Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bring on the Challenges!

First, I apologize for the unnecessarily long post earlier.. I've been struggling with some frustration over a coworker lately that's started and stopped dieting with BFF and I recently. Between the two of us, we did everything we could possibly do to help her and keep her motivated, and it didn't work. She quit, and she started gaining again. How much, I'm not sure because she stopped sharing her progress with us completely. I felt guilty at first, wondering if I could have done more or if I was too over the top and ran her off. Then I felt frustrated because she needed this so badly and she just gave up. And then I felt just plain awful because I had a "Doh!" moment. How long did it take me to truly commit to doing what was necessary? I started in April, and lost 26 before my wedding in July. On the honeymoon- in ONE week- I gained 6 back. I gained and lost, gained and lost all through the remainder of July and August.. essentially hovering at that original 26. Then they started me on Zoloft just as I was getting back into my groove, and it seemed like nothing I did could make the scale budge. Now THAT is frustrating. I went back, and had a meltdown in my doctor's exam room about the weight gain and she switched me to something else- promising weight gain was not a side effect this time. I didn't start getting my act together until the end of September, October was better, and November has been hardcore. It took me months to finally "get it." It wasn't at all fair for me to be frustrated that she hadn't gotten it yet too. I'm committed, I've got my priorities in order, and I can only hope she soon will too. Until she makes that decision, there's nothing I can do aside from trying my best to set a good example.

And now this post is a long ramble too. Oy vey.
What I meant to say was that, obviously, I joined in Phase 3 of Allan's Challenge. The water hasn't been a problem, I've already dropped down to 1200 calories for most of November, and I'm exercising 6 days a week. Bring it.

I also meant to say that I also joined the December Go the Distance Challenge too. My goal is 50 miles in December, on the elliptical, treadmill, or outdoor walking/running. I honestly don't know what I normally do because I've never tracked it, so this will be interesting. Feel free to kick my ass here too. You know I like it!

Happy December everyone-- One more month in 2010 to give it your all!

A little moonwalking, a little rambling..

Chris and I stopped by my mom's house after school today to pick up a few of our Christmas ornaments that got mixed in with hers last year, and we were informed that my dad was up until 5am (he works second shift so it's not that crazy) playing the Michael Jackson game for Wii. I'm a lot like my dad in so many ways it's scary, so we stayed for a while and played. After one song, Chris decided it was more entertaining to watch me make a fool of myself. Mom agreed. If medical billing ever falls through, back-up dancing for MJ impersonators is definitely not something I have a future in.. Apparently coordination is a necessity. Damn.

Fluids for the day are over 150 oz, and I've got another 32 oz bottle I'm nursing. Calories are at 928 for the day, but I may be having a toasted english muffin with peanut butter (it's my favorite post-workout snack because of the fiber/protein) as a snack in a bit, IF I am hungry, which would bring me to 1118. Allan's 1200 calorie plan is not impossible when you're making your food choices work for you. I don't starve myself, I stop when I'm satisfied, I exercise 6 days a week, and I drink the water. Aside from pushing myself when it comes to exercising, none of it is hard physically, but it does take commitment. Although I've been dieting since April, I didn't get that part until October, and I'll be the first one to admit it. Once it finally clicked, I've averaged about 2 lbs a week and a lot of the mental struggles that come with all this weight are getting easier. You know, the "fat girl" voice? The voice that tells you a brownie will make you feel better, or that you earned that bread stick after all your hard work, or makes a list of excuses for every bad choice you make. I don't know if that voice will ever completely go away, but it does get a lot easier to ignore as you go along if you're consistent. Last night for example.. I made chocolate chip cookies for the boys and wasn't tempted the least bit to have one myself. I've kept junk like that out of the house for so long because my self-control just wasn't ready for that. After limiting my sugar and junk consistently now, it's nowhere near the temptation it was even a month ago. I still don't believe in having a "restricted foods list" because I know how well that's worked out for me personally in the past, but I'm learning which foods are going to trigger my cravings and I avoid them. Holy shenanigans Batman, I think common sense may finally be taking on my emotional eating habits! Who knew?

Now where was I going with all this..? Right. Commitment. There are so many things I would love to be doing other than working out. Hours upon hours of things I'd probably enjoy more. But, as a working wife and mother, sometimes I have to make choices. When it's time to make those choices- meal planning and exercise never get cut anymore. Ever. I made my health a priority, and I've committed to doing what I know is necessary to improve it. If that means I can't watch The Event? So be it. Really, I finally just deleted the 4-5 episodes that were still saved on my DVR because I'm never going to get around to watching them. The Walking Dead and Biggest Loser are it for me simply because I don't have enough time to watch every good show on TV and still get my exercise in along with everything else I've committed to (my family being number one). Down time with family and friends is still high on my list, because God knows some weeks it's the only thing that keeps me sane. Balance.. I think I'm finally learning balance.

Blogging is also pretty high on my list because, let's face it, some days are a huge struggle but knowing I'd have to confess here can sometimes tip the scale (pun intended) in my favor. I'm not used to having people believe in me, or say they're proud of me.. not even my husband (which I pointed out to him last night upon realizing this). Cheating at this point would not only be falling short of my own personal expectations for myself, but I feel like I'd be letting everyone else down as well. Nothing about that is awesome, so let's not! I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I wanted to let everyone that comes by and leaves words of encouragement, or threats of an ass-kicking if I start slacking off (which I love you for!!), anything- that I truly am thankful for all of you. Y'all are the best support system ever!

And I'm from Memphis, I'm allowed to say y'all ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

I am Woman, Hear Me.. Oh. %$@!

(That's what I was thinking about the time I rounded the corner and saw The Hill of Death.)

It all started out so innocently this morning.. I packed my bag with all my workout clothes and took to work with me as BFF and I were planning to do Day 1 together. Unfortunately, her stomach turned nasty so plans changed. Maybe I should mention that they were also expecting thunderstorms all afternoon/evening. And I knew this. Did I move to the gym? Nooo. Part of my reasoning was that my next 5K will be outside, so maybe training outside was the best way to go. Part of me just didn't want to get on a treadmill during my gym's busiest time, and not be able to run with a LOT of witnesses.

