Friday, December 30, 2011

New Beginnings...

WHAT?!?!?! Its been over a month since my last entry? What is this nonsense? I certainly need to correct this sporadic blogging behavior of mine, and I DO intend to do so. This coming New Year is going to bring some much needed change to my life and my goals in the near future. I was going to wait until January 1st to make this entry, but then I thought, there's no time like the present. So, here it goes:

Let me start by explaining something I realized rather recently. I've come to the realization that I'm being a coward. I'm using the excuse of 'trying to conceive' as a way to not put in as much work as I used to. This is not okay. Yes, it is no secret that my husband and I are working on Baby#2, but that is no excuse for me to stop tracking my food and caloric intake and its certainly no reason for me to stop going to the gym for days at a time. This is me being very honest with anyone and everyone who is reading this: I have been on a Food-Free-For-All for the past month or so, and as a result I stepped on the scale to find myself at about lets face it, I'm back to 180. NO!!!!!! THIS I do NOT want. I do not want to go backwards with my weight loss.

I do understand that whenever I do become pregnant, weight gain is pretty much inevitable (however it is possible to keep it to a minimum), but as of right now, why not continue to lose? I sat back yesterday and I thought about the things my doctor told me I should do while trying to conceive. No where in his instructions did he say that I should not exercise and eat whatever I want. I've been blaming my junk food intake and lack of activity on school and its intense nature the last month (which is totally true! School was BRUTAL this last semester), but there it is again, another excuse. When I started this journey to health and fitness in October 2009, I vowed to STOP making excuses. Here, I have reverted to my old ways of excuse making. THAT needs to stop.

So, whats my plan? Well, its back to the basics. Its back to tracking my foods and calories. Its back to a regular, planned, workout routine. Now, I am going to lower my activity to only one workout session per day (this is because of my goal of conception) but I will be more strict and focused on my foods and their health value. I'm also coming back to making WL Vlogs. I know I have been pretty absent from the world of Youtube, and that really IS because of school. I simply didn't have the time to shoot, edit, and upload videos every day or as often as I wanted to. But this New Year is coming at a great time. This New Year and new goals coincides with a much less demanding school schedule, which will enable me to make more regular videos, as an added bonus I'm (hoping) to receive a boost in support, which I have been missing for some time now.

Secondly, I have a new fitness goal! I have decided to run The Atlantic City April Fools Half Marathon. It is scheduled for Sunday, April 1st, 2012! 13.1 miles. Yep. I'm gonna do it! I've already printed out my training schedule for the Half and I'm planning on using that schedule as my new workout routine. If anyone is interested in seeing my training schedule, here's the link:

I cannot tell you how good it feels to have a fitness goal like this to work towards. Now, of course, I know there are going to be those who read this and say something like, 'How in the hell can she train like that and run a half marathon if she's also trying to get pregnant? Thats not good for the baby!' blah blah blah. To that argument (or criticism) I say this: Everyone is different. I may be able to run a half marathon and still get pregnant, others may not. Trust me, I will be as careful as is possible. And in my defense, does anyone remember the lady who recently ran the Chicago Marathon while 9months pregnant? She crossed the finish line and went into labor, and had a PERFECTLY HEALTHY baby. See? It IS possible to still do these kinds of physical things AND be pregnant. Now, am I intending on running a marathon while I'm 9 months pregnant? No. Not at all. BUT, I DO intend on running this Half Marathon whether trying to conceive or in the early stages of my next pregnancy, and that's that!

So there you have it. There's my New Year plan in a nutshell. I'm not going to sit here and make some grandiose statement of a Goal weight and a date to reach it by during this year. I'm not even going to refer to the scale at this moment. I'm just going to get back in the routine of doing things the way I know I should be doing them if I want to lose weight and/or be healthy. The scale will come in to play later.....MUCH later. (haha) So, if anyone wants to follow along, I encourage you to keep an eye out for new videos from me on Youtube, as I will be coming back shortly after the New Year. I will also be using MyFitnessPal to track my meals and calories, so you can find me on there as well.

I want to wish EVERYONE a wonderful, happy and HEALTHY New Year. May you work hard and reach all the goals (or resolutions) you set out for this year. Work hard, and you will.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being "sick" confuses me....

I know, the title may seem a little odd, but its really the truth. Sometimes I get confused when I'm "sick". I put the word sick in quotations because for me, being TRULY sick and just being "sick" are two very different things. What I mean is, when I'm TRULY sick, I characterize that as throwing up, fever, aches all over, I mean, being in bed. To me, THAT is being sick. But when I say that right now I'm "sick" I simply mean that I've got an annoying headcold that just won't quit. I've been batteling it since Sunday and its still going strong. I'm taking medicine and I've scaled down my workouts accordingly (so I don't over work my body and get even more sick). This headcold, and ones I've had in the past, are really hard to read. When I wake up in the morning, its the worst. I'm coughing and hacking, my nose is completely clogged, and my head feels like a brick. But I take some medicine, I drink something hot, and my nose starts to loosen up a bit, my throat starts to feel better and my head clears up. Then I go to the gym. Since I've been dealing with this cold, I've scaled down to just an hour or less of light exercise in the morning, usually either cardio or strength training. I'm not kidding you, THE SECOND that I start working out, everything feels 100% better. And I come home feeling like I'm not sick at all! Then, inevitably, at about 7pm it hits me again. I start to feel groggy, stuffy, and clogged up again. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!?!


You wanna know what else annoys me? I mentioned to the girl at the front desk of gym (whom I'm sort of friendly with) that I was starting to feel a bit of a cold coming on. The next day she was working in the daycare area. As soon as I walked in the door she said, "YOU SHOULD NOT BE PUSHING YOURSELF!" Okay, I appreciate the concern, however, how do you know if I'm truly pushing myself or not? I politely went on to explain to her that I actually have been feeling BETTER after I work out, to which she replied, "Yeah, you feel better but you're wearing yourself out when you need to rest." Okay, this is where I became a bit annoyed. Obviously, I'm not going to be going to the gym if I'm showing a fever or feeling weak and light headed or whatever. THAT would be completely stupid to continue working out when you're feeling that way. But this? This is just a head cold! Its about the same as allergies! You can still function when it hits. I can still walk, run, lift weights, etc. And whats more, I WANT TO! I'll be the first to tell you that when I feel weak or tired and I'm also showing signs of an illness, I DO NOT go to the gym or go workout outside. Because I KNOW thats not what your body needs. However, if I'm just feeling a bit sniffly, with a bit of an itchy throat, I find thats no reason to stop working out altogether.

So, I know this is going on a bit of rant here. All I'm trying to say is, shit like that annoys me. I'm not an idiot. And I know what I can and cannot do. Its my body! I know what its capable of. A mere bystander does not. Its kind of the same way I feel when someone says, "Oh, you're going to get to skinny! You're crazy! You need to stop with the weight loss!" That annoys me as well for the same reasons. I'm super healthy and I'm very active. I eat, and I eat well. Short of me starving myself or puking up my food, I feel that no one has the right to tell me when 'enough is enough' in terms of my personal health and fitness goals. Same goes for the afforementioned scenario. If you see me about to pass out and still going for a run, THEN you can tell me I need to cool it and maybe go home and rest. Short of that? Keep your opinions to yourself.

And yes, I do recognize that when you have even just a headcold, you need to allow your body to rest. So thats why I've planned 2 days of complete rest instead of my usual 1 day a week. This is also why I've scaled back my workouts considerably. But, I still like to get that workout once a day, at least for 30 minutes. I see nothing wrong with that.

So there you have it. I had some free time today and this was just something that was bugging me a bit. Figured I would share and see if anyone agrees or has any thoughts regarding this. On another note, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be responsible with your eating if you can. And if you can't? I suggest that you kick it into high gear and do something extra as a means of damage control on Friday. Me? I'm planning on an early morning run before the day's festivities (A.K.A. eating till you can't breathe). However, I've promised myself that I will NOT eat too much. I REFUSE to walk away from that table feeling too full and feeling sick. Small portions of everything, only one helping, no seconds, and I'm done! I like to follow a little motto from Bethenny Frankel. She says, "Taste everything, eat nothing". I'll be repeating that in my head when I sit down to eat tomorrow.

Enjoy your Turkey Day and be thankful for everything you have, because we are all blessed. Sometimes, we just don't stop to think about it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Goals...for now...

