Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

New Years Eve. Just sat down after it took hours to get both kids to sleep. Even as I type this, I hear one stirring and I am praying he won't wake up.
I've said it before - I don't like resolutions. But, there is something refreshing about January 1. Especially 1/1/11. Will I wake up in the morning miraculously better from my cold? Will my kids? No, but, can I use the momentum of 1/1/11 to help me feel more positive about my life in the coming year? Yes, I think I can.
I plan on getting up in the AM and hitting the gym. I have a lesson to teach and then I am getting a wonderful hair cut and color. That always makes me feel like a new woman.My only other goal for tomorrow is to simply return to the way things normally are. Use my protein shakes, stick with my proteins, and do this until my cleanse begins on the 9th. I really feel as though this change in diet is going to be eye opening for me. I am very excited about it.
I have a lot of goals for 2011. (Mind you, NOT resolutions) Here are some I have been thinking about
1. Get and maintain a full time job with benefits - ASAP
2. Get to my goal weight of 180
3. Run at least 2 more 5K races. (My first one back after winter will be March 6)
4. Explore plastic surgery options for my panniculectomy (a version of a tummy tuck) and arm lift.
5. Continue toward my goal of becoming a weight loss and fitness consultant.
6. Catch up on my student loans and get rid of my credit card debt.
7. Feel happier. Not sure what exactly will help me do this. Time? Moving on in my career change? Sammy sleeping through the night? Who knows, but something has to do it.
Boy, the list got longer as I was typing. LOL
I don't like to put time stamps on my goals - it seems to stress me out unnecessarily and then I tend to self-sabotage. So, I will simply say that these are what I want to accomplish this year. And I CAN do it, because I can do ANYTHING.
So, what do YOU want to accomplish this year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goal setting - just for today

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love goal setting. I've been so thrown off the past few weeks, that I am taking baby steps toward the beginning of the cleanse on Jan. 9. So, today, these are my health goals:
1. Drink at least 64 oz of water
2. log everything I eat on
- now, this food log will not be perfect, and I will likely go over my calorie allotment, however, I WILL write down everything I eat.
3. Get in some kind of physical activity, even though I am still sore from my last Tuff Girl workout. (Gym or workout at home)
4. Get some rest

Just wanted to throw that down - helps keep me moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 - "Cleansing" away 2010

I am not a resolution maker. Resolutions are made to be broken. Goal creating is different, and I don't just utilize it in the new year. Goal creating should be an ongoing part of peoples lives, whether it's regarding work, family, health or anything else.
The only goal I have so far for 2011 is that it's going to be a better year than 2010.
Too much loss and too much grief have overshadowed the positives that have come from this year, like my beautiful son, Samuel.
One thing I am looking forward to is doing the Tuff Girl/Bodyology cleanse starting 1/9/11. It's not a crazy drink-only-juice, or eat-only-cabbage-soup, or starve-yourself-delirious kind of "cleanse". It's really just a get-rid-of-the-crap-you-have-consumed-over-the-holidays kind of plan. Without saying too much, out of respect for Christa Doran (, it's a 13 day "clean" eating plan. A sensible, real food plan. No caffeine, no sugar, no processed foods. Will it be tough? yes. Will it be worth it? YES. I KNOW I will feel like a new woman after getting all the "holidays" out of my system. Is it the way I am going to eat forever? Maybe, but probably not. But I am hoping it will give me some great alternatives to the same-old foods I have been eating. Sound wonderful to you? Visit the site and sign up!!
I'm in the midst of my online Psych class and it is tough. Probably not the right class to take online my first time back to school in a long time, but it is what it is, and I have to do well. So, I am stressed, but I will endure, prevail, and move on.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, as you can probably tell from my workout schedule, its been a tough 2 weeks.
We have been through a lot recently. A terrible stomach bug that swept my entire family (19 members at last count, plus some from Anthony's family) and on Dec 20, my precious Mema passed away in hospice care. She was diagnosed with lung cancer with mets to the brain on Oct. 27. Approx a month later it was found to be in her liver. She was admitted to hospice care and passed 2 weeks later, without pain, surrounded by her daughters. You think you have prepared yourself for it, knowing how ill she became and how quickly it spread, but you can never be fully prepared to be left by your second mother. My Mema meant the world to me. I miss her so much. I called her house, knowing she wouldn't answer. I closed my eyes and imagined her sweet voice saying "hello?" and I cried. Sometimes I still can't believe she is gone.
Christmas has come and gone. I struggled to make it happy and exciting for my boys. It took so much energy just to do that, but I feel like they had a nice day. My family came over and we also go together the next day. We all had a shot amaretto in honor of Mema. *sigh* This was also the first X-mas without my cousin Brian, which would have been hard enough. It's just been a really hard year.
On to career/school/work info - my online class has begun and I tried to get some of the work done yesterday and I am determined to get some done today. It's a very short period of time to get all of this done, but I have to do it. Just do it.
I had a great job interview at Yale. I am feeling very confident I will receive a call soon and will begin work after the new year. I will NOT count my chickens yet, but I am feeling good. I know I have mentioned before, but one wonderful thing about Yale is that they will pay for my Gateway classes.
On January 4, I can go into Gateway and sign up for 2 classes for the Spring on a payment plan, since even if I do get the job at Yale, my benefits won't start for 30 days.
I'm back on my workout schedule - I hope anyway. There is a blizzard going on currently (yes, literally) so I am hoping to get to the gym later, or I can do a workout at home. I am dragging my sis-in-law, Sarah, to a Tuff Girl Bootcamp tomorrow morning and I am very excited. After all the holiday eating, I am feeling sluggish and I can't wait to clean things up. Still considering doing the Tuff Girl cleanse. I have to check the finances to see if it's possible. Of course, I will report here all about it.
That's all for now. I am hoping this coming year is a better one for my family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

