Monday, December 27, 2010

God and Santa Were Good To Me!!!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas! I know I sure did...we still didn't have a lot of funds to spend for the holidays this year, but that didn't really matter. The major gift I asked for was a pair of new running shoes, the Nike Dual Fusion in Blue/Green. Santa (my husband and son) could not find that color combination, so they got me the Dual Fusion pictured above in Black/Retro/White. When I unwrapped them on Christmas morning, I discovered that I like this color combo much better, so it all worked out. Plus...I have new running shoes!!!
Even better was Christmas Eve Mass at my sister-in-law's church...even though we had to stand the whole time the service was beautiful. We spent time at her house and then went to my dad's on Christmas. Everyone had a great time and it's truly a gift to catch up with all of our friends and relatives at the holidays. Jesus is the true reason for the season, which makes Christmas special no matter what the material gifts are under the tree.
I did weigh myself this morning, and I gained .6 pounds. No beating myself up over that, because I enjoyed some treats without going overboard and gained only a little over half a pound. Back to business today...and I get to break in the new shoes!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Fitness...and Caroling!

It's been a really busy week, but a lot of fun. I still kept up with my December plan, and hope I get extra fitness points for fighting the crowds on Saturday to finish my shopping. What a zoo! I usually am done well ahead of December 18th, but with money being tight we have to buy a little at a time when the funds come in. I'm finally done...even with my grocery shopping! I started baking already, but have more to do during the week. Luckily I love to bake, so I will crank up the music and have at it!
Speaking of music, I did something I haven't done in up to sing in front of a bunch of people. You may remember that being one of the goals on my list from earlier this year. It was kareoke, but still it was all me singing. We did some Christmas carols along with other songs, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It's time to get out there and start singing again...besides just at home or in my car. I will be back again next Sunday for more!
Today was weigh-in day, and I lost .8 pounds. Not quite a pound but still good for the holiday season. I've lost 4.4 pounds so far for December, when in the past I would usually gain, or stay the same if I was lucky. I have some other exciting news on the fitness front that I will share with you shortly, but for now let's all enjoy the week leading up to Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weighing In on a Wintery Monday!

Now the weather outside is REALLY frightful. Plenty of blowing and drifting snow, wind chills below zero...Jack Frost is nipping at more than just my nose! My son does not have school today, and I wouldn't be surprised if they close for tomorrow as well. We're supposed to get more of the same all the way through Wednesday.
Inside of my nice warm house, I stepped on the scale this morning to find a 1 pound loss. Although I would have liked to see more gone than that, I'm pretty happy with it. Last week was my son's choir and band concert, and then we found out my cousin John passed away and had his memorial service a couple of days later. I fit in my exercise anywhere I could, even if it was in smaller amounts. I managed not to eat my sorrow about my cousin...instead being motivated to get myself in better shape due to his medical problems.
We're not quite halfway through December and I'm right on pace...almost halfway to my goal for the month. I will step it up this week even more. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know how I want to get back into skiing shape. My article was recently published about other sports and exercises that will help you with your skiing, which you can read at I am incorporating some of these into my workouts to strengthen up for the slopes.
Though my workouts are indoors for the next few days, they will be intense. Here's to a fit week...and please stay warm!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life Lessons...From My Cousin John

This has been a rough wonderful cousin John passed away a few days ago, and we had his memorial service last night. He was only 58, but he left behind a lot of amazing memories and a gift of life lessons to all of us. Here are a few that hit home with me:
Do what you're passionate about. John always followed his passions...computers, technology, and science fiction were the main three, and he always gave his all to everything he did. He also loved playing blackjack and went to Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City every chance he got to play as often as time and money would allow. If you love doing something, go do it. Make the most of every moment you have on this earth.
Take care of your health. Unfortunately, John gives us this lesson because he did not take care of his own health very well. He was severely overweight and diabetic, and although at times he tried to take control he didn't stay with it. I firmly believe that he would still be with us if he had taken better care of himself. Do everything you can to get fit and healthy, so you can be around for a long live your dreams and spend more time with your loved ones.
Family is important; don't let too much time go by. This is another lesson learned the hard way. At John's memorial service, there were some cousins, aunts, and friends of the family that I hadn't seen in years. Some of my cousins' children are already grown up and we all missed out on a lot of time together. We are working on keeping in touch much better...we want to start making the time for each other so we don't only see each other at funerals. As with John, we don't have unlimited time on earth so we need to find the time in our busy schedules to spend time together. Call that relative that you haven't talked to in a long time...or stop by to see them. Don't wait!
Now that John is in heaven, we need to remember these lessons and make the most of them. Rest in peace my dear cousin....and as my cousin Tom said yesterday about his brother, "Warp speed...into the new world."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weather Is Frightful...But Fitness Is Delightful!!!

Yes, the snow is falling softly outside of my window as I write today. It looks very pretty now that the wind has died down, and since I'm not in the Snowbelt it's not piling up too high (at least this time!). And the city snow plow has actually been coming by regularly to keep the streets clean!
I got my workouts in every day this past week...some were longer, some were shorter, but I still got my exercise in each and every day. This has always been a challenge during the holiday season for me, which is why I made it one of my December goals. It's my Christmas gift to myself - much better than "treating" myself to unlimited holiday goodies all season. Weigh-in was this morning, and I lost 1.6 pounds. This means I lost what I gained over Thanksgiving plus a little bit more...and it's a great start to my goal of at least 8 pounds lost during the most wonderful time of the year.
Speaking of December fitness, I have a new article published with an overview of the health and fitness magazines that are out this month. Please check it out at and see which articles intrigue you the most. Onward toward our December really is the gift that keeps on giving!

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Workout Playlist

Now that it's snowing outside, I need more fresh tunes to keep me motivated and going strong. More often than not, I'm walking or running on the treadmill and the music keeps me from being bored with no change of scenery. I do sometimes put on a football game or another good program on TV to work out, but music is still my number one way to stay the course.
Here are a few of the latest songs on my playlist:
Wildflower - JaneDear Girls
Put You In A Song - Keith Urban
My First Kiss - 3oh3
Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones
Felt Good On My Lips - Tim McGraw
Get On Your Feet - Gloria Estefan
Family Affair - Mary J. Blige
Shut Up And Drive - Chely Wright (not the Rihanna song, even though it's great)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson
Rock What You Got- Superchick
All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey ('tis the season...have to have some holiday music!)
If you have any other great suggestions, feel free to add a comment and let me know. Let's all keep each other inspired through the holidays!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Goals: Merry Christmas to Me!

Happy December 1st! It's time to make a new set of monthly goals, even though we are diving into the holiday season. I had set goals for November, but some of them were not met because of the chronic fatigue problem. However, as a blog reader pointed out, I did something about the fatigue problem and went about finding a solution instead of just using it as an excuse to abandon my healthy plans. In the past, I would have just quit on my fitness goals with something like this...but I really have come too far to go back. I really like being able to accomplish things!
I also did modify some holiday recipes and drink plenty of water, which helped me get through November in better shape than I normally would have. Now that I have my energy back, here are my December goals:
1. Continue with the H2O, while limiting the special holiday beverages that are so tempting this time of year.
2. Modify some more recipes and find healthier cookie ones. I have to get my brother's awesome veggie casserole recipe he served on was healthy and full of flavor!
3. Even on the busiest days, I will get at least 30 - 45 minutes of vigorous exercise. On days I have a little more time, an hour will be the goal.
4. Remember that working out does not give me license to eat unlimited amounts of cookies, candy, eggnog, or other holiday goodies. The calories and fat will still add up to more than I can burn off!
5. Lose 8 -10 pounds during December, by keeping to my plan listed above.
6. Find non-edible ways to be in the Christmas spirit, remember the true meaning of the holidays, and fully enjoy the season!
Feel free to share your December goals with me as well...together we can keep each other on track to start 2011 in a much healthier way!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Running On Leftovers

Wow, it's been a week since I blogged here...spent most of the time baking pies, writing articles, covering the DWTS finale, and getting ready for the big Thanksgiving weekend. On Thanksgiving Day we had dinner at my brother's at 2:30 PM, celebrated my nephew's 2nd birthday, and then moved on to my mother-in-law's for another dinner at 6 PM. I did my best to pace myself at each meal, but of course I still felt a bit too full.
Some of my friends and I went out and tackled Black Friday together (a tradition with us!), so I burned a lot of calories shopping all day. I ordered a salad for lunch, not just because of all of the eating the day before, but knowing that Friday night we had a reunion get together as well. I got home from shopping and immediately headed over to the party. I know I ate a bit too much there, and we did shots together too. After 3 of them I bowed out, knowing I didn't want to feel like crap the next day, and started drinking water to re-hydrate after the alcohol.
I did feel pretty icky the next day, but it had nothing to do with the drinks. It was my allergies...after being around dogs and cats for both turkey dinners and the party my sinuses were shot. (And of course the pets LOVE me...I think they know I'm allergic and they always come over to cuddle up on me.) Add the fact that the lady in red has delivered my monthly gift, and you'll see why the rest of my weekend was not very active. I did enjoy a lot of football at least!
I got on the scale this morning to find a 1.4 pound gain. I can live with that...usually with all of those big meals it would be at least 4 or 5 pounds. With the monthly gift and the alcohol, I actually did pretty well for the week. I certainly had a lot of fun, and now all of the leftovers are gone. Back to running on premium fuel now!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Success: Thank You God and Vitamin B12!!!

