catching up

Rachel: realizing we haven’t exactly been good about writing and updating

It used to be that I longed to write. I’d push off pressing matters just to sit–sometimes for hours–in my comfy clothes, laptop whirring, warming my thighs while I typed away, capturing some pithy story or long-ass reflection on the state of my state.

My writing started out as a personal blog named after the bar I would someday open, The Swandive. I loved writing and the friends I made in the early blogging community. Virtual and long distance friendships somehow made me feel more visible, more heard. But after a while I felt like my life ran out of stories or at least stories that made for interesting blog fodder. But instead of quitting I thought I’d try and make my writing a bit more topical (not so much navel gazing/public therapy inducing/oversharing) so the blog The Sweet Bi and Bi was born. There I wrote about the intersection of my being bisexual and identifying as a christian. I liked this blog. I still do. But like a favorite sweater or a new relationship it can go from hot & sexy to comfortable & settled in real quick (especially with the ladies, amiright?!). And so it was; marriage equality came to Minnesota, “the gays” were very hip, and I was left feeling like my material sort of dried up again. I found myself still wanting to write, but without much to say.

Finally a new topic for a new blog emerged: I fat and am going to do something about it, watch me (or it aint over till the fat lady sings and “we won’t sing”). This time I would not be writing solo; both me AND my sweetie would contribute. (You might not know it dear reader, but she is the backbone of all of my writing. She is my chief editor, my soundboard, the ying to my yang, my help and my heart.)

beforeWe started out hot and heavy, literally. I am not sure why or how I thought we’d have time to document our process/progress, but somehow we were able to. The pounds were melting off, the pictures got more and more amazing and we couldn’t wait to show/tell everyone all about it. But we’ve been at it a while now, the old habits made way for new routines, and the writing (and weight loss) has cooled down a bit. I’ve closed down the other blogs, and I don’t quite know yet where this one is going. I still want to write and be heard, but I am far less clear about what to say and how to say it. There is SO MUCH SNARK AND BAD NEWS AND SHIT out in the world and I simply have no desire to add to it. At the same time I feel a little stuck. But while I am sitting here, trying to get unstuck, I thought I’d write and tell you how and what we are doing since the last time we got all fired up and wrote.


We did our 21 day sugar detox – all 21 days of it. I can honestly say we liked it–a lot–and will most likely do it again. We picked up a few new recipes and some ideas for staying low sugar long term. Full post-detox disclosure: we’ve also eaten 7 girl scout cookies, made and shared a wicked-ass yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles AND have had several squares of dark chocolate. Because.

We did not complete our 24 day challenge with AdvoCare (we were doing both challenges at the same time, maybe not the best idea ever). We really like the products, and have actually signed up to distribute, but when that last phase kicked in, I couldn’t continue. Oh well, live and learn.

We are finally finding our rhythm with the gym. We workout with our trainer once (or twice) a week at his bootcamp class (the most affordable ass-kicking in town at $10 bucks a class). We are at the YWCA Tuesday and Thursday nights, and starting this week we are shooting to add a Sunday yoga practice. No, I’m not kidding.

We keep plugging away, writing our meal plans and shaking our groove things. We are still slowly, but surely, losing pounds and gaining strength. But more than that, this has finally become a habit and way of life. And that seems to be a very good thing. What’s next? Hmmmmm…


planning: hold on loosely, but don’t let go

Week 1: always the hardest, in whatever new thing you’re doing. For us, more than once we have struck up a conversation about what we miss and what we can’t wait to eat or do again once this restart is over (lets just say that Bar La Grassa and Burch have come up more than once). At the same time we are trying to focus on what we want/like/enjoy (not what we don’t want, don’t like and don’t enjoy; good ol’ law of attraction stuff). It was out of one of these conversations that we were able to talk about the thing that we think is the key and the lock and the door—the whole dang shabang—of our success.

*You’ve got to make a plan and stick to it! 

On making a plan:  I will be the first to admit that I am swayed happily and easily with the weather patterns of life. I love a dramatic shift in plans (more than I should); the more dramatic the better actually. I am the one you want by your side in a crisis. I had to learn these skills early on in life. And though I didn’t choose this path, its what I’ve got and I really want to wield my powers for good.

Ratchet—from my vantage point—doesn’t share this trait. She is a list maker, a Taurus, strong and convicted, a planner and project manager. She is organized and things in her life have a place and reason for being there. In our marriage she and I have taught each other so much. This key to our success is something that comes to her naturally, and perhaps is obvious to most of you. For me, its revolutionary.

