Thursday, January 31, 2013

A review of the month...

Ok, so let's review the month!  Remember back on January 1st?  Remember being SO motivated?  Remember saying "This is my year!  This is when it is finally going to happen!!"  Are you still there?  Or have you fallen off mentally?  Did you lose the amount this month that you wanted to?  Did you stick to your goals?

Whether the answer is yes or no, tomorrow starts a new month.  So if you have fallen apart, it's time to start back.  TOMORROW.  Not Monday after the Superbowl.  RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

So pull out that goal sheet or open that file and look at your goals.  Track how much weight you have lost.  Take some measurements.  No beating yourself up no matter what.  Tomorrow is a new day.  

Where do you stand on your goals?  Is it time to revise them?  Are you right on track?  What needs to be modified?  Tajke a look at that NOW so you can start tomorrow.

Here's where I stand:

  • Eating: I have pretty much gotten down to the weight I'm happy at.  However, I have not stablized my eating patterns.  Sometimes I don't eat enough during the day and I get home and am STARVING.  Which means I start snacking.  Now I snack on good things, like raisins.  BUT those calories can add up quick and I don't think it's a healthy pattern.  I need to consider eating a little more during the day, and then cutting back on dinner.
  • Exercise:  I'm pretty psyched about this!  I have exercised EVERY SINGLE DAY since January 1st! I've mixed it up from running, to DVD's, to weight lifting, to yoga!  And out of the 31 days, 27 of them I worked out twice totaling 90-120 minutes.  So I'd say I'm right on track with this!!  
  • Organization:  This remains an ongoing challenge, but I'd definitely doing better then I was last year.  So this goal remains in effect!
  • Doggie love:  I've been making a strong effort to be more involved and loving with my doggies.  They are spoiled incrediibly rotten, but an extra stroke here or there means so much to my boys!  I've been doing pretty well, but I think that I can improve.  Sometimes when I'm exhausted and just want to relax, them sticking their heads in my face with a toy - I tell them to go entertain themselves rather then engaging with them.  Must do better!
So, that's where I am on some of my goals.  I hope you are all ready to continue this journey and explore where you are.  I'd love to hear how you are doing!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amaze yourself!

Yesterday was a good day.  I was feeling really worn out and pissy on Monday for some reason, but I got my mojo back yesterday.

After a day of snow Monday, it began to melt yesterday and I went out and ran at lunch.  All the sidewalks were still covered in snow, so I stuck to side roads and ran along the road.  Because of the melting, I ended up running in ankle deep slush.  I ran 6 miles and when I got back to work, my feet were DRENCHED and the back of my leggings were soaked up to the mid thigh. 

BUT here's the good news - my left knee - which originally had the IT Band issue - did not peep once during the 6 miles.  And I have been wearing the IT Band strap on my right leg, and usually about 5 miles in it feels twingey and then when I'm done and take off the strap it hurts a little.  I wore the strap yesterday and no issues at all, plus no pain when I took the strap off, so YAY!

I started thinking to myself after the run yesterday about the person that I have become.  When did it get EASY to go out and run 6 miles?  Seriously.  I mean 6 miles was not hard at all, and despite the conditions, I still finished in under 52 minutes, without even pushing it.

This goes along with something else that happened.  I ran across an "old" picture of myself from 3-4 years ago on my computer at work and showed it to a couple of co-workers.  Both of them said the same thing - they didn't remember me being that size.  I mean, obviously they HAVE to remember when I was fat, but now they must just think of me as this size and can't believe I ever weighed as much as I did.  

In some ways I don't is remember that either and in some ways it  so clear in my mind - did I really have to lift up my stomach to wash my myself in the shower?  Did my stomach really touch the steering wheel of my vehicle when I drove?  Did a towel not fit around me at one time?  Did I really have to worry about not fitting in booths at restaurants?  I could go on and on!

This new life that I have worked for is AMAZING.  It isn't perfect, but it is glorious.  And guess what?  It is there for you too!!!  Keep working and striving - I want so badly for you all to feel as good as I do, and I know you can!  So don't stop - not for a minute!   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Self Doubt

How many of you out there struggle with self-doubt?  Sometimes I'm cruising along thinking I'm doing well and all of a sudden self-doubt creeps in!

For example, you remember when I met with that nutritionist and she told me that 117 was my "ideal weight"?  Well as I mentioned, my weight has been up some, and finally this weekend it dropped down to 117 and the last 2 days I've been at 117-118.  So you'd think I'd be happy, right?

But I'm on that weight loss site and there is a section under each person's name where you can put your  height, starting weight, your current weight and your goal weight.  So yesterday I was reading this one woman's post and I noticed that she lists her height as 5'5" and her goal weight is 120.  That puts her at a BMI of 20.8.  And my BMI is 22.1.  So this nagging little voice in my head starts telling me that this is too high of a BMI.  I check and I would have to lose another 7 pounds and weigh 110 to be at a BMI of 20.8.  I started wondering if I should try to lose some more weight.

WHY do I do this to myself?  I feel good at 117.  I wear a size 2.  I think I can maintain around this weight.  So WHY OH WHY do I need to compare myself to other people??  

So I have decided that a new goal - well, it's really not even a new goal, but an ongoing goal that I haven't been putting much effort into - is to STOP compaing myself to other people and just to be happy when I feel good!!  

Anyone care to join me on this quest of self-acceptance instead of self-doubt?  The danger, of course, is complacency.  There is a fine line between accepting oneself and justifying unhealthy habits because you aren't comparing yourself to other people.  I think common sense is appropriate here!  

So this is where I stand - I'm okay at my weight.  I DON'T NEED TO LOSE ANY MORE.  I am healthy and strong.  I am smart and capable and I am not defined by a number on a scale.  SO THERE.  Now, if I can just convince myself that these words are true!!  LOL

Monday, January 28, 2013


First off, thanks to everyone who has "liked" my Facebook page.  Now I just have to get you shy peeps to start POSTING there!  Come on!  Let's see some comments and some progress pictures!  If you read this blog and if you got on the page, it's probably because you like support - this is a community effort!

I'd like to talk today about choices.  Seems like a lot of people are down on themselves due to falling off plan or losing their commitment to a lifestyle change.  It's Monday and by the time we hit the end of the week it will be a new month, so let's take stock of where we are!

