I am Jen, Jen I am

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

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moving home

I am sorry to tell you.

don’t hate me. ¬†ūüėČ

But I am moving home.

Home to listen.learn.love.mend – a place for mending.

I wrote all about it HERE.

Please join me there!

Love you all!!


#WW week 12 & 13

I totally did not post my weight in last week. Ok, I actually sorta did…on my “pounds & inches” page. It all got me thinking, I am really on a different path these days. The scale is only one teeny, tiny part of my week. ¬†Thanks to my mom, I am attending WW meetings and I love my meetings. I love the social aspect and the learning aspect. I really, really like that I step on a scale that I cannot manipulate by jumping on and off until I achieve the “best” number. ¬†I also do not actually see the number.

For me, that just works. I don’t stress the scale anymore. I step on, the receptionist prints out a the little sticker for my book, she tells me my results, we share pleasantries and the stress of the scale is over. This scale procedure has helped me rethink the whole weight loss experience. This is my second attempt with WW and this time the scale does not dictate my success. Last time, I was totally focused on the scale and this time, I am working the program and learning the healthy guidelines. I needed the refresher/reminder about better food choices.

So all this rambling comes down to a new weigh (pun intended, ’cause yeah, I am that much of a dork) for weekly weigh-in posts. I am dropping the weigh-in parts of this post…I will still do a weekly recap and the weekly lesson I learn in my WW meetings but I will only update my weight info on my pounds & inches page. I don’t want to obsess about ¬†the scale, I just want to weigh in at my meeting and be done with it. ¬†Ok?!? ok.


Sorry I missed last week’s meeting and lesson for you.

This week’s meeting was awesome and the message was beyond amazing. ¬†Stephanie (WW leader) started by reading a letter supposedly written by a member who has been struggling and just about ready to give up. The letter writer said, “I hate myself.” Stephanie asked up what we would tell this letter writer.

So many wonderful thoughts went around the room. ¬†Such wonderful advice…like: call a friend, come to a meeting, don’t give up, the scale is not only tool for success, think about positives, don’t focus on negatives.

It all came down to …

Being NICE to ourselves!

Best thing I heard at this meeting: Andrea shared, “if we talked to anyone else the way we talk to ourselves, we should expect someone to punch us…or turn it around, if anyone else spoke to us the way we talk to ourselves, we would punch or slap that person.”


Especially when you consider we are Jersey Girls!

It is time to be nice to ourselves.

Hell yeah!

I love me some me!

most of the times.

And then there are the times when I am so hard on myself. I know that part of that is ingrained in me from childhood; my mom had a habit of pointing out the negatives and ignoring the positives. I won’t go into details because really that would need its very own post.

I have been working on being as positive with myself as I am with everyone else. To know me if to know I am super cheerleader to everyone I meet. I mean everyone. But I am not so good t cheerleading for myself. ¬†I will work harder on it! I will done my cheerleader costume of pig tails, bobby socks & saddle shoes and learn to acknowledge and cheer on the awesome stuff I do and give myself a break when I mess up or am less-than-“perfect” aka human.

At my meeting, I mentioned how as a teacher I have learned to use the power of 3. For every negative, have 3 positives. We have to tell kids when they do something wrong, but we can also mention a few positives. So how about we use this same concept?!?

I am going to take this a step further, and every day, I am going to list 3 positives to happen or 3 gratitudes. Every day there is good…I just need to remember! Every negative (missed workout, sugary meal, binge, excuse, bad food choice, etc) is a chance to learn. Learning is a big positive! ¬†Every day, even the “bad” days, I will think of 3 positives of the day or 3 things I am grateful are in my life!

Can you be nice to you? Can you think of  3 positives for every negative thing you say about yourself? C



only wednesday?!?!

I am having a much better week! 

