Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Gift to YOU! // Jennifer O.

Let me start out by introducing myself.  My name is Jennifer and I am a MLFC junkie!  I am on the page A LOT!  I read a TON of posts, I like a LOT of them (btw, I think blog posts need a like button for convenience….I’m just sayin’), and I comment on as many as I can.  You ladies are AWESOME.  You are supportive, you are inspiring.  You have helped me continue on my journey of becoming a happy and healthy and HOT lady.  I have lost 70 pounds since August of 2011 (you can follow my journey at 2012 Losing It).  Before finding Mama’s blog and then MLFC, I struggled with the roller coaster of emotions that come with a weight loss journey.  I would have my good days and my bad days, actually I still do, but before they were much more extreme.  Before finding this amazing support system, I found it much more challenging to stay motivated and on track.   I am thrilled to say that now that I have found you ladies I feel so much more focused.  I know that if I am struggling or having a down day, that someone else has been there done that and is right along with me and understands. I know that if I need new ideas, all I have to do is read some posts and I will be energized again.  I know that if I am having a cloud 9 day, I can share that and you will all be supportive and encouraging and cheer me on.  Basically, you all just rock my socks off!  So thank you all for that.

I am sure many of you have thought long and hard about your goals for 2013 and have made plans to start the year off with a BANG!  I know I sure have!  Being the prize motivated individual that I am, I thought what better way for me to “pay it forward” to the ladies that I love than to host a challenge to ring in the New Year!  I hope you are as excited as I am!!!

I decided to combine a few of the things I love….inspiring stories of personal strength and success, TV, a good friendly competition, and PRIZES!  Are you intrigued yet???

I become a big fan of The Biggest Loser this fall after meeting season 12 contestants, Ken and Austin Andrews.  I had seen previous episodes, but I found it much harder to get “into it” when watching it from the comfort of my couch with a double quarter pounder, large fries, large Dr. Pepper and a Cold Stone shake being crammed into my pie hole (imagine that!).  So after meeting them I started watching their season on Hulu Plus while working out on my treadmill (much more motivating).  I quickly became addicted to the show and looked forward to my daily dates with Jillian and Bob.  In fact I think I went through withdrawls when I finished the season.  I have been keeping up with my fave season 12 contestants on FB, following the BL page, and am getting SUPER STOKED for the new season to start on Jan 6th.  So I decided the Biggest Loser would be a great theme for the challenge I planned to host for you all!

Challenge summary -
·         The challenge will run the course of Biggest Loser season 14 - Jan 6th through mid May (I haven’t seen the finale date yet).  Yes, this will be a long one (twss).
·         The official challenge will be only 2 weigh ins – one at the beginning and one at the end.  The person with the highest % of weight lost will be the winner. 
·         We will also have prizes for 2nd and 3rd place winners!
·         For those of you that want the extra accountability of weekly weigh ins there will be optional weekly contests/prizes also (tshirts, water bottles, bags, and more!).
·         There will be no limit to the number of participants.  The only requirement is that you must submit the first and final weigh ins.

I am super stoked about the potential weight loss we have here ladies!  How cool would it be to get the attention of the Biggest Loser show (and maybe even Jillian herself, just in time for the MLFC retreat??) when we knock their socks off with our total weight loss!!  Let’s do this!

Finally the details…
·         Join the MLFC Biggest Loser event for all the latest info & reminders
·         First weigh in will be Wednesday, Jan 9th.  There will be a weigh in phrase that will be posted on the evening of Monday, Dec 31st.  You will need to email a photo of your feet on the scale with your weight and the phrase to  Please put your name and weight as the subject line.
·         Final weigh in date will be announced at a later date and will coincide with the BL14 finale.  There will also be a weigh in phrase and scale email required.
·         Weekly weigh ins will be on Wednesdays with a phrase and scale pic (I will use the same word as the last loser standing contest so you ladies only have to take one scale pic – once that contest is over I will have a BL Challenge word of the week).
·         The Biggest Loser of the week will win the prize of the week (to be eligible you must have submitted a weight the week prior for comparison.  If you miss a week, just submit your weight the next week and you will be eligible again the next week).  The best way to be eligible is to send in your weight every week!
·         I will compile a spreadsheet of stats from the weekly weigh in numbers (no weights, just % lost) so you can see where you compare.  Use it for motivation to keep fighting for that top spot!  There is plenty of time in this contest to make a run from behind to make it into a top spot.

A word from our sponsors
This contest wouldn’t be possible without the amazing kindness of the following sponsors for donating prizes.  Be sure to send them some page love and tell them THANKS!
Body Media (the monitoring armbands worn on the Biggest Loser) – shirts and other swag (I am also still trying to talk them into an armband for the winner)
RetroFit Ministries (Ken and Austin Andrews) – signed show worn Biggest Loser t-shirt
Truvia – swag, product samples, and coupons
Ruffles with Love – 3 of those workout tanks we all love!
Divine Pinspiration – 3 non-slip headbands
Mama Laughlin – a personal message of encouragement/support for the challenge winner, Brandy’s signed before/after photo
Lilybelle Designs – hand stamped jewelry, customized Sterling Silver “mommy necklace”
Thirty-One bags/Tiffany Lyford - $10 gift certificate
Creative Life Designs – 1 personalized grocery and meal planning set
It Works/Fawn Yoho  – 4 wraps
LifeVantage/Crystal Tait – Protandim anti-aging supplement

I have some of the prizes that I will ship out directly, and some the winners will contact the sponsors to redeem, so I can’t do a pic of the complete prize packs, but here is a rundown….

1st place –
·         Signed Biggest Loser shirt
·         Mama Laughlin encouragement,
·         Lilybelle Designs sterling silver necklace
·         Ruffles with love tank
·         Divine Pinspiration non-slip headband
·         $10 Thirty-One gift certificate
·         Custom meal planning set
·         It Works wrap
·         Body Media duffel bag, t-shirt, water bottle
·         Truvia travel coffee mug & shirt

2nd place –
·         Body Media duffel bag, t-shirt, water bottle
·         Truvia travel coffee mug & shirt
·         Ruffles with love tank
·         Divine Pinspiration non-slip headband
·         It Works wrap
·         Protandim anti-aging supplement

3rd place –
·         Body Media duffel bag, t-shirt, water bottle
·         Truvia travel coffee mug
·         It Works wrap
·         Ruffles with love tank
·         Divine Pinspiration non-slip headband

I do reserve the right to keep adding to the prize pile!  Any remaining prizes at the end will be randomly awarded to those that completed the challenge (one chance to win per weigh in submitted).

Questions?  Let me know.  I tried to cover all the bases, but I am sure I missed something.

Good luck to everyone!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Why I Should Buy a Fitbit? // Brandi B.

