Back to the Salt Mines and Setting Boundaries

I know, I haven’t posted in a while… My life went topsy turvy mid-January. That’s when I went back to work. And when I say “work,” I mean the 40+ hours a week type of work. That’s right: a decade after quitting my last job, I’m back working for The Man.

I’m a remote worker for a start-up based on the west coast. A contractor at the moment, but with the possibility to join the company in a few months.

Crazy Workload Means Less Time for Everything
I love the job; the people are great and I’m working for a former boss who is awesome. However, I joined a week before a BIG product launch, which means I’m buried in meetings and work-work-work — all while learning about the company on the fly.

I’ve had a lot to blog about, but after days (and nights) pumping out copy, articles, pitches, and even videos for two straight months, I’m usually too exhausted to do anything but veg.

Yes, I know: something has to change.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries
The new job is exciting, and the projects are interesting, but I can’t let it dominate my life anymore. Two months in and I’m tired and overwhelmed.  I have no energy to blog, go for a walk, or cook. This is all my doing and I’m the only one who can fix it.

Some good news: the flurry of work has passed, for now, which means it’s the perfect time to set some boundaries.

1. Office Hours Are Sacred
There are times I’ll need to work late. It just can’t be daily. My working day ends at 6:00 p.m. Period.

2. My Personal Time is Valuable
Just because technology is 24/7, doesn’t mean I am. What’s the point of having roses if I can’t stop and smell them?

3. Take Regular Breaks
Sitting at my desk for 8 hours is the old me resurfaced. That stops today. Using my Echo device to remind me, I’ll be standing up and walking around several times a day.

4. Say “No” to Unrealistic Deadlines
If a project takes 20 hours, then that means two days, not one. There are no more rabbits left in my hat.

5. Lunch Hour Workout
I’m sitting too much, and I’m not hungry at lunchtime (a good thing). From now on, I’ll be getting off my duff and building a sweat.

These days, a lot of people are working from home and going through the same sorts of challenges. If you have any tips or advice, I’d love to hear it.

Just Accept It & Move On

Well it’s day 5 of our keto-carnivore challenge and I can honestly say yesterday was the low point. Coming off of a very bad day at the office, the husband ordered gluten free pizza. And yes, I had some.

Talk about textbook emotional eating. It doesn’t take much for us to decide we need to “blow off steam” by eating out or bringing home a bottle of wine. After a couple of glasses, you do dumb things…like order gluten free pizza.

Oh, and it wasn’t very good pizza either!

I was upset with both of us last night as I went to bed. My last thought before drifting off: “Well, Day 1 just starts tomorrow.”

This morning the frustration is gone, replaced with resolve.

Day 1 of our reset was September 21, not September 25. We messed up. Badly. We’ll do better at the next meal.

Accept it and move on.

The only change we’re making to our keto carnivore challenge is no alcohol of any kind allowed. Period.

Cookbook Review: Nom Nom Paleo


I spent the holiday weekend drooling over the recipes in Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo cookbook.

I picked up a wonderful cookbook – Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. It’s been out since 2013 but it is still one of the most creative cookbooks I’ve come across. And it is a fun read…how many cookbooks can you say that about?

I’m a big fan of Tan’s blog (same name as the book). If you are looking for healthy recipes and cooking inspiration, you need to check out her site.

Like her blog, the book includes recipes and cooking tips that are easy to follow. The combination of her witty prose, awesome cartoons and wonderful photography (by her husband) depict her love of real food, kitchen gadgets, and cooking.

You can’t read this book and not want to have fun in the kitchen. Regardless of your diet of choice she inspires you to turn away from the processed crap. Read More

Losing Weight In Public — Week 10

Last Week's Cookies

Last Week’s Cookies

Week 1 weight: 305 pounds
Last week’s weight: 287 pounds
Current weight: 286 pounds
Weight lost since last week: 1 pounds
Total weight lost: 19 pounds

I’m very happy about this miserable 1 pound. I was actually up in weight most of last week (yeah, I’m still checking between weigh-ins). I ate well, great food, and only messed up once with a margarita. It’s been several weeks since I’ve screwed up and went full-bore chocolate cake or something. I’m learning that weight fluctuates all the time, and that I need to just kinda/sorta fluctuate DOWNWARD and I’ll be fine.


All my clothes are pretty loose now. What a difference 19 pounds makes. Still about 70-80 pounds left to get into freshman college shape, and honestly I’m not sure if I’ll get quite that far. Just because you lose fat, doesn’t mean you lose the fat cells themselves. Also, there will be extra skin. Dot and I are up for skin surgery if it comes to it, but not until we take off the weight, all of it, and keep it off. That said, “all of it” could realistically end up being only 60 more pounds, for me, bringing me to maybe 225. That’s a long road to travel one pound at a time.

