This Week

One week from tomorrow I am heading home to attend my cousin’s wedding. I will be seeing my entire family on my Mom’s side as well as my best friend James. Aside from my parents who saw me at Christmas and James who saw me in August no one else I will be seeing has seen me since I started my weight loss journey. Last week I talked about how nervous this made me, that I would disappoint them by still being fat. Thankfully I have the best friends ever and they left the nicest comments and basically told me I was being an idiot for thinking that. I needed to hear that. It totally squashed the anxiety I was feeling. Now I am nothing but excited to go home and see everybody.

I’ve mentioned in a recent post that January was a rough month for me (expect to see a post very soon about finding balance in my life) so with this vacation coming up I want to spend this next week dedicated to a routine that I am hoping will become the norm once I am back from vacation. This includes switching my weekday workouts back to the mornings.

To help keep me accountable I thought I would share with you my workout routine for the next week as well as my meal plans through Friday, which is as far as my meal plan goes right now. I am counting on you guys to hold me to this plan 🙂


No AM workout

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Leftover Asian Quinoa Salad and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Pasta Bake with Tofu Cheese (Whole Foods recipe), Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, veggies with hummus

PM Workout: AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)


AM Workout: Stationary bike 40 minutes, Stairmaster 20 minutes

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Energizing & Spicy Broccoli Dal and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Veggie Wraps and Black Beans, Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter

PM Workout: AB routine (at home)


AM Workout: Rower 30 minutes, Stairmaster 30 minutes

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Cabbage and Lentil Stew and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Veggie Wraps and Refried Beans, Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter

PM Workout: AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)


AM Workout: Stationary bike 40 minutes, Rower 20 minutes

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Energizing & Spicy Broccoli Dal and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts, Dinner: Greens and Beans Ragout served over Ezekiel Pasta (Whole Foods recipe) Snacks: honeycrisp apple, blood orange, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with almond butter

PM Workout: AB routine (at home)


AM workout: 5K with the people from my boxing gym

Breakfast: Overnight Oats with fruit

PM Workout: AB routine (at home)


AM workout: full body workout with weights

Breakfast: Overnight Oats with fruit

PM Workout: AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)


No AM workout

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Energizing & Spicy Broccoli Dal and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts

PM Workout: Combo (half boxing/half boot camp) class and kickboxing class


No AM workout

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie, Lunch: Red Beans and Rice Stew and Mixed salad with veggies, seeds and sprouts

PM Workout: Spin class and AB routine plus assisted pull-ups (at home)

So that is what’s in store for the next week. The abs routine at home is just going to be a set of exercises Paul puts together for me. Sometimes I’ll use a balance ball, sometimes I won’t. It will change from day to day. Tonight is the first night for this so I will have to let you know how it goes.

What do you have going on this week? Do you schedule your workouts and meals in advance or do you take it one day at a time?

Thanks for reading!


January 31, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Fitness, Health. 3 comments.

New You Challenge: Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of the New You Challenge. I hope everyone is doing well and using the challenge to help get healthier. I know I am. It is true, I haven’t been perfect these past four weeks but having the guidelines to fall back on makes it easier to transition back into a healthier lifestyle when I do stray from the path.

When I posted the challenge on mindful eating it was a two-week challenge. Well, the same is true for exercise. This week will be an extension of last week’s practice. Last week we monitored how we felt before, during and after our workouts and the reason behind that was I wanted us to learn whether or not our bodies and minds reacted positively to what we were doing. I know I learned a few things last week like if I think about whether or not I am giving 100% while I am working out I will start to recognize when I am not and push myself harder. For example, there have been times were I finished working out and felt like I could turn back around and do it again because I left with so much energy. So this week when I recognized I was half-assing my workouts I would push harder and every time I left the gym or class I felt like I gave it everything I had.

I also learned that I am not a track runner. I am not a big fan of a treadmill either but will use it once in a while to work on my running.  This week I was out at the track with Paul, who was off running laps around me, while I struggled to figure out how to run outside. It’s difficult when you don’t have a machine to set your pace. I found it very frustrating because I would end up running too fast and get winded and fatigued very quickly or walking too slow. I was a mess. I did a 5K walking/running slower than if I walked it. It’s not that big of a deal really but the reason I mentioned it is because having a difficult time out there will cause it to become harder to make it a regular activity. I know I need to improve, via the treadmill, and build endurance before I attempt to make outdoor running a regular activity. For now, I will reserve for federal holidays when all the gyms are closed 🙂

With that being said, I want us this week to evaluate and start tweaking our routines. Are you finding it hard to push harder/stay motivated during workouts or even dreading them before you start? Try something new, try to find things you love doing. Are your workouts getting too easy? Increase resistance, levels, weight amounts, whatever you can to take it to the next level. Are you not seeing the changes you expect (via scale or measurements) although you are pushing yourself during workouts? Switch it up. Don’t continue doing the same routine week in and week out. Muscle memory people. Once our body learns something it’s time to move on to something new or at least tweak it so that same activity starts to work different muscle groups.

