I’m going to blow past the fact that I haven’t posted here for over two months and just jump right into what’s been happening, okay? Okay.

I haven’t felt particularly inspired to post lately, and I haven’t really had the time. I’ve been too busy working, worrying, dating (!!), and more importantly, living. My weight has stayed steady. I’ve made healthful food choices, but I’ve also indulged. Probably more than I should. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. Like, a lot. And getting back into running. I’ve been taking more time for myself and clocking more hours at work. Basically, what I’ve been doing, is working to find balance.
IMG_20140515_193007 IMG_20140518_190529 IMG_20140518_191626 IMG_20140520_175521 IMG_20140519_190456IMG_20140502_225241 IMG_20140523_085827IMG_20140530_205124 IMG_20140602_191342Earlier this week, I started services at The Emily Program. In my initial conversation with one of the therapists, we talked a lot about my preoccupation with losing weight, body image, exercise and food. She asked me, “How much of your day do you think you spend thinking about this stuff? Honestly?” I gave it some thought and, if I’m being completely honest, a good 90% of my thoughts revolve around:

  • How my hair/makeup/outfit/fat rolls look at any given moment.
  • What my next meal will be and when I will eat it.
  • When my next chance to workout is.
  • How to schedule unexpected social and work obligations around my meal/workout schedule.
  • If I’m having a particularly weak day, how soon I can leave work and binge and what foods that binge will consist of.

After re-reading my last post, I think this is borderline obsession is something I’ve sub-consciously been aware of, and frustrated by, for awhile. And it’s probably why I’ve been shying away from blogging. I don’t want a life all consumed by being A Person Trying To Lose Weight. It’s frustrating and it’s unsatisfying. I fully understand that it needs to be a major piece of my life, but there can, and absolutely needs to be, a measure of balance and flexibility as well.

Speaking of The Emily Program, at my appointment this week I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder. I mean, obviously it’s not a surprise, but still. I can’t help but feel that it’s yet another huge obstacle I have to overcome on this freaking never ending journey. But, on the flip side, I’m incredibly proud and grateful that I chose to formally address this issue and take steps to fix it.
They  say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

That thought flooded my mind earlier this week at my intake assessment, as I filled out form after form, test after test, and shared very personal information during  an incredibly, horribly uncomfortable conversation with the intake therapist.

We were having a pleasant, happy conversation, going through my background (how’s your relationship with your family, what are your hobbies, what do you do for a living) and suddenly she comes at me with this gem:

What does a typical binge look like for you?

An eating disorder, like any other substance abuse problem, is something typically done in secret. I’ve become an expert at hiding my eating from friends and family. I’ve never shared my dirty little tricks, habits, or menus with anyone.

To sit down with someone and walk them through my eating rituals, step-by-step, bite-by-bite…well, it felt like I was confessing to heinous murder. I was waiting for the Law & Order detectives to walk through the door and arrest me.

My anxiety soared. But, like with most difficult things, the more I talked about the problem, the better I started to feel. The more in control I started to feel.

I have an appointment next week to discuss my treatment plan going forward. And I can’t wait to dig into all this new uncomfortable stuff 🙂
IMG_20140531_191120And finally, speaking of uncomfortable, I picked up my bridesmaid’s dress for the wedding I’m in this fall. Let’s just say, I’m not entirely comfortable in it. So, Operation Bridesmaid is now in full force. I’m going to do my damnedest to get back on a consistent workout schedule and mostly Whole 30-type eating plan. I have set some great balanced goals for the summer (which I’ll share in an upcoming post), so it’s time to get going.

I am ready.


The first few weeks of 2014 have been…bumpy? Nothing’s really gone according to plan, but surprisingly, I haven’t been sucked into the usually funk I experience when things don’t go accordingly to masterfully designed plan. So that’s something, I guess. Workouts, proper eating, water intake, sleep—all have been sporadic at best. I blame moving, a busy schedule, increased expectations at work…and my own laziness, of course.

