Sunday, November 17, 2013

Being Converted

First of all I have to say that things have been so busy around my house that I haven't had the time to sit down and write in this blog. I feel horrible about it and I'm going to try to be better. I started working full time and getting a new routine together in the midst of fall sports was a bit overwhelming. My family and I have pretty well settled in now so I should be back to writing more regularly.

With that said I have had some thoughts recently that I need to get down on "paper". I have been drinking Shakeology for about 5 months now. I didn't notice a big change at first. I'm not one of the people who started losing weight when I started drinking it. After a couple of months what I did notice was that my cravings were disappearing. I have shared this before. I think it's a great benefit of drinking such a nutritious drink almost every day. I don't have that almost undeniable craving, for chocolate especially, but for anything.

Since I have talked about this before some of you may be wondering why I'm bringing it up again. Well the other day at work I was in the copy room and there were 3 boxes of yummy looking donuts sitting about 3 feet away from me. The donuts were there for anyone to have, free of charge. They were left over from an event that morning with students and parents. Anyhow, I remember noticing that someone had supplied a butter knife in the top box so you could take just half of one if you wanted. As I stood a few feet away a couple of thoughts kept going through my mind. One: "I am glad I am not in this room often. I know there are cookies and donuts and cake and other treats brought in often and I'm so glad I don't have that temptation all the time." Two: "I could take that knife and cut off just a bite of that maple bar, or the glazed donut right next to it. One little bite as I leave this room. It would be a great taste but I wouldn't over-do it because I would leave the room while eating the bite." A few minutes later when I was almost back to the classroom I was surprised to realize I had left the copy room without even walking over to the donut box, let alone cutting off one bite!

That night I was at a dinner. We had lasagne and salad with rolls and then a wide variety of really delicious looking desserts. I remember looking at those desserts while putting the lasagne and salad on my plate and thinking that I would make just take one of the cookies so I wouldn't be so tempted to take a big piece of cake. That way I could enjoy some sweets without feeling guilty and without over eating. After all, I had passed on the donuts without even thinking about it too much, therefore I was entitled to some dessert! Anyhow, I filled my plate with a large salad helping, a small lasagne helping and one roll. I reasoned that I couldn't take dessert right then because my plate was too full. I would have to come back, but there was plenty. When I finished eating I sat and visited with the other women at the table. I looked many times at the table of desserts and my mind kept telling me to just go get one. Instead I went back and got a bit more salad and a few more bites of lasagne. When I was finished with that and the program was over there were still several desserts to choose from. I watched as people started to clean up and put the desserts away and I found that I wasn't even tempted to go get one.

I thought this was very odd. In the past I would have had difficulty limiting myself to only one dessert! Today a tray of home made fudge was passed around for everyone to sample. I took the tray from my husband and without even a second thought I passed it on to the person on the other side of me. What??? Who am I and what am I doing? I LOVE fudge! You may think that I'm bragging about this great will power that I have developed, but I'm not. I did not feel like I had sacrificed anything in these 3 circumstances.

In church today there was a speaker who was speaking on the difference between having a testimony (or knowing something is true/right) and being converted. I realized after I passed the fudge plate on that somewhere along the lines I have truly become converted to eating healthier! Does this mean I don't ever have dessert? Or that I never even want dessert? NO! I still enjoy it and I still want it from time to time.What it means in my life is that passing on those very sweet, high calorie, addictive for me, treats is not as much of a sacrifice any more! That is a huge change in my life and I have to say I truly find some freedom in that! I can only credit Shakeology and Beachbody for this change in my life. It is amazing to me and I love it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Stole From My Kids


When I was 90 pounds overweight I always felt like there was no option to lose the weight. Buying healthy food that I actually like was expensive. Joining a weight loss program was expensive. Joining a gym was expensive. Buying workout videos to do at home was expensive. So it was just too much money to spend on something that I was probably not going to be successful at anyhow.

Spending money on losing weight seemed to me like throwing money down the drain. I wanted a free guide to successful weight loss. Yes you can lose weight without joining a program or buying a workout video. However there is still the cost of eating differently, or buying running shoes or workout clothes, somehow money is always involved!

When I was ready to try again I had to seriously look at the cost. Finances in our home were very tight. Due to the downturn in the economy at the time our family budget had taken considerable cuts. Disposable income was non-existent in our home. I also had 3 young children and I lived in a small town which meant that the option to go to a gym or weight loss support group was not only a financial cost of joining and monthly dues but also extra gas and a time issue. I decided I had to find a way to change my life at home, at the lowest cost possible. Like I've talked about before, I was advised to try Wii FitPlus. That's great but I didn't have a Wii and we certainly didn't have hundreds of dollars to get a Wii.

So here was my excuse again, I can't afford it. My initial reaction was "maybe in a few months, or years I'll have the money for that". But this time I felt compelled to find a way to get the money. It took days of thinking and considering different options. Several times I thought about giving up, but I had reached a point where I realized I couldn't afford NOT to do something. My health and the safety of my children was too important.


One day while looking at the bank statement it occurred to me that we did have the right amount of money to get the program I had decided on, but the money was in my kids' college savings accounts. It wasn't much, but it was almost the exact amount I needed. I wrestled with this idea for several days. I was scared to even bring it up to my husband. We had worked hard to put that little amount away and because of our budget cuts we hadn't been able to add to their accounts for quite a while. I knew that if I took the money out of their accounts there was a huge possibility that I wouldn't be able to replace it for several years.

The thought that kept going through my mind was "What is going to be more important to your kids 15 years from now? The money that is in their account now? Or having their mom here? If I die or get sick or something because I'm overweight and unhealthy are my kids going to be glad I had left them the money or are they going to wish I had used it to prolong my life?" Well of course I hoped the answer would be that they would rather have me around and healthy, so finally I approached my husband with the idea.

We discussed it and his main concern was that if I used that money I had to stick with it and not give up on myself, not "waste" the money. I felt like I was stealing from my own children. Still to this day I have not been able to put that money back in their accounts and so that is a huge motivator to keep the weight off and stay healthy! How would I explain to my kids one day that I had "stolen" their college tuition to lose weight but I hadn't been strong enough to keep the weight off and stay healthy.

My point is that, "When there's a will there's a way". We've all heard that before and I think many of us brush it off...but it's the absolute truth. If you want something bad enough you will find a way to do it. Yes, losing weight can cost money, there is almost always an initial investment that you feel is out of reach financially. Especially in this day and age. But looking back on it I can tell you that it has been worth every penny. Even if I never get that money put back in my kids accounts it was still worth it. Why? Because I can build memories with them now that are far more precious than any dollar amount! I can spend time with them and I know that in the long run that is going to be far more precious to them than any amount of money.

If you are letting money hold you back from getting healthy and losing weight I urge you to look again at your finances. Is there something you can cut so that you can invest that money in a better life for yourself? Is there some money tucked away that would serve a better purpose being put to use now if it prolongs your life? Even if it didn't prolong your life (accidents still happen unexpectedly, there is no guarantee) but it improved the quality of your life now? Money is a stumbling block, I know! I stumbled over it for a long time! You don't have to go out and spend thousands of dollars, there are options! But be honest with yourself. Don't let money hold you back. Maybe you need to save up for a little while. Don't buy those cookies, put the money in your piggy bank instead!
If you truly are ready to make your life better you can find the necessary funds to invest in yourself. Think of it as an investment, because that truly is what you are doing, investing in yourself!