I’ve made no secret of my love of my fitbit. I’ve written about it a couple times here on my blog, and I've talked about it relentlessly on the Fit Camp board. I'm the one who often gets tagged when questions come up. :) I love it so much, and have talked so many people into buying one, that I joined their affiliate program a few months ago. For every fitbit that is purchased using my link, or by clicking the banner in the sidebar on my blog, I get a small commission. You may think I’m rolling in it now, but the fitbit is available at Target, Best Buy, Brookstone, and Amazon (among others), so I don’t get a dime if people buy through those sites. I’ve made a little spending money thanks to those who have bought through me, but not a whole lot. I’m telling you this in full disclosure because I don’t want you to think I’m schilling it to get paid. Yes, the commission’s nice, but it's ok if you buy it elsewhere. I just want everyone to have one! It’s that good a product!
The One
Now let me tell you why you should buy a fitbit if you haven’t already. Smile 1. It's small & just clips to your bra, so it's not intrusive at all. Nobody's going to be asking you "what's that?" & it's not going to get in the way of your sexy date night outfit. 2. It syncs to a variety of apps, including mfp, runkeeper, endomondo, and both the Withings scale & fitbit's Aria scale. There are others as well. Here’s the full list. 3. On the screen, you can see your steps, distance, calories burned, and steps climbed (ultra & one) quickly. 4. The website is FREE! There is a premium membership you can purchase for an annual fee, but you don't have to if you don't want to. The free version has all the info you need, and you can use all the app features as well. 5. If you have an iPhone 4S or 5, iPad 3rd generation or higher, or the newest ipod, the One & the Zip will sync wirelessly. You just hold your phone up near your boob (or where ever you're wearing the fitbit) to manually sync it. It'll also sync on its own periodically. This is the #1 reason I decided to upgrade to a One. We got an iPad 3 for the family for Christmas, so I had to have the One. It was so fantastic while traveling to be able to sync whenever I had wifi on the ipad! No more digging out the laptop, connecting to wifi, and syncing it there. And I just upgraded to an iphone 5 today, so I’m thrilled to already have the One to be able to sync. 6. You have friends on the site & app & can easily see how you fare against them based on the past 7 days. This is incredibly motivating & gets the competitive juices flowing. And it's fun to talk trash. This is probably my favorite thing about the fitbit. Smile 7. If you have an Ultra or a One, you can track your sleep. You just press & hold the button on the fitbit when you go to bed, and press it again the morning. It tells you how long you slept, and how many times you woke up. It comes with a cloth wristband that you put the fitbit into to wear while sleeping. 8. The Ultra & the One are rechargeable. You just place it on the USB charger thingy & you're good. I don't know about the one, but I've been known to not charge my ultra for a month, and I've never had it die on me. The Zip has a replaceable battery that's supposed to last about 6 months. The Ultra has now been discontinued on the fitbit site, but you can find it for about $70-80 in stores. At least until they sell out.  The One and the Zip are the newest models, and they both sync wirelessly to the newest Apple products. The biggest difference between the two is that the Zip doesn’t track stairs climbed or sleep. I used to have the original fitbit that didn’t track stairs, so I didn’t think it was a big deal to track stairs. Since having my Ultra for several months, however, I couldn’t do without the stairs now! It’s not a dealbreaker, but I would definitely miss it going back to not having it. The sleep I could do without since I NEVER track that anyway. It was fun the first couple weeks, and then I quickly forgot about it. The Zip sells for $59, and the One is $99. The Zip comes in 5 fun colors, and the One comes in 2.
The Zip
I’ve now had the One (which I bought with my own money and was not a freebie, btw) for a week or two, and I love it! There isn’t any difference on the display, though it looks much crisper and clearer than the Ultra did, and really not a huge difference overall. Like I said, the biggest selling point was the ability to wirelessly sync with Apple products. It’s a huge convenience to be able to sync it any time vs. whenever I happen to be near my laptop. I love it! Have I convinced you yet? I hope so! Now get out there and buy yourself a fitbit. :) Please use my link, or you can click the banner below, to buy it, but I totally understand if you don't!

//Brandi B.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh Snap! // Jen J.

I grew up feeling awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin.  Any bad traits to be inherited from my parents I have.

By the third grade I was already into glasses.  I started with plastic pink frames and moved on to  Sally Jesse Raphael red glasses.  I also had a lazy eye and in pictures my right eye would always be squinted.

That's me on the right.
Hair styling was not one of my mother's strong suits so I always had awkward hair too.  I remember getting frustrated with her because she couldn't master the french braid like all the other moms.  My eldest sister, K, and I are modeling our bad hair in this picture.  Note my Sally glasses.

I was also a husky child.  I grew up being teased that I had swallowed a seed and had a watermelon growing in my belly.

As I became an adolescent it seemed that my awkwardness blossomed.  I had serve acne and under went two rounds of Accutane, a very strong prescription drug that left my skin extremely dry and flaky and my lips swollen.  I also got braces in highschool complete with the rubberbands.

By the time I got to college, my face cleared up and my braces were gone, but I went from husky to fat.  I was inactive, ate too much fast food, and drank too much.  I also didn't have extra money to put towards nice clothes or getting my hair done (I started going gray at 18).

I've officially been in the adult world for ten years now and during this time I've been striving to finally be comfortable in my own skin.  I've lost some weight and am pursuing a healthy lifestyle.  Now that I'm working and have moved up the ranks I can finally afford nice clothes and to get my grays professionally covered every four weeks.  Am I 100 percent happy with myself?  The answer is NO!  But, I am on a mission.  A mission to love thy self.

As part of this mission, I just did something crazy.  Recently, I came across a Groupon for a boudoir photo shoot.  For $140 bucks you get a 1 hour photo shoot, with three outfit changes, and hair and make-up.  I consulted with my sister via text message and she encouraged me to do it and I purchased it.  I figured it was a great deal - seeing as I could barely get my hair and make up done for $140 let alone a photo shoot.

Seeing as I am not 100% with myself, I am going into this extremely nervous.  Will I ever be completely happy with myself? - I doubt it.  What I do know is that I am not getting any younger and I've come a long way.  Although I am sure my boyfriend will enjoy these snaps, I am doing this completely for me.  I deserve to feel beautiful and I want to memorialize my semi-youthful self  and my progress to date.  It's time to buck up and embrace me, faults and all.  Hell, no one is perfect.

I am officially booked for February 24, 2013, which gives me two months to improve myself and hopefully drop a few more pounds and tone up a bit.  I've given myself a few days to enjoy the Christmas festivities and it's back to being serious now.  #Operationboudoir is in full effect.  I'll be keeping you all abreast of my progress and of course when the big day comes I'll give you all the details.  Until then, I'm on a mission to find three good outfit choices that minimize my trouble zone (tummy) and maximize my assets (arms, shoulders, and boobs). 

If any of your readers have gone before me and braved the boudoir session, I'd love to hear any tips and suggestions you have in the comments section. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas. // Jen J.

