Our Quest to change our lives began in Feb. 2010 and we lost 224 lbs. This is the story of our continuing Journey through the ups and downs of maintenance.
(For the fullest effect, begin at the beginning in Feb. 2010 using our Blog Archive on sidebar)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week 51 - We had BREADSTICKS!!

Okay, I did not lose or gain this last week... the scale did not budge for me but stayed right on 148.  At least I don't have to bother changing my ticker up there on the left!  BUT the hubs jumped up again to 203... a 4 pound gain.  Ahhhh... so discouraging for him.  He stayed mostly on plan with just a little snitching of the pb and lots of soda.  I really think the stress is sabotaging him because it also brings on lack of sleep.  And getting enough SLEEP is a big component of weight loss and health!  Nevertheless, it's onward we go sticking to plan!

Last night I made cauliflower bread sticks that I found here on Sandy's Kitchen blog and they were SO FLIPPIN' GOOD!  Thank you SO much Sandy for that idea!!  I made the breadsticks and marinara sauce exactly from her recipe and it was divine.  The hubs was in heaven.  It makes a complete lean and green too, with the egg beaters and cheese counting as the lean, and the cauliflower and tomato counting as the green.



They filled me up too, too and totally satisfied me as my meal. 

I am also excited about making some cauliflower crusts and freezing them like Sandy shows on her blog.  So yesterday, I cut up 5 cauliflower heads and put them through my food processor and today I will be baking them into crusts and freezing them.  I'm excited to have that as another quick meal to make that gives me and Brent more variety.  It's just making that crust for the cauliflower pizza that takes more time, so if I have crusts ready in my freezer, I'm sure I will make them more often!

I have been reading Dr. A's Habits of Health book and thought all week about sharing tid bits of what I'm learning on here.  I will do that this next week.  Such great information.

I am also excited about joining a contest on the Facebook Medifast page here.  It's the "Happy After" contest for those who have reached their goal and submit their success story into Medifast.  10 winners will be flown out for a professional makeover, shopping session with personal stylist, a photo shoot and a chance to appear in Medifast's national advertising.  I would LOVE for Brent and me to reach our goal and enter this contest!!  Wouldn't it be cool if we BOTH won?  I am most excited about the professional make over and shopping as I have never had that... and I've been so large for so long, it would be SO amazing.  I would never even imagine myself in such a position a year ago.  It's like a dream.  So there is another motivation to reach our goal soon.   I am praying for my man!!
Have a great weekend, my friends.  Enjoy life because it is GOOD!  xoxoXO~Margene

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week 50 - A total FIRST

Yesterday marked the end of our 50th week of this lifestyle change.  The scaled showed me a 1 pound loss and showed Brent a 4 pound loss.  Yeah Brent!!!  I think mine would have been more if I would consciously been drinking more water.  Sometimes I stop being as consistent but when I do, I see bigger losses.  I'll take a pound gone, though!

I have a couple of NSV (non scale victories) to share.  What makes these different is that they are TOTAL FIRSTS for me and just SO DIFFERENT from what I'm used to experiencing.

1. Some guy made a pass at me on Facebook!!  What?  Are you kidding me?  He saw my profile picture on Facebook and sent a message saying he loved my picture and wanted to know if he could get to know me!  I was LAUGHING so hard.  No one ever asks me that until now, at age 42!  That is really TOO FUNNY!!  I know he's just a player but still, a total first for me.

2. A friend of my husbands was talking to Brent and said, "Your wife it HOT" - accentuating the "HOT" as he spoke.  No one - other than Brent - has called me hot before!  I am the same person, but somehow, now, I am hot.  Does anyone else find this funny?  I laugh every time I think of it.

It's not that I am not flattered, because I am, but it's more like why is it that I am only hot or beautiful AFTER I loose 130+ pounds?  Even to myself?  Now, I'm this 42 year old woman and mom of 4 kids, and now I'm  hot?  Too funny!  This is why I love Brent so much.  He ALWAYS thought I was hot, even when I was 280 pounds!  Not once in my life, has he ever made a negative reference to my weight, but he has always been ACCEPTING of me.  And that is what I needed because I wasn't accepting of myself.

Last week I made some more Peanut Butter Balls using Medifast hot cocoa and PB2 - A favorite of ours!  Here's a lean and green where I split up my lean in-between chicken and cottage cheese and had some delicious roasted asparagus!

