2014-02-15 13.59.26

My kids with Louis in February 2014, not long after his cancerous spleen was removed. He loved running around in the snow, so we all took him to a nearby open space to do just that.


I sat at the storm door with the glass cleaner and paper towels in my hand, staring at the slobber marks for a good two or three minutes. I wasn’t sure that I really wanted them gone.

They were one last reminder of Louis, my black lab mix who died a week ago.

But I did it. And I cried. Again.

It was a week ago today that I came home from the gym to find Louis stuck on the landing of our stairs. He could no longer get up and down, so I had to carry him. Bawled my head off afterward.

Then I spent some time on the phone with my husband, making that crappy ass decision that no pet owner wants to make. My oldest daughter stopped over to say goodbye. I did a FaceTime with my other daughter, who is away at college, so she could see the dog she selected from a litter of 13 puppies at a makeshift shelter in Bay St. Louis, Miss. after Hurricane Katrina. The six-year-old came home from school, and though he didn’t quite get how we knew Louis was going to die, he said goodbye and went to a neighbor’s house to play.

Then there was my 18-year-old son, Josh. He was the closest to Louis. He would annoy me CONSTANTLY with pleas to “come and see Louis” because “he’s so cute”. Louis would simply be laying somewhere not doing a damn thing but being a dog. But Josh loved him more than anything else in his life, I think.

So when Josh walked in the door after school and immediately started hugging Louis and crying, I was toast. There is absolutely no worse feeling than watching your child feel such a deep emotional pain. Especially a child who rarely shows much emotion. This went on for about 10 minutes before my husband and I had to tell him it was time to go. All three of us were with Louis as he passed.

There are so many constant reminders in my house of this dog who really was not very well behaved and often did things that made us angry. But, you know, dogs.

I expect him to go berzerk when the mail carrier approaches the house.

I want him to greet me at the back door, licking me, with his tail wagging excitedly as if I’ve been gone for years.

I expect him to lay at my feet on my bed, even though it made for awkward sleeping.

I still worry about leaving food on the counter, because he would eat anything left out. Anything. He ate an entire pan of roasted cauliflower and asparagus from the stove top not long ago.

His food dish is still half full in its place on the kitchen floor because, well, we’re just not ready.

The cushions on the “new” couch are still smashed and ruined from him laying on top of them.

The window bench seat he often occupied is oddly neat and clean.

I think the cat even misses him.

Dogs are the best. Even when they’re the worst.


deadlift barbell

Here’s my personal best: 180 x 3 reps


Finally got around to blogging about MY MOST FAVORITE LIFT EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

Check out what I wrote about deadlifting over at Dispatch.com …



It’s random thoughts day here at To Di For Fitness.

I had a busy, hectic night at work last night thanks to OSU football, so I woke up this morning feeling kind of hungover. That’s not a problem, really, except that I consumed zero alcohol. If I’m going to feel like shit the next day, it better because I had me some damn good beer the night before. But, no. Ohio State played in and won the national championship, so I was at work in the Sports department of the Columbus Dispatch until nearly 2 a.m. designing today’s sports sections. Check it out here.

Anyhoo, when I feel like this my mind wanders (OK, maybe it wanders at other times, too), usually ending up on something fitness related. Because that’s my happy place.

Today I landed on how happy or unhappy I am with my body, now that I’ve made a boatload of changes and have finally hit that point where I’m mostly satisfied. Or am I? Despite having lost more than 40 pounds and 17 percent body fat in a little more than five years, I still sometimes focus on my imperfections.

I’m 46 and I’ve housed four babies in this body. Weird shit happens. Since I had my last kid at age 40, I’ve managed to get pretty lean, specifically in my mid-section. I see muscle tone everywhere, and I’m especially proud of my back and shoulders.

But you know what else I see? Stretch marks and wrinkles and strange lines and varicose veins and loose skin. These things won’t go away no matter how hard I work in the gym or kitchen.

Once I had my little “ew” moment, I got over it. Not that I won’t revisit it from time to time, but I’m generally OK with these things because they show I’m not perfect and I never will be. I’m not supposed to be. I’m just supposed to be me and that should be OK with me. Whether or not it’s OK with you shouldn’t matter.

Haven’t posted on my other blog in quite some time, so I thought this topic was a good one for the Dispatch.com readers. Check out my post about bench pressing here!



dove you should charge

True statement. And I do charge. Problem is, I haven’t been very motivated lately to keep up on my health coaching business.

So when I saw this on the wrapper after opening the second Dove chocolate that I stole out of a co-worker’s stupid candy jar that I wish wasn’t there and can’t avoid, I thought, “Hmmmm. Maybe those Dove chocolate fortunate writers have some connections and we should start believing these things.” Afterall, I opened one the other day that said this: You know what? You look good in red. Guess what color my shirt was that day? And guess what my favorite color has always been. Maybe I should eat more Dove chocolates to help guide my life decisions. Or maybe they should pay me for this free advertising.

