Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If you would have...

told me years ago that I'd be influencing other women to get healthy and change their lives
I would have laughed in your face.  
I'm SO happy that life takes unexpected turns because it brought me to where I am today...

Looking back, I was so unsure of myself.
I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with my life.
EVEN after changing my degree to pursue health education and exercise, 
it was still unclear what I wanted to do with it...
I'd say I felt lost for a while after college.  
I worked in cardiac rehabilitation, fueled by helping women and men who struggled with heart disease, as my grandmother did.  
I enjoyed helping but it seemed as though I was helping them AFTER they had experienced what unhealthy living, a poor diet and lack of exercise can do...
I was ready to help them BEFORE these risk factors occurred but how?
When I taught Physical Education and Health of course I enjoyed working with the children, helping them associate exercise with FUN and teaching them about healthy foods and how to take care of their bodies and their heart but it still didn't feel like what I was meant to do...


One day I had an idea...
I was a stay at home Mom, able to take care of my boys as my full-time job-what a blessing!  But I was finally on my path to my healthiest life on this journey and I wanted to help women in a BIG way!  
Ah Ha, the birth of my Move It Mommas...
While outdoor fitness is all the craze right now, I feel like we are so much more.  
We take the fitness to the next level by incorporating a support group.  
We depend on one another and lean on each other in the workouts and in every day life.  
Life gets rough, especially juggling our kiddos, work, husbands, pets...and the list goes on!
The BEST part?
Accountability.  If someone is feeling under the weather or lacking the motivation,
We all rally together and give one heck of an argument on why they need to dust off and get back at it!  
I speak about our group often because I want all of my readers to know, both near and far that this group has changed the path of my fitness journey...heck, they've changed my life! They have also helped me realize that I am right where I need to be.  I am forever changing, evolving on my health and fitness journey right along with each of them.  Whether they are overweight, have struggled in the past or just want to improve their fitness levels, I am here to fight for it with them!  
Always TOGETHER!  
And even if you're a reader from far away...
we can still do it TOGETHER!  Fight TOGETHER and conquer TOGETHER! 

So remember this,
BEST ADVICE I can offer if you're just started out, beginning again 
or continuing to reach your health and fitness goals:

Keep your journey evolving...
Never allow it to be "over"
As soon as it ends, you will have a better chance of reverting back to the old you.
Instead, keep that reminder of the old you as the fuel you need to keep conquering new things, set new goals to reach and find a support system of strong people to travel and journey along with you.
The road has bumps and curves so be ready for a challenge, changing along the way.  I NEVER regret one day of my former, overweight and unhealthy self because it led me to where I am today.  Doing exactly what I believe I was set out to do...
Help women, children and families change their lives.  Help them make the path a bit easier and to be that example of anything is possible with hard work and dedication!  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Change the World

We had a wonderful week at Disney World...
and with healthy options along the way, it made it easier to stick to healthy eating!
Every restaurant offers fresh veggies, salads, lean protein options to fit all dietary needs.  It was nice to not have to worry so much about what we were going to eat while dining out.  Of course there were unhealthy options all around, but if you make up your mind that those things only bring you two steps back, you are more likely to make positive choices while enjoying your vacation!


The Move It Mommas were very special guests at Trader Joes yesterday!  

They made a healthy recipe for us to sample and gave us a personal tour through the store!  Yum!
My whole heart wants to change the world.  I want these women to feel empowered and inspired by one another.  I want them to know that this journey doesn't have to traveled alone.  It's tough and I never make them feel like it's easy but it is always worth it.  
I relate to each of these women in some way and that is so empowering.  To feel that somehow we are changing one another is a very powerful feeling.  I love each of them :) 


As I was listening to the radio driving my son to school, I was intrigued by the conversation they were having on women losing weight and losing friends?
YES.
It was a poll done that concluded women lose 1 friend for every 7lbs they lose?
Yes.
It had me thinking...
Did I lose friends along the way?
Sort of.
Of course the people that mean the most to me always supported me, but were things different?  
YES.

In my unhealthiest days, I loved eating out.  
There was nothing quite like pizza and beer or a cheeseburger and french fries.  
I loved local Mexican restaurants because of the chips...who needed "real" food when you had endless chips, salsa and queso?  Right?!

Dining out is like a social event sometimes.  You meet friends for Happy Hour or celebrate a birthday, promotion or graduation.  You giggle, talk and enjoy time with family and friends.  Nothing better than that!
These days the eating out happens WAY less and the options are limited.  Of course we can go eat Mexican or Italian food but we are often tempted by the bread or chips, so why go through that when you can eat sensibly at home without temptations?  I'm often torn between making the positive choice or making the choice that goes with the flow of the group you are celebrating with.  It's tough.

