Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Haunted Rocking Chair. // Jen J.

In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd share a spooky tale from my childhood.  I caveat the start of this story by stating that I'm relying on my on parents memory to explain the back story. 

My Dad's sister Marge married a guy named Jim.  So I guess that would have once made him my Uncle Jim.  I say once, because they were married and divorced before I was born.  Sometime after my Aunt Marge and Jim divorced, he was shot and killed by his best friend after getting in an argument. 

Now enter my memory of the story, at the time this happened I was nine years old.  The first house I ever lived in had a big yard with a barn.  The barn had pull down stairs that led to an attic.  In the attic, there was a very old wooden rocking chair. As the story goes, the rocking chair came to my grandmother via Jim (her ex-son-in-law), who had stolen the chair from an old abandon house in Northern Michigan.  We received the chair after my grandmother moved from her house to a smaller apartment.  How my grandmother got the chair, I don't know.

I was always freaked out by the chair when I went up in the barn's attic.  After all, it was taken from an old abandoned house by my murdered Uncle.  I remember  bolting out of the barn on several occasions after getting spooked by it.  I swear the chair rocked sometimes, completely on it's own.

The year was 1989 and my family was building a new house just a mile up the road.  In order to prepare for the move we held a moving sale.  By this point, my parents had been storing the chair for years, my Uncle was dead, and my Grandma didn't want the chair back so they set it out in the moving sale.  I remember someone offering to buy the chair, but my mom thought the person was low-balling her, so she decided not to sell it.  After all, he wooden rocking chair was carved with an intricate design and was obviously an antique.  My mom not selling the chair meant we were taking it with us.

My mom and dad moved ourselves to our new house by shuffling furniture and household goods back and forth in my dad's trailer (pretty much everyone in Michigan has a trailer).  Now this trailer (which he still has) is enclosed with four walls about three feet high so things were pretty secure for a mile ride down the road.....or so they thought.

My parents had the rocking chair loaded up with several items and were driving to the new house when they heard a big smash.  My dad pulled over to the side of the road and wouldn't you know it, the rocking chair somehow flew out of the trailer and broke into several pieces.  I am telling you, there was no logical explanation as to how this rocking chair ended up on the road.  Mind you, the rocking chair was heavy, my parents were driving slow, and I would like to reiterate that the trailer had four walls.  My parents gathered up the broken pieces threw them in the trailer and continued down the road.  All the while, my mom was thinking....I should have sold that damn thing. 

Our new house was out in the country and my dad did most of the construction on it.  To get rid of the scrap wood, cardboard and other construction bi-products we'd have bonfires in our then dirt yard.  Since the rocking chair was nothing more than scrap we tossed it in the fire.  But as soon as the pieces were thrown in, they jumped out of the fire.  My dad tossed them back in and they would not burn!  Spooky, spooky - I swear!

Since the pieces of the rocking chair would not burn, my dad took them and buried them in the yard.  The next spring my dad planted a birch tree near the buried scraps and pretty soon after it was planted the tree died.  To this day, nothing will grow in that spot where the broken rocking chair remains.

I'm not saying this story is the result of something beyond this world but the events I tell really happened.  After all, would I lie to you?  Anyone else have anything weird and spooky happen to them?  I'd love to read about it in the comments.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slimmer by December. // AnnaMarie B.

A huge thank you to Fit Camper AnnaMarie B., who emailed me asking if she could host a November challenge.  I responded with a resounding, YES!  After all, the success of this group relies on us all working together and motivating one another.  Without further adieu, I hand it over to AnnaMarie..........

Morning Hookstars! I am so excited to announce the November weight loss/exercise challenge starting over at Mama Laughlin’s Fit Camp this week!

With the October Jillian Challenge concluding this Wednesday I (like quite a few other ladies at Fit Camp) was beginning to get nervous about November and all the potential set-backs it could possibly bring, so I started brainstorming and came up with the Slimmer by December challenge to help keep us motivated throughout the month—and what’s more motivating than FREE SHIT!!

That’s right bitches; the lady who loses the most between November 1 and December 1 will be receiving:

-A Ruffles With Love Team Mama Tank

-A BIC Band

*What can I say? I love you bitches and want to say thank you for all the support this group continues to give me.*

Seeing as the calendar and reward sticker idea from the October challenge was such a motivational hit, we’ll be keeping that and I have created a new calendar for November. However, instead of just Jillian workouts, the challenge this month requires participants to come up with their own workout plan, taking individual schedule needs into consideration, with the one requirement that participants complete SOME type of exercise EVERY DAY!!

I also ask, that in order to be in the running for the prizes, each person participating share their plan and a photo of their sticker filled November calendar under the Fit Camp’s event section for this challenge (the "Slimmer by December" event will be posted on the morning of November 1st), as well as recording your Starting Weight by 11:59pm November 1 and Final Weight by 11:59pm December 1 in the event spreadsheet.  Yes, you've read that correctly!  This challenge only calls for two weigh-ins.  

Considering the amazing boost that “clean eating prep” gives to weight loss, I will be posting my own food prep once a week along with grocery lists, recipes, and nutritional info. This should be a great resource for anyone who is serious about staying on track/getting on track and succeeding in this challenge and through the holidays.

So let’s accept this challenge, ladies and not (once again) put our health on hold until “after the holidays when everything slows down”. Instead let’s support and motivate each other to stay on track through this shit storm that is the holiday season, and compete for some pretty awesome prizes at the same time :)

AnnaMarie B.

AnnaMarie B. is a wife and mom of two boys battling the last bit of baby weight (and then some). She found the Mama’s blog in May and decided to get serious about her health (for real this time!) in September 2012 with the support of MLFC. She has currently lost 7.5lbs with another 18lbs to lose to hit her goal weight.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh, Hiya 20 Pounds. // Jen S.

