Monday, March 31, 2014

a dream...


Those that know me are aware of my passion to help others.  
They saw me struggle with weight from an early age.  
No matter my weight, they always knew me as a fun, full of life girl that always cared about making others smile, even when I was doubting myself on the inside.

When I started losing weight in college, I changed everything in my life.  Although I was on my way to completing my degree in Journalism(which I did finish!), I was finding a new passion.  Something that kept me awake at night and pushing hard throughout the day.  I wanted to know all there was to know about living healthy.  
It was a new feeling for me.  I was able to find accomplishment through pushing my body and mind hard.  I was overcoming my food issues through exercise.  
I was finding healthy foods to crave rather than the fast food I had grown to love for years.  
With my personal changes, I was learning that the road was TOUGH.
It wasn't easy to go at it alone so I reached out for support and while I met great people that were encouraging, I still felt ALONE.

Fast forward to January 2013.  
I allowed life's bumps to grab hold and take control in my life.  Big or small, I allowed them to defeat me which led to weight gain.  
As I've said before, BALANCE must be found and maintained.  
We cannot lose it, find it, lose it, find it again...we must strive to KEEP IT.  
I bounced back in the game and this time I was for real.  
Determined and ready to conquer the world :)

I was on a roll, taking back my life once again I told myself frequently as I lay in bed at night...

I want to create a workout group for women by women that makes each of them feel empowered, strong and like she can do ANYTHING!  I want it to be a place where women feel comfortable, free and a place where they get to put themselves FIRST for a change.  I want to share my story, my struggles and accomplishments with these women so that they are no longer fearful of the journey ahead...
I want ALL women to feel like their goals matter.  
No obstacle is too large if we have one another.  
And them BAM!  My ah ha moment had arrived...

I would call ourselves The Move It Mommas.  
It seemed perfect to go along with my "Move It Momma" name I had made for myself via social media and my website, so now what to do?
I guess I should advertise and see what happens?
Day 1, I had one person show up ready to push hard and WE DID.  It was great.
Day 2, I had another lady show up and we pushed hard that day as well.
It was AWESOME!  No matter if it was 1 or 1,000...I was living my dream or so I thought?

By week 2, they were starting to come and join me.  

A few more weeks and our numbers were steadily growing.
We were having FUN!  I believe that I made sure the environment was right and that we always encourage NEVER discourage.  
As I say, this road is hard enough as it is, we must support one another and NEVER QUIT!


A Move It Momma's Christmas party?  WHY YES!
We were a group of women that believed in one another so why not celebrate?  
It was a blast and these women are forever in my hearts...all of them.  
Victories big and small should be celebrated and we make sure to do that each day.
Accountability is SO important when it comes to healthy living and weight loss.  We NEED one another to succeed and then as we accomplish our goals, we can congratulate one another and find motivation in each other!

We've had field trips...
MANY field trips and each time it's an adventure!

My cousin, owner of Furia Training Center loves hosting the Move It Momma's on those chilly, rainy days...

This particular day, our kids joined us for a school holiday!  19 children in attendance to either workout or play on the playground while we pushed hard.  
Our children SEE our example.  
We are their role model and they look to us for guidance.
This strong group of women, whether they know it or not, is impacting their families for years to come.

Move It Momma's decided we'd race together too!
Turkey Trot 2013!  
We celebrated Thanksgiving with a 5K race.
For some it was their first race, for others they just wanted to get out there and have FUN!
And FUN we had...obviously t-shirts were made as well!  Yay the birth of our Move It Momma tee!  

Some days we have TOO many Momma's and we gotta squeeze in to get a workout!  But we don't mind.  As long as we're moving and motivating one another with a smile on our face...that's all that matters!

All of my Move It Mommas are like family to me.  They listen to the stories I tell, and as we share struggles or accomplishments, we ALL listen.  I think that's so important.  Never to pass judgement but to listen.  Working out can be such a huge release.  Our stresses can melt away with an hour calorie burn so we use the time after workout to reflect.  If we need to share our victories or about a bad weekend of junk food splurging...we do.  And we all listen.  

Some have run their first half marathon with our group.  
Or first 10k or 5k!  
We set a goal and we CHASE IT!  
With us it's not about how fast or slow, it's about finishing.  It's about NEVER QUITTING.
I had a track record of giving up on myself for fear of failure.  I was notorious for gaining and losing weight, losing that FIGHT deep inside.  But not now...not anymore.
These women INSPIRE me.
They say I am their leader, their "Head Momma" but they inspire me more than they'll ever know.  Some of these women come to see me four days a week, while others come when they can just to say hello and workout with us on occasion due to busy schedules and life's busy moments!
Regardless, we are a family.
Always willing to let a new woman, a new Momma make their way into our group and lives.  
We impact one another's lives each day.
Through one another, we can see that failure is NOT an option.
We look around and see young, older, tall, short, thin, heavy and we see STRENGTH.
Some days it's enough just committing to walking up to an unfamiliar situation.
Women can be intimidating and mean so we find ourselves on the defense in many situations.
NOT HERE.
I will NEVER allow our group to feel threatened or hurt.  
We will fight every day to better our health, our lives and the lives of our family and friends.  
I set out to make a difference and make their journey just a BIT easier and I hope that I am doing that.  
I love you all, my strong, fearless and beautiful Move It Mommas!!!!
WE WILL NEVER QUIT!  