So while I didn't "lose friends", our social life did shift.
When with a group and we're going out to dinner I'm often asked, "Well, where CAN you eat?"
It's offensive but I know they mean well trying to accommodate my lifestyle but I've done this long enough and I'll find something anywhere.  It may be small and not so filling but it'll work to please the group.  

At family gatherings, I was always hanging by the food.  I felt comfortable shoveling food around family so it was the perfect atmosphere for an over eater.  I'd socialize and laugh with my cousins while mindlessly pounding back the calories.  
These days, I remove myself from the "munchies" tables.  I go outside or move away from the kitchen which sometimes isolates me from the group.  It's frustrating but ALWAYS WORTH IT.

I have to accept that others do not depend on food the way that I once did.  I had a relationship with food.  Sad way to put it but it's the truth.  And if I'm not careful, I will slip back into old habits and allow it to once again control me.  Of course I still enjoy myself and love the time spent with them but it is different.  
But at the same time, I am not the same person.  Yes I'm still the fun Marissa they've always known but I am not centered and focused on my next meal.  
It consumed me and I choose to be in control of my life, not the food.

If I'm being honest, as I always am here, I feel like my weight loss and lifestyle change has also brought on a little resentment with some.  Sadly I don't feel like people treat me the same, almost as if they liked me better as the "chubby girl"??  
And that part I'm still dealing with because I don't understand it fully. 
I get the feeling sometimes that they are waiting for the old me to come back.  
They felt better knowing I was vulnerable and lacked confidence? 
But maybe that's human nature?

I don't take it personally and I know these people do love and care for me BUT it is different...
way different.  
But I do know that if we are going to Change The World together, we must learn to always raise one another up.  Encourage and never discourage.  
We should be understanding of the want and need to be healthy.  Always.  
We should ALWAYS want what is best for the people that we love most.


I LOVE this quote from former Biggest Loser contestant, jlynnjacobs on Instagram,
MANY times others tried to light that fire within me because they wanted what was best for me.  
I truly began to change my life when I found that fire within myself!
It is only when we're ready, when we believe in ourselves 
and find our strength within that we begin to see and feel change!!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

forever changed...

I'm a girl who is forever changed...
and I want to offer HOPE to so many that are lost and are afraid of that change that I feared for so many years...
Instead of running from it, I've learned to CHASE IT


My blog is a place where I can go to express myself, reflect on the girl I used to be and who I am becoming each day in hopes of helping other women find the courage to fight harder, be stronger and encourage a world of healthy living to all those around them :)  
BIG hopes and dreams I know, but nothing is impossible!


Going through pictures weeks ago at my mother's, I stumbled across this picture on the left:

EEEK, I remember those jeans being SO tight that night and I believe they were a size 16.  It was a Clay Walker concert in Nachodoches, TX.  We were able to get backstage and meet him and I was so happy...or was I?  Because I also recall from that evening stopping by Whataburger and ordering a cheeseburger, large fries and a DP at around 2am.  What was I thinking?  
Looking back I also remember this was my "thinner" days
Yes I'd gain more weight throughout the following two years, but thankfully I learned to grab hold and take back my life!
The girl on the right -picture taken last week reflects my hard work and dedication to my new life.  Yes I'm still that same girl but I am stronger.  Physically and mentally.  I have learned to fight back when it comes to indulging with food.  It's like there is no OFF switch in my brain when I begin to eat foods that are comfort- loaded with empty calories and little nutrients.  

Why did it taste so good?  

Looking back time and time again, I honestly don't believe I loved that food.  
I believe I loved the FEELING the food would give me.  
Instant satisfaction.  Comfort.  
Things were stressful-the food was that comfort for me.  
I was upset or down on myself because I couldn't fit in the clothes off of the rack at the store-the food was that comfort.  
The food was my crutch.  
It was holding me down in that hole I had created for myself over and over again.  
If I successfully lost a little weight and was feeling good, it was only a matter of time before life's obstacles led me to turn to food for that comfort I so desperately craved. 

To be forever changed, I have learned to pay close attention to my triggers, to not eat in boredom and to make sure I have variety when it comes to healthy foods.  
It is a work in progress...always!  
I have learned to find comfort through non-food related things.  
I turn to my family, my Move It Mommas, my former self of an example of what quitting would look like.  
  


I wasn't feeling well yesterday but was craving something sweet.  Instead of grabbing a Little Debbie as I did for YEARS, I decided to get creative :)  and it paid off!  
a white cheddar rice cake topped with PB and a few leftover Easter M&M's!  Mmmmm!  
Keep it interesting and you'll amaze yourself at how much flavor you can find in healthier alternatives, trust me!


