I "Get" To Eat Healthy...

Every have that one sentence or moment that changes your life? You hear it/witness it and a light switches on in your head?

Yeah that happened to me at Fitbloggin during the "Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses" session on Saturday, June 29.

My friend Kenlie from AllTheWeigh.com snuck into the room late from another session.

But, her brief time in the room got my wheels turning.

She simply reiterated how someone mentioned about feeling unhappy about "having" to eat healthy to either lose weight or for health benefits.

And she then said: "But instead we can simply say: I get to eat healthy!"

*Mind Blown*

Oh no she didn't.

Why yes she did.

She simply taught me how to reframe my thoughts though a simple sentence.

For the past few weeks with countless travel and unhappiness with some aspects of my life, I have been SLACKING - I mean seriously slacking - in the healthy eating department.

(Note: this is not about needing to drop x amount of lbs - since I haven't stepped on a scale in 3 weeks - but this is about feeling good and feeling healthy! The reasons why I lost weight!)

Too many old habits have been sneaking back into my life to mask or try to bury the unhappiness I am feeling.

So what is happening today?

Today the reframe is taking place.

Today I stop the pity party.

Today I end "Vacation Mode." (Excuse Alert!)

Today I don't HAVE to eat healthy ... I GET to eat healthy.


Because I need to remember how much better my training goes when I am eating healthy.

Because I owe it to my racing self.

Because the athlete I've become (can I say that?) deserves to be fueled the best way possible.

Because I have the ability to do it.

So how does it start?

It starts by getting #back2basics. It is a hashtag I use when I need to hit the reset button.

Yup, I have hit the reset button more times than I can count. But the important thing is I keep hitting it.

What does #back2basics mean to me?

1) Take the food scale off the top of the microwave and put it back on the counter. 2) Move the measuring cups from the back of the drawer to the front. 3) Put into effect #DrinkEnd ... which means alcoholic beverages are only allowed Friday-Sunday. (Unless there is an extenuating circumstances of course. If my friends win mega millions on a Tuesday, I'm not passing on champagne! ;)) 4) TRACKING everything that enters my body. 5) Stick to my training plans, planned workouts and gym dates that I have set with friends. 6) Continue to hit my #100ozchallenge each day, which means drinking at least 108oz of water each day! 7) Do my #plankaday each day. My core will thank me too. ;)

It seems like a lot, but really there are the basic routines that I have created since joining Weight Watchers and when I hit them I have success. So easy decision is to list them out for myself.

PLUS, I always do better with a challenge! Don't you?

So if you are looking for a little support or looking to buckle down, feel free to join me in using the #back2basics hashtag!!

Can you pass me an apple?


#30for60 Challenge STARTS TODAY!

I think by now we have all learned I like a good challenge... #plankaday, #100ozchallenge, #pnptrackstar, #7daychip, #30daychip, etc. Obviously it was time to add another one!

Enter the #30for60 challenge created by my girl Samantha from Running and Cupcakes.

Sam first presented this challenge back in December 2011-January 2012, where I happily participated in. Here is the post I wrote halfway through the challenge: read on!

Once I heard Sam was considering bringing it back in preparation of Summer 2013, I HAD to be a part of it ... and Sam graciously agreed to let me pair up with her. YAY! :)


So here are the details:

The challenge will run from April 1-June 1 and the main just is simple - get moving for 30 minutes a day. This doesn't mean we need to hit the gym for 30 or more minutes a day since like everyone else I like/need a rest day at least once a week. But, we want to motivate people to get out there and get active with friends and families - take a walk, play some soccer in the backyard, have a dance party in the kitchen. Whatever you enjoy doing to get yourself off the couch will count!

Seems pretty simple right?

It is.

We will be tracking everyone's progress on the google spreadsheet I created - #30for60 Tracking - and you can update your stats at any point in time. Each column represents a 5-day period so if you successfully accomplish the challenge 3 out of the 5 days, you would mark a 3 in the column, etc etc.

Make sense?

You want in?

What you need more incentive?



Did that get your attention? Sam and I have been working to secure some amazing prizes for you all and will be sharing those throughout the next 60 days.

So if you are ready to get up, get moving and get ready for Summer then head on over to the #30for60 Tracking sheet and sign up!

