February 25- Weigh in ….only lost 1 pound. Trying to celebrate..

     Just got in this morning from the ww meeting. I was sooo excited to weigh in, as I had stayed the same last week, and this week my daughter was away for the week on a youth group trip, my son was working, and I only had to make meals for my husband and I. That was easy, as he is on this journey with me.


This was a week of hours each day working out, eating exactly right,  measuring and weighing everything, drinking all of my waters and green tea. I actually keep looking back at the last week, and I can not come up with one thing to do differently. I truly thought the woman weighing me in would say I was at least 3 more pounds down.


The meeting topic was on stress and the question asked was, “how will you handle it?” It was actually ironic, because almost everyone in that room today either gained or stayed the same, and came into the room really angry or frustrated, including me. One man even gained 4 pounds after going to the gym 4 times that week.


All I kept thinking, sitting there, was….do you know what I did this week? I worked out 6 days for at least an hour to 2 hours, ate all healthy foods, the only 2 snacks I had in a day were the aloha granola ww bar and my 2 point ww ice cream pop each night as a treat. That’s it….I don’t drink any alcohol, not even a diet soda….water, green tea and coffee, that’s it, unless I do a ww fruit smoothie. As I said, I couldn’t have done anything more right during this week, and 1 pound loss is just upsetting at this point.


So, thank God for the ww meeting, filled with others in this same struggle, and a leader who is fully in it with us. She is extraordinary! As we all waited for the meeting to begin, already spewing out all of our frustrations, anger, thoughts of feeling defeated….She not only, then, in the midst of knowing this was going to be a really really tough hour to get everyone inspired and back on target and believing in themselves,…she starts to give the greatest advice, pulling out everything she knows works… and she, again, in her beautiful way, provides a safe place and orchestrates a time of sharing where everyone shares amazing wisdom through all of their own personal struggles and successes,  so that we can all pass on something to inspire someone else….so that no matter what the scale said today, we all leave empowered and not defeated…heading into a week to do the best we can, with all we know…walking out of the room once again knowing fully that everyone there is on our side and in our heads, inspiring each next choice and challenge this new week will have.


And we leave the meeting, knowing, as one woman shared this morning…that we will do our best, choose to accept ourselves, and we will all come together next Saturday to help one another, again…to celebrate together, share together, inspire one another, lift one another up, and walk through it together.


As Elyse reminded us, there is no plan B….We are going to stay with Plan A..the plan to get healthier and more fit and lighter. She reminded us that we are still on the right path, whether the scale is up or down. She reminded us to look at our problems as challenges, and not obstacles, and I choose to keep going in this challenge, and will win it.


She reminded us of the word “H.A.B.I.T” –Having a Bite Involves Thinking…so we really have to think about each bite we are taking. Although I sat there thinking about all of the time and energy I put into the exercise and cooking and eating right…feeling sorry for myself, Elyse reminded us of all the time it takes to find something to wear or something to fit right, when you don’t feel good about yourself. I’m looking forward to the day I can just grab absolutely anything out of my closet and just put it on, knowing it will fit and look great. How easy it is when the day comes and you just get to throw on a pair of shorts and tuck in a cute shirt…and not worry about that “third layer” to cover up everything….that’s the dream and the challenge to still shoot for. She reminded us that choice, not chance determines our destiny. So continuing to make the right and best choices will make a difference. It is worth the time it takes now….it is hard work, and it will come off the scale. If we continue to do all the right things, it will eventually show on the scale.


We also all had the opportunity to share “off scale” successes….seeing that our clothes are fitting better, we are breathing better…i just got back all of my numbers from my doctor visit…I have great blood pressure, my cholesterols are all amazing numbers, my triglycerides went down 51 points! (a good triglyceride number is anything less than 150. I went from 132 to 81!!! (and as of today, I am 43 pounds down)..These are amazing accomplishments that I have to hold onto when I am busy focusing on the scale number. My arms are actually starting to show muscle definition from all of the gym classes. This is what we were reminded to look at today. One woman shared an amazing story that last year she was able to give her kidney to someone…because she was healthy enough at that point to do it, as she had just lost 40 pounds.


So, at around 8:30am this morning I, along with many others sat in a ww meeting stressed, angry, frustrated, soooo mad…… as we shook our heads in anger and disappointment at a number on the scale….but by making the first great choice…to be at and stay at a meeting…we left empowered once again to take on this challenge, and challenges are there so that we can choose to take them on and win!


At the last moments of the meeting, Elyse reminded us that…”the past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift” (that’s why they call it the present). So I sit here continuing to unwrap the gift of today, thankful that I was able to spend my morning with others who know exactly what I am going through, and continue to join me in this journey and challenge…which will be won….I STILL BELIEVE!

What Vitamins and Supplements am I taking?

    Many people are starting to ask me what I am doing on a daily basis as I am doing this Transformation Nation Challenge. I recently put together a packet to give to others when they ask, so I thought I would start to put some of it on the blog in case it would help anyone else.

