Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Biggest Loser 13 - You Can Go Home Again, You Just Can't Eat Bakery

This week wound up being more positive by default.

It's always uplifting when the contestants get to go home. They arrive to the oohs and ahhs of their families and friends, who are amazed by the transformation that has happened so far in just a few short weeks. They have breakthroughs with their loved ones about how they need to deal with each other. They stare their old lives in the face and do what they need to do.

And for this season's contestants - being home means being away from each other, which is a huge plus considering all of the drama. They can't whine and complain about each other when they're at home!

I love that this homecoming dealt with baked goods in several forms. Like Emily, my weakness is my sweet tooth. If money and health were no object, I would want one of each item from her bakery case. And like Cassandra, baking is a family thing for me. It's something I always did with my mom and I still love to bake. The key for me now is to adjust recipes to fit my healthier lifestyle, and only make the decadent ones for holidays and special occasions. Of course, the other important thing to remember is that these sweets are to be eaten sparingly. Whether you indulge in the regular recipe or make your own fitter version, you still have to watch the carbs and calories.

Emily also had a breakthrough with her dad, who always coached her in weightlifting. She had to let him know that she has different dreams now, and he promised to support her no matter what. He also admitted to being too hard on her at times, and only wants her to be happy. You really could see the relief come over her once they had their talk.

For Megan, getting fit meant finally being able to mount her horse without a ladder or help from her dad. This is especially inspiring for me, since I've only been able to ride once and want to do so again this summer. I remember needing a ladder to get up, along with assistance from a girl who works at the stable. I look forward to the day I'm riding again as well. There's something to be said for - literally - getting back up on that horse, and I intend to live it to the fullest.

Seeing everyone back in their "natural" environments made me like them all a little more. This was a good thing, and much needed in a season that was starting to make me sick to my stomach every week. Usually I like all or most of the contestants, but this time I had few to root for after witnessing the nasty behavior. (Of course, the ones I highlighted above have been my favorites!) And once they got back to the ranch, it was fun to watch Bob and Dolvett put them through the hardest last chance workout ever. Those evil trainer smiles say it all!

Here's another positive: almost everyone lost the 5 percent of their body weight at home that was necessary for immunity. That's a lot to lose in 18 days. And the emotional exchange at the weigh-in between Chism and Mark is what we need more of this season - people doing what's right no matter what the cost.

Please tell me this is the turning point of the season...and that from now on we'll have more episodes like this one. This is the Biggest Loser I know and love!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Biggest Loser 13 Challenge - Balancing Act

I changed my weigh-in day to Sunday now, so I can blog the same day about the results and the way my week has gone pertaining to losing this weight. With the new job, it's difficult to step on the scale Tuesday morning and find time to blog it since I get home from work and spin just in time for Biggest Loser. And that blog has to get done right after the show so I can get some sleep and get to work the next day. So Sundays it is.

This morning. I found no change in my numbers...I stayed exactly the same. I suppose this is a good thing considering the major changes in my schedule - eating, sleeping, writing, everything - has been rearranged to fit the new work hours. So I'm learning how to balance it all and still get everything done.

I'm thankful that I have a Monday through Friday job with normal hours, instead of retail or some other shiftwork. I'm also grateful that God sent me this job to help pay the bills since my freelancing isn't yet at the point that it could be my full time job and we really need the money. Things are going pretty well there, and the people I work with are really nice and very helpful.

I also know that I'm not the only person in the world who has to work all day and then figure out how to get everything else done, so I know we all struggle with this. I will figure how how to balance it all, including my writing since that is my life's passion and purpose. I need to get the revision on my novel done so I can get it out there.

