Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Year End Review and FOCUS in 2013

On January 1, 2012 I set out on this blogging adventure of sorts. I started the blog “as one of my New Year's resolutions to hold myself accountable.” I was looking back at my first blog post from 1/1/12 and I weighed 153 pounds. I had been in the 170’s five months before that.  I was not healthy. 153 is not a lot of weight, but it was more about how I felt than anything else. 

When talking about weight loss people have recently said to me, “you have a different kind of chemical makeup. You’re just so driven and I don’t have that.” Yes that is a quote and no, I do not have a different kind of chemical makeup. We are all made of the same abilities to GO AFTER what you want this life you have been blessed with to be. It is a matter of finding your drive and staying focused to achieve those goals.

I have had others say, “It comes so natural to you.” Ummm no it doesn’t. Where I am at now is years and years of figuring out what it all comes down to for my body. And I do not have it all figured out. There is still so much to learn. It is a DAILY struggle. And I do mean DAILY! I work in an office as I’m sure you may too where there are sweets around every corner, on every desk, in every office and many times directly outside of my cubicle. Have I always been able to turn the other way? No. It does take discipline to get to where you know you deserve to be with your health. I will say that again because it is an important point. It does take discipline to get to where you know YOU DESERVE to be with your health.

Yes, I will certainly agree that it has taken much dedication (with some slips along the way); to lose my baby weight and get to the weight I am at. Never ever ever ever in my wildest imagination did I think that getting to the 120’s was possible. I truly think I skipped the 120’s in Junior High School. Did getting there mean that I had to wake up at 5:00 AM some mornings to work out or “push play” to do my work out at 9:30 PM some nights? YES! Did attaining that goal I set out to accomplish this year mean I would have to bring my own dinners to a friend’s house and skip the wine/beer/anything not on the Reset menu for 21 days during the Ultimate Reset? YES. Did getting to this place of health and fitness for me mean that I skip the cake/ice cream more often than not? YES, BUT I do still enjoy ice cream now and again and I do not deprive myself. Again, I do not deprive myself because deprivation will just make me want it even more.

My point is that, yes, I had to “sacrifice” (if you want to call it that) time to gain strength, to attain better health, to FEEL better about myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I went through the ebbs and flows that come with wanting to indulge and at times I did/do, but instead of waiting for “Monday” to start over (b/c we all know that “Monday” never comes); I learned how to “start over” at the next meal. Instead of loathing the fact that I realized that eating “clean” was the best way to nourish my body and (happens to be) a great way to lose excess weight too, I learned to love the foods I was eating. I now even Google what some of the foods were doing FOR my body which heightened my enjoyment while eating them. Try it…Google “health benefits of beets”. Humor me.... I did it for you Some may think this is extreme to think of food this way and perhaps it is, but hey, it works for me and if we don’t educate ourselves how can we expect to move forward on this journey? 

So, that brings me to “focus”. There were a few other “words” I was looking at when choosing my plate, but I chose this for a reason. I’ve always wanted a plate like this; I don’t know why really, but I felt that this was a good time for me to take the plunge and get rid of 7805 JK and get “FOCUS”. 

Why the word focus? I have been working through a few self-help/self-motivational/self-improvement, whatever you want to call them CDs in my car for the past few months and one of them, Car Smart by Chalene Johnson really spoke to me. I won’t list all the reasons, but I will say that focus is a huge part of her series. This series changed how I prioritize and how I look at life's tasks. It was and is transforming.

In 2012 I focused on getting my health back under control. This focus will always be on my list, but in 2013 it will be to maintain what I have accomplished. My MS symptoms are non-existent. Prayer and the healing and guiding hand of God have made that possible, but Shakeology, my workout regimen and the nutrients I feed my body all play a role in it too. 

In 2013 I challenge myself and those around me to FOCUS! Find your focus! Each time I get in my car, which is where most of my time is spent, I will be reminded of this focus. Could I have gotten a sticky note and put it on my dashboard, well yes, but this plate has a more profound effect for me.

·         I will focus on my top priorities in life which include (to name a few):
o   Being present for my family. Physically and mentally being present for my husband and my son. This will mean taking some things off of my plate which has already begun to happen, but this is one of my top priorities, so those things have to go.
o   To be focused on the mission of our church and to be involved so that we can then focus our family on the love and blessings He provides for us.

