Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself." - Henry Ward Beecher

Since this blog was originally titled No More Excuses, I want to address the subject once again...for all of us. Yes, even I still find myself making an excuse from time to time. Things like: I didn't lose weight this week because my monthly gift is here", "it was a holiday", or "it's been a really busy week". I have to face it...these excuses are part of the reason the weight is coming off slower than I would like.

Getting past the excuses is essential to being fit and healthy. I'm asking God to help me with this, because it's an old habit that He will give me the strength to break. I also want to get past the excuses that other people make for me. It seems that sometimes people don't expect a lot of me, just because I'm still struggling with my weight and haven't reached my goal yet. Well, Olivia and Hannah proved all of their naysayers wrong when they expected a lot of themselves and came in 1st and 2nd on this season's Biggest Loser. As awful as it is to have people refuse to believe in you...it's just as much fun (or even better!) to do the things they said you would never be able to do and see the amazement on their faces.

As an example: this past weekend was extremely hot here in Cleveland. Our air conditioning is busted, and we are going to have to order a whole new unit because the parts aren't available anymore for the model the builders used in our house. We've had to rely on open windows and fans, plenty of ice cold water, and spending more time in the basement which is a few degrees cooler. And yes, my regular gift from Mother Nature is here. With all of that going on at the same time, I would have normally curled up in a ball and let myself feel miserable. But I didn't do that...I exercised in the basement, ate lighter foods, and turned my attitude around whenever I caught myself ready to complain. There are people who have things much worse - like those who've lost homes and loved ones in all of the recent tornadoes. I can suck it up and survive - maybe even THRIVE - if they can do the same in their circumstances. This is just another way that God is helping me find my strength.

I'll be looking through some old magazines for a certain ad...the one where Serena Williams serves a tennis ball right through her monthly gift. That is the attitude I want to keep every month, all month long. Excuses - you're outta here!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Biggest Loser Season 11 Finale - Purple Is The New Black, Pink Makes a Comeback

What a finale!!! So many wonderful transformations...so little time. Congratulations to all of the contestants for changing their lives for the better and getting healthy.

We had the first ever all female Top 3, showing that Girl Power is alive and well. And a woman won the at home prize as well! Deni showed that Pink is still a force to be reckoned with as she beat out Austin for the $100,000. She and her daughter Sarah both looked amazing and happy. Arthur and Jesse danced their way into our hearts once again, and even twins Don and Dan looked fantastic. I think these brothers shocked a lot of people by coming back looking so fit after all of the drama on the ranch.

Speaking of drama...I did not miss Rulon one bit. He was the one bad apple that threatened to spoil the whole bunch. (Showing my age again...Osmond Brothers are singing in my head!) Thankfully the rest of the bunch more than made up for him. The finale story was focused on the inspiring, positive contestants -as it should be!

As Anna Kournikova was announced as the new trainer for Season 12, I wasn't exactly feeling it. The one time she appeared on the show was just OK, so I hope she steps it up for the new season. From what I'm hearing, it will be just Bob and Anna...Brett and Cara are supposedly not returning for BL12. Time will tell how this works out for the show.

With Olivia taking the Biggest Loser title and Hannah right behind her, I can definitely say Purple is the new Black. And I really mean it!!! Since the folks at NBC didn't do a tribute to Jillian for her 10 years on the show, they should retire the Black Team... just like an athlete's jersey for just about any sport. It would only be right, since a Black Team with someone other than Jillian would never be right. I must say though...I still don't know if Anna would do Purple justice. I think Hannah and Olivia would be better trainers! Maybe Anna's team should be the White Team, representing her coming from the tennis world. She's definitely used to white clothes already!

I can't wait to see what the future holds for Olivia. I had this feeling a few weeks into the season that she would be the winner, just like I did in Season 8 about Danny Cahill. Both of them had the faith and determination in their eyes that showed me a winner. No more witch or maid roles for Olivia! She is ready for primetime opera. She and her husband are both fit now, and ready for all that life has to offer. Let us all take Olivia's cue - and dig deeper so we can truly change our lives. She has shown us that IT IS POSSIBLE!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Preparing For Summer - HOT Playlist

Even though summer doesn't technically start until the middle of June, we all know the unofficial start is this coming weekend...Memorial Day Weekend. Time to think about barbecues, beaches, and outdoor concerts. Nature is kind enough to give us extra daylight to enjoy all of our activities, although I'm also totally down with Danny and Sandy loving those summer nights.

