Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Goal, Check

I just wanted to pop in and let you guys know I made it. My first big goal for keeping the weight off was the day after Christmas, exactly one year to the day since I called Fitness Ridge and made my reservations for 2011. I wanted to end the year within 5 lbs of my weight after returning home from the Ridge. I DID IT!

I have to say it's been hard these last couple of months. My goat milk soap business has been in full swing not allowing me time to eat like I want and work out enough. My hip and elbow has been healing. The elbow is looking good and I can now swing the kettlebell again, but it looks like my hip may need something more. Hopefully not surgery!

How do I feel? I have good days and bad days. The mental thoughts are still the hardest to follow. I still wake up thinking I've gained it all back, guess I'll get use to it eventually;) I can't wait now that Christmas is over to get started back training. I'll be leaving on April 28th for another trip to Fitness Ridge. This time will only be for a week, but I'm excited to go with my friend, Crystal. We will have a blast. I found out I have something called Somigy effect. Think I spelled it right;) It's where your bloodsugar rises over night and it's no fault of your eating or anything else. I have had to take medicine at night for it, but hopefully when I get off another 30 lbs it won't do it anymore. There are no guarantees from the Dr. though. I don't like the squishy self I've become. I loved being rock hard when I got home from the Ridge but the injuries have kept me from keeping them. The one thing I keep telling myself is: If I did it once, they will come back with the hard work. I know now that I have it in me and I can't wait to get started back.

Welcome to 2012. It won't wait for you. It's like a train pulling out of the station. Start running and jump on the rung because there are adventures to be had. I wouldn't miss them for the world. This new life I have is too much fun! See you on the other side;)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Nine Months and Counting

Steve and I at the Hospital Fundraiser Gala Ball last weekend. Now there's a dress I never thought I would wear to some gala!

It's been nine months since I dialed up Biggest Loser, and with a shaky voice told Nancy to sign me up for a month. I immediately started to exercise and cut back on my eating. I immediately saw results and five months later as I boarded the airplane for Utah, I had dropped 25 lbs. I spent the next month being molded into Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2 and dropped another 15 lbs. I got home and dropped another 10 lbs. Hanging out within 5 to 10 lbs of my first goal, here I am nine months later. Fifty-five lbs lighter than I was last Christmas. I have gone through the psycho dance that we all experienced when losing that much weight. You don't know how it will effect you, you just know it will. I have gone through the eating what I like phase that sends you up 10 lbs and scares you half to death so you don't eat much more than salad for a few days. ;) You remember that too, huh? I have been injured so I couldn't workout and got squishy even though I weighed the same. And here I am nine months later. Long enough to grow an offspring in my loins. I guess in my case I have birthed a miracle. My doctor told me when I got started that if I lost the weight I needed to, I would be in the 1% of adults with diabetes that could get off my meds. Enter the miracle! Am I happy with the results: yes! Am I longing to finish the journey: yes! Overall, I couldn't be more pleased. As with most people who have struggled with weight, I have tried all this before. What has been different is the results in my mind. Biggest Loser gives you the tools you need mentally to focus on your goal and the tools food wise to do it. I got back on the wagon after a trip to South Georgia for my husband's grandmothers funeral without really thinking about it. I was up over 12 lbs and the old me would have said, "Oh well, I guess I really can't do it!" But the new me got right back to work and within 6 days I was back down again. I walked in the parking lot of the grocery store around the corner this morning for an hour. I took my husband, two boys, and dog with me. We decided we like it so much that we would do it every morning the weather will allow from now on. Get it over with first thing so it's done. The black team would be proud:) I still have 30 lbs to go. I will not say I am at a stand still. I am maintaining. I am taking a break at the bottom before starting the next hill. I have 30 more lbs to go and 7 more months before I step back on that airplane and head off to Utah again. I can smell the victory and I like what I see. I feel good and I'm taking one of my dearest friends along for the ride. I will enter Fitness Ridge a different person than last year, I will learn new things, I will have new personal records, and I hope to conquer that 10K. Big dreams, big goals, playing big... Isn't that what it's all about.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011 - Nothing Like It!

The Warrior Dash; It's like nothing else I have ever been to, and believe me I've been around. Here normal, everyday, hardworking people can go out on a limb and express themselves. They can let loose and push their limits. They can challenge themselves. They can be anything they want to be for a day. Want to be a smurf, a viking, a ballerina. You can! Then you can test your endurance, see how far you are willing to go. See if you can make it and hang with the best, or just see if you can survive.

I told you there would be smurfs. La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

The one on my right is my husband Steve, he's a professor at a Christian College. The one on the left is one of his former students. He was there with his college mountain biking team. Yes, they were all wearing pink sundresses! Neither of them was aware the other would be there. Imagine their surprize!

Obstacle one was going over these walls, about 7 of them and then rolling under that many barbed wire walls.

We came to obstacle two and found an abandoned warrior in one of these dumpsters. She was giving it all to get out, but it was just too much to do alone. The Warrior Dash motto is 'Never Leave a Warrior Behind' so we didn't. Steve hoisted her foot up and helped her get over each wall of all 5 dumpsters. This challenge wasn't easy, you have to have some arm strength to push up cause there wasn't anything to get a leg up on.

Giant chicken coop run, no problem!

20 ft high rope climbing wall. This my friends is the only one I walked around out of 12 obstacles. I didn't do it for fear of injuring my elbow worse. I know I made a good call.

Tent of darkness. This one is creepier than it looks unless you are closterphobic which I am not, the stones just hurt my knees.

This was one of the hardest for me, spider walking on the rope wall horizonally. We were about 6 feet high too.

