Archives for January 2013

Being On The Today Show Leads To More Togetherness

Being On The Today Show Leads To More Togetherness

I experienced my first real 15 minutes of fame today.  It was on the Today Show.  My husband and I were asked to participate in a story about couples experiencing struggles in their relationship when one partner is overweight and the other is not.  We were supposed to represent the “average” American couple.  We taped the clip last night in Chicago and it was included as part of a larger story in this morning’s broadcast.  Here’s the clip if you missed it:

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Wow!  Right?  I mean I actually went on tv and admitted that my husband can frustrate me when he orders a hotdog and has (once) recommended that I consider ordering a salad!  Was it very brave…or really quite stupid to tell the world this anecdote? Well, I revealed something really personal and…common.  In this era of Jerry Springer, Oprah Winfrey reveal-all shows and “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo“, telling 3.1 million people that you and your spouse are human and can frustrate each other seems like a pretty boring revelation, don’t you think?

Some of my friends disagree.  They’ve told me how much they admired our honesty and my willingness to open up about something so personal.  To me, going on tv may be hard but it could also be the best way to continue on my path to better health.  I’m not hiding.  I admit that I have an unhealthy relationship with food and want to be healthier.

If you are in a relationship with a woman who is overweight, you may be wondering what to do to help her.  Here are a few of my (very unscientific) suggestions:

  1. Admit it, you may be part of the problem and you can be the key to the solution:  No, you did not tell her to eat those candy bars or stop off at a fast food restaurant for lunch.  But is there any chance that are you sabotaging her plans?  When was the last time that YOU made healthy lunches for both of you?  Have you ever eaten something in front of her that you know she really loves and justified it as “well, just because she shouldn’t have it doesn’t mean that I should deprive myself!”
  2. It’s okay for you to go without too.  Yes, I know that you are healthy/skinny/worthy of having that bowl of ice cream.  But how do you think she feels while she watches you enjoy that tasty treat and she is drinking a cup of hot water with lemon?  (Answer: Not good.)  Hey guy!  Stop being so gosh-darn selfish!  You don’t need to eat dessert, really.  If the roles were reversed, trust me, she would go without for you.  It’s time that you did the same.  And she’ll notice–and reward you for your selflessness.
  3. Want her to exercise?  Then get up and do it WITH her!  Don’t just ENCOURAGE her to go to the gym by saying things like “What are you doing today? I’m sure you have time to go to the gym, right?”  Instead, be proactive and make a date to do something active together.  (And, yes, walking the dog at night together counts as some exercise.)  Not only will you both get some much needed exercise but you will probably relish the time together rehashing your day, thoughts or opinions on who you think will win the Super Bowl. (Note: I’m from’s the Ravens.  Just saying.) If you love to run, then sign both of you up for a 5k and work with her to train for the 5k.  (Yes, even if you can run a marathon and she can barely run around the block, your running with your wife/partner and keeping her company is a huge investment and will help her achieve YOUR (collective) goals.
  4. Plan meals (here we go again) TOGETHER!   Yes, she may need to count calories, track number of steps and pay attention to carbs, not you.  But you are eating at the table too.  Rather than abandoning your partner to find recipes and healthy choices, carve out 15-30 minutes to go over the weekly plan with her and come up with some options of things that you both will enjoy for dinner.
  5. Want her to feel sexy and loved?  Tell her that you love her… a lot.  A lot of women struggle with their weight because they feel like something is missing.  Showing your partner that you want to be with her and enjoy her company goes a long way.  Everyone wants to be cherished.  If you want to help your female companion to stay on track with her weight loss goals, then don’t withdraw affection.  Instead pile it on–hugs, kisses, holding hands…even if it feels weird at first.
  6. No one accomplishes their goals alone.  Can you honestly say that you succeeded and relied only on yourself to get where you are?  Well?  How can you expect her to do it alone.  Here’s your chance to be the knight in shining armor that she always dreamed of having.  And the best thing about it?  It won’t cost you one red cent!  All you need to do is listen, encourage and DO IT WITH HER!

A very wise and beautiful woman, Andrea Metcalf, once told me that “to make any change, you have to want to do it.”  She was right.  When it comes to getting healthy and losing weight, the key to success for women (if not for everyone) is having a cheering squad…not a “throw reality in your face” one.  Your female companion doesn’t need to you to ask her whether or not she should have a cookies after dinner.  She needs a PARTNER who will not eat cookies after dinner too!  Whether you know it or not, she is looking to you and following your lead.  She will be less inclined to order dessert if you don’t.  And there doesn’t have to be a reason that you don’t have it–you just don’t want dessert tonight.  If she does decide to have a sweet, then don’t make it a big deal.  It is what it is.  Ask her if she might be willing to share it with you.