A few months ago, as Dr. Oz continued to talk about the supplements and vitamins we should be taking each day, I took the list, along with all of his specifications regarding each one, into my local nutrition store. I had never been in a nutrition/vitamin store before. I always just got my multivitamin, etc. from my pharmacy or even a grocery store.

It was a bit intimidating walking in, but I had my notebook that I keep when I watch his show, and I told the person working there that I was in the challenge and needed help figuring out what I should be taking, how much, how, etc….along with wanting to know if anything would interfere with anything else. She was so helpful, and explained so much more to me than I even knew to ask. She took the list and helped me find everything I needed, explained how and when to take everything, and explained how each thing would help me. So here is my list for my morning routine. It all takes a while to become a routine, but I also added some tips to make it easy. You can take this list to your local nutrition/vitamin store and they will explain how to space them out for the day.   Enjoy!



Lemon Juice

*Drink 1 glass of lemon juice (about ½” in glass) with hot tap water.

(drink first thing on an empty stomach)

*Take your vitamins:  With a full glass of water

(these are all recommended by Dr. Oz)


  1. Multivitamin- take half dosage in am and half in pm
  2. Calcium(600mg)Magnesium(400mg)- These must be taken together along with vitaminD for best absorption and effectiveness for your body.

(if you are on any medication, take these 2 hours outside of your medication, as it can block some medications)

  1. Vitamin D- 1000 units
  2. Omega 3 Fish Oil- very important to check that the DHA is 600mg (great for joints, depression, stress, heart, so good for you). Keep in the refrigerator, as that will keep you from feeling like you are burping it up. I actually prefer the liquid from Norway.
  3. Brown Seaweed- 500mg – fights off belly fat
  4. Licorice extract- 2ml- when taken with Brown seaweed, amazing metabolism boost
  5. CLA-ConjugCated Linoleic Acid-Turns fat into lean muscle mass
  6. Raspberry Ketones-(100-200mg) “miracle fat burner in a bottle”
  7. L-Argenine-1000mg
  8. White Bean Extract-(also called carb intercept) blocks carbs, boosts metabolism

When you go to a health food/nutrition store, they explain the necessity of having to take some vitamins morning, noon, and night for optimum absorption. It took me a long time to believe that this made a difference, but it does. So I had to come up with a system to make it easier for me to do.

Each morning I take out the tupperware bin holding all of my vitamins. I put the morning pills on the counter and the ones that I have to take at lunch and dinner in 2 hard boiled egg cups that I labeled with an “L” and “D”. They stay by my coffee pot on the counter to remind me that they have to be taken.

Find the Easiest way to get all 8 waters in:

    It gets harder for me to get all my waters in when it is cold outside, so I have to find a container that holds a lot of water, so that in my mind I know I only have to finish 2 or 3 of them to get all my water in.

When I am home the best idea is the large deli container from the store. I keep it on the counter with my water with a straw. I know I only have to drink 2 of them, (they are 32 oz), and that is all 8 waters. Find a 20 or 32 oz container that you like to drink out of, then you only have to fill it once or twice to finish your waters.

Dr. Oz has explained the amazing benefits of green tea, for weight loss, great metabolism and it’s great for your cells, so I boil up  3 or 4 tea bags, have them steep for a long time, then I pour it in my deli container on ice and add water, so that my last 8 waters for the day are full of green tea. I do add a sweetener to make it taste better, and I add the flavored green tea bags, like pomegranate, so that it tastes better.

Making a New List…”Someday I would like to be able to…”

February 16- First spinning class with 5 hills!!