Last week started with good intentions but I let…well, I let myself get in my own way!¬†

This week, I planned a lot better. I made my #NROLFW Lifting days on days I knew  I could get to the gym immediately after school. No excuses that way! I planned two days with my homegirl, Kerry. One of those days is right after school (perfect) and one is later at night. I figure, if something comes up for Kerry Tuesday I will go right to the gym after school and Thursday can be an extra day at the gym or a rest day. Stuff happens but I need to plan for what I can plan for. Basically, I need to plan around my natural excuses. 

I have learned, right after school is the best time for me! Once I get home, I don’t want to go back out. I want to hang with my family. I want to enjoy a leisurely cuppa. I don’t want to leave the dang house. I think I could be a hermit.¬†

So Today is Wednesday and so far, I have hit my daily goals of gym, water, fruits and veggies and even tracking!! I feel accomplished. I feel like a success. 

I really did set myself up for success this week.  

And cheesy as it may be, I am patting myself on the back for the baby steps I have taken this week. 

I am feeling so accomplished that I cannot believe it is only freakinng Wednesday. 

I will stay positive even though I am really tired. It is state testing week at school but I will stay positive. 

gawd, I am annoying. 

positively perky even when my eyes don’t wanna stay open.


randomness, its how I roll

Today has been a rough ankle day! I have not been able to get comfortable or if I do get comfortable I can’t make it last. I have my leg elevated and I have not done anything but tweet and watch TV today.

I have the attention span of a gnat…or about as long as I can stay comfortable.

Let’s just say this has led to some strange and¬†random thoughts…

and this is where I dump them:


*I really like Jess/ZD’s hair on “New Girl” and I think I could kinda pull it off.

*I do not like MIO

*I want roller skates (yes, I am still in a cast and on crutches but I still want roller skates!)

*This is Dr. Oz’s Smoothie recipe; its 3-4 servings…It looks delicious – how do I save the extra servings? how long will it last?

*There is so much race/running chatter on twitter.  All sorts of people are planning races. I am sorta feeling glad to be recovering from an injury Рthe thought of racing (and paying race fees) makes me feel sick.

*I have no idea what goals I want to set for 2012.

*I am so excited for Christmas! So many friends and family peeps have been invited to stop by and share the day with us!

*My house is a mess and I don’t even care. ¬†I have never been the OCD-type housekeeper but my husband and daughter have been in charge lately and we will just leave it at that!! ūüėČ

*Even though I am having people over for Christmas I am ok with my house just being clean and not perfect. And screw it if my mom gives  it the over-critical look.

*Ankle surgery/being laid up for over a month and not being able to do much for myself has taught be to be selfish, more relaxed, and more focused.

*I’ve been thinking a lot about food and dieting lately.

*daytime TV sorta sucks – I mean how many freaking “reality” and judge show can there be?!? Did y’all know Jerry Springer is still on the air?!?

*I have spent a lot of time on twitter: people can be mean and judgey…not to anyone’s face…but they tweet it!! AND people insist on tweeting everything happening on ¬†their shows. I don’t care what is happening on Real Housewives…if I did, I would be watching or DVRing so I can watch when I want…not when everyone tweets.

*I love my imaginary friends!!

*pinterest is an awesome way to store recipes & crochet stuffs. I like pretty pictures.


ok, so that is just some of the randomness that popped into my head today!!

I felt the need to share!

You’re welcome!!

I struggle, I share

My good friend, Carla, posted this picture on facebook a few weeks ago. It stuck with me. For some reason, today, I was thinking about this quote. This quote (ok, not this actual quote but the sentiment of it) is the EXACT reason I started this new blog. ¬†I was feeling obligated to write certain things in a certain way at jeninreallife. Honestly, I was getting to the point where I didn’t feel like I could truly be me. and when your blog is “…in real life” you should be able to be real. I know, it sounds weird but I trapped myself into this uber-positive place. Being positive is not a bad thing! I am a positive person; I look at the brighter side or the silver lining. BUT, I felt that I wasn’t being real.

