Thursday, August 21, 2014

the mountain.

You know sometimes I love to put things into perspective, to help each of us see our capabilities...I want to inspire and convince you that change is always worth it so here we go:

When we think about change- losing weight, gaining strength, getting healthy or whatever health and fitness goals we may have, we probably realize that it's going to take work, sacrifice and determination but are we TRULY prepared?
The mountain.
I heard it on Extreme Weight Loss and it's SO true.

If we stand back and look at the mountain from a distance (our weight loss, our health issues, etc)
it'll seem TOO big.  TOO much to conquer.  TOO hard.  
But if we don't look "up" and just start climbing, chipping away at it and slowly making our way forward then it might not seem as big.  
If we lose focus and momentum instead of turning around and climbing back down to the "bottom" we should stop, take a few breaths, see how far we've come and continue moving UP!

Too often in my past and with people that I help on their journey, they will look at the mountain, feel intimidated and inferior because their mountain seems bigger than those around them.  Instead of motivating them to keep climbing, they'll look up, see fear and climb back down because down is EASY.  Trouble is if we slowly work our way up only to come tumbling down we've not helped ourselves AT ALL, we've only created more problems with failure within ourselves and in our minds.  
Truth is, our mountains are ALL different.
We may not see where others struggle or what they hide.  We may not realize that their mountain contains just as many obstacles as our own.  
The key is to never lose sight of the CLIMB.
Sounds silly but we must keep climbing.  Even when we wanna stumble down and give up.  We can't because it will only bring us to the place we've been before, the place that felt alone and helpless.  The place that was intimidated and full of fear.  

I'd climb a million times over to beat feeling the way I felt for so long.  
My mountain has no peak and no end...if it did, I'd slowly work my way back down and I will NEVER do that.  I REFUSE.  

A big part of my journey, my "climb" is my children.  I want to create awareness of their bodies, their heart and their minds.  I want them to see that exercise and healthy foods play into EVERY aspect of our lives.  I want them to see that it is SO important to treat our bodies take care of them.  

Another huge "climb" for me is my foods.  
I love to over eat.  
I am an emotional eater and that doesn't just mean when I'm sad.  I want to eat when I'm bored, angry, happy, sad, name it, I wanna eat through it!  Eeeek!  
It's a DAILY struggle and "climb" for me to fight temptation when I'm going through an emotion and for me to constantly remind myself that FOOD IS ONLY FOOD.  Whew this one is rough for me, DAILY.  There isn't a day that goes by that this doesn't try and defeat me.  It's tough but I am reminded that it's a far better struggle than the ones I used to feel when I was helpless and afraid to change yet miserable in my own body.  Not a good place to be for any of us.  
To avoid defeat, I keep things simple and I'm always changing things up to avoid boredom with my eats.  

Trader Joes multi grain pancake topped with PB and some berries was one of my pre-workout breakfast items the other day!  
I make these and freeze for easy grab and go options for myself and the kiddos :)

Turkey Burritos:
Ground turkey, one can Mexicorn, can black beans and a little cheese on top.  Brown meat with beans and Mexicorn then layer Ole high fiber/low carb burritos with meat mixture, roll up and top with a little cheese.  Serve on lettuce leaves with a spoon of my Greek ranch on top! (I keep this made and handy each week for veggie dipping, etc) 
My husband's version just added salsa, which I can't stand but he LOVES it!  
YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG WITH OATS!  1/2 cup cooked oats prepared with berries and cinnamon.  You can add a few banana slices and cinnamon, pumpkin puree and cinnamon...ANYTHING!!!!  

Sometimes just sitting and talking about our struggles and ideas to make healthy living easier makes the journey that much easier to handle.  After our workouts we talk, share struggles and triumphs together as a group.  Bounce ideas off one another until we reach successes each week!

Having that support makes the "climb" that much easier.  Your mountain won't be the same as the people around you and it SHOULDN'T BE.  We should want to have our own story to tell.  Our story can help those around us in ways that we may not realize at the time.  Keep climbing UP instead of only looking up and feeling defeating time and time again.  You'll continue on the path that you're on and chances are, it's not where you 100% want or need to be.  I'm always a work in progress, slipping up or kicking butt...BUT I keep on keepin on!  Ha, if that even makes sense...and YOU SHOULD TOO!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

an eye-opening video that has me on a roll...

