Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Post by Tracy Miranda

The following blog post is an important one. Currently one of our friends and co-workers from AMR is at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge Malibu. Tracy, was so inspired by our trip and our blog that before we were even home from our trip, she had booked hers.  I have been in touch with her via text message and I can tell you this is just the right place for her to be. She has just started her second week this week and she is kicking butt and learning so much about herself and her future. We are so proud of you, Tracy. Here's a reflection from her first week, in her words.
Tracy is lucky to have two former Biggest Losers joining the Resort this week. Jessica and Ramon are from Season 12!

{My Used To’s}
 by Tracy Miranda
I just finished my first week of a two week stay at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Malibu. It’s been nothing short of amazing. I won’t bore you with a lot of the schedule, food and types of classes etc, because I know anyone reading this has heard already what this is about from Brianne and Cara. They asked me to share my journey with you, so I will aim to do that.
When I arrived a week ago I was unsure of what I was facing, but I knew I wanted my life to be different. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I have a wonderful husband, a mom who is my best friend, so many supportive friends and family, and the most amazing son I could ever wish for. I just didn’t love me.
Fast forward to me today, one week later. Believe it or not I am already a different person. I have pushed myself to my limits and beyond. I have persevered through minor injuries and pain and most importantly I’ve realized that I am capable of so much more than I thought I was. I will share some of the highlights of my week.
My first day started out with pouring rain. That did not stop us however from going on a two hour hike. There were lots of people that thought it was miserable, but I had a great time. People thought I was crazy but I used to love playing soccer in the rain when I was growing up. It’s just water right? It was really fun. The day continued with a stretch class, cardio, circuit training and pool class. I really thought I would not be able to move the next morning. However, I woke up and did it all again. The next day we hiked in the canyons of Malibu, and it’s really beautiful. While walking with a hiking guide Alicia she asked me if I hiked at home and I told her that I used to. The hikes are challenging, but it’s so great to be out in the fresh air and such beautiful scenery. The hiking guides are awesome and supportive.
During gym and pool classes it is a mixture of fun and pain. I have met muscles that I haven’t heard from in a long time. As trainer Tonia said, “let me introduce you to your core” (boy did she ever). The trainers are always positive but know how to push you and hold you accountable to yourself without ever being condescending or disrespectful. One of my favorite inspirations came from trainer Katina in a cardio class. They do a lot of interval training here to get your heart rate up, down, then up again. Some of these include sprints at the end. She made me push myself by simply stating “anybody can do anything for one minute!” It’s true. By Saturday I was doing one minute sprints faster than I ever have run on a treadmill simply because she made me believe that I could. It’s just one minute I kept telling myself and repeating her quote.
On Saturday we were fortunate enough to have Jessica and Ramon from Biggest Loser season 12 do our Last Chance Workout. It was brutal and amazing. They are inspiring, happy and remarkable people. They shared a lot of their journey and it was great to hear. They will be working here now so we will get to work out with them this week as well. It is a chance of a lifetime.
One of the best parts of this place is the other guests. I have met some wonderful people who have been such a pleasure to be around. We all understand what each other is going through and it’s nice to hear the good and bad of others journey’s. I came here alone and I will leave here with lifelong friends.
Every guest has the opportunity to weigh in every Sunday. I wasn’t sure about it. I knew I had worked hard but didn’t know if I wanted to do it, even though I was so curious. Whether the number was good or bad, I didn’t want it to affect me. I made the decision to weigh in today but not look at the results. I will get them when I weigh in next weekend and check out. That way I don’t have to think about it this week, but will eventually know what I accomplished.
Lastly, everyone here has had their “a-ha” moment. I have to say mine came pretty early Monday afternoon which actually surprised me. I was talking to one of the trainers and realized that while getting to know some of the other guests and sharing about myself, and during this conversation with the trainer, I sure talked a lot about what I used to do. I used to run, play soccer, hike, swim, bicycle and enjoy almost anything outdoors. It was right then and there that the light bulb went off in my head and I told the trainer, “I’m here to get my used to’s back.” Mark my words, I am doing just that.

Shout Outs:
Brianne and Cara: Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us and inspiring me to be here. Your constant support and cheering me on is really appreciated. Getting texts from you while I was here was so helpful. Thanks for letting me bug you! I am so proud of both of you and hope that I can now join your inspiration team to share this info with our friends and family. Love you both.
Mom: Thanks again for making this a possibility. It really has been a chance of a lifetime and you have allowed me to become a better person. There are not enough words for how much I love you and I won’t ever be able to thank you enough for all you bring to my life.
Jackie: You are such a beautiful person inside and out. Your friendship means the world to me and I’m so blessed to have you in my life. I am so grateful for your unwavering support of me. I know that we will always be friends, and that means the world to me.
Colleen, Jaime, Eva, Mikey, Corrine and Lisa: Thank you for your comments, texts, support and love. I love you all.
Aunt Jill and Nani: Thanks for thinking of me this week and for your love and support. Love you.
Pat, Lisa, Holly and Gina: Thanks for sharing this journey with me here. I’m so grateful to have met you all and it has been so great getting to know you. We have seen each other at our worst and had so many great conversations. I wish you all the best on your journeys and I’m here whenever you need any support.
BLR Trainers, hiking guides and staff: I heard you were amazing before I got here, but I’m not sure that word covers it. Thank you for everything you did for me and for showing me what I’m capable of.
Oscar and Conor (best for last): Thanks for the sacrifices you made to allow me to come here. We have never been apart this long and it’s hard. I miss you so much, but know that I am coming home a better person. I love you both so very, very much and am SO blessed to call you my family.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

