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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This year and where we are headed…

This is the big year for us.  The year we head west.  So much has happened for us in the past six months…

Ivan is now training for his CDL License and the training should finish in about 7 weeks and then he should be looking to be hired with a trucking company.  We are hoping for a “on the road” company so that he can get paid pretty well.  We will see.  It will be quite an adjustment for us, as we are sort of glued at the hip.  We are always together.  However, we met online and we are both great with technology and this might be a revisit to our past where we are communicating through technology again.  It will be interesting.  We will see how it goes.  A means to an end, though… he and I are real good about things like that.

Christopher is doing amazingly well in his Senior Year.  He has put applications in at 9 different colleges/Universities for next fall and already is four for four for acceptances.  He’s had acceptances from Pitt, LeMoyne (with scholarship), Lycoming (with scholarship) and University of Sciences (with scholarship).  We are waiting to hear from USC, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, University of Washington and UC San Diego.  We probably won’t hear anything til the spring now.  Pitt is leading the pack.  He fell in love with Pittsburgh when he attended Carnegie Mellon for the PGSS (Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Sciences) last summer.

Chris was also placed third chair (for Baritone Horn) for the PMEA District 9 Band Concert, which will take place next week.  We are quite proud of him.  He’s been keeping quite busy with the Crystal Band, which has just wrapped up their Christmas Season of concerts. There will be many senior activities coming up for us to attend before his graduation in June.

His senior portrait that we picked for the yearbook is this… which I took myself.  I opted to take the portraits myself to save some money for us.

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We are going to start the downsizing next week pretty aggressively.  We must.  We’ll be looking at purchasing our RV around graduation time and there won’t be much room for anything, so operation DOWNSIZE is upon us.  Such a huge task and not one I’m looking forward to.  But, it must be done and I am looking forward to being DONE with it.

As for my parents (the reason for all of this)… Around Thanksgiving, my mother did not sound well.  I had made two phone calls where she just was NOT connecting with me over the phone.  She wasn’t able to get her words out, which has never happened before and it was very upsetting to me.  The first phone call, I was somehow able to offer her words and she was like “Yes” so I am still connected to her, but to hear her not be able to express what she wanted to say really was quite unsettling.  Our second phone call, that was actually ON Thanksgiving and we just weren’t connecting at all.  She was talking over me and so we weren’t sure if she just wasn’t waiting to hear me or couldn’t hear me, or what it was, but again, no real connection was made.  Since then, though, our phone calls have been better.  She has been talking to me as usual… knows our names, talks as she always has… these are never huge, thought filled conversations, they haven’t been… just basic things, like the weather and how are you, stuff like that.  The need I feel to get out there, though, is stronger than ever.  It’s a huge weight.

I’m starting to get rid of some of my anxiety over many things this year… things are starting to lift.  You’d think the closer I got, the worse I’d feel… but at the beginning of Christopher’s senior year, it was horrible.  Christopher was feeling it, I was feeling it.  I was crying almost daily.  I think that his acceptance (the first one) was a huge weight off his shoulders and when he felt better, then I started to feel better.  Leaving my son is no little thing.  It’s been weighing on my mind for years now… and yet, I knew it was coming.  I felt in my heart that he was an East Coast kid and that I was always going to go back to my parents to care for them.  I was taking this all too literally… I left my parents 18 yrs ago when I got pregnant to raise my son nearer his father and now I’m leaving my son to care for my parents.  When I need to just let go of the guilt.  That is hard!  You’ve NO IDEA!  My son is going to college.  I’ll always be there for him.  He is ready now to make his mark in this world.  He’s already achieved so much and I’m so very proud of him.  I know he’ll be fine and he do great, no matter where he goes.  I want to be there for my parents, I miss them so much.  I don’t feel obligated, I feel privileged! I am who I am in this world because of them.

Anyway, that is my update on this New Year’s day.


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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 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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Stress and The Spark

Today, I was reading The Spark by Chris Downie (Founder, CEO and Motivation Expert of SPARKPEOPLE.com) and a line in it stood out to me and I can’t seem to get it out of my head… That line is… Just five minutes of stress can leave your immune system vulnerable for nearly six hours. WOW! How truly insane is that? I knew that stress can leave a huge mark, and even lead to death, it’s that serious… but to have it’s effects measured out so simply and in such a huge variance has just stuck with me all day.

Luckily, I’ve always been one to deal with stress fairly well. I am not sure why. Maybe it’s the “California” in me, just the laid back attitude I have or just knowing that there isn’t much that can be done about something that has already happened. I recently saw an episode of Ellen where she had this woman on who was 105 yrs old… she asked the woman what her secret was to living to that age… and the woman answered… “I never let things bother me that I have no control over” or something to that effect. I’m very much the same way. Plus, I have alot of hobbies that are tedious lol Cardmaking or other things that my friends seem to think are just “busy work” that they couldn’t even be bothered with… they usually make a comment, “No wonder you are so calm all the time”… So, I think that must help me as well… who knows.

I truly feel that having less stress in my life helps me sleep at night… my husband seems to be a terrible sleeper and alot of my friends are as well. I’ve always been a very sound sleeper and I can probably count on my hand the very few times I’ve had troubles sleeping and it’s usually involved my mind not shutting off (which I’ll chalk up to a bit of stress) lol I think there is a link.

I know there are lots of other reasons for lack of sleep or reasons for stress… but I was just randomly talking about stress and that line and how it just stuck with me… does it shock you? What do you think of it?