Wednesday, March 25, 2015

who I was VS. who I have become

Who I was...
A girl full of energy, had many friends, I laughed a lot but cried more.
Food was my blanket.
It protected me in a way that nothing else could.
Out with my friends I was the life of the party, but behind closed doors I was a mess.
I was hiding my emotions and with that came the weight gain, stomach issues, bad skin, depression, stress and sadness.  I thought that's the way it was, the way it had to be for me.  
My body only knew to feel tired, achy, worthless because it was all I ever showed it how to feel. 
I was trapped and my biggest critic was ME.
I'd shoot myself down every chance I could.
And I'd create windows of "I can't" all around..."I can't do this because _____" "I can't do that because _____" and the list went on and on AND if I did step out of my comfort zone and TRY something to better my life or try to get healthy, "I am not strong enough to do this, look at me" "I'm going to fail after so many days so why try?", did I really live that way?!

I have a hard time looking at the girl I used to be.  I don't relate to her at all anymore.
Strange isn't it?
Our mind is THE most powerful thing we have...
our bodies are strong but if our minds fail us, then we are finished.  
Finished believing and finished trying to be better. 
If I would have never changed my mind, who knows where I'd be but I'm so happy that I did.

My mind now tells the woman that I am, "You are strong, you are beautiful and you work HARD for everything you've achieved" and that's a good feeling.  
Nobody can take that from me.
It's MINE.

Do I still have moments of doubt?  YES, I'm only human.
But as soon as my mind jumps in ready to defeat me, I SHUT IT DOWN! 

I won't allow my doubt and fear to stand in the way of my life and you shouldn't either!

I speak with women in my community every day and it saddens me to see the doubt in their eyes.  They don't believe they can and their mind is so blurred by all the times they failed that they can no longer see the success.  

There is hope.  Always hope.
Some only dream of crossing the finish line of a half marathon, I have done it MORE than just a few times.
Some only dream of losing over 100lbs, I have done it and inspired others to do the same.
I used to DREAM of a better life, but now I'm creating one day by day! 
And let me tell you how great it feels to DO IT rather than IMAGINE IT!
It's a feeling that keeps me doing what I do, keeps me pushing so hard and pushing others harder.  

We can LIVE life or we can allow life to PASS US BY. 
The choice is ours.  If we are physically able, then what's our excuse?  A bad knee, foot or toe...yes, I guess you can sit around and list a million excuses but WILL YOU?  
Or will you demand more out of your life??!  

Friday, March 20, 2015


If you are local please spread the word!! 
We are looking for YOU! 
Email me: for further details! 

Our group was featured in Bay Area Health & Wellness magazine this month! We'd LOVE to have you!!!! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


As we focus on our spring/summer goals...

It's always easier to stay the same.  Keep coasting through your life, not completely happy but getting by...enjoying life's little moments but something inside tells you, 
things could be SO MUCH better.  Right?
I fought that person within for too many years.  
I see women around me fighting with the person they want to be.  
so What stops us?

Fear?  Difficulty? Failure?

If we hide behind the change that we want, never actually seeking it or working toward it, then we have allowed valuable time to pass us by.  To be trapped by our body's inabilities breaks my heart.  Children, teenagers, adults...all of us.  We are capable IF we give ourselves a fighting chance but stopping at a road block when things aren't "perfect" is only admitting that you have failed.  You have given up, thrown in the towel and you're ready to go back to that same cycle of defeat, depression and failure that you know so well.  Why?  Because it's easy?  Because it's too HARD to fight for something that we want?  
The HARD is what I have grown to love and appreciate.
I get a sense of strength each time I throw on my workout clothes and go for a run or put my ladies through an intense workout.  I feel strong when I make healthy and balanced food choices for myself and for my family.  It gives me the feelings that food never could.  It fills me up with joy to know how strong I have become and how healthy I feel on the inside, makes me feel proud.  Proud that I didn't allow my "obstacles" to stop me.  That I stopped giving up on ME.  That feels incredible, especially when I lived so much of my life giving up on myself EVERY DAY.  What an awful way to feel.  Of course, I get frustrated with the work, the HARD work but I feel good.  Nothing can take that away from me, ever! The way I felt when I ate crappy foods, drank soft drinks and had no stopping was awful.  I was tired, depressed, my body would ache and I felt sorry for myself and I can't even tell you why?  It was like, poor pitiful me...let me keep eating, not exercising and lets see how bad it can get?  It can't get much worse, this is the bottom right?  Ugh.  Why play that game with yourself?  
It's not LIVING, it's slowly dying inside.  

When we seek change, we can't look to a pill, program or "lose 30lbs in two weeks by drinking this shake"'s UNREAL.  
And if it sounds too good to be true, 99% of the time, it isn't true.  
It's giving false hope and I HATE that about the fitness and health industry and it's my job to change all of that.  

