Friday, November 29, 2013

Creating a Micro-Environment of Health

So Happy Day After Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope your day yesterday (and every day but especially yesterday!) was filled with laughter, love, hope, and good memories being made!

It was at my house.

I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time EVER at my house.  My sis usually has it at her house, since she is the one who never left Arizona LOL.  I was the transplant traipsing around the world and other states, so who ever knew where WE were going to be any given Thanksgiving!

England (Lancashire).  Austria (Schladming).  Canada (Winnipeg).  Jerome (near Sedona, AZ).  Colorado (Lyons, near Boulder).

Yes I was the wanderlust always ready for an adventure.  My sis was the set-down-your-roots and with her 4 kids it just seemed like the place to have Thanksgiving every year, and Christmas Eve too!

The gathering place.  But her house is in the "middle" of being painted on the outside, so it is all taped and oversprayed with primer and the like, so we decided to have it at MY house on the next street over. 


Yesterday we had all manner of EVERYTHING to eat.  Sprouts did it up for us very well, everything was delicious.  We had far more pies than necessary, and it really smelled like Thanksgiving when we warmed everything up (the pre-cooked Turkey was AMAZING!).

So this morning I was thinking about what it MEANS to create a micro-environment of health in our lives.  I came up with a few ideas, some borrowed from Dr. A and some how I've implemented things in my own  home/life/friendships.

Creating a Micro-Environment of Health in the HOME ENVIRONMENT:

While we are focusing on health, it is important to identify in us what "triggers" we may have, and then change our routines and our environment to one that will PROMOTE our health goals, not HINDER them.  I've done that in my own house and with my immediate family, I've created a "safe zone" so to speak, where those items that cause me the biggest temptations historically just aren't around.  I don't have them readily available, because I know that even if I am doing SUPER WELL on my plan and with my health goals, there is about 8% of my day (it's a hypothetical, I've never actually measured that.....LOL), where my track record historically has shown that I am LESS focused on what I want EVENTUALLY (health goals) and MORE focused on what I think I want NOW (yummy food).

So I keep my trigger-items OUT of my house because I have created a "micro-environment of health" in my house.  I only want those things which will further my health goals to be readily available, I want my house to be a place of peace for me and not a battleground. 

What are those items for YOU?  For me, they are:  An OPEN bottle of red wine, Blue Cheese, Brie or Stilton, and Black Licorice (soft kind, what they call "aussie style).

No matter how I THINK I am doing, if I put these things in my house they WILL hinder my plan, because I allow them to.

So they don't reside in my house.  Yes, I pour out half-empty bottles of wine every once in awhile, after we've entertained and I want to set myself up for an on-plan day the next day.

Creating a Micro-Environment of Health in our

What else do I do?  Well, if I am going running the next day I'll spend about 10 minutes the night before, just around bedtime (I'm sure that time of the day is PART of my 8%!), gathering my running gear, my ear buds, my running shoes, etc, and placing them on a chair in the kitchen near the coffee.  Then I'll grind the coffee and set up the coffeemaker for the morning.  Why do I do these things?  Not just to be "ready to go" in the morning, but to keep my mind and my actions right before bed focused on health.  If I didn't DO this routine, I may instead direct myself to the pantry to grab a handful of nuts or dried cherries. 

But I don't.  I have a healthy ROUTINE.  I have created a micro-environment of health, and have established healthy ROUTINES which a repeat every day.  This promotes an attitude of moving towards health in my life, instead of an attitude of food-centricity.

SO!  It doesn't matter to me what I may or may not have eaten yesterday, for Thanksgiving.  What DOES matter is what am I doing TODAY.  How am I acting in accordance with my long-term health goals TODAY?  With this very next DECISION?

Well, I sent all the left-overs of EVERYTHING home with my sister to deal with.  TODAY we are back to our regular routine, and my regular routine looks something like this:

Wake up, have my "perfect" cup of coffee with 2 TBSP half and half and 1 packet of splenda in it, and a Medifast Meal.  This morning it was a Choc Chip Cookie Dough Chewy Bar.  Some days it is Oatmeal or Blueberry Muffin.  Occasionally a Brownie.  Always with my perfect cup of coffee.  Then I fill up my 44 oz water cup with water and a Mixed Berry Flavor Infuser, I blog, I read the blogs, and I drink my water.  By about 8 am I have had my 1st Medifast Meal, my coffee, and am a good way through my water.  The day has started out right, in a way that supports my health goals, because it is my ROUTINE to do so.  I don't wake up in the morning and think "do I want to stay on plan today?"

OF COURSE I do.  It is a given.  It is not a daily choice anymore, it is now a routine.  An established HABIT of making my first meal a Medifast meal, and drinking plenty of water.  This sets up my next meal and has me thinking clearly with plenty of energy to continue my healthy routines.
Creating a Micro-Environment of Health in our CHOICE OF FRIENDS AND ACTIVITIES:

We all get to choose who we spend time with (outside our family of course!), and we also choose what we spend our time DOING.  Who are  your immediate circle of friends, and what do you do when you are with them?  Do you have a group of friends who support you in your journey?  Or are all of your friends constantly pressuring you to drop this "diet thing" and come have fun with them at the movies with popcorn or getting froyo after eating out?  If THIS is your group of friends, then perhaps YOU can be the healthy one with healthy goals and influence THEM.  But if not, then you may find THEY are influencing YOU.  I'm not saying drop them and never do anything with them, indeed I am not saying that.  What I am saying though is that we become LIKE those we hang out with the most.  We are sort of an average of the 5 people who hang around with most.  So improve your odds and find at least ONE person who IS health minded, who DOES have the same health goals as you do, whatever phase they are on in that journey doesn't matter but the MINDSET does, and spend some good time with THEM ALSO.  They will bring up your average!  =)  Do you like to hike?  Look online for some hiking groups that get together on the weekends to go hiking.  And join them.  Do you like to ride your bike?  Lots of cycling groups out there, and if there ISN'T a group, START one!  Are you a walker or a runner?  Look online and you will find there is a healthy vibrant active community out there and you CAN be a part of it.  Spend a part of every week with these like-minded people and you will begin to see it rubbing off, you will begin to see that it is easier for YOU to stay true to YOUR health goals because you are spending time with other people FOR WHOM it is NORMAL to be HEALTHY, and not an exception.