And make sure you use the #30for60 hashtag and mention Sam (@RunCupcake) and I (@IrishEyes1982) up to speed on your progress. Use us as cheerleaders if you need to. (Note: Pom poms not included)

Let's Do This Folks!!

Who's with me?

Dear Social Media...

Dear Social Media, I don't know how to say this so I thought I would write you a quick note. I've been trying to gather my feelings for you, but didn't quite know how to really approach you on the subject. So I figured I might as well just put myself out there.

So here goes nothing.

Social Media ... I Love You.

Okay, there I said it!

I 100% with my whole heart love you and all that you offer:

I love OkCupid.com.

I love Wordpress.

I love Twitter.

I love Facebook.

I love Tumblr.

I love Pinterest.

I love Instagram.

I like Google+.

I even have a small place in my heart that still likes MySpace. (not sure why, but it does)

So this isn't getting awkward is it?


I want to simply Thank You for all you have done for me through all of these avenues.

You want examples? Sure, I have plenty.

**OkCupid.com gave me my wife for who I would be lost without!

**Wordpress.com, you have bestowed on me a tiny piece of the internet here at Weight Off My Shoulders where I can share my inner thoughts with anyone that wants to read them. Even if no one wants to read them, you allow me the chance to bare my soul and release the negative in a new and more therapeutic way!

**Oh Twitter, where do I begin. I thank you for the endless 24/7 support I have found...

-For opening my world to such awesome groups as #runchat (@therunchat), #Fitfluential (@FitFluential), #SweatPink (@fitapproach), #GirlsGoneSporty (@GirlsGoneSporty), #wwchat/#weightwatchers (@WeightWatchers) and #Fitbloggin (@Fitbloggin).

-For helping me share my life, my ups, my downs, my accomplishments and my faults with people who accept me no matter what and are always there to offer advice, a shoulder to cry on or a new perspective for the situation.

-For connecting me to other Weight Watchers members and Leaders all over the state, the country and the world overall. It is great to share recipes, success stories, scale and non-scale victories and struggles with people reaching for the same goal you are.

-For numerous motivating challenges, especially Brad Gansberg's #7daychip and Dr. Sherry Pagoto's #PlankADay, and allowing me to even start my own: #100ozChallenge.

-And finally, for motivating me to get out of my comfort zone by sharing wicked personal stories, for reminding me that I am worthy of what my life is giving me and that I can put myself out there and survive.

**Dear Facebook, you have taken hours of my day away and I thank you for that. Love, Dani ;) But really, Facebook allows me to share my blog to another group of people who I might not be on Twitter. Also, I know now that if I don't post my workout on the blog's Facebook page, it didn't happen ... right?

**While I still don't know how to totally use you Tumblr, you provide me endless laughs with such things as Dog Shaming and Texts From Dog.

**Pinterest - oh Pinterest - you make me want to eat everything in sight, work out 24/7 and snuggle a bunch of adorable animals all at once. No one has done that to be before. ;)

**Instagram - you allow me to know EXACTLY what my friends are eating at any point in the day. Now I know whose house to go to because I can preview what they would cook me ;) Also, you inspire me to try new workouts, but new work out clothes and attempt all different types of planks! Additionally, you have helped ME perfect the art of the self-portrait either using my phone or the bathroom mirror. I will never look at the bathroom mirror the same way again. Oh and thanks for offering so many glorious filters to choose from - I shall never look pale again! :)

**I got nothin', but love for ya MySpace... you still exist right?

So there it is Social Media, you truly reach every aspect of my life like no one else has before so in one word: Thanks!



PS What site will you come up with next for me to get addicted to?

What #plankaday has done for me...

Before 2011 the word plank wasn't a normal word in my vocabulary. I mean I knew of the "planking" youtube craze that really just meant people were lying down in random places around the country, not what the fitness world deems a "plank." So plank was not in my wheelhouse ... until August 2011.

Then I read about the #plankaday challenge on Twitter ...

... and I was ready.

The #plankaday craze was started by one fabulous Dr. Sherry Pagoto and I owe so much to her!! :)

I remember doing my first EVER plank while on the road in Milwaukee with the Cubs. I was in my hotel room and gave it a shot. I believe my first plank was either 30 or 45 seconds and I was IN PAIN after that.

