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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Non Scale Successes

Weekly Update: This week I am Up 2.4lbs for a total of 73.6lbs since July 2014.  I am in this interesting 'limbo' of identifying just what my goal weight is, and focusing more on my personal fitness goals, focusing on what I can DO and how I FEEL.  This is a first for me.  In the past, I have always focused on a number, and as a result have never been happy.

I chose this quote because it really is how I feel. When I first started my routine, it was hard to find time and I was exhausted - but pretty quickly I discovered working out (which was at 8:30pm last year), really calmed me and actually made me feel more energy after.   

These days I willingly get up at 5:30am for my workout - it's my "ME" time.   I really truly look forward to it, and I love having it start my day. I could do it after my son is in bed, which these days is much earlier - but I actually enjoy my 5:30am ME time.

In addition to my ME time, I still spend my days teaching other moms fitness - whether it be with their kids or 1:1, the key to these classes is that it's their "me" time - not mine.   

If you enjoy my blog, I'd love to have you in my private (women only) Facebook Group dedicated to health, fitness and nutrition:

I like to share my transformation photos for anyone new to this blog - to show you that no matter where you are in your journey, you CAN do it.   I am still amazed at how much my body has changed in just over a year's time. 
This photo is really important for me, because I have always struggled with liking my arms.   I took the top photo a few months ago to share with my private women's health & fitness group. I wanted to share with the group that I struggle to like this part of my body.    The bottom photo was taken more recently, and I realized after that I had the top one to compare.  

While I'm not perfect, and I never strive to be - I am pretty darn proud of how much my arms continue to change as I get stronger and stronger!

My back is another one of those body parts I've struggled to 'like'.  I took the photon the left when I was just skimming the surface of my transformation.  I am so amazed at how much my back has changed and will continue to change!

Here is a fun photo from this week! I worked a table at a charity walk this past weekend, what a great experience! We were able to meet some great individuals and have fun talking and sharing.

In food news...

I wear this shirt often and it is a reminder to me as I'm putting food into my mouth and why I'm doing it.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Mount Washington

Weekly Update:  This week so many amazing things happen. I went into my 'weekly update' with a positive outlook that no matter what, I feel GOOD about my week and what I did for my body this week.  I am down 4.8lbs for a new total of 76lbs!!!

What an amazing weekend it was - I was able to lead a group of 10 women to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in Northeastern United States at 6,288 feet high and with some of the most unpredictable weather there is.

I remember quite vividly the first time I hiked this mountain.  I was 13, close to 200 pounds, and had never hiked a day in my life. I had actually never done any fitness past huffing through the mile at school, walking most of it.

I thought I was going to die.  

I cried most of the time.

I swore I'd never do it again.

Then an amazing thing happened. I didn't die, and I DID make it to the top.  Even those days, I had some optimism in my head. I remember reciting two things as I hiked Mount Washington.  "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" and "Hold on, hold on to yourself, this is going to hurt like Hell" (lyrics from a Sarah Mclachlan song).  The thing is, despite the never ending hill (pictured below), I DID IT.  

I think this experience was the first of many, that made me realize how much I am capable of.   

It was years before I had a similar experience, my first half marathon.  True to me, I said yes to something I had never done before because I got excited.  I was 22 years old, and had only started running less than a year before, I had never run a race in my life.   But I recited those same words from The Little Engine That Could "I think I can, I think I can" and I added "I KNOW I Can".  I cried a lot of the way, but I never doubted myself.

I wanted to be able to give THAT opportunity to others.  That is why I decided to lead this group.  All of the women made it to the top, and I couldn't be prouder of them.   We each took different paths, we each had different obstacles, but we all made it and got a little closer to realizing how very strong we can be.

One of the key reasons I decided to do this hike, was for a friend of mine who I met less than a year ago.    When I met her, she was the woman on the left.  She loved to hike, but it was hurting her knees.  She had always dreamed of hiking Mount Washington, but thought it would never happen.

In the last 7 months, she has made changes, small changes on a daily basis to get to a healthier her.  Changes she didn't think she was capable of when we first met.    I am so proud of this woman, words can't express it.   She has lost 50 pounds, and gained the strength to hike up Mount Washington as a result.  More importantly, every day I see her self confidence get a little bit bigger.

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I've included the next few photos to really share my passion for helping others - in whatever capacity I can.  Helping other women realize just how STRONG they are and how much they CAN do.   

This one is taken from a local Boot Camp class I teach. I created a format where parents can take their little ones to class - originally I wanted to provide an opportunity for moms to be able to add fitness back into their lives (or start for the first time), but it's become so much more than that.

This photo shows exactly what I mean. This was taken in my Pilates class last week - a three year old mimicking her mom, wanting to be just like mom, learning how to love fitness and health, just like mom.

I love watching the kids engage with the moms during class.  A few days after this photo was taken, I was also sent a video from one of the four year olds that comes to class with her mom.   It was a 'fitness' video she wanted to record for her mom.  She was giving cues and doing movements just like we do in class - a true reminder, they are always watching, always listening, always learning from us.

I strive on a daily basis to give my son something positive to watch and experience, because every action I take, every word I speak is helping to form his perception of life and himself.

