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Sorry, I have other plans…

Yesterday afternoon at about 4 PM, I remembered that I had signed up to help with voting for my sorority.  Yes.  I know.  I’m 11 years out of college, but still doing stuff with my sorority?  Yep.  That’s how I roll.  

Actually, I’m an advisor for a local* chapter.

* If local = 1 hour drive away, which to me, doesn’t really mean local

So I quit playing on the computer, put on my running shoes, and headed out for a quick 3 miler.  Then I hopped in the shower, made myself presentable, and made the drive into LA.  I arrived at 6:40 PM (for my shift that started at 7 PM, and was supposed to end at 10 PM).  When I left at 11:15, I asked if they were sure they didn’t need me on Sunday (why, oh, why would I have said that?!?  I did not want to make that drive again!).  I was assured that there were plenty of people coming, and I wouldn’t be needed.  I skipped out of the house, into my car, and drove…  I had a decent time.  I know that they needed my help, and I know that they appreciated it.  But still.  It was a Saturday night!

Fast forward to this morning.  I wake up (later than the hubby, since he was dead to the world when I got home last night), and make my way downstairs.  As I’m brewing coffee, I boot up good ol’ email, and see something that strikes fear into my heart:

Hi Lara,  Can you come to the house today to help with voting?  Thanks! 

And that’s when the guilt sets in.  Because I really did volunteer myself yesterday.  But of course, that was for this morning’s party, not for the voting, which is this evening.  And I do really have plans.  I promise that I do.  But I still feel guilty.

And that’s when it hits me:

I cannot feel guilty for not being available to everyone else, when I have me to take care of.  

I could have rearranged my day.  I could have left my friend’s shrimp boil party this evening, driving separately from the hubby, and made my way to the house.  I could have put off picking up my house & doing laundry (Sunday evening activities – don’t pretend that you’re not jealous of my uber-exciting life).  I could have missed another night with my hubby.

But I didn’t want to.  Prepping for the week is important to me.  Hanging with my hubby is important.  Fostering friendships is important.  And quite frankly, tallying votes for the sorority house?  Not quite as important to me today*.

* I did volunteer myself to participate as an advisor, and I really do like this volunteer opportunity.  Since there are 12+ advisors for the chapter, I’m not leaving anyone high and dry.  I just cannot do 2 days in a row of driving down there.

And I wonder how this affects my weight loss, and others’ weight loss.

Many of the women on the Biggest Loser seem to have the same problem.  They spend all their time taking care of others, to their own detriment.  They haven’t learned how to say no.  How to tell their kids to make their own sandwiches for lunch – they need to hop on the elliptical.  They haven’t learned how to tell their hubby to please take care of the kids, they need to go to the grocery store to pick out healthy choices for the family.  They haven’t learned how to say No, I can’t do that for you right now, I need to focus on me.

I’ve got 2 theories:

  1. Sometimes I know when to say when.  I know what I need to do for myself, and I know that doing anything other than those things will lead me down a pathway that I’m not going to be happy with.  This is who I was this morning when I sent back the email saying that I wasn’t able to help because I already had plans.  This is who I am when I plan my meals, using the Grid, keep to my planned exercise for the week, skip those extra bites of candy and cookies that tend to lie around this time of year, blog daily, and keep up with my chores at home to maintain my home as a reasonably tidy space.
  2. Sometimes it all comes crumbling down.  These are the days that I say screw it, forget the plan.  On these days, I order whatever I want to eat at the restaurant, I eat the fries off my hubby’s plate, I buy and eat a tray of chocolate-covered banana chips, and I don’t work out because I don’t wanna.  These are the days that I toss dirty clothes onto the floor (or the dining room chairs), the days that I eat all 3 meals outside the house, plus 2 iced coffees, and wonder why my tummy hurts (that may or may not have happened yesterday, except I only had 2 meals, plus 2 iced coffees.  Maybe).  On these days, I do things the do nothing to further my plan.  Nothing to make me a better person.  Even if I were volunteering, it wouldn’t be me doing a good thing – it would be me, doing something that I had to do.
Today I’m picking Number 1.  I’m going to read my paper, make my Grid, run around the block, head to the grocery store, visit with friends, tidy the house, launder my clothes, cuddle with my hubby, and know that I did everything right to set myself up for a big loss (weight loss, that is) this week.
What will you choose?
Do you worry that you’ll be seen as selfish if you say No?  What do you do every day or every week to ensure your weight loss (or maintenance) success?

