The Monday Diet


Teaching is taking over my life guys.


I came upon this realization the other day while I was putting on my quotation mark earrings.


This isn’t the only questionable fashion choice I’ve made recently. I’ve also taken to wearing jeggings to work.


My normal pants are just a wee bit tight. Not tight enough to cause me to run to the store to buy more, but tight enough for me to want to avoid them. You see, I had been on the Monday diet for the whole month of February. You know how it goes, you decide that Monday will be the day that you will be super strict on eating. You make all of these plans and get all hyped up. Then Monday sucks, so you come home, eat cookies and drink wine. Then Tuesday rolls around and you are just one day away from Wednesday which is practically the weekend, soooo you might as well just wait start again next Monday…

I was on that diet.

Lately, I had been treading water just trying to keep up. Work life was kicking my ass, family life was kicking my ass, the size of my ass was kicking my ass. This doesn’t mean I’m not having fun. I just have a whole lot of life happening all at once.

It appears I am allergic to many things in life (stress, knee injuries, having babies, almost having babies, working full-time, surgery) all of these things make me fat.

I’m fat again ya’ll. True story.

For some people this may be a one time thing, but for me I have a trigger in my brain that causes me to get fat. I’m not alone, I know that, but it still bums me out.

Every time this happens (I hate that I have to write that phrase out) I go through the same cycle. It goes a little something like this…

  1. Oh shit I’m fat!
  2. How did this happen?
  3. Don’t worry it’ll go away.
  4. It’s not going away!
  5. Do something about it.
  6. What the hell do I do?
  7. Oh shit I’m fat!
  8. This is stupid, get it together.
  9.  I still don’t know what to do!
  10. Ok, I’m ready now.
  11. What was my problem? This is much easier than I made it out to be.

It takes about a month to go through all of that emotional turmoil. It’s exhausting, and kind of ridiculous. Which is probably why I didn’t want an audience while I went through it. (That and I didn’t have time to write it all out.)

I’m pretty sure this cycle has a little something to do with my own biological seasons. I have my own summer, fall, winter and spring. Having the predisposition to depression can cause any season to show up at any moment. For the past month I was plunged into winter… sluggish and unmotivated. But suddenly little buds are starting to pop up, and I just know that it won’t be long before I’m blooming all over again. In fact, I can feel it coming now.

I think it all started with a walk around the block.

I hadn’t exercised (other than my weekly physical therapy sessions) in months. Walking around the block was such a hard core workout. I was sweaty and my right leg was exhausted. But I finally got to just listen to music that wanted to listen to. I got to feel the fresh breeze on my flushed face. And I got to gulp down clean fresh air. It was divine.

After that, I started walking every day, going further and further.

Then I started waking up earlier than normal just to have a moment to myself before the day begun. I swapped my nightly wine for morning tea. I gave myself some time to read, or write. You would be amazed at what can happen if you force yourself to relax and be mindful.


Slowly I started to come a live again and in addition to my quiet time in the mornings I chose two days out of the week to go to the gym in the mornings before work. It took some bartering with Brent to make it work. He’s in paramedic school, so he works out in the mornings since he’s in school all day. I begged him to give me two days of his five days. He agreed but said that he would take them back the first time I didn’t do it. This only motivated me more.

I’ve also gone back to having my weekly sunrise walk with my friend Andrea. We switched it to a weekend morning, so I don’t have to rush to get to work. Last time we ended up walking for almost 90 minutes just talking and catching up. It didn’t even feel like a work out, but when I got home and looked at my fit bit I had already walked my 10,000 steps. I ended up burning somewhere around 3,400 calories that day.

After a while other things started to fall into place again. I guess all of my previous attempts at being healthy and losing weight weren’t a complete waste after all. It turns out I had developed some healthy habits before that I was able to jump right back into.

A few weeks ago I felt like I was missing out on life because life was consuming me whole. I didn’t think I could add one more thing to the equation. I was just too busy and too stressed out. But surprisingly, the key to my happiness was adding more and prioritizing it. I added more alone time, more self-reflection, more yummy clean food and fresh clean air. It is surprising how quickly the little things add up.

