Monday, January 28, 2013

$100,000 Transformation Challenge Blog Post #3

I am at the end of a 1 1/2 day trip with my family. We went to Rhode Island. With a lot of planning ahead I was able to stay on track with my eating and working out. Here is the blogpost I wrote as part of the Transformation Challenge I am part of. Enjoy!!

Planning Ahead

Well, today was the end of Week 1 for me and I am sitting in a hotel in Rhode Island out with my family for a day and a half. I have to tell you I kind of freaked out thinking about going away for this weekend. I talked to my personal trainer. We worked out what I needed to do with working out and eating while I was gone. We would meet on Tuesday morning for my weigh-in and my workout, which we usually do on Mondays.

I checked ahead and the hotel had a pretty nice gym, pool, and hot tub. Good, I could keep up with my workouts, which I do twice a day. Then I made a list of everything I would need. There were 20 things on my Food and Working Out List. I brought all my own food, snacks, protein powder, and even my Ninja Blender. I also packed my own dumbells and medicine ball in case the gym didn't have those. I was not going to let anything slip through the cracks.

I am eating a pretty strict diet right now and I wanted nothing to get in the way of my success while gone. The whole purpose of our trip was to go to the American Hockey League All-Star game . We were two nights in a hockey stadium. I brought in bottle water, hummus, and baby carrots. I was not even tempted by the food around me. It was crazy to think that I wasn't tempted, but rather kind of sick watching what everyone else was eating and to think that used to be me.

I made sure to get up early yesterday and workout before heading to church. After church we headed to Rhode Island, went to the hockey game, and came back to the hotel. I was tired, but knew I had to get my second workout in, which I did. Woke up early this morning and got in my 2 hour workout before having fun with the family. Had a fun day, went to another hockey game, and came back and just finished working out for my 2nd workout today.

Tonight before the hockey game we went out to eat. This is the only time that I had stress with the plan. I had checked the restaraunt's online menu only to get there and be told that they had recently changed their menu and hadn't updated the online menu yet. Between my strict diet and my Crohn's Disease I really couldn't eat much on their menu. When I asked how their grilled chicken breast was prepared, they told me that it was grilled in butter and oil. I asked if I could get my plain and the chef said, "No, it won't taste good." I actually cried right then and there in the restaraunt and decided that I want to stay in for the next 11 weeks of the challenge.

I'm very proud of myself for all the planning ahead I did. It took a lot of thought and preparation, but because of that I have had an uneventful trip as far as my eating and working out. Without planning we can fall into the trap of saying to ourselves, "I'm on a trip with my family. We have to go out. I'm staying in a hotel, I can't bring my own food. It's only a day and a half, I can get back on track when I get home." You get the idea. So many times we talk ourselves out of doing the right thing because of what we think is an inconvience. When in actuality it didn't take me that much time to plan and execute my plan.

The result of all this planning is that I was able to have an enjoyable time with my family and stay on plan. I'm just glad that I only had to plan ahead for 1 1/2 days. My list was long and it took me awhile, so I can only imagine what it will be like when I'm gone a week in February.

Even if you are tired or don't feel like it, PLAN AHEAD and in the end you will be very happy you did. I know I am.

Even though I did well with my planning I am looking forward to getting home tomorrow. I am looking forward to getting back to my routines and working out with Justin. Tomorrow I weigh in and workout, so I will let you know how that goes.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

$100,000Transformation Challenge Blog post #2

Here is the next blog post that I wrote for the Transformation challenge.

It is called:

So as you read in my last blog post, I am in the middle of week one of this contest AGAIN.

After all the emotional ups and downs about signing up for this contest I finally took the plunge and signed up on January 15th. I took my pictures that night. I sobbed looking at my before pictures, especially the one of my back. It was the first time ever taking before pictures in a sports bra and biking shorts. This is something that I NEVER will do again. There will NEVER be before pictures again because I will NEVER gain this weight back.

I dealt with it and posted them. As I posted them I cried some more, but then stopped and realized that this was the day I was going to take my life back. I had met with my personal trainer, Justin, on the 16th, made a plan and that started day one of the contest. 84 days to go.

I quit eating junk cold turkey, that day. I started upping my workouts more than I had ever had. My life depended on it. I was excited to see where I would be at the end of the 85 days, so I worked hard. I worked so hard there were workouts where I threw up a little. I worked so hard I couldn’t catch my breath, but I kept going.