There are a lot of tools out there for making plans. Some do notebooks and food journals, for some myfitnesspal is a lifesaver. I won’t bore you with my opinion who has the right option or idea. I will simply share what works for us here. Like anything else, take it or leave it.

*unless you can’t

So day 1 for us this week. The weather and traffic coming home from work was a serious shit-show. Yes, we planned to go to circuit class at 6:15 Monday night, but the weather, two emergency vehicles, a 3 car spinout and some dumb neighbors crushed that dream. I was so damn crabby I could hardly be around me. I wanted to give up less than a day into the plan and order pizza, watch the West Wing and start over. But, we didn’t. I picked up Ratchet, we went to the damn gym with the rest of the post-resolution population of Minneapolis and ran. No, it wasn’t class as I had hoped, but it was something more than nothing.

Days 3 and 4 each had their fair share of surprises and whooops-a-daisey moments too. But we made this plan, and when a curveball was thrown, we just swung again. We kept swinging. And it wasn’t pretty. We both almost passed out at the new gym class on Wednesday, but we learned that next week we’ve got to up our carbs to be able to make that not happen again. You’ve got to just live and then learn, really learn.

Or better said, you’ve got to hold on–loosely. But don’t let go.

how did we get here?

Rachel, 4 days in.

So a few days ago we threw it out there and told you we were back. So, what happened exactly?

I think it was mid-holidays, we’d had a sugar-y treat nearly every hour around the Christmas clock. I know that we are not alone in this, it’s an international condition around this time of year. Anyway, my pants started feeling slim fit (even though they weren’t) and Ratchet kept asking if we should be making better decisions: less sweets, smaller portions, and how about a burger without a bun?

2 years ago we started down this road, but 6 – 8 months ago we went off-roading, and not in that super fun whooo-hoo sort of way. I made some job changes. I left one I loved, dearly. Grief consumed me, and I consumed pie. A lot of pie, and also, frites.

You know what sucks about weight gain? It just sneaks up on you. Honest to God, we both thought we were doing alright. I mean, not great, we could do better, but doing reasonably well. And maybe we were, by “normal peoples” standards. But lets get real, we’re not “normal” sized gals. (I’ll save expounding on that for a future post)

We were cooking fine for ourselves at home, our white rice is now brown, our milk is almond, we never ever make pasta anymore. We rarely have bread in the house, we still choose turkey and chicken over other delicious protein options. But slowly–a little at a time–infrequent treats were back. Dinners and brunch out, once maybe three times a week. Lindt sea salt chocolate squares after every (ok most) meal, ice cream was a staple over the summer months. Cinnamon puffins breakfast cereal–cripes–even typing it makes me crave a bowl of it. My father used to say “everything, in moderation.” But when you are an addict, addicted to something socially acceptable or not, its hard (impossible?) to discern where moderation ends.

comeAnyway, this is just a little bit of how we got here. It’s only my side of the story. Ratchet may have other things to say, most likely much different than mine. A whole lot of little things led us to this past Monday – start over day. But the good news is, now we are here. Present in this moment, in these choices, committed to new plans. We’ll share what they are in the next few posts.

I love this Rumi quote. It sums exactly where I am. You too maybe?

Join us.

ps – This post is far from perfect. But I’ve re-written this bitch 4 times now and I just want to put it out there. Its day 4 of no sugar and it’s just not pretty right now. There you have it.

What does one do for the second anniversary?

Rachel says:  Cotton. And if you are feeling a bit more modern, China.

These are the gifts of one gives to celebrate 2 years of marriage. Two years ago, we–Karen & Rachel–took our very first steps towards making a whole new life. We said “I do!” to working out, proper nutrition & sleep. So as we began to approach this milestone, we started to look back at all we have done, and what we still hoped to do. Between the two of us we’ve lost 120 pounds, we’ve built working out into our weekly rhythms, and we’ve learned to LOVE chicken and turkey. But come on, let’s get real, shall we? We are still quite a way off from our goals.

True, our first goal was to make this a way of life. And we’ve done that, mostly. I mean, we eat well; chicken, fish and turkey is almost always the protein of choice when dining out. And well yes, it does come on a delicious bun, and yes we did choose sweet potato fries instead of real ones. We work out at least twice a week. Well mostly. Always at least once. Sometimes as much as 4, but you don’t want to know how we reward ourselves for such accomplishments. Ugh. Two words: slippery slope.

