Sunday, June 30, 2013

Color me surprised

I think I am actually beginning to enjoy running!  On Friday night while taking a walk with Matt and the boys, I ran a few spurts here and there and I noticed that when I would run, several things happened. 1) I didn't get a stitch in my side anymore 2) my lungs weren't on fire and 3) it felt kind of nice.  I attributed this to the fact that my one particularly long stretch of running was down my favorite hill.  However, tonight when I ran, I noticed that the same things happened on the flat stretches, too!  Items 1, 2, and 3 did not happen so much on the uphills, but I'll take what progress I can!

As I've returned to running, I've strayed from the Couch to 5K program.  Don't get me wrong, I still think it is a great program and I have it to thank for my ability to participate in the marathon relay in April, as well as sparking my interest in running.  This time around, though, I've taken to running for short spurts when I go for a walk, usually anywhere from .10 - .15 of a mile and repeating several times throughout a 40-50 minute walk. I plan to increase the distance gradually and I find this method to be much more manageable for me.  I've started out by doing my running stretches on flat or downhill areas of my favorite trail, but I know the hills will be next!

I also invested in an armband this weekend and it was great trying it out! I used it on the elliptical last night (p.s. I'm getting pretty bored of the elliptical, but sometimes it's the only workout I get, so I trudge through) and I tried it out on the trail tonight.  I love it!  When I first got my iPod years ago, I looked for an armband to use when I worked out and could never find one.  Slightly embarrassing admission forthcoming: it was because most wouldn't fit my upper arm.  Ugh. Although, it seems as though the newer armbands have much more flexibility and stretch to accommodate larger arms and I found a New Balance one that is a gem.

Having my phone out of my reach while I run has been helpful on many levels.  I'm not constantly checking my pace (which has actually made my pace faster, go figure), I'm not constantly changing the song on my play list (an annoying habit, but I have to have just the right song playing to motivate me), and I'm not always looking at my distance and either dreading how far I have left to go or beating myself up about how little I've gone.  I'm glad I made the investment in an armband, but I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it sooner!

I'm definitely enjoying the cooler weather in St. Louis!  It's beautiful outside and has made for some great outside activity this weekend, including swimming, walking, running, and some scooter time for Nick.  I'm hoping the weather holds out for the rest of the week so that a certain birthday boy can have a great party outside without all of us melting!

"It never gets easier. You just get better." 

Deep thoughts

It is quite late and so probably not the best time to post deep thoughts, but it's what is on my mind, so here goes.  I've been thinking a lot about positive body image lately and in particular, how my quest to lose weight affects my boys.  I love who I am and I know that no matter what I weigh, I'm beautiful.  I really, truly believe that about myself and just in case I would doubt it, my husband tells me all the time (it should be noted that Matt Roeseler is a keeper!).  However, I want to feel better in my own skin.  I want to be at a healthier weight and I want to feel better about how I look.  My oldest is quite observant and so is my little guy.  Both boys see Mommy and Daddy weigh themselves every morning and while we generally keep our commentary vague ("not happy with the numbers today" or "great, I went down"), I can't help but wonder what they think.

For several months, Nick has been weighing himself, too.  And Jack has just recently started toddling over to the scale, climbing on, and jumping up and down.  It's quite adorable, but I want to make sure to send the boys the right message.  When Nick first started weighing himself, he would proclaim his weight with a bit of contempt.  Surely he picked this up from what Matt and I said after we stepped off the scale.  It really made me stop to think about what I said and how I said it after my daily weigh in.  So, now when Nick weighs himself, Matt and I make a point to say "Great job, buddy!  You are getting so strong!"  I still don't know if this is the best way, but at least it's a much more positive message.

It's important to also send the right message about food.  Nick learned a lot about nutrition and healthy food vs. unhealthy food in school last year and we've tried to continue the conversation at home.  With that being said, I also don't want him to be obsessive about food.  It's good to be aware, but he definitely doesn't need to be counting calories like Mom and Dad.  Neither Matt or I log our food into MyFitnessPal in front of the boys and we try to subtly encourage healthy choices when it comes to food.