I wasn’t talking about weight loss anymore: I wasn’t focusing on weight loss and I had actually been gaining. Somewhere along the way, the lines blurred between not focusing on weight loss, not caring, and downright flipping my nose up at the whole damn thing.

I wasn’t really talking about my injury: My injuries became a huge part of my existence but I wasn’t blogging about it. It was negative and ugly and I didn’t feel I should be so negative and ugly.

I wasn’t talking about food: ya know why?!? I was eating like crap. I was eating to hide my pain and disappointment and I didn’t want to tell anyone about it. Hell, I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

I wasn’t…doing anything! I was falling into a depressive state. I wan’t ready to admit that to myself how my injury was bothering me and bleeding into other areas of living.

I was actually hiding. Jen in Real Life was like an alter ego. I was keeping that part of life¬†separate¬†from my real life. I’m a teacher so I do try to keep part of my life private. But that doesn’t mean I should hide who I am. I was one way online (and in person with my #fitbloggin tweeps) and more reserved and less…well, less me with real life people. Part of that is facebook – why oh why, am I friends with people I never liked anyway?!?

I was scared! I had an injury. I was looking to surgery to repair the ankle and I was scared! But I didn’t feel confident enough to express my fear. I’m always the strong one; the one who takes care of everything and everyone.

I saw this picture of this quote on facebook and I thought about it and thought about it. I was already looking to make a change. I had changed my twitter name and started a new blog with the intention of giving myself a place to heal. ¬†I didn’t know just how much I needed this healing place until now. I keep looking at the picture/quote – because so much of this pain I am dealing with is raw and ugly and personal I am not sure how much or how little I should put out there. I come back and read those words…and realize, I need to write out what is going on. I need to share my struggles.

I put it all out there on twitter, but at only 140 characters at a time I have way more to work through.

I put some of it out there on facebook. I am still a bit more reserved on facebook. To me, facebook is just not the place for  all intimate details. FFS, I am friends with my boss on facebook.

Here, in this place, I need to freely explore being me. I need to share this journey I am on. I need to do it for me – I need to have my words, stories, struggles to come back and read and reflect as I continue. I need to do it for any and all strugglers out there – if I am struggling there is bound to be someone else struggling. ¬†So many people put a pretty glossy image on everything. Yes, they tell you what is going on but they don’t dig in deep and share the nitty-gritty.

I am here to share the nitty-gritty. Someone (besides me) might benefit from my struggles.

I am opening myself up to the emotional roller-coaster. I am going to live the emotions and blog the process of processing it all. I think I am going to learn so much along the way!

I need to send special thanks out to all my twitter peeps, you have all helped me so much in the past week. I need to especially thank Carla, Tara & Meegan, Karen, and Christie – you ladies have no idea how much you have helped me….I have learned so much from your wise words.

I struggle.

I share!

This will be my secret to success! ¬†ūüėČ


today’s the day and a giveaway (UPDATE: winner chosen)



KERRY, please email me your mailing address so we can get your FT4 out to you!!

I look forward to hearing about your FT4 adventures!  


I don’t know if any of you know this, but today at 9am EST I am having knee and ankle surgery. I am ready and waiting.

I will keep you all posted as I go!

Follow me on twitter.

Friend me on facebook.

And while you wait for me to appear again, I have a giveaway for you.

I am a Polar Ambassador.

My Polar HRM (Heart Rate Monitor)  helped me LEARN how to run. I loved running, but I was killing myself trying to run and then I was exhausted. Well, Chris from Polar told me I was not letting my heart rate help me with my running. I was exerting too much energy.

No wonder I was so tired!

Enter  Polar !!

I wear my  Polar watch every day. I strap on the chest strap every time I run.


Polar¬†is giving me the opportunity to give one FT4 to one of my people!! YES, that’s you!!

Some info &  a video:

For those who want basic heart rate-based features to keep their fitness training simple.