Today is a VERY happy weigh-in day for me. After a few weeks of losing less than a pound, staying the same, or gaining half a pound, I'm seeing some real success. My scale proudly told me this morning that I lost 2.4 pounds this week!
I have to attribute this success to the Vitamin B12 shot that my doctor gave me on Tuesday this past week. He told me that I would probably feel the difference pretty quickly, and he was right. About 24 hours after receiving the shot I felt somewhat better. It's been almost a week, and each day my energy level has improved upon the day before. I've actually been able to get most of my workouts in, and I even spontaneously dance to the radio at times. It's so nice not to be dragging all the time!
Thank you God for leading me to a solution to this problem, and thank you doc for the B12. If you'll excuse me...I need to get up and dance now! :o)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To B or Not To B: Doctor's Orders

Yesterday I had the actual office visit with my doctor to determine why I'm so fatigued all the time. He had my blood test results from Thursday and gave me the news. Thyroid is fine, I'm not anemic...everything came out well. The only thing I was lacking was enough Vitamin B12. He had the nurse give me a Vitamin B12 shot, which I'm somewhat familiar with since my dad has to get them once in a while. Doc told me that I should started feeling better pretty quickly, and within 2 weeks I should know if it's working. If after that amount of time I'm still not feeling right, I will have to go to a sleep lab for an overnight observation.
His thought is that I may have sleep apnea, which a lot of people with chronic fatigue have. Allergies and being overweight contribute to the sleep problems...and I meet both of those criteria. Doc wants me to lose at least 20 pounds, which he said will help with my energy levels. He also realizes the Catch-22: that I'm trying to lose weight to feel better, but some days I don't have the energy to exercise. He shared with me that he's lost 8 pounds on Weight Watchers for's really nice to hear that your physician is taking the steps necessary for his own health instead of just telling hs patients to do it. He believes the B12 will help boost me to the point that I feel up to all of my tasks and workouts, and if not we can find a solution through my sleep patterns.
I will say that I'm already feeling much better with the B12, and it hasn't quite been 24 hours since I had the shot. Hopefully this does the trick and I won't need the sleep study. Thankfully I'm on my way to more energy and better health!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Ultimate Goal: No Regrets!!!

In the past two weeks, I've gained half a pound. Many of you know that I'm dealing with some chronic fatigue issues, and tomorrow I should find out more on how to deal with that at my doctor's appointment. Still, I hate backsliding...knowing that I should be working out hard but having days that make it difficult.
I feel that I'm still not doing everything I can to get my health in order. Maybe I'm letting my mind take over and tell me that I'm tired, even on the days that I'm really not. The mind is more powerful than any of us actually realize. If there is a vitamin deficiency or thyroid problem, I will still need to overcome it and get things done. I'm still going to need to train my brain, because that is part of the battle. I just finished reading "Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday" by Olympic champion Apolo Ohno. His book is part memoir, but even more than that it takes us inside the power of the mind to do our best on any given day. If you would like to read my review of "Zero Regrets", please go to and learn more about this incredible book. I guarantee that you will be inspired!
This is the way I want to live my life...knowing each day that I did everything I could to be my best and live life to the fullest. Time to push harder. Zero regrets baby!

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Date With The Vampires

They wanted my blood...and they would not stop until until they had enough. A little bit just wouldn't do. No way. They had to keep draining more blood out of me until they were completely satisfied. At one point I thought for sure they couldn't be happy until every last drop of it was out of me.

My date with these vampires was early yesterday morning, and they charmed me with music and small talk while they sucked the blood out of me. My doctor had ordered a series of blood tests for me, since I'm fatigued most of the time even though I'm sticking with my healthy habits. I have an appointment with him on Tuesday, so I had to let these vampires disguised as lab technicians draw as much blood as they needed for all of the tests. It turns out they needed 3 full vials of it. Since I had to fast for 12 hours before the blood test, I was extremely lightheaded once they took my blood. Good thing there was a McDonald's around the corner, so I could get an Egg McMuffin and orange juice quickly into my system. I wound up with a headache later on in the day and had to lay down...I'm sure from the fasting and amount of blood removed from me.

On Tuesday I had some energy, so I had a pretty good workout. It lifted my spirits to be able to get moving so much! On Wednesday I did go for a walk, but I couldn't go at my usual pace. I had to slow down some, but at least I was able to do something. Yesterday was, of course, a wash because of the blood test and subsequent headache. So far today I'm feeling pretty good, and it's such a beautiful day here with temperatures in the 60's that I have to go out and take advantage of this gorgeous November weather. Soon enough there will be S-N-O-W!

I will keep you posted on my test could be anemia, a vitamin deficiency, or even a thyroid issue. I'll know more next week, so I will keep on keepin' on in the meantime. Hopefully my vampire date will lead to a healthier me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fighting Incredible Chronic Fatigue

See the woman pictured above? Now think of her with blonde hair...a few years older and a few sizes larger. Then it would be a current picture of me.

You would think that with the improvement in my eating habits I would have all kinds of energy. I've been dragging a lot lately, not exercising up to my potential...or even close. My mind is telling me to do it, but my body is not cooperating. I keep trying to work out, and I do get some in, but I tire way too quickly when I've only been at it a short time. I'm taking a daily multivitamin, magnesium supplement, and omega-3's, but I still feel exhausted most of the time, even when I haven't gotten much done yet. I'll accomplish a few things, but then feel like I need a nap or have to sit and relax for at least a couple of hours before getting anything else done. This happens when I have trouble sleeping...but it also happens when I've had a good night's sleep. It doesn't seem to matter either way with this fatigue.

I've discussed this with several friends, some of whom are having the same issues with lack of energy. It seems that a lot of women my age, and even younger, are dealing with some form of this. The final straw for me was this weekend. I sold my jewelry at a craft show on Saturday, but by the time I got home all I wanted to do was sleep. It's not like I was very active during the show...I sat at my table, waited on customers, and stood every so often when I got stiff from sitting. I was not on my feet all day or getting any exercise, yet I was completely exhausted. This turned into a major headache, litereally and figuratively. Even the extra hour of sleep from turning the clocks back didn't help, and I had to scrap most of my plans for Sunday because I could barely move. Finally I watched the Browns win (whoo-hoo!) and got some laundry and editing done, but not as much as I needed to get done. I had to stop and rest, even though I'd slept for hours and should have been raring to go. My headache was finally gone this morning, and I'm trying my best to get my energy up. I suspect thyroid issues, but friends have also mentioned a Vitamin D deficency and anemia as possible culprits.

I called my doctor's office to set up an appointment. He's out sick today (I often wonder how doctors do it...staying well most of the time when coming in contact with so many sick people) but the nurse set me up for next Tuesday. I have an appointment this week to get blood drawn at their lab, so the results will be ready for Tuesday and my doctor can begin to help me with this. In the meantime, I'm not giving up...I will do everything I can to get as much done as possible and exercise as much as I am able. I forgot to weigh in this morning and remembered when I had already eaten breakfast, so I will do it tomorrow first thing. I have faith that God will get me through this and I will be stronger than before!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Work It Out, Baby!!!

