Monday, August 30, 2010

HUGE Season Finale!!!

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

Yes...There Are Blessings From Biggest Loser!

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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walking...By Faith

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

Parents Weekend on Huge

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

Time To Get REALLY Real...and Journey On!

I'm going a step above the infamous Dr. Phil today...time for me to get REALLY real! You see, I've learned to accept and love myself at any size, which is a wonderful thing since I now live each moment of my life to the fullest and allow myself to be present in that moment. The only downside is that I allowed myself to go to a different extreme...since I love myself no matter how much I weigh, I can eat whatever I want, right?
Wrong! I've noticed that I started getting out of breath again now, at least sometimes. (At first I thought it might have something to do with our air conditioner breaking...and I'm sure that didn't help matters.) I wondered why my swimsuit felt kind of tight on me when I wore it Saturday. I figured I might have gained a couple of pounds on vacation, but no more than that since I was still getting plenty of exercise. Well, I bit the bullet and got on the scale this morning. Since I last got on the scale in July, I gained almost 8 pounds. Too many ice cream indulgences and treats while on vacation did me in. (If I ever move down South, please remind me that I need to find healthier versions of my Southern favorites!)
The number on the scale showed up as 210.0. I don't consider this a tragedy of any kind, but just a point from which to start back on my healthy eating plan. I have no regrets about this summer, since it's all a part of my journey and I've learned about myself and about life. This time, the number on the scale and the tight swimsuit will not cause me to curl up into a ball and stay inside of my house as it usually did in the past. I am a wonderful, beautiful person and I deserve to go out into the world and live my life. No hiding the person God made me to be. I can still live my life to the fullest as I re-incorporate my healthy eating plan back into my daily routine.
Part of living life to the fullest is being able to do all of the things God has planned for you and you need to accomplish without getting out of breath or dragging along with no energy. Celebrate who you are right this minute...and honor that person by taking care of your health!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Before Summer Ends...More Pool Time!!!

I can't believe school starts on Tuesday. This summer really flew by, but I can at least say that I enjoyed every moment of it so far. I haven't let anything stop me from getting out there and having fun, and I continue to live each day to the fullest.
The picture above is an actual photo of Splash Zone, the local pool/waterpark that we have summer passes for. The outdoor section will close for the season at the end of this month, so this weekend we are cramming in a lot of swim time. With school starting there won't be as much time to use the pool, and we don't want to miss any chance we have to use it before they pack everything up for the fall/winter. Not only will we have gotten our money's worth out of it, but also our souls' worth. Time in the water is so good for our bodies, minds, and spirits. You can't even think about putting a dollar amount on that!
So...what have you wanted to do this summer, that you haven't done yet? There's still time to get out there and do it. Make the most of the rest of your summer...don't let it pass you by!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh Sara Rue...I See So Much of Myself in You!

When I saw that actress Sara Rue was the new spokeperson for Jenny Craig, I wondered just what was going on with her. I mean, she was already a gorgeous it couldn't have been that she didn't think she was beautiful. Or could it?
I also wondered just how much weight she was planning to lose. Did she just want to lose enough to be healthier, or was she going to become one of the Hollywood super-skinny to try and fit the mold? When she lost 30, I though she was going to stop there. Then it became 40. She made a statement that she's never going to be a skinny girl. Well, guess what...she's lost 50 pounds now and by looking at her after photo, she definitely looks skinny to me. I don't have any problem with Sara losing some weight, but she looks too skinny to me now. Perhaps she should, in a healthy way, put about 10 or 15 pounds back on, because it really looks like an extreme makeover.
I completely get where Sara is coming from. I grew up heavy, lost the weight, and have been up and down the roller coaster as well. It resonated with me that she felt like she couldn't leave the house, because at one point in my life I felt the same way. I avoided so many activities because of my weight. I didn't think I was beautiful unless I was thin. I've lost 35 pounds, and would still like to lose some more...but I've learned that I am not a size or a number on the scale, and I refuse to sit home and let life pass me by no matter what size I am. I am going out and enjoying myself with my head held high, and I will not let what I think other people might think of me stop me from living my life to the fullest. Life is meant to be lived!
I almost cried when I saw Sara's latest commercial, because she thanked Jenny Craig for giving her back her smile. This was not just something that was put in the script for her to say...the emotion in her voice and the look in her eyes showed that she was saying what she really feels. I can't speak for the Jenny program since I've never tried it; I can only go by the track record I've had with other diets. I felt for her, and was really sad that she didn't think she could or should smile until she lost weight. She is a beautiful person inside and out, no matter what size jeans she wears.
Take it from me, are a wonderful person. You deserved to smile before and you always will, no matter what you weigh. Never let anything stop you from getting out of the house and living your life. And please make sure you aren't at the unhealthily skinny end of the spectrum. Your health is what is most important, not the numbers game. We all love you and want you to be happy and healthy, so please be careful with your body, mind, and spirit. I only say this because we care about you, and you deserve only the best, always!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Smoky Mountain Vacation!

