Friday, January 29, 2010

Perfectly Refreshing To A Tea

I've found a favorite new tea. Of course I heard all about the health benefits of drinking green tea...the powerful antioxidants that can help lower your risk of diseases, and the assistance in weight loss. I tried several brands of green tea, and most were pretty good. Now though...I have found an absolute favorite.

I hung out at my local Borders bookstore for a little while before meeting some friends for dinner. I decided to read a magazine in the cafe and have something to drink. When I came upon a bottle of Tazo Diet Mojito Green Tea, I was intrigued. Now, I love actual Mojitos, but rarely drink them since I'm staying away from as much alcohol as possible for weight loss. I figured I'd give this a try, so I paid at the counter and sat at a small table with my American Songwriter and my drink. I opened the magazine, and then the tea.

It was love at first sip. All I could do was stare at the bottle as I was drinking it. (I'm sure the other people in the cafe thought I had lost my mind.) This tea is absolutely amazing, with all natural ingredients and just a very tiny amount of sweetener (less than 2%). It tastes exactly like a mojito, and is completely satisfying without the alcohol. What a great way to be refreshed without derailing your diet and having a non-alcoholic treat! I will recommend this to everyone, and this is one love affair I never have to feel guilty about. Long live my relationship with Tazo Diet Mojito Green Tea...may you always be in my life!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Finding The Source Of The Fear And Dealing With It

If you will remember in some of my past blog posts, I talked about fear and how it holds us back from accomplishing things and realizing our full potential. I vowed to figure out where all of my fear was coming from, and how to deal with that so I could move on with courage. This past week I had an epiphany, which really broke through in my mind after Jillian helped Maria in the pool on Biggest Loser.
You already know about my fear of the water, and how much I want to overcome it. I've had so much fear in my life, which I've come to realize stems from my childhood.
I was an only child, and my parents found out after me they couldn't have any more. They were very protective of me. Now, all parents need to protect their children to some extent, and I know my parents meant well and acted out of pure love, but they were actually OVERprotective. Besides the swimming issues, there were a lot of other things I was not allowed to do or try. They were always afraid that I was going to get in trouble or be hurt. Now, I'm not talking about things like letting a child jump off a building or walk through fire...nothing extreme. I'm talking about things like skating, horseback riding, and other sports. The most I was allowed to do was music lessons, and I am very thankful for that, since music is a passion of mine. Still, I would have liked to try some other activities as well.
What did this wind up teaching me? Don't take risks, even small ones, because it might put you in danger. I swear I wound up being afraid of my own shadow sometimes. I was a wreck when I had to speak in front of my class, and most of the time when I came up with an idea I wanted to try my first thought was that I couldn't take the chance of getting hurt. When we HAD to go skating for gym class, I clung to the rink walls and was too scared to venture out further. I kept a lot of feelings inside, being afraid to speak up for myself. Even when it came to career choices, I took the safe route. I was so scared of disappointing my parents. I remember a job offer I had down in the Southern US, and my mom saw it when it came in the mail. She panicked and cried, and told me I couldn't take it because it would break my dad's heart if I moved away. I did not take the job...I stayed here in Ohio. Would you like to know what the job was? Working at Fan Club Headquarters in Fort Payne, for the country music group Alabama. I think I still have that job offer tucked away somewhere, as a reminder of what I could have done. I can only imagine where that would have led me if I had accepted the job.
Now, I am happy that I met my husband up here and we have a great son, and would not trade them or the rest of my wonderful family and friends for anything. is time to stop living in fear and start doing the things I've always wanted to do. A couple of years ago, my son's class went horseback riding, and I was a chaperone. After the kids rode, the parents and teachers were offered the chance to ride. Since I weighed almost 220 at the time, I thought they were kidding, but one of the girls that worked there let me mount her own personal horse, Richie, who was used to even larger adults riding him. We only went around the arena at a walk, but I felt so good. I know I want to ride more often, and that's one thing I WILL start again once I lose some more weight. This summer I will give it another go. By the way, my son and I visited the barn a few months later, and when I went up to Richie, he would not let me leave and stayed up close to my face. I believe we had a bond just from that first short ride.
They took pictures of us on the horses, and I showed mine to my dad. (I will post that one closer to summer to remind myself of my goal.) He told me that when I was 3, he and my mom put me on a pony and I cried so much that they took me off and never tried again. I asked him if this was why they wouldn't let me take riding lessons when I was 12 and really wanted to, and he said yes...they figured since I didn't like it the first time I would have a problem again and they were afraid to let me. Now, there is a big difference between a 3 year old on a pony and a 12 year old on a horse. My parents thought they were protecting me, but just wound up teaching me to be afraid.
I've been working hard at not letting setbacks get to me. I no longer curl up in a ball and get depressed...I feel the disappointment for a short time, think about what I've learned or could have done better, and move on. Through a lot of prayer, I've learned that those dreams are all still inside of me, and God is the One who put them there. Since He is the reason for these dreams and goals, I know He will give me the strength and courage to put them into action and complete them. I need to honor what God has put inside of me, and He will help me get there. Now that I know where all of the fear came from, I can move past it and do what I was meant to do from the beginning!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Motivational Monday...Getting Stronger, Inside and Out!

