(159) Paying Myself First


Breakfast is a good way of paying yourself first.

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the idea of paying yourself first. When it comes to actual money, this axiom is practically engraved on my brain. I would never spend money on something like clothes or a vacation or restaurants if I wasn’t saving first. Having some savings is a requirement for peace of mind in a field when you never know when your next payday is. But “pay yourself first” has never registered as meaningful in any other aspect of my life until very recently.

A professional mishap brought this into sharp focus for me. I’m a freelance writer and editor, so I work on a project by project basis for various clients. A shockingly huge part of being able to make a living as a freelance writer/editor/content maker is navigating the rocky terrain of payment, especially in an environment where rates seem to be sinking all the time. Recently, I took on a job without knowing the rate and the rate was not acceptable–but by the time I learned that it was too late. I had already accepted the assignment. It’s true you should always ask up front about payment, but it was for a publication I had contributed to about a dozen times in the last year so I thought I knew what to expect. This was all happening around the time I re-launched this blog. Continue reading →

(159.7) Stitch Fix Review: Box #2

BlueDressOriginally, when I signed up for Stitch Fix, I wanted to get a box every other month. The service is very flexible that way–you can get a box every couple weeks, once a month, every other month or at your request on no particular schedule. I picked every other month because, while my wardrobe is in a depleted state, it seemed insane to go from shopping never to shopping via Stitch Fix once a month. But after my first box arrived and how incredibly pleased I was with everything in it, I wanted to get another box sooner rather than later. Plus, I wanted Stitch Fix to send me a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding next month. I don’t know about you, but shopping for special occasions for me is always really hard. Often I put it off to the last possible minute, which means I’m under pressure to find something I love in a short time frame. This never works out well for me. I loved the idea that Stitch Fix could take care of that ordeal for me and I’d never even have to set foot in a store. Continue reading →

(159.7) Meal Plan Monday


Lentil croquettes, salad with chicken, apple slices

Not every weekend (or week for that matter) goes according to plan. There was some variation in last week’s meal plan–though I’m pleased to report we did not order in or eat out. And as of this posting, I have not been on my weekly grocery run. I’ve scheduled Monday and Tuesday’s dinners around ingredients and leftovers I have on hand. I’m hoping to do a quick trip to the store at some point in the next two days. So there’s not really anything new or exciting in this week’s line up. I’m just trying to keep it on the rails in spite of not shopping or prepping on Sunday.  Continue reading →

(160.9) Weekend Reads


Torrone I saw (and ate) while reporting a story this week

Welcome to Weekend Reads. If you come across something related to food, weight, or body image why don’t you send me the link at joymanning at gmail dot com?

I am a Plus Size Woman Who Wore a Low-Rise Bikini

In all of my 37 years I’ve enjoyed exactly one summer during which I felt comfortable wearing a bikini. I had this idea that summer 2014 was when I’d buy what is known on the internet as a fatkini, but what I realize now is simply a high waisted bikini. Given the fact that I never went to the beach, it became a non issue, but I figured that would be equally freeing and more comfortable than wearing a low-rise bikini, which seems completely out of the question. Not for this woman though. My hat is off to her and her experiment. Continue reading →

(160.9) Big Batch Lentil Soup

Easy Lentil Soup RecipeIt’s now obvious to me that if I would have started a straight up food blog instead of this mashup weight loss/wellness/body image blog, it would have been a soup blog. This is my third soup recipe in less than a month and I don’t see myself slowing down with soup any time soon. As I’ve said before, soups are so comforting to me. They’re delicious. And homemade soup is almost always good for you. The high water content makes it filling with fewer calories. Chicken broth, which I make in my pressure cooker from chicken wings and bones and store in my freezer, has plenty of health-boosting gelatin. A lot of vegetables tend to find their way into my soup pot, so that’s a bonus too. Continue reading →

Throwback Thursday

Playlist March 2012

Hey, sorry. I know this morning’s weigh in/progress report was a bummer and that my attitude was none too positive. I feel like I cheated you of a decent post so I’m adding this second quickie. I had a good workout this morning. My walk/run intervals on the treadmill were more run than walk–I was running either 2 or 3 minutes and then walking 1 minute. I credit the resurrection of my iPod. Today I listened to a running mix I made in either 2011 or 2012. Whenever I feel inclined to look down on someone who likes fast food or convenience food or some other comestible that rouses my food snobbery I try to remind myself that I have bad taste in lots of things, too. Like music. I’m pretty sure that this playlist and frankly almost everything I like to listen to kills brain cells. Good thing working out helps build new synaptic connections.

(160.6) Progress Report

Up nine-tenths of a pound from last week. Down 5.4 pounds overall. Obviously, I’m not feeling great about this. In the past seven days, there’s been an indulgent restaurant meal, a couple pretty sedentary days, raw cookie dough, multiple horrible night’s sleep, carrot cake, and 10 glasses of wine. On the plus side, I got to the gym twice (better than previously) continued to imperfectly but faithfully track my calories, and blogged here every day but Sunday. And, most importantly, I continued my streak of daily weigh-ins which I know from past experience is the single most important behavior when it comes to managing my weight. It’s not even a full pound up and as I said in last week’s progress report, weight loss for me never a straight downward slope. Today is a new day.

(160.6) Insomnia Juice


Photo credit: Neal Santos

Some people have trouble losing weight because of late-night snacking. Others struggle with a sweet tooth. There’s another camp that can’t stop eating between meals. And we all know someone with a bad soda habit.

None of these common pitfalls are a particular problem for me. As long as I stay out of restaurants and have good ingredients on hand, I’m happy as can be fixing and eating moderate portions of good-for-me food. I don’t even tend to overeat at home. I am lucky to actually love vegetables, salads, whole grains, and all that health food stuff.

But there’s one persistent craving that is definitely hindering my efforts to lose weight, one thing I cannot seem to resist no matter how hard I try. That thing is wine. Almost nightly, I have a glass of wine with dinner. A couple times a week, it’s two. And somewhat rarely (but not as rare as it should be), three. Continue reading →

(161) Red Pepper, Pistachio & Smoked Paprika Soup


My new favorite soup.

Let’s talk about food magazines. I love them. I’ve written for them. I’ve developed recipes for them. I’ve subscribed to them all–the health oriented ones and the not so healthy ones. Every month, I get a little thrill pulling them from my mailbox. But less and less often I’ll pull out a recipes or pin it from the website to make for myself.

I don’t exactly know why. I think the more you learn how to cook and get confident cooking without a recipe the more you’re inclined to wing it. But I am ever eagle-eyed for a recipe that appeals to me and is unlike what I’ve made before. Last week, at EatingWell.com, I spied a real contender to become a regular part of my winter soup rotation. This soup is basically a red pepper pureed soup, which I have made before, but several things set it apart. Continue reading →

(160.4) Meal Plan Monday


Dan is all business bagging groceries

My body really doesn’t want to say goodbye to the 160s just yet. I am calling on my limited reserves of self-acceptance and patience. It’s a little frustrating, but I know as long as I keep doing what I’m doing I will be comfortably into the 150s soon.

I realized last week that to get the most out of my workouts at the gym, I can’t  rely on the randomness of Pandora for my soundtrack. So I unearthed my old iPod–upon some research I found out that it is the iPod nano sixth generation–and tried to reteach myself how to use it. It’s amazing how quickly I forget how to work gadgets when I stop using them for awhile. I’m hoping that curated, uptempo playlists will power up my (so far lackluster) workouts. Please tell me your favorite workout songs in the comments!

OK, onto the week’s meal plan:  Continue reading →