I have struggled with my weight for all of my adult life.  And I have found the greatest success was when my friends and partners encouraged me by doing something with me.  For instance, when I was in college, I used to rollerblade for hours with a buddy.  I never looked at our outings as exercise because we had so much fun together!  It wasn’t until school ended for the year that I realized how fit I was .

Looking at the suggestions above, it’s clear that there is a common theme: if you want your partner to lose weight, then you need to put your some of your needs aside and invest in her by doing “it” together.  Maybe that means your getting out of bed early and working out with her?  Or taking some time out from watching “the game” to plan the week’s menus.   No one wants to be isolated or feel that she is alone in her struggle to lose weight and get healthy.  Just like any other addiction–the best way to beat it is to have a partner and a community.  The more that community can positively invest, the easier it will be for goals to be achieved.



Make MLK Day More Than Just A Day Off Of Work

Make MLK Day More Than Just A Day Off Of Work


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:
What Are You Doing For Others?

Monday, January 21, 2013 is a Federal holiday and marks the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Not so shockingly, both my husband and daughter are off of work and school.  This may come as a surprise to both of them, but we are not spending this day in the same way we spent their winter breaks: sleeping in, playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for who has to clean up the dog-poop in the backyard and playing video games. This year, we are going to do something meaningful with the day and serve our community.

According to The Corporations for National and Community Service and The King Center, “People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are encouraged to serve on King Day, and to make the day the beginning of an ongoing commitment to a cause that is meaningful to them and address a need in their communities.”

Since the title of this blog is “A WINDY CITY MOMMA” I thought that I would come up with a good list of things to do in the Chicagoland area where we might find some of our friends volunteering their time too.

In Highland Park, IL: The Multi-Generational Celebration at the Highland Park Recreation Center from 10 am to 1 pm.  (1207 Park Ave West Highland Park IL.) The Highland Park event will feature the following activities & opportunities:

  1. Aaron Freeman, radio commentator, comedian, and author will be giving his comedic twist to MLK’s Dream from 10:30-11:15
  2.  Edgewood Middle School Chorus will sing songs of freedom – 10:00am-10:30am
  3. Decorate a canvas tote bag and donate a gently used picture book or easy reader to place inside. The book bags will be given to the North Shore Health Clinic for distribution to their young patients
  4. Assemble toiletries for local shelters
  5. Decorate squares for Project Linus quilts going to hospitalized children
  6. Color flowers and make flower pots for Highland Park Hospital
  7. Write letters to soldiers and children of the military (Hero Packs)
  8. Braeside PTO: Make Valentine’s for soldiers (Operation Support Our Troops)
  9. Reach for Change: Color paper dolls to raise awareness about the devastation that has occurred because of the Genocide in Darfur and throughout Africa
  10. Nurture: A non-profit dedicated to improving the nutrition and health of limited resource families. Participants will help scoop non-perishable soup ingredients into bags which they will label and include recipes for the Moraine Twp. Food Bank.
  11. North Shore Health Clinic will have information on their services and offer Blood Sugar screenings
  12. Heller Nature Center will make garland wreaths
  13. Highwood Fire Dept. will provide Fire Safety coloring books & CPR demonstrations
  14. Puppy Mill Project: Make flannel dog toys to donate to Tails of Hope—a no kill shelter.

And several other activities including story reading, decorating flip flops for youth in India and an activity by the Rotary Club of Highland Park & Highwood. Truly, there is something for everyone!

City of Chicago: This year, the City of Chicago is partnering with Jean De Lafayette Elementary School.  Over 500 volunteers from across the city will come together to transform and beautiful Lafayette with murals, painting, and construction projects.

Details for the following Chicago activities can also be found at the following site:

  • Cooking Matters Illinois Hosts A Shopping Matters Training Tour (3333 South Iron Street, Chicago, IL 60608 – January 19, 2013)  Continuing a tradition the First Family began four years ago, Inauguration weekend will begin with a National Day of Service on Saturday, January 19th that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Volunteers across the country are organizing service events in all 50 states


If you are out and about in Chicago, here are some of the activities I found thanks to (*Note: Not all of the dates are 1/21.  Some of these activities occur over the weekend)

I am so excited for all of the activities occurring in honor of Dr. King!  Even though the weather might be frightfully cold this weekend, getting involved by volunteering your time and  learning about Dr. King’s legacy may hit the spot and at least warm your heart (if not your hands!)