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Project Health – November Edition

Bottom line – Steroids and many medications make you gain weight. I am no exception. I’m not complaining, because I’m above ground. And complaining gets me no where except idleness and a box of cookies. Which doesn’t help matters, I promise.

As of Halloween, I was off all medication and had 80 pounds to lose. As of this morning, I have 66 pounds to lose.

My goal is simple. Eat well. Move more. Actually move alot. It’s pure rocket science I tell you.

When I exercise in the morning, I find my eating is really, really good. I don’t want to waste all the effort that I put in.


Project Health – July Edition

So this month has been a wake up call for me. Acceptance that I don’t have the athletic body that I want to, but motivation to look closely at why that is. So what did I do to get to this point? 3 things happened this past month.

First, I split a pair of jeans. Yep, at first I was shocked and then nervously laughed. Then I screamed and cursed out loud in my bedroom. And then just possibly a tear or two fell as I was sprawled out on my floor flat on my back staring at the ceiling asking myself how I ever let myself go.

Second, at the Olympic Swimming Time Trials, Emily innocently asked me, “Mom, did you used to look like those swimmers?” “Yes, Emily I did,” I replied. “Oh, you must really miss that mom.” Yes I do.

Last, I came back from 2 vacations to wearing the largest pant size ever in my life. And I possibly shed a couple of more tears in the Target dressing room if I was being truthful. Nothing like 3 way mirrors to make sure you see every angle of your girth. I actually asked the dressing room employee if the mirrors were from the local carnival. She nervously smiled, possibly afraid that I was going to implode and possibly blame her for having to purchase size 16 jeans. Ouch. It actually hurts to type that.

But here’s the skinny: I have no one to blame but myself. I make poor eating choices, including a heavy addiction to Dr. Pepper. I don’t eat huge portions but I don’t make the greatest choices. I also have not being consistently exercising. I go in impulsive one week binges and then crash and burn.

So here’s my commitment: (more…)

Project Life 2012 Week #20

I probably haven’t said this before but I really kind of love Project Life. Such a simple way to document our full and abundant life. When I have the time to add extra embellishments, I love the creative adventure. But when life is extremely full, my pages are photo heavy. And that’s cool too.

Here’s week #20:

This special week was highlighted with Rebecca’s 8th grade graduation and her class trip to Disneyland. Such an amazing experience. I found myself a bit overwhelmed with pride and the realization that I wasn’t prepared for this.

Loving Ormolu flair.


Taking the first steps…

My brain hurts tonight. I’ve been reading a lot of information on nutrition. Many opinions out there in internet land. I know I need to make changes, but since a lifestyle change is needed, I’m taking things slow.

I’m in detox camp at my house. I’ve had no refined sugar, white flour, or caffeine for 48 hours. Overall, despite a mild headache and generalized body aches, I’m doing well.

Saturday, Jeff and I had the opportunity to go to Whole Foods. We actually made one round through the entire store, before we put one item into our basket.

Some of the thoughts going through my mind as I walked through the aisles…

Wow, the colors are so beautiful.
You charge how much for a gallon of milk?
That lady must have 50 supplements in her basket.
My kids are in for a shock.
I don’t know if this is for me.
I don’t have a choice. This is my new path.
I really am addicted to sugar.
Eating healthy isn’t convenient or cheap. It takes planning and money.


Project Health – March Update

I was doing superb with my eating plan and exercising up until our Disneyland trip. It had taken me about 6 weeks to lose 18 pounds and I was consistent and never cheated. Then I went on vacation and didn’t make great choices. As a result, I gained 8 pounds in 5 days. “No biggie,” I thought to myself. A little bump in the road, but I’ll lose that in a couple of weeks. I really wasn’t overly concerned.

Now a month later, I still haven’t lost that 8 pounds from vacation. It’s very frustrating. So I met with a nutritionist, an exercise physiologist, and read the book Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism by Maria Emmerich. My only risk factor for recurrence of cancer is high body fat and mine is close to 40%. How’s that for keeping it real?



Let me say this out loud…

I am committed to getting healthy. I am committed to weighing between 130 – 135 pounds to get me to a body fat percentage of 18-20%.

I was given almost 100 recommendations between the nutritionist, physician, and exercise physiologist. I was completely overwhelmed. I actually left the nutritionist’s office and went through the McDonald’s drive thru. I Biggie sized my combo and cried, while I read how much of a fat ass I was. And to make matters worse, I inhaled a row of Samoa Girl Scout Cookies as I read the report from the exercise physiologist. That’s healthy, right?