Yes, I stole money from my kids college fund, but I am giving them a healthy and happy mom instead!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School Challenge

My kids are headed back to school next week and that means more time for me during the day! At least that's what I'm hoping for. This year all my kids will be in school all day which is a big change for me. Last year I had one in school all day, one in half day and one not in school yet. The kindergarten program changed from half day to full day this year so they all get to go for a full day. I'm excited and so are they! They get to ride the bus together both ways and I don't have to make a trip to the school in the middle of the day! Woohoo!

With this added "free time" (ok it's not really going to be free time because I still have plenty of things to keep me busy) I decided that I really want to spend some time focused on helping others achieve some fitness goals, not to mention achieving some of my own! So I'm issuing a CHALLENGE to all of you! This is going to be a great group of people working to support and encourage each other, and you will be held accountable for what you do and don't do! I think it's at least 10 times harder to reach a goal without a support group or accountability than if you have some. When I started my weight loss journey I didn't want to attend any type of support group. I just didn't feel like I had the time or the money to join one of those types of groups. So I did it on my own. That's how I always looked at it. But in reality I felt like I was being held accountable because I saw a few key people who knew I was trying to lose weight at least once a week and they always asked how I was doing. They also did a great job of encouraging me by complimenting me on my progress and noticing my progress without me saying anything! Looking back though I think I would have lost the weight faster if I had taken part in one of these challenges. You don't have to leave your home. You simply check in at least once a day on Facebook but there is a ton of support and motivation for you!

I didn't like exercising when I first started. It was something that I had to force myself to do and it was easy to find an excuse for not working out. However, I quickly found that it was a great way for me to rejuvenate! I started working out at night after I put my kids to bed. My husband was working swing shift so I had a couple of hours after the kids went to bed before he got home which turned out to be perfect! I had time to work out, take a long hot shower and sometimes even sit down and relax a little before he got home. I started to really look forward to that time. When I started working out in the mornings instead of at night I found that the feeling followed me. The kids were usually up while I worked out but what a great example I was setting! That left my evenings free to sit down and relax with my husband! No matter what time of the day I worked out I found that it helped me feel better, not just physically but also emotionally. This challenge lets you workout at home, on your own time schedule so you pick what works for you! You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life!

If you are ready to take this challenge leave me a comment and I'll send you the details! I hope all of you will join me! It's going to be amazing!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Don't Let the Scale Fool YOU!

First off, before I get into the main thing I wanted to talk about today, I just wanted to say a Huge THANK YOU to everyone who came and voted for me in the Beachbody Challenge! I'm not exactly sure when the winners will be announced. Originally the announcement was supposed to be made on August 26th, but since there was a problem with the technical side of things and the voting was extended an extra week I'm not sure if the results will be announced on schedule or if they will also be delayed. I promise that as soon as they are announced I will post about it here! I really do appreciate the time you took to go support me. As as a side note, that is one reason my blog has been lacking lately! I have been so busy helping people get signed up and showing them how to vote, then reminding them to vote that I completely neglected my blog. So sorry! Now that voting is over there will be more regular posts again!

So on to the real topic here....The SCALE!


Three weeks ago I started a new workout program, LesMills Combat, and it really pushes me hard! I have never done a workout like this before. I never had any desire to do kick boxing or anything like that. I bought this program and started it with the hopes of having my husband work the program with me. He used to really enjoy martial arts so I thought this might entice him. So far that has not happened, but I'm enjoying it anyhow!

Today I weighed in for the first time since I started the program. I really thought I would have lost a couple of pounds by now because I work hard and I sweat a lot! The scale however told a different story. I lost a whole whopping 0.2 pounds! WHAT??? 3 weeks of working out 6 days/week, doing a hard workout and I only lost 0.2 pounds? I know, because I can tell in the mirror, that I've been building muscle. So although the frustration and the negative thoughts started immediately I quickly turned my brain into reviewing what I have been doing over the last 3 weeks. I have been eating right, staying within my calories etc. I have been drinking my Shakeology, and I have been working out.

As I'm sure some of you already know, muscle weighs more than fat. That thought quickly went through my mind but I automatically discarded it. The thought crossed my mind again and this time I didn't discard it as quickly, but I was doubtful that would be the case. The 3rd time my mind registered the fact that muscle weighs more than fat I decided I would push all those frustrations aside until I had measured again too.

I quickly fed my family breakfast and then jumped in the shower. During that whole time I was constantly fighting discouragement. You would think that by now, after experiencing this a few times, that the discouragement would take longer to set in. But it doesn't. Anyhow, as soon as I was finished with my shower I took my measurements. This is something new to me. When I originally set out on my weight loss journey I didn't take a single measurement other than my weight. I just didn't care about anything else. Looking back I wish I had those original numbers to compare with where I am now.

I'm sure you are wondering what I found. Well, I found that I have lost 1 inch off my waist. An inch off my hips, an inch off each thigh and I have GAINED 1/2 inch on each bicep. Ok muscle weighs more than fat and measurements tell a story the scale doesn't. As soon as I saw those measurements I felt the discouragement fall away. The scale might say I've only lost 0.2 pounds, but the measurements show greater progress and honestly the way my stomach and my thighs look is far more important to me right now than what the number on the scale is!

So, Don't Let the Scale Fool YOU!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

VOTING HAS BEGUN!

So the voting for the Quarterly Beachbody Challenge Contest has begun! If you have already signed up for a FREE membership at Team Beachbody then simply go to The Beachbody Challenge to vote! Then scroll down and find my story and click "Vote". You can read my story there if you haven't already done so. You get to vote for one woman and one man per day for a week, starting today! Last day of Voting is Next Wednesday August 7th!

If you haven't got a Beachbody membership yet then simply go here to sign up for a FREE membership, then go to the challenge page to vote! (Or come back here and follow the first link)

Thanks so much for your support!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I Need Your HELP!

So today is the day the voting is supposed to start for the Quarterly Beachbody Challenge Contest that I'm in. I need EVERYONE to go sign up for a FREE membership at Beachbody if you don't already have one. The voting was supposed to start at Noon PST but I've been notified that it has been delayed, and as soon as the voting is open I will receive a message with a link in it for everyone to follow. I will post that as soon as I get it. While you're waiting please go sign up for your free membership if you don't already have one. That way you will be ready to vote as soon as it opens. The monthly winners (I was a May winner) were chosen by a panel of judges, but this round of quarterly winners is chosen by votes from members of Beachbody. I really need all your votes. You can vote once each day for a week. Please Please Please go sign up and watch for the link that I'll be posting!

Thank you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Look What I Got!

Look what I got in the mail! I'm so excited! 

Yes! It's my Prize Check from the Beachbody Challenge Contest for the month of May. I know the picture isn't that great so let me just tell you that it says $1000!! Woohoo! Now on to the next phase of the contest, the quarterly vote! I need your help! Beginning July 29th you can vote for me once a day for a week. In order to be eligible to vote you need to be a Team Beachbody member. That is so easy to accomplish! All you need to do is sign up for a FREE membership! Simply click HERE and then click on "Join" and "Free Membership". You will need to remember your username and password so that you can get back in and vote, vote, vote!