Just like last week the questions are the same:

How did you feel beforehand? Were you anxious, miserable, happy, dreadful? Were you looking forward to your workout or dreading it? Was it hard to find motivation to get yourself to the gym, class, on the track, wherever?

Were you actively engaged in your workout or was your body just going through the motions? By this I mean did you give 100% effort or were you just half-assing your way through? I’m not going to lie- I have done this before. It happens.

How did you feel afterwards? Tired, sore, in pain, happy, miserable- what word or words best describe how you feel post workout?

Don’t forget, this is a cumulative challenge so in addition to changing up our fitness routine we should also be; drinking half our body weight (or 64, whichever is larger) in ounces of water daily, practicing mindful eating and adjusting our meals/snacks according to our bodies needs, and also practice being mindful of our bodies before, after and during workouts.

We are now half way through the challenge. How are you doing? Notice any changes?

Thanks for reading!

January 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, New You Challenge. 1 comment.

My Newest Addiction

For the longest time I thought I was one of those girls who hated shopping. Now I realize that I was just one of those girls who didn’t like shopping when she was obese and hated how she looked. Um yeah, since I am now able to shop at my old favorite stores I have totally caught the shopping bug. Actually let me rephrase that, I caught the clearance/sale/discount shopping bug. 🙂

It all started on December 26th when Paul and I woke up to see that the Gap had the entire store 50% off. So, to the Gap we went. For less than $100 I bought three pairs of work pants, three sweaters, a long sleeve shirt, and a short sleeve work appropriate shirt. I think I have gone shopping for one thing or another every weekend since Christmas. Two weeks ago Old Navy had all their active wear on sale and I snagged two pairs of compression pants and two sports bras. Then last weekend they had all their clearance items 50% off and I made out like a bandit.


Size 10 jeans (woot!) for 7.50


Size medium (double woot!) cargo pants 6 bucks

I also bought that plaid shirt for 6.50- it’s an XL. I still have to buy XL in most button down shirts or else it pulls open around my chest. Not very classy 😉


A new coat size medium (that will hopefully be the last coat I need to buy for a long time) for only $20 bucks.

I’ve also been shopping the clearance racks at the PX (the department store on post) and have found some really great deals there too.


I bought this tunic (which I will wear with leggings) in a size small, probably the only small I will ever buy, for $15 bucks.



I got these (vegan) shoes half off! Score! Perfect for the wedding!

I think this whole shopping craze has been exaggerated by the fact that in two weeks I will be seeing my whole family, most of which I haven’t seen in a few years, and I want to look my best. They all know I’ve lost a lot of weight but I don’t think they have any idea as to what I actually look like. A part of me worries that they are expecting me to be skinny. It makes me nervous that they will look at me and think, “after all that, she’s still fat”. Which is true; I still have forty pounds to lose. I know it sounds stupid to think my family will be looking at me with a critical eye and I am sure they won’t but I still want to make sure I look good.

This weekend we’ll be hitting the stores again. Mostly for Paul though, although he hasn’t lost much weight his body has changed significantly. He needs smaller clothes too and he needs something to wear to the wedding. I, of course, will be scouring the clearance racks while he shops and I am sure I won’t be leaving empty handed.

Yep, I am pretty sure I need to start looking for a second job in order to offset this weekend shopping addiction 🙂

Thanks for reading!

January 26, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Shopping. 8 comments.

My Plateau

On January 1st I weighed 179.4 pounds. This morning I weighed 178.6 pounds. Over the past twenty-five days I have watched my weight fluctuate between 180 and 177 and I have no one to blame but myself. At first glance it may seem that I am hitting a plateau and yes, by not continuing to lose weight I guess that is true, however I am the reason for the stagnation not my body.

