Take the American Heart Association's 12-week Go Red BetterU Challenge today! Join Julie, Laura, Molly, Pamela, Paula, Renee and Ruthann in this journey to better health. BetterU is a free online tool that provides resources and tools for women who want to improve their health. Start! now so you can be on the path to becoming a BetterU!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Can I call a time out?


This has been a tough week. I've had trouble finding my mojo all week. Kind of like my brain has said, "Ok, well that little flirt with fitness was fun, but let's get back to the couch."

So I was headed over here to post a little whine about that when I saw the Better U coaching tool on the side of my personal blog and was reminded that I hadn't checked in there this week. So I clicked it and was taken to a page that said:

"Week 3: Maintaining Momentum!"

Ha ha ha! I swear I'm not making this up.

The lesson of the week talked a lot about tracking food and activity choices, which I have been doing. Even when I have to write down that I ate 3 pieces of fudge that some meanie who I'm sure wants to see me fail brought in to the office. (See what kind of mood I'm in?)

I don't recall if the lesson addressed what to do when your husband is downsized (anyone need a good graphic designer/social media guru?), your cat needs $400 surgery immediately and your son fails his hearing screening at school. (I was skimming the content because I have exactly 9 minutes to finish this post and get out the door for 4 hours worth of kids' basketball and volleyball games.) But I'm pretty sure it did not advise cozying up to the Edy's Slow Churned Chocolate Fudge Chunk.

When prompted to set my goals for the week, here's what I came up with (the first two were just click here type goals and since I'm already doing the second one, I'd figure I'll take credit for it):

My Goals
  1. Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk Goal: This week, I will register for the Heart360 Cardiovascular Wellness Center so that I can keep track of my heart numbers.
  2. Making Lasting Changes Goal: I will begin to monitor my makeover this week by testing out a log (online log, calendar, paper journal) for tracking my minutes of physical activity or food/beverage intake.
  3. I will find and post a motivational saying or picture somewhere that will keep me moving.
  4. I will go to bed by 10:30pm every night.
I'm open to suggestions for #3. Got a favorite you'd like to share? And number 4? Well, I'm just feeling so exhausted by life at the moment that I figured a little extra shut eye couldn't hurt.

Which brings me to:

My Rewards
  1. A nap.
Seriously. It's cheap and easy. Exactly what I need right now. But I promise, no nap unless I've already exercised for the day.

So that's where I am. It's not pretty, but it's real.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Climbing Mt. Treadmill...

I climbed a mountain last night. Yeah, I really did. Well, at least that's what Kara - God love her - used to urge me into riding a 15% incline on the treadmill last night. Specifically she said, "if the biggest losers can climb a mountain, surely you can handle this incline, right?" Ok, so what's a girl to say? No? I don't think so. Now the good news is that this delightful surprise happened at the end of the most intense 35 minutes I have ever - ever - spent on a treadmill. I missed the group workout with my girls last Saturday and I didn't really hear any details of the workout, partly because I was jealous that I missed out.

Circuit treadmill training...that's what it's called. I picked a speed I thought I could maintain for a 30 minute workout and that's where the challenge began. Mind you, my head wanted to pick 2.2 to begin with but my PRIDE would not hear of it! "You will NOT wimp out", pride said to me and so I picked a speed of 3.0 to begin with. Well, as we all know, circuit means onward and upward and all over again, right? So that means I spent so many minutes at 3.0, then graduated (whether I wanted to or not) to 3.3 and then on up to 3.6 and begin again. Oh, and we're going to do all of this at a little slight incline of 2 which I shall never complain about again.

Kara brought me some dumbbells and stretchy bands (professional term) and I thought "great, fabulous...I've done that before!" Hmmmf, er, em, nope, hadn't done any of that before. You probably won't be surprised to know that I was a little irritated with the whole process. I even asked if we could just pause and to my utter surprise [Not] my very dedicated trainer said NO.

I won't bore you with all the thoughts that went through my head but I will say this...I am so proud of myself for completing the circuit treadmill training. It really is true that our bodies are made to go much further than we think. I am hurting and the pain is increasing but I will take this pain any day over the consequences if I don't get this weight and physical inactivity under control.

No pain, no gain. Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results = insanity. I am so in this to win this I can literally taste the victory and it does not taste like chocolate anymore! Woo hoo, victory tastes like fresh fruit as I sit on the sidewalk of a French cafe when I take that long awaited trip to Paris. Victory tastes like my 3 and 4 inch heels. Victory also tastes like me running 3 miles everyday like it's nothin'! So I will be back in the gym tomorrow, kicking my own butt in gear. I hope I'll see you there!

Oh, and 1 more thing. Do the words "plank hold" many anything to you? More about that later.

Night night sweet peas...

Dreamy dreams~


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh, what a beautiful morning...oh, what a beautiful day ~

I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way!
Well, there I am, right in the aisle between cosmetic counters in a very public Macy's department store smiling at the camera! Notice anything different? My neck is skinnier...this lifestyle change is beginning to pay off and I have to be my Biggest Cheerleader to keep on going so forgive me if I seem stuck on me...'cause I sort of am...for now. LOL
It's critical and essential that we each be all about ourselves, getting healthy right now is going to give us all more time with our families and friends, right?
Anyway, had the most fabulous time this morning with my new girlfriends and fellow challengers! We tried on clothes, modeled our fashions, had makeovers and a photo shoot! When I say my inner Diva surfaced - I exaggerate not. I mean, lights, camera, action...I think - no scratch that - I know that I am meant for the stage! WOW - who knew that getting your act together would lead to fame and fortune? Ok, well, no fortune yet but it's coming!
Seriously, we have been so supported and encouraged by Allison, Michelle & Wendy, how can we not continue to be focused on getting heart healthy! And education? Even though we have been blessed to have extras - yay - everyone on the team has shared knowledge with us & there are tools available to you that won't cost a dime...everything you need can be found by following the 5 of us and checking out the online tools.
One of the biggest things I've learned over the past week is that if I don't carve out the time, if I don't plan and create a more balanced life, I have no one to blame but myself. My game plan was to be involved in so many different projects and activities that my need to eat constantly would be brought under control. And for the most part, it has. But can I tell you, listen up sweet peas, changing the food without adding activity adds up to a big ZERO. I know you knew that...I just had to remind myself (smiles).
So, no beating up on myself - you shouldn't beat up on yourself either - any error we made in the past is just that - it's in the past - behind us (uh, oh...that could be literally or figuratively - ha) but you get my point. Let's promise ourselves to live in the moment, moment by moment, making correct choices and yielding to the heart healthy habits our bodies naturally crave.
Will you join me? Over the next 3 days let's have more fruit, more veggies, more water, more exercise and less STRESS! I mean it gals and guys, dudes and dudettes, let's keep the main thing the main thing. If *it* is not adding to my success on this journey to new life, then it really is not important and does not deserve any of my energy.
I heard Jillian say last night on Biggest Loser that when you are stressed, your body retains water. I just read (for the 1000th time at least) that the bigger your waist, the harder your heart has to work. My trainer, Kara (love her!) accepts NO excuses. And God, in His Word says that our bodies are temples and should be treated as such. (1 Corinthians 6:19). Pick one and stick with me over these next 3 days. I need your support - you need my support!
To your hearts,
Sweet Dreams~


No, I have not been procrastinating! I try to blog every week and was waiting a few days before I wrote....because - TA-DAH!!!! FOUR DAYS NO SMOKING!!! WOO-HOO! I was afraid to post on day 2 because I did not want to fail and disappoint you all. Still far from out of the woods yet, but I am feeling confident and knock-on-wood - doing well with it all. I started with a Step 2 nicotine patch although I am allergic to the adhesive....moved down to a Step 3 in hopes to just get it over with. I was really tired of the mind game and thinking about it all. My quit date was January 29th but decided to just be done.....fingers crossed - I think I am going to make it!

