Cathy ZielskeCZ Life114 Comments


After reading through all the comments from last week's Move More Eat Less monthly post, I woke up on Saturday morning, walked into the bathroom, looked at the scale and said, "Pass."

I decided not to let a number dictate my worth for the day. I decided instead to focus on some other numbers: the 6-mile run planned for the morning, the yet-to-unfold 24 hours of the day before me, and the nearly 45 years I've been lucky enough to be here on this planet alive and kicking.

And then I thought about some more numbers:

• 2—the number of beautiful children this body of mine has produced.

• 21—the number of years I've shared my life with a loving, supportive man who's never afraid to evolve and change with me.

• 11—the number of years I've been fortunate enough to earn a living by working from my home.

• 5—the number of years since I last sucked hot, deadly, nicotine-laced smoke into my lungs.

For some of us—like me—it's a hard thing to disconnect from, this notion that a weight number equals your value. It's a hard thing to disconnect from because every single drop of your life experience plays heavily into how you view yourself. It's a hard thing to disconnect from when the voices in your head have been conspiring against you for as long as you can remember.

But I'm going to work on pulling that plug, damn it.


I have no intention of throwing in the towel on Moving More and Eating Less (or rather, Eating Less Junk and More Good Food). For dinner on Friday night, I made a huge batch of Bircher Muesli and felt zero guilt at how many points it was going to add to the day. My God, it's oatmeal, nuts, fruit and milk. (And okay, sugar and heavy cream, too.) The bottom line? I savored every bite.

I just wanted to put it out there, this notion of disconnecting from the negative self talk, the I'll never be thin enough talk, the my life would be SO much better with 10 more pounds gone talk, the I don't want to fail talk.

The fact is, I'm here every day, trying my best to be a healthy, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always grateful to be living this life kind of person.

I'd rather define myself by a new set of standards, ones that come from a place of kindess, acceptance and truth.

Sure, I'll slip up here and there, but I'll come around again. Count on it.

Not a bad start for a Monday.

Cathy ZielskePass.

114 Comments on “Pass.”

  1. #4
    Wendy McKee

    i have been losing weight for ages….i stopped looking at the scale a long time ago…my trousers were getting less tight but the scale was hardly moving………i go by sight now and how i feel not the numbers that i used to obsess over………power to you girl! WEndy from the UK

  2. #5
    margaret in AZ

    Thanks, Cathy, for putting yourself out there for your blog-reading friends (fans?) the way you do. I find encouragement on my way by watching you on yours. Plus I/we love the work that you’re doing from home; if Simple (or some other publication) was employing you, we wouldn’t likely be getting all the great digi-stuff to buy OR other free inspiration that you share with us weekly/monthly. Thanks!!

  3. #13
    Lori P.

    AWESOME! The transformation of your mindset is the most significant achievement you will ever have! Namaste, my friend.

  4. #16

    Good for you! BTW, you ARE an inspiration…you’re the reason I started running last year at age 45! It’s been one of the best things ever in my life.

  5. #19
    Scrappin Shonie

    I had never had a problem with my weight until one day my immune system decided it didn’t like my thyroid anymore. I gained 60 lbs in two months. I couldn’t lose it no matter what I did. The negative self talk became overwhelming. Just recently, after four years with this condition, I’m starting too see that I’m so much more than a number on a scale. I still wish I could be the size 6-8 I always was but I realize that it didnt make me a better person.

  6. #23
    Lisa R

    I’m going to get preachy on your butt (you won’t be surprised). If someone had told you 5 years ago that instead of sneaking out to the back porch for a smoke…you’d be sneaking out to the lake for a 6 mile run? You’d have opened wide and laughed that Cathy laugh at them. And then later at dinner, brought it up again and laughed all over. But look at you. Seriously.

    You’re letting it get the best of you, m’dear. Trust me – I KNOW. We obsessive folk have a really, really hard time letting go. Remember what I said about your body’s ‘happy place?’ If you gain back every pound you lose just by not eating perfectly over a weekend? Then your body isn’t where it wants to be – and that means it will be a BATTLE every single day. There’s too many fun things in the world for that, eh?

