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!!!!


site designed by: Designs by Jamie