I wanted to give a shout out to a friend of mine that has lost a ton of weight.  Pam Bredenkamp has been on her weight loss journey for two years.  She chose to do the Take Shape for Life approach with Medifast and has been a great inspiration to me and my weight loss journey.  I had a great conversation with Pam a few weeks ago and I wanted to share her weight loss approach.

Pam has lost 220 pounds and is doing amazing and looks absolutely fabulous.  She has become a Take Shape for Life Coach and is a true inspiration.  At our meeting, she explained the program how she would eat 5 Medifast meals and 1 lean and green meal per day.  She said it was the easiest thing she has ever done.  She said with Medifast there was never any question as to what to eat for the day.  It was mindless.  She had her meals at her fingertips.  They are easy to prepare.  The food is tasty.  And she found the program to be sustainable.  I met with her for lunch on several occasions and she would have her lean and green meal which included a lean meat and vegetables.

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She gave me a packet of information that outlined the program.  I found the program not to be too expensive for what you got.  When you think about your weekly grocery bill and daily eating out, Medifast is actually a bargain.

I also found that Medifast has a great web site.  It navigates very easily and is very informative.  I also love how the program Take Shape for Life is a complete program helping you lead a healthier lifestyle.  Medifast does not just have you buy their products and leave you alone.  You get a health coach that has gone through the process and helps you every step of the way.  I want to share Pam’s website with you   If anyone is looking for a weight loss program and wants someone who is kind, nice, funny, genuine and honest to be your coach, please check Pam’s site out.  She will help you out every step of the way.

I also found the book that Medifast endorses “Optimal Health” by Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen is the best weight loss book I have ever read.  And I guarantee you that I have a full library of weight loss books.  I encourage every one to read this book.  Dr. Wayne incorporates four components of Optimal Health and weight loss.   Healthy Eating, Healthy Motion, Healthy Sleep and Healthy Mind.  Optimal health is not just about weigh loss.  It is all about leading a healthy lifestyle.

I have another friend, Lisa Stephenson, who just became a Health Coach.  She has been a life time Weight Watcher and has maintained her weight most of her life.  She chose to lose over 10 pounds with Medifast.  She looks and feels great.  Check out Lisa’s Take Shape for Life web site, I will share it with you. Lisa also shares so much on her Facebook page where you can connect with her.

I am really proud of these two women.  It really does not matter what weight loss program you use.  What one needs to decide is what one needs to to do to get healthy.  Medifast may or may not be for you.  Weight Watchers may or may not be for you.  My suggestion is do your research, choose to be healthy and find a program that is sustainable and fits into your lifestyle.




I’m a Winner

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I sure did come in first place in my age group again this week.  I ran a 5k with my daughter and 8 year old grandson.  It was the Geggie 5k held in Eureka, MO.  This was a fundraiser for the school.  Now before you start congratulating me, there were not that many runners in my age group.  But I came in first and took 2 full minutes off of my time.

So does it really matter that I got a trophy?  (Which is proudly being displayed on my dresser.)  No it does not matter.  What matters is that – #1, I decided to run this race.  And #2,  I finished the race.  What happens in the mean time really does not matter.  What was really important to me was that I got to spend quality time with my grandson who finished the race and never stopped running and my daughter who did the same.  They both came in several minutes before me.  And my husband was at the finish line cheering me on.  These are moments that I will always cherish.

I’m a winner not because of the trophy.  I’m a winner because I finished the race.  I was determined to keep a good pace and not slow down, especially for that last mile which was quite hilly.  I stated thinking about two special people that physically could not race.  One was my grandson who for a year has been side lined from football and basketball because of a devastating injury.  I was thinking about how awful he felt during this past year not being able to participate in his beloved sports.  The other person I was thinking about was a high school athlete, Taylor, who is not only beautiful but a determined young woman.  She has played sports all her life with scoliosis.  She had surgery last week to correct it and will be sidelined for quite a while.  Thinking about these two young people that last mile, motivated me to continue a pace and finish this race.  They were sidelined.  I was not.

Yes, I’m a winner. I did it.  I will continue to do it.  Trophy’s or not.