As I said, I'm sure we still aren't perfect when it comes to portraying positive body image to our boys, so we will keeping working on it.  I want our boys to be comfortable in their own skin and love themselves always. Do you have any suggestions for how to teach children positive body image? 

"Embrace and love your body, it is the most amazing thing you will ever own." 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Food triggers

Hi, I'm Laura and I'm a stress eater.  There, I said it.  I think I always knew I was a stress eater, but I didn't accept that fact until I started keeping a food journal almost a decade ago.  In early 2005, I was convinced my weight was prohibiting me from getting pregnant so I started working out twice a day and very strictly watching my food intake (i.e. I did not eat any of my favorite foods.  Goodbye pizza, farewell popcorn shrimp, adios sweets of any kind).  I also began keeping a food diary (I might have a slight obsession with blank books and this was a good use for one of the many I had lying around) and it was a really eye-opening experience.

As I would re-read my entries in the food diary, I would find that on good days, I could stick to my healthy choices but on bad days I would binge and snack all day.  Once I made that discovery, I was able, for the most part, to recognize when I was stressing and try to evaluate my eating habits.  "Laura, will that cookie really make you feel better?"  Not usually and in fact, the complete opposite feeling would happen.  Making a bad choice felt good in the moment, but only briefly, until guilt set in.  So instead of succumbing to snacks and junk food when I was stressed out, I could turn to other things, like music to relax me or a walk to get some fresh air. The combination of starting my food journal and working out consistently helped me lose 35 lbs in 3 months and the next year, I got pregnant with my oldest son.

This time around, I knew that I did not want to work out twice a day (with two little boys I don't have time for that; sometimes it's tough getting one workout in!) and I also didn't want to be as strict with my diet.  I still want to enjoy the food I love, but in moderation.  I'm also tracking my food in a different way through MyFitnessPal.  I don't necessarily need to journal about my food choices, since I've learned along the way what my food triggers are, but having a tracking mechanism is invaluable.

While it has taken me longer to lose weight this time around, I've lost more total pounds (suck it 2005) and I feel like the weight will stay off this time.  It just took a little self reflection, finding the right balance of exercise and diet, and the right tracking tools.

I guess my point to the above is take time to learn about what your own food triggers are (boredom, stress, etc.) so that you can find non-food ways to deal with those triggers to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Thankfully, the weather here cooled off a bit and it was a gorgeous evening, so I got to take a walk with my favorite workout buddies, my hubby and my sons.  I even got a few running spurts in, which was nice.  My oldest rode his scooter and my little guy got a kick out of me running while pushing him in the stroller.  He kept rocking back and forth as if he was saying "Go faster, Mom, go faster!"  We did the long loop around our favorite trail and it was a really relaxing walk, but also a great workout!

One last note; if you enjoy reading my blog, please sign up using the subscribe link at the top right.  After you enter the verification code, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.  Click on the link listed in the message to activate your subscription. You may need to check your junk/bulk/spam folder if you don't receive a confirmation e-mail right away. 

"You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them." 

Vino Van Gogh

Can I just say how glad I am that tomorrow is Friday?  TGIF, indeed!

Tonight, I had a much needed girls night out and got to try something new.  Some friends and I went to Vino Van Gogh (, a create your own painting party.  Vino Van Gogh brings the painting party to you at a local restaurant, as opposed to a studio.  It was so fun!  We picked a Paris in the Springtime painting (this Francophile was in seventh heaven!) and while my painting didn't turn out nearly as good as the instructor's or the sample, I don't think it's too bad for my first masterpiece.  I tried to channel my inner Bob Ross to paint happy little trees and flowers.  Side note: I miss watching Bob's show; he always made painting seem so easy.  Painting was really relaxing and a night out with friends and a (large) glass of Pinot Grigio were much needed!
My abstract version of Paris in the Springtime
I was able to go to the Rec Center at work to get in a 20 minute bike ride on the recumbent bicycle before our class.  It was too hot to workout outside, unfortunately.  I really enjoy the recumbent bike, but I don't feel like it gives me the best workout.  I barely broke a sweat and my arms didn't do much of anything.  I didn't really feel the burn, but I guess it was better than doing nothing.  Not by much, though.  I think a good elliptical workout is in order for tomorrow!  

