Wednesday, December 30, 2015


What did you set as "resolutions" for 2015?

Did you meet those goals?

Exceed those goals?

In the blink of an eye another year has passed...2016 is on its way.

Do you have different goals this time?

Are they the same goals you set for 2013, 2014 and 2015?  
I hope not.

But if they are the same and they seem unattainable, 
it's time to find a way to make them your reality once and for all...

I had the goal of "losing weight" for 10+ years when New Years would roll around...
I was on fire, my mind was set and there was no turning back but soon that flame fizzled out, no more non-stop commercials on TV about getting fit, my friends stopped doing the workout videos with me and I would't dare do it by myself.  The newness and excitement of a new way of life was like an old gift...the shine slowly wore off and here I was, breaking promises to myself for another year.  I didn't care necessarily about being healthy or getting fit, I simply wanted t to stop being "fat" and wake up "skinny" a few weeks later???  That's possible right?

I learned the hard way that if it seems too good to be true, it is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
The quick fit does just you results that are not long term.  They will fade quickly and if you don't fix what's going on on the inside, the outside will only be temporary.  

We've ALL seen it or done it ourselves.  It's the new fad diet of the New Year and it seems SO fantastic and EASY!!!  We see the commercials, we hear the testimonials, a friend of a friend of a friend lost 20lbs in 2 weeks so it's gotta work for me!!!  Right?

So we begin...the first day of 2016 is off with a bang!!!  Wahoooo.  
We starve ourselves, get moody, angry, short tempered because we are "depriving" ourselves of everything we want but if we can just stick it out for a week or two more, then we can get skinny and go back to the way it used to be- macaroni and cheese & pizza will be waiting for us as soon as we finish!!  Ahhhh...I can taste it already :)

Mistake #1?  Making it about an image.  Getting "skinny" rather than being healthy.  Healthy and fit comes in different shapes and sizes and while it's great to have a "goal" of what we want from our bodies, it's not fair to compare to any person but ourselves when it comes to goals for our body, physically.  NOT FAIR so don't do it to yourself.  I pictured every year on day one of the New Year that I'd look like Cindy Crawford in a month if I'd stick to it...reality?  Cindy isn't me.  I'm a TOTALLY different built and I'm okay with that because I'm the healthiest version of MARISSA that I can be.  I feel good, I feel strong and I look like I take care of myself physically and always SHOWS!  

Mistake #2? Unrealistic expectations! Don't set a goal that you KNOW is unattainable because if so, you'll make it easier to fail and give up on yourself! Don't make that an option so instead, set a lot of smaller goals that are attainable over time...keep climbing the mountain, one obstacle at a time and before you know it, you'll be moving mountains and becoming the person you'll always imagined you'd become except THIS TIME YOU DID IT RATHER THAN IMAGINED IT!!!  Amazing right? 

For me, I'm setting new goals constantly.  It keeps me in check.  Keeps my body guessing and keeps me striving to stay healthy.  If I go through a period of time where I don't have a goal in mind, I'll find it easier to back off from the workouts a bit and start eating a little less structured.  Notice I said STRUCTURED not DEPRIVED!!!  
HUGGGGE difference between the two. 
I practice balance with my workouts and my foods every day, keeping myself structured and try to plan as often as possible but of course I have bad days and that's okay...I'm human and it works for me.  
Deprivation is what caused me to yo-yo/gain-lose weight as often as the seasons changed...ugh!  NO way to live.  

When I say the words, "I can't eat that" or "I have to exercise", I make it work.  I make it a chore instead of a privilege.  It IS A PRIVILEGE to take care of your body and mind!  

Change your mind and the rest will follow.  Let the guilt go.  Let the frustrations from failed attempts in the past go.  Let go of that fear of failure because so many times you fell short.  Let go of those that drag you down and find the ones that lift you up.  Let go of the ones that don't think you can do it-just add them to the desire to "watch and see what you do!"
I meet women all of the time that say, "well I lost the weight once before and gained it all back and then some after ____ ."....Okay, what this tells me is that you're ready to fail again rather than succeed once and for all, right?  WRONG!  Instead, let go of "that time you lost 100lbs." Or "that time you fit into a size 4 for a friends wedding" and instead focus on "I can't wait to get healthy.  I can't wait to feel good and I can't wait to LIVE the life I've always dreamed of but have been too afraid to fight for!"....ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!  EVERYTHING! Never forget that!!!  

Get it?  Good!  Glad we had this pep talk before the start of 2016!  
What are you waiting for???  Lets DO THIS!  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


When Biggest Loser season comes along, I find myself overly inspired...if that's even possible?

I have my favorite contestants, the ones I relate to and feel like I know "in real life" but Jay Jacob's and his beautiful family have really touched my heart over the years and after reading his Instagram post today, it inspired a post of reflection on what helpless meant to me...

Jillian's words spoke to me in his post...
What strong words.

As I reflect on these words personally, it makes so much sense. 
While I wanted to blame others for my emotional attachment to food, it was my choice.  I allowed others to have control over me by letting their words, actions and opinions affect my poor eating decisions.  That choice was MINE.  I had to stop giving food power, stop giving the "haters" power, stop allowing others to hurt me in a way that I'd let their words or actions make me choice.  
It's ALWAYS a choice.  Remember that.  

For me I spent so much time MAKING myself helpless. Trapped. Powerless.
I voluntarily gave up my control slowly until it vanished before I even realized it.
I'd allow others to set my moods, triggering me to give up control and although I had a choice, I'd tell myself I had no choice and continue down the path of self-destructing my health.  So I became a different woman while feeling like I had no choice in the matter...almost as if I was who I was and I couldn't change it even if I tried.  How unfortunate.  I had the choice all along and I CHOSE to keep falling deeper into that hole that I HAD CREATED.  The pity, the doubt, frustrations, tears, sadness, helplessness...ALL MY CHOICE but because I gave up that power "drip by drip", I resented the person I had become.  I was angry and the only way I knew to fix it was to keep making the same "choices" I had made all along. 

It's a vicious cycle that won't break until we 
Simple as that...ha, if only simple was easy? 

When I'm approached to help women change their lives, the first thing I listen to is their story.  Their words.  I must truly listen to them and HEAR them and I'll know almost immediately if they have given up control...
It's amazing after living without control for so long, I pick up on it rather quickly.  
While I thought I was a closed off person on the inside, that nobody could see my dark (unhealthy) secrets, I was wrong- they could see right through me.  My helplessness and insecurities showed for those that listened.  It was easy to see I had given up power to choose how I wanted to live and with giving up that power, I gave up on me completely.  I had given up trying.  I had given up on being better.  I had allowed fear, sadness and failure consume me until those words described me and all that I represented.  UNTIL I CHANGED BY CHOICE!

