Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nice!!! Zumba, spin, and power... Now For some nurouishment- egg whites, grits, grilled chicken fillet, tomatoes slices, and a  slice of wheat toast with my hubby. Yummy
I was reviewing my PEACE... prerequisites to get into the right frame of mind to lose weight and I realized something interesting- It touches more on the emotional changes that take place during this journey rather than the physical. That is my next subject.

How does exercise play a role in weight loss? If you have watched an episode of the biggest loser show you will observe what seems to be Bob and Jillian pretty much abuse the heck out of the contestants. In reality, it's a two step process- the emotional and physical.

The physical is just brute strength and pain to burn calories and fat. The emotional Is far more complicated and harder. The physical side to weight loss is just repetition and reaction, but the mental force/strength is what needs to be finetuned. That is what pulls you through the pain. That is what makes you stronger. That the mental pull is what takes you through the whole process. I remember literally crying on the threadmill and thinking this is so hard. I will never lose all the weight, and I remember mouthing the words Push and "never give up" when literally I had no strength to continue. The psychological side to this is what really pulls and pushes you to continue. You have to do the work. You have to make the sacrifices. You have to finetune your physical regimen regularly. I have heard it and seen it so many times now, when people ask me..."whats the secret?" and "how did you lose the weight?" and my response is "eating right", they nod their heads but when I say "exercise"... its like... Oh no!.

Its a training process, not only learning the machines, doing the repetitions correctly, being focused and "being there" when you are doing the exercises, but demanding that your body and SPIrit cooperate. I hate when I see the magazines and the people really into the shows on the "theatre screens" or "cardio theatre" screens as the SPINNERS (who are gasping for air by song No.3 in the first 9 minutes of our workout) and the others who have been on the threadmill for what... 30 minutes just strumming along. You have to PUSH, you have demand it from your body.

Once you get "addicted" to the routine, the exercises, the sweat, the PUSH, you will need it. You will seek it. You will return and return and demand more. I have seen the result. Its amazing. I love the definition and changes my body has done. I am 39 years old and I love my body more today than I did 10-15 years ago. I respect it, i take care of it and nourish it properly. I listen to it and rest when needed. The shows like Biggest loser always motivate me to continue. To remind myself of how anything is possible--- by anyone. Imagine if you had 4 hours a day to work out, if you had that knowledge, that experience, that push on your side. I would love to spend one work out with JM or BH. So, take their words, there PUSH with you. Mentally replay your mantra as you go to the gym. Stay focused. It will happen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

P.E.A.C.E ..... in order to figure it all out

I started..... "My story is like many, that unfortunately it takes a tragedy, an illness, a death or a moment of truth that stops you dead in your tracks. A moment of truth that occurs when you know you HAVE to make a change, stop making the excuses, stop justifying your bad choices and FACE THE TRUTH. That moment occured on June 5th of 2009 for me. I had just started a Biggest loser challenge with coworkers. The challenge would run from June 1st to september 1st. With a combined total of 20 challengers and a pot of over $1000.00. Go figure my first week on the challenge and I would be on vacation. I went to Houston and how my mother got ill and my whole purpose changed at that very instant....and everyone knows the ... "rest of the story"...

well after I won the Biggest loser challenge, my husband gave me a gift of a silver necklace with a pendant that reads..."the journey is the reward". and so true this is for I discovered many things along this journey. I recieve the gracious praises for my accomplishment, but there are so many facets to this and there are so many people and images of their faces, words, and expressions that resonate in my mind and heart every day which have carried me along this journey. To these my eternal gratitude will never be enough. You know who you are.

On June 5th, I would finally "awaken the giant within"... I would finally face my "demon" and seek an answer to my underlying "naiveness".

(These are in quotations because those closest to me will know the moment they have said these words to me and why)

There are so many comments, stories, moments, tears, and pain that are part of my journey. These are what gives me hope, what moves me on a daily basis, what keeps me fighting at every moment. What give me strength and power. I will attempt to intrepret all these simply below.

