Marking Time…Now Let’s Press Forward

Have you ever heard the term marking time? It is a military term for marching in place. I learned the term in marching band, where our director would yell “Mark time, mark”! In order and precision, every foot would lift and lower, left, right, left, right and sometimes we would be there marking time for what seemed like 30 minutes. I, too, have been marking time in the last few months. I started a temporary 4-month job that was indeed more stressful. At my job, we have an opportunity to do these 4 month rotational assignments and come back to our permanent job after completion. This gives us a chance to try out something new and build our resume. In the time since my last post, I have been maintaining. I have not lost but I have not gained. This is a win-win for me. I have kept up with exercise and eating proper portions which has allowed me to maintain a 50-pound weight loss for more than a year. I am almost 15 pounds behind my goal of 25 pounds for this year. By not losing, I am seeing that goal slip further away. There are a few things that happened in this time that will catapult me back into my goal mindset. First, I lost a dear friend that I have known since I was 12. There is nothing like death to make you think of your own mortality. The next week my brother and his family lost their home and pets in a house fire. There is nothing like loss to remind you of all you have of how grateful you should stay. I traveled by plane and had to ask for a seatbelt extender. One of my original reasons for losing weight was because I love to travel and realized I hadn’t flown as much because the seat and belt were getting uncomfortable. Through a little self-searching in the Fit Mind Fit Body class, I also realize I was embarrassed to ask for a seatbelt extender. Thus, part of the reason I wasn’t flying as much. I still traveled so the subtle change never occurred to me that weight may be holding me back from farther destinations. I was on top of the world losing and maintaining the 50 pounds. Recently getting on the plane and still being just shy of fastening that seatbelt reminded me that the first 50 was only the beginning of my journey. My total goal is to lose 150 pounds. Lastly, I encountered a rude comment. I have always loved my body at all shapes and stages. This journey towards better health, better fitness and yes, a more tone, slim body is only one part of getting to the best me I can be. For all the trials and triumphs, the comment was a stark reminder that not everyone is so impressed with all the hard work and dedication I have exerted to be where I am today. So, screw them! I am fabulous! I always have been but just know, it was the appropriately placed kick in the butt that puts me in that I-will-show-you mode. I have been marking time…now let’s press forward. Feel free to follow my progress and take that step forward from anything where you have been marking time in your own life.

Written by Purple Pearls

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Watch Out for the Creeps!

It has been a couple of months and I find that wellness, being healthy, maintaining weight and practicing fitness has become a real part of my lifestyle. I no longer think of it as an option, but a necessity. Like all things, the more you do it, the more chances you get to become lax and complacent. Weight gain, old habits and the attitude of “I can start again tomorrow” or “just this one won’t hurt” can sabotage our thoughts more often. It can creep in like a thief and catch you unaware. So, I got caught by a creep. Subtle. Beguiling. They are slick and out there no matter how well you think things are going. This is definitely my story. Since my last post, I have been a busy bee. I had a birthday and I did do something different than the usual food fest. I invited all of my friends to a work out party. We danced, sweated and had a ball. I don’t think working out for my birthday was ever a desire. But, this year as well as last year, it was a desire for the first time in 40 years. I have also had the busiest time at work since starting this new job May 2016. I had the ability to work from home full time for 3 weeks, which is not normal. I was working on a big project with a quick deadline. I was reading nonstop so I moved less. I was at home so food was more accessible and I had a minor injury that set me back a week. I guess my point is that you will have things come up AND busy times at work AND putting out fires at home AND family issues OR anything else that can happen. That is life. Through all of that, we must keep our skills in front of us. “Get back on track right away”, remember that one? It is my favorite skill of all because I don’t have to get too far out there before coming to my senses and dust myself off. In addition, I worked really hard to take off 50 pounds last year and I don’t want to negate all of that work. I am very pleased that I only gained a few pounds. I was up a little, down a little and for the most part maintained. I am definitely in a self-inflicted plateau. I have still been working out (even went to the gym at 4:30 am for 3 mornings while out of town) and I am generally mindful when eating. However, to achieve my goals of more weight loss, I will have to revisit, revise, renew and refresh my thinking. I am also in a wedding this coming June. Wouldn’t you know June weddings have arms and backs out as you walk and stand for all to see? With this work deadline almost behind me, I have to “get on the good foot” and watch out for the creeps! I am still down 45 – 50 pounds, but to reach that next goal of 25 more pounds this year, I can’t give up or get lax now. Feel free to follow my progress and let me know what you did to get back on track when life threw you a few curve balls.

