Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Motivation

This is a very quick blog today, as I am on my way to my mother-in-law's for a healthy holiday meal. I'm so thankful that she supports us one hundred percent in our weight loss and fitness efforts.
My weigh-in yielded the exact same number as last loss, no gain. I'm OK with that, since Aunt Flo arrived yesterday with her gift wrapped in red just for me, just like the lady in the commercial hands to women on the beach. (I think I'm going to call that lady in those feminine hygiene ads Auntie Flo just for kicks!) It was so sweet of her to come visit for the holiday weekend...I think. Anyway, she will soon be gone and I'm certainly not going to change my plans for her. Plenty of exercise and nutritious foods are on my agenda...and I refuse her offer of chocolate and salty snacks!
I will tell you more about my weekend tomorrow. But since it is Memorial Day, I want to take time to say thank you to all of the men and women who gave their lives from our freedom. I think of one of my best friends and her family today, since she lost her nephew in Iraq almost 2 years ago. And my dad and I are both remembering his brother, my uncle, whom I never got to meet because he was the 7th soldier killed in the Korean War when he was 19. God bless all of the families and friends who are grieving...and God bless the USA.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Family Summer Shape-Up - In Session!

It's officially the start of the Memorial Day Weekend. Even though the calendar says it's not really summer until mid-June, we all know that this weekend is the accepted unofficial start of the season. The weather here is beautiful, low to mid 80's, with plenty of sun. Baseball practices have already gone on, and I've done outdoor workouts on several days. It feels so good to get outside and walk, run, play tennis, and just enjoy the day.
Even though we have already been getting more active and eating better, Operation Family Summer Shape-Up has now begun. You know I'm down 35 pounds, and now my son has already lost four pounds. We are working as a family so all of us can get fit and healthy. Going for walks and playing tennis together is a big part of our summer. Eating less junk food is also on the agenda, along with consuming more fruits and vegetables. My son is learning to drink water most of the time instead of sports drinks, juices, and sodas. We don't even have soda in the house. We may have one on a rare occasion when we're not eating at home, but even then most of the time we drink water. We are watching our portion sizes now more than ever.
The great thing about having this Summer Shape-Up is...we are setting goals over this weekend, to be completed by Labor Day. We will still be checking in weekly to see our progress, but having a bigger goal to work toward will keep us motivated and in motion. I challenge all of you to start your own Summer Shape-Up. Just think how far we will all have come by the start of September!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Biggest Loser Finale...WOW!!!

I was anxiously awaiting last night's Bigget Loser finale, along with everyone else I know. This has been a season jam-packed with emotions and inspiration. I was sure the finale would take my breath away, and I was not disappointed.
The first order of business was for Alison to announce whether Daris or Koli would be the third finalist. America voted...and the spot went to Daris! I was so happy for him...not just for that, but he now has a girlfriend. She is just gorgeous and he is really hot now. Even Alison was taken with him as she just stared at him!
Next on the agenda was Shay's Subway Challenge. If you remember, at the last finale Subway pledged to pay her $1,000 for every additional pound she lost by this finale. Shay lost 52 pounds since then. The famous Jared came out with a giant check, telling Shay that the amount was left blank because they have ANOTHER challenge for her. Subway will double her $52,000 if she completes a marathon. She agreed to the new challenge, so we can keep rooting Shay on for the next finale.
In groups of 4, all of the players competing for the at home prize came out in their finale outfits, then went backstage to change into their tank tops and shorts for the weigh-in. For a long time Sherry held the lead, and it looked as if she would take home the $100,000. Then Darrell came along and took over the lead. His lead was short-lived, as Koli was the final player on the scale and took the prize. All in all, Koli still did well even though he wasn't voted into the final 3.
Finally, it was time for 3 finalists to come out. Since we had already seen Daris, Ashley came out all in pink and looking gorgeous. I really do relate to Ashley and Sherry, as they remind me of my mom and myself so much! Sherry was crying as she watched her daughter take the stage, showing how proud she was of her. They both have so much to be proud of. Then out comes Michael. The exact words that came out of my mouth at the time were, "Holy cow! Look at him!", to which my son responded, "Holy crap!" As I'm sure you can see by the picture above, Michael is just plain hot now, and you can see his happiness and newfound zest for life in his eyes. Now it was his mom Maria's turn to cry tears of pride.
The final 3 all came back out in their weigh-in clothes, and Daris went first. (Michael got to pick the order since he was the top loser on the ranch.) Daris lost almost half of his body weight. Ashley was next, and she also lost almost half of her body weight...and beat Daris by less than 1 percent. Finally, Michael stepped on the scale, and he lost just over 50 percent of his body weight, to become the Season 9 Biggest Loser! He laughed and cried as his family came up to him with the confetti falling down. What a season!
I am inspired more than ever, and will be replaying the finale in my head over and over again to keep me motivated. And we still have more motivation coming...Losing It With Jillian starts next week on Tuesday!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday...Or Is It?

