Friday, February 26, 2010

Body By Marie...With A Little Help From Jake

I any of you still have this piece of exercise equipment in your house? It's the Body By Jake Ab And Back Plus. I've had it for years; when it first came out I ordered it from the infomercial, knowing that MY abs and back were in serious need of it. I worked out on it faithfully, and saw great results. Then once I was pregnant with my son, I stopped using it and haven't touched it since.
That is...until this week. (It's about time, since my son is 11 years old now!) Everything is still in good working order, so I have it all set up to use in front of the TV. I've been using it while I watch the Olympics, watching the athletes for motivation to push me while I work out. Seeing those sets of abs will make anyone want to work on theirs! Since my husband and his friend have started doing P90X, some of that equipment is hooked up as well, and I've been doing a few of those exercises. I am so sore...abs, back, arms...everywhere. But, it's a great feeling. It means that I'm getting all of the muscles working that I've neglected for so long. Not only is my body getting stronger, but my mind and spirit are benefitting as well. I'm feeling more confident than ever before.
I'm so glad I dusted off that old machine and got started with the ab and back exercises again. I let too many healthy habits fall by the wayside for too long, and now that I've started back up again, I'm teaching my son that exercise is an important part of our health. Taking care of me is helping my family as well as myself. So...what equipment do you having lurking around your house? Take the books and clothes off of it, dust it off and start using it again. You will be very happy that you did!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


After Monday's post, I decided to be really brave and take my picture down from the mantle, take it out of its beautiful Southwestern adobe frame, and scan it so I could show you what I was talking about. On the left is our friends' son, and on the right is our son. I bet you've figured out by now that I'm the one in the middle. As you can see, I made it to that point on the hike without collapsing, and I'm even smiling!
This photo is from 4 years ago. I weighed 217 pounds, just like I did back in late May when I started this journey. Even though this trip to Utah was a wake-up call for me, I still wound up at 217 this past spring. I did lose some weight, but never more than 9 or 10 pounds before falling off the wagon. I was always trying, but not succeeding for very long.
What is different for me this time around? I've made a plan, to make sure I keep going with the weight loss. Some weeks are better than others, but I never give up. Also...since I am going deeper inside of myself to deal with my fears and insecurities, I'm finding that 9 times out of 10 I'm working on my issues instead of reaching for chocolate, ice cream, or fast food. And on those rare occasions when I do give in, I still examine afterward the reason why I grabbed the comfort food.
The other main ingredient this time is a good support system...I have a wonderful group of people supporting me in real life, and phenomenal support over on Facebook. It really helps to talk to people who have been through what you are dealing with, or who are going through it now as well. Even though only I can make myself do the work needed...we still all support and help each other through it all, and knowing you are not alone is tremendous.
I am very proud that I am down 27 pounds from this picture. By the next time we get to hike in Utah...I will be able to have a picture of a fit, healthier me at the summit. I can't wait to have before and after shots from the same location!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Motivational Monday...Friend(ly) Inspiration

My husband and I have good friends who live in Park City, Utah. The gentleman grew up here in Cleveland and has been very good friends with my husband ever since they went through their school years together. He moved to Utah for his career, and met his wife out there. We've been there to visit, and I hope we can go back very soon to see them. Right now we keep in touch by phone and Facebook, and see them when they come to town to visit his family.

One thing that is so inspirational about them is their commitment to staying fit. They are always running, working out, and serving healthy, nutritious food. I will never forget hiking through the area when we stayed with them out there. We went the easy way, since my family and I are not as conditioned as they are, but I was still huffing and puffing along the way. I will say that I am proud that I never gave up...I was 217 pounds at the time and determined not to lag behind. I kept up fairly well, but it was my wake-up call to just how out of shape I was. (Maybe I do have my very own Bob and Jillian...and they live in Utah!)

This wonderful couple runs half-marathons, which in the Utah terrain is quite an accomplishment. Our friend skied quite a bit when he lived here, but he is in his glory in Park City, with a longer ski season and amazing runs. He was even on Ski Patrol for a while. Their kids are all very active and eat a very limited amount of junk food. In fact, they actually prefer to have an apple or some veggies for a snack, rather than sugary or greasy foods.