This group, these women...they make all of those years of being overweight, lacking confidence and fearing EVERYTHING...it was all worth it.  I am able to relate and share my stories with them to somehow make a difference and help them see that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

getting comfortable

-2007 after the birth of our first son:
In 2007 my weight was not where I wanted it to be but I just had a baby...  
We tell ourselves we're pregnant, we'll worry about our weight in 9 months?  Right?
  
I was married to my best friend, had a beautiful baby boy to celebrate and was teaching PE.  
Leading busy lives and full work loads, we ate out A LOT.  

I was having a tough time finding the balance again. 
In 2002 when I first started losing weight and changing my life, I was living alone in college.  It was easy to buy food for myself.  I only had to worry about ME.  I would go to the gym for 2-3 hours, finishing it off with a protein smoothie and a long nap!  ha!  Oh those were the days...
Now I was responsible for my husband and my children (one child at that time) and my balance was way out of whack.  

My husband was commuting an hour or longer to work so his days included lots of fast food lunches and then dinner was almost always death by casseroles.  They were quick, easy and tasty so why not?  Ya know what I'm talking about.  They are smeared all over Pinterest aren't they? 
You dump, mix and bake.  Usually smothered in cheeses and cream of whatever!  Ha!  We LIVED on these creations...and for two people who love to eat, these were a recipe for disaster.  

Of course there were many happy moments and as we were trying to live life, my health was slipping through my finger tips and I was taking my husband with me.  
I was falling into my old ways...what I feared MOST.    
I was not happy with the way that I looked or felt but it was a HUGE improvement from the girl I was in 2001 at the beginning of my journey so I couldn't beat myself up, my path was headed in the right direction but it seemed as though I was stuck on a bump?   

***

Today our lives are VERY different.

Not only have we lost weight and improved our health, we've also found our BALANCE.
It's what works for us.  Our balance may not be yours, we should each seek our own.  Finding motivation through as many people as possible that can help and relate to what we're feeling and trying to accomplish.   
My husband and I are both 110% focused on our goals, healthy living for ourselves and our children but that has a lot to do with where we started.  

We knew what it was like to gain weight together.  To find ourselves unhealthy together.  
But I also reflect on being the overweight teenager and young adult.  
The girl with little to no confidence so it is what drives me each day.  
I don't want to go back to that place.  I was slowly headed backwards and that is a very uneasy, scary feeling for someone who struggled for too many years to count.  
For my husband, he is driven by that day at the doctors office for his physical.  He was told to return later after finding out his blood pressure was too high to continue the test.  
A routine test was postponed because of his health.  
A scary moment for anyone.  
He chose to change that moment, that day. 

These moments of opportunity present themselves to us often leaving us with a choice.  
To continue living on the same path or to CHANGE?  
To want something more, something better for ourselves.
What path will you choose?

As for getting comfortable?  
GET COMFORTABLE WITH FEELING GOOD!
Find comfort in knowing you are being that positive, healthy role model for your children.  
Get comfortable with finding balance in your busy lives.    
Find comfort in helping others live healthy.
GET COMFORTABLE exercising and eating healthy as a family!
GET COMFORTABLE living that healthy, happy life that we all deserve :)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easy to judge?

From the outside looking in we are often quick to pass judgement, aren't we? 
I know that MY STORY is what it is...MINE. Nobody should understand exactly how I feel or the way I felt being overweight and unhealthy so many years of my life. 
Before we judge or criticize, maybe we should take a step back and understand each person...their individual wants, goals and needs. 
For me, THE GIRL pictured below was ME...for too many years to count


To judge that girl would be fairly easy right?
I appeared lazy and unhealthy...
To live my life on the day to day was much different than lazy and unhealthy.  
I was trapped.  Stuck in life as I knew it.  I would go through stages of depression, euphoria through the junk food I ate and then down a rapid spiral of shame that would only send me back to depression once again.  And that's in a nut shell.  
Of course I flipped back and forth between my weight and size but the point is...I STRUGGLED. 
I STILL STRUGGLE and fight my battles with food and exercise every day. 
The moments I remember most were the ones where I felt ashamed of my weight.  The times where people I loved most doubted me and my capabilities.  It hurt and I would put that feeling into food.  It was like a therapist for me, I guess.  Sad but true.  Something I do NOT recommend.  

