The countdown is on, running and racing, plus some fantastic food finds

It’s time to get serious…the countdown to the Fargo Half-Marathon is on.

There is a countdown timer on the website and I have to admit, it kind of freaked me out.

32 days. THIRTY-TWO DAYS! How the heck did that happen? I’m not ready. At least I don’t think so. Or maybe I don’t feel as ready as I was for the San Jose Half-Marathon last October. The half that I actually followed a training schedule. This time? Not so much.

Why? Three words. 1. Winter. 2. Snow. 3. Cold.

I know one thing is for sure, I don’t think I will ever sign up for a spring half-marathon again. At least not while I am living in the winters-from-hell state of MinneSNOWta! Seriously, between all the dumb snowstorms and the bitterly cold temperatures, there wasn’t much running/training happening. I did actually run some on the DREADmill at the YMCA, but seriously, I don’t think I ever ran more than three and half miles on it. I. Am. Not. A. Fan. of the dreaded treadmill, hence the DREADmill name!

There was one day where it was snow storming and I was just pissy, so I said, “Screw it!” and went out for a run anyway. I only ran four miles, but it was four miles I didn’t have to do on the treadmill!

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten in a few runs, more than I thought I would and that makes me happy. I did get in a couple of long runs, too. I did an eight-mile and on Sunday, April 6, I did a 10-mile.

I think the temps were actually in the 50′s, which was SO NICE! When I got back, my hubby was sitting on the deck, so I decided to hang with him for a bit. It felt so good just to crash and lay on the deck with my feet up – on the table and straight up in the air! The run felt awesome and I actually shaved off about three minutes from the last time I ran a 10-miler, which was at the Monster Dash in October!

Training will continue as best it can for the next 32 days. I guess, maybe, just maybe, I might be more ready than I think for the upcoming half-marathon. I guess we’ll see how this weekend’s 10-mile race goes.

Speaking of which, if you are a runner who lives in, around or near the Twin Cities area, you really should check out this Saturday’s race – the Fred Kurz 10-mile! According to the race website – click here – “Starting times are handicapped by the “world-renowned” Lanin Guessimetric Method, with the slowest runners starting first and, ideally, all runners finishing at about the same time.” How cool is that? Additionally, the race is easy on the pocketbook – it’s only $15 to enter – or $8 if you are a member of the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA). Seriously, check it out!


We’ve had a couple of races since my last posting. And, I have had some awesome food finds. The rest of my post will be done in pictures. Enjoy!

This is from the Get Lucky 7K race in the Twin Cities on March 15.

I finished the 7K in 43:28. I was pumped because I was shooting for around 45 minutes. I was honestly ecstatic about my time!

Al did awesome, as well! Seriously, he kicked some major butt!

This is from the iRock Run in Cold Spring, MN, which benefits the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. It was a nice day, although a little windy. My hubby, Al, finished in 24:45. I finished in 29:33, which is a PR for this year. And my friend, Tonya, finished in 27:28. It was a great race and hopefully, we can do it again next year.

After the race was done, the three of us grabbed some lunch at Mongo’s Grill in St. Cloud and then Al and I had some errands to run. We had a few things to get at the mall and I forgot my extra clothes to change into, so I got to walk around the mall in my running gear, which included these crazy pants, which are SO comfortable and I love them. Yes, even though they are a bit bright! OMG! I have never, EVER in my life received so many strange looks and stares from people. The hubster, who was always dressed in his running gear, which include running tights with a pair of shorts over them and a very bright, neon green shirt, also received LOTS of looks. There were even a few people who glared/gave dirty looks. It was comical. Seriously, I kind of wanted to keep walking around just to watch peoples’ reaction to how we were dressed. It was entertaining, yet kind of pathetic.


The other day, my husband made chicken burgers (pictured later) and we really wanted some fries to go with them. My husband found these in the grocery store and thought we would give them a whirl. (Yes, I know we could have just made our own, but we didn’t feel like it!). For my Weight Watchers friends out there, these are definitely worth it. You can have 21 fries for only 4 PointsPlus Values. And they are nice-sized fries. Not little ones. They were fantastic and we will definitely have these again.

