I am Jen, Jen I am

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

today, tomorrow, and beyond

Life is full of Starts and Stops.

MY life is extremely full of starting and stopping and starting over.

My journey to find my happy and healthy “place.” You know that place where IT just happens and I am not stressing how to make it happen, yeah, that place. I have been struggling to find this place for a very long time and it has gotten to be even more of a struggle in the past few months.

I should be so much farther along in my weight loss.

I should be so much stronger.

I should be so much more consistent with  my exercising.

I should be happy.

I should be…


Wait just a damn minute.

I am happy. Ok, life isn’t perfect, but what exactly does perfect look like. Yeah, we struggle to make ends meet. Yeah, we have to keep our “date nights” to a minimum and we haven’t had a vacation in years. But I have an awesome husband. And an awesome kid (ok, I am not living in a fairy tale here but she is a good kid). I have a great job (mentally exhausting at times) and a great family.  Do we struggle? Hell yeah! Are we perfect? Hell No!

Do we love??



And this is ALL that matters!!


#truth – I started this post earlier on Saturday, then put it to the backburner and I went about and enjoyed my weekend. Then I came bacn and re-read all I had written. There are a bunch of “shoulds” up there. And I realized…FUCK the shoulds and the shouldofs.  I don’t need or want to live with regrets, they are not healthy and I don’t like the guilt that comes with them!

So I am done with the starts and stops. My life does not and should not be measured by the pounds lost or gained. I am not defined by the number of gym visits I make each week. I am over feeling guilty for a bad day of eating or a missed day at the gym.

Today is a new day.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Every day is a chance to be a little bit better than the day before.

I am going back to what makes me feel good.  I packed a bag for the gym and instead of making lofty goals, I am simply going to the gym. I am going to hop on the elliptical and get my groove back.



and beyond.



faking it, fighting it

I am so over this funk.

I hate being miserable.

I am not naturally a grumpy person, I prefer to be giggly and silly and happy and energetic and cheerleady. I hate the way this funk makes me feel. So I am going to fight it.

I am gonna fight to get to where I like to be. The place where I am my happiest me! I am going to work on me. I know I feel better when I am not stressing about losing weight but still working on it. I know I feel better when I am exercising regularly but not stressing it.

Ah-ha! I am seeing a pattern. I start with something that makes me feel better but then I somehow turn that same thing into something stressful. Stress leads to a funk. Funk leads me into a not-so-nice place. I came across this quote on pinterest (yep, I am pin-addict) and I was drawn to reading it over and over again.

I need to change this cycle I have been trapped in.

I am only human, so mistakes and emotions (emotions are not the mistakes, but mistakes compound emotions) happen. I always tell my students the only real mistake is to not learn from said mistakes. Emotions are meant to be felt. I have to let myself feel them, but the mistake I have been making is to let those emotions dictate my actions.

I can learn from this; I know a few things and I will build upon that which I know!

I know I do better with a plan but monthly goals of x-number of whatevers always gets me off track. I must STOP doing this. 

I do great when I make a daily to-do list. I need to do this every night before I go to bed. Its a way of seeing what the day looks like and keeping it all straight. I must write things down. It just works for me!

I know I feel better with regular exercise, so my new plan is no plan. I am going to get my ass to the gym! I like the gym, I feel better after I workout. So, my non-plan is to have a gym bag with me every day and after school I will do something. I will elliptical or lift weights or take a yoga class or some combination. I must JUST DO SOMETHING!!

I know I feel better when I am eating good-for-me foods but not being ridiculously restrictive. I also know, sometime I need to tough-love myself because I do have the most ridiculous sweet tooth and no control when it comes to brownies or goldfish. I know if I force myself to slow down and breathe a bit before I eat mindlessly, I can talk myself into better choices. As long as I have a menu plan I keep dinner rather balanced and as long as I pack lunches I keep them balanced. My biggest problem is snacking before and after dinner. I will make a conscious effort to make better choices than I have been making. I will also go back to tracking and counting my points.

