Ok, it’s the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend – we are all admittedly a little bummed that summer 2014 is in the books.  Instead of being depressed about it today, I decided to make a list of all the great, wonderful things that I accomplished, experienced and loved this summer.  While we sat in the car (in traffic) on the BQE, Ran and I brainstormed our list.  This shift in our thinking was such a nicer way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon (in traffic, ugh) than being bummed about the passage of time – which, lets face it – none of us can stop. 

I realized lately that since I’m in the homestretch of my pregnancy, I was starting to get impatient for my new baby to arrive and was wishing late October would just arrive already.  I was “wishing the time away” and I reminded myself of a moment in time back in 1999 when I was a senior in high school.  Senioritis had definitely set in, and I was so excited for graduation, the prom, the summer, college and the rest of my lie to begin that I was wishing time away all over the place!  A girl that I went to school with said to me “Don’t wish the time away, just enjoy what we have left of this year because you can never get this back.”. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember her saying this and what a strong impact it had on me.  When all is said and done, all you have left is the memories so best to be in the moment and in the present as much as possible.  Truth be told, every day is a blessing and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. 

On our list of “What I’m Grateful for Summer 2014 edition” were all sorts of different entries; (in no particular order)

-We potty trained our son

-We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in style and was floored by the outpouring of love from our friends and family

-We roasted marshmallows and made ‘smores with our family and watched fireworks for Fourth of July

-Dylan had a memorable 3rd birthday with lots of fun in the sun

-Marie got to celebrate her birthday surrounded by friends and family and an amazing round of celebrity

-We found out the gender of our baby!

-Dylan experienced his first trip to the Coney Island amusement park and went on rides till midnight!

-We both reached new milestones in our careers

-Marie’s BNI chapter launched

-Marie found out she doesn’t have gestational diabetes with this pregnancy

I love that I have this list preserved for posterity!  Maybe in February when it’s gray and cold, I will look back on it and feel a bit of warmth!  I am very excited for the fall to come and for another list to start to take shape.  One thing that’s great about the fall is that it feels like a new year since so you get a second chance in 2014 to achieve items on your list of resolutions. 

Enjoy one last day of summer tomorrow doing whatever you can to be in the moment and enjoy the ride.


Reflecting on the past year, as my one year anniversary comes up with my nutritional cleansing journey, I realized that a few sentences on Facebook couldn’t do it justice.  Last year at this time I was just beginning my career as a health coach as was struggling inside because I knew I should weigh less and be healthier.  The sad truth is that I was eating very well and working out three times a week (more than I ever had), but I couldn’t get the scale to move. I was having a crisis, because I felt like a fraud to my clients.  I also wanted to get in the best shape I could before embarking on baby number 2.

Back in 2011 when I was pregnant with my son Dylan I thought I was pretty healthy.  Before becoming pregnant I had gained back all 23lbs that I’d lost before my wedding mostly due to some emotional messiness going on in my life.  My crutch had always been food and when times got tough – I got eating.  Before my wedding I spent a solid year on Weight Watchers and lost 23lbs – about .5lbs per week.  After my wedding in July of 2009 I started this blog. Without the deadline of a wedding looming I found it hard to keep motivated and to stay the course.  The harsh truth is that it is much easier to lose weight than to maintain it.  Without the weekly rush of my weigh-in and subsequent loss (woohoo!) I was lost.

When I became pregnant, I was back up the 23lbs and there was no turning back.  I did the best I could at the time to have a healthy pregnancy with my limited knowledge.  I remember insane sugar cravings (mostly at night) up until my diagnosis of gestational diabetes just 2 months shy of my due date. The night before my test I was so stressed out about it and felt so hopeless that I ate a sleeve or Oreo cookies to calm my nerves.  I was definitely in the midst of a serious sugar addiction.  Being pregnant for the first time was scary, stressful and brought out a lot of my inner demons.  Would I be a good mother?  Would I know how to handle a difficult baby?  Would my child love me?  How will I handle the changes to my life? When there’s a lot of stuff going through your mind, many of us try to squash it in all the wrong ways – drugs, alcohol, food and sex.

I remember the day my doctor told me I had gestational diabetes that I just sat in an empty conference room at my office and cried.  I was devastated.  She told me that there are contributing factors that may have led to it (being overweight, diet) but that mostly it’s a body chemistry thing.  I wasn’t going to need insulin to manage my diabetes, just diet control. That was the sliver lining. I went to the hospital weekly for diabetes counseling and learned how to check my blood sugar 4x per day.  (I remember crying that day too, when I realized what that entailed). I kept a record of my blood sugar for the nurse and had excellent results with my diet control. I was so happy to not have to actually use insulin like a friend of mine did (who was not overweight at all) that it may have been the only saving grace that got me through it. They also checked the baby’s weight weekly to make sure I wasn’t having a giant baby.  My son ended up being born at 8lbs4oz – a completely acceptable weight.