Since this week was really intense in so many ways, I decided to blow off some steam and get silly. I hope you enjoy the above photo of a true superbaby...LOL
I will keep this post brief today, as I run errands and get geared up for another busy fall weekend. I will be selling my jewelry at another craft show tomorrow, have a little more editing to do, and need to plan out my exercise time for the next two days. Thank God that we get to turn our clocks back tomorrow night, so I can catch an extra hour of sleep! ;o)
I just want to remind everyone that two of the best ways to relieve stress are exercise and a sense of humor. So remember to laugh, run, play, and enjoy every moment of your life. Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Being Human: "Let he who is without sin..."

I just found out about 2o minutes ago that my first love/crush, David Cassidy, was arrested for DUI in Florida. While it surprises me, I refuse to condemn him or any other celebrity who makes a mistake. David has been forthcoming in the past about his struggles with alcohol. Since his father, Jack Cassidy, had the same substance issues during his lifetime, it makes sense that David and his brothers may have to deal with the same problems. David is challenging the charges, saying that he had just one glass of wine after a funeral and also had pain medication in his system. He has never been arrested for anything ever before, and he would not knowingly jeopardize himself or others in this manner.
I bet most of us can relate in some way. We've thought we had our situations under control, been going along about our usual business, and fallen off whatever particular wagon we were on. So many people have had tragedies occur in their lives, began to feel weak, and given in again to the cigarettes, alcohol, food, gambling, shopping, and other addictions that they though they had licked. Besides the fact that the wine probably did not mix well with the pain medication, David was grieving the loss of someone in his life and gave in to one glass. I know for myself, I completely went off my healthy eating wagon after my mom passed away...and it's been a struggle ever since. Sugar is just as much of an addiction as any other substance. I've have friends who have had DUI's, usually right after they lost their jobs or had another major stressor in their lives. I know people who haven't had a cigarette in years, only to start smoking again when they have to take care of a relative with an illness or a child with problems at school. No matter how much you think you have the situation under control, you always have to be careful of backsliding in a weak or stressful moment. Struggling with these things does not make any of us bad people.
I am appalled at all of the people on Twitter who think it's OK to make jokes about David's DUI or are ready to condemn him after one mistake. I certainly don't condone drinking and driving or mixing alcohol with medication, but who am I to judge any particular person? Who are any of us to judge? I feel the same way whether the person in the news is David, who is a first time offender, or another celebrity who has had more than one offense and has to continually find ways to deal with his or her addictions. Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." None of us are perfect, so there should not be any stones cast. We need to be looking for ways to help and praying for anyone struggling with an addiction. It could be you, a family member or friend, or someone you've looked up to during your life. We all have our issues...that's part of being human. If we didn't have any struggles we wouldn't be human. The only perfection is God. He is the one we should consult about our problems...and He wants us to help, not harass, eath other when we have problems.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What's on YOUR Plate for November?

Welcome to the month of November in the year 2010! It's the first day of the month and time to set goals for the next 30 days. I know October flew by for me, and it feels like the school year just started even though first quarter report cards just came out. I'm so proud of my son for his stellar grades in all of his enriched classes!
If you made it through Halloween without eating too many treats and tricking your body with all of that sugar, congratulations! If not, it's time to make a plan to stay as on track as possible. Food temptations don't get any easier now, with Thanksgiving on the way and Christmas festivities gearing up. On top of that, there are so many things that need to get done during the holidays that workouts can fall by the wayside if we're not paying attention.
This time of the year is always special for me, yet still challenging with all of the holiday foods and running around getting everything done. Therefore, I've set some goals for myself for the month of November:
1. Find ways to make Thanksgiving recipes healthier. I already do this with my pumpkin pie, but I need to find recipes to lighten up other foods.
2. Pick a couple of special foods that are my favorites, and make those my indulgences instead of stuffing everything down. Speaking of stuffing...that's my main indulgence! I need to savor those treats...and not fill up on other stuff that isn't worth it to me.
3. Find time for exercise every single day of the month. Who says I can't get on the treadmill while I'm watching football? Maybe I can rack up as many yards as those running backs and wide receivers...sounds like a way to challenge myself! I still need to schedule in my workouts; it's even more crucial with a packed holiday schedule to make the time and stick to it.
4. Remember the real meaning of Thanksgiving. While food and football are holiday traditions that make us feel good, the most important thing is getting to spend time and bond with family and friends. It's all in the name...give thanks to God for his grace and mercy, and all of the wonderful things He has done for us!
There are so many things piled on our plates for November, both our dinner dishes and the wider plates of our daily lives. With prayer and goal setting, we can both survive and enjoy the holiday season!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Pretty Good At Drinkin' Water! ;o)

Yes, I just heard that song by Billy Currington, "Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer"...and I'm in a silly mood today. I was thinking how his mama would be so proud that he's reached such a lofty goal in life! LOL

I really am pretty good at drinking water. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I tweet H2O reminders during the day on most days. Once in a while I miss one, or I'm gone all day on the weekends and don't tweet anything. I really need a Blackberry so I can give those portable water tweets! I get a lot of RT's and tweets back thanking me for the reminder...I'm so glad to help, and I know what it's like to get so busy during the day that you forget. I know when I forget, I don't feel as well as usual!

During that "vacation" period I took over the summer, I became pretty good at drinking diet soda again. I'd see my water bottle sitting there, pretend it was Rachel on Friends, and tell myself we were on a break. I did still drink water, especially on those days we were out at the pool, but it wasn't as much as I'd usually drink...and nowhere near enough for what my body needed. My health paid the price, as I became more sluggish and bloated with carbonated drinks.

I knew I had to get back on track. Thankfully my "Rachel" was still there for me, and as I filled up that bottle I swore I could hear her laughing at me and saying I told you so. Diet soda is a very rare beverage for me again, and it's amazing how much better I feel now that I'm back in my H2O routine. Our bodies really do crave water, and we need to give them plenty of it. A break from water is not a good thing, even if you do pretend you're on Friends. Just drink up!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marie Claire Actually DEFENDS That Garbage?

Yesterday, a post appeared online at Marie Claire magazine. This blog, written by Maura Kelly, tore overweight people a new one, for being seen on TV in the show "Mike and Molly" and "disgusting" her by having a romance. Futhermore, she said that "fat" people doing ANYTHING disgusts her.
Later (after all of the backlash) she gave an apology (sort of) but still the damage was done. She used the fact that she is a recovering anorexic as an excuse...I know a few people recovering from eating disorders, and they do NOT hate people who are larger. They know that each person is on his or her own journey and we are ALL valuable no matter what the outside shell looks like. I feel for Ms. Kelly and wish her well in her continued recovery, but please don't offend your fellow recoverers by using that as your reason. That could only cause a stereotype that all people with anorexia or bulimia hate plus size people, and that is not the case.
Marie Claire's editor-in-chief came out to defend the article...REALLY? You DEFEND people being outright ridiculed on your pages (virtual or print), and treated like they have no place in the world? This was not constructive criticism. It was deliberate bashing of a particular group of people and completely uncalled for. So fat people walking around disgusts you guys? How in the world are we supposed to take control of our health if we're not allowed to move around? Are we supposed to run laps inside of our homes, so as not to offend you, and wear holes in our carpets? All people are deserving of love and their rights as human beings...PERIOD.
Ms. Kelly mentioned in her "apology" that she also hates seeing underweight people walking around. So Maura, did you ever stop to think about the actual person passing by? My nieces just lost their mom on Monday at age 42. She had lung cancer, and wasted away because of the disease. She was a beautiful lady up until the end, but you would have just seen her extreme thinness and been "disgusted". MAYBE the person in front of you, heavy or thin, has a medical reason why they look like they do. Since you've had eating disorder issues yourself, you would think you would have actually developed some compassion toward others. I pray that after this incident you start to develop a caring attitude.
I cancelled my subscription to Marie Claire yesterday. I cannot condone this kind of bashing of any group of people. They've always walked a thin line but now it's gone too far. I was hoping for a real apology from the editor, and maybe I might have tried to pick up an issue on the newsstand at some point to see if things have improved. But now that the magazine defends this kind of behavior, I will NEVER but the magazine again in any way, shape, or form. God created all of us to be a variety of shapes and sizes, even changing throughout our lifetimes for different reasons. He does NOT make mistakes. It's time the people at Marie Claire learn that ALL people are beautifully and wonderfully made!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

So Hard To Resist...But SO WORTH IT To RESIST!!!