Of course I will have an adjustment period. I've freelanced from home for five years so I got set in my ways. (When I had other jobs during this time, they were part-time so it wasn't as hard to adjust.) If I had trouble sleeping the night before, I could always go back to bed for a couple of hours after my son left for school before starting my day. Now I have to jump in the shower right after he gets on the bus and leave soon after for work. There is no room for insomnia, which only causes me more anxiety knowing I have to get enough sleep at a certain time. That anxiety makes me sleep even less, and I have no chance to make up for it until the weekend, when I'm trying to get all of the other stuff done.

This is a big change for me, and sometimes I get frustrated. One of the keys is making sure I don't just grab anything to eat so I don't fall back into old habits. I need to make a plan so everything can fall into place as much as possible. I know that with a lot of prayer I will get there...but for now I'm taking it a day at a time!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Biggest Loser 13 - Would You Rather Switch or Fight?

Switch, fight...or both?

You know there can't be one without the other, at least not on Biggest Loser. Trouble is, I'm sick of all the fighting, backstabbing, throwing weigh-ins, and general nastiness this season. Of course everyone was mad at Daphne for switching up Conda and Jeremy, and Daphne was mad at the way she and her brother were treated. And the Black Team decided to sabotage their individual efforts beacuse a couple of people couldn't get along. I don't even want to think about those things anymore.

I'm going to focus on the positive of this switch. Conda and Jeremy learned a very important lesson from their trainers. When things happen that are out of your control or anything changes from the way you normally do it, you need to step up to the plate and do your best. Find a way to make it work for you. We all have challenges and need to remember this.

It so happens this lesson especially pertains to me this week. This past Thursday I started a new job. Since I don't have the flexibility my freelancing used to provide, I have to get used to and work around a new schedule - one that has me rearranging my sleeping, writing, and workouts to fit everything in. Thankfully I can still spin at the same time, and the studio is less than five minutes from work. I had to move Pilates from daytime to evening, and I'm trying to fit my other cardio in. I can't make it to the step classes I started in January, so I have to find what does work for me. Instead of stressing out about this, I'm actively pursuing ways to make it all work.

There are a couple of other good moments on this week's episode. Dolvett found a way to let Kim call her daughter on her birthday. Daphne went home and thrived, getting off some of her medications and moving into a new house. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention my fellow writer Cassandra, who read out of her old journal to Bob just how awful she felt about herself. Bob challenged her to speak to her former self, and she learned how important it is to speak positive and empowering words to yourself...and about yourself.

Those are the things I want to focus on this week - because all of that other drama and negativity makes me very sad. Let's all pull the positives from this week that we can, and hope next week is finally better in some way.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Get So Emotional Over Whitney

I can't stop thinking about Whitney Houston.

It's been a little over a week since the news that shook me to the core. On the evening of the 11th I was home by myself, starting to flip through channels looking for a good movie to watch on TV. The first news station I came upon was CNN, with breaking news coming up at the bottom of the screen and the voice of Larry King on the phone with Don Lemon. I literally jumped up from my chair when I read the headline. It couldn't possibly be true what I was reading. Whitney Houston was dead? The last time I remember actually getting up from my seat in shock over the news was the night Princess Diana died. I had that same eerily similar feeling in the pit of my stomach along with the shock of what I was hearing. And once again, I was up most of the night after hearing the tragic news.

I, like many other people I've talked to in the past week, thought that Whitney was well on the road to recovery from her addiction problems and getting healthier every day. She was trying for a comeback. She had just finished filming a movie with Jordin Sparks. She was in Los Angeles to celebrate the Grammys, for crying out loud. That's part of what made this such a shock. As sad as I was when Amy Winehouse passed away, I had almost expected to hear at some point that she was gone so my reaction wasn't quite as vivid. Plus this time...it seemed personal.

Why was this so personal for me? It wasn't like I knew Ms. Houston personally or had ever even met her. I only knew her through her music, movies, and interviews. But something about this beautiful woman struck a chord with me.