Dr. A talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with Healthy Community in his book Dr. A's Habits of Health, and I have found this to be 100% true in my own life.
So this is a peek inside the routine of someone who is still on her journey.  I hope you find it helpful!
Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


*Disclaimer, I've been maintaining a little bit higher than where I wanted to be for the last several years, and recently made the decision to get "that last 20" off and live in ultra-health.  So I jumped back on the weight-loss portion of our system, and today I write that I have arrived at my goal weight.**

I love these blogs that announce "Goal!"

Today I write one of my own.

TODAY I am 128.  Sunday I begin transition for the LAST time.

Because losing the weight is only the 1st STEP in the process of attaining and maintaining optimal (and even ultra) health. 

Back when I began this process, I began at 272 walking with a cane with a BMI of over 47 and my body fat percentage was OVER 50%.  It was July of 2010.  I knew it was a turning point in my life, and I knew that if nothing truly changed, then nothing would truly change.

So I submitted myself to a plan called Take Shape For Life.  Take Shape For Life was not just a "diet" (I call it "eating plan"), it was:

* an EATING plan (utilizing the Medifast 5&1 PCMR program which, when followed, gives a 2-5 lbs/week weight loss for the first 2 weeks, and a 1-2 lb/wk weight loss every week thereafter, results vary)

* Personal one-on-one accountability with a FREE TSFL Health Coach.  Yes, I have a wonderful Health Coach.  Yes, I've called her just about every WEEK for a 5-10 minute conversation for YEARS now, because she will ALWAYS be my health coach no matter whether I utilize the products in maintenance or not!

* Behavior Modification as directed in Dr. A's Habits of Health System, and the SYSTEM is the book, the companion guide workbook, and the DVD.

* The Additional Bionetwork of support that TSFL offers it clients, which includes this site as well as weekly support calls on a conference format.  These three calls are:  Doctors Call, Nurses Call, and Habits of Health Call.  I was able to log on to these anytime I wanted even if I missed the live call during the week by going to and choosing from the archived calls.  And I DID.

So when people ask me "How did you DO that?" (Lose 144 pounds), and "How do you plan on continuing to KEEP IT OFF?" I tell them those 4 things. 

FOR ME, "just" doing the "eating part" was NOT sufficient for me to change my lifestyle.  For me, "just" doing the "eating part" was like holding my breath, white-knuckling it, viewing it as a big deprivation and having a "when will this be OVER so I can go back to being NORMAL" mindset.  I'm not just speaking hypothetically that I THINK it wouldn't be enough for me, I KNOW it wasn't enough for me because in 06/07 I DID just do the "eating part" and yes it did "work", I lost 140 pounds (from 268 to 128) and when Nutrition Support wisely advised me that I could NOT transition because I had JUST found out I was pregnant, I happily obliged that advice.  Twelve weeks later I had a miscarraige (not my first, I was prone to them, it was actually my 5th), and because I had NOT LEARNED the "Habits of Health", because I had NOT been incrementally adding them to my life and my routine, my mind snapped right back to pre-Medifast days and I "ate normally" for the next year, managing to GAIN BACK everything I had lost, plus 4 more pesky pounds to boot.

I was even LARGER than I had been.  I felt HOPELESS and I felt HELPLESS.

Until two things happened.

#1  I went to  Beth Moore Conference, and I still have my notes from it, where she was talking about discovering, in as best as we can, what our full God-given potential is ON THIS EARTH and LIVING IT.  I knew that my keeping my "fat suit" was actually keeping ME from living the life God wanted me to live HERE.  So many of us Christians (including me) forget that WE HAVE A PURPOSE here, this life isn't merely just a waiting room for Heaven.  Our purpose is to REFLECT HIS GLORY, since we ARE His creation.  I knew that I was NOT doing that, I'll tell you I didn't feel so gosh-darn glorious hobbling around on my cane singing the "poor me I gained back all my weight I'm such a failure" tune in my head.

#2  I went on a Make-a-Wish trip with my son who received a Kidney Transplant, and we went to Disneyworld on a co-sponsored trip with Kurt Warner's "First Things First" Foundation.  I didn't know who Kurt Warner even WAS at the time, and when they said "do you want to go with Kurt Warner's family?"  I said "Sure!  Who is he?"  Turns out he is only one of the BEST Quarterbacks in the NFL who EVER LIVED!  He was not retired yet, and was still with the Cardinals, but he and his ENTIRE FAMILY (wife and 7 children) would be coming with us!  So we went.  During that trip I was able to talk with his wife, Brenda Warner, a few times and get to know her.  She is a former Marine sharp-shooter, and let me tell you she is an AWESOME and classy lady who has been dealt her hard times in life but has used them to truly become the person she 'might have' been!  In fact, that was her motto: "It is never too late to become the person we 'might have' been!", and I adopted it as my own, I think she recycled it from a famous philosopher.  During that trip we talked about nutrition, and potential, and living our best lives to the glory of God, etc, and although I was at my heaviest and got stuck in the turnstiles getting into the park (they had to let me through the stroller gate with no stroller!), she treated me as if I WERE THAT PERSON already.  She respected and valued me as a precious individual, and I can tell you that is more than I had been allowing myself, and it wasn't how I WAS treating myself!  I had been viewing myself with disgust and an overriding sense of failure.  And that is a very dark place to be.

Perhaps it was HER belief in ME that I borrowed to place my first order and get going again.  Her attitude when I spoke to her of doing it again (losing weight and getting healthy) was "but of COURSE you can do that!" 

The second person who believed in my ability to get healthy was my husband.  He said "Honey, you know the program works for you, why not do it again?  It will work again!"

So I bundled up their faith in my abilities and I KNEW that THIS TIME would HAVE to be different in my MIND because NO WAY was I going to put forward all the effort I knew it would take to lose 140 pounds "again" and it was too heartbreaking of a scenario to even THINK of the possibility I would gain it all back YET AGAIN.  I knew that I only had it "in me" to "do this" one more time in my life.  That is how I felt at the time.

Enter Take Shape For Life.

