How do you eat an elephant?

This weekend I participated in the Chartiers-Houston Relay for Life. The 24-hour event was incredibly moving, memorable and truly an experience I will never forget. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.

At Relay this weekend, I met a member of my husband’s extended family – a cousin who has run marathons; Iron Mans and insert every other kind of crazy fitness activity imaginable. I was very excited to meet him when he drove down from Rochester, NY after his black belt test just to walk all night for our Relay Team – yes that was the only reason.

Naturally, as a new lover of running and walking, I simply had to meet him. I wanted to pick his brain about what I could do better. We have conversed several times on Facebook over the past week or so about different things. I told him about my journey and he gave me some very (strange) great advice.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time! How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.”

This really hit home for me this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come with losing weight. While I’ve hit a plateau – mostly due to an incredibly insane home life at the moment –  but I’ve never gave up on my journey. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

There are no secrets to weight loss or running marathons – it’s simply one step at a time. Take one step today that will change the rest of your journey – be it quitting smoking, giving up soda for water, taking the dog for a three block walk with the dog – just take one step to change your life and you won’t regret it.

This weekend, I watched people take thousands of steps in their journey. People logged their “feet” for every seven laps (one mile) during the 24 hour event. I heard people revel in their 16 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles and more. Necklaces with small feet were everywhere around Allison Park Elementary School with smiles on their face.

These people weren’t marathon runners? Some walked with canes and crutches – but they still walked. It’s not about how fast you finished your laps or how much weight you’ve lost – every journey starts with a single step and you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.  

How do you eat an elephant?

This weekend I participated in the Chartiers-Houston Relay for Life. The 24-hour event was incredibly moving, memorable and truly an experience I will never forget. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.

At Relay this weekend, I met a member of my husband’s extended family – a cousin who has run marathons; Iron Mans and insert every other kind of crazy fitness activity imaginable. I was very excited to meet him when he drove down from Rochester, NY after his black belt test just to walk all night for our Relay Team – yes that was the only reason.

Naturally, as a new lover of running and walking, I simply had to meet him. I wanted to pick his brain about what I could do better. We have conversed several times on Facebook over the past week or so about different things. I told him about my journey and he gave me some very (strange) great advice.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time! How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.”

This really hit home for me this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come with losing weight. While I’ve hit a plateau – mostly due to an incredibly insane home life at the moment –  but I’ve never gave up on my journey. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

There are no secrets to weight loss or running marathons – it’s simply one step at a time. Take one step today that will change the rest of your journey – be it quitting smoking, giving up soda for water, taking the dog for a three block walk with the dog – just take one step to change your life and you won’t regret it.

This weekend, I watched people take thousands of steps in their journey. People logged their “feet” for every seven laps (one mile) during the 24 hour event. I heard people revel in their 16 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles and more. Necklaces with small feet were everywhere around Allison Park Elementary School with smiles on their face.

These people weren’t marathon runners? Some walked with canes and crutches – but they still walked. It’s not about how fast you finished your laps or how much weight you’ve lost – every journey starts with a single step and you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.  

Chaos

When life gets crazy, it’s very easy to “fall off the wagon” in terms of lifestyle changes. After nearly a year of staying right on track, I can honestly say life came to a crashing halt and spiraled out of control over the last few weeks.

We’ve always been an active family, but even for the best planners (and I consider myself pretty good), the life train can run full speed ahead with no way of stopping. That’s what our family is experiencing right now.

My husband and I are currently on a house hunt that has been exhausting. We seen anywhere from 3-5 houses per week trying to find that perfect home and we’re under a bit of pressure. Our daughter starts Kindergarten in the fall and we desperately want to move out of our current school district in favor of our preferred school choices (there are currently three).

Now you would think this wouldn’t be too bad – but wait – there’s more! On top of the house hunt, our daughter also plays softball – a commitment of approximately 2-3 nights a week for 1-2 hours per night. Additionally, she’s also a gymnast and attends classes on Saturday. Oh and I’m in the middle of my busy season at work with marketing campaigns.

