Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stupid Kid!

Dear Fareway Employee,
      I understand that you're a mere 19 years old and that you've never had to carry groceries into your house and therefore have no knowledge of an ideal sacking job...HOWEVER, common sense should tell you that those flimsy plastic grocery sacks were not meant to carry a 6lb can of tomatoes. Two bags would've even had difficulty, but one? C'mon.
     Now, thanks to your inadequacies as a sacker, I have a black and blue (and nearly broken) toe and I will be limping for a week instead of busting my ass at the gym like I'd planned. You? Are a frickin' moron.

That being said, it's not totally his fault that I won't be at the gym the rest of this week (but damn, it felt good blaming the snot-nosed little punk!). Mother Nature has decided to dump freezing rain & snow on us here in the heartland. Seeing as we have one vehicle and hubby can't take any time off of work, his only option is to stay in the city so he can get to and from work over the next couple days. This means that I will have no way to get to the gym. Some might say "WOO!!" but honestly, it's a big fat "BOO" from me. I enjoy the gym and I enjoy my workouts. I also enjoy the tanning session I treat myself with after I work out.

So...it'll be the weekend before I get back to the gym. Until then, I'm going to try not to overeat and be a sloth, but honestly? Home alone? Four days? I may not even get outta bed. *giggle*

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ahh, hello Wagon. I missed you.

I feel the need to start this blog out with a big apology to my followers. Many of you relied on my posts to motivate you and I let you down. I'm sorry that I haven't posted much fitness-related. I'm hoping that will be changing as of now.

I stepped foot back in the gym tonight. I started my HIIT program over from the start. 5 minute warm-up, 30 second sprint, 60 second slower pace, repeated 6 times, then a 5 minute cool-down. I did really well and barely broke a sweat, but I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow. I will continue this stage for a week. Next week, I will do the same warm-ups and cool-downs with 30-second sprints and 30-second slower paces.

I will also be alternating my HIIT with a basic weight circuit training program. My goal here isn't to build bigger muscles, but strengthen what I have. Strengthened muscles will help burn fat more quickly. The cardio work I'm doing with HIIT combined with the weight training will help increase my metabolism.

Speaking of metabolism, I'd like to address the difference in mine. Obviously with the weight I lost from June til November, it's safe to say that my metabolism increased dramatically. I worked out on average 4 days a week for several months. I cut back in some areas of my diet, but generally speaking, I didn't go without what I wanted to eat. I may have eaten less of it, but I really didn't eliminate anything entirely. During the month of November and thus far in December, I have only gained 7lbs, which really, for someone of my size is not that much. It's a drop in the bucket. In fact, I could very easily be down those 7lbs by the end of the year. I knew having a high metabolism was good in order to lose weight, but what wasn't blatantly obvious to me was how handy that high metabolism would be when I fell off the wagon last month and it helped me basically maintain my weight for the last 6 weeks. That's pretty kickass.

So...that's where I'm at. I am gonna continue to bust my butt and hopefully by this time next year I'll be at my goal!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's been a while...

This time of year is almost always tough on me. Financial constraints and family stress during the holidays are usually the trigger point. After the holidays I face the anniversaries of my parents deaths: my father's in January and my mother's in February. To say that winter is a bleak time for me is an understatement.

I battled depression from the time I was 9 years old. It was undiagnosed for years, then I spent another ten years on one psychotropic drug after another. I also spent years in therapy with psychologists who were hell bent on labeling me any and every way they could. Agoraphobic, manic depressive and narcoleptic were some of the most outrageous. I was prescribed meds that were typically given to schizophrenics and narcoleptics. It was unreal the amount of drugs I had pumped through my system in the 90's.

Since my days of diagnosed depression, I've done a lot of research on that particular diagnosis as well as the other diagnoses I was given during that time. I've come to understand what situations trigger that behavior in me and, over time, have successfully eliminated many of those situations. I've worked very, very hard to surround myself with supportive, positive people. People who build me up rather than break me down. I've also chose to cut ties with friends and family who reflect the behavior that I'm trying to avoid in myself.

As a result I've been med-free for almost three years. This battle is one that I dance with daily. I know myself and I know how easy it is to slip back into that depression. For my own self preservation, I have to remove myself from places and situations that may trigger those low points from me. Much like a diabetic has to regular sugar and insulin, I have to regulate being supportive to friends who may be feeling defeated and stepping away entirely to protect myself.

I spent ten years in a black cloud of negativity. I spent every day wondering if anything was ever going to go right for me. I wondered daily "Why me?" I stayed awake at night worry about the "What next's?"

I'm a firm believer that God only gives us what He knows we can handle. He gives us the tools to become strong and to recognize our limits. That ten year cloud was my limit. I can never go there again. I've come to realize what things I need to do to guarantee I don't reach those limits again.

It's not that I don't want to be supportive. It's not that I have no sympathy for those dealing with depression. It's not even that I don't understand what they're going through. The fact of the matter is - I can't help you without hurting me.

And that's not something I'm willing to sacrifice again.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some new links for you

Upon doing some research today, I've happened upon some links that you may find helpful.

The Meatrix
A corny, but informative look at factory farms and their effect on the meat and dairy industry. There is also a link for you to find organic farms and markets in your area who carry healthy alternatives.

Hydration Blog
Learn all there is to know about becoming properly hydrated. Dispell myths about hydration and find out what dehydrates you. Links to good water (yes, there are different types of water!) you can buy online, too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Checking in...

I've been writing a lot lately about things unrelated directly to my fitness or weight loss.

I figured it was time for an update, despite not only having fallen off the wagon, but having survived it backing up over me, as well. The last few days I've been battling that desire to do emotional eating. I think it's that whole time change thing. I never handle this time of year well. I've drunk a TON of pop in the last couple days and eaten nothing but crap. I'm still happy to report that I haven't gained more than a few pounds, though. Which, if you'd see what's passed my lips, you'd wonder how the number hasn't gone much higher.

I'm going to try to get back to the gym this weekend. My masseur tonight expressed his disappointment. Not in me personally, but he pointed out how much I'd enjoyed the results and he was excited for me to see those results. (Have I mentioned I love him? He's awesome.) I've been needing a kick in the butt. I think him being disappointed in my lazy behavior might be just what I needed. (Thanks, Chris!)

So there you have it.

A closer look at vaccines, specifically the H1N1

     There are NUMEROUS things about the H1N1 vaccine that have people convinced they need it. Unfortunately many of these things that are convincing people they need it are based on myths. The biggest things to know before choosing to be vaccinated are these:

1. A vaccine is not a shot of chemicals that fight off the disease, the vaccine is a shot of chemicals as well as a dose OF the disease. Ideally, vaccines were designed to give the body a small dose of an illness to help boost a body's natural immunity to it. Over time, the vaccines have evolved into including more and more unnatural ingredients and essentially is more toxic to the body than it's good for it. For instance, the H1N1 vaccine's primary ingredient is a mercury-based product. Another key ingredient is formaldehyde. Pregnant women, babies and children are being encouraged to get a vaccine that, were it NOT in a vaccine, would be told to avoid at all costs.
     Another thing to remember is that every day a disease is in existance it has mutated into something new. So the vaccine that scientists have spent the last year perfecting and getting approved by the DNA isn't for the flu strain that is currently being spread. It's the one from a year ago (or longer, depending on how long it's taken to develop).

2. The people telling you that you need a vaccine are the same people who are either employed BY a pharmaceutical company or benefit financially FROM a pharmaceutical company. Any and EVERY pharmaceutical company has a FINANCIAL gain from your vaccine. Every dose means money in their pockets. It's no longer about health. It's about money. Many people have the belief "My doctor wouldn't steer me wrong." Next time you're in your doctor's office, read the name on the pens, the calendars, the note pads, etc. I guarantee you, they will have the name of some medicine on them. Those are called kickbacks. Doctors agree to use those things as advertisements in exchange for "free samples" of the drugs the pharmaceutical reps are trying to sell to patients. (Piece of trivia for today: When your doctor goes to a medical conference, they're given manuals/study guides/books, etc. Who has provided the information that your doctors learn at these conferences? Pharmaceutical companies. Many/most of these books even have advertisements for the newest drugs on the market.)
     Something else to consider: children have received "basic" vaccines for dozens and dozens of years, but it wasn't until the last ten years or so that researchers have made the connection between vaccinations and numerous health issues such as autism. The health "officials" who are promising you that this vaccine is safe are the same ones who promise the parents of those autistic children the same thing. Think about it.