Life is a series of choices, and you don't HAVE to do anything.  You don't HAVE to eat healthy.  You don't HAVE to exercise.  You don't HAVE to lose weight.  I believe in person choice and responsibility.  You can do anything you want as long as you're willing to pay the consequences, good or bad!

So what CHOICE are you making today?  Every moment in time gives us the ability to change our personal course of history.  When you walk by the Girl Scout cookies at work today, stopping to have one or choosing to walk on by - either of those is a choice that will yield a result. 

What result do you want?  Are you making choices that will get you the result you seek?  Let's once again do some list making - are you keeping up with this?  Are you making your goal list and reviewing it to see where you are accomplishing something and where you are falling short?

If your answer to this is "no" then I ask "Why not?" 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I'd like to remind everyone that I have have a Facebook account associated with this blog.  I'd love for all of you to go to this page, like it, and begin contributing!  You'll be able to post your pics, give your own insights and wisdom, ask questions and interact not with just me, but with other people who read this blog!

So, please go here now and join us!!  And don't just join, get in on the action!!

Ok, so we've arrived at the weekend, YAY!  I am absolutely thrilled to report that I stepped on the scale this morning and saw 117.3.  So I am back down right to the weight I want to be, and where I was before Christmas.  

I don't have much in store for the weekend, but I do need to hit the stores because the cupboards are pretty bare.  I'd really like to take the dogs for a long walk this morning but it is DAMN COLD OUT.  

The boys did get an egg each this morning - CHRIS - this is for you!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

If not now, then when?

How is everyone out there doing?  For many of you, it's been just over 3 weeks of a lifestyle change.  Are you hanging in there?  I know for some of you, "diet fatigue" is kicking in, and maybe some of you are losing your motivation.

Remember, LIFE IS NOT A DRESS REHERSAL!  If you don't make this change now, when will you do it?  What are you waiting for?  The time is now.  Don't wait one more month, one more day, one more minute to get the life that you want.  Your fate is in your hands, no one else's!   

I'm asking again - if you don't do this now, when will you do it?  If you are not happy about any aspect of your life - your weight, your relationship, your job, it's up to you to change it before life passes you by!  Where are you on your goals?  What is preventing you from moving forward?

AND on the other side of the coin, if you are doing great - CONGRATS!!!!  It's really hard to keep motivation going!  Give yourself a huge pat on the back!

Let's see, what's been going on with me?  It's been a good week, but a tough one - the weather has been incredibly cold here like it has in most of the country.  I left work last night and went and got my hair cut.  When I got home at just after 5 PM it was about -10 degrees.  I went into the house and all I wanted to do was curl up in my sweats under my blanket.  Instead I went into our basement and ran 6 miles on the treadmill.  I felt good afterwards and even better when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that it has finally dropped to 118.  That puts me within my "you're good" range which I've been struggling to get back to.

I'm not trying to say that I'm the example that everyone here has to follow - but it just shows that if you want this bad enough, you DO IT.  

I do have to work a little more on my goal of being more organized - I've really been running out of time in the evenings, and have slacked off a little on my goal of cleaning and organizing at night.  So my plan is to get caught up this weekend and get back at it next week.  

Progress, not perfection, right?  Read this and then do something productive, even if it's only something small!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


An interesting thing happened yesterday.  I am on a weight loss site where I post regularly and a woman on the site whom I seem to have a lot in common with and whom I have tremendous respect for made a comment about the picture that I posted in my bikini.  She said "...are you a perfectionist, by any chance? You look like one of the fittest beings I've seen lately outside of professional trainers and high-ranking amateur athletes. Your standards for yourself are very, very high."

This comment caught me COMPLETELY off guard and I spent a lot of time thinking about what she said.  I do know that I am pretty fit.  BUT I don't see myself as being THAT in shape that it would stand out.

I have certainly been a perfectionist in lots of areas in my life.  I was thinking about this over the weekend when I was lamenting that the scale is still showing me about 3-4 pounds above where I want to be - I actually realized for the first time (yes, REALLY!) - that I am thinner and more fit than your typical 40 year old American woman.  

Hmmm... I didn't set out for this.  Originally I just wanted to lose some weight.  As the weight started to drop exercise was a means to an end - I didn't want to be extraordinarily fit - I just wanted to burn lots and lots of calories.  And my goal was to fit in booths in restaurants, to shop in regular stores for clothes and not have people stare and make rude remarks either to my face or behind my back.  

Then, as I realized not only was dramatic weight loss possible but that I was actually DOING this, I wanted to get to a "normal" weight.  Then as I arrived at a normal BMI, I decided I wanted to go a little lower.  At no point did I want to become an example of above-average fitness.  I just wanted to continue to maintain my weight loss and look decent.  

So on this weight loss site, this woman - who is also insecure about her appearance and very dedicated to working out - and I are talking about how sustainable this routine is.  I personally work out about 2 hours per day, every day.  How long can I keep this up?  Am I sacrificing activities that make a quality and fun life for sake of my appearance?  Am I somehow "missing out" on things because of my rigidity?  If I loosen up and become "average" can I live with this?

I don't know the answer to these questions.  This is all new territory for me.  I WAS missing out being morbidly obese, but I truly didn't see it at that time and didn't question it.  

Where do you stand on this?  Is your goal to be "average"?  Anyone out there fitness obsessed?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Backyard chickens...

I know I've talked on here about my chickens, but I guess I've never had a full post about them, so I'd thought I'd talk about that today!

Not too long into this journey I started reading about people raising chickens. Eggs are an incredibly good source of protein and I love eggs.  However, I read that chickens raised in factory type conditions are often mistreated and their eggs are not as good for you, so many people are raising their own chickens.  

So I began doing a ton of research.  What I found out is that chickens raised in backyard conditions produce eggs that are MUCH lower in cholesterol and fat and also have MUCH higher levels of vitamins then the typical eggs you buy in the grocery store.  Ok, I was sold!  

So we embarked on an adventure in raising chickens.  First we bought baby chicks and began raising them in our basement while we worked on building a coop for them.  Here is one of our first babies:

We got the coop built:

And then we started getting eggs!  

Our girls produce brown eggs which are no different then the white eggs - the breed of chicken determines the egg color, nothing else.

