Friday, June 7, 2013
School's - out - for - summer!
Now that you have Alice Cooper running through your head...have you started thinking about your workout music for warm weather? I always love to mix things up - to keep workouts fresh. If you change up your music from time to time, you're more likely to avoid being bored...and more likely to stick with your run, walk, cycling, etc.
So in addition to "hangin' with Mr. Cooper", here are my latest additions for summer:
Try - Pink
Next to Me - Emeli Sande
I'm a Keeper - The Band Perry
Little Bit of Everything - Keith Urban
Roller Coaster - The Partridge Family
Sunshine and Summertime - Faith Hill
Fortunate Son - John Fogerty with Foo Fighters
Hush Hush - Pistol Annies
Voulez-Vous - Mamma Mia Soundtrack
Thing Called Love - Bonnie Raitt
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
Please leave a comment with your favorite workout songs...we're always looking for more suggestions. And get out there and WERK it!!!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
There are two special things I learned about Meredith on tonight's Extreme Weight Loss.
First off, she is completely adorable. And secondly - she is a VERY STRONG WOMAN.
Meredith is only 24, but she shows more wisdom than many people twice her age. Oh, she's still a girl who wants to have fun - as her Baywatch fantasies prove - but she also has learned how to deal with the curveballs that life can throw...even if they were pitched at birth when you're way too young to know why.
One of my favorite things about EWL (yes, the show has shortened its title, probably to help us all keep our tweets under 140 characters) is that one or two people get to focus on their personal journeys for the year, without competing against anyone except themselves. Of course I love my Biggest Loser...but some people thrive better when they don't have to "play the game" and can just concentrate on the main thing - physical and emotional health. For Meredith, this format perfectly fit her situation.
Meredith was given up for adoption at birth, and her parents always loved her. But she always felt like she didn't really fit into the family, because she was so different from them, especially in size. Her sister is her parents' biological child, and has always been the "thin one". Although Meredith's dad had put on some weight over the years, her mom and sister remained thin while Meredith only got bigger. Her struggle with not knowing her birth mom or why she gave her up played a major role in the weight gain. She wanted to lose the weight not only for herself, but also to prepare herself for the chance that she might get to meet her biological mother.
Chris showed up at a kids' talent show rehearsal that Meredith was in charge of, surprising her by walking onstage dressed on a carrot suit! It was just too cute, and just right because it made the kids feel comfortable with the surprise. He promised that he would take good care of Meredith while she was gone and she would be back soon. I'm sure the kids are super proud of Miss Meredith.
At her first weigh-in in California, Meredith stood at 314 pounds. She was once over 400, but she lost weight and had "Believe It, Be It 155" tattooed on her stomach to keep her motivated toward her goal of 155 pounds. She put some of the weight back on, and I'm sure she felt as if her tattoo was mocking her at times as she went in the opposite direction of her goal. Chris decided that 155 would still be her goal for this year-long journey. (By the way, "Believe It, Be It" was/is the motto of Ali Vincent, the first female Biggest Loser. It's also the title of her book. I'm betting that's where Meredith got the idea!)
At the beginning, there were times Meredith wasn't so sure of herself - especially running on the beach the first day to the tower and back. She broke down halfway through, with it really hitting her that she felt unloved from the beginning, knowing that she was given away. Chris sent her home after the first week to complete the first 90 days at home with her family.
That proved to be a problem, as her family tried to support her but at times didn't understand what she needed. Her sister really didn't get it - she brought cookies and snacks into the house that Meredith couldn't eat and kept them in the pantry where they would tempt her. I know it's hard for some people who don't struggle with their weight to understand why something like this would be such a big deal...even when it's explained to them. Chris wound up coming to town after 45 days to help Meredith stay on track for the first phase. She needed to lose 80 pounds - and beat that by losing 84!
Chris decided that Meredith would need to lose 50 pounds in phase two, and she would train for a marathon. She wasn't totally sure about that, since even though she'd become a runner, she had never run more than 10 miles. One thing that helped her focus was her sister moving out into her own place. It made things easier for her (and her parents) to keep their eyes on the prize. She didn't hit the 50 - but she did lose 32 pounds. I'm sure the torn meniscus and accompanying knee pain that developed didn't help.