I did it. 
I didn't use some magic wand-while that would've been nice, it took work.
But the work was part of my journey.  My discovery to gaining my voice again.  My ability to choose my own way and choose the life I wanted to live...I took my control back.  I am no longer helpless and that is what this journey is about.  Very little is about losing's more about discovering who we are when we start LIVING instead of HIDING.  It feels so good.  I want all women to make that discovery and rip away that weighed down feeling of regret.  It will lay on top of us and crush us IF we allow it.  That choice is up to us.  Don't wait until January 1st because others say that's what you do.  Do something different.  Do something that frightens people.  Do something that leaves people guessing...even yourself.  Once you get a taste of what it feels like to make positive choices and commit to giving yourself the life you've always wanted, you'll NEVER want to go back.  Ever.  

Did Jillian's words speak to you?

My hope is to one day leave words that give women that "ah ha" moment we all deserve just as she did and does every day.  She is changing lives around the world and while I'm hopefully impacting lives right here in my town, I hope to one day change the world alongside her and have that platform to share my story, successes and setbacks with the world!  Thank you Jillian for doing what you's contagious and that is so powerful and life-changing :)  

Monday, December 14, 2015

'Tis the season of TEMPTATION!

Merry Christmas!
A season of love, giving, happiness, celebration, thankfulness, joy, hope and SUGAR...

Our "temptations" began with my sons gingerbread making party!  So much fun and a 1st grade tradition at their school.  I love this time of year through a child's eyes.  Such beauty and pure innocence and happiness.  We had FUN! 
By the time he finished decorating, there was SUGAR everywhere and he was so excited to come home and eat it!  I LOVE pretzels so it was very tempting for me to devour that "roof" BUT I refrained after much convincing of my own.  

Keep in mind, it's OKAY to give into temptation but choose wisely.  I do not suggest banning any food from your body because when you say NO, your mind wants it THAT much more.  That's is the way I'd sabotage myself over and over again in past attempts at getting healthy.  I say make it worth it and indulge with things that you CAN control.  There are many "temptations" that once I start munching, my brain shuts off and I cannot STOP...I lose total control and by the time I check back in that bag-box-container-"roof" is GONE :( uh oh!!!  
My Italian background taught me that baking cookies with LOVE is a great way to spread the Merry of Christmas!!  
So after much hesitation, I decided I'd spend my Sunday baking goodies for the people we love most :)  
It started by grabbing a few "messy" looking cookies and by the time I realized it, I had taken out about 6 cookies!!!  Eeeek.  Now 6 is the grand scheme of things isn't too shabby but it could have gotten MUCH, MUCH worse!  I checked back in and stopped myself before things got out of hand and continued baking.  
and baking...
...AND BAKING!!!  

I have learned to make the RIGHT amount of cookies that leaves little for temptations.  After packing up the goodies for teachers, family and friends, I had just enough for the boys and hubby to have a few "taste testers" and with their approval, we sealed them up!  Ahhhh....

So while the parties, celebrations and memories are being made, it does NOT mean that your healthy way of life has to be thrown directly out of the nearest window!  Control yourself and constantly remind yourself of how great you feel at your best and how low you feel at your worst!  It's a reality check for your brain and TUMMY.  

We are human.  We make mistakes and we indulge too much, we have good days and bad, sometimes we hate to wake up and exercise and we hate preparing our healthy meals BUT we hated being unhealthy much more. I know I did.  I hated that feeling of guilt and sickness when I'd eat so much I could barf.  THAT IS NO WAY TO LIVE.  So when you are faced with Holiday goodies at home, work, school, or at your child's Christmas party -remind yourself that YOU are in control and YOU decide how you want to feel and live EVERY DAY!  

With that, learn to balance the good and bad.  It's the ONLY way to find long term success.  I'd say I'm about 85%-90% on the healthy bandwagon but contrary to what you might think, I do have moments where I'm not "perfect" and the temptations get the best of me but what I do NOT do is allow that 10% to become 100%!  That's what I used to do for soooo long.  I'd make one bad choice and that would ruin my entire day of eating and lack of exercise...I'd quit EACH and EVERY time I was faced with a challenge or temptation.  Ugh, what a terrible way to actually isn't living very much at all.  Been there?  Don't stay there...get OUT!  It's never too late and the Holiday season is a PERFECT time to test your will power, strength and determination!!!!  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

the butterfly

Last week in boot camp, I had some ladies voice their frustrations on visits with family over Thanksgiving regarding their new, healthy way of life.  Finding it hurtful that some family members or friends seemed to tease or discourage their successes.  
I immediately asked the group to raise their hand if someone has ever made them feel bad about the positive changes they are making or have already made? 
Honestly I expected about half of the group to raise their hand but to my surprise EVERY, SINGLE woman raised their hand.  We looked around in silence.  Wow.

So when I thought I was alone all of these years feeling hurt by words spoke by people I loved most, people I looked up to and wanted their "approval"....I was NOT alone after all.

Sadly we all stood there, looking around and thinking Wow, we really are NOT alone anymore.  You see women are strong but sometimes it's okay to admit our frustrations or sadness.  Keeping it inside and leading people to believe we have it all figured out may hurt us more than help us.  Sometimes it's greater to voice it, shout it out loud and grow from it, learn from it and allow it to make us stronger rather than defeat us!  

My advice on the "haters" is to learn to take those hurtful words and actions as compliments!
It may sound crazy but if someone is "bothered" by our new way of life then it means our changes have made that person feel vulnerable and sadly, human nature is to wait for us to fail.  
It's okay for them to doubt us because if you are anything like I was, it took MANY failed attempts before I got it right...and I'm still just taking one day at a time, trying to keep getting it right!  That takes GUTS, STRENGTH and DETERMINATION!  Some days I have a lot of it and some days I have none...but it's those great days that carry me through the really tough ones.  It's a balancing act and I've learned to accept that things won't be perfect, every day won't be a great day, I will be tired, achy and want to give up but I DON'T...simple as that!

