I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

weighing in, #WW week 9

The scale: 

This week: 229.4

Last week: 227.4

Change:  +2

Total Loss: -2.6

The Reaction and the Reflection: 



damn, I didn’t track and look at what happened!!

I need a Gibbs-style slap.

I know I made a lot of good food choices but I know there are days I ate  too much. And the wrong foods. And there are other days where I am not sure I ate enough. Add in that I am lifting some serious weight at the gym, I should know what I am eating so I can see what is working and what is not.

Moving on, I have committed to tracking this week! I am going to write it all down in my WW tracker paper and online. I am very curious about my protein/carb/fiber numbers each day.  I need to find the right combination for weight lifting and weight loss AND feeling good (mentally and physically) – this is most important to me because it will be the key for my long term success.

All of this is about creating the life I want to live. A happy and healthy and long life!

The Lesson: 

Today’s meeting was all about FIBER.

Do you know how much fiber your are getting in ever day?

Do you know how much you should be getting?

I have no idea how much fiber I am getting in every day, but I think it is a fair amount. I eat vegetables all the time, but I don’t know exact numbers. I think I heard 25 grams of fiber is what a woman should aim for every day.

Fiber helps you stay full and satisfied longer. Also, fiber is usually low calories for high volume of food. so fiber is good.

Time for me to do a few things about fiber: 1. how much am I actually eating; and 2. find fiber-ific options for snacks. To do this I have decided to start using MyFitnessPal.com again for tracking. I will still use Weight Watchers and count my points but once a day, I will log all my food into MFP just to get a number for the protein, carbs, and fiber grams I am eating every day.  I think this is good information for me to have – it can only help my journey.

So, for the next week, I am going to track on WW and MFP. WW is for my weight loss journey – MFP is to learn how my body is processing what I am currently eating. MFP will help me get a perspective on the nutritional ratio of what I am eating.

I WILL NOT freak out if my calories seem high or if I go over what numbers MFP says I “should” have each day. I am in this to gain knowledge, not guilt.

[photo source]

I have to believe knowledge is more powerful than guilt!


fear, healing, love

Why was I afraid of this?

Why did I never try this before?

Afraid may not be the right word, but I certainly have been apprehensive. I just had no interest in lifting weights. I did not think there was any need for strength training.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it all. Partly because I have never had a gym membership and partly because I was running regularly.  I thought I was doing enough.

And then I got hurt while out running my 10 miler the week before my second half marathon.  I must admit, I wasn’t following my training plan 10o% as the plan was winding down. The summer heat took its toll on my long runs and then I hurt myself.

The recovery process from knee injury was long and grueling.  During that process I sprained my ankle (for the 9billionth time) and then had to add more time to my recovery.  Then, with the advice of my physical therapist and ortho, I decided it was time for surgical intervention.

I was out of work for 7 weeks.

I was in therapy for 2 months prior to surgery with about a 2 week break after surgery. Then I started therapy up again 10 days after surgery when I got my hard cast on.  PT started with my knee; while I was in the hard cast I was to put no weight on my ankle. After 4 weeks with the hard cast, I had the cast removed and immediately started more intense therapy for the knee and ankle. My leg was so weak and just standing on it was work. After the cast was off, I had almost 2 months of therapy.

I had a lot of physical therapy!

I did not go through ALL of that to not continue my good work!

In the last few weeks I have truly embraced lifting weights. Lifting gives me such an amazing feeling. I am using what I learned in physical therapy and taking it to the next level. In PT, I did a lot of squats and lunges and stretches…and now while doing the #NROLFW I am doing all those exercises and then some.  And yesterday, I realized my lunges are getting more fluid and easier. I am also able to drop my knee lower to the ground.

I am making progress!!

I am making GREAT progress!!




I am in a good place! Lifting weights has helped me feel comfortable and confident in my body. It is also helping me reflect on some things…like running, healing my body, and what I really want to do for me. My whole focus has changed since my surgery. I have noticed changes in the way I think and feel about my body and my workouts. I want to move my body even though I still worry I may get hurt. I feel best when I am moving my body regularly.