Biggest fear factor for me. Fireman's pole! I did it though with a little help from Steve and another Warrior.

See the green algae floating on top...ugh! And it stunk of poo, I'm sure it wasn't the caveman stinking that we met there! After you jump into the murky water, you have to crawl over logs suspended on top of the water, about 5 of them and then crawl out the other side.

One of my favorites! Thought it would be harder, but I would have gone over this one again:)

Barn frame of death. Well at least one girl fell off and broke her arm. The boards were slippery and far apart, and with all those people on it it was shaking ever so slightly.

Now...this is the one I feared. What if in my clumsiness I tripped and fell into the fire and caught fire? Not good! So I waited until I was the only one going through and went for it. It was hot but not burning. Kids: Don't try this at home!! And kudos to my husband for an awesome pic!

Here is the grand finale! Mud, mud, and more mud:) The sand cut into your knees, but after you figured out you can't walk in it or crawl in it and just pull yourself along it wasn't bad. Well I say that, but you should have seen me trying to get this out of our clothes! ICK!

My Warrior Cry of Battle: Woo Hoo! At this point the exhilaration is incredible. You are ready to run through the finish line and be a surviver. PS The man who won this did the whole 3.12 mile course in just over 26 minutes. You go dude, whoever you are!

The triumphant duo at the wash pit. Great big water trucks were there to spray you off with fire hoses! Insane. All the while the rock and roll bands played was like Woodstock without the LSD!

Sabrina, me, Steve, and Lizzy. Sabrina was the one we saved from the dumbster and Lizzy was her friend. So much fun:)

Steve donating his mud soaked shoes to third world countries. They pressure wash then and ship them to people who have no shoes.

A rewarding feast for an exhausting day.

Steve digging in.

After the mud is washed off and the turkey legs are eaten it's time to sit around with our new hats and meet new people and listen to the music wafting across the field. We found a little patch of shade to hang out. Heaven. So satisfied with the knowledge that we had done something that day that many don't dare try, much less even think about doing. You know me though, I'm a people gatherer. I love to drag my friends along to the fun. So next year make plans to join us at this awesome event. The more the merrier! Walk it, run it, do it in your pjs for all I care, just do it. It will make you stronger. And that my friends is life changing. And if you can't get to North Carolina they have these all over the country and I think Canada. or you can Google 'mud races' and come up with a dozen varieties of this one. If a squishy homeschool mom can finish this, so can you;)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Be Prepared to Be Amazed;)

Here is the first pic. Because you know this is the one that shows up as the profile pic of the page when you put it on Facebook. This is now. Yes, you are all overwhelmed by my smokin hot new body (snicker) BUT WAIT!!! I must warn you. Then next pics aren't for the faint of heart and I must tell you that it has taken me months to download them here. People you don't understand!!! I'm putting it all out here on the line. These pics that follow are me last year. Last summer to be exact. These are the pictures I had Steve take to go along with the Biggest Loser application I never had the guts to mail in. Alright, if you must still see them procede with caution. Scroll down... (the dead silence is me holding my breath!)

Gast...the horror!

Holy Cow it just get's worse!

OK, now that you have come back to and we got that over with I must say it's nice to be in today's body. I remember how I felt in that old body. YUCKY!!! I hurt all over, it was hard to get up off the couch, and I constantly wanted to cry. I wouldn't even look at myself in the mirror most days. I would close my eyes to brush my teeth - yes seriously! Steve just thought I was really enjoying cleaning my teeth.

I have now exposed my jugular and have nothing else to reveal. Hopefully, I won't decide to run for the Senate one day and these bad boys will emerge on some fat chick kinky website. Heaven help the person who enjoys looking at these LOL!

I put these up to say this: After being home for a while you kinda forget where you came from. You get into your routine and start to think it was just a dream and Fitness Ridge never really happened. Here is proof:) I did this, and you can too!!! Do you find yourself longing to lose some weight and find the support you always dreamed of? That was me last year. Now I'm well on my way to feeling normal again. I can help you, Fitness Ridge can help you, and YOU can help you. If you need a dose of postitive encouragement email me - no spam please, I will hunt you down and find you;)

It's the weekend - go out there and make something of it! Only two days til the Warrior Dash - praying for the pain in my elbow and hip to go away so I can run and climb with the best of them. Think of me Sunday and I promise to post some groovey pictures of us being nuts next week - PEACE OUT!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The New Plan

This is me with my wonderful husband just 3 short weeks after returning from Fitness Ridge. A lot has gone down since then. Summer is over and homeschool is starting back, we have run two 5Ks and this weekend will run the Warrior Dash, and my tan is gone;( I'm also feeling a little squishy around the middle. That's from not working out 8 hours a day...sigh!

I think you have this great plan as to what you would do when you come back from the Ridge that goes something like this: I will get up at 5 am and run a 5K every morning before breakfast, eat 11 almonds, then do the stretch class on my living room floor. I will then clean my entire house, homeschool my kids, make three batches of goat milk soap and lunch at the same time careful not to combine the two! Enjoy a fresh puree of soup, salad, and sandwich of something made out of ground turkey;) Do my afternoon core class while I switch out the laundry between sets of those darn things where you hold the pole in one hand and bend at the middle and reach your hand to the ground like one of those red drinking birds (you know the kind I mean) Dinner would materialize of course, because I'm fabulous...ha! Oh and after cleaning up the dishes I would dash off to Zumba. SCREEEEECH....