  • I will focus on what I have, not on what I do not have
  • I will focus on the positives and not on the negatives

  • I will focus on furthering my education in the Nutrition and Fitness fields to enable me to further myself in my current career.

  •  I will focus on my Beachbody business. I will continue to shout it from the mountaintops that these programs and Shakeology have transformed my life!  In these past 10 months, they truly have. I will focus on continuing to pay it forward and help to decrease the obesity epidemic in my small way through Personal Training and these programs/products.
  • I will focus on a way to make sure I am able to reach as many lives as possible to help people realize their potential through health & fitness.  I will focus on helping get them to where they want/need to be.

When you have focus, you have purpose. When you have purpose, you have something worth fighting for; something worth being dedicated to. Something that when attained does magical magical things in your life. 

So, remember when I said that I started this blog because I wanted to hold myself accountable? I have, but I would not have been able to do it without the help from friends and family along the way. I look forward to 2013. I look forward to all that He has in store for my family and I along this journey called life. Cheers to you and yours this Holiday season! Have a very Merry Christmas and HAPPY & HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!

“Always focus on how far you’ve come rather than how far you have left to go.”
“Let go of the things you can’t change. Focus on the things you can!”

Monday, October 1, 2012

Never in my wildest imagination...

“So what’s the big deal with this Ultimate Reset by Beachbody?” ”It’s just a cleanse right?” “Cleanses are so temporary and they don’t work!” “I don’t want to drink prune juice or some ‘magic potion’ for short term results."

These were all things that either I thought or that other people said to me while I was doing the Reset. Let me start by saying that I was the biggest skeptic when it came to cleanses because I have researched many of them. Once I started to research the Ultimate Reset I realized that it is much more than a “cleanse”. It is a legitimate mental, spiritual and physical RESET!  It is a cleanse of the mind and a cleanse of the body. It is not a ‘you’re running to the bathroom every 20 minutes’ cleanse.  It is not anything like that as a matter of fact. 

During these past 21 days I learned more than I could have ever imagined or would have learned had I not done this:

  •  I learned that I am way more capable of accomplishing anything than I allow myself to give myself credit for.
  •  I learned to accept compliments and not let my past demons creep up on me and tell me anything otherwise.
  •  I learned that I do not need coffee; I just like the taste of coffee. Your body does AMAZING things when it is nourished and fueled with the proper foods. (This took a few days to realize after caffeine withdrawal and headaches had dissipated.) P.S. I tried decaf today and I couldn’t even drink it…the taste disgusted me.
  •  I learned that I need to drink more water every day.
  •  I learned the difference between thirst and hunger.
  •  I learned that when you take time to mentally recharge and fully commit to this, amazing things can happen!
  •  I learned that I have truly found my passion of inspiring others in their health and fitness journeys!

Yes, I learned all of this from doing the 21 Day Ultimate Reset!  I knew I was strong before. As you know, I’ve battled MS for 3 years now and even though I am repeatedly told by doctors that I am fortunate that I am not in a wheelchair, I keep going because I CAN and there are others out there who are much worse off. I have done other things in my life that I have set my mind to and if you know me, you know what those things are, but this…THIS…was the one of the most mentally and spiritually fulfilling things I have ever done!

There was a time when I looked at myself (refer to the before picture above) and I saw eyes so empty. I could not believe I had let myself go so bad when I was pregnant. Yes, I was pregnant, but for me, it was unacceptable and it was a barrier for me that I had to overcome. I would look at my hips and look at my pre-pregnancy pants and think, “Where is the nearest Salvation Army because there is NO STINKIN’ WAY these hips will EVER fit into these again!” I wasn’t happy with myself and that would trickle into other pieces of my life; my job, my marriage, my relationships…

Well I kept those size 4’s even though I was fitting into a size 16 at the time and they now fit:) I've said it before and I will say it again; I did NOT do the Reset for the weight loss. My WHY’s were:
  • To learn healthier eating habits (DONE)
  • To have more energy (DONE AND DONE)
  • To clean out my system and see if it has an effect on my Multiple Sclerosis flairs  (DONE)
  • To take a break from exercise and internally treat my body the way it should be treated and to mentally get on track spiritually (DONE)
The weight loss was an added bonus. That does make me happy, but not NEARLY as happy as my spiritual transformation and my mental transformation.  I have so much MORE energy too and that is WITHOUT COFFEE folks!!