I have been to the gym almost every day. Cardio and I are fast becoming friends and I think being cognizant of the effects of oxygen on the body helps drive the smoking cessation. In the past I had always been so focused on the external aspect of working out, but through the educational component of Go Red, I have really focused on the internal health of my body. I honestly look forward to cardio each day. Although I am not training for any marathon, I am doing intervals with some running. I have a bum knee and it is giving me some grief but I am trying to work through it in hopes it will strengthen. It feels incredible to breath and to know that I am healing the damage I have done to my lungs, heart, and systems.

I am meeting the girls at Macy's this morning for our make-over clothes and such. I am not much of a girly-girl I must admit. Really have not much patience trying on clothes and all - but it does feel great to care about my overall self. My daughters were neglected in the area of "shopping" and had to rely on each other to go the mall because mom could never handle it. I am sure they are amazed that I am actually looking at clothes and make-up....will let you know how it goes...

I am feeling stronger everyday....some days I really would rather go home and "veg" but make myself keep trying. I do not notice a lot of results but know I am gaining strength and endurance. I will keep you posted on the smoking - not only do I not want to let myself down, I do not want to let you down....trust me - I know you have heard this a million times - but if I can do it - you can do it! Go Red!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is "group workout" a dirty word?

Blog pic

The e-mail last Monday from Kara, one of the trainers at Life Time Fitness, was cheery:

Hello Ladies!!

I hope all is going well so far in your challenge! I wanted to offer you an additional session this Saturday. I am going to be in the gym between 8am-2pm Saturday and I would like to put together a 1-hour workout for the five of you (group training).

My first thought was how fun it was going to be that the five us would have a chance to work out together. As the week went on, my enthusiasm waned a little. I don't enjoy aerobics/jazzercise classes. I have no sense of rhythm and I get mixed up looking at the instructor, trying to sort out my right and left from her right and left. But it was so cool of Kara to offer, I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity.

When I got upstairs at Life Time, I looked into the glass-walled room, expecting to see our small band of challengers gearing up for the workout. But it was full of other women, sweating in unison. At almost the same time, I heard Kara call my name. I looked and there she was with Dee and Ruth at the treadmills.

Relief! A treadmill workout, not an aerobics class. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all. (I shouldn't be so naive...)

I hopped up on the treadmill and Kara told me to choose 3 speeds -- Ruth explained them here, so I'll just call them "reasonable," "tough" and "rough." Kara said that we'd be doing them in intervals of 3 minutes, 2 minutes and 1 minute. "Puh-leaze," I thought to myself. "I've been doing intervals like that of 4 minutes, 4 minutes and 2 minutes all week."

Did I mention that I was a little naive?
  • Bicep curls while walking at the "reasonable" speed. Not too bad.
  • Stretching with the resistance bands while clipping along at the "tough" speed. Challenging.
  • Running at a 5% incline at the speed formerly known as "rough." Yeah, let's just call that "you've got to be kidding me!"
It did occur to me that if my trainer Kyle is priest-like, then in contrast Kara might have been channeling Lucifer.

I'm ashamed to admit that I considered cheating, stopping the incline at 3 or 4%. But I could hear Kara in my head saying "you only get out of it what you put into it." So I jacked the incline to 5% and hoped that Kara's CPR certification was current.

By the end of the 45-minute workout, I was sweaty, out of breath and insanely considering taking Kara's Team Weight Loss class that offers a similar workout 3 times a week. Hmm...have I just sold my soul to the devil?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kara kicks our butts


Kara Wagner is the adorable pert little "Group Training Coordinator, Certified Personal Trainer & Performance Enhancement Specialist" at Lifetime Fitness, where the AHA GO RED has made arrangements for us to work out. God love all of them.

Somehow, Kara also has wrangled the title of "personal torturer" for us five heart challengers -- Dee, Kim, Jessica, Amy and myself.

Or as one of her clients said to her at the gym today, after he witnessed her leading a 45-minute session with three of us, "YOU are a slave-driver, Kara."

"I'm fine with that," she snapped back.

Follow this logic to its conclusion, and this means, you guessed it, WE ARE HER SLAVES. Sweaty, hard-working, miserable slaves...

But Kara doesn't quite see us like that. She actually thinks we can do this stuff...that it makes us better...stronger...that it's GOOD FOR US. Hence her email to us earlier this week:

"I believe you CAN keep going long after you think you CAN'T," she wrote us all, adding, threateningly, "In my opinion, "CAN'T" is a curse word!!! When I hear one of my clients say they CAN'T it's an AUTOMATIC 10 pushups!"

I have always wanted a Kara in my life: someone who set the bar high for physical challenges, who imposed her own little boot camp on me, who would push me to the limits, as I so rarely do.... Frankly, I never met that person in other trainers -- maybe I give out big wimp signals -- but this young woman accepts no wimps.

So, she had the three of us who could make it at 9 a.m. today -- Dee, Amy and myself -- hop on treadmills for the workout that has no name but will definitely kill you or get your heart pumping and burn up calories: first you choose speed 1, "a pace that you could maintain for the full 30 minutes." Then you pick your speed 2, "a pace that is challenging...increased breathing, but able to maintain." Then you go to speed 3, "a SPRINT, heavy breathing."

You do the first pace for three minutes, then go to the second one for two minutes and finally do one minute of the really hard one. Then back to the slowest one again, and continue the cycle. Not bad, eh?

Hah. In between, Kara throws in all sorts of little extras like fooling around with 10 lb. weights, upping the incline, and stretching -- while you are running/walking and trying to breathe. Then, after 30 minutes of this, she had us jump off and do reps right at the treadmill. Then right back on it, for a total of 45 minutes, and at the finale, she had us WALKING BACKWARDS.


The most I have done up until this session was 20 minutes at a pretty reasonable pace -- like 3.5 or so, sometimes going down to 3.2 mph -- and that was only yesterday.

But we ALL MADE IT THROUGH. The two younger challengers did great; the old lady did OK. OK means not throwing up, not falling off and not quitting.

I am still waiting for that serotonin high to kick in -- "that will happen soon, right?" I asked Kara.