5K... or, not so much

Well, I should be just about crossing the finish line at a 5K race this morning, but when we woke up to high winds, pouring rain, and cold temps - plus finishing 2 concerts in a row and having 2 sick kids, we decided to punk out on this one.
I am not disappointed.
My last run on the treadmill was my best time yet 41:13. I am really super excited about it. I have shaved 6 minutes off my longest time. That's awesome. I am very proud. I want to keep it up so that when the races start again in spring, I'll be really ready.
Things career wise are moving - slowly. I can being work on my online Psych class on Monday, so I plan on devoting 1 hour each night, starting Monday, to doing that, so that I am not overwhelmed. I have never taken an online only class, and frankly, I haven't been in class, as a student, for a while. I'm a little nervous, but I am sure I can make it happen. It may be stressful, but I'll get it done.
There are a few things I am working on in regards to classes. There is a class called Fundamentals of Human Communication required for both majors - however, I am trying to propose that my years of teaching in the class room should equate to that. I mean, how much more can I learn about human communications when I have had to do it as a career for the past 4 years? I am hoping they will see that my way. We will see.
I have another interview for a job at Yale tomorrow. I am feeling very confident. Once I start there, they will pay for classes, so I will just need to put out the money for this semester. No biggie. I found the kids a great care facility. Nursery school for Josh 3 full days a week, and care for Sammy 2 full days, with the other days being at Grandma's. I think it's a nice compromise, especially for Josh, who needs school and playmates and interactions. It doesn't feel as hard as it once did.
There are so many things going on personally. Christmas is coming, job searching, classes, kids, hubby, housework, Mima in hospice, concerts, lessons, workouts, eating plans... wow, when I list it like that I wonder how it all works out, but somehow we are making it work.
So, today is just another day of balancing it all. Lessons, grocery shopping, gym, Mima, kids, trying not to get sick, prepping for interview... all in a days work, I guess.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Still working on the job front. Hoping to hear about an interview this week for a good position with Yale Transplant... cross your fingers!
I can't register until Jan 4 because I need to go on a payment plan for my classes this semester. The good thing is I contacted my advisor and she said she would sign me into Nutrition 1, if it is full by that point. Nice! Then, I can find something else to take, because I want to be at 6 credits.
I am beginning a revamp to my eating as well.
"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten" - Anthony Robbins
I have been wondering why, with all my workouts, I haven't been losing weight. I mean really, it has taken me about 3 months to drop 10 pounds. Each one is a struggle. When I was at my boot-camp workout class yesterday, I was listening to some of the ladies talking about a clean-eating cleanse they have started. No pills, powders, juices - just real food, non-processed. No sugar, no caffeine, no CHEESE - ACK! I was going to do this cleanse - but frankly, I was afraid to give up the caffeine and cheese. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my fear was exactly why I HAVE to do it. Tuff Girl Christa is running another one in January and I am on board. Before that, however, I am going to being weaning myself from some of these things.
At first I thought - no problem. I will start with taking out the sugar. I don't eat that much sugar - but as I can attest today, I must have been eating more than I thought. I was a raving lunatic. So, another few days of really taking out all the sugar (because that didn't QUITE happen today - although no "treat" sugars. I know that sounds like an excuse, but I have been really falling into the treat-a-day habit, so that was big for me). Then, on to the caffeine. I am trying to wean off gradually, since I value my families lives, and to quit cold-turkey would surely lead to blood-shed. Finally, cheese will be weaned as well. I have to replace this protein gap with more meats (organic) and fish. This is going to take some work, but I really understand now why I have to do it. My days are filled with caffeinated protein shakes and cheese - obviously the reason my body is rejecting weight loss.
Well, there is a lot to do. Today, I upped my water a lot, ran my 5K in my best time yet, and didn't let anything sway me from my workout. These are the things I am proud of today. There are some things I'm NOT proud of, but I am moving on from that.
Every moment is a new moment to make a good choice. Keep moving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Thankful list

My top 10 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:
1. My loving and ever supportive husband.
2. 2 beautiful, healthy boys who drive me nuts. I wouldn't have them any other way.
3. My health.
4. My family. We've been through a lot this year, and are continuing to be tried. I am thankful for each and every one of my family members for their love and support of me and of each other.
5. My ability to seek a job. I have skills that will enable me to get the employment I need when the time is right.
6. My home, my car, my assets, as little as they seem, are much more than some.
7. My new, exciting and scary path in life. I am so lucky to have something to strive for and look forward to, and the ability to go after it.
8. My functioning body, even though it doesn't do what I want it to on occasion, I am very lucky it gets me out of bed every morning, carries me around all day and enables me to carry around my babies all day!
9. My friends. Sometimes I'm not as good a friend as I should be, and I am trying to work on that. My friends are lovely and supportive, and I appreciate them everyday.
10. YOU -for reading this list! :-)
Happy Thanksgiving! - Give THANKS for all you have!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have some thoughts on Thanksgiving this year. Almost every other year, Thanksgiving would be a day of gorging, starving myself all day until eating in the afternoon. Eating as much as you can with wild abandon. Sometimes, not even really tasting it - but eating because it was the holiday to do so. This year, I am determined to make Thanksgiving what it SHOULD be. A day where I give thanks to those who help me everyday, who are part of my life and make it special. I am so blessed to have so many in my life who love and support me. I plan on celebrating them by telling each of them what they mean to me. Giving thanks has nothing to do with pumpkin pie and stuffing. It has to do with telling the people who are important to you how special they are while you can. If this last year has taught me anything, it's that you never know when it will be your last chance to tell someone you love them. Tell them everyday, somehow.