    My advice? Take Pump. Seriously. Have you gone yet? Adding strength training is SO amazing. It’s one thing to be able to run 6 miles, but when you can stand and do 3 full minutes of 20-lb curls? 3 minutes of 50-lb squats? Rocking. And when the cuts start to come in – hooo yeah! And since – as you progress – you can increase your weight, it can be a new focus for you. Going up even 5 pounds feels awesome – and hurts so good! Feeling strong and healthy is the best reward.

    Looking at the pictures – you don’t need to lose more weight. Seriously, my friend. Enjoy life – it’s short. But feel strong. 🙂

  7. #24

    Lisa Russo, keepin’ it real.

    I haven’t done the pump yet. Friday. I’m going. Cole was off school for the past three weeks, so this week, I won’t feel guilty leaving him alone to workout.

    I really do just want to be at a happy place that isn’t stressful to maintain, and lets me LIVE my life. Thanks, mama.

  8. #25

    I think the most important cycle to break in regards to our daughters, is that the value of our souls can not be measured by the number at our feet. I am with you, trying to feed my body with more real food (butter vs. the fake stuff, etc) and feed my soul with better numbers.

    These were the best numbers I have see so far! 🙂

  9. #27

    I am nearly 15 years older than you doesn’t that mean you have to listen to me? HaHa. Stay with this direction you are discovering. It will make your life so much more fulfilling, happy, etc. All those “good” words we strive to use to describe ourselves.

    Keep growing. I so appreciate you sharing the process with it, encouraging many.

  10. #29
    Gail Carroll

    Sometimes I think you must be hanging out in my head. The last few weeks your thoughts have mirrored so much of what I’ve been dealing with the last 6 months. You’re just way more articulate than I am when it comes to getting it on paper.

    Now off to get some miles in.

  11. #31
    Kristi K.

    I’m SO glad that you decided to adopt this attitude, Cathy! You’re in the best shape of your life. You no longer smoke. You look FABULOUS. Who cares about muffin tops anyways? The low-rise jeans are probably the culprit.

  12. #32

    Not bad indeed! Love what you wrote, it’s true that we sometimes let our lives be dictated by our anxieties; fear of not being good enough, of failing. A positive attitude like yours and a little pep-talk is just the right thing 🙂 Best wishes from Germany!

  13. #37

    Fabulous numbers Cathy! You should also keep a tab of numbers of days you don’t beat yourself up. We all should. . .often wonder if men are as hard on themselves as we female types?????

  14. #38

    I’m still with it! “Moving” almost every single day and eating less. My body is getting more in shape than I ever have been! However, my weight is now more than I have ever been as well (except when I was pregnant!!!!). Oh well, I don’t weigh myself either – I only know because when I go to the doctor they insist on weighing.

  15. #41

    Well said! I find it a shame that many women still struggle with body image and self worth for so long in their life (myself included). I have been running, working out and eating better for several months now. I was feeling good about myself and then decided to go to the mall of america with a friend. Seriously, she is a size 0 – out goes all my good feelings about myself. So great to read your post this morning, thanks!

  16. #42
    Cynthia Friese-Hassanein

    Ah Yes!!!! makes me so happy to read!!!! And yes the cig thing!!!!!! six days here without them. I know four of those days I was deathly sick with the flu. But, I still want nothing to do with them thus far:)
    Cathy!!! continue to be proud of yourself and all that your wonderful life is:) I know you will continue on this healthy journey with out that mean old scale defining your journey!!

  17. #44

    Excellent start to your Monday! and congratulations again on the non-smoking segment of your life. THAT is an accomplishment!

  18. #45

    You rock! Don’t you ever forget that. And if you do, we’ll be right here to remind you. what a great attitude you have. keep up the good work.

  19. #46
    Mary Jo

    um…I just have to say, that your journey is a COMPLETE inspiration to me. I think the progress you made in the time you made it is inspiring.

    And I think that you have inspired a lot of women, not just me 🙂

    That said, I am discovering that it is about life changes and not the scale. I know I will never weigh what I did in high school. And if I did, well that might not be so good for a woman about to turn 40 in June 🙂

    But being able to focus on the baby steps and the small changes made is what I am going to make my goal this year. When I set my expectations to high, I ultimately “let myself down”.
    But when I look at what I have changed, no matter how small, and move on from there, I feel like a success story 🙂

    Thanks for being one of my inspirations to that path!