It has been a wild ride, I can honestly assure you there has been no downside.  It has been 4 years of growth, mental gymnastics, self-discovery, and some tears.  It has ranged from almost banging my head against a wall because I didn't understand "why" I tended towards certain behaviors that I couldn't seem to change, and the "ah-ha" moments of realizing I didn't HAVE to understand the WHY, I only needed to adopt HEALTHIER HABITS to over-ride those habits of disease that had been firmly entrenched in my earlier life and were stubborn to dislodge.  The WHY's hardly even existed anymore, the REASON I had developed those unhealthy habits were likely coping mechanisms I had turned to in childhood and adolesence which had simply become habits.  Stress-eating?  Habit.  Comfort-eating?  Habit.  Bored-eating?  Habit.  Conflict-eating?  Habit.  Now it was time to develop HEALTHY habits and focus on those.  So I did. 

And it didn't take rocket science to do so, it didn't take me inventing the wheel.  The system and tools and methods were ALL THERE provided for me, I simply needed to submit myself to doing the work of those who had developed it.  I read the book.  I did the workbook.  I followed their instruction and advice, meanwhile adhering as close as humanly possible to "the eating part" of the Medifast 5&1, which is the tool that TSFL uses in the science of fat-burning, to actually USE UP our fat reserves.

Was I perfect?  Can I get a clear and resounding "NO!"  But I view it similarly to how I view Bible Studies.  I don't have to be perfect to point people to the materials.  I don't have to be perfect to host a Bible Study in my home, for example.  Can you imagine if we set the same expectations of perfection on Pastors and Bible Study Leaders?  "You aren't a perfect person, you must have 'sinned' this week therefore you are disqualified from hosting the Bible Study."  Whew!  Our entire Church, Inc. in this country would shut down OVERNIGHT!

No, not being perfect doesn't make me a hypocrite.  I live an authentic life in both my faith AND my health.  And it is authentically transparent.  I'm not afraid of my faults, and I share them whenever I can LOL!  They are many.  But my overriding orientation is towards optimal and ultra-health, and if I stumble I get up and make my next meal a Medifast one.  Period.  Rinse and Repeat!  Period.

And I have never given up.  Nor have I ever just decided to give FOOD a place on the throne of my life.  So many people ditch the plan and ditch their health goals because they wanted the yummy food.

I want more out of life than food can give me.  Food, when used improperly in my life, gave me heartache, disease, pain, and a feeling of emptiness, a feeling that I was missing my purpose.  And I was.  By my own doing. 

How I feel now is so night-and-day different than how I felt 4 years ago I can't even describe to you the place I am in now without sounding like I am bragging or something. 

I give credit where credit is due.  I am no superwoman.  I simply agreed to following a system and I will be forever grateful to Medifast and Take Shape For Life and Dr. Andersen for making it their BUSINESS to get America healthy.  I simply followed.  I followed and followed until someone told me I couldn't follow anymore, and guess what, no one has EVER said I couldn't follow anymore.  And so, I "found myself" here.  Because of the choice I made to follow, adhere, submit, and live authentically.

Where is YOUR "here?"  Are you happy with where you are?  Are you thrilled with where you are going?  The tools are here.  The tools are waiting for you.  Connect with your Coach.  Read the book.  Yes there is a fair amount of DOING involved, but that is how healthy habits are built.  By doing.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Goal.  Of Phase 1.  Now on to Phase 2:  Transition! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This Program is SO EXPENSIVE!!!

I cannot believe how expensive this program is.  It really is a shock to my wallet!

I just spent $$$$ on a PLANE ticket to PARIS and $$$$ on pre-paid lodging on to stay in a cozy HOUSEBOAT moored at the BASE of the EIFFEL TOWER for 11 nights so I can run a MARATHON that cost me $$$ to register for (my bib# is 61234).

I cannot tell you how much of a surprise it is how EXPENSIVE this plan really is.

I can tell you, I would not HAVE to be spending this money right now if I had just LISTENED to that little voice in my head at the BEGINNING, when I started the plan with 140 pounds to LOSE.

But I guess I can't go back in time NOW, it is TOO LATE FOR ME.


All kidding aside, let me be candid here.  When I began the plan in 2010 I can tell you from the bottom of my heart our financial situation was NOT in the place where we could easily add $300+ a month to our budget.  But we made some HUGE sacrifices.  We prioritized ALL of our entertainment budget, gift budget, clothes budget, vacation budget, etc into my monthly MEDICINE, which is what I considered the PCMR's to be (The PCMR's are the only thing you pay for on this plan, besides one book which has the educational component for behavior modification in it).

I had no "diagnosed" medical condition except for plantar fasciitis and a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome suspicion from my college days.  But I was not living.  I was slowly dying inside AND outside with a BMI of OVER 47, and I had just purchased a cane because my knees hurt when I walked.  I got stuck in the freaking turnstiles at Disneyworld in Florida on my son's "Make-a-Wish Trip" when he was 4 years old after he had his kidney transplant.  Life was not looking hopeful for me, and the prospect of life as a Class IV Super-Obese (that is one class BEYOND "Morbid-Obese") individual was unable to get health insurance OR life insurance.  I was a ticking time bomb.

Had I STAYED in denial because "the food costs $339 a month" and NOT taken action, I cannot tell you where I would be right now because there just are no guarantees in life and I was a prime candidate for a sudden, massive coronary event that could have TAKEN my life.

But instead, I looked at the PCMR's (Portion-Controlled Meal Replacements) as my lifeline, my tools, my medicine, and I looked at myself as the person who would run the Paris Marathon IN Paris someday.

That someday has a date.  It is April 6th 2014, Lord willing.

And now I have a plane ticket on British Airways.  And I have a place to stay, which looks like the coolest place on the PLANET to stay, a little houseboat moored right on the Seine River at the base of the Eiffel Tower.  I saw what my life COULD look like, if I committed to MAKING IT SO one day, one decision at a time.  When I fell I got up.  When I ate off plan for a day I got right back on plan immediately.  I carved this out with my determination and what I am trying to say here is that ANYONE CAN DO THIS.

ANYONE can decide, TODAY, that you are going to create something amazing with this process.  Whether you want to dance, skydive, horseback ride, kayak, snowboard, ski, WHATEVER IT IS, fix it firmly in your sights and keep at it.

