Monday, February 14, 2011

Tears and fears - Gwinnett's Losing It! Update

We are going into Week 7 of Gwinnett's Losing It!, a 12-week weight loss program in Gwinnett County, Georgia. There's been plenty of tears, screaming, frustration, facing fears and success in the first six weeks. But enough about me, let's talk about the's what I've learned at the halfway point of our contest:
  • All 16 participants have come from different backgrounds, but we all connect in some way or another. 
  • All 16 participants want to win the contest. From our 55-year old grandmother to our 36-year old single mom, they want to win. 
  • All 16 participants are working hard to overcome obstacles of every day life during this contest, some more than others. They are finding out that most of the time, the emotional obstacles are even harder to overcome than the physical obstacles.
  • All 16 participants are learning about healthy weight loss and that it is not always as it seems out there in the real world. Our media glamorizes weight loss and continually bombards us with crazy diets and programs that are designed for a quick, temporary fix. They are learning to put on their blinders and focus on their own success, as small as it may be from week to week
It has been a battle of tears and fears:
  • "I know that I have set a better example to my family and friends who are watching me"
  • "I'm learning to take time to plan meals and prepare for the following week. This is a lifestyle change and I realize it takes time to be fit and healthy"
  • "What an eye-opening experience these first four weeks has been. I never would have thought that I would be eating clean and working out"
  • "More difficult than cutting out fried foods is the mental struggle of removing the words 'I can't' from my vocabulary"
  • "My doctor decreased all my medicines by 25% and eliminated one that I have taken for 4 years now and this is only the beginning"
  • "I have heard 100's of times that nutrition is the key to weight loss. I have always believe that if I work out hard enough, I can eat whatever I want. With this contest, I have paid close attention to my eating habits and have made some real substantive changes"
  • "I have learned how proper nutrition is mandatory to how your body feels. I look forward to working out every day. I don't feel deprived, hungry or tired. I feel clean mind, body and soul"
  • "Although competing against other contestants, my toughest opponent is myself. It is a daily struggle, fighting against bad habits, busy schedules and lack of confidence"
  • "I am loving how my clothes are fitting and the comments I am beginning to get from people who are noticing how I am looking"
  • "It was frustrating to realize that it wasn't the food that was the problem, it was me"
Tears have come - tears of frustration, tears of happiness, tears of realization
Fears have come - fears of the past, fears of the future, fears of the unknown "Can I do this?"

And the answers are still to come. We are halfway through this journey. And it is exciting. It is exciting to see each person literally and physically change during these 12 weeks. It is challenging, it is heart-breaking, it is life. Each of these 16 people, these hard-working, beautiful inside and out, people, all came to Start With The Inside to change their life. Inside and out. And they are doing it. And I'm so proud of them! After 6 weeks, 180 lbs. have been shed!

Please make plans to come to our Finale Reveal/Health Fair on Thursday, March 31st at 550 Trackside in Lawrenceville. More details to come...

Also, please help me encourage these courageous 16 people for wanting to change their lives and then doing it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Lies - The Truth about Dark Chocolate

Oh, there she goes again. Before I go into my next tirade about the un-benefits of chocolate, let me explain a little of my writing style...
  • Start With The Inside Fanpage - Updated daily with tips, recipes, motivation, quotes and facts to keep you educated about the emotional battle of losing weight. 
  • Articles - Two to three published articles per week, one is Biggest Loser Recap and others are geared toward losing weight. More education and facts and some opinion. 
  • Start With The Inside Blog - All opinion, most of it biased because of my experience in losing a large amount of weight and being successful at keeping it off. May have a tendancy to piss someone off because here, I don't like to mince words. 
Okay, thought I would give you some options in case you are one of those tender hearts who just can't hear anything bad about chocolate. And you don't want to hear the truth. The truth is that as a fitness professional, I am like a square peg that doesn't fit in the round holes of society.

I don't think that chocolate is good for you.

I know. Unbelievable. Every day, we hear of a new "study" - surprise - "chocolate is good for you" and leading the pack now is "dark chocolate is good for you". Blah, blah, blah. I guess it would go over better if I hadn't so much experience in the chocolate arena myself. I used to be a chocolate addict. Every day. Every occasion. Just name a month. I can tell you something chocolate-related in that month. So can you, I bet. Our society is fixated on chocolate, esp. women. As women, we are bombarded daily with:
  • Chocolate helps PMS
  • Chocolate helps stress
  • Chocolate is good for you
  • Chocolate has vitamins
The chocolate of older days, remember I am the "horse and buggy", old-fashioned girl, was healthier. It actually had cocoa in it, healthy cocoa, which in today's product has been so overloaded with sugar and added preservatives that it is now officially "crap". Sugar and fat crap.

Now, before I lose you completely, do I still have chocolate today? Yes. I do. But I don't have it every day. And if I do have it, it is a portion, not a overload of it. I still love chocolate. I still consider myself a chocolate addict. But moderation is KEY! And it is not a daily or weekly part of my life now.

And, I love the feeling of being healthy and fit.

I don't feel that way when I eat chocolate. Here's what it does to my body:
  • It affects my bodyfat percentage and how my body burns fat
  • It affects my emotional wellbeing, makes me feel depressed
  • It affects my body, makes me feel like crap
Granted, I am super-sensitive now because I live my life as a fit and healthy person, so I notice much more now then I did in my chocolate-addicted days. Back then, it was just a tool that I used to get me through my day.

  • Don't deal with reality, just have chocolate
  • Don't make the changes you need to, just have chocolate
  • Don't open your eyes, just have chocolate
I got tired of it. I don't want to have chocolate run my life again. And so I challenge you to see what role chocolate has in your life. It doesn't mean you can never have it again, I do. But, is it a crutch that has you not dealing with certain issues? If it is, then guess what? You can live without it. It's not socially acceptable. It's not fun. But it is possible and if I can do it, so can you.

The chocolate "studies" are going to keep coming out because someone's going to make money from it. Who do you think is behind all of these studies? Do you think they would actually say that chocolate is bad for you? What would that do to food retailers and other companies who rely on our addictions to make money? What would that do to Valentine's Day? Would we actually have to find another substitute for love, or for showing our love?

Okay, biased opinion done. It is possible to have a chocolate-free Valentine's Day. Just thought I would throw that out there. Now here come the chocolate-lover hate e-mails and smart-ass responses. Go ahead, I'm a big girl, well not as big as I used to be, but go ahead, I can handle it. Criticize me, blow me off, but if you have an inkling in your heart that what I said might be true, I say go with it. Will you?