Before I knew it I was five pounds down and that much closer to shedding my jeggings.

It works the other way too. The little things can be what derails you from the life you want to live. I always forget this, but it really is a matter of deciding what kind of life you want and simply living it… one step at a time.

Ninja Turtles, Poop Texts and Toned Legs… Oh My!

*I started writing this post last night but I fell asleep  without posting it. Then I woke up and added more. I thought you should know otherwise you might have been confused.*

I’m currently sitting in my living room watching the new Ninja Turtles movie with my husband and oldest daughter in celebration of Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure how you equate Ninja Turtles with love but to my husband the two are synonymous.


I’m not complaining, though, because I do have to say that after ten years of marriage my husband has somehow turned into super husband. He just keeps getting better and better…

This previous week I had to work late again for more parent/teacher conferences. I was exhausted this morning when I woke up to the sound of Penelope chirping in her room. “I’M READY TO GET UP NOW!”

I was expecting Brent to have already left for work and was prepared to spend my day off of work alone with the girls. I shuffled into Penelope’s room with one eye still stuck shut, abiding by her demands with mumbled grunts.

I was sitting on the ground taking her pajamas off when from the corner of my eye I saw something crawling into her room. It was my husband… scaring the shit out of me. (It’s his love language.)

He had taken a vacation day but didn’t tell me. He woke up early and got out of bed like he would any other day that he was going to work, but instead of going to work he went out and got roses, coffee and heart shaped donuts. It was super cute.


We spent the morning cuddling then later Brent and I took the afternoon to ourselves to go on a date. It was the perfect day…

We came home early to spend the evening with the girls. After I had gotten all snuggled up in my pajama pants I picked up my phone and found Brent and Bridget huddled in the corner giggling. It didn’t take me long to discover the text message they had sent to my sister. It was an exclamation about the awesome poop I had just taken, picture included.

Eew! What weirdos! (I’ll spare you the photo.) I don’t even want to know where they found the picture.

Needless to say Brent’s surprises had distracted me from the fact that it was weigh-in day.

My tactic of weighing in first thing in the morning after emptying my bladder, butt naked was kind of forgotten. Instead, I weighed in after indulging in my heart-shaped donut. (not helping…) I weighed in at 201.8, last week I weighed 202.2.

To be honest this didn’t surprise me. I was really sick for the majority of the week with a super cold that had kicked my butt. I wasn’t very hungry all week, but I also was not in the mood for working out. I almost went to the gym but I couldn’t find my ear buds so instead I threw a fit and passed out.


Brent was away at work for three days last weekend, so it was just me and the girls. I had mustered up just enough energy to make some homemade chicken noodle soup and was spent for the rest of the weekend.


Worth it… I ate it all week long.

It was beautiful outside and I was so upset about not being able to go outside and play with my kiddos. Bridget ended up taking care of Penelope for me so I could rest and I couldn’t help but feel my heart swell up when I heard how excited Penelope was for the picnic Bridget was preparing for them. Later I looked out the window and saw them lounging on blankets in the grass giggling together and reading books. It was too sweet.

My plan was to try and sleep and get well, but for some reason every time I lied down for a nap the inside of my throat would start to feel like it was made of velcro. So instead of sleeping I watched travel channel adventures and pinned healthy recipes for when I actually had the energy to go grocery shopping again.

Here are a few of my finds…

Healthy and Delicious One Bowl Meals


Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Candied Walnuts


Slow Cooker Pork Ramen Soup


I was pretty much craving anything kale or soup related. I think my body was trying to find a nutritional solution to my dilemma.

I slowly started to feel better as the week progressed. Due to testing and parent/teacher conferences my schedule was a bit off. I had to spend a couple of evenings at school but I also found myself with a free afternoon. Bridget still had to be in school but the rest of the family headed out to the Littleton Museum to see how the animals were doing.


We even ventured out in out garden for a bit and were excited to see that it was already starting to come back to life!


The chives, green onions and lady bugs are starting to make their appearance!

