New Year! New Me!

Looking back at the last year, I can’t say I’m sad to get rid of this year! Financially, this has been one of the hardest years of my life. I lost my job the day I spent $400 on tires. My husband’s car required significant funds to get up and running and then some jackass hit my car in the middle of the night forcing me to pay a $500 deductible. Simply put, it’s been an awful year for my bank account – all while attempting to save something to try to move in the spring.

Despite the financial burden, some really great things have occurred this year. I have an amazing job that is finally letting me spread my wings and use my talents. I really like my boss and mostly like the work I’m doing. It’s not exactly the perfect industry, but it’s certainly a great place to be. Hopefully as things continue and we get back on our feet – financially great things will follow.

Of course the best thing that has happened to me this year was the ability to finally lose weight and keep it off (so far). Losing 45 pounds this year has been nothing short of amazing. I feel amazing. I look better and I am much happier. I have discovered a new me and I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings for me.

With the new year in mind, here are some of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013.

Hayley’s 2013 Resolutions

  • I will lose at least another 90 pounds in 2012 (that’s about 2 pounds a week with a little flexibility).
  • I will be the best damn employee I can be for my boss.
  • I will be a good wife and mother to my family.
  • I will do Cardio at least three days a week. 
  • I will do weight training at least two days a week.
  • I will make healthy choices at least 95% of the time (because there’s always room for a little enjoyment).
  • I will not give up, even if I gain a few pounds.
  • I will put my best food forward and keep running until I can run no more.
  • I will be happy in 2013.
  • I will become the person I’m meant to be.
  • I promise to blog at least once a week. This is likely the one I’ll struggle with the most.

What great tips!

My Real Food Family

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Most of us do not get the required amount of fruits and vegetables in our daily diets and need easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables.  But many of us find it challenging to add more.  Here are 10 easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet that you can start doing right now:

  • Add fruits and vegetables to your breakfast.  Put berries or banana in your oatmeal, make a smoothie (Blueberry almond milk smoothie), scramble eggs with spinach, onions, mushrooms, or bell peppers or add salsa.  Adding vegetables to your breakfast will help keep you fuller longer and be a delicious start to your day.
  • Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice (limit to 8 ounces to avoid too many sugars).  Be sure to read the label to make sure that it is actually 100% real juice.
  • Grab a banana, apple, orange, or peach on…

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I have not forgotten

I swear I didn’t forget my wonderful followers. I know it’s been 10 days since I posted (wow I sound like I’m in confession), but I swear  I haven’t fallen off the wagon. In fact, I’m feeling pretty great about making it through the eating season and still managing to lose a few pounds along the way.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I know that my Christmas was everything I wanted (minus my couch breaking in half). My husband took the “hint” I gave him and bought me my new Body Media LINK band. I loved my old one but WOW what a difference. This band is even more incredible. I’ve become quite the addict. Since it syncs to my phone, I find myself looking at the data every time I move to see how many steps I took and what my activity level is and what not. Yes, I’m obsessed, but in a totally good way.

I tested out the new feature at the gym yesterday that allows me to set up my phone while I’m working on a machine and check my activity levels. I could tell if I’m running at a “moderate” rate or a “vigorous” rate. Let’s just say in 25 minutes I had the best damn workout! What a difference!

By the way, if you want your own Body Media band, this link will give you 15% off either the Core (non-bluetooth) or the LINK (Bluetooth). Full link here – There is a $6.95 monthly fee for the service but you get three months for free! Right now there’s free shipping on the site and if you order the LINK you’ll get a free DVD. If you get a band (or if you have one), also make sure you sign up for Earned It ( where you earn points for using the band that you convert into stuff!

I also got several gift cards to the gym to help fund my program which I am eternally grateful for at this rate, I’ll be able to pay it off in no time!

In addition, last Friday I turned in my Bingo card from the game at the gym for raffle tickets and I finished SIX ROWS! ItPain exercise was a lot of work, but I’m really proud of myself for doing it!

Life is good right now. I’m very happy! My new dress looked amazing over Christmas. I felt incredible and I (mostly) managed to steer clear of the deserts!  While I know it wasn’t a shining moment for me, the reality is … it’s ONE DAY! It’s not going to kill me. I got up the next day and went to the gym.

Through this whole process, I’ve realized that the longer I refer to what I’m doing as a “diet” the longer I’ll continue to fail. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. When I stopped calling it a diet, I started truly seeing results. More importantly, I didn’t “go off my diet” for the holidays, I simply indulged a little and then went right back to my life. I had a few cookies and a few yummy treats and I actually didn’t gain a POUND! I didn’t lose either … but I didn’t gain anything. I stayed the same which is still a win in my book!