For all of you following along, you have probably realized by now that this blog is not JUST about my career change, but my total life change. These changes are not something that change, and then are done. I have to think about them, and work on them every day. It can be exhausting, and I feel like I find another obstacle everyday. However, I am trying to see these obstacles and stumbles as learning experiences. Today is a good example.
I am sick. I haven't been sick in a LONG time (thank God!) But I now realize what a trigger it is to bad eating and no exercise. Now, I'm not making excuses, but who wants to exercise when they are sick? No one I know, so frankly, I'm not too mad at myself for that. However, with a throat on fire, head pounding, PLUS still needing to work and have a job interview today - I have not eaten well today. It started with lack of planning. I didn't plan and bring enough food with me to keep me from being hungry until I got home. On the way home, I got suckered in (very easily, I might add) to stopping for cupcakes by my 3 year old. When we got home, I was so tired and sore, all I wanted was something homey and hot for dinner. Soup. Creamy and yummy. Anthony went out for me and got some fresh bread and some potato cheddar soup. Not the best choice, but boy did it feel good on my throat. Fatty soup, check. Loads of bread, check. Cupcake, Check. Lack of water, check. Loads of caffeine, check. *sigh*. It's amazing what I allow my inner fat girl to convince me of when I am in a weakened state (I know, how dramatic).
It teaches me such a valuable lesson. When a little something changes for me in my normal daily routine, I use it as an excuse to make not-great choices. This was typical of my old life. Any little excuse - I took it. "It's not MY fault, I was SO stressed..." etc. What I need to remember is that making these choices are not going to make things any better. Will my cold go away faster? No way. In fact, in anything, being unhealthy has proven, for me, that it LENGTHENS my illnesses. Duh?
Well. It's just another day. And, as I always say - every moment is a new moment to make a good choice. My next moment, which is now, I choose to drink down some water to start flushing out my sodium packed soup. Tomorrow, as long as I am feeling a little better, will be a hardcore gym day, and a normal eating day.
Speaking of normal eating, I have thoughts on our upcoming holiday - Thanksgiving. See my next post if interested.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roadblocks - or just speed bumps?

Well, taking classes in the spring semester is turning out to be more expensive than I thought. Miscellaneous fees are really raising the price. I may only be able to afford to take one for now, till I actually get a job and can fork over the rest. I will definitely take Nutrition 1, and if that's it for now, well, so be it. It is what it is, as my wise mother would say.
On some personal notes - My eating has been a little messy, but the exercise is going well. Classes, running, walking, strength training. It's all working. I can feel a difference in my clothes, even though the scale is moving at a snails pace.
Things are very stressful around here for a variety of reasons. The holidays are coming, there are health issues in the family, it will be the first holidays without my cousin, money is so tight, school, finding a job... it starts to feel like too much. But, we just keep getting up everyday, and breathing in and out, and bracing ourselves for whats to come - whatever that may be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shaping - a babbling blog

We have all been shaped by many things. Our past, especially. I think about all the things that have gotten me where I am. What moved me into this new career? Not just a decision a few months ago, but years of experiences that culminated in a vision.
As I look back on these experiences, I hate to say, many are unpleasant. From the rejection I suffered as a person, a woman, a singer because of my weight, to the ridicule and disgust from doctors, colleagues and society at large. From the boyfriend I was never quite good enough for (no matter what I did or how much I tried to change myself), to the girl in high school who "didn't like fat people". All of this pushed and pulled me into different directions.
But, there are reasons for everything - I have to believe that.
I had to grow into the person that was good enough for ME. My husband was a key factor in helping me do that. He truly loved me regardless of my physical, mental or psychological state - boy, he has dealt with me a TON (no pun intended)- but his love has helped me love myself.
My family has also been another key factor - loving me and encouraging me through my tough times, and always routing for me to succeed. I think when I decided not to perform anymore, knowing there was something else out there for me, it was the most hard to tell them. My mom had always done so much to keep me going - lessons, auditions, dresses, encouragement... I didn't want her to think it was all for naught - and now that I see where my life is leading me, I know she is proud of the changes I am making.
Sometimes I look at my colleagues who are still out there, pounding the pavement, getting that next audition, waiting, hoping, working, dreaming. Some making it, some not, and I wonder what would have happened if I had stuck with the whole audition circus (yes, I mean circus) But I just can't imagine it. It would probably mean no hubby, it would certainly mean no kids - and while I only mildly entertain that exceptional thought at 2am when I'm dragging my ass out of bed, I wouldn't give up my gorgeous kids for the lonely road, or living in the city.
My life is changing so much. It's so different than I thought it would be. In the midst of transition, I can only keep hoping this is the right path to take - I have to trust myself. Yeah... I'm not used to that yet.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spinning class

So, I took a spinning class today. It was kinda spur-of-the-moment. I checked the class schedule for this morning and saw it was open, so I thought - why not?
Of course, I knew it would be hard, but man, I was like jell-o walking out of there. Not only were my legs shaking, my whole body was crashing from the expulsion of so many calories, and therefor, a blood sugar crash. Once I finished up my water and ate at home, I felt better. But boy, will I be sore tomorrow.
My goal is to try as many different classes as possible. After the class, I took a moment to speak with the instructor and let her know it was my first class. She asked why I had decided to take it, and I told her frankly - I had hurt my calf muscle in the Group Groove class and needed a good hard workout that wasn't going to kill it. She laughed and said "dancing?" like I was insane. It goes to show that many trainers and instructors certainly don't find all kinds of activity to be useful, and certainly not equal. Although I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to exercise science, I really feel that my basic idea of movement will not change: Movement is good for everyone. Spinning, dancing, walking, running, strength training - it's all movement that makes our bodies healthier. And frankly, the more diverse the better. If anyone takes the initiative to have more movement in their lives, it's a wonderful, healthy thing. No matter how fit I get, I will never laugh at someone for any kind of movement they decide to do, because I know first hand how difficult it is to get to that place - that place that makes you go to the gym, or go out for a walk, and make it a habit. It's hard, and is to be commended, regardless of the activity. So dance on, my friends. I sure will.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baby Steps

I have a job interview next week at Yale New Haven Hospital. This is totally fabulous, obviously, for many reasons. Yale is a great place to work when it come to pay, and benefits. As many of you know, I am going back to work full time so I can afford to go to school part time. The one MAJOR perk of Yale is that they PAY FOR SCHOOL. Up to $4000 a year for full time employees, which would cover any classes I would be able to take per year. Obviously, this is amazing, because that frees up the money that would have been spent on classes and it can go to other things, like, oh I don't know, catching up on my student loans! As we have already discussed, day care will be part of these figures now too. However, it will only be part time, 2 days per week, which lessens the blow a bit. It will be hectic, and I feel like I am never going to see my kids, but I know it's what has to be done.
Of course, I am making all these plans, and I don't even have the job yet. I only have an interview. So, we will see... I'll keep updating.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breathe in, breathe out

