#Spon: My Final Weigh In on the @Medifast Plan

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of the Medifast products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

Today marks my final weigh in on the Medifast Program. My goal was to break 160 pounds and be back in the 150s. Before I get to my weigh in, though, let me tell you about this past week.

This week has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. My oldest daughter graduated High School on Friday night, we had a party for her on Saturday, Sunday we had TWO church services (one with food – and dessert!) to celebrate her, and then Monday was Memorial Day. Boy, did I ever pick the **wrong** week to have as my last week on the Medifast plan.

I was sure I was setting myself up for failure. It was a lot of eating on the go, and a *lot* of temptation. Luckily, I had planned it all just right, and I always had a Medifast meal I could take with me. (I also had a few “lean and green” meals to take a long too.)

Remember – my last weigh in was 162. I only had to lose a little bit in order to break 160.

Check out what I saw when I hopped on the scale this morning:



I didn’t do it by much, but I still met my goal! I broke 160 and am back in the 150s. I’m just 10 pounds away from my final goal.

Take a look at my starting weight and my ending weight on this journey:


There’s one other thing I want you to see. Take a look at my picture from day one next to today’s photo:


Ignore the sweaty post-workout hair, the fact that I have no makeup on, and how terrible I look, but look closely – especially at the hip area. I lost 5 inches *just in my hips!* Yes, I’ve been working out in addition to the Medifast program, but when you commit to eating right AND exercising, the results are obvious! After birthing 8 kids, I’ve always hated my thighs, but now? Man, I’m just giddy! My muscles are toning up nicely, but I’m not done. I’m committing to reaching my goals both on the scale and off.

Thank you, Medifast, for helping me reach this first goal! I am excited to see how much further I can go, but you gave me the very best start.

Have you enjoyed watching my results each week on the Medifast progam? Remember: If you use the code Blessed25 on the Medifast website, you will receive $25 off your order of $250 or more, as well as free shipping! It’s a great way to get you started on your own journey.

Also, be sure to follow Medifast every way you can in order to learn more about them:

#Spon: My Week 3 Do-Over on the @Medifast Plan

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of the Medifast products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.


Remember last week? How I failed on the Medifast program because I let life get in the way? I didn’t even weigh in last week, because I didn’t want to know how much weight I had gained back. (I had eaten REALLY badly!)

I am happy to report that I am now back on track!

The last time I weighed in, I was at 162 pounds. Today, the scale read 161.4. That’s great! That means I lost whatever I had put on in the previous week as well as a little extra! I’m quite happy with that. My goal in this challenge was to break 160 before my 4 weeks are up. I’m back on track to do just that, and I’m hoping I have good news to report after I finish out this next week.

I’m doing much better on the Medifast journey if I make a shake to drink on the way somewhere. If we’re heading out to a function, I drink a shake on the way and bring one of my other meals to eat while I’m there. It keeps me from filling up on junk, and that’s where I need the most help!

How are you doing on your journey? Are you finding tools to help you succeed? Have you decided to try the Medifast program? It’s a great option if you need all the help you can get staying on track. Their guidelines are easy to follow, the meals are easy to prepare, and the shakes are really really good! 🙂

One more week to go, and I can’t wait to see my final results! I’m anxious to see how many inches I’ve lost and if I can make my goal and get back into the 150s. Think I can do it?

Want to join me on this journey? Remember: If you use the code Blessed25 on the Medifast website, you will receive $25 off your order of $250 or more, as well as free shipping! It’s a great way to get you started on your own journey.

I would LOVE to have you join me on this journey! Please check back to see my results each week. You can also track my results on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to follow me there.

Also, be sure to follow Medifast every way you can in order to learn more about them:

#Spon: Week 3 on @Medifast: That Time I Failed… Miserably

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of the Medifast products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.


It’s time to come clean. I am so embarrassed to admit this, but because I only believe in full disclosure here on my blog, and providing you honest reviews from my heart, I must confess…

I failed miserably this week.

Here are the excuses:

  • May is a tough month. Especially this year with my oldest daughter graduating high school. Picnics, birthday parties, end of school year parties, award ceremonies, wedding showers, house warming parties, baseball games, fellowships, going away parties. I have ONE DAY this month where I don’t have anything written in on my calendar. Really tough month.
  • I’ve had to eat on-the-go way more than normal this past week, and it’s so much easier to make the wrong choice than the right one.

Because things are so crazy, and I’ve been in a hurry, I haven’t taken the time to make the right choices. Instead, I’ve opted to just eat the food that was made available to me. Or, I’ve ridden through the drive thru for something quick between one appointment to the next.

Now, I’m feeling it. I’m back to being sluggish and feeling miserable all the time. When you eat poorly, you feel poorly. And, I know that. Especially after 2 good weeks of making the right choices!

I didn’t even weigh in today. I don’t want to know what I’ve done to my progress. I am just so disappointed in myself. BUT, like the sign above says, failure is a part of life. It’s how I react to my failure that will determine my success. If I just stop here and continue eating the way I have this past week, I haven’t learned anything. It’s time to buckle down and force myself to truly succeed! If I don’t, I’m never going to reach my goals, and I’m only going to get back on that downhill slope of weight gain and feeling miserable.

I know I can do it. It’s not going to be easy. Not at all. But it’s going to be worth it! When I reach my goals and can fit in that dress that’s hanging in my closet, it will be SO worth it.

So, I failed this week. I’m disappointed in myself. But, I’m going to pick myself up, brush off the dirt, and give it another try.

Stick with me, and help encourage me along the way, will you? Have you ever failed at a change you were trying to make in your life? I’d love to hear about it!

Want to join me on this journey? Remember: If you use the code Blessed25 on the Medifast website, you will receive $25 off your order of $250 or more, as well as free shipping! It’s a great way to get you started on your own journey.

I would LOVE to have you join me on this journey! Please check back to see my results each week. You can also track my results on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to follow me there.

Also, be sure to follow Medifast every way you can in order to learn more about them:

#Spon: Week 1 on @Medifast: Curbing the Cravings

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of the Medifast products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.


So, here I am. One week into the Medifast program. As you can tell by the pictures above, it doesn’t look like there’s much outward change yet.

But, boy, oh boy, has there been a change on the scale!


Check that out! Down 6 pounds in just one week! That is fantastic!

And, take a look at my wii fit graph:


I went from way up in the “Overweight” section last week to back down in the “Normal” section this week! (I shouldn’t have done the body test yesterday. It was at a different time of day than I normally exercise, so it was off a bit. But if you take yesterday’s weight out, I’ve gone straight down significantly!

It’s been difficult adjusting to the Medifast program, but only because I’m eating way more than I feel like I should! The program requires 4 Medifast meals per day as well as 2 Lean & Green meals. That means I’m eating 6 times a day! I’ve stuck with it, though, and it’s paying off!

I’ve made it one week without sweet tea, soda, ice cream, or junk, and my body is trying to adjust. Sometimes it’s hard to curb those cravings! (Especially when your church has a Sunday afternoon social and everyone brings their favorite foods and desserts. Passing that up was HARD. REALLY HARD.) But, I know that if I want to get down to a healthy weight/BMI for my frame, I need to give it up. In time, it won’t be so hard to pass up, but right now – I’m having lots of cravings!