Thank you so much for all the support you've already given me! Please take the time to sign up and VOTE!!! :) I'll give you more information on the actual voting process as it gets closer! Thank you!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cravings

Do you have cravings? Really strong cravings? A couple of friends of mine were talking the other day about how much they have been craving certain foods lately. They were telling me that these cravings were stronger than normal and they were really struggling with eating healthy and not giving in to the cravings. Although sometimes they craved semi-healthy food too, not just sugar or salt.


Chocolate has always been my downfall. Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate! So while we were talking I naturally started to say that I'm always craving chocolate, but before I said anything I tried to think of the last craving I had so I could share the story of what I was craving and what I did to satisfy that craving without totally sabotaging myself. Nothing came to mind immediately so I just listened to their stories and laughed with them and the conversation quickly moved on to other things. For the next few days I put some serious thought into that subject. I started to think that I was losing my mind, or at least my memory, because I couldn't think of the last time I had really been craving ANYTHING!

At first I decided that I have just gotten so used to craving chocolate, specifically brownies, that I must not be consciously acknowledging it anymore, so I tried to stop thinking about it. But the question kept creeping up in my mind. I noticed that when it was time for my "After the kids are in bed" snack I was having a difficult time deciding what to snack on. Usually I just zone in on what I've been craving throughout the day and I eat a snack that satisfies that craving. For example, if I've been craving something chocolatey and cold or smooth then I would have a fudge bar or pudding snack. If I wanted something with a little more substance I would choose a Fiber One chocolate brownie or Weight Watchers Snack cake. Well that wasn't happening this time! I was a little hungry, just enough for a snack, but there was no craving to zone in on! UGH!

Why is this a bad thing? Well because, like I said, it makes my decision on what to have for a snack really hard! Maybe I should just skip the snack, right? Well maybe, but I enjoy having a snack in the peace and quiet evening after the kids are asleep, while I sit and have some quality time with my husband. So I save some calories for that time. If I just skip that snack then I don't eat enough calories and that ends up hurting my weight goals in the long run.

Why is the craving gone? What has changed in my life that has erased these cravings? That has been my huge question. Well the answer hit me the other day. I was listening to some other Beachbody coaches and they were talking about the benefits of drinking Shakeology every day. The typical benefit that I hear from others is how it helps you lose weight. Well, yes it does do that, especially if you are drinking it in place of a fast food meal, or any meal that isn't very healthy. I haven't personally seen that benefit yet, at least not on it's own. I'm exercising regularly so I can't say that Shakeology has helped me lose weight. The next benefit one of the coaches mentioned was how it helps curb her cravings. That caught my attention and I started to wonder. I have been drinking Shakeology for a month and a half now, but surely I've still had some cravings during that time, right? Hmmmm I am 99.9% sure that I haven't had a single craving during the last month, maybe longer. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the cravings disappeared because I didn't write it down when it happened. I didn't even notice for several weeks that the cravings were gone!


I can just hear some of you saying "Well, if it took so long to notice the cravings were gone how can you be sure it was the Shakeology that has impacted those cravings?" That's a great question! I can tell you that it's not because I've been told that is one of the benefits of drinking Shakeology every day. However it is the only thing I've changed in my diet. I still eat the same breakfast and the same dinners. I still use the same foods for snacks. The only thing I have changed is that I now drink Shakeology for lunch. I didn't really expect this benefit to hit home so personally. I believe that Shakeology is the healthiest meal out there. I totally believe that it helps curb your appetite because I do not feel hungry again for at least 2-3 hours after having one. Often I'm not hungry for about 4 hours but I still make sure to get my snack in there. Most of the claims you hear about a product eliminating cravings is because you are full and therefore you don't get hungry enough to crave. At least that has always been my take on that claim. Well that's not the case for me here. I still get hungry. Things still look and sound good to eat. Sometimes they still make my mouth water! But that intense craving, like I'm going to eat everything in the house until I get that big chocolatey piece of cake, is gone!

So, what is Shakeology? The easiest way to answer that question is to tell you that it is the most nutritious meal of the day. This is not a "protein" drink, which is what I thought in the beginning. This is a nutrient dense shake. Yes it has a large amount of protein, but it also has a huge amount of the vitamins, minerals, fruits and vegetables that you should be eating every day. It truly is nutrient dense, yet it tastes good! Follow any of these Shakeology links and then click on the "learn more" video to get more specific information about the ingredients and the benefits. And by all means, ask me if you have questions or are interested in learning more about it!

I am absolutely AMAZED! And I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. I'm sure that everyone's experience is a little different, so I don't claim that if you start drinking Shakeology you will never have a craving again. But for me it has absolutely eliminated my cravings, especially for chocolate! So that's why I'm sharing. When you find something that helped you and might help others you want to share it! :)  I do still love chocolate, don't get me wrong! But I don't feel like I must have it!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Overwhelmed



I have been feeling overwhelmed the last couple of weeks. This new coaching job is very time consuming, at least right now while I'm new and trying to learn everything that I should be doing. I have been talking to a lot of people and I am amazed at how much I have enjoyed sharing my experiences. I shouldn't be amazed since I have enjoyed blogging so much, however there is a whole new vulnerability to sharing my story in person. I have always been shy about sharing the reason I gained weight in the first place. It wasn't a conscience decision but looking back I recognize and admit the reason. It took me many months to get the courage to post it here in my blog (see the tab at the top that says "My Story") but now I find that I can talk about it so much easier. I still feel that my reasons were irrational, but they are part of my story and if sharing those reasons with others can help them avoid some of the trials I went through then it's worth it. So I've been very busy getting that going. If you want to see more updates from me you should check out my Facebook page at Facebook.com/MyPoundsOnPoundsOff. I will still be posting here, but there will be regular updates and announcements about Slimdowns and Challenge Groups and Beachbody specials over there.

In addition to that I have 3 kids at home since school is out. It's summer time and there are always a million things going on over the summer. We have been going on mini vacations (quick weekend trips) over to my mother in laws home. In fact, we are headed there again this Thursday. Not to mention the other little projects I have going.

So I've been overwhelmed. I have to say though that sticking to my workouts and using Shakeology is really helping me! I know that these two things are helping to keep me focused and that I have more energy to put in to all these different parts of my life right now!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FREE 4th of July Slimdown!

Hey everyone! So I am announcing that starting on Monday, July 1, I will be running a FREE Slimdown! What does that mean? Well this slimdown is 5 days long and is a great way to help you stay on track over the holiday! Come "like" my Facebook Page,  My Pounds On Pounds Off, and leave a comment on my post there to join in! It's FREE! So what do you have to lose? How about the extra weight you might otherwise GAIN with all the holiday celebrations?

Come on over and join in!

Monday, June 24, 2013

My 15 minutes of Fame!