Things don’t bother me that bothered me 21 days ago. 

There is nothing you cannot do if you want it bad enough! If you don’t want it bad enough then you have more room in your mind for excuses to creep in.

Yes, I missed exercise, but I enjoyed giving my body a well-deserved rest and I thoroughly enjoyed my brisk 20 minute walks and having some 1-on-1 time with the Big Man Upstairs!!

There is power in food. I needed to retrain myself to eat to live and not live to eat. Of course we do need to let loose every now and then and splurge, but if we are aware of what we are eating and how that food serves our body, those eating experiences can be just as enjoyable. The recipes in the Reset were amazing! There were some that were okay, but 90% were fantastic and I will continue to eat them.  I was literally Googling the health benefits of some of these foods while I ate them so that I could know exactly what that food was doing FOR me not TO me. Know what I mean? Eating became a very different experience and for me more enjoyable!

It was not easy! There were times…many times that I wanted to quit. I even posted in our private FB group that I was going to quit (this was the first Saturday). The people in that group kept me going and I didn’t give up! We were at our friend’s house and I brought my roasted veggies in the pan all ready to cook. She had made a delicious smelling and looking pasta dish. I looked at my roasted veggies and was actually ANGRY that I couldn’t have the pasta and I don’t even eat pasta!! I was more upset that I couldn’t drink a glass of wine. So, in essence, I was mad that I couldn’t give my body something it didn’t need.

I also went to 2 fall festivals, a golf tournament with open bar and a nice food spread and a wine tasting event also with a great spread of food and of course, beer and wine. I stuck with food that I brought in a bag with me and my water.  Not fun at the time, but well worth the reward.

I can now look back and appreciate the weight I was at when I first had Nicholas (203 pounds). I can appreciate why I let myself get there, but I won’t be doing that again if God blesses us with another baby.   

The Reset was an intervention of sorts for me. God called me to do this at this time for a reason. I realized my calling in life through this experience; reaching others through health and fitness and helping them see what they are truly capable of mind, body and spirit. In my weakness with food, I have been made stronger. It is typically through our weaknesses that we find our strengths right…..

Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would get "it" back even though I titled this blog "Getting it Back" back in January when I started the blog, but I DID! I got IT back and so much more! The Ultimate Reset is done for me right now, but I am just beginning!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I was reminiscing about a conversation I had back in 2010 after I had Nicholas. The conversation was between a woman at the gym and I. I told her, “There is no way I will ever get down to the size I was when I got married, but I am okay with that.”  

I remember that conversation vividly. Only one part of that statement was partially true: I honest to goodness believed that there was legitimately no way I would EVER get down to a size 4 again. I was at my smallest when I got married and I felt “good”.  The lie part of that statement was “I’m okay with that”.  I wasn’t okay with that. In no way shape or form was I okay with that.  

I’d say I was around 180 pounds when this conversation occurred and I was wearing a size 16.  I was tired all the time and not happy with myself. I had let myself go during pregnancy.  I did work out every day, but I ate to soothe my nausea and it caught up to me. (I also ate just b/c I wanted too! I had counted my calories for years and I used pregnancy as my free ticket to eat.) Bottom line reality is; it was NOT okay for me medically to gain 63 pounds during pregnancy.

When I slipped into my size 4 pants this morning I was so excited! The feeling of accomplishment is insane. I feel so incredibly blessed to have the ABILITY to work out (even though I’m not exercising during the Reset), to make healthy choices and take care of the body God has given me.

I am now on day 10 of the Ultimate Reset and I have never felt better!  I’m being serious. When I first heard of the Reset when it came out I didn’t believe any of it. I honestly thought it was a bunch of “crap”. It’s ONLY DAY 10 my friends and I feel better now than I did when I got married and it has nothing to do with the pants that I put on this morning. It has EVERYTHING to do with the smile on my face that I saw this morning. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that my husband said to me last night, “so, this meal plan and these foods that you’re eating…I want to start eating like that too. I’ve never seen you with so much energy.”  My jaw dropped because he did not want to have anything to do with this when I started, but he is seeing significant changes in not just my pant size, but my attitude and overall outlook.