Merry Christmas from Michigan!  I sincerely hope you are all having a better Christmas than I!  Last night I started getting sick again!  I had Strep throat last week and was given an prescription for an antibiotic but a couple of days after I started taking it I developed a rash, probably because I was allergic, and had to stop taking it.  Now I am wondering if it is starting to come back since I didn't finish the dose.  My dad is also sick so we had to call Grandma and cancel tonight's Christmas dinner. 

I am also sad because my boyfriend is in Texas with his family.  I miss him.  My younger sister already returned to Pittsburgh because she had to work yesterday and my other sister and my little nephews are down in North Carolina.  It is so hard when family is in a million different places.

Womp, womp, womp.

On a positive note, I did have a few good days of health and was able to complete the reindeer games trifecta - three 5ks in three days.  Running in 28 degree temps probably wasn't the best idea considering I was still recovering from Strep, but I've been eating horrible (Christmas cookies, apple crisp, fudge) so I needed it.

Day 2.  Reindeer Games.
Note the awesome new high visibility vest I got from Santa.  It's by Brooks and I absolutely love it.  It's bright, light weight, and has great storage capability.  I highly recommend it.
I also received the January book club book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling so I will looking for a way to divide that up for discussion. 

See how influential you broads are!  You have gotten me to run when I otherwise wouldn't and influencing what I put on my Christmas list.  I am thankful for each of you though, the positive peer pressure is taking me places.

Merry Christmas!  And be well.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snippets. // Jen J.

I dropped the BF off at the airport yesterday.  He's gone home to Texas for the next 11 days.  As much as I love being able to pee with the door open, skip the flush [yellow let it mellow, brown flush it down], and sleep diagonally - I'm going to miss him.  It is also always easier to watch my caloric intake when he's not around but this week I've got some things.  Happy hour with friends tonight, work Christmas lunch tomorrow, and then family Christmas party on Saturday.  Tis the season!
I called an made a consultation for laser hair removal.  Yes, to permanently landscape the bush.  I've been pondering it for a while and I've decided the sooner I get it, the better return on investment (ROI).  So I'll go see what they have to say.  I'd love to hear from anyone that's had it done.
Yesterday I weighed in for the Last Loser Standing challenge at 178.2.  I weighed in at 182 for the first weigh-in last week so I am still in, like flynn.  However, I'd like to be completely honest and say that I did not lose four pounds over the past week.  You see, last week I was traveling and I had to use my clients scale which was just randomly placed in their bathroom.  I wasn't about to strip down to my birthday suit while on the clock so I was a little heavy and obviously I have no baseline with that scale.

I really like this challenge in theory, but in practice, it's tricky for a lady on the go as much as I am.  Next week I'll be at my parents for Christmas and weighing in on a third scale; which happens to be a needle scale.  Hopefully, I can squeak by but it's going to be difficult considering the inconsistency of the scales and the impending holidays.
I am good with numbers.  Need to understand an amortization schedule, I'm your girl.  When it comes to English and grammar - the whole kit and kaboodle - I am terrible.  I still struggle with how to arrange the (i)s and (e)s in weird, receive, and science.  Commas and semi colons are foreign to me.  I start sentences with the word and.

I always get pissed when I see people dedicating their Facebook status updates to dissing someone's grammatical errors.  Maybe it's the genius company I keep, but I see it quite a bit.  It seems like sometimes people forget we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  I come for a long line of bad spellers; my dad and sisters are also horrible.  Yet, I'm the only one out of the four of us without a Master's degree and my dad is brilliant when it comes to mechanics.  Anyways, the point of this rant is that I do want to become better.  So if you see me misplacing a coma or spelling something wrong, leave me a comment and maybe even a little explanation.  Learn me.  I want to make you proud.
I decided to quit the YMCA today.  My membership was  $100 bucks a month for me and the BF.  Since drinking the Jillian kool-aid, I've been working out more and more in my new basement.  It's a lot of money for the little I am using it.  I'm interested as to how this will go.  I will say though, I've found a new place to spend that extra cash I just put back in my pocket.  I just tried the shellac manicure.  AMAZING!  It cost $32 compared to the standard manicure at $15 but I just love it!  I've had it over a week now and no chips or dings. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making the Time. // Jill C.

It’s 8:15pm.  I just put all 3 babies to bed for the night.  If this was my perfect world, I would be in my snuggly, warm jammies, curling up on the couch with my hubby to catch up on some of our shows.  There would be popcorn, maybe hot chocolate, and probably Doritos because they are my absolute FAV!  I wouldn’t have to give any thought to working out because I’m already at my goal weight, so obviously I can slack a little…. Boy, I think I may have thought this through a little too well!  The reality of the situation is: It’s 8:15, kids are in bed, and I’m in my workout clothes, with my shoes already tied, ready to hit the treadmill.  Sometimes, I look forward to it, sometimes I can’t wait to jump on, but most of the time, by this time of day, I’m done.  I’m over it.  I don’t care if I’m fat.  But then, I hear that little voice inside me that says, “Jill, get your ass up, or you’ll regret it when you step on that scale!” I know she’s right, so I listen.  

Since I first shared my story here, a few weeks ago, the question I get asked the most, other than how I did it, is how I find the time to workout.  The answer is simple.  I make the time.  It wasn’t always like that.  I have used every excuse in the book. “I’m too tired” “I worked all day” “I have too much to do”.

Somewhere along the way, my attitude changed (a little) and I just get it in where I can fit it (that’s what he said).  For me, that’s usually after 8pm, when the kids are asleep, and working out is the last thing on earth I want to be doing.  Others find it easier to get up at 4am and do it.  I have learned this is not for me… Mama needs her sleep!  Anyway, the moral of the story is, a workout is good, no matter when, where, how, or why you do it.  Just do it!

// Jill C.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Somebody Give me a Medal! // Jen J.

I'm home from work again today, I've been on sick leave since Friday.  Last week I was working in New Jersey and on Thursday, I woke up in my hotel room feeling awful.  Our work was done, thank God,  but I had to drive the five and a half hours back to Pittsburgh.  The trip was terrible and I had to pull off at rest stops twice to take naps because I was a felt like death. 

Please ignore the random hair across my cheek.
I took Friday off to try to get myself feeling better because my boyfriend's Christmas party was later that evening.  I really wanted to make it.  1) because I never get to dress up and I already had a banging outfit selected 2) the boyfriend and I are spending Christmas apart so I saw this as our little Christmas activity.  So I tried to rally, got all dressed up, and headed downtown to meet him.  I was fine for the party at his office but then we decided to hit up a local bar for some additional libations.  Shortly after arriving to the after party, I was miserable.  Just aching every where, freezing, and every time I swallowed it felt like I was swallowing shards of glass.  I was supposed to be the DD since I had one drink the whole night, but when we finally got out of there, I couldn't even bring myself to drive home.

The tights are houndstooth.  I am loving textured tights.

