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My Own Personal Time Machine

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'll let you in on a little secret. I have a time machine. It's called healthy eating and exercise.
My 31st birthday is coming up next month, and while I am excited for a day with my family and an excuse to buy myself new workout clothes and sushi, I've found that I view birthdays a little differently than I used to.
When I was a teenager and even into my twenties, I couldn't envision myself at 30. When I was at my heaviest and sickest, I wasn't sure I'd get that far or if I even wanted to. I couldn't imagine going through life for that long. It was a daunting task when every day, every moment, of my life was an exhausting struggle. You don't look forward to much when getting off the couch is a monumental effort. I felt like life would be over at 30. I would be a washed-up failure without ever achieving anything or making any kind of impact on the world.
Fast forward 3 years, and my life is completely different. My 30th birthday has come and gone, but I was okay with it. I was healthier, lighter, and happy with my life and role as a mom. I had a job I enjoyed, and life was pretty good most of the time. I still had my ups and downs, and I was still battling with binge eating, but I was making progress.
This year, I am a completely different person. I've found my passion and set new goals with realistic plans for achieving them. I eat healthfully 80% of the time, and I workout at least 6 days a week. I'm turning my love of exercise into a career and making an impact on the lives of others. This year, I view age as nothing more than a number. Who cares if I am 31, if I feel like I'm 18?
Did I mention the other wonderful perk of my time machine? It makes you into a better version of yourself.
I feel like I'm 18, but not the way I actually felt at 18. At that point in my life, I was insecure, out of shape, a pack-a-day smoker, and battling with bulimia. I hated myself. I ate nothing but junk and refused to touch any vegetable other than a potato (fried or mashed only).
The nice thing about this self-improving time machine is that anyone can use it. It's easily adapted to any specific circumstances, and you'll love the results. For me, those results include happiness, a size 10 pair of pants, the ability to do push-ups (lots of them), a love of weight lifting, a bright future, and an amazing amount of confidence. Did I mention happiness?
Give it a try. You'll be amazed at the number of years you can lose and the many wonderful things there are to gain. As for me, I'm going to spend my 31st birthday looking back on where I've been and looking forward to the future. It's so much brighter than I ever thought it could be.
And the only thing I'll be wishing for is to continue this amazing ride. (and maybe to reach my goal of a healthy BMI by summer) emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOOKUMS19 1/13/2012 10:48AM

    Love it! I turn 42 this year and I'm ready to feel that way! I did and then I relapsed with some set backs. Thanks for the inspiration!

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CARLANNIE 1/12/2012 6:41PM

    I am just so darn happy for you, out here across the miles! That is totally awesome, or whatever a 30-year-old would phrase AWESOME! And I especially like that you have found something you are passionate about - that will take you far indeed.

You know what? I just looked at your ticker, and rather than the weight, you have the pounds goal. I think I like that approach much better, because I get really stuck on the 'number'.

Let's just do this!

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STRONGMOMMA2014 1/11/2012 7:35AM

    I am right there with you. It is seriously like you took the words right out of my head! I turned 30 this past December. I am in the shape of my life and am looking at 31 with only goals of fitness, happiness, financial balance, and knocking one thing after another off the bucket list!

Way to go on your success! Keep at it, you will reach your goals! You are amazing!

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HOTTEXAN 1/10/2012 11:10PM

    You make me happy, be sure to tell us when your b day is so we can all celebrate!

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GIANTMICROBE 1/10/2012 7:34PM

    WOW! Amazing blog. I didn't even know your whole story. And I mean this as a compliment, I really do- I didn't realize you were only 31. You seem like you have many more years of wisdom. Hope in 6 years, I kick as much butt as you!

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    Great attitude. You will reach your goals in no time. emoticon

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ARCHERS33 1/10/2012 5:43PM

    What a great way to look at life. You have such a good attitude, it's gonna help you reach that healthy BMI. Well done you.