When I first started this weight loss journey my biggest fear was seeing my weight loss plateau. I was afraid that I would work really hard, hit the plateau, and not be strong enough to persevere through it. I didn’t think I could emotionally handle the ‘defeat’ of being stuck at the same weight for an extended period of time. I thought for sure it would break me.

Then January rolled around. I had just hit my 100 pounds lost mark in December when I reached 186 pounds. *I am still working on hitting my 100 pounds lost mark with Weight Watchers, I was 280 when I joined* I had decided to not set any weight loss goals going forward and to focus on my health. Paul decided to adopt a vegan diet (which he has successfully maintained) and so a lot of focus went from my diet and my workout routine to his diet and making recipes that worked for him and that he loved. I spent much more time in the kitchen in the evenings cooking. This meant late dinners and sometimes skipping workouts. But I was ok with that because for 10 months our marriage revolved almost completely around my schedule and what best met my needs and Paul picked up the slack. The least I could do was spend a few weeks helping him transition into eating vegan.

My eating habits and patterns changed, then I got sick (and became a toast-aholic), I ran out of my probiotics, my workouts although less frequent were growing more intense and more challenging, and my weight has just flip-flopped back and forth between those few pounds. But that’s normal. It happens. I am just lucky that I have ideas as to how I will get out of it instead of being stuck doing everything ‘right’ and not being able to work through it. So going forward here is what I am going to change to help kick this self-made plateau.

– Eat dinner early (pre-workout) and make it a smaller meal than lunch
– Limit ‘bad’ snacks to once a week, not every day or two
– Buy more probiotics, they really help
– Track daily
– Make sure to take care of my body after intense workouts i.e. drink Vega Recovery Accelerator. It’s a plant based drink (Paul actually used all Vega products during his marathon and still does to this day) and this is what it does “muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft-tissue repair, immune function, inflammation-reduction and rehydration.” *Taken from the product description on Now they my workouts are more intense I really need to help my body recover better afterwards.
– Continue to challenge myself but make sure to rest when needed. Same as above, I need to learn how to treat my body better now that I pushing it so much harder.

I think if I stick to these six guidelines I will start seeing the scale reflect my efforts. Yes, I will continue to focus on my health first but part of that is losing pounds. I am still overweight after all.

Thanks for reading!

January 25, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Fitness, Weight Loss. 2 comments.

New You Challenge: Week 4

Sorry for the delay in this post. Last week was rough for me. I had the flu and although my flu symptoms weren’t nearly as severe as some of the other people we know who also came down with the flu (no projectile vomiting for me) it was still a big hit to my system, my routine and my habits. I missed three days of work last week and was completely off schedule. I was drinking plenty of water yet I was still dehydrated and would get dizzy spells. It was awful. In addition to being congested, having a sore throat and all the fun that comes with that I also had serious digestive issues. Since I was battling trying to just eat foods that didn’t make me sick I pretty much ate nothing but carbs for three days. I think one day I ate six pieces of toast. Oh, and I didn’t track because I didn’t care. I just ate what my body wanted and got lots of rest. I was pretty weak and run down so I skipped exercising until I felt healthy enough to do so without serious repercussions. Last week was a mess but it happens. Getting sick is just part of life. Now that I am (mostly) better I am getting back on track, back into my routine and back to my healthy habits that keep me going.

So on top of drinking lots of water (week 1), practicing mindful eating (week 2) and adapting my meals to fit my body’s needs (week 3) I will also be incorporating fitness into my routine. Exercise is the basis of the week 4 challenge. In the same manner we have worked to finding foods our body loves we will be doing the same with fitness. If you saw the article in Edmonton Journal that featured my blog post on motivation then you already know that my belief is that you need to do what you love in order to successfully change your lifestyle. It is the way I feel about food and exercise. If you don’t like what you are eating or you don’t like your workouts then you will not be able to sustain that lifestyle long term. It’s why most diets and severe exercise regimes don’t work in the long term.

For this week’s challenge I want us to focus on exercise. Regardless of where you are on this journey it is always good to evaluate your routine. For me, I find that my body responds well to variety and so I like to switch up my workouts. Maybe you are the same way, maybe not. Maybe your body responds well to doing one type of exercise and progressing at it, continuing to challenge yourself and grow. So, this week let’s take some time and focus on our exercise.

Questions for this week focus on the before, during and after of your workout. It is up to you to decide when, what, and for how long you workout. My only recommendation is this: if you are new to exercise start slow (like 2-3 times a week) and build from there. Give your body time to adjust to this change. If you have a workout routine already in place and you have been at it for some time then for this week don’t change it. This week follow your workout routine as planned and focus your attention on the following questions.