I chose to do this around our apartment complex, in the dark, in the rain. Admittedly, it was only sprinkling at first so it wasn't all that hardcore. The warm-up was easy, easier than the last time I tried this- at least that's what I've told myself. And then I hear my phone announce that it's time for the first run.. and I find myself rounding the corner and staring at The Hill of Death. (To be fair, most people may just think of it as a hill but I saw imminent doom.)

I owned that hill- the first round. It just so happened to work out that every other run took place on that hill. By the seventh one, I was convinced that the voice telling me it was time to "run" sounded just a tiny bit amused... and that the security guard wasn't leaving that spot until he was sure I wasn't an escaped loon. That's about the time the thunderstorm they've been warning us about all afternoon finally showed up and it started pouring! I could have blamed the thunder and lightning (which may have been wiser) but I just refused to quit. I really struggled with run 7 and 9 though, and had to stop a little earlier than I was supposed to, but I was just happy to finish it honestly.

When I finally walked in the door, I looked like a drowned rat.. Mr. D was making dinner, so Chris snapped a picture for me.
Day 1 sucked hard. It hurt to breathe, that place where my thighs hit my torso aches, but guess what? My knee hasn't protested a bit so far. And the best part- I finished Week 1, Day 1 of C25K tonight, despite the "fat girl" voice telling me I should quit because of the storm, or the hill, or the pain in my chest. Kiss my slightly-smaller-ass, fat girl.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

C25K, Do-Over?

First I read Allan's post, and I'll probably deny it later, but got a little choked up at being mentioned. My 7 lbs is nothing compared to the other two people mentioned, and I'm not doing anything new or spectacular, but he used me as an example! The 250 lb me was never an example of what-to-do, especially in terms of health. I doubt I'm the only obese person that's unfamiliar with being a model for anything other than "how to die young," and it felt great to hear that I'm doing something right. Thank you for that, Allan!

After reading the post, I hopped over the the other 2 blogs mentioned, and was so happy I did. This one in particular really resonated with me. When I first started getting healthier this Spring, I saw an episode of BL where the contestants ran a 5K with people from Texas. A lot of them had never done one, but they were committed to finishing. It made me want to, even if it took me over an hour. My goal was just to finish, alive hopefully! BFF mentioned that I should probably train for it first, and told me about the C25K program. BFF is smart, so I downloaded the app on my phone. I barely made it through week 1, and instead of redoing week 1, I tried to move on because I had a deadline. I wasn't ready for week 2 in any way, and I couldn't do it, so I quit (which is, by the way, how I got fat- quitting). I still did the 5K on July 3rd (Memphis makes you wanna die in July!), and I finished in under an hour, but I hurt so bad between my knee and my back that I could barely walk that night. It felt like I failed, so I decided then that I would never be a runner, and I did the 5K like I set out to do, so I wasn't going to waste my time on this again now that the novelty was gone. Why yes, fat me was very stupid. I still did the 5K on Thanksgiving, but it was on an elliptical which eliminated the knee pain completely. Still, until I read this post by Jess, I had no intentions of trying the C25K again. Yet here it is, downloaded to my phone once again..
Maybe it was reading her inner dialogue (which I could totally identify with!), maybe it was knowing that a lot of other bloggers like Phil are doing it too, or maybe I've just come farther mentally in the last few months, but I'm going to try again. I don't know that my knee will allow it, but I do know that I'll never find out if I don't at least try again. My knee doesn't seem to be bothering me nearly as often as it did before (Mr. D still gets freaked out when it starts popping while I work out with Jillian) so who knows? I never got it checked out because it seemed pointless until I took the weight off. Most back/knee/hip/whatever injuries are aggravated if not caused by carrying around insane amounts of weight. And 250 lbs on a 5'2 frame is insane. Maybe now that some has come off, my knee issue may not be such an issue if I'm careful. I'm willing to test that theory. And now that I've posted this, I can't not try it, or you'll all kick my ass hopefully :)

"Healthy Crap"

Last night, my parents came over for dinner. We all know how my mother feels about "healthy crap" so I made shrimp Alfredo using her recipe.. sorta. Everyone else had regular noodles, but I baked my first spaghetti squash and used that instead. It's amazing how many calories you save with one simple swap! I'm not going to lie and say you can't tell the difference, because you can, but it's mostly just the consistency (think thinner ramen noodles). The shrimp was cooked in EVOO and garlic, and there was a ton of broccoli mixed in. I started adding up what the calories would have been in her recipe for Alfredo sauce, and stopped when it hit over 2000 for the entire batch! Hers calls for one and a half sticks of unsalted butter, a quart of half and half, flour, and a whole bottle of grated Parmesan, along with the spices. No butter in mine, less of the fat free half and half, less flour, and less of the reduced fat Parmesan along with light soy milk to thin it out some cut my entire batch down to under 900 calories. And my mother never even noticed- how awesome is that? My dad even tried the spaghetti squash and said it wasn't that bad. Another win for the "healthy crap." My plate had very little of the sauce anyway, it was mostly squash, broccoli, and shrimp along with a big salad. With all the liquids, I was still too full to finish half of my plate.

I sent Allan my weigh in for this morning, and the scale is still moving down- slow and steady. We've had omelets around here for breakfast every morning for almost a week straight- this eggs thing works! It's a healthier way to get rid of leftover ham/turkey when stuffed with veggies. This morning's omelet was ham, green peppers, tomatoes, and a smear of fat free cream cheese. My caloric intake at breakfast hasn't changed much, just the foods I'm choosing. Starting the day off with protein and veggies rather than carbs changes the entire day for me. My mood is better, I barely snack (and it's fruit if I do), and I don't crave the carbs at all. For those that are struggling with the snacking and cravings- I highly recommend examining your breakfast choices because it could make a huge difference in your day too.

Along with the spaghetti squash, I also picked up my first pomegranate this weekend. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, so if anyone has suggestions I'd appreciate it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hot 100 Update, Week 9

I have no clue where Chris was hiding when this was taken

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I think this was the most relaxing Thanksgiving I've ever had. I stuck to my plan for the day, and was rewarded for it this morning when I stepped on the scale even though I didn't count calories all day. I exceeded my fluid intake as usual though.