If you read my soul searching post from Friday, you know I went off the deep end foodwise because of unexpected stress. You also know that I put on the brakes and thought deeply about what had caused me to turn to sugary food for relief, when I haven't used food that way in months.
Today was Moment of Truth day...what number would I see on the scale after my binge? Even though I got back on track for the rest of the week, I was nervous about weighing myself today. Actually, I was already getting nervous yesterday evening, but I focused on other more postive things to stop from worrying.
I did gain...but only .6 pounds. I am OK with that, and quite relieved that it wasn't more. Now, if I had continued to binge without examining why I was doing it, I would have gained even more. By stopping the downhill slide early, I saved myself from further damage. The situation I described on Friday is still there and not pleasant, but I will not let the stress stop me from reaching my goals. I know I made the right decision, and nobody is going to make me feel badly about myself because the decision did not go the way they wanted it to.
Speaking of focusing on positive things last night...I cried during Celebrity Apprentice. For all Bret Michaels has been through, especially in the last couple of months, he amazes me. He was there for the live finale, looking much better than anyone ever thought he would at this point. Just like during the whole season, people didn't think he had a chance. Well, since he won...I bet they are eating their words. (Would anyone like a little salt and pepper for their crow?) He inspires me to work hard and be my best. If Bret can be a fighter through everything in his life...then I can certainly bounce back from a sugar binge and a few rough spots. Just like Bret, don't count me out...there's more to me than you know, and I am strong!

Friday, May 21, 2010

WHY Did I Stress Eat?

