Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  Jack Canfield   

It is natural for most people to have fears or phobias.  Rather we let our fears control us or we
conquer our fear is completely up to us. 

I can only speak for myself, and I can say that I let my many fears control my life instead of taking the bull by the horn.  I was scared for so long of making mistakes and wrong choices for my life.  It took so long for me to make decisions some times, that the opportunities would pass before I deciding I wanted it. 

The end of last year, I had finally had enough with my health and physical shape being so out of shape.  That is when I decided to get the help I much needed and signed up for the FIT Challenge and started working with my trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength. 

There were only six months as part of FIT for us to get my health back on track.  Six months is not  a long time considering how out of shape I was.  It seriously was like we were fighting against time to get me away from deaths door. I knew that if I continued down the path I was on, that I would not have much time left.

Its been about three months since the FIT Challenge has ended for me.  I am still in the gym most days, sometimes twice a day.  Its been amazing to have a place to go when I need to release negative energy. 

I will be honest though, the past month I've had to start working out with Ryan again because I needed help refocusing.  It had been a struggle for me to be on my own and not getting the results that I wanted or needed to get to my goal weight.  Though I have continued to lose, even without Ryan, I need the accountability that he provides, as well as the guidance and advice.

In the last workout I had with Ryan, it was a struggle for me.  Even with him pushing me, I was not getting where I needed to be or should have been.  Ryan looked at me, and told me, "You have to stop cheating yourself.  Your better than this, you deserve better than what your giving yourself."  It was frustrating to hear because, ultimately, I knew he was right. 

I had thought long and hard about what he had said.  So often, especially women, we tend to cheat ourselves for what ever reason.  For myself, I know that all though I wanted a lot of things I never went after them because I believed the lies others told me about not being good enough, or I was afraid to take the risk.

What it all comes down to, is that we have to have faith in ourselves, and believe in our dreams and goals, even if others don't believe in it.  We have to live with ourselves on a daily basis and the choices we make. We have to do what is right for us no matter what.  If we want to move forward in life, we have to over power our fears and conquer them head on.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Motivation comes from looking at the things you what and realizing what it takes to get it." Unknown

There are may different reasons why individuals want to lose weight and get healthy.  For myself, I had the AHA moment when my youngest sister graduated high school.  The picture I saw of the two of us, is when I finally realized just how big I had gotten.  It was in that moment, I saw the person everyone else was seeing. 

From the mental aspect, we don't see our physical bodies in the same way others see us.  In saying this, during this physical transformation that I am going through, I know that in losing over one-hundred pounds, my body is going to look a lot different than what it did when I started.  However, mentally,  I still see the much larger frame compared to the one I have now. 

During my weight loss journey, my wardrobe has changed several times over because my sizes have changed so rapidly.  Most of the clothes have not stayed in my closet for more than a few weeks.  When your losing weight this fast, it is hard to keep up with it at times.  Right now, I am very grateful to friends, like Ginger and Erica, who have given me clothes or gift cards during my physical transition.    Its been a true blessing, and that, I am most grateful.

Most women, and I mean most, LOVE to shop.  I am not one of them.  Personally, I would rather be get my tooth pulled, its much less painful  than shopping.  I can't imagine how many of the grey hairs my mom has are because of trying to shop for me as a child because I am that difficult to buy clothes for. 

This past year, its been even harder for me, because I have to shop the clearance racks. Don't get me wrong.  I love clearance racks, and have always shopped off of them.  Its just harder now, because the sizes that I need, are not always there.  Plus, I am not crazy about the idea of ever wearing prints, lace or off the wall colors or cuts.  Personally, I like to stick with simple, classic and basic cuts and styles that can be used for multi-purposes.  Garments that could transition from ready to wear to evening wear if needed.

When I am out shopping, I have gotten to the point that I need somebody with me.  Why?  Because they need to pull me away from the racks that I used to wear.  Mentally, I still see the old version of myself, and having a friend with me, helps keep me in perspective. 

The other day, while working out with my trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength, we were talking about shopping.  We were discussing my size.  I told him the size shirt that I was wearing, and he was like, "Yea, that is way to big on you.  This is what you should be wearing...."  (Sorry Brandi, your not getting my size today.)  I thought Ryan was wrong.  So afterwards, I went to the mall and tried clothes on to see who was right.  Needless to say, it was a bittersweet moment.  The size that I was able to wear, was much smaller than I was in January, yet, I had to admit to Ryan that he was right, once again. 

This week, I knew it was time for me to start shopping for more clothes because everything is getting to loose on me for it to look good, even with a belt.  At this time, I am just buying, the basic necessities in very limited quantities until my weight is where it will stay.  Most likely, I'll just buy a couple pair of dress pants, some button up blouses and a sweater. 

The sweaters, have become one of my favorite things this year to wear.  Seriously, I am always cold now because my built in installation is gone.  I used to joke with friends about how I was always hot, now, it seems like I am getting cold all the time. 

As I continue to lose, and my weight eventually stabilize, hopefully it will be easier for me to shop because I won't have to replace items so fast, and I'll get to accessorize more.  It is my hope, that I will eventually leave stores with more than frustrations and tears. 

Before I close, I want to wish Godspeed to the current FIT Challengers tomorrow as they will be participating in the Fright FIT 5K at the Norwalk Reservoir.  Race time is at 10 am, so if you are free, please go out and support them, and run or walk with them.  I know how much it meant to me when I ran it back in May with my group.  The support from the community is special and really does mean a lot. 