I realize, yet again, that its been quite a while since I graced my own blog with an update. Well, here I am! I feel the need to apologize to those who are kind enough to follow along and read the posts whenever I do post them. Then again, I know these happy few people don't mind and know how busy I've been lately with school. But with my busy schedule has come a new game plan....for the time being. Allow me to explain:

Its odd for me to talk about this subject, because I don't want to sound as if I'm boasting my accomplishments. On the other hand I'm also concious of "counting my eggs before they've hatched" or whatever that old saying is. I don't want to say that I'm already at my final goal, because thats not true! But, I am so very close to my final goal, that getting there no longer seems like such a long, arduous task. What I mean is, here I sit, hovering between 168lbs-170lbs. For all intents and purposes, I've lost a solid 90+ lbs, give or take a few. And although I am not finished, I'm kind of at a standstill, and here is where my problem lies. My standstill of weight loss is the dreaded "plateau" that many of us hear about, but maybe have not truly experienced it yet. I thought I experienced plateau's in the past, but no, I didn't. The previous "plateaus" were breakable within a month or so. Here I sit, for the past two and a half months and my weight has not budged. Yes, I'm eating VERY healthy foods. Yes! I'm still active, if not, even MORE active than I have been in the past. Yes, I'm concious of proper fueling of my body and I'm NOT throwing myself into starvation mode. The fact of the matter is, I'm simply at a weight plateau. This is not so say that I should simply "Give up" and accept the fact that 170lbs (or so) is simply where my body is comfortable. I refuse to give up and I refuse to accept that this is as good as it gets in terms of health and fitness. I mean, I'm going to run a marathon someday people! I AM! Thats a new future goal of mine. So, I'm definitely not someone who is just going accept my body at this weight. I'm still focused on losing, defining, and conditioning my body to become the best runner I can be. My only hiccup right now, is my current life circumstances.

I've talked in the past about wanting to add to my family with another child. Without getting all graphic on my readers, I'll have you know that I'm actively working on that goal. In talking with my doctor, he advised me that before we ('we' meaning women) get pregnant, we should be treating our bodies as if we're already pregnant, in a way. Obviously this would mean, no binge drinking or heavy drinking, no drugs (which include recreational drugs but mainly in reference to medications that you're not supposed to take while pregnant) and of course he mentioned my increased activity. He suggested that I continue to be healthy and active, however, he urged me to decrease my intensity a bit regarding my workout sessions and he asked that I limit myself to a few days a week.

So here I am, listening to my doctor.....sort of. Now, I know I might catch a bit of flack for saying this, but.....his advice is just that. It is ADVICE. It was not a direct order, but more of a suggestion. So, I'm listening to him....about halfway. (haha) I've decreased my intensity during my workouts although I still go to the gym about 5 or 6 days a week. Instead of working out for 2 hours a day, I limit my workouts to an hour or sometimes just one Spin Class for 45minutes. I think this is okay. And on days where I feel tired or sore, I do allow myself a day off from activity. I'm telling you all this to tell you that although I'm still eating healthy and being active, I'm no longer focused on "losing losing losing" at this point. And given my current life goal of adding another child to my family, I think this is okay. Whenever I do become pregnant, I will then become refocused on being as active and healthy as possible during that pregnancy and keeping my weight gain to a healthy minimum (the doctor said we would discuss this when the time came).

I guess all of the above reasoning is also why I've been absent from making my YT videos. I kind of thought to myself, who wants to watch someone who is maintaining her weight where it is, but acknowledges that she is NOT yet at her goal, which is where maintenance should truly occur? LOL Its confusing and I did not want to send the wrong message to any viewers and lead them to believe that I'm giving up or just accepting myself as is. I do accept myself, I love myself! I've been saying this for the longest time, we need to love ourselves first and foremost, before we can ever expect to have success with weight loss. Remember, the correct formula for weight loss is: "I love myself, SO, I'm going to lose weight and have a happy, healthy life." -At least, thats the correct formula as I see it- And that is where I am! I'm happy with my health and athletic abilities, heck, I'm even happy with what I see when I look in the mirror! But the goal of another child is more important to me right now than losing pounds and inches, and I think thats okay.

I would like to make a very BOLD statement in this blog though. I'm making this statement so later down the line, when and if I do feel like giving up, I can read this and be reminded of my true goals and aspirations. Here is the statement: After the birth of my next child, I will not rest until I reach my ultimate goal weight. I believe that a healthy weight for my height and particular build is anywhere between 140lbs - 150lbs. So thats my goal. I'll split the difference and say 145lbs just to be fair. So, these are my new goals.....for now:

#1 - Be healthy and active.
#2- Have a healthy pregnancy.
#3-Post pregnancy, its back to work and acheiving my ultimate goal. No excuses.

So, I'm not giving up. I'm actively choosing to remain where I am. For me, this is whats right at this point in my life.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Life As I Know It......

Rather recently I made a YT video about whats been going on with me in terms of weight loss and being an active part of the YT Weight Loss Community. I came to some conclusions that I think were really great. My first conclusion was that, at this point I have already surpassed my original weight loss goals. I remember when I first started out I said to myself that if I could just get back into my size 12 jeans, I would be satisfied. Well, here I sit, wearing size 10's and they're a bit baggy (which leads me to believe I may now be fitting into certain size 8's). So, in that aspect I have acheived my goal. Secondly, I realized that I have acheived my goal of becoming athletic. When I first started out I was someone who would only run if it was to save her life. I have never been someone to get up on a Saturday morning and go for a run.....UNTIL NOW! I am now someone that I would categorize as athletic. And the best part is, I'm athletic because I WANT to be, not because I HAVE to be. If the above two examples are not progress/accomplishments....then I don't know what is.

And recently, meaning within the past week, I have realized that I'm happy and very comfortable with where I'm currently at. My weight has been hovering between 167-170lbs. I even saw it go up a bit to 172lbs, but I'm okay with that. The past week, I have NOT gone to the gym but maybe one time and I'm okay with that too. Why? Because there are certain factors in my life that are now beginning to take precedence over weight loss. I realized a very important fact: THATS OKAY! Its pkay for certain things in your life to be MORE IMPORTANT than losing weight. IT IS! Now, I don't necessarily consider myself to have fallen off the wagon..... in fact, I don't think that at all. Healthy eating and correctly measuring out my foods is apart of my everyday life! And the fact that I'm feeling crumby and WANTING to go to the gym to work up a good sweat only PROVES that I'm now a person who enjoys being active and WANTS to be active. THIS IS GREAT!!!

So, what is it thats taking over my life right now? School. Plain and simple. Last week I had 3 papers and an exam laid on me and they are all due within the next month. These are not just simple assignments. These assignments require intense legal research and analysis, which means I'll be glued to my computer with research and writing for the better part of my days for the next few weeks. Hey, what can ya do? Thats life! I think its important for all of us to realize that its not always going to be possible to focus 100% of our efforts on health and weight loss. Its just not realistic. The best that many of us can do is just TRY to eat healthier foods. TRY to grab for a water instead of a diet soda. TRY to go for a walk instead of relaxing on the couch. What I'm saying here is that sometimes weight loss HAS to take a NECESSARY back burner. That doesn't mean we're failing, because its still there! We're still completely aware of it and aware of our goals and aware of what we need to do, but for right the present moment, something else might be more important. For me, its school. For someone else it might be a new job, or moving into a new house, or welcoming a new addition to their family. There are MANY things that take a tremendous amount of work and focus, thereby sucking up our motivations for weight loss.

But here's the most important part. We can't feel bad about this. We cannot let ourselves feel like a "failure" for not going to the gym 5 days a week like we used to when we had the time. I did this today. I woke up and had every intention of going to the gym (even though I had a raging headache). Then I glanced at my school planner and realized there were a lot of these assignments piling up and that it would be much more beneficial to me to focus on getting this school work done. I'll be very honest here and admit to you all that my first thought was, 'Wow. What a fat ass loser I'm being lately.' Then I sat back and worked on my mental health. I asked myself, 'Why do I automatically think this way? Is it really that bad of a thing for me to put off a workout in order to get my education in line?' I came to the conclusion that no, its not that bad. And there's always things I can do to be healthy. So, instead of working out today, I'm doing my school work and I've told myself that I'm going to eat 100% healthy today. Watch my portions, eat wholesome foods, and most importantly, NOT partaking of any candy or goodies tonight during trick or treating. Thats the best I can do right now. Tomorrow, I can get up and go to the gym. Today? Thats not really an option. And thats okay. I'm not giving up, NOT AT ALL. I'm just prioritizing.

So, in conclusion (I guess), I'm just trying to say: Lets not beat ourselves up about being busy. Because, what happens when we beat ourselves up? We feel bad and then we turn to food to make us feel better, then we gain more weight, then we feel even worse, so we turn to more food, and the vicious cycle goes on and on and on. So, stop the cycle. Don't feel bad about being busy and missing your activity for today. Instead, make a plan. (Yep, I'm a big planner.) Then work that plan. Sometimes, thats the only thing that saves me from going off the deep end.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My First Race...