On Saturday my friend Debbie and I were vendors at a craft show. We do this show every year at the Lorain County JVS, where I sell handcrafted jewelry, designed and made by yours truly. Debbie sells and autographs her award winning novels...and next year I will also have my own novel out to sell!
Usually we have a problem at craft shows where the people in charge place all of the jewelry people together, all of the authors, and so forth. Sales are much better for all involved when we are spread throughout the building instead of being lumped together. This year the powers that be solved that problem for us...but they did put something near me that was difficult to deal with. Right across from us was a vendor selling her huge variety of homemade chocolates.
Most people that know me know that I am a card-carrrying chocoholic. Anything cocoa-related catches my eye...and my nose. I was determined not to buy any, but constantly staring at and smelling the goods all day was making that difficult. Debbie resisted as well...she loves chocolate but has discovered that it doesn't love her back and upsets her stomach. When you know it's going to make you feel ill it's a little easier to say no. I am proud to say, however, that I resisted temptation as well...a special triumph for me since this lady had Buckeyes, which are my favorite!
Another thing about doing this particular show is that since it is a vocational school, all of the young chefs in training are preparing and selling their own goodies. They bring their service carts up and down the halls all day, filled with pumpkin muffins, donuts, cheesecake, and other assorted decadent treats. They even had cookies as big as my head...and I'm NOT just being dramatic, they really were that big! As much as I like to support the students, I knew that I had to resist these as well. We were sitting at a booth all day...not even moving around enough to burn off any of those calories. It gets especially hard near the end of the day, when they start selling what they have left at half price. I still stayed away from the temptation, trying to focus instead on the crafts that the people who were shopping walked around with...giant wooden ducks and reindeer work like a charm. ;o)
I went home Saturday evening feeling like a champion. I had resisted chocolate all day when it was literally right under my nose. I said no to other sweets when they kept on wheeling them back and forth in front of me. This is a huge step for me...since I usually break down and buy something sweet at the show. Once home I prepared a healthy dinner and smiled, knowing that I conquered something important and scored a huge victory for myself. This victory is something I can build next time I'm tempted, I can remember how good it felt to resist all of those temptations in one day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How To Rock a Cold

Ever since he was little, my husband and I have taught our son to always share. I think he learned this lesson much too well...he shared his cold and sore throat with me. This is one thing I would have been happy for him to keep to himself!
The sore throat started yesterday, and I've been living on ColdEeze and plenty of fluids ever since. The stuffiness and sinus aches began today. Thankfully I'm not really having body aches, so I'm able to still get a lot done with breaks in between. I'm not working out as hard as I normally would, but still getting a lot of walking in plus some other exercises. (I almost decided to load up on garlic and onions like Tony & Audrina on Dancing With The Stars...but I know the bad breath would keep me from sleeping!) My mom was right about this home remedy though...Vicks VapoRub is amazing stuff, and rubbing it on my sinus areas and my throat gives me some relief and helps me sleep without coughing.
Gargling with salt water also works, and I'm about to make myself some nice hot tea to relax and soothe my throat. Usually I baby myself too much with a cold, but this time I'm getting enough rest without my day coming to a complete stop. I know my healthier habits are helping in this department as well, and I'm going to knock this cold out for good. The mucus family better pack their bags, because their stay at Hotel Marie is over!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Journey...To Handling My Stress!!!

Stress is not a four letter word, but it's still evil. In fact, I like to say that stress started out as a four letter word, but when it wanted to take over the world it expanded to six letters just to make things worse for us. There are actually some good things about stress, because if we never felt any at all we would just sit around and chill all the time...nothing would ever get done. In a way, stress makes the world go round.

But stress to the other extreme is just as bad. When we let it take over our lives, we panic. We discover that we have so many things to do that we give ourselves headaches, stomachaches, and other ailments. Sometimes we just say "forget it" and don't accomplish any of the stuff on our list. We eat, smoke, or drink, to make ourselves feel better...and forget about all of those things that still await us and need to be done. While it's good to take a break every once in a while to recharge our batteries, being in chronic break mode leaves us defeated. More work piles up on top of what we didn't get done yet, making the stack of stress even heavier to carry around.

There are times when it feels like stress is my middle name. I've thought about getting my middle name changed legally to Stress on my birth certificate, but that would cost money that I don't have and only add to my stress. Since I was diagnosed with psoriasis, I have discovered in my research on the subject that there is a strong link between this ailment and stress. I shouldn't have been surprised, but seeing it in black and white still gave me a jolt. The prescriptions that my doctor gave me are really helping, and I can see quite a reduction in the patches on my skin already. If I don't want to keep having recurrences, however, I'm going to need to learn to manage my stress better.

Part of this journey is discovering just how much I worry about things and knowing that I need to give that over to God. Keep working hard, listen for His instructions, and He will do the rest. Since He led me to hunt down my pedometer and start moving more, that has been helping with my stress and led to breakthroughs. I'm now up over 7,500 steps a day and going strong. Having this step goal to concentrate on causes me to think less about what usually makes me worry, and getting more exercise definitely relieves some stress. God is working within me in so many ways, and as long as I remember to take each step with Him, the stress enemy will not win!

Friday, October 15, 2010

God's Pedometer

What if God has a pedometer? A unique one for each of us that keeps track of every step we take with Him, and the ones that we try to take on our own?
As I've been working on increasing my step count this week, I began to really think about that special walk with God. How am I actually doing on the journey with Him? I am doing a lot of soul searching, wondering just how many steps I attempted on my own without His help. Things that I've worried about or tried to force to happen on my time schedule, in my way. Problems that I wanted to solve by myself instead of praying and turning to Him about them. On the other many steps have I taken the right way, hand in hand with my Savior and placing all of my trust in Him? Have I let Him carry me when I needed him to?
Our walks with God are always the same in that He wants us to journey through life with Him. They are different each day, however, in that God leads us down all kinds of paths with many twists and turns. We have to trust that He is our Compass and will guide us down the correct ones. Deciding which way to go on our own will only get us lost, but if we turn to God He will get us back on track. Sometimes we don't know where the trail is leading, but God does...and He will get us exactly where we need to go.
Over the last couple of days I've gotten the step count on my earthly pedometer up to 7,000, and I will keep increasing that number. I now also realize that I need to continually add to the number on God's pedometer for me...making sure I don't increase the amount I do on my own, but instead focusing on getting the number of steps I walk with Him higher and higher, until they reach infinity!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Keep On Walkin' It Baby....Baby Baby Baby

Now that I'm getting my butt in gear, I looked around the house and located my pedometer. You've got's been THAT long since I've used it. It was in a very safe much so that it was even safe from me! I had it on all the time for quite while (well, except in the shower!), and it kept me honest. Meaning, I wasn't just guessing at how much I was moving all day long. I could actually see what I'd been doing and work on improving.
I found my pedometer on Monday evening and clipped it on yesterday after I woke up. You're supposed to get to at least 10,000 steps each day, and when I wore it consistently I always hit the mark, sometimes getting to 11,000 or a little higher. It felt so good to reach that goal, which also made me want to eat better. I didn't want to undo all of the good work I did!
Yesterday was a big wake up call for me. Even with a workout, I only got to 6,000 steps. Since I freelance from home, a lot of my time is spent sitting at the computer just as if I had a desk job somewhere else. I have to work harder at getting enough steps in each day, because my work is sedentary for the most part. When I worked in an office, I used to find extra reasons to get up and walk around, like delivering messages in person instead of picking up the phone to talk to my co-workers. Every short stroll around the office added to my step count.
I will be working hard at increasing my step count each day. The 6,000 step mark is just a new starting point. It goes to show how my little month long "vacation" affected me, moving around less than I should have been. I needed this jolt to realize that I was going too easy on myself during the times that I wasn't actually performing a workout. Just because you go for your walk/run or use an exercise DVD, it doesn't mean you can "relax" the rest of the day. It's time to REALLY get my walk on!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

