Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hitting the Plateau

One of my biggest fears during my weight loss journey has been hitting the plateau.  I had been very lucky so far that I had not hit that point yet.  Until now.

In fact,  I have only lost 9 pounds since the beginning of January.  Yes, I know that I should be happy with that loss at least because the number is still going down.  Its not going down as fast as I would like to though,

Granted, I know that I should be more realistic in my journey to wellness.  That I have to continue to my fitness goals based off of real life responsibilities and situations.  I do know that this is not The Biggest Loser and losing the weight secluded from family, friends and work.  Life happens and real life stresses are going to happen that we have to deal with in the process.

One of the hardest things for me right now is that I am struggling with self-control and my sweet tooth during the most intense situations.  At times it feels like there is that cartoon image in my head of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other going back and forth.  Honestly, the devil seems to win more times than I would care to admit the last couple of months. 

Rather it seems to be deciding to walk to the gym in sub-zero temps or eating something that I know I should not.  Even it is something healthy, eating it at a later time in the day than I should sometimes wins out because I feel to make what I should. 

I do realize that as my weight goes down, that it will be harder for me to lose weight.  I also realize that now that as it gets harder for me to lose, I am going to have to adjust things in my workouts, increasing the intensity and adjusting my diet accordingly. 

At this time, I know that I should be training for long distance races, and I need to properly fuel my body for those sessions.  It is also a matter of doing it while I am still in weight loss mode so that I can do it right with out harming my body in the process. 

At the end of this journey, I want to be able to get to my goals with as little injury to my body and no side effects because of my dietary changes in the process.  I want to be able to do this all the right way now, during the process so that I can be completely healthy not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  No matter how hard it is for me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Letting Go

"Life teaches you the art of letting go in every event.  When you have learned to let go, you will be joyful and as you start being joyful more will be given to you." Sri Sri

This past month has not been the greatest in my weight loss journey.  Its been a struggle mentally, physically and emotionally.  Therefore it has hindered my progress in losing additional weight. 

In the past month, I've been hit with colds and injuries that have prevented me from being in the gym as much as I would have liked.  The injuries have prevented me from working out as hard and intense as I would like. 

When the FIT Challenge ended in late July for Ryan and I, we set a 65 lb. weight loss by the end of January.  That is not going to happen.  I have lost over 50 lbs. since July which is still good.  I know that I can be extra hard on myself and I'm trying not to stress out over not meeting the goal like I would have a year ago.

It is just a matter of me learning to readjust my diet and workout routine so that I can stay focused and stay on track with my progress.  It is important that I stay on track mentally so that I don't let myself go physically. 

One thing that I know needs to happen, is that I have to stop using Ryan as a crutch, and depending on him as much as I have.  Its come to a point to where I know I have to start doing things on my own and learning what works for me, and learning to push myself. 

Ryan has been great through out this process, and I know he wants to see me continue to do so well.  Yet, its time for me to be able to trust myself and own instincts about what to do.  This way I can have more control and confidence in my own ability.  I know and realize that he won't be available all the time and can not always help me or come to my rescue.

I know that I need to make that break now.  Its time to take the training wheels off and go forward from here.  Yes, there will be times when I'll still need additional guidance and assistance as my physical transformation improves.  Its just another step in a healthy direction to move on from here.  No matter how scary it is. 

"Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve." Unknown

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Year, New Me, New Adventures

"If you want something  you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done." Unknown

Like every other year, my main goal in January of 2014 was to get my weight under control so that I could lead a more normal life and be a more productive member of society.  Doing things that others do with out being embarrassed by my weight or being held back because of it. 

By participating in the FIT Challenge, and eventually winning, it gave me the best gift I have ever received.  More time on earth to spend with friends and family making priceless memories.  That time is something you can not buy and is the sweetest and most precious gift of all. 

One of the best things I am learning through out this journey is how to love myself and to be more confident in myself, in all aspects of life.  Standing up for my actions and what I believe, regardless if somebody else agrees with me.  Its okay for me to be different from others, and that is something I am starting to accept even when its hard. 