So check this out! It's like a commercial! I never thought I'd see myself on something like this, but here it is! He has my story slightly off, I gained the weight before getting married and having kids instead of after like he said, but he is correct about the why and when of losing the weight! Pretty cool.... :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Be Yourself

School got out 2 weeks ago and my poor little boys are going stir crazy without the school routine. Playing outside is not fun unless the neighbor kids are out. I refuse to let them stay in the house and watch tv and play on the computer all day so they are going through a bit of an adjustment period. In addition to that we have had several new kids move in to the neighborhood over the last couple of weeks so everyone is having to "find their place" again. While trying to help my 8, 6 and 5 year old children navigate this difficult time in their life I have been reminded of a sort of short story I was given while in High School. I used to think of peer pressure as something that mainly occurs in High School. I guess that as I grew up I forgot about the peer pressure that occurs in elementary school! I don't know who wrote this, so I can't give proper credit to the author, but be assured that it wasn't me!

Be Yourself, You're Safer That Way
Ever since I was a little kid I didn't want to be me. I wanted to be Ruby Goldsmith and Ruby Goldsmith didn't even like me. I walked like she walked. I talked like she talked. I signed up for the same classes she signed up for--which was when Ruby Goldsmith changed. She began to hang around June Jensen. She walked like June Jensen. She talked like June Jensen. She mixed me up! I began to walk and talk like Ruby Goldsmith walking and talking like June Jensen. And then it dawned on me that June Jensen walked and talked like Cari Jones and Cari Jones walked and talked like Kelly Smith. So here I am walking and talking like Ruby Goldsmith's imitation of June Jensen's version of Cari Jones trying to walk and talk like Kelly Smith. And who do you think Kelly Smith is always walking and talking like? Of all people--Dopey Jennifer Adams--that little pest who walks and talks like me.

You never know who is watching you and who is trying to be like you. I wish I had a great way to explain that to my kids. Just be yourself. You are good enough. You are cool enough. You don't have to try to be like someone else to fit in. Chances are that someone is trying to copy you and you just don't realize it!

The funny thing is that this is not something we out grow! Adults struggle with these same issues of trying to be like someone else! Ever hear the saying "Keeping up with the Jones'"? Yep, same thing! This is something I am starting to break free of, at least in one regard. This weight loss journey I have taken has helped me feel more confident in myself. I don't feel the need to try to change who I am to be like someone else any longer. I am good enough. I am cool enough. If someone doesn't like me that is ok. I am me. I am unique and that's a good thing. We shouldn't want to be exactly like someone else. Fine, if someone has an attribute that you admire then by all means try to include that attribute in your life! But do it in your own way! Be true to yourself!

That is something that Beachbody is helping me develop right now. I had never dreamed of being a fitness coach. Who? Me? No way! But it is something that I am finding I have a great passion for. It is part of me now and Beachbody is a great fit for my life and my personality. The support and immediate acceptance and friendship no matter what stage you are at in your journey is unparallelled in my experience.

I'm going to be myself.........YOU BE YOURSELF!  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Something AMAZING!

So here is the story I've been dying to tell all of you about! Last Monday afternoon the phone rang. It had been ringing more than usual that day and almost every call had been a telemarketer. "Oh joy!" I thought as I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was yet again another toll free number. I was kind of short when I answered the call, not quite rude, but definitely not the warmest "hello" I could have mustered. On the other end was a guy asking for me. I said yes it was me on the phone and he proceeded to tell me his name and that he was calling from Beachbody! Ok I figured it was something to do with my being a new coach, checking in to see how I was feeling about things or to inform me that I needed to fill something out correctly or something like that. Nope! He was calling from the Beachbody Challenge and he was calling to inform me that my story had been chosen as one of the BEACHBODY CHALLENGE WINNERS!

What??? I think I went in to shock right then and there. I didn't know what to say. I didn't scream, or jump up and down or anything...I just quietly listened to him go on. He said that the Challenge panel had felt that my story was very inspirational and that they had chosen it to be one of the winners. "Ok" I thought. What does this mean? I figured maybe, if I was really lucky, I would be one of the $500 winners. I started to kind of comprehend what he was saying but I still didn't know how to respond. To me, my story is not "inspirational", it's just my life. I find inspiration in other people...but he was saying others would find inspiration in hearing my story. Well that's the main reason I started this blog, so I guess that's understandable. But what do you say to someone that you've never met who is complimenting your achievement like that? I don't know...Can't tell you. I didn't say much! I think he might have been worried that I was going to pass out or hang up or something because I just didn't know what to say. I did finally squeak out a "Thank you".

He was so very nice and complimentary and patient! He kept waiting for responses and I just kept thinking "What on earth do I say? Is this for real? I don't win contests!" As he went on to explain he told me that I had won a $1,000 prize! Now my brain really froze! I was half expecting the $500 since I was feeling fairly certain this was a real phone call and I really had won, but $1,000? Nope, not expecting that at all! Then he went on to say that because I won that level I will be automatically entered into the next phase which is for $5,000! That one is based on votes so I will need everyone's help there!

Voting doesn't start until July 29th and believe me I will be getting all the details out to everyone on how to vote for me. Yes there will be shameless self promoting because I want to win that next prize and go on from there! I don't normally win anything. I rarely even win a card game, let alone a contest with thousands of people entered into it! I have to say that I feel truly blessed to have been chosen. Not only is the money a blessing but the publicity is going to be helpful! I feel like I'll be able to reach so many more people and hopefully help them along their own journey!

I could have shared this earlier, but I will admit that there is a huge part of me that had to wait to see it before I could truly believe it too! So here is the link....and I hope I can count on your support and votes in the next level!

My Something AMAZING

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day I get to share my AMAZING experience with all of you! I'm so excited! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what happened!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Variety

Before I get into this little thought I just want to remind everyone that there are only a few more days until I get to share my AMAZING thing that happened to me...I'm still in shock but maybe by the time I can share it with you on TUESDAY it will feel real to me!

When I was a teenager a youth leader of mine gave me this little nick-nack that I've kept on my bookshelf to express my feelings about the different genres of books I like.

It says "Variety is the Spice of Life".

You may notice that this nick-nack is not in the best condition anymore. It has served many uses in my life, not the least of which has been it's originally intended use, to make me think. Over the years I've often realized that this saying applies to many different aspects of life, not just books. Variety in reading material, movies, food, furniture, friends, society and especially in my daily routine are all wonderful things. How tiring it is to work in a job where there is no variety. 
Whenever I get in a rut I find myself thinking about this phrase and eventually I change things up somehow. Change the kind of food you are eating, the music you are listening to. Hang out with someone you haven't seen in a long time. As I was reading Teri's blog entry the other day about weight loss plateaus this saying came to mind again. Her first two tips to avoiding plateaus are 1. Vary your calorie intake and 2. Vary your workout. Wow! VARIETY! :) See it applies to fitness too!

Is Variety really the Spice of Life? Add some variety to your life and see what happens!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Something AMAZING!

Like the title says, Something Amazing happened to me today! I am still in shock but I'm dying to tell all of you about it! Unfortunately I can't tell you what that amazing thing is until next week! Oh I hate keeping secrets like this....I just want to call every single person I know and tell them what happened, but I must wait. Hmmmmm Time just slowed down, at least in one regard! I guess you'll just have to stay tuned to hear why I'm still in shock 5 hours later! It's so exciting and yet so frustrating at the same time! Stay tuned....