OMG! These are by far the BEST “healthy puffs” I have ever had. I have tried the baked Cheetos brand and other brands, but I will never buy anything else but these. Seriously, they had the BEST flavor. They actually tasted like real puffs only better. I am not kidding. Best part? You can have 52 of these things for only 4 PointsPlus Values. These will now be a staple in our house. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! They are made by Green Giant, check out the link here.

My husband had bought some very lean ground chicken. If I remember right, I think he said it was actually 100 percent fat-free. Anyway, we thought he should try something different with them and make actual burgers. He took the chicken and mixed it with half an egg, a crushed up bag of Weight Watchers Cheddar Twists, a little BBQ sauce, a little liquid smoke, salt, pepper and some Lowry’s seasoning. Each burger was only 3 PointsPlus Values. And the BEST part? They tasted fantastic. They were NOT dry. They were juicy and full of flavor. We will definitely make these again.

I know I have talked about my smoothie pancakes before, but if you haven’t tried them yet, give them a try. I started adding 2 tablespoons of PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter to the mix. It not only adds additional protein, it adds flavor. I use 3/4 cup of the liquid egg whites, mix in one Weight Watchers smoothie packet (you can use any flavor you want) and then the PB2. Beat together and then cook in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until they are done. I don’t time anything, so I can’t tell you long. The pancake is a total of 4 PointsPlus Values – 2 for the smoothie mix, 1 for the 3/4 cup of egg whites and 1 for the PB2. I don’t put anything on mine, but a lot of times, I eat it with a banana. VERY FILLING!

These are necessarily a new food find, but lately, I have been obsessed with blackberries. I am not sure this is even the season for them, but OMG! they have been so good lately. I eat at least one container a day. They are so tasty, juicy, sweet, kind of crunchy. Just YUM!


I just have to include a pic of my new iPhone 5C case I designed at I know it is “just a case,” but I am probably the most picky person when it comes to phone cases – just ask my husband! Anyway, I found the website somehow and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my new case. There are literally hundreds of cases to choose from and then you can pick the color and “write” whatever you want on it. Some have just monogrammed letters, others, like mine have words that can run along the bottom or along the side. Seriously, check them out. They have cases for all kinds of phones. It is definitely worth your time!

And lastly, I have to include a picture – or two or three or four – of my son, Brandon, and his absolutely stunningly beautiful girlfriend, Kenzie. They attended her junior prom. Aren’t they both just adorable. I am so happy for them!

As always, remember, you can find me on Facebook here or here and you can also find me on Instagram, here. If you want, you can also send me an email to confessionsofaformerfatgirl at gmail dot com (

Lots to talk about! (Meaning, it’s a LONG post!)

Warning: This post is going to be filled with LOTS of pictures!

First things first…I RAN!

It was slow, but I didn’t even care. IT. WAS. AWESOME!

This was my first run since January 28 – nearly one month ago! Because we have been having such stupid weather (bitterly cold temps, snow and lots of wind), I opted to run on the dreadmill (yes, this is what I call it!) at the YMCA and on the track. I ran two miles on the ‘mill and one mile around the track. Even though it was slow, it felt amazingly awesome to be able to run again. I haven’t been running because of my neck issue and because I have been sick. By the way, after two rounds of antibiotics (zithromax and augmentin) and one round of prednisone, along with heavy duty cough meds, I am almost back to feeling 100 percent normal. Well, as normal as I can be, that is! :-)

With our first half-marathon of the year coming up on May 10, I think it is high-time I start training! Yes, I am going to take it easy, but my physical therapist indicated it would be okay if I started running. After the injection I had and the physical therapy I’ve been doing, my arm pain is nearly gone. Yes, there is still some pain, every now and then, but it is not nearly as bad as it was. I can actually sleep on my right side – for awhile anyway!

The physical therapy is going well. I am doing traction on my neck with a machine. I have one more session left and then I get to do it at home with an over-the-door contraption. That should be interesting!

