When God Aligns the Stars, Planets, and Ducks, and Flashes All The Neon Signs

2017 has been a year of change for me. I’ve taken control of my health, and I now do things and eat things that I said I never would. Lots of my every day supporters know how many blessings I have received this year, and it isn’t even over just yet.

My close family and close friends have been told, so it is time to share with the rest of you. After 13 years of my career at Thomas, Feldman & Wilshusen, L.L.P. in Dallas, I have resigned from my Legal Assistant Position. My last day at the Firm will be on Friday, September 1, 2017.

I have accepted a position at a reputable Firm in McKinney. My new career journey with The Burress Snellings Law Firm PLLC begins on September 5, 2017. The area of law that they practice in was my favorite back in the day, and I cannot wait to jump back in.

While I was super nervous and scared to leave my work family at TF&W, I took the leap of faith by accepting the position in McKinney. God planned this. He aligned everything for me, and all I had to do was show my faith in His plans for me. There were just too many positive things to walk away from. It was one of those situations where I wasn’t looking for a job, it just presented itself, and everything fell into place.

Exciting things are happening for me. I know this is one of the best moves for me and my family. They are all super excited, and I cannot wait to travel this journey in my life. I have chosen to dance and not sit out on this amazing opportunity. I Hope You Dance – By Lee Ann Womack was the 1st song that I heard getting back into my car after my interview. I believe that was another sign coming from the Heavens.

Goodbye to my TF&W family. Many memories were made, many tears were shed, many late night hours burned. It has been a pleasure and an honor working for you. I appreciate all the kindness you have expressed to me over the past 13 years. I have grown a lot as a Legal Assistant and a person. I wish you nothing but success and growth in the years to come.

 

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The ONLY Fat Blocker is ME – My ALMOST 300 Pound Life Transformation

Yeah, you read that correctly. I’m not gonna lie. My heaviest weight was almost a whopping 300 pounds. I will never forget the morning I weighed in only to see that number on the scale staring back at me. It took all I had in me not to break down and cry right then and there. I couldn’t do that though, as I still needed to get ready for the day, get the girls ready for school, prepare breakfast and lunches, drive to the school, and then drive in crazy traffic to get to work. The whole time I was doing everything, that number haunted my mind. How could I let things get so out of control? When did I stop caring about me?

I just want everyone to know that I DID NOT gain that weight from making poor food choices alone. My PCOS added on quite a bit of weight. Me NOT being active literally weighed in on that, and me sitting all day long at my desk didn’t help matters either. I was eating horribly on road trips when I had to travel for events. I would eat late after work or events because that was the only time I had a chance to eat, and I was too hungry to skip dinner. Mind you, I didn’t always have a “real meal” to eat. I’d grab whatever was in the pantry to put some food in my body. Skipping meals isn’t a healthy option either, regardless of what people think.

So, here I am, a totally different person than I was then. The photo on the left was September 2015 (not even my heaviest weight), and the photo on the right was April 2017. HUGE difference! No pun intended…..

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I sometimes cannot see the “big picture” of my weight loss journey until I see side by side images such as these. Let’s face it, I see my body every day when I look in the mirror. I do see transformation, but I also see the saggy, wrinkly skin from the journey. While I know I have lost 150+ pounds, sometimes what I see in the mirror sure does not make me feel like I have lost anything.

There are several contributors to my weight loss success. First and foremost, God’s grace. I know that He has been with me every step of the journey, giving me the strength, courage, and energy to face everything along the way. Secondly, Low Carb is key! Tracking everything I eat has put things into perspective as to what food choices I make. When you see it all out there in front of you, it is an eye opener. Thirdly, you have to keep moving. I don’t care if it is just walking for 10 minutes every hour. For the first couple of months on my journey, I just watched what I ate. Then, I added in some basic weight and strength training that I would do at home. I didn’t go to a gym to get my workouts done. I did create a workout group with some friends to have the accountability of keeping me on track with my workouts. Those women are awesome friends to have. It’s like we were working out together, but we weren’t. LOL I will write about my running and training journey in another blog. They deserve their own entry!