"Do this for two weeks, and you'll get it," she said.

What can one say?

"OK, Kara." "Thank you, Kara." "Great job, Dee and Amy." "Go Red, Go Colts," etc etc etc." I can't believe this is me talking. At this rate, I am going to watch both the Colts game AND the Biggest Loser this week on TV....of course, I'd really rather be in the gym.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In the moment...

I am so loving THIS moment right now! Biggest Loser is on and they're doing their last chance workout in the gym and guess what? I can identify. The gift of being a BetterU challenger is my last chance workout and after yesterday's personal training session with Kara, I am convinced more now than ever before that my body was meant to M*O*V*E! There were times during the session when I thought, "Aw c'mon...this is a piece 'o cake!" Kara saw the expressions on my face - ha - but she knew I had no idea what kind of burn lay ahead for me. And when I say burn, I mean the only thing hotter than my muscles as I type is the temperature that rises up out of my shirt collar as I go into my personal summer - again - know what I'm talking about? I'm talkin' burn baby, burn - YIKES!

After my strength training session, I saw Dee moving very quickly on the treadmill and I accused her of "showing off"...I was teasing because deep down inside I was thinking that I should get myself on the treadmill as well. So, I did and thank you Dee for inspiring me (smiles). I wasn't on the treadmill very long but I did work hard enough to get my heart rate to the 85% zone if I understand correctly and you know what? I'm happy with that because I was M*O*V*I*N*G - what a concept, eh?

On my way out of the gym I decided to stop by the Life Cafe and treat myself to a Raspberry Peach smoothie...with whey protein...I sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I? Along with that, I bought a cup of the Asian tuna salad which was spicy and yummy and very filling. As I wrapped up I noticed the Life Salon and decided I'm going to leverage the amenities and reward myself on this journey with manicures, pedicures, and massages. Oh yeah, and shoes - LOOK at this pair - I've GOT to have 'em! YOU should reward yourself for good behavior too! And while I'm at it...you should NOT beat yourself up when, not if, but when, you have the occasional mishap...life happens and we're making some pretty intense lifestyle changes. Yay, us and yay you!
I could go on and on but I've got homework to get too and crunches and leg lifts before beddy-bye.

Here's to your heart...

Sleep well~

p.s. So much fun to have Ruthie come greet me with that great big beautiful smile she has and a hug...I love being in the gym with my co-hearts - maybe you'll come join us sometime?

This is hard


Ok, time to 'fess up. I did not know who Jillian is. Nor had I ever hear of this Bob. Two of our challengers -- Jessica and Amy -- have referenced these people in posts, and only thanks to Google do I now know they are among "The Biggest Loser" trainers. God, I am SO OUT OF IT.

That sort of sums up the current mood.

First, I love Abby Jorgensen, the Lifetime Fitness Personal Trainer who has been assigned to my sorry case. I like her brisk attitude, her personal experience as a high school jock, her youth, and just talking to her in general about life. But do we really have to EXERCISE together?

Yes, I know.

Had my first session with her Monday. It was all basically OK -- 5 minutes of cardio to warm up, then a bunch of strength training reps -- although the upper arm exercise is just plain sadistic. Abby made me feel better, tho. "Even I hate this one," she confessed.

I was pleased, also, to hear from the dietician Leslie, who called Monday on MLK Day. I swear, I don't really "work-work," but I am always running around doing something, and it is still usually for someone else -- this time I was delivering pies to dear friends. Leslie called just to chat, to see how things are going, and I was honest with her, because I can tell: she really cares.

I am losing weight slowly, very very slowly (as in 1 lb). I am just now getting acclimated to the gym and revving up my metabolism. It is a struggle; this is hard.

The only thing I have to offer is the vantage point of age: at 62, I can assure you I've been around this block before. When I was younger, the pressure was always on: have to lose 15 or 30 or whatever pounds by Christmas break; have to drop 3 lbs. a day; have to get to 105 by August. It never ended.

And the result? You got it. Even before there was the word "anorexia" bandied around, my periods stopped....(so did Abby's, in college; mine was a high school fast/starvation diet over 9 months that did me in). I am living proof that fasting/starvation DO NOT WORK. (Nor does the beer diet, but that is another story).

I can also testify that slow and easy is, for me, the only way to go.

So it is hard. But I think I am finally doing it the right way.

Still, I feel as if I am letting people down --- sorry Dr. Branyas. I want to peel off those pounds in time for the reward we all want, whatever that is; I want to be (even at my age) "a good girl."

But guess what? I am not perfect, I am going to give up my perfectionism, and I so appreciate the support I got from Leslie when I expressed this. XXXXOOOOO

This, for me, is a slow and steady race; I am taking the long view...a marathon, not a sprint.

Anyhow, it IS hard. But the support from AHA and all the women and men working on our behalf, giving of their time and energy, and the other challengers, God bless and love you each -- too awesome for words.

Take that, Bob and Jillian....wherever you are.

The Corners

Hey My Fabulous Five!

Wanted to send you a little note about my enemy,"cigarettes" and what I experienced when I tried to quit smoking to live a healthier life. My hope is my experience can help you all in some way, even though your obstacle may be different.

At the very beginning there was always excitement running through my veins and every cell in my body. Joy, optimism, and that I was strong and could overcome anything and everything that was going to come my way. That was usually the first couple weeks.

Somewhere between week 3 and 5 something emotionally, chemically, or both would happen. I am not a doctor but something inside of me was going on. Everything I felt in the beginning was starting to wane, I needed to find a way to push through, motivate myself, and regain the power I felt initially.

I did this by viewing my cravings like they were the enemy and I was not going to give in. I would ask myself, "What would prove that I am stronger than anything the enemy could throw my way?". The answer was always the same, and that was to overcome my enemy and win. So, I would get up and do something healthy, walk, eat a piece of fruit, meditate, read inspirational quotes, laugh with one of my friends, anything good! I found that once I was done doing one of those things my craving for my bad habit would have passed and it was replaced by strength and I would move on feeling victorious. I repeated this as many times as necessary until one day it simply was not part of my life. I quit smoking many times in my twenties and found this time frame (weeks 3 through 5) to be what I came to call "the first corner" and unbelievably hard. Yes, there were several others during the first year.

My wish for all of you is to find your secret weapon to use against your enemy, turn all your corners, and come out victorious, strong, and healthy.

Positive Thoughts & Best Wishes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting Better By The Day!! : )

Dee Small

Hello Ladies!!

It's been a bit of a roller coaster... I must say, BUT I'm still here and still truck-in (lol)...

While I have also been guilty of falling off the wagon.. I've been able to regroup and get back on and pick up right where I left off..


I can't stand it, I HATE IT, but it NEVER seems to FAIL!! I get in the mode of "what I want is what I want" and I Eat It... (lol), My body gets achy, I get moody, and if it's not making me happy at that moment I'm not doing it...