WHY Do I STILL Think This...and Positive Remembrance

I've obviously been enlightened about positive body image, and realize that I am a wonderful person made in God's image no matter what I weigh. I also know that health is not a certain size, and I'm well on my way to being healthier. In fact, I already am because I no longer need to take blood pressure medication and I'm getting stronger every day.
So why do these thoughts still come to mind when a situation arises? I saw someone yesterday at my son's bowling tournament that I haven't seen in years. He was happy to see me and even gave me a big hug. After I finished talking to him, I walked down to my son's bowling lane and sat down. Then the thoughts began to pop into my head. The last time Mike saw me I was thin. I sure looked a lot better back then. I wonder what he thought when he saw me now?
Now, my friend never gave me anything to base this on. He didn't look me up and down, make any negative comments, or even seem shocked at my appearance. The whole exchange was quite positive. So why do I still automatically go there? I thought I'd gotten past this kind of thinking. At least I can say that I didn't think it until AFTER I spoke with him...I used to think it right away, and I'm sure the negative thoughts in my head always showed in my face. I'm happy to say that I've made some progress in this area!
On a whole different note...those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that this past Friday was 16 years ago that my mom passed away, and today would have been her 77th birthday. Friday was a rough day, but with some help from God and a little ladybug angel that my mom sent to me I got through it. One of the positive lessons that I did learn from Biggest Loser is not to eat your feelings, so I went for a walk instead and stayed on my healthy eating plan instead of going to Long John Silver's for fish and hushpuppies because my mom and I used to go there often together. I chose a different way to honor her, and I believe she would be proud.
I did lose one pound this week, when in the past I would have gained over this sad anniversary. I'm using my mom's birthday today as an official kickoff of Marie Needs To Get Her Butt In Gear. Yes, I've made a lot of improvements over the last year and a half...but I know I can still kick it up a few more notches. (Eat your heart out, Emeril!) Thanks to my friend Coleen on Twitter yesterday, I came up with exactly what I wanted to call this new phase. It's time to make my mom, and myself, even prouder!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Autumn Workout Pleasures

*photo courtesy of Runner's World Magazine.

You cannot imagine how happy I am to see the sun shining today! We've had several days in a row of rain, rain, and more rain. I was ready to cast the new sequel "Marie Almighty" with my fellow Clevelanders and go to Home Depot to get enough wood and supplies to build my own ark. On top of a couple of already stressful days, the constant downpour and gray skies were depressing, to say the least.

After being relegated to my treadmill and DVD player for the past week, I'm ready to get outside to do my walking and sprints. Soon enough it will be winter and I will be stuck indoors more often than not, so I want to take advantage of every nice day I can. Now that it's October, some of the leaves are beginning to change to their bright autumn colors; while some trees are still green, others have completely turned orange, yellow, and red. There's nothing like a brisk walk or run through the fall foliage, and the cooler temperatures are welcome. God is the true Artist, painting the most beautiful pictures throughout this world. He inspires me to create, and I thank Him for the gift of words that He has entrusted to me. I can only hope and pray to use this gift to the full potential that He has in mind for me!

The weather and fall scenery are already putting me in a better mood. I can't wait to go outside in a couple of hours and enjoy every minute of my workout. Thank you God, for this wonderful world, and please help me do my part in making it what You want it to be!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eh...What's Up Doc?

Yesterday, I had my checkup at the doctor's office. He had an emergency and ran over 2 hours late, so I was surprised to see that my blood pressure was still good. Thankfully it was, and I still can stay off the medication that I was able to drop once I dropped some weight.
Everything else was still the same, with two exceptions. I was a couple of pounds heavier than my last visit, and of course my doctor told me I still needed to lose more. I mentioned that we had gone on vacation and now I was finally back on track and losing again. When he found out we went to Tennessee, he mentioned that his wife was born and raised in the South. He told me next time I go, I should get fried green tomatoes because they're so good. In the next moment, I watched the irony spread across his face and I almost laughed out loud. He then added that they're not exactly good for you, but I should just try them once. Just goes to show that even doctors like stuff they shouldn't eat either!
The other exception was the discovery that I now have psoriasis. I had noticed it starting, and wasn't completely surprised because my dad has it, and I also inherited his allergies. I was prescribed a special shampoo and ointment to use on it, which I am beginning today. I also want to research psoriasis more, because I'm sure that my former diet didn't help with this condition. If I can help it go away from the inside as well as the outside, I definitely need to do it. The more I take care of myself, the more I realize how much nutrition and exercise play a role in most health problems. Garbage in, garbage out.
I know I've said this before, but it really is all about our health. No matter how much we may want to get to a certain weight or size, the bottom line is that we need to take care of ourselves and be healthy. Make yourself strong from the inside, and it will show on the outside. I have another appointment next month, so the doctor can check on my psoriasis. I'm actually looking forward to it, because I am determined to show improvement in my skin, weight, and all areas of my health!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Treat...or TRICK???

I bet you see plenty of these displays in your local stores now, and probably have seen them for weeks already. The stores try to get too much of a jump on each holiday now. There is something really wrong about seeing Halloween stuff in Walmart while you hear Christmas carols playing in the store. (Yes...I actually experienced that last week!!!)
No matter when it starts to appear in the stores, we have to deal with all of the candy shoved at us when we shop. It's often the first thing you see when you walk in, and the smell of chocolate is overwhelming. And if you make it past the candy aisles without giving in, there's always some candy at the register just in case you still have thoughts about getting some!
This always used to be a problem for me, and still is from time to time. If I'm especially stressed out, there's no way I can even walk by those displays because I will cave and get some candy. Then I will go home and eat half of the bag at once, saving the other half until the next day (such restraint! Ha!) and finish it off then. Afterward, I crave more sugar even though my body feels awful. It can turn into a downward spiral if I'm not careful.
I've taken to reminding myself just how crappy I feel after eating that candy, and how much money I'll save by not buying it. Even candy corn and those cute little mellowcreme pumpkins...there is no nutritional value, it's all basically sugar and wax. When I sold PartyLite, we had candy corn scecnted candles, so if I think about it like I'm eating a candle, I have no desire to eat it anymore! (And I wouldn't be surprised if the corn people started telling us that candy corn is CORN, so it's good for you.) I also know that I can't buy Halloween candy early to save for passing out to the kids, because I'll eat it and have to replace it, which costs even more money. I usually have my husband buy the candy so I'm not tempted, and he usually gets his favorites so I don't crave them as much.
This time of year can be dangerous for our health and weight, starting with the Halloween candy and going right through to the Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies. Resolve right now to stay strong and stick to your healthy eating and exercise plan. Your body will thank you come New Year's Day...and you won't have even more weight to lose for that resolution!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Photo Motivation

Yes, this is me. It's the me from 1993, right after I got married. My husband and I were on our honeymoon cruise, and he snapped this picture of me right before we disembarked for the day in Nassau. I know it's a little shadowy, but I can still see the person who was full of energy and ready to take on the world. I was not at my thinnest; I was ten pounds above that but still in pretty good shape. Of course, cruise ship eating got me, and even though I made some use of the gym on board and stayed pretty active, I gained 5 pounds that week. Once I was home and not indulging every day, those 5 came off pretty quickly.
Now here we are in 2010. My husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary in June, and our son just turned 12 this past Friday. (Where did the time go???) I'm nowhere near the weight I was on that cruise, but I'm on my way there. My metabolism is 17 years older, so I have to work a little harder to get it going, but it is cooperating. This photo is amazing motivation for me, because I realize that I still looked and felt good at ten pounds above my thinnest, and my lightest weight was hard to keep there without starving or resorting to other unhealthy measures. This is what I'm aiming for...being fit, healthy, and energetic...ready to take on the world again. If I'm a size above my smallest size, that's quite all right. I only wish I had appreciated the me in this photo more at the time, instead of berating her for not being ten pounds thinner. I will not make that mistake this time around. I am loving myself at every size along the way!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Songs For Your Workout Playlist!

