Category Archives: Motivation

Book Review: MeaningFULL by Alli Spotts-De Lazzer

I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I opened the pages of MeaningFULL by Alli Spotts-De Lazzer, but the fact that it contains life-changing stories of conquering dieting, weight, and body image issues…well…I was curious enough to want to read it.

If you’re relatively new here, let me just share that I have chalked up a wealth of experience in battling these issues myself. I was the fifth child of six in an alcoholic, dysfunctional family. The quiet kid. A people pleaser. When I was 9 years old, my dance teacher (and the most consistent male figure in my life) stood me in front of a mirror in the dance studio and pointed out all the parts of my body that were too fat. I learned to hide my feelings and be agreeable. When I was 15 years old, I was being stalked by a boy at my school and bullied by the popular girls who wanted to date him (he only had eyes for me…shudder). That same dance teacher pulled me aside to tell me that I should be grateful for the boy’s attention because I wasn’t skinny and I bit my nails, and had too much hair on my body. The fact that any boy wanted to be with me was amazing to him. It got worse from there, but suffice to say I grew up with a horrible self image, a lot of self hatred, and feeling like I was less than every other person on the planet.

MeaningFULL Voices

More often than not, I found a little bit of my own hot messness in the stories in these pages. The further I got into the book, the more I felt less like I was reading a book and more like I was sitting around the house talking to a bunch of old friends who understood exactly how I feel about my body and my choices relating to food and exercise.

I related to so many of the voices that lifted up from these pages: the dancer without the classic dancer’s lean, long body…the Jewish girl with the fuzzy hair, driven to cover every part of her body…Aaron, the dietician who heard the message loud and clear that it was only acceptable to be in a larger body if he was in the process of changing it to a smaller one. Reading their stories and getting a glimpse at the moments that helped them embrace change and let go led me to a few of my own…

My Totally AH-HAH and Holy Sh*t Moments

After reading MeaningFULL, I’m finally connecting with what the universe has been trying to tell me for awhile: the tools that have served me well in the past are not the tools that will get me through this next part of my journey. Like many, I grew up using the scale as a tool to measure my value as a person – but in the past six years, I’ve learned how not to do that. I’ve grown to a point where the scale truly is just a tool for me to learn how many pounds I weigh…and there is no other value attached to it. But I’ve still struggled lately, in this Covid world, and have found that the tools I’ve relied on to lose 132 pounds (so far) are not helping me much at present.

The stories in MeaningFULL are from a diverse group of people who had many different experiences, but there are some central themes too – and that’s helped me understand that I need to adjust my focus. Overall, the message of self-care, self-acceptance, and allowing one’s self to be open rang true for me. Reading about the AH-HAH moments of others has led me to realize it’s time for me to turn away from the scale, the mirror, and the tape measure and embrace the self care tools I’ve been inconsistent with up till now. That is what I need to work on.

As I read on, more of these moments floated easily to the surface for me, including:

Realizing that my dance teacher was not my only abuser. I am also my abuser. Oh. My. GAWD. I truly never thought of it that way, but…it’s true. There’s probably another blog post coming along about that. I need to dive deeper.

Understanding that the personality traits that help me to beat myself up about my weight are just my super powers being used for evil instead of good. I can flip those around and use them to my advantage.

When I dive into needlework, which is my safety net when I need mindfulness, I don’t need to feel guilty about it. I need to let myself enjoy it and understand that I’m practicing self-care.

What I Loved Most

After each person’s story, Alli pops in with her amazing therapist superpowers to help guide the reader through the helpful takeaways of every Storyteller’s experience. For me, that had huge value, especially when reading the stories of the people I felt less in tune with. There was always something there that I could learn from and her insights helped shine the light right where it needed to be.

