Monday, May 29, 2017

Never Binge Again

I just want to thank everyone who participated in my EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale giveaway! Congratulations to Amber H for the win! 

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm overdue in providing an update regarding the program I'm currently using to end my binge eating problems. A reminder: binge eating problems have consumed a good portion of my adult life. Despite seeing multiple therapists, trying different diets, and reading every book out there on binging over the last ten years, I have never had any success in killing my eating disorder. Distance running kept my problem from being super noticeable to the general public, but burned me out over the last few years. I was exhausted, stressed out, and miserable.

Right around the time I started this blog in 2015, I somehow ended up on the mailing list for the Bright Line Eating program offered by Susan Peirce Thompson. In her introductory emails, Susan shared she had found the solution to ending binge eating, and provided a short video series sharing a very high-level overview about the program. Her marketing tactics worked, and I couldn't wait to find out about her "Boot Camp" that offered online support in implementing the Bright Line tactics. So I joined a live webinar to hear about the Boot Camp and received instant sticker shock.

Ending binge eating was apparently going to cost me $1,000+.

Star Wars Finn in desert.

I was disappointed to learn that online group therapy could be so expensive. I remember thinking that Weight Watchers was only $45 per month and you actually get some face to face support, vs. the online forum-based support that came with the BLE Boot Camp. The program may have changed since I looked into it two years ago, but at the time, it seemed to me that Susan was taking advantage of people who desperately wanted to end binge eating.

Shortly after that, I changed the way I was training for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon and hoped that slower running combined with a higher fat/lower carb diet could help me kill the binge dragon. I was focused on that effort for a while, but saw no results.

However, in July 2016, I found a new "expert" to follow. I actively read the Mark's Daily Apple blog, and was interested to see a binge eating disorder expert being interviewed on his podcast. So I listened to what Dr. Glenn Livingston had to say... and then immediately consumed every bit of information I could find on the guy, including downloading and reading his FREE book on Amazon. I wrote this short post about the Never Binge Again program, and successfully implemented his suggestions for the rest of the summer.

But then, I let my guard down. Birthdays, holidays... you know how the second half of the year can be. I was fooled into thinking I knew exactly how to "put my inner pig back in its cage," and having a treat here and there turned into something much more sinister again. I found myself back to where I started, and didn't give "Never Binge Again" much more thought.

Until January. The new year arrived, and I started receiving emails from yet another binge eating expert, Isabel Foxen Duke. Isabel employed similar marketing tactics as Susan Peirce Thompson, and I was hooked. Her videos made me believe she had the real answer to binge eating disorder, and I couldn't wait to sign up for her coaching program.

The cost? $1,000+. Again, her program provided webinars and group support. No individual consultations for me and my particular problems. There's a lot of money to be made in the world of eating disorders. Someone has to be paying these prices, I guess, but it's not me. I've got other bills I have to pay, thankyouverymuch.

Meanwhile, I had continued receiving emails from Dr. Glenn Livingston and remembered how his program had sort of worked for me last year. It was so easy, based on rules I could make for myself... no menus to follow, no counting points or calories, and no weigh-ins necessary. I just needed some help in constructing a solid plan for myself and implementing a simple - yet effective - mind trick when faced with the possibility of deviating from that plan.

Enter Dr. Livingston's "Online Intensive" program. His program consists of four group webinars (held live so you can ask questions, but recorded in the event you can't attend one), followed by three months of unlimited one-on-one coaching sessions via phone or Skype.

So... based on the other two programs I looked into, which offer no personalized help, I expected Dr. Livingston's would be much more expensive. Right?

Nope. The NBA program costs just $400.


Dr. Livingston gives away his book, charges almost a third of what his competitors are charging, and sincerely cares about your success with the program -  so much so that if you are unsatisfied at the end of the webinar series, and after participating in three one-on-ones, you can receive a full refund of your fees.

But I won't need a refund. It's working.

My only criticism is that each one-on-one session is only fifteen minutes long. You have to do some pre-work before the session and some homework after it to fully benefit from it. I don't mind doing the legwork, but when I had my first session with Dr. Livingston a week ago, I did feel a little rushed through it. But I know I've got two more months to connect with him more frequently if I need to.

