Extending Our Happily Ever After

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


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Red Rock Canyon and Hoover Dam!

Up ridiculously early to go hiking!  When the weather gets to temps of about 110 degrees in the desert, you start thinking that you must get up around 5 am to do any sort of physical exercise… and that’s what Christopher and I did… however, that doesn’t mean that we were quite awake and thinking like we normally do… it was VERY early and we weren’t quite ourselves at that time of morning… however, we woke up fairly quickly.  We met Samia at a gas station near Red Rock Casino and parked her car at the Casino, then we drove up to the Canyon.  We had scoped out a trail, but then found another that sounded like fun… and started that one.  We chose Calico Tanks.  We had hoped we’d see water.
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Calico Tanks was 2.5 miles and was listed as Moderate for the type of trail it was… and promised a great view of Las Vegas.  The one we were going to do was 3.3 miles…
Well, after our hike, we were SO glad we went on the 2.5 mile one, because by the time we finished, #1, it was SOOO HOT!  #2, we were out of water! #3 MODERATE was something we had to reconsider, there were parts to this trail that we were able to do, however, we needed each other for support and if we’d known, we’d have carried less… I’d not have brought my Canon camera, I’d have brought my fanny pack to carry things, so both of my hands were free, etc…
However, we TRULY had a great time!  We were just EXHAUSTED! LOL

Said goodbye to Samia, what a great time we had with her!  Headed back to the RV to pick up Ivan… fix some sandwiches and grab drinks and then head out to Hoover Dam.  Very impressive!  Sad about the water levels, but cool to see the dam!  Also the new bridge, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, across from the dam as well… which we walked across both structures, in the heat… it was a great day for exercise!
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We called it a day when we returned to the RV and just relaxed… the following day would be our “Tour Vegas” day!


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Happy New Year – Where I stand with my weight now…

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This is my husband and I now (in Bryant Park, NYC at Christmas 2014)… we’ve both gained some weight back… He’s gained back more than I but I’ve gained back about 40 from my lowest weight here on SparkPeople

If I have to sum up the “WHY?” I’d simply say that I let myself get LAZY all over again.

I always loved food, but I don’t really want to blame it on that. I was eating great, healthy food when I was losing the weight before. Sure, I wasn’t eating all the junk I’m eating now… and that JUNK is addicting! Sugar is addicting! Now, I’m back to the point of having to basically get myself “off of it” all over again, like an addict, which is basically what I am.

But, the real culprit here is ME. It always was. It was ME who got me to near 400 lbs when I started my journey and it’s ME who is starting to derail myself again. I am and always did have a tendency for laziness. It is what it is. I actually have this HUGE desire to sit around and do NOTHING. Well, not nothing, exactly… but watch TV… watch MOVIES… do sedentary things… things that don’t exert any energy whatsoever. Things that go so much better with JUNK food!

Yes, I had a good pattern going before, when I woke up with tons of energy and came home from work, put my workout DVD (Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds) and made it a point to exercise before I then sat down to eat and watch tv… I even (gasp) ate less because who wants to eat tons of food when you just did a workout? Then, when you feel great, look great and feel all tone, you can actually get yourself out of bed on a weekend and go to the lake to take a brisk walk (3.5 miles) and come home feeling all good about yourself after getting your exercise in for the day and then you can do whatever you want, like watch DVD’s all day if you want to! LOL

But, really… The thing with exercise is that you are able to do more, you are able to feel better about EVERYTHING and you do start to eat healthier, it’s a product of feeling better and your body does start to get fit because of the exercise.

Once I stopped exercising, everything just fell apart. My body is soft again (and not in a good way!). I’m hungry ALL THE TIME! I’m basically too tired to cook a decent, healthy meal and do you see where I’m going with this?

So, this is what’s what for me in 2015… I’m not going to focus on the food for today, or even this week, what I will focus on is the exercise. I’m going to get that back into my life. I know for a fact that by inserting it back into my daily routine, the rest will fall into place and I can regain some control again. TV and movies will still be there, they will just have to wait for 30-60 minutes… that’s what videos and DVD players are for!