{Feel Proud}

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud?

by Betty

Nothing means more to me than my family and friends that I call family. It is extremely important to me that the people in my life feel absolute unconditional love and support from me. I don't have millions of dollars in the bank or lots of free time, but what I do have is a fierce, undeniable commitment to the people in my life. I am who I am because of them. I have been blessed to have lots of family especially on my mom's side. My mom is the oldest of 5 siblings...(spouses in parenthesis)...Michael (Lori), Susan, Shane (MaryAnn) and Matt (Debbie). My aunts and uncles have been a true support in my life as well as all my cousins...Kasey (Jason), Kelly (Preston), Meghan (Chris), Matt (Kimmy), Pat (Ming Cee), Shaner, and Rachel. I know there are people that don't have the family that I have and I know how lucky I am.

My mom's youngest brother, Matt and my Aunt Debbie live about 90 minutes from me and Aunt Debbie is a die hard Biggest Loser fan. Like most of us she has her own struggles. I will not ever go back to the Biggest Loser Resort without inviting her. I had Auntie Debbie for Christmas exchange and I gave her a box full of Biggest Loser stuff I got from the Resort and we agreed to get together soon. Yesterday, my mom and I drove up to Sacramento to help my Aunt Deb and Uncle Matt break in their new memberships to Planet Fitness. A little time on the treadmill, elliptical, and a cycle of weights and steps. I burned about 1100 calories and everyone broke a good sweat. We went back to their house and Uncle Matt, who is an awesome chef, taught me how to make a really yummy thai dish with chicken, tofu, onions, and peppers. It was lean and beyond flavorful. We had it over a brown and wild rice mix with sparkling water. He also bought the ingredients to go for a great vegetarian dish with black eyed pees and greens. Aunt Deb has started her journey and I am so excited for her. She is one of my most favorite people and I love that we get to walk (sometimes jog) this journey right beside each other. I am so proud of me and even more proud of Aunt Debbie. 

Though for me, this day was about Aunt Debbie, I still can't quite believe that in just 7 weeks, I have lost almost 40 pounds and workout almost everyday AND put a date on my calendar to travel 90 minutes to WORKOUT. WHO THE EFF AM I? My journey has just started, but like I have said before, this journey unlike anything I have tried before is completely different. I have my mind right. I know what I need to do and making changes to my life are becoming easier and easier. However, let me just be clear...I hate working out. But I love the results more.  

I talked many times about Jennifer Rumple...the at home winner of BL12. I will dedicate an entire post to her, but for now know that she is my inspiration. She lives very close to me, and though we have not actually met in person, I feel like she is in my life for a reason. She was sadly voted off the show during the season, but came home and started working out with a trainer in the Bay Area. She went on to lose half her body weight at the finale and ran a freakin marathon! I inquired about who her trainer was and she sent me the link. I drafted several emails to this trainer, but even after returning from the hardest 2 weeks of my life at the Resort, I just didn't have the courage to contact him. I finally sent the email last week. He promptly got back to me and we talked on the phone Friday. I shared info about me, he shared info about him and this Monday is my first session with him. Michael Friedman is his name. I will meet him tomorrow at 10am at the 24 Hour Fitness on Van Ness. I am terrified and excited all at the same time. Tara Costa told me the relationship between me and my personal trainer will be one of the most important. I already feel a great connection with Michael and know my life will change because of his help and investment in me. I might die if I ever see Jen enter the gym, and Michael is like a celebrity trainer. Star struck already. I can't believe this is all happening, but the time is now.

Shout outs:

Jennifer Rumple...thank you for sharing your trainer with me. He has helped you save your life and now both of you are helping me save mine.

Michael, my trainer...I am scared and might throw up and I can't thank you enough for helping me. I will never say never and I will never give up.

Uncle Matt...thank you for loving me so unconditionally. I can feel it when I am with you and will be forever grateful for you.

Aunt Debbie...the most important thing I learned at the Resort was that in order to succeed on my weight loss journey, I needed to believe in myself. I am worth the time it takes to live the life I want. As are you. It will not be easy...nothing worth it ever is, but it will get easier. You will feel the change and you will succeed. Believe in yourself. Trust the process. Change forever. I believe in you.


Though, we are all on our own journey's, the struggle is the same. A workout partner not only helps you, but it helps them. Put a workout on the calendar with someone.