"An imperfect workout done today is better than a perfect workout delayed indefinitely." 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Some days are a struggle...

Like today.  I did NOT want to work out.  At all.  I had a horrible headache and quite frankly, I was having a jolly good time looking around the Internet.  I love the Internet.  So many fun things to look at.  As of late, I have been discovering great running/healthy lifestyle websites and tonight, I was absorbed in several.  I kept putting off my workout, but I finally made myself go do it.  I realized that I could keep looking at these websites wishing that I was half as healthy as the authors, or I could get off my butt and make it happen.  

So I took two ibuprofen and hopped on the elliptical for 25 minutes.  It was still a struggle; in fact, I listened to the same song on repeat the entire time.  I just needed to keep hearing it over and over again to keep me going.  Something about the lyrics of This is the New Year by A Great Big World pushes me onward. "Another year you made a promise, another chance to turn it all around...This is the new year, a new beginning, you made a promise..."  It reminds me of the promise that I made to make better choices and to be healthier.  I am quite sure my husband found my workout tonight amusing, though.  He can't hear what I'm listening to, but I tend to sing along and I'm pretty sure he was wondering why the hell I was listening to the same song over and over again!  You gotta do what you gotta do, though! 

Today, I received an e-mail from a local running store, Fleet Feet (, and there was a post included about the responsibility of strong.  It is a great article about knowing the extent of what you can do and how it is usually much more thank you think.  The author, Amy, also says that every time we push ourselves to the limit, that "limit" becomes our new standard. Really eye-opening and a great, quick read!

"Don't wish for it. Work for it." 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The power of positive thinking

Week 1 of the Birthday Challenge is complete!  I challenged myself to lose 15 lbs by my birthday in August in order to get over this "hump" I'm experiencing in my quest to lose weight.  I'm happy to say that Week 1 is a success; I've lost 3.2 lbs!  I'm going to relish this moment, because I know that not every week is going to be great.  I'm going to have rough days and not so stellar weeks, but this is a great start.  I have some wonderful friends (and my loving family) supporting me and encouraging me along the way, so thank you all so much! It means the world to me!

I've been thinking a lot lately about the power of positive thinking.  I'm committed to running my first 1/2 marathon next April and I'm quickly adding other races to my bucket list, including the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon.  I find myself telling people that I'm going to do these races, but I always end with "well, I know I won't run the entire thing, but I can definitely walk it."  I really have to change my mind set, though, because, why couldn't I run the entire 1/2 with the proper training?  I'm doing myself a dis-service by talking myself out of running the race before I even begin it.  

When I started training for the marathon relay earlier this year, I found that running for me was challenging, but not in the way I originally thought it would be.  Initially, I thought that my body wasn't built for running, that I wasn't physically able to do it.  However, as I started running, I realized that it wasn't my body I had to convince, but my brain.  That's not to say it wasn't physically challenging for me, but it was certainly more of a mental challenge.  When I looked at my training plan for the day, whether it said to run for 1 minute intervals or 10, I thought to myself "I can't run that long" and I always could.  It wasn't always on the first try; some days I had to repeat, sometimes I needed to repeat entire weeks, but I was always able to run the intervals. 

So with that in mind, going forward when you hear me talk about the 1/2 marathons that I plan to run, I hope you will hear me say "I'm going to run that entire race!"  

Remember, "Your body can stand almost anything. It's your mind that you have to convince." (

Monday, June 24, 2013


This past weekend, I was overwhelmed with inspiration for a healthier me.  I followed the progress of a fellow mother, Dimity (, who was completing her first Ironman Triathlon on Sunday and it was incredible.  Just to clarify, she was competing in an Ironman Triathlon; a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run, a.k.a. a full marathon!!  It doesn't get much more bad ass than that.  I followed her progress on Twitter and Facebook all day and was able to watch her cross the finish line Sunday evening via webcam.  I got goosebumps watching her cross the finish line grinning from ear to ear.  She really inspired me, not to run a Triathlon, but to continue to push myself and my body because I can be bad ass, too!  I found out about Dimity and her quest to complete the Ironman Triathlon through one of the websites I follow (Another Mother Runner) and I thought I'd share some of my favorite, inspirational websites with you.

