Whole30: Week 1

So, remember all those grandiose plans I had for this weekend–you know, to reboot my year? Well. Instead, my weekend consisted of what I think was a stomach flu bug and Netflix binging with the roommate. It sucked, but I did love the excuse to do nothing for 48 hours.

Thankfully, I did feel well enough Saturday afternoon to get my Whole30 stuff all ready to go: recipe research, meal plan, shopping list, shopping and all meal prep.
I’ll definitely be sharing more of my favorite Whole30 resources as we go–I’m finding some great new recipes and really trying to push past my typical food comfort levels. Here’s a peek at what I prepped this week:





Creamy tomato soup (with coconut milk!), ground turkey for “spaghetti” and taco salads, zucchini noodles (my loves), sauteed mushrooms and spinach, pot roast, and white balsamic salad dressing. Yum! I also be doing lots of eggs for breakfast, fruit for snacks…and I did splurge on some legit natural almond butter for those moments on weekends where I find myself tempted by the lure of the peanut butter jar.

I’m both anxious and excited for the next 30 days. I’ll definitely be faced with challenges, so I’m looking forward  to seeing just how well I handle them. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram and Twitter to get the daily blow-by-blow, and stay tuned right here–this could get very, very interesting, my friends…


The first thing I did when I started this blog was attempt to run. I wanted to be a runner. I’ve always envied those teeny girls just gracefully loping down the street in their cute outfits and colorful Nikes.

But running at 300+ pounds? Ah, yeah. No. More like shuffling my feet while wheezing, huffing and puffing, and generally jiggling about. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least.

And as I’ve lost weight, it hasn’t become any easier. Sometimes it just plain hurts my body, or I can’t get my mind to stop focusing on how hard it is to breath. But mostly, running for me is difficult (probably) because I don’t do it consistently. For a few weeks, I’ll be determined to tackle it and breakthrough that barrier…but then I don’t make progress. I can’t jog more than eight minutes at a time. And so I move on. I go to Boot Camp, I take up cycling. I don’t run.  This summer, I’ve been focusing on just moving my body more consistently and trying new things, like my Yoga Challenge.

But then I go and I sign up for not one but three 5K races. THREE! I had a goal to run five races this year, and apparently, I’m actually going to accomplish that goal. Imagine that.

The first race is in three weeks (holy geeze) and the second is the day after my birthday (wahoo!) in September. Thankfully the third is in January, so I have time, but…you guys! This sucks! I want to know: a) why can’t I just freakin’ run already? Plenty of heavier people do! Why can’t I? I used to be an athlete, I used to run all the time, and b) What was I thinking?!

I’ve done 5K’s before, this is true (see above). But I’m sick of being slow. I’m sick of watching my friends and family finish in, like, 26 minutes and then they have to wait around for my dragging butt to cross at least a good ten minutes later. It’s so obnoxious.

And I hate the pressure a race puts on you—or, really, the pressure you put on yourself because of a race. For me, the pressure cycle progresses as such:

  • I am determined to be a runner! I can do this!
  • I sign up for a race.
  • Said race starts to approach, so I start running.
  • I nearly pass out after a pathetic 3 minutes of “running” (I swear I walk faster than I run…is that possible?).
  • I get mad at myself for sucking so bad. Worst case scenario: I go on a classic two-week food binge and don’t move from in front of the TV.
  • Unconditioned, I hobble through the finish line: proud, but determined to do better next time.
  • I try to “do better,” fail, get frustrated…and the cycle repeats.

Seriously, I’m getting agitated and angry with myself just writing this…

I have nothing else to say on the topic other than I truly loathe running, I want to love it, and I’m going to keep trying to do just that. I’ll probably again get stuck in the above cycle at some point, but if it hasn’t defeated me over the past 18 months, it’s not gonna now. Eff that noise. I’ll beat it.

Color Me…Happy!

20130714_101237This weekend, a giant group of my loud, crazy, fun extended family descended on my town to join me in The Color Run. If you haven’t heard of this run, the self-proclaimed “happiest 5K on the planet”, do yourself a favor and sign up for a race. You will love it!

I truly believe that in order for any sort of long-term exercise plan to be effective, you need to: 1. find fun ways to be active, and 2. find fun people to have that active fun with. This Color Run was exactly that.

