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Roller Coaster

Where it all began… Amanda’s Story




Where I’m coming from, and how it all began…

So I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for as long as I can remember. It has been a real struggle for me, as it has for so many of you out there.

This isn’t my 1st go at weight loss. I’ve gone up and down the scale enough times to make your head spin. At 18 years old, my age and (unfortunately) my size matched in number. I was 190 pounds and blessed to have a new spouse who didn’t care one bit about what the scale said or what size clothing(18) hung in the closet. I lost and gained the same 50-70 pounds several times BC and AC (before kids/after kids). I thought I could work it off and diet, and then be done.

It’s never over for me. I wish I’d known that sooner.

Starting IS the hardest part. There’s a science to effectively losing weight. Just two examples of “Things I wish someone had told me”. There are many of those on my list.

I’ve held on for longer than ever this time with keeping the weight off and staying on course. It’s been 1 year 8 months on this mission. Some fundamental shift in the way I perceive the issue has changed. Part of that has to do with my own adjusted expectations, and willingness to accept that some things may not turn out exactly as you wish, but being the best “you” is enough. Planning good habits one day at a time makes the task seem less daunting.

Count yourself lucky (and enviable, believe me) if food or body size/image isn’t an “issue” for you. Chances are, if you’re reading this it is a change you’d like to make in yourself, or maybe you just love me and think I’m funny. ;)

Perhaps you have other demons to battle, but who doesn’t have at least one?
The allure of anything at all to escape your own mind or reality can be a temptation. Food has been a big comfort for me, and it’s more acceptable than getting drunk, gambling, or any other debauchery one can dream up. Everyone has to eat to live. I just happened to live to eat.

I’m generally reluctant to get out of my comfort zone, In the past it was especially true when it came to the comfort of food. It asks nothing of you, that TV and junk food. There is no opportunity to fail there. Papa John’s is just a phone call away. It’s just too easy.

Having the right frame of mind is the most important part of successfully losing weight. A positive attitude is the key to success in most endeavors, and weight loss is no different. On the flip-side, the lack of self-confidence is a killer, a deal breaker. All or nothing thinking and negative self-dialogue is the fast track to nowhere. It’s easy to recognise in retrospect and from the outside. It’s an enormous stumbling block when one’s under that black cloud of self-doubt. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, the fear of failure. Feeling defeated from the start held me back for a long time. Mindset is everything, and we shall overcome! ;)

It’s a bit weird and intimidating to write on a public forum. My vulnerabilities are there for anyone to see and relate to. Writing for this site has become my own accountability of sorts. I’ve been determined not to backslide, and now the pressure is really on to stay fit. Checks and balances are never a bad idea.

The support of family and friends helps tremendously. My dearest was actually the one who got me started, coached me through it, and encouraged me most along the way. Knowing that someone believes in you, and has patience when your own falters makes a huge difference.

Having a plan, a written one, that is proven to work takes the mystery out of the equation. I’ve finally found a diet and exercise plan that works for me. I have my treats (pizza and chocolate) one day per week. An exercise plan that I have time for and actually *gasp* enjoy.

An exercise and diet plan I can live with. Bottom line.

I will give you the simple rundown of the plan, and explain details further. I’m here to answer questions and support you in this. It took me a long time to figure out what actually works to lose weight and keep it off.

I will help anyone that wants it. I can’t save you, but I’d love to throw you a lifeline. I look after my peeps, and I’d like to count YOU as one. It’d be a whole lot cooler if we did. ;)

Stay tuned for the next article to get the scoop on exactly how I lost the weight. It’s something anyone can do…Seriously!

Roller Coaster

What Is Your Excuse?



We all make excuses for not eating right and exercising. I did it for years.
1.  I don’t have the time.
2.  I don’t have the energy.
3.  I don’t like to exercise.
4.  I don’t want to give up my favorite foods.
5.  I don’t know what exercises and diet plan to follow.
6.  I don’t get the results I want, so why bother?

With all of those negatives, no wonder positive changes aren’t being made.
Talking yourself through things with a good attitude really can turn things around for the better. It may seem crazy, but the idea of “Fake it ’til you make it” is a wonderful tool in your mental arsenal.
“All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail.” Dorothea Brande (I love that quote)
Your mind is the most powerful key to your success. Every day you have hundreds of decisions to make…That presents so many opportunities to make just a few changes in your daily habits. Baby steps, folks. Every small victory deserves to be celebrated (not with ice cream! ;) ). Those successes will help you keep your momentum.
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Roller Coaster

Running For My Boys




Who would have thought a few years ago that I’d be running races?!? There was a time that I couldn’t even run a mile.