Yep. That's right. She did it. ME! I DID IT! I FINALLY entered into a race! That race was this morning here in Atlantic City, NJ. I had so much fun and it was an amazing experience all around. I've had more than a few people tell me they are interested in a detailed re-telling of the race and how it went so I decided I would do that here in the blog (since I haven't updated in a long time).

There I am! Just MINUTES from beginning my very first race. This weekend was the annual Atlantic City Marathon/Half-Marathon/10k/5k. I signed up for the 5k. I'll admit, there was a part of me that felt like a bit of a loser/chicken. Why? Because I have run the distance of a 5k at least a hundred times. I felt like signing up for just a 5k was something "safe" for me to do...meaning I KNEW I could do it because I've done it plenty of times before on my own. But a larger part of me kept wanting to sign up for the 10k (which is 6.2 miles in distance). Ultimately I decided on the 5k only because I figure, you gotta start small then work your way up to the big stuff.....right?

FYI: My husband Rob was the photographer for these pictures. He was wonderful and supportive. He gave up his Sunday morning of sleeping in to stand on the sidelines and take pictures of me and watch Jeremiah. It was very cool to say the least. Anyway, back to the race. At this point Rob had moved down the sidelines a bit, in order to get an "action shot" as he calls it, of me while I was running at the very beginning of the race. Here you might be able to see just how many people were there. It was CRAZY! I was definitely expecting a mass of people all jumbled and packed at the starting line, but I was in no way prepared for how to navigate that mass of people. You definitely have to be ready to sprint here or there, dodge and duck in between running packs and find your own comfortable "running zone" as I like to call it.
AND WE'RE OFF! There I go, and this shot was taken less than 1/4 of a mile into the run..this was at the VERY beginning. You'll notice that I'm looking down in this shot. Why? I was looking at Jeremiah in his stroller as I passed on by. When I saw him a very important thought crossed my mind and it stayed with me until I was on my way back on the second half of the run. That thought was this: Jeremiah is the reason I am where I am today. If I had never gotten pregnant with him, then I would never have had the motivation to lose all that weight, get healthy, and become athletic. I often think about this. You know how they say you should never regret anything in your life because everything you've ever done has led you to this point? Well, that's what I was thinking. Do I regret being unhealthy during my pregnancy and winding up at over 260lbs? Yes, of course. But then again, if that had never happened, would I have discovered my passion for running? Would I have had any motivation at all to lose weight and become healthy? I don't know. Still, that thought resounds in my mind from time to time.

Now, obviously during the middle of the race there are no pictures. This is mainly because the course was set up as an "out and back". This means that you run out in one direction, there's a turn-around and you come right back the way you came. (Does that make sense? haha) Basically, the Start/Finish line is at the same place, so Rob got a great spot at the Finish line and planted there to get a shot of me coming in at the end.

The middle of the race, for me, was all about dealing with the elements and focusing on my pace and breathing. I was not concerned with passing anyone (unless it was someone who was running at a pace well below mine and I had no choice but to pass). And when I talk about "elements" I'm mainly referring to intense wind gusts accompanied with sand. THAT was not enjoyable. This race was entirely on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, which is cool when you think about it, but when you're out there, you realize something quite different. First of all, the boardwalk is right off the beach so any sand that blows with the wind is going to blow directly on you and possibly in your eyes. Secondly, screw Chicago, ATLANTIC CITY is the windiest city in the world. Don't believe me? Come out here and you'll see. There are winds so strong on the boardwalk and other areas of the marina downtown that they can knock a person down, for real! And those were the types of winds we experienced just after the first mile marker. That wind and sand kept up for over a half mile. It took some serious determination to duck my head a bit, quicken my pace slightly and just get through it.

Something odd happened on the way back. When I say "odd" I just mean that I had not expected it. I would say that as soon as I hit the 2 mile marker (meaning there's only a little over a mile left in the race) I started to notice this girl in a bright pink shirt. She would come up and meet me and keep pace with me and then fall behind. Then meet me again, pass me a bit, then fall behind. It was kind of annoying me and starting to mess with me because I couldn't tell (for sure) if it was me or her that was not keeping an even pace. I now realize it was her. I decided to let her pass me as much as she wanted and I would just focus on my pace and my breathing and try not to take notice.

Through all of this battling with Pinky (that's my nickname for her) I hadn't realized how close I was to the finish line. I looked up and saw the crowd of people in the distance ahead and knew that now was as good a time as any to increase my pace a bit. Then, BAM! Some young a**hole teenager kid passes me while knocking his shoulder into mine. Now THAT pissed me off. But I kept my cool and focused on my now increased pace. Then there it was, the finish line. I could see it clearly ahead of me at maybe 100-200 meters. At this moment I said to myself, "alright Jules...give it all you've got!" And I did. I started to sprint! I ran as fast as I possibly could, and guess what happened? I blew Pinky away and left her in my dust! Next up? I blew past that a**hole teenager and thought "KARMA!" (haha) and kept on going. Even though I had music blasting in my ears (Foo Fighters, thank you very much) I actually heard a few people on the sidelines saying "Holy crap! Look at her!" as I passed by sprinting my ass off. Maybe I looked ridiculous, but I just wanted to give it my all. The next picture is me, mid-sprint, about to cross the finish line...

And there you have it. I FINISHED! Like I said before, it was the one of the best experiences of my life, thus far. I have never competed in a race before. I've always considered runners to be "Crazy weirdos". But now? Now, I get it. Its great and amazing. I have such a sense of pride in myself for coming this far, not just in my weight loss but within my athletic abilities as well. In the beginning of my weight loss journey I just wanted to lose weight, get healthy and look better. But somewhere in the middle of all that, something changed. I discovered this thing called "running" and instead of it being a chore, something I HAD to do in order to lose weight, it became my therapist. When I had a terrible weigh in, when things in my life were stressful, when I wasn't sure if I could keep going, I went for a run and the answers seemed immediately clear. I am so thankful for my ability to run and enjoy it.

Next up, its Rob's turn to run a 5k. I think watching me today kind of lit a spark within himself. On our way back to the car he told me he might like to run a race someday, and I told him I think thats great. We can take turns and maybe one day, we will run a race together. So, in the end, today was a great day and it still IS a great day. I've never felt more proud of myself than I do in this moment. That is worth way more than any number on a scale.

(Can you guys pick out Pinky? She's in the background there to the left.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011


"Food is the most widely abused anti anxiety drug in America, and exercise is the most potent, yet underutilized anti-depressant." - Bill Phillips

Oh my lord....can I just tell you how much I LOVE this quote? I came across it a few weeks ago when someone on Facebook put it up (I'm sorry that now, I can't remember who to give the credit to for finding this quote). When I read this, oh man....I just thought, 'HOW TRUE!'

Think about your worst day. Think about a day that was so horrible, it literally gives you chills to think about it and in fact, you would really rather NOT be reminded of it. Now, if you're someone like myself (or anyone else who admittedly has an "issue" with food) its more than likely that you abused food that day. You binged. You went straight for the junk food and never looked back. You packed your stomach so full that you felt like you might burst, but somewhere....within that found some sort of comfort. And THAT is where this quote comes from.

For some reason, most of us with a weight problem have been taught that 'food is medicine to cure all evils'. Are you sad? Eat! Are you happy? Eat! Are you anxious? Eat! Are you depressed? Eat! In essence, we have been taught 'Eat your emotions'. That idea of eating our emotions - instead of experiencing said emotions and dealing with them like others do - becomes engrained in 'who we are' and 'what we do'. Why do you think we've woken up one day to find ourselves at 200, 300, 400, 500 lbs?!?!?!?!

This entry is entitled "Exercise" because, for me, that has become the solution. I have changed my inner monologue from 'Eat! Eat! Eat!' to 'Run! Run! Run!". Now, I'm not saying you have run right out and become a serious marathon runner/athlete, but I am saying that you will get far more POSITIVE benefits from exercising than from looking to the bottom of a bag of Lays Potato Chips for solace. I used to be someone who thought going to the Gym was lame. I would see people jogging on the side of the road and I would think to myself, 'what a bunch of freaks'....when all along, I WAS THE FREAK! I was the one who was not normal. I was the one eating poor choices after poor choices and not being active and wondering why I wasn't happy with myself and the way that I felt and the way that I looked.