Let's get this car back on the road and be happy no one was injured in my overactive imagination! It's hard being home and fitting in exercise, it's hard getting dinner on the table, and it's hard doing everything else that's called life too. I told myself this morning as I walked/ran in the Ingle's grocery store parking lot just down the street that I have to find simpler substitutions. OK so the grocery store has this GINORMOUS parking lot, so much that it's almost never full. I can walk/run there and save myself a trip into town to the gym. This would save a round trip of 40 minutes, pretty good. While there, I can run in and get anything I might need for that day's meals. Score another 15 minutes. The boys are reluctant, but good housekeepers and they have been helping me keep all the stuff in the house put away. This is no small task since we all live, work, and eat here 24/7. (We taught them to fold clothes when they were still in diapers, a task I am proud to say was a wonderful addition to my life!) I still try to go to Zumba in the evenings and I know one day I will be back to four nights a week, hopefully;) The meals are simple as long as I remember to stock up on ground turkey. I make a huge batch with onion, bell pepper, roasted red pepper, s&p, garlic powder, and onion powder and later divide it for chili, pasta sauce, greek pitas, enchiladas, and burritos. No waldorf salad please!!!

Now if only I had 24 more hours in the day to get around to the things I WANT to do. Things like, painting the chicken coop to match the house, altering some clothing, painting, sewing myself a new apron, finishing a couple of books I'm too tired to read at bedtime, canning all those veggies on the counter (well, I'm sure by tomorrow this will be the top of the to do list!) Sigh... if only there were two of me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Brutally Honest

No pictures today folks. No wise cracks, funny comments, or bouncy remarks. Just me in a state of the mullygrubs. I have always been up front with you, my audience, and today is no different. I have felt it coming on for a few days now. Last week I was sick with a stomach bug all week and didn't feel like eating anything. I had gotten down to my lowest weight so far. Then my appetite came back with a vengence. I have been hungry, busy, and stressed out and that my friends is not a good combination.

This morning I just broke. We have started homeschool back, art lessons, band, the goat business, and a garden with more than we can eat or can. I was up about 5 lbs and I just couldn't take it anymore. I felt like I was being pulled in a million directions. Keeping up with the eating was a job in itself. So for the last few weeks the soap business has fallen behind. I was having trouble keeping all my balls in the air.

As I sat on the couch crying, Steve wrapped his arm around me and told me how much he loved me and it was going to be alright. He suggested I should call Jenn the life coach at Fitness Ridge to discuss where I could get back on track. We talked about what I would say and her response. Caution: for those of you who know Jenn don't read this while you drive. You will be laughing so hard you will run off the road. So I would call and tell her help, I'm stressed out and busy and eating out, and gained some weight back and now I'm depressed and I don't know what to do and you have to help me get a plan etc, etc, etc. OK so just yell at me and tell me how you told us we needed a plan or we would fail. So she would start to yell at me and tell me what I'm doing wrong and Sharon would walk by and say, "Who are you yelling at? What's going on?" Jenn would say, "It's Dawn Mathews, she just ate a butt load of food and now she's whining on the phone about regreting it." "What?" Sharon would say, "give me that phone, I'll tell her a thing or two." Alas, I did not call. I can imagine it all going down in my head and chose to fix it on my own.

Luckily for me, Boo Roberts was having the same problem after returning from FR three months ago. He posted on the Fitness Ridge Alumni page on Facebook and here are his suggestions. One: take it one week at a time. Duh! That's what we already know isn't it? We learned that at the Ridge. OK, I can do that. Two: write out your weekly plan and goals. Got it. Three: Know what you are going to eat and when you are going to exercise. Make it a floating chart, not all or nothing. Schedule in two meals where you allow yourself some room. And four: Every Sunday night have an evaluation time to see what went right, wrong, etc. Then plan for the next week. We did that at the Ridge too. When we got to Thursday Sharon would give us post it notes and we would write out our goals for the week. We need that. It's so simple.

I told you on my first post here that I would find success and failure, joy and heartache, greatness and longing. And here I am. Four months into it, having experienced it all. There are good days and bad days. No one wants to live through the bad days, but those are the ones that make you stronger. Before the sun goes down it is wise to have a plan for the next day, because it's coming like it or not.

As I get ready to head to bed here is what I know. I have friends. Many of you have talked to me today and were a great source of encouragement. For that I thank you. I CAN. Tiffany showed me that and the same is true yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I AM WORTH IT. My family and friends have told me that over and over. Now I just have to keep telling myself. This is not hard, it's just different. And different is good. Never give up. Never throw in the towel. Never leave the ring. This is all you have, give it all you have.

A week from tomorrow I will run the Warrior Dash. I may have to walk some of it, I may have to go around the obstacles that are too hard because of my bum elbow, but I will finish. I will wear my viking helmet with pride and eat my turkey leg and shout the victory chant. This is the life I longed for and now it's here breathing down my back. I will enjoy it even if I have a hard day.

I made my reservations to go back to the Ridge yesterday. I will be there April 29th to May 6th. Come with me and live the life you always longed for. If you reserve and mention my name they will give you $100 off. I know it's not much, but heck, it's something;)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here and Now

Since I've been home our garden is in full swing. We got loads of cucumbers, corn, cantalopes, jalapenos, banana peppers, squash, zuchini and coming soon watermelons and bell peppers. Today, it was tomatoes. They got planted late so they are coming in late. I love the wonderfully intoxicating smell, flavor and intensity of it all. As much as I hate the thought of hours over the stove to can or freeze them, I will appreciate their goodness throughout the year in soups, stews, salsa, pasta sauce, etc.