Friday, June 7, 2013

How Are You Like A Real Estate Listing?


Has something on TV every made you really think about something? I mean, think deeply about some topic? On Monday I was watching an interview on the "The View" with author Mika Brzezinski. She wrote the book "Obsessed" which is about her own personal battle with an eating disorder. I found a few things that she shared very interesting. She has battled with Bulimia, a need to over exercise and says that she was obsessed with food. She found support and unlikely common ground with a friend who was battling with obesity. (You can watch the full interview here. It is the last segment of the show) They made a deal to support each other and both get better.

So this got me thinking about assumptions and judgements that we make every day. Who would have thought that 2 friends were battling with the same food problems? They were handling them in opposite ways, but they both had a problem with food. I find that when I'm struggling with a problem, let's use loosing weight as an example, that I am much more comfortable talking to and asking for advice from someone who has taken their own weight loss journey. Why? Well because I know that the other person who has struggled with extra pounds will understand most if not all of the emotions and difficulties that I am encountering. I often feel judged by people who have never had those experiences so I'm less likely to open up about the reasons why I gained weight, or even the reason why I was finally able to lose it. For me it is difficult to talk to someone who can eat whatever they want without gaining weight. My experience has been that those people just don't understand what my life really is like. They live in a different nutrition reality than I do. Does that mean they are bad people? That they don't have any value? No, absolutely not! What this interview made me realize is that maybe I need to be a little more open minded about talking to people. Yes maybe this person or that person seems to be able to eat anything they want, but maybe they are struggling with an eating disorder that I don't know about. Or maybe they are addicted or obsessed to exercise and they are fighting their own health battle because of that. We may have more in common than I ever dreamed possible!


This led me to think about another discussion the other day where a group of us were discussing how damaging to our self image it can be to compare ourselves to others. I believe I've written a little about that before. To truly compare to things you need to have the same information about both items. For example, if you are comparing two homes you are going to want to know the price, the square footage, the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, the lot size, etc. for both homes before you can make an educated comparison. Let's say both homes are the same price and the same square footage. The first home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The second home is on one city lot and has a 2 car garage, but you don't know how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has. This is all the information you have. Can you make a fair comparison between the two homes? No. You don't have all the information necessary. If you are looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home then home one sounds like a good deal. But maybe home 2 has 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a den. Home 2 could be a much better home for you. The point is that you can't really compare the two homes until you have the facts about both homes. In this case all you can really compare about the homes is the price and the square footage. You really need more information and you probably need to walk through both homes to really make a decision.

Trying to compare two homes without all the facts is just like trying to compare yourself to someone else. Unless you know that person's inner thoughts, feelings, and every single experience they have ever had you cannot compare yourself to them in a fair manner. Usually what we end up doing is comparing our weak areas with someone's strong areas.

We shouldn't judge something or someone without the facts. Truthfully when are you ever going to have all the facts about another person's life? Even if you know where they lived, who they lived with, where they worked and went to school, who they were friends with, what subjects they studied in school, etc, you would never know everything. You would not know the emotional side of each of those experiences and therefore you will never have enough facts to fairly compare yourself to someone else, or to judge them.

So stop trying to. Stop thinking that you aren't good enough because "so and so" never has to exercise to stay fit, or that person can eat a huge slice of pie without gaining weight. You don't know what is going on inside their body and mind. You don't know what they do when you aren't there. Don't judge other people by how they look. But most importantly, Stop Judging Yourself By Looking at Someone Else's Partial Listing!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Prepare Ahead of Time!

Unlike my wonderful sister, Carrian, I am not a fan of cooking. I do not like spending tons of time in the kitchen chopping and browning, slicing and sauteing, etc etc. Actually Carri would say that she doesn't spend that much time in the kitchen doing those things but that's because she does them so often that she is now very fast at them. It takes me at least 4 times as long as it takes her to chop something up. I really don't have the desire to do it as often as I would need to so that I can be that fast. Anyhow, that really is neither here nor there.

The reason I brought this up is because many people say it takes too much time to eat healthy. In some ways I agree! However, with a little planning there are things you can do to combat that time issue! For example: I am the only one in my little family who loves mushrooms. Well honestly I'm the only one that even likes them! I'm not sure what happened there...you would think that with 3 kids one of them would like them, but no. I am not a fan of plan raw mushrooms though. For years I have bought canned mushrooms to use once in a while. No more though!

Several months ago I started buying a little container of Baby Bella mushrooms. I love them! I could not use them fast enough though! No matter how hard I tried there were always mushrooms that got slimy and old. Then I felt guilty for "wasting" money. There were many times that I would have used some mushrooms but I was short on time and couldn't chop and saute them so instead I just didn't use them. So a couple of months ago I started preparing them ahead of time!





I chop them up and saute them and then put them in a little container in the fridge, that way they are ready for use at a moments notice! Now I can put them on a quick salad, or a baked potato! Or anything else that catches my fancy! I don't have to listen to my kids or my husband complain about having to eat them either because I can add them to just my serving. It's great!

For years I have done this kind of thing with hamburger so I don't know why it took me so long to apply the same strategy to mushrooms and blueberries. Silly me. For the hamburger I brown about 5 pounds at a time and then put it in containers and freeze it. I pull out the amount I need at any time and leave the rest in the freezer. I cannot tell you how much time it saves! Granted I have to spend several hours browning hamburger and sauteing mushrooms and chopping blueberries (I like them chopped up in my pancakes) the day after I buy groceries, but it is worth it!

Are there ways that you can prepare ahead to save you time later on?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Birthday and My Big Announcement!



Today is my 40th Birthday! Happy Birthday to me! While thinking about my upcoming birthday I started reflecting on the changes I've made in my life over the past few years. One of the main reasons I took this journey was to help ensure that I'm around to watch my kids grow up, but I was surprised to find an extra benefit. I found that I really wanted to share my story with others and help them on their own journey. So a year ago I started this blog and I've enjoyed writing here. I have found that it helps me stay motivated to stick with the changes I've made. I like reading other people's stories and offering/receiving support from others who are taking this journey too.

So this year I decided to take another step in that direction. I gave myself a sort of early birthday present and signed up to be a Beachbody coach! I am so excited about this next phase of my life! I am looking forward to having a more hands on opportunity to help others! Now you may wonder why I chose Beachbody. After losing some weight I hit a plateau, as most people do. I was more than half way to my goal but as soon as I stayed on that plateau for months I started to get discouraged. I felt like giving up. Not only giving up just on losing more weight, but on maintaining the weight I had reached too. I was beginning to feel like a failure and I wondered if I had been crazy to even think that I could really change.


That is when I was introduced to Beachbody. I approached a friend of mine for some advice on how to get off my plateau. At the time I didn't realize she was a Beachbody coach, I just knew she was knowledgeable about fitness and working out and I figured she would be able to help me. She recommended Slim in 6. I love this program! It really did help me move forward and reach my goal! I still use it often. As part of signing up to be a coach I ordered a new workout program, Hip Hop Abs. I'm excited to try a new program and start this new challenge. Join me and lets move forward together! :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Year's Resolutions & a Challenge!