Honestly, though, this is working SO well that I don't know if I will need to. And his techniques also work in other areas of my life, too. Don't feel like writing today, Nicole? Or is it your inner pig? Is it really you, Nicole, that doesn't want to go to the gym today, or is it your inner pig acting lazy again? Making a daily connection with the "real" me that has hopes, dreams, and aspirations (using Dr. Livinston's techniques) has helped me achieve more on a daily basis compared to what I was accomplishing when I was solely focused on solving my food challenges.

So if you are one of my readers who has identified with anything I've ever written here about binge eating, sticking to a food plan, or trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle... but have failed time and time again... do yourself a favor, and download Dr. Livingston's free book. It's a quick, easy read, and may be just enough to jumpstart your success.

If you do it this week, I believe his next Online Intensive program would start Saturday (but don't quote me on that). You don't have to have read the book to join the program, but I think it will give you a good foundation going into it.

Have you read the book? Or have you also participated in an Online Intensive? Leave a comment to share your experience! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mighty Ducks

I went "running" this morning around my new favorite lake again. I just like all of the fun things I usually see there, although I do have to be careful not to lose my sense of purpose when I'm out for a run. Training for a half marathon means I can't stop every few steps to take pictures, right?

So I decided to limit myself to stopping only once mid-run to take photos, which takes a lot of willpower when there are teeny tiny baby animals like ducklings, geese, and squirrels hanging out. And the parakeets I saw last time were back, too. I was surrounded by adorableness.

But no, today I only stopped to take some photos of ducks in trees.

First Florida duck seen in a tree while I was running
What's up, duck? Oh, you are.

Second duck seen in a tree while I was running
This one is a little harder to see, but I hope you can make him out right in the middle there. 
This isn't the first time I've seen ducks in trees down at the lake, but I think it's the first time I've taken photos of it. It just strikes me as odd. Ducks like to paddle through the water. Or waddle around the lake looking for handouts. We just don't think of them as hanging out in trees.

But why shouldn't they hang out in trees? They can fly, right? Why should they be more limited than their feathered cousins?

Maybe some ducks are just better at it than others, though. I mean, I've got two legs just like every other sub-2 half marathoner out there, but I can't seem to run that fast.

In other news, it's day 5 of the Whole Life Challenge. The challenge incorporates more than nutrition - exercise, water, sleep, mobility, and reflection are all part of it. So in many ways, it is more difficult to meet the challenge requirements than doing something like the Whole 30, which only focuses on food. Yet I find this to be easier because the food rules for WLC are a little less stringent. Still, ask me about it 8 weeks from now. At least the Whole 30 is completed after one month.

I really like what the founders believe about pursuing "perfection," and that it's human nature to just always want to be better. We always want more than we've got. The founders say I should just accept this, and that I shouldn't try to chase perfection. I will apply that to every facet of living a healthy lifestyle, EXCEPT I will strive for perfect adherence to my food plan. This is a major component of achieving success with the Never Binge Again program, which has been working really well for me. Which reminds me, I do owe you an update on NBA. Maybe next post.

If you haven't entered already, don't forget Saturday is the last day to enter to win a digital kitchen scale from EatSmart products. Whether you are looking to lose weight or just want to be able to provide more accurate data in your MyFitnessPal food logs, having a kitchen scale will help you achieve more precision in knowing your calorie and macronutrient intake. Good luck to everyone who entered so far!

Friday, May 19, 2017


Before I jump into my kickball update, I wanted to remind you that I'm featuring a giveaway to win a digital kitchen scale. You can enter to win on my giveaways page.

Last winter, I joined my neighborhood's kickball team. We play in a co-ed community league on Tuesday nights, and I'd say we're pretty decent. We ended the season in second place out of four teams but got booted out early in the playoffs, so we decided we needed to form a summer team to earn redemption. I agreed to come back to the team since I'm not fully in my half-marathon training regimen yet, so I'm not worried about depleting my fitness bank right now. Fall may be a different story though - I'll be 100% focused on running.

