Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Get Back Into Shape after a Long Break

Are you ready to head back to the gym and change your eating habits? Have you taken a long break from exercise? Many women, especially those with successful careers, have a busy lifestyle that doesn't leave too much free time. Only a few manage to work out regularly and stick to a balanced diet. Fortunately, it's never too late to start exercising. People of all ages and fitness levels can benefit working out. Here are some tips to help you out:

Start with Small Steps

Set realistic goals before hitting the gym after a long break. Be consistent and plan ahead. Don’t make drastic changes from the first day. Start with small steps and then gradually build back up to where you were. It can be hard to get back into your workout routine after taking a break, but it is well worth the effort.

Get a Buddy

Ask a friend or relative to join you at the gym. This will keep you motivated and boost your commitment to the exercise habit. When you're surrounded by friends, exercising is fun.

Make Exercise a Priority

Tell yourself that you’re going to work out at least four times a week for one month. Make exercise part of your daily routine. The first week will be the most challenging one because your body is trying to get used with exercise. You may experience muscle soreness, fatigue, and mood swings. The more often you work out, the easier it gets. Don't push yourself too hard in the first few days. Use exercise as an excuse to spend quality time all by yourself.

Improve Your Eating Habits

Don't give up your favorite foods suddenly. Breaking bad eating habits can take weeks and even months. To start, fill your fridge with fruits and vegetables. Limit processed foods in your foods and replace sodas with water, tea, and coffee. Stop drinking your calories! Eating healthier may be intimidating at first, but you’ll soon reap the benefits. 

Friday, July 18, 2014


I have been receiving yearly mammograms since I turned 39 and July of each year I go in for my yearly mammogram.  Those of you who follow my blog may know that last year I wrote about my experience finding a lump in my breast.  Well, here it is a year later and I have another experience to share.

I went in for a routine mammogram a week ago and I was told that the radiologist observed something suspicious. They called my doctor who referred me to a breast specialist/surgeon. I was told that I needed a surgical biopsy. I felt as if someone kicked me in my chest. I could not breathe. 

Confused, I ran the events that occurred a year ago over and over in my head. Last July, a cyst was found in my right breast. I had a mammogram and ultrasound to confirm this. The doctor told me that I didn't have to do anything about it and that cysts are common and come and go. Well, my cyst didn't go away. But, I wasn't worried about it because it felt the same as it had when it was initially discovered. Nonetheless, this year I made it a point to have my mammogram on time without delay. I really thought that they were going to tell me that the cyst was unchanged. Instead, they were referring me to a surgeon. 

A week prior to my appointment with the surgeon, I spoke to my spiritual adviser. I was worried sick and upset that I was in that space considering all of the challenges I have been enduring over the last few years. And she told me that I needed to get my faith up and I needed to keep pushing and not skip a beat. I asked, "How do you keep going and not skip a beat when you could possibly have breast cancer?" She responded, "You must have faith that whatever happens it is in God's plan and for the greater good. So, what if it's cancer? What does that mean? If you are His then you fully understand that this life is not yours. You live according to His plan, not your plan. You are lacking in faith. And I can tell you are because we are having this conversation. Fear and worry are sins. God wants us to have joy. Yes, we will have trials and tribulations, but if we really trust in Him and if we are really His, then we shalt not worry." Then she went on to say that God told her that what was seen on the mammogram and ultrasound was a shadow.

Well, when I went in to meet with the surgeon, he told me that he believed that it was a cyst. I explained that my doctor discovered a cyst last year, that it is still there and this year the radiologist told me that there was something next to it. He said it was all one cyst. He described it as "two small bubbles next to each other like a barbell." (I would have a cyst that looks like a barbell). The surgeon explained that he wanted to aspirate the cyst just to be sure. 

I went to the surgeon today for the aspiration procedure. I sat there awaiting my appointment and I observed several women who had lost their hair. Some wore some sort of hat or covering, others fully embraced their baldness. Observing this made my heart ache. It's funny how life can change in a second.  But, I was calm and at peace. Some things in life we cannot control. We just have to trust God and roll with it. And do so with joy and thanksgiving. 

