Thursday, April 26, 2012


I Am Changing.

I love getting into the holiday season for many reasons; one reason is the shopping and all the catalogs that come in the mail in volumes. Mother’s day is around the corner and several catalogs arrived…one of my fav’s Uncommon Goods has this cute little necklace that has an "I am" charm and then another charm with a word on it…"Complete", "Loved" etc. I have a birthday around the corner and was thinking how I might like to put this on a wish list, but then I stopped and tried to decide what my word would be.

In the last 5 and a half months my word has been amended many times over.
I am lost.
I am scared.
I am grateful.
I am committed.
I am sweaty.
I am healthier.
I am happy.

I began my journey at the Biggest Loser Resort back on November 27, 2011 with my sister Cara.  I was lost, scared and so unhealthy. I was grateful that I found myself ready to take control of my life. Committed was the only word I spoke to myself for the full 2 weeks in Malibu. It’s about eating less and moving more. I push myself until I am dripping with sweat. I have lost 60 pounds and I feel so much better. I have a ways to go, but I am so happy with where I am now.

I think back to the person I was just 5 months ago and can’t believe the mental transformation. The physical one is pretty significant too, but mentally, I am in a much better place. I still struggle with anxiety and coping with emotions I used to eat, but it’s not a switch I can flip. It is a process. And I trust the process. It’s not easy every day, but every day is good. I am worth it. I know this now.

I am supported.

The most important part of this journey and the part that means the most to me is my support group. My family has always been true fans even when there was nothing to cheer for. And my friends know me and love me still. Then I met this group of people from the Biggest Loser Resort…I know it is because of them and my 2 weeks that I am different now.  I met these people at the lowest point I have ever been in my life and they understood my struggle, my fears and truth. Beside them, I vowed to myself that I would take my life back and live. I have never been more vulnerable and humbled than I was during those two weeks and I will never be able to thank them for unconditionally supporting me, inspiring me and investing in me. On Sunday, Cara, Nicole and I leave for the Biggest Loser Finale in LA and we get to spend 3 days with our Biggest Loser Resort friends. I am beyond excited and feel like I need this reunion to remind me of how I started my journey, be proud of how far I have come and  return inspired to continue. I will see them and vow my commitment to myself once again. I need this trip and can’t wait to see all of them. Although, I can’t wait for the Finale and rooting on my friend and Biggest Loser #13 contestant, Mike Messina, I am also very anxious about next week approaching.


After 13 years with American Medical Response, I have accepted a new job with Kaiser Permanente. Not just any job…a huge major grown-up job as a Quality Manager. I am heartbroken about leaving AMR, but I could not be more humbled and honored to have been referred and selected for this position. I can’t begin to explain how much AMR and the SF staff means to me without breaking down sobbing, so I will spare this blog the details. My last day with AMR is May 4th and my first day with Kaiser is May 7th. I will be staying on with AMR as a consultant until I either fall over or they remove my key access. 
Either way, life is happening. 
I am changing. That’s my word.

Shout outs:
Kelly Potate! I tear up every time I remember you aren’t going to be in LA. Know that I will miss you, but will see your beautiful face soon. I love you more than sparkling water.
Michael…There are no words for my profound appreciation for the investment you have made in my life. Training with you has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself. Thank you for pushing me every day. Life by trainer.
MIKE MESSINA!!! I wish you the best life ever.
To me: the vow you made to yourself is unbreakable. Stay strong. Mindful. Your tenacity and perseverance will take you far. Leave AMR with a sense of pride and gratitude and move forward with Kaiser staying true to your integrity and work ethic. No matter what, never forget how brilliant your life is and all of the people who make it so. You are one lucky little B.

This journey is still hard, but it’s getting easier. Food choices are becoming habit and I feel so much better after a workout. I never thought I would ever say this in my entire life, but I actually like spinning. I know…shock. And let me clarify, I don’t like every minute of it. Rolling hills and a level 10 out of the saddle and the constant ache in my butt bone aren’t all rainbows and sunshine, but I like the challenge of spinning. I push myself hard and burn almost 1000 calories in 50 minutes. It takes some courage to start, but I highly recommend trying it. Find what you like and do it. Just don’t stop.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Good Pair of Shoes

Today, I say goodbye to a pair of shoes that changed my life.

My Brooks Glycerin Shoes....

