Extending Our Happily Ever After

"We do! Now let's live healthy and fit!"


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Day 17 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was pretty uneventful… back to work.

Weather is cooling down again, which is a bit depressing after the gorgeous day we had yesterday. It rained this afternoon, poured for a bit, actually… and now it’s chilly, windy and freezing rain has started. We are expecting some snow tomorrow as well! These early months in the year are always so crazy in the Northeast, one day warm and sunny, the next, overcast and snowing! It’s just nuts!

Well, I didn’t get a video uploaded today, will have to try to upload two tomorrow.

Someone recently approached me and asked about my goals regarding my future in regards to my journey with my weight loss. I’ll speak a moment to that… and some of my friends/followers here sort of know my story already through sparkpeople.com or facebook or even my website http://www.cinnamarie.com or http://www.extendingourhappilyeverafter.com .

Back in March of 2012, I weighed 378 lbs. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t my highest weight, but since this was the start of my journey and my first official weigh in, that was what I was going by. At that moment in time, I was in a bad place physically… I was in pain most of the time. I had degenerative arthritis in my lower back and right hip and three herniated discs in my back as well. I was missing work often, due to days where I’d wake up and was just unable to move. When I’d go grocery shopping, I’d often have to find places to sit down, or end our day after one trip to the store so I could get home and rest. I couldn’t stand more than 5 minutes without sitting down to rest. All this and I was only 44 years old.

I knew that my weight was out of control and that if I wanted to live a longer life with quality, I needed to do something about it. I found a diet (17 Day Diet) that I felt would be something my husband and I could follow and we started it and the weight started to come off very quickly. It truly changed how we thought about our diet. I didn’t exercise at first, but after losing over 30 lbs, then I started walking with Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds DVD’s. I knew they were low impact and with my back/hip issues, this was the way to go for me.

It took me about 18 months to lose 150 lbs… and then the following year, I basically maintained that loss… Last winter I did gain 32 lbs back and I’ve lost 27 of those lbs… I still have about 50-60 more lbs to go on my journey but that’s basically the story of it…

Throughout my journey, I found out that I needed a hip replacement, due to all the weight I carried for decades! This was done last May and now that degenerate arthritis in my right hip is now gone. The weight I’ve lost has truly helped the arthritis in my lower back and my herniated discs as well… and I know when the rest of the weight comes off, that will also help tremendously.

I have discovered that I can’t zumba. I can’t P90X or do Insanity. I can’t run. I can’t even do pushups or many floor exercises. I can’t do a sit up because being on the hard floor is just too much for my back… however, I do have a “Bean” (remember those from the infomercials?) and I do situps on that, or with use of a stability ball.. I just need support for my lower back. I often use the term “I am working with a broken body” when I talk of how I manage my exercise… but I do exercise and I do stay fit.

Also, I managed to lose my weight with no exercise equipment here at home or through joining a gym, although I did try joining a gym last year, but I only went for less than a month and as it didn’t add to any weight loss, I won’t count that. The only real money I put into my weight loss was the purchasing of a daily multi-vitamin (purchased at WalMart, their generic brand) and 5 Leslie Sansone videos (all under $10 a piece and not purchased all at once, they were bought throughout the journey, as rewards for weight loss and when I wanted to get a new workout).

Back to the initial thought… what is it I want to do in regards to my goals with my future, considering my weight loss? Well, I’ve been mostly inspired to help others and I have helped others. There have been facebook friends who have honestly been following me from day 1 and have also lost alot of weight and they have told me that I inspired them. I have co-workers who also have lost alot of weight and contribute that to my influence on them. I have been called, emailed and texted many times over, asking for advice from friends about what they should do, or how they should start, and I always claim to not know the answers, but I end up just giving words of encouragement and just giving a voice to the voice already inside themselves and usually pep them up and spur them on to get going in their weight loss goals. However, what is near and dear to my heart, besides always being there for my family and friends and that is way up at the top of my list… is that I’d LOVE to be able to help others that were where I was.

