Weight Hate: Packing

Creating a blog and a website to tell everyone in the world that I struggle with my weight and weight loss wasn’t enough, I have decided it is important to share my personal embarrassing stories, and struggles with being overweight. I truly hope that someone out there will be able to identify with these stories otherwise I am a true freak of nature. We will call these entries….”Weight Hate”

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I know being overweight is not the sole reason that packing can be a painful experience.  Lists are made, errands are run and typically things are still forgotten.  However, if you are dealing with extra weight, nightmares are made from the things that are forgotten.  When you don’t fit into a typical “off the rack” size forgetting something can be detrimental to your trip.  Picture this, as I unpack my bag I realize that I have forgotten a very crucial part of my outfit for the night.  Let’s just say this time I forgot nylons or tights. My head immediately starts to spin, how am I EVER going to find tights that fit? My girlfriends staying with me come into the room and ask me why I am all sweaty and panicked, I quickly explain the situation and they brush it off and inform me that the sundry store in the lobby of the hotel has plenty of options.  They clearly have never dealt with a weight issue. That sundry store has nothing for me other than a late night booze run.

I am now furiously thumbing on my phone, hoping to find a department store with a Plus Size section (one of my least favorite sayings btw) within a short cab distance. All my friends are enjoying a cocktail while getting ready for the evening and I am trudging to a strip mall on the outskirts of Vegas.

If you are of a larger size it is almost impossible to easily and quickly find forgotten items; tights, belts; jeans; shirts; bras; swimsuits, the list could go on and on. I know you lighter people are thinking why not just go without, well typically what has been forgotten is crucial, the tights in this case are vital namely for the smothering of any lumps and bumps.

I have had plenty of experiences that have taught me diligence while packing, these days I typically only forget my toothbrush which thankfully is still one size fits all.


Boston Red Sox

I was quite excited to be able to add Boston to the Passport of this trip. I had an epic start, jumping on the Ride the Ducks within an hour of getting into town. My friend Tracy was taking a group and invited me to join. Every local person that I spoke with suggested that I take this tour, which shocked me but after taking the tour I would agree as it gives you a good idea of the layout and some history of the city.

The fun didn’t stop there, Tracy was able to get her hands on two tickets to the Boston Red Sox first Playoff Game at Fenway Park! Score! I had been wanting to see the the ballpark and it turns out my nephew Joe is a huge fan so it gave me an opportunity to text with him throughout the game, him watching at home me sitting in the stands. As you know by now, the Red Sox are in the World Series perhaps my attendance was good luck.

The next morning we rounded out my visit with a visit to a farmer’s market which was set up right on the beach. Fall colors were everywhere and reminded me why this was my favorite season, one of the best sounds in the world is a crunchy leaf under my foot.

The next few days were spent just outside Boston reconnecting with my friend Holly who had recently relocated from Seattle. We spent our days watching football, playing rummy by the fire and cooking. I was able to meet another good friend and his family at his home for brunch, having not seen each other in many years. This trip has really warmed my heart and reconnected me with so many wonderful people.

The friend hangout times were not to end there, my friend Patti flew in from Seattle to play tourist with me. It was great seeing such a good friend from home. We spent our time walking the Freedom Trail, laughing and crying. She then hopped into my car and we drove to New York City together. I was very anxious for the drive into NYC and was happy to have a co-pilot. I dropped Patti at her hotel and headed to my home for the next month or so. Yep, that’s right I will be settling in for a handful of weeks in the East Village!

Boston Farmers Market

Boston Freedome

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An Introduction to Danielle Prestejohn, Emotional Eating Specialist

Danielle Prestejohn

Love your body. It is an easy enough statement but can be a difficult concept . We are all plied with images of “beauty” on a daily basis and it is easy to compare yourself negatively. Enter Boston located Emotional Eating and Weight Loss Specialist, Danielle Prestejohn. Danielle has created a business around helping individuals find joy in living in the body that they have now. No more waiting to lose those last few pounds to take that trip you have been dreaming of, she encourages you to stop obsessing and start living.

Danielle struggled with her weight for a good portion of her life, starting her first diet at the age of twelve. She has tried various diets, lost weight, gained weight and felt miserable. She was ready to take her life back from food and weight obsession and so she started lifting the layers to her emotional issues around weight.

What I really enjoyed about my discussion with Danielle is there are no hard and fast rules. She recognizes that every person is unique and encourages them to participate in activities that will help them. Some people find value in journaling, some find it stressful and unhelpful. She encourages everyone to ditch the scale, and instead of focusing on a number have them pay attention to how they feel. Instead of putting food off limits keep them in your diet but practice moderation.

I asked Danielle what would be in her cooler if she was taking a long road trip she shared her list with me: Deli Turkey, Hard Boiled Eggs, Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Avocado, Fruit, Veggies, Protein, Trail Mix and Unsweetened Fruit.

