Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Refuse to Quit!

This expresses SUCH truth, doesn't it?


Somewhere down our path, we must REFUSE TO QUIT!  It can't be an option any longer.  
We fight back and we NEVER QUIT...something I want to spread across the globe! 

The journey for me started back in 2001 and it had many ups and downs.

2001: It was my 21st birthday and I was living the college life :)
Drinking, smoking and staying up until sunrise most nights!  
I had friends galore and was the life of the party...but behind closed doors?
A very different story.
I was miserable inside.
I was coating the feelings of doubt and failure with food.
I would hide this behavior in my little, one bedroom apartment.
It worked well because nobody could see me crumbling apart.
The fun night with friends always ended with a whip into the nearest drive-thru, shoveling the food into my mouth so quickly and then a deep depression filled with guilt, tears and falling asleep only to repeat this pattern the next day...


Fast forward to 2009:
I had met the man of my dreams, he was my best friend but things definitely took a downward turn with my eating.
When I met him in 2002 I had lost weight, was teaching aerobics and working at the local gym.  
I only worried about myself but that was easy.  Cooking for one.  Never eating out and being surrounded by all of the temptation.  It worked for ME.
But then he and I started going to dinner, cooking together and pretty much living together...
EEEK!  
I was seeing my former ways come creeping back and it scared me.  

Obviously not enough fear to scare me straight because this was in 2009 after the birth of our second son...
And to think I felt fairly "thin" in this picture...YIKES!
My husband and I both were in a dark place with our health.  How would be bounce back AGAIN?

In 2011, my husband started running after a doctor's appointment that scared his straight.  He lost 100lbs and looked INCREDIBLE.  A new man.  We were eating right and exercising and running A LOT.  

Obviously my food intake was still being hidden when he was away.  My weight in this picture is a reflection of that :(  
Our first half marathon in 2012. 
I HATED this race.  I felt defeated and all those years of doubt and failure came creeping back with each mile.  I had allowed myself to QUIT.  Quit reaching and hoping...I quit believing.  

April 2012, it was time to take control AGAIN.  
I'd look at pictures and see that former, fat girl who had disappeared for a while.  Why did I let her come back into my life and take control?  The million dollar question, isn't it?  


In 2013, I had found that fighter AGAIN!
She was back and ready for business so what to do to ensure I wouldn't fall back and quit again? 
Well that's the thing-there is no definite way of knowing but the key is the REFUSE TO QUIT!
I was losing weight again but this time I needed to do something bigger, fight harder and help others do it too...


It would take a while but the birth of the Move It Mommas would be coming soon...
January 2013...a HUGE milestone day for me.  
I ran a local 5K with my husband.  
It was to symbolize commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
But more than anything it was the pictures...it was a reflection of where I was going to go and that I will strive to NEVER GO BACK!  


My first half marathon after changing my eating habits for GOOD :)
It felt amazing!  No obstacle too large and I made that race mine...
It felt incredible to not feel defeated but to feel STRONG and BEAUTIFUL.  

Each mile, each race is tough.  
If it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be a true reflection of where we started...



January 2014 and I did it again!  Conquered the race I had feared and allowed to defeat me back in 2012...NOT THIS TIME :)
I made it mine!  I had emotional miles and thoughts on where it all began for me.  How I had bumps that I gave credit where it wasn't deserved.  I let those bumps in my journey control me, my foods were in control and I am for the first time, healthy!  100% healthy because of the foods I use to nourish my body, the workouts I push through and the people in my life that make me who I am today!

That smile says a thousand words and emotions...



We must be proud of who we are.  The struggles and all.  
I think the women that are inspired by me can find something to relate to, in me.  
In the past year I have gone from a size 10 to a 4!  WOWZA!  It's not the clothes, or the weight it's about how I FEEL.  Healthy FEELS good and I think it's important to remember that it should be our true goal...to FEEL HEALTHY.  

Of course healthy looks good and is a reflection of our hard work and determination.  But I wouldn't trade the way I feel each day for ANYTHING in this world.  

I want my family to experience this same feeling every day.

