Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why There Was No Motivational Monday Yesterday

No, it wasn't my computer that was sick...it's me. I've been feeling really awful since Christmas Eve, and it just got worse every day. Yesterday was the first day I could see my doctor because of the holiday, and I have a really bad sinus infection. I'm now on antibiotics and starting to feel a little better, but I was in no shape yesterday to blog.

I did not even weigh myself yesterday because I was in so much pain and worried about getting in to see the doctor. I have almost no voice, but that will improve after a couple of days of the meds. I was up all night coughing, so I need to try to rest again.

I will have Motivational Monday back just in time for the first Monday of the New Year, and plan on blogging some this week until then. Let's end 2009 on a good note...and 2010 is going to be an awesome year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Motivational Monday!

Well, I've been running around like a nut trying to get Christmas stuff done...too bad that doesn't burn as many calories as the treadmill! I'm almost done with everything, other than baking pumpkin pies and wrapping the kids' gifts. Everything else is taken care of...the cookies, shopping, cards, and decorating are finished!

I got on the scale this morning and had a good laugh. I lost .2 pounds. Barely a blip on the radar screen...but it's still a loss right before Christmas, and I'll take it! I did have a very wonderful moment yesterday when I put on a pair of pants and a Christmas sweatshirt that did not fit last year; in fact, I couldn't even get them over my body! I wore them yesterday, and they were loose...so I know I'm getting there. I know that I'll have a lot more time to concentrate on weight loss after the holiday, and lay out my plan of attack for the New Year. 2010 is going to be my year!!!

My motivational people this week are Erik and Michele Chopin. Erik won Season 3 of Biggest Loser, and though he has put quite a bit of the weight back on, he is committed to losing it all again and figuring out why he had gained it back so it doesn't happen again. His wife Michele is also on her own weight loss journey, and they are sharing all of this with us at http://erikchopin.com/ . Bob invited Erik to weigh in at the Season 9 Finale...so this way we can follow along with Erik and Michele as we are on our own journeys!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Staying Strong and Still Climbing!

Yesterday, my husband found out that he did not get the job that we were so sure was the one. We've been on this job roller coaster since May and it's been really tough. I know many of you are going through the same type of situation as well, or other problems that must be dealt with. To say we were upset is an understatement.

One thing I did not do this time is run to the cupboard or a fast food joint and start eating. I'm finally realizing that even though it may temporarily numb the pain, in the long run it only causes more pain and heartache. I've had no diet soda at all this week, and I'm drinking plenty of water. Instead of running to the refrigerator, I'm doing extra exercise, talking to friends, writing, or listening to music to calm the stress. I did have a good cry, but once it was over I decided not to dwell on the lost job and move forward with life.

One little bump along the way will not make me fall off of this mountain that God is having me climb. I'm still on my way to the top, and I know He has better things in store for us...we need to stay strong and turn to Him. God is my harness, and He will keep me safe and strong for the climb. He has placed many footholds along my way to help get me to the summit. He just needs me to be resilient and keep on climbing...and that is what I intend to do!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Motivational Monday...Attitude Is Everything!!!

I've always had this fascination with skiing. From the time I was a little girl, I always watched the Winter Olympics and other skiing competitions, wondering what it would be like to fly down a mountain like that. To race against the wind and conquer those hills...I just knew it had to be an amazing feeling!

I never had a ski lesson until about 13 years ago, and only had one. I enjoyed it very much, but we didn't have money to continue, and by the next season I was expecting my son. I haven't been on the slopes since, trying to get back in decent shape before attempting again so I would be less likely to injure myself. My stepbrother and sister-in-law both ski, and her dad is still skiing in his seventies! My husband and I have good friends who live in Park City, Utah and it would be incredible to visit them in winter and ski with them.

I am using my love of skiing as motivation in my weight loss battle. I imagine myself, lean and strong, conquering those mountains...and it keeps me going on my journey. I've come to realize that skiing is like life: Sometimes you have to face strong winds and other dangers to conquer your mountains, but it is worth it when you feel the feeling of accomplishment...and then you can't wait to conquer the next one!

As for my weigh-in this morning, I did register a loss of .6 pounds, which puts me at 193.2. It may not be a giant loss, but it is still a step in the right direction, especially during the holidays. I know one thing I did wrong this week was drinking too much diet soda while I was running Christmas errands and attending my son's school concerts. This week will not be like that!

This week, my motivational person is...YOU!!! Just like I am doing with skiing, picture yourself doing something you've always wanted to do, and conquering your mountains. Focus on those images, and you will go far!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Ain't Settlin'

Congratulations to Danny Cahill on becoming the Season 8 Biggest Loser! He lost 239 pounds...over 55% of his body weight! Also, if you love the song he wrote for the show, it is now available at www.thedannycahill.com , and part of the proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You can also order another awesome song of Danny's as well!
Danny and the rest of the Season 8 contestants all looked amazing last night, and I now know for sure that there will be no stopping me from reaching my goals and dreams. This song from Sugarland is my new philosophy on life:
I ain't settlin' for just gettin' by
Had enough so-so for the rest of my life
Tired of shootin' too low, so raise the bar high
Just enough ain't enough this time
I ain't settlin' for anything less than everything*
We can all accomplish much more than we ever thought possible...raise your bar high!!!
*From the song "Settlin'" written by Kristian Bush, Tim Owens & Jennifer Nettles

Monday, December 7, 2009

Motivational Monday...Bouncing Back

As you know, last week's weigh-in was rough, due to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who had the same post-holiday experience, or were too afraid to get on the scale after all of the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. I used to be one of those who just wouldn't even bother to weigh myself during the holidays, which usually resulted in seeing a few extra pounds register on the scale come New Year's Day.
This morning, I got on the scale and discovered I lost 2.2 pounds...meaning that the 2 pounds I had gained over Thanksgiving are gone, along with just a bit more! This puts me at 193.8. I definitely attacked my workouts this past week, and ate much better. Back to my Greek yogurt, fruits & veggies, and lots of water. Also...back to discovering that girl inside of me that is just begging to come out!
This week, my motivational people are the entire Season 8 cast of The Biggest Loser...tomorrow night is the finale, so tune in to see what everyone has accomplished, and let them inspire you to go for your dreams and goals!
My advice for this holiday season is...don't avoid the scale. If you weigh yourself and discover a gain, you can do something about it right now. If you wait until January 1st, the gain may have snowballed into something bigger...or you may find on Christmas Day that the dress, skirt, or pants you planned to wear do not fit and you wind up scrambling for something else to wear. Don't let that happen to you...take care of business now!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Journey Back To Me

Those of you that are on my Facebook page will also see this poem on there...I'm getting back to the girl you see in the picture above. (Although I will NOT be bringing back the early 90's permed hair!) Maybe you can relate to my story:
What Happened To That Girl?
What happened to that girl
The one who was so strong
Who didn't let stuff get her down
And could handle life when things went wrong
What happened to that girl
Who didn't let fear hold her back
Who liked the reflection she saw in her mirror
And faced her problems with full-on attack
Though she's been dormant for over 15 years
Hibernating under layers of despair
She hasn't left, she's still within
Make no mistake, she's definitely there
Working her way through all of the layers
Shedding each one as she goes
Some are harder to shake off than others
But one by one getting rid of her woes
That girl deserves to come back out
And shine her God-given light on the world
I'm proud to say, she's well on her way
Just watch out...here comes that girl!
I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, and finding that strong, confident person inside of you that is just waiting to come out! xoxoxo

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Inspiration This Season

Every season on the Biggest Loser, I am inspired by all of the contestants, but of course I always relate to the struggles of the women...being that I'm a wife and mother who needs to take care of herself so she can take care of everyone else. This season, something is different for me.

