Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Extreme Weight Loss - Chris Powell Takes On Twins!

It's the start of a new season of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, and I couldn't be happier.

I need a summer fix of motivation when Biggest Loser is done for the season, and fall seems far away. (which is OK with me, since I love summer!!!)  And let's face it...summer can be a time when people slack off from their fitness and healthy eating habits, whether they are on vacation or just enjoying favorite summer foods on a 3-month staycation.  Those staying at home are more likely to binge on treats, because they feel they deserve it since they can't afford to go away somewhere special - and they don't have the incentive to fit into certain clothes for a trip. Plus, people who go on a vacation tend to splurge only while on the trip, not for months on end.

Enter Chris Powell, who begins the third season of EMWLE taking on twins, brother Dave and sister Becca.  They are 23 years old and live with their dad, who is extremely hard on them about their weight.  My first thought was the fact that their dad needs to lose quite a bit himself and get healthy, and that he isn't helping their self-esteem.  The next thought was that he probably wants better for his kids than for himself, and doesn't quite realize that the example he sets hurts them as well.

Chris surprises them on their birthday, and takes them away for the first week of training.  He gets them to open up about things that have bothered them for a long time, such as Becca's admission that she feels she never made her father proud.  The real kicker was Dave breaking the news that he was once addicted to painkillers and alcohol, and was ready to commit suicide when an out-of-the-blue phone call from his dad stopped him.  Even Becca didn't know this - only Dave's close friends knew.

Chris decided that he needed to separate the twins for the first 3 months, because they were so close and so good at sabotaging each other's efforts.  At first they were upset, but as the days went on they realized it was the best thing for them.  Dave went home while Becca went to Arizona and worked with Chris' wife Heidi, along with one of last year's success stories, Jacqui.  (It's so wonderful how Jacqui wants to pay it forward!!!) They both did well during the first 90 days...but slipped a bit when back together again for the next phases.  It got to the point that they could hardly even speak to each other.

After 9 months, they weighed in and met the doctor to discuss skin removal surgery.  Dave qualified for the procedure, but Becca did not.  A light bulb went off for Dave that his sister had worked much harder than he did, but he was the one who qualified.  Chris makes the decision to separate them for the final 3 months of the journey.  Dave needed to recover from the surgery; Becca needed to go home and keep working toward her goal of getting the surgery. 

During this time Dave finally talked to his dad about the addictions and overdose.  His father was already beginning to realize how he had affected his kids for years...but this admission from Dave really sent him over the edge.  He wanted to repair the relationships with his children and be a more positive role model for them. Becca and Dave also came to the conclusion that even though they love each other, being separated for now is better for them physically and emotionally.

By the final reveal, each of them had lost over 200 pounds.  Becca qualified for the surgery and decided to go back to nursing school.  Dave chose to go out to Arizona for college. They both look amazing, and it shows from the inside out.  Look for these two to take on the world now!

And also look for more inspiring episodes of EMWLE this summer.  Help yourself stay motivated and keep going - I know I will!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Inspiration - Courtesy of Kellie Pickler

Inspiration comes in many forms - people, music, dance, writing, and more.

For me, it arrived as all of the above...in the form of a sweet, hard-working, determined Southern lady who faced her fears and insecurities on Dancing With The Stars.

If you've followed Kellie from her early days on American Idol, you already know that she's a sweetheart.  You also know that she didn't have the best childhood growing up - not even close.

Her mother abandoned her.  Her dad was in jail.  Her grandparents raised her, but her grandmother passed away from cancer when Kellie was 15 years old.  She lived in a beautiful small town, but her family did not have much money.

But Kellie persevered, even with all of those possible obstacles.  She rose above the challenges and went for her dreams.  She didn't let the things that life threw at her stop her.

I was reminded of Kellie's heart and determination as she took on Dancing With The Stars this season.  She always has a joke, word of encouragement, and ready smile for everyone watching.  She worked many long hours to learn and perfect all of the dances, including Derek's amazing but challenging choreography.

By the time the finals came around, Kellie also let us see her vulnerable side - the part of her that still felt the pain from her past but wanted to overcome it all.  And I could relate.

I've always been the one who encourages others, finds the humor in a situation, and smiles to get through my challenges.  But I still have a vulnerable side.  I'm learning to show that side a little more often - some people can't handle that I'm not "perfect"  (whatever perfect is supposed to be!) and decide that I'm only good enough for them when I help them.  That's OK...not everyone you meet is supposed to stay in your life forever.  Sometimes they are there just for you to learn a lesson.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of people who understand that we are all human and have issues and challenges to face - that we don't have to be "on" all the time.  That love and friendship is a two-way street and we should support each other through the good AND the bad.

I cried as Kellie and Derek performed their Freestyle.  I could see that she was being very real with all of us.  She let us all the way into her world, and we love her for it.  This is why she is a true champion!

Thank you Kellie, for sharing your heart and soul on the dance floor along with the proper technique.  You taught me (and countless others) that it's OK - no, VITAL - to be yourself  and share who God created you to be. And that hard work and prayer will get you far, no matter what life throws at you.

I'd love to be in the physical shape that Kellie is in...and I'm working on it.  But it's also important to work on that inside beauty, which she has in spades.  This is one lesson I will carry with me every day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ugliness at Abercrombie & Fitch

Even Marilyn Monroe, who was admired by men (and women) all over the world, would not have been able to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Why?  Because the clothing company doesn't make clothes for anyone who isn't "thin enough".  They only make clothes for "beautiful" people...and they only hire these "beautiful" people to work in their stores.   At least that's the messed up line of thinking that CEO Mike Jeffries has - only "perfect" people can wear his clothes.  Only the "cool" kids count.

Way to go, Mr. Jeffries.  With this policy, you are promoting anorexia, bulimia, and plastic surgery for teens anxious to fit in - and giving them a reason to turn into despondent adults who think they will never be good enough.

To Mr. Jeffries and his company, you're not cool if you don't fit his version of beautiful.  Women's clothes only go up to a size 10, which could technically be an 8, because the clothes are cut smaller than many other clothing brands.  Girls who want to wear what their super-thin friends are wearing can't...which may cause them to turn to unhealthy practices like bulimia and anorexia.  And what if they apply for a job at A & F and don't get it - because they aren't "beautiful" enough to wait on the customers?  I can only imagine teens trying to "fix the problem" by getting nose jobs, botox, etc.  to fit this ridiculous standard.

Even when I was 20 and reached my goal weight, I would not have been able to wear A & F clothes.  I went a few pounds under that weight in an attempt to fit into certain brands, and not only was it still not enough, but I saw pictures of myself taken at that time and was horrified to see my sunken cheeks and protruding collarbone.  I decided it was better to go back up to my original goal weight and wear what looked good on me, rather than continue to starve and be unhealthy just to wear a certain size or brand of clothing.  I was much happier donning cute outfits that fit me as I was meant to be - without feeling lightheaded or dizzy for lack of nutrition.

The last thing in the world teens need to be told is that they aren't good enough for you, Mr. Jeffries. They are ALL beautiful, no matter what size they wear or makeup they use, or what facial features they possess that YOU don't approve of.  We are ALL created in God's image - and He never makes a mistake.  You aren't really promoting beauty.  You actually promote ugliness, with your bad attitude and closed mind. 

There are so many people who are beautiful both inside and out.  Ironically, with Mr, Jeffries advocating bullying and discrimination, his inside is ugly - and does not even come close to my standard of inner beauty.  Beauty starts on the inside, and he needs to get a makeover!

Don't listen to the lies...discover your own true beauty and the beauty of others!