While I’ve been doing just fine on my own over the past few years with getting in shape and losing a lot of excess fat, I’ve been going a little crazy, lately, just hovering around 200 for-ev-ER.  I know a few things.  I know I want to lose a few more pounds so I can reach that magic number*.  I know that I’ve reached some kind of plateau.  I know that I need to work on my lean muscle mass for my metabolism and aging.  I know I need help.  I know this because I had a moment of desperation a few weeks ago when I started seriously considering the whole beachbody thing.  I just wanted to get it gone and was seeking out a plan that took away the thinking, rethinking, overthinking, angsting and then throwing up my hands in frustration.  Fortunately, my friends reached out to me and offered some guidance that would save me a few bucks and offer a different route before I decide to go so extreme with the beachbody plan.

My goal this week was to ‘make a plan for weights.’  I didn’t know how to go about doing that so I got back to one of the friends of mine who reached out to me, who also has lost over 100 pounds and is passionate about fitness and nutrition.  She’s gone a few steps further, though.  She’s taken classes and learned the science behind things and is on a path to become a personal trainer.  While I’ve been on a journey guided by trial, error and inference, she’s been on a journey guided by science, classes and deep learning.  While I embraced cardio and running, she and her husband embraced weights.  We were both successful, but I needed the science, at last, to help me and the expertise of someone who lifts.

Starting weights is just so serious.  I don’t want to hurt myself, so striking out on my own just didn’t seem smart.  Denise took me down to her gym where she taught me some kettle bell lifts.  She and her husband love the kettle bells, but for some reason they just freak me out.  I’m always afraid of throwing out my back.  I think I may give them a try once I feel a little stronger.  So instead we focused on using my own body weight as restistance and a few things with barbells and lift bars.  I didn’t do a lot, but I did enough to be more sore than I ever would have guessed the next day!

{I failed to look at our selfie and Denise’s eyes were closed when I finally peeked so I did some pretty sly photoshop with one of her Facebook pics here!  LOL!}

For now, Denise came up with a basic rotation for me based on five main moves: the squat, the dead lift, a pull with arms, a pull with arms and the abs/core workout.  I am to start out with a little warm up, then I have three sets with around ten reps in each set, and I am supposed to do the circuit three times before moving onto the next rotation.  She said I should do that m-w-f for six weeks, then I can revisit my whole workout routine and see what needs to change, if anything.

So this week I am trying it.  I’m planning to lift mwf, I’ll walk or jog twice this week and I’ll run my 5k this weekend.  I’ll also journal my food every day so I can get a better picture of how the food intake is going and how I can polish that up for utmost health and fat loss.  Here we go: week one is done and was successful, week two of January can be just as awesome!  I wonder if the scale will change much this week?!

*magic number:170 -simultaneously is half of my starting weight and also, magically, the number that puts me in the ‘normal weight’ category for my height.

Pounds of…  Lost!

Heading back to work steers me in the right direction.  Having consistent hours of times where it’s expected that air will or won’t be eating, compounded by having prepared food that I don’t have to think about just makes me successful.  Having a goal in mind only makes me more so.  This week wasn’t amazing in terms of anything except weight lost.  I binged on Chex mix and chocolate two nights in a row, was ridiculously emotional and got stressed out within moments of returning to my work post, but I still managed to lose a few.  I weighed 213 on 12/26 and weigh 207 today!  Yahoo!  I know that it’s water and stuff, but it feels good to see the scale trending in the appropriate direction, no matter what.  And there’s something to be said for being able to check boxes and fill in bubbles of accomplishmen in my planner! 😉

I do think it’s funny that I still have two pounds to lose before I’m even on my weightloss goal sheet that I made for my planner!  I made it thinking I’d start the new year at 205.  Oh how naive I was…

What a Year for a New Year!

