Sunday, May 29, 2011


I'm not sure what I'm going to do this week, the first week of June, for my workout and exercise plan, so I'm stalling.

Sadly, there's nothing in the article about how she stays so fit.

Shania Twain has a tell-all interview in the June issue of REDBOOK that reveals some deep stuff about her. I never knew she was so brave, especially during the crazy affair that her husband had with Shania's best friend. I always thought of her as a powerhouse of a woman. I mean you don't belt out "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" being a wall flower, right? Well apparently, Shania used to be pretty shy. And she's only 5'4"! WTW?! I always thought she was uber tall. A pillar of strength. A Greek goddess of power and vocal intensity.

The always talented Jancee Dunn interviewed Shania and got some pretty good stuff outta her. And you know how I like to ask myself the same celebrity interview questions!

For your reading pleasure, my interview as conducted by *cough* Jancee Dunn.

RB: [I see that you wrote a YA novel called One-Armed Freak, that's available on a Kindle through Oak Tree Press. What is the book about?]

ME: It's about a teenage boy who loses his arm in a preventable farming accident. The book begins the fall after the accident and he has to learn how to live with one arm. In the process, he makes a unique friend and a surprising enemy. It's really a book about how some relationships are toxic and should be severed instead of endured.

RB: Tell me about the process of writing [your] book.

ME: It's funny actually. I was teaching at a rural high school, and taught a group of kids who were in a reading intervention class--so of course, they hated to read!--and I asked them what kind of book they would read. They got together, mulled it over, and said, "We wanna read about a farm boy. Who plays football. And who loses a limb." I blinked twice, and then I wrote One-Armed Freak.

RB: REDBOOK has done plenty of stories on men who cheat or just up and leave. What would you say to women who have been through something like that?

ME: Uh, OK. Left field. I'd say, when you mope, blare Weezer's cover of "Unbreak My Heart" and during the angry phase "That Don't Impress Me Much". Then cozy up with fat-free or sugar free ice cream. It doesn't taste as good, which means you'll eat less and then when you're ready to move on with your life, and you won't have to drop the 30 lbs from the stress eating. Also, you shouldn't give your ex the satisfaction of getting fat and depressed over him. If he didn't want you, he's not worth it! But seriously, once you get over the shock, depression, and anger, do something productive or even charitable with your time. It will help you refocus your energy to something positive.

RB: Were there any song or artists who helped you get through your toughest times?

ME: Sure. There's this one song by Ben Folds Five called "Losing Lisa" that is great during break-ups. Also, "Fair", by the same band, tugs the heart strings. But when I'm getting over a hard-time or simply wanna pump myself up, I rock to Weezer's Raditude album. Anything by Weezer suffices, but that one is very peppy. I heart it. 

RB: You're stripped of all glamour and artifice [in your very first photo on your blog]. Was showing your natural self a conscious decision?

ME: Yeah. I wanted to be honest to myself and to the world about how much I'd let myself go. It was very motivating and made me accountable for changing my bad habits into good ones. I also started a new tab that says "Kristie Alley had nothing on me" where I've posted two FAT pics of me. I'm not kidding. People have said that they didn't even recognize me in 'em. In any case, I'm losing weight now. I have REDBOOK to thank for the last 8-10 lbs.

RB: [Wow. You are so inspiring.]

ME: [hand to chest] Thanks, REDBOOK, but you have been inspiring me.

This is my manic fan face. I don't really look so scary. I promise.

Oh and readers, if you wanna read all about my Larry King experience check out my other blog.
I'll be trying out Xocai [pronounced so-shy and means chocolate + acai berries], which makes sense after you read it, and RB, I'd be happy to give you the inside scoop on it's effectiveness as a diet shake.

See you on the flip side.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Week 3: RESULTS

I lost another pound.

I know. That wasn't much of a hook, was it? But what if I added a few exclamation points? Eh?

I lost another pound!!!

See? That's way more intriguing. It's the overusage of exclamation points that irks me and most people. I vow not to be a repeat offender.