Alli Spotts-De Lazzer
MeaningFULL by Alli Spotts-De LazzerMeaningFULL: 23 Life-Changing Stories of Conquering Dieting, Weight, & Body Image Issues by Alli Spotts-De Lazzer Publisher:  Unsolicited Press (January 26, 2021) Category: Self-help, Non-Fiction, psychology, memoir, health/wellness, inspirational, eating disorder recovery, weight loss, & body positivity Tour dates: March-April, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-950730-69-8 Available in Print and ebook, 282 pages  MeaningFULL

Every story is unique and has something to learn from. Here’s an excerpt directly from the book:

My Body Wasn’t the Enemy (Anonymous)

MY FATHER, AN Orthodox Rabbi and hands-on dad, made sure my siblings and I understood that “God loves you, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.” My mom had eight children within 12 years and worked full time. With practicality and a smile, she’d explain not getting her nails or hair done: “Your nails and hair are dead.”

I grew up in a home with zero focus on dieting, the body, or weight loss. We ate in a balanced way—lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, starches, and also good amounts of ice cream and treats. So long as it was Kosher, any food was okay.

I was on the slimmer side and an adventurous, healthy eater. I had a good relationship with food. (I would say I had a good relationship with my body, too, but I was still a young girl who wasn’t aware of her body yet.)

Like many tweens in middle school, self-consciousness abounded. I looked different because of my hand-me-down clothes. I felt different, too. While most of my classmates lived in multi-million dollar brownstones and penthouses in the city, my family, all ten of us, lived in a basement apartment. I remember I cried on the subway ride home after my 8th-grade pictures. I thought I was ugly with my untrendy, uncontrollably frizzy hairstyle, faded blouse, and glasses.

Right before my freshman year of high school, my mom’s friend gave me a compliment that definitely woke me up to the fact that I had a body. We were saying our good-byes while getting ready to move for my father’s new job. She announced, “You look great! You’ve grown taller and lost weight, and you look fantastic. All that baby fat is gone!”

I filled with pride. I stood straighter. I beamed.

Why I was proud baffled me because I hadn’t actually done anything to earn such praise. It felt good, though.

A few weeks later, my family settled in, my father met his congregation, and I started my first year at an all-girls, ultra-conservative religious high school. It was much more right-wing than anything I had known. My new and stricter Modesty Code required that long sleeves and tights cover any flesh not concealed by my uniform. No more nail polish or flip-flops. Teachings about God went from loving and positive to “if you don’t do this, God’s going to punish you.”

None of this felt like “me,” but I had to do it. For the first time ever, I experienced strife and disconnection with my parents, my culture, and myself. I felt depressed.

That compliment from my mom’s friend rang in my ears. Although I wore a junior’s size five, I believed that if I could just lose a few more pounds, then that pride, that inner beaming would come again.

I didn’t know much about dieting, but I figured it couldn’t be that complicated. I understood very little about human physiology, except that the fewer calories I ate, the more weight I would lose. My grand plan was to go on a water diet for a couple of days.

I lasted half a day, and then I broke my water diet. I felt out of control. As soon as I arrived home from school, I raided the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards. I scarfed down food to the point of feeling sick. That was my very first binge.

I had failed at dieting, but I would try the next day again.

And the next.

Let’s Get MeaningFULL : Win a Copy!

This book was helpful to me in ways I did not expect. I usually loan out books once I’m done, but I’m keeping this one close. If you’ve ever struggled with diet, weight, or body image issues I think you’ll find this book inspires you with hope and gratitude.

Want to win your own copy of this amazingly inspiring book? Here’s a direct link to enter a raffle for just that purpose.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alli Spotts-De Lazzer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and a “CEDS” Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, and a person on the other side of her own decades-long struggle with food battles and body dislike. She has presented educational workshops at international conferences, hospitals, and graduate schools and has published articles in trade magazines, academic journals, and online information hubs.

A believer in service and advocacy, Alli serves on multiple committees and created #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance!—a movement embodying its message.

Alright, that’s enough…

This year has been unlike any other year of our lives. I’m not sure how yours is going, but as far as I’m concerned 2020 can go straight to hell. Damn! Can we just bury this thing in the yard and move forward? Ugh.