This nice weather keeps reminding me of the summer days that are looming ahead. I CAN’T WAIT! It’ll be here before we know it. I keep telling myself I need to get my shit together so that I can show off my toned legs when the time comes. (For the record they aren’t toned yet… but they will be.)

As for now I need to hurry up and finish writing up this post. We’re going car shopping! It is time for Black Beauty to retire. We bought her ten days after we got married. I didn’t know just how much of a time capsule she was until I cleaned her out…

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Cassette tapes? Floppy disks? Photos taken with actual film? What?

Now I have to try and get cleaned up in an attempt to look like my former self from ten years ago. As Bridget pointed out, “Mom! Look how young you guys looked!”

Look-ed? What is that supposed to mean?

Bring on the kale, the sunshine and those toned legs! I’ve got to represent ten years well lived!

They’re not pigtails… they’re cat ears (Week 4 weigh-in)


Is it just me or did January just fly by?

Before I knew it, it was time to take my monthly pictures again. I found myself standing in my friend, Andrea’s living room again wearing those tight yoga shorts that emphasize every physiological flaw in my derriere. (Which… for the record I would never wear to an actual yoga class. Nobody wants to see that down dog.)

In other words, I had been dreading this day all month long. I am fairly certain the result is going to hurt my feelings.

I took my “before” pictures shortly after Christmas and I still haven’t seen them. Taking before pictures isn’t that big of a deal because you are supposed to look like crap. (Even if it is your second round of “before” pictures.) But today was my first progress picture.

What if you couldn’t see the progress?

I couldn’t help but feel nervous when I pulled up to Andrea’s house.

When I asked her to take these photos for me I thought I would be super comfortable with it since I talk to her about anything/everything. But somehow when I looked up at her, masked by her super expensive camera, I couldn’t help but feel the awkward 13 year old that will forever remain embedded in my soul start to make an appearance. I just kind of froze in front of the camera forgetting to flex my ab muscles in an attempt at not sucking in my gut. I couldn’t help it I just felt self-conscious and in my frozen stupor I just let it all hang out.

I haven’t felt that self-conscious in a long time. Over the years I’ve kind of adopted an attitude of self acceptance. I really like who I am and I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter if you agree but as far as I’m concerned… I’m pretty awesome.


But for some reason, today, when I donned those ugly shorts all of the confidence vanished.

Everyday when I see my middle schooler’s roam the halls emanating their prepubescent self-aware-but-not-really-aware awkwardness I can sometimes feel myself silently willing them to love themselves. Why can’t you see what I see?! I will silently scream at them.

Yet, there I was today trembling in my booty shorts…

What gives?

I still haven’t seen the results of those photos. Andrea is taking the time to add a watermark to ensure that my pictures don’t get stolen again. I’ll be posting the result sometime this weekend. Honestly, I don’t mind putting it off while she edits them. I will pretty much do anything to stall on that 🙂

When I weighed in this morning I had no idea what to expect. This week was all over the map. On Saturday I woke up in the worst mood. I just couldn’t shake it. So instead of glaring at my family all day long I decided to head outside for a nice long run to see if I could improve my spirits. It was really cold outside but the time to myself was worth all of the shivering.


After that run I quickly realized that I was in such a rotten mood due to the fact that I was exhausted. For the rest of the day I was completely useless. I had the hardest time keeping my eyes open. For the remainder of the day I was only capable of snuggling under blankets and watching movies. I didn’t even have the energy to eat and subsisted off of homemade popcorn and earl grey tea.


I kept trying to caffeinate myself awake, but even that didn’t work. I started to worry that I was seriously getting sick or that I was pregnant because I hadn’t felt that fatigued in a long time. I went to bed at seven that night.

The next morning I woke up just as the sun made its appearance. As the sun streamed through the windows the fog had lifted and I was ready to make up for lost weekend time.

