One can for every pound I lose...bring it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Arrival in Malibu

Malibu Barbie, you're not anatomically possible.
Back in Philly this morning I stopped at the Xpres Spa in the airport for a pre-flight neck & back massage (what a great idea!) Through small talk he found out why I was headed to LA  - I told him - and he said, "Why?", inferring that I did not need to go to someplace affiliated with Biggest Loser. Nice compliment I suppose - brought up a hint of doubt in my intentions -  then I realized my neck and back aren't what I would consider my "problem areas" so he kind of had a skewed perception.

I got on the plane.

After a fairly uneventful flight, I arrived safely at LAX! The reality of it hit me - here I was, finally, after blogging about it and shopping for socks and shoes and anticipating it. I was on my way. Talking with my Aunt in the van on the way to the resort, I literally gasped when I saw the Pacific Ocean - what views! The fact that I am blessed to be here has not once escaped me since touchdown, and I will not take a moment of this experience for granted. Pinky swear.

Checked in at the front desk and was whisked upstairs for measurements. As in, tape measure and scale. A necessary evil. The background music should've been by Shakira cuz honey, my hips don't lie. Yup, glad I got on that plane!!
After measurements a group of 5 of us were taken into a room to speak with the life coach. Bubbly yet serious, she assured us the room was a "safe" place to talk and say whatever we needed to say. Asked about fears, I answered "rattlesnakes" and was told that they don't come out unless it starts to warm up (which I imagine it just might do here in, um... California) and that if we stamp a stick down on the ground they get scared away from the vibrations. I wonder if they sell sticks in the gift shop??

Anyway, she really was great, and I have a session booked with her later this week. Along with a massage and a hair appointment. Relaxation is highly encouraged here, and I will make sure I get some.
At dinner I got to sit with someone I "know" from Facebook & the blog world - Peggy - who was gracious enough to let me shadow her and introduced me to her friends. Everyone seems so nice, and it's a real "family" atmosphere. Dinner was good - the picture is fuzzy (I think I was shaking from hunger) but I promised a certain friend I would take pictures of all the food so here goes. It was a tiny bit of chicken fanned around a ball of squash with marinara sauce & Brussels sprouts.

 Dessert was advertised as "key lime pie" but was unlike anything of the same name I've tried. It had some kind of puffed cereal as a "crust" which I could have done without - but the pie stuff was creamy and good. Proof that food can be good and that portion control is key, I have a feeling it'll take some getting used to. But, that is why I'm here.  
Should be off to bed now - it's been a loong day and there's a busy one tomorrow. Here's my schedule:

6am - Stretch (they say it's optional but everyone says GO)
7am - breakfast
8am - leave for hike (our first one is an "assessment hike" where we'll be noted on our fitness abilities and paired with others who are similar)
11:15 stretch
12:15 lunch
1:15 Lecture: Budget (just like home! hahahah)
1:45 open gym
2:05 Circuit
2:30 Step & Pump
3:30 Liquid Moves (pool! yay!)
4:30 circuit training
5:30 dinner
6:15 Lecture: Spending your calories wisely

So here I am - and here I go!! Thanks to everyone for their "souport" - I'll be thinking chicken noodle soup cans all day long tomorrow to keep me going! Missing my 3 guys at home but grateful that they love me enough to support me on this journey...and they'll be seeing "less" of me when I get back (-: 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shiny Happy People

And here I on my Adventure. I am only hoping that I'll use the same "A" word to describe it when I come back. I leave Sunday morning - since I'll be in Atlantic City with my son tomorrow, I had to do all my packing tonight. So I'll be blogless until I'm on the West Coast!

Packing was...easy. Let's see: workout clothes, workout clothes, and workout clothes. For the first time ever when packing for vacation, I don't have to worry about what will look "cute" or what I might need if I go to such and such a place.

Then again, this is not exactly a vacation.

Sure, I get to go to Malibu. OK, OK they have an ocean there. And there's a pool and it's called a "resort." I get it.

But, I am looking at this as more of a jumpstart to a new "me" - me, 2.0. The me that's been inside this whole time, who yelled to get out but was easily shooshed with a cookie or two. The me who stopped caring about health and the happiness that self confidence brought. Note, I did not say the happiness that being thin brought.  It's all about shining from the inside out. And, along with many friends I know who deal with being overweight, I just don't feel so "shiny" on the inside anymore. Putting others ahead of myself (hello, fellow Moms) and allowing stress to become a chocolate-covered crutch got me to a "dull" place. And here's my chance to do something about it...not all at once... but it's a starting point. One of my favorite quotes, by Maria Robinson, is "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." 

Here's my start, today. I'll be sure and keep you updated from sunny Malibu.

