Thursday, January 3, 2013

Forward Progress

Sorry I've been so slack on keeping you update on my journey! My life is pretty consumed with workouts. My mom even made the comment that I spend more time at the gym than I do at home. That's not bad is it?! I asked her if she'd rather me be sitting at home and (of course) she said no. LOL! I do spend ALOT of time at the studio and the gym. My trianer Bobby gave me a 6-month membership to the local gym (Core 24). I didn't use it very much the first month or so after my transformation, but I have used it alot more the past couple of months. Just this week, I've already logged 8+ miles on the elliptical/treadmill! It helps to have an alternate to the studio (Inspire 4 Life), especially during the holidays. When the studio is closed, I can still hit the gym. I know I can do stuff at home, but fact is, I probably won't! If I'm at the studio or gym, I know what I'm there for. When I'm at home, I like to relax - just like everyone else.

I've been keeping up with my food journal and trying to eat more Paleolithic. I've been successful for the most part, but Christmas and New Year's was the worst. Too much pizza and burgers! BLAH! I'm back on track now and I made a goal for the new year to eat Paleo with the exception of 2 non-Paleo meals per week. It's important that it be a doable goal for me to be able to stick with it. That's important for any goal I (or you) make! Your goals have to be realistic and attainable. You can't realistically go from 0 workouts to 5/week and expect to stick with it for life. But you can work up to 5 workouts per week! I'm proof! I started out VERY sedentary and silently killing myself. Now, I'm constantly doing something to keep myself active!

I am now 16 months into my journey and I haven't looked back! I am blessed to be able to say that in my 16 months, I have yet to gain any inches back! I think there was one month that I didn't lose anything, but I didn't gain. I have consistently lost inches and there's no stopping me now! This past month, I lost an additional 5.25 inches which brings my grand total up to 66.75 inches!! I will weight this afternoon, so I can update you on that later. I am so excited though. God is opening doors for me to share my experiences and promote healthy living. I never would have imagined to be able to do the things I am doing! I'm on a roll and there's no stopping me now!!! I say it all the time, but I can't wait to see what my journey holds for me next!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inspire 4 Life Fitness Testimony

When I stepped into the Inspire 4 Life studio back in January 2012 to take my very first Zumba class, I was so unsure of how the class was going to go. I was intimidated, I was nervous, I was scared. Laurie Carroll was the instructor and she made me feel welcome and comfortable. That is hard to do for an overweight person stepping into a “gym” for the first time in a long time. But I honestly wasn't scared or nervous to go to another class after that. I was family.

Laurie, Bobby, and Carlos have inspired me, and many others, to either start a journey towards health and fitness or encouraged us in the journey we are currently on. I was honored and privileged to be chosen as the first transformation winner this past summer. I went through 6 weeks of hard-core workouts and nutritional counseling with Bobby, Carlos, and Laurie. Each of them told me they were going to step it up for me. They felt a desire and obligation to do that for me. Yes, that meant harder workouts, but it also meant that really care about my end result. It means that they are concerned about where I go from here. During those 6 weeks of the transformation, I lost a total of 13.25 inches and 39lbs! I have developed more of a drive for exercise, fitness, and healthy living through working out at Inspire 4 Life.

I am no athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I am eating healthier and exercising more thanks to Inspire 4 Life Fitness. The instructors and trainers are so excited about fitness. They keep me accountable. They are very supportive and encouraging. They love sharing their passion and helping people reach their fitness goals. My thoughts and feelings about "working out" and "fitness" have completely changed since I started taking classes at the studio. It is amazing. When I started, there were so many things that I COULD NOT do. I couldn't even make it through an entire song at Zumba class without being winded and having to stop. Now, I can make it through the whole class, minus real water breaks! I couldn't walk a mile without stopping. Now, I have done 3 5k races and have plans to do more. The first one, I did stop a couple of times; the second one I didn't stop at all; and the third I actually ran some! I couldn't do pushups, let alone even think about doing planks, burpees, suicide drills, mountain climbers, etc. But now, I can do it all! I still have to modify, but I can do it -- all since starting at Inspire 4 Life Fitness.