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Goals are like stepping-stones to the stars.  They should never be used to put a ceiling or a limit on achievement. -Denis Waitley

With all things in life, it is important to set goals, and strive to meet those goals with all that we have within our souls.

For myself, it was important to me that I lose weight so that I could get to a healthy weight.  I knew that by continuing down the path I was, that it was killing myself.  Being a prisoner trapped in my own body was not fun at all. 

I wanted to get out and live life again, and was willing to do what ever it took to get there.  Even if it meant I had to walk to the gym in knee deep snow, in sub-zero temperatures to go see my trainer, I was willing to make what ever scarifies it took to get the results I needed in the fight for my health. 

There are so many things in life that we take for granted.  It happens, its part of life.  There's a quote that says, "What you take for granted, somebody is praying for." Unknown.

When I weighed over 300 pounds, my mobility and flexibility were limited.  Rarely would I ever bend over to pick something up without losing my breath or even walking up a flight of stairs.  Going to the movies or out to eat with friends was about the only thing I did before FIT. 

Its not fun shopping with friends when they are half your size because they can shop for the cute clothes that get you dates.  While I had to order my clothes online, or buy them at JCPenney in the Big and Tall section of the men's department store.  Not enjoyable when you want to date and look cute also.  Plus, lets be realistic, the clothes for Plus Sized women are not cute nor or some of them well made.

This year, since losing a lot of weight, I have actually been able to go out and do a lot more things socially as well.  It still makes me skiddish some days because I have always been shy.  However,  its been fun to go to Soak City and Cedar Point with friends. Previously when I would go to Cedar Point, I would just watch the Live Shows or babysit belonging's or kids. 

One of my goals when FIT started for me was to get on a roller coaster.  Less than two weeks before FIT ended, on the spur of the moment, my friend, Casey and I went over to Cedar Point one evening and rode Maverick.  It was the perfect night, and by far, my favorite memory of the summer.  It was unplanned, with the person who was my inspiration in starting my journey, and with no fuss, cameras or stress.  It was just two friends getting together and doing something fun, while making memories.

I will always be thankful for FIT being part of my life.  Without the opportunity, God only knows how much longer I had left.  Learning to love myself enough to get healthy has been such an amazing gift.  I am eternally grateful that Ryan was my personal trainer also.  For with out his patience, guidance and tough love, I would not be the lady I am now, or on my continued journey to an even better person.

I sincerely look forward to the future to see where this journey takes us and what other opportunities will arise because of it. 

When you walk up to opportunities door, don't knock...Kick it in, smile and introduce yourself.  Dwayne Johnson

Saturday, October 11, 2014


"Accountability is the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them to disclose the results in a transparent manner." Unknown

When working towards a long term goal, it is important to have a great support system that you are being held accountable to.  Have a mentor or somebody that is going to keep on you to make sure you are doing what you need to be doing, no matter how hard it is.

 Not just somebody who is going to hold your hand and say its okay when we mess up, but somebody who is going to push us further during those hard moments when we feel like giving up. 

Before I started the FIT Challenge in January, I had a great support system built in around me who was all on board with me who wanted to see me get the help that I so desperately needed to lose weight.  However, I knew all too well, that I needed somebody outside of the support system who was actually going to hold me accountable to my goals and not be afraid to yell at me. 

Knowing the type of person that I am, I knew it was going to take somebody who was even more strong willed and stubborn than I am to get through to me.  I needed somebody who was going to keep on my case, and yet be able to listen to what I was going through, even when I wasn't sure how to express it. 

Thankfully, when I started FIT and had met Ryan Rose, over at Health and Strength, I got exactly what I wanted in the accountability department and then some.  Every step of the way, Ryan has been there to make sure that I am doing the right thing. 

Even I didn't want to hear what he was saying, I knew in the end, he was right because the choices I had made previously were all wrong.  This is obvious because otherwise I would not have been in the position to begin with where I needed his help.

No matter the dream, or the goal, it is important to have somebody by our sides who is going to hold us accountable.  Our dreams mean nothing if we are not working towards them, or have somebody who gets excited with us as we get that much closer to achieving them. 

During our workouts, while talking with Ryan, I would tell him about things I would notice that were happening in my life, that I had not done before.  Even when we would notice that I was able to do an exercise better or faster than before.  These were things that I could tell Ryan was happy with, and proud of. 

In those moments, seeing him happy, it made me want to work that much harder towards my goals.  Although, ultimately, I knew we were working towards my long term health goals, letting him down was not an option because my choices and decisions are a reflection of him. 

Ryan put in a lot time and made sacrifices that I don't even know about to help me. Even now, two months post FIT, Ryan is still giving me advice and telling me what I need to be doing in the gym. I put in a lot of effort on my part to make sure that not only did I achieve my goals, but to make him proud also. 

Having somebody there to be hold accountable to and knowing that I had to answer to Ryan, had made all the difference in the world to me.  It meant I couldn't back out or walk away like I had done before.  Because it meant walking away from him and his efforts to.  Giving up on my trainer and walking away from it was not an option because I believed in him that much, even when it got hard.

I'll always be grateful to Ryan and the time that he made for me. 

It does not matter our goals or dreams.  We need to go after them.  It is important also that we tell somebody about them who is going to help us get there.  They will keep on us and get excited about all of it with us.  Go full force ahead with your dreams!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fall!  One of my favorite times of year.  Hoodies.  Jeans.  Football.  Tailgates.  Bonfires.  S'mores.  Apple.  Pumpkins.  Stew.  Perfect time to be outdoors to enjoy the weather before the temps start to cool down and that white stuff starts flying in. 