Colon Cleanse

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I told you on my last blog that I would talk about one of the components of Vemma Bode’s products.   The Colon Cleanse. You can read all about the cleanse and what it claims to do HERE.  Even after reading the 2 page informational sheet, I still am not sure how a colon cleanse can really help you lose weight. Vemma claims it is a pure and gentle way to prepare your body for a transformation by: 1. Supporting healthy liver and digestive functions 2.  Cleansing impurities at the cellular level and  3.  Nourishing your body for overall health.

There are so many great ingredients in this little 2 ounce bottle (to be added to 12 ounces of purified water).   All the ingredients are natural.  I love that this product contains 10 grams of fiber.  Did you know that we are suppose to have at least 25 grams of fiber a day?  As I read the info sheet I am convinced that all of these natural vitamins and minerals are good for you.

That being said, I was so prepared for this little bottle to totally cleanse me out and help in my new weight loss transformation.  But the cleansing never happened.  It was so gentle it did nothing to “prepare my body by gently cleansing”.  By drinking this tasty concoction,  I did ingest all the healthy nutrients that probably did prepare my body for my healthy transformation.  But again the cleansing never happened.

But what it did do –  And this part of the blog is not for the faint of heart – It made me stink so bad I could not be in the same room with other people.  And on one day that I knew that I had a full day seeing clients, I opted out of taking that tasty little drink.  I just could not risk that odor permeating our studio.

So I am really not sure what this little product really did for me.  I will not purchase it again.  And I still have a seven day supply left.  I have decided that colon cleansing is not for me.  I will let nature do its thing – naturally.

Vemma Bode

Back in October I purchased Chris Powell’s two books adding to my weight loss book library.  I love Chris Powell.  I love his show Extreme Makeover.  I am so amazed as to how he transforms the morbidly obese into healthy people.  He seems like such a nice person.  He seems genuine.  I went onto his web site.  It has a wealth of information about carb cycling.  Low carb for 2 days – 1 high carb day – 2 low carb days – 1 high carb day – and guilt free Sunday.  (Notice it is guilt free not a cheat day).

On January 1st, I weighed 157.7.  On Monday April 7th I weighed 156.9.  That is not a great weight loss for three full months.  Through the months I did get down to 153.1 for a nano second. But my weight has been fluctuating for three full months.  Down a pound, up a pound.  Down two pounds up one pound.  Etc. Etc. And I was getting very discouraged.  My husband even said “you might want to look into doing something else”.  I thought long and hard about how I wanted to continue my weight loss.  I could take a break and maintain my weight.  But I did not want to do that because I really want to lose more.  I could continue on the very slow but steady pace I am on but that was getting very frustrating for me.  I could rev up my exercise.  Which I did do.  I am back to running 3 miles a day.  And doing a boot camp on two days.

So last Monday I made a decision.  I am friends with Chris Powell on Facebook and love his web site.  I am also friends with Heidi Powell and have fallen in love with her posts on Instagram and Facebook.  So I searched the web which brought me to the Vemma Bode web site.  I did the research and felt this program made sense to me and it was sustainable.  I purchased the Turbo pack which includes Protein Powder, Bode Burn (a protein drink) and colon cleanse.


I have to say I have been loving this program.  I wake up each morning and absolutely love the protein shake.  It is by far the best on the market.  And I have tried many protein shakes.  I enjoy the Bode Burn every afternoon for a quick pick me up.  The jury is definitely out on the colon cleanse.  I will save that for my next blog.  I also am eating my regular foods that I love.  Lean meats, vegetables, greek yogurt, fruit and healthy fats.

I have decided to commit to this program for four weeks.  I can do anything for four weeks.  So far for my first week on Chris Powell’s Vemma Bode program I have lost two pounds.  I am at my lowest weight at 152.9 (besides the 153.1 nano second a month ago).  I feel great and have a ton of energy.  I am enjoying eating real healthy foods.  So for the next four weeks Vemma Bode, Chris and Heidi Powell will be my weight loss partners.



Baby Steps


On my Weight Watcher journey I have lost very slowly but very steadily.  In 19 months I have lost 45 pounds which averages out to .592 pounds per week.   I still have 5 more pounds until I reach my Weight Watcher goal.  I have been at this weight for several weeks.  I may be at the ultimate and loathsome plateau.  But I am not a quitter.  I am a fighter.  I really want to lose more weight.  Baby steps.

