The Return of Non-Scale Victories

Well it’s been a minute because I took a break from the blog, but I am happy to say that I’m bringing the NSV linkup back. This week I’ll post here and if you would like to share your NSV you can share in the comments or comment with a link to your blog and I will get the linkup up and running starting next Thursday! If anyone is interested in co-hosting you can let me know either in the comments or send me an email.

I want to bring NSVs back to my blog because I really do believe that the little changes and accomplishments are what keep me going. I’ve had a rough several months. I was starting to feel ashamed to post here and that is pretty ridiculous because this is basically my journal, my journey, and I shouldn’t feel so bad coming here and admitting that I’m human and I’ve made mistakes.

I’ve had a rough several months emotionally. A lot of things came to a boiling point. I have been left with a lot of life decisions and big questions. Couple that stress with hormonal issues and it is no surprise that I gained weight back quickly. It is very easy for me to gain weight with my condition and taking prednisone. I let things spiral out of control.

I let things spiral out of control. That is hard to say. I hate that losing weight is so simple, eat less and move more, but yet in application I sabotage myself. I needed to step back, re-evaluate things, seek outside help, and focus on what I need. I decided to hit re-start at the beginning of this month and it has been rocky. There is a divide between what I need and what I’m doing. I think there is a lot of fear in it. Fear of continuing to fail and repeat this cycle, but that is so ridiculous because if I don’t do something that is when I fail. As long as I’m able to pick myself up, learn from my mis-steps, and continue on then that is ok.

I’ve been blogging almost 2 years and I now have lost, re-gained, lost, and re-gained. It feels terrible. I hope that anytime in the future I feel I am sliding back that I read this post and remind myself of how awful it feels.

I had a talk with the leader at my Weight Watcher’s meetings, the meetings I stepped away from, and I told her that I felt embarrassed to come back. I’d show everyone that I’ve essentially failed on my own again. This is what she shared with me:

“I did it four times. Katie, this road isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Not coming back and quitting would be way more embarrassing. You know you can do this. You’ve made so much progress since your first time. It gets easier each time you come back because you already know what works. You just have to get back to it.”

So for this NSV post I’m going to remind myself of some of the positive changes I have made in the past 2 years:

  • - In December 2012 I gave up Diet Coke and haven’t had one since! Before then I was pretty addicted, like 6+ a day! No one thought I could do this, my family still can’t believe that I won’t drink any type of pop anymore.
  • - In January 2013 I entered a gym for the first time in years and started to work with a personal trainer. I still attend a small group boot camp style class with this trainer 2x a week.
  • - I started swimming again for fun.
  • - I’ve acknowledged that I have a much more complicated relationship with food and have sought outside help.
  • - I do all my own grocery shopping.
  • - I’ve branched out and tried more fruits and vegetables and have incorporated them.

A short list of the things that jumped into my head. There is so much more that I can add to that list when I’m on track. I know what needs to be done and I need to be consistent and not lazy. I need to stop the negative inner dialogue I have and push through.

I’ve continued to work on improving myself this month and I know that November will be an awesome month for me. I’m sure of it! I’m already ending October on a positive note with a major NSV, in my opinion:

Leaving work Tuesday, my parents were offered 3 free tickets to the Pens game. My mom wanted to go and I have 2 sisters, obviously not all of us could go. I had my commitment at the gym, so I declined and let my 2 sisters go to the game. And oh my did I miss an amazing game! 8 goals! But, I had a great session at the gym and had a much needed heart to heart with my trainer friend. My session was a commitment, as important as a work meeting, and I can’t just skip them.

gym1027I know I’m not a great example for weightless with my history. If you read back you will see constant ups and downs and re-commitment posts playing like a broken record. I wish I could change that. I wish it wasn’t like that, but I can’t. My only option is to change my ending.  Like my leader said, I know what works. I just need to get back to it. I can’t quit, so I need to suck it up. I’ve given myself a setback because I gained weight and I own that, but now I continue from square 1 and I will prove to myself, and everyone else if you are reading this, that I’m capable of achieving my goals.

Sidenote**If you live in the Pittsburgh area and want to know about a good leader, send me a message and I’d be happy to introduce you to her. She lost 90+ pounds and she genuinely cares about each person that comes in and out of her meetings. WW may be on the pricier end, but the group atmosphere helps me. Having someone else in your corner and there to help you I find more valuable. 

National Healthy Lung Month

We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but what a lot of us don’t know is that it is also National Healthy Lung Month.  One of my sisters is a severe asthmatic and I have a good friend who has had many difficulties with breathing due to cystic fibrosis so I know from watching their struggles that I, like so many others, take lungs for granted.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Heather Von St. James and asked if I would help spread awareness for National Healthy Lung Month.  As one of the few survivors of Mesothelioma Heather dedicates her time to spreading awareness to help others.

Heather_VSJI don’t know Heather personally, but from our email exchanges and all the information I’ve found on the internet, I’m blown away. I can’t imagine going through the personal struggles that she has endured. She won her battle with this rare cancer and now is giving back.