Luckily, the Medifast meals help! The chocolate pudding is just what I need when I’m craving ice cream. The Chocolate Peanut Butter bar is my favorite on-the-go meal, and it’s what I’ve been taking to baseball games to keep myself from buying out the concession stand. And the shakes are awesome. I can’t decide if I like the Strawberry or Vanilla shakes better, but they are all so good!

I’m hoping that since I’ve made it through a week of fighting my cravings that it will get easier. I’m sure it will, my body just needs to adjust to eating these foods that are good for me.

Let’s take a minute and talk about the Lean & Green Meals, shall we?

One feature I love is that Medifast offers Flavors of Home for the nights when you’re family isn’t eating so “lean and green” or you need something fast. And those really are great for the nights when my family wants to order pizza or grab something quick and easy. I love them.

But, the point of all of this is to bring a healthier lifestyle to my whole family. But, I have to admit, eating healthy is NOT my strong point. I grew up always eating out, and it was rarely healthy. So, I had to do some searching, but I found this link that gives me 34 great recipes that I can use as my lean and green meals AND I can adjust them to feed my whole family. Win/Win, right? It’s going to be a long, slow process with the family, but eventually I’ll get the junk out of their systems, and they’ll only want the good stuff!

I’m excited about how well this first week has gone, and I can’t wait to see what next week brings! 🙂


If you use the code Blessed25 on the Medifast website, you will receive $25 off your order of $250 or more, as well as free shipping! It’s a great way to get you started on your own journey.

Be sure to Enter My Giveaway for Medifast Brownies. (YUM!)

I would LOVE to have you join me on this journey! Please check back to see my results each week. You can also track my results on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to follow me there.

Also, be sure to follow Medifast every way you can in order to learn more about them:

#Spon: Today Starts a New Beginning with @Medifast #Giveaway

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of the Medifast products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

Day 1 with Medifast

It’s no secret: Weight Loss is kind of a big deal on this blog. I worked really hard last year to get to my lowest weight I’ve seen in almost 13 years!

But, I’ve got to be honest. I didn’t do a very good job of sticking with it. I thought I could maintain my weight without eating right or exercising often. Boy, was I ever wrong.

Now, here I am, heading right back to the me I swore I would NEVER be again. I’m up TWENTY POUNDS from my lowest weight last year, and I want to cry.

But I will not sit down and cry about it. I will not wallow in self pity and eat – like I’ve done way too many times the past 6 months. Not anymore.

Today begins a NEW DAY to a NEW ME. The one who makes better choices, who gets it right, and who loves the way she looks and feels. Gone are the days of stress eating and eating because I’m bored. I will once again begin my daily exercise routines and work to create the healthy me I *know* is in there.

This time, though, I’m not doing it alone. I’m teaming up with Medifast, and for the next 30 days, I will be participating in the Medifast Achieve™ 4&2&1 Plan, and I will share my progress with you along the way.

I am excited about this new journey and my partnership with Medifast. I’m ready to work hard, eat right, and do it for keeps this time around!

Have you thought about trying Medifast for yourself? Maybe now it’s time for you to make that next step! I’ve got a few ways to help you do just that!


How about a discount? If you use the code Blessed25 on the Medifast website, you will receive $25 off your order of $250 or more, as well as free shipping! It’s a great way to get you started on your own journey.


Want to try the Medifast Products before you jump in? Medifast wants to give away a box of brownies to one lucky reader! To win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me WHY you want to get on a healthier track. Is it for your children? Is it for yourself? Is it because you’ve just put it off for too long? Whatever your reason for wanting to be healthier, I want to hear!

The giveaway will end 5/11 at 11:59pm. US Residents only, ages 18 and older.

I would LOVE to have you join me on this journey! Please check back to see my results each week. You can also track my results on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to follow me there.

Also, be sure to follow Medifast every way you can in order to learn more about them:

New Weight Loss Challenge & Bible Study Starting Monday!

At the end of last summer, I started a Weight Loss Challenge/Bible Study called “God Before Goodies.” It lasted 4 weeks, and the results were amazing! The ladies in the group became each others’ cheerleaders, friendships were formed, weight was lost, and GOD was given all the glory!

Since the group ended, I’ve been asked almost daily if I would start a new group. After much prayer and deliberation, I’ve decided to start another group. The new group will be called “Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be.”

Becoming the Woman God wants me to be

From January 4th through February 1st, we will look at the lives of different women in the Bible. We will apply the characteristics of their lives to better ourselves in all we do – whether eating, exercising, or living a life for Christ.

I promise you, this is unlike any weight loss challenge you have ever been a part of. We will keep Christ first, help you develop a habit of daily Bible reading, and encourage you in your weight loss goals.

The cost to join is $20 for the month. There are no extra fees. No products to buy. No hidden costs. You are welcome to join for the Bible Study aspect, the weight loss aspect, or both! When you join, you will be surrounded by like-minded women, focusing on your life in Christ, and improving all the areas of your life.

I do have several scholarships available (with no tricks to the scholarship, either!), so if you really want to join but just don’t have the funds, contact me and let me know. I don’t want the fee to keep you from drawing closer to Christ if you really can’t afford it.

I’ve been much in prayer for this study, and I would love to have you join us. It will be run as a secret Facebook group, and only the women who have paid are allowed in the group. (No lurkers – it’s all completely private!)

If you want in, let me know. I’d love to have you join us!

Five Ridiculously Simple Ways To Improve Your Weight Loss

Losing weight isn’t easy if it were we’d all be a size zero! If you are trying to shed some pounds, why not make it a little easier on yourself?  A small change here and there can really show in you weight loss results.

Fitness trackers
A current trend at the moment is for all singing and dancing fitness trackers. Unlike the pedometers of old, you can use them to track the type of exercise you are doing, your sleep, your water intake and how many calories you have had. For the digital ones, you will need to download the relevant app to your mobile or smart device. The Fitbit is a good option as it’s made of rubber, perfect when exercising as it doesn’t rub or absorb sweat. It also has a simple light up display, which tells you how far along you are towards meeting your daily activity goal. When you do reach your goal, it vibrates and flashes, and it’s a great way of positively reinforcing your achievement.

A more low-tech option is the mojo fit bracelet which you can use to track calories and water consumption. Just swivel the beads up and down the bracelet to keep track and help you prevent cheating yourself.

Nutritional supplements
For effective weight loss, it is important that your digestive system is at full health. Lactobacillus can help with this.

This probiotic naturally produces Bacteriocin, which slows the development of harmful bacteria in your digestive system. This promotes good digestive health.

Fat binders are another option to consider for your weightloss journey. Fat binders attach to that fat that you consume, making it more difficult for the body to absorb. While you can lose up to two times what you would loose with your own efforts, there can be some unpleasant side effects. I won’t go into too much detail about here, but suffice it to say, you’re going to need to be near a restroom for quite a lot of the time.