3. Our bodies are designed to fight off illnesses naturally, if we'll allow them to. Let's pick apart the common cold, for instance. Most times, the minute we start coughing, we medicate with something to quiet a cough. The thing we don't realize is that the cough is there for a reason. There are foreign things in our lungs (due to the cold virus) and our body is trying to expel them so we don't become sicker. By quieting that cough, you're actually enabling that junk to stay in your lungs and increase, causing us to get sicker and we stay sicker longer because we continue to keep medicating. If we muddle through the miserable cough, our body expels the junk in our lungs and we're better more quickly.
     What's the first thing you do when you get a fever? Take Tylenol (or another fever reducer) to get your temperature back to normal, right? This is actually the most foolish thing you can do. When we're sick, our body has increased its core temperature to "burn off" (for lack of a better term) the virus (or bacteria) that has infected our bodies. Consider the warning on most poultry for instance. It tells you to cook the meat to avoid a salmonella contamination. The same is true for our bodies. The longer that fever is artificially set back to normal, the longer that virus/bacteria is in our bodies. The longer its in our bodies, the more it multiplies and spreads. So something that may've started out as a simple bronchial infection ends up being pnemonia. If we let the fever burn off naturally, it WILL burn itself out...and with it, it'll take the nasty things that are making us sick.

4. Specificially regarding H1N1: It's the flu. Plain and simple. Yes, people have died from it. People have died from the regular flu, too, but you don't see them on the news. Bottom line is this: anyone who dies from any illness dies because their bodies aren't able to fight off the illness.
     If we fill our bodies with artificial "immunity" through medication, we're going to become more and more reliant on those means to fight off the slightest thing and will essentially have much worse symptoms for the simplest of illnesses because our bodies no longer know how to fight something off.

     I'm not a doctor, nurse or scientist. I don't work for some herbal remedy company. I'm not some tree-hugging naturalist. I only know what I've researched and what works for my family. I refuse to just "go with the flow" when it comes to my health and the health of my family. Too many things *don't* make sense about modern medicine for me to just take one for the team. The things I've shared here are things I've learned from the research I've done.
     We eat healthily, we exercise, we hydrate well and when we feel ourselves getting sick we know it's because our bodies immunity levels aren't as high as they could/should be. We usually visit our kinesiologist (a form of chiropractic care that focuses on the body as a whole rather than just the spine & back muscles) and we also take herbal remedies that help our body deal with additional strains such as hormones or a lack of nutrients for whatever reason.  Our family personally uses a product called "Immucore," the minute we start getting the sniffles or a stomach ache. It's just one example of an herbally based product to help our body rebuild white blood cells. You can google for dozens of others if that's something you're interested in.
     Bottom line, only you can decide if you want to vaccinate or not. I hope that I've provided you information so you can make a better informed decision. You don't have to take my word. Do a search for H1N1 vaccine risks and side effects. Then do a search for "flu vaccine risks and side effects" to get a broader spectrum of results. Educate yourself from ALL aspects. Don't just trust blindly simply because someone has a medical degree. Remember...every time you get sick, they get paid.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One of two ways...

"Oh my God, that's Mel?! I didn't even recognize her!"

I can take this one of two ways.

1. I've made amazing progress and I look fantastic.
2. I was such a troll before and I'm finally tolerable to look at.

My mood for the day usually determines which way I take a statement like that.

I *want* to always react the first way, but let's face it, when you've never really felt pretty, it's easy to fall into the second reaction, especially if you're like me and don't take compliments well. I've tried very hard to keep in focus what my real reasons are for losing weight: living longer and living healthier. The vanity reason is obviously there, as it is for any woman, but I'm trying NOT to make that my main reason for losing weight. I think when the focus is more about how I look, it's easy to lose track when I start noticing that difference in my appearance.

Every compliment is a struggle. Every time I hear "You're looking great, Mel, keep it up" or something like that, I have to stop and tell myself to JUST. SAY. THANK YOU. instead of shrugging it off or worse: being defensive.

So please try to understand where I'm coming from if I say "thank you" with a grimace on my face. I may be staying "Thank you" but my complete thought is "Thank you for allowing a troll like me to be seen in public with you." It's something I'm working on and if you knew me before I started losing weight, you'd know how far I've come. It's just a slow process.

Been a slacker

So I've been a sloth the last few weeks.

I've lost my motivation.

I miss Danny Wood's tweets about what he's eating, what things he's doing to keep in shape. I know I can't blame him and I don't, but I do know I was more productive when he tweeted those things. It helped that I knew I'd be seeing the guys in concert. The fact that there aren't any shows coming up is a downer.

The season change is a bummer, too. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE fall and I really don't mind winter as far as temperatures go, but my moods plummet the minute daylight savings hits. And please save your breath. I know working out will help increase my adrenaline and seratonin, which in turn will help my moods. I know that. I believe it. I just need to get the motivation to get to the gym.

This is the first cold weather season since I got on this fitness train and I'll be honest, I'm working very hard at NOT relying on thick sweatshirts and bulky sweaters to cover the pounds I may put back on. I predict it will be a struggle.

So I decided to sit down and come up with a list of things to motivate me during a time when I don't feel all that motivated. This is what i came up with.

1. I've come way too far to stop now.
2. Joe will start touring in January. I want to look good when I see him next year.
3. I feel better when I eat better.
4. I want the energy to get everything done around my house that I have planned.
5. I want to see a size 14 before Joe's birthday.

These aren't things that will motivate everyone, but they work for me.

I'm just me.

"Giiiiiiirl, you just....MMMM!"

Those were the first words uttered by our friend Mike when we walked into the Halloween Party last night. He ended the sentence in a growl and a shake of the head and a  playfully lecherous grin. I guess I don't see it. It's hard for me, really. Having been a heifer most of my life, I don't see that I'm any different than I've ever been. I'm just me. I have my moments of confidence, but like any woman with self-esteem issues, I constantly question compliments and the only things I really notice are how many fat days I have a week, how much the numbers on the scale fluctuate and how I haven't gone down another size in almost two months. I don't see this vixen my friends seem to see. I don't know that I ever will.

But even my husband says she's there. He said last night I carry myself differently. I'm more confident, less introverted and I even smile more than I used to. He said he wished I could see myself the way he sees me.

The thing is..and I may spend time in therapy for this, I guess I consider almost any declaration of accomplishment egotistical and an unattractive quality in any human being. So while I have learned to take compliments better, I still brush them off because they make me uncomfortable. I know I've lost weight. I know those thirty-ish pounds I've lost are a HUGE accomplishment, but to point it out, feels awkward to me. To celebrate them for more than a general statement of "I lost ____ pounds," to me, seems self-serving and the *LAST* thing I ever want to be is self-absorbed or egotistical.

I have over 400 followers on Twitter and I still sit back and say "what the hell?" I know many of those people follow me because of the weight loss I've achieved over the last few months, but it still seems weird to me. There are celebrities who've lost more weight than I have. There are tried-and-true people who live healthy lifestyles daily who are far more "together" than I am. Why the hell do 400+ people want to follow me? I'm just me, ya know? I tell people the same thing when it comes to my writing...or my singing....or anything else they try to compliment me on: I'm just me. I'm nobody special.

I'm MUCH more comfortable just blending into the background than being out there in the spotlight. And I'm discovering just how uncomfortable I am receiving compliments, too. This weight loss thing is much more difficult than I realized. It's so much more than just losing weight. There's responsibility with it, too. I didn't know about it. I sure don't know what to do with it and furthermore, I don't think I'm qualified to take it on. So...how do I just lose the weight and return everything else that comes along with it?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can we do it? YES WE CAN!