Breathe in deeply. Fill your lungs, your belly. Let it out. In again, through the nose, and out through the mouth...
Ok. Everything happens for a reason. The only thing constant is change. Time never stops moving.
I did not go to the gym today. I ate poorly. I was tired, headache-y and downright crabby.
And this, my friends, is life.
Life is not always going to be 5-6 days at the gym. Life is not always going to be a healthy eating day. Life is not always going to include free or easily accessible childcare, or hearing about that job you want, or your class registration working correctly, or your tests being graded on time, or your grandmother making a miraculous recovery.
All of these things would have lead me down a destructive path not so long ago. As a compulsive and binge eater, any life setback, major or minor, would have normally resulted in a long period (sometimes hours, sometimes days) of over eating and/or binging. Hiding in my room with my drug of choice, wishing all the bad things away. But guess what? When you wake up in the morning, with chocolate frosting in your hair, candy wrappers strewn around the room and a wicked stomach ache - those bad things, those issues, whatever they are, are STILL THERE. Not only are they still there, but now, I had added the additional issue of feeling guilt, disgust, and physically ill. Good. Job.
What I have learned over the last few years (VERY SLOWLY) is that every moment is a new moment to make a good choice. No, I will not always make a good choice in that moment, or maybe the next or the next, but every moment is a clean slate, a fresh start. Because of this, I am able to let "slips" go much more easily, without the overwhelming guilt, the judgement and hatred of myself. All of those things only kept me on the yo-yo - binging, dieting, overeating, dieting, binging....etc. How exhausting.
I would categorize today as a slip. I didn't eat well for the evening, I didn't visit the gym. However, I am going to go to bed early, and give my body some much needed rest, and tomorrow, I will wake up with no guilt. No self-loathing. I will go about my day as I normally have. Eating as well as possible, moving as much as I can. It's all I can ask of myself. It's all anyone SHOULD ask of themselves.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm so screwed

Ok, so my second reasonable option for childcare has most likely kicked the bucket. Why is this so hard? There are plenty of daycares out there - not one I feel I can afford for both kids to go to. Besides the fact that I HATE the idea of them being in a daycare all day long. Leaving them with family made me feel so much better... and now... not happening.
I really don't know what to do. The whole reason for getting a full time job was to afford classes, and now if I work full time, practically my whole paycheck will go to daycare. No money for classes, AND not seeing my kids all day? And the point of this is.....???
I feel like I shot myself in the foot by leaving UNH now - at least I could have tried to get evening classes and some students and I would have SOMETHING coming in and probably could find care for a few hours a few days a week... but now, no. I don't have that option, because I had to be all gung-ho about going back to school. Such crap. How does anyone do this? I can't be the only one who is in this situation, so...what's the answer??? I sure don't have one. I'm up a creek without a paddle - or a boat.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Interesting experiment

So, after an incredibly stressful week for many reasons, I decided to push myself and do a little experiment. I made up a "running playlist" off of my ITunes and went to the gym. I knew I had been getting better at running in my walk/run interval workouts, but I wanted to see how long I could run at one time. This experiment was inspired by wanting to walk/run a 5K on Thanksgiving morning.
So, I started out with a warm-up song at about 3.8 on the treadmill. Then I started running. I ran for 20 minutes straight and I was super proud - however, that was not the biggest breakthrough of this experiment.
As soon as I was done with my 20 minute run, my "lazy demons" started talking "you just RAN 20 minutes! You only have to do a total of 30 minutes today..." etc. I ALMOST fell for it, but then I started to tell myself things like "I'll just walk till the end of this song", then it was "well, I'm almost at 35:00, so I'll go till then" then it was "I've almost burned 400 cals, lets just keep going" and on and on... not only did I keep walking, I RETURNED to running 3 more times!! In the end, I ran/walked a 5K (3.2) miles in 47.19, and I ran/walked for a total of 65 minutes, 4.2 miles and blasted 625 calories. A long way from my 30 minute timeline!
I have noticed a few things regarding this - one is that I am beginning to ENJOY pushing myself "just a little further". Another is that I recover MUCH more quickly after a more intense workout than I used to. And finally, I am actually looking forward to going to the gym! Who knew??
I feel good. My weight is going in the right direction. Still working on eating enough, but this past week I have been doing better with that and I think that's why I am seeing the scale drop!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Injury provoking pride?

I have to continuously remind myself that things happen for a reason. I may have lost the childcare I thought I had, but it's not going to stop me from doing what I need to do, and I may just help out someone else in the process. My only struggle still is finding a nursery school type environment for Josh to continue in once I go back to work. Will keep looking.
I applied for a few part time jobs at Yale today. Part time would actually be idea - I would still bring in enough money to pay for classes - PLUS I would get to see the kids and have time for homework. This would be good. However, if I am offered a full time job, I'm going to jump all over it.
I pulled a calf muscle yesterday during Groove Class, which made me more mad than hurt. I couldn't finish the class, but the instructor told me to elevate and ice it. I did that and it feels much better today. I did a workout home tonight that involved normal use of the muscle and a little stretching and it feels good. Tomorrow, I will return to Groove Class and hope for the best. I've never gotten an exercise related injury before, and even though it was so minor, I felt sort of proud of it. I didn't twist an ankle because I was too heavy for my poor joints to carry me, or strain something just by walking because my muscles were stressed from the weight. It's different, and even though it's sore, I don't mind it at all.
I've enrolled in my accelerated Psych class, which I might have already mentioned, and I have already gotten moving on my reading. It's taken me 3 days to get through chapter 1. This does not bode well. I need to establish a scheduled time of day when I can get away from the kids, and really concentrate on reading and studying, or this is never going to happen in 2.5 weeks. I'll get it done, come Hell or high water.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