Another popular way of making weight loss easier is through hypnosis. Hypnosis works by putting you into a trance like state. During this state your subconscious is more suggestible, so you can introduce ideas about eating. This can include stopping when you’re full, not eating junk food and even the idea that you have a gastric band! All of these techniques can help you lose weight as you will consume less bad food and fewer calories altogether. There are many books available on the subject of hypnotism and weight loss. Try Paul Mckenna’s I Can Make You Thin. Along with the hypnosis CD, that you listen to once a day, he also includes others tips to put you off the bad foods you crave and to get you up and exercising.

Eat From A Smaller Plate

It’s a simple trick, but eating from a smaller plate can really help your control your portions sizes and so lose weight. As the saying goes we ‘first east with our eyes and then with our mouth’.  Being presented with a large plate of food can cause some issues for dieters. While it’s easy to say that you will stop when you’re full, it may not be, once you are eating all that food that your enjoy. Having a limited plate size can end this problem before it occurs. Remember too that after a while, your stomach will shrink down to its normal size, that of an orange. Meaning you will not get those hunger pangs, even though you are eating less.

A similar way of making losing weight easier is to use a diet plate. This is a plate that is decorated to show the correct portion sizes for each type of food. You can quickly and easily see how much carbohydrates, protein and veg you should be eating at each meal, making weight loss a doddle.

Eat A Cube Of Cheese Before Your Meal
Image source

I know you are probably trying to avoid snacking, but why not give eating a small cube of full-fat cheese before your meal, a go? The concept behind this is that it takes 20 mins for the brain to recognize the full feelings from the stomach. By eating something high in fat before your main meal, you speed this process up. By the time you are eating your food, your brain is already receiving full messages from your stomach, meaning your will eat less.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Achieving Your Fitness Goals

Got all your fitness goals figured out? Great – deciding what you want to achieve is half the battle! So now you just need to start your journey to achieve them. And you know just how you will get there, right? Well, maybe not quite. Not many of us know the best ways to go about achieving our fitness goals. It can mean some big changes to our lives, which many people will find quite a scary prospect. But you don’t have to worry quite so much. It just takes a bit of getting used to! If you are completely at a loss when it comes to getting fit; don’t panic. In this blog post, I’ll be covering everything you ever wanted to know about achieving your fitness goals!

Eat A Good Diet
It’s time to ditch all the junk and processed foods. Swap it all for fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the first step toward getting fit. And it won’t just help your fitness either; your overall health and immune system will be better for it as well! So how do you start to eat more healthily? It’s easy really! Just try to keep your snacks down to a minimum. If you do feel hungry in between meals, help yourself to a piece of fruit or another healthy snack. Don’t want to give up your favorite fatty condiments like mayonnaise and ranch dressing? Not a problem either! Just look for healthy alternatives next time you’re in the supermarket. Look out for original products Hampton Creek and their healthy ranges of sauces and dips. But the main way you can eat a balanced diet is by ensuring you are eating plenty of veggies and fruits. You need to aim for at least five portions of different varieties every day. You can be creative with how you eat these portions. Why not try fresh fruit smoothies, leafy salads, or curries crammed with veg? If you don’t enjoy cooking, you could also sign up to a meal plan.

Get Some Zzzs Every Night
Getting a good night’s sleep is often overlooked. But it is actually super important if you want to be as fit as possible! If you wake after a full night’s sleep, then you will be fully refreshed and ready to start the new day. That means you’ll be able to perform well in your workout and hit all your targets! That’s not all, though. If we wake tired and feel lethargic throughout the day, it is all too easy to overeat. This is because our body needs some extra energy and the best place to find that is food. That also explains why we crave fatty and sugary foods a lot when we are super sleepy.  Do you find it difficult to fall asleep at night? There are some hacks that you could use to help yourself out. Try to block out all light and sound that comes into your bedroom from outside. These are only distractions that will prevent you from dropping off. Don’t look at your laptop or smartphone just before bed either. The light from their screens will stimulate your brain and make it feel more awake than it actually is.

Lead An Active Lifestyle
You need to stay active and do plenty of exercise if you want to get fit and achieve all your goals. But it also pays to be active for other reasons as well. Exercising can help you lose weight, and it will also give your mood a boost. So, overall, exercising can lead to lots of happiness and confidence! Many people put off exercising because they are unfit to begin with. Sure, taking part in physical activities might feel like a big struggle to start off with, but this is all part of getting fit! If you want to stick to exercising, you need to take baby steps at first. Don’t think you can run a marathon right from the get go –  no one can do that without any training! But you can start walking more and doing short, easy workout sessions. As soon as you get used to this level of exercise, build it up. Increase the length of your walks or training sessions. You need also to try walking faster and training a bit harder. The best way to get into peak fitness is to lengthen and increase the intensity of your workout sessions slowly. You will get there, slowly but surely! As you increase your sessions, be sure not to work too hard. If you take things too quickly and try to improve too soon, you could end up seriously injuring yourself. And if you do, that could set your training program back a few weeks. So remember to take things slowly to prevent injury. Don’t forget to stretch your muscles after each workout. This can also lower your chances of a sporting injury.

Join A Group Or Club
If you feel getting fit is all too much on your own, you might be better off with some support from people who are going through the same thing. That’s why many people find joining a club or sports group very beneficial. There are lots of different clubs out there that focus on different sports and fitness activities. If you are a member of your local gym but find that you aren’t motivated on their machines, you might do better in a class. The classes will be included in your membership price so you won’t have to pay extra. Working out surrounded by other people can be super fun and extremely motivating. There are loads of other advantages over working out solo too. It’s a great way to meet new people, and you will make lots of new friends. Not a fan of the gym? Don’t worry; how about signing up for your local running club? As part of the club, you will be invited on every run they take part in. Many people find running with others a great way to train for a race. Take a look online for other sports clubs or groups in your area. Other popular ones include cycling, tennis, and hiking groups.

Get Everyone At Home Involved
Trying to get fit on your own can feel very isolated. One way to overcome this is, as I mentioned above, to join a sports group or club. However, there is another way to get people on board with you. Get your whole family involved! This can help you stick to your healthy eating plan. As the whole family will be eating healthily, there is no need for you to carry on buying cookies, chips, and fries. So as the whole family are involved, you can now get all the unhealthy food out of your kitchen! Getting fit with your family is a great way to boost everyone’s morale. Especially when you are active together. You don’t all need to hit the gym together. After all, if you have young children, that isn’t a good idea! Instead, think about going for family walks. Or you could just even take the kids to your nearest park. This way, you all get to have a nice stroll outside, and the kids can blow off some steam in the playground. Why not stop using the car for the school run as well? If the school is close by, start walking there and back. It is little changes to your lifestyle like this that can have a very big impact!

