Monday, February 22, 2010

Watch: Sharing my Story with WBRE-TV News

My Dad on TV! Click the photo to see the video.

A few days ago my dad got word from a Wilkes-Barre news station that they wanted to do a piece on my weight loss success and involvement in the Oz 100. He called to ask if I thought it would be OK and enthusiastically told him to go for it. I wouldn't be able to make it in to be interviewed because of my work schedule, however the reporter decided to interview my parents about my weight loss journey.

I find this so very fitting, especially since their names pop up so often in this blog. Watching my dad talk about his diabetes on TV got me all choked up, but it wasn't because I worry about his health. It was from pride. I know he can and has taken control of it and I am so happy to have been able to show him little things along the way that might have helped him.

The segment was very well put together. I'm so glad that they were able to show both the Dr. Oz book and PeerTrainer. I'm also glad that they were able to gather from my blogs that this weight loss venture of mine is not fueled by vanity but by the desire for health, inside and out.

After watching the segment online I talked to my mom and dad about it and, of course, thanked them for the kind words. A few weeks ago my dad forwarded a message from a woman he knows named Pat who's got some weight-related health problems. She heard my story and saw me on The Dr. Oz show and vowed to my dad that she'd lose weight too. Tonight my father happily informed me that she had lost 4 lbs this week and wanted me to know. I just want to say way to go Pat and keep it up!

I am amazed every single day by these sorts of reactions and responses. I'd like to continue on this journey and celebrate my successes with everyone in hopes it gives them the courage to find their own success as well.

Please note that I've added a new formspring widget to the right of my blog entries inviting anyone to anonymously ask me whatever question they'd like. I'll try my best to answer them all!

PS: Tomorrow I'll have a food post, I swear ;-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Give Me a Break

This past Friday I took my first scheduled "rest day" since the beginning of January. Somehow I managed to fit in some sort of physical activity for 47 days straight. My minimum daily exercise has been the 25 minutes it takes to do a level of the Shred, but for many (especially weekdays) I've been incorporating an additional 30 minutes of intense cardio at the gym. I hesitated a little when declaring this day of rest. Part of it, I'm sure, was fear of breaking a good habit. I don't want this rest day to lead to inconsistency. I'm learning, however, that rest is important both physically and mentally. On Thursday, after 15 or so miles on the stationery bike my body was telling me "ENOUGH". Earlier that morning I had a headache, a stomachache, a small cough and a general feeling of fatigue. I could barely make it through my 6 am Level 1 Shredding. I've read enough articles and blog posts on overtraining to know it was time to stop before I hurt myself.

The day off felt good, but it was great to get back into it last night after returning from a short trip to Central PA. I did Level 2 of the Shred, ate lots of veggies for dinner, and went to bed super early. Today I managed to fit in Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism in it's entirety (55 minutes including warm up and cool down!). Had I not had a day off, I'm sure my body would not have been happy with that work out. I think what it boils down to is that we can take care of ourselves in many ways. I can push myself to become stronger, but I also need to be sure I'm rewarding my body with proper rest. I don't think I'm going to let myself go another 47 days without it and hope to be able to incorporate one day of relaxation in every 7-14 days. Has anyone learned the importance of rest the hard way? How many rest days do you give yourselves?

I also want to add a quick thanks to everyone who's been sending such kind words of support my way after my involvement in the "Oz 100". It's really amazing to me to see people responding to that particular episode so positively. I finally got a chance to watch the whole thing and couldn't help but get choked up during a few of the segments. It reminded me again of who I once was versus who I am now. The new me was always inside, but losing weight really helped me bring that part of me out. Visiting York this past weekend—the town where I hit rock bottom and reached my heaviest weight—I passed countless fast food restaurants, convenience stores, diners, and donut shops where I so often fed my emotions. I felt such an enormous disconnect from that life I used to lead. That girl would never dream she would one day be sitting in the studio audience representing weight loss success. But there I was, and here I am and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Dr. Oz Experience

we're on tv today!

Life has been hectic, to say the least. This past week has been AMAZING. On Tuesday, my mom and I took the train to NYC for the taping of Dr. Oz's 100th episode. By the time we got to the hotel, unpacked, and grabbed dinner we were too tired to do anything else and simply watched LOST and got some well-deserved rest. We woke up bright and early at 5:30 am to start getting ready for the taping. I ran over to Starbucks for a coffee and some food for us and, by chance, ran into Sarah from The Weight It Is. It was so wonderful to meet her in person. Her story is so inspiring, as she's lost and kept off 185 lbs.

Everyone met in the lobby of the hotel to wait for our shuttle bus to Rockefeller Plaza. I met a man named Ray who had lost over 100 lbs and his daughter who was his +1 and had also lost a substantial amount of weight. This was only the beginning, as in the hours leading up to the taping we had more than enough time to mingle with the other "Oz 100." I met a runner, a woman who had been on Oprah, a personal trainer, a woman who blogs for Dr. Oz, and countless other people with unique stories to go along with their successes. All of us had taken control of and actively changed our lives, regardless of how different the methods and roads we took to get there were. I felt this energy that I can't really describe.
Looking interested on National Television!

They piled us into the studio for the taping. It was a lot smaller than I had expected, and certainly much brighter. The lights were blinding! They seated me and three other young brunettes in the front row (including Sarah, pictured above), which we decided was not by coincidence. I kept looking for my mom and at one point looked over and realized they had given her an Oz 100 shirt and put her in the back of the group of "losers" as filler. She looked slightly uncomfortable, but I couldn't stop looking over at the huge smile on her face. You see, Dr. Oz's books helped her find the strength to finally quit smoking after 30 years right around the time I started tackling my weight loss. This was a big day for her, too.