I am using this story of my Utah friends to motivate you for this week. They motivate me all the time. I have a picture from our trip to Park City on my fireplace mantle...It's me standing with my son and one of their sons, at the top of a lookout area when we were hiking. It not only reminds me of how heavy I was then and how far I've come...but also that when I set my mind to something (like keeping up on a hike) I can do it!!!

Now for my weigh-in: I only lost .4 pounds this week, taking me down to 189.4. I admit that I celebrated Mardi Gras a little too much, living up to the Fat Tuesday name. It actually did make me feel sick after eating too much that day, so now I don't even want to go near those foods! I'm still over 27 pounds lighter than last year on that day...and I KNOW I will not be fat next year on Fat Tuesday. So in a way, I'm realizing just how much more I enjoy healthy foods my friends and their kids. Sometimes a binge day like that teaches you quite a bit. Next year, I will celebrate Thin Tuesday!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fat Suit Thoughts

For the record...I LOVE the movie Shallow Hal. Of course there were the fat jokes throughout, but I felt they were necessary to show how a lot of people view those of us who are overweight. Since the movie also showed how one man learned to view people for their inner beauty, I watch this movie often. (Yes, I have the's probably almost worn out.)

Another funny thing about this is that I often use Shallow Hal as motivation for me to release my "inner Gwyneth Paltrow". A couple of weeks ago on Facebook, everyone was supposed to pick a celebrity that they resembled. Some of us couldn't figure that one out as easily, so we asked our friends their thoughts. One of my friends actually did say Gwyneth...and his words reminded me once again of this movie. Of course I am ME...but maybe there is a little bit of Ms. Paltrow waiting to come out! ;o)

Now, another friend reminded me today of something I often think about. A lot of people who have never had a weight problem do not understand what it's like to go through life with all of the extra pounds. We've seen not only Gwyneth Paltrow, but also other actors and actresses, don fat suits to play a role...or to walk the streets with hidden cameras to show how they are treated by people when they are "fat". These people get to unzip their fat suits at the end of the day and take them off. They remove the double chins and go on with their lives. Yes, they've learned something from the experience, but we who have to live with our weight on a daily basis can't do that. We have to work to have the pounds come off gradually...they don't just disappear overnight.

Now, some of my friends do understand even though they are thin...because they have learned that eating junk food makes them have less energy and not feel so good. They may be a smaller size, but they learned the nutrition lesson in all of this. Others still don't understand. They think if you've started to eat right and exercise, you should be all set. There is more to it than that. We have to deal with the issues in our brains that made us this way. If it were simple, we would all be thin already!

So just remember, the weight doesn't not come off in one lump comes off in layers!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Motivational Monday...Pursue Your Dream

Let me start off with my weigh-in first, to get that out of the way. I weigh exactly the same as last Monday...189.8. I worked very hard this week, but yesterday I really celebrated for Valentine's Day. I'm sure that's what kept me the same, but I didn't gain! That is definitely a victory, and shows that you can celebrate sometimes on a holiday and then just pick up where you left long as you don't overdo it. I did enjoy some of those small victories though...more of the clothes that I tried on that used to be tight are now swimming on me. That shows just how far I've come in on this journey, and keeps me pumped to continue. I am ready to make this week rock!!!
For Motivational Monday...I turn again to the Olympic athletes, from all of the countries around the world. You already know that the skiing inspires me, because I want to get back to it myself. I have always loved figure skating and that is still my favorite to watch. I really do enjoy all of the sports in the Olympics, because I learn from each of them. I discovered how tough the biathletes are, as they pressed on in heavy rain and snow to live their dreams. I cheered as a Canadian skier won the gold, inspired by his older brother who has cerebal palsy. I've watched skaters (figure and speed) fall and pick themselves back up to continue toward their goals. And of course there is Apolo Anton Ohno...competing in his third Olympics, training harder than ever and down 20 pounds to improve his performance level. He already has a silver medal for the 2010 Games...and has the chance to become the most decorated American Winter Olympic Athlete. He never, ever gives up...and I admire that. you watch the Olympics this week, discover which athletes inspire you, and why. They can help motivate you toward your goals too!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Food Is Fuel

Last night on The Biggest Loser, I learned some valuable lessons from the Olympic athletes who helped train the contestants for the week. So many of these competitors have been through a lot to get to where they are. They bounce back from injuries, and overcome what others would perceive as disabilities to accomplish great things. We can overcome all of our obstacles as well, as long as we adopt the attitude of champions, who know they can do whatever they set their minds to.