If there is any doubt in your mind about wanting to take control of your weight/health, but are scared to take that first step or think you won’t succeed at it, use me to prove that you have it in you to accomplish your goals.  You cannot just sit there waiting for something to happen. You have to take control of the situation and show it who is boss. Own up to what needs to be done. You are the only one holding you back from being all that you can be! I will be cheering you on every step of your journey!

I Put on My BIG Girl Pants Tonight

You always hear people say that “you just need to put on your big girl pants” for certain situations, right? Well tonight was a time when I needed to do just that. You see, all of my “smaller” pants and skirts have been falling off me, and I was starting to have to use safety pins to hold them up. I decided that it was time to buy new pants that would stay up all on their own. 

Walking to the clothing section I immediately went towards the Plus-Size department.  After shifting a few hangers around, I realized that I needed to go to the “other” department with smaller sizes. Before I did that, I shifted hangers around again and looked at tags because I knew my size was on the plus racks, it had to be. Sigh, those won’t fit. I walked over to the other rack. I knew my smallest size is way too big, so I grabbed 2 different sizes and headed to the fitting room.

Not really paying attention to the size I reached for first, I was able to pull the pants on with no problem.  Buttoned them and zipped them up without having to suck anything in. I looked at the size of the pants, and I wanted to shout out with excitement,  but I remembered that I was in a public place so I smiled big instead.  LOL Let’s just say that I’m 16 whole pant sizes, or if you want to count by 2’s, 8 sizes smaller from where I was when I started low carb,  high protein on January 4, 2016.

When I got home, I immediately went into my closet to pull out my most favorite pair of Big Girl Pants. I layer them on the bed, and then I placed the new ones on top. While there is a noticeable difference, this photo does not show the true difference in sizes.

I then thought to myself that I needed to put my Big Girl Pants on to see just how far I’ve come in a year. To my surprise,  I fit into one pant leg. I have enough room to share them with a friend. I was having to hold these tight so they wouldn’t fall.

Wow, these were my pants I’d wear to all my photography gigs because they were comfortable.  They were my “go to” work pants because they were dressy and stretchy. 

There’s no way I could wear them anywhere at this point without people wondering what was up. I don’t think safety pins or a belt would do the trick.

I’m not quite at my goal weight, but I’m almost there.  I’ve lost 141 pounds from January 4, 2016 to February 2, 2017. To meet my goal weight, I have about 11 more pounds to lose.

I’m a work in progress,  but I’m also living proof that you can lose the weight if you set your mind to it and give it 100%. You have to believe in yourself that you’ve got what it takes to accomplish your goal, and it will happen. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, and those that have given me words of encouragement. Thank you to those who have stood by my side during this transformation.  I couldn’t have done any of it without you!

10 Things I Learned While Volunteering at a Race

I decided to volunteer for the Texas Half event this past weekend. Originally, I had wanted to sign up for the 5 mile run after finding out that the rainy weather was going to hold off, but after talking with a frunner (friend who runs) on Friday, I decided to volunteer with her.

We were assigned the task of being Course Monitors at the first loop of the half marathon. That put us at about the 3.5 mile mark. It was foggy and cold, but we were determined to be out there at our posts, cheering everyone along.

Being a volunteer at an event is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from being a participant. Here are 10 things I learned from standing along the sideline watching it all play out.

(1) It only takes someone 19 minutes to hit 3.5 miles (Yes, our mouths dropped open at that point);16107548_10158017765180137_1932987418204215135_o

(2) Men usually lead the race pack, and women are about 5 to 7 minutes behind the one in first place;
(3) There are many paces, ages, races, and sizes of those participating at events;
(4) Making eye contact with those participating in the events is important so you know whether or not they are doing okay physically. Note to self….Make eye contact with volunteers along the course;
(5) Most participants DO NOT wear their race day shirts; however, they wear customized gear or wear, running club shirts, or just something they are comfortable in…even if that means going shirtless in 40 degree weather (man of course);
(6) Water belts are the way to go as opposed to carrying a water bottle in your hand;
(7) Lots of people run alone and not with their friends. They do cheer their friends on when passing them “on the other side” of the median;
(8) People run/walk/jog while talking on their cell phones during events…say what??;
(9)  It’s okay to be the last one crossing the finish line. The big accomplishment is that you CROSSED IT; and
(10) It takes A LOT of work to put an event together. EVERY volunteer plays a key role in making the event a TOTAL SUCCESS!

