Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Biggest Loser: Determination!

*photo courtesy of NBC.

This week on The Biggest Loser, there was all sorts of drama as usual, but I came away with 2 very important lessons. First of all, Stephanie had a rough week because a few of the others in the house were speculating about her. They questioned whether or not she threw a weigh-in a couple of weeks ago, and it hurt her deeply because she knows she is not that kind of person. I'm sure we all have had people question our character at some point in our lives because of misunderstandings or just plain meanness. If you haven't, it will happen at some point, because we are all human. Stephanie taught me that even when this happens, you have to stay strong as the person you know you are, and keep on being you and moving toward your goals in life. It's going to hurt, but you can't let it affect the way you live. You have to move on and stand tall, because you know who you are, and so does God.

My other lesson came from Melissa, as she came back into the game. Two players got to come back. Victoria was voted in, and the other person would have to win a 1,000 step challenge. Melissa was determined to get back into the game, as everyone should be. She focused on what she had to do, getting ahead of everyone with her steps. She felt pain as time went on just like the others, but she was not going to let it stop her from reaching her goal. She won the challenge, and taught me that you must keep your focus and determination in order to succeed. It was just the extra kick in the butt I needed this week!

I have to add awesome is Wayne, the man who was inspired by Biggest Loser and lost 418 pounds at home? He weighed well over 600 pounds, and he was determined as well to get back to living his life and regaining his health. We can all learn from him...and think about his success as we reach for our own goals!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Motivational Monday...It's Almost Easter!

I am not too happy with Blogger right now, because it won't let me add a picture. I wanted to show you this lady wearing a dress made out of vegetables, and assure you that this is not my Easter dress, but I will be wearing my veggies on the inside!

I lost a whopping .2 pounds this week, but at least it's still a loss. The scale is still moving in the right direction. What it means to me is that I have to change up my workout routine, because I think my body has gotten used to the same old thing. I need more variety to get the best out of me.

My motivational website for today is Women's Health magazine is an incredible source for all aspects of female health...weight loss is included, but there is so much more to our health than that. Please check out all of their great resources.

Holy Week began yesterday with Palm Sunday, so this week is a time of reflection for me, not only on all Jesus has done for me, but on ways I need to honor Him...which include how I should take care of my body. A lot of people make New Year's resolutions, but how about us making Easter our time of renewal, in our faith and our lives? Think about that this week as you prepare for Easter Sunday...which is meant as a fresh start, thanks to God!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Point Me In The Direction Of Albuquerque

Since the snow decided to fall yesterday afternoon here in Ohio, I'm back to the treadmill and dreaming of spring. Lately I've been thinking about spring about a decade ago, when I was able to visit New Mexico. I fell completely in love with the state, taking day trips to Santa Fe and spending the majority of my time in Albuquerque.
People always talk about the lights of Albuquerque, and even write songs about them. Everything I've heard is true, and even the pictures don't do it justice. You really have to witness nighttime there in person to experience it. I remember having dinner at a restaurant above the city and almost being too mesmerized to eat. (Sounds like a good diet plan to me!) I loved everything from the Native American culture to the chiles, both red and green...and don't make me choose a favorite. It all depends what I'm in the mood for!
This was one of those trips when I walked almost everywhere, and ate healthier foods prepared with those wonderful chiles. I'm pretty sure this was the only vacation I ever took where I lost two pounds! I know spicy foods can give metabolism a boost, but so does being in an environment that you love to explore...without even feeling tired from all of the exercise.
It's time to pull out those Southwestern cookbooks I acquired on my trip, and see what I can whip up that's spicy and good for me. I will keep you posted on those recipes, and dream of New Mexico while I work out. And hopefully soon I'll be able to make a return visit!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Biggest Loser: I Deserve To Take Care Of Me!

Last night's Biggest Loser was really interesting to watch, as the ten remaining players all went home for the week to see how they would handle being away from the ranch and back in their old environments. They did pretty well, most likely thanks to a 26.2 mile biking challenge they all had to do in front of the family and friends who watched them at their inital hometown weigh-ins. They still had to deal with temptations from some family members and the hangouts they used to frequent, but they handled those situations with grace...and inspired the people closest to them in the process.
The two people who inspired me the most in this episode are Michael and Lance. Michael had to deal with his grandmother's illness, and was very stressed out about it. He admitted that the old Michael would have eaten his way through the stress, but now he worked it out in the gym instead. He realized that part of the reason for his grandma's health problems was her weight, and the fact that she did not take good care of herself. He doesn't want his family to have to go through the same problems with him.
Lance came back from his visit home in a funk. Bob could tell something was wrong, so he had a talk with Lance. He admitted that after being home for a week, he felt like he was abandoning his family again, and felt awful that he was leaving Melissa to take care of everything while he was still at the ranch. Bob finally got the message through that Lance to take care of himself too, and that in turn would make him a better husband and father.
I'm one of those people who always struggled with making time for me. I've learned that it's worse to let yourself go and just take care of everyone else, because in the long run they will all wind up having to take care of you because you didn't do it for yourself. I now make sure I have time every day to work out, de-stress, and recharge. Because of this, I am becoming a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, writer, etc. Life goes much better when you take care of yourself along with others!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Motivational Monday...Going Forward!

