Soapbox: Emotional Eating

Hey, I’m digging this idea for my own little soapbox!

Anyways, let’s chat about emotional eating since it paid me a little visit. Let’s start with the back story (because there’s no emotional eating without a reason … right!)

The (very short) version of the story is my husband and I are putting in an offer on a house. Unfortunately, so are a whole bunch of other people. It’s a bidding war and it sucks. We were given a memo yesterday to put in our highest and best so for the past 24 hours my husband and I have been going in circles as to whether we should change the offer or leave it alone.

Now… onto the real reason for this post… emotional eating. To say that stress got the best of me today would be an understatement. This evening (on the brink of tears), I couldn’t take it anymore and had a decent portion of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It wasn’t a half gallon (though I have no doubt I could consume it tonight), but it was a nice bowl of ice cream.

Yes I was emotional. No it wasn’t the best thing I could grab but yes… I did feel slightly better after I had it.

Emotional eating is nothing new to anyone… we’ve all done it at some point in life. Sure those empty calories are worthless, but damn it sometimes they just make you feel better. I do believe in the 80/20 rule of life – 80% of the time I eat great …. and 20% … well yeah I want my ice cream, Oreos or chocolate cake damn it!

As several followers pointed out, there are billions of recipes online that can be easily made that were probably a much better option. However, when you’re on the brink of tears because you’re so overly stressed out… pulling out the baking pans or blender just wasn’t happening tonight.

I do NOT support emotional eating… but I also understand that ice cream (or whatever) happens. That one bowl isn’t going to ruin me forever. I’m not gaining all my weight back and I”m not reverting back to my old ways… but I do feel a little better… and it was certainly tasty ice cream.

The point is… when you make a lifestyle change, you have to understand that 100% of the time life isn’t going to be grand. You’re going to have a bowl of ice cream, gain a pound, lose nothing and be stressed. It’s all in what you do with these situations that make the difference.

Eight months ago, that half-gallon would have been toast during this situation but today it’s not. I had my fix and feel (somewhat) better, though I’m still extremely stressed over this situation. My motivation, drive and determination aren’t thwarted by this little bump in the road and more importantly – knowing how to handle this situation has made me a stronger person.

To all the people out there who struggle with emotional eating, you can get it under control with a little determination. For me, it’s finding another outlet to hopefully curb the behavior. It’s funny, as I was writing this post I received an email from Jackson checking on when we’re going to start training again.

I fully hoped to be back training with him by now. It’s been almost a month from the end of the Biggest Winner. Unfortunately, due to cost and time … it simply hasn’t happened. Though I really miss seeing him all the time, I feel confident on my own and my knowledge to get me through until we meet again.

In my recent email to him, I actually told him about how much I’ve changed through the process. Today, I use the gym to really help control my emotional eating and for the most part it really has worked! Every night I hit the gym allows me to clear my head and really focus on me for an hour. I take my frustration out on the weight machine. … I run … whatever it takes to clear my head and stop thinking of all the crap going on in my life.

I hope this post inspires at least one person to put down the carton of ice cream and do some push ups. You can beat emotional eating! If I can do it … you can do it and I’m happy to help anyone who needs help.


Shamrock Shuffle

Well the first race of the year is in the books and it was quite an experience. The Jameson’s Army Shamrock Shuffle marked the first race on a trail for me (the Tanger Outlets Breast Cancer Walk was on pavement). I knew it would be different, but I wasn’t ready for just how much.

So, let’s go back to Saturday and the promise of a 50 degree day. Yeah… not at 9 a.m. It was seriously cold this morning! Armed with two of the greatest ladies on earth – my sorta-cousin-by-marriage-amazing friend, Megan – and my sister-in-law, Sunni – we headed to the park for an eventful day!

After checking in and getting our bibs, we wandered around a bit warming up. Of course, when it’s cold there’s really no “warming” about it. At 9 a.m. we headed up to the trail at Cecil Park only to discover the majority of it was still covered in snow and ice. EEK!

So … snow and ice. I can honestly say I was not prepared to do a 5K on snow and ice. Oh well.. no backing out now!

So I started down the path. Once we got off the starting line the trail cleared up and I was hopeful (but not for long). There were small parts where I felt confident enough to job the 5K but I will say I walked the majority of it – mostly out of fear of falling on my ass!