Fall is also that time that people start to settle into comfort routines, where they are less active because of the outdoor temperatures decreasing.  Our food intake also increases during the fall and winter months.  Some times we turn to processed or comfort foods because we don't feel like cooking or taking the time to prepare a healthy meal.  I am very guilty of this. 

Fall and winter also provides a lot of opportunities with kids activities and holiday parties for the snacks and junk food to come out.  Its hard to turn down school or other activity fundraisers when the kids come knocking on your door. 

For myself, once the weather starts to get cooler, I get excited.  I love this time of year.  That's when all the pumpkin spice and apple flavored stuff comes out.  I LOVE pumpkin flavored anything!!! The other day, a friend of mine posted on Facebook a photo of pumpkin flavored Oreo's.

God best be giving me some strong will power should I ever see those in the store.  It will be the death of me because I have little self-control when it comes to Oreo's, let alone anything pumpkin flavored. I re-posted it only for the accountability so that I don't resort to buying. 

Since January, my food choices and dietary intake has improved greatly.  Even now, two months post F.I.T. Challenge, its getting better for me, where I have lost more weight since my final weigh in with Mr. Muscles.  Recently, I hit a major milestone that I've been working towards which excited me greatly, as well as my trainer.  (I love when I can make that man proud and happy.)

However, food is still a struggle for me at times.  It happens.  I am human.  Those days can and will happen.  Unlike other addictions like drugs and alcohol, those of us who battle food on a daily basis, we have to eat to live.  Its a learning process and take it one day at a time.  We are changing our relationship with food and re-learning how to function properly on a balanced diet. 

When I met Mr. Muscles,  he changed everything in my life that affected it negatively.  He didn't budge with any of it and made me deal with it, no matter how hard I tried to hang on to what was holding me back.  Seriously, it took a lot of yelling and pushing to get through to me.  In the end, I knew it was better to let go of the past in order to have a much better present life and even greater future.

The biggest thing that was changed was my diet.  On day one, Ryan cut out all pork, red meat, sugar, processed foods, no shell fish, carbs, pop and junk food.  My food options were limited to white meat only,  veggies and fruit and complex carbs in the morning.  He told me that during the course of the week, I am allowed one cheat meal.  Not a cheat day, but one meal...a week. 

Mr. Muscles also stressed the importance of me eating 5-7 times a day, healthy, smart meals, and to keep those meals under 1800 calories within the day.  He was also very strict about me never skipping a meal.  That was a major issue at times within the course of busy days when its hard to squeeze in time to eat.  Those times, Ryan said  to have a small apple or protein shake handy so that my body has something in it until I could eat something. 

Getting the diet right was a struggle.  However, we got there.  Some days I still struggle.  That's okay from time to time as long as we get back with the plan and don't beat ourselves up over it.  Mistakes and bad days happen.  Its life.  The long term goal is going to be worth it.

Inside of the gym, the trainers can help us to the best of their ability and teach us so much about exercise and nutrition.  Its what we do outside of the gym with our diets where it counts.  Its the efforts that we put into it, where we get the initial results in the end.  The efforts we put into the gym with our trainers are wasted if we leave afterwards and go eat crap we know we aren't supposed to have. 

For me personally, I can say Mr. Muscles worked just as hard as I did to help me on our journey during FIT.  Even now, he still guides me and has been so supportive of the process.  It makes me feel better knowing that I've gained a friend through there, and that means a lot.

As we creep further into fall and into winter, I honestly am a bit scared and nervous that I am going to go back to some old habits with my diet.  More than ever, I am determined to stick with the plan that has been put in place.  There will be lots of temptations, this I know, but the end result, will be so worth when we come out the other side of it.

"We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking up at the stars" - Oscar Wilde


Saturday, September 27, 2014

"Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work." -Vince Lombardi

Each of us have a revolving door of people coming in and out of lives.  Some people stay short term, others stay for long periods of time.  Regardless, the relationship we have with each person offers a very valuable lesson, that we often times, can and should, pass on to others.  Each relationship is different, special and unique and should not be compared to others. Even the relationship we have with ourselves is important. 

For myself personally, this year, by far, the most important person and relationship I have is the one I have with my personal trainer, Ryan Rose at Health & Strength.  Very early upon meeting him, I knew that this man was going to be able to help me get my life back on track, and that he was forever changing my life for the better.  I tell people often, that Ryan has saved my life.

When a person decides to enlist the help of a trainer, regardless of the reason, the gym or who the trainer is, the relationship that you share with them is important to your success in your journey.  It could make the difference in success or failure. 

On Facebook recently, some of us were talking about our relationships with trainers and clients and what makes them work and why they are so important.  Everyone had different things to say, however were all pretty much in agreement with each other about what was being said. The common things that were being said, was that there needs to be trust, honesty and respect between the two.  Those are basic principals that are key in all relationships.

When I was talking to Ryan about this topic, he says its very important that there is that accountability there as well, and to show the clients that you can have fun while working out as well.  Within my relationship with Ryan, the accountability was definitely there and he kept on me daily about EVERYTHING, regardless of how small or stupid I thought it was. 

Also, there was never any question in my mind about how things were going in our workouts and our progress.  Ryan was very upfront and honest with me.  When he was mad, upset, happy and proud, I knew about it.  It took a lot more for me to show my frustrations with Ryan and open up to him with my struggles, and to be completely honest with him about everything. 