Yep.  20 of them give or take 2 depending on the time of month.  I’ve got 20 more and I’m kinda sick of them.  I do this ya know.  Go balls out for like 9 months, then become content.  Stay at my current state for a while, until I’m sick of it, then go balls out again.  

Well, ladies, it’s time to go balls to the wall until this 20 is gone for good!

So far, I’ve lost 60lbs in my weight loss journey.  

Sure, I’m at an adequate weight.  I’m *slightly* overweight compared to what I should be, but I carry it well and no one can tell.  

The past few months (ironically a little bit after we started this group) is when I sort of lost interest.  A few crazy things happened in my life that forced me to put myself second/third/fourth/seventy-sixth in line.  

Eating right became a nuisance.  

Working out became non-existent.  

So, I’m currently 165lbs.  I’m 5’8”.  Wearing size 10 jeans comfortably.  I’m about 5 lbs lighter than I was when I first started dating my husband (thinnest in my adult life) 7 years ago.  I was feeling pretty freaking amazing.  But, my goal is 145.

It’s been about 2 solid months of not tracking points with weight watchers and not working out on a regular basis.  Believe me, I have pretty legit EXCUSES.  But guess what, excuses, while sometimes legitimate, are still excuses.  Life will always be crazy.  Things will always get in the way.  I need to recommit from this moment on that I will get this.    

I’m not going to let the 220lb Jen down.  She desperately wanted to be 145lbs, and I’m going to give it to her.  

Much love,

Your new, recommitted, Jen S!

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Journey. // Anonymous

I was a really cute average size kid, maybe a little heavier than some kids but not overweight. I remember feeling fat in elementary school and crying to my Mama because I had been picked on, I still remember her saying “you’re not fat, you’re just healthy.” She was right, but I was too young to understand. I was very active, sports and playing outside. I wasn’t allowed to sit in front of the T.V. or computer all day. But, our eating habits could have been better. Mama cooked and boy did she cook good, fried everything, and potatoes with every meal…YUM, my comfort foods. We didn’t eat out very often, I remember getting happy meals, and blizzards from Dairy Queen but those were only treats.

Any who, here comes puberty, and I put on some pounds, my parents divorced, and we (mom and sister) moved. I was away from my friends and living with much older cousins, I was constantly being bullied, so I ate. I remember being 140 pounds at 13. I was an active kid though, I even made cheerleading. That summer I started making myself throw up. Not binging and purging, starving myself and then throwing up anything I consumed. I lost 30 pounds just that summer. I felt good; I was one of the “skinny” girls. I remember riding the 4 wheeler with my younger sister and telling her to hold on because I was about to jump a hill and her replying that I had nothing to hold onto. It made me feel good. I liked being skinny.

I started high school and got a new best friend that also had the same eating disorder that I had. We shared 00 jeans our freshman year. I had been dating my boyfriend for almost a year when he found out about me making myself throw up. He (smartly) told my mama who threatened to send me to a rehab clinic. I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to know. Of course when I started eating without purging I gained weight, probably around 15 pounds.

10th grade. I was active in sports, cheerleading, softball, and taking a weight training class. I gained a little more weight. At this point as was probably between 115 and 120 and wearing a size 4 pant, which is healthy for 5’4. Life was normal…well as normal as life for a 15-16 year old can be.

11th grade. My same bulimic friend best friend started socially using cocaine, so what do I do? I start using too, my using turns into an addiction. I lost weight, back down to a 00. I knew I wasn’t healthy and when I was sober I felt like crap. I literally ate nothing. I don’t know how I survived that year of my life. My mom got a new boyfriend and we moved 2 ½ hours away. That didn’t stop me from getting my drugs. I was out of control. PERIOD! The same boyfriend (now just a friend) that told on me for my eating disorder talked me into getting sober. I did it without rehab. How, I don’t know. Life sucked big time right now. I was so skinny and sick. It took me a while to start gaining weight.

Senior year, size 2 not healthy at all. Didn’t eat much. I remember eating nothing for breakfast or lunch. I was forced at my school to get a plate of food if we didn’t bring anything from home. I gave my food away to the guys at my table. I guess around Christmas I started eating normally again, but I wasn’t exercising at all, so I started gaining. When I graduated I was about 125-130 and in a size 4 but fast approaching a size 6.

I got a gym membership and started working out. I hadn’t started losing weight when I noticed a bad faint feeling. I realized that my resting heart rate was much higher than normal. About 120. I started having anxiety issues which triggered upset stomach all the time. I lost more weight. After a series of many tests, my cardiologist was finally able to figure out my heart problem, I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse and was prescribed a beta blocker. I was so scared; I cut out all sugar, salt, and caffeine. I lost more weight.

2007 is the summer that my life got happy. I met the guy that would become my husband. He constantly told me how beautiful I was. He loved me for who I was (&who I am). We partied though, drinking & clubbing into the wee hours of the morning. I noticed some weight gain, but it didn’t bother me. He never said anything. You know the saying, “when you get happy, you get fat” well that’s what happened. In 2009 when he proposed I was a size 8 and 150 pounds. We stopped partying and started hanging around the house. Insert wedding showers and insert a new dress size and 10 more pounds.

After our wedding I was determined to lose weight and get healthy, something that I had honestly never truly been. 6 months later I got pregnant.

I didn’t gain a lot of weight, I was 171 when I delivered on 5/22/11, but that was after terrible morning sickness my entire pregnancy. I lost about 20 pounds before I even left the hospital. I was nursing and losing more weight. I think I was about 145 when I stopped nursing 2 weeks postpartum. I had to have a c-section so I wasn’t allowed to do exercise. Weight started creeping back up. I started walking and doing Jillian, but quit many times.