Classic Gilmore girls. Now, if only they were reading REDBOOK.
Of course, then I had a Gilmore girls party and if you know anything about G&g, it's that they eat like crazy people all the time. We're talking biscotti, ice cream, burgers, fries, pie, rum balls, cake, marshmallows, red vines, pizza, Thai food, Indian food, burritos...[deep breath]...Kropogs of coffee, one apple (one time), vast amounts of alcohol, deep fried turkey, rolls, bagels, doughnuts with sprinkles, Mallomars, mac n cheese, candy, cookies, cookie dough, sugar sugar sugar. It's 7 seasons of a non-stop junk food fest. So of course as a hostess of the G&g party, we have to have authentic food. What kind of a fan would I be if I didn't provide my guests with legitimate Gilmore girls grub? A poor fan/hostess, indeed.

So we had pot stickers, red vines, nutella, 2 types of biscotti, a variety of doughnuts, 4 cartons of ice cream, soda, and cornbread (but that was because I was having a cornbread throw down with an old college buddy. She won, btw. Hers tasted like blasted cake. I had no chance. Even Loralei Gilmore would've preferred it. [sigh. and regroup]).

Did I eat all that?

So, Yes. I totally broke my No Sugar May plan.
But I thought it was the end of the world, so I'm off the hook, right?

Wrong. My hips are mad at me. They are threatening to mutiny.

Despite all the crap I ate on Friday, I still managed to lose a pound, though. Prolly cuz I ran 2 5K's this week, and did a dance workout.

Still training for the 5K, so this week, I intend on shaving a minute off my time.
I'll run 2 5K's and shoot for 37 minutes, plus I've been doing it on an incline so that it takes less effort during the actual race. Hope it works. June 4th is fast approaching. (Strange that that date has a Gilmore girls significance too.)

Wish me luck.
And pray that I don't have anymore bright ideas to host a party.
(Although, the upside is that I discovered Speed Scrabble. Best. Game. Ever.)

Also, stay tuned for a low-down of the food at Larry King's house.
You read that right. I'm eating lunch at Larry King's house this week. Don't worry, I'll blog you all about it later.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Week 3: No Sugar May Dance-athon

I just realized that it's already Thursday and I forgot to post my plan this week. oops.

New and Improved No Sugar May plan:

The Rules:

  1. Don't eat sugar. (For processed foods, don't eat anything with sugar or syrups listed within the first 2 ingredients.)
  2. Drink 100oz of water a day.
  3. (New Rule) Dance-off!
I got the dance-off rule from a piece in the "HEALTHY" section of the May issue of REDBOOK. The piece answers the question, "Why are strokes on the rise in young women?" When I read that question, I did a one-eighty neck crane whilst saying "huh?" I didn't know strokes were on the rise for young women! (Can I be considered a "young women" anymore now that I'm 30? [sigh]) According the article, strokes in women from 35-44 have risen by over 30 % in the last DECADE! (106)

OK, so I'm not in that range yet, but what the what? Is that something I should be concerned about in 5 yrs? How do I avoid a stroke, REDBOOK. Is there still time to save me?

Lisa Masterson, M.D. & ob/gyn
RB: Welcome to "REDBOOK at Night". We've got our resident M.D. and ob/gyn, Lisa Masterson with us and online is Panicky Writer in the west. Any advice for our caller on how to avoid strokes?

LM: (I'm paraphrasing here.) Blood pressure. Check it often, and if it's high get on meds to regulate it.

ME (Panicky Writer): OK, check. Anything else?

LM: Shake your groove thing.

ME: [pause] I'm sorry, shake my groove thing? How will bustin' a move help.

LM: It's exercise. Exercise is good for your health and helps ward off obesity.

ME: ah.

LM: I'd suggest running a 5K or Zumba.

ME: Funny you should say that! I've been training for a 5K coming up this June. Also, I've been dancing for 45-60 a few times a week through the wii Just Dance II program. That's sound advice! What else? Am I now stroke-free?

LM: Not so fast. You gotta watch your diet too. Plan out your meals so that you get 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies every day. No skimping. Produce has nutrients that protect your arteries.

