eating.

That hasn't seemed to work, either.

I think it's the restriction. When I start restricting my mind goes crazy. Like a switch goes off and I have an insatiable urge for everything I'm supposed to be restricting.

I tried carb-cycling for two days last week.

And then the 4th of July rolls around and I woke up wanting to have a cookout with friends. It was actually a blast, and I didn't regret anything I ate.

But the eating on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today... I'm kinda regretting.

I am feeling like a diet failure. Again.

It's July 8 and my summer is almost over. Teacher inservices start tomorrow. I got back to work on July 25. And my 20-year reunion is August 2.

AND I still haven't lost any weight this summer.

Yes, I have maintained. I have exercised and I haven't miserably failed and started gaining weight.

But my intention was to lose weight this summer. Why can't I just lose weight?

I am over it. It's the one thing in my life that I can't get right or be content with, and I just hate that! It irritates me to no end.

I was standing in the kitchen last week griping about my diet and food and my teenaged daughter looked at me and said, "Momma, you know that diets don't work. That's your problem."

I hated to admit she was right. But I was still trying to Whole 30.

THEN another friend said the same thing a few days ago. Diets don't work. Stop dieting.

Damned if I didn't log into Instagram this morning and a friend had posted a link to another guy's account who just wrote a book with the title, "Diets Don't Work".

I think it's a sign.

My goal for the rest of the week is to just track using MFP. I went in and defaulted the goals... I am just going to try to follow what they say. I am going to try not to stress about the food. Just track.

I refuse to give up, but damn. I'm so sick of diet and weight loss right now. I just want to be normal. I just want to have a NORMAL relationship with food. I just want to see weight loss as a result of effort. I just don't want to feel STUCK anymore.

Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Not so lazy summer!

I can barely count the ways I love summer break! It's been so nice to relax, sleep in, and just take a break! 

But don't think for a minute I'm slacking on my goals... My gym sessions have been great! I'm keeping up with cardio and weight training, and I'm already seeing progress.

I'm also continuing to eat well. My SmartOnes are still keeping me on track. I actually ventured out and tried some of their breakfast items this week. The Smart Beginnings products are really good! I liked the apple and cinnamon oatmeal, but this egg and cheese english muffin sandwich was the bomb! And much healthier than what you would get at fast food joint.

My goals for the rest of the summer are to stay prepared with good meal choices and keep up with my fitness routine. It's easy to slide off track when you are at home all day, but it's not necessary! I'm keeping my freezer stocked with Smart Ones that I can grab any time of the day... breakfast, lunch or dinner. No excuse not to eat right, or to grab junk.

And if I do have a set back, I immediately wipe my slate clean and keep it moving. One mistake doesn't have to ruin your whole day! You always have the choice to eat better for your very next meal. Start fresh. Move on!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Being prepared...

Today I was looking back on the past week, and how successful I've felt as far as my diet and exercise is concerned. It hasn't been EASY, but it does seem like making good choices hasn't been such a huge struggle. What has changed?

Well, first, I think it has to do with making a decision to STOP restricting. Instead of deciding what I CAN'T eat, I am concentrating on what I can eat. I am enjoying lots of fresh fruit since several of my favorites are in season. I am also trying not to beat myself up, or obsess over the times that I choose to have a not-so-healthy option. Like the other day I had s'mores with my daughter. I had one, thoroughly enjoyed it, then moved on. It was not an excuse to throw in the towel for the day and eat crazy. It was a treat.

Another way I feel I am setting myself up for success is to be prepared. The more "good" choices I have around, the more likely I am to eat them. I have been making sure to prep fresh fruit and veggies ahead of time for grab-and-go snacks. I am trying to cook more since I'm on vacation, but sometimes with softball being almost daily, I still have to grab a SmartOnes meal when pressed for time. I'm glad I still have several in my freezer for times like those. Three minutes, and I have a great, tasty meal that is low in calories.

Honestly, since I've started eating the SmartOnes, I've all but stopped any sort of formal "meal-prep" like I used to do. I would spend hours cooking food to eat for several days at a time... But if I ever got behind or skipped a day of meal prep, I'd be in trouble because I wouldn't have anything healthy to eat. SmartOnes has really spoiled me. They are faster, less expensive, and there is way more variety. I never get tired of them... there is always a different kind if I want it.

And the most important thing? They keep me prepared. When my kids want pizza, I can eat a SmartOnes pizza (the Thin Crust Cheese Pizza is to die for!). When my kids want taco night and I'm sick of tacos (I am!), I can pop in a SmartOnes Chicken Quesadilla and still have a hot meal at the table with the kiddos. It's a win-win!