As I witnessed Whitney's rise on the music scene, I couldn't help but be drawn in by her infectious smile and tremendous talent. She spoke to me and so many others through her songs. Less than three years separated us in age, and I saw in her what I had always dreamed of for myself. Most of my high school friends will remember me as the one who was country when it wasn't cool, but over time I learned to love all types of music. Whitney Houston was part of the reason for that. How could you not love that voice? It transcended all genres and differences. (Even her biggest hit was a remake of a Dolly Parton song!) I had wanted to be a singer since I was 5 years old, and seeing this woman a couple of years older than me, gorgeous both inside and out, succeed in the music business made me happy. I certainly would not have minded being in her shoes back then, and hearing her voice only made me want to sing more. That's one thing I've always noticed with my favorite vocalists...they always made me happy to sing my heart out!

Over time I identified with her on other issues that didn't have as much to do with music as they did with life. I certainly knew what it felt like to have been the ingenue that pleased others, then after a period of time found that people expect you to remain the same as you were in your twenties. With Whitney it was the different choices in her career and personal life; for me it was constantly being compared to the me of a decade earlier, who was thin, full of energy, and knew the right move to make almost every time. I also learned that there are some people who have a certain image of you in their minds, and the second you prove you are human (the nerve of us - having imperfections or getting older!) they stop supporting you. Some even go so far as to turn on you and criticize, even though they also are not perfect. (Why is it OK for them to learn and grow from their mistakes, but they can't allow others the same courtesy?) Whitney could never have lived up to the "perfect" image created for her, no matter how hard she tried. And it bothered her...she felt somehow she was letting people down by being human. I'm sure that led to some of the other problems she had. Kevin Costner spoke at her funeral about how she always worried if she was good enough. Feeling like you can never make a mistake or else you'll fall off the pedestal people have placed you on...that's a tough spot, one that can make even the strongest person lose his or her mind from time to time.

I even identified with Whitney's addictions, even though mine have nothing to do with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal substances. My demons are food related, and I know sugar has the same addictive properties as the other substances. You get hooked, you crave it, and you give in even though you know it's not good for you. And you have your ups and downs in beating the addiction. Watching Whitney fight the good fight over and over again, never giving up no matter how much she struggled - that was inspiring to someone who also relies on her faith to work through life's problems.

I have seen some people this past week say that we should remember Whitney for her talent and not the other issues. I agree with this for the most part, except for those who think we should ONLY talk about her voice and NEVER mention her other issues. I have to say - to me that is absurd. While I'm not the kind of person to dwell on the negative, I think a positive lesson can come out of speaking about her addictions. Acting like that stuff never happened is not the answer. I think Whitney would want her struggles to help others going through the same or similar issues. It shows that no matter who you are, you have issues in life that you have to work to overcome. Sweeping it all under the rug only serves to make other people who are suffering ashamed of what they are going through. I certainly want all of the good in her life to be the focus and I don't want to constantly talk about every single weak moment in her life...but it's also important to remember that she was a human being and learn the lessons her life story has to offer. What I don't tolerate are those who ridicule her and make sick jokes about the drug use. Those words are not useful to anyone. If you are going to speak about her addictions, do it with love and compassion.

I cried several times through Whitney's funeral. I am thankful to her mother, Cissy, and the rest of her family for keeping the celebration of her life in church and giving the world a faith lesson. I'm especially grateful that they let it be televised, not only so fans could be a part of Whitney's homegoing, but so we could strengthen our own relationships with God through every moving moment. God always finds a way to make good come out of everything. Hopefully some fans who didn't know much about God before will now long to know more about Him and become faithful believers.

God bless Whitney and her family and friends. May we all realize that no matter what we struggle with in life, it is so much better to walk through it with Him than without. And may we also be grateful for life, whether Whitney's or our own, through all of the ups and downs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Biggest Loser 13 - A Kinder, Gentler Episode

I have to admit, I'm starting to like Conda a little bit.

She hasn't completely won me over yet, but this week we at least got to see some of what makes her tick. And that turns out to be a very scared little girl that has lived inside of her for years.