I was originally supposed to be out of town this weekend to engage in some bachelorette shenanigans, but I’ve made a conscious decision to tap the brakes a bit here and—for lack of a better way of phrasing this—get my shit together. I need to be the good kind of selfish and practice a little self-love this Valentine’s weekend. So here is my full-proof, two-day plan to Get Your Shit Back Together:

1. Sleep, Hydrate, Move
This seems pretty self-explanatory, but I’m going to spend some serious time sleeping in my oh-so-cozy, newly furnished bedroom, drinking my weight in water instead of alcohol, and finally enjoying this awful winter we’ve been having—I’ve got plans to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! And then, let’s be real, I’ll probably spend the rest of the weekend immobile, since I’ll be so sore from the wintery workouts.

2. Eat All The (Good) Food
A few days (or maybe weeks?) ago, I mentioned on my Instagram that I was going to attempt Whole30: 30 days of eating “whole” foods—veggies, certain fruits, lean proteins…and that’s really it. I’ll be sharing more about my experiences with the program, obviously, but this means none of my beloved peanut butter, no bread, no creamer in my coffee for a whole month. Sounds awful, right? I was originally putting it off until March, since I had the aforementioned bachelorette party this weekend and a wedding in early March. But it has become increasingly obvious that I need to reign in my eating ASAP—it’s becoming somewhat of a problem again (oh, hello eating disorder! Nice to see your ugly face again! Not! Hahaha). 

So Whole 30. Starting this weekend. Send spinach and pray for me. Or, rather, pray for my family, friends, and co-workers having to deal with me in this state for a whole month.

3. Loving Love
Earlier this week, my roommate and I stayed up way past our bed times (read: past 9:00pm!) discussing what we’re going to put in our online dating profiles when we join up. Boys like Disney movie marathons, discussions about the Universe, and dissecting Beyonce’s Instagram feed, right?

This is the weekend I bite the so-called bullet, though. I’m going to do it: I’m going to actively put myself out there and try to wipe the perma-bitch look from my face, and I’m signing up for online dating. Again, send spinach (what?!) and pray for me.

It’s time to settle in and get serious again. So, let’s regroup and hit restart on this year. It’s going to be a big one: earth-shattering, core-shaking, life-changing. I can feel it!

Another Day, Another 5K

I’ve been putting off the writing of this post for way too long. Why? Well, I haven’t felt like writing. At all. And I never want this blog to feel forced–this precious little piece of the Interwebs is only meant for me. And you. But mostly for me. I want this space to be nothing but pure honesty for both you and me. Ok?

That’s why it’s been so difficult to write this post about another 5K that I’m going into half-assedly. I’ll spare you all the whiny over-analyzing (I’ve been doing plenty of that over on the Twitter and the Insta, and I’m sorry) and just tell you this:

  1. I don’t want to run this race. Not one bit.
  2. I’m so tired of wasting money and energy on these races that I still can’t complete properly.
  3. Along with this (warranted) awful funk I’ve been in lately, numbers 1 and 2 above have me all jumbled up in the head, completely de-motivating me and turning me into a ball of mush that wants to do nothing but cozy up in bed.

But come Sunday morning, despite the potential wintery mix and freezing temperatures we’re expected to receive, I’ll be in Wisconsin participating in the Biggest Loser Run/Walk! Like with any other race, I’m nervous. We all know I’ve not been progressing my attempt to force this 300+ lb. body to run. But given that it’s a Biggest Loser race, I know I won’t be the slowest, most out of shape person there (something I’m selfishly always terrified of), and I’m betting that the atmosphere will be pretty darn inspiring and motivating. I’m kinda looking forward to the race just for that.

Plus, two of my aunts and cousins are actually going to make the trek over there with me and do the race, too, and Mama Ruthie’s going to make an appearance at some point. Pretty awesome, right?

And that’s what I’m clinging to right now: I have the support of so many amazing people. I can’t let them down. I can’t let me down. And I have no intention of doing other. But it’s time to get my ish back together, suck it up, and start making everyone (myself included) proud once again. And that starts with this race, with every step I take.

See y’all on the other side! Looking forward to sharing the race experience with you…and really looking forward to things getting back to normal around these parts very, very soon!

Full disclosure: The fine folks of the Biggest Loser Run/Walk provided me with a free entry into the Eau Claire race this weekend, in exchange for posting about my experience.