I work hard for that feeling.
Each pound I have lost is from hard work- no cutting corners.  No magic pill, no doctors appointments...JUST HARD WORK.  That matters.  It counts for something and is part of who I am today-a fighter.  I do not sell ANYTHING on the market in terms of weight loss pills, supplements because I believe that we must sell the feeling!  And I do not judge those that do, it's just not for me.  I'd rather focus on THE FEELING of wanting good health, wanting a healthy heart that will perform for years to come, the feeling of walking into a room with confidence, the feeling of being strong when someone or something is trying to knock us down.  That FEELING is worth fighting for and is what gives me the strength to keep pushing forward and gives me the strength to push and strengthen my beautiful Move It Mommas every day.  

I know that feeling is worth it and is far better than those feelings of defeat and fear.  Better than the feelings if guilt I'd feel after consuming 3 times the daily calorie limit of fast food and processed cookies and crackers.  

Once I'd start eating those foods, I couldn't stop.

Almost as if the light switch would go on and never shut off. And that cycle would continue and find its way into my life far too often.
NOT ANYMORE!
I REFUSE TO QUIT and I hope you do too :)
Today and every day make yourself worth it.  
Pushing ourselves hard often proves what we're made of.  The strength and beauty within.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

throwing in the towel?

that is an easier option, isn't it?
I guess it CAN be if we allow it.
The part that I've had to wrap my head and heart around is that we can no longer allow it.
It must be a decision we make as soon as we open our eyes on a new day...
EVERY DAY.

You have two choices,
let it win and defeat you 
OR
jump up and conquer the day knowing you are in control of decisions you make throughout the day

Easy ways to take on the day in a positive way?
Take it in 30 min increments.  Sounds a bit silly but it may work!
Make a healthy choice for breakfast-30min later focus on that great choice, make another healthy choice to park further from the office bldg or store-30min later you realize that you've made two, positive choices for the day...and keep going!
Small, healthy habits go a LONG way.
For me, I celebrate each positive choice.
Every one of them because they matter to ME.
It is a HUGE deal for me to incorporate protein into my breakfast.  Why?  
A. Because it's good for you.  
B. Because my breakfast used to include carbohydrates and little else.
SO I celebrate that :)
I celebrate the fact that I used to dread walking the track for a mile and I now look forward to crossing the finish line of 5K's and half marathons :) that's something to celebrate AND
this helps me to stay positive and not focus on how far I have to go.
Those milestone moments will come in time, but the every day stuff...that happens often enough to keep me on track and focused every week.

Have a bad day?
Great.  Take that bad day and move forward instead of dwelling.
I used to love dwelling on the past.  Letting my past mistakes and defeats push me to more failure. But how is that a way to live?
It's NOT.

As I've said a million times before.  I have the degree and knowledge of how to take care of our bodies, our minds and our hearts BUT that only goes so far in life...

Life's big moments are the ones where we really discover our potential.  We discover how great we really are and how we are worth fighting for!  I didn't find these moments through studying exercise physiology and health education in college...it was learned through life's ups and downs.  Throughout my weight loss, gain, loss and gain again.  That yo-yo that was my life. 
It was found through hard work and dedication...and NEVER QUITTING. 

I have realized that without believing I can do it, the science doesn't matter.  
I could try a million diets and weight loss programs but without believing I could do it, 
it was simply going through the motions only to fall short months later.
Who wants that?
NOT ME.

Our first Saturday group was phenomenal and my own Momma even came for a good butt kicking!
Yay!  SO proud of these ladies for SHOWING UP.
That's half the battle and they conquered it on Saturday :)

Give yourself a little pat on the back for each time you attempt something that is meant to better your health.  It matters.  WE ALL MATTER so go and fight for yours TODAY!







Friday, April 11, 2014

COMPETITIVE?

Last night I found myself in complete meltdown mode over my son's baseball game...
EEEK, yes.
My 7 year olds Little League Baseball game.
Pathetic, right?

          My two, handsome and healthy boys
My 7 year old is quite the hitter and a great first baseman.  He's a shy guy and has come so far since his days in t-ball!  We are proud of EVERYTHING that he does.  EVERY thing!  Our four year old NEVER meets a stranger but looks up to his big brother so much.  They are our life.
We wake up every day thinking of ways to make their lives the best they can be and how we can teach them about respecting others, helping others, being healthy and living life to the fullest.  

