My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Category Archives: Dailey Method

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I have blogged!  This past month has been pretty crazy with more going on at work and prepping for my trip to India!  Yes…that’s right!  In one week, I will be on a plane heading to India with my family.  I’m VERY excited about this trip.  I have been to India four times in the past, but I’m really excited about this trip because I will be meeting a lot of my husband’s family and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and three beautiful nephews are coming as well!  I’ve never traveled to India with them before (I haven’t gone with my husband yet either), so it should be a lot of fun 🙂

How does this all play into my health plan?  Well…the past month’s activities have, unfortunately, cut into my personal journey towards better health.  I haven’t really lost any weight.  I probably gained a little bit, but that’s not even what I care that much about.  I kind of just lost sight of things because…well…life is hard to balance.  The changes I’ve had at work were great for my work life.  However, this came at a cost of not being able to go to The Dailey Method as much because I was now working during the classes I usually attended.  Since I have focused so much on those classes, I didn’t put much of an effort towards doing anything at home.  In terms of food, well…I have definitely tried to keep it up, but let’s just say that I had a lot of dessert at a wedding reception last night!  My will and Paleo decision-making has someone gone down the drain.  One reason I haven’t been beating myself up too much about it is because it will be impossible to live up to my Paleo lifestyle in India.  None of my relatives eat meat, and eating it going to be very central to the trip.  Let’s just say that family in India LOVE to feed you.  I’m going to enjoy this, however, I’m also going to make sure I feel satisfied rather than full.  I also didn’t want to do Paleo for the past few weeks and then totally shock my system when I’m in India when I will inevitably be eating a lot of grains and carbs.

Anywho…one thing this past month has taught me is that balance, while very important, is very hard!  That doesn’t mean I’m giving up though!  I have always said this is a journey.  My weight loss is not going to be perfect, life isn’t perfect.  The great thing about this is all the great lessons I learn about myself in the process.  I am trying to keep a positive outlook, because a positive MIND is what is going to help me with my healthy lifestyle.

In the next week before I head to India, I’m going to eat a “regular” diet with grains, carbs, etc.  I am still going to avoid processed food.  One question I’m going to ask myself is “Am I really hungry?”  I read a lot about this concept from the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.  This is a great book about our hunger signals.  I have noticed that my hunger signals can mean a few things:  I’m thirsty;  I’m bored;  I’m stressed; or I really am hungry.  I’m going to evaluate myself before making these decisions.  I am usually pretty satisfied throughout the day when I start my day by drinking 10 to 20 oz of water and continuing to drink water all day.  So, I think this will be the best way for me to eat this week and while I’m in India as well.

So, there ya have it!  I plan to post that Pre-Made Paleo review I promised a few months ago before I leave!  Sorry for slacking on that.

 

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What can I say?  I’ve been slacking on the blogging.  I’ve been slacking on working out 5 times a week.  I haven’t updated my Pounds and Inches page in 2 months!  I am a slacker!

Hopefully this post will put an end to this 🙂  The good news is that I’ve been losing more pounds and inches.  I realized that working out 5 times a week is really difficult.  I can do it, but I tend to be really tired by the end of the week when I do.  If I’m not in bed by 10:30pm, then it’s really hard for me to wake up early and workout.  While I definitely think I need to not make excuses, there is actually a lot of research that talks about how sleep is more important than working out due to hormonal activity that is tied to appetite.  In fact, losing sleep in order to workout could lead to weight gain because there is a hormonal imbalance which causes us to crave sugary, high-carb foods.  Here’s one article that explains this concept. I know the difference between, “I went to sleep at 11pm and waking up at 5:30am stinks”, and “I have gotten 4 hours a sleep and my eyes are burning”.  I don’t workout if the latter is true.  So this means that lately, I have been working out around 3-4 times a week, and I no longer feel bad about it!  I feel really good, and I’m still losing pounds and inches…which brings me to…

My Pounds and Inches page?  Well, I have to be honest.  After I finished my first Whole30, I went back to my old ways a little bit.  With that, I gained some of my weight back, and I just “got lazy” and didn’t post it.  Yes, I was embarrassed. I was also a little annoyed because, eventually, I started to get back on track and my scale was starting to be really inconsistent, as in, I would weigh myself, and I gained 10 lbs in one day.  Hmmm, not only did I not like the number, but it was clearly ridiculous.  Then I realized that I’m working with a pretty ancient scale, so I decided to order a fancy new one.  This picture is a great example of what I was dealing with before…and after.  My old scale was at my parents house, and they gave it to me…as you can see, I really needed an upgrade!