I have a check-up with my doctor in early April. I think he’ll be happy with how things are going. Although, I will admit, he may not be real happy with how much I’ve been wearing the neck brace. For some reason, it makes me feel really nauseous. I am going to make an effort to wear it more. In fact, I am wearing right it now as I type this blog! Yeah, me!

BACK ON TRACK – with my weight and eating!

This winter, I have been struggling as far as my weight and my eating habits are concerned. I gained about eight pounds and my eating was out of control. Something finally snapped a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I am finally back on track. I lost most of the weight I gained and am now back to feeling like I am in control. My weight is now hovering around the 142 mark and I am happy with that…for now. I would like it to be closer to between 138 and 140, which is doable, especially now that I am back to working out – running and biking. I am also back to logging my food again, as in tracking using the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system. As many of you know, I lost my weight (about 55 pounds) with Weight Watchers and now work full-time for the company. In fact, I just celebrated my four-year anniversary of working for Weight Watchers on Valentine’s Day.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, check out the present I got from my husband.

Isn’t he the sweetest. Flowers AND fruit! I LOVED IT! I am so VERY thankful he is supportive of me and my healthy living journey. Actually, I should say OUR healthy living journey. We are both trying to live a healthier style and I am so grateful for that.

I am also extremely grateful – actually, I can’t really put into words how appreciative I am – that my husband does 99.9 percent of the cooking and 99.9 percent of the grocery shopping. I am beyond blessed that he loves to cook AND grocery shop. AND, he likes to cook healthy meals. He loves to research recipes online and then he will tweak them so they are even healthier. Here’s a small teeny-tiny glimpse into some of the food we have had over the course of the past few weeks:

Turkey breast marinated in an orange-spiced brandy sauce and roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic and a little bit of asiago cheese. (7 PointsPlus Values)

Chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce and queso fresco cheese. (13 PointsPlus Values for two of them.)

Stuffed bell peppers made with ground turkey. That is not marshmallows on top, it is queso fresco cheese! (9 PointsPlus Values for three of them!)

This is a grilled pizza with whole-wheat crust (Al made this from scratch) with fresh tomato pizza sauce (Al makes this), shredded chicken breast with garlic and fresh basil, diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, toasted pine nuts and kale. (11 PointsPlus Values for two pieces.)

This is a grilled pizza (again with homemade whole-wheat crust) with garlic-infused olive oil as the base and then diced tomatoes, fresh basil, artichokes, kalamata olives, fat-free feta cheese and a little shredded asiago cheese. (9 PointsPlus Values for two pieces.)

I ACTUALLY COOKED THIS! It is chicken breast dipped in egg and then rolled in crushed up Weight Watchers Cheddar Twists. The side was roasted sweet potatoes. (10 PointsPlus values for the whole meal.)

Al and I made this meal together. It was lobster mac and cheese with roasted asparagus drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a little bit of asiago cheese. (13 PointsPlus Values per serving for the lobster mac and cheese.) See recipe below.

Here is a comparison of PointsPlus Values for the recipe we used for the lobster and mac and cheese and a couple of other recipes. It’s amazing how different they can be! And I will tell you that the recipe we used was beyond delicious. The lobster mac and cheese was creamy, cheesy, decadent, rich and seriously GOOD!


So, Al and I spent last weekend signing up for races. Here is a list of what we have on the agenda so far for this year:

March 8 – 100% Irish for a Day 5K

March 15 – Get Lucky 7K

April 18 – Earth Day 5K

April 26 – Get in Gear 10K

May 10 – Fargo Half-Marathon

June 7 – Lake Region Half-Marathon Relay

June 21 – Color Vibe 5K (this is just me as I am walking this with my sister, niece, nephew, niece-in-law and several others)

August 2 – Dirty Girl Mud Run 5K obstacle course – (I am doing this with a bunch of my friends. We did it last year for the first time and had so much fun, we decided to do it again. Our group is called the Dirty Girl Boob Troupe.)

August 30 – Women Rock 10K (Again, this is just me as this is an all-women race.)

September 6 – Graniteman 10K

We have several others we are thinking about, but these are just the ones we have already signed up for.