Success on the scale!!! I think I jumped almost as high as the woman in the picture this morning. After last week's gain, I really needed to see the number on the scale go down again. And I did...I lost 2.8 pounds, which puts me at 186.4. I lost what I had gained plus more, and I couldn't be happier.

Several things helped me move forward this past week. The wonderful spring weather meant that I could go outside and walk, along with running my sprints. Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders, and they certainly did for me. I love my treadmill, but there's nothing like exercising outside. The coaching session I had with Laurie was amazing, and I can now visualize even more for my life. (see previous post) Paying better attention to my nutrition and a lot of prayer also moved me forward to a better frame of mind and spirit, which in turn is doing wonders for my body!

Starting this week, I'm going to pick a motivational website for you to check out. Cool Running has so much great information, including a Couch to 5K Running Plan. If you've never run before, this is the site for you. And even if you have, there is extensive info for runners of all levels. Please visit them at

I KNOW this week is going to be amazing...and I hope it is for all of you as well! :o)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Visualization...Finding Your Inner Strength and Peace

Last night I experienced something really special. It moved me forward in ways that I never could have imagined, and I am so glad I did it.

My friend Laurie is a Life and Wellness Coach. She deals with the bodily aspects such as exercise and healthy eating, but she also does so much more. She helps you delve deep inside yourself to your heart, mind, and order to discover what's been holding you back not only in weight loss, but also in all areas of your life. It is vital that we figure out what's been weighing us down so we don't repeat the pattern anymore.

When I signed up for the visualization session, I was already excited. I think I already knew it was going to be life-changing. I was right. Just an hour on the phone with Laurie made a major difference in how I see my life. I was already on my way to being stronger and more courageous on my journey, but now I can see even more clearly the things about myself and my life that I needed to know.

I won't go through the whole process with you, because you really have to experience it for yourself. Each person will come away with his or her own unique, individual experience and revelations about life. What I will tell you is that I felt a huge weight lifted off of me and more positive than ever. When I got up this morning, I said my prayers to God and then re-visualized what I saw last night during the call. I started the day feeling a new energy and ready to make the most of this day.

If you would like to find out more about this experience, please go to Laurie Runyan's website where you can schedule your own session and find out more about what Laurie does. She is passionate about helping people live their best lives!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cabin Fever...Be Gone!!!

It is SO nice to be able to go outside and enjoy this nice weather! Spring may not come for a couple of days yet on the calendar, but we definitely have great weather here in Northeast Ohio. Mother Nature is being very nice to us, and I couldn't be happier. (Hopefully she doesn't "treat" us to one of those April snowstorms!)

I was starting to have a really bad case of cabin fever for a while. It snowed like crazy in February, and the beginning of March was still pretty chilly. The treadmill was getting boring, and even though I have other workouts to mix things up, I craved walks outdoors. No sunshine made for a grumpier me at times. I had to crank up the Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney to lift my mood and make me think of warmer weather. The music also helped me think about swimsuit season coming up!

I love that I can take long walks again outside, and run those sprints up and down the hill in our backyard. Soon I will be playing tennis again, and I really can't wait for that. The racquets are ready, and so am I. Bring on spring...full speed ahead!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Biggest Loser...Healthy Cooking and Living Life!

I always love it when Curtis Stone is on Biggest Loser. I'll be the first to admit that part of it is that he's very easy on the eyes and I love his accent, but it's so much more than that. He really knows his stuff. Last night on the show, the teams had to prepare a healthy 3 course meal for him, and he would decide which one was better and who would win the challenge. He not only teaches the nutritional information about the foods that are prepared, but he gives pointers about how to properly cook those foods so they are enjoyable and safe to eat. After all, like Curtis says...if it's not cooked right and you don't enjoy it, you're going to go eat something else.