Winner, Winner… Fish dinner!

I’ve thought a lot lately about the best ways for me to make sure that I hit my weight loss goals this year.  And basically, I have decided to keep doing what I’ve done recently:
  • Eating on plan
  • Working out
  • Staying positive
  • Focusing on myself
  • Blogging!*
* Sorry, kids.  You can’t get rid of me that easily!

Boneless, skinless Tilapia? Really?

I know that I need to get a bit more creative in the kitchen.  And by creative, I mean I need to try to make more simple meals during the week – with a plan!

So, in planning this week’s meals, I chose all new recipes.  Last night’s was a complete hit!  Super Yum Sauce was still good at lunch today.  Yes, it’s that good, folks.  I could lap it up.  Seriously.

Tonight I had planned on this fantastic tilapia recipe…

Pre-baking: Check out those chunks of garlic! But, it was perfect - not too much!

When buying tilapia, there are a number of different options out there.  However, only farm-raised USA-grown tilapia is considered sustainable from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.


© Monterey Bay Aquarium
Tilapia Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Izumidai U.S. Farmed
Tilapia Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Izumidai Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras Farmed
Tilapia Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Izumidai China, Taiwan Farmed


I think it’s extremely important to buy sustainable food.  And for me, fish is one of the easiest.  If you shop at Whole Foods, they have a little sticker on the tag of the fish indicating where it came from and if it’s sustainable.  My local grocery store, Sprout’s, indicates where everything came from, and whether it’s farmed or wild.  Using either the Seafood Watch App on my iPhone or Android, or the Seafood Watch Pocket Guides, I find it really easy to make a great choice that I know is better for the environment and healthier.

Greek Tilapia Florentine
Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine 

  • 3  five oz Tilapia filets
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 Green onions, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1.5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 10 oz Baby spinach
  • 1/3 c Low-fat Feta cheese

Sautéing green onions...

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Lay filets in a baking dish.  Top with tomatoes, sliced garlic & parsley.  Squeeze lemon over fish.  Cover with foil; bake for 20 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily.
  3. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil.  Sauté green onions and chopped/pressed garlic for a minute.  Reduce heat and add spinach.  Cook until wilted (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Add feta and heat until melted.
  4. Place 1/3 of spinach/feta mixture on each plate, top with fish & tomatoes.

Wilted spinach, green onions, garlic & feta

I didn’t buy enough spinach, so ours was a bit short.  The leftover tilapia filet will be served with tabouli, since I only made enough spinach for 2 servings…

Final product - A winner for the rotation!

Finished the evening with a cupcake.  Turns out the hubby didn’t take them into work today, and I just had to have just 1 more!  But, I made him promise that he had to take them in tomorrow…  They just cannot stay in this house!

Do you care where your fish / beef / chicken come from and whether they are sustainable?   How does it affect your grocery shopping & eating out?

New approach…

Posted on

It’s Tuesday, and in 3 days I turn 33.