So peace out for now...It's time to get my shine on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat

Is it a coincidence that I'm flying away on Halloween? Actually, it is, since I didn't consider what day it was when I booked my flight. The irony is not lost on me, however. I am flying away from a candy-filled week to start my new, healthy lifestyle. Poetic, indeed. 

I kind of already "know" what I should be eating. I have the Bodybugg (love, love, love it) that tells me how many calories I burn. I purchased said Bodybugg back in April. Ya know, when I first called the Biggest Loser Resort and found out they were booked. Yeah....when I was gonna do it "on my own."

Yup, I know how many calories I burn. Got that down. Know how many steps I walk too. All over it. It's the "calories in" part that I have trouble controlling. I know it, but I can't apply it. So I am setting off on a journey to learn how to apply what I know (and, surely, what I will learn) in an environment meant to nurture this kind of behavior. I am feeling beyond blessed for the opportunity.

My sister recently said to me "I don't get it - why aren't you losing weight? You eat right, have a personal trainer..."  I guess I'm an all day grazer. I can imagine if I didn't exercise, I'd have a whole lot more than 30-ish pounds to lose. Yes, I also eat healthy. But if you eat too much healthy stuff, that's bad too. I know that "moderation" is the key. Knowing (and loving, and semi-practicing) Weight Watchers, I know nothing is off limits, I just need to practice portion control. I can have the good stuff - just less of it. Take, for example, my love of Nutella, which I grew up on as a child - on my trips to Germany, we ate it every day. I knew it before it came stateside. We were thisclose.

Nutella is great - healthy, even -  if you spread it thinly, on a slice of whole wheat bread. Off the spoon that was meant to serve mashed potatoes? Not so much. This is why I am heading on this journey.

My husband, using the same wry sense of humor that was one of the reasons I fell in love with him, recently sent me this:

HAHAHA. Bless his's true. I've been treating pretty much all food like candy (especially candy.) So, Biggest Loser Resort, you've got your work cut out for you. I'm gonna be sweating candy corns, but it'll be worth it when I take what I know, what I will learn, and apply it once and for all while giving back to people who haven't had enough to eat.

Trick or treat? How about tricks on how to treat my body with respect. That'll do. Can't wait.

The thrill of victory...not the agony of da feet

I have become irrationally interested in socks. Before, I could go forever without thinking about buying socks. When they got a hole at the big toe it was time to buy some more. Now, it is whatever will save my tootsies from the dreaded blisters I've been hearing about from those who didn't follow (sock) protocol while at the resort. I have researched socks, and come to the conclusion that my 12 pairs of Wrightsocks Cool Mesh II are the ones for the job of keeping my feet happy for 7 hours of exercise a day. (I also have a few back up socks from a competing brand (Thorlo) as I will be changing socks at least twice a day) Yup, starting Monday, exercise will be my full time job! My "souporters" will be happy to know that I am taking this job quite seriously and have invested in what I believe just might be the best socks on the planet.

These socks make a hefty claim:
Blister free- guaranteed! That is a seriously unique guarantee, and I am sure by the very nature of it, it's true. Like, who would put that on the package if it wasn't true? I am looking forward to trying them out on my Malibu hikes.

As a side note, shame on Shoebuy for packaging the socks in this box:

The socks were 20% off, but the box was 80% bigger. Not cool, Shoebuy. Someone needs to tell them the world is going green.

So, that's it this time. No motivational speech or quote. Just socks. To be updated on whether or not my feet are, indeed, blister free next week. I am sure they will be - it's guaranteed!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Seven Days Makes One Weak

And so the countdown begins. After much anticipation (although not too much, as I only decided to go a few weeks ago) I am now officially a week away from getting on the plane from Philly to California for my week at the Biggest Loser Resort.

Blogging about it has been fun. I'm telling a prelude now to what will be a much more interesting story next week (and the weeks after that I am sure). Googling which shoes to buy, chatting about blister free socks, packing my suitcase, stocking up on sunscreen, counting soup cans in my head, picking out the right Camelbak hydration pack (70 oz, silver, fabulous) - it's been fun. It all reminds me of....Christmas.

Ah, the sweet anticipation of the holidays. Making the list, checking it ten times (twice is for wimps), getting just the right photo for our cards (I have a feeling Aldo will not be receptive to antlers this year) and wrapping the gifts so they look like little boxes of love, placed with care under the tree, waiting for the "oohs" and "ahhs" (I am SUCH a good gift giver, never fail to delight.) It's the anticipation that is so enthralling. Behold the sight leading up to the Big Day:

Counting down the days with the themed wall calendar, getting one step closer. Holiday parties, tree decorating, making plans with family. And finally, Christmas Day arrives. And then? Someone wants to take a picture before you've brushed your hair (or teeth.) You have to shuffle between families and make sure no one feels left out. The presents are opened within a matter of minutes, in a whirlwind of paper, the expected oohs and ahhs are rather fleeting, my famous line "oh, that takes BATTERIES?" reappears, the flash doesn't go off (or does), the coffee is not even done brewing and then, this...