We started off the day with big sticky bowls of oatmeal and headed straight for the book store in remembrance of our old farmer’s market/ book store excursions we used to take when the weather was warmer. The farmer’s market isn’t ready yet, but the book store always is…


In the mean time, Penelope has decided that she is a pirate named Jake. (She got this from the cartoon Jake and the Neverland Pirates.) While we were at the book store she made friends with a little boy and their introductions sounded like this:

Boy- “Hi, my name is Ezra. What’s your name?”

Penelope- “I’m Jake!”

Boy- “Uh… Jake is a boy name and you are a little girl.”

Penelope- “I’m not a girl. I’m a boy.”

Boy- “But you have braids, so you are a girl.”

Penelope- “They’re not braids.”

Boy- “I mean pigtails, you have pigtails so you are a girl.”

Penelope- “Those aren’t pigtails. They’re cat ears.”

Boy- “Oh (?)…”

After an hour they were best friends, so I ended up exchanging phone numbers with his mom. We went home just long enough to fill up on some chicken harvest soup and headed out again to play at the park and fit in another run…


It was absolutely beautiful outside! The kids were giggling, the dogs were barking and the kites were dangling in the air. We just couldn’t bare to go inside… so we didn’t.

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We stayed to chase remote control cars and feed the ducks. The whole time Penelope introduced herself as Jake to all of her new friends. We didn’t dare go inside until the sun slipped behind the mountains.


It was beautiful for the remainder of the week. After work we went on family bike rides and I was even crazy enough to go for a sunrise walk and talk with my friend Andrea on the same day that I had parent/teacher conferences. Fifteen hours later when I got home from work I was super tired, but decided the sunrise was worth it.


I felt a lot of mommy guilt for working so much, so when I got home from work yesterday I snuggled the girls and watched more movies. Penelope was super clinging and fell asleep on my chest. As we lied there I could feel her temperature creeping up. You could tell that she was feeling under the weather, so I didn’t leave the couch all evening. That night we all tucked in and watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman.


Later that night when I tucked her into bed I kissed her forehead and said, “Good night Penelope.”

She said, “I’m not Penelope.”

“I’m sorry… Goodnight Jake.”

“I’m not Jake. I’m Sherman.”

“Okay, good night Sherman.”

She whispered, “Goodnight Mr. Peabody.”

She was feverish all night and I had to get up a couple of times with her throughout the night. I felt tired and hung over this morning when I woke up. I stumbled into the bathroom and stripped down for the weigh in. I had no idea if I would lose any weight. I was trying to be as quiet as possible so that I wouldn’t wake Penelope up. The scale creaked under my feet and read 200.4. So close to being under that dreaded 200 pound mark! I’m down 1.6 pounds from last week and eleven pounds in a month.

Who knows, maybe we will see a difference when I get my photos back.

As I stepped off the scale and started to put my clothes back on I heard a little voice across the hallway say…

“Mr. Peabody! I’m awake now!”

“Okay Sherman… I’m coming.”


Week 5 Weigh-in and Some Life Decisions

Things are getting crazy around here and I may or may not have lost my mind a little bit.

I’ve been busy mulling over major life decisions and eating my way through it. My summer fun has been interrupted by the real world task of job hunting. As I went from interview to interview I grappled with the decision on whether I was ready to become a full-time employee instead of being a full-time mom. I’ve actually been quite emotional about it.

Every time Penelope would say something cute I would just squeeze her and think, “I don’t want to miss out on all of this while you’re still little!” Within the same ten minute time span she would throw a colossal temper tantrum and I would think,”Yep, I’m ready. Can I start now?”

It’s so conflicting… being a mom.

A part of me is ready for the extra income and the pride of starting my career for the long-term. But a part of me also wants to stay at home with my little one until I’m forced to part with her when it’s her time to go to school.

Brent and I have been going back and forth on the subject for the entire week.


Then something amazing happened. I got a job offer!

And then something even crazier happened…

I turned it down.

I turned down the opportunity to have my very own classroom at a great school because I didn’t like the commute. Instead I took up an offer to work as a long term sub at a school that I could ride my bike to instead. I made this decision because I liked the people, I liked the school and I liked the prospect of rolling up to work on my cruiser bike. Also because it pulled a little less on my maternal heart strings.