I suffered through Saturday and finally on Sunday I decided to go to the Medexpress, where they did a rapid culture test and determined I had the Strep.  I'm on an antibiotic and feeling better, but not 100%.  Eff.

It's sad and weird but every time I get sick I say to myself, "well, maybe I'll drop a few pounds."  My appetite was suppressed, but this girl never goes completely without eating.  In fact, I think I am the only girl ever to not lose weight when given eating limitations or constraints.  And I've had my fair share of them.  I had my tonsils removed when I was 21, nothing; two separate skin grafts done in my mouth, nothing; ulcerative colitis, I actually gained; and now the Strep.  I am like seriously a champion when it comes to sick eating.  Someone should give me a medal or something.  Seriously.

I guess when I am down and out I seek comfort in food.  This is evidenced by the two trips I sent my BF on to the Chinese restaurant to pick me up Wonton and Hot and Sour soup.  By themselves, the soup isn't so bad.  But of course I ate the whole friggi'n bag of fried wonton strips the soups came with.  Even though I could barely taste them.  What the heck is the point of eating something when you can't barely taste it???!!!  Perhaps it's the texture?  I don't know.  See I told you I was a champion.  I also managed to send my BF on a third trip to get me a birthday cake and butter pecan waffle cone from the local ice cream shop.  Yes, I needed two flavors.  Then there was the entire container of pineapple sherbert that I managed to eat in two days - totaling 880 calories.  My God! 

Have I mentioned, I haven't worked out since last Wednesday?  Container of sherbert and bed sores don't make a good combination.  

I know I am not saying anything new here but sometimes it's just hits me hard.  It's like whoa, the fat girl inside me hasn't gone anywhere.  She's hasn't packed up her bags and vacated the premises.  She never will.  But I've got to bounce back and put the fat girl in remission.  I've just got to.  Because the truth is, I haven't accomplished much in the wellness department over the past six weeks or so.  And that's a crying shame because I know I can be a champion at that too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Janky Feet & Spastic Colon. // Jen J.

Running is a privilege for me.

The short version of the story is that I have janky feet and a spastic colon.  Thus, the title, duh!

I could end this post right here - but, I'm not.  I know you are just dying to learn the deets on my feet and colon.  That and I'm greedy - perhaps someone will read this and have a suggestion for me.

I will get to my ailments.  But first I begin the story of how I fell in love with running.

I graduated from college in July 2002.  I was fat when I moved to the metropolitan Washington DC area for  my first big girl job.  I was leaving late night Taco Bell runs, cheap beer, and all day Lifetime movie marathons behind for the glitz and glam of the big city.  The big city came with style and fashion.  I finally had a pay check and great stores so I really started to care about what I looked like.

In January 2003, I joined Weight Watchers.  I followed the program and for some reason I decided I wanted to start running.  I lost 30 pounds and for the first time in a long while was feeling good about myself.

I started running with just the mindset that I wanted to burn some calories.  Somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to run a 5k.  To train I just started running until I was tired and then I stopped and walked. Eventually, I got up to the point where I could run the 3 miles so I signed up for my first 5k.  I did it, loved it and decided to up the bar.  I put my sights on the Army 10-miler and registered to run it in October 2004.

I trained for it but not properly.  At the time I just didn't know there were the running resources available.  I was too broke for the Internet, so it wasn't like I could just google that shit.  I have no idea how far I ran before the actual race but my best guess would be 6 - 7 miles.  This was before the days of my beloved Map My Run app.

I will add that I never stretched.

I did it all wrong.

Despite improperly training, I ran it and ran it pretty well.  My time was 1:31:24.

I'm to the right, in the orange, stopping my watch.
This is the only picture I have from that day (the times don't match up because the time in the photo is based on the time the first runners crossed the start line).  It is a picture of a computer printout.  I was too cheap to purchase the professional photo so I jimmy-rigged this photo from the website.  I've carried it with me through the years.  It means that much to me.  And of course, I now wish I hadn't been such a tightwad.  

It was an awesome and moving experience.  Not only to accomplish a goal of mine but to do it in a race that is so military centric.  I was hooked.  I wanted to do it again.  That is until reality set in. 

The day after the race, I could barely walk.  My feet ached and they have never been the same. Obviously, I can walk now - but after eight effing years they are still eff'd up.

When people ask what is wrong, I describe my pain like this:  after standing still for 10 to 15 minutes they feel like I've been walking around Disney World all. damn. day.  They do not hurt at rest, they don't hurt when I am running.  But they hurt when I am standing in line waiting to vote or to ride a roller coaster.  If I do a lot of walking/running they get irritated and I always have to wear good shoes.  But my biggest issues is just standing still. 

I've been to countless doctors and have have tried a number of things over the years.  Desperate people do desperate things.

I've been to a podiatrist, neurologist, and chiropractor.  I've had custom orthotics, cortisone shots, nerve testing, physical therapy, endoscopy, acupuncture, x-rays, MRIs, prayed, and slept wearing a boot.  You named it, I've tried it.  My feet are still janky.

In an effort to not cause additional damage I really cut back on running and focused on lower impact activities.  I was one sad panda for a long time.  And my weight started to creep back up.

Then in 2008, my colon decided to turn on me too.  Very, very sad panda.

[Turn your head away now if you get grossed out easily.]

Bloody number twos and bathroom emergencies became common place.  I was in denial for a while, but finally I got the courage to go see a gastroenterologist.  I mean, who really wants to have their butt examined?  A colonoscopy later - (OH. MY. GEE. the prep is the worst!!!!!) - I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes ulcers in the colon.

The disease is terrible.  Humiliating is an understatement.  And as you runners know (or hopefully you don't know) running sometimes gives you the runners trots.  Well imagine running for someone who has a spastic colon.

I tried to push past my feet and colon issues and occasionally run. But countless times it did not end well.  I've had to dodge into the woods and cornfields to GO.  And yes, I've shit my pants.  There, I said it.....I know you were wondering.

Humiliating.  Effing humiliating. 

It has brought me to my knees bawling.  There's been countless breakdowns. 

It took me three years (and multiple colonoscopies) of working with my doctor to find a treatment that works for me.  Three long years of being afraid of being active.  Last summer, I finally got relief from a drug that requires me to go to the hospital for an infusion every eight weeks.  The treatment has been a miracle and I am now in remission.
My magic juice.

No more bathroom emergencies for me!  My feet still bother me but I feel like running is such a blessing so I do it anyway.  Last December, I ran my first race, a 5k, since 2004.  I followed that up this year with two more 5ks and running 4.7 miles as a member of a relay team for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  It feels so good. 

My sister and I at the Pittsburgh Marathon.  She ran the whole 26.2 miles.

I want to do more though.  Sometimes I get so jealous of you broads training for your half marathons.  I want to do 13.1 miles.  I could do it and I know I could do it decently.  But after the trauma on my feet from those 10 miles, I am scared.  I try to talk myself down from the ledge of jealousy.  There is no point in it.  Because the moral of the story should be how far I've come.  I fought back and the only person I need to be in competition with is myself.  And the same goes for you - YOU are your only competition.  We are individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses.  We all have our own hurdles that we must overcome.  That said our victory laps may look differently but it's sure as hell still a victory.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Here I am, Rock you like a Hurricane. // Erika W.