What have I learned?....PEACE... why peace? because until you learn to make PEACE with yourself, with your purpose, you will not achieve it. There is an extremely psychological side to being overweight or obese. I am not talking about those nagging 5-10 lbs we pick up over the years. I am talking about the 20-30,50 and even those 80 lbs overweight we allow ourselves to justify with new clothes, with new hairdos, with makeup and immersement in our roles as wifes and mothers, and employers. Each of those pounds are a justification for a part of our lives we have lost control of, the balance, the importance, the priority which is OURSELF.

P. E. A. C. E.

1)Priority. Make yourself a priority. We occupy so many roles in our lives that can blind or obscure the rememberance of who we are. We forget what we love and what we are passionate about. We tend to lose ourself along this path. Where did we lose the crucial element in our life of valuing ourselves?

Did anyone see last nights episode of Biggest Loser. Did you see the part after the whole episode of Jillian Michaels attempting to help Migdalia get to the root of her emotions... and what happened afterwards with her ONLY hearing one side of what Jillian was trying to say... A little bit after, Did you see the part when she is at the table talking to her mom and realizes... what had set her off was one simple question that Jillian asked. "Are you happy?", then she asked her why are you so mad?" Migdalia in tears confessed to her mom and herself, " I don't know why?".

Are you truly happy? Are you in control of that part of your life? You have to take the time and make yourself a priority above all. This doesn't mean you sacrifice your family or your loved ones or your other responsibilities, rather you place yourself on the same level and importance that you give your job, your kids, your spouse, your home, etc. I often refer to may husbands "BS" line. I always got pissed when my husband would caringly and (safely) respond to my reciprocal question... he would say "do what makes you happy!" until I finally realized the deep meaning of those words. I would have to find what that was. I would have to find out what made me happy. Noone else could do it for me.

2)EXCUSES/ You must stop making excuses for why you don't have the time, don't have the energy, why you don't have noone to go with, why the kids, the housework, the job, the school, the schedule and the kitchen sink is to blame for your weight issues. That and all the other petty excuses, we attempt to justify when trying to clear our conscience of what WE KNOW we must do. I remember having to get over the akwardness of the new machines and gym clothes, dear God, oh mighty, and all the skinny bitches, who of course i just excused myself with..."hmm, i bet they don't have kids, "hmm... I bet there metabolism is faster, " I bet they starve themselves, I bet they dont eat". STOP !!!! Stop making excuses for yourself. Face the truth, and call it out for what it is. My sister once told me. "No fat person wants to be fat". I was fat. I was one of those fat people and was in total denial. I was overweight and unhealthy and on my way to Diabetes and all its consequences. I had search deep down for the reasons of the excuses and justifications and call them out one by one. Find a solution, and resolve the issues of why I allowed this. Only then, I could overcome the excuses.

3)ACCOUNTABILITY. I recall the first time I caught a commercial of anything "Biggest Loser" while switching the channels and heard Bob Harper say. One of the best ways to start on the right path in weight loss is journaling everything you eat. Even today after 73 lbs weight loss I continue to journal my eating habits, as well as my thoughts, emotions of the day. I also remember a funny thing that happened after I told my sister ... "I'm doing this weight loss challenge with some coworkers"... all of a sudden every time we were around food or drink, she instinctively spoke for me... "oh, she can't eat that because she is on this weight loss challenge", "oh she can't have that because she is trying to lose weight". I would of loved to seen the expression on my face at those moments. But I learned a very important lesson that day: ACCOUTABILITY. Above all you are accountable to yourself, but by telling others you will start to feel obligated and encouraged to stay on track. Also, the more people you tell, the more people you enlist as your support in this battle.

4) CONSISTENCY. remember the Skinny bitches another thing I learned from them was that Every single time I would go to the gym, day or night, they were there, the same skinny bitches, they were there, the were there maintaining what they had already developed and so were those people and that person and that one, I then realized it was consistency, the continuous effort to change, develop and maitain. When you make this your way of life, when you add it to your daily routine, you will find it as a necessity, as a part of your life. It becomes a commitment to yourself. An obligation to yourself. A constant pattern of goodness for yourself. A goal you strive to accomplish on a daily basis. When you follow the same routine of taking care of yourself by eating right, sleeping and resting enough, and by exercising daily, your reward is inevitable.