Last year, I started age 32 by making a list of reasonable things that I wanted to accomplish in the next 365 days. Let’s take a look at last year’s List of 10 Before 33:

  1. Reach goal weight – NOPE
  2. Pay off car – Done; except instead of paying it off, I bought a new one, although it does have a smaller monthly payment. Does that really count?
  3. Go to Africa – Done & it was AMAZING
  4. Finish a triathlon – Done!
  5. Get pregnant – NOPE 
  6. Last Christmas in childhood home – Done. Well, we went to my parents’ place for Christmas, but they haven’t sold the house yet, and I have no idea if they really will…
  7. Graduate with MBA – Done! Woot, woot! I’m a smarty-pants!
  8. Go skydiving – Done! Awesome. 
  9. Horseback riding lessons – Nope. I need to be below goal weight to do this, sadly. So not meeting goal 1 = not meeting goal 9.
  10. Stand-up paddle boarding – Done. And frankly, I didn’t like it much…

So now I’m thinking of things that I want for my life before I’m 34:

  1. Get pregnant. 

And, pretty much that’s where I stop. No pressure or anything…

If I do get pregnant, I won’t hit goal weight. But it’ll be awesome anyway, so I don’t much care. And I certainly can’t do horseback riding lessons! Ha! I don’t want to include any travel-related goals, because again, that will change if we do get pregnant. I hate that I can’t make plans because I’m making plans for something else that I want. This is completely new to me!

Last year, I just kept planning, paying for triathlon admissions, etc., because I knew it might be a long-shot that I’d be preggers by now. But I’m kind of an overachiever (can you tell?), so I figured that I’d just not compete, because in the back of my mind, I would (OF COURSE) get what I wanted, and have a bun in the oven. Oh, how foolish the human mind is ***shaking fist to the heavens***.

So, yeah. I KNOW that things like this aren’t on my own time scale. I’m not that self-absorbed. But still — this is new territory for me.

So, now what? New approach! I’ve decided to focus on things that make me who I want to be — the chica that I pretend I am, but really, I’m just fibbing about it. These are a bit more general than goals — more like aspirations, I suppose:

  1. Stop biting fingernails. Seriously this time. And forever. Geesh.
  2. Have more empathy.
  3. Exercise, doing things that I enjoy.
  4. Plan my meals & grocery shop based on those plans.
  5. Eat the things that I should be eating. Skip those things that I shouldn’t.
  6. Get organized. I’m a mess. I try really hard to do this, then abandon, then start over.
  7. Stick to a budget! 
  8. Upload photos (enhanced versions!) within 2 weeks of taking the pictures.
  9. Take more pictures!
  10. Knit a blanket; Crochet a blanket.
  11. Keep the house tidy; vacuum once a week (at least).
  12. Send birthday/anniversary cards BEFORE someone’s birthday/anniversary.
  13. Be more creative.
  14. Go to more “Arty” things – galleries, museums, plays, performances.
  15. Go visit friends & stay in touch with people.
  16. Be on time.
  17. Floss & wear my retainer.
  18. Wash my face before bed.
  19. Get ready for work: make-up & hair done & dried. No more going into work like a zombie. It’s not good for my promotion possibilities.
  20. Take the dogs for walks. Daily.

    A New Day – A New Tactic

    Posted on

    So, here’s the deal…  I’m not losing weight.  And it’s all my fault.  There.  I said it.

    I’m having too many sweets.  Too much pizza.  Too many drinks.  Too. Much. Of. Everything.

    And it’s going to change.  Now.

    I need to be accountable to someone.  I hoped that being accountable to myself would be enough – but apparently I’m not enough.  (Note: Something to talk to the therapist about.)  So, I’m accountable to YOU.  And YOU should hold me accountable.  Question what I’m eating.  Question why I’ve eaten any cheats.  Help me.  Help me to identify what I can skip, how I can substitute, and what I can do to make this a life-long journey that’s worth it.

    Starting now.  OK, I’ll start…


    • 1 cup coffee (no sweetener or milk) –> Switch to tea.  Coffee’s too bitter.
    • 2 eggs, over easy –> Switch to egg white scramble with bunches of veggies.  
    • 2 slices sourdough toast with butter –> Skip it.  Unnecessary with a huge egg white scramble.  
    This is me.  Starting over.