Since I am now half of my size of what I was when I first started my weight loss, I am able to do a lot my things physically than what I was able to do before.  Though my confidence at times hinders me, because I occasionally still see myself as the "Fat Girl", I still try to move forward in the right direction. 

This week, it occurred to me that I am turning forty years old.  Therefore, in honor of my upcoming birthday, and the changes that I have occurred the past year, I am going to attempt to do forty new  things I have never done before.  It does not matter what they are, it is just important to me that I start trying new things to fit into my new lifestyle as I try to figure out who the new me is now that I am physically able to do so much more in life now. 

There are a lot of things I would like to try.  Even if I fail at it or don't enjoy the experience, all that matters is that I am doing something new.  Living life the way that it is meant to be.  With people and to the fullest.  Making memories and hopefully making a difference in other peoples lives. 

The first new thing I am doing is meeting a friend of mine, and together we are going to paint a picture with a group of others in the community.  It will be a great event where we get to socialize with others we don't know, and paint something pretty to bring home. Its a great way to meet new people and try new things.

I am hoping for many great new adventures as I take this step in my weight loss journey as I continue to expand the new possibilities that are out there. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

"You can't change the past.  What you can do is change now, tomorrow, the next day, the next month and the rest of your life." Billy Cox


Each year, we make a list of goals that we would like to accomplish for the incoming year. Some are small goals, while others are huge goals that may seem out of reach or far fetched.  Some of these goals are repeated each year, or a continuation of past years. 

This year, for myself, I can say that my goals are some what different than what they have been in the past, while still being a continuation of others.  In past years, weight loss was always at or near the top of my list. 

Granted in 2015. there is still weight that needs to be lost, and I will still continue down that path.  It will remain a priority  for me, because it is still inter connected with my other goals. 

In the new year I am planning on running more 5k's and another half-marathon.  One of my long term goals is to get to the point where I can qualify for the Boston Marathon for my age group.  It is a long shot right now, because the time for me to qualify for my age group right now for the 2016 race is 3hours and 45minutes.  I will get there one day.

I am going to focus more on the mental changes that are occurring right now.  There are a lot of things that I am struggling with right now as I adjust to my new lifestyle.  Relationships are changing.  Mentally making adjusting to my new lifestyle is hard.  Doing it for the public to watch is scary and hard. 

I know these mental changes have to take place.  They very much are happening and they are very hard to get through.  But it is better than ignoring the issuing and shutting it up with food.

I do want to congratulate the new FIT Challengers that started this week at their gyms with their trainers.  Welcome to the FIT Challenge Family. 

I especially want to welcome Wendy to the Health & Strength FIT Family.  I hope your ready for the most exciting, life changing experience of your life. 

I do want to add that this will be my final blog with FIT.  Since Wendy is working out at Health and Strength with Ryan, I wanted the attention on them, and not myself.  However, I do know that Robb Smithson will be writing a weekly blog now with his updates. 

I hope that each person in the FIT Family pays it forward one day.  Each of us have all been given a special gift by participating in the FIT Challenge and getting our health back.  Having that extra time now with loved ones making new memories we couldn't do before is priceless. Pay it forward in your own way, and live life to the fullest.  Godspeed my friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

“A diamond doesn't start out polished and shining. It once was nothing special, but with enough pressure and time, becomes spectacular. I'm that diamond.”  Solange Nicole 

As this year winds down, its only natural to reflect on what changes have occurred in our lives, and consider improvements for the new year. 

For myself, I can say that it has indeed been an a very amazing year for me.  Despite being brought out of my comfort level on many occasions and hitting some awful speed bumps, it has in fact, been  amazing.

Despite the speed bumps, I would not change anything about this year because it has helped to shape me into the person that I am becoming.  For that I am grateful because I know that the transformation is taking place for me to be the lady that I am meant to be. 

A diamond is a beautiful piece of jewelry that most ladies desire to have a piece of one day. A diamond does not start out sparkling and beautiful though.  It starts out as a piece of coal that is formed under pressure.

