More Than Just After Jiggle

my-thoughts-on-zumba-26099Week: #4

Pounds Lost: 10

Pounds to Go: 190

Another great week in the books for our little family filled with exercise, activity, and bravery on the part of yours truly. I have always had a love and even a passion for exercise, but whether it is guilt or embarrassment, shame or just plain fear, there are some classes at the gym that I have turned away from, mainly because I don’t want to see myself doing them. I hide from the mirrors, when an instructor says look at your form in the mirror, I am mentally thinking “yeah, better not”. I am acutely aware of the weight that I have put back on. I am painfully aware of my shattered strength, speed, flexibility and agility. I am the “let themselves go” cautionary tale right now! Even with all of that, something was pulling me to take my first Zumba class… just for … fun??

So I thought, go… just do it… but don’t look in the mirrors. Mirrors don’t lie, ok, maybe fun house mirrors do, but not the ones in gyms, and seeing the truth of my body as it is right now, doing Zumba moves, is just not something I would look at with accepting eyes. It isn’t about being awkward with movement or with latin styles of dance. It isn’t a difficulty with catching on quickly to moves or rhythms, oh no, that I CAN do! I may be a Fatty McFat Mom right now with ample after jiggle, but I have the moves to back up that jiggle! It is all about not looking the way I once did, or the not yet looking the way I want to in the future, while doing those moves.

So there I was, hiding in the back. There was actually a visible divide between those who loved to look at themselves in the mirror, aka the front row, and those of us who would rather avoid it, aka the back row, but very little imbetweeners. That is until the instructor said something about the obvious gap in the room. Us back row bandits all inched forward tentatively as if there was some kind of vortex in the middle of the room that we did not want to get sucked into. On blares the music and we are off. Here’s the kicker, there was no microphone!!! Now, since this was the popping of my Zumba cherry, I do not know if this is normal, but I am definitely used to having some type of verbal queue for what the eFF I am supposed to be doing. Nope. Not in this room, you follow and either you catch on or you just keep wiggling until the class is over!

Not to my surprise, but maybe to the surprise of others, there I was keeping up, every single pound of me was moving. It was fun, I was completely out of breath, and I cannot wait for next week! I had to leave a few minutes early since my childcare time limit was quickly approaching, but as I made my way out the door, the most uplifting thing happened… the instructor moved to the side of her stage, pointed at me, and said “You’re awesome”. I mouthed thank you and waved goodbye. We both know I will be back!  I may never have the courage to actually tell her, but she completely made my day. She didn’t see just the after jiggle, she didn’t see my lack of confidence in myself or my general disgust at my appearance, she saw a dancer. Maybe it was because without looking at the mirrors, I could imagine myself as the dancer I once was. Maybe it was because as a newcomer I exceeded her expectations. Or maybe just maybe, it was because she could see in me what I cannot wait to be visible on the outside to everyone, especailly myself. A vibrant, athletic, strong, beautiful and sometimes even sexy woman who is ready to live.

The moral of this cautionary tale is, your size, your weight, your shape, are all things that can be changed. You can make your outside absolutely match whatever or whomever you see yourself as on the inside. It may take time, sacrifice, money, determination, perseverance, dedication, you know all of those motivational poster words, but having your outside match your inside is well worth all of it. I cannot wait for the day that I finally match again!


FatFree Mommy

A different Approach to the Same Problem

The Book that started my new journey!

The Book that Started my new journey!

Week: Oh for Fs Sake… Week #1

Pounds Lost: 4

Pounds To Go: 197

Happy New Year!!! Time for a New You, time for a change, this time will be the last time, blah blah blah… but really, this time will no doubt be different. So, here we are a week into the new year and with this new year new promises to myself have been made. Albeit, promises that I have no doubt made to myself before, but as ol’ uncle Winston Churchill said, Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

The truth is, I have been kind of lost. I have an amazing program that I am on that keeps me energetic, focused, and well, enthusiastic throughout each day, I love it but it only solves one piece of the puzzle. I thought that just by having the energy and the focus I could conquer by tendency to binge, but in reality, I needed something a little bit more. I tried going back to food plans of the past, but they weren’t the same. I needed a new food program, one that was strict enough for me to successfully follow. Some people thrive from choices and loose restrictions… I am NOT one of those people. I need check boxes, I need rules, and I need someone who would I would have to face if I failed.