How did you feel afterwards? Tired, sore, in pain, happy, miserable- what word or words best describe how you feel post workout?

How did you feel beforehand? Were you anxious, miserable, happy, dreadful? Were you looking forward to your workout or dreading it? Was it hard to find motivation to get yourself to the gym, class, on the track, wherever?

Were you actively engaged in your workout or was your body just going through the motions? By this I mean did you give 100% effort or were you just half-assing your way through? I’m not going to lie- I have done this before. It happens.

As in the previous weeks make sure to journal your responses. Continue to drink plenty of water, practice mindful eating and make necessary dietary changes based off of how your body reacts to the food you are eating. This is an ongoing process and it is important to continue to tweak and modify as needed. Throughout these 8 weeks we are trying to find the best foods and fitness for our body that will help us becoming healthier in 2012.

Good luck!

Thanks for reading!

January 23, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, New You Challenge. 3 comments.

My Trip to SARA

Paul and I celebrated my birthday by spending Saturday at SARA; the society for animal rescue and adoption. SARA is located about 40 miles outside of San Antonio and the drive brought us to a part of Texas I had never seen before. I knew we were out in the country when every home we passed had cattle grazing in the front yard. It was a beautiful drive and although it was slightly cool (for Texas) the sun was shining- perfect weather for spending the day outside.

When we arrived we were greeted by Hector, one of the full time employees at SARA. Hector gave us a tour of the sanctuary and background stories for so many of the animals and let me just tell you there were a lot of animals. Way more than I even imagined. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. So many animals rescued from dire situations, so many animals who have suffered horribly at the hands of their human owners. Being at SARA made me happy to know a place like it exists in my backyard and sad that it needed to exist in the first. Such emotional turmoil.

After our tour, Hector gave us a list of chores that needed to be done so Paul and I set off to help out the best we could. Our morning was filled with; emptying and filling the water troughs, feeding the roosters, feeding the donkeys and horses, cleaning the chicken coop and feeding the birds. We helped bring a blind sheep that was being left at SARA because the owners could no longer care for it into it’s new (temporary) home. The sheep would only be there for a few days as it was already set to be adopted- happy ending. We helped out with some minor tweaks being made to a pavilion. And we fed the pigs. Lots and lots of pigs. Baby pigs, potbelly pigs, and wild pigs. There are hundreds and hundreds of pigs. Some there to save them from being killed by the area residents, some there because families didn’t want them any more. Each little pig had personality and I was quickly falling in love.

Between all of the chores Paul and I made sure we were able to interact with all the animals. That meant lots of time petting dogs, donkeys, cows, longhorns and horses. By the end of the day we had learned a lot about SARA, met the owner/operator Tracy (whom we love and admire greatly) and fell madly in love with the animals. I must have thanked Paul a dozen times for giving me the best birthday present ever. It was a day I will never forget. I cannot wait to go back. I plan on making the trip there once or twice a month. It’s really the least I can do. SARA is an amazing place and thankfully I was able to take some pictures at the end of the day so I can share my experience with you.


Robyn is an angel. One of my favorite dogs. She was raised as a fighting dog but is now docile and loving.


This donkey wanted to get in the Kia and come home with us. How cute?


Axel was another one of my favorite doggies! He loves to be around people and the other animals.






So many piggies!







Roosters and Turkeys!


The kitties!









Cows and Longhorns!










My favorite: horses!

If you are interested in learning more about SARA, animal rescue and adoption or learning how you can donate or help please visit SARA’s website: SARA

Thanks for reading!

January 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , . inspiration, Life. 3 comments.

Where Am I?

Hello to all the thirty-three and counting readers! I am not here today. I am over at my friend Shrinking Carrie’s blog. Carrie recently started a twenty-one day vegan challenge and is really loving it! She kindly reached out to me to ask if I would share my vegan story with her readers and here it is: Proof is in the Pudding…Vegan Pudding (Guest Post)

Please check it out and be sure to leave Carrie some love and encouragement for her on her journey!

Thanks for reading!

January 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Vegan, Weight Loss. Leave a comment.

This is How We Change the World

Today we honor a revolutionary man; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King led such a monumental life and did so many things which significantly changed the landscape for our country and the world. Dr. King had a vision, ideals, and the eloquence to deliver them to the masses. He ignited change.