So, to extend all that happy and fun, the night before the race, the whole gang met up at Sea Salt–an amazing restaurant at Minnehaha Falls. We enjoyed some libations, delish sea food, and a beautiful Minnesota summer night.


Broasted salmon with dill yogurt sauce, fennel orange salad, and melon

Instagramming while drinking. It should be a punishable offense.



During the actual race, I kept pace with my brother. He was so great about pushing me to go further, go faster. I ended up actually running the majority of the course (which surprised me), and I finished strong by joining my cousin and her friends (who are much speedier than I) to cross the finish line. It’s safe to say my love-hate relationship with running is officially back on the “love” side of things.

And then post-race…obviously more drinking and eating must happen. Obviously. And it should probably be on a patio somewhere where you can enjoy the sunshine and really bake that color powder into your pores.

Oh, and blowing my nose more than 24 hours later? Like a rainbow 🙂 Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Family and Color Run!

I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

There are too few perfect warm, summery days here in good old Minnesota. So, when they come around, you have to grab them. Same goes for my confidence and self-esteem: the highs are few and far between, so you make the most of each and every fleeting moment. Over the next few months, I intend to grab hold and explore–both my summer and my confidence.

Enter LouAnn.
IMG_20130615_20255820130613_191520LouAnn is my brand spanking new bicycle. And she’s a beaut. I have long longed to be one of those people, stealthily pedaling down the road, weaving in and out of traffic, breezing by slow movers like me on the running trails. And now, suddenly, I kind of am!

Last night I took Lulu (that’s her nickname, obviously) for my first real spin in the city. Let me preface this by saying that 1. I have no knowledge of proper biking etiquette or safety procedures, 2. I’m terrified of getting hit by a car, 3. my bike has no carrying receptacle for my phone or water bottle, and 4. I have previously despised the cyclists in my town who ride like their bike is car. So, you know, I’m well prepared to do this whole cycling thing. Sure.

I took Lou (her other nickname, obvi) down one of my favorite running routes and then some, seven miles in total. Just to test it out. I was nervous, but I smiled realizing how happy I was to simply be pedaling down the road. I could not physically or mentally have done this 60-some pounds ago. I realized, though, as I pedaled past my favorite little drummer boys and people I was sure were openly gawking at me, that I still haven’t gotten over the mental roadblock I have of being fat and on a bike. Like one of those circus bears on a small tricycle? That’s how I feel.
I wonder if the “everyone’s staring at me” thing in my mind is ever going to stop.
I wonder if I’ll ever just stop caring.

But I did it and I’ll keep doing it. Mind over matter, and all that. Speaking of which, I also made some very real progress on my summer bucket list! I registered for a bike race! I’ll be doing the Tour de Tonka in August. The ride is all around our gorgeous Lake Minnetonka and has several different routes you can chose–from 16 miles all the way up to 100. Yikes.I’ve haven’t yet decided on how many miles I’ll do, so let’s try something new here on Manda Kay Makes It…

Let me know what you guys think! I’m going to be doing some fundraising for this race, too, but you’ll see more about that later :)I mentioned to my mom that I signed up for this race, and she pointed out that it’s the same day as other plans she and I had made. The guilt immediately set in. I’ll cancel the race, I said. No hesitation. But Mama Ruthie insisted that I do the race–it’s more important for you to be healthy and get exercise, she said.

And it hit me: she’s right. I keep talking about how I’m here to make my life, and this race offers just that opportunity. Keeping my prior commitment to my mom is not living my life. Doing this bike ride, training, setting and achieving a major goal, that’s living my life. On my terms. Putting myself first. Being selfish in the best way. But it’s not a concept I’m familiar or comfortable with, so I’m struggling.

So, for now, I’m just going to keep riding. Block out the noise, the traffic, the guilt, and the voice in my head. Enjoy these summer days, grab hold of that confidence more and more. Moving forward, always.

Summer Bucket List

Just like last year, I’ve put together a list of items I want to cross off my bucket list this summer. After a rather stagnant few months, during which I learned a lot mentally but didn’t do a hell of a lot physically, I’m feeling motivated to push harder than ever to get things back in gear and get that scale moving downward once again.

So, here are my goals for the summer, designed to get me out there…finding balance, shaking things up, making my life.

