Friday, June 22, 2012

"And the Pounds Just Melted Away!"

I know that I am not the first person to discuss this and I'm positive that I certainly won't be the last but let's talk a little bit tonight about diet pills 'AKA' the miracle drugs that are supposed to make us shed pounds without changing any of our eating or exercise habits. Earlier this week, my son and I were in the living room together watching television. A commercial for some weight loss drug "for the severely obese people who are serious about weight loss" (FYI - that means it's really expensive) came on. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it because I've seen the commercial at least twenty times before, but my son did. He said to me, "Momma, you need to buy some of that so you don't have to exercise any more." This statement stopped me in my tracks! I was flabbergasted and a million thoughts were running through my head all at one time. "Doesn't he know that exercise is important?" "Commercials are so deceitful and I've talked to him about this!" "None of these products actually work but he doesn't understand yet!" etc., etc...
I was so disturbed by this that I had to turn off the television and have a serious conversation with him about the intention of commercials and that none of those products work (I know from experience) and that exercise is necessary for a healthy life. I could see the glazed look in his eye and could tell that this really wasn't making a whole lot of sense but then I had to reflect upon "Why" this wasn't making any sense to him. He's eight years old now, completely mold-able, and has lived with a Mom who has never been serious about weight loss or healthy living. I have fed them junk since they were little (only until two months ago did I cut out the junk and snacking out of mine and the kids lives). I have bought them endless amounts of "in home" entertainment because I was too lazy to get outside and get active with the kids. And finally, I've let them watch endless amounts of television to where their little minds have been molded to believe those commercials. It literally made me feel sick to my stomach. What kind of role model have I been? I've taught my kids that it's okay to be lazy! I've taught me kids that it's okay to eat crap! I've taught my kids that it's okay to watch TV and believe the crap that they hear!
This revelation has been hard to fact, it's even harder typing it on this blog because as good as a Mom as I have believed myself to be, I realize that I have set my children up for failure if I don't do something about it. I have changed their eating habits because I won't buy the junk any more but I haven't pushed the physical activities like I should. I have decided to make a commitment to turn the televisions off and do more active things that I know they will enjoy. Swimming is one of those fact, we spent most of the day at the pool one day this week. We'll be doing that much more often. The kids love to go to the park and we'll be doing that much more as well. As much as I have changed my lifestyle, I have to incorporate the kids in it more than just a bike ride or walk around the block. Physical activity doesn't have to be tedious. It can be a whole lot of fun and that's what we'll be doing from now on. The best part about all of this is the kids won't even realize that they're getting exercise! They'll think we're just having fun and that's what I want them to learn from all of this.
Now, to address the commercials. Commercials (or advertising) is everywhere...not just television. You see it when you drive down the street, when you go to any store, on every billboard, in every magazine, practically everywhere you go there is some product that you just have to try! And frankly, it is so engrained in our culture that most of us don't even pay attention (or are at least unaware the we pay attention) to it any more. I will be the first one to admit that I've bought more than a few products and grocery items because of the appeal of the advertisement. However, I also realize that I have bought a bunch of products that weren't worth crap and that includes just about every diet product out there! Who doesn't love the idea that some pill is going to allow us to eat whatever we want and never exercise, yet "the pounds will just melt away!" Now, I consider myself a pretty intelligent person and I'm very realistic about most things in my life; however, when it came to my weight, the naive, optimistic, foolish part of me wanted to believe that there was a diet pill that was going to make my fat go away and all I needed to do was take a pill with every meal! I would have never have admitted that before but I am sure most of you who have weight problems can relate to that little part of you that says, "Maybe it can work," "Those testimonials looked real to me," "I've got to do something about all of this weight and this pill might be the answer!" But sadly, no. It won't work. Those testimonials are paid testimonials. And the answer you're looking for isn't inside of a little pill. The answer is inside of you and has been all along.
It infuriates me now to think of all of the time and money I've wasted on products that promised to change my life. It is a vulturous, insidious, disgusting practice advertisers use to appeal to those that are vulnerable, weak, and need a wake up call rather than a false promise to make our lives better. I am ashamed to say that I fell for that appeal over and over in my life rather than accepting the fact that I needed to make serious changes; that no one could fix this for me; that no product in the world was going to make me healthy. I know that I am not alone in this or else drug companies wouldn't continue to create these "miracle" drugs. They also wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry without people like me.