This episode taught me that I really need to put more variety in my eating plan. I am making a commitment right now to try different ways to prepare healthy food, so I don't get bored and want to go eat something bad for me. Just seeing how many different ways there are to use various fruits, vegetables, and lean meats inspires me to start getting more creative in the kitchen.

My other lesson last night came from Sherry, who was sent home at the end of the episode but taught me something very important. Even after you lose someone you love, you must go on and live your life to the fullest. In all of the years since her husband died, she was just existing. She filled the void in her life with food, and stopped doing all of the things that once brought her happiness. As you know if you have read my older posts, my mom passed away 16 years ago. I know I went into that same mode as Sherry did, maybe not quite to the same extent, but I still went into a semi-hibernation state. I used food as my comfort, and it's taken a long time to stop doing that.

When we saw how Sherry looks now, it's an amazing transformation...not just in the amount of weight she's lost, but in her heart and soul as well. Her spirit is soaring, and she knows that her husband is looking down on her proudly, watching her do all of those things she dreamed of for so long. I know my mom also would not want me to let life pass me by just because she's no longer on earth with me. She wants me to live to the fullest...and that is just what I'm finally doing. Time to let MY spirit soar!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From Monday...To Run Day!!!

Meet my newest friend. I picked up Runner's World about a month ago at the bookstore, where I was waiting to meet a friend for coffee. I got there early, so I started to read through the magazine. I'm newer to running, having walked on the treadmill or outside all the time. I'm up to a very fast walk, but I know I have to get running so I can be ready for these races that I'm planning on doing, especially Race For The Cure in September.
I was very impressed with the articles and information I found. Whether you are a beginner, expert, or somewhere in between, there is something for you here. They offer running tips, review shoes, and even talk about boosting your confidence level. Also covered are subjects like nutrition, stretching, and ways to prevent injury. Anything and everyting you want to know about running is here. The website is a wealth of information as well, please check them out at
I have started going outside when weather permits and running sprints up and down the small hill in our backyard. It's going well so far, and soon I will be out there running full force, and you won't be able to stop me! Thank you Runner's World!

Monday, March 15, 2010

(Motivational) Monday Monday...Can't Trust That Day

Well, here we are at Monday once again. I was kind of afraid that today the scale might show a gain, and it did. I gained 1.6 pounds. I'm sure he (of course I give the scale the male pronoun...he's actually more trouble than a man) did not like all of the nasty names I called him this morning. I am trying to kiss and make up with him though. Wait, maybe just make up. I am not going to kiss my scale.
I went to lunch Friday with my dad on his birthday, and did very well with my veggie omelet, making sure to tell the waitress to leave off the hollandaise sauce so I wouldn't consume extra fat and calories that I didn't need, and skipping the greasy hash browns. I think my main problem was on Saturday, which was my mother-in-law's birthday. She chose lunch at the Chinese buffet. I was very good about passing up all of the fried foods, and loading up on mostly vegetables. I used a very minimal amount of soy sauce, a lot less than I used to use...but even with being as careful as I could, Chinese food is prepared with a lot of sodium. Saturday evening and all day yesterday, my fingers were too puffy for 2 of the rings I usually wear. I had a feeling the sodium would still be in my system today and show the water weight on the scale. So now, I just have to move forward from here...exercise, eat well, and watch the sodium.
I decided to make my motivational person someone that I named a few months ago, because she is deserving of another mention. For those of you who watch Ruby like I do, you know that she used to weigh 700 pounds and now is down to almost 300. Every time we see her, she shows her courage not only to live out her journey in front of the country, but also to try new things she's never been able to do before. Watching her ride a mechanical bull a couple of weeks ago made me think of my own quest to get back in the saddle and ride horses again. Please learn more about Ruby at
When I make Chinese at home, I don't use those preservatives so I don't have all of that sodium to deal with. I did the best I could under the circumstances at the buffet, and sometimes that's all you can do. This week will be much better, and I'm drinking more water than usual to flush the sodium out of my system. Spring is just about here...and I will carry the fresh attitude of the season into this week!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't Want To Hear a Peep Out of You (or See One Go in Your Mouth!)