So if you’re keeping track, I’m pretty much running somewhere just about every night. So where does that leave my diet, exercise (and sanity). Well, that’s the difficult task I’m faced with.

To be honest, I’ve been married to my gym for about nine months now but over the past three weeks, we’ve had sort of a “trial separation.” We’re not divorcing by any means, but simply – I just can’t get there!

While it’s not a perfect system, I’m doing my best on my own with the knowledge of I’ve learned. Some body exercises in the living room, a few extra trips up and down the stairs, doing my best to walk more. You get the picture. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a disaster.

My eating schedule has also become increasingly difficult. Sometimes we haven’t had a chance to prep because we were so late getting home from softball / house hunting. Basically, my life is chaos right now.

But it’s ok. I’m rolling with it.

Yes, I’ve had to eat out more than I’d like to in the past few weeks but I’ve tried very hard to keep it to the best options possible.

Yes, my exercise is lacking and I’m frustrated by it – but what can I do.

But …

I haven’t gained a pound! I’m maintaining my weight and to me – that’s a win in itself! It’s not always the number on the scale because I’m still happy and I’m healthy and while life is getting chaotic, I’m learning to adapt. Each week is getting a little better and once we get into the routine, it’ll be smooth sailing from this point forward.

 

Goals Update

Yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist who asked me about my goals. It got me thinking that I haven’t looked at my goals since I wrote them way back in 2012 so I dug out the post. You can read it here. Sorry… it was back when the blog was really notes on Facebook!

So when I first ready through the post, I actually laughed a lot. It was posted on September 2, 2012 and what a difference 9 months will make. Wow!

The post was really about me trying to think of short and long term goals for myself. I remember how hard it was back then (it wouldn’t be now). Back then I focused only on the weight loss (scale) and now I wish I focused on the non-scale victories too!

I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week for 8-10 a month. Looking back, that was an ok number and (for the most part) I was somewhere in that nature most of the time. I’m creeping up on the 70 mark so I’m doing pretty good – but I now know the scale does not define my success.

I set milestone goals for myself

  • 25 pounds – spa treatment
  • 50 pounds mini shopping spree
  • 75 pounds – enter a race
  • 100 pounds – trip to the beach with a new bathing suit!
  • Goal Weight – Disney Marathon

Now, if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know why I’m laughing at myself! I didn’t want to wait for the milestone goals, I just did it anyways.

At 25 pounds, I skipped the spa and hired a trainer (money well spent). At 50 pounds, I didn’t have a shopping spree because I needed them every few months because I was dropping sizes like mad (seven sizes to date). I was still 300 pounds in October when I entered my race so screw waiting for 75!

Now … 100 pounds. I’m still hopeful I might get to the beach this summer but our house hunt may change that plan. We simply may not have the funds / vacation time to pull it off. I’m ok with that though because it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve something – like say a new swimsuit which I’m totally getting this year! For the first time in my life I’m very excited to go swimsuit shopping and have been looking around at the styles to see what I like!

Now the biggie! Goal weight. I don’t think I want to wait for this one either. My hope is that next year (probably around this time), I’ll be packing up my kid and husband and trekking to Disney to run a marathon. I don’t care how much I weigh, I’m going to do it anyways! Let’s just hope I can afford it – that’s the only thing that will stop me!

So back in my blog post I wrote that my game plan was to go to the gym before work (that didn’t happen – work schedule conflict). I originally planned to walk at lunch with coworkers (That didn’t happen either). I simply had too much work to do and opted to plow through a quick lunch and go to the gym after work. That part I’m pretty good with (most of the time). I’d say given my current plate of things I’ve really mastered making working out part of my life.

So as I sit and reflect on the me 9 months ago, I’m reminded of just how far I came. What a difference almost a year can make in a person and in a family. I’m so happy the journalist asked me about my goals. I might not have dug them out to continue being inspired by my own self. Who knew I was inspiring!