I have dedicated the last two months being home to finding the new normal. This has been somewhat elusive. Sometimes it's just slapped me in the face. In 8 weeks I've had two stomach bugs and one sinus infection. Odd for me. Maybe it's just been my body protesting the many changes I've forced on it. At any rate I have had 5 out of 8 good weeks. Two of those weeks I ran 5Ks, 4 of the 5 good weeks I worked out at least 3 to 5 times. When I left the Ridge I weighed 209. Now I hover around 200. I have about 30 more lbs to lose. I am making progress, no matter how slow. If I can just keep on going like this I will make it.

I feel good about the changes in my mind too. I'm not beating myself up for not doing what I think I should. I let myself have a treat about once a week and don't feel guilty about it. I have learned to relax a little more and the feeling of needing to weigh myself all the time is gone. I still fit into the new clothes and I don't have to constantly keep trying them on to convience myself. It's all fitting into place.

I have been asked by numerous people to give a talk to help them find their new normal. Due to financial reasons in their life right now, Biggest Loser's Fitness Ridge is not an option. I'm considering it. I guess I have a lot to say and I know I can help other especially if they are looking to make a change.

I read back over my whole blog and am so thankful I took the time to write it. I have had over 5,500 hits since it started back in April and that just blows me away!!! It also has helped me more than I can say. When feeling of doubt come, it's the first thing I turn to.

So in two weeks I'll run the Warrior Dash with Steve. You bet there will be loads of pictures; Lots of mud, sweat, and tears too. Until then keep your head up and keep climbing that mountain. Take some stops along the way to look at the progress you've made. It's a long way down from here. That's what makes it funner. Don't stop til you reach the top, it's not like you to play small:)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friends, Foods, and Crazy Thoughts!

My dear friend Frances from Fitness Ridge came to the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family a couple of weeks ago. We went up to have dinner with them and hang out.

No trip to Blowing Rock is final until the trip to Kilwin's is made. Our two families outside of the ice cream parlor. No Frances and I didn't get any:)

Here is my new favorite. Choc strawberries aside, this is one of the sugar free box cakes made with egg whites and applesauce instead of oil!

Summer is in full swing. Our garden is birthing all kinds of goodies, the goat babies are growing like weeds, and the boys have gone to camp and returned to tell about it. That makes it official. Although, it also means that summer will soon be over and we will be ushering in beautifully cool mornings, changing leaves, new pencils with fresh erasers and fresh text books. It also means for me that the height of the Thankful Goat Business is about to boom.

It has given me just enough time after Fitness Ridge to learn a little of the new normal and go crazy at the same time. I have started balancing my eating, exercising, maintaining act. So far, so good. I have a treat meal about once a week, but haven't really gone nuts yet. I thought I did one day, until I counted up the calories and found I came in under 2,000. Not bad. At this time I am maintaining my weight loss. I think my body needs a little time to recover from the 54 lbs. I have lost in the last 7 months. I'm OK with that. But my mind isn't. I have been told it takes a little time for your mind to catch up with your body. So here's what I'm seeing. I look in the mirror and I've been home long enough to not see the new skinnier me, but a me that still needs to lose about 30 lbs. This me can't possible be the same one who just returned from Fitness Ridge. I should try on that dress that fit so good the day I got home.....still fits, hmm. I should try on the shorts. OK, the same. Maybe I should weigh again. Still the same. Somethings different. Go back and look in the mirror. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "She's totally lost it!!!!!!!!!" And at this point you know what I would say? "I think you might be right." I have lost muscle tone sure, who wouldn't. At the Ridge you were toning a couple hours a day, and at home you are lucky to get in an hour or two a week with all the cardio. It's driving me insane. I'm not an obsessive person. But this has me reeling. Perhaps I will have to call Jen the life coach at the Ridge, love the way they will help you out even when you go home. They will do whatever they can to make your success wonderful and permanent.

On August 28th, to celebrate my weight loss, Steve and I are running in the Carolinas Warrior Dash. Three miles of running with military rope climbing walls, mud crawling under barbed wire, and other wonderous fun. You know I wanted to do the Tough Mudder, but I couldn't handle the 10 miles of running yet, so Steve found this one. You get a finisher medal, a t-shirt (my favorite) and OK get ready...A VIKING HELMET! I shall wear that bad boy proudly. Given I actually make it to the finish line and don't keel over and have to be ushered away on a stretcher. There will be rock bands, fire jumping, and turkey legs, a real barbarian Vikingpalooza. Maybe I should take Athena (like in the Capitol One commercials). Oh, for those of you who don't know, she's my pet goat and bestie.

Steve also surprised me with another fun treat. He's so wonderful;) Next Saturday is the Biggest Loser casting call for Charlotte, NC. He informed me today that we will be going!!!!! A gift from him to me. I'm so excited. Excited to go, but even more excited that for the first time in fourteen years I would not be allowed to audition, because I'm too skinny!!!! Yeah! So, I was thinking what I could do while we are there and you know me. I'm loving the fact that there will be so many people there who need encouragement. I want to print up pieces of paper with my blog website on them to hand out. I want to look them every one in the eye and tell them THEY CAN and THEY ARE WORTH IT! And I'VE BEEN WHERE YOU ARE! I want to tell them no matter what happens, whether they make the show or not, they can change their lives. I want to encourage them to go to the Ridge if they don't make it on the show. After all, these are brave souls. I filled out the paper work for Biggest Loser and didn't have the ability to mail it in. They will actually be there ready to get picked, desparate for a new life. I want so much for each of them to get that.

