Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feedback is a b*tch...

Hey guys,

So the scale was not my friend today. I was 5 lbs heavier this am... yikes! And to add insult to injury, my appetite is out of control... I've done a pretty good job with choosing healthy foods to eat, but I am just so hungry today! Sean thinks it may be that my metabolism is messed up from being off of my routine while on vacation. I think it may be because I'm doing that cleanse, I didn't take my regular supplements... Needless to say, I'm a little bit frustrated. I'm also exhausted, which is strange because I usually have a lot of energy...

Whatever is going on needs to be nipped in the bud before it spirals out of control. I need a game plan... First, going to have to diligently write down what I'm eating and what time in my journal. Second, I think I'm going to need to put the cleanse on hold in favor of being back on my usual supplements until I get back into a routine. Also, I need to boost up the cardio. Wow, just making this plan is making me tired. Which reminds me... I also need to make sure that I'm getting enough sleep!

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent... Hopefully my next post can be more positive!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 29, 2008

You can go home again...

Well, my whirlwind trip to the NE is now over. I had such a wonderful time meeting up with all of my old friends. Everyone is so grown up and doing such great things... I am really so proud of all of them.

On Friday, we all arrived to the big reunion event. Our friend Jen has a lovely home in New Milford, CT and she graciously invited all of us to get together for a girls weekend. The plan was simple: good friends, great conversation, and fun times... We listened to 80's tunes, which included singing Bon Jovi and Bonnie Tyler at the top of our lungs, played beerpong and catchphrase, and drank some wine.

As you might imagine, not the healthiest of weekends. I promised myself I wouldn't stress about the cheating that would inevitably go on (there was a whole lot of "celebrating imperfection" on this trip). I had a wonderful time and have no real regrets... although I step on the scale to get some "feedback" tomorrow...

And so, come tomorrow it is time to get back on track. Going to the gym, staring a cleanse, and eating right. It may be hard (like going back to work after an awesome vacation) but I can do it... besides, I have to report to all of my loyal readers :)

Have a happy Monday night!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Progress Pictures (as promised)

Hello everyone...

So, I made Lori take a picture with me so that we could see if I look any different from 3 years ago (I don't actually remember what I weighed then, but I think it was like 60-70 lbs more than now...)

This is Lori and me, from Lori's wedding, in November 2005...

And to the right is us now...

I actually thought there was more of a difference to be honest. It could be my choice of sweater, but I feel smaller than I look in this picture...

I'm just going to use this to motivate me further... maybe the difference will be more noticable the next time.

Have a nice day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Counting your blessings...

Well day 2 of my NE reunion with family and friends has come to an end... Last night I stayed in Carmel, NY with my uncle and his family, including my paternal grandmother who suffered from a stroke in April that left her with an aphasia -- or an inability to communicate (she speaks, but gets all of her words confused and so you're often not sure of what she's trying to say or if she understands what you're saying...) My uncle has a heart of gold -- he's always giving to everyone. His house has a revolving door with a million people coming in and out and he and his family are very gracious hosts making sure their guests feel right at home.

So, after dinner, my grandmother asked me to come talk to her in her room (they've set up one of the bedrooms with some of her furniture so that she would feel more at home). She expressed a lot of frustration about losing her independence, not being able to come up with what she wants to say, and missing my grandfather. Then as clear as day she told me that she just wanted to be with him and that she always thought that they would "go together". This absolutely broke my heart. What do you say to something like that??? I reminded her of how she is surrounded by love here and that Grandpa is looking over her always, but I can't imagine that I really helped.

Anyway, my conversation with my grandma made me think about everything I have and how lucky I am. How in an instant the things and people that you value and love most can be taken away from you. So today, I urge you to count your blessings and let those you love know just how much you care. And to that end, thank you for all of your encouragement and support -- it means the world to me...

Looking forward to some more fun on this vacation this weekend partying with some girlfriends from HS and a reunion lunch with a dear old friend!!!

Have a blessed Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"You're on vacation, but not from your health"...

Hello everyone!

So, yesterday began my whirlwind trip through the Northeast... It started with a trip to Laurence Harbor, NJ to visit my friend Lori who I had mentioned in an earlier post. She made me an awesome dinner (that was both healthy and delicious) and then we spent a good portion of the night just catching up.

This am, we went on a walk... I had asked that we incorporate some exercise into my visit (I know that I'm probably going to go astray multiple times this weekend so I figured that I better be good when I can). She lives near a state park and so we went their and hit their walking trails. We were having a fine walk when all of the sudden she "surprised" me with bench dips and lunges. And to think, I was worried about missing my workouts with Sean...