My training program starts in 12 days. In less than two weeks my whole life will change. I plan to do the best I can with this program and I know I’m going to succeed. Six weeks of pure “fun” that will be worth every ounce of sweat and every pound I earn. I’m down to the final weeks of my competition that originally started it all … and this program is going to take me straight through the finale. I can’t wait to get started!  I’ve been pushing myself at the gym for weeks preparing to get in the best shape possible and be ready on day one with Jackson. I’m sure there will be pain (and lots and lots of pain) but it’s a welcomed pain – it means I did something!

Until later…


I Exercise to Live

That was the shirt I saw in my 9 a.m. Zumba class on an elderly man. Yes, you read that correctly… there was an elderly losing weightman in my 9 a.m. Zumba class. In fact, the majority of the class was elderly. I felt so young (that doesn’t happen often these days).

To tell you truth, that class changed me today. Not because it was an amazing work out (it was), but to see the life in the elderly doing Latin dancing. It’s truly a sight!

While the gentleman with the awesome shirt hung out in the back, I was truly mesmerized by the lady in front of me. Celebrating her 65th birthday at the gym in Zumba style, halfway through the class she asked the instructor to play a specific song that she adored. While I have no idea of the name, it was a Latin / Hip-Hop style number that honestly shocked me when she requested it.

So if you’ve ever done a Zumba class, you’d know there’s a lot of chest shaking, hip rolling and crazy / sexy dance moves and this dance had them ALL (and then some) and here was this woman… at 65 shimmying and shaking what her mama gave her without a care in the world. At 65 she moved better than me! I just loved it.

Watching those ladies today… it gave me a fresh breath of air. One lady was with me in Yoga this morning and then we went to Zumba together and boy was it a treat. She told me she comes to the gym and does nearly 3 hours of exercise a day. I wish I had that kind of time. What a sweet lady!

Later in the evening, I returned to the gym for Kickboxing (checking another box off my Holiday Bingo). I’ve never done this class before and boy what a workout. I found my friend Lisa in the gym and convinced her to join me. I met her a few weeks ago after she stopped me to comment on how awesome I looked. We found out we work in nearby buildings so we’re hoping to do lunch one day.

Well the two of us fumbled our way through Kickboxing. It was kinda fun. I really enjoyed it and I think I might do it again soon. We’ll see if I still say that in the morning.

Well before I close up this post for the night. I wanted to leave you with a few fun facts…

Fun Facts of the day: 
My calorie burn is currently 3,259 (with a goal of 2553). The website estimates I will end the day 1,200 calories over my target.

My current step total is 13,829 (with a goal of 8,000). Yeah I’m kicking ass!

I took 3947 steps during Zumba this morning.
I took 4291 steps during Kickboxing this evening.

Six-month transformation check in

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Well it’s been a little over six months since I committed to change myself. For those close to me, you know I’ve been struggling with the changes because quite frankly I never really saw the drastic differences. After my extremely delightful Friday when I bought size 18 jeans, a size 18 dress for Christmas (reveal coming soon) and generally just a really positive day – I started thinking it was time to take a photo and really compare them together.

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So my family and I went with a couple of friends to Phipps Conservatory today in Pittsburgh. I thought the gardens would make an excellent spot to snap a few photos of myself. Of course, I was really just playing mama-razzi  with my daughter because the backgrounds make for the most amazing images. I’ve shared some of my favorites with you here.

Now in reality, I don’t have a lot of great pictures with my daughter because I’ve always hated how I looked in them. I never wanted to be seen. My belly was always hanging out and well… I just never looked good or happy. I hated pictures of  myself more and more over the years and I hated the thought that I didn’t have any with my daughter. Today, I don’t know what came over me. Everywhere I looked at a beautiful spot, I told my husband to take a photo. I’m pretty sure he was annoyed but he knew it was making me ever so happy.

The winter gardens are just simply beautiful with all the Christmas decorations. I simply phipps 8couldn’t help myself. Above is a photo of Bella in the entrance with the beautiful Christmas flowers. At right here were are in front of one of the many Christmas trees. I actually love this photo. I look so happy with my daughter – something  other images never convey!

phipps 7When we got home, I started thinking about the photos my husband took for me. I know people keep saying the see the changes in me, but I really don’t see them. I know I’m buying smaller clothes, but I’m still just not seeing it. I went digging in the computer for the photo that started everything from back in July at my brother-in-laws wedding. The simple photo of me and my daughter that I banished from Facebook and really my life. I dug it out and put the one from today with it side by side. My jaw hit the floor. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I really have changed. I’m happier in these photos. I look amazing in these photos. And … as one of my awesome friends on Facebook pointed out – I look YOUNGER in my photos (every woman’s dream)!