Sometimes we get all caught up in this twisted cycle of things. It goes like this: I feel bad, I eat some kind of junk food, I feel bad for eating the junk food, I feel bad about feeling bad for eating the junk and I wonder why I did it in the first place, so I run out and eat MORE junk food. And the cycle repeats and repeats and repeats. Not much unlike an actual drug or alcohol addict, eh? As I've said before, food is an addiction as well. But all it takes is ONE GOOD DECISION to break that downward spiral of events. I still have those days. I have those days where EVERYTHING that can go wrong, DOES and I turn to my old favorite junk food of choice. BUT, I make a mental vow to myself that it stops there. Sure, I might eat this cheeseburger and french fries, but after? I'm getting up and I'm going for a walk. And tomorrow? I'm going to make it a better day than it was today. I'm going to get up with the intention of "doing it right today". And its okay if I mess up. Why? Because this is life and thats how we learn. We fall down, we get bruised, we get back up, and we try again until we succeed. I'm here to tell you, THATS the REAL secret to weight loss. Refusing to give up. Refusing to accept the mediocre. Thats the only reason I'm sitting here at almost 100lbs lost.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Madness...

Today is going to be a busy day. Nothing like being a "single mom" for a few weeks with a lot on your plate. Gym. School. Babysitters. Assignments. Its all piling up, but I'm willing to rise to the occasion. I came across a quote the other day and I spoke about it in one of my latest vlogs, but I thought I would touch on it here as well. Here's the quote:
"There's no telling how many miles you'll have to run while chasing your dream."
Well, ain't that the truth. Not only does this quote make me realize that everything I have been dealing with and all the obstacles that have been in my way are part of the ride....but it also made me think about the underlying question that this quote proposes. Which is: "What are you willing to do? Are you willing to run those miles?"

Again, I have to say that I've never understood people who wish and hope and dream, but don't DO. Here comes my famous line again, "Losers hope, Winners DO!" I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again, this is my personal mantra. Now, more so than ever before. When I really thought about that underlying question, I realized that I had not been doing what I really needed to be doing in order to get to my goal. I was just kind of "going through the motions" with exercising. My heart wasn't in it. Well, I'm getting my heart back in line. If this is something that I TRULY want...then why am I not doing anything and everything I can to get what I want? I normally pride myself on being a woman who gets what she wants. Not only do I get what I want, but I get it for myself, by myself, and on my own terms. Thats me. Self made. Through and through. But that wasn't me lately. Lately, I allowed laziness and self pity to rule my world and my positive mindset. I was becoming easily defeated and kind of just accepting things the way they already are. But why? Why should I (or any of us, for that matter) just accept things the way they are. Are we going to continue to hide behind that statement (and I know MANY of you have made this statement before) "Well, I'm just a big person. I'm just heavier and thats how it is....I can't help it." I've said that before. I've hidden behind that EXCUSE before. But when I started to get serious about weight loss after the birth of my son, I realized that all that statement was; was an excuse. Excuses don't help us. Excuses simply "make it okay" for us to remain in the current state that we're in because we're too lazy to actually get up and do the work.

During my time blogging and being apart of the Youtube Weight Loss Community, I have met some AMAZING people. I have met people who, like me, realized what they wanted was to be healthy and feel better about themselves. And you know what? THEY DID IT! And they're still doing it today. I find myself surrounded by an amazing group of people who have shed so many pounds and reached so many fitness goals, that its hard NOT to be inspired by them. I find myself inspired each day by these people in front of me and it makes me want to work harder and be stronger and just GET THERE already.

I know this blog is a little all over the place, but what I'm saying is this: Surround yourself with what inspires you. Push to the side all those negative comments. Some people might mask their negativity with "concern". Understand, that these people (although they may have the best intentions) don't know you and don't know what you are capable of. Don't sell yourself short. If you want to work out twice a day for weeks on end, then do it. Don't let people tell you that you're "obsessed" or "crazy". If you have a goal, you should do whatever it takes to attain it. The greatest people in our world today were more than likely called "crazy" or "obsessed" or "stupid", but they didn't let that stop them, did they? No. Thats why they became something greater and accomplished something great with their lives. We can do that too. However small or insignificant our goals may seem to others, those goals are significant and great to us. Therefore, these goals that we have are worth the work and the effort. Keep telling yourself that. I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I'm sure there's a million other blogs going out over the Internet about this day ten years ago. I'm not asking (or wanting) any special fact, I'm not deserving of it. After all, I wasn't directly affected by the tragedies of that day. I lost no loved ones, I knew no one in the towers or involved with rescue missions that day. I was one of the lucky ones who got to stand and watch a TV screen miles and miles away from the comfort of a classroom, while thousands of people died and thousands of other people's lives were changed forever. The only thing I have in common with these people, is that I care and that I am touched by the selflessness of those men and women who ran into the danger in order to save lives, and in the end, lost their own.

I'm watching all the remembrance services on TV today and I can't help but feel the need to write about what I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. So, I decided I would tell my story: Where I was when the towers fell.

At the time I was 14 and I believe I had just started my first year of high school. I went to a very small school in Michigan. It was one of those schools where everyone knew everyone else because there weren't a whole lot of people to begin with. I remember walking into my History class, seeing the TVs on and seeing our teacher standing with his arms folded across his chest and a look of disbelief across his face. I knew, I just knew, something wasn't right. I stopped just inside the doorway of the classroom and watched the TV. I saw two tall buildings, one had dark, gray smoke pouring out. I remember thinking, 'was there a fire? what happened?' I guess I didn't realize it, but I said it out loud. My teacher looked at me for a second, then looked back at the screen just as the news reporter explained that a plane had struck the tower. I was still confused. Maybe it was the innocence of a young teenager, or the inexperience of a person who has never seen tragedy in front of her, but I remember thinking that it must have been an accident. The plane must have run out of gas, or malfunctioned and caused it to crash, and instead of crashing into the ground, it hit the building. Thats what I thought, thats probably what I was hoping it was. No one wants to believe that such a horrible thing would happen by the hands and intent of another human being. And then, the second tower was hit.

I sat there, in my desk, staring at that TV for what seemed like hours. I remember my friend at the time, her name was Beth, she pointed out something odd on the screen. We thought it was a fly that had landed on the TV set, but when the camera man zoomed in closer, we saw that it was a person. We watched, in horror, as someone jumped out of the window of the tower and plunged to their death below. Some of you reading this may not believe that we saw this. But we did. This was live coverage. This was before they edited the coverage of that day to cut out these gruesome images. This was before the government ruled these images as inappropriate to broadcast to the public. It may have been nothing but a black blur on the screen as I saw it, but I will never, and have never forgotten that image.

As I sat there, watching the news and really letting the gravity of the situation soak in, I remember looking around at my peers. Some were watching the TV, like me. Others were in the back of the class, laughing and joking. They were happy that we weren't holding class that day. I remember feeling angry. I was so mad that they would be so disrespectful. Why didn't they realize that people were dead? Why didn't they care that something huge had happened today? I didn't understand it then, and I still don't understand it today. I stood up in front of my class and I yelled at them. I won't repeat now the things that I said to them as there were some profane words in the mix. I'm not sure if what I said actually hit home with any of them, but I do know that the classroom was silent after I yelled. And if only for a moment, thats what I felt was appropriate.

Today, I watch the coverage of those events and I see the same images on the TV that I saw ten years ago....and I'm brought right back to that same classroom. The lump in my throat returns. The disbelief, the confusion, the anger, the sadness. I can't help but think, if I'm someone who was not directly affected, I can't even begin to imagine what this day must be like for those who lost a loved one on that fateful day.

I understand that there are different theories on what "really" happened that day. Some believe it was, in fact, a terrorist attack. Others believe it was the act of our own government, within the depths of some twisted conspiracy. I'm not concerned with the theories. I'm not concerned with what others think. I'm only interested in people. People who lost their lives, people who stepped up beyond the call of duty and put their own lives on the line to save someone they never even met. Families who lost a father, a mother, a daughter, a son, a cousin, a nephew, etc. Babies born to a mother that had lost her husband. I'm interested in the beauty and love of one human to another. I don't think that anyone can argue that on that day, around our country, anyone who was watching on TV was putting themselves in the shoes of those who were living through the horror.

I look at my son this morning. He's happy, watching cartoons, eating cereal and wanting to go outside and play. I think to myself that he has no idea, no idea at all, of the seriousness and heartache that this day holds. I know that someday, when he gets to a certain age and a certain class in school, he'll learn about 9/11 from a few pages in his history book. He'll come home and maybe tell me about it or ask me about it, and I'll tell him my story, just as I've told you all today. I'll teach him that although there are horrible things in this world and tragedies like 9/11, there is also good. I'll teach him that sometimes, it takes a tragedy to bring us all together as a people. I'll teach him that although we should remember those lives lost, we should also give thanks for every minute of our lives. Those people that went into work that day in the World Trade Center had no idea, no idea at all, what was going to happen. Did they kiss their loved ones on the way out the door? Did they say, "I love you..." before they left the house that morning? Of course, I don't know for sure, but I'm inclined to believe that these are the types of things that run through our minds before we die. We wonder if we loved enough, if we showed our love. Did we say the right things? Did we do all the right things? Were we good mothers and fathers? So many things that must run through our minds in a second.