I'm sure you all can all relate, In the meantime I have finally had my assessment appointment last Wed with my personal trainer Kara. I went in feeling really good about it and was excited to get guidance on what I could do to physically transform my body.

It went pretty well actually... I did a lot better than I thought I would, and was rather surprise at how my body has been responding to my workouts. Today I had my first real personal training session, and it really helped me understand getting the most out of my workouts.

I was shot by the time the hour workout was done, but it was well worth it. On another note, every day I have been charting what I'm eating, what time I ate it, and what I did to work out that day.. And boy has it been helpful!! I am a very visual person so it helps to be able to look back and see how I felt, what I ate, and my progression in my workout status.

FYI... I ran on the treadmill yesterday and was able to get my 2mile run in less than 30min.


So I'm really excited because I also increased my speed, and I can really tell I'm improving.. and my husband even noticed while we were running together and commented on that I am improving too... so that really felt good.

Well since I have my road map to success after meeting with the personal trainer for my first actual workout session, I'm expecting great things... I'll be keeping ya posted!! ;)

P.S. I plan to do a lot better when that "special" time comes along... I refuse to let it be the DEATH OF ME!!


Always stick with your buddy!

One of my kids' favorite books when they were little was Officer Buckle and Gloria. Officer Buckle goes to schools to deliver safety tips with his canine partner, Gloria. At the end of the book, Officer Buckle's best safety tip yet is "Always stick with your buddy!"

It was good advice for me yesterday as I met up with Kimila to do a little cardio at Life Time Fitness. I enjoyed having a chance to get to know Kimila better (did you know she has a master's and a doctorate in special education!), enjoyed the distraction from watching the clock, and actually enjoyed the exercise.

Workout buddies

I went to LifeTime on Saturday, too, remembering (Fr.) Kyle's instructions -- 30 minutes on the treadmill in five minute intervals of 3.0mph and 3.8mph. About 2 minutes into my second 3.8mph set, Kyle showed up at my treadmill asking how I was doing.

I told him that the 3.0mph seemed a little too slow, but no way could I go the whole time at 3.8mph.

"When was the last time you jogged?," he asked me.

"Hmmm...how about high school gym class?"

He responded by reaching over and increasing the speed of my treadmill to 4.2mph -- a speed which required my short legs to break into a jog. I think it was payback for the priest comment. He said to jog for as long as I could. I made it two minutes -- seriously, that's an accomplishment.

"You know what this means," Kyle said. It means I was afraid of what he was going to say next.

"You can do more than you think you can," he continued. "So now I want you to do 4 minutes at 3.2mph, 4minutes at 3.8mph, and 2 minutes at 4.2mph for at least 30 minutes."

And you know what? I did! By the time I finished on Saturday, I'd logged 2 miles on the treadmill and nearly 200 calories burned. On Sunday, I did the same. Now I don't want to be all triumphant and victorious over a total of 10 minutes at a jog, but for someone who was a self-confessed couch potato only a month ago, this is a big step.

Oh, and I promised Kyle that I would make it clear that he is not REALLY a priest (and he is, in fact, available), just that he plays one inside my head. So I tried to take a picture of him so you could see for yourself. This is what I got:

Fr. Kyle blessing

Is it just me or does he appear to be giving me a blessing?!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week 2 Journey...

Kimila So.....this morning I met Amy at Lifetime to do the "C" word - (CARDIO - grrr!) and ended up with a good workout! Although I cannot keep up with the "Ames" - (she is tiny - but she was movin') - she helped me challenge myself to even run a bit. I really am feeling stronger and I feel the cardio will help with my oxygen levels and the "S" word - (smoking). It helps when you have someone to work out with and can support each other in your workouts.

My week was a bit crazy with work....so I did not have a great deal of time to do all of the things I had planned for the week, but overall I went to the gym 3 times, walked 3 days at school, and did pretty good at eating and smoking. I have made a cognizant effort to drink my water and feel some of the changes are becoming habits.

I am sort of a nerd I think, because I love to research and learn about things that interest me...get me in the library and the day is done - need a wagon to carry my books. I really looked at the effects of smoking and how important water is to the body. I think I need to rationalize things in my own head sometimes to change my perspectives. Not that I do not know that smoking is horrible and that we need water - it just helps me to really look at the issue and internalize it. The body is an incredible instrument and I feel sometimes I have taken for granted how blessed I am and how I cannot continue to destroy it through smoking and other negative habits. What an insidious habit smoking is...I also feel very blessed for this opportunity with Go Red to help me realize that blessing and change my lifestyle.

I did get my 2nd peel this week and am learning a great deal about my skin. I swam on a swim team all through my childhood and literally baked in the sun for years. Sunscreen was not part of the lingo back in the day and the effects are pretty clear on my face now....I am somewhat conscientious about my skin and am very grateful to Phases to being a part of the challenge. Although I love to swim and love the sun, I now am an advocate for protection. I kept my kids from burning when they were young, but now I really harp on them about the sun. As much as I ignored sunscreen, I will now protect what I have...

The workout with Kara was great and I am trying to push myself to a new level. I was used to doing only 10 reps in sets of 3 and Kara has me doing 2 sets of 20 with heavier weights. One thing that helps when the exercise is tough and burning is to count to 5 - 4 times. It is easier to make it to 5 than 20...(Manipulator game!)

One more quick note before this becomes a novel - the kids at school have developed a "Go Red Indy - Heart Healthy Challenge" wall at school filled with activities. The most popular this week was listening to our hearts with a stethoscope, finding our resting heart rates, and then running 3 minutes to compare rates. We posted a frequency table for the wall - I had children and staff asking me all day to do theirs! So, I guess at least we are increasing awareness! Very fun project...more details later...

Well. all for now - New week on the way! No school tomorrow for Dr. King, but have 2 grants due so still working....will make time for cardio! Have a great week and PRESS ON!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Still standing

Blog pic

Today was my first workout with my LifeTime Fitness trainer Kyle -- and I'm happy to report that I am still standing!

Kyle is about 11 years younger than I am and grew up in my husband's hometown. He looked a little to me like a priest -- close cropped hair, full dark beard -- which helped me not think mean thoughts about him as my muscles were literally shaking from the paces he was putting me through. I'll try to snap a picture of him next week.

We started with a five-minute warm up on the treadmill. Then we went through a series of resistance exercises -- reverse lunges, bicep curls, and a bunch of other exercises that I can't remember what they're called. Kyle explained what each exercise was meant to do, carefully naming each muscle group that was being worked on. I nodded and pretended to have a clue what he was talking about. Note to self: get a human anatomy book and learn the muscle groups.

I did learn that while Kyle said one set of reps is not enough, it is thatfirst set that doesn't feel so bad. We'd take a 90 second break or so between the sets (to allow the lactic acid building up in my muscles to have a chance to dissipate -- see I am learning!) and then go again. It's the go again part that was giving me grief. I tried to get Kyle chatting about himself or me or anything to distract him from remembering I was supposed to curling, lifting or crunching again. Turns out he has a good memory and I was out of luck.

