As you can see in the transcripts of our email conversation below, Julie and I have a little detective work going on.  And what I think will become apparent as you read this, which IS the reason for my blog, is  that we are all different, and there is not a static answer for everyone.


However,  there are some basic concepts, truths, and biology that we will use as a springboard for understanding.  Also, the EASY answer is not always what will yield healthy results that are also lasting results.  I could certainly give my friend Julie advice of ways to drop pounds quickly, as many of the fad diet books, blogs, and people do constantly to make a buck.  But that is not the kind of “help” that is ever helpful in the long run.  We want to find the middle road in which the changes will take effort, but will also allow for being happy and content in our daily lives.


Julie In Oregon:


Thanks Julie! I will give logging food another go. I’ve done it before (for both the dietician and the health coach), so I know the drill. I’ll let you know once I have something in hand. 


As for exercise, my pattern is this:


Monday: Run approx. 3 miles, light weights (balance and tone)

Tuesday: Spin

Wednesday: Run sprint intervals, light weights 

Thursday: Spin

Friday: Stair stepper/eliptical and heavy weights (all over body)


There is a boot camp at my gym, but it doesn’t fit with my schedule or my budget. I usually just watch what they do and incorporate that into my own workout. I’m not training for anything at the moment. I might walk a half in April with a coworker. I’ve also tentatively set a goal of running a half in Iowa in June with Jamie.


Thanks for the direction. I’ll keep you posted.




Hey Girl,


Yea, it looks like you have a good exercise regimen going (about 45 minutes per day?).  Sorry for the food log business again, but I would like to take a look.  Hopefully something will stand out…even if it’s some foods that can be allergenic.  If so, we can look at some alternative approaches.  Maybe do a little detoxing, and see what we come up with.  This is good timing though.  We’ll collect data now, and then come up with a game plan towards the new year!  We’ll get it figured out though.


Chat soon!



Julie In Oregon:


Hey Julie-I’ve started with the My Fitness Pal app.  So, do you want to see it after a few days?


For the record, I’ve tried giving up wheat, dairy, and sugars at different times with no noticeable change (except that the wheat vacation really messed with my system…I was miserable!). 


As for working out, yes, it’s about 45-60 minutes a day. I also go for hikes or walks a couple times a month on weekends. 


Julie in Oregon:


I should also mention that the food log is a best guess. As you know, I make almost all of my own food and use organic ingredients. Most stuff just isn’t on the food log options. What you see are the closest I could find to what I eat without going through the grueling effort of figuring out the calories of every homemade item I make. 

Here you go….


Tuesday (total food 1770): 



1 cup Nonfat milk   86 cals

1/4 cup granola     95 cals

1/4 cup GoLean Crunch  100 cals (I like to mix my cereals!)

1/2 cup Frosted Shredded Wheat  100 cals

1/2 cup strawberries    25 cals



Grilled Cheese on homemade whole wheat    200 cals

1/2 cup raw apples   33cals

1/2 cup Dill Pickles   5 cals (best guess)

1/2 cup raw yam   89cals



1 cup nonfat milk   86 cals

1 cup green beans    34 cals

1 homemade chicken/cheese enchilada 329 cals



1 cup tea    0 cals

1 tsp raw sugar   30 cals

2 peanut butter protein truffles (homemade) 200 cals

1/4 cup pistachios    160 cals

1 coconut macaroon (homemade) 80 cals

2 dark chocolate cookies (homemade) 170cals



50 minutes spinning   burned 444 cals

20 minutes swimming, leisurely,   152 cals



side plank, wheel, plank, bridge (These are physical therapy exercises I do each day)





Wednesday (total food 1832):