So think of me this week. Riding the 'crazy train' (a little Ridge humor for Gretchen), playing the WWCE game (what would chef eat), and running my buns off, oh, and jumping, and climbing, and crawling to train for the Dash. You know the drill. What are you lacking today to help you climb that next mountain? Whatever it is, find it and get those hiking shoes on. The only way is up:)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

So What Do I Eat?

Many of you are asking, "So what did you eat to help you lose weight?" I wanted to put it down in writing here on the blog so everyone could soak it in. Before I went to Fitness Ridge I ate around 1,400 calories. These were calories I thought were good for me. After being at the Ridge though, I realize my balance and preparation was all wrong. I know a lot about eating healthy, but like most people I just put the knowledge on the back burner.

The meals we ate are both super nutritious and easy to prepare with most consisting of less that 8 ingredients. Many of the ground meat dishes incorporated veggies and brown rice so you save money on meat. For instance you make meatloaf, burgers, meatballs, and stuffed peppers with 99% lean ground turkey - 1 cup, 3/4 cup of chopped peppers and onions, 1/2 cup brown rice,1/4 cup of oatmeal, garlic powder, onion powder, s & p, and one egg. This will make enough food for 3 to 4 people. It is so filling, you never get hungry between meals.

Here is the basic plan:
Breakfast - 1/2 c. fresh fruit medley (watermelon, cantalope, blueberries, strawberries, or whatever is in season), One egg and one egg white scrambled with ww toast, OR one cup granola cereal with 1/2 cup almond milk OR a frittata with feta and veggies, OR one egg with a piece of turkey sausage and toast. Simply put, you had a fruit, a protein, and a good ww carb. This should be around 300 calories total. (Yes, it's important to count the calories)

Lunch - We always had 1 cup of a pureed soup. It can be made by boiling a vegetable of choice with one onion, garlic powder, onion powder, s & p, and vegetable or chicken broth, then put it in the blender. Next we would have a cup of salad with low cal dressing and an entree of a sandwich, or burrito, or tacos, or something like that. This should be around 400 calories total.

Supper - One meat of 3 oz. Chicken breast, salmon, ground turkey, or turkey cutlet (we never had beef), one cup of a vegetable, usually steamed. We did a rotation of broccoli, or carrots, or asparagus most nights. Chef used what was in season. And always dessert!!! This would keep you satisfied so your sweet tooth didn't go nuts! We had puddings, fruit skewers, and sorbets, and one time a week there was always dark choc. covered strawberries, two of them! Everyone's favorite;) The total for this meal would be around 500 calories.

Because we were there in the summer we would hike really early before it could get hot. We were on the vans by 6:30 and got back between 9:00 and 9:30 when we would have breakfast. Now I know you will think this is funny, but every morning I had 12 almonds and then went on the hike. Yes only 12!!! That's what they gave you and believe me - you really weren't hungry! It was amazing. Also you didn't feel stuffed out there hiking and with you doing it practically fasting, you were burning fat, not what you just ate! I would take a peeled orange when I started coming off my diabetic meds so if I got shaky (and I usually did)at the half way point I could eat it quickly. The almonds were not included in our 1,200 calories, but the orange was.

The mixture of food Chef Cameron prepared for us was sheer genius! I am a foodie and believe me - it was delicious, easy to prepare, and made so much sense. The breakfast was hearty. Lunch was filling because of the soup with it's water content and fiber, not to mention you got a whole plate of food after the soup, and dinner was delicious and settled your desire for sweets. The whole day of food was around 1,200 calories. After the first week I really had trouble eating it all. There were some guys there over 400 lbs, and they were full too. So don't tell yourself you couldn't live on this, because we all did! And we were doing 7 1/2 hours of exercise a day too! Now, when you get home they tell you to eat around 1,400 calories until you hit your goal and then move to what will maintain you.

So now you are asking, "How the heck am I going to fit all this cooking into my already packed day!" Answer: Budget your time. You have to cook anyway, so make multiple portions and freeze it, or make it and use it to make several dinners. As in, meatballs, stuffed peppers, burgers, and meatloaf. Presto - your whole week in main courses! Add a veggie and a dessert and you are good. If you want to do this you have to do three things. Budget your time to exercise, budget your time to shop and cook well, and journal your calories in/calories out so you know you have a deficit each day. This is the only way you will lose.

For every pound you lose you must have a deficit of 3,500 calories. That's a lot of calories. Fortunately, our body burns calories every minute of every day. This is called our RMR, or Resting Metabolic Rate. Drs use this to determine how many calories to feed you if you are in a coma. A 400 lb man would require more calories in his feeding tube than a 120 lb woman in a 24 hour period. Why? Because the man will burn more in his RMR. I know, it's not fair. You can Google RMR calculators and plug in your weight, age, sex, and height and it will tell you aproxamately what your body would burn. So you take your RMR and how many calories you burn during exercise and add those two up. That's what you burned for the day. Then you take what you ate and subtract it. If you burned more than you ate, you have a deficit. You keep track of it and when you reach a deficit of 3,500 you should see a lb lost on the scales. This system works! It is the only thing I have found in my life that works for weight loss. Yes, there are meal plans, and shakes and other things, but it all works on this principle: Calories in/Calories out. If you don't burn more than you eat, you will not lose. So my greatest finding in all of this is at Fitness Ridge you got more bang for your buck! More food for the calories is always a good thing. That way you were never hungry, or constapated, or bloated, or anything. Add all that exercise and you got a jump start that would help you control the way you ate. But I can't stress this enough: You CAN do this at home!!! You can do this on your own. If you follow the rules, you get the results.