And know that changing your life can indeed be EXPENSIVE.  =)


Saturday, November 23, 2013


Yesterday I had 3 miles on the schedule to run for my Paris Marathon Training!  Problem was it was raining CATS AND DOGS the entire day, and it was even a little bit chilly (and that is SAYING something for Arizona!).  By the time I could get out the door it was getting dark, but I was NOT going to NOT do it.  It was on the schedule.  Didn't matter how I felt.  Didn't matter what I WANTED to do right that moment.

So, I put on all my gear and went out the door.  Got SOAKED within 5 minutes, so returned and found my TSFL Rain Poncho!  I had packed it in my backpack already for Paris (which isn't until April, but I'm kinda excited for it as you can tell), and I opened it up and put it on and away I went! 

Sometimes ya gotta do what you may not think you want to do just because you decided it was important.

What are your plans this week?  Have you decided that it is just "too much stress" to adhere to your food plan while the Holiday week unfolds (or unravels, depending on how you look at it)?

Then you are probably holding your breath while you are doing this plan.  You are white-knuckling it, using all of your energy and are probably EXHAUSTED trying to adhere to your "diet".

If I didn't have a strong "why" you better believe I wouldn't have been out last night in the dark cold rain running 3 miles.  Who does that?

Someone who has determined that doing that is necessary to achieve a greater goal.  Someone who not only wanted to ATTAIN, but wants to MAINTAIN optimal health.

Are you looking at today's food plan as a drudgery?  Something to "get through" and something to be sort of miserable and unhappy because you HAVE to do it?  I encourage you to rediscover WHY you are doing this whole thing.

Are you focusing on being DEPRIVED of all the YUMMY FOOD this next week?  Is it putting you in a right bad mood?

It is the plain truth that there are people on this site RIGHT NOW maybe even reading THIS BLOG who will decide that it is just TOO HARD to DIET over the Holidays.  They will decide to "take a break" for a couple of weeks, you know, just until after Christmas or New Year, and then they'll "get back at it" because it will be "easier".

Is that the goal?  Easy? 

Or is the goal that you want out of your fat suit? 

Is the goal convenience?

Or is the goal that you have a tiny spark of hope inside you that maybe, just maybe, you can RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I challenge you to fan THAT flame.  Fan the flame of radical change.  Is it easy and painless?  No.  Easy and painless would be anesthesia.

I was done being numb.  I chose life.  I chose health.

What will you choose?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why My First Triathlon was a Raving Success!........

....Even though I did not ever cross the finish line......

I'm still remembering, as if it were YESTERDAY, the very first Sprint Distance Triathlon (and in fact ONLY Triathlon) I have ever competed in.

I hope to do another someday, but for now the Golden Gate Triathlon of 2012 stands as the pinnacle of my athletic success (until I reach another pinnacle, the Paris Marathon, in April 2014 Lord willing!)

"How could it have been a success?  You didn't even finish the race!"

No, but I STARTED it. 

Let me explain.

In order to cross the STARTING line of the Golden Gate Triathlon in June of 2012, I had to:

Lose 130 pounds
Be able to swim 1/4 mile
Be able to ride a bike for 12 miles
Be able to run a 5K
Put all of those together and have a prayer of even THINKING I could finish it in one event.
Buy a ticket to San Francisco
Buy a wetsuit, and have it fit
Rent a bicycle when I got to San Francisco, and keep it in my little hotel room
Get up at 3:30 am on Race Day to ride my bike in the dark through the streets of San Francisco with for 1 hour with all of my gear in my backpack including my wetsuit just to get to the STARTING area by 5:00.

Every one of these task had to be accomplished in the proper order, at the proper time, with the proper equipment and in the proper place for me to accomplish my goal.  My goal of STARTING the Triathlon LOL.

And I did it.

If you ask me "what was the moment when it all came down to the wire, which was the moment when it was do or die?" 

I can remember it vividly.  It was actually when the alarm clock went off at 3:15 am on the morning of the race.  The bed was warm.  I had an inkling that I had forgotten my swim-suit for underneath my wetsuit (turns out as I was to find out later swim-suits are indeed optional underneath the wetsuit LOL!), and decided to give ONE MORE LOOK in my luggage, half hoping I would NOT find it and could crawl back underneath the warm covers on the chilly San Francisco morning.

I turned on the light.  I looked in the bag I KNEW I had already looked in, just ONE more time. 

And I found my suit.

Bear in mind, I had already told my husband the night before that I couldn't find my swim-suit, and wasn't sure if I would be able to compete in the Triathlon, so I had already sort of set the expectation for him that I would NOT do it.

But the steely resolve, that bull-dog tenacity that I have noticed in myself in some of the most interesting ways at the most interesting times rose to the surface.  For me, that moment, the moment of "Decide quickly because  you are truly running out of time to make this decision....what will it be?  Follow through?  Or throw in the towel?"

All of the preparation I had done, all the training, those laps I swam, those miles I rode on my one-speed back-pedal-to-brake $50 Garage Sale Bike with the Swarovski Crystals glued to the handlebars (yes I blinged it out myself..spent more on the crystals than I did on the bike!), those miles I ran, the weight I lost, the ticket I bought, the expectations I set, EVERYTHING came down to what seemed like a small decision at 3:25 am in a little hotel room near the Embarcadero.  Do I stay or do I go.

10 minutes later I was cycling through the fog. 

An hour later I was suiting up into my wetsuit and lining up on the beach of the San Francisco Marina near the Golden Gate Bridge.

And the airhorn went off, and I scrambled into the cold bay with hundreds of other ATHLETES. 

I think that was the DAY I became an athlete, although I knew I was one at heart.

Does it matter that the current turned into a dangerous rip-tide trying to sweep us under the bridge and out to see, and after 45 minutes of all of us swimming and very few of us even getting to or around the first bouy they apologised profusely as they instructed all of us to return to shore and they ditched the water-portion?  No.

Did it matter that I was SHAKING from the exertion of swimming for 45 minutes against a current, and could hardly pedal 4 of the 12 miles for the bike portion?


Did it matter that I collapsed in a heap after biking that 4 miles and ignoring completely the 3.1 mile run? 


Because that's just how races go sometimes!  But I HAD BECOME an athlete.  I WAS a participant in an amazing sprint distance Triathlon.  In my eyes I was a success because I SHOWED UP FOR MYSELF WHEN IT MATTERED.