About 3 hours ago, I succumbed to stress eating. I've been so good about not eating my feelings for quite a while now, and thought I had come far enough on my journey that I would be past turning to food under stressful situations. I've been going over this in my head ever since I ate that dang ice cream.
Yesterday, a couple of situations came upon me without warning. One of them I was able to handle pretty well, but the other required more thought and stress to come to a decision. I had 2 events planned for later this summer, one on one weekend and the other on the following weekend. (And I will say, fully aware of the irony, that both events are weight loss related...and I wound up eating over it.) Suddenly I found out that the first event had to be changed to the following weekend, leaving both events happening the same weekend. If I bailed on the first event, I would be disappointing my family and ruining the getaway they were so excited about. (And let me tell you...because of our job/money situation, we haven't had any type of vacation in almost 4 years.) If I cancelled out on the second one, I would have to tell a few people I love and really care about that I would not be able to attend a special function they worked hard to create. I was not looking forward to either choice, but I had to decide quickly so that I could inform the people involved as soon as possible so they could work around it.
I decided that my family came first. I switched the reservation to the new dates, and informed the person in charge of the other event that I wasn't going to be able to come. (To further drive this home...the family event was planned before the other one in the first place.) I told this person the minute I knew, and still feel really awful for having to do this. Now, I did not expect her to be thrilled about this...but I told her why I made my decision the way I did, and my family has to come first. She is still complaining about it, which I do understand to a degree, but I hope she comes to respect my decision. I am loyal...maybe even to a fault. Anything and everything she's ever asked me to do to help, I've been right there to do it. I am so loyal that I'm still really upset about this whole situation, and hate that I had to cancel on really good people.
After some tears last night and this morning, I made a trip to the grocery store. The Ben & Jerry's was on sale, and because I wasn't thinking clearly I fell into old habits and I bought it. I came home and ate not one, but two pints of Vanilla Caramel Fudge. To say I don't feel so good right now is an understatement. I already had a stress headache when I woke up, but now my head AND stomach are suffering. I regretted what I ate right after I ate it. Then I sat and thought about why I did it...because I never want to do it again.
Not only was I still feeling crappy about having to make this decision, but someone I care about and respect is upset with me. She does have a right to be upset about the situation, but the little digs about not being able to trust and being disappointed in me really hurt. This is one situation...I've always been reliable for everything else, and I got put in a tough spot where I had to choose one or the other. How can someone be disappointed in me for being loyal to my family? Why does one sticky situation have to suddenly make me all bad to someone? We all have things come up that we have no control over, where we have to make the best decision...not everyone is going to be pleased, but the decision still has to be made.
What I've finally decided after 3 hours of soul searching on a stomach full of that even though I'm not happy with the situation, sabotaging myself is not the answer. There are more constructive ways to deal with it. And I refuse to let another person make me feel bad about myself, just because I was put on the spot and had to make the best decision for my family and myself. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said...nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. I know God knows why I decided the way I did and is pleased that I stuck by my family.
Just writing this all out makes me feel a little bit better. Now, I should have written this earlier today...and maybe I wouldn't have eaten the ice cream. I chalk it up to another life lesson I had to learn, and I move forward from here. I will think it all through BEFORE I pick up the spoon next time!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Biggest Loser...Learning to Lose at HOME???

Yesterday's episode was the last show before next week's finale. The Final 4 were sent off to lose weight at home for 30 days, and Alison also informed them that they would be running a marathon when they got back to the ranch, before that final weigh-in.

We got to see glimpses of how each of the contestants dealt with having to stick to their healthy lifestyles while they were back with their families and friends. Except for one thing...Koli decided to deal with with his situation by NOT dealing with it. He stayed in Las Vegas for the month and hired a personal trainer so he could focus on winning and not have to deal with the same everyday life and distractions that the other 3 contestants did. To me...this is cheating. Everyone else played by the rules, and Koli is going to have to try to live his new way at home sooner or later.

The marathon was quite inspiring, and I always love seeing people from previous seasons come to help the current players out. Matt Hoover ran with Daris, who really pushed himself and completed the race in 4 hours and 2 minutes. He completely blew away the old record time of 4:55 set by Tara Costa from Season 7. Sione Fa ran with Koli, and he came in second, a good 2 hours after Daris. Ashley and Michael decided they were going to finish the race together, and they had Ali Vincent and Mike Morelli by their sides. All of the contestants also had a family member join them for the last mile or so, and it was a very emotional scene. Daris mentioned that he's been strong all along, but didn't really realize it until now. I think that happens to many of us. We don't believe in ourselves enough at first, but as time goes on when see that we always had that strength we needed to accomplish our goals. Ashley said it best...when she said that she is finally the girl she always wanted to be.

At the weigh-in, Michael had a special moment when he saw that he now weighed 299. He had broken the 300 pound barrier! He and Ashley were the top 2 and secured their spots in the finale. Koli and Daris fell below the yellow line. Daris actually gained 2 pounds while at home. He admitted that he focused really hard on the marathon, but gave in to late night eating. What happened to Daris is a good lesson for all of us. A lot of people think that if you are running, especially marathons, that you can eat whatever you want because you're exercising so much. Keeping to a healthy eating schedule is just as important as the running is for your body. You do not have license to eat everything you want .