It’s weird, when I am lazy and not working out I feel lazy and sluggish and fat. I have been working out consistently, I have been pushing myself and really stepping out of my comfort zone and I feel great about it. I feel great about me. I have the same body but I feel like the non-lazy body is way sexier. I also tend to eat better!

How about that one?!?

The one thing I feared the most is helping me heal and love my body.

I once feared weights.

Now, they will heal me!

I have found a new love!



weighing in, #WW week 8

The scale: 

This week: 227.4

Last week: 228.8

Change: -1.4

Total Loss: -4.6

The Reaction and the Reflection: 

I knew the scale had to eventually move in the right direction. It has been a long slow process to lose weight this time. This is week 8 and I have lost 4.6 pounds. I thought I would be further along then I am…the last time I was following the Weight Watchers plan I lost pretty consistently.

This time is so different.

I am so different.

Yes, I want to lose weight.  But my reasons are different now then they were 8 weeks ago.  8 weeks ago, I was feeling fat and mushy. I was just starting to walk without crutches and I was feeling sorry for myself. None of my clothes fit and I felt weak. I was in a bad place.

Now, I feel like my weight loss journey is only partially about weight loss.

I want to be STRONG! I don’t want to be out of breath when I walk up the steps and school. I want to feel comfortable in my skin. Since starting #NROLFW, I remember how I feel when I am working out consistently. Ok, it is still hard right now. My body requires more attention. I am still remembering the last time I felt really good about my body…last summer when I was running consistently…I felt confident and comfortable in my skin. I have no idea what I weighed but I know I felt good.

These days, I am not feeling all that comfortable in my skin, but I am learning what my body is capable of doing. I am learning I have so much healing to do. I know it has only been 4 months since surgery.  I am pushing myself by lifting weights; I even added heavier weights this week. Weights heavier than I thought possible. I have come to the startling conclusion that even though I was running consistently and training for half marathons, I was lazy when it came to anything other than the running. I am paying for that laziness now – I have not pushed myself in the past and now that I am, it feels awkward. I am stuck in between wanting to baby myself and wanting to push myself, fear of failure and fear of success, pain and healing.

This past week, I did a weights workout twice. It should have been three weights workouts but I had a mid-week unintended two day rest. I had some female issues coupled with an insanely intense headache for two days. I chose to listen to my body and on day two of said misery, I came home from school and took a nap and still went to bed early.  Clearly my body needed the rest.

It was a week where I stepped out of my comfort zone. Not only did I step out of  the private women’s room, but I seriously upped my weights. Not to some ridiculous weight that was too heavy but to an appropriately heavy number. I felt strong and powerful and I wasn’t in agony the day after. I tried pushups on my toes…they were ugly pushups but I did it! I even tried out a yoga class…and even though it wasn’t easy and I felt uncoordinated, it felt so good to test my body.

I will do more of the same this week.

The Lesson: 

At this week’s WW meeting we talked about what was working in our journeys.  By talking to the group and listening to other member’s stories, I realized I do best in my journey when I track and when I exercise.  I feel best. I eat better and I workout more consistently. It is definitely like a balance beam…I have to line everything up so it stays evenly balanced. I can’t and won’t be a workout maniac or the perfect eater. I can, however, find the right balance for me. Right now it appears that if I workout a little bit each day I feel best. If I workout just a little bit each day I pay more attention to what I am eating. I also sleep do good on nights I have worked out.

Have you found your balance?

just the plans

On the dinner menu:

Sunday: Pork Roast with garlic mashed potatoes & salad

Monday: Tacos with zuke-bean-rice skillet

Tuesday: Steak, baked potatoes & green veg

Wednesday: Spicy Orange Pork

Thursday: Spaghetti & meatballs and a salad

Friday: Whole Roasted Chicken, spaghetti squash casserole and a salad


Lunch Options:

salads – of the green and pasta variety





Monday: WO A (#5)

Tuesday: Pilates class

Wednesday: WO B (#5)

Thursday: Yoga Class

Friday: WO A (#6)


all over the place; a 4-month update

I just passed the 4-month mark! It has been a little over 4 months since my surgery. The first month and a half I was laid up on the couch. Then I had to wean off the crutches and start the long process of physical therapy. Months 2 and 3 are a blur of physical therapy 2-3 times a week. Plus, I went back to school. Talk about exhausting.