That's kind of what we are all doing here, aren't we?  We are showing up for ourselves.  We are betting that we CAN DO THIS!  (Because we all CAN!)  And we are putting faith in OUR ability to do what it TAKES when it MATTERS.

Our life matters.  Our health matters.  Consistency and persistence matter.  Conditions can effect us, but it is what we do and what we decide when we absolutely are tired of doing all the hard work it took us to get as far as we have which determine whether we will succeed.

I could have packed it in that morning at 3:15, I could have gone with my initial assessment that I had forgotten my swim suit, been a little disappointed in myself, and come home.

I didn't.

The extra effort it took at the moment of decision, deciding to be brave and to DO what seemed INSANE (cycle 1 hour in the dark in a strange town just to get to the starting line) at the time was ME showing up for myself.  Being my hero that day.

How will you be your hero today?  For some it will simply be drinking 90 ounces of water.  Yay you!  For some it will be actually getting out that kitchen scale, dusting it off, and USING it to weigh your cooked lean protein, making sure to adhere to the amounts as written in the Quick Start Guide and intentionally adding your required healthy fats to your meal.  You see, you've been resisting that, fighting against it, and it really is to your BENEFIT to do it as written.  For some it will be saying no to that second cup of coffee with half and half in it, because you've already had one perfect cup today.  Make the next one black.  Be your hero.  For some it will be setting your cell-phone timer to 2.5 hours after you eat so that you get your next meal in on time, because you ALWAYS are late on your second Medifast Meal and go 4-5 hours in between meals sometimes.  Be your hero.  Set that timer.  For some it will be asking Aunt Penny if you can bring a salad to Thanksgiving.  Be your hero.  Be brave.  For some it will be getting the shoes on and getting out the door for that 1/2 hour walk, even though it is a little gloomy outside and you don't really feel like doing it. 

Next time you don't feel like it, picture me cycling an hour at 3:30 am in the dark.  =)  It is my GO-TO memory for days I just don't feel like it....

And it works every time for me LOL!

You can borrow it for awhile until you make your own memories of doing things you don't want to do.  The OLD you wouldn't do that.  The NEW you?  No boundaries baby.  You got this!

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Weird New Trick Solves Your Weight Problem Once and For All!

Boy that would sure get my attention if I saw that guarantee somewhere!  I mean, really, who DOESN'T want their weight problem SOLVED once and for ALL?  Gone?  Kaput?  Never have to think about it or worry about what will fit you in your closet and what won't again!  Never have to look at those pesky shaded charts on the back of the Spanx package to pronounce your fate of which letter size you fall into, hoping it isn't still a D or E.  You know what I'm talking about!

Here's the thing.  Sure I'm not morbidly obese anymore.  Sure I'm a healthy weight.  Sure it took time.  But I didn't "Solve my weight problem". 

This body, and the way it functions, is still the same body which was capable, if I allowed it, to be Class IV Super-Obese.  I will never "solve" the way my body uses calories and certain types of foods. 

What I'm trying to say is that I give a PROPER RESPECT and consideration to the limitations of my body every single DAY. 


People say "the hard part is maintaining".  And to that I say "It's all hard....but it is all worth it!"  It is simply giving EACH DAY it's due, and respecting my goals, my eating plan, and my limitations.

It's not a once-for-all-for-always decision, nor is it a once-for-all-for-always action.  Now I know this is a tough pill to swallow for us "All-or-nothing" mentality folks.  I used to be an all-or-nothing mentality person, and what it usually left ME with was NOTHING.

There is no "final decision" or "magic thought switch" that will transport you to a world of being able to disregard the limitations of your body.

BUT, if you DESIRE health, you have chosen the RIGHT METHOD to get you there.  This health plan I coach for is indeed a Maserati of plans, it will get you there safely, rapidly, effectively, if you EACH DAY submit to the plan and follow the directions and recommendations.

But each day is a new choice. 

I didn't decide "once-and-for-all" in July of 2010 to "finish this thing and be done with it already".

What I DID decide was to take that first step towards health, and stay on plan THAT DAY.  Once I got through THAT DAY, I got through the NEXT DAY.

But the decision and the choice is always one I have to re-make every single morning, and it looks something like this:

Good morning me!  Today I have a choice.  I can either act in accordance with my goals of attaining and maintaining a healthy weight/optimal health, or I can NOT.  What am I gonna choose TODAY?"

And the choice is ALWAYS OPTIMAL HEALTH.

At the end of the day, did I always succeed 100% in my endeavor?  Most days yes, some days no, but I take it ONE DAY AT A TIME and I never waiver in my commitment to MAKE THAT DECISION every morning.

Some mornings it is harder than others.  Especially if the night before I indulged in something that would NOT take me closer to my goals.  The carb-brain takes over and I don't FEEL like choosing health that day.  But on THOSE days I do it anyway.  I make the choice.  In the morning.  First thing.

All I have to do is GLANCE SIDEWAYS at the alternative for me if I DON'T daily choose health.  And that alternative is in my BEFORE photos wearing a PINK shirt and she doesn't look happy at ALL.

No, I choose health.  I choose it every day.  And twice sometimes on Sundays.  =)  And let me tell you the peace and joy I feel when I do.  It is very real.

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

That Little Voice In Your Head Telling You That You Can't Do This Is a Liar!

I was just looking at accommodations in Paris in April for when I run the Paris Marathon.  Me.  Run.  The Paris Marathon. 

Can I tell you how exciting it is to greet every day with optimism instead of the despair I used to feel as a Class IV Super-Obese person who needed a cane because her knees hurt so much?  If anyone was allowed to have a reasonable doubt of my ability to be a healthy weight, let alone run a MARATHON someday, it was ME! 

I decided to ignore my doubts.  I decided to live EACH DAY in accordance with the knowledge of the FACT that if I followed the plan EXACTLY, over a matter of time I WOULD become a healthy weight.

Eventually I even began ignoring my doubts about whether or not I could actually be an athlete, and I BEGAN to BE an athlete.  I started slowly, just walking.  Then, as I had more energy and was moving towards "just" overweight (from obese) I challenged myself with the C25K Free Podcast Program in order that I might be able to run a 5K someday.

And I ran a 5K.