And I'm still having to share with my kids... My son loves SmartOnes almost as much as I do!

I'm so grateful that I'm finally finding ways to make this a true lifestyle for ME.

My next goal for the summer is to start trying more recipes. I've learned that variety keeps me from being bored with my food. Time to start experimenting with new things!

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve partnered with the Smart Ones brand and received compensation for my participation in the clean slate project ( However, all opinions given here are fully my own.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vacation Victory

Today is a good day. I woke up this morning and decided to weigh-in... Yesterday was my 38th birthday, and today is my first "official" day of summer vacation, so I wanted a start weight.

Last week on Wednesday (the last day of school), after weeks of bad eating and out of control food behavior, I was horrified to weigh and see 270 on the scale. What. The. Hell.

I've been hovering around in the 260's for almost a year, with an occasional dive into the 250's. But 270? It was a smack in the face. My eating and lack of focus was about to put my right back to 333 lbs.

So I made up my mind that I would do better. Even though I was heading out of town for the next five days. First to rural Missouri to take care of some business concerning my mom and to watch my nephew graduate from high school. Then on a weekend getaway to St. Louis with that same nephew and my two oldest kids. We came home yesterday (Memorial Day), which was also my birthday, to a cookout and birthday celebration my bestie had for me.

My main goals was to drink 100+ oz of water each day, control portions (not necessarily restrict what I ate), not OVEReat, and exercise when I could.

Thursday was easy. I packed food to eat on the road, so I was able to skip the fast food lunch I got for the kids. It was a VERY BUSY day, so our entire family (my sister plus her family and my kids) ended up just having sandwiches for dinner. I ate a turkey sandwich, skipped the chips and sweet tea. Drank water all day.

Friday was the graduation celebration. No major temptation until Friday night, when we had a huge cookout for my nephew. I was in charge of desserts (again) and baked beans. Even though there was a ton of food, I only had my baked beans (made as light as I could get them), potato salad, and a piece of grilled chicken. One plate, one regular portion. When I almost went back for seconds, and for a hot dog, I stopped and asked myself if I was really hungry. Since the answer was NO, I didn't get more food. I had a small chess square later that evening, but overall I felt good about the day.

Saturday was my little nieces birthday, and I promised I would get up and make her french toast. I also made waffles and turkey sausage. There was a total of 11 people at my sister's house, so lots of cooking. But I only had one waffle and 1/2 slice of french toast. That big breakfast lasted me until dinner. We headed to St. Louis around 3 p.m. and had dinner there at a calzone place downtown. I ordered one with cheese only, no meat, and peppers. It was so yummy, but I didn't feel stuffed afterwards. After dinner we walked all over downtown... I got 17,000+ steps on Saturday, over 7 miles according to my Fitbit. Lots of activity, and I still drank plenty of water.

Sunday we ended up skipping the big breakfast that was planned because my teenagers slept until almost checkout time. But I enjoyed a cup of coffee, then worked out. I did 28 flights of stairs at the hotel, plus 30 minutes on the bike in the fitness room. We ended up eating at Q'doba for lunch/dinner on the way home because all the food places on our "list" was packed. I wasn't really impressed with my food, so after I was full I gave the rest to my nephew. Later that evening when we got back to my sisters house, I got pizza for all the kids since my sis and bro-in-law had been out at a softball tournament all day. Victory is that I didn't eat any pizza. I drank my water and decided to wait until I was hungry to get something else.

Yesterday was when we headed home. I ate a sandwich for breakfast before I hit the road. The 4-hour drive seemed really quick, and we went straight to my bestie's house for her memorial day cookout, where I was surprised with cake, balloons, and a dozen roses for my birthday! There was a TON of food. But there was also lots of friends there that I had not seen in forever. So, I enjoyed the day, and didn't make it about food. I ended up eating a beef hot dog with 1/2 bun, 1/2 deviled egg, and a scoop of baked beans. I also had some apple ale and a beer, which was a birthday indulgence, and some cake later on that night. But I still felt great... Any other day at a cookout like that, I would be so stuffed because I KNOW the food is amazing (my bestie can COOK) and my excuse would have been that it's my birthday.

But I'm glad I didn't overeat, because going to bed happy about my choices over the last five days was PRICELESS. Not once did I go to bed disappointed and uncomfortably stuffed with food. I enjoyed my family and friends, and didn't make this vacation about food at all. I drank my water each day, and got plenty of activity. I knew I did great, despite having every excuse not to.