During the contest I will be working out with Justin twice a week. We will be working together on Mondays and Fridays, touching base the rest of the week. We worked out on Friday, the 18th and then again on the 21st. We had been working out before this on Mondays, so we kept my weigh in days the same. Every Monday morning would be my official weigh-in for the contest.

I weigh in, first thing in the morning and let Justin know what the scale says when he arrives for our training session. So when Monday morning arrived I was very excited to see how much weight I had lost. I knew that I had lost. My pants were finally getting big. I just didn’t know how much I had lost. On January 14th, I had weighed in at 291.1 pounds. For the first time in a long time I couldn’t wait to step on that scale.

I went through the routine of taking EVERYTHING off, even my watch, socks, and hair rubber band cause you know those weight A LOT. I stepped on the scale, and there were the beautiful numbers of 283.3. I weighed my self 3 more times to make sure I was seeing it right. I had lost 7.8 pounds the first week of the contest. I had lost almost 8 pounds in 8 weeks. It was a very exciting time.

I headed downstairs to sign into to put in my weight loss. I was on cloud nine. I started looking around on my page and realized something was wrong. I immediately called the 24 hour hotline and talked to someone. It looked like my registration hadn’t gone through after all. They told me to email tech support.

I let tech support know all my info and asked them to confirm my registration. I let them know if it had not gone through could they please set my start date back to January 15th. I heard back from them and the answer was, “We are so sorry there was a problem, we are going to ask you to reregister and we are so sorry you will have to resubmit your before pics as well and we are very sorry, but there is no way for us to reset the date back to the 15th. Your date will start the day you register.” In a matter of 45 minutes I went from the most excited I had been in a long time, to defeated and angry.

I lost it. I cried. I was yelling and I couldn’t even enjoy the moment knowing I had lost 7.8 pounds in one week. My poor son and husband, I was pacing back and forth crying and yelling. At one point I yelled, “What was the point of all my hard work if it didn’t even count for the contest.” My husband said, “For your health.” I didn’t want to hear that in that moment.

Justin was due to arrive any minute for our training session. I was excited to tell him about my weight loss, but dreading telling him that it didn’t count. How frustrating. At that point I had wished I had just lost 2-3 pounds like normal. I know that may seem crazy, but when you have a goal in mind and it’s just yanked out from under you, your response doesn’t always make sense.

Justin was very excited at my weight loss. We were both frustrated with the contest glitch, but he pointed out that I now knew I could do it. I pushed through and did things that I hadn’t done before. I reached levels with working out that I had never reached before. I was still mad and it showed in my workout. I wasn’t doing exactly what I needed and was being stubborn, but Justin went all Biggest Loser on me and got me to do what I needed to and got me back in the right mind set.

I registered AGAIN that evening and retook those evil before pics. I even cried a second time. That night I started getting really sick. I had the worst head cold and it affected my working out and my motivation, but I am happy to report that I met with Justin yesterday and am back at it in full force. I am not expecting a HUGE loss, but know that there will be one and my head is back in the game and I am ready to go full force for week two.

There is a reason for everything that happens. I still haven’t figured this one out, but am really proud of myself that I did what I did during my FIRST week one. I lost 7.8 pounds. That is awesome. That is more than some of the Biggest Loser contestants on the show. I was able to quit eating certain foods cold turkey, drastically change my workouts, and do everything that was asked of me. Even though it didn’t count towards the contest I can hold my head up and am very proud of what I accomplished that week.

I am almost done with my official WEEK 1. I know the loss won’t be as big, but I also overcame a lot this week. I was sick, very sick, and still worked out and did what I needed to do for the most part. I listened to my body and slept when I needed to and didn’t push myself to make myself sicker. These are all things that I would not have done in the past. I will look to these accomplishments as I move forward for the next 80 days, reaching my goals for this contest and beyond.

I’m excited and am proof that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to, so get out there and do it. NO MORE EXCUSES!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

$100,000 Transformation Challenge Blog Post #1

For those of you who follow my journey on facebook you know that I have joined a 12 week weight loss challenge. It is put on by There is a weight loss category and a muscle building category with each grand prize being $50,000.

Justin talked me into to signing up and we are in the middle of week one of the contest. It's been a rough week with me being sick, but I am persevering. I would love to win a prize in the contest, but I am just as happy knowing that I am taking back my life and am excited to see, with Justin's help, what I can accomplish in the next 11 1/2 weeks.

Part of the contest is being active in their forums and writing a blog, so as I post there I will repost here. Here is my first entry. I posted it yesterday.