You be the judge – have I really changed so much. I swear I’m blind to this transformation. I never really saw the difference but I am today. I can’t wait to show you all the beautiful Christmas dress I picked out. I can’t believe it’s an 18 and I can’t believe how incredible I look!

The photo on the left is at the wedding in July of 2012 and my highest weight ever. The photo on the right is from today – December 2012. Over 40 pounds and a whole lot of my life back.

July 2012 - December 2012

It’s a happy dance kind of day!

I cried in Lane Bryant today and I’m not ashamed. I took the day off to run some errands and get some Christmas shopping done and it’s only noon and I’ve been super productive.  One of the many items on my agenda today was a trip to Lane Bryant since my husband told me he’s tired of washing the only pair of jeans I have that fit still. Everything else is too big.

Since I had received a reward check in the mail, I figured it was time to suck it up and buy new jeans. I hate buying jeans. They never fit right. NEVER NEVER NEVER! I’m never happy with them so I wasn’t totally looking forward to this.

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve even tried on a pair of jeans while shopping. I don’t wear them often since I can 2012-12-14 11.06.11only wear them on the weekends so it wasn’t a necessity as I lost weight. Now that I only have one pair that fits it was time to buy something new.

So I went to Tanger Outlets which has my favorite Lane Bryant store. I typically get most of my clothes there because I’m happy with the style and the fit. Today everything was 50% off which made me happy. Of course, I tried to talk myself into buying a few shirts but I was really a girl on a mission and I needed to focus.

So I found the a handful of jeans to try on and immediately grabbed a 20. I thought that was probably about where I was at this point. However, when I put them on … that was NOT the case. The 20s could easily be pulled on and off without even unbuttoning the pants.

Surely I was going crazy. So I thought… well I guess i’ll give an 18 a try but I know they won’t fit. Boy was a wrong. They not only fit but they actually fit GREAT! So I decided to get a little bit ahead of myself and grabbed a 16 and guess what… THEY WENT ON! I won’t say they “fit” because they were incredibly tight and a bit uncomfortable but they were ON!

I literally started crying in the dressing room. In May I wore a 24/26 and now I’m in an 18. All my hard work and I’m finally starting to see the results. I knew they were there, but today they were staring me in the face. I was so proud of myself that I took a picture of the tag and sent it to my husband who told me how proud of me he was.  He’s sad I’m starting to lose my curves, but he’s so happy I’m finally happy with myself.

Now before I embark on the large task of house cleaning, I just wanted to share my unbelievable joy with everyone. It’s an early Christmas in my house!

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I originally started writing a post titled “Happy Monday” but got a bit side tracked. I apologize for leaving you for a few days, but it’s been pretty crazy.

Friday night I went out line dancing with my mother at Saddle Ridge and it was a blast. My body media band told me I totally kicked ass! I had so much fun, I decided to go back on Saturday with my awesome friend, Maria.

When Sunday rolled around, I was pretty exhausted but I still managed to get to church and decorate the Christmas tree. A big thank you to my husband for taking care of the weekly meal plan and the weekly shopping (even if he forgot a few things).

Last night I had my monthly meeting for the Sexy and I Know It competition and I was pretty happy with my drop in weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 or 10 … the point is – the scale number is decreasing. I don’t know where I’m at in the competition, but I”m really happy I took part in the entire event. It’s truly helped change my life.

So Tuesday came in with a lot of drama. Without getting into specifics, by 8 a.m. I was fuming with anger and the thought of turning around in the work parking lot to go to the gym and burn some steam crossed my mind a few times. Simply put – I was livid. I didn’t let the stress become my demise though. At the end of the day, I headed to the gym and turned the anger into something useful.

In addition to some quality anger management, I met with Jackie tonight. As a goal, she’s challenged me to cut back on my grains. I know this is going to be tough, but I’m committed and I know I can do it. It’s just going to require a bit of planning in advance. I’m going to start working on my meal plans tomorrow.

I’m still picking away at my Holiday Bingo Card for the gym. I have about 6 classes marked off so far. Tonight I did Step and Abs and was promptly reminded why I hated the class. It’s truly just not for me! Tomorrow I’ll be getting up early to try out Yoga (let’s all pray I don’t hurt myself) and then back to the gym later for a circuit training class with the amazing Jackson.

I hope everyone’s doing well out there. I’ll do my best not to go M.I.A. on you again.