It was soooooo nice to get away for 3 days and relax. I've been really busy which is wonderful, but we all need a little break every now and then. My husband, son, and I spent the weekend in the Great Smoky Mountains, staying at their waterpark Wilderness at the Smokies. We all really needed this vacation. It's been a rough year, and even though my husband has started his new job we still have a lot of catching up on bills to do. This was our first real vacation in 4 years, and we enjoyed every minute even though we wish it could have been longer.

I always say that I really should have been born south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I love all things Southern, and I enjoyed being able to have grits and as much REAL sweet tea as I could hold. We also had dinner at a great place called Bennett's in Pigeon Forge...amazing BBQ for the tummy and plenty of old blues music for the soul. If you are anywhere near this area I would highly recommend eating there. You will not be sorry! We spent a lot of time at the waterpark, both indoors and outdoors, and just had a great time as we let go of our worries for the weekend. It was a computer free trip, which made it even more relaxing. We are already planning on going back there sometime soon and staying longer, so we can have time to visit Dollywood and all of the other attractions that look so interesting. The budget could only handle a short trip this time, but now we can plan out a longer visit for when our finances are ready.

Now it's back to the regular schedule, and school starts next week so we're getting ready for that as well. It's also back to healthier eating for me...because while it's nice to be able to enjoy all of the great foods on vacation, after a while your body tells you to take a break from the rich fare. All in moderation, so now it's time to balance out my vacation menu with more of the nutritious stuff. Got to take care of my's the only one I've got!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A HUGE Birthday Night! (and Sneaking Around!)