On the left here is some Rotisserie chicken and some quickly sauteed red peppers & mushrooms.  This is like my "fast food"... love it!  On the right is left over asparagus and chicken mixed up with zucchini ribbons.  This is where I used a peeler on zucchini and just made them into ribbons and sauteed them on the stove.  A fun and different way to eat them.

On the left there is my Teriyaki Chicken bowl.  I took a cut up red pepper and sauteed it with some chicken and added a little "Wok with Me" Teriyaki glaze/sauce.  The "Wok with Me" sauces are so good and lower calorie and carb than most.  On the right, is some cut up chicken patties from Costco, and my favorite Rachel Ray recipe of sauteed red cabbage again!  This time I added in a little tomato just to see how I like it.  It was still just as yummy!
Here is Brent's new favorite dish.  These Amylui chicken meatballs from Costco - so low in calories and carbs and high in protein!  He LOVES to put hot sauce on them.  They already have their own little kick.  So this rivals his other favorite of the Morning Star sausage patties.  He's a little more particular on what "lean" he likes so when we find a new favorite for him, I get excited!
I hope you have an awesome start of your week.  I love how every week is new and fresh and ready for good healthy choices!!  Life is good!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 49 - Met Dr. Anderson! New pant size!

Brent and I had a wonderful Weekend at a “Take Shape For Life” event where Dr. Anderson himself came out here to Portland!!  How cool is that?  He is the co-founder of this program and the author of “Habits of Health”.  And WOW is he so intelligent, informative and amazing.  I was taking notes like crazy and got 13 pages filled.  I feel so excited and motivated and inspired!
I have been devouring his book “Habits of Health”.  I KNOW this is what is going to help us not only lose all our weight but maintain the weight loss and increase our health to where we have premium health.  Because it’s not just about losing weight and not being sick, it’s about reaching optimal health and living a life to it’s potential!  I am so ON that!
Afterwards, I was able to have him sign my book.  I told him about how much weight the hubs and I have lost and I even gave him a little picture of us.  He was so happy for us and shook both our hands.  Brent snapped this picture for me.
I also got our pics taken with two people that have been a huge inspiration to me in this weight loss journey.  This is Lisa and Jaime Castro who between themselves and their family have lost 330 lbs and maintained that.  They have gone on to help hundreds of others lose weight and get healthier and they are the most positive and motivating people to be around!  Lisa is a real example to me and I feel motivated to be more like her.  I love how lean and healthy she is and what an active and fun lifestyle she has now.  Not that long ago, I would have thought that was impossible for me!
Brent, Margene, Lisa & Jaime Castro
So it is week 49.  We have been on this program almost a year now.  And what an amazing journey so far!  This last week I lost 3 pounds!  I am now 149 lbs.... I am in the 140’s!  Can you believe it?  It’s amazing to me.  Not only that... but I fit into this size 10 pants!!  I think I would have fainted a year ago at the thought that I would fit into size 10!  I was size 28/30 just a year ago!  Woo Hoo!  Do you know how liberating that feels?
Me in size 10 pants!
But on the not-so-exciting note, Brent gained 3 pounds this week.  :(  He has been dancing around the 198 to 203 now for a few months.  Bummer!  He has been struggling with stress, lack of sleep and anxiety and it is affecting his weight loss.  We are putting a lot of prayer and effort into figuring out a solution to ease his struggles.  This is another reason why the changes that will be happening this year will be for the better, hopefully.  His weight loss is still so amazing and I still LOVE to stare at him and think he’s the hottest thing ever!  I just want him to FEEL better and to get relief from his stress somehow.
Last week, I made this awesome new Lean and Green meal:  Spinach Frittatta.  I found this recipe here on “New Beautiful Me” blog of Cody Jo’s who is also doing the Take Shape For Life program.  She has some wonderful recipes on her blog that I will be trying.  So glad I found her blog!!  :)
This is so much food and it all counts as your lean and green!  I changed it just a little bit from Cody Jo’s recipe by not using the olives, but cut up some light laughing cow cheese wedges instead (counts as the healthy fat).  I baked mine for about 18 minutes at the 425 degrees.  It was delish!  I couldn’t even eat all of it... so I ate the rest of it a little later.
Here is a lean and green I made Brent last week with just his 3 Morning Star sausages, and some cut up tomatoes, red and yellow peppers on a bed of spinach with some Walden Farms ranch dressing to dip in.  He loved it.  I also made Rachel Ray's recipe of sauteed red cabbage again because I love it.  I had it with some Costco salmon.  Another delicious lean and green!  We eat so good!  It just kicks butt on our old gross fast-food and high-calorie-restaurant eating days!