212 years ago, the first vaccine was administered. Since then, vaccines have been developed for hundreds of diseases and illnesses. They were developed with the general idea to expose our bodies to a small dose of whatever disease/illness we're wanting to ward off in an attempt for our bodies to boost their immunities to fight it naturally.

Let me repeat myself slowly so I know you've heard me.

You are being injected WITH THE DISEASE you're trying to ward off.

Are you listening?

When you are given a pertussis vaccine, you're being given WHOOPING COUGH.
When you go in for a chicken pox vaccine, you're being given CHICKEN POX.
When you get your H1N1 vaccine, you're being given H1N1.

HELLO?!?!?! Does anybody see anything WRONG with this?

Our bodies are designed to fight off disease and illness naturally. When we become ill, our bodies develop certain symptoms: coughing, sneezing, vomiting, fever, etc. Let's take a fever, for instance. If you have an aquarium, you know that you can't turn the thermostat up too high on it or what happens? The fish die, right? The same is true for our bodies. Our bodies can tell when there's something not right. It turns up its internal thermostat naturally and burns off the bad "fish" or bacteria/virus/etc. When you take a fever reducer, you're allowing those bad "fish" to not just hang out, but you're giving them optimum body temperatures to multiply, essentially making yourself sicker. Let the fever burn itself out. Trust your body to do what it needs to do.

The same is true for all this vaccine business. You may never be exposed to H1N1 (for example), but if you are exposed and you're living a healthy lifestyle (healthy in this sense meaning a balanced diet, exercise and taking the proper amounts of vitamins/supplements) and taking precautions (such as proper hand washing, encouraging children to cough into their elbow, etc), you will not get sick.

Did you hear me?

You. Will. Not. Get. Sick.

The key to staying healthy isn't in MEDICINES or VACCINATIONS, it's in taking the right steps so your body can do what its been designed to do. The more you fill it with pharmaceutical remedies, the less likely it is to do its job. Your body will turn on you.

As far as meds & vaccines go, ask yourself these questions:
1) Who has created these medicines and vaccines?
2) Who is telling you that you NEED these medicines and vaccines?
(Hint: the answers are the same.)

I'm not a doctor and you don't have to take my word for anything. I'm simply telling you what I know to be true for myself and my family. I've done the research. I've read the articles. I've experimented with medicines as well as herbal supplements. I know what works. I know what doesn't. You can believe me or not, but for God's sake, instead of just succumbing to public paranoia, do the friggin' legwork before you poison yourself or your family.

Can our bodies heal themselves?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some basics

Obviously a balanced diet and exercise routine will help you feel & look better. We know that. That's been instilled in us since health class in elementary school. Food pyramids, PE class and all of it. We know this. It isn't new information.

But there are some basics, too that you need to know if you're going to tackle any weight/fitness/health issue.

1) Hydration
You've heard that you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. What you may not have heard is WHY. Our bodies are designed perfectly to heal and protect us...as long as we're giving it what it needs to do this. Water not only helps with maintaining good skin & hair, but it flushes toxins from our bodies. When we work our muscles, those muscles put off toxins that can ultimately damage our health. Whether you're in the gym 5 days a week or just folding a load of laundry, you're working muscles. Obviously, the more the muscles are worked, the more toxins they produce, but either way, you have to get the toxins out of your body. Plain water is the best way to do this. The more you drink, the better, but at a minimum, you should be drinking eight 8oz glasses each day. If you're awake twelve hours a day, that's only a bottle of water every three hours.

When you don't get enough water, you will feel it. Chances are your body will retain water (think PMS bloating, for instance). Your ankles may get puffy, your face may feel swollen. You'll notice it when you get up in the morning - those sheet marks on your face? They're not from sleeping too hard on wrinkled linens. They're from not being hydrated. Same with the wrinkles toes & fingers when you're in the bath too long.

How do you know you're getting enough water? Your pee should be almost clear. (Yes, I know that's graphic.)

2) Sleep
When it comes to sleep, you're going to have to follow the whole "Do as I say, not as I do" thing, I'm afraid. I am HORRIBLE about maintaining a good sleep schedule. I know what I need to do. I just don't always do it. Six to eight hours is a good amount of sleep. Ideally, you should go to bed at the same time each night and wake up the same time each morning in order to keep yourself on a schedule, urging your body to function the way it should on a schedule, as well.

Stress and illness can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. This shouldn't come as a surprise. What might surprise you, though is learning that sitting around all day without doing anything physical can also cause sleeplessness. If you aren't exerting your body in any way, it has nowhere to spend the energy you're taking in. That energy *has* to be spent somewhere. If you're working out, that energy is spent during your work out. If you're not, though, that energy seeps out during the time when you *should* be sleeping. That's where you get that late night "second wind."

3) Eating well
Obviously eating healthy foods are going to contribute to overall better health & weight loss. But instead of seeking out "low-fat," "low cal," or "diet" foods, you should be looking at the labels and choosing natural, organic or whole foods. If you look at the label and you can't pronounce the first few ingredients, put it back. For those who don't know, the list of ingredients on a label are listed in the order from highest concentration to the lowest. Let's look at the label for "Hawaiian Punch- Fruit Juicy Red", for instance:
Water, high fructose corn syrup and 2% or less of each of the following: concentrated juices (pineapple, orange, passionfruit, apple), purees (apricot, papaya, guava), citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, pectin, gum acadia, glycerol ester of wood rosin, sodium hexametaphosphate, red #40, blue#1, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Water is the first ingredient. This isn't bad. High fructose corn syrup. This is a manufactured ingredient, which means it's not natural.  The third ingredients listed are a very small percentage of fruit juices. What this means is that there is more corn syrup in this juice than there is actual juice. There are also dyes & artificial flavors added, which are also, obviously, unnatural. While these ingredients are approved by the FDA, that doesn't mean they're GOOD for us. It simply means they're not going to kill us. Our bodies don't know how to process things like "sodium hexametaphosphate" and will oftentimes react negatively to them: nausea, diarrhea or constipation, headaches and more severe reactions. Why put yourself through that? Read labels.

There are more basics I'll add later, I'm sure, but this should help you get started.

"Dieting" doesn't have to be hard, just pay closer attention to what you're doing. Most of this is common sense.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I never even thought about this.

My twelve-year-old hugged me tonight.

She wrapped her arms around my waist and hugged me.

Normally, this wouldn't constitute anything newsworthy; she hugs me all the time and is plentiful with her affection. Tonight, though, she said "Mom, I can get my arms wrapped all the way around you and grab my wrists!"

I asked her "Was this not the case before?"

She answered, "No, mom. I could touch my fingers, but I couldn't grab my wrists. You're doing so good, Mom!"

That, my friends, is progress.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Boosting immunity

Somebody just asked how to boost your immunity.

THIS is it. I use it religiously.

I've always been pretty skeptical when it comes to herbal remedies and I think we all know where I stand on medication, so for me to stand behind ImmuCore, you know I'm not blowing smoke.

My chiropractor recommended it to me a couple years ago when I'd been fighting sinus infections. He is able to kick my body back into shape through adjustments, of course, but sometimes our bodies are so reliant on outside help that they don't stay in adjustment like they should. He suggested I try this to help that.

Whenever I feel myself getting run down, sniffly, stuffed up, nauseous or any other number of symptoms, I take two ImmuCore. Typically that's enough for my body to take over and build the T-cells it needs to fight off whatever is trying to take over. If it helps a little bit, but doesn't take away the symptoms, I'll take another one an hour later. If, by then, I'm not feeling better, I schedule an appointment with my chiro and have him adjust me. These steps always take care of the problem.

I'm amazed at how well this product works for me and my family. Because of ImmuCore and my chiropractor, I don't even have a regular medical doctor anymore. Ironically, I'm healthier for it!

It's that time, ladies

True story.

I was watching old episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 last fall. The episode where the girls do a self exam and Brenda discovers a lump came on. Now, I'll be the first to admit, I'm *NOT* good about remembering to do my checks monthly, so the show was a good reminder.

I didn't know how good.