Spinning class is still a class that I go to, yet still don’t have the full confidence that I will make it through it. There is always a fear that I won’t be able to last. (even though I have lasted every time so far) The first time I tried it, I was so happy just to keep my legs moving until the end. I watched everyone stand up and turn their knobs to a harder point, they stood up, sat down, grabbed various places on the handle bars, I think I finally stood up for maybe 15 seconds. It was very very overwhelming.
When Meg and I joined the gym, we said that we would give everything a try, and if we didn’t know how to do something, we would find the courage to ask. As we entered the Thursday spin class, we were both very scared. It was my second time, Meg’s first. This time, for me, it was almost worse than the first time, because as soon as the music started and we started pedaling, I remembered the pain and exhaustion.. and the thought of doing this for the hour brought some fear back.
I have kept trying, because everyone who does it says they love it. It is one of Olivia Ward’s (winner of BL) favorite things to do, she does it almost every day. Some people have said, “give it 5 times and then see how you feel”…so that is what I am trying to do.
When we came out of the Thursday class, the instructor said that she was thinking of training us all for 8 weeks, and then we would do a race during the class of the 8th week. She said each week she would train us in a different way, in order for all of us to get there. Our first 2 weeks were all about breathing and technique for doing long riding on a flat surface.
On training week 2, Meg and I actually followed every single thing the teacher said, we actually stood the entire time she stood, kept our pace with her, and when the class was over, I got off the bike and literally cried in my towel…. in exhaustion and with such excitement that I accomplished the goals of the class that day! I actually stood on the bike and rode for as long as everyone else did. It was like one of those moments on “The Biggest Loser”, when someone is pushed to do something they truly don’t believe they are capable of doing. It was an amazing feeling.
So, as I write this, today was training day 3…the goal for the class was to spin for an hour… and in that hour, not only tackle flat roads, but also do interval training with climbing 5 hills!!…which the instructor would lead us through, telling us when to add resistance, when to stand, and she would help us push through the pain of climbing the hills for various lengths of time. Every hill was tough, the third one was the longest and toughest, and then she tapered off a bit for the last 2 toward the end.
It was another amazing “first”. At the end, the instructor came over in front of my bike, looked in my eyes as I was still pedaling, starting the cool down, and she said, “you did 5 freakin’ hills!”…..I couldn’t believe it. When we got off of our bikes, Meg and I did a huge high five!..and just said, “we did it”.
On our way out, we stopped at the front desk, where there was another instructor and the owner, and they asked how we did, and we told them, “we just finished a class with 5 hills!” They were sooo excited for us, and asked me if I liked it yet, and I answered honestly….I no longer “hate it”, but I don’t “like it” yet. But I will keep trying.
In the car on the way home, we both said that for the first time we believe we might actually be able to be a part of the race in 8 weeks. We will keep training and see what we are able to do. It really has been extraordinary seeing what our bodies are able to do after just 6 weeks of coming to the gym taking different classes.
I took out a page in my notebook and made a list of things that I can’t do now, but would like to someday be able to do. I am putting things on that list that I never thought I would even want to do…. but that’s another blog for another day….
For now, I just wanted to share this story to encourage anyone out there that you are still able to do things you never thought about or even imagined. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have predicted that I would be in a spinning class training for a race, and as I continue to see what I am able to accomplish one step at a time, I am adding more and more to my list of “Someday I would like to be able to…..”
So, grab a notebook and start making your list. Write at the top, “Someday I would like to be able to…. Then make one choice to step toward working toward just one of those goals. Take it just one goal at a time, you can do it. Believe you can do it, ask for help, seek out a friend or spouse or child to do it with you. Before you know it, you will check off that box and be on to the next one, and in the meantime, when you start seeing what you can really really do…you will be adding to the list. Don’t ever stop making your list of dreams and accomplishments…You can do it, and each little step you accomplish will empower you to put another dream or goal on the list. My list is getting longer and longer….and I’m starting to think of some crazy things that might go on that list one day….



Power Ten Fitness… Where everybody knows your name….and they’re very glad you came…..

Where everybody knows your name….and they’re very glad you came…..
Don’t know if you all remember this theme song from “Cheers”, but it is what comes to mind now every time I think about walking through the doors of the “Power Ten Fitness Club Gym”. Meg and I finally got the courage to walk through the doors with a coupon in our hands that offered a one week trial, to see if you might like the gym. (That was about 5 weeks ago as I write this today, Feb.10th)

That first day, we looked at the schedule of all the different classes, and asked if we could try them all week. Right away, the man at the desk, along with a man who was working behind him (at this point we had no idea it was the owner), gave us great information, told us about the different classes and what to expect, they didn’t even ask for the coupon, they just told us to try it out for however long we needed and enjoy the classes, and let them know if we needed help with anything. There wasn’t one bit of pressure, they didn’t make us start signing our lives away with tons of paperwork…they just smiled, encouraged and welcomed.

We started taking classes that day, (we signed up 2 days later), and I don’t think we have missed going to the gym Monday thru Friday, for the past 5 weeks. Each instructor has helped us through every “first” experience of their classes….from Zumba to circuit training to spinning…first welcoming us with incredible enthusiasm, helping us adjust to our own individual ability for each class or exercise, and encouraging us as they see our progress.

This was a post from the first week of going to the gym….it is amazing to remember how scared and hesitant we were walking to the front desk….and now, we can’t wait to walk in, say good morning to everyone…they always, including the owner, welcome us by name, they are always excited to see us and hear about our progress, conquering all of our “firsts”, see us surviving new tough stuff…and they keep up with my weight loss in the challenge each week after I weigh in at ww. It is now “our gym”, where “everybody knows our name, and they’re really glad we came”..what a great feeling!  In fact, read on and see what the owner did for me my very first week at his gym…it still brings me to tears….

January 13, 2012- An Amazing Week….VERY SORE….