Push Through

Happy Monday, friends! I posted something over on Instagram today that I wanted to share with you all. When we experience especially rough patches in life, it’s easy to give in, give up, and forget your ‘why’–why am I on this journey? Why am I trying to lose weight and live a healthy life? Why do I wake up every morning? But as I’ve been reminded over and over (and over and over) lately, you only truly fail in life when you stop trying. The struggle is, ultimately, part of your success.

Remember your ‘why’. Smile through the struggle. Keep your head up and your heart strong. You got this. We got this.


Little Victories

Some days, you take what you can get…

I stopped at Target (aka Mecca) after work to pick up a few necessities. Before I knew what happened, I was in the frozen foods aisle with a carton of ice cream in my hand.

What? How did that happen?!

I dropped that icy cardboard like it was on fire and started repeating a mantra of “no, don’t do it” over and over until I was safely in the shampoo aisle.

What had just happened? I mentally ticked through my list of usual triggers, but nothing made sense: my day was fine. I ate right, got plenty of water, and was generally feeling fine. A little tired, maybe. Nothing major.

So it was purely habit. Addiction. Rearing it’s damn awful head. Bastard.

Today, though, I won.

It’s the little victories that will one day win me the war.

This Year > Last Year

It’s amazing the difference twelve short months can make. Just 365 little days…

Last May, I was about 40 pounds heavier and a bunch of inches thicker. I was four pant sizes and two-three (depending on the store) shirt sizes bigger. I couldn’t dream of shopping in “normal” stores, save for the maternity section or the occasional tunic or dress that I fashioned into a form-fitting shirt (Yes, really. I did both).

Last May I was uncomfortable wearing t-shirts and wouldn’t dream of wearing tank tops. No one wants to see all that flab flapping around. When I did finally start to wear tank tops, it was the biggest deal. I remember calling my mom as I stood at the big box hardware store wearing a sleeveless dress. I was nearly in tears I was so proud…and so terrifyingly self-conscious.

Last May I didn’t leave the house without my hair and make up done, my outfit acceptably perfect. Why give the world another reason to judge me? I may be The Fat Girl but I would never dream of being The Ugly Fat Girl.

Last May I struggled to run for 30 seconds. I stuck mostly to the elliptical at the gym, because I was afraid of how unattractive and out of shape I’d look trying something new. I didn’t make eye contact and I stayed in the back row of my darkened spin class—the only group class I would attempt.

But now?

This May, I’m still stuck in a seemingly never-ending weight loss plateau, but I’ve lost over 60 pounds in about a year, I’ve tightened and toned my body to the point where I sometimes like what I see in the mirror. I haven’t given up. I regularly shop at normal stores in mostly normal sizes. Sometimes, I even need to grab a smaller size.

This May, I cry in dressing rooms because I can’t believe I fit in the size 14 shirt not because I have to grab the 3X.

This May, I’ve run a 5K race, with a goal of doing five more this year (three are on the calendar!). I’ve gotten my heavy body up on a paddleboard…while wearing a swimsuit. I’ve taken (and love!) a boot camp and a weights class—where I’m constantly uncomfortable and pushed to my physical and self-esteem limits.

This May, I rarely wear makeup when I’m not at work or going out socially. I’ve stopped caring what I look like in the best possible way: I still want to look cute, obviously, but I no longer spend an hour getting ready to go to Target on a Saturday afternoon.

This May, I wear t-shirts. And tank tops. And dresses that show off (most) of my legs.

This May, I explore the world around me. I try new things. I put myself out there socially (something, I admit, I’m just starting to feel out). I’m less afraid of others, less afraid of myself.
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This May, I’ve mostly made peace with myself. As is, right now. Fat and all. The scale doesn’t define me, your opinion of me, and what fat girls should and should not do, doesn’t define me. I define me. And I like me. I’m proud of me.

This May, I can’t wait to see who I am next May.

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago on this very day, I started Manda Kay Makes It. And what a year it has been. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all the beautiful, frustrating, triumphant, semi-devastating things that have happened in the past 12 months. It’s been an unbelievable journey. I’ve learned so much–about me, about my place in the world. I’ve had new experiences, new setbacks. I’ve tried new foods and new exercises–new ways of moving and experiencing my body just as it is now.

And I can’t wait for more.