We had a good time last winter, but there was one team who really made the game... less fun. While I certainly can appreciate anybody who displays a competitive attitude and a desire to win, they took it to an extreme level. Arguing about the rules with us. Giving the ref a hard time. Not laughing at my self-deprecating jokes. It got to the point where I actually dreaded playing them, which was every three weeks since it was a small league. It wasn't just our team who felt that way - we'd run into members of the other two nicer teams in the league, who'd ask us to "give 'em hell."

They kind of remind me of these guys:

Cobra Kai: Sweeping Legs since 1984

The mean team *almost* went undefeated during the season (they lost twice, once to us and once to another team), and they did end up walking away with the trophy at the end, so I suppose their style of "play" works. But I don't know, it's adult co-ed kickball. S'posed to be fun.

So when I got the summer league schedule, my stomach dropped when I saw that the mean team was returning - and we'd be playing them in the first game.

Tuesday night was our first match, and I was hoping I was going to be able to walk away from the game saying I was pleasantly surprised by their behavior. Especially because we recruited new members to the team, and I didn't want their first experience at kickball to set the tone for the rest of the season.

But no. It turns out that their team hates playing us just as much as we hate playing them, and they pulled out all the stops. Dropping foul language. Standing in the baseline so that our runners couldn't get to base on time (and I'm not sure how the ref missed calling them on these occasions). Even after the game was over (which they won), they actually pulled the ref aside to complain about US.

When my husband, who happens to be the coach of our team, saw this behavior, he marched right over to the two mean teamers yelling at the ref and asked to speak with them personally. When I saw what he was doing, I went over to back him up. Even though I came into the middle of the conversation, I could see his old Resident Assistant "let's talk about our feelings, let's not resort to five-year-old behavior,  and let's use 'I' statements so we can resolve this as adults" personality at play.

God, I love him.

The mean teamers weren't having it, though. Seriously, I've seen drunken college students respond better to confrontation then these "adults."

For example, Ben tried to explain to one particular mean teamer how his aggressive behavior had actually made Ben uncomfortable at one point - to which the mean teamer's girlfriend replied "We're not here for your comfort." Wow.

But - in between petulant outbursts - I did understand that they were angry at one of our own teammates, who apparently trash-talks his way throughout the game to other players and also argues about the rules when it isn't necessary.

Although I've never heard or seen him do the things they were accusing him of, I don't discount their objections. He's the most intense player on our team. In fact, had I not known him BEFORE we played kickball together, I might have assumed he was one of the Mean Teamers. It's unfortunate, though, because outside of kickball, he's an absolute teddy bear. He was one of my first friends in the new neighborhood, super welcoming. Loves kittens. Volunteers his time at charitable events either playing a pirate, an executioner, or Lord Voldemort. His wife is one of my favorite people, too. I probably would have been too intimidated by him to become his friend if my only exposure to him was at kickball. Just goes to show, you always gotta put your best foot forward, especially around people who don't know you.

So we agreed we'd have a sit-down with our rogue teammate, and they agreed they'd also try to come to our next game more peaceably. I think their attitudes towards Ben and me clearly demonstrate that it's too late to sit down over a beer with everyone and put the past behind us, but hopefully we won't have to deal with this every time we play them in the future.

Besides, it's definitely too late for me to do anything over a beer because the Whole Life Challenge starts up this weekend.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Are you asking for a challenge?

If only I could run like Homestar Runner.

This week, I'm participating in the "Arms, Abs, and Clean Eating" Challenge, hosted by my friend Danielle of Sunshine and Situps fame. The timing works out perfectly for me, as this 5-day challenge falls right in between a Mother's Day super-not-clean brunch buffet and the Whole Life Challenge, which starts on Saturday.

Danielle first invited me to participate in a similar 5-day challenge last month, but it was a rough week for me since my in-laws were visiting. I ultimately decided that trying to adhere to the challenge rules while entertaining family would add more stress than I was comfortable taking on, and asked her if I could postpone participating until the May challenge.

The challenge rules are simple, though: eat foods from a prescribed grocery list, exercise at least 25 minutes a day, and drink half your body weight in ounces of water. Everyone participating needs to check in daily in our Facebook group to report on progress. Danielle gives you resources to succeed daily, including the day's menu (using items from the grocery list), an exercise plan, and coaching support. Part of the challenge includes taking measurements before and after to see what a difference 5 days can make, which could motivate participants to continue healthy behaviors well after the challenge is over.