ME: Got it. Hey thanks, Lisa. And you said, you're an ob/gyn, right?

LM: That's right.

ME: Good. I've got this funny looking ra--

RB: --HEY, This is not the forum for that! Another time, Panicky Writer.

ME: OK. Well thanks for the advice, REDBOOK and Lisa Masterson. Now, I'll be stroke free!

There you have it readers. The radio show article that led me to this week's plan. I've been doing really good so far, btw. I'll see you next week with my results.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No Sugar May Week 2: Results

Leave it to someone to glamorize the application
of mascara. No one looks like this when putting on
mascara. I always make the most awkward
open-mouthed-sad-clown face.
You know that feeling you get when you're about to go on a first date with someone you like? The anticipation makes you so jittery that you have to redo your mascara three times on account of the smudges you keep making on your eyelids. A few minutes of that and you also get butterflies gravel in your stomach. then, the doorbell finally rings and you swallow your stomach back down to its proper place, smooth your clothing, breathe, and swing open the door like you're the Marilyn Monroe. You know that feeling?

That's how I felt stepping on the scale yesterday morning.

And I gotta tell was a great date. No really, I got to second base--if the equivalent to "second base" was losing 2 lbs! That's right, friends. 2 el-BEEs!

To what do I credit the weight loss?

My new favorite website:

I log in my meals, workouts, water intake (Remember how I was supposed to drink 100 oz a day this week. Well, I did that for the first 2 days and then flaked it a little and only hit about 80 oz for the rest of the week.), and the website spits out an analysis of my food day. I even get a letter grade. [smugly] I got mostly A's this week.
[cough] Maybe 2 B's.

Anyhow, it was an amazing week. I felt like I was competing against my caloric limit, which as competitive as I am, it really motivated me. The program suggested that I keep my calories under 1800 a day, and my average for the week was 1400-1500, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Thanks, calorie counter.

Workouts kicked trash too.

MON: Ran a 5K in 42 min.
TUES: Worked in my garden for an hour.
WED: Ran a 5K in 39 min.
THURS: Worked in my garden for 45 min.
FRIDAY: Worked in my garden for 4 hrs.
SAT: Worked in my garden for 4 hrs.

I'm happy with the results. If next week goes as well as this week, I might go on a second date with my bathroom scale. [faint wedding bells in the background]

Week 3's plan is soon to come...
...stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What do Christopher Walken, a wii, and Verbal Floggings have in common? This blog post.

This is the result of trying to copy and paste the data from my account at :
(which is my new favorite diet tool! Thanks for the hint, MZ). There's a few modifications, but I got the gist for you to see. Scold me for bad choices. I deserve a good verbal flogging. Praise for good choices is also welcome.

Eat meter
1,856 of 1,800 cals

Water Log
8 oz. cups

1,856 (WAY too high for my goal, but it shows me where I'm going wrong.The program says I should keep it under 1,800 in order to lose a lb a week at my build and active lifestyle. I wanna keep it way lower tho. )
B (Unacceptable. I wanna be a straight-A student.)
ME: [whiny voice] Teacher, can I do extra credit to make up my grade?
TEACHER: Sure. Run off the calories.
ME: [sheepishly] oooookkkkkkkaaaaay. By the way, Teach...
ME: You're the best teacher ever. You deserve a raise. And you have good hair.
TEACHER: [hand to chest] Thank you! You are pretty awesome too. And a darn good writer. I should know.
The site also breaks down everything by meals, but it didn't copy and paste very pretty, so I nixed it. As far as exercise goes, the week has been successful. On Monday, I ran a 5K in 42 min. and today I danced for forty min. to the dance program on the wii with my daughter.

Remember that Fatboy Slim music video with Christopher Walken? That was the best.
Click on pic for the YouTube link.

The worst mistake I made today was making Rice Krispie treats for my kids, b/c then I ate some. I justified it b/c it's my anniversary today and I worked the day shift and Rick the night. We saw each other long enough for a quick dinner and then "hasta manana". Bad justification, I know.
Let the verbal floggings commence.
I'm braced for impact.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May Week 2: No Sugar May 2.0

New and improved No Sugar May plan!
This time in high definition! (See what I did there. har. har.)