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Whether the Weather

Whether it is snow, rain, blazing hot or some other weather that keeps us in the house, there is an opportunity to get off track with eating being confined in the house. I find that when I am inside, unless I distract myself or force myself to work out, it will become easy to laze the day away, graze or overeat. None of those are good practices. As we enter the fourth week of 2017, you may be in an area that has already been hit with a snow day or two. What is the first thing people do when they hear a storm is coming? They run to the store and stock up to be inside for a few days. Sometimes…most times…well, almost always, that may include some unhealthy snacks. Even if your cart can steer clear of the tasty, sweet treats, chips with dip and high calorie junk food, there may still be a tendency to not move as much or eat more than the correct portion. Case in point, it is cookie season. Anyone alive knows what “cookie” season I am talking about. You see those sweet little faces out there peddling their deliciousness on just about every corner. Is your response always a resounding “I won’t take the cookies, but here is a donation”? Heck no! Once a year they build your anticipation. I suppose I was more mindful last year when it was this time, because I was actually in the Fit Mind Fit Body group. I was practicing my skills and in group once a week. I am pretty sure I may have avoided these little cookie monsters last year altogether. But oh this year one of my very best friend’s daughter with her snaggle-toothed smile is selling them! She was selling them last year too, but somehow I avoided the trap. I think she had her teeth then. Ha ha! There is grave disappointment seeing that a serving size is a mere 2 cookies for 140 calories. In what cruel universe would these angelic little bits of goodness be 70 calories each? This past weekend was rainy, I was in the house and so were these cookies. As they called to me sweetly and softly like wind on a breezy summer day. At the beach. With warm blue water. A massage therapist at my beckon call. A private chef. With rice cakes 1000 calories and king size snickers bars 5 calories. And soothing pedicures with soft music and candles. WAIT! Whew, what fantasy was I in? Hey y’all I was going there. My point being that I was in the house with food available but I had to be vigilant and mindful. It never ends, we must stay on point to stay on track. I did have those 2 cookies and ate each one with about 100 tiny nibbles! I also found a Saturday morning workout and moved around the house all weekend to keep from stalking the cookies in my pantry. So whether the weather keeps us cooped in the house or not, we still must stay mindful and know that a few days in the house doesn’t have to totally derail all of our success. I am holding steady with my 50-pound weight loss and even lost 3 pounds at the end of the maintain don’t gain challenge at work. Feel free to follow my progress and comment on ways to stay active and not overeat when in the house.

Written by Purple Pearls

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S.M.A.R.T Resolutions for 2017

