Sep 30, 2013

Motivational Monday

I always know I will start the week off right because I am able to spotlight such amazing people.
Today's spotlight is someone I have never met.
Her name is Anne-Marie.
She is known by her friends and family as Annie.
She is the wife of an extraordinary husband and a loving mother of 5 wonderful gems, 2 girls and 3 boys.
She's someone that I came across on Instagram.
Being a working mom, she is busy and at times it may be challenging but she states that is SO rewarding.
She is absolutely right.

I was absolutely AMAZED at her fitness journey.
Her story is definitely one for the books.
She is the true meaning of doing anything you put your mind to.
You will definitely be blown away by her story.
She has lost 110 lbs. 
People, can you even believe that?
No joke, on occasion, I'll stalk her IG and look at her before and after photos because it motivates me.
She inspires me.
I love it.
It is simply wonderful to see the kind of drive and determination that one can have.
She is so positive and uplifting.
The second I came across her story, I knew I had to learn more.
Before I say more, I will let her just dive right in:

What made you realize you needed to make a change for the better?
A few things made me realize that something wasn't right.
I started falling asleep while driving, I had no energy to do anything at home or at work. My knees started hurting which meant I just wanted to be a couch potato all day long.
Those things still weren't powerful enough to make me do something about it. 
It wasn't until I went to see the doctor and he told me that I was pre-diabetic and needed to lose 50 + lbs.
It scared the living daylights out of me because diabetes runs in my family.
I had just met someone who was doing Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight so I decided that I needed to check it out.
I needed to start making changes and not excuses.
Since then my life changed for the better.

How long did it take you for health & fitness to become a way of life?
I didn't start fitness until I lost about 50 lbs.
It took me 6 months to lose that much weight.
I started by simply moving more. I wore a pedometer to measure the steps I took everyday.
It motivated me to keep moving ALL the time.
It was fun to see the numbers keep going up.
"Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny."
-Mahatma Gandhi
This is something that I always believed in.
I BELIEVED the day I was diagnosed as a pre-diabetic that I could overcome it.
I didn't get to 312.5 lbs overnight nor did it take me a night to make this health and fitness a way of life.
I understood on Day 1 that this journey wouldn't be easy but I also knew in my heart that it was doable.
I learned a lot along the way and that it wasn't about how many lbs I could lose but developing a healthy lifestyle.
It is a process to practice healthy habits and I still have a lot to learn.

Who has been your biggest supporters through this journey?
My biggest supporter is my husband.
He is my mirror.
He sees things that I turn a blind eye to. I can always count on his honesty to help me make better choices.
Family and friends I hadn't seen in a long time would tell me that I had gained a lot of weight.
When I would ask my husband, he would always tell me otherwise.
I realized that we were both blinded by our unhealthy lifestyle.
Our unhealthy habits became normal.
Our eyes adjusted to the way we looked at things.
We didn't realize that we were slowly killing ourselves with the food we ate and the sedentary lifestyle we led.
Everyone that I have met on social networks, family and friends in my life have been a great support as well.
I am forever grateful for the support I have received.

Share an experience about your eating habits and how they have changed?
My former obese self used to eat multiple plates.
I would cook up to 4 courses each meal.
Dessert was a must everyday.
It didn't help that I love to cook.
A trip to the buffet always let to 10 plates. I was always hungry and my stomach needed to be filled to the brim around the clock.
I started following the Weight Watchers plan, tracked everything I ate and ate every two hours.
Eating every 2-3 hours helped me stay ahead of hunger.
Over time, my stomach has shrunk and I can't even finish a second plate at a buffet.

Share with me one of your highs and one of your lows?

There are so many but one high I want to share is the tough mudder. I did the tough mudder in July 2013 at Tahoe . It was something that I had never done before. It was a challenge I wanted to try to test my ability and never realized it would be a life changing event.
I overcame my fear of heights.
I did things I had never done before or thought I couldn't do.
The completion of this 10 + mile obstacle mud run was an accomplishment I am proud of.
It taught me that I am capable of more and stronger than I ever thought.
There are things in life that seem easy but I must never be too cocky and think I don't need training for it.
I must always be prepared.
As far as my lows go, I don't really have any.
I'm just a positive person.

What makes you want to keep pushing yourself to become the best you possible?
I have become a healthier and better version of myself.
I know all the benefits that come from it.
I also know how it felt to be unhealthy and I don't ever want to relive that version of me again.

What would your advice be to those who don't know where to start in taking such a drastic change in lifestyle?
Before starting any kind of diet or exercise, always seek the advice of a physician.
Start today, not tomorrow, not next Monday or next month or next year because it will become next NEVER!
Write down your goals then set mini goals that will help you reach your ultimate goal.
Surround yourself with positive people and things.
Prioritize your time and make plans that you can stick to.
Baby steps will help you reach your goal instead of taking big leaps.
You can find support at places like Weight Watchers, the gym, social network or church.
Start the day on a positive note by praying and meditation.
Stay positive no matter what is through your way.
I've endured a lot because I knew the rewards were great.
Something I always remind myself of is that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the Great Wall of China.
Patience, hard work, commitment and dedication will help me reach my goals.
Nothing good comes easy.
Remember that when you fall off the wagon, it's not a failure.
It's more like your second chance to do what you did before but better.
Start a journal of your food intake, exercise log and a fitness journal as well.
Write down every scale and non scale successes.
Whenever your feel down, you can go back and read your fitness journal.
Your past successes can be used as an anchor to bring you back to those moments and get you motivated again.

What other tips or advice would you give to others?
Find what works for you.
What works for others may not work for you.
Do y our own research, ask experts for their advice.
Use common sense before starting anything.
There's no short cut or easy way.
Short cuts may help you lose the weight fast but it will always lead you back to square one.
It's not easy but if I can do this, ANYONE can.

If you're not motivated to kick some butt after reading her amazing story, you should kick yourself.
No, I'm kidding but really her transformation story is so fabulous.
She is the sweetest of all women I've come across and I love that she is motivating people around her.
The weight that she has lost is phenomenal.
When I hear people tell me they don't have the time or money to make changes for the better, I really don't hear them.
It's people like Annie that make the impossible, possible.
We really do need more people like her.
I love everything about her.
She's so right, anyone can do this.
All you have to do is believe and then get to work.
What will you do this week to help push yourself to become a better YOU?
We were blessed with life, make the best of it!

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