I won’t say my website gets a ton of traffic, but I will say it gets a ton of the right traffic. My site reaches across borders, but most of my readers are nestled right here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and they know me personally. Or they know of me enough to be curious and look at my website while never letting me know they read my site… Anyhow, I get a little nervous sometimes about being too revealing on Tamara Shazam, I’m a teacher, a mom… What would my students think of me if they saw my belly skin?!?!? While I was wearing a bikini?!?!? Gasp!
And the I realize what I’m thinking. I realize I’m buying into that whole idea that the only body that should be seen at the beach is the body that looks like a 14 year old gymnast’s body. A body that is not a mother’s, a body that does not sag or have stretch marks, a body that is smooth and tight. But like I’ve said before and what everybody knows, most people’s bodies are not like that. I recently read an article by a masseuse who said that everyone has cellulite. Somewhere. We all have creases and rolls, too. And as I go to the beach and I see more and more women who are chubby or curvy wearing two piece suits at the beach, I ask myself what the heck is wrong with me? It’s not about being sexy, it’s about having fun in the sun! It’s about letting my skin breathe! It’s about the way your body feels when you expose the whole thing (slathered in sunscreen) to the sun! It’s feeling the heat beating down on belly skin, arm skin, leg skin and face skin, all at once! Its about feeling the cool water hit my actual skin- not my bathing suit and then my skin- and believe me, it’s different. It’s about being a pioneer and changing the rules about what is acceptable. As for my students? It’s ok for them to see a less than ‘perfect’ body, in fact, it’s good for them to see an alternative to the ‘reality’ presented in the media.

Greater than that is simply that I love my body. It is capable and strong. It does things, now, that I never thought it would do. I can run, dance, do push-ups, work out for hours at a time. My body takes me to the mountains and to tag games. My body is amazing! While I worry over all of my extra skin, I’m also proud that it’s deflated around me. It’s a reminder of what I used to be and is evidence of my accomplishment.
And do you see my belly flap? In the shape of a W?
That’s my Wonder Woman symbol.
Amazon blood in my genes, evidenced right there.
When Bradley pointed that out to me, I wiggled with glee like a puppy. I worked hard for that W!
And just for giggles:

January, 2007 and July of 2015
Pretty awesome! Yeah me!
Now, to keep it going!

Feelin’ Skinny in meh Skinny Jeans

Know what?
I like feeling skinny today. I feel like I’m not supposed to say that for a few reasons. One, because skinny is seen as a judgement that is equated with good or better. I’m not meaning that sense of the word. I also feel like I’m not supposed to say I like feeling skinny because of my fat sisters and brothers out there who are maybe having hurt feelings and it might feel like I’m saying skinny is better. I’m not saying that. Of course, as always, my body is my own, your body is your own, your version of happy is not going to mirror mine… I’m also not technically skinny. I’m not obese, but I’m still technically, medically overweight until I weigh about 170. But I think I’m skinny. I feel skinny. I’m skinnier than I ever imagined I would be. I like it.
Wanna know why I like it?

Today I liked feeling skinny because I put on my skinniest jeans and they fit. These are the goal jeans I bought way back when that looked skinnier than skinny and thought there was no way I’d ever fit them… Today I fit them. SKIN-nay! SKIN-nee! SKIN-noo! SKINNY!
Today I liked Feeling skinny because I went for a run in my tight runner capris and a tshirt and afterwards I hung out in my front yard doing yardwork and didn’t feel self conscious even a little bit.
Today I liked feeling skinny because I went to play tennis with my family and I was freezing cold! I ran in place the whole time and chased as many balls as I could to keep warm. I was literally light on my feet! Shifting from foot to foot to chase the ball doesn’t torque my knees anymore because of all the weight I carried and I can move faster than I ever thought possible! Without hurting myself!
I liked feeling skinny today because I looked down while I was shopping at Target and instead of seeing all of my fat rolls sticking out I could easily see my shoes.
I liked feeling skinny today because I could climb up onto my husband’s back and he carried me around. It’s an amazing experience, being carried again. That hasn’t happened since before I was ten years old.
Today I liked feeling skinny because I bought new compression wear. In a size medium. That’s a size I’ve not worn since graduation from high school. Granted, it’s compression wear, but still. Medium.
I like continuing to get stronger and skinnier because every time I lose more fat and shift to another size I also gain a new sense of abilities. It’s like leveling up in a video game- lose five pounds, gain better balance. Lose ten pounds, make every mile easier and faster. Lose twenty pounds and… awwww, shucks… need a new wardrobe!
Speaking of, I like being skinny now because I can shop anywhere. I can wear a size large in most stores and I fit the pants, skirts and dresses most anywhere. For years I’ve been stuck at Lane Bryant and Old Navy. My clothing world has opened up wide… πŸ™‚