Well, my friends... thank you for reading my blog and for all the wonderful comments and support you give us both.  I truly wish I could meet and hug every one of you who reads this!  I hope you have a fabulous week!  Be gentle with yourself, keep it one good choice at a time, and remember that LIFE IS GOOD!  xoxOXO ~Margene

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is the Value of a Life?

This week has been another amazing week and tomorrow is weigh-in.  We’ve enjoyed our new rig, Max, and feel overwhelmed at our blessings.  And more changes will be coming on our horizon this year.  It’s exciting and scary.  Change is always scary for me.  It’s a leap of faith.  Never in our married life have we had so much change as we have this last year and even more is coming.  But it’s all GOOD.
I have been reflecting so much this week.  Reflecting on my past life and how different I feel and look today.  It’s like a dream.  I remember so perfectly the years of my life that I spent in pain, in heartache, and in self-loathing.  For so many years, I secretly wanted to  pass on to the next life.  I didn’t want to be here.  Many times in prayer, I asked God to take me for surely He wanted me and loved me.  I didn’t feel wanted here.  I didn’t feel valued.  I knew I was loved, I knew I am a daughter of God, I knew I have infinite worth... but I didn’t FEEL it personally.  I often wondered and asked myself:  
What is the value of a life?  What is the value of MY life?  What is the worth of my soul?
I wondered because my perspective was that I was NOT valued by my family, or by “friends” (which I didn’t have), and not even by myself.  My perspective was that there was so much more negative about me than positive - that’s what I felt everyone was telling me.  I did not see any beauty in myself.  For years, I think I leaned on the love of my husband to feel I had worth.  
When my mom died in 1993, it was the hardest time of my life.  She always seemed to feel that I was beautiful, even though I knew I wasn’t.  She always noticed the good things about me, even though I couldn’t see them.  Then she was gone overnight.
The last picture taken of my mother 
Brent, me, my dad, sister-in-law, and brother after mom's funeral
I found this entry in my journal just a few weeks after she died:
Wed. June 23, 1993
“I’m not enjoying life right now.  I try to describe how I’m feeling and what I’m going through - no one feels what I feel.  No one cares.  This is so hard!  I’m finding it hard to have the desire to live.  Everything is left on my shoulders and I can’t bear it any longer all alone...
I am so large, I am so ugly - I can’t stand to see myself.  Even when I feel like I do look good, I see myself in the mirror or picture and see how bad I really do look.  I am not a good wife - I don’t have enough time to be a good mother to my son.  It feels like no one is helping me.  I’m tired of this.  I long to feel loved and feel wanted - maybe even feel beautiful.  I don’t think I ever will.”
I remember sobbing as I wrote this entry.  I remember that heartache perfectly.  It’s now over 17 years later and I have been climbing my way out of the pit of self-loathing, and I am close to the top.  I’ve learned that all those negative thoughts and perspective were really just a BIG LIE!  I entertained the idea that I had no real worth and it started to become one of my core beliefs.  Then everything negative that happened in my life just fed that belief.  And it was and is a lie.  This has been a huge revelation to me recently.  Anything that feeds such a belief does NOT come from God and is not based on TRUTH.  So I am learning to STOP FEEDING that belief and to START FEEDING the belief that we each have infinite worth and value - that I have infinite worth and value!  And our value has nothing to do with the way we are treated!  It is a continual process to change these beliefs in me.
So when someone we love hurts us or betrays us, it has no bearing on our worth or value.  Or if we don’t have that special someone in our life or can’t find those cherished friendships it doesn’t mean we have no value.  That can be incredibly hard to believe but it is TRUTH.  The fact is, is that we are all human and we don’t really SEE the true value and worth of each other!  But our Heavenly Father DOES.  He is the one who can truly comfort us and fill us with that love and self-worth.
Words can’t do justice in expressing what it’s like to come up from that pit.  Those who have been there, and who are still there know and I pray anyone in such a pit of self-loathing can crawl out completely.  To look in the mirror and feel that my life does matter, that I do make a difference being on this planet and that my worth is infinite - it’s more life changing than losing the weight!  And to look in the mirror and feel like I am beautiful... words cannot describe such a feeling - Joy & Gratitude are a start.
So after many years of feeling that life just stinks and I’d rather move on... I am changing my song.  That is why LIFE IS GOOD.  Life is WORTH LIVING and even CHERISHING!  And our lives are worth celebrating.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Man is home now... Oh yeah!

