Thursday, August 8, 2013

The F Word

First off, there does not need to be a disclaimer with this article.  I am not TALKING about that word, I am talking about the OTHER word.


Everyone has said and used it to describe themselves.  (If you have not, props to you!) I know I have stood in the front of the mirror and said, "I look fat in this." When someone else uses the term to describe you, it takes on a different impact. Most overweight people have heard the word used in a hateful way.  Thinking about the use of the word, I still shutter thinking about the playground teasing being called "fatso" when I tried to swing. 
Corri McFadden 

This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my first blogging conference in which lead to numerous
networking opportunities with fellow bloggers (Go Blog Social).  No one used the adjective "fat" to describe themselves and no one used it to describe me. I felt like I belonged with some amazing creativity and beautiful ladies in which I admire their work.  

The final speaker was Corri McFadden ( who hustled her way in her own consignment business to reality TV show to e-fashion house business.  During her honest, upfront presentation, she said something which struck something in me, "Do what's right; You'll always have a clear conscious if you do." Because of this statement, it gave me me courage to step away from something I was battling with. 

I recently stepped away from a group in which I could not support the way the word "Fat" was used. I agreed with the overall mission which was to provide support and resources for overweight women to complete in their first marathon in 2014.  To promote this effort, the organizer put together a worldwide virtual 5k to encourage those who have some extra pounds to finish a 5k every month.  While I agreed with this concept of getting people moving, the term "fat" was used to promote the race for "shock" factor.  
Strong is finishing a Half Marathon

All of a sudden, someone who has been promoted and encouraged a small group of overweight women could have expanded their impact and enthusiasm worldwide with this 5K program.  By expanding it worldwide, her knowledge and personal experience could have been in the lives of numerous women who would have realized the impossible was possible.   But by adding the word "fat" in the title, it took me back to that playground.  

I would not use the term "fat" to describe the ladies who are involved in the program. They are strong and are overcoming challenges everyday to step outside of their comfort zone.  They are being open with their journey and honest with the diversities they are facing as an overweight runner.  No matter what the scale says, they are determined to do what's right for them and their future.  

I will still be following and supporting these ladies on their journey.  I hope they don't consider themselves "fat" because I consider them strong and motivating every day.  Until next time, I hope you are working towards a better you.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is It Worth It: Small Orange Julius

Just like everyone American out there, I love a great deal especially if it is eating out.  As a family, we have significantly cut back on our dining out and only allowing ourselves one weekly date night dining experience. Even if we eat out one time a week, our restaurant decisions are sometimes controlled by the special or promotion in which the establishment is offering.  

While we stick to our commitment of eating out one time a week, it is difficult not to break that commitment with all of the food advertising specials out there.  How many times have you said, "But it is on special?  Or it is only 50 cents more!" So I am starting a new series called "It It Worth It?" 

Is It Worth It?: Small Orange Julius 

Right now, all Dairy Queen/ Orange Julius locations are offering a small Julius or fruit smoothie for $1.49.  Never growing up near a Orange Julius, I have never tried one of these drinks.  According to Josh, it might have been a good thing as he is certain I would have loved it.  Due to my early on addiction to Tang drink, I am sure I would have been an Orange Julius fan.  
Orange Julius is hoping to grab those consumers who believe that since it is fruit is it healthy.  It is the same marketing strategy of McDonald's with their fresh fruit smoothies in which the medium size is more calories then the 4 piece chicken nuggets (which still is not a healthy option).  A small classic Orange Julius, the sugar count of is 51 grams and 210 calories. (  Even the 'light' option of a light orange smoothie has 32 grams of sugars with 140 calories.  Both options sugar levels would make you want to brush your teeth afterwards.  Even knowing fruit has natural sugar, upon more investigation, an Orange Julius & orange smoothie has NO real fruit so this drinks are pure sugar.  

Instead of a smoothie or Orange Julius, if you need desire a DQ dessert, choose the kids' cone. While the calories are similar, the amount of sugar (51 grams vs. 18 grams) is a significant reduction.  You could even reduce the calories/sugar more by removing the cone and requesting it in a dish.  Add some bananas on top to ice cream to give you some  potassium and magnesium.  Even better, remove the ice cream, stay at home, and enjoy the banana which on average are 45 cents a pound.  For what you paid for the Orange Julius, you could have bought 3 pounds of banana.  

Skip the Orange Julius - Buy Bananas

*If you have questions or concerns about nutrition, please consult a medical professional as I am not."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Mea Culpa to My Readers

BetterJNel, weight lost, obesity, Dolly Parton, blog, struggles

"You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try" - Dolly Parton.

There are moments in your life in which you have two options. You can continue on the easy path you are on; the safe path of what the standard is out there OR You can take a new challenging path in which you are exposed and will get some cuts and bruises on along the way.

In my own personal journey, I was on that first path, but then I chose the second path to become a Better Me.  That might be why you are here.  You might have seen a picture or read a post in which brought you to my page in which you thought you would get a real approach with what my weight loss struggles are.  You would have liked to follow me on the journey to a Better JNel.

That is where I have failed you are the reader. 

This is my apology to you.

My mea culpa

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first social media conference in Kansas City: Go Blog Social.  While each presentation varied in context, one theme was repeated over and over by the presenters:  Your blog should show your uniqueness by sharing your life and what makes you difference out there.  This is where I have failed you and myself.