Your consistency will pay off. People often say, "the weight falls off". Does it? Yes, it falls off. Tosca Reno says she dropped off 70 lbs, it became dust on the threadmill. I too can tell you, that I never believed I would ever be in a size 8 dress or jeans, again. But by following this method, every day. It happens. If you are consistent. Leave the bad habits and replace them with good ones, every day. It happens. I often say I have won the war, but the battle continues. I take every day, every moment, every meal as my chance to improve and make the best choice.

5) EAT QUALITY FOOD IN CORRECT QUANTITY. People ask me on a daily basis now. How did you do it? What is the secret? And my answer remains the same. "I eat with regards to quality and quantity, not convenience". I don;t do junk food, I don't do fast food and I dont do coke cola. I remember one interview, years ago, Al Roker did after he got his gastric bypass, and people were asking him, why are you so consumed about food preparation if that is what you are trying to stay away from", and he said something to the effect of..." Because I can only eat a small quantity of food now, I have to make it the BEST quality". I too will read food labels on every single thing I consume. If I see that on tiny muffin has 5 GRAM OF FAT and 140 per serving, its not worth it for me. All the sugar grams and hydrogenated oils in that junk are just not worth it.

Every good book on losing weight is exactly the same as the next. When talking about nutrition, whether its Tosca Reno Eat clean diet, Ian Smith, 4 day diet, Liz Vaccariello, Flat Belly Diet, or David zinczenko-Abs diet, (all reputable names in the health and nutrition fields) each of these books mirror each other in saying you have to EAT QUALITY FOODS. Give up the junk, and fuel your body with nutritious foods. Remember the good old saying? You are what you eat!. Plain and simple you are what you eat. I gave Coke Cola up completely. I dont do diet, zero, or anything phizzy at all. I pretty much drink green, or herbal teas, my morning java', water and skim milk, thats it. I dont do fruit juices or powdered drinks at all. I buy and prepare my food 90% of the time. The other 10% involves carefully balancing sugar grams, fat grams and substitutions. I bring my cooler to work and my coworkers can testify that I consume about 4 meals a day during work. I enjoy eating, I taste my foods, and value my body and mind now. I know I am worth the time and energy to dedicate to myself.

I have come to learn that the mind and body are an incredible machine that can take us to places where we never thought possible. Respect it, treasure it, and love it. By doing this you will give it the best quality fuels, you will reward it with attention, and care.

As fastidious it may be for others to hear me repeat my story over and over. I hope this may fuel you to make a change. To search deep for your inspiration, for your motivation to get healthy to get fit and LIve your best life.


Hello World, make it the best you can, EVERYDAY

I am sitting in the parking lot at the Buford office and enjoying this windy weather coming through the open windows in my truck. I have noticed that its about 4 or 5 of us who sit in this parking lot around 1:30PM or 2pm that just sit out here whethers its eating our lunch or just sitting our vehicles like a refuge from what awaits us in just minutes. I notices some lean their chairs back and have their eyes closed, other lean out the windows. Others like myself look up at these gray and hazy days as if to wonder will it rain again. Todays feels wonderful and I will enjoy it if only for the next few hours will bring rain and more clouds. But for right now let me rest my weary soul and relax for these next 9 minutes before I must put on a smile again and make it "showtime".

Saturday, January 16, 2010


the first pictures are from May 27th the weekend of our first weigh in 2009,May 27th. The other are from Jan 2009. This is what I looked like 7 months ago when I started my weight loss journey and prior in the beginning of the year. I will make a picture show and go the whole process.

saturday, spin class and presentation-LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE

Well guys it went well. I did get choked up here and there, but for the most part I made it lively and fun with emphasis that ANYONE can do this. If I did it and got positive changes anyone can. I guess you all want the proof. I will post some atrocious pictures. Sorry, and the best to all of you. SEEKING YOUR BEST LIFE. SEEK IT, PURSUE IT WITH PASSION- sweat and tears and you will succeed. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I am begging My Heavenly Father above to cure my mom

I woke up today sharply at 5am to find myself crying heaps into my pillow, after blogging last night I could not erase the helplessness I feel towards my mothers' health. Today at 10am she is to have a hernia repair surgery due to yet another consequence of kidney failure. Patients who have to remove and reinsert 1500 cc of liquid (peritoneal dialysis)from their peritoneum tend to get hernias due to constant pressure. I am overly concerned and terribly frightened, not because I think anything bad is going to happen, but more so because I wish this was not happening. I begged My Heavenly father to cure her, I begged and cried all at the same time for her not to be sick anymore. I was so heart broken that this is happening to my mother, why?! I cried myself back to sleep and reminded myself it was in his care I left my worries and my mother. My mother is a woman of great faith and I know that has sustained her through all of her tribulations of her health problems. I know she will always prevail, but it doesnt make it hurt any less.

