An Inspiring Weight Loss Story

I have known Annemarie for almost 3 years now. We both started Weight Watchers at about the same time….one of us has achieved our goal and the other has not…lol, I guess you can guess which one, since the story is about her!! (I do have a pretty good story myself, but that’s for another time.) Annemarie and I were pretty much neck in neck in the weight loss for quite awhile. And then one day, it was like she sprinted ahead of me like a gazelle!! The difference at that time was what she did for exercise. She poured her heart, soul and energy into it, and as you can see, it worked! That larger woman in those pictures…well I really don’t know her. Annemarie had already had quite a bit of success before I met her. She has given you a short version of her story here, but I can tell you, she has worked HARD at this adventure. And even more, she shares and inspires other people. She is a cheerleader, a coach and a player in this game we call weight loss! Enjoy her story!

Peace,

Julie

 

At 48 years old I was in constant pain and felt like a prisoner in my own home.  Just walking around my house caused my feet and heels to ache and I was afraid I was going to end up dying young.  I had tried every diet out there and I had even thought of getting gastric bypass surgery but was afraid of the recovery and complications, not to mention the cost of the surgery.  At over 376 pounds I was sure that I just couldn’t do it on my own. I ended up in the ER one night after watching the movie “2012” and the Dr. told me I had a heart murmur and was pre-diabetic.  He advised me to begin taking better care of myself and losing some weight.  It was so overwhelming when I thought of how much weight I needed to lose.  But I was so tired of popping Motrin like candy and my stomach was constantly hurting due to the overuse of pain relievers.  

A few weeks later while watching “The Biggest Loser” on television, I saw that the heaviest woman they had ever had on the show was almost as big as I was!  I thought to myself if she could do this I had to at least try one more time.  So I began by getting on my recumbent bike and watching the Biggest Loser only when I was on the bike.  Needless to say it took many days before I could watch the entire episode!!  After losing about 16 pounds I joined Weight Watchers for the 6th time.  It was the only program that had ever worked for me and I felt right at home after arriving for my meeting in January 2011.  I continued to increase my exercise and began my journey to success.

 I can’t say it was easy but I was determined to be healthy by the time my 50th birthday came around.  I began exercising more and actually wore out my recumbent bike finally!  Then I took my exercise outdoors again and began walking and wearing a pedometer to track my steps.  I reached my goal weight on Christmas Eve of 2012 and made my Lifetime status on February 4, 2013.  Not only did I lose over 206 pounds but I was finally able to fulfill a lifetime dream of mine of working as a Leader for Weight Watchers and inspiring others to be their best and healthiest self! 

I am now leading meetings in Croswell at the Aitkin Library on Thursday evenings and I also help out in Port Huron and Sandusky and have several At Work meetings as well.  I just turned 52 last month and not only am I healthy and pain free…but I am constantly inspired by my Weight Watcher members and am enjoying life like I have never been able to before. 

Sometimes I don’t recognize myself when I see a picture but I sure do like who I see now.  I am constantly amazed that I was able to lose so much weight and I now realize that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and I am a strong and beautiful woman.  I am no longer afraid to reach for my dreams and am no longer a prisoner in my own body.  Weight Watchers isn’t a diet it is a way of living…a lifestyle choice that with successful planning and daily activity, anyone can be successful on for life. 

I still attend weekly meetings (number 1 most important part of the program in my book!!) and always wear my pedometer which keeps me motivated to be active and constantly set new goals!  The joy of being “normal” and being able to fit into regular clothing, chairs, cars and airplane seats  brings me happiness every single day that I get out of bed!  If I could do it, anyone can!  BELIEVE in yourself and all of your dreams will come true! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

Annemarie 3 Annemarie 5Annemarie 1Annemarie 4

Annemarie 2

A Journey Back To Health – One Woman’s Amazing Weight Loss Story

I would like to introduce you to an amazing woman who is on an awesome journey towards weight loss. Meet Kelli a 40 year old woman who has lost 134.3 pounds to be exact!! I have known Kelli since she was a little girl. (Ok…now that is making me feel old!!!) I know that this is something she has struggled with for a long time. Her story is very motivating as her health had to take a big dip before she found the motivation. (Isn’t it that way for most of us!!??) But find it she did and sometimes it makes me tired just reading of all of the exercise and working out she is doing. So sit back, relax and read Kelli’s story. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!! If  you would like to continue to follow Kelli’s progress, check our her motivational weight loss page at www.facebook.com/weightlossmyway

Peace,

Jules

What made you start your weight loss journey?