Of course the show began with Daphne being upset about her brother going home, which was pretty much expected. And I'm grateful that this is the only part of the show with any smirking or eye rolling going on.

Once that all settled down, Alison informed everyone that the trainers would each pick one person from their teams, and they would go back home with that person for the week. Only those two players would have their weights count on the scale. I just knew Dolvett was going to pick Conda...at first I thought possibly to get her out of everyone's hair and lower the stress level on the ranch, but then I realized he wanted to get Conda by herself so he could find out more about why she had such an attitude. Bob picked Daphne, which surprised me at first - but really, who better to go against Conda than the sister of the person she harrassed the whole time he was there?

The rest of the players would have to work out without their trainers. Red had just done this the previous week, so they had somewhat of an advantage in knowing what to do on their own. The Black Team was not happy, especially Chris. She felt dissed by Bob because he didn't pick her, but he also didn't pick several other people. I can see she still has her anger problem to work on...and I'll bet there's some abandonment issues at play here as well.

While Daphne and Conda were gone, there was a challenge to win a one pound advantage for the person weighing in this week. After watching this challenge and having buried-in-the-sand nightmares, I was glad I didn't have to do this one. Red won the pound. (And some very moving letters from home!) Also, Ali let everyone know that whichever team had the highest percentage of weight loss would also win a one pound advantage for their teammate. This made me happy, because it forced them to still work hard...no slacking just because eveything rested on one person!

In Chicago, Bob worked Daphne harder than ever before. He kept reminding her that she was trying to beat the person who sent home her brother, so you could say he took a page out of Dolvett's book and channeled her pisstivity. We learned about her heart condition and how scared she was of being a burden to her kids. That has to be hard, especially being a single mom. It was a sweet victory for her when Bob had her climb 103 flights of stairs in just under an hour...proving to her that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

Meanwhile, Dolvett went to Michigan with Conda and met her family. Her daughter is just adorable! Dolvett spoke to her mom and sister about their family, and he found out that Conda's dad had drug problems and wound up splitting from them. I guess he's still trying to straighten himself out, but Conda grew up forming walls around herself because she was embarrassed about their family. Her defensiveness and attitude came as she attempted to keep from getting hurt any more than she already was. (I knew there was more to her than what we'd seen before!) When Dolvett confronted Conda about this, she finally broke down and explained why she acts the way she does.

Dolvett also gave Conda a night out with her girlfriends while he babysat her daughter. Conda admitted that her daughter has an attitude just like her, and it was funny to watch him entertain a two year old while Conda enjoyed herself. I also noticed that she was a completely different person with her friends - these are the people she doesn't have to be defensive with and it made a big difference.

Both Conda and Daphne received letters of encouragement from their teammates, which was a breath of fresh air this season. It made Conda really want to work hard for her team. Dolvett also had her work out with a high school girls' basketball team to show her what teamwork is really all about. I think he made the right choice this week with Conda, because getting her away from the ranch helped her and made a big difference in her attitude.

At the weigh-in, the Red Team got the highest percentage of weight loss so they secured the second pound advantage for Conda. Even with Daphne, Conda seemed more relaxed. Daphne wasn't as calm, not just because she had the disadvantage but also because she had no idea that Conda underwent somewhat of an attitude adjustment back home. But even with the advantage, Conda fell one pound short of winning the weigh-in. She seemed genuinely upset that she had let her team down and Dolvett said he was proud of her and glad he chose her.

Red was back in the elimination room, and they decided to send Roy home. It was kind of a shame, because they kept judging him on previous weeks' efforts even though he had an amazing week now that helped his team tremendously. Roy was very gracious, and back home we saw a much thinner Santa exercising with grade school kids. That was definitely a mind-blowing experience!