My day started early with cooking, then grabbed a banana and headed to the gym where I did my 5K. Look how red my face was!!
Home for an omelet, followed by more cooking. Dinner at my parent's house wasn't until 4, and I stuck to my one plate. I definitely put too much on my plate, but I ate only about half of the baked macaroni and the stuffing- and there were 3 glasses of unsweetened tea. I also had a small piece of pumpkin pie, but I made it with Splenda, fat free evaporated milk, and egg substitute so it was only about 200 calories.
I was careful choosing what leftovers came home with us after dinner... We left an untouched pumpkin pie there, and what was left of the chocolate one. My mom was kinda pushy about sending home her homemade stuffing with us, but I won and we left with none! This was my biggest temptation on the table honestly. She makes it twice a year max, and I love it. She makes so much that we usually have leftovers for days, even with all of us eating on it constantly. It wasn't unusual for me to have another huge bowl after dessert with nothing but stuffing, gravy, and diced up turkey as a "snack," for lunch and dinner the next day, etc. Tonight, my leftover dinner consisted of turkey, green beans, and carrots- and more water. Much better this year. :)
No more eating the rest of the evening, just tons of water and freezing in the sleet for an hour and a half waiting for Old Navy to open. They had the Kinect game "Dance Central" free with $25 purchase. They only had 60 though, and we were just a few people shy of getting one. We've never been Black Friday shopping before, but we were convinced between the sleet (keep in mind it was 71 degrees outside when I left for the gym earlier) and the game that we just aren't meant to shop this time of year! We stuck around though because a lot of my clothes are getting baggy, and they had great sales on tops. I didn't get much, just a sweater, some pj's, and another top- all in size XL!! I wasn't sure they'd actually fit, but they did even if they were a little sausage-like. There was definitely a little happy dance in those pj's!
On top of that, a woman that checked out right next to us forgot to claim her game, so she gave us the wristband for it and we walked away with it anyway. Smaller clothes AND the game: VICTORY!

Now onto my Hot 100 Update!

1. Goal 1: Seeing 199 on the scale before 2011. I weighed in this morning and lost 1.8 this week putting me at 212.8! It's going to be tough, but it's not out of reach just yet.
2. Goal 2: Working out 3 times a week. Exceeded this one-- 2 hours, 20 minutes in the gym BEFORE my 5K; 30 Day Shred with Jillian twice this week; Yoga once for 45 minutes. I was bored with yoga, so someone suggested I try pilates. I plan on fitting that in sometime this weekend.

3. Goal 3: In bed on work nights before 11pm. Epic fail, the earliest we were in bed all week was 11:30 and we were still awake after midnight. This one's going to be tough!! I'm going to try rearranging some of our night routine to make it a little easier next week.

I got right back on track today- my calories after dinner came to only 760, so I may have a healthy snack later. Thanksgiving was ONE day, regardless of what happened yesterday during the food-fest. What you do today is your choice- choose your health over all that leftover stuffing and gravy! I'll be catching up on the 70+ unread blogs in my reader tonight, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving..

Just a quickie, I've got tons to do for tomorrow!

In preparation for tomorrow, I've stuck to my plan all week despite all the food that has been brought into the office this week. Gooey fudge brownies? Check. Italian? Check. Thanksgiving junk? Check. I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't tempted.. I can't tell you how many times I went to just look at those brownies! Mr. D had lunch with me that day so he and BFF both enjoyed the brownies. I stuck to the lunch I brought because I'm committed to doing whatever I can to offset the damage that may be done tomorrow. I've exercised every day so far, and may be hitting the gym early tomorrow morning for a 5K on the treadmill. Maybe starting the day off with a workout will make sticking to my plan easier.

I don't think my "plan" is much different from anyone else's.. Starting the day off with an omelet and coffee, tons of water, and we're having an early dinner around 2-3 at my parent's house. There will be limited healthy options, so I'm planning one plate at dinner, and one piece of pie. I'll try to take a picture of it just to hold myself accountable. I'm not counting calories/points, but I will be stopping when I'm satisfied. A little intuitive eating practice if you will. One thing I will absolutely not be doing this year is snacking while preparing the food, or waiting for dinner to start. I read that the average cook on Thanksgiving eats almost 1000 calories before ever sitting down for dinner- and it's all in the sampling. Keep that in mind, should someone ask you to taste-test for them!

Most importantly, I'll be getting right back on plan Friday morning. I read that just about everyone is stressed over the holiday, and I get that. Really I do. I spent over half an hour crying in the stairwell at work this afternoon because it's just been a shitty week all around. I was stressed, and my lunch was still under 300 calories, and I didn't snack all afternoon. My calories for the day came in just over 1000. A stressful family gathering is NOT a green light to stuff your face. You are capable of dealing with those emotions without food. So I'm with Allan:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday NSV's

Sundays around here are usually pretty lazy. Mr. D works most of the time, so Chris and I spend a lot of the day reading or playing video games (assuming we got all errands and cleaning done the day before). We slept until about 10 and then I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, per Chris' request. I use the Fiber One pancake mix and sugar-free syrup, so it was still under 300 calories with coffee included.

I spent a lot of time this morning venting to Mr. D about Thanksgiving after breakfast.. Most family events come with frustration, which I'm sure is normal. My grandmother has decided not to come because her deadbeat son is not invited. I won't go into details, but the man has been living off (and WITH for the past few years) my grandparents, and really is a waste of space. He absolutely hates me because unlike most people in my family, I will call bullshit to his face. He's one of those men that talk a good game about "a woman's place" but just let one get in his face, and he becomes a coward. I've tried for years to be pleasant and civil to him for my grandmother's sake, but after the last encounter with him over my wedding, I'm done. I'm just not up to playing "big happy family" with him at Thanksgiving dinner this year. When inviting my grandmother to Thanksgiving, my dad apparently made it clear that his brother was not invited, so she hung up on him after making it clear she wouldn't be coming either.