Not only am I going to cut out sugar (for processed foods, it's anything with sugar or syrups listed in the first two ingredients. However, natural sugars in fruits, etc. are OK.) But I'm also going to:
  • count my calories at the end of every night. I'll be posting mid-week on my progress and I'll use
  • and drink 100 oz of water every day

It's not the eighties unless
there's rainbow sweatbands.

Workouts are going to be centered around training for the Nestle 5K on June 5th. I'm going to:
  • run 2-3 5K's this week. A friend is running the Nestle 5K with me and his goal is to run it within 40 min. My goal is to beat him. Did I mention, I'm HIGHLY competitive? (Watch out, Mumbledore. It's on. [wink] Hey, winner should buy the other some 80's sweatbands. Whatcha think? Deal? Here's the ones I have my eye on.)

  • work in the garden some more whenever it stops raining. I think I can actually plant this week. Snow is finally over. [fingers crossed]

And now for fun...
...Other than the awesome feature of yours truly on p. 32 of the May issue of REDBOOK, the Kardashians also have a spread on pp. 200-207. Once I got past the shoe envy (the K's are all dolled up in white dresses and nude heels hot enough to stop Carrie Bradshaw in her tracks.), I read the piece. It's an intense interview conducted by the lucky Lori Berger that reveals Khloe's baby plans, Kourtney's inability to cook, and all the Kardashian's love for their multi-talented momager.

I know that Berger, if she had the time after the Kardashians interview, would've given me a similar interview (heh heh. [eyes averted]), so I'm gonna help her out and ask myself some of the same questions that she asked the K's.

REDBOOK: [Rena] what's your best mom memory?

ME: When I was younger and would get sick, my mom was a bit overprotective about it. She'd take me to the doctor for a little sore throat. Then, I'd get pampered at home with Sprite, TV, chicken noodle soup, and cozy blankets. She did such a good job taking care of me when I got sick. I'd like to think that I inherited that with my own kids. Something triggers in a mom when they see their kid all helpless and sad.

RB: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about [Rena]?

ME: I often present myself as "tough as nails" but I can be sensitive too. I kinda hate that about myself. I wish I was in control of my emotions all the time, but sometimes I just lose it, ya know.

RB: What's the best advice your mom ever gave you?

ME: Don't get a credit card. I just wish I had followed that advice too. However, I'm trying to get outta debt with...Gazelle-like energy.

RB: What did your parents do right?

ME: LOTS! My mom and dad raised me to serve others and to be devout and frugal. They helped me make choices that would give me a better life in the future. Encouraged me to go to college. And most importantly, they set an example of what a good marriage can be. They've been married for a LONG time, and I that in this day and age, it's a miracle.

RB: That's great. They sound awesome.

ME: They are.

RB: Do you look to your sisters for a different kind of support than you look to your mom for?

ME: Totally. For legal advice and end-of-the-world hints, I ask Mishie. For fashion advice, US Weekly gossip, and just to chat I go to Gwen. For yoga, music, food storage hints, and chatting, I got to Bennet. For Disneyland advice or movie and TV show recommendations, I go to my brother D. For book recommendations, I could ask anyone of them and get different results. We're eclectic. I like it that way.

RB: Do you guys fight with one another? Like really fight?

ME: We are an "avoid conflict" family. Although if someone needs something sensitive to be mentioned to another member of the family, they usually ask me to be the messenger. Not sure why. Cuz I say what I think, maybe.

RB: What do you do to snap out of a bad-body-image day?

ME: Spend time with Rick. He finds me sexy no matter what. I could be sweaty from a workout or gardening with dirt on my legs and no make-up, and Rick'll still give me "How you doing" Joey Tribiani eyes.

Thanks for the interview RB, but I've gotta get Lane off the bus.

Later, dieteers.

May Week 1: Sugar Detox Results

I did awesome cutting out the sugar. And it wasn't easy. There are 24 other people on facebook who have joined the "No Sugar May" group, and everyone has expressed various struggles and challenges throughout the past week. I feel like I was tempted EVERY day this week. It was especially difficult because this week was my birthday and Mother's Day. Yeesh.