So it's been almost 6 months since New Years Day...how are you doing with your resolution? For me, June was always that month when I realized I hadn't achieved my goal, or even come close to it! This was always the time when I had to face the fact that I had not worked as hard as I should have, or could have. Usually I would just throw in the towel at this point in time because it was obviously too late to have a better summer body, so I may as well just enjoy the summer, right?

Well that changed for me, and now instead of throwing in the towel I find that the end of May is the perfect time to renew those resolutions! So, with that in mind I'm kicking off my very first Fitness Challenge! It is going to be a 30 day challenge and if you are interested in joining in leave me a comment and I'll contact you with the details!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Announcing....



I have exciting news! I think it's exciting anyhow! I'm taking a new step in my life and on my healthy life style journey. I'm not quite ready to make the big announcement yet, but it's coming! I hope all of you will join me in this next phase of my life!

So stay tuned....!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hospital food


So I spent most of the day at the hospital with my mom yesterday and I'm preparing to head back today. Don't anyone start worrying, she will be just fine. It's just going to take some time. But yesterday we joked a lot about the food they are feeding her there because overall it is not very appetizing. I mean, most of it sounds good, even kind of looks good....but the taste is not that great! When you get right down to it a lot of the food is highly processed and we all know that eating a lot of processed food is not healthy.


This is what was brought for lunch today (she didn't get a choice). So you have milk, canned asparagus, and a sloppy joe. Oh, don't forget the wheat roll on the side. Appetizing isn't it? Healthy? Well, I guess you can say a wheat roll might be healthier than a white roll. Asparagus is a vegetable, but I do believe it loses a lot of nutritional value when canned and then "re-heated". The sloppy joe? I'm not sure what to tell you with that one. I was told it tasted like left over meatloaf that was thrown on a hamburger bun. Doesn't sound or look very healthy to me.

We looked at the menu options for tomorrow and there is literally no option for something "light", even as a side dish. Meaning, there is no choice of a fresh fruit bowl or fresh fruit salad. There is no option for any kind of a deli-type sandwich. Most things on the menu are high carb, highly processed and highly likely to promote constipation. In order to make them more palatable they often need high fat condiments added, like the asparagus needed tons of butter added, you know that's not good. Now, granted when I went down to the cafeteria there were other, better options, but not many of them. But most patients aren't headed down to the cafeteria to eat!

Does this seem wrong to anyone else? I mean you go to the hospital because you are sick or hurt. Their job is to help you get healthy...but the food is working against that goal! Most hospitals even boast about how many dieticians they have on staff just waiting to help you make healthy choices...but how do you make the healthy choices when you don't have the options while in the hospital? Yesterday the nurse even joked around about how bad the food is. Not to mention the fact that the cafeteria closes at 2pm! What? So anyone there at the hospital visiting, or staying with a patient, has a very, very small choice in getting something to eat after 2pm unless they can leave the hospital (which just might be the better choice for food anyhow!)

This just seems ironic to me. I know it's difficult to provide good healthy food for 100's of people, but I honestly think there is a better way than this! If you ever watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution where he worked on replacing the processed foods in school cafeterias with fresh foods and meals made from scratch, then you know it IS possible to cook for hundreds of people and be healthy at the same time! Not only is it possible but Jamie Oliver was also able to show schools how to provide those meals at the same cost or less than the processed foods! If you haven't seen this particular program then how about Rachael vs Guy or Food Network Star? The contestants on these programs are often challenged to provide meals for large groups. Granted they are not always the healthiest meals, but they are not processed meals either. It can be done!
What's that saying about "An apple a day will keep the Doctor away?" hahahaha

What do you think? Should our hospitals provide fresher, healthier meals for the patients, visitors and workers?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Confidence Gained


The other night I had a long time friend over to visit. We had not seen each other in about 8 years, long before I started my successful weight loss journey. We reminisced about old times and one of the things we talked about was how we have each changed over the years. One of the biggest changes in me is the confidence I have gained over the past many years. Some of that is due to growing older, and hopefully wiser! Some of that confidence was gained through various experiences during that time as a wife and mother. Some of that confidence is owed to service that I was able to perform for others during that time, which ultimately helped me grow.


There is, however, a portion of that confidence that I gained through my weight loss. Not because being skinny automatically makes you more confident. I wish that was true! Many of my insecurities were there before I gained the weight, while I was overweight and I still carry them with me even though I no longer carry the extra weight. No, it's not being skinny that made me confident. I think it was being successful with such an overwhelming thing.

I mean, let's be honest. It was totally overwhelming to think to myself..."I have gained 90 pounds since high school". WHAT?? How on earth did it get to be 90 pounds?? That's more than the weight of two of my kids combined! To think about needing to lose that much weight can be downright discouraging and overwhelming. I know that for years I was just completely overwhelmed by the idea. However, as I worked at it and I started to succeed I gained the confidence that I could do it. In fact, I started with a goal to lose just 45 pounds. That sounds relatively small now, but each time I weighed in and saw that I had lost another pound, or even just 1/2 pound, my confidence grew.

By the time I reached my original goal I had decided that wasn't enough. I knew that since I had lost 45 pounds I could lose more! At this point in time I decided I should talk to my doctor to find out what weight was healthy for me at my age. I hadn't started with the doctor because honestly I doubted that I would really lose more than 5-10 pounds, ok maybe 20 pounds. I honestly did not think I was capable of losing more than that. My doctor advised me to set a goal for another 35 pounds, and no more. I knew I could do that, my confidence was strong.

The interesting thing is that it wasn't just my confidence in losing weight that grew, it was confidence in myself in all aspects of my life. I became more sure of myself as a wife, as a mom, as a neighbor and as a friend. I didn't really recognize that "gain" until I was talking to my friend about it, until we were talking about High School and the way things used to be.



I'm thankful I took this journey and gained CONFIDENCE! With it you can do just about anything!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Small Reminder

So in my last post I asked "What have you gained?" Well last week I had an experience that reminded me of something I have gained by losing 80 pounds. Last fall my parents came out to visit for a weekend and my mom brought some shirts from one of my sisters that she didn't wear anymore. Score for me! I haven't been able to get hand-me-downs from my family for like 20 years! Anyhow, the shirts were all low cut t-shirts that you layer. Well I didn't own any tank tops for layering. I was way too warm blooded when I was over-weight to wear layers. Since it was fall I had a difficult time finding tank tops too so instead I bought a couple of light weight long sleeve t-shirts to go underneath.

That worked great for fall and winter, but now that we are headed into summer I needed some tank tops. So last week I went to buy some. This still proved to be a difficult process. You would think that since we have been having 80 degree weather there would be tank tops all over the place, and there were! But many of them were all lace, or covered in sparkles, and they almost all had just the little spaghetti straps. They did not work with the shirts I needed to wear them with. My plan was to buy 2 black and 1 white since I had been lucky enough to find 1 white tank last fall.



I finally found 1 black one in my size and 1 white one. They were on sale, but it was a "buy one get one free" sale and I had no intention of buying a 3rd one at full price. There were no others in my size so getting a 4th free one was not an option. I was pretty frustrated with that, and then I had an idea...I remembered my little tiny sister (I say "little tiny" because her waist is about the size of my arm!) saying that she sometimes shops in the kids department because she is so small. Well I checked out the juniors department and was absolutely disgusted with the clothing I found there! There was no way anything in that department would work for the layering I wanted to do! So I took a chance and went to the little girls department.