It is time to find my happy.

Find my balance.

Do what feels better.

And while I figure it all out, I will fake it and fight it until it all works itself out!

It is all part of the process…the journey!

plans, plans, plans

dinners this week:

Sunday: Sirloin, Biz’s Broccoli AuGratin over baked Potatoes

Monday: Taco Salad (with Black Bean Salad Topping)

Tuesday: Chicken Bruschetta Bake and salad.

Wednesday: Leftovers/On-their-own Night (I have a union dinner/meeting)

Thursday: Chili Cornbread Casserole and salad.

Friday: Honey-Ginger Chicken Thighs, rice and green veg.

Saturday: Hamburger Buddy and salad.

Lunches this week:

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

Fancy Salads (not really, just normal stuff)

Workouts this week:

get thy ass to the gym every day and do SOMETHING!

it hurts


weight gain

weight loss

healthy living


to not diet


no progress

will I know it when I get there?

what does it look like?


How do I get there?

what the fuck do I want?

what the fuck am I doing?

social media

That was a free-flow stream of conscious thing I found myself writing yesterday. I was in a meeting and my mind started to drift and I had a pen in my hand. I started to scribble and that turned to words . Then this list just appeared.

I have been floundering for a few weeks. At first, I tried to hide it. Then I just plainly hid myself. I posted when I went to WW and gained, again. Then I posted plans. Then that was IT!

I have done nothing since then!




I have not been to the gym. I have not taken walks around my neighborhood. I have not been stretching or icing. I have done nothing to make myself feel better.

I have been letting bad habits slide it.

Shortly after I last posted, I had a situation. An incident. I don’t really want to go into the details but I have already put a few things out there for the internetz to hear. My ex has surfaced, after about a 4 year silence but a 12 year absence, and made contact on facebook.

I hate to admit, but this situation really rattled me.  I was transported back in time to a time I would like to forget. One day, I may write more about this past of mine but this isn’t what today’s post is about. I was in an abusive relationship but I left that, I left him. I thought I had left all those insecure feelings behind me. Apparently not.

I have a lot going on in my head.

I am not in a great place.

I am not taking care of me the way I should.

I know what I need to be doing.

I know what will make me feel better.

But I can’t seem to do it.

What is wrong with me?

NOTHING is wrong with me!

I am just going through some stuff.

I am working through it.

But I can’t make myself feel worse while I work through my mental stuff.

I need to make better choices.

The not-better choices are making me feel worse, weak, and pathetic.

I have not been able to drag my ass to the gym, I feel so lost in my lifting plan.  So, I haven’t gone. I know this is making me feel worse. I just can’t seem to change it.

So, new plan: 

FEEL the feelings. Let them flow.

Feel the feelings but I can’t let them control and paralyze me.

Get my ass to the gym. Who cares what I am supposed to do, just get there and do SOMETHING!

Take some extra vitamins.

Track what I eat – even the not-so-good choices. I have been teetering between myfitnesspal and WW but I am going to stick with one. For now, I am going to stick with WW – my mom is paying for it and I don’t want to waste it plus the weekly meetings really do help. The support is the best!

Reach out to a friend, or blog, or whatever will make my head feel better. I cannot bottle up the feelings/emotions because they paralyze me.

So for now, my goals are on hold. I made May goals but I shouldn’t have. I suck at making and sticking to goals.  I am going to work on fixing the craziness going on in my head.  I will also call my doctor to get bloodwork done – it has been a while and I should know what is going on.  I am also contemplating a counselor – I have obvious issues with my ex that I didn’t know still existed.