Our chickens are free range - we open their door for them in the morning and they leave and go where ever they want.  Around dusk they turn themselves in for the night and we shut their door.  That means they wander around throughout the day eating whatever they can find - which means they instinctively eat the best nutrients for themselves and their eggs.

Here's a pic of them hanging out yesterday:

I know a lot of people that raise chickens just love them like a pet.  I can't say Marc and I feel that strongly about them, but they are fun to watch and are definitely their own little community.  And we certainly appreciate the healthy eggs they give us!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Keep fighting

Just remember this.  Keep moving forward, no matter what.  I often tell myself this when I'm running - all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and MOVE.  No steps backwards, my friends - everything, and I mean EVERYTHING you seek is right there in front of you!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My own worst enemy...

You know, we do a lot of talking about whether or not certain people in our lives support us or not.  Friends, family, our SO's, co-workers, etc. - they can either help or hinder our progress in this journey.

But who is often our worst enemy?  Ourselves!  Why do we sabotage ourselves?

Have you ever stood in front of the refrigerator engaging in a debate with yourself whether you should or should not eat something?

How about wasting time debating whether you are going to go exercise?

And then when you do something "bad" - like overeat or eat something you shouldn't - who is the one that berates you and calls yourself names or tells you to give up?  Often it is you!!

In substance abuse counseling, we call this the "addictive voice".  It is the "evil twin" inside an addict that has no other purpose other then to make him or her use.  I encourage my clients to learn to identify that voice and to realize that it is their addiction talking and learn to fight it.

I try to listen for my "evil twin".  It's the voice that tells me that I was born to be fat and that this change I've made is only temporary.  It's the voice that tells me that I don't have time to exercise.  It's the voice that calls me names and tells me I'm ugly.  

I know you all have that voice, for some of you it's loud and mean, and for others, they have a smaller voice.  Either way, identify it, and learn to disregard it!  We have enough challenges, let's all stop being our own worst enemy!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

9 months post op...

Today marks 9 months since I had my 360 abdominoplasty.  Overall I remain very happy with how everything turned out.  I thought that I would include some pics today to show what I look like 9 months post...

As a reminder, this was me before surgery - I had lost about 207 pounds at this point.   

This is me last night.  I have lost about 20 additional pounds since the surgery, but certainly the surgery is what gave me the flat look.  As you can see, my thighs are pretty bad.

Here are some close ups of the incision site.  To be honest, I really thought that the scar would have faded much more then this.  I wonder if it ever will.  And the stretch marks will never go away.

A close up of the belly button.  This is the only part that I remain unhappy about.  But it's not that horrible from a distance, and all things considered....

Finally, just thought I'd show off my arms a little.  As you can see I'm got some decent muscle definition.  There is DEFINTELY the "bat wing" thing going on from the extra skin, but it's not bad at all compared to what some people end up with. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An "AH-HA!" moment...

Last year this guy named Phillip Phillips won American Idol and released a song called "Home".  I've heard this song many times and I like it.  Hell, I even have it on my MP3 player for when I'm running.  But the other day I heard it and the lyrics SMACKED me right across the head. 

Have you ever had one of those moments?  Where you just went "AH-HA!  That is totally true!" and it's made you think of something from a different perspective then you have thought of something before?

The lyrics that caused me to think are:


Wow.  Just read that over again and just think about it for a minute.  Does it hit you the way it does me?  

There are times in my life that I've felt lost.  That includes a loss of identity.  We have certain roles that we fill in our own lives and other people's lives.  So when we make radical changes - and tremendous weight loss is one of them - it effects our sense of who we are.  It also greatly effects how other people think of us.  I was always the "fat, funny one".  Now that I'm not fat anymore, I have to define who I am again.  I think I'm still figuring that out.  And sometimes, yes, I feel lost.

I'm sure some of you here are going through lots of things - both good and bad - that can make you feel lost - a divorce, kids leaving home, getting fired, having a child, graduating college, death in the family, etc.  Where do you feel lost? Are you unsure how to continue?  

Just remember - you can ALWAYS, ALWAYS change things.  Don't be afraid to make choices and challenge yourself - if you lose your way you can always come back from it.  If you are lost right now don't despair - you can be found.

And another part of that song is "Just know you're not alone".  You are NOT ALONE.    

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


What's the difference between denial and lying?  Easy - in denial you have actually fooled yourself into believing something.  Whereas lying is just that - you know it's bullshit and you say it anyway.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit with the whole Lance Armstrong thing and his interview coming out with Oprah.  I was never a fan or a "hater" of Lance Armstong.  I didn't follow his career very closely.  But when the report came out from USADA about the scope and depth of his involvement in doping, I read the entire report.  And I was absolutely shocked.  I mean it is SO OBVIOUS how much doping went on from Lance and his teammates with Lance being the main offender!

Since then I've seen some tapes of him denying that he doped.  I don't know him well enough to know whether he was outright lying or whether he was so in denial that he convinced himself that he wasn't doing anything wrong.  But I'll tell you, it looks like denial to me.

How is this possible?  Well, I look back on my own denial.  I mean I weighed 344 pounds.  I would watch football games and would hear the announcers talk about some linebackers that were "huge tanks" that weighed LESS THEN ME and stood 6 feet tall.  I couldn't fit in airplane seats and couldn't put the tray tables down.  I went to restaurants and scoured for tables because I usually couldn't fit in booths.  I mostly shopped for clothes online because most stores didn't carry my size.  I had severe sleep apnea and had to wear a mask every night so I wouldn't stop breathing.  I was tired and uncomfortable.  I barely fit behind the steering wheel of my car.  

And yet I was convinced that I wasn't that bad.  I told myself that I wasn't unhealthy - I still got around, worked full time, took my dogs for walks, my blood pressure was normal and, you know, being fat isn't the ONLY reason that people have sleep apnea - some thin people have it too.  I told myself that it wasn't my fault - I didn't really eat all that much more then a normal person.  I believed that some day the medical community would develop a medication that would allow people like me - with a "painfully slow metabolism" that was, of course, no fault of my own, to lose the weight.   

Talk about denial!

So my weight has spiked up this week - about 4 pounds high.  And I've been making excuses - I'm retaining water from eating salty meals, I'm building muscle, this is a temporary bump, I'm eating well.  Today I got to thinking - is this how it happens? Is this how people that have lost tremendous amounts of weight gain it all back?   By letting denial creep in ever so slowly?  Marc says that 4 pounds is no big deal.  But when does it become a big deal?  6 pounds?  10?  20?  Hell to the NO.

