Wednesday, June 30

My Nemesis Is In The House

Homemade, raw chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s my Kryptonite.

If I was a death row inmate, I’d have cookie dough made with Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee as my last meal. Buzzing on caffeine and sugar, I’d skip into the death chamber, memories of my Jamaican honeymoon and sitting at my mother’s kitchen table, licking the beaters from her latest batch of cookies swirling in my head. I’d die happy.

Before I began my eight-weeks to wellness program, I typically had a Ziploc bag full of cookie dough in the freezer. I’d grab a little morsel now and again to reward myself for going to yoga class, or volunteering at my children’s school, or, for making the long, arduous trek from the second floor all the way to the freezer. However small the accomplishment, a cookie dough ball was a just reward.

Given my weakness for the sugary ball of goodness, I haven’t made any since I began this quest. I didn’t want the temptation.

Last night, my daughter Amanda had a few friends over and she made cookies. There’s cookie dough in my freezer right now, beckoning me like a Siren.

If I cheat am I wrecking all my progress? What’s a girl to do?

Tuesday, June 29

I Just Can't Do It

Meditate. The word calls to me every day on my iCal application. Sparkling in its purple highlighted cell, I look at it, acknowledge it, and ignore it.

Instead, I tackle hair appointments, doctor visits, the gym, the grocery store, even the library’s summer reading program gets a higher priority. I accomplish everything on the iCal schedule, except meditate.

I should do it, I know I should.

Several years ago I sought the help of a therapist for various issues, and he, after only a few sessions said, “I think you would really benefit from meditation.”

He was apparently so convinced I needed it that he made me a meditation tape. As I exited his office, he handed me a cassette tape. “Listen to it, I think you’ll really like it.”

Thanking him, I left and stared at the black plastic rectangle with the word “meditation” hand-written across it. I couldn’t help but think, Who makes a cassette tape anymore? I mean, is that technology even around? How old is this guy?

Monday, June 28

My Sunday Ritual. No, It’s Not Church

It was a chilly Tuesday evening in May. The skies had been threatening rain all day and it looked like the weatherman’s predictions were finally going to arrive. I stood in the parking lot of Short Pump Middle School, clutching the sides of my jacket a bit tighter against my body.

Janelle’s soccer coach approached me and said, “Looks like rain. I’ll let the girls run around for about 15 minutes and then we’ll call it a night.”

I quickly agreed and ran to the warmth of my car. Great, I thought, I raced over here for nothing. Evening soccer practice always annoyed me. Not only due to mother nature’s unpredictability, but also because it interfered with a tradition of mine—family dinner.

When it comes to dinnertime, I’m a bit like June Cleaver. I like to have dinner as a family every night. I enjoy the togetherness as we gather around the table. I relish the conversations about my children’s day. It’s more than sustenance to me. It’s connecting to the people I love most in this world. And soccer practice was totally screwing with that.

Friday, June 25

Are You Supposed to Cry in Cycling Class?

Once, about three years ago my sister talked me in to taking a cycling class at her gym. Twenty minutes in, sweat dripping off me, and gasping for air, I found myself performing the Lamaze breathing technique to calm myself. Without a thought to the impression I was giving my fellow cyclists, I got up and walked out. I couldn’t take it.

Now it’s my friend Suzanne that’s trying to coax me in to a class. “You’ll love it,” she insisted. “It’s a great workout and half of our neighbors are in there. It’s like happy hour.”

Still stinging from my initial experience, I evaded her overtures. “Um, yeah, I don’t know. I’ll think about it,” I hedged.

But she kept pushing and since I have trouble saying “no” to peer pressure, I caved.

Joining Suzanne in the back of the class, I asked the instructor for help in setting up my bike. Thankfully she was no “John the Jerk” and cheerfully welcomed me and showed me how to adjust the bike. (See John, that’s how it’s done. It’s called KINDNESS.)

Thursday, June 24

Does Redecorating Count As Exercise?