The show itself was a blur. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much, but it was genuine. I was so happy. So in my element. The featured guests (including the gorgeous Diane from Fit to the Finish) had such inspiring stories and I found so much I could relate to in them. Merrill talked about how the weight loss changed her life and I was right there with her. There's not way to fully describe how a physical transformation like 100 lb weight loss truly affects you. You're really reborn and renewed.

Did I also mention that THE Richard Simmons was there? OH MY GOD. He is amazing. This man has more energy than I've ever seen a human possess. He's so positive and full of life and trust me, it's not just for the cameras. He was even MORE energetic off camera (if you think it's even possible). When he came out and we gave him a standing ovation he started getting teary-eyed. I think it was then that it really clicked what we had all done and how getting us all together could inspire hundreds more to do it too. After all the segments, we piled onstage and danced with Richard. It was admittedly silly, but it brought back memories of Sweating to the Oldies with my sister-in-law Sue as I desperately tried (and failed and tried and failed) to lose weight as a teenager. I wished she could be there with me, because she's doing it too. She keeps me going. So Sue, if you're reading this, know you were right there with me on that stage with Richard while we danced to "Hit the Road, Jack"!

Beaming after the show with my new Richard Simmons DVD and mystery smoothie.

After the show, we were shuttled to a new hotel due to the blizzard that was brewing up here in the Northeast. Mom and I took advantage of the city for the rest of the day and attended a taping of the David Letterman Show (!!) followed up by our first Broadway show, Wicked. Does it get much better than that? We had an amazing trip and I feel like I really shared something special with my mom. It was nice to have a few girls' days.

Mom in front of the David Letterman Show

Overall, this experience will be something I remember for my entire life. The people I met, the stories I heard, and the way that I felt.. these are things I will remember when I feel like I'm slipping. Each day is a new day and why NOT make the best of it?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Off to See Dr. Oz!

On Friday morning I caught up on blog posts I had missed over the weekend. One in particular caught my attention at Fit to the Finish. I love Diane's blog and was so excited about the news she shared about appearing on the Dr. Oz show next week. Part of me, however, was slightly jealous. I had been talking to Jackie at PeerTrainer after she had posted a blog entry seeking out PT members who had lost over 100 lbs. I of course responded to her call for losers and she sent my information in. I hadn't heard anything up until Friday and, after reading Diane's post at Fit to the Finish, I had decided it wasn't going to happen.

A few hours later after I had hit the gym I got a phone call from a Manhattan phone number. I was at my cubicle, so I didn't answer right away but instead let it go to my voicemail and listened to the message. It was someone from the Dr. Oz show! I nearly jumped out of my desk chair and ran out to my car to call them back only to get their voicemail. Eventually I got a call back from someone at the show who informed me she was calling to make travel and hotel arrangements. I couldn't believe it and was so overwhelmed that I could barely think of what train station I'd need to leave from.

So, this Wednesday I am going to be in New York City and, from what I gather, will be 1 of 100 people in the audience on the Dr. Oz show who has lost 100+ lbs. This is all the info I could find about the episode, which will air on February 16th as far as I understand:

On Tuesday, February 16th, "The Dr. Oz Show" celebrates a milestone 100th episode with fitness guru Richard Simmons! Dr. Oz provides 100 tips to 100 audience members who have lost 100 pounds or more. While Simmons, who shed over 100-pounds himself, will share his own story. (source)

I asked my mom to come with me, as I know what a huge part of her success with quitting smoking Dr. Oz was. She did this right around the time I decided to lose weight and it was right after we had both read YOU on a Diet. On Tuesday afternoon we're leaving Philly for NYC and I am so excited to see what this will all be about. I'm enthusiastic about the idea of being in a room with 99 other people who have been through something similar. I'm also excited that I'll be one of one hundred people who can help prove to America that there is no magic solution or expensive operation for weight loss. It's about diet. It's about exercise. It's about caring about ourselves. No amount of weight is ever too much to lose, be it 50, 100, or 200 lbs. It's possible and I'm so honored to be part of a group that stands as proof of that.

See you on TV everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 30: Completion

It's hard to believe it's been thirty whole days since I decided to take on this challenge. Not only did I focus on shredding daily, but I've successfully gotten my eating under control and am enthusiastically hitting the gym most weekdays. I've been pushing myself hard and seeing results. Speaking of which, here's a final glimpse at the changes I've made physically.

The following is a photo of Day 1 vs. Day 30 to get a complete look at where I started and where I am today.


My midsection is a lot more defined and I'm also seeing more definition around the muscles in my arms. You can't tell in this photo, but I've also noticed some muscle toning in my thighs/legs. All in all, an amazing success. I kind of wish I had been circuit training throughout my entire weight loss process. I'm sure my body would look completely different.

The following is a photo of all my "check in" days.

There's not a huge visual difference in the Day 20 and Day 30 photo, though I'm wearing the same shirt and it's visibly baggier on me. While doing double jump ropes the other morning I realized that I needed new workout pants as mine were nearly falling off.

My final measurements were pretty nuts. I measured about four times to make sure they were correct:

I didn't lose any weight in the past ten days, but I'm OK with that. The scale's not moving for a reason I'm sure. But my clothes fit WAY differently.

Today was technically Day 31 for me. Despite being "finished" I woke myself at 6am and tried Level 1 with heavier weights as well as some weighted cardio. I plan on doing the same tomorrow. What can I say, Shredding seems to be my new habit. And it's a good one at that.

In thirty days I re-learned how to respect myself and my body. I made the most of my time and I am confident that it shows. But what's next? I'm so excited to see what's lies beyond Day 30. I'm waiting for a few more Jillian DVDs as well as Biggest Loser's Last Chance Workout and Weight Loss Yoga. I also want to start running again in the spring.

It's only the beginning!