Extending Our Happily Ever After

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


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Update – it’s been a while… a long while. Lots to say!

There is so very much going on on my end.

As for my weight. Since my last post (where I was about 40 lbs up from my gain of my main loss with the 17 Day Diet). I’ve lost over 20 lbs. I’m now sitting at 245. I’ve mostly gotten to this point from juicing.

Over a year ago, I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with Joe Cross on Netflix and remember thinking, good for Joe Cross, that’s something I could never do, nor would I want to do it. Well, times changed. I still love the 17 Day Diet and it taught me a LOT about food. However, I just wasn’t able to focus. Neither was Ivan. If he wanted to eat, then so did I. The weight just kept creeping up and there was NO WAY I was going to gain all this weight back! So, looking at that documentary again, I was in a different mental state. I was more prepared for the juicing this time and so after watching the documentary, I left the house and went to WalMart and bought a juicer. I jumped in with both feet and now, it’s my 17th day and I’m down 19 lbs (I had lost some weight before this).

As for my goals with weight and the juicing… I’ve been keeping a record of it. I started at 263.8, I’m today at 245. I was 225.5 at my lowest from the 17 Day Diet and my first goal is to get under THAT number. Second goal is to get under 200 lbs. I’d like to get there by August and have a huge feeling that I may get there a LOT sooner than that. The doctor suggests I get to 165, but I was thinking 180 as my official goal weight, but when I get under 200, then I’ll re-access my weight and then from there, I’ll just eat healthy (not all day juice) and hike, walk, etc… and check that out and see what happens with that goal. I love the juicing, though, so I doubt that I’ll stray too far from that. I feel better, I think the nutrients are amazing and my skin feels so good, I have great energy, plus, the juices are quite filling, so after drinking them, I don’t quite feel the need to eat everything else under the sun.

Now, other news is that my son (brainiac that he is) has been accepted to six, YES SIX!!! colleges!!! USciences (with Scholarship), LeMoyne (with Scholarship), Lycoming (with Scholarship), University of Pittsburgh, UC San Diego and University of Washington (with Scholarship). We are still waiting on answers from UC Berkeley, USC and Carnegie Mellon. No declines as of yet. (but those last three are the BIG HITTERS)… it’s been crazy around here and he’s so far picking Pitt. Senior Night picture came in, too and I thought it turned out great, so I ordered it.

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Other news… My husband, Ivan, finished his CDL training and got his certificate a couple of weeks ago and is looking for a job currently. We feel that he’ll be working within a few weeks.

Even MORE news… and this news is getting us closer to our HUGE move Westward to California this fall… we BOUGHT our new Class A 1998 Damon Intruder 352 this past Thursday. WOOHOO! Things are getting pretty REAL around here!

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This is us IN IT!

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As for my businesses… I’m still doing Azuli Skye jewelry. I love it and I’ve booked my flight and room for this year’s conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am now in leadership and have a wonderful team of three amazing ladies. Hope to see them grow and have teams of their own and that I get even more on my team! I just really enjoy being with this amazing jewelry company. It’s just a growing company and to be in on the ground floor is so brilliant. (pic shows me wearing our gorgeous jewelry). This is also showing me growing out my hair, which is also what I’m doing this year, so the longer hair is a new thing, too.

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Another new venture that just started for me is selling Younique, which is the company that sells the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I only wanted to buy it, but it works so fantastically well, that everyone wanted some, so I saw it as a way of helping me (along with my jewelry business) help out my family when I get out to California, which is truly what I’ve been wanting to do. So, I am now selling mascara. Who knew? This is a pic of me with my new “makeup face”. I’m actually even doing well with that, too and in under 2 months, I’ve already promoted to the next level, already.

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So, yep, that’s me all caught up with my blog…

My son graduates in June. GULP! Sooooo soon! He starts college in August or September (depending on where he’s going) and we’ll start our trip to California then. So, we’ll be out in California by the end of the year and I’m SO very excited about it! WE are!

Updated! Hope my next update comes sooner! 😉 Prod me on facebook or here.

