“Y” and “Z” the end of #atozchallenge

Hello peeps! We’ve reached Ye Zenith (see what I did there?) 😀


Ye Zenith
“Ye” is really really old English for “the”

And here we are at the end of the A to Z Challenge. If I had to give myself a grade I’d give myself a solid B. I actually deserve a C for how many times I dropped the ball but I’m giving myself extra points for creatively getting back on schedule. That counts too right?

So what does it mean to reach Ye Zenith? Ye zenith is a high point. We tend to predict our zeniths in life as our wedding day, a promotion, the birth of a child, graduation, reaching a particular goal, etc. But sometimes in focusing too much on the future we miss the everyday things that makes life worth living so I ask that you try to identify your every day zeniths. What was the high point of today?

For me, I reached a zenith today at lunch when I made this great lentil soup (sans celery and grains of paradise) that was just marvelous. I am not a lentil person so whenever I make food with an ingredient that is not my favorite and yet I love the taste, I  celebrate that. How will I celebrate? I’m heading to the gym for a 45-minutes spinning class. Maybe I’ll reach another zenith there.

Looking forward to A to Z 2016
Goodbye April

Top 5 posts during A to Z Challenge (thanks for the love peeps):


“W” is for Weekly Words of Wisdom

Hello peeps! We’re back on schedule. YAY!

When I started this blog I intended to post regularly but quickly learned that life would get in the way so I decided that I would at least make an effort to write a digest post every week and so was Sunday Summary born, a weekly post that most times serves as a weekly digest and sometimes allows me to highlight something important that happened or that I learned during that week.

Whichever the case I like to end the week on a high note and always share a quote, book passage, or some motivational words that I hope you’ll like and that usually become my mantra for the following week.

Since the start of this blog (March 2014), I’ve written 52 Sunday Summaries and therefore shared 52 weekly words of wisdom. I can’t really share them all but here’s a sample.


Happy Motivation Monday. 🙂

“R” is for Restaurants

RI don’t know you peeps but in my experience there is just no way to lose weight if I constantly eat out. There is just no way. And I love eating out and therefore I have had to learn to make smart decisions when I eat out and plan ahead in order to not terribly disturb my weight loss journey.

So… let’s talk about restaurants. I love them 😆 and what’s not to love: yummy food, no prep, no cooking, no clean-up. It’s awesome. The main problem with eating out is that we have very little control on how it is prepared and therefore a simple meal of 600 calories at home may easily turn into a 2000-calorie monstrosity at your favorite food joint. What’s a girl (or guy) on a diet to do?

Toni’s Restaurant Tips

TIP #1 Check the menu before you go – Most restaurants share their meals’ nutritional value on their website. Check it before you head out so you have a better idea what are your best choices. There are also apps that can help you make smarter choices at the dinner table. I usually check my copy of Eat This, Not That! or the website. In any case, the trick is to be prepared before you set foot in the restaurant.

TIP #2 Plan out your week – I usually know how many times I’ll be eating out during the week so if it’s only one day I may allow myself to splurge and have a “cheat-meal” with no regrets but if I know that I will be eating out three or more days the next week then I make sure that I choose healthier options with plenty of greens and sauces and/or dressings on the side.

TIP #3 Check your alcohol and/or skip dessert – The biggest change I made to my lifestyle was limiting my alcohol consumption. I barely have any anymore unless I’m out with friends and preferably if I know I will be dancing and therefore burning it off. I also rarely have dessert and if I do I try to share it.

Do you plan your eating out adventures? Got any tips?

“Q” is for Questions

QEver wonder if you are doing life wrong? I am currently in a transitional state, not quite clear about what will be next; a sort of mid-life crisis. As I await for some projects to take form I wonder if I am on the right track or making the biggest mistake of my life. The problem is that there is really no way to know. As Steve Jobs famously said…

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

I recently came across this article, 30 Thought-Provoking Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Day. I invite you try to answer them for yourself as I take on each question:

1. Who am I really? I am a woman, a daughter, a relative, a friend. I am curious, skeptical, intelligent, knowledgable. I am single, adventurous, adaptable, and always searching. An eternal teacher and student. An investigator and a writer.

2. What worries me most about the future? That we will not learn from our mistakes and therefore we are bound to repeat them.

3. If this were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? Probably not. I would fly back to Venezuela and spend that day with my family and childhood friends.

4. What am I really scared of? Never establishing roots.

5. Am I holding on to something I need to let go of? I hope not. I try not to hold on to things that are out of my control or in the past.

6. If not now, then when? If only it were that easy. If possible, now… always now.

7. What matters most in my life? That I am happy and have no regrets, and that I can somewhat contribute to the happiness of people around me.

8. What am I doing about the things that matter most in my life? Unfortunately I have to accept that regardless of what I do I cannot make everyone happy, but I can make myself happy. I’m learning.

9. What do I matter? In the great scale of things not that much but being here is awesome so I’ll try to make the best of it for myself and those around me.

10. Have I done anything lately worth remembering? Nothing earth-shattering I believe. I can’t answer this now. Years from now… who knows what will be worth remembering.