This morning (or last night) around 1:00 am, my hubby got home.  And into our driveway he pulled THIS:

A new family car!!  This a a 1995 GMC Suburban Beast that fits our family and more!  How sweet is that? We unanimously named the car after our favorite character (from "Tangled"):

MAXIMUS

It was so wonderful to be able to drive ourselves as a family to church today, and to have heat in the car!  Words cannot express the gratitude we feel to God for such an outpouring of blessings and to several family members who have extended such generous and loving help to us after our accident a couple weeks ago.  It is such a reminder to me that we are watched over and loved!  I hope that we can bless others lives as we have been blessed.  No more being stranded at home!  WOO HOO!  Life is GOOD!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week 48 - Last Chance Workout (sort of)

So last night was date night and we didn't know what to do, only that we wanted to do something.  We have our little $300 car to drive which just lost it's blower so there is no air or heat whatsoever.  Needless to say it gets VERY COLD and FOGGED while driving.  It also has no shocks so it's like riding in an old wooden rollercoaster.  Yes, it's fun (for the first few minutes).  So last minute, we decided to go to the gym.  The gym isn't very far, ya know!  We haven't been to the gym in... hmmm... months.  Probably over 50 pounds ago for me!  Isn't that horrible?  We have a yearly membership and we should take advantage of it more.

So off to the gym we went.  We even forgot our Ipods it's been so long.  And since today was our weigh-in, I realized that this was our "Last Chance Workout".  I wouldn't have known what that means last week since I just started watching The Biggest Loser season 9 on Hulu this week.  (Another post about that altogether!).  Can I say "WOW".  It was a different me on that treadmill.  I thought to myself "This is cool!"


Brent rocked the elliptical!  He told me, "It's so much easier than the last time we were here!  I can just cruise it now!"  This wasn't a "Last Chance" workout in intensity by any means.  In fact, it was more of a "Hey, this is fun, now let's move on"  We went straight to the pool, then hot tub, then sauna, and ended in that vapor sauna room.  I was really cold and could have sat all night in the hot tub.

Weigh-in this morning showed that I lost 2 pound and Brent lost 2 pounds!  Yay!
(Yes, my hubby's name is Brent... I might as well refer to his name instead of always just calling him the hubs!)
Brent is back into his losing game and he is getting in on!  Bring on 2011!

Speaking of Brent... he is gone this morning.  Right now as I write this, he is on a plane to Idaho.  Why, you may ask.  He is flying out there to bring something home.  THIS is the surprise.  I will show pictures when he gets home with it.  This is all a BIG THANKS to a very kind brother.  You will have to wait and see what it is.  I am having a hard time waiting myself!

So I bid you adieu for at least a day and hope you are feeling WARM, being GENTLE with yourself, and celebrating LIFE because it's GOOD!
XOxoXO ~Margene

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First Week of 2011

It’s the first week of this new year.  Yes, I have a flair for the obvious!  So we are on plan this week.  The hubs has been struggling with hunger but he has been stickin’ to plan... such a good guy!  
Our first lean and green of 2011 was at Panda Express!  We had the steamed veggies and some of the lower calorie entrees.  Mine was the mushroom chicken.  It was very delish.  A real treat.
Here are a couple other lean and greens from this week.
I tried these new chicken meat balls I found at Costco.  They are low in carbs and high in protein and I figured we could have 8-10 each for our “Lean”.  Then I sauteed some red peppers and mushrooms to go with them.  The chicken meat balls have a tiny kick to them and left my mouth a little hot, but not too much for me to handle.  The hubs loved it and added hot sauce to his.  He loves that burn.
Tonight I had an old standard that I love:  Chicken salad with Walden Farms bacon ranch dressing.  Very satisfying!
This week has been a bit like being in limbo again, but it’s not too bad.  I’ve been stranded at home w/o a vehicle and had to find creative ways to get places.  The other day my daughter and I decided to just leave and we walked to the bus and rode to the theater and watched a matinee movie.  Then walked to the store and rode the bus back and walked home.  It was So Super COLD... but it was fun.  Not that I want to do that in the freezing cold again!  


