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 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 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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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.