Extending Our Happily Ever After

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


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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 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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Down 151 lbs with 50+ to go!

I’m free and clear from hip surgery restrictions… I’ve lost 151 lbs and that’s the third 50 lb installment on my weight loss goal of my 200 lb loss… I’m ready to hit it and get this last 50 lbs off of my frame! In fact, I feel as thought my body has really started to get used to my diet and my exercise routine… soooooo 

I’ve decided to join a gym for these last 50 lbs. I’m going Extreme Makeover/Biggest Loser style and really going to put my ALL into the workout sessions and sweat my “butt” off, literally (I hope!) 

If Chris Powell can get his clients to lose weight in the final stretch, then why can’t I? 

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Feeling ready…

Had a great mother’s day and ready for my surgery…
Today I met with the surgeon… my surgery is a week from tomorrow. He asked if I was still decided on getting the new hip… I mean “really?” I am almost unable to walk up stairs after a month of physical therapy… if he doesn’t give me a new hip after all this trouble, I’ll scream! LOL I’m in worse shape now than I was a month ago, actually. A month ago, I was able to walk up stairs with no problem (a limp, yes, but my muscles weren’t this fatigued) and I am just so READY for this… I’m really looking forward to getting past this pain. I’m MORE than ready for this surgery.
I’m in my last five days of work before I’m out for about 6’ish weeks and then the real work of getting on the road to recovery begins. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.
I got myself out of the house yesterday with my family. We went to a local amusement park and enjoyed the day. Hubby was off work, son didn’t have a show, I figured it’d be a great day to get out, walk around and just enjoy the day… it was fantastic! Plus, I was finally able to fit into some rides! So, I rode a few… first time in about 20 yrs! I had a blast!
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Also, wore a shirt that I bought from Old Navy and gave myself at Christmas… size Large… when I opened it up, it was so tiny that it was laughable at the time… never thought I’d fit into it… and now it fit! I’m almost smaller than my man now!
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and even got a great pic of my son and I… just a fantastic day all around! I had the best Mother’s Day! I hope you all did, too!
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So, I’m in the final stages of prep for next week… this last weekend will be the cleaning the house, as therapists will be coming to my home after the surgery for a week or two. I should be in the hospital for a few days, maybe four… I have a few magazines to keep me busy and I hope to get back to work on my book… hoping I can “focus” with the time I’ll have to myself. I may even blog more often, too!
I also bought a Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies 4 DVD and figure that it’ll be my cardio workout (moving my arms, as that little guy is SUPER full of energy and just does NOT stop) for when I’m in bed! I hope to lose some weight while in recovery… I still have more to go to get to my goal!
Do any of you have any recommendations for in bed exercises?


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My first speech…

This has been a crazy week. A bit stressful and alot going on.

First, I gave a speech this week. I joined Toastmasters, which is an international organization where members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending learn-by-doing meetings. My husband saw a recent article in a local newspaper about this organization. I hadn’t heard of it before. The reason he suggested I join this organization is that with my recent weightloss, I’ve been really thinking alot of what I want to do with my life. I have become a source of inspiration with alot of people in the past year and it seems that daily, I get asked questions on how I lost my weight, or just that I have been motivating people to get in touch with their own personal weightloss and fitness goals. It really makes me happy and it gives me a huge sense of pride to help people if I can… so I am not sure where public speaking fits in to that, but it’s something I’ve struggled with all my life.

This is very odd to me, as I’m one of the most outgoing people you’d ever meet. I am that person who talks to strangers in the street… yep, that’s me. I am very friendly and never seem to have a problem making friends or just opening up to anyone and talking about anything… yet, to have to get up in front of a room of people is a whole other ballgame. So, without knowing what path my life might be on, we thought it might be a good idea to join up with Toastmasters and brush up on this skill that I have an issue with. If anything, I thought I could at least make new friends.

The first time you make a speech in Toastmasters, it’s called the “Ice Breaker” speech. The speech can be about anything you want and should be 4-6 minutes long. I decided to tape myself, mainly so that I can watch it and learn from it… and hopefully better myself before I jump into speech #2. So, I posted it on YouTube and here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBKEc3aOacU&feature=share

Overall, I was happy with it. I did, however, feel my voice shake throughout the entire thing. However, watching it, I see that it didn’t… that’s odd to me, but good to know. I was happy that I glanced at my speech, yet didn’t read the entire thing and was able to make eye contact… yet, that did leave me open to alot of “and so…” (grammarian counted 11 of them… oops!). I was timed at 5 min 44 sec, which I was very happy with, as it was within the time limit. I did stumble several times and leave thoughts open, but, for my first speech, I think I did fairly well.

I almost feel that I’d do better in a storyteller type of speaker setting… unless I just memorized something and delivered it. I think that I think too much and that might leave me open for the grammarian-critiqued pauses that come in.

The other bit of this week that was stressful for me was that I found out the following day that I was going to be needing hip replacement surgery. It’s good news, but huge news, none-the-less. Since all of this, I’ve been emotionally drained and just exhausted. I have been keeping up with my health, walking in the afternoons and keeping up with my diet. I have lost a couple of pounds, which is great. I’d love to lose more weight before I actually go in for the surgery. I just have been so very tired as well.

I start physical therapy tomorrow, three times a week. I have thoughts of getting the house cleaned and prepped so that when I’m recovering and it’s only the “men” here taking care of things (scary thought)… that everything will be just fine, ya know? I need to prep a room downstairs that I can recover in, as I won’t be able to make the flight upstairs to our bedroom… so just alot to think about and get ready for.

This will also be the first time in my life I’ve ever gone on disability… and I hear that it’s such a huge delay getting a check from co-workers who’ve done this in the past… so that’s another level of stress… I know I just need to relax… not sweat the small stuff I have no control over and just let go and let God. Sometimes that’s so much easier said than done. Breathe in and breathe out… I’ll be fine.


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It’s alarming how charming I feel (1st dress in over 20 yrs!)

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This is the first dress I’ve worn in over 20 years! Lots of reasons… Main one is shoes, I guess. My right foot still swells and I have large feet, so wearing shoes is still a huge problem for me. If you are wearing clunky mens shoes, dresses just don’t quite look pretty… so, don’t wear them. Another reason is the “chafing” that goes on… I KNOW you know what I mean (many of you are reading this with weight loss struggles of your own, so I KNOW you understand)… and well, that certainly is the least fun thing for anyone to experience… so, pretty much… ’nuff said.

This maxi dress is definitely within my comfort zone… I love the colors and I love the length. Before you ask… yes, I’m wearing some tight capri’s underneath to make me feel better and confident… I may never get over that chafing worry. Question for those who have gotten over that… How did you? LOL

As for the shoes… I’m still working on that… I have a pair of slides and my foot was still visibly swollen, so that’s still a concern of mine. I may not be wearing dresses ALOT, but hopefully, as I lose the rest of the weight, maybe some of that swelling will dissipate as well? I pray that it will.

So, needless to say, I feel pretty today. Oh so pretty! I feel pretty and witty and gay! And I pity any girl who isn’t me today. (just kidding!) 😉


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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!