Just Some Midweek Encouragement…



Self Talk

I really wanted to do a post about self talk but it became challenging to know where to start.  Partly because I had victimized myself with negative self talk for years and years of my past.  So, it really stirred up some raw emotion when I thought about that place in my life.  And, even though I’ve overcome that and moved beyond that dark shadow of a past, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that from time to time I have to make a conscious decision to snap out of it and stop being so damn hard on myself.

What do I mean when I say I victimized myself with negative self talk?  jzi_positive_self_talk_I mean I would physically stand in front of the mirror and pick myself apart.  The tears would run down my face as I’d stand there, often times just out of the shower…a completely naked and vulnerable reflection in the mirror.  Someone who I couldn’t stand the site of was staring back at me.  Someone who looked so pathetic and sad.  I would actually talk aloud and speak the words to myself…it wasn’t just thoughts.  I would tell this reflection just how useless she was.  I would tell her how ugly and hideous she was.  Look at those rolls of fat you lazy piece of shit.  How can you think anyone will ever love you?  No wonder you are so sad and lonely.  (Keep in mind…I had lots of friends and I was later married…but that just tells you how much of a sad shell I had become.)  You don’t deserve to find love.  You don’t deserve to be happy.  How could you ever let yourself get this way?  Every name and joke anyone has ever made about you is true and it’s exactly what you deserve.  You are disgusting and I can’t stand to look at you.  You’re a fat pig, it’s no wonder everyone hates you.  You don’t deserve friends.  You’re never going to be happy.  And the list goes on….and on….and on……..


Close your eyes for a moment….visualize yourself meeting up with your best friend who you hadn’t seen in awhile and you discover she’s gained quite a bit of weight.  Now, say to your friend…Wow, you fat piece of shit, what happened to you?  You are disgusting and deserve to die alone.  Could you do it?  Did you visualize that?  No!  Of course you couldn’t!  You would NEVER EVER even dream of saying something like that to your best friend!  You’d hug her and greet her with excitement.  You’d ask her how she was doing and wh10712747_851207251579000_3871126780715936023_nen she brought up her weight struggles, you’d offer up some words of encouragement and tell her how beautiful she is.  So, why do we think it’s ok to talk to ourselves that way?  Talk to and treat yourself the way you’d do with your very best friend.

When you look at yourself, you need to look at yourself with the same care and love that you’d use when looking at your best friend who’s just come toyou looking for advice during a really tough time in her lift.  Be gentle.  Be caring.  Be kind.  Accept yourself as you are…right then and there.  Tell yourself that you ARE enough.  Tell yourself that you are beautiful and you deserve anything you yearn for.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!  Believe that you are amazing.  Maybe you have a little more around the middle than you’d like…but you have gorgeous eyes….eyes that many can only wish to have.  Maybe you have a smile that turns heads.  No matter how much we wish to be perfect…perfect is r10689902_857384394294619_630696397565253370_nelative.  Your idea of perfect is different from the next persons idea.  Maybe you have stick straight hair and have always wished for curly hair.  Talk to someone with curly hair and I bet they’ve wished for hair that wasn’t like a wild beast needing tamed.  Maybe you’ve always wished you were shorter…well, that person that’s 5’3″ may have always dreamed to be taller.  Be happy with yourself as you are.  We always want for what we don’t have.  Meet yourself where you are and be grateful for what you DO have!

Accept WHO you are!  Accept WHAT you are!  Believe in yourself and what you stand for.  Don’t try to keep up with everyone you see in magazines or even your friends on social media.  Just focus on being the best version of you.  There’s a thing called a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I believe wholeheartedly in them.  A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.  For example, if you’ve always wanted to have your own business…allow yourself to plan for it, dream about it, think about it, live and breath it…and it’ll happen!  Act as if you already have it and do the things you need to get there.  If you sit there and say, I’ll never have enough money to open my own business.  Guess what?  YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO OPEN YOUR OWN BUSINESS!  Instead, talk about or think about getting the money.  Make it happen!   It’s the same thing with weight loss and getting healthy.  Eat as if you were already there…The rest will fall into place.  But, if you don’t believe that you can even get there, then you will never take the steps to make it happen!