I’d LOVE to inspire those that are VERY overweight, who can’t move much, who have mobility issues, who don’t have the money for diet things that are out there, because they really only need to have money for REAL FOOD. They don’t need money for a gym. They don’t need money for equipment, like a treadmill. I was morbidly obese for most of my life… it’s who I was for so long, that I can relate to that person. I know what they feel, because I felt it for so many years. They feel that it can’t be done, they will never lose weight and you know what? It’s SO MUCH EASIER than they think it is, and I’m living proof.

I want them to BELIEVE in their souls that it’s not hard to lose weight… it’s hard to live in a body that doesn’t lose weight. Because, I soooo remember how hard my life was. How hard it was getting up in the morning, IF I could get up out of bed! There is no way I’m believing they can tell me that they feel AWESOME! Because I KNOW they don’t!

I feel so passionate about this… but my heart breaks, because I want more than anything to help them feel awesome! I know that they can! I want that for them as much as I wanted it for myself. I want to put that pep in their step and that smile on their face like I did with myself! It will truly change their life and not only that… it will EXTEND IT!

That is my goal for my future… That is my audience, in addition to anyone else who is inspired by my story.

My parents are the top two on this list. They taught me EVERYTHING they know about food and exercise. I NOW want to teach them everything I know about food and exercise. My parents are in Southern California. I’m here in Northeast Pennsylvania. That is my dream, I hope to make it come true in a few years.

Pic of Chris and I with my parents, followed by Chris and I from last Summer

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Day 16 – 100 Day Challenge

Such a busy day! 

Took the day off for doctor appointments! I had 3 today. I like to just take a day off and schedule them all in one day, rather than taking off early from work three different days. It’s just easier. 

Today was also a GORGEOUS day! The temps climbed up to about 60 degrees! Yay! However, we are due rain after midnight and then all day tomorrow, with declining temps and yep, it’ll end in freezing rain and snow! Yep, it’s still winter and well, them’s the cold, harsh facts of it, I suppose! 

Anyway, this morning was the ol’ gyno appt for the yearly visit us women have to make… and yes, it went well, thank you very much… then it was off to the dentist for a cleaning and now that I have a new hip, I had to take antibiotics before the visit… this is a new thing for me, but I was prepared and on top of that requirement! One that I’ll have to do for the rest of my life now. Then, checked the temp from my car and it showed that it was over 40 degrees and I was near a favorite walking path of mine, so I went for a 35-40 minute walk! (yep, got my exercise in! Yay me!) While on my walk, I met a super nice family… a mother named Lisa and her two small boys, Ethan and Aiden! I definitely had a fun time talking to little Ethan who loves Airplanes and Trains! 🙂 Hope to run into them again, he helped me march a bit as we walked! 

After that, I headed out to Taco Bell (blame the movie I rented the other day with a Mariachi lead actor… I’ve been craving Mexican food ever since). However, they had this burrito called the Cantina Burrito, which is a healthier version… It was soooo good and so big that I actually couldn’t even finish it. Anyway, I had water on me, so that and water got me through and I thought, “let me see if my optometrist will let me do a walk in appointment, too”, so I drove there… He wasn’t in, but I made an appt for my son and I. Off to the hospital for my next appt. 

Now, I’ve been wanting to donate plasma… there is this local place in town where you can earn money doing it, but apparently I’m a special case and with my history of cancer and then my surgery within the past year, they needed to know if I had any blood products in the surgery, so I needed to get paperwork at the hospital to figure out that blood product question. I had a letter from my gyn about being cancer free for the past 16 years, so that part was figured out… and then I had to go to medical records to get the other bits… then it was off to my last doctor appt, the neurologist… the name sounds alot worse than it is… I see him for my back, I’m all good. It’s more of a check in after all the surgery stuff. No biggie. 

But, then I ran home to get the paperwork on my cancer free letter, then off to the plasma donor place. That was around 2 pm! Well, long story short (too late, I know)… I was there a bit over 4 hours (special case situation)… I just made the iron count, always on edge with that and had to cut out early on the full donation and nearly didn’t stop bleeding for them to let me go, but I was in a hurry to leave as Ivan needed to get to work! OMG! I couldn’t clot fast enough! I got home JUST IN TIME for him to leave and he barely made it! 