The day I stepped on my new scale by EatSmart (isn’t she a beauty?), I made an interesting discovery.  I was 3 lbs lighter compared to my old scale!  This was great, in a way.  However, I no longer really know how accurate my pounds are on my page since I was using my older scale.  Thankfully, I am also tracking inches lost, and my tape measure is accurate (I think, hehe).  I was trying to think of a way to resolve this since it probably has been somewhat inaccurate the whole time.  I decided to keep this simple and just continue to log my weight and not change my previous weight.  However, I am going to make a notation around 10/4/12, which is around when I bought the new scale.  So, as you can see now, Pounds and Inches is updated 🙂  I have been continue to lose pounds and inches slowly but surely!

So yes, I have been slacking.  I guess, like anything, this blog is going to have its peaks and valleys.  But now it’s time to get back on track!  Even when I’m not writing here, I am always thinking about how this blog makes me accountable to myself and to you!

What’s coming up?  I’m going to blog more about my Pre-Made Paleo experience.  Also, I have a dear friend that is going to write a guest blog, so I’m really excited about that!  Stay tuned 🙂


Thankfully, I have kept to my goal from my last post to attend Dailey Method classes 5 days a week!  However, I definitely did a lot of overindulging the week of and weekend after my birthday.  It is what it is, and, while I’m not happy I did it, it made me realize how far I have come.  Even though I overdid it, I was easily able to get back into the groove of things the following week.  Before, I would have just given up or found another sweet substitute for the sweets I really wanted.  So, that’s that!  I’m back into the Whole30 groove with an occasional indulgence 🙂

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at The Dailey Method about taking your practice to the next level.  It was taught by Natalia, who I remember from when I took my first classes back in 2010.  She has been teaching these classes for three years, and she is great!  She always has a big smile on her face and gives great detailed instruction.  Here is some of her background, taken from The Dailey Method site:

Originally from Puerto Rico, Natalia began training in ballet at age 4. She continued her training throughout high school and into college at the University of Illinois, where she discovered modern dance. She currently lives in Chicago where she dances with the Leopold Group modern dance company and works as a dance teacher, in addition to her work as a fitness instructor. She teaches modern dance at the North Suburban School of Dance, and is a teaching artist for the Joffrey Ballet’s Community Engagement Program. Natalia began taking classes at the Dailey Method in December 2008, and began teaching in March 2009. She is very excited to be a part of the Dailey Method family, and to be doing what she loves!

It was challenging to take pictures from my phone and take notes while trying to participate in the workshop, but I tried my best!  I definitely learned a lot which has helped me this week during classes.  The running “theme” throughout the workshop was the importance of form, especially for the back muscles.  During class, I always hear teachers talking about engaging the rhomboids and serratus anterior muscles in the back…I knew they were muscles in the back, but I didn’t realize how important it is to strengthen them. These muscles pull the shoulder blades/scapula down and back, which helps with opening the chest and gives us better posture. Here’s a great diagram:

Source

I am definitely a sloucher…when I stand, while I sit (I just corrected myself while typing now, hehe), and also sometimes when at The Dailey Method! I thought I always had my shoulder blades back and down like I am always instructed, but there were a few positions I wasn’t doing so. One of those positions is the plank!  I didn’t realize how much I “slouched” and brought my shoulders forward instead of back with planking.  Natalia talked about how important it is to engaged the back muscles because this works the back instead of being rigid and going into the neck.  When the strain is no longer in the neck, the abdominals work harder as well!  Everything is connected 🙂 Here’s a pictures of Natalia teaching while someone demonstrates a doing a plank with the shoulders in the correct position:

Here is Natalia demonstrating downward dog incorrectly (top) and correctly (bottom).  Here, it is easy to see the difference in the shoulder placement.