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Catching Up – News from us…

Hello everyone! Well, lots has been happening. Where to start? Weight, I guess, since we started with weight, we’ll touch base on that. I’ve gained some back and so has Ivan. I’m about 250’ish now and not too sure what he’s at, but it’s not pretty. Looking back at my previous blog, I’m about what I was before, but up a few pounds… but with me, the real setback has been my fitness. I wouldn’t say it’s been non-existent, because I still do things like walks and go hiking, but the daily exercise, that has pretty much gone out the window. Food has been all over the place. That’s been Ivan’s problem and since he never really did the fitness thing (a bit of a cause for us to get into “discussions”), that has helped him with putting on the pounds.

My job at UPS is starting up a fitness challenge on Monday and I’m in charge of it… so I’m DEFINITELY looking forward to it! It’s a 12 week challenge to track your daily fitness and this is JUST what I need! I plan to do a minimum of 3 miles of walking, either with my Leslie Sansone walking DVD’s or just by walking outside and if I do more, so much the better! I know that with the fitness, the diet will follow and the diet I always feel very comfortable with is the 17 Day Diet, so I feel that my weight will start going the direction I want it to. As for Ivan, well, he should follow suit with the food and hopefully on the weekends, I can get him to go on the occasional hike with me. I’m still working on him with the fitness. It’s a struggle, I tell ya!

Health-wise, I’ve had a few issues. I found out that I have arthritis in my right knee, but we aren’t going to do anything with it, it’s bearable and weight loss and fitness should help it. A few months ago, my left shoulder started really acting up and by acting up, I mean, it started not moving much… and then radiated over to my right shoulder. I let it go and eventually it just about stopped moving altogether. I can’t even put my own bra on un-aided! A huge thank you to Ivan for stepping in to help in that department! Anyway, I finally went to see my Orthopedic Surgeon and found out that I have bursitis, tendonitis AND arthritis… isn’t that LOVELY? So, now I’m going to physical therapy! BTW, the gang over at PT said that I could have just called (they are the same ones that helped me through my hip replacement last year). Let’s see, what else? Oh yes, I was told that both of my carotid arteries had blockages, so I had to go to the hospital to get an ultrasound and see just how blocked they were (thankfully, 1-15% and they say to just get back to eating healthy and start up with my exercising)… and I had bloodwork and that came back good. So, it’s been pretty eventful with me and doctor’s offices and I’m pretty sick of it!

Not sure if any of my previous posts informed any of you that my son won a scholarship for this summer? Anyway, he did! He was selected about of over 450 kids in Pennsylvania to be one of 62 chosen students to win the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Sciences Scholarship. For the past 5 weeks, he’s been dorming at Carnegie Mellon University and he comes home on Saturday! We have been so very proud of him! He starts his Senior year of High School on September 4th! Whew… BIG YEAR!

I think I mentioned that my husband is losing his job at the end of September? Well, he still is. He’s chosen to get the free training to get his CDL License… so that’s what he’ll be doing after that. We have been thinking about our future lately and have a huge announcement, but I wanted to catch up this blog to what we’ve been up to before I let you all know our plans for our future… so, stay tuned and tomorrow night you’ll get to hear all about our plans… it’s something Ivan and I have been talking about for the past 6-8 weeks non-stop but we were hosting a French student and we were really just too busy to do anything about it. So, we’ve been planning things and our French student just left yesterday morning and now we can proceed with the little details…

It is VERY EXCITING FOR US! Hopefully, you’ll all be excited for us as well. Talk to you tomorrow.


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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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Blowing Minds… Including Our Own! (Pants Pic)

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When I first started the 17 Day Diet last March, I felt pretty good at the initial weight loss. After the first week or two, I thought… “This is it, I feel this is finally my time to lose this weight”… and when the weight started falling off and the sizes started dropping, I threw clothes away. I didn’t do what I had in the past… put them aside for a “just in case” scenario. I just tossed them! I didn’t even donate the first lot or two. THEN, I thought… “Wait! I want a pair of pants for a pic!”

These are those pants. They aren’t even the right size! LOL These pants are a 30W. When I started, I didn’t fit into a 32W. So, forgive me for not wanting to regain the weight for a photo op… but hmmm, nope, not going to happen. I’ll demonstrate the oooh, ahhhh, moment with these 30W jeans! I still think it’s a pretty remarkable moment, don’t you? They’ve been sitting on a counter upstairs for months… just sitting there.