So, do yourself a favor, for just 1 day…then 1 week, 1 month and for the rest of your life.  Drop the negative talk.  Look in that mirror.  And, tell that reflection staring back at you that you are amazing.  You are exactly as you should be.  You are doing great things.  Your hair is on point.  That smile is breathtaking.  And, those eyes are sparkling.  You are an incredible human being.  YOU ARE ENOUGH!  For every negative thing you say to yourself, say 3 positive things!  YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Dust Yourself Off!

Sit….Crawl….Stand….Walk…….Have you ever seen a baby go from laying on it’s back, kicking around one day to running around the house the next day?  No!  Of course you haven’t!  There are stages in the process.  They have to build the muscles and learn control to be able to sit and then they’ll learn to crawl.  From there, it’s likely they’ll learn to stand and onstagesly then can they walk.  But, if they never learn to stand, they won’t be able to walk.  There’s an order…steps…and during those steps, they’re going to fall down over and over and over again.  But, guess what?  That baby gets back up and keeps trying until one day they are running through the house.

What makes you think that you don’t have to follow a process too?  Just like a baby can’t walk before it stands…you have to have 1 good meal before you can have a good food day.  And you need to take 1 step before you walk a mile.  And, you need to lose 1 pound before you lose 50.  You need to drink 1 glass of water before you drink a gallon.  If you don’t do that 1st piece, you cannot achieve the rest.  PERIOD!

Just like a baby has to build it’s muscles and learn to control them, you need to start at the beginning too!  Start with baby steps and easy changes.  Use this to flex your willpower muscles and learn to strengthen them.  Only then will it become second nature to decline that brownie or grab for the veggies and a glass of water when you need a snack.  b2e57043a9b7f23aecdd1d0a20626e66

Don’t get discouraged if you’ve never exercised before.  Don’t get discouraged if you’ve never followed a meal plan or taken supplements or counted calories or even considered getting healthy.  Don’t get discouraged if you fall along the way.  In fact, expect it!  I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had to try and try again to get to their goals.  I’ve never met anyone who didn’t want to give up somewhere along the fede5156b26f19cfd535f9f1066a80f0way.  But, guess what…that doesn’t meant it’s impossible.  It means it’ll be hard….it’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your entire life.  You’re going to cuss and scream and cry and wonder why the hell you’re subjecting yourself to this instead of just eating that cake.  Or, adding bacon and extra cheese to your burger.  Why are you skipping out on the milkshake?  I’ll tell you why.  Because being fat is hard.  Being unhealthy is hard.  Feeling awful is hard.  Know what else is hard?  Working out is hard.  Being disciplined is hard.  Saying no to the junk is hard.  But, in the end, it’s worth it.  No one will ever tell you it’s going to be easy.  If they do, they’re lying and they’ve clearly forgotten what it was like when they started their own journey.  But, don’t let the struggle stop you.  It’s going to be hard either way….choose your hard!

Take that first step…go for a walk around the block.  Drink that glass of water.  Substitute that vegetable for bread at dinner.  You have to start before you can reach your goal.  No step is too small.  The most important thing to remember though is that no matter how hard it gets and no matter how many times you fall, you have to dust yourself off and keep going.  I have started over so many times, I’ve lost count!  About 14 years ago was the the first time I remember really focusing on weight loss.  I started on the Weight Watchers program.  I lost a little bit and then I quit, gained it all back and then some.  Then, I participated in little work groups and challenges, joined a kickboxing gym, did well and quit.  Gained it all back and then some.  Then, onto LA Weightloss and Curves and Weight Watchers two more times.  Beachbody, Advocare, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.  Meal plans and shakes and bars and gimmick after gimmick.  I’d lose a little, fall off and gain it all back and then some.  Then, I went to Structure House…lost 120 lbs and was doing really well!  I went through some major life changes….within a period of 3 months, I went to Structure House, lost 32 lbs that month, filed for divorce, closed my business, moved 1000 miles to a part of the country I had never been until the day I moved and started a new job where I knew no one.  I packed only what could fit in my car and started over.  And, guess what happened….settling into my new life, I gained a few pounds back.  But, something was different this time….I caught it, I recognized that I was backsliding and I got back on track.