Some helpful tools: Chef Cameron Payne's cookbooks. He has two and they are $30 each or two for $56, yes you will spend more than that at Starbuck's this month, so don't even go there! A calorie counting app for your phone or a good old book if you aren't tech savy. A scale to weigh your food and measuring cups. A plan. This my friends is key!!! Write down what you are going to fix to eat for a week or two. Write down what you are going to do exercise wise. Even if all you can do is walk to your mailbox, that's a start. Then tomorrow check your mail twice, then 3 times;) Keep moving forward. When you feel comfortable walking a couple of miles, throw in a jog, then up the time. Buy some weights and look on line to see exercises you can do with them. Schedule yourself for a 5K!!! Hello!!! Big motivator;) Yes you can walk the whole darn thing if you want. They don't care. Check out for races near you. It's listed in the race locator section.

Eat less, move more. A pretty good slogan. Isn't your life worth it? Come on, we all deserve to be fit and happy. Now that I'm more fit, I'm more happy. I'm happy with my smaller body, and smaller clothes. I'm happy to not have to spend $350 a month on medicine. I just happy not to have to take the meds altogether. Who wouldn't be. I used to watch Biggest Loser and cry when the contestants went to Dr. H and took them off their medicine. Now I cry because it's me;) I'm also happy not to feel tired and yucky and get headaches everyday. Join me in my happiness. Misery loves company, but happy people live longer!

One final note. For whatever reason, Google won't let me post on my own blog. I've tried everything and still no results. So, if you post, I do get it and would love to answer you back or encourage you or thank you, but I can't. If you want to dialog with me, friend me on facebook. I'm listed as Dawn Taylor Mathews. It's been good sharing this journey with you so far. I will still be posting, so check in with me from time to time. God bless you in whatever you do because you can and you are worth it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Am Speed - Kachow!

Steve and I crossing the finish line. I'm going so fast I was just a blur. LOL! Truth is, Steve had finished 15 minutes earlier and was just running me in and it was taken with my Blackberry so it would be blury. But I can dream right?!!

Nothing in the world feels like this. At the finish line with some of my favorite people in the whole world!

It really is "all about the shirt!" I got to trade in the XL I had ordered for a L and it's a good thing too. That sucker was huge on me!!!

July16. It was suppose to be one of the hottest days of the year. Suppose to be. As I made my way to the crowd of almost 500 people gathering on the asphalt it was down right cool. If I wasn't getting ready to run, I would have probably gone back to the car for a hoodie. But I was. It was dark and the street lights were flickering and the bullhorn droned on about the shirts and the turn around and blah blah blah. My mind melted into a place where I was alive and free and ready to run. As I closed my eyes I was back at Fitness Ridge getting ready to step up on the treadmill. I looked out the full window in front of me at the red rock canyons. I saw the heat rising off the asphalt. I tasted the sunscreen on my lips. In my hands were my Fitness Ridge water bottle with my name in sharpie marker and a towel to mop off the sweat that would soon overtake me. I pushed the start button. "I am speed." "I can and I'm worth this."

The horn went off and I was back home running. There were people pressing in on all sides of me, but I paced myself. Still being new to this I would be lucky if I walked/ran the whole thing. But here I was on the verge of losing enough weight to be in one-derland, running in a 5K, and feeling like I was free. It's funny how we see ourselves. Six months ago I would have barely been able to walk this 3.2 miles. I would have gone so far and told myself "I can't do this - it's too hard." I would have probably quit early and said, "Oh well, at least I walked some."

That's just not me anymore and I'm really having a hard time with this person I've created. She likes to wear form fitting clothes, and dance around the house to Lady Gaga, and try on clothes in shops just for the fun of it. She even looks at herself in the mirror again, and gets looked at by other men besides her husband. That ones the kicker! ROFL kicker! I think it's been at least 14 years since another man flirted with me. I got it at the hotel in Vegas on my way home. I called Steve and told him what happen and we both laughed, but I heard him loading his 9mm with bullets;)

So back to the race... These people were FAST! Before we hit the first mile I looked behind me and there couldn't have been more than a dozen people left. At this point you might think, "wow, I going to be last, or there's no way I can do this or finish this or whatever." You know what I thought? "I need to get passed that 75 year old man who just passed me cause DANG how aweful is that!" And I thought, "I am doing this, and I'm going to beat my time tonight!" And that's just what I did. I ran til I couldn't and then I walked til I could breath again, ran some more, and when we hit the water stand and we were still outbound I started to jog. We were about an 1/8 of a mile to the turnaround and I didn't stop. I just kept on jogging and Tiffany started to talk me home. I need to clarify here. Tiffany wasn't physically with me. She was one of my trainers at the Ridge. No, I'm not crazy, just zoned out. The thing about being at Fitness Ridge for a whole month is that I learned enough mantras from Tiffany to keep it going in my head long enough to finish the 5K. I guess when I bump up to a 10K it will be time to go back and learn more mantras huh? Sounds good to me;) I jogged and I jogged and I jogged, jogged, jogged (thank you Dr. Suess) And then there was Steve. He had finished and had come out to run me in. Tiffany was shouting at me now, because that's the only way I was going to finish. She had jumped up on my treadmill and was yelling encouragement to me in every possible way. I rounded the corner and up into the parking lot I broke out into a full sprint. "Finish strong, play big, I can, I'm worth it, No boundries, Keep it up, Keep it up, You can do this..." My mind was cloudy, I ran past the timer board and into the chute, someone handed me a water and told me I could walk it out, someone handed me my card. I had finished. I had beat my time. I had done it.