Then I decided I was ready to start bringing it into my everyday life because I needed a way to strength my core without doing crunches.

(Side note: I suffered a sprained neck during a rugby game my Senior Year in college and my neck never regained full strength so crunches put a HUGE strain on those muscles. So crunches and I don't get along)

I made the #plankaday part of my Stupendous September challenge in September 2011 and I was HOOKED!!

It is CRAZY how much stronger my core has gotten since starting doing #plankday and how many different types of planks I have learned exist.

I have tried front forearm planks, front straightarm planks, side forearm planks, side straightarm planks, reverse planks and planks with leg raises and altered mountain climbers. And there are SOOO many other variations that I have yet to try yet.

But, wow have I earned a lot in about a years time.

When I hit 1,000 likes on my blog's Facebook page - I committed to doing 1,000 seconds of planks ... AND I DID!!! Say wha??

[embedplusvideo height="281" width="450" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/R_K8U0UUF-4?fs=1" vars="ytid=R_K8U0UUF-4&width=450&height=281&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=0&chapters=&notes=" id="ep1113" /]


Besides that, my plank durations have GREATLY improved.

In fact, on Wednesday, September 5, I hit an all-time #plankaday PR ... I held a front forearm plank for 4 minutes and 20 seconds!

Ahhhh... that is a FAR CRY from my first plank of 30-45 seconds.

#plankaday has given me the confidence to try something new and to truly stick with a core workout program ... plus I have met some pretty SWEET people through the #plankaday hashtag!!

So if you are looking for a new and fun core workout, please checkout plankaday on: Twitter and Facebook! There is one motivating and AWESOMELY cool crew of plankers out there!!

Tell 'em I sent ya! ;)

Just Keep Swimming...

This morning I did my first swim workout in far toooo llooonngg!! Okay one main reason for that was the lack of a bathing suit made for lap swimming in my size. Yes I had one that I have had for years that was WAYY too big, but I just never could get around to buying one that fit. (See: my fear of buying bathing suits in general! :P)

So finally yesterday I decided that since I had a 16 mile run on Saturday, I wanted to get a low impact workout in on Friday and what better way than in the pool. So I asked the wife to borrow one of hers. She is a good 2 inches shorter than me, but I thought it would be able to stretch enough to make it work. I set that aside and proceeded to dig out my goggles and swim cap.

Ohh it felt good to even take those out of the bottom draw!

After my final Weight Watchers meeting of the week, I hit the Boston Sports Club pool near my house - since they always have at least 3 lap lanes available at all times - and was ready to get back to the pool.


Growing up I always loved swimming. My mom always said I was a natural born fish. I was on a swim team constantly until I hit High School. In junior high, I even coached my own little swim team at the local Boys & Girls Club - Dani's Divers - and had a blast.

But then it just went to the wayside as other sports took the forefront of my time. I tried to get back into swimming after college whenever possible as a way to get back in to shape .

Thankfully our gym in Chicago had a pool, but it seemed every time I tried to hit up the pool it was jam packed.

So I was psyched when we got the Boston to find that this pool always had a couple lanes open and since my schedule is more flexible now I could pay attention to when it is dead.


So this morning I put the suit back on and I can tell you it felt awesome! I was excited since my ActiveLink (Weight Watchers activity monitor) is actually waterproof so I could wear it in the pool as well! :)

I went into the pool without a clear cut plan and just made one up as I went along. I couldn't remember how much a mile was in "lap" speak so I focused on getting into the rhythm instead.

I felt AWESOME throughout the swim. I loved how I didn't have to worry about my back or my knees or my ankles. I could just let go and swim.


Since there isn't much thought needed in swimming laps or outside noise to bother you, it is a GREAT time to just think. And as I swam I thought about how it relates my life and my weight loss journey.

No matter how long it had been since I was last in the pool or the last time I even thought about lap swimming ... as soon as I started the freestyle it came right back to me. The breathing. The strokes. The kicks. It was second nature.

My weight loss journey has been the same way ... especially this summer.

As many know I used to work many days straight without a day off when I worked in baseball, which led to a much more regimented schedule - which overall lent itself very well to weight loss and Weight Watchers during the tricky summer months.