Since it's been warm and beautiful here the past few days (whoo-hoo...hardly any rain!) I've been pondering all of the songs that mention summer or hot weather that would be great for outdoor workouts - or even indoor ones to keep you pumped on rainy days. Here are some of my favorites:

"Summer's Coming" - Clint Black

"Long Hot Summer" - Keith Urban

"Summertime" Kenny Chesney

"Summer in the City" - The Lovin' Spoonful

"Summer Days" - The Partridge Family (I can see you smirking...it's a guilty pleasure I don't feel one bit guilty about!)

"Summer of '69" - Bryan Adams

"Hot Child in the City" - Nick Gilder (I know, technically it's the GIRL that's hot...but it still works!)

"Summer Nights" - John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John - Grease Soundtrack (Of course!!!)

"All Summer Long" - Kid Rock

"Heat Wave" - Martha and the Vandellas
"Hot Blooded" - Foreigner

"Walking on Sunshine" - Katrina and the Waves

"Hot Hot Hot" - Buster Poindexter

I know there are more, but these are the ones that come to mind and make me think warm, happy thoughts. Feel free to add any of your favorite hot summer songs!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sister, Sister: Purple Edition - Biggest Loser Top 2

Purple Reign, Purple Reign...

Sorry Prince, but this is too good to pass up. For the first time ever in Biggest Loser History, a complete team of two sisters are the Top 2 going into the finale. Both Hannah and Olivia are in the running for the $250,000 grand prize, and I am among the happiest of their fans.

All season, these sisters have had their share of A-ha moments and accomplishments, all of which they handled with humor, honesty, and grace. From Hannah's moment of truth backbend to Olivia's aria on the scale, we have laughed and cried with them, cheering as they accomplished what many people told them was impossible. Their detractors were many, especially at the beginning. Many people they knew thought they wouldn't last long on the ranch. They were perceived as weak, and too nice to have what it takes to reach the finals. It is with great pleasure that I can say they've truly proven the naysayers wrong...a thousand times over. They were more of a threat than anyone realized, and stronger than even they knew at first!

One of the main things I love about Team Purple is how they live their faith. It doesn't get shown much onscreen with editing, but if you communicate with Olivia and Hannah via Facebook and Twitter you know what I'm talking about. (And if you are blessed enough to know them in real life...you REALLY know.) They will be the first to tell you that their faith has sustained them throughout this season, and that their strength is not all them...it comes from God. And He is using them is amazing ways to reach millions of people. No matter the final outcome on finale night, it doesn't get any better than that.

Purple is not only the hue of royalty...it is the color of passion. These sister warriors are sharing their passion with us - for their health, family, friends, and God. I will forever think of Team Purple with this..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) I wish them the best at the finale, and know this strength will be with them throughout their lives. Thank you for the incredible inspiration!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Love Your Workout - At Your Current Size!!!

We all look forward to the day when we can go for a run or a bike ride at our goal weight. We imagine ourselves strong and healthy, turning heads and inspiring others to get fit. We know how proud we will be when we reach that milestone.

But I have a question for you. Why should we wait until then to be proud of ourselves? It doesn't do you any good to shut yourself indoors, relegating all workouts to the treadmill or exercise DVDs. When the weather is nice and you feel like walking through your neighborhood, playing tennis, or going for a swim, you have every right to do that - at whatever size you currently wear. Running outdoors is not only for perfectly fit people. (If it was, there would certainly be a small minority out there on the trails!) If you stay inside, you will get bored. If you get bored, you won't want to work out. And if you stop working out, you are right back to Square One.

You may be afraid of someone saying cruel things to or about you as you stroll by. There are some of those people out there, but don't let their small-mindedness stop you from achieving your goals and enjoying life. For every idiot that makes nasty remarks, there are two people who admire you as you show how you are taking control of your life and are happy to see others working on their health. As you become more fit, the jerks will be left speechless!

If you are worried about finding workout clothes in your current size, there are companies who make the items that fit your needs. Check out websites like Junonia and Swimsuits For All, who carry plus sized workout gear, sports bras, swimsuits, tennis clothing, and more. There is no reason to sit at home when clothing is available for maximum comfort and movement, and you can enjoy the same sports your fitter friends do!