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Never Give Up

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Anyone who reads my blogs will know that my first 10-mile run was not the best experience. Nor was my first run in snow/ice/wind. Both runs had my rethinking my plan to run a half marathon in the spring, and I was even questioning whether I liked running at all.
Luckily, Iím extremely stubborn. I hate failure, and I will stick with something until I get it ďrightĒ. I also know that bad runs happen, and they make the good ones that much better. So, I knew I would run again. Still, I struggled with the motivation to get back outside in the frigid VT weather.
My trainer and good friend called me up yesterday and wanted to go for a run. She gave me a couple options, and I decided to go for the toughest one Ė a 10-mile loop that involved a huge hill that went for about a 1.5 miles in the middle of the course. I knew it would be tough, but I wanted a challenge.
I was feeling pretty good about running. Iíve noticed that the outcomes of my runs have a lot to do with my state of mind going into the run. If I am prepared mentally, they go a lot smoother.
I envisioned the run, though I wasnít sure about the end of the route because I had never been on that road before. I told myself I could do it. I told myself that if things got too tough, I could walk, and I would not beat myself up over it. I also hopped on the computer and read motivational quotes, which I usually repeat to myself as Iím running. I was ready.
It was perfect weather for running. 39 degrees, light rain Ė which may seem kind of nuts, but I get extremely hot when I run, so cooler temps work for me. We started out well. I remembered my iPod this time, so I had a nice steady beat to run to. I felt like I was running faster than usual, but it felt comfortable. I kept up with my trainer for a lot longer than usual. Sheís been running forever and could probably walk at my normal running pace, so I was pretty happy to keep up with her for the first three miles.
Around mile four we encountered ďthe hillĒ. I had been focused entirely on this hill the whole time we were running. It is massive. It rises steeply for about a mile, tapers off a little for a small stretch, and then climbs steeply for the last half mile. And, it looks even more daunting standing at the bottom. Still, I was determined to run most of it.
And, I did. I had to walk a little on the last steep stretch but not very much of it. I felt amazing when I reached the top. Not only had I done it and still felt pretty good, but I also realized as I was running the hill that I was keeping a much faster pace than usual. I am a slow runner, and I was amazed to realize that I was keeping a pace I had only been able to hold for two miles before. This time Iíd held it for 5.5 miles! I was ecstatic.
The second half of the run was a true adventure. The road leveled off for a bit before we turned onto a dirt road. My trainer had not done this loop in four years, and her memory of the hills was not very accurate. We climbed another fairly steep hill, and she told me that soon we would get to a farm and the road would be almost entirely downhill back to her house.
Not true!
We climbed an extremely long hill and passed the farm. It was starting to get dark, and the road was slick with the rain that was now beginning to freeze. I have never run in the dark before, and a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Vermont is a very dark place. We barely have streetlights in town. The only lights out there were the lights of the houses and the occasional passing car. I was extremely glad to have my reflective vest on.
At the top of the hill it leveled off again before beginning another long, twisting climb, and I kept wondering where this glorious all downhill part of the run was. It was dark now. I couldnít see my trainer, who was about a quarter of a mile in front of me, unless a car passed us. The rain had turned into big, fluffy snowflakes, and I ran with my mouth open, trying to catch them on my tongue.
It was at this point that I thought, ďThis is absolutely insaneĒ. The nice thing about running is that once youíre out there, you have to keep going. There is no choice. The snow that had been my nemesis during the previous run was now my motivation to keep running. I knew I had several miles left, and running would get me there faster.
I had to walk in places because the hills seemed never-ending, but I ran a lot more than I would have if it had been sunny and warm outside.
Finally, we reached the top of another hill and could see the glow of streetlamps on the road below. We had finally reached the downhill part of the run, the last 1.5 miles. Going downhill was tough as well. It was slippery, and we had to go slower than we wanted to. My hips were beginning to ache through the numbing cold, and my mantras had dissolved into thoughts of a hot shower, dry clothes, and cheese pizza. All I had to do was keep running.
Of course there was another small hill before we descended back into town, which seemed like a cruel joke, but I didnít stop. I kept running, and even though I was aching and exhausted, I felt better than when we did the flat 10-mile run before. I felt strong and capable, and I was proud of myself.
After a brief and slightly scary encounter with a plow truck, we made it back to her house. The snow was thick, and my clothes were soaked. Still, I felt amazing. I had faced something that almost destroyed me before. I tried a much, much harder run, and I accomplished it with far more ease. Most importantly, I did not give up.
More and more I find that running is teaching me lessons that pertain to every aspect of my life. No matter how difficult the challenge, giving up is not an option. Itís only through struggle that we make gains and grow. Itís okay to fail as long as you learn from it and try, try again. You can fall, cry, and vow to never do it again, as long as when faced with the challenge again, you go for it and never give up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BNSUHAS 1/9/2012 10:53AM