A part of me wonders if I’ve lost my mind but another part is really excited about the decision that I’ve made.

Saying no to a full-time job was incredibly hard for me. It was harder than I had expected. I wanted it so bad but in a weird way it just felt wrong. I had no idea that the process would make me so crazy. With all of the uncertainty out of the picture I feel more comfortable moving on. I didn’t know that I was waiting for a decision to be made before I fully embraced this moment in my life.

Now that I’ve got all of that uncertainty out of the way I can move on with the rest of my life and quit drinking wine and watching trash tv late at night in an attempt to get myself out of my “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING WITH MY LIFE!” funk.

I didn’t work out once this week (other than the occasional bike ride) and there was one evening when I drank half a bottle of red wine and inhaled half a block of cheese while I got sucked into the world of Game of Thrones.

I had no idea what kind of damage I did throughout the week until I got up this morning to step on the scale. It read 188.4. What the hell Nina!!! Why can’t you be one of those weirdos who lose weight when they’re stressed out? I was actually really mad at myself. But then before I got a chance to wallow in my newly inflated fat cells the girls woke up and I had to get rolling with the rest of my day.

I dropped Bridget off at swim practice and went on a nice long bike ride with Penelope. Then after swim practice was over the girls hung out in the backyard while I tended the garden.


Before I knew it I was in my happy place again.

So I guess we can say that my six week challenge sucked. It’s not officially over until next week but I’ve pretty much screwed myself on that whole thing. I’m on the fence on whether to beat myself up over it or not. I’m thinking NOT because I tend to console any abuse that I withstand with ice cream. I also medicate feelings of guilt and inadequacy with ice cream too. That’s a bit counter productive, so I guess that just leaves me with one option… get over it.

Basically, I just have to accept the fact that my six week challenge has pretty much turned into a whole summer challenge. I want to lose about twenty pounds before the school year rolls around. I want to be in a fit and healthy place before I add working into the mix. Weight loss is such a mind game and I’ve really sucked at it lately.

I just need to embrace this time and place in my life as a time to eat yummy healthy food and play outside. It could seriously be worse. That being said, my weekly weigh-ins are going to continue until I reach approximately 165 pounds. That’s my healthy weight…

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How did you guys do? Please tell me you did better than me.


Summer Shape Up Week Three Weigh-in

Summer is officially here… I can smell it.

There is a particular tree in Colorado that perfumes the air during the very beginning of summer. I love it so much I try not to plan any trips during the first of June because I don’t want to miss it. It’s not a constant smell but a sweet scent that floats on the breeze and greets you when you least expect it. It’s one of my favorite things about summer. It goes along with the smell of fresh cut grass, coconut scented suntan lotion and charcoal burning on a grill.

This week the season of summer took off in full force making it a very eventful week.

On Tuesday I spent the day at Elitch Gardens with the 8th graders that I had taught this past semester while I completed my student teaching. Before I left I had told the kids that I would come on this particular day and ride rides with them. It had almost been a month since I had seen them and I started to have second thoughts on just showing up at the school, sunblock in hand, ready to crash their end of year party. When I left my class my students seemed genuinely sad to see me go. But I was sure that they had probably forgotten all about me and would think I was a weirdo for wanting to ride rides with them.

However, upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see their faces light up when they saw me in the hall that morning. Several of them ran up to me and hugged me letting me know that I was indeed missed. It was nice to know that the feeling was mutual. I’m pretty sure my heart grew three sizes that day. After spending the day at the amusement park riding every scary ride the park provided I came home exhausted. We ended up eating frozen pizza that night because I was too tired to cook. I hadn’t eaten anything for lunch that day other than a fruit cup that cost me five bucks because I was sure all of the other options would make me sick after riding all of those rides. I couldn’t believe how sore I was, both my muscles and my throat from screaming.

On Wednesday Bridget graduated from 6th grade making her an official middle schooler. I woke up super early in order to doll her up for her big day. Isn’t she beautiful? I just love that girl!


