September 30, 2016

Back to Basics



I probably spend as much on self-help schemes as I do on skincare.  And good anti-aging products do not come cheap.  People never believe that I am 36 so money well spent.  But I digress.

I submerse myself  in (torture myself with?) self-help because I have a shining glimmer of hope!  Hope there might be something better/easier than the truth. A magic formula that will allow me to have all the ice cream I want AND a healthy BMI.   The perfect thing to fix me.  Well, no stone has gone unturned and I can tell you…it does not exist.  Not for an addict like me.

So it’s time to get back to basics.

As a food addict, there are certain things I just cannot eat, namely sugar and flour.  Not one single bite.  In OA this is called abstinence.  I need to perform a few daily/weekly rituals to support abstinence.  Combined, these basics worked for years and I have to accept they are the best way forward.  As “they” say, acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.  Sometimes I want to yell at “them” because this ain’t easy.

Side bar – don’t you just love that word ritual? I do. It makes the daily “ritual” of something, washing my face for example, sound like a calming almost spiritual experience.  In reality, the ritual of washing my face consists of hurriedly rubbing on the aforementioned expensive soap while trying to keep Violet from sticking her hands in the loo.  Yes, we have a childproof thing on it.  I often forget to snap it on because I am busy reading self-help books.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Emma’s 10 Bottom Line Basics

  1. No sugar. Nada. Real stevia (not Truvia), xylitol, and Swerve are ok but I am pretty much avoiding them right now.
  2. No Flour.  No gluten free pasta. No coconut or almond flours. No Ezekiel bread which is “flourless”.
  3. No Alcohol. Completely Sober.  After even one drink my defenses go down and I make bad decisions.  As in, “Sure, I can share that pizza with you”….No.  No I can’t.
  4. No soda. Drink water. A lot of it. Like 4-5 liters a day. Hydrated cells are happy cells and happy cells burn calories faster or something.
  5. Weigh and Measure food. After years of weighing my food, I still have no idea what 3 ounces should look like.  Nor am I am able to hear my body’s signals around fullness.  Weighing and measuring keeps me safe from over doing it.
  6. Track yourself before you wreck yourself. I forked out for the premium version of myfitnesspal because I want to see my macros (fat, protein, carbs, fiber).  Friend me on the app and starting October 1 you will be able to see what I eat.  My user name is emmainprogress_2016.  Keep me accountable people!
  7. OA Meetings.  I HATE going to them.  I always feel better afterwards.  Sigh.
  8. Exercise.  Cardio.  Weights.  Get my dopamine on.
  9. Spiritual Practice.  Om and Amen.  Keeps me grounded and calm.
  10. Have some fun!  Laugh!  Crucial for wellbeing in general.  Mandatory for abstinence.
September 19, 2016

An Ode to Diet Coke


(Image Source)


Oh Diet Coke. My silver bullet of choice.  Your fizzy mouth feel.  Your sweet, chemical taste.  Your caffeine hit.  Your aspartame, phenylalanine deliciousness.  Your caramel color delight.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

You give me that much needed kick in the pants after Violet has nightmares. You give me that extra lift after late night laundry ‘cause John needed special shirts for trial.   You provide relief from seltzer and plain water boredom.  You are freely available in the drink fridge at work.  You addictive little 12 oz can you.

It’s too hard to be abstinent from real sugar when I drink you. Your calorie free sweetness makes me high.  I chase you like a dragon.  I crash and burn when you leave me.  Alas, this is no way to live.  I have to let you go.

No longer my morning coffee or tea replacement (because coffee & tea taste gross, obvi.) No longer my afternoon delight.  No longer wreaking havoc on my endocrine system.  The antithesis to Kelly Clarkson’s anthem, my life will suck LESS without you.

September 16, 2016

Brutal Honesty – First Weekly Pic

Yesterday’s post was so fun to write. I laughed and I hope you did too.  But life isn’t all bright, sunshiny days despite what Johnny Nash says.  A more serious post about my journey is in order.

I swore up and down I wasn’t going to be one of those people who gains a lot weight during pregnancy. I swore I wouldn’t gain more than the suggested 30 pounds.  Oh no, not me.  I had this thing down.