So at Aaron Spelling's insistence, I felt myself up. I'm all over Lefty. Scar tissue and glands, but no lumps. Awesome! Righty...bah bah bah....checkin' it out...gland....scar tissue....gland...gland...lump....gland....gla....whoa. WTF? What was that? God, it feels like a rock! So I check it from another angle. Hmm...still pea gravel. Shit.

I don't panic, per se, because I've found lumps before. But this one isn't squishy like the other ones so I am concerned. I call my doctor and make an appointment. Upon her examination, she decides that despite my age & health history a mammogram wouldn't be a bad idea. I had the mammogram and ultrasound, both of which determined that there was something there. The radiologist thinks that my lump is probably related to my breast reduction in 1997. Sometimes with reductions there can be fat necrosis (dead tissue) and that necrotic tissue can develop calcium deposits, which is what she thinks is showing up on the scans. She gave me a couple of options as to how we could proceed. Having had a family history of breast cancer, I chose to have it biopsied. As it turns out, the fear I felt was unfounded. It turned out to be the calcium deposit on the scar tissue. They removed almost all of it through the biopsy and while that whole thing was another giant mess (allergies to the medical glue, more necrotic tissue, blah blah), I still have both my boobies.

So this is a reminder, ladies.

Do your exams.

Set aside a day, schedule it on your calendar. Plug it into your Blackberry, Set an email reminder. Do whatever it takes, but do your self exam. It could save your life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

As requested...

...here I am.

I'm not sure what I can offer today except discouragement and frustration, but I'm here anyway. It's been a helluva week on a personal-level and doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. I won't go into it all here, but if you've got some prayers of strength and encouragement to send my way, that'd be great.

I'm still on the diet train, but my gym membership lapsed and I have had too many other expenses to renew. I'll get back on the train soon, though. I haven't worked this hard to stop now, that's for DAMN sure!

I'm also fighting off some sinus bug. My head's clogged and I'm tired all the time. I hate that feeling. It's one I haven't felt in a while, especially considering how healthily I've been trying to live, so I'm pissed about that more than anything. I don't have TIME to spend laying around sleeping and resting up...dammit!

I haven't weighed myself yet today, but I'm certain I've gained again. It's been an incredibly busy week and I've been having to eat a lot while on-the-go, which is never good and since I'm a stress eater and the last couple weeks have been extremely stressful, you can add that into my equation, too. I'll pull myself together one of these days and start kickin' ass again. I'm not too worried about that. This is just a setback, not a stopping point.

In the meantime, I *am* going to have an apple pie from McDonald's tonight. And I'm NOT going to feel the least bit bad about it either. It's either the pie or a bottle of wine. I remember a day not too long ago when it would've been both....times two.

Baby steps.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who's that girl?

I meant to write about this over the weekend and it slipped my mind. How, I'm not sure, because it's actually one of those "WHOA!" moments that a fat girls dreams about.

I remember as a kid I played with my Barbie dolls and one of my favorite scenarios was to take my plainest doll and dress her frumpily, make her hair look simple and pretend that she was one of those girls who just blended into the background. Then I would imagine there was some sort of social function, like a dance or a party and I would transform my ho-hum girl into a beautiful woman. I'd jazz up her hair, dress her in my most sparkly outfit and find the greatest shoes. She'd walk into the room and the other dolls would whisper back and forth "Who's that?" I know Freud would have had a blast with that one because honestly, I always wanted that for myself.

I was never beautiful growing up. I was plain, chubby and a little on the frumpy side. I always imagined that same scenario for myself....the social event being a wedding, class reunion or something along those lines. Someday, my peers would see this huge transformation from chubby Melanie into beautiful Melanie.

I'm not to the point yet where I'm getting the double-takes (at least if I am, I'm not noticing them)...but I did have a mini-transformation moment Friday night. There was a wedding reception and many of the guests were people I hadn't seen since late winter/early spring. Some of them follow me on Facebook, so my weight loss wasn't completely shocking to them, but for many, they hadn't seen me since Sweater Season.

I can't tell you how many people nudged their spouse, asking them "Is that Mel?" But I do know that many people gave me that awkward "Hmm, do I know you" look before they recognized my voice. It's odd, actually. I've looked pretty much the same since high school, so for someone NOT to recognize me is completely foreign to me. I have to say, I kinda like it.

The surprised look on people's faces is probably my favorite part of this whole thing.

I like playing "Who's that girl?"

I only have myself to blame

Weigh-in this week wasn't good. I'm up 3lbs. I'm not happy about it and I was stubborn enough to pause for a few minutes and think about what caused me to gain.

Water weight? Mother Nature? Those Doritos from earlier this week? Muscle-weighs-more-than-fat?

Sure, I'd LOVE to blame any of those things, but I know it boils down to pure laziness. I haven't been to the gym like I should. I haven't been eating as well as I could be. I haven't been drinking as much water as I should be. It's all my own fault.

I'll own it.

And I'll have ONE more cookie (okay it might be partly Mother Nature's fault), then tomorrow? I'm kickin' ass at the gym again - as long as my back will allow it. I did seriously pull a muscle tonight and that's not a good thing when you rely on your body being in good shape.

I will say that I am trying not to be too hard on myself. This is the first gain I've had since I started. I've plateaued a lot and gone up or down a pound or so from week to week. Honestly, to have gone this far without the typical roller coaster I usually ride is surprising and something I see as a bit of a milestone. I'm usually up and down all over the place by now. The fact that I'm not is impressive, if I do say so myself. I think this proves (if to no one but myself) that this time is different.

So even this weight gain isn't a setback. I refuse to let it be. I've got new clothes I have to fit into. This scale-needle-moving-the-wrong-direction thing won't become a habit. Believe me!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dangers of Splenda??

This isn't to pick on my girls who love their diet sodas & drink mixes...it's to widen your view of how dangerous artificial sweeteners are. We've known for years that Aspartame has caused cancer in lab rats. What's a weight-watching girl to do??

If McNeil Nutritionists are to be believed, we should switch to Splenda! Splenda is marketed as no-calorie, natural sweetener. It's made by combining sugar with chlorine atoms, which they point out are in numerous foods & beverages we consume daily. What they DON'T tell you, however is how dangerous excessive chlorine consumption is...or how more of it can be absorbed by those with healthy GI tracts, as opposed to those with unhealthy intestines. On the Splenda website, they don't tell you about the toxicity of the product, but they're sure quick to point out how it's FDA-approved and safe for children & pregnant women.

Based on EVERYTHING that I've read outside the Splenda website, I beg to differ. Don't believe me, though. Do your own research. Google "Splenda Harmful" "Splenda Side effects" and "Is Splenda safe". Read the links I've provided here:

Why is Splenda Potentially Harmful?
Splenda - harmful?
Splenda - Potentially Harmful to Humans?
Dangers of Splenda
Truth about Splenda
Sucralose Toxicity Information

Please don't think I'm preaching. I've BEEN where you are. I *LOVE* sugar. I love soda..and sweet tea. I thought I couldn't live without them...and some days I still indulge. But I refuse to drink the fake stuff. It will kill me FAR more quickly than the sugar in regular drinks. I've learned how to doctor stuff up a little bit...I add lemon juice to my water instead of Crystal Light. If it's cold enough, I can drink almost anything unsweetened.

Please do the research if you won't take my word for it. This stuff is NOT natural. It's NOT an alternative. It's death in a granule.


Fucking Doritos anyhow.

I was doing SO well. And that friggin' chip had to go and screw it up.

You're on my hit list, Charles Doolin.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I need motivation!

Okay, *I* don't need motivation, but that's the feedback I've gotten from a lot of you.

I hate to be the one to bear bad news, but if you want me to motivate you, you're going to be sorely disappointed. I can't do that. Your motivation has to come from YOU. I can tell you what motivates me. That might trigger something in yourself, but I, personally, can't motivate you. I wish I could! You'd all be size sixes by now!! :)

There are hoards of things that motivate me. It changes daily, depending on my mood. Typically though, when someone decides to lose weight, it's based on one of two issues: health and vanity.