Pic of my son and I at Bryant Park in NYC where we went for Christmas this year.
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Fitness Challenge – I’m Rocking It!

At my job, the company started a 12 week fitness challenge and it’s just what I needed to get myself back in shape! I’m just thrilled it’s not a 3 week challenge and that it is for 12 long weeks! I really feel that it is a long enough time to REALLY see and feel a difference, as long as I put in the effort. So, I’ve made a personal goal to do a minimum of 3 miles a day. Now, personally, I do the Leslie Sansone walking tapes because they are low impact and I have degenerative arthritis in my lower back, three herniated discs in my back as well, arthritis in my knees and am currently dealing with bursitis, tendonitis and arthritis in both shoulders (not fun!). This challenge started on the 4th (this past Monday) and on Monday and Tuesday, I did her 3 mile walking workouts. I not only did that, but I walked on my breaks at work. On Wed, Thursday and Friday, I walked her 5 mile workouts and also walked on my breaks. I’ve lost 5.5 lbs since Monday as well.

Tomorrow and Sunday, I hope to get outdoors and walk our local lake, which is 3.5 miles around and I’m not sure yet, but I may attempt to walk it twice tomorrow… My son will go with me and he’ll run it at least once and he’ll probably just sit down and wait for me the rest of the time! LOL

With this boost to my exercise, my diet has jumped right back to where it should be. I rarely feel like eating poorly when I’m in the exercise mode. So, I’ve been feeling pretty good, except that early this week, my legs were cramping up alot when I slept. I have been going to the physical therapist for my shoulders and they said to keep well hydrated and stretch very well and that my body is just adjusting to the new fitness and diet (as I was not very faithful to it for the past few months as I used to be).

A friend from work who I had turned on to the Leslie Sansone tapes has lost over 60 lbs since using them and watching her diet came to visit and talk with me the other day. She is constantly thankful to me for introducing her to these tapes. She let’s everyone she comes across know that she has lost all the weight due to my influence on her (which is sweet of her). She and I were talking and she told me that her sister and niece saw her at a family gathering not long ago and never said one thing about her weight loss… although everyone else were gushing over her. I told her that it was not at all a reflection of her or anything to do with her, that I came across that all the time. Since I’ve lost about 140 lbs myself, I see this all the time. I know that some people are just not ready to “see” weight loss in someone because it’s almost like them seeing themselves all too clearly. That isn’t something they are ready to do.

What almost all those people don’t understand and REALLY get is that I KNOW them! I was them. For about 20 years, I was who they are. I’ve had people hear me talking about my weight loss to someone and walk away. I’ve had them go to another part of the room, so as not to hear me, while many others want to know how I did it. When I’ve put my mind to losing the weight, the weight usually came off. The key to my success with weight loss was usually me, my mind. The mind is soooo very powerful. There are tricks and key things that I’ve learned along the way that help me out but basically it boils down to just plain discipline.

When I start to hear the excuses, then I know they aren’t ready. Excuses? Do you think I’m being harsh? I’m sorry, I don’t think so. I was near 400 lbs for near 20 years. I KNOW excuses. I used to give them! I haven’t heard one that I haven’t used myself. Let’s put it this way. There isn’t one that I haven’t heard that is new to me. But, when people are ready? That’s when I’m excited! I’m absolutely ready to help out.

My friend is one of those people. She came up to me. She had huge back problems. She told me that she couldn’t exercise. I told her that when I started, I felt that I could not either. She told me that she had a bad back. I told her that I did, too. She told me that she had disc problems and it kept her from exercising. I told her that was an excuse. This is the part of the conversation where people usually walk away from me. But, she stayed. She now tells me that she knew that I had some secret to share, because she saw that SOMETHING was working for me, so she stopped to hear what I had to say and that was someone who was ready to listen. For me, the Leslie Sansone tapes were perfect for me and my low impact needs. So, I told her about them… told her the moves I used to have a problem with, told her that Leslie tells you that if you can only do minimal moves, that’s ok, just to move. She must have kept up with the workouts, because she’s down more than 60 lbs now! She gives me the credit daily, but it was really her! She did all the work and she was READY! She was determined.