It is Friday the 13th, and on a day filled with superstitions of fear and bad things happening, I am ending a week that has been extraordinary! The last post I put up was written on the past Tuesday of this week. This entire week became a week of many more “firsts” for me. On Tuesday night I launched the blog and sent it out. I actually just finished writing and posting my thank you note to all of you. It was a whirlwind of a week, reading all of the emails, trying new classes at the gym, making better choices with the food and tracking what I am eating. On Wed. We went to take another zumba class, we were really aching and sore from the week, wondering if we could make it through. When we came into the gym, I told the owner,Steve, about my blog, and believe it or not… by the time I came out of the class, he had posted it on the Power Ten Fitness Club gyms facebook page!! Really, me on the facebook page of a gym? He has no idea the impact that that had on me. I still get very overwhelmed when I tell that story to other people.

An overweight woman, who didn’t want to even walk in a gym, because it always seems like gyms are filled with “perfectly fit” people…is not only taking classes she has never taken before…..cardio/sculpt, zumba, spinning….but is now on the gym’s facebook page, because the owner of the gym believed in her, even at the size and shape she is in at this moment, in this gym. Wow!  He will never fully realize what they meant to me.

I went home to my husband and had him bring up the Power Ten Fitness Club facebook page, and showed him that the owner of the gym actually posted my story on his gym facebook page. I just truly still can’t believe it.

I hate to do things by myself, and I had been praying for a friend to come into my life who would be able to exercise with me, because I just know that it takes soo much more motivation for me to go by myself. It’s so much easier to go with someone, and more accountability to stick with it. Little did I know that answered prayer was right next door! My next door neighbor, Meg, was looking to do the same thing, and we have experienced this amazing week of firsts together. Having someone with you also gives you the courage to ask questions at the gym, or try out new “scary” areas or equipment at the gym.

By Thursday, we were soooo sore, we could barely walk up and down stairs. When we were both limping to the car to get to the gym, we knew we couldn’t get through a class, but we decided we had to keep moving, and we would ask someone to show us how to use a treadmill. We walked in the gym, and stopped at the desk, and let them know that we really didn’t know how to use a treadmill, but wanted to try to go 3-5 miles on it, as we were so sore and couldn’t get through a class.

One of the trainers walked us over and encouraged us, and told us to hang in there and said it would be great to do this and just sweat out all the toxins, etc., and assured us that it would still be a great work out. Of course, as usual, I looked at people running on the treadmill, and wished I could someday do that, (and I’ll work towards that), but we learned all the buttons we needed to use and did 5 miles, and we were sweating and burned over 700 calories! (according to my bodybugg). That was really amazing to realize, that walking does burn so many calories.

So…. very proud that we chose to go to the gym, even though we could barely walk. We are pushing through the pain, and we completed another “first”, first time doing 5 miles on a treadmill. While we were on it, we chose a few more machines we want to try out, and will make an appointment to learn how to do those another day.
Really looking forward to weighing in tomorrow morning.

January 14, 2012
Weighed in today after the tough week at the gym….lost 3.6 pounds!!!! Sooo excited. I brought in a copy of my journal entry for the woman, Jennifer, who challenged me with her words, “so what are you going to do about it”. I just wanted her to know how she inspired me that week. As I handed it to her, she told me that many of my emails had been read by the leaders and workers in ww, and that I was inspiring all of them…Wow!
Went into the meeting, Elyse was back, had great new info and recipes for all of us. Even told us how to make a 3 point devil dog with the smoothie powder and non fat cool whip. This opened up the room to add sooo many more ideas for recipes, etc. I took lots of notes. We all get so bored and tired with finding new good things to eat, so this was a great meeting to take the ideas. Looking forward to trying many of them this week.
I’m in a new number that I haven’t been in in years, 36.6 pounds lost total 26.6 counts for the challenge.

Learning to look at the scale as feedback and not failure…

Jan 7-First weigh in after the holidays..Is not gaining anything and staying the same enough for me? No!….So what am I going to do about it?….
I was so excited to get back to WW to weigh in after Christmas and New Years. I expected to lose 3 or 4 pounds, since we hadn’t had a meeting in 2 weeks. For the first holiday break ever in my life, I chose to exercise, say “no” to so many hard food choices at all of the parties we went to…I had my bell around my neck, and I totally believed that I could stay on target and not fall off for the first time ever.

I walked down the hallway of WW that Saturday morning soooo excited to weigh in and see how I did. When the woman weighing me in said, “you stayed the same”, I thought I would cry right there. I was sooo angry at the scale. Everything going through my head was spinning..I knew how hard I tried, each day of the break, I got people walking and moving along with me, we gathered together friends with dogs and kids and showed them all where we do the mile walk in the woods (which I do 5 times), I continued to share about Dr. Oz’s transformation Nation Challenge at each party, which not only helped me make great choices at parties which had incredible food, but also helped to inspire others to get on board. Then, at one party, a friend answered many of the questions I had about the possibility of joining a gym. I shared with her all of my reservations and fears regarding going to a gym, and she continued to encourage me, and even offered to go with me if I needed her to. (I tucked the idea into the back of my head).