As we pay honor to the great Dr. King please take a few minutes to read what my friends are doing in 2012 to change the world.

We are all revolutionaries. We all hold the power needed to ignite change. Please don’t ever forget that.


I am changing the world, first by making the change I want in myself. I am ditching the excuses and shooting it straight. I am getting healthy and hope that the positive energy I feel is contagious, and those around be will become more positive as well. I have and will continue to donate to my charities. I volunteered for the USO; they have a backlog of volunteers which is good for them, and keeps me on hold for the moment. I hope just being positive and kind to all will catch on and the normal group/ work place BS and drama can be pushed out!


In 2011, I resolved to lose weight and “get healthy.” I hadn’t necessarily been unhappy, I just hadn’t felt satisfied or fulfilled in a while. I knew that I often felt sluggish and lacked energy, clothes were tight and I didn’t feel sexy or pretty. I was sure my weight was solely to blame. In my mind, the solution was to lose the weight. So, I did. Nearly 30 lbs. Know what? I left 2011 still not feeling terribly happy or thankful.  I was irritable often (my husband can attest to that) and short-tempered. I didn’t feel very satisfied or fulfilled.

Know why? I’d gotten the goal wrong all along. I should have first promised to accept myself, regardless of the numbers on the scale. Eureka! Funny thing is that, as I write this (and only because the offer was extended – Thanks, Dacia!), I didn’t even realize it. But thinking about change and what it really means and how it should start, made me realize that there was one, fundamental change that I’ve never taken on; self-acceptance.

What does that actually mean?  Loving myself, and focusing on what makes me special and unique, not on the numbers.  Recognizing my strengths, and challenging myself to share them with others. Respecting my weaknesses and limitations, and knowing when to ask for help. Hopefully, in making this my focus, helping myself first, I’ll be better able to help others. And, although the “others” I speak of may initially exist in a very small corner of my world, it’s a chain reaction, right?


I believe when a lot of people do something small to make a positive impact it can make one great impact on the world. Even if it is just something small like picking up trash on the highway or donating clothes to people in need. For instance, my 16th birthday is coming up and I would like to have a small get-together and instead of people bringing presents for me, because I have more than enough, I would like people to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to a children’s hospital or our local Children’s Ranch to help those kids suffering or parent-less. Even with something as small as helping kids can make a positive impact and with everyone doing something positive, we can all eventually change the world a little piece at a time.


This year, I will affect change in the world by teaching and shaping the future- our children. As a teacher and a nanny, I strive to not only educate, but to positively influence children to be strong and capable. Too often we hear of students and children who just don’t care and are apathetic. But I want to see the next generation have a thirst for knowledge and discovery. And that starts with a teacher who cares.

-Crystal, @oneandonlycp

So I’m changing my world and hopefully those around me by two things this year.

One is by getting fit and healthier and second by being a better person and growing in my love for God.

Getting fit and healthier is a sort of like a domino effect. I have two boys in my house, that basically look to me as their mother but also, I’m setting an example for their future lives and wives. Saying says “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” that holds true. It’s not that I was unhappy but I’m not my best person physically. Eating right in the house, if I do it, well they have no choice but to. Sorry my kitchen is not an order-up diner, it’s a ‘you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit’ kitchen. If I’m feeling better about myself, well then my work is better and my employer loves me even more than they already did. Friends start to ask what’s changed and you tell them, then they are more conscious of their lives. It’s like recycling, never-ending!

Loving my God, makes me love people more, so I’m learning to love everyone without judgment and doing so brings peace to me, my family and my friends. When you have peace with yourself, people see it, and they gravitate towards you.

Change all starts with yourself, how can you expect someone to change if you, yourself were unwilling to change? Be part of the solution not the problem; know that everything starts with the faith of a mustard seed.

– @rosed78

2012 Goals to Change my tiny part of the world:

1. Open my daughter’s eyes on how to make a change, even a small one.

2. Recycling: My town does not recycle. It is very frustrating especially moving from Seattle where recycling is a big priority and way of life. So my daughter and I have taken the initiative to start recycling as much as possible. We are going to buy a bin and load up all of our recyclables weekly and take them to the schools that do recycle. We have also decided to write our city council about the lack of recycling options in Lawton. This is a military town and there is so much that goes to waste. We would really like to make this change this year. Kind of a fun note: I bought these awesome stamps that have cute little recycling phrases on them. So every time I mail something (thank you notes or birthday cards) everyone who touches that piece of mail will get a little recycling wisdom. LOL

3. Volunteer work: My daughter and I really want to volunteer somewhere. I just started looking into different options, so we are still narrowing it down. With Bailey only being 10 we are limited in what we can actually do. Here are our options as of right now: A. Serve lunches to the crews for Habitat for Humanity. B. Work at the food bank helping to organize.