Some of our same trials are creeping back in, like my husbands stress, and some of the things I struggle with, but that is to be expected and I can see blessings come through it all.  In fact, a huge blessing is coming this weekend.  I will have to post about that later.  Something SUPER cool!
I am excited at the thought of actually going into transition in a couple months and then to maintenance.  I am excited for our goals this year.  It feels like limbo right now but there are a lot of cool things ahead and I’m trying to keep it all in focus.
And I am enjoying SO many NSV.  I sometimes hate to share them with friends or family as it surely must get OLD to them, but it’s all so HUGE to me.  Here are a couple:  my watch is loose now and slipping farther up my arm all the time.  When I started in Feb. it was a bit too tight on me.  None of my rings fit anymore!  They all are either way too big or uncomfortably lose (mind you, these are just the cheap rings from Freddy’s and Claire’s... I am not into jewelry).  My favorite NSV is how the hubs responded to me several time during our Utah trip.  When he’d see me from a far and we’d  be walking to meet (like I’m coming out of the gas station and he’s going in), he would grab me and whisper in my ear “I love seeing you from afar, you look so amazing and then I realize you’re my wife!  You are so hot!” It seriously gave me chills when he tells me that.
So it’s about STAYING ON PLAN and KEEPING FOCUS and COUNTING BLESSINGS!  How is your first week going?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Week 47 - New Year and Recap

Happy New Year!!  2011 WOO HOO!!  Bring it on!

Weigh in was today and we did not have any losses.  In fact, I believe that the Utah scale from last weeks weigh-in was off from our scale, so I don't believe we truly had 3 pound losses last week, but more like either a 1 pound loss or stayed the same. Today my weight was 154, and the hubs was 202.

So to recap one of the most amazing year in our lives.

Just 10 months ago, we started February 2010 like this:
5'3" / 280 pounds / BMI 49.6
5' 11" / 300 pounds / BMI 41.8



Here we are at the end of the year December 2010 - 10 months later:
154 lbs BMI 27.3 ----- 202 lbs BMI 28.2

Margene:                                        The Hubs:
Head Lost 1 inch                                             Head Lost 1 inch
Neck Lost 5 inches                                         Neck Lost 3 inches
Bust Lost 7 inches                                          Bust Lost 13 inches
Waist Lost 15 inches                                     Waist Lost 18.5 inches
Hips Lost 18 inches                                       Hips Lost 10 inches
Thigh Lost 8 inches                                       Thigh Lost 4 inches
Knee      Lost 4.5 inches                               Knee Lost 4 inches
Calf Lost 3 inches                                          Calf Lost 2 inches
Arm Lost 5.5 inches                                      Arm Lost 3.5 inches
TOTAL: LOST 67 inches                             TOTAL:         LOST 59 inches

BMI:        Now 27.3 LOST 22.3 points           BMI:      Now 28.2 LOST 13.6 points
Weight:          LOST 126 lbs                            Weight:        LOST 98 lbs


2010:  We drastically changed our lives:
Began our lifestyle change & lost 100 lbs each
Moved from bigger home to a smaller
Got two completely different vehicles (now just one)
Got completely new wardrobes
Started a new business (health coach)
Rejuvenated an old business we love (Mobile DJ)
Made huge leaps in putting our negative past behind us
2011:  Our continued Journey goals:
Reach our weight loss goals by the end of Feb. 2011
Begin our transition & maintain goal weight within 5 pounds
Begin our training and toning regime 2-3 times a week
Run a 5k
Run a 10k
Buy our own home
Get pets for our family
By the grace and blessings of our God, we have a new lease on life.  We still have incredible trials and struggles, like everyone, but we can face them with less weight on our bodies and with more energy and grateful hearts.
If you don’t like your life, then it’s up to YOU to CHANGE IT.  If you don’t know what to do to change, then find someone who has been successful and see how they did it.  Above all, pray every day for guidance and direction on making the changes you desire.  I believe we are carefully watched over and guided by our Creator but WE must make the effort to seek Him and Do what He prompts us to.  We CAN change our life and our direction!  My husband and I are living proof of two lives drastically changed!   God bless you on your journey... LIFE IS GOOD!!