The first week was the most mentally arduous week hands down for me. I had headaches from caffeine withdrawal, I had joint pain from the toxins releasing, I could barely stomach drinking the Alkalinize supplement that helps bring your Ph levels to where they need to be to stabilize your immune system and bring your digestive system to where it needs to be.  I was angry over the first weekend because all I wanted was to enjoy a glass of wine with some friends and have Tastefully Simple’s Beer Bread at a party I went to.  I was legitimately mad that I couldn’t treat my body like crap.  Part of the Reset includes using these times to really reflect on you and find other “things” to turn to.  I have been doing a daily devotional and this has played a huge part in my mental transformation (again it’s only day 10)!! I fought the urges and remembered my “why” for doing this in the first place.

My whys:
  • To learn healthier eating habits
  • To have more energy
  • To clean out my system and see if it has an effect on my Multiple Sclerosis flairs
  • To take a break from exercise and internally treat my body the way it should be treated and to mentally get on track spiritually
One big lesson I learned in week 1 was in regards to water. I used to drink hardly ANY water…it was bad…maybe 12-16 ounces a day! Did you know that we are supposed to drink half our body weight in ounces a day worth of water?!  Many times during the day in the 1st week, I would get a little hungry between meals. Nothing major, but before the Reset I would have grabbed a snack. Instead I HAD TO grab water because you really can’t snack on the Reset.  3 wholesome meals a day and water…THAT. IS. IT.  So, I drank water and ta da I wasn’t hungry!  My body was thirsty!

Now I’m in week 2 and I’m feeling energized and am tackling household things that I haven’t in a while. I went to Starbucks because you are allowed an occasional caffeine free herbal tea. I went in and thought it would be torture to smell the coffee, but I was oddly perfectly fine. Not even tempted for that matter!  I haven’t had headaches in days now from not having caffeine and I have more energy now because of the foods I’m eating than I ever did when I was drinking coffee.  Decaf for me once this is over…I do miss the taste:)

I had an interesting conversation today:

Woman I know through work: "Have you been running?" she asks with that inquisitive you look like you have lost weight look.

Me: "No I actually haven't worked out in 10 days"

Woman: "What?! Your skin looks glowing; your hair is so healthy looking. What have you been doing..."

Me: "Well the Ultimate Reset of course..." 

It really is amazing to feel and see this happening and even though some people have made comments that I'm "looking really skinny", I am at a healthy weight I FEEL great! Oh and did I mention that my MS symptoms are almost non-existent?! Woot woot!! I can’t wait to see how I feel at the end!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 1 SUCCESS & I feel like I'm FLOATING!

DAY 1 is complete and I'm happy that I am 1 day closer to the end:)

To the left you will see my breakfast.  Breakfast today consisted of 2 slices of whole grain bread (plain), steamed spinach (plain) and 2 scrambled eggs with 1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil.  I ate the spinach first to get it over with and took my time with the eggs and bread.

Prior to breakfast I drank 32 ounces of water! I'm not joking when I say that this is more water than I probably drank all weekend. Naughty I know, but true.

During your Reset, it is encouraged to drink an 8- to 12-oz. glass of water 5 to 10 minutes BEFORE your meals, instead of drinking during meals. Drinking liquid while you eat tends to dilute digestive juices and acids, which slows down your digestion considerably. When food takes too long to go through your system, it can cause digestive problems, like fermentation and putrefaction in your colon. Since a main purpose of the Ultimate Reset is to release toxicity and cleanse your colon, you don't want to clog it up.

As put on the Ultimate Reset page, "drinking water prior to a meal curbs your appetite and dulls hunger pangs. Water also prepares, opens, cleans, and lubricates the digestive tract, getting your body primed and ready for the food to come."

With this said, while giving my food some extra chewing to make sure it went down b/c I couldn't have water while eating, I noticed something about myself...I don't finish chewing my food, but I have a forkful of more food on it's way in before I swallow the first bite. This is mainly because I am always in a huge hurry and I never really enjoy what I'm eating. When I realized this I made a conscious effort to chew extra long and swallow before I ate more. This sounds so silly, but at the same time I wonder how many of us do this. By making this small change, not only will I now be able to digest my food better, but I will feel full sooner because I'm taking my time when eating instead of rushing through my meals. BIG lesson learned on day 1 of the Reset.

