Monthly Archives: November 2011

I struggle, I share


My good friend, Carla, posted this picture on facebook a few weeks ago. It stuck with me. For some reason, today, I was thinking about this quote. This quote (ok, not this actual quote but the sentiment of it) is the EXACT reason I started this new blog.  I was feeling obligated to write certain things in a certain way at jeninreallife. Honestly, I was getting to the point where I didn’t feel like I could truly be me. and when your blog is “…in real life” you should be able to be real. I know, it sounds weird but I trapped myself into this uber-positive place. Being positive is not a bad thing! I am a positive person; I look at the brighter side or the silver lining. BUT, I felt that I wasn’t being real.

I wasn’t talking about weight loss anymore: I wasn’t focusing on weight loss and I had actually been gaining. Somewhere along the way, the lines blurred between not focusing on weight loss, not caring, and downright flipping my nose up at the whole damn thing.

I wasn’t really talking about my injury: My injuries became a huge part of my existence but I wasn’t blogging about it. It was negative and ugly and I didn’t feel I should be so negative and ugly.

I wasn’t talking about food: ya know why?!? I was eating like crap. I was eating to hide my pain and disappointment and I didn’t want to tell anyone about it. Hell, I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

I wasn’t…doing anything! I was falling into a depressive state. I wan’t ready to admit that to myself how my injury was bothering me and bleeding into other areas of living.

I was actually hiding. Jen in Real Life was like an alter ego. I was keeping that part of life separate from my real life. I’m a teacher so I do try to keep part of my life private. But that doesn’t mean I should hide who I am. I was one way online (and in person with my #fitbloggin tweeps) and more reserved and less…well, less me with real life people. Part of that is facebook – why oh why, am I friends with people I never liked anyway?!?

I was scared! I had an injury. I was looking to surgery to repair the ankle and I was scared! But I didn’t feel confident enough to express my fear. I’m always the strong one; the one who takes care of everything and everyone.

I saw this picture of this quote on facebook and I thought about it and thought about it. I was already looking to make a change. I had changed my twitter name and started a new blog with the intention of giving myself a place to heal.  I didn’t know just how much I needed this healing place until now. I keep looking at the picture/quote – because so much of this pain I am dealing with is raw and ugly and personal I am not sure how much or how little I should put out there. I come back and read those words…and realize, I need to write out what is going on. I need to share my struggles.

I put it all out there on twitter, but at only 140 characters at a time I have way more to work through.

I put some of it out there on facebook. I am still a bit more reserved on facebook. To me, facebook is just not the place for  all intimate details. FFS, I am friends with my boss on facebook.

Here, in this place, I need to freely explore being me. I need to share this journey I am on. I need to do it for me – I need to have my words, stories, struggles to come back and read and reflect as I continue. I need to do it for any and all strugglers out there – if I am struggling there is bound to be someone else struggling.  So many people put a pretty glossy image on everything. Yes, they tell you what is going on but they don’t dig in deep and share the nitty-gritty.

I am here to share the nitty-gritty. Someone (besides me) might benefit from my struggles.

I am opening myself up to the emotional roller-coaster. I am going to live the emotions and blog the process of processing it all. I think I am going to learn so much along the way!

I need to send special thanks out to all my twitter peeps, you have all helped me so much in the past week. I need to especially thank Carla, Tara & Meegan, Karen, and Christie – you ladies have no idea how much you have helped me….I have learned so much from your wise words.

I struggle.

I share!

This will be my secret to success!  😉



you deserve a recap


I hope you all follow me on twitter or facebook because I am a terrible blogger these days. I just do not have the attention span to write a blog post. And to be honest, I have been sort of hopped up on pain meds and sleeping as much as the pain will let me.  I have spent most of my time since surgery on the couch, sometimes sleeping and sometimes just wishing sleep would come.

So I will take you through some of the high lights.  If you follow the hashtag #jenonthemend you can follow along with my ramblings and daily randomness.


I have such a short attention span these days.  And I really don’t do a whole lot.

Proof is in the pictures, here is a slideshow taken on my blackberry of what I have done this week.

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See told ya, not too exciting.


Here is a quick rundown of each day for the last week:

Thursday: Surgery day.  I was way more nervous than I expected but I shouldn’t have been! Everything went smoothly.