Moving on.. I'm in charge of the ham, green beans (my grandmother's recipe, but since she's not coming..), homemade baked macaroni and cheese (FIL's recipe), pumpkin pie, and chocolate cream pie. While dividing the list up, my mom actually asked, "Now you're not going to make this all healthy crap, right? Otherwise I'll pick up pies at the store." I'm sorry, I didn't realize this was a bad thing. Gee, I wonder why my entire family is overweight or obese? She also proceeded to lecture me on how diet-obsessed I've become lately. My BFF mentioned this about a week ago too, and while it's true, I don't know that it's a bad thing right now. This is just my opinion, but I've obsessed about food and eating for years now. I doubt I'm the only obese person that's gotten just a little too excited about Thanksgiving dinner and everything I'd be enjoying days ahead of time. And I'm not the only one in my family- you'd think my mom's dressing was an orgasm in a dish. How is obsessing over a healthy diet any different, aside from being better for me? While they're dreaming of pie and dressing this year, I'll be planning my one plate and workouts.

We had to stop by my mom's today for something Chris left behind when we spent the night, and I asked her if I could see the pants I'd given her that were now too big on me. And then I asked her to take a picture of me in them (please ignore the stretch marks). These were snug when I bought them back in early March this year. This is where obsessing has gotten me:
'Nuff said.

Oh! And that NSV.. I did 4th day of the 30 Day Shred today, and I made it through the entire level 1 without needing a 5 second break. Mr. D watched me the first time I did it, and I had to stop halfway through just about everything because my arms were burning. Not today. On top of that, Chris was sitting at the table doing his Lego's and told me, "You're doing a great job Momma!" He also said he had never seen so much sweat before when I was done, but we're going to focus on the first comment!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Date Night with Mr. D

For those of you that don't already know, I'm a nerd. Hardcore. Dress-up-as-Ron-for-the-midnight-book-release kind of nerd. There's photo evidence around here somewhere, I'll see if Mr. D can scan it in for me. We've been to every midnight movie release for Harry Potter since the third or fourth one. We do midnight releases for Twilight as well, but that's another post..

So we went. I saved all 35 weekly points for date night, and still had 18 left over from the day before we left. First stop was Genghis Grill, which I love because I control everything in my bowl. I had chicken, shrimp, carrots, broccoli, peppers, egg, and brown rice in mine with the honey soy sauce which came to 546 calories. I ate half, and took the rest home for lunch Friday.
Barely tapped into what I set aside for date night. We haven't eaten out nearly as often as we did before, and I was surprised at how fast I filled up and how much easier it was to just push my food away instead of continuing to pick at it as I waited for Mr. D to finish his. Before, I would have continued eating just because it was there in front of me.
And then there was Muddy's... Mr. D and I made a deal before I joined my gym. The gym membership is only $15 a month, and I probably spent more than that every month at Muddy's. Even though I limited my trip to Muddy's to once a week (and they were never just for me, I assure you), it was way too much sugar and money to waste on cupcakes... even if they are my absolute favorite. Instead of going once a week like we were, I would limit them to once a month. It's been a month, and one of my favorites- the chunky dunk- showed up in the case, so I enjoyed one. I know how a lot of people feel about "planned cheating," but I personally don't consider it cheating if it's been worked into your budgeted points/calories. I've failed countless times on diets where my favorite things are off limits, but learning to enjoy them occasionally (not once a week like before!) and in moderation is working for me. Not to mention, it's a whole lot easier for me to walk right past all the desserts that come into my office on a daily basis when I know I can enjoy what I really want at a later time. (I forgot to take a photo of my cupcake, but here's a box from months ago that Mr. D brought us to work one day. The top 6 are chunky dunks)

Then the movie! We picked up our tickets, and then hit the concession stand. No candy for me this time, but I did order a large diet coke (which I threw more than half away afterwards). I rarely drink sodas anymore, and I wished I'd just brought my water honestly. Mr. D still ordered a large popcorn though, even after I pointed out we have never finished an entire bucket (even pre-diet). Three hours later, the movie is over, and only about 1/3 was gone. I did have some of it, not because I was hungry, but because I was watching a movie and trying my best not to nod off. Happy to say that I realized what I was doing before I'd eaten much and put the bucket down.

The movie was amazing, or course. Very true to the book, which does mean some slower parts, but we loved it. I promised not to give anything away, so that's really all I can say! I usually get a little anxious when we plan activities like movies, or eating out, because I'm always worried about screwing it up. All in all, it was a wonderful date night though. I never once felt stuffed, and still had a great time with my husband. Victory :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hot 100 Update, Week 8

Without further delay..

1. Goal 1: Seeing 199 on the scale before 2011. I weighed in at 214.6 this week for a 2 lb loss. No change since Sunday when I checked for Allan's water. I'm still very happy with it given the TOM issue. I've stayed on plan all week, under 1000 calories most days this week. I did my part, so I'm okay with it.

2. Goal 2: Trying one new healthy recipe a week. I'm removing this from my goals, there's only been one week I haven't hit it. Too easy, I'm adding something tougher.

3. Goal 3: Working out 3x a week. 3 hours in the gym, two days with Jillian, Zumba, and 3 morning workouts. I may be taking an extra rest day today because I had a pain in my shoulder and knee after working out yesterday. I know better than to push- 1 day off is better than 1 week off.

NEW GOAL: In bed before 11pm on week nights. Midnight, sometimes later, is my norm and that has to change. I'd love to have this moved up to 10 by 2011, but I'm not setting myself up for failure. Small steps ;) It will make morning workouts easier, and I want to make time for a sit-down breakfast with my boys. I've gotten out of that habit lately, and not happy about it. Time to fix it.

Sorry this is short, at work but wanted to get this crossed off my list! HP post later!! Hope everyone had a successful week!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So about that sparkly happy post..

A day late, but here it as promised.

Here's what went down at our house Tuesday night:

Me: I kinda don't like you lately.
Him: Oh?
Me: Yeah. I have 2 solutions, you can choose.
Him: And those are?
Me: Option 1- you refill my medicine and bring to me at work so I can medicate before we interact again.
Him: Or?
Me: Option 2- you fulfill your marital duties, thus dodging a copay and making me happy without drugs.
Him: Mmmhmmm. Insert bad kitchen behavior here.

