Saturday, August 30, 2008

Laura: A lesson from Dollywood


When this post appeared on this blog I was on my way to Dollywood, where I likely had a some nachos, maybe some funnel cake or a soft serve cone -- and despite the fact I was blowing any pound losses I would have made had I been at home over the weekend -- I'm was perfectly happy with it. After all, it's my bachelorette party weekend. (Yes, I wanted to go to Dollywood for my bachelorette party. Accept me.) I'm spending a weekend with my best friends and my sisters. It's so rare that we're all together, I'm going to enjoy every last minute of it.

I'm writing this on Thursday night before I head out on my trip -- and for the past few days I've been thinking how my post is going to have to be about my failures from the week and my inability to resist temptation while traveling. But, after some reflection, I realize that wanting to enjoy myself and not letting my experience be controlled by food isn't a failure. It's ok to not eat perfectly every day, for every meal. I'll try to make some good choices -- maybe skip the french fries with my burger, have water instead of soda, you know, the little things. I'll be moving around and walking a lot -- more than I do on an average work day. I'll be fine.

When I get back, I'll pick back up on my workout routine. I got a 27-mile bike ride in on Sunday morning, and made a conscious effort to walk a lot more this week, but I never made it to that 6 a.m. spin class, thanks to a crazy schedule this week. For me, I know my route to health is all about exercise -- after all, my 10 pound weight loss has to do with me getting back to my fit weight. Exercise frees me from the guilt that comes from food -- that feeling I get when I know I've eaten too much but it was sooooooo good.

So, as far as eating went, it was a good week. Through Thursday I ate very well and was on my way to a 2 pound loss this week. I'm sure I've negated it.

Weight loss: 0 pounds

Exercise: Not bad, ramping back up.

Mood: Great!

Talk to you next week!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Monika: Week 1 - Identifying the culprits

Last night I went out with friends to have dinner and to see Cowboy Mouth in concert in Covington. We ate dinner at Riverside Korean where I ordered my favorite, Dolsot Bim Bap, which consists of rice, veggies, tofu and an egg all served in a stone bowl. After dinner we walked down to Madison Theatre for the show. Our first stop inside was the bar where I ordered my first drink. After the opening act, and while waiting for Cowboy Mouth to start, I pulled out my BlackBerry to check messages. Sipping my second drink, I read through my mobile Twitter feed, which was full of encouraging tweets from the Cincy Losers. Did seeing those tweets make me feel a teeny bit guilty for the excess of Dolsot and drinks? Of course. Did I put down my drink and exchange it for water? No.

This morning I weighed myself for the blog and discovered that my weight hadn’t budged an ounce. Even while standing on the scale half-asleep at 6am, I don’t want to admit that my social life is the biggest culprit in my struggles with weight. I know it’s a no-brainer that I’m not going to lose weight if I’m constantly eating restaurant food and drinking cocktails. I don’t believe in total deprivation, but with hard numbers (164.5) staring me in the face it clearly is time for me to be honest and face facts: if I’m serious about weight loss and fitness, I need to reassess priorities and do a better job of balancing going out with being healthy.

Most importantly, I have to cut back on the cocktails. Second, I need to make a commitment to working out at least twice a week and going out less. For someone like me who lives to be the life of the party this is going to be very hard to do, and I’m counting on the support of the Cincy Losers to be successful.

This weekend Aaron (the boyfriend) and I are camping with a group of friends. I have high hopes that all the hiking, swimming and horseback riding that we’ll do will kick-start me in the right direction. I also found a brilliant website that sends daily emails of healthy foods, recipes and gives WW Points values for foods. If you sign up for the email list, you can go back to yesterday’s post and snag their grocery list of the best healthy foods to buy at the grocery store. I’m going to the store on Monday to buy they (she?) recommend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Julie: Week 1, and body image


"We all want to be skinny, right?"

Someone said this to me recently and I have to admit, I got sort of angry. Is this what we, as women, are now thinking? "I want to be skinny!"

I don't know about you, but I want to be healthy. And it took me a long time to get there.

Like Michelle, I realize that I am a curvy girl, and I've never had a problem with it. This is one of the reasons I had to stop taking ballet when I was 12 and already a 34C-- ballet dancers aren't curvy. They're sinewy and muscular but curvy? Nope.