Meredith and Chris did run the marathon, with support from her parents and friends. At about 19 miles her knee gave her a lot of trouble, along with her other leg which she favored because of the injury. But Meredith never quit; she slowed it down to a walk or jog at times but finished the entire 26.2 miles strong. It built her confidence even more.
During all of this, Meredith found the courage to write a letter to her birth mom, in hopes that they would get to meet. She didn't hear back from her, but Chris got some information from a private investigator to help Meredith find peace. There was a picture of her mom, along with one of her mom's run-down house. Chris thought that maybe mom was embarrassed about her living situation and wasn't ready to meet her daughter. Meredith found herself OK with that - she still hopes to meet her one day but is at peace with her past and herself. She realizes that they may not get to meet...and if that's the case she will still be fine. She also realized her parents really do love and support her, no matter what.
At the end of phase three Meredith weighed 176. Chris wanted to hold off on the skin surgery until she reached her 155 goal, because that way she still had the tattoo as a reminder until then. At first she was disappointed, but it wound up only making her more determined to reach her goal. Chris did have a special treat for her though...he brought Nicole Eggert from Baywatch to the beach where Meredith ran the very first day, and the two women ran together. Nicole has had her own weight struggle, so she was happy to come out to support Meredith. Now THAT'S a true role model.
At last it was time for the big reveal. Meredith stepped out to greet her family and friends in a gorgeous blue dress and shiny silver shoes - but the true sparkle came through her eyes and smile. She overcame so much to get to this point, and looking out among her loved ones she could finally see the light bulb go off for her sister. She gets it now!
Oh, and the 155? Meredith hit it right on the nose. Quite appropriate to go with the tattoo! Now she won't need it though, since she will have the skin surgery and it will be gone along with all of the excess weight.
Now Meredith can focus on new goals - and I know there won't be any stopping her now!
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
It's the start of a new season of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, and I couldn't be happier.
I need a summer fix of motivation when Biggest Loser is done for the season, and fall seems far away. (which is OK with me, since I love summer!!!) And let's face it...summer can be a time when people slack off from their fitness and healthy eating habits, whether they are on vacation or just enjoying favorite summer foods on a 3-month staycation. Those staying at home are more likely to binge on treats, because they feel they deserve it since they can't afford to go away somewhere special - and they don't have the incentive to fit into certain clothes for a trip. Plus, people who go on a vacation tend to splurge only while on the trip, not for months on end.
Enter Chris Powell, who begins the third season of EMWLE taking on twins, brother Dave and sister Becca. They are 23 years old and live with their dad, who is extremely hard on them about their weight. My first thought was the fact that their dad needs to lose quite a bit himself and get healthy, and that he isn't helping their self-esteem. The next thought was that he probably wants better for his kids than for himself, and doesn't quite realize that the example he sets hurts them as well.
Chris surprises them on their birthday, and takes them away for the first week of training. He gets them to open up about things that have bothered them for a long time, such as Becca's admission that she feels she never made her father proud. The real kicker was Dave breaking the news that he was once addicted to painkillers and alcohol, and was ready to commit suicide when an out-of-the-blue phone call from his dad stopped him. Even Becca didn't know this - only Dave's close friends knew.
Chris decided that he needed to separate the twins for the first 3 months, because they were so close and so good at sabotaging each other's efforts. At first they were upset, but as the days went on they realized it was the best thing for them. Dave went home while Becca went to Arizona and worked with Chris' wife Heidi, along with one of last year's success stories, Jacqui. (It's so wonderful how Jacqui wants to pay it forward!!!) They both did well during the first 90 days...but slipped a bit when back together again for the next phases. It got to the point that they could hardly even speak to each other.
After 9 months, they weighed in and met the doctor to discuss skin removal surgery. Dave qualified for the procedure, but Becca did not. A light bulb went off for Dave that his sister had worked much harder than he did, but he was the one who qualified. Chris makes the decision to separate them for the final 3 months of the journey. Dave needed to recover from the surgery; Becca needed to go home and keep working toward her goal of getting the surgery.