Laurie Carroll

Laurie is so positive and enthusiastic. She has a true passion for fitness and it shows in each of her classes and personal training sessions. Every time I walk into her classes, she pushes me to do things I didn’t think I could do. I have been able to increase my weight-lifting abilities through her classes. She introduced me to Paleolithic eating which has furthered my weight-loss. Laurie has been there to answer so many of my questions and keep me focused on my journey. She accepted me in her Zumba class and has never judged me. She keeps me excited to exercise. Laurie’s dedication and commitment to health and fitness is contagious.

Bobby Campbell
I started working with Bobby during the transformation experience. He has a real heart for helping people lose weight and get into a fitness routine. He helped me get back into lifting weights. Every single workout I have had with Bobby has pushed me beyond my limits. Bobby takes time to make sure I am hitting my goals and keeping with my journey, even outside his classes. We did a 5k together in September and after he finished and recovered, he came back to make sure I finished ahead of a goal I had set for myself. When he could see “pain” in my face, he encouraged me to go a little bit longer. He instilled in me that “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I will never forget that.


Carlos Johnson
Carlos has been a great coach and supporter for me. He helps with the nutritional Inspired! meeting at the studio and has been pivotal in my food journey. He keeps it real and gives me tips and tricks on changing habits and thinking. His passion is to help people get fit and stay fit. Carlos goes above and beyond to motivate and encourage me to work harder. He has helped me realize that I'll never know what I'm capable of until I push beyond my limits. His workouts are intense and I never thought I would run like he has made me do. But anytime I can’t do an exercise or move, he helps me adapt it to what I can do. There are no excuses with him.

I have been blessed with these fantastic instructors/trainers that have helped me along my way. Each of them has so much knowledge and eagerness to share and I am honored that they share it with me. Every time I start to get discouraged, one of them is there to pick me up and push me a little farther. They have most certainly been advisors and coaches, but more importantly they have become friends and confidants.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Go For Your Goals

I trust you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We definitely enjoyed the time spent with our family and missed those that weren't able to be with us this year. I was actually able to stick with a Paleo meal for our Thanksgiving meal. We do breakfast for Thanksgiving, so it wasn't as difficult as a traditional meal would have been. It was hard though because I love some biscuits and gravy, especially chocolate gravy! But I stayed away from all that and enjoyed a cranberry orange muffin that I had left over from the Color Run weekend. It was yummy! :)

I didn't think I would be able to meet my goal of 11 Paleo meals for Thanksgiving week, but I did. I was able to hit 12 again! I am probably going to stick with this goal for the rest of the year and then change it up to adapt Paleo a little more full force. My trainer, Laurie, shared an article about people’s difficulty in making Paleo a full lifestyle and some suggestions to make it a little more manageable. At the beginning of the year, I plan to do all Paleo with the exception of one thing per day. Most days right now I am doing 2 Paleo meals per day so it won’t be as difficult to add that other meal in there; especially knowing I have that one exception that won’t thwart the whole plan.

After my confessional with Jessica and my trainers, they have really been keeping me on track and accountable. Jessica constantly asks me how I’m doing with my goal. My trainers cracked down on me and said they would make me run (jog intervals at least) if I had bad stuff in my journal when they checked it at our Inspired! meetings. This Thursday, they had to review my journal for 2 weeks, which included the Color Run weekend and Thanksgiving. It wasn't as bad as it was or it could have been, but they still pointed all the bad stuff out and told me I would have to do 12 laps around the building. Laurie did help in giving me some tips and suggestions on what to do in some of the situations like I was in. She also bargained with me and told me I could do an hour on the elliptical instead of running around the building. I was “happy” about that but still very nervous.