Stop Weighing Yourself
We can become obsessed with watching our weight while trying to get fit. And this obsession only increases if we are trying to lose some fat. However, this can quickly turn into an unhealthy obsession. Too much focus on your weight can lead you to become paranoid about your eating and exercising habits. In rare cases, this can lead to an eating disorder. So how do you make sure you continue to lose weight without weighing yourself regularly? It’s simple really. You just need to make sure you stick to your healthy eating and stay as active as you can. This way, you know you are on the right track. Over time, you will begin to feel fitter and more confident in your body. You might even forget about the bathroom scales! But if you would still like some reassurance, you just need to see how your clothes feel. Are your trousers feeling slightly slacker and looser? Then that’s a sign you’ve lost a few pounds! So next time you’re wondering if your new lifestyle is working, try on an old pair of jeans rather than hit the scales. Hopefully, you’ll be pleased with the results!

Getting fit is difficult? Not anymore! At least, not now you have this guide to keep you on the right track. At times, it may feel difficult to stay focused on your fitness goals. But keep at it – once you achieve your end goal you will feel so proud of yourself!

Guest Post: Lifestyle Changes That Help You To Lose Weight Naturally

There are many things that people do not understand about losing weight. The truth is that in so many situations we are faced with problems that appear because of the fact that the person’s lifestyle is not proper. You do not always need to diet heavily or go to the gym every single day to be able to reach a perfect weight. Consider the following lifestyle changes and you will see great improvements that you will love.

Portion Control

One of the best possible ways to lose weight is to pay attention to how much you actually eat. This is what nutritionists talk about and what they recommend at all times. If you take a look at the size of your portion, you will be able to eliminate so many calories on a daily basis. Most people get used to eating too much and by simply focusing on portion control you can even gain the necessary discipline that is needed to have a healthy lifestyle.

Positive Thinking

Most people think about what they cannot eat instead of remaining focused on what they can eat. You should always find something that is healthy to eat, no matter where you go. For instance, let us say that you go to a restaurant that is renowned for really heavy foods, like Italian cuisine. Look for whole wheat options, fresh tomato sauces, fish and similar healthy solutions that are better for you.

Food Records

You can easily handle how much and what you eat when you simply write down what you consume on a daily basis. This has so many advantages. For starters, you can always calculate how much you ate and notice when there are things that have to be removed or added. Bodybuilders are a great example of people that always keep food records. This habit allows them to see when they need protein supplements or when they simply have to make nutritional changes, while also identifying potentially bad food habits.

Structured Snacks And Meals

A problem for many is that they do not eat when they should and this easily leads to overeating. This can be fought by simply eating structured snacks and meals. The big problem is that you will end up eating whatever you find in the event that you are hungry. When you are structured, you are never hungry so you do not overdo it.

Aiming For Progress, Not Perfection

Never be strict when you want to lose weight. So many think that the secret is to control absolutely everything. This is not actually a good approach. Your aim should be to simply look at the big picture and the goals you have at the moment. You do not want to complain about the fact that you have to lose 20 pounds. You need to be focused on how much you already lost. Such a shift in attitude can help out a lot in order to eventually reach the goals you have.

On the whole, every single tip that is offered above can do wonders for you. Try to make the lifestyle changes and look at dieting and working out as being extra help for your weight loss regime.

Are Fitness Trackers a Cure for the Obesity Epidemic?

Obesity is a modern phenomenon. Take a look around you in any public place and a large percentage of the people in the immediate vicinity, young and old, will be overweight. The good news is that there are loads of great gadgets to help us lose weight if we want to do something about our weight problem. We can download fitness apps on to our mobile phones or dance away the excess calories using a games console. So are fitness trackers useful for weight loss and can they cure the obesity epidemic?

Just How Fat Are We?

Obesity is officially an epidemic. More than a third of American adults are considered to be obese and just over 6% are morbidly obese. This costs the US economy approximately $3 billion per year, money that could be far better spent on education, healthcare and welfare for poorer members of the community.

Prehistoric men and women weren’t obese. For one thing the only fast food they ate had four legs and was pretty good at running away at speed, and for another a fat Neanderthal man would have been a sitting target for every predator within fifty kilometres. No, obesity is the result of too much food and too little exercise. Modern life has become way too easy and with so many adults and children spending the majority of their day sitting in a chair, it’s no wonder a lot of us are fat!

How do Fitness Trackers Work?

The thing about fat people is that aside from the fact they have a tendency to eat too much, they also don’t move enough. Consuming too many calories and not doing enough exercise is a sure fire way to pile on the pounds.

A fitness tracker is worn somewhere on the body. Designs vary but bracelets are common. Fitness bands measure how much you move and at what intensity. The device converts the data it collects into useful measurements to help you work out how much useful exercise you are doing. They can also be synced to smartphones.

Accuracy across the spectrum of fitness gadgets varies. Some devices flatter the user by overestimating how many steps they take whereas others underestimate, so you are doing more than you give yourself credit for. There are many tracker options available today with some most popular included here.

The Trouble with Gadgets…

Fitness gadgets are always popular, especially in the post Christmas period when you know you ate too many mince pies and nothing fits you anymore. But like all gadgets, fitness trackers are often a five minute wonder, worn for a couple of weeks and then tossed into a drawer to gather dust.

Gadgets can help with weight loss, but if you want to keep the weight off, you need to give your lifestyle a complete overhaul. Eat healthily and incorporate regular exercise into your schedule, without or without a fitness tracker. Join forces with some like-minded friends or join a slimming group for moral support. It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be worth it.

#Sponsored: Make a Difference with @GreenGiant #MyBlogSpark #Giveaway

Sample ReceivedDisclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.


green giant make a difference

As you are all aware, I have been working really hard at losing weight and becoming a healthier me.

The road has not been easy, but I am finally starting to see a real difference. I look better, I feel better, and I know now that I *can* do this.

One thing that has really, really helped is that I am eating a lot more vegetables. Instead of reaching for chips or a candy bar, I grab carrot sticks, raw broccoli, or some other vegetable. And at dinner time, I can indulge myself in Green Giant Vegetables, eat a bunch, and still feel great!

I simply cannot believe the difference in 100 calories of Green Giant vegetables vs. 100 calories of pretty much anything else. Most of the time, a 100 calorie box of veggies is too much for me to eat by myself.

For the past month, I have made the choice to make *better* choices every time I sit down to eat. And, I have also added a lot more vegetables into my diet. (Thank you, Green Giant for making SO many yummy varieties and helping me on my journey!)

Look at the difference just one month of healthy eating and exercise can make:

green giant difference

The picture on the left was taken on my anniversary right after we got our van. The picture on the right was taken yesterday before my daughter’s chorus concert. I am blown away by the difference that just one month can make.

MyBlogSpark and Green Giant sent me the most amazing prize pack. In fact, this has been my favorite spark so far, because it’s encouraged me to keep going in my weight loss journey, and it’s helping me make a real difference.

Here’s what was included in the prize pack:

  • Gym Bag (and since I just joined a local gym, this could not have come at a better time!)
  • Health Journal (this is great for keeping a log of what I eat, what time I am eating, and how much exercise I am getting. I absolutely love this journal.)
  • Water Infuser (I hate water. It’s so boring! But this lets me add fresh fruit – or cucumber! – to my water and ramp up the taste without a ton of empty calories or chemicals.)
  • Green Giant Coupons (5 coupons, so I could try lots of the yummy varieties!)
  • $10 Target coupon (So I could stock up on even more Green Giant veggies!)