Mostly, though, I think that I really like my new life. By new life I don’t just mean the skinny life, I mean the whole thing. I lived for almost my entire adult life as a big, bigger, and really big girl. There were compromises, for sure, but I was pretty happy. I was loved and life was good then. It’s better now, but I could have gone through the rest of my life, literally, fat and happy.
What is fun is that about halfway through my life I totally remodeled it. I knew the heavy version of life and completely turned it on it’s ear and have an entirely new skillset and ability now. It’s like the witness protection program, I’m perceived as an entirely different person now by others and by myself. I’m accepted as an entirely different person now, too. I fit in or am accepted in circles now that I was never a part of before. Sometimes that is confusing. I have a different identity, determination, confidence – I’m so different as a skinny girl and it’s fun to be different.
Remember in high school how you always wished you could try something new, start fresh, do something over, have a different group of friends, play a different sport, belong to a different clique/club/group…? I’m doing that now. It’s surreal and I’m loving it.


I never though this would happen in a million years! Me on my husband’s back? Sha! Right! But this was us at St. Edward Park on Saturday morning, where we shared a lovely hike with a foggy, dripping understory in our lovely, PNW, temperate rainforest. Our kids made a resolution to run more this year, so we spent the lower, flat part of the trail, near the lake, doing intervals. Once again, it was illustrated why getting out often is important as our hearts were filled with nature and love was shared. We reminded our kids that their strong heartbeats were just the heart’s way of saying ‘thank you’ with every beat. It was a nice hike.

My friend, Hannah, is a photographer and I recently inquired about having our family portrait done by her. She surprised me by asking about my family’s favorite place; what place in the world is embedded in our soul, our home away from home. I’ve been stuck for a few months, delaying the photo session because I didn’t know what to tell her, until recently it occurred to me: St. Edward Park! Duh! We go there once or twice a week, have always gone there since Gigi was a baby, I learned to hike there, I learned to trust myself as an athlete, and never in my life have I been to a place where I feel almost as much at home as in my backyard. I’m protective and territorial of the place and am shocked whenever someone I know hasn’t been. It is a beautiful, wild and sacred place to us- definitely our home away from home. When we get them done, we’ve chosen to be photographed in the fairy grotto sometime this summer. The pictures will be warm, buttery, beautiful and in the prettiest room in our home away from home.

{the grotto in spring}
Last week was exhausting. It got to be Wednesday and I was sapped of energy and I was in disbelief that we had two more days of this mess! My kids in my class were exhausted, thus, squirrelly and a little naughty, my kids at home melted into puddles of exhausted tears midweek, whining and fussing at how hard school was, how tired they were, and how much they missed it being the four of us at home every day. Boy, did I feel their pain!
That said, I did well for the diet (lost one pound). I don’t know about you, but it takes me a few days of detoxing before I can really hit the ground running with a solid diet again, after I’ve fallen off the wagon. Stepping back into work made controlling my food easy, again, and that felt good. I found myself freaking out again over the fact that I have a hard time working out and training around my work schedule. I got up early one morning to run and just loved that. I vowed to do it again, but then I started having anxiety and was losing sleep over working out, so I decided I’d better just do a morning workout when it makes sense, not when I’m already tired. So I worked out twice after work and once in the morning this week.
I had great plans for working out this weekend, but I’m coming down with a nasty cold and decided that walking will suffice for my workouts this weekend. I felt lazy. I let myself sloth a little, after all, our kids were gone and I had my husband all to myself for 24 hours. Would you diet?? We hiked yesterday, today we walked a little over five miles. Not too shabby! πŸ™‚
My goal this week is to work in at least four workouts and stick with the lower calorie diet.

{loving the foggy forest this weekend!}


After sitting for an entire summer, watching the scale go up and down, hitting anywhere from 208-218, I am so glad to see movement of my weight to under 208! I know it’s not much, but I feel like doing a victory dance. My nutrition and high activity level are working together, again, in my benefit. Maybe I should have bought that eyelash extension Groupon; I may earn my reward for getting under 200 sooner rather than later!

Back To It

I didn’t go far, I didn’t go long, but I went on a run, on this 90 degree day. Granted, it was 8:AM when I hit the road so the scorching heat had not yet hit, but it has been 19 days, one back injury and half of a root canal since my last run, but who’s keeping track, eh? Anyhow, it was short, but I was so glad to do it. I have the second half of my root canal tomorrow, so I’ll run in the morning. Hopefully the recovery will be a little more comfortable this time around and I can get back to running quicker!