Happy New Year!  It wouldn’t be January first without a post about resolutions and such, so without further ado:

  • I want to lose 40 pounds and will work to meet that goal through smart, healthy eating habits and consistent exercise. 
  • I want to run reasonably through the school year then will train in earnest for my half marathons through the summer. 
  • I want to retain my mental balance. 
  • I want to continue to stand up for myself in challenging relationships and continue to keep distance from caustic ones. 
  • I will spend less time on my iPad. 
  • I will use my hula hoop more often.
  • I will drink less soda and will wean myself off if it altogether (again).

NYE started with a huge race registration-a-thon.  I registered for the Better Half 5k, the Hot Chocolate 15k, the Kirkland Shamrock 5k, the Iron Horse Half and already am registered for the Blerch.  My season is filled!  Then I joined the fam where we spent yesterday saying goodbye to 2016 with a walk and family game night. We each got to choose an activity. My pick was hide-n-seek in the dark which has become a really fun game with my family lately. We don’t play for long, but it’s amazing to see how clever my kids are and who is a good hider or finder. We’ve all been impressed as Jude seems to always be the last one hidden. Anyhow, we also painted together, played Exploding Kittens and Super Smash Bros. something for everyone!  It was a good way to say goodbye to 2016 before cozying up on our bed to watch the clack tick down to midnight.  

Today I was a realist.  I have to go back to work on Tuesday so I went for a run on my treadmill to meet my 5k every weekend goal then planned outfits for the week and prepped for meals.  I am ending the day feeling low.  While I made smart planning choices, I ended it all with three pieces of fudge and now have a headache, along with that guh-ross feeling in my gut.  Bleh.  I think it’s time to toss it.  Especially if I want to keep on this losing streak.  I bounced all over this weekend between 209-212 and finally seem to be a consistent 209.  I can deal with that.  Here we go!  2017!!!

My Fatometer 

Everyone has their thing.  Some like salt, some like sweet, I like fat.  If you can combine fat with either salt or sweet, I like it even better, but I’m perfectly happy with consuming the garden variety creamy dips, cheesy spreads, puff pastries and deep fried pretty much anything.  Even if it looks deep fried I get curious.  I’m not kidding.  Deep fried butter sounds horrible, but still…  I’m slightly curious, as humiliating as that is for me to confess!  This summer I made a few deep fried pickles, just to see if I liked them and I saw that I liked them a lot.  You get the idea.

{We got out of the house to St. Ed’s for the muddiest, slickest hike we’ve ever been on!}

For Christmas Day at Lj House, we bypass the big meal and simply allow ourselves to make and eat all of the stuff that you want to eat at parties but never eat because you’re saving room for dinner.  This year I made spinach dip, artichoke parmesean dip, my famous smoky cheese ball, deviled eggs, veggies and dip, a cheese platter and more.  During preparation I was salivating madly as I added more sour cream, butter, mayonnaise and more to all of my concoctions.  My fatometer was tilted to the max and my inner fat girl was clapping her hands and jumping for joy!  Bugles!  Hummus!  Ranch!  Baked Brie!  I couldn’t wait for the feast!

Then Christmas came and I dug in!  I took a bite of spinach dip- one of my favorites.  But it didn’t taste as good as it once did.  The same could be said of the artichoke Parmesan, the baked Brie and the myriad of other party foods that I was certain I loved!  I kept digging deeper as I passed by old favorites by, disappointed.  It turns out that my fatometer is a little askew these days and most of my old favorites are not yummy to me anymore.  What did I want to eat?  Celery and carrots.  Yes, with my super-duper-yum-cream-cheese-ranch dip, but still.  I kept returning to things that I just knew I loved in the past only to find disappointment.  And it was legitimately disappointing.  I kind of miss loving food that much.  I miss finding the consumption of rich, fatty foods to be a dance in my mouth.  While my minestrone soup is delish, I was surprised to seek it out over more fleeting food opportunities.