A lot of times, I have felt like I am that diamond in the rough.  At my worst state health wise, I was just a large lump of coal who was worthless.  However, I got to the point where I had enough of being in that unhealthy place, and decided I was ready to change for the better. 

Making the necessary changes this year to get healthy, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally has been very good for me.  Though things got hard and difficult at times, and there was a lot of screaming and tears involved with the changes.  However, in the end, those rough patches were worth it because they have helped shape me into the person that I am today, and will be a better person for tomorrow.

In the new year, I plan on continuing my quest to my goal weight.  However, at this point, I need to learn to adjust my mental state of mind to be at the same spot as my physical self.  It will take time for my physical, emotional and mental states to all be on the same page,  but it will get there.  Its just sticking with the process with out giving up on myself.

One thing is for certain is that I am very proud of the accomplishments that have occurred in my life this year.  Its been amazing to find the courage and inner strength inside of myself to be able to do things this year, that a year ago even, that I thought was impossible for me to do. 

However, its time to get rid of the  I can't attitude or saying things are impossible  Everything is possible in our lives, we just have to stop making the excuses for them and turn the impossible into reality.  Eventually the broken piece of coal that we feel like, will turn into that diamond.  We just have to stick with it and see it through.

Sticking with our goals and having faith in ourselves is well worth it in the long run.  Even if others doubt us, its well worth it in the end when we can stand before the doubters after we have conquered the impossible.

Since this is my last blog for this year, I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.  Believe in yourself and your goals enough to stick with them.  Don't let failure, hurdles or speed bumps along the way stop you from going after your goals.  Godspeed in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, 'I'm possible.''' Audrey Hepburn

Since participating in FIT, a lot of changes has made their way in to my life.  Eating healthy foods are now on my plate at meal time.  I am in the gym five or six days a week, sometimes twice a day.  Even running in 5k's and a half-marathon. 

The mental and emotional changes that have been made are the most surprising ones to me.  I am actually taking the time to think about my decesions and consider all options and perspectives now.  It does not happen all the time, sometimes I still fall back in to old habits.

Recently, it has been brought up to me, on several occasions, that I need to start taking more credit for my efforts and dedication to my weight loss success.  People saying, "You should be proud of yourself!"  It is very hard to hear, as well as frustrating and hurtful. 

This year, the sacrifices that I made to be in the gym daily, sometimes twice a day, eating right and driving my trainer crazy, were all things that I chose to do.  Getting up at 3:30 am. some days to work out, was something that I chose to do to get the time in that I needed to get healthy. 

Never did I think it would be an issue where I would have to say out loud on Facebook, my weekly blogs or in private conversations that I am proud of myself for what I have done.  I've always been happy with the time, efforts and dedication it took to get healthy. I just do not think its necessary to say this.

Over the coarse of the year, I have posted links to my blogs, photos and have made many other status updates about my progress on Facebook.  Something that I would not have been confident enough to do before.  Being proud of ourselves is not always saying it out loud, its in our actions as well.  Honestly, if I was not proud of myself, I would not have signed up for the Santa Hustle Half-Marathon or even agreed to do the update on my progress since winning the FIT Challenge.

Yes, I don't say everything I need to.  There are days I am not sure how or what I am feeling, so I just remain silent.  Some weeks its even more of a struggle than others to write my blogs.  Its hard to be as open as I need to be and still be honest and sincere while being private at the same time. 

This transformation has been a long process.  Its taken a toll emotionally, mentally and physically on me at times.  Yet the efforts will all be worth it when I get to my end goal weight.  Its just learning to adjust when there are speed bumps and adjusting the goals and plan accordingly along the way to make the necessary improvements.

"Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, December 14, 2014

You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.  Mary Lou Retton

What an amazing year this has been for me. 

As I sit here writing to tell you about my week, I seriously feel every muscle in my body.  This morning I ran my very first half-marathon at Cedar Point.  It was part of the Santa Hustle series.

Never in a million years, did I think that I would end this year with participating in a half-marathon considering that I brought the new year in weighing over 300 lbs. 

