Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm worth it!

This competition has been the most physically challenging experience of my life. I know many people think this should be easy for me, particularly because I started the competition with a bit of weight loss success. However, that is far from the truth. Just because I've lost some weight before the contest does not mean I've been "cured". I struggle every single day, battling temptation and cravings. There were many mornings I wanted to swat the alarm clock off my nighstand, and curl back in bed, skipping my workout.

I'm not sure if many of you know, but I'm a single mom. I don't have any family in the area, heck, I don't have any family in the continental United States. If I don't do "it" (whatever "it" may be - work fulltime, take care of my children, household chores, projects, etc) then "it" doesn't get done. My children have responsibilites around the house, and really do their share of helping out, but the rest fall on my shoulders. It's not easy, but it's my life, and giving in and quitting is not an option for me. So I keep pushing myself to do more, go farther, be stronger, live healthier. It's not easy. It's mentally and physically exhausting.

I pretty much got to the end of my rope on Friday - parts of my assessment didn't have the results I wanted, and I just didn't know what more I could do. I left my workout in a daze, utterly spent, discouraged, and defeated.

It's crazy how things can kind of fall into place and certain things will happen just when you need them to - I was fortunate to receive an invitation to a homecoming party for Kristin Steede and Cathy Skell, the mother-daughter duo from Wisconsin who were on The Biggest Loser Season 7, for Friday evening. Cathy and Kristin looked AMAZING, and were so kind and gracious. I think the best part of meeting and speaking to Cathy and Kristin was that they're in the same boat I'm in. They've had huge success with their weight loss from the show, but they aren't done yet. They have the same struggles that I do, battling daily temptations and food addiction. But they're not giving up, and neither am I. Hearing them speak about their experiences really inspired me and reminded me why I'm doing this. They reminded me that I'm worth it, that the time, sweat, and tears is worth it, and that I'm becoming a better person with every single breath that I take.

Also, like Cathy and Kristin, I have an amazing support system in my trainers at Fitness Together - Brookfield. Knowing that they truly care and want me to succeed keeps my alarm clock from being blasted into smithereens each morning. There is NO WAY I could be doing this on my own, and having Paul, Kurt, Tina, Cara, Paul Z and Sarah in my corner is an incredible blessing!


"Sometimes all you can do is struggle. But as long as you're struggling, you ain't giving up, and that's the half of it." The Gunnar in "Stoneheart" by Charlie Fletcher

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nutrition Notes

We are trying a nutrition technique in which we get a little more strict with intake for three days of the week. On three consecutive days, Michelle only eats lean protein and fibrous carbohydrates. Then on the remaining four days of the week, she can add her starchy carbohydrates back into her balanced meals. This will help her release more body fat, but it can take a little getting used to at first because it takes more restructuring of her plan. We don’t want to do this for too many consecutive weeks either because it could have adverse effects. We’ll only do it for a couple weeks at a time.

A great accomplishment!

Just a quick post - Paul shared a great accomplishment with me at the end of my cardio workout this morning ... I have to get the exact start date, but "in the beginning", I completed 2.4 miles in 25 minutes.

Today, I did 2.4 miles in 22 minutes.



"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." Ayn Rand

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Michelle Video Blog: 5/27/2009

Well, it took my son less than 5 minutes to create today's video - it's a mix of my workout this morning with Cara at FT - Brookfield. I think it came out really well, and it a bit more fun than my usual talking head videos :) I like working out with Cara (as I do with all the trainers) - they each bring something different to my workouts, so while it may be the same program, it feels different depending upon the trainer I'm working with that day.

Kurt gave me the following recipe a while ago, and I finally made it for dinner tonite ...

Barbeque Roasted Salmon
Yields 4 servings

1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 6oz salmon fillets
2 T brown sugar
4 t chili powder
2 t grated lemon rind
3/4 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
cooking spray
lemon slices (optional)

1. Combine pineapple juice, lemon juice and salmon fillets in a zip-top plastic bag, seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hr, turning occaisionally.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Remove fish from bag, discard marinade. Combine sugar, chili powder, grated lemon rind, ground cumin, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub over fish, place in a 11 x 17 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon slices if desired.