Fast forward to today. I am 24, 151 pounds, probably healthier than I have ever been. I wear a size 8 and I make healthier choices. I have body image issues, but I have a husband that tries to make those disappear. I thank God every single day for blessing me with him. My goal weight is 125. My main goal is to be healthy and I know I am getting healthier every single day. I never want my daughter to feel the way that I have felt. I want to show her how to be healthy. I want to be a hot, healthy mommy and wife.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tales From Texas. // Jen J.

I had a great long weekend in Waco, TX for my boyfriend's sister's wedding.  It was my first Texas wedding so it was interesting to learn about and witness the local traditions.  I'd classify the theme of the wedding as rustic charm.  It was in the country and the groom and most of the guests wore jeans.  This was my first wedding where jeans were appropriate attire, but, I've got to say I actually enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.  I totally felt comfortable ditching my heels for flip-flops after the ceremony. 

My favorite aspect of the wedding was the dance floor.  It was outside under the natural glow of the stars with extra lighting provided by golden Christmas lights strung about.  I could have watched the  guests forever - shuffling about and doing the two-step in their cowboy boots.  I would have loved to join in but I suck at anything that requires coordination.
Bride & Groom.
Rustic Charm.
The BF & I.
I have to be honest though.  As lovely as the wedding was, it was a ton of work.  We were responsible for the complete set-up and clean-up of the venue.  We also tackled the floral arrangements.  I am sticking with my conviction that Vegas is the place I want to say I do. 
I ate like my old fat self while in town.  Seeing as we were in the BFs hometown he wanted all of his old favorite treats.  And oh my goodness - I could not put down the cake balls at the wedding!  Delicious!  As a result, I'm up approximately four pounds.  I did try to counterbalance the gluttony by getting in some miles (this obviously failed and demonstrates the fact that my pie hole can eat through any workout).  The BF and I walked everyday by hitting up some local trails.  Most notably we walked/ran seven miles at Cameron Park and another five and half miles at the Lake Waco Dam.  Whenever I travel I always try to check out the local spots and Waco did not disappoint. 
Lake Waco
I love, love, love how Diet Dr Pepper is available on tap in most Waco restaurants.  To me, Diet Dr Pepper is one of the best "diets" out there and it's never available on draft in the North.  Also, if you ever find yourself in Waco, make your way to the Dr Pepper Museum.  You can get yourself the most delicious Dr Pepper float ever!  Made from one of those old school soda fountains.
Texans sure as heck like their AC.  I was excited to get back to the warmer temperatures (it was mostly in the 80s) but I swear everyone was blasting their air and running their ceiling fans as if it was still a 100 degrees outside.  I froze my ass off!  Open your windows people and get some fresh air - not to mention - save the earth!  And of course, I always got the....."how can you be freezing, you're from Pittsburgh".  Whateva people!  Cold is cold! 
Fire ants effing suck!!  I got bitten for the first time at the wedding!  I am still miserable and my foot is swollen, itchy, and littered with little white head pimples.  Nasty.
If I could have a dollar for every time someone asked me or the BF when we were getting married or what we thought of the Lance Armstrong situation, I'd be a very rich woman.  You see - the BF used to work for the LIVESTRONG Foundation and we've been dating for nearly four years.  I suppose both scenarios present themselves for the the questions but it's gotten old.  Very old.  I plan on writing my feelings about the marriage situation in a future post.  As for Lance, guilty or not, I appreciate what he's done for the fight against cancer.
Lance, me, & the BF.
The BFs mom taught me that hydrogen peroxide gets stains out.  I got a little something-something on a white shirt and that shit works.  And it's much cheaper than all the fancy stain fighters.  Try it.
After five months, I finally finished the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, on the flight homeI know I am the anomaly here, but the book just didn't pull me in.  Well, I will admit, it did give me an occasional tingle, but to me the plot was just so-so.  Needless to say, I won't be purchasing the sequels.  
Last but not least, I had the opportunity to meet fellow Fit Camper Nicole!  A big thanks to her for coming out to meet me!  I travel quite a bit so I hope to meet more of you while on my journeys. 
Nicole, her boys, and I.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Why. // Patricia R.

I’ve been thinking about, (while simultaneously trying not to think about,) what caused me to gain weight and stay overweight for so long. It is painful to think about in some ways, because in order to understand that, I have to admit to myself that much of who ended up being as an adult was the result of me being so impressionable as a young person.

I was the youngest in my family. My sister was five years older and my only sibling. As early as 13, my sister, Tracy was perpetually on a “diet” of some kind and she desperately wanted to look good in her pink bikini. Weight was a constant source of discussion at our house. How much do you weigh? How much weight have you lost/do you want to lose, etc. This is interesting since no one at our house was severely overweight at that time. Our parents would always be “watching their weight,” though it looked nothing like what I do now as an adult. There was a lot of "frying" in the kitchen and cheat days produced big bags of junk food, followed by binging until it was all gone, and the diet would resume.

I remember one thing vividly and will always have it carved in my mind. My sister and my dad had a monetary bet about MY weight. I was supposedly “the smaller boned one who would never struggle with weight,” which I am sure, whether true or not, made my sister nuts! (I only wish that were true.) One day during this debate of which I was just a third-grade bystander, my sister bet my dad $100 that by sixth grade (age 11) I would weigh 100 pounds! By the way, the year would have been 1979, and I can assure you that $100 was a freaking LOT of MONEY back then.

What I did understand when this bet originated is that IF I weighed over 100 pounds by sixth grade that meant I was FAT. That became engraved in my mind. I kept going and growing like any other kid and was always scared to death when it came time every year to weigh and measure in PE, because I was sure I would be found to be FAT. In sixth grade, I weighed in at exactly 106, which meant not only was I FAT, but that my sister won the bet and would be collecting cash.

I didn’t realize until I had kids of my own that it is extremely normal to be a sixth grade girl and weigh more than one hundred pounds. My own daughter was about 5’4’’ at the time and weighed 120 or so. I researched the matter and found, “The ideal weight for a female is: 103-108 pounds, assuming that the age is around 11 years with average health (6th grade).” This data came from an online health and fitness site. It finally occurred to me the impact this bet had on my psyche as a child.

