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What You Gain When You Lose


By:  Sandra Elzie

Like me, are you someone who makes New Year’s Resolutions?  For several years I’ve been making writing goals, but last year I also made a resolution to get healthier.  I’ve renewed that resolution for another year.

A friend sent me an e-mail recently that had several cute sayings…one of which I’ve shared…but this one got me to thinking.  In 2012, I started the fitness program to lose a few pesky pounds and to tone up.  I had some success, but then came a two-week cruise, a week in Florida, Thanksgiving and finally Christmas.  Ugh.  Okay, I didn’t totally obliterate all the good work I’d done, but I definitely put a dent in a year’s worth of effort.


So, instead of whining…I got back up, dusted myself off, and got back on course.  I also recently bought six workout videos so I can have a nice variety of options when it’s time to sweat.  I’m told a person should exercise 2-4 times a week…but I’ve discovered that I have to exercise every day in order to stay in the habit.  In short, 3:30 every afternoon is my time to exercise.  I don’t have to waste time thinking about whether or not today is an exercise day since EVERY day is an exercise day.

In my case, exercise is the key to success, but it helps to eat healthy, have a supportive husband who exercises with me, AND to have a close friend who is also working on becoming healthier and helps keep me encouraged & on track.

By the way, if you’re by chance wondering what six videos I got, I’ll just tell you that four of them are by Denise Austin, and two of them are by Jillian.  Yes, the Drill Sergeant from The Biggest Loser.

I’ll close today by listing the five things I feel have been the most helpful for me.

 1)      Set a reasonable…attainable goal FOR YOU  (and check this with your doctor, especially if you have health challenges or you are on medications)

2)      Eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables & protein. (I suggest cutting down on things that are less healthy versus totally eliminating  them  since  you   don’t want to feel deprived & then binge eat)

3)      Write down everything…and I mean EVERYTHING you eat on a daily basis

4)      Exercise ….even 20 minutes 3 times a week…or just go for a 20-minute walk.

( I also suggest that you write down what exercise you do & how long you did it.)

5)      Drink plenty of water…and limit the alcohol and sodas

  So what can you add to the above list?  Got any great food/recipe suggestions?  I’m open to all the help I can get.


Because Petit Fours & Hot Tamales is celebrating our anniversary all this month, I’m giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card today to one lucky person who leaves a comment.  (Sorry, no chocolate!!)



Sandra loves to hear from her readers, so drop by her website and visit.

Read more about her and what’s coming in the near future on

Sandra’s first print book, The Diplomatic Tutor,  is now available from Kindle e-books.


She also writes as Sandra McGregor and you can view the selection at Amazon e-books.


Mary Preston - January 14, 2013 - 3:39 am

I walk every day. I use this time to run errands. So, it’s time put to good use as well.

I find a shopping list to be very helpful. I stick to it.

I like your list of 5. It’s sensible & doable.

Marilyn Baron - January 14, 2013 - 6:09 am

Thanks for the great advice. I think the advice about drinking water instead if soda is a good one. I just got on the scale this morning. Arrrgh! I need to start on your program.

Elaine Calloway - January 14, 2013 - 8:07 am

Great advice, and a timely reminder now that we’re several weeks into the new year. My main goal this year is to return to the aquatic center near me, and start swimming several times per week.

Pam Asberry - January 14, 2013 - 8:43 am

Great post, Sandy. I didn’t do so well with my fitness goals last year either, and illness waylaid me last week, but I am determined to get back on the wagon, starting TODAY. Thanks for the inspiration!

Debbie Kaufman - January 14, 2013 - 9:02 am

Love the list of 5. I won’t add specifically to your list, but I do want to share something I read the other day. When you’re looking at weight loss and exercise from a health POV, you often neglect to really see that clearly as evidenced by missing workouts, taking time to plan healthier meals, etc. (At least I know I do :)) It was suggested that if you needed dialysis or chemo, you wouldn’t miss the treatment times for the same kind of excuses we use when we miss our workouts, etc. Reading that was a big “ouch” for me. When I change my perspective like that, the excuses roll away.