Then I set my sights on a 10K.  And I ran a 10K.  Then a sprint-distance triathlon.  I didn't finish that, but I DID participate.  I HAD BECOME an athlete, and I had the triathlon wetsuit (which I fit into!) to prove it.

Now I am training for a full Marathon.  And I am solidly an athlete.  And I am solidly a healthy BMI.  And I am living SOLIDLY in Optimal Health on my way to Ultra Health.

Because I ignored that little voice.  It never disappeared, I just learned how to identify it and put it into the same category I put fairytales.  Not.  True.

And I DID every day what I knew would take me towards all of my goals.

Simply?  Move a little more, and adhere to the food plan.  Drink my water and read Dr. A.  Act EACH DAY in accordance with where I wanted to be EVENTUALLY, not allowing the momentary temptations or doubts to bloom into action.

Was I perfect?  No.  Was I consistent?  Yes.  Did I persevere?  Yes.  Anytime my foot slipped I would pick myself up again and make my next meal a Medifast Meal.  Every.  Time.

And, OVER time, results are obtained.  Every decision you make TODAY, this instant, will have an impact over time if it is repeated daily.  So make today count.  TODAY.  It WILL shape your tomorrow.  And it can lead to STUNNING results or TRAGIC results.  You choose.

Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Will We Project on Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Do you catch yourself thinking or SAYING "I can't have that" quite a bit? 

If you are thinking that or saying it out loud, don't be the least be surprised when your family seems to pour on the pressure on Thanksgiving and Christmas to just "have some of your favorite foods already!"

The longing looks at the pumpkin pie, the wistful glances at the stuffing, all of these betray you and serve NO purpose but to make your family members and friends INTENT ON SEEING YOU ENJOY YOURSELF.

If WE make it about the food, THEY will make it about the food.

Don't you just ONCE want to taste the freedom that comes from NOT CARING about what you are going to have for that Thanksgiving meal?  Not caring that everyone is going back for seconds and thirds of pecan pie with real whipped cream or a' la mode?

And truly truly NOT CARING?

Then decide to CHANGE your MIND about food.  Ditch that hyper food-centric relationship you have with what you put in your mouth.  Because whatever you project will be reflected back to you.

Don't even mention what you are having or not having until Thanksgiving Day!  Here's something that will BLOW THE MIND of everyone who asks YOU, the person on a diet, how you will handle Thanksgiving.

"I don't know yet.  Haven't really thought about it.  Sort of ambivalent.  I'll probably eat some sort of, well, FOOD."

Can you imagine the double take you will get when you say something like THAT?  I mean REALLY? 

If you are wondering what my plans are, they are to not make a big deal about anything.  I don't feel entitled for anyone to either MAKE something that I "CAN" have, nor do I feel I need to plan out to the last detail, take my little tupperware items and make a big show or big deal about "being on MY plan....."

What does that mean practically?  Well, since it's at my house I will show up.  My job is to make the Turkey so I will make the Turkey.  My sister is bringing the sides.  Likely she will bring a salad, because they eat healthy too, but if she doesn't I don't really care one way or another.

Because for me, Thanksgiving is about the people, and giving thanks, and I will not attach meaning to a piece of pumpkin pie or some cranberry sauce EVER AGAIN.  It's just not who I am anymore.

If I can't hobble together a perfect Lean and Green then so what, I'll have some turkey and eat a salad later on.


I know.  I'm ambivalent.  I don't care.  Because I'm thankful for my health, I'm thankful for my family. 

Please don't misunderstand, I am not condemning those who still attach sentimentality to their Christmas Cookies.  That person just isn't me anymore.

In past years I've had the question a few times "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?", and the person asking would let it hang in the air as with baited breath, as if it would be great entertainment for them to watch the girl on a diet try to avoid the goodies.

It just won't be that way for me.  I won't allow it to.  You see, I'm not that girl anymore.  I'm ME.   Actually, to tell you the truth, if someone asks "What are you doing for Thanksgiving" I'll likely be saying "Oh on that particular day my training schedule says I will be running 5 miles."

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"You Know You Want It......"

.......came the comment (more like the taunt LOL) from the Costco Sampler Lady who was baking fresh (from a mix) cornbread today.

Actually, I don't.  Really.  Truly.  Honestly, and from every fiber of my being.  I don't want it.  It doesn't tempt me, haunt me from the other aisle, linger on my memory as I wander into the fresh meat section with any "I wish I could have that" thoughts. 

The truth is, I can have it.  I can have anything I want, as much of it as I want, whenever I want.  And what I DON'T want is cornbread samples from Costco.

So no, I know that I DON'T want it.  I've been the consumer she IS actually targeting before.  I've BEEN the morbidly obese fat girl wandering from Costco sample station to Costco sample station, just because FOOD was AVAILABLE to me.  Didn't really matter WHAT was being sampled, whether it was cheesecake, sugared almonds, chocolate truffles, chipotle-raspberry-sauce-on-cream-cheese on Ritz, tuna salad, mozarella poppers, whatever.  You can bet I'd be in line, standing quietly, waiting for that hot pocket to come out of the toaster oven, waiting for the sample-lady to cut it up into 8 bite-size pieces and put them in the little paper-cup thingies.  Oh yes.  I remember.

I also remember how I felt back then.  I remember the lumbering way I used to walk, arms swinging OUT from my shoulders instead of straight down, because I was as big around my middle (circumference) as I was tall.  I remember wondering if I would be able to have enough room to get in and out of my car door depending on how close someone had parked to me.  I remember wondering whether the theater seat would fit me.  Wondering whether the booth the waitress was taking us to had enough clearance for my very large middle, and should I just request a table BEFORE we even GET to the booth so I don't have to find out?  Wondering whether the intermittent pain I felt in my chest was REALLY anything to worry about.....

I'll tell you how life is different now. 

I can wear everything in my closet.
I can greet the day with a smile, and everyone in it.
I can squeeze through a turnstile sideways without even engaging the metal turny thingy!  (I remember getting STUCK in the turnstile at Disneyworld in 2009, they had to let me through the stroller gate with no stroller)
I can walk down the center aisle of an airplane straight on, no turning to the side, no scooching sideways at all.
I can put my seatbelt on in the car AND in an airplane with plenty of room to spare.
I can run 10 miles without walking.
I can wear knee-high zip-up leather boots.