I'm always left with a feeling of "it's over already? so quickly?" every year. I find the moments leading UP TO Christmas are more enjoyable than the event itself (except, of course, for the fact that it's a wondrous day with very special meaning in my life).

My husband always talks about "mindfulness." It's something I've practiced since our accident; I've tried to be more "mindful" about being in the moment in many facets of my life - even with my eating. It's been a tough sell for me, having been described as "shooshly". I am now anticipating my trip and worrying that my time will be over before I know it.

So, with one week to go, my prayer is this:

Lord, help me appreciate the gift I am about to receive. Let this week of anticipation be one that I can savor. Let me not forget the true meaning of this journey as we all tend to do with the holidays. Let me appreciate the nature, the beauty of what I am about to experience as I transform my body and mind. Help me to see that I am not weak and am getting stronger every day, and that I can do this as You promised through You who strengthens me. Amen.

Yes, I am weak with nerves, doubting myself as I often do, even as I pledge to raise so many cans of soup and have people cheering me on. But, I know that seven days from now, I am taking a positive step forward to face my fears and allow myself to be open to a new experience. I am seven short days away from a great adventure where I already feel like I have made some friends (thank you, Internet).

Looking forward to the end of the week? Nope. And if you haven't noticed by now, I tend to like to end on a dramatic note, so, as not to disappoint, here's what I'm looking forward to:

Seven days, and seven nights, and it's ON like Donkey Kong.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Power of One

I've been feeling very blessed lately as my "souporters" pledge their cans for my weight loss. What started as a small mission to help others while keeping me motivated along the way is blossoming into love and support (er, souport?) from not only friends & family, but strangers!

Within 5 minutes of sending out my request for "sponsors" I heard from the Chairman of the Board from my company, telling me he'd be my (1st) soup sponsor. Many similar emails followed suit from friends, family, colleagues. Facebook friends from near and far (Maryland! Michigan! New York! California!) also souported me. At the salon today I shared my upcoming Biggest Loser Adventure with the aesthetician. We talked about diets and such, and when she went to leave, she asked me to forward my blog and said "I'm in" regarding the soup donation. Blessed!

So when I was wondering how much of a dent I could actually make in raising soup for local (and not so local!) food banks, I realize now it just might be a noticeable one (almost as noticeable as the hit and run dent my car got at Sam's Club last week, but that's a different story).

At my Hampton Brand Conference earlier this year, the Global Head of Focus Service Brands at Hilton talked about the "power of one." He shared the story of the boy and the starfish with us:

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
1907 - 1977
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young boy, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The boy was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The boy paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the boy replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

Love this story! I started this Biggest Loser journey thinking "Ok, worst case scenario, I lose 2 or 3 pounds." Now, there is no worst case scenario...because those 2 or 3 pounds will translate into possibly hundreds of hot meals for hungry bellies, and that is quite alright with me!

Yay! I am so excited to get to Malibu, lose weight and gain confidence while knowing that some grocery aisles across the country may be a bit low on chicken noodle soup when I get back. (-:

The power of many starts with the power of one...and together we can "make a difference to that one."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Going up?

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I was young, I'd bound up the steps two at a time. As I grew into my teenage years I figured out which ones creaked and would avoid them as I crept in past my curfew. Now? I take the elevator. Ha, Ha. Half-kidding...

I think we all need to look at our personal journeys - whatever they may be - as "one step at a time." In committing myself to the Biggest Loser "adventure" (my word not theirs...and my word BEFORE I get there) I am only looking at the first step - the decision to go. It's a step in faith. Faith in myself, in my body, in God, in the program. After that? Well, that particular staircase is kind of high, and my fear of heights prevents me from looking up.

I confirmed my shuttle arrangements today, spoke with my BL phone friend Shayley (what a doll!) about my upcoming stay - she recently spent some time there as part of her training and was very excited about all I would experience. I have all the gear - the recommended socks (if you had talked to me a mere few weeks ago about which socks prevent blisters, I wouldn't have had a clue - I could now write a book, or at least a small pamphlet); the pool shoes to prevent foot injury in water aerobics; sports bras (yay! I never knew!) and assorted workout gear (my favorite T says "On A Mission"). I'm ready. What to expect?

No expectations,

In reading my Dad's book he left behind, I am reminded of the First Step he took about 25 years ago...the step to admit he was powerless ...and that his life had become unmanageable. 12 steps is a lot to do at once, and I remember how powerful that first step was for him. The step that brought him to faith, allowing him to eventually sponsor others as others had done for him as he got to the top of that staircase.  