Let's address the health factor first. This isn't one I'm immune to. To spell it out, my mother died of colon cancer when she was 50. I was 15. I was the one to take care of her throughout her disease and I would NEVER wish that job on anyone, much less my own children. My grandmother died of heart failure when I was a child, too. My sister suffers from diabetes & heart disease and has since her early- to mid-thirties. I'm thirty-five. I'm surrounded by health issues that could take my life if I'm not careful. I have entirely too many things planned for myself to die at a young age. I had to make changes. Permanent, life-long changes.

Vanity. Ahh yes, vanity. I could ramble on about how I hate my double (triple?) chin, how my thighs rub together when I walk, how I can't sit up to a table at a restaurant because my belly's too big...but if you've ever struggled with weight, you know all this already. My vanity is a more personal issue. I spent much of my life in this frumpy life of mine. I've spent the majority of my life with women like myself who don't see themselves as anything more than ____'s wife or _____'s mom. I was like that too. It was as if a light bulb went on for me. I don't have to just identify myself in relation to someone else. I'm my own woman! I've got a fabulous smile and amazing eyes and a fantastic personality, but because we're so fueled by appearances, nobody can see that, not even my husband.

Now, before it comes across like I'm dogging on my husband, I want to clarify this is NOT about him. He's a very very good man and loves me regardless of what I look like or how big my ass gets. But let's face it. After several years of marriage, the fire can slip from the flame, if we're not careful. That's where we're at. I know that my appearance (and lack of energy) is partly to blame. I don't blame HIM. I blame ME. When I feel like I look like crap, the LAST thing I want to do is get naked in front of him. I want to throw on my tshirt & sweats and crawl into bed. I don't want to have sex. But more importantly than that...I don't want to hear "God, you're beautiful" when the first thing that crosses my mind when he says that is "You're only saying that because you HAVE to. You're my husband." I've let my own hang-ups about my appearance interfere with my sex life.

No matter how many times he tried to convince me that I was beautiful...or that he loved me no matter what I look like, until I see MYSELF as beautiful, he's not going to convince me otherwise. And let's address that whole "I love you no matter what you look like" issue. To me, that's code for "I know your ass is twice the size of when we met, but I love you anyway." That's not a compliment. That's his way of settling for me and the size I've become. NOBODY should settle. Including my husband.

Hmm..I kinda got off track. My apologies.

What specifically motivated me?
I hated the way I looked. I hated the size I wore. I hated the fact that I had exactly TWO stores to choose from if I needed to shop for new clothes. I hated that I couldn't sit in an armed chair without those arms digging into my hips. I hated the fact that my seat belt choked me. I hated the fact that I had gotten so fat that my scale was just a few pounds away from NOT being able to weigh me anymore. I hated the way my belly stuck up out of the water when I took a bath. I hated the way other people looked at me. I hated the way *I* looked at me. I hated second-guessing what people thought when they saw the fat girl (uhh, hi. that's me) ordering a super-sized meal at McDonald's with an apple pie (or two). I hated knowing that my daughter had to lie to me everytime she said "Mom, you're NOT fat." I hated everything about my appearance, my confidence (or lack thereof), my poor health. I hated that I whined about all of that and yet STILL chose not to do anything about it. (That little revelation came to me about 2 yrs ago when I blogged at Sparkpeople)

Several months ago, I had the TV on and was watching "Half-ton Mom" on TLC (followed by "Half-ton Man" and "Half-ton Teen" and all the other "let's see how much of a spectacle we can make of these fat people" shows). It hit me. That is going to be me. One of these days I'm going to wake up to a phone call from TLC and they're going to want to do a TV show about ME and my fat ass. Okay, so reality check was cashed and I realize that's probably NOT the case, but really, as I watched the show, I realized just how many similarities I had with these people. My question for them was always the same: Didn't you see how fat you were getting? Didn't you want to do something about it? And I realized that I couldn't even answer those questions myself. I didn't see how fat I'd gotten. I didn't want to do anything about it...at least not for very long. Its not like they woke up one morning and they were suddenly 6oolbs and said "Holy shit! How'd I get here?!" The same is true for me. I didn't step on the scale every day and see 150lbs and then one morning, BLAMMO! 267! It snuck up on me....and if I didn't put a stop to it, I would end up that big.

That's where it started for me. That's what motivated me....realizing if I wasn't careful, I could become a reality show. While I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic, I do NOT want that kind of attention. Ever. I don't want to be the "fat lady freak show."

And with that, I'm heading to the gym. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It finally hit me.

..I'm not disgustingly fat anymore.

No, this entry isn't to fish for compliments. I'm honestly just beginning to see what is going on with my body. It's one thing to notice a little difference here and there. Or to see the numbers go down on the scale & measuring tape. Or try on new clothes (or old ones, which is even better than buying new stuff!) and have smaller sizes.....but when you look at a picture and think to yourself "Holy crap! Who's the hottie?!" and you realize "Whoa...that's me!" and you seriously have to take a second look, that's when it becomes real.

I was heading out tonight for a home-party at a girlfriend's house and since I've lost weight, I felt like I wanted to spiff up a bit. I had to touch up my graying roots today with some dye, so I had done my hair, threw on some makeup and chose some clothes that a friend of mine had given me a few weeks back (they didn't fit when she gave them to me). I had sis take a couple pictures of me with my blackberry and this is what she caught:

Who IS that woman? Has she really been held hostage all this time?


That's pretty amazing if I do say so myself!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Deep breath

I can do this.

I can admit publically what a fat slob I'd been.

I can do this. *inhale. exhale. repeat* I can do this.

*exhaling loudly*

People have wanted to know where I started, what size I was, what size I want to get down to, etc.

Here goes:

49" waist
50" hips
17" neck
Size 24

*trying not to hyperventilate*

Damn, that hurts when it's put in bold print like that. Eeeeeep! How'd I EVER let myself get so big? It disgusts me to even think about.

Where I am today:
40" waist
44" hips
15¼" neck
Size 16

*breathing a little more easily*

I still have a LONG way to go, but that's good for starters, right??

My goals aren't necessarily in measurements, but if I had to pick a weight, I would like to see 165 by May. I don't know what size that is or what measurements it'll bring me, but that's my medium-length goal. IDEALLY, I'd like to see 135, but I don't think I'll see that without some major tummy tucking & lipo.

Jesus, did I REALLY just admit my real weight on paper??

One week down on Blockhead Twitter Biggest Loser

I was nervous about weighing in today because I had a weekend full of junk. Soda, fried foods, steak...even french fries. (Uggh, I KNOW!)

I stepped on the scale with my eyes closed and cautiously peered through one squinty eyelid.


Wait. What??


OMG! I LOST! And I didn't just lose the two pounds I *wanted* to lose, I lost THREE!

I hopped off the scale and grabbed my measuring tape to log my waist, hips & neck measurements for SparkPeople and was shocked to find that I'd lost inches THERE too! I'm down another inch of my waist (total of 9"), another inch on my hips (total of 6") and I'm down a half-inch on my neck - bringing me down almost 2" on my neck.

The triumph of my week, however, wasn't in weight loss or inches lost. It was in the world of fashion.

I'm down to a size 16. Something I haven't worn in over 12 years. I went through my closet a few weeks back and got rid of all the stuff that doesn't fit anymore. I ended up with two GIANT tubs of clothes to take to Goodwill, including all my jeans. As it's cooled off a bit, I've realized just how much I needed new jeans...you know, that aren't falling off my hips or cinched together with a belt. So I went shopping yesterday.

I don't normally spend a lot of myself, nor do I buy myself many clothes at once. I'll find something cute here or there, but to actually shop with the purpose of replenishing my wardrobe is a new concept to me. I digress. I walked out of Old Navy with two new pairs of jeans, an adorable denim skirt and the cutest little black dress. (Did I mention, there was HUGE sale at Old Navy?!)

Which reminds me...there's a new winter coat in my future too because I KNOW the old one isn't gonna fit. (Just tried it on. I look like a kid wearing his dad's coat. Sad...I liked that coat.)