"Just do it!" Nike puts it out there plain and simple and if we only listen to their call and take the first step of tying up our laces and putting one foot in front of the other, we too can say, "I Just Did It!" Does it hurt? Heck yes. Is it mental? Yes again. Can you put a price to it? Absolutely not, never. Period. Here's what I'm thinking. Did it hurt to be fat? Duh! Did it hurt to put that needle in my arm every morning and give myself a diabetic shot? Absolutely. Was it mental when I went to shop for clothes and had three stores I could go to? Mental, yes! Guys, we don't have to listen when our mind tells us we can't! We are so much stronger than we think!!!! So, so, much stronger.

I have made it a goal to do a Tough Mudder in the next year with Steve. Google it. 10 miles of running with British Intelligence Special Forces obstacles at every half mile. Icy water swimming, running though tires, climbing walls with ropes, and the ever feared jelly fish tenticles. Oh yeah, those are the best. Ha! You have to run through live wires hanging down that shock you. LOL! It's like Jack Bauer training camp for everyday folks. Sign me up, cause as they say at Fitness Ridge, "This is your new normal."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Friends Blazing Old Trails

Coral and I taking on the Boone Fork Trail. 5 miles of pure bliss. Lots of trees, waterfalls, giant rocks to climb, and creeks. It is so beautiful. This is my neck of the woods. Coral and I met at Fitness Ridge. She is currently living in Vietnam as a teacher and she came to Boone to take a class at App State. I was so glad to get to spend some more time with her before she had to go back.

This pic is out of order, sorry! OK so I tried out Chef's amazing Turkey Burger, but I threw in a Dawn original twist. When life gives you pico de gallo, add it to the burgers. That and some Montreal Seasoning and Spanish Rice. It was bueno!!!

Here we are at the end of the 5 mile loop. Life is good;)

Demonstrating how strong and confident we are. LOL!

Coral at the waterfall rocks. You can hike up those bad boys if you choose. We decided on distance instead of grit.

I'm on my third week being home and am still having trouble believing when I look in the mirror that it's my body I'm seeing. Everybody is saying the same thing that lost a lot of weight. You still see the old you. The only difference is I'm not in my clothes. I'm in someone elses smaller clothes. Going from a size 24 down to a 16 is quite a bit of difference, so it's weird not really being able to tell. I guess in time my eyes will catch up;)

Not being able to workout as much as at the Ridge has taken it's toll on my muscles. They aren't as toned as they were when I came home, but I'm still making good progress. I pulled my elbow carrying my very heavy backpack on the plane ride home. Needless to say I haven't been able to lift weights without quite a bit of pain. Hope it heals soon. I want to get back to swinging the kettlebell. We are all set to run our next 5K on Saturday, the 16th. I have been working out everyday to get ready for it. I plan on hitting Zumba Monday - Thursday and want to get to the gym to walk/run on the track. The next 5K will be held at 9:30 pm under the streetlights in Morganton. Which means we will be lucky to get home by midnight. Ugh...I need more sleep than that! Isaac, Steve, and I will run this one. Dorian will be too pooped by then to do a good run.

I have been thinking quite a bit about my time at Fitness Ridge and what a wonderful thing it was. Each of my friends that went are all talking about return trips. I too have my reservations deposit put in. I would like to be at my goal weight by the time I go back knowing what I know now. I would love to go out there and really push myself and challenge what I did this time. I already saw a difference today on the 5 mile trail verses what I was able to do before I went to the Ridge. We hiked that same trail for the first time in training back in April. I had to stop at least 12 times for air, or water, or something to eat because I was shaky. This time, I didn't even have to pause when we hit the loggin road part of the hike (the hardest part for me). We breezed straight through it. I was so proud of Coral. She and I pushed each other. It was like being back at on the hikes out West. I am so much stronger and I don't have to rely on Steve for as many things. He has been so supportive of me since I've been home. Well, those of you who know him know he is usually supportive of everything I do, but we have really had some fun working out together. We go about it with different styles, but with the same goal now.

Both of my boys are off at camp this week. Steve and I are going to take some much needed time and spend it on each other. We are also going though every square inch of the house and organizing stuff in closets and pantries. We still have a little painting to do in the bathrooms. Maybe we can knock that out too:) I have an idea life will get a little better when these tasks are taken care of. You just can't live in peace with clutter in your life. Have you noticed how it takes it toll on you? Thanks to Wal Mart, we have more stuff than we really need, so purging is necessary a couple times a year.

Life is getting back to my 'new normal'. We have the freezer all stocked up with stuff I can eat and a game plan in the journal. I want to lose 20 more lbs for my next goal. I would like to hit it by the end of summer. Hold me to it guys. Hopefully I will get to do a couple more 5Ks by then. Steve and I looked up a competition called the Tough Mudder. 10 miles of running with 20 military style obsticles. I would love to do it. I told Steve he needed to try it and he now thinks I'm out to get his life insurance policy. LOL!!! Maybe that could be my reward for losing the next 20 lbs. Wow, exercise really does make you crazy! OK, I'm outta here for now. Go out there and do something wonderful for yourself this week. You are worth it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Big Reveal Birthday Party Video

Well, I tried everything to get the video at my reveal party posted to the blog and I am just not that technologically advanced. Perhaps if Steve were here, but he's not. So you will just have to access it yourself. It really was an awesome party. I had about 60 friends show up. We had cake and Crystal Light. There was even some Zumba near the end.

