Monday, January 31, 2011

My Excersise and Depression

Not many of you know that I suffer from depression. I do, no I don't take medication to help me, they can never seem to make me the right cocktail and I can never seem to afford it. I do it the natural way, the grit-your-teeth-and-take-it way. But it impacts everything I do daily. EVERYTHING. It is hard enough for me to get out of bed some days let alone care for my kids, try to workout, school work or GOING to school; hell even leaving the house. In fact I BARELY leave the house and if I do i'm not more than a few blocks away. Even then it is usually at night by myself when no one is around. I am not even sure why, I hate people looking at me maybe, I am sad as it is then you add in my horrific weight and its enough to make me dive into a pool of fudge!

This last couple weeks have been particularly hard with my gfs little sister getting SMOKED by a car. Shattered pelvis, punctured lung, messed up shoulder etc etc.. Hospital duty was added to my mile long list of things to do and it upset me. This poor sixteen year old has was raped earlier this year and now this. She has been trying so hard to get her life around blah blah blah. Just sad. Sad, angry, hopeless all those things. She was lucky to be in that hospital bed, in the condition she was in. She took out half a windshield and dented the whole front bumper...

But regardless of this I have been trying. I have kept up with eating well but my exercise has suffered.  Especially wednesday when I spent ALL DAY in bed... I just didn't want to get up, so i didn't.  With the hospital my work got behind, the blogs got behind EVERYTHING was behind down to nap times, dinner times and bed times.  So Now my job is to get back on that horse. To keep going... To keep moving... *sigh* I have no idea how I will do it I have ZERO drive to do so... i'll just have to start small again and keep working myself up. Back from the beginning. I am just so happy I haven't gained any weight on top of my original starting point. I am 198, so here's waving goodbye to that slow moving number!

No clue why the button doesn't show up but w/e this is the lovely hop i'm apart of today!!

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday! My stew gone VEGGIE!

Start by caramelizing onions, garlic and celery with EVOO in a pot. 

Add a small amount of water and scrape off the bottom yummy bits for flavour.  Then add veggie stock :D

you want about and inch and a half of room for your potatoes and dumplings.

Throw in potatoes and other root veg you like, parsnip would be yummy!  Add in oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, then you let it simmer away in a hot tub of goodness.  

Make dumplings while it simmers.  I altered my recipe there by using whole wheat flour instead of white.  Put in any frozen veg you want to add to your soup right before you plop in your dumplings when potatoes are soft, and close the lid, letting cook for 15 min. 


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Walking At Home

 Leslie Sansone is a renown fitness expert. She has become famous for her Walk At Home programs. She makes it possible for you to get miles of walking done in your own home. She proves that walking even when your not on a treadmill or outside is still one of the best workouts for your health and your body.

Leslie has a few free workouts on Exercise TV:

Cardio Slimdown

Start Walking 1 Mile

Start Walking 2 Mile

These workouts are great for someone who is beginning to workout and needs a lower impact workout. Leslie keeps more moving and grooving through her workouts. She doesn't let you get board either by just walking in place for 20-30 minutes. No she incorporates, kicks, side steps and even some dance moves into her workouts. I think that this is a great idea if it's winter and you don't have a treadmill. Leslies videos are recommended by the American Heart Association. 

She starts you out slow with a warm up walk and then depending on your workout she'll pick up the pace to power walking speed. Even though these are going to jack your heart rate up to the max your still moving and that is key. As long as you keep moving your helping your body and mind.

As a trainer Leslie is very motivating all though I did find her sugary sweetness a bit annoying at times. Too much of a good thing isn't always good. I still think beginners should give these videos and other programs Leslie has to off a try. Walking is my favorite outside fitness activity of all time! All in all beginners I ask you to check out what Leslie has to offer you. More advanced fitness freaks will probably want to pass for a harder workout.

~ Fitness Mama

Samantha's Day

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...

My mother was a very avid swimmer, she loved it and even managed to set a couple records back in her day.  I can honestly say that I have always been a "water baby," as my mother would call me.  Fair enough I would do anything to stay in the water and if I could I would sleep in the pool.  I can remember playing mermaids for hours and begging to stay, of course eventually you have to pee and eat and eventually your mother's patience runs out and you are forced to leave.

