The Force of Fitbit

I got a Fitbit Force for Christmas, and that has honestly made a huge difference in the way I’m viewing my journey this time around. I’d previously used a BodyMedia Fit and, while I loved all of the data it provided me, I didn’t love the bulkiness of the armband. I also perceive the two devices as functioning slightly differently, which has also adjusted my expectations this time around.

I always viewed the BodyMedia Fit as a device that would tell me how many calories I’m actually burning throughout the day. While it did count my steps, I never paid much attention to that bit of data. I focused instead on the number of minutes I was active + the calories I was burning.

With the Fitbit, my primary focus is the number of steps I take in a day. To reach my goal, I do have to go to the gym but it’s not the calories that I’m monitoring – it’s the steps. I can still see an estimation of my calories burned and the number of minutes I was active, but my focus has shifted with this tool.

And that shift has made a world of difference.

  1. It’s quantifiable. I know exactly what I need to do to reach that goal everyday. 1 step = 1 step. Previously, the activities I did were usually a shot in the dark to hit the calorie burn goal because who really knows how many calories 30 minutes on the treadmill burns?
  2. Smaller goals make me less crazy. While I do weigh every day (and of course I have goal weights in mind to target), I’m not constantly looking towards some date in the future with a number beside it. I have a daily goal (7,000 steps). If I do the work required for me to meet that goal (in addition to watching my diet) then I don’t have to worry about that future goal because it can’t not happen. Eventually, that 7k goal will be increased to 8k and so on and so forth.

I saw results in January.

And one of my favorite things about Fitbit is that it sends me a weekly progress report telling me how I’m doing. I get it on Tuesdays, so the weight number isn’t always the same number I count on my official weigh-in days – but it still gives me a snapshot of how I’m doing.

fitbitsnapshotWhile I don’t use any of these as my “official” number because it comes on the wrong day, it still helps me stay on track. I especially pay attention to my average daily steps. That number should never be lower than it was the week before (barring illness).

And so far? It’s working. This little armband is helping keep me motivated to get up and move – because I’ve been lazy for way too long.


First Milestone (well, almost)

I’m going to go ahead and get the numbers out of the way. That’s what people really want to see anyway, right?

Starting Weight: 233.6
Last Weigh-in: 225.8
Current Weight: 223.8
Difference: -2

Total Weight Lost: 9.8 pounds

The annoying thing about that is that today’s weight is .4 higher than yesterday’s… so yesterday I hit the 10 pounds lost milestone… but I can’t count it because Monday is my official weigh-in day.

And for the measurements, I really didn’t expect to see much change. I didn’t do as much strength training this week (the whole week was really thrown out of whack because of the stupid snow). Note: these are totals, not week to week.

Neck: -.25
Waist: no change
Hips: -1.25
Thighs: -1.75 (both of them together)
Arms: -.75 (both of them together)
Chest: 0 (new measurement)
Calves: 0 (new measurement)

Total: -4 inches

I still can’t see a difference in any of my clothes, but the numbers don’t lie. My body is starting to change. And it’s having a wonderful impact on my mental health! I took this picture on Saturday morning, because I was having an “I feel pretty” day.


I’ve been having a lot of those lately, and it’s absolutely wonderful. I spent the last year in a fog of depression and doubt and self-loathing, so to actually be able to look in a mirror and say something positive about myself is a big fucking deal.

I spent yesterday doing another round of freezer cooking. I didn’t get as much made this time, in part because I have completely run out of freezer space and also because I didn’t plan super well and doing all of the shopping AND the cooking in the same day makes for a painful, exhausting afternoon/evening.

I’ll post later with information about my freezer cooking adventures, including recipes!

Checking In & Understanding Disappointment

motivationI’ve learned a few lessons over the last few weeks.

First, my mental health is super important to me. And it matters how I’m treated in the various forums where I’m being public and transparent about this journey because when criticism isn’t constructive it sends me into a dark place. And I’m finished with dark places. Something happened this weekend on one of those forums where I offered support and motivation to folks who may have found themselves in the same boat as me, and I was shocked by the deluge of outrage and negativity that poured in. There were some kind folks who were able to understand and correctly see what I was saying because they were the folks I targeted in the first place, but rather than jump into that sea of negativity, they messaged me privately. For those folks – I say thank you. We aren’t alone and we can do this!

Second, my progress isn’t measured solely by the scale. I found myself disappointed this morning since today is my official weigh-in day. According to the scale, I lost only .2 this week.

Starting Weight: 233.6
Last Weigh-in: 226
Current Weight: 225.8
Difference: -.2

Total Weight Lost: 7.8 pounds

There were a few things I did last week, food-wise, that I shouldn’t have done. Even though my total calories stayed in check I wasn’t eating the kinds of food that my body needs. That’s something I need to work on. What can I say? I like the bad stuff (sung to the tune of Dr. Horrible’s So They Say). And “bad stuff” is okay – in moderation! But last week I had a slice of pizza (with a salad!) three days in a row for lunch. I justified it because a) it came in under calorie and b) there was a salad! But I knew better. And the data backs it up.