WOW...Huge is really getting into the issues, not just weight related topics, but other important things that everyone has to deal with. We begin this episode with George and Amber meeting secretly in the woods to kiss and make out. They are both very conflicted about their relationship, but neither wants to stop. Amber sneaks back into the cabin during the night, hoping everyone is asleep. She doesn't know that Will is awake, or that she saw Amber and George kiss once already. What do you think about this it good or bad, and how would you handle something like this?
Dr. Rand is out on a date with Wayne, and they are eating chicken in his truck. She explains to him all about her 12 step program for food addiction, and that she even got an OK from the group to have this chicken. Seems a little weird to me, but Wayne says he would like to accompany her to her meeting the next night, since it will be 7 years of abstinence for her.
The girls wake Chloe up in the cabin by singing Happy Birthday to her, and they head out for morning affirmations. Dr. Rand tells them to be mindful so they don't sabotage all of their hard work. She says something that resonates with me...that sometimes when we get what we think we always wanted it's very scary. I definitely can agree with this...but I wonder why we feel that way? Why do we sabotage ourselves when we are finally reaching some of our goals? As Trent sees Chloe's birthday hat, he realizes that it's also Alistair's birthday and asks George if they can do something for him too. A bunch of the kids are getting together later for Chloe's birthday to hang out, and they are trying to find someone who will sneak alcohol for them. (A lot of sneaking around going on tonight!) Trent tries to ask Chloe what her birthdays were like growing up, but she won't tell him much. Becca and Will plan to meet later to study the runes, and Will invites Ian to join them.
They guys surprise Alistair in their cabin for his birthday, and you can tell he is geniunely touched by the gesture. They all start talking about birthday cake, and then have to make themselves stop thinking about it. Then they discuss gifts, and Alistair mentions that sometimes people buy you gifts that really aren't about you...they are for the person they wish you were. How true! During exercise Chloe realizes that Trent knows Alistair is her twin brother, and she is upset. Not only that, the person that was supposed to get the alcohol didn't come through. She's ready to call off the whole party, but Trent convinces her that it will still be fun. Trent also invites Ian to hang out with them. Will is not happy when Ian tells her, but she knows he wants to get close to Amber.
Poppy calls Amber over to talk to her, and Amber is sure that she and George are busted. Poppy wants to make a card for Chloe though, and shows Amber where all of the markers and things are. When she goes back for more stuff, she finds a bottle of alcohol uner Poppy's bed. She sneaks some into her water bottle for Chloe's party. They all pass it around, and everyone drinks from it except for Trent and Ian. The rest of them get very drunk and play a truth or dare type game. Chloe and Amber are dared to kiss, so they do. Michael is then dared in return to kiss a guy, but none of them want to do it. Amber gets sick and Chloe goes off with her to make sure she's OK. While they're gone, the group thinks it would be funny for Michael to kiss Alistair because he's gay. Trent tries to stop them but they all go off. Ian comes to check on Amber and walks her back to her cabin so Chloe can enjoy her party...but then Trent tells Chloe what's about to happen with Alistair. They chase after the others, and Amber hugs Ian when he gets her back safely. Will sees and is jealous, but she holds Amber's hair as she throws up and cleans up the mess for her so she can rest. They also talk about George, and Amber begs Will not to tell anyone. Michael calls Alistair outside and when he kisses him Alistair tells him that he likes someone else. Michael tells him it's a joke and the others all come out from the bushes laughing. Trent and Chloe get there just then as Alistair runs off hurt and angry. Chloe yells at everyone, but only Trent knows why she's so upset.
Dr. Rand has her meeting, and Wayne is there. He tells her later that he wants to know her better as she keeps trying to ignore text messages from Jonathan. Wayne kisses her before he goes home. We later see Dr. R and Jonathan sneaking around as they have a secret affair...she feels guilty but he does not. Trent tells Chloe he wishes he had a twin, but she says it's hard always having to share everything with her twin, including camp. Becca waits for Will to meet her but she never comes. Ian comes out there, so Becca teaches him about reading the special stones. The guys all fight at the cabin, then Alistair walks in angry and goes right to bed. Ian wonders what happened, since he missed the rest of the party. Will apologizes to Becca and explains that she was taking care of Amber. Becca sort of understands but is still upset. After everyone is asleep, Amber sneaks out to meet George again. As he's looking for her, he runs into Dr. Rand after her secret meeting with Jonathan. He asks her about self-sabotage and how he should help the kids with the problem. She tells him to be a good example, and he decides to go back with Dr. R. Amber waits for George but he doesn't show.
Ian and Alistair talk, and Ian is surprised that Alistair has forgiven Trent. It's obvious that Alistair has a huge crush on him...he and his sister are in love with the same guy! George avoids Amber, and when he has to talk to her they talk in code so Poppy doesn't know what they mean. George thinks it's better they stay away from each other, but Amber is hurt. We end tonight with Beeca and Alistair in the woods, reading the runes.
What did you learn tonight from Huge? There are so many lessons in this episode, and I love that the show is dealing with all of these issues. What are your thoughts on the show?

Back From a Well-Needed Mini Vacation!

Ahh...had a wonderful 3-day vacation in the Smoky Mountains. I'll tell you more about it later, because now I have to start getting everything ready for back-to-school with my son! Today's going to be a busy day...this is just a quick post to remind you that I'll be blogging about Huge tonight, so don't forget to tune in. Also, the Dance Your Ass Off Semifinals are tonight, and I'll be covering that as well. Have a wonderful day and I'll blog you later! :o)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My 200th Post...Dedicated to Dance!!!

This is a milestone post for is number 200, and I've come a long way on my journey since my first entry in this blog. I've had my ups and downs, learned many important lessons along the way, and I've grown as a person through it all.