Follow that up with more of my sister’s influence: we moved to a house out of the country into a small town. Down the street was a little market. My sister would bribe me to ride my bike down to the market and buy her list of candy with her allowance money if she would share some with me. Our parents worked full-time and since she was a teenager, we were left at home alone together. (Many interesting memories were built during these summers, to say the least.) I would do it, come home and we would snack and watch our summer soap operas for hours on end.

This eating was a habit until my sister left home. I was a freshman in high school when she moved out. That is when I first remember feeling any real control over choices with food and I was just beginning my own lifelong battle with my weight. Unfortunately, I was extremely skewed by my past experiences, and saw food as a reward and a punishment, a friend and an enemy too.

I was always ashamed of my body, though I’m not sure why. I didn’t want to attract attention with it. I developed early and largely (fifth grade) and felt out of place from that point on. Other fifth grade girls saw me as a legend with my period and my C cups and adults looked at me like I was from another planet. I felt icky a lot. I did not wear size 3 Normandy Rose jeans like the other girls. I was more like a size 11, with birthing hips.

Honestly, none of this came into a clear view for me until June 14, 2011. I had been married for 14 years, had two kids, both of whom I desperately tried to instill good eating habits into, and was a full-time educator. I honestly don’t know if it was the PERSON this conversation happened with, the conversation itself, or just where I was at in my life at the time to make it all sink in.

The conversation led me to see that I am still young enough to be freaking amazing, perhaps even MILFish. That I could be healthy and strong and be in control of my universe in a way I had never utilized before. That I, at 42, could take the same body that I had been ashamed of in its early development and make it work to my advantage now, as something to be proud of. I could stop letting everything else in my life take more of me than I gave to myself. That I could quit sacrificing ME for the good of everyone else. OMG. Epiphany, baby. And, that is the day. That very day, I took my son to football practice like every other day, but this time, I was dressed in sweats and a tee-shirt and I walked around the track instead of sitting and waiting. And, I did that every day for the whole season.

I stopped looking at food as my comfort, my celebration, my best friend I couldn’t wait to see, but just as a fuel source for my body. I realized I am hardly ever hungry, really. I started eating only when my body told me it needed food. And, I began to be healthy and strong and in control of my universe in a way I had never been before.

This is the most updated progress pic I have right now. It was taken in September 2010/2011/2012. Yes, that is the same sweater. Don't judge. It's silk, and I love it, but it's time to get rid of it!

// Patrica R.

For more of Patrica's writings, check out her personal blog.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Journey To Wellness. // Tifanni W.

Recently Mama wrote about “Why” she was overweight. This started me thinking. I knew exactly why I had been overweight. I had been battling it all my life. I didn’t need to bust myself to the point of breaking in order to figure it out. I’ve always knew. Like any good therapist will tell you, “It started in my childhood."

My mother is anorexic, yes, five feet eight inches, just like me, 85 pounds of starved frame… anorexia. I’ve helplessly watched my mother starve herself and become angrier throughout my entire life. My parents divorced when I was an infant, and my mother, bothered by my chubby baby frame, promptly put me on a diet. My father happily filled me up with candy and pop every time I was over to visit, just to aggravate my mother. And, that was where my food issues began. It didn’t take long to learn to love to overeat on sweets.

As my parents remarried, I became the target of physical and emotional abuse at my mother’s house. I was constantly bullied at school, about my size, my glasses, my crazy dysfunctional family. We lived in a teeny, tiny town. There were no secrets. And to top off my fabulous childhood, we attended a cult, like abusive church. And so, church, which should have been a refuge for me, was just as another dark cloud in my life. Despite all of this, I had two amazing grandparents, who acted as parents to me, when no one else would. They loved me, encouraged me, and gave me hope.

I had little control over much of anything in my life, including what I ate, and I became more and more overweight as I continued to junior high. I easily believed all the people who told me I was fat and worthless. As I became more and more self conscious of my size, I began many unhealthy eating habits including purging through vomiting or laxatives, binging, skipping meals at school which would lead me to pass out from low blood sugar, and excessive exercising. I even tried eating soap once because I learned in science that bases cut through fat, and in my nerdy junior high self, I actually thought this could have been my breakthrough.

In college, when I finally had control over my own eating, I lost weight, and for the first time I was thin, really, really thin. When I married my fabulous and amazing husband, I was 130 pounds, and I still thought I was fat. I was not healthy. I severely limited myself to what I would eat.

Then as the babies and the stresses of life continued, the weight slowly came back on again over the last 11 years. As my daughter got older, and I was forced to answer all of her questions about my mother’s unhealthy example, I became determined to not follow that pattern anymore. We preached moderation, walked daily, but I was still 20 pounds overweight. Most of that weight had come on during several miscarriages, and a horrendous two year international adoption. Apparently, you can eat with moderation, but if you don’t do the same with Blue Moons, you will still be fat.

So this summer, I decided to lose this weight for good. I was tired of feeling like all of my shirts were gripping my fat rolls or stinking tents. I was tired of feeling huge as everyone stared at my family when we’re out in public. We are a multi-racial family in Whitesville. No more, upping the exercise and then quitting. No more, backing off of the treats for a day or do, and becoming discouraged and stopping. I started out with a good pair of shoes, if I have learned anything from fighting the fat battle my whole life, it is, “don’t start running in crappy shoes.” I started out walking, then running, then running farther and faster. I only let myself have a Blue Moon on Saturday or Sunday. I quit eating a cookie every day after lunch. I realized that I don’t really need seconds. I was satisfied with first. And I have done it, I have lost 22 pounds. I am now 163 pounds. My BMI is in the healthy range for the first time in 6 years. I’m hoping to lose about 15 or 20 pounds more, but for the first time ever. I love my body.