I was VERY tempted to grab a coffee because it was literally sitting outside of my cubicle in the form of a DD Box of Jo!  I resisted the temptation and kept in mind the reasons why I am doing this. (See previous post for those "whys").

I also resisted the urge (ohhhh about 15 times) to grab a Lifesaver off of my coworkers desk. This is something I typically allow myself to do 4 times during the day, but no mints allowed on the Reset. All I wanted was something minty (and some coffee)!!!  Guess I'll bring my toothbrush to work tomorrow to get my minty fix.

Oh and is it weird that I applied my vanilla lip gloss about 84 times today JUST to get the sweet, delicious taste of vanilla LOL??!!

A few things are for certain:

1) This is going to be HARD, yet so REWARDING
2) I am definitely going to see and FEEL the results at the end
3) I am going to severely miss coffee
4) This is going to teach me new cooking techniques and recipes that I will definitely continue to use after the Reset is over.
5) I will have VERY clean teeth from getting the taste of Alkalize out of my mouth (this supplement helps to bring your body back into a healthy pH balance for improved immunity, but it tastes like grass...strong grass.)
6) I am going to have extra time on my hands because I don't have to exercise for these 21 days (just short walks and yoga) and with that extra time I am going to read the book of Job and spend more quality time with Nicholas at night before he goes to bed..LOVE that boy!!

Oh and here was the most AMAZING dinner! Now I'm finishing my last bit of my gallon of H2O and I do feel like I'm floating!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Prework

So, the Ultimate Reset starts in 3 short days!  I'm excited, nervous and anxious!  I'm even more excited because (coincidentally) my church is having a fast for the first week of the Reset.  People will be giving something up during that week and really focusing on their relationships with God in place of those things that they give up.  It is phenomenal the way these two things (the reset and the fast) have aligned for me personally.

So, part of my prework is to document me "now".  If you ever decide to do the Reset these are questions you would document in your book. At the end of the 21 days, you look back and record how you feel at the end and compare the two. I have filled in some of the answers here and all of them are documented in my book. So...

This is me now:

~How would you rate or describe your overall health? I would give my overall health a 7 a scale of 1-10. I take good care of myself on the fitness scale and I try to eat as best I can. Where I fall is not enough water and too much caffeine/my glass of wine with dinner at night. Oh and my uncontrollable urge to eat the whole bag of Cape Cod potato chips!

~Do you currently have digestive problems/issues? If yes, what are they?

~How often do you have a bowel movement?

~Are you able to have a complete and satisfying elimination?

~Are your bowels often constipated? If so, how long has this been going on?

~Do you have a history of digestive problems? (Bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, constipation, etc...) ......

~How would you rate your overall energy levels, 5 being optimal?  Answer: 3 in the morning, 3 mid-day and 3 at night. I'm pretty even keel all day long. My energy levels have certainly increased over the past year since I've been working out and losing weight and they increased more when I started drinking Shakeology, but I do have a "lethargic" feel and heavy eyes throughout most of the day even if I sleep well. I've just attributed it to the lethargy that comes with my diagnosis, so I don't think much of it.

~Do you rely on stimulants, such as caffeine or sugar, to get you through your day? Yes, coffee and lifesavers (does that count as sugar)?

~Do you sleep well? I sleep like a rock for at least 7 hours a night and sometimes 8

~Do you wake feeling rested? Ehhhhh sometimes.

~How is your complexion? Better than it was when I was a teenager:)

~Do you often have headaches? When I look at my computer screen too long or go without caffeine too long...maybe 1 a day.

~Does your breathing feel shallow or constricted? No

~Do you feel mentally clear and alert? Depends on the day and what is going on.

~What made you decide to do the ultimate reset at this time/what would you like to gain from the experience? I would like to learn healthier ways of preparing meals, gain an appreciation for water and gain an appreciation for myself and all I can accomplish. Sounds silly, but I truly believe that by doing this I will grow in my faith as well and be happier overall. Don't get me wrong, I am happy, but I do let life's stresses get me down a little too much.