Anyway, I am a certified health coach and have been for almost a year now. I want to help people make lifestyle changes, lose weight, add exercise into their lives, learn how to eat healthfully and generally feel good. I have done it for others. I have done it myself. I can do it for you.

Contact me at todiforfitness86@gmail.com.

And forget that I used chocolate to sell my health-coaching business. (Dark chocolate is good for you!)


I may be mis-remembering, but I believe this Thanksgiving will be my first as the host and only cook for my whole family.

A couple of decades ago, my then-husband and I hosted his family for the holiday once or twice, but those were always potlucks. I vaguely remember cooking a turkey once. But mostly, my kids and I have dined at someone else’s house for our holiday meal. Or I had to work the holiday, in which case I would participate in a work potluck and the family ate elsewhere.

This year, the stars aligned: the kids weren’t going to their dad’s house, they would all be in town, I didn’t have to work, and we didn’t have obligations elsewhere. So I’m preparing a full Thanksgiving dinner for my 23-year-old daughter and her fiancé, my 21-year-old daughter, my 17-year-old son and my six-year-old, with an assist from my husband of course.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a dining table so much as a dining peninsula. Hmmm. Must procure an actual table.

I may be all about healthful eating, but I admit I’m not a fantastic cook. Because I work at night, we typically only eat two dinners a week as a family. Generally, they consist of: salmon; some sort of chicken; a soup or rice concoction; leftovers; or small, convenient things that any of us can throw together. Vegetables are in abundance, of course. There’s always one night of pizza or something not-so-healthy thrown in there, as well. I’m more about simplicity than gourmet, I suppose.

So I’m excited about this Thanksgiving. My super hilarious future son-in-law made a crack about having nothing but vegetables for Thanksgiving. He’s a funny guy. I’ll be sure to make extra brussels sprouts just for him.

Here’s the menu for a healthy, clean-eating vegetarian mom’s family on Thanksgiving day:

Main course

Turkey: While my 21-year-old and I may be vegetarian, I understand the rest of the family likes meat. So, yes, I will be making turkey, Brandon. You’re welcome. Lean protein is a necessity for every function in the body, particularly for muscles. I get my protein from various sources, including fish, greek yogurt, nuts and seeds, cheese and protein powder. Animal protein also has benefits because it’s considered “complete” protein and has all the amino acids your body needs. This is partially why I decided to add fish back into my diet after going veggie in 2010.

Side dishes

Mashed potatoes: Duh. I always loved mashed potatoes as a kid. So do my kids. But white potatoes are a very high-starch carbohydrate with little nutritional value. So how do you make these somewhat healthy? Use red potatoes, for one. Leave the skins on, for another. Red potatoes are lower on the glycemic index and provide many nutrients, particularly in the skin. Just don’t eat three cups of them.

Roasted sweet potatoes: I used to hate sweet potatoes. But I’ve grown to appreciate them both for their health benefits and their taste. Why didn’t I like these things before? They’re awesome. So I’ll be using this recipe. Sweet potatoes provide a ton of nutrients, including vitamins A, C and B6. Check this out. Again, moderation, as that sweet flavor comes from, you know, sugar.

Brussels sprouts with cranberries and pecans: I’ll be using this recipe, minus the gorgonzola cheese. Blech. Brussels sprouts = vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals. The cranberries offer a sweetness along with a strong supply of antioxidants, and the pecans are a good source of omega 3 fats and protein. I made these for a neighborhood party last year, and they were a hit (after the requisite smart-ass comments, of course).

Arugula salad: a neighbor made this for our annual fourth of July block party, so I’ve been hooked on arugula since. I don’t make it with everything she included, but the key ingredients are arugula, tomatoes, goat cheese, almonds and a dressing I create with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard. Throw on some chia seeds for a little extra fiber and protein. This is one of my go-to meals for work that I can throw together quickly. I may add a hard-boiled egg for protein, too.


Apple crisp: My mom makes the best version of this. Ever. I’ve taken her recipe and health-ified it a bit, using almond meal/flour with granulated stevia for the crumb topping instead of the white flour and refined sugar that her recipe calls for. I also use honey to coat the apples instead of brown sugar. The family loves it just as much as the original.

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, whatever it may contain!


We all falter this time of year, right? I mean, dang. All those cookies and pies and cupcakes and candies and parties and family get-togethers? It all conspires against our regular exercise and healthful eating patterns.

Well, I need help staying on track, too. So I came up with a three-month program to help you. Contact me here or e-mail me at todiforfitness86@gmail.com if interested. Let’s start now before we get into that trick-or-treat candy!

overcoming overindulging program