Get out of your comfort zone. If you can read a magazine during your workout, it's way too comfortable. You can read on the crapper. Spend your workouts focusing on you.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


Looks like we have a reoccurring blog topic!....

I have been sick with the nastiest cough (you know the one, sounds like there is more mucus in my lungs than in a Ghost Busters Movie) yes, and not just me both my sons have it too. This week, although, spent going through boxes of tissues and catching barf in the middle of the night, I was happy to get in a few short workouts. Funny how you hack all day, but during a workout you don't...just a reminder coughing might actually not suffice as an excuse to get out of going to the gym...

Speaking of gym...Ryan and I joined 24 hr. Fitness last Sunday. Ryan bought the 2 year passes at Costco for us for Christmas, January 14th was his birthday and part of the weekend was dedicated to making sure we got to the gym to activate or passes and get in a workout. Victor, Ryan's best friend and part of our "village" came up for the birthday festivities and joined us at the gym.

Here was my week in fitness:
Sunday: 4 miles at 24 hr (2 on the Precore 2 on the Treadmill)
Monday: 2 miles at 24hr on the Precore
Tuesday: nothing
Wednesday: 20 minutes of resistance bands for my arms and 3 minutes of Bosu ball planks
Thursday: 15 minutes of resistance bands and 10 minutes of wall squats
Friday: 25 minutes at home on the treadmill just over 1 mile
Saturday: 40 minute neighborhood walk/jog about 2 miles 10 minutes of stretching

Now that I look at this I am actually happy with what I got done even hacking up a lung.  I have been focusing on my food this week too. Although I haven't been good about tracking this week, I was focused on portions. Yesterday at work we had taco truck tacos for lunch (just the mini corn tortilla with chicken or carne, onions, cilantro and red chili sauce) I used to ask for 5 of them. I only had 2 dollars and so I only got 2. I was 100% satisfied with 2 and my sweet treat after was a kiwi fruit. 

I am starting a new job on Monday. I know I will need to go prepared and I am having some anxiety over the changes. Tomorrow I am taking 2 gift cards I got for Christmas to go out and get a few new items to wear. I have dropped from a size 22 to a size 18. I am living in my workout gear and one pair of jeans. So to feel good about starting a new job I thought I would get some new clothes. 

My goals for this week:
1. track my food w/ MyFitnessPal
2. meet Betty for one intense workout (we are committing to making this happen weekly)
3. get in 3 workouts (in addition to my workout with Betty)
4. clean my room and the boys room
5. set a date to hike with Suzie & her hiking group and a date to hike with Jackie (no KIDS!)

I am also really excited to share with our readers that a good friend and co-worker will be taking a huge step tomorrow. Our friend Tracy turned 40 today, and just as I did she decided to spend her birthday 100% on herself. Tracy will be a guest starting tomorrow at Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge Malibu for the next two weeks. I am so excited for her. We have spent the last few days talking about what she should bring and what she shouldn't and trying to help her with the courage it takes to leave her family. Tracy, you are going to do great, feel great and set the path for the rest of your life. Welcome to the fit side!

Tracy will be posting next week as a guest blogger, sharing her experience and her thoughts about the Resort and about Busting a Lung! 

Looking for more inspiration check out these blogs:

I need inspiration and when I read about the goals and accomplishments that  these women have I know I am not alone. A12nd I learn so much from them, in their blogging and in their lives!

Thank you ladies!

Heather is focused on low calorie and regular intense training:

Meg is very focused on her journey and how everyone and evrything fits into it:

Menne is not joking, she is on a mission and is taking us all with her, the pursuit of happiness:

Trainer Tonia gives some tips on Busting a Lung (she's AWESOME):

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

{Random Acts of Inspiration}

by Betty

My weight loss journey has just started, but the difference with where I am now versus other weight loss attempts is that this time I am putting it all out there. I have started many programs before, but never have I ever really put it out there. I would occasionally share with people, but for the most part I kept it to myself. I have always kept much of my struggle with weight private to avoid vulnerability and awkward conversations. I have always been quite selective about people in my life, but if you're in my life you know I would give you my last dollar and the shirt off my back. For me, it's all about quality, never quantity. (Food...a very different story) My weight loss journey started on November 27, 2011 and everyday since, I have made it a point to tell people about what I am doing. Accountability is the single most important reason that I tell people, but what I get in return is so much more than that. My journey will be as successful as I allow it and to keep myself going I must be inspired. What inspires me now, I was blind to before. Closing myself off from uncomfortable conversations. I want to shake myself sometimes and yell "It's ok. You aren't the only one that knows your fat and in need of help". It's not like I hide my addiction. I wear it for everyone to see so why not talk about it. It's still hard for me to be vulnerable, but I am seeing the world differently. Those uncomfortable conversations are turning into random acts of inspiration.