When the pandemic hit, I was blindsided with having to say goodbye to a job I loved at the best company I’ve ever worked for…but, being the scrappy girl I am, I quickly set about making a plan for how I was going to make the most of my time. We all saw how that went. It all tanked. Why? Because I’ve never been through a pandemic before and, well, it turns out I don’t handle isolation and global panic very well. At all.

For the last several months, I’ve been sort of….yessing myself. Don’t want to get dressed today? It’s okay, Dianne. Pandemic happens. Only want to eat chips today? It’s okay, girl. Pandemic happens. Don’t feel like moving off the couch? Hey, it’s a pandemic. Get the picture?

My clothes don’t fit right anymore. The weird funky things that used to happen to me when I only ever ate junk food are coming back…like itchy shins at bed time. I have no idea why that’s a thing for me, but it is. And it’s back. And I just feel GROSS. I feel bigger and I feel gross. And now I’ve realized…in trying to be all “hey, it’s okay” and gentle with myself (I’ve been telling myself it’s self-care to be indulgent), I’ve gained 44.7 pounds back.

That is ridiculous, y’all. I did that. In the name of “self care”. I indulged myself into a weight gain that is anything BUT self care. I neglected myself and told myself it was okay because it’s self care. LOL. I mean…what kind of jacked up thought process is that? Lordy!

So here’s the thing: I don’t want to indulge myself anymore. Clearly, I need to redefine what “self care” means to me before I gain back all of the 132 pounds I lost. But I also know this: self care does not mean to go all boot campy on myself and beat myself into oblivion trying to get rid of the weight I brought back. And it doesn’t mean spending even one second on chiding myself for the decisions I’ve made during one of the shittiest years ever. So what does it mean?

Well, this morning I crawled out of bed and got on the scale to face the consequences of what I’ve been doing. That’s how I know about that magical 44.7 pounds. And I put myself on a 3 day “pouch reset” plan. For gastric sleeve patients, that’s basically going back on liquids. So today I’ll have 3 protein shakes that will give me all the nutrition I need…and I’ll allow myself an iced coffee. My iced coffees don’t have any sugar in them except for literally 1 tablespoon of creamer…so they’re pretty harmless.

Another casualty of this self indulgent lifestyle: my house. It’s a mess. Every room is a mess. So this morning the dishwasher has been running non stop and I’ve put quite a few steps on my Fitbit putting things away and just…behaving like a responsible adult who gives a shit about her home. There have been quite a few times this morning where I’ve had to resist the urge to feel guilty about the state I’ve let everything fall into. I’ve already decided that I’m not going to get super down on myself for all of this, though, because…pandemic. While I no longer believe that laying around and eating crap is okay for me to do, I still say getting negative about what I did is not helpful.

Now that I’ve taken a good look at where I am it’s time to get busy. Not perfect, just busy. I’m not eating one more bit of crap. This might get tricky because there are cookies in my house. Lots of cookies. Christmas cookies. Gingerbread cookies. Shortbread cookies. Yep. Hubby has self control. Me, not so much.

For now, they’ll stay in the house. If I start giving them the side eye then they’ll have to go. But for now they can stay because my resolve to actually take care of myself is much stronger than my desire for a cookie.

I’ll keep updating as I lose the 44.7. We all know I know how to do it. LOL. I’ve done it a few times now, haven’t I? Funny how I thought self care was essentially packing on a bunch of weight so I’d have to work hard all over again. 🙂 That wasn’t self care. Thank God I had the realization before it got worse.

All of this has given me one other idea as well. Usually this time of year has me reviewing how I did with my New Years resolutions. I typically set 5 or 6 for myself and I enjoy checking in and seeing how I did by the end of the year. When I started trying to think of fresh ones for next year, I decided almost instantly that I will set only one resolution for 2021. Only one…and it’s a big one that I didn’t hit this year:

Hit 225 on the scale. That number means something to me. It’s not my goal weight, but it means something. And that will be my sole resolution for 2021.