You down with B.D.D, yea, you know me… I’m down with B.D.D…. yep that’s me. WTH is B.D.D you ask? It’s Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It means that you see yourself differently than how you really appear. So when I look in the mirror, I see Shamu standing on its fluke.

Yep, Shamu. That’s me- at 218. I don’t see what other’s see at 160 lbs. And that is a problem.

I have a problem, which leads me to another problem, and that problem has led me to have a bigger problem . Oh, speaking of problems… here’s another one. GAD. General Anxiety Disorder. Yep.. That’s me too. I worry about everything that I have no control over. It consumes me, and sometimes depresses me, and sometimes it drives me.

I am completely random, yet I am pretty efficient. I have a 1,000 thoughts or ideas going on in my brain at any given time, and I want to talk about them, or do them all at once. Throughout the course of a day, I write about 5 different lists of things I need to do, or want to do, or people I want to smack and why. While I am an ambitious person, I feel like my dreams are as sporadic as I am, and that my friends, results in this: I will forever be a “fat kid”. Nothing in my life has ever been easy, but I am a very blessed person. I grew up in a small town, with two parents who stayed married through it ALL, and an older brother. My parents really did their BEST to give my brother and me everything. Though not completely their fault, they may or may not have led me to being a food whore, more specifically a SUGARY, SWEET, AND MELT IN YOUR MOUTH (twss) food whore. My father was the Tasty Cake King, and my Mother was the Countess of Candy. You can read more about it and my beginning of my weight loss journey on my blog at The Cupcake Diaries.

At any rate, I loved to eat, but I didn’t think it was a problem. I still don’t . My problem is relationships- and control. More specifically in relationships- I didn’t how to handle my feelings, or how to process the good, the bad, the ugly. Food helped me process everything- mainly Ice cream, and chocolate, and preferably together. I was happy- I ate. I was sad- I ate. I was scared- I ate. I was angry, I ate. I didn’t realize it then, but I am an emotional eater. I know that now, so I can avoid falling into that trap, but I am still weak. That weakness has been with me for a long time. For as long as I can remember, I have always had low self-esteem and low self-worth. I have an “other person” focus. So, basically, I was too busy pleasing other people that I never looked at what I was doing to myself, or how to make myself happy. I let myself go because I didn’t know better. I ate like I was taught, loved selflessly, like I was taught, and worked hard, like I was taught.

Fortunately for me, those things I was taught, are coming in handy now. I’m still a people pleasing fool, and I still seek other’s approval, but now I am driven to find “my happiness”. I look to the scale… and when that pisses me off.. .I look to food. Then I feel guilty and I hit balls to the walls at the gym, and count calories, for a day meal. It’s a never ending cycle. I can’t seem to find that happiness yet, so I am being a little bipolar about it all, and going to both extremes. While I am at a healthy weight, I want the number lower. I want the puss-gut gone, and I don’t want my stomach to look like I wrestled a tiger. Yes, I am hard on myself. I was taught that too. I was trained to set high expectations, and meet them. Once I met the expectations, I celebrated by eating food, and I set an even higher goal. See the never ending cycle, which triggers the GAD, and BDD, and makes me EEIS (eat everything in sight).

And now, you are wondering WTF is this woman REALLY talking about? Ladies, I’m talking about the struggles WE ALL have in our head. We are our own worst enemies. We are harder on ourselves than Channing Tatum would be if he were on us!!! Sometimes that inner critic is necessary to push you a step further than you think you can go. Sometimes that inner critic is necessary to remind you HOW STRONG you are. Sometimes that inner critic can GO TO HELL, while you eat ice cream.

I may not weigh what I ultimately want to weigh, but at the same time.. I’m ok with that. My stretch marks are a symbol of the SIGNIFICANT amount of weight I lost. It is proof that I had my skin stretched out like Shamu, but that Shamu shrunk to Flipper. My puss-gut… used to be size 18, and now is size 8. My number on the scale used to be “obese” and now I am a “healthy weight.”

I am random. I have BDD. I have GAD. I am an ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic) and really WGAF (figure that one out—he he). I am currently not trying to lose more weight. I’m maintaining, and enjoying it. I work out and sweat like Richard Simmons at least 4 days a week. My husball and I are currently trying to conceive little one # 2 so this little handsome devil can be a big brother. Since we are now in active mating season, I am allowing my husband to be hard on me *wink *wink*. Point of this story- Set small goals, so when you surpass them, you can have your cake, eat it too, and go climb Mt . Everest.

//Erika W.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Gotta Brag...Team Challenge Winners! //Jen S.

I’ve been moderating a Team Challenge for the last 7 weeks.  It ended on Wednesday, and I’m here to announce the winners!

But first I want to thank our lovely sponsors for donating prices to the winning teams: Words to Sweat By, BIC Bands, Ruffles With Love, and MH Designs!  And also, big shout out to Jen J. for contacting all the sponsors to make this challenge one with awesome prices!

Ok, on to the winners.

Drum roll please….

Team 11 – Melting Snowflakes!!!

And melt they did.  The winning team was the team that lost the most percentage of their weight.  They lost 8.53% of their weight during the 7 week challenge.

Before I get into the prizes, I want to brag about all the ladies who participated.  Of the 74 teams that finished, they lost 2318.3 lbs! That is amazing!!!

Now, on to the good stuff.  Each member of the winning team will receive these lovely prices.

$60 gift card to Words to Sweat by

Words to Sweat by offers exercise gear that provides sassy yet serious motivation to people of all athletic inclinations.  Their product line offers a variety of products including mantra workout towels, t-shirts, key chains, note cards and hand-stamped inspirational jewelry.

I'd get this necklace. Ya know why? Because excuses, while sometimes legitimate  are still excuses. Oh, and over the past 8 months or so, I've fallen in love with free weights!

Words to Sweat By wanted to make sure every Fit Camper and reader of Fitness Unscripted felt included so they were kind enough to set up a special discount code for all of us - which can be used now.  At checkout, use discount code "mamalaughlin" for 12% off your purchase.

$25 gift card to BIC Bands 

BIC Bands are headbands that actually will stay in place!  I love them all.  I'm really crushing on Pink Big Dots one and pretty much every single sparkle BIC Bands... I. LOVE. GLITTER!!!!

NEON I Don't Sweat I Sparkle
If you have been tracking Mama for any amount of time, you've surely heard of Ruffles With Love workout tanks.  They are bright, playful and feminine workout tanks made to inspire.  Ruffles with Love has been kind enough to offer one tank to each member of the winning team.  Like Jen J...I love this one! Because let's be real people...I don't sweat.  I literary sparkle (which might have something to do with all the glitter, but hey...)