Cara and I have been getting our nails done at the same nail salon for 16 years. Sixteen years! A true loyal marriage of beauty. Glen Park Nails is the spot and is owned by our dear friend Susan. She is a very savvy small business owner that has put her blood, sweat and tears into a quaint, professional, clean nail salon that has keep me, Cara, Mom, Nicole and friends going back. Susan has a lovely family and in a special way, has been part of our family through the years. Susan is a very healthy woman. She eats really well and stays very fit. Last week, Cara and I had appointments on Friday and talked to Susan about our time at the Biggest Loser Resort. Susan began to tell us about her husband and how they have a routine that she goes to the gym in the morning and he goes in the evening after dinner. She loves her husband very much and is so happy to see him hit the gym. She told him that she needs him in her life to support her physically and emotionally and having a long life with him is extremely important. As she was telling Cara and I all about this, I couldn't help, but notice how passionate she was about her health and her relationship. She then told us a story about a blind man that goes to her gym with his father who helps him work out. She described how his father helps him onto the machines and times him for 5 minutes and then moves him to a different machine. I just stared at Susan as she told the story. At first, I felt such infuriating anger about what a lazy jerk I have been and this man is blind. What a piece of work I have been. But then it truly inspired me. I have no excuses. How amazing is it that I am so capable! I have nothing standing in my way. I am a free, strong, determined individual with a support group that needs their own jersey's and cheering section. I have no excuses. Just pure tenacious ability to change my life.

As you travel your journey, I encourage you to tell people. Talk to people about their journey. Everyone will succeed in different ways, but what's the same is how we all struggle. And it is a struggle. I swear it's so much easier just to be fat. No calorie counting. No sweating, breathless workouts. No mindfulness. But what McDonald's forgets to tell people is that you will still be sweaty and breathless, but only because your heart isn't beating right and arteries are clogged. They don't tell you, you will feel like crap everyday, have teenage acne problems and explosive diarrhea because of the grease, fat and sugar, oh and that you will probably die about 10-15 years sooner than you normally would have should you have just cooked some damn spinach and turkey burger at your house instead.

Shout out's:
To all of the people that inspire me, thank you. You keep me on my journey and remind me that I am worth it. I will be forever grateful that you are helping me save my life.

Don't wait. Start today. Tell everyone. "Yesterday you said tomorrow" -Nike    
All fast food is bad. Only eat it if you enjoy having the runs (and I don't mean the treadmill kind).

Sunday, January 15, 2012


by Betty
I have been having some trouble with my writing recently. Though Cara and I write this blog as a journal for ourselves, we also write for our readers and I don't want to bore you. However, like with most things in my life...I got this. Here we go...
This season of the Biggest Loser on NBC, season 13, is about no more excuses. I hate to admit, but I am just one gigantic excuse. I have lied to myself many times about the true reality of my life and not only am I trying everyday to not ever do that again, I am also trying to forgive myself for it. This blog post is about traveling your own journey.

I have always been a believer in personal accountability and responsibility. I think I was raised that way and my life experience has taught me some invaluable and unforgettable lessons. I have made mistakes, but have learned from all of them. My dad never let Cara and I get away with much. We were good kids in high school even with the typical teenage attitudes. I clearly remember moments in high school where I was faced with a situations that were just not part of who I wanted to be. That doesn't mean I was a goody goody at all, but I can safely look back on those years and know I made choices that were well thought through even for an under developed brain. After high school and to this day, I believe everyone is in charge of their own life. Everything is a choice and no one is forced to make bad decisions. I reminded my younger sister, Nicole of this motto every time she left the house as a teenager and even now as an adult..."make good choices", I say. Just a couple weeks ago, this motto made me a true hypocrite. How can I advise my sister or anyone else to make good choices, when for so long I did not. What I know now is that I make the best decisions for me. Good and bad is slightly up for interpretation, but what isn't, is the journey we are all on in our own lives. 

Cara and I talk about "our journey's" a lot. I sit here and wonder what it means to me so that I can better explain where I am coming from when I refer to it. We are all individuals living our own lives. Even if your a mom or a partner in a huge family where you can barely find yourself, we are each responsible for ourselves and our choices. NO MORE EXCUSES. Like Arthur Wornum from BL11 said, "Bad news: only you can change your life. Good news: only YOU can change your life". I made the bad decisions that lead me to an unhappy, unhealthy life and I own that fact. Even with a food addiction, I refuse to use that as an excuse. No more excuses. No one tied me up and fed me McDonald's. After multiple half assed attempts, I made the good choice to fight to get my life back. Whether you make it to the Biggest Loser Resort or not, YOU are responsible for your life. For your health. For your happiness. No one else is. Not your spouse, your mom or dad, sister, or friends. Just you. That simple thought gives me comfort and fear all that the same time. Comfort in the fact that I know who I am and who I want to be in this world. I am confident in myself and the tenacity I have within me. But fear in the fact that for me, it's life and death. I don't want to fail and for anyone who has been addicted to something, that is a true and unfortunately terrifying reality. There have been Biggest Loser contestants that have lost hundreds of pounds, but gained everything back and had to start all over. I would like to say that when I lose my 150 lbs that I will never go back, but I am fairly sure that no one who loses weight intends on doing it just for fun nor plans on returning to their unhealthy state. What I know is that this will be a life long journey that I travel daily. I mist believe in myself.

