Gin & Tonic For the Soul: New Year’s Resolutions & Weight Loss

Interesting Discussion Topics for Happy Hour

I’ll be honest – I’ve struggled with my weight from age 6 – for a variety of reasons, from love of food to growing up on a processed Midwest diet to sugar-coating my feelings while not working out enough. I could wax poetic about the issues for pages (ask JG, she proofed my first draft and we decided to stay more on point – New Years’ Resolutions, weight loss, etc.).

Last January 1st (2009, bitches!), I stepped on the scale and weighed more than I had in my entire life. Only by 3 lbs, but anyone who has struggled with their weight knows how 3 lbs can make a big difference. So I set out to lose an ambitious 50 lbs by the next January 1st (2010, bitches!).

I did lose weight – and hit the New Year 20 lbs lighter than last. I don’t feel any sense of failure for not losing 50 lbs; instead, I feel like I’ve made a pretty significant lifestyle change that is healthy and balanced. And shiiiiiit, if I can lose 20 lbs while starting a website devoted to happy hours, I think I’m doing okay!

In honor of last years’ weight loss and continuing to lose in 2010, I’d like to share a couple tips that I’ve found to be helpful – and that make interesting happy hour conversations.

- Educate yourself. There are so many books and articles on fitness and nutrition. Not everything you read is going to work for you, but you’re bound to find some interesting factoids or inspiring stories that resonate and help you in the short and long-term.

Some books and documentaries that I’ve read and watched have actually put me on a vegetarian course:
Skinny Bitch, You Are What You Eat, the beginning of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I couldn’t finish it, though I will try again!) and the well-made documentary FOOD INC. These books & films alone have prompted some really terrific conversations and could make for their own G&T4TS.

- Know that everyone’s body chemistry is different and what works for someone else might not work for you. After reading Skinny Bitch, I quit drinking diet soda because they said the aspartame would turn into formaldehyde and preserve the cellulite in my ass. But I’ve come to believe the sweet and bubbly combo helps with my digestion (a hypothesis I’m trying out), so have allowed myself a soda every couple of days. I may find this doesn’t actually work, but it’s all about the trial & error.

- Log your caloric intake. Many people swear by this method of limiting calories; personally, I lose the most weight when I’m food journaling. I set my calories based on an intake calculator – like the one at
freedieting.com, then try to stay within that range on a homemade Excel spreadsheet, using nutrition information websites like calorieking.com. This can help when you don’t have information from food packaging. There are also iPhone apps and websites that you can use to track your calories; I’ve just grown fond of my old school system.

- Work out. Find some sort of exercise that you like. As a girl who stayed pretty sedentary from age 6-18, I’ve found that exercise is the perfect release for what had once been teen angst, and what now would be Quarter-Life-Psychosis. I’ve used a gym on & off for the last ten years, but felt I wasn’t getting the most of my elliptical-rowing-and-biking routine. Last spring, I started
Morning Crunch bootcamp and I couldn’t be happier with my M-W-F, 6 am or 6:30 pm sweat sessions that focus on the different areas of the body.

- Be realistic. Weight loss is complicated – so many of us have emotional issues tied to our eating habits; it really takes the right mindset to want to do your body right. Weight loss is not easy – research is time consuming as is tracking calories and working out and taking the time to figure out what works for you. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight (and when it does, that’s not necessarily a good thing). So be gentle with yourself every step of the way – congratulate yourself on the mini-victories and try to use setbacks as learning experiences.

- Go to happy hour!! From Self Magazine (January 2010), “Women who enjoyed 15-45 alcoholic beverages per month were about 33 percent more likely to exercise vigorously than teetotalers, researchers from the University of Miami in Coral Gables report. Plus, sippers sweat for 10 more minutes each week. Scientists say the spirited group may hit the gym harder to compensate for the extra calories or to score bonus health benefits. That’s good news for us who like nights out and working out!” We’ll drink to that!

- Even though different habits will work for different people, the bottom line is that eating less and exerting yourself more are the essentials of weight loss. So, put on your grown-up panties/boxers and eat less and work out more!

I plan to continue my travels to this road of good health and look forward to hearing what works for everyone else. Comment away. Talk amongst yourself. Have a little Gin &Tonic (for your soul!).

Until next week's Santa Monica Main Street Sweep,
Photos taken 1 year apart (December 2008 & 2009)


  1. U go weight-losing gurl!!! PS...I'm just sitting here reading your shiiiiit, and seriously child, you're good at this writing crap. You have a real voice (I can hear it loud and clear) and I always enjoy hearing your take on things. Kudos kiddo!

  2. Ok...I read Skinny Biotch that you sent me. That combined with Omnivore/Food Inc. which I had already read/seen moved me to go vegan as of 1/1/10. We are on the same wavelength girl. I can't wait to see you and dish about some dishes. Although my friends are tired of hearing about my soapboxes, I'm sure I could give you "some-ting kind of headache." :)



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