So, this is my appeal to you. There is no pill in the world that is going to make you lose weight and keep it off. There is no pill in the world that is going to make you choose healthy foods over junk. There is no pill in the world that is going to fix your problems for you. Weight loss is hard. I personally work out one and a half to two hours per day and the weight doesn't just melt off. It takes a ton of work. You will need to make exercise a permanent part of your life - not just to make it to your goal weight. You will have to stop eating crap. You will have to change your habits. You will have to change your life completely. But my promise to you is this...if you ever do decide to make this change, it will be well worth it. You will feel better, look better, and you will have EARNED it because YOU changed your life...not some fly-by-night manufacturing company who wants to make a profit. Don't let advertisers fool you any more. Believe in yourself...not them. They only want your money. You deserve to live a better life because you WANT a better life for yourself and because you're willing to make the changes necessary for that life.
Again, I've rambled on long enough but I cannot stress to you all enough that the only person or thing in your life that can make a lasting and realistic change in your life, is you. You have to want it, you have to own your mistakes, and you have to make a commitment to change. If you fall, that doesn't make you a failure. Tomorrow is a new day and you can renew that commitment to yourself.
Thanks again for reading my blog. I hope to see you again soon and I hope this can at least get some of you to stop buying that crap!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Working Out

Short blog today... I just love a good workout. You know, the one that has you pouring sweat more than you thought was possible and after you're done you want to climb into the fetal position and weep? Yeah, I just did one of those. Chris Freytag's 10 Pound Slimdown Extreme is BRUTAL! I hate doing it but I love it when I'm finished because I know I accomplished something amazing and it just makes me that much closer to my goal!!! If you haven't seen it then I strongly suggest that you do! The total body workout DVD is 40 minutes of extreme punishment BUT is easy to follow - no hard choreography to learn. Love, love, love it!
On to other things...I can't fit into any of my fat clothes! They all fall off which is a good thing but I don't have anything to wear except for exercise clothes. Whoops! I refuse to buy any clothes right now so if you want to see me, you'd better be prepared for jogging pants and t-shirts! Gotta love it!
I found a great quote about goals today that I wanted to share with you...
“You cannot expect to achieve new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change.” ~Les Brown
Words to live by!!! Make a change today!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Say NO to Self-Doubt because You are Worth It

I've really been doing an inventory of my life, habits and my compulsion to over-think everything. Some of you may relate to this train of thought and that's why I wanted to address this issue tonight. I over-think EVERYTHING! Just ask anyone who knows me personally and they will tell you very quickly that I over-analyze, over-think almost everything that is said to me or said in front of me. I also have to take several minutes, days, weeks, sometimes even months to process information and decide "how does this affect me" "is this information true" and "how do I need to respond". In other words, I've made my life far more complicated and difficult than it has to be for many, many years. I've never been one to "let things roll off of my shoulders" because, in my mind, if I miss even the smallest detail, then I'm going to make a mistake or I'll look like a fool. Yeah, I know...I sound like a WHOLE lot of fun to live with, right?
According to the dictionary, to analyze means to "examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations". Being analytical isn't a bad thing BUT when you use it the way I have, then it is not only completely self-destructive, it is also a good way to alienate people very quickly. A very good example of this would be if someone would have told me that I am beautiful. Because I believed for a long time that I was not beautiful, I would ask that person to tell me what they thought was beautiful about me. Based on their response, I would think quietly to myself for a long time to process that response. Was that person being genuine when they said it? What motive could they have had to say that to me? Was there an ulterior motive behind that statement? If so, what could it be and why? You see, I would take an innocent compliment meant to me make me feel good, completely tear it apart, and try to find something wrong with it based on my own selfish insecurities. I had done it for so long that it had become almost second nature.