Not only does this work the serratus anterior to strengthen your back, but it also strengthens the Achilles, stretches your calves and hamstrings.  Natalia gave a great visual to help make sure your shoulders are in the correct position: Pretend you are opening two jars with your hands without moving them.  It might sound silly, but it worked for me!

I also learned my Low C Curve position can be so hard for me as opposed to High C Curve.  I have a very short torso, so it’s hard for me to reach my thighs without straining my neck when I’m so low to the ground.  I’m really glad I learned this because I was beginning to think something was wrong with me!  I was happy to learn that I am A-OK 🙂

High C Curve (I don’t have a pictures of Low C Curve, but it is where your back is lower, but your shoulder blades are still off the ground. Basically your arms are stretched out more.)

One thing Natalia kept emphasizing throughout the workshop was that all of our bodies are different in terms of shape, flexibility, muscle tightness, etc.  Some positions are easier and harder for some of us than others.  We need to find what works best for us as individuals!  This was a key takeaway for me.  The instructors always say this in class as well.  However, even though I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, it’s hard not to while I see others class do complicated movements while they are holding a plank.  However, when I focus on myself, my form is better, I become stronger, and I get better!

Overall, the workshop was very clarifying and reinforced why I go to The Dailey Method!  Great instruction, impeccable form, and an amazing workout. Period.


My birthday is soon approaching, and it’s making me think about where I really want to be in my life right now in terms of my physical health.  I feel that in the past 6 months, I have made great improvements to my life including being aware and ACCEPTING my eating behaviors (sugar obsession and overeating), working out at The Dailey Method pretty regularly, and transitioning to a Paleo/Whole30 eating lifestyle.

However, in the aftermath of my first Whole30, I have gained a couple pounds back, and I have also started to reduce my workout frequency from 4 days a week minimum to 3 days a week.  Soooo back to where I want to be in my life….I really want to lose some more inches.  Working out 3 days a week, is definitely maintenance mode in my head.  Therefore, I am planning to increase the frequency of my workouts to 5 days a week.  Given my schedule, I think this is a fair and feasible schedule change.  While I don’t plan on being super strict for Whole30, I do plan on following the guidelines for the most part with the occasional indulgence.

I once read that in terms of health, food > sleep > exercise (I think it was on the Whole9 Facebook page).  I feel that sometimes I wasn’t exercising because I wasn’t sleeping as much.  So, I am going to put a change to that!  I plan to be in bed every night by 10:30pm, so I can get up and workout feeling rested.  I really think I’ll notice a difference with this subtle change.  I did a quick Google search about workout frequency (I’m so scientific!), and I came upon this site.  The picture I first saw (below) scared the crap out of me, but I liked the idea of the article.  (No, I don’t want to look like him…not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Source

Basically, it talks about the frequency of strength training you need to make different types of changes in your body.  It also emphasizes the importance of muscle recovery.  I love that The Dailey Method has a combination of isometric strength training and low-intensity cardio!  I really feel like I’m getting it all in one class 🙂

Speaking of The Dailey Method, I’m excited to announce that I will be attending a Dailey Method workshop next weekend about taking my practice to the next level!  This should be really great, and I’m looking forward to blogging about it.  Also, I have been struggling with preparing Whole30 meals ahead of time with my work and personal schedules…so I started looking into Pre-Made Paleo meals that I can heat up and eat.  I’m excited to announce that I am going to be receiving some of their meals to review on this blog!  I’m super excited about these upcoming posts, and I hope you are too 🙂

Here are a few questions for you all:

1. Have any of you noticed any changes to your body by increasing the frequency of your workouts?

2. How/when do you manage to make meals ahead of time for yourself and/or your family?

3. Do you believe in or practice “food > sleep > exercise”  in terms of order of importance?  Why or why not?


Well…it’s been over two weeks since I have posted.  Life just got busy for a bit, and then I went on vacation to see 4 Phish shows in a row!  Does that sound nuts?  Well yes, it sure was 🙂  We saw 2 shows in Indianapolis and 2 shows at Alpine Valley (WI).  This was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of driving and not much sleeping.  I had a blast hanging out with my husband and friends that we have not seen in some time, but this whole healthy living thing didn’t go to well.  I don’t think it’s the end of the world to take a break from working out and eating a little unhealthy while on vacation.  However, when you wake up and eat three chocolate chip cookies to start your day, the day proceeds to follow in a similar fashion.  (For the record, Jewel’s standard chocolate chip cookies are quite delicious!)  That, coupled with exhaustion from the heat, standing/dancing at the shows, and generally being out of my routine did not give me much self-discipline to keep to the lifestyle I have been trying to lead.  In a way, these are all excuses, but it was honestly much harder for me to stick to something when I wasn’t in my “zone”, if that makes sense.

I did bring a mix of almonds and raisins, grass-fed beef sticks, and some fruit which I did eat on car rides, etc.  However, with a group of friends, time limitations, wanting to give myself a break, and, honestly, the desire to not be too picky in front of others, I succumbed to eating a Subway sandwich, the Mac & Cheese at Noodles & Co (I know there were healthier options, but I just let it all go), sandwiches from a delicious deli (which I will blog about later), late night Taco Bell, and munching on snacks like cookies, chips, etc.  OK fine, I gave myself a break…but I really forgot how awful I would feel from eating this stuff combined with a lack of sleep and exercise!  I was dancing at the shows, but it definitely wasn’t the intense workout I’m used to from The Dailey Method.  I was having a good time with friends, but I noticed that I was more irritable.  Saturday night at Alpine Valley, I noticed that my throat was hurting a bit.  I ignored it, and of course it got worse.  So on top of it all, I got myself a cold that is still nagging at me as I type this out.

I never realized how much getting out of my standard routine would throw me off.  The second we returned home, I was back to sticking to my Whole30 lifestyle.  I have not yet gone to workout because I haven’t had the energy from being sick, but I will likely go by the weekend.  I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much.  After all, it was vacation, and it’s not the end of the world.  In fact, I’m pretty proud of myself for getting back on track with my food choices the day I returned.  I always have a fear that if I completely fall off the wagon, I may never be able to get back on.  I am confident I will be able to, and I do still plan to do the official Whole30 program starting mid-July.

I found this graphic from this site: Double Eagle Fitness.  It gives a nice breakdown of times people fall off the wagon and the post gives 3 great reasons to get back on track!

So that’s that.  I’d love to hear if anyone has good tips for eating on vacation!  Also stay tuned for a post about a few meals we ate at Brick Street Market!


As a speech-language pathologist, I love reading about learning, neuroscience, and communication.  I have “liked” some pages on Facebook which post interesting articles about these subjects.  Today, I read a really interesting article about the Zeigarnik Effect.  A Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik, observed an interesting phenomenon while watching waiters fulfill their orders.  The article also talks about other studies and gives examples that simply demonstrate that when we start something, we are more likely to finish it.

I am really great at procrastination.  I don’t like that I procrastinate, but I do it quite well.  There are two reasons that I procrastinate:

1 – I am not really motivated to do a task

2 – I don’t know where to start and I want it to be perfect

Being motivated is a key determinant to getting something done.  However, even when I am motivated, I put things off because the task seems so big, and I want to start in the exact, right, perfect place so it turns out well.  I felt this way before I started this blog.  First, I thought that I didn’t have the right blog name, and then I thought that I didn’t start my diet and exercise at the same time, so how can I really keep track of what influenced my body?  Then I thought that I hadn’t taken any measurements until recently, so it’s not really true to my real progress.  Lastly, I realized that I was full of reasons not to get start, and I just had to start somewhere, anywhere!  I did make sure my blog name was just right though 😉