So anyway...that's where I am this week.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Checking in

I joined Twitter's Biggest Loser this week and since I'm the most competitive person I know, I'm fairly certain I won't have a problem doing this. I'm pretty excited about it, actually.

I went back to the gym last week and I've been working pretty hard. Doing HIIT mostly, but increasing my pace. I also hopped back on weights and need to bust my ass on that for a while. I took some "during" pictures a couple weeks ago and noticed how big and flabby my arms are. I know my legs will always be big (gotta love genetics), but my arms....no way. I *will* get Madonna's arms before I'm done with this!

I am officially down 33lbs since I started this journey just 2½ months ago. I still have a long way to go yet, but I feel good about my progress and people are starting to notice a change in my physical appearance. Feels good!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


While I have felt less motivated in the last couple weeks than I was earlier in this journey, I'm still plugging along. Worked out Friday and again Monday. I think I'm coming down with a bug, so I skipped my workout yesterday, but I'm heading in again today to do both weights & HIIT. We'll see how much I can do. Wednesday nights are my Girls Night Out, so that's my reward for busting my ass in the gym.

On a side note, I'm a bit disenchanted with Donnie Wahlberg right now. Where Danny built me up in my Meet & Greet in Denver, Donnie has managed to break me (and other overweight fans) down in an interview yesterday with Kiss 108 DJ, Matty.
The interview
Matty's Response this morning
Long story short, Matty made disparaging comments about how Donnie's fans have put on weight and he should talk to us about it. Donnie's response wasn't one of defense or support of his fans, but one of a warped justification for our weight gain, due to the after-parties at Waffle Houses across the country.

To say that I was hurt by his lack of defense would be putting it mildly. I won't go on and on about this, because quite frankly, it won't do me any good. But what I will say is that when my feelings are hurt, I hold that person accountable for their words or actions. Just because Donnie Wahlberg is a celebrity doesn't change that. Ask Jonathan Knight. He was impolite in Denver and I told him about it. He didn't remember the incident and didn't apologize, but having been able to tell him that I was hurt was enough for me. In this case, I would like an apology from Donnie. Not to me personally, but to the fans who were offended by his lack of response to Matty. Will I ever get it? Probably not.

The blind admiration I had for the man is probably permanently tarnished and I find myself questioning what he says now. That part hurts even worse than the comments that were made. Donnie's always said that its not how we look that makes him love us...but now I wonder. I'm seconding guessing him and his motives. I don't like that.

So where do I go with this?

Back to the gym. Because whether I've put on weight or not in the last 20 years is irrelevant. I'm making the changes I've made for more than just my vanity. I have to refocus my energy where it belongs: my health.

Donnie, you still owe me (and hundreds of other fans) an apology. I'll hold you accountable. I would do the same for a friend who'd mistreated me. Don't take it personally. You say you're humble...now, prove it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Haven't blogged in a bit.

I've been pretty plateaued lately, which isn't a surprise after my vacation. I ate like crap, didn't drink nearly enough water and I didn't work out the whole week I was gone.

I'm down a total of 31lbs now. I've lost 7" off my waist and 5" off my hips. I'm hoping I can get back into the gym this week and crank up my workouts again. I haven't been to the gym since Wednesday because I haven't had the car or a way to get there. I'll get back on track tomorrow, though and be fine.

I'm back to limiting what I'm drinking & eating again. Not eliminating the bad stuff, but just cutting back on the things that aren't working well for me, mostly starches & sugars, that sorta thing. I'm trying to eat more protein and may actually go get some protein powder from GNC or something to mix in my smoothies here at home.

I just went through the brutal chore of cleaning out my dresser and closets and am now the proud owner of about 1/3 of the clothes I once owned. Sad state of affairs for my wardrobe, but somebody at Goodwill will be grateful for my weightloss, I hope. Hoping to replenish my wardrobe soon, but sadly, it won't be at the same rate at which it was stripped. *laughing*

So that's that. That's where I'm at.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A total of 495 calories in a day isn't good, is it?

Yeah. I didn't think so.

It's not like I set out this morning and said "I think I'll consume less than THIRD of my allotted calories for the day. It just happened. I don't usually track my food on SparkPeople, just my fitness, so I don't think about what I eat. I keep a mental checklist of what I eat and I'm good with that. (I *hate* counting calories!)

But as I filled out my food intake today and realized that I was sitting at less than 500 calories, I couldn't help wondering how many OTHER days have I done this and not been aware that I've done it? Hard telling, to be honest with you. Which scares me.

Although this certainly explains the mood swings & fatigue I've felt lately.

I'll save the fact that I've had 16oz out of 64 oz of water for a different blog on another day. *sheepish grin*

(yes, I did eat some chicken and I'm drinkin a big glass of ice water as we speak)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Am I missing something?

*You've gone over your weekly calories burned goal by a significant amount. Your calories eaten goal will not adjust automatically. If you have increased the amount of exercise you are doing, you should update your fitness settings here to make sure you are consuming enough calories to support the additional activity.* (via Sparkpeople website when I logged my fitness minutes for today.)

Well, this definitely explains how I dropped 8lbs in two weeks and 30lbs in about 6 weeks. I'm burning a helluva lot of calories with my workouts, I'm building muscle with the weight training and I'm apparently not taking in enough calories.


Isn't that kinda the POINT? Burn more calories than consumed?

Friday, July 24, 2009

The "Dietary Changes" I mentioned earlier

I'm a foodie.

Yep. I said it. I love food. I eat when I'm hungry. I eat when I'm bored. I eat to celebrate. I eat to mourn. I eat. I eat. I eat.

Obviously, this affair with food has led me to be the weight I'm at. I know that. I don't blame genes (although my mother was overweight, too). I don't blame McDonald's. I don't blame Barbie Dolls. I don't push the blame on anyone except where it belongs: ME.

So...when a foodie is looking morbid obesity in the face, what's a girl to do?

Ideally, she turns her back on the potato chips, french fries & brownies and she turns to carrot sticks, steamed asparagus and sugar substitutes, right?

Yeah, well, let's pretend that I'm NOT ideal.

Okay, who's pretending?

Anyway...I'm *not* the diet girl. I never have been. I've read hoards of books on this diet and that diet. I've researched Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers and almost every meal plan Richard Simmons ever developed. They. Aren't. For. ME.

"But Mel! It's SO much better for you!!"

Duh. You think I don't know that? Of course they're better for me. I should be eating a balanced meal (6 times a day, according to my HIIT workout) and drinking plenty of water. I should eliminate caffeine, alcohol and fried foods. I should avoid decadent desserts and creamy dressings. But I don't. I DO, however, limit them.

Like I said in a prior blog, a dietician once told me if I did NOTHING but eliminated soda from my diet, I could drop 60+ pounds in a year. That's where I started this time. I've dealt with horrible water retention and noticed when I didn't drink pop, my water retention wasn't as bad. Hmm. (This trial and error thing really rocks, btw.) So, I stopped drinking pop. I miss it...desperately!! But I don't miss the puffy ankles and tight skin. I don't miss having to stuff my pillowy feet into shoes that would fit if it weren't for all the water sitting in my skin. So I deal with the loss of my pop. (Don't get me started on diet pop. You're better off drinking antifreeze. Seriously. It's the WORST thing you could POSSIBLY do to your body!!)

The second thing (and probably the most difficult) I gave up was sweet tea. OMG - talk about withdrawl! Caffeine aside, I thought the lack of sugar in my diet was going to kill me. First pop, now tea, too??? I compromised, though. I found some flavored teas that I enjoy without sugar. (No, I'm not talking about the bottled stuff in the cooler at the store.) I make up a pitcher at a time and drink it constantly (I'm not crazy about plain water). Granted, it's not 100% water, but its better than not drinking anything at all, which is where I'm usually at if I'm not drinking tea.