Forever will I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to participate in the FIT Challenge.

My trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength Gym has put in a lot of time to help me achieve my weight loss goals.  Ryan is always pushing harder in the gym in our workouts and encourages me to try new things that are outside of my comfort level. 

Ryan's encouragement and faith in my abilities is what made me believe that I could run in the half-marathon- and finish.  The support that I have received from Ryan as well as Bo and his wife Chris from the gym has been absolutely amazing.  Its made a huge difference knowing that there are others out there who care and support you on a difficult journey. 

During the race, it got emotional at one point.  It felt like the invisible walls were coming down.  I no longer had to hide behind them.  The past is behind me just like my former self is and her physical body.  This is a new me who is wanting better things for herself.  I was in the present moment during the race and knowing that all the work Ryan and I have put into my health transformation has all been worth it.

As I was crossing the finish line, it was great to see Ryan and Chris standing there waiting for me.  It has been amazing this year knowing that I've had the support of not just my trainer, but the entire staff and members of the gym.  Its made a wonderful difference in my life to have positive people in my life who care.  I'll forever be grateful to all these wonderful people who have touched my heart and become my gym family. 

All the work that has gone into betting healthy this year has been worth fighting for.  The mental, emotional and physical battles were hard at times.  Yet we got through them and are seeing amazing results so that better things can happen in life. 

It was a great feeling knowing that I could FINALLY run a half-marathon.  Something that at one time was impossible for me to do.  It was not the best time and I did not expect it to be.  However it shows the effort that I have put in this year to do better.  That is what I am proud of.  The effort, time and dedication that Ryan and I have put into this has all been worth it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The only acceptance you need is from yourself.  Block out other people's opinions.  You are doing this for you.  Progress takes time.  Be patient.  Unknown

This time last year, I was making preparations for writing my essay for my application to take part of the FIT Challenge.  When I found out this past January I was accepted to participate, there were lots of emotions going through me.  I was happy, overjoyed, scared and fearful of making a fool of myself during process. 

However, no matter what I was feeling, I knew I could not let temporary feelings control a permanent decision upon my life.  I knew that no matter during the six months that were promised in the gym with a trainer, I had to take full advantage of that time in order to get healthy so that I could get the rest of my life back.  Realistically, six months really is not a long time when you have a life time of mistakes to fix. 

When I applied for FIT, I knew I was unhealthy and needed help.  I knew the extra weight was not good for me, especially being "Hobbit" sized.  I knew if I didn't get help, that I would not have a lot of time left because I was slowly killing myself with my diet and lack of exercise.

 However, I will admit that none of those reasons were why I applied.  Yes I wanted to lose weight, but it was for the wrong reasons.  There was somebody that I was interested in, and thought that by losing the weight that it would help my chances of a relationship with them. 

Over time, I realized that it was pointless, and that in order for my journey to be worth it, is that I truly had to learn to love myself and forget what others thought of who I was.  In the end when I get to where I need to be physically, emotionally and mentally, I have to live with myself and be okay with who I am.  The opinions of others don't matter because not all of them will be standing at the finish with me. 

Yes, I want my trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength,  to be at the end and be proud of the results we have reached together.  However, I know now that it is very important that I learn to accept my life decisions and be proud of the person that I am now and love her.  Despite my past, my flaws and scars, they are part of what made me who I am today.  Hopefully, my journey will be something that can help to inspire others.

I admit, that it has been a struggle through out this journey.  There were moments that I came very close to giving up and walking away from it all.  In the end, I stuck it out because I would not be able to live with myself for walking out on myself when I was given an opportunity that is priceless and has given me a new lease on life.  What I have gained from FIT, you can not put a price on that and I am forever thankful and blessed for it. 

For those of you that are thinking of applying for FIT, or already have, make sure that you do it for yourselves.  It will only work for good if you are doing it for you and no other reason.  It took a lot for me to learn that and that I did not to be validated from anybody else in the end.  Yes, I took in a lot of advice and consideration from my trainer that I knew was going to help me.