For very long time, I swear that I was the only one who realized that I was a curvy girl and wouldn't be anything else. My mom, who at 5'8" is as tall and thin as I am short and curvy, essentially poked fun at my burgeoning bosom and I distinctly remember her saying something to the effect of "Once you go over 160 pounds, there's no going back." She's the same person who poked my stomach last month when I commented that I was eating out too much. Gee, thanks, Ma. She means well, but she's never had to battle with her weight (she's gained about 15 pounds since 1973) and has no idea what sort of body image she should have instilled in her daughter.

I've had boyfriends who have broken up with me because I'm curvy (one particular in high school who patted my stomach! Argh!), and my ex was into tall, skinny goth girls (also known as "not me. At all.").


So I will tell you right now: my goal is not to get skinny. My goal is to be healthy. I know that unless I have a tummy tuck, my stomach will not be flat. I do not want to have to work that hard to make my body do something it doesn't want to be. I want to eat healthfully because it's good for me, not because I want to please men (who often prefer curvy anyway) or women (who I think are our harshest critics; far harsher than men!). I want to exercise because human beings are made to move, and it makes my heart healthier and has a thousand other benefits. I want to eat good food-- not diet food, marketed specifically to women because we are so desperate to lose weight that we buy it-- in small quantities (exception: Lean Cuisine, because they're all I can remember for work).

So healthy. Like Nigella, who relishes food and is curvy and seems to have a happy home and career.

Numbers for the week:

No workouts, yet.

2.6 pounds lost


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michelle: Body Image and Working Out (Week 1)

I have a million thoughts to share, so hopefully I can boil these down to something mildly coherent. Like Kate and some of the other girls, I took the weekend to go out to eat a few times and rid my kitchen of Keebler Fudge Stripes and other things (pesky elves). The "lifestyle change" started in full-force on Monday.

I have a body image problem. It's a recent thing, this dislike of certain parts of my body. But it's also really hit me that my body image issues are partially brought on by our current society. I was watching Mad Men the other night. One of my favorite characters is Joan Holloway (played by Christina Hendricks). Think about how she looks, how they dress her. She's beautiful, and she's in tight clothing and is most definitely not a size 2. She's curvy, which was accepted and appreciated in the 60s.

I've always loved Marilyn Monroe. This morning, I pulled out one of my "Marilyn Encyclopedias" and looked up her measurements. She was around 38-26-37 (bust-waist-hips). 38! Today, we clamor for 34! Marilyn wore a size 12 dress and a size 8 pants. Gee, how times have changed. If this were the 60s, I wouldn't feel overweight, I'd feel curvy.

Thinking of these women that I find beautiful is helping me adjust to my own body image. I really want to drive a point home though - on this blog, we're all trying to get healthy and adjust our eating habits and exercise accordingly. It's not about "being skinny" for us. Really. However, with good health comes a lot of benefits, and we're definitely up for that. Some of us, when we hit our ideal weights, will still be curvy girls.

I've never been good with numbers. Ideally, I'll be replacing fat with muscle, which is heavier. So my weight may not go down as drastically. When I'm still weighing in the same and the other girls are shedding pounds, I need to remember that. I talked with my trainer on Tuesday, and my goal is to get leaner, and I'm targeting a couple of places. I've also found a solution to track my progress without, again, getting caught up in the numbers. I've cut two ribbons, one white and one black. The black measures my first target area and the white measures the second. The goal is to make sure those ribbons end up too big in the end.

Sunday I stopped at my local SteinMart, which is going out of business. I bought several skirts, all in size 8, with one size 6. At the beginning of summer, I was searching out size 10s. So there has definitely been a change. However, I've lost between 2-4 fluctuating pounds since the beginning of summer, so the difference is in body shape, not weight. This is pretty impressive considering I've only been working out about twice per week, and that includes dancing. Imagine the difference working out will make if I can force myself to do it more than twice per week!

I'm moving my workout ball and my little hand weights out to the middle of the family room, where I'm sure I'll trip over them repeatedly. Hopefully staring at them everyday will force me to use them, even if I don't make it to the gym.