One last note: You may be trying out for a show such as Biggest Loser or Dance Your Ass Off, but don't wait for that casting director to call you before you start your journey. Only a small percentage of people make it onto these shows, so you should get out there and start living life now. Why waste time sitting by the phone? Live every moment of your life starting right now!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Biggest Loser Finals - And Final Four!!!

We've been waiting for this all season...and the night finally arrived, but not without its twists and turns. The five remaining contestants had to take their "Finals" before progressing to the Final Four, which was both funny and frustrating. I'm waiting for someone to hear Bob joke that he invented the spin bike, then go to his Wikipedia page because they took it as fact. Of course Bob IS the Spinmaster, so it had to be a little bit intimidating to instruct him as if this were his first time on a bike. Professor Brett cracked me up, as did Cara when she got all up in each contestant's stuff and threatened to punch them in the face. Since I was laughing my butt off at home (that burns calories, right???) I know I would have lost it like Hannah did in the moment. I really loved Jillian's role playing test - of course it's hard to pretend that Jill needs motivation, but the fact that she spoke back to each player what she heard them say about themselves and it connected with them speaks volumes. Makes me want to have a tape recorder to play back whenever I say something negative or stupid to myself!

The sandbagging challenge was interesting...if you follow me on Twitter you saw last night that I mentioned sangbagging is a BAD thing in bowling. If you bowl you know what I mean, but for those of you who are kegler-challenged it means purposely bowling badly to keep your average down so you have an advantage in tournaments. Thankfully this sandbagging was a better kind, and Austin won a one pound advantage for the weigh-in.

Alison presented a major twist at the scale (insert evil scientist laugh here) when she gave Austin the chance to trade his pound for $10,000...and Olivia the chance to trade the $10K she won for Finals for a pound. Both of them kept their original prizes, which just about drove Bob and Jillian off the deep end. I love how Olivia said that the money would be part of a new start for her and her husband, and you never give back a blessing. I also was moved by the confidence she had, knowing she worked out like crazy and feeling that she already did what she needed to do to make the Final Four.

I think I can safely say that the majority of us love all five of the remaining contestants and wish they all could be in the finals. I'm so thrilled for the four that made it, but I couldn't help but cry along with Austin at the scale when he only lost one pound. His advantage made that two, but it still didn't help. He and Hannah fell below and he was sent home. He didn't stay down for long though...he is going to schools and teaching kids about healthy foods and getting enough exercise. That makes him a winner in my book!

Austin said something during the episode that really resonates with me - there has to be a reason for every calorie that you put into your body. If we think about it enough, it will help us turn down the sugar and junk because there is no good reason for ingesting them. I wish Austin more success in the future and congratulate the Final Four!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Biggest Loser Finale Challenge - Mother's Day "Recovery"

Now that I have your attention with the hot pic of Bob Harper...think about what he would ask us right now - How did you do this weekend? Did you stick to your healthy eating and workouts over Mother's Day, or did you indulge a little too much?

For myself, I can vouch for the fact that I stayed pretty much on course, even with all of the temptations. Thankfully my husband and son knew not to get me candy. I still took walks and did a dance workout. We went to church and breakfast with my mother-in-law, and instead of my usual French Toast covered in butter and syrup I ordered a healthy breakfast sandwich with a side of fruit and drank my coffee black. We had dinner with my dad and stepmom later in the day...I ate small portions and didn't have seconds. They bought a French Silk pie for dessert (notice the French theme today? Ooh-la-la!) so I had a very small sliver. This way I had a taste without derailing my diet and all of the good I had done all day up to that point. What's funny is...after a few days without sugar, the tiny sliver of pie was enough. I don't need as much sugar to satify my sweet tooth now!

How about you? Did you choose your foods wisely? Did you still get plenty of exercise? Hopefully you did - but if you enjoyed too many treats yesterday you can still get back on track right now. We still have two weeks until the Season 11 Finale to make the right choices. Just think of Bob (shirtless or not) standing next to you...cheering you on all the way. And I'm cheering as well; don't worry, I'll still have my shirt on! We can do this...here's to being healthier on May 24th!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Biggest Loser Makeovers - Cinderella Style!!!