Even the things that I didn't think mattered.  However, once I was able to be completely honest with him, and share certain secrets with him I had not shared with others, the process got much easier for us.  Ryan had told me at one point that in order for him to help me, I had to open up to him.  By not opening up to him, it was preventing the progress that we needed for me to get healthy. 

Ken Cutcher who is a trainer at Anytime Fitness in Huron, Ohio, posted on my Facebook in the discussion, "It's important to develop a relationship of trust and respect.  In coaching you have to genuinely care about the people you are helping.  The client must also be willing to be coached.  you cannot help people that do not want to change."

When  we decide to make changes in our life and seek the help of others, its important to be fully committed to the process as much as possible, so that your not wasting the time of those trying to help.  The conversations that I've had with my trainer, the other trainers who participate in the FIT Challenge and their clients, I know that each trainer is completely committed to helping others improve the quality of life and sincerely care about the individuals they are helping.  Its not just a pay check for them, there is a lot of sincerity and passion that drives each of the trainers in helping clients, and knowing how to push each one further.

Mark, is a guy I met very early in the FIT Challenge that I have  a lot of respect for.  He said, "You have to listen to the trainer...and eating is the most important part...if you follow his/her advice you'll see results...the trainer  can do everything to help you at they gym...but if you eat crap and don't exercise consistently your doomed."

Listening to our trainers is very important in the process.  For myself, it took some adjusting to getting the diet right.  In the beginning of the Challenge, it was hard because I thought I was doing it right, when in reality I wasn't getting correct until I made Ryan make me a sample meal plan so that I could have something to go off of. Once I had that, it made things much better because I wasn't getting yelled at in the gym nearly as often for my dietary choices. 

If your somebody who is looking for a trainer to help you on your journey, that relationship is important.  Its key in your success.  Not all  personalities are going to mesh well, and one trainer may be able to get through to you where another is not able to.  Be open, honest and willing to work hard for your trainer, because they put a lot of time into helping.

For myself, I can say that I am very happy and feel blessed to have Ryan as my trainer.  There truly is not somebody at this moment in time that I am more grateful to have met. 

I saw our relationship as a team, and there was very little that I did not run by him first.  I was very adamant about talking to him about everything, even social settings,  because I knew my decisions and choices are a reflection of the man trying his best to help me.  Ryan has always been good to me, and somebody I respect, even when it was hard.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."  Unknown. 

Each person has their own habits routines that they do within their lives.  When something happens that person that brings them out of their comfort zone, it seems as if their whole world falls apart. 

When I signed up for the FIT Challenge, I did it because I was desperate for help.  I knew my health and life depended on taking full advantage of the opportunity before me.  Even  knowing that personal, intimate information would be shared with the readers of  the Sandusky Register, I did it anyway.  I chose to go public with my weight loss journey because I knew it couldn't be done on my own. 

With that being said, I do want to say this.  One of my biggest struggles, has been all the attention that has come with the FIT Challenge.  Doing such a personal, private struggle on a public scale has been very hard for me because I am used to trying to keep certain things private and close to heart. 

It threw me completely out of my comfort zone knowing that I was being accountable to a personal trainer, who was going to take measurements and weigh me in.  Eventually, I got used to being around my trainer, and the other members of the gym, and became open with them.  The gym became a safe zone,  a place I felt I could openly be myself over time. 

A few select friends, family, my trainer and members at the gym, I could be very open with about my weight loss journey.  They have witnessed first hand the transformation that has literally taken place before their eyes. 

What is hard, is when strangers come up to me and starts to ask me about my journey.  Telling my story is not the issue.  I enjoy talking with people and hope that perhaps my story inspires someone else, just like my friend inspired me with his.  However, the hard part is when they ask very personal questions that I am not willing to share. 

There are times when I struggle with how much of my private life I am willing to share with the readers, and those who approach me with questions.  Some days, I am more than willing to share and answer questions.  I do understand that others are in the same boat and want to know how they to can jump start their journey. 
For myself, I am not comfortable disclosing my weight to people.  I never liked it, however, I allowed it for the sake of the FIT Challenge since that was the whole purpose.  That is a personal battle still I am trying to over come on my own now.  The weight is still coming off, even after FIT ending.  Learning how to be on my own is  a struggle, since I don't have to report back to Mr. Muscles anymore.  The important thing, is that the transition is still in progress.
To those who ask, "Do you feel better?"  This is a tricky question to answer, and one most don't get when I respond.  I never felt sick before.  I also had never been at a healthy weight to know the difference.  I just knew I was a big girl who needed help in the worst way. 
Yes, I notice that I can do more things now I couldn't do before.  Like running 5K's, holding a child on my lap, bending over to pick something up.  These are little things most take for granted.  I couldn't do those before.  That feels amazing to me.  Its a process that will take time to get used to. 
I do have a request for readers.  Bare in mind, that when you talk to a FIT Challenger, past or present, keep in mind that we are normal folks.  We try to live our life as normal as possible during and post FIT.  Not all of us are willing to share everything while some are.  I realize we signed up for this, and everyone is going to be curious.  Please allow us the space if we need it if we are not sure how to respond to certain questions. 
I know me personally, I do appreciate the support and encouragement from others.  I also like to hear from others about their journeys and get excited with them when they do well.  I wish the new Challengers Godspeed on their journeys and hope the readers follow them as they progress in their lives as well.
Its truly brought me out of my comfort zone as readers have watched me transform my life into a much healthier one.  However, if it can help me be better, and possibly help others, I am all for it.  Its just learning how to balance both worlds and knowing what to share and how to answer without offending people.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Setting Goals

"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes." Andrew Carnegie

We all have issues we struggle with in life. My struggles were obvious to the rest of the world because my weight got out of hand.  Standing slightly over 5"2 and weighing over 300 lbs. it was obvious to the world I struggled with my diet.  There were times I was letting food control my life instead of controlling the food.