During this time Dave finally talked to his dad about the addictions and overdose. His father was already beginning to realize how he had affected his kids for years...but this admission from Dave really sent him over the edge. He wanted to repair the relationships with his children and be a more positive role model for them. Becca and Dave also came to the conclusion that even though they love each other, being separated for now is better for them physically and emotionally.
By the final reveal, each of them had lost over 200 pounds. Becca qualified for the surgery and decided to go back to nursing school. Dave chose to go out to Arizona for college. They both look amazing, and it shows from the inside out. Look for these two to take on the world now!
And also look for more inspiring episodes of EMWLE this summer. Help yourself stay motivated and keep going - I know I will!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Inspiration comes in many forms - people, music, dance, writing, and more.
For me, it arrived as all of the above...in the form of a sweet, hard-working, determined Southern lady who faced her fears and insecurities on Dancing With The Stars.
If you've followed Kellie from her early days on American Idol, you already know that she's a sweetheart. You also know that she didn't have the best childhood growing up - not even close.
Her mother abandoned her. Her dad was in jail. Her grandparents raised her, but her grandmother passed away from cancer when Kellie was 15 years old. She lived in a beautiful small town, but her family did not have much money.
But Kellie persevered, even with all of those possible obstacles. She rose above the challenges and went for her dreams. She didn't let the things that life threw at her stop her.
I was reminded of Kellie's heart and determination as she took on Dancing With The Stars this season. She always has a joke, word of encouragement, and ready smile for everyone watching. She worked many long hours to learn and perfect all of the dances, including Derek's amazing but challenging choreography.
By the time the finals came around, Kellie also let us see her vulnerable side - the part of her that still felt the pain from her past but wanted to overcome it all. And I could relate.
I've always been the one who encourages others, finds the humor in a situation, and smiles to get through my challenges. But I still have a vulnerable side. I'm learning to show that side a little more often - some people can't handle that I'm not "perfect" (whatever perfect is supposed to be!) and decide that I'm only good enough for them when I help them. That's OK...not everyone you meet is supposed to stay in your life forever. Sometimes they are there just for you to learn a lesson.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of people who understand that we are all human and have issues and challenges to face - that we don't have to be "on" all the time. That love and friendship is a two-way street and we should support each other through the good AND the bad.
I cried as Kellie and Derek performed their Freestyle. I could see that she was being very real with all of us. She let us all the way into her world, and we love her for it. This is why she is a true champion!
Thank you Kellie, for sharing your heart and soul on the dance floor along with the proper technique. You taught me (and countless others) that it's OK - no, VITAL - to be yourself and share who God created you to be. And that hard work and prayer will get you far, no matter what life throws at you.
I'd love to be in the physical shape that Kellie is in...and I'm working on it. But it's also important to work on that inside beauty, which she has in spades. This is one lesson I will carry with me every day!
Friday, May 10, 2013
Even Marilyn Monroe, who was admired by men (and women) all over the world, would not have been able to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Why? Because the clothing company doesn't make clothes for anyone who isn't "thin enough". They only make clothes for "beautiful" people...and they only hire these "beautiful" people to work in their stores. At least that's the messed up line of thinking that CEO Mike Jeffries has - only "perfect" people can wear his clothes. Only the "cool" kids count.
Way to go, Mr. Jeffries. With this policy, you are promoting anorexia, bulimia, and plastic surgery for teens anxious to fit in - and giving them a reason to turn into despondent adults who think they will never be good enough.
To Mr. Jeffries and his company, you're not cool if you don't fit his version of beautiful. Women's clothes only go up to a size 10, which could technically be an 8, because the clothes are cut smaller than many other clothing brands. Girls who want to wear what their super-thin friends are wearing can't...which may cause them to turn to unhealthy practices like bulimia and anorexia. And what if they apply for a job at A & F and don't get it - because they aren't "beautiful" enough to wait on the customers? I can only imagine teens trying to "fix the problem" by getting nose jobs, botox, etc. to fit this ridiculous standard.