Weight loss has been a lifelong battle for me. Even though I played all sports in school, I was always a lot bigger than the other girls in my class. As time went on, I graduated from college and started working in high stress environment working long hours, rarely getting a lunch and either not eating all day or living on fast food with little to no exercise. That was a recipe for disaster. Ultimately I tipped the scales at 368 pounds. Even at 5’11 (5’10 with spine degeneration), that’s a lot of weight for anyone to carry. When I thought things couldn’t get worse, my Dermatologist prescribed Accutane to me for acne which wasn’t that bad. I basically broke out the week before and after my period, but this had gone on for like 15 years and I was tired of not getting results. What a mistake that was! Within a few short months I ended up on medical disability at the age of 36! Then I was hospitalized four times in four years (side effects from Accutane). At one point I was so sick that I was seeing 20 different medical professionals and sleeping 18 hours a day with medical co-pay bills exceeding $10,000 a year! I literally could not get out of bed. My body just wouldn’t move. Prior to that, regardless of 90 hour work weeks in a high stress leadership capacity, I was always an outgoing, high energy person who motivated others. My last position was Regional Director for EDS Credit Union in Michigan. After a year and a half in bed, one of my friends turned me onto her holistic practitioner, Sandy Waters, RN in Waterford who practiced Nutritional Response Testing (NRT/Muscle Testing). At that point I would have tried anything. It took 6 months of taking Organic Whole Food Supplements for me to be able to get out of bed. As soon as I was strong enough, I went right to a local fitness and training center and signed up for six months of personal training sessions. I was definitely on a quest to get my life back! I lost close to 100 pounds on my own in 10 months time, but then I fell into a terrible funk after my last hospitalization that I just couldn’t pull myself out of. My doctor prescribed Paxil for anxiety and depression. I could have eaten a house. I gained 60 pounds in two months! I was so mad, frustrated and just felt defeated. All that hard work down the drain! It was then that I decided to have weight loss surgery. Which is what I did on December 20, 2012. Knowing what I know now I wish I would have never had the surgery. I could have lost the weight on my own as hard as I’ve been training. Otherwise the surgery was a breeze. My Reiki Master/Teacher prepared my body before the surgery, sent me energy during the surgery and afterwards. I never once got sick and I was eating solid foods in 5 days, but that was part of the problem. Nothing changed. I can eat all the same foods, eat the same amount, sugar doesn’t make me sick, nothing. I had to change for me and I worked out hard. I lost this weight, the surgery wasn’t much help. Plus I recently found out that I don’t methylate (this means process toxins out of her body…I had to ask too!) and I’m Leptin Resistant, so I’m on supplements to correct that. And I started drinking Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother each day and the weights just been falling off me. There’s so much more, but I could be here all day listing the things that I did, things I tried, holistic healing, etc, but most of it you can read on my FB page.

How did you lose the weight?

A lot of hard work, self motivation, consistent dedication and determination! 🙂 I made a bold move and announced my weight loss journey and my six month goal on facebook. My plan was to lose 50 pounds by year end which I did. I checked in every time I worked out and posted my weekly weight loss numbers. I was training up to 14 hours in a week between two gyms and physical therapy and that was with two bad knees and a bad back. So all of my exercises had to be modified which made weight loss a lot slower for me. After losing 25 pounds I started posting weekly progression photos which was pretty powerful. What I found is that I was motivating others and in return their compliments and encouragement was motivating me right back.