I gained 70 pounds.


A.V. (After Violet), I assumed I would be able to easily get back in shape. Breastfeeding is a magical weight loss cure, didn’t you know?  14 weeks after giving birth I went back to work.  By then I had lost 40 of the 70.  I only had 30 to go!  Any “normal” person would be proud of that.  I, being insane, freaked out.

I actually couldn’t stop freaking out and therefore, started gaining. And gaining and gaining.  I’ve gained back every single one of the 100 pounds I lost.  Every.  Single.  One.

Of course I am sad and mad and horrified.  Of course I feel like crap.  Of course I have been screaming at myself in my head, and sometimes out loud (note the insane comment above).  I started over on countless Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, firsts of the month, fifteenths of the month – seeing a trend here?  I tried many, many different methods and I will definitely tell you about them.  But nothing has been sustainable. I feel like a loser and a failure.  I feel ike a disappointment to myself, to my family, most importantly, to Violet.

Why haven’t I been able to just you know, stop eating? Deep breath people, this is a very scary thing to say out loud, let alone to the entire internet.  I am a straight up food addict, a compulsive overeater, a binge eater.

B.V. (Before Violet), I was in a 12 step program called Overeaters Anonymous. It’s AA for food addicts. I had a sponsor.  I worked the 12 steps. I went to meetings.  I worked a food plan.  I worked out hard. I blogged.  All of this work was a demanding, full time job….but it was worth it.

It all went to shit during the first trimester. The morning sickness that lasted all day, every day.  The migraines.  The exhaustion.  I didn’t know how to handle it.  So I stopped doing everything.  I traded meetings and workouts for The Big Bang Theory – seriously.  I watched the whole show start to finish.  TWICE.  I traded veggies for Ben and Jerry.  And I. Just. Could. Not. Stop.

This is me today…



I don’t want to experience life in this body. I want to be a fit, active, healthy mom.  Not just for Violet.  For me.  So I have to start the work again.  Coming back to the blog is step one.  I need accountability.  I need a place to talk about it all, with humor of course.  I hope you will come back next week and start over with me.  I am determined this will be the last time.

September 15, 2016

Welcome Back Kotter

Woah.  More than two years since I have written a thing.  Say whaaaaaa?  Why you ask?  Because this….

Violet Stefania was born on December 19, 2014.  A true Sagittarius, Violet made a very dramatic entrance into the world via rushed C-section. OK, who am I kidding, Sagittarius? She is my daughter, of course her birth was dramatic.  Long story short, straight out of Grey’s Anatomy, Violet had decels.  I thought we both might die for realzies and into the OR we went.  It was the best worst day of my life and nothing has been the same since.


We are kind of making the same face here, she looks like a beautiful little alien!

A few months from her second (SECOND!?!?!) birthday, and I only just now feel somewhat “normal”.


Motherhood is an adjustment people.  Thanks to Pinterest, I expected all unicorns, rainbows, cute baby smiles and poop that smells like flowers. I mean, TV moms lose their baby weight, go back to work, AND sleep through the night when the kid is like a month old.  Well, TV lies.  LIES!  Sure I knew people with babies and of course, I had my beloved nephew Leo.  Those relationships gave me a glimpse into motherhood.  But no one tells you the truth.  Or maybe they tell you and pregnancy hormones give you selective hearing, sight, and ummm smell.  Either way, nothing and I mean NO THING can prepare you for motherhood until you are in it to win it.


So anyway, I am back and with a new blog design no less!  I can’t promise daily posts but I will have new content a few times a week and maybe even a series or two. Creativity is only bound by my free time otherwise known as the half hour it takes me to eat lunch at my desk.  It took me a week to write this.


PS, Stefania is a real name.  It’s the female diminutive of Steven in both Polish and Italian (I’m a quarter each) and a nod to my maiden name.  My mom thought I made it up.  Apparently, she thought this until Violet’s baptism in June 2015.  Turns out the priest’s mother is called Stefania.  For six whole months my mom thought Violet’s middle name was a made up word.  Nice.  For the record, we pronounce it the Polish way, Ste-fan-ya.

PPS, if you don’t know what Welcome Back Kotter is, and/or never saw it referenced on an episode of Friends, you are too young to read this blog.