Unfortunately, Mr. D did not deliver that night. Last night he made up for it. So sparkly happy blogging. :D

In other news, the 7th Harry Potter starts tonight at midnight and we'll be there! We being husband and I. He's a trooper when it comes to stuff like this. Earlier this year, he went to the "Eclipse" premiere at midnight with BFF and I. There weren't many other men there, so I thought Mr. D was pretty awesome for doing that. While I still didn't like Mr. D, BFF offered to watch ALL the HP movies in 24 hours just so she could go with me... that's true love, y'all. I love her so much for offering, that I forgive her for not having seen them already. ;)

Mr. D is taking me to dinner before the movie to a place called Genghis Grill, which is Mongolian stir-fry. You build your own bowl, and the chefs throw it on the grill, and bring it to you when finished. I think it's great because you control everything in your meal. Not sure what I want yet, so if anyone wants to build me a bowl, I will forever be grateful. I'm not so hot at throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl and making it taste good AND low calorie. It has all the nutritional info on their website and calculates as you build it. May the best bowl win, haha! I'll be sure to take a picture of the completed bowl.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day! I'm off to work, sore after day 2 of Jillian's 30 Day Shred. I think she hates me..

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I have to take a pill because THEY won't.

I'm making an effort to focus on the good today. I haven't missed my anti-anxiety medicine much until lately, and I know it's not all pms. Admitting I really may be dependent on a pill just plain sucks. I'm holding off on refilling it as long as I can because I hate taking it. It makes me dizzy and desperate for a nap for about half an hour twice a day, which interferes with too much. Not to mention people assume that EVERY time I get angry, it must be because I skipped a pill. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with them acting like a moron. Exercise and more sex (yes, love, that was for you) helps control my mood just as well without the side effects. Usually. I've been working out, blame Mr. D.

Eating this week has been great, there's no other way to describe it. The last 3 days have ended with anywhere from 6-10 points left, and under 1000 calories. Following Allan's example, I've had eggs for breakfast lately and that's changed my morning eating habits significantly. I'm fuller longer, and I crave carbs less throughout the day- awesome. My lowest water consumption was a little over 150 oz, most days I'm closer to 200. I've spent 2 hours in the gym already this week, walked Monday at work (rained today), and did get in my morning workout today.

My BFF and her boyfriend went ring shopping this weekend (I've told everyone at work, didn't want you guys feeling left out!) and I'm flipping out!! It will be at least 3 weeks before she has it, and unfortunately, he's waiting to surprise her with the timing. Ugh. This did make her a little more interested in my crazy water thing, and she started it today. She's aiming for what I'm drinking since our weights are very close, and she hit her goal today! We spent a lot of time in the bathroom together too ;) She's going to be the prettiest bride ever!!! I'm just so happy for her, she's had a pretty awful year all around. It's about time she has something to get excited about!

Mr. D mentioned since I started writing this that he's doing his part for the less-moody me later... I promise a more sparkly happy post tomorrow. Unless he lied, and then I may need one of you to help with an alibi ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 15, 2010


I'm about to go into womanly issues, so consider yourself warned!

First, I'm an idiot. The water bottles I use on a daily basis hold 32 oz, not 24. I've been drinking an average of 6 bottles daily since last Tuesday. That's 192 oz, without including my morning coffee. Whoops! Knowing my error isn't going to change my intake much though because I'm STILL thirsty when I'm not consuming this much. I woke up this morning feeling beyond dehydrated. Obviously my body is digging all the water, who am I to argue with that? I did have a coworker (one I dislike admittedly) lecture me about too much water being a bad thing. I've read all about this, and the consensus seems to be that too much, too fast is the issue. I'm stretching mine out over a 15-18 hour day, and feel great. If I'm missing something, please let me know.

I have kept an eye out for any indications of this being too much, and aside from being cleaned out, the only change I've noticed is my cycle. It started this weekend, on and off, which is a full week early for me. To be fair, the increased exercise, change in calories, AND increased water could all play a part in this. I'm not worried about it, but if I happen to start AGAIN at the end of the week because of my BC, I may kill someone. PMS is bad enough once a month, right?!

On a positive note, that means I lost about 4 since Tuesday, technically before my period. I see no need to further explain this happy realization :)

I added a new weekly Hot 100 goal- to work out before work 4x a week. Monday came, and nadda. Apparently going to bed after midnight, hunting zombies in your sleep, and getting up at 5.. Okay, hitting snooze until 6:45 and then racing around to get ready.. Is not conducive to a morning workout. I know my bedtime needs to be earlier, but I struggle getting in bed before 11, and feel victorious when I do. I love sleep, and I'd love more of it, but I get distracted so easily by all the little undone chores, working out, blogging, and don't want to give up the little bit of snuggling on the couch I get with Mr. D. I'll have to make it a priority this week though. Maybe starting small with 11pm would be doable.

PS: Please don't give me health/diet advice when you choose not to utilize it yourself, dear coworker. It makes me want to throw something at you. Just sayin'.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend Water Warriors!

Usually, weekends are a battle for me. I forget to take my vitamin, I forget to drink, and it's harder to stay within my points because we end up eating out or having dinner with friends at some point. Busy and distracted. It's Sunday afternoon, and so far I've done all three all weekend long. Can I get a hell yeah?!

We had dinner with a BFF and her husband Friday night, and I brought my Zumba DVDs along. She and I went to the classes together all summer, so she wanted to see them. Matt, our all-star grilling friend, made BBQ wings on the grill that were just perfect. So perfect I'm making some tonight. After dinner, we popped in Zumba and I did the workout (sorta, as she was pausing and selecting the step breakdowns) while she watched from the couch. Cookies were present, but rather than eat the entire package by myself, I had 2 small ones. I left feeling satisfied, but not full, and very proud of myself.

I've exceeded my water requirements all weekend long, and stayed within my calories (closer to 1200 other than Friday night). The water has really helped curb my appetite immensely, and the bathroom breaks are starting to lessen a little. I weighed for Allan's challenge this morning, and the scale showed I'm down another 2 lbs since Friday morning (that's a total of 4lbs since I started the DDD Challenge earlier last week). I'm not counting it in yet since my official WI is on Friday morning, but there was definitely some dancing in the bathroom this morning!