Enter stage right, none other than the Bikini Boss herself… well, to be honest, when I first met her I had no idea who she was, but I knew she knew fitness. You know those women who own whomever they are without apology, the type of women we should all aspire to be like as far as the self-ownership… yep, that’s her. She is Fit Mom. She wrote a book and I bought it to be supportive of a new mommy acquaintance.  Well, that purchase ended up opening a door to a new food plan that is sending all other food plans that I have ever tried out the window. She ended up creating a personalized meal and exercise plan for me and my mind was blown!! It still follows the high frequency smallish quantity meals, high in protein, and nothing packaged idea, but in a different way. The idea being to focus on losing fat and creating lean muscle mass. Easy enough, right?? (Man, I wish there was a sarcasm font!)

Anyhoo… She challenged me to be my own transformation story, and without hesitation, I said, game on! I have meal prepped like a boss, and tomorrow it all begins. I am actually really excited! The best part, our children’s activity schedule has me seeing her multiple times a week, I can’t hide, I can’t avoid seeing her, so that only leaves me the option of success! So, here we go! Day 1 is just hours away!


FatFree Mommy

Thankful Beyond Words

Thankful Beyond WordsWeek: #5

Pounds Lost: 20

Pounds To Go: 188

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone!!! Words just cannot describe how thankful I am for our little family and for the friends who we shared this holiday with! I cooked all day, laughed all night, and it was they type of holiday gathering I have always envisioned. I even indulged just a little! I really was so proud of myself though! I took what I wanted without fear, because this year, for the first time in a long time, I was ok with letting go for the day.

Being on a weight loss journey can come with its fair share of guilt. Which is a mindset that I don’t particularly want to subscribe to any more. Ok, you had a piece of pie, all of Santa’s elves will not lose their left pinky finger if you eat a piece of pie! The world will not come to an end, and most importantly, neither will your health journey. Should you have pie every day and be ok with it, probably not if your goal is weight loss, but on a holiday where it is customary to partake in a slice, go for a small one without regrets!  That’s just what I did on Thursday, and it really did feel good.

Friday I felt the effects of gluten in my system and a twinge of dehydration, but other than that, it was a continuation of an amazing day full of thanks. Kids played, tree was decorated, leftovers were consumed, and I was back on track! All in all, it was a Thanksgiving I will look back on with joy. I needed one of those, and I really am thankful beyond words to have it in my memory bank!


The trick this Holiday season, is to let go of the tricks. You have to start out by believing that a day is just a day and that tomorrow is a new one. Ruining your holiday with the constant thoughts of food guilt or depravity will take away from the happy moments with family and friends. Focusing on the human interactions of the day will in turn help curb the urge to seriously over-indulge, for the simple reason that your meal will last longer. Unless you are absolutely gross, you will not talk or laugh and chew at the same time. That talking, that laughing, will put time gaps between bites, thus making you eat a little slower which will help you recognize when you are full. Win-Win! Besides, these holidays are supposed to be about the blessings of family and friends in your life, right?! It’s time to embrace the spirit of the holidays! So put down that fork and start talking, start laughing, engage in a conversation! I promise, you’ll be glad you did!


Fat-Free Mommy

Hatred of Tuesday

26983_1339420858498_5229929_nWeek: #3

Pounds Lost: 18

Pounds To Go: 190

This week, Madame Scale was a reflection of the rollercoaster of emotions and stress leading up to Tuesday… November 14th… a date that I really hate has meaning at all. I hate November 14th, and although I am certain that many amazing people may have birthdays or anniversaries or events of Joy on this day, November 14th is the date that houses my deepest pain. I wish it didn’t exist. I dread this day all year long, and we have basically arrived.