The person I relate to the most from Season 8 is Danny Cahill. At first I found it strange that my biggest inspiration came from one of the guys this time, but it's all starting to make sense to me now. Danny has gone through so many things that I have: Being a fat kid who lost all of the weight and then gained it back, being on top of the world and having dreams of a music career, and deep faith in God being just some of the reasons. Every time he tells another part of his story, I wind up crying because that is my story. I want to get back to that person I was, who had dreams and went after them, just like Danny. I want to get my family to eat healthier too. Quite a few of the thoughts he has shared so far this season are the same thoughts that have run through my mind.

Now, I have started on that path, being down over 20 pounds and going after my writing dreams, but I know I can do so much more. Danny has lost 201 pounds to date, and is in the Final 3 for next week's finale. Every time I start having those thoughts, I think of Danny and I know I can make my dreams happen, just like he does. Good luck at the finale, Danny! You will always be my inspiration...I am rooting for you all the way!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Motivational Monday...Holiday Edition!

This past week was kind of tough on the diet and exercise plan. Lots of baking, writing, and celebrating took its toll. I did better with the food than I usually do for Thanksgiving, but still indulged on the stuffing. It still amazes me that my stepmom makes her stuffing exactly like my mom used to...she's the only one so far that does, and she's always made it that way! I made the pumpkin pies with fat free evaporated milk and extra spices...I've been doing that for years and everyone loves it that way. I know I did not get enough exercise, unless you count running with the deal hunters on Black Friday as a workout!
I gained back the 2 pounds I lost last week...actually not bad considering that way the week went and the fact that Aunt Flo came to visit for Thanksgiving. (Ladies, you know what I mean!) It's OK though, I treated myself for the holiday, and I will not be indulging for the entire month of December...only Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and even then not too much!
If you look at the top right of my blog, you will see that I accomplished my NaNoWriMo goal for November...I completed a 50,000 word novel in a month. As I was telling one of my friends, it's just like exercise; you have to plan for it and be determined to do it. If you want it badly enough, you will find a way! Completing this goal will help me accomplish the other goals in my life, now that I see how perseverance, hard work, and determination have paid off.
My motivational person for this week is Kai Hibbard from Season 3 of Biggest Loser. She had to lose weight all over again after having a baby, and is back to fitting into the dress she wore for her season's finale! Please give her a shout over at http://www.facebook.com/zwierstra#/pages/Kai-Hibbard-of-The-Biggest-Loser-Season-3/114388032436 , she's doing great!
Let's all focus on the real reasons for the holiday season this year, and not on the food. Jesus, family, and friends are what is important! xoxoxo

Monday, November 23, 2009

Motivational Monday...Yes!!!

All of those extra minutes of exercise I did during the week really paid off. This morning I registered a 2 pound loss on the scale, now putting me at 194. This is the time of year when I usually gain weight or stay the same, so this is very exciting for me! Since I added more things to do for November this year, like writing a novel in a month, I was nervous about how it would affect my weight.
I drank plenty of water all day, including while I was on the computer writing away. When I watched TV, whether I was recapping a dance show or just taking a break and watching whatever, I jogged in place or danced during commercials. I also made sure I got up from the computer regularly, so I could stretch my muscles and move around.
This goes to show that if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen. I'm almost done with the novel, by setting daily goals to get it done. I found a way to fit in exercise even in the smallest amounts of time, and it showed on the scale. We all need to find those ways that will work for us, so we can reach our dreams and goals!
My motivational person for this week was a revelation to me. Those of you who are Saturday Night Live fans like me will remember the wonderful comedy of Horatio Sanz, and also what a big guy he was. Well, I only learned this within the last week, but Horatio has lost 100 pounds, and he is smokin' hot now! If you would like to see his before and after transformation, check out this article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/24/snl-alum-horatio-sanz-dro_n_146143.html .
Here's to a successful and blessed holiday week for all of us, and remember to find a way to make it work for you!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Believe It, Be It!!!

***photo courtesy of Biggest Loser/NBC.

I read a lot of inspirational and motivational books, because they always help me reach further and move closer to my goals. This week I read Ali Vincent's new book, "Believe It, Be It". I have to tell you, this book is amazing. Ali takes us through her journey...starting with her childhood and going all the way through becoming the first female Biggest Loser, and beyond.

I see lot of myself in Ali's story. We didn't have all of the same problems in life to deal with, but there are several similarities in the way we approach things and some of our issues, especially our weight struggles and the determination to make a difference in the world. After reading about Ali's life, I am ready to kick it up a few notches on my own journey.

I'm finding ways to sneak in exercise, where before I wouldn't have even thought of it. Since I am in front of the television recapping dance shows, during commercials I have started getting up to dance or jog in place. Even all of the little extra bits of exercise add up, and get me closer to my goal. I'm planning my meals and snacks out better, so I don't wind up grabbing anything because I'm starving after writing at my computer all day. I am really working on finding healthier ways of doing things, which will get me where I need to go.

I HIGHLY recommend Ali's book. I couldn't put it down, and every page was a revelation to me. You will be inspired and motivated toward your goals...in weight loss and in life!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Motivational Monday...Eyes On The Prize

I wasn't sure what I would find on the scale this morning. Some weeks I do everything right and hardly lose anything. Other weeks I am a little less strict with myself and I lose a lot. But sometimes the opposite is true, so it's always a surprise. I knew that this week I had missed a couple of workouts and gave in to Mickey D's on Saturday. I wondered what effect that would have at my weigh-in today, and hoped the result would not be too awful.
I stepped on the scale, praying the whole time. I saw exactly the same number as I saw last week...196.0. I can live with that, since I know I didn't do everything I could this past week to get the best results. I now know what I need to do to stay strong this week, and I will do it!
One thing that will help me is keeping my eyes on the prize. Not only will I visualize being lean and mean, but the promise I made a couple of months ago to run in the next local Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure will motivate me to move toward that goal. I've had a couple of friends offer to come to town and run it with me this coming September, so that inspires me even more to get there!
My motivational person for this week is Mo'Nique. Our girl Mo has lost 40 pounds, looking fabulous and a little less thick, and much healthier. She has a lead role in the new movie "Precious", and people are already starting to talk about an Oscar for her! If you would like to learn more about Mo'Nique, please check out this article at http://www.celebritydietdoctor.com/monique-lost-weight-loss/ .
Here's to a great week for all of us...and remember to keep your eyes on the prize!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Motivational Monday...Keeping It Going!

I have had a busy week, and it only gets busier from here. Beside all of my usual writing and editing my novel, I have taken on NaNoWriMo. Novemeber is National Novel Writing Month, so the challenge is to begin a new novel on November 1st and complete 50,000 words by November 30th. I have been working dlilgently on it, and as of last night I am at 15,231 words. So of course, I need to fit exercise into my crazy schedule, especially since I am spending a lot of time sitting in front of my computer.
I did pretty well with that challenge, only missing my Tuesday workout. I am still eating well and drinking water. I fill up my son's empty 32 oz Gatorade bottle with water and drink from it constantly while I'm writing. I make sure I drink two of those bottles of water each day. Saturday was a surprise birthday party for my next door neighbor's 40th, so I did have one small slice of cake. At least it was cassata cake, so there were a few strawberries in there!
I was happy when I stepped on the scale this morning and lost another 1.2 pounds. I love weeks when I see big losses, but as long as the number on the scale is still going down and my clothes are getting looser I am happy.
My motivational people of the week are Matt and Suzy Hoover from Biggest Loser. They have a wonderful family now, and are helping others achieve their fitness goals. Matt just completed his first Ironman triathalon as well! If you would like to learn more about Matt and Suzy, please check out http://www.bodyevolution.com/.
Here's to another wonderful and busy week...I love what I'm doing and wouldn't have it any other way!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So You Think You Can...Let Go Of Your Fear?