Where I stayed most of my life was easy.  I was just me and by never trying new things and being unhealthy, it was what it was.  As I started to slowly transform, I noticed people treated me differently, not bad just different.  My friends stopped asking me to go to dinner, my family would say things like, "I would never be able to eat like that, don't you ever just want a juicy cheeseburger?" and so on.  Some favorites are, "Why would you run a half marathon?  That is so bad for your joints!", "Oh don't judge, we all know YOU won't eat what we're eating!", or "Marissa, you didn't use quinoa or flaxseed to make this dish, right?!" followed by giggles...
"I could eat like you if I liked the taste of cardboard!", "You were so much fun when you were chubby.", "I tried doing what you do and I burned out because you can't maintain it, just wait til you hit my'll catch up!", "Must be nice to not have bad knees like I do, consider yourself lucky because I can't exercise"...uhhh WHAT??! 
 "Every time I see your workout selfies, I am usually stuffing my face so obviously your healthy way of life hasn't rubbed off on me"....and you get the idea!  
So while you read those and think, "Wow, how rude", I take them ALL as compliments.  Compliments because I'm doing something they never saw me doing!!  That's awesome!
I stuck to something and I haven't given up or quit.  That wasn't the old me...the old me would quit at the drop of a hat...that's the ME that was like the caterpillar every one knew so well.  
The butterfly in me sees things differently and takes them as compliments!!!

When I was the "caterpillar", I was so hurt by the "Should you be eating that much food?", "Don't eat fast food or you'll end up like Marissa.", "You should consider trying ____ diet, it really works", "You just had lunch, you're going to eat again?"...
THOSE words hurt because they hit me where it hurt most.  They had exposed my most vulnerable part of health and my weight.  I KNEW it was terrible to do what I was doing but I did NOT want to be called out or told that.  I thought I was hiding my dirty, little secret of my uncontrollable food intake but these comments exposed all of that...or so I thought.  It was MY secret and these comments meant they ALL knew it?!!

I'm a butterfly, an open book...
I LOVE sharing my successes, my frustrations, my fears and my triumphant moments!  I deserve to share that...all of it!  And you do too!!!

That caterpillar that I used to be held it ALL in.  I ate to coat the pain.  The food medicated ALL of my emotions that I would NOT share.  It was toxic.  I've learned that what works for me is the SHARE, to voice when I feel angry, sad, happy or defeated...rather than stuffing my face with a bag of family size Doritos!  Eeek!  

NEVER let anyone make you feel bad about trying a new, healthier way of life!  EVER!
Your health matters SO much, it will affect every aspect of your life and the lives of your family members.  You are giving your children a better mother, your husband is getting a better wife and so on.  That is NEVER something to be ashamed of!  Remember that.  
And if someone has something to say about it, simply say THANK YOU...I guarantee it'll catch them off guard hahaha!
It doesn't mean PUSH your healthy way of life onto them either.  They MUST want it for themselves, you can NEVER want it enough for them.  Sad truth.  Best thing you can do is model the healthy lifestyle and they'll eventually come around...hopefully!  Just let them SEE that butterfly that emerges from your hard work and determination....THAT gift you give yourself and those around you!  I have high hopes that if we ALL carry that healthy glow with us everywhere we go, it'll become contagious and all will want to be a part of it, they'll want to feel good, be active and healthy!

Yes this is my perfect world dream, but so what...
Big dreams are Good dreams!!!!  Go for it and let NOTHING hold you back!!!!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Did you "come back"?

Biggest mistake I made more than a few times was "coming back."  
"Coming back" after a Holiday, life-changing moments and milestones, sickness, vacation...
If it slightly took me off of the routine, it seems like I was gone forever, or so it felt.  
 I had waited a long time to find the "perfect" moment to make a change and as soon as those ideal situations would pass, I'd have an excuse to quit once again. 
I was really good at justifying it as well...If my excuse was a headache, mine was the worst headache in the entire world, if it was a swollen ankle, mine was THE worst swollen ankle EVER...and if it was as simple as a doctor's appointment, whew then that excuse was EASY...
you get the idea! 

At my heaviest I felt lousy and out of control most days.  
But when I first started losing weight, exercising and eating BETTER (not great!) I noticed an emotional change almost immediately.  I wasn't my tired, lazy self and I was finally understanding what it was like to feel good.  Wow.  Should have been easy for me to "come back" after marriage, kids, full time jobs...but instead it was a way to make another excuse.

The moment something pulled me away from that strict routine, I'd fall off and found it so difficult to "come back" EVEN THOUGH I knew I felt better when I treated myself right, it still wasn't enough to keep me motivated and on the right track...crazy, isn't it?
Even when I first became a Mom, you'd think that was enough to motivate me for life but sadly, it wasn't.  Seems like I allowed it to hold me back even more...
I was "too busy" and "too focused" on everyone else that I let myself slip back into my old ways very quickly.  

 When I'd eat crappy, I felt awful.  When I ate right and balanced, I felt on top of the World!

What kept me from "coming back"?  I still don't know.  
Guess it was just easier to make excuses and keep things the way that they were.  I mean, it's not like my weight was altering my every day life, it was what covered me up from people seeing the real me.  The weight comforted me and kept me safe so maybe I wanted that more than I wanted to be healthy?  Who knows.  

Change is NEVER easy.  
And honestly I liked easy.  Easy was what I did best.  Easy was what I knew.  If something was difficult, I'd quit.  If I felt threatened, I'd quit.  If I was afraid, I'd run.  So maybe I feared letting go of the EASY life I had grown to love.  But that fear was now getting in the way of my health and day to day living...THAT is a problem.  
My body was trying to tell me but I ignored it for a long time.  I urge you to listen when your body is talking to you.  Take care of yourself no matter what.  
Don't let fear or intimidation keep you from achieving what you want.  

I was powerless as long as I gave myself no power.  Powerless as long as I didn't truly believe I could.  Powerless because I hadn't made up my mind to BE BETTER and DO BETTER!!!  

Seems like the Holidays were ALWAYS so tough.  Food, family and friends everywhere, a celebration every weekend and lots of cookies, carbs and mindless eating!

That disgusted feeling, the bloat, the burping and bowel issues would all follow those horrible meals yet hours later I'd find myself repeating those SAME habits knowing I wasn't even HUNGRY!!!!  Oh it angers me that I'd do that so often.  EVEN if I had done better in months past, I'd quickly relapse by simply seeing that junk food, the power and control it had on me.  So the "coming back" was much worse...
I'd try to jump back on the wagon, get outside and go for a jog but I felt so sick to my stomach and so incredibly tired and bloated, I wouldn't get very far and would come home and "reward" myself with more food...ugh!

The craziest is how alone I felt when I'd binge.
I was SUCH a social person...always have been and always will be.  I love being around people!  I've always been the "more the merrier" kind of person and I love that about me.  
I get along with most people because I'm easy going, I like to have fun and I love meeting and making new friends!  It makes me happy just as my family makes me SO incredibly happy so how it is that I felt so alone when I'd eat?  Tough question and I'm not sure I have a solid answer.  Maybe because when I'd eat, I was weak and that was a part of me I never wanted anyone to see?  I'd lose all control and the food would control my mind and that made me feel ashamed.  I'm an open book, I love being honest with family and friends because honesty matters.  I don't hide behind life or insecurities and that has made me stronger. Honesty makes some vulnerable because they don't want others to see "behind closed doors" or the "real person" but I'm the opposite, always have been so maybe my dirty little secret with food made me feel inferior because it was something I was embarrassed to share or discuss?  I'm still not sure and I'm not sure if I'll ever truly know.  

