Small challenges can yield large results...

The view of a wall mural & bronze statue from my 4th floor walkway
I was contacted by MeYouHealth a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to participate in a week of health blogger challenges!  Since I do love a challenge, I didn't hesitate to say 'yes' and went off to check out their website.  I am soooo glad I did as they sponsor a Daily Challenge (you can link to it through Facebook, too) that offers simple, wonderfully thoughtful challenges in many areas of everyday life.  In their own words, "The Daily Challenge promotes everyday well-being by encouraging small actions and fostering the social ties that drive meaningful change."  Pretty darn cool. (Those last three are my words! lol)

Today is my official challenge day and I've already completed it and loved every moment of my challenge which was to:

"Admire a piece of art."

How to do it
As you pass that sculpture in the center of town or walk by the painting in the coffee shop for the umpteenth time, stop for a moment and take a good look at it. Admire the piece of art and think about what the artist was trying to convey. What emotions or memories does the work of art evoke in you? Keep your eyes open for more sculptures, paintings, and other pieces of art you can pause to appreciate today.

Why it matters
As we hurry our way through life, it's important to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. The ability to appreciate and be moved by art is a uniquely human trait, and something we often take for granted. Thinking about art exercises the right side of the brain, which helps us understand large concepts and process multiple ideas at once. Viewing art also has been shown to have a positive effect on emotions and reduce anxiety.
Robert Ferrandini's artwork on display
I'm very fortunate to work in a beautiful office complex where the common areas have commissioned art work of different genres.  I gaze down at two of them from my fourth floor walkway but - perhaps once in five years - never take the time to stop just a moment and admire the beauty of them.  Until this morning.

This wall landscape is by Robert Ferrandini and the title includes a hint of what the artist is hoping to evoke from someone looking at the painting... he wants us to see "the untold story of epic dimensions". 
Aren't we all unfinished pieces of artwork?  Don't we all have "untold stories of epic dimensions" within us, waiting for us to see, for others to enjoy? 

I'll pause more often at Ferrandini's mural from now on.  I'll take a breath in the middle of my usually hectic, busy day and remember how blessed I am with health and happiness... with the ability to challenge myself daily and face challenges in my personal and public lives and win them.  Day by day we can make changes in our lives.  They don't have to be huge changes.  Sometime we just need to slow down and admire the beauty around us.

Thank you, MeYouHealth, for reminding me of that!

Here's to our health,

Jan / HealthyLoserGal

First for Women photo shoot

Today I looked in the full length mirror, dressed to the nines in a hot pink tight wrap dress, hiiiigh heels and hose, my hair and makeup done by professionals and I had to smile because I thought to myself "I've got my figure back!".  If I do say so myself, I looked damn good! : )

After 110+ pounds lost, First for Women Magazine contacted me to interview me about my weightloss and how I did it... how I overcame my bad habits and replaced them with healthy ones.  I pretty much answered, "Vtrim!".  I am so thankful to the folks at Vtrim for teaching me new behavior techniques that have led me to the fun day I had today: a photo shoot for the First for Women January or February issue!

The photographer took nearly 1000 photos today... and I only have a few iPhone photos to share, but here they are... one from 7:30am this morning in my kitchen with the hair & makeup gal, Laura, starting my "makeover" and then one of the outfits I wore for the photo session.  The stylist, Alicia, is pinning the pant legs tighter as... get this!... the size 12 slacks she brought with her were too big!  Woohooo!

I dreamed of a day like today... when I would feel like myself again... feel comfortable in my own skin and happy.  Today was a great, fun day.  I'm proud of myself.  Proud of who I am again.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me, friends.  If I can do this - change my life by dreaming, believing, and achieving my goals - you can, too!

Here's to our health!
Jan / Healthy Loser Gal

December Challenge: A Gift of Health to Yourself!

Right around the beginning of November every year you will hear people begin to talk about all the holiday stress they're under.  Magazines suggest ways to alleviate your holiday stress.  Television shows like Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray give tips on how to deal with the stress of the holidays!  