This past week has been an emotional one for me...stress in all forms kept coming down on me. My husband is waiting to hear back from two different job interviews. I had a misunderstanding with a good friend that I'm in the process of working out, but we are on the right road. I'm busy with writing and editing, which I love, but the other stresses threatened to make me anxious while I wrote.

Thankfully, I was able to focus on the writing after some prayer and quiet time...which in turn helped me deal with the other situations. Writing in any form really helps me handle my feelings and work things out in my mind. Speaking of workouts, I kept up my exercise, which also cleared my mind and helped me see things in a new light. I will say that my eating was pretty good, but not perfect. I did have a few pieces of pizza yesterday while cheering on the Saints. I got on the scale this morning, and I did lose .4 pounds. Maybe not much, but still a loss, and with the week I had I'm proud of that .4!

My motivational person this week is Lisa Lillien, who is better known as Hungry Girl. She has lost 30 pounds and kept it off, and finds ways to make favorite comfort foods healthier. She has written several books and has a website at I get her e-mail newletter, which is filled with recipes and tips, plus healthy foods that she has discovered.

I know this week will be a much better one. I've learned a lot about myself and others, which only makes me a stronger person. Yes, I am strengthening my body through exercise and eating well, but my mind, heart, and soul are also getting stronger. This is my own quote for you: "Every person you meet on your life's journey is there for a lift you up, teach you a lesson, or both." Learn from everyone and everthing in your life...and become stronger from head to toe, inside and out!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Making The Most Of The Weekend!

What are you accomplishing this weekend? A lot of times we are catching up on stuff that needs to get done that we didn't have time for during the week. Other times we just need to take a break and slow down...get some rest, or go out and do something fun. It all depends on just what you're in the mood for, or what needs to get done.

I'm spending my weekend getting more organized. I know that having everything in its place will save me time in the long run, since I won't be wasting precious minutes searching for something I need when I need it. Plus, not being able to find something only causes stress, and who needs any more of that?

I am also planning for the week ahead. I'm looking at healthy recipes, and figuring out what I need so I can eat properly for the week. I'm scheduling my workouts along with all of my other appointments, and my writing and editing time. Sure, things sometimes come up out of the blue, but the more prepared I am, the better the week will go. You know what they say...if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Whatever is on your agenda for the next two days, I wish you a wonderful, blessed weekend. Let's make our plans to succeed!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More Victories!!!

Every now and then I like to take stock of positive things that are happening on my journey...they keep me going, and lift me up when I'm having a bad day. Here is my latest list of victories:
1. Even more of my clothes that were too tight now fit, with some room to spare!
2. A few of my friends have mentioned that they can tell I've lost weight.
3. My son can hug me even better now!
4. I have had a few people tell me that I inspire them, which is an honor.
5. On the rare occasion that I feel like something sweet, the smallest bite satisfies me...I no longer feel the need to finish off half of the bag or box, or even have "just a tiny bit more".
Don't forget to make your list of victories...they will keep you going when the scale doesn't budge or you miss a workout and need to get back on track. And on stressful days when you would have normally gone to the fast food drive through or the ice cream stand, it will help realize how important it is to stick to your healthy eating plan!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Motivational Monday...Just Do It!