I am a firm believer that music and dance can help you learn more about yourself. This point was proven to me once again on Tuesday night, while watching So You Think You Can Dance.
As you know from reading my previous posts, I have been doing a lot of soul searching in order to life my life to the fullest. One particular dance on Tuesday night brought one of those "light bulb" moments to me. This was a Contemporary piece, choreographed by Stacey Tookey and danced phenomenally by Kathryn and Legacy. Kathryn was a woman trying to fight her fear, with Legacy representing that fear. Every movement brought out strong feelings in me, as she kept wrestling and fighting her fear, finally pushing that fear right into the ground.
I saw so much of myself in this dance. It all started coming back to me...all of the times that I let fear control my life, which prevented me from accomplishing great things. I know this all started when I was a little girl. My parents were very protective of me, especially since I was their only child. There were a lot of things they would not let me do, for fear of physical or emotional hurt. I don't blame them; they loved me so much that they wanted to protect me and thought that was the way to do it. They didn't know, so they did their best. I wound up being afraid of taking risks...and until recently I hadn't taken very many risks at all. I'm getting better about that, and this dance made me realize that there are some fears still holding me back. God has put some wonderful friends in my life, who are helping my realize just how much potential I have and how much I have to share with the world. I am so grateful for them, and I wish for all of you to have these kinds of friends in your life.
I am now working on moving past those remaining fears and pushing them right into the ground. Thank you to Stacey Tookey for her brilliant choreography, and to Kathryn & Legacy for their amazing performance. You have all touched my life forever, and I'm sure you have also touched the others who watched as well.
If you would like to watch this incredibly moving dance, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po417XoP0O0 Maybe it will help you reach into your own soul and confront your fears. I know it got to me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Goals

Now that it's the 3rd of November, I need to set my goals for the month. This is not only the most wonderful time of the year...it's the most fattening time of the year! (Well, if you let it be, it is!) I am taking on November first, but then I will also plan for December.
These are my goals for the month of November:
1. Stay far away from my son's Halloween candy
2. Resist the temptation to buy all of those wonderful pumpkin treats and other goodies that are now out in the grocery store
3. Find healthy substitutes for those treats...have already found a couple of good pumpkin recipes
4. Drink a lot of water!
5. Find time to exercise every day...I can do something even on the days I'm most pressed for time
6. Enjoy small portions on Thanksgiving and not get stuffed like the turkey
7. Order a healthy lunch at our annual Black Friday shopping event (I know some of my shopping buddies are reading this, so I want you to hold me to it!)
8. Use music, writing, and other non-caloric ways to de-stress
I may add to this list as I think of more. These are the things that usually set me back in November, so it's time to tackle them head on. I also want to say that I already make my pumpkin pies with fat free condensed milk, and they taste even better than the original. I also plan on staying accountable with my friends who are also on this journey. We can help each other through the holidays...there is strength in numbers. Here's to a healthy November!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Motivational Monday!!!!!

I really needed to get back on track this week...the last couple of weeks have been completely nuts, and it only gets crazier from here. I have to get it together before the holiday season really kicks in, so I don't look at myself on New Year's Day and feel like I did last year.
This morning my weight was 197.2, which means I lost 1.2 pounds. I am very happy with that, since it is the famous "time of the month" and I almost always have trouble with the scale every month at this time. I am definitely headed in the right direction, and I will be setting my November goals to post tomorrow.
My motivational person for today is my friend, Laurie Runyan. She has been through all of this herself, and now trains and coaches others who are struggling on their weight loss journeys. Her blogs are very inspirational, and you can find her at www.lifecoachwithlaurie.net.
Let's start November off with a bang, and we will all look and feel better by Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pink Ribbon Recipe

*photo courtesy of Vitamix.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this is the last day of the month, I want to feature a recipe I discovered on Tuesday night. My friend Debbie and I went to the Guitars For Girls concert at Lorain County Community College, and all of the proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This event was sponsored by WGAR radio, and the 3 wonderful gentlemen who performed did not receive a penny for the show. James Otto, Richie McDonald, and Chuck Wicks donated their time and talent to the cause.
There were many tables featuring information about breast cancer, and Vitamix had their own booth where they mixed up these Pink Ribbon Smoothies for us to sample. Not only is it delicious, but the fruits in the smoothie have awesome disease-fighting properties. Here is their recipe...The directions are for the Vitamix but you can also whip this up in a regular blender if that's what you have.
Pink Ribbon Smoothie
1 cup red grapes
1 cup strawberries, fresh
1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup ice cubes
Place all ingredients in the Vitamix container in the order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10, then to HIGH. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. Yields 2 1/2 cups.
Recipe is low-fat, low-carb, low-sodium, low-cholesterol, heart healthy, gluten-free, and vegetarian. Please go to http://www.vita-mix.com/household/Health/breasthealth.asp for more information on the disease-fighting properties of red grapes and strawberries.
Just because this is the last day of October doesn't mean we should forget about breast cancer awareness. Continue to support the cause all year long...wouldn't it be great if we found a cure for this awful disease that affects so many people?
Also...Happy Halloween to all of you. Don't let the ghosts and goblins get you...and don't let the Halloween candy get you either!!! ;o)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Signs of Progress!!!

It's been a pretty good week so far...I'm dealing better with the stress and not turning to sweets to make me feel better. I'm also not letting my allergies stop me from exercising. Sure, my sinuses are not happy with me while I'm on the treadmill or working out to one of my dance DVD's, but that's OK. It will make for a healthier me in the long run, instead of being twice as miserable!
I am starting to notice some real signs of progress now. The one I really love is the definition I'm starting to see in my calves. No, they don't look like the picture above yet...but I am on my way to that! After seeing the improvement in my legs, I decided to try on my favorite pair of dark brown boots from last fall. I had such a hard time getting them zipped all the way last year. I got them to work, I'm sure just out of sheer will on my part. However, I was always afraid that the zippers were going to bust from forcing myself into them. When I put them on today, I had no problem zipping them up! I love these kinds of little victories!
I'm also enjoying the fact that some of my pants are fitting better, and that a couple of shirts that couldn't quite button last year now fit nicely. I know I still have a long way to go, but I like to see how far I've come. These are the things that keep me going, even when the number on the scale isn't exactly what I was hoping for. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I will keep going in the right direction, celebrate every mile marker that I pass, and continue on until I win the race!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Motivational Monday...Figuring It Out!