For many people, 9/11 reminded us of what's really important. I like to believe that most of realized whats really important is simple: love. Love is the most important thing in this world. In this world of hatred and sin. In this world where neighbors kill one another over their religious beliefs, it is love that will save us. Sounds like lyrics to a 70's love song doesn't it? Since this day, ten years ago, I have been blessed with so many things. I make it a point, every day, to share my love with those who are close to me. 9/11 taught me to do that. And that is why I remember this day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Like a Broken Record....

Compliments. We've talked about them before. I've addressed the idea of how they help and how they hinder many times. In fact, talking about this topic again might make me sound like a bit of a broken record....hence the snazzy title of today's blog entry.

Every so often, we receive a real, genuine, compliment. Don't get yourself confused: not all compliments are real and genuine. Compliments are sneaky creatures. People may use them strategically to get what they want, to get a reaction out of someone, to get themselves out of a sticky situation, or even sometimes, to hurt. I know that last one seems confusing, but its true! Don't tell me you've never gotten that comment that sounded like a compliment and at the time of receiving it you merely said, "thanks..." but after more careful consideration you realize, 'hey! what the f*ck? That was a really messed up thing to say.' THAT'S what I'm talking about. But actually its NOT what I'm talking about.....let me explain:

I recently received a compliment from a good friend that I go to school with. Actually, it was two friends...but the one was more adamant about it than the other. After class we all went out to grab a few drinks and near the end of the night, before getting in our cars (no...we were not drunk) out of no where this friend says, "You really do look great, Julie. I mean, really." How did I react? I laughed (maybe even blushed a bit) and said a mumbled, "aw, thanks.." It was the only reaction I could muster. Actually, that's not true. It was the only reaction I could fake at that moment. Now, can someone please explain to me why, ever since that compliment was rendered, I can't help but feel like the biggest piece of crap? I know, maybe its just a "woman thing" where we're always too hard on ourselves....or maybe its not. Maybe, just maybe, my inability to wholeheartedly accept a compliment (in regards to my looks) is so difficult, if not impossible, for me to do because for so many years I've never received compliments like that.

Growing up I was mainly complimented on my musical talents (mainly singing and playing the clarinet in school band/orchestra) or on my academic achievements (I was always a pretty great student). I never really had those glowing compliments about how "pretty" I looked or how nice my outfit was that day. No, every compliment I had growing up was mainly followed by a directive. An example: "Oh Julie, that color shirt really brings out your eyes, but you can't wear it because its just too tight. Maybe if you lost a bit of weight, it would look right. Go change." Things like that. Now, thats not excessively harsh, but when I sit back and think about it....oh yeah....those things have definitely stuck with me. In the back of my brain there lives the voice of a girl who's trapped in that time period. Every time I try on a new piece of clothing, she chimes in, "You cannot pull this off. Stick with a baggier tshirt and jeans, thats all you can work with." With that voice constantly ringing in my ears, its no wonder I can't believe a compliment.

I wonder if this may come as a shock to any of my readers here. Did you think that I was superwoman? Don't worry, I get that a lot. And its my own damn fault. I put out this facade of strength and power and "nothing can get me down" and "no one better mess with me", when the truth is....I'm just your average girl. I have my own hookups and insecurities. And although I may have things in my life "figured out" (to an extent), I still struggle with these restless, emotional demons every day. Some days, I win. Other days, I lose.

The past few days...I've lost.

I've kind of been rolling around in a sea of self pity. It happens, even to the best of us. I have some issues going on right now with my son (medical, but nothing too serious...yet) not to mention I have scheduling issues with childcare and school and being on my own for another two months because Rob has to go work out of town again. Stress. That's what I'm getting at. Stress. Its consumed me in a matter of days, hours really....48 to be exact, and I have buckled a bit under its pressure. But, its nothing that cannot be fixed. Its nothing that I can't overcome. Its just something I feel is necessary to talk about...especially with those who care enough to listen.

So, a broken record...I pick up the pieces of me. I jump back on the wagon, I start running on that hamster wheel of life. Will I fall back down again? Of course, that's inevitable. But the further and further apart I can make these falls, the more and more I'm winning. Right? I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Every. Single. Day.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lets Talk About: "Self-Love"...

No, I'm not talking about THAT KIND of "self-love" (you dirty, DIRTY readers of mine...). I'm talking about accepting and loving your body for what it is. What do I mean? Well, take a look at the picture above. Do you see those words? " My BUTT is BIG". Now lets face the facts: Kim Kardashian is GORGEOUS and photo-editing can do wonders for ANYONE.....however, the message behind this Nike ad is one I agree with. This ad was made to target women like myself, and Nike? Bravo. You targeted this gal, spot on!

So what IS the message, as I see it, behind this ad? Its just what I said above, its about self-love. Loving yourself. Accepting your body and embracing it. Its no secret that I'm on my own journey to lose weight, become healthy and fit, and at the same time tweak my body image. BUT here's my main point: I (and others in this community) need to embrace the way our bodies are built and learn to love the way we are put together. In my opinion, God makes no mistakes when he creates us. Our bodies are (originally) just the way he intended them to be. Its what WE DO TO OUR BODIES that puts them in a poor state or an optimum state of health.

I don't always like what I see when I look in the mirror. My shoulders are broad, my belly is a bit too flabby for my liking. My BUTT is BIG, my thighs are pretty sizable assets as well, and my upper arms are nothing to be desired. I could go on and on like this for days. But instead of going on and on about the things I don't particularly like, I always try to step back and appreciate the little things. First of all, there are many women out there who would love to have a plump booty and curvy hips, with a soft mid-section. Not everyone wants to be a skinny bean pole.

There's this certain person that comments on my YT videos every so often. He/She always comments (rather negatively) that I'm "obsessed" with my body image and that I've got it all wrong, "Men prefer women a bit on the heavier side, and thats the cold, hard, truth". Although this person has me pegged all wrong (they would know this if they took the time to pay attention to the things I say and talk about in my daily vlogs), they DO actually have a great point. They are totally right, its NOT all about body image. And guess what? Many men DO prefer women to be a bit fuller in their figure. My husband is one of those men. Not to get too graphic here, but he LOVES my sizeable thighs and plump BIG BUTT! (LOL) In fact, he says thats specifically what attracted him in the first place! SCORE!!!! hahahahaha

What I'm trying to say is this: Sometimes on this journey to get fit and healthy, and lets face it, to look better....we often lose touch with the love we have for ourselves. Its almost inevitable that somewhere along the lines of the journey we become hyper-critical of our appearance. For example, when I first started my journey (almost 2 years ago now) I remember saying, "When I can fit back into my size 12's I'll be done and happy." Well guess what? As it is right now, I'm in a size 10, and oh yes, I'm VERY happy....but I want to keep going. I want to keep challenging myself. I want to keep achieving new health and fitness goals. And yes, I want to still lose a bit more weight. See? Hyper-critical. So its days like this, and advertisements like the one above that stop me in my tracks and speak to me. They say: "Julie. Stop for a second and love yourself for who you are. Stop and give yourself some love and appreciation today." You got it. I'm doing that. I'm loving myself today. What about you?


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lets Talk About "Honesty"

I recently made a video on my Youtube channel about being honest with yourself and not making excuses for your poor behaviors and poor food choices. Basically the video went along with my last blog entry. In this video, I talk about the fact that even though I have lost about 90lbs (soon to be 100...mark my words) it doesn't mean I don't still have "food issues". I received a comment on that video. This is that comment:

" seem so "in control" with your you have no trouble always eating healthy and making healthy choices. So when you say that food is and always will be an issue for you, its like...i dunno...its like you're normal. lol I mean sometimes I watch your videos and I think "Damn, she really has her shit together. She's homefree and has this beat! I'm Jealous!" So to hear that you still struggle makes me feel like I could be where you are someday...."

I cannot tell you how much I LOVED this comment! I loved it for its honesty. This person was willing to admit that he/she had a perception of me that I was easily accomplishing this idea of losing weight. I think thats the trouble sometimes with making these Youtube videos. People see where you are now, and they see where you came from, but unless they've followed you from the very beginning...its hard for them to really understand how long it took you to get here. How hard you had to work to get here. The struggles you've had and are STILL having to get here. And guess what folks? I'm not even "here" yet!!!! According to my doctor, I'm still about 30lbs overweight!!!! Hows that for perspective, huh?