My  relationship with food and exercise started to change last year because of the personal relationships with other people. With out these few people in my life, I can not imagine what my life would be like now.

When I signed up for the FIT Challenge, my goals were more than just a lady wanting to lose weight and get healthy.  It was about getting my life back and learn how to live life again and stop hiding from the rest of the world.  I no longer wanted to be invisible to others and be more social.

For so long, despite being a heavy lady, and often the biggest person in the room, at the same time, I very much felt like the most invisible person.  Often being left of group outings fun because I could not physically do what ever it was my friends were doing or just not keep up. 

I found myself spending  a lot of time alone and going to restaurants alone.  Often I was lying to myself saying that I was okay with the way life was.  When in reality, I was crying myself to sleep most nights because I felt lost and alone and unloved, even when surrounded by a lot of people.

When I started to work out with Ryan, it was the first time that I was starting to get excited about life again. The days that I would go to the gym to work out with Ryan, were always ones I looked forward to because I knew he held the key to my getting healthy.. Despite some days being more difficult than others emotionally or physically, I still showed up giving Ryan all that I had and tried my best not to let him down.

In the months since meeting Ryan, and even since the FIT Challenge ending, I can honestly say that I feel like a completely different person all together.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. 

One of the most important things that I've learned is setting small goals along the way, so that I don't get discouraged with the bigger goal.  It has made the journey much better and manageable for me.  In the past, I believe one of the reasons the diet attempts didn't work was because I just saw the bigger picture, and not the small steps along the way. 

Despite that I still have a long way to go, I am very happy with the progress that I have made to get healthy.  Its been an amazing journey of wellness and self discovery along the way.  I am excited about the person that I am yet to be when this is all over and the different expierences that I will encounter along the way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"The only failure is not to try." George Clooney.

One of my biggest struggles in this challenge is getting the diet down when out in social settings, and being scared that when I'm some where unfamiliar, there will not be anything I am able to eat.

For this reason, I have withheld going out a whole lot in social settings where food is going to be involved.  Not that I want to be anti-social, I just don't want to sabotage my diet, and all the hard work that has been put into my journey with one bad meal.

With enough notice, I normally consult with my trainer, Ryan Rose of Health & Strength, and get his opinion on my options.  I want to be able to enjoy life while making these healthy, life style changes.  Its important for me to use Ryan's expertise during this process and seek out his guidance when I am unsure of things.

This proved to be quite helpful when I went to the Cleveland Indians game last Sunday.  So I went to the game with some friends, instead of waiting until the F.I.T Challenge was over.

Ryan suggested eating the gluten free hot dogs they have at Progressive Field,  but to also research other options as well.  I did do my research on what is served at the ball park, and found a few places that served healthy food.

I settled for the Gluten Free hot dog Ryan had suggested.  I did away with the bun and bit into the hot dog and all I tasted with salt.  Long before I ever met Ryan, I had very little to do with salt, and have never liked it.  I don't buy it for any reason. 

Having to finish the hot dog was hard, only because I envisioned Ryan yelling at me, again, about the importance of not skipping meals.  (Yes, he gets on my case about that, a lot. Skipping meals is bad for the metabolism. Especially when you are trying to lose weight.)

I still struggle daily with the food.  Most days I win those battles because I want to win this war for my life. 

In this F.I.T Challenge, speaking for myself only, the only person I am trying to defeat is my old self.  Getting rid of her old eating and physical habits are both key components in this.  The most important is the mental aspect of it and believe that  I am able to make these positive changes because I am worth it. 

This past week, when my feature ran in the newspaper, Ryan had said that I was doing amazing, and that I was an inspiration to him, the staff and members at the gym.

Yes, I am putting in a lot of effort into this for myself to get healthy.  However, I can only do as well as what my trainer is teaching me to do.  He has taught me so much and has been completely amazing throughout this process.

Ryan has been such a great inspiration to me and been my biggest cheerleader through out this journey, despite how difficult it has been at times. Thank you for always having my back!

The other staff and members of the gym,  I truly do appreciate all your kind words, support and always being so encouraging.  I am thankful for each you more than you know.  You inspire me greatly. By working out next to so many wonderful people, it gives me hope and motivates me that there is a better lifestyle for me on the other side as I make this transition in my life. 

I rarely speak of my job during this journey for reasons beyond my control.  However I do want to say thank you to each and every person that has been so kind these last few months.  The list of names is to long for me to mention you individually.

The support and encouragement from the management, staff and co-workers has meant a lot to me.  I do appreciate the patience of my direct manager who has been so supportive of this whole process.  You are a Godsend and I appreciate all you have done to allow me to spend much of mornings with at the gym with my trainer.

To the other contestants:  Godspeed my friends!  Looking forward to see you all at the 5K on May 25. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Time Mangement

"Ask yourself, if what you are doing today, is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?" Unknown.

Most people in life have a set of short and long term goals they would like to achieve.  In order to get to their end result, they must take action and plan accordingly. 

Practicing great time management toward these goals are a key ingredient in getting there.  Regardless of what the goal is. 

I have found this to be incredibly true in my journey to a healthier me. 

Relearning how to be active again, physically, and eating well are both important parts of this process. 

However, so is planning out our days for healthy meals and activities, as well as other commitments are also important. 