Since I know I like it to much I have tried to make an effort to go swimming more often!  I do love it... though i hate the chlorine... I know the cancer links and immediate defects blah blah blah but what can I do?!?! I am sure as hell not going to get into the ocean up here FREEZING, plus i'm terrified of the ocean.  Anyways I wanted to share the health benefits of this AMAZING form of exercise.  But here's a tip I am ALWAYS starving when I get out of the water so pack a ready to go low cal HEALTHY snack for afterwards at least this way you aren't running around and buying something from a vending machine cause you're about to start eating people you're so hungry.  PREPARE!

Eldest's first swim trip WWAAAY back when :)

Now, swimming is one of those great forms of exercise that really works all your muscles and also takes the hard impact of regular workouts off your body.  My hubby finds this great for his hip problems, which he finds to be an issue for when he used to play lacrosse.  You see my hubby has arthritis in his hips so swimming manages to take a strain off his body and joints.  I have a soar back so I just like how my spine isn't all knotted up and twisted, also takes the pulls and tugs off the soar parts of our back.  Swimming can also be a great way to tone your muscles though i haven't seen a difference but i don't expect one, as of yet.  All in all i really enjoy swimming and I love how anyone can do it, even in physical rehabilitation situations etc.

Over long term practice you can increase your stamina not to mention you lung capacity.  Why do I care about lung capacity??  Cause i run out of breath all the time due to the fact that i sued to be a smoker.  EEEWWW I know, shame on me.  Point is I don't anymore and I never will again!  So I love doing this as a regular part of my weekly/monthly routine.  Just adds some great variety that I needed.  In the summer time it will be every more enjoyable!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Up and down

Alright I have no pictures for this post so i'll just bore you with some old ones.  But i needed to update you on ME.  So far I haven't GAINED any extra weight but I have gone up and down with the three pounds I lost right away.  My eating habits have been doing great and i've been trying SOOO hard to take pictures of all of it so I can share my posts, but I haven't managed to do it for everything only the REALLY good ones lol. 

I have been slacking it AGAIN on my water intake which might be contributing to my fluctuating weight.... not to mention the fact that aunt flow should be in town in a week or too.  I've been violently moody due to her coming visit... hubby isn't surprised lol. 

I can say that I have been not attending to my "Wii Fit" I have been slightly addicted to the other "shape" thingy at the moment.  I have also been going out for both daily and nightly outdoor walks just for family time or hubby time, just figured being out of the house would give me more muscle work variations right?  Whatever its nicer even in the pouring rain. 

Another great thing about my "active" disc is that it doesn't go "oOoh" when I step on the board.  Not to mention my blimp sized Mii that I have to keep looking at whilst inside the program lol.  Although the music is really starting to get to me with the "active" so each have good and bad points.  I think my favorite is swimming at the pool on loonie Mondays and going for walks with my family.  They just make it more fun, and eldest really LOVES to jump in the puddles which is great cause there is a ton of them around here the last few days.  My mom always told me: "If rain stops you from doing anything in Vancouver, you'll never go outside!"  Some parts of the year just are like that, hopeless, endless rain. 

So, in closing, I am between 200 and 197 NO MORE :D.  I can't be unhappy about this i'm just so happy I haven't GAINED when I have been trying so hard.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We're Stylish!!

This darling sweet girl gave us at The Little Fat Girl this wonderful award to let us know she thinks WE'RE stylish... that's right WE'RE FREAKING STYLISH!

  1. I just about doubled my weight when I had my boys.... eww..
  2. Erin and I are the bestest of bloggy friends, which is why we collaborated to create this blog for all of you.  I had a need, she filled it and together we're hopefully filling your needs for information and motivation!
  3. I am finding desperately hard to come up with seven things about myself. 
  4. My hubby wont let me cut my hair short cause he me me that one time i had long hair... before I always sported the snow white look.  
  5. I'm addicted to She and Him. 
  6. Would love to have the ability to multiple myself granted all "myselves" would be telepathic.  
  7. Motivation for me is an impossibility when presented with HIGH stress situations. 
Now to pass this along to some GREAT bloggers!!