Pure Joy.

I'll tell you what I truly wake up WANTING.  Nothing.  I don't WANT for anything anymore.  I am truly content with my HEALTH, my LIFE, all of it!  I am living in Ultra-Health right now and sure I suppose I could trade that for a piece of Costco Cornbread from the Sample Lady, but, naw, I don't WANT to.


Rinse and Repeat! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Are We Headed to the Bahamas or Not?

I was reading Dr. A this morning, from Dr. A's Habits of Health, and it struck me again what he says about making a "fundamental choice for health".  He says in Chapter 4:  "Once you make the fundamental decision to be healthy, you've made it your business to act in accordance with those goals.  You're taking full responsibility for your actions instead of letting circumstances drive your decisions."

I could tell you stories and stories of how I USED to manage my eating and drinking decisions, and the excuses I USED to make to rationalize why I ate "off plan".  They usually were circumstance driven and started with

"I was super stressed that day so I...." or
"I was celebrating so I...." or
"I was at the movies so I....." or
"I was so very bored so I......" or
"Everyone ELSE was having something and I was feeling awkward so I...." or
"Everytime I passed the breakroom the cake was in there so I...." or
"I was so tired and didn't FEEL like preparing my lean and green so I....." or

The list could go on and on, but it reminds me of a ship being tossed about by the waves, having no specific direction, just kind of out there, floating.  No destination, no navigator, no captain, no rudder.  Rudder-less.

Until I made the FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE for health, and began the task of SELF-MANAGEMENT. 

Whoah.  Brand new concept for me, self-management.  Behaving in accordance with where I have SAID I want to go. 

This way I USED to manage my health wasn't management at all!  I wasn't managing my food, I was allowing my CIRCUMSTANCES to manage ME.

Where are you headed?  Where are you now?  Do you have a plan to get there?  Have you ENGAGED your plan?  Hope is not a strategy, that is something I learned a long time ago but I can also utilize it in my goal to run the Paris Marathon in April of 2014.  I can say "I hope I can do it!" and then do NOTHING between now and then to prepare for it.  I mean NOTHING.  Not buy the ticket to France, not do the training, but every day tell you "I hope I can run it!"

Eventually you will wonder if I'm a crazy person, or just a little deluded.  Or both.  You would expect to see some MOVEMENT towards what I SAID I wanted, in terms of my BEHAVIOR. 

If I began to BEHAVE as if I were going to run the Paris Marathon in April of 2014, what would that look like?  Well, there are specific BEHAVIORS that I would need to repeat DAILY in order to get ready for that.  And if they day got closer and closer and everytime you spoke to me I had an excuse, some circumstance or feeling that came up day after day, different every time of course, that kept me from my training, YOU would determine that I wasn't really serious about running the Paris Marathon.

"Everytime I got my shoes on, I realized my favorite show was on TV......" or
"As soon as I would get up to get my workout clothes out of the dryer a friend would call".... or
"None of my friends are training for a marathon so I felt a little awkward doing the running every day..." or
"I was so tired at the end (or beginning....try 4:45 am I got up this morning LOL) of the day I just didn't FEEL like running...." or

You get the picture?  If I'm behaving in this way towards my training, then it is clear that I have NOT MADE the FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE to participate in the Paris Marathon in April of 2014.  That would be a correct assessment if I'm truly not behaving in a way that indicates a movement towards my goal.

It is the same with the plan.  Many times I hear (and have in the past said myself) "I just can't seem to stay on plan for one day."

My advice is not to analyze every reason why you aren't staying on plan, that would be like a cruise ship captain studying every current in the ocean, every direction the wind blows, and trying to somehow trying to protect against running into any currents or wind.

No.  Once that cruise ship captain makes the FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE to go to the Bahamas, he studies his chart, consults his map, sets his course, engages his engine, and every day he behaves in a manner of a cruise ship captain sailing his ship to the Bahamas.  Meaning, he stays on course. 

So instead of trying to minimize the stress, never go out, never celebrate, never see a movie, or any of that, decide for yourself whether you've actually made the fundamental choice to become HEALTHY.  If you haven't, then you'll be tossed by every current and every wind, and we just can't plan on avoiding those, they happen!  But if you've made that fundamental choice to become HEALTHY, then every day you will act in accordance with that desire. 

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Getting Healthy Can Be a Little Unsettling At Times.....

There is one side-effect of re-orienting yourself towards health that I wanted to visit on with today's blog. 

I'm a bit at a loss for words because I don't really know how to say it without appearing judgmental or elitist.  My heart is neither, so please take my words for what they are, my imperfect attempt at documenting my journey in a way that is meaningful to me, and that may help other people who stumble across the words.

As I have gone from Super Obese, to Morbidly Obese, to "just" Clinically Obese Class I and II, to Overweight, to Healthy Weight, as I have walked my journey from Sick to Un-Sick to Optimal Health to Ultra Health, I have noticed my associations and friendships have radically changed.

I stopped getting invitations to "girls nights out" which had included decadent desserts, and ample wine, that was the first clue I had that things were changing.  It seems like I had two types of friends, those who were ALSO getting healthy, and those who didn't want to get together for coffee with me anymore, for some reason. 

Now, granted, I realize that since I drank the Kool-Aid of this plan (LOL) and how it was THE ultimate tool if used correctly to bring health into our own lives, I can rarely have a conversation with anyone, friend OR stranger, which doesn't include, in some way, how grateful I am that I found it and implemented it in my own life.

But I feel like I've been given a second chance at LIFE.  Heck, a FIRST chance at LIFE!  What I was doing before wasn't truly living, it was existing, and barely at that.  There were times I remember vividly before my son was born, when my husband would leave the house and come home an hour later to find me in the same spot on the couch.  Somehow, when I was alone, I, at times, didn't feel like I even existed.  I was kind of a space holder of oxygen.  I only felt like I was THERE if there was someone else in the room to validate my existence, because it seems I didn't have it in me at the time to validate my OWN existence.

OK I know that is getting WAY deep and veering off the topic of this particular blog. 

With my new health identity, the one that I have created because it felt most authentically ME (I found me, by the way, with this program and what it has allowed me to bring into my life...apparently I was missing for most of my adult obese life, but I found me again!), comes the phenomenon of re-orienting my friends and my community, my PEEPS.