October 8, 2013

Status Report in Photos

Before…September 2011

 before September 2011

MInus 50 Pounds….May/June 2012

50 lbs 2

Minus 75 Pounds…April/May 2013


Now….October 4, 2013.  Since I haven’t gotten on the scale in more than two months have no idea what I weigh


status update 1

I’m not even sure it has really hit me that I look so different.  I don’t recognize the woman in the first picture up there.  Inside and outside, I am a different Emma.  All I can say is being a size 10/12 is pretty amazing.  My goal is a 6/8, not far to go!!!

status update 2

November 27, 2012

Happy Anniversary



Today is a big day.  Today marks the one year anniversary of my sobriety from binge foods.  One whole year of a sugar-free, wheat-free, soda-free existence.  A whole year without Diet Dr. Pepper.  365 days without a single piece of chocolate – woah.  12 months and no bread.  Holy Cow!

A year ago, had you told me this was possible, I never EVER would have believed you.  To go a day without “my precious” seemed an impossible feat.  But I did it for a day.  Then I did it for another day.  Then all of a sudden I had done it for 30 days.  Then 60, then 90!  Then low and behold it was 6 months, then 9 months and now an entire year.  Some days were excruciating and I had to get by one second at a time.  Some days were so easy, I barely noticed I only had salad and chicken for lunch instead of “a lovely cheese pizza just for me” (points if you know what Christmas movie that is from.)  It is surreal to say out loud that as a food addict, I have a whole year of food sobriety.

I haven’t decided how to celebrate yet.  A fancy dinner was suggested – but that does not feel right.  I don’t want to celebrate abstaining from my binge foods with food.  Perhaps another piece of jewelry, just like my love bracelet.  Perhaps a massage at Bliss or a day at Kripalu, a yoga center I have been really wanting to go to.  I don’t need to decide now.  I only have to keep going.  One day at a time.



July 6, 2012

Hey, It’s Me.

Hey, It’s me.  Emma.  I am a work in progress, Emma In Progress.   This blog is dedicated to how I am working my ass off – literally!  And this post iis the story of how I got here.  Read it.  It’s cool.

So this is me in September 2011.

I know, right?  Clearly you can see by looking at me that I was MISERABLE.  I may have been smiling on the outside but inside I was dying.  And not in the Rachel Zoe “I just found the perfect Louboutins to go with that dress and I die” kind of way.  I hated having my picture taken.  I must have felt pretty confident in that chevron stripped dress to agree to a photo.  At this weight, I was starting to really feel it.  My back and hips would hurt after just a few blocks of walking.  Not cool. Especially since I’m a New Yorker and walking is like, essential.  

Not long after this photo was taken, my cousin Pamela, a bona fide CrossFit rockstar, suggested our entire family do a Biggest Loser competition. We did this competition once before and I lost.  Boo.  This time, I was determined to beat everyone to a pulp.  Competitive much? What? Who? Me? Never!

I stuck it out and after 12 weeks lost over 20 lbs and won the competition!  I don’t have any photos of me at that weight, shocking considering my previously mentioned aversion to the camera.  I didn’t just stop after the 12 week competition ended.  As of today, I have lost 50 pounds.  I have to type that again.  50 pounds! I can’t even believe it myself sometimes.  In fact, I don’t hate the camera as much, here is a picture of me today, 50 pounds lighter.

I drastically changed my eating habits and found a new home at 24Hour Fitness.  This hasn’t been easy.  In fact, a lot of the time it down right sucked.  Who wants to get up at 5am to meet their trainer?  Most days, not me.  But the results are so worth it.  My life is completely different now, and not just because I have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes or can pump out 1.3 miles on the elliptical machine in less than 15 minutes – at level 4!

But I can’t just stop at 50 lbs! I am still working on it.  Like most people, my life (and my weight loss) is in progress. I am putting it out here on the blogosphere because I want to share it with you.  I want to show you that weight loss, taking it one day at a time, the good old fashioned way eating well and exercising more, IS POSSIBLE.  And if I can do it, trust me you can too.  I have quite a journey ahead of me to get to my goal, it is 80 pounds long.  So join me and together we will do what we could not do alone!