Category Archives: weight loss journey

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The Weight Watchers Cruise: What I Ate!

The Weight Watchers Cruise: What I Ate!

When people find out I went on the inaugural Weight Watchers cruise, their first question is always: “What did you eat?”

My answer? Cosmos!

Haha, no, I ate seafood, jerk chicken, pasta, tons of fresh fruit, antipasto, nachos – you name it!

WEIGHT WATCHERS DINING

Weight Watchers has a dedicated restaurant and seating in a restaurant called “The Black Crab,” and the BC offered breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

All the menus had the Weight Watchers SmartPoints listed right on the menu, which made it super easy to track! Lunch and dinner both had 0 SmartPoint soups to start, and they were really delicious.

This Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower Soup from Chef Julie Hartigan was one of the best things I ate all week. Hands down.

The buffets were open to all passengers, and for lunch and dinner there was a special section of the buffet with Weight Watchers foods with their SmartPoints listed. It was great to be able to grab & go during the day!

It wasn’t all Weight Watchers foods, thought… Momma Shelley and I bought an upgraded dining package that enabled us to eat in the a la carte restaurants like Galaxy and Eataly. Yup. We went on a Weight Watchers cruise and ate at Eataly!

We had salads, pasta and surf & turf, and because I had such great low SmartPoint options for breakfast and lunch, I didn’t even go over my daily points!

When we were in Jamaica, Momma Shelley and I convinced our bus driver to stop for some lunch, and we had the most INCREDIBLE jerk chicken. I ate (roughly) half a cup of the rice and 8 ounces of chicken (skin removed). I loved being able to stay on track and taste a local delicacy!

One of the nights Momma Shelley went to a birthday party in honor of a new friend she met (Hi Charlotte!), and I joined some of the folks from Weight Watchers at Le Muse, which was seriously delicious. These lamb chops were so delicious!

On our last evening, Momma Shelley and I dined at Galaxy, which was a tasting menu, and really delicious!

WEIGHT WATCHERS EVENTS

The Welcome Party was super fun – 0 and 1 SmartPoint snacks, a DJ and cocktails!

The Cinco do Mayo cooking class with Chef Julie was so fun and delicious! It was great to meet her and see how she creates healthy recipes that make nachos and cocktails not feel like big indulgences.

BEVERAGES

We bought a coffee package (you know me, of course we did) and a beverage package, which was great because bottled water is NOT free on this trip. You can bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up in the buffets!

The coffee on the ship is AMAZING – rich, dark and delicious. I love good coffee, and the coffee bars on the ship were spot on!

As far as cocktails, the world is your oyster!

There are daily cocktails, different bars have different beverages and you can get pretty much anything. My fellow Weight Watcher Ambassador Dina and I tried and loved their Aperol Spritzes!

What do you think? Not what you’d expect from a Weight Watchers cruise, right? 

When people find out I went on the inaugural Weight Watchers cruise, their first question is always: “What did you eat?” My answer? Cosmos! Haha, no, I ate seafood, jerk chicken, pasta, tons of fresh fruit, antipasto, nachos – you name it! WEIGHT WATCHERS DINING Weight Watchers has a dedicated restaurant and seating in a … Continue reading The Weight Watchers Cruise: What I Ate!

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“Be the Change”

“Be the Change”

Last Friday I had the great honor of giving the Keynote Address at the annual “Can’t Hurt Steel” Gala.” The Can’t Hurt Steel Community Foundation was started by my dear friends JJ and Kristen Hanson, following JJ’s diagnosis with Stage 4 brain cancer a few years ago.

The theme of the Gala was “Be the Change” and my speech focused on how we can make changes to get healthier AND create healthier communities where we grew up in Sullivan County. I wanted to share it with you!

 

My speech:

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I’m honored to have been asked to speak with you this evening.

I have to say, standing here, speaking in front of all of you, some of my best friends, my parents, people I’ve admired for such a long time… blogging to strangers on the internet is easier. 

 Tonight’s theme “Be the Change,” truly resonates with me. JJ and Kris asked me to speak to you because I know a thing or two about change. I’ve spent the last two and a half years of my life losing weight, about -115lbs, and getting healthy. But don’t worry, this is not a speech about eating more kale. It is about how we can take the lessons I’ve learned throughout my journey and use them to better our lives and our communities. After all, that’s what the CHS Foundation is all about.

So what have I learned about change through losing weight?

 

You have to CHOOSE to Change.

Two and a half years ago, I took a look at my life and who I was, and I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a person who worked too much, had an unhealthy relationship with food and who talked about people, not ideas. I hid behind the long hours and the long hair, rejecting others before they had a chance to reject me.

And I remember thinking, “I don’t want to live like this anymore.”

I could have lamented my weight, my lack of self-confidence. I could have blamed my work, my life, my genetics. But instead, I chose to CHANGE what I didn’t like. Little by little, I made incremental changes to my diet, added exercise, created better work-life balance and little by little, started to put the same energy out into the world that I wanted to get back.