~What habits do you feel are causing your current decline? Not drinking enough water and not taking time to relax and reflect.

So there it is...the start of something BIG in my life! Finishing up shopping tomorrow:)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MS vs. Ultimate Reset...which will win...I already know the answer!

Well after today's Neurology appointment, it was made clear that now is the best time for me to start the Ultimate Reset.  I've been toying with the Reset for quite some time now. I was not interested in it at first to be quite honest.  I'm not into cleanses as most of them out on the market are dangerous and unhealthy...most...not all. When you think "cleanse" you probably think that you'd be drinking prune juice or not eating for a predetermined amount of time. THIS is NOT like that!!

The Reset is different. It is not a fast. You eat 3 meals a day for 21 days. You're not starving yourself. You teach yourself what your body truly needs. No caffeine. No alcohol. Some weeks there is no meat or dairy. You also take natural supplements and you drink tons of good 'ole H2O; please see previous post to know how big of a deal this is for me.

During the first week I will begin to alter my diet and slowly remove foods like red meat and dairy that put stress on my digestive system and tilt my body toward an acidic state. I will be re-hydrating my body and will reactivate sluggish cell function.  This phase is called the "reclaim" phase. 

During the second phase, the "release" phase I will continue to refine my diet. I will not be eating animal proteins and dairy. I will be eating vegetarian meals that really do look pretty tasty. (Did I mention that the Reset comes with recipes oh and a complete grocery list...they make it very simple to follow.)  I will start to detox in week 2 which will restore optimum health to my gastrointestinal system.  (I am very interested in this as they do link MS to something funky going on in the gut...do you like that technical description ha ha ha!)

The third and final phase is the "restore" phase and I'll be cutting way back on grains and consuming mainly fruits and vegetables. The foods are pure. They are what your body was intended to ingest.

During this process I will not be doing ANY strenuous exercise which (for me) is going to be seriously difficult!  Internally my body is going to be working hard on resetting itself and I must allow my nervous system to remain in a relaxed state while it is cleansing and releasing toxins.  Instead I will do something that I haven't done in a VERY long time; something that I desperately need. I will do daily breathing, daily stretching and daily walking exercises. It has been a long time since I've focused on my internal health. 

Many people who have done this Reset have said that it is a very emotional time for them because it allows them the opportunity to stop and focus. It is hard. It will take a lot of dedication, but I am truely looking forward to it.

Like I said at the beginning of this blog post, I had a Neurology appointment today to simply follow up on my MRI's.  It was clear from those MRI's that I am "lucky" according to the doctor.  There are some people with MS who have only a couple lesions who have horrible symptoms. There are others with MS that have a lot of lesions (like myself) and have horrible symptoms. BUT I don't!  I often wonder why God has spared me from horrible symptoms. Is it to inspire? I don't know. Who knows why besides God, but I DO know that I am not going to sit around and wait for it to get worse. I want to live each day to His glory and show Him that I am thankful for the opportunity he has given me to be healthy, to be an inspiration to my friends and family and to be the best mom and wife I can possibly be and that includes being healthy!

I have a sneaky suspicion that I will "become one" with my MS during this process and really grow deeper in my faith. Ever hear of emotional eating? Ever been there? I have. Instead of turning to food or even a glass of wine when I feel I need it, I will have to turn within to fight the emotions...tough thing to do right, but it's within all of us to be able to do something like this.

Here is a sample of what I will be eating starting 9/10/12:

Breakfast: 2 slices whole grain toast, 2 scrambled eggs (using just 1/2 tsp. of olive oil), and a generous portion of steamed kale or spinach.

Lunch: Microgreen Salad and 1 serving of home made dressing  
Dinner: 1 serving baked salmon, 1 cup steamed asparagus with lemon and 3/4 cup boiled baby potatoes

In between meals natural supplements are taken and (as mentioned) lots of water is consumed.

I am doing the Ultimate Reset for me. And in doing so, I know that my renewed health and greater well-being will benefit all those around me.

Stay tuned for more info in the days to come...interested in joining me?? www.myultimatereset.com/gettingitback4  Stay tuned for before pics too!! :)