Feature story, tips for success

So today I met with an amazing lady for the Canon-McMillian Patch for an interview. I’m going to be a feature story sometime next week and that’s FLIPPIN AWESOME!

I’m really excited. I think it’ll be a nice break into my next step in the journey. I’m dabbling in some fitness-related writing. I’m really excited to continue expanding my talents to help other people. I’ve also been considering putting myself out there to possibly come to speak or hold workshops.

I want to be clear – I am by no means calling myself an expert; however, I do believe that I have the power to help people because I’m a real person that has lost a significant amount of weight so far. I’ve done so with the help of professionals while also maintaining a full-time job, a freelance job and a family. It’s not easy, but it CAN be done.

But back to the original point of this post – tips for success. One of the questions the amazing Amanda asked me was what would I tell people to succeed. I gave her a laundry list of things, but I thought it would be great to put them onto paper (well the web). So without further adieu … here are my tips for success.

  • Eat Clean – I don’t care if you’re following clean eating, whole food, paleo or something you’ve made up. Just make sure what you’re eating is nutritious, natural and free of chemicals. That’s the real point! 
  • Portion Control – Make sure you’re weighing and measuring your food – especially in the beginning. It’s very easy to over eat. Once you get the hang of it though, it gets so much easier.
  • Plan to succeed – Make a plan and stick to it. This goes for FOOD and EXERCISE. Write the plan down. In regards to meal planning, it will take some time in the beginning but once you get the hang of it, you can bang out a weeks worth of meal planning in about 20 minutes. Planning ahead also helps cut down on the amount of money you spend on groceries and will help keep you making meals at home instead of going out.
  • Find support – If you can get a nutritionist – DO! If you can afford a trainer – DO! If you can’t, make some friends and workout together. You’ll need a support system of people encouraging you to succeed – not discouraging you.
  • Believe – Stop thinking that you can do this and believe that you WILL do this!
  • Committment – If you want to be healthy, it’s not just something to “do,” it’s something to COMMIT to. It’s a lifestyle that you will change and live on for the rest of your life. Trust me, once you start feeling better you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this YEARS ago!

There you have it! I hope this helps! Stay tuned for my feature. I can’t wait to see what Amanda cooks up!


Asthma, Cancer and Emotional Eating

Yeah the headline says it all – those are three things I’m dealing with right now and suffice it to say – it’s hard!

Let’s start at the beginning, without spilling all the personal family details last night we received a phone call that a family member was in the hospital for what was originally thought to be a stroke, but turns out it was really cancer…. and it’s not looking good. I think that covers what emotions are going through our household right now.

Now moving onto the next blow of the day (though nowhere near as hard). I took my daughter to the doctor for what we thought was a chest cold. I left with a nebulizer and an asthma diagnosis. Honestly, I’m not that surprised – but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Bella has dealt with chest colds we can’t shake year after year. We thought it was just a daycare thing since that’s pretty much the breeding ground for an entire germ civilization, but given her history, Daddy having asthma and the wheezing the doctor heard – well it was pretty obvious.

So we’ve been set up with a nebulizer and some medicine and a full mask breathing treatment. UGH … with a four year old … oh so fun! On the plus side, of all the things in the world that Bella could be diagnosed with … this is at least very common with a lot of options, medication and treatment. I’m hopeful … timing just really sucks.

So this brings me to the third topic of tonight’s post – emotional eating. Given the kind of day I’ve had… I’m not surprised I’ve been jumping onto chocolate land. It’s been a bad day for me nutritionally, but it’s ok. One bad day isn’t going to send me back to a lifetime of pounds. Yes, it was a bad day. Yes, I wanted nothing but chocolate and YES I hate to admit it but eating chocolate did make me feel better!

At this point, I take every crossroads as a learning experience because every day of my life is truly a learning experience. Yes, I battle with emotional eating – like so many other people have before me. Today, I let it get the best of me a little bit but I don’t care. I felt better and I moved on! Tomorrow is a new day and life will go on. We’ll take Bella’s asthma … we’ll deal with whatever other lemons life wants to deal but I’m not going to gain weight.