4. Shop locally!!! My family LOVES shopping at the farmers market. So I’m going to help raise awareness for the farmers markets here in town. They only run from May to Nov, so during that time I will be shopping there and blowing up FB with posts 🙂

5. Donate! We are donating all of our clothes to the homeless shelter. Bailey goes through so many shoes and clothes and I want her to see that other people can benefit.


How will I make a change this year? Ok, yes I am overwhelmed by that question. I do however want to do something to help change someone else’s world. Last year I made several changes that put me on a healthy journey and that journey continues this year. Lots of folks need to start their healthy journey.  I want to do my part in encouraging people to make positive change in their lives. For me it took a little bit of reflection and self-love to get my ball rolling. The ball became a giant snow ball when I started to enjoy my workouts. Movement can bring a ton of joy to the human body. I have been studying Nia for several months and am working my way to begin teaching classes. I want to teach Nia for lots of reasons, but the one that resonates the highest is the spreading of joy through movement. My focus will not only be at area gyms but also senior centers. I have always enjoyed spending time around people in the generations above my own and I think helping them to get moving could be a very joyous experience for everyone involved. My focus for change this year is of the healthy journey variety, but it won’t be just me or just my household, I want to reach out into my community and help others to move and enjoy their own journey.


This past year I have been most touched by the No Kids Hungry campaign.  One afternoon, while wrapping Christmas gifts and stressing wondering if I should stretch my budget to include Christmas cards, I caught an episode of Ellen. You know it was one of those moments where you are caught in your own worry that seem so important at the time, then you are told a story that makes you immediately aware of how truly blessed you are. Ellen had Jeff Bridges (the spokesperson for No Child Hungry campaign) with Sherrie Gahn, principal of Whitney Elementary. Sherrie was speaking about how the tone of her school becomes very depressing on Friday afternoons. Unlike most schools where Friday holds the freedom and anticipation of the weekend for carefree children, Sherrie’s school is unfortunately filled with children who are anything but carefree. Most of the children at Whitney Elementary spend the weekend hungry and filled with worry. Their reality is that they will more than likely not eat until school again on Monday. Horrified, I thought “oh no, that can’t be right, we can’t possibly have that type of hunger right here in America.” I was sobered by the reality that we do. After crying until my eyes hurt, I logged onto the website and signed the petition which I now invite you to do. I have begun taking the steps to help make a change in these children’s lives including a monthly donation. I am also planning for a Great American Bake Sale at my girl’s school to support the cause and teach my girls the importance of thinking of others. I have some plans to make a difference in my garden as well. This season I will Plant a Row for the Hungry. “There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.” – Garden Writers Association   Lastly, I will be writing about ways to cultivate an organic garden, helping to sustain your family. If perhaps gardening space is a problem, I will supply you with a list of community gardens that you can join. If gardening is not your thing, I have ideas for you such as joining a local CSA to support farmers, and of course list your local farmers markets. For those of us that are not interested in gardening outdoors, why not grow a garden in your heart? You can plant a seed of kindness, in caring for others. A seed for compassion, in thinking of those needier than us. A seed for joy, in being grateful for our blessings. A seed for integrity, in how you teach your children. Lastly a seed for humanity, in being filled with benevolence for your fellow creatures. You will then be able to watch as your inner garden flourishes, causing you to reach out and make a difference in the lives of your family and friends and in turn the world.

-Melanie @baconseed

I believe we are all put on this earth to make a difference. We won’t always know when we make that difference, though because sometimes our tiny part in a change is integral but never seen.  So if we will never know what’s the point?  Why do I even bother?

I bother because others have bothered for me.  I bother because the inner city kids I teach every day need someone to bother for them.  And I bother because, if I don’t bother, who will?

I can’t do it all.  That’s something I have struggled with for the past few years since I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder.  How could I be the best mom, the best teacher, the best wife, the best friend, the best daughter, the best community member?  I learned it wasn’t possible to “be the best.”  It was possible for me to try MY best and have that be enough.  I make mistakes every day.  But what I am trying to do is:

Seek balance in my life for me and for those around me.