And as the weight has come off I have found ME again.  The happy, full of life person that I was trying to be, yet would find myself shadowed by that "fat girl" image that I couldn't shake.  
While healthy living is a HUGE passion in my life, I'm still ME. 
Same girl yet more free and healthy ;) so the feeling I get from many is that because I chose to change MY life that I judge others that do not. 
This assumption couldn't be further from the truth. I do not and will not judge ANYONE.  
My family and friends still impact my life and are the reason I love living life each day. I guess I feel like people feel as though health and fitness is the ONLY thing I care about and that is not true. Yes, I lay in bed at night thinking of ways to change our world, to help ALL people live healthy (cheesy but true!) but I would never and will never stop caring about someone because of their lifestyle choice! EVER! I know the ones I know best understand that but for those that are quick to judge, I want all to know I am still Marissa.  

Every pound I have gained and lost was through hard work, dedication and motivation and because of that, I feel like I can relate and help others do the same.  I have no magic pill or suggestion, I can only offer what I studied in college, what I go through each day and how I overcome it!  I can provide that support system that some so desperately need.  I can provide a shoulder to cry on when we've given up on ourselves or sold ourselves short in the life we've been leading...
and with my experience working with children, I can help mothers engage with their children when it comes to being healthy, making healthier choices and being active.  

My way is not for everyone, but I do think no matter what healthy lifestyle path we take, it takes us in a positive direction, encourages us and celebrates all of our accomplishments, big and small.  
Some of my Momma's are dealing with jealousy from family and friends who are not wanting them to succeed and while I find this SO troubling, I understand because I have been there. Never judge a person or criticize them for seeking a healthier way of life. How awful. If you are frustrated with YOUR road ahead and lack of progress, it doesn't matter. We should always want a healthy life for ourselves AND others. 
While my Momma's receive 95% compliments and encouragement from their hard work and healthy changes, the "haters" still seem to steal the spotlight, right? 
WHY IS THAT? 

The best advice I can offer is...
Keep your chin up, let those that doubt you make you stronger-help you push harder every day!
Some days I workout and eat healthy for ME, some for my family and a lot of times it's for the ones that doubt me.  Sadly it works well.  It fuels me and gives me one heck of a calorie burn.  
We should always want what is best for the people that we love most, so ask yourself if your comments to a loved one will encourage or discourage them before you speak.  For a person who held a lot of shame and guilt inside for MANY years, it never helps when we discourage one another...ever.  Don't be that person.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

BELIEVE.

It was only when I started believing that I could change...that I finally CHANGED.
Chances are, someone in your life right now believes in YOU even before you believe in yourself If you once believed and have now forgotten what that feels like...it matters.  Especially if we have lost the fight, we feel defeated and accept our life as-is.  We must BELIEVE and seek a different path.  
If we find ourselves wondering IF we can do something, we need that believer to assure us that we really CAN do it.  My dream?  I want to act as that believer for as many women as possible. The women that fear change and doubt their abilities and strength.  For the Mom's that put others first (we all do at some point, don't we?) and I think sometimes we forget how strong and unstoppable we can really be. 

What I have found after working with these ladies who I am proud to call friends, is that many of their struggles with weight and health are FAR different from mine...
I grew up struggling.  Always having an unhealthy "relationship" with food.  
Many of these women ate whatever, stayed active but started gaining weight AFTER having kids. 
They never lacked confidence or had issues with food or weight.  These days, putting others first has led them to finding new struggles with stress, time, energy and finding healthy foods that the entire family will eat. 

My husband and I have a much different experience.  
We were heavy growing up, always lacked confidence and had insecurities with the way that we looked on the outside and yes that feeling increased after having children because we were now responsible for others and that just brought on more stress, which brought on more eating and less activity...ugh!

What's the point? Well I have found that...
WE ALL STRUGGLE.  It does not matter for how long, with what or how we feel.  
What matters is believing in ourselves once again...or for the first time.  
I'd sell myself short every chance I had as a teenager.  I would almost quit before I even started something new.  
I want to serve as that believer for these women for all those years that I never believed in myself. or for the ones that have stopped believing.  We all deserve more!   

The Move It Mommas completed another race this weekend, a local 10K/5K and they did great.  
I had one Momma complete her first 10K with me and the other ones took on the 5K with a vengeance.  As I passed these women throughout the race, I felt a sense of pride for each of them. They are all running for themselves.  They push hard and all fight different fears but together, we seem to be a strong force.
  