Then she reminded me, "You're on vacation, but not on vacation from your health". This resonated with me. I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. And while I fully intend to enjoy this crazy trip I have planned including cheating when it's worth it, I have no intention of blowing all of my efforts. I'm trying to learn the balance of maintaining my healthy habits while having fun and not stressing too much. But practicing this, just like me and the title of my blog, is a work in progress...

Have a wonderful Thursday night!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Assessment Day...

So, I started my last day as a 32 yo with a fitness assessment. I've been working out with Sean for just over 7 months and every 6 weeks or so, we stop to gather data about how I'm doing...

...so far, things are going well. Since my last assessment, I lost another 11.5# (which, as I have mentioned in an earlier post was all from the Lean in 13 program) and another 6". That makes my grand totals 84.5# and 48". Still have a long way to go, but I'm going...

When I first started, I was putting up pretty big numbers at these assessments... And while Sean would be fired up for me, I lacked his excitement. I would call it my "guarded enthusiasm", mainly because I was so upset with myself about how bad I let myself get in the firstplace. I had to learn to get over it... after all, I couldn't change what was already done. I only had control over what I was going to do next...

So now I celebrate every little success. I know that eventually the amount I lose at each assessment is going to be smaller but I think I am prepared for the decline (or so I tell myself). When I think back on the changes in my life over the past 7 months, I can't help but be proud. And I can't wait to see where I am a year from now...

Have a wonderful Tuesday night!

p.s. -- the promised progress pictures will soon follow!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why does failure have to come in multiples of 5???

Sometimes, when Sean is unavailable, he has me work out with Hope. He writes up a workout for me and then Hope leads me through it. Saturday was one of those days...

... and they worked me hard. It was a great workout -- very challenging! I'm sure some of the weights that we did were completely new to me. I even looked at Hope a few times in a "are you kidding me?" kind of way. And as for the number of reps that I had to do, there were many, many exercises that I had to do "until failure" -- meaning, until I couldn't physically lift the weight one more time...

Before Hope was a trainer, she was an accountant, which means she's really good with numbers. I can appreciate this... my muscles, however, did not. For example, even though my muscles reached "failure" for a given exercise at let's say 17 reps -- since 17 is not a nice round number-- I would be "encouraged" to do 3 more. And, don't get me started on ball crunches -- let's just say that with that exercise in particular, failure is a very difficult place to reach...

I was super sore on Sunday... It felt like I had a "last chance workout". Hopefully it will pay off tomorrow morning!!!

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Looking forward to some R&R...

Hey guys,

I have had a pretty stressful week. Work has been crazy and I have been sleep deprived which has not helped matters. Anyone who knows me well that stress management is, ahem, not my forte but I am really trying to work on it. Getting on a regular schedule of sleep and exercise helps tremendously and to that end I have been doing a lot better in the stress management arena -- most of the time...

I have a day off tomorrow which will be great and then I have a long break starting on Wednesday. I am so looking forward to some much needed and well deserved time off... For those of you who don't know, Wednesday is my birthday (I'm getting a little old to call it my twenti-thirteenth, huh) and also the day of my next fitness assessment. I'm not worried though... I had a sneak preview of the scale today (the 12th day of the Lean in 13 -- which I plan on following for 16 days)... On this program alone I have lost 10 lbs so far!!! Needless to say, I am super excited and highly recommend the program to anyone needing a boost... (email me if you want more info). But that's not the only reason I'm looking forward to Wednesday...

... I'm hitting the road!!! I'm going to see a bunch of friends from high school. We are having a girl's weekend and it is going to be tremendous fun! Lots of time for relaxing and catching up and there may be the occasional drink or two. But I've been so good that I can let myself have a cheat day (which let's be honest may actually be days)... I know I'll be back on track come Tuesday when I'm back in town. (I can always start the Lean in 13 process over again if need be!)

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spark People

No, I'm not talking about people who love Advocare's energy drink, Spark. We all know it's awesome, but this is about something completely different...

People who know me well know that I am a school-supply nerd. I love any chance to go out and get new pens and notebooks and post-its. So, when I was told that I needed to keep a nutrition journal I was excited to go buy new supplies. I'm on my second notebook now, all decked out with multiple colored pens (black for what I eat, blue for my editorial/commentary, red for injuries or things to tell my doctor, green for questions for Sean). Journaling is a key component to weight loss success -- at least in the beginning until you get the hang of things.

