Is it Worth It?

Recently I was meeting with someone and we started talking about personal struggles and goal setting. I really like the AA mantra of Living Live One Day at a Time. However, my twist on that is that we have to set goals and plan for the future and then take it one day at a time. It’s kind of like climbing a mountain; you look up every once in awhile but you need to focus on the steps in front of us. I think we all have something that we might struggle with or want to set a goal for  whether it be addictions (alcohol, drugs, food, shopping etc), health issues, getting exercise or whatever your challenge might be. Getting through those struggles and achieving the goal can be hard. I like to use the example of my excursion to the frozen lighthouse in January. It was a long walk over some pretty slippery icy conditions. I really had to focus on where I was going because of the unstable footing. Every once in awhile I would look towards the lighthouse just to keep my eye on my goal. As I got closer, things got a little more treacherous. Some people decided they had went far enough. I started asking some people that I knew had been to the end…”Is it worth it,” I asked. Overwhelmingly I heard YES! That gave me the push and encouragement to push on. And yes….as you can see from my pictures, it was worth it!! Now isn’t that how a lot of things work? We look to those who have already traveled the path we are on. It might be your pastor, a group leader, a fitness trainer, someone in a career you have dreamed of, do you think they believe it it worth it? Look to those who have walked the path before us and don’t miss out on any adventure. Yes, you might have to work for it, because that is how achieving goals works; we have to put a little effort in. So tell me, what is something you have wanted to do? Do you know anyone you can ask, is it worth it?

Julie Lighthouse 2 Julie at lighthouse

Peace,

Julie

5 Simple Exercises

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As I was going through some things in my exercise room the other day, I came across a paper with these exercises written on it.  I can’t remember exactly what I copied it from, but I decided to give it a try because it looked quick and easy.

Do 20 reps 6 times each:

  • squats
  • sit-ups
  • push-ups
  • couch dips (tricep)
  • planks (20 seconds)

It wasn’t quite as “easy” as I thought, especially the tricep dips!  I made it through 3 out of 6 sets and it took me about 12 minutes.  You can modify these exercises to meet your current fitness level, such as doing traditional push-ups or on your knees, adjusting how low you go for squats or dips or varying the sit-up position .  Also, I think this would be a great set of exercises for travel since there is no need for any special equipment.  To compensate for my poor memory skills, I moved 6 little rocks  from one pile to another to count down my 6 sets. (or 3 sets! :))

What do you think?  Why not download some tunes from this list of Christian work-out songs, crank up the music and give it a try!   Do you have any quick and easy exercise routines you enjoy?  As always, we would love to hear any feedback in the comments section!

Wishing you a happy, healthy weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

Fitness App

 

I stumbled upon this fitness app and wanted to share it with you.  It is called POPSUGAR Active.  You can search for this name in the App Store on your phone or Ipad, or you can check it out on by following this link.  This app has choices for strength training, running, yoga or cardio workouts.

The workout choices include videos or exercise guides to choose from.  I like the videos, which give you 10 minute or 40 minute options.  Each area of fitness has a variety of choices from total body workouts or specific body part focus such as arms, abs or legs. One of the main instructors, Anna Renderer, is upbeat and motivating and the videos are easy to follow.  I love the 10 minute videos because they are easy to fit into my busy day.

Below is one of the videos for abs:

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy, blessed day!

~Blessings,

Jen

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