A little bit about how I got to be over 300 pounds again.

At the end of October 2012, after stepping on the scale, I realized I had to do something.

From 2008-2010 I had worked really hard to lose 106 pounds. I went from 306 - 200 pounds. I was so excited to finally be in the 100's after so many years. Over 20 to be exact. Then the unexplained started happening. I was throwing up, sharp adominal pains, unexplained digestive problems. The fall of 2010 I was in and out of the hospital for 2 1/2 months and by the end of it all I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. There is no cure, but it is a managable disease.

The first thing I had to do was go on a huge dose of Prednisone to get the inflamation down. If any of you have ever been on that drug, you know, that you balloon up. I gained 40 pounds back of the 106 I had lost. I was told, not to eat anything I had gotten used to eating to be healthy.

For the longest time I couldn't eat anything over 2 grams of Fiber, I was told to only eat white bread, pasta, rice etc. Popcorn? Never again. I was told, just eat chips if you get the crunchies. I could only eat canned veggies and very few fruits. No more berries, peel your apples, nothing with seeds. At the beginning and for most of the first year all my fruits and veggies came out of a can and everything else was the color white. As you can tell this recipe was not one for healthy eating and my dreams of getting in the 100's was slowly fading.

In the midst of all this I had to move across the country. I moved from the Chicagoland area, where I had live for almost 30 years to Sunderland, Ma, a small town of about 3500. The midwest and the east coast are very different, so the first year I just stayed in the house and didn't do much. Along with not knowing anyone I was also nursing some injuries. Again, not a great recipe for healthy living. My weight continued to go up.

Back to the opening sentence of this blog post. At the end of October, I stepped on the scale at home and weighed 305 pounds. I was devastated that I had gained all my weight back except one little pound. I knew I had to do something. I decided then and there I would take a walk, so that is what I did. I started walking and decided to go a route I hadn't been before.

I started out and realized after about 5 minutes this was going to be hard, but I knew I needed to keep going. I got to a certain point, was pissed at myself for gaining all this weight back, and I was ready to quit, turn around, go home, and soothe my feelings with food. Then it was like someone smacked me up side the head and told me to keep going. I actually argued outloud with myself, but I lost and I picked out a point in the distance to walk to and I kept walking.

When I got to that spot I crossed the street, ready to walk home. I was walking along when I saw this brown building with an 8 1/2 x 11 sign on the outside that said, "PIONEER VALLEY FITNESS. PERSONAL TRAINING." I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, that's nice." Then I got smacked upside the head again and I argued with the invisble force at hand. I said, "I've had a personal trainer before. They make you cry. They make you face crap you don't want to. I don't want a personal trainer." The force at hand, which I now know was God, made me take a picture of that sign and made me email the personal trainer, Justin Killeen. When I hit send on that email, I was scared, very scared.

We started November 5th, 2012. That first meeting was hard. We talked about a lot and at the end I felt like we were a good match. The hardest part was not telling Justin everything it was admitting to myself that I had let myself go, that I had not dealt with the mental crap. Yes, I had lost 106 pounds the first time around, but what was wrong in my mind, that I turned to food once again for comfort. Justin is helping me with the physical and I have a counselor that is helping me with the spiritual and mental aspects of this and I do believe that it all goes hand in hand.

Sometime in late December/early January Justin sent out an email about the $100,000 Transformation Challenge, to all of his clients. I was a little bit intrigued, but to be honest I had joined contests before and I never finished. I always self-sabatoge myself. I had decided that I didn't want to join the contest. I had just come of some of the hardest years in my life, had gained back all my weight, and just moved. I had enough going on without adding a failed contest to the resume.

Justin kept asking me if I was going to do it. Deep down I know I wanted to, but I was scared. Up to this point I had lost 15 with Justin's help. I thought maybe if I joined this contest and messed up I would just gain the weight back. I really didn't know what to do. Justin and I talked long and hard. I shut down and don't talk when I'm stressed, so this was very hard for me. After listening to what he said and after some hard long thinking on my own, I signed up. I knew it was time to face my fears and finally finish something that I started.

So here I am, part of the $100,000 Transformation Challenge. It is the middle of week one for me AGAIN.

Yes, you read that right. I am in the middle of week one of the contest AGAIN. To find out what I mean about that, you will have to wait and read my next blog post.