I was hoping the major drama would be over after this week's changes and revelations, but the preview shows more of the drama for next week. I hope it doesn't come from Conda, because I really hope she turned the corner on her attitude this week. My guess is that Chris will be upset because Roy went home...and Daphne looks none too happy either.

Please tell me the preview is more dramatic than the actual episode - I want more of this week's good vibes!

Biggest Loser 13 Challenge - Bouncing Back!

I have officially recovered from Super Bowl Sunday.

I got right back up on my horse, so to speak, and trotted toward my goals. I got back into eating healthy foods and drinking water, flushing out the indulgences from the big game. And my exercise was consistent - even on days when I couldn't make the scheduled classes I made sure I still worked out.

It all paid off when I stepped on the scale this morning. I was happy with the 1.6 pound loss. As long as I stay consistent, my weight loss will as well. The key is planning well, and having a back-up plan for days when things come up that are out of your control.

The lesson in planning will serve me well in the coming weeks. I had a job interview last week, and I start Thursday...in less than 2 days. I'm really happy, as we definitely need the money and all of the efforts over the last couple of years job hunting have finally paid off. God was just waiting to hook me up with the right position.

Of course this means adjusting to a new schedule, working full time and balancing my writing and fitness goals with the job. I'm determined to get this novel published, and just as committed to my health goals. I know with plenty of prayer I will find the way to work it all out!

I'm also thrilled to be going into the new job with a good number on the scale, which only helps my confidence level. Everything I need to do can and will be done. And since I've been through the desert on a horse with no name...I'd better come up with one for him! Any ideas?

So it's off to spin before Biggest Loser tonight. How did you do this week?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Biggest Loser 13 - A Little Inspiration, Sandwiched Between a Whole Lot of Ugly

I think I know the real reason some of the contestants wanted to be sent home so early on.

It's not just about missing their families or feeling they learned enough to go home. I think they got so sick of the complaining, whining, eye-rolling, and backstabbing they saw that they wanted out before any of that negativity rubbed off on them.

This episode thankfully had some great moments in the middle of the show. Unfortunately, it also started off with arguing and ended with even more drama. It's getting to the point where I actually think I might need a drink or a sedative (or maybe both) to get through each week's episode. (No, I wouldn't actually go there...but it sure feels necessary this season.)

We began with all of the arguing that ensued after Nancy was sent home. It's not just Conda and Kim acting like children. Even Mark, who is supposed to be a youth pastor, got ugly with Adrian. Later during the show Dolvett tried to help Adrian in dealing with his "teammates", but unfortunately he was never given a chance in the first place. What happened, in Adrian's defense, was that he was attacked immediately upon his return to the ranch...and he wound up saying a lot of things in the attempt to defend himself. Let's face it - most of us can ignore a stray remark here or there, but when we are continuously being attacked for no reason we tend to get defensive to protect ourselves. And sometimes when we try to defend ourselves, the words don't come out right because we don't have time to think when we're under attack. It doesn't condone the words, but it does explain them. So I completely understand where Adrian was coming from, even if it came out a little rough.

Let's get to the good parts of the show, before I get too depressed. (Besides, there's still the ending to think about.) Bob had a long talk with Megan, who as a horse trainer really wants to lose the weight so she can perform her job better. She has a passion for horses - but not enough love for herself yet. I cried for her as I heard her describe herself to Bob as fat and ugly. I know he got through to her that she is a beautiful, wonderful person who just has issues to work through. (I have my own horse story to tell...but I will save it for another post.) I can see the spark of confidence in her this week, and I can't wait to see where she goes from here.

Bob also took the Black Team on a long hike, which was more than just a hike. He had them performing a lot of other activities as well, and got Daphne to open up to him about her life as a single mom. He also got her to share her story with her teammates, who definitely act more like teammates than the other team. They were able to understand where she was coming from, and I only wish Adrian had been given that chance as well. Hopefully Daphne gets to stick around on the ranch for a long time.