On November 14th, just 3 short years ago, I lost someone so special, so amazing, so generous, so selfless… I lost my Dad, and with him a piece of me. I wasn’t ready for him to go then, and to be honest, I’m still not ready for him to be gone. I go through amazing life events, like my little princess dancing and cheerleading, and I see pieces of me in her, pieces that HE would have recognized. I see me in my little prince, in his love for Christmas and music and movement, and in those things I also see HIM. He is all around us. He is in random owls that I see in broad daylight. He is in my prince’s love for all things chocolate. I have to believe that… I have to… because the alternative… the fact that besides a small jar  of ash, he is gone… is crippling.  I cry, I close my eyes, and I can see his hands, every time. That vision never really makes things better, although maybe someday it will. However, until that day, I will spend November 14th reading my own raw account of the day that he died in my arms…


This week I am going to take a break from writing about the usual weight-loss and mommyhood topics, although as a side note I am back on the healthy eating wagon and have already lost 8 pounds! Even with that success, I need to take a moment to get more personal. To use this little online diary as a way to cope and shuffle myself through the process of grief. Because this week I lost much more than any number on the scale. This week, and to be specific, at 3:53pm on Friday, I lost my Dad.

My Dad, was in short, the most wonderful man on the planet. As a boy he grew up in an orphanage, only to emerge with a positive spirit into his first foster home at 16. He excelled in sports through college, and was adored as a teacher throughout his career, but what he was most amazing at was being a father. He raised me on his own, certainly not small undertaking by any means, and we functioned as a pair. Just me and him, for the majority of my life, and that is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Almost eight years ago, we got the news, the news that limited time. Stage 3 colon cancer had been detected and there was no telling how much time we had left, but we knew all of it would be borrowed. Well, he fought harder than anyone so he could see my dreams come true. He made sure to dance with me at my wedding, and to see me become a mother. And for a short time, my princess was the dancing spirit he needed to fight just a little bit harder. A few months back he had yet another round of radiation to try and rid his body of the disease that would never be cured, but this time he never got to feel better. The relief wasn’t coming, so somehow he had to know it was time.

Late Wednesday evening, I got the call, the call I had been dreading for so long, the call letting me know that the end was very near. He had entered into hospice home care and had rapidly declined. I needed to be with him. So, first thing in the morning I packed up the kids and we went to his bedside. His body was there, but it had already visibly changed so much since the time we saw him last, just over a month prior. His face and eyes were starting to sink and there was a gurgle with each breath he took. Looking around the room he was in, there were pictures, of only one person, my princess, and they were everywhere. He opened his eyes and smiled when we walked in the room. It was a little much for my royals to handle so I made it quick and told him how much I loved him multiple times, much like a broken record. In a weakened voice he struggled and forced out an I love you too, then began to cough. The nurse came in, helped to soothe, and after a while we were on our way with the promise of tomorrow’s return. That night, I didn’t sleep, I lay awake staring at my phone, mortified at the thought of it ringing. Friday morning finally came, and in the afternoon I rushed to be back at his side, just me this time.

I got there and he had declined. I said my hello and my I love you and went to get the brief from the nurse. The phrase he’s in a stage of actively dying hit me like a freight train. I wasn’t ready to not need him. I wasn’t ready to let him go. But I knew that I needed to tell him I would be ok. After another visitor left his room, I rushed in. I still had things he needed to hear. So, I held his hand and I played him a video of my princess telling him how much she loved him, and I heard his gurgled breath. Then I said I love you so much, and we are going to be ok, it’s ok for you to go. One more gurgled breath, and then… Silence. He was gone. I waited there still holding back the tears, holding his hand, just the two of us, and still telling him how much I loved him. Then I walked out to tell the others that he had gone. His wife went in, the nurse came back, and he was officially pronounced. I helped the nurse give him his final sponge bath along with his wife, her on one side and me on the other. Helping him to leave this earth in the best way possible. Then all we had to do was wait for the funeral/cremation folks to collect his body.

They were about two hours from arrival, so after talking with the social worker about grief, I went to do what I instinctively needed to do. I went back into his room and sat by his bedside, holding his hand, just the two of us, until the man came to take him away. I gave him his very last I love you, Daddy , a kiss on the forehead, and then he was on his way. I left shortly after because my relationship with my step-mother is only slightly better than those in fairy tales, so there was no reason to stay.