I ran seven miles for the first time last Saturday. I thought about my journey out of the abusive cloud of my past. I’ve made peace with my family, my faith and food. I know that food is a gift meant to be enjoyed, but we shouldn’t use food as a way to punish our bodies. Food is fuel and life. I realized that our pasts and our present are so intertwined and just as becoming physically healthy is a journey, so is becoming spiritually and emotionally healthy, and one can not be done without the other.

So I encourage you, that may be reading this and can relate. Yes, your past happened, and many times it sucked, but it does not define you. You are worth it. You are amazing. You are a survivor. Don’t use poor lifestyle choices as a way to comfort you through your pain. Your past does not have control of your life any more. It is a sometimes a slow crawl out of your pain, but you can do this. Wholeness is a journey, but it is accomplished one small change at a time. You will get there.

- Tifanni

For more of Tifanni's journey check out her personal blog at Mountains to Mountains. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's My Excuse? // Jen J.

Recently, Mama posted a blog about why she was fat.  This post prompted a immediate discussion of why other Fit Campers also have had a life long battle with food.  Many shared deep heart wrenching reasons for emotional eating.  Me, I've thought about this question for years and honestly, I still can't come up with an answer.

I grew up in a wonderful setting.  I can not say enough good things about my parents, two sisters, or the community I was raised in.  I grew up very active, loved, and never went without.  And to this day I have been SO blessed because I have yet to experience great tragedy.

I am the middle sister but have always been the biggest of the three of us.  This includes tallest, biggest shoe size, and of course heaviest.  And from my earliest memory I've also been the one to enjoy food the most.  When we were super little my dad would sing us a song in the mornings to help us get up and going.  It went like this......"What do we do in the mornings?  Brush our teeth, comb our hair, wash our face - that's what we do in the mornings."  And then he would sing a personalized verse for each of us.  Mine went like this....."What does Jenny do in the mornings?, that's what Jenny does in the morning".  Apparently, I'd get up and the first thing I'd reach for was the cereal box.  Gawd, I still love me some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.     

I also remember coming home from school and being there myself (just for a few minutes because my dad was a teacher and was never far behind) and I would sneak in a few snacks while watching  Duck Tails.  I would always hide the evidence.  I have no idea where I learned this from, I guess it came naturally.

All this sneaking around caught up to me because when I was 15, I had viral meningitis and was hospitalized.  I was so sick that I could not stand to be weighed so the nurses hoisted me up on this crane like apparatus and weighed me.  I weighed 155 pounds.  I have no idea how tall I was then but now I am 5' 8".  At the time I remember my mom being upset I weighed that much.  Obviously, my mom's reaction upset me too, because I remember it like it was yesterday.  In retrospect, I am sure that was fairly heavy for a 15 year old.  Especially, considering 17 years later, I am "only" 19 pounds heavier and I am now a fully developed woman.

My only saving grace (if there is one) was that I was really active in high school and played softball and basketball.  And this is where I can really related to mama.  I was always decent at sports, could hold my own, but honestly, I never really excelled.  But the good news is that the lessons I learned through sports have helped me throughout my life and really have given me a baseline of athleticism.  To this day, I am still very active.  I continue to play softball and I now run, practice yoga, hang out with Jillian....etc.  And thank God, because I often wonder how big I would have gotten had I been a complete sloth.

So I guess the moral of my story is that I don't really have one when it comes to why I've struggled with food.  I've always loved it and probably always will.  At times I seriously feel like food talks to me - calling me from the pantry, telling me to eat it.  And you know what, I honestly don't think I am that weird.  A lot of people have vices they struggle with; including food (obviously, otherwise some of you probably wouldn't be reading this), booze, cancer sticks and gambling. Food just happens to be mine and seeing as it's not like other vices where I can't just give it up cold turkey - it's time I tell that voice in the pantry to shut the fuck up.  And that my friends, is exactly what I am trying to accomplish here.

Totally sad, but this is the most recent picture I could find of me and my sisters - June 2011 on Father's Day.  Me, my eldest sister (and nephew), and my youngest sister.  It isn't the best, but this was taken after a boot camp workout.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Is Different This Time. // Stephanie E.

Weight loss in real life is messy. Probably because life is a shit-show.

My name is Stephanie and I am your classic girl who has been overweight her whole life. My weight has fluctuated with every diet I have tried (and like many of you, I have tried them all). In high school I weighed between 175 and 210 pounds depending on the year. Then I went to college and was met with a 40-pound weight gain from my freshman year to my senior year. Thank you, microbreweries and $1 well drinks at 80s Night.

So why? Why the weight issues? This question is so loaded that I can’t even answer it here because I don’t know the entire answer myself. I have experienced too much death in life, which probably has a lot to do with it. My mom died when I was eight; my father- and uncle-in-law died a month after I got married in a crazy fishing accident; and just this year, my younger cousin who was born with a brain injury died at age 10. So yeah, that’s pretty shitty. Emotional eating has been the cause of probably half of the weight I have packed on.

But my life isn’t all sadness and tears; I have a good life! I have a great husband and family. Amazing friends. I am a teacher, so I obviously love my job. So I settle back to the question: WHY? Why did I let it get this far?

I don’t know. I do know that the night I stumbled upon Mama Laughlin’s blog something clicked in me. I DO NOT WANT TO LOOK LIKE THIS ANYMORE. Mama wasn’t judgmental. She was honest about the fact that she was a fat girl who loved food. Me too. She didn’t act like she was the goddess of fitness or that she knew all the secrets to get skinny. Like that one personal trainer who gained a bunch of weight then lost it so he could “identify” with his clients. What the fuck is that? Is being fat a joke? But I digress…

So, what is different this time around? I am not going to say that I have been completely 100% on track since finding Mama’s blog and being a part of the Fit Camp. That would be a complete lie. I, in fact, am coming off of a three-week Halloween candy binger--why do they sell that stuff so damn early? I do know that I keep going back even after chowing on Twix bars without control. I do know that even with my eating, I have been somewhat keeping up with my fitness. I do know that the ladies of this blog and of Fit Camp inspire the hell out of me. And I know without a doubt that I don’t want to gain back the 21-pounds I have lost since July. Mama’s journey and your journeys are constantly at the back of my mind, reminding me what I can have with a little determination.