One final thing: I have lousy posture. Whenever you see me, remind me to stand up straight. It makes a huge difference in appearance and, especially with all my back troubles, will keep me from being a hunched up little old woman when I'm 90.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our past can haunt us or help us

Writing my introduction last week really got me thinking. Long after I hit the publish button, memories of my ups and downs with my weight kept flooding back. The good, the bad, the pounds of Oreos.

UPDATED TO ADD: Just got back from WW meeting - I'm down 1.2 lbs for the week. Total loss to date: 24.4 lbs!

I had a eureka moment back at the beginning of the year following one of my WW meetings. The discussion focused on the WHY behind what makes our comfort foods so comforting. With the thought that if we know what triggers our binges or lapses in judgment, we can at least head them off at the pass.

I thought back to my childhood, all the fried foods and cheesy dishes - all the things that made special occasions special. Grandma's stuffing at Thanksgiving, fancy appetizers found in that month's Redbook, green bean casserole, broccoli souffle (which on the surface sounds healthy, but once the cream and cheese got a hold of it, all nutritional value was lost). And then the desserts. It was in that arena that my "ah, ha" moment hit me.

My mother prided herself each gathering on finding new, exciting desserts to show off. She was a working mother, always short on time and homecooked meals were not in surplus. Quick and easy was a survival mode - I'm sure you busy moms and dads can relate. She'd clip recipes she'd come across or had been given by a friend. Hoarding them until the time presented itself and she could wow the masses with her latest culinary delight. I remember the pride she took in those offerings. I remember how loved I felt when she cut that piece of Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie and handed it to me. It was her heart on that plate - handed right to me to let me know how important I was.
Not to over analyze, but there is a little bit of that memory played out every time I find myself in front of a pan of brownies or birthday cake. For reasons I am painfully aware of, those treats offer me love and warmth - they make me feel special. That little voice in my head telling me I deserve that feeling - I work hard and I'm a good person - I owe it to myself. The universe owes me, doesn't it?

After that WW meeting, I thought more about this. I realized that I'm starting this trend with my daughter Parker already. Oh, I haven't perfected the Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie, mind you, but I do tend to reward her with food and use food to express my love for her. I remember after dinner one night trying to find something to give her for dessert. My husband cautioned me that she didn't need dessert after EVERY meal. And I thought to myself 'But then how will she know I love her?'. Bam! That'll wake you up.

The behavior modification is a big piece for me in this journey - just as difficult as adding regular exercise - maybe more so. And I'm confident that once I have a good grip on this piece, the journey will get easier.

I'll always be the product of my childhood - we all are. I'll cherish the memories of Mom and all the ways she showed her affection for me. But I'll remind myself that her love for me was absolute and unconditional - whether there was a piece of pie involved or not.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Shannan: Week 1

Weight loss Goal: Return to pre-mommy weight of 135.

Well, here I am. Ready to embark on a journey that's rewards are immeasurable. A journey that means no longer cussing under my breath as I try on swimsuits. A journey that means no longer having to suck it in when I get my picture taken. A journey that means feeling better about myself when I look in the mirror. A journey I am so excited to take with these six women that I cannot even find the words to express.

For my first post, in the spirit of sharing and hopefully helping others, I thought I'd share some of the awesome tips for loosing weight that I received from friends when I posted on my weight loss frustrations last week. These are all really simple changes that are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day routine. If you've got some tips that you want to share, feel free to leave 'em in the comments.

Shannon (PhatMommy) said...
I'm in the same boat. One word: WATER. Drink tons. Helps me a lot.
This one is going to be tough. I really don't like water. I went to Kroger this weekend and picked up some low calorie powder drink mix. Made it much easy to start implementing this one!

Sarabeth (I once was HP) said...
Write down everything you eat. You don't have to count points, but write it down with the amounts. Do this for a week and add up the calories. You'll be amazed.
I started this on Friday and it's been great. It's def. helped me think twice before dumping another creamer in my coffee or snacking on another granola bar.

Blogversary said...
When the munchies hit I take at least ten deep breaths before eating what I want and I can usually choose an healthier option or drink water. Did this one last night. Had a huge ice cream crazy, took the ten breaths, and decided on yogurt. Great mind trick.