I even chose to do a hard work-out tape that week in my home, because it was too cold to go outside to exercise. I was so happy that I actually completed the abdominal part of the tape, doing it at the most intense level, which I had never been able to accomplish before. That was another great “first”. I spent the entire break believing I could lose the weight, even at the toughest time of the year, and there I was, on the scale at the same weight…I was just totally crushed thinking, ‘that’s not good enough”.

The woman weighing me in saw how devastated I was. She knew exactly how I felt and immediately pointed out that I would eventually see the weight come off. She explained that sometimes the scale may not move because of your cycles or even the fact that I had worked out with weights, but she asked, “what are you going to do about it?” Then she stated, “Your’e not going to give up. Don’t let this discourage you, sometimes people will allow this to get them off course.  You’re going to keep doing what you are doing, and the weight will come off!”

The anger and disappointment took a long time to leave me that day, but I walked into the ww meeting with my notebook, and as usual, the amazing people in that room inspired me with new ideas and goals to keep going. I shared a bit during the meeting about the Dr. Oz Challenge again, and asked others to join that day, and a woman came up afterwards and asked me all about it, and then she went back to the sign in tables and joined. I am excited to have someone at the ww meeting in the challenge with me.

As usual, when I got home, my husband, along with everyone rooting for me that day asked how I did, and I felt like such a failure to say, “I stayed the same, I didn’t even lose and ounce.” My husband said that he had a feeling that might happen, but then just encouraged me to “hang tough”. He pointed out that we were getting healthy for the long run, so that we can live our best life even into our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. With the people we are starting to care for in our family, we see the real effects of taking care of yourself early on, and doing things to stay strong physically and emotionally for the long haul.

So what did I do with this  upsetting weigh in?…. I got tougher…I weighed in on Saturday, and on Monday,  through wonderful circumstances, (which I do not call coincidences, I call “God-incidences”), I got together with my next door neighbor, Meg, whom I hadn’t really known that well yet, and we tried a class at a local gym, because she had a coupon to try all the classes for 1 week.
We were both so nervous to go in. It was a cardio/weight class. When we walked in through those intimidating gym doors….the men at the desk were so incredibly kind. We showed them the coupon, and asked if we could try the classes and see if we liked the gym. They were soooo friendly, and made us feel so welcomed and comfortable.   I shared with them that I was in Dr. Oz’s Challenge, and they were really excited for me, and so helpful in getting us started with our first class.

We survived the first class. During the toughest parts of the work out,  I had said that I just keep thinking about all the people on The Biggest Loser, and with all that they do, they don’t die, so if they can do it, I can do it, and I’m not going to die. The owner of the gym, who is so nice, and made us feel so welcomed and not intimidated, teased us and said, “you should have that put on a shirt. …”and I didn’t die” .”

When I wrote in my journal the next day, it was Tuesday of our first week trying the gym and we experienced “another first”…My first Zumba class!….and I didn’t die! Meg and I conquered another fear. We both shared that we always wanted to try a Zumba class, but were worried about not being so coordinated. We promised after conquering the cardio/weight class, we would go the next day to zumba, and it was soooo much fun!

Again, we were honest to let the instructor know that it was our first time, and that we were a bit anxious, and she was wonderful! I guess that is a big lesson I am learning, to put my real feelings out there, whether they are fear, anxiousness, anger, disappointment….and I’m finding out every time, that there are wonderful people right there to help me through it all, and teach me a lot in the process.

So…. was staying the same on the scale good enough for me?  NO!.., and this is what I did about it…. And as a result, the scale and the number did not defeat me this week. I was honest about my anger and disappointment, and I was inspired by the woman who encouraged me while I was on the scale to do something positive about it……I was then also encouraged by all the others in my meeting who know exactly how I feel, as they are battling the same battle and have so much to teach me and share with me, they are amazing,.. and inspired by my husband, family and friends as they continue to cheer me on and some have joined me in seeking to get healthier, and they continue believing in me, believing that I can win the Million Dollar Me challenge! What a blessing!

So, What are you holding in that picture?….

Many people have asked me about my “I Believe” picture on this blog, wondering what I am holding in my hand. Here is the story about how that picture came to be…

Who goes to Weight Watchers the morning of Christmas Eve…ME!!!!
Who would have ever thought that I would be at a WW meeting the morning of Christmas Eve? Truth is, I couldn’t wait to get there. (I also played paddle for an hour and a half after the meeting to get in exercise that day..never did that before on Christmas Eve).  Elyse, the leader, and all of the people in this meeting are saving my life. They mean so much to me, I hope that I get a chance to one day stand up and tell them all. I lost the 1.2 pounds which was awesome to actually lose weight at this time of year. A time where I would be eating like crazy with the goal of “starting AGAIN in January”. This is the first time in my life that I am trying to be fit and I am actually losing weight during the toughest time of the year. A time where food is everywhere, and I can just keep layering the clothes to hide the fat. Not this year!!!