I'm not buying into the whole "holidays = stress" thing!  I declared my intent to have a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving and I did.  Granted, there was a 15 minute period of crazed running around my kitchen just before dinner was served, but that is normal... and everything came out beautifully and my family and I all enjoyed a nice, leisurely meal together, reminiscing and laughing.

So now comes December fraught with all the food temptations, social events, expectations of the holidays.  People talk about how much they have to do, how they'll never get everything done, how it gets worse every year, and on and on and on.  Well, you know what? I'm not buying into the December stress either! : )

December can be a truly magical time if you let it unfold around you.  Sure there is more to do with the holidays, the events, the expectations, but it doesn't have to be stressful.  Let's not let it be, friends!

I challenge you to have the month of December be a gift you give to yourself. You know the old Christmas carol of The 12 Days of Christmas and how on 12 days leading up to the holiday, a number of gifts were given to profess one person's love for another.  Right now, mark on your calendar or iPhone or Outlook calendar or wherever, the 12 days when you'll get to the gym, or walk, or do a fitness DVD, or get your exercise in!  Then mark down another 12 days of when you'll plan out your food and stick to your plan.

There are tons of opportunities in the midst of this busy season to get great exercise in... plan on an extra fast lap around the mall before you start shopping, park way in the farthest lot of the supermarket and speed walk into the store every time you go this month, slip skates onto your feet for the 1st time in years at your neighborhood ice rink and enjoy relearning a childhood skill.  Laugh when you fall down because laughing is good for you! :)   I know you can find ways to plan in exercise which is a gift you give yourself as it relaxes, reduces stress, and feels good to plan something and carry through on it. 

You're going to be doing a lot of things for others this month... #DecGift lets you give the best gift of all to yourself:  the gift of health.  Mark down at least 12 days for exercise/walking/etc. and 12 days of planning your meals ahead and sticking to your plan.

Are you "in" for the December #DecGift challenge?  Let's have a wonderful month... full of health and happiness!

HLG / Jan

The difference between a wish and a goal

I've done a lot of wishing in my life.  I wished I were thinner.  I wished I were healthier.  I wished I felt better about myself.  Remember the old saying when seeing a falling star, "I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight..." and then you make your wish?  Well, think of all the wishes put out into the universe in a day... in a month... in a year.  I certainly can't count or even remember all the wishes I've made in my lifetime.  Wishes seems fleeting, unattainable... dreamlike.

Now I make GOALS.

And now, because I'm not tossing random wishes out into the air without much expectation of them coming back to me with a note that says "Jan's 189th Wish of 2010:  Status: Granted!", I've started to change the way I chart out my desires.  I set aside time to think about the things I *really truly want* in my life and, rather than wishing for them, I set those things as a concrete goal in my life.

Instead of wishing that I were healthier and fitter, I imagined myself that way, I pictured it clearly, and wrote down a goal in both my mind and in my journal (and this blog).  "My goal is to lose 100 pounds and get into better shape."  That was my biggest goal of the last few years.  It wasn't a wish... it wasn't tossed out there and forgotten.  It became a viable presence in my life.  Every day I chased that goal.  Every day I expected my actions to put me closer to my goal.  Every day I believed I would attain that goal.  And now I am happily able to say my goal was achieved! (There's confetti or ticker tape parades flying somewhere now because of it, I'm sure! lol)

I had another big goal in my sites.  I wanted to be a happy person again.  In all aspects of my life. I didn't say with a sigh "Ohhhh I wish I thought I could be happy again... wouldn't that be a nice thing to wish for...".  Nope.  I turned my wishful thinking into a solid goal and wrote it down.  "My goal is to be happy and content in all areas of my life."  Big goal, huh? : )   Well, I've made an intentional decision every single day since I wrote out that goal list to be happy.  It is a choice.  And with practice of making a choice to look at things in my life positively, to believe I can accomplish anything, to build up my self-confidence by being happy again, guess what happened?  Contentment and happiness found me in abundance and another goal was realized! 

I'm not saying I'm not for wishful thinking.  I love the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" because it is hopeful and positive.  What I want to have you realize, like I have, is that we need to turn our wishes into concrete goals and then chase after them with every bit of energy we have, believing in our hearts we will attain those goals... because if you dream it, believe it, and work after your goal... you WILL achieve it.