I will leave you with two more pics – one of the gorgeous sun dogs that were out Friday, February 21 and a pic of the hubster and I on Valentine’s Day. ENJOY!

Remember, you can always find me on Facebook here and here, and also, you can follow me on Instagram here.

A harsh and much needed conversation with…myself!

After polishing off the leftover-from-the-weekend salted dark chocolate brownie bites and candied praline pecans (both from Trader Joe’s), along with a couple of Brach’s cinnamon hearts, a caramel roll, a few bites of caramel sea salt gelato and a banana – yes, quite out of place wouldn’t you say – I decided that enough is FINALLY enough and it’s time to put on my big girl panties and dig myself out of this rut I am in. Oh, I should probably mention that all of that was before noon, today.

I decided it was time to have a little conversation with myself. A reality check of sorts. A come-to-Jesus-meeting, if you will. Here’s what I said:

“Yes, it’s winter. Yes, it’s friggin’ cold. Yes, it’s miserable outside. Yes, it’s almost the anniversary of your sister’s death (it will be three years this Friday, January 31).  But seriously girl, it’s time to quit being so dang lazy, quit eating to try and make yourself feel better, warmer or whatever it is you think the food is going to help. It’s time to get your head in the game and out of your behind. It’s time to get your lazy butt off the couch. It’s time to seriously quit feeling sorry for yourself and time to quit thinking everyone else has it so easy. Quit being jealous of others. They work harder, are more committed, have more dedication and also have struggles just like you. No one is perfect. You tell your members that ALL the time. You motivate people (or at least TRY to motivate people) every day. It is time to motivate yourself. Pick yourself up out of this rut and get moving, get tracking, get back to healthier eating. Just get back to it. NOW! And remember, ACTION speaks louder than WORDS!”

It was a good conversation to say the least. It was exactly what I needed to hear from myself. Because I work for Weight Watchers and try to be an inspiration for so many, I do sometimes forget that I am human, too. Even though I say it all the time to my members, sometimes, I just forget. I don’t ever try to be perfect – there’s is no such thing. But sometimes, I forget that I need motivation. I need guidance. I need inspiration. I need help, just like my members. Just because I lost dang near 60 pounds (okay, I did, but I don’t maintain that 60-pound loss. I maintain a 50-55 pound loss!), doesn’t mean that I got this healthier lifestyle down pat. It is still – after five years – a struggle from time to time.

And even though I do get jealous of others – there are four bloggers/friends in particular – I also look to them for inspiration. It’s time for me to quit being jealous of these four individuals and start listening to them, start feeding off of them for inspiration and using them as motivation.

These four individuals make it look so easy, but I am guessing it is not as easy for them as people think and I am thinking (or at least kind of, sort of hoping) that they have their own personal struggles as well. So, my four bloggers/friends, I need your help, your assistance, your guidance, your awesome selfs to show me the way back to a healthier lifestyle. Please keep up your amazingly awesome blogs so that I can use your wisdom and words to get my mojo back.

Jim, erin, Katie and Lee, thanks for being you and thanks for being my inspiration, motivation and truly, my heroes. You may not know this, but I look up to all of you with so much love and admiration, and yes, at times, with so much jealousy. But I need you all. Thank you for helping me find my way.

I am going to leave you with some of my favorite quotes and words of wisdom that have helped me before and are going to help me again.

“What you eat in private, you wear in public.”

“Change is not an event. It is a process.”

“Every day is a good day for a run.”

“We don’t fail. We learn. It’s called feedback, not failing.”

“There is no finish line. So love the journey.”

“Diets start and end. A healthier lifestyle is a journey, so enjoy the ride.”

A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.”

“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”

“There are three C’s in life: Choice. Chance. Change. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.”

There are so many more inspiring quotes and words of wisdom out there. If you have some to share, please share them here or go to my Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl Facebook page and leave them there. I would surely appreciate it.

I am asking for help. In any way you can. Thank you. All of you are greatly appreciated.

You can find my Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl Facebook page here, my own Facebook page here and you can also find me on Instagram. And if you really want, feel free to send me an email at, encouraging words mean so much!