Trying to balance work, my sessions with my trainer, additional gym time and adult responsibilities and free time activities can be challenging. 

I've heard a saying often in life, that if it is important to us, we will make time for it. 

This past week, I've been told that I was crazy, insane and many other adjectives for waking up at 3:30 A.M. to go to the gym and work out.  This, was a challenge for me, because I am not a morning person by any stretch. 

However, it was something that I saw as important because my body has gotten used to working out five or six days a week and is adjusting to the new me that I am slowly becoming.  Also, there are times, going that early is the only time I have free because of other commitments through out the day.

I have also found it easier to plan my grocery list and meal plans ahead of time now.  That way I don't have to worry about what I am eating and how many calories are in those meals.

I've also added a lot snacks to my grocery list as well for those cravings in between meals.  Snacks like apples, celery, rice cakes and peanut butter. 

This week, I had the pleasure of going through my closet and getting rid of three-fourths of my clothes.  By getting rid of those clothes, it does not leave any room for me gain any of it back. 

Plus, mentally, I think it will help me on the physical journey to show how much progress that I have made so far and give hope for the future.

One of my biggest challenges will occur between my turning this blog in, and it being published.  I'm going to a Cleveland Indians game with a group of friends.  It will be the first time in over seven years since I've been to an Indians game. 

The challenge will be finding healthy options and sticking to my diet, not skipping my frequent meals and still have fun.  It will just take some careful planning on my part to make sure I stick to the diet. Stay tuned next week to see how well I did.  Go Tribe!

To my trainer Ryan Rose at Health and Strength.  Thank you for being part of this journey with me, and my story.  You have taught me so much, and I do listen even when you think I don't hear what your telling me.  You'll always be my little angel!

To my fellow Challengers: Godspeed on your journey, and stay focused.  I am so proud of all of you. 

To the residents of Erie County who read this: Please come to the F.I.T. 5K on May 25.  You don't have to be a runner, just come out and join us.  It would be great to have as many people as possible running through the streets of Sandusky. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Comfort Zones

Comfort zones!  They are being wrapped up in a blanket by the fire on a cold winter's day.  As nice as those moments are, there comes a time we know that we must get up, and change our position and do something else. 

By participating in the F.I.T. Challenge, it has brought me out of my comfort level more than I ever imagined. It has also provided me with the accountability that I very much needed in my life.  Which has been a tremendous blessing in my life.

For myself, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking my weight loss journey public was the step that was necessary for me to get healthy.  This is not just a challenge for me, it is a life changing journey.

At this point in time, we are over three months into this challenge.  (Really, we are half-way through already??) Food is still a struggle for me at times.  It is a matter of over coming all the temptations, cravings and peer pressure and reaching for the healthier options instead. 

In the very early stages of the challenge, I told Ryan, I noticed I was stopping to think about my food choices more often.  He told me, "If you have to think about it, your answer should be, "No, don't eat it!"  So, that has been what I've been following when I'm not sure.

Almost every Friday, the last thing that Ryan tells me at the end of our workouts is, "Make sure you eat good this weekend!"  He also has to remind me how important it is for me not to skip meals.  I'm supposed to eat 5-7 times a day.  There are days it is difficult to remember to eat that often, especially on busy days. 

Once a week I'm allowed to have cheat meal, where I can eat anything I want to, within reason.  It is very hard for me to cheat.  The times that I want  to, my friends remind me that this is a complete lifestyle change, not just a temporary trial period.  It is something I have to do for the rest of my life.

One day, I stopped by the Subway that's close to the gym to eat in between workouts.  One of the ladies working had mentioned that she had seen my trainer and I in the paper. She had also told me that my trainer stops in often to grab something to eat sometimes. So, when ever I go in there now, she almost always starts to get my salad ready for me. 

One day, there was a new guy there working with her.  This guy had asked if I'd wanted croutons for my salad.  She looked at him and laughed, and replied, "NO!  She does not want croutons. She is on a diet, and she and her trainer are in the paper.  She also does not want a pop or chips either." 

This lady, as well as the other employee's at that Subway are why I like stopping there to eat.  They help keep me accountable for journey.  Though they don't know me well, they know my desire to get healthy. 

I do want to say, that I truly value the time, commitment and knowledge that Ryan has provided me during this challenge.  I'll be forever grateful to him because he has been a key factor in saving my life.  Yes, he is hard on me, and makes me do things I don't want.  There are days I get frustrated and am in tears.  However, I would not want him to go easy on me.  I would not want another trainer for this because I believe he is the best person for me to teach me a better, healthier ways.

I'm also thankful and appreciative to the rest of the staff at Health and Strength, and the other members.  Thank you for allowing me to work out there! Bo, thank you for always being so kind and helpful!  The other members of the gym are all supportive of each other, and are encouraging. 

Though I am being forced out of old habits and my comfort zones, deep down I know that it is for the better.  Its making me a much better person, on so many levels.  I can honestly say that now, I am a completely different person than what I was just a few months ago. 

In signing off, I do want to wish Godspeed to my fellow contestants.  You are all amazing people and I am thankful to have met each of you.  Keep up the hard work.  In the end, it doesn't matter who has won, because we've all won our health back and a new lifestyle to pass on to others! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Santa Deliver's Gifts

Just before Christmas, I was asked by "Santa" what I wanted. I replied, "Not much. Just for the Register to pick me as a contestant for the F.I.T. Challange. (There was one other wish, but I won't mention it because it doesn't apply.) Santa must of thought I was a really good girl this past year because I received both things.