So back to the journey definition...what does that really mean? Whether you have a weight problem or not, everyday you wake up, you have choices to make. Your journey involves how you look at the world, who you are/want to be in this world, your own internal communication with yourself and a constant state of mindfulness.
How I look at the world: shit is gonna happen. There is no way around it. Things are not always going to go as planned or as you hope. Even if nothing seems out of place in your life, things happen. I lose my chap stick about 40 times a day and pretty much lose my shit looking for it. This small stupid event can cause my mood to change and food fixes my mood. It's just effin chap stick. Go get another one or just lick your damn lips. The key is to look at the world and things that happen to you in a manner that puts things in perspective for you. I have seen lots of death and yet still flip couches over looking for chap stick. Really? Dumbass. I recognize this is on the extreme end of insignificance and that many hardships happen to people everyday. But it's all in how you look at the world. It's all in how you deal with the shit that hits the fan. As I have mentioned before, I suffer from a lot of anxiety. I don't have anxiety attacks nor can your really tell when you meet me, but if you saw me looking for my chap stick, you would totally run in the other direction fast. I become manic almost, but have learned how to step back. I am consciously trying to look at the world differently. 
               Have patience for things that don't go the way you plan.
               Have compassion for every single person no matter who they are or how you know them. Everyone has their own struggles. Who am we to judge.
               The way you react to things will have a lasting affect on you and will set an example. Things are going to happen. It's all in how you deal.
               Forgive. Forgive yourself. Forgive other people. Holding on to anything is exhausting.
Who you are in this world: This has always been a thinking point for me. Even back in high school. Who do I want to be in this world? What kind of person, doing what kind of work? It is important for me to feel like I am taking full advantage of my strengths. Strengths being things that are weaknesses for others. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and for the most part, my health. So many others to do not have any of those things. I want to be someone who gives back. I have been blessed with a great life so that I may help those who haven't. I find peace in public service even amongst the ciaos. People need. They need support, shelter, food, medical help. Who I am in this world is what is meant to be. I work with a lady named Judy and we have had some really reflective conversations since I have been back from the Resort. Last week we talked about a question Anthony Robbins, famous inspirational speaker and author, purposed...Who are you?
             He says, "You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision to you will ever make. Forget the past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don't think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully".
Only you know who you are and who you want to be. No one else. It's your journey.
Your internal communication with yourself: I learned this at the Resort. The most important relationship you have is with yourself. And with any important relationship, communication is the key to success. Disusing things with yourself helps put things in perspective and can act as a little filing cabinet. Remember how you feel, think about what means the most and cheer yourself on. Though, I know I did talk to myself before the Resort, I can't quite remember anything about it. I am now in constant communication with myself. I don't physically talk to myself, but I do go through things in my mind constantly. Mindfully. Which leads me to my constant state of mindfulness.
My journey is a very mental one. My weight problems have been the result of emotional triggers that I have allowed to happen. My coping mechanism for the shitty fan has always been food. Some are learned habits, but most are conscious choices that I make for myself. I talk a lot about being mindful and it because this is a major factor in my success. I must be mindful of what I am doing. As Essara, the BLR life coach described, I am a time traveler. I think about everything that has happened or things that will happen, never what is happening right now. I have avoided living in the present because for so long because the present has always sucked. I hated how I felt, how I looked and it was all too much to even want to deal with. Food was the remedy and weight gain was the result. I must live in the present. It's happening now and flying by. I swear I was just 21 years old. Now 31, I feel like I have lost some of my life time traveling. To live, is to live now. Mindfully. It is working for me. Though, I do catch myself time traveling regularly, I make a conscious effort to be present. The time is now.
My one warning about the "my journey" careful not to use it as an excuse. Don't eat a burger because 'it's your journey'. Do what's right for you. Make the right choices for you. Don't live to please anyone else. Don't live other people's lives. Live your own life. NO MORE EXCUSES!
Update: I lost 4 pounds this week, for a total of 35 pounds. I wore a pair of jeans out Friday night that were 2 sizes SMALLER than what I wore back on November 27th. This shit is happening. Trust the mutha effin process.
Shout outs: are doing so well and I am so proud. Badda Bing.
Jennifer Rumple (BL12 at home winner!), you are my inspiration. Such a strong, lovely woman you are. Thank you for all your words of wisdom and kindest support.
Kara Vassily...let me first tell all of you, Kara works with me and has been so supportive since day one. She has invited Cara and I to a workout day with her and a trip to our local farmers market which we can't wait for! She also left me a bunch of organic meyer lemons and 2 hour playlist of some of her favorite workout jams with a lovely note. Kara, it all means the world to me. Thank you.
Kevin Ronan...another amazing friend at remind me of the fire I have inside me. What I know is that NO ONE is going to stand in my way. No one. Thank you for lighting me up. Get that hustle on son.
Victor may live in San Diego, but you are my workout partner. I can't tell how important your daily workout agenda texts are and you cheering Cara and me on along the way. You are truely living. I aspire to do just that. Thank you. Peace and love to you, too.
Ryan Dennis 40th Birthday! As Cara and I started our journey's you did as well and I think you are doing so well. You have always had control over your food so it dosn't surprise that now the weight is falling off of you. You and Cara have so much to live for and your babies are so lucky to have you. I am so proud to call you my brother and support you every step of the way just as you have done for me. WIN THE DAY!
Tips: Holy 10%. (Reminder: we are on the 90/10 plan. 90% of my meals I eat to exact calorie budget of 1400. 10% I get a treat.) I have not really used a true 10% since I have been back from the Resort, but this weekend has made up for it. No fear, I am in full control here and being very mindful about my food, but hot damn...I love me some 10%. This weekend has been a little more like 20-25%, but I worked out extra to make up a little for it buring 3225 calories on Friday and 4174 on Saturday. Friday, I had dinner out, but it was tapas small plates which really helps with portion control. I limited my alcohol intake...I feel like those calories are such a waste. Saturday, I had the most amazing food at Brunch Drunk Love at Bruno's in SF. If you are ever in the city, you must go! I will just say this...Mac and Cheese Spring Rolls. 
Today is a new day. Everyday is a new day. Win it. Everyday.