But those last 2 months of pregnancy were rough on me.  I was so swollen I had to buy new shoes.  My wedding rings didn’t fit anymore.  My back ached.  Plus is was the dead heat of summer so that certainly didn’t help either.  I had to stop taking the subway to work because I couldn’t manage the stairs.  I ended up driving to work and paying $20 a day to park my car just so I could get there with ease.  Thankfully I had a wonderful physical therapist at the time who massaged me a few times a week and helped me with my swollen limbs.  But a day after a massage it always came back – it was never gone.

Marie, 2011 about 28 weeks pregnant

Marie, 2011 about 28 weeks pregnant


Once I gave birth (about a week early) the nurse in the hospital tested my sugar and it was normal.  No more diabetes.  But I’ve been haunted ever since.  I keep thinking, “you’re gonna get it again.”  It runs in my family (on both sides) and now that I’ve had it once, I’m at a higher risk for it unfortunately.

Last summer a friend and fellow health coach was starting a 30 day nutritional cleanse and posted about it on Facebook.  I was immediately on-board.  I convinced my husband to do it with me and I went for it.  We had recently gone on vacation and gained about 5lbs eating at the buffet table in Las Vegas, so we were both motivated to make a change.  I could certainly feel that I’d gained weight despite taking this pretty good picture while on that vacation.

Marie & Ran Attend a Wedding August 2013

Marie & Ran Attend a Wedding August 2013


A friend told me I was glowing in the picture – and I was!  My healthier diet and lifestyle was showing through, but the scale just wouldn’t budge.  No matter what I tried I could never lose more than 3lbs.  Thank heavens nutritional cleansing came into my life. After the first week, I was down about 7lbs.  I was losing a pound a day.  On Weight Watchers it took me a month to lose the first 5lbs.  I remember it distinctly because we went out for sushi to celebrate!  I was following the plan and the weight was just coming off.  It was like a miracle.  My sugar cravings were decreasing, my clothes were fitting so much better and people started to notice.  My husband was also losing and feeling good.  At the end of the 30 days, we both lost 15lbs.  We felt on top of the world going to my 10 year college reunion and then my brother’s wedding.  I was so much happier and confident in my own skin.  Plus, I no longer felt like a health coaching fraud.

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Marie Before & After Cleansing

Marie Before & After Cleansing


I still had some demons to deal with and I did rebound a little around Christmastime with holiday eating, but I had the tools to manage my weight.  When I became pregnant I was down a pants size.  I continued my super food nutrition during my pregnancy and continued to eat the way I knew I should.  I had cheat meals and I submitted to some pregnancy cravings but it was NOTHING like the last time.  Now at 28 weeks pregnant, my engagement ring still fits.  My shoes still fit.  People are telling me that my face hasn’t changed at all (yet).  I’m working out regularly.  Best of all, I passed my sugar test 2 weeks ago and have been cleared of any and all gestational diabetes!! When an email from my doctor came through with the subject line “good news” I breathed such a heavy sigh of relief that my son asked me “What happened Mommy?”

If only I could explain what happened and how much I had to change to get to this point. Having a healthier pregnancy this time around isn’t just about me and my health, it’s about my unborn baby having a healthier womb to reside in.  Maybe labor and delivery will go easier this time.  Maybe losing the baby weight will go faster and my milk production will be more plentiful.  Maybe things will just be easier this time around because I’m coming from a much happier and healthier place.

Marie, 28 Weeks Pregnant enjoying a shake

Marie, 28 Weeks Pregnant enjoying a shake


Summer time TV – it’s bleak.  Believe me, I’d much rather be out enjoying life than sitting home in front of the TV, but I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy and I have a 3 year old, so let’s face it, the TV is on more than I would like because I can’t get off the couch at the end of the day!

Earlier this week after we stumbled upon a show called, “Extreme Weight Loss”, which until that day I had never seen or heard of.  I knew of the show “The Biggest Loser” but wasn’t sure how this was different.  They told the story of a 39 year old woman named Cassie who was currently 347lbs.  She worked from home in Milwaukee and told the camera she barely left the house anymore since she was so unhappy with her weight.  She did go through fast food drive-thru’s daily and one would assume this is what helped her reach 347lbs.  She also had NINE television’s in her house! This started to make me squirm – because I totally get it, sitting in front of the TV isn’t great for you, and yet I was doing exactly that!  Part of her journey included an accidental pregnancy at age 20 and the subsequent giving up her baby for adoption.  It had haunted her for 19 years.  She ate to stuff down her feelings of guilt and shame about giving up her child.