Friday: a lot of pain.  I did not really sleep for the first 24 hours post-surgery.

Saturday:  dozed in and out on the couch, discovered online mah-jongg and words with friends for facebook has helped to distract me from pain.

Sunday: Finally slept.  First sorta shower.

Monday: napped in bed.

Tuesday: nothing exciting to report.

Wednesday: First trip out of the house. Drive-thru bank and pharmacy.

Thursday: Thanksgiving. I took a sorta shower, had my sister and brother-in-law over for dinner, only took one short nap.

Friday: Absolutely exhausted from entertaining and being awake for Thanksgiving.  I slept almost all day long!




Healing and recovering from surgery is harder and more exhausting than I ever thought possible.


Sorry I am not too exciting these days….but I just wanted to check in. I am going to need these posts to look back on. I know I have a long road to recovery but the end will be worth it! I am doing my best to stay positive – some days (some minutes) are better than others.

For now, I am headed back to sleepytown!

today’s the day and a giveaway (UPDATE: winner chosen)




KERRY, please email me your mailing address so we can get your FT4 out to you!!

I look forward to hearing about your FT4 adventures!  


I don’t know if any of you know this, but today at 9am EST I am having knee and ankle surgery. I am ready and waiting.

I will keep you all posted as I go!

Follow me on twitter.

Friend me on facebook.

And while you wait for me to appear again, I have a giveaway for you.

I am a Polar Ambassador.

My Polar HRM (Heart Rate Monitor)  helped me LEARN how to run. I loved running, but I was killing myself trying to run and then I was exhausted. Well, Chris from Polar told me I was not letting my heart rate help me with my running. I was exerting too much energy.

No wonder I was so tired!

Enter  Polar !!

I wear my  Polar watch every day. I strap on the chest strap every time I run.


Polar is giving me the opportunity to give one FT4 to one of my people!! YES, that’s you!!

Some info &  a video:

For those who want basic heart rate-based features to keep their fitness training simple.

  • Shows when you’re improving fitness based on your heart rate
  • Displays calories burned
  • Comes with comfortable fabric transmitter and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk

Still not sure you need a HRM? Consider it like a coach on your wrist.  It isn’t just for athletes, it is for everyone! Watch this video to find out why:

{Even if you already have a HRM, watch the video – it is short and SO helpful!}

So now for the giveaway part…

Leave me a comment….tell me how you will use your HRM…

Contest will close next Thursday night at midnight and I will pick a winner when I wake up Friday!!


getting ready, the lists

I have:
  •  cleaned most of my house (spring-cleaning style)
  • organized and super-cleaned my bedroom
  • washed and folded every stitch of dirty clothing I could find
  • washed and folded all the sheets and extra blankets
  • stashed blankets & pillows (so I can have 2 areas set up for recovering/lounging)
  • put away stuff I won’t be using for the next month (even straightened up the attic)
  • stacked books, bagged yarn/crochet projects, found all cords/chargers and put them in laptop bag – all for easy access for AJ or Q to grab for me. I need to know where things are if I want them to go & bring it to me)
  • splurged and bought myself some cheap jammie pants
  • cooked a few of  my specialties – I made a huge Sunday night lasagne split into two, so one batch could go right in the freezer (plus I have been stocking away some of my other specialties each weekend for the last month or so)
Thank goodness I had a 4-day weekend.
I was very busy!
It is Sunday night, I am still finishing up laundry and I am going through the to-do lists in my head. I am pretty sure I have the house in order and ready for my 4-6 week hiatus from housework.  Now, I have to turn my focus to school. I think I have everything under control there. I have a fantastic substitute lined up. I trust her and I have prepared my students for my leave.  That being said, I still have a to-do list there.  Its a good thing I still have 3 days to finish up.
I am keeping busy in spurts.  Keeping busy is helping me not freak out.
Writing this post made me feel a bit better – it helped me see all that I have done instead of all I still have to do!
I feel calmer.
For now.
I’m off to fold another load of laundry.
And make tomorrow’s to-do list!

the answer is…


So yesterday I blogged, am I going paleo?

and the answer is…

not exactly!


I am not exactly following the paleo diet but I did a lot of reading about the paleo diet and I was inspired. Everything I read seemed doable and logical. A lifestyle thing more than a diet.

