January 1 is as good a day as any, right?

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life, Products & Classes67 Comments

Today I’d like to tell you a story about Twenty-Thirteen.

It’s a deeply moving and tender story about the health and fitness quest of one 47-year-old, peri-menopausal, well-intentioned, quasi-professional—okay, professional—scrapbooker and rabid fan of assorted cheeses.

I know what you’re thinking: New York Times Best Seller List all the way.

While the story would fit nicely into the novella millieu, I’m going to give you the Cliff Note’s version in the interest of time:

In 2013 I ate a bunch of shit that was bad for me and I stopped exercising consistently. The End.

Thank you.

I’ve written frequently over the past few years about weight, fitness, food and my struggle to find balance, health and happiness in the process.

Something I’ve done quite well in this space is whine and feel sorry for myself.

In the past, it’s felt really good to just let it out. Woe is me. I can’t figure this out. I try so hard. Poor, poor me.

(insert dramatic sigh here)

But thanks to my therapist, I have realized something in the past several months: that whole woe is me mentality? It just doesn’t give me the same thrill that it use to. And what exactly was that thrill?

To feel like a victim of my choices instead of the person who was actually making them and being responsible for them.


One of the best things that’s happened in 2013 is connecting to this idea: judgment (woe is me) has no place in making real changes.

Instead, removing judgments and looking at the facts have helped me to see pretty clearly what is needed for this process.

There’s no big secret. It’s simple: do what is needed.

For me, it’s a few things:

1. Eat better

2. Move more

3. Wake up each day and keep working on implementing numbers 1 and 2.

Nowhere in this short list is perfection required. But part of what will continue to help me is trying to see, every day, what is needed.

So I’m kicking off 2014 with a jumpstart. And oh lawdy, do I need it.


The Move More, Eat Well Jumpstart, more than anything, is designed to help you connect to what is needed for you and your life. Every day I’m going to ask you the very same questions I’ve been asking myself through the past 12 months, as I start to connect the dots to better health and fitness.

And every day I’m going to work through the process myself as I get back on track to making better choices for me and my body.

Back in 2010, I dropped 40 pounds in 9 months. All I saw was a scale. All I cared about were dramatic numbers that I could post every month on my blog. I mean, hell! If this couch potato could do it, so could you! Right?

But restricting calories and running 20 miles week turned out to not be as sustainable as I thought. Imagine that!

But I still believe that I can be healthier. Stronger. Swifter. More energized.

I’ve seen how being more physically active spilled over into every area of my life: work, personal, spiritual.

I really liked what I saw and want some of that back.



I invite you to join me for the Move More, Eat Well Jumpstart. This class will be a live 31-day workshop in January. During the month, I’m going to email you every day with assorted questions, prompts and challenges. I’ll also be hosting four Saturday video chats where we can get together, touch base and create a lively discussion. And yes, you can whine if you like. You’ll also become part of the MMEW Community, tapping into a set of resources via our message boards that we’ve built up over the past few years.

Not everyone is ready for this kind of thing on New Year’s Day. If that’s you, just know this class will be available as a self paced workshop beginning in February. It’s here all year when you feel a jumpstart is needed.

I plan to write more this year about this process. And I can’t guarantee you that a little whine won’t work itself in here and there.

But I can tell you that I’ll share my honest stories here as I continue to work towards doing what is needed.

For more information on the Jumpstart, click here.

SAVE ON REGISTRATION: Enter the code CZMMEW at checkout to save $5. Code expires 1/15/14.

Here’s to a new year of taking care of the one and only you.

Cathy ZielskeJanuary 1 is as good a day as any, right?

67 Comments on “January 1 is as good a day as any, right?”

  1. #1
    Kendra B

    2013 was not the best year around here. Some pretty yucky stuff went on. And what always makes me feel better (for a little bit) when yucky stuff goes on … yummy food. FYI yummy food does not equal healthy food 🙂 But now its going to be 2014 and its time to get back on track! So, thank you for offering this course, I’m all signed up!! If only I lived in MN and could also get the number to your therapist LOL!!!!

  2. #2
    Holly S

    Ms.Z-> Out of all the blogs I read, browse and yes of course stalk, YOU, my dear, are the only one saying it. (and by IT I mean the whole weight take responsibility for it…put it ALL out there). Sure it’s easy to have a life coach telling you what to do or have a chef coming once a week teaching you how to cook or juice or a fancy gym membership with a personal trainer. But not you! You are doing it without all the fancy stuff (as if that’s not hard enough) and you are putting it all out there…the good the bad and the ugly.
    I like that.
    I like you.
    I like that you are encouraging me to do it too.
    xoxo Here’s to day one.