America gets to vote whether Daris or Koli will be in the finals with Michael and Ashley. My votes all went to Daris. Some people will argue that Koli should get the spot because he lost weight and Daris gained. I respectfully disagree with that. Daris may have gained two pounds, but he did it honestly at home. Koli did not play by the same rules that everyone else did, and for that reason I want to see Daris in the Final 3. I think Koli is a great person, but I don't care for his "strategy". I would also like to see Daris come back and show that he got back on track at home again before the finale.

Next week is the big night...and for me, here's hoping that it will be Ashley, Michael, and Daris competing for the Grand Prize. No matter what, they have all inspired me and done a wonderful job of changing their lives for the better!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Motivational Monday...Grease is the Word!!!

GREASE is the word...not in my food, but on stage! Friday night my family and I got to see the touring production of Grease at the beautiful Palace Theatre in Cleveland. The reasons I wanted to see the show are twofold: I've always been a Broadway musical addict, and I wanted to see my favorite American Idol, Taylor Hicks, as Teen Angel.
The entire cast was amazing, and brought out another of my dreams more sing on stage in a musical. You have to be in good shape to perform daily or twice daily in a show, and watching all of them just made me commit to my fitness program with more passion. One of the things I've always admired most about Taylor is how his passion for music and life comes through, and that inspires me all the time. My son and I got to meet Taylor after the show (pics to come...I'm still in the Dark Ages and have to have my film developed) and not only is he a gentleman and a sweetheart, he is in his best shape ever. Though it never mattered to me that when he was on Idol he was told he needed to lose a few pounds (and that goes for all of the contestants for me as well), you can see that he committed to improving himself in every way and it shows. I know it helps with his nonstop life, and that's what I have that kind of energy to accomplish everything I need and want to do, and then some!
Seeing Grease on Friday really helped me over the weekend, since we went to Columbus so my son could bowl in the state youth tournament. Having my thoughts from the show in the back of my mind (no...really in the FRONT of my mind) gave me extra strength to pass up rolls with honey butter at dinner, and to stick to mostly water for the weekend. Usually going on a trip is my downfall, where I give myself license to eat whatever I want and drink a lot of soda because "I'm on vacation". Not this time! I stepped on the scale this morning and celebrated the loss of another 1.4 pounds, and my new attitude toward life. Bring it on!
Certainly I would love to play Frenchy in Grease, especially because it would mean getting to work with Taylor...but my ideal role is Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia. Currently I would qualify for the lead in Hairspray, although they would really have to add weight to me so I could fill out the costumes. Losing over 35 pounds so far, I would actually be too thin to be Tracy without padding. (This is a good thing!) There are so many roles I dream of playing, and that is a dream I will fulfill. I'm no "Beauty School Dropout"...I'm on the road to accomplishing my goals!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Berry, Berry Good Cereal!!!

I already love Special K products. Their cereals, cereal bars, and protein water are part of my healthy eating plan. You will always find at least one item with the Special K logo in my house at all times.

When I stopped by the grocery store yesterday to fill a prescription, I noticed that their cereal was on sale. As I picked up a couple of boxes of my favorites, I saw a new flavor: Blueberry. I love blueberries and thought I'd give it a try. This morning when I opened the box, the heavenly scent overtook me. I closed my eyes and for a moment I thought I had blueberry muffins baking in the oven! Now...did it taste as good as it smelled? It certainly did...maybe even better. I almost couldn't believe that this cereal that has practically no fat and only 7 grams of sugar could taste so good. I will definitely be buying this again, to add to the Special K lineup in my kitchen.

If you go to, you can sign up for coupons and promotional offers from them. I know this really helps in our household, where the food budget is tight but we still want to eat healthy food. Thanks to them, getting in shape is even more of a pleasure!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Biggest Loser: Road to the Final 4!!!

*photo courtesy of NBC.

Last night was the night...the night we finally learned the Biggest Loser Season 9 - Final 4. I know my friends and I have been speculating for quite a while now, and we've been anxiously awaiting this night!

First of all, Alison told the remaining 5 contestants that there would be no yellow line this week. There would only be a red line...and the person with the lowest percentage of weight loss would fall below it and automatically be sent home. This news sent the players inside their heads and into survival mode. They knew that alliances would mean nothing at the weigh-in. It was all up to them.