I haven’t used the elliptical in years and when I did try it then, I couldn't last 5 minutes without getting out of breath and stopping (and not continuing). I did actually try the elliptical the Friday after Thanksgiving. I woke up with a goal to get to the gym and go as long as I could on it to see my progress. Much to my own surprise, I did a 16 minute mile on the elliptical that day!! I think I could have gone a little bit longer, but I still wanted to lift so I didn't want to completely tire myself out. All that being said, I knew this hour was going to be a HUGE thing for me. I have never lasted that long on an elliptical (or done that long on a treadmill either) and never imagined I would be able to. Based on my time from Thanksgiving, I knew it would equate to about 4 miles. I haven’t walked that far EVER! My 5ks are only 3.1 miles – that’s the farthest I've done. I mean, I've walked for an hour straight before during my 5ks, but this is different. This is a machine that works my legs and feet in a different form and fashion than traditional walking. But I knew I had to do it. I ate the food, and I had to pay the price. I set out for the gym yesterday, still nervous as crap cause I didn't know if I would honestly be able to last that long. Bobby gives me a little encouragement when I get to the gym. I set my playlist ready to tackle this upcoming hour and head to the elliptical. Not even thinking about it, I chose a program that was only 30 minutes long. I didn't even realize it until I was about halfway into the program. But I told myself it was okay – I would just do 2 of them. I finished up the first one and took a pic of my time/miles. I got off and stretched my legs a bit then got right back on. Set the program back up ready to go my next 30 minutes. I think that actually helped me a bit, knowing I just had to go 30 minutes each time. It broke it up mentally for me. Nevertheless, it was 60 minutes total and I made it!!!! My time, with cool down, was 63:06 and I went 4.02 miles! I didn't know if I would be able to do it or how I would feel afterward, but I felt good. My legs were a little wobbly, but not too bad. I did a couple sets of curls and overhead tricep extensions afterward too. If I was smart, I would have lifted beforehand. But anyway – LOL! I did it, I felt amazing and so accomplished!!

I thank God for the progress I have made thus far in my journey and can’t wait to see what happens next. Doors are constantly opening for me to share my accomplishments and struggles. I am excited to see where He leads me and what doors He opens next! What has kept me going this far is remembering the reason I started this journey. So if you’re struggling with staying on track. Ask yourself: Why did I start? Remember your reasons! If it matters to you, you’ll keep going. If not, you’ll give up!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The past couple of weeks have really been a roller coaster for me. I have not been as dedicated to my eating as I should be. It hit me after I stepped on the scale 2 weeks ago. I didn't hit the goal I had set for myself for the past month. Automatically I start thinking about and reflecting on why I failed....

I had been eating too much junk and carb-loaded foods. Some of it was little things, but little things add up! No one really knew what was going on; I really didn't even realize what I was doing. It was almost like I was subconsciously sabotaging my weight-loss. But I finally woke up and realized what was happening. I knew I was on a slippery slope and I had to make the CONSCIOUS decision to stop. I literally had a confessional with my BFF/accountability partner Jessica on Wednesday of last week, and then with my trainers on Thursday. It was tough, but I knew it had to be done. The more people that knew meant more people that could keep me accountable during this phase of my journey.

After my confessionals, I decided to make weekly goals for myself with my food. Last week I made a goal of making sure at least 1/2 of my weekly meals (11 meals) followed the Paleolithic lifestyle. I made it -- I had 12 Paleo meals last week! This week, I have the same goal. It's going to be a little tougher with Thanksgiving, but I'm determined to make it! I HAVE to make it!

This little bump in the road really made me think about where I came from and the progress I have made. Before, my life was all about the junk and carb-loaded foods! I didn't care at all what I ate. I loved my bread, sweets, chocolate, cake, fried foods.....I loved it all. I still enjoy chocolate, but a more natural version and not every day! I still enjoy muffins, breads, cakes, etc - but grain and gluten free! I still enjoy foods that I love, but in a healthier way.

I know my blogs here lately have been about my journey thus far. This Thanksgiving season has really brought be to a point of reflection. I am so very thankful for the opportunity God has given me to turn my life around. It's hard to look back at just over a year ago and see the road I was headed down. I look a pictures and can't believe the difference. I can't believe how a year changes things! I can see the difference in my pictures, but sometimes I don't feel it. I mean, I feel the healthy difference, but can't always feel the "weight" difference. I hope that makes sense.

I hit a snag in the road and begin to doubt things. It's not pretty! But then I get reassurance from people around me that I am doing such a good job, that they are proud of me, that I'm an inspiration to them. It renews my confidence and determination for this journey I am on. Then I try on an XXL t-shirt that I was for sure wouldn't fit, but IT DID!

my XXL shirt!! :)

I begin to look at pictures from when I first started and realize that I am making progress. No matter how I "feel," my body is changing -- for the BETTER! I remember why I am on this journey. I can't go back down that road. I can't go back to where I was. I will die if I do. There will be ups and downs, but it is so worth it! I will one day be the person I know I'm meant to be. In the meantime, I will enjoy this journey and keep pushing forward.