At the end of the hike, Bob took them to a restaurant. Rachel the nutritionist was there waiting for them, and walked them through the menu to help them make wise choices. It was amazing to discover just how many calories were in the orders that each of them would have placed before their days on Biggest Loser. She also gave them plenty of tips for ordering in the future. I alreayd knew about the dressing on the side rule, but I did learn some new things that I will use from now on.

Since the Red Team lost the challenge where Dolvett got dunked, they had to do without him for most of the week. It was nice to see Kim step up and be the leader while he was gone, especially after the negativity we'd seen from her lately. (Too bad that better attitude didn't last long.) It still didn't stop Conda from complaining all the time though. Unbeknownst to the team, Dolvett was still able to watch everything they did, and he made a list of all of the stuff Conda complained about. I really couldn't believe that Conda didn't even care about the list. She acted like since everyone knows she complains, so what? Nice attitude!

The weigh-in seemed to be very close...until the last two Black team members stepped on the scale. Both of the guys lost double digits, so Red had to go to elimination again. Of course, you just knew it would get ugly again...

Conda couldn't be eliminated, since somehow she wound up with the highest percentage on her team. (And she was WAY too smug about it after all of the crap she's dealt out.) Adrian said Roy was the only member of his team to welcome him at all, and it showed when Roy and Adrian voted for Mark while everyone else voted for Adrian. I know it seemed like a cheap shot when Adrian called out the youth pastor for his attitude, but I do understand. There have been a lot of pastors and such that have been on the show...and this is the first time I've actually seen one get so nasty with someone and not even give him a chance. It was really sad to watch. The majority of the Red Team never even gave Adrian a chance, backing him into a corner that was nearly impossible to fight his way out of. The great part was seeing Adrian at home, 100 pounds lighter playing with his adorable daughter and awaiting the birth of another child. I wish Adrian and his wife a healthy new baby!

Next week we'll have the fallout from Adrian being sent home, as Daphne gives it to Conda. She has every right to tell Conda off. I just wish it hadn't come to this point...actually not just for the Aqua Team but for the season in general. I love to focus on the positive, and this season is making that very difficult. Thankfully this week I had a few moments of positivity so I wouldn't have to have that drink.

And NBC better find a way to turn this season around. With this much nastiness, nobody will want to try out for future seasons. People have enough stress...why would they want to add to it by signing up for this kind of drama?

Biggest Loser 13 Challenge - Super Bowl Recovery

Yes, I indulged a little on Super Bowl Sunday.

Not a lot - I mostly ate healthy but did allow myself a couple of beers during the game. I took a really long walk earlier in the day to help combat the treats. And I kept to my workout schedule otherwise, spinning, step, Pilates, etc.

So I got on the scale this morning wondering what I would see. Would Sunday's indulgences show up? Or did I do enough to continue my success?

I saw the number move in the direction I wanted...it was only a .6 pound loss, but a loss nonetheless. Even though I drank a lot of water, my body is probably still trying to get rid of the beer. And since my monthly gift has arrived, I'm sure that threw a wrench into my numbers as well.

So whatever the reasons, I do know that I can improve on my eating habits this week. And since my gift arrived complete with severe cramps, I'm working my way through the pain because I do not want to go backwards on this journey. What counts is that I keep going as much as I possibly can so that next week I see a much better number.

Even with the little setbacks, I'm making great progress. So it's off to spin again tonight before Biggest Loser. I know I don't complain even close to the amount some of this season's contestants do. NO EXCUSES!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fat Chef in Cleveland - Hometown Pride!

We all know there are many chefs with a weight problem. The poster child for this right now is, of course, Paula Deen. Too much butter, sugar, and deep-frying usually make for extra pounds, unless you have major willpower. Most people do not have the kind of willpower to avoid those foods if they are constantly making them or are surrounded by them.