  20. #47

    Bec, thats my goal right now. I dont want to spend the next half of my life in this cycle of obsessing about a number. i want to be fit and strong and live a long healthy life. I need to re-wire a lot of my thinking, but it is do-able.

  21. #48

    This is incredibly timely for me as I’m starting a new healthy eating plan today. I’m trying to make it about eating healthier foods and moving more – and yes, losing weight. I can’t deny that I have a lot to lose! But the bottom line is that I want to be healthier for my kids, and of course for me. This post is just so completely inspiring. Thank you!

  22. #50

    good for you in taking that pass! I can’t have my scale out – I’d step on it WAY to often – I just do the once a week at WW – that is enough … and move on from there.

    again – good for you! Love your other numbers!

  23. #51

    I talked to Dan about this last night. I said, Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, ugh.? And he said, No. I really dont know what that mind set would be like. I envy that. I want that in my life.

  24. #52

    CYNTHIA!!! You need to capitalize on this, mama! Seriously. Serious. Me? I used to smoke even with strep throat. Gah.

    Get some sugar free gum for when the cravings come back. Thats part of how I did it. Lots and lots of gum.
    : )

  25. #54

    Mary Jo, Im working on this every day, a change in my attitude. I need to really celebrate what Ive changed and how it has changed my life. Im going to start every day by literally reminding myself of this stuff. Because Ill tell you, it doesnt come naturally to me.

  26. #55

    It may not be as rich as ‘heavy cream’, but VANILLA ALMOND MILK is pretty darn good in my OATMEAL. Same fat/calorie count as SKIM MILK. Something to think about 🙂

    Great perspective. Keep it coming!

  27. #58
    K Weston

    How about your resting heart rate? Or your blood pressure? There’s a whole bunch of numbers you can look at and be proud.
    How about the number of moms that you’ve inspired to get off their tushies and start running? I’m number one on that list. Couldn’t run even two laps (1/3 mile) without stopping to walk back in August. I ran 9.5 miles this past Saturday, prep for a half in April. Thank you for that.

  28. #60

    Oh Cathy, so awesome! *high five*
    Every negative thought you nip in the bud is a success! I’m so enjoying following your journey, and taking tips and tricks and implementing them into my own. Thank you so very much for sharing all that you learn, so that I may learn with you. 🙂

  29. #62

    Keep it up Cynthia! 6 days is almost a week! And one week leads to two, then to a month, and before you know it – it’s been a year or five!
    I’ll be thinking about you. The flu will be easier to recover from without smoke.

  30. #64
    Kathleen S.

    Wonderful to read encouragement and credit where credit is due! Keep up the new style. And that muesli looked yummy.

  31. #66

    This post really speaks to me. I have battled not just my weight, but my self image my entire life. Well, as far as I can remember. And it’s for that very reason that I was cautious when beginning my weight loss journey. I know how quickly that number on the scale can consume my life & my feelings of self worth. My current weight loss journey isn’t just about the numbers, it’s about loving myself through the whole process. Not beating myself up for those bad days. Not hating myself when the numbers don’t do what I want them to do. But loving myself enough to take better care of myself.

    Thanks for sharing your personal journey with us. You inspire me!!

  32. #69

    I think this is a very healthy attitude to have. You are still making healthy choices so who gives a rat’s rip about points once in a while? One thing that has me discouraged with my own journey is that in order to see optimal results, I have to be uber vigilant about what I eat and put into my body. I hate how that part dominates my life. I hate having to think about how many calories/grams of fat/whatever each thing has. That said, if I were to do it consistently, I’m sure it would become more unconscious. But until then, it’s not fun for me.

    You’ve done wonderfully, Cathy, and I think that your journey has inspired so many people. Keep it up!

  33. #70

    The scale controlling our self worth is so damaging. I have always struggled with this. Interesting thing happened to me the other day. I was walking into the store for medicine(stupid flu bug). My brain said to me–“are you a different person inside now that you are thinner?” I answered myself “no, not really”

    For me one of the key factors of this “health” journey is to understand where and why. I am actually at a weight I have not been to in 20+years. It is fun. I feel strong. It is more fun to buy pants. However, I am also at a point that the crazies often creep in.