Then, I forgot all about Toastmasters, so I had to call a friend of mine to get me to the meeting and we were late to that! Uggh! It was such a crazy day… I didn’t eat til I got home, nearly 9 pm… had leftover turkey taco meat with cabbage from last night and green tea and water…. 

Eating was just not super consistent and a bit of a mess today, because of my crazy, hectic schedule… but it wasn’t horrible and I DID exercise! LOL 

Overall, I had a decent day today.. I think I’ll sleep like a baby! Look at the video today on http://www.Giveit100.com/Cinnamarie1 of where I walked… the path is GORGEOUS! 🙂 One of my favorite walking paths!


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Day 15 – 100 Day Challenge

My video today shows the dinner we had tonight… Ivan prepped the Turkey Taco meat part of it, I did the veggie part of it… and then let Christopher have some veggies before we added in the meat. Christopher is a pescatarian, so we usually let him at the veggies first.. 🙂 If you’d like any of my recipes, I list them in the notes section of our ‘Extending Our Happily Ever After’ facebook page. It’s delicious!

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Also, finished up Nurse Jackie tonight and now, just watching some tv and will walk while I do that and wait for Chris to come home from practicing with his community band.

I’ve got some doctor appointments tomorrow and if I can swing it and the weather is nice, I may go for a nice walk. I took the entire day off work, as I had 3 appointments scheduled. If I do, I’ll post a video of where I decide to take that walk.

I’ve got a Toastmasters meeting tomorrow, then, unfortunately, I’m missing the next three meetings. I have some great news and some excitement coming up… The next meeting, we’ll be having a host family meeting because during the month of April, we are going to be hosting two French exchange students! We are very excited! This will be a first for us. Both will be boys and both are 16. Each will be here for a week seperately from the other. The only experience I have with this is that when I was younger, my parents used to host foreign exchange teachers and I believe they were only from Germany. It was a very enriching experience and I really enjoyed their stays with us. I’m very much looking forward to meeting our two students!

It’ll be a very busy time for us all, I’m sure!


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Day 14 – 100 Day Challenge

A beautiful day today! Walked the lake again and today was sunny and gorgeous! Still cold, though, but it felt good to be out in the sunshine! I was able to go with a friend today, which was nice and the walk went by quickly, too! The video posted to Giveit100.com/Cinnamarie1 was just a shot of the lake, I didn’t give any vocals to the video, thought it was too nice to talk, just wanted you all to enjoy the beauty that I did!

Watched a great movie today called Pulling Strings. Well, maybe not “great”, but I enjoyed it… it was a romantic comedy and the lead was handsome, sang well and it was a cute love story and since I’m just such a sap, I always enjoy happy endings, so that’s really all it takes for me to be happy.

Today was basically just a lazy Sunday… after taking my son driving again, I just spent time watching the rest of Season 2 of Showtime’s The Big C (love that show!) and then started watching Season 4 of Nurse Jackie, another favorite of mine and my son’s. We have four more episodes to watch, then we are done with that season, too…. that will be finished tomorrow night, as the only reason I stopped watching it tonight was well… it’s midnight now! LOL

Well, that’s about it, Monday mornings come early and I’m pretty useless at them, so I best get to bed now!


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Day 13 – 100 Day Challenge

A nice day today! Started it off with a walk up at Lake Scranton. Christopher wanted to get a run in… and since I don’t run, I got my walk in. Haven’t walked the lake in a while and it was cold! I bundled up! Two pairs of socks, two gloves, two tops and a scarf! It was 32 degrees out, but once I got going, it was fine! I think I’ll go back out tomorrow. I did call a friend to see if she’d go with me, but I ended up walking by myself. Took my husband’s phone and listened to The Killers, that was pretty upbeat and I had a good pace in. The lake is 3.5 miles around, so it was a good walk. I’ll go tomorrow, as well, and a friend has facebooked me that she’ll come with! Yay! It’s always nice going with a friend, seems that the walk goes quicker!

This photo shows my view of my son, who doesn’t walk with me, but instead runs and usually I never see, but when he’s done, he catches up to me, then runs ahead, then back, then ahead, then back! LOL  This is him way ahead of me.  