I have come so very far from the girl I used to be.
She is a distant memory and I'd like to keep her that way.
I remember all of the tough battles that she fought.  
The nights where she honestly believed this was her life.  It was what it was and she would be the "fat girl" forever.
I still fight for her though.
I fight for all of the girls that remind me of my former self.
I know they have it inside of them but need help reaching within.
I HATED what I saw in the mirror and although I am still working on "loving me", I sure like the woman I am becoming each day.  
I am proud to have overcome the cycle of obesity. 
I am proud to have fought for EVERY pound lost.  None of that was easy and it shouldn't be.   
I am proud to help other women do the same.
I am proud that I had to hit rock bottom in order to appreciate my daily climb to my healthiest life.
I will NEVER QUIT and I will keep reaching, aiming high and encouraging other women to do the same.

How are you forever changed?  


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Camp SPARK

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Camp Spark.

Most of my readers are aware of my passion to help children focus on their health.
I want all children to be active, eat healthy and take care of their heart.  
When I had the opportunity to focus this post on our Houston area Camp Spark locations/camps, I jumped at the chance to feature an organization willing to put your kids health as a priority!
Being a former PE teacher I always found it frustrating that so many children do not get outside and play.  They aren't involved in sports, are unaware of the fun times that can be had outdoors and with friends.  They need to learn the importance of working together as a team, set individual goals and to have FUN while taking care of their bodies.  





Camp Spark seems to focus on ALL OF THE ABOVE and that makes me smile.  

What is it?
Camp Spark is a successful summer sports camp that started in Dallas 2010, in a backyard.  They have now expanded to locations all over the country.  
Camp Spark employs over 100 high school students and helped over 500 campers nationwide.  

They are unique because the camp is FOR kids and run BY kids!  
SPARK stands for Strong, Powerful, Athletic Rockin Kids



The camps are for kids ages 5-13 and they focus on healthy living, being active and having fun.
Founders Ryan and Blake Lieberman attended sports camps as kids and were turned off by the strict instruction from adults so they decided to create a fun environment and the camp is run by high school athletes that are passionate about sports and practice good sportsmanship creating a positive atmosphere for the campers keeping things organized yet flexible.  



Kids are able to sign up for one week, two weeks, or by the day.  They will work with kids their age and activities will include SparkSports basketball, soccer, football, wiffleball, lacrosse, swimming and many others for boys.  Girls will include SparkSports, arts and crafts, swimming, dancing, soccer and cheerleading.  Certified lifeguard at all times and one staff member to six campers keeping things organized and safe for the children.  



UPCOMING CAMPS FOR THE HOUSTON-AREA:
Houston BOYS: Karl Young Park ( 7800 Stella Link Rd.) One session June 2-6
Hours: 10a-2p

Houston GIRLS: The Bobb Home ( 3729 Arnold Street) Two sessions June 30-July 4
July 7-July 11, Hours 10a-2p

Houston GIRLS (Cheerleading): The Shlenker School ( 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd. 77096)
one session, July 28- August 1, Hours 9a-1p 

For more information please visit Camp Spark HERE 
or www.campsparksummer.com
Go to locations and select the camp that you are interested in.  Once you are there you can register at the bottom of that specific page.  


Make it EASY

Why is healthy living important in YOUR life?  
Why do you seek change?  Why do you fight to keep living your healthiest life?
We must make a choice every day...
that choice can be one of the most difficult or it can be EASY.  If we make up our minds that it will be EASY then we will more likely believe it.  

What matters most is that we make the right choice on the easy and not so easy days.  
It's tough.

I'm still the same person.  The girl who battled junk food cravings all day, every day.  And it wasn't so much the bad food as much as it was the overeating.  I'd get a taste and want more and more...

I wake up some days craving donuts and kolaches with my morning coffee...
After a few minutes I think if I have it once, I'll want it again and again.  Those cravings will intensify all while feeling bloated and miserable in comparison to having a nice, hot bowl of filling oatmeal or high fiber cereal with fruit.  Therefore I MAKE THE CHOICE EASY.  
I will take that better, stronger feeling any day.  

Trust me, I'll give in here and there but it must be on days where I have full confidence in my ability to bounce back the next meal.  Often times one "bad" meal turns into another, which makes finding motivation for exercise more difficult and therefore brings on more bad food choices throughout the day.  Ugh.  

If I choose to make it EASY then one good choice turns into another, I have the energy to exercise and that always brings on better food choices because we know how hard we worked to burn those calories, why do we want to just consume them all over again :)  

Some people fight far worse battles in life so I consider me having issues with food to be minor and it is.  My struggles with weight are also, minor.  I am healthy, I am strong and I help others achieve the same so in reality, I should be proud always.  And I am.  Sure I have days where I feel entitled to a meltdown and I have one.  I have a pity party on how unfair it is that I must pay close attention to all of the foods I eat/don't eat and that exercise must be such a huge part of my life...