It's what I LOVE ABOUT RUNNING...
the feeling of being invincible.  Setting out to do something and finishing it!  
It represents so many things from my former life as an overweight/unhealthy woman.  
I would quit EVERYTHING.  
When you run a race, your goal is hitting that finish line and running right through it.  Each race represents me-FIGHTING BACK.  Each step that I take, each mile that I cross, it all represents my NEVER QUIT attitude and I think these ladies would agree...we are all FIGHTING BACK AND WILL NEVER QUIT!  
The little ones...

They must find inspiration too!  
They must find a healthy role model that helps them BELIEVE that they can...
I always associated my health with defeat and failure.  Not even sure why and when it started but I know I was young.  I allowed food to control so many things in my life.  
I never believed that I could be more, so as-is was just good enough and I accepted that.  
I think SO many people accept life the way it is because it works.  We get through each day, unhealthy or healthy but maybe we don't realize how much better life can be? 
When we inspire and encourage kids to be healthy, we are changing the world one child at a time.  Oh I know it sounds silly but I TRULY BELIEVE that each life is worth changing...inspiring.

No matter how young or old, we all deserve our best life so fight for yours TODAY! 


My friend and fellow Move It Momma, Kelly.  Whew she rocked her first 10K on Saturday!
For a woman who told me on her first day of boot camp, "I can't run"...she sure proved herself wrong on Saturday, didn't she?  She ran the entire 6.2 miles and kicked MAJOR rear end!  
I believed in her, told her she could do it, she believed in herself and BAM!  A runner is born :)  
Words cannot describe what these women mean to me...
I of course, care about many other things in life than just health and fitness HOWEVER it is what drives me, what inspires me and is my passion deep within my heart...it is what moves me and hopefully these women can see that with everything that I do.  
My husband and I, my best friend and my HEART!
He met me at mile 4, to finish off my 10K...
We have come so far, TOGETHER and that is something nobody can ever take away from us.  
I often feel like people think I can only talk health...that it's all I care about but living life each day is what matters MOST.  Living life with this man by my side and our boys...it's what keeps us going, keeps us smiling and LIVING!  


RODEOHOUSTON wake up call??!
While many say "When in Rome..."
I agree somewhat but have a HUGE problem with the norm at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo!  
My problem?  Well, it seems as though it has become a deep-fried food fest rather than a rodeo. Sounds silly but as you walk around you will see funnel cakes, french fries in baskets so large it takes two people to HOLD them.  Turkey legs that are so big, it takes two hands to keep it upright.  Deep fried twinkies, brownies, cookie dough and pickles...it goes on and on.  
YES we are all entitled to indulging and it is somewhat necessary to give in to our favorites from time to time but as you look around, it's the norm or so it seems.  It doesn't seem as though these people are eating their "once a year splurge", it seems more like snack and dinner time on a regular afternoon.  Maybe I'm wrong?  But it bothered me.  

My dinner that evening...
"taco less" grilled chicken tacos which were yummy but it's what you see...plain, grilled chicken in a basket!  Ha!  You decide whether that was worth $13
One of the most popular booths...
Turkey Legs!  There were hundreds and they were going so fast, they could barely keep up.  Lines as far as the eye could see, waiting to get their hands on a $18 turkey leg!  CRAZY...

As you observed the tables...it was sugary soft drinks, stacked potatoes and MORE...way more. 
And I do NOT judge...ever.  But if I am sending a person to the Rodeo that is trying to be healthy and change their life, would this be a positive environment?  Highly doubt it.  And while this stuff doesn't tempt me any longer, it used to.  I would feel sorry for myself because I "couldn't" have it. I wanted it and felt left out when I was unable to chow down.  After a while you say well everybody else is eating it, why not?!  
And YES my children ate a corn dog and some french fries with a freshly squeezed lemonade but it really was for a special occasion...not a daily habit.  And that matters.  
Your thoughts?  
I know it's a sensitive subject because I do believe in the whole "my once a year splurge or temptation" BUT I am thinking this was not the case for many...
And keep in mind Houston is one of the "fattest cities"...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Being Featured!

LEFT: 2010                                               RIGHT: 2014
When I was asked to share my story on Another Mother Runner, feature can be found HERE:

http://anothermotherrunner.com/2014/03/19/follow-mother-20/
or HERE: http://anothermotherrunner.com/ and find my story! 


I was absolutely honored and the response today has truly AMAZED me...
I cannot believe that my story, my struggles and triumphs are being shared throughout the US with many strong women from all over.  SO many inspirational, strong and healthy women :)  WOW.  
I have always told others that if I can help change ONE person, help them rid the fear and doubt from their minds and allow them to FEEL what healthy is...then I've done my job!
  
I wake up EVERY day with a battle...with a choice.  
I can allow those "easy" habits to make their way back into my life because I'm busy and I'm tired, BUT I REFUSE TO DO THAT!  
Of course I have days where I want to quit, the days where I'd rather hang out in my pajamas chowing down on a gallon of Blue Bell...BUT I REFUSE TO DO THAT.  
Yes indulging is sometimes necessary and okay but honestly I have come to a place in my life where I want to take less steps backward and MORE steps forward!  