  • Shows when you‚Äôre improving fitness based on your heart rate
  • Displays calories burned
  • Comes with comfortable fabric transmitter and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk

Still not sure you need a HRM? Consider it like a coach on your wrist.  It isn’t just for athletes, it is for everyone! Watch this video to find out why:

{Even if you already have a HRM, watch the video ‚Äď it is short and SO helpful!}

So now for the giveaway part…

Leave me a comment….tell me how you will use your HRM…

Contest will close next Thursday night at midnight and I will pick a winner when I wake up Friday!!


getting ready, the lists

I have:
  • ¬†cleaned most of my house (spring-cleaning style)
  • organized and super-cleaned my bedroom
  • washed and folded every stitch of dirty clothing I could find
  • washed and folded all the sheets and extra blankets
  • stashed blankets & pillows (so I can have 2 areas set up for recovering/lounging)
  • put away stuff I won’t be using for the next month (even straightened up the attic)
  • stacked books, bagged yarn/crochet projects, found all cords/chargers and put them in laptop bag – all for easy access for AJ or Q to grab for me. I need to know where things are if I want them to go & bring it to me)
  • splurged and bought myself some cheap jammie pants
  • cooked a few of ¬†my specialties – I made a huge Sunday night lasagne split into two, so one batch could go right in the freezer (plus I have been stocking away some of my other specialties each weekend for the last month or so)
Thank goodness I had a 4-day weekend.
I was very busy!
It is Sunday night, I am still finishing up laundry and I am going through the to-do lists in my head. I am pretty sure I have the house in order and ready for my 4-6 week hiatus from housework.  Now, I have to turn my focus to school. I think I have everything under control there. I have a fantastic substitute lined up. I trust her and I have prepared my students for my leave.  That being said, I still have a to-do list there.  Its a good thing I still have 3 days to finish up.
I am keeping busy in spurts.  Keeping busy is helping me not freak out.
Writing this post made me feel a bit better – it helped me see all that I have done instead of all I still have to do!
I feel calmer.
For now.
I’m off to fold another load of laundry.
And make tomorrow’s to-do list!

the answer is…

So yesterday I blogged, am I going paleo?

and the answer is…

not exactly!


I am not exactly following the paleo diet but I did a lot of reading about the paleo diet and I was inspired. Everything I read seemed doable and logical. A lifestyle thing more than a diet.

Some of the key “rules” of paleo¬†(in my words) followed my thoughts on the rules:

1. Veggies. Veggies. Veggies. I can and need to add MORE veggies. 

2. Lean Proteins. I pretty much almost always choose lean proteins. But there is still the occasional sausage or bacon. 

3. Some fruits. I have been very sporadic and random with my fruit consumption. 

4. real foods.  It is easy to get sucked into convenient snacks. 

5. no grains. I love bread and pasta and rice. I definitely overeat them. 

6. no dairy. I don’t really eat or drink that much dairy. ¬†I do enjoy a yogurt every now and again, and I take half & half in my coffee, and I add cheese to certain meals.¬†

7. no beans. I was not able to verify the exact stance on beans but I like beans. Not sure how I feel about no beans. 


Eating paleo allows for a ton of options. I  researched and found several sources and recipes (I made a paleo page just to keep track of all the info and recipes I am finding). Would you believe, I even found a recipe for a chocolate cake.  Not a bad way to eat.  Eating paleo also has some drawbacks. No beans?!? No half & half in my coffee?!?

so am I going paleo or not?!?


At this particular time, I am not ready to commit to going paleo all the way. ¬†I know I said the same thing yesterday and I haven’t changed my mind. ¬†But I was inspired by everything I read yesterday and just how I felt today. I am sure part of it is all in my head, but I woke up ready to face the day.