Since finding out that I was accepted to partcipate in F.I.T., I have been humbled, blessed and surprised with how much support I have received from everyone. As soon as I found out, I posted the link from the Sandusky Register to my facebook. Withing the first couple minutes my facebook started "blowing up" so to speak. It shocked me at how much support and encouragment I was getting from people. I was deeply touched.

I am really excited that I am at Health and Strength Gym. The staff has been great, and really nice. The other members there that I've met while there are just amazing people. They are really encouraging and helpful.

My trainer, Ryan, has been great so far. He's been really nice, but also extreamly intense. Which is a good thing for me. I need somebody who is willing to be intense with me and not be afraid to yell at me and hurt my feelings. Knowing that my life is in his hands, and that I have to listen and be accountable to him has made me stop and rethink my decesions outside of the gym.

My family is really excited that I am finally getting the help I need to get me back to the physical shape I need to be in to live a more productive lifestyle. Its been frustrating for me not to be able to join my family and friends on fun outings because I am not capable of doing them physically.

It is going to be an intresting six months of re-learning how to live my life the right way. I have complete faith in the system and that it is going to work well. First and foremost, I know I am losing the weight for myself. However, regardless of if I win or not, I want to be able to represent my trainer, my family and friends and my employer well and not let them down.

I'll forever be greatful that Santa gave me the "gift" this year. There is nothing greater than having our health back and having more time with friends and family.

I wish the best of luck to the other contestants as well as we make this journey togather. Godspeed!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Listening To My Heart

There are songs out there that seem so fitting for certain situations in your life.  A song that makes you remember a long, forgotten memory.  A special time, place and person that is frozen in time.  Sometimes that song seems to magically have the answers that you have been searching for in life.  (Well, we know the answers, but fail to see what's in front of us sometimes.)

Admittedly, I will log on to  and listen to some of these songs, just to get them out of my head.  The other day, while on YouTube,  "Listen To Your Heart" by Roxette came across the play list.  It reminded me of my much younger days, and the movie "Pretty Woman" that I used to watch with my mom and sisters.  

At this particular moment in time, "Listen To Your Heart" seems so fitting in so many ways.  There are times in my life, I seem to listen to the wrong things.  I've had the tendency to listen to what others tell me about how I felt, or what I needed to do with my life.  Or I let my brain talk me out of doing something my heart really wanted.  In the end, I've been upset and miserable because I ended up listening to something that was not good for me and made me miserable. 

Although the advice, suggestions and what ever were given with good intentions, it was not something that was fitting for my life.  I had experiences that I may not have had otherwise.  Some of them, even brought me out of my comfort zone.  I am a better person having gone through this life situations.  In the end though, I knew it was the wrong choice for me and that I still had the desire to go after my original choice or plan. 

Making the transition to thinking for myself and not paying attention to what others are trying to tell me about my life is going to be hard.  Yet it is something that is necessary for me to live my life the way it needs to.  Granted, I know there are going to be times that I need to seek advice and counsel from others who are wiser than myself in certain situations.  That is a part of growing up, is admitting when we are wrong and need help. 

Right now, I just have to sift through all the different issues in my life and determine what are my true blue feelings and ideas.  What I want to keep within my life and what to toss out.  What dreams I need to focus on in life to get to where I am supposed to be in life.  I need to start focusing on the dreams and desires that I know will make me happy, and be for the greater good of everyone else. 

This is going to be a hard thing.  Yet I know that it will be worth it in the long run.  To go after my dreams and not be afraid of being held back by fear or what others are telling me.  Yes, I know there are times when I am my own worst enemy.  That bridge will have to be crossed when we get there though.  It will be worth it in the end to listen to what my heart wants.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dining Out Alone or With Friends

Being a single lady, I find it a struggle to cook meals for myself.  Although I don't so much mind left overs, I just don't always like to make a lot of meals ahead of time, and save them for later.  Only because I hate to have the same thing over and over again.  So, I give in, a lot, and go out to eat.  Now mind you, I know it is much, much cheaper for me to stay home and eat.

There are pros and cons to eating out verses dining in.  There are days that I would rather stay home and eat and just not bother dealing with people.  While other days I just crave having something simple, like cereal for dinner or, having dinner for breakfast and don't want judged for it.  While there are days where I want to go out and eat just to be around people. 

There is one place that I love to go eat, and don't mind dining alone.  That is Ruby Tuesdays.  I LOVE that place.  The majority of the time, I will go sit at the bar, and talk with the bartender or strike up a conversation with whom ever is sitting near me.  I've met some amazing people sitting at the bar.  Sitting at a table or both alone, its not always easy to meet people dining when you dine alone. 

One of the reasons that I love going to Ruby Tuesdays, not only do I get great service from them, their healthy options for diners who are trying to control their weight is amazing.  Most other places I go is such a struggle for me, only because I am never sure what to order and I have to study the menu and ask lots of questions about what I can make changes to. 

I love to dine out with my friends.  Though I must confess, it does not happen as much as I'd like it to.  As we have gotten older, its just gotten harder to do things.  Though I know if things are important to you, you will make time for it and there is no excuse for not doing it. 

When I am with friends, my biggest fear is when they ask to sit in a booth. I get embarrassed if I am too big or can't fit at the booth because my stomach is too big.  I really hate it  if we have to be moved to sit at a table.  Most of the time I try to laugh it off as my heart breaks. I normally don't say anything to my friends because I try to make an effort to accommodate their needs as well. 