You see I always centered my environment around food.  The food would set my mood, almost allowing a feeling of euphoria followed by feelings of guilt.  This pattern repeated itself on most days of my life.  I'd have great days, heck even great months but then a BUMP in the road and boom, I'd send that healthy lifestyle packing :(  All the good I did was now wasted away...so the guilt would bring on poor food choices and BAM! Old Marissa was back at it...

To avoid that BUMP taking over my life these days I make a choice.  Before I step out of bed, before that alarm clock is turned off.  I make the choice to LIVE.  I make the choice to be in control of myself, allowing nothing-especially food to take credit for my good day or bad day.  I use those BUMPS as fuel to focus through my workouts.  Exercise is a secret weapon to stress relief, if you didn't know!  Works MUCH better than food did for me and it's cheaper than therapy, that's for sure!  

And as we talk about FOOD, let's eat...shall we?
Move It Momma baked Italian Chicken- (under recipes tab at top) served on a slice of sprouted bread with some Romaine lettuce and a clementine.  Keep it simple and tasty!  
Remember FOOD IS FUEL, never give it more credit than that :)  
Rotisserie chicken sliced on sprouted tortilla with power mix greens, sunflower seeds, my Greek ranch and a clementine.  Clementines do the trick at lunch time when I'm hungry, as you can see!

Monday, March 17, 2014

VACATION MODE.

After a week long stay at our favorite place, 
we are happy to be home and in our routine once again.
  
My workouts were morning runs near the lake as my boys rode their bikes.  Beautiful, relaxing and calm. Such a great way to unwind...which we all need from time to time.  The main thing is to keep moving and if your workouts are shorter while on vacation, great...really watch your food intake on those days...
remember it's all about BALANCE.  

Vacation is also scary for me.  
Scary?  Yes.
In my past, vacation always meant throwing the "diet" out the door.  
The famous saying, "Oh I'm on vacation, I MUST enjoy myself and I'll worry about it when I return home."  
This worked great until one vacation "diet exception" rolled into the next...and then I found myself not watching what I ate whether on vacation mode or not, add this with no exercise and here was the old Marissa, back into her old habits once again.  
Funny how that happens so quickly, isn't it?  
How fast we can forget how healthy feels?  
With my new lifestyle, I must remain structured.  It is critical to find BALANCE with everyday life.  Whether that means the vacation-mode self or the day to day living.  
**WE MUST FIND BALANCE AND CONTROL**
Sure we let loose and I'm not meal prepping like a mad woman when we camp but I focus on balance. If it was a great day for exercise, then that was a good night for s'mores.  If it wasn't an active day, then I really watched my food intake.  Balance is so important.  

So how does a person who centered her life around food NOT center her life around food?
Ha, funny that you ask...
Instead of sitting by the campsite eating all day-we MOVE!
we explore as a family.  This works at home too.  Keeping busy when you'd normally be snacking away is very important.  It works very well for me and it keeps my house clean and kids happy too :)  
On our trip we walked near the water, took bike rides, played football, frisbee, catch...
you name it, we did it!  
(My former self would've grabbed a bag of Cheetos and a Little Debbie and settled in for a long afternoon but not ME, I'm here to LIVE LIFE)

Do you see why we NEVER want to come home??!  Gorgeous place...so peaceful and relaxing!

FINDING CONTROL AND BALANCE takes work and effort but it's what I choose to do in order to live this new life I have created for myself and my family.  
No more old ways of allowing FOOD to control my good time or not-so-good time.

STAY PREPARED:  
*Shop SMART!  Pack foods that you can take on the go, prepare all meals with veggies or always bring things to whip up a great tasting salad!  
*As soon as we arrived I mixed up a large container of Chobani plain Greek yogurt with a Mrs.Dash dry ranch packet-salt free and kept it in the container.  We used it all week.  Dip for crackers and veggies, used it on our fajitas to add flavor...possibilities are endless!  My kiddos ate it up...Shhhhh!
*As we grocery shop for a camping trip, we make sure to buy some "indulge" foods in moderation. For instance, if one night is s'mores buy enough for that one night...not in bulk!  This leaves little room for overeating.  Sprouted bread stayed in our freezer on the camper for easy sandwich making.  
*Buy LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies for munching while out and about.  
*PACK SMART: If we headed out for the day, I made sure to pack almonds, pistachios, fruits, veggies and brown rice cakes.  If we find ourselves "hungry", we have a good go-to option instead of stopping by a convenient store and grabbing a bag of chips, which is something I did all too often.  