Headless Mom said...
I lost 10 lb. last year. The things that helped me:-cut down on the coffee-2 cups instead of 5 will take you down A LOT of calories. (I didn't cut it completely out and even still pollute it but I was having 5 cups too.)-cut out soda-yes, even diet. use it as a treat, not an all the time drink.
I started this right away. Did you realize how high in calories flavored creamer is? It's like twice that of plain creamer. I am switching ASAP!

She had more....
Also exercise in any way shape or form that you can. Stairs-yes. Farther in the parking lot? Yes. Once around the block after dinner-even with the little ones in tow will count as getting your butt moving. I love this. All weekend long I've been parking at the far end of the lots. It's such a small thing to do. Also, on Friday I got Laura to go for a walk with me after lunch. We got some quick exercise and we got to check out Downtown - something we don't normally have time to do.

just4ofus said...
Plus, you have to have one cheat meal a week. This was the best comment of all. Knowing that its OK to have one cheat meal a week takes the pressure off and gives me something to look forward to.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last but not least...Monika's introduction

First, a few quick facts about me:

1. I have always been “ a bit heavy”
2. I have no pictures of myself as a teenager. This is intentional. I dodged pictures at every opportunity, including not having a senior photo taken either.
3. I hate the term muffin top.
4. I think it’s mean to tell kids they are big-boned or are “just carrying baby fat”. That may work for Cartman but it doesn’t work for me.
5. I own an arsenal of slimming garments, but ironically no Spanx. The truth is none of them really work. Save your money.
6. I have tried Nutri-System, the smoking/coffee/one meal a day diet, low carb, no-carb and Weight Watchers. All of them worked, sort of.
7. I am a big un-fan of exercise. Except kickboxing, which I like but don’t do.
8. Blogging about losing weight is scary to me.
9. I would love to fit into my Rock & Republic $200 jeans again. Seriously, you spend that kind of money on jeans, you want to get more than one month of use out of them.
10. One of my fashionista goals is to one day fit into a smokin’ hot bikini. Without plastic surgery.

As a girl who loves fashion, loves to travel, is always on the go and secretly loves to be the center of attention, it’s a real PITA to be overweight. To look at me, people will say, “You don’t look overweight. You have such pretty eyes”. Hmmm…last time I checked you couldn’t detect obesity by the appearance of ones eyes. Yes, I know I’m one of the lucky ones that carries weight and hides it well, but you’ll never catch me wearing anything clingy or tight for a reason.

A few years ago I went through a divorce, not particularly messy but heartbreaking all the same, and I lost the most weight I’ve ever lost…I was comfortably in a size 6, and at my lowest, a 4. My friends and family all worried about me, and in a weird turn of events, started encouraging me to eat, instead of encouraging me to diet. Guess what happened? Currently I’m back up to a 12. Ideally, I’d like to be an 8 or a 10. I know it’s doable, but this time, I’d like to do it in a healthy way. I realize this means exercise…which is not something I care to do, so I’m counting on the support of the Cincinnati Losers to help me not only eat less crap food, but workout more. As I write this I am eating my last bowl of broccoli cheese soup with a baguette at Panera…so long old friends…I’ll see you in a few months!

Kate: Final Hours of Debauchery

I really needed this "diet" thing to sink in.

After all, going from eat-and-drink-whatever-you-want to something far more disciplined is, well, a little scary.

So I decided to allow myself a final weekend on the lam.

I haven't really gone buck wild this weekend, but things could change because Sunday isn't even close to being over. Friday night was ushered in with a multitude of sins, including fried calamari and Blue Moon at Black Finn. Then it was on to Newport and my "second residence" in Cincinnati. There, the gang enjoyed bottle after bottle of good wine (and a nice Procecco to round things out) and bags of sinful Sliders from White Castle.

We have no shame.

Saturday morning the Cincinnati Losers gathered for a photo op and then Amy in Ohio and I headed to Findlay Market to scout out the fresh veggies and fruit. We were both limping along with starvation, so I decided to break down and have one of the Taste From Belgium waffles.

I can't remember the last time I had something so delicious.

I stayed in Saturday night and was relegated to my fresh fruit and Lean Cuisines, but am already contemplating my indulgences of today.

Burger Madness at Arthur's? Massive bucket of popcorn at the movies? Maybe (most definitely) a scoop or two of Blueberry Pie ice cream at Graeter's.