I’m back!

First, I want to apologize to all my loyal fans out there. I did not mean to be absent from my blog for quite so long. Simply put, it’s been an exhausting month for me.

My day job is in full marketing campaign swing which has resulted in a lot of extra work hours. Additionally, the house hunt has been taken to a whole new level where we’re seeing 3-5 homes a week sometimes. Oh and then there’s my daughter’s softball schedule which kicked off last week. Basically, time is … well nonexistent.

But I’m back.

While I wasn’t blogging, I can say with no uncertainty that I haven’t fallen off the wagon. I’m still keeping to the lifestyle and living the dream. Life is good and I couldn’t be happier with my weight loss progress.

Unfortunately my scale numbers have stopped for the most part. I’ll go down a few pounds, then back up and then back down again. The yo-yo effect is kind of annoying. I’m honestly not surprised though since my time at the gym has been a little bit sporadic. In fact, last week was the first time since joining in September that I actually didn’t make it to the gym at all. It killed me. I’m not off to a great start this week but I’m hopeful I’ll make it there tomorrow.

While I haven’t been able to get to the gym, I still find ways to be active at home. A few extra trips up the stairs, running in the yard with my daughter or just simply doing the gorilla workout app. I do what I can with the time that I have and that’s all I can do.

Basically, I’m making it work. My lifestyle changes are still in full swing and I’m happy about that. I’m living proof that no matter what life throws at you, you can (and will) succeed if you keep your eye on the prize. For me that prize is new clothes. I simply love going shopping these days. There’s nothing that can take that joy away from me.

Don’t be sucked in

PLEASE NOTE: I am not (nor will I ever claim to be) the all-knowing expert on the subject. I simply wanted to point out how easy people can be fooled by healthy claims and “quick fix” weight loss programs. All information research was pulled from various sources around the web I feel were not only trustworthy, but also cross-checked for accuracy as best as possible. 

After my story appeared Monday, I received numerous messages from people and one solicitation. The email came from a local girl who was peddling a product called “skinny wraps.” She graciously offered me a $20 wrap to celebrate my achievement.

Now, a year ago I may have been sucked into the dream that in an hour I could just wish the inches away. Today, I would look at this person (if I saw her) to tell her she’s insane. No one can simply “wish” inches away and if this “magic” product really worked, don’t you think there’d be a whole lot more skinny people on the planet!

So before I called this product junk, I wanted to look into just what these “natural” ingredients were. First, I went to the website she sent me… which boasts everywhere that their product is “all natural” but coincidently doesn’t list the actual ingredients anywhere that I could find easily.

So I sent a message back to the vendor asking for the ingredients list and a few hours later received a fuzzy photo of the ingredients.

Cream Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glucose, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 12, Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Urea, Centella asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Leaf Extract, Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Thalle Extract, Hedera helix (Ivy) Leaf Extract, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) Leaf/Stem Extract, Ruscus aculeatus (Butchers Broom) Root Extract, Paullinia cupana (Guarana) Seed Extract, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Decyl Oleate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, TEA-Hydroiodide, Methylsilanol Mannuronate, Menthol, Camphor, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Palmitate, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, cc, BHT. Limonene, Linalool.

So let the detective work begin (FYI, I’m only pulling out some of the product offenders).

Alcohol Denat –  Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent and as fuel for spirit burners and camping stoves. Websites report that  it can cause systemic eczematous, contact dermatitis and chemical sensitivities. But seriously, why do I want to put something used in CAMPING STOVES on my body?  You can read more about this and other products to avoid here.

Stearic Acid – has a history of hazardous and dangerous side effects. The fumes contain octadecanoic acids which cause severe respiratory problems. This product has also been linked to problems with intestines. Additionally, extended exposure has been linked to cancer. No thank you!