The first running blog that I started following a few months ago is I loved the domain name, which drew me to the site but it is Megan's down-to-earth posts that keep me coming back for more.  I love reading about whichever race she is currently training for and her healthy lifestyle inspires me.  She also has great product reviews and giveaways.  In fact, Megan's post on Bani Bands headbands got me hooked on their product and I sport a sparkly silver one now when I workout. 

Another fantastic website is, whose tag line reads "A virtual aid station" and how true that is.  Through their site and Facebook page, I continually learn from the helpful running advice and tips offered and from the great questions asked by other fellow Mother Runners.  It's an incredible community of women who support one another, bask in each other's accomplishments, and motivate and encourage one another when things get tough. It's a breath of fresh air, truly, and I have a fellow Mother Runner, my good friend, Stacy, to thank for getting me hooked on this site!  

One of my favorite non-running blogs is  I live vicariously through Jessica's creativity and whimsy.  She has a beautiful family, a job (both outside the home and a small business she operates) and she still manages to celebrate the wonder in every day.  She inspired me to host the first annual Roeseler North Pole breakfast (seriously, check out her site for her past North Pole breakfasts, you'll be inspired, too) this past Christmas and my boys loved it.  It's definitely a tradition that we will continue. Truthfully, every time I have a party, I think "What Would Jessica Do?"  When I first found her blog, I read every post from the beginning (2008) to the present. It's not creepy. OK, maybe a little creepy, but I love her creativity and hope that even a little bit rubs off on me. 

My most recent discovery is Jen's blog,  I discovered her site this weekend via  Twitter and a link to her post about solutions for 4 common running problems.  Jen has great information on her site about running, pregnancy, motherhood, and nursing for running moms.  After reading some of the past posts on Jen's blog, I discovered a race re-cap she posted about the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon and I'm hooked! I cannot stop thinking about this race.  It looks like a blast and it has been officially added to my race bucket list.  My first 1/2 marathon is next April with my dear friend, Dana (note to self: start training soon!), and I can't wait.  I think the Disney Princess race will make a great second 1/2 marathon!

I started this blog with the intention of holding myself accountable for my weight loss goals, but also in the hopes of providing some inspiration for others out there trying to do the same.  I hope the above sites inspire you as much as they have inspired me.  Making healthier choices, working out, and trying to lose weight is not easy, but if we support and encourage one another, the road to success can be much more enjoyable.  

In the spirit of support and encouragement, my quote for today comes from my friend and co-worker, Nicky, who shared this quote with me and I love it!  "Be stronger than your excuses." 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Isn't technology grand?

As I am typing this post from my laptop in the comfort of my bed tonight, my 6 year old watches SpongeBob SquarePants on our Roku and my smart phone is buzzing to alert me that I have a new text message.  We live in such a connected world now, which leads to my post tonight.  I've had the urge lately to get an activity tracker to help in my weight loss journey, but I keep going back and forth for a number of reasons.
  • Do I really need another gadget?  Probably not since I know I can lose weight the old fashioned way, but I wonder if having a tracker would hold me more accountable and push me a bit further (I'm still in this current plateau and I'm anticipating more plateaus given my long term weight loss goal is still a long way off). 
  • Do I really need to spend the money?  That's a pretty firm no, especially considering Mama wants some new running shoes, a new sports bra, and a proper armband for the above mentioned smart phone.  Oh yes, and I also want a new bike for cross training.  (Dear husband, I promise I will not buy all of the above at once.)
  • Which one to choose?  There are so many on the market right now and they all have their pros and cons.  This probably doesn't surprise anyone who knows me, as I tend to over-analyze just about everything, but I've done a lot of research on the activity trackers available and I've narrowed it down to three:  Nike Fuel band, Fitbit One, or the Fitbit Flex.  Do you have an activity tracker?  If so, which one and what do you like/dislike about it? 
I've had my eye on the Fuel band for awhile; I love Nike products and I like the design, but the price is steep and I've read about some design flaws.  The Fitbit products also track sleep, although I'm not sure tracking my sleep at the moment is the wisest choice as my 15 month old is still not quite sleeping through the night. I also like that I can link the Fitbit products to MyFitnessPal. The Fitbit Flex seems very similar to the Fuel band, but less "flashy." I'm leaning towards the Fitbit One because of the overall price and the access to real-time data.  I'm thinking that this might be a good reward if I meet my birthday challenge!  