Tomorrow is my Day of Reckoning, and I am trying to end this last chapter of myself with a bang.

I signed up for Spark People at the endorsement of some of the other Cincinnati Losers, and am already discovering it's an easy way to self motivate and plod along to a diet plan.

Exercise really sucks in my book, but I'm also planning on packing my lunch and using my lunch break to take a quick walk in Eden Park or around the downtown area.

I am visualizing myself 50 pounds lighter, and I know I can do it if I stick to my priorities and weigh my options in regards to eating, drinking and moving.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Introduction: Amy

Mission Possible: I want to look healthy and be healthy. I want to not be the biggest person in the group for once. I want to wear cute clothes and be able to run a 5K without medical intervention. Most importantly, I don’t ever want to pass my eating/fitness habits onto my child and force her to battle her weight like I have nearly all my life.

This is me, Amy (in OHio). I have a two year old daughter who wears me out. Sure, part of that might be the fact that she is a machine and has more energy than a power strip, but part of it is that I’m so overweight, my body can only go so far for so long. That must change.

I hate shopping for clothes. See I’m that in between person: can’t fit in clothes in the normal gal department and can’t really pull off plus sizes because I’m not tall enough and I don’t have enough in the boobal area. There I said it, I’m the weird anomaly of a bigger gal with no real cleavage to draw your eyes away from my double chin and triple hips. I want to enjoy a trip out to get a new outfit - not dread it like the plague.

I’ve always been heavy, big-boned, obese, fat. Whatever you call it or call me, weight has always been an issue. Even when it wasn’t an issue, it was an issue because as soon as I found a little success at the scale during one of my MANY diet attempts, I’d be rewarding myself with a trip to my favorite restaurant or batch of brownies. (Yes, I used to eat brownies by the batch, I was never a good sharer when it came to chocolate.)

After high school (and another twenty pounds or more) I decided to join the Army. You know you have a weight problem when the Army won’t take you until you drop a few pounds. With the help of my recruiter, I was able to get within range and off to boot camp I went.

I was easily the heaviest Private to arrive that hot day in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. Drill Sergeant Jenkins wasted no time pointing this out to me. With the help of drill sergeants and terrible food, I melted like a stick of butter during those eight weeks. Any of you looking for a quick weight loss regimen - I highly recommend it, but in today’s world, it might be a little extreme for most folks! With the watchful eyes of Sergeants and Commanding Officers, not to mention daily PT, I was the healthiest I’ve ever been.

Immediately after leaving the Army, I went to college. All that health, that took months to achieve and years to maintain, took weeks to destroy. By Christmas time of my Freshman year at school, I had easily gained 25 pounds (freshman fifteen - HA! I’m quite the over-achiever).

I stayed that way, gradually going up a size each year or two until I met my now husband. Around that time I lost every grain of sense I had and started using Metabolite to drop the pounds. It was incredibly effective, albeit extremely dangerous. But that goes to show you how stupid we can be when it comes to our weight and body image. You’re so desperate, quick fixes lure you in and make you believe, even if it damages your long term health in the process.

And it’s ultimately fleeting. Eventually the pills were pulled from the market and without the crutch, I quickly gained the weight back. That about takes us to today.

On my wedding day in 2005, I was slightly smaller, maybe 170.
That would be a nice short-term goal to reach by my birthday in February.

Each of the bloggers here are approaching this from different places - some of us have a lot to lose, some a little. We're each using different plans and approaches to the weight loss. As for myself, I have been using Weight Watchers since January of this year. I have lost nearly twenty-five pounds so far, but I’ve certainly not been as committed as I need to be.

I am 197.4 lbs right now according to my weigh-in this past Tuesday. You might not know it to see me (or maybe you would!), but that is the number. That is the first time I've shared it with anyone, so I might as well share it with the world. My goal is to loss another fifty-two pounds to bring me within my target weight as recommended by the American Medical Association (approximately 145 lbs).

My bigger goal is to be a permanent, healthier version of myself.

With the help of WW, the women joining me here and YOU! I’m more determined than ever to eat less and move more. I hope you’ll join us and we’ll battle our demons together.

Introduction: Michelle

I can track my weight gain easily. So easily it's embarrassing.