I am not going back to this:

This is where I want to be – at my happiest and healthiest ever in my life:

Fun and games are over…time to get back to business

Today is my day.

Most people start over on January 1 or January 2 (that’s when I typically do because seriously, January 1? We all know that many people are on their couches recovering on January 1 and I am no exception!)

After seeing a large gain on the scale for the second week in a row, it is time to get down to business and get back on track.

I had been doing so well…maintaining a pretty steady weight. Here’s a look my weight chart since November 1 and also my entire weight graph from when I started. You can definitely tell I have had my ups and downs!

So, this morning, my mind is made up. I have a new attitude and a new mindset and it is GAME ON!

Plus, I have my first half-marathon of the year to prepare for. Training needs to start TODAY. No exceptions. No more excuses. No more nothing. The half-marathon is set for May 10 and that is exactly four months away. So, yes, it is time to get back to business.


In the saga of my dad and the nursing home, I will tell you that although I was not particularly happy with his stay at Knute Nelson, after my last blog post, I was contacted by an upper management person and we spoke frankly about my dad’s care. AND…I will say that although there were still some minor issues, the rest of his stay was better. Okay, it was MUCH better. He was happy, my mom was happy and for the most part, I was happy. He’s my dad, I only want the VERY BEST care for him. And yes, my expectations are high. Too high? Maybe to some, but not to me.

As of Thursday, January 9, he is no longer at Knute Nelson. HE IS HOME! For now.

My mom and dad’s neighbors made the sign that my dad is holding and had it hanging on my mom and dad’s door when they got back home of Thursday. I took the photo late Thursday evening and both my mom and dad had had a VERY long day, so they were just a wee bit tired. But you can’t tell, can you?!?!

My dad saw the foot surgeon on Thursday and as it stands right now, the doctor wants my dad to continue wearing his compression sock and his brace and to just see how it goes. With all the infection out of his foot, he may not have anymore pain or flair ups. And if he doesn’t, he may not have surgery after all. HOWEVER, if his foot, which has a ruptured tendon, starts to aggravate him or is painful at all, my mom is to call the surgeon right away and the surgery will be scheduled immediately. So, I guess, we now play the waiting game. If he does end up with surgery, he will eventually go back to the nursing home. If that happens, my dad said he chooses to go back to Knute Nelson. I may not be 100 percent okay with that decision, but it is what he is choosing. He said he was comfortable there and that he knows that staff and they know him. He said, “Why change?” I guess I can’t argue with that. I know one things for sure, he LOVES the French toast there!


So……my shoulder issue is still NOT resolved. I have had a total of three MRI’s and at least six X-rays. I have seen my regular doctor and an orthopedic doctor. I do have a small tear and a small cyst and some bursitis. However, the ortho doc believes that I have something going on in my neck and has now referred me to a neck and spine specialist. The ortho doc, after looking at the results of the neck MRI, said there are some issues there and that this is probably what is causing the pain down my shoulder and arm, along with the tingling and numbing. So, I now sit and wait for a phone call from the neck and spine specialist to set up an appointment. I. Can’t. Wait.

That is all for now. Remember, you can find me on Facebook and on <iframe src=”” style=”width:160px;height: 25px;border: none; overflow: hidden;” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>

In case that didn’t work, I meant to say, you can find me on Instagram.

When life throws you a curve ball

The last two weeks have been such a roller coaster. And let me tell you, in typical situations like this, I would have eaten myself into oblivion. I didn’t. And for that, I am beyond proud. And the fact that it’s winter, extremely cold, and I haven’t put on the extra 10 pounds I did last year is another reason I am proud of myself right now. For the most part, I have stayed on track. Although, I could have used some more time running outside or on the treadmill (did I just say that?) or spinning at the YMCA, but for right now, I am okay/at peace with the amount of exercise I am getting. It hasn’t completely vanished and for that, I guess I am grateful.

So, let’s back up just a tad to a couple of weeks ago:

On Friday, December 13 (I guess we should have known better), my dad went in for a “simple” surgery on a ruptured ligament in his left ankle. The next thing we know, the doctor says he is NOT doing surgery because my dad’s ankle/lower leg is infected and he wants the infection gone before he will do surgery.