Project Health and a Sobering Reality

December 5th. That was the morning I woke up, looked in the mirror, and asked myself, “Who are you? And why have you allowed yourself to get so heavy?”

Yes, I have asked myself that question before. I have struggled with my weight for the past 8 years. But it was finally the wake up call I needed to help me say “No!” to all my poor choices of my past.

Cancer screwed with my metabolism. Chemotherapy, being sedentary for a year on a couch, and steroids caused my metabolism to plummet. My body has never quite been the same. But reality is that I’ve been in remission long enough to not be able to use that as excuse any longer.

The fact is I could eat this stuff for the rest of my life and cancer or no cancer, it will cause me to gain weight. No questions.



Sobering questions: 

“Is being healthy truly important to me or is it just what I know I should say?”

“Do I find myself attractive? Do I walk with the same confidence I had in my personal image when I met Jeff?”

“Do I feel the same energy levels as I did when I didn’t have 57 pounds of extra weight on me?”

Sobering facts:

I live in a world that is discriminating towards people who are overweight, especially women.  Anyone who argues with this fact hasn’t been overweight. I went to a class where I saw this first hand. The thin healthy girls were chosen as the examples in every case and used as models for the portraits. It was possibly the most degrading I’ve ever felt as an adult. The same 5 girls were used over and over. It was blatantly obvious and brought up by several participants later in the hotel lobby. I acted as if I didn’t agree with them or notice, but I knew it. I tried to use my normal optimistic, “Oh girls. I think it’s just been a long day and we will all feel better in the morning.”

Hogwash. I knew it was hogwash as it was coming out of my mouth. You see I used to be the skinny, healthy athlete that was always chosen. I can not tell you how much it crushed a part of me. Even typing this is hard because I am having to face the fact that I’m not that healthy person I once was.

When I gained weight, the last thing I wanted to do was buy fashionable clothes. It was the mentality, “I’ll buy cute clothes when I lose weight.” My wardrobe consists of clothes used to hide my weight. But all it does in reality is make me feel worse. What am I hiding? I’m just accentuating it by dressing in a potato sack.

If I don’t get my body fat down, there is a high likelihood that I’m going to get a recurrence of cancer or another disease. I’m a nurse. I know the sobering facts. And Jeff and my children don’t deserve that. Heck, neither do I. I’m finally at a place in my life where things are starting to happen in my life and with this blog. The last thing I want to do is fight for my life instead of living it to the fullest as I’m starting to taste right now.


So on December 5th I stepped on the scale and I was 187. I feel like I need to be as honest and vulnerable as possible. Typing that weight itself just made my eyes well with tears. That’s painful for me to admit. I’m not putting down anyone that is heavier than me.

This morning I am 169 pounds. I’ve lost 18 pounds in roughly nearly 6 weeks. It’s no rocket science what I’m doing. Eating right, eating more of what is good (protein and vegetables), eating less of what is bad, and moving more. No hidden secrets. I have 39 pounds to go towards my goal. At 130 – 135 pounds, I’m typically a body fat percentage of 18-20%. It is that body fat percentage, not the weight, that I need achieve and maintain to keep cancer at bay. I ask for you to pray and send good thoughts. I must get there. 

I received an email yesterday that shook me to the core. I don’t know if it was the sender’s intention. I’m going to say no, because I want to believe the best in people. I did respond in love because all I can do is control my actions and the words that come out of my mouth (or blog). That is what I am responsible for.

Essentially the sender was thanking me for wonderful stories, my cupcake series, and tutorials but pointed out that my blog would be more powerful if my personal image improved so that I could “put cute self portraits of myself in trendy clothes” in my posts daily. She said it could get me to the next level.

I was having a great day. Getting lovely comments about my polaroid tutorial and had just responded to a second email from a person going through cancer treatment. I was feeling like I was making a difference. Then I received this email and I ALLOWED it to sink me into despair. That sadness effected the rest of my day and my family.

All the goodness that was flowing in was immediately sidelined by one email. I read these 2 posts from Karen and Hayley last night before going to bed and they put me in a better frame of mind. After a good night’s sleep I am in a different place.