  • took me to Fitness Ridge Malibu
  • hiked next to Biggest Losers 
  • trained with amazing trainers
  • met my trainer and friend Michael
  • helped me lose 50 lbs over 4 months
  • and ran the US HALF MARATHON

All I can say is thank you for the start of something wonderful.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


by Brianne

I look back on the last couple of weeks and take a relaxing breath. It has been a while since our last blog post and I wanted our first one back to be about Cara’s marathon. Blogging is a part of our journey and we allowed a short time to pass without a post which doesn’t help us in any way. We thank you so much for reading and hope you look forward to regular entries again.
The last few weeks have been wonderful and horrible. I have been faced with many different emotions and feel the commitment I have to my weight loss journey has been tested. I have had long work hours, long school hours, social commitments, a funeral, some new opportunities and a lot of difficult decision making. In the end, I sit here humbly writing a blog post knowing that I did not turn to food to cope with any of the emotions and I was able to stay active several times a week. That’s the goal, right? Eat less. Move more. I feel successful in the fact that I am still on my journey working hard and doing everything with a clear mind and a dedicated heart. Things are changing in my life and the next few blog posts will start to talk about that.
When Cara and I started packing for the Biggest Loser Resort last November, we talked about what we were bringing to wear. Not actively active, neither of us had very many workout fits and didn’t want to come wearing our normal everyday-plus-size-looks-like-your-going-to-the-gym-but-just-want-to-be-comfortable-never-workout clothes. Naturally, we purchased a couple items and our rah-rah GO DUCKS! gear in honor of our inspiring sister, Nicole. I bought us CamelBacks from REI for hiking and Cara brought a million toiletries. We shopped for hiking shoes and sports bras. Though I wanted to be prepared, I was just ready to get there and start. The details were not as important to me until Cara dropped this gem…”If you feel good in the clothes you have and the tools you use, you will be motivated to live that lifestyle”…it may not have been stated exactly like that, but it completely changed how I felt about the subject. I didn’t buy anything special for the Resort, mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time to shop and because at that time finding clothes that fit and were worth spending money was quite infrequent. I packed what I had and knew I wouldn’t be judged. Being back from the Resort and living my journey at home, there are some tools and clothing I rely on and feel that they are part of the lifestyle. I live in my workout gear, but I still have quite a bit of weight to lose so I purchase clothes from the active wear section at Old Navy. They have some great, inexpensive options. I have 3 pairs of workout shoes I rotate between. I wear my Body Bugg. I refill Nalgene and Camelback bottles every day. I use an iPod to listen to music. And most recently, I got an iPhone. For those of you that know me and the complete adverse opposition I have had with iPhone’s….I know. I caved. Cara is right, though. The tools you have matter and they do encourage and empower me to live this healthy lifestyle. I have been so much better about tracking my food and educating myself daily on eating well and exercise because of my iPhone. (I don’t deny I adore Instagram and Words With Friends as well, however) As with any phone, it takes some getting used to. I am a devout PC and BlackBerry user so my Apple transition has been a nightmare…I mean….adventure! I am an avid texter and the learning curve on this mother f*$king iPhone is ridiculous. Nonetheless, it is a tool and it helps me every day. Crazy thing…there are moments in our lives that can change us and the first day I became an iPhone user, I had one of these moments.
Prior to meeting Tara Costa, Biggest Loser Season 7 contestant and seeing her PMA (positive mental attitude) tattoo, I faked most of my good moods. I always tried to make people feel special and happy. I always tried to get a laugh. Inside enjoying the time, but not enjoying myself. Often, I would project my unhappiness by saying rude things, having a secretive and sometimes public, negative outlook and would frequently type FML as a text to my sister or as a tweet. FML (F*^k My Life) was a message I whispered to myself often. It is a daily job being mindful about my food, my journey and my attitude which sometimes falls short. Frustrated with my new iPhone, I was trying to text Cara and I typed FML, but the intuitive auto correct spelling changed it to BML. The moment it changed from FML to BML I said “Better My Life”. What the f*^k am I doing still typing FML? I know there will be hard days and I know my weight loss journey is a process, but look at how far I have come! I have lost 60 pounds and found a love for spinning. Five months ago I was typing FML because my knees hurt, it was hard to breath and I felt worthless. Today, I type BML because no matter how the day goes or what crap surfaces, I am bettering my life.   