Megan warned me the trail was going to make my feet hurt. She wasn’t joking. My feet still (on Monday night) ache from the trail, but it hasn’t stopped me!

Despite the ice, this 5K went along much better than the last one! My time was 46:47:50 (or 15:05/Mile). When I did my first race in October, my time was 53:49:60 (or 17:22/Mile). I consider that a great improvement in about six months.


Vast improvement over October

I can’t wait until my next race. I just know now that I need more time on the trails!

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!

The Biggest Winner Day 23: Last Chance Workout

Well, the title pretty much says it all. Today was really the last chance workout and I’m still sick. UGH! At least Jackson was a little nicer to me not getting my ass about everything since I was clearly not feeling well but still trying my hardest to push through everything.

So today we concentrated on strength with cardio. We started with a short warm up on the treadmill and then headed upstairs to the track area.

First up was a circuit with kettlebells (oh how I love thee). We did a a 3x rotation of timed moves.

  • Lunge with dumbbell rows (side) and lifts (front)
  • Squat press with dumbbells
  • Double kettle bell swings
  • Double kettle bell rows
  • Squat with bicep curls
  • Double Kettlebell swings all the way to the top

We did a lap after this circuit. Next we did another circuit with three moves. First it was weighted rope jacks, then weighted rope waves and finally weighted rope slams. Next was 30 seconds of jumping jacks, 30 seconds of mountain climbers and 30 seconds of push ups. Finally it was 30 seconds with squat jumps, 30 seconds of ski jumps, 30 seconds of speed squats.

And just when we thought it was time to stretch, Jackson took us down to the gym for another interesting twist. We paired off and he paired me with the toughest woman on our team (I love her dearly) and together one of us did a wall sit, while the other did 10 dips off our knees and ran the length of the gym floor and back to tag us out. Repeat 3x for each person. OH MY GOD IT HURTS! I hate wall sits and this was just kicking my ass!

I made it though. I’m sick. I’m miserable and I could have said screw it this morning but I made it! I’m proud of myself. While on one hand I’m sad the end of this era is tomorrow, a new chapter begins just as quickly I don’t know what chapter that will be, but something will occur. Work is starting to get insane so I need to focus on that right now it is my job after all and without it I can’t afford my gym or my training.


In other news, Happy Valentine’s Day. I love my husband so much. He was smart enough to realize that now that I’ve changed so much … jewelry isn’t necessary and chocolate is a bad idea. Instead he just gave me money to put towards my training because he knows that’s what I truly want! YAY!

5Ks and Colds

Oh I feel awful today. Like litearlly awful. I work up with a horrible sore throat. Not much more than that but enough to just make me feel BLAH!

Today would have been very easy to retreat back to bed. I did not meet with Jackson today (it’s our off day) so I could have very well thrown in the towel and slept a little longer, but I didn’t.

I crawled outo f bed, down the stairs and made myself some breakfast. Still not feeling much better though. Oh well, I’m still going to the gym.

Jackson challenged us to do 90 minutes of cardio today. I wasn’t sure how that would go over with the illness but I gave it a whirl. I made it through 50 minutes and that’s ok. I’ll try to do more later. My chest was killing me so I didn’t want to over do it. It was actually getting harder to breath.

Since we’re doing a 5K on Friday, I thought it would be a good time to do a practice run / walk – which I did. I was pretty happy that I finished in just under 50 minutes for the actual 5K. It’s an improvement over my time of 53:54 from October of last year. I’m getting closer.

I guess my point is that no matter how you feel, you can still do it. I might not have made it through 90 minutes but I’ll try to do more later today. I’m not done yet. Broken up 90 minutes is still better than none at all!

The Biggest Winner Day 21: I have a dream

Wow… 21 days and only three more workouts left. I can’t believe it’s almost over. I truly am thankful that I was able to take part in this amazing experienc.e Not only for the training, but the new friendsI’ve made along the way and the self-confidence I’ve gained from Jackson proving to me that I can truly do anything I put my mind to!

Today we started with a brisk warm-up on the arc trainer at a 25 resistance. I spent about 20 minutes (counting my pre-warm up) here.