Other dietary changes were to limit (notice I did not say ELIMINATE?) fried foods, rich sauces, creamy dressings and sweet desserts. Being a foodie, I'd rather you take my arm than my chicken strips, ranch dressing or brownies away. BUT...I do need to eat healthier so I compromise. Instead of ordering (4)buffalo chicken strips & waffle fries, I order a buffalo chicken salad. This cuts my fried chicken down to just one strip, adds lettuce (yay fiber!) and does away with the greasy fries (I'll miss you, potatoes!). I also notice that I can't usually eat an entire salad (they place I order them makes HUGE salads) in a sitting, so I spread it over a couple of meals. Then, instead of the soda I'd have normally ordered, I drink an unsweetened tea or ice water instead.

This is NOT to say I don't eat what I want when I get a craving. The other night on the way home from the gym, I wanted a milk shake. So I bought one. But instead of going to Dairy Queen and ordering a large chocolate dipped strawberry blizzard, I went through the drive-thru at B-Bops and ordered a small chocolate shake. A few days ago, all I wanted was french fries. Instead of ordering a large with a side of ranch, I just bought a small fry and ate them plain. I discovered about three diets ago that I can't eliminate stuff entirely from my diet because I get cravings...and if those cravings aren't met, I end up eating everything in the house until that craving is quenched. If I give into the craving when it first hits, I'm in FAR better control than if I try and ignore it.

It's all about baby steps. I know my will power and I know how far I can push myself. I also know my breaking point. I know by now that I can't go cold turkey and give up everything that's sculpted my eating pattern for the last 35 years. I know I can't. So I don't. Instead, I make the changes I KNOW I can stick with. That's all anybody can do.

Keep in mind no matter WHAT you do differently, it's DIFFERENT from what you've BEEN doing. If you get off your couch and do one lap around the block, that's a lap more than you did last week. If you switch from ice cream to frozen yogurt, it's X number of calories less than you consumed last week. The point is: MAKE THE CHANGE. Regardless of what it is. MAKE it.

And when you fall off the wagon (we ALL do. Don't bullshit me and tell me you won't. I know better. LOL), don't dwell on it. Get up, brush yourself off and get back on.

A couple of addendums

I *hate* running. It's painful and miserable. I really hate it.

BUT...when its broken up into 30 second intervals (even when it gets farther in your training and you're doing it 15 times during your workout), it's tolerable because it's not a CONSTANT thing. I'm not walking for five minutes and then running for a solid twenty minutes. I get a break.

And honestly, as much as I dislike running, I plug in my favorite songs (choose uplifting, fast-paced music) to my iPod and I'm listening to my motivation. My boys (NKOTB) are my motivation. My warm-up usually consists of Danny's "I Like It Like That" and Joe's "5 Bros & a Million Sisters", then I crank up the quicker paced stuff from the Block & No More Games. I cool down with "Don't Cry" and "I'll Be Loving You Forever" and I'm done.

I can do almost anything for thirty seconds. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't seem like such a chore. And with a husband and two kids, my time at the gym is MY time. Especially with the tour winding to a close and knowing there aren't any more impromptu NKOTB Girls Weekends coming up anytime soon, I cherish this time by myself. I take the kids to the gym with me sometimes, but they know "Don't bug mom during her workout." It's MY time for ME....to concentrate on my health (as far as hubby and the kids are concerned) and it's MY time for ME...to listen to my favorite music and enter a dream world for at least 20 minutes a day.

MAKE the time for yourself...not just for your physical health, but for your mental health, too. It's *SO* vital to your overall well-being.

Breaking down HIIT

A lot of people have asked me what I'm doing to lose the weight so quickly. Aside from making a few dietary changes (another blog, another time), the majority of my weight loss is coming from sheer activity.

I alternate 5 days a week: 3 days I do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and 2 days I do weight training.

HIIT is probably the simplest (yet hardest) workout I've ever tried. I used to bust my ass on the treadmill AND the bike AND the track AND in the pool and didn't lose a fraction of the weight I've lost doing HIIT. It's NOT fun. It's NOT easy, but at the same time, it's the easiest to stick with because you don't have huge, lengthy workouts to contend with. Twenty to twenty-five minutes and you're done.

HIIT leads you up gradually week by week to a heartier workout. The first week, you spend 5 minutes warming up. For me, this means walking at a steady pace (2.0) on the treadmill. Once the five minutes is up, I jog at a 5.0 pace for 30 seconds. Then take 90 seconds at a 2.5 rate. I hit it again with jogging at 5.0 for 30 seconds. Repeat that so that you've jogged SIX times and rested. Then do a five minute cool-down and you're done.

Yes. It's that simple.

The second week, you still jog your 30 second intervals, but instead of taking 90 seconds between them, you only take 60. The third week, you're running for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds. Fourth week, you increase the number of jogs you do from 6 to 8.

The links I used to come up with this workout are listed to the right of this blog.

I did add weight training to my HIIT about two weeks into it because I knew I needed to firm up the muscles that are left underneath this flab. Besides...muscle burns fat MUCH more quickly than fat burns fat. While I follow the regimine that my personal coach at the YMCA told me to do, I don't feel comfortable enough telling you which machines to use, how many reps or at what weight to use them. That's something you're best deciding between you and a trainer. I do know that it helps tremendously to combine the HIIT & weights in a weekly workout.

Now, one thing I mentioned briefly was dietary changes. If you'll look at the www.losebellyfatworkout.com link, you'll notice that they talk about other nutrition goals and weight loss motivation you can use to maximize the benefit from the training. Obviously if you're able to do this, that's going to provide the best results. You'll also notice that they talk about pushing yourself as hard as you can push yourself. I'm *not* necessarily following that part of it either. If I followed it to the letter, it would have me jogging the entire 20 minutes (30 second hard core run, then "resting" would be a light jog) and I know my body and I know I can't do that. So instead of telling myself "There's no way...Nope. Sorry. NEXT?!" to the workout, I figured out a way that I COULD do it. It's obviously working, so I'm just working on getting myself up to the constant jog that the workout suggests. How quickly I do it is entirely up to me. Some days I push myself at a little quicker pace both walking/jogging. Sometimes I'll just walk faster..some days I'll push the last part of my jogs to a little quicker pace. It just depends on how I feel.

The main thing to remember is ANY movement is better than NONE and you can ALWAYS customize it to suit your body and what you're capable of doing. You can also do this workout on a stationary bike rather than a treadmill if you're unable to run. Just do a steady pace on the bike for the resting periods and then quicken your pace (try doubling it, if possible) for the "hard core" stuff.

Hopefully this explanation helps a little when you start looking at doing this for the first time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Hopped on the scale today and I'm down another few pounds. This makes my total loss since June first a full twenty-five pounds!!!

I look at all the diets, fitness programs, books & other weight loss methods out there and while I'd never begrudge anyone for how they've lost weight, I do have to say that this HIIT/Weight training program I've adopted has worked remarkably well for me.

I've *NEVER* been one to enjoy working out. First off, I hate to sweat. HATE it. Secondly, physical activity sucks. Or at least, it did. Thirdly, I never thought I'd find junk foods unappealing. Hell, in my house, gravy was a food group!! Seriously! If it wasn't fried, smothered in gravy or ended in -etti or -aroni, I didn't want to eat it. While I still struggle food-wise (I'm a foodie, what can I say?), I am kicking ass and taking names at this workout thing.

Last week when I wasn't able to work out, I actually MISSED it! Who'd have EVER thought this fattie would miss working out?! It's true, though! I missed it. In fact, I even took workout clothes with me, I just didn't have the time to do it. And I knew I'd pay for it once I got back in the gym. I dreaded hopping on the scale but I'm pretty pleased with the fact that my metabolism kept up with me while I was off the wagon last week. And when I say "off the wagon" I truly mean OFF the mother-father wagon. I didn't exercise. I ate utter and complete junk. I even had a few Cokes (EEEK!!!) and a ton of fried foods (Beaver Nuggets, damn you!!). There was a Whataburger in there, sweet tea, potatoes & gravy, french fries, buffalo chicken....Mmm....all the stuff I love. And I'm ok with having eaten it...I just know I can't do it like that again or my 25lbs will creep back on in no time.

