Extending Our Happily Ever After

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


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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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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!


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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 11 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was a perfect food day and I did get some exercise in.

Only 1.5 miles with Leslie Sansone, but it was something. Food was my lemon water in the morning, the green tea with every meal. Greek yogurt for breakfast and a mid-afternoon snack. Snacked on carrots with mint chutney and some raw veggies. Lunch was tuna and a salad with balsamic dressing. Dinner was mustard chicken and cabbage.

I’ve got some recipes that I cook on my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ExtendingOurHappilyEverAfter in the “notes” section. The Mustard chicken recipe is super simple and posted there.

Headed on over to the library tonight for more DVD’s and to drop some off. Season 4 of Nurse Jackie was in! My son and I are addicted to that show! We’ll probably have it finished by the end of this weekend! Ivan and I watched a couple of episodes of MI-5 tonight and a couple of Clatterfords (Can you tell we are BBC fans?)

I’m so looking forward to a relaxing weekend! Love my Fridays! Happy about the time change this weekend and that it will be light later! Yay! Spring might be coming and I am excited about that. I can’t wait til I can start taking walks around Lake Scranton again… I am sure that will help with the weight loss!

My videos that I’m posting to Giveit100.com aren’t the best. It’s super dark in our living room ever since our overhead light broke and with the sun setting so early, I think that the videos will improve a bit starting on Monday of next week… then there is the whole “ME” part to them. I’m much better at writing (not that these blogs are GRIPPING! LOL) but maybe when I feel that the lighting is better and there may be more to “see”, then I’ll lighten up, so-to-speak and they will be better to see… in the meantime, I feel that it’s more of a “get it uploaded” sort of thing for the challenge and then I follow it up more with this blog where I feel less confined with the time limit and creativity… I’m just not that free-flowing with thought of what to put on a video… maybe I’ll ease into it. It is only day 11 out of 100… so I’d like to see myself grow in that area and give you all more to see (well, LESS, actually! LOL)

Off to bed for me, a good night’s sleep will do me a world of good tonight! Night, everyone!


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Day 3 – 100 Day Challenge

Today went well… I ate ALOT.

Amla powder in the morning (Ayurvedic), then lemon water (17 DD), got to work, then some greek yogurt with some cinnamon, green tea (decaf), an apple, a carrot with a bit of mint chutney, a decaf mint tea, some salad (just greens and very little dressing), lunch was a bit of chicken with some roasted vegetables and a decaf green tea, another apple, a hard boiled egg, greek yogurt, then dinner was an egg white scramble with green beans, spinach and onion and a decaf green tea… having triphala powder before bed. Of course, water throughout.

I walked four miles with Leslie Sansone DVD tonight after work.

I was STUFFED, seemed like all I did was eat today… even though it was hardly any calories at all, it was just alot… so I’ll be scaling back tomorrow and just not eating as much.

This morning, scale showed 234. That’s 6 lbs down since Monday… however, I was 231.8 last Friday, but on Sunday, I cheated big time… and on Monday, that showed up on the scale as 240. I did not eat nearly 9 lbs of food, but I do tend to retain alot when I go off plan.

So, now there is what I did wrong on Sunday and any leftover retention that may be still there. Not sure…

There is a weight loss challenge at my job going on… Called the Slim to Win Challenge. I have 5 more weigh ins for that. First weigh in, I gained .4 lb This Friday, who knows. I started off at 231.4 and Friday was 231.8 and now? Maybe up 3 lbs, but I’m trying to get back down…

I’ve been perfect with my food since Monday morning.

Now, Saturday, we are headed into NYC for the day. I was planning on cheating, but I was also planning on walking, which is what we always do when we go there… so I’m not sure how bad it will be, we usually walk miles. I’m hoping it’ll balance out. We are headed there to visit with my nephew, whom I’ve not met before. He and his g/f are out from London! So excited to finally meet him and yet another member of my husband’s family!

I’ll post a few pics after the weekend, look for them on this site!

On other news, I’m about to look for new pants! My 18’s are way too big for me, my 16’s fit perfectly and my 14’s are snug but fit pretty well, if I keep my tops loose over them! LOL Only thing is, I only own one pair of 16’s and one pair of 14’s and they are odd color, so I need a black and maybe a brown pair to wear at work.

https://www.facebook.com/ExtendingOurHappilyEverAfter is my facebook page, if you’d like to keep up with me on facebook, too!  

http://www.giveit100.com is my video site to go along with my 100 Day Challenge


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Getting back to exercise!