This is an amazing group of moms from my Pilates class - I am grateful on a daily basis to be able to spend time with them each week, watching them get stronger, build relationships and engage positively with their little ones.

I'm going to close this week's post with a little about weight and goals.   I often talk weight, because when I started at close to 240 pounds, weight was a big indicator of my health. I was sedentary, and I ate very poorly.    But as I get closer to my goals (which are mostly non scale related, if not completely non scale related), I am focusing so much more on what my body CAN DO.    Looks aren't even a goal of  mine, but I share photos because they are a great way to show others in a visual way how I've changed.

This photo is a great reminder of many things.  First, how far I have come since last summer.   The second, and perhaps most important take away for me as someone who has always struggled with 'numbers', is that a number does not always tell the full picture.  

I've been hovering around the same weight all summer, but I continue to push forward and I continue to improve my fitness.   The photos on the right are a month a part, and actually a slight weight gain, but what I see is huge improvements in my muscle tone - which proves all my strength training is in fact changing my body.   I feel so STRONG these days both mentally and physically.   I am a good 30 pounds above my college 'low' (one I achieved doing very unhealthy things, and one I was never really proud of at the time), and couldn't be more proud of my size, weight, shape and more importantly ability to DO things.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Positivity Wins

Weekly Update:  I am up 3lbs this week flr a total of 72lbs. I'm continuing to 'struggle' but I did have a big "AHA" moment this week and something I'm REALLY proud of.  For the first time in my weight loss journey, I have maintained my weight for a significant amount of time.   In the past, when I have lost weight, I only know two speeds "Lose" or "Gain".   I am normally really good at losing, but when it comes to maintain I FREAK OUT, and start gaining because not seeing the scale goes down really gets at me mentally.

Not this time.

When I set out, I had a loose 'goal' of 100 pounds based on my prior weights, that being said, I'm working every day to focus on how I feel not an actual number.  I do think I could and should lose about 10 more pounds, but that being said I am getting stronger and healthier every day at my current weight, and the fact that I've STAYED this weight, well that is huge for me and something to celebrate.  

I share photos, like the above, as a reminder of how far I've come.   Not because the 'old' me was bad.  Not because she was ugly, or a terrible person.  But because we often can relate best to visuals.  The 'old' me wasn't healthy.  The 'old' me wasn't going to be around for my son, to see him grow up, to see him have kids.  The 'old' me was in pain, my joints hurt, my body was uncomfortable (physically, not visually, but my body literally felt uncomfortable).   

The NEW me, is strong.  Healthy. A good role model.   COMFORTABLE.  I'm actually still considered overweight, but I know how much healthier I am, and focus less on the scale these days and more on my abilities.

This photo below is a reminder, one of my biggest reasons, my WHY, is my son.  I want to be a mother who is alive for him.  I want to live life to the fullest, and be happy and have energy and live a long life!

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This is a great example of what kind of mom I want to be.   Since getting back into a healthy lifestyle, I have started teaching fitness classes WITH my son. He is by my side, he plays while the moms socialize and get in some fitness.  It's not about killing ourselves to look a certain way, it's about being strong and healthy.  It's about being role models that fitness can be fun.

I also do my morning workouts, those are my ME time.   When I teach, well that's about the women and children in my class. I truly love it, but my ME time, that's the time when I can focus on my strength and physical improvements.  My ME time happens at 5:30am, it's not always easy, but it's always worth it.

Not much in "food news" this week - but I have a few photos to share - first one is my morning 24 ounces!!  Drinking my water makes such a huge impact on my day and how I feel.

And this is a great reminder of how much FOOD you can have when you eat the right things, in the right balance and portions.   This is tempeh, mixed veggies, leftover pasta salad from a BBQ (balsamic not mayo) and a little fresh parm.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Party City

Weekly Update:  Up 3lbs even for a current total of 72lbs. Well this week was hard, really hard. I had some stress (good stress), of planning a surprise party for my husband and then my son's 2 year old birthday the following day. That on top of it being a 3 day weekend, I completely let myself loose. I'm not going to even pretend I tried, because I didn't try with my food at all. THERE! I said it.  It's out.  I am moving on.

I did continue with my workouts, and I do continue to get stronger, but my food was just a total mess.  The good news is I FELT it. I felt lethargic all weekend, and not in a good way. It's proof that it really does affect you pretty quickly after making some poor choices.

That being said, I'm still very proud of where I am, and where I'm going.  The good news of having my anniversary, husband's birthday and son's birthday all in the same week is that it's OVER!  Not that I don't like the sentiment, but I could do with out the treats.

I chose the above  photo, to remind myself that last year's 'birthday' season was hard too, but in between I continued to push through and lost 55 pounds - I'd say a few rough days are OK in the grand scheme of things.   Moving right along.

This necklace 'fell' into my hands this past week, I have made this my personal motto.   I am not a big jewelry person these days, but for this saying, I plan to wear this necklace often as a reminder of my strength and confidence.