So Monday went really well for me, with the exception of having some crazy sugar cravings around 2pm. I chalk this up to the nutritional off-roading I experienced over the weekend during Mother's Day. My diet has been gluten/soy/dairy/sugar-free for a few solid weeks, during which I never experienced cravings. So I'm sure I'm paying for my diet transgressions now, as my inner sugar dragon is roaring. Therefore, I have not been following the menu as prescribed because I think it's important for me to go back to G/S/D/S-free asap, and some of these items are included in the daily menu. But I'm all over drinking the water and doing the exercises.

But on Tuesday, I failed.

The call to Dunkin Donuts butter pecan coffee - with cream - was too strong. I need to be very careful not to let one day of unrestrained eating turn into a full week of poor decision making. I made a commitment, and I need to stick with it.

Part of the trends I'm noticing is that I have a much easier time staying on track when my husband is traveling for work. He doesn't eat anything that resembles a vegetable, and it's really hard to remain committed when you've gotta watch someone else eat potato chips and candy.

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do during the Whole Life Challenge coming up if I can't make it through even a five-day challenge with him being home. He doesn't have much business travel scheduled during those two months. Maybe I'll have to move in with my mother, who is doing the WLC with me, during that time.

Anybody have any suggestions? Leave a comment below! (Which, by the way, would count towards your entries towards winning my Kitchen Scale Giveaway! Don't forget to enter before 5/27!)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale Giveaway!

My favorite thing in the world? When someone gifts me something to help me achieve my goals.

EatSmart Products recently reached out to ask if I would try out their new EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale* and write a review. Heck yeah I want free stuff that can help me lose weight!

Kitchen Scale Giveaway Weight Loss

The thing is, though, I already have a digital kitchen scale. I purchased this Escali Primo Digital Kitchen Scale* a few years ago and have been pretty satisfied with it. So when I received this in the mail, I figured I'd put the two in a head-to-head, no holds barred cage match to determine which one is best.

Battle 1: Design

Kitchen Scale Giveaway Weight Loss running

When it comes to design, size, and weight, the two scales are pretty evenly matched. The Escali is just a little bit shorter in length, measuring about 6" x 8" compared to the EatSmart scale at 6" x 9". Both scales can measure up to 5 kg or 11 lbs. However, the Escali scale does have an "Off" button which can help you retain the battery life a little bit longer. The EatSmart scale does not, and will auto shut off after a few minutes. Winner: Escali

Battle 2: Accuracy

I did the penny test, since pennies are generally consistent in weight at 2.5 g. Both scales provide measurement in grams - however, the EatSmart scale can do a different measurement in lb while the Escali can provide weight in oz if needed. Neither scale provides weight to the tenth of an announce, and both scales gave a measurement of 2g. Winner: TIE

Kitchen Scale giveaway weight loss running

kitchen scale giveaway weight loss running

Battle 3: Price

The EatSmart scale is only $9.99 on Amazon*. The Escali scale is over twice as expensive, coming in at $24.95 on Amazon*.  Winner: EatSmart

Overall Winner

So overall, I'd give the match to the EatSmart Precision scale because you can save some money and put it towards your retirement!

kitchen scale giveaway running weight loss

Good news... I'm giving away this scale since I already own one. It will come in its original packaging with manual included. Just follow the instructions to enter below! Contest will end on 5/27/2017 at midnight EST.

*Amazon Affiliate Link. This means that if you click any of the links to Amazon through my site and buy something, I may earn a commission. Much obliged.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


I got some bad news today, very similar to the news I got when I wrote my Low Point post about a year and a half ago.

Someone who is very important to the work that I do in my day job has been let go.

But unlike last time, I'm much better equipped to handle news like this. Rather than fearing for my own job security, I'm checking the facts. I still have a job today. I wasn't let go when I wrote that last post, and I've actually survived many rounds of layoffs in the years I've been with my employer. I'm like the cockroach of the marketing department. I persist.

I was bummed though because I feel rather close to this person. I chalk up a lot of my successes to her. I just needed a pick-me-up, so I decided to indulge in some self-care today by going for my monthly massage.