I initially started working out with a personal trainer at VIP Fitness & Training in July 2011. I trained with Jackie 2-3 times a week and then joined Great Lakes Athletic Club for water aerobic classes and swimming to get my cardio in. Some weeks I was training up to 14 hours and that was after 5 knee surgeries and tipping the scales at 368. I desperately needed exercise that was easy on my joints. My goal was to lose 50 pounds by year end which is exactly what I did. In January 2012, I switched trainers and started weight lifting with Earl Hook. He has a program called “Pure Power.” It’s no joke! I was training 3-4 hours, 3x’s a week. The first day of training I could barely walk, sit or lift my fork at dinner and that’s no exaggeration. And that was AFTER working out 6 full months with a personal trainer PLUS cardio 5-7 days a week! That guy was hardcore, but he also got results. Shortly after starting Earls program, one of the guys that I graduated with, Tom Bos who is part owner of World Gym in Waterford sent me a message. He said, if you’re really serious about losing the weight, I’ll give you a FREE membership to my club and personally train you until you hit your goal. Talk about a GIFT from God…WOW! I’ve been training with Tom since March 2012.

Diet wise I slowly made lifestyle changes that I could live with; high protein, low carbs, low sugar. I took several nutrition classes and the holistic practitioners that I worked with were always educating me on nutrition and holistic practices. It was a true learning experience that I’m very grateful for. I also discovered www.myfitnesspal.com which was a great tool for tracking my food (calories, protein, carbs, fats, etc). If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s an eye opening experience. in the last six months I discovered the Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet). If you haven’t heard of it…Please Google it. It’s the healthiest eating lifestyle out there. It’s literally curing autoimmune diseases. You lose weight, lean out, get stronger, have more energy and your health improves dramatically. There’s no question that organic whole food heals…It’s proven.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Initially I was self motivated to save my life and get my health back on track. I wanted to take the stress off my joints, my knees and back were killing me. Plus diabetes and heart disease run on both sides of my family and those are definitely limbs of the family tree that I want to avoid.  I was inspired by all of the motivational saying and affirmations that I saw on facebook. They always gave me a positive energy boost. Plus as I started to lose weight others noticed and they always complimented me and encouraged my weight loss journey in person and on facebook. Recently I found myself being inspired by all of the other women at the gym who are there with me every day of the week. It takes a special person to have that level of dedication and commitment. Other things that motivated me were contests online like www.DietBet.com, www.ChallengeLoop.com, www.shapeupchallenge.com and many, many more just like it. I also began training for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer…60 miles in 3 Days. So I followed a grueling 6 day training schedule for that. Thankfully the finish line is in sight…I’ll be walking in Atlanta October 18-20. In July I signed up to walk The Biggest Loser Run/Walk series 15k (9.32 miles) in Chicago. That was my first official race which of course I walked because I literally can’t run. It’s just way too hard on my joints. Since then I walked The Michigan Mile & The Crim 10Miler in August, plus the Detroit Woman’s Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in September. At the end of October I’m walking the Halloween Hustle 10K (6.21 miles) at Stoney Creek Metro Park if anyone wants to join me. 🙂

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part is to make it a lifestyle and keep going day after day after day. Especially the last 6 months training 7 days a week, most days twice a day. It’s a lot of work and patience. I got through by treating training like a job. I scheduled my work outs on my calendar and showed up to train like my pay check depended on it. Plus I had a lot of motivation to keep going. Someone was training me for FREE! #1 and that’s a huge gift that I couldn’t pass up. #2 I wouldn’t want to disappoint my trainer after all the time and effort that he put in. #3 This journey is for me! 🙂 #4 I’ve got a lot of people following my journey so I feel a sense of obligation to keep going for them. The old adage of, “One day at a time” is really how you do it.

What is the best part?

The best part is the relief that my joints are getting and how much my health has improved overall. Getting my energy levels back. Healing my gut and eliminating food allergies. After recent testing, I have a heart rate of 50 which they said is an athlete’s heart. I look and feel so much better. It’s so nice to go to a sporting event, concert or theater performance and fit in the seat. To be able to ride the rides at Cedar Point again. To fly in an airplane with leg and hip room and not have to use a seat belt extension. To fit comfortably in my car and other cars. To be able to ride my mountain bike again. To fit into size 14 clothing again! I’m still an 18 on the bottom, but I can’t wait to shop at a regular clothing store! I’m looking forward to hitting my goal and buying new clothes! 🙂 Having the option to go zip lining, ride in a helicopter or anything else that has a weight requirement. Comparing my before and after photos to see how far I’ve come. Receiving compliments everywhere I go on how great I look. And most of all…It makes me so HAPPY to know that I played a part in motivating and inspiring others on their journey.