Even when I was 20 and reached my goal weight, I would not have been able to wear A & F clothes. I went a few pounds under that weight in an attempt to fit into certain brands, and not only was it still not enough, but I saw pictures of myself taken at that time and was horrified to see my sunken cheeks and protruding collarbone. I decided it was better to go back up to my original goal weight and wear what looked good on me, rather than continue to starve and be unhealthy just to wear a certain size or brand of clothing. I was much happier donning cute outfits that fit me as I was meant to be - without feeling lightheaded or dizzy for lack of nutrition.
The last thing in the world teens need to be told is that they aren't good enough for you, Mr. Jeffries. They are ALL beautiful, no matter what size they wear or makeup they use, or what facial features they possess that YOU don't approve of. We are ALL created in God's image - and He never makes a mistake. You aren't really promoting beauty. You actually promote ugliness, with your bad attitude and closed mind.
There are so many people who are beautiful both inside and out. Ironically, with Mr, Jeffries advocating bullying and discrimination, his inside is ugly - and does not even come close to my standard of inner beauty. Beauty starts on the inside, and he needs to get a makeover!
Don't listen to the lies...discover your own true beauty and the beauty of others!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
We are now further into spring, and even though there are still days that feel like winter there's been much improvement in our Ohio weather. I am able to get outside more often to walk/run and still do indoor workouts on those other days.
It's been a crazy month and a half, going to so many wakes that I hope and pray there are no more for a LONG time. I even found out an old friend of mine passed away months ago...from cancer at age 51. She and I were really close for a long time and then life got in the way. Needless to say, it was a complete shock that a woman so positive and full of life is gone so soon. I'm still trying to process this one - almost like I just had a nightmare and it isn't real. Except...it is.
So I added some power songs to my workout playlist, to lift my spirits and keep moving forward on my journey of faith, fitness, and life. Annette would be the first to tell me not to wallow in the sadness and just get on with it. And since she was a fellow Parrothead, of course I included a little Buffett in my list!
Here is my latest playlist:
DONE. - The Band Perry
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
Live for Today - Natalie Grant
Walk Away - Megan Hilty
Troublemaker - Olly Murs
People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons
One Particular Harbour - Jimmy Buffett
Boys 'Round Here - Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies & Friends
Jump Right In - Zac Brown Band
Lay All Your Love on Me - Amanda Seyfried/Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia movie soundtrack)
Please share the songs that get you moving as well. Let's power up this spring and live life to the fullest!
Monday, April 1, 2013
Yesterday we celebrated Easter Sunday - the day that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified, giving all of God's children forgiveness of their sins and a fresh start in Christ. We get to do away with past mistakes, and look to the present and future to be the people God created us to be.
This year, Easter's renewal is followed by April 1st...a brand new month, with a chance to improve upon what we did last month (or in the months before) and strive to be better. Better at our relationship with God and relationships with others, better at breaking bad habits...really, better at whatever we have discovered we need to be better at - and what God had told us we need to do to be better for His purpose.
I know for me (and most of you who read my blog) this includes being better at health, fitness, and nutrition. There are times we don't do well in these departments, but we need to shake that off and start fresh. Did you eat a lot of Easter goodies yesterday? Did exercise fall by the wayside as you prepared for the celebration of the Resurrection - including both religious activities and fun stuff for the kids and other family members?
I gave up diet soda for Lent, already knowing it was bad for me yet having had a problem giving up the addiction in the past. I decided giving it up for Lent would cause me to do it for Jesus - not myself. With this mindset (and plenty of prayer), I was successful in staying completely away from it from Ash Wednesday all the way through Holy Saturday. On Easter, I had one sip of Diet Pepsi...and one sip was it. It didn't taste all that great, so I didn't have any more. But I know addictions can creep back up if you're not careful. So I'm continuing to abstain from diet soda from Easter on, still as a sacrifice to God who gave me a body, mind, and soul that I need to take care of for Him. I also need to cut back on sugar again after those Easter treats!
No matter what happened, you don't have to stay in that rut. Ask God to help you out of it and into His grace. You are forgiven for your sins...AND any slacking off you may have done taking care of your body - God's holy temple.
It's the day after Easter...so remember all that Jesus has done for you, and take April and RUN with it!!!