Last Week’s Challenges

Same ol’ same ol’ — catering. I didn’t eat any of it, despite everyone feeling the urge to tell me, “There’s cookies out there…” I sort of look forward to it now, because I enjoy going out and taking a picture and feeling like a freak while folks from other teams grab goodies and stare at me. If someone asks what I’m doing, I’ll just say, “Ma’am, that’s classified.”

Then I’ll turn around smartly and walk away.

Into the shadows…

Losing Weight In Public — Week 9


Ice cream versions of the popular candies.

Week 1 weight: 305 pounds
Last week’s weight: 289 pounds
Current weight: 287 pounds
Weight lost since last week: 2 pounds
Total weight lost: 18 pounds

A great week has passed, with no restaurant desserts, no eating junk at my job, and probably too much exercise on Saturday and Sunday. I had to stain our fence to keep it fancy looking, and that required a lot of squats (to get the lower sections). Every time I squatted to do those lower sections, the blood dropped out of my head and down to my ankles, and I felt like I was gonna faint. Last night, I told my wife I’m going to do 10 squats a day and 10 pushups. Just something to keep myself a tiny bit more in-shape than just sitting around doing nothing all the time. Later on, I’ll add in more exercise if I feel like it (I might). But I really don’t like going to the gym. I’d rather do three sets of squats, pushups, go on walks, whatever than go back there and flagellate myself for 30-60. Again, we’ll see what happens once I start getting more exercise. One thing about me: I obsess a little. A little firmness in my legs and shoulders could chase me back to the gym to get even MORE results.

That was a long block of text, wasn’t it?

My former recruiter, Chad, is sort of a villain (with a heart of gold). He brought the ice cream seen in the picture for the team on Thursday. Someone yelled over my cube, “There’s ice cream up front!” and I tore off to snap a picture. On the way, Chad’s like, “Oh no, he’s gonna take a picture!” (he follows the blog).

Successes last week

Serving sizes. I kept my serving sizes realistic. And except for last night, I never had two helpings at dinner. I ate until I wasn’t hungry and then stopped. Last night, Dot made this ridiculously good pulled pork. It’s the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. Even better than the one she made a few weeks ago (she’s refining the recipe). No sugar, no sugar substitutes, either. You really don’t need them to make top-notch BBQ.

Challenges this week

Can’t think of any. I was telling Dot on Saturday how the temptation to eat junk at work is just about gone. People bring stuff in and I want it. If they bring sandwiches in, I sometimes take the meat out and plop a little mayo on it and eat it (it’s on plan), but that when the cake/cookies/ice cream comes in I don’t really feel temped. The pizza from 2 weeks ago was a real issue—but only because I was forced to be in the room with it for like 3 hours. And I still didn’t eat it.

Ok, that’s it for now. Yay me.

Losing Weight In Public — Week 6

Plateau at Golden Bay, Malta (top/middle)

Week 1 weight: 305 pounds
Last week’s weight: 292 pounds
Current weight: 293 pounds
Weight lost since last week: -1 pounds
Total weight lost: 12 pounds

*Woo hoo, my first plateau!

Funny story about a plateau. Years ago, in college, when I was studying abroad, I visited a beach in Malta. Bisecting the beach was an enormous plateau. It looks tiny in the picture, but I promise you, it was huge—and very high. Like an idiot, I chose to climb it rather than relax and enjoy the water like everyone else. I found a crack that ran all the way to the top and used that to make my ascent.

Now, understand: I had no training whatsoever. Nobody knew I was there, and if I slipped I would have died.

At one point, I reached for my next handhold—and then stopped myself. To this day, I don’t know why I stopped. I climbed an additional foot or so using a different, less convenient handhold, and then looked at what I’d almost grabbed. Nestled there like a bomb was a giant wasps nest boiling with wasps. If I’d continued blissfully climbing, I would have grabbed it, and those wasps would have stung me hundreds of times — with me, dangling precariously way up high on the side of that plateau. My guess is I wouldn’t have been able to control myself and then fallen to my death. Instead of that, my dumb ass skirted around the nest (about two feet from me at the closest) and continued the climb.

So as you can see, plateaus are VERY dangerous. (Hmm, wait, that’s not true in weight loss, but whatever, just go with it). But if you conquer them, the journey will have been worth the struggle. (Okay, not true at all as it pertains to spurious rock climbing without ropes or people who know you’re there, but shush).