SO imagine how thrilled I was to weigh in this morning almost 9 LBS LIGHTER than I did on Wednesday. I even dug out my old scale to make sure that the number was correct.


Hell. Yeah.

So it's on. Today I am back home and more determined than ever to make this summer count. No work stress. No crazy schedules. Lots of softball and lounging at the pool. I can go to the gym whenever I want. And I have plenty of time to manage my food and prepare good choices. My excuses are out the window. It's time to see some real progress again!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Funny thing... lately I've been feeling very peaceful. It's as suddenly, all of my stress and anxiety has melted away. It's not like there's been some life-changing event that has happened that suddenly has given me tons of time, money or energy. I guess my perspective has just changed. I'm REALLY trying to find the positive in every situation in my life right now. No matter the circumstance, I look for the bright side. And it's helped my outlook tremendously.

I haven't been 100% dedicated to my diet/exercise, but I haven't given up on this journey. I've just decided NOT to stress about it. I am not beating myself up about my choices, and I'm not getting down about it. I am enjoying this journey I'm on, and appreciating the progress that I've made. 

Every time I slide on a pair of size 18 pants lately, I am grateful. I remember how size 26 feels. And no matter what is happening right now, I am not there anymore. I know I'm not done with my journey... I definitely have not reached my destination. I am just enjoying the scenery during this rest stop.

I've done pretty good at maintaining my weight loss during this "pause". I am still enjoying my Smart Ones meals. My daughter makes fun of me almost every morning when I grab my Three Cheese Ziti out of the freezer to pack for lunch. I can't help it. It's my favorite. And I usually buy 5 or 6 at a time. I'll never get tired of eating cheesy pasta for lunch. Don't judge me!

Wednesday, May 21 is my last day of school before summer break! I'm so excited to get some time off. But first, my kiddos and I will go on a road trip to Missouri to see family. I'll come back on Memorial Day, which is also my 38th birthday. I figure that it will be much easier to focus after that. As long as I keep this great sense of peace I have, I'm good. No more stressing about food and numbers. I have the tools I need, and I know that this journey is all about choices. Everything will be fine as long as I keep my eyes on the road ahead. 

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve partnered with the Smart Ones brand and received compensation for my participation in the clean slate project ( However, all opinions given here are fully my own.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Needing a clean slate...

Once again, I find that it's time for me to wipe my slate clean and move forward. I've slipped on my eating... It started out with bad choices last week, and it started spiraling out of control this weekend.

I can blame work stress, I can blame anxiety over my mom's health, and I can blame being overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a single parent. But truth be told... it's all just excuses.

I know what to do, and I need to just get back on the wagon.

I have a meal plan all made up... Including my Smart Ones. Truth be told, I thought about just doing the Smart Ones for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since they now have breakfast options. But I don't want to get burnt out on a good thing!

I guess the lesson I keep learning is to stop beating myself up when life gets in the way of my healthy journey... It is totally possible to have a clean slate and to start over the next day. Each day that I feel guilty and beat myself up, it just makes me want to binge even more. If I would just get back up the next day, or even the next meal, and move on, it would be so much better.

I'm learning. I'm growing. And it will be okay.

It's all part of the journey. An occasional slip-up doesn't have mean that I go back to square one.

Lesson learned.

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I have a product review that is perfect for those of us that want to indulge without guilt. These Smart Ones fajitas were amazing! A good portion... Enough for two stuffed fajitas if you add the rice and beans like I did. So yummy!

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve partnered with the Smart Ones brand and received compensation for my participation in the clean slate project ( However, all opinions given here are fully my own.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fasting again...

I have decided to fast again for the next 21 days...

From April 30 through May 21 I will be fasting from social media and from sugar.

Weird combo, huh?

Social media, although fun and very inspirational, is also a time waster for me. I've found that on some days, I spend hours scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Both on my personal pages and my SkinnyHollie pages. It's the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning! It's gotten out of hand.

So I will delete those apps and abstain for the next 21 days. And then hopefully I will be able to use them with some sort of sense.

I have also decided that in order to get some kind of sanity with my food, I have to kick the sugar habit again. I am simply lying to myself if I think I will ever have control of that addiction.

There is no moderation for me. Not now. Maybe not ever.

My birthday is May 26 and I am DETERMINED to get out of the 250's by then. I need to focus for the next 21 days, and I believe if I do so I will reach my goal.

So instead of spending time on social media, I will be at the gym or exercising. I will be able to read more and fill my brain with positive knowledge. I will be able to focus on all the things that have to be done at work for the end of the school year.