I want to disclose up front-it is HARD, it'll test your limits and make you feel vulnerable, there will be days where you want to quit, you will feel better and stronger as time goes on and the way healthy FEELS is a feeling that cannot be replaced or described, it must be FELT!!! 

I've learned that the hard way, after crashing on EVERY "diet" I ever started...all of them.
Putting in the work every day makes me feel STRONG 
so don't wait for the perfect time to it NOW!  

Time passes us by either will you choose to live?!  

Monday, March 2, 2015

eat like a rainbow...

For most of my life my choice for food was never what was good for my body, but only what "tasted good".  Problem is that I really didn't know what things tasted like because I never TRIED new things.  

I always loved fruit but rather than a serving of grapes, I'd eat an entire bowl, consuming 3-4 times the amount my body needed.  Or strawberries, I'd eat the whole container dipped in cool whip...not so bad?  I topped my over consumption of fruit with plain crackers or a cheese sandwich using white bread and super processed cheese "product".  Ugh.  But wait, I did love a good salad.  Lettuce piled high with cheese, bacon, croutons, and ranch...let's never forget the ranch!  Eeek! And I did love veggies.  Especially fried okra, string beans covered in Italian breadcrumbs and eggplant covered in cheese.  You see, my variety was all wrong.  Instead of nutrients and nourishing my body properly, all I focused on was the emotion I'd get from each bite.  The sense of comfort I'd have after eating garlic bread smothered in butter and while these things are delicious, they did NOTHING for my health and if anything they made it worse.  
This trend stayed with me for years...until I changed my MIND.  The mind is powerful and if the mind wanted processed cheese from a can on top of Ritz crackers then that's what it had.  
It wasn't about my stomach and what tasted good to me, it was about training my brain to get fulfillment out of REAL things rather than food.  Fulfillment from life and the happiness it can bring.  Happiness was no longer confined to my pantry or refrigerator, I was looking elsewhere...
And when I chose unhealthy foods like those, my stomach suffered A LOT.  Cheeseburgers, french fries and a diet coke, pizza, enchiladas with chile con queso and endless chips, bread and pasta galore...NO COLOR and NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE.  I ate that way for YEARS, not days, weeks or months but YEARS :(.  
I paid the price but increasing pant sizes, constant bloat, depression and lack of energy all of the time, it was like I had NO desire to get up and go...ever. I had gallstones and had to have emergency gallbladder surgery in 2004, a very scary experience.  
I suffered from IBS and constipation frequently.  I drank Metamucil like it was a soft drink. And do you know that by changing my diet and lifestyle, these days I have NONE of these issues AT ALL!!  It's true!  
I'm living proof that we are what we eat :) 
and that rainbow plays a HUGE factor to our health.

Needless to say, my plates lacked color...and by this I do not mean the style and color of the plate you use, but what you choose to put ON that plate for every meal!  Ha, nice try :) 

Today these foods fuel my body and I find pleasure and happiness through life.  My family, my boys and my husband.  Family and friends close together and my workout group.  My fitness and improvements every day with my health make me happy and I feel strong.  

A few examples of colorful foods...

1/2 c cottage cheese, 2 egg whites sauteed in coconut oil spray with fresh berries.  

1/2 cottage cheese, 1 clementine orange, caramel rice cake, pb and fresh blueberries.  

...and while with family over the weekend, I opted for this,
sliced turkey roll ups, 1/2 granny smith apple, salad with extra virgin olive oil, dried cranberries and toasted sesame seeds.  I could have had a white bread sandwich and chips but created this healthy option instead :)  These days I love breaking away from the pack and making my own tasty goodies knowing I'm treating my body right :)

Your turn...
Choose color by choosing foods with nutrients rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.  The healthy, good-for-you foods leave us feeling fuller longer, energized throughout the day and keep our bodies feeling fueled and strong...what's not to love about that??  

Monday, February 23, 2015

STOP swinging

Reflecting on my past, being addicted to the FEELING that I thought food gave to me, I realize that my life played out like a swing.
I have high times with family and friends, times where I'd forget about my weight and my addiction to food and the emotional attachment that it had on me.  At other times I'd sink low and feel worthless.  Never balanced.  

My diet/food intake worked the same way...

The above pic was when I'd swing far in one direction.  Foods were out of control.  I could eat until I was physically ill.  I would consume 1000's of empty calories until the emotion left my body, whether it was happy, tired, sad, or didn't matter, I ate to protect or cover it up.  

In this pic above I THOUGHT I had that swing fairly balanced...I was controlling portions but not the foods I was putting into my body, and I had more bad days than good. I was working out like a maniac.  