I really meant what I said in that vlog. I am someone who has a problem with food. I used to be embarrassed about that, but now I've seen that I'm not alone in this. Its no secret that most Americans are overweight. MOST of us in this country have an issue with food, the problem is that only a handful of us address this issue and do our best to overcome it. I no longer feel embarrassed about having a "food problem". I will always have this internal struggle going on in my head when someone puts a chocolate bar or a dessert or a super appetizing pizza in front of me. I will always have "the devil and the angel" on opposite sides trying to convince me to lose control (which is the devil side) or to stay in control and do what I know is right and good for my body (which is the angel side).

In my personal opinion, addressing this internal struggle and learning how to deal with it, without becoming overwhelmed, is the key to long term success with weight loss and fitness. Its so easy to become overwhelmed with these voices talking to you all day about food choices. Think about it this way, food is something that will always be in your life. Everyday. No matter what you do. You simply cannot "stop" having food in your life. So think about how overwhelming that can become. An alcoholic can stay away from booze. A drug addict can learn to stay away from the drug. But a food addict? How can they ever "stay away" from food??? The answer is: they can't. Food is a necessity to life. THIS is why it can become so overwhelming. I believe this is also why eating disorders are becoming so much more common within our society.

In my personal experience thus far, honesty has been the one thing that makes it all not so overwhelming. When I'm honest with myself, it calms down the angel and the devil on my shoulders and it helps me to clear my thoughts. By honesty, I mean really thinking about why I react to certain foods the way that I do. If you sit back and truly try to assess why you feel you have no power to resist the ice cream, the pizza, the chocolate, then you'll start to learn about your own behavioral patterns in regards to food. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you deprive yourself of anything (even the things you know to be "bad"). Deprivation is a whole different topic that maybe I'll touch on in the next blog entry (hint hint). Instead, what I'm suggesting is trying to take the power away from that food. Educate yourself about the food that you, seemingly, cannot resist. Here's an example: For me, I used to feel powerless around donuts. If one was placed in front of me, I would seemingly have "no choice" but to eat it. Then I heard something about donuts that kind of "hit home" for me. Someone told me that donuts were one of the only foods that have ABSOLUTELY NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. I really got to thinking about that. I researched it, and found this statement to actually be true. There is NOTHING in donuts that does anything for your body. There are no nutrients, no vitamins, no fiber, NOTHING! After I learned this, it made it so much easier to simply just say "no thanks" when one happened upon me in the future. Do you see the process that I'm talking about? I educated myself about that food, and the more I learned about it and what it does (or in this case, what it doesn't do) for my body...the "power" it seemed to have over me, just vanished.

So what am I saying in this entry? I'm saying this: Lets all be HONEST with ourselves. Lets admit that we have an issue with food. Lets not feel embarrassed about telling others about this problem. Think about it, if an alcoholic became a friend of yours and they said, "Hey, can we not go to bars or places where there's a lot of drinking? I'm trying to overcome my problem with alcohol" would you laugh at them? Would you think, "Wow! What a loser!" ??????? No. You wouldn't. You would appreciate their honesty. You would want to be helpful. You would want to be supportive. Everyone else in our lives is the same in this regard (well, assuming that they're good, kind people). So why should we feel embarrassed about admitting our issues with food? We shouldn't! Admit it, be honest, and you might be amazed by the support, love and encouragement you receive from others in your life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lets talk about excuses.....

I was recently approached by someone in my personal life who was interested in learning just how, exactly, I lost almost 90 pounds and what I thought might help them. (This person shall remain nameless). So, I started to carefully think about the beginning stages of my weight loss. For example: When I made the decision to finally do the work. What foods I started to eat. What foods and drinks I stopped eating. Different exercises I've tried, generally, what worked and what didn't work for me. So when I started to speak these thoughts to this person, they were constantly interjecting and saying, "Oh I tried that, it doesn't work". Or they would say, "Oh no! You can't eat that Julie! Its sooo bad for you!" etc. etc. etc. I could go on with examples of what this person was saying, but whats the point? I'm sure many of you out there know people in your own lives who are like this. It got so bad that I just stopped talking and pretty much stopped trying to help throughout the conversation.

First of all, lets address the obvious: Why would you come to someone, asking for advice or thoughts on something that you know they know A LOT about, yet you refuse to be open minded and take anything they have to say on the topic into consideration? That just doesn't make sense to me. When I don't know something about a certain topic or issue or whatever, but I know someone who IS well educated in that topic/issue, I will seek them out, ask a lot of questions, then shut up and listen to their answers. Obviously THEY know more than I, and I can really learn from them. I simply do not understand people who do not have this mentality. Suffice to say: "When you don't know, JUST ASK! But be ready to accept the answer."

Secondly, lets address the not-so-obvious: This person was engaging in a form of excuse-making. There's nothing I cannot stand more than a person who says: " I've tried every diet there is and nothing works for me." Although I do not advocate any of the fad diets, I have to say that in my opinion, the previous statement is complete bologna in my book. If you're reading this and you're thinking, "Well, I've said that in the past. I think its true. Diets just don't work for me." Then ask yourself this: Did you really commit to the diet plan? And by 'commit' I mean for more than just a month. If you want to be successful with any kind of weight loss, you have to find a program that works for you and YOU have to DO THE WORK and really commit to it for at least 6 months if you want to see some real results. Now, when I talk about 'committing to the diet' this is not to imply that there can be absolutely no slip-ups. Of course when you try any kind of new diet, you're going to screw up. Why? Because its a new way of eating, a new way of cooking, a new way of fueling your body. There's no way you can start up a new dietary plan and be 100% perfect right off the bat. You have to experience a little trial and error before you get the hang of things. The problem is, many people simply give up in this trial and error period of a new dietary plan. This is where that statement of- "I've tried everything! Diets just don't work for me..."- comes from! And THIS is what I'm talking about. If you simply stop when you screw up a bit, or give up when things get a little challenging, then OF COURSE the diet is not going to work.

I've said it before, but I feel it bares repeating: I never had any success with my weight loss until I STOPPED making excuses for my poor eating habits and my food addiction. I had to stop myself and be honest. I had to be real with myself and say, "Julie. Why did you eat that entire pack of oreos? You did NOT "need" them. They are not beneficial to your body. You screwed up! Stop doing this."

Now, lets take it a step further. You also have to start addressing why these certain foods have such an effect on you. Really sit back and ask yourself, 'why is it that I cannot control myself around chocolate?' You might find the answer to be surprising. For me, I found that I was allowing these unhealthy foods to rule my thoughts. Essentially, I was giving the food power over me. When I realized this, I then became more aware of these types of thought patterns with many other foods that often made me feel "powerless". When you take the power away from that food, then the food becomes less appealing. You start to see all food for what it truly is: Fuel.

So, I know I've gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but the main point of all this is: Stop making excuses for yourself. Hold yourself accountable. LISTEN when you ask others for help. If you don't do these things then your journey to becoming healthy, active and fit (for life) will be much more difficult than it needs to be.
Consider the following:
"The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that's the day you start your way to the top." - Anonymous.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Trip...

Recently, I went back home to Michigan (mainly the suburban area of Detroit) to visit some family along with my sister. It was a great trip, but it was FULL of nothing but poor food choices. Literally, everywhere I looked I saw some of my "old favorites". Ya know how in the cartoons, the words that the characters are saying are in those air-text bubbles? Well, those text bubbles were ALL OVER THE PLACE on this trip. Different foods were screaming, "EAT ME!" while the text bubbles were reminding me, "You know this dish has to be waaaaay over 1,000 calories...". I started to get a little overwhelmed and worried, I mean, I just hit 172 (the LOWEST I have been in my adult life) and I didn't want to throw it all away. But at the same time, I didn't want to be worried and panic-stricken over food for this short, 3-day trip. When visiting my Grandma there are many things to look forward to and one of those things is her cooking. My Grandma cooks southern-style foods. Which means everything is cooked in bacon grease and fried and so so SOOOOOOO good, but not exactly good for your waist-line.

But while I was on this trip, I thought of one thing. My Grandma has cooked and eaten foods like this her entire life (she's now into her 80's) and I cannot remember EVER seeing her overweight or 'obese'! I thought to myself, 'how is this possible?' With all these foods, how has she never gorged herself into an overweight oblivion? And then it hit me, she eats what she wants but she doesn't let herself overdo it! This is a very new way of thinking for me.

Its obvious that many of us who have weight problems have an issue with self control around food. We tend to overload ourselves on the foods that we really like, even when our bodies are screaming, "STOP! I'M FULLLLL!!!!!" we'll keep shoveling mouthful after mouthful down our throats. So for me to think of eating my Grandma's homemade mashed potatoes and gravy without have three or four servings, well...this was something that never occurred to me before. And now, since beginning to live a healthier lifestyle and losing so much weight, I have MAJOR control issues with food, but in the OPPOSITE way. I now exercise TOO MUCH control over food. What I mean is, I strictly regulate what I eat, how much of it I eat, and when I eat it. I literally control EVERY ASPECT of my eating and I've had to do this in order to be successful. So, the thought of NOT controlling these factors in regards to food and just "winging it" while on this trip to my Grandma's, was actually very scary to me.