Wow, my eyes are open and my mind is turning over this video someone shared on facebook today.  
Video HERE 
if that doesn't work you can type this in:

I suggest watching then proceeding with this post...
it left me speechless and uneasy.  How about you?
If you cannot relate to that video on some level then hats off to you.  
Whether its you personally as it was for me, or a sibling, mother, father, husband, wife or our own children...

I see it every day.  I saw it working in cardiac rehab, I saw it with the students I taught in Physical Education and Health, I see it all around...

It is important not to judge but to take a step back and realize what we are doing as a society.  
If we grew up heavy and unhealthy, we sure want to ensure that our children don't go and make the same mistakes that we did, right?  If we didn't but saw others around us struggle then we should still want what is best and healthiest for our children, correct? 
Or maybe we watched an unhealthy family member that couldn't keep up or play like the other children?  Maybe it's an adult you know and they used to live life and are now bound with health issues and countless excuses?  

My heart aches knowing we can do better TOGETHER...all of us.
It is our responsibility to teach them the right way TODAY.  Not tomorrow.  
In many cases, tomorrow is too late.  

And even if that loved one is not overweight, what are they eating? How is their activity level? 
Is it not mind blowing that we see the warning signs, we see the effects that unhealthy foods and behaviors have on our bodies, mind, family and our quality of life YET we still continue to live that way because it is all we know.  It is all we expect from ourselves so we accept it and move on...slowly through life without soaking in all the beauty that life has to offer.  Is that sad?  
It is VERY sad to me and watching that video struck a cord for me...that WAS my life.  
Yes I was not morbidly obese and was not dying of heart disease but if I would have stayed living the life I was then who knows where I'd be's scary.  Sad and scary.  

I'd love you to voice your thoughts in the comments because that video, although fiction is why I fight HARD every day to change the world, one person at a time.  And I truly believe that when we have passion for something that we love and care so deeply for then anything is possible and I will NOT QUIT until I have reached millions and allowed them to see that 

This week of workouts has been awesome!  I am pushing myself and these ladies HARD each day and week...I want them to see that they are gaining strength, endurance and a healthier way of life EVERY DAY.  It makes me smile just thinking about it :)

Every evening we go PLAY!  We get outside and we PLAY!  We ride bikes, play baseball, basketball and football TOGETHER as a family and it is something I never take for granted.  I know these are the times we will all cherish the most.  The little moments that would pass us by if we didn't grab hold of them tightly.  It makes me happy knowing we all agree that life should be lived and that the outdoors are FUN. I sure didn't feel that way as a child and I'm now hoping to teach my children much differently...

My son's breakfast selection before boot camp...yes, while one child chose a Pop Tart-he gets those every now and then, my oldest chose THIS:
a Moon Pop with Neuftchael cheese and cinnamon with an Activia yogurt-yes he tasted these at my mom's house and he LOVED them LOL!  
Knowing this was the choice he made helps me believe that our children DO learn from the examples that we set as parents

and these ladies...whew we work hard and they give me looks like they're going to come after me in my sleep but they keep going and NEVER QUIT!  I love it :)

Our kiddos playing while we exercise...
I just LOVE seeing pictures like these, isn't that what it's all about?
We had a little Move It Momma pool party, complete with Subway lunch!  It was FUN and we work hard so celebrations are sometimes needed!  Often needed!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

gotta WANT IT

The road to change no matter what kind, is HARD.
You've gotta want it.
You've gotta dust yourself off time and time again.
You might fail several times or a million times...
If you want it bad enough, you'll stop at NOTHING!

Seeing progress within myself is the "WANT" that keeps me going. 

I think for so long I only saw myself BIG so I was unable to visualize what I would look like smaller, more fit and in shape.  I would look around and see others that way but could never picture what 75-100lbs off of my body would look like...and it will look different for each of us.  
It may be 5lbs we're trying to get rid of or trying to simply firm up and gain muscle...
but until we WANT IT badly enough, we are unable to see ourselves that way.  
It is something I think SO many women struggle with.  Body image is tough, especially for young women growing up in a society filled with thinner is better, beauty is skin deep and magazines with women that are photo-shopped "perfectly"...