  3. #4

    Well thank you, Holly. Part of my problem this year really has been not being responsible for how I take care of myself. I know this. I’m not going to feel sorry for myself about it, I’m just going to try and do better. : )

  4. #5

    I am with you Cathy – stocking my fridge with whole foods, working on my schedule to make more time to move, printing my Jumpstart cards, ready to rock 2014!

  5. #6

    “In 2013 I ate a bunch of shit that was bad for me and I stopped exercising consistently. The End.”

    2013 must have been the year for that! I had the same problem!

  6. #8

    Some credit where credit is due please. You stopped smoking. That was huge. I stopped in 2000 and gained 25 pounds I have never taken off. You Missy took 40 pounds off in 2010. I say congratulations for past successes! I think you are fabulous and you rock!
    About 2014…I live in San Diego (maybe I know your therapist?) and have no excuse to get out and exercise (no snow days here) and to eat healthy. I have been eating a bunch of shit that was bad (and good) for me and I haven’t exercised consistently for some time. And now it is time to “release” (I don’t want them back) the 25 pounds and feel better mentally and physically. I am joining your Jumpstart and am looking forward to a healthier me.

  7. #9
    Karen H

    I’m already signed up! I’ve been following your journey as I struggle with mine. 50 pounds to much, lost 25 gained it all back. Always walking, trying to eat right, take up indoor rowing this fall, losing 6 pounds do fast but now my elbow is sore…sigh…! Looking forward to struggling and hopeful succeeding with you!!!

  8. #10
    Kimberly Hill

    Cathy, how well will the documentation part work with all-digital instead of printables? It’s the only thing holding me back. Silly, I know. Well, and January starts busy season for us but I’m worth it.

  9. #11
    Stephanie Howell

    Right there with you Cathy. Right. There. Man…I swear we are sisters from another mister. You know what though? I’m so glad 2013 brought me a friend like you. ❤️❤️

  10. #12

    I need this. Don’t know if I can do it, but I need it. I’m 47 as well with much to lose and health to gain. I may give it a shot…

  11. #13

    So ready to take this journey with you. I’ve toyed with signing up since you first started blogging about your progress with getting healthier. Done toying. Too many excuses, too many pounds, too many crappy feelings. I’ve learned the past few years that life is short and I’m done wallowing and feeling sorry for myself. Thank you for posting the class again. It hit me at just the right time and place. Ready for action, motivation, and camaraderie!

  12. #14

    I lost 35 lbs last year, but it is starting to creep back on. In fact I am reading this right now, eating mint brownies at 7:00am! Maybe this is what I need!

  13. #16

    Ok, for the first time, I’m in. I’ve decided I’d rather get email from you than WW and clearly acknowledge that I need a more daily external nudge. My OLW for 2014 is Strong. Maybe we can get there together on more than one level.

  14. #17
    Deborah Weiss

    I’m all signed up and ready to get started. Trying to decide right now which gym to join. One has spin (RPM) classes which I love…the other doesn’t but is a little cheaper and on my way home from work. That will take care of excuse #1. I usually stop at home to change, sit down for a few minutes and that few minutes turns into a couple hours!
    I love the idea that I’m the only one to blame…can’t blame anyone else.
    My daughter is getting married in July of 2014….I know I can’t reach my goal weight by then but I sure can get a good JUMPSTART!

  15. #18
    Debra E

    I signed up weeks ago and am so looking forward to class. After losing over 100 pounds, I gained a handful back this year and want to get back on the weight loss bus. I still have quite a way to go to get to my final destination. I’m proud of myself (and you, Cathy) for not giving up and giving in when the going gets tough. We’re still here, still on the journey.

  16. #19
    Sarah M

    That could be a close summary of my year too – except it would be “In 2013 I ate a bunch of shit that was bad for me, then I ate some more. Thank goodness I kept exercising so the damage wasn’t as bad as it could be.” After an amazing 13 months starting in January 2012, my weight loss seriously slowed down and my great attitude took a vacation. I finished 2013 about 20lbs heavier than I started. I am looking forward to starting 2014 with a better attitude and a commitment that I AM going to finish what I started and if I channel the determination I had at the beginning of 2012 I can get to my goal in 2014.