So, on this–our cotton/china anniversary–we are swearing off sugar and doing a hard restart on our goals. We are committing to dropping down one more size in our cotton threads and we are breaking the glass (or china) ceiling of our current number on the scale plateau. And we start tomorrow.

This is our cupboard that we are closing off for at least a month, before and after.










And this is breakfast tomorrow morning. IMG_2813

I’ve got to go to bed, its way past my bedtime (and good quality sleep is a key piece of fitness and weightloss). But stay tuned in the days and weeks to come.

We’re baaaaack.

The body and the enneagram

We’ve been quiet out here lately, but trust us, we’re still doing this. Sidetracked, sure, a little. But we are in it to win it; it being our best whole and healthy selves.

enneagram2wisdomThis wisdom came across my space today, and perhaps it resonates with you enneagram 2’s. Maybe it just resonates because, well, it does. Either way, be good to yourselves, and hey let’s be careful out there.

to be continued …

coming clean

Rachel, post-Labor Day (and State Fair, and birthday, and moving and new job after the other new job didn’t work out and …)

WeightScale435x150Last time I weighed in and told you all about it I weighed 168. Still clinically overweight, but 70 damn pounds down from my first weigh in from January 2013. My trainer tells me I did get down to 166 – apparently I was so ecstatic I forgot that good news. Anyway, Saturday I weighed in and holy shit, I am up. I am up to 180.

Oh, I know how I got here. Sure, I’ve kept up working out (at least 2 times a week – always hoping for 4), but working out is not my biggest challenge. Food. Diet. Nutrition. Good old calories in, calories out – this has been my downfall. Long and short – I have NOT kept up with my nutrition. I learned a lot in the first year of this whole fitness thing and you know what they say: knowledge IS power. But it doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t actually practice what you know.

Want my excuses? There are quite a few. I left Lola, there were plenty of beers involved with that goodbye. I moved to Meritage, where I was miserable, lonely and utterly lost. I survived by eating loads of pommes frites, hollandaise and some of the best damn French food in town. I had a birthday and you know what that means: birthday pie! Also, I moved. Packing and unpacking took the place of cooking and planning and tupperware. Also, the greatest state fair in the country just happens to be in Minnesota every August; its my most favorite event of the year, what with all of its roasted corn, cheese curds, tom thumb mini donuts and Kiwanis malts.

Don’t want excuses? I hear you.

So, I’m saying something now—out loud—so you all know I am back on “the meal plan” again. I am upping my workouts to 6 per week. 3-one hour sessions, 3-ten to fifteen minute bursts. I’ll get one day off. All of this and I am drinking bunches of water, as much as I can handle. 

Want to join me? (Actually us – yes Ratchet is totally on board with me.) Send me an email, or comment. If you want, find and connect with me on as I am logging my food and whatnot there. I’d love to tell you what I am up to, encourage you in whatever you are doing, and/or help if I can. Don’t want to – no worries / no pressure. I’ll try and be better about posting and keeping you in the loop. 

the plateau

Rachel, wondering if you still care about this whole thing. 

The above isn’t some sort of self pity bullshit feel sorry for me question, it really is what has kept me from writing. OK, maybe that’s a bit much. I think that very wondering about caring is a question that is more directed at me than you dear reader. Ugh, the dreaded plateau, it has descended upon me and I am stuck. Stuck stuck fucking frustratingly stuck.

The motivational notes, no longer motivate. Well they do, sort of, but its more like they taunt me, laugh at my sudden exhaustion and say “see, I knew you couldn’t stick to it.” It’s a slippery slope, fitness and health, and I’ve done some backsliding. So fine, there, I have admitted it. Oh I have no problem pointing out how I’ve fallen off the wagon, and the worst part, I know how to get back on. But seriously, the starting over, the resetting, the bargaining, the cleansing, all of it, I am over it. OVER. IT. Also, I am crabby. And tired. And I need help.

This healthy lifestyle thing, it is a choice. Daily, sometimes even one minute at a time, I make choices about food, exercise, water consumption, protein, sugar, to cream or not to cream my coffee. Today I wanted to choose being in bed at 7pm and ordering a large pizza, delivered thank-you-very-much. I wanted to choose that, but instead talked it out with my love, over a tuna melt she lovingly made for me. She listens to me and loves me when I am like this. I am lucky.

Ratchet is calling me from the other room. I have to get sleep; rest is a huge piece of being healthy and losing weight (though sleep has not helped my chicken wing arms or my good lord please go away flab abs). In a few hours I will get up and meet my trainer and have another chance at starting fresh again. Yes, tomorrow is another day.

Hello friends, I am back.