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 24 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was another good food day… I’m getting back on track! Thank goodness! I still didn’t do great with exercise, but I did walk at work today, so that’s something.

Also, I was called today by lady who ran an article on my weight loss story for our company last summer. She wanted to do a follow up story. I had told her that I really didn’t lose any more weight. We talked for a while and she wanted to know how things were after my hip replacement surgery and the car accident I had last year and told me that after all I had been through, to hear that I had maintained the weight loss and that I was still excited and focused on my journey even though I still had disappointment that I hadn’t lost more weight told her that my story is still very motivating and very relevant to what she was looking for. She said that it was “real”… not every weight loss journey was easy or full of constant successes, but it was just that… a journey.

I am still motivated to lose weight, even though I have not seen the scale get into “new weight loss” for over a year. I still challenge myself to get out and exercise, I still get up every morning and drink my lemon water and pack my lunch and go to work with the excitement of being on plan and I think it’s that energy that probably has helped me keep the weight off and not gain it all back on. I am proud of maintaining the huge loss I’ve done. I also know and have every confidence that I will reach my goal, even if it’s going to be “in my own sweet time”… it will come. At least I’m headed in the right direction! That feels amazing!

I am thrilled with my health and my energy and stamina. I could ask for more, but I’m quite happy with this!


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Day 17 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was pretty uneventful… back to work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Day 16 – 100 Day Challenge

Such a busy day! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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Results are in… surgery is looming.

I just got back from the Orthopedic surgeon… and well, I’m rejoicing… even though it’s HUGE news…

I am going to have a total hip replacement. And probably within 2 months.. or near there.

A few years back, I noticed that there was a pain in my leg… and really, no range of motion… noticeable when I try to put on my right sock. I just can’t do it very easily really… it’s one of my biggest struggles… My leg just doesn’t move that way… giving me access to my foot…

About 6-7 wks ago, I told my doctor that through all this weight loss, the limp I have has gotten more and more noticeable. It was always there, but EVERYONE notices it now. So, he ordered an MRI. It came back and he saw the degenerative arthritis I had… so had just about every doctor… but he thought he saw a tear… so he sent me to the surgeon.

Well, today was that visit… and he told me that the tear was the least of my worries… it was the arthritis that was really my issue. And it was HORRIFIC… it was all over the place. It was inevitable that I was going to have a hip replacement in my future… So, the only real question was “when?”. Well, I do NOT want to limp forever and truly, I’m at the peak of health now… as I’ve lost so much weight and I’ve been exercising so much since last April… and I’m young. So, why wait?

So, I start a month of physical therapy to prepare for the surgery on Monday… I see him again on May 22nd and all I know is that I’ve booked a walking tour in NYC on June 8th… so since I’ve paid for that, I’m probably going to want to book the surgery for just after that.

What I want to do is walk as much as I can til then. See what more weight I can lose before I’m in recovery mode and lying down… I’m going to read up on exercises I can do from bed! LOL I know they are out there. I will also work on my book and ask my job if I can work from home to save me having to go on disability. We’ll see what can be done to get through this…

Alot going on, but that’s the news I have… I’m actually rejoicing… I kind of never thought I’d get a “fix” and now I’m thrilled that I will! I may be able to dance again! How exciting is that???