My 1 yr anniversary is coming up on Tuesday. I’ve lost 138 lbs as of today… I was hoping for 150… it’s not Tuesday yet… but reality is approaching… fast and well, maybe I’ll get 140… but still… the pull of the pants photo was drawing me in… so the other night, I grabbed them and put them up to me and stood in front of my husband and we just were stunned! It’s one thing to see a big number on the scale… it’s entirely another to see it in a pair of pants. This just really puts it into perspective at just how big I was! Let me just say… when you look at the butt of these things… that’s NOT a pretty site! LOL But, yes, I do remember filling in many a chair in a theatre, or even my car. I remember the seatbelt cutting into my side. I remember the arms of a chair keeping me prisoner and me even wondering if I could “bend” them or “break” them as I got up. So, yes, I must have filled in that pair of pants pretty darn well, because I remember those days vividly.

I took these pants into work today to show my co-workers. Jaws dropped. I was very proud of my accomplishment and know that so many of my friends there were very proud of me, too. The pic is posted on my facebook wall and support is pouring in and I know I’ve touched so many and inspired so many. It’s humbling and I’m honored to be that inspiration in their lives. What’s more, is that I just look at the pants and they truly are a symbol that it’s never too late in life to attain a goal! To get healthy. My son is 16. A sophomore in high school. Probably the most influential time for him to see this change in me. Next year, he’s looking at colleges and reaching for his own dreams. I could be sad that I didn’t do this sooner, but then again… it’s never too late!


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Switched things up and it’s working!

Whew! I’m relaxing a bit. Trying to find what works for my body. I actually went back to Cycle 1 this past week and decided to LISTEN to what it said about the 17 minutes of exercise (sort of). What I was doing was exercising ALOT… thinking, burn it off, I’ll lose more… and well, maybe I was, but it wasn’t showing up on the scale for me. I know, I know, stop looking at that darn scale! I know I’ll have alot of you thinking that. Especially when I was fitting into new clothes up top (only up top, really) and getting compliments daily… still. BUT, for a daily weigher, it was driving me crazy. So, ever since I heard about that magazine article, I had to do something, because now I have a deadline and I seriously WANT that article!

So, at my place of employment, we have an indoor walking path (mostly due to living in the Northeast and the BITTER cold outdoors necessitating one)… anyway, it involved two floors and two sets of stairs… so even though the idea of walking at work and SWEATING, which isn’t something I ever really wanted to do THERE… I decided, I was going to do it, to ramp up my exercise for this article… and I started up with it. Well, for two days, I was doing that AND then going home and doing my Leslie Sansone walking videos (3 miles) and after 2 days, I really couldn’t walk! So, I re-thought my strategy, and decided, nope… two 15 minute breaks was really enough, especially if I FELT the workout… and an evening off was probably going to be really healthy for my body to recharge itself… and that’s what I’ve been doing this week. I’ve been getting to bed earlier, as well… Drinking lots of water, staying on track with my food, not straying and being consistent. I even took a rest day yesterday and today, I’ll grab a Leslie tape and do a 4 mile workout, just to get a good cardio in, but not do it too late in the day, so I can rest my body. My plan is to do this for the rest of the cycle, then when I add carbs in Cycle 2, ramp up my exercise with my Leslie tapes… but only maybe add in 1 or 2 miles in the afternoons, not much more… and see what that does… and stay consistent… and REST and get that sleep in.

I am going to see what happens.

I’m also going to stretch and use weights in the morning just to get some toning in… although I feel the toning in my legs BIG TIME!

On another note, I was asked to do a fashion show on the 16th of March for a retail store. Just a simple thing, nothing big… but new to me and thought it’d be fun. I went in yesterday and picked out my two outfits to model! How cool is that? If I can take any photos, I’m going to and I’ll post them here. I’m one of 40, so seriously, it’s not a big deal… just something for fun… but it’s a fundraiser for a local place for women and their babies… so it’s a good cause, which is great!

I also went to Goodwill yesterday to find new pants, as mine were getting pretty loose on me and found 2 pair for only 3.99 each! How cool is that? Nice ones for work! And several tops, too. I’m getting quite the stylish wardrobe! I hate pant shopping, but I really took the time to be patient and it paid off… if I pick a day where my patience is not worn thin, I can actually find some pretty good deals there! Perfect for when you are slimming down and don’t want to spend alot of money on the clothes you won’t be wearing too long! 


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Losing weight this time has truly been fun… Never thought I’d say that!