I'm proof positive that goals CAN be achieved. And that's NOT just wishful thinking!  : )

Here's to our health, my friends ~
HealthyLoserGal / Jan

Checking In With Myself

Last October I took a few moments to look over my list of reasons I originally started this weightloss and fitness journey.  At that time I had lost 50 lbs and was halfway to my 100 pound goal.  Now that I've lost over 100 pounds and am well on my way to goal and being physically fit, I wanted to go back and remind myself why it is so important to keep myself on track and all I have to be thankful for! 

The RED **Check** notes are from October '09... the Blue YES!! and photos are what I've added today! :)

(Original List From April '09)

The reasons I want to lose weight:

•To be healthier YES!!

My normal HEALTHY Breakfast

Walking w/out wheezing in Oct'10 Breast Cancer 5k

•So I won't wheeze when I walk somewhere **Check** YES!!

•To feel comfortable when bending over to pick up something**Check**  YES!!

•So I can see old friends and not be totally embarrassed by how much weight I have gained (this is a MAJOR one!)  YES!!

•To be more social and enjoy going out more often in public**Check** YES!!

•To not feel self-conscious of whether something I am wearing is too tight, about to rip, etc.**Check** YES!!

•So I can go into a restaurant and not worry whether or not I can fit in the booth : (**Check** YES!!

•Because I know my asthma will improve considerably**Check** YES!!

My son, Danny, and me on Labor Day
•So I can do things with DS like we used to do all the time, i.e., riding bikes, playing frisbee, going golfing, tossing the baseball, walking around and exploring YES!!

•So I won't have like four chins and when I look down my chin doesn't recede into my neck fat**Check** YES!!

•So I can pull my knees up into my chest to paint my toenails! : ) YES!!

•So I can touch my toes without a problem**Check** YES!!

•Because I want to not be self-conscious all the time when in public**Check** YES!!

•To be able to say "sure, I'll try that" and not panic "what if" about my weight keeping me from something**Check** YES!!

With my HealthyLoserGuy, Jeff, in August '10 :)

•To feel sexy again YES!!

•To wear whatever funky clothes I want to like I used to and not have it look like it may be the only thing I can fit into! YES!!

Reacquainting after 30 yrs w/h.s. pal on July 4th


•So I don't have this voice of my Dad in my head saying "What's happened to you?" : (

•So I can casually fit into a conversation "well, I lost 100 lbs. once" and see people's jaws drop because they won't have ever imagined I could weigh anything more than 150 lbs.

•To be a Weight Watchers success story and inspire others that if I can do it, they can do it  Well, I'm not a Weight Watchers success story, but rather a VTtrim Online success story and have, hopefully, inspired others to start their weightloss journey :) so... YES!!

•To play tennis again

•To wear a bathing suit that wasn't the only one in the store that quasi-fit so I settled on it YES!!

•To go back to Ireland and not think twice about whether or not I feel good enough to do things

•So airplane seat belts won't be a source of fear!**Check** YES!!

•So my doctor will be damn proud of being right that I can do anything I put my mind to YES!!

After church, Sept '10

•So I can dress up for DF and feel great by the look I see in his eyes when I am out with him**Check**  I am happily in a new, wonderful relationship and feel great when we're anywhere together... including church Sunday mornings YES!!

•So I never again have to worry that something I eat may trigger me to eat 'til I feel like I need to sleep from being so full**Check** YES!!

Dream. Believe. Achieve.
If *I* can do this, YOU can do this!

Here's to our health!
Jan / HealthyLoserGal

NOW is the right time!

"Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."
 Thomas Jefferson

It is November.  Do you know what that means?  Now begins the time when everyone starts dreading the holidays... moaning about them... using them as an excuse to overeat and not make it to their planned workouts.  "Oh, there's too much to do...", "I have so many parties to go to, I'll start back on my plan when the holidays are over!", "I know I'll cheat over the holidays, I'll start working out in the new year...", "This isn't a good time to start eating healthy...". 