There is so much stress weighing down on me right now, and issues have arose that may effect my efforts to dive into school and work. I need to work full time in order to afford classes. I need care for my children while I work. I HAD care, and it's possible that is NOT the case now, which succeeds in turning my world upside down. I wish there was a way I could just go to school, and take a part time job, maybe Starbucks or something, so I can use that to pay for classes and still have the money from my private students to help with the household expenses. Daycare is absolutely exorbitant. $460 a week for both kids. That's just about what I will be making a week, so what's the point? There are programs out there to help with expenses such as these, but we make too much to get help, and make too little to be able to make it work. So, in essence, we are screwed. Or, should I say, I am screwed. Should I bother even trying to continue with this? I already left UNH - maybe I should have stayed and tried to make it work...My thoughts are so muddled right now, I don't know what to think or where to go or what to do. I can't believe I am in a situation where I figure out something I want to do so badly, and I can't figure out how to do it. It really sucks.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Registration and running

So, tomorrow is the beginning of registration for Gateway, and I plan on being there bright and early to get into this online psych class. I am excited to get all the info. I would love to get the text and start reading before hand, since the whole class takes place in 2.5 weeks. Whew. It's still a little nerve wracking to be starting this whole thing, but I'm diving right in. I can't let fear of the unknown hold me back from what I really want to do.
I think what makes me the most nervous about this change is that I still have some much to do myself. Should I really be telling people how to eat, move, feel better about themselves, change their lives, when I, myself need to continually re-learn the same things? Is it fair to teach and give advice on things I still need to learn and get advice on? I have a lot to learn, and that's why I am going back to school. I have to just take it one day at a time.
On a personal note. My beloved grandmother has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, with mets to the brain and possibly liver. She is undergoing radiation for the tumors in her head, but is most likely not a candidate for chemotherapy for her lung. Therefor, it will go untreated. We don't know how much time she has. Sometimes when I am on the treadmill and I am going into a sprint, or an incline interval, I think about her and her frailty and I run for her. I run for the running she will be unable to do ever again. I run to make her proud of me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Gateway has finally released it's schedule for Winter intersession and Spring. So, here we go. In the Winter intersession, which is only 2.5 weeks long, I am taking an online-only Psych I class. A little nerve wracking, since it's a lot of work in a short period, but I think I can do it. It's great that it's online only, so I don't have to be away from the kids every evening when I'm just starting out. I will, however, have to make myself a very strict schedule in order to get everything done. Probably working upstairs or downstairs. EVERYONE is going to have to understand and respect the schedule, as though I was out in class itself.
Then, in the spring, I will be taking Human Biology and Nutrition I. I will be in class M, Tues, and Wed evening, but M and W only till 6:40, so I could be home for bedtime with the boys, which is really great. It'll be a lot of work. I'll probably end up doing homework during my lunches at work, etc, but it will be worth it. I have a long way to go, but I know I can do it. I'm really excited to just get STARTED already!!

ETA: I received my official acceptance into the programs (both Dietetic Tech and Exercise Science and Wellness) today - registering for both Winter and Spring NOV. 1! HOORAY! I hope I don't go insane!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New class

I now belong to In Shape Fitness. I really enjoy this gym, and I was finally able to take one of the classes I have been DYING to do, called Group Groove. It's dance based, similar to Zumba, except they use an interval approach, which I like, and they talk you through steps, which I also like. I stood in the back (per usual) and I felt like a lumbering fool. I have a hard time "mirroring". I always want to do the move opposite of the instructor - therefor, the entire class is going right, I end up left. Ugh. However, despite my obvious directional difficulties, I kept moving, sweat-ed my butt off and ended up having fun. And frankly, if it was fun just trying desperately to keep up, it's going to be even more fun once I get the hang of things.

One thing I couldn't help thinking was: wow, I have a LONG way to go. Sure, I can feel like an eye-of-the-tiger champ on the treadmill, but damn, the instructors of this class were FIERCE. Energetic can't even begin to describe the level at which they need to work, not only doing the moves hardcore, but also calling out all the moves and cheering everyone on.... and I want to do THIS eventually? Yikes. It was the first time I felt like this goal was out of reach. I felt "big" in class, and I haven't been feeling that way in a while now. However, I am proud I stepped out of the comfort zone and went. I will certainly be back. Hopefully for every class.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Biggest Loser

** Please note, because of the field I am going into, I will occasionally blog about obesity, weight loss, and other health related issues that may not be directly related to the career change, but are thoughts I feel are important to write about**

I have always been a fan of NBC's The Biggest Loser. Back in my extremely obese days, I even filmed a video to try and win myself a spot in a season, but chickened out, and never sent it.
I'm at odds with the show now. I'm actually watching it as we speak, and frankly, when I am done blogging, I plan on hitting the sack. Seasons prior to this, this would be unheard of. I think that, although the massive weight loss is inspiring, it is so completely unrealistic to the overweight and obese community. I think it's important for every body, young, old, obese or fit, to believe in themselves, and challenge themselves. But because BL is so intense, and of course, the intensity is for TV ratings, I think people feel that if that can't do THAT, then it's not enough.
I have really enjoyed challenging myself at the gym lately. Challenging myself involves a lot of self-talk. "Just run 30 more seconds, ok, now 30 more... it's just a minute, you can do it" So on and so forth. I have talked myself through 45-60 minute interval workouts that, even a few months ago, I don't think I would have thought I could do. The fact is, I could have. I could have done it at any time. My body is strong. It carries me around all day long - and I need to love it and thank it by sweating my ass off in that next Zumba class, interval workout, or strength training circuit.
It's amazing to me how my mindset has changed. How I am enjoying the feeling of becoming fit and strong. How I take the responsibility of logging my food seriously. 3 years ago, I was crying everyday, holding an infant that wouldn't sleep and hated being in the car for more than 5 minutes, and ordering cheese-y bread and cinna-sticks from Dominoes everyday. I love the person I am becoming every day, more and more. And loving myself, even though I am still considered "obese" is something I certainly never thought would happen. Hell, I never thought I would love myself even at a normal weight! Seeing what kind of REAL change can occur, over time, and with effort... this is the way I want to make other people feel. I want them to love themselves. At 400 lbs, or at 140 lbs. When you love and accept your body as it is, it makes it easier to treat it well, by eating the way that makes you feel healthy, and moving so your body feels energized and strong.
Just my thoughts for today. Goodnight Biggest Loser. I need some rest for MY workout tomorrow.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nutrition talk