Growing up I didn't want anything like I wanted to be "skinny".  Fit didn't matter or even being healthy, I just wanted to shop at the cool stores, 
wear a smaller size and not have rolls folding over my jeans.  
And oh to this day, to wear a bikini-I can't even imagine...

See the difference?
We can WANT money, health, fame, to be thinner, more fit or happier but if we're not willing to work for it then DO WE TRULY WANT IT?! 

I often think about the changes physically and mentally that I have made over the last 10 + years and while some of them have been much slower than I wanted, they happened MUCH faster as I wanted them more, worked for them more and wanted them for the right reasons.  
I now want to be fit and healthy for me, my husband, my boys, my Move It Mommas!
I don't care about sizes or shopping in the popular stores, but I do care about FEELING GOOD, MOVING BETTER, HAVING ENERGY, FEELING STRONG, HAVING CONFIDENCE AND BEING A ROLE MODEL FOR YOUNG CHILDREN 

I honestly believe that if I can-you can but YOU GOTTA WANT IT!
WANT IT for the right reasons and want it badly enough that you crave it, you think about it throughout the day and night, you work hard every day to pursue it and you will stop at nothing to achieve it.  Find that attitude and you will NEVER QUIT.  

My arms-the most self-conscious area of my body along with my tummy.  I hid them any chance I could get because they were flabby and the largest area on my body.  Unlike a lot of women, I gain weight in my upper body more than lower.  I tend to hold my weight in my thighs, belly, back and arms.  It's a little strange but it's ME.  
The other day after boot camp I stopped in the mirror because I was drenched in sweat and I felt STRONG...I looked up and saw these?!  Itty-bitty biceps showing through...
AMAZED!!!  An area of my body that I thought would NEVER come around and it is...slowly.
My tummy is still VERY tough to look at.  Stretch marks, loose skin and not very attractive.  I work HARD and get frustrated because the change comes so slowly to the areas we hide most.  
I am proud of how far I've come and will NEVER alter my body through surgery to get it but it would be nice to have my tummy look how I feel.  Right now it doesn't LOOK STRONG but it feels it.  Knowing I work hard at it helps me believe that in time, 
change with come in that area of my body as well. 

I must understand that I was 100lbs OVERWEIGHT.  

That skin was stretched and pulled in a million directions with each pound that I gained and then lost, and then gained again and again.  I must take that into consideration when I look into the mirror and see flaws, see imperfections and areas that aren't how I'd like them to be.  I am satisfied because I try my very best every day with my health and fitness and that's all we can ask for...but I tell myself every day how badly I WANT IT!

And because I WANT SO BADLY to control my emotional eating, I will keep working hard to keep it in control.  To not allow temptations or boredom to control my happiness and I WANT IT enough to keep trying and working toward it.  
I'd rather be moving toward my goal than running away from it.  
The time goes by no matter what...might as well make it count and help us live a life we imagine, right?
I can promise you right now that if you only want it 80% and are not willing to put in the HARD work then you will probably be in this same situation a year from now but if deep within you WANT CHANGE 110% fight for it and dig for that determination within.  
It's there but life sometimes makes it tough to find.

Fighting cravings and temptations are always though so the more things I find that taste good, the better I am at staying on track each day.  These chocolate rice cakes are DELICIOUS especially with a smidge of PB on top :)  Oh la la...

Turkey meatballs in the crock pot took 10 minutes to prepare and made MANY meals...
My boys had meatball subs, string beans and frozen grapes...Mmmm!
Hubby and I opted for meatballs and string beans!  I put the turkey meatballs on LOW 8hrs with a whole, sliced onion, 4 cloves of garlic-chopped, and 2 cans of diced tomatoes-no salt added.  Simmer and enjoy!  EFFORTLESS AND DELICIOUS :)  
Snack time this morning included a tbs of PB for my boys and I, sprinkle of cinnamon and some apple slices!  BE CREATIVE and don't allow yourself to get bored eating the same foods over and over again...keep it interesting and tasty!  You have the rest of your life to explore new food and exercises so keep your options open and ENJOY THE PROCESS!!! 