I now go in cycles of strength, to complete breakdown drowning in tears, to numb. By some magical power, I have not turned to food but to exercise, but even that only gives a brief escape from the cycle. I see those last few moments with him every time I close my eyes. I started out in this world in his arms, and he left this world in mine. It was just as it should be, regardless of how sad it was. I am selfishly devastated, but I know he is in a better place. A place of peace where there is no pain, no pills to take, or port to clean. I know that eventually, I will close my eyes and his last breath won’t be there. I know, that eventually, I will get used to the pain of him being gone. I know that I will see him in moments, and feel his presence , and that he will somehow still be watching out for me. But… For now… I’m lost without him. I am crushed, pieces of me are missing, and I am doing what I can to slowly piece myself back together.

Next week will be a new week, filled with hope. But, for right now, and for Tuesday, I am going to cry it out.


FatFree Mommy

Goals That Make You Curse!

IMG_0591Week: #2

Total Pounds Lost: 17

Pounds to Go: 191

It’s been a long time, 40 years in fact, since an  American woman has crossed the NYC Marathon finish-line 1st! This year, it was the awesome Shalane Flanagan!!! She is nothing short of amazing, inspiring, motivating… all of the ___ing words that mean she is definitely up on a pedestal in my mind.  Fun fact, we are the same age, she is actually a few months older, which of course made the good ‘ol mind wheels turn… why is age EVER an excuse for not setting a big goal or for achieving ANYTHING physical? Sure there are certain roadblocks and changes that come with age, but does that really matter? Or is it more the grit and determination to reach your goals that will allow for the defiance of age?

Now, I am not saying that at the ripe age of 35 (I can still say that for another month, so I will) I am going to suddenly begin my olympic career, because I just don’t have the desire or the time it would take to actually make that happen…  but, I am saying that age shouldn’t be a hard stop when it comes to any fitness goal. Can age make reaching a goal harder? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that the goal isn’t worth it or that it is impossible!

Watching Shalene cross that finish-line and say “F*CK Yeah” inspired a moment of clarity… Is my weight-loss goal something that is going to make me say “F*CK Yeah” WHEN I reach it?? Ummm… duh! Of course it is! I mean, I am no stranger to the F bomb. I watched a Pink interview the other day, where she said that the F word was her favorite curse word, and I whole heartedly agree. It’s so versatile, and in this case, is the ultimate expression of pride, joy, and accomplishment! Not only do I want it bad enough, but I already know what it takes to get there. Is it a bit harder this time around? Yeah, I’m older, things on the inside are a changing, but that isn’t going to stop me! I want that feeling that Shalane had today, more than any cupcake, block of cheese, or spoonful of cookie butter!

So, here’s to Shalane, and all of the goals that we have that will make us say “F*CK Yeah” WHEN we achieve them!!


FatFree Mommy

Are they getting the BEST of you? OR only what is LEFT of you?



Week: #1


Pounds Lost: 15

Pounds To Go: 193


Well, here we are… the beginning… again… I feel like somewhat of a fraud since starting this journey 5 years ago… but… that changes… NOW! It’s time to head down a true path of health and healing that will lead to a true life change, and it all started with this simple, to be honest tear jerking, question… “Are they getting the best of you? Or just what’s left of you?” Oh man, just typing those words I get choked up, because the truth is, my family, my friends, anyone who I come into contact with really, was only getting what was left.


Much has changed since my last entry to this little online diary of mine. I now run a business or two, have two thriving kiddos, and have put back on every single pound that I had lost. All of those words of being the last time as a Fattty McFatMom were, well, excuse my language, bullshit. I’m sorry, but there really is no other word for it. I had the absolute best of intentions in losing weight and keeping it off, but when the times got rough and truly devastatingly rough, I went down a spiral that I could not be rescued from. The truth is, I had to rescue myself. It took hearing that question to really make me realize that I was cheating myself, and everyone around me, out of … me! I was tired ALL THE TIME. Literally, I would be ready for a nap within an hour or two of even waking up. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to play. I just didn’t. It was more than being lazy, it was an active choice to not be present, to not be a true part of  my own life. That’s not fair. Not to me, not to my little royals, not to anyone.