At this point, we headed up to the track for some laps. We did a series of laps

Lap 1 – Kettle Bell speed walk (me with 15 pounds each hand)
Lap 2 – Run with a flight of stairs at the end

After about 30 minutes of fun, we headed over to the mezzanine for another kettle bell workout. This was a series of kettle bell swings, followed by a row and then push ups. All timed and all rough. We also did a series of 10 squats with a hold on the end for 10 seconds. We repeated the squats five times and the circuit with kettle bells 6.

We finished out the workout on the treadmill with a “push yourself” walk / run. Basically, seven minutes of going as hard as you can.

So you’re probably wondering about the story behind my blog post (there’s always a story). Well, near the end of the workout, one of the ladies of my group comes over and says… I had a dream about you.


Apparently, she had a dream about seeing me in Florida a few years after the program and I’m skinny as a stick wearing a thong bikini. Now, I don’t know about the thong but I’m gunning for the other two parts of this dream to be a reality.

It’s kinda funny though because if some of you remember back to my blog posts early on goals, my major goal in 2014 is to run a Disney Marathon … which is located in (naturally) Florida.

Perhaps she’s seeing my future. I really hope so because that would be awesome. If I get the body, I’ll totally rock a bikini!

Sexy and I Know It Finale: the end of a chapter, the continuation of a journey

I know so many of you who have followed me from the beginning of my journey have been anxiously awaiting details on last nights finale and I’ve been dying to tell you all about it, but I just haven’t had a chance.

Now that the evening is winding down and I’m enjoying some “Walking Dead,” I can finally start to put my thoughts on the last 24 hours together and tell you what’s happened.

Well, let’s start at the beginning of yesterday. I’m literally exhausted from the day. We started our day at 7 a.m. getting

2013-02-09 11.13.31


our daughter up, dressed, fed and out the door for gymnastics by 9 a.m. Gym ends at 10 a.m. , where we promptly went to Walmart so I could get a manicure before the event. Beautiful red nails (as some of you may have seen on Facebook). I choose a Shellac mani because I’m hell on polish. I figure at least this will last a little longer. It was so nice to have a mani after … oh hell I can’t remember the last one I had. Sometime in early 2012 I believe.

Anyways, after the mani, we went straight to the studio to get my after photos done, weigh in and get all the details for tonight.  I was trying to lose the last 4 pounds to get under 260 for the final weigh in. Per my scale … I was 1.5 pounds shy of making that goal. Yes, it sucks but I’m fine with it. It’s just under 2 pounds… I’ll take care of it over the next week. I FULLY plan on being under 260 for my Valentine’s Day Celebration with my hubby next weekend.

2013-02-09 21.01.53

So after the photos, we grabbed some lunch and it was off to the salon to cut my hair and style it so I could feel truly awesome for my big night. I haven’t had a hair cut since last summer so I was desperately in need of a little beauty treatment! Immediately after the hair appointment, I was off to a birthday party for my nephew and then it was time to get ready for the event.

So .. now the great details. First – the dress. As many of you know, I spent the better part of two weeks trying to find the perfect dress for the night. I bought four but this was the end result. I guess when you walk out and your husband is literally speechless in a good way – you know you found the right dress!

So I’ve been going over what I wanted to say on stage for weeks now in my head. Part of me wishes I wrote it down but part of me is happy I didn’t. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants person.

Normally, public speaking doesn’t really phase me. I get a little nervous, but overall I ‘m just fine. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry but after the first girl went on stage and cried… I knew I was doomed.

The truth is …. this six month contest has meant more to me than just the 28 pounds it says I lost. I gained friendships. I found support and to say that I’ll never be the same is an understatement. There were 25 girls to start but only 11 left at the end. Each of us fabulous and deserving to win for different reasons. But the reality is, the prize didn’t matter. Not one girl went up on stage to talk about why she deserved to win…. we spilled our hearts about why we were grateful to be part of something so truly amazing.

These girls, my new friends, have battled some pretty incredible mountains in their journeys – myself included. From injuries to surgery to depression, abusive relationships and even breast cancer – we all have our stories and everyone shared. It was truly a moving night and I really did cry – many, many times.

For my speech I brought a photo – the photo that started it all from my brother in laws wedding. I wish I would have

July 2012 - December 2012

brought the second one for comparison but I stuck to one image. The first image that wrecked my world and hit me like a ton of bricks.  Blown up to an 11×14, that photo represented a girl that I once knew. She was miserable, unhappy, fat, lazy and someone who is truly dead to me.