I have been maintaining, thank God! But, I haven’t been losing. It’s been all me, though… not keeping up with the diet, not keeping up with the exercise. Fall is the busiest time of the year for me. Chris is back in school and all the running around and then I did get sick and with me that’s usually (and it was) a respiratory thing, so the breathing is usually an issue… but I’m starting to feel better, so I’m back to feeling like I need to reunite with Leslie Sansone and make her a habit in my life again!

I still get the daily compliments at work (God bless them!) which is so nice to hear! My girlfriend, the one who placed second to me last year in the Turkey Buster challenge, a work weightloss competition, suggested we get that going again… so I emailed our health and safety committee and suggested they start that up, so hopefully they will and that friendly competition will be exactly what I need to really get me going again! Nothing like going at it head to head again to get me to lose 20 lbs or so! I am only 50-60 lbs from my goal, so that would be excellant!

All the stuff with my hip replacement and the car accident finally hit here financially for me, too, so I’ve been under some stress and decided to take on a 3rd job (in addition to my day job of working at UPS and my 2nd job of selling Avon). I started selling Azuli Skye jewelry. It’s another independent situation similar to Avon, where I’m my own boss (I love those type of jobs) and as I have a huge passion for jewelry, it’s a good fit so far. I get free jewelry, in addition to the money to help out with the bills, and all for just showing off the jewelry, which is awesome and going to parties! That’s not a bad gig… so, it’s doing well, so far and I’m able to start paying off the bills, which is lessening the stress for me, which is always a good thing!

So, needless to say, I’ve been busy, not just sitting on my butt not doing anything, which is probably why I’m not gaining weight, yay! But, I can’t wait to get back to losing and doing the 4-5 days a week of walking with Leslie… I felt so much toner then, and I need that now!

How is everyone else doing?


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Switched things up and it’s working!

Whew! I’m relaxing a bit. Trying to find what works for my body. I actually went back to Cycle 1 this past week and decided to LISTEN to what it said about the 17 minutes of exercise (sort of). What I was doing was exercising ALOT… thinking, burn it off, I’ll lose more… and well, maybe I was, but it wasn’t showing up on the scale for me. I know, I know, stop looking at that darn scale! I know I’ll have alot of you thinking that. Especially when I was fitting into new clothes up top (only up top, really) and getting compliments daily… still. BUT, for a daily weigher, it was driving me crazy. So, ever since I heard about that magazine article, I had to do something, because now I have a deadline and I seriously WANT that article!

So, at my place of employment, we have an indoor walking path (mostly due to living in the Northeast and the BITTER cold outdoors necessitating one)… anyway, it involved two floors and two sets of stairs… so even though the idea of walking at work and SWEATING, which isn’t something I ever really wanted to do THERE… I decided, I was going to do it, to ramp up my exercise for this article… and I started up with it. Well, for two days, I was doing that AND then going home and doing my Leslie Sansone walking videos (3 miles) and after 2 days, I really couldn’t walk! So, I re-thought my strategy, and decided, nope… two 15 minute breaks was really enough, especially if I FELT the workout… and an evening off was probably going to be really healthy for my body to recharge itself… and that’s what I’ve been doing this week. I’ve been getting to bed earlier, as well… Drinking lots of water, staying on track with my food, not straying and being consistent. I even took a rest day yesterday and today, I’ll grab a Leslie tape and do a 4 mile workout, just to get a good cardio in, but not do it too late in the day, so I can rest my body. My plan is to do this for the rest of the cycle, then when I add carbs in Cycle 2, ramp up my exercise with my Leslie tapes… but only maybe add in 1 or 2 miles in the afternoons, not much more… and see what that does… and stay consistent… and REST and get that sleep in.

I am going to see what happens.

I’m also going to stretch and use weights in the morning just to get some toning in… although I feel the toning in my legs BIG TIME!

On another note, I was asked to do a fashion show on the 16th of March for a retail store. Just a simple thing, nothing big… but new to me and thought it’d be fun. I went in yesterday and picked out my two outfits to model! How cool is that? If I can take any photos, I’m going to and I’ll post them here. I’m one of 40, so seriously, it’s not a big deal… just something for fun… but it’s a fundraiser for a local place for women and their babies… so it’s a good cause, which is great!

I also went to Goodwill yesterday to find new pants, as mine were getting pretty loose on me and found 2 pair for only 3.99 each! How cool is that? Nice ones for work! And several tops, too. I’m getting quite the stylish wardrobe! I hate pant shopping, but I really took the time to be patient and it paid off… if I pick a day where my patience is not worn thin, I can actually find some pretty good deals there! Perfect for when you are slimming down and don’t want to spend alot of money on the clothes you won’t be wearing too long!