I made minor modifications to the recipe - I omitted the salt, and marinated the salmon overnight. I had my salmon served over a tossed green salad (romaine lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, carrots and tomato), while my kids had their salmon with steamed white rice and broccoli. It was absolutely delicious, and the kids gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up, so this dish is definitely a keeper. Thanks Kurt!


"We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are." Adelle Davis

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trainer Notes

We are preparing Michelle for a shift in training stimulus next week. We’ll be changing her program so she will notice a change in intensity. She has proven to us that she can endure high intensity workouts, but we also want to make sure she is getting proper recovery in order for her body to repair.

Michelle has been putting her heart, soul, and obviously physical effort into this and has done well. Show your support for Michelle and the rest of the contestants!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Michelle Video Blog

"You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction." George Lorimer

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Michelle Video Blog:

"What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists ... and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want ... and are fully determined not to quit until you get it." Alexander Graham Bell

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bring your daughter to the gym day!

I brought my 8-year old daughter to the gym with me this morning - she was curious to see what my workouts are like, and I promised her that she could bring the Flip video with us to try to tape some of my workouts. I think she had a great time, she got alot more footage of herself talking than me working out, but I'll do my best to edit some of the video to piece a mix together. On the way home, I asked her what she thought of the gym and my workouts. She said everyone was really nice, and it was a really long workout - she said she was tired at the end. I laughed and told her to imagine how tired she'd be if she was the one actually working out! :)

Kurt shared the "secret" he mentioned earlier this week in his blog with me ... it's a new approach to my nutrition, and I am going to get started with it tomorrow. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to reach my goal, and will do whatever my trainers tell me to do - after all, they're the experts!

One of my favorite things at FT - Brookfield is a portion of the gym that has motivational and inspirational quotes posted on it. I read them every day while I'm on the elliptical, and they never cease to move me. The following quote is one of my favorites ...

"Hidden inside each of us is an extraordinary force."

I can't help but smile when I say it to myself, because this simple quote is the key to my success ... once I really and truly began to believe in myself, the possibilities were endless. If you think you can't do something, you probably can't. But if you believe you can, then you most likely will succeed.

I'm also reminded of a Chinese fable my mother would tell me, with a similar message ...

Once upon a time there was a stone cutter. The stone cutter lived in a land where a life of privilege meant being powerful. Looking at his life he decided that he was unsatisfied with the way things were and so he set out to become the most powerful thing in the land.

Looking around his land he wondered to himself what is it to be powerful. Looking up he saw the sun shining down on all the land. "The sun must be the most powerful thing that there is, for it shines down on all things, and all things grow from its touch." So he became the sun.

Days later, as he shone his power down on the inhabitants of the land, there came a cloud which passed beneath him obstructing his brilliance. Frustrated he realized that the sun was not the most powerful thing in the land, if a simple cloud could interrupt his greatness. So he became a cloud, in fact, he became the most powerful storm that the world had ever seen.

And so he blew his rain and lightning, and resounded with thunder all over the land, demonstrating that he was the most powerful of all. Until one day he came across a boulder.

Down and down he poured rain and his thunder roared, lightning flashed and filled the sky, striking the ground near the boulder. His winds blew and blew and blew, and yet, despite all his efforts, he could not budge the boulder. Frustrated again, he realized that the storm was not the most powerful thing in the land, rather it must be the boulder. So he became the boulder.

For days he sat, unmovable, and impassive, demonstrating his power, until one day, a stone cutter came and chiseled him to bits.

Moral: Sometimes the most important thing to remember is that you have everything you already need, right inside of you.


"We can have more than we've got because we can become more than we are." Jim Rohn

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cardio Day

When I first started working out at Fitness Together - Brookfield, I really dreaded my cardio days. They were NOT fun and really pushed me outside my comfort zone. Now, I can honestly say I enjoy my cardio days - I like pushing myself and seeing how far I can go. It's such a mindblowing thing to realize how far I've come since Day 1.

Today was a cardio day, and Paul coached me through sprints on the elliptical machine, followed by a really good ab circuit. The burn in my abs were UNBELIEVABLE but yet so good, in a twisted, warped kind of way :)

When I step into the gym each morning, the phrase "I can't" gets eliminated from my vocabulary. So when Paul (or Kurt or Tina or Cara or Paul Z) tell me to push it, or go faster/harder, I do it. I never want to leave the gym thinking I should have done more. When I stumble out to my car at the end of my workout, I know I gave everything I had and have nothing left to give.