Not looking for a quick fix this time. Not going to microwave, fast forward, or take shortcuts. No longer taking the elevator to the top, I stand at the bottom... on the first step... in faith.

One Year Anniversary

One year ago today, my family was involved in a horrific accident that could have taken our lives. An elderly woman drove into our lane and we hit her head on at 50 miles an hour. By the grace of God, we were all OK. And by OK, that includes my cracked ribs, whiplash and torn meniscus. I was alive; my husband and son were alive, and we would all recover from our injuries. We'd be fine!

The car did not fare as well.

One year ago, I was unable to walk, cough, sneeze, or pretty much breathe without a tremendous amount of pain. On a scale of one to ten? Ten. The minutes were agonizing. I spent six weeks sitting upright on the couch struggling to find a position that was bearable since there were none that were comfortable. I slept, on average, two hours a night.

The accident occurred in the midst of my "this is it" weight loss effort. You know, the epiphany similar to the one I experienced in the doctor's office earlier this year. I had hired a personal trainer, was eating right...educated myself on proper nutrition and "calories in, calories out." I would go for long walks in the park, marvelling at the changes in my endurance with each lap. The pounds were melting off. And then....this. It just didn't seem "fair."

I spent most of my time on the Internet, distracting myself with planning our next trip to Disney in May. It was the only thing that kept me going. I planned every detail, while my Vicodin wasn't clouding my ability to type.

But in the moments of self pity mixed with moments of sheer gratitude for things I had taken for granted (like taking laundry out of the washer or sleeping on my side) I realized that maybe, just maybe, I was given the opportunity to "slow down" a little...that my life had been hectic and unfocused. I now have a deeper appreciation for everything in my life.

So, the opportunity to go to the Biggest Loser Resort almost exactly a year to the day since our accident is a huge gift to me. It's literally a gift to myself for my 40th birthday...but it's also a gift from God, who made this amazing body which has healed and is strong enough to accept this challenge.

Everyone has their own personal journey; their reason for wanting to do something to better themself. I gained 17 pounds on that couch, on top of the 20 I already had to lose. I also gained a deeper respect for my body, which I will treat with dignity and pride as I head out to jumpstart my "once and for all" weight loss journey in Malibu.

 Bring on that mountain! I've already climbed one or two. (-:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Decision

"I won't talk to you again if you go!"

That was the response from one of my (dear) friends when he found out I was going to the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu. "You'll be laughed at!" was the response from another.

I'm 5'3" and currently weigh in at 164. Yes, I know that might be someone's goal weight. But 6 pounds ago, I read the upside-down diagnosis at the doctor's office in horror.


"Wha-what does that say?" I asked knowing full well what it said (unfortunately, MY doctor had impeccable handwriting.)

Doctor "S", bless his heart, my favorite doctor in the world, did his best "I'm sorry" with a sheepish look.

"You're sorry I'm fat?" How silly for a doctor to apologize for my overeating. I was stunned, but I shouldn't have been. I'd been battling with my extra weight for years. This was my wake-up call.

OK, OK I know those "charts" can be argued, but according to my BMI, I was obese. I started to sound like those eliminated contestants on The Biggest Loser: "America, (I mean, Dr. "S"..) the next time you see me, you'll take that right off my chart!"

I know my friends mean well, and God Bless them for telling me I'm fine the way I am. But...I don't feel fine. See, for someone who's overweight, it's all relative. My 31 extra pounds is MY mountain. And I'm about to climb it, in a big way.

Why Biggest Loser?

I'm a HUGE fan of the show. When I saw the advertisement during one of their commercials for their Biggest Loser Resort in Utah, I wanted in! When I called for information back in April, they had a waiting list through August. "Forget it - I'll be thin by then!" I thought.


Fast forward to September. Still had the extra weight to lose and saw an ad for the brand-new resort in Malibu! I called out of curiosity and braced myself for the waiting list response. "We've got an opening as early as next week!" was the chipper reply. OMG, could I do it?

I had been toying around with the idea of a Christmas trip to Disney. The lights, the parades, the festivity... and the food. Most of my trip was planned around where and what we would eat. I had come across a quote that said something like "If you do what you did today for the next 365 days, will you be where you want to be in a year?" If I went to Disney, the answer would be no. No matter how much walking we did (my last trip logged around 16,000 steps a day) it would not counteract the creme brulee....mushroom filet with risotto at Le Cellier...mickey waffles...

Oh, sorry, I digress.

I broached the subject with my husband carefully A week away would require his full support. Manning the household, getting our son to and from school, taking care of the dog...he would be sacrificing a week of freedom and shared responsibilites so that I could have a one week, "all about me" vacation. Of course I didn't use the word "vacation" exactly. He said yes, and less than a week later I booked my flight, my shuttle, and my private cabin at the resort. I leave in 2 weeks!

Disney can health and wellness cannot!