I know, too, that these changes to my lifestyle are a permanent thing. I have to workout. I have to eat right. I have to give up some things permanently. I have a family history of cancer, diabetes & heart disease. I refuse to cheat my family & friends of having me around because I like fried chicken or loaded down baked potatoes. I have to keep the goal in mind at all times. Don't get me wrong. I do cheat. I do take a day or two off. When I want french fries, I'll have them. (I did last night, afterall. I just didn't order the large fries...just got the small.) I just have to get back on track and stay there.

You know, in charting my progress, I see the numbers diminish, but I don't really notice it in the mirror. My pants sizes are shrinking, but again, I don't see it when I look at myself every day. But when I compare myself from May til now, I really do see a difference. Compliments from a yummy New Kid aside, I'm pretty damn stoked about this progress.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Checking in

I've taken the last week off (being on vacation is a killer to the motivational factor), but I wanted to check in and let y'all know that I'm still doing ok!

I didn't workout all week, nor did I exactly eat right while I was gone, but I didn't gain more than a couple pounds.

In fact, while I was gone, I purchased something at Anthropologie, which I NEVER thought would happen!!! It's an XL blouse that I found on a clearance rack. It was on sale AND it fit. YAY me!!!

I did have an amazing motivator to keep going, though. I got to meet NK's in Denver when we were there and Danny gave me the best feedback on my workouts. I told him he was an inspiration to me and told him why. He said "How're you doing on it?" I told him I'm down over 20lbs in 6 weeks and he gave me a high five, a hug and the once-over followed by "Damn, girl! You're lookin' good! Keep it up!" He also said he's going to start blogging about his workouts, too, so I'm super anxious to read those.

I'm back on the wagon this week. I did HIIT yesterday (stepped up to the next week - 30 seconds on/30 seconds off and it nearly kicked my ass. In fact, I somehow pulled a muscle last week and I've been limping around, so yesterday's workout didn't help that. I took today off from weights, but I'll hit them both tomorrow, if I can. Otherwise, I'll just do HIIT. Either way...back on the wagon for me!

NKOTB just announced another cruise (May 2010) and I plan on being at my goal weight by then and there's NO reason whatsoever that I shouldn't be there. Nothing says "Hey Danny, check me out!" like a brand new bikini, right?!

Countdown, baby!!!

(Here's a pic of me in said blouse at GhostBar with Ethan from the NKOTB band)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm melting!!!

Okay, maybe not "melting," but I am losing weight!!

I'm down about nine or ten pounds, 3" on my waist 2" on my hips and two entire pants sizes!!

I bought two pairs of pants tonight at Old Navy. While this may not seem like a giant ordeal (afterall, it's just Old Navy), it really is. I haven't bought pants in a regular store since I can't remember when. I picked up the first pair just to kinda see how much farther I had to go. I threw a couple of tank tops with it and tried them on.

Hot damn! They fit!!!!

I wanted to see if I could find a pair of denim shorts too, but all they had were the ass-baring Daisy Dukes. I may have lost weight, but I know damn well nobody wants to see the cottage cheese on my butt, so I decided to look for capri's instead. I grabbed a pair off the shelf and I'll be damned if they didn't fit, too!!!

And they look GOOD!

I was so excited, I immediately sent a pic to Twitter and called Nate and criSILLYus to brag. I've still got a LONG way to go, but I'm so pumped at this loss. It's a definite motivator to keep on this HIIT that's been kickin' my ass.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

God bless you, Danny Wood!!

I recently decided to go back to the gym and get back on the diet wagon. Have I blogged about that yet? I can't remember at this point.

Anyway...at the suggestion of Danny Wood, I tried something called HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training. I've done two workouts this way so far and lemme just tell you...it's kicking. my. ass.

But it's working!!

In two weeks, (one week without HIIT and one with), I've dropped 8lbs, 3" off my waist and 1½" off my hips. I'm down a pants size, too.

I. Freakin. ROCK!!!

(my legs however? Jell-O!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Approach to healthy living

First of all, I wanna make sure you realize I'm *NOT* a doctor or in any way associated with the medical community. I do, however, have a phenomenal holistic physician that I trust my medical care with. I'm also not a diet success as of yet (meaning I haven't met my goals). But many people have asked...so here goes. :)

In my theory, the key to weight loss is simple...almost too simple: burn more calories than you consume. I also believe, less simplistically, the right combinations of food are key to weight loss and a fit body. I don't believe there's any magic pill or powder that's going to make me thin. I know that weight loss clinics work for some people. I, however, think it's ridiculous to pay money each week to weigh myself and get pats on the back or buy pricey frozen foods. I've got friends for the support and I can make my own meals. I also don't believe surgery is the answer. Not saying that it won't work for you, of course...just letting you know where I stand on things. :)

Rough guess, before I started on my diet, I was probably consuming 3,000-5,000 calories a day and when I say I was stagnant, I mean it. I didn't walk, I didn't dance, I didn't do ANYTHING. I drank, on average a half gallon of sweetened tea a day (when I wasn't drinking soda). Needless to say, I was living VERY unhealthily.

I actually considered surgery about six years ago and when I consulted the surgeon, he told me to talk to a dietician, which I did. I was 100% honest with her and after asking dozens of questions about my food intake and my (lack of) exercise, she came up with a plan (most of which I don't remember details of), but I do remember her telling me that based on my soda consumption that I could drop 60-65lbs in a year's time JUST by cutting it out of my diet. This includes diet soda, too (sodium content is too high in any soda and somehow affects water retention and the body's ability to flush it from your system, I can't remember it all now).

Last January, I decided that I was going to lose some weight...so I joined the gym and researched quite a bit on what kind of diet would work for me. We all know that fried foods aren't good. Neither are a lot of red meats, pork or foods with a high salt content (high blood pressure in addition to the water retention issues I mentioned earlier). In talking with my doctor, I began to learn more about processed foods, also (things like boxed macaroni & cheese, Hamburger Helper, frozen foods, etc). In doing more research on my own, I also realized that foods with a lot of preservatives are harder to digest and tend to be less able to be metabolized by the body.

I went to the gym three times a week on average and worked out for about 45 mins. I would stretch and warm up, then spend time on the stationary bike and then the treadmill. Sometimes I'd just do the track instead of the treadmill...sometimes in addition to it. If I went on the weekends, I'd tread water (I hate swimming laps). I also eliminated soda from my diet entirely. I switched to unsweetened tea when I did drink it. Alcohol was also sworn off, as were fried foods. I went from over 3,000 calories a day to about 1500, 2000 at the most.

I also joined an website called SparkPeople.com. I absolutely swear by it. It's completely free, so I'm promise I'm not trying to sell you anything. lol. When you join, they walk you through how the SP thing works. You plug in your current weight, where you'd like to be and when. It walks you through some tips and suggestions on what caloric intake you should have if you want to meet the goals you've set. It has hundreds of articles under different categories of what you're most interested in (fitness, healthy eating, certain weight issues such as emotional eating, etc). There are little reward systems if that's motivational for you, etc. It's a great site and I love it. It helps me stay accountable for what I eat & which exercises I do because you plug in what foods you're eating and what fitness you do.

I lost 17lbs in about three weeks doing this. Unfortunately, I got VERY sick with the flu and then had some other unrelated health things going on for about four months following that, so I ended up not going back to the gym (see? Told you I wasn't a success. LOL). I do know, though, that what I did worked. I just allowed myself to get sidetracked by life.

So...when I started on this thing again, I knew I needed to go the same route. The only thing I've done differently is that I'm not as strict on myself with foods. When I crave chocolate, I eat chocolate. But instead of downing a whole bag of chocolate candy, I eat a couple of pieces. When I want fried foods, I eat them. But instead of eating a whole order of fries I dump out half before I even begin eating them. And I know that for X number of calories, it means X amount of time in the gym.

Danny Wood tweeted the other day about something called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and I've read quite a bit about it in the last few days. I'm heading to the gym tonight and will begin my first HIIT workout. I found out information about it here: http://www.intervaltraining.net/hiit.html

I'm sorry I've rambled on all this time, but hopefully I've given you some insight as to how things have worked for me. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'm happy to help. :)