Community change is no different. We identify something that we don’t like. We identify something we can do to make life better for ourselves, our community, those least able to care for themselves. Then we CHOOSE to take action. We can choose to sit back, to wish things were different. We can wait for someone else to take the lead. “I’m too busy,” “I don’t know how to start,” “Someone else should do this…” These are all excuses we can tell ourselves to justify inaction. Or we can say, “If not me, who?” “This community, these people, this cause is worth an hour of my time,” “They shouldn’t have to live like this anymore.”

When I worked at Boys & Girls Clubs, this is how we started our Backpacks for Hope and our Giving Tree programs. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing, but we knew that kids needed school supplies and cheerful holidays, so we starting asking for help and today, thousands of kids are served through those programs.

 

Change is WORK.

So often we view change as a binary state. We were one thing, now we’re something else. As someone who has radically changed her life I can tell you two things: (a) it takes so much longer than we think it should and (b) the process is so much more important than the result.

Goal weight is a number on a scale you achieve by developing healthy habits and maintaining consistency in those habits. Goal weight is not something you achieve and never have to think about again. It requires constant maintenance, constance vigilance and execution of those healthy habits.

Changing a community requires that same WORK. We can’t wish it to be something, we have to work for it to be something. We’re going to have to skip sleeping in so we can help at the litterplucks. We’re going to have to DVR our favorite show so we can show up and be present at our local Rotary and Kiwanis meetings. We’re going to have to WORK for what we want.

I grew up in Roscoe, and one of the things I love most about Roscoe is how the community takes care of itself and its fellow residents. There are always gardens to weed, paint to touch up, funds to raise, and now as an adult I truly appreciate the time and WORK my neighbors put in to making Roscoe Roscoe.

 

Be specific. 

It is not enough to simply identify goals or ideals. We have to get to the “HOW?”

I’ve had the privilege of attending a few lectures by Weight Watchers Chief Science Officer, Dr. Gary Foster. Now, being the CSO of a weight loss program, you’d think Dr. Foster’s a medical docter, right? Maybe a nutrional or gastro-intenstinal specialist of some kind? Nope. He’s a psychologist. Which just goes to show us, weight loss is all in our heads.

So Dr. Foster has, it’s not enough to say “I want to be thinner,” or “I want there to be more for kids to do in my community,” we have to be specific in how.

For me, that’s menu planning and meal prepping so I know I have healthy food options available. It’s scheduling my workouts into my calendar and ensuring a no-work zone Saturdays and Sundays.

For you, this might be “We need to create healthy exercise opportunities. We’re going to build as rail trail for hiking and biking, and here’s what we need to achieve each month to make it a reality in 12 or 24 months. In the meantime, let’s start a Saturday running club for kids through our local scouts or through the school system.”

 

Reject a negative premise and reframe the situation.

I love The West Wing, so I’m stealing a little of their genius here.

When I started losing weight, I didn’t think it would be possible to get to a healthy BMI. I had too much weight to lose. It wouldn’t work for me. I was just big boned… believe me, I told myself some whoppers. And then rejected the premise of my argument, which was that I was destined to fail. That there was something holding me back. Because really, the only thing holding me back, was me. So rather than assume I couldn’t, I decided ANYTHING was possible and I was willing to explore any option to get to where I wanted to go. Yes, I ate a ton of kale. I also tried hot yoga, starting eating carrots, running obstacle course races, eating curry and spices, became obsessed with spin class… you get the idea. If we start with the premise that ANYTHING is possible, every route can eventually get us to where we want to go.  

Now, I know this is a heavier lift when we’re talking about community, but hear me out. Sullivan County is a cesspool. Sullivan County is the bottom of the barrel. Sullivan County can’t get out of its own way. I know you’ve all heard these statements, probably read them on one of the Sullivan County Facebook groups… I’m here to tell you: that’s crap. I’m not Pollyanna, I recognize that our community has its share of struggles and its share of challenges. But I refuse to just 77,000 people by the actions of a few. I refuse to identify an entire County, full of diverse communities and geography, by one tough neighborhood. Rather than identifying what Sullivan County ISN’T, I say we build on all that she is.

Sullivan County is full of natural beauty, rolling hills, rushing rivers and open space.

Sullivan County is full of small communities of people who want to participate, give back, and make better.

Sullivan County is diverse in her people, and her culture. One size does NOT fit all, and that’s IMPORTANT because it means there is room here for everyone.

Sullivan County has its share of challenges, but it also has more than its share of brilliant people, smart thinkers and compassionate advocates.

Sullivan County controls her own destiny. And we can help.

Change is waiting for all of us.

Making the decision to change was the biggest, scariest and most difficult decision of my life. I was terrified I’d fail. Secretly I was also terrified of what might be out there if I didn’t fail. What would it be like?

Two and a half years, -115lbs, 10 inches of hair and 4 pairs of running shoes later… I’ll also tell you making the decision to change was the greatest thing I’ve ever done. That decision, and my partner in crime over there, have given me a life I would have never believed possible.