I began to distrust people (most times unfairly so) for being kind to me. I thought that if a person is nice to me then there must be something that is not authentic about them. This stems back to many, many years ago from low self-esteem, being bullied as a child and putting faith into the wrong kind of people. I made many, many mistakes in my life because of it and as the years progressed, my self-worth became literally nonexistent. I convinced myself that I wasn't beautiful or intelligent. I convinced myself that I deserved to be treated like crap. I convinced myself that that was just how things were going to be. I soon found myself in this tiny box that I was too insecure to come out of because someone or something might want to hurt me. My only true friend was food. It couldn't hurt me. It didn't say or do things to make me question myself or over-analyze a situation. I mean, really can't over-analyze a baked potato, right? I lived my life like that for a long time. I ruined friendships and relationships because of it. I never wanted to get TOO close to anyone because of these ridiculous insecurities.
But then, I learned to become a friend to my self. I started to like who I was and despite how big I was, I began to realize that I have always been, pretty, honest, loving, generous, intelligent and a damned fine person to be around which DOES make me beautiful. I realized I have a fantastic sense of humor and that it's okay to let things roll off of my shoulders because IT DOESN'T MATTER what other people think of me! If I was ever going to change my life, it had to be FOR ME and no one else! I make my own destiny; no one else. I couldn't look at losing weight as if that was going to make other people love me more. I had to look at losing weight as a way for me to improve on what was already great in the first place! I had to take back control over my life, stop doubting myself, STOP MAKING MYSELF THE VICTIM, quit the whining, put my big girl panties on, and make the biggest decision of my life. That decision was to be healthy - mind, body and soul. My mind is in the right place, my body is slowly but surely getting there and my soul couldn't be better!
My want for you, if you can relate to any of this, is that it is okay to analyze information, just be prepared to analyze yourself first, learn to love yourself and if there is even the smallest thing in your life that you believe you need to work on, then do it. Stop doubting yourself, stop allowing others to doubt you because it doesn't matter, and become that person you want to be. Refuse to believe that "this is just how it has to be" and change it. No matter what you've been through in your life, no matter what anyone has ever said that was negative to you or about you, no matter how hard you think this change is going to be, YOU ARE WORTH IT, MY FRIEND! You owe it to yourself to stop blaming others and take responsibility for the things you have the ability and control to change. All you have to do is want it enough and do it. No more excuses!
Thank you again for continuing to read my blog!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

You CAN Change Your Life!

Did you know that you can burn up to 590 calories for doing an hour's worth of hardcore yard work? That's a LOT of calories burned! Today we went to my father-in-law's house to burn trash that was collected out of our workshop. We had tons and tons of stuff that needed to be disposed of. Papa Johns, my father-in-law, has a large piece of property out in the woods that we spend at least one weekend out of every month shooting guns, cleaning or just hanging out. After burning all of our trash, we started cleaning up his acreage by collecting all of the dead limbs, cut down trees, etc. and putting it into the fire. I don't know what it is about burning things that I find so cleansing (can we say pyromaniac?) but by the time we were through, after two hours of chopping, carrying, climbing, ripping and burning, I felt like I had done an entire session of hardcore aerobics and was pouring with sweat. It was fantastic! Did I mention that I love to burn things? It's sort of symbolic in a pyscho-cosmic tree hugging, bunny humping're getting rid of the crap that you don't need and get to start anew.
That's the way I feel about my life overall now. I'm burning the crap that I don't need and I'm starting anew. It just amazes me how taking a positive direction in my life, has improved my sense of well-being and has me excited for the future. I look at who I was just a few short months ago and it makes me sad for the person I used to be. I was stuck in a job that I didn't enjoy. Every day was depressing, miserable and completely unfulfilled. The only thing I looked forward to was going out to eat for lunch (how pathetic is THAT???). When I came home from work I would be exhausted, snappy toward my family and would complain any moment I had to anyone who would listen. I pulled away from everyone, including two of my closest friends, rarely got to talk to my parents (who I absolutely adore) and my husband was lucky if I would sit down to watch a TV show with him before I passed out on the couch. My poor kids got little to no time with me and before I knew it, we were all eating dinner in separate rooms and barely spoke other than to say, "it's time for bed," "go take a bath," or "see you tomorrow". Don't get me wrong, I understand that work is crucial to survival. How else are we going to pay the bills, eat, or have a roof over our head? However, working in an unhealthy environment that literally causes (or in my case increases) depression, then is it really worth it? No amount of money is worth that to me.