Well, this summer is completely different, I feel like a New Member trying to navigate the world of Happy Hours, weekends away, BBQs, etc.

But, I am learning that even if I take a couple of weeks of what I call a "relaxed adherence to the plan" (thanks fellow WW Leaders for that phrase), I know that I can get right back into the swing of it when I need to.

I just need to jump right back in and start swimming...


So in the words of Dori when it is time to bear down and get back to basics:

"What Motivates You?"

Motivation ... the topic of this week at a Weight Watchers meeting near you! Throughout my journey, I've had any different motivators and still do today. Like I said with anchors, there is no one motivator that can work in EVERY situation (in my opinion).

I was sitting in my Weight Watchers meeting this morning when my Leader asked "What brought you in to Weight Watchers?"

You know the day I walked into WW seems like a lifetime ago with how much has changed in that time.

But, I can remember the day like it was yesterday...

I was SOOO miserable in my own body. I had no idea how my wife (girlfriend at the time) saw in me. I didn't see any of it in myself.

I walked through the doors of the church (the meeting was held in their big hall area) just before 6pm on Monday, November 2, 2009. (How about that for details? ;))

I remember meeting the wicked nice receptionist Sharon, who I still keep in touch with now, and seeing the big words in front of me:

Goal Weight

Wah? How could I have any idea what I would want to be at the end of this journey?

But, I knew. I wanted to be healthy. So I picked the absolute highest spot of the BMI for my height and made 164 my Goal Weight.


For two years, I used that thought to push me through the good times and the bad, the gains and the losses, the challenges and the easy days...

Someday I WILL be healthy I would tell myself. Someday!

And it worked. I did it. On November 8, 2011 (almost 2 years to the day from joining, I hit it: GOAL.

For the first time that I could remember, I was in the healthy weight range. Wow! What a feeling.

The dream that motivated me for so long was finally a reality.


But along the way additional motivators always came along for different situations:

*To head to the gym - desire to FINALLY fit into Lululemon clothing

*To go out for a training run - looking at my hanger full of race medals on my wall

*To avoid a certain fast food craving - remembering the last time I ate it and how it didn't taste good/wasn't worth the PointsPlus

*To stay on plan during a rough week - setting challenges on Twitter (#7daychip, #plankaday, etc)

After hitting Lifetime, goals change and here are some thoughts I had on that subject back in March.


What pushes you to keep going on this journey of weight loss?


I think we all figured out that my April was NOT up to par. I would be on plan for like 3 or 4 days then go off the wagon - so to speak - for three or four days. There was no rhyme or reason to what I was doing. I let my will power take a vacation to some warm tropical location, while I ran around like someone who has their issues with food under control. THANKFULLY you all kept me more on track than I would've been. I thank you for being there while I fought to get back on track ... and failed.

Overall in April, I had a BLAST. Lots of time with good friends, good beers and good food ... but, I ended up gaining just under 2 lbs.

NOT what I had planned.

But, this is the time to buckle down and figure out how to be on plan, while being social.

I am using the month of May as a time to get "BACK TO ME" - time to focus on my needs, my health and for now, the number on the scale.

I seem to work better when having a goal or challenge in mind - I think back to how I kicked BUTT in December because of my Dynamic December challenge.


So here is what I am looking to accomplish during #MarvelousMay:

1) #plankaday - This has been life changing for me. I am not one for crunches, especially with my back injury, so this is a great way to get some core work in without sitting and doing a bunch of crunches - I don't want to do - on the floor.

This program was started by Dr. Sherry Pagoto (@drsherrypagoto) and is open to interpretation. For me, I started with doing a 60 second forearm plank every day for a week. The next week I upped it by 5 seconds and did 65 second forearms planks every day for a week. I did 5 second increments until I could hold a forearm plank for 4 minutes - yes! I can hold a plank for 4 minutes. Ahhh, I never thought that was possible.

Once, I hit that goal I switched up my planks. Last week, I did one 2 minute forearm plank and a 1 minute side plank on both sides every day. I like to keep my core guessing each day what I will do. :)

I am going to continue to do my #plankaday every day. I am enjoying the versatility and loving the #plankaday community.