A few weeks ago I graduated physical therapy and joined a gym!

The gym has forced me to realize just how out of shape I have become! I know I have gained weight. 6 months on my butt with injury; surgery to fix said injury (essentially); and now recovery and I am almost back to my highest weight. I can feel my weight…in my jeans and my breathing (when I run up the stairs at school) and just everywhere. My clothes don’t fit right and I just don’t feel comfortable in my skin.

It is not all scale related…part of the uncomfort is dealing with recovery from surgeries and the unknown and fear. It is scary starting from square one. It is scary testing out my fixed ankle and knee. I keep expecting it to hurt or flop. I keep waiting for my ankle or knee to give out. Silly, I know…this is the whole reason I had surgery…which was a huge success…so why am I scared?!?

august 21st I hurt my knee while out running! I have since gained a bunch of weight and I am completely out of shape.

Yeah, that could be kinda scary!

I don’t want to get hurt again.

And I know it wasn’t just the injury that lead to this surgery. Years and years of ankle sprains and knee issues were the biggest factors in the need for surgery. But I spent most of my life living with pain in my knee and ankle. At least once a year from the time I was 12, I sprained my ankle, usually by falling in some embarrassing way (7th grade gym class, walking my dog, at home on a dog toy.)

And I know my ankle is so much more stable. I know my knee is working properly now.

I can feel the difference. In fact, my knee and ankle are still too tight. I need to keep moving it and stretching daily to keep the range of motion progressing.

I have decided to not pursue running any time soon. First of all, my joints will be happier if I don’t try running with my current weight. Second, I wan to build up the strength in my quads and calf in my right leg before I attempt to run.  I can still see the difference in size of my calves…my right calf is so small and the muscle is a bit sad. My quads feel better every day but still need to strengthen!

When I first started at the gym, I did all cardio. The elliptical and/or stationary bike….every day. Then I started New Rules of Lifting for Women. But I am stubborn and did cardio most days also. I was doing 3 days of cardio, 3 days of lifting with cardio for a long warm up and/or long cool down.

My calf revolted!

I was having severe calf cramps and pain. I stretched and stretched. I gave it heat and ice and soaked in epsom salt. My calf was not happy.

It was suggested I give cardio a break.

I pouted.

I did not want to give up my cross ramp (elliptical).

But I did it!

And first day I did weights only, I felt a difference. My calf was not pissed at me after the workout. So I have now gone about a week without cardio and my calf is happier.


I started lifting much heavier weights. I stepped out of the women’s private room, met with a trained and learned how to use the racked bar for squats and deadlifts. Trainer also made me start doing pushups on my toes. She says I can bang out modified pushups so it is time to push myself and do them on my toes! Even though it is harder and may take a lot longer to get the set done, it is better than racing through modified pushups.  It ain’t pretty, but I give it my all!!

I have decided I really like lifting weights!

I am amazed at how much I can lift. The bar is 45 pounds. That may not sound like a lot but last week I didn’t even think I could or should use weights for squats.  I am amazed at how amazing I feel when I am done a weights workout!

I am only at the beginning.  After tomorrow’s workout I will be halfway through Stage 1 of NROLFW. I am really getting into a groove.

truth…I am feeling quite badass!!


weighing in, #WW week 7

The scale: 

This week: 228.8

Last week: 228.6

Change: +0.2

Total Loss: -3.2

The Reaction:

Can’t say I am surprised. I tracked great in the beginning of the week but then I slacked off. I have been plagued with cramps and bloatyness all week. Every now and again, my body goes wonky and decides to give me hell. This week was such a time. I had PMS symptoms for 10 days. Usually I get 1, maybe 2 days, of pre-period miserableness. My last weigh-in I stayed the same and I had assumed it was period related.