    That is great.. You should be so proud of yourself! What you said about running teaching life lessons is so true. I'm reading Kristin Armstrong's (Lance Armstrongs ex wife) book Mile Markers.. its a great read about the life lessons learned while running. Its not technical at all and very relateable.

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JESSNSTONE 1/9/2012 9:29AM

    Way to go!!!

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RUBY_TUESDAY21 1/9/2012 6:22AM

    I'm with you, I love colder runs. I read an article on Runner's Worlds's site about making a pair of "ice shoes" by putting a few sheet metal screws in the soles. I don't know how often you have to contend with ice, but it sounded like a neat idea. I haven't been running as much lately, but reading your blog makes me want to get back to it even more!

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AMYSRUN4LIFE 1/8/2012 9:26PM

    So AWESOME! emoticon

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APIRLRAIN888 1/8/2012 8:30PM

    Yeah keep at it!! Great job

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APED7969 1/8/2012 4:05PM

    sounds like a great run! Reminds me of running in rural CT when I was younger. I think I'd almost take the 39F since it is supposed to be 95F here today! Makes me wish I'd gotten my lazy self out of bed this morning! Hopefully it cools off quickly this evening :) Great job on an awesome run!

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GIANTMICROBE 1/8/2012 1:23PM

    This is a great blog. I feel like I was there!

In a video I watched the other day, Zuzana was talking about using visualization as part of your warm-up... visualize yourself succeeding and you will. I was skeptical but tried it today and I feel like it really made a difference in my workout.

I love cooler temps to work out in too. It was perfect this morning- about 40.

One last thing...

You rock.

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Workin' It

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I love exercise. It is one of my favorite things, which is probably why I now feel that I MUST become a trainer. I love pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. Yesterday was definitely one of those days.
I started out with Day 2 of the BodyRock 30 Day Challenge. I think they've ramped up the intensity of their workouts, which is wild because they were already crazy hard. I love HIIT. Before I tried BodyRock I thought that workouts had to be long to be effective. Not true.
Next I went to meet with my trainer. I still call her my trainer, but really she's become one of my best friends. We're both a little bit crazy when it comes to exercise, and she finds new and awesome ways to push me every week. This week on top of our usual lifting (still doing heavy - yay!) she added jump roping. emoticon I just got one for Christmas and have been dying to try it out, so I was game.
It was so hard! It's totally different from when I was a little kid. I was sweating and panting after 10 minutes, and then we did intervals. 1 minute of bounding, swings, choppers, etc w/ a medicine ball followed by 1 minute of jumping. Wow. Loved it.
My trainer has also been teaching me a lot about training, which I find amazing and wonderful. The first time I told a "friend"/trainer that I want to be one, too, she was really nasty about it and basically said I couldn't do it because (and I quote) she "was there first."
So, it still blows my mind that my trainer is so willing to share her knowledge and support me and my goals. She's also started talking up my Zumba classes during her kickboxing and Pilates classes and is getting me more students. She really is the best. Not to mention that she is an awesome trainer, and I want to be just like her. She's completely changed my life, and I want to do that for people some day.
So, because we went long on my training, I had to go straight from training to my Zumba class, and I had planned a tough one. Apparently I get an "evil grin" whenever we get to something really challenging in class, and I was grinning all night. emoticon
Zumba is usually just cardio dance, but I add in a couple songs for fitness; legs, arms, and core. I know that my class is the only consistent exercise some of my ladies do, so I feel that I need to incorporate strength so they are getting a well rounded workout.
There were some new faces in class last night! So, of course I had to work extra hard. I was pouring sweat instantly (if I even stopped between training and Zumba), and by the end my legs were giving out.
Is it crazy that I love that feeling? emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CYNDERROSE 1/5/2012 2:55PM