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I truly never thought I’d find this a FUN journey but that’s what it’s been.  It’s also been a learning one!  When I first decided to REALLY give this weightloss a go, I knew that I’d not just give it another attempt… I would put 150% into it.  I was only getting older, and I had 212 lbs to lose.  That was a huge amount and life was ticking away.  So, this was IT!  Daunting, yes, but I was never afraid of a challenge and this was going to be one of the biggest in my life.

Thankfully, I’m a pretty strong person.  I like being focused, I like making lists.  I am made for this type of challenge and if I did it right, I could really excel at it.  Not only that, but I had a loving, supportive husband on my side this time.  I was going to not only do it for myself but I was going to help him, too.  I’m going to feel a sense of accomplishment for us both.  

I found a great food plan that worked for us both (Thank God!) and it really started clicking for us.  Not only did the weight start falling off, but we started loving how we were feeling.  We were doing it together, too, so that was a bonus!  The benefits we were experiencing… snoring was lessened or gone, blood pressure was dropping, cholesterol levels were dropping, my swollen ankles were losing their edema, the soreness in my back was going away, sizes were dropping (we were donating clothes to Salvation Army daily and our house was getting decluttered)… I mean, it was FUN!  

There was a time of a kind of a weightless anticipation…  When you are as big as I was (377 when I started), you have to drop about 50 lbs before much is noticed, you kind of just push and push and WAIT… that was a bit of a get up, do the time, go to bed, wake up, weigh in, do it again, go to bed, wake up, weigh in, go to bed, etc… and just WAIT.  That’s a bit of waiting and alot of willpower.  I talked to myself alot (telling myself that I was doing ALL the right things and the scale was going down, even if I couldn’t SEE it yet)… and was very happy to have Ivan to look at and see results on him (leaner frame)… if I didn’t have him to look at and get excited about, then it might have been a bit less fun for me, but I did have him there… and it saw me through til I got past my 50 lbs and then MY RESULTS started to become a bit more visible… then MY joy started shining through a bit more… 

Once I started to get compliments, that helped alot.  I alluded in another post of mine to my vanity.  I think every woman would lie just a bit if she said she didn’t like to get compliments.  I mean, it sometimes is a bit uncomfortable to hear them sometimes and get all that attention (for some… not me… lol) but I LOVE all that encouragement and only wanted to hear it more.  So that really kept me going… and kick started me into the next 50 lbs of losing.  

I broke my losses into chunks of 50 lb losses… 212 lbs into four chunks of 50 lbs.  I knew that the first 50 lbs would be less noticeable and would be my most difficult, mentally.  Figured that I needed to set that as a goal and not make it any smaller.  For me, 50 was small enough, yet large enough to be what needed to be done to get to the next chunk of noticeable loss.  Also, knowing that once I hit that first 50, I could just tell myself that wow, I just did that… now do it just 3 more times! LOL  Manageable!

Next 50.  This would be the one where I figured most people would be really standing back to take notice… and I was right… this is where they were like… “Did you get a haircut?” lol  But, it was fun, They KNEW I did something and started to really take notice.  I was seeing a different profile at this point and it was something that even my husband and I remarked was hard to get used to, after 10 yrs of seeing one profile.  We’d stand next to each other in the store and look past the other looking for the other one… lol  It’s amazing what the mind gets used to.  He and I had changed so much by this point.

After losing 100 lbs, I was onto the next chunk of 50 lbs (where I am now)…  As of this morning, I’m 126 lbs into my journey.  I started exercising once I dropped 36 lbs, and once I lost 122 lbs, I started adding major toning to my schedule along with the cardio I’ve done all along.  I have 86 lbs left to goal and this is a huge transformation I’ve taken on.  I’m excited to see all that I can do to change my body.  I’ve already done so very much.  I’m not just working til I hit my goal.  I know that I’m going to continue on past my goal.  I figure that after I hit my goal, I’ve got body sculpting to do and I’m learning as I go.  

Another thing is that I’m also working with an injured body.  I have lost tons of flexibility throughout the years.  I have an appointment with a physical therapist on the 25th of this month and I’m so excited to see if there is anything I can do to gain back anything… even if there isn’t (but, I sure hope there is)… I’m going to try.  I’m like the energizer bunny!  I won’t give up and I’m going to keep on learning and working with what I’ve got!