Adjusting the Sails

Hey, y’all! It’s Wellness Wednesday, so let’s get to it.

2020 seems determined to teach me some serious lessons. I am consistently being taught that my normal methods for attacking any problem are not going to work in 2020…and so I need to rethink every strategy I’ve ever used in my life. Whatever, 2020…I’m so over you at this point.

The truth is…I’m sad. I am still sad over having to leave my job, even though I took a package to save my benefits and wasn’t just arbitrarily shown the door. It still hurts to be away from the absolute best job I’ve ever had and all the amazing people that made it a great place to work. With my head, I want to move on…I want to push forward, but my heart is not making it possible. My heart is broken and my motivation and focus is just not where it needs to be for much of anything.

I had planned on an organized approach to all the plans I’ve made now that I have some time to myself. That’s what I always do. It has not worked, nor has it felt like the right thing to do as I go about trying to focus on the tasks at hand. I thought a week and a half was an appropriate amount of time to let myself do whatever I wanted before I planned out all my days and headed towards my new goals. It’s not. My heart just isn’t in much of it. My heart is still heavy and I am torn between pushing myself to move forward or letting myself have a little more time to grieve.

What’s the answer? At this point, I’m not sure – but I have a new approach to try, so that’s what I’m going to do. This week and next, I plan to stick to the same goals and plans…but give myself more time. I will not be as regimented as I thought I should be. So here’s an update of where I am in my wellness plans and what I intend to do over the next week:

  • I’ve lost 4 quarantine pounds this week.
  • I struggle with motivation in taking my morning walk and doing yoga every morning, so I’m changing that from daily to every other day…at least until I feel motivated to do more.
  • I struggle with wanting to eat junk food all day. I haven’t given in to that, but I think it will be helpful to me to go on a protein shake only regimen for a few days next week.
  • I haven’t even begun to tackle the insomnia issue, except for beginning to reduce my caffeine intake. I’m starting to feel like might be smarter to just tackle the Ambien detox sooner rather than later. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
  • I still struggle with practicing meditation as much as I wanted to.
  • My creative goals, which I haven’t even shared the details of yet, are pushing at me constantly…and my energy is drawn to those projects first. I feel like I should allow that to happen, which is why the idea of doing the Ambien detox earlier also appeals to me.

I feel like this is a rather underwhelming Wellness Wednesday post, but can we just take a minute to acknowledge those 4 pounds I lost? It feels good to see that number on the scale creeping back down to where it should be.

For me, in order to move forward with any kind of purposeful momentum, my head and my heart need to be in sync. They’re not right now. And no matter how many motivational memes I read or post on Facebook, my head and my heart are still not aligned. So I must adjust my sails and be content with gently coasting around the sea right now…until I’m ready for a stronger current.

This next week will be more about not heaping a long list of expectations on myself and more about making smaller changes. Later this week, I’ll be back with an update on ALL the plans I’ve been making…but today is Wellness Wednesday, so we’re talking about that project and no others.

I do plan to blow up the dam that’s been keeping my creativity at bay for years. That will certainly be interesting, so stay tuned…and be kind to yourself today. You deserve it.

Welcome to Wellness Wednesdays!

Here’s the deal: I only have two pairs of jeans that fit me right now thanks to quarantine pounds, and both of them have holes worn in the thighs because hey…it’s been a while since I’ve had a thigh gap. Well, I’ve never had a thigh gap actually – but when you don’t have a thigh gap you can hold more kittens in your lap, so as far as I’m concerned it’s a no brainer.

As promised, I’m back to share all the deets of my wellness plan. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check my big post on gratitude and my following post about launching a new life. That’ll bring you up to speed!

My wellness plan is huge. Like, bigger than the obnoxious leggings in which I just trounced around the neighborhood in this morning. Wait till you see them…and you will. After that, you won’t be able to get the image out of your head. You’re welcome.