So the denial stops right now.  Clearly I am eating too much for what exercise I am doing.  I have eaten healthy so far today and wanted a snack this afternoon but instead made peppermint tea which I am drinking as I type this.  No more denial, it's time to get back to basics.  

How about you?  Any denial going on?  Let's fix this - together!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My dream...

I'm guessing there are at least a few people reading this that have had issues with in the past or still struggle with binge eating.  I have never had that issue.  I don't think I have ever in my life had what could be considered an actual binge.  

So this is why the dream I had last night was so weird.  I was in some house that I didn't recognize.  There was some celebration going on and there was a large chocolate store bought sheet cake in the room.  My friend took a piece and left the room and I was all alone.  And that's when I went nuts.  I went over to the cake and just started STUFFING my face with cake.  I'm talking no fork, 2 hands, grabbing cake and chowing down.  

In the dream I remember hoping that neither my friend nor anyone else would come back into the room, because was face was covered with cake and frosting but I just couldn't stop eating.

Strange huh?

I woke up with a start and then had a surge of RELIEF flush through me that it was just a dream.  I got up to go to the bathroom and while on the toilet I was looking at my fingernails because I half expected them to have cake and frosting packed under them.  It was one of those dreams that feel that real.  

Any thoughts on what might have caused me to dream this?

Monday, January 14, 2013

At war with the scale...

So I really try not to get frustrated with people who are new to this weight loss journey and start getting frustrated and even talk about quitting because "I'm doing everything right and the scale hasn't moved!"  I try really hard, but I do find myself silently going off on them.

First off, I do believe in weighing yourself.  On my way down, I weighed daily and I still do.  But you cannot get obsessed with the numbers on the scale.  If you do, you'll go nuts.  For some people, they weigh themselves weekly for this reason.  Make sure when you do weigh, make sure you weigh at the same time and under the same circumstances every day.  For most people that means jumping on the scale right after you get up and after that first pee of the morning.  

You want to look at TRENDS - not day to day fluctuations.  Make one day your "official" day.  Mine was always Sunday.  During the week, you'll see ups and downs, but on your "official" day, you should be down. Sometimes you'll be down a lot, and sometimes hardly at all.  Track it on a chart.  If over the course of a few weeks, you are consistently going down, you are doing something right.  If you are not, then you are doing something wrong.

Secondly, remember that the scale is not the be all and end all.  That's why I encourage measuring.  Are you ok being 1 pound down but losing 3 inches in your hips?  I certainly hope so!!  This is especially true if you are new to exercising.  Your body is going to be a little shocked and might not drop poundage, but you will lose inches.

Thirdly, if you are not losing weight after a course of a few weeks, something needs to change.  You are not a miracle of science.  I see people all the time saying that they are exercising and eating PERFECTLY and their weight has not dropped at all.  NOT POSSIBLE. 

Fourth, I've said this AD NAUSEUM but I'm saying it again.  This is not a FAST journey.  If you expect to have 5 days of great behavior - exercising and eating right - and you think you can hop on the scale and have it drop 20 pounds, you are shit out of luck.  It doesn't work that way.  Wrap your head around this, or quit.  See how much weight you lose when you give up.  Either you want to work for this or you want a magic fairy to wave her wand and make you thin with hardly any effort.  I waited a LONG time for that fairy and guess what?  THE BITCH NEVER SHOWED!

Instead I had to work for this.  So suck it up, be patient and persistant, and you WILL get there.  But don't start complaining 2 weeks into this!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Things I love: Garmin Forerunner 410

I think that I've mentioned on here before my GPS watch.  I totally love this thing!  It's a little expensive for a cheapskate like me, but if you use it as much as I do, it's totally worth it!

I have the Garmin Forerunner 410 with the chest strap. 

Are you guys familiar with these devices?  If you are a runner or a walker, getting a GPS watch is a must have IMO.  You start it when you leave and it tracks your exact distance.  It also tracks your heart rate (if you have the chest strap) as well as calories burned.  

The chest strap is really comfortable and you wear it just under your boobs so it can get your heart rate.  I don't even notice that it's there.

This watch has SO MANY features, that I'm not going to list here, you can read up if you are interested.  But let me point out some of the things I like about it.

I hear so much from people wanting to know exactly how to track how many calories they are burning during exercise.  It's just not an exact science.  But if you are wearing a chest strap, it tracks your heart rate and can give you a good idea of how many calories you burned.  And if you're not walking or running, you can turn the GPS OFF and track calories burned for things like doing a DVD or doing a class.  If you are at a gym and think you are ok, because the bike or whatever tracks your calories, you are WRONG.  Calorie counters on machines are TERRIBLY inaccurate.  The only way to know is to wear a heart monitor.

This device has a "virtual partner".  If you are like me, when I'm walking, I start out at a good pace, but if I'm not focusing, I tend to slow down.  If you put on your "virtual partner" it will "walk with you" and you can set it to keep a specific pace and it will let you know if you need to speed up.

Garmin has a website where you can upload your date.  When I come home I set my watch near the computer and it takes just seconds to WIRELESSLY upload to their website.  I can see at a glance how far I went, the time, the elevation change and all kinds of other details.  You can also download this information like I do and put it in - a exercising website.

Garmin is kind of the standard for GPS watches, so I highly recommend them.  You can find cheapo watches but you're not going to get the same features or accuracy.  Sometimes you have to splurge and get the good stuff.

Now for me, it's time to get dressed, put on the watch and head out for a run! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Let's review the week!

I'm guessing a lot of you are like me and just completed your first full week back to a routine - including for many of us back to a full week of work - since the holidays.  So how did you do?  Take a minute today, review your goals and see how you did and what you might need to adjust or change.