Diary of a Dieting Diva
Eat me, Delicious
Fat 2 Fit family
Fat Girl Dives In
Fit Body Full Life


So thank you doll for the lovely award and THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO READ US!! XOXOXOXOXO

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown

Lets say you want to try some yoga, lets also say you want to get a good aerobic exercise at the same time, then Jillian's Yoga Meltdown is for you. This is not your typical yoga practice at all. In fact many reviews of this DVD don't even put this in the yoga category just a interval workout using yoga moves.

I love a good vinyasa yoga practice once in awhile, but to tell you the truth I like a good hard sweaty workout better. So in my opinion this DVD was AWESOME!!! Jillian states at the beginning that this isn't a "real" yoga practice. This workout incorperates repetitions to burn fat and calories while doing yoga poses. What I love is that she mentions that she is new at this, so it's kinda fun if you've done yoga to be one up on Jillian for a change he he he.

The workout is split into 2 segments, practice 1 and 2, each workout is 30 minutes. I did both of them to create a full hour of torture fun aerobic yoga! In practice 1, Jillian starts you off by slowly explaining the poses. I did notice that her Sun Salutation was a bit off in the beginning segments, but it didn't bother me too much. For each new pose Jillian teaches, you have to do it once, then you do a rep of it and then... you hold the pose for 15 seconds. As usual Jillian does a lot of teaching rather then working out with you so just be aware of that. The first workout is more for a beginner to yoga but will also give more advanced yogies quite a challenge.

Jillian doing Crow Pose; Exercise TV.
Workout 2 is for the more advanced yogies. Jillian does some poses that I was surprised she put in there, like the crow, which is a very advanced pose. You know I had to try it even with my arm and I was shocked that I was able to do for the 15 secs of holding! Yes it was very reckless of me to do since I was in a lot of pain but I had to at least try, (do I as I say not as I do disable readers lol). I can truly say that I worked up a sweat with this workout and I LOVED it! There was only one pose through the whole hour I wasn't able to do and that was a full bridge, my arm can't go over my head, so I did a modified version (always try and do a modified version of poses to keep the flow of the workout guys). When Jillian started the cool down I couldn't believe how fast the workout went, I had so much fun. I don't recommend doing both workouts unless you think you can take the challenge and be careful with some of the poses, but I assure you this is an incredible workout!

Jillian doing Camel Pose; Exercise TV.
~Fitness Mama

Samantha's Day

Monday, January 24, 2011

Super Foods Part Two

I know, I know you don't have to tell me it has taken me a long time to get around to writing this up but here we are and it is done.  If you haven't already please go back and read part one of super foods!  That will help to start you off.


On our journey today I chose something that ALL of us eat, the Onion.  This wonderful ingredient we all use everyday, in fact it is known as "the King of vegetables" because of its versatility.  But what can an onion offer your health?  ALOT!  Did you know that the onion has major antiseptic properties?!  Neither did I people, neither did I.  Not only that but an onion can have multiple benefits depending on whether it is raw or cooked.  When raw it is a powerful antiseptic it can fight infectious bacteria like E. coli and salmonella!  When you cook an onion, i'm not joking here, it can help to relieve gas AND constipation.  Both cooked or raw this magical little guy can actually clean your blood of clots and fat as well as lower your blood pressure!  Who knew, i mean you would have thought it would have CAUSED additional problems for gas but NOPE!  Heck if you boil up some skins in a tea if can even alleviate symptoms of diarrhea.  Onions are incredibly rich in vitamins A, B and C not to mention stocked filled with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.  There isn't much this magical veggie can't do.  It is so pungent it is a great thing to eat when you are sick as it increases blood flow and makes you sweat.  As a juice it is great for your soar throat and alleviating mucous build up, let me tell you next time i have a cold i'm choking down some onion juice that's for sure!