I still have a long way to go. 50 pounds at least. Of course there will be setbacks and there will be times I don’t want to get up at 5am to work out. I just have to remember why I am doing this—that I am doing it for ME and I am treating my body with the respect I have deserved my whole life.

We all deserve to feel good about our bodies. That thought is what is different this time.

To read more about Stephanie’s weight loss journey, check out her blog, Wannabe Mama.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Prizes! // Jen J.

I am so proud to announce the prizes for the holiday weight loss challenge!  EACH and EVERY member of the winning team will be receiving the following goodies!  Well, I should caveat that statement by saying, each and every member of the winning team who participates in each and every weekly weigh-in.  Full participation is mandatory.

- $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.

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.  Personally, I'll be picking up a mantra work out towel for my yoga practice.

- $25 gift card to BIC Bands 

BIC Bands are headbands that actually will stay in place!  I ordered one after Mama's give away and have since placed two additional orders for myself and my sisters.  Personally, my favorite is the Minnie Sparkle but I also have the High Voltage *reflective* because I am totally digging neon right now plus I do a lot of night runs.  Check our their website, you are bound to see something you like.  And honestly, I wear these for way more things than working out! 

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.  And because I love sprucing up the workout wardrobe I also purchased one after seeing them on Mama's blog.  I selected this one because of the neon (once again) and the sparkle.   And I am actually wearing it as I type this post out.  

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.
A HUGE, HUGE thank you to each of these ladies who answered my call to sponsor this challenge!  Upon receiving my email, they each promptly responded saying they would love to be a part of what we are doing and were happy to help out.  I highly encourage each of you to check out their shops and return a little love!

Good luck to everyone participating!  Let's rock this!  Go team!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How I "Fit" Fitness Into My Busy Life. // Kristie P.

As a fellow mama to 4 wild child(ren) (4 years, 2 1/2 years and 1 year old twins) I’ve finally found the groove to fitting some fitness in my life. I stumbled upon Mama Laughlin 5 months ago and have been in beast mode ever since! I never would have thought I'd enjoy running (and usually 59 minutes of it I don't) but that 1 minute runner's high and the way the weight comes off really makes it all worth it!
Life is busy.

Kids are needy and things often get in the way of "me time" or take precedence to exercise. I’ve found that good planning can help keep me accountable and actually make sure the exercise happens. I’ve started planning out my week on Monday with what I can fit in according to my weekly schedule and taking after the good Lord and giving myself 1 day of rest. I have a full time job with a part time schedule so I try to fit some exercise in on my lunch break but usually I use it as an excuse to get out of Dodge and leave my husband with the kids. A typical week looks like this:

8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Run 30 min & 30 Day Shred during naptime
Stay at home
Run 30 min. on elliptical during naptime & weights
Stay at home
Zumba 60 min. after dinner while DH watches kids
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Run 45 minutes on lunch break
Zumba or Run 60 min. while DH or Grandma watches kids
Long Run (usually 5-6 miles)

Honestly I think everyone’s afraid I’m going to be the next runaway mom if I don’t get some FITNESS in so they’re more than willing to watch the kids for an hour. And let’s be honest in the grand scheme of our day is 60 minutes or even 30 minutes that hard to dedicate to YOU??? I have down days and days when I just want to claim that my kids need me but I always feel better after getting a good sweat on and my kids (and husband) get to experience the better “me” afterwards.

My weight loss journey:

I was always overweight growing up, yo-yoing from the 180’s to the 120’s at my lightest (and even then, I lied on my driver’s license and said I weighed 115 because I honestly thought I needed to lose 5 more pounds). What I wouldn’t give to go back and bi&%h slap myself. I got married 5 years ago at 150 pounds, got up to 208 while pregnant with my first child and then down to 160 in between the second baby and the twins. Now I’m at 145 pounds (lower than my current driver’s license weight!!!) and aiming for 135.
Here I am the day my twins were born at around 198 pounds.
On their 1st birthday at around 148 pounds.
So, ladies, if I can make time, you can make time! It’s all about setting out your goal and then making time to get there, it doesn’t take much! Just some calorie counting (love the Lose It! App on my phone) and some dedicated exercise time each week and you’ll be changing your driver’s license weight in no time!

Kristie P.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

True Beauty. // Jen J.

You may not look like the women on the cover of magazines and despite what society says this is perfectly acceptable.  Let’s face it, there is always going to be someone prettier and thinner than you.  But this does not mean they are HAPPIER than you.

Chances are your body is not perfect.  In fact, you probably have some cellulite, varicose veins or stretch marks.  But what you need to realize is that it’s all about how you look these things.  For instance, see those stretch marks as a road map.  Perhaps they are from carrying your beautiful babies or heck, maybe they a from a bout with emotional eating.  Either way, they are part of who you are, what battles you’ve won, and are part of this journey we call life.

All that matters is that we do the best within our ability.  Do amazing things with what you have to work with.  A half a mile walk for a 350 pound person can be just as victorious as a 150 pound person running 5 miles.