It was the greatest meeting. Everyone shared great ideas for recipes and ideas to get through parties, and then Elyse had the most brilliant gift  which she gave out to each person there…..she gave everyone a small little jingle bell, and reminded us of the bell in the movie, The Polar Express, pointing out that only those who believed, heard the bell. She told us to put the bell in a pocket or somewhere where we would hear it once in a while, to remind us to believe in ourselves… Believe that we could stay on target during the parties, during this most difficult time of the year etc….believe that we can win this battle.  I knew as soon as I got home, I would get a necklace to put it on, and wear it around my neck, to hang in my shirt, amongst all my necklaces, so that I would constantly hear it and constantly BELIEVE not only that I could stay on target, but I could continue to keep it on and when I hear it jingle, I  BELIEVE THAT I CAN BE THE MILLION DOLLAR ME AND WIN THE ENTIRE TRANSFORMATION NATION CHALLENGE!

I took a picture of myself all dressed up on Christmas Eve, and held up the bell for Elyse to see how much it meant to me, and then sent her the following email. I thought that was the best idea ever! That little bell kept me making better choices than I would have been making without it. I also remembered that either way, the next morning, I would absolutely get back on track and counting….because as Elyse reminds us over and over again…. you’re only one meal away from getting back on track!

Here is the email I sent to Elyse with the picture following, which eventually became the picture for my blog….

Hey Elyse,
Happy New Year! Wish there was a weigh in this past Saturday, but looking forward to next weekend. Just had to tell you that the bell and your lesson on the Saturday of Christmas Eve was absolutely amazing for me. I knew as soon as you handed out the bells, that I was going to find a necklace to put it on around my neck to remind me to BELIEVE, especially during the holidays. I wore a bunch of necklaces, and had my daughter give me a black string from her jewelry making stuff, I hug the bell on it, long enough to hide behind my shirt, but could hear it faintly to remind me to believe and behave during all the parties and celebrations. Not only did I do that, but as people commented on how great I was looking and asked what I was doing, I shared all about being in the Million dollar Transformation Nation Challenge, along with all that you have been teaching, and I took out the bell and told every single person about your lesson that morning. They have all commented with words like…”brilliant, that’s so cool, what an amazing idea, etc”
I know that it might have seemed like a good idea as you prepared…but I wanted you to know that it was one of my GREATEST christmas gifts this year, because I have worn it every single day, I put it on every morning, reminding me to stay on target and not only believe that I can lose the weight, but truly believe that I can win the Million dollar challenge. I can’t thank you enough. You have gotten me to this point so far!  Thank you, again, for all of your preparation for each and every meeting. The morning of Christmas Eve, at the meeting,  I took so many of the ideas people shared from the group, and gave them a try, also shared them with everyone during the holidays. Even handed out your sayings to family and friends. Anyway, will see you Saturday. Praying for a good 2 week weight loss. Off to exercise!   Many thanks, Wendy   PS the next email has a picture of my necklace.…

So….that picture was taken Christmas Eve. We are now into the first week of February, and the only time the bell is off my neck is when I am sleeping. It may seem like the littlest thing ever, but every time I hear it, or just hold it, it is a great reminder to keep believing I can do this.

I have heard it ring during the toughest moments in exercise classes or working out, and it has gotten me through…times during spin class when I didn’t think my legs could keep moving for a full hour, times at parties when it was hard to stay on target with the food….last Tuesday I was in a platform paddle tournament with a friend…we made it to the final round of our matches for the day, we went into a tie breaker in the first set, and the second set was so close (we were even behind at one point), and every time we had to switch sides, I jingled the bell, we laughed and just kept saying, “we believe we can win this!” It was soooo much fun, and a great win!

So, this little crazy gift was one of my greatest Christmas gifts ever. It keeps me inspired and believing during tough times, I have passed on the story to so many people who have either heard it ringing on me, or have just noticed it around my neck. I hold onto it, I hear it….and I continue to BELIEVE!!

What do you do when one of the hardest weeks of your life happens…

What do you do when one of the hardest weeks of your life happens… How do you stay on a diet during trials in your life?…. What do you do when you have to rush your mom to the hospital, continue to care for her and your dad, balance your life with your own children, and try to stay on program and exercise and do the right things with fitness and nutrition…all happening 3 weeks before Christmas, and you don’t have anything done or ready for Christmas?….

…Normally, at this point,  I would toss all of my stuff aside and run to everyone’s aid, and then say that I’ll get back on track with me later. NOT THIS TIME!!!!  Thanks to my incredible husband, who has said that he has been inspired by me, as he is now joining me in his own transformation…He told me at this point in time, when everything started to come crashing down… to continue with my great progress, and he would kick in any way he could to help me. He is extraordinary!