I’m back to tracking 10885482_903847456314979_1195533989406692600_nmy food and working out and taking supplements (I’ll be posting soon about the vitamins, etc that I take each day and why and how they make me feel) and making sure I’m as healthy as I can be…the weight loss is a side effect.  Just like when you learn to walk, you no longer think about it—you focus on getting from point A to point B and it just happens.  Now, I focus on being healthy and the weight loss will come.  I’m nowhere near done on this journey but I know what needs to be done and I’ve never given up.  Don’t be afraid of failure.  You only fail when you give up completely.  As long as you keep trying, you’re doing it!  And, when you get it and it clicks and you have that success…..spread those wings baby because there’s no stopping you in flight!

Stop the excuses.  Stop saying “I can’t”.  Stop saying you don’t know where to begin.  Stop saying you’re afraid to fail.  Just figure it out!  There are so many resources and so much information out there that it can be overwhelming to find your direction.  There’s no one answer that’s right for everyone.  I always tell people…you have to do what’s right for you.  And, what’s right for you is whatever you can stick with.  It doesn’t matter if you have a world class workout program if you can’t stick to it.  But, if you have a simple food plan that works for you, run with it!  I’m here as a resource and can help you find your direction—just comment or send me a private email, if you prefer, and I’d be happy to help you get started.  Don’t put limitations on yourself.  Get over that mental hurdle, strap on your ass-kickin’ shoes and handle it.  And, when (not if) you fall, dust yourself off and keep going!!!

All Calories Are Not Created Equal!

Eating healthy can still taste good!  Below you will find 13151647_1191152507584471_7368793234023924862_none of my favorite healthy recipes and it’s so easy to make variations of this!

I love Rice Bowls!  It’s so easy to switch out your ingredients and make a new creation!  And, the more veggies you add into your bowl, the more food you can eat!  Are you wondering why?  Here’s a graphic that will help to explain…all calories are not created equal



As you can see…400 calories of fat takes up far less room in your stomach than 400 calories of vegetables.  You can eat a lot more and feel fuller if you fill up on your lower calorie foods.

This recipe is for a 525 calorie rice bowl….it’s from a website called With Salt and Wit.  I will post the link for the actual page/recipe at the bottom of this post.  And, let me tell you—this 525 calories if FILLING!  I usually cannot finish a whole one.  It’s so easy to switch out, your meat, your sauce, your veggies, etc.  Taylor it to your preferences and caloric needs.  Now you have a ‘go to’ dinner but you can still have variety!



Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork Burrito Bowls

This recipe calls for quinoa, but I like to use brown rice instead. If you don’t care for pineapple, try mango!  Not a fan of pork?  Switch it out for chicken!  Don’t like avocado….ok, who doesn’t like avocado?  But, seriously..just leave it off!

For the recipe and meal prep tips related to this recipe, here it the link to this page…I’m so glad I stumbled across it and I think you might enjoy it too!


Stop Eating Your Emotions







Are you an emotional eater?  No, really…are you?  It’s ok to admit it!  In fact, if you admit it, then you can figure out how to move beyond eating your emotions.  Emotional eating doesn’t mean that you only eat when you’re sad or stressed.  You can eat when you’re happy or on some type of high as well!  It’s so easy to allow this type of mindless eating to creep into your life.  Think about it…

You’re sad—ice cream will make it better!

It’s your birthday—have some cake!

You got a new job—let’s go out for dinner to celebrate!

You’re bored—eat some chips, that’ll pass the time!

You’re lonely—mmm mashed potatoes and meatloaf will make you feel warm and fuzzy!

Your relationship ended—go out for drinks with friends!

You get the idea…we use food to celebrate, to fill time, to fill voids.  Hell, we use food to celebrate holidays—I mean, Thanksgiving is about turkey right?  And, Christmas, it’s about candies and cookies and ham…gotta have a Christmas ham!  As a society, our social time and family time seems to center around meals and food or drink.  So, for those of us who are emotional eaters by nature, it’s hard not to let that take over.  How do we separate what’s emotional hunger and what’s physical hunger though?  You really have to have some tough inner dialogue and practice listening to your body.  You’re not going to get the hang of it right away.  First, I want to start by acknowledging that most times when you thin you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty.  Your body is telling you that it needs something, but our natural instinct is to reach for food.  So, start with a glass of water.  Did that do the trick?  Good!  Moving on…

What happens when the water doesn’t do the trick?  Are you eating out of habit, out of boredom, some other emotion?  Or are you really hungry?  Is it around a normal mealtime for you? How long ago did you last eat?  These are all questions you need to learn to ask yourself before you reach for whatever it is that you’re going to use in an attempt to satiate this hunger.  If you’re sad or feeling low, force yourself to go for a walk first or get a little physical activity in.  The endorphin release will make you feel better without reaching for food that your body isn’t even asking for.