Until then,

Have a great day and BE GREAT today.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I have had a rough couple of weeks with my eating. Working out has been no problem, but for me I have to have a balance of eating and working out for me to keep losing weight. I was going along at a great pace and hit 15 pounds lost in 7 weeks. Then life happened and I let it get in my head and got derailed. I gained back 2 pounds.

One thing that I tend to do when I am going through a hard time is that I shut down. I don’t want to talk about it. Recently, this has shown up in not signing on to My Fitness Pal. If I don’t sign on and log my food I won’t have to face it or talk to Justin about it.

I have told Justin (my new personal trainer, for those of you just joining me on my journey), “Justin, I don’t want to talk about it when we meet on Monday. I just want to workout.” The first setback I had he said that was fine, but told me if it happened again he would make me talk about it. Well, this was the second setback since starting with him on November 5th. I told him, again, I didn’t want to talk about it. He was pretty nice about it, but that’s when I realized that’s not fair to Justin or to me.

We texted on Thursday night and we talked a little bit then. It’s easier for me when it’s not face to face. At the end of the text I told him, “We can talk tomorrow.” After texting I wrote him a letter to give to him the next day at our workout session. I have found that writing is my way to get things out and then I can either give the person the letter or I can read it to them. This is what I have done with my counselor and now it seems that it is what I will do with Justin until it gets easier to talk face to face.

While Justin and I talked on Friday. I realized that I am scared. He asked me point blank, “Don’t you want to lose weight?” I said, “Of course I do. I’m just scared.” He reassured me that I have nothing to be scared of and that I can do this. The logic part of my brain knows that this is true, but when I think of the big picture I get scared, so I really had to do some soul searching and had to ask myself, “Melissa, what are you scared of?”

Here are the things that popped in my head. I am scared that I won’t be able to get the weight off again. I know I did it before, but I said before that I would never allow myself to gain the weight back and I did, so what happens if I lose it again, will I gain it again. I don’t want to go through that whole process again.

I am scared of what life will be like once I am thin. My whole adult life I have been overweight. This is who I have been; this is pretty much how everyone knows and has known me. Will they still like me after I lose the weight? After I lost 106 the first time people that had never talked to me were talking to me. It made me think, “Why do they like me now? What was wrong with me before?” I’ve gotten pretty used to being this size, so the thought of changing that and being a new person scares me.

What about the people closest to me? Will they change with me? Will they resent the new me? Will they progress on the journey with me or will I in a sense leave them behind? I am scared that I will change. Maybe I will get a big head from all the success I will have. Will I become self-centered? Will I like the person I become?

I am scared of letting people down again. When Justin and I were texting I put, “I don’t want to fail again.” I feel like gaining back 100 pounds has not only let myself down, but let lots of people down. Part of being so open with my journey makes this aspect so hard. Again, logically I know that no one has been let down, but I feel like I have let people down. I am embarrassed when I see where I was and where I am now. I feel like I have let my family down, my kids. Again, this is me saying this not them, but it is how I am feeling.

These are all the thoughts that surround this current setback, but then my thoughts turn to God and his amazing grace. He loves me no matter what I do, no matter what my size, no matter how many times I fall and get back up. He is always there with open arms welcoming me back. He has told me, in the Bible that I do not have to have a spirit of fear.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about ANYTHING; instead, pray about EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.

1 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Hebrews 13:6 says, “So, we must boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear! What can man do to me?

As I was trying to figure out why I was scared to lose weight, these verses came to mind. I have figured out that when I have fear or am anxious about things I am trying to do things on my own strength. That does not work. My theme verse for life has always been, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”-Philippians 4:13 On my own I will NEVER be able to do this and I need to remember that.

I have always said there are three things to focus on in getting healthy. I need to focus on the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. They do go hand in hand. If one of these is out of whack all three are. For me, I need to concentrate on the spiritual and mental aspect right now. That is why I have a counselor and a personal trainer. My counselor helps me with the spiritual and the mental and my personal trainer helps with the rest.

Recently I was looking over some old notes from my counseling sessions. I got a chuckle out of this quote from my counselor, but it is really what I need to do right now. He said, “Tell the negative voices in your head to SHUT UP.”

The only thing in the way of me and my goals are those voices in my head (please do not commit me). I need to cling to the verse Isaiah 43:18 and “forget the former things and not dwell on the past.” The negative voices in my head are always pointing out what I have done wrong and how I have failed and today I am choosing not to listen to those voices anymore. Today I tell those voices to SHUT UP ALREADY.

Today I move forward.