Speaking of the birthday challenge, I'll give an update on my progress on Tuesday when I'm one week in, so stay tuned! 

I saw this quote online awhile back and I wish I could remember the source, but it lives on the old quote board nonetheless as inspiration for this journey: "She believed she could, so she did." 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mixing it up

When I first started training for the marathon relay, I naively expected weight to drop off rapidly (and lots of it).  By the time I ran the relay in April, I lost close to 25 lbs, which is nothing to sneeze at, but I was hoping for more.  Reading some of my favorite blogs and doing a bit of Google research, I realized I was lacking cross training.

So this time around, I've been trying to incorporate cross training in my workout routine.  The elliptical and bicycling on the recumbent bike have been my go-to faves on off-running days.  I've always wanted to try spinning though, since I love bicycling so much, and today I got that opportunity! 

Through Facebook and a friend I went to high school and college with, I found out about an event called Fit for a Cause at a local training studio, Evolve Personal Fitness (  For a minimum $10 donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, you were able to participate in a 60 minute class consisting of 20 minutes each of spinning, strength training, and core training.  Win-win!  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try spinning and donate to a great cause.  

I asked some friends (and co-workers) to join me and we had a great time! The strength training was great! We got to use free weights, but also a TRX machine (  It was a strange feeling at first, as this is a suspension training machine in which you use your body weight to support yourself and I felt like I was going to pull it down on myself, although Doug at Evolve assured me I wouldn't. :) I loved it though and I'm pretty sure I need one in my house.  

Next up was spinning!  I was so excited to try this!  I got my bike adjusted and hopped on.  Seat discomfort began almost immediately, but once we got going, other muscles felt the burn, too.  Spinning was tough!  We did some climbers to simulate going uphill, which involved getting out of the seat.  A strange sensation at first, but I could feel the muscles in my legs working hard.  Then we did some exercises that involved quick changes from the seat to standing and my knees couldn't handle that.  A little disappointing, but I pedaled on.  I really enjoyed the music that we spun to and it was a great workout!  I'd love to keep spinning, but I think padded shorts are a necessity first.  Ouch! 

Lastly, was our core training.  Core training = 20 minutes of planking essentially!  Wow, I am not a proficient  planker.  A few weeks ago I was able to plank for about 20 seconds and repeat once, but today we did all kinds of planks.  Side planks, up and downs (going from a forearm plank to a push-up type plank) and we held them for what seemed like forever.  Poor Jim, our trainer for this portion.  I think I let him down.  1) it was our group's last session, so I was beat 2) I was sweaty and that made for slippery planking conditions 3) I have horrible upper body strength so planking and I do not get along.  He was very gracious about my inability to plank.  I ended up spending most of this session laying on the mat.  Motivation to work on upper body strength for sure. 

Overall, it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I got to try something I've wanted to try for quite some time and I supported a great organization. 

I'll leave you with another quote that I found on Facebook this week that reminded me to be patient in this journey and be proud of what I'm doing.  "Don't wait until you've reached your goal to be proud of yourself.  Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal."  


Friday, June 21, 2013

Power Songs

I love music.  A lot.  Music makes me happy and gets me through just about anything life throws my way. If I am in the car or cleaning the house, more than likely the radio or iPod is blaring and I'm singing along with reckless abandon.  I've also been known to chair dance at work or to just start dancing randomly to the song presently stuck in my head (it's not weird. Don't judge).