My best performance was the plank - think pushup stance, only your forearms are on the ground in front of you and you just hold the position as far as you can. I made it 53 seconds the first time, then a full 60 seconds the second time. My most dismal was the shoulder raises (or whatever they're called). Yikes, did those hurt!

One thing I was surprised about what how much of a mental workout I got. I really had to concentrate to count reps, exhale on the exertion, think about the correct form for each exercise. Kyle said that the first few weeks of training is a lot of neurological work as your brain gets used to telling which muscles to fire when. Makes sense to me.

I can't believe I'm saying this about exercise, but, honestly, I had fun. At the beginning of the workout, I asked Kyle if he was more like Bob or Jillian. He answered "both." If I had a vote, I'd say he was more like Bob. He was encouraging, often pushing for "just two more" and responding with a high five when I achieved it.

I'm scheduled to work with Kyle again next Wednesday. Until then he's given me a reprieve on resistance training (but not on cardio!), which is good because even though I'm still standing, I am definitely feeling the workout.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does this count?

So, I met Kara on Monday. She admires Jillian. 'Nuff said? See where I'm going with this? But I like her, trust her, and going to obey her so that she does not yell at me. LOL.

Imagine me stepping up to the treadmill thinking, "Oh yeah, piece of cake. I know how to handle this piece of equipment." I remember hearing Kara tell me to let her know if the speed was a little fast for me...so I did and guess what? That's right...she told me to just keep going and that I was doing a great job. And you know what? She pushed me beyond my place of comfort and I survived. Yay.

Then we moved over to push-ups. My nephew asked me if they were the 'girl push-ups' and I responded they were the 'modified push-ups'. I was a little touchy about this, you know? Any push-up other than the kind you buy from the ice cream man is effort multiplied. These kids...what'ya gonna do? Anyway, the idea was to see how many I could do in 1 minute. When I got to 10, Kara told me I was doing great so I stopped and guess what? Right again...she told me to keep going - oh my word and can I tell you? Much more of this and I'm going to end up with toned arms! Aw yes, that is the goal though, isn't it?

Hard as it is, I am determined to not let myself down! I feel pretty good about the pain and I'm really looking forward to my workout session on Monday. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime I've promised to walk for at least 30 minutes every day and NO, this walking DVD sitting on top of my step bench does not actually count towards my walk unless I actually put the DVD in and begin moving - yikes.

Thought you'd enjoy the visual...so here we go again..

Sweet dreams~


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Blog pic

Bless me Father, for I have sinned...

Oops! Wrong venue. But I am here to admit to falling off the wagon. You can read the details of my transgressions (donuts were only part of the debauchery) at the FitCity Moms blog. Here, I want to talk about how it happened.

As I told you last week, I've been working on losing weight since September and exercising to go with it for about six weeks. Well, I must have hit some magic number because last week people started to notice.

I walked into a meeting at work, the first day back from Christmas break, and someone said, "Wow! I can tell you've lost weight."

At my son's basketball game, a woman I know from church stopped me and said "What are you doing? You look great!"

Even my husband said, "How much have you lost? I can really see it."

What did I do with that? I let it go to my head. I started walking around feeling almost like a skinny person. Like I was all that. Too bad I didn't look in a mirror, huh?!

So I let my down my heart healthy guard. I ate too much of a good thing and plenty of bad things. I took a mini hiatus from the workout. It was a weekend of both excess and laziness. Then yesterday, I stepped on the scale.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Nothing that I can't correct by getting back on track (and on the elliptical). But it was a good lesson that a big head can lead right back to a big butt.

I have to remember that I am in this for the long haul. This Better U challenge lasts through the end of March, but I'll have plenty of work to do after that. Even after I reach an optimal weight and cardiac risk profile, it will take determination and dedication to maintain that for life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

In labor NOW


Going to Lifetime Fitness today to meet with trainer Kara Wagner reminded me of being pregnant and in labor. At one time, (to continue the analogy) getting pregnant seemed like a really good, even great, idea --- but then, when I was finally in the hospital pushing that baby out, in hard labor, the thought would hit me: I'd really really really rather be home. Want to go home now. Now. Just get the heck out of here...

That's sort of my experience with working out. I like the idea fine in theory --- for me, it is THE key to weight loss and lower cholesterol and many other good things. But let's face it, ladies, it is a LOT OF WORK. And once you're there in that gym...well, it's tempting to bag it.

Kara, however, is just what the doctor ordered: a gymnast by training, totally dedicated to athletics, a former cheerleader at Cathedral and a graduate of U of Indianapolis, she's been working out her entire life. She is terrific, and I loved it when she challenged me to guess how much she weighs (at 5'3"). I won't tell, but the point is, it's a lot more than you think because, while she's tiny, she's all muscle. Point taken.

The other thing that is impressive is Lifetime itself. It was so big I passed it the first time, thinking it was a hotel. But no, it's a state-of-the-art facility and the first Lifetime Fitness in Indiana. (Headquarters is Minneapolis, where they are thick...)

So the facts: like Kimila and Amy, my VO2 needs to be higher -- that's the maximum rate the body can consumer and process oxygen during exercise. Even tho I've worked out with a trainer in the past, I've never heard of this measurement; way cool. Kara assured me that with good regular cardio workouts, my VO2 will go from the moderate range to a "good" classification.
Other tests were also a baseline -- pushups (excellent), biceps (barely good) and IRM bench (poor). Flexibility is nothing to write home about, either.

The other disappointment: scales showed a heavier me than I anticipated. This is no doubt in part due to a womens' weekend retreat, a beautiful Christian getaway, where the retreatants were all pampered and fed lavishly and I frankly ate too much of the wrong things: cheesy stradas and chicken tetrazzini when I should have stuck to salads, yogurt and fruit. My bad.

With luck, the pounds will come off once labor -- er, exercise -- begins in earnest at Lifetime.
Thank you, Kara and AMA for making it real.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just say NO!

Hello sweetpeas!
So, it's Sunday evening and I am getting ready to settle in for a few hours rest before going back to work tomorrow. I've been on vacation since Jan. 1 and let me just tell you, there is power in resting. There are also temptations - hence the photo. Did I succumb? Do I have to tell you? Yeah...BUT...I also amped up my water intake, counted calories, exercised while in front of the TV and cooked healthy foods at home this week. Yay me!

Just like Amy and so many others in the community, I had the best workout ever while in my driveway this week. Did you know that if you use your legs, instead of your back, you really will get a great burn - for FREE! The proper technique is actually, squat, scoop, lift, toss and start all over again. Oh, and don't you even worry about the neighbors watching from their windows...you know they're watching, right?

There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that no matter what bad behaviours I did not correct this week, I made some great choices, lost inches - especially in the arms and I am beginning a new week minus 4 lbs. Not bad huh?

I've armed myself with good groceries and will head out tomorrow with breakfast, lunch, and (2) fruits. I will not visit any vending machines or the little store in our building for snacks. I will get up from my chair at least once every 90 minutes...walk a couple of laps around our floor - do a few arm circles, run in place...anything for exercise. And then...drum roll please...I will meet with Kara, our personal trainer.