I am sitting at lunch now having had my Healthy choice soup and some oyster crackers I kindly stole from somebodys' supply in the back office... OUCH they are terrible. My CALORIEKING is clocking them in at : a whopping- 121 calories for 1 0z. total fat 3.2 g. 1 ounce is like maybe 6 or 7- and obviously the sodium is off the charts at 304mg. Not worth it. Well thats my exciting entertainment for lunch today. I was rushed this a.m. and overpreocuppied with my mom that I did not follow my gut instinct last night to prepack my cooler for today as my usual custom.
My coworkers wondered how I can eat Tuna as breakfast today. Protein baby, i need it early.

What works for me may not work for you, but for the most part. I just practice logical thinking and balance when it comes for food. The most important thing I have learned is to eat a protein and complex carb at every meal. Starting with breakfast. Never skip breakfast. I start at 7am or earlier if possible and by 11am I have eating at least twice. Now my meals consists of small 100 to 150 calories bursts of energy as I describe it.

My breakfast is ussually a couple of nuts with oatmeal or grits and a chickfil a chicken breast, or egg white and veggie omelet. Snacks: tuna and fat free wheat thins(6 crackers)or a light and fit dannon smoothie 60 cal 3 sugars. lunch is a protein and complex carb in any form. then my afternoon snacks: piece of fruit, yogurt,or nuts. My treats: peppermint patty. 150 calories 2.5 grams of fat.

Most important rules I do not deviate from:
Never touch Coke or carbonated drinks. Never touch donuts or pastry products. They contain so much hydrogenated oils to keep the items- I even had to leave my beloved MONSTER LOW CARB. too much fake sugars.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

my story..."I don't want to be like my mother"...let me explain...

I pretty much do things at the urgings of others rather than my own iniatiative. Not because I am not capable or lack the self motivation to accomplish it, rather its easier for me to be effacing than self complimentory. I have actually meditated long and hard about this and have come to terms with learning how to accept a compliment and actually enjoy it. But this was not always the case.

My story begins in May 2009. My office decided to do a "Biggest Loser" Challenge and I decided to join in on the FUN. I told myself I am sure that in 13 weeks I can lose 10 lbs, I can do this.I got a little competitive spirit in me. So we all put monies in a pot with 20 participates the total was quite enticing at over $1600.00. Eventually, many would drop out of the challenge and others would give up. So I started with what would be one of the most praiseworthy journies of my life. I hope this continues to take me to me bigger and better things, some on the horizon and some yet to be revealed, but we will get into that a little bit later.

One thing was sure, my streak of competition boiled forward and I immediatedly enlisted the help of my eldest brother Carlos, who won a similar competition in the previous year. I listened, asked questions, read, and scoped the web for information. This still remains my habit today.

So our office weigh in was on May 27th. I stepped on the scale at our weigh and tipped it at 238.7 I honestly had not known what my weight was before that date because I had conveniently removed the last working scale from my bathroom ages ago. But I was determined that this might be a good thing. I will play along, I am one of the managers and this will be team player activity. Why not? I have wanted to lose weight, but never put in much effort in doing so. I just never imagined how much I wanted until June, and July, and August, and even today. I never allowed myself to analize why I was overweight or why I had become 238.7 lbs. I can say it now as a badge of honor without getting alarmed as I was then by these numbers. I repeat it and tell my story now as many times as I can, as a constant reminder. I have been there, I know what its like.

For some who have not been overweight, or had weight problems, you may not understand the true meaning behind the incredible success of the biggest loser shows, supplements, books, and all the other "weight loss" products, there are hundreds, thousands out there promising one thing or another. I love this reality show now and did not follow it until last season, mid way through after already losing 40 lbs. I was touched by the similarity of stories, not just the numbers because this is not what being overweight is about, but the SHAME, AGONY, LOSS OF CONTROL, and so many other FEELINGS that need to get in control before the weight start falling off. Does it really fall off? Yes, I can attest to it. It does.