Before the trip, I was reminded of a wonderful quote/idea/way of life, that one of my FAVORITE celebrities says in her book. Her name is Bethenney Frankel (I love this woman) and here's what she says about food, "Taste everything, Eat Nothing". Hm, think about that for a minute. Its okay to taste, meaning: very small portions of everything (even desserts!) but we stop ourselves from 'eating': which to me, means gorging and having seconds and thirds of things when it is unnecessary.

Think about that as well, when is it ever REALLY necessary to have MORE than ONE serving of ANYTHING??? If you're honest with yourself, then you'll admit that there really ISN'T any time where its necessary. If you give yourself the correct portions of foods on your plate and you do your best to eat the necessary food groups within your meals, then one serving of each food item in your meal is really all you need. So, what I'm saying here is that THIS is what I did on this trip to Michigan. I ate EVERYTHING I wanted, but it stopped with the first serving.

But the question still hangs in the air, "well, did you gain weight?". I'm not sure. I don't FEEL heavier, but I have given myself this past week and even this weekend to get back to my regular healthy foods and exercise routine and on Monday I will be answering that question. But even if I DID gain, to me its no big deal. Why? How is this possible? No, I'm not in denial. No, I'm not going to blame it on water weight or whatever else I could blame it on. No, the reason why its no big deal to me is because I know this gain (if there is one) will only be a temporary gain. Its not permanent. And WHY is it not permanent? Because EVERY DAY I get up and I eat healthy foods. Almost every single day I get up and I exercise for a good 2 hours. Every day I make a good faith effort to be healthy and active and continue to shed weight. Therefore, its only a matter of time before I get rid of this gain (again, if there even is one) and keep moving down in pounds.

I think sometimes we all get a bit too worked up over gaining weight when we have life situations (like the trip to my Grandma's). Life happens. There are going to be parties, holidays, birthdays, cookouts, work parties, etc. etc. etc. So enjoy your life, but be as responsible as possible. I've found that when I over-stressed myself about these certain life situations, I would actually LOSE CONTROL at these functions and go on a mini-binge. I find that if you go into these situations telling yourself, "its okay to taste, but leave it at that" takes so much pressure off and allows you to enjoy your life, while still doing your best to make good and responsible choices.

Remember: "Taste Everything. Eat Nothing." - Bethenney Frankel

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looking for a "Leader".....

I cannot tell you how many times I get personal messages both on Facebook and on Youtube and even to my personal email from people I know in my own personal life, and they're asking me about what I did to lose the weight and what I think they should do to lose the weight they feel they need to lose. I get very uncomfortable in these situations. I have to admit that there has been many times that I simply don't answer these messages or emails. I want to help others and encourage others and I'm all about giving helpful ideas or opinions about weight loss, but I'm not about to sit here and tell you, "Okay do this and that and this and that and YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT." Why am I not willing to do this? Do I have some amazing weight loss secret that I'm just not willing to share with others? No. Its simply because, I'm NOT a medical professional, I have NO formal education or training on food, dieting, exercise or weight loss related issues, therefore I'm not comfortable spatting off about what others should do, when the fact of the matter is: I'm still figuring it out for myself!

Here's the root of the problem (in my most humble opinion): People often look towards others to be their "Leader", their "Personal Savior" if you will. I have always been puzzled by this. I've never understood why people feel they need to be told what to do and when to do it. Maybe its because I've always been very independent in nature and kind of a "natural leader" that I've never understood what makes people want to "follow" others. I can only come to a conclusion that some people simply cannot think for themselves or push themselves to do certain things and it just so happens that losing weight is one of the most difficult things a person can do the math.

But here's the point I'm trying to make in this blog tonight: If you don't put up, shut-up, and do the work....If you don't stop the bullshit and stop your excuses....If you don't get up off the couch and force YOURSELF to do the work....then I personally believe that you will never get to where you want to be. Look at all the greatest success stories in our world today. These are people who knew what they wanted and would stop at nothing to get it, or achieve that level of greatness. Do you think they sat there and just wished for things to happen? No. They got up off their ass and they made things happen! This type of thinking is the ONLY reason I have had the success I have had with weight loss thus far.

The phrases I hate to hear the most are, "I can't..." and "Its so hard..." or "I just wish..." Why do I hate these phrases? Because I feel like they don't do any good at all. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I've never uttered these phrases before in my life, because I HAVE! Of course I've said these things and even believed them! But there came a point where I was saying so many "I cant's" and "I wish"s that it got old and it really started to piss me off....yes, I got pissed off with myself! I remember the day that I literally sat down and said to myself, "Dammit Julie. Its time to cut the shit! Stop making all these excuses for your poor choices and bad behavior and start doing some damn good in your life."

I am of the opinion that there is no one to blame in your life for your weight problems other than yourself. YOU decide to eat what you're eating. YOU decide to sit there on the couch and not go for a walk. YOU make poor decisions day in and day who's to blame but yourself? BUT!!!!! Here is the key: Instead of hating yourself forever for making these poor decisions and getting yourself to the overweight point that you're currently at....instead, decide to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Don't become a victim of your own poor choices. Every time you screw up, LEARN FROM IT! You can either dwell on your screw-ups and remain stagnant, OR you can acknowledge them, correct them, do your damn best not to repeat them, and move on. And that's the only way you're going to really get to where you want to be.

Consider this:
"The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that's the day you start to the top...."

Friday, May 27, 2011

"You Do You...I'll Do Me..."

You might think the title of this post sounds a little off. But please allow me to explain.

I won't pretend that the idea or thought pattern for this entry is all my own. I watched a video from a lovely young lady on Youtube (her name is Jen). If you would like to check out the video I'm talking about, here is the link: just go there and its the most recent video she has posted. Anyway, in her video she talked about how she felt rather insulted when someone decided to tell her that everything (nutritionally) that she does after she finishes her 'long runs' (which means like over 20 kilometers, seriously this girl is an amazing runner and you should check her out...not literally....although she is pretty easy on the eyes...haha). This person, whoever it was, was a poorly educated person that read something about supplements or whatever online on Wikipedia (seriously? Wiki? Yes. As an aside: DO NOT TRUST WIKIPEDIA!!!!!!! -end rant) and he therefore felt like since he had read it on the Internet, it was gospel and he was right. Now, I could get into the whole fact that he's a man and men always think they're right...but I'm not going to go that route. Why? Because its not just men who are the offenders, women do it too!

Much like Jen talks about in this video, I get rather offended as well when someone decides to take it upon themselves to "educate" me on how "wrong" I am about everything I am doing when it comes to my weight loss routine, exercise regimen, or foods of choice. This is not to say that I'm not open to suggestions. Friendly suggestions here and there are wonderful tools and have helped me to learn so much thus far, however, its all about your approach. If you are an adult and you haven't learned how to speak to people yet, then I feel sorry for you. It should be pretty common knowledge (at least it is to me) that if you come from a place that's "High and Mighty" and you verbally wag your finger at others for the things they do or the things they put in their mouths, then those people are not going to be so open and receiving of your so-called "helpful advice". Rather, try your best to come from an actual helpful place.

Here's the basis of my rant: Every one's body is different. Our bodies are shaped differently, look differently, carry weight differently, respond differently, and work differently. Therefore it is simply IDIOTIC to assume that what works for ONE person will work for EVERYONE. That's simply NOT TRUE! I try to stress to everyone that watches my daily vlogs that they should try many different paths before choosing one, basically they should find what works for them. Don't assume that you can do everything I have done in the past, or do everything I'm doing now and have the same results as I am having. It just won't happen! What works for me, may not work for you. Secondly, do you see me telling people what they should or should not be eating? Nope. NOT ONCE have I ever said to someone, "Ya know, you really shouldn't eat that." And why is that? Because that type of interjection is not helpful. Even if you're truly trying to be helpful, you will most likely come off the exact opposite.

So, here's my advice on giving advice: DON'T! (lol I know, easier said than done). What I mean is that we should do our own thing and let the cards fall where they may. Should someone come to you and ASK YOU what you are doing, or ASK YOU for advice on their meal-plan or exercise plan, then that's different. And on this side of the spectrum I have to say this, don't ask ANYONE for advice unless you're willing to hear that you may be wrong. You cannot ASK for advice and then get angry when it is given, well...I suppose you could, but that's just childish.