I also started tracking measurements last week. So each week when I weigh, I also take my measurements. I am learning that not every victory comes from the scale.

Neck: -.25
Waist: no change
Hips: -.25
Thighs: -1.5 (both of them together)
Arms: -.5 (both of them together)

Total: -2.5 inches

I’ll take it!

photo credit: Arya Ziai via photopin cc

Card Carrying Member


Image via Stuart Miles

Well, I did the thing I never thought I’d do.

I joined a real gym.

My plan had been to use the treadmill at my apartment’s fitness center to meet my daily steps goal – but no matter what fucking time of day I went, someone was already using it!

I temporarily “fixed” the problem by 1) doing laps in my apartment (I have an open kitchen so I could walk through it to the dining room and around through the living room and back into the kitchen) and 2) walking around the parking lot.

There are flaws in both of these solutions though. Pain and fear, to name a few. (I don’t live in a dangerous neighborhood, but I don’t like walking in the dark alone, and I definitely wouldn’t put earbuds in so that I couldn’t hear in the dark).

So I forked out the money (after finding a relatively “cheap” gym in the area – but holy cow! One that I looked into had a $200 enrollment fee and then a $77 monthly fee. WHAT THE WHAT?) and I am joining the masses each day.

So far? I’ve liked it. It’s only been two days, but I have enjoyed my time there. It passes quickly between audiobooks or using the Zombies, Run! app (which does actually work while on the treadmill). And I feel accomplished and good about myself at the end of each day.

I also feel exhausted. This new activity level is kicking my ass. How long does it take to adjust? Because man – I’m sleeping around 9 hours a night and it’s still not enough.

The fancy new gym membership means I could finally join Pact. My stakes are high – I could potentially lose $40 per week if I don’t go to the gym ($10 each per 4 pledged sessions). I also decided to make a food logging pact as well. I have to log meals 5 days per week or I could lose up to $50 per week. That means logging 3 meals per day at a minimum of 1200 calories.

No sweat.

I can’t afford the penalties if I miss, so I will definitely be making these goals. And I will get small rewards for making them, but that’s not why I’m doing it. They will be deposited into my PayPal account where I’ll likely never see them again.

And lastly… today is day 11 of this new journey of mine. And today was the first day that my scale wasn’t down. It wasn’t up, but it wasn’t down either. I knew that day would come, but I wasn’t quite ready for it yet. I was enjoying my ride to success.

2014 is the Year for MK


Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Oh, hi!

I didn’t know you were still here.

No, really. I forgot this blog existed.

Considering the last post is from 2012, that’s probably not surprising, is it?

2013 was a fucking terrible year. There was nothing about it that had to do with Becoming Mandi KayeNothing.

Let’s do a quick inventory of the things this blog was supposed to catalog:

  • Mental Health: In early 2013, I upped my dosage of Topamax to 125mg per day as a preventative for migraines. This is apparently the exact dosage that turns Mandi into a raging heinous bitch monster from hell who is constantly depressed. Only… we didn’t realize it was the Topamax causing the mental health issues until August.These issues caused me to completely isolate myself and shut off the world. I am still trying to rebuild and recover, even though the medication issue has been resolved.
  • Journey: There was honestly no way I was going to focus on my weight, health, and overall fitness while my head wasn’t in the right space. I did, however, get a dog last year. She gets me out of the house every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I did, however, complete my very first 5k (The Color Run) in September. I walked it, and it took me an hour, but I finished it.
  • Weight Loss: I ended the year at 233.6. That is actually 6 pounds lighter than I was when I began this blog (oh so long ago), so that’s something – but it’s not really an accomplishment I can count.

Where am I now?

I got a Fitbit Force for Christmas, and I began using it in earnest on January 6, 2014. My goals are somewhat different this time around, as I have learned some of what motivates me and what keeps my butt on the couch.

  • Steps: 6,000 steps per day. I want to work up to 10,000 steps per day.
  • Logging my food: While My Fitness Pal has generated a target caloric goal for me, my goal is honestly to log my food so that I have to be accountable for everything I put in my mouth. It’s less about the numbers and more about knowing what I’m eating.
  • Eating at home: No more fast food! The weekend before I started, I spent a day cooking and filled my freezer full of individual sized portions that are way healthier than anything I can buy in the drive-thru. Now I can eat at home with no excuses.

As of this morning (day 8) I am down 4.2 pounds.

I know that this is not going to be a consistent rate of loss, but what a way to start!

2014 is going to be my year.

I am going to be happy and healthy and fit.

DIY: Framed Earring Holder

Not too long ago, my Granny decided to get rid of all of her jewelry. Half went to me, half went to my mom. It was fabulous! But I have no good jewelry box or way to display jewelry.

Enter Pinterest.

I’ve been seeing one particular pin all over the place – a picture frame with strips of lace to hold earrings. So I decided to make my own version (DIY projects are good for mental health!). It was super easy to make, and to be honest, I like it better than the original!