For those of you who do not share my passion for Staples or Office Max, I want to introduce to a really cool website: www.sparkpeople.com. It is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking to get on track with their nutrition and fitness. Not only does it have an online nutrition journal that helps you stay on track, but it is loaded with articles about wellness. For those of you who actually cook, there are a bunch of healthy recipes, too.

So if you're looking for a new tool to help you with your efforts, check it out!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Hey all,

So tonight starts the newest season of The Biggest Loser. I am so excited. I've always enjoyed watching this show, although I used to feel really guilty watching it (probably because I would be sitting on the sofa snacking on something bad). BUT NOW, I can watch it guilt-free!!! I know that I'm doing everything that I should to be healthy, and I can take pride in that.

They may be the "Biggest Loser", but as my friend Rebecca has dubbed me, I am the "Incredible Shrinking Woman!"

Have a great night!

Celebrating Imperfection

When life gets a little hectic, I need to remind myself of this: I'm aiming for excellence, not perfection. There have been too many times that because I wasn't perfect at something I eventually got disheartened and gave up. This has come into play many times with my previous weight loss efforts -- if I wasn't following all the rules perfectly, I'd begin to give myself enough slack to follow none of the rules and my motivation and efforts would eventually dwindle.

Now I think I (finally) learned what was blatantly clear to everyone else around me; it's okay that I'm not perfect, because nobody is. Trying to be perfect will only lead to failure and disappointment... it's an impossible task. Giving myself this out and celebrating my imperfection has helped me out tremendously. I need to be my biggest cheerleader, not my harshest critic.

So now, when I'm unable to get to the gym because work keeps me there into the wee hours of the morning, or I get so wrapped up in something that I don't eat what I'm supposed to, I am able to shrug it off and keep going. I know that I'm making forward progress even if I have a slip-up now and then.

If this sounds like you too, sometimes it helps to just remember... Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lean in 13 -- halfway there!

So, I mentioned in an earlier post that I was doing Advocare's Lean in 13 program to push through a plateau. So far, it's going great! I have had a lot more energy and have really felt good. My nutrition has been on point (except one little slip-up with some late night snacking at work one night). I decided to take the weekend off from exercise (there is a suggested plan for daily exercise, but it does say optional) given that I hurt my leg again Friday at the gym, but I'm ready to get back on track (cautiously) tomorrow...

As for my leg, it feels okay most of the time. I feel it most on the stairs or if I try to run-walk somewhere in a hurry. Last time I was okay on the elliptical, so that's what I'm planning to do...
If not, I guess I'll have to brave a swimsuit and hit the pool.

Have a great week!


I just got home from a busy night at work. I'm pretty tired, so I'm going to keep this post short...

I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the support and encouragement that you have given me. You are my champions. I can't begin to express how much it means to me to know that I have so many people in my corner.

Thank you all.

Friday, September 12, 2008


So, this would be one of those lower points I spoke of in my first post...

In August I had a mild injury -- a small tear in my left calf muscle. It made for an interesting couple of days (icing, wrapping, wearing sneakers whether or not they were appropriate for my outfit...), but I took care of myself and got through it. Right before Labor Day, hurt the same leg, albeit to a much lesser degree. Since I was wearing the same shoes both times (cute ballet flats but with no real support), I blamed them and got rid of the shoes. And things had been going well...

... until today. I went to work out with Sean and I was in a fantastic mood. I was ready to get some good work done. And then in the middle of our second exercise of the day, my injury reared its ugly head once again... I felt a sudden pain, and had to stop. We iced and wrapped my leg and then focused on other muscle groups, but I was practically in tears from the frustration. Up until this point, I had been doing so well, and I'm really afraid of any setback that is going to hinder my progress... I know I'll get through it, but it's really really annoying.

Well, thanks for letting me vent...

Progress Pictures (or lack thereof)...

Over the past year I have been so grateful for the support of friends and family while I'm on this journey. One of my dear friends, Lori, often leaves me voicemail messages cheering me on. Unfortunately she lives in NJ, which means that she doesn't get to see me very often, and so to that end is always asking for new pictures so that she can see my progress...

It may come to no surprise to you that I can't stand having my picture taken. I'm too self-conscious and like many people (heavy or not) I never like the way I look in pictures. I'm getting better about this, but I still tend to shy away from the camera most of the time. I will take new shoulder-up pics for my Facebook profile to give Lori some idea of how I'm doing, but I haven't been into documenting the journey with pictures... In fact, I didn't even take a picture when I started working with my personal trainer, Sean.