Happy New Year! I made it! Not only did I make it into the new year, I was hanging on for a last minute push towards my weight loss goals for last year. I actually lost 51 pounds! I was elated to stand on the scale and look down to see 289. I rubbed my eyes stepped off the scale and stepped back on…same thing. I started 2016 at 340 pounds, so to see 289 was most amazing! Did you set any new year’s resolutions? I didn’t. I don’t think I ever have. I do take time to reflect. I reflect on the previous year and all that has happened for me, the ones around me and the world. I take time to be especially thankful to have made it through another year. I do feel a sense of refreshing and renewal as another year starts. I also take time to set goals for myself for the next year. I take a well-rounded approach. I seek goals as a person on cleaning, clearing and bettering the “inside me”. Last year when I said I wanted to be a better, kinder and more loving person on the “inside”, I didn’t know that what was on the “inside” was health and fitness too. So, indeed, I was better, kinder and more loving to my physical inside as well. I set financial goals to save more and spend less. I set spiritual goals to pray, be more grateful and see the beauty in all of the wonderful blessings in life. I even set goals to deal with whatever is not-so-good with a more positive attitude. If those are resolutions, then consider me resolved. One of the lessons in the Fit Mind Fit Body program is to set S.M.A.R.T goals. This means they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. There was a point last year where I maintained for about 4 months. I was down a little and up a little each week. I was happy and perplexed at the same time. I was happy that overall I wasn’t gaining but perplexed that I was marking time with so far to go on my weight loss journey. This got me to thinking that 50 pounds for this year may be a bit aggressive. I now know what it takes to lose 50 pounds and it was not easy. I sat down and thought about what is realistic. While I lost 51, a better, realistic goal for next year is more like 25 pounds. If I can do that and maintain it, I will be a happy girl. If I do more than that, wonderful, but I don’t want to disappoint myself. I am shooting for 2 pounds a month. I plan to do that by finding lower calorie food options. For instance, I often turn to a blueberry breakfast biscuit that is 230 calories a pack. I found one that is very similar but 170 calories. That is 60 less calories in one setting. I plan to consistently find healthy, low calorie snacks and meals. In those meals, I am going for cleaner, more natural choices. I plan to not only stay within a certain amount of calories but make sure those calories are nutritious and not full of fat or sodium. I will push myself a little harder in workouts each time. And with a sedentary job, move more when at work (at least a short walk every hour). Finally, I will drink more water (at least 120 oz a day). Cue up the fireworks. 2017 is starting with a bang. Feel free to follow my progress as I explore the first year after making a weight management lifestyle change.

Written by Purple Pearls

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‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Boy, there is a lot of food floating around during this time of year. Keeping the skills in play, the sabotaging thoughts under control and old habits from creeping in has been a challenge. I had no idea it would all come at me at the same time or sneak around the corner in the form of a nice gesture like baking and bringing my favorite dessert. It was a super busy week. One of those weeks where you have everything to do and feel as though you are pulled in a million different directions (like so many other weeks in the year). On top of working every day last week, I hosted my entire immediate family for Christmas. That is 14 people including six children ages 18 months to 13 years (with a set of 6 year-old twins). People started to arrive a few days before the holiday and we celebrated on Christmas Eve. I made the big dinner menu of items I felt I cook well, directed items from my mom and some family staples. Although cooking for 14 is a task, it also means I had control over the ingredients and the preparation. I woke up early Christmas Eve to start cooking. I kept in mind not to do too much tasting and random eating. I had a small breakfast and snack so I wouldn’t feel too hungry and overeat. My feet and back hurt from standing and bending. Listen, when your feet and back hurt with a house full of food and people, skills start to get very slippery. We sat around the table laughing and making merry. There were sweet desserts, sweet punch, sodas, wine, and more food than we could or should consume. We opened gifts and enjoyed having everyone all together again. The one thing that did fall by the wayside was structured workouts. I didn’t feel as though I made the time and space to work out, but I did do a few squats, some crunches and I was up and down the steps in my house more than usual. As the house settled, folks retired for the night, the kids got sleepy and leftovers lined the counter, I took inventory of how it all went. I can always do better but the best thing is that I was mindful of my skills. I had them in the forefront of my mind and if I did slip into an old habit or went down the path to overeat, I made a U-turn right there on the spot. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and the scale says I maintained. Merry Christmas to me as I shake my jingle bells. As I round out this year, I can only say it has been a phenomenal journey. I will end this year 45 pounds lighter and in a better mental space concerning weight management. While I didn’t make my ultimate goal of 50 pounds YET, there is still 4 days left in this year to see what I can pull off. The moral of the story is: it is never too late to start something new. As I stand here, almost 365 days later, I am proof that it can be done with a determined mind, solid skills, planning, hard work, a good support system and a willingness to overcome whatever has held you back in the past. Feel free to follow my progress towards the next 50 and I will see you in 2017!