I'll let you know how things work out but in the meantime, YOU be encouraged. We can do anything through Christ who gives us strength. My motto this year, or at least this month is: "Quit the jaw flappin' and just make it happen!" You can use this too if it helps!

Sleep well~


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Does anxiety burn calories?

Blog pic Ever since I found out that I'd been selected as one of the Go Red Better U challengers, I've been most excited about the opportunity to work with a personal trainer. So when we received the news that we'd be working with trainers from Life Time Fitness in Castleton, I was pumped.

That is until Friday morning as I was driving to Life Time to meet with the trainer Kara. I could feel my heart beating a little faster at the thought of stepping onto the workout floor with a multitude of treadmills, elliptical machines, and stairclimbers and people who actually know how to use them. As I pulled into the parking lot, my palms got sweaty anticipating hard bodies in perfectly coordinated workout wear. When I walked into the building, I worried that my Vera Bradley bag would give me away as an exercise newbie or if that message wouldn't be clear until I actually asked my body to perform.

First, let me say that Life Time is a gorgeous facility -- spa/salon, restaurant, lap pool, traditional pool, hot tubs, gymnasium, cardio floor, massage rooms. If I ever had to choose to be snowed in somewhere, this place would not be a bad choice.

Second, despite the fact that she is fit and blonde and upbeat -- all things that can easily make me dislike a person -- Kara was terrific. She gave me a tour of the building, asked me to complete a profile of my current health and my goals and then discussed my answers with me. She talked about goal setting, nutrition, and body composition (how much of the body is made up of muscle vs. fat) Did you know that just sitting around, one pound of lean muscle burns 40-50 calories/day while one pound of fat only burns 3-5 calories a day?!

Soon enough though, the time for talk was over and Kara led me to a treadmill for the first part of my fitness assessment. I panicked a little when she set the machine for 3.4 miles per hour with a 5% incline, but I figured if I could do 15+ minutes on the elliptical, I could manage 5 minutes on the treadmill. I wanted to impress Kara with how fit I am despite appearances (delusion is hard to shake), so I struck up a conversation with her as the belt on the machine began to roll. That lasted about 3 minutes. By the end of 5 minutes, I wasn't talking to anyone except the voice in my head that was asking when it would be over.

I made it, with a heart rate about 15-20 points higher than optimal and a VO max (see Kimila's post "Paradigm Shift" below) that registered "extremely low." However, neither of those things led Kara to show me the door. Instead she was encouraging and assured me both of those things can change with some hard work.

The weight lifting test wasn't too bad, the flexibility measurement OK and the part where they pinch your body fat was as emotionally uncomfortable as always. The one bright spot in my fitness assessment was the fact that I did 23 push-ups (yes, the girl kind) in 60 seconds. My arms are still angry with me about that.

When the assessment was over, Kara gave me a printout of all my scores -- my 39-year-old body is actually behaving as though it's 55! She explained how working with the Life Time trainers over the next three months will help me improve my body composition, cardiovascular health, flexibility and strength. (We get a membership until the end of the challenge! Woohoo! Thank you Life Time!)

After I changed back into my street clothes and headed to my car, it struck me that I didn't recall what anyone was wearing or whether or not the person on the treadmill next to me was a hard body. What I did recall was that I watched a bit of an aquafit class I'd like to try, that the group aerobics class looked like fun and that no one seemed one bit concerned that I was wearing an old t-shirt.

I guess all that anxiety was for naught, except for maybe, hopefully, burning a few calories!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Paradigm Shift!!!

I had a fantastic week with many new opportunities! It was sort of an emotional roller coaster because I am wrestling with discarding my old habits and implenting new ones. I had been feeling really positive with my overall health reports until I went for my physical fitness profile. I have always thought of myself as being in quite good physical shape for my age, but I really am lacking in some areas. My strength and flexibility were great but my cardiovascular was really pretty discouraging. I knew this but really did not want to acknowledge it. My VO2 which is the oxygen intake your body is utilizing was not good. Of course smoking is the main culprit and that must go in order to make any significant change in my overall health. I love lifting weights but I DETEST doing cardio. I have been walking every morning at work thinking I was really doing something.....5 minutes on the treadmill had me gasping for air! I watch others running on the treadmills and wish that could be me! Kara of Lifetime (who is fabulous) encouraged me in that I was capable and had to commit to making it happen.

Another wake-up call was how important nutrition is to my health. I always kind of ignored the facts - I do eat fairly healthy...when I do eat. Hearing the facts of how I as neglecting my body was negating any progress was enlightening - how can you build muscle when your body is in famine mode? - DER!). I drink tons of coffee and little water which is basically leaving me dehydrated all of the time. Dry skin, tired, headache - all primarily due to dehydration.

I have come to realize that my brain is the "Master of Manipulation" and dealing with him is sort of like arguing with a three year old. My old habits do not want to give way to my new changes and it is an on-going internal war to overcome the Master! Telling myself, "Water and a piece of nicotine gum" becomes "Large diet Coke and cigarrette!" - "Treadmill" vs "Sauna." "I don't want to do that" is his primary response to my invitation to change.

I have a picture in my classroom of two birds in flight with the caption, "They can because they think they can." This has always been my philosophy in teaching.....it is not some new program, magic intervention, or sequenced activity - getting the students to believe in themselves is in itself ....the magic. Once they believe - they achieve.

I may be an old warrior - tattered and torn - but a warrior nonetheless. I have dealt with the Master many times and have overcome many difficult obstacles. Change is difficult - but necessary to move forward. So...all this being said; this week I have made some intial changes that are shifting the paradigm....

One bottled water before ANY coffee in the morning....limit intake to 2 before school
Cardio BEFORE weights...15 minutes
Hyberbaric chamber - 3 times to help heal and increase oxygen level - plus counter smoking need
Limit 10 cigarrettes - (He still is winning this one - but not for LONG!)
EAT - every 3-4 hours...(I know some are saying - "Oh, sooooo sorry!" - but it is a problem for me!)

All for now - hang tough!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Today's workout



Took me 50 minutes to shovel the drive and the walk. I'll admit that thoughts of having a heart attack while shoveling snow did run through my mind. Thankfully, my neighbor was also shoveling, so at least I knew if I keeled over, she'd be there to call 911.

I'm a believer

Blog pic About a month before my friend handed me the Star article about the Better U challenge, I joined Weight Watchers. I was fed up with my weight, with the multitude of medicine bottles in my cabinet, with running out of breath any time I exerted just a little bit of energy.

My Weight Watchers journey has had plenty of ups and downs. Some weeks I'd have a good loss, some weeks a minor one, some weeks no loss at all -- or worse, a gain. By the time I met with Dr. Branyas in early December, three months after I started Weight Watchers, I'd lost a total of 8 pounds. Now, I'm not turning my nose up at 8 pounds by any means and I take full responsibility for the slow speed at which my weight loss was moving, but losing pounds at a glacial pace wasn't exactly inspiring.