Anyway, because I'm also trying to change my negative thinking as well, I'm thinking that I have to get over this "fear of seeing myself in photos". As soon as I muster up the courage, I'll put up some pics -- maybe after my next assessment at the end of the month.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where will you be in a year???

Today I had to take my car in for it's 55K maintenance. So, I spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out in the customer lounge of the Honda dealership. I came prepared -- I brought my computer and cell phones, but unfortunately, my activities were not enough to occupy my child-like attention span. Luckily, they also had a TV to pass the time...

It was the prime time for talk shows and Dr. Phil came on. The episode was about his new weight loss challenge... The Ultimate Weight Loss Race, which is kind of a follow-up to his book from a few years ago. He's challenging overweight couples to race around the country in a quest for a healthier lifestyle. He had these couples on the show and they told their stories about why they should be chosen. In the past, these types of shows either gave me a short-lived inspiration (which would often peter out in less than a month) or just made me feel bad about myself and how bad I let myself go...

But then Dr. Phil posed a question that inspired this post. He asked, "Where will you be in a year? You could be on your way to a healthier life, or exactly where you are right now [at the same weight or heavier]." It made me think... He had posed this same question on his episode where he was promoting his weight loss book (which aired a few years ago). And, a year from then, I was in the exact same place in terms of health. However, this time was different... I'm very much in a different place, and in a year, who know's what I will accomplish??? The daydream about where I'll be in a year just made me smile...

Have a great day!

Lean In 13 -- getting started...

Hi again…

Last month I went on a fantastic trip to LA for a friend’s wedding. And when I got back, I was so pleased to learn that I didn’t gain a pound. Well, I guess I must have been complacent with that good news, because I kind of slacked off a little bit. Which is probably why I haven’t lost a pound since that trip.

So, it’s time to get serious again. And to spark my progress, I have decided to do Advocare’s Lean in 13 program. It’s basically nutrition and fitness “boot camp” if you will, designed to jump-start a fitness program or push through a plateau. It’s a combination of Advocare supplements (protein shakes, metabolic nutrition system, and thermoplus) as well as an exercise and healthy food plan with “burn” and “refuel” days (for more information about the program, email Sean at spmfitness@hotmail.com). And then there is the water… they recommend a gallon a day, which is a challenge but not impossible.

I initially had concerns about 2 aspects of the program. First, Sean allows me to have a “cheat day” once a week so that I don’t have to deprive myself of things I really want but shouldn’t have (like my fave – eggplant parmesean) and there would be no cheat days on the program. And second, the program restricts all dairy and only allows fruit on “refuel” days and so I would have to give up my evening glass of skim milk and my banana that I blend in my morning meal replacement shake. But, it’s only 13 days so I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.

I just finished day 2…. So far, so good! I really feel great. My energy is way up – today I worked out with Sean, then did 30 minutes on the elliptical, and then went for a 90-minute walk around University of Richmond with my friend, Sarah. Even after all of that I was ready to keep going!!! I’ve been okay without my milk and fruit, and the eggplant will just have to be my birthday dinner (which conveniently falls at the end of the program)!

So my motto for the end of my 33rd year: Go hard or GO HOME!!!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An introduction...

Hi all --

So, I wanted to start by telling you about how I got to this point... 2007 was a pretty rough year. I lost my grandfather, my dad's health was getting worse, and I was the unhealthiest I have ever been. I am a doctor and part of my job involves counseling patients on making healthy choices. I was at my heaviest weight and I was having problems walking longer distances without getting back pain. I was a horrible role model... I decided that enough was enough.

A friend of mine introduced me to Sean Murphy, owner of Fitness Together, in Feb 2008. He specializes in one-on-one personal training. At the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but my life was about to change...

I've changed the way I think about nutrition and fitness in general. I have totally changed my eating habits and have been consistently working out 5-6 days a week. I added Advocare nutritional supplements to the mix and my success was amplified. It's been only about 7 months since I began, and even though I am a work in progress and have quite a way to go, I'm pretty excited about what I have accomplished so far... I have lost over 70 lbs and over 40 inches, and it's just the beginning... I am well on my way to becoming a healthy weight.

As one might imagine, I have taken on a huge endeavor. I have highs and lows but continue to persevere... I decided to start this blog to chronicle my successes and setbacks. This way, maybe my friends will hear less of my whining when the road gets rough (although somehow, I doubt it).

So welcome to my journey!