"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meeting the Competition

Hi everyone,

A video will be forthcoming later this evening, but I wanted to write a quick blog about meeting one of my fellow contestants - the Amazing Alicia. We ran into each other at the mall over our lunch hour today, and it was such a wonderful surprise! We were able to talk for a few minutes about our experiences, and it's nice to have someone I can talk to who "really knows" what we're going through in the transformation challenge. Our offices are just a block and a half apart, so we've made plans to walk together on our lunch hour. I think we'll work in a combined video next week, maybe of us interviewing each other?

Life is getting busy, and I really need to start kicking my workouts into a higher gear as I have several races coming up in the next few months! My first is the 15-mile ride in the Miller Ride for the Arts benefitting the United Performing Arts Fund on Sunday, June 7th. VISIT Milwaukee created a team for the ride, and I am very honored to be team captain! I've started riding my bike to my workouts Fitness Together Brookfield (a 6.5 mile round trip ride) in preparation for the Miller Ride for the Arts (ok, I've only done this once so far, but plan to ride at least once a week).

Next up will be the Trek Women's Sprint Triathlon with my friends Jeannie and Carrie on July 12th, a mere 51 days away from now. Just to prove how crazy I am, I'm not overly worried about the 12-mile bike or 5K run (the 0.5 mile swim has me freaking out just a little), but I'm a little more obsessed with what I'll be wearing that day. Crazy, aren't I?

I'll be finishing up my summer of races with the Rock N Roll Chicago Half-Marathon on Sunday, August 2nd with my friend Maria. We decided to sign up on a whim, and I'm now wondering what the heck was I thinking! Hello???

That's all for now, thank you all so much for your continued support! It means the world to me!


"At the end of the day, the person who reaches her goals isn't necessarily the one with the most talent. Often it's the person who's out there training the hardest, day in and out. I try to be that person". Lolo Jones, U.S. track and field champion

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nutrition Notes

Michelle doesn’t know it yet, but soon I plan on tweaking Michelle’s nutrition structure just a little bit. I won’t unlock the ‘secret’ right now but we’re going to try a strategy that is intended to speed metabolism and shed more body fat. It’s a trick that someone might use to prepare for a bodybuilding competition or something of that nature. Now, don’t go thinking we’re putting her on some crazy diet, we’re not going there. I’ll let you in on more details next time. Oh, did I mention you should vote for Michelle?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trainer Notes:

At the end of this week we will conduct another fitness assessment to see how Michelle has come along. I know she feels better but it’s also nice to see on paper how you’ve improved with actual numbers and measurements. Michelle’s results will be in smaller increments at this point of her transformation because as I mentioned before, she is in the ‘fourth quarter.’ I want to thank Michelle for being so devoted to her new lifestyle. I know that the rest of the staff here at the Brookfield FT thoroughly enjoy our sessions with her. We are very happy we picked her to be our transformation challenger. Vote for

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Meal Plan

Michelle is learning to allow balance in her life when it comes to eating. The world of food does not have to be such a bittersweet place. Michelle is getting better at realizing she doesn’t always have to be rewarding or torturing herself with food. She reports that she’s enjoying some fun meals on her cheat days, and I really believe she will get over the guilt of eating something naughty every once in a while. We have food because we need it for survival, but we have made it a device for entertainment and pleasure. Michelle now understands that it can work in both regards with a little balance.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trainer Notes

I want to congratulate all of the contestants on their progress so far. It sounds like they are doing well and having a great time. Michelle has had it a little more difficult, because she’s in the “fourth quarter” of her transformation process. Just like in an athletic competition, the participant that has the endurance and mental focus to finish the game wins. However, that fourth quarter can be the most difficult to stay tough and determined. For Michelle the fourth quarter means the last twenty to thirty pounds which can be the toughest to lose when a person has already dropped so much. She said her clothes fit better, she likes that the workouts decrease her stress and she is having a great time in her workouts, as you hear her talk about in her video blogs.
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