Yes the cucumber is a super food DESPITE being 96% water.  Our little yummy buddy here contains vitamins A and C, plus minerals such as: calcium, potassium, magnesium and even sulfur.  Those minerals help with nail splitting, maintaining gorgeous hair while the potassium gets to work on your blood pressure.  Its always great when you can find an item of food that will keep you looking LOVELY and healthy, what other perks do you people need right?!?!  Now we have all used this little guy to help with our puffy eyes, but did you know why we use cucumber??  Well it helps relieve us of our inflammatory skin conditions like: eczema and inflammatory eye problems.  I bet it would be great on your nipples whilst breastfeeding much like a cool cabbage leaf!  It can even help alleviate inflammation during bladder infections as well as helping to prevent the production of kidney stones.  Since it is so great at relieving inflammation it has even been shown to help with arthritis and gout!  I can tell ya i might start adding this to my water jug, just because!  


Aaaahh, garlic; something I just love love love!  Now I will have to just give you reasons to love it as much as myself.  Now I never knew just how awesome garlic was now I have a better reason to smell of it constantly!!  It can help you with your blood circulation and digestion.  Restores energy and vitality so much so that the ancient Greeks, prior to the Olympic Games, they would chew garlic in order to increase their chances of victory.  It is even great to cleanse your body of toxins, which i think we kinda become bombarded with.  Since garlic helps with your blood health and circulation it is proven to be a great preventative measure for heart attack and stroke, not to mention the prevention of blood clots.  The sulfur levels in the garlic have shown to be a good prevention of cancerous tumors, how can you not like that!?  Did you know it even been shown to be a good equal to penicillin?? THAT'S NUTS!!  Definitely be adding extra of this to my diet! 


I chose rosemary as it is another item we ALL use!  And let me tell you what good you are doing for your body by doing so.  Rosemary can be used as a great aid in liver cleansing, which is great the morning after a little too many cocktails the night before OR if you have to take medications regularly.  Our yummy little buddy is even anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial which helps boost your immune system which is useful this time of year.  Even if you manage to get sick having a hot rosemary tea can help to chase away soar throats, chest infections and persistent wheezing coughs and even helps to relieve symptoms of asthma!  With its "astringent tannins" it can help with excessive menstration (HORAY!!!), as well as tone the digestive tract.  Not only that but it can help relieve period cramps (HORAY!!!),  gas AND COLIC!!!  And just for the cherry on top it is that it can SLOW the aging process as well as prevent degenerative diseases.  

I hope that you learned something about some of our regular food staples!  Now you know all the good you are doing for yourself by eating them!

Healing Drinks: Juices, Teas, Soups, Smoothies Book By: Anne McIntyre

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday! Turkey Hill Cold Churned Strawberry Cheesecake

Losing weight means to make the right choices but you can splurge a little, but when you do make sure it with the right things. Now a days companies light option taste as good as a full fat product. What you don't know about me, the Fitness Mama is that I am obsessed with ice cream! I know I need ice cream therapy, it's sad but true, I have ice cream up to three times a day. What you say? How can you maintain your 115lbs by eating that much ice cream?! Well I do so by portioning it out, picking the right ice creams, working out 5-6 days a week and by eating right the rest of the day! Portion control is key to eating your splurgy (yes splurgy is the new word of the day) foods when trying to lose weight. One of the ice creams I am really into right now (yes I go through ice cream fads ice cream is the new pink!) is Turkey Hill's Light Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream.

When I go for my ice cream I grab my trusty 1/2 cup scoop (this is my baby and I trust her with no one!) and place her in my ice cream bowl. I then proceed to fill her with the cold creamy beautiful ice cream (too much?). I admit I do tend to top off just a tad (so I'm probably getting 140 calories per portion). I then take my ice cream and slowly enjoy every bite.

Turkey Hill's Strawberry Cheesecake is amazing. It is full of chunks of cheesecake and has ribbons of strawberry jelly running through the cream cheese flavored ice cream. The flavors in this ice cream will definitely subside that cheesecake craving you might have and is definitely much healthier that a sliver of the deadly dessert. The fact that this ice cream is is only 120 cals and 3.5 grams of fat per 1/2 cup is fantastic!

If there is an ice cream flavor you'd like me to try for you hit me up!

~Fitness Mama
Samantha's Day

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My morning workout!

Now yesterday I touched on what I do on a daily basis when it comes to exercising, but i wanted to show you what my strength training/yoga morning workout looks like step by step.  Now remember if i can do it it clearly isn't that hard and its only about 18 min give or take. 

Lunges, good for your bum, hips and thighs... they BURN so i do them first lol.  You do ten for each leg.