Be you, be your own competition.  That is all.  No more.  No less.  And that my friends, is where we find true beauty.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My AH HA Moment // Anonymous

Not sure why my AH HA moment has taken me so long but it finally happened today.  Here is the background before the moment.
 On January 1, 2012 my life changed… Looking at it from afar I am going to say for the better.  A few short hours after midnight, my husband confessed his hidden addiction.  Along with the confession he said “I have spent our entire savings!”  I instantly turned around went into our master bedroom and took our sleeping 18month old out of his crib.  I climbed into bed with him and cried myself back to sleep.  
On January 6, 2012, we moved out.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to live with the hurt, the lies and dishonesty.  Just an FYI we are not talking about an alcohol addiction.  We are talking about an illegal one, one where all I can think about is the police tearing down our doors and raiding our home while we sit down to a family dinner.  It was the toughest day of my life.  First of all because just broke my family up, walked away from the man I loved and moved back home with my parents.
My first AH HA moment should have been when he took our wedding picture off the wall and held it 3 inches from my face and said “Look at how fat you were on our wedding day.  I never should have married your lazy a#*.”  But it wasn’t.  I was hurt but I didn’t see it.  People always say that you have to want it for yourself.  I didn’t… Until today.
My coworker and I normally get lunch and bring it back to the office, pizza, bar food (Fried Bologna, curly fries, milk shakes, you get the idea).  Today she is on a clear diet due to having her colonoscopy tomorrow so I went to run a few errands and get some lunch.  What did I choose?  Well, I thought about a kids meal from McDonald’s but instead I chose a #4.  2 cheeseburgers, a large fry and a large SPRITE!  Being the good coworker that I am, I drove back to the office and ate in my car.  I didn’t want her to smell food when she couldn’t eat.  As I inhaled my hot fries (the entire large) and took a couple of swigs of my SPRITE I started looking around to make sure that no one I knew was in the parking lot.  That is when I started to think “Really?  You are eating in your car and you are worried that someone you know is going to see you?”  As I continued to eat my fries I think to myself “wow you are not even hungry.  You could just go back in and get some work done.”  I continue to eat.  Now I am moving on to my first of 2 cheese burgers.  Yummy!  Or at least one would hope.  It wasn’t that good.  It was mushy and cold.  So after I quickly ate that one, I was stuffed.  But it wasn’t that good and I had one more in my bag.  As I start the second one I happen to glance at the rearview mirror.  I actually had tears running down my face.
Why?  Because I am fat, I am sad, I am alone, I am tired and I am finally at rock bottom.    
So here are my stats as of day #1
Age: 31
Height: 5ft even (on a good day but I will never admit to only being 4ft 11in)
Weight: 158
Pant size: I overflow a 12 Petite
Shirt size: XL
Highest Weight my wedding October 3, 2010: 172 (all time highest except when pregnant with my son then I was 182)  
I want to be a hot ex-wife.  I want to feel comfortable in my own skin and more importantly my own clothes.  I don’t want to hide behind someone.  I want to be in the front.  I want to find myself again.  I start that journey with my next meal.  No excuses, just hard work and RESULTS!

Monday, October 8, 2012

What Changed Me. // Joelle L.

I have always struggled with weight. I have yo-yo'd from the time I was 12 years old until the age of 25 that I am now. My self esteem has also done the same with each different time period in my life. I think what set my life into a spin was losing my Grandma at the age of 59, due to a very unexpected stroke. I lost it and ate and ate and ate. Fast forward to high school and 2 years into a relationship with my first boyfriend, I became comfortable and started packing on more pounds. We broke up and I was going to be heading to college so I decided I wanted to start it out on the right foot and got moving. On the treadmill, school weights, school sports, etc. I felt so good....and then came the Freshman 15(more like 25) and a new boyfriend(who is now my husband). All in all, I gained about 30 pounds.

In January of 2010, tragedy struck our family again when we lost my 46 yr old uncle to a heart attack. That is when doctors began to seriously monitor the rest of my dad's family, who all have/had heart related conditions. I never thought I would have to deal with anything like that, at least right now anyways. My wedding was set to be in October, so life and planning had to go on and then another unexpected event took place. I got pregnant. I was in NO shape to be pregnant. I was at my heaviest weight to that date and I could tell that my parents were scared for me. I made it until about 4 months in and started having blood pressure issues that the doctor monitored. At 5.5 months along I fell and sprained my ankle while we were moving and apparently developed a clot in my leg. I say apparently because when I entered the hospital after feeling extremely sick and exhausted, my pulse was at 130 bpm. They had a very hard time figuring out whose pulse was whose. After every test in the book, it was diagnosed as a Pulmonary Embolism. Holy Crap. I did not realize the extent of this until after I got home and looked it up.(I don't think my doctor wanted to stress me out anymore than I already was, for fear that it would harm me and the baby). I could have died and moreover, my unborn little girl could have died. I also developed gestational diabetes so the next 2.5 months were spent injecting myself 8 times a day with insulin and blood thinners. I went into labor so many times that I lost track, and finally at 36 weeks, by Csection, I had my little baby girl safe and sound,after a very very scary delivery because I had gone into labor on my own and was not off blood thinners yet. The doctors worked their magic though!

So...moral of the story is that because of my overall unhealthy state, I could have died twice. My baby could have died once. I did not like this. But it wasn't until April of this year, when my dad's other brother, 55, died of a heart attack. That's 3 family members, dying extremely young. My dad has been having issues too. I was put on Blood Pressure meds shortly after having my daughter, and have needed them daily since. I knew that day, that that was not going to be my same fate. I would not leave my daughter without her mother, if I had any say in the matter. I was not going to subject myself to the higher possibility of getting Diabetes. This is just not an option to me, if I can help it.

In April, my mom and I decided we would bite the bullet and do a 5K at the end of the summer. We started the C25K program, and after a few health issues and breaks, we were able to slowly build our endurance. As an added bonus, the weight started to come off. In July we both hit the 3.14 mile mark. We could run this distance without stopping. I could not believe it. The farthest that I have ever run without stopping is 1 mile, and that was my freshman year of high school. To strenghten my legs and to make sure to keep toned(I don't want the flabby skin after losing a bunch!!), I started lifting weights at the Wellness Center in my town. It has only added to my endurance and ableness to keep going.