That’s the determination I currently feel in this challenge. I have done this before and lost 150 lbs, then gained some of it back… now I’m ready to go forward again and this 12 week challenge is going to help me do that. The last time I pulled out Leslie’s tapes, I only exercised 4-5 days a week and I’ll be honest, it was probably 4 days a week. I also probably averaged 2-3 miles a workout… well, maybe 3 miles. I saw results… but I want MORE. You have got to put in the work if you want the results, you just have to. It doesn’t come if you don’t work for it, but it’s soooo worth if it you do!

I’m so looking forward to how I will look and feel at the end of these 12 weeks and since I have about 70 lbs to lose, I’m pretty sure that I’ll make another daily challege for myself after these 12 weeks are up!


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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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Days 28-33 – 100 Day Challenge

Been such a busy week! But, I have been exercising and losing weight! 

I donate plasma now… and they actually weigh you every time you go to donate. Last friday, I weighed per their scale at 250, and the previous Tuesday at 251 (this is at the end of the day, having had lots of water, as I have to be fully hydrated)… I’m fully clothes, plus sometimes with a coat, actually, although I’m trying to lose that now. Anyway, last tuesday, it was 246, today it was 244. But, this morning, naked, I was 238. So, I’m sort of all over the place. I’m setting my Sparkpeople weight to the 238, but using the losses from the Biotest just to see how much I’ve lost from visit to visit. Regardless, it feels good to show a loss at each visit. 

Also, I was featured in my company’s website for my weight loss story… It posted today. Here is the article: 

Where Is She Now? 

Story update: UPSer loses 140 pounds…and more 
Last year, Marie Smith shared her story about her weight loss success. Since it aired, Marie has lost 10 more pounds towards her weight loss goal. During the past year, she’s faced obstacles including surgery, a car accident, and rehab. 
In spite of these challenges, Marie continues to focus on her ultimate goal of maintaining a healthy life style. 
To see her post from last year, (click here *story link to internal company website*) and check out her update below. 

As told by Marie: 

Last May, I had a total right hip replacement, which has done wonders for my health and well-being. The new hip has aligned my body so well, that now, my back has few issues and my back pain has lessened tremendously. I feel 20 years younger! 

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But, as we all know, life has a way of throwing us curve balls. A mere six weeks after my hip replacement surgery, my son and I were in a car accident. The car was nearly totaled but luckily, we were both fine. I was jostled a bit in the car and my hip took a hit. However, I got right back to therapy and worked hard. Six weeks later, I celebrated with a hike that truly tested out my new hip. 
I have used this opportunity to get back into “life” and start living it! I have become a lot more active. I get out as often as I can, and I walk as much as I can. I try to find places to hike, and I’d like to start biking. 
As for the weight – it is an ongoing struggle. I know that I didn’t get to nearly 400 pounds and stay that way most of my life because I had will power. To this day, I love food. But, through my weight loss journey, I have learned so much and what foods to eat. I know what the healthy options are and I know that my body feels better when I eat them. 
Like others in my situation, I do struggle when I don’t see the scale move towards my goal. And sometimes that will trigger an old pattern of overindulging. But then I remember to take a step back and look at the big picture. I’ve worked hard and done very well for not gaining and at least maintaining. I know I have the tools to lose the rest of the weight, and I know that I will do it. 
What really keeps me motivated is what I’ve accomplished. I’ve been surrounded by supportive friends and family from day one and I know that support is HUGE in the weight loss journey! 
Just the other day, I got this text from a friend, “I have to just say that I will always remember your words to me: If I can do it, anyone can do it. So when I work out, I remember you saying that. So don’t ever think you never inspired anyone, because you inspired me.” 

Marie’s Words of Wisdom: 
* Weight doesn’t come on overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight. 
* The best anyone can do is make those changes that will get them on the healthy track and help them live longer. 
* Definitely get active. It’s the best thing I ever did and the cleaner way of eating is so important. 
* Listen to your body, you may think it’s asking for a burger and fries, but then you are hungry an hour later. It’s only because you didn’t give it the nutrition it was really asking for! 
* start listening. You are only given one body in this lifetime… treat it right. It will do the same for you.