Rowing Squats, virtually impossible to stay inside the "blue area"


The warrior pose, one of my favs!  Really great for toning your thighs says the Wii.  


Sun salutation, I can't touch my toes on this still even with doing it everyday but i'm getting close!


The Half Moon Pose, another fav of mine.  


Torso Twists, I like this one but make sure you're really focusing on your abs otherwise you might as well not be doing it.  If you do it right you'll feel it in your tummy!


Sideways leg lifts, really hard to keep a good balance on your Wii board but once you get the hang of it its great!


Single leg extension.


Downward facing dog to calm a bit and stretch (at least that is why I put it at the end.)


Deep Breathing to really cool down.


And THAT is what I do 5/7 days a week in the morning!  Horay for me, it's easy so you beginners give it a try you might just like it too!! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kegels, Guest Post :) by Tania Tod

Kegels – how one little invisible exercise can make your life a lot easier.


Prenatal exercise offers many benefits to pregnant women, from feeling more energetic to making childbirth easier, and from reducing unpleasant pregnancy signs (back pain, morning sickness, and insomnia, to name a few), to lessening the chance of complications like gestational diabetes. When you think of pregnancy work outs, perhaps prenatal yoga, swimming, or jogging come to mind. But there is one little exercise that is especially useful.  

Kegel exercises are simple – and whether you know it or not, I don’t doubt that you have already done your fair share of Kegels. These exercises, named after Dr Arnold Kegel, who first took note of them, involve tensing up the pelvic floor muscle and then relaxing it. Anyone who has ever had to hold up a pee for a while (and isn’t that everyone?) knows how to do Kegels. It is the same movement! Imagine you really have to go to the bathroom, and hold in that muscle. Now let go, and you have just completed a Kegel! 

Unlike some other prenatal work outs, Kegels can be done anywhere, at any time. And they are suitable for women of all physical abilities.  Doctors say that these little exercises can prevent urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse. They are wonderful before birth, for women who are hoping to have greater muscle control to make childbirth less painful and the postpartum period pass more quickly. Nobody can see you are doing them, yet they can really go a long way in preparing your body for childbirth, and paving the way for an easier and speedier recovery. 

The pelvic floor is weakened by pregnancy, birth (either vaginal or cesarean), and age. This means that it is not too late to start doing Kegel exercises after you have already given birth! Actually, Kegels are also beneficial for men – they can help cure incontinence and improve sexual function.
Every pregnant woman can squeeze (pun intended!) in some time for Kegel exercises. You can do them on your way to work, on the train or bus, in the queue at Walmart, or while chatting on the phone. Why don’t you give them a try, too?

At Trying To Conceive, we are passionate about reproductive health, fertility, pregnancy, and babies. Our personalized and free ovulation calendar can help you determine when you are at your most fertile, and our pregnancy signs page helps you navigate through your magical nine months!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My second week of exercising...

Alright so it is that time.  I have made it to my second week in tact and making great progress!  I have managed to watch WHAT I eat as best I can and I am quite happy about it.  Still haven't managed to completely adopt the no eating after 8pm but 5/7 days a week i'm following it; which is great compared to NEVER like before.  My Wii fit says I have lost 3.1 pounds and that is GREAT!!  I went from 91.3kg to 89.9kg!  My BMI went from 33.54 to 33.02 which made me happy too!!

I wish i could show you pictures of my Wii chart BUT my camera apparently can't take photos off my TV well enough for you to see anything....

crap photo lol
not the greatest.... you can kinda see my chart and the BMI number from a few days before my two week point but that's about can kinda see my Mii in the corner there too!
So i did it, i took my baby steps and i have begun to loose some weight; despite the weather, despite school, despite two blogs, despite a new job, DESPITE CHILDREN!  I am a champ!  If i can manage to do ALL of this, anyone can honestly i swear to you!!  Soon enough I will be loosing faster, and working out harder and feeling HEALTHY!  Now all I have to do is try really really hard to stick to my commandments ALL of them COMPLETELY; and we'll be in great shape right??