Enter Food Network's Fat Chef. The timing couldn't be better on this series, where trainers teach chefs to deal with their surroundings and find the time to exercise. The idea is to co-exist with food at a healthy weight - sometimes easier said than done.

I missed the first episode last week, but there was no way I was going to miss last night's show.

Fat Chef hit me right where I live - literally. Trainer Brett Hoebel, who was on Season 11 of Biggest Loser, came to Cleveland to help two chefs get healthy. Rocco is in charge at Fahrenheit, and Kim owns her own catering company and sells her own line of food products. Both of them juggle multiple aspects of the food service business.

The show is part Biggest Loser, where people deal with the demons that helped get them to an unhealthy weight, and part Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, in which the trainer comes right to where each person lives and teaches them in their own environment. This is crucial for a chef, who is in the ultimate profession of being constantly assaulted with food every time they turn around.

Rocco had more weight to lose and dove right into the program. Brett taught him how to give his all working out, and some anger management skills as well. (Although I admit, I would certainly have fired the employee who kept screwing up!) He hit his goal for the show, and is working on being even fitter while helping his brother get there as well. From what I've heard, he is incorporating a lite menu into his restaurant, which I am looking forward to sampling!

Kim had a little more trouble. She fell into the same trap many of us do, following the exercise plan but not being able to do the same with the food. I know I've been there, thinking that working out would solve the problem even though I was still eating the same stuff. It was even more difficult for her, because she is always tasting her foods to make sure they are right - plus being offered samples by other chefs, where she doesn't want to appear rude by not accepting. She also had personal demons from childhood to deal with. She finally got in line with the program and lost about half of her goal. Now that she's gotten this far, I know she will continue and meet her full goal too.

It was a treat for me to see so many great places featured around my city, like the Fabulous Food Show at the I-X Center and the markets. I hope Brett continues to come to Cleveland to help those of us who are working on our health, chefs or not. (I know I'm far from being a chef myself!) I also look foward to seeing how the chefs in other cities do on the show each week. if they can conquer their food issues, I know we all can.

And I hope that more positive shows come to Cleveland to film...our city really does rock, and is filled with wonderful people from all walks of life. Time to show our Cleveland pride!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Good Shoes Really Do Make a Difference

It's not like I hadn't heard this before.

For as many articles as I've read on fitness and people I've talked to, I should have realized that my shoes had reached their mileage limit and that it was time to upgrade to a new model.

Since I've started my cardio classes at Extreme Pump It Up Fitness, I've been wondering why my feet hurt so much before I'm even halfway through the session. Part of me wanted to believe that it's because I still have a lot of extra weight putting pressure there, and I'm sure that is still a part of it.

But last week it finally dawned on me that my shoes had been around the block quite a few times. And probably because most of those trips around the block consisted of walking, I didn't notice until I was doing higher impact exercises that these shoes were not giving me enough support.

So I finally got a new pair of shoes. These shoes give me much better support and cushioning to perform the moves that I need to do now. I missed Monday's class because of an 8th grade parents' meeting, but I debuted my new kicks last night to rave reviews - not only from my instructor Sophia, but also from myself as I was able to make it through the entire class without foot pain. The difference was truly like night and day!

I know I had to spend a few bucks on a good pair of shoes, but in the long run I know they will pay for themselves. It would have been more expensive (and painful) to deal with continuous foot pain and possible shin splints from the pounding. Plus, if I'm in pain I'm not performing at my best. That would be a waste of class time and cheating myself out of a better workout. Our time is precious, and we all need to make the most out of every workout and have the ability to perform at our best.

I do still use the old shoes for spin, since they are comfortable and work well with the foot cages. My feet don't go through nearly as much impact on the bike, and this pair will work well until I purchase spin shoes that are just for use on those bikes. That will be another good investment when the time is right.

But I'm glad I didn't hold off any longer on new shoes for my other cardio. The right shoes really do make the difference...so if you've been putting it off, replace your shoes to protect your legs and feet!