But I do know that being honest with myself about my emotional attachment to food is what helps me get through each day on my journey to my healthiest makes it easier to "come back" each and every day! 

"COMING BACK" means something totally different these days.
I never leave, therefore it's never an option to have to COME BACK.

I make up my mind that if I have a poor meal or one that's not so balanced, then I step it up with the meals that follow, I make sure I get lots of movement, drink plenty of water and do better the rest of the time!  I balance my healthy choices with my not so healthy choices...
I would not survive the Holidays or any time of year on chicken and lettuce...TRUST ME!  

I'm Cajun and Italian, it's simply not possible...hahaha!  

What keeps me focused?  
That awful feeling I'd feel after eating poorly and trying to exercise.  
The feeling I'd get after eating more than one "bad" meal...the achy, the bloat, the tiredness, the doubt and the pity.  It's just NOT worth it to me any longer...simple as that!  
Knowing that those poor choices started reflecting on my health rather quickly and it was scary.  Knowing I was in my early 20's and having health issues most deal with in their 60's was frightening.  Scary enough that it helped me find the strength and determination to 

I guess you could say there's no need to "come back" anymore because I was "gone" long enough!  I was SICK AND TIRED of living a life of 
"Oh I wish..." and 
"If I was healthy..." and 
"One day when I lose weight..."

So if Thanksgiving was not only filled with memories and happy moments but lots of poor food choices and little's not too late to "COME BACK!" 
Sure the first workout will be tough, but after that it gets easier and you get better...

Then when you find balance with food AND exercise-you really start to feel better, 
so much better!  
It's okay to hit a bump in the road, as long as you keep "COMING BACK" and never give up!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What do I see?

It's tough to understand if you've never spent countless days and nights wishing you could lose weight, look better and feel good but taking so long to finally find the courage to do something about it! It was always much easier to think about it and feel pity about it so I would lay awake and DREAM about what it would feel like. What it would be like to go shopping and the clothes in regular stores would fit.  I'd imagine trying on the outfits on display and they'd look just as good on me as they did on the store mannequin. When it was time for school dances, I'd go with friends to pick their dresses wishing I looked more like they did and feeling sick when it was my turn, knowing nothing would fit. Summer time would arrive and bathing suits were the FURTHEST thing from my mind- the more I was covered up, the better I felt but I'd look around at my friends and admire their suits and their confidence, unable to find enough of my own to change the path of my life...

Sure I was overweight but I wasn't repulsive...
so why did I constantly think about the way that I looked?


It's powerful. It can push us forward or hold us back for a lifetime. 
It's pushed onto girls at an early age and that's disappointing.
Teaching intermediate students, I'd often hear the word "fat" being thrown around all too often and once that word is used to refer to someone, it never goes away in their heart. 

So here I am today, over a 100lbs lost.  
I've changed my way of thinking, the way I feel and the way that I look.  I'm HEALTHY. 
But have I let go of my "image" issues? 
Do I see what others see when they look at me? 

Well I feel 110% better, that's a given!  
I'm healthier, no more high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 
My weight is "normal" and I'm no longer considered "obese". 

But today as I was Christmas shopping with my husband, I was chilly and we were in the boys' section.  I grabbed this hoodie pictured below and quickly noticed it was a Youth XL...I giggled and threw it on, thinking it would NEVER fit but to my surprise it DID fit and I loved it...haha! Beside the point!
Point is, I wore an Adult XXL or men's XL in jackets/hoodies when I was at my heaviest.  
THIS is a Youth XL. 
Am I still struggling with that image factor after all these years? 
That's an extreme size difference from the beginning of my journey to now yet I still don't SEE it. 
I know that I've lost weight, I know that I'm in smaller clothes and so on...
But that self-doubt and lack of confidence when it comes to clothing seems like it sticks around a lot longer than the actual weight.  
I've shed SO much of the old me throughout this journey and that makes me proud but when will that "image" I have of myself? I want to feel confident and beautiful.  My husband and our boys tell me that I'm beautiful but that's different...I want to feel it inside.  
But is it maybe because my "image" of beauty was instilled in me from a young age through Pop culture, TV, magazines and so on that I just can't picture myself like "that"? 

Now wait, I'm not writing this post for you to tell me I'm beautiful.  It's to help women like me understand that when on this journey, we must know that it's about nothing else but getting healthy!  Nothing else matters and we MUST want it for all the right reasons rather than the wrong, skin deep reasons or we'll go nowhere fast.  We have to feel good about ourselves throughout the journey and if we struggle with that, as I do, then we must work on that every day.  It's just as important as being healthy.  As always, I'm a work in progress and I love that...always changing and growing!  I'll take it! 

One huge thing I've learned is to stress the importance of 

It shouldn't be about a certain size, number on a scale, wanting to look like someone else or losing weight or getting healthy to "fit in". 
We can't get caught up with the magazines, the models, Hollywood superstars...
It's about being real.  The day to day ups and downs.  The good and the bad.
We have to find a way to balance all of that while also being healthy.  And if it were easy, all would do it but the truth is, they don't.  
It's a select few that can dig deep enough to seek the kind of change that lasts a lifetime!!  
Lets be THAT select few...what do ya say??  

I don't exercise and eat right to add days to my life
but rather to add quality of my life to those days!!

So I'll wear my Youth hoodie with pride knowing I've drastically changed my body from one extreme to another from old fashioned hard work, dedication, focus and determination!  It's the ONLY way to achieve long-term success!  I didn't find it right away, it took a LONG time but I learned a little each time I took two steps back and those moments of learning helped steer me in the direction to help other women do the same and I can hopefully help some of them not repeat my mistakes that I made time and time again...that is my hope and wish! 

And I will continue to help women and girls understand that they are enough and they are beautiful.  I want them to see their beauty from the start and not compare their flaws and imperfections to those superficial standards that girls and women are held to.  