My temptations:

Evil Cupcakes

MONDAY: I walked into the faculty room and the PTA brought dozens of cupcakes for all the teachers. I glared at the frosted temptations, then turned my nose up at them. Fortunately, there was a bowl of fruit for the healthy eaters, however, it was sweetened with sugar. [deflated shoulders]
TUESDAY: I can't remember how I was tempted, but I spent day 3 with a mild migraine from the detoxing.
WEDNESDAY: The PTA gave me a glass apple filled with caramels for my birthday. I gave every piece away. woot. woot! Talk about hard to do tho. Caramels are a personal favorite.
THURSDAY: My birthday! I knew I would cheat on No Sugar May on my b-day, but all things considered, I didn't do that bad. I ate 1/2 a cupcake, which gave me a migraine, and 1 cinnamon twist with frosting, which gave me a 2-day belly ache. I'm not even kidding. I have a stomach ache for 2 flipping days. Course I think it was also in part because I ate SO MUCH at dinner that night.
FRIDAY: My body started craving sugar again--I know! Already?--still, I stayed strong and didn't give in. 
SAT: My husband threw me a surprise bday party! He made cake and served it with ice cream. I ate it. [frown.]

SUN: I had a piece of cake for breakfast [my flogged screams in background], but at Mother's Day dinner @ my mom's all the moms were given chocolate truffles (I gave mine to my husband and kids) and we had parfaits for dessert. I opted for fruit instead. I'm back on the wagon now. Just a couple of birthday bumps in the road.

Rick surprised me with a Kindle! [fist bump]

My workouts:

MONDAY: I worked in the garden for an hour. I had to break up the earth so that I could get the tiller in there to REALLY break up and aerate the soil.
TUESDAY: Gardening for 1 1/2 hrs. (including mowing the back lawn)
WEDNESDAY: Gardening for 1 hr. I planted 5 raspberry plants.
SAT: Gardening for 4 hrs. I tilled the garden more than 10 times, pulled out yards of brush and weeds, reset hoses, got rocks out of the garden, and raked up mounds for the grow boxes.

All things considered, I shoulda lost at least a pound, right?!
I gained 2 lbs!
What the what, No Sugar May?! Grrrr.

Alright, so it was my fault, really. I didn't do a whole lot of calorie counting this week. And I ate out 3 times! I usually only eat out once a month regularly, but this week I ate A LOT and it was restaurant food. Restaurants are good at masking the portions sizes with dark lighting and optical-illusion plates. I fell right into the trap.

I've gotten make this better.

Stay tuned for the upgraded No Sugar May plan.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MAY WEEK 1: Sugar Detox

Other than the infamous feature on p. 32 of the May 2011 REDBOOK (and the Kardashians article) my favorite piece is an article called, "I was 'Fat' in a Thin Family" by Sunny Sea Gold (sounds like a made up name, huh?) The article is about Sunny who grew up in a family that emphasized thinness so much and for so long that she ended up with an eating disorder by the time she was a teenager. While her experiences were more extreme than mine, it still echoed my own history with eating. Here's the difference:

I've heard from my parents:
"Boys can have seconds, not girls."
"Don't finish everything on your plate. It's not lady-like."
"I want you to get married...[skeptical expression] but it looks like you've put on...what? 10-20 lbs."
(Please know that it wasn't all bad. My mom taught me how to cook healthy, filling meals. That's a talent I'm so glad that I have now. And we rarely ate out. I wish I would've held on to that one in college.)

Here's what Sunny experienced:
After logging in only 800 calories in one day, her mom said, "That's good, Sunny!" (118) (I wonder if she'd have give Sunny a high-five if she also threw-up that 800 calories. yeesh.)
Sunny: "We always had calorie counting books in the silverware drawer" (118) (As a teen I did too.)
She was a vegetarian most of her childhood (120).
Instead of buying her a larger dress, Sunny's mom took her to the gym so she'd fit into a tighter dress for Homecoming (118).
Sunny's grandfather would announce in front of a crowd, "Whoa, you're packing on the pounds" (122).