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Day 26 & 27 – 100 Day Challenge

Had an emotional day yesterday. Basically, I got a call that most women get at some point in their lives… the dreaded call back after a pap smear. I reacted poorly. 

First… a little history. 18 years ago, I had this happen to me. That led to a couple of conization procedures at a great hospital and doctors telling me “good news and bad news”. Good news “We got all the bad cells” Bad news “we cut away so much of your cervix that you won’t be able to carry a baby to term” which I heard as “you won’t ever have a baby”. 

Within a few months, I was pregnant. Very high risk, due to the fact that I had VERY little cervix left, therefore, hardly anything holding my baby inside. Let’s see… that led to a 6 month pregnancy, instead of 9… baby coming at 28 weeks to the day, and in NICU for 53 days, lots of issues with prematurity that have all corrected themselves (thank God!). Anyway, after my pregnancy, the visit you make the the OB/GYN to do a check up showed that the “good news” I got previously was incorrect news. They apparently “missed” a few cells… those cells, along with the pregnancy hormones grew and went cancerous and now I was told that I needed a hysterectomy. I ended up getting a partial one 17 yrs ago. Sooooo, bottom line, I have a total mistrust in diagnosis given by doctors when it comes to these sort of things…, now back to my story… 

Yesterday, I got a call. What was said to me was this. My pap came back with atypical cells, these cells were sent in to test for HPV, which came back negative, sooo, all is good, come back next year. 

To anyone else, that would be great news… however, I think you know what that news did to me. I was a mess. 

My game plan on this issue is this… on Monday, I’m going to talk to my doctor about this. Ask him if I can request we possibly do the test again, or see what he has to say, seeing as this has happened to me before. Not sure what that outcome will be, but if it’s a no-go, then I’m going to call the insurance company and ask for a 2nd opinion… I just do NOT feel comfortable about waiting an entire year. Not with my history and my nervousness. I just feel that I “got lucky” with cancer once before and I’m not sure that I’ll do it again. Also, a year when it comes to cancer could mean life or death… this is my life and I don’t want to just sit idly by. 

Soooo, with that said, today was a better day. 

My son and I went to visit a college today… Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA for their Math and Science Day. It was wonderful! Great faculty and students and really a great day, overall. They provided breakfast and lunch (I was good!) and the weather was great, too… although just a bit windy, but the sun was shining! 

I let my son drive there and back, as he’s got his permit and we are trying to get him alot of experience behind the wheel… he did a great job… Merging was the lesson for the day. 

Wanted to share something with all of you… I got this message from a friend of mine. It really lifted my spirits on Thursday! She has been exercising like a crazy fool and I wasn’t expecting this lovely message from her… this is what it said: 

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Day 25 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was a good food day. Plus I came home and exercised with a Leslie Sansone video, too! I did two miles. I felt really good about that.

Also, I discovered a new song that I love! It’s not a new song, actually, but a song that I hadn’t heard before. I was listening to the Ten Tenors on my tablet today at work and they covered a song called Throw Your Arms Around Me that was written by Mark Seymour with Hunters and Collectors (an Australian Rock Band). I had never heard of them before, but I’m downloading an album of theirs from the 80’s and seeing if I like their music. We’ll see.

I love finding new music to listen to.

I’m going to try adding a bit of activity to my day in little bursts… even if I just did minute bursts throughout the day of ab work or arm work, I think it’ll help in the long run… I’m going to give it a go… I think I can try different exercises at work, get away from my desk during my breaks, to stretch and see how that works out… I’ll let you all know how it goes.

I’m heading in to work early in the morning, it’s another Plasma donation day for me, then my son and I are visiting a college on Saturday… so, we are heading into another fairly busy weekend. Unfortunately, that’ll cut into our weekend walk around the lake, but I am sure we’ll fit in a walk on Sunday!