    Today I was at my workout pushing myself hard. Doing things I have never done in my life. I was using heavy weights and doing assisted pullups. The problem? I kept looking at my friend do unassisted pullups and I started to beat myself up because I am not making very much progress doing them myself. I forgot that not too long ago I couldn’t even do one assisted pullup, I couldn’t run very far, I couldn’t do a wall handstand and I had never lifted a weight bar in my life,much less lifted quite heavy many times!

    The key to this healthy lifestyle is not always that perfect number on the scale. It is knowing when you are trying hard. Feeding your body healthy food, resting when needed and having a better attitude towards oneself. If you honestly know that you are being good to your body through good food and exercise and not sabotaging yourself with unhealthy patterns,(honesty can bite) than give yourself a break.

  34. #71

    today’s post is more authentic and genuine than any I can recall reading here before.

    based on the amount of transformation that appears to be going on internally, the scale would be worthless. how would you capture that much insight and emotional intelligence on a scale anyway?

    hope your day is buoyed by the fact that you are making a difference in many, many people’s lives…

  35. #72

    Hey Cathy- glad to see you make the connection with wellness and what you’ve been doing. Weight is only a number. You want to be around for another 44 years or morth your husband and kids. There will always be someone who is thinner, taller, weighs less, is smarter, is better looking. You are the best YOU that you can be. And hey, you’re Cathy Zielske, for heaven’s sake. The talented, witty author of two books and numerous hilarious posts. We want you to live well and prosper ( to shamelessly steal a phrase) – have a good day!

  36. #73

    I actually remember your struggle with the nicotine sticks… and it struck me, 5 years? Go You …and holy cow have I been on the blog-road with you for a while:)

    Thanks for all the great numbers 5+, apparently, that I’ve been reading you, 1,000,001 great scrap/design ideas, 5(at least) recipes I’ve stolen, including chillicious, 29.5 great camera tips….

    thanks for sharing your You-ness with all of us!!

  37. #76

    Cathy, no matter WHAT your #s are, do you REALLY realize just how many women you have inspired??? I have tears in my eyes thinking how hard it is for so many of us to see what others see in us. You are damn effin special, always were, always will be. Whatever your size/weight, you are one smart, wicked funny cookie. (You didn’t think I’d call you a celery stick, did you???)

  38. #78
    Judy Sanza

    Yay You! I’m glad your here! I couldn’t scrapbook without you. You’re first on my blogs for the day. I’m a G-ma and all my kids (4) talk about what we did when they were young, where we went, what I did for them, all the memories discussed never include, “weight”.

  39. #79

    oh crap. That post made me cry.
    Adding the following numbers to my life:
    # of times I’ve cried since having children: 1 gazillion and 4 trillion — AT LEAST in less than 7 yrs
    pre-children cries: only finding abandoned kittens (which only happened once) and watching very cheesy Lifetime movies (embarrassing! ACK. Didn’t watch them very often!), so I’d say about 40 times tops in almost 30 yrs
    and I’ve probably puked at least that many times running stairs. :O
    SO LONG negative self-talk, helllllllooooo CZ!!!!!!!!
    I’m not red neck last time I checked (?? lol), but I do indeed need to give that a HELL YA. And cursing is not my scene but had to.
    Keep kicking butt and taking names (as my husband says!) 🙂
    Heidi in Guelph, Ontario Canada

    PS The muesli looked delish, thumbs up to the person who recommended vanilla almond milk. We drink Silk soy milk and not sure how it compares (and points and what not) but it’s pretty darn good. And hope you had a run with fantastic endorphins and felt much lighter. A pass sounds like FREEDOM and with it I think tons of weight gets lifted — if you know what I mean 😉

  40. #81

    Awesome post; reminds us of the really important things and of not letting one number define us, but rather a huge host of fantastic numbers. Congrats on all of yours! I am not at my best right now, would like to lose some weight, but more importantly, live healthier. I’ve started by adding more veggies to our diet and I will begin the C25K program again this week. It’s MMEL, plus changing what I eat a bit. In addition to just feeling good, I am in a wedding in October, and dammit, the vanity is here and I want to look good, too! (And maybe be able to buy a good fitting bra to hold up/in the girls in the strapless dress!)