I woke up ready to eat more veggies and drink more water.  I did not wake up like I was ready to start yet another diet.  It was a little weird but I woke up and just went about my day. I focused on making good food choices, adding in veggies and drinking water.  I did not feel the usual diet pressure to have some amazingly perfect day. I really must thank Kris Рshe tweeted me a link to her MORE post and it was that thought of more that made today different.

I did not feel some incessant need to have the perfect diet day. ¬†I was able to enjoy what I ate, take the time to make good choices (prepping night ahead was also helpful), listening and trusting myself. ¬†I actually enjoyed eating today. I was not trying to cram my favorite (and less than healthy option) into a crazy-low number of calories. ¬†I ate when I was hungry – I even ate a yogurt for snack around 3rd period, which is awesome since I usually suffer through until 1:15 when my students leave. ¬†For lunch, I had a fabulous salad which I prepped the night before. ¬†Dinner was loaded with veggies -a chinese-style stirfry with lean beef, broccoli and snow peas – I had less than a 1/2 cup of white rice and added in raw baby spinach (the leftovers minus the rice will become the topping for my salad in today’s lunch). ¬†After dinner, must have “dessert” was a banana “whip”¬†– because I love dessert!

I managed to drink 64 ounces of water!! ¬†That may not seem like a lot but with the ankle and knee injury I had a built in excuse not to drink my water and I used it. I mean com’on, who wants to go up and down all those school steps ¬†when it freaking hurts. ¬†I still have same issue but I have to make it work. In less than two weeks, I will still need to drink water but I will be on crutches – better to get used to it now. ¬†So 64 ounces is probably about 40 ounces more than I have been getting regularly.

I hope today is just as great!

I have a few “tricks” I am going to keep in my bag (you know us teachers always have a bag of tricks).

1. More – more veggies (I will eat a veg with every meal), more water (I will sneak in a glass of water before my first morning coffee and sip between each class), more good stuffs.

2. Apples – “Am I hungry enough to eat an apple?” I recently heard about this little trick, if I think I am hungry and I want a quick snack I will ask myself if I am hungry enough to eat an apple. ¬†I think asking myself this will give me just the pause to think about what I am eating and why.

3. ¬†I will plan the night ahead – I will pack my lunch, plan my breakfast, and plan for an emergency snack. I tend to not use my back-up plan but when I don’t have one I am always wanting it.


I will add to my tricks.

I will tweak my diet until I get it where I want it.

I will listen to my body and hunger cues (right now I am just working on learning to listen and actually hearing a hunger cue).

I will love myself as I go through this process.

I will be kind and I will love myself.

I will learn food is not meant to punish or reward.

I will learn what foods make me feel the best.

We will see just what that means…


am I going paleo?

A lot has been going through my head these past few weeks. The closer I get to surgery the more anxiety…my brain is in overdrive…there is much to do before surgery. I have allowed anxiety to be my permission slip to a junk food field trip. ¬†While I know I need to feel my emotions, I also know, for me, I need to have an eating plan that will not let me slip into (un)comfortable patterns. Having some clear cut eating/food guidelines helps me stay in control.

For once, I am looking at everything. I am working on my mental and physical state. ¬†There is a cycle at work here: I’m stressed/anxious/nervous/worried/(fill-in-the-blank-emotion) and I eat “crap” and then I feel worse and then I eat more crap….and the cycle continues. My clothes are tight but worse, my skin feels tight. My emotions are working overtime but I am working on feeling those emotions and working through them.

Just today, I had a long conversation with my husband. We talk all the time so that is nothing new, but the topic of conversation…well, that was new. I told him how I was feeling about surgery – not just the to-do list of things to be done before my surgery but how I was feeling about it – nervous/stressed/anxious. Big Man looked at me and simply said, “everything will be just fine. We will handle this like we handle everything else: together.” Damn! I love that man. He always has my back and he always know just how to handle me (and my emotions)!