They are beyond great kids and while I could go on and on about how darn incredible they are, I need to talk about me and my competitive behavior last night :(
I am team mom which with our league means we usually run the dugout, get the kids ready to bat, control their behavior and make sure things stay orderly throughout the game.  The chaos reminds me of teaching PE so of course I volunteer every season!  Ha!  
Last night my son was doing great and made an out playing 1st!  
I was SO proud, yelling from the dugout!  
He went up the bat and struck out.  That's okay, it happens.  
Second at bat...
strikes out again.
Third...
STRIKE OUT.
Fourth...
STRIKE OUT.
Now while this is not a big deal and seriously petty when we look at life as a whole but at the moment, I was getting frustrated.  
I'm always honest...
In my defense (ha, if I have one?), he's usually knocking the ball to the fence!  A great ballplayer and he knows it.  
Why was I SO frustrated?  He wasn't trying.
I could see the look in his eyes.  And as mom's we make excuses to place the blame on others...it was the machine, he was too far from the plate, and blah blah blah!  
Fact was, he wasn't "in" it.  
But for me, it was so much more than that.

As a child, teen and young adult...I was very fond and fabulous at quitting EVERYTHING that I started.  I would feel defeated and BOOM! give up.  
I was great at this technique when it came to healthy eating, losing weight, exercise and sports. You name it, I failed at it and then quit.
Guess quitting was always easier.  
We never want to admit failure and sometimes it's easier to blame others and move on.  
Oh that was me.  
My weight was my dad's fault for leaving.  My weight was because my parents were divorced and I always felt inferior to my friends who's parents were happily married...ya know, they had "normal" families.  I wasn't great at soccer because I was heavy and I definitely couldn't run in PE because of some awful issue that was a lie that I made up on my way to school that day.  I couldn't exercise because my back hurt, stomach hurt or had a bad toe....oh the list goes on and on.  
It's shameful and makes me cry but I am sharing because I want people to see just how weak I had allowed myself to become.  I formed my own, little web of shame and lived there comfortably for years.  I NEVER want that for my children...EVER.  

Every day since changing my life it is a struggle to bury that old self deep within and never find her again.  I am strong.  I don't let excuses rule my life and I want to help others that are trapped in their own troubles to find the strength to do the same.  It's my passion.  However...

I am now fairly sure that I'm being a little hard on my boys because of MY issues.  
That is NOT FAIR TO THEM.  
My boys have talent, they are healthy and they try hard with all that they do.   
We can ask nothing more of them than to try their best and NEVER QUIT!  And most of the time, we do!  We give these boys opportunities we never had, we take them places and on adventures as often as possible so they are able to soak up all that life has to offer 

but last night...
For a glimpse, I saw myself in my son last night in the batters box.  It's almost like he stopped seeing himself and just stared into space and swung the bat.  That felt like me.  I became stressed and lashed out.  Nothing crazy BUT way too much for 7 year old baseball, that's for sure :(  
I'm ashamed of that.
Our insecurities are our own.  We should never share those or compare those with others.  
I know that and I feel terrible for the way I acted last night.  I was so upset with him over a baseball game.  A baseball game...
It's like that saying I always use to talk about the people that don't want us to succeed...
something like, If people talk about you it says little about you and more about them.
YES.
Just as it isn't right to judge others from the outside looking in.
It's not okay for me to use my own insecurities and old demons to control the way my children choose to live.  
Of course I want success for them.  They are my life and I never want them to fail or do poorly.
But in life we do fail.
And that's okay.
It's how we pick ourselves up and keep trying after the failure that make us strong and great!