In reality, it doesn’t matter where I start, because it is about the journey and not the destination.  This journey has taught me so much in such a short time.  All I had to do was start!  And ultimately, I have realized the value of all the imperfections I have encountered.  If I started out anything exact, right, and perfect, there would not be any room for progress, and it’s the progress that has motivated me to keep going!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to reaching my goals, but what I forget sometimes is that my goals are ideas.  They haven’t happened yet.  When I turn my goals into expectations, it can end in disappointment and resentment.  I try to remember that the journey may alter my idea of these goals, and that is perfectly OK!  So, I’m just trying to enjoy what is happening NOW because that is the only thing under my control.  I truly believe that when I do this, I’ll be in for a great ride 🙂

I remember an instructor during a Dailey Method class saying, “If you’re thinking about what you have to do tonight, the groceries you need to buy, or what you’re doing tomorrow, STOP.  Think positive thoughts.  Think about keeping your hips square and tucking in your pelvis.”  That’s exactly what I did, and, not only was I less stressed, I had a better workout.  That moment was lived.

What types of projects or tasks have you been putting off because you want them to be perfect?


This past weekend was full of wonderful celebrations!  My husband and I drove down to Indianapolis on Saturday to celebrate the 1st birthday of the son of our dear friends.  Of course, Sunday was Father’s Day.  It was so great to enjoy time with friends we haven’t seen in some time.  It was also a once in a lifetime experience to see 37 kids (most under the age of 5) in one place at once, lol. Just watching them all jumping around was quite exhausting. Sunday, we had a Father’s Day lunch and dinner which was wonderful as well.

Clearly, it was going to be difficult for me to stay on my diet when I could not have complete control over my meal choices.  I always allow for myself to indulge a meal or two during the week that aren’t compliant, since that is just reality.  However, being unprepared definitely got me in trouble.  Saturday morning before we left, I made sure to have a bigger breakfast consisting of a 3-egg omelette with spinach and an avocado.  As we embarked on our drive, I decided to only bring water with me.  I did not bring any fruit or nuts to snack on.  Clearly, when we arrived in Indianapolis, I was starved!  So I immediately ate a sandwich and then ate tons of pasta and some delicious cake (I had planned on eating the cake beforehand).  Everything was delicious, and I wasn’t beating myself up too much about it…but I know I could’ve prepared a bit more so I wouldn’t have taken that second serving of pasta and eggplant parmesan.  On top of it, we were driving straight to my in-laws that evening, and I had not prepared a breakfast plan for the next morning.

I started thinking about where I went wrong in not preparing for the trip.  Did I not have the food with at my disposal?  Nope.  Did I not have enough time to get it ready?  Nope.  Did I give up?  Yes!  Basically, I had already thought to myself, “I’m going to let go a little”.  I did not decide how or when I was going to let go (which is what I usually do), which pretty much gave me the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted.    So I failed in my thought process, which led to me choosing to not be prepared and eating unhealthy.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting go a little bit.  However, for a person like me, who lacks self-control, this little goes a long way.  I am positive that having a piece of fruit or nuts on the ride there would have staved off some of my impulsive eating for that day and the next.

The next morning, I had granola with milk and fruit for breakfast (fail).  I meant to get some eggs, but since I had given up, this just didn’t happen.  For lunch, I was able to be compliant, however, for Father’s Day dinner, I decided to have 1 crab rangoon.  My parents don’t eat meat or seafood, and one order of crab rangoon had 6 pieces!  Well of course I can’t make my husband eat all of those!  Before I knew it, 3 of them were floating around in my tummy.

Inevitably, this all lead to me feeling irritable.  I was annoyed that I let it happen, and this all led to negative thinking and being a victim to my own choices.  This way of thinking is never good.  On top of it all, I didn’t go to The Dailey Method for 2 days in a row, which I try not to do.  But alas!  This morning,  I went to The Dailey Method and after 10 minutes I could feel myself becoming more calm.  The stress I had placed on myself started trickling away, and I felt the ultimate release.  Finally, I felt like my new self again 🙂

Overall, I think this is a lesson that it just takes on small thought to begin an avalanche of negative behavior.  At the same time, I was so grateful to get back on track and to make the choice to get out of the negativity.

The best part of the weekend was seeing this face 🙂  He was such a birthday champ and is the most handsome little man I have seen!



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