A quote from the movie A Single Man:
“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.”
Shout outs:
CARA MARIE! I woke up on Easter Sunday bursting with pride. You told me years ago that you wanted to run a marathon. Every year, you said next year. Then you said at 30. You are 30 and on Sunday you ran the U.S. Half Marathon. You were my hero before so nothing has changed, but I want you to know that I am so inspired by your strength, courage and commitment. You have taken control of your life. I wish that all your dreams come true.
Nicole A…I don’t tell you enough, but I love you more than Easter candy and feel our family is complete with you back home. I know some days are harder than other, but you are the best aunt to our nephews and I can't tell enough how much I need you in my life.
Michael, my trainer: I will be forever grateful for your unconditional, nonjudgmental investment in my sister and me. Few words can describe our love and appreciation for you even if you did cause me to throw up at a 76 gas station after your “Triathlon Workout”.
(To Christine)
It’s not easy cutting calories. They add up. The only way to truly know how you are doing with your calorie intake is to track it. I eat around 1400 calories a day and some days are harder than others. I used to eat between 3500-4000 calories a day so it is quite the drastic decrease, however at the Resort we ate 1200 calories and Jessica the nutritionist made it a point to have everyone acknowledge their hunger levels. The key with all meal plans, no matter how many calories you are consuming, is choosing the right food. Your food should consist of protein, veggies and fruit and a whole grain. I am leaving out the amounts of each, but can elaborate if needed. I cut back on my carb intake after lunch or if I know I have already gotten my workout in for the day, but if I feel hungry I add to the portion of veggies and sometimes add in a whole grain to curb my hunger. It is important to not feel deprived or too hungry. If you feel hungry, eat. Just choose the right food. I knew it would be tough in the beginning going from 3000 calories to 1400, but now I try to eat to fuel as opposed to fill. It’s all about the choices. Gauge your hunger and eat the right food.

Monday, April 9, 2012


by Cara

I haven't checked in for 3 weeks. I need to check in more, this is where I feel I can hold myself the most accountable. I share my goals, my successes, but I also can share my struggles. Because when it comes down to it, this is a life long journey, so life has to happen while changing.

In the last 3 weeks I have made some amazing strides.

Monday, March 26: I officially felt like I could call myself a runner. Michael, my trainer, called me in early to our training session "We're going to do something different!" I arrived at 10:40 and we left the gym. From 24 Hour on Van Ness and Post to San Francisco's own Coit Tower. If you need visual, think uphill BOTH ways! 4.47 miles in a little over 1 hour. I felt so good.

It was that day that I realized, I love being outside. It was a reminder of how much I enjoyed the hikes in Malibu at Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge. Later that week Ryan and I went for the Twin Peaks hike and actually found an even better trail just behind our house. I also really like working out with my husband, Ryan. Who has been kicking ass in the health and fitness department. I am so lucky to have his support and partnership on this journey. I love him very much and as we get stronger physically our love is stronger too. (Awe, cheesy, I know!)

Brianne and I were working very hard on a project at work. We would work for a few hours, see Michael, then work for a few more hours. That project was a true test. We were down to the wire, I was still working 3 days at Stanford and I really wanted to be with my kids. My workouts and my food were still my focus. And luckily we survived and  got our workouts in too.

About a week and a half ago, Michael asked what I thought about running the US Half Marathon "The Other Half" on Sunday, April 8. I looked at him and said well thats Easter, really what else would I be doing on Easter, but eating chocolate. So I started training. One week to the event I started training, really!  On Sunday, April 1st I ran. My goal was to run a 5k all the way through, so I ran outside in my neighborhood, hills and all, I ran 5.33 miles in an hour and 15 minutes. I felt great and was more surprised in my time and ability. This past week I ran on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday. I was battling my own mind as I tried to imagine running 13.1 miles, but also my mind was completely somewhere else.  I have spent the last 2 weeks struggling with who I am mentally. I have not felt strong enough mentally to get through the day to day. I have felt like I am letting people down, especially my one true partner, my husband. My own struggles really do hurt him and I had to get past what I was feeling to make sure we were OK. I might be physically stronger, but my mind has not caught up. I am also trying to give everything I do 100% of me and well that is nearly impossible. But when I think about it, "Someone busier than me is running RIGHT NOW!" 

Yesterday, was the day. Sunday, April 8th! The Resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of my inner athlete. I could not have asked for a better day, it was cool, sun shinning and clear. In my city by the bay I started and ended at Aquatic Park, AND I ran... through the Presidio, and Marina Green and across the Golden Gate Bridge! I ran about 90% of it, and my goal was to FINISH. I finished in 2:47:38!!! Under 3 hours...HOLY SHIT! I just did that. My knees and hips are stiff today, but today I can say my head is in this. I am stronger and I believe in myself. When we hit mile 12, Michael (who stayed with me and coached me the whole way) said that when I crossed that finish line all the things holding me back would be gone and that I would only be moving forward and upward from here. It is true. Nothing can hold me back anymore.I left those insecurities and doubts at mile 12 yesterday. I am stronger because of this and so thankful to my trainer, my amazing husband, and my family for being my support and for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself. And lastly a final thank you to Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge Malibu and to all of my amazing friends I met there. I thought of each of you as I ran, the power we created at the resort fuels my journey and I am so lucky to have your support.

p.s I have officially lost 52 lbs. in 4 months! 
Believe in yourself. Trust the process. Change forever.