Over the course of 2 hours (!) she spends a year working with Chris & Heidi Powell (who I had also never heard of) to get her life back.  She goes to boot camp, she works out, she runs on a treadmill, lifts a kettleball, runs outside, and does basically every single exercise you can think of (except yoga).  There are lots of shots of her struggling to do this because of her size, and then eventually mastering it and enjoying it.  There’s a brief mention of her “not having the food she can eat in the house” when she arrives home to Milwaukee – but not any follow up.  I saw in one of the promos that Rocco DiSpirito shows up to teach her how to cook, but I must have gone to the bathroom for 2 minutes and missed that part entirely.  There was almost no mention of food, except that she used to eat fast food and drink alcohol and now she doesn’t.  Her husband still has Pabst Blue Ribbon in the house and she is furious only going so far as to say “alcohol was a big part of how I got here.”

This woman Cassie ends up achieving her overall goal to get back to the weight she was when she gave her baby up for adoption and I commend her for that.  Over the course of the year she changes her entire lifestyle and also her husbands.  At her grand finale she looks amazing, younger, happier and more in love with her husband than ever.  She even reunites with her 19 year old son!  It was very inspiring and I could see how editing can easily manipulate you into caring about someone that you’ve never met.  I admit it, I even cried a few tears.

But once the tears dried, I got to thinking – is this the whole story?

Back in 2009, when I started writing this blog I wanted to contribute to the conversation about weight from the average American woman’s perspective.  I was not 347lbs and and I was not 105lbs, I was your average size 12 American woman who wanted to get healthy.  I had recently gotten married and was not in the health and wellness field at all.  I just realized one day that when I watched tv or looked in magazines there was NO ONE I could relate to.

As of 2010, the CDC reports the average American woman weighs 166.2 – not even close to the 347lbs that Cassie had to struggle with.  For many of my clients 166.2 is a goal weight at this point!  Myself included! These woman that weigh 166.2 probably work out, and definitely watch what they eat.  They indulge occasionally and should cook more, but they are not getting the results that they want fast enough, so they get discouraged and order a pizza. 

I’ve been there – believe me!

I will go as far to say that it’s even harder for us size 12s to lose weight and improve our lifestyle than anybody else.  Case in point, last year when I had finally tried EVERYTHING to lose weight and was getting ZERO results I was at yoga minimum 2x per week, also swimming 2x per week and eating the best diet I ever had.  I was a health coach for pete’s sake!  I was not driving through McDonald’s twice a day, I can assure you!

Here’s the truth that Extreme Weight Loss and the rest of media don’t really tell you, losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise.  I probably had the equation more at 50-50 than 80-20.  But watching people eat grilled chicken with brown rice on tv isn’t very exciting is it?  And by the way, we don’t want to scare away any of those food companies advertising dollars, do we?  I mean, the broccoli council doesn’t have the money to pay for commercials like Beef, Dairy or Pork, right? But if we just promote exercise we don’t really offend anyone from Tyson or Smithfield, so let’s run with that!  LOL – run!  

Listen, I’m all for exercise as a means of stress release and conditioning.  When I lose 15lbs last year I completely changed my diet and I barely exercised because I couldn’t do it all at the same time.  My yoga practice faltered, but I still lost weight.  I was totally working the 80/20 groove.  Now that I’m pregnant, I still try and swim 2x a week because I enjoy it and the pool is one of the few places I feel light, but it’s not for weight loss.  I also still enjoy my whey protein shake every morning because it boosts my metabolism and I like it, not for weight loss.  

Once I deliver this beautiful baby, I will require to lose weight.  I will not have a ton of time to be in the gym, but I will still need to eat everyday.  I will go full force into 80/20 and resume eating the way I know I should for weight loss.  I think the best exercise is the kind you love and can do consistently.  If you love taking walks then do that!  If you love swimming as I do, do that for 25 minutes and it’s better than nothing at all.  This is not about being in the gym for hours a day, this is about consistency and maintenance.  I loved Bikram yoga, but when a class is 90 minutes it’s really hard to fit into a schedule sometimes.  You have to find what works for you.  

If you’re planning to get your weight down, focus on the diet first and foremost.  Don’t worry about the fact that your gym membership is basically a “charitable donation” at this point.  Just get your diet to a place where you’re eating right for your body type.  Eventually the exercise will start to happen, but it’s not required to lose weight, especially at the beginning.

Here’s the crazy thing, a quick Google search led me to this recording of Cassie from Milwaukee talking about her transformation on local radio.  She says the show portrays her journey as all about exercise, but it isn’t.  I wonder if the execs over at ABC know this?  She’s still a very inspiring woman, and I liked her message in this interview especially.  Losing weight is so much more than calories in/calories out, but about filling a void inside of you with love and not excess of food and drink.

I doubt I’ll be watching Extreme Weight Loss in the future, but I was glad to see Cassie’s story and to be able to reflect on the 5th anniversary of this blog on why I started it in the first place. Thanks for reading for the last 5 years!

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