Sunny spent her youth rebelling against her mom by eating "bad" foods. A psychiatrist, Charles Sophy  put it best, "You get fat in a family that really cares about thinness, and it's like you're flipping them off" (120). Fortunately, Sunny's mother started to recognize that Sunny had real food issues and they both started counseling. Her mother was raised similarly, and as they say "old habits die hard." The relationship between mother and daughter is mended now and both are way more chill about weight.

Since I was raised by folks who focused a lot on weight and thinness, I wanted to avoid detrimental remarks and habits with my children that were so injuring to me. Here are 3 hints from the article:

1. Don't tease with mean nicknames like "fatty", "Butterball", "Our Big Girl". (Check.)
2. Stay Positive. Motivate kids to be healthy and active with positive reinforcement.
3. Don't encourage dieting. Change your whole family's health lifestyle rather than focusing on just one overweight kid. Be a healthy family.

The good news is that I can't have junk in the house or I will eat it. Which means the kids don't have access to it either. I don't know if I'm making the same mistakes that my parents made, all I know is that my 6 yo daughter went out to IHOP with her cousins the other day, and when everyone wanted pancakes, she ordered grilled fish and broccoli. Her aunt questioned this several times, but Lane wouldn't budge. She ordered it and ATE it! Faced with the same choice at home, I swear she'd pick the pancakes. Hell, I would. I bet it was a fluke.

Having a healthy family will be a constant work in progress.

But onto my goals this week:

This is what sugar detox feels like.
DIET: NO SUGAR ALL MONTH! That's right. A friend challenged me. I accepted. Now I'm 3 days into sugar detox. I'm also watching my calories, keeping them between 1200-1500.

EXERCISE: I'm putting in my garden this week, so I'll be outside shoveling, hoeing, lawn-mowing, raking, and tilling ALL week. This uses a large amount of exertion, so fear not. It will be workout worthy.

Goodbye, Sugar.
Hello, Healthy Lifestyle.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Recovery Week (week 4) Results

I'm starting to get back into the workout and diet groove. I've had a few setbacks this week, but I feel good about my progress.

Workouts went down like this:

MON: 45 minutes of Hip Hop Abs
TUES: nothin'
WED: nothin'
THURS: raking and hoeing and shoveling for an hour
FRI: nothin'
SAT: supposed to run a 5K, but the weather (i.e. blasted snow in APRIL) was crappy, so I hiked 2 miles up a virtual mountain (on my treadmill). Burned a little more than 300 calories.

Diet was blah. I did pretty good, until my friends took me out to Tucanos for my birthday preekend (that's pre + weekend, for the Rena-lingo layman.) For those of you who are unfamiliar with Tucanos, it's a Brazilian buffet. And except for the salads and rolls, all the food is brought to your table by men with knives and slabs of grilled beef. (It kinda reminds me of the episode of Gilmore Girls when Kirk hires Yummy Bartenders, 'cept these guys were clothed appropriately for a food establishment.) Anyway, I gorged on brisket, top sirloin, sweet fish, tangy chicken, massive amounts of mango lemonade, and cheese rolls. However, I did eat way less than previous visits to Tucanos. And, even though I had to stand and show off my Brazilian moves whilst the restaurant sang a variation of "Happy Birthday", I did not eat dessert. Proud of me? I am.

So here are the results in measurements:

WEIGHT: 160 lbs.
WAIST: 29"
HIPS: 42"

Overall, nothing has changed. My measurements are the same as the last time that posted them, and my weight is the same as last week.

I googled "sugar monster".
I'm working on my plan for the first week of May. It's going to be a rough month with all the celebrations. I've got my birthday, anniversary, and mother's day all in May! One thing I'm sure of is that I'm going off sugar for May. A bunch of facebook friends and I are rallying together to ward off sugar, the evil diabetes monster! As a daughter of 2 diabetics, I'm dedicating this month to them, and since it's my birthday month, it just seems fitting.

Wish me sugar-free luck. I'll post the full plan for this week tomorrow.
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