And after I feel sorry for myself, I remember who I used to be.  
I don't wish that cycle upon anyone.  I doubted myself constantly.  
Never giving myself credit for taking the first step.  The FIRST STEP IS HARD.  
It deserves credit and acknowledgement.  
So instead I would rip myself apart for allowing myself to gain the weight, lack the motivation and quit days after I had "started".  Whew it's exhausting.  
So it starts today! 

MAKE IT EASY...
to achieve your goals.
to lose the weight.
to lower your blood pressure.
to fight obesity.
to be healthy for you and your family, once and for all.
to stop quitting and start LIVING.
to find that person that you've always wanted to be.
to acknowledge and find your strength.

WE WILL DO IT TOGETHER!







My Mother's Day breakfast in bed LOL
It may not look like much but it tasted great.  Eggs scrambled perfectly by my husband with some pan grilled Jenni-O turkey sausage.  
It was DELICIOUS and best part?  It was served on a paper plate so NO DISHES!  Ha!



Hope you all had a beautiful Mother's Day and it allowed you to truly see how wonderful you are, how you put your family first and they think the world of you!  Now it's time to think the world of ourselves...to fight for what we want and to spend time working on our health, every day!  We are worth it and we are strong enough to achieve all that we set out to do!  NEVER QUIT!!!!  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

loving me


Something that needs A LOT of work...loving me. 
I struggle when it comes to loving myself physically.  Of course I consider myself a fun-loving person, I love to make people laugh and have a good time but liking what I see when I look into the mirror is a WHOLE different story and that makes me sad.
I have the greatest ability to rip myself apart.
I will look into a mirror, find EVERY flaw and it will make me so crazy that I'll change clothes, 
sulk and feel sorry for myself for hours...
Yes, pathetic I know.
Why is it that I'll find every stretch mark or flabby area and it will turn into a conversation with myself on ALL of my imperfections? 

You'd think I would be happy with how far I've come and don't you worry, I am.  
But I think it's so hard to shake the negative image that we have of ourselves as women.  
We compare ourselves to the "perfect" figure or physique when really we should be focused on how we FEEL.

Feeling healthy is not about appearance or how we look in the mirror.
Feeling healthy is about FEELING GOOD, FEELING ALIVE and FEELING THE LOVE!

A personal goal I'm setting for myself is to LOVE myself more...
Of course I see progress and I've come so very far on my personal journey but I'm telling you, 
I can tear myself down like nothing you've ever seen.  

The thing is, we all have imperfections and we should embrace those as well as work on 
FEELING HEALTHY!  

I fight hard every day to overcome my issues with emotional eating.  In my former ways I didn't like what I saw so I just ate to make it "all okay".  That worked for so many years that I forgot how to love myself.  I loved food in the wrong way.  I allowed it to coat my frustrations and take away the LOVE I needed for myself.  I didn't feel healthy and I wasn't healthy.  There's nothing healthy about eating our way through a box of cookies because we are down on ourselves...

I fail at this goal often because I want this "perfect body" BUT what is the "perfect body"??  
Do we know?   I guarantee it is different for each of us.  I want to be shorter, I wish I had a booty and a not-so-flabby belly.  But it is real and it is me.  Those imperfections tell a story.  Those stretch marks and loose skin are a reminder for me that this road never ends.  It doesn't get easier and there's NO quick fix.  Those areas of my body that I hate most are just a small part of my journey, reminding me of where it all began and how a lost girl finally found her way and is helping others do the same.  
I must accept that but I won't accept being unhealthy.  It's never okay for any of us to settle for unhealthy.  We are worth more, we deserve more and our families deserve that strong, healthy mother we know that we can be!  

I must focus on the truth,
and Truth is:
MY BODY IS HEALTHY.
I fight day in and day out to keep it that way and no matter what, I FEEL healthy.

Instead of beating myself up over what I don't have or what's NOT "perfect" about me, I'll take this time to embrace it...WE ALL SHOULD :)  so here goes mine...
3 month progress and I'll take it!
I notice change in my back, arms and shoulders...and if you look in the picture on the right, 
I see a bicep in the mirror :)  WOOHOO!!!
My back/tummy/chest area is where I carry most of my weight.  I was always heavier in my upper body and it caused me to slouch so it wouldn't draw attention there :( 
Seeing progress in those areas makes me PROUD.  I SEE changes and that makes me happy.
I WILL focus on that instead of what I don't have...
Focus on FEELING HEALTHY today and every day!



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