No, I don't actually have a scale like the one above, but it looks like the one my aunt had in the 70's. I always wondered just how accurate your weight would be on a furry scale!
This morning I stepped on my scale and was very happy to see a loss of 1.4 pounds, which now puts me at 191.8. I will be under 190 soon, and I have now lost over 25 pounds since I started on this journey. This is a major milestone for me, since I would usually lose somewhere between 7 and 15 pounds and then backslide. I sometimes wonder if I was actually afraid of success, but that's not the case now. I want to succeed...I am, and will continue to do so!
Did you see that Mo'Nique won a Golden Globe last night for "Precious"? She looked even more gorgeous since losing the weight, and showed how beautiful she is on the inside as well. She proves just how far you can come in life if you just believe in yourself and go for it.
My motivational person for the week is Devin Alexander. Fifteen years ago, Devin lost 55 pounds and has kept it off. She is an author and speaker, who creates new and exciting healthy recipes that keep us from getting bored with the same old "diet" foods. Her cookbooks are awesome, and I love her creativity in the kitchen! You can find out more about Devin and her recipes at
Believe you can do this, and you will be successful. Don't let anything stop you from your goals. Speak positive words to yourself and keep your mind focused on success. Put it into your mind, and the rest will follow!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Join Me In The Pound For Pound Challenge!

If you watch Biggest Loser, I'm sure you have seen the clips about the Pound For Pound Challenge. For every pound you pledge to lose, 14 cents will be donated to your nearest local food bank. So many people are hurting right now and could really use the donations, plus making your pledge to help others can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals.

I have started a group on Facebook for those in my state of Ohio that want to do the Challenge, at Also, please sign up nationally at for your pledge to count toward the food bank. The maximum pledge per person is 50 pounds, but just think how much money will be raised if we all take a moment to pledge. If you are not from Ohio, there are groups for several other states on Facebook as well.

Let's do good for others as we take care of ourselves. There's nothing better than that!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moment of Fear...Moment of Reality

***photo courtesy of NBC.

OK, we're only two weeks into the new season, and I've already found someone to identify with. When the contestants got to their challenge site for the week and found themselves at a pool, Maria let her fear get the better of her. She was afraid of the water and did not know how to swim. At first she was frozen because of it, and could not bring herself to walk across the balance beam to the other side. Once she finally did, she was in such a hurry to get to the other side and away from the water that she fell against the concrete and her nose began to bleed. She had to be taken to the hospital, and when she got back to the ranch she had a black eye and a fractured ring finger.
Jillian decided that she needed to take Maria aside and help her confront her fears. She led her out to the pool to face it head on. Maria was beyond a nervous wreck, and it was raining on top of it all. Jillian went in the water with her, getting her to realize she was floating by herself without Jillian's help. Then she got Maria actually swimming a little bit. The two of them really bonded over this experience, and Maria felt so much better conquering her fear of the water.
I felt like it was me out there in that pool with Jillian. (And it figures that Maria and I have names that are SO similar!) I never learned how to swim...neither of my parents knew how, and I don't think they actually thought much of it until I was an adult and really wished I could swim. My dad was even in the Coast Guard and did rescues without knowing how to swim; I'm sure that would never be allowed nowadays. There were a couple of times that I actually attempted to learn...but my fear was so strong that I couldn't do it.
Now, I love the water, and I'm always in a pool whenever I can be. But like Maria, I'm only comfortable going in up to the 4 foot mark. I do exercises at the side of the pool, and I do hold on to the edge while I kick my feet out, thanks to a family friend who at least got me to do that when I was about 12. I would love to be comfortable enough to actually let go of the sides and swim.
This episode is making me face my fears head on...I really need to let go of the sides (just like on the treadmill!) and learn. I know fear has paralyzed me in so many ways, and if I conquer this one it will help me take more risks in other areas of my life. I am going to swim...I will find a way. Thank you Maria and Jillian!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Motivational Monday...Back On Track!

The picture above is me with my husband, in 1991 when we had only been dating a couple of months. I keep these old pictures nearby now, to motivate me to get back down to that weight. Back then I used to fluctuate between 122 and 126 pounds, but always stayed within that range.
I worked hard this week, and it showed on the scale. I lost 3 pounds, so I lost all but .2 pounds of what I put on over the holidays. I'm at 193.2 and thrilled to be back on track. At least now I know more about exercise and nutrition, so I can lose the weight the right way. Back when I lost weight the first time, I hardly ate anything, and when I did it wasn't always the healthiest choice. I'm sure my exercise is what kept me going, but now my body doesn't even want to work out unless I fuel it in the right way. Too much sugar or other junk makes me hardly able to move around, or too dizzy to even think about the treadmill or an exercise DVD.
This past week I drank lots of water, NO DIET SODA at all. I ate clean, healthy foods and got back to working out. I worked my way up to my usual treadmill pace throughout the week, since the first couple of days my body was still getting over being sick. It's amazing how much better I feel already!
My motivational person for this week is Marissa Jaret Winokur. You know her from Hairspray on Broadway, Dancing With The Stars, and as the host of the first season of Dance Your Ass Off. She recently attended the Biggest Loser Resort in Utah and learned about nutrition and exercise herself. She has lost quite a bit of weight and looks awesome...and she is very happy that she now knows how to feed her young son better foods. To find out more about Marissa, please go to
How did your first full week of 2010 go? Let me know...we are all on this journey together!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bringing Out The Inner Warrior