Our trainers are professionals and are there to help us. Though at times it feels like they are killing us or that they might hate us even.  That is not the case, they care about our well being and want us to do better for ourselves in the end.  I know that at the end of each FIT Challenge Season, each trainer wants each of us to walk away from the experience to be able to eat and train on our own. 

Yes, I still see Ryan once a week.  I waited two months post FIT to see him because I wanted to do it on my own for awhile.  However, I chose to go back and see him because I needed to refocus and I  needed his assistance in training for the Santa Hustle half-marathon. 

The half-marathon is tomorrow morning at Cedar Point.  It is my first half-marathon, it is something that I am very proud of considering that back in January, I was 314 lbs when I met Ryan, and could not run 10 feet without getting short of breath.  Now, I am running a half-marathon!!! Realistically, I can see me walking a portion of it, ideally I would like to run all of it.  BUT I am doing it.  Like last year, my only goals are to finish and not come in last. 

Though I know that I still have to make more changes in my life physically and mentally, they will come together at the right times.  Each of the hurdles have all been worth it.  I am also thankful for the people who have stuck with me through out this process, even though it was very hard at times. 


Monday, November 17, 2014

"The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life- mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical." Julius Erving

Each day, we should all strive to be a better person than we were yesterday, so that the person we are tomorrow will be proud of who we are today. This is something that over this past year, I have just started to take in to consideration.  Regardless of what I am doing, I have committed to try new things to improve myself.

Participating in the FIT Challenge this year with my trainer, Ryan Rose, at Health & Strength Gym, he and I have had great success in many areas of our journey together that go far beyond winning. Over coming the many smaller battles along the way, played a bigger role in my weight loss than most realize. 

The main focus of coarse is to lose weight and be healthy.  However, little did I realize when I met Ryan how much more important it was to change mentally and emotionally as well.  By changing how I thought and processed things, it was going to help me make better decisions in regards to my physical well being. 

By changing my mental aspect on life, it has allowed me to become a better person emotionally and physically this year.  It really helped me a lot earlier this year to open up to Ryan and talk with him about the different issues I was dealing with so that we could work through them together.  It really helped talking to him because I was no longer eating my emotions, I was getting my frustrations out in the gym with him, and getting a different prospective from him.  Plus, sometimes it just helps to have some body to talk with who cares.

There are many things on my journey with Ryan that I am very proud of.  However, I am most proud of the effort we put in to getting me to run.  It was a HUGE struggle for Ryan to get me to run in the early stages, and something that left in tears often because I felt like I was letting him down.  However, we got there after a long, much needed conversation in the gym one night after I was able to open up to and trust him. 

This year, I have participated in several 5K races, and have improved my times on all of them but one.  My first 5K was the Santa Hustle last year that Castaway Bay/ Cedar Point hosts in December.  This year, I am doing the run again, however this time, I am training for the half-marathon that day. It is something that I am quite proud of considering that this time last year, I could barely walk a mile with out getting winded, much less think about running a 20 feet. That in itself is a huge success. 

Overcoming my physical, mental and emotional issues this year to become an over all better person has become such a blessing.  It means that I am no longer holding myself back and taking life by the horns and living it the way it is meant to be lived.

We all have our own idea of what success means to us.  This year, has been a great year for me, because I have had so much growth in many areas of my life that I did not think was possible in such a short time. 

I have been very blessed and thankful that Ryan has been on this journey with me, and been by my side through it all.  Ryan truly has been a great asset to my life and I am lucky that he is in my life. Ryan truly invested a lot of time in me, and I strive daily to make him proud of who I've become and be a positive reflection of this amazing man.

For those who are thinking of applying for the FIT Challenge, consider the whole journey and process.  Its not just a physical journey.  Its will consist of mental and emotional changes, and it will get hard.  It will all be worth it. Your trainer is there to help and guide you through the whole process, be honest and fair to them and surely.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On any journey we make towards reaching a goal or dream, it is most important that we believe in ourselves along the way, no matter how hard the journey is, or unexpected obstacles come up.  There are always surprises along the way, both positive and negative ones we do not expect. 