Talking with one of my Mommas today after class, her and I spoke about hurtful things that loved ones said to us before our journey's began.  She spoke about her father saying hurtful words and I about my grandfather saying something similar.  We agreed that those words don't just go away.  It's hurts and will always hurt but it's how we choose to grow from those moments.  They love us and didn't mean to hurt us but we both said, our weight issues were SO personal that it dug deep and will never go away.  PAY ATTENTION to how you speak to loved ones when it comes to wanting to help them be healthy.  Choose words wisely because chances are, they already know they need to change and need help but they MUST be ready without you pushing them to want it.  These days I take those hurtful words that used to hold me back and they now push me forward because I realize he chose poor words but was only worried about me and where I was headed if my health didn't improve.  Women and little girls internalize A LOT so when you speak to them about appearance, their weight, their size, careful with your wording.  You do NOT want a young girl feeling like she isn't enough....they'll get enough of those comparisons through TV, social media, etc.  We need to be their role model and guide. We want her to say, "Hey, my Momma works out, eats healthy and takes care of herself...look how beautiful she is...I wanna be just like her when I grow up!" 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

and we meet again...

The night before race day has arrived...
A HUGE milestone for us and another half marathon to complete.

This series that includes 3 Texas Bridges will be complete after tomorrow morning! 
It's a BIG goal with many TOUGH obstacles but we haven't let it stop us yet.

Race #1 was the Kemah Toughest 10K over the bridge not twice but FOUR was TOUGH but we all finished!!!  And would you look at those smiles??! 

Race #2, Toughest 10K Galveston!  This one was surprisingly easier than Kemah but still VERY TOUGH!  But we did it...and we had some new faces too :) 

And here he is, Fred.
He's a BEAST isn't he?
Uh Oh. 
He's the 3rd bridge in this series but instead of a 10K, it's a half marathon!!  OVER it twice!

Fred and I have a history...
I ran this half marathon two years ago and swore to myself I'd NEVER run this bridge again...
Because it defines TOUGH. It defines pushed beyond limits.  It defines strong. 
I pushed with ALL that I had to complete this race in the past and while I did it, I hurt afterward.  It took EVERYTHING that I had...
I was sore, achy and exhausted so you're probably wondering why I'd come back to conquer this bridge AGAIN???

I'm not running it alone.
I will have my Move It Mommas right there, as they have been in both bridge races for this series...and they are nervous, as am I but we're going to do this.   

Three miles EACH way, six miles total ON THAT BRIDGE...
So why?
Well since changing my life, 
I have this giddy excitement when I complete things that seem out of my reach.  
I get thrilled about doing things that were UNTHINKABLE to the "old me".  
Crazy, isn't it?  

There's always a point in these races where I am exhausted, hurting and feel it has defeated me...all of a sudden my mind and body find a way to DIG DEEPER and to KEEP PUSHING to that finish line and in that moment, nothing else matters.  
It's me and the pavement.  
One foot in front of the other.  
My body, my breathing.  
It's quiet and I'm full of fear yet fearless at the same time.  

THAT is why I keep coming back for more...
Because I CAN.

In that same moment of fear, I feel so alive. 
It's amazing.  
I cross the finish line and I see the smiling faces of the strong women around me.  We gather, give sweaty hugs and snap pictures because while we were so nervous, we doubted IF we could do it and we were so fearful of the unknown...

And why must we keep proving that we can?  I guess because WE CAN!  And we don't need to prove anything really, but we do because WE CAN! 
And we enjoy knowing that we CAN because we work hard to be healthy.  
We work hard to be strong and we want to FEEL alive more than we want to feel defeated. 

Races are a place of inspiration.  
The people.  The hugs.  The nerves. The like-minded friends beside you.  
Runners young and old, tall and short...we all come together to achieve the SAME goal...
13.1 miles is a looooong way and tougher when you have six miles over that big, nasty bridge BUT that's what makes it even greater...a bigger challenge.  A bigger fight.  We will fight every one of those 13 miles and then keep pushing for that .1!!!!  

So one more why?
These crazy races represent my life before getting healthy and losing weight and that finish line represents my life the way it is today!  
I fought HARD for years.
I still fight hard to avoid temptations.
I fight hard to wake up with enough motivation to get out move and exercise!  It's not easy.
So that start line is how I felt for years.
I was nervous about change.  I was afraid to seek change.  I was fearful to work SO hard for something only to fall short before "finishing"...
So in my past, 
3...2....1...GO! and I'd stop.  Why?
Because I let fear paralyze me. The first step was too scary so I'd give up by making excuses.
Sometimes I'd START but when things got hard, my breathe became weak and my legs were tired, I'd quit...
I mean if I quit my legs would not be tired, my breathe would go back to normal right?  But had I made any changes or was I still sunk in that deep hole I buried myself in?  Yep.
The start line is a glimpse.  It's the way things COULD be if we had the guts to keep going...

As we near the finish line, we start to feel ALIVE.  We feel emotions we haven't felt in a long time.  We feel pride for ourselves...not anybody else in that moment, just us.  And that's important.  We deserve that.

There's the FINISH LINE.
Here we go....

So once I'd reach that finish line, I figured I was done but now I realize if I'm comparing these races to my road to healthy living, 
the finish line is NOT the end...

Instead it is the beginning!  
The beginning of feeling THIS way more often...almost always.  
That feeling we get from being exhausted from exceeding our limits is better than never pushing our limits AT ALL, isn't it?  YES.
Our body was meant to be pushed.  Meant to be tested and meant to be challenged...
And tomorrow when I cross another 13.1 mile finish line, I will get THAT feeling once again.  And while I'm nervous, anxious, feel like it MIGHT defeat me, 
I will keep fighting and placing one foot in front of the other because I CAN. 
Because I am able.  
I will do it for the old me that NEVER thought she could.  
I will do it for all those that cannot do it for themselves.  
I will do it because I CAN! 
And my Mommas?  They can TOO!
Cannot wait to conquer this huge milestone on my journey and share the beautiful moments as they do the same!!!  What a beautiful "job" I have.  These women and I are able to share moments at these finish lines that can NEVER be replaced and I'm forever grateful for that! 

And as if that wasn't enough action for this weekend!  I co-hosted the 5K FUN RUN-COLOR RUN at my sons school this morning!  I MC'd the race, we pulled it off with A LOT of hard work and was able to watch my boys cross the finish line!!!  

Then I rushed home, showered and got dressed for a best friends baby shower to host!  Came home from that to spend some quality time with my three boys that I love most and then its up EARLY for my meeting with Fred!  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Is your DIET showing?

How true that statement can be!

For me it was the truth for a long time.  
In 2001 I was my heaviest and unhealthiest for two, main reasons:
I ate terribly and I never exercised.  

As I started to eat somewhat healthy and exercise frequently, the weight started to come off SLOWLY.  Before I knew it I had lost 75lbs.
As years passed, my life took twists and turns but thankfully I never allowed my weight or health to get THAT FAR out of control again, 
however to say I was 100% committed to healthy living would be a LIE.

I enjoyed healthy foods but I didn't know my limitations.  
Once I started munching on a healthy snack, I wanted more and more so I now exchanged my bad habit with fast food to a fixation on overeating healthy foods!  