Written by Purple Pearls

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I never noticed just how much food is consumed over the holidays. There is food out there I never remembered being a problem before. I guess that is because I was eating and indulging without a care in the world. There is an inordinate amount of parties and socials to attend. Every time I turn around, there is a plate of this or a tub of that. The office Christmas party was held last week and it is my first year celebrating with this group. The floor in our office is open from end to end and can accommodate about 100 people. There were tables set up from one end to the other, food as far as you could see and 360 degrees. I wasn’t expecting that, but I was expecting there to be food and lots of it. It was also the day of an award ceremony (that morning) where I was awarded medals for the work I do at my job. This was an awesome honor. During the ceremony, I was thinking about the upcoming party and how proud I felt about these achievements. This healthy lifestyle is an achievement, so I had a talk with myself about how I would stay on course. After the award ceremony, I came back to the office with the scent of ham, sweet treats, meatballs, bread and sticky goodness floating in the air. I scampered to my desk for a quick pep talk. “You don’t have to experience a set back because of this party”. “You have worked hard, get sensible portions”. “Remember your weight loss goals, you only have 6 more pounds to go this year”. The call came to the masses for lunch to begin and people lined up loading their plates, laughing and talking. I was talking but I was focused, carefully surveying the tables for options. Yes, I tripped over the Golden Corral yeast rolls, that was a tricky one…or two. However, I kept within my overall goals for the day. That day, I got up from the desk more often and walked around more throughout the day because I knew I didn’t have a workout scheduled that evening. It is also Week 6 of the “Maintain Don’t Gain” challenge at work. The challenge started the week before Thanksgiving and ends the week after New Year’s. I weigh in at the beginning of each week and am actually almost 1 pound down from where I started. I am very pleased because I know there is the potential to gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday and I have been able to maintain, even lose a little. Singing “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. This week I celebrate one year from the day I decided to make a healthy lifestyle change. My overall goal of losing 160 pounds in 5 years is now a little bit closer. Today, I have to lose 116 pounds in 4 years. See how fast that went? Before I know it, I will be another year from this. Feel free to follow my progress as I embark on the next year. Wishes for safe and happy holidays for you and yours.

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Put A Bow On It

It’s amazing what can be done in a year. How many times have we put something off for a later date? Then we start it, we think to ourselves, man, I could have done this a long time ago. In starting a healthy lifestyle, the goals I was choosing seemed so far away a year ago. I am within a week of the day I decided I needed to change. I am pretty excited about making my plan for the next year. I am going to dust off my Fit Mind Fit Body Manual and assess the year. I want to go to my calendar for next year and mark the days where I took pictures. I want to note the outfit I was wearing and schedule to take a picture on that day. Myfitnesspal app has a way to take pictures and log them with your weight on that day to track your progress. It didn’t seem so important when I started, but when I look back and see the side by side, it does make a difference. My goal at the beginning of 2016 was to lose 50 pounds. I really couldn’t see how I would do that. I have had the most fun and met the greatest people over this last year. My work out buddies are awesome, my friends and family are supportive and my instructors are the best. Shout out to my personal trainer Shawnta Wright of Mindful Bodies and Nikia Person-Pittman my Mixxed Fit instructor. These ladies bring the fire and keep work outs interesting. I have been motivated, pushed, shown new ways to move my body and been encouraged to keep going. Along the way, I have lost 43 pounds! With only 7 pounds left to reach my goal, I am more pumped than ever to see if I can buckle down and ring in the New Year 50 pounds lighter than how I rung it in last year. I even have a friend that said she would try to lose that 7 pounds with me. How awesome is that? That’s when I break out singing a little Dionne Warwick “that’s what friends are fooooorrrrrr”. Regardless of actually reaching that goal, I am very proud that I have made it this far. So as I reflect on what this moment means to me, I encourage you to start something new or get back on track with a goal. It is one day at a time. It will lead to new places, present challenges, test your resolve, make you question yourself, give you hope, show your strength and give you the opportunity to say “well I tried that”. Thanks for taking that journey with me. I appreciate all the kind and inspiring comments. It has been a phenomenal year and I am looking forward to putting a bow on 2016 and going to the next level in 2017. Ride along with me and feel free to follow my progress.