Once you can understand what your really experiencing.  Recognize the emotion…feel the emotion.  If you’re sad, it’s ok to feel that…but do something to pull yourself out of it.  Listen to your favorite music, sit outside in the warm sunshine, go for a bike ride.  If you are celebrating an achievement…you don’t have to go to dinner to celebrate.  You can treat yourself to some pampering or spend a day with your family outdoors.  Don’t use food as your crutch or your excuse.  Food is fuel.  Fuel for your body.  You wouldn’t go get an oil change and then drive to the gas station to throw gasoline on your car in celebration!  No, gasoline is fuel…it keeps the car going.  You might go to the car wash and make it look nice in celebration of your oil change.  So, don’t go throwing food all around either.  It’s fuel for your body….it keeps you going.

You really have to change your mindset and find n10659360_856106151089110_1839060915593648540_new ways or outlets for your emotions.  And, once you do that, the rest will fall into place.  But, it will take practice.  I can’t say that enough.  Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself halfway through a bag of potato chips after a bad day at the office.  Stop.  Acknowledge that you’ve made a bad choice.  Recognize the emotion.  Feel the emotion.  Find an activity to counter that emotion.  Don’t beat yourself up or give yourself the excuse of…”Well, I’ve blown my day so I might as well eat the rest of these chips.” It’s bullshit and you know it.  So, stop eating your emotions.  Food is fuel.  Food is not your feelings.

Hope is a Game Changer

I have a lot of details along the way that I want to share but I’m so excited to tell you all about February of 2015.  That month changed my life!  I expected change but I never expected the growth and the learning I’d experience.   Hope…it was a word that was back in my vocabulary.  But, not in the sense of “I hope I can do this” but more in the sense of I had restored hope and gotten rid of the hopeless feeling that once had wiggled into a real comfy little nook in my brain…in my life…in everything.


n. [hohp]