It is important not to get frustrated or caught up in the moment and lose focus in the sudden change of events.  This is all part of life.  Things happen.  Its part of life to have these speed bumps in our journey.  They are part of a greater life lesson that we will eventually need at some point. 

In my journey to become healthy, there have been a lot of setbacks through out life.  I know I lost focus many times. One of my biggest struggles was being much harder on myself than what I should have been. 

During the course of this year, one of the greatest lessons I have learned from working with my trainer, Ryan Rose at Health & Strength, is that it is to have a positive mental attitude.  That the negative mental struggles don't belong in our lives if we strive for greatness.

One of the mental challenges that I faced prior to FIT  was not acknowledging the small victories and progress along the way to the greater goal.  This is a very important step in the process to make sure we are staying the coarse.

Its a been a long journey for me.  Its now mid-November I have realized so many little changes physically since I started working with Ryan.  Recently, I attended a movie with a friend, and could comfortably sit in the seats without feeling crowded and uncomfortable.  Also, the realization that you are sitting on the floor indian style with no struggle, for long periods of time.  These are things that most people take for granted.  For me, these are small victories that bring me great joy. 

Changing mentally during this amazing transforming to a much more positive attitude has be so important.  It has been a challenge at times, and Ryan still has to remind me sometimes that I have to let go of the past, or to start adjusting to who I am now, versus who I was back in January. 

Ryan told me recently, that I needed to start doing activities that for normal sized people.  This was something that was needed to be said because I had kept holding myself back because mentally, I was still over 300lbs.  It was an amazing moment actually because in that moment, I was hearing mentally, that I was finally a normal person, even though we still are on this journey.

After Ryan told me to start doing more stuff, the next week, I started taking Yoga at my sponsor gym, Health and Strength.  Ms. Karen, the instructor, and the other ladies in class are great have made me feel comfortable.  Its also helped me tremendously to add something new to my routine.  Its a welcome addition that is both challenging and relaxing at the same time. 

Back in January when I met Ryan, never did I realize that at this point in time, we would have come this far.  The confidence that Ryan has helped me find in myself is amazing.  Overcoming those fears and believing in myself again is amazing.  The weight and getting healthy is important in this process and it is why I started.  However, everything else that Ryan has helped me find in myself is priceless and I don't want to lose that.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November!!  Its a month in which we remember people, memories and things in which we are thankful for.  Granted, we should be thankful all year long for the gifts bestowed upon us.  However, it is nice to take the time to be reflective, because life does happen, and we forget to slow down enough, and say "Thank you!"

This past year, there are many, many things in which I am grateful for.  My life has changed so dramatically since January.  By participating in the FIT Challenge earlier this year, it has given me so much more than just a chance to lose weight. 

I knew that losing weight was going to be a big focus in doing FIT.  However, never did I realize the changes I would encounter mentally and emotionally as well.  In the past, I stressed out way to easy and would let things bother me way more than they should have.  I also kept people at a distance and would not let them get to close. 

I was a lot like the person that Katy Perry sings about in the beginning of "Roar."  A girl who bit her tongue, and didn't want to rock the boat.  Then this girl realizes her self worth, and that she is worth it.  We all need to learn to learn to be the star in our own lives, and be our own hero.  That I deserve to be doing so much better for myself than what I have been doing and to stop listening to people tell me I am not able to do something.

The changes are still happening in my life, and sometimes, it gets confusing for me.  There are times I want to go back to my old way of doing things.  However, I know that its not the healthy way of doing it, that I need to step back, and re-evaluate things.  Its a matter of putting things into a better perspective now. 

I realize that ultimately in my life, the decisions that I make are mine, and that I have to live it for myself and not have to worry about others.  However, at the same time, I try to make sure that its the right decision, no matter how painful it is at times.

I also want to give a great reflection of those who have stood by me through this entire process and been through this transformation with me.  Especially my trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength. During the two months post FIT when we were not working out together, he still was giving me advice and making sure I was doing things correctly.  I knew he had my back. 