One of the things Dr. Branyas told me was that I need to exercise...every day. Actually, she said plan to exercise daily. Sometimes things come up and the exercise doesn't happen. If you plan to work out 7 days a week, it's likely you'll at least make it 5. Plan to work out 3 days and soon enough you're only hitting the gym or the exercise videos once a week.

So I've been working out on my elliptical anywhere from 4 to 5 days a week and I recently dusted off the Wii Fit. I've also been walking the stairs at work -- up and down 5 times, for a total of 500 stairs. And do you know what? I've been losing weight more consistently. For probably the first time in years, I actually lost weight over the holidays.

When I went to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday (Melissa Wrin, the registered dietitian at the St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana said if WW works for me and I like it, to keep it up), I stepped on the scale and I was in NEW NUMBERS!

In fact, since my meeting with Dr. Branyas and my commitment to exercising just one month ago, I've lost 8 pounds -- the same amount it took me 3 months to lose without exercising.

While I may not love working out yet, I am a believer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

20 minutes of exercise today


OK, maybe 18. Or 17. Fifteen for sure.
And one pound off -- this is using Dr. Nancy Branyas' advice, which is to NOT weigh every day, but rather once a week. That's radically different than anything I've ever done before, which was basically, weigh every 45 minutes or so and keep exercising and/or starving until 3 lbs melted off.
The video workout I'm using now -- which I recommend -- came from HalfPrice Books and is titled YOU The Owner's Manual Workout. As advertised, it contains "three workouts -- hand weights plus cardio" plus 4 simple recipes (do not need that). Two doctors cooked it up; it's good. I especially like it because it involves no machines, just using the body's own motion. There's even one where you get on the ground and have to rise up with the use of only one hand, and you do this 20 or so times -- great for the heart, and great in case you ever fall down.
This is day 3 or day 4 of a cold,but I swear that exercise, Vitamin C, adequate sleep and good thoughts in general are keeping it at bay.
Good day, so far.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Guess what I'm doing???

Jessica Small Exercising with the Biggest Loser group...and tomorrow I'm going to find a stationary bike somewhere and go for the 26.2! Stay tuned...'nuf said~

Feeling Hopeful :D

Photobucket So.. Yes Hello and here we are on day two and boy am I aching in all sorts of ways and places. I got my workout in last night it was a little late about 10:30pm but I got it in none the less. So this morning I was definitely feeling the effects of the work I put in, but I refuse to let that hinder me from getting in my workout today.

Umm.. okay so I have a confession to make. Yesterday, while out at a bookstore I sat down to read and it was a bit nippy where I was sitting enjoying my read, so I decided that I wanted something warm to drink to warm me up a bit. So I go up to the cafe and ordered:

A chai tea latte, with a couple of extra shots of vanilla, topped with whipped cream and a CARAMEL DRIZZLE... and as if that was not bad enough of course I add two splendas to top it off!! WHO DOES THAT?? Apparently I do.. (shaking head) It's what I USUALLY order. The sad part about was it didn't even dawn on me that I could definitely made a better beverage choice until I heard the lady behind me order her latte with the healthy bare minimums and I thought oh my gosh what did I just do??!!

I must say I couldn't even enjoy my "sugar" latte after I realized how easy it was for me to forget for even a moment everything I vowed and pledged. I was so upset with myself I skipped dinner completely (wrong answer) and was kicking myself in the butt for the rest of the night.

But I can tell you one thing I didn't let it get me all the way down, I knocked out my work out that evening even though it was getting late.. so I felt that I redeemed myself a little bit for what it was worth, but I have to remember to always keep my goals ahead of me and not let myself make thoughtless decisions about what I put in my body.

Today has been a good day, I followed through with my healthy meals throughout the day starting with breakfast. I made a healthy dinner for me and my husband and managed to eat it before 8pm and it was good. I ate only until I was satisfied not full, and now in about 40 min after the show The Biggest Loser of course I will be hitting the treadmill for my 30min/ 2mile interval run.

Being able to run 2miles in 30min is pretty standard for me, but I will know I am really improving when I can finish my 2miles in less than 30 min. I'll be keeping you posted... Wish Me Luck!!

Progress, not perfection

Blog pic Today -- for the second day in a row, my alarm clock did not go off at 5:30am. No matter. I said I was going to exercise in the morning and I meant it. So, I headed downstairs, greeted Denzel (my elliptical), popped a DVD into the player (Little Mermaid this morning, must find some new selections) and got started.

I've been consistently using the elliptical for about month now. I'm up to 16 minutes at a time, monumental for me though small potatoes to someone like my skinny sister who can exercise for 60 minutes without needing to call for oxygen.

Then why is it still so hard?! I'm not getting breathless, which is good. But dang! Do my legs hurt! Maybe I'm just wimpy? Could be. But I pushed on, even trying to sing with Ariel once without much success. I've got my sights set on 20 minutes; maybe by this time next week I'll be able to do that. Baby steps, I'm telling myself.

I wonder if I'll ever be one of those people who loves to exercise? Maybe, maybe not. But I'm hoping that I'll love what it's doing for my body.

Did you get some activity in today? Do you love it or just love what it does for you?

Off like a turtle...

Ruth Reading about the other challengers and their motivation is probably the best medicine I could have.

And I need it -- first day of the challenge, I woke up with a cold and a stuffy nose, the whole megillah. That makes counting calories a little easier, and it certainly is a good way to get plenty of liquids (need it to swallow those big Vitamin C tablets, 1000 mg).

But still, it's not easy to do a really good workout when you're coughing and feeling all dried up, so I got my exercise in the form of a brisk 30-minute walk in the afternoon with Isaac the dog. I remember Dr. Branyas saying that walking him would be a good form of exercise, especially since "dogs love to run, and you can pick up the pace..." OK, we did NOT run, Dr. B, but we definitely did our thing together. And we were both better for it.

I love that the other challengers have been so honest, listed their goals and cited inspirational passages to get the job done. The sense of gratitude is also very powerful, and I embrace it.

My goals are pretty simple:
I learned long ago that starvation/binging was not going to take the weight off, so I'm concentrating on eating healthy and modestly -- small portions -- three times a day. Yes, breakfast is best!

In order to bring my cholesterol levels down, and peel off the pounds, I need to cut out about 200 calories a day -- can do it thru cutting back on food AND ramping up the exercise.

My biggest goal, frankly, is to carry this with me wherever I go, not to get discouraged and not to fall victim to all-or-nothing thinking. Slow and steady wins the race....trust, faith and thankfulness.

So I am "off like a turtle" and grateful for it.

Good luck to all of us!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trying to Get It Right For the 100,000 Time!!


Hello All,

As I embark upon this journey I plan to be open and honest with you about my every struggle, temptation, and triumph.

All my life I characterized myself as being short, dumpy, half the time feeling pretty frumpy and the victim of bad genes. At 5'2 and 26 years old I am at the heaviest I've ever been... Hello My Name is Dee.