    Amazing! I'm in awe of people who can keep up with Body Rock. I've watched a few of the workouts and dream of being able to do them when I get a little smaller. emoticon

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APIRLRAIN888 1/5/2012 1:53PM

    ywah that would be a great thing to be a trainer ;p

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BNSUHAS 1/5/2012 10:04AM

    That is really great! You just confirmed the fact that I felt like my kickboxing instructor started going much harder on us once the newbies showed up this week. I think someone with your passion for exercise would make an excellent trainer! Go for it :)

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CARLANNIE 1/5/2012 9:43AM

    Not crazy - just passionate! Keep it up and you'll be an inspiration for many years to come. emoticon

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JESSNSTONE 1/5/2012 9:39AM

    Glad you have such a wonderful, supportive trainer!

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DZSWEETIE2005 1/5/2012 8:35AM

    that's amazing! i hope to get to that point! :)

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STRONGMOMMA2014 1/5/2012 7:26AM


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GIANTMICROBE 1/5/2012 7:19AM

    You're awesome! I want to know you in real life. I'm so glad your trainer is supportive of your goals. I think it would be a high form of flattery if someone wanted to be like me. The first one must be insecure...

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SparkPeople's 28 Day Boot Camp with Coach Nicole!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Iíve been on SparkPeople for over a year now, and though I read all of her blogs, I had yet to try a workout with SPís beloved Coach Nicole. I got the SparkPeople 28 Day Boot Camp DVD, and thought I would give it a try. To be honest, I wasnít sure what to expect. Iíve done a lot of workout DVDs Ė itís how I lost the first half of the 80+ Iíve lost so far. But, the thing is, Iím picky. I know exactly what I want from an exercise DVD, and most of them donít stack up.

Coach Nicole and the 28-Day Boot Camp deliver. I was impressed. Nicole is cute and bubbly, and her smile never wavers even as she is demonstrating the more advanced moves. Her cueing is great, and she tells you what is coming in advance. This impressed me because I am a Zumba instructor, and I am constantly trying to perfect my cueing. Itís a lot harder than it looks!

I love the way this DVD is set up. It is divided into four workouts that you can mix and match, and it includes a great warm-up and cool down. There are also some great extras, like a short, seated abs routine for anyone who is stuck at a desk for most of the day, three tips on burning more fat, and yummy SparkPeople recipes.
Coach Nicole also provides a 28-day plan for best results. I would have loved this when I was first starting out. I was unsure of how often to exercise or what to do and could have used the advice. This plan is like having Coach Nicole as your own personal trainer! It starts out with shorter workouts, alternating between cardio and strength, and it builds in intensity as the weeks progress. It looks like a great program that will really get results.

If youíre more like me and like to plan your own workouts, this DVD offers four great choices.
1. Cardio Burst Ė 12 minutes
This short, heart-pumping workout was fun and easy to follow. Coach Nicole, along with two wonderful and real-looking trainers, take you through the moves starting with the most basic and modifying it for intermediate and advanced levels. After 12 short minutes, I was sweating, and I felt great!

2. Short Cardio-Sculpt Ė 12 minutes
Another great, calorie-blasting workout! This workout combines bursts of cardio with strength intervals. Again the moves start out simple, but Coach Nicole shows you the different levels you can do to challenge yourself no matter what your level of fitness is. She also adds a lot of great tips about proper form, which is SO important if you want to keep losing weight and not get hurt.

3. Tone & Burn Ė 20 minutes
I love this one. The name says it all. Itís going to burn, but if you stick with it, you will get toned. Though it only uses light hand weights, this workout is effective. My muscles were burning during it, and my arms were sore for hours afterward. This is a great workout that will get results.

4. Total Body Challenge Ė 30 minutes
This one is definitely my favorite. The title is right Ė it is a challenge for the entire body. This workout is based on kettle bell moves but uses hand weights, and each exercise starts simple and builds in intensity. And, it gets intense! I was pouring sweat by the end of this one and panting along with Coach Nicoleís bright, unwavering smile. The woman is a machine. This workout alone will get you great results, and paired with the other workouts, youíre sure to get slim and toned in no time.