2013 Summer Bucket List

1. Run 2 miles

2. Attempt to water ski…again

3. Put myself out there physically

4. Complete a bike race

5. Go hiking in a state park

6. Lose 20 pounds

7. Purchase a pair of pants from a “normal” size store

8. Move everyday & spend as much time outside as possible

9. Go to a beach in a swimsuit. Swim, soak up the sun,  be confident

10. Save enough money for a personal trainer this fall

Tell me: what are you going to do over the next three months to make yourself proud and kick some booty?

March Goals

Woo hoo! We survived February: the worst of all the months! It’s March and we’re that much closer to spring and sunshine and warmth and the ability to be outside without the possibility of losing appendages!

February was a rough one for my goals as well. Surprise! I didn’t achieve any of them!

Well, it’s a new month and I’m newly motivated to move past my recent health drama. I think I’ve been struggling because I’ve been floundering with no answers, no guidance, no clue as to why my body is being such a little b-word. Now that I know what’s up, I feel ready to start working to defeat it. I’m looking forward to the hard work–an awesome feeling 🙂


Goals for March

1. 1,000 calorie burn each day
2. Complete my food journal each day
3. Run 3 times per week
4. Try a new gym class
5. Compliment myself every day

And finally…a month without alcohol! It’s recommended that I avoid alcohol while on my new medication, so…I’ll miss my BFF vodka, but I think it’ll be a good way to keep the extra carbs/cals in check.

As always, I’d love for you to join me! Pick a few goals from my list, or come up with your own, then share your list in the comments below.

February Goals

Does anyone still have problems spelling February? It’s not just me, right?! 🙂 It’s one of those words, like ‘prairie’, that I have to think about each time I spell it. Good thing I have an English degree...

So it’s February. The shortest, most depressing month of the year. This is the time when winter doldrums really set in. All that stale air, dirty snow, dark-at-5pm winter BS gets real, real old. Combine that with Valentine’s Day singledom, and it becomes especially tempting to fall into old, comfortable habits.

But so far this year, I’m doing really well. January was a good month: I made progress with all my goals, lost some weight and a bunch of inches. I ended up not running the 5K I had planned because it was freezing and I lacked the funds. Other than that, I made significant progress with C25K and a had a breakthrough with the dreaded treadmill. I re-started Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, though I didn’t do it consistently–I was too focused on my new favorite gym class, Body Pump! I did extremely well with staying out of the grocery store. I made maybe 1 extra trip, but I otherwise ate through what I had stocked up at home. Good month!

Here’s what I’ve got cooking for February:

Goals for February

1. Finish C25K
2. Complete 30DS–just because I’ve been wanting to do a full cycle of this FOREVER.
3. Move it at least once per day–too often when I take a rest day, I let that 1 day become 2, somtimes 3. Enough!
4. Complete calorie log every day–and do it without going over. I’ll sometimes enter half my day but then get too lazy or busy to finish it, which allows for unaccounted for calories going in. No more excuses!
5. Run the Valentine’s Day 5K–they make you way signs on your back stating your relationship status. Yikes.

As always, I’d love for you to join me! Pick a few goals from my list, or come up with your own, then share your list in the comments below. 

January Goals

I haven’t done a monthly goals post in a hot minute. So what better time than the New Year to get back into the habit? This time around, we’re setting five goals per month instead of ten (more doable, I think). Here’s what I’ve got cooking for January:

Goals for January

1. Make progress towards completing C25K – this is still lingering for me and I want it done!
2. Restart (and complete) 30 Day Shred (30DS) – again, I want it done!
3. Take 4 yoga classes 
4. Workout at least once per day
5. Run the St. Paul Winter Carnival 5K sub 44 minutes – a goal for this year is to run five 5K races, and 44 minutes was my time from my previous 5K race. So, check a race off the list and set a new PR.

As always, I’d love for you to join me! Pick a few goals from my list, or come up with your own, then share your list in the comments below. 