I told you was an awesome prize pack. This is one that I know all of you will want to win. Heck, I’d win it again myself if I could. 🙂

I love that Green Giant has given all of us a tastier way to lose weight and feel great about what we are eating. I hope you’ll take some time to check out the Giant Difference website and learn more ways to get on the path to a healthier you. (Be sure to check out their “Giant Difference Recipes” section – it’s my favorite part of the website!)

giant difference prize pack

Want to win a prize pack (mentioned above) for your very own? To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will end November 3rd.

Final Weigh in on #MyJennyCraig Journey #Sponsored

Sponsored Post

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Jenny Craig. I received a free program and one month of free food in exchange for my honest opinions, thoughts, and results. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

Well, I made it 4 weeks into the Jenny Craig program, and I am feeling great! Have you been following along on my journey? If so, you may have noticed on my fitbit dashboard that I have steadily been dropping weight over the past 4 weeks.

Before I get to my final weigh in, let me remind you how I looked at the start of this journey. (And remember that you can read my first post here.)

Day 1 - Jenny Journey

Shudder. While it’s better than it was 7 months ago, it was still nowhere near where I wanted to be.

Now that I’ve been on the program for 4 weeks, let’s see how things have changed.

First, here’s my final weigh in for the program:

Here’s the direct link to access it on Youtube: Final Weigh In

Did you catch that?! 172.3! That means I dropped 13.8 pounds in just 28 days. Not too shabby, and I owe it all to the Jenny Craig program!

Next, let’s see if you can tell a difference:

Day 28 - My Jenny Craig

I can see a *huge* difference, can you? (Note: those are the same clothes in both pictures. I just had a different tank top on underneath the black shirt.)

Here’s a side-by-side view of Day 1 and Day 28:

Before and After Jenny Craig

My chest has moved back up where it belongs, and I am finally seeing a waist again. Almost 14 pounds gone, and I can’t believe the difference it has made.

Now that you’ve seen the results of using the Jenny Craig program for a month, let me tell you some of the things I love most about the program:

  • I love how easy it is to stick to the program. Everything is laid out for you, and in your first shipment, they send you tons of information on what you’ll need to purchase from the grocery store, and tons and tons of tips on how to make the program work best for you.
  • I looked forward to my Friday morning consultations with Tina. She was so upbeat and encouraging. It was always a pleasure to hear from her and get tips on making it through a tough week.
  • The food was fantastic. Some of it was a little spicy, but it wasn’t unbearable. And I did love the fact that I got yummy desserts every so often to satisfy my sweet tooth. I never felt hungry, and even my chocolate cravings were squashed almost daily!
  • With their new programs, Jenny Craig is more affordable than ever. Check out the Jenny Craig website and all of their delicious food options. Then, look around some more and read how the program works. Maybe you could get started on your own Jenny Craig journey too and see fabulous results in as little as one month!

I did tell my consultant that I’m nervous about going off the program, just because I did so well on it. But, I’ve purchased a pretty little plate to use for my meals to keep my portion sizes down where they should be. And I’ll be sure to stock up on lots of healthy snacks. I’m more determined than ever to meet my goal, and I know that doing the Jenny Craig program gave me the push in the right direction that I needed.

I’m hoping soon that I’ll be able to share the news that I’ve reached my final goal. Stay tuned and check into the blog often for updates.

Tell Me: What feature of the Jenny Craig program sounds most appealing to you?

Getting Started on #MyJennyCraig – Let’s Do This! #Sponsored #WeightLoss

Sponsored Post

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Jenny Craig. I received a free program and one month of free food in exchange for my honest opinions, thoughts, and results. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

Today, I’m starting on the Jenny Craig Program. I am really, really excited about it! I’ve got between 40 and 50 pounds left to lose to be at my final goal, and I’ve got until February to do it. I can’t wait to see how Jenny Craig helps kick start my weight loss.

To start things off, I’ve got to weigh in. I will tell you, I’ve been doing some things on my own to try to lose weight, but I seem to get more discouraged by the day. I’m just not seeing the results I was hoping for this time around. I’m a lot farther along than I was when I started in March, but still not where I was hoping to be by now.

Anyway – here’s the tough part: My weigh in.

View it directly on YouTube here.

Sigh. 186.1. Still about 10 pounds more than I was before I got pregnant with Carly, and still about 50 pounds from where I’d really like to be.

Now, here’s the harder part: Sharing my “Before” picture – taken today, as I prepare to start #MyJennyCraig Journey.

Day 1 on Jenny Craig

Oh, it hurts to see how bad I look in pictures and on video. When I married my husband almost 11 years ago, I was just a tiny little thing. I think I swallowed her. Twice.

Yes, I know I’ve have seven kids, and I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. But with each child, there was more weight, more stretching, and more work to get it back off. I’ve just let it go too long. It’s time to get on the right track and save my life. I need to be healthy. I want to be beautiful, yes, but more importantly, I want to instill good habits in my children so that they’re not battling the bulge one day.

That’s why I’m so excited about the Jenny Craig program! They’ve already sent me my first 2 weeks of food, and I can’t believe how much there is! Another thing I can’t believe? How great it tastes! I’ve already eaten breakfast, my morning snack, and lunch, and they were all so yummy! The portion sizes don’t leave me feeling hungry, either. I just need to get used to eating so much during the day now. Head on over to the Jenny Craig website and check out all of their delicious food options. Then, look around some more and read how the program works. Maybe you could get started on your own Jenny Craig journey too!

The people from Jenny Craig are all so friendly, too. I’ve had several people call me and welcome me to the program, one helped me pick out all my food, and my consultant, Tina, explained how everything works. Tina is kind, and so upbeat. I’m going to enjoy talking to her over the next few weeks.

I’ll be tracking my progress with the #MyJennyCraig program here on the blog, on twitter (with the hashtag #MyJennyCraig and #AngieWeighsIn), on my Facebook page,   on pinterest, and you can also track my weekly weigh ins every Friday on Fitbit.

I’m hoping for a GREAT “after” picture when my month with Jenny Craig is up. Hope you’ll stay tuned!

Need Weight Loss Support or Encouragement?

This last week, I stepped on the scale and discovered that I gained a pound.

I cried.

weight loss supportI cried a lot.

I have been trying SO hard, but it seems like no matter how hard I try, I cannot get this weight off this time around.

Maybe it’s because I’m breastfeeding, and breastfeeding always makes me so hungry. I snack, but I snack on good things: bananas, broccoli, blueberries, strawberries (all without sugar or cool whip).

But, even then, I still cannot seem to get more than a pound off per week, or I gain weight.

It is so discouraging, and I NEED encouragement.

I know I am not the only person struggling with this, so I thought we could have our own secret little group and support and encourage one another.

I have created a special Facebook Group. The group is private, and you don’t ever have to post numbers – unless you want to.

If you are interested in joining the group, please comment on this post (and be sure to leave your email address!), or send me an email to angie@blessedbeyondwords.com with the subject Weight Loss Support.