I've been thinking a lot about something that happened on The Biggest Loser Season 9 premiere. Jillian had a talk with Cheryl, who is on the orange team this season. Jillian noticed that Cheryl was awfully quiet the first week on the ranch. She told her that she needed to finally put herself first, open up and really push herself. Before you knew it, Cheryl was yelling, screaming, grunting, and really going for it. Everyone in the gym was amazed. Cheryl's hard work paid off...she lost 14 pounds and is off to a great start!
How many of us have been the same way? We put everyone else first and forget about ourselves. Yes, we need to take care of our families, jobs, and other concerns...but we also need to make time for us. The more we take care of ourselves and get healthier, the better we will be at taking care of others. We have to be able to have the energy and drive to do all of the things that must be accomplished everyday, and if we don't make the time for that, it will affect how we do everything else.
I am reaching down deep inside myself as well, thinking about what I want and need to accomplish, channeling my Inner Warrior and bringing her to the surface for the world to see. Visualize with me...we are strong and powerful, we can do it, and we are worth it. We all have a lot to offer the world, so let's bring it out and make it happen!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Healthy Food Discoveries!

During the past week, I have come across a couple of really great foods that are good for you in several ways. The first is Kashi Go Lean cereal. I've always heard about Kashi but never tried it until now. I love it! With only one gram of fat and 140 calories for a one cup serving, it tastes wonderful and also gives you 10 grams of fiber. What a great way to stay full and give your body what it needs.
The second item is Newman's Own Organic Coffee. My grocery store was out of my usual coffee, but just started carrying Newman's Own. They have partnered with Green Mountain Coffee to make this incredible java. I have the Nell's Breakfast Blend, which is perfect to keep this writer's brain going all day! There are several other varieties to choose from as well, to suit your particular tastes. And on top of that, Newman's Own gives a portion of the money to charity from your you are not only helping yourself, but other people around the world.
As I try different products, I will let you know what I think about them. Also, if you know of any great healthy or organic products, please leave a comment so we can all give them a try. Here's to our health!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Motivational Monday...First of 2010!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got on the scale this morning. Since I didn't get to weigh in last week while I was sick with my lovely sinus infection, this was going to reflect the past two weeks, which include Christmas and New Year's. I stepped on and held my breath. I gained 3.2 pounds over the holidays, putting me back up to 196.2.

Now, I did indulge somewhat on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but otherwise I haven't. For the past week and a half, I've actually hardly eaten anything, because it was hard to swallow and I really didn't even have an appetite. I was too sick to go to my New Year's Eve party, so I definitely didn't have any goodies then. I drank a ton of water, as much for clearing out the sinus infection as for weight loss.

Of course, the flip side of this is that I was so sick that I was in bed most of the time, and exercise was out of the question since I was weak and constantly coughing. Lack of exercise didn't help, even though I didn't eat much. (Although I still think the coughing counts as a chest, stomach, and back muscles are sure feeling it!) So...I just have to take it for what it is and start again from here. I am now feeling much better, so I have a date this evening with my treadmill. Back to getting the job done. It was driving me crazy having to just lay around all of that time; a day or two isn't bad, but once I got past that I started going stir crazy.

My motivational people for this week are the cast of Biggest Loser Season 9, which starts tomorrow night. As we follow their journeys, let us be inspired and move ourselves forward on our own journeys. I can't wait to kick butt in about you?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Well, we are not only at the start of a new year, but a new decade as well. Last year was full of its ups and downs, but still filled with so many blessings...more than I could ever have dreamed of. Here are some of my goals for 2010:

1. Lose the last 70 pounds by eating clean and working out regularly
2. Get my novel published
3. Get more organized
4. Choose the healthiest options whenever possible, which is most of the time
5. Re-learn Spanish, I was fluent for years but haven't used it so I need to retrain my brain
6. Delve into more writing opportunities
7. Finally have ballroom dance lessons!

I wish all of you a Happy and Blessed 2010...this is going to be an awesome year for all of us!!! xoxoxo