I am still in shock to say that I not only found the exact kind of tank top I was looking for, but they had one that fit me too! AND....it was less expensive than the ones in the women's department! HAHAHAHA Granted, it is pretty skin tight, but since I'm wearing it under another shirt that doesn't really matter! It comes up high enough on my chest to keep me modest (I know, modest is a dirty word in today's society, but I still value modesty) and the straps are not the little spaghetti straps!

I'm wearing it today! :) 


If I had not lost my extra 80 pounds there is no way I would have been able to get new-to-me clothes from one of my sisters and certainly no way I could have shopped in the pre-teen department!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Appreciation for What You've Gained

You've all heard the ad from Special K that asks the question "What will you gain?" right? Well that is my question to you today. What have you gained by living a healthier lifestyle? This is a question that I need to take the time to answer more often. The ad from Special K is only part of the reason this has been on mind. I think the ad placed the idea in the back of my brain and my subconscious has been playing with it, but this great post by Half the Woman I Was is what really got me thinking. She talked about how happy she is that she has become "sporty mom". She now enjoys playing sports with her kids and that is something she couldn't do before her weight loss journey. I realized that I have lost sight of the things I've gained since losing 80 pounds.


As many of you know, especially if you read my last post, I've really been struggling lately with the motivation to exercise regularly. I say "lately" but really this has stretched on for months and months! I have been sticking with eating healthy, but only about 85% of the time. Over the last week I've been asking myself "What have I gained now that I've lost the weight I set out to lose? Was it worth it?" Well the answer to the second question has been an easy YES! But the answer to the first question has been harder for me to define. Ok, the easy answer is that I know I'm healthier for my kids. But has it really changed very much in my day to day life? Hmmm that has been a little tougher to answer. I know that being 80 pounds lighter and exercising regularly gave me more energy. With that energy I have been able to accomplish my responsibilities faster and without feeling so drained. Which is why I know I have to get that regular workout back into my schedule! I know that I'm not as grouchy and that I handle stress better. Ok, good. Those answers feel very empty to me though.

I used to really enjoy that exercise time because it was "me" time. I was focusing on myself. Although I had kids to supervise while I exercised, and sometimes I really felt like spending the time on myself was selfish, I had this sense of fulfillment. Now that I've reached my goal I find that I'm not feeling that same fulfillment from exercise. As I write this I am also realizing that I haven't added anything to my life that I couldn't or didn't do before losing the weight. Yes, I have smaller clothes. Yes I have gotten some really cute clothes that I love to wear that I never could have worn before. But unlike "Sporty Mom" I haven't added anything just for fun to my life. I think I need to focus on that. I need to reward myself with some "me" time, and a "me" activity.


I have gained a knowledge that I probably will not have all the health issues in the future that I would have had without losing the weight. I have gained some self assurance and confidence that I didn't have before. I have recognized a passion for helping others lose weight that I did not expect. I have yet to find a complete way to fulfill that passion, but this blog helps. I see that for now part of what I need to do is ask myself, probably daily, "What have I gained? and How am I going to appreciate that in my life today?" Just recognizing it isn't enough, I need to appreciate it daily. I think that will be the most help in finding my motivation again.

So, again my question to you is: "What have you gained and do you appreciate it?"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Being Absent

So I have been absent from writing for several weeks now. Why? Well because I just have felt like I don't have much to say. I'm disconnected from a lot of things right now, one of which is my exercise. I am not feeling very motivated in my own life and it is so hard to reach out and say something encouraging. I read other blogs and think "I need to stay positive in my blog, don't bore people with my stumbling blocks" But then I think "Everyone has stumbling blocks, maybe I should write more about mine. Maybe that would not only help me get past them but then others wouldn't feel like they are alone when they hit those stumbling blocks too". So there is this weird balancing act that I feel like I have to do. It's absolutely ridiculous because I know that one of the things that helps me the most is to read/hear from people who are also struggling for one reason or another. That helps me to not feel alone and to realize that what I'm going through is normal and that I can and will get past it too. Then I feel guilty for feeling unmotivated because I have come so far, and I don't want to slip backwards.

I know I would feel better if I would just get back on my schedule and get exercising regularly again. There is no real excuse for not doing it either. I am back to being tired a lot and grouchy too. Even my husband recognizes that I will be happier if I can just get myself to workout regularly again! That's pretty sad to me when my husband is now prompting me to do it. I mean, he's always been supportive, but I haven't really needed him to say "we are going to bed early tonight so you can get up and exercise in the morning". Or "I expect to see you exercising while I'm getting ready for work tomorrow". That is apparently what I need right now though.

This lack of motivation is carrying over into all areas of my life right now. I just feel run down and tired, and I know that if I can fix this one thing then everything else will start to fall back into place again. So for now I guess I need that extra push from Larry, and maybe a few more people. I feel like I am so far removed from everything that I need to find a way to get more involved in the moment. There are so many things going on that are out of my control. But there are things I can control and I'm not. It's time to make another change. Until I get myself going I will accept the help and motivation offered by my husband and my friends, because that is why we are not on this earth alone. We all need each other to help, lift and support us at different times. Right now I guess it's my turn to receive some lifting. And I will continue to help lift others in any way I can.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lessons from a power outage


Have you ever gotten off course in your life? I have. Recently I've felt like I was just getting by, hanging on by the skin of my teeth, in many areas of my life. On Monday we had a power outage that lasted 6 hours. I was in the middle of typing in my journal when the power went out. I was only about half way done and I still had to pay the bills, finish the laundry, do the ironing and vacuum the house. I was not really happy that the power went out but what can you do? Unless you have a generator all you can do is wait for the power to be restored. I thought of all the things I needed to get done that day. The kids were especially thrown off by the power outage. Although they understood that the tv and computer wouldn't work they kept trying to turn on light switches. I finally got them busy playing with some of their toys and I looked around to figure out what I could possibly accomplish without power.

I did everything I could as far as my housework was concerned. We don't have a clothes line so I wasn't able to take my last load of laundry and hang it out to dry. I needed to pay the bills but since I do that online now I couldn't do anything in that department. It seemed that everything I needed to do was dependent on power. So now what? Well I watched my kids play for a while. Of course there were disagreements to break up and so that kept me a little busy. Then it was lunch time and I had to take my son to school. When that was done I put my daughter down for a nap and realized that I may as well lay down too! I figured that when the power came back on I would be woken up by the electronics snapping back on and since I couldn't accomplish any of my work until then anyhow I was completely justified in laying down. I took a short nap and when I awoke I found that the power was still out.

The house was eerily quiet. This meant I had the perfect opportunity to think in silence without interruption. I spent some time thinking about how pulled I always feel to get so many things done. It seems that I am always running to do this or do that, and during the time that I couldn't follow my normal routine all those demands seemed rather unimportant. Yes, the laundry and the vacuuming and the bills are necessary, but I was amazed at how simple life started to look to me. I realized that I spend, or waste, a lot of my time doing unnecessary things. They are good things, but they are not necessary. I took time to sit and read one of my favorite books and that quiet time was so good for my soul. I felt renewed and peaceful.