Monday, January 9, 2012

{The Quest}

by Betty

Thank God it's Sunday...for 2 very different reasons. I love that I feel rested on Sundays after some good sleep catch up on Saturday and it's the end of my food and exercise week. I look back on what I ate, how I moved and what didn't or did work best. Each week I am finding things that work really well for me and some that I need to change immeidately. One thing working is my cooking. I have been in the kitchen every day. I am no culinary genius, but I am doing better and not disliking it so much. One thing that isn't working: I am not tracking my intake consistently every meal. I know I am not eating over my calories, but I have made deprivation mistakes in the past that play a huge role in my failures. Making sure I eat my daily calorie goal is important to my weekly and long term success. I have asked countless trackers what systems they use and the answer is always the same 'do what works for you'. I have tried a couple different methods of tracking and can't seem to find one that I can stick with. I would love to hear about your best practices in food tracking. What do you use?

Blogging definitely works. Going back to read previous posts and the comments friends left keeps me motivated and accountable. I am reminded of my commitments and goals.

I turned on the TV last night and watched the ending of Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts. Great book, too. There is a quote at the end of the movie I am including below. You never know where little random phat chances of thoughfulness come from. For me, it was this quote.

      "In the end, I've come to believe in something I call "The Physics of the Quest." A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you're brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you"

Whether you know this book/movie or not, one thing is clear, anyone with any internal struggle must be brave, mindful, vulnerable, and ready. The hardest of these for me is vulnerability. I am still learning how to allow myself. Stop my avoidance and try to embrace emotions. What I do know is that I am brave. I am more and more mindful everyday and I am ready. I tried planning to get my mind right before I left for the Biggest Loser Resort, but if I couldn't do it before on my own, what made me think I could just schedule it in the day before we left? I always have unreachable goals set for myself...that's part of the problem. So I get to the Resort and with the guidance of Essara and the friendships made with other guests, I found myself ready, brave and very mindful for my return home. To renew all of these amazing lessons, Cara and I are talking about having a BL day at my house. We will invite friends and family interested in the process and will provide information we received at the Resort. Our way of paying it forward. This will renew our Resort education and keep us brave, ready, mindful and most of all, vulnerable. I may not be wearing my sports bra and shorts in front of you all, but I definitely feel exposed. It's hard being the elephant in the room, literally. It's still not easy and everyday I have a moment of WTF!, but I know what I want and I know how to get it. From this moment on, it's up to me. I will be the reason for success and I will be the reason for failure. But as I have said before, shoot me between the eyes if I ever go back.

Shout outs:

To the Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels are like bread and butter, weirdos and video games, crystal light and sparkling water, me and reality TV, wholly guac and everything, chocolate covered strawberries and the Biggest Loser Resort...THEY ARE MEANT TO BE. Make it happen NBC. It's time.


I have some favorite go-to items I pick up at the store every week...
salsa: I eat a lot of salsa. I love saucy food. To replace my ranch, ketchup and gravy, I use salsa. For me, the hotter the better.  
apples: One thing I clearly remember from the Resort was my regularity. Fiber is your friend. I have never felt cleaner than I did at the Resort. Lot's of fiber in the skin of an apple, plus with my new and improved taste buds, apples are yummy sweet goodness.  
rice cakes: I may thank rice cakes in my weight loss success speech. I love the crunch and you can put anything on them..peanut butter or laughing cow.
crystal light pure: I was a complete Diet Coke addict before the Resort. At least, 1 a day, sometimes two. I do love water, but sometimes I just want something different. Grape and Kiwi Strawberry are my favorite.
salads from Trader Joe's: I am all about quick and easy. Already made salads with low-cal dressing are the way to go. Takes the work out of packing lunch.
Ak-Mak crackers: great with salsa.
Whole Wheat Tortillas: There are lots of brands out there. I go with the lowest calorie per serving size. Easy whole grain to grab with egg whites or ground turkey.
Speaking of ground turkey...Jenni-O, I adore you. I use the extra lean ground turkey from Jenni-O several times a week for turkey patties, taco meat, in tomato sauce, and stir fry.