On stage, I told a roomful of strangers about how this photo changed my life and then only a few weeks later, my daughter told me I was fat. Naturally at the sound of her name, my daughter promptly cheered which sent the room into laughter.

The truth is (as I said last night), I’m very happy Bella called me fat because now look at me. I’ve lost over 50 pounds to date and I’m still going. If she wouldn’t have said it, I may still be the fat, miserable mother I was.

One of the other things I touched on in my speech was how important my husband has been through this whole journey because I sure as hell can’t cook a thing! He’s my rock and I love him for putting up with me for so long. I also had my mother in attendance last night because … well she’s my mother and without her I don’t know where I’d be.

But I had another person with me last night who has no blood relation to me and that’s my trainer Jackson. I asked him to come because while he’s still new in my life, he has helped me beyond words. Without his wisdom, guidance and brutal workouts I wouldn’t be the person I am today. He is truly the most amazing trainer on earth and I’m so blessed to have found him! I never ever want to train with another soul!

At the end of my speech, before I truly lost it. I ripped my photo in half to tell the world that girl is gone. She truly is gone. Today I am happy, confident and above all – the mom I want to be. This journey isn’t over for me … it’s just getting ramped up and I have a whole new life to look forward to. Unfortunately, in the process of my visual dramatic effect, I made my daughter cry because I ripped up my photo with her. She spent the next 20 minutes crying on my lap (mommy fail). She got over it when I promised I’d print her another one… any photo she wanted.

I didn’t know if I’d win a prize last night, but in my heart I truly already won. I have my life back and that’s what’s most

2013-02-10 11.09.52

important to me. Nothing can compare to a prize of that magnitude!

I was actually really surprised to hear my name called for 3rd place. It was such a sweet moment. I was happy with third… it truly feels as great as first because to me we all came in first. I won a $100 gift certificate to the studio which I’m already plotting on ideas for my session. It’s been over three years since we had a nice family portrait and now that both of us have lost weight and getting really healthy – I’m so excited to book this session. I have until June so I’m thinking of lovely spring portraits which give me a little bit more time to lose some weight and save up some money for what I know will be a costly session because I’m happy to have these photos!

For those wondering, the girl who came in second became a great friend of mine throughout the competition. She and I were neck and neck with weight loss until December when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a week before Christmas. Obviously that derailed a lot of things. She is such a strong woman though and I know she’s going to beat this and get to her goals.

The winner of the competition is another woman who truly deserved the honor. I’m fairly certain she actually did lose the most weight of all of us and she did it at home without a trainer or gym. She’s an inspiration and a wonderful lady too!

MARTINSo back to the photos from last night, at the event the photographer, Maria of Studio M, took a photo of me and my baby girl. She just sent it to me via email a few minutes ago and I’ve been crying like a baby ever since. I have hated images of me for years, but this time – I am absolutely in love.  I’m still in tears over half an hour later.

After spending so many years hiding from a camera, having this photo gives me hope for what’s to come this year. I don’t hate it… I love it… I want to blow it up and paint it on an entire wall. I’m just so madly in love with this image and the photographer who took it.

Now that I’m done gushing over my baby girl. After the event was over and the family and friends went home, Maria had a big surprise for us. She rented a party bus and we headed out to Pittsburgh for a night of celebration at Pittsburgh bars.

I was really thrilled we ended up at Saddle Ridge for a little while so I could dance out my joy. I don’t drink so dancing is really the only thing I could do. It was so much fun. I looked amazing in my dress and cowboy boots. I loved being there too! Some of my friends were there when we arrived and I had some dances with them. I drug some of my new friends out on the dance floor with me too! I was teaching several how to line dance.

At the end of the night, this was one of the greatest days of my life. The contest may be over, but the journey is

martin, haley

still going on. I love what I’ve become and I love that I did this. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

On one final note, this is the image gallery we were given as part of the competition. I contemplated posting it for a while but ultimately I need to share how far I’ve come. This process wasn’t easy but I hope to inspire at least one other person that they CAN do it! You just need to commit that you can do it and you will do it and then the sky is the limit!