It's important to remember that if we find our healthy balance our weight, mind, quality of life then our body will ALL reflect these positive behaviors!  
It's how our body says THANK YOU for treating it so well and the way it should have been treating all along!  
It's a fact so when someone tells me, "something is wrong with my body, I'm doing EVERYTHING right and not losing weight and my body is not changing AT ALL." 
I have a tough time believing that.  

Clearly my diet was SHOWING whether I wanted to believe it or not.  There it was. I was still heavy, carrying too much weight than my body was designed to carry.  

In this picture below I was a running machine.
 I ran 6 days a week, practiced intervals, long distance runs, ran 5 and 10 K races, etc! I was more active than I had EVER been in my life but I struggled with balance in my diet and it showed. 

This picture below was taken at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 2012.  I was around 200lbs, working out 6 days a week YET my diet was a mess.  I ate "healthy" until my boys would have that leftover mac and cheese staring at me in the pot and I'd quietly stick my spoon in, take a bite...and another, you get the idea :( 

My "excuses?"  I had quite a few- Life was my husband and kids (It still is these days but it's a balance of taking care of myself, my husband AND our boys!)  I stayed busy 24/7, teaching Physical Education so eating on the go, munching on crackers and cheese and then Mexican food for dinner was just the way it was.  Trouble is, I wasn't taking care of me.  
It is NOT healthy to consume empty calories throughout the day only to overeat in the evenings before bedtime.  I'd run in the evenings to justify that dinner I was about to consume or had already was a race I was NEVER going to win.  

My body could never catch up and I was the reason it wasn't going to win...ME.  I was in control of what I did and didn't do to help it and here I was again, enabling it from what it was designed to do CLEARLY having the knowledge and personal experience this time around but it didn't matter :(
Good news is that a few years ago, I found that balance and I haven't looked back since!
And you know what, IT SHOWS!  
My diet and exercise finally reflect on the outside!  I take care of myself physically and mentally and NOTHING FEELS BETTER!

It's different for each of us but it's important to know that if you're honest with yourself, if you put in the work with your DIET and incorporate movement and exercise, YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR IT IN A VERY BIG WAY!  Trust it!  It has never let you down, but rather you've probably let it down a time or two. 
Sure there are obstacles we may face along the way whether it is a issue with metabolism, hormones, medications, allergies BUT it does not mean that you start to abuse your body and punish it for these obstacles, but rather you start treating it EVEN better knowing it has to work really, really hard to do certain things.  Why make that process more difficult.  We don't enjoy working harder than we have to, so our body feels the same!  Take care of yourself EVERY DAY, IT WILL SHOW ON THE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE!!!!  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Do you feel GOOD?

My mom has been dealing with some health issues lately and as we go to doctors appointments to get answers, I find myself discouraged with "THE WAY THINGS ARE" once again.

I'll start by saying 3/4th's of my life I did NOT feel good. At all.
I ate terribly, was always tired, cranky, bloated, achy...THAT was all I knew.
That was MY fault, nobody else. 
I didn't exercise, I didn't eat right and I suffered consequences from that.

You know I saw a science project the other day that I re-posted to my Facebook page, The Move It Momma and was so disturbed by its findings.  It was DQ, McDonalds, Burger King, Sonic and Whataburger hamburgers being tested to see how quickly they would mold by sitting out on a counter, in its original bag/wrap.  It was 38 days in and NONE of the bread or the patties MOLDED...NONE!  They were placed next to a homemade, lean beef burger and it molded within 2 days!!!!!  How scary is that?  So if sitting out on a counter can't break it down, what do we think these things are doing inside our bodies????!  I cringe knowing that I voluntarily put this into my body AT LEAST once a day, if not more!!!  SCARY.
Who's fault?  MINE.
One of the many reasons I dealt with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as had a sick gallbladder because it could not process all of that CRAP.  And yes, that's exactly what it is.  Saddest part?  I ENJOYED EATING IT.  EVERY BITE.  That bothers me so much.
My body craved THAT food.  The food that caused my body such harm, my mind wanted it and wanted so much of it that I'd only stop when I was physically sick.  
THAT was my feeling good.  I didn't know any better.

Back to my rant, 

3/4th's of my life I DIDN'T FEEL GOOD.
My mom is having intestinal issues but she exercises and eats right most of the time.
She's otherwise a healthy woman and takes good care of herself.  
So her frustration comes from the question, "Why do I feel so bad?"
I explained...
I believe she knows what feeling good feels like so the small amount of time that she feels bad, 
it shows...she feels it.  

The difference is that MANY people do not know what feeling GOOD feels like at all.
Wouldn't you agree?

I'm certain I NEVER knew what it felt like until I changed it, stopped filling it with crap and exercising to get the blood pumping and my muscles working!!!  

Now that I'm in tune with feeling GOOD, I sure know what its like to feel BAD.  Others sadly, may not know the difference.  They may wake up each morning thinking THIS is how it will be forever...
It gets better, it can be better if we appreciate our bodies enough and work hard to feel it!!  

Think about you know what feeling good feels like???  Be honest with yourself.  
If not, then your body is having to work overtime, 24/7 to TRY and feel that feeling but sadly, it's a battle it can't win with you stacking the chips against it...literally!  

I can't be with these women ALL DAY LONG but for this hour I can focus on helping them feel GOOD.
If they leave me and make poor choices that feeling GOOD will be VERY temporary but at least their body gets a small sense of what it's like to feel that way.  

Exercise gives our body a little vacation from having to work SO hard.  How great is that?

Want to know what's even BETTER??

When they leave me and they continue to feel GOOD by fueling their body properly and by helping their families do the same!  Ahhhh what a wonderful world!

It's that PERFECT world I dream about at night.  No more, "I feel like crap EVERY DAY"...
We know what it's like to push hard, work hard and be busy going 90 miles an hour throughout the day...we get TIRED. Don't we?

How do we think the body feels when we stack the weight of the world on it and say, 
"Okay, work your magic"...It was NOT designed to do that!!!

It was designed to be used NOT abused and sadly, I abused my body for YEARS 
and it let me see that through never feeling GOOD.  It showed me by getting sick often, feeling achy and tired, feeling lazy and depressed...IT was trying to teach me but I wouldn't listen.

What is your body telling YOU???  

Let's make it a goal to all FEEL GOOD, day after day, week after week...and while we'll have bad days too, we can focus on knowing we'll feel good again SOON!  
It's never too late to show your body the appreciation it deserves!!!!  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Being that 1%

As much as it pains me to say it, being healthy is not popular. 
Quick fixes and that "fad" diet, yeah that's pretty popular and trending but the good 'ol fashioned exercise and healthy eating is NOT.  
To do it the right way and to feel good, we must do what others won't and unfortunately that can be intimidating to us all.  It definitely was for me for a very long time.  