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Vacay Maylay

In the previous blog “And the Winner Is…”, I started describing that right after Thanksgiving I took a few days off to rest, relax and rejuvenate. One of my first thoughts were to pack workout clothes and check out the amenities of the facility. In fact, I booked my place based on them having an indoor pool and a work out facility. I arrived the first day and made a list for the grocery store. I purchased items to make sandwiches, salads, bought fruit and yogurt. This is a far cry from not having anything in the vacation refrigerator except wine. The past times were spent eating out every meal thinking that was a treat while on vacation. This year, my treat is maintaining all of the hard work I have put in to date. At this point, I am reflecting on where I was a year ago. I still did not have health, weight management or workouts in my mind. Since dance fitness is one of my current exercise routines, I found a Mixxed Fit class in the area and arrived at the rec center pumped and ready to dance off some calories. Because of a miscommunication in the schedule, I ended up in a total body conditioning class. It was the hour before the dance class. I could only think the front desk lady wanted to play a cruel trick on me. Man, that was one hard work out. I wasn’t exactly ready. It was a combination of weight training, exercise ball, medicine ball, rubber tubes and intense cardio. I have been getting better gradually but this class threw everything at me with a greater intensity. I really had to talk myself through this one. There was a lady in there that appeared to be in her late 60s. I am 40. She was hanging right in there, so I figured I can’t let her out do me. I am already in here and I can’t just walk out! Oh my, I got to one point and said if the instructor calls out one more exercise, I am going to cry. But I made it the whole class and I am proud I stuck in there. I even attended the Mixxed Fit class right after it. I was so sore but I did it. On another night, one of my girlfriends invite me to workout with her. I said yes BEFORE she described this boot camp type high intensity interval workout. I thought of a million excuses to get out of it. They put the screws to me people. Battle ropes that made my arms noodles, so many squats I think my legs went numb and other exercises I had never attempted. I was done…I mean done, but I pushed through. Pushing through this week, on my own, on vacation, building in exercise and mindful eating gave me a sense of I-can-do-anything-I-put-my-mind-to kinda thoughts. In addition to vacation, I came back to a girl’s night out party and a buffet luncheon to celebrate an anniversary. I believe this was one of life’s little gauntlet challenges to see how I maintain despite having many food-related obstacles thrown at me. Aww, that was a dirty one. Hey, I did get a little muddy but overall, I maintained and did not get off course. Maintenance through all of that is a win! Shake a tail feather and feel free to follow my progress as I begin to approach the one-year mark of making the decision to lead a healthier and more fit lifestyle.

Written by PurplePearls

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And The Winner Is…

I feel as though I have emerged from the ashes after an intense battle with a formidable opponent. All of the noise from battle is gone and it is just me, staring out into the distance. I am looking over a table of turkey bones, empty dishes, napkins stained with grease, sticky cake plates and a bowl FULL of salad less my portions. HaHa. I was in the fire but came out and my clothes don’t even smell like smoke. I fought valiantly. I was aware and ready. Oh, the darts and jabs thrown. There was a table full of wonderful smelling goodness. As Shawnta put it, it smelled like angels and sunshine. I took small portions and when someone served it, I would say only half of that or a smaller piece please. I stayed on task. Afterwards, according to the battle plan, I got up and moved from the table so I would not be tempted. I stayed the course and it feels great. In the days afterwards, I went on vacation but I kept the same plan in place. I went to the grocery store picked up salad, fruit and snacks. It doesn’t look like much in the fridge, but that is a good thing. Vacations in the past included a trip to the grocery store with every snack, soda, sweet treat and fattening food. I was very proud of my cart, it looked healthy and controlled. As I went through my suitcase, I had about the same amount of workout clothes as regular clothes. I settled in and looked over the amenities of the place, specifically for fitness classes. I am a fan of Mixxed Fit, so I found a class offered in the area. I visited the local rec center for a list of classes. Every morning, I have been walking about a half mile to the workout center. One morning I worked out following one of the Mindful Bodies workouts in the onsite gym, then walked back to the room. Another morning, I walked down to the gym, swam 10 laps in the pool, jumped in the hot tub and then the sauna. I did a little shopping and took some extra trips around the store. I have a girlfriend that lives in the area and she invited me to workout with her. She started to become more fit as well, so it was good that we both changed some habits. I was very enthused about that. In times past, we have just met up for dinner and drinks and appetizers and dessert. She energetically described the high intensity interval training circuits with ropes, TRX, different level jumping jacks and extra cardio. I wanted to back out but I am not. I will have to report back on that experience. I plan to take some ibuprofen prior to the workout and find myself in that hot tub and sauna afterwards. More holidays are coming but making it through this one gives me the confidence I need to make it through the next. I feel as though I am on track although I have not been able to weigh myself. Hmm, it’s getting time for a new scale anyway. That may be a gift to myself for following my plan despite the big, bad Thanksgiving boogey man. It was no piece of cake, it was hard to resist. I had multiple conversations with myself and wanted to say “it’s only a little piece” or “just a tiny bite”, but I am too close to my goal and a setback right now is not worth it. I made it through and I am fine. Thanks for the cheers and prayers I know were said to keep my fingers out the pot. Feel free to follow my progress. I will be figuring out how to get through the remaining holidays and New Year’s.