    Posted on

    I went off the deep end on Saturday, and need to figure out why.

    As you may, or may not, know, the hubby and I are trying to start a family. Well, err, not trying so much, as not stopping it. (Can I tell you a secret? We’re *trying*, but I hate that term, so I’ll never use it. I also don’t like the pressure that it puts on me & the hubby.) 

    Using the March of Dimes fertility calculator, we’ve figured out the best time to have some *fun* in order to potentially make a TinyLaLa. As such, I tend to eat really well and nix the alcohol around the time of ovulation and through until I get my TOM, then I lash out.

    Saturday was a lash out. It was the last weekend before I needed to start being good, for *hopefully* the next 9+ months of my foreseeable future. But why, oh why, does that have to mean a martini, a beer, wine (2 glasses), plus fries, a club sandwich, appetizers, and a cupcake? Clearly, I’m having a hard time setting personal boundaries.

    This lifestyle change hasn’t changed me all that much. Oh wait, I added some avocado to that sando for some “good fat”. Ridiculous.

    Back on the wagon now, but really worked up over why I did that. The day before I committed in blog form to the weight loss in the form of the Triathlon Weight Loss Challenge. And what did I get from this lash out?

    1. A hangover
    2. 3+ pounds
    3. Feelings of inadequacy

    So what am I to do about this? It’s high time that I figure out ways to make myself happy and comfortable that do not include food or alcohol. Ways to love myself without showing self-hate. Ways to prove that I am worth giving up some little things to get something that I really want — to be trim & fit.

    And I am worth it.

    Summer Lovin’

    Posted on

    I’m not ready for summer.  I’m not ‘bathing suit ready’.  I haven’t met my ‘Hit goal weight’ goal for myself, even though it’s been 9.5 months since I made that goal.  At 8 pounds a month (2 pounds per week), I should have hit it a while ago.  But, I didn’t.  Honestly?  I’m probably about the same weight I was when I made that goal.  Never mind that I’ve been up & down and up & down all year.  I’m on the way down now.  And summer’s just started.  So it’s time to get going.

    Yes, I realize that I am not going to hit goal weight by mid-August.  But, I can get closer to that point than I ever have, right?  I owe at least that to myself.

    I’ve got big plans for this summer, too.  And they all involve getting in shape.

    My goals:

    • July 30:  Compete in a half Ironman distance AquaBike
    • August 19:  Goal comes due — I really need to be closer than I currently am
    • September 18:  Sprint distance Nautica Malibu Triathlon.  Last year, I placed 6th in my group (Athena — women over 160 pounds or something like that).  I want to get onto that podium this year — that means at least 3 minutes off my time from last year

    So, what am I going to do to make sure that I meet those goals?

    • Stick to the triathlon training plan that I’ve made for swimming, biking & running
    • Between 2 and 4 days of weight / body sculpt training in the gym per week.  Just today I increased it from 3 to 4 days (snap decision when buying more sessions with one of my trainers) per week.  My classes at the gym will end in about 4 weeks — not sure if I’ll re-up with the gym or get more sessions with the trainer
    • Start up the Triathlon Weight Loss Challenge
    Wait, what?  You don’t know what the Triathlon Weight Loss Challenge is?  It all started last year, the same time.  The same reasons exist this year:
    • I need to lose weight
    • I need to raise money for the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon
    Why not combine them?  So, starting on June 1, for every pound I lose, I will donate $10 to my fundraising fund for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.  And, since my company matches funding, as long as I lose more than 5 pounds, there will be $20 going to sick kiddos for every pound I lose.  I’m not selfish enough to NOT lose weight!

    So here it is:  June 1 weight was 210.6 pounds.

    Sorry, kiddos!

    Posted on

    My blogging has sucked lately, sorry ’bout that! I feel like I don’t have much to say, but then I have stuff going on in my head ALL.THE.TIME. It always helps to write it out, think it out, and get it out. So, here I am!