I've read a lot of posts that are hating on the water lately, and I don't get it. I know everyone is different and may not see results right away, but geez! It obviously works, so be patient just a little longer. It's not like what we were doing before was working any better, so we may as well suck it up and stick to it. Just my two cents.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I'm off to make 187 calorie BLT's for the BFF and I, Zumba to follow :)

No Cream-No Cry Penne Alla Vodka

A wonderful Italian place that caters lunch for us occasionally makes a pasta called "The Drunk Italian." It was one of my favorites pre-healthy me. This recipe came amazingly close, though next time I'm going to use a little less of the greek yogurt, and may add some parmesan to the sauce. Still loved it though! And no, sadly there's no vodka here.
No Cream-No Cry Penne Alla Vodka

8 oz whole wheat penne
2 cups low-fat marinara (I used Ragu Light Tomato and Basil)
Pinch of crushed red pepper
7 oz 2% greek yogurt
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper
6 tbsp grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package, about 9 minutes, and drain.
2. While the pasta is cooking, bring the marinara sauce and crushed red pepper to a simmer in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally with a heat-resistant rubber spatula, until it is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the saute pan form the heat.
3. Stir about 1/2 cup of the marinara into the yogurt until smooth (this tempers it and prevents the yogurt from curdling). Then whisk the yogurt mixture back into the marinara sauce.
4. In a large serving bowl, toss the sauce with the drained penne and the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info
320 calories, 4.8 g fat, 6 g fiber.
6 WW points

Macaroni and Cheese with a Crunch

As promised, here's the first edible one we tried this week! It's from "Now Eat This" by Rocco Dispirito.I personally loved this one, as did my son. Mr. D wasn't head-over-heels though and I'm attributing this to the fact that my FIL makes the best homemade macaroni there ever was.

Macaroni and Cheese with a Crunch


Nonstick cooking spray
4 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/2 cup onion-garlic puree (recipe for this below)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar
1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the package, 7-9 minutes. Drain.
3. While the pasta is cooking, bring the onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in the cheddar until it has melted. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the yogurt.
4. In a medium bowl, toss the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce to coat thoroughly. Season with salt to taste. Pour the macaroni into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the panko over the top. Top with parmigiano-reggiano.
5. Bake until the cheese has melted and the macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info:
227 calories, 6.5g fat, 3g fiber
4.5 WW points

Onion-Garlic Puree

1 large vidalia onion, roughly chopped
9 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
Salt and Pepper

1. Combine the onion, garlic, and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 10 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until completely smooth.

Can store up to 72 hours in fridge.

85 calories, 0.3g fat, 3g fiber

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hot 100 Update, Week 7

I'm cheating and typing up most of this Thursday night, but won't post until I have my actual numbers from WI in the morning. Also planning to start adding photos so I can better track what the little bit of sculpting/toning I've added is doing- if anything. Little nervous about putting all my flab out there for viewing, but I've seen a lot of before/after pictures that were inspirational enough to make me suck it up.

1. Goal 1: Seeing 199 on the scale before 2011. I lost 2 lbs this week, for a total of 33.4 lbs lost. Stayed under 1200 calories both days after starting the DDD Challenge, over 150 oz of water those 2 days, and have worked out all week. Am I a little bummed? Yes, but not because I don't appreciate seeing the loss. Bummed because if I had NOT made such bad choices last week and gained 2, my scale would have said 214.6 instead of 216.6 for the second time this month. I do not enjoy doing the same job twice, you know? My fault, I'm done complaining about it now.

2. Goal 2: Trying one new healthy recipe a week. I don't mean to sound cocky, but I think I redeemed myself after last week! We made: brownies (that got tossed), apple pumpkin bread (also tossed), general tso's chicken (tossed), penne alla vodka (finally an edible one!), and crunchy mac n' cheese (yum). All were from the new cookbooks I received last week. I'll post the recipes for the edible ones this weekend.

3. Goal 3: Working out 3 times a week. I tallied it all up, and the totals were- 2 hours, 45 min in the gym; 1 hour 15 min Zumba; two 20 minute walks during lunch at work; and 2 quick 15 minute morning workouts with hand weights and the exercise ball. My arms, thighs, abs, and ass hurt. Maybe I'm a masochist..

4. Oh yes, there's a 4th being added this week! I'm adding morning workouts at least 4 days a week before work. I think it's crucial to getting your metabolism going, so I'm going to make that happen.

I hope everyone had a super successful week! I'll be checking around later today!

Oh yeah.. And now for those pictures:

My Bladder is a Wimp.

AND it woke me up at 2:30 am. Not cool, bladder. Yesterday and today so far, I'm in the bathroom at least once an hour. I finally asked my boss if I could move megadesk to the bathroom... I'm sure my bladder will eventually get used to the increased fluids, just as it did when I started drinking 48-64 months ago. Aside from my bladder's mutinous behavior, I'm loving how the increased water is making me feel. Its probably a combination of all the water and working out, but I just feel better. I'm also full longer so it's keeping me from snacking much at all, but never really get to a point where I do NOT want more water either. Obviously Allan is right, this is what my body has needed all along, it's just become accustomed to functioning on less.

I may have imagined this part, but I swear my stomach seemed a little flatter this morning. Could I really have been that bloated?? Whatever, I'll take it.

I got up early again this morning to squeeze in crunches, lunges, push-ups, all that fun stuff, and went walking during lunch with BFF and coworker again today. I've got a date with Zumba after work as well. Working out has been great this week, and I'm loving it despite how sore I am today.

Mr. D and I finally got around to watching "The Walking Dead" last night- we loved it! Little girl zombie within the first 5 minutes? Count me in. Happy to say that I will not be the first one eaten when the zombie apocalypse comes. Not only can I run away faster than before, I also have a little less meat on me, thus removing me as first preference for dinner by the zombie masses. Death by zombies is not how I wanna go.

It's all about motivation, folks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Peer Pressure. And a Little Jealousy.

I keep reading about the DDD Challenge that Allan is hosting, everyone is doing it! Everyone seems to be doing fantastic with their weight loss as well. That, combined with the bit of boredom I'm experiencing with Weight Watchers, especially since they're changing the plan slightly, made me email Allan and join in. I surrendered, bring on the water.