Ah, summer. A time for flip flops, beach trips, hot weather, cool drinks, and home improvement projects. At least that’s what’s happening in my house.

Michael and I promised the kids we’d repaint their rooms and now seemed like a good  time. Amanda, tired of her headache-producing neon green and blue color scheme, would like a more peaceful blue. Yeah, no kidding. Grant has outgrown the adorable, but babyish spaceship themed wallpaper. And Janelle would, of course, like something pink.

So far we’ve moved furniture, vacuumed, washed walls and baseboards, stripped wallpaper, and scraped wallpaper adhesive off the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. The previous owners put a blue, starry wallpaper on the ceiling. It looked really cute, until we decided to remove it. I have plenty of words to describe it now and “cute” is not one of them.

Wednesday, June 23

Fruit Rollups Are Not Fruit

A few years ago I remember having an argument with my daughter Amanda about the nutritional value of Fruit Roll Ups.

“It’s got fruit in it Mom. It’s a healthy snack. Can’t we please get them?” she begged me.

Reading the ingredient list, I felt otherwise.

“Amanda, it’s not really fruit. It has a tiny bit of fruit concentrate and the next three ingredients are different types of sugar.” I responded. “It’s sugar masquerading as fruit.”

“But there’s some fruit in there,” she reasoned, “It’s not all bad.”

I paused for a moment, got out my soapbox and adhered my Nutrition Nazi badge to my shirt. Clearly she had forgotten whom she was addressing. Secure atop my platform, I proceeded with my lecture.

Tuesday, June 22

Father's Day a/k/a Excuses Day

For some reason I convinced myself that I couldn’t exercise on Father’s Day. My excuses were varied, creative, and highly effective. The mind is a powerful thing and I put it toward evil purposes on Sunday. Take a gander at some of these beautiful reasons for not working out.

Excuse #1: I needed to be around in case Michael wanted to go somewhere.

Even though Michael told me his plan was to watch the U.S. Open all day, I felt it necessary to be at home to take over parenting responsibilities on the off chance he changed his mind and wanted to, I don’t know, go to Taco Bell or something. So I was at DEFCON 1—on high alert all day, prepared to handle the children while he went out to enjoy a Volcano Burrito. But no parenting/Mexican food emergency arose. (Big surprise.)

Monday, June 21

I Think I’m Growing Up. Bummer.

Broken glass littered the dance floor. Adults and children crammed onto a small patio, pulsating wildly to Play That Funky Music, Shout, and other classics.  Beer bottles and wine glasses clinked in the background as toasts to the bride and groom resonated throughout the crowd.

It was your typical non-Baptist southern wedding—plenty of dancing, drinking, eating, merriment, and stuff breaking. At least it felt familiar to me, but I’m from Georgia. We invented the phrase, “It ain’t a party until sometin’ got broke.”

Friday, June 18

I'm a Rock Star. Well, At Least in My Own Mind.

Under duress from Lee Ann Magnus at the Advanced Wellness Centre, I agreed to run the Connect Corporate 4-Miler last night as part of their team.

She caught me in a weak moment. Actually she approached me in the waiting area of the Centre, in front of the office staff and several patients. Talking loudly and with great enthusiasm, she asked me to participate in the race. It was like getting caught on the Kiss-Me-Cam at a sporting event. With everyone’s eyes on me, of course I agreed. I’ve never been able to effectively handle peer pressure. (I hope my kids aren’t reading this. If you are, I expect better from you. Now go read a book or cure cancer or something!)

Thursday, June 17

Control Issues

The debt crisis in Europe, the war in Iraq, the economic woes across America. Today’s headlines read like doomsday is coming. It’s enough to send this girl running for the hills, or, to the nearest Bruster’s for a large Brownie Blast. (With extra brownie, of course.)

I worry about all of those issues and their ramifications on my little life. For example, the debt crisis in Greece sent my 401k plummeting. The war in Iraq reminds me of my godson who recently joined the Navy and will one day be put in harm’s way. And the recession, well, that makes me question the validity of the phrase “financial security.” Is there really such a thing? Or is it just a myth?