We live in a world of ignorance. Ok, this could have a lot of meanings, but I mean specifically about food and nutrition. Our society thrives on restaurants, fast food joints, and coffee shops. How many of us take the time to check out the nutritional information on the foods we are consuming at these places? Very few. I almost NEVER did. When I finally started checking it out, I was so amazed at the huge number of calories in these foods alone, that I would lose my craving for them almost instantly. And if I didn't? Well, I tried to figure out how to have some to make it work into my calories for the day, usually by splitting it up or substituting out some of the things that are adding to the calories.
I was so proud of my husband this morning. He loves this time of year and loves all things "pumpkin". This morning, he was really craving a pumpkin muffin - but instead of just running out to get it, he checked out the nutritional stats for one at Dunkin Donuts and was horrified to see this: 600 cals, 26 grms fat (6 saturated) 520 mg sodium, 83 grs carbs, 44 of which are sugar. The hubs states that once he saw this - he decided against it, and was really shocked at the values.
Another example was yesterday, after completing the Walk Out of The Darkness for Brian (a 3 mile jaunt), we were all emotionally and physically tired, and hungry! The family decided to stop for lunch at a burger place (Five Guys Burgers and Fries) As soon as we decided to go there, I looked up the stats on my phone. About 450 cals for a little cheeseburger, 300 for 1/2 a serving of their fries. Yes, on the high side, BUT, I made the decision to make it work for my day. The great thing about Five Guys is that everything is real - 100% real beef with no fillers or preservatives, the fries are real potatoes, sliced right there in the joint, and they are totally trans fat free. All of these things weighed out for me.
Living everyday in a nutritionally sound way is NOT easy. There are decisions to be made constantly, variables weighed and measured. Sometimes we make good decisions for our bodies, and sometimes we don't. The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is that every moment is a new moment to make a good decision. I could have let the rest of my eating day yesterday go to pot after a burger and fries - but instead I modified and still kept in my calories for the day.
EVERY moment in a NEW moment to make GREAT decision for your health.

Friday, October 15, 2010


This may not seem career related, but while I was thinking about things at the gym today, I realized that it could be. All of our life experiences effect our careers, especially when our careers focus on something passionate to us.
My cousin, Brian, committed suicide almost 6 months ago. April 25. Some of my family and I are participating in a suicide prevention walk tomorrow. It's been on my mind a lot, and making me nervous. It will surely be emotional and difficult.
There are a myriad of reasons I think this post needs to be here, on this blog. Being overweight all my life led me to a lot of pain and suffering. Some I expressed, some I didn't. Sometimes I felt SO alone in my struggle. Not only was I fat, but I was totally out of control with my eating. Binging, hiding food. The guilt, the shame... it was horrific. I did finally realize I wasn't alone, and I started the steps to help myself stop binging, and eventually, through the use of my weight loss surgery tool, I am where I am today, and moving forward in my own health, wellness and weight loss journey. But the experience of the pain I felt for so long is part of what motivates me to move into this new career. There are people out there who think they are alone. Who can't imagine ever feeling OK about eating, food, weight... there are adolescents out there who are bottling things up inside - stuffing feelings down with food. These feelings can obviously lead to depression. Depression killed my cousin. My handsome, intelligent, sweet, hard working, giving cousin. If I can help one person feel just a little better about themselves - just a little better about life, I will have done my job to the best of my ability. When I say I want to work on people as a WHOLE - physically, mentally and emotionally - THIS is why.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stressful, but enlightening

All the research involved with getting a brand-spanking-new career going can be stressful. I have made a few decisions though, after badgering my husband endlessly, and having a great talk with my brother this weekend. I really had to decide what it is I REALLY want to do. Ok, going into nutrition - I knew that. But what? It comes down to this. I want to help people lose weight, feel good, be happy. The way I want to do things will only really happen if I run the business myself. Which of course, I was shying away from. Mostly because of the fear of doing my own books, taxes, etc. But lets be honest. Fear is something that is prevalent in this whole situation. I mean, I'm completely changing my entire career life at age 32, needing to go back to school to do it, and moving away from the one area (music) I have concentrated on since I was around 10 years old. At this point, fear is old-hat.
So, back to the ultimate dream: (cue Dream-Sequence music) Run my own weight loss/nutrition/wellness counseling center, complete with a space to run exercise classes for everyone from the very obese to the very fit. Packages could include the use of the classes (and hopefully, some machinery?), access to me as often as needed via phone, e-mail etc. Maybe running specialized seminars on emotional eating, etc. Perhaps even expanding to include Reiki, massage therapy, or other holistic treatments. This set up, at it's most successful, will probably involve a small staff (maybe another 1-2 people) to do some classes and other treatments. But right now, I would want to do all the counselling for the clients. Developing meal plans using all real foods. No pills or promises of unrealistic weight loss and unrealistic timelines. Treat the person like a PERSON. And not just handing them a meal plan and sending them on their way, but dealing with the physical, mental and emotional issues of food, excess weight, and weight loss.
End Dream-Sequence music - Beautiful, isn't it?
Attainable? Damn, I hope so.
It's going to take quite a while to get here, if I ever get to the "dream" place at all. But, all I can do is get started. ASAP. I plotted out (loosely, of course) the amount of time it will take for me to get my AS at Gateway is Dietetic Technology and it looks like I would be done with that portion approx. Summer 2013. Seems like forever, but actually not bad. To add the AS in Exercise and Wellness would be an additional 9 classes. At that point, I might as well go for it, and that would take about another year. This is assuming I can handle 2 classes per semester, 1 class in the winter intersession, and doing classes during 2 Summer intersessions (Gateway offers 3). It's a lot of work. A LOT. At this point, all I can do it take the first step and get going. Biology, here I come.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Direction becoming clearer