I set the group up through my private Facebook account, so I will need to add you as a friend in order to be able to add you to the group. When you email me, (or leave a comment here), I will email you a link to my personal facebook account. Send me a friend request, and I will add you as a friend and then to the group.

I am in desperate need of encouragement, and I know there are many others out there just like me.

It doesn’t matter if you need to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, everyone is welcome. (Well, women are welcome. Sorry guys!)

I would love to have you join the group. Together, I KNOW we can all succeed!!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The Weight Loss Journey Begins Again

As most of my loyal readers know, last year, I lost 40 pounds. Then, in June, I found out I was pregnant with baby #7.

I tried SO hard not to gain a ton of weight with the pregnancy. Unfortunately, it seemed the harder I tried to eat right and exercise, the more weight I put on.

I ended up at 214 pounds at the time I went in to deliver Carly. Just 2 pounds less than I was before I started my weight loss journey last year! YIKES!

I didn’t stress about it too much, though. I knew I had taken it off once before and that I could do it again. After talking with my doctor, I agreed to hold off until Carly was 6 weeks old before I really focused on weight loss.

Well, she was 6 weeks old last Friday. On Saturday, I had my daughter Ashley take my starting picture, and I stepped on the scale.

Here’s my starting picture:

Starting my weight loss journey

Ugh. It horrifies me to post that picture, but let me tell you – it is GREAT motivation to get my butt back in shape.

My goal is to soon get on a weight loss program that is safe for breastfeeding moms, and I will be talking to my doctor about that in the next week or so. In the meantime, however, I will be working slowly but surely at losing weight the right way. I had a problem with low milk supply after Gage was born, so I need to be careful not to do anything that could affect my milk supply for Carly. I really, really want to make it a full year of nursing her.

That being said, we are going on a cruise next February. I have a dress that I bought years ago, and it is my goal to be able to fit back into that dress before we go on the cruise. So, I have approximately 11 months from the time the picture above was taken to lose about 65 pounds.

I will weigh in once a week on my Fitbit scale. You can follow my progress on my Fitbit profile. I will also tweet my weight once a week using the hashtag #angieweighsin – so be sure to follow me on twitter. And, there will be blog updates. I’m just not sure how often yet. (Any input?)

If you’d like to join me on this journey, let me know, and we can start a weekly linky to post our progress. There’s nothing more motivating than posting your progress for all the world to see! 😉

I know I can do this, and I covet your support until that very last pound is GONE. I hope you’ll offer your tips and encouragement here on the blog.

Ok, ready…. Here we go!!!

fitbit aria: Wi-Fi Smart Scale {Review} #FitbitAria

As you all know, before I got pregnant last year, I lost 40 pounds. Now, here I am, 10 months later, and I’ve found those (almost) 40 pounds again. That means it’s time to buckle down and get those extra pounds off again.

fitbit aria blackI am so excited to have the fitbit aria on my side this time. This scale does it all! I’m excited to meet with my doctor and find out just how soon I can get on a diet and exercise plan. Since I’m only 10 days post-partum, I assume I’ll have a few weeks that I’ll need to wait before I jump into anything rigorous. In the meantime, breastfeeding is a fantastic form of weight loss, so at least I have that on my side. As long as I continue to eat right, I should be ready to rock and roll as soon as I get the approval.

But enough about that. Let me get back to this amazing scale. The fitbit aria is unlike anything I have ever seen. There are so many things I love about it, that I hardly know where to start!

So, let’s start with the look of the scale. It’s a sleek, modern design, and it will compliment any decor. (It’s also available in white.) The look is fun, modern, and makes me want to step on it! 🙂

Next, let’s talk about some of the features of the fitbit aria.

  • Connects through wi-fi to a free fitbit.com account. This makes the scale totally personalized to YOU. (And up to 7 other people in your house.)
  • Tracks your weight, your BMI (body mass index), and your body fat percentage. You can easily set goals, and you earn badges for every 5 pounds of weight lost.
  • Log food intake, workouts, and more to get clear graphs of how well you are doing.
  • Easily access your information 24/7 online at fitbit.com or with your iPhone or Android smart phone.
  • Share your progress with friends to keep yourself accountable, and you can even compete with them if you’d like.

Setting the scale up is SO easy. I thought for sure that it was going to be complicated and I would spend hours trying to link my scale to my home’s wi-fi network. Boy, was I ever wrong! In less than 5 minutes, I had my free fitbit account created and set up, synced my scale, and had input my first weight. Then, I sent invitations to my husband and my daughter so they can use the scale at home too.

fitbit invitesIf I were to change anything, the ONLY thing I would change is how you add users to the scale. Right now, all you can do is send an email invite and add them once they accept. While that’s fine, I’d also like a way to manually add members to our scale without emailing an invitation.

Overall, I am seriously impressed with the fitbit aria, and I would recommend it to anyone that is serious about losing weight.

While $129.95 sounds a bit pricey for a scale, when you consider everything you get for the price, it’s an excellent value. After researching, I’ve found many wi-fi scales that charge a monthly or yearly fee. Fitbit is completely free to sync and use – no matter how often you use it. It is, by far, the best value in a wi-fi scale that I have found.

fitbit badgesI’m looking forward to really getting back on the weight loss wagon and losing the weight I gained with my last pregnancy. I’ve lost it once, and I know I can lose it again. And now that I have the fitbit aria, I know I’m even more likely to succeed – hopefully even faster than I did the last time!

If you are trying to lose weight, I recommend you check out the fitbit aria. It will help you set and meet all your weight loss goals… as publicly or as privately as you’d like to.

Disclaimer: I received a fitbit aria from FitBit and MomSelect in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way. No other compensation was received for this post.

How I Lost 40 Pounds in 6 Months

Before I get too far into this post, let me just say 2 things:

  1. I am not a doctor and do not profess to be a medical professional of any kind. Before beginning any diet or exercise program, please speak with your primary care physician about what is right for you.
  2. I cannot promise this will work for you. I wish I could. Unfortunately, every person is different, and what may work for one may not work for another.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the post!

First, we’ll back up about 7 – 8 months. I was at my heaviest weight. I was miserable. In fact, I was dealing with a lot of chronic pain. I was in and out of my doctor’s office trying to figure out what steps to take next.

I wasn’t eating right. I was completely addicted to soda… Pepsi to be more specific. It was like my own version of alcoholism. I would drink a minimum of 16 cans of Pepsi PER DAY. I was depressed, and it was all because I was feeling fat and ugly.

People would say things like, “Oh, you look good for having 6 kids.” I HATED hearing that. I knew they were lying. I didn’t look good, and I certainly didn’t feel “good.” {I know that’s not proper grammar, but you get what I mean.}

In December, the wonderful people at DietBet contacted me and asked me if I would compete against several other mom bloggers for the chance at a $5,000 pot, and we would have to give some of that money to charity.

That was exactly the kick in the pants I needed. I am an incredibly competitive person, and knowing that I could play for a charity like St. Jude and have the opportunity to give them up to $5,000, well, let’s just say that I was all in.