Does any of this make sense? I just feel like its happening more and more that certain people think they know EVERYTHING and they're more than willing to shove that "knowledge" onto others. Just like Jen said in her video, "I did not lose 45lbs so far by doing it 'wrong'..." I cannot tell you how many times I've said the same thing in my head. I'm not damn near 100lbs lighter because I'm doing it all wrong. So lay off.

In conclusion, I'm brought back to the title of this entry:
"You Do You...I'll Do Me..."

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Re-Vamping of my mental state.....

This is going to be very difficult for me to convey even through my writing skills, so please bear with me if its seems as though my thoughts are "all over the place" within this blog entry. I'm trying to think things out while typing, even though some things I've already figured out through vlogging last night. See what I mean? This is already getting confusing. But hear me out:

So yesterday (Sunday) I woke up and I watched a few videos from people on Youtube that I'm subscribed to. There were three videos in specific that spoke to me. One of them talked about how our weight loss is not a competition or a race, its a personal journey or quest and you get there when you get there....furthermore if you really think about it, there is no such thing as "getting there" because this idea of being healthy, eating healthy and keep our weight in check is something we will be doing for a lifetime. And if its not something you intend on doing for a lifetime, then you're reading the wrong blog my friend. The second video I watched talked about the stress of life and how if you let stress get to you, it isn't helpful or conducive to weight loss. DUH! And the last (but certainly not least) video I watched showed me how we should all take time out to remind ourselves what it is we like about ourselves, rather than just pointing out (day after day) what it is that we want to change and therefore, dislike about ourselves.
When I tell you that EACH of these videos spoke DIRECTLY to me, I mean it like you have no idea.

First of all, I have turned my journey into this mental competition. I'm a very competitive person (who would have thought...?) and somehow I've had this voice in my head kind of nagging at me saying, "You have to get there, you have to get to goal, now now now now now NOW!" I mean, talk about "stress"????? Good lord! Its no wonder I've been a victim of late night snacking. I've been stressed out over "having to get to goal" by this certain date (Jeremiah's 2nd bday this summer) that its actually causing me to turn to these late-night snacks to relieve that stress. But instead of relieving the stress, it only ADDS more stress because I know in my head that eating those late-night snacks just made me GAIN WEIGHT! AHHHHHHH!!!! What a vicious cycle, eh?

I've been asking myself a lot of questions this morning: When did I start to think of this weight loss journey as a competition? When did I stop enjoying life? When and why did I get it in my head that I can never again enjoy a burger? A piece of pizza (or two)? A cup of frozen yogurt? Why? Why? Why? Somehow I've gotten it in my head that in order to be healthy and at my goal weight, I'll never be able to enjoy all the foods and activities that I used to enjoy so much. Why did I start to think that way? I mean, realistically, can any of us EVER say that we'll NEVER have sweets again in our lives? No. You can't say that. Not if you're being completely honest. You can avoid them, or cut them out on a day to day basis. But lets face it, you're going to be at the birthday party, or cookout, or office party, and DAMMIT, you're gonna have that cake, cupcake, brownie, etc. And whats so bad about that? The answer is that its not bad, or "wrong". But for some reason I've had this mentality in my head that it IS bad, or wrong and therefore I added that stress to my mental capacity. (I feel like I might be losing you here....stick with me, I'm almost through).

So, I've said all that to say this:
Did you read that? Did ya see it? I said it! I WAS WRONG! Putting this "Goal Date" on my journey (a journey which is basically infinite) was the wrong thing to do. So here in lies my newest and probably most important change to my plans. There is no longer a "Goal Date". Its simply, I get there when I get there. Instead, I'm going to focus on smaller goals such as: Running my first 5k race this summer, then a 10k. Possibly entering into the Warrior Dash in the fall (google-it if you think you're interested). My idea is this: I'm going back to the basics. I'm setting smaller achievable goals and I'm not going to worry about the end result, meaning my goal weight. Yes, I have a number on the scale that I'm working towards, but if I don't get there in two more months....why does it matter? It might take me another 6 months to a year to get to where I want to be. And ya know what? THATS OKAY. I'm OKAY with that fact. I know that I'm doing everything I can to lose the weight. I'm living a healthy lifestyle, I exercise, I eat great and healthy foods, so why am I going to beat the crap out of myself if my body isn't going to get me there by a certain date? Does that make sense?

Now, for those of you out there who may be thinking I'm a quitter or I'm just giving up...well, YOU'RE WRONG. I'm NOT a "Quitter". I do NOT simply give up on things that I set out to do or accomplish or achieve. If you knew me at all, you would know this. I said I'm going to be in the 150's and ya know what? I WILL BE. But I'm doing it my way and in the meantime, I'm going to start enjoying life again. I'm going to start doing the things that I haven't been allowing myself to do. In essence, I'm going to be happy again.

" Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe." - Gali Devers

Friday, May 20, 2011


I cannot even convey to all of you how sore my body is today! I think I may have over-done it a bit with the strength training yesterday at the gym. My arms feel so heavy that even holding them up to tap the keys on the laptop keyboard takes some serious effort! Wow. Hope this means I built some muscle and got rid of just a little bit of my 'bat wings'. LOL

So, if you head on over to my Youtube channel this morning and see my vlog for'll notice that I woke up in a state of indecision yesterday. I wasn't in a bad mood. I wasn't grumpy. I wasn't being lazy. I was just indecisive on how I was feeling and what I wanted to do that day. This feeling comes and goes for me. Sometimes I think it is just laziness trying to raise its ugly little head...but then again, I have been doing A LOT of work at the gym lately and I could definitely use a rest. So I'm forced to try and really listen to my body to really evaluate whether or not I can handle another workout. Well, in the vlog you will see that I DID end up going to the gym...even though, I genuinely didn't want to. I'm telling you, that feeling of indecision can be such a killer!

I don't know about you, but I'm a big Check-List Person. If I have a large task in front of me that I need to get done, like cleaning my house for example, (which is what I will be doing all day today and tomorrow) I will sit down and make a 'To-Do' List of all the things I need to accomplish. -*As a side note, I've been told that this type of behavior will DEFINITELY get me VERY far in the legal field in my career! YAY! - * But I have to say that I regard my work out regimen the same way. Every day before I walk into the gym, I've already formulated a plan, or a 'check-list' in my head of what I'm going to do that day. Very rarely do I ever stray and not complete those things on my mental check-list. I started out yesterday thinking that I would just leave my workout up to chance, I would just do 'whatever I feel like doing' when I walked in those doors to the gym. For me, this is a recipe for disaster. Which leads me to one of the MOST IMPORTANT things I have learned thus far, in my quest to become healthy and lose weight:

You have to formulate a plan and WORK the plan!
Have you ever heard those certain people who say, "I swear I've tried EVERYTHING! No diet works for me! I just can't lose weight!" ? Yeah, I know you've heard that line before, in fact, it may have even come off YOUR lips at one point. I'll be honest here and say that at one point in my life I said it too. But you want to know what the real truth is? The real truth is that these people are not WORKING THE PLAN!!! Now, I'm not a believer in diets. Personally, I'm not a follower of such things as Atkins, South Beach Diet, SlimFast Diet, etc. etc. etc. I'm not going to sit here on my high horse and say that these diets are stupid or don't work, I'm just saying that personally I would rather not go any of those routes in my own, personal, weight loss journey. In fact, in DEFENSE of those diets: You want to know why they often "just don't work" for many people? BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE DON'T WORK THE PLAN!!!

Here's the basics of what I'm saying. You have to sit down and come up with some sort of a basic outline (better known as a plan) for what you are going to do and what you are NOT going to do in order to lose weight. And then, YOU HAVE TO STICK WITH IT!!! Its okay to slip-up here or there (lord knows I have!) it's the "Dieter's Condition". We all screw up from time to time, but all-in-all, if we continue to make more healthy choices than bad, the weight will eventually come off. Make a plan, Work the plan. Make a plan, Work the plan. Can I say this enough?

I have so many people in my personal life (family, friends, etc) who seek me out and say, 'Julie what are you doing to lose the weight? What should I do?' I give them VERY basic ideas of what they COULD do or change about their lifestyles (I'm not a health professional so I'm not about to give outright advice on EXACTLY what to do, besides I think everyone has to figure out what works for THEM). So they'll change these things and maybe even do what I suggested they do. The next thing I know they're sending me a message, "Its not working! Whats going on???" Well, when we get deeper into the conversation they tell me, "Well yeah I did the plan for like 3 days this week, then I went out drinking over the weekend and ate McDonald's and pizza and blah blah blah blah blah....." GEE. I WONDER WHY IT DIDN'T WORK!!!!!

Make a plan. Work the plan. Make a plan. Work the plan.
I mean really, can I stress this enough?????