I used to be a swing dancer and dance teacher and I stayed thin. Thanks to swing dancing, I also had back surgery in 2002. That put an end to dancing for a while and I rapidly put on weight - but only up to 135. In 2003 I got married. The summer before my wedding I worked full time, used Weight Watchers online, and worked out 3-5 times per week. I was also incredibly stressed and easily got down to 120 by the time my wedding rolled around. I was a little too thin then, to be honest. You could see my collarbone and cheekbones. Although you know, I miss my cheek bones.

You can see my collar bone, my cheek bones. Those were the days.

After the wedding, my food "lifestyle change" changed right back to where it had been before. But I still managed to keep myself around 135 - 140. Then came 2007 - the year from hell. Kevin's father passed away in September, which was expected, and then my little sister passed away in October, which was not expected. I spent a lot of time at Cracker Barrel, inhaling comfort chicken and dumplings. And I kept eating. Our house no longer had fruit; it had cookies, cakes, and the worst food we could possibly buy. Apparently when I can't cope with something (like death), I eat. A lot.

In April, 6 months after Krystal's death, I sort of woke up and faced the world again. I went to the gym. That was one of the hardest things for me. When I got the call about Krystal last year, I was on the treadmill at the gym. So going back was a major milestone. I got myself a trainer. I work out with Jeannie once a week, but I haven't been able to get myself to the gym more frequently. We've spent the last few months working through some issues I was still having with my back injury, and just this week started really working out.

I also started dancing again in April. Inspired by the lackluster performance of Dancing with the Stars, I wanted to show I could out-dance the B-list celebrities. (Humor me here.) Once a week, I work my butt off on the Quickstep and Viennese Waltz. If it didn't cost so much, I'd be there 3-4 times a week. I jumped straight to some of the hardest dances and I love the challenge. My goal is to be competing again in 2009.

My biggest problem is dessert. I'm a picky eater. It's why I'm a wine blogger and not a food blogger. I love dessert. I love cookies. I love cake. I love sugar. It's gotta go. I have to find replacements. I've already given up soda and drink mostly water. However, I can't give up drinking. It would sort of kill the wine blog. ;-)

I also work at home, alone, and manage to skip eating all day. I need to be reminded to eat lunch and breakfast. If I'm not, I eat a gigantic dinner. That is not a healthy way to lose weight.

Past experience tells me that, having been a dancer and gymnast my whole life, my body responds well to working out. My weight is anywhere between 150 and 154 right now.

There's too much of me here.

My goals are to get to 135, a size 6 or 8, hopefully by the end of January. I want to work out more, even though I hate it. I'm going to cut out desserts and work on eating regularly instead of munching on cookies throughout the day and skipping meals. If I don't hit the weight, but lose inches, well, I'm good with that too. No complaints about packing on muscle.

I also want to mention that I've met most of the ladies on this blog in person. Having read their weights, I can't believe we all weigh as much as we do. Every single one of us knows how to hide it well - it's very impressive. But I know we're all painstakingly aware of it. I, for one, won't get into a swimsuit.

Yeah, it's time for that to change.

Our Schedule

Mondays- Shannan
Tuesdays- Amy
Wednesdays- Michelle
Thursdays- Julie
Fridays- Monika
Saturdays- Laura
Sundays- Kate

This is the day that each of us is bound in sisterhood (man, that sounds dumb) to post about our progress. We can all, of course, post stuff on OTHER days, but we must post on our day with our weigh in or whatever we consider progress.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Introduction: Kate

I used to be hot.

Standing at about 5'8" with a broad frame and the requisite curves (including a huge rack), I used to be the kind of girl that some boys chased after.

But it wasn't always that way.

I started gaining weight as a teen. Genetics is partly to blame, but I also attribute it to an 800 mile move to the East Coast the summer before my sophomore year in high school. Connecticut was foreign territory full of foreign people who were more aggressive, more stand-offish, and more rich than I was accustomed to while growing up in Cincinnati.

I found solace in food - it didn't matter what it was. Heaping aluminum tins of Chinese takeout, tubs of Ben and Jerry's. The bags upon bags of Pecan Sandies and Doritos my mother would stock in the kitchen pantry.