{My nine best from 2016’s Instagram}

But I only missed it for a moment.  On the flip side of feeling sad was deep satisfaction that my palate has shifted.  I think something similar happened last year, too.  I think the artichoke parmesean went to waste and I didn’t even bother with spinach dip.  Today I decided to write about this so I don’t make the same mistake again next year.  I need the written reminder that: TAMARA: DON’T MAKE THE ARTICHOKE DIP, SPINACH DIP, BAKED BRIE OR ANY OTHER STUFF THAT MAKES YOUR FATOMETER ZING!  YOU DON’T LIKE IT ANYMORE!  I just need to move on, eat my minestrone and salad and be thankful that I’ve made a good, healthy shift in my life.

Feel free to ask to be added to my Facebook accountability group.  We are super active right now with all of the goals for 2017 being made!  Friend me (Link here: Tamara), shoot me a message and I’ll add you to the group.  😉

ALSO!  Don’t forget that 12/31 is a super deal on all Orca races!  Sign up with a friend to get $16 off THEN ON TOP OF THAT use my special discount code tamarashazam17 for an extra 10% off.  It’s a one time opportunity and you can bet your bippy I’m taking advantage.  I’m signing up for:            

                                         (All of the links above go to the same place.  The ones below link direct to these races.)

My Better Half 5k & 10k

The Kirkland Shamrock Run 5k

The Iron Horse Half Marathon

If you end up signing up too, please shoot me a message or comment and we can try to high five and selfie or something!  🙂

The Blerch Won Christmas, But I’ll Win 2017

Yep.  That fat little Blerch cherub talked me into so many things over break.  Another batch of fudge?  Sure.  More fudge is more festive!  More haystacks?  Yes, please!  I need more chocolate covered peanuts and chow mein noodles!  (Seriously- what is with those things?!?!). I could go on, but you get the idea.  Last year I pledged to not gain twenty pounds, and this year I pledged to simply enjoy the holidays.  Holy cow.  I enjoyed it aplenty.  I’d like the blame my Blerch, but I knew what I was doing.  Over and over I kept reciting to myself that weight loss is 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen, but it’s Christmas!  Isn’t a little weightgain normal?  Well.  I got down to 199-202 around Thanksgiving and ballooned up to a hefty 213 over the month of December.  If I’m truly honest, I weighed 205 on 12/24 and managed an eight pound gain in three days.  I’m hoping it is water, but I also know myself.  It’s probably bonafide fat that I’ll need to spend some weeks working off.  Frickin’ Blerch.  (And me!  What was I thinking?!?!?)

I know what I was thinking, and because of the deep love I have for this holiday, I’m more than willing to pay the price of a few pounds that I’ll need to shake off. This was a beautiful Christmas for my family. My daughter and I are close, but she’s a teenager and every teenager drifts as they figure out how to navigate life. She has drifted farther away from us than ever. I don’t mean emotionally, necessarily, but she’s adopted a more cynical lens that she views the world through of late and I miss her bright eyed optimism and enthusiasm for all things Lj, lately. Breaks have often been the times when we rekindle our faith in one another as a family unit, and I was afraid that was going away this year, too. But it didn’t. I’m not going to say that everything was like they were ten and six again, but we were a unit once again this year. My kids pitched in around the house, played together, hung out with us, made cookies, made candy, watched holiday shows, listened to music, took walks, ate lots and did all the stuff with us this year. It felt really special. The dusting sand frostings of snow we got only added to the specialness.  

Jude and I got to see the Star Wars Christmas Special together because Bradley was sick and I loved sharing something that would usually be a daddy outing.  It feels especially poingant, now, with Carrie Fisher gone, having marveled at hearing her singing voice for the first time just a few weeks ago.  What a hero of a woman.  She was legitimately tough, soft, cool, kind and sexy all at once and I thought she was just the bees knees when I was little.

Well, clearly I have some work cut out for me if I want to get to 170 this year.  My number has increased from 20 pounds to lose up to 43 pounds to lose.  For goodness sakes.  I always believe that when it comes on fast it gets lost fast, too, so I’ll go ahead and believe that for now and start doing the 80% in the kitchen sooner than later.  New Years is coming and it’s time to make some resolutions!