- Official 2013 Fit Camp Calendar
Fellow Fit Camper, McKenzie created an official Fit Camp calendar just for us.  How cool is that?!?!?  Each month includes space to track your monthly goals, beginning of month measurements, end of month measurements and monthly results!  There's plenty of space in each square to record whatever you want -  calorie intake, workout schedule or STICKERS for each workout you complete.  The calendars are currently available for pre-order at McKenzie's etsy shop, MH Designs.

I will contact the winning team captain and make sure we get you all set up.

With fear of getting all sappy here, I’m going to say this anyways.  I am so proud of each and every one of you ladies.  I’ve been told that SEVERAL of the teams are sticking together and will continue to cheer each other on in their weight loss journey.  That, ladies, is why Jen J. and I are doing this.  We love hearing stories of friendship, encouragement, and the occasional tough lough ass kicking! ;)

Until next time,

peace & love
Jen S.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Video, Graphic & Book. // Jen J.

Just a little post dedicated to media today. 

I can not tell you broads it enough, I loved all the introduction videos that were posted within the group recently.  It was so awesome for the posts to have more dimension to them and hear all the accents.  I made a point to watch every video I came across.  In doing so, I came across this gem, made by Fit Camper, Sania C.  As soon, as I watched it, I called my boyfriend over and said you gotta check this shit out.  He was impressed too.  I asked for Sania's permission to share it here, because her effort and skill level warrants being seen.  So watch it, and smile, you are surrounded by some talented broads in that there Fit Camp of yours.

On the topic of talented broads, another Fit Camper, Erica H., created this little graphic for our push to recruit Jillian Michaels to attend the Fit Camp retreat.  She volunteered immediately after I put out the call for someone artsy and I think this graphic is the perfect representation of what I was trying to accomplish.  If you are interested in more of her works, please check out her Facebook page.
If you have not signed our letter to Jillian please do it. NOW.  It is so easy.  Just click here.  I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrica R. for helping me fine tune the letter.  She is really good at that stuff but I guess she should be.  Her big girl job is as a literacy coach.  You can see her skillzzz for yourself at her blog, Legacy.

See I told you we had some talented ladies.  Thanks for pitching in for the greater good of the group. 

In other news.....we are going to test out a little book club action in the group.  You can join in on the literary fun by finding us under the events tab - January Book Club.  I selected three titles from everyone's suggestions and took a vote and this book won. 

As of this typing, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me had 70 votes.  The honorable mentions were Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, with 40 votes, and Made to Crave, by Lysa Terkeurst, with 21 votes.  There were enough positive comments and votes for Wild that I'd like to consider it if we decide to do this again.

I timed the book club experiment to start in January so that people could add the book to their Christmas lists.  I don't really know how to handle the discussion in the event because I don't want any spoilers.  Should I just let it be a free for all and if you don't want to risk being spoiled, stay out of the event?  Or possibly I could break the book up into increments - like by pages or chapters.  For example, by week two, we'd be free to discuss, say - chapters 1 - 7 and only those chapters.  And then we will increase it by a few chapters in week 3.  Please, please, chime in with suggestions. 

As always, thanks for reading.
P.S.  I can now be followed @fitnessunscrpited on the Instagram.  I did a little switch-a-roo from @passingleft after the Jillian push - which led people directly to Fitness Unscripted.  I just don't really want people from my personal/work life tracking my every wellness journey.  I want to be more raw and open about it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fat Girl Files. // Kelly K.

I remember the first time I realized I was fat. I was about 8 years old at summer Church camp where the counselors took our photo that was going to be used for an art project. When it was time to pick up our photo I couldn’t find mine because I didn’t recognize myself.

Needless to say I grew up the ‘fat girl’.

Here I am at 8 years old with a perm, buckteeth and peace sign shirt. Thanks mom.

From outward appearances I had a perfect childhood…loving and happily married parents, a brother that I was close to, a beautiful home and a good education. I was active in sports and played outside with the neighborhood kids all of the time. However, I grew up in a very social family that owned restaurants so food, good food at that, was always around and the center of all of our family gatherings. Every Sunday we would go to my Grammy’s house for breakfast where she made homemade pizza, linguisa and toast. With coke.

Food soon became my comfort and coping mechanism.

For various reasons that I don’t need to bore you with, my weight skyrocketed during high school. At my heaviest I am guessing I weighed close to 250 lbs. Being that large in high school was not easy and I ate my feelings. As the old saying goes “I eat because I am an unhappy and I am unhappy because I eat”. I was one of those people that would sneak fast food after school on my way home and throw the wrappers out of the window so no one would know and then proceed to eat a full dinner with my family. I wish I could get into that 17-year-old head of mine and smack some sense into it. But if I did that I wouldn’t be the person I am today nor know how to cope through Here I am in South Africa in 1998 which was the summer going into my senior year of high school at close to 250lbs (I am 5’8”).

So how did I get from the heaviest point in my life to where I am today? (I am currently hovering right around 165 and hope to get to 160 by the end of the year with an ultimate goal of 150lbs)

The weight started to come off during college when I came out of my shell…you could say I blossomed. I got down to around 180lbs and for the next 5 years or so after college I fluctuated between 180-200lbs.

In a nutshell, it has come off through hard work (and a few heartbreaks, but that is whole other blog post).
  • When I was in my mid 20s I discovered the combination of kickboxing classes and body pump weight classes at 24 Hour Fitness. An hour of cardio followed by an hour of weights did and still does wonders for me. It is about a 1,000-calorie workout for me and the $70/month I pay for a gym membership is well worth it. In my opinion you cannot put a price tag on being healthy and gym classes are what motivate me.
  • I know all of you love Jillian DVDs, but I just can’t jump on her train. I burn about 150 calories doing a 20-minute session of 30 Day Shred and that is no where near enough for me. I urge you to add in more sweat sessions if that is the only form of exercise you do and are really trying to shed the lbs. (but don’t quote me on that, I am not a doctor or a trainer; I just speak from experience)
  • I wear a heart rate monitor when I work out which keeps me accountable. If I don’t burn a certain amount of calories I don’t leave the gym.
  • I don’t eat foods like this on a consistent basis. I am laughing in this photo because of the ridiculousness of the size. At my heaviest this would have been a snack.

  • Living by myself gave me control over what food is in my house. I am a snacker and a grazer so I do not keep anything in my house that would tempt me other than produce. 100 Calorie packs aren’t effective at portion control for me when I eat 4 packs in a sitting and I don’t keep bread in my house because I will toast an entire loaf with butter. Don’t even get me started on the hot, fresh tortillas from HEB. In general my refrigerator and cupboards are pretty bare. I think right now all I have is beans, yogurt, apples and salad ingredients.
  • Lots of water. If you don’t have a water tumbler with a straw, go buy yourself one. I drink so much more water if there is a straw. I have this one because I was sick of dropping and breaking the cheaper ones from Target.
  • Most importantly, I finally decided I wanted to be HAPPY. There is nothing more attractive than a happy person. In my opinion, you will never reach your goals until being happy and all that comes along with it no longer scares you.