What a difference!!
January 5k (time 71:40) vs November 5k (time 59:30)

OH! I just realized I haven't even told you about the Color Run 5k I did this weekend! OH EM GEE!!!! It was SO MUCH FUN! Jenny couldn't make it, so Erica's mom came and enjoyed the weekend with us. We got up to Charlotte Friday evening to get our race packets. Saturday morning we woke up early, enjoyed a Paleo breakfast (courtesy of my trainer, Laurie!) and headed to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the race. There were so many people - I think they said over 12,000 -- and we all looked the same in our white! I had a goal to finish in under an hour. My 5k time from September was 69:40, so I knew it was going to be a tough challenge trying to cut 10 minutes off. After the first hill, I was doubtful that I would make my goal. Then the second hill hit, and I just knew I wouldn't make it! Well, I finished in 59:30!!! I made it!!!!! I was so stinkin' excited! I honestly didn't think I would after those hills, which I really didn't expect. This was a huge feat for me and I can't wait for my next race!

Color FUN!
me and my SIL, Amanda - before and after!
Color Throw Celebration
yes, I AM!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I've been sitting here thinking about my weight-loss journey this morning. I am so very thankful to every single person that has had ANYTHING to do with getting me where I am. But there is one person in particular that goes unnoticed sometimes, even by me, and that's my trainer/instructor Laurie.

When I stepped into the Inspire 4 Life studio back in January to take my very first Zumba class, Laurie was the instructor. I was so unsure of how the class was going to go, I was intimidated, I was nervous, I was scared. Laurie made me feel welcome and comfortable. I wasn't scared or nervous to go to class after that. I was family. She is so encouraging and enthusiastic. She has a true passion for fitness and it shows in each of her classes and personal training sessions. She has been there to answer so many of my questions and keep me focused on my journey. She introduced me to the Paleolithic lifestyle. It has made such a difference in my life and how I feel. When I don't eat Paleo, I don't feel so great. I seriously can't tell you the many ways this woman changed my life.

I am no athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I am eating healthier and exercing more -- ALOT more! I came across a random blog this morning about figure and bikini competitors and wanted to share some of what it said about trainers.
A Trainer is so many things to an athlete; it's a person that's an adviser, a spotter, a coach, a friend, a confidant, it could be someone that acts like a publicist, a consultant, a judge. Trainers can be gurus in the vast fields of nutrition and supplementation, but they can also be 100% focused on the training (per the title). Some trainers have a long list of certifications, meanwhile others don't have a single certificate (they're "expertise" was earned over decades transforming everyday men and women into champions - top ranked amateurs, professionals, even Arnold & Olympia level warriors!).

A real champion doesn't forget where they're from...Many of the champions we see here today - they owe a great deal to the men and women that make up their team. I don't want to take anything away from the champions (and you can bank their trainers don't either), but when you look at a physique that just marvels you, realize there's usually a lot that went into that - and part of "a lot" is all the hard work of trainers! This is our time to recognize a few truly gifted and committed people.

This is my time to recognize my gifted and committed trainer Laurie Herring Carroll. She most certainly is an advisor and coach, but more importantly has become a friend and confidant. She has so much knowledge and enthusiasm to share and I am honored that she shares it with me. She has inspired me, and many others, to either start a journey or encouraged us in the journey we are currently on. She has pushed me byond my limits and continues to push me. I have developed more of a drive for exercise, fitness, and healty living through working out with her. She is just absolutely amazing. Thank you Laurie for everything you do and for continuing to help me reach my goals!!

I AM A CHRISTIAN. I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, & mind. God has really blessed me more than I could ever imagine, but the truth is that Satan HATES me!! I face struggles & temptation every single day of my life; but no matter what happens, I still strive to do the will of God. Because I put my faith & trust in God, He has provided relief for me & my family time & time again! God never fails to comfort & remind me of His promise that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). There have been countless times that I did not deserve God’s grace & should not have been granted mercy. But He has granted me mercy & forgiveness, as well as goodness & grace -- all for the purpose of sharing it with those I meet along the path of life. Some days are better than others, but you always have to remember to keep pressing on! Keep praising HIM & He’ll never fail to bring you through the storm.