I was the new girl in town and food was my only friend in the world. It was the start of a beautiful relationship.

To make matters worse, my DNA code was predisposed to weight gain. Both sides of my ancestry include a history of sturdy people - solid German and Irish folks who had their differing ways to prepare a potato. To this day, that starchy goodness is my favorite food, but I digress.

The genes got in the way and I was never a track star or a soccer queen. Rather, I was the kind of girl who hid behind books in the library and sang in madrigal choirs - in big, flowing velvet and satin dresses. My particular dress was bigger than everyone else's, and though I wasn't the slimmest girl in the chorus, I probably had the biggest bones, so it didn't really bother me.

Then I got to college.

I saw all the little girls with the little black pants and the tiny tops, and I so wanted to play along. I spent one summer with a pair of roller blades permanently fixed to the bottom of my feet. I carried a water bottle everywhere I went.

I started looking pretty good.

Fast forward a couple years. The Ball dropped on New Year's Eve and the world ushered in 2000. I woke up to watch the parades and had a strong conviction - this would be my year to reinvent myself. It was so cliche - I joined Weight Watchers January 2nd. I started running - slow as a turtle at first. I'd carry one of those portable CD players with me as my sneakers pounded the pavement, listening to Beyonce wail I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

By May I was 30 pounds lighter, running 3 miles a day, between three and five days a week.

Bootylicious, indeed.

I was wearing little dresses and little tops. Short skirts. Everywhere I went, friends would marvel at my brand new look. Men showered me with compliments and advances. I was never denied a date, a drink, a kiss from a man I desired.

Then I got complacent. I'd cheat. I stopped counting points. I'd allow myself one meal off the wagon. That snowballed into one day off the wagon and then one weekend off the wagon. I'd trade my time in the gym for time on the couch or at happy hour. I opted for another margarita instead of a Diet Coke.

A few years later - I was back to the old body.

Since then, I've had spurts of dedication. I've renewed the WW membership more than once and I've picked up my fair share of water bottles, all in the hopes of renewing some good habits.

Three years ago - not my smallest (and not even close to my thinner sister), but better than my current status. Notice how I have the standing to the side thing down pat?

For some reason, I just can't make it stick.

Now I'm in my 30s, and I look like lots of housewives my age - extra padding on my hips, my thighs and my tummy. The catch is - I'm not a housewife. I'm not a mother. I'm still a single girl who should be enjoying the time of her life.

I should still be hot.

Instead, I think I'm just luke warm.

Taken in June at my friend's wedding. I've got my chin cocked upward to try and smooth out the double chin. It doesn't help that my friend is likely a size 00.

So here I am, teaming up with some fellow blogging chicks who want to wage a war on their weight. I'm not at a place where I feel comfortable sharing with you my current weight or size, but I WILL tell you I hope to lose 45 pounds.

I already went out and bought 14 Lean Cuisines, a water bottle and a box of single serving Crystal Lite packs.

The memory card in my digital camera has fewer and fewer pictures of myself - only because I don't want them to be preserved for all eternity.

I consistently ask people to take pictures of me from a vantage point that's above me - because that's more flattering for fleshy faces.

I know how to beat the system. But I don't want to anymore. I want to get rid of the monkey on my back, my waist and my thighs.

I want to be hot.

Introduction: Laura

My name is Laura, and as a Fitness magazine article told me a few months ago, I’m what is called “skinny fat”. Check out the Urban Dictionary – basically, while I’ve got a perfectly acceptable BMI, my fitness is so terrible that I’m much worse off than an active person who can spare to lose a few pounds.

It didn’t used to be this way. About two years ago, I was in the best shape of my life thanks to cycling and training for a century ride with the Team in Training program. I was so fit that I could eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce. In fact, to keep myself from losing too much weight, after every long ride, I would eat a supersized value meal from McDonalds to up my calorie count.

Where did it all go wrong, you ask? Well, I injured both of my Achilles tendons on that century ride. They were both severely strained and I couldn’t get in a strenuous work out for months. Even to this day, I have a lot of trouble with both of my feet when I exercise. Couple my lack of exercise with continuing to eat like I’m training for a major endurance event and Voila! You have me, 10 pounds up from my pre-century ride training weight, buying my wedding dress a size up, and wondering why my thighs don’t fit into my jeans like they used to.