Pic above I REALLY THOUGHT I had it all figured out this time...
I was running over 40 miles a week, working hard to focus on balance with my nutrition BUT a lot of that nutrition came from a box or a bag...I was controlling the binge eating most of the time and we did a lot less eating out HOWEVER I still didn't figure out that my swing wasn't fully balanced.  I would workout HARD and figure I should be "rewarded" with food.  A good workout meant it was time to EAT...but did I have it all figured out?


These days things are much different.  My swing focuses on having good days MOST of the time, working out hard and watching my food intake ALWAYS.  I don't "deserve" to eat crappy because I workout's far the opposite.  If I workout hard, then I should reward myself by taking care of my insides with proper nutrients.  They go hand in hand and for so long I knew that but felt like I didn't have to practice it in order to find success.  I was wrong.  It takes a balancing act.  The swing must find a way to stay level and not lean too far to EITHER side.  

I have learned that it is just as dangerous, if not worse, to allow that swing to fall to the other end.  Workout 2-3 hours a day, consuming very little nutrients if anything at all.  THIS is just as big of a problem for women.  Am I right?  

My life was only extremes...
I'd eat terribly, workout NEVER and expect my life to change and get better.
OR I'd eat so specifically that it drove me insane and made me grumpy and resentful toward everyone around me and then I'd exercise so much that I'd feel exhausted 24/7.  
THAT cycle repeated itself for YEARS.  Year after year, I'd think I was doing better and then that cycle would made an appearance back into my life.  

It is SO unhealthy to allow yourself to swing too far in either direction, remember that?  If we want true health and happiness, it's about finding OUR balance.  And that balance may not be like the people around you and it shouldn't be...we ALL have our own journey and life to create and make better.  Use it to push you and make your stronger,  DO NOT use it to hold you back from achieving greatness.  If we all allowed things to stand in our way from accomplishing our goals, where would we be?  Back at the bottom.  Instead, lets rise to the top TOGETHER!  
You with me??
It's almost Spring/Summer, are you sticking to your New Years Resolutions and goals???  How?  Why not?  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


When this journey begins, there's plenty of excitement and encouragement from the start.  As we start to lose steam so do those believers around us...
Sometimes we begin to doubt ourselves, we may wonder why we started in the first place and then others begin to say and think, "Hmm, I wonder when her old ways will creep back in?"...

Sound familiar?  
If not, consider yourself lucky :) 

That first day I decided to stop settling for my life the way that it was, was the day I started to really discover who I was, who I wanted to be and I learned a lot about the people around me.  
I'd love to say it was all sunshine and roses along the way, but that's just not the case.  
I am a sensitive person that will be your biggest supporter or your worst enemy if you hurt me or my family...blame it on the Italian girl inside me :) 
I knew along the way that change makes people uncomfortable but I never knew the lengths some would go.  I hear comments like, "don't you get sick of always watching what you eat?", "I like food too much to dedicate myself the way that you do.", "I hope you don't always make your kids eat healthy, that would just be sad for them.", "Muscles are gross on women, why would you strive for that?"...and the list goes on and on.  Or some old favorites, "You can't live on a diet, so you better learn to splurge more often.", "I don't have time to do what you do, must be nice."

So I learned on this path of self-discovery that THESE are only words.  
I control ME. Those words have no power on me.
Years ago, a comment like that would send me spiraling out of control, eating so much in one sitting that it would make your head spin.
But I noticed long ago that when I let those words penetrate, that's when they hurt.  And when the hurt began, I had let those words win.  I was no longer in control and here began the cycle I repeated so often.  When I'd fall off and lose steam, I started to believe those words too.  The mind is SO incredibly powerful, especially when dealing with healthy living and weight loss.  It can wrap you up and before you know it, you're in that closed space with little room to breathe-it consumes you, and your entire life.  

I have DISCOVERED that these words need to be repeated to myself when...
I'm lifting weights, doing sprints, helping another woman find her way, pushing toward the finish line of another half marathon...that's when those words should have meaning!  The meaning that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, THERE IS NOTHING I CAN'T DO, I AM STRONG AND I AM HEALTHY!  

Do not let what others say or think dictate your life, successes or failures.  They can still love and care for you dearly but in a way, they feel vulnerable with you up there on top so understand that and let it push you forward, never back.  If we prove them all wrong, the journey ends and THIS journey, full of discovery is NEVER ENDING!  
Embrace it and start pushing through the doubt right now.  
Those voices might be YOU, repeating all the times you fell short, the times you quit, and YOU are telling yourself, "Wait, I have a bad knee or I have diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism.  "I'm older now so I can't do this like I used to." 
 "I have _____ or _____ so I can't do the things that they can do."