Pictured is a clementine orange, wheat crackers, my Greek ranch, one slice sprouted bread, 2 slices low sodium smoked turkey breast, power mix lettuce and mustard!  Mmmmm!  
I fold over the bread like a hot dog bun as you can see :)  
We grilled most nights with sirloin steaks, boneless skinless chicken breasts, bunless lean burgers, fajitas made with boneless skinless chicken breasts and my husband sauteed the chicken with broccoli, squash, zucchini, bell peppers and onions...it was delicious!  We served the meat on tortillas for the kids, but the adults had the meat mixture on a bed of lettuce served with my Greek ranch dollup on top!  YUM!  Oh yes we still eat good while camping...
As for sides it was mostly grilled veggies like fresh string beans, steamed broccoli, etc.  
Keep it simple and delicious!  


And now that we've returned home, I am meal prepping like a crazy woman for the hectic week ahead...
On the menu is my Italian Chicken-on the "recipes" link at the top of this page.  

Cheesy, Turkey Meatloaf-
I believe this one is listed as well??  Don't EVER mash up your meatloaf...keep it loose to allow the meat to absorb juices...it's the key to a non-dry turkey meatloaf :)  
...a little no salt/no sugar added Organic Tomato Sauce.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Inspired.

We have people that come into our lives and leave an impact... 
and that is exactly how I feel about my friend and Move It Momma, Stacy.
The first time I met Stacy was about 5 months ago.  
It was raining and I was working out with my Move It Mommas.  
It was like any ordinary workout.  I had the ladies working hard, we were sweaty and feeling good.
Stacy pulled up.  I couldn't see her, only her car and she didn't get out...not for about 20 minutes.
I'd later find out she was working on the courage... 
Contemplating back and forth...to get out? Or to keep living her life as it was?

I am INSPIRED by her...her ability to somehow find strength in me.  
Her ability to trust me when she didn't know me at all.  
She had the strength to get out of the car...the strength to start the rest of her life 
and for that, I am inspired by her each and every day.  

She introduced herself and we finished the workout.  It just so happens that this particular day was emotional for many of us.  We had struck a cord speaking about people that TRY to drag us down. The non-believers.  The people that make us doubt ourselves before we begin.  
In my past, I know that it was never intentional when people would speak about my weight or health but I took it personally EVERY time.  It was my huge insecurity out there for the world to see, so when someone spoke about it-even if they had good intentions, it hurt.  It hurt badly.  
Instead of giving me fuel to push forward, it would only set me back.  I too would start to believe that THIS was my life, I had accepted it and would just live life as I knew how.  
Hiding seemed easier.  I'd hide behind food and it worked for a long time.  
Until I found the strength to fight back!

So that day as we worked out hard, we cried, we were forming a bond and we didn't even know it...
We finished the workout and all sat down to talk.  We talked and talked and talked...
It seemed as though we had all been friends forever.  We were relating to one another and laying it all out there.  It changed my life.  I was able to see that I was not alone.  
Sometimes simple honesty is the best inspiration.  I thought for all those years that nobody understood what I went through each day.  
Nobody understood what it felt like to have no courage or self-esteem but as we all sat and talked that day I realized that many women feel or have felt similar at many times in their lives. 

As women we judge one another.  We judge by appearance, personality...we judge everything.  
We often assume that when one is thin and attractive, they have no struggles?  WRONG.  
We are all battling obstacles each day...we must never assume we know.  
I have learned that from my Move It Mommas.  
All different ages, shapes and sizes but we NEVER QUIT, we have one another to lean on.  

She's been through a lot.  Been handed a rough deck of cards but she makes no excuses.  She deserves more and she knows that but each day is hard.  It's a fight and she must remind herself why she wants to keep fighting EVERY day but she does!  She doesn't back down.  No obstacle is too large and no matter the goal, she's willing to take it on and TRY HER BEST.  
Her words always remind me to keep going, she always says "I am the slowest one" and to that I tell her "but you're doing it and never quitting!" 
That is what inspires others.  The strength to TRY.  
Isn't that what it's all about?  To remove that fear or "I can't" from our lives?  YES.  

LEFT: October 2013 RIGHT: 3/1/14
She is a fighter.  Look at her?  She's done amazing things and her NEVER QUIT attitude needs to reach everyone!  She gives me that look during our workouts and I know she wants to come after me or throw something, but she doesn't...she pushes through!  
She shares her victories with me and I am there at the finish line of MOST of her races...
yes, she's completed too many to count!!  

She saw something in ME that day.  I saw hope and inspiration in HER.  I believe in her.  
I know that our honesty helps us to keep pushing through every, single day.
I always tell her the road is tough, never easy BUT ALWAYS WORTH IT!  ALWAYS!  
She knows and believes that now, spreading the inspiration onto all that she meets.  
If my struggles help even one person, I've done my job.  
I am passionate about helping others.  It is deep within my heart and I hope these women see that as we workout and change our lives, together.  I hope they see my heart, my honesty and my strength to keep fighting for myself and for others!  It's important to share our passion and what we care about because it gives HOPE.  