The baby steps and the slow weight loss can be discouraging.  None of my clothes fit me.  They are all too big.  This is a great problem to have.  I really do not want to invest in new clothes until I hit my ultimate goal.  I went shopping the other day and again got so overwhelmed with all the choices that I walked out of the store.  In my plumper days things were so easy.  I had one style. Frumpy.  I went into a store, tried one item on, and if it fit, I purchased three of the same items – just in different colors.

Back to what I really wanted to share with you today.   I am still counting calories.  I keep within 1200 calories per day.  And on some days I go up to 1600 calories a day.  I have stepped up my cardio.  This past week I ran 3 plus miles on 5 days and walked 3 miles one day.  But I have decided that I needed to shake things up a bit.   I am trying something new.  I am excited about my new weight loss journey.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog.

Came in First


I ran a 5k yesterday morning with my daughter, Maria and 8 year old grandson, Timothy.  The race was held at Route 66 in Eureka.  Annie’s Hope sponsored the race.  Annie’s Hope  is a community based nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive support services for children, teens and their families who are grieving the death of someone significant.  

Becky Burns is the director and a client of ours.  I wanted to support her organization.  It was such a fun morning.  The weather was beautiful and the race was all on flat ground.  It was a lot of fun and it felt so good to be out running again.  It was especially fun running with my grandson and daughter.  This was Timothy’s first 5k.  And hopefully, I will have another running partner.

We hung around to see who the winners were and I will be dog gone.  I came in first in my age group.  Now to be honest.  I did not see too many women my age at the race.  But that doesn’t matter.  I sure did win.  And I am very happy about it.  I came home and hung that medal up along side my running number as a reminder as to how far I have come.

Jawbone Up

I have broken up with Jawbone Up.  I purchased my Up band last January.  I loved it.  It kept track of all my steps, activity and sleep.  This little device kept me accountable for my activity.  My goal was 10,000 steps a day.  There were days I did not make it.  But on the days I did, I would do the happy dance.  And there were days that I was just a few hundred steps away from 10,000 and got on the treadmill to complete my mission.  And then one day a few months after I purchased the Up Band it quit working.

So I got onto the Jawbone Up support site and they took care of me right away.  No questions asked.  We will send you a new one.  Wow – I was totally impressed.  The customer service was amazing.  And within a few days, I received my new band and continued my activity quest.

And then after a few months the band stopped working – again.  The exact same problem.  Now you might be thinking, I must have done something to cause the band to break.  All I did was wear it.  I never got it wet – never.  I did not drop it, I did not cause it to break.  It just quit working.  So once again, I called customer service and again I got the best service.  They tried to trouble shoot the problem and realized the band was not going to come back to life.  They sent me a new one and again I was able to continue my activity and count my steps.

Then last week  – the band quit working.  Again, the exact same thing.  I did nothing wrong, did not get it wet.  I did not drop it.  All, I did was wear it. I thought with the great customer service I had in the past, that there would be no problem and they would send me a new one.  WRONG!!!!  At first they e-mailed me a trouble shooting e-mail that was not only confusing but took a long time to do.  After I completed it, I called customer service and told them that the troubleshooting did not work.  But the Up rep was excited to tell me what they could do for me.

And then the bomb dropped.  Since it had been more than a year that I bought the band and my one year warranty ran out, they could offer me a 25% discount on a new band.  REALLY?  Why did they not give me a one year warranty with every FAULTY band that they sent me.  Why would I want to invest anymore money with a company that did not stand behind their product?  I am sorry Jawbone Up.  I will no longer be buying any product from you.  Obviously, your product is faulty.

For now I am taking a break from purchasing another band.  I am looking at the Fit Bit.  It looks like a great product and I have heard their customer service is great.  But for now I know how many miles I need to walk or run to get me to 10,000 steps. I know I need to cross train.  I know I need to continue my boot camp.  I know what to do to continue my activity quest.  For now I am going to depend on myself and not an accessory.

Five More Pounds

I am five pounds from my goal weight.  I talked with my doctor and he felt that 151 pounds would be a healthy weight.  Weight Watchers set my goal weight at 141 which was on the high side, according to their calculations.  Last October, I realized that this journey was going to take forever and I was getting tired of paying the $40 a month for the meetings.  I wanted to get my Lifetime status back so I could go to the meetings for free.  So I asked my doctor to write a note saying he approved that 151 was a good weight for me.  He asked me why 151?  I said I wanted to lose at least 50 pounds on this journey.