the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
Other words that have become a theme in my day to day life are: 
I really had to learn to replace the negativity in my life with these new words.  But, I never would’ve understood or believed it had I not spent that month at Structure House in Durham, NC.  That month was going to to change my life more than I could’ve ever imagined as I spent the year prior saving money and planning my trip.
Several years ago I was watching an episode of Dr Phil.  It was a rerun…an episode about a young person that needed to lose a very large amount of weight and it was really a life or death situation for this person.  Dr Phil referred them to a residential treatment facility called Structure House by Wellspring.  Fast forward several months…maybe even a year or two, I don’t quite remember and I was watching this new show I had found on TV called Too Fat for 15.  It was a show about kids who enter into a residential weight loss program at Wellspring.  Wellspring….I had heard of that somewhere…but where?  I was so inspired by these teens that I googled Wellspring to see how much these programs cost.  Ahhhh, bummer!  These programs are for kids only.  Wait….they have an adult program.  It’s called Structure House.  Structure House?  STRUCTURE HOUSE!  DR PHIL!  I remember this!  So, I went on his website and searched and found it.  I need to go.  I need to be there.  Holy crap..this program is $12,000!!!!!  Nope, never going to happen!
I went about my days as usual…but each day that dream of Structure House would creep in at some point.  I knew I needed to find a way…but how?  I surely didn’t have $12,000.  I had a new business that was seasonal and a husband who made just enough money for us to scrape by.  Ugh!  I NEED $12,000!  So, I decided to at least call Structure House and request some information.  And, while I had them on the phone I begged and pleaded for any kind of discount they might be able to give.  Not so much.  A few weeks later, I called again and asked if I could set up a payment plan…maybe this would be my path?  No.  $500 deposit due at booking and balance due upon checking into the program.  Well shit!  Ok, are you suuuuure I can’t get some kind of discount?  Long story short, I eventually secured a 20% program discount.  Ok, awesome!  We have the price down to $9,600.  Eesh…where am I going to get that kind of money?
I decided to step out on a limb and share my story and my plea and take a shot at Crowdfunding.  I created a link and threw it out on Facebook to see what would happen.  I knew I’d be at Structure House…it was just a matter of when at this point.  Donations from friends and family started to trickle in.  I saved every penny I could.  In the meantime, I found this company called Beachbody.  I did the cleanses, drank the shakes, participated in the groups.  It was working!  I was slowly losing a few pounds.  I became a coach to try to help others but also to cover the cost of my own stuff.  I was trying to save money afterall.  I openly posted my progress on Facebook.  One day I received a message from a former co-worker of mine who had donated $20 on my youcaring page.  She very plainly told me that she wanted her $20 because she was paying for me to go to a program, not do cleanses.  I explained that I would be going to the program as soon as the money was gathered and that I wasn’t using that money for any of my cleanses, etc in the meantime.  She told me that I was scamming people out of money and that she had a friend with cancer who could use the money and she wanted a refund.  Now, don’t get me wrong…I was so grateful for every single penny contributed…every single one.  But, $20?  Really?  Do you think your $20 is “paying for me to go to a program” and that you’re really going to stick it to me by taking it back?  You can have it!  Oh and by the way, take your rude ass and find the ‘unfriend’ button.  Ok, I’m over it…
I had set a target to go to Structure House in February of 2015.  Once I  had the $500, I booked my dates.  Now I was on the hook.  I had to go at some point!  As I got closer, I realized that the full 4 week program just wasn’t in the cards.  There was no way the money was coming together in time.  So, I cut it back to 2 weeks and begged them to still allow me to use that 20% discount.  They agreed…I think they heard my desperation.  Ok, 2 weeks…I have that money.  I’m ready!
19 hours on the road, by myself…to Durham I went.  I arrived on February 1 and checked into the program.  I got settled into my private apartment and read through the materials I got at check-in.  That night at weigh in and orientation, I was scoping out the others in the group.  There was the girl that seemed to be about my age, this giant tall dude with a big beard and his momma by his side, an older gentleman and a thin woman (why was she here?  I later learned that to her the 15 pounds she needed to lose was as much of a mind fuck for her as someone who had hundreds of pounds to lose).  We weighed in, got a tour and all went back to our rooms.  The next morning this same group was placed at Table 1 for breakfast in the dining room.  Table 1…the table where lasting friendships would form.  Who knew???  Table 1…the table that would hold our secrets…our fears, our weights, our struggles.  Table 1…the table that would catch tears and feel our bellies shake as we laughed.
As our first couple of days went on, we went through blood work, scheduling classroom time for behavioral and psychological teaching, participating in gym time and fitness classes.  I decided that I was only there for 2 weeks and I needed to make the most of it.  I’d found myself spending 5-6 hours in the gym and filling the rest with my classroom time.  I was busy everyday.  I didn’t allow myself idle time.  If I wanted to sit around and relax, I could’ve stayed home.  3 days into the program I knew I needed to be there for the full 4 weeks.  The 2 weeks just wasn’t going to be enough.  I called my mom and told her that I need to find a way.  She offered a loan.  YES!  YES! YES!!!!!  I got the loan, extended my stay and I was on my way.
