How my friends helped me lose weight

Hello friends,

Three of my very good friends and I have kept in contact through daily emails for the past 2 years.  I can’t say that I’ve ever stayed in touch with anyone quite as long and with such regularity as these women.

So what unites us (besides friendship)?  A passion to improve our bodies and overall health.  *cue eye roll now*

We’ve supported each other through weekend binges, marathon training, 6 month plateaus, and stomach flus.  Despite the obvious “hang in theres”, we’ve given each other sound advice and reality checks.

Collectively, the four of us have lost 167 pounds!  ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN POUNDS!  That is an entire person.  And we’ve managed to keep it off for over a year now.

So what have we done as a team that I couldn’t do on my own?

1) Check-in with a daily menu plan.  If you write what you eat for others to read, you are more likely to eat healthy foods in normal proportions.  I get embarrassed when I have 3 carb-loaded meals per day, which motivates me to add extra veggies and proteins into my diet.  If I ask why my weight isn’t falling off, my friends can point to my diet and make suggestions.

2) Cut out the bullshit.  The previous step of making menu suggestions leads to cutting through the crap.  If I whined about not losing weight fast enough, my friends gave me a reality check, “Mads, you drank 3 beers and then ate an entire pizza, of course you’re not losing weight.”  This step might be the most important.  It’s hard to confront your friends, but truth-telling is the slap in the face that we often need.

3) Set mini-goals with specific dates/pounds to lose/rewards.  When we were all stuck, we set a mini goal of 3 pounds over two weeks with rewards varying from buying a new book to treating ourselves to a bubble bath.  The quick mini goals helped get us out of ruts and built friendly competition.

4) Give reality checks.  Along with eating tips and general weight-loss talk, we also emailed each other inspirational articles.  Having a group of friends who remind you daily that your body is beautiful, no matter how much weight you still want to lose, is a really wonderful thing.  I didn’t start losing any weight until I decided that I deserved it and they helped me see that.

5) Workout together.  Although we mostly live in separate states now, we would frequently meet up for a run or walk (occasionally we met to do awkward Navy workout videos).  I prefer stuffing my face with cheese than running any amount, but my friends made it fun.  Sometimes we do virtual runs with the addition of some friends on twitter #RunningPackInTheSky.

6) Have fun.  I hate eating healthy and exercising (truly, I do), but my friends make it fun for me every single day.  They get me excited to try new foods, and I think about them cheering me on every time I go for a run.  We give each other gold stars and shoulders to cry on when it got hard.  There’s no way I could do it without them.

I could write a million more tidbits I’ve learned on this journey, but I really want to hear from you.


What or who inspires you to stay healthy?  Have you recently lost weight?  What works for you?


One Kitchen, Many Hearts: Box 3

My blogging friends are at it again!  We send boxes of goodies to one another every other month, and this month did not disappoint.

(Top left to bottom right: Me, Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic, Megan from Wanna be a Country Cleaver, Jeanne from Inside NanaBread’s Head, Allison from Decadent Philistines Save the World, Kat from Tenaciously Yours)

When I was a freshman in college, I received one care package in the mail from my grandma.  It was the only thing that had come in the mail during the first six months I was living in the dorms, so I couldn’t wait to open it.

So I hopped into the elevator with my box, ignoring the group of attractive dudes riding up the elevator with me.  I ripped open the box and pulled out a bright neon blue frog puppet.  That’s right, I was standing in the elevator with a giant frog puppet and my jaw hit the floor.

Needless to say, these boxes from my bloggy friends are way less embarrassing and way more fun to open!

This month’s box was from Kat at Tenaciously Yours (who is also my sorority sister) and I loved every bit of it!

The gourmet food accoutrements in the package were to die for.  I mean, how can you not love pink salt?

That’s right. Pink. Salt.

Truffle oil has never appeared in my kitchen, but I like to think I make food that’s good enough for a quick spritz from time to time.  Or you could just spritz it right into your mouth.  Both options sound good.  (p.s. Don’t give truffle oil fries to your dog.  Your dog will explode for 2 days straight.  Awful, awful times for Josie.)

Don’t you just love the strawberry patch detail on this dish towel?  Completely adorable.

Strawberry fields forever.

As a fellow Minnesotan native, Kat knows how important it is to take advantage of bright summer days with grilled foods and chilled beers  So I was pretty excited to see this awesome grilled burger topping in the box:

Holy yum!

I think the theme of this box is actually “Things I Will Put on Everything”.  Case and point: vanilla sugar.

Look at all of those vanilla bean nums!

Finally, as if that all weren’t enough, she tossed in some oat bars!  I don’t know about you all, but I can’t look another Lara Bar in the face.  Maybe I’ll eat another one a few years from now, but today I’m all about these oat bars.

Great box!  Great friends!

Do you do anything with your friends to stay in touch and show the love? 