I did have fun being a Course Monitor. I must admit that I kind of was jealous of those who were participating in the race. I was so tempted to fall in behind the last person and just run the rest of the course. LOL I did my best to encourage them to keep on going and to let them know that they were awesome for getting it done.

Sitting on the sideline watching these individuals made me realize that I shouldn’t be scared to push myself into doing events that are further than a 5k in distance. No matter if I do intervals or need to walk more than I run the longer distances, the only thing that matters is that I make it across the finish line.

When I do participate in events, I do give a shoutout to the volunteers, and I thank them for being there. If it weren’t for the volunteers, some of the events could not happen. Each and every one who shows up at their posts are doing us a favor. Be sure to thank the volunteers at the next event you take part of.

A Year Without Tacos….

Gulp…I cannot believe that I have not consumed tacos in a year. Tacos were an essential part of my life up until January 4, 2016. I would consume a breakfast taco several mornings during the week, nachos, crispy tacos, soft shell tacos… You get where I’m going with the whole taco thing. Hello, I’m Hispanic! Tacos are a life-line for my people! HA!!

I have cooked tacos for the family, but they have not even tempted me. Even the soft, greasy taco shells didn’t tempt me to want to cheat on my low-carb way of life. I know, I know, who says no to soft, greasy tacos? ME -That’s who!!

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When these kind of meals have been prepared here at my house, I will weigh out my taco meat in a bowl, and sprinkle a 1/3 cup of shredded cheese on top of the meat. Instead of tortilla chips or taco shell pieces, I have used some pork rinds to scoop up the meat. There was another time that I didn’t use the pork rinds, but I did go all out and use a tad bit of salsa. I like living on the edge. LOL

So, today is my 1 year low-carb, high protein, way of life anniversary. It has been quite a journey, but I have done it! No cheats, no cravings, no hunger. I am proud of myself for making it this far without giving in one single time. I’m glad to have made it this far. I’m one pound closer to my weight loss goal than I was 1 year ago today.

I can still go out to eat with my family and friends without worrying about going off track. There are a few restaurants and fast food places that I do need to stay away from because there is truly nothing on the menu that I can consume. Most of the time, I’ll let the family or my friends eat there, and I will either eat something at home or grab something from a “me friendly” type place.

Many friends and family are supportive on my choice of eating, but I do have the “nay-sayers” who always have something negative to say about my choice of food. I’ve also been told that if I do not let myself consume some “good stuff” every now and then, I am considered as having an eating disorder. Really? It’s called will-power, and not quite ready to go off track….not even just one meal or one bite. Maybe one day I will have a bite of something, but just not TODAY!

So TODAY is my day to reflect on the 137.2 pounds that I’ve lost this past year. My Winter insulation is gone, and I tend to freeze all the time these days, but you know what, I’M SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT! I am a stronger and healthier me! I’ve got about 15 more pounds to get to my weight loss goal. These last few pounds have been the hardest to lose. There are weeks that the scale won’t even budge. I do my best to not let it discourage me. I just keep moving forward!

Here’s to the start of a new year….a new me! Can’t wait to see where my journey will go. I just know that wherever it leads me, it is in the positive direction!! Always moving forward, never looking back!

9 Months and 125 Pounds Later….

A full-term pregnancy lasts 9 months. During that time, a woman’s body goes thru so many changes both internal and external .  When I was pregnant with my kids, my body took a while to change on the outside. It wasn’t obvious that I was pregnant . I just looked like I was fat and had a squishy belly. During each of my pregnancies,  I gained about 28 pounds . I was so proud of myself for not gaining a gazillion pounds because those 20+ pounds wouldn’t be hard to lose, or so I thought. Up until recently ,  I was still carrying around the “baby weight” from my 2010/2011 pregnancy ,  and then some. Due to my PCOS, I gained so much weight, and I kept finding every excuse in the book not to do something about it.