My MIM's continue to amaze me!  My cousin and I joined forces to make for an exciting day of fun and fitness!  
He taught the Move It Momma children self-defense while I put the Momma's through one heck of a workout!!!  We all enjoyed it and had fun!!!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

simple rules to follow

I'm no expert when it comes to health and nutrition, yes I have a degree in it but I believe that teaching can only do so much if we aren't going to practice what we've learned...

I was looking back on pictures from when I graduated from college in 2004.  I was much heavier than I am today.  I was working out seven days a week, teaching aerobics 
yet my foods were all out of whack.  
I'd attend college classes every day learning about proper nutrition, anatomy and physiology and bio mechanics yet I'm pretty sure I wasn't applying the information to my daily life.
I am forever grateful for learning and being able to use that in my life to help others, both children and adults BUT seems like what I learned most is that in order for people to believe in us and trust us, we must too live our lives the way that we preach.  

In cardiac rehabilitation I would tell heart attack victims to eat right and exercise but look at me?  Who was I to say what they should or shouldn't do?  
In Physical Education I would have the kids perform various exercises and I'd join them but then heat up a Lean Cuisine on my lunch that fueling my body properly?  Probably not.
Yes I have the KNOWLEDGE but was I applying it and living my healthiest life?  Probably not.

When I meet with women that want to lose weight, get healthy or improve their fitness I often hear...
"I know the right foods to eat and how to exercise, I just don't"
Why not?
I am not only frustrated with them, I get frustrated with myself, with society, 

That "I just don't" statement is SO sadly true.
I personally knew but "I just didn't"
Most of us know people that "just don't"

It's about finding the discipline within ourselves to get the job done.
We want to lose weight-then DO IT.
We want to get leaner and more physically fit-then DO IT.

I had to choose to just talk the talk or to DO IT...and I chose both!  LOL!
I could talk about health, nutrition and fitness all day, 24/7 because I LOVE IT.
I love what it has done for me personally, for my family, my husband and MY LIFE!

TODAY let's make "I just don't" a thing of the past...forever!

Oats and berries and ya can't go wrong!  
Perfect balance and great pre-workout meal to give you energy and feeling fuller, longer.  

Boot camp yesterday morning!  YES it was a Monday!  Amazed to see so many beautiful faces, meet new friends and have my old Momma's come back!
THIS makes me smile EVERY day!

Our Motto is NEVER QUIT and it should be yours too!  
It's the ONLY attitude that brings success...I promise.  I tried 'em all!  Ha!

mixed emotions here...
Left: Trip to NYC in 2000, Right: Yesterday 2014
a picture can bring up 100 emotions and for me that picture shows defeat, sadness, guilt, insecure, unhappy, unhealthy and A GIRL THAT IS NO LONGER HERE!  
That girl on the right is a bit different...
she will NEVER QUIT!

I have found that I MUST have that attitude in order to stick with the path I'm on.  
If not, I'll fall three steps back and then three more...three more and so on.  But even if you're in a place where you feel you've fallen 50 steps behind, back where you "started" and feel defeated this is where you pick yourself up, keep trying and get rid of the "I just don't" attitude once again.

 It's IN there but you gotta dig deep and find it, do the work and stop making excuses...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

make up your mind and the rest will follow... words
seems like a new picture always makes its way back into my life.  
This one above/on the left, a great memory with good friends but look at me?!  
I don't even know that girl.  What happened?  Those that are closest to me swear they never remember me looking that way and that makes me happy but look at that?  
It is still hard for me to realize how FAR I am from that girl these days.  

My hope from sharing my story? 
I want to help everyone see and believe that if I can, 
they can too...YOU CAN TOO!

It doesn't get unhealthier than I used to be...
I did it all wrong.  
Ate horrible foods at all hours of the day and night, I smoked cigarettes and drank heavily.  
I didn't exercise and if I did with friends, it was Tae Bo in the living room followed by Olive Garden bread sticks and lasagna.  If it was time to "diet", it was starving myself and only eating lettuce with carrots and some cabbage soup.
I'd get fed up, binge on an entire bag of Doritos or an endless bowl of chips at the local Mexican restaurant 
and while I gained and lost weight more times than I can count, it was always the SAME cycle...
overeat, starve, overeat, starve...OVER AND OVER AGAIN.  
It was exhausting.