  17. #20

    Yes! you know, Abbey… I still toy with the idea of going back to WW. I know if I eat 20 points a day I will lose weight, but I would rather try to eat my own food—real food, no diet stuff—with healthy protein, healthy fats and good carbs. I still need to watch how much I eat, but I want to figure this out in a way that I can live with, you know? My OLW is grow, I think its going to be that. Part of growth is doing what is needed, and part of that is taking care of my body. : )

  18. #21

    Just signed up! I’m excited for 2014 – the year I get healthy. I’ve gotten the exercise habit down in 2013 (just 5 more days until I reach my goal to walk two miles EVERY DAY!!) but I really need to change my eating habits. I’m also looking forward to making new friends as we go through this journey together. Thanks for sharing your story with us Cathy!

  19. #23

    Cathy, you would probably have more than 20 pts for WW. I have 27 and it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I make it. Plus you get an extra 49 for the week. And guess what? If you use more than that, they don’t kick you out! Or make you go to jail! Or make you stand up in front of the room and confess! I don’t eat anything sugar free since I prefer to eat foods that are “real” foods. I don’t do diet things at all and eat all my own food. In fact last night I had a hot fudge sundae! I’ve been on WW since October and it’s slowly but surely coming off (over 17 lbs and 2 dress sizes and that’s ok.) I haven’t started exercising yet…that’s part of what I’m hoping Jumpstart will help with. I joined your class at BPC last year and didn’t even make it past January. I wasn’t ready. Then something just clicked in my head in October and I started WW. I think that sometimes happens in life, don’t you? But I have the materials from last year’s Move More class to look back on, and Jumpstart to look forward to, and every day I’ll just keep doing the best that I can. Thanks for your posts. I love reading them!

  20. #24
    Tammy B

    I plan to try to get my family to eat better over the next few months. It will be challenging – my teens love their junk! To help with that, I got a great new cookbook for Christmas called The LooneySpoons Collection. It’s written by a couple of Canadian ladies and has 325 recipes that are better-for-you-real-food recipes. There is also an amazing amount of nutritional tidbits, jokes, etc., to make eating better more interesting and fun. Maybe it’s something that would help with your eat well philosophy.

  21. #25

    Well, glad you asked! I am including layered digital base templates and every card comes as a layered PSD file for digital scrapbookers. Honestly, it doesnt matter how you output the files, even if you only keep it in digital form. What matters is that you work through each prompt/challenge. : ) Does that help?

    January IS busy, but honestly, every month is busy. Thats what I keep reminding myself of. Even as a self employed person who knows that time on other things aside from work is income I dont make, I need to remember that my health is important too.

  22. #26

    Awesome, Tanya! You know, some people will really click with this class, i think. Because it really is about figuring out what is doing to work for you, being kind to yourself, but also realizing that being kind IS taking care of that body youve been given. I look at it like this: my body needs exercise. It does not need Oreos. I am going to work on doing what is needed. : )

  23. #30

    Helen, I really do love the structure of WW. I think at the end, I was at 22 points because Id dropped weight and so that number kept going down. But then I tried to keep adding healthy fats (olive oils, avocado—stuff that nutritionists really believe in) and those numbers were so hard to keep. I wasnt able to sustain it, and thats been one of my problems. But make no mistake: its because I chose NOT to sustain it. I act like WW failed me. It didnt. I went really far in the other direction. I love hearing about success and I admire it when people find balance making their own food. Good for you!

  24. #34
    Leslie M.

    Hi, I’m with you!!! When life isn’t busy I can stay on track but when emotions or life get the best of me I slide backwards. This is the year to change the way I think and think about me more and the rest of the world less – as bad as that sounds I think I deserve it! And I will set a better example for my 23 year old daughter.

    See you Jan.1st

  25. #36

    You know, 47 is tricky because Im sorry, there ARE other things going on, called perimenopausal changes. I actually gained 10 pounds this fall doing nothing other than what Id been doing. Like, no worse, no better. Gotta think there are also some metabolic forces at work. Still, its part of my overall reality!

  26. #39
    Joyce D

    Hi! I’m in. I’m almost always in … sometimes the whole mind & body, sometimes just part of me … but I’m with you, again …

  27. #40
    Angie Lucas

    Cathy, so honestly and beautifully said! This class is going to be incredible (I’ve seen plenty of sneak peeks), and I can’t wait to see how this community comes together. You rock!