I can’t believe how grown up she has gotten! I feel like it was just yesterday that she was starting elementary school.


Before I know it Penelope will be just as grown up and then I will have to have a mental breakdown.


During Bridget’s continuation ceremony Penelope got a little restless so Brent had to take her outside to play for a little while. When she came back to sit in my lap she was holding a sandy little twig that she kept calling “woohm”. I just giggled and whispered, “Yeah that does kind of look like a worm.”

That’s when Brent looked at me with a sheepish grin and said, “Well, actually… it is a worm.”


A crusty dried up worm… YUCK!

That’s what I get for trying to introduce her to nature through gardening. I’ve taught her that worms are our friends. I didn’t think she would take it quite so literally. That being said, Penelope has turned out to be quite the gardening partner. Every morning when we go out to water our plants I will tell her which vegetables we are growing. She’ll repeat after me and then say “Ohhh…. it’s so nummy!” I hope she’s just as enthusiastic about our vegetables when they are actually on her plate.


The one thing all of us are super excited about is the abundance of strawberries that are ripening in our strawberry patch as we speak!


Since Bridget was officially out of school we’ve spent the remainder of the week frolicking. We bought our pool passes…

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and we’ve gone to the Littleton Museum to see our farm animal friends and to check out the gardens.

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We’ve also spent several mornings sneaking out at the crack of dawn riding our bikes to the coffee shop. Penelope has discovered that the rocks that they use for landscaping provide the perfect impromptu sidewalk chalk…


And I have learned that I am fully capable of drinking iced coffee without sugar. That’s a big deal… that’s like Lindsay Lohan discovering that she is capable of having fun without ending up in rehab.

Now looking back at it we did manage to do a lot this week. This explains the massive amount of fatigue I’ve been struggling with. Maybe there is just too much day light in the day for me to handle. This week felt like a whirlwind. On top of trying to live it up with the kids I’ve been applying for jobs and secretly stressing over whether I will actually have a teaching job this coming fall.

The only working out I did was via the frolicking that took place during the day because like I said I was so tired. On Monday I was so tired, in fact, I felt like I could hardly get out of bed. I had the worst headache and I felt dizzy and nauseous. I have no idea what my problem was but it eventually passed. Since I was so tired and dizzy I just ate what made me feel better versus what I had planned on eating in an attempt to lose weight. It must have been a bug because Bridget felt the same way the next day.

Therefore, there was no attempt whatsoever to lose weight this week. I feel like such a poser…

I was really dreading stepping on the scale this morning. You can always tell when I feel this way if I ramble on about my kids and the cute things I’ve done with them on weigh-in day. That’s my way of stalling while I curse myself for writing this stupid weight loss blog.

When I woke up this morning I was certain I had gained weight due to my lack of effort this week but was surprised to see that I weighed exactly the same as I did last week… right down to the ounce, 184.2.

The reason I was cursing myself was because I was mad about the commitment I’ve made to try to be healthy. I was mad at my audacity of broadcasting every struggle I have with losing weight to the world. When things get tough I have a tendency to get defensive and proclaim the challenge at hand as stupid. I keep telling myself, “Nobody cares what you weigh Nina. Why do you keep broadcasting it?”

Sometimes I feel completely self involved when I sit down to write a post, it’s embarrassing. Being a weight loss blogger isn’t always easy, sometimes you just want to say, “Screw it! I do what I want!”

This is an everyday struggle that will remain for the rest of my life. It’s something we all go through but the difference is I’ve invited you all to watch me flounder around. This isn’t natural. When people lose weight they are supposed to have the internal struggle over eating peanut butter cups in private and when they win the battle they just show up at some event looking radiant.

Then when everyone asks them how they did it they can just smile and lie and tell them that it was simple.

I want to lie… I want to portray that effortless image!

But I can’t because if I did you would be able to see through all of my B.S. so the best thing I can do is call myself out when it comes to shenanigans. This is a secret blessing because in a sense I’m being forced to be honest with myself.  Sometimes you just have to kick your own ass. So guess what this coming week is going to entail…