The next surprise came in the form of 2 past Biggest Loser winners. Helen Phillips walked in, and I must say she looks even more amazing than she did the night she won. Her smile showed the beauty radiating out from the inside, and I am still inspired by her as she is only a few years older than me. Then Erik Chopin came in. Erik won Season 2, but put almost all of his weight back on since then. You may recall that Bob invited Erik to re-commit to losing the weight and weigh in at this season's finale. Erik has lost 70 pounds so far since then. He told everyone that he kept giving himself free passes...when he'd gain a few pounds, he'd tell himself it's only a few pounds and he could get back on track any time he wanted. Then it became more, as he lost his purpose and became depressed. (That definitely sounds like what I've been through, since I lost a lot of weight when I was younger but have struggled the last 15 years. I know where he's coming from!)

Helen and Erik met with the contestants one on one to listen to their stories and give advice. Everyone was worried about going home and going back to the habits that made them obese in the first place. Erik mentioned that you have to keep your focus, because you really don't want to have to lose it twice like he has to do. Helen also mentioned that when she first got home, she exercised to an extreme, which also was not healthy. She told everyone that they have to find that balance in their lives. Michael decided he wanted to speak with Helen and Erik at the same time, venting his frustrations with having lost so much weight but still being so heavy. They advised him not to get caught up in that feeling and just keep doing what he's doing.

When Bob and Jillian met with the 5, they could literally feel how thick the tension was in the gym. Then they found out about the red line, and they understood why. Micahel went through his own personal meltdown during his workout with Bob, still feeling that frustration that he spoke about. Bob helped him through it, telling him he needs to be proud of how far he's come and move ahead. Michael learned how to work his pain out in the gym, and he felt much better afterward. When everyone met with Dr. H, they were really impressed with the improvement in their numbers. Their "real age" numbers dropped dramatically. You could see the look of determination on Ashley's face...I love how she sees herself as the Pink Ninja!

One thing I love every season is the challenge where the players have to carry something equivalent to all of the weight they've lost. It's an excellent reminder of just how far they've come. At the top of each hill, they threw off a package that contained the amounts of weight they lost each week, until they came to the highest and final hill. Then they got to toss the backpack with their before pictures off the hill, watching them disappear forever. It was also pretty cool to watch them hike with Tony Romo and try to beat him. Tony told them just how much they inspire the nation, and how proud he is of them.

Before the weigh-in, each player got to sit with either Jillan or Bob and watch a film of their moments since the beginning of their journey. Many tears were shed, especially as they watched themselves at their starting weights tell the new them how proud they are of them, and to never go back to the old person they were. Everyone was so happy with how far they had come, and it made things a little easier for Sunshine when she went below the red line. Of course she wanted to make the finals, but she is so proud of herself and ready to live her new life.

I have to brag a little here...about a month ago I made my pick for the Final 4, and I picked them all correctly. :o) Congratulations to Ashley, Daris, Koli, and Michael...I can't wait to see what's next!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday and Motivated More Than Ever!

This is Monday once again, and I have happy feet. I'm doing my own little dance of joy after stepping on the scale, and I really needed that joy!
This past week was filled with wakes and funerals...certainly not a pleasant way to spend the last 7 days. As I reflected on the lives of the people we lost, I thought about how 2 of them were still relatively young. They were not out of shape, but still had major health problems that they dealt with for a good part of their lives. One thing that kept running through my mind was that none of us know exactly how long we will be on this earth. Hopefully we live long, happy lives...but no matter what we need to make the most of every single day. We need to take care of ourselves, and not let fear hold us back from the things we are meant to do. We will regret those things we didn't have the courage to try, and be upset about the wasted time. Don't put things it now!
My scale showed a 1.2 pound loss for this past week. I lost the pound I gained over my birthday, plus a little bit more. I'm proud of this, since I made a conscious effort to fit in exercise amid all of the craziness and sadness. There were a couple of days that I didn't get to exercise for the full amount of time that I usually do, but instead of just chucking my workout for the day I fit in what I could. I told myself that some exercise is better than none, and I know that between that and my writing I kept my sanity throughout this week.
I now weigh 182.2, and I also enjoyed a wonderful moment yesterday when I got dressed for Mother's Day. I put on a blouse I haven't worn in 6 years...and it fit! It wasn't even tight, and I felt so beautiful all day in it. I know this week will be even better, because I got through this past week on a positive note with everything that was going on. This will be an extra successful week!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Biggest Loser Makeovers...Inside and Out!