The other very important lesson I learned was actually something I already knew...but really finally clicked last night. The contestants were shown what the different types of athletes eat at the Olympic Training Center. The daily caloric intake varies, depending on what sport they are in. Some need more carbs or calories, some need less. It all hinges on what foods fuel their bodies best for maximum health and performance.

This demonstration reminded me how I need to think of food as fuel. It is not something to be used to relieve stress, make myself feel better, or just fill my empty stomach. A lot of the comfort foods I was used to are junk and definitely don't make my body perform at its best. I have to choose the proper nutrients to energize myself so I can get all of my tasks completed, including exercise, to the best of my ability. I need to ignite the fat-burning furnace within my body. I know I've been pretty good about it, but when I had a stressful week I still reached for the junk food more than I should have. I really needed to make that click in my brain, and now it has.

I need to fuel my body for maximum performance...I may not win a gold medal at the Olympics, but I will still be the winner of my own life!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Motivational Monday...Being Brave

OK...I'm sure you noticed you haven't heard from me since last Monday. It was the week from Hades in some ways, but also the week sent from Heaven.
I had a lot to get done, which never bothers me, except that my poor son was home sick from Tuesday through the rest of the week. He got to school on Tuesday morning, threw up, and I had to go pick him up. He had a flu that had to run its course and he really didn't start feeling better until Friday night. By then I was exhausted, running back and forth making sure he was OK and getting my work done. My husband had a job interview that at first looked promising...but when he got through finding out more about the company, he knew he couldn't even consider the job. It looked like a fly-by-night operation, and he had a bad feeling about it. Add to that some other emotional scenarios throughout the week...and I was done for. I still ate pretty well, except for Super Bowl Sunday. I did not, however, get much exercise.
I got on the scale this morning to discover I lost .6 pounds, which is a miracle considering the week I had. And...this puts me at I'm out of the 190's! Even though this week was a roller coaster for me, it was a growth experience. I'm learning more and more every day that I am braver and stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. Even on the rough days, I'm digging deep inside myself to find just what I'm made of...and I like what I'm finding! Today I am even presenting you with my most recent photo (see above), and I am proud of the woman in that picture!
This is my Motivational Monday challenge to you: YOU are your inspirational person this week. Look inside yourself and see what's holding you back. Start discovering what really makes you tick, and use it to become stronger and push yourself...we are all capable of so much more than we realize!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Motivational Monday...Does Soul Searching Burn Calories?

This has been another week of looking deep within myself to find just what I'm made of. I'm finally peeling back those layers, one by one, and understanding more of what makes me tick. (I feel just like Shrek with the onion!) Sometimes it's painful, but always enlightening. I'm not as anxious as I used to be, and I don't let strange comments or small-minded people get to me like I did before. I realize that those things are much more of a reflection on them than they are on me, so I see what I can learn from the experience and press on ahead.
So...does soul searching burn calories? Maybe not in the traditional way, but I know since undertaking this journey I want to treat my body better because I've discovered that I'm worth it. Because of that, I eat much better, work out a lot harder, and have strengthened myself on the inside as well as the outside. Soul searching makes me do the things that burn the calories...and that is something I can be proud of!
Now for the weigh-in: Today I weigh 190.4. I lost one pound, which is good since my monthly gift is here, and I did treat myself to one piece of cheesecake last Monday evening when I went out to dinner with my old high school friends. (And yes ladies...I did do that extra hour on the treadmill to run off the cheescake!) Allowing myself that one treat was good, because then I didn't crave the sweets and carbs the rest of the week. Next week...the 180's, watch out!
For a motivational person this week, I challenge you to find someone close to you who inspires you. It could be a family member, friend, or neighbor....or even someone you see out running everyday on your way to work. I know I have friends who are out exercising, no matter what our crazy weather is like at any given moment. Find some motivation in your daily life, and go with it!!!