Well, you know what?  There is no time like the present to commit to your own health and well being!  What is it that makes everyone jump on the 'holiday weight gain' band wagon?  Don't let that negative thinking even enter your consciousness, friends.  Be positive.  Commit to your health and wellness and make November a great month full of healthy eating and calm about the upcoming holidays.  It really is a decision that you can make.  NOW is the time for you to take care of you.  NOW is the time to commit to your health. 

The November Healthy Loser Gal challenge is all about living in the NOW.  No more excuses.  No more thinking that another day is better than today to start working toward your goals and dreams and living the life you want to live.  #NOWNov is the hashtag I'll be using on Twitter to talk about the month and the progress I'm making.  If you want to commit to pushing aside all those negative thoughts and concentrate on your weightloss and fitness goals NOW, join me in the challenge.  If you can stick to your plan 25 of the 30 days of November, you'll have accomplished the challenge goal. : )

for the perfect day or the perfect reason or the perfect season... commit to yourself and your goals NOW in November! C'mon and join me and be healthy and happy and peaceful this month.  You'll feel great about yourself all the remainder of the year 'cause you'll know you committed to YOU!

So let's get it started... right NOW!
Dream. Believe. Achieve.
Jan / HealthyLoserGal

On Listening to Your Own Voice....

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

I listened to that little voice within me that urged me to "take the leap of faith"... and here I am today, I'm "me" again.

Delicious Low Fat, Low Cal Pumpkin Spice Muffins

It is autumn and I love pumpkin recipes... especially when they're full of spice and taste great and - here's the added advantage - are low calorie and low fat.  Oh yeah - bring on the treats!  Thanks to two Twitter friends ~ FitMamaTraining and Spring4Fal ~ who told me of this simple, delicious recipe!

I whipped these up tonight in about 40 minutes total... I've estimated they are 185 calories each and have 1.5 grams of fat each. 

Couldn't be easier than these steps:

One box of Spice Cake Mix (I couldn't find the low sugar variety or the cals would be even lower!)

One 15 oz can of 100% Pumpkin

Mix 'em together

Fill 12 muffin molds (I used cupcake liners)

Add walnuts if you want (the walnuts are NOT counted in the calorie or fat totals here...)

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or 'til top bounces back on light touch

Remove muffins from tin to rack to cool & then ENJOY! :)

Rediscovering ME! HLG T-shirt giveaway!

On Columbus Day, I began to think about all the discoveries I have made about myself in the past year.  I've discovered I am a great deal stronger, both mentally and physically, than I have given myself credit for in decades.  I always have been kind of a stubborn, Yankee-ingenuity-I'll-get-it-done type of person, but now I know I have the stamina and sheer will-power to back up my goals and dreams and attain them.   

In the past year I've learned that staying POSITIVE hugely impacts my life and the occurrences that then surround me in my life. This is the law of attraction in action! Being positive and having a goal in my mind, and being THANKFUL, has brought to me the most unexplained and joyous events and people into my life this year.  Dream. Believe. Achieve.

Opening myself up to new options with a clear mind and tucking away old fears and inhibitions has helped me in this past year. (I joined the Y when I was morbidly obese and I went in and actually exercised.  Alone!)  I pray faithfully and try to listen when God nudges me in a certain direction. The HealthyLoserGal blog started me being transparent with what I was facing in my health, my weight, my personal life, my fears.  Out of everyone's support and suggestions and GIFTS to me of friendship and opportunities (i.e., Vtrim and YMCA of Boston) I have changed... I have lost 100 pounds, I have become fit, I am ME again!  : ) I am no where near 'complete', I may never be "at goal", but I feel content and healthy and HAPPY!  And here is the real joy of this discovery, I know YOU can feel this, too!  I now have reconnected with friends and have a great love in my life.  My family relationships are stronger, my work life is more vital, my creative juices are flowing.  LIFE IS GOOD!

And so, I want to say THANK YOU to you, my friends on the blogsphere and on Twitter and Facebook who follow my day-to-day life - both the good and the bad (which is seldom!) - and interact with me and inspire me. 

I'd like to begin to pay the blessings I have received in my life forward. :) I have four Healthy Loser Gal cotton t-shirts (just like the ones in the photo with me and Parker, my trainer I worked with at the Y!) that I'd like to give away this month.