The Georgia Race for Autism was my 1st road race, and my second ever running competition (Warrior Dash was my first). I was excited to participate in this event to support a worthy cause- Autism. I found out about this event just a few weeks ago, so we didn’t have a lot of time to fund raise. A few generous souls donated though, and we totaled $90.00 in donations.

I had Merritt and Remy on my mind during the race. I hoped to place in the Top 3 of my age division, and had my mental game planned. Imagining the cure for Autism existed past the finish line if I were fast enough to catch it made me pick up the pace.

I started near the front and hoped I didn’t overestimate my ability. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way, but I really didn’t want to get passed. ;) I tried to pick the perfect pace as I ran…not holding myself back too much, and not wearing myself out too soon. I guess I picked a good spot in the crowd. I passed a few people and kept pace with a few runners for most of the way. A kid that must have been around 14 years old and an older teenager running together went past me between mile 2-3. I couldn’t help but smile. The younger one reminded me of Merritt in a way, and somehow I could just tell he was probably on the Autism spectrum. That kid was booking it and it was inspiring.

I have to admit, I was happy to split off from the 10k runners right after that. ;) Last mile to go, time to crank it up a notch!

With the end in site, I sprinted hard neck and neck beside another runner. Just after passing the finish line, runners were handed cards to write down name, bib number, and finish time that was shown on a screen as the finish line was crossed. Tables were set up with boxes for the cards, divided by age group and gender. I dropped mine into an empty box…Wait a minute, could it be? Was I really 1st in my age group? It took a minute to sink in, and I really couldn’t believe it until I was called up by the announcer during the awards ceremony. I won! Holy crap, I won!! I was ecstatic. :)

Just like losing weight, I surpassed my goal and it felt fantastic. You never know where life might take you, and usually the one thing holding you back is you. Surprising yourself by breaking through those self-imposed limitations is the sweetest victory of all.

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Roller Coaster

Diet or Exercise – Is One More Important?



So I’ve been debating over what to post next. There are so many aspects involved in the weight loss effort-Diet, Exercise, Mental and Emotional- that I’m hard pressed to make a decision. And I don’t want to lose your interest in something so important.

Diet or Exercise- I was recently asked which I thought was more important. The two really do go together. Focusing on one is better than not doing anything, but that approach can be discouraging and lead to frustration. Results are the ultimate motivator, and there’s no faster way to lose weight than to get on board entirely with your efforts, by exercising and eating healthy.

I’m more conscious of making good food choices if I’ve exercised. I’m more into my workout if I don’t feel like I’m simply erasing past diet transgressions. That all-or-nothing thinking again, to a degree. Letting go of that is hard, but that’s where the patience comes in.

It can be a vicious cycle either way you work it. Balancing willpower versus guilt (or paying your dues) can be an exhausting effort.

Food Issues- Controlling my environment, triggers, and potential excuses makes it infinitely easier. For example…
Make a grocery list and stick to it! No junk or snack food should be on this list. If it isn’t in the house, you won’t have to muster the willpower to resist when defenses are down. Go for lean meat, veggies, fruit, and whole grains as you shop. Less processed equals better.

Go to the store on a full stomach. If you happen to go when you’re hungry, drink a water bottle and have a protein bar as you shop. They can ring up the wrapper, no biggie (unless you cave to impulse buys, then you’ll be the biggie ;) )

When free day rolls around, you are FREE to go grab whatever you waited for all week long. Single serving sizes of chocolate and chips from the gas station are what I normally get on Sunday. You can get a variety of goodies at a low cost and without leftovers.

Water Intake- Drinking plenty of water is difficult for me, and it’s so important. I have reusable water bottles, cups, plastic bottles, I’ve tried them all. The product of the week for me has been the mini plastic water bottles. Easier to carry jogging, faster to refill, and not as much of a commitment. ;) 10 ounce bottles with a goal of 8 per day…I’m a Diet Coke junkie, so this is a change I’m shooting for, even now.

The need for water can be mistaken for hunger. By the time I feel hungry, I want food, not water. I’ve been trying to drink first and save some calories along the way. It takes mindful effort to remember. Change is hard. Grrr ;)

These are tricks that you can probably find all over the internet if you’re looking for them. The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming. It’s hard to put into practice and remember all of these things. Changing one or 2 habits at a time makes the effort more manageable for me…and these are the baby steps I’ve taken along the way. Common sense from one point of view, but actually put into practice, it makes a world of difference!

So there are a few starting points, as far as diet goes. Exercise is next on my mind, but I’m really interested in what YOU would like to hear about and discuss. We all have our challenges, and sometimes it amazes me how similar they can be. :)

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