This week was a rough week for me...those of you who read my last post know why. I'm doing a lot of soul searching to figure out what keeps holding me back at times. I seriously wasn't expecting a loss on the scale this week, but somehow I did manage to lose that .4 pounds that I had gained the week before while my son was home sick. So I am back at 198.4.
I have to admit I ate half a bag of Halloween candy while working through a lot of emotions. (This is the reason we ususally don't buy our candy until the day before Halloween...we would eat it all!) I also went for a special fast food trip on Friday...to Long John Silver's. I know now exactly why I did that. I was missing my mom, and this was her favorite place to eat. I recall many a Sunday when my dad would go to early Mass because he sold real estate part time and had to hold Sunday open houses. My mom and I would go to a later Mass and then head to LJS for lunch...laughing, talking, and enjoying each other's company. We would have all kinds of conversations, about anything and everything. I only go maybe twice a year to eat there now, and usually sometime during October I wind up there because this is the month that I lost her and also her birth month.
So, I know some of my problem has to do with losing my mom and all of the complex emotions I still deal with. I'm still in the process of figuring the rest of it out: I know's there's more going on than just that. Since Friday, however, I've decided that I will journal my feelings and find something else constructive to do so I don't run for food to make me feel better. And now Long John Silver's has plenty of healthy options on the menu, so next time I can go in honor of my mom, but just not order my usual...I can still eat there without eating grease. I also know the reason I lost any weight this week is that I kept up my exercise, so it's crucial that I use exercise to work out my emotions.
I just discovered this week's motivational person. Shay from this season's Biggest Loser posted a link to her friend Jennifer's blog, GOING CLEAN With The Eat Clean Diet. I've already been exploring Tosca Reno's Eat Clean program, so this was perfect timing. Check out Jennifer at http://www.cleanesteating.blogspot.com/. She shares many great tips and ideas!
This week WILL be better! I'm starting to have my breakthrough...and the world just better watch out! :o)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Lessons Learned From The Biggest Loser

Every week on The Biggest Loser brings out all kinds of emotions in me, but this past Tuesday really hit home with me in a couple of ways. It was the light bulb going off in my head, not once but twice.
When the black team wound up going home for the week, Danny had a moment when he realized that he became so different from the person he was 15 years ago...someone he didn't even recognize. He is determined to get back to that person he was: ambitious and full of life. I recognized myself in that. It has also been 15 years for me, and it started when my mom had cancer and then passed away. I had lost all the weight a few years before that, but it all started coming back on during that time. I miss the woman I was before...and slowly but surely I'm finding her again!
My other epiphany moment came when Jillian was working with Daniel, and she knew something was bothering him deep down...something that was holding him back from his fullest potential. He had a breakthrough moment when he realized that in the back of his mind he was still hanging on to childhood feelings about his mom. When she would get on his case to lose weight, he would get mad and eat even more. He now realizes that she was doing it out of love and trying to get him healthy, and he wants to make it up to her now.
Even though I am doing well on my weight loss journey, I know that there is still something inside of me holding me back from going all out. I'm proud of how far I've come, but I really want to tap into my full potential and be my best. I'm doing a lot of soul searching now, trying to figure out just what is holding me back. It may go back further than 15 years, or it could be something more recent. I don't know yet...but I will figure it out.
I am so thankful for The Biggest Loser. Not only do they working on eating and weight loss, but on what's eating at the contestants. This in turn helps me on my journey, in weight loss, health, and life!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Motivational Monday

This past week was extremely rough for me in terms of exercise. My son was home all week from school sick, and I did fit in some exercise...but no where near the amount I would normally do. I still ate pretty healthy, but I know I did not drink enough water each day. Kind of ironic, since the doctor told me to make sure my son stayed well hydrated. I made sure he got all of the water and fluids he needed...but in worrying about and taking care of him, I neglected to do that for myself!

It was really no surprise when I got on the scale this morning that I did not lose any weight. In fact, I gained .4 pounds. Now, I can't complain...with the way the week went I'm actually happy that I gained less than half a pound. I'm still under 200, and I will just move on from here.

The good news is that my son is feeling better and back at school. We found out that hundreds of kids throughout the district have been out sick, and his case was actually mild compared to most, so I'm thankful for that.

My motivational people this week are the folks at Oxygen Magazine. I am so inspired by the stories, and look forward to trying some of the exercises featured in the magazine. There are so many healthy clean eating tips and so much great advice from everyone involved. You can check them out at www.oxygenmag.com.

Here's to a better week this week for all of us. This week I am picking up the pace and going full force. Let's blast that fat!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Motivational Monday...One-derland!!!

I am SO HAPPY today!!! Even with the rough week, I stuck with my healthy eating habits...thanks to God and my wonderful friends. I did miss a workout on Thursday...and last night did limited exercise because of a bad stomachache. I can report today, however, that I lost 1.6 pounds. This puts me at 198.4...so I'm out of the 200's and back in the 100's!!!
This just goes to show what you can do when you believe in yourself, persevere, and lean on your friends for support when you need it. I haven't been under 200 in about 4 years, so I'm really excited today. The number on the scale will only go down from here!!!
My motivational person today is Stacey Capers, who was on The Biggest Loser along with her husband Adam and is keeping the weight off. They are committed to helping others achieve their fitness goals as well. You can check out their website at http://www.icandofitness.com/ . And today is also Stacey's birthday...so stop by and wish her a very Happy Birthday!
There is no stopping me now...and no stopping you either. We are all here for each other, and together we can make it happen!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

There are some days that no matter how positive of a person you are, no matter how hard you try not to venture into the darkness, you still wind up feeling really down. Yesterday was one of those days for me.

15 years ago yesterday, my mom passed away from cancer. Every year when it gets near this anniversary, I tell myself that I'm not going to get into that deep despair. I try to reason that it's been such a long time since she died, and that I can handle it this year. Every year the day comes and I am a mess. I remember holding her hand and talking to her as she slipped away and went to heaven. I think about how upset my dad was that he wasn't in the room when she died...the doctors had expected her to last until the evening, so he ran home to get his insulin that he had forgotten. He got back about 10 minutes after she was gone, and was beside himself. I was the only one with her when she died. One of her nurses, a very sweet nun, told us that there was a reason that it happened that way, but I know my dad still thinks about how he should have been there.

Yesterday was no exception: I was a royal mess. When I posted on my Facebook page about my mom, so many friends were there to help me through the day. Some called me on the phone, and some who live out of state or even in another country messaged me throughout the day and helped me out of my funk. By evening, I was ready to celebrate my mom's life, so I started posting clips of her favorite singer, Tom Jones. The music helped me, and I sang along and thought about my mom. Even more friends helped my celebrate her life, and I am so grateful for all of them.

I also usually wind up pigging out every October 8th. This time, I still wanted to go for a fast food run or gorge on sweets, but I didn't. God's gift of friendship and music helped me get through the day without resorting to a food coma. I am so blessed to have all of my friends, I don't know what I would have done without you yesterday, or any other day for that matter. I love all of you!!! xoxoxo

Monday, October 5, 2009

First October Motivational Monday!

Well, I stepped it up this week just like I promised in my new goals for the month of October. I didn't let my allergies stop me, like I would have in the past. On Wednesday when I had a crazy busy day I missed my workout...but on Thursday I made up for it by doing both my dance workout and the treadmill. I don't want to lose my momentum!
I got on the scale this morning to find that I lost 1.4 pounds. You would think I'd be a little disappointed with that after all of the extra effort this week, but I'm not. It is also that famous "time of the month"...during which I usually do not lose weight and sometimes gain. It is a great victory to get past that monthly hurdle and lose almost a pound and a half! I now weigh 200 on the nose...so next week I will definitely be seeing the 100's!!!
This week I am again picking several motivational people for the week. The current cast of The Biggest Loser has so many hurdles to overcome...physically, mentally, and emotionally. I identify with all of them for different reasons, and I bet you will too. It's only become more intense since the season premiere. Check them out at http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser to be inspired...I dare you to sit on the couch eating cookies after this!
Here's to a great week ahead for all of us: filled with healthy eating, calorie burning, fat blasting, and strength from God!