This is the perfect time for me to focus on wellness, which I’ve been neglecting for quite some time. As I was grieving the loss of my job, I distracted myself by making lists of all the things I would now have time to do. Here’s the list that started my wellness plan:

Weight Loss

  • Goal 1: Lose quarantine pounds
  • Goal 2: Hit 250 on the scale
  • Goal 3: Hit 225 on the sale
  • Goal 4: Hit 199 (OMG…first time in 100’s since I don’t know when)
  • Goal 5: Hit my goal weight of 170


  • Goal 1: Quit Aspartame
  • Goal 2: Quit caffeine
  • Goal 3:  Quit Ambien

Body Health

  • Learn yoga for flexibility
    • Be able to sit cross-legged on the floor
  • Use strength training to increase strength
  • Begin with gentle exercise to increase activity levels gradually

Spiritual Health

  • 7 minute morning meditation to enable better focus and increase positive energy
  • Wind down for bed using Headspace meditation
  • Get 20 minutes of sunlight each day
    • Create a peaceful spot outside where I can sit and enjoy it

Nutritional Health

  • Take vitamins and supplements
  • Learn about gut health and make positive changes to diet
  • Decrease the processed foods in my diet

That’s quite a list, right? You see why I have to be thoughtful about my approach, lest I go all Clark Griswold on myself again and go way overboard. I don’t mind failing, but failing at everything because I went for it all at the same time and didn’t plan…well…that’s just a waste of my damn time.

This week is all about starts. Here’s what I’m focusing on in each part of the plan:

Weight Loss:

To lose my quarantine pounds (29 of them, thank you): I cut out all junk food and am logging my food in My Fitness Pal. I’ll keep pushing forward with this goal until I’ve lost all 29 quarantine pounds – and then I can focus on the next goal for weight loss.


To quit Aspartame and caffeine, I’m not drinking anything with either in it after 7 pm. Next week, that will change to 5 pm…and so on. When I’m done getting these out of my system for good, then I’ll begin my Ambien detox.

Body Health:

As soul crushing at it feels, I’m doing Chair Yoga for Seniors off of a YouTube video I found. This is a good lesson in accepting where I am with my lack of flexibility and being willing to work from here in order to improve it.

For gentle exercise, I’m taking an early morning walk at a leisurely pace…just to get some steps in and get my bones used to the impact of walking. It may seem silly to some, but just a slow, leisurely walk on the pavement when you have 100 extra pounds of weight to carry around is a lot. Honestly, I don’t know how I functioned when I weighed 398 pounds! My hips and legs are sore from the walk I took this morning and I promise you…it was not a strenuous walk.

Spiritual Health:

Although I forget about it some mornings, I’m trying to do 7 minutes of meditation before I really start my day. The challenge is that I go on auto pilot in the morning and I forget to do it. I make my protein shake and sit on the couch, start scrolling through my phone, and poof!

I’m also trying to get outside for 20 minutes a day. There are some challenges to that, which I’ll share in  a future blog post, but I have to admit it is nice to get outside and put my toes in the grass.

Nutritional Health:

I’m reading a book about gut health right now, which I think will help me to understand the why behind the shoulds and should nots of eating healthy – and I’ve already cut processed crap out of my eating. Yay me!

So what tools am I using in this giant wellness project of mine? I’m glad you asked. Here are some of my favorites:

My Fitness Pal

It’s an old friend, but I do love it. I especially love the feature that allows you to scan the bar code on any food with your phone so you don’t have to type it in and search for the right one. I did that with my Greek yogurt this morning. So fab. You can find the app in your app store, or online here.

Eat Yourself Healthy

I’m interested in learning more about gut health, so I grabbed this book. You can get a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below. Full disclosure: Amazon gives me a small commission if you click that link. They don’t increase the price for you, but I make a little money for sending you their way…which is nice right now because I don’t have a job – so if you’re going to buy it, consider clicking the link and send me some love!


Tons of content for free (although I have a paid membership because I think it’s worth it). Lots of different courses of meditation. Insomnia. Mindful Eating. Happiness. You can choose a male or female voice to listen to. I’ve never heard the female voice, but the male voice is Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe and he’s British. His voice is lovely. You can find it in your app store.