Keeping your workout playlist fresh is extremely important. If you exercise to the same set of tunes for too long, you will get bored with your exercise routine. Putting your playlist on shuffle does help, but at some point it's still the same old songs, just in a different order. It's vital to add new music to keep yourself excited and motivated to work out.
Here are a few of the songs I've recently added to my walking/running playlist so I can keep it moving!!!
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
Whip It - Devo
Hot Blooded - Foreigner
New Found Freedom - Taylor Hicks
Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland
Giddy On Up - Laura Bell Bundy
Enough Is Enough - Donna Summer/Barbra Streisand
Only The World - Mandisa
I Like It - Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull
Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida (Step Up 3D Soundtrack)
Airplanes - B.o.B./Hayley Williams
I love all types of music, and the variety of styles keeps me going, so I'm never bored. What's on your playlist? :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slow But Steady...Still Gets To The Finish Line!!!

We've all heard the old tale about the tortoise and the hare. "Slow and steady wins the race." How many of us really paid attention to that message when we were growing up? The message that even though we don't get there as fast as we would like, we will still win if we keep at's just as important now that we are adults to really listen to this advice.
When we see that some people are losing large amounts of weight on a weekly basis, we either get jealous or discouraged. (Maybe both!) We wonder why our numbers aren't that big, why it's taking us so much longer to reach our goal weights. A friend on Twitter mentioned that her weight loss was average, but she has the right idea. She's still getting healthier, and she knows she is not defined by a number. Another friend on Facebook was very discouraged to find she "only" lost 1 pound this week. I myself lost "just" .4 pounds this week. I refuse to get upset over it. I did everything I was supposed to all week, and at least the number is still moving in the right direction. I was sick yesterday, so that can also affect what the scale tells me. There are so many factors to take into consideration when you check your weight, so focus on eating right and getting exercise instead of just the number. It will all even out in the long run.
Some weeks I lose 2 or 3 pounds, sometimes it's a pound or less. My focus is on regaining my health and energy, so I can accomplish all of the things that God has planned for me. Even if you change your eating habits for the better and start working out and the scale does not budge, you are still doing something right. Each person's body is different, and the rate of weight loss will vary from person to person, or even from week to week within the same person. Don't give up after a bad week...that way you'll never win the race. Keep moving in the right direction, slow and will cross that finish line!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Dream Would You Follow...

...if you knew you could not fail? What passions do you have in life, that you've always wanted to pursue, but were too afraid to go after?
I've always had those dreams that I convinced myself I would not be able to accomplish. I listened to those people who discouraged me and told me that I would never have a shot...whether it be a singing career, getting my songs published, or even riding a horse. I still have some people around me who don't believe in me. My immediate family is very supportive, which I am grateful for. But I still have to push away the negativity caused by the ones who think I'm crazy for doing anything other than working in an office all my life. They were raised to believe that you have to have "security", and a writing career is not secure.
Guess what? There is no security, except the security we have in being children of God. We have to trust His path for our lives, and He put those dreams within us for a reason. They are important in accomplishing want He has deemed our purpose on this earth. No matter what other human beings say, the only ones who know what we are supposed to do in life are ourselves and God. (And sometimes we are even confused ourselves, but He always still knows!) Offices may close, companies may lay people off or eliminate positions...there are so many factors out of our control. The only thing in our control is to trust in God and what He has put in our hearts.
Think long and hard about those dreams and passions that you have stored away in your heart, mind, and soul. Pray over them and listen for what God is telling you to do. When you know you're on the right path, ignore the people who aim to bring you down. So many people in the Bible were told they were crazy, but they followed God's will for their lives and ultimately found their success in Him. Learn from them. You will be a much happier person if you follow the dreams that God has placed within you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Get Fit, Get Healthy...Get Bon!!!

I'm down 2.8 pounds since I last weighed in and saw my vacation gain, so I'm now at 207.4. This past week I lost 1.4 pounds, partially due to participating in my friend Bonnie's challenge.
Bonnie Matthews knows all about needing to get healthy. She lost 130 pounds over 2 years, and was featured on the Dr. Oz Show with her success story. She is one of his Wellness Warriors, and she is doing everything she can to help the rest of us get healthy and fit. The challenge started at the beginning of September, and runs through New Year's Eve. Bonnie's thinking is that most people just coast along during the fall and holiday seasons, and wait until New Year's Day to make a resolution. (I have to say she is right...I have done that in the past!) She is encouraging us to see just how much we can improve our lives before New Year's...a lot can be accomplished in 4 months!
The Get Bon Why Wait Weightloss Challenge is ongoing, so you can join in anytime and get on your healthy path. Bonnie posts weekly challenges that are doable...she won't ask you to work out for 8 hours until you puke! Her steps are easier to incorporate into your lifestyle, and they all add up to a better you. If you would like more infomation about her challenge on Facebook, go to Get on board with Bon and the rest of us...and get healthy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dealing With Rude People During Workouts

Many of us have to deal with this as we walk or run through our neighborhoods and parks. Some of us also have to put up with it at the gym. In fact, I'd venture to guess that the majority of us run into this problem more often than we'd like to admit.
What problem am I talking about? The rude people who think it's OK to ridicule or taunt larger people when they watch us exercise. The laughs and cat-calls, the crude comments, and general nasty behavior is uncalled for. For one thing, how do these people think we would lose any of the weight without getting up and working they think that we can just sit in our house and imagine it away? Or do some of them really think we can unzip our "fat suits" like actors and actresses do for certain roles? We have to get out there and exercise for our health, and people of every shape and size have that right.
I remember one walking excursion when I went to a local park for a change of scenery. A car full of teenage boys drove past me, with all of them yelling comments at the same time...whale, cow, circus lady, you name it, they said it. I didn't say anything to them because their car was already halfway down the road, but I held my head up high and kept up my pace. Later on as I finished my hour long workout, a lady came up to me and told me I was doing a great job and to keep up the great work. I don't know if she was present at the time the boys drove by, but whether she was or not doesn't matter. She gave me a wonderful mental boost just when I needed it the most.
I still have ignorant people of all ages make comments, but I'm better prepared to deal with them now. Quite often as I walk or run by, they are watching me from the comfort of a lawn chair or standing outside smoking. I take into account that I'm working on my health as they sit on their butts or inhale their cancer sticks. If I'm in the zone I just ignore them and keep moving...but sometimes I wave or yell hello to them, which totally catches them off guard. I even had one man smash out his cigarette after I looked at it in his hand. He probably realized the irony of the situation, and I hope that moment helped him quit smoking for good.
In impassioned moments, I have yelled out, "Hey, at least I'm not sitting on the couch!" or something to that effect. Sometimes I'm listening to my I-Pod and the tunes drown out the rude folks, but if I'm not listening to music, I just concentrate on the scenery and the sounds of nature. I also think about how much stronger I'm getting every time I get out there and exercise!
I advise you not to let these people get to you. Sometimes it's difficult, but you have to train your mind so you focus on the positive and let the negative fade away. You can try some of the tips I mentioned, or if you have any other effective strategies, please share them so we can all help each other. Don't let anyone stop you from your journey to health and fitness...and if you see someone else doing their workout, cheer them on. You never know when it will help them on their journey!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Wanna Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-UNDO IT!

Yes, I wanna undo it!!! Not any of my relationships, mind you...but all of the sugary stuff I ate on Labor Day. You see, this Carrie Underwood song has new meaning for me, since I woke up yesterday morning in a world of hurt. When my alarm went off, the very first thing I heard was Carrie belting out, "I wanna uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it!" It was the perfect line to start the day, since the way my stomach and my head felt at that moment I really did want to undo it...undo all of the sugar I ate the day before, so I could feel better.
I've had the song stuck in my head ever since, and I came up with some new lyrics to the chorus:
You stole my energy, you made me cry
Took me up then sent me crashing from that high
And I wanna uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it
You took my health, now I want it back
Now I see you knocked me off my track
I really blew it, no more going through it
I wanna uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it
My twist on the song is dedicated to sugar addicts everywhere...if you're like me, it keeps calling you back. But it's not good for us to consume all of that sugar. I should have stopped at one cookie for a treat, instead of filling up on more and more sugar throughout the day. Your body doesn't know it's a "holiday" will feel just as crappy after eating this way on a special occasion as you would any other day.
I've learned my lesson really hard this time...and I'm back on plan, working to uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo all of the damage I've done over the years with sugar and junk food. It's all about feeling good, being healthy, and having the energy to do what you want and need to do in that you won't have to undo anything!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Definitely NOT Cardboard!!!