In looking through recent photos I don’t have many full body ones (left over fat girl problem) however I do not cringe at the ones I do have.

That’s me in the middle at the Eric Church concert here in Austin.

This is the most recent full-body photo I have with my brother on Thanksgiving (please excuse his “Movember” mustache). I have come along way from that unhappy girl in 1998, but still feel like I have a lot of work left to do (that is the inner fat girl in me talking again…we are good friends these days).

Deep down I will always be a “fat girl”. I recently bought my first pair of single digit sized jeans and thought, “no way…these must run big because there is no way am I this small.” I will always have that little self-doubt devil on my shoulder, but you know what? I accept that, embrace it and appreciate the struggle I have been through which has shaped me into the person I am today.

I moved from San Francisco to Austin the past summer where I am currently getting my Masters in Public Health at UT with the goal of working in childhood obesity intervention programs, specifically for girls. Without a doubt I know that the reason I made it through this struggle was to help others like me. (BTW, if anyone out there has an MPH, please let me know…I would love to pick your brain.)

To end, if I can leave you with any piece of advice, it would be that if you are a mother of an overweight daughter, please, please do everything in your power to get her healthier. Model good behavior (trust me, if you sneak a cookie in the car she will find the crumbs!), work out with her, get rid of the TV and computer in her room, don’t tempt her with junk food in the house, get her into counseling if that is what she needs. Even if she hates you for it, I’m sure you would rather her hate you for a short period of time compared to hating herself for a lifetime.

Feel free to come see me over at Life in The Klass Lane.

// Kelly K.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Get Your Run On // Jen S.

I’m not gonna lie.  When I saw Kara’s post about the Half Marathon Challenge…I was terrified.  But then I thought to myself, “Self, you’ve been thinking about doing another one, so what the f#$% are you waiting for? Do this challenge!”  And my inner self is right.  I had been thinking about doing another half marathon, and this kinda just seemed to be perfect timing.

You see…I started this whole “lose weight thing” by training for a half marathon.  I was 220lbs (5’ 8”) and thought “Ya know what would be awesome? Doing a half marathon!” Yes, my inner self is also a sadistic lunatic who tries to kill me on a very regular basis. So, at 220lbs, I started training for my very first half marathon.  At that point, I couldn’t even run for 3 minutes without stopping or feeling like my lungs were set on fire.  FUN!

During that 4 months, I lost about 30lbs.  And somewhere along the lines...

...I started to like running.

Yes, my actual self was turning into a sadistic lunatic as well…

Honestly, who the hell LIKES running?

I did…

I completed 4 half marathons between February 2009 and February 2010.  One might say, “I caught the racing bug”.  I became addicted to the feeling of starting a race.  Addicted to the feeling of crossing that line.  And always forgot the pain I was in the day after the race.  Much like childbirth (I’ve been told…as I only have 2 dogs, no humans yet).  I became addicted to the pageantry.  Addicted to people cheering me on.  So, in May of 2010, I started training for my very first Marathon.  I was going to complete the Chicago Marathon in October 2010.  Until that fateful September day…

I had been ignoring some knee pain. FOR SHAME!  During my 16 mile training run, things took a very terrible turn.  At about mile 11 my knees were aching so bad, I couldn’t move.  I actually had to call my husband to pick me up and drive me to my car.  There was no way I could walk there.

Running, in my mind, had betrayed me.  This seductive mistress who I had spent hours with on a daily basis for years, betrayed me.  Left me crippled.  Left me wounded.  And left me unable to run the Chicago Marathon.  That day, I swore off long distance running.  Part of me always wanted to go back.  I had thought about and planned to do a few half marathons after that, but never did.  Never set up a plan.  Never signed up.  Never told anyone about it.

Well – times have changed.  When I read that post, I knew.  This was my chance!  This was the chance I had to get back at it.  I would reunite with running again and it would be GLORIOUS (queue Old School line when Will Ferrel’s character talked about seeing Blue, “I see Blue, and he’s GLORIOUS!”).  I picked out my race (Dallas Rock N Roll Half Marathon March 24).  I developed my training plan (yes, you can use if you want!).  And I told all of you, so I pretty much have to do it now!

Looking forward to it...thanks, Kara for developing this challenge!

On a side note, I'm super stoked about my sexy Mrs. Clause outfit for hubby's work Christmas party.  If you followed me on instragrm, you would have seen!

peace & love
Jen S.

Jen S. is one of the MLFC Camp Councilors and is obsessed with posting photos of her dogs (and other awesome things) on instagram (@jen_stamps).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dear Jillian. // Jen J.

Dear Jillian –
I want to tell you about something amazing that was inspired in part by your work. In July 2012, I was motivated to start a group on Facebook for women who read the inspirational blog, Mama Laughlin.  Mama describes her weight loss journey, in a humorous and sometimes blunt and crass way.  It was through her blog that I was first introduced to the 30DS as she documented her success with it.

Mama Laughlin has over 9,000 readers, which results in copious amounts of weight-loss and fitness related comments and questions being posted to her blog and Facebook page.  It dawned on me that what all these ladies needed was a forum to connect, discuss, encourage, and motivate amongst themselves.  So I started a Facebook group to help readers communicate as they pursued their own fitness goals.

The Facebook group has spread like wild fire and now has over 7,000 amazing women as members.  Shortly after the groups creation, I realized the women needed another way to “tell their stories” so I created this blog, Fitness Unscripted, to accommodate that need.  These forums are non-judgmental sanctuaries for women; a place they can come for motivation, friendship, to give and receive praise, and accept challenges.  

The challenges have been both fitness and weight-loss related and the ladies have had awesome results.  Literally thousands of miles have been run and thousands of pounds and inches lost.  

One of our most popular and successful challenges was the 31 days of being Jillian Michaels's biotch challenge we hosted back in October.  The ladies were required to do any one of your videos for 31 consecutive days.  To prove it, they courageously succumbed to before and after pictures and tracked their progress by placing stickers for each workout on our “Jillian” calendar.  I am still awestruck by the effort put in by these women and their results.  The outcome of the challenge caused a ripple effect within the group. Members who were not part of the initial challenge have been encouraged by the results and are now giving your workouts a try, all in supportive groups, across the country and even abroad, connected by only the Facebook group and blog.  So even though the official Jillian challenge is over, the acronyms 30DS and RI30 are still common place in the group.

In addition to seeing the results of the group, I can speak from experience.  I graduated as a Shred Head after doing the 30DS for a month straight and immediately taking on RI30.  I am here to say that it works – my hard work paired with your instruction has me in jeans I have not been able to wear for three years.  