I try to go running at least 4 times a week. This all depends on my husbands schedule(he is a police officer and works so many strange hours and shifts). Now and then I have to take a little time out for my daughter and the house, but that 1.5 hours that I get to myself is better than any money spent at therapy. I have time to think. Not like a mother, wife, daycare provider, etc. I get to think like an athlete. To date, I have lost 22 lbs. Those are the hardest 22 lbs that I have ever worked for in my life. I look forward to the ones that I know are to come! We are now in the process of lowering my dose of BP meds, with the ultimate goal of getting off of them altogether. Try to be proactive in your health. Don't sit back and wait for something to happen to you. Take steps to ensure that nothing does. You won't be sorry that you did.
5 lbs down.
15 lbs down.
22 lbs down.
You can follow my journey to a healthier me with my own blog at Journey Back to Half of Me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

How Being Fat Ruined My Life. // Jamie M.

Well, that’s a little melodramatic and not entirely true but it got your attention, didn’t it?

Like many people, I remember being overweight for a good portion of my life and even when I wasn’t overweight; I had people telling me I was. Age 6, I specifically remember asking my grandpa for another soda. He told me my grandmother was worried about my weight and no, I could not have another pop. Keep in mind at this time, I was NOT fat but I sure as hell remembered it and boy, do comments like that mess with your head. I feel bad saying this because my grandma is one of the people that I am closest to in the world but she is also one of the key people who made me feel bad about myself. My father is adopted so I am not “blood” related to her. She has been skinny her entire life and simply does not understand. I have tried telling her this hurts to no avail.

Fast forward from age 6 to age 12, I am now in middle school and maybe 20 pounds overweight. I eat like crap everyday but I participate in sports so that keeps the chub at bay (partially). I run track (badly) and take part in volleyball. I am not very good at either sport and do not get much encouragement from the coaches so I do not try very hard. I know I wouldn’t have been an Olympic athlete but it would’ve been nice to hear something positive.

Now, I am in high school. Still slightly overweight. But again, I participate in sports and join a gym when I turn 16. I drive myself to the gym often. I get down into the 150s which for my height is what I believe to be a good weight for me (5’6”). I start my first job at a grocery store just around the time I get to this awesome weight and so that does not last. I start eating like crap again and for some reason, start working an insane amount of hours even though I don’t really “need” the money.

I continue to work at the grocery store all through the rest of high school. I try to take part in soccer but I have no endurance because I don’t really work out anymore so the coaches aren’t big fans of me. I am the fat girl on the team but I WANT to be good. I just can’t and I eventually give up.

I graduate from high school and decide to go to school in Omaha (where I was born and raised, should’ve gone away!). I have an older friend that is both a good and bad influence on me. I drink with her (bad) but she is fit so I try to work out and eat right so she doesn’t make me feel so inadequate.

I continue to work at the grocery store as I go to college and I bomb out of college because I am working 50hours a week. Again, why??? I do not know. My parents would’ve helped me but I was trying to be independent.  After a while, I finally get my shit together and go to community college to finish my pre-reqs for nursing school. I quit my job at the grocery store (a very good decision, finally!). I start nursing school and start to work at a local hospital. I try to eat better and workout because amazingly enough, I now have more time. I might be in nursing school but am only working 2/12hrs shifts instead of 40-50hrs a week.  For a while, during this period, I don’t hate my body and am probably in the 180s. Things spiral yet again during nursing school and I am back above 200 when I graduate.

I see the pictures of myself from college graduation and I freak. I gain weight in my face first so I look horrible. I graduate in Dec but do not start my job until Feb so I try work on myself during that time. When I start my new job, I am still trying to take care of myself and things are going to good.

A couple years go by; I get a promotion after being a nurse for 4 years. I balloon up to my fattest ever. I have stopped weighing myself, because who cares??? I have a Christmas party in Dec. 2010 and I see a picture of myself afterwards. I am horrified and I promptly untag myself from the pics on fb. I weigh myself at this time and find that I weigh 225. How have I let this happen over and over and how can I talk to patients about taking care of themselves when I am not doing it for me??? I have finally had enough. January 2011, it is on. I start eating better and working out. I hit a few bumps along the way but I finally don’t give up when I have a bad week. I start over and begin again. I am tired of feeling this way and will succeed this time. Because this time, it feels different. Today, I am 186 and going strong. People are noticing every day, telling me I look great. What have I been doing? My grandmother notices, saying I look good but “not to give up this time” (gee, thanks!).

Anyway, you probably want to know how being fat has ruined my life. It hasn’t really. I have a good job, good friends, and good family. I am 34 and have owned my home (by myself!) for 4 years. But, I have never had a long term relationship with a man and I believe it is mostly because I (sort of) hate my body. It is not as though the opportunities have not been there; I have simply always held people at arm’s length. In the last year and a half, I have dated more and am learning to love myself again. Because how can I expect someone to love me if I feel this way about myself? I have many friends in various stages of relationships and it is often a bone of contention between us. I tell them they do not understand the way I feel and they reply that they were single once. They don’t understand that I am 34 and have not really ever been in a long term relationship and seriously, fear being alone forever. They think I am being dramatic and maybe I am but that doesn’t change how I feel.  

Now, what am I doing about this? Because I really can’t end this on such a horrible note. I am trying new things (running…..a half marathon? Wha?), getting out there and meeting new people. Also, I am realizing that I cannot blame the fact that I haven’t met someone on me being overweight. If it is meant to be, it will happen. I accept my life as it is because it is good. I mean I haven't really ever had something bad happen to me and if being fat for a portion of my life is the worst thing that ever happened to me. I am doing pretty damn good.

December 2010

September 2012 - Yep, I still like my Bud light....Nice, it's in both pictures, lol.

 - Jamie M.

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