I am going to be in New York for several weeks and my host’s refrigerator is just a little bit bigger than my cooler so I think I will go grab some of these “cooler” items.

Danielle has created varied programs from 30 Day guides to one-on-one coaching. You can find additional details on her website where you can also sign up for her informative newsletter.

Website: www.danielleprestejohn.com    Facebook: www.facebook.com/daniellegracep

Love my Body

Changing Leaves My Heart Full

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It may seem to most that I am just randomly meandering the country, however there are places that I planned to be  at a specific time, namely the Northeast in early October. I was a bit fearful that I was going to be too early to see the seasonal color change but the colors were gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact that I almost drove off the road several times.

I was heading to a rural town, Weld Maine where a friend of mine, Anne, from Seattle had relocated with her boyfriend and son. They live in an adorable chalet/cabin at the back of 100 acres of property on his parents land. Check out their Airbnb listing here!

We shared a lovely dinner at the parent’s house of sauteed fresh vegetables, harvested from their garden. The desert was served when the entire family picked up various instruments and started jamming. I was in awe, tapping my foot declining an offer to join them in singing. It was better that way, believe me. Anne’s boyfriend Garnet and his brother Snow are in a band The Blakes which originally started in Seattle. The talent was dripping from every vocal and every touch of the piano keys.

The next day I joined Anne and Snow’s girlfriend Bri for a walk amongst the changing leaves. Bri was a wonderful wealth of information regarding a healthy diet. She recently had to undergo emergency surgery for a brain tumor. The surgery was a success and when speaking with her doctors about treatment options she was limited due to being pregnant. She has worked with a nutritionist to create a very specific diet. She shared some of her favorite snacks and plenty of hugs and support!

Her suggestions to me included pomegranates (you have to work to eat them and they are full of flavor and good for you!), freeze dried berries, rice cakes with almond butter, non gmo organic popcorn, oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds.

My trip to Weld was relaxing, supportive and loving and I walked away with a substantial pile of healthy snacks and The Blakes CDs. I drove off with a happy heart, a full stomach and music to my ears!

A carrot we harvested from the garden!

A carrot we harvested from the garden!

One of the many lakes on my drive through Maine.

One of the many lakes on my drive through Maine.

I Am Not Alone

I like to think that I am a bright lady but I recently proved myself wrong. I was in Montreal, Quebec and had a list of hot spots for dinner tucked into my pocket from my Airbnb host. I enjoyed a nice dinner, having made a smart choice of a Quinoa salad over the hamburger that was begging to be ordered. I had met a local who took me under his wing and invited me to a bar a couple of doors down to meet up with a group of his friends. It was fun to hang with the locals, tossing out my tourist hat for an hour or two.

I looked down at my phone to see that it was getting late and I also noticed that my cell phone was low on battery power. One of my new friends grabbed the phone out of my hands to pull up a map to show me where he was opening a kayak tour business. Interested, I looked over his shoulder as he gave me some history on the area. It didn’t take but a few minutes for my phone to turn itself off having died. My heart leapt. I was in an unfamiliar area and did not have the address to where I was staying. Dumb, dumb me. Understanding the situation I quickly said my goodbyes and headed to find my home for the evening, tracing my steps back and wishing I would have dropped some bread crumbs.

I walked for about ten minutes and nothing was looking familiar. I was starting to panic. I spied a taxi driver parked on the corner and I approached him to see if I could describe the park that was across the street from my place. He spoke mostly French but understood that my phone died. He was holding his flip phone circa 2008 and said he had a charger. I tried to explain to him that chargers were specific yet he was so eager to help he just kept looking in his car for a charger. We chatted for about five minutes, and with each passing minute I started panicking more. He wasn’t eager to drive me around while I looked, not wanting to waste my money.

I was gripping my dead dark phone in my hand when all of a sudden it turned itself back on giving me the five seconds I needed to get the address before it powered itself off again. Now I don’t know about you but the iPhone has never behaved for me this way. My taxi friend smiled as I told him the address and let me know I was just two blocks away. I thanked him and ran home, literally.

Everyone has their own beliefs on why things happen but I believe someone was looking out for me. As I lay down to go to sleep I couldn’t help but think of my Mom. I don’t know how or why my phone turned back on but in my heart I felt like my Mom was watching out for me. Makes sense, she was an angel to me when she lived it isn’t too far from the truth to think she is still my angel.

My angel still flies with me

My angel still flies with me

Cleveland Still Rocks!

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The second half of my trip to Cleveland rivaled the first in friendly hosts and fun times.  I had met John and Michelle several years back at a friend’s wedding and decided immediately that they were my new best friends. When I let them know I was coming to town they invited me to stay with them and I am so glad that I did!