Yup, I haven't given up the monthly massage habit. I have started seeing a regular therapist at East to West Massage in St. Petersburg, though, and can't recommend them enough. I'm relaxed, I feel great, and I always leave the massage table ready to take on whatever life throws at me. And I know exactly what I'm getting when I walk in the door, so my anxiety based on this massage experience has been eliminated.

Here are some other habits I feel good about:

  • I am really getting into a groove with my workout plan. Early-morning workouts have become routinized, and I'm trading time between wogging and getting to LA Fitness for some strength training. LA Fitness is great and all, but I really wish something like the Nerdstrong Gym existed in St. Pete (they are only in southern California right now). All of their classes have a nerdy theme like "Bossfight" and "Defeating the Death Star." It's like Crossfit for geeks. I want!
  • I do at least ten minutes of meditation or guided visualization every day, usually before bed. Ideally, I could take a break during the middle of the day to meditate, but it rarely works out that I have time to do it. Something is better than nothing though.
  • I no longer eat anything after 6pm during a normal work week. This might change if I'm going to visit my father, or if I'm at Disney, or if something happens outside of my routine. Otherwise, I really limit eating to between the hours of 9 and 6. 
  • I still volunteer every Monday night at the nursing home with Joey. I do, however, approach each night with some trepidation because I got attacked by one of the residents back in February. It was so out of the blue - this particular resident had always been very sweet to Joey - but now I know I have to keep my guard up and we keep our distance from her. She grabbed my arm as I was walking past and punched me in the chest. Fortunately, an 80-year-old isn't going to do much damage to me. It's my dog I'm worried about.
Volunteering Injury
Although maybe she can do a lot of damage. It's three months after the fact and I still have scars from where she dug her nails in.
So those are my healthy habits. Exercise, meditation, intermittent fasting, and volunteering. What are some healthy habits you've cultivated this year so far? Leave a comment!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tranquil as a Forest

But on fire within.
Once you find your center you are sure to win!

Sorry everyone, I added this song to my running playlist to start channeling my favorite Disney Princess (Mulan) for next year's Princess Half and now it's stuck in my head.

Most people peg me for a Belle. I may be a brunette and I may like to read books, but I'd much rather go to war and fight for my father than remain someone's captive for him.

Speaking of my father, I blame him for getting me hooked on Dancing with the Stars. It's a guilty pleasure, I'm ashamed to admit. But I spent so much time with him over the last year that I learned it's one of his favorite shows. I think he really loved watching it with my stepmother, who was a dance teacher in her earlier years.

So when Normani Kordei did this on "Disney Night" on DWTS, it made me immediately want to learn the Paso Doble.

They even pulled Donny Osmond out from wherever he's been hiding to come sing the song again! Great choice of character + awesome dancing + fantastic singing... a formula that earned her a perfect 10 from all of the judges, and I hope she wins the whole contest (even though I had never heard of her before watching the show).

Disney is filming a live-action Mulan to be released late in 2018, but sadly it's a non-musical. How could they redo this movie and not include this song??

I realize today's ramblings have nothing to do with running or eating or being healthy. I just wanted to give some background if you happen to see me walking around singing "Be a Man" to myself so that you don't have to worry about engaging me in an awkward conversation about my gender identity.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

You live for the Fight when it's all that you've got

So the big news of the day: Eliud Kipchoge was SO close to running a sub 2-hour marathon.

Is it too much to ask for me to be able to run half that distance in just about the same amount of time? Come on, people.

I've accepted the fact that it may never happen, but it doesn't mean I can't keep trying. I just need to make sure I'm not doing the same stupid things over and over again. And I am fairly confident I'm not because life looks a little bit different for me right now compared to when I was training for the Dark Side:

  • In one week's time, I signed up for two half marathons, neither of which will be done in two hours. The St. Pete Run Fest is just too soon. I've somehow convinced a posse of ten women to run the Princess Half with me, which is great but also kind of awkward. I've never run with that many of my friends before, and the ones I do run with know I hate being held back (and it's why I like running with them frequently!). For this race, I don't know if we're running together or competing. I'm trying to put myself in the right mindset to run with my friends, not ahead of them. I know, I'm a terrible person. Please don't judge me too harshly. I'm tranquil as a forest but on fire within.
  • I "beat" my eating disorder by becoming a padawan of Dr. Livingston. I first learned about his book, Never Binge Again, and wrote about him last July. I had some success following his strategy, but relapsed frequently in the latter half of the year. I decided to enroll in his one-on-one coaching program and, well, I'm never going to binge again. I'll write more about this in detail another time, because I do think this is a really important resource for other people struggling with binge eating. 
  • As part of being an NBA student, I've learned to weigh in daily and don't fear the scale anymore. It's just data, a set of numbers that inform the choices I make in any given day. Prior to this program, I hadn't been on a scale (other than the doctor's office) in years, because knowing my weight could really ruin my day. 
  • I'm on the max dosage of my thyroid medication, but it's not working. I feel exactly the same as I did when I started taking it last June. So the only thing left to do is to eat super clean, because clearly some of my dietary choices may have been inhibiting the meds from working. But here's the thing... if I start feeling better because I'm never binging and eating a super clean diet, then... well, what's really making me feel better? At this point, I think I'm just going to ask Dr. Paleo if I can phase out the meds. 
  • I got suckered into taking the Whole Life Challenge beginning on May 20th. It's an 8-week diet/exercise/lifestyle challenge. For someone like me who lives every day as if it's a Whole Life Challenge, it's kind of a waste of $39. But quite a few of my family members are doing it, and it does gamify everything I've been trying to routinize over the last few months, so maybe it will be fun. There's still time to join if it's the kind of thing you think you might need to kick start a healthy lifestyle. Let me know in the comments if you are participating and I'll add you to my team. 
So there you have it. I have no expectation of running a sub 2 half this year and am going to try enjoying a run with friends. I am way better at eating now. And I'm only making positive choices for my health from here on out. Maybe it'll pay off for me with faster race times at some point in my life. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the 4th be with You

Of course I'm going to post on Star Wars Day, people. Anybody know what the deal is with runDisney's Star Wars "Light Side" Half Marathon weekend? It's usually held in January, but registration still hasn't opened yet. It's odd because the Princess Half Marathon isn't until February, but that registration process has already opened.

That's all I have to say about Star Wars today.

I went running this morning. First time in a LONG time. It went about as well as I could have expected. Worse, actually, but I'm not too worried about it right now. I'll improve. There's a lake near me that offers the closest thing to a 400m running track open to the public (I've mentioned this before, but the high school tracks are kept locked down here in FL). Crescent Lake is a ten minute walk from my house and actually has a 1.10 mile loop, so I decided I'd try training there this time around.

I haven't done one of these types of posts in a while:


  • One of my kickball teammates. Oh yeah, I joined an adult co-ed kickball league over the winter. Our team was decent, but we didn't win the season. The summer league starts up again next week, and I've been recruited to play shortstop again. Anyway, I was only moderately embarrassed to be caught running so slowly by someone I know.
  • A lady walking her cat. Ok, she was actually walking her dog, but her cat was following closely behind her. Kitty didn't want to be left out of the fun happening at the lake.
  • A Florida softshell turtle. They say they only come out of the water to lay eggs.
    Turtle seen while running
  • Quaker parakeets! I haven't seen these guys in quite some time, and I just chalked it up to all the various ways people are ruining the environment around here. I didn't get a photo of the ones I saw this morning, but here's one I'm borrowing from the internet.Bird seen while running
  • Ducklings   Duck seen while running
Speaking of birds, I've acquired a lovely pair of Yard Doves over the last week. 

Birds seen while not running

What is a Yard Dove, you ask?  Well, it's one of those birds they release at weddings that are referred to as doves, but are actually just white homing pigeons. They are trained to fly up to 500 miles back to their original home once released - doves just aren't smart enough to do that. 

One of these little birdies showed up last Wednesday night, and I went outside to inspect further, as I did not recognize it as a typical Florida bird that hangs out in my yard. When I went outside, the bird didn't retreat as most birds usually do. He just went about his business, continuing to eat whatever seeds he found out in our lawn. 

He's been back every day this week, and showed up with a mate on Monday. So I guess we're wedding dove owners now. We've affectionately named them Dovey and Pidgey McDoveFace, and Ben's already looking into how to get into the wedding dove business.