  28. #41

    Cathy, I turned 50 in April, started a bootcamp class in May, and so far I’ve lost in the range of 22-25lbs.( I’m giving myself leeway for the holidays;) Before I started that journey, I got discouraged by people ( ok, women) telling me that it was impossible to lose the weight due to middle age, menopause, etc. I’m here to say simply that it can be done. Join a bootcamp class in your area, ( convince Margie & Mitchell to go!) and work your ass off 3x’s/week for an hour. I promise you, you’ll see results, and get stronger than you ever have been. And you will rule the world, & rock those skinny jeans. I’m rooting for ya!

  29. #42

    Thanks Cathy, for inspiring us and keeping it real. This year was bad for me too, quit walking at the track daily and started eating all kinds of food. I used to walk daily and eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch and just eat small portions at dinner. Now I eat whatever sounds good and go back for seconds and eat lots of bread/butter and making brownies all the time. Sigh. I want this year to be better, my clothes don’t fit right and want to feel good about myself again.
    Thanks Cathy for letting us follow you along on this roller coaster journey.

  30. #43

    Okay, Melanie, you do not LOOK 50. I would not have guessed that. So bootcamp keeps you younger too, huh? ; ) I wish I could get Mitchell to go but he moved to Chicago. Boo! But Margie… hmmm. Enlisting a buddy never hurts. I will definitely see what my gym offers. It couldnt hurt to mix it up with the running and swimming (of course, I havent BEEN mixing anything but cookie dough of late.) ; )

  31. #45
    Melinda Wilson

    OMGoodness Cathy!!! You wrote my story of 2013 right to the T!!! I read the first part of your post to my husband and he loved it!!!
    Since May 16,2013, I spent around 140 days at the hospital with my dad and most of the rest at his home; so NO Exercise, No Healthy Food and Rotten Attitude which landed me with a little pill for diabetes last week at my Dr. office. She totally understood why and was very sympathetic but she still told me I must take “the pill”. Hopes are to recheck in three months and I can go back on “diet/exercise control” with no RX (my dad passed on Dec. 1st and he would have wanted me to be healthy so I wouldn’t have to go through the complications of diabetes that he had). So it’s time to put on my big girl panties and act responsible.
    Thanks for keeping me inspired and that life goes on EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

  32. #46

    Go Melinda, and it really is all about responsibility. Now that may not always sound like the most fun or sexy thing, but thats what it is! : )

  33. #47

    I read that and thought that was me talking! Exactly how my 2013 went. Now I’m off to look into the jump start thingy and then take a 40 minute walk.

  34. #49

    So what do you suggest if it all still sounds like too much? I have had the weight ups and downs for the last 15 years and am finding some peace in just not obsessing about everything I eat or guilting myself into exercise. Yet, I am not as healthy as I could be. But, is size 14 at age 51 really that bad? (Even when size 8 at 30 was the norm?) Thoughts anyone?

  35. #50

    I am signed up and have my intention card written and ready to go. Two years ago I made big changes in how I eat for health reasons and that is just part of my lifestyle now. The bonus there was that I lost 50 pounds without even having to try. The movie “Forks Over Knives” is what motivated that change. Now the “move more” part is the problem! The weight has stayed off but I believe I could feel even better if I could get my tush in gear and make the exercise habit stick. That is my purpose for being here and I can’t wait to get started!

  36. #52

    I think size 14 at 51 sounds pretty dang good. I mean, the point of this class is to just get into the zone of showing up everyday to do your best. I dont want militant people who only look at numbers, though we do track some numbers. Were also going to look at the whole person, though. Life is more than just what we put into our mouths. Im not into guilt. Im not into feeling bad about myself because I dont look a certain way. But my cholesterol is up and my joints are sore. So, i need to get this body into a better working condition. Doesnt mean Im never drinking a glass of red wine ever again, but it does mean its time to cut a lot of the sheer crap (cookies, chips, pop, stuff like that) out. Not sure if that helps or not! : )

  37. #54

    I think the buddy thing is KEY. Can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to slack off and not go, but got a push from my girls to get there. Actually, getting there is the hardest, then that hour you’re sweating and grunting and cursing goes by fast, and before you know it, you’re done, and feeling so proud. Also? I swear exercise gives you a buzz high you can’t get from anything else.If feels great. And once you know the routine, the exercises are all basic ones you can do at home. Lots of body weight and basic stuff like mountain climbers, jumping jacks, etc. I would drag you with me if I could! You’d grow to love it, I swear! ( 50 feels pretty good, btw. I definitely don’t feel on the verge of senior citizenship.:p)

  38. #56
    rebecca f.