If you'd like to be entered in the drawing for one of the shirts, all you need to do is think about and then tell (in Comments to this post) what your biggest self-discovery has been in the past year and the impact it has made in your life.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP!  I can't wait to read everyone's discoveries!

Jan / HealthyLoserGal

PS: The women's v-neck shirts are XL and fit up to 1x but will shrink abit. It has the HLG logo and Dream. Believe. Achieve. on the front. The men's t-shirt says Trainer and has the upcoming HLG internet site url and "Dream. Believe. Achieve." on the back (as shown).

Thanks AquaHydrate, POM, & Olivia's Organics... Mm Mm Mmm!

Right up front I must say (reminiscent of Martin Short on SNL) that I have been gifted with so many generous products over the summer and have not reviewed or mentioned many of them on the blog.  So here we go...  The Healthy Loser Gal Gratitude post! : )

Back in the spring Stefan Pinto (that gorgeous smiling guy on Twitter who is a weightloss success story!) messaged me and asked if I would like to try out AquaHydrate since he sees me tweeting about drinking water and reminding friends to drink up the H2o!  I said, sure & thank you, and within a week there was a case of AquaHydrate on my front porch waiting for me! :)  Now, I usually think that water is just water... it replenishes you after working out, keeps your skin clear, your body functioning well... but AquaHydrate is one of the 'enhanced' waters:
AquaHydrate, the first high-performance sports water, is specially engineered to support optimal hydration, performance, and recovery. AquaHydrate is made through a proprietary, multi-step process in which water is purified to some of the most rigorous standards in the industry, raised to an alkaline pH of 9+, and then supplemented with electrolytes and natural trace minerals.
Having used SmartWater over the years and liking it, believing it had a bit of an edge, I was not the skeptical user some may be.  So I began to use AquaHydrate on Saturday mornings after working out and - maybe it was because I knew Mark Walberg was a part owner and wanted to be cool like him - or maybe it was because it truly works, but I did seem to recover after my Saturday morning workouts with Parker at the YMCA in Waltham faster than just drinking my Brita cleansed H2o!*  And Parker, whom I consider my source for what is real and what isn't in working out, endorsed it, too! : )  AquaHydrate is on Twitter @AquaHydrate, too, if you want to follow them.  Thank you for the freebie, Stefan, and AquaHydrate!

Next I received a box of POM after having been contacted by Ryan from PomWonderful after he read the blog.  POM is 100% pomegranates juice and, to my first taste, kind of bitter and strong.  But - I soon learned - it is an aquired taste and pomegranates are very good for your health!  So, with my little POM bottles in hand I set out to find some way to use the freebies I'd happily received.  My son was home this summer and was suddenly filling his water bottle with half pom and half water for drinking while playing basketball.  I shared a few bottles with my trainer, Parker, and he said he LOVED them and was sharing them with his family, too.  : ) 
My favorite use, to be honest, was in Pom Smoothies which, after measuring and calculating, comes out to be approx. 180-200 cals per 12 oz.  The recipe (from their site) is below and this is delicious and cooling:

2 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
6 oz. fat-free blueberry yogurt, frozen
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup non-fat milk
Handful of crushed ice
Blend them all together 'til smooth and enjoy (measures out to approx. 8-12 oz.)

OH! And "Pomtinis" are delicious, too! :)  You can follow them on Twitter @POMonline.  Thank you, Pom Wonderful and Ryan, for thinking of me and the Healthy Loser Gal blog!

In August I received a really generous offer to sample Olivia's Organics salads.  I'll be honest and admit I'd walked past the square plastic containers of Olivia's Organics at local markets and grocery stores in the past, but no more and let me tell you why! 

Olivia's Organics is a family operation and local to Massachusetts (although they now sell in stores up and down the East Coast).  They are organic farmers. Each box is hand picked and hand washed which means that you can go into the store, add other ingredients to your salad and you're good to go.  :)  That is VERY cool for a busy gal like me! (Not to mention that the company products are now packaged in earth-friendly containers.) Additionally, the mix of salad ingredients in the mixed selections are delicious! One of the three salads I received was the Asian Mix salad and my son & I enjoyed this with fresh tomatoes, oil and vinegar and fresh corn one summer evening... heaven!  