On Saturday morning, a week after Thanksgiving, my mom woke up and could not breathe. My father called and told me that we really had to take her to the ER. (We live right next door).  So I got dressed and ran over, and as we headed to the ER around 8am, all I could think about was that my Weight Watchers meeting began at 8:30am.  My brother and I had taken my mom on a 5 day Disney Cruise the week before for Thanksgiving, as it was one of her lifetime dreams, and it all fell into place to be able to make that dream come true for her. (I worked extremely hard to stay on program on the cruise, making really great choices).

For the first time, ever, I found out where the track was on a cruise ship, and I actually walked around it. I also made great choices with food, asking the waiter to load my plate up with vegetables, and really asked him to only put certain things on my plate. I told him about the million dollar challenge that I was in, and he was so happy to help me stay on target.  We also decided as a table to ask for one of every dessert to be placed in the middle of the table at the end of the meal, and all 7 of us took one taste of each.  We were happy to have tried a bite of each one, and then I put my fork down and enjoyed a cup of coffee. I also only chose to drink water at every meal and on the excursions so that I knew I would get all of my waters in for each day. I couldn’t wait to weigh in the following week to see how I did.

Turning toward the hospital that Saturday morning, tears streamed down my face as I just kept asking God why this was happening, as all I wanted to do was to get to that meeting and find out if I lost weight on the cruise, and be inspired by the others to keep going. (I know that sounds absolutely crazy at this point, but in working so hard and trying to finally do this all the right way, I really needed the ww meeting to keep me going strong, and to keep me from giving up at this point, then deciding to do it “later, after the crisis, after the holidays, the first of the year, etc. Etc.)

After getting my mom checked in, my husband took me aside and said, “I know you will be a bit late, but GO to your meeting.  I will wait here until she gets a room. You really need to go. Stay on target.” I cried all the way in the car, ran down the hallway to weigh in, and as the women looked at my face, she asked if I was ok…I told her that I had just come from the ER, where my mom couldn’t breathe (she is a smoker and diabetic who has not taken care of herself in years), and I told her how I was trying so hard to stay on target and win the entire Transformation Nation Contest, and that I just needed to know how I did after being on a Disney Cruise for Thanksgiving. She came around the table and just hugged me and encouraged me that taking care of myself might inspire my mom to do the same. She then looked at the scale number and said…”YOU LOST 6 POUNDS!!” I was in awe, “I LOST 6 POUNDS ON A DISNEY CRUISE!” Who does that?…ME…someone who wants to win this battle and inspire others….not only to show that it can be done if I can do it, but I also want to write down every choice and battle to remember, so I can specifically tell people how I did it. That’s what I have always wanted those who have won the battle to do….tell me exactly, specifically HOW you did it each and every day….each and every trick, each bit of wisdom that really works and makes a difference! That’s what I want to do as I become…THE MILLION DOLLAR ME!!!

After I got off the scale, I went into the meeting, and I sat on the floor in the back of the room, because all the seats were taken. I needed to get to that meeting, to hear more inspiring stories to keep me going, to find out more strategies from our amazing leader, Elyse, and to hear from the others in the room what was working for them. They are all strangers to me, about 40 people or so in that room, but they have no idea how much I need them and their honesty and their stories to inspire me, encourage me, and get me through another week…and I really needed them that tough morning.

About 5 minutes after getting there, they were already at the end of the meeting (since I was so late), and Elyse asked, “are there any success stories”….I raised my hand immediately..not realizing that every head in the room would turn around and look down on the floor at me…I said, “ I just lost 6 pounds on a Disney Cruise…who does that?  I found the track, I told the waiter what to put on my plate….”  then the tears came down my face, I pretty much lost it, and I proceeded to tell everyone that my amazing husband told me to come to the meeting, as he stayed back in the ER with my mom. I told them, she was in there, as a result of years and years of putting everyone else first and not taking care of herself. She has the beginning of COPD, (lung disease from years of smoking) can’t breathe, and hasn’t checked her blood sugar in 2 years( as she has diabetes). I then said,  “most of us here are also people who take care of everyone else first, and I am learning for the first time in my life, I have to put me first. Just like the oxygen on the airplane, unless we put ours on first, we are no help to anyone else around us.”

Elyse shared a profound statement at one meeting which I am trying to hold onto and I am trying to live by, especially during this extremely tough time taking care of my mother, my father, and 3 teenagers. The very wise statement is..”After me, you come first.” Very hard to live by, but I’m doing my best.

So, while this was one of the toughest weeks of my life, (and it got a lot tougher before getting easier), trying to balance all that was happening in my life while trying hard to stay on target… so many of the people that I had opened up to to tell about this weight loss journey and be honest with…. at that point, they were the ones now keeping me on it as they encourage me to hang tough this week. Many of them continued to cover me and my family in prayer, and offered any support and help that they could give. At that point in time,  I had written in my journal,  “ right now I am taking it day by day, sometimes, moment by moment.”