I already work with many teenagers affected by domestic violence, abuse, and other terriblenesses. I want to help them. I have to help me first!

plans, week of 5.6.12

At the Table:
  • Sunday: Lasagna & Salad
  • Monday: Veal Paprika with cous cous topped grilled, garlicky squash
  • Tuesday: Ham & Cheese Chicken Rollups, squash fritters, and something…not exactly sure yet.
  • Wednesday: Dinner out (probably a local seafood restaraunt) to celebrate my 5th anniversary!
  • Thursday: Meatloaf & mashed potatoes (made with laughing cow french onion cheese) and green veg.
  • Friday: Baked Parm & Herb Chicken, salad, and green veg
  • lunches & breakfasts: crustless quiche (my own concoction, sweet potato soup, salads, homemade coleslaw & smoked chicken (my mom just dropped one off)

At the Gym:

  • Monday: NROLFW, S2, WO B#2 + elliptical
  • Tuesday: zumba or elliptical
  • Wednesday: NROLFW, S2, WO A#3 + elliptical
  • Thursday: yoga or elliptical or both
  • Friday: NROLFW, S2, WO B#3
  • Saturday: elliptical
Last week, I only did NROLFW twice instead of 3 times. I didn’t make it to any classes but I did elliptical twice. I call this a WIN! If I hit the gym 4 days this week, I can call it consistency!!

May Goals Update:

  • 4 solid workouts every week:  1/4 weeks – nailed it! 
  • morning stretches: 2/6
  • nightly ankle stretching and icing: 5/6
  • tracking everything, every day: 6/6
  • night-before packing/planning/to-do lists: 5/6

#WW, week 14: keep moving forward


I know the scale is not a true measure of my success but seriously, WTF?!?! Can that stupid thing ever cooperate. I would be totally content in any downward movement of the scale. Even a little ittybitty -0.2 would be better than a gain.

gain, loss, gain, loss, loss, gain, gain, gain, loss

14 weeks and I am only down about 5 pounds.  I know, I know, a loss is a loss and at least I am down something. I am making progress in some areas and just because the scale is not very cooperative does not mean I have not been very successful.

In the past 14 weeks, I changed in many positive ways. I have worked on and have been improving my health, physically and mentally.  I joined a freaking gym and I have started a new workout plan and I am loving it.  Lifting weights has helped me not miss running. Hell, let’s be honest, moving my body without running has made me realize, I don’t really miss running at all.  While not perfect, I am learning how to fuel my body. I am eating better, I am not perfect at this but I am making progress. I am eating less sweets and junky foods. And, I am sleeping so much better.

I have lost a few inches across my belly button and boobs.

But the scale has been stubbornly uncooperative.

I am moving on.

I will keep plugging along.

The scale is bound to catch up.

I am going to continue logging my calories on MFP but I will be better about logging my points on WW.  I will continue to make better food choices and hopefully, less of the bad choices. I will continue to workout.

I will focus more on my May goals. I have been slacking with the stretching – sort of half-assing it but I know I need to be better at it. My body will thank me and I am sure those few minutes can be meditative if I let it be.


one______at a time

I realize, I am not one of those people who can go all balls-to-the-wall extreme in any area of life, let alone fitness and food changes.  I truly love food, I am learning more and more all the time to love really good quality food, but I love all food. Yes, even some of those gross, should be totally off-limits sort of gross foods. I don’t eat “clean” and I don’t care if I shouldn’t use Splenda, damnit, that is how I like my coffee.  I used to use so much sugar or french vanilla creamer it was ridiculous, now I like Splenda…who know what I will want in my coffee in a year or two.

I am definitely more of a turtle and I am also truly embracing the turtle mode. I have not rushed myself and I have had my ups and downs(and I don’t just mean on the scale), but I am learning so much about myself. I am learning I am capable of really hard work. I was almost going to write that exercise was a priority, but that would be lying. Exercise isn’t the priority, taking care of me is the priority. Exercise is just one of the ways I take care of me! I feel better when I exercise, I sleep better, I eat better and I take care of my family better. I may be slow to figure this all out but I think I am finally figuring it out.

My good friend Jen has a reminder-saying (she even has this on a bracelet), and I have been thinking about her and a picture she posted on her blog (the pic is Jen walking to a race with a cheer sign and Iggy).