Last Week’s Successes:
Didn’t eat any catering at work.

Last Week’s Failures:
Went out with my mom-in-law for her birthday and ate more cake than her. (Pie, actually, but it makes a better story if I say cake. Why do you keep interrupting my stories?!?)

See you next week.

*Ok, fine: it would have been a plateau if I’d maintained my weight, but I gained a pound.

Losing Weight In Public — Week 4


Me, looking at pie.

Week 1 weight: 305 pounds
Last week’s weight: 297 pounds
Current weight: 295 pounds
Weight lost since last week: 2 pounds
Total weight lost: 10 pounds

My fourth post. I am a stranger in this land of 200s. Mysterious and frightening be their ways. They eat and then they stop! Their bathroom scales, they do not break! At first, I was but a scared traveler in their midst, scurrying from shadow to shadow, nibbling as I went, afraid at any moment they would see me and shout, “That fat guy has no clothes!” What are they doing in my bathroom at 7 a.m.? I DO NOT KNOW!

Last week’s big successes:

Ok, I’ll just say it right here: last week was mostly great. We had one round of catering at the office and I didn’t eat any of it. Also, though I went out to a few restaurants, I didn’t order any dessert. Yay for me, please pass the ketchup.

Last week’s failures:

Isn’t the world more fun when you don’t blog about your mistakes? I sure think so. Ok, so last Friday at the team potluck was a total fricking bust. I tried like 4 different desserts, and then I tried them all again. I had carbs up the wazoo. How they got up my wazoo, I have no idea, but they were there when I woke from my sugar coma. Really stupid on my part, and it’s a miracle I lost any weight at all. If anything, that shows you can screw up and still succeed, but therein lies a problem. Now I know I can screw up and succeed. Pandora has left the building, and she’s carrying an open box of Twinkies.

This week’s coming challenges:

I can’t think of anything specific, except for the possibility of a meetup group of some sort. Oh yeah, we might go to a seafood place for happy hour. I can eat seafood until my head falls off. Woot.
One challenge we should go ahead and acknowledge: desserts. Every week of this whole “Losing Weight In Public” thing has shown I can’t stay away from them. So it’s safe to say that’s my biggest challenge this week: not eating desserts.


I’m really looking forward to getting my eating under better control. I need to plan better. I need to figure out why I do the things I do. Am I trying to escape? If so, from what? Am I trying to fill up a hole of some kind? Or am I just a human with millions of years of evolution weighing me down, screaming, “Eat before you starve! Eat before you starve!”

I’d like to blame it all on Darwin, but you know what happened to him?

He died.

See you next week!

Losing Weight In Public — Week 3

Sad little fat man.

Stuffing my face with carrot cake. Surprisingly skinny-looking photo. But then, I’m sitting, and I’m 6’5″.

Week 1 weight: 305 pounds
Last week’s weight: 300 pounds
Current Weight: 297 pounds
Weight lost since last week: 3 pounds
Total Weight lost: 8 pounds

Yes, I’ve renamed the series to “Losing Weight In Public.” I think it sounds nicer, and I think it’s more descriptive (inspired by Dean Wesley Smith’s “writing in public” series). Hope you agree!

I’m going on the third week of the experiment. So far, I’m fairly happy. I could be making better choices, and I could prepare myself better for various challenges. I have to get out of the mindset that eating is recreation (vs. fuel, which it is).

It’s not so much that I love food, it’s that I like eating. For other people, maybe that’s healthy. For me, it’s just a minefield full of cobblers and cheesecakes and mashed potatoes.

Last week’s big successes:

1) Totally, totally, totally ignored the catering they brought in (totally!). This happened twice. Once with begals, the next with these really great sandwiches. Sigh.
2) Someone on the team brought in red velvet cake or something, super delicious looking. I didn’t even taste it.

Last week’s challenges:

As you can see from that sad photo my wife took, I ate something I shouldn’t have. Carrot cake, at the Outback. Looking back on that dessert, I barely remember it, other than that I enjoyed it. One thing I remember is it being really sugary, particularly the icing. I remember thinking, “If I could just have the cake part, that’d be better, because the rest just kind of overpowers it.”

That’s one thing folks new to low carb will discover: sweet stuff tastes too sweet, if you go without it long enough.

Despite the occasional screw-up on my part, my taste buds have adjusted. For example, I can’t drink Coke anymore (Dot can’t either). And I don’t like artificial sweeteners as much. I still like the occasional Diet Coke, though (with ice), so I’m not completely cured.

Another challenge last week was eating over at our friends’ house. Pork loin, mashed potatoes, carrots, and collard greens. I should have stuck with the pork loin and collards. I shall say no more.

