10 September 2013

Weight Loss Success Story: How Kelliann Lost 175 Pounds

31 Lovely Thoughts
We all need some inspiration from time to time. You have read how Elizabeth lost 150 pounds and other success stories on Her Weight Loss Diary. Every weight loss success comes in all shapes and sizes but there's one thing in common, every success story has a turbulent journey filled with many failures prior to that celebrated point of success. Kelliann of Life in Crisis shares how she finally lost 175 pounds. I hope you inspired!

As always, leave you precious thoughts in comments "do you think sharing stories of success is important? If yes, why? And if you say no I'd like to know your reason."

My name is Kelliann and 5 years ago I weighed 365 lbs. It’s hard to “tell my story” because like so many journeys there are twists and turns, failures and successes. Although, I have learned along the way that “failures” are merely a stepping stone in the journey as a whole – still leading me down the path I am meant to be on.

I remember the moment I really knew I had to lose the weight. I was carrying my then-8-month-old son up the stairs for his nap. I had to stop midway up the staircase to catch my breath. I stood there and I thought “He’s only going to get bigger. I can hardly carry him now!” It was then I knew something had to be done. So, after months of researching and studying, doctors appointments and evaluations, I had gastric bypass surgery.

Sometimes people ask me why I decided to go the surgery route. Well, I knew I needed a heavy-duty tool to help me get moving in the right direction. I had dieted/restricted/binged my way all the way up to 365. I knew I needed more help.

I had my surgery in June of 2008. My son was just over 1 year old. I remember when the anesthesiologist was putting the mast over my face I said “Please take care of me. I have a baby who needs me” And then, I was out. Yes, it was very scary to make this decision, but I maintain it was the best decision of my life. After the surgery, I lost about 100 lbs over the next year. Then, I got pregnant with my second son. During the pregnancy, I gained about 50 lbs. I was terrified. What if I couldn’t get it off? What if I ended back up where I started? I wasn’t going to let that happen. So, after I had my little punkin’, and I was cleared by the docs, I went right into exercise and back to my bariatric diet. Exercise was not something I had done a LOT of up to this point. But it has now become an irreplaceable part of my life.

Eating right and exercising (and also dealing with a diagnosis of post-partum depression) with 2 small children at home was very difficult. Difficult, but not impossible. My husband is incredibly supportive of me and I am so blessed by him. Over the last few years I have not only dropped that 50 lb of pregnancy gain, but an additional 75, bringing my total to 175 lb lost.

Losing weight is hard, regardless of how you go about doing it. Having surgery was not “easy”, although some may think it is. A lot of my personal problem with food was mental and emotional. No surgery was going to do THAT work for me. I work on that every single day, even now.

My eating has changed a lot since the surgery. I focus a lot on whole foods with lots of fruit, veggies, protein, grains… I don’t “cut” anything out of my diet. Yes, I even eat treats! I eat to support my activity level, which is now very high. I train hard, weight lifting, circuit and HIIT training 4-5 days per week. I love every second of it. I never used to understand those people who loved to exercise, but now I am really one of them! Exercise has transformed my body into a strong, functional, beautiful thing. I am competing in my second mud run, called The Rugged Maniac in September. If you had told me a few years ago I would be doing that, I would have laughed in your face!

My motivation is easy: I look at my two gorgeous boys, now 6 and 3. I want them to be active, healthy and happy, and I know I have to lead by example. I admit, sometimes I just don’t want to go to the gym. Sometimes I want to go home after a long day of work and just snuggle up with my little “tribe”. And you know what? On those days, that is exactly what I do. I have discovered along the way that it’s not just about my physical body, (eating right and working out.) It’s about my life as a whole person. As a mom, a wife, an employee, a part time student, a church member, etc. I’m all these things, and I need to care for all of my needs – even the ones that tell me I need some REST and ALONE time! The weight loss by itself was not what made me happy. Discovering how to live and love my life, with the weight loss ENABELING me to do that, is what has made me happy.