Kelli photo 1BEFORE

Kelli's progressProgress Pictures!!

Kelli photo 7

Christian Workout Song List

A few weeks ago I shared a link to the top 100 Christian Workout Songs. I finally got around to creating my own playlist from this list of songs! 100 was just a few too many so I narrowed it down a bit. Some of the songs I already had and the rest I purchased from iTunes. I’ve also included the links to a couple of my favorites that have good beats to walk to!! I know music is always motivating to me and helps make my walks more pleasurable, and I hope you find some of them motivating too!!

1. Alive by Avalon

2. Forgive by Reliant K

3. He Gave Me You by Sierra

4. This Little Light of Mine by Addison Road

5. Until the Whole World Hears by Casting Crowns

6. Hold Me, 7.  God Girl and 8.  Holding On by Jamie Grace

9. Move by Mercy Me

10. So Long Self by Mercy Me

11. Where Jesus Is by Joey and Rory

12. Simple Things by Amy Grant

13. Love Him Like I do by Deitrick Haddon

14. Gold by Britt Nicole

15. This is the Stuff by Francesca Battistelli

16. Friend Like Than by Hawk Nelson

17. Live Life Loud by Hawk Nelson

18. One Little Miracle by Amy Grant

19. I Refuse by Josh Wilson

20. Hello, My Name is by Matthew West

21. How You Live by Point of Grace

22. Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

23. Follow Me there by Third Day

24. Light Up the Sky by The Afters

25. Start Over by The Afters

26. You Are More by Tenth Avenue North

27. Fight Another Day by Addison Road

28. Just Might Change Your Life by Sidewalk Prophets

29. Love is Here, 30. Lift Us Up to Fall, 31. By Your Side, 32. Let it Go, 33. Break Me Down, 34. Hold My Heart 35. Times, 36. Times, 37. Beloved, 38. You Are, 39. Satisfy, 40. Hallelujah, 41. Lovesick and 42. Love is Here  by Tenth Avenue North.

Ok!!! So I guess I created a little bigger list than I thought!! I hadn’t counted before, but that’s ok…this way I won’t get bored. Check a few of these out and like I did, maybe you will discover some new artists!!

This following song is Move by Mercy Me! It has a great beat!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmUDDxflt6o

This next one is This Little Light of Mine by Addison Road.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq5DDHC8wug

Blessings!

Julie

 

Imagine Great Things!

This picture makes me laugh! I hope you never stop imagining great things for yourself-no matter how you look to the rest of the world!

~Jen

image

Stretching Video

My main form of cardio these days is running.  It is a great form of exercise for me, I feel like I get maximum benefits for minimum time.  Over the past few months though, I have noticed that my muscles are really tight and my flexibility has been suffering so I’ve made it a goal to try to increase my flexibility this year and hopefully do away with some sore muscles!  I found a lot of great stretching videos on You Tube for free.  Below is a Yoga stretch video by Kathy Smith.  I’m not a big fan of the “new age” type yoga with meditation ect. but I have found quite a few “sporty” type yoga/stretching videos out there.  The focus is on stretching and flexibility. This video is broken into two parts, each about 10 minutes long.  You can do both or just one if you are time crunched.  She offers some great modified options (which I am currently following).  I hope that if I stick with it, I can eventually move on to the regular moves.  Another benefit I have found with adding stretching/yoga to my exercise routine, is the calmness and stress relief it brings me.  If you have never tried this type of exercise before, I encourage you to give it a whirl, I think you will be glad you did.

How about you?  Do you have any fitness goals for this year?  Do you have any stretching exercises or videos you like?  I would love to hear about it.

Here is to a happy, healthy day!