Ceteareth 12 – Usually when I see a number, I associate that with some kind of chemically produced thing because they clearly didn’t get 1-11 right! I found out this product is found in a variety of cosmetic products and often found with pseudonyms of dimethicone, PEG-40 and other compounds with syllables of “eth” or PEG. It’s really just a chemical cocktail (wait … wasn’t this product “all natural.” It’s also a known breast carcinogen. Various websites report that the process, called ethoxylation, adds ethylene oxide to other chemicals to make it less harsh on the skin. However, during the process 1.4 dioxane is created, another known breast carcinogen.

That alone should stop you from wanting to use this product. But just in case… here’s a few more reasons.

Urea - formally known as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis. You can read more here.

Peg 7 – Known to dehydrate the skin and increase (yes INCREASE) signs of aging and also leave your skin vulnerable to bacteria and disease. I don’t know about you… but I already look old… I really don’t want to look older!

Phenoxyethanol – This product has an FDA WARNING!!!!!!! It’s a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medication. It has been known to depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea,which leads to dehydration. Read more here.

Triethanolamine causes allergic reactions including eye problems, dry hair and skin and can be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time. These chemicals are restricted in Europe because of their known carcinogenic effects because they have been linked to cancer in mice.BHT – this additive is used in so many products and has some pretty scare concerns including a warning to not let this chemical into the environment. It’s combustible. Ingestion will cause abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and has been linked to effects on the liver. You can read more here.

I could go on and on and on and on with this list but I think you get the point… well at least I hope you do!
According to my husband, I’m turning into a crazy hippy chick. But then again, why wouldn’t I? The more I read the more I learn and the more I want to know what goes in and on my body. For those out there saying “oh it’s just on my body” I’d like to thank my friend Lisa for pointing out that our skin is our largest organ and it takes less than a minute to absorb chemicals into the body… and then they’re IN the body.
Between this mini research product and the more knowledge I gain, I’m going to start exploring my own healthy and beauty recipes. I know two people who have done it successfully and are happy. Hopefully I’ll continue following in their footsteps.

As I’ve been saying for a while now, this all doesn’t happen over night. It started with making better food choices. Then I realized I could make those good choices even better. It’s now spreading to other parts of my life. If you really commit to this process and dive in with an open mind and the need to read – you’ll be amazed at what happens.

To those that “think” this process is more expensive. I’m willing to bet it’s not. My food bill has DECREASED since starting and I’m thinking my HBA bill is going to follow suit.

So back to the original reason for this post, just in case you still aren’t convinced that this product is a sham, here’s a few other tid-bits I found searching online:

  • The product basically dehydrates you (which is why you need to drink half your body weight in water). Dehydration is NOT healthy nor recommended. 
  • The results are temporary and if you want them to last you have to do the wrap weekly. Boy won’t that get expensive. Let’s see I can do simple math…. $20 per wrap (likely more like $30 per wrap) once a week times 52 weeks in a year… that’s $1,040 (roughly speaking)… I can think of a few better uses for that money!
  • The wraps cause circulatory compression. This will cause a LOT of problems in your life.

You can read more about these dangers here, here and here.

I hope this helps and inspires a few people (like it’s inspired me) to look at not only the food in your life, but all products associated with your body.

Profile Piece and new blog

My profile appeared on the Canon-McMillian patch today. Super excited. You can read it here. With the profile also starts the side-blog I will be doing for the patch on health and fitness related topics. My first story can be found here62779_618985164796007_1113565456_n

I’m really excited to embark on the next journey with my life. This entire process has been nothing short of amazing. This blog, the Facebook page and all of you wonderful followers have helped me grow and evolved and it’s such an incredible feeling. I truly feel so loved and blessed!

While I love writing about entertainment, writing about nutrition, fitness and motivation has been an incredibly moving experience. While I don’t claim to know everything and I’m not perfect …. I know that I’m helping people. I’ve seen it through people who have emailed me, wrote on my page and responded to my blog. I’ve also seen it in real life with those I work with and family members.

This journey is far from over, it’s just ramping up for the next stages!