Yoga with Adriene on YouTube

She’s pretty awesome and there are a ton of yoga classes on her channel. You can find her here.

My Backyard

No, that’s not a tool…but that’s what’s easy when it comes to getting a little sun. Here’s the problem: I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my backyard for a long time. It’s not very relaxing place to be. Future project? Yep. Future blog post? Hell yep.

This is launch week for this project, so it all feels very clunky right now…but I’ve already lost 2 of those quarantine pounds. I enjoy the chair yoga, even if it is incredibly humbling when I realize how flexible I’m NOT. And this morning I was so determined to go on my walk that I left the house in an outfit I’m pretty sure traumatized any neighbors who might be looking out the window. Check it out:

So there it is! I’ll be back every Wednesday with an update on my wellness project. Be sure to follow my Facebook Fan Page or my Instagram account to get little updates through the week on all the projects I have going on right now, including Home Sweet Home. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to go make another clean spot in my stitchy room if I’m going to stay on track organizing this love nest. I’ll catch y’all later!

I need a unicorn…

Years ago, when I first started on my successful weight loss journey, I bought myself a Pandora charm bracelet. I was high on life after being able to touch my feet again, dudes…seriously. Sometimes it’s the little things. You can check out the victory here.

Some of the other charms I bought during the 100+ pounds I lost? For starters, I put a blue glass bead on the bracelet for every size I dropped (although I still owe myself a few). I added an airplane charm to commemorate the first time I flew on a plane and didn’t need the seatbelt extender. Yay!!! The bicycle charm came along when I first started riding a bike again. The pedal snags my clothes, though, so it has since been retired. The handbag charm happened when I went from the 300’s to the 200’s…because my reward was a Texas Rangers Dooney & Bourke handbag, so they kind of went together. 🙂

After a while, the Pandora bracelet ended up in the drawer and stopped taking it out again…until recently. I’m wearing it again and it is begging for a new charm. I started poking around Pandora’s website and guess what? They have a freak’in unicorn charm!!!! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!

I put the word out on my last Floss Tube video that I needed help setting a goal to get this charm…and I’ve decided to go with an increased step count on my new Fitbit. When I was in London two weeks ago, I was logging about 15,000 steps a day and that was really causing some pain – so I decided to take baby steps when it comes to step goals. I normally get about 4,000 steps a day, thanks to my usually sedentary job. An increase to 6,500 steps a day seems like a reasonable goal. And there we have it: 6,500 steps per day for 30 days…and the unicorn is mine!!!

So…why a step goal? Because I have a theory and I want to see if I’m right.

As most of you know, I’m prone to foot injuries. I usually hurt myself when I’m walking too fast, or too fast for too long. Doctors have urged me to ride a bike, swim, or do elliptical training in order to take the impact off my feet. Here’s what I think I’m missing: in keeping off my feet when it comes to the walking thing, I’m missing on the healthy-ish impact of slow…regular walking. Not walking for cardio doesn’t mean not walking AT ALL….right? There’s a process your body goes through with walking that I’m missing out on, so I am going to carefully increase my step goal and achieve that goal with slow, deliberate walking instead of the arm-pumping cardio walking that comes to mind when anyone things of fitness walking. We’ll see if that helps the horrible fatigue my feet and legs feel when I play the tourist. And then the unicorn charm will be mine!!!

Well, at least it will be when it’s back in stock. Damn it! It’s out of stock!!!

Until then, I’m keeping my end of the bargain. I made my step goal yesterday. Just 29 days to go, peeps. Hopefully the charm is back in stock by the time I’m ready for it.

Wondering what Floss Tube is? It’s video blogging for needleworkers like me – but I don’t just talk about needlework, so if you’re interested in checking it out here are the links to my first four videos:

Do you have a fun fitness goal? Please share it in the comments below. You might inspire someone else to live a healthier life…so why not?

Have a great day today…and be nice humans. ♥
Fitbit Charge 2