I'm getting healthy and taking as many people with me as possible.  Some of my friends weren't coming.  That's OK.  I didn't change MY behavior to make THEM feel more comfortable, and so they were stuck in their discomfort when they were around me so they began to minimize those encounters.  I can say that YES I have actually LOST a friend or two because of my decision to get and to remain healthy, because it isn't just about what I eat, it is a MINDSET.  And some of my old friends and acquaintances are inspired when they see me continuing to live the life I have chosen, and some of my old friends and acquaintances willfully made the decision to stop seeing me live it because they felt guilt or sadness that they haven't chosen to get healthy themselves, it is too painful for them to be reminded that health is a choice they are choosing not to make.  Also, I am not the person I was a few years ago.  That person took comfort in food, and between bites lamented that her jeans were too tight.  That person ended a hard day by baking a pan of brownies and buying a pint of Ben and Jerry's for her husband and herself to split.  That person whined about how tired she was all the time, how her back hurt every morning getting out of bed, and saw the negative in everything.  It is really no wonder that I don't hang with the same people, because I am not the same person.  So, I suppose it is like a bait-and-switch.  I'm no longer someone's "drinking buddy" when it comes to food, and since I've become the equivalent of "sober" some of my old "drinking buddy" ("foodie buddy") friends think I'm no fun to hang out with anymore.  Granted I'm OK with that!

I make the hard decision ever day to orient my life and my day around what matters most to me.  People only see the highlight reel.  It doesn't get easier, but it is a joyful joyful JOYFUL!!! journey!  It does get more natural, meaning it is more and more my default to see myself as a healthy person, to see myself as a runner, to see myself as an athlete, but it still takes mindful direction of my thoughts and that choice every morning to continue to be the person I DESIRE to be, and behave in a manner in which that person would BEHAVE.

AND the cool thing is this, I have met SO MANY AMAZING LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE on this journey that the friends that I have MADE because I decided to get healthy far exceed the number of friends I have lost by about 200:1, I kid you not!  Firstly, the coaching community that I'm a part of (virtually, since we live all over the United States and even Puerto Rico!), inspires me ever single day to live my best life and to be my best me.  The people I meet who decide to walk along side me towards health are vibrant and hopeful, and making the decision themselves to live their best life!  The folks I meet on the trail when I do my trail runs are committed to health.   

So the decadent dessert and wine parties will always continue, the potlucks and the cookie exchanges, and the invitations don't materialize, and that is OK because I've been filling my life and my time with those things which will better my situation, my family's situation, or my community's situation.

I always have my radar up, though, for people who are looking to make a change in their lives from obesity to health, and any of my friends and associations can join me on the path because there is plenty of room and I LOVE COMPANY!!!!  =)

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No Shortcuts to Paris!

There are no shortcuts to Paris.  I think this will be the title of my book LOL.  The book that I write between now, and going to Paris in April.

I'll write the final chapters AFTER my marathon which takes place on April 6th.

Here's what I mean by no shortcuts.  Today I registered for the Marathon.  I paid my 134 Euros and obtained my Bib number which is 61234.

That is all well and good, that was a basic requirement for me to do in order to actually participate IN the Paris Marathon of 2014 in Paris, France.  I bought my whiteboard at Costco, I charted out my training schedule for the next 22 weeks, putting my mileage goals in each running day, and "R" in each rest day (see picture attached below!).  I have running shoes, I have sunscreen, I have my big floppy sun hat, my ipod with great tunes on it, my Strava application which will keep track of my miles as I'm running them, my running pants and shirt, yes I've got all of it.  I've got my little Moleskine journal with a map of Paris in it, I'll be buying my plane ticket on the 15th of November.  This is well planned out.

Because I'm a planner.

But now comes the most necessary part of this entire equation:  I've got to log the miles over the next 22 weeks.  I can't take ANY shortcuts in my weekly and daily regimen.  There are NO shortcuts to Paris.

I've got to log the miles. 

Logging the miles, actually putting on those running shoes and the running gear, getting my proper nutrition and hydration, and getting out there and RUNNING THE MILES (even the hard ones!) is the ONLY thing that will actually get me there to my goal.  Planning alone won't.  Strategizing all the possibilities of what if this or what if that won't.  Buying the plane ticket won't.  The ONLY thing that will actually GET me to my goal is DOING THE WORK.  Logging the miles.

Even when no one is watching.  Especially when no one is watching.

This is the crux of the thing, doing the work.  I will not get the results I want if I don't do the work.  And to be honest, I'm not DREADING the work.  I'm looking FORWARD to the process of logging the miles.  I don't want it to just "be done already, be done with it and be at my goal."


Because it is only on those lonely stretches of hard work and perspiration, it is only doing that which I MUST DO myself, WHEN I must do it, it is at THOSE times that my character is developed, that the muscles are trained, and that my MIND is changed over and over and I develop the mental toughness, the mental attitude which will carry me over the finish line at the actual event.

Without logging those miles, without going through the PROCESS that is necessary over the TIME that is necessary, truly, I'd have nothing to give at the start of the race.

It is truly the JOURNEY which prepares me to achieve my goal.

It is the same in our journey to get optimally healthy, isn't it?

We've GOT to log the MEALS.  Those lonely stretches of time when NO ONE is looking.  Especially when no one is looking.  Because during the process of attaining a healthy weight, we are also learning the mental toughness which will be required to MAINTAIN our healthy weight once we are there.  Without the TRAINING period that we go through in the weight loss PROCESS, we will not achieve or maintain our goal.  We will not be mentally FIT to sustain any measurable success if we don't log the meals, if we don't do the work.

So I stopped saying "I wish this were just done already" a long time ago.  Because as Newt Gingrich is famously quoted as saying, "Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you have already done."

My journey to get healthy has been a lifetime in the making.  And I AM a healthy weight.  And I AM going to run the Paris Marathon in 2014.  It is not the END of my achievement, it is merely another mile marker on my journey.  And one I will be a hootin' and a hollerin' when I cross it.  Then I'll go have a glass of red wine at a little cafe by the Seine River and fill up a journal with my scribblings.

Log the miles.  Log the meals.

Rinse and Repeat!