Today we headed to Wild Waves- a water park, south of Seattle, that is home to a myriad of my childhood memories. Not too much has changed there since my childhood, but over the years they’ve added more roller coasters and rides, something that was a difficulty in my past. The last time I was at Wild Waves, I was at my peak of heaviness- about 340. I tried to ride their wooden roller coaster but couldn’t get the ride to latch closed. I had to take the walk of shame past all the kids, terribly humiliated. Today I rode that very roller coaster with my daughter. It was way better than it ever would have been before, simply because I got to ride it with her! Three cheers for fitting on roller coasters again! πŸ™‚
Thanks to all of you who voted for Denise! She won second place! I’m not sure if she won anyTHING, but I’m so pleased that she did so well! Thank you if you did cast a vote for her!


This was a straight-up, solid week. I’m not impressed with the quantity of workouts, but I am pleased with my nutrition and that I actually got out on more than two occasions to haul my tail around the block a few times. Tracking my food this week allowed me to see that I’m still eating within my allotted calorie allowances, that it’s allll good. I also learned that I can incorporate a lot more whole grain goodness into my diet. It’s also clear to me that something needs to shift, though. I’m exercising enough and eating little enough that mathematically I should be losing fat. But I’m not.
I was reading a book called Fat Chance recently, and while it was hyperbolic and shared a lot of scary evidence with pessimistic options for solutions, I liked one particular part that was talking about how a calorie is not a calorie. That the quality of the calorie matters greatly, too. When I reflectively notice that there are places where I could incorporate whole grains, I immediately light on this idea. That and salt. I need to lay off the salt.
Earlier in the week I was feeling really good. Like, do you ever have those moments when you start feeling extra cute and slender and like va va voom? Yeah. Like that. I hate it when I go from feeling gorgeous and glowing, to feeling super dumpy and chubby in the not good ways. Not curvy (which is good), but plump and roly-poly-fattish. I know it’s just my brain being a stinker, but I hate that. Grr. It’s not fun to look in the mirror and at every picture with a hyper critical eye. Bleh.
So today I had to be extra awesome. No, really:


I was extra proud today. We woke up bright and early. I was not interested in a repeat of my Friday morning when there was no milk for the coffee, therefore Tamara did not get her coffee and was supremely grumpy as she headed to work… So I was laying in bed this morning and wondered aloud if I should ride my bike to the store to get milk. For my coffee. To stave off Grumpy Girl. I had all of these lovely, Parisian inspired images running through my head of milk in bottles and crusty loaves of fresh bread in my bike basket as I made my way over the cobblestone roads, beret perched slightly askew atop my pageboy cut… You get the idea.
Bradley was game, and except for the Parisian themed ridiculousness, we had a nice ride to and from the QFC by our house. It’s only two miles or so each way and I think we realized a new method of locomotion for the Lj’s to get around. Then, to prove my complete awesomeness, we also went for a run. It was only a couple of miles, but still- a bike ride and a run, allll before noon. Plus we cleaned out our garage, swam in our pool and moved a freezer. Before noon! I felt quite accomplished this morning! So accomplished, in fact, that I felt completely guiltless as I sat with a good friend of mine while we shared stories in the afternoon sun.
Whatta day. The best kind. πŸ™‚

New Running Record!

Every once in a while I get these big ideas that I know will scare my husband a little. At around six miles his knee gets a little sore, so he’s hesitant to push past 4-5 miles at a go, but hey! I’m training for the Disney Half Marathon here, I need to be pushing my mileage! You’re probably wondering what my big idea was, and it was just to run until I hit my limit. So often, I feel like I can just go forever if only I can sustain the boredom of really long runs, but I’ve been wondering how long I can really go until I’m tapped out. It turns out, six miles is my wall. I was going along pretty well, but after I’ve been running for a bit, sometimes my left hip aches and my groin ligaments hurt! Today was no exception, but, like when I first began to run, I decided to run through the pain. If I stop whenever it hurts I’ll never go again! I started aching at around 4.5 miles and at five I had to walk a hill, I was just so tired (at 11mph- I know- but still)! I ran until I hit a small hill right after our sixth mile, and I had to be done. So my wall is six miles. For now.. That, too, will definitely change in the very near future.