You know the Fiber One slogan..."Cardboard, no. Delicious, yes." Well, I'm here to tell you that it's true. Even though a lot of high fiber products do taste like cardboard, a lot of advances have been made in the industry and there are more of the better tasting products out there now.
I was already a fan of the Fiber One cereals, so when I saw these muffins in the frozen food section I figured I'd give them a try. I was amazed by the taste. It was as if I went to one of the best bakeries in town and bought a fresh muffin from them. I had the banana/chocolate chip, and it actually tasted sinful. The directions say to microwave the frozen muffin for 20 seconds, but in my microwave it turned out to be 30. Just a minor adjustment, and worth the extra 10 second wait. Great flavor, very filling...and you get 28% of your daily fiber requirement in one serving. This muffin is a triple-threat!
There are several other flavors available, and now that I know how good they are I will be trying some of those as well. I think apple cinnamon is the next choice on my list. If this is how eating healthy tastes...I'm definitely in. Nutritious foods don't have to be bland or just have to investigate the different brands until you find the ones you like!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Shoe Love IS True Love...My Wish List!

The other day I told you I found some new running shoes that I just have to have. These are the ones...Nike Dual Fusion in Green/Blue. It has everything I'm looking for in a running shoe, and exactly the color combination I want. It's not just because these are 2 of my favorite colors, but they would actually coordinate with quite a few of my running/workout clothes.

I'm sure I'm due for a new pair of shoes, because I've had my other ones for quite a while now and they are really starting to wear out. For now they have to go on my wish list, because I don't have the money for them at the moment. I'm going to start saving for them, and if I don't get them before Thanksgiving they are going on my Christmas list for my family to get for me.

I'm going to keep a picture of these shoes by my computer and refrigerator, to keep me motivated and help me work toward my goals. I'm already starting to feel much better, and I'm not as winded as I was a week and a half ago when I discovered that I let my healthy eating plan take too long of a vacation. My regular workouts are back, and so are my nutritious menus and recipes. I will be sharing some of these with you along the way, as I find really good ones that are healthy and taste great.

But for today...I'm pressing forward, and dreaming of my new running shoes!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beating The Heat...In My House!!!

No, I'm not wishing for it to snow yet...there will be plenty of that here in Cleveland when winter comes around! I'm staring at this picture and trying to stay cool. The temperatures have been in the high 80's and low 90's the past few days, and our air conditioner has gone on strike. We found out that we need to get a whole new unit, because there are several leaks in this system...and they aren't making the parts for this cheapo brand that the builder used when this house was constructed. (Gee...I wonder why our builder is no longer in business???)
We're trying to get several estimates for a new unit, because we're still catching up on bills from when my husband was laid off. It's been a rough year and a half, but things are looking up. The first few days without air were fine, because the daytime temps were in the low 70's and it was around 60 at night. But the past few days have been miserable, especially for sleeping. I've been doing my walking in the upstairs hallway in the evenings, when it's a little cooler and there's a nice cross-breeze flowing from the bedrooms. There is no way I'm using the heat as an excuse not to work out...I'm through with excuses!
We are drinking a lot of ice water, and we even went to the mall on Monday to get cool. I got a good workout walking the mall, and since I can't really shop yet I didn't stop that often to look at stuff. Well, except for a really cool pair of running shoes that I saw, which will be going on my wish list for Christmas...or sooner if we can. Eating lighter foods really helps in the heat as well, and using the stove and oven as little as possible. Lots of nice, cold fruits and veggies for me!
Right now God just sent a gorgeous breeze through my home office window...thank you God!!! I will also look at that picture of Squaw Valley some more...and let it remind me that I want to be in shape for ski season. Stay cool everyone!

Monday, August 30, 2010

HUGE Season Finale!!!

What a great season finale...and now we REALLY need a second season of Huge, because there are too many cliffhangers to resolve!
We begin where we left off last week...with Amber and Will digging in the woods, looking for Will's secret stash of junk food. They can't find it, but Will has an idea. They sneak into the dining hall, and since Chef told Will where he hides the key, they were able to get into the food. They dig into a tray of brownies, eating a whole row to even it out so it doesn't look like any are gone. Will confesses to Amber that she used to raid other people's kitchens when she was at sleepovers, because her parents never kept any junk food in the house. Amber hates that Will doesn't appreciate how rich she is, because Amber knows what it's like not to have money. They also talk about eating disorders, afraid they may develop them like the other girls they know. At the guys cabin, George shines his flashlight out and sees Will. Once the girls get back to their cabin, Will is asked about the Core track suit that's on her bed. She tells everyone it's Amber's and gives it to her. Becca is jealous that Will is becoming friendlier with Amber now.
Shay mentions to Dr. Rand that the new chef will be here tonight, and the doc is confused. Shay says it's a shame that her dad has to leave, and Dr. R acts like she already knows, but then she has it out with her dad. He mentions that he was married again and Dr. R has a 15 year old sister. She's in a lot of trouble at home, so he must leave to help her. Dr. R asks him where he was when SHE was 15, and says she hates him. He says he knows he should have been there, but he wants to do it right this time. He's really upset and worried; Dr. R comforts her dad.
Ian doesn't want to be alone with his parents because he's still upset, so he asks Will to stay with them all day. Chloe sees Becca reading a book that is familiar to her, so they talk a little about it. Becca asks why they stopped being friends, and Chloe responds that it's not Becca's fault...she wanted to hang out with a certain group, and even calls herself a bitch for being like that. George tells Will he saw her out after dark and he won't tell Dr. Rand. He also warns her not to get Amber into trouble, so Will says he should be worrying about that himself...and she never want him to tell her what to do ever again. Piznarski and Alistair talk...Alistair read the note, and tells Piz he doesn't hate him, and also he's not dwelling on the incident.
Amber's mom is really mad about Will giving Amber the track suit, because she knows she can't afford things like that for her and it angers her. Trent's stepmom loses her necklace and goes looking for it. Chloe helps her look in the cabin and they talk. Chloe gives her a note to give to Trent. (It turns out Alistair has the necklace, and is trying it on with the T-shirt that he re-designed for himself.) Ian and Amber are both embarrassed that Ian's dad is flirting with Amber's mom. Will mentions the song she and Ian wrote to Ian's mom, and they wind up performing it for everyone, with Will singing and Ian playing the guitar. Trent's mom mentions that Chloe said he plays the drums. Will asks Trent to keep the beat for them and they perform as a trio. It sounds REALLY awesome...and afterward Trent grabs Chloe and kisses her right in front of his dad.
As the parents leave, Amber's mom asks Ian's dad for a ride home. Amber sees George talking to the very thin sister of one of the campers and runs off. Ian goes after her, thinking she's upset about her mom. She can't tell Ian about George. Ian admits his crush on her, and they kiss. Will looks for Chef, and finds out that he's gone. Then she sees Amber and Ian comes by holding hands, and she runs off. Becca runs after her, but Will doesn't want her there. Becca says she's done trying to be Will's friend and she won't be the second choice. Dr. Rand finds Will and they talk...she admits to eating the brownies, hoping that Dr. R will kick her out of camp. The doc won't do it, partially because her dad never should have let Will know where the key was, and because she knows how rough this weekend has been for Will...and she knows what it's like. WIll asks her what she was like when she was fat. Dr. R tells her that she hated herself, now she hates herself less.
There are so many things that need to be resolved among the campers and staff...I can't wait to see another season. What do you think will happen next?

Yes...There Are Blessings From Biggest Loser!