I do believe that my direction and vision for my future is becoming clearer. I had an amazing conversation with Jenn Krebs, a natriopathic physician in New Haven and I really feel as though she helped me. She really engaged me in conversation, asking probing questions and giving me BOTH sides of the proverbial coin. Working with clients one-on-one is magical, it's amazing, it's phenomenal. It can also be frustrating, inconsistent and cause burn out. But, even with this non-sugar coated version of things (AKA: REALITY) I am still moving in this direction.
It would be amazing to work as a nutrition and weight loss counselor. Dealing with the mental, emotional and physical issues associated with obesity, excess weight, food and eating. I would also love to have a "safe" space for running some exercise classes for clients to partake in. Perhaps one for beginners, or, one for people with physical limitations, as well as something hardcore like step or Zumba.
My fear is running my own, legitimate business. How does one even begin? It certainly won't be easy, and it will probably take a long time to get a good following. I guess kinda like developing my voice studio.... the difference is my voice studio isn't "legit" (as far as the government is concerned. Shhh... don't judge me)
I am working with a woman now. Jessica F is a friend of a friend and she is trying to lose weight and get her borderline blood pressure down so she and her hubby can conceive a baby with her being the healthiest she can be. It's so exciting to work with someone on this. She knows where I am at - just starting school, only working with what I have experienced and researched, and she's cool with that. We are both getting what we need out of this. I will update her progress occasionally here as well.
*Sigh* Still lots to think about. Starting additional part time work in the next few weeks and full time in December. Classes in Dec... lots going on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I am so blessed to be getting so much wonderful support from my family and friends. I was over my moms today and a bunch of my family was there. We got on the subject of my big change and they were all so helpful and supportive. Their encouragement helps me be not quite so nervous to start things off.
So, it looks like, in order to get my AS - associates in science in dietetic technology, it will take me a little under 4 years. This seems like an ETERNITY. Maybe it won't take quite so long, but that's taking 2 classes a semester, plus 2 during the summer and 1 during winter interim. That's constant school in the evenings for 4 years. I am hoping I can do at least SOME of it online. *sigh*
A friend sent me a message today asking me some advise on protein powder. She told me the plan she was working on, and I gave her some advise. It felt SO good to help her. She messaged me back and told me she got more info in my e-mail than she had gotten in a lot of research online. This is what I want to DO! She was so happy and felt so good about her healthy plan.... I feel like I was meant for this. It's still a little scary - but it's super exciting too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

exercise = career research!

The hubs and I joined a gym today. In Shape Fitness just down the street from us. They have classes, cardio and state of the art resistance equipment. I am meeting with a trainer on Monday to develop a resistance routine, which I don't know a ton about. I really feel like being part of a gym, and being in that atmosphere is going to be important to my career goals. For several reasons.
1. Who is going to take nutritional advise from someone who is overweight? The gym is key to getting down to my weight loss goals.
2. It's going to be great to try things out as I learn about them in the process of getting a fitness technology certificate.
3. Who knows, maybe I would even get a job there! LOL
Anyway, I am very excited about this. Right after we joined, I jumped on the treadmill and did an interval workout where I totally blasted 400 cals. Woot!

Big Steps

It's official. I have resigned from my position at the university. It was a very scary move. It was like - this is really it. I am really moving forward, moving on. I wrote the letter, and it took me a while to send it. But I know it was the right decision. Then, last night I was chatting with my mom. My mom is not big on change. When I suggest any big move on something - her reaction is usually "really?" "Are you sure?"... that's just how she is. Cautious. Last night she told me that even though she is usually nervous about change, she thinks I am making the absolute right decision in moving into this new career. She said the really feels I can make a difference in peoples lives, and that NOW is the right time. She knows I worry about the kids, and not spending enough time with them, but so much of this decision is for them. So that I can be secure in the future, and give them what they need. It will be hard sometimes, but worth it in the end. My mom said I was brave. I cried. Her support is so important to me, and she always has my back - but for her to tell me she REALLY believes that this is the right move - well, it just solidified everything for me. My mom is my mother and best friend rolled into one. She is such a rock for me in my life. Her support and approval is beyond important. And I have it.
I have another appointment with the head of nutrition at the Hospital of St. Raphael's next week. I am very excited to see this side of this career. She seems very nice and I thanked her about 8 times for her time. I am sure she is incredibly busy. I am seeing her and another nutritionist, Jenn Krebs, on the same day. Lots on info on Wednesday - and maybe even a pedicure in between! :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010


What a fantastic meeting!
I met with Joanne Hoffmann of eats4life ( to speak with her about her career. She obviously LOVES what she does and her excitement is positively infectious. She cares so much for her clients and their well being. She explained to me about her program, and how she got to where she is. She is actually not a registered dietitian, but a personal nutritional consultant. She got to where she is by using a plan she herself used to lose weight and modifying it to suit people in everyday life, using real food.
Her situation is not what I thought it would be, and I think that it has it's pros and cons. Pros - no specific school requirement. However, that is also something that makes me a little nervous. Sure, I have my own experiences, but who is going to want to hire me based on that? Meh.
It took Joanne years to get to where she's at. She is very successful and is running this business herself, but is part time work for her. I am unsure if she has her own insurance. Her husband does all her books and taxes for her. It's these reasons I really don't want to be in business for myself. But the kid of work she does is EXACTLY what I want to do.
So, the outcome is.... well, I know more than ever that I really want to do this. But, I am still confused, so far, as to exactly how to go about it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Be realistic

"You need to be realistic" "Well, there is a lot of room for doubt in this plan". "This is going to take you FOREVER".