Generally I am a pretty happy person, I love to live and laugh but inwardly I have struggled with a reality that seems to only get worse as I age, and all I can think in the back of my mind are my mother's words of wisdom "It's important to gain control of your weight now because as you get older it only gets harder."

hmmm... yea that was 10 years ago and in that 10 years the weight has seem to creep up a little higher here and a little higher there.

So at age 26 at that rate, I hate to see where my weight might end up at 30!! SO I'M TAKING ACTION NOW!! Trying to take action and make up for lost time and weight gained. I know it's possible it has to be, I've seen and heard too many success stories for it not to be, but for some reason I have trouble thinking that the same could happen for me. How do you gain a different perspective/positive outlook on something that you have always seen as a negative aspect of your life for so long?

So I sat down and weighed it out and these are my goals:

1. CHANGE MY DARN STINK'N THINKING!! (I can do this and weight loss is in reach!!)










Then I started to think... How I dare I blame any of my weight shortcomings on bad genes? I have so much to be thankful for due to the genes that were passed down to me. It's not always about changing what God gives you, but truly loving yourself in your own skin and if it needs improvement, IMPROVE IT. But until we as women make the conscious decision to do so and do it effectively we really have absolutely NO ONE TO BLAME but ourselves.

So I ask you to join me in this Amazing Journey, as I find the BetterME I hope that you may also find the BetterU. Together let's vow to give 110% in every effort to improve our health, our appearance, and restore the confidence that every women deserves to have.

Vow to exercise patience with ourselves realizing this is going to take time, and there IS NO QUICK FIX!! (I'm still learning this myself)


To continue moving forward even on the days we may fall short, approaching everyday as new opportunity to have stronger will power and motivation to succeed than the day before.

All my life weight has been a struggle, but I am going in with a new attitude on life and a new attitude about myself. I am strong, determined, and fully capable of changing my life around for the better and I am excited to see just how much I can prove myself wrong... YES WEIGHTLOSS CAN HAPPEN TO ME TOO... Hello My Name is Dee!!

Here we go!

Kimila Finally, the first day of the challenge! I have been so excited to start the program and feel absolutely honored to have been chosen. The GoRed team is fabulous and have made the challengers feel welcomed and supported. My hope is to not only change my lifestyle habits throughout the challenge, but also help others who are feeling a need for change, support, and encouragement along the way.

I came to the challenge because I felt I had abandoned my own health needs and was in hopes of finding a support group to encourage me to commit to a new lifestyle. I think many of us need support and outside networks often are the key to finding new resources to help us with our needs. I have always been involved in physical fitness, but over the last several years have not worked out at all. I find myself tired, apathetic, and making excuses for my lack of involvement.

I had several life "obstacles" over the past several years and found myself not taking care of my needs. I have had the courage to look at these "obstacles" now as opportunities for change and renewal. My father died of a massive heart attack within these years and I wanted to make a choice to change my habits to honor his memory. I had quit smoking for nine years and started smoking again. My biggest challenge will be quitting smoking again.

I am a special education teacher and have been for 20 years. I often give too much of myself to others and tend to neglect myself. I have found that you can only give to others when you give to yourself first. This is a hard lesson for me! Because I tend to be somewhat of an overachiever, I have decided to make smaller goals for myself in beginning the challenge. I have started going to the gym and walking at school. I am trying to also be cognizant of my eating habits since I tend to often neglect eating at all.

So....to launch off the week I have made the following goals:

Walk every morning at school - Go Red launch for the kids - they are doing mathematical calculations of my walking distance in terms of miles. My brother is a teacher in Illinois and my mom a teacher in Iowa - so we are "walking" westward to "see" them. We are planning on writing letters about the challenge and pinpointing our daily distance on a map!

Go to the gym 4 times this week!

Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner - plus 8 glasses of water a day!

Cut down on smoking to 10 a day....I already blew the QUIT on the 1st - but not going to let it stop me!

Be gentle and kind to myself - relaxation and meditation to focus and reassure myself of my worth and commitment to a healthy life

So, come and join us on our journey! We would love to have you alongside us! Go Red Indy!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

59 Minutes...Ready, Set, Go!

Greetings America~

Thinking big and reaching wide...my name is Jessica, I am a work in progress, and YOU are about to become part of my world. Welcome!

The BASICS: Who, What, Where, When & Why?
Me, transforming my life, right before your very eyes, beginning now, because I want to live. Come join me?

FACTS: I love food. Looking at it, reading about it, preparing it, tasting it, and creating fond memories of great dining experiences. Food - glorious food - I'm always anxious to try it.
I do not love exercise (in general). Push-ups, sit-ups, stair climbing, and bike riding are all word combinations I personally believe should be eliminated from everyday language. Ha.

CHALLENGE: To reverse, or at a minimum, to marry the 2 sentiments above until they become a balanced and healthy component of my life.
GOAL: Fantastic Numbers & New Life
Lower weight, lower bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and losing the mask...my sleep mask, not the one I wear everyday to make people more comfy around my aching soul. [ouch, must reframe - sometimes truth hurts]

MANTRA: I am standing on the promises of God, yes and Amen. I am standing firm and nothing shall move me. I am giving myself to God as He who began a good work in me shall complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6, Mark 11:24, Jeremiah 29:11

So, here we go...joyful hearts...let's GoRed and let's get well!

p.s. Thank you American Heart Association

And away we go

Blog pic Tomorrow is our official start for the Better U challenge. Dee and I had a great time at WISH-TV this morning talking about this opportunity. And we meant what we said -- we hope other women will take on this challenge and join us here on the blog to share challenges and successes.

So I'd be ready to roll for week 1, I downloaded the Better U coaching tool, adding it to my personal blog and to my Facebook page. You can also choose to download it to your computer's desktop -- put it wherever it will remind you to stay the course for the next 12 weeks and beyond!

The first step is to click the button above to register (FREE!) for the Better U program. Then you'll be invited to download the coaching tool. I will say that I encountered a few frustrations getting into the program once I'd gotten the tool set.

TIP: Click "Update Your Journal" on the coaching tool to get into the program to set your goals for the week.

There are a few pages of easy reading about heart disease and realistic goal setting. Then you have the opportunity to set your own goal(s) and reward(s). Don't worry -- it's all for your eyes only!

But I'll share my Week 1 goal with you:

My Goal
This week I will exercise for 15-20 minutes 5-7 mornings on the elliptical trainer and do 30 minutes of the Wii Fit at least 3 times in the evening.

My Reward (I had a really hard time coming up with this!)
I'll buy some new makeup -- eyeliner and blush.


Getting to bed early enough so I can get up early in the morning to exercise.

I will set an alarm for 10:30pm to signal bedtime, as well as an alarm for 5:30am for waking up. This is important for me, as the hours seem to fly by while I'm flipping channels or surfing the web!

And on that note, since it's past 10:30pm, I'm off to bed! Hope to have many of you joining us to create a BetterU, too!