The competition started in early January. I weighed in at a ghastly 213 pounds. I hadn’t been on a scale in months, and I had no idea that it had gotten so out of control. In that first DietBet challenge, I lost 17 pounds. I smashed the competition, {although according to DietBet rules, we all “won”}, and I gave all my winnings to St. Jude’s.

Now, here we are in June. It’s been 6 months since I started that first DietBet challenge, and I am down 40 pounds.

Take a look at my before and after shots: {Click the picture to see it larger.}

40 pounds in 6 months
Pretty dramatic difference, isn’t it? I can’t believe the difference in my face and upper body. And my BUTT. Oh my gosh. Every time I have gotten pregnant, I have carried my kids in my butt and hips. My butt was huge. I was in a size 16 pants in January. Now, I can squeeze my behind into any pair of size 10s, and most size 8s. I’ve come a long way.

But I still have a long way to go. My goal is to lose another 40 pounds or so and get down to 130 – 135 pounds. THEN I want people to tell me that I look good for having 6 kids. I might actually start to believe them.

I have people asking me every day what I’ve been doing to lose the weight. So, I thought I’d share my tips with you. I hope they help encourage you get on a path to healthier living.

  • I’ve focused on Spiritual growth. I realize that I can do nothing on my own. But, through Christ, I can do anything. {Philippians 4:13} Early in January, I discovered Job 23:12b that says, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” I made that my life verse for this weight loss challenge. Whenever I want something sweet, I remind myself of those words, and I pick up my Bible. I know it sounds crazy, but it has truly worked for me. I have made my Spiritual life and my relationship with Jesus my top priority, and I have benefited in so many ways because of it.
  • I’ve reduced portion sizes. Drastically. I still eat exactly what my family eats, but I put my servings on a kid-sized plate instead of a large plate. And when I’ve eaten what’s on my plate, that’s it. No seconds.
  • I opt for Fat-Free, Low-Fat, and Reduced calorie as often as I can. We have one shelf in our pantry dedicated to my snacks and such. The kids know those items are off limits to them. Any time I buy salad dressing, it’s fat free. I also only use fat-free Feta cheese on salads.
  • I eat every 2 – 3 hours during the day.It starts with breakfast at 8, snack at 10, lunch at noon, snack at 3, and dinner at 6. My portions are small, yes, but this absolutely keeps me from getting hungry at all during the day. Some of my favorite snacks include:
    • Fruit Nuggets – these are found in the Fruit Snacks section. They contain 0g of fat and only 50 calories per pack. LOVE them.
    • Snackwell’s Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes – This is how I get my chocolate fix. Each cookie only has 50 calories and NO fat.
    • Fat Free Fig Newtons – In two cookies, there are only 90 calories and no fat. {Note: Nabisco has large packs that you can toss in your purse, but the two cookies in those packs contain 200 calories. I buy the tray of cookies and just toss Ziploc baggies that contain 2 cookies in my purse.}
    • Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop – I honestly can’t finish an entire serving myself. But, one serving only contains 100 calories and only 2g of fat.
    • Snack Pack Chocolate Fat Free Pudding – Another chocolate fix. Only 90 calories and zero fat.
    • Fruit – Berries, Bananas, Oranges. Sometimes I even get creative and mix several fruits in a blender with ice and little Truvia to sweeten it, and make a smoothie. Mmmm.
  • I completely gave up soda. As you can imagine, this was quite a challenge for me. But I honestly believe it was the BEST decision I ever could have made. Now, the ONLY thing I will drink is water. I will not even allow myself a sip of soda or Sweet Tea {another weakness!}, because I know it would take nothing for me to fall back into old habits.
  • I Exercise Daily. I started slowly. After all, until January, the most exercise I got was going to the grocery store with all 6 kids. I have a treadmill, and when I first started, my goal was to burn 200 calories per day. I started by walking at 2.5 MPH, and then slowly increased that number weekly. My March, I was burning 300 calories/day, and now I burn 400 calories on the treadmill everyday. Toward the end of April, I started using the Total Gym as well. Now I do 400 calories on the treadmill {which takes about an hour}, and then I do 30 – 45 minutes on the Total Gym.  I also park my car farther away at the store, and force myself to walk that extra bit as often as I can. Just getting up and moving will make a huge difference. You don’t have to walk fast. My treadmill only goes up to 4 MPH, but I have literally walked my butt off the past 6 months. And, to answer any questions, YES. I exercise 7 days a week. I won’t allow myself to take a day of rest, because I’ll want to rest all the time.

It takes a complete lifestyle change in order to lose weight and get healthy. You have to be willing to give up some of your favorite things. Am I saying that you have to give them up forever? Of course not. But isn’t it worth it to give it up for a short time so that you can become the person that you want to be?

I also want to mention that since January when I made this lifestyle change, I have not had one single pain that I was dealing with last year. I feel about a million times better than I have in years. For me, these changes were life-changing and possibly life-saving.

For the past few days, I have been learning about another lifestyle transformation program, and I am prayerfully considering trying it out and seeing how it works for me at getting those last 40 pounds off. Depending on how the program works for me, hopefully I will be sharing more about it with you all soon.

However, until that happens, I will continue on the path I laid out above. I will work hard, eat right, and praise Jesus for every pound that comes off.

If you have any questions or just want to talk about weight loss, I hope you’ll leave a comment on this post.

My Results in the @DietBet Challenge

On Saturday, the DietBet Challenge that I started in May ended.

Truth be told, I was terrified that I wouldn’t do well in the challenge at all. Stress has been a killer the past few weeks, and then with VBS last week, it took a toll on my diet. {Our church feeds everyone Sunday night – Friday night for dinner. TONS of food, and more dessert than should ever be allowed to sit on one counter at any given time.} BUT, I stayed strong. {Several nights I brought my own dessert: Fat free Snackwells or Fat Free Fig Newtons. Definitely not what I wanted, but every little bit helps.}

I started the challenge at 183.8. That put me at about 30 pounds less than I was when I started dieting and exercising in January.

Before I show you the video of my final weigh-in, let me apologize. This was taped around 8am on Saturday morning. I had been up since 5am and exercising since 6am. I wanted to get that weigh-in done and over with, so that means you get to see me at my worst. Sorry about that!

Ok, that being said, here’s my final weigh-in for this challenge:

I was totally stoked! I dropped 10 pounds in those 28 days! Even with all the odds stacked against me, I was still able to lose more weight. And, because I dropped to 173.6, that means I have officially lost 40 pounds since January. Yahoo!

Take a look at what just 10 pounds can do to a person:

By the way, the jeans that I’m wearing in the After pictures? Those are a size 8! They were my “goal” pants for a very long time. I held onto them for years, just hoping I could squeeze my big butt back into them someday. The last time I wore those jeans was in December 2005 for our family pictures. I got pregnant with Lucy right after that, and I haven’t been able to get back into them since then.

Until now! Now, I have a new goal. I would love to get myself back into a size 4 – which is still bigger than I was when I married my husband and size 0 hung off me. I started in January as a size 16, and I’ve made it to an 8/10. I am really excited, and I KNOW I can do even better.