I love being with my friends and spending time with them. At the same time, there are times when I wish I could find the right person to date.  I really don't spend time with a lot of guys or date much anymore.  It would be nice to start dating again, and just be out there.  Its a little nerve wrecking at times just thinking about it.

I must admit, there is somebody that I am interested in.  This person is AMAZING and I am forever thankful that I have met them.  Despite my feelings for this person, I know there is a good chance they don't feel the same as I.  That is okay though.  I love having friends, and either way, I will be doubly blessed by having this person in my life.  They have been a great aspect and has played a huge role in my life at the present time.  For that, I'll always be thankful. 

Rather or not I eat in or out.  Alone or with others.  We all have to eat, and to learn to eat well. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out With the Old, In With The New

As I sit down to begin this blog, my last blog of 2013, it is nearing mid-night on New Years Eve.  In just over two hours, it will be New Years Eve.  We'll be saying good-bye to a year of ups and downs, and make plans for a fresh new year.  Goals and resolutions will be made and forgotten about.  New friends will be made in the new year, and others will move on because life happens.

This past year has been like no other year that I have experienced at all.  Its been full of ups and downs and interesting turns and twists.  It has definitely put my heart through several types of emotions that I normally do not show in public, let alone admit to.  It has also been a year of extreme growth for me in many different ways.  

One of the biggest joys that I have witnessed this year, was going home in May and watching my youngest sister graduate from high school.  I am so proud of my sister and the path that she is on to success.  She is defiantly one of my rays of sunshine.  Believe me, there are many people who bring sunshine into my life, hers is one of the brightest.  She is one that I end up turning to when I need to share secrets with or ask certain questions when I don't know how to ask one of my friends up here. 

After returning to Sandusky after "Buddy's" graduation, I was looking at the photos I took.  It was when I came across a photo of the two of us that I realized how awful I looked as far as my size.  I knew then that I had a problem and it had to be fixed.  Yes, I know it sounds so cliche and that so many people say they didn't realize how big they were until they see a picture. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I knew I was a "BIG" girl.  I KNEW.  I just didn't want to admit it, and always had the image of me at the size I was when I was still in high school when I was active and still playing sports.  I thought I was still that girl, and could do anything I wanted.   The next day, I went to Weight Watchers and signed up with them to get my weight under control.  That in of itself was huge because I was admitting to somebody else, and that I would have to be accountable to somebody else in my weight loss journey to a healthier me. 

By far, the hardest thing that I have gone through this year was in July.  In mid-July, I had got the dreaded call that I had been expecting.  My sister called to tell me at work that my beloved Granny had died.  I was completely and utterly devastated.  It was hardest knowing that I was up here alone without any of my family around.  There was nobody to talk to or just tell them I needed a hug.  Or I should say, I didn't know how to ask for the hug.   

My Granny was one of my best friends and somebody that I talked to often.  She was always there for me as a child and was always cracking me up.  There are times now, even six months later I want to call her, and know that I can't.  I know that she is resting high on her mountain where she belongs, watching over us.  

One of the best things though that I have learned this year, is that it is okay to take care of me, and to stand up for what is right.  I've stood up to people who thought they were going to bully me into putting up with their rude, nasty behavior.  Even when it was hard, it felt good to do the right thing.  

The biggest blessings for me though this year, is the many blessings I call friends.  These friendships are priceless and I have been touched by each of the people that are present in my life and the love that I feel from them.  Some of these friends, I have known most of my life.  While others I have only known a short time.  

These friendships mean so much to me.  There are three people that I have felt comfortable enough, and confident enough in our friendship that I could finally tell them some secrets that I don't share with anybody.  It finally felt good to not have to hide anything from them, and trust somebody enough to let them in.  By telling them, I felt like I could FINALLY be myself with them and not pretend to always be okay, and appear uptight.  Well, one of them kept telling me that I had too many secrets because she could tell I was giving prepared, calculated answers and avoiding the real question with my response.  

One of the people I told was a guy.  That was a huge step for me.  Because for the first time in a very long time, I had opened myself up to being friends with a straight man.  Most, well actually, all of the guys I have spent time with in the past few years were all gay, with an exception of one person.  But that relationship no longer matters.  I know that all men are not mean, nasty, cruel or hateful.  

Its just that for the first time, I finally felt safe enough in this friendship with this man that I could be myself.  He has seen just about every emotion a person can have.  For the first time, I've even allowed a man see me cry, and that never happens.  At work even, and I try to remain in control at work!!!!   But I was upset with him, and I cared enough about the friendship to mention it, and actually hugged him at work, which is something I also do not normally do at work.  

Truth be told, these three people are ones that I care deeply about and I would do anything to keep them in my life in some way, shape or form.  God definitely blessed my heart by bringing them into my life at this point in time.  My life has been forever changed and altered because of them!  

Awhile back ago, I spent an afternoon with some ladies from work.  These three ladies I have become close with over the last year.  One of them looked at me, and mentioned that I finally looked happy.  It is true though.  I am extremely happy now in my life.  I'm finally accepting things as they currently are, and making changes on things that need fixed.  I'm not stressing out about things like I used to either.  

The other day, I was talking with a guest at work.  We were talking about the New Year approaching.  I told her that despite 13 being known as an  unlucky number, that this was a great year for me despite my Granny dying.  That also I was looking forward to 2014 being even better than what this year was. 

That is how I am going to look at it as the year goes on.  Even if there are set backs with the goals I plan on setting, there is always ways for improving and doing better.  The journey is half the battle in reaching our destination.  

Happy 2014 Everyone!