So, there I was, at my worst physically, mentally, emotionally, all the ___allys really, and I  heard that question “Are they getting the best of you or just what is left of you?”  At that point, all I could do was cry because they were just getting what was left, and that really wasn’t much at all. Change was needed.

Here we will start, at the beginning. A new program,  a new life changing path ahead, and a new focus. I have even created an accountability Facebook Group!!! Oh you know it’s real when a Facebook Group has been created!! That’s right, it’s go time!!! Already, I feel more present, more able, and more determined to give my best instead of just what is left. I am excited to be on this new journey! I’m back!



FatFree Mommy

End of an Era


~Dr. Seuss

Week: #11

Pounds Lost: 9

Pounds To Go: 121

Another week, another pound left on the pavement! This week was hard. Not so much in the eating or exercising department, but emotionally, it was just plain hard. This week marked the end of my time at Baby Boot Camp, and all of the sappy friendship and good bye songs were the soundtrack of the past few days. Mothers need support, and when that support comes in the form of strong women who have a passion for fitness, well… that type of support just can’t be beat.

When we moved back to Florida, just four years ago, I set out to be one of those moms who did activities with my daughter. I would show her what it was like to have a healthy, hands-on mom. Baby Boot Camp was the perfect marriage of fitness and time with your child. You work out in front of your child, you engage your child in the workout through song, and sometimes tickles, it is an amazing program to be a part of, to grow with, and lastly to teach. I was a part of healthy changes in the lives of many. I got to share in stories of success and struggle, and together we pushed through it all. We were bonded by sweat and sweet laughter, and I couldn’t ask for a better mommyhood experience. These were the women I called when I reached my goal weight and went shopping as a skinny girl for the first time. These were the women who I coached back to healthier mommy bodies. These were the babies who I would help soothe and who would go home and do squats as toddlers. Most of all, these were the women who got me out of bed when my world was crumbling. I’m sobbing even as I write this, because a part of me will never be ready to let that kind of love and support go. But… the reality is, living an hour away from where we celebrated health every Monday and Wednesday was just too much. The commute was stressful, and although the workouts were still great, and the women were still wonderful, it was different because I didn’t get to participate in all of the after-workout opportunities to strengthen my village. So, the decision was made in mid-March that April would be my last month of teaching, and time just flew by too fast.

All of a sudden, there we were celebrating my last week of teaching Baby Boot Camp. Old cherished friends came to those final workouts, faces that I haven’t seen in a long time, and my heart was filled with so much love, that it was literally coming out my eyeballs. I made it a point to give it all I had as an instructor for those last two classes. Being able to teach and coach again was a gift, and I wasn’t about to leave without giving everything of me back to the women who helped shape my mommyhood journey thus far. I know my relationships with these strong mamas will continue in a different way, but I also know that these past four years have been filled with some of the best memories of my life, and for that I will forever be in debt to the mommies of Baby Boot Camp.

Mommyhood is a journey, and one that should never be walked alone. We need our village to help us along the way, and whether that village is made up of family, or friends who feel like family, or, if you’re lucky, a combination, each village is special, necessary, and cherished. This Fat-Free Mommy was truly blessed to be welcomed into the fold of the Baby Boot Camp village. Now, as my mommyhood adventures continue on a different path, I know I am strong enough to take on this change of life, even though it may be making me scared and sad in this moment. I am blessed because my village spans more than just my street corner. I have strong mamas I can turn to around the world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!


Fat-Free Mommy

The Dark(est) Side

HalfMarathon1thumbWeek: #10

Pounds Lost: 8

Pounds to Go: 122

Oh Boy! Another runDisney racecation in the books! Over the weekend, I took on the Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, and let me tell you it was the darkest half of my life! Not because I had to wake up at 1:45am to get to the start on time, and not because the theme was the villainous dark side of Star Wars, but because it was my slowest and heaviest half marathon ever!

You know, research has shown that for every pound you weigh, you put about 4 pounds of pressure on your joints, especially knees and ankles. So, doing the math, I ran this past weekend with an additional 488 pounds of pressure! That’s in excess of the pounds of pressure my frame should have, but I won’t do the entire math equation for you because even the Fat-Free Mommy has to have some modesty! With all that added pressure, of course I would be slower than desired, snails pace even, and I own it! I didn’t go into the race expecting some running angel miracle of speed despite my size. I am this heavy because of bad choices, bad choices have consequences, and instead of a time-out, my consequence was slug like slowness.