~Jen

 

 

 

9 Tips to Lose Weight No Matter How Busy You Are!

 

Christine and dave exercise

I follow a blog by fitness expert Chris Freytag. She has a lot of inspirational weight loss, fitness and healthy living tips. I particularly liked this one as I often use being “too busy”  as an excuse to not exercise the way I want to. It’s a big excuse and I admit that I use it too often. I’m about to start training to walk a 10K so the time has come to find the time! Hope you all find this article as inspiring and motivating as I did! Pictured above is my oldest daughter and her husband who recently ran a half marathon to help raise money for Chrohn’s Disease! I am both surprised and proud of them. She has always said she “wasn’t a runner!” Well I guess that isn’t true now is it!!

9 TIPS TO LOSE WEIGHT NO MATTER HOW BUSY YOU ARE

by Chris Freytag

I hear it all the time: “I don’t have enough time to exercise.” Or people will tell me they will get back to their fitness goals someday when they have time. But someday can easily turn in to never. Take control of your day and prioritize your health and fitness! After all, it’s not about finding the time, it’s about creating the time. Get back on track no matter what your day looks like with these tips.

1. Add strength training to your routine.

Even if you focus on just one muscle group a day and do three different exercises, (three sets of 15 for that muscle group) you’ll benefit. You can divide it up throughout the week. Remember: the secret to a revved up metabolism is muscle.

2. Put yourself first.

Stressful situations can take your focus away from properly caring for yourself. If you neglect yourself for the sake of external problems, you’ll create more problems than you are solving. Make sure you consider what you need and do something—however small—for yourself each day, even if you only devote 30 minutes to your health each day.

3. Eat whole, fresh foods in a rainbow of colors.

Generally, the fewer foods you consume that come in a box or have a label, the healthier you’re eating. Fresh, wholesome fruits and veggies are available in ample supply right now, so take advantage!

4. Eat mindfully.

There are all sorts of tips for mindful eating. Don’t watch TV and eat. Pay attention to what you’re eating. Ask yourself if you’re really are hungry or if something else is going on. Check first to see if you are just thirsty. Determine when you are satiated. Eat slowly. Put your fork down in between bites. The best mindful eating weight loss tip is to connect with what you’re thinking and feeling. You have all the answers. You know when you are overeating. You know when you have gone too long without working out. Awareness is the first step toward change.

5. Have a purpose for doing all this.

How are you doing on the goals you set for yourself at the start of this year? If they’ve gotten away from you, how can you get back on track? Toss guilt out the window, and just start over. Give yourself a fresh start. If it helps, start with the end in mind and think about how you want to feel when this year concludes. What do you have to do to get there?

6. Set a simple routine and stick to it. 

One great way to kill your confidence is to constantly start and stop your fitness regimen. It’s common for people to get psyched up and dive in to working out and then drop it altogether when the craziness of life intervenes. But if you start and stop all the time, you are setting yourself up for a never-ending cycle, where you won’t see any progress. Commit to what you can achieve, at least at first. If you start overly ambitious, you are less likely to stick with your routine. Try two workouts a week at first until you regularly stick to your routine for a month. Or just commit to 15 minutes a day if that’s all you can do at first. If you see that you are steadily making progress, you will gain momentum and confidence you can build on.

7. Set rules that work for you. 

Many people who’ve successfully lost weight and kept it off have set rules for themselves. Figure out how often you will work out, the bad habits you are willing to give up and the good habits you will start, the healthy food you will have on hand when you get the munchies and the number of glasses of water you will drink each day.

8. Be open to surprising yourself. 

Think about how you feel when you finish an intense workout, run a mile when you never have before, finish a new weight lifting routine, or venture to a new fitness class you haven’t tried before. You have a sense of accomplishment. Muscles are sore that you didn’t even know you had. When you surprise yourself, it will motivate you to keep going—or set your sights higher.

9. Don’t chase perfect, chase perfectly healthy.

The best part about chasing healthy is it’s achievable. Chasing some idealized vision of perfect doesn’t set people up to have healthy self-images or achievable goals. The perfect word can even be a trigger for some. It’s that all or nothing thinking—perfect or nothing at all. Focusing on health provides you with a whole bunch of bonus benefits: increased energy, boosted immunity, enhanced mood, more time alive … You get my point!

The best part of tips is you can incorporate a few at a time or add an extra tip each week. Just start to make small changes daily and you’ll surprise yourself with the results.