The Lesson: 

I am so glad I came back for my meeting (I woke up to go to the gym around 8 so I went and weighed in at #WW before the gym. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back for meeting)

Today’s Topic was Nixing the Negative!

This is MY topic! Seriously, I am great at cheerleading everyone else around me! I see positive all around me.  And I insist on encouraging everyone I meet! Hey, we are all rockstars!!

However, I am no good at cheering myself on. We talked a lot about this at yesterday’s meeting. Listening to all the women in that room was mind-boggling. We are all so hard on ourselves. I realized something sitting in that room. I have an almost-teenage daughter and I work with troubled teenagers and I HAVE to break this negative self-talk cycle that most women seem to have. I don’t usually talk bad about myself out loud – I just say the bad stuff in my head.

I am horrible at taking a compliment! So many women (and young girls) are terrible at taking a compliment. It’s like we have to justify that compliment.

random person: “You look great, have you lost weight?”

my normal response: “Thanks, but I have still have so far to go.”

so negative!

I am way too positive a person, to think or talk so negatively about myself!

I am vowing to make a change! I am vowing to stop the negative self-talk!

And I will start now with 5 positives from the last week:

1. I continued with my #NROLFW with  my #ironsisters – I have 2 solid weeks under my belt!

2. I moved out of the women’s only room and ventured into the “big boy” part of the gym for many exercises.  This has allowed me to UP my weights!

3. I LISTENED to my body – my calf has been bugging me so I sent my PT an email (and I also talked to a friend) for advice.

4. I followed said advice. I am stretching WAY more every day. I have given cardio a break – no stationary bike, no cross ramp (dang I love that machine).  I am noticing that my calf has been feeling a lot better!

5. I have made some really great changes this week!! I am so proud of me!


Magic Tracker! 

At my WW meeting we have a Magic Tracker. This Tracker is said to have magical powers that guarantees great weight loss.  I know tracking works and I definitely have my better weeks when I track! Anywoo, this tracker has been passed around our meeting. Donna had it last week and she wanted me to have it. I am not sure how she or the tracker knew, but somehow they knew I needed this this week.

I have been half-assedly tracking. I know that is why I have not had the greatest results! This is week 7 and I am only down 3.2 pounds. While I am happy I have lost something, I know I have not been giving weight loss the effort I deserve! I need to put more effort into the journey. Weight loss is not the only thing (or even the most important thing) in this journey.  All the healthy habit I will gain while working to lose the weight, that is what is important here!!

Tracking is where it all begins!!

Tune in next week to see what I learn!!


menus & plans (3.18.12)

Sunday: Braciole and a Salad

Monday: Burgers

Tuesday: Man-pleasing Chicken with roasted potatoes (and sweets for me)

Wednesday: Beef Stew – gotta use crockpot before its too warm for beef stew.

Thursday:  Bruschetta Chicken Bake and a big old salad

Friday: Tacos (Kid’s Request) with beans & rice (mine will be in salad form)

Saturday:  Van Halen concert – call for pizza ordered!

Sunday: Amazing Pork Tenderloin, smashed potatoes & green veg


Tilapia, zucchini and a salad

soup & salad (I made this last night and there a tons of leftovers – worked out to be 7 WW pointsplus)

leftovers and salad


Monday: NROLFW, S1, WO A(#3)


Tuesday: Pilates Class at gym

Wednesday: NROLFW, S1, WO B (#4)

Thursday: Yoga class at gym

Friday: NROLFW, S1, WO A (#4)

Saturday:  Core Class at gym

Sunday: REST

the calf is calling the shots

Before my surgeries I had ankle pain, arch (plantar fascia) and knee pain. My calf muscle never bothered me. My cal muscle also never really developed. There was this weird disconnect happening between knee and ankle.

Surgery has fixed  this disconnect.