The Olivia's Organic slogan is "Eat Healthy. Have Fun. Give Back."  The 'eat healthy' is pretty easy to understand, but when I looked into the "Have Fun" I was directed to the section of their website which is aimed toward kids eating healthy and having fun!  LOVE THAT!!

And the 'give back'?  A percentage of all the sales goes to charities and the community... such as Make A Wish Foundation and the Joselin Diabetes Center.
I have probably purchased a dozen of the Olivia Organics salads over the past few months and every one of them has been fresh & delicious.  While they may cost a little more than the store brand packaged salads around them, to my mind - they're worth the extra change.  This is a family operation that I can happily endorse and purchase and do! :)   Thanks to Rachel, the PR gal for Olivia's Organics, for sending me the product... you can send them to me any ole time you want!! Oh, Olivia's is on Facebook and Twitter as @OliviasOrganics, too. ; )

Here's to our health & fitness, friends!

Jan / Healthy Loser Gal

                     *I feel abit like Biggest Loser with all the product mentions today! lol

Thank You, Subway, for my Healthy Breakfast Break!

A few weeks ago I was excited to learn that I'd won a gift card to Subway in the BlogtoLose Breakfast Blogger Break Giveaway.  This morning, rainy and grey in the Boston suburbs, I set off to try my first Eat Fresh Breakfast sandwich and I'm happy to report:  it was great!  Heck, it brightened my day! :)

I decided to get the Egg White Muffin Melt which is a whole wheat english muffin, american cheese (or your choice of another cheese), black forest ham, and egg whites (hence the name! lol).  My server at the Waltham Main Street Subway location was so friendly and helpful... which I find rare in customer service these days, sadly.  She pointed out the different options for breakfast, told me what many customers ordered in the morning, and even showed me Subway's frequent visitor Points program (this isn't offered in all Subway locations she explained).  I also was happily surprised that - because Subway now serves breakfast - they also have fat free and low fat milk and juice in their cases to purchase. 

My Egg White Muffin Melt was only 160 calories and contained only 4 grams of fat!  Being that I count fat grams and calories daily (thanks, Vtrim!) , this is an excellent advantage over the McD's Egg McMuffin as they have 300 calories and 12 grams of fat! I think I'm a morning sandwich convert, folks! :)

You guys know I am a Biggest Loser fan and they often feature trips for the contestants to Subway but I hadn't ventured into a Subway in years. Now  I've found out on the Subway Facebook page that they're also holding a Commit to Fit sweepstakes with giveaways of $26,000 total ($1K for each marathon mile that Jared runs) and additional gift cards. How cool is that?!  Check out the rules by following the link above! 

Thanks so much to Roni for the great giveaways and challenges on her BlogToLose site.  If you haven't checked out the blog, please do... it is always worth a visit and will encourage you in your weightloss and fitness journey!

Here's to our health! : )

Jan / Healthy Loser Gal

One year later! Making Strides : )

I was so happy to participate in yesterday's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in my hometown of Salem, NY... and really happy to show up this year some 60+ lbs. lighter than I was last year when walking! :)

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k

I just need to take a minute to slow down this day and breathe and realize how far I've come in a year - both in my weight and in my health!  I will be walking the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k Walk this weekend on Sunday.  I walked it for the first time last year and it is held in my hometown of Salem, NY.

Last year I was not sure I would be able to walk 3.2 miles for the walk.  I didn't think I was fit enough.  I worried about my asthma kicking in on the hills.  I was trying to be upbeat and confident but I was scared.  And this is what I looked like then:

But I did walk the walk and I ended up raising more money than anyone else there actually.  And I felt so darn great about myself and being able to accomplish a goal.  I was one of the last walkers in but I didn't care.  I'd done it.  I'd achieved something I'd put out there as a goal: walking a 5k.

So on Sunday when I walk with confidence up and down those country hills, I'm going to be smiling.  I'll smile because this year I have no doubt I'll make the 3.2 miles... heck, I walk that much often now.  And I'm going to be saying a prayer of thanks to God that I'm able to raise funds for those with cancer... and of thanks to all of you who support me ALL THE TIME and for those of you who donated last year and this year to my 5k participation.  I'll take lots of pictures and post them and I'll feel soooo much better seeing old friends this year than I did last year - still embarrassed by my weight. 