I decided to dedicate this post to one of my biggest passions...DANCE. It seems only fitting since tonight is the season finale for So You Think You Can Dance, and this season is the one that has most inspired me to date. It's been hard to see dancers go home, either because of being voted off or injury, because every single one of the Top 11 has something special about them that made it hard to say goodbye each week. From all of the moving performances to Alex Wong's classy and grateful exit after injury, I learned something about the dancers, choreographers and myself along the way.

As you know I have the pleasure of writing about SYTYCD for Ballroom Dance Channel, which affords me the honor of getting to dig deeper into what makes everyone on the show tick...from host Cat Deeley, to the judges, choreographers, and dancers. The show has been instrumental in my personal growth, as only the art of dance and the human spirit can do. Any of the 3 finalists will make a great champion, and I will be thrilled for whoever wins the title of America's Favorite Dancer tonight. Kent and Lauren are awesome...but my favorite is Robert Roldan for so many reasons. I can completely relate to his journey of growth on the show, maturing as a dancer and a person. Even when he seemed to get knocked down, he only learned from it and came back stronger. Those of you who have read my previous posts also know about the things I went through with my mom, and my cousin as well. Robert's story with his mom is, in a way, my story in many respects. He has also been an amazing partner and friend to everyone he has danced with on the show, with no trace of ego...and I love all aspects of his personality, which in turn give him the most versatilty as a dancer. His technique is amazing, because he works so hard at it. His journey on the show will forever be etched in my mind, helping me with my own lessons in life.

Good luck to all 3 dancers tonight...all of you are incredible and deserve your place in the finals. I'm hoping Robert wins...but congratulations to whoever it is, I know you will make everyone proud. Now as for the rest of us...let's get up and dance!