...STOP now and START discovering the better, healthier you today! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

quotes and role models

“You, each, showing up every time, inspire me to do what I do. This is huge for me. A lot of you have trickled this down to your kids. As an overweight kid, my whole heart wants every single one of you to be healthy, to be confident, to feel beautiful in your own skin, and that is what it’s all about. It’s not about being a size two. It is not about being skinny. It is about feeling beautiful. It is about having a support system, having people that believe in you and being here when everybody else seems to want to knock you down. I want you to feel like, in this place, you can be lifted up.” Marissa

I have tears in my eyes as I proof read our article for the magazine next month.  The above quote was from me when speaking to the group about what they each have meant to me...
These women are now positive role-models for the world around them.  THAT is more than I could have ever imagined for this journey.  Wow.  The only way we can make this world a healthier place is by each of us spreading that inspiration throughout our families, our friends and our communities! 
I get emotional thinking the role model I once was or lack there of...
I was a drinker, smoker, junk food addict that felt sorry for herself so she never pushed beyond her comfort.  Comfort was, for me, a place surrounded by "I can't", failure and insecurities but in that bubble, I felt safe because nobody could hurt me there. The food was there for me when others had let me down and food was there for that emotional roller coaster I rode for years...filled with ups, downs and tons of regret of all the things I couldn't do because of my weight. Food numbed the emotion for so long that it was hard to decide how to feel anything. That safe place I built left me feeling dead inside.  My life had a different meaning, almost like going through the motions but never really FEELING anything. If I felt this way, I can only imagine how others feel that are trapped in this same place.  Have they given up on everything? Do they remember what it's like to feel happy and strong? For me it was never and will never be about "skinny" because that struggle to find balance can swing both ways.  It should always be the way you feel.  How do you feel after a great workout?  How did I feel after a binge that lasted hours and left me feeling physically sick? How do I feel now as I cross the finish line of another race? It makes all the difference in the world!
It will help you succeed or help you fail, we are in control of the outcome ALWAYS!
Today I choose to eat healthy, to put exercise as a high priority for myself and my family.  I don't feel sorry for myself for the obstacles I've faced, rather I use it to push me further and make me stronger.  I regret nothing because it was all part of the journey.  I am inspired daily by those around me.  I choose to balance my foods, my exercise and my life.  I no longer turn to food to fill an empty hole, I instead choose positive behaviors that make me feel alive and happy.  That burn I get from a great workout, when my legs are shaky and I'm short of breath-that feeling replaces all negative feelings for me because I am strong and I work hard. I used foods to coat sadness, stress or anger but when the food was gone, I was left feeling lower, a cycle that was so difficult to break.  I now use workouts to fuel my emotions and IT WORKS.  Wow!
   It is a gift to fuel my body properly and I feel so much better filling my body with nutrients rather than foods that have no nutritional value but served as comfort for so long.  I quit smoking because my kids don't need to see that unhealthy behavior either.  It was just another "crutch" I leaned on to get me through emotional times.  I never knew how to deal with the happy and sad times in life...I only knew how to "fix it" and that led to my unhealthy lifestyle I, myself had created. 
I'd like to share some of their comments regarding our group. 
I dare you to not find inspiration through their words and stories. Once you convince your heart and mind that it's time for change, there's nothing holding you back any longer.  Amazing how our minds sense defeat and it can take over our lives in what feels like a matter of seconds.  Rather than defeat, our mind needs to feel success.  One positive change will lead to others and you'll forget that person that you once were.  YOU have the power to change and become better.  Your children are watching and they will pick up the habits they see from you, both healthy and unhealthy. 
“So, I started about 14 months ago, about a week or so after my last cancer treatment, and, unlike the other ladies, I haven’t lost weight, but I’ve gained weight, which I wanted because I felt really crummy after 6 months of chemo and radiation. I got my strength back, have made a bunch of new friends, and also finished the half marathon with Marissa by my side. I was really freaked out about the whole idea of even trying it, but she told me, ‘I will be with you. Don’t you worry, I’ll get you to the finish line somehow!’ And of course, we prepared to some degree, but 13 miles is a lot, but we did it and she was with me every step of the way.” Gerda P.
“I’m down over 70 lbs. and have lost 35 of that since I started Move It Mommas. But the most amazing thing is that from November to now, I haven’t lost any more weight but my body has changed very dramatically. I also came off my cholesterol medicine and am trying to come off my diabetic medication!” Kelly S.
“There is no intimidation here. You can come here and feel comfortable at any size, at any level. You can do the workout; she has modifications and I don’t feel separate from the group. I still feel like part of the group just because I can modify and still move. I would have never gone to a gym.” Christine K.
...and those are just a few! 
STAY INSPIRED and keep working hard.  You might be at the beginning, middle or climbing further and further on your journey but never allow it to end!  Never get comfortable with the way things are and think about the lives that are WATCHING YOU!  Are you being that positive role model for your family and friends? 

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