Friday, October 2, 2009

October Goals

It's time to set some new goals for October. I've had a few rough days during September, but overall I still did well. I do know, however, that I can definitely improve upon the month that just passed, and make this new month even better.
I am setting a goal weight of 190 by Halloween. This will mean losing approximately 11 pounds for the month, but if I step it up in all areas I'm sure I will get there. Water is one thing I've stayed pretty consistent with, so I need to keep that up. I need to eat even more produce...I've been really good about vegetables, but need to get on board with the fruit. I've been sporadic with that lately, so that is something I need to work on for sure.
As for exercise...I've done well except for those few days around my son's birthday, but that's not enough. I'm back to a regular workout schedule, but will incorporate strength training into my routine now. I also fell away from the elliptical trainer for a couple of weeks, so I'm going to be including that in my workouts too. I know I can do more than I have been, and if I commit to that, it will pay off!
It's a brand new month - time for a brand new start. Excuses? NO WAY! October is my breakthrough month...there will be no stopping me now!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dr. Oz Ultimate Health Challenge

*Photo courtesy of the Dr. Oz Show. (Pictured in front: Eddie George, Dr. Oz, Taj George)

It really pays to be a night owl writer sometimes. I knew that Dr. Oz had his own show now, but it airs after midnight here. As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I finally caught an episode...and what an episode! With the help of football great Eddie George and his lovely wife Taj, Dr. Oz is kicking off The Ultimate Health Challenge.

Taj told her story of finally losing her baby weight, and she wants to motivate all of the other moms out there who want to lose theirs as well. Dr. Oz has 2 teams of NFL moms...one team of 10 represents the AFC, the other group represents the NFC. They will be monitored on the show as they lose weight and get healthy.

Dr. Oz gave a list of important health numbers to concentrate on: blood pressure, waist size, cholesterol, body mass index, and weight. Using a couple of the moms as examples, he showed how their numbers were way too high and what could happen because of it. That really opened my eyes to just how important it is to take care of ourselves.

The real A-HA! moment came when he showed what a layer of belly fat looks like in a slender person...then showed the belly fat of an obese person. Not only was it much larger, but also extremely discolored and quite grotesque. Just knowing that I have a layer that looks like that on my inside...well, it made me ill and more determined to get rid of it.

You can take the challenge along with the NFL moms at http://www.doctoroz.com/challenge/dr-ozs-ultimate-health-challenge. Whatever plan you are on now, I really believe this is a great supplement to help us reach our goals. Sometimes it really helps to have the extra push!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Motivational Monday!

This week was an awesome week for me in so many ways. The only thing that wasn't so great was that I saw a 1 pound gain this morning on the scale.
There are some positive things about my weigh-in, however...considering that I had so much going on this week and missed my workouts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Besides only getting to exercise for the first half of the week, I had several events where I indulged a little bit. Beer and wings at my husband's high school reunion, pizza at my son's birthday party...then I topped that off with birthday cake. One pound is really not bad with all of that going on! In the past I would have really pigged out and had at least a 3 0r 4 pound gain. I am not sorry at all that I celebrated at these events, now I just have to get back on track. I really wish I had still been able to fit the exercise in, but I am fully back to business this week.
I choose to focus on the positives of this week. Everyone loved the cupcakes I made for school for my son's birthday. It's been a great week for my colleagues and I at Ballroom Dance Channel, and I'm looking forward to some great possibilities. I got to attend the Cleveland DanceSport Challenge on Saturday, which was the first time I got to attend a dance event live. I am so inspired by these dancers of all ages who competed in the Challenge. At the reunion that night, my husband and I reconnected with some of his classmates and I met wonderful new people. I spent time there with good friends I already know well, and I enjoyed talking to the people I didn't know, making new friendships and even learning more about health and wellness. My good friend Kris (who went to school with my husband) and I have come up with a term for this: we are "Classmates-In-Law"! It's amazing how we've connected with each other and with classmates of our spouses and their spouses. I am very blessed to get to know them!
Yesterday was my son's birthday party...starting at the roller skating rink with his friends, and ending with a party at our house for family. I didn't skate, but I will soon! The kids had a blast, and the DJ played a lot of great dance music; I immediately started choreographing Sambas and Cha Chas in my head! I loved having the family together at our house afterward, and playing with my adorable niece and nephew. Thank you so much to my brother Brad and my brother-in-law Jim, who helped us set up some new computer equipment. I'm pretty good with some of the tech stuff, but this was way beyond my knowledge and they are a Godsend.
Now...on to my motivational person(s) of the week. I have chosen Phil and Amy Parham from The Biggest Loser. They live inspirational lives, not only in the health and fitness department, but in the way they live their faith as well. You can find out more about them at http://philandamy.ning.com/. They are really wonderful and amazing people!
This week is going to be a great one...fitness-wise and otherwise. Here's to a healthy and inspiring week!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reflections: On My Son's Birthday

On this day 11 years ago, I gave birth to my incredible son, Shane. As my husband and I celebrate his birthday with him today, I am also reflecting on my journey since becoming a mom.

Back in 1994, I started putting on weight when my mom became ill and then passed away a few months later. I continued to gain while missing her terribly, and finally started to take control of my health again in 1998. Little did I know that when I started on my New Year's resolution, I was already 1 week pregnant!

I actually lost 6 pounds during the first month of 1998, but then the scale refused to budge. I didn't know what was going on. Then when I was late for that time of the month, I began to get a clue. I took the home pregnancy test, and it came up positive. I went a couple of days later to the doctor, who confirmed the exciting news. My husband and I were thrilled!

At my first OB-GYN visit a week later, I discovered that I had already gained back 4 of those pounds that I lost. (I had stopped getting on the scale once I found out I was expecting.) I was 174 at that appointment...and continued to gain as I ate for 2. I gave in to every craving: ice cream, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Oreos, mashed potatoes and gravy from Boston Market. I knew I was getting much bigger, but thought that was good for the baby. At my last appointment before giving birth, I weighed 232 pounds. My husband gained 25 pounds right along with me!

Everything I went through during that time was completely worth it, because I have my wonderful son. I started being more careful with my food choices, and at the 6 week checkup Shane was doing well and I weighed 212 pounds. I was given the green light to exercise again, and it's been a roller coaster ride on the scale ever since. (More on that in another post!)

So...as I celebrate with Shane today, I also celebrate the fact that I am finally on the right path to losing weight and getting healthier. I know it will give me more energy and make me an even better mom, so I am not just doing this for me...I'm doing it for Shane as well.

Happy Birthday Shane...I love you, and I will make you proud!!! xoxoxo

Monday, September 21, 2009

Motivational Monday..Whoo-hoo!!!

Since last week I only lost a single pound, I was really, really hoping and praying for a much better result this week. I stepped up my exercise, stayed consistent with my water intake, and really watched my food choices. I spent a lot of time gazing at my motivation board, and reading whatever I could to keep me inspired.

As I stepped on my good (?) friend the scale, I was still praying for a great number. We all know how there are weeks that you do everything right, but it doesn't show on the scale. Well...I'm extremely happy to report that I lost 2.6 pounds this week! This brings me oh so close to 200...200.4 to be exact. I'm so close to the 100's that I can smell it. I'm sure I'll be doing a little Samba the day I get there!

My motivational person for this week is Ali Vincent, the first female Biggest Loser. As we watch the new season, let us also think about how much Ali has inpired us and continues to do so. You can keep up with this incredible woman at http://alivincent.com/ . If we believe in ourselves, we can all do it!

Let's all make this week even better than the one before...and blast that fat!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Biggest Loser Season 8 Premiere - WOW!