So when I was able to leave my job, although it was sad to leave some of the people I had grown to absolutely adore, I didn't look back. Obviously I couldn't burn the place down but removing my things out of my old office, walking out of that building for the last time, and hugging my work friends' neck goodbye was cleansing enough and a chapter of my life that I was happy to end. I still think of those people often, slaves to a company that hand out layoffs, furloughs and a ridiculous amount of work that bares no reward, and I mourn for them and wish better for them. Maybe one day I'll win the lottery and I can save them all!
The point behind all of that is...YOU can change YOUR life by burning the crap you don't need and starting anew! Obviously most of you won't be able to just quit your job, but you CAN decide that spending time with your family is more important than watching a new episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey or taking a walk with the dog around the block is more important than spending an hour on Facebook. Burn those old habits (symbolically, of course) and start new, better ones. You're never too old, too fat, too set in your ways to make a decision that changes your life forever. Mine was quitting an unhealthy way of life overall and working toward a healthy life! Yours might be for any number of reasons, but I know that anything is possible just by taking that first step to change. You know that old saying "old habits are hard to break"? I don't buy that anymore. I refuse to buy it! You CAN break it if you WANT to! You CAN break the unhealthy cycle in your CAN make better decisions for CAN be the person you've always wanted to be...just by taking that first step, burning the crap you don't need, and starting anew.
Call me hyped up on life, call me whatever you want, but what I do know is that my future looks brighter every time I make a healthy food choice; every time I work out; every time I spend that much needed bonding time with my husband and kids; and every time I look in the mirror and say I CAN do this. Life does NOT have to be the struggle many of you are living. It CAN get better if you put a little effort into it, burn the crap you don't need and take that first step for a better you.
Stay healthy, my friends! I thank you for reading my blog and hope to see you here again soon! blog

Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting Real With Myself

My entire life, I've struggled with my weight. Only once or twice in my life have I looked in the mirror and said "you look good" and those instances have long been in the past. That is a pathetic reality and the last time I was on an airplane, I knew something had to change. I was working for Gannett and was to fly to Nashville for a regional sales meeting. When I got on the plane I was dreading every fat girls' nightmare - the infamous buckle. I could barely buckle into the seat! And I mean JUST barely! I thought to myself, "is this really my life now?" I wanted to get off of the plane and just go home. During the flight I thought long and hard about my life and how I had gotten to the point to where every article of clothing I owned was a size 22 and how truly unhappy I was with my life. When I left my job in April I knew things had to drastically change.
On April 30th I began this journey to lose weight and change my life for good. I've had to completely change every single thing that you may or may not realize can hinder you in the process. The first lesson I had to learn is "Food is Fuel" NOT "Food is my Friend". I have had a long, unrealistic love affair with food for many, many years. I would eat to celebrate, eat because I was sad, eat because I was bored, eat because it was there, and eat just to eat! I rarely if ever would look at the calorie content of food and would eat two, three, even four times more of a serving than I should and this habit went on for years. Everything was super-sized and I would get ridiculously angry if anyone attempted to eat one of my fries (god forbid). So, when I began this journey I knew I had to change the way how I saw food or I would be doomed.
A long time ago, a nutritionist told me that food was fuel and that food was not the friend I wanted it to be. Frankly, that pissed me off. I didn't want to hear someone tell me that the way I had been living my life was wrong. But that simple sentence had stuck with me for years. So the first step to getting real with myself was adopting this reality by implementing a calorie restriction. I'm only allowed 1200 to 1500 calories per day and at first that was ridiculously difficult. I was still eating stuff that I had no business eating, just in much smaller portions - like chips, sweets, etc. I knew I wasn't doing this correctly so I switched out the chips for broccoli, carrots, peas, salad - anything other than the crap I was used to ingesting. To get rid of the sweets, I dumped regular sodas completely. If it isn't water - then I don't NEED it. Occasionally, I'll have a diet soda if I feel like I must have something different. And sugar-free jello is a great treat when I want dessert. I eat bananas, apples, pears, grapes or anything else I have in regards to fruit if I want something sweet. I stopped eating any processed, or breaded meats, and switched to grilled chicken, pork, steak and occasionally seafood (I've never been a fan of seafood but it's growing on me). The long menu short is I eat five times a day( 100 to 400 calorie meals at a time,) small portions and never go over my calorie restriction. In fact, some days I find it difficult to eat over 1000 calories. I don't ever feel hungry and on those nights where I cook a meal for the family that was one of my favorites (like meatloaf and mashed potatoes) I think back to that nutritionist's statement and repeat to myself "Food is fuel". I'll eat a small portion of the meal and throw the rest away. I don't ever feel deprived and I KNOW I'm living by that motto because food IS fuel, it is not a friend.