It was june 2nd 2009 and my parents and I were flying to Houston, Texas for my oldest nieces (granddaughter) high school graduation. I sheepishly started using my "excuse". "Oh no, I will pass, I am doing this weight loss challenge at work", "I can't", passed up on all this royal graduation feast of a party, cake and all, including all running liquor, corona beer, ( my favorite), and every other bubbling beverage known to man. During these days of empowernment of denying myself Coke, and that extra serving, and tres leche cake with frosting, my glory became awareness of my mother succumbing to the ill effects of her diabetes, and kidney failure disease. My story changed into another purpose and degree. The person I most admired, most treasured in my life, the person that could handle and do anything above extraordinary, the person who could move mountains, and solve anything was all but helpless. She was so ill during these days, suffering from fatigue, insomnia, lack and excess of appetite, anxiety, and sheer fear I'd say. This was not the woman I know.

My mom has suffered from diabetes for years and years and has been controlled with insulin. Her kidney failure came on about 2 years ago and ended up with her having to have peritoneal dialysis on a daily basis which true to her style, she makes sure its doesn't interfere with her vacation trips to Colombia, S.A. or Europe, or Caribbean cruises she loves so much. She orders her supplies from Baxter Home Health equipment on a timely basis and has it delivered to home, plane, or boat depending on the itinerary. At home, she has her dialysis supplies and equipment in a fully functional room which my dad equipped for her comfort and sensitivity that she does not want to feel like she is a "patient in a hospital" when at home. My parents nightly routine and life is quiant and sweet and lovable and both manage this successfully with the support, help and patience of my extraordinary dad.

But on these early days of June, I noticed and had an incredible epipheny that took me to another level. At one point, my mother asked me to go and heat up the "bags" (peritoneal fluid that is heated and administered to the peritoneal area- belly through a port). As I carried this 1.5 gallon size bag to the microwave. I held it in my hands and at that moment my story became about something else. I clearly remember walking down each step reciting words/ phrases to myself. I don't know if out of anger, sadness, retaliation, defeat or victory, maybe a little bit of everything. I stepped each step downstairs and this is what echoed in my mind: "I don't want to be like my mother", "I don't want to have this disease", "I don't want to have diabetes", " I don't want to have diabetes".

After that I remember I went to bed. Made my usual evening Prayer for my mothers' wellbeing and my fathers' strength, and for all of us, my siblings who do not know how to exist without her. I woke up early the next morning, borrowed the keys to my sister expedition and went to the grocery store, and walked around. I walked around for a while, clueless to what I was doing or looking for but I must have been more focused than It seemed because I remember that I bought raisins, oatmeal, bananas, pint of egg substitue and apple juice. I had promised myself at that moment the prior evening that my life would change and it did. By the time, I returned to Georgia, I stepped back on that scale and the numbers that were staring at me seemed to be wrong... 229. No that couldnt be right. But in fact, it was I confirmed it with another scale I had lost 9 lbs in 5 days with a little control. Wow ! I thought to myself, "If I thought I could lose 10 lbs in 3 months and I lost 9 lbs in 5 days, I can so do this".