I just thought I’d share that!



Believe in yourself

I’d like to tell you all a story – it started last summer. I went to Lane Bryant hunting for some new clothes. I was still in size 24/26 at this point and tipping the scale at 316 pounds. While hunting through the store, a purple and pink shirt caught my eye – two of my favorite colors. It was a loose style with an under shirt and a layer over top. I tried it on… sadly the biggest size (26) didn’t fit me. It looked horrible. I was a mess.

It wasn’t long after this day that I went to my brother in laws wedding in July and the rest of the events that transpired changed my life. Honestly, until this weekend I had completely forgotten about the shirt and how much I wished it fit. It was truly beautiful.

Fast forward to this weekend. My husband and I were shopping at Tanger Outlets when I popped into Lane Bryant. They had a great sale with an extra 70% off the lowest ticketed price on all Clearance items. Guess what was on the rack…. that same purple and pink shirt.

I stared at it for a while before pulling it down. It was the only one in the store. Alone on the top rack of a row of sweaters. I didn’t know what size it was, but I desperately wanted to try it on. I grabbed a bunch of items, shirt included and put it in the dressing room. At this point, I still haven’t even looked at the size. I didn’t want to know.

I’ve been shirking over the last few weeks down to a size 16 jeans and the smallest size they had in Lane Bryant was a 14 so odds are it was somewhere in my size range. I actually thought it was a 22 when I pulled it down.

I slipped the shirt on first. I couldn’t wait any longer and I literally cried out with glee when I looked in the mirror. Here was the shirt I wanted so desperately last summer… fitting nearly perfectly on my body. In about 5-10 more pounds, it’s going to be perfect.

After walking up and down admiring myself in the mirror, I slipped off the shirt to discover a real awakening….

IT WAS A SIZE 14!!!!!!!

Yes, 1-4. I just stared in disbelief. Could it be? I’m almost to a size 14. I called my husband to make sure I wasn’t crazy. I tried the shirt on for him and he said the same thing I did – about 5-10 more pounds and it’s going to be golden. It’s a summer shirt so I have no doubt I’ll fit great in it over the next few months. Then I showed him the tag.

Clearly this shirt must be a fluke. Maybe it’s the cut and style. I went back out to the store and found something else in a size 14. A pretty red and black dress that only had two sizes – 26 and 14. I put the dress on and jumped with joy. It was the same – It fit, it looked ok and in a few more pounds it’s going to look FAB!

If you asked me last summer when I’d ever see a size 14 and I would have told you never. Now, here I sit staring at the size with the joy that I’ll be out of it before I know it!

This is one of those moments that I’ll cherish forever – along with my beautiful purple and pink shirt. I promise to post a photo as soon as it fits perfectly which by my calculation should be late march / early april. Just in time for summer!

What a difference

Hello amazing followers. I apologize for my lack of writing – I swear it’s simply because I’m swamped with work and workouts!

So while I was working out yesterday I had an amazing moment at the gym. Some of you may remember when I wrote a guest post for another blog about my first class for abs/lower back. The quick version – my first class I was mortified. I was the fat girl that could barely do a crunch. If I recall, I nearly walked out of the class after five minutes.

For whatever reason (still don’t know why), when I arrived at the gym tonight I diverted from my plans on the treadmill and opted to take that same awful class again. Boy what a difference! Six months ago I could barely crunch, now I can do the majority of the moves. I had so much fun, I stuck out a second class for Total Body Sculpt – nearly two hours of working out and I felt incredible.

It’s little victories like this that keep me going which is why I declared this entire week non-scale victory week!

Thank You and Opinionated Thoughts

Today I’d like to say to all my followers, thank you! Thank you for walking with me through this journey and thank you for the words of encouragement, you have no idea how much you all mean to me.