Haywood Smith - January 14, 2013 - 9:59 am

I, too, am allergic to exercise, but I’ve had good luck losing by eating 30 grams of lean protein within the first thirty minutes I’m up every day. I stay reasonably fit by going up and down the stairs in my house at least ten times a day.

Sandra Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 11:25 am

Hi Mary,
Walk every day? Good for you! I do also…but on a treadmill…I’m a woose for cold days, or rainy days, or days that are too hot…or…. well, you get the picture.

Sandra Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 11:28 am

Oh, Marilyn, I hate my scales. LOL It records loss…or gain…in tenths of a pound, so I see if I even gained .2 pounds! Anyway, I also weigh every day so I can see which exercise/eating day is the most effective…although there are always other factors such as water retention, etc that can trip me up.

Sandra Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 11:30 am

Swimming….great suggestion. My swimming is worse than my biking…and that’s a joke. But I do love to get into the pool for water aerobics.

Thanks for dropping by!

Sandra Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 11:34 am

Hi Pam,
I don’t know what your goals were for last year, but I know you did a bunch of 5Ks with your son and I applaud you for that. I haven’t done one yet.

Actually, I read a couple years ago that something like 80% of New Year’s resolutions involve dieting/weight loss…but also more than 80% of people stop dieting within 3 weeks. SOOOOOOO, that’s why I chose this as my topic today…hoping to encourage some of you to hang in there and not stop! (or to join me in getting back on the wagon)

Sandra Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 11:36 am

Oh Debbie, thank you for that comment about missing chemo etc. You’re right, we wouldn’t dare because our health (if not our very life) would hang in the balance, but we don’t realize that being overweight…or not having a healthy heart & lungs, regardless of our weight…is just as vital to our lives. Thanks for the wake-up.

Sandra Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 11:40 am

Hi Haywood,
Yes, I’ve read about the protein needs within 30 minutes of rising…and that’s something I need to improve on. About six months or so ago I bought a Fit-bit that counts my steps, tells me how many flights of stairs I’ve climbed (if I’ve climbed any :-)
and even tells me good morning when I first put it on. Great little gadget to remind me to stay on tract each day. It also sends a weekly summary. (Nothing like having something in-your-face to wake you up)

Thanks for taking time out to stop by!

Cheryl Hart - January 14, 2013 - 11:42 am

Perfect timing on this post! I talked to my dr. last week about how I’ve put on a little weight since I’ve been put on thyroid medication. I informed him that I don’t eat a lot, and even when I’m ‘starving’ just a little bit of food fills me up. What he told me is invaluable, so I’ll share it here. (Some of you may already know this, but it was new to me.)

If you get really hungry, your body goes into starvation mode. When you finally eat, your body stores ALL of it as FAT because it doesn’t know when it’ll get food again. For men, this fat goes straight to the belly. For women, it goes to the rear.

A good reason to snack or eat several small meals a day. I remember reading that is how Dolly Parton lost weight, and now I understand why!

Susan - January 14, 2013 - 11:57 am

Use a small plate. Fill it up and that is it. Don’t eat with the TV on in front of you. That makes you eat mindlessly. (Remember do as I say not as I do.)

Maxine Davis - January 14, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Great advice, Sandy. It is sooo hard. But trying. I’ve got to try that 30 grams protein 1st thing. Sounds like good advice.

Maxine Davis - January 14, 2013 - 1:07 pm

And I love your picture! Is that a new author photo?

Connie Gillam - January 14, 2013 - 4:56 pm

Increasing my exercise is one of my goals for 2013. Come to think of it, it’s my goal every year. Like all those individuals that flock to the gym January through March, I start out with all the best intentions.By the end of the year, if I’m exercising twice a week, I’m doing good.
I need to find an exercise that I’m passionate about. Does reading count?

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 5:07 pm

Cheryl, Great advice. My doctor told me the same thing…if I started having urges to eat in the afternoon or evening I was to start eating 5 smaller meals. Thanks for coming by today and leaving a comment.

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 5:08 pm

Hi Susan. My mother used to use a small plate..I do also, but only for breakfast. Thanks for the suggestion.