I had three ladies join my group for a workout yesterday and one very nicely said, "Wow, I loved the workout.  Love your arms and legs-all so lean"...and sadly it was hard to hear.  Not because it wasn't a huge compliment but hard for me to accept that she was talking about me?  The girl who NEVER stood out for looking good but always looking bigger and larger than those around me...

But honestly there's no special secret that I need to share...
it's simple really.

Two things:  
1. Find balance with your life-adding exercise and healthy foods the RIGHT way. 
2.  Make up your mind, stop making excuses and decide that quitting isn't an option!

A new find that seems to be popping up everywhere!  Chobani Greek with steel-cut oats!  Yum!  160 calories and 10g protein!!!  And I haven't had my hands on one yet but friends tell me they are pretty delicious :)  Woohoo! What an easy solution to breakfast!!
It may not look like much but a bundle of frozen grapes has been my go-to post workout snack on these hot, TX days!  YUM!  Balanced with a spoonful of PB or handful of almonds and I'm good to go with a gigantic glass of water!

I used to crave a Breakfast Jack from Jack In The Box ALMOST every day.  I'm sure I was only craving the crappy feeling it gave me, but still...
I have an alternative these days and it's wonderful!
2 egg whites cooked in coconut oil spray, slice of Boar's Head low sodium turkey and 1 tbs Greek whipped on a sandwich thin.  

Oats with fresh strawberries!
Sprinkled with a little cinnamon and it is delicious!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

is it HARDER for you?

On my journey I often felt sorry for myself for so many reasons.
It was an excuse that worked well for me.
I was heavier, "big boned", taller than my it was tougher for me to lose weight.

Seemed like the odds were ALWAYS stacked against me no matter how hard I tried.  
I felt inferior because my friends could eat this or that and NEVER struggle while if I even looked at a bag of chips, I'd gain 5 pounds.

You see THAT was my problem.  Always comparing myself to the people around me.  
Thinking, well it's easy for them to stay thin and much easier for me to stay unhealthy.  
That reasoning worked for YEARS.  It was my comfort and I wanted to make sure everyone could see my struggles on the outside so I kept gaining and gaining...

"It wasn't fair" is what I told myself, "why did I have to fight twice as hard when it came so easy for others" so if the odds weren't in my favor then I would just give up and give in to the life I had created for myself even if that meant my health would suffer and I would wrap myself into my own, pitiful world.  After a while that just becomes our lives and we accept it...and that's unfortunate. 

My thinking has changed drastically and while I still have my moments of pity and doubt, 
I realize that my brick walls are MUCH different 
than those around me.  

If we are honest with ourselves and with others, we will see that we ALL have flaws, insecurities and fears.  It's when we "pretend" that can lead to self-destruction.  I would "pretend" that my weight and health didn't bother me or interfere with my day to day life but truth is-IT DID.  
Every day.

Today I choose to face my fears and doubts head on.  I like to express them to the people around me so they know that life isn't always easy.  Losing weight is HARD and changing your mindset is even HARDER but it's worth it and it makes us stronger.  My "brick walls" tried to stop and defeat me for years...and many times they knocked me down but I kept getting back up and that's the important lesson I've learned.  
It's not about being perfect and never failing.  
It's about learning from the failure, picking ourselves back up and TRYING again and again!  
It's about Never Quitting!

I know look at my walls and obstacles as challenges that nobody understands but ME.  
I know every day is a struggle for me and I fight hard to stay in control of ME and my health.  
I know that each day I put my health as a priority is a day that I become stronger.
Each day that I allow fear to be in control is a day that sets me back...but those days will make me stronger as well.  Always learning from mistakes I made and always knowing that I am worth it.  I am always worth dusting myself off and trying over and over again...AND YOU ARE TOO!

As women we lose sight of ourselves by putting others first.  By putting our children, careers, husbands, life, family, pets...all above ourselves and it's time to give ourselves the confidence to fight back.  To stay healthy and to remain strong again and again.  

Looking fear in the face and breaking down our WALLS!  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Do Something!

I find that most of the time my "hunger" is based on boredom. 