Oh, it was in fact a cyst. The doctor drained it and now it's gone. Praise God! 

Ladies, make sure you get your annual mammograms!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Since my last competition, I have been struggling with my diet.  I ate any and everything that my heart desired.  You name it I ate it.  And I ate a lot of it.  And it was good!  With each week that passed, I told myself that I would get it together and that I could not cheat any more.  But, I failed.  Frustrated, I could not figure out why I could not stick to my diet. I kept saying to myself, "I did it before, so what is the problem now?" Then I realized that it is simply a challenge of the mind.  I needed to get my mind back into the game.  I have been nervous about my weight gain and I had not stepped on a scale since before my last competition.  Well, I got on the scale today and I only gained 7 lbs.!  So even though I have been eating some really bad stuff, my hard work in the gym has kept my weight gain to a minimum.    And today, for the first time since my last competition, I was able to stick to my diet.  No cheating!  All I needed to do was get my mind in the game again.  I'm baaaaaack!

Friday, May 23, 2014


Why do I love the gym?  I’m sure a lot of people in my life look at me and wonder why I workout nearly day and schedule my life around my gym time.  Why I get angry if I miss my gym time.  Obsessed?  Nope.  I love the gym because when I walk out, sweaty and tired, I feel liberated.  Any stress that I have been dealing with evaporates.  Are my workouts hard?  Absolutely.  I am not always at my best when I go to the gym.  Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m moody.  But, no matter how I feel when I enter those gym doors, when I leave I feel liberated.  I am able to think clearer.  The endorphins make me feel relaxed.  I leave with a sense of accomplishment.  I am pleased because I didn't let that tough exercise defeat me.  I gave it my best shot and I won.  I am champion.  This is why I love the gym.  Sure, my body looks great.  But, my mind is what benefits the most.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yep!  I'm a Sweat Pink Ambassador.  Please check out to learn more about this healthy community for women!  

Monday, April 21, 2014


It's amazing how far you can go with determination and perseverance. I was at my heaviest (not including during pregnancy) in 2008 when the first picture was taken. I committed to a new healthy lifestyle in the fall of 2009 after trying just about every popular fad diet. In June 2010, I participated in my 1st competition. By August 2010, I was pregnant with my 1st and only child! But, I didn't let being a mommy stop me. I lost all of the pregnancy weight (60 lbs.) and in 2014 I decided to step back on stage (last pic). I'm in the best shape of my life at 41 years old. You think you can't? Then you won't. If you believe you can, you will! Go for it! What do you have to lose? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


During the weigh in for my most recent competition, I met a lady who is a personal trainer and former competitor.  We are the same age.  She shared with me that a few years ago, while she was still in her 30’s, she had a stroke.  Once she recovered from the stroke, she became determined to get healthy.  She is a spiritual woman and she shared that she was not going to let the enemy take her health.  She started eating right and exercising.  Not long thereafter, she started preparing for her first competition. 

When the time had come to leave for her competition, she and her family loaded up the family vehicle and started the drive to the location of the competition which was quite a distance from their home.  During the drive, they were involved in a car crash.  The paramedics were called to the scene of the accident and told her that she needed to go to the hospital to get checked out.  She did not have any broken bones, but she had been pretty banged up.  She declined.  She shared that she was not going to let the enemy take away her chance to step on stage for her first competition after she had worked so hard. 

She made it to the competition and stepped on stage but, she was in a lot of pain and thought that she was going to lose consciousness.  She said she immediately began to pray and said, “God, now you got me this far, please don’t let me faint here on this stage.”  God came though, like he always does, and she made it through her first competition with flying colors!  

Hearing this story truly fired me up and helped me get my mind right for my competition.  We must remember that as believers, we will encounter hardships, but we must remain prayerful, faithful, and put on the whole armor of God and keep fighting.  Whether it is a bodybuilding competition or something else, when you desire something your must run towards it with all of your might and never give up! 

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
-Ephesians 6:11