11. Have I made someone smile today? I did… and laugh out loud too. Mission accomplished. 😀

12. What have I given up on? Having children of my own.

13. When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone? In general I push the boundaries quite often but mostly to accommodate others not myself. My comfort zone is very roomy though.

14. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give? Don’t doubt yourself… let others do it but if you must err in the assessment of your own capabilities, let it be on the side of overconfidence but accompany this overconfidence with a thirst for knowledge.

15. What small act of kindness was I once shown that I will never forget? There have been many… from friends giving me long rides to someone saving me 25 cents at the supermarket.

16. How shall I live, knowing I will die? Fully.

17. What do I need to change about myself? My self-doubt.

18. Is it more important to love or be loved? To love.

19. How many of my friends would I trust with my life? Mmmmm… about 10 who are carefully located in different parts of the world. 😆

20. Who has had the greatest impact on my life? My mother.

21. Would I break the law to save a loved one? Absolutely.

22. Would I steal to feed a starving child? Yes.

23. What do I want most in life? To be happy.

24. What is life calling of me? To make a move.

25. Which is worse: failing or never trying? Never trying.

26. If I try to fail, and succeed, which have I done? Succeeded.

27. What’s the one thing I’d like others to remember about me at the end of my life? That I was there when they needed me and that I made them laugh.

28. Does it really matter what others think about me? Not more than what I think about myself.

29. To what degree have I actually controlled the course my life has taken? At times I’ve been in full control but lately I’ve been on autopilot for too long.

30. When it’s all said and done, will I have said more than I’ve done? Sheesh! I hope not.

I am not sure that I will be asking myself these question every day but perhaps every few months would probably make a good exercise. How did you do?

“N” is for Now

NAt the start of the A to Z Challenge, I posted “B” is for Before where I wrote about where I was before I began my weight loss journey. Here’s where I am now:

Now I am no longer pre-diabetic. Although my cholesterol levels continue to rise above normal every now and then, it’s not as alarming and I now know that I can keep it under control by eating well and exercising regularly. I don’t have to depends on the meds anymore. I am not depressed. I still have some moments of not feeling too well but overall I can say that I am happy and again looking forward to and excited for new things to come.

Weight-wise I am not where I want to be but much closer. I am now (as of this morning) at 172 lbs. My trip to Washington DC didn’t do as much damage as I thought. Since the beginning of my journey (20 months ago) I have reached a net loss of 53.4 lbs. I would love to lose 50 more.

This is now:

  1. BMI > 30 – I’m obese, but not super-obese, and that small change has added years to my life.
  2. I’m happier
  3. I sleep around 6-8 hours every night and according to fitbit my sleep is 94% effective.
  4. I workout in average 8-10 hours a week. My lowest week has been 5 hours, my best week, 13.
  5. My diet is much more varied with lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains. I’ve fallen in love again with cooking and enjoy making healthy meals.

This is now:

File Apr 16, 6 45 43 PM

I no longer feel insecure about taking pictures… well, I do… a little… but not so much anymore. Overall, I feel happier with whom I am but I realize that it’s not so much because I lost weight. Weight loss has been a side effect of my treating myself better. In fact, I haven’t lost much weight in the last year and yet it’s been a much happier year than I had had in a long time. Perhaps with less academic and professional achievements but with greater life ones.

I wanted to end with something snappy but Jessica Kane from Life and Style of Jessica recently put it in better words:

“Eff the critics babygirl, and eff anyone else’s version of beauty if it forces you to deny embracing moments like these..live your life NOW.”

“M” is for Momentum


1. PHYSICS: the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
2. the impetus gained by a moving object.
“the vehicle gained momentum as the road dipped.”

Honestly peeps! I’m having a hard time getting my momentum back. It is so easy to fall into bad habits and so hard building the good ones back up.

As of today, I haven’t been in the gym for over a week… A WEEK! Although I was able to fit a workout last wednesday and I did walk, in average, six miles every day while running errands and visiting friends in Washington DC, I am having a hard time finding the motivation to drag myself to the gym tonight. I am a bit ashamed to admit it.

Hopefully I’ll get over it later today. I know that once I set foot in the gym I’ll feel better, and I also know that getting back will motivate me to cook healthy food and not crave the bad stuff so much.

I realize that I was severely spoiled on my mini vacay and that I cannot forget that I still have work to do. Here’s to getting my momentum back! 

Food for Thought

“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” – Frances E. Willard

“C” is for Consistency

CHere’s what I have to say about consistency. It’s overrated! 😆

Yes, being consistent with your workouts and healthy eating habits will definitely help you lose weight but you can also consistently do well Monday through Friday and then eat everything in sight on the weekend and consistently get stuck.

There has to be a better word… also starting with C. How about Common Sense… OK, that’s two; but you get what I mean.

I find, when talking with people about weight loss, that most of us have a pretty good idea of what we should be doing but aren’t. Most of us have pretty good common sense and know that eating an apple with peanut butter is probably a much better snack than eating one serving of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream with apple pie.

In the desert there is no sign that says, Thou shalt not eat stones.” – Sufi Proverb

Common Sense peeps! Use it. It’s good for you.