What are your go-to food shopping items? I am always looking for more ideas!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Home: One Month

by Cara

Today marks 4 weeks since we left the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge Malibu. I have had some real emotions this weekend as I thought about what that meant and where I am in my progress. I reminded myself today that it is not about being skinny or the number on the scale (although that haunts me). It is about how I feel, my energy, my body and my wellness. I miss so much about being there, the alone time, seeing my sister everyday, the workouts, and the people. I am so thankful to have met truly amazing friends that I hope to know for a lifetime.

Here are my stats to date:

Starting Weight: BLR
One Month:
November 27, 
December 11, 
January 8,




Total Lost: 28.9 lbs (6 weeks)

I am amazing myself EVERYDAY that I do this. I believe that this works, I can see that it works and I am loving the results and myself more and more.

When I left BLR my goals were to workout 3 times a week, maintain 1600 calories a day, and to work on my routine and schedule with my sons (since I felt that my ability to accomplish my other goals would rely on my ability to maintain a routine with them). I feel that I have been fairly successful in all areas. I think with the holidays thrown in this equation I was busier than I usually am. 

For this next month I want to really focus on the schedule aspect of my life. I feel that there are long periods of time that I cannot account for, maybe on Facebook or Twitter, this time really needs to be used to my advantage. So my goals for this next month on top of what I am currently doing are to:

1. Get the boys out doing something somewhere for minimum 1 hour EVERYDAY
2. Plan 1 family hiking trip this month
3. Activate our 24 hour Gym Memberships and join a class (this will be in addition to my 3 workouts)

Each month as I progress I will be adding on or maybe taking away something that I have worked on. I am very lucky to have a new found group of women on my side. This weekend I spent a few hours of my Saturday meeting with 10 women, hearing their stories and what they hope to accomplish in 2012. What I learned most from them, from the evening and the information we shared I want to be a doer! I no longer want to let this life happen, I want to make it happen. There are too many times that I have said I would get something done or that I would LIKE to do something (run a marathon, read a book, see a movie, go on a date with my husband, call a friend) and I don't do it. WHY? It's time to DO. And on this journey to be healthier I am MAKING shit happen. I finally see that when I set my mind to something and say I will do it I CAN.

With that said I end this entry with the video of our first week at Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Malibu. This place changed our lives. As Betty will tell you it has saved her life. We are forever grateful. 

For those of you not sure who Brianne & Cara are we are shown together towards the end together wearing our BIG sunglasses!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

{The Pitty Party is OVER}

Momma said there would be days like this...

My pitty party is coming to a slow end. Not quite over yet. These last couple of days have been a struggle for me. I always try to step back and see if the problem is me. (I can be quite the jerk at times) What I have realized is that prior to going to the Biggest Loser I was content with my life. Content in the sense that my routine maintained itself. Long work days, lots of work worries, no exercise at all, bad sleep, poor internal communication and lots of really bad food. Pretty much completely fucked. Then I get to the Resort and I'm forced to really look at the life I was living and see the life I could live and make a choice. Literally, between living and dying. On several hikes, I often thought about death. Usually, because I felt like I was dying or would may be rather die than ever hike again, but nonetheless, death is a mere fact of life. As I've heard a lot recently, we don't leave this earth alive. I'm not going to get all 'morbid paramedic' on you but I will say that though, I have seen a lot of death, I suffer from complete anxiety over my own or anyone I know. On these hikes, I'd think about how if I died from an obesity related disease, knowing that I caused it myself, that everything I believe in about myself would mean so little. I pride myself on 2 things: my integrity and work ethic. I am far from perfect and am no poster child, but I do know who I am. I know what's important to me and it's my word and my work. And no one with my tenacity, honesty, compassion and fierce investment in my family, friends and work would EVER allow some bullshit to stop them from living as long as they damn well please. So coming home to a life I wasn't really living and now need to flip upside down has been a lot to deal with. But it's getting easier.
I choose life. And all it's good and bad days.

Update: I have lost a total of 27lbs in 5 weeks. I have been letting my foot heal so my workouts have been light. This week I will pump them up. It's go time.

Shout outs:
Dylan and Jonna...Happy New Year Farks! Thank you for ringing in the new year once again. You both are such inspirations to me. I feel renewed after seeing you and am reminded of how lucky I am to have you as friends. You make me want to be the best person I can be and I will forever cherish you.
2011: what a piece of crap year (until November when we got to the Resort). You were filled with lots of sadness, low self esteem and stress. I'm so glad you are over.
2012! Geez, finally. Welcome! This is gonna be my year. I'm living my life and no one else's. I'm going to be thankful for everyday I wake up. My commitment to myself and all the people that support me is to lose the weight of a large dog from my body and to be mindful of every moment that journey has.
To me: I believe in you. You're a badass inside now make the outside match.