Monday, August 9, 2010

HUGE: Weigh-Ins And Other Dilemmas

Now that we know everyone at camp a lot better, we get to see more of what makes them tick and drives them crazy. Tonight we get much more of that...especially because the campers know there must be a weigh-in coming up soon and they have so many different feelings and mixed emotions about it.
Dr. Rand thanks George for doing such a great job with the Spirit Quest, and also the other counselors for stepping up to the plate while Shay was gone. Shay comes back, and it turns out that her daughter Roxy had meningitis...thankfully she is doing much better now. Dr. Rand is surprised to find out not only that Shay has a daughter, but that she is the only member of the staff who didn't know. She wonders if she is a hard person to talk to, and my guess is that she also wonders why she is always the one left out of things. George and Poppy discuss what would happen if one of the kids told Dr. Rand about Will and Amber going missing during the Spirit Quest, and Shay goes back to being tough on the teens.
Amber wants to borrow the book that George used for Spirit Quest, but he asks Becca if they can still use it for a while because it's her book. Becca agrees, but she can tell that something weird is going on with Amber and George. When the campers have their sharing circle, Ian says that he is scared of letting other people down, especially his parents. Everyone else there can relate...and I'm sure you can as well. I know I can, because I always worried before that I had to be perfect to please everyone. Dr. Rand reminds everyone that all they or anyone else should expect of them is that they always try their best. This is something I've learned the hard way...there are things in life you have no control over, but the one thing you can control is how you react to what happens and how you handle it. How have you learned this lesson?
Amber tells Ian that she is always afraid to share stuff in the circle, and he tries to encourage her to share next time. He catches up with Will and Becca, telling them how happy he is that Amber spoke to him for no reason at all. Will is really annoyed, and Becca of course knows why. Ian wants Will to bring his name up casually to Amber to see what kind of reaction she gets. Will agrees to do it even though she doesn't want to.
In the evening everyone is together in the recreation cabin because it's storming outside. Will and Ian are singing and playing the guitar, and Trent is jealous because he wants to play music. A lot of the kids are watching "Love Handles" on TV...when this spoof first came up I thought it was pretty funny, but this time the "bachelor" hands out onion rings to the women who get to stay. That's carrying things a little too far...even on the show "More to Love" the women were given actual promise rings to wear, and not made fun of by being given something so stereotypical. Later the girls discuss the show and how there was a challenge where the women had to reveal their weight to the guy. Most of them say they would never tell a guy their weight, but Chloe says she and Trent have told each other what they weigh. This is a question I pose to you: Do you or would you share your weight with your significant other? Why or why not?
Chef comes in and sees Alistair playing with a deck of cars, so he teaches a bunch of the kids to play poker. Shay comes in and is upset that they are gambling, and he tells her they are only using macaroni for betting. She breaks up the game and later talks to Dr. Rand about it. Dr. R pretends that she already discussed it with her dad, but when she gets back to him she lets him have it. She also reminds him how when she was 11 he gambled away their rent money and they got kicked out of their home. She wonders what else he is hiding from her.
Amber comes by the boys' cabin to get the book from George, but he quickly sends her away because the boys are being crude. She is disappointed and goes back to her cabin. George then goes to tell Dr. Rand about Will and Amber being missing on the Spirit Quest. He's glad he came clean, and she tells him that she "sees it". In his mind he's thinking she means about Amber, but she says she sees how much he's helping the kids and affecting their lives. On a hike, Michael goofs off again and Shay lays into him. She asks if her really wants to be here and he says yes as he begins to cry. He's also embarrassed that everyone sees him cry.
As the teens see the scale being set up, they start getting nervous about the weigh-in. They argue over who they think lost the most weight, Will hates that everything is about the number on the scale. She and Ian make a bet over who gets to wear her hat. Amber and Chloe are reading Seventeen Magazine and going over the Body Peace Treaty. They sign the page in the magazine. You can read and sign the treaty as well...I went to the Seventeen website and signed it online. It's all about positive ways to look at your body instead of putting yourself down, so please check it out!
Dr. Rand calls Will and Amber into her office separately to talk about the Spirit Quest incident. At first she thinks Will got lost on purpose again, but then she realizes that it really was an accident. We also find out that Amber saved up her money and paid for camp all by herself, not like the other kids whose parents paid for them to come. Dr. Rand tells Will she notices the change in her, but Will doesn't like to hear it. She's still caught between wanting to be healthier and wanting people to accept her for who she is right now at whatever size she is. Will also mentions Ian to Amber, but Amber says she thought that Ian was Will's boyfriend. In the meantime, Ian is called out for being jealous of Trent...and he admits that he is jealous of anyone who's better looking than him. Ouch...I remember comparing myself like that to other people, and I cringe when I hear him say it.
It's finally weigh-in time, and the campers are all in their swimsuits again. They go into tents individually to find out how much they lost. George tells Ian he's doing great, because Ian gets on with his back to the scale. He refuses to look at the card with his weight and tells Alistair to destroy it for him. Alistair only lost a little weight and is feeling down about it because he still has such a long way to go. Becca looks happy when she comes out. Dr. Rand tells Will how proud of her she is when she's on the scale, but Will rips up her card right in front of the doc. Amber is mortified to find out that she herself only lost 1 pound. Dr. Rand tries to make her feel better, but she is too upset. She tells Chloe that she lost 6 pounds because she doesn't want to be embarrassed, then she goes back to her cabin to stare at herself in the mirror and pinch the fat hanging under her arms. I've been here too...working really hard and not seeing the results, to the point that I kept looking in the mirror to see if there was some difference. Becca and Will argue about weight loss, as Will mentions that if this were the 16th Century everyone would be admiring their figures as they are right now.
As all of the girls dance around in their cabin, Amber writes in her journal. They joke about doing a scale dance; Amber gets upset and goes for a walk. She runs into George, and he apologizes for kissing her. He says if she were older or he was a camper it would be different. He also says any guy would be lucky to be with her, and they can't help it...they kiss again. Will sees them and runs off before they notice her. Back at the rec center, Michael is jealous of Chloe and Trent, while Alistair comes upon the Seventeen Magazine and signs his name as well. Michael goes for a walk and sees Shay on the phone checking on her daughter and crying. I'm glad we get to see the other side of Shay now, so we can see where she's coming from. Will gets her hat back from Ian because she lost more weight, but then they keep messing around with the hat and joking.
At the end of the episode, we see the girls talking about what to do for the next weigh-in to make sure they weigh less, like wearing a lighter swimsuit or taking off their earrings. These things really don't make that much difference, but they are obsessed with seeing that number go down. What about you? Have you done that? Are you still obsessed now with the scale, or have you realized it's really about being healthy? Please let me know your thoughts on the show...and your feelings about body image.