I didn't sleep that well last night, still pumped about the Season 8 Premiere of The Biggest Loser. I kept thinking about everything that happened during the show...there was so much packed into those 2 hours that I had a lot to think about.
One of my first thoughts is that this is already the most intense season to date, even after seeing only one episode so far. Jillian pushes harder than ever, and even Bob is more worked up in the gym. I know some people think Jillian is too mean, but remember that you only see the show in its edited format. What I see in her is a passion for helping people get past the "I can't" mentality...something I've been learning to do myself. She doesn't give up on people, and doesn't want them to give up on themselves. With the two trainers working together this season, I must admit I got a kick out of watching a contestant get intense with Jillian, then switching over and getting a beating from Bob too! I constantly learn so much from both of them, and it helps me on my journey.
The other part that got me was the stories of the contestants. They all have been through so much in their lives, from being raised by a mother addicted to heroin, all the way to losing a husband and children to a car crash. If people who have been through this much can commit to improving the quality of their lives...well, then I certainly can! We all have our own issues to deal with, but they are inspiring me on my journey as I support them on theirs. That's what life is all about.
Last night we even had a woman who would not give up on the first challenge...so much so that she wound up being airlifted to the hospital, and as of the show's close she was still there. I admire her for not giving up...and pray that she is OK. It also reminds me that I need to keep moving ahead on my journey, so I never get to the point where I can't complete even a short amount of exercise. I need to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and keep gaining control of my health and life right along with these wonderful people who are changing their lives before our very eyes.
I pray that God leads all of us to be stronger, healthier people...and that we can pay it forward by inspiring and motivating others. I can't wait to see what the rest of this season has in store!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Motivational Monday!!!

Well, I knew I'd had a couple of rough spots this week, since I missed a couple of workouts due to a sinus headache and allergies. I also had cake at my niece's birthday party. I did well otherwise, so I was curious as to what I would see on the scale this morning.

I am now at 203...I lost 1 pound. Normally I'd be a little more bummed about this, but knowing that I didn't get all of my exercise in and I had that cake I'm pretty happy with my results for the week. All I know is I will keep moving in the right direction and push harder now. I'm drinking water as I write this, and planning out my strategy for the week ahead.

I do have some other great news to report: I took my measurements again today, and my waist is 40 1/2"; my hips are 47 3/4". This means I have lost 2 1/2" from my waist since I started, and 2" from my hips. It helps to see that progress...and I'm looking forward to seeing my waist get under 40" very soon!

It was hard for me to pick one motivational person of the week for you after seeing the Dance Your A** Off Reunion, so I'm picking all 12 of the contestants! Go to http://dyao.oxygen.com/ to see everyone's transformations. I'm sure I will feature them individually at some point, but I've learned so much from the whole group that I wanted to give you all of their inspiration.

Now let's all go out there and dance, walk, run...just exercise our a**es off like them, and we all win!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Race For The Cure - I WILL!

I did not run today in our local Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. I've been wanting to do it for a few years, but something has always prevented me from participating. I was signed up one year for the walk portion of the race, but wound up with a sinus infection the day before the event, so I did not get to walk. The following year, I knew I would have to work the morning of the race, so I donated to a special part of the race that was called Sleep In For The Cure...if you were not running or walking, this was your category. I was happy to still give my money to the cause, but I've only worn the shirt to sleep in, since I wasn't actually sleeping in on the day of the race: I was at work. I must say, it's quite ironic to only wear a shirt that reads Sleep In For The Cure to bed!

This cause is near and dear to my heart. I lost my mom, cousin, and 2 aunts to breast cancer. As you may have read in some of my earlier posts this summer, I've had 3 surgical biopsies myself on a total of 4 "unusual masses" that showed up on mammogram and ultrasound. Thanks to God...they were all benign, but I still have to watch my body closely, as does my other cousin, because of our strong family history.

Every year, I say I will run the following year, but it hasn't happened yet. This year I couldn't even donate, because my husband got laid off in May and we're having trouble paying the bills. The other thing that has held me back from the race is my weight. I know I need to be in better shape to run this race. I want to make a good showing for my family, and not crumble in a heap on the course because I am not conditioned for it. I also know that by exercise and eating healthy, I am hopefully preventing this disease in my own body.

Today is the day that I make this promise: I will be running in next year's Race For The Cure in Cleveland, Ohio. I am already getting stronger and in better shape, so I am setting this goal for sure. AND...this time, it's not just a promise I am making in my head - now that I've posted it in this blog, it's as if I've signed a contract to run this race. To my mom Helen, cousin Carol, Aunt Jean and Aunt Paula...I love all of you and miss you so much, and I will not let you down!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Small Victories Turn Into Big Ones!

Today I decided I would make a list of accomplishments since starting this weight loss journey. I've lost a little over 9 pounds, which is wonderful, but that's not the only thing going on here. It helps to think about all of the good stuff that happens when you switch to a healthy lifestyle, especially when you haven't lost enough for people to really notice what you've accomplished so far.
I can still remember last year about this time, when I had lost 13 pounds and no one said anything, but they noticed that another family member had lost weight...and he had only lost 7 pounds! That day I wound up having a second piece of cake because I felt so discouraged. That is not going to happen this time around. I will think about my list of what I call "small victories", to keep me from losing my mind when strange things like this happen. Here's my list to date:
1. My clothes are a lot looser already
2. Some clothes that were too tight before fit now
3. When in the shower, I can feel that my stomach doesn't stick out as far as it did before
4. The bath towel now goes all the way around my body
5. I feel fuller sooner, with less food
6. I am satisfied with just a small serving of a treat, instead of wanting to eat way too much of it
7. I prefer water over soda now
8. I'm starting to have more energy
9. I can tell my body is getting stronger
10. My husband notices that I've lost weight
11. My son loves that his arms fit all the way around me now
12. I can dance for a lot longer now!
I know I will add to this list as time goes on. I challenge all of you to make a list of your small victories. I know it will help all of us boost our confidence, and before you know it, our small victories will have turned into huge accomplishments!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

OFB: Setting New Goals!!!

This week our Operation Fat Blaster Mission is to create a new set of goals, and also grade ourselves on how we've done so far...a progress report of sorts. Now, I always enjoyed progress reports when I was in school, because I was not a troublemaker and my parents always received good notes from my teachers. Let's see how I did for my fitness progress report!
My original goal was to get under 200 pounds by Labor Day. Since that was yesterday and I am at 204, I didn't quite reach my goal. I have, however, lost over 9 pounds...most of which was since I announced that goal. I've also lost inches and feel healthier and stronger. I've learned how to get right back on track after a slip-up and stay motivated. I've been challenged and met those challenges head on. I'd say all in all I did pretty well, so I will give myself a B.
Now for the new goals: My son's birthday is in 16 days, on September 24th. I will be at 198 or lower by his birthday. I will workout one hour every day and continue my healthy eating habits. I am also back to drinking more water...I've done well with that, but this past weekend not so much, so I'm back to it again. I will change up my workouts so I don't get bored, and try out the Pilates DVD that I have to work my core better.
In watching last night's Dance Your A** Off Reunion Special, I was completely motivated and inspired by what the contestants have done since they went home from the show. This also helped me form my new goals, and the show aired at the perfect time...right as one deadline came for me, and I was ready to set the next one. It goes to show what you can accomplish with hard work and determination, and it's time to incorporate even more of that mindset into my life.
I am going to make sure I can give myself an A come September 24th. Once that goal is reached, I will set a new goal. I will never settle...always reach to be better!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day...and Motivational Monday!!!

Happy Labor Day! As you may recall, I had set a goal for myself to be under 200 pounds by Labor Day, so this is a big weigh-in for me. I also wondered what I would see on the scale this morning, since we had a big BBQ at our house on Saturday, and I did have a few beers and a couple of shots. Otherwise I did well, including the extra trips up and down the stairs and eating healthy the rest of the week.