How is everyone else doing on their weight loss progress?? Are YOU making progress?!?!  Are you in a rut?!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Biggest Loser Boot Camp

I like watching the biggest loser. I mean I'm not obsessed with it, but I'll record it so I don't miss it. Now I've reviewed some Jillian workouts but what about poor Bob?! We should give him some love too don't you think? So Bob here's some loving from all of us.

The BL The Workout: Boot Camp stars Bob Harper as your instructor. Alum contestants of the show are used as workoutees. Like Jillian, Bob does more instructing than joining you for the whole workout. The DVD is split up; Warm up, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Cool Down. I did the all of the DVD so I could share with you my thoughts about it. To get this over with warm up and cool down are just your basic stretching and low activity moves to prep you for what is to come and stretch you out for your recovery.

Level 1 is a 20 minute workout (which is the longest of the three). Bob does a good job of throwing in some hard moves to get your body sweaty in a short amount of time. You are suppose to do this workout for 2 weeks to build you up for level 2. Bob makes you use weights on and off through the whole workout focusing of upper and lower body moves. Level 2 is only 15 minutes but it is the toughest workout of the three. Bob uses much more cardio in this segment and adding core work at the end. I found this my favorite of the three and this is where I was really sweating hard. Bob introduces the medicine ball in this level which he says is fine to replace with weights (which is what I had to do). Level 3 is the shortest with a run time of only ten minutes. It was mostly upper body weight lifting using stretch bands (again I substituted and used my weights). There was not cardio in this level at all which I found strange for a Level 3 workout. I personally would have made this the Level 2. Next time I do this DVD I might reorder the Levels.

Bob as an instructor is much more upbeat than Jillians military style. He supports you through the whole process and when it gets tough and you want to put your weights down, Bob will pick his up and do that last few reps with you to make you finish! His fun upbeat personality just radiates through the screen! As far as the alum contestants go, they were just so so. They're form on the exercises was pretty poor and I'm just kinda shocked they didn't get other workoutees or re-taped the alum in better form.

Over all this is a great full body workout. I was expecting a little more out of it, but any workout that gets me huffing and puffing is freaking awesome! Way to go Bob! I am looking forward to working out with you again!

~Fitness Mama

Samantha's Day

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I have been doing DAILY

I know all of you are wondering exactly what I am doing for exercise this whole time.  Well i finally took the time to take some photos, and share with you all what I am doing IN my home.

My Wii fit has informed me that I am obese.  I know not the nicest thing to say or best way to make friends; neither the best way to make be feel happy enough to move.  Despite that I still use it everyday, even if its on my different Wii exercise thingy (see I have two discs there). 

I have set myself a 145 calorie burn goal that I try to meet everyday.  But I am finding it annoying that it only registers that i have burned that daily IF I play Wii Fit Plus specifically, but w/e I know i'm hitting the goal everyday just maybe not on the Wii Fit Plus.  I have figured out that in order to burn this I have to complete about 30-35 min of exercise DAILY, so if I don't play wii fit plus its my other disc and I usually burn up to 110 calories on my active disc as the workouts seem more intense.  I am in love with the active's target and heavy bag boxing.  Great way to release frustrations!

I love it so much i haven't even made time to try out the dancing portion of my Active disc!  Yes there's a dancing portion and I think i might have to give it a go later tonight.  The best part about Wii Fit?  I can even do it in my pajamas and it gives me this GREAT burst of energy after wards.  Plus there's no one else other than my family and friends to watch me look haggard... speaking of looking haggard here's me enjoying my boxing!

Most of the time it feels like i'm playing a game its a lot of fun!  I can even customize my workouts, I have made a great one combining and altering between both yoga and strength training.  I love the workout great length for my morning jump-start/workout and it's not so easy that I don't get a work out but easy enough that I can finish it without stopping or walking on the spot cause I can't keep up.  
Aren't you proud of me?  If you think that's impressive on its own, just you wait!  6/7 days a week I even get in a 20 min walk/jog (granted there isn't an unsafe amount of ice or snow on the streets to run) to top it off!!  I manage to do this with one of the boys or my gf who comes from time to time to be walked lol.  I hope that this continues and that I start seeing a more physical change!! In the meantime i will keep using my pin-up photo to motivate me, you girls are right that is the best carrot I could give myself!  I hope you are all doing well with your plans and goals!