Every year, it seems the candy manufacturers put their Easter candy out even earlier than the year before. This year, Valentine's Day wasn't even upon us and I saw chocolate hearts, marshmallow peeps, and peanut butter eggs all sitting on the shelf next to each other. To a sugar addict like me, this was akin to being present for the filming of a horror movie. Candy everywhere, with the holidays merging together! Who were the insane people who thought this was a good idea?
Well, the people who planned this aren't quite so insane, from their own perpective anyway. Chocolate companies know that the earlier they stock the shelves with Easter candy, the more that will be consumed before Easter is even near. They can be sure that even those with the best intentions, who buy candy on sale to save for Easter, are likely to let their willpower go and give in to temptation...which means that they will buy even MORE candy to replace what they ate so the baskets can be filled. A bigger profit is made, all because we are addicted to sugar and can't wait for Easter to have it.
For me, this has always been a dangerous time of year, with candy tempting me everywhere I go. But this time around, I am very proud to say that I have not bought nor eaten one single piece of Easter candy. I will buy just a small amount of it right before Easter for my son's basket. Since our entire family is working on healthier eating, he will get just a few treats, along with some fruit. We will also put cool things in his basket like fun gadgets and either a new video game or DVD. The enjoyment from those last a whole lot longer than the sugar rush, and are lot better for him (and us).
How am I staying away from the candy this time? Reminding myself how awful I always felt after a candy binge, and not wanting to do that to myself anymore. I also keep my goals in's almost spring, and summer will be here before we know it. I have certain shorts and swimsuits that are waiting for me in my closet, that I WILL fit into this summer. You can do it too, you know. Just make sure that this holiday season when you are chillin' with your peeps, you are talking about your friends, and not the sugary marshmallow kind!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Biggest Loser...Losing Big While Working (At Home)

*photo courtesy of NBC.

Once again, last night's Biggest Loser was an awesome lesson for all of us. This week there was a lot less backstabbing and game playing, and the focus was on the bonds of family members and friendships forged that will last a lifetime. It was also all about helping others in need, and learning how to handle the weight loss journey when you have a full time job.

At the first challenge, Alison informed the remaining contestants that they would have to go to work for the week. The gym would open early in the morning, and close at 7:30 PM each day. Everyone would have to learn how to deal with fitting in workouts around the work and gym schedule, and plan their food choices for eating on the job. Every day, they all had to get up and take a bus to the Food Bank, where they performed various jobs...making thank you phone calls, taking inventory, loading and unloading food, and giving out the food to those in great need. At the end of the day, they took the bus back to the ranch. Some worked out before work, and everybody exercised after work, learning to deal with the feelings of work stress and fatigue and still do what was needed in order to keep losing the weight. They had to plan healthy lunches day Sam forgot to bring the lunch he packed and had to figure out what to eat. He refused to eat the junk in the vending machine, so he and Stephanie wound up spending their lunch hour at the Subway near the Food Bank.

Since everyone still put up pretty good numbers at the weigh-in, they proved that it can be done at home when you have work responsibilites. Granted, they still had Bob and Jillian to push them during their gym time, but the weight will still come off if you do the right things.

Now, I want to talk about a specific work situation, which is my reality. I work from home. Being a freelance writer means that I do business from my home computer most of the time, and don't have to worry about getting dressed up or putting on a uniform to go to work. I could write in my pajamas if I wanted to...and believe me, there have been days when I've done just that. I have found, however, that you need to organize your time each day, just as if you commuted to a job and had to fit in all of your daily tasks.

Schedule your day. Write everything down, and even keep a daily planner if it helps. I decide exactly when I will write, edit, network, etc. I plan when I will exercise and work that into each day. I take healthy meal breaks. Sure, there are days when plans get interrupted, but that happens to matter what his or her work situation. If you make a plan, you are more likely to stick to it. If you just leave each day to happen as it may, you will find that certain things don't get accomplished, and time will slip away from you. I love the freedom of working from home, as many others do, but we have to make sure that we don't over do the "freedom" part. We still have to discipline ourselves to get our work done, and make sure we get our workouts in.

Organization is the key, whether you drive to a job each day or work from your home office. Make the commitment to get it done. You have to plan to succeed, and you will!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Motivational Monday...In Sickness And In Health

This past week, I wound up getting sick. I hate being sick. It slows me down to the point where it takes me longer to get anything done...and some things don't get done at all. It was some kind of stomach bug, and I had some days that weren't so bad, allowing me to get workouts in and work on my writing. Other days, it left me so shaky that I could not even focus for more than a few minutes at a time on anything.

Yesterday was especially bad...I had been up most of the night and wound up missing not only my son's bowling tournament, but my niece's birthday party as well. As much as I hate not getting things done, I really can't stand missing out on important events with my family and friends. I wound up sleeping a good part of the day, which my body obviously needed, but not getting anything else accomplished. I spent the evening vegging out in front of the TV watching the Oscars.