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 5:11 pm

Yes, Maxine, protein is the magical answer. (it’s those nasty carbs that cost me the most) I eat 1 egg w/ a tiny bit of low-fat cheese sprinkled on it, 1 piece of toast with Smucker’s “no sugar added” jam and a light Greek yogurt (80-calories) for breakfast. Lunch is fish or chicken…or maybe a small steak with sweet potatoes (my favorite) or a little rice and steamed veggies and then dinner is very light…soup or something like that.

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 5:19 pm

Oh Maxine…sorry, I hit the button to post my comment before I read your next comment about the photo at the bottom of the page. YES! It’s a new picture taken by

Caroline always does such a fantastic job.

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 5:23 pm

Hi Connie,
My body won’t let go of an ounce without some sweat pushing it off my body. LOL For me, exercise is the magic key to success. Good for you in setting an exercise goal…and sticking to at least 2 days a week.

Is it possible to get passionate about exercise? My daughter does Ironman Triathlons, but she still isn’t passionate about sweating…she just knows it’s a necessary in order not to die out there on the grueling course. Have you tried a dance exercise class like maybe Zumba? I find dancing a lot more fun than regular exercise.

Hildie McQueen - January 14, 2013 - 6:01 pm


I began to journal my meals and exercise, I try to do something daily. I have not weighed myself, not yet. I feel better and may be my imagination, but I think clothes are already fitting better. Great Post!

Don Young - January 14, 2013 - 7:36 pm

You mentioned eating rice. Try replacing that with quinoa which is high in protein and amino acids that are lacking in rice. Rice is more fattening too.
But if you still want to eat rice, try brown rice which is much better, has a heavier texture and makes you feel full with less.
I converted to brown rice almost 20 years ago because I was eating so much of it.
My mother-in-law is 93 years old and demands that she gets plenty of rice. We have started mixing quinoa into the rice to boost her protein and lessen the rice. She seems to be OK with that.

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 8:06 pm

Hi Hildie,

You know, they say not to weigh…or do it only once a month, but I’m one of those Inquiring Minds types who must know…now. (You remember the old saying: Inquiring Minds want to know…right?) :-)

Sandy Elzie - January 14, 2013 - 8:08 pm

Hi Don,
Great suggestion! I’ve never had quinoa, but I’m going to get some and try it. The idea of higher protein, more amino acids & being less fattening is just too good not to try. Also thanks for the insight about mixing the quinoa to cut down on the amount of rice if I should still want the rice flavor. Yes, I use brown rice also…great comment.

Carol Burnside - January 15, 2013 - 1:25 am

Great list, Sandy. It looks sensible and healthy. BTW, I was impressed with your weight loss when I saw you back in October. Great job, lady! Just think, you may have added years to your life just by losing weight. I’ve been working on that goal too.

Sandra Elzie - January 15, 2013 - 3:48 am

Hi Carol,
I hadn’t thought about more years… Humm, wonder what hubby will have to say about that?!? lol Thanks for the compliment & good luck on the goal you’re working toward…honestly, you look great. Being writers makes it a bit tougher to stay in shape since we spend so much time sitting.

Anna Doll - January 15, 2013 - 9:27 pm

Less eating out for me, this year! Even good restaurants serve way too much food, and I am not one who can pack up half and eat the rest. Trying to walk every day (and, darn it, the weather isn’t being cooperative with all this rain!) I also weigh myself every morning, and once the scale hits a certain “–5″, I start counting every bit of food/drink I put in my mouth!

Trudy - January 16, 2013 - 5:44 pm

You look great in your new picture! Good advice for the New Year. My N.Y. res. is spending less time at the computer and more outside time with the dogs.

sandra Elzie - January 16, 2013 - 8:07 pm

Hi Anna,
Looks like you’ve got it down! Great advice. We eat out, but I definitely bring 1/2 home in a box for the next day.

Sandra Elzie - January 16, 2013 - 8:10 pm

Hi Trudy,
Less time at the computer….sigh…if I could just figure out how to write w/o sitting at one….

And then more time walking your 4 cute little puppies? Sounds like fun. I haven’t been able to get Jack (my feline) to accept the leash. :-)

Sandra Elzie - January 16, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Congratulations to Trudy!!!! She is the winner of the Amazon gift card!

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