Show love to everyone around me, whether I know them or not.

Treat people the way I want to be treated.

Spend my money and my time in a way that reflects my beliefs.

I don’t believe we all have to feel the same way or choose the same beliefs.  For us, we are looking at The Fresh Air Fund (  You might choose something completely different.  But please choose something, some way, to make a difference in someone’s life.

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.”  Danny Kaye

Let’s throw all the paint we can for ourselves and for others.

-Jen @ The RA Vegan

Here are my two cents for how to change the world. I can’t. The world is too big and there is just too much to do. I can my world though. It’s not too big and well, there is a lot to do, but I have help. What I will do is practice patience. I will take deep breaths and not get irritated at those who stop suddenly on the sidewalk in front of me, those who take up two seats on the bus with their backpack while other people stand around them, those who spout their opinion about everything but don’t let you say yours. I will just walk away from those people without a second thought. This will make me less stressed and more willing to help people around me. Those tourists who can’t find Paul Revere’s house even though they came from that direction or a co-worker who needs an extra set of eyes on a report during a busy time. I will make my environment one that I want to be in. If my world is a good place to be in, perhaps that will spread to others. I am not sure if that makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks for letting me scribble on your blog.


2012 is going to be a really big year for me and I’m really excited! The largest change will be my college graduation in May. I’m earning my second bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and am following a track to become a Registered Dietitian. I made the decision to leave my job in corporate finance back in 2010 and begin this path because I felt inspired to help others. This is finally coming to fruition with my upcoming graduation and application to dietetic internships, which will begin in the Fall.

I felt called to become a RD because I wanted to help, teach and guide others to a healthier lifestyle. After working in the corporate world for three years, I understood firsthand the hardships that cause people to gain weight. I’m extremely passionate about cooking and wanted to use my love of food to teach others healthier eating starts at home and does not have to be daunting.

I’m actively working towards these goals by volunteering at my local food back for a program called Cooking Matters. Cooking Matters incorporates nutrition lessons with simple and healthy recipes that are taught to participants. Over the course of a six week period, classes meet once a week and learn about nutrition, followed by the entire class, together, preparing a healthy meal. I’m so happy to be working as a nutrition instructor and teaching the basics of nutrition to community members.

In addition to my schooling and volunteering, I’m working on my own weight loss journey. I ended 2011 41 pounds lighter than my highest weight, which I’m continuing into 2012. I aspire to lose 40 pounds in 2012, putting myself in the normal BMI range.

-Laura @LLBean75

My focus this year is on my health and happiness. I know that initially sounds selfish and I know I won’t bring world peace, but I agree with Dacia that small changes can make an impact. My health has taken a back seat to most everything else for the past 10-12 years, so I feel like this is my year to put myself first and gain control of my weight and health. I’ll be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend by ensuring that I’ll be around for a very long time. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll inspire someone to make a healthy change in their life. I want my health and happiness to be contagious.

@ CarbaholicMama,

I want to inspire people to do what they think they can’t. I never thought in a million years I’d lose 75 lbs., but I did, and because of that, I have 2 close family members who have lost weight and met their healthy weight range, as well as inspiring another close family member as well as my husband to do the same. I’m still struggling to find personal inspiration, but if I can help others, then I’m satisfied at the end of the day! 🙂

-Ashley K., @Ashleyk199

One of my goals for 2012 is to do volunteer work.  I also plan to get more proactive with recycling. I am thinking of how to help my community, in some way, but my plans aren’t finalized. I see people struggle and I can’t stand standing by and doing nothing. I wish I had millions of dollars to help people all over, but I do have a little extra, plus some good ideas, to help people around me.

-Sarah, @fabchallenge

Change has never come easy for me, and what I love about this is that my daughters class did is on Friday.  My Dream is….it was called. My husband and I have decided to donate money every month to St. Jude’s hospital. We feel that all children should have the ability to receive treatment. In addition to this I am going to continue to pay it forward, helping others who need a hand.

Kindness goes a long way, and when we are kind to ourselves it shows through in all areas of our lives, the world needs more kindness and caring from all people.


This year I am making more of an effort to buy local products.  Central New York is booming with hard working folks who are producing great items.  We have some of the best farmers around and I plan to buy more from them and less from “the big guys”.  Not only is it a great way to support my local economy, but there is something really gratifying by eating a tomato or cucumber that has been picked right here in this town.  I hope to inspire my fellow Weight Watcher members to take a trip to their local Farmers Market on the weekends and stock up on those Power Foods!! You can be healthy AND make a positive difference in the world.