I have also discovered that “perfect” is way over rated. I’m NOT perfect, and I am finally OK with that. I obsessed for a long time about losing another 25-30 lbs. Now, I love my body the way it is. When I stopped obsessing about the number on the scale, and started focusing on being very active, getting strong and eating yummy nutrient dense food, I started very slowly losing again. But frankly, even if the scale never moved down another notch, I would be entirely happy! Now THAT is some amazing progress!

Miss Honeybee asked me to share my 5 best weight loss tips, but I had 6, so here they are:

1. Love and honor yourself exactly where you are right now. That is how you can begin to move forward.

2. Get active. Not for the “calorie burn” or to “earn extra points, or food” but because it’s just GOOD and healthy for you! The body WANTS to move, so move it! Start with 5 minutes of whatever activity you LIKE to do. You’ll be amazing at what you can do!

3. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and surround yourself with people who believe in you too!

4. Ask for support. Everyone needs it, and it’s your responsibility to get it!

5. Eat food. Don’t try and restrict yourself to an impossibly low amount of calories. It will result in quick weight loss (of water, muscle and very little fat) and will promptly cause regain when it can’t be maintained. Figure out what your body really needs to sustain your activity (whether you are sedentary or active) and eat those calories. Check out this calculator to help you figure it out: http://iifym.com/tdee-calculator/ Your BRM is the amount of calories you would use if you laid in bed all day. Your TEDD is the amount you use doing your everyday activities.

6. Eat whole foods. Whole meaning as few ingredients as possible. Lots of whole, fresh foods, with your favorite treats thrown in here and there and you will be satisfied with your eating!

Although I have not been writing lately, living life and all, I will be re-launching my blog http://lifeincareer-sis.blogspot.com/ very soon! Please come take a look!

08 September 2013

Weight Loss Success Story: How Elizabeth Lost 150 Pounds

16 Lovely Thoughts
When someone loses a lot of weight, they get "How'd you do it?!" kind of question a lot. Elizabeth of The Singing Bird is remarkable for her 150-lb weight loss. In an exclusive interview with Her Weight Loss Diary, she tells how she has overcomes weight loss obstacles and shares how she keep motivated to finally lose the weight for good. 

In case you have missed, Elizabeth has also wrote a guest post How To Get Social While Keeping Your Diet Intact.

Don't forget to share in the comments, what is the best lessons you've learned from the journeys of others?

Her Weight Loss Diary (HEWLD):  You have lost over 150 lbs - What is the biggest factor in your weight loss success? 
Elizabeth (E): The biggest factor is tracking. When I am not tracking my food intake, I never lose as much weight. It's easy to think you're eating in a particular calorie/point range, when really you're eating too much. So, I try to track as much as possible. Find a way to track your food that works for you, whether it's a journal or something online like Sparkpeople (what I use) or my fitness pal. How many calories you will need to eat will vary, so if you go to a site that has the calorie counting, there are ways they compute it for you to take out the guesswork. When I first started out I ate around 2000 calories per day. 

HEWLD: How long does it take to see your weight loss result? 
E: If you are just starting out and being honest with your food intake (like measuring things and not overeating) and exercising, you should definitely see a loss in even the first week. You usually will lose more in the beginning, however, every person is different. I consistently lost weight every week for the first year. The closer I am to my goal (still about 20 pounds away) the harder it gets to lose. A good thing to do is find a pair of pants that are too tight, and try them on every few weeks, and then you can really see that you've gotten smaller, even when the scale doesn't move much. Someone who isn't very overweight will probably not have huge results each week. It's easier to create a calorie deficit when you're very overweight–like I was at 325 pounds. 

HEWLD: When you didn't lose weight for a few weeks - how did you keep motivated? 
E: It's hard to stay motivated when your weight doesn't budge. There were times I've been discouraged and gotten a little off track, but I always get right back to what I know I need to do, which is count calories, drink a lot of water, and work out. I know that even if I am not seeing a huge change in the scale, or even my clothes, that I am still living a healthy lifestyle, and eventually, it will pay off. 