2) #back2basics - I think this is a great challenge and timely for me as I am trying to get back into the swing after flip flopping back and forth in April. I also like this challenge (started by Colleen - @tryn2bfit) because it again leaves the choice of what you focus on up to the individual. I think that is a great way to keep people's attention and driven when they are working on something extremely personal.

For me, I will be focusing on hitting all 6 of the Weight Watchers Healthy Guidelines. Every day of the month I will be sure to have my required amounts of liquids (water), fruits/veggies, vitamins, dairy, healthy oils & exercise. I am pumped.

3) #30daychip - I owe a lot of success to the man that created the #7daychip/#30daychip program: Brad Gansberg (@bradgansberg). He has been a great motivator and has gotten me back on track more times than I can count.

This is yet another great challenge that you set for yourself. I have done a few different #7daychip topics, which you can see here.

The basic premise is to do something healthy for seven consecutive days ... or if you are feeling like you want a real challenge you can go for 30 or 100 days.

For this, #30daychip (which would be my second) I am looking to track my food every day. That means: log it into Weight Watchers eTools, write it up as a food log post on my blog and Facebook/Tweet it out.

4) #100ozchallenge – This is actually the first challenge that I started on my own! I have had at times upwards of 50 people participating. Woo! I feel wicked cool. Okay, that wasn’t cool. Dammit!

Anyway, this is a pretty simple challenge: drink at least 100oz water a day. That’s it. Keep yourself hydrated during the winter months. I just saw on twitter today that “Dehydration can cause ageing & can slow down metabolism as much as 3%” – I am here to not let that happen! Stay hydrated!!


So today is Day One, I am refocusing and getting back to my Number One Priority: ME!

What will you be doing to make May the best month of 2012 thus far and rock your own #MarvelousMe challenge?

Truth Tuesday - 0.4 lb Loss

It seems like too long since I last did a Truth Tuesday post ... last week I weighed in at home, but didn't do my official Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was determined this week to take off what I had gained. According to the home scale it was about 3 lbs of a gain (155.2 then 158.6 over a two week span). So last Monday I had recommitted to getting on plan ... that lasted three days before I went to Weight Watchers Leader training on Thursday. So Thursday, Friday, Saturday I tried to keep my eating in check, but I definitely did some stress eating. But, I also upped my activity all week long - even managing a 5.5 mile run on Wednesday and a 5 mile run on Friday morning. Woo! And that activity must've worked since this morning on the home scale I was down 4.2 lbs (158.6 to 154.4). Sah-weet!

So I headed in to Weight Watchers to get back on track with the official Truth Tuesday weigh-ins. Last time I was there (March 6) I was 155 (RIGHT at my goal weight) and today ... 154.6! Down 0.4 lbs. I will take it peeps. That is some good maintaining over the last three hectic weeks...

Today: Loss 0.4

Starting Weight: 217.4

Today’s Weight: 154.6

Total Lost: 62.8

I am definitely happy with the results and proud to say today marks Day Three of being back on plan! I got back on track as soon as I woke up on Sunday, feeling refreshed and ready to reclaim control over my eating habits.

Another big relief is the lack of knee pain I have felt this week, which started with my 5k on Sunday, March 18. Including that race, I have run 13.6 painfree miles and hit up three Spin classes without knee problem. I am really hoping the injury, which plagued me since Hawaii in November is behind me.

I will tell you all that getting back to the basics of measuring, weighing, tracking and listening to my body signals has helped me handle the last couple weeks. I have been "back on plan" for six of the last nine days. Yay! I am pretty darn proud of that!

I also need to keep the booze in control. I can see when I have a little too much beer or wine the promiscuous eating comes out in full force, which leads to a bad next day - a mini domino effect. So I need to really show some self control with that and not slip in to old bad habits! Plus, I just hate how I feel when I go a little too far on the booze. I'm not 21 any more... :P

Who else tackled the scale on Truth Tuesday today?

#7daychip - Number Nine

I like that I am now collecting #7daychips the way I collect race medals ;) For this chip, I made the following commitment:

1) To hit the 5 Weight Watchers Food Healthy Guidelines each day

2) To complete at least one plank per day (#plankaday)

3) To drink at least 100oz of water per day (#100ozchallenge)

4) To write down/track everything I ate each day - even if I didn't figure out the PP value, I at least had to fess up to what I ate my writing it down, blogging it & Facebook/Tweeting it.