That 1% was lonely at times.  It was tough to break away and do the RIGHT thing for my body and its needs.  I had many times where I felt isolated but this was all in my mind- I did it to myself because I wanted pity for "having to be healthy" I'd set myself up for a disaster as soon as my motivation would leave my "in the moment" superficial goals and it was almost always for the wrong reasons-all about my image.  I was tired of being "fat" so I wanted to starve myself for "skinny" but that thankfully only lasted a day or two and then it was back to my overeating I felt isolated because I struggled alone with my weight and unhealthy habits over and over again!  These days I LOVE standing out for making healthy choices and for choosing to put exercise as a priority in my life and the lives of my family members!  Nothing feels better than that.  It feels GOOD.  

Being in the 1% has its moments of doubt and frustrations but it also has the moments that I had NEVER felt until I became part of this crowd!  Sadly for over 20 years I never felt good.  Of course I had great moments in life, wonderful memories with fabulous family and friends but I still felt trapped in a mindset that I created.  I believed "fat people eat, skinny people starve"...simple as that.  It was all I knew and from the yo-yo diets I had experienced it was the way that it was.  If I wanted to be "skinny" (while it should have been about being HEALTHY), I had to starve and if I preferred to stay "fat", I'd just do what I do best...EAT. So while I ate, I carried this chip on my shoulder that others lived a life I would never experience because I was fat- ya know, as if it were an illness.  I'd accept it because it was what 99% of the crowd was doing...I was fitting in.  Never mind the fact that my cholesterol was high, I had gallstones from unhealthy habits, I had high blood pressure and was gestational diabetic with BOTH pregnancies...but unhealthy habits was the "norm" so I'd suffer through eating Mexican food until my eyes almost popped out of my head, suffer through those late night runs for an ice cream or 99 cent tacos! Yea I did what  I had to do...haha, to fit in! And while I'm kidding about taking one for the team, it is tough to break away from the fattening foods thrown in our face on commercials, billboards, parties, family gatherings, restaurants, Holidays, and so on.  In the beginning and still today I catch grief but I take it as a form of flattery :)  "Oh Marissa won't eat that." or "Don't eat that in front of Marissa." as if I'd judge and I would NEVER.  My issues are my own.  Nobody else's.  I had a different relationship with food than most so as the norm can eat out and indulge without taking it to extremes, I could not and that is my own.  That is nobody's issue but my own and it is MY responsibility to improve my life in the way I know how and should.  That is my DUTY to myself and how I want to live. 

Breaking away into that 1% wasn't's STILL not easy but it's worth it.   

Seems like my boys have an easier time loving that 1%.  
They ENJOY exercise and don't seem to have the same "relationships" with food so hopefully I'm doing something right!  They enjoy being active, eating right and they FEEL GOOD!  They NEVER run of of energy so it would be nice if they'd share some of that with their Momma! 

After creating our group over 2 years ago, I now see that it is their 1%.  They will not and should not go at it alone so here they are the 99.9%!!  All the same focus and dedication.  Here they are not alone or teased for making healthy choices or putting their health as a priority.  We come together rather than rip one another apart and that is PRICELESS.  

They can feel safe here and when they want to give up, I remind them that being the 1% in every day life is hard but for this ONE HOUR, we have enormous support and encouragement.  That is something not easily found in this world pressured by "quick fixes", "fad diets", and the "lose 40+ pounds in 10 days without eating right OR exercising!!!!"....uhhhhh 

They receive no false hope from me or those around them.  They don't get pity for not showing up because they have a headache...rather they receive a, "come on, we've got this-get dressed and see you in a few!" and that is POWERFUL!!!  It is a HUGE part of their success and I'm only a small portion of this equation and without EVERY piece, we'd fall apart.  

Find your 1% as you travel on this journey of life.  It's SO important to FEEL GOOD and BE HEALTHY!  Stop making it about "fat or skinny" it's about "being healthy or unhealthy"...we all know the difference.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

first thing...

Often when I meet someone for the first time, and them knowing I've lost a lot of weight, changed my life and help other women do the same, I hear...
"I used to be super fit in college."
"I was in great shape before I had kids."
"I worked out a lot before I hurt my ____"
"At one point in my life, I weighed 120."
"I used to run marathons until I gained all of my weight back." get the idea.
The list could go on and on.
And I'm not judging or upset with these people, but I have a point...

You ONLY fail when you quit for good, right?  Not when you have a bump in the road, that road leads you down a path you've never taken with twists, turns and road blocks, right?  RIGHT!  You fail when you give up once and for all.  So what you used to be _____.  
It's what's in front of you that matters NOW, isn't it? 

I used to be FAT, UNHEALTHY, WAS ADDICTED TO FAST FOOD, A SMOKER, PARTIED WAY TOO MUCH...that could define me but instead it shaped me into who I am today.  
I don't dwell on it, I learned and grew from it.  Just as I grew and learned from those times I lost weight, got a bit healthy and STILL gave up on myself for reasons I'll never know but one that I do know is that I didn't believe I could, so I never did.  

If you USED to be an athlete, healthy, a model and life changed, STOP DWELLING ON THE USED TO BE and focus on what WILL BE!!!!  
How will you change tomorrow instead of, "this was me but isn't anymore because of _______." Am I right?

We all have a "used to" and whether that used to was better than you are today or not, you have changed...we all have.  And if we want the road ahead to be bright, happy and healthy then we must cut the path!  It won't move forward on its own so if you choose to sit in "what I used to be" land, stay there by yourself...don't take others with you.  

We make our future.  We write our story.  
What do you want YOUR story to be?  Did you learn and grow or dwell on what USED to be?  

Monday, October 5, 2015

a sneak peak into my eats!

Many wonder how a girl who was overweight and was an emotional eater as I was has learned to balance her life and remain focused through good days and bad?  

I post MANY of my daily eats on Instagram: @moveitmarissa 
and my Facebook page: 
and this is not only to help all of you with meal ideas but it is there to hold ME accountable!  
YES, I still struggle and have days where I am not feeling the "healthy living" lifestyle...Shocking right?  You probably think I have it all figured out but I am human and struggle like every one else so accountability and setting goals OFTEN is what keeps me on track.  
Wanting to change is great but if you don't believe that you can change, then the "want" is a big waste of time.  You can't depend on someone else to carry you to that finish line, to the next and so on.  Sure it's necessary to have support and guidance but dependence is an entirely different thing.  
People could have told me until they were blue in the face that I was unhealthy.  Loved ones could have told me they loved me, that I was overweight and that I needed help.  I could have been called "fat" or "the big girl" a million times but all of this only left only surface damage.  I KNEW all of these things, I mean I wasn't blind.  I used food to cope, which caused me to gain weight so I'd get heavier and use food to cope even more...see the cycle? 