Today was the first day for me. My calorie goal is 1540, and my minimum fluid intake is 101. I ended my first day with 1165 calories (I still have 4.5 points left) and ended with 152 oz of water. I didn't add in my coffee or crystal light.

Working out and eating right have been great this week! My whole body is sore, and for some reason, that kind of makes me happy. I've been setting my alarm early all week so I could squeeze in a quick workout before work, and finally did today. I've got over 2.5 hours logged in the gym, 45 mins of Zumba, 20 mins of lunges/weights/crunches so far, AND went with my coworker for a 20 minute walk during lunch today. Bring it on, weigh-in.

On another note.. We've tried a few new recipes this week from the new cookbooks, I'll be posting those later this week.

Looking forward to a better Hot 100 update this week! Hope everyone else is too!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Msg and The Mother are Trying to Kill Me.

As I mentioned before, I had planned to make General Tso's Chicken for dinner. I have a huge crush on Chinese food, so learning to make it healthier was high on my to-do list. Since my dad is very rarely off work, and he and the hubs are buddies, I invited him and my mom over for dinner Sunday.

Mistake número uno, my friend.

She had a MUCH better idea involving my favorite Chinese place. After last week, I was not a fan of this idea, so I told her I would talk to Mr. D. Apparently, she text him about it as soon as we hung up. WTF, woman? He was still very supportive of me not wanting to go, awesome husband that he is most of the time. I could tell he really wanted to though, and the offspring overheard us discussing dinner with Mimi and Pappy, so we went.

I went in with a plan this time, knowing exactly what would be on my one plate- and I stuck to it- 2 pieces of sushi, 2 crab rangoons (my MIL gave me a healthier recipe for these too), spoonful of noodles and sesame chicken, 1 chicken wing, and a large serving of broccoli.

To offset as much of the damage as possible (that junk is still loaded with msg!) I gulped down 12 glasses of water and 2 glasses of unsweetened tea. I also worked out twice- 45 minutes of Zumba before dinner, and an hour at the gym afterwards.

I'm not at all unhappy with how I handled it. I am unhappy with how difficult it was to finish my one plate.. And then wait. My husband and parents both went back for seconds, and then ice cream. I swear there were 8 ice cream cones eaten at that table, and I never touched one. And the kicker? As we're leaving, my mother says, "I bet waiting for us to finish and not going back for more was hard!"

If this statement had NOT been followed by a laugh, I may not have thought it to death. But there was, and I have. I do love my mother, and I accept her for all her craziness, but come on.. I don't even know if she does this consciously, but she definitely puts me in more tempting situations than anyone I know. It's not uncommon for her to ask us to pick her up donuts, or cupcakes, etc on the way to visit (she very rarely leaves the house), despite me telling her repeatedly that I just cannot do that. Not only is it more tempting for me, but my son will want it then too, and neither of us need that junk. I won't even go into what she would cook whenever I would try to diet when I still lived at home.. Paula Deen pretty much sums that up.

I've always had trouble telling my mother no, but have gotten a lot better at standing my ground lately. I can't help but wonder if this will ever change though.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Recipe... Sorta.

I'm a scale addict, so no one should be surprised that I "checked" on that 2lb gain this morning. I'm not logging it until my official WI later this week, but it does appear they've already left the building. Isn't it just amazing what eating right can do for you?!?

I honestly did not track every single point after lunch yesterday, but I was careful with portions and tried to give that whole "intuitive eating" thing I keep reading about a try. It sounds so simple in theory.. just listen to your body for queues as to what it needs. Unfortunately, sometimes my head completely disagrees and is much more vocal about it! Has anyone else had success with this before? I'm nowhere near ready to leave the comfort of my point tracker yet, but one day.

On another note, I tried a new recipe last night. And yuck! My wonderful in-laws (be jealous of their awesomeness) sent me a new cookbook for my birthday by Rocco Dispirito, "Now Eat This." My mother and I watched him on an episode of "The Doctors" and were completely sold on this guy. He was a chef for "Biggest Loser" at one point, and the doctors seemed to be in lust with his brownies. So of course, I had to make the brownies first. They're made with black beans.

Yes, you read that right... Black. Beans. Brownies. Huh? Despite my initial repulsion, I trusted Rocco and his bean brownies.

I baked. I ate. I gagged.

I double checked all my measurements, and nothing was askew. Mine looked nothing like his picture in the book (they never look JUST like the book, but wow!), so I'm wondering if I over-mixed? If I ever try them again, I'm adding more Splenda and less espresso powder for starters. They may eventually be edible after a little tweaking. If anyone is crazy enough to want to try it, I'll post the recipe.

I'm trying his Almost General Tso's Chicken tonight. Don't let me down, Rocco. I may get in the kitchen later and try a recipe for pumpkin apple bread in another cookbook, Weight Watchers this time, I received for my birthday. I wonder if my family and friends are trying to tell me something...

I shall report back if Rocco doesn't poison me first!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Greek Style Scampi

Not a new recipe, but it's a healthier one that we love at my house, so I thought I'd share. Especially since I was lazy at trying a new one this week.

Greek Style Scampi
Serves 4

6 oz. whole wheat thin spaghetti
12 oz shrimp (I cheat and buy the frozen medium size with veins/tails already removed)
1 can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp EVOO
Crushed red pepper to taste (a little goes a long way)
6 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

1. Cook spaghetti as instructed.
2. In large skillet, add EVOO, green pepper, minced garlic, and red pepper. Saute until garlic and peppers begin to slightly brown. Add tomatoes and shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.
3. Mix noodles and sauce together, top with 1 1/2 tbsp feta cheese.

335 calories

Oh, and I use salad plates for all my meals, so portions may appear larger than they are ;)

Friday, November 5, 2010


Ahh! Christina AND The Fat Mom tagged me and it's time for a more upbeat post anyway ;) I'll answer both sets of questions in one post just to make it easier (for me at least)!