I started out on this blog wanting to be open about my journey and open about my struggles.  While you are read some stories, I have been holding back on opening up.  I copied what other bloggers in which I network write about thinking that is what I should be doing, but it was not showing my uniqueness. 

That is going to change. 

I am sorry that I have not opened up and fully exposed my journey.  I am preparing a new look, a new feel, and a new approach to all of my social media channels in the next month.  Please continue to follow me and be ready for quality content.  Thank you for allowing me to trust you, the reader, on protection my feelings and following me so far on this journey.  

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-       Robert Frost

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Goodbye Moon, Hello August

Usually August is not a month I took forward to, but this year I am embracing the eight month of the year!  

July started out with so much promise.  I was strong with my tri training; my health was improving; my schedule was in place; and my family was strong.  Then, my iPhone died.  In the future if the iPhone goes again, I will start becoming concern. After the phone, my health was next.  Due to an increased tri training schedule, my body's weakness were exposed, my pain increased, and I had to make the choice to drop out of my upcoming sprint tri. Then at the end of the month, I unexpectedly had to say goodbye to my oldest dog, Dolce.  

I could write a lot more about the month of disappointment, but I am ready to mentally move on. Reflecting back on the month, I know there is nothing I could do to change what happened.  My motivation was there; there were just some strong setbacks.  I have had setbacks in my journey before and will again in the future.  Each time I get thru them.  So for the month of August, I am working on a couple of goals.  

1) My blog: The first weekend of August I am attending my first blogging conference in Kansas City (  I hope to learn how to utlitize social media and the resources which are out there.  In addition, I have purchased my own domain so I would like to move this page to the new address of  Hopefully by the end of August, you will be reading me at a new location.

2) My running: Since I had to make the difficult decision on stepping away from the sprint tri this year, I am fully focused on improving my run/walk intervals.  Before I was injured, I started seeing improvements already with being able to run longer, and I felt stronger.  So with the help of my new running coach Rachel (, I have a new plan in place to improve my intervals and distance. Still planning for two more half marathons by the end of year with a full next year

3) My diet: I have to eat more!  My daily calories is about 200-300 short of what I need for my activity level.  I am improving on increasing my calories and making sure they are quality calories.  There is always room for improvement.  With the encouragement of my trainer, I am adding new veggies as well as learning how to cook them!  

So here's to a better August and a Better JNel.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saying Goodbye To Dolce

Coming off my second breakup, I did not go the route of getting drunk with my sorority sisters or buying a lot of unnecessary ideas.  Instead I went to the pound.  I made my first adoption of a cat the
year earlier so I was ready to add a dog into the mix.  Missing my parents’ chow, I immediately took to a red chow mix.  Then I saw her.

In the kennel across the way was a white lab/husky mix.  Her eyes were downcast as dogs around her made a ruckus.  She slowly came to the gate to put her nose to my hand.  Being the dog lover I was, I asked to take her out of the yard to play thinking to myself, “Might as well let her have some fresh air.”

We went out to the yard where she followed at my heels.  I sat down to pet her.  She proceeded to put her head on my shoulder and lean into my neck.  For that moment, she chose me…I do not choose her.  This is how Dolce came into my life.

Dolce was in her terrible 2’s but beyond that she had significant separation anxiety due to prior abuse.  She hid from guests particularly men.  She would not stay on a piece of furniture when you sat next to her.  She destroyed numerous DVD, remote controls, and even a hot tub cover.  But I finally gained her trust, and from that point, she was continuously loyal to me.

Her loyalty went beyond greeting me at the door.  Dolce would sleep in her bed next to me where we would have daily cuddle times.  She would sit in the passenger backseat with her nose just slightly outside traveling to different locations with me. When I left for the day, she would watch me from the window as I was driving away.  Her wagging tail and smile brought me happiness every day. 

Everything changed this past Sunday.  Just 72 hours prior, Dolce started showing signs of exhausted and refusing food.  Thinking it was potential dehydration; I changed her diet and encouraged increased water.  She slightly rebounded to enjoy a cooler summer Friday and Saturday, but on Saturday night, her conditioned worsen.  She has having difficulty breathing and refused all food and water.  Early on Sunday, thinking about anything to make her excited, I asked if she wanted to go on a car ride.  Using her last resource of energy, she wagged her tail, heading to the door, and left my house for the last time.

Dolce was strong and loyal to the end.  The cancer which caused the bleeding in her body would have been causing her pain over the last month, but she never showed in.  Even on our last walk together last Sunday, Dolce sniffed every spot, chased after every animal, and wagged her tail the whole time.  The night before she left, Dolce laid right next to me struggling breathing and trying to get rest.  Even when I said goodbye, her tired eyes kept focused on me as she fought to stay with me.
Dolce saw the worst of me and enjoyed the best of me.  When I was going thru depression, she would require me to get out of bed and take care of her.  She would get me up from walks, and I would reward her with ice cream.  She lived in different houses, dealt with varied work hours, and different people during my life.  Dolce never stopped being by my side and being the sweetest dog I have ever had.

I have cried so much over the last three days that I don’t have the energy to cry anymore.  I am worried about Chanel who has never been without her sister.  Chanel has cried a little when laying on the coach Dolce and her shared nightly.  She looks over at her sister’s bowl and looks around the corner when I come home.

Dolce chose me, and I am so grateful she did because I was blessed and loved more then I deserved.