 For me, here are some of my goals and how I did:
  • Exercise - I did really well this week.  From last Sunday until today, I walked or ran over 27 miles.  And I'm planning on walking several miles today.  I worked out twice every day with cardio and strength.  So I'm right on track here!
  • Food - I did really well.  Certainly not GREAT, but quite well.  No "naughty" foods and good portions.  The one mistake that I made, which I have made in the past, is not eating enough during the day, so when I get home I am STARVING and snack too much before dinner.  The snacks I chose were HEALTHY, like raisins, but I still ate too many.  I've been really frustrated with the scale this week and was determined to get it down.  I weighed in at 118.2 this morning, which is within my "you're good" zone, so I'm going to eat more during the day so I don't make this mistake next week.
  • Organization/Cleaning - I did pretty well with this, but it's MUCH harder to keep up when I am working 8 hours every day!!  But I did do a little every day, and should be able to take this weekend to catch up on things.  We'll see what I am able to do this weekend before deciding if I need to adjust my plan!
  • Being a better pet parent - I think I treat my animals really well.  They are my babies!  But there is always room for improvement, and sometimes when I am busy or stressed I don't take enough time to talk to them and pet them and play with them.  I definitely improved this week and will continue to try to get better!
So where do you stand on your goals?  You're not losing momentum are you?  If you got off track you can get back on, right this very second!

Hope everyone has a fun and healthy weekend!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Ending the week on a high note.

My left IT Band started hurting me in the very beginning of December.  Shortly after that is when I started doing the strengthening and stretching exercises and began foam rolling.  I have been consistently working it since then.  I had not attempted to run without the IT band strap, though.  

Then, as I told you guys, the RIGHT IT Band suddenly decided to give me a problem this week.  So yesterday I went out to run and decided to put the strap around the RIGHT leg and test out my left leg on it's own.  I ran 5.3 miles and both legs felt fine.  But it was a weird run - the sidewalks are still covered with ice and snow, so there was some stopping and starting and I ran slower then normal.

So today, I decided to try to run again and see what happened running 2 days in a row.  I ran 6 miles with the strap on my right leg and both legs felt great during the run and feel great now!!!  I am so excited!  

To me, this shows that the rehabbing I have been doing of stretching and strengthening has been working!  I'm not saying that the problem is "cured" but clearly I've been doing something right!

I've talked a lot on here about determination and stubborness when it comes to exercise and food.  But this also shows that taking care of yourself is more then that - you need to commit to taking care of yourself completely - head to toe - and good things will happen!

This means things like:
  • Medication compliance - take meds that are prescribed to use and take them right!  If you are supposed to take the antibiotics for 10 days, take them for 10, NOT 6.  
  • Sleep - get a good night's sleep!
  • Stress - keep your stress level in check
  • If you smoke, STOP!
  • Floss your teeth!
  • Don't ignore chronic pain symptoms
  • Use condoms if you are not in a monogamous relationship

And if you have back, leg, shoulder, knee issues, find out what you can do to fix them - too many people have these pain issues and they give up rather then work on fixing them.  It would have been easy for me to say "Well, my running is over" when I ran into this.  But instead I was DETERMINED to find a solution!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You are NOT "selfish"...

I'm going to write today about something I feel passionate about and I know not everyone will agree with - so hang on!

Are you taking this journey alone or with others?  I imagine many of you that are reading this have families.  A significant other and/or kids.  If you are part of the "typical" American family and you need to lose some weight and get in shape, chances are that other people in your family do, too. 

I have been hearing a lot about people - usually women - that are beginning their weight loss journey who are facing resentment from their husbands and/or their kids.  They are being told that they are being "selfish" because they don't want certain foods in the house. 

Let me tell you this - if you are doing this right, YOU ARE NOT BEING SELFISH BY NOT ALLOWING CRAP IN YOUR HOUSE!!!  Your husband does NOT need a dozen donuts sitting out on the counter.  Your son does NOT need a freezer filled with processed crap like microwaveable pizza.  You are not being totally selfish by cooking brown rice for dinner rather then Ore-Ida french fries.

You are doing your family a FAVOR by role modeling healthy living including good eating habits.  There is only so much that you can control, but I would encourage you to do it.  Don't buy unhealthy foods for yourself or anyone else.  Buy lots and lots of healthy foods and try to get your family to eat them.  Baby carrots, fruit, protein bars are all good suggestions.  Cook healthy meals and make it clear that this is what you are cooking and you're not going to make something healthy for yourself and crap for them.  Try to get your kids to go out on a walks with you. 

If hubby makes a choice to stop on his way home and buy a greasy burrito and a carton of cigarettes, you might not be able to stop him.  BUT you DO NOT have to enable his behavior.  And you are not a doormat - this is your house and you have decided to make changes and they can get with the program or tough titty. 

I would strongly encourage everyone to think of this journey not just as a journey of weight loss.  This is about finding yourself and becoming powerful and confident and beautiful and STRONG.  You control your own destiny.  You are the parent - do what is best for your kids and that means making choices for them sometimes that they are not going to like.  You know how hard this is for you, well it's tough for them, too.  Suck it up - they will be grateful later when they don't face some issues we have faced due to weight issues - physically and emotionally!

As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink BUT YOU CAN MAKE HIM THIRSTY!!  Make your family thirsty!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A sad day...

My mother's dog, Mindi, went to the Rainbow Bridge today:

RIP Mindi and run without pain and confusion.  You brought a lot of joy to Mom and Lee's life.  Say "HI!" to my kids, Tucker, B'Elanna, Riker and Benji when you get there, will you?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A day in the life...

I have been asked to talk about my typical day when it comes to food and exercise as well as just getting organized and leisure time.

So let's talk about today - a fairly typical Tuesday.  

My alarm went off at 6:35 AM.  I got up and jumped in the shower.  My wonderful husband let the dogs out and cooked breakfast for us.  So I head out into the kitchen at about 6:55 AM.  Waiting for me are 2 fried eggs from our chickens.  I put a little ketchup on the eggs - I use Hunt's which is made with no High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I finished getting ready and before I headed out the door I put my lunch - which I got ready the night before - in my bag and brew a cup of coffee in my Keurig.  This morning it was Spicy Eggnog Flavor.

I get to work and work from 8-12.  During that time I had one additional cup of coffee - I wanted a stronger cup, so I chose Kahlua flavor.  The only thing I ate was a pickle.  I often have a pickle for the salt on the days that I plan on running.  I also drank about 20 ounces of water.

At noon I changed my clothes and headed outside.  I was bundled up and wasn't cold, but the sidewalks were completely covered with snow and ice so I ended up running on the side of the roads, which sucked.  After the first mile I turned down some side streets and ran up and down them, but still had to keep an eye out for cars and it was not fun.  Then, at 5 miles in, my OTHER IT Band - the one that I haven't had any problem with - started killing me.  Grrrr....