Trifecta Weekend....Good For My Soul!

This weekend was a much needed boost for me...I hit the Trifecta as each day I did something that made me feel completely alive and happy to be me!
Let's start with Friday night. I've been wanting to see Taylor Hicks live in concert ever since he won American Idol. When he came to town the first time, I was out of town and didn't get to attend the show. My next opportunity to see him was this past May in Grease, which I posted about then. I loved Grease but was still itching to see Taylor's own live show. Friday night was my first time to see T in concert and it definitely won't be the last. Our seats were incredible and I can truly say this is the best live show I've ever attended. I've been to many, MANY concerts over the years...and none of them compare to Taylor live. Ever since Idol he has inspired me to go for my dreams and really live my passions in life, and even though I could feel his passion for the music through my TV screen, seeing him perform live really brings it out a thousand times more. I am even more inspired and motivated to live life to the fullest and reach my dreams. If you get the chance to see Taylor live...DO IT! You will be blown away by his talent and passion. Once again (just as after Grease) I got to speak with him for a couple of minutes after the show and take a picture, and he is absolutely the nicest guy and really cares about his fans. I admire the way he operates and stays true to who he is...a lesson all of us need to take to heart!
Saturday was a day at the pool with my son. My husband had to work, so it was just the two of us swimming on a perfect day. The weather was just right...not sweltering or chilly: the perfect temperature. The sun was out but not overpowering. Every song on the radio that played over the speakers was just the right one, and several of us in the pool sang along as we swam. You already know how much I love going to the pool, but being totally in the moment with the people and the music really made it feel like perfection.
Sunday we got to see a movie I've been anticipating for a while. Since I cover So You Think You Can Dance for Ballroom Dance Channel, I've been getting some inside scoop along the way on Step Up 3D. The movie features several dancers from SYTYCD and was produced by judge Adam Shankman, and it was truly amazing to watch. I really wanted to get up and dance during the movie...but I think the others in the audience would have thrown stuff at me! As we left the theater my son was trying to copy some of the moves by by bouncing off the walls (literally!) and doing twists off of the railing. If you love dance, this one is a must see for you. Part of the movie shows dancers explaining why they love to once again the passion of people doing what they love comes through loud and clear.
The entire weekend was really good for my soul, and I will never forget a single moment of it. I love the feeling...being passionate about life and the things I love, and living every moment to its fullest. This Trifecta didn't pay off at the racetrack window, but it did pay off in so many other ways that are worth more than any amount of money. Find something that is good for your soul and live every minute of will never be the same!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

By The Grace of God...I Stopped In Time

This is something a lot of you may not know about me, but it's time I told you. I was once on my way to developing a serious eating disorder. You probably would never have known it by looking at me, but I took on a lot of bad habits...all in the quest for thinness.

It started after I graduated from high school. I decided to lose weight, being that I was 5'4" and 188 pounds. I was so tired of being the "fat" girl. I started exercising, my mom and I worked on healthier meals, and I lost 65 pounds along the way. I could fit into the more stylish clothes and shop at the stores my friends went to. Everyone complimented me on my svelte new figure. End of story, right? Not a chance.

The problem was...while I started out doing things the healthy way, somewhere on that journey I became obsessed with the number on the scale and how I looked in the mirror. If I lost weight all was right with the world, but if I gained a little or stayed the same it felt like nothing was right in my life. I started eating very little...I was never down to just eating lettuce but I subsisted on 800 calories or less a day. One day I happened to have 1300 calories and was scared that I ate too much. I exercised in the mornings for half an hour before work, and then every evening I would work out some more, for at least an hour but sometimes more than 2 hours. There were a lot of times I passed up chances to go out and have fun, becaue I HAD to get all of that exercise in. When I did go out and enjoy myself, if I saw a couple of pounds creep back on (and of course I had to weigh myself the morning after a night out because I was anxious) I would eat even less. For a while I started having just popcorn for dinner, because I read in a magazine that one of my favorite athletes did that whenever he needed to get his weight back down. I would always tell my parents that I just wasn't that hungry yet and would eat something else a little later. They believed me and figured that since I never really looked overly thin, I must have been just eating on a different schedule.