I’d also like to add, I do not (and will not) claim to be an expert in the subject of nutrition – that’s why I see a nutritionist frequently. I will say that I have learned a lot over the last six mont…hs (and continue to learn). The things I post on this page are (in fact) my opinions about diets. There are a lot of diets out there (see my most recent blog post) and yes, I do believe that some of them are a bit extreme.

I can promise you, I have no intention of going extreme diet restrictions like some people out there. Not because I don’t think they’re good to follow, but because they are not the right diet for me.

My nutritionist and I have spent six months combing over every ounce of food that has entered my body. I am very confident in our decisions and my lifestyle changes.

I understand that some of my opinions on some diets that eliminate or limit certain foods may annoy some people but simply put – they are my opinions. Just as you researched to eliminate certain things from your diet, I have researched to keep those items in – and there is a good reason.

The reason I’m posting this is not to call out anyone, but simply make a statement that everything I post on this page is not the perfect answer – it’s what you make of it. Whether you’re for or against eating grains, peanuts, dairy, meat, cheese, eggs or even bacon – it’s what YOU decide is the right answer that matters.

Stop naming your diet and eat the way you want and deserve to eat that includes whole foods, rich nutrients and the things you love. It doesn’t matter if it’s called Clean Eating, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Whole Food, South Beach or anything else out there on the market. Just eat real food – what you truly believe is real food – not processed that’s really the bottom line. Focus on your lifestyle changes and not the name of a diet you follow. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken… just ask my ice cream love (which won’t go anywhere). I’ve just learned to live with my love and appreciate it more when I have it!

And you can take that to the bank!

The Biggest Winner Day 24: The end

Well here we are – the end of the training program. I can’t believe six weeks flew by so quickly!

I can’t even begin to tell you how important these past six weeks have been for me. I have taken my weight loss to an entirely new level and it’s all thanks to six amazing people – Jackson, Tianda, Steve, Shawn, John and De2013-02-15 07.48.49bbie. You don’t know them, but you have no idea how much they inspire me.

As a grand finale of his own, Jackson had us run a 5K on the treadmill to get started. I completed mine in under 48 minutes!  A new record for me. I’m so proud of this accomplishment. When I did my first 5K it was just under 54 minutes – LOOK HOW FAR I’VE COME!

More importantly, when I did the first 5K I was useless the rest of the day with aches and pains. Today, I hopped off the treadmill and Jackson sent us to the gym to do more! MORE!!!!!!

Once we finished our run, Jackson had a circuit ready for us as his own little last chance workout before we finished the competition. Oh boy was it hard! I felt horrible but I finished and that’s what matters.  

Today’s workout included: 2013-02-15 08.07.25

  • Broad jumps full court across the gym and back.
  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 50 squats
  • 40 Bosu stepper (that’s that half ball I never know the name of)
  • 40 high knees
  • 30 medicine ball slams
  • 30 push ups
  • 20 super mains
  • 20 single leg bridges
  • 20 burpees
  • 20 jumping lunges

…. and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh wait! Nevermind.


In case your wondering, yes I felt like death at the end. In fact, at one point I actually felt dizzy and needed to rest but I still finished.

So there you have it – six weeks of training 4 times a week for a total of 24 sessions. I’m confident that every single body part has hurt at least once or twice. I’ve been exhausted, drenched in sweat, tired, cranky and even sick – but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!

My team means the world to me. From Shawn who always had something funny to say in his silly complaining way, to Tianda who gives me inspiration and the nickname bikini girl after her dream, to Debbie who always walked and talked with me on our off days. Each of you meant so much to me and I hope you know it (if you’re reading this). Steve and John, I’m so happy we’re Facebook friends – you guys are the best. I loved our talks and your encouragement too!

Of course, I’m not going to forget the one person that means the world to me (in my life of exercise) and that’s Jackson. I know I tell him just how happy I am to work with him, but I hope he knows just how much he’s done for me. He pushes me out of my comfort zone, he challenges me to do more and he never EVER lets me quit. I owe a lot of pounds to him. I’m so thankful to have met him and I can’t wait to see what he does with me over the next year.