A big, gigantic thank you to each and every one of you for all the reading, commenting, and encouraging you’ve done. As much as this is a solo journey, I know I wouldn’t have come near as far as I have without all of you cheering. Thank you!

As I said, I learned a lot this year. Here are a few of the mantras I want to take with me and continue to put into practice this year:
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Holiday Success

I always spend the Holidays with my family–real meat and potatoes Midwesterners. Everything is structured around food–when we’re going to eat, what we’re going to eat, etc. We start planning dinner before eating supper, there are trays of candy, cookies, dips, spreads, and nuts everywhere, and overindulging then sleeping it off in front of the TV is wholly encouraged. And then there’s the calorie-laden adult beverages…so, as someone who whole-heartedly loves all things food and drink, this is naturally my favorite time of year.

This is the first year I can remember where I’m not giving myself a pass for the holidays. I’m not going into this season with the mindset that I can just start again when it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. I’m actively planning how to be successful this holiday season. While I’m obviously no expert here, I think it’s really all about the basics and maintaining my schedule regardless of others.

Here are my five tips to stay on track during the holidays:

1. Make your own food
It is the best way to control what, exactly, you’re putting in your mouth. I was scared that I offend my grandmother by doing this. She is an amazing cook, notorious for overfeeding and her use of butter. But after asking, I found she was more than happy to let me invade her kitchen–she has been super supportive of my journey. I also found my family willing to partake in my healthy offerings.

2. Allow yourself one specific indulgence
Choose one thing and really savor the indulgence. What is life if you can’t enjoy it once in awhile? The holidays are my favorite time of year and I want to enjoy them–I can be rigid the rest of the year. For Thanksgiving this year, I chose to indulge in a little liquid therapy: vodka.
3. Exercise
Being away from the gym or home, in wintery climates, etc. is no excuse not to work out. Thanksgiving morning, I got up early and went for a run. I also took some time to complete a workout I found on Pinterest. Seriously, both Pinterest and Self magazine have a bunch of great quick workouts that can be done anywhere with minimal or no equipment. When all else fails, just get out and walk. Or play active games with younger family members. Or stand in a corner and do jumping jacks, some push-ups, crunches…just be active.

4. Log everything
I track my calories and exercise on My Fitness Pal. If you don’t use an online tracking tool like that, write down what you eat in a notebook, keep a running mental list, or, if you have a family member you don’t particularly like, bore them to death by telling them bite for bite what you’ve eaten that day. Having that written or verbal list of what you’ve put in your pie hole is a very effective form of accountability.

5. Water
I feel completely different when I don’t get my water in for the day. I feel puffy, my mind feels foggy, I retain water, and I’m crabby. Whether some of that is psychological, I don’t know. But it makes a difference for me. I have taken to buying a few gallons of drinking water whenever I head to my family’s for a weekend, and I set it and my water bottle in plain sight. That way it’s a present reminder to hydrate.

What do you do to stay healthy and on track during the holidays?

A Note From The Universe…and A Note From Me

I hope this post helps explain, at least a little bit, why I’ve been neglecting the blog and you, my loyal readers, as of late. I know I owe you a update on this month’s goals, and a few delish recipes. But, plain and simple, I’ve been busy! Work is kicking my butt in the best, most rewarding way possible, and beyond that, I’ve been crazy focused on my eating and workout plans–I’ve been pulling two-a-days for the last few weeks, and loving every second.

I’m feeling so good these days–so much energy, such a upbeat, positive mood, optimistic and happy about every. thing. The scale has been stuck this week thanks to my womanhood (damn you, ovaries!), but I’m making progress elsewhere: gaining muscle (thanks to my new weight training program), remaining loyal to my accountability partner (more on that soon), my clothes are looser, and my endurance, willpower, and dedication have never been stronger!

But all of these things take an extraordinary amount of time. My schedule for the past few weeks has literally been: 5am workout, work, evening workout, dinner, bed. Wake and repeat. And I love it. I really think I’m finally in the place where I’m enjoying this whole process. I’m having fun with it.

A Note from the Universe…

Generally speaking, Amanda, the busier someone is the faster time flies, the less they worry, the more friends they have, the farther they travel, the quicker they rebound, the richer they become, and the happier they are. 
Passport ready? 
The Universe