There was a time when I wouldn’t even step foot on a scale because I was afraid of the number that was going to flash up on the screen. If I’d go to the Doctor , I’d be in denial about my weight, and I would tell myself that my clothes and shoes surely added 5 to 6 pounds. If my appointment was at the end of the day, I’d throw that factor into the mix. The number on the scale wouldn’t phase me because in my head, it was inaccurate. Flash forward to the end of December 2015 when I saw myself in pictures that someone had taken of me. Yes, I had seen myself in photos before then, but there weren’t many, and I really never took a good look at them. I was always on the opposite side of the camera to avoid anyone seeing the overweight person that I was.

That was one of the eye openers for me. Regardless of how many times I heard my Doctors talk to me about weight loss for my own good, nothing “spoke to me” as the photos did. I then braved the whole getting up on the scale thing. I couldn’t believe that number that was flashing back at me. It was the highest weight I had ever seen for myself . Was it right? How did I get to that number? I knew right then and there that this had to stop. I didn’t want to get to the next higher up three digit number series. Mind you, I wasn’t feeling bad at my “high” weight, nor was I experiencing any medical issues that were not PCOS related.

I had seen some before and after photos of people who had done low carb, high protein . All the Doctors that had mentioned weight loss to me had told me to go low carb. I did minimal research, and jumped right in to the low carb way of eating. I didn’t carb load or anything before getting started. I just said, “hey, this is starting NOW”! Here I am today, still sticking with it.

So, it will be 9 months of my lifestyle change tomorrow, November 4th. Much like a woman’s body changing during the 9 months of a pregnancy, my body has taken a major change. Guess what? It did take people a while to notice this change as well.

I have  gone from wearing a 3xl shirt/dress,  to wearing large/medium. In pants/skirts, I’ve gone down 12 sizes. We won’t even discuss bra sizes. LOL Just know that it too has changed drastically. Oh, and one of my biggest accomplishments presented itself to me today when I didn’t have to ask for a seat belt extender on the plane. It has quite a bit of slack to it.

It is the little things like this that help me to realize how far I have come in my journey.

If you’re wondering what “number” I am at now for pounds lost, the answer is 125 pounds! I’m still not at my overall goal, but I’m a lot closer to it now than I was 9 months ago.

Thank you to those who have supported me on this journey. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me stay focused.

It’s Not ALL About Me….

When I first started on this journey, I was pretty quiet about it. I myself knew that I needed to change me, and I had several others suggesting that I needed to change me, without coming right out and saying so. From past experience, I knew it was best to keep things to myself just in case I didn’t stick with it. I didn’t want anyone calling me out in front of a room filled with people if I were to eat something that I shouldn’t. Trust me, it’s happened before.

As I started seeing positive results, I decided to share this lifestyle change I was doing. After researching challenges to keep my body moving, I started exercising at home after everyone went to bed. Two months of doing them on my own, I decided to start a challenge group to get others to join me. I expected maybe 5 people or so to jump in. Instead, I had about 45 friends join me. I was so excited to see their “before” and “after” photos at the end of round 1. Round 2 brought on more friends, and those friends invited their friends. We are now on round 3, and we have 154 members in our group. I’m so excited that these women want to tone up their bodies along side with me.

They tell me how I’ve inspired them, and they thank me for starting the group. In all honesty, they inspire me, and I appreciate them being in the group. They help keep me motivated and pumped up to be a better me. There are days that I’m so tired at the end of the day, and I’d rather go to bed than workout. However, I see the women checking in that their workout is complete, and it pushes me to get up and get moving. If it weren’t for them, I’m not sure I’d stay on track with the daily workouts.

At first, we were focusing on toning up our arms. We are now doing full body toning and sculpting. Seeing the results from their hard work is amazing. They work so hard, and I’m proud of each and every one of them. They help motivate others in the group, and I love that they are active with one another’s progress and struggles.

Avenue A, a local company, designed a logo for our group, and has made muscle shirts for some of our members. I can’t wait to see the ladies in their awesome tanks, showing off their guns.

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So, here’s to the awesome ladies who push me to want to do better for myself! Thank you for joining me in becoming a healthier person. You ladies rock, and I can’t wait to see all of our results at the end of this month!

Keep on working hard, and you will see the results in the end. Push yourself to reach the finish line, no matter how long it takes you to get there!! It may not happen tomorrow, this month, or next, but it will happen!