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Today was also spent spending a bit of drivers training time with my son. He’s 17 1/2 but he’s a busy kid. We had driving time in almost a year ago, then last summer, after my hip replacement, he and I were walking the lake and afterwards, we were both in a car accident. I think that shook him up a bit and he hasn’t driven since. It wasn’t our fault, but seeing that another car can just show up out of the blue when we didn’t see it coming, was quite a scare! I always tell him that you can be as safe as you want out there on the road, but you really have to watch for the other drivers as well. I guess it’s a good thing that #1, we were safe, but #2, he got that lesson early on! Most kids who start driving just are still in that “We are invincible” mode and he really got a jolt of reality. So, maybe a blessing in disguise, ya know? Anyway, he did very well today and we’ll probably go back out there tomorrow for more practice.

Then this evening, Ivan and I got some healthy groceries for the week and picked up ‘About Time’ from Redbox. I loved it… really a good movie!

Well, that’s about it for me, going to get to bed as it’s the time change tonight and I don’t want to lose an hour sleep if I don’t have to! LOL I’ll make sure that I get in early so that even with the time change, I’m able to sleep a full 8 hours!


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Day 12 – 100 Day Challenge

Glad it’s Friday! Tomorrow might be a bit warm and I think it might just be warm enough to attempt a walk around our local lake… that’s a 3.5 mile walk. It might be around 37 degrees, but if I layer, I may be able to do it. My son, Chris, will go with me, as he’s in track and he’ll run, probably. If I do go, I’ll try to call a g/f and see if she’ll go with me.

Today, we had our Slim to Win contest weigh in at work today and I actually weighed in at 230.4 lbs, which is a .8 lb loss! I was thrilled that I had any loss after cheats I had in the early part of the week! So, that gives me hope for next week’s weigh in! Yay!

Chris and I are actually looking at youtube videos of college tours for those colleges we may not get to… University of California Berkeley stood out… He also looked at some colleges in Florida and another in California and some here in Pennsylvania. The one we have visited already is Le Moyne up in Syracuse and we are going to Lycoming in two weeks. It’s that time, as he is a Jr in High School. They grow up too quickly!

I posted a video on http://www.Giveit100.com/Cinnamarie1 and this one includes my son! Go check it out. Better lighting, too!

Anyway, long day today, Headed to bed now! Thanks for following me on my journey!


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Day 11 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was a perfect food day and I did get some exercise in.

Only 1.5 miles with Leslie Sansone, but it was something. Food was my lemon water in the morning, the green tea with every meal. Greek yogurt for breakfast and a mid-afternoon snack. Snacked on carrots with mint chutney and some raw veggies. Lunch was tuna and a salad with balsamic dressing. Dinner was mustard chicken and cabbage.

I’ve got some recipes that I cook on my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ExtendingOurHappilyEverAfter in the “notes” section. The Mustard chicken recipe is super simple and posted there.

Headed on over to the library tonight for more DVD’s and to drop some off. Season 4 of Nurse Jackie was in! My son and I are addicted to that show! We’ll probably have it finished by the end of this weekend! Ivan and I watched a couple of episodes of MI-5 tonight and a couple of Clatterfords (Can you tell we are BBC fans?)

I’m so looking forward to a relaxing weekend! Love my Fridays! Happy about the time change this weekend and that it will be light later! Yay! Spring might be coming and I am excited about that. I can’t wait til I can start taking walks around Lake Scranton again… I am sure that will help with the weight loss!

My videos that I’m posting to Giveit100.com aren’t the best. It’s super dark in our living room ever since our overhead light broke and with the sun setting so early, I think that the videos will improve a bit starting on Monday of next week… then there is the whole “ME” part to them. I’m much better at writing (not that these blogs are GRIPPING! LOL) but maybe when I feel that the lighting is better and there may be more to “see”, then I’ll lighten up, so-to-speak and they will be better to see… in the meantime, I feel that it’s more of a “get it uploaded” sort of thing for the challenge and then I follow it up more with this blog where I feel less confined with the time limit and creativity… I’m just not that free-flowing with thought of what to put on a video… maybe I’ll ease into it. It is only day 11 out of 100… so I’d like to see myself grow in that area and give you all more to see (well, LESS, actually! LOL)

Off to bed for me, a good night’s sleep will do me a world of good tonight! Night, everyone!