The first evening we had dinner at their restaurant; John Palmers Bistro 44 is located in Northeast Ohio. I had heard about the restaurant and was excited to try the cuisine. I dined on a perfectly cooked filet mignon with a side of brussels sprouts and gorgonzola redskins which are a heavenly cheesy potato side. I was also encouraged to try the tater tots which were unlike anything I had ever had and amazing. If you are thinking this doesn’t sound like the cuisine to lose weight…you may be right sometimes you have to bite the bullet or the steak rather.

The next day they played tour guide and we went downtown for some good old fashion casino gaming. I skipped the slot machines, hovering around the black jack tables before settling down at a table for an hour or so and making about $500! Fresh off a good run I was tempted to map out all the casinos on my upcoming path to help bankroll this trip but decided that was probably not my best idea.

The next morning John and Michelle hooked me up with their personal trainer for a session. I met with Troy, Owner of Body Physicans at his studio in Concord Ohio. Upon walking in to his studio you can see that it is not your typical gym. Troy has developed and created all of his own equipment. The pieces look like an average piece of equipment you might find in your gym but at a closer look you can tell there is something different. After a good stretch Troy had me hop on one and the range of movement was different than any I had ever tried before. He has been working for years on developing his machines and has sold them to other trainers and football teams in the past. When my workout was complete Troy asked if he could pray for me. It caught me completely off guard. I don’t want to get into religion here, just as I won’t be speaking to you about politics but regardless of what you believe it is nice for someone to take a moment, put his hand on your shoulder and pray for your safe journey.

Troy’s studio is located at 9853 Johnnycake Ridge Road in Concord Ohio, his number is 440-853-8472 if you want to contact him.

Cleveland was amazing for me, mostly because of the people but also because of the cool city. It was common to hear “why would you go there” from people when I listed Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland but all provided me great experiences and I truly enjoyed what they had to offer.

Sadly I didn’t take any pictures. I need to stop having so much fun and start photo journaling my journey!

Cleveland Rocks!

SJM Weather

Chief Meteorologist here, weathering the storms of this trip, there has been plenty of sunshine, a rainbow or two and an occasional shower. Cleveland was a definite ray of light, I was hosted by two different groups of friends. To keep the post somewhat short I will be writing two posts.

My first two nights were spent with my friend Meagan and her family. One of the highlights of this trip is experiencing how other’s live. On my first morning Meagan and I got up early to drop her two daughters off at school, not being a parent this was my first school drop, let me tell you it is very much like you see in the movies. The kids were eager to hop out of the car having spotted their friends and they were off, it was like a whirlwind. We squealed (ok, not really) out of the school driveway eager to start our tour of downtown Cleveland.

On our agenda for the day was the West Side Market, Cleveland’s Public Market which recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. It is natural to compare things to your home, in this case Pike Place Market, however I couldn’t choose a market I preferred. I liked West Side for the set up of its food vendors, they were organized in square pods with a different vendor occupying one quarter of the space. I liked the ability to look around from one vantage point and see the various offerings of meats, poultry, seafood and cheeses. Pike Place seems a bit more disjointed in its placement of vendors. However, that said, I preferred the fruit and vegetable set up at Pike Place over The West Side Market. There seems to be more vendors, more variety and less heckling. As we walked through I felt like I was unable to shop in peace as the vendors were all yelling trying to get my attention.

We next headed to the Cleveland Museum of Art for a quick bite before perusing the exhibitions. The Provenence Cafe, was another museum surprise, offering locally sourced authentic cuisine. I ordered a tandoor-baked chicken claybread sandwich and a side salad. The man in charge, Chef Douglas Katz, hopes to align the food to the quality experience that art lovers encounter throughout the rest of the museum. If my meal was a representative of the rest of the menu I would say he is right on target! Our only complaint…the sandwich wasn’t served with a bib.

Our final stop of our tourist day was at the Lakeview Cemetery. It might seem like an odd stop, a cemetery where I knew no one residing there but it was a very interesting and informative visit. You can get a sense of the people who built a city by the engravings in the headstone. The Cemetery houses graves of some pretty prominent individuals to include President James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller and Eliot Ness.

There is a free tour of the monument of President Garfield, a quick hike up the stairs to the top of the building provides a birds eye view of the cemetery. Additionally, the Wade Memorial Chapel is not to be missed. This chapel was was designed by glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. The intricate details are breathtaking.

Our day was complete when I got to sit in on a filming of a pre-game show called Tailgate 19. It was my first time in a news studio and I was able to sneak in some time at the weather desk before heading off to dinner.

I had so much fun that there was danger to me extending my visit, however, I know that its best to leave when the ratings are high so I took my departure.

West Side Market

West Side Market

Cleveland Market 2

Westside Market

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Cleveland Museum of Art

Feeling Cocky

Feeling Cocky

President Garfield Monument

President Garfield Monument

President Garfield's Monument

President Garfield’s Monument