I’ve heard about Mesothelioma in the media, but when I hear of this disease I think of older people who have worked in construction jobs and the like. What comes to my mind is not a young, beautiful mother. That is what is so shocking about Heather’s story, in my mind.  She was diagnosed at the young age of 36 and just 3 months after her daughter, Lily, was born. I can’t imagine welcoming a sweet new life into this world and then a few months later be told that you most likely will not live until her first birthday. That is exactly what happened to Heather.

So how does a young mother like Heather get Mesothelioma?

When Heather was young she would often wear her father’s jacket while doing outside chores. Her father worked construction and his jacket had asbestos particles on it. Wearing his jacket was her exposure. The most common causes of Mesothelioma are discussed here.

The symptoms of Mesothelioma may be very similar to other conditions so it is good to know what one should look for:

“About 60% of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma experience lower back pain or side chest pain, and there are frequent reports of shortness of breath. Lower numbers of people may experience difficulty swallowing, or have a persistent cough, fever, weight loss or fatigue. Additional symptoms that some patients experience are muscle weakness, loss of sensory capability, coughing up blood, facial and arm swelling, and hoarseness.”

As with most cancers, the key is to discover the symptoms as quickly as possible to receive treatment. To help spread awareness, please watch Heather’s video and then like and share with your family and friends!

What can you do to keep your lungs healthy?

As I’m on this journey to lead a healthier life I’m learning more and more about taking care of my body. Breathing is a necessity, so it is important to take care of my lungs as best as possible to lead a healthy life. I already avoid smoke as much as possible and have never been a smoker. But how else can I prevent possible infections?

Through my research the most common suggestions I’ve found are:

  • - Get a flu shot. Depending on who you speak with you are given various answers of whether or not you should be vaccinated. Because of my congenital disease my doctor asks that I be vaccinated and that anyone I live with be vaccinated also. You should direct questions as to whether or not a vaccination is right for you to your personal doctor.
  • - Washing your hands with soap and water. Yep. That’s the easiest answer. So many people overlook how important washing your hands with soap is. When my nieces were learning to wash their hands properly we always had them sing Happy Birthday twice through to learn the appropriate length of time they should be washing their hands.
  • - Brush your teeth! That’s right, brushing your teeth twice a day can help keep your mouth clean and guard against all those germs. Also seeing a dentist regularly is advised.
  • - Avoid breathing in pollution, toxic substances, second-hand smoke, and not smoking tobacco.
  • - Avoid overly crowded areas during flu season.

Do you have any other tips for keeping your lungs healthy? Share in the comments below! 


As I mentioned previously, I was away at the end of last week. I missed my progress post as I was traveling for a work conference. I feel like I made good choices while at the conference, but traveling was exhausting. I had some long drives and I feel like when I’m tired I tend to make poor choices. When tired I’m more likely to order food than cook it myself, for example.

Rest is good. We all need sleep. I still struggle with getting the suggested number of hours most work nights. Because of my busy schedule, I’ve been staying up too late and then in return not waking up in time to get my workout in before work. This creates a problem because your day only gets busier and then the likelihood of you getting it in gets smaller and smaller.

You also need rest for your body to recover. I’m still making my class at the gym twice a week, but this week I hurt my shoulder. I have some pre-existing shoulder issues from being a swimmer. Well, I’m not exactly sure how I hurt it this time, but I strained my rotator cuff it seems. I’ve talked with my doctor and I need to rest it for a few days. It is pretty painful unless I have my arm still and not raised above a certain level. At the moment, I can’t fully extend the arm or lift it up in any direction very high without discomfort.

None of what I’m saying is rocket science. I think most people know that they need rest, but I think finding a balance is difficult. I need to keep my arm pretty still for a couple of days and then it should be ok. I’ll just have to listen to my body and not push that shoulder if I feel any pain. After a workout you are going to feel sore, but there is a good sore and then there is bad pain. With pain it is best to consult a doctor and take a break. Being overweight and not really in the best shape I will be prone to more injuries and it is important to know my limitations while still pushing myself. I think to achieve this it is wise to talk to a trainer. Even if you only have one session to learn how to use machines correctly or be instructed on the proper form.

Due to my shoulder I didn’t make it to the gym for my official weigh in. I’m pretty sure I have a gain this week, I deserve a gain this week. I’ve been off track with some meals and my exercise I have missed due to sleeping in.

It is a struggle. I know who I want to be, but finding that push is hard for me a lot of the time. I think it is good I’ve taken a rest from the blog also. I took a much needed step back and have focused on myself. I realized that I had a lot more I needed to work on and I’ve taken time to address personal issues and get to the root of a lot of the issues that lead to my bad relationship with food.

That being said, I’m going to blog more. I have ideas for posts pop into my head all the time. Things I’d like to discuss or share, but time has been my limitation. As things calm down, I’m going to start posting with more frequency again. I’m also planning on bringing back the Non-Scale Victories Linkup. I plan on posting my NSVs and I will provide the link for anyone who wants to share theirs also.

On a scale of 1-10 this week was probably a 3. Not a great week and I own that. Now I’m going to allow myself to take that rest and get back at it. Keep my food on point throughout the weekend and then resume workouts on Monday.