Myself and the ladies thank you for putting out a legit and easy-to-follow fitness program.  This group and all it stands for means so much to us that we are hosting a retreat June 20 -23, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.  On behalf of all these wonderful ladies, I’d like to extend an invitation to you and welcome you to lead us in a little heart gargling. We know you are busy and must get requests all the time, but felt that you might be inspired by what started as a small effort and has grown into a movement! I look forward to hearing back about whether you might be available on any of the dates in June to kick our asses with a little workout.

In your words, not ours – don’t phone this one in!

Thank you for taking the time to read our letter to Jillian.  On behalf of these amazing women and their journeys to wellness, I would appreciate a comment of support below.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Last Loser Standing. // Ellen & Emily

Hello Everyone! We are Ellen & Emily, and we have a NEW challenge for you!

Ellen:  Wow I feel so famous for being able to post on here. Elbow Elbow Wrist Wrist Touch Your Pearls and Blow a Kiss. I don’t actual own any pearls nor have we ever been a beauty pageant queen (or contestant) but thanks to everyone on MLFC I am well on my way to being "Miss I actually weigh what my driver’s license says I weigh". I joined MLFC at the beginning of October and was lucky enough to get in on the Holiday Challenge that started October 17th and will end on Dec 5th. The challenge has helped me stay accountable for my actions, push through the rough patches, and really start to drop the pounds. I was really nervous that once this challenge was over that I would go back to old habits (they die hard) and just put the weight back on so I wanted to create another challenge to allow me to stay accountable and also do what I do best: compete with other people for a prize (yes I said a prize).

Emily: Ellen is actually my team leader for the previous challenge, and when I saw her idea I immediately wanted to be a part. I am VERY competitive and whenever a competition is involved, I'm "all in!"

I started this weight loss journey just a few months ago, and have lost over 20 lbs. I created a blog called, My Uncharted Territory, in the process to help me stay accountable and to record my progress. Being involved with you ladies has impacted my weight loss more then anything I've tied before. I can't explain to anyone how this community is something that has changed my life. These challenges are just another way to bring us all together for a common goal, to better ourselves.

But enough about us- time to discuss the challenge!

We are calling this challenge, "The Last Loser Standing." This is a straightforward challenge, being that all you have to do is lose weight (doesn’t matter how much) or maintain your current weight (not an ounce over) to stay in the competition. No percentages, no teams, nothing confusing.

We have created a new Facebook group (we know, not ANOTHER Facebook group) for you to join to stay updated on the group's progress and how many are still competing. To enter the challenge all you have to do is join the group.

RULES: We are only going to allow 500 people to do this challenge because otherwise it might never end. The challenge will start on Wednesday December 12th, and will continue until there is just one person remaining. On each Tuesday morning we will post on the Facebook page a “weigh in word” for the week. You must write this word on a piece of paper and place it on or near your scale. When you weigh yourself for the week you must take a picture of your feet and word on the scale and send this picture to All pictures MUST be sent in no later than Wednesday at 11:59pm CST. If you do not get your picture in on time you will be eliminated from the competition. When you send the picture please put your full name (first AND last) and current weight in the subject line before you send the picture. On Thursday we will go through all the e-mails and update a spreadsheet for everyone to see.

Now back to the prize. While we think being able to say you won the last loser standing out of 499 other people is prize enough, we are both prize oriented losers, so we wanted to be able to give the lucky loser something tangible. Ellen was lucky enough to get her hands on a Fitbit Ultra for the lucky lady (or gent?) who can be claimed the last loser standing.

We look forward to seeing you all in the facebook group! So good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

//Ellen & Emily

Friday, November 30, 2012

Think Like an Alaskan. // Jen J.

It is not easy to try something new.

Especially when that something new involves the cold and dark.  And exercise. 

For the longest time I’ve wanted to meet up with this running group that gathers at a local specialty running shop. Finally a few weeks ago, thanks to Fit Camp, I stopped pussyfooting (shout out to Kate M. that spitball of an Aussie) around and got off my vajazz and went for the first time. Why I waited until winter to pursue this, I have no idea.

The first night I went all by myself, which I will add, is also not easy. I wore all black. Everyone else was all decked out in neon and reflective gear. Immediately, the organizer comes up to me and hands me a flashlight and tells me I need something to light my way. That was nice. There was another girl, Julie, also dressed in all black. I approached her and said, “you must also be new”.  She said yes, and we had a chuckle at our rookie mistakes. Julie also got issued a flashlight.  Safety first, gals! 

The leader informed us that we’d be running a four mile hilly course. Oh joy, I think to myself. Mind you, it was 30 something degrees and typically I call it a day at three miles. Julie and I started out together but the hills got to me. And soon I was on my own, absolutely the last person in the pack. I was probably a good quarter of a mile behind everyone else. I had to strain to see their lights so I that I could stay on course. It was not easy, I don’t know that it was fun either. But I did not stop.  Did I mention it was cold?  Again, I did not stop.   I was the last one to get back to the shop. But I did it! And you know what, Julie was there waiting outside for me, making sure I made it.

I’ve now ran with the group four weeks in a row. Three Wednesday night runs and a turkey trot. It is still freezing, dark, and hard. But I kind of like it.  It makes me feel macho and tough.

Here is a picture of this Wednesday’s run dubbed the Stash Dash. As you can see I still haven’t invested in any cold weather neon, but it’s going on the Christmas list.

That's me on the far right. 
I want to stick with this. Julie has shown up every week too. And we agreed that we’d both be back next week. Yay! Could it be a budding friendship?!

Cold weather blows. Literally. I’ve seen a lot of posts in the group regarding cold weather running. Girls, you just layer up and go.

You know what I say to myself, when I am dreading the cold? I say, "self, what would an Alaskan do?” I swear, I really do. Those Alaskans are bad ass people! All tough and stuff.

In July 2011, I had the fortunate experience to travel to Alaska for a family vacay. We saw some of the land and also did a cruise. I shared a ship cabin with my BF and sister. We slept on bunk beds.  My parents were in the next cabin over.  How fun does that sound?? I digress.

As you all know, Alaska can be freezing and wet (insert your own dirty thought here). Even in the summer. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy for a good portion of our trip. But what could we do. We spent all that money, came all that way, and it was a once in a life time opportunity.

 I’ll tell you what we did. We made the most of it.

Pausing on a rainy hike to photo bomb this moose.
 We got in our rain gear and hiked five miles in the pouring down rain looking for moose.

BF & I at Mendhall Glacier. 

We put on hats and gloves and got out there and saw what there was to be seen.

My sister and I, freezing our tits off at Hubbard Glacier.
What was the alternative, sit in our room and miss out on this majestic place? I think not.  Seriously, this trip changed my perspective.

I challenge you all to adopt this philosophy.

We are not bears. We cannot hibernate.

Get out there, get some fresh air. Bundle up and run or walk, that's cool too.  Just move. Admire the Christmas lights or the freshly fallen snow. Every season has something to offer, you just got to toughen up and give it a chance.

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