This year I want to raise awareness about mental health issues such as depression. Using my blog as a platform I want to share my own experiences to let others know they are not alone. Hopefully I will be able to share some good advice too! I also want to raise money for Aware which is an Irish charity for those who have mental issues! I hope to do this by running the Women’s Mini Marathon in June.

-Chantelle, @chanywallace

This year I am changing the world through love. My vow is to create a better and more compassionate world for all of its inhabitants and that includes animals. I will continue to follow a vegan lifestyle because I believe it can impact how people view the treatment of animals and their use of them if by no other reason than planting those thoughts and ideas every time I engage in a conversation about veganism. I will continue volunteering at the animal sanctuary as well as look for other opportunities locally. After reading Melanie’s post above I am also excited to learn more about the No Child Hungry campaign and what I can do to show my support. The more involved I become in the community and fostering an environment I want to live in, the more involved those around me will become. Making small changes, built on love and compassion, which reflect my beliefs can only help others to do the same. If we are supposed to lead by example then I must become the example I wish to set.

-Dacia 🙂

Thanks for reading!

January 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . inspiration, Life. 2 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week 3

Welcome to week three of the New You Challenge. This week we will be building on the foundation we began to set last week with mindful eating. How did last week go? I know I struggled with my journaling and although most days I still practiced mindful eating and paid close attention to my hunger scale there was one day, my anniversary, where I ate too much. By too much I mean I kept eating even after I was full. It wasn’t too bad, it was probably only 4 or 5 bites past full. Yes, that is a big improvement from how I used to eat a year ago but knowing I am full and still continuing to eat is a sign that I must continue to work on how I am eating. I’m a work in progress and I am okay with that.

Last week I had said we would start to practice mindful eating with the foods we would typically eat. I didn’t want for us to start changing up our diet without first finding out which foods were good for us and which weren’t. Everyone is different so I expect that this past week we all had different experiences with our food. For week three I want for us to start tweaking out meal plans. Let’s start incorporating more of the foods our body loved and less of the ones it didn’t. Let’s start planning meals that help us accomplish other goals we set for ourselves. Planning to workout at night? Plan a dinner based around foods that will give you the energy you need to get you moving and sustain you throughout instead of a heavy meal that will make you feel sluggish and lethargic. The foods that didn’t work for you last week should be limited or removed entirely from this week’s meal

Don’t forget that we are still drinking half our weight (or 64, whichever is more) in ounces of water daily as well as continuing to practice mindful eating. Remember to try to journal your responses to last week’s questions: who, what, where, when, why and how, the hunger scale, portions/moderation, and mindfulness every time you eat. Take note of the foods that not only taste good but are good for you, too. Those are the ones we should be eating almost all of the time.

I hope you are doing well in the challenge and that you are learning more about yourself and your body as we progress. I know we are only two weeks in but have you noticed and changes or learned anything new since you’ve started? Any surprises in foods you found to be bad for your body or any patterns in your eating habits you hadn’t realized? I would love to hear feedback if you don’t mind sharing!

Good luck this week and thanks for reading!

January 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Health, New You Challenge. 2 comments.

Finding Your Motivation

Today I want to share with you this amazing post from Notes from a Skinny Chick about finding motivation. I read it last night and it just completely resonated with me. Yes, I am biased because I am in the post but even if I wasn’t I would still be sharing it with you today.

Reading Skinny Chick’s post made me think about the last straw; what it was that made me decide to take action in order to save my life. Luckily for me that breaking point is documented in the first post I ever wrote on this blog. I am thankful that post will always be there to remind me of that day. I will forever be able to look back and
revisit those thoughts and emotions and use that to keep me motivated.

I am also very thankful for you. You keep me motivated. Your constant love, support and encouragement is amazing and I can’t tell you enough how appreciative I am to have you in my life! You have no idea how much you have helped me; you have saved my life! I love you!

Now, head over to Notes from a Skinny Chick and check out her amazing post. Then if you are feeling nostalgic, like I was, go check out my very first post from February 20, 2011. Not even a year ago and yet it feels like another lifetime. I know I feel like a completely different person. So crazy!

What motivates you? I would love to hear your thoughts on Skinny Chick’s post!

Thanks for reading!

January 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , . inspiration, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers. 1 comment.

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