Here it is! Your obligatory yet lovingly and soberly composed New Year’s post! Let me start by saying that, as someone who’s spent the majority of their life overweight and is also highly self-critical/analytical, I’m a sucker for fresh starts, clean slates, second chances, resolutions, Mondays, and new years.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a good deal of time taking stock of my 2012: what I learned, where I failed and succeeded, what I want to do differently in the new year, and what goals I want to accomplish. I feel like 2012 was been my practice year, my twelve-month warm-up. 2013, in very technical sports speak, is the Big Show. It is my regular season where I work towards the playoffs and, eventually, the Super Bowl (my weight loss goal, for those who are metaphorically challenged). For the most part, I know what worked and what didn’t, where and why I was and was not successful. But more than anything, I know the fire inside in me to succeed, to keep going, is stronger than ever. I want that championship ring, dammit!
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Here are the big picture ambitions I have for 2013:

Above all else, I want to practice love. For myself, for all situations and circumstances, for friends and family, for complete strangers. A big part of my success this past year has been shedding the negativity and cynicism that have ruled my life for so long. I want to continue to develop this practice, to make myself more and more open and vulnerable to all that surrounds me. Be present in the moment. Care for the relationships in my life, cultivate new ones. I want to go on a date, focus on living my own life, let go of residual guilt and anger, travel. Live in kindness, gratitude, and love.

Obviously, I want to continue to lose weight. This past year, I lost 65 pounds and have mostly maintained that weight. But I have so far to go. In 2013, I want to lose an additional 100 pounds. Ambitious and aggressive, but the jiggle is there still, so…

My cousin shared a yearlong plan someone had put together where they gave up one unhealthy food item each month. I adapted this idea to my own life, planning to give up one trigger food each month. I’m intrigued to see if I have the willpower to do it, and I’m also interested to see how my body reacts month-to-month. I’ll be tracking my progress using an app on my phone, and sharing updates on the blog and on my Twitter. Here are the twelve items I’ll be giving up throughout 2013:

I have two main fitness goals for 2013: 1) become more of an athlete, and 2) build consistency. The biggest hindrance to my progress in 2012 was a lack of consistency. I’d go through spurts of working out, then when I didn’t get my results, I’d slack off for a week…or two months.

To resolve that, I’ve set some specific challenges for myself that will hopefully help build consistency, and make me more of an athlete. Because I don’t want to continue with my same old, half-assed elliptical workouts. I don’t want to end up skinny fat. I want to be able to kick some serious ass. So, in 2013 I want to…

  • Run an entire 5K
  • Participate in at least five races
  • Look into the possibility of doing a 10K
  • Get a trainer
  • Begin a swimming program
  • Take up a new summer and winter sport
  • Explore the possibility of doing a triathlon in 2014

I also have big plans for this blog in 2013. Namely, a redesign done ASAP (any takers?), along with lots more posts. Because, as my mother keeps pointing out, blogging helps keep me accountable and allows me to share my thoughts—get them out of my overanalyzing brain and onto virtual paper. And of course I want to do things like read more, spend more time doing the arty things I love (playing music, painting), travel, get a tattoo, etc. But these are the main areas I want to focus in the coming months, because they have the most overarching impact on my life.

So that’s my big plan for 2013. I do intend to continue menu and workout planning, setting smaller goals and challenges each month (sharing them on the blog, of course), and tracking my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal. All of these things served me well in 2012. I hope you’ll stick around and see how it all plays out. Your support, encouragement, and advice over the past twelve months has been invaluable. I am so grateful to each and every one of you—I could not have done this without you and I hope I can inspire you even more in the coming months. Because I’m not stopping until I finish making this little life of mine.

What are your resolutions for 2013? Set some, share them with me, then let’s get after it! 

October Goals

Another month, another set of goals. A few goals didn’t get taken care of last month, so you’ll see them on the list below. I decided that I’m not going to let go of a goal if I don’t reach it right away. So while it might be less interesting for you to read, they’re going to stay on my list until I can cross those buggers out!

As always, I’d love for you to join me! Pick a few goals from my list, or come up with your own, then share your list in the comments below. 

Goals for October

1. Run two complete miles
2. Break XXX pounds–I have a number in mind. If I break it, I’ll share it
3. Fit comfortably into a “regular” sized pair of pants–so! close!
4. No ice cream or frozen yogurt
5. Stick to consistent workout schedule with accountability partner
6. Begin a strength training program
7. Finish 30 Day Shred–I will take this down!
8. Finish Couch-to-5K
9. In bed by 10pm Monday-Friday–much needed for 5am workouts!
10. Begin twice per week spin classes