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Battle Zone: Prepare the Troops, Thanksgiving is Advancing

Troops, we have arrived. The Battle of Thanksgiving is before us. In just 3 more days, a feast may be laid on tables across the land (no doubt dripping in greasy, buttery, syrupy sweetness). In that moment, we must choose our weapons and wield them wisely with intent and precision. We cannot let this one day, take us off the tasks we have worked so hard to achieve. We can do this! Battle plans were laid in the previous blog “Battle Plans: Arming Yourself for the Holidays”. We are prepared! I joined a “Maintain Don’t Gain” challenge at my job last week. We have to weigh in each week, sign a commitment to celebrate and maintain weight, choose healthy foods and aim to move as much as possible. I need all the help I can get this holiday season. Oh, I have battled the birthday cake monsters, work lunch foes and fast food minions. But Thanksgiving is a familiar opponent that I have lost to my whole life. I have spent 30-some years grubbing to misery and this year is definitely different. I have 11 months of weight management under my belt. Bigger than the holiday eating, my largest conquest lies ahead. I am only 7 pounds away from losing 50 pounds this year. The mountain was so tall in January. So the lesson for today is…don’t quit, don’t EVER quit! Just start and keep moving even if you’re marking time. Marking time is better than not moving at all. Little by little, you will achieve that thing. Stumble, trip, trot, jog or sashay (I prefer to sashay), but whatever you do, keep it going. One of my favorite pieces of wisdom from my mom is “how do you eat the elephant? One bite at a time”. There are very few things that happen in this life overnight. Life can be so fast that we miss it or so gradual that we take it for granted. We are not who we became overnight and we may not be where we want to be just yet. Regardless of your placement, take time to marvel in this moment. Right now could be the culmination of something big or the beginning of something great to come. I think we are all just a series of ebbs and flows. In addition to last week’s plans, I am writing myself some questions on notecards. Is it worth it? Can you save that for another meal or snack? How many calories is this? Did you plan for this? Remember all the hard work to get to this point? Why wait until after the holidays to stay on track, isn’t today good enough for you? Will this bite help you achieve your goal? I can’t trust myself just yet to have that conversation in my head alone. I can be hardheaded so I need to write it down. I am going to write a few other encouragement cards too. You are the You are fierce. You are achieving greatness. You can do this. You work hard and it’s paying off. You are greater than a few plates of food. Doing the same thing is boring, here’s a chance to change last year’s outcome. Ok, those are made. To my fellow soldiers in the fight, prepare yourself. You will be in a different setting, around different people, schedules changed and lounging. Man your battle station which is your mind. Take your gear which are your reminders AND workout clothes. This enemy is slick but you are not caught unaware. WAR CRY! Go get ‘em tiger. See you on the other side.

Written by Purple Pearls

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