I feel like me again... and this is what "me" looks like (taken this afternoon)!  LIFE IS GOOD!

Have a great weekend!
Jan / HLG

"On Plan OCTOBER" Challenge! :)

"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped."

Tony Robbins (Author, speaker, peak performance expert, coach)

Let's DO this!! I mean are we serious about our health and fitness and weightloss or aren't we?  All it takes is a real DECISION!  We have to DECIDE (and mean it!) that we are worth the effort it takes to get healthy and stay healthy!  We are worth it, you know... so believe it in your heart and get ready to put some effort into this month's challenge where the challenge is to log your food and your exercise for 24 of the 31 days of the month.  Ideally, you would log every single day and if you want to go for that challenge, please do! :) 

So what do you need to log and how do you keep track?  I learned through my classes with Vtrim that in order to lose weight and be successful long-term, I needed accountability to myself and to log my food and journal my exercise and moods. 

I try to eat somewhere between 1200-1400 calories daily and not more than 25 percent of that in fat grams.  And I try to lose somewhere between 1-2 lbs weekly so my exercise has to equal (for me) about 15 miles walked and about 3-5 hours in the gym.  This has worked for me because I keep track of it every single day - every single bite - every single sip.  At first all this logging and counting seemed excessive and it took a bit of time to look up calories and fat grams and how many calories I was burning and then write it all down, but then - as the pounds started shedding and my body started getting stronger - it became routine and easier and I was invested in the process.  I realized that only I was in charge of getting myself fit and trim.  I was "on plan" and "accountable".

So here is the challenge, my friends.  Figure out what you eat now in calories and try to cut back 500 calories a day if you're trying to lose weight because 500 calories daily x 7 days in a week = 3500 calories which equals one pound gone from your body weekly.  One thing though:  don't go below 1200 calories a day - it just isn't healthy.  And if you're into working out... try to lose 500 calories a day for 5-7 days and you're going to lose another 1/2 lb to pound a week.  I do this by walking 3-5 miles and working out at the Boston area YMCA in Waltham, Massachusetts. : )

Now about logging...  Make a plan for yourself to follow during October and then:
  • Write down your beginning weight. Take your measurements.
  • Log everything you eat.  Look at nutritional labels and be careful with portion sizes. Eat your calories rather than drink them.  Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily... substitute water for soda and drink water all day long.
  • Write down your exercise and approximate calories burned. Push yourself a little further than you have in the past - you can do it and will feel great accomplishing new goals!
  • Make notes about how you're feeling.  Are you stressed out from work?  Are you feeling great because you're working out and feel strong?  Do you have family visiting you and coaxing you to eat high-fat or high-cal foods?  Write it all down because you may be able to look back and see patterns to your emotional eating or to your lack of exercise. 
Logging is very eye-opening and sometimes unlocks keys to why folks haven't been able to lose weight or break an exercise plateau.  It sure worked that way for me!

So the October challenge is this in simple terms:
Write down an exercise and food plan for yourself for this month.  For example you could write down: "I'll walk or exercise for 24 days and will not eat over 9800 calories this week (that is 7x 1400 cals) and I'll LOG everything I do for food and exercise." That is your plan.  Now stay ON it!
Look for #OctOnPlan on Twitter and encourage friends as we stay On Plan during the month!  With Halloween candy everywhere, I know I'll need all the encouragement and support I can get... and I'll be giving it right back to you all! :)

One last thing that will help with this month's challenge:  if you don't know of a good place online to journal, I can suggest two sites that I really like which are and  I know alot of friends use, too.

Here we go into October friends... who's "in" to be ON PLAN with me? : )

Jan / HealthyLoserGal

NOTE:  Everything I am writing here is my own weightloss and fitness plan, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or a diet specialist.  This is what has worked for ME... I cannot recommend it to you or you should not follow my plan for yourself without checking in with a doctor or having someone with an honest to God real degree consult with you! :)  In other words, please don't hold me accountable if this doesn't work for you! ; )