It took me 50:08 to run 6 miles.  I headed back up to change my clothes and stretch.  Then I put an ice pack on my right knee and ate lunch.  Lunch consisted of the following - 4 pieces chicken deli meat (50 calories) and a slice of reduced fat mozarella cheese (50 calories) on a Flatout wrap (90 calories) with some honey mustard, raw spinach and a handful of dried cranberries.  I also had a banana.  And, of course, 25 ounces of water.

In the afternoon I refilled my water and had another 25 ounces and put a packet of Lipton Green Tea and Honey in it.

I left work at 4PM.  As soon as I got home, I cleaned out my workout bag.  Took out the sweaty clothes and refilled with some shorts and a sports bra as my workout will be a DVD inside tomorrow.  I also laid out the clothes I'm going to wear tomorrow.  Then I used the computer for a while.  Had a handful of raisins.

At about 5:15 PM Marc and I headed down to the workout room where I did some core/ab work - I did 90 push-ups, dumbbell side bends, and woodchoppers (to name a few) and also worked my IT Band, doing fire hydrants and clam shells - all while watching TV - definitely makes the time go faster.  Then Marc used my foam roller to work on my IT Bands.  After about 45 minutes we headed back upstairs and began preparing dinner.  

Dinner tonight was a piece of South African Hake fish - Marc cooked it on the top of the stove with some dry rub.  Also had a huge portion of veggies (Oriental Blend by Bird's Eye), 1/2 cup of brown rice, 3/4 cup of white rice, a slice of fresh pineapple and 1 cup of skim milk.  

After dinner, we picked up and cleaned up the kitchen - including emptying and refilling the dishwasher and cleaning the stove top .  I also got ready what I want for lunch tomorrow and put it where I can grab it quick.  I got out meat out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for what we will have for dinner tomorrow.  I will be eating oatmeal tomorrow for breakfast so I put that in the bowl with a spoon and placed it in the microwave.

I'll take a quick shower as soon as I'm done with this.  From 8-10 we'll watch television while I'm crocheting my latest project.   I'll have another 25 ounces of water with a flavor packet as well as a container of fat free yogurt (90 calories).  I have yogurt almost every night and rotate between Walmart brand, Yoplait and Dannon - all the light kinds.  I freeze them the night before and then set them out about an hour or so before I intend on eating them.  It almost feels like eating ice cream.  Tonight is Yoplait, the apple turnover flavor.

For today, that brings me in to about 1500 calories - as I mentioned, I don't rigorously count any more, but I tried to keep it a little lower then normal as I'm trying to drop a little. The running will have burned about 450 calories, not to mention the other exercise, so I'm feeling pretty good about today!

At 10 we'll head into our bedroom and watch tv until 11PM.  Set the alarm and get ready to do it all tomorrow!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

When does this get easier?

That's a question I keep hearing over and over now that people are about a week into a lifestyle change.

I don't know that it ever gets "easy" as you can see from my struggles and challenges.  But let me tell you what DOES get easier:

Exercise - let me tell you what hurts like hell - exercising when you are obese and exercising when you are out of shape.  If you are BOTH, like I was when I started - well, there is just no way to describe to someone who is fit and thin how badly it hurts.  You sweat, your head pounds, your heart feels like it is going to propel itself out of your chest and every muscle in your body hurts - including muscles that you didn't know existed.  GOOD.  That's what is supposed to happen.  I remember early on doing 2 sets of 10 squats - and the next day I could barely walk.  Now I do tons of squats - with weights - and it barely phases me.

Trust me, it gets better - your body learns quickly.  But you need to push yourself.  Being fat is NOT an excuse for not exercising hard.  You aren't going to break.  You aren't going to die.  I remember doing the 30 Day Shred and Jillian Michaels was saying there was no modifier for the jumping jacks and that on her TV show there are 400 pound people doing jumping jacks and to just DO THEM.  And I did them - with my knees killing me and my belly fat leaping up and down - and I was like "YOU STUPID BITCH!"   I was absolutely SURE that I was the only one in the WORLD who hated exercise and who hurt as bad as I did.  What a joke - how in denial was I?  Now jumping jacks don't hurt a bit.  You will be AMAZED at what your body can do.  

Any exercise is good exercise - BUT if you want DRAMATIC change a 2 mile stroll 3 times a week is not going to cut it.  Trust me, I wish that it did.  But you have to work for it.  And that means being uncomfortable and tried and sore and angry at times.  But when it's over - both physically and mentally you feel GREAT.  Some days you don't want to work out - I didn't today at lunch.  But I did and I would have totally been mad at myself if I had copped out.

Food - Learning to eat healthy is a process.  There is a lot of evidence to show that sweet, salty processed food has a HIGHLY addictive quality.  You are going to CRAVE these things if you have been used to eating them.  Like a dope addict in withdrawal type craving.  I haven't had french fries from a fast food place (I do BAKE my own at home - let me know if you want to know how to do this - they are delish!) since at least April of 2010.  But for months afterwards - MONTHS - I would smell them when a co-worker brought them in or I drove by a fast food place and I would literally feel weak and shaky and want a taste so bad.  The other night I was working out and an advertisment came on for Burger King and their new Whopper with fries and it held absolutely no interest for me.  It wasn't that I talked myself out of it, it's just the thought of eating processed CRAP like that - ick!  It truly grosses me out to even think about it.

Now let's talk about something here.  In the substance abuse field we talk about picking up where you left off if you relapse.  So let's say a cocaine addict has 7 months completely clean and sober.  And then he relapses and smokes crack for an evening.  His brain VIVIDLY remembers cocaine and it mentally takes him back to SQUARE ONE.  I could go into the brain chemistry on that, but I don't want to bore you...

Sorry to break it to you, folks, but with these processed foods it's the same thing.  So you go a month without eating fast food and then you decide you deserve a cheat day and you pig out at McDonald's.  YOU START OVER AGAIN.  So if you cheat - and I cheat on occasion - make sure you are doing it with as non-processed food as you can get.  I.E. you are better eating a HOME BAKED chocolate chip cookie then a Keebler's packaged cookie.  Make sense?  And I wouldn't cheat (and I didn't) until you are a ways into your journey and really have a grip on your eating.  That includes drinking as well - stay away from soda!