As for me, I snuggled my boys all night!  Told them they were my world and they woke this morning eating a Snickers bar!  LOL!  Figured why not?  They were in shock that Mommy let them split a Snickers for an after breakfast snack!  And I am still in shock over allowing it Haha! 
My lesson is LEARNED.
I will control myself and understand that I need to let them fail and pick themselves up and keep trying on their own.  I can support and be their biggest fan which I will always be but I will no longer allow MY issues to interfere with their lives...EVER.  
I have learned this through teaching them about healthy living.  At first I wanted NO junk food in the house and on and on...but we must teach them to be in control.  Moderation and they need to learn for themselves that a Snickers every day for breakfast isn't okay but for a "treat"...well, why not?  
My husband and I spent a long time learning how to practice moderation without overindulging and I have confidence that our boys have learned from the best :)  
hahaha, maybe not the best but pretty close??!  



and I'll share a few, post-tummy bug foods that have been helping me gain strength yet stay on track!  Nothing like the good 'ol stomach bug to get ya right beneath your "goal weight" right?!  
WOOHOO!  

Oats with Trader Joe's berry medley and a sprinkle of cinnamon 
Mmmmm!
Terra Grains sprouted bread!  Highly recommend, it's delicious!
With PB & a little strawberry jam
with apple slices
Simple and delicious!  Took 2 minutes so what's not to love about this one

Friday, April 4, 2014

strength

It comes in different forms, doesn't it?

I feel like I work toward my physical strength EVERY day.
I workout, I eat right and I encourage others to do the same.  

My emotional strength...
I definitely have to work on leaving my emotions out of my food choices, but put emotions into my workouts which make me stronger physically...

Yesterday my son had surgery for an issue that has been going on for almost a year.  
I was TERRIFIED.

Strength came in a whole, new form yesterday.

Finding the strength to stay positive and be strong for my son was the TOUGHEST thing I've ever done.
Yes losing weight is HARD, fighting my issues with food is HARD, and motivating others to seek their healthiest life is also HARD but nothing compares to what I went through yesterday...

The surgery would put him under general anesthesia and would be exploratory looking for "something" that would be causing concern and symptoms that we've dealt with since last May.
I always stress the importance of STRENGTH to fight through a workout, to push away those tempting foods that bring us down, to push away those that want to bring us down, and strength to know we are worth fighting for.  

But this...this was different.  
It was a strength I never knew I had.
I had to keep looking my boy in the eye, telling him everything would be okay.  As the doctors walked him away from us, I had to wave and tell him I'd see him in a bit.  Ughhh...my heart was in my stomach.
And the waiting?
OH THE WAITING.
I watched the screen, feeling helpless and fearing that I'd crumble at any moment.
The surgeon called us into the room before we were able to see my boy and he told us "he did great and all was okay."  
Those words...
As parents we put our children first NO MATTER WHAT. 

We sometimes allow small issues to create BIG problems but what for?  Why?

Life is full of opportunities to make us stronger.  To help us realize what is truly important.  

Yesterday's experience tested my strength on a different level.  
I am strong physically and emotionally but having strength when our world feels like it's tumbling down...a little different.  A new fear I had to tackle yesterday and we are all stronger because of it. My boy was in God's hands and although we will work on healing him, it is treatable and okay...the answers we've wanted to hear for almost a year.  
Before changing my life I was great at putting my fears, my doubts and worries into food.  It "fixed" most bad days in an instant only to cause shame and sadness in the days to follow.  
I didn't do that this time.  I relied on my family, my strength that comes from within.  The strength that we earn as a Mother.  A strength I never knew until having my own children.  A strength my mother had for years that I knew nothing about until yesterday.  She was our rock.  Stronger than me at that moment of fear as my son walked through those doors...

Life is a precious gift.  We must work to live our fullest, healthiest life TODAY.
It takes strength and sacrifice, good days and bad but is always worth it.  Always!


I have a fierce and beautiful Move It Momma that shared something with our group the other day.  While she has lost weight, cut her blood pressure meds in half, 
among other milestones on her journey...
She was headed to hear routine choir practice.  It was upstairs and in the past, she would reach the top feeling winded and unable to catch her breath.  She'd take 10-15 minutes to calm down, missing the warm-up but would then proceed with the group.
NOT ANYMORE!
She walked straight up those stairs, warmed up with her group and she was LIVING.
THAT IS WHAT IT'S ABOUT...
Living life.
No more hiding or being afraid.
No more missing out on life's little moments.
We grab it, throw fear out the window, find the strength to keep fighting.