So there I was, jalking along the course, not knowing a single character, because I have never seen a Star Wars movie, I know blasphemy, but it’s the truth. Stopping for characters wasn’t going to slow me down, that’s for sure, but my lack of speed still ignited a certain level of anxiety. If you don’t meet the pace requirements, you get swept, end of story. If you fall behind the sweepers, you don’t get to cross the finish line, you typically still get a medal, but really, who wants a medal they didn’t earn? Ok, a lot of people, but I am NOT one of them. For the first time, in 24 half marathons, I was terrified of being swept. Looking over my shoulder or around the corner probably wasted more energy than it was worth, but nevertheless my head was on a swivel. Then, by mile 11 I was surrounded by people who appeared to be in pain, with defeated looks on their faces. You can do it, and Are you ok? are words I would call out as I passed. One woman in particular that I saw, had rubbed her thighs so raw with the friction of movement that she was bleeding, to her I offered my emergency bottle of Aquaphor. At that moment it dawned on me, that even though I was much slower than I wanted to be, and much much larger than I wanted to be, I still wasn’t injured or defeated. I pushed myself, but not to the point of injury or pain, and I finished ahead of the sweepers by a couple of miles. I was ok. I did it. Sure, I was sore and exhausted in the two days that followed, but nothing that a little rest couldn’t cure.

Beyond anything, this weekend got me thinking… Yes, I am on a long journey back to health, but it could be worse. A lot worse. I have the means and the knowledge I need to be my own success story, and really that is all I need. No matter what, just like in the race, if I keep pushing forward, I will reach my goal line!



Fat-Free Mommy

Sometimes You Gotta Laugh

33ce9ad74c8603b60f9f130910f24b27Week: #8

Pounds Lost: 5

Pounds to Go: 125

Woohoo! Another week and another 2 pounds gone! I would celebrate with a happy dance, but this week I seem to have channeled my inner Lucy, so I fear I would hurt myself! Some weeks are good, some weeks are bad, and then there are weeks like this, where you just have to laugh.

It started Monday, a normal Monday by Monday standards, started teaching my bootcamp class, and during the warm up I managed to sprain my middle finger while attempting to stretch my quad. Yes, you read that right, I sprained a finger stretching my leg! Who does that?! If I didn’t live it, I really wouldn’t think it were possible. But there I was kicking my leg back to catch in my hand, and BAM, missed and kicked my own middle finger. I screamed through a smile, some of the kiddos laughed at me, and I sent the mommies for a little warm up run while I composed myself. Class went on, life went on, and about 5 hours later I figured it would be time to ice my finger, you know, since it had almost doubled in size. By nightfall I finally got around to putting a finger brace on it, and when I awoke the next day it was a beautiful rainbow of purples, blues, and yellows. That’s me, Mommy McClumsy! It gets better though. The next day I could bend my finger a little without pain and I took off my finger brace to wash  my hands, in swoops the little hands of my little prince and my brace disappears. Where is mommy’s finger brace? I ask… Over there, he answers. Now, Over there, to my two year old is really more of a general anywhere in the universe type of location. So, here I am, healing slowly without a brace, and I really just have to laugh.

Why I share this story, is because that incident on Monday could have gone one of two ways. I could have gotten discouraged and stopped, or I could have just kept going knowing that it would get better. I chose the optimistic route, and just kept going. My finger wasn’t falling off, or contorted into some unnatural direction, so for me, that meant that it could be dealt with later. I had a “show must go on” type of attitude and I know that this attitude can translate into my weight loss journey. So, I had a painful experience, that doesn’t mean I had to then eat a cake to feel better. So, I had a nibble of my kiddos pasta, that doesn’t mean that I have to turn and binge the day away. One simple mistake, mishap, or moment of negativity does not define a day. Get back up, and keep going, because the day isn’t over yet, and you never know what hilarious Lucy type moment is just around the corner.


Fat-Free Mommy