SO while I wanted change in a big way, I didn't believe that I could change so I stayed stuck and that held me back from living life.  FEAR held me back, lack of confidence and doubt held me back...I let THAT win.  I let those feelings take over my life until I was just numb to everything else.  Something even more upsetting?  I'm now in a place to help others NOT make my mistakes yet I see it happen so often and there's absolutely NOTHING I can do about it.  
So they "want to be healthy"
Great, but do they believe that they can be healthy?  
Even when I believe in them, it's not enough to carry them through those tough days...
This explains why I'd start a "diet", do so well and hang in there for quite a bit.  I'd see big improvements but ONE, itty bitty setback and I was finished...threw in the towel and it was the nearest drive thru I could find!  Grrrr!  
But why you ask?
Well the second doubt would roll in or I became fearful or doubted what I was doing, I'd give up.  I'd give in because I didn't believe in myself AT ALL.
If I did believe, then those tough situations would come and go but I would not let those moments define or defeat me because I deserved this and believed I could do it!  THAT'S WHAT FINALLY CLICKED and I wish I could cook up some magic potion and sell it nationwide but know that the "want" only carries you so far...the "belief" is what carries you through life's mountains and valleys...the good times and bad!  It's the ONLY way to find long-term success with your health, I promise!  I've tried everything else...

The key to finding healthy options and not getting bored from repetition is to change things up OFTEN! Be creative and once you find some favorite combos, keep creating healthy alternatives to your all-time favorite junk foods...YES, it's possible!!! 
My Move It Mommas just finished up a 7 day challenge where they were given a meal plan created by me and were asked to follow it as well as increase water intake and have no other drink options other than lowfat milk/Almond milk.  THEY DID IT!  
Most lost a minimum of 3lbs with some losing as much as 6lbs!  Wow!!  I was blown away and so inspired by their dedication to this process.  
The key was reducing the amount of processed junk, increasing water intake and limiting sugars as the day wrapped up.  They ate 5 meals, all balanced and portions were single servings only-as it should be!  
The bombshell that I dropped on them today as the challenge wrapped up?
THIS is how we should be eating YEAR ROUND!  Many took this challenge as a jumping off point and now there's no stopping them!  They didn't even hesitate when I asked if they were in for another 7 days!  They went grocery shopping and are ready to conquer new goals!  Why is this so successful?  I believe that giving them short-term goals to reach each week helps them get through each day, even each hour of the week! 

THE BEST feedback I received from them?  THE BLOATING AND FATIGUE WAS GONE!
Yes.  It's the part that feels so great when going from eating so poorly to eating so healthy...the bloating and tired feeling goes away almost immediately.  So how about that for proof that diet plays a HUGE factor with your health and quality of life!!  

My results: I lost 3.5 pounds!  Wooohoooooo!  

I want to share some options I shared with them this past week but there are plenty more on The Move It Momma Facebook page :)  

PLEASE feel free to comment with questions or concerns, meal ideas or questions regarding our 7 day challenge, I am HERE TO HELP!!!  
"Like" my Facebook page and message me there as well!  I LOVE helping, so please never feel like it's a burden!  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Paying It Forward!

What good is a passion if you are unable to share it?
What good is overcoming obstacles if you can't learn from them and help others not make those same mistakes and poor choices?

Once I made the decision to change my college major, I had lost a bit o weight with minimal effort and I loved learning about it so I thought, why not try something different? 
I remember sitting in my college courses soaking up all there was to know about health, the body, the mind and movement.  I LOVED IT! 
I could write papers and ace a test on nutrition but wouldn't follow my own advice.  I could exercise for HOURS yet throw it all away on one, bad meal.  And sure, I had lost weight at that point on my journey but I wasn't healthy...nowhere near it!!!  

So I first had to learn that I was worth taking even better care of myself.  
Then I had to learn to STOP making excuses for why I knew this information but didn't apply it to my own life.  
Next, I had to make up my mind once and for all and DO IT...

so I did. 

And I still do it every day.  It's a choice.  

I wake up every day with that same determination and focus. 

And on the days where nothing is going my way and I'm ready to give up?
I think about how far I've come, how lousy I felt at the bottom and 
how great I feel each day that I rise to the top!   

My journey is forever changing and evolving with new goals and things that I want for myself...but what good was this journey if I couldn't share it to help and inspire others??!  

These women count on me...
What they may not know is that I count on them just as much.  
Sure I have days where I don't want to exercise or eat gosh, who wouldn't?
BUT their energy, their determination and their fight keeps me coming back for more within myself and each of them!  

But wait, what about the children?

I love working with the Mommas but our children cannot be left behind to figure it out alone.  We must encourage and push our children to WANT to be healthy!  Healthy is the MAIN goal for children and if they see YOU pushing your health aside, chances are they'll do the same.  
Do you want that for them??  
But on the other side of that, if they see you STRONG and making an effort, they'll be your biggest fan and be right by your side, learning and growing into a healthy adult like their Momma! And what a feeling!!  

I'm the coach of a running club at my boys' school.  Oh how they LOVE this club.  

I'm inspired by these kids...
They showed up ready and EAGER to exercise!  Crazy isn't it?  
They are PROUD of what they do on that track and they should be.  

MY journey is so much bigger than me these days and I LOVE THAT!
What good is a dream if we don't go out and make a difference.  My challenges with my health growing up led me to helping people...all people, young and old! It is my main focus to help ALL people find joy in taking care of their bodies, joy in proper nutrition, and joy in living life to the fullest because you can!  And we all appreciate it MUCH more when we have to work for it.  If it came easy, then we wouldn't respect the journey and the journey is what changes the paths of our lives...pretty cool, isn't it?  

If you meet people that knew me growing up, their jaws would probably drop WIDE OPEN if you told them that I was in charge of a local workout group, a healthy living blog, a former PE and health teacher, a fitness/health Ambassador for the state of TX and a school Running Club/Fun and Fit program!!!  Yea, just mention ANY of those and they'd fall on the floor because I was the FURTHEST thing from athletic, healthy, or fit...FURTHEST!!  

But I trusted the path of my life and my journey...
it has introduced fantastic people into my life. It has inspired my children, my family and friends...and hopefully it is only the beginning!  

I will not rest until our nation is full of fit, strong and healthy women of ALL AGES!!!!  
That is how I'll PAY IT FORWARD!!!!!  

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