While this is the end of the competition, it’s certainly not the end of my journey. The future looks bright and shining and I’m going to get there!

What kind of diet are you on?

I am asked this question at least a dozen times a day – which is great because it means people are noticing what I’ve done. What concerns me is they seem put off by the answer – my own made-up diet.

As many of you know out there, it’s really easy to get caught up in “fad” diets and crazy ideas. Clean Eating, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, eat a tree – well you get the point. It’s hard to figure out what to do!

When I started my weight loss competition back in August, the push was for clean eating (which I do support). When I started doing research, I took this a step further investigating a very similar whole foods diet as well as the recently popular diet – Paleo (or caveman diet).

Now if you go digging and research each of these diets, there’s many similarities, but some fairly big differences. Let’s take a look at the concepts.

Clean Eating Quick Facts

  • Focus on eating the most natural food, it its most natural state (i.e. not processed)
  • Avoiding the white devils – white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.)
  • Avoid anything processed and refined (basically if it’s made in a plant – don’t eat it!)
  • Focus on lean proteins and healthy fats (like nuts) and an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
  • Preference for organic and grass fed products.
  • No preservatives.
  • No Fast Food (see above for why!)

Paleo Quick Facts

  • Often called the caveman diet or even primal eating.
  • Preference for organic and grass fed lean meats, fruits and vegetables
  •  Preference fornuts and healthy fats but no peanuts.
  • Consume food only in its most natural state.
  • No sugar, beans or grains.*
  • No dairy*

*While most people who follow paleo choose to eliminate these foods, some do not eliminate dairy, sugar, beans and/or grain or limit their consumption.

Now the simple differences. With Paleo you aren’t allowed dairy, grains or peanuts (three of my favorite things). There is a larger push for organic and eliminating all chemicals from your life (including in cleaning products, beauty, etc.)

This is just one of the many examples I can give you on the different diets, but this post isn’t meant to sit and compare apples to oranges – it’s to tell you what I believe.

One of my issues with all of these diets is when you eliminate easy to locate items, ingredients you need start to get harder to find. Case in point – I wanted to make cookies last night. I started looking for some healthy recipes and found tons, but the ingredients become difficult to locate quickly and/or are very costly to purchase. Locally, there is only ONE store I have found that sells coconut flour and almond flour – a staple in many recipes that eliminate wheat. These items are not only difficult to locate, but can be costly. We’ve been planning on attempting to make our own almond flour but to date haven’t had a chance.

Simply put, there’s a lot of great information out there but you have to educate yourself and figure out what you want to take as fact or fiction. Diets are what you make of them, why focus on labeling it and keeping to that label. Eat how you want to eat, with reason, so you’re happy and keep to your lifestyle – that’s the ultimate goal right? To find a diet you’ll stick with!

What I encourage you to do is seek out research. Read blogs, read research studies and determine what you feel is best. Now going back to the top post – if you ask for my diet … I’m going to tell you it’s “My” diet. Simply put, I’ve taken a the guidance from Whole Foods, Clean Eating and Paleo and combined them into a diet I feel is appropriate.

I still eat grains. I tried going without… I actually wasn’t happy. I like grains – especially pasta. However, I have cut back a lot and limit it to one meal a day a couple times a week. It’s truly helped.

I still have dairy. I like dairy. If you hear me give up Ice Cream – WORRY! I’ve learned to also have that in moderation as well.

I like peanuts. I’m not going to lie. Those won’t be gone either.

As for the “organic” focus. I wish I could buy all organic. It’d be nice but I simply can’t afford it and that’s fine. We make positive choices, buy from farmers marketing whenever possible and do the best we can to select the most appropriate and healthy items.

The bottom line, you need to do research on everything and figure out your own diet that you’re happy with because when you’re happy with your diet … it won’t be a diet – it becomes a lifestyle. Always remember that!