Exercise - ah, exercise, how I have loathed thee for so many years. I am the typical American. I've bought just about every exercise piece of equipment, used it twice and shoved it into an inaccessible corner (by choice). I've hated exercise forever! I've always preferred the exercise of putting food into my mouth and chewing. Pathetic, I know. BUT, it's amazing what a little bit of hard work and effort will do. I have a gazillion aerobic DVD's so I went through my inventory and pulled out the one that I had had the most success with in the past. The woman's name is Chris Freytag and if you haven't heard of her, she is truly an inspirational workout coach. I have (almost) all of her DVD's and the workouts are high intensity to make you sweat beyond what you thought was possible but have a low intensity option for those that are just starting to exercise. The steps are easy to learn and follow for those of us with two-left feet. I would suggest her DVD's to anyone. The three that I use faithfully are Drop it in 30, 3-2-1 Workout and Secrets to Big Weight Loss.
You can get any of her DVD's on Amazon for around $10 a piece and I love, love, love them. In addition to the aerobics I do Monday through Friday (sometimes on Saturday or Sunday, too) I walk and jog two miles every evening after dinner. I say walk and jog because I'll walk a while, jog a while, and alternate throughout the two miles. I've made it around the block once while jogging the entire time. Slowly but surely, I'm building up to being able to jog the entire time. After that, it'll be running. But the point I want to make is this is BABY STEPS! When I first started walking, I could only make it around the block three times. Then four. Then five. You see where I'm going with this. It is a gradual process and I'm working up to jogging completely. Because I have always hated jogging or running of any kind, this may be my biggest hurtle to cross but I know that I will and I CAN! I own a fabulous treadmill with all of the bells and whistles BUT I am the type of person who will walk for five minutes and think of 500 reasons why I need to get off of the treadmill and do other things (laundry, homework, etc.) so I chose to walk outside. That way I CAN'T just stop walking...I have to walk if I ever want to make it home, right? See my thinking behind this. Also, it's a great way to get my kids involved. Julianne walks with me every night and has proven to be a great motivator. She'll make me jog when I think I can't jog any more! I love it! Hunter rides his bicycle beside me and challenges me to races. He always wins but that's okay. He has a bit of an advantage.
To my amazement, my husband has even gotten involved in the weight-loss process. Last weekend we cleaned out our enormous workshop and set up the home gym that has been collecting dust for years. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday he and I go out there after the kids are in bed, crank up the radio and workout. He has been a great support and he and I push each other constantly for "just one more" rep! It is fantastic and we are both loving the time it gives us together while doing something so rewarding. He wants to be able to scuba dive and spear fish. I want to zip line and rock climb. We both have things on our bucket list that we are working toward and knowing that we are getting closer to those goals has brought us closer together and I'm loving life right now.
In closing, I know this has been a really long blog and I promise that in the future, they will not be as long as this one but I wanted to share with you all how crucial it is to change your train of thought. If you're anything like me, you've spent years sitting on the couch dreaming of the person you want to be but have just been too lazy, too scared, too depressed, too unmotivated, too prone to excuses, too unsupported, too uninterested to want to change your life. I am telling you right now, after losing 21 pounds so far and completely committed to losing the rest, that you CAN do it! You CAN be the person you want to be, you CAN push yourself for just a few more minutes of exercise, you CAN resist foods that you thought were your friend, you CAN change your life because if I can do it, ANYONE CAN!
Feel free to reach out to me at for any moral support or words of encouragement. Also, I'd like to encourage you to visit for some motivation. My high school friend, Jesse Normandin, is the owner and strength coach there and post VERY motivational and inspirational information on his website as well as his Facebook page that could be of some use to you men or women out there looking for a change. Thanks for reading my blog and I will update on my progress frequently!