From Christina:

1. If you had to, what relative would you lock up in the shed and why?
Just one?! Definitely my dad's brother. That man has not worked since I was in elementary school, and has been living off my grandparents my entire life, and attempting to bully everyone around him. The man is a coward once you call his bluff and has avoided me since I went off on him at 13-years-old. Crazy, mouthy women are everywhere on my mother's side of the family. ;)

2. If you were a stripper, what would your stripper name be?
Slutty Charms ;)

3. If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
My husband and I have talked about super powers before. I kinda want to be Orgasmo.. No explanation needed I hope. It would be better than world peace, just sayin'.

4. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Hmm.. So much to choose from! I'm a klutz, I speak without thinking first, you name it. One of my mother's favorite moments took place while I was in labor. Right after they gave me the good stuff, my eyes crossed and I started giggling so much I couldn't breathe. Didn't have a catheter yet, so picture a very pregnant woman laughing like a hyena while her mother, also laughing, struggles to get a bed pan underneath her wiggling ass. Yes, I peed all over my mother.

Now, to the Fat Mom's questions:

1. If you had a penis for one day, what would you do?
I'm not gonna lie, I'd pee all over everything!! No more squatting for this chick!!

2. What would your pornstar/stripper name be and why?
Still Slutty Charms, because let's face it, I'm magically delicious.

3. If you would never get caught, what illegal activity would you participate in?
I work with some older women that are convinced we're all actually soap opera characters. If I could just borrow a few shock collars, just for a day.. I'd be such a happy girl.

4. If you could change a part of your past, what would it be?
I would have skipped that third drink. You didn't ask why, so technically I don't have to divulge that part ;)

Now for my 4 folks:

1. Do you have any weird nicknames, and how did you get them?

2. What is the most retarded nightmare you remember having? (Mine- hunger games meets biggest loser. Psycho..)

3. What is one NSV (now that I know what this means, heh) that you're most proud of?

4. What is one NSV (can't help it, I'm on a roll) that you're most looking forward to?

And, go.

Hot 100 Update, Week 6

We all knew this was coming, so here it is..

1. Goal 1: Seeing 199 on the scale before 2011. I gained 2 lbs this week, putting me back at 219.6 and I hate it.

2. Goal 2: Trying one new healthy recipe a week. I don't think we tried a single new thing this week. Epic fail.

3. Goal 3: Working out 3 times a week. Another epic fail. Between family dinners, Halloween, and just plain lack of motivation, I didn't get to the gym once. I'm not counting all the walking we did from house to house on Halloween either.

I dropped the ball big time on all 3 counts, and it's not okay despite what everyone has said all week. I appreciate my family and friends trying to take some of the sting out, really I do, but I'm not making excuses. Yes, it was my birthday this week. Yes, that only comes once a year. But guess what? So do Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc. If I validate my bad week full of bad choices based on that theory, what's to stop me from using it EVERY holiday? Nothing. Excuses are what got me up to 250 lbs in the first place. I had an excuse for everything- why I couldn't work out, why I picked up McDonald's instead of cooking, why I just needed that second or third cupcake.. No more excuses. Instead of thoroughly enjoying my birthday-that-only-comes-once-a-year, I need to focus on the changes necessary to ensure I'm around for MORE birthdays.

Buckling that easily kind of scared me with all the holidays coming up, so I'm determined to do whatever I can to avoid this at Thanksgiving, not that I think holidays are the enemy... If anything, this week showed me that despite losing weight and having some very successful weeks, I'm still an emotional eater. Apparently, that's not just going to go away because I can follow a plan. I need to start working on WHY I'm eating just as much as what and how much I'm eating if I want this to stick. Losing the weight kind of feels like treating the side effects or symptoms, not the actual problem, and that just won't do because I want this to be the last time I have to fight this weight loss battle.

I'll put my soap box away now :) I'm definitely in a better mood now after being back on track the last 2 days, even though none of what caused this week to be stressful has changed. I think at least part of feeling so awful (think emo blob from outer space) was directly related to all the junk I ate, and the lack of movement. I don't care how good something tastes or makes me feel at that moment, it's not worth another week like this. Now, hopefully I can remember all of this at Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone else had a better week! :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In a Funk

I've been awful this week about tracking points, getting to the gym, keeping up with blogs, everything. I've been in a serious funk all week, and having 3 birthday dinners (2 including cake) with tons of crappy options is probably going to result in an awful weigh in tomorrow.

Trying to pull myself out of the funk today, and eating has been great so far. Hopefully I can stick with it and have at least one day this week that was completely on track.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crossing My Fingers

I'd decided I wasn't going to post about this, because it just sounds awful. But I am anyway, being my blog and all.

I had my son at 17, and his dad took off 2 weeks after we found out. There was no communication until he and his step-mother showed up at our door when Chris was only 5-days-old. There aren't enough drugs for that kind of surprise. I was young, and angry, and emotional. He (the dad) was also young, and had absolutely no decent example of what a parent is supposed to be. He's had to overcome so much completely on his own, and I wasn't old/mature enough to truly understand just how different our families were. I've never questioned whether my family loved me, whereas he's been abandoned by just about everyone aside from his sister. Needless to say, things didn't go well and we barely saw him the first several years. When Chris was 4, he started coming around occasionally but would go months with no communication. By 6, he was finally paying child support and seeing him on a regular basis, but still wasn't really doing much to establish a relationship with Chris.

He's been consistent for over a year now, and has really started getting his life on track. A few weeks ago, he showed up with a girl I'd never met before and said they were engaged. We spent a lot of time together this weekend between Zoo Boo, our combo birthday (the dad and I are less than 2 weeks apart), and trick-or-treating, and I just flat-out adore this girl. Since he's been with her, he's suddenly spending more time with Chris, which Chris is thrilled about. They've had 2 sleepovers in 2 weeks (this was a first so I was a wreck!) and seem to finally maybe be bonding.

Here's my concern.. the fiance is a mother, her daughter is about 15-months-old (and precious!). Since dad has taken on a radically different role since introducing her to me, I can't help but wonder how much of this is genuine and how much is her urging him to be a better dad? He seems truly happy to be bonding with Chris, and God knows I want this to be real, but we've been through this before. Chris is old enough now that it's going to hurt him deeply if it doesn't stick this time.

I guess time will tell..