“One bite at a time, One decision at a time, One breath at a time”

I am starting to embrace this mentality! It is not an easy concept for me to embrace as I tend to be an all or nothing sorta person.  I am working on it and some days are better than others but I am striving to find my perfect balance…you know that food, fitness, mind, body, soul balance. I am learning to live in the moment and take one moment at a time! One decision at a time.

Let me tell you an example of this…and it happened this week.

The other night I had Chicken Bruschetta Bake planned for dinner. I had the chicken defrosted in the fridge, I had green beans for my side dis, but I didn’t have enough stuffing for the recipe.  I only had half of what I needed – not even enough to fake it. So, my husband in his oh-so-helpful ways, said we should just order dinner.  I didn’t want chinese or pizza. I just wasn’t feeling it.  I went into the kitchen and looked around and decided a late dinner of a big old salad or pasta salad and grilled chicken over a bed of greens.

It was a delicious, filling, slightly later-than-usual, dinner!! The picture I have is not very good – I used my very low-tech cell phone.

But it is not about the picture. It’s a bout that one decision to make a salad, to make something work, and not order out!!


Do you believe in the power of one??

maybe for may…

it is time to set a few goals.

I know, I know, I have sorta been anti-goals, anti-challenges for the last few months.

and leave it to me to decide on goals a day late.

yep, that’s me…always running a but behind the eight-ball!

  • 4 solid workouts every week
  • morning stretches*
  • nightly ankle stretching and icing
  • tracking everything, every day
  • night-before packing/planning (old school, just like my daughter picks her outfit out every night, I will do same and plan/prepare food & workout & errands for the next day)
Not too many goals!
I tend to get overwhelmed and try to DO too many things at once and that usually backfires. I usually wind up with nothing accomplished.  I am always looking for ways to make healthy habits…well, a habits…and to do this, I need to do said healthy habits every day until they are habits. I think my goals are perfect for me and my current stage of my progress.  That is what this is ALL about…progress…right?!?
so, what are you goals to help with your progression?

#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



the plans, week of 4.29

on the menu

Sunday: Beef Stew

Monday: Ginger chicken with snow peas & baby bok choy over rice ( Basically, I am going to combine this recipe with this  one) *

Tuesday:  Smoked Ribs & Bird (husband will be breaking in his new smoker, so we are purposely making extra – chicken will be for lunches & salads rest of the week) with Pasta Salad, Cole Slaw, and a regular salad (lettuce, cukes & tomatoes) **

Wednesday:  Chicken Bruschetta Bake  and a big old salad (and leftover salads)

Thursday: Venison Sausage & Spaghetti and a big old salad

Friday:  Steak, baked potatoes and a salad


applesauce cake, bean & avocado salsa, bacon & green onion potato-crusted quich

*after dinner Monday night, I will make Tuesday’s pasta salad (it definitely tastes better when it sits and flavors all meld for a day)

**after dinner Tuesday night, I will make the Chicken Bruschetta Bake  for Wednesday. I will make it, wrap it in foil and put it in the fridge – whoever gets home first on Wednesday will take it out & bring it to room temp. Mama, has a walking date with a few friends.

at the gym

Monday: NROLFW, S2, WO B1 +15 mins of elliptical intervals

Tuesday: elliptical 45-60 mins (or zumba)

Wednesday: NROLFW, S2, WO A2  – walking date with WW friends.

Thursday: elliptical 45-60 mins (and/or yoga)

Friday: NROLFW, S2, WO B2 + 15 mins of elliptical intervals

Saturday or Sunday: 45-60 mins elliptical

elliptical note: I am working on consistency. I want to workout 5-6 days…not to kill myself, but for the consistency. I am also working on my heart rate training. My heart rate tends to jump HIGH when I lift weights, and my polar training computer is always telling me I train way too much in zone 3 (the high zone) so I need to pay attention and train in zone 2 & 3….enter the elliptical training. Not to be confused with elliptical intervals where I will purposely try to hit zone 3 for 1 minute intervals.

full disclosure: I am a Polar ambassador, Polar has provided me with my heart rate monitor but as always, all thoughts & opinions are mine for free.

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