Well, I lost 2 pounds!!! I now weigh 204, and I'm very happy with that. I'm thankful that my celebration on Saturday didn't mess me up on the scale. I know I did not quite get to my goal for Labor Day, but I truly believe that I would not have even been this close without setting that goal. I am making a new set of goals, which I will post tomorrow. I'm down over 9 pounds since starting this blog, so I know I'm on my way to even smaller numbers!

This week my motivational person is Tara Costa from this past season's Biggest Loser. She is amazing, and if you remember she was even able to pull a car! She is still kicking butt and motivating the rest of us to reach our goals. She just launched her new site at http://www.taracosta.com/ in order to reach as many people as she can to inspire them!

Enjoy the holiday, and let's all make this a fantastic week!!! xoxoxo

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Operation Fat Blaster: The Stairs!!!

Our mission this week is to take the stairs wherever we can, instead of using the elevator or escalator. If we don't have access to stairs, we need to get an extra 30 minutes of activity in some other way. The idea is to find little ways to get fit that you can sneak into each day.

I work from my home office, so the only stairs I have to climb are the ones in my house. I decided to take extra trips up and down the stairs when I don't necessarily have to use them. Every day this week, I have gone up and down both sets of stairs several extra times...the ones that lead upstairs to the bedrooms and office, and the ones that lead to our finished basement.

This is a really good thing for me. Every summer, when we go to Huntington Beach here in Cleveland, there are some really killer steps. They are numerous and quite steep. Going down to the beach is not so bad, but coming back up to street level always gets me. I get out of breath and my legs are very shaky...I have to stop and sit down on the closest bench, and it takes me a while to recover. (And at the top of those steps, there is an ice cream stand...doesn't that figure???)

I am determined that by next summer I will not have any problems with those beach steps. I also researched stair climbing, and found that it is actually a sport! You can check out more about that at www.stairclimbingsport.com . You can burn twice as many calories stair climbing than walking...now there's some extra incentive!

I also snuck in some other extra exercise this week...I parked further away at the bank, grocery store, etc. and got more walking in instead of just finding the closest spot. I've also been doing leg lifts in front of the computer. (You're picturing that now, aren't you?) It all adds up, and I will continue to find more ways to fit in little workouts throughout the day.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Motivational Monday

Well, I certainly thought I did everything right this week! I got on the scale this morning, really expecting to see a loss. I can tell how much looser my clothes are, and I now fit into a few things that were too tight to wear before. I know that is a sign that I am doing something right.
My scale did not show the number I was hoping for...I am back up to 206, which means I gained .8 pounds. I know that's less than a full pound, but I still didn't think that's what I would see this morning. I know I followed my plan, except for one single chocolate chip cookie on Saturday. Once again it's the time of the month for Aunt Flo to make her visit, so I'm thinking that may be the reason.
I have gotten past my initial disappointment, and I'm focusing on the clothing fitting better and the other positives that I'm noticing. (In being disappointed with the scale, I forgot to take my measurements...and I've already had breakfast so I can't do it now.) It's nice to hear my husband say that he can see me starting to get slimmer, and what a feeling having my son say that when he hugs me, his arms fit around me better now!!!
My motivational person for this week is the most recent winner of Nashville Star, Melissa Lawson. Not only did she go for her dreams of a singing career and win the competition, she lost 45 pounds while doing the show and continues to lose weight as she lives her dreams. If you want to find out more about Melissa, you can check out http://www.myspace.com/melissalawsonnashvillestar .
You know what else inspires me...the vision board I made for the challenge! I recommend this project to anyone on a weight loss journey. Looking at it will definitely keep you going on tough days, and motivate you even more on good days. It's the last week before Labor Day, so lets make it a great one!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wow! I Have a Lovely Blog!!!

I just received my second blog award a few days ago. Thank you to Annie at http://annie-shrinkinggirl.blogspot.com/ for bestowing the One Lovely Blog Award upon me. She is definitely shrinking and really amazing! She also inspires me on my journey, and I'm sending a big hug out to her right now!
Now that I've received this wonderful award, I am to thank the person who gave it to me, which is taken care of above. The other part of this honor is that I am to choose 15 blogs that I think are lovely, and give the award out to them. I love them all, but here are my 15:
Please check out these blogs, they are inspiring and incredible...and thank you again Annie!!! xoxoxo

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stop Calling In Fat To Life! (the wrong way)

***The above photo courtesy of the Junonia Plus-Size catalog.

I read an awesome blog yesterday from Marissa Jaret Winokur. She is keeping a weight loss blog for People Magazine: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20300257,00.html . In the latest installment she talks about calling in fat, like you would call in sick to work. She mainly focuses on the fact that she took a little vacation, where she didn't count calories, went to the beach and just enjoyed the time with her husband and son. She also skipped writing her blog for a week. This version of calling in fat is something that makes sense to me...Marissa's been working hard, and needed a vacation to just relax and enjoy. We all do that from time to time, whether we are size 2 or higher!

She did also touch on the other way we all call in fat. We skip parties and events because we feel too fat to make an appearance. I can say I have done this, more often than I would even like to admit. Marissa got me thinking about the times I have decided not to go somewhere because I felt like people would be staring at my size or make comments. Sometimes I even skipped an event because I thought I would overindulge on all of the good food that was going to be served there. The problem was, I would always feel depressed that I was missing out on the fun, and then eat junk anyway to make myself feel better. Then I'd have to call in fat to another event, and the cycle continued.

I have decided that I will not call in fat to my life anymore! I will attend those parties and just enjoy myself. I'm learning how to control myself around the food, so that is not a problem now. Life doesn't start once you become a certain size...you are living it NOW!!!

I play tennis, dance, go to the pool or the beach, and do whatever I wish, at the size I am now. As I continue losing weight, the size of my clothes is becoming smaller, but I am going to enjoy and live life no matter what.

So calling in fat to take a little vacation is OK, as long as you get back to business once you come back. But don't skip having fun in life because of your size...go out there and just live!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Operation Fat Blaster: Recipe Makeover Mission!

This week, our mission was to take a favorite comfort food recipe, and give it a healthy makeover...so that when we do indulge, it's not as bad for you!

I made over my favorite New York Cheesecake recipe. Here are the ingredients for the original recipe:

3 Tbsp. Butter
5 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. flour

When these ingredients are processed and baked, one serving (1/16th) of cheesecake is 449 calories and 32 grams of fat. Now, here is the made-over version:

3 Tbsp. reduced calorie butter spread
5 packages (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
4 eggs
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. flour

Heat over to 325 degrees. Line 13 by 9 inch pan with foil. Mix crushed graham crackers, 3 Tbsp. of the sugar, and butter spread; press onto bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, rest of sugar, flour, and vanilla extract until blended. Add sour cream and blend. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed until blended.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Use foil to lift cheesecake from pan. Top with fresh strawberries. Makes 16 servings.

In adjusting to reduced fat and lower calorie ingredients, one serving of cheesecake becomes 340 calories and 19 grams of fat. Still not exactly "diet" food...but it definitely won't do as much damage if you indulge, and you shouldn't have this kind of food all the time anyway. I prefer strawberries over cherries to begin with, so I changed the fruit, but any kind of fresh fruit would be great on this cheesecake.

I do also want to add a tip: When I make pumpkin pies for the holidays, I always use the fat free condensed milk instead of the regular kind. I tweak the spices a little, and otherwise follow the normal directions. Everyone always wants me to make my pies...because they like the flavor better. And the pie is a little bit better for all of us!

I'm so glad we had this challenge. I plan to makeover more recipes very soon!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motivational Monday!