The rest of the week was mostly fine (several drinks on Friday with the meetup group — had a blast).

I realize that I can’t keep screwing up as these weeks start accumulating, because my body’s going to be very miserly when it comes to giving up pounds. That said, I’m optimistic I can get fully back into the swing of things.

This week’s coming challenges:

Catering will always be a challenge, so long as I’m working for a living and not going full time as a writer…

Ok, yes, that’s BS, I’ll turn myself in right now. There are plenty of overweight people out there who don’t work under the constant threat of catering. I have to remember that no matter where I am, I need to be vigilant and always have a plan.

One challenge I need to plan for this week is: my team is having a potluck. Oh. My. God. Potluck?!?! Potlucks are like my favorite thing in the world! If I don’t pig out, that’d be insulting to everyone there, right? Talk about a permission slip to screw up!

I have two options here:

  1. Come with some low carb food I’m happy with and just stick to that (and maybe have anything else there that’s low carb, like salad or whatever, and in the right portions).
  2. Don’t go.

I’m seriously considering option 2, because I don’t trust myself to attend without messing up. I’d just get there and start lawyering with myself, making deals like, “If I pig out now, I have all week to fix it, and didn’t I mess up last week and still lose weight? See, I can do it!”  Pretty lame, huh?

Ok, that’s enough whining. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

John’s Little Problem — Week 2


Cobbler: omg, so good…

Beginning weight: 305 pounds
Weight lost since last week: 5 pounds
Current Weight: 300 pounds

Today begins the second week of my big fat experiment. Last week had a lot of challenges, but I seem to have done all right. If I hadn’t, I would have posted anyway, because I said I would — and that looming embarrassment kept me more or less on track all week. Thanks anonymous Internet people!

Challenge 1: Catering To My Needs

Last Tuesday, my job had three meetings with an unholy amount of catering, and they stacked it all in the common area when they were through. Worst of all, they had my favorite thing in the world: cobbler, in two flavors — peach and apple. Who doesn’t love apple cobbler? Crazy people, that’s who. I avoided the cobbler and settled for a few pieces of chicken (breaded … ugh, I know).

Challenge 2: Dining And Whining

The wife and I went out a few too many times last week (see her Sunday blog post). The problem, I think, is we don’t have a lot of friends in the area. Ok, none, really. Our closest friends live about thirty miles away, and we only see them about once a month, tops. So the wife and I tend to go out. There’s background music, atmosphere, drinks-drinks-drinks (whiskey or wine, not beer), food we don’t have to make, cheerful waitstaff, etc. And way too many opportunities to over indulge.

Challenge 3: Revenge Of The Cobbler

On Saturday, I ended up breaking down and eating some blackberry cobbler on one of our little outings. I felt bad about that. Not the end of the world, and not in unlimited amounts (like those giant vats at the office…), but definitely the end of ketosis for about 24 hours. Sigh. Something to work on.

This Coming Week…

This week’s challenges are mostly unknown, except for Friday. The wife and I joined a meetup group that’ll be going to a bar for happy hour. “Are you out of your mind?!” you say. Not entirely. We’d probably go out anyway at some point. At least this way we can meet a few folks, make new friends. Also, it’s scheduled fun — for Friday. Not “I’m bored, let’s go mess up” fun three days in a row. And we do need more friends in the area. We’ve joined a few other meetup groups as well. Each will have its food challenges. One’s a bowling group. The other’s an eclectic group that does all kinds of odd things, from board games to happy hours to going to museums.

I’m feeling pretty good about where I am. Five pounds is an awful lot to lose in a week, and I’m sure next week will be more realistic. We always lose the most weight in the first week of a “diet,” whereas “lifestyles” produce less spectacular (though longer lasting) results.

See you next week!

Man vs. Fat

fork and measure

My husband has finally committed to getting healthy. So Mondays he’ll post about his weight loss escapades. Image courtesy of and Mister CG.

Let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of weight loss products and information target women — 85% in fact. But what about men? It feels like with all the news about Oprah buying into Weight Watchers and the latest weight loss gimmicks (lose weight eating chocolate), it seems like men are getting left out in the cold.

Well here at dot2trot I’m an equal opportunity type of gal. I recognize that guys who want to lose weight also need some TLC and encouragement. So every Monday my hubby, author John L. Monk, will document his weight loss journey. Yep, he’s committed to openly discuss his temptations at work (all the donuts!), bad eating habits (eating off the wife’s plate!), and finding motivation to get off of his butt for evening walks.

Something tells me you’ll enjoy his trials and tribulations more than he does.