*photo courtesy of NBC.

Welcome to my favorite week of Biggest Loser every season, not counting the finale. It's Makeover Week! Not only do we look forward to it watching at home, but the contestants are thrilled when they finally hear those magic words and are whisked away for new clothes, haircuts, and outer transformations. It seems to me that every season the makeovers get better, because this one knocked my socks off. All six of them looked amazing, and the reactions from their families were priceless. You can see how different everyone looks now, but it's not just because of the stylists. Their inner pride and confidence shines through, giving them that extra glow after all that they have done so far on the ranch.

Speaking of inner pride and confidence, the second half of the show really focused on that. The challenge for the week involved the "dreaded" Jacob's Ladder. (Actually, I would love to have one of those...I could really take my workouts to the next level, and beyond!) Koli and Daris were each able to keep going for over 2 1/2 hours, both staying strong until Daris suddenly gave up and let go. When Bob and Jillian found out that Daris had given away the win, they were shocked. Bob told Daris that even though he's come a long way, there are definitely still some issues he needs to deal with, otherwise he wouldn't have given up. Bob not only works Daris out on the ladder again, but puts, him through several more demanding workouts. He is relentless on getting Daris to realize just how much mental strength he has. They keep doing it over and over until he meets the challenge, and focuses on how strong he is instead of the fact that his legs were hurting. Daris is now tougher than ever.

The other perfect example of inner strength is Ashley. She recalled how when she first got to the ranch, she had no confidence in herself, and didn't really think she would be able to do it. She and Jillian discuss how throughout the season, Ashley has turned on her mind so she could accomplish what she set out to do, and even more than she thought was possible. Ashley is so happy now, because she realizes how strong she really is, and that she had it in her all along.

This is something I've struggled with in my life. I can relate now to finding that confidence in myself, and the strength that was always inside of me. I see both coming out more in me every single day...and with examples like Daris and Ashley, I'm motivated even more to be my best and bring it out all the way. Thank you to both of you for the inspiration!

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's Monday...I'm Motivating Myself!!!

I actually felt like that cat this morning. This past week I celebrated my birthday, complete with Mexican food and cake. And yes, my son squealed that it was my birthday to our waitress, so the staff came over and put the sombrero on my head (which felt like it weighed as much as a bowling ball) and sang in Spanish to me. I ate too much sugar this week, and in turn my body did not feel like exercising as much as I usually do. The one thing I did do right was skip the margaritas and stick to water.
So, as it seemed like I was rolling myself onto the scale this morning, I really expected to see a number that I didn't like. Imagine my surprise when I only gained 1 pound...I consider that God's birthday gift to me, along with the lesson that my body really can't run at its best when I pour so much sugar into my tank. I'm actually happy with that number, because I was sure it was going to be so much worse. (My aunt is also here for her monthly visit...but I know I can't blame her for that pound this time!)
So far between yesterday and today, we received some bad news. A longtime friend of our family passed away yesterday, and another friend's brother died from cancer over the weekend. Along with some weird happenings and the start of baseball practice tomorrow, it's going to be another crazy week. This is my chance...I said that I aspire to be like O'Neal, and it looks like this is my week to show what I'm made of. I will not drown my sadness and frustration in food, and I will leave it all in the gym just like O'Neal did. Working it out is the best way, and I will make sure that no matter what gets thrown at me and rearranges my schedule this week, I will get all of my exercise in, plus more. My sugary week is done, and I'm back to business!