It's my ultimate day of truth each week...Monday! Time to reveal the number on the scale from this morning and my measurements, and also what I think I did right or need to improve.

The scale was my first stop this morning (well, after the bathroom!) and I was feeling good about my week. I hoped to see a big number, but also know that any loss is good. I now weigh 205.2, so I lost 1.6 pounds for the week. It's a little better than last Monday, so that's a step in the right direction. Then, I took my measurements, and I lost another 1/4 inch from my waist and slightly more than 1/4 inch from my hips. I love seeing these numbers get smaller!!!

I did really well with my workouts this past week, still hitting the treadmill and the elliptical. I stumbled upon a great deal at Giant Eagle while I was buying groceries...a couple of Jilliam Michaels DVD's for $9.99 each! You'd better believe I snatched those up...they are making room for new releases in their video department, so a lot of workout DVD's and TV series box sets were marked way down. This week I will be trying out those Jillian workouts!

I still did pretty well with my eating plan, but I did have some fast food on Saturday. My son and I were at the pool, and afterward we went to McDonald's. I was starving and got a Big Mac combo...next time I have to think smarter and get one of their salads, and not let the hunger cause me to make bad choices. Otherwise, I ate healthy food, and I did get right back on plan after my Saturday night splurge, so I am happy about that.

My motivational person this week is Julie Hadden, who was on Biggest Loser Season 4. She lost 97 pounds, and I love that she gives God the credit for giving her the strength to change her life. He is the reason any of us find our strength, and she is very open about that. She has a book coming out very soon, which is titled "Fat Chance". If you want to learn more about this amazing woman, she has a web site...www.juliehadden.com .

Here's to an even better week ahead, full of success and learning...I know we can all do this!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

OFB: Mission Completed!!!

Well, I got the Inspiration Board done...as you can see I'm still having trouble with my camera. I can't get it to center the board to get the whole thing in, and some pictures are a little fuzzy. But you get the idea. I will explain more about this board, since there are some things you can't see too well.
Let me start by re-posting the poem:
Multi-talented, love to create
Able to accomplish anything I set my mind to
Radiant and full of passion
Incredibly compasssionate
Empowered and loving it
For the first line, I have pictures of pen and paper, a singer (Jewel), a guitar, the words "I Create Music", and a handmade bracelet. I am a writer and make jewelry...and also sing, play guitar, and write songs.
For the second line, my pictures are of people hiking, skiing, dancing, and playing tennis. I've already started on some of these, and I will accomplish them!
The pictures for the third line are of confident and passionate people...some are generic, while some are celebrities: Marissa Jaret Winokur, Star Jones, Christina Applegate, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. These are women who don't let anything stop them from living their lives and going for their dreams. The large dancing picture is Julianne Hough, for two reasons. First of all, I write about dance. Secondly...that girl radiates confidence and can do anything!
The fourth line's pictures are a pair of hands holding a heart, and a shirt with Jesus on it...since He is the one who made me the way I am and helps me become more compassionate every day.
The pictures for the fifth and final line are a monarch butterfly, Jillian Michaels and Kim Lyons, salad, veggies and a woman in the warrior pose. I also pasted words: "Eat Smart", "I learned to push myself", and "I broke down my 'fat' walls". Reading these definitely makes me feel empowered!
Just looking at this board makes me feel stronger than ever. Thank you Michelle for this wonderful idea!!! xoxoxo

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Operation Fat Blaster - This Week's Challenge Part 1

Our challenge this week from Operation Fat Blaster is twofold: First, we are to come up with an acrostic name poem, using qualities we love about ourselves. The second part is to get a poster board and write the poem on it, then find pictures from magazines that depict those qualities. I have the poem done, so here it is:

Multi-talented, love to create
Able to accomplish anything I set my mind to
Radiant and full of passion
Incredibly compassionate
Empowered and loving it

Now I have to get the poster board and find the pictures...I'm a magazine freak so I have plenty of them to look through! The idea is to keep the board somewhere we can constantly look at it, so we remind ourselves of our positives. I can't wait to get the board done so I can show it to you!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Motivational Monday!!!

Happy Monday everyone! Let me start off this post by saying that I'm so thankful that I can use my computer again. Yesterday a virus shut me down...it even disabled my antivirus software so I couldn't use it. I had to reload Windows, and thank God it works now, because I really needed to post this, plus I have 2 assignments for Ballroom Dance Channel today!
This morning when I went into my bathroom to step on the scale, I was a little nervous because I missed my workout last night due to the computer fiasco. The only thing I did was get up and walk around while I was waiting for various things to load or be scanned, because I got sick of sitting for such a long time. I did very well the rest of the week with exercise though, and also stayed healthy in the eating department. No diet soda again this week - just plenty of water!
Well, the number did go down on the scale...I am now at 206.8. I lost 1.4 pounds, and although I was hoping for more, this brings me to 5.2 pounds lost since starting Operation Fat Blaster. Using my friend Melissa's advice, I've been taking measurements as well. Today my waist is 41 3/4", and my hips are 48 1/2". In the last 2 weeks, I've lost 1 1/4" from my waist...and the same amount from my hips! It so nice to see the progress in more than one way, especially when the scale doesn't move as much as I think it should. Thank you Melissa!!!
My motivational person for this week is Kristin Steede from The Biggest Loser. She was an inspiration while on the show, and she looks gorgeous and happy! Not only that, she has her own blog where she keeps challenging the rest of us to do our best and live our lives to the fullest. Check out Kristin's blog at http://www.kristinsteede.com/blog/blog/ and I know she will keep you motivated!
Here's to another awesome August week...just remember, you can do more than you even realize you can. Believe and achieve!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm A Lover...AND A Fighter!!!

This post is dedicated to the people I've had in my life who've done rotten things to me, especially in regards to my weight. I used to let you make me feel depressed and think badly of myself...and that usually led to binges (especially on sweets), giving up on exercise, and laying in bed for much longer than I should have. It made me feel self-conscious around not only you, but other people...because I thought they might be thinking the same things about me that you did. I didn't always enjoy myself to the fullest because of this.

Some of you didn't want to be seen with me, and a couple of you even went so far as to tell my husband that you would like him to join you at parties and events, but that he should leave me at home because it was embarrassing to be seen with me. I am so thankful that I have such a wonderful husband, who stopped even having contact with you because of the way you were treating me. At times others of you would just stare at me like I was a freak or make snide comments about me. I would try to ignore it when your kids made fun of me, thinking that they were still so young and learning about how to act toward people. The thing was - you would do it too, so you were teaching them that ridiculing another person is OK. That was what REALLY bothered me!
Just recently, a couple more of you have decided that it's permissible to make fun of my weight, or the weights of friends of mine who are not even overweight. If you think this is still junior high school and it makes you better than us, you are very sadly mistaken. It just shows that you never grew up.
Over the last few years, I have done a lot of praying and soul searching. God has brought so many awesome people into my life. He gave me the gift of those who show me that I am beautiful - inside and out - no matter what size jeans I wear, and I should live life to the fullest every moment and not let a number on the scale stop me. He also brought those of you helping me on my weight loss journey (whether you are from Operation Fat Blaster, Biggest Loser, Dance Your A** Off, or somewhere else) into my life to help me get healthy.
Of course I am eternally grateful for all of you who are such positive forces in my life...but I also want to thank those of you who did negative things. You thought you were going to bring me down for good, but I take what you've said or done and turn it into motivation. I feel like Christina Aguilera's song "Fighter" is my theme song, because you have made me work harder, be smarter and get stronger in all areas of my life. I take the negative and turn it into positive...I wish everyone would learn to do that. Thank you for the life lessons!!! xoxoxo