I did manage to lose .8 pounds this week, in spite of riding the Stomach Flu Roller Coaster. (Note to Cedar Point: Do NOT even think of creating this will NOT be popular. In fact, it might even drive people away from the park. I know they will not want to ride it after eating all of that food on a stick and funnel cakes!) Part of the reason I started on my journey to weight loss and health is that I don't want feeling awful to stop me from accomplishing things or attending events. I know that on occasion we all get sick like this and it cannot be helped. But spending my down time yesterday reflecting just reinforced this issue for me. The better I treat my body, the less likely it will be that I come down with illnesses that wipe me out for days. I will be able to overcome symptoms, and not need quite so many days of rest to recover. This in turn will help me have more time to do what I want and need to do.

I picked a fitness professional for my motivational person this week. You may have seen Katie Uter in Oxygen Magazine or other publications, and she is all about staying healthy throughout your life. She has an 11 year old daughter, and since I have a son that age, I can relate to her on so many levels. Check her out at to find out more about her. I am going to make the picture of her that you see above my computer wallpaper, to remind me of my goals and inspire me along the way.

Even though I am still not at 100%, I am feeling well enough to start working out again. This week I am going to more than make up for being sick. Here's to a healthy week for all of us!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Believe...The Voice of Truth

*photo courtesy of NBC.

Last night on The Biggest came to that point in the competition when the players were divided into the Blue Team and the Black Team. We knew it was coming, but didn't know just how it would take place. After a challenge that really did almost make me throw up watching it (having to eat unGodly amounts of cookies and other unhealthy foods) Michael gained the power to choose the teams. He got to pick who would be trained by whom, and how the teams would be formed.
Michael played the game, which was expected...but he REALLY stacked his own team. To say the teams were unfairly matched would be the understatement of the year. When Bob and Jillian saw their new teams in the gym, neither of them were pleased. Jillian likened her new Black Team to David going up against Goliath with his slingshot. It immediately reminded me of my favorite Casting Crowns song..."Voice of Truth". Jillian had to train her team even harder to compensate for their "weakness" against the Blue Team, and Bob had to train his team to keep working hard and not get overconfident.
At the weigh-in, it sure looked like the Blue Team would easily come out ahead. Michael himself lost 15 pounds, and he was sure that they had it in the bag. (I guess that's an accomplishment in itself...losing 15 pounds after eating all of that junk at the challenge!) One by one, the Black Team members got on the scale, and after the first couple of them weighed in, the numbers certainly didn't look threatening. Something amazing happened though...the numbers started getting better, until it was down to Ashley. She need to lose more than 8 pounds to beat the Blue Team. She lost 10!
It's what Jillian was hoping for...but she still was amazed by her team. Bob was shocked too, and also knew that his team had gotten overconfident about the weigh-in. This episode teaches two important lessons...first of all, no matter what you are up against, you can still conquer it. And secondly, just because the odds are in your favor, don't underestimate your opponent.
Even though I have been doing a good job in facing down my fears now, I still needed this lesson, and I think most of us do. We still get in situations that look impossible and we start feeling defeated right away. I've had some of those feelings lately myself, even with all of the progress I've made. I needed the reminder that even though I'm standing before the giant with just a sling and a stone, God gives me the strength and courage I need to overcome it. And to my opponents, whether they be human or other out, because I listen and believe the Voice of Truth.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Motivational Monday...March Madness!!!

We all know about college basketball's March Madness. But this month is crazy for so many other reasons. The weather is even more unpredictable than usual, especially around here. In my family, it's like Christmas all over again...because there are 6 birthdays for us in March. Five of them fall between the 11th and the 14th, with 2 on the 13th. Then two weeks later is my husband's birthday!

A few of my friends and I have committed to losing 20 pounds by May 1st. We actually started this over a week ago, and last week my loss was minimal. Today I stepped on that scale and lost 1 pound...bringing me to 188.4. (And I have lost 1.4 pounds so far in our challenge.) I really stepped it up this week, and I'm proud of my progress. Guess who's coming to visit any day now...yes, my dear aunt who just has to come and see me every single month. Since I never used to lose anything around the time of her visits, this is a good number. Plus, my clothes are even looser, even if the number on the scale showed only a one pound loss.

My motivational person for this week is my friend Daphne, who hosts "The Thick & Lovin' It" show on Blog Talk Radio. Miss Daphne has lost 230 pounds, maintaining her weight at a size 12-14. She talks on her show about weight, health, body image and other important issues. If you get Discovery Health Channel, her weight loss story will be re-aired this Friday. To find out more on her radio show, go to

The workout picture above (in pink!) is to remind me of my promise to run Race For The Cure this I have my May 1st goal in mind as well as my September goal to keep me going. What goals are you setting on this first day of keep you motivated?