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.