It is about our health.  The health of our families and the way we live each day.
We must take advantage of every moment that life has to offer and we do that best by taking care of our bodies on the inside and out.  I feared change for so long until I finally took control of my life.  I feared for my son yesterday but I knew it was not in my control and I had to find the strength to put my fears aside and be strong for my boy. 
 STRENGTH comes in many forms and it's how we use it that truly helps us become our best!
















Monday, March 31, 2014

a dream...


Those that know me are aware of my passion to help others.  
They saw me struggle with weight from an early age.  
No matter my weight, they always knew me as a fun, full of life girl that always cared about making others smile, even when I was doubting myself on the inside.

When I started losing weight in college, I changed everything in my life.  Although I was on my way to completing my degree in Journalism(which I did finish!), I was finding a new passion.  Something that kept me awake at night and pushing hard throughout the day.  I wanted to know all there was to know about living healthy.  
It was a new feeling for me.  I was able to find accomplishment through pushing my body and mind hard.  I was overcoming my food issues through exercise.  
I was finding healthy foods to crave rather than the fast food I had grown to love for years.  
With my personal changes, I was learning that the road was TOUGH.
It wasn't easy to go at it alone so I reached out for support and while I met great people that were encouraging, I still felt ALONE.

Fast forward to January 2013.  
I allowed life's bumps to grab hold and take control in my life.  Big or small, I allowed them to defeat me which led to weight gain.  
As I've said before, BALANCE must be found and maintained.  
We cannot lose it, find it, lose it, find it again...we must strive to KEEP IT.  
I bounced back in the game and this time I was for real.  
Determined and ready to conquer the world :)

I was on a roll, taking back my life once again I told myself frequently as I lay in bed at night...

I want to create a workout group for women by women that makes each of them feel empowered, strong and like she can do ANYTHING!  I want it to be a place where women feel comfortable, free and a place where they get to put themselves FIRST for a change.  I want to share my story, my struggles and accomplishments with these women so that they are no longer fearful of the journey ahead...
I want ALL women to feel like their goals matter.  
No obstacle is too large if we have one another.  
And them BAM!  My ah ha moment had arrived...

I would call ourselves The Move It Mommas.  
It seemed perfect to go along with my "Move It Momma" name I had made for myself via social media and my website, so now what to do?
I guess I should advertise and see what happens?
Day 1, I had one person show up ready to push hard and WE DID.  It was great.
Day 2, I had another lady show up and we pushed hard that day as well.
It was AWESOME!  No matter if it was 1 or 1,000...I was living my dream or so I thought?

By week 2, they were starting to come and join me.  

A few more weeks and our numbers were steadily growing.
We were having FUN!  I believe that I made sure the environment was right and that we always encourage NEVER discourage.  
As I say, this road is hard enough as it is, we must support one another and NEVER QUIT!


A Move It Momma's Christmas party?  WHY YES!
We were a group of women that believed in one another so why not celebrate?  
It was a blast and these women are forever in my hearts...all of them.  
Victories big and small should be celebrated and we make sure to do that each day.
Accountability is SO important when it comes to healthy living and weight loss.  We NEED one another to succeed and then as we accomplish our goals, we can congratulate one another and find motivation in each other!

We've had field trips...
MANY field trips and each time it's an adventure!

My cousin, owner of Furia Training Center loves hosting the Move It Momma's on those chilly, rainy days...

This particular day, our kids joined us for a school holiday!  19 children in attendance to either workout or play on the playground while we pushed hard.  
Our children SEE our example.  
We are their role model and they look to us for guidance.
This strong group of women, whether they know it or not, is impacting their families for years to come.

Move It Momma's decided we'd race together too!
Turkey Trot 2013!  
We celebrated Thanksgiving with a 5K race.
For some it was their first race, for others they just wanted to get out there and have FUN!
And FUN we had...obviously t-shirts were made as well!  Yay the birth of our Move It Momma tee!  

Some days we have TOO many Momma's and we gotta squeeze in to get a workout!  But we don't mind.  As long as we're moving and motivating one another with a smile on our face...that's all that matters!