I am currently making my game plan for the week. Now that I have settled in and Steve's family has all departed I am getting back to normal. What they would call "THE NEW NORMAL" at Fitness Ridge. The 'new' normal is what will fit into my life that will keep me on track. It won't be a crazy diet or unattainable workout plan. These all set you up for failure. It will include a caloric intake of 1,200 - 1,500 calories a day. This way I have a buffer. I will shoot for 1,200, but if I hit 1,500 it's still within my limit and won't sabbotage my day. That's where we fail when food comes into play. We eat that piece of cheese cake on Friday night and say, "Oh well, whatever, I'm a loser and I'll just start over on Monday. Now where did I put that 2 lb. bag of M&Ms?" Do you know how much damage we can do in a weekend? A LOT!!!! So you ate the cheesecake, now what? Say, "that was my extra 300 calories, it was good and now I'm back on track." Put it in your food journal and calculate the calories. I bet it wasn't even worth it, was it?

And the exercise? Well I found out what works for me in Utah. My two favorite things to do are Zumba and hiking. There are Zumba classes on Monday thru Thursday and we can hike on the weekends. I will put it on the calendar. I can also purchase videos from my instructors. They are the bomb and have two DVDs with a third coming out soon. if you too would like to see what all the fuss is about Zumba. Two things I took away from Fitness Ridge is Treading and Mountain. These were my two favorite classes. Of course you have to have some jammin music so I am looking for my favorite songs to run to and when I get it put together I will be all set. I have a membership to my gym so I can also do circuit classes with the treadmill and weight machines. This isn't my favorite but I will do it to help build my muscles.

I calculated my BMI and to be in the normal range I need to lose 50 more lbs. This was a little bit of a bummer to me since I thought I only needed to lose about 20 more. I have already lost 44 so I guess 50 more wouldn't be all that bad. I will still set my next goal at 20. That is attainable and I will have a celebration when I hit that point. In only 6 lbs I will be under 200 and my gift to me is a ride on the Scream Time Zip Line. I will be sure to post a video;)

If you are sitting at home reading this and think, "Man, I would love to get started, but don't know how in the world to do it." Just send me a comment. It has become one of my goals in life to drag as many of you along as I can. My motto is "the more the merrier". Lets figure this out together. It's not the end result so much as it is the journey.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Firecracker 5K - Long Time Coming

Steve, Dorian, me, and Isaac at the Finish Line. Dorian came in 76th out of 168 participants! So proud of him!!!!!

Just after finishing the Firecracker 5K.

I kept saying, "Are we last yet?" and Steve told me, "You won't be last, trust me." He was ready to come in last for me;)

Isaac loved the chance to get a free leg massage.

Dorian won a door prize: A Hibbett Sport bag. I won two box seat tickets to the Hickory Crawdads Baseball game next weekend.

Let me just tell you. Mike...this guy had nothing on you!!!

The weather couldn't be more perfect. Woke up at 5:15 am, ate my 12 almonds (the Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge breakfast of champions), and greased up with Body Glide. It felt like I was back at the Ridge. Except this time I was home, with my family, getting ready to do something that I had only dreamed about for years. Five years ago Steve and the boys ran their first 5K. I stood waiting and cheered them through the finish line. I would have probably had to get the paramedics to haul my happy hide back to the ambulance and to the ER had I attempted it myself. This time was different. This time I was ready. I probably couldn't run the whole thing, but I would darn sure try.

We got to the event and there was the sign up table with the most beautiful of all sights folded neatly on top. Event t-shirts. Now this may not sound like a huge deal to you, but for me this is a huge milestone. I could actually fit into these shirts. 44 lbs ago there wouldn't be a shirt on this table for me. As a matter of fact, I shopped at American Eagle Outfitters yesterday. I tried on clothes and there were actually some that were too big! I was so excited. So you see, this t-shirt would be special. I remember being behind a woman in Wal-Mart three years ago and saw her Firecracker 5K shirt. I remember how I had wanted to run that race with Isaac and I never made the training. It was a cool red, white, and blue tye dyed t-shirt. This shirt would symbolize freedom to me, in more ways than one.

We waited for what seemed like a eternity to start the race. Finally the whistle blew and we were off. We had to run down the hill from the Lenoir Aquatic Center and Recreation parking lot, across the street, and onto the Greenway. Because they had police officers at all the main road crossings, we let Dorian and Isaac go on their own. I was so proud of Dorian as he took off with the main lead group. I saw his little head disappear down the road. He turned around and slapped our hands in a rush back to the finish. There were 168 runners and he came in 76th. Isaac was just before us, then me, and Steve. I thought a lot about the last month in my head while I ran. Mantras kept me going. "Today we are going to play big, Why? Because you CAN and you are WORTH IT" "You get to climb a mountain?" "The only hard day was yesterday" "Breath through it, you've got this" "Keep it up, Keep it up" "Life is not happening to you, it's responding to you" "You are a rock star" "The only boundries we have are the ones we put up ourselves" These sayings kept me going at the Ridge. I memorized them and played them back over and over in my head to keep a positive thought process. Because, as I've said before; the one thing that can shut you down faster than anything is your own mind. It will tell you you can't, and you are weak, and you hurt, and can try again tomorrow. ALL LIES!!!! We have to retrain ourselves to think big so we can function big. Stop letting your mind lie to you and tell you things that just aren't true. If you listen to your mind you will be stuck in neutral and life will pass you by. I want to drag as many of you along with me as I possibly can. I have found the ultimate ride and I'm not getting off. Climb in, fasten your seatbelt, and lets throw it into gear. Let me know if you need a jumpstart, I'm just a comment away. WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!!! Oh and by the way, I will be signing up for my next 5K this week. It's in Morganton. Come run with me;)