Some of the key “rules” of paleo (in my words) followed my thoughts on the rules:

1. Veggies. Veggies. Veggies. I can and need to add MORE veggies. 

2. Lean Proteins. I pretty much almost always choose lean proteins. But there is still the occasional sausage or bacon. 

3. Some fruits. I have been very sporadic and random with my fruit consumption. 

4. real foods.  It is easy to get sucked into convenient snacks. 

5. no grains. I love bread and pasta and rice. I definitely overeat them. 

6. no dairy. I don’t really eat or drink that much dairy.  I do enjoy a yogurt every now and again, and I take half & half in my coffee, and I add cheese to certain meals. 

7. no beans. I was not able to verify the exact stance on beans but I like beans. Not sure how I feel about no beans. 


Eating paleo allows for a ton of options. I  researched and found several sources and recipes (I made a paleo page just to keep track of all the info and recipes I am finding). Would you believe, I even found a recipe for a chocolate cake.  Not a bad way to eat.  Eating paleo also has some drawbacks. No beans?!? No half & half in my coffee?!?

so am I going paleo or not?!?


At this particular time, I am not ready to commit to going paleo all the way.  I know I said the same thing yesterday and I haven’t changed my mind.  But I was inspired by everything I read yesterday and just how I felt today. I am sure part of it is all in my head, but I woke up ready to face the day.

I woke up ready to eat more veggies and drink more water.  I did not wake up like I was ready to start yet another diet.  It was a little weird but I woke up and just went about my day. I focused on making good food choices, adding in veggies and drinking water.  I did not feel the usual diet pressure to have some amazingly perfect day. I really must thank Kris – she tweeted me a link to her MORE post and it was that thought of more that made today different.

I did not feel some incessant need to have the perfect diet day.  I was able to enjoy what I ate, take the time to make good choices (prepping night ahead was also helpful), listening and trusting myself.  I actually enjoyed eating today. I was not trying to cram my favorite (and less than healthy option) into a crazy-low number of calories.  I ate when I was hungry – I even ate a yogurt for snack around 3rd period, which is awesome since I usually suffer through until 1:15 when my students leave.  For lunch, I had a fabulous salad which I prepped the night before.  Dinner was loaded with veggies -a chinese-style stirfry with lean beef, broccoli and snow peas – I had less than a 1/2 cup of white rice and added in raw baby spinach (the leftovers minus the rice will become the topping for my salad in today’s lunch).  After dinner, must have “dessert” was a banana “whip” – because I love dessert!

I managed to drink 64 ounces of water!!  That may not seem like a lot but with the ankle and knee injury I had a built in excuse not to drink my water and I used it. I mean com’on, who wants to go up and down all those school steps  when it freaking hurts.  I still have same issue but I have to make it work. In less than two weeks, I will still need to drink water but I will be on crutches – better to get used to it now.  So 64 ounces is probably about 40 ounces more than I have been getting regularly.

I hope today is just as great!

I have a few “tricks” I am going to keep in my bag (you know us teachers always have a bag of tricks).

1. More – more veggies (I will eat a veg with every meal), more water (I will sneak in a glass of water before my first morning coffee and sip between each class), more good stuffs.

2. Apples – “Am I hungry enough to eat an apple?” I recently heard about this little trick, if I think I am hungry and I want a quick snack I will ask myself if I am hungry enough to eat an apple.  I think asking myself this will give me just the pause to think about what I am eating and why.

3.  I will plan the night ahead – I will pack my lunch, plan my breakfast, and plan for an emergency snack. I tend to not use my back-up plan but when I don’t have one I am always wanting it.


I will add to my tricks.

I will tweak my diet until I get it where I want it.

I will listen to my body and hunger cues (right now I am just working on learning to listen and actually hearing a hunger cue).

I will love myself as I go through this process.

I will be kind and I will love myself.

I will learn food is not meant to punish or reward.

I will learn what foods make me feel the best.

We will see just what that means…


am I going paleo?


A lot has been going through my head these past few weeks. The closer I get to surgery the more anxiety…my brain is in overdrive…there is much to do before surgery. I have allowed anxiety to be my permission slip to a junk food field trip.  While I know I need to feel my emotions, I also know, for me, I need to have an eating plan that will not let me slip into (un)comfortable patterns. Having some clear cut eating/food guidelines helps me stay in control.