 Trust me - I know it doesn't feel like it now, but your tastes will change.  Your body knows what it is supposed to eat and as soon as you "detox" yourself from the crap you've been putting into it, it will start telling you what to eat.  I now eat things like tomatoes and onions that I never ate in the past.  

So please, hang in there.  Cry when you workout, throw a pity party for yourself when everyone else is eating crap and you're eating carrots.  But do it.  Don't give up. Remember why you are doing this.  Life is important, not dinner.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Totally random thoughts

Not feeling inspired today, so I'm just going to post some random thoughts.  First, though, I had someone send me an e-mail asking how I walk both of my Boxers at the same time.  I use a dog leash coupler like this:

 Much easier then trying to held 2 leashes at the same time.  My dogs adapted to it immediately.  They walk right together, but it is not unusual for them to switch places back and forth.  It doesn't tangle because of the swivel on the leash itself.  

I'm feeling okay today.  Believe it or not, my OTHER IT Band started bothering me on Friday when I ran on the treadmill.  But I'm doing well in keeping panic in check.  I may have to order another IT Band strap.  What a total pain!  But I walked 6 miles yesterday and 7.5 today with the dogs.  I might run a short distance on the treadmill today just to see how it feels.  

My weight remains up a little, hopefully another week of really sticking to my guns will bring me down.

So I feel that I am doing well in the short time that it's been since the new year in being open and flexible.  I also am doing really well in keeping organized and cleaning a little bit every day.  This is going to be MUCH easier though in the winter when I don't want to be outside at all!

Can I show you guys something that helped me get organized when it comes to shopping?  We have a large freezer in our pantry in addition to the one that comes integrated into the fridge.  I did that so I can stock up and grocery shop less.  All the meat is in that freezer in their own packages, but the also in a large garbage bag labled:

 So like when I'm looking for ground turkey, I can just pull one out of the bag.

Then I bought some chalkboard paint.  On the back of the pantry door, I painted some of this paint and track what I have as far as meat:

When it's time to go grocery shopping, a quick look at the door tells me what meat I need and what I don't.  Any time I can cut down on wasting time - say looking through a freezer, the better! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ahhhh... the weekend!

Ok, so what do you guys plan to do on your weekends?  It's easy (well easier) to eat right and get into a routine during the week, but it becomes much more challenging on the weekends.  Some people choose to "cheat" 1 day out of the weekend, and that's their plan and it works for them.  I never did that.  If you want to do it, it's certainly okay, because, after all, it's your journey and your life.  However, you should not expect to eat at a deficit all week long and then eat a LOT even 1 day out of the weekend and expect a 2 pound loss per week.  I wanted that loss, so I was unwilling to have a cheat day.

How did everyone do your first week if you were on plan or back on plan?  I did pretty well.  I am back under my "no-no" line this morning, weighing in at 119.3.  BUT I like to stay pretty well at 117, so I am still above where I want to be.  So I have some work to do.

If you DID NOT do well this week, get up, brush yourself off and re-start - RIGHT NOW.  It's never too late.  If you did "okay" - meaning you started some lifestyle changes but didn't do perfect, then GREAT!  Do better today then you did yesterday!  If you did FANTASTIC this week, pat yourself on the back but remember that you are in this for the long haul.     

Here is my challenge to you - EXERCISE TODAY!  I just got back from taking the dogs on a 6 mile walk in temps just over 20 degrees.  There is no excuse for not fitting something in today.  What are you doing to get fit and fabulous this morning?  

I was watching CSI: NY last night and a character said "We all have an expiration date, whether it's 10 minutes from now or 10 years."  What do you want to do, to be, to look like before that expiration date comes?  What legacy do you want to leave?  It starts NOW.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Get out of the box...

Did I ever tell you guys this story?  When I run on my lunch hour I take a route that leads me away from my workplace, then I cross over a block just over a mile up and head back towards my work.  So I was running during the heat of the summer and when I got back, a co-worker asked me how my run went.  I told her that there was a nice breeze on Washington Street (which leads away) but then when I crossed over to Sherman Street (the road that leads back) that there was no breeze at all and the heat was oppressive.   

So this co-worker says to me "Why didn't you just cross back over to Washington Street and run back that way?"  I just stared at her with a stupid expression on my face.  Why?  Because it NEVER occurred to me to cross back over because that's not my scheduled route!!  Doesn't that sound crazy?  But seriously, I truly never even thought of that.

I've talked here before about my rigidity and obsessive-compulsive type thinking.  One of my goals for 2013 is to change that.  I want to be able to be more flexible in lots of areas of my life.  I want to be able to think outside of the box about problems and issues that I am having.  I tend to be an ALL OR NOTHING type thinker.  It's why I panic when my weight goes up a bit.  Because I see myself as either a "fat pig" or "skinny":  That's not true, of course!  There are lots and lots of pounds between these 2 extremes.  But I don't see that.

I know that it sounds so simple, but what I posted about yesterday - realizing that I could set my alarm to get up just a few minutes earlier - that was a breakthrough for me!  I want to be more free thinking, more creative, more relaxed.  

I believe that being these things can make me more successful in lots of area of my life.  I know a lot of you out there can identify with this.  What areas of your life need improving and what "out of the box" thinking can you do to get yourself there?  

Where can you save a little bit of money for example?  Many people want to save huge chunks, and if they don't have that they just spend the small about they do have thinking it's not worth it.  Do you stop for coffee every morning?  Then you are throwing money down the drain - it's so much cheaper to brew at home.  Not willing to give it up completely?  Can you commit to not buying coffee out 2 days a week?  And put that money to the side?    You'll be shocked at how fast it adds up.  

Together, let's strive to find the grey!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5 more minutes....

For me, as well as for many of you, I know, it was back to reality yesterday.  And as the movie told us, Reality BITES.  Wish I could say I was thrilled to return to work, but I wasn't.  And I even like my job LOL.

In my quest to become more organized I was relaxing last night and realized that every freaking morning, I'm running behind and need to RUN out of the house.  I'm not usually late, but I'm arriving just on time to work and it is causing me stress.

So I started thinking about how I could remedy this.  I wish I was a morning person!  I would love to be able to get up early every day and exercise and start the day off like that.  BUT I know that this is never going to happen.  I hate mornings and I also hate working out when my body is stiff.  AND, frankly, I really, really, really like sleeping. 