All of my Move It Mommas are like family to me.  They listen to the stories I tell, and as we share struggles or accomplishments, we ALL listen.  I think that's so important.  Never to pass judgement but to listen.  Working out can be such a huge release.  Our stresses can melt away with an hour calorie burn so we use the time after workout to reflect.  If we need to share our victories or about a bad weekend of junk food splurging...we do.  And we all listen.  

Some have run their first half marathon with our group.  
Or first 10k or 5k!  
We set a goal and we CHASE IT!  
With us it's not about how fast or slow, it's about finishing.  It's about NEVER QUITTING.
I had a track record of giving up on myself for fear of failure.  I was notorious for gaining and losing weight, losing that FIGHT deep inside.  But not now...not anymore.
These women INSPIRE me.
They say I am their leader, their "Head Momma" but they inspire me more than they'll ever know.  Some of these women come to see me four days a week, while others come when they can just to say hello and workout with us on occasion due to busy schedules and life's busy moments!
Regardless, we are a family.
Always willing to let a new woman, a new Momma make their way into our group and lives.  
We impact one another's lives each day.
Through one another, we can see that failure is NOT an option.
We look around and see young, older, tall, short, thin, heavy and we see STRENGTH.
Some days it's enough just committing to walking up to an unfamiliar situation.
Women can be intimidating and mean so we find ourselves on the defense in many situations.
NOT HERE.
I will NEVER allow our group to feel threatened or hurt.  
We will fight every day to better our health, our lives and the lives of our family and friends.  
I set out to make a difference and make their journey just a BIT easier and I hope that I am doing that.  
I love you all, my strong, fearless and beautiful Move It Mommas!!!!
WE WILL NEVER QUIT!  

This group, these women...they make all of those years of being overweight, lacking confidence and fearing EVERYTHING...it was all worth it.  I am able to relate and share my stories with them to somehow make a difference and help them see that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

getting comfortable

-2007 after the birth of our first son:
In 2007 my weight was not where I wanted it to be but I just had a baby...  
We tell ourselves we're pregnant, we'll worry about our weight in 9 months?  Right?
  
I was married to my best friend, had a beautiful baby boy to celebrate and was teaching PE.  
Leading busy lives and full work loads, we ate out A LOT.  

I was having a tough time finding the balance again. 
In 2002 when I first started losing weight and changing my life, I was living alone in college.  It was easy to buy food for myself.  I only had to worry about ME.  I would go to the gym for 2-3 hours, finishing it off with a protein smoothie and a long nap!  ha!  Oh those were the days...
Now I was responsible for my husband and my children (one child at that time) and my balance was way out of whack.  

My husband was commuting an hour or longer to work so his days included lots of fast food lunches and then dinner was almost always death by casseroles.  They were quick, easy and tasty so why not?  Ya know what I'm talking about.  They are smeared all over Pinterest aren't they? 
You dump, mix and bake.  Usually smothered in cheeses and cream of whatever!  Ha!  We LIVED on these creations...and for two people who love to eat, these were a recipe for disaster.  

Of course there were many happy moments and as we were trying to live life, my health was slipping through my finger tips and I was taking my husband with me.  
I was falling into my old ways...what I feared MOST.    
I was not happy with the way that I looked or felt but it was a HUGE improvement from the girl I was in 2001 at the beginning of my journey so I couldn't beat myself up, my path was headed in the right direction but it seemed as though I was stuck on a bump?   

***

Today our lives are VERY different.

Not only have we lost weight and improved our health, we've also found our BALANCE.
It's what works for us.  Our balance may not be yours, we should each seek our own.  Finding motivation through as many people as possible that can help and relate to what we're feeling and trying to accomplish.   
My husband and I are both 110% focused on our goals, healthy living for ourselves and our children but that has a lot to do with where we started.  

We knew what it was like to gain weight together.  To find ourselves unhealthy together.  
But I also reflect on being the overweight teenager and young adult.  
The girl with little to no confidence so it is what drives me each day.  
I don't want to go back to that place.  I was slowly headed backwards and that is a very uneasy, scary feeling for someone who struggled for too many years to count.  
For my husband, he is driven by that day at the doctors office for his physical.  He was told to return later after finding out his blood pressure was too high to continue the test.  
A routine test was postponed because of his health.  
A scary moment for anyone.  
He chose to change that moment, that day. 