The SparkPeople 28 Day Boot Camp is great for anyone who likes to workout in the comfort of their own home. The workouts are designed in a way that makes them challenging at any level, and there is enough variety to keep you interested. Coach Nicole is positive and caring as she leads you through each exercise, and her assistants are perky and capable.

I love this new DVD, and I will incorporate the workouts into my weekly routine. Iím going to share this find with everyone I know. Trust a picky workout DVD connoisseur Ė this one is GREAT!

This DVD is available at Target, and you can get $3 off by going here:

AND, you will get 250 SparkPoints emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I received this DVD for free from SparkPeople and did not receive any form of payment for my review.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMFRAPPIER 1/29/2012 1:33PM

    I'm not sure what weight they used. I used my 5 lb weights, and they worked fine. I would say use what works for you. The exercises should be difficult by the last few reps but not impossible.

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JDURHAM65 1/29/2012 1:14PM

  what pounds are the hand weights used in the 28 day bootcamp dvd -- 3 pounds?

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HOTTEXAN 1/3/2012 7:01PM

    I just might try it. Would have not have considered it without a great review from someone who's judgement I trust!

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APIRLRAIN888 1/3/2012 12:24PM


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COACH_NICOLE 1/3/2012 11:03AM

    Oh, wow! Thank you for the glowing review. I am SO THRILLED that you enjoyed the DVD, and being a fellow fitness instructor, I very much appreciate your comments about the cueing, too. Thanks for Spreading the Spark!

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SHFELKEY 1/3/2012 10:44AM

    Awesome review! emoticon

I also love the Tone & Burn section!

Comment edited on: 1/3/2012 11:10:24 AM

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JSPEED4 1/3/2012 10:21AM

    I love Coach Nicole, too. Her workouts are great! They fit into any day and have instructions for modifications, which I often need.

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Sending 2011 out with a Splash

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A huge indoor waterpark opened recently near our home, and we get to go to it today! Our friend works at one of the hotels, and a guest tipped him 2 adult and 2 kids waterpark passes for today. He generously passed them along to us, so now we get to surprise the kids! They're both part fish when it comes to water, so they are going to be ecstatic.
I'm excited for their reactions, but not so much about wearing a bathing suit. I let myself go a little over the holidays and packed on the pounds. Not a great plan and now I'm paying for it. Oh well, it'll be a lot of fun, and I have a long time until summer actually hits.
I have a few really big goals for 2012. I hope it's as good as 2011 was. We had a really fun filled year, and the kids are both at great ages for family outings. It's been amazing.

My Goals:
emoticon Complete a Half in May 2012 - I've picked my race and done up to 10 miles. I can totally do this.

emoticon Get certified as a personal trainer and get a few clients. I am so excited to get started on this goal. I can't imagine a better profession for me than helping others get fit.

emoticon Keep teaching Zumba and add more classes. Love it!

emoticon Eat vegetarian for most of every week. I've found that I love tofu, so this should be fun!

emoticon Set a new goal for the latter part of 2012. I'm leaving my options open right now because I have no idea what the year will bring. Some ideas: run a marathon, take up spinning and/or martial arts, start biking. Not sure what I'll do, yet.

emoticon Get to my goal weight and see my abs!

emoticon Fix the book again and begin promoting it more. Get it ready in time for the reading in March.

That's all for now. I'm sure other things will pop up, but that's a pretty hefty list for now. Now, I need to make breakfast, so we can have a full, energized day of waterpark fun!!
Have a wonderful NYE, and I'll see you in 2012!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDYLIME 1/1/2012 5:25AM

    Great resolutions! Here's hoping 2012 exceeds your expectations!

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APED7969 12/31/2011 7:39PM

    Happy New Year! Great goals :)

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GIANTMICROBE 12/31/2011 11:04AM

    Awesome goals and Happy New Year to you!

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SNOOKUMS19 12/31/2011 9:17AM

    HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE to you too! Your resolutions sound awesome! Enjoy your day!

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