We had eight girls sleeping over Friday night. It was pretty awesome. We let my daughter invite all the girls in her class and most of them came. My own parents used to let me have ‘just because’ slumber parties at random times throughout the year, so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal! But as each parent dropped off their daughter they commented on our bravery at having that many girls sleeping over. I started to worry, but as the evening wore on, I started seeing the character of the people my daughter has allied herself with. She has great taste in friends and I wouldn’t hesitate to invite them over again! This was Gigi’s first authentic big girl party. She realized, for the first time, that party games aren’t necessary. They had more fun dressing up in princess dresses and singing along to the Frozen soundtrack. They were the cutest group of 11 year olds that I have ever seen. πŸ™‚



I am staying within my goals. I have worked out every day this week and I’ve been making smart food choices. Guess who weighed in at 213 today? Uh huh! Oh yeah! Tam-ah-RAH! That’s four pounds gone since I started diet bet. Sigh… It feels so nice to work hard and see results like that. Moments like these teach me that I really can make a change if I put my mind to it. That determination again, popping up, popping in, reminding me to enjoy the smell of the brownies in the staff room, to spend time with them, to study them, but then to walk away from them. Brownies are sweeter, tonight in memory, having never had tasted them during the day. πŸ™‚
Tonight I got home and received a comment from Leisa about how she binge read my entire blog in the past few days from beginning to end (totally flattered!). I have totally crushed out on a blog in the same way before- hello, runsforcookies and brittanyherself! Leisa unknowingly prompted me to do the same, so I started at the beginning, right here at Tamara Shazam, and started reading my articles, one by one. Presently, I’ve made it to April and I’m pretty amazed at the ridiculously positive, can-do attitude I had back then. Frankly, I’m pretty amazed just that I managed to come this far in a year… It makes me feel pretty proud of who I am and the chutzpah I have.

It’s strange to toot my own horn like this, but I keep reminding myself that I’m allowed to do that here. πŸ™‚
Bradley and I went and bought some of that fancy schmancy dessert tea that I’ve been reading all about. I end my nights with chai, lately. I have a huge mug and in it goes 1 cup of hot skim milk, 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of half n half, 2 tablespoons sugar free vanilla syrup and a India chai spice packet. I sip on it all evening until it’s lukewarm, and even drain the dredges in the morning, cold. I love it and it costs me right around 100 calories. I don’t get my new teas until Valentine’s Day, but I’m stoked to sip on my Slimful Chocolate Decadence and cococaramel sea salt from Teavana very very soon. I think it was good to go buy them early so I can truly look forward to when I finally get to enjoy my liquid chocolate!

Check In on NYE Goals

I know it’s only been two days. I KNOW! LOL!
But so far, this year is off to a great start towards meeting my goals. Because I believe in small goals and small celebrations when I meet those goals, I’d say I’m pretty successful. Why?
1. I have started exercising like I did in the beginning. Like back in the olden days of April, 2013. If I eat, take a walk. I tell myself there is no reason why I can’t do something (like run third mile) if I know that I really can (and I really can). I spend time on my wiiFit working my core. I’m playing around with my weight machine. I’m living my life harder on purpose. I’m making progress.
2. I’ve started walking all the time. My daughter has had a million play dates this break and I have walked to them all, even the sleepover ones with excessive luggage. And today I walked three sides of a block that I really only have to walk one side on. Also known as ‘taking the scenic route’. I am shooting for the 10,000 steps per day, and when I’m not working at my job that’s hard to get. I’ve gotten close every day but today was the first time I passed that goal this break.
3. I’ve re-engaged with my passions. I watched Andrew Solomon give a TED talk last night all about depression. He spoke so eloquently and gave such a clear description of what it feels like to live with depression, panic and anxiety attacks. In his talk he brought up that the opposite of depression is not happiness, it is vitality. I had never thought of that before- but it’s true. As I was sinking lower and lower into the pit this past December, I became disinterested in teaching, in losing weight, in working out, in researching nutrition, researching muscle building, in Christmas, in my kids… I was pretty much just interested in making it through the next day, the next hour, the next minute. This break I knew I needed a BREAK. Light socializing, no or few commitments, downtime, focus time, reflection time. That’s what we did and I am coming into 2014 renewed and refreshed, re-engaged with my passions and ready. It feels so good.

***The first and last ten minutes were amazing, the entirety is beautiful, though, too.***
4. I am killing the diet bet! Want to know how? Well, remember those extra pounds that packed on over Christmas? A full bakers dozen- 13 of them, if I remember correctly. It was astounding how quickly they all jumped on and clung. I should have known they were short lived, though. As soon as I returned to my solid exercise habits and healthy eating they started melting off. I’m four pounds down already! Yahoo! That feels very, very satisfying.