What do you use truffle oil for, if not for making your dog sick?


With this ring, I thee wed…or something like that

My friend Kat recently got married in a traditional Jewish wedding.

Being my first Jewish wedding, I was really trying to absorb it all.  Each wedding guest had a program explaining various parts of the service, and the rabbi explained a few things too.

Things I learned…Jewishy things…hope I don’t screw this up…

Ketubah– It looks like a piece of art, but it’s also a marriage contract.  Kat and Marcus wrote one vow together and it is printed on the ketubah in English and Hebrew.  The star map of the night of their wedding is the base of the art.  Beautiful.

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Whalen Photography (linked)

Immediately preceding the ceremony in the chapel, they had a separate “signing of the ketubah” ceremony.  The family and bridal party were invited to witness the signing.  Then the rabbi asked both sets of parents to whisper words of wisdom and blessings to their kids; followed by Marcus and Kat whispering words of promise and love to each other.

The whole room Lost. It.

I was a freaking blubbering mess.  At this point, I was trying to be quiet enough with my sobbing so that other guests wouldn’t think I had emotional problems.  Ridiculous.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Whalen Photography (linked)

Luckily I got the tears out of the way before I had to walk down the aisle in front of 350 people.  …350 closest friends

It helped that I was mainly focused on my severe foot pain.  Have I mentioned I don’t really wear heels?

Chuppah– This is the canopy hanging over the bride and groom, which is supposed to represent a home built together.  I am fairly certain they had a chuppah in mind, but at the last minute changed to a quilt (gifted to the couple from an aunt).

Kat walked down the aisle to a magnificent version of Cannon in D.  Once again, I was lucky enough to get my teary-eyed blubbering out of the way during rehearsal.

She met her parents halfway down the aisle and then circled the chuppah 7 times.  7 is a very symbolic number in Judaism.  I would pretend to know exactly why the bride circles 7 times, but not even Google can give me a firm answer.

Short answer: she does it for a lot of reasons.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Whalen Photography (linked)

Sheva Brachot– This is basically the rabbi’s portion of the ceremony, as it is The Seven Blessings.  Again with the 7.  Kat and Marcus had a woman sing the blessings in Hebrew and it was really touching.  I don’t know what it is about praying/singing in Hebrew, but it is truly eerie, moving, and beautiful all at once.  Very cool.

“Mazel Tov!”- The guests shout this “good luck!” as Marcus smashes a glass with his foot.  I never knew, but breaking the glass symbolizes mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, even in times of great joy.

Then they RAN back down the aisle!  I think that was more of a Kat thing than a tradition.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Whalen Photography (linked)

That was the ceremony.  Stay tuned for the reception.

In the meantime, here are some of my other favorite pictures from the big day:

This is our "Friends" shot. I bitched a lot about walking on the dock in heels, but this picture was worth it.

Seriously, how can you not adore this?

This bus ride was SO fun and the couple was so incredibly happy. Can't ask for more than that!

Have you ever been to a different style of wedding?  What was your favorite part?


Twins Win!

I don’t like baseball.

Call me unAmerican, but I have little patience for a 3 hour game which consists of players standing around for the majority of the time.

Why, you ask, do I still attend baseball games year after year?  Three reasons:

1) Beer

All hail the beer gods

2) People watching

3) I love Minnesota, and it’s fun to be with a huge group of people who feel the same way.

Lame?  Maybe.  Fun?  Absolutely.

This year was my first adventure seeing the new stadium.  It was beautiful!  Not a bad seat in the house!

And then night falls and it gets prettier…

And then we panic as the game is tied in the bottom of the 9th…

And then the Twins win and we celebrate with grilled cheese…

This might be the happiest I have ever seen my friend Katie.



No, we don’t use the grapes you stomp with your feet

Two of my favorite sorority sisters decided to fly out this past weekend and take a day trip to Santa Ynez wine country.  I thought wine tasting was for high society, but wanna know a secret?  Any drunk with some spare cash can wander around the vineyard.

And that’s just what we did.

As goofy as we got, I thought the family with 9 children and a shirtless dad sitting on the front lawn of a vineyard in camp chairs was a little too low-brow.  I mean, I’m paying $10-20 per tasting to avoid your screaming children.

Thank goodness those screaming children couldn’t take away the view.  Beautiful.

Once we had a few glasses of wine, we decided it would be the perfect time to feed some ostriches…because that’s just what happens…right???

Btw, the sign next to my hand says, “Yes, we like to bite!”  Yes…the sign next to My Hand.

This ostrich had beef with the photographer.

Overall, the trip was a blast.  We drank to our heart’s content, ate real tasty creole food, tested habanero tequila, and fed some crazy big a$s birds!

I would like to end on this last note:

Do you get goofy at wine tastings or is it all about the tannins?