Of course once the power came back on that evening things got crazy again, and it's taken me a couple of days to get caught up on the things I wasn't able to accomplish on Monday. However, that feeling that life is more simple than we often think has remained with me. I am trying to get back to basics in my life. Weed out the unnecessary and focus on the important things. I was reminded just how important that quiet time is for my sanity, spirituality, and peace. It is something I need to carry with me even when the power is on. It helps to bring balance to my life.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Men vs. Women

Recently my brother and his wife jumped on the weight loss wagon along with my mom and one of my sisters. It's so nice to be able to support each other, even long distance. After the first week a couple of them reported how many pounds they have already lost, and of course my brother had lost more than the others. This can be frustrating to the women in the family who are working hard to lose weight, but the fact is that men lose weight faster and easier than women.



Is that true? Really true? Or is that a myth? Well I have always thought it was true. It is what I have experienced in my own life. My husband can lose weight twice as fast as I do without even trying. Now if you looked at the last post you will notice that he is still overweight, and if you read the captions under the pictures you know that he has pretty much maintained his weight over the years. However, during the years that we have been married he has tried periodically to cut back on his serving sizes and to eat healthier. Whenever he does this he drops pounds so fast I get envious. He doesn't stick with it though so those pounds come back slowly.

So I did a little research to see if it was just my perception or if there is truth to this. I found 4 articles immediately that back up the theory that men lose weight faster and easier than women. Here is what I found.

  • The more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. The simple fact is that generally speaking men have more muscle mass than women. Shape reports that since men have more muscle mass they burn about 20 percent more calories than women, even when they aren't doing anything at all! Genetically men are created to have more muscle and carry less fat due to their testosterone levels. According to About.com the estrogen in a woman's body works to retain fat, making it easier for her to get pregnant. Therefore women retain more fat and have less muscle mass than men. My personal doctors have told me that one reason women genetically retain more fat is because that is where estrogen is stored in the body. 
  • Because of this difference in muscle mass a man's body reacts differently to exercise than a woman's body does. Men naturally shed fat and build muscle faster than women when exercising. The article in Discover Good Nutrition reports that "every pound of lean body mass you have burns about 14 calories a day, while every pound of fat you have only burns about 2 calories.  So, the more muscle you carry (and the less fat) the greater your daily calorie burn."
  • Women and men look at food differently. According to Web MD, Katherine Tallmadge, RD the author of Diet Simple says, "Men love their meat, and women are attached to carbohydrates". So men and women make different food choices when hungry. If a man has a food craving it is usually for some form of meat, or protein. On the other hand, a woman usually craves a carbohydrate and that carbohydrate is usually sweet!

  • Not only are the food choices different but the way a man's brain reacts to food compared to the way a woman's brain reacts to food is different too. Shape sited a study done analyzing brain activity in men and women after they fasted for 20 hours and were then shown their favorite foods. They were not allowed to eat the food however, just look at it. Afterwards the women's brains still reacted as if they were hungry while the men's did not. What does that mean? Apparently women's hormones interact with the part of the brain that triggers and suppresses hunger differently than men's hormones do. So there are literal differences in our brains regarding hunger and food.

So yes, as frustrating as it may be for women, men do lose weight faster than women. And yes, it does appear to be easier for them. So if you are a woman, don't compare your weight loss to a man's weight loss! The same goes for men. Don't compare your weight loss to a woman's and let your head get big or get all egotistical just because you will probably see faster and more drastic results. Just be supportive of each other and remember your bodies are different, they are genetically different and weight loss is going to go at different rates. This is true of anyone, not just between men and woman. Every weight loss story is unique to that person and comparing yourself to anyone else is not a good idea.


A good tip I read in the article in Shape is this "Eating with a guy is like going shopping with a friend who makes a lot more money than you - maybe you can't spend as much, but you can still enjoy the experience, and if you make peace with the fact that you don't have the same budget it can be very freeing rather than causing you angst." It's the same idea for weight loss. Everyone has a different budget, but you can still enjoy the experience and be successful within yours.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Almost a year and a half ago we moved to a new town. About a month after we moved I finally hit my goal weight so the people here never knew me when I was overweight. I realized the other day as I was sharing my blog with someone that I haven't really posted many before and after pictures. So today I thought I would just share some pictures.

 1995 or maybe early 1996. Me holding a friend's new baby. I was about 30-40 pounds overweight here.

 Bowling with my sister in 1998. I was probably about 60-65 pounds overweight here.

In 2002. I had to zoom in and crop the picture so it's not very high quality but I was about 90 pounds overweight in this picture.

 On my wedding day in 2003. I was at my top weight here at over 200 pounds.
This is in 2005 at my sister's wedding. That is my husband next to me holding our son who was only 5 months old. I actually weighed about 20 pounds less than my wedding picture 2 years earlier, but only because my son apparently has a very fast metabolism so I lost weight while pregnant and nursing.

This is later that same year at a friend's wedding. I was maintaining the same weight and was pretty happy about it.

This is in 2007 only 9 months after our 2nd son was born. Before getting pregnant with him I had regained 10 of the 20 pounds I lost with our first son, but again I lost 20 pounds during my pregnancy and while nursing. So in total I was down about 30 pounds from my wedding weight.
*edit~ I originally had this picture dated as 1997, but my lovely sister pointed out my typo. It is now correct*

After losing weight while pregnant with each boy I was not thrilled to find that while pregnant with my daughter I gained everything back. This is in 2008, holding our little girl who was 7 months old. I was back to my wedding weight by then.

This was in 2009, about 7 months before I started my weight loss journey. I was still maintaining my wedding weight which I took to mean I was just supposed to be that weight. You can read more about the emotions that brought me to this weight and what made me want to change here.
 
This was in 2010 about 3 months into my journey. I had lost 25 pounds and I was so excited! Looking at the picture I don't think you can really tell, but my family and friends said they could tell.

This was about 4 months later and I had lost about a total of 40 pounds. I was at my half way point.


I'm not sure exactly when this was. I was past my half way point. My kids were so excited to do the Wii with me that they would drag cushions off the chairs and couches to use as their balance boards. Then they would grab toys to use as remotes. It was actually pretty motivating for me to have them pretend to exercise with me. And I think it's cute. I wore the same exercise clothes until after I hit my goal weight. It helped me see the progress I was making.

This was about 6 months before I hit my goal. I was struggling with the last 15 pounds. They just didn't want to come off! I was all dressed up for a talent show I was performing in but I thought the picture showed that I actually had a waist line again!

This is my husband and I just 2 months later. I was still battling those pounds. He had maintained the same weight from our wedding so here I think you can really see  how much I had changed.

 This is in 2012, a few months after hitting my goal weight, 2 years after starting my journey.

 And this was a couple months later, for my birthday. Still at my goal weight.

As I went looking for pictures to include in this post I found that I still don't have many pictures of myself. I had thought I was subconsciously avoiding the camera because of my weight, but in reality I have always avoided the camera! Even now that I'm not overweight anymore I am still the one behind the camera most of the time!