I’ve been watching people with these cool little planners for about a year now, wanting to get into the game.  The planning game of glamour!  Not really, but somehow owning a planner like this seemed like the way to get things done in 2017.  Forget that I’ve never used a planner much beyond the first two months of any year…  apparently this year will be different.  In fact, I think I know it will be different.  Why?  Let me show you:

I think the primary thing I’m excited about with this planner is that there are pages one can add, at will, anywhere you need.  This means that I have added a couple of goals pages.  One traces my weight from 205, currently, down to 170, hopefully this time this year.  While it may not seem like a terribly motivating thing, a piece of paper in a planner, it is.  Spending the time making that also made me meditate on it, plan for it and consider the level of disappointment I’ll feel if I don’t reach it.  I also decided to include a monthly goals sheet to help me track my progress toward goals.  

Then I spent some time just thinking about what is possible this year.  With my high-needs, intense class this year I know that I don’t have the energy or motivation at the end of most days to incorporate a bonafide run.  I can go for a walk, though.  So I incorporated walking Wednesday as a thing every week in my planner.  I’m hoping to take a walk with a family member every Wednesday.  It will dial back my intensity expectations for myself and hopefully will add a connecting piece, midweek, with my family.  I also realized that it’s easy to incorporate a kitchen jog once a week or so.  Or at least I can write it in my planner as an idea, I can consider it in the moment and decide from there.  My hope is that once the seed is planted that my follow through will be better.  There is something to the power of suggestion, you know.    😉  I realized I can’t strive to be the powerhouse I have been over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean I should let it go altogether.  I realized I need to be forgiving of my sapped energy level and I need to dial back expectations.  I’m still planning to run every weekend.  I’ll run one 5k and another run or hike of undertermined distance the other day, that way I’ll stay in condition for shorter races and will still be able to push for some distance training as the year goes on and my class balances out a bit more.

As I was adding washi tape and stickers to make my planner all adorable and colorful, because that’s necessary when planning, I thought and thought a lot about this little thing.  I realized that just holding it in my hand put me twenty paces ahead of where I was the day before.  Suddenly I have a path I want to follow and an idea of how to get there.  That’s half the battle, right there.

Here’s to planning, health and a successful 2017!

Balancing Act

Follow through was my strong suit today.  I woke up, determined that my workout was just going to be a component of my day, not the guiding principle.  I sauntered downstairs, Freddie Soakrlesnin my arms, noticing that it was uncharachteristically dim but not realizing that pigs and noodles were raining down with the cats and dogs!  I headed back upstairs with the morning coffee and the bad feeling about running.  It was about to get angsty and I didn’t want my workout to dominate my day.  Today was meant for tree decorating and kid canoodling, not fretting about the right time to run.  Jude popped up early and brilliance struck: the spaceship.  Jude and I would head to the garage right away to run on the treadmill (him) and spin the elliptical(me) for 30 minutes.  We were in, out, sweaty and done by 9:30am with the whole day in front of us for the tree and more.  

While I was spinning and reading Jeb Bush’s opinion piece about the future of the Republican Party*, the thought occurred to me that I didn’t have that panic of training hard under my skin bothering me.  I usually have a drive to go longer, to run further push beyond where I think I can go because every bit of training is appreciated in the long run.  I continued reading Dan Savage’s thoughts on stamping out fascists in the cities and realized that while I believe that more training leads to success, that still holds true, there’s something to be said for allowing myself to run for thirty minutes and then just be done with it.  It’s ok to train for my health and not always have the intense pressure of a long race in front of me.  I’ve turned up my nose at short little 5Ks  over the past year, wanting only to pay for something that offered a challenge in distance to me, but I have been enjoying the prospect of an easy, fun run next weekend with my bestie, her sister, her niece and both my own kids!  I feel relaxed and excited more than nervous, and that’s such a great place to be!  Now, let’s deck those halls!

Loving this quote from Jay Z: “Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk. And Martin Luther walked so that Barack Obama could run. And Barack Obama ran so that all the children could fly.”