What am I going to change? I’m going to get moving at least 3 times per week, and I’m going up my fruits and veggies while lowering the number of times I eat out. I’m terrible at journaling and calorie counting. It depresses me, so I just try to put more good stuff in and cut more bad stuff out.

Goal weight loss – 10 pounds before my wedding on Oct. 4

But, more importantly, it’s time to get fit. Just say no to skinny fat.

Introduction: Shannan

I can talk the talk, but I can't walk the walk.

My name is Shannan and I have been eating with reckless abandon for months and it has finally caught up with me.

This is my big ass. It used to be a little ass. --->
Back in the day, before I had children, before I found myself a desk job. Back when I was in college. This ass was much smaller. About 20 pounds smaller to be exact.

I don't know how it all started. Right after I had my youngest, like Julie I turned to Through their site I started shedding pounds. I started seeing results pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I got comfortable and I let my dietary guard down.

I can still remember the night it happened. It had been a rough day at the office and the hubs asked if I wanted to go out for a drink. We headed down to a local spot and I thought to myself, "I've had a rough day. I deserve to treat myself." And boy did I. I ordered poppers and onion rings and proceeded to through my diet out the window. It was all downhill from there. That was in October of 2006.

For awhile I gave up. I would say that I needed to diet, that I wanted to loose weight but I did nothing about it. I'd still drink 5 cups of coffee with creamer, snack on candy at work or head to the local deli for cream based soups (my favorite). Up until now the only time it seemed I was adamant about dieting was for the few moments I saw myself naked after getting out of the shower or changing clothes.

So that is why I am here. Why I am a Cincinnati Loser. I need help. I need support. I need friends who will hold me accountable - scold me for cheating on my diet, praise me when I do a good job. It's weak and pathetic, but it's true.

In an effort to loose weight I am going to follow the advice given to me over at Mommy Bits: Drink more water, cut out soda (aughghgh), start taking 20 - 30 minute walks at lunch, and change my eating patterns. I do have a gym membership, and I will make an attempt to go at least once a week. I will also start journaling what I eat.

Starting weight: 160

Goal weight: 135

Introduction: Julie

My life is hard.

I have a good boyfriend, I eat lots of good food all the time, I'm somewhat successful professionally.

Man, I was so much thinner when I was unhappy!

In 2003, I weighed about 195 pounds. I had surgery. I lost a lot of weight-- went down to about 165-170. Not bad, right?

(Me in 2002)

I got married in 2004 and was a pudgy bride. No wonder I don't really want to get married again.

Me and my bro

In 2006, I lost about 25 pounds because the only thing I could control during grad school, a divorce and a job search was my weight. I used Sparkpeople (which I will do again), which is great because it's free and really motivational. Did I mention free? Yeah. Free.

smiling before I went out with abby

Look at how slim my face is. I miss that.

Me, drink in hand; or: Not Drunk Yet

(I still needed to firm up, but I was slim. Ish.)

In 2007-2008, I gained almost all of them back. I totally gained the Food Blogger 15, and an extra ten just by drinking too much, eating too much, and working at a sedentary job.

Winged Victory


In talking with the other ladies on this blog on Twitter, we decided to start a blog (in a flurry of tweets that took about five minutes). Here we are. I figure I'll lead by introducing myself and throwing out the "vitals".

I know how I'll lose weight-- diet and exercise. Do the 1200-1500 cal/day Sparkpeople plan with exercise at least three days a week. That's my sore spot-- exercise. Though I have a gym membership, I never go. I'm too busy or too tired or too bored by exercising or whatever. I'll have to change that. I refuse, however, to eat lots of "diet" food. I do often eat Lean Cuisines for convenience at lunch, and will still do that. No donuts. I will still eat out. Portion control and good healthy choices will be my key. Less alcohol, less fried stuff, no stealing Terry's french fries.

Starting weight? 175. I think. I'll check again at home. I'll probably cry. I'm one of those women who people insist looks about 15 pounds lighter than she actually is. I guess that's nice? I feel every ounce of it.

Last time, I got as low as 148. I was pretty OK with that weight. So let's set that as a goal.

Total weight loss? 27 pounds. Doable.

Starting? Now.