At my weigh in this week I lost 1.4 pounds which put me within 5 pounds of my goal.  Which brings up a big question.  What am I going to do when I reach my goal.  I was listening to Charles D’Angelo the other day on the radio.  He is the St. Louis weight loss guru.  Charles was interviewing a prospective client and asked him “what are you going to do when you reach your goal?”  The prospective client replied “I am going to go out and eat the biggest pizza I can find.”  Charles told the man that he would not take him on as a client because with that mind set he was sure to gain all the weight back.

That made me think about what am I going to do when I hit my goal weight.  I do think about foods I would enjoy eating again.  Ted Drews sounds glorious and I would like to go to PI and eat pizza instead of a salad.  But I am very afraid of gaining back my weight.  So I do have a plan.  I will indulge.  But only very little.  This journey is for the rest of my life.  And I do not want to go through my life not enjoying some favorite foods.  But I do know I would rather eat PI pizza than Dominos.  So I will save my pizza eating for when I go out and not order in.  I would rather eat Ted Drews ice cream rather than Breyers.  So when we make a trip to Ted Drews I will indulge.  But what I can do is not eat a whole pizza.  I can have a slice of pizza with a salad.  And I can have a mini concrete rather than a regular or large.

My taste buds have changed.  I really like eating clean.  I have given up processed foods.  I don’t eat anything that is white except cauliflower.  I eat very little grains. Which I am looking forward to incorporating back into my diet.  I would like to experiment with quinoa and other grains.  I never seem to get tired of eating lean meats and fresh vegetables.  I love fruit.  But for now trying to get the last few pounds off, I have decided to eat only one fruit per day.

I also have gotten back into my exercise routine.  I go to Dave Reddy’s boot camp twice a week.  I go for my three mile walks the other days.  I do take one day off.  I am looking forward to running again.  I took a break from that with the bad weather.  We do have a wonderful treadmill which collects a lot of dust.  I would much rather be outside or walk in a mall than get on that treadmill.  I feel like a hamster in a cage on that treadmill.

I do know one thing, when I reach my goal I am going to buy a jean jacket and some new summer clothes.  All of my summer clothes are huge on me and I am in need of a new wardrobe.  I am looking forward to getting a cute bathing suit, one that does not cover my whole body.  So instead of focusing on what I can eat again, I am focusing on what I can wear again.  It is a great feeling.

Vestibular Neuritis

I have finally been diagnosed.  I have Vestibular Neuritis which is a “disorder that affects the nerve of the inner ear called the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve sends balance and head position information from the inner ear to the brain. When this nerve becomes swollen (inflamed), it disrupts the way the information would normally be interpreted by the brain”.  I got that explanation right off of the internet.

But here is what my doctor told me.  I have a virus that affects the nerve from the inner ear to the brain causing symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, balance difficulties, nausea and fatigue.  Exactly 3 weeks ago I woke up and started to get ready to go to my Friday boot camp with Dave Reddy.    But I was feeling a bit unsteady and not sure if I was coming down with something.  I just didn’t feel right.  So I decided to take a day off from working out.

I went to work and was able to photograph 10 senior basketball players from DeSmet Jesuit High School for their annual coaches gift.  My balance was off but I was able to complete the shoot.  I went home and rested on the couch and started to feel better.  The next day I went to Chicago on Amtrak and was still feeling off.  A bit dizzy.  I got worse in Chicago and could not take the train home, so my wonderful husband drove from St. Louis to pick me up.

Fast forward to today, three weeks later, several doctors visits, doctor’s evaluations and an MRI. Yesterday I had a VNG test.  And I was finally diagnosed with this virus.  I am so relieved that I finally found out what I had.  But the most interesting thing about this illness is that the more active one is and the more exercise one does the sooner the illness goes away.  I was so excited to here that because for three weeks I have done nothing.  I did go out for a walk at Fenton Park two weeks ago but that is the only exercise I have had in three weeks.  So today I will be working out and I am excited to do so.