Makeover time!!! Other than finale, this is usually everyone's favorite week. The contestants still on the ranch get the royal treatment...haircuts, visits from family members, and a chance to wear something spectacular and see themselves in clothes that are not purely for sweating and treadmill workouts.

Season 11 did not disappoint. Even though a couple of the makeovers were revealed a few days early in US Weekly, seeing them on the episode surpassed that...because the picture is only part of the story. Seeing the reactions of the families and the contestants themselves is even better!

It was great seeing Austin finally get his hair cut...still curly, but now you can see the handsome, happy face under the mane. His mom and Jay's son had reactions that made me cry uncontrollably, as you could feel the pride they had right through the TV screen. Jay looks at least 15 years younger now! Hannah's dad also got to me. She looked gorgeous in her mermaid gown; it was strange seeing her as a blonde but it looks great on her.

Two makeovers got to me the more than the others. Irene looked amazing and very much like a princess. She told Tim Gunn that she had forgotten how much she loved the princess stuff and dressing up. When she got heavy she dressed for comfort and stopped bothering, and now her sense of style has been reawakened. Since I've started losing weight, my love of fashion has come back and I always try to look my best. If you've been in the same rut, try some new makeup and flattering clothes or jewelry. It will do wonders for your self-confidence!

The makeover that REALLY got to me was Olivia's. She is an opera singer, but always had the sidekick roles because of her weight. She never got to be the ingenue - it was always a witch or some other non-lead role. Well, not only does she look great in her BL makeover gown, she can wear beautiful opera gowns and go for those lead roles! (And how great does her husband Ben look? He lost a lot of weight too!) I am a singer who always let my weight hold me back. I don't sing opera, but Broadway/pop/country...right now kareoke is my stage, but I'm ready to get out there and belt some tunes on a bigger stage! I bet there are other singers out there who can relate! Then Olivia hit her 100 pound goal on the scale and sang as promised. What a gorgeous voice! Everyone cried, including Bob. Even now I'm tearing up, thinking about Olivia finally getting the roles she deserves. She has inspired me more than she can ever know.

My other favorite moment came when Fairy Godfather Tim Gunn waved his magic wand and made the yellow line disappear. Nobody had to go home! Makeover Week is such a positive experience, and it was nice to end it on a high note. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to send the Fabulous Fast Five to the Royal Wedding...but then they might have upstaged the bride and groom!

What was your favorite part of Makeover Week? Who did you relate to the most? Please share your thoughts! :o)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How Would You Like to Join The Biggest Loser Finale Challenge???

It's 3 weeks until the Biggest Loser Finale. We will get to see the transformations of all of the contestants (well, all but ONE) and be inspired. But what about us? Where will WE be 3 weeks from now?

My friend Jen @TheBLblog started this yesterday...The Biggest Loser Finale Challenge. Why not take these weeks and do something for ourselves, to get us closer to our own health and weight loss goals? This doesn't mean you will lose 30 pounds in 3 weeks, unless you jet out to the BL Resort until May 24th. Your goals can be anything health related - drinking more water, exercising every day or stepping up your routine, trying a new workout, cutting out the junk food, etc.

My personal goals are to tame the sugar monster and up my exercise game. Longtime readers of this blog know all too well of my sugar addiction. I went all day yesterday without sugar...once I read Jen's challenge. I did have a muffin for breakfast that was sprinkled with sugar, but that was before I knew about the challenge, so I'm doing good so far. I will continue with that today and add extra exercise to my day.

I also issued an extra challenge on Twitter to all Biggest Loser/health/fitness writers ( or as @BL11Austin called it, my Writers Throw Down!) to join with us and put our money where our keyboards are. (although no actual dollars will change hands) We should demonstrate that we practice what we preach/write about. We can all motivate each other - after all, we do spend a good amount of time sitting at our desks writing and need to get up and boogie!

You can post your goals on Twitter at #BL11FinaleChallenge , and keep posting your successes each day. Jen will be checking in to read them, and I will be as well from time to time - so she doesn't get overwhelmed and can also accomplish her challange goals! You can read Jen's original post here and while your there check out her other posts because they are awesome.

If you feel the need to attached a number to your goal, just make sure it's reasonable, like 2 - 3 pounds a week. Whatever you decide upon, just imagine how great you'll feel watching the finale knowing you accomplished some of your own goals. We can do this...let's go!!!