Knowing that these things are out of my control doesn’t stop me from worrying about them. You see, I’m a worrier. I just am. Which is exactly why I should be meditating more. (I know, I KNOW!)

Wednesday, June 16

The Eye of the Tiger

I can’t believe it, but I’m beginning to like cardio interval training. Mostly because I can now do it without collapsing. I’ve even increased the speed of the treadmill and managed to stay on the thing. Sweating doesn’t bother me anymore either. In fact, it reminds me that I’m working at the right intensity.

The other day a light rain was falling as I left the gym. I relished the cool drizzle on my hot skin. Tilting my head up toward the sky I stopped for a moment to feel the rain. In my mind’s eye, it would’ve been the perfect scene for the movie Rocky. And lately, I definitely feel like I have a bit of the eye of the tiger. With my eight favorite songs loaded on my ipod and Marq’s words echoing in my brain, “You’re doing awesome Dianna,” I push myself to run faster, to work harder. And the cool thing is, the training is working. I can accomplish physical tasks I previously thought I couldn’t.

Tuesday, June 15

Meditation: Take-Two

Last Sunday, having selected my meditation room, I decided to finally give it whirl.

With meditation CDs in hand, I walked up to the attic, my faithful dog Snickers at my heels. Knowing Snickers would whimper outside the closed door, I let her in the attic and locked the door behind us. I sat down in my meditation zone, my back against a denim beanbag chair, a portable CD player on the floor in front of me.

Okay, I thought, here we go.

The CD started and I immediately let out a laugh. My meditation leader, Dr. Marty Rossman, sounded like Ben Stein. How on earth was I supposed to meditate with Ben Stein leading me? All I could think of was his line in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,    “Beuller? Beuller? Bueller?”

Monday, June 14

No One Told Me This Was a Detox Program

I’m having an existential crisis.

This program has upended my notions of who I think I am and forcing me to reevaluate how I live my life.

The unimaginable has happened. I’m losing my taste for wine.

Having rationalized my red wine consumption as a permissible, even healthy, detour from the plan, I started drinking it again, on occasion. But now I notice my body rejects more than one glass of that sweet nectar. Instead of tantalizing my tongue, it tastes bitter at the first sip of the second pouring. Is it the essence of guilt I smell in the bouquet that prevents me from overindulging? Or the knowledge of alcohol’s affect on my body? Or perhaps, I’m simply drinking really bad wine?

Friday, June 11

Fish Burritos with Black Bean Salsa and Cole Slaw

I thought I’d pass along another of my favorite healthy recipes. My kids love this too. Except for my 7-year-old, Janelle. But she doesn’t count as a real eater because if it’s not bread, pasta, cereal, sugar, yogurt or eggs, she’s probably not going to eat it. She often sits at the dinner table and just stares at it, slumping, her face in her hands and whines, “There’s nothing here that I like.”

Uh huh, too bad. I have no sympathy for her. I’m not running a restaurant and I know she doesn’t mind some healthier choices, she just doesn’t prefer them. Well, no kidding. I’d prefer to eat ice cream, cookie dough, coffee and wine every day too, but that’s not what my body needs. (Say it with me people:  Food is not entertainment. Food is energy. Amen.)

It’s Just 8 Songs

There’s a reason I never did interval training before. I don’t like running or sweating. The only thing that appeals to me about the cardio workout is its short duration—only thirty minutes.  So I go to the gym, and I run, staring at the clock as it counts down until the torture stops. Thirty minutes to go, twenty-nine, twenty-eight...

I’ve realized this obsession with the clock does not, in fact, make the time go faster. I’m convinced it actually triggers some kind of Lost phenomenon. There’s a large flash of light, I’m transported to an alternate timeline, and the clock displays—thirty minutes to go. Arrrrgggg.

Thursday, June 10

To Meditate or Not to Meditate…Okay Fine, I’ll Meditate

I’m supposed to be meditating twice daily. Oops. I still haven’t done it, once.