I even told Big Man how I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my own skin and how my clothes were feeling tight. Usually, I keep that stuff to myself (well, to myself and anyone who will listen on twitter). He asked me what I wanted to do about it and I answered him honestly. I told him I needed to control my emotional eating and I needed to have a plan to do it. Guess what?!? Big Man says he is ready to make some changes too. He is also feeling uncomfortable in his clothes. He is a stubborn man, so I jumped at this opportunity.

A friend has recently advised me to up my protein intake ….it is said to be helpful in post-surgery recovery. Another friend suggested I look at the Paleo Diet. I researched online and I even grabbed a paleo book from the library. I shared some info with Big Man and he was interested…to a point. Some of his hesitations are valid: for example, we just stocked the house with certain foods that are not “bad” foods but not paleo but I refuse to just throw food away.

We talked. We decided.

We are going to break into Paleo slowly.  We have worked too hard to keep our budget under control. Currently,  we only have my salary to live on and that means throwing perfectly good food away or not eating what we have is not an option. Then there is  my surgery (in like 10 days) and then a week later, Thanksgiving.  After Thanksgiving we will give Paleo 100% of our attention for 30 days and see what we think. I think we will tweak the Paleo basics to fit our family needs.

For now, our BIG focus will be on MORE: more veggies, more proteins, more water. It is my hope that by focusing on the MORE, there will be LESS “crap” food and less “bad” choices.


This week’s menu:

Monday: Beef & Broccoli over rice

Tuesday: Salisbury Steak & periogies & sauteed spinach

Wednesday: Chicken Stew and a Salad

Thursday: Pork Tinga

Friday: Chicken Parm

Saturday: meatball subs & salad

Sunday: Lasagne

where does the time go?

It has been a busy week in my world!!

In fact, this school year has just flown by! I am looking at the calendar and I realize that today is the LAST Friday in October.

Time flies……

I have a lot going on right now.

School has been absolutely insane this year – did I mention it somehow became October and somehow its the END of October already?!?!?

School has been nutty:¬†I became the Lead Representative for my school for our district teacher’s association and I have been attending a function every other week. ¬†I have also added to my school responsibilities in other ways. We have two¬†new¬†computer based programs to learn and use. ¬†Let’s just say, I am one busy lady!

Q has been needing more and more of my time. She is so close to being a teenager and we have mother-daughter (seriously intense MD) conversations all the time. ¬†7th grade has been its own emotional rollercoaster. Expect many posts about 7th grade/pre-teen “stuff” in the near future!

And then on top of all the school and Q drama, I have been going to physical therapy two to three times a week since early September. Just the other day, I went for a follow up visit with my ortho, Dr. B.  My sprained ankle is getting better and my knee is feeling stronger. Yet they both ache a lot and are still quite a mess.


I have  talked to the doctor and he has recommended surgery. To be fair, he recommended the ankle surgery four years ago but I put it off .  I have decided its time to bite the bullet and have the surgery.

On NOVEMBER 17, 2011 I will have 2 surgical procedures Рone to fix the busted, stretched and otherwise useless ligament  in my ankle and the other procedure will fix a very tight lateral knee ligament.

I will need a good, long time to recover and heal. I will be out of school for approximately 6 weeks and for the first 4 weeks, I will be in a hard cast and not able to put any weight on my ankle.  Lucky for me (or unlucky depending on how you look at it Рat the moment I am choosing to look at the positive side) my husband is currently laid off from work so he will be able to help me out. In fact, my husband and daughter are stepping up big time to help me!


I have less than three weeks and there is SO MUCH to do! I need my house CLEAN and all the laundry CLEAN and I need the dog CLEAN and my bedroom needs to be CLEAN (which means I need some organization)! I have been cooking some meals to freeze but Big Man says he will take care of most of the cooking.  Q has been baking (oh lordie, help me) and says she wants to make a whole dinner by herself while I am healing.

If the last two months are any indications, these next few weeks are just going to FLY by!  I can only hope my sanity stays intact!

How do you stay sane, when you have a to-do list a mile long??

where does the time go?

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