One day, over the summer, I was talking with Christian Walton, the husband of my fellow FIT Challenger Edie.  Christian is a landscaper.  He was telling me that he can do the most awesome, amazing job at making a yard look wonderful and amazing.  Once he leaves, its up to the home owners to keep up the lawn by weeding and anything else that needs done. 

This really stuck with me.  Because if the homeowner lets the yard get weeds and overgrown, not only does the house look bad and makes the homeowner look lazy and bad.  It also makes Christian look bad because he put all his time and hard work  into making them look good.

I know that I am not a yard or landscaping, but I see myself as a reflection of my trainer.  Ryan did put a lot of time and sacrificed a lot in order to help me get to the point I am now.  I am at the point where my decisions regarding my health are my own.  Yet, at the same time, they are a reflection of all that he has taught me.  In the end, I want to be able to maintain everything Ryan and I accomplished, so that it still makes both of us look good. 

I am forever thankful that I was giving the opportunity to participate in the FIT Challenge and experience new things.  Its been a complete life changing process for me.  Its been hard for me at times.  Its been emotional and tough at certain times.  However, its all been worth it for me to make the necessary positive changes.   
Several years ago, I attended a dinner for the Sports Hall of Fame Inductees for my high school.  One of the Inductee's that year was Dave Adams, a stand out athlete in high school who went on to play for the then California Angels farm team as a pitcher.  One of the things I remember about Mr. Adams acceptance speech that night, was that he looked at everyone and asked, "If you had a table with four chairs that would eventually seat the four most important people in your life as your Hall of Fame, who would they be?"

Even now, several years later, I think about that question, and wonder who I would put at that table.  Who are those who have made the greatest impact on my life?  The answers today, are much different than what they were several years ago.  We grow up, life happens, circumstances change.  There are several people in my life who have helped shape and mold me to be a much better person than what I use to be. 

If I were to have to select somebody today to sit at that table, there is a very strong possibility that my personal trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength gym would be sitting at that table.  In the very short time that I have known Ryan, he has helped to mold me and shape me into a whole new person physically, mentally and emotionally. 

When I made the decision to get healthy, and lose all my extra weight, I wanted and needed the best person for me who was strong not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and who was much more stubborn than myself who could make me change.  Ryan was all of these things and so much more. 

There were days, it felt like Ryan was coming at me with a sledge hammer knocking down walls that I had been hiding behind for so long to get through to me.  Though I longed and wanted to get healthy and lose the weight, there were days it was tough emotionally to let go of the negative past because I didn't know better, even though I wanted so much better for myself. 

The tough days with Ryan, are the ones that I am most thankful for because they have made the most difference to help change me to who I am today, and who I will be tomorrow.  Yes, I am grateful and thankful for the great and awesome days we have had, which there are many, many more positive days with Ryan than the tough ones.  However we don't change if we are not challenged.

For many reasons, I am thankful that Ryan and I work out at Health and Strength for this journey.  Not only has Ryan made an impact on my life, but so has the staff and other members of the gym.  Living in a town with no relatives has been hard at times. 

However, those who are at Health and Strength have become my family and support system.  For with out them, I am not sure that I would have lasted as long on my journey. It has been a true blessing to be around so many people who understand and are supportive of the journey that I am on.  Many who are or had been on the same path I am now on. 

There are many times, thinking and even telling my story to others about my journey with Ryan, I get tears in my eyes and cry.  I am very proud of how far we have come and how much we have accomplished together in such a short amount of time. 

There are sincerely no words to describe how much pride I feel in knowing Ryan is my trainer and knowing that he's had my back through all of this.  I am forever thankful for him and so very proud of this man and the difference he is making, not only in my life, but in the lives of so many other people. 

Ryan definitely deserves to be sitting at my personal Hall of Fame table with a medal.  He will always have a special place in my heart.  Regardless of how long he stays in my life, I know that he is somebody that will never be forgotten.

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