What do you do when you can’t do it anymore yourself….YOU ASK FOR HELP!!…

16 days before Christmas my mom was really having a hard time after being released from the hospital. ( remember, she lives next door to us). She was on a nebulizer to help open up her lungs. She couldn’t go the 4 hours needed in between the breathing treatments yet, she couldn’t breathe, she was in lots of pain, she was crying and depressed and anxious and scared from all of the medicines…my dad was a mess feeling helpless, and I was trying to hold them together, along with everything at my house, and trying to do everything that needed to be done for Christmas…..and now I was starting to fall apart….

I couldn’t fit in exercise or find time to cook and prepare the right foods, as I was at their house…I couldn’t shop for Christmas, my Christmas picture wasn’t even taken yet for Christmas Cards to be sent out (they never did get sent out, another big thing I had to “let go of” this year)….there was just soooo much to do, and when I was not next door giving medicine, helping my mom calm down and breathe, preparing meals for them and for my family, I would step back into my house when no one was there and just cry sooo hard, praying out loud for God to help me, and show me how to get through it, the burden at that point was way too much…

That morning, my mom woke up and asked me to take all of her pills to my house, because there were many times during that night before that she thought she was going to just take them all and end her life. She had never thought that way before, but all that she was going through was just too much for her. This really scared me. I had never heard her talk like that.  I told her that we would all get her through this tough time, and pointed out that each day was a little better than the one before. We would get her through it together.

If it weren’t for going to the WW meetings and watching Dr. Oz during this time, I never would have taken the next step….

My brother lives in California, and he had been calling every day to check in and ask how everything was. He has always told me to just call and let him know when I needed him to come and help me. I always knew the offer was there, but it always seemed like so much to ask, to have him leave his 2 children (he is a single, divorced dad) and fly across the U.S.  In order to help me.  My husband and I have always just handled everything here with my parents. 16 days before Christmas, I was crying so hard in my house, feeling that the burden was too much, wondering how I could handle everything.. Along with all that needed to be done for Christmas. I heard a car pull up in the driveway, I looked out, and I truly thought my brother had heard it in my voice, and he just decided to come and surprise me….when I saw someone else get out, I just broke down, and then called my husband at work, and told him what I was going through, as I thought it was my brother pulling up. He said, “Wendy, he’s a guy. If you want him to come…ask him. He is not going to read your mind. He doesn’t know how burdened you feel, he doesn’t know that you have been overwhelmed and breaking down. He offered, and you haven’t told him to come. If you want him to come, just ask, and he will be there to help.”   Just ask, and he will be there to help…I knew he was right. And as hard as it was for me to do, I knew that the only way I was going to get through all of this, along with deciding that I wasn’t going to toss in the towel with the getting fit, along with being able to get through Christmas…I needed to just pick up the phone and ask for help!

I called his cell phone, and when he said hello, I could barely speak. I told him through the tears that I had always promised to let him know when he needed to come…and I needed him to come now. I broke down and told him about my mom wanting to just die, and I knew that he would come and give her a reason to live, help bring back her joy for living, along with helping me. He was on a business trip in San Diego when I called. He had to fly back home near San Francisco, and he told me that he would call his ex wife, work out everything with her with the kids, and he would be on the next flight out that he could get on. I hung up and cried tears of relief!

After I hung up with him, something in my heart told me to call his ex wife myself and to let her know what was going on, and to ask if it would be ok with her if I took him for a week. I hadn’t spoken to her in such a long time, and when I heard her voice, I again just broke down in tears, told her all that was going on, and without one ounce of hesitation, she gave me the greatest Christmas present ever, and just said,… “whatever you need”. Those words, “whatever you need”, just took my breathe away, and continues to give me chills every time I remember that moment. She didn’t even start to talk about how she would handle the kids, along with her responsibilities with her own retail store for the holidays, or anything else…all she said was, “whatever you need”. What a gift! When I had the time, I was so happy to be able to write to her to tell her that those words and her complete selflessness was one of my most cherished Christmas gifts.

So, I finally asked for help, and the blessings that happened for the entire week that my brother came are too many to write here. He gave my mom her joy for living back, he brought laughter back into both houses, he helped my mom and dad with absolutely everything that entire week to free me up to do all that I had to do, he went Christmas shopping with my husband and I and helped us finish everyone and everything on our lists,  he helped us with absolutely everything….he even worked out with me, kept me moving every day, and as I told him all about Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation, along with all the things I was doing from his shows, he joined me on the fitness journey. It was one of the hardest mornings driving him back to the airport,  trying to put into words all that he did for me and meant to me that week.  Hugging him good-bye was really hard. But… He is back in California. He is on the track to getting healthier, and continues to call me just about every day to check on our parents, check on us… to share ideas, encourage and inspire me to keep going.

and by asking for help I was able to go to WW and lose another 1.2 pounds the week before Christmas!