Tips:Planning your food when your invited to a dinner party can be tough. I planned to use my 10% only because I wasn't sure what was being served. But it was great! I ate a snack before I left the house so I would feel too hungry. A chicken and rice dish was served. Nothing fried. No cheese or excess butter. Cooked in a pot and in the oven. I had 1 taste of a small yummy cheesy pesto potato appetizer and 1 glass of champagne (my 1st alcoholic bev in well over a month). I had a small serving of dinner with green beans and salad. I planned on having dessert, but decided to pass last minute as I still felt full from dinner. Who the F am I?

It was a success.  I finished 2011 strong.
I wish everyone reading this blog an amazing 2012 filled with mindful choices and life changes.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

No resolutions. Just commitment.

by Cara
Happy 2012, everyone. Today marks 3 weeks since we returned from the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Malibu. 3 weeks of realizing our future, making adjustments to our schedules and food regimen and gaining the commitment of the family and friends we have around us. I have to say that making these changes during the holidays has been hard it has also made me feel so much more powerful over the mind game that I have always played with myself.

Yesterday you said tomorrow.

For the last 6 months of my life I think I told my husband that I would be getting up before he leaves for work to go for a walk/jog/run...and I NEVER went. Well maybe a few times, but there was always something that kept me from going; the baby woke up 3 times, I couldn't fall asleep, I was too cold, or I was just not feeling it. When we left for the BL Resort we were handed a wrapped package, and the first night we were there we opened it to find that we each had a large envelope of hand written letters and inspirational cards to get us through. Family, friends, work partners and our life partners had written us letters and messages. Ryan had created a few inspirational cards that I actually had posted on my wall at the resort, a reminder of what I was doing there and the most impact came from that quote, "Yesterday you said tomorrow" Ryan was on to me he knew I was faking it. Saying but not doing. I am happy to say that has all changed in the last 3 weeks that we have been home. I have met my goals each week of working out 3 times. I created a series of goals before I left the resort. Three days a week seems doable for my life. I hope to increase that number, but for now it is working. I have been happier. I have more energy. And you know when your underwear is too big it is working!
(total loss 19.3 lbs/5 weeks)

My inspiration wall in my room at Biggest Loser Resort Malibu

So tonight I say tomorrow...and I mean it!
I am committed to changing my life and it feels amazing.

Happy 2012!

Baked Gooey Goodness

Baked Babybels
from The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook
Apps and Snacks, Pronto (p. 109)

Olive Oil Spray
3 ounces all-natural wheat pizza dough (used Whole Foods Brand)
1/2 tsp. salt-free garlic seasoning (I used Italian Herb seasoning & red pepper flake)
2 rounds Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light, sliced in half to create two rounds (not 2 half circles)
Preheat the oven to 450. Place a sheet of nonstick foil on a small baking sheet. Lightly mist the foil with the olive oil spray.

Weigh 3/4 ounces of dough with a scale. On a clean work surface flatten the dough into rounds large enough for dough to be larger than the cheese round. Place half a Babybel on the dough and bring the sides up and to the center so that the cheese is completely covered with the dough. Place each dough round on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each round with your seasoning of choice, the red pepper flake was just right for me.

Bake for 5-7 minutes, watching them carefully during the last few minutes, or until the dough is cooked. You want to remove them from the oven before the cheese oozes (although mine oozed and they still were AMAZING) Serve immediately.

Serving Size: 2 balls (equals 1 whole Babybel Light)
Per Serving: 148 calories, 9g protein, 18g carbs, 4g fat, 2g fiber

I served mine with Monte Bene Low-Fat Tomato Basil Sauce(also at Whole Foods)
Serving Size: 1/2 cup(as a dipping sauce you only need a few tablespoons)
Per Serving: 24 calories, 1g protein, 2g carbs, 1g fat, 1g fiber

Jack & Jason's Blueberry Pancake Mix

Made in S.F.

Serving: 2-4 inch pancakes
Calories/Serving: 190 calories

These pancakes were very filling. They are sweet and oatmeal tasting when you start, but as you get into it they do have an awesome pancake taste, I also like to add a half teaspoon of vanilla extract to my pancakes. I was only able to eat 1 pancake. They are thick and filling, I also had about 2 table spoons of regular syrup which is 200 calories (so not worth it). I also had a cup of coffee and a side of fresh orange segments. 

If you are looking for whole grain pancakes/waffle mix this is excellent. They make five flavors: Original, Blueberry, Double Chocolate, Banana Walnut and Pumpkin Spice. I just purchased the Pumpkin Spice and can let you all know how that is later this week. 

If you are in the SF Bay Area you should be able to get these mixes at Whole Foods or Mollie Stones and they are also available online at