  41. #82
    Annette Kuusinen

    Hurray! This is a giant step. By any chance have you read Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. It’s a wonderful book. I think you’d enjoy it.

  42. #85

    I envy you, really. I have it in my head to start, something. But there is always something everyday. I have started trying to eat better for myself already. I know I need to move more. I am on my feet all day long and it is hard when I come home. I have done it before. Last year I lost 25lbs then life got back in my way. My husband found a job and he’s not here to make sure our daughter is home from school or at activities or take care of all the other things he was taking care of. I haven’t gained it all back yet, but I’m well on my way.

  43. #86

    Hi Cynthia –
    Yes! Hang in there!
    I quit 25 1/2 years ago.
    It’s a wonderful gift you are giving to yourself and those you love.
    And think of all the money you’ll save!
    – Lee

  44. #88

    THANK. YOU. For this little wake up call – it spoke directly to me. I am there with you – trying to shake a 4 measly pounds, but I feel so rotten and depressed about it. In the big scheme of things it is sooooo petty of me to waste a single minute of my time on this earth worried about weight. I just really needed to hear it from someone beside my family. Right on, Sista! Thanks for the post (and the smack to wake me up about what is important in life.) In good health, Tracy

  45. #89

    You are right Cathy, negative self-talk is a bad thing and I never allow myself to indulge in it…….I rarely ever get on the scale,,,maybe once a month for a spot check…I prefer to focus on the miles I want to run to train for my next race which is always a positive thing…..the only numbers we should be concerned about in being healthy are heart rate, blood pressure, sugars and cholesterol….

  46. #90

    Yay for YOU!!! Congratulations Cathy!!!

    And now, please, may I ask you (or indeed a fellow blog addict) (erm . . . embarrassed cough . . .) for a gentle reminder as to how to pronounce your surname? I know I heard you say it in a you tube-ish clip but I can’t seem to find it (though enjoyed the hour-plus I spent looking through your older posts for it!)

    I’m going to a retreat this weekend and KNOW I’ll be asked where I get all my BRILLIANT layout ideas and would like to say something other than “I scraplift them all from Cathy Zed” (which, come to think of it, is probably wrong to you anyhow . . . I bet you say “zee” for the last letter of our alphabet . . .)

    Ever since the post in which I learned your husband’s middle name is Ezekiel I’ve been trying to rhyme the two . . . sorry . . .

    But thanks for a “rhymes with —-” hint!



  47. #91

    Cathy – I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I finally got of the stick and started moving. I’ve walked 15.79 miles since March 1. Average walk has been 3.5 miles. I went to Rome in January and waked about 5-6 miles per day and ate anything I wanted (because it was Rome) and lost 5 lbs. I know I can eat whatever I want if I just get moving and reading your story has been a huge motivator for me. We do get caught up on numbers – but its more about how you feel… Thanks for the motivation. a.

  48. #92

    Quitting smoking is the best thing you could ever do for yourself and your family. Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to quit. My best friend just lost her mother at the young age of 72 because she couldn’t quit smoking. She was a vibrant, beautiful, fun-loving woman who just couldn’t quit. It was a very sad funeral. My best friend can’t quit. I don’t bug her about it, but I don’t want to lose her like we just lost her mother.

  49. #93

    good for you Cathy…… it is a hard thing to switch off from the scales because that is the benchmark to start and finish with but eating healthy and keeping fit and occassionally enjoying too much is about LIFE itself. I always think it’s easier losing the 10kgs (actually it takes a lot of hard work) but easier to lose the 10kgs when you are focused than to get to your goal and maintain………at least with the losing the 10kgs there is a target and a goal whereas “maintain” it’s sort of a nothing but it is harder to do. Give yourself a rest and a great attitude going forward. You have been an inspiration to others and don’t underestimate that part of it as well. Thanks for sharing your vunerable self with so many others who can relate. Regards Kathy, Brisbane Australia

  50. #95
    Laina Millson

    <3 this, you are so right, good on you. Thinking positive all those #'s rock! As do you!

  51. #96
    Alexandra L.