All you have to do is TRY.  Getting up, admitting that you seek change is half the battle.  
It is a step many are afraid to take so they allow it to hold them back.  
Find the courage to get up!  

Stacy stepped out of her car that day.  
It took unbelievable courage and strength but she did it.  
She was ready to change her life.  
Ready to conquer the world and she's doing that EVERY day!
AND YOU CAN TOO :)  

SO proud of you Stac!


Friday, March 7, 2014

forward.

Is where I am headed.
I know I have mentioned in quite a few posts that people and things in life...those "bumps" in the road try and drag us down.
When we meet challenges like these, we have a few options.
We can stay true to who we are, what we believe and FIGHT.
Or we can let that "bump" take over our entire life.
This week was rough.  From a person that puts others first, in all aspects.  
It hurt to feel attacked by someone that doesn't know me...doesn't know me at all.  
Dirty laundry will not be aired in order for me to move forward BUT I do know that it tested me.
My strength.  My weaknesses.
I allowed the walls to cave in around me over one person and their thoughts.  
Why am I sharing this?  Because it is important to know that in life, people and things will try to drag you down, try to test your strength and it is how we push forward that measures our strength and the kind of person that we are.  
As a parent and former teacher, we put children first.  No matter what.  When someone doesn't have our child's best interest at heart, we get ANGRY.  An anger that sometimes we've never felt because they are our world, our lives...
What I learned is that I cannot be intimidated by fear OF ANYTHING. 
Not only with fear of failing at healthy living, weight loss, Head "Move It Momma" for my women, but for all aspects of life.  
I was tested, felt defeated but NOW I'M BACK!
Whew it feels good to know who I am, what I stand for and that I did what was right in a very drawn out, awful situation.  
And while all of you have NO clue what I am talking about, I know you may be able to relate to life's "bumps" and maybe you will define your strength once again by knowing you came out and did what was right.


My boy!
Running Club and he reached 18 laps!  That's almost FOUR MILES before school!
My pride is with these boys.  Our strength is shown through our children.  We show them how to grow up with awareness of others, knowing they must take care of their bodies through exercise and the foods that we eat.  I never focused on that, so I want the opposite for my children.  I want their lives to be full of opportunity.  Nothing standing in their way.  I hid for so long behind my weight and troubles with food.  While I enjoyed life, I still let that intimidation limit my life in so many ways.  I was tired of that.  BE TIRED OF THE LIMITS...FIGHT BACK AND show your strength!  These boys see my husband and I fighting back each day. They pay attention and they want the same...most of the time!  Ha!  The best we can do is BE THE EXAMPLE.  We want to raise children that know how to be strong and healthy, stand up for what's right and help others do the same.  We must share our gifts!  My struggles mean something.  They always will.  I may not know exactly what people are going through and we should never assume that we do. But the gift to "relate" can be just as important sometimes.  I have to gift to relate to that middle school child afraid to "dress out" in PE, I can relate to those afraid that people will stare as they put on that bathing suit having zero confidence, I can relate to trying to find the strength to fight for your life EVERY day, I can relate to each of you craving a new, healthy life but are afraid of change, afraid to live that new life full of opportunity and feeling good, having energy, being there side by side with our children as they explore the world.  Relating can be powerful and it will help us see things from another point of view. Life is short, full of obstacles & challenges SO always fight for YOU! 
LETS DO IT TOGETHER!!!!
Today I choose to push forward, no matter what "bump" tries to drag me down...and I hope you will too!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Motivation on this CHILLY Monday...

Here in Texas it was high 70's over the weekend and now we're back to 30's with a windchill in the teens...
WHAT'S WITH IT?!

So to keep our motivation going in these chilly temps, 
sometimes we have to dig deep and focus on what we want to accomplish?
I'm at a place right now where I realize how much work I have put in to get where I am today and I REFUSE to fall back.  I've worked too hard, put in the sweat and tears and I MUST keep pushing forward.
The weekend was tough. 
Full of temptation at Opening Day for baseball surrounded by BBQ, sweets and other eats.  
How did I stay positive?  I stayed prepared.  Packed snacks and grabbed Subway for lunch.  
I packed almonds, PB, rice cakes, an apple, some berries and an orange.  And it worked.  
Kept me on track and focused throughout that busy day.  Then yesterday was two birthday parties, one that was family which always has amazing foods out on display...
BUT must I always skip out on these foods?  Absolutely not!!  
It's another example of BALANCE.  
I chose to stay focused this weekend because it's almost Spring Break and I know I'll be enjoying some not-so-perfect foods while camping so I made the choice to skip out over the weekend.  