This all kept up until I met the boyfriend who is now my husband. When we started going out, I would just keep up the old pattern of popcorn for dinner after indulging. Pretty soon I was seeing that even though I was at what is considered "ideal" for my height at 123 pounds, it was hard to keep it there naturally. I always felt I needed to go to extremes to stay there. When a few pounds came back on, I was upset and did something I never thought I'd do. I started using laxatives. I began with the most popular brand, pretending that I was eating a piece of chocolate candy. I would take it first thing on Monday morning, and by noon I was in the restroom eliminating everything I had eaten. Soon once a week wasn't enough, and I was up to using it three times a week. When my body started to feel weird, I switched to what was the supposedly kinder, gentler laxative for women. It helped a little, but it wasn't really that much "gentler". I felt weak a lot of times, but still kept up my exercise schedule as much as I could.

Nobody really knew about the laxatives, because I was very secreative about it. I would walk up to the 7-Eleven on the corner during a work break, buy the laxatives, and hide them in my purse. I would always buy something else like a snack or magazine as well, so it wouldn't look like I went to the store and came back with nothing. If anyone suspected, they didn't say anything to me about it. I was pretty careful, so I think most of them didn't even think twice.

After about 4 1/2 months of using laxatives, I strating reading articles and seeing shows about girls who had problems with anorexia and bulimia. I am forever thankful to God that I was scared enough at that point to quit on my own without intervention. No more laxatives...and I started eating more normally. I was still unhappy about the number on the scale going up, especially when a lot of people would comment that I was putting on weight. I was just no longer willing to use these tactics to keep my weight down.

As you can see from my Diets That Didn't Work series, I still tried several different methods to lose the weight again. When they didn't work, I would get depressed and go to the other extreme of binging. This caused my weight to go up further, and I latched onto the promise of extreme weight loss that Biggest Loser shows on TV. NOT GOOD...even though I have adopted healthier habits, that show made me start those old thinking patterns again...that you need to exercise for several hours a day and that you've failed if you don't lose at least 10 pounds every week. I am also grateful to God that He got me away from that before I started acting on those thoughts.

While I still would like to lose some weight, it's going to come off the healthy extremes. My body will settle at the weight it's supposed to be through sensible eating and exercising, with everything in balance. I love myself for who I am right now, and I always will no matter what. I no longer wish for that "magic" number of 123 on the scale. I am living my life more now than I ever did at that number, because I was always so worried about staying there. Now I actually live and enjoy each moment, which is how it's supposed to be. I am more than a number on a scale...and now I really feel alive!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Huge Spirit Quest