I worked with exercise physiologists, RNs, psychologists, nutritionists….we tackled this from all angles.  I learned how to identify triggers and to understand the emotional, psychological and behavioral aspects to all of this.  My time with my psychologist uncovered some things that were really bothering me…things I had tucked away and pretended didn’t matter…things that I had buried under food and pounds and pounds of excess weight.  My marriage…it came up over and over and over again.  It became a theme…so many things kept coming back to the unhappiness around my marriage.  I really hadn’t been happy for a couple of years but I tried to put on the show and act how I thought everyone expected me to.  We had different goals, different dreams, different everything.  Sure, he was a nice guy.  But, there was so much missing from the relationship.  I really started to see that moving on was probably going to be my best route.
2 weeks go by and I think I had spoken to my husband maybe twice in that time.  I was busy, I’d wake early, go to the treadmill for a bit, breakfast, classes, workouts, lunch, classes, workouts, dinner, class or workout, water volleyball with a group of others I had become friends with, maybe board games or cards after and bed.  Rinse and repeat.  I really had next to no contact with the outside world.  Afterall, I wasn’t pay thousands of dollars to stay up on the latest and greatest of Facebook. I was there to work on me.  Then I got a text from my husband asking if I was alive because he hadn’t heard from me.  So, I called him.  He went into a rant about how I was being selfish and that I hadn’t called to check on him and I was only worried about myself.  He then went on to accuse me of cheating.  *imagine the sound of screeching tires*  Excuse me??? He’s going to accuse me of cheating?  Let’s talk about the fact that he cheated on me at least once that I know of before we were married and at least once after!  I’m sure there were more—those were just the ones I caught.  Even through that, I remained faithful.  And, now I’m here, working my ass off and he’s going to accuse me of cheating?  Yep, that right there sealed the deal.  I spent the little free time I had researching divorce in Wisconsin.  I talked with my psychologist to find out how I could possibly handle this.  I knew without a doubt that I would be filing for divorce when I returned home.  What I didn’t know is that his obnoxious behavior would ultimately lead to me telling him over the phone that I was done and that we’d be filing when I got back.  Another story, another day.
Back to my program.  I was seeing the weight fall off.  I was motivated to push harder and harder.  I was starting to like myself again!  Then, one day, I was sitting in a body science type class that was taught by the exercise physiologist that was the head of the fitness team.  He as talking about metabolic disorders and insulin resistance.  Wait a minute…did he say insulin resistance?  What does he know about that? He had my attention.  Then he went on to talk about disorders like hypo/hyperthyroidism and PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome in women.  I swear the trumpets sound3b90d490f4775b787befdc6829f38a26.jpged, angels descended from the heavens and he stood there sparkling like glitter. PCOS? Insulin Resistance?  What could he possibly know about any of that?  No one has ever heard of PCOS…except for me and my doctor that diagnosed me.  So, I had to ask….he went on to explain insulin resistance and how it affects the body when we’re talking about weight loss.  
And, once I understood it.  Once I knew what that meant and how we can counteract it.  Hope crept in.  This was the beginning of it all.  I cried.  I told him that he had given me something I had lost so long ago.  Hope.  Here it was.  This was what it felt like!  Wow!  I get goosebumps as I type this now.  With this new hope came a new motivation.  A new desire to understand not just why we need to eat or exercise a certain way, but how our bodies respond.  And, I assure you, I will be sharing so much of this in my upcoming posts.  I went on to finish that program.  I gained so much!  No…not weight!  I gained new friends (and so many more than just Table 1), a support system, renewed confidence in my abilities, knowledge….wait…is this a glimmer of happiness returning?  Yes…happiness!  And as for what I lost…..”It’s My Loss” afterall….I lost 32 lbs in that month.  32 lbs in ONE MONTH!  So, I no longer can use that C word.  You know…the C word that is 4 letters and ends in NT.  No!  Not that one!  CAN’T!  Because, now I know that I CAN!
I went home, figured out what my new normal would look like and started the ball in motion to the next chapter.  When I would run into people I knew they would compliment me.  Of course it felt amazing to hear “you look great” and “wow, you look so good”.  I knew there was still such a long road ahead that it was hard to accept those compliments.  But, I learned to smile and say thank you.  Because that was how these people were cheering me on.  The one compliment I so willingly accepted because I knew it was true…”you look so happy”!
The moral of the story—don’t lose hope, my friends.  Once you lose hope you’re on that slope of giving up and finding all of the excuses you can come up with.  It’s amazing what we tell ourselves to justify our bad behavior.  Cut the bullshit and be honest with yourself.  You owe it to yourself!