For once, I am looking at everything. I am working on my mental and physical state.  There is a cycle at work here: I’m stressed/anxious/nervous/worried/(fill-in-the-blank-emotion) and I eat “crap” and then I feel worse and then I eat more crap….and the cycle continues. My clothes are tight but worse, my skin feels tight. My emotions are working overtime but I am working on feeling those emotions and working through them.

Just today, I had a long conversation with my husband. We talk all the time so that is nothing new, but the topic of conversation…well, that was new. I told him how I was feeling about surgery – not just the to-do list of things to be done before my surgery but how I was feeling about it – nervous/stressed/anxious. Big Man looked at me and simply said, “everything will be just fine. We will handle this like we handle everything else: together.” Damn! I love that man. He always has my back and he always know just how to handle me (and my emotions)!

I even told Big Man how I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my own skin and how my clothes were feeling tight. Usually, I keep that stuff to myself (well, to myself and anyone who will listen on twitter). He asked me what I wanted to do about it and I answered him honestly. I told him I needed to control my emotional eating and I needed to have a plan to do it. Guess what?!? Big Man says he is ready to make some changes too. He is also feeling uncomfortable in his clothes. He is a stubborn man, so I jumped at this opportunity.

A friend has recently advised me to up my protein intake ….it is said to be helpful in post-surgery recovery. Another friend suggested I look at the Paleo Diet. I researched online and I even grabbed a paleo book from the library. I shared some info with Big Man and he was interested…to a point. Some of his hesitations are valid: for example, we just stocked the house with certain foods that are not “bad” foods but not paleo but I refuse to just throw food away.

We talked. We decided.

We are going to break into Paleo slowly.  We have worked too hard to keep our budget under control. Currently,  we only have my salary to live on and that means throwing perfectly good food away or not eating what we have is not an option. Then there is  my surgery (in like 10 days) and then a week later, Thanksgiving.  After Thanksgiving we will give Paleo 100% of our attention for 30 days and see what we think. I think we will tweak the Paleo basics to fit our family needs.

For now, our BIG focus will be on MORE: more veggies, more proteins, more water. It is my hope that by focusing on the MORE, there will be LESS “crap” food and less “bad” choices.


This week’s menu:

Monday: Beef & Broccoli over rice

Tuesday: Salisbury Steak & periogies & sauteed spinach

Wednesday: Chicken Stew and a Salad

Thursday: Pork Tinga

Friday: Chicken Parm

Saturday: meatball subs & salad

Sunday: Lasagne

16 days


According to the cute little ticker I have right over there on my right sidebar, I have 16 days until surgery!


I am sorta freaking out!

I have raged through many, many emotions over the past two months. I have been hiding those feelings – online, on blog, at home, at school. I have been trying to fight all the feelings because I need to be the strong one! I don’t want Q to be scared! I don’t want Big Man to worry.

Last night on twitter, there was a little conversation among some of my fave ladies! We were chatting about putting on that perfect, smiley face.  I realized I have been doing that – making everything ok for everyone! It’s what I do! I put a positive, smiley spin on everything that hurts!

THAT WAS MAKING ME CRAZY! I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t keep posting blogs because I felt like a fraud. I had built up Jen in Real Life to always be this happy, shiny place but that is so NOT real life. I felt trapped by my own ways. I felt like I shouldn’t admit that I was scared or sad or … or… or

I started a new blog, this blog. I changed my name!

I had a new mission – to work on ME! To make each day a little bit better than the day before.

But I let my head get in the way. I let myself start to slip on the slippery slope towards old & bad habits. I wasn’t going to post about being scared. I was going to bury it down and just let you all think  everything was hunkydory. It’s not hunkydory. I need major surgery on my knee and ankle. I should have had the ankle surgery 4 years ago, but I was not in a place to do it then.  All the regrets of putting off the surgery is staring me in the face.  I am freaking out. Surgery is scary. Regret is scary.

I am sorry that I almost allowed my insecurities, and need to be the happy, perky, upbeat Jen, almost keep me from using this space as I intended.  I want and need this space to be about the healing.

With the healing, I need the feeling.

The good feelings, the bad feelings, the ugly feelings, and all the feelings in between.

I am done putting a smiley, happy face on all the time!

I am 16 days away from a major surgery and I am SCARED!!

I am 16 days away from surgery and I am facing the fears!

I am facing the feelings.