My biggest loser challenge became..."My biggest winner challenge". Every step of the way became about winning, not losing. I won the battle of control. I won the battle over my feelings towards food, towards myself. I was worth it. I took the time for myself, regardless if I had laundry to do or fold. It did become about me. We tend to lose that as moms and wives. Not because we dont have the support or love to grow, but because we lack the confidence and initiative to make ourselves just as important as our kids and husbands. My husband has his SAFE line..."honey, do what makes you happy", what kind of crap is that. he told me that when looking at employment opportunities, wanting to lose weight, blah blah blah, blah blah. that doesnt help me. But in reality, it was his way of saying YOU HAVE TO FIND IT YOURSELF. Noone can do this for you. Noone. By our first staff meeting in the Atlanta office after beginning the challenge and 3rd weigh in-July 10th, I weight 216 lbs, I was down 22.7 lbs in a month. I was bewildered by many things that day. First by the incredible reaction of so many on seeing me. yes, in their reaction to the changes I had made physically. Noone up to that point and even after that had asked me about diet or what changes I had made. It was all about the physical difference they saw in me. I didnt understand that yet. I was overwhelmed. I also noticed how little had changed for so many others who were also in this challenge with me. At the staff meeting, as I brought in my water bottle and yogurt to eat my breakfast, I noticed the others still reaching for the sausage biscuits, orange juice, chocolate milk which is offered at the meeting. Many came in with their Venti sized whipped cream topped lattes and cappuchinos. I looked around and found myself very alone. I will admit, my inner competitive voice told me, "wow, this is going to be easy". But, honestly, what I was looking for was camaraderie. By the time, I reached my office in Buford after the staff meeting, I recieved multiple emails from other participants in the challenge as well as other well wishers congratulating me for my success. I was happy, but well aware I still had a long road ahead. My next goal was being under 200 lbs. I recieved the most incredible support from the staff in my office in Buford, I remember getting the howls when I wore a new size large shirt instead of Xlarge, I remember the words of encouragement that they would give me, i remember the work outs that my buff coworker, Cesar would let me join in with him at the gym and not be embarressed to be seen with me. I remember my cousins husband, Brian trying to reach 200 lbs and me trying to leave it. I remember the days of lounges and squats and circuit training and runs on the threadmill, and stairmaster tortures. I remember the listening ears of my brothers who gave me compliments and advice to continue on. The challenge progressed weeks by weeks. I changed habits, and continued to make new healthy alternatives. By late July, I weighed 205.4. By August, 20th I hit the 200 mark. that was big !!!

When people ask me how did I do it. I answer eating right and exercise. Through reading and research I have learned that the first is so much more important than the latter. My habits have changed dramatically from justifying to making a conscience decision for my benefit. My relationship with food has changed. I do not look at it as a means to endulge, but a means to fuel my body for its daily activities. I look at food as a delicacy, as a substance for purity and wellbeing. I judge the quality of food and the quantity rather than the convenience. This is my line. I EAT with quality and quantity in mind rather than convenience. NO FAST FOODs, NO COKE, NO JUNK. Quality foods, are you worth it? Are you a winner? are you determined, focused? What will it take to make you see it as a reality? It took me seeing my mother, the most independent, confident, productive woman I know, fearfully ill, to change my fate. Change my course, dead in my tracks. I promised myself. I will not get diabetes. I am determined to continue my battle, and eventhough the war is over, the daily battles continues which are so much easier to handle than the war.

The challenge took us to the final weight in on september 4th 2009, I weighed 195.5 lbs with a total loss of over 43 lbs. I shared the pot with another winner. I recieved $ 830.00 and our 2nd winner Brandi, recieved over $ 300.00, She lost 11 lbs. Go on Girl!

You can do it too. I promise, if you take yourself into consideration. Make yourself a priority. Really look at yourself inside and out and want the change, and determined to make the change. All you need now is the method. EAT CLEAN, eat healthy, drink water, sleep and love your body. You are so worth it.

I didnt believe I had issues with my emotional side, but boy was I wrong. As I mentioned, before, you want to know why all weight loss products are so profitable. Because this type of challenge grows from DEEP inside and can only solved by searching DEEP inside. WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION, whether competition, health, conceit, or just not wanting to be that " oh, but you have such a pretty face" anymore. Take it, run with it, and it will happen. Once you got it.... keep going. I am not even worried now about the numbers rather the progress whether its seeing that pair of size 12 fit so baggy now or the long boots I have never been able to fit over my calves, or size 8 dress I have hanging in my closet as my next step.

I push, i cry, i tire, i push some more, I sacrifice, I hurt, I feel, I care, i honor, I progress and with it all, I am so happy. I am free from the shame, the disgust, the hatred of loss of power and control that I had for years. Now I am strong, now I am happy, now I am powerful.

This is my story. What is yours?

To explain the first phrase of my blog, I have been asked to stand up at our Saturday spin class and give a little inspirational tidbit of my journey. Wish me well- mainly the part of "little tidbit" is what I am worried about. LOL