These moments of opportunity present themselves to us often leaving us with a choice.  
To continue living on the same path or to CHANGE?  
To want something more, something better for ourselves.
What path will you choose?

As for getting comfortable?  
GET COMFORTABLE WITH FEELING GOOD!
Find comfort in knowing you are being that positive, healthy role model for your children.  
Get comfortable with finding balance in your busy lives.    
Find comfort in helping others live healthy.
GET COMFORTABLE exercising and eating healthy as a family!
GET COMFORTABLE living that healthy, happy life that we all deserve :)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easy to judge?

From the outside looking in we are often quick to pass judgement, aren't we? 
I know that MY STORY is what it is...MINE. Nobody should understand exactly how I feel or the way I felt being overweight and unhealthy so many years of my life. 
Before we judge or criticize, maybe we should take a step back and understand each person...their individual wants, goals and needs. 
For me, THE GIRL pictured below was ME...for too many years to count


To judge that girl would be fairly easy right?
I appeared lazy and unhealthy...
To live my life on the day to day was much different than lazy and unhealthy.  
I was trapped.  Stuck in life as I knew it.  I would go through stages of depression, euphoria through the junk food I ate and then down a rapid spiral of shame that would only send me back to depression once again.  And that's in a nut shell.  
Of course I flipped back and forth between my weight and size but the point is...I STRUGGLED. 
I STILL STRUGGLE and fight my battles with food and exercise every day. 
The moments I remember most were the ones where I felt ashamed of my weight.  The times where people I loved most doubted me and my capabilities.  It hurt and I would put that feeling into food.  It was like a therapist for me, I guess.  Sad but true.  Something I do NOT recommend.  

And as the weight has come off I have found ME again.  The happy, full of life person that I was trying to be, yet would find myself shadowed by that "fat girl" image that I couldn't shake.  
While healthy living is a HUGE passion in my life, I'm still ME. 
Same girl yet more free and healthy ;) so the feeling I get from many is that because I chose to change MY life that I judge others that do not. 
This assumption couldn't be further from the truth. I do not and will not judge ANYONE.  
My family and friends still impact my life and are the reason I love living life each day. I guess I feel like people feel as though health and fitness is the ONLY thing I care about and that is not true. Yes, I lay in bed at night thinking of ways to change our world, to help ALL people live healthy (cheesy but true!) but I would never and will never stop caring about someone because of their lifestyle choice! EVER! I know the ones I know best understand that but for those that are quick to judge, I want all to know I am still Marissa.  

Every pound I have gained and lost was through hard work, dedication and motivation and because of that, I feel like I can relate and help others do the same.  I have no magic pill or suggestion, I can only offer what I studied in college, what I go through each day and how I overcome it!  I can provide that support system that some so desperately need.  I can provide a shoulder to cry on when we've given up on ourselves or sold ourselves short in the life we've been leading...
and with my experience working with children, I can help mothers engage with their children when it comes to being healthy, making healthier choices and being active.  

My way is not for everyone, but I do think no matter what healthy lifestyle path we take, it takes us in a positive direction, encourages us and celebrates all of our accomplishments, big and small.  
Some of my Momma's are dealing with jealousy from family and friends who are not wanting them to succeed and while I find this SO troubling, I understand because I have been there. Never judge a person or criticize them for seeking a healthier way of life. How awful. If you are frustrated with YOUR road ahead and lack of progress, it doesn't matter. We should always want a healthy life for ourselves AND others. 
While my Momma's receive 95% compliments and encouragement from their hard work and healthy changes, the "haters" still seem to steal the spotlight, right? 
WHY IS THAT? 

The best advice I can offer is...
Keep your chin up, let those that doubt you make you stronger-help you push harder every day!
Some days I workout and eat healthy for ME, some for my family and a lot of times it's for the ones that doubt me.  Sadly it works well.  It fuels me and gives me one heck of a calorie burn.  
We should always want what is best for the people that we love most, so ask yourself if your comments to a loved one will encourage or discourage them before you speak.  For a person who held a lot of shame and guilt inside for MANY years, it never helps when we discourage one another...ever.  Don't be that person.  

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