Nike’s Dri Fit Be Strong Capris

Today I went to the Nike Outlet Store. I decided to go there to buy some workout pants/spanx since nothing I own at the moment fits the right way. Plus, I wanted to try some stuff on to find out what size I wore in case I ever wanted to purchase anything on their website.

I ended up buying 1 pair of “training” capris, 2 pairs of running capris, and 1 shirt. Since I now know how this stuff feels while working out, I plan on going back to get a few more items.

Instead of posting just pictures of my purchases, I decided that I would do video reviews of my workout gear so that people could hear my words. 🙂

My first review today is of the Be Strong Dri Fit Capris. I got some black ones. They are really comfortable and soft. Man, my feet look really big….Haha!

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At first, I was skeptical to purchase them. I was afraid that they would be too tight, but they went up with no problem, and I wasn’t spilling out of them or anything like that.

To view my video review, click HERE to be redirected to my YouTube channel.

These capris really do hold in the moisture as you workout. You can’t feel or smell the sweat until you take the pants off. LOL They work really well to keep you dry.

I recommend these to anyone who needs new workout gear. They definitely do what the labels say they do, and they are really comfortable.

Until my next blog and/or review…..

 

They Say The Hardest Part is Letting Go

When you experience a loss of any kind, there is always something that you hold onto. Whether it be a photo, letter, t-shirt, etc. There is always that one thing that is going to remind you of a special time, place, or person.

I’ve been on my weight loss journey since January 4th. Here we are August 12th, and I am having a problem with letting go. Letting go of what you ask? Well, I have yet to clean out my closet and dresser drawers to get rid of the clothes that no longer fit due to them being too big. I know that once I do decide to let go, my closet and dresser are going to look rather bare. I actually had a dream that someone went into my closet and removed all of the bigger clothes. I freaked out because my favorites were gone, and there were dresses in there that I just wasn’t ready to get rid of. I remember waking up, getting out of bed, opening the closet door, and being so happy that it was only a dream.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many articles of clothing I own. Right now, there are only a handful of things that fit the way they are supposed to. One thing is for sure though, there is not one piece of clothing in there that is too small. As a matter of fact, I need to go shopping to buy some stuff that actually fits without me having to fold the waistline over just to keep them from falling down. My dress shirts swallow me up, and the t-shirts are really big. Some of my most favorite dresses hang too low in the front and on the sides, and if I choose to wear them, I have to wear an undershirt or something with them to not expose parts of my body. LOL Sad, I know……

Then there is the decision of donating the stuff or trying to sell it to make some money to buy new stuff. I know that there are plus sized women who would rock the dresses I have, and they’d look awesome in the skirts, jeans, and shorts that are feeling neglected right about now.

Why am I so afraid to let it all go? I know that I don’t plan on going back to where I was before. I’ve come so far, and I do not want to take any steps back. I’ve lost 95 pounds, and I’m not done just yet.

I have favorite t-shirts from special moments in my life. I can’t see myself parting with a few. I will keep them to sleep in since my gowns and night shirts are just way too big.

So, here’s to letting go…. I’ve let go of 95 pounds, and I don’t want them back, so why can’t I part with the clothing to go along with it? I’m going to pray for peace to help me start the process of letting go.

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BLC 6 is Over

I have been participating in a Biggest Loser Competition with some of the Mommies in my January 2011 group. We started the competition on April 25th, and today was our last weigh-in.

This was the first time that I completed a BLC from start to finish and gave it 100% effort. Usually, I’d give up right at the beginning, take passes, not post body/scale pics, and I’d drop out. I’m excited to say that I was in the top 3 spots throughout the entire challenge. I’ve been able to hold onto the number 1 spot over the past few weeks. I’m anxiously awaiting the final chart post to see how I did!!

On the first day of the competition, we had to set a personal weight loss goal for ourselves. While my goal seemed a little far fetched, I was able to accomplish it!! I lost 32.4 pounds, which is a weight loss percentage of 13.94%. I was so excited to see the scale this morning. I honestly didn’t think I could reach the number that I was looking for.

The ladies in my group are awesome! We all helped each other get thru the competition. I compared my intro pictures to my pictures today, and I can see the difference. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m on my way…….