    I hear ya sista! Having just past a 45th birthday and seeing the road to 50 closer than ever, I totally have felt the frustration of numbers and expectations with myself the past couple of years. I denied myself all sorts of things since Jan 1, and started a lame attempt at “exercising” at the same time…and yes, I am on a great healthy path, but I am taking it a day, a week, a month as it comes. Some days are easier and more fun than others. Then there are other days where extraneous realties of familial stresses set in, and I CUT MYSELF SOME SLACK. LIke the cheesy phrase from SNL: “I’m good enough, I’m strong enough, and gosh darn, people like me.” Always makes me laugh it all off. CHEERS!

  52. #98

    Nope. I actually got the recipe from my good friend Stacy Julian, but I kind of followed my own version.

    I did three cups of oats, and mixed in 2 cups of milk. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Add a bit more milk if too thick.

    Then add:
    2 apples, peeled and grated
    2 T lemonjuice
    1/4 c. orange juice (I think this is optional, to be honest!)
    3 T heavy cream whipped, then fold into mixture
    1/2 cup sugar (i know, but mmm)

    Then add:
    1/2 cup slivered almonds (or more if you like)
    sliced strawberries (I do tons in mine!)
    lots of fresh blueberries

    The recipe also calls for banana, but I dont like bananas in their raw form, so I passed.

    This kept overnight too and was delis in the am.

    : )

  53. #99

    The muesli looks amazing. Really happy to see this post. You are beautiful, just because you are, Cathy. Compassion for ourselves is not something that we get, like a light bulb moment, it is something we practice every moment of every day. And when we forget, we can always begin again.

  54. #100
    Courtney Walsh

    Yeah. I pretty much love you. This is so so what I needed to hear.

    I’m amazed at how similar your thoughts are to mine. So much of what you write feels like you’ve wire tapped my brain…but this one? I’m not…quite…there…yet…


    You look

  55. #101

    Once you go Pump you do not look back. I am a certified Pump Instructor and I LOVE the program. It has changed the shape of my body that all the cardio in the world could not do. One word of advice. Please let the instructor know you are new to the class. Focus on the technique before you carry the large weights. You want a long happy pump life! Enjoy the class Cathy!

  56. #105

    There is a class on Friday. Im a little nervous, as I always am with group stuff. Is it okay if I do a shorter run prior to the class? Like, 30 minutes or 3 miles in the morning? Just wondering.

  57. #107
    Kim Woods

    Good for you Cathy! The numbers you listed are much more important than the ones on the scale. Plus you ARE being healthy so that is a good thing. I did a Zumba class last night and had a blast! I’ve been making every excuse to not exercise and still feel amazing from shakin’ it and sweating etc. Plus that number on the scale showed my efforts even after just one class. You savor that wonderful life of yours!!

  58. #108

    Thank you!!!! (Why did I think it was so difficult?) If your ears start burning, it’s only me, singing your praises loud & clear!!

  59. #109

    absolutely! A light jog or shorter run is a nice way to warm up the muscles before a weight session 🙂 Don’t be scared! Don’t hide at the back of the room either! Make sure you set up so you are able to see the instructor clearly. As I mentioned before it is so important to let your instructor know you are a first timer. They will guide you through the class and really focus on technique first and foremost. Setting up a strong foundation and core is key to getting the results and to be injury free 🙂

    Pump is good for you on so many levels! Not only will it change the shape of your body, but having lean strong muscles will make you bones stronger and prevent osteoporosis later in life. Also it gives you a better quality of life too, better posture etc.

    Cathy you can do this 🙂 Pump is not just for the advanced. It is for everyone! Team it up with your cardio and you will not look back!

    I wish I was your instructor! If you are ever in Melbourne Australia look me up! 😉

  60. #111
    Laurie T

    Ahhh – you go girl! Love reading a post like this – more upbeat and positive! Stick with it and be thankful every day for your health (which could be quite different if you had been smoking for the last 5 years)

  61. #113
    tara pakosta

    that looks so YUMMY! it’s just GREAT that you are running the 6 miles & choosing more healthy foods! good for yoU!
    I think you look wonderful by the way!!!
    such an inspiration to me and my journey, you have NO idea!

  62. #114

    cz, i love the way you walk the talk! for a visual artist, you’ve sure got a way with the words. thanks, as ever, for the inspiration! 🙂

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