As far as the results of the challenge, I had 3 people that never sent me their final weights. 🙁 I went ahead and ended the game, though, because everyone was getting anxious to find out who won.

Here are the results from those of us who weighed in:

  • Amy – Stayed the same.
  • Teri – Dropped 2.6 pounds
  • Tara – Dropped 4.4 pounds
  • Suzi – Dropped 9.08 pounds
  • Angie – Dropped 10.2 pounds

Not too shabby, ladies! Great job!

According to the DietBet rules, Suzi & I are the winners. Therefore, I am giving her the $50 Amazon Gift card that was up for grabs.

I have had SO many people ask me how I’ve lost the weight and what I’ve been doing to keep the weight off that tomorrow I will be putting up a special post to answer a lot of the questions I’ve been asked. If you have a question that you’d like me to answer, please add it as a comment to this post. I hope my hard work and effort will encourage you and motivate you to meet your own weight loss goals.

I still have a long way to go…. about another 40 pounds…. but I KNOW I can do it. I want to encourage you to reach your own goals.

I do have to say, though, that 40 pounds makes an amazing difference. I feel better than I have in years!

The DietBet Challenge is ON! My Official Weigh-in.

I’m a little behind posting this. Things have been kind of crazy around here.

On Saturday, I started a new DietBet weight loss challenge. This time, I competing against 6 ladies. At the end of the challenge, we will see who the winner{s?} is{are?}, and prizes will be awarded.

I am really excited about this challenge, for lots of reasons: First, I do better when I’m competing. It keeps me from eating things I know I shouldn’t, and it motivates me to exercise and push myself just a little harder. Secondly, I am already doing so well at reaching my goals, and I think this is the “push” I need to keep going.

I am also really excited about sharing this experience with some very special people in my life! Last time I did the DietBet challenge, I didn’t really know the girls I was competing against. This time, however, I know most of these girls on a personal level. I’ve known one girl since we were about 3 years old. We went to school together – from preschool all the way through 5th grade. {I moved to Chicago the summer between my 5th and 6th grade year.} We got back in contact in 2002 completely by accident… I ran into her mom at the little cake shop that made our wedding cake. It turned out her daughter was getting married about a month before I was. We were able to go to each others’ weddings. We lost touch again, and through the power of Facebook, we got back in touch. We’ve both struggled with our weight, so we’ve been cheering each other on for a few months now.

I’m also competing against a friend from a church I went to in Ohio, a friend I go to church with now, my best friend’s mom, and 2 other fabulous ladies I’ve just recently had the chance to meet. I am STOKED! Although, this may not be such a good thing. I may get so busy cheering them on that I might just forget and eat a box of donuts or something. 🙂 I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that at all.

Ok, ok. Time to get to the hardest part of this post. The video of my official weigh in. It’s a little different than my official weigh-in in January when I tipped the scales at 213 pounds. I’ve definitely lost some weight since then… but getting on a scale in front of anyone just isn’t easy.

And before you watch this video, let me just tell you that I had just finished playing 3 hours of volleyball. So, my hair is in a ponytail, and I’m pretty sure I sweated all my makeup off. But, that’s the real me… scary, I know.

Ok, here’s the video:

Crazy. 183.8. That’s down almost exactly 30 pounds since January, which is great, but I know I can do better. I really think this challenge will speed things up again. At least I’m hoping that’s what it does.

Now, here are my “Before” pictures for this challenge. {Be sure to check out my Before & After pictures from the last challenge. It made such a difference, I’m hoping to do it again!}

Yep, I still have a loooooong way to go. But I know I can do it!

I hope you’ll stick with us for the next 4 weeks. You can follow our DietBet Challenge by clicking here: DietBet Challenge – May 2012. Be sure to leave me some love on my profile page. I’m going to need it!

Also, I am still looking for a few more sponsors for the challenge. If you have a business and want lots of exposure, contact me today!

Let the games begin!

Guest Post: 9 Ways to Get Fit At Home


According to the authors of Freakonomics, people who purchase gym memberships overestimate their attendance by 70 percent. As a result, over $500 of the average annual cost of memberships is simply lining the pockets of gym owners — and doing absolutely nothing for your waistline.

If you struggle with getting to the gym every day, try getting fit at home for a fraction of the cost. Though you may not have the fancy equipment offered by fitness clubs, you can still meet your goals affordably by considering the following tips.

1. Buy From Gyms
Gyms undergoing renovations — or simply making upgrades to their fitness equipment — usually sell off their old stuff at killer prices. Call around to find out if any local fitness centers are currently selling old treadmills, stationary bikes or benches, or if they have any plans to do so in the near future.

2. Buy Used
Fitness equipment is definitely one of those items best purchased used, if possible. In addition to scanning Craigslist and hitting up local garage sales, you can also look for remanufactured options online at Wayfair.com. When buying from private seller, be sure to research the brand and test the equipment before agreeing to purchase it.

3. Shop Online
You can often find great deals on fitness clothing and accessories by shopping online. Compare promotions and avoid delivery costs with such sites as FreeShipping.org, which offers discounts from popular sporting good stores. For example, you can save $10 on orders of $60 or more with a FinishLine coupon.

4. Use Your Body
Squats, push ups, tricep dips and many other moves are all great ways to workout without the added cost of equipment. You can also get creative with items around your house. A chair is a great tool for step ups, tricep dips and decline push ups. Water bottles can be used in place of small hand weights and your child’s jump rope is a great way to burn calories quickly.

5. Suspend Yourself
Suspension training systems — which use a series of straps in addition to body weight — are a popular way to intensify home workouts without bulky fitness equipment. TRX is likely the most well-known system but requires a significant investment. GoFit’s Gravity Bar and straps offers an affordable alternative, and also travels easily for when you hit the road.

6. Go Discount
Discount retailers are great resources for basic fitness accessories like DVDs, yoga mats, stability balls, fitness clothing and more. For example, a friend of mine recently found yoga blocks at TJMaxx for $5 each. Similar blocks at REI cost $15 each, over 60 percent of what she paid for them.

7. Use Technology
Get free workout tips on your phone with apps like GymGoal ABC, which features 280 animated exercises and 52 workout routines that are adjustable to four levels of expertise. You can also find free personal training videos online at sites like BodyRock or FitnessMagazine.com. If you pay for cable, take advantage of the morning fitness videos available on Discovery Fit & Health.

8. Avoid Fitness Fads
Shake Weight, anyone? Products boasting quick weight loss with minimal effort are usually too good to be true. No pain, no gain, remember? Don’t fall for the hype and read reviews before buying the latest and greatest DVD set or fitness system. There are some great ones being released on the market all the time, but ask for recommendations first.

9. Check Your Policy
Like most Americans, you likely pay a lot for your health insurance premiums. Healthy policyholders means less risk for pricey doctor’s bills, and select health insurance providers offer incentives for fitness programs. Check with your provider for fitness programs that offer discounts on activewear, fitness rentals and equipment purchases.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.