And I know the problem, actually I have two problems. The first and most formidable, is this: I kind of think it’s a bunch of hooey.

I know there’s tons of research to support meditation as a powerful form of stress relief. I know it’s an ancient practice dating back thousands of years. I know, I KNOW! But it just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing I would do.

My vision of people that meditate run the spectrum from stoned hippies to the Dalai Lama. And while my soul screams “child of the sixties,” I’m really not. I came of age in the 1980s, when consumerism and excess were as big as my hair.

Wednesday, June 9

Get Into the Groove

The title of this blog takes me back to my college days, dancing in clubs with Madonna’s song Get Into the Groove blasting through the air. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. Her music kept me from gaining the Freshman-15. Well, her and my best friend and dance partner, Ben. We danced atop the enormous speakers at the Limelight club, various tables and bars around the city, and sometimes even on the floor. (Can you hear my heavy nostalgic sigh?)

Tuesday, June 8

In Search of Comfort Food

My friend’s dog died the other day. Like her, I am one of those people that elevates the status of their pet beyond mere animal. My dog, like hers, is my baby. I don’t just love Snickers, my brown-eyed, brown-haired, just plain ole brown mutt, I adore her. I’d give her a kidney if she needed it. So when I heard my friend’s news, I was devastated, because I immediately projected her loss into my life.

Monday, June 7


Last night was my family’s annual “State of the Family” dinner.

Once a year Michael and I take the kids out for a nice, leisurely dinner and we discuss how the family is operating. For example, we ask the kids what they like about the family, what issues they have with the way the family runs, and what rules needs to change. Every year the children surprise us with their insights and a perspective that is unique to their position in the family.

Sunday, June 6

My Jeans Are Loose

On the fourth day, post-workout, I ventured to a yoga class thinking an hour-long stretch was exactly what I needed.

I’m no yoga master, but on a normal day I can at least touch the floor when I bend over. Not this day. My hamstrings were still so tight I could only reach my shins. And when we did the straddle leg stretch, that thing where you sit upright on the floor, legs out to each side as far as you can go, and lean forward, I could only move forward about two inches. Granted, a good day for me is only twelve inches forward, but still, I was way off my normal range of motion.

Saturday, June 5


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is an actual medical condition and I’m convinced I have the worst case ever recorded in the history of mankind.

Since I am now the poster child for DOMS, I’m going to rename it OMGMFLAKM—Oh My God, My Freakin’ Legs Are Killing Me.

Friday, June 4

Breadaholics Anonymous Anyone?

My husband Michael and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. As I dressed for dinner, I noticed my calves were a bit sore. It was those stupid calf raises Marq made me do the other day, and again with the thirty pound weights. But no matter, I threw on some high heels anyway. It was my anniversary and I wanted to look nice. And also to remind Michael that marrying me fourteen years ago was a grand idea. I, of course, realize it was his best idea ever, but he forgets sometimes. So I like to remind him how utterly fabulous I am. At least once a year.

Thursday, June 3

Shhhh, Don't Tell Marq

Today was the first time I did the lower body workout with Marq, and, just between you and me, I’m not that sore. The first couple of times I did my cardio training (that blasted running thing) my body kind of freaked out about, you know, MOVING. But this old bod rebounded pretty quickly and since then, it hasn’t been that bad.

Wednesday, June 2

H2Oh-My God I Have to Pee

No big surprise, part of the In8 program is drinking plenty of water. I’m supposed to down seventy ounces a day, which is a little over a half-gallon. Like the rest of this healthy lifestyle stuff, I know what I’m supposed to do, but my execution stinks.

Tuesday, June 1


Watching Ace of Cakes while struggling on the Stair Climber. This was my view at the gym today. Some poor woman slumped over the digital display, her forearms resting on the handrails as she continued to climb, and climb, while Duff Goldman showcased his staff’s latest sugary masterpiece on the TV in front of her.

Is it just me, or does that seem counterproductive?