HEWLD: What foods and habits were the most difficult for you to give up and change? 
E: I still have a hard time not overeating when we go out to eat. It's hard to see everyone else eat certain foods. That is why I try to limit how often I eat out. Also, I have a hard time not overeating things like candy and ice cream, so I don't allow much junk food in the house. Occasionally I still have a problem with binge eating, so if the house is full of sweets, it only makes it worse. 

HEWLD: Diet or exercise - which one helps you lose weight faster?
E: I think they are both equally important. For me, unless I am on point with both of them, I don't lose weight. Everyone is different, and some people are able to eat a lot and as long as they exercise, they lose weight. I am not one of those people. When I was training for a half-marathon last year I barely lost any weight. I was running so many miles that I thought some extra snacks wouldn't hurt, but they did. What they say about you not being able to out train a bad diet is true. 

HEWLD: Can you share your diet plan and workout routine? 
E: I don't follow a specific diet plan. What I do is try to eat a variety of healthy foods in a balanced way. Currently, I eat around 1600 calories per day. I don't do low carb or low fat, but I eat "good" carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, lentils, fruit and whole wheat bread. I avoid foods that don't give me much nutrition (junk food) but still have them on occasion. I've found that moderation works for me, so I won't say no to an occasional cupcake at a birthday party or something. I just don't eat those things every day. On my facebook page, From Fat to Fit, I have a photo album where I've taken pictures of many of the meals I eat. I don't make anything too fussy or complicated. I eat things like oatmeal and eggs for breakfast, and sandwiches fruit and yogurt for lunch, and then some sort of meat or fish for dinner with veggies.

As far as working out, right now I am doing half marathon training, so it's 4 days a week of running, and one cross training day where I do the elliptical or bike, and I do some strength training on a couple of those days (various machines at the gym, or I use my own body weight to do push ups, crunches, squats, etc). Before the half training, I ran 2-3 times a week and I did Jillian Michaels' workouts. Typically, I work out 5 days a week for about 45 minutes each time. When I was first starting out, I just walked. It was all I could do then because of my weight. 

HEWLD: Do you believe in "cheat days"?
E: Not really. I believe in eating well most of the time, but if I have the calories and I want to have a piece of pizza or something, I will. For me, it just works better than having one big meal out. I don't worry about counting calories for my birthday dinner or Thanksgiving. I think as long as you eat well most of the time an occasional splurge is ok, but I don't consider it cheating. While I try to eat healthy most of the time, I don't think it's horrible to have some ice cream sometimes. I think just the term cheating can bring up negative thoughts about yourself and food, and I don't like that. 

HEWLD: How do you make sure you stick on your diet plan at social gatherings?

E: This is hard for me, and I've definitely slipped up before, but I've found that with a little planning it's easier. I try to find out what food will be served, so I can sort of estimate the calories. I will try different things, but keep the portions of them small. If there are sodas, I try to just have water to save calories, but I will occasionally splurge on wine. Never go to a party or dinner starving, because you just end up overeating. I make sure I've eaten well during the day and sometimes will save some calories, but I don't starve myself beforehand, because then I know I'll eat way too much. 

HEWLD: What advice would you give to your "100 pound heavier" self? 
E: You will have bad days and good days. Just know that you can do this, and even when it's hard and you want to give up, don't. 

HEWLD: What advice would you give to your "50 pound heavier self?" 
E: Don't be scared to attempt running because you think only thin people can run. You will be great.

Pictures are copyrighted by Elizabeth of The Singing Bird. Do you have an inspiring weight loss story? Share your success story here. You just never know how your story could change someone else's life today.

05 September 2013

What to Do When Life Doesn’t Seem to Be Working for You

16 Lovely Thoughts
When things happen in the world that seem so far beyond our individual control, it can feel unsettling. But don’t give up on your goals and dreams just because “the time isn’t good”... you can still make 2013 the year to uncover a personal breakthrough! 

Even in tough times, you get to decide how to respond to certain conditions, opportunities, and outcomes—both good and bad. 

Life will always be a series of choices and YOU get to decide on what will move you closer to your goals, or farther away from them. External forces will always be part of the equation, even during the good times when the world is thriving. 