My last day of school will be the last day of this fast. I will be able to start my summer with a clean slate if I can stick to this fast.

And just to prove it's not about pure weight loss, I will not weigh myself during this time. I will weigh myself in the morning, and again on the morning of May 22. Not at all in between.

I believe that God can help me through this, but I must get my priorities straight. And make myself a priority, too. I know I can do this. I have to stop sabotaging my own efforts.

So.... you will definitely see more of me over the next three weeks. In my opinion, blogging is not the same as social media, so I will still be updating on here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

An email to my OA sponsor...

I have not been abstinent since Thursday night after OA. My reasons are really just excuses... I've not been abstinent. Period.

I have used the tools you have given me, and also read several other things. I think the main reason I am struggling is lack of a solid food plan. When life gets crazy, like mine is 99% of the time, I think a food plan will keep the guessing and wiggle room out of the food.

J from OA said something really profound to me the other night when we were talking about my struggle with the food plan... It's just for today. Stop thinking about whether or not THIS food plan will be forever. Just decide to follow it for today, or just for the coming week. You can always change it.

I guess, in my diseased mind, I've been trying to find a happy medium, where I can enjoy certain things in moderation while still finding recovery. In my OA reading last night, I am thinking that it's the food telling me that lie. That I am going to have to give up some things I enjoy because I am addicted to them, or because they are trigger foods.

So today, I made a food plan, and have already shopped for and planned out my food for the next week. Sunday through Saturday. 

Breakfast: Protein shake with 1/2 c. greek yogurt, 1.5 c. almond milk, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tbs instant coffee. (I've decided that using coffee creamer full of sugar is not a good idea. So I am going to have my coffee this way. It's kind of like an iced coffee when I add ice.)

Lunch: Smart Ones entree (under 300 cal) and a 100 cal Greek Yogurt with fruit (under 10 grams of sugar). 1-2 servings of fruit. (watermelon or strawberries)

Dinner: Salad greens with bell pepper, 3 oz. baked/grilled chicken breast, 1/4 c. shredded cheese, 3 tbs of blue cheese or ranch dressing. 1-2 servings of fruit. (watermelon or strawberries)

No more than 3 servings of fruit per day.
No more than 10 grams of sugar in anything.
Besides the Smart Ones, no added sugar or white flour. Sweets are definitely the issue, but the yogurt or fruit usually don't cause any issues. 

Like I said, I have already grocery shopped, and anticipating a busy week next week with having standardized state testing and crazy schedules with work there are no excuses not to do well. I have a refrigerator at work so leaving my food at home is no excuse. I have Adkins low-carb shakes at work so if for some reason I can't make my breakfast, I will substitute it with that.

I am sorry that I have not been checking in like you said I have to. I promise that if you will give me another chance I will follow the rules. And if you don't want to be my sponsor anymore, I understand that, too. I need to get "clean". I need to find peace when it comes to food. I am ready to put the food down and take it one day at a time until the "need" to keep certain foods in my life diminishes. I know it will... I've been 90 days clean before. I've proven that I can get through holidays... I just need to prove that I can get through real life.

Thank you for all you do.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Update and more Smart Ones reviews!

I am not even mad that I'm still not doing my usual meal-prepping. I told a friend just yesterday that I am still enjoying my Smart Ones meals every day for lunch. It's so convenient to grab and go each morning. NO EXCUSE not to have a good, pre-labeled meal at school. I have ventured out from my usuals lately and have three more favs...

This one I especially like because it tastes like a loaded baked potato! Nice and cheesy!

A week or so ago I decided to get really strict with weighing/measuring my food and counting calories again. Today is day 10 and I'm already down about 9 lbs to 255.3 as of this morning. I find that if I stick to the Smart Ones for lunch (and sometimes dinner) because the calories are already counted, then weigh/measure everything else I will get an accurate number. I found that I had to admit I was guestimating a lot more than I thought. Classic portion distortion. I don't feel like I'm eating less, but I do feel like I'm more aware and making better choices.

Last weekend I attended a church wedding for the first time in my life. My kids and I had a great time, and I wore a red dress that's been hanging in my closet for 5 years. I briefly wore it back in 2009 after my divorce on a girls trip with my besties. Soon after the trip, it was too tight. But this weekend, it fit well and I felt really good. 

Small choices definitely add up. I will keep pushing forward!

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve partnered with the Smart Ones brand and received compensation for my participation in the clean slate project ( However, all opinions given here are fully my own.