I put this particular collage together this week, given what I said about having a 'rough' weekend but then moving on from it, this photo is a big reminder of how huge of a step that is for me.   This is all the same date in history - my wedding day I was 140 pounds, I was very conscious of my weight, and not very happy at the time with my weight (after all,it wasn't my 'ideal' weight), I took that frustration to go crazy on my wedding day and honeymoon and pack on another 20 pounds as a result.

The year after my wedding, I got rid of a lot of it, until I was pregnant and all my 'dieting' rules went out the window, since I never really knew how to eat, I just sort of stopped caring about what I ate and stopped restricting calories.  The top right is the day my son was born, I was so happy, but also had gained 85 pounds total during the pregnancy.   Bottom left, is 2 months into the 21 Day Fix, I am at the same weight there that I was the day I gave birth - it took 8 months post partum to gain more weight and then 2 months after that to start to get it off.  I was SO proud in the bottom left to have lost 20 pounds.   Then the bottom right - well that's today. I'm heavier than my wedding day by a good deal, but I don't hate myself anymore.  And I don't let food rule my days.  I am HAPPY.

Even though it was a hard week, I am still seeing changes in my body from the Body Beast program. I am three weeks in, and noticing huge changes in my stomach!!

If you enjoy my blog, I'd love to have you in my private (women only) Facebook Group dedicated to health, fitness and nutrition:

I love this, I found it recently. As the leaves are starting to change and I'm starting to get sad that the year is coming to an end, this quantifies that we really do have time left to make a change.    You can stay the same, you can gain, or you can start to make changes so that come January 1st you are proud to be ringing in the new year.

In food news...I'm not going to post much, because it was pretty rough.  But here was my biggest temptation, Puppy Cupcakes for my son's 2nd birthday party!   I managed to get them all out of my house after this weekend, something I wouldn't have done in the past. A huge victory!

Another thing I'm proud of, I never ever miss my water intake.  This is a reminder that this is a huge ting I do for my health on a daily basis.

This is an oldie but goodie - back on track on Tuesday morning I made banana pancakes - just 2 eggs, one banana and some cinnamon and I'm good to go!

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Keep at it!

Weekly Update: This week I am up 0.4lbs for a total of 75lbs even!!    I am really proud of myself for staying ACTIVE, and I have to say I am feeling so strong these days with my new program Body Beast.  For some reason I'm still struggling at this 75lb marker.  It may be the summer, may be my body found a 'sticking' place, may be the change in routine with the weight lifting (I'm still trying to iron out exactly the best breakdown of foods doing the Body Beast Nutrition guide using the 21 Day Fix containers). I continue to push forward, knowing my body is getting stronger and leaner even if the scale is a little sticky.   


 Here is a great photo of this weekend - we were in NH for the weekend and decided to do an impromptu hike, except I didn't have a backpack with me, toddler backpack to the rescue!   A year ago there's no way this would have even gone over one arm, and that's if I could have even made it halfway up the hiking trail - so I consider both a win! 

And while that scale may be a little 'sticky' there is no denying how far I've come in a year.  My newest program is honestly totally defining my muscles in ways I never thought possible after having lost so much weight (loose skin, etc).  I love this one - I see a bicep!!

Here we are about to go waterskiing - my all time favorite thing in the world to do.  This was one of my catalysts last year.  I remember vividly crying in the middle of the lake with frustration when I tried to get up and for the first time in 20 years was unable to.  Being able to waterski again has been a big part of this journey, and I'll never take it for granted again.

One thing that's been super fun the last couple of months has been forming a community of "morning warriors" - we text, message, email, and post photos of ourselves at 4, 5 or 6am - whenever that morning workout happens - here is a collage of some of the ones I've sent to my challengers this past month.   Sometimes sending the photo is the only thing that will get me out of bed, but once I'm out of bed, I CRAVE my workout!

If you enjoy my blog, I'd love to have you in my private (women only) Facebook Group dedicated to health, fitness and nutrition:

I love how most of my programs can be done with just my body, or a band.  That being said, Body Beast is about strengthening and pushing your limits with weight training.  While in NH, I didn't want to sacrifice 3 days going off the program, so I brought my weights with me.  I love how I have access to all the programs I purchase 'On Demand' which means I can stream it on my phone or a computer wherever I am!!  I drove to NH, but had I been somewhere that I couldn't pack up my weights, I would have brought my "On Demand" to a gym and used their weights!

We had some great family time this weekend, one of my very first WHYs was being able to play effortlessly with my son and show him how much I LOVE life.  Here we are on the boat, he is anxiously awaiting watching "Mommy Waterski!!"   I am setting a good example, because ever since we got back he's been obsessing over when HE can waterski - I'm a proud mama to say the least.

In a similar vein, I truly enjoy taking my son WITH me as I travel around CT teaching my fitness classes to other moms who struggle to make time for their fitness.   While the classes are geared towards the moms, children are always fun props - if they get bored of playing, we often find them on our tummies and backs making class that much more fun!

During one of my workouts this weekend I looked down to see this.  These are the same shorts I've been wearing for my workouts the past year (I have three pairs and they are so comfy I can't seem to buy new ones).   A year ago these pants weren't fitting very well at all - the seam dug into my stomach.  Today, they literally buckle with extra fabric.

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