*Google them if you’re interested.  I was surprised to agree with Jeb on some major points.  Dan’s post was more about how we all participate in the system and was a bit of a rally cry.  In everything, I’ve been wondering where my activism should take place and I finally realized that I’m already an activist every day when I work in my classroom.  While I’ll never share any political leanings at school, with my families or students, I will always stand up to inequity and bullies, I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of my students and families and I’ll continue to institute a culture of love, democracy, kindness and community amongst my students while I strive for truth and honor every day.  

I try not to be political here, but some stuff really matters.  Like education. Please sign this.

A Thanksgiving

Last year at this time I was trying to wear out my gym pass by visiting as many Zumba classes as possible.  I was walking by pie, eating serving sizes and going running when I wasn’t prepping food or at the gym.  I was a whole lotta different Shazam.  I tell ya.  

This year I’m a whole lot more Tamara than Shazam.  I’m much more human than superhero these days.  I look back to a year ago and I was gearing up for races, getting ready to make my 2016 miles in 2016 and was determined to not gain weight through the holiday season.  I was a force to reckon with!  An exhausting, relentless force, oh my goodness!  Running here!  Riding there!  Training for this!  Making that class!  I never had time for anything but working out, it seems.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m realizing that I’ve missed a side of myself tremendously.  Crafting and creating and making is therapy for me, just like running is, and I need to strike a balance.

My injury changed me.  That may seem silly, but it forced me to slow down and fill my time with other stuff besides running.  I was going stir crazy at first, not knowing what to do; picking fights with my poor husband and paying way too much attention to the election or my iPad.  What’s a girl to do who doesn’t want to exchange an injury for 150 pounds of fat on her body?  She plugs in her glue gun, finds her hammer and level, mines her supplies and goes to town making anything that pleases her fancy on Pinterest.  (Link to most of the printable tags here.)

So that’s what I’ve been doing.  I’ve been taking short runs and occupying the rest of my time with my paper cutter, my sewing machine and cricut.  I’ve redesigned our Christmas using things we already had around the house and have just been getting down and dirty with homemaking.  

That said, tomorrow Gigi and I are taking the first trial-longer-run since October.  We are planning to take on ‘extra large’.  It’s a 2.8 mile loop that is the furthest you can go without taking on some major hills or wooded areas in our neighborhood.  I don’t foresee a problem and am excited to prove to myself that I can still run. And craft.  I keep pushing myself to be a distance runner, when really, I feel much more like a 15k, tops, runner.  I’m still planning to train up to the half marathon this year, and maybe I’ll change my mind and want to keep going that distance, but after that I think I’m going to relax it for a little while and see what my life looks like as a life-lover rather than life-chaser.  I think distance became what I did because I didn’t know how else to fill my time but I think I’m figuring that out. Because that’s what I think Tamara Shazam needs to be about from now on: I need to be a person who runs within a balanced, healthy life. I think that’s because there’s this other part of me that’s pretty important too, and I need to see what she’s got up her sleeve now.  

Not Complaining!

I’ve been avoiding the scale like the plague.  It feels like if I’m not working out like a maniac then I’m destined to fail.  With good reason, too, I suppose.  In the past, the second I step off the scale I also step into bad habits.  Blinding myself to that scale number also makes it kind of okay to put whatever I feel like in my mouth.  If I can’t see the gain on the scale, it’s not happening, right?  In the recent past, this has made me gain, then have to lose an extra ten to twenty pounds of Christmas weight along with the weight I already wanted to lose…  So, every once in a while I manage to to screw up my courage and hop on the scale!  It usually happens in a burst- I wonder what I weigh, assess my day, peel off my clothes, pee out any remaining ounces and jump on the scale.  I hold my breath and stand tiptoe, because that helps, you know.  You’re lighter on your tiptoes, you know.  Today I weighed in at 197, on my tiptoes and every other way!  I haven’t gained- I’m LOSING weight!  Yahoo!