Then I realized - I don't have to be a morning person and I don't have to drastically change what I'm doing in order to get more organized and efficient.  Life is NOT an all or nothing proposition.  So I changed my alarm and got up exactly 6 minutes earlier this morning.  6 minutes may not seem like a lot, but when you're used to only running a few minutes behind, I was thinking that it might do the trick.  So this morning was good - I didn't feel a huge impact getting up just a few minutes earlier AND I was much less rushed and arrived at work with a few minutes to spare.  We'll see how this works when I work a full week next week. 

In other news, I made it through the holidays relatively unscathed and thought the worst was over. However, on New Year's Day, I cooked a chuck roast in the slow cooker and put in some dry onion soup mix which was really salty.

Yesterday the scale was WAY up which I tried to not let it stress me out. So I get home last night and my sister in law had brought us PLATES and PLATES of cookies, brownies, etc. I had only 1 chocolate chip cookie but shouldn't have eaten that and wanted more - WAY MORE.  Those stupid things taunted me all night! Scale still 5 pounds up today, and I get to work and get a late Xmas gift from a Judge I work with - a tall glass with the courthouse etched in it - FILLED with Hershey's kisses.  As if that weren't enough, I go back to fill up my water and, YOU GUESSED IT - tons of homemade cookies sitting on the table calling to me.

I don't know why but I want some SO SO SO bad.  I haven't indulged today - worked out HARD at lunch and had an orange instead of a cookie, but I'm feeling remarkably weak willed.  Send me some willpower vibes, would ya?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Managing expectations

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here.  But I do want to talk today about managing your expectations.  Because I've seen SOOOOO many times where people are so motivated and committed and then they end up expecting too much and get discouraged.  So let's talk reality today...
It will not be unusual for you to lose 4-6 pounds or even more in your first couple weeks of weight lost.  THEY WILL NOT LAST.  So when your weight lost slows down or even stops during periods, you should expect this and accept it as normal.  You did not end up overweight in 1-2 months and you will not become fit and skinny in 1-2 months.  If this is going to happen, you need to be in it for the long haul and be prepared to FIGHT.
Here's some advice:
  • Buy a scale.  Weigh yourself once per day.  Usually in the morning right after you get up.  It is a great tool.  But don't let it be the only thing that determines your progress.  Take measurements, too.  Right now measure your bra strap area, your waist, your hips and your thighs.
  • Don't worry about how much you have to lose total.  Celebrate each and every day or every week small gains - you add up enough 2 pound losses and you'll be there before you know it!
  • EDUCATE yourself!  Start reading up about food and exercise.  Learn what aids weight loss and what doesn't.  Learn about good foods and what exercise does for your metabolism.
  • On that note, STOP EATING CRAP.  Some people will tell you that a calorie is a calorie.  I cannot disagree more.  If you want to get healthy you have to stop eating processed crap.  Little Debbie snacks are shit.  McDonald's is horrible.  Even things like Lean Cuisines are terrible!  Fresh fruits and vegetables and meats and grains - that's the way to go.  This doesn't mean you can't have a treat once and a while, but it needs to be once and a while and not a staple.
  • START EXERCISING.  Right now.  Find something that you want to do and do it.  Zumba, EA Sports Active and Wii Fit is how I started.  Walking is fantastic exercise.  Take your dog.  If you don't have a dog GET ONE and start walking!  I'm being funny, but research shows that people with dogs lose more weight and faster then people without!  A pedometer is cheap and lets you track how many steps you take in a day.
  • Buy a food scale.  They are cheap and totally worth it.  People in this country have NO IDEA how much a normal portion is.  I certainly didn't.  If you want to track your food - whether you're counting calories or not - you need to know how much you are eating.
  • Enlist people to help keep you on track.  Chances are if you need to get in shape so does someone else in your family.  Become workout buddies and hold each other accountable food wise.  No one fit the bill?  Join online fitness sites like and  In fact, do this anyway.
  • Get organized.  Make a commitment to planning your meals for the week.  It will lessen the chances of you stopping quick to get crap.  Lists are your friend! 
  • Write down your goals and remember why you are doing this.  Write down what you will do to reward yourself when you hit milestones.  Like a pedicure when you lose 25 pounds.
I hope these suggestions help keep you on track.  Remember that this is your life and you alone control it.  You will be shocked at how much else falls into place when you start getting control.  Not just in terms of weight, but you will have control in multiple other facets of your life - like money and work and relationships.  It is exciting and wonderful.  That's not to say that there won't be bad days - trust me, there will be!  But once again close your eyes and IMAGINE....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome newbies!!

I'm certainly not ignoring you that have been reading this blog right along, but with this being a new year, I know that there will be new people coming to read my blog and I'd like to welcome them.  And say the following:
Get excited, people!  Let me tell you newbies a little about me.  My name is Jennifer and I live in Northern NY with my husband Marc, our 2 Boxers and 10 cats.  If you had told me on January 1st, 2010 that I would be sitting here, on January 1, 2013 weighing in at 117 pounds, I would have said that you were NUTS!

You see, on January 1, 2010, I was 37 years old and weighed about 344 pounds.  My life was pretty good and while I knew I needed to lose weight, I was also highly in denial about how much my weight was a problem.  I also had myself CONVINCED that it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to lose weight unless one of 2 things happened:

1) I had gastric bypass surgery or
2) I won the lottery, could quit my job and hire a personal trainer and a chef.

As it turns out, neither of those were necessary.  What it took instead was me buckling down and making a commitment to a better life and to better health.  And over the course of 2.5 years, I (quite literally) worked my ass off and lost 228 pounds.

I want you to know something right off - I am just ME.  I am NOT incredibly special, or motivated, or talented.  I don't have any special training in nutrition or fitness.  I have done this all through trial and error and I have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  Although some have referred to me as an "inspiration", I didn't set out to be one, and I don't see myself that way.

But I have learned some things during this journey, and if they are useful to you, that makes me happy!  So I'll continue to give tips and tricks and hope that it helps you.  

Now do me a favor - close your eyes and IMAGINE where you will be on January 1, 2014.  Go ahead, don't just phone this in - VISUALIZE yourself and where you want to be.  If I can do it, you can, too!!  Start today.  Right this minute.