So here is my response:

Dear Anonymous Reader,

I received your letter yesterday and at first it hit me like a ton of bricks. I believe you had honorable intentions and I thank you for your compliments about my blog. I too wish I had cute self portraits and wore trendy clothes. But alas, that is not me at this time. My cuteness is just surrounded by a little too much fluff right now.

I started this blog because of a wake up call to live life to the fullest. I didn’t want to see another moment pass me by where I wasn’t living intentionally to achieve my ultimate goal and passion of completing items off my life list.

If I accomplish all of that and have only 5 readers at the end of this journey, THAT will be the ultimate level that I choose to strive for. If more than 5 readers want to join along and feel inspired, then great. But if I don’t achieve my goals on my life list and have 50,000 readers at the end of this journey, I will have failed. I will have failed myself. And I will have failed you.

You see, I might be fluffy but I can assure you I am authentic and I speak from the most vulnerable place right now. A place of pure painful honesty. Thank you for reminding me why I am writing this blog, living this journey, and why I must get healthy. I just think our definitions of making it to the next level are a little different.

Blessings sweet reader – Jenny

I promise updates to follow. My goal is health and a low body fat percentage. I struggle like you to find that balance. But if I can help encourage any of you or you have any suggestions, I welcome them. I treasure your comments and try to respond to all of them. Even the ones that sting a little.

Please be gentle in your comments to all involved. I’m just genuinely speaking from my heart. I am by nature not a critical person.

Have a lovely weekend sweet friends – Jenny


Project health update

So remember my Project Health program. Well sorry but I temporarily joined the Project Fell Off the Wagon (and got run over by it) program the past 5 weeks. But I am back friends and ready to get healthy. I learned a lot of things about myself though over the past 5 weeks and I think those things will help me in getting back on track. Often through my failures is where I learn a lot about myself.

Here are the things I know I must do:


  • I must workout first thing in the morning. I am more apt to eat well and not waste my morning efforts on crappy food.


  • I must eat more protein and drink more water. My energy levels and skin are the worst they’ve been.


  • Variety is key. I switched things up with my workouts and food before my “relapse” and that was working for me before going on vacation.


  • I need a big goal. It has to be more than a number with my weight or body fat. So tomorrow I start my triathlon training. My ultimate goal is to complete the SOMA triathlon (Half Iron Distance) in October 2012 and my first marathon in January 2013.


  • Improve my flexibility. Continue with the barre method classes and hot yoga classes


  • Decrease my body fat percentage- Eat clean and lift weights for strength training 3 days a week.


(Jeff and Ben after SOMA 2007) (more…)

Project Health Update – It’s not only about the weight

So since I last updated you I have lost 0.2 pounds. That’s right. Not even a pound. I am working hard at not getting discouraged as I’ve had more people comment on how I’ve lost weight in the past week than during this entire journey. I feel better and I feel stronger. And that my friends is what I am going to hold onto today.


Project Health Focus: Variety

So I wanted to keep you up to date with my Project Health journey. Thank you for the kind words, suggestions, and encouragement this past week. I have made a commitment to change old patterns and create new habits in order to live a long life and continue experiencing and learning things on my life list.

When I started, I was 49 pounds away from my goal and now I am only 34.8 pounds away. (Note, I am using my target weight as a motivating factor. I am not married to that goal.) Right now I am focusing on variety. That will be a key for me. When I get bored of eating or exercising the same way, I am likely to say “Oh screw it. I’m not tasting anything good. I’m bored. If I spend anymore time on this treadmill…” You get the idea.


Project Health

Project Health has begun. Also known as Project Fit Into Skinny Jeans, Project Lower Your Cholesterol Fatty, and Project Anti-Butt For Life. Overall my goal of this blog is to live, learn, and record all the things on my list and share them with you. But let’s face the facts- in order to do all that I want to do, I need to live a long time. And to do that I need to be healthy.


I’ve been in remission for 6 years. If you haven’t read that story you can read here. I had been in great shape. I was a competitive swimmer, ran cross country in high school, and was an addict of all the gym aerobics classes. Then I had my third child and had about 10-15 more pounds of pregnancy  weight to lose when cancer struck. After the ton of steroids and chemotherapy my body just hasn’t been the same. Don’t get me wrong, I have also made plenty of poor choices in the eating category. You know the drill, work hard and watch what you eat and lose 1 pound in a month and then throw your hands up in the air and drink a soda and have nachos with extra cheese. Well no more.


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