These are just a few of the comments I have received while chatting with friends and family about my new plan.
Don't get me wrong, 98% of the people I talk to say things like "That's awesome!" "good for you!". But it's always the nay-sayers that stick in your mind. I'm not going to let that happen. I have to try and do this. I have to at least research it enough and map out the course to see exactly HOW long it will take, and then make the final decision for MYSELF. It seems if I take a course or two every time they are offered, so, for example, at Gateway, you can take classes in the Fall, winter, Spring AND summer - not just Fall and Spring, then I can get things done faster. Of course, there is the financial aspect. Will I be able to afford to take them that often? That may depend on my job situation. I put in a call last Thursday to an office that has repeatedly told me "if you ever want to work full time, PLEASE call us, we want you here!" and have yet to receive a call back. This doesn't mean I won't get one, but I sure do need a backup plan as well. I can certainly always go back to the temp agency. But I am going to need to have a solid idea soon, because I will need to inform others about the plan as well. People depend on me, and I need to give them enough notice to be respectful.
OH - I have an appointment with one of my contacts in Monday! She said I could even could bring the kids! What a sweetie! Can't wait to throw all my questions at her! Woot!
These plans and thoughts are always circulating. I'll keep updating.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hooray! I have heard back from 2 dietitians I have contacted, asking for some time to sit down with them and have a career chat. Hopefully I will be able to speak with them both this week and have some great info. Some other questions I have thought of you ask:

Is there anything about your career that was surprising to you, or that you don't like?
Is this your only "job"?

One thing I have noticed is that a lot of these professionals seem to work part time. Now, this COULD be because they only NEED to work part time, or it could be that this is not the kind of career that is full-time appropriate... meaning, there isn't enough work to make it full time. This is concerning, because that's where I am already coming from, and I don't want to take lots of time, money and commitment to be right back where I am. However, I know that at hospitals, dietitians work full time. But, are they "just" RDs? Or do they have further education? This is what I need to find out. ASAP.
Along with moving toward a degree as a registered dietitian, I am also considering looking into fitness science as well. Gateway offers an associates degree in fitness technology, and since I will be taking a bunch of courses there anyway, I was thinking of adding that. In that vein, my next goal is to start going to the gym. Not just working out at home, but getting to the gym and trying out different classes. I would love Zumba to be my first new class. I'm looking into schedules and will report back here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Contacts, contacts, contacts

So, I thought a good way to continue the movement toward my goal without being able to get into classes yet is to contact as many working professional registered dietitians as possible and ask them lots and lots of questions.

Where did they get their education?
What degree (degrees) do they hold?
What does their current job entail?
Have they held other positions? What did they entail?
Approximate salary (I don't always expect to get an answer for that question)
How long have they been working?
Do they LIKE/LOVE their job???

I am really hoping to be able to have an open conversation regarding these topics.
That is if any one of them ever gets back to me.

Is it not feasible to expect someone may be willing to take some time to chat with someone who would like to be in the field? I know if I was approached by someone who wanted to go into music, or into teaching, I would be more than happy to sit down with them, have a cuppa and chat.

Granted, I have just started contacting people. But I have not received one response as of yet. Not even a "no".
So, I will persevere. Keep trying, and keep mapping out my plan. Right now, the plan is to start with good old Biology at gateway over the winter interim. An accelerated course. This could be great, or it could be bad, bad news for the girl who hasn't gone near a bunson burner since junior year of high school. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The plan

Ok all - here is the ultimate, overall plan:
Obtain a degree as a registered dietitian. This included approx. 3-4 semesters of coursework and an internship type program that encompasses approx. 1200 hours. This is UNPAID, and is most likely tuition required.
Along with this Bachelors, obtain a minor in psychology. Having this as a minor will allow me some wiggle room to counsel as well.
This, of course, is how long it would take as a full time student, which I will not be. So, this is how I plan to start things off.
Gateway Community College has the least expensive courses, by far. My plan is to begin taking the basic courses, like Biology, Chemistry, etc there. They offer accelerated courses, and some are even online or what they call a "hybrid" course, which means all class work online and lab work in class. And since I can take a typical 3 credit course for about $300, it's much more feasible than taking a 3 credit course at UNH for approx $2100.
"But", you must be exclaiming - "You WORK at UNH! You MUST be able to go there for free!". Haha. One would think I would be able to take at least a certain number of credits for free. Alas. As an adjunct (read - bitch) we can take credits for half price, but only as many as you have taught the previous year. For example. Last year, I taught 15 credits, so this year, I am eligible to take up to 15 credits at a %50 rate reduction in tuition. Using the numbers from above, it still makes more financial sense to take classes at good ol' Gateway.
Now, when we get into the core courses for the degree - this is where it gets tricky. UCONN offers the same program, and instate tuition is just shy of $10,000. UNH is just shy of $29,000. By that point, I won't be an instructor there anymore, so the 50% reduction will no longer be an option. *sigh*
So, what have we learned? It's expensive to go to school. But, we already knew that. We have also learned that to get where I want to be - it's going to take a while. And while that bothers me a bit - I am 32, and let's face it, I'll probably be working till I'm 70 (unless I win the lotto. Hey, a girl can dream.) Therefor, even though this may take a bit of time, I have 40 years of career ahead of me. I really want to spend it doing something worth wild.

New Life, New Blog

Here we are! I mean, doesn't it seem that all new things begin with a blog? This blog will be dedicated to my step by step process of becoming... uh... something other than what I am. Yeah, that's clear. I have been thinking for a while that I need a change in career. There are many pros and cons to this decision. I won't go into all of them - but my largest obstacle right now is education. I have a masters degree - go ahead, be impressed. EXCEPT that it's in music. And not just music, but performance. While that is impressive (somewhat) in the music world, well, it just isn't in the real world. The real world (aka - an education that will get you a lucrative job, preferably in something you enjoy) requires things like Biology, Finite Math and the like. Things I never needed to take in my small music school in New Jersey. This puts me at a disadvantage, especially seeing as I am still paying (out the nose, mind you) for the education that I am now seeing as practically defunct.
So, you see this will be quite a path. As things stand, I am very interested in becoming a nutritionist/dietitian specializing in bariatrics. Is this really possible? Who knows. The degree I need to become a registered dietitian is a 4 year program. I will only be able to go part time, as I have to start working full time as well. This could take forever. Will it be worth it? Well, keep reading to find out.