As a lot of you know, I am none too happy about the way the people who run Biggest Loser have treated the contestants. I am appalled at what a lot of them went through and pray that the show stops these practices. They need to treat the contestants like human beings, because we all deserve that courtesy.
That being said...there are still a lot of blessings from the show. Those blessings come in the form of the contestants themselves. They knew they were unhealthy and needed to make changes in their lives. They put in the hard work and never gave up. They made it through their own personal rounds of Survivor hell and came out stronger on the other side of matter what was thrown at them.
Over Facebook and Twitter, I have gotten to know these strong, brave people and learn from them. I absolutely adore the majority of them. And I must reiterate: None of the contestants who were portrayed as mean or evil are like that at all. In fact, they are some of the nicest, kindest, and most helpful people of the group! I respect and admire those who have the courage to speak up so people at home don't get discouraged when they aren't dropping double digits every week, telling what really goes on behind the scenes so we all know that this is edited "reality". I am motivated by those who have kept the weight off, and give us the tips and tools to lose weight at home...slowly, safely, and correctly. They've had to learn how to do that once they got home, and they share their knowledge so the rest of us can make healthy choices and stay encouraged in our journeys to fitness and health. I am inspired by all of them for taking control of their health.
So if you watch Biggest Loser, take away the good things and be inspired and motivated to get healthy and to the weight that is personally best for you. That number is different for everyone. Just remember that the huge losses on the scale are not really done in a week, and that getting fit is a slow and steady process. If you are to admire anyone on the show, admire the contestants, and use their never-give-up attitudes to help you be the best you can be. God finds a way to use every situation in life for good...and He does that with the contestants all the time. They are the true heroes of this show!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walking...By Faith

"Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin'..." So, do you remember this song by Matthew Wilder? (Or am I showing my age here?) This is one of those songs that always puts me in a great mood, making me feel like I can accomplish anything.
And you know what? I really can accomplish anything! I just need to put in the work, stay positive, set goals, and enjoy the process. It's true that once you reach your goal you will feel amazing...but all of the steps on the journey to that goal are important. We all need to enjoy each moment and all of the smaller goals we meet along the way. Everything is a part of the process, so don't miss the moments that teach you something about yourself, or life in general. Those lessons will help you build up to your ultimate goals, and small victories should be celebrated just as much as the major ones.
I'm feeling so much better now that I'm back to eating healthy foods...I already was doing that, but in the last month I indulged a little too often. Treats are meant to be occasional, not all the time. You appreciate the treat much more when it's not an everyday occurence. My body really let me know that I was way off base - and I'm not really talking about the scale. I was more sluggish, got winded more easily just like before, and my stomach was not too happy about what I was sending down to it. I had lots of veggies yesterday, and my evening snack was Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries and cinnamon. I can already feel the difference.
I kept on exercising during this past month, but I did drop back a little while I enjoyed my vacation. That's OK, because I needed a little break. Now I'm walking regularly again, working on getting up to running speed. I'm dancing more, and that is one activity that I don't have to "make" myself participate in...because I enjoy it so much! It's true: Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I will keep walking with God by my side, and I have the faith that I'm on the right path. He would never steer me wrong!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Parents Weekend on Huge

Tonight's episode had me in tears several times, as I felt for each camper's situation with their parents. Beginning with Will's looking forward to seeing her parents so she could chew them out for being hypocrites, we learn a lot about the family situations that brought everyone to this point in their lives.
Poppy tells Becca that since some girls in another cabin don't have parents coming either, Becca can join them and Poppy will be their "make-believe mom". Becca doesn't really look too thrilled with this idea. Later we find out that her grandmother came last summer, but since then she passed away. Dr. Rand gives advice to those campers whose parents may be taking them out to a restaurant on making healthy choices for dinner. Some of them can't wait to see their parents, but others are dreading it. Dr. Rand spills the beans about Chloe and Alistair being twins...she didn't know that it had been kept secret. Everyone (except Trent, of course) is shocked, and suddenly they realize why Chloe was so upset about the prank on Alistair. Dr. R gets an e-mail and tells Will that her parents aren't coming now, but they left her a package. While everyone is at the pool, Will lets out her anger that her parents bailed on her. Amber is hard on herself, thinking she's a weirdo. Dr. R tells her dad about Chloe and Alistair's secret, and he replies that she's doing the same thing with him. The truth hurts!
Everyone is watching that strange show "Love Handles" again, and Will is hilarious as she makes fun of it. I have to say, a challenge involving plates of bacon? How demeaning! Even on the actual show that this is supposed to spoof, "More to Love", they never had the contestants doing anything this degrading. Everyone is all laughs until a commercial comes on for Core Fitness...then the mood changes as they all stare at the hardbodies in the ad, wishing they could get to that point and look like that. When Will finally opens her package from home, it contains a pink warmup suit with Core emblazoned on it, with a note saying how her parents can't wait to see her in it. It is obviously in a very small size...just how fast did they think the weight was going to come off?
When all of the parents arrive, Ian tells Will that he won't subject any of his friends to his parents because they fight all the time. Amber's mom is late, and she's worried that she might not get there at all. Trent goes to his parents and mentions his girlfriend, gesturing toward Chloe and Amber. His dad automatically assumes Amber is the girlfriend and Trent is afraid to correct him. Chloe hooks up with her parents...her mom is in a wheelchair. Alistair and Becca hang off to the side. Chloe's mom remembers Becca from last year, and thinks that she is Alistair's girlfriend. Actually, I think she just doesn't want to believe her son is gay, so she insists that he and Becca are a couple. Piznarski's mom tells him that he looks so good now...which causes him to ask how he looked to her before. (Been there! Don't you always wonder?)
Amber goes back to her cabin, where Sierra and her very thin sister Chelsea are hanging out. Her mom finally arrives, and says plenty of things that embarrass Amber...actually, they would embrrass anyone! Her mom's name is Teal and she lives with her sister Indigo. To keep the color trend going, her mom named her Amber. Chef enlists Will to help him, so she can get her mind off of her parents. He teaches her about cooking, which she really takes a liking to. Dr. Rand sees, and quite frankly looks a little jealous of Will with her dad. Trent's parents and Ian's meet, and Ian is surprised that his parents are not arguing with each other. We also find out that this is Trent's stepmom, and she is pregnant. Dr. R gets a text from Jonathan, but she ignores it.
Parents get to try yoga class along with their kids. Chloe takes her dad somewhere else...her mom goes with Alistair to yoga. Their dad doesn't like yoga and wants to see Alistair play "real" sports. Amber's mom is the only one that doesn't try, giving all kinds of excuses. Finally George gets her to try it. Amber pulls her mom out of class and they go to talk. We find out that Amber's mom can't stand living with her sister, and she is awful to be around. Teal also gives Amber a surprise, but when she opens it she finds a bag of cookies. Not what you bring someone at a weight loss camp...but Amber's mom doesn't get it. Later on, Amber hides the cookies in the laundry room.
Piznarski's mom watches Alistair as he knits a scarf, and she's very encouraging and friendly. As soon as she goes to the bathroom, Alistair leaves because he's still angry with Piz. Piz leaves a note for him in his knitting for later. Dinner is very weird for everyone, especially Trent, Chloe, and Alistair. Their families take them to a restaurant, and when Trent introduces Chloe to his parents he only tells them she's Alistair's sister. Chloe is very hurt and orders a ton of food off the menu. Becca is along as well, since they remember her as Chloe's friend and think she is now Alistair's girlfriend. Back at camp, Dr. R announces to everyone that the chef is her dad, which takes him by surprise. Ian goes off to talk to his parents, who tell him they've been in couples therapy...which made them realize that they need to divorce. Ian sneaks off later to the laundry room to cry, and while he's there he finds the cookies. He opens the bag and sniffs them, but his strength takes over and he gives them to Dr. Rand. She hides them in her file cabinet, and when Wayne brings her some tomatoes she has him take them away. They share a very nice kiss. After Wayne leaves, she gets another text from Jonathan...but she texts back that she can't come see him.
Chloe feels sick from eating too much, and Alistair walks Becca back to her cabin. She says he will make someone a great boyfriend someday, and she can't even imagine what it would be like to go on a real date. She still wonders what she did wrong for Chloe to hate her, and Alistair tells her it's nothing she did, and it's Chloe's loss if she doesn't want Becca's friendship. Teal wants to stay the night in the girls' cabin, but Poppy tells her it's against the rules. (And Teal calls her Pippi!) After Teal says she will have to sleep in the car, Poppy lets her stay. Amber goes to the laundry room and discovers the cookies are gone. Amber's mom complains that Amber doesn't want her here and she doesn't know what it's like for her. Amber tells her to stay. During the night, Amber gets Will to sneak out with her to the woods, where Will buried her secret stash of food so no one would find it. As they look around in the woods, we find this episode is to be continued next week for the season finale.
What do you think of the various family problems the teens have? Can you relate to any of them? Please let me know your thoughts...sometimes when we see a character going through something similar to our situation, it helps us learn about ourselves!