When people ask me about the single most important ingredient to success, I always share the same response: realizing what’s making you achieve success, and then realizing what is stifling your success. 

Sometimes recognizing the things that are NOT working in your life can be painful, yet VERY powerful to shaping the life you want. 

Don’t try to rationalize them, make excuses for them, or hide them. This is when it’s even more critical to take personal inventory and evict those excuses, rationalizations, and hidden habits that don’t serve you. These things will keep you from the life you want to be living. 

Let me give you some examples (do you see yourself in any of these questions?): 

Do you want to be active, fit, and strong? Then you have to stop making excuses about your weight, diet choices, and lack of exercise. 

Do you want to be in a loving relationship based on friendship and respect? Then you have to stop rationalizing why your mate is so unsupportive or why you are not communicating well. 

Do you want to embrace Monday mornings and feel joyful about going to work every day? Then you have to stop hiding your true passions and go after whatever it is you really want to be doing day in and day out. 

Do you want to lose the debt forever? Then you have to stop ignoring your spending habits and get real about a budget that will pull you out of debt and allow you to reach financial freedom. 

Do you want to feel more connected to the people in your life, such as your children, friends, and colleagues? Then you have to stop complaining about your poor relationships and figure out why you don’t feel as connected as you’d like to be. 

These things can be painful to look at because the truth is that you have to do something about them in order to make it work in your life. 

You’ll have to say no to the second helping of dinner and the dessert to follow and go through the action steps to get into shape... You’ll have to confront your partner about the areas that need work... You’ll have to get past fears about changing your job or professional path... You’ll have to cut back on your spending and be a bit more frugal... You’ll have to take a good hard look at your personal relationships and perhaps consider your own shortfalls and weaknesses in communicating your needs and concerns. 

Plain and simple, you will have to do something uncomfortable. 

Successful people don't waste time in denial (or complain or make excuses for that matter). They face situations like a warrior. They look for the warning signs, they find out why things aren’t working, and they go about fixing them- even when fixing requires problem solving, hard work, risk, and a level of uncertainty. 

It’s okay to identify a problem even though you haven’t a clue about how to go about solving it right away. The first step is just recognizing the issue, and then having faith that you’ll figure it out with careful attention to it. That’s how successful people live—in constant focus on goals, on results, on problem solving, and on the actions that get them to where they want to be. 

Following are three things to do constantly in pursuit of your goals and dreams, however big or small: 

Awareness: Keep your awareness on the feedback you are getting from life and decide to address the situations immediately. Don’t bottle up feedback, cast it aside, and avoid it like you would a pile of dirty laundry or a stack of unopened bills. Life tells you things every day. Do this. Don’t do that. Think about this. Try me. Forget that. We live in a world that seemingly encourages us to live on autopilot. Successful people fly manually every day and so should you. When those feedback signals come in, listen to them and use them in planning your next step. 

Commitment: Commit to finding out why things aren’t working and learn what will fix them. Once you start the process it will be much easier to continue. Nothing fruitful stems from inaction. 

Trust: Trust that making changes to the situation will ultimately bring about the best results. Sure you might go through a bit of discomfort during the change, and some unlikely or unwanted outcomes, but in the end you will triumph! 

So are you ready to admit the things that just are not working out? 

Make a list of the things in your life that are working against your success and ask how the situation can be improved. Commit to tackling just one of those issues and be brave! 

If you need help organizing those “things” in your life, try using the following list of categories. I recommend reflecting on each of the 7 areas and ask yourself, what’s not working here in each one and then brainstorm 3 potential solutions. 

1.) Financial Goals 
2) Career/Business Goals 
3.) Free Time/Family Time
4.) Health/Appearance Goals
5.) Relationship Goals
6.) Personal Growth 
7.) Making a Difference 

Remember, by facing what is not working, you can only improve your life! 

Share in the comments:
What is a difficult or troubling situation in your life? How are you creating it or allowing it to happen? What are you pretending not to know? What is the payoff for keeping it like it is? What would you rather be experiencing? What actions will you take to create that? By when will you take that action? 

About the Author:
Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com.

*Reblog from JackCanfield
Image from that arthletic girl
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