What a week!

What a great week, for a number of reasons!

First, I have a new member of my family because my cousin gave birth to the most beautiful little girl on Tuesday!

IMG_7485I’ve so missed having a baby in the family because my youngest niece just turned 3. It was so nice finally being able to meet her. She is gorgeous! Because I’m not her parent I won’t post any pics of her, but she is adorable and I’m so happy for my cousin on her new little addition!

Besides the great news of a healthy new addition, I’ve had a good week health wise also. I finally got my Polar watch working again. It needed a new battery I think in both the watch and the sensor. I personally like the watch because I like to know where I stand calorie wise for my workout. I have a goal I want to reach each time I visit the gym and I can check in and if  I’m not at my mark it pushes me to hit it. It also helps with tracking to more accurately know where I stand for the day. Also, when I’m doing a set at bootcamp it is good to see how my body is reacting. Based on where my heart rate is I can see how much I’m exerting, if I need to be pushing a little more, if I need to pause to let my heart rate come down, and it is great to see improvements over time to see how quickly my heart rate drops after a hard set.

If you don’t have a heart rate monitor and were looking into them, I have the Polar FT4. There are several different types of Polar heart rate monitors with various functions and range in price. I like this one because it is simple to use and has the basic functions that work for the exercises that I do. I also like that it is water resistant, up to 30m I believe. I have worn mine lap swimming on multiple occasions and I’ve never had an issue. The only warnings I’ve seen posted from other people is to not press the buttons on the watch while you are under water. Also, I do flip turns and find that you need to tighten the band with the heart rate transmitor or it tends to flip and then lose connection.

So that is my tangent about a heart rate monitor, now on to my results for this week:

I lost another pound!

I definitely did better with my nutrition this week, however I did go out for dinner with my family the night before weigh in and I’m sure the extra salt didn’t help and then I had a conference call that ended up being over 4 hours and after had pizza with colleagues. Besides those incidents, my food has been pretty on track. I definitely am a creature of habit and could eat the same lunch daily without it really bothering me, but I need to work on introducing more things into my diet still.

As for exercise, I didn’t start T25 as I originally said. I need to work on getting myself up early to get it in because so much came up this week after work that I was getting home so late. If I don’t get it done in the morning then it probably isn’t going to happen. For next week I really need to improve on this and drag myself out of bed early to get it done. However, I have bootcamp twice a week and at the moment I do not plan to do doubles for workouts. So on days that I have a class at the gym I will not do the T25. I also have a work conference next week and will be out of town the end of all next week so I will be starting T25 on Saturday and following the schedule as if my week started on Saturday.

2 weeks after my restart and I’ve lost 2 pounds. I’m happy with it. The scale is moving in the right direction and I feel like I’m mentally in a good place. I am friends with the trainer at the gym who runs the class I go to, she also teaches health and fitness classes at a local college, and she is wonderful. She gives me a lot of food ideas and I printed out my food tracker for her this week and she is going to look through it and give me feedback with recommendations of what I should add and what I should try to eliminate. I definitely appreciate the guidance as it is what she does for a living and I’m still learning.

All in all I’m proud of this week. I know what I need to work on for next week and it will be a good challenge for me to make good choices while being on this work trip.

Aunt KTJ (again)

It seems like forever ago that my cousin, and best friend, told me that she was going to be a mom. For months we’ve all waited patiently and finally today (hopefully) a new member of my family will enter this world.

You may remember my cousin Laura. I was the maid of honor in her wedding not too long ago. We may officially be cousins, but we’ve always been so much more than that. She is 2 years older than me so when I was born it was like I already had an instant best friend. We had countless sleepovers, we went to girl scout camp together, we’ve vacationed together, gone to a number of NSync concerts together, camped out at radio stations to meet her favorite pop star, Gwen Stefani, together, and even survived the Great Wall of China together.  We have a connection that only family can have. Countless conversations and memories. Summers filled with Laura, my sisters and me acting out Now and Then having this club to raise money for various things. We’d hold talent shows for our family, hold meetings at a local coffee shop, and find adventures in the neighborhood.  We even proved to be quite skilled at lemonade sales.

Even last week when I was upset about some things she took the time to send me a hand written card expressing how much she believed in me. Honestly, words cannot express how much I love Laura. If you are reading this Laura, I love you!


Now she is embarking on her biggest adventure yet and I could not be more thrilled for her. I have 2 little nieces already that are 5 and 3 and they are a huge part of my life. I’m beyond thrilled to have a new little baby join the family and to be an “aunt” again.

I have no doubts that she will be a phenomenal mother. She will be loving, caring, comforting, and always there. I’m in absolute suspense waiting to learn if she will have a little boy or girl! Today is the big day and I know I won’t be able to contain my excitement. Either way, this will be one of the most loved kids!

I can already tell you baby that your Aunt Katie loves you beyond words and I can’t wait to meet you!

I would really appreciate it if anyone reading would keep Laura, baby, and her husband in your thoughts and prayers today. Prayers for a healthy baby and mom. A smooth delivery and quick recovery.

And hopefully a quick delivery, we’ve all been waiting for you baby!