    I signed up and am all ready to go. I love to exercise, that is not a problem for me. But, I also love food – good & bad. So, I need to get the two of them to compliment each other. I think I just figured out my intention. 🙂

    I’m 48 and I second what the other poster said about bootcamp! I mix a few bootcamps into my week along with strength training and some other cardio – it’s a great combination!

  39. #57
    Barb Apfel

    Cathy, love how real and authentic you are… I have followed you for years and took your original Move More Eat Less. Our weight losses and gains have paralleled very closely. You lost a little more weight a little faster, but we started and achieved very similar things in 2010. And like you, 2013 was not a good year for me and I am very ready to get back to where I was. Congratulations on conquering the judgement thing… I am with you there. Instead of beating myself up for the back slide, I am trying to use my images of the super fit me from 2010-2011, as inspiration about what I can be. This time around, however, I am older and wiser. What really set me back was “over-exercising” and a series of sequential injuries. I got a new ( intense, excecutive) job, my sandwich generation obligations got in the way, and I stopped prioritizing myself. I even stopped my two favorite hobbies, photography and scrapbooking. 2014 is the year to take it all back, to focus on my health and well being, to prioritize me while still being a good mom, wife, friend and daughter. I am so excited to take this class again….all except the first weigh in!! Can’t wait for 2014! Thanks for doing this!!

  40. #58

    I have both of these books… all I have to say is HOT FUDGE MONDAY…lol! See you in class Cathy! Even though I’m on the road to Florida mid way through Jan… thought I’d better start before I hit the sun & the fun! and just so you ALL know, 57 is no easier than 47! Love what you’re doing:o)

  41. #61

    Thank you for opening this up. My family is extremely critical in regards to weight and things of that manner, and I need something that is slow and steady and positive and gentle to me to get started. I love the ideas behind MMEW and respect your gentle, be kind to yourself approach. I also have a Rain mini-album that would go perfect with this. Trepidatious, but knowing it’s a good thing, a good approach, and a good start. Thank you so much!

  42. #62

    “So it’s time to put on my big girl panties and act responsible.”
    I just love that!
    I saw some of the pictures of myself from Christmas and I’m appalled. I even asked my husband “do I really look like that?”
    He elected to stay silent. LOL!!

  43. #63

    Hey Barb, glad youre on board. You know, I saw some random thing on Facebook the other day, some popular radio personality Id never heard of had written this long whining blog post about how fat she was and how much she hated herself. She looks to be about a size 8, maybe a 10. I read it, wincing the whole time, thinking: if I ever talk like this about myself I want someone to slap me. Its just time to do the best I can for me, and God knows, I can do a whole lot more than I did in 2013. : )

  44. #64

    Welcome Jennifer! Im sorry to hear this about your family, because Lord knows we women are hard enough on ourselves. Slow and steady it goes. Make no mistake something has to GO however, and usually, I always forget I cant eat a box of cookies and pass that off as self care. : ) See you in class if you sign up!

  45. #65

    I’m so close to signing up (mostly because I need a jumpstart, and also because I adore you, and if those two are combined, my mind is blown!)…but I know that the scrapbooking is a huge part of it, and I know I just am not going to do that part.

    Question is: are non-scrapbookers welcome to join the class? Will I still get something out of the class if I’m not scrapbooking my progress?

  46. #66

    Thats a great question, Danielle! Not one Ive gotten yet either… part of the scrapbooking part is basically writing about the prompts youre going to get daily. Of course, not every day is a writing prompt (some days are a photo challenge; some are just watching videos etc.). Its really more about thinking, if that makes sense. I dont give you workout plans, or food plans. But I want people to work on connecting to what they can do to take better care of themselves. Honestly, the class cards come in one 13-page printable PDF. Print, trim and use them to write out the challenges as well as track your healthy choices. That said, you could just use a simple notebook and track and write in that.

    The goal is inspiration. We are not all the same. This is a fact. What works for me (ha, or doesnt work for me) might not be the same for you. But the reality is, we can all find ways to be healthier and honor these amazing bodies. Thats kind of my main goal for the class. Hope that helps!

    Also, you sure dont need a class to do this on your own! Its just one of many resources out there.
    Happy new year!

  47. #67
    Jennifer Cardwell

    Just thought I would let you know that I am completely excited about class. I even blogged about it if you would like to check it out. Hope your foot continues to get better! 🙂

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