1 cup Nonfat milk   86 cals

1/4 cup granola     95 cals

1/4 cup Cinnamon Life   40 cals

1/2 cup Frosted Shredded Wheat  100 cals

1/2 cup strawberries    25 cals



2 slices homemade whole wheat bread    258 cals

1T. 100% natural peanut butter     100 cals

1T. Freezer jam       45cals

1/2 cup raw carrots    26 cals

1/2 cup raw apples    33 cals



1 cup nonfat milk    86

1 chicken/cheese enchilada   329 cals

1 cup raw spinach    7 cals



2 coconut macaroons    160 cals

16 ALmond Nut Thins      130 cals

2 oz Bandon cheddar cheese     220 cals

1 cup Dark CHocolate Almond milk   120 cals



40 minutes Sprint Intervals….360 cals burned


strength: wheel, plank, side plank, TRX push-up and fly


Water: 8+ cups


Julie in Oregon:


Hey Julie-Sorry about Sam’s decline. I’m glad we got to see him (and you!) this summer.
I have a confession. I had a tantrum this morning (it happens).  I have been logging my food and exercise and actually lost 2 pounds earlier this week. Then today, I had gained them back. Again. This is my cycle…I work hard, pay attention to what I’m eating (but I REFUSE to give up a daily dose of chocolate …or two) and get no results. I forever struggle with being content that I’m healthy and grateful that I can move my body and frustrated beyond belief that I cannot seem to lose weight and feel rewarded on the scale for the work I do. How’s that for a sentence tantrum?
I feel like I don’t get to have all the joy I want. It’s maddening. And it makes me feel selfish too. Rhett is a saint for listening to me….and you are for reading this.
I hope Sam’s journey is a peacful one, and that you and your family have a peaceful weekend.


Hey there,

I’ll write you very soon.  We’ve had a rough go of it.  But for this instant, it is normal for weight to fluctuate 5 pounds in a day, so you can’t let the scale dictate how you are feeling.  And quit weighing yourself, at least no more than weekly!  More very soon…need to look at your log too.  But for now, please enjoy the holidays, keep exercising, and don’t weigh!






Hey Lady,

I hope ya’ll had a lovely Christmas!  I have taken a look at your log, and I think that you are doing a really nice job of balancing some treats along with getting in some fruits and veggies.  Your total caloric intake also looks good, but I don’t know your specific needs.  I can calculate them myself if you want to give me your height, weight, age, but I’m sure you have had that done, and fitness pal probably gave you a mark also.  What have you been told are your calculated needs to maintain your weight?

I know I already told you this, but some weight fluctuation is very normal, and big losses in weight over short periods of time is not going to be realistic given your intake and expenditure.  And I think that is a good thing!  If you were to cut your calories to 1200 a day and work out for 2-3 hours each day, then you would probably see weight drop off quickly.  However, given your size (small), and your health (good), that would be a very poor decision, and would do more damage than good.  Not only would you be miserable and feel hungry and grumpy all the time, but you would also do significant damage to your metabolism, and chances are the weight loss would not stick for long.

I know it is so frustrating when you want to get that weight off, but truly the way to do this in a way that will keep the extra pounds off for the LONG haul is to do it more slowly and by increasing metabolism.  We’re going to have to find ways for you to feel rewarded for your work on a day to day basis,  other than the scale.  I would consider things like tracking your physical capabilities (speed, endurance, strength), and be proud of those accomplishments.  Also remember that muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space, therefore anthropometric measurements of your body may give you intermediate rewards where the scale does not. 

 Find ways on a day to day basis to be OK with where your body is right now, or at least to be accepting of your body.  If you can’t do that, then you will be constantly in a state of stress (bad for weight loss), and it will make you want to be drastic in your food decisions (also bad for weight loss in long run).

I think we should play with your exercise regime for now, and see if we can confuse your muscles a little bit.  Have you ever spread your cardio workouts into 2  separate sessions per day?  It can be strategically challenging, but there is a good bit of literature (and success stories) that show this to also boost basal metabolism.  Go ahead and send me your calorie needs, oh and answer me this too?  Are you feeling satisfied at the end of your 3 main meals?  Or are you still hungry, or not quite satisfied, or stuffed?  If you can look at your log, and try to answer that for me for each meal, that would help.  Also tell me how spread out your snack calories are?

Let me know, and I’ll get with you again by Wednesday!

Hang in there and stay the course…you are amazing, and I am so impressed with your diligence.