Just a little reminder that WE ARE IN CONTROL.  YOU ARE IN CONTROL.  
The food doesn't win.  It's only food and should not and will not be given more credit than that.  
That food is only food.  And just because we are celebrating a birthday, milestone, accomplishment, baseball season...whatever, it does not mean we must fall into our old ways, selling ourselves short and feeling as though we have failed.  
We pick ourselves up and keep pushing.  


KID-FRIENDLY TREAT:
Frozen Banana Crackers-
Ritz crackers
banana slices
Peanut Butter
Place PB on cracker, top with banana.  
Pop in freezer covered in wax paper for about 2 hours.  
ENJOY :)


Salt-free marinated crockpot chicken-
Mrs. Dash marinade was a HIT!
3lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 container of Mrs Dash marinade, we used Garlic Herb.
Set to low 8 hours until cooked.
It will fall apart and SO tender and juicy!
We serve this on salad, in a wrap, or shredded with a little onion and plain Greek yogurt.  
DELICIOUS :) our weekly go-to protein source!


And look what I found??!
Haven't tried these yet but I'm sure these would taste great making my Greek ranch.  Use large container plain Greek yogurt and one packet of these, mix and enjoy for veggie dipping!  This is GREAT for parties...your guests will NEVER know it's not sour cream ;)  shhhhhh!


NEVER GO WRONG WITH OATS!
The variations on a bowl of oatmeal are endless and that's what I love about them!
This one is 1/2 cup oats, handful raspberries and 1/2 banana sliced and then sprinkled with cinnamon!  Yum!  Filling and tastes great.

Here's an example of that crockpot chicken turned into a variation of chicken salad.  To 5oz chicken shredded, I added a little chopped purple onion, garlic and 1 tbs plain Greek yogurt.  Served on a tortilla with a bed of spinach.  Sliced apples and raspberries on the side.  
A major key to success is variety!  Keep changing things up until they are just the way you like them...there's a whole world of healthy eats just waiting to be discovered!  Trust me!


CHANGE IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE...
This man is my life.  The day I met him, my life was forever changed.  He's my other half, my best friend and I can't imagine life without him.  He holds our family together and is the best Dad in the world.  He puts US first in his life always and that means the world to me.  
One day back in 2009, he went in for routine testing at his work.  His blood pressure was high.  So high that they were unable to finish the test, he was sent home and asked to return the following day.  He was terrified.  Realized that the little extra weight we carried in high school was getting out of control.  But how do you flip the switch? He was eating fast food on his way to work, drinking Dr. Pepper like it was water and getting little to no exercise each day.  
He went back to his screening, barely passed his test and came home asking for help.  I had never seen him so concerned and worried.  It was his wake up call.  
He wanted us to both start REALLY paying attention to our bodies.  I had the knowledge and the degree, it was time to practice what I preached once and for all...
Ya see, I had dropped weight and changed my life before I met him.  But as most couples do, we found ourselves comfortable.  Instead of spending 3 hours at the gym as I once did, I wanted to spend more time with him and our boys so gradually some of my weight was creeping back and his weight gain was becoming more drastic as well.  BUT NOT ANYMORE...
With the healthy eating and no more fast food or sodas, he started to drop weight.
Then with his confidence building, he started to walk/run.  Very little at first.  Then his minutes turned into major mileage.  He was gaining speed and strength.  
Before we knew it he went from 305 to 205!  YES, 100lbs LOST!!!  
He has taken his life back.
His life has changed.  He is no longer that person afraid of change.  He takes his health VERY seriously and helps be the example for our boys.  They look up to their dad and are proud that his running has taken on a whole new level.  He qualified two years in a row for Houston half with the time of 1:46.  He amazes me!  We have completed FIVE half marathons together and he waits to give me and hug and a kiss at each finish line :)
His blood pressure is AMAZING these days.  
With the exception of a few pounds here and there, he has kept the weight off for over 3 years!
Does he indulge?  Absolutely.  We both do.  But we focus on BALANCE.  
If we splurge on this meal then we cut back on "that" meal...give and take.  
We removed trigger foods from our home 90% of the time and if it does make its way home, it is removed the following day!  
Because we both struggled with weight throughout our lives, we both value the importance of our health, taking care of ourselves and making sure our children are aware of being healthy and that they understand how to take care of their heart as well.  We strive to keep exercise FUN!  We are active as a family!  We explain that Mommy and Daddy didn't always choose the right foods and didn't always put exercise as a priority, we were unhealthy and now that we are healthy we want to make sure they know the right way to take care of their bodies as well!  
Don't allow fear to control you.  Do not fear change. 
Trust the process and know that YOU deserve to be healthy and happy.  
At our healthiest we can conquer the world, so why not be able to enjoy that right here and now?
ALLOW NOTHING TO HOLD YOU BACK 

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