I’ve ready a million motivational blogs, books – listened to every Brene Brown TED talk that exists. And yet, I always come back to two quotes:

A year from now, you will wish you started today.  
One Life. Just ONE. Why aren’t we running like we are on fire toward our wildest dreams?

 

So, in closing, I ask you:

Whether it’s weight loss, youth development, emotional wellness, community enrichment, running for office to affect change – what are you waiting for?

About CHS Foundation:

The mission of this fund is to provide assistance to community members in their times of need.  The foundation will meet this CHSF_Logogoal by providing grants to assist patients and family members that are experiencing a catastrophic illness.   There are numerous expenses incurred while fighting to get well, such as medication, transportation, hotel stays during treatment, and even household living expenses, like rent, utilities, food, and daycare.   These funds will help to alleviate some of the financial and emotional stress associated with a life-threatening illness. Another mission of the foundation is to enhance the quality of life of those living in our community.   To accomplish the goal of enhancing community health, the foundation will provide seed money and grants for community wellness programs.

Last Friday I had the great honor of giving the Keynote Address at the annual “Can’t Hurt Steel” Gala.” The Can’t Hurt Steel Community Foundation was started by my dear friends JJ and Kristen Hanson, following JJ’s diagnosis with Stage 4 brain cancer a few years ago. The theme of the Gala was “Be the … Continue reading “Be the Change”

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10 Eating Habits That Helped Me Lose -100+ Lbs

10 Eating Habits That Helped Me Lose -100+ Lbs

Forming new (good) habits is an essential part of weight loss. It’s about retraining your body and your mind, and it takes some time to get it right.

In a column for Organize Yourself Skinny I shared 10 eating habits that have helped me throughout my journey of losing more than 100lbs!

Check it out HERE!

Forming new (good) habits is an essential part of weight loss. It’s about retraining your body and your mind, and it takes some time to get it right. In a column for Organize Yourself Skinny I shared 10 eating habits that have helped me throughout my journey of losing more than 100lbs! Check it out HERE!

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Summer Slim Down Series: REGISTER NOW!

Summer Slim Down Series: REGISTER NOW!

Spring is finally here, and with it, Trading Cardio for Cosmos is preparing our newest program: the Summer Slim Down

The Summer Slim Down is a three-month program that provides:

  • 6 Audio classes
  • 6 Facebook Live classes
  • 10 Weekly Challenges with PRIZES
  • 10 Weekly Resource Emails full of recipes, inspiration and great information to help you achieve your weight loss goals
  • A private Facebook community with others who are working on their weight loss goals
  • All of the encouragement, sass and support you’ve come to expect from TCFC

We cover topics like:

  • Realistic Goal Setting and Sustainable Weight Loss
  • Summer Exercise Options
  • Seasonal Eating – How Eating What’s In Season Saves You Money and Aids Weight Loss
  • Banishing the Negative Nelly From Your Brain
  • The Weight Loss Trifecta: Organization, Menu Planning and Meal Prep
  • Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Smaller Pants!
  • Summer BBQs, Entertaining and Family Gatherings – No Excuse to Over-Indulge
  • And everyone’s favorite “Eat This, Not That!”

 

This program is about feeling comfortable in shorts.

This program is about healthy backyard barbecues. 

This program is about feeling confident wearing a tank top and bare arms. 

This program is about living our happiest, healthiest life yet – and it starts this summer!

 

Register Now! 

Spring is finally here, and with it, Trading Cardio for Cosmos is preparing our newest program: the Summer Slim Down!  The Summer Slim Down is a three-month program that provides: 6 Audio classes 6 Facebook Live classes 10 Weekly Challenges with PRIZES 10 Weekly Resource Emails full of recipes, inspiration and great information to help you achieve your … Continue reading Summer Slim Down Series: REGISTER NOW!

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10 Reasons Why I Love Weight Watchers!

10 Reasons Why I Love Weight Watchers!

When I finally decided to take control of my health, I wanted to choose a program that would be compatible with my lifestyle and sustainable in the long-term.

Back in 2014, I was a serial dieter. I’d tried cabbage soup diets, drank weight loss shakes, eaten Medifast and other prepackaged meal programs, you name it! There was very little I had not tried. And while I lost weight on each of those, the moment I stopped eating their food or from their restrictive diet plan, my weight always crept back up because I hadn’t learned how to eat the foods I love, the foods that are regularly available and most of all, I had no sense of moderation or balance.

So I went back to the only weight loss program that I knew would allow me to eat REAL food: Weight Watchers.

And I’ve stuck with it, over the past 2+ years and -115lbs of weight loss because Weight Watchers has a number of advantages just not available in other weight loss programs.

Check them out in my weekly column for Organize Yourself Skinny HERE!

When I finally decided to take control of my health, I wanted to choose a program that would be compatible with my lifestyle and sustainable in the long-term. Back in 2014, I was a serial dieter. I’d tried cabbage soup diets, drank weight loss shakes, eaten Medifast and other prepackaged meal programs, you name it! … Continue reading 10 Reasons Why I Love Weight Watchers!

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