If I am hanging around in my pj's, snacking on crackers and watching TV I tend to stay that way throughout the day.  IF I make wiser choices the moment I wake up then I'm more eager to make positive choices throughout the day.  For me, it's a fact that you if you leave me with nothing to do, I'll snack.  If you leave me feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I'll snack.  
SO to fight the temptation or mindless eating...
At work, simply stay away from the workroom/lounge if there's leftovers galore or a cake sitting in there calling your name.  If you can't see it, it's less likely to tempt you.  

I plan ahead which is VERY important when maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
It is SO easy to just grab food as you move through your daily routine.  
IF we plan ahead and have quick, healthy alternatives then we are more likely to stay satisfied rather than think of the million things lingering in the vending machine, right?!  RIGHT!

For me, I plan my meals the evening before.  I run it quickly through my head and then move on with my day.  It's simple and keeps me focused.  

I wake up and decide EVERY morning to make a healthy breakfast 
because I know myself well and if my routine gets out of whack, 
I'll come crashing down allowing one unhealthy meal after another...

Simple solutions?  Keep it Quick and easy!  Oats, high fiber/high protein cereal or a quick egg/egg white combo, sprouted bread and fruit!  Bam!  Simple and delicious.  

I'm one that WILL NOT eat the same foods day after day.  I know that in my past this led to crash and burn where I'd gain more than I lost in the first place :( ...yep, the old two steps forward, three steps back.  

If I'm craving something sweet, I practice moderation and use what I have on hand because if I wander into a store hungry or craving a specific food, I'll walk out with ENTIRELY too much and find myself unable to control my portions at all.  
For someone who loves to eat just to eat, this can lead to BAD things.  

The other day I had a sweet tooth so I created this low carb/high fiber tortilla layered with 2tbs Neuftchael cheese, cinnamon and a small, chopped Gala apple.  
I rolled it up, put it in the toaster oven at 400 until crispy and bubbly.  

We split it into thirds.  The boys and I shared this healthy treat and it was DELICIOUS!  
The cheese is so creamy and bubbly and then the slight crunch from the apple...OH SO GOOD!

The key is to NOT allow yourself to fail.  
Pick yourself back up and keep trying no matter what.  Try new things.  
If you get tired of the same workout routine then CHANGE IT UP!
If you are sick of eating chicken every night for dinner then CHANGE IT UP!
The way I see it, we must find things that we enjoy.  
Whether it's spin class at the gym or an outdoor boot camp.  

If we don't enjoy it, then we're more likely to think of a million reasons to QUIT.  

Same with your diet, if you find yourself eating dry chicken breasts on lettuce five nights a week, you will start to cringe as you prepare it which only leads to a major break down, leading to binge eating at the local buffet.  Eeeeek.  This method I knew all too well. 

So find foods the whole family loves.  If you try a new recipe and it's a major failure...
keep trying and changing it until it becomes something you like.  

I am 100% positive that those full-fat, full of grease cheeseburgers I used to crave and devour were DISGUSTING but in my mind they'd fill a void for me time and time again...whether it was stress, exhaustion, frustration...that cheeseburger would fill it 
and then leave me feeling empty and lost. 

PICK YOURSELF UP and find something FUN to do with your time rather than waste away in front of the TV or inside that bag of chips!  

You will never regret a workout, a hike with family or a bike ride with friends.  
You will never regret opting away from the cheeseburger and french fries 
but grabbing that grilled chicken breast and veggies. 

You will NEVER regret feeling healthy and strong.  
You will always regret feeling sorry for yourself rather than doing something about it so 

To change the world, we must create a world where it's popular to make the healthy choice.  
A place where HEALTHY IS THE NORM!
I envision a world where the line to grab a funnel cake is non-existent while the line for fresh fruits and whole foods wraps around the building!!!  Wouldn't that be great?  But many of you probably laugh because it is SO far from where we are today as a society...but it honestly frightens me.  

Our obesity epidemic is rising, our restaurant and take-out portions are 2-3 servings and we are treating health-related illnesses more than ever...
YET we can't seem to understand WHY or how to change it?!  
*We went to Houston Texans training camp today and had a BLAST but it did bother me that the ONLY food options were deep-fried funnel cakes (they were everywhere!) and ice cream.  
Really Houston?  
I shouldn't be surprised since the Houston Rodeo was awful as well.  Deep fried twinkies and turkey legs so large that you needed two people to hold it...EEEEEK.  

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