Tonight's episode of Huge explores several different ways. Starting with Dr. Rand reading from the Bible for a church service, the characters really start thinking about this important part of life. Will and Ian are outside while the service is going on. Will says she's just not religious, but Ian goes to a different service because he's Jewish, and he tells her how important his faith is to him.
Dr. Rand speaks to George to tell him that Shay was called away on a family emergency, so she's putting George in charge of the Spirit Quest. He's pretty nervous about the whole thing, but Shay recommended him because she has faith in him...and his grandfather is part Native American. Poppy is upset and very jealous that George got picked, because she's been with the camp longer. She remembers Dr. Rand leading her on this expedition when she was a teen. George tells Poppy it's hard to believe that she was ever overweight...but the look in her eyes tells us that she herself will never forget.
As they start the Spirit Quest with a hike, George is looking through all of the pages of instructions that Dr. Rand printed off for him. Amber accidentally bumps him and the papers land in the stream. Poppy takes this as a sign that they should just be guided from within on this journey. Poppy assigns each camper a buddy...someone they wouldn't usually pair up with, to get them out of their comfort zones. Becca and Chloe are put together, and Becca flashes back to the year before when she and Chloe were best friends, and Chloe was much heavier. Will and Amber get paired up, and so do Alistair and Trent. None of them are too happy about the arrangement. Poppy tells them to pay attention to their dreams as they sleep that night in their tents, and in the morning Ian tells Will he had a dream about her. She is very excited...until she hears what it was. He says she was holding a pitcher of milk, the "milk of human kindness". He wanted some, but she wouldn't share with him. Will probably doesn't realize what this dream means yet...but Ian would probably like her to share more about herself with him, and with the others.
Poppy has Becca help explain what the Spirit Quest is about, since she did it last year. Then Poppy tells everyone to choose a new name for themselves, to reflect the truth about them. George is uncomfortable with all of this and sends everyone off to look for firewood. Becca and Chloe actually start to joke around about last summer's activities, and Becca sees a glimpse of the old Chloe. George and Poppy argue about how to handle the quest, and she tells him to call his grandfather to tell him what to do. He finds out when he calls that his grandfather died, and it really gets to him. His mom tells him all kinds of things that he never knew about him, which helps him understand things better. Poppy apologizes for how she acted as well. George wants to leave, but Poppy starts getting him to read the guide book for help.
The next day is a trust exercise between buddies. One is blindfolded while the other must guide him or her around the camping area. Will is really bad at giving Amber directions, causing her to bump into everything. They fight and Amber takes off to go the the bathroom. Poppy makes Will stay with her. They wind up getting lost, and Amber pulls out a compass. Will knows that Amber broke their compass and wonders where this one came from. Amber says Ian gave it to her...which makes Will even angrier and more jealous. She tosses the compass away and says they can find their way back without it. Of course, they only wind up more lost than they already were. At one point they come upon the diner at the main road. The woman inside tells them it's closed and sends them back outside. (Nice lady, huh? Geez!) Amber decides to go back the way they came, but Will stays in front of the diner. She digs through the dumpster for a doughnut, but after wrestling with herself for a while she throws it back in the garbage.
Everyone is worried about Will and Amber back at camp. George goes to look for them while Poppy tries to keep the kids calm. When George sees Amber, she's so happy to be found that she gives him a quick kiss. George then leans in and gives her a much more romantic kiss. They go pick up Will and all head back to the tents. Poppy begins to call Dr. Rand, but as she starts talking on the phone the three appear before her, so she just tells Dr. R that everything is going great.
Alistair and Trent wind up bonding, and Alistair tells Trent that Chloe is his twin sister...but she is too embarrassed by him and doesn't want anyone to know. Trent is shocked, but keeps the secret when he goes to Chloe's tent. (Alistair tells him Chloe is afraid of the dark.) They kiss and fall asleep together, thinking Becca is asleep when she is still awake and hears everything going on. In the morning when everyone packs up, Chloe runs to Amber and ignores Becca once again. Will sees how hurt she is and helps her pack her things.
What is your opinion of the characters? Do you know anyone like them, who have been through similar situations? And what do you think of the Spirit Quest...I myself would love to go on one, to enhance what God is already having me learn, about myself and others. And out of curiosity, what would your Spirit Name be?

Not Just on National Dance Day...EVERYDAY!!!

Saturday was National Dance Day...what did you do to celebrate? My son and I danced along to the Hairspray movie, to honor the fact that size, race, and other factors do not matter in dancing. It's for everyone, in whatever style you prefer. I also pulled out one of my new dance DVD's and started learning the moves, because I can't get enough dancing!
Dancing itself is a celebration of life. It lets you show your joys, and helps you work through your sorrows and other tricky emotions. There is nothing that you cannot express through dance. As a writer I use words to express myself, but there are time when words alone fail to capture how I feel. When I dance, I come alive and live completely in the moment. When I watch others dance, the beauty and honesty they portray pulses through me and takes me through even more emotions. It is a moving and cleansing I could never live without.
Check out the amazing dancers of So You Think You Can Dance, and you will never be the same. Every week is a new and exciting experience; make sure you have plenty of kleenex on hand. And don't be afraid to get up and move Dance Your Ass Off and be inspired by people of all sizes who learn new dances every week and totally rock it! Dancing is not just for one day a every day!!!