Now, I have NO pain in my knee or ankle. The muscles around my knee and ankle….now that is a different story. I have suffered with sore muscles almost every day since I started walking after the cast was removed. My quads have continually reminded me that knee is now working properly and so are they. Since the quads are not used to working properly, they are sore just from daily moving. My ankle is so much more stable. This means the muscles in the bottom of my foot are much more stable. I still have pain on the inside and bottom of my foot. It is not arch pain like I had prior to surgery…this pain all stems from the muscle that runs down behind my knee down my calf and under my heel.

Somewhere deep in my calf I get a muscle spasm. When I was going to PT twice a week, Doug would work that knotted muscle out. Seriously, the man would “dig” his fingers in there and we knew he had the right spot because I instantly would sit straight up and make one wicked face!

That shit effing hurt!!

But now, I am on my own.

Sorta…I did email Doug. He suggested I try deep massage using the rolling pin version of a foam roller. I asked him about compression sock or calf sleeves but he seems to think they won’t help me. He would know.

Then later on, I was g-chatting with Deb.  Deb and I have been talking rehab since before I had my surgery…because she had hip replacement in October (?)…we chatted about my calf.  Deb wondered if I was going to ditch my weight workout. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the weights I thought about scaling back on but rather the cardio.

I think this calf issue is my body’s way of telling me I have been doing too much. I logged a lot of time on the recumbent bike and the elliptical (cross ramp) last week. I may have completely and totally overdone it! We all know how I tend to jump in headfirst. I was so excited about my gym groove. I did too much. The cardio was really too much. The constant contraction and release of calf muscles while ellipticalling and biking at the gym were just too much.

Deb suggested I cut back on the cardio, at least until my calf pain is under control.  I did not want to have to stop the cardio but I knew something had to give.  It makes sense, I know it but I don’t have to like it! Today I went to the gym and it was weights day anyway (because I took yesterday off because my calf hurt so damn bad) so I thought I would experiment with not using cardio.

Normally on weights day, I would warm-up on the bike or cross-ramp elliptical for 15-20 minutes and the do weights and maybe hop back on one of the machines for 15-20 and then stretch.  On off days, I just do the cardio machines and stretching while Kerry does her weights. Today, I listened to Deb and I cut out the cardio completely. I warmed up with a set of squats then took some time doing PT exercises and calf stretches. Then I completed my weights workout (#NROLFW, S1, WO A). I ended with a good stretch.

I won’t lie and tell you my calf is pain free but I can honestly say, it is nowhere near where it was last night. If last night;s pain was a 7 (on a scale of 1-10) today post workout was a 2-3.

This is enough to convince me to give cardio a break. This will truly give me a chance to see if I like or love or hate weights. I think I don’t hate weights. Easing calf pain (or at least not worsening it) puts weights one step above cardio…at least at this moment in time.

I have to change up some of my plans, for now:

  • I will switch my weights days to Tuesday and Thursday (I usually meet Kerry so this is perfect) and Saturday.
  • NO CARDIO at all for next week (at least, maybe 2 – calf is calling the shots so I can only guestimate).
  • I will do an at-home yoga workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

It is not always easy listening to my body and doing what is right for my current needs. Currently, my calf is screaming for me to pay attention. I need to slow down and take good care of my calf.  I am going to put the time and energy I DESERVE!


seriously, this is effing hard! I really thought it was going to be so much easier once I joined a gym and PT was over. NO, it is the complete opposite. It is harder now. I have more work to do…mental and physical.

whoever said this or life for that matter was gonna be easy?!?

no one!

So, I say adios to my beloved cardio and hope with all I have that my calf pain goes away and I learn to LOVE weights!

the plans, week of 3.12.12

On the Menu:

Monday: BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Quesadillas & salad

Tuesday: Chicken Parm Subs, oven fries and salad

Wednesday: Beef LoMein – my own concoction using lots if veggies – cabbage, carrots, peppers, onions, mushroom – mixed with beef and thin spaghetti..and while I’m at it I will chop a lot of all these veggies for Thursday’s soup. 