Here’s a pic of my dad waiting in the surgery room before the doctor finally came in. My dad’s surgery was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and the doctor’s first visit to the room was around 12:30 p.m. Yes, FOUR hours after he was supposed to have surgery.

So, to make an extremely LONG story shorter, my dad was admitted to the hospital, where he stayed from December 13 until December 20. He was then transferred to a nursing home, Knute Nelson, where as of today, December 27, he remains. And to be honest, we don’t even know for how long. (Communication has NOT been the greatest because of the holidays and his doctors not being available.) And then, to top it all off, he had to be brought to the emergency room twice since he moved into the nursing home. On his very first night, he fell (unfortunately, we will never know the real story as to what happened) and I had to demand he be brought to the hospital to get checked out. He was also having some complications with his IV line (pick line) and a nurse called my mom at 5:20 in the morning to let her know he would be going to the ER, although she really didn’t know exactly what time he would be going. But apparently, she thought she would call a nearly 80-year-old woman, who is already stressed to the max because of everything that has happened, and wake her up at 5:20 a.m. on Christmas Day no less, to tell her her husband was going to the ER. It should never have happened that way and let me tell you, that poor nurse who called my mom got the wrath of me. There have been several times the “poor” nurses at Knute Nelson have had to deal with me. I’m guessing they don’t much care for me at all. But…I. Don’t. Care. I really wanted to move my dad to a different nursing home, but it never happened. He will remain at Knute Nelson…for now. (There is TONS I have left out, but I will not bore you all with any more detail. If you want more, feel free to check me out on Facebook, where I have been posting almost daily updates.)

If/when my dad eventually has his surgery on his foot, I will guarantee you, he will do his rehab time at the other nursing home in town, Ecumen Bethany Nursing Home. He will NOT be going back to Knute if I have my way. I will note that not all the nurses have been terrible. There have been a couple that have warmed over my heart.


Again, I am grateful, happy, elated, proud and so much more that I have not turned to food this time to deal with all the stress. Although I am guessing, my poor husband wishes I would have. I think I might have taken all my stress out on him. And for that, I sincerely am sorry.

Here is a look at what else has been happening in my world:

For fun, my husband and I took out medals from the last three years and hung them on the tree as our ornaments. We only did this as a joke because I saw something on Facebook. We did take them off and decorate the tree with our real ornaments, but I may just do this next year…for real! There is a total of 66 medals, some just participant medals, others actual “winning” medals for age group categories and such.

Yes, when I said it’s been cold, I wasn’t lying. IT HAS BEEN FRIGID!

But at least it’s somewhat pretty.

Well, maybe it isn’t ALL that pretty. I guess it was pretty cold this particular day I decided to go for a four mile run. I really didn’t think it was that cold, but apparently sweat mixed with cold temperatures makes for some frosty conditions. Kind of scary, huh?

With our first big race (just a half-marathon) coming up in May, I thought I better get my training scheduled figured out. So far, I have January planned out, but that’s all the further I got. I will take some time soon and finished the rest of my schedule.

So, that about wraps it up. OH, WAIT…besides all the stress and stuff going on with my dad, I have my own medical stuff happening. First off, my heartburn has nearly faded…thank GOD!, but I have still been dealing with my shoulder pain. Read my last blog post to see what’s been happening.

So far, I have had two MRI’s done and a few X-rays. The first MRI was on my shoulder and then I saw an orthopedic doctor who decided that I should have another MRI done on my neck. He thinks I might have some kind of pinched nerve or something going on so he wanted to see pics of my neck. I had that MRI, but apparently I didn’t stay still enough, so on New Year’s Eve day, I get to have another MRI, but this time, I get to be sedated. Oh, joy! Hopefully after that, the ortho doc can figure out what’s going on. Until then, I will continue to deal with a very painful shoulder, tingling and numb arm and a shoulder blade area that likes to tingle, as well.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and you all have a very Happy New Year! I will try and continue to keep you all posted on my dad and on me.