    I’m at the lowest weight that I’ve been since last year, right before the big triathlon in September. So, after getting up to about 218 after the triathlon, I’m back down to 207.4. I need this momentum to keep going, which means that I need ME to keep going. I can feel that it’s different this time. Every other time (and yes, there have been a lot of times), I get complacent with food, exercise, wine. And once I stop worrying about it, I start gaining. And woops! There’s another 10 pounds. Right on the belly. NOT.THIS.TIME. That last time? That was the LAST time.

    Work has been really busy lately — adding a whole new product to manage, with a new 5 person team will do that to you. I’m certainly not caught up to where I feel that I need to be. I only have a few more weeks until the guy I’m replacing is completely transitioned, so I’d best get my butt in gear.

    Haven’t been able to pick up my prize (a FitBug!) from the gym — the trainer who has it has been out. But, I’ve been rocking at the gym. On Monday, in honor of the Amgen Tour of California bike race coming through this week, our gym held an outdoor spin class. I LOVED it! Last year George Hincapie actually taught the class — this year another pro cyclist (not sure of the name — he’s Austrian) gave a bit of a speech ahead of time during our warm up. Yesterday I met with my el-cheapo trainer (got a local deal for $38 for 4 sessions!!!) and had a really good workout (although he’s more into the high heart rate, lower weight, with cardio in the middle — it’s a good mix from what my “normal” trainer does). Unfortunately he’s going out of town on Wednesday, so I’m on my own on Thursday (which isn’t that bad, since that means I can meet up with friends to go cycling!).

    This week/weekend is going to be busy: 

    • Wednesday night: Hair appointment at 4, then off to Happy Hour (?) Pick up the house, because the cleaning people are coming tomorrow (WOOT!)
    • Thursday: Cycling after work. Dinner out with friends at The Counter (?) Bask in the clean smell of our lovely home! My favorite day of the month. Seriously. 
    • Friday: Swim practice at noon. Happy hour with my sorority alumni. Sushi dinner for a friend’s birthday (?)
    • Saturday: Party in Santa Monica (bring your own dumpling fillers!)
    • Saturday: 7 AM Swim practice

    Wow, that’s a lot of eating out! Tonight I really need to cook some of my CSA stuff, plus grill some artichokes.

    I’m a winner! I’m a winner!

    Posted on

    I do a group training session with my personal trainer and a few other ladies at the gym. You pay for the sessions, and whoever “wins” gets a prize. And I WON! Woot! In the email to everyone, here’s the little thingy about it:

    The winners of our 2 groups go to the 2 who had the most percentage of body fat lost and most achievements in their fitness assessments…. For our 11 a.m. group, we had another tight race but our winner this lost 3.5% body fat, shaved of 1 min from her 1.5 mile, increased her leg press by 8, did 4 more push-ups and increase her plank by 45 seconds! And she is LARA. Lara also lost ½ inch from her hips and waist…and little by little she’s pushing herself harder every workout! 

    My numbers:
    Body fat: 36.6 % (was 40.9%)
    Lean body mass: 133 (was 126.3)
    Total body fat: 77.2 lbs (was 86.9)
    Waist: 40.5 inches (was 41)
    Hips: 44.5 inches (was 44 ¾ )

    So, ahem… That’s 4.3% body fat gone, not 3.5%. Gained 7 pounds of muscle, lost 9 pounds of fat! Note to self: Remember this when that scale doesn’t move!

    My prize? A BodyBug! WOOT!!!!

    What do you do?

    Posted on

    What do you do when someone who you barely know compliments you on your weight loss? Realizing that I haven’t lost more than 5 pounds in the past few months (total) and at my weight, 5 pounds isn’t really all that much… It’s just weird. I just thank them, and move along — I don’t really take the compliment because I don’t feel that I’ve earned it.

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