Thursday:  Barley & Veggies Soup (my own concoction again, crockpot/everything into the pot sort of soup) & sandwiches (maybe grilled cheese)

Friday: Pork Chops in a Spicy Orange Glaze, rice and green veg

In the Gym:

Monday: NROLFW, S1 WO B

Tuesday: elliptical, bike, stretch

Wednesday: NROLFW, S1 WO A

Thursday: BONUS or Rest

Friday: NROLFW, S1 WO B

Saturday: yoga dvd

Sunday: active rest (if weather is cooperative I want to go explore the trails at Bird Refuge)

Misc. Food Prep: kale quiche (like this one), salads for lunch, freeze fruit for smoothies, and hard boil eggs.

Misc. Tasks To-DO this week:

  • Drink 64oz water every day
  • Eat 5 fruits/veggies every day
  • Stretch my calf daily*
  • balance on “bad” leg every day*
  • TRACK food and fitness every day
  • pack gym bag & lunch night before
  • walk 3 times outside (with husband and dog)
  • one yoga dvd workout

Yep, these are same tasks from last week. They are just important enough!!

weighing in, #WW week 6

The scale: 

This week: 228.4

Last week: 228.4

Change: 0.0

Total Loss: -3.4

The Reaction:

meh. I had a rough start. Weekends are hard for me. I wind up eating too much junkie foods. Last weekend, I used all my weekly WW points. All 49 of them in two days.  I tracked it all – the good, the bad, the ugly. Not a good start but the rest of the week, I did good! I tracked, I made good food choices, and I made it to the gym!!

The Lesson:

I did stay for the actual meeting yesterday. We had a very busy day planned and I wasn’t sure if I could squeeze it all in. I got up early and was at WW around 7:45 to weigh in and then I went to the gym. I heard enough of the 7:30 meeting to hear the topic: PORTIONS!

Goals for last week, reviewed/rated:

1. Plan ahead & be prepared for each day!  a B+ for the week!!I planned and packed a bag almost every night! 

2. Track EVERYTHING.  B+ – there is always room for improvement, but I did pretty great with tracking! 

3. workout Monday, Wednesday, Friday at the gym. [#NROLFW with my #ironsisters] B+ – I talked myself out of Friday’s workout but made it up on Saturday! I hit the gym 5 days!! 

4. Walk outside 3 days this week. Fail. I didn’t squeeze any outside walks in! 

5. Daily stretches (PT ordered) and yoga dvd once C. I did stretch every day. I did not squeeze in a yoga dvd. AND I think I could have stretched more and better! 

Goals for week ahead:

I may have been a bit ambitious with my weekly goals last week. I am, however, setting the same goals this week! I think they work for me.

1. Plan ahead & be prepared for each day!


3. workout Monday, Wednesday, Friday at the gym. [#NROLFW with my #ironsisters]

4. Walk outside 3 days this week.

5. Daily stretches (PT ordered) and yoga dvd once

Final Thoughts:

I may not have learned from this week’s meeting but I learned from this week. I kicked ass in the gym. I had a bit of a snafu with weekend eating. I stayed the same on the scale but this week was a HUGE SUCCESS!! I tracked it all, I made it to the gym, I drank my water and ate my fruits and veggies.

After a rocky start, the week was great! I will not let the scale tell me differently.

And then I realized the date. I usually deal with female issues between the 8th and 12th each month. Staying  the same and not having a gain this week is acceptable.  I looked back and I had same no gain/no loss on period week. I will continue to plug away and know that the scale will eventually catch up!

I will post again very soon…I have lots to write about:

1. this week’s menu & fitness plan

2. my week in lifting (I will probably post that on #ironsisters blog but I will link it here)

3. recent yummy foods I have made….well, the successful ones!

4. new hair pictures


just to name a few…

But for now, I am going to adjust to daylight savings and go outside in the sunshine before I have to start prepping and planning week ahead. Unfortunately, those lessons won’t plan themselves.

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