But the funny thing about these past few weeks is how my imagination played havoc with my mind.  Of course I was sure something was wrong when my symptoms did not go away after 1 week.  And I was sure it was a tumor of some sort in my brain when my symptoms did not go away after two weeks.  When the ENT doctor set me up for the MRI, I really was afraid to ask her what they were looking for.  She was nice and said “we want to rule out anything that may be going on in the brain.”  And that answer was good enough for me. I also was assured I was not showing any neurological signs of anything serious.  But I still had that nagging bad feeling in the back of my mind.

I tried to stay off of the internet to search what I might have.  But my curiosity got the better of me.   And what I found out scared the bejesus out of me.  I was preparing for the worst.

So when preparing for the worst I started to think.  Heck, I should just have an Imo’s Supreme pizza since I am preparing for the worst.  I may not be able to eat Ted Drews because I will be to ill, so I better get some now.  I kept thinking about what I have not eaten in one and a half years and how I might enjoy something crazy fattening indulgences.

But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that whatever illness I had, those foods would only make me feel worse in the long run.  I love how my body feels now.  And I don’t mind looking at my body anymore.  I decided I did not want to sabotage my eating with some crazy indulgences.   So for the past three weeks I have been eating very healthy and sticking to my 26 Weight Watcher points per day.

But last night I was craving – and I mean craving – ice cream.  Like Ben and Jerry’s.  I wanted my husband to go and get it for me.  He said he would go if I went with him.  But I was so cozy sitting by the fireplace I did not want to go into the cold.  So I got my greek yogurt and frozen strawberries and a banana and stirred it all together.  It was delicious and it took care of that ice cream craving.  It was such a healthy dessert.

I am getting better and looking forward to being 100% better.  Every day I can tell, the symptoms are subsiding.  I start physical therapy on Monday and I am excited to learn the exercises that will redirect my brain to compensate for the damage done to that nerve.  And the most amazing thing about this illness is that activity and exercise will make the symptoms go away quicker.  So watch out world, this girl is going to rock the gym.

The Scale Challenge

I have been so busy these past few weeks, I had to put my blog on the back burner.  I have missed sharing my highs and lows of my weight loss journey.  But life has gotten in the way.  I have been busy at work, which is a very good thing.   I also made a trip to Evanston, Illinois to visit my family.  I always love visiting with my family and this visit was an extra special one for me.

So to let you all know about how I did on my staying off the scale challenge – I failed.  I could not stay away.   I very rarely fail at challenges.  But this challenge hands down got the better of me.  I love my scale at times and sometimes I hate my scale.   But one thing I decided is that  it keeps me in check.  It makes me accountable for what I put in my mouth.  It is a tool and only a tool, just like my measuring cups, food scale and daily points tracker.

Before I went to Evanston, I got on the scale.  The number was the same number it has been for a month.  Oh well.  I had been so good with my eating throughout January.  And my weight would go down a pound and up a pound.  It just had not been going down consistently.  I will admit with the weather being so bad, I did not work out as much as I had been in the past.  So that could be the reason for the no weight loss in January.

Every time I go see my family, it is like a free for all for me.  I love my brothers cooking.  And I eat things that I normally do not eat.  My sister in law had a bowl of chocolate covered cranberries sitting in all its glory on her table.  How dangerous for me to have a bowl of goodies right within my reach.  I tried hard to resist it.  But when that sweet tooth kicked in I found myself reaching for them.  There is so much truth to the saying “out of sight out of mind.”

But I was determined this time not to come back from my family visit to see a higher number on the scale.  And we all ate very healthy.  We ate plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  I cooked one evening preparing roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables.  We had a wonderful salad to round out the meal.  And for dessert we enjoyed sorbet.  And the key to eating the sorbet was eating one serving which is a very small half cup.

I did not weigh myself for almost 5 days.  Because one thing I have learned is that there are only two scales that I can count on.  My Withings Scale and my Weight Watcher meeting scale.  These scales are very consistent.  I trust them.  And I weigh myself wearing the same thing and at the same time of day.

When I came back from my visit, I hopped on the scale and I had lost one pound.  I was elated.  I had been very good with my eating.  But when you are visiting people you are really at the mercy of what they are eating.  I just made sure that I kept track of my points.  Unfortunately, I did nothing in the way of exercise.  There was three feet of snow on the ground in Evanston and I used that as a good excuse to not get my walk in.  Excuses-excuses.

So for today, I am looking at my scale not as a demon nor as a friend.  I am looking at the scale as only a tool.