The Beginning…

I want to start by telling a bit of my backstory.  A bit of how I found myself in a downward spiral.  I am just going to share the basic details in this post.  But, I will go into specifics in later posts when I share them in relation to my journey.  It’d be quite a long post if I shared almost 35 years of detail with you now.

Going back to childhood, adolescent and teen years.  I was always the tallest in my class and I was always the heaviest.  As a kid that’s tough because when the name calling came it was hard to ignore.  Kids are brutal and often times inappropriate.  And, when I’d walk down the halls of school to hear other kids make noises or comments or whisper, it’d get to me.  How could it not?  I was in critical years of development.  As I went through Middle School and High School years I struggled to find where I fit in.  By 8th grade I had already been drinking and smoking.  10th grade came and I started a new school, joined the softball team (I had played summer league as long as I could remember and I was good at it…just slow) and used the opportunity to start over and figure out where I fit in.  I smoked pot for the first time (it wasn’t my thing-did it 3 times in my whole life), drank and partied like nobody’s business, started to really notice guys….I just wanted someone to like me!  I had friends…a lot of them.  I always had.  But, that didn’t mean the whispers or name calling ever went away.  Fast forward to quitting college and a failed attempt to be independent and live on my own and I moved in with my grandparents.

Dating…man there were some winners in there….that’s my sarcasm font.  Ayyyy!  I don’t know what I was thinking…again, I guess I just wanted to fit in and do what I thought I was expected to do.  I went through 2 relationships that were abusive…1 verbally, 1 physically (Cue the weight explosion).  I’ll talk about those in another post.  After that I met a nice guy who wanted to marry 10390070_873694125996979_4713143516137296610_n.jpgme.  Sure!  Why not?  Ugh…imagine waking up the morning of your wedding and realizing how big of a mistake you were making but feeling like it was too late.  So, you go through with it and spend the next 5 years trying to make the best of it.  Cue the weight explosion…again.  Looking back, I ate my feelings…it was how I coped.  Anyway, another topic for another day.  Next comes divorce and a new relationship.  I can’t wait to tell you all about that!

I spent years searching for my purpose…a direction…a place that felt like home.  Don’t get me wrong, Wisconsin will always be home.  But, I just always felt like there was more out there for me.  I needed to spread my wings…I felt like a caged bird.  I moved a few times for jobs.  I had lived in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio again and then ultimately back to Wisconsin.  I had decided that after 4 years of searching for a place to call home, Wisconsin must be it.  After my divorce and needing a fresh start….oh this story is amazing…I can’t wait to tell you all about it…I landed in Maryland.  HOME!

I started working on weight loss when I was 19 years old.  I joined Weight Watchers and went to meetings with my boyfriend’s mom.  It was working!  Then came the breakup and I quit going to meetings with her eventually.  I tried everything you could think of…Slim Fast, LA Weight Loss, Pills, Powders, Weight Watchers again, you name it, I tried it.  Then I found a gym that was solely aimed at kickboxing classes. And, much to my amazement, I loved it!  I was doing well at it and I was losing weight.  I was gaining confidence.  Then, I don’t know what happened, but I just stopped going.  Years later I found one of those multi level marketing companies called Beachbody.  A friend of mine was a coach and she talked me into trying the products.  I liked them.  I liked the support and I was seeing results.  I was motivated.  So, I became a coach and used my journey to inspire others.  Eventually, I quit that because it was just too expensive.  Here comes the part that was a game changer….years ago I had seen an episode of Dr Phil where he talked about a weight loss residential program called Structure House.  I looked it up and I dreamed of going.  But, once I saw the price I knew it was but a pipe dream.  So, I had forgotten about it.  Fast forward to 2014 and that program was on my mind so strong that I couldn’t ignore it.  I needed to go.  I needed to be there!  So, I did everything I could to make it happen.  February of 2015 was spent in Durham, NC at Structure House.  I will go into details of my experience and how that was a life changing month in another post.  But, let me tell you….this was where my eyes were opened.  T1379951_857668504266208_4135907728684360284_nhis was where I really started to understand how it wasn’t just about food or working out or feeling goo
d about myself or any other individual piece of the puzzle.  It was just that…a puzzle and all the pieces
were needed to work together and make it complete.

And, that brings me here.  I’m still on this journey, far from done.  I’ve had set backs, struggles, successes, laughter, tears and pure frustration.  But, I’ve learned so much about nutrition, fitness, the importance of taking care of my mind and spirit, giving myself credit and not beating myself up over everything.  Going places and having people tell me that I not only looked thinner, but also that I looked happier…that was it.  That was what I needed to hear….I looked happy!  I was happy!  I AM HAPPY!