I have songs I listen to when I'm happy, sad, angry, or just want to cut loose and dance (thankfully my children still find this side of their Mom amusing.  I wonder how long that will last?).  Working out is no different. When I am struggling through an intense workout, a great playlist really gets me through.  Some say that you shouldn't work out to music, but I don't think I could possibly workout without it.  So I say, do what works for you.

My workout playlist is cyclical, for example, last summer was the summer of Some Nights by fun. I'm always adding new songs to keep me going and thought I'd share my current favorite power songs.

  • Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys (sometimes it's like she's bursting through my yurbuds telling me to push through. Great power song)
  • Diva - GLEE cast (but the original by Beyonce is also great)
  • Do Better - Say Anything (on the slower side, but great beat and message "You can do better...")
  • This is the New Year - GLEE cast (I love GLEE, ok? But I think it's time for me to get the original by A Great Big World, because I'm starting to like it a bit more)
  • I Love It - Icona Pop (great angry song, but also good for pushing me to the limit)
  • Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke, T.I. & Pharrell (fun to listen to anytime) 
  • Feel this Moment - Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera (great beat to workout to)
  • Radioactive - Imagine Dragons (slow, but I love the intensity of the chorus and it pushes me through tough intervals)
  • Treasure - Bruno Mars (love, love, love this song and find myself singing it when I workout. The people who run past me are probably amused) 
I'm always on the hunt for new songs.  What are some of your favorite songs to workout to? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Project Lovely Laura

Welcome to the Project Lovely Laura blog; a journey to a healthier me! While I've tried (and failed) many times to lose weight and be healthy, this time it feels different. I feel more motivated and committed to a healthier life for me.  I want to enjoy a long life with my husband and my two boys!

I started my journey in January after the holidays and my motivation was that I committed to run/walk a marathon relay in April with some fantastic co-workers for a great cause.  So I began to train using the Couch to 5K program and I can't say enough wonderful things about this program.  I have never ever (I say again, never) been a runner.  I hated it when I was a kid and as I got older (and heavier), the disdain was not diminished.  The Couch to 5K program took me, a non-running, rather sedentary gal and had me running 10 minute stretches at a time by week 6.  Amazing, if you ask me.  Now, I still do not enjoy running per se, but I can do it!  I faced many of those long intervals with trepidation and intimidation, but I felt like Super Woman when I tackled them.  I'm not kidding; I asked my husband for a cape one evening when I completed a gnarly 6 minute interval. I also started religiously tracking my diet and exercise with MyFitnessPal (MFP).  I also can't say enough about MFP.  It's a great program and resource for those people looking to lead a healthier lifestyle. Flash forward to April, I lost a significant amount of weight and was able to complete my 6.03 mile portion of the relay in 1:30:50.  Not too bad for a newbie!

I gave myself some time to recover from the relay (ahem, way too much time!) and got off the running bandwagon, but I was still mostly watching what I ate and walking regularly.  Then we went on a lovely family vacation and I truly vacated in the sense that I didn't exercise nor did I really watch what I ate and that's ok.  Family bonding time was totally worth it.

Once I started noticing my friend, the scale, creeping up, I realized it was time to get back in the saddle.  Enter the birthday challenge!  I've been stuck in this particular 5 lb weight range and I'm tired of the plateau, so I decided to challenge myself before my (31st, yikes) birthday.  The challenge:  to lose 15 lbs by August 18th.  Difficult, yes. Impossible, NO!

I'm hoping this challenge will get me over this hump and back on track to lose, what I hope, is a lot more weight!  I will also be challenging myself to train for a 10k this fall (doable since I essentially ran/walked 10k for my marathon relay) followed by training for a 1/2 marathon next April (a challenge a dear friend and I accepted together).

I saw this quote on Facebook this week (I think it is originally from a Saucony commercial?) and I think this will be my mantra throughout this journey...Maybe strong is what you have left, when you've used up all your weak.