All the knowledge…

Tonight I’m going to impart the knowledge I’ve learned over the last week since I began my 21 Day Fix journey. So, it’s not a lot, yet, I feel excited that I’ve learned anything. I’ve said this isn’t just about losing weight…and it’s not…I guess deep down I thought the numbers were really what I was hoping for. But, guess what? Sometimes the journey teaches you other things. My list of learnings!

  1. I. Hate. Chocolate Shakeology. There. I said it. I’m un-American because I don’t like something chocolate. In my defense, chocolate isn’t really my home boy, anyhow. Unless it is wrapped around peanut butter in the shape of an egg.
  2. I’m luke warm about the vanilla Shakeology. Hopefully I will figure out the right mix for the fix, because I really want to make this work. And while I don’t have a deep relationship with chocolate…I do love vanilla. So, fingers crossed our relationship is just in the awkward “getting to know you” stage.
  3. I, Kristin Francis, absolutely LOVE strawberry Shakeology. I mixed it with a banana, ice, almond milk and voila, the perfect breakfast smoothie! Yummy. Every last drop. See, I’m not just a hater!
  4. I will not continue with Shakeology once I’m done with the initial 21 Day box. Why? Well, see #1 and 2. I feel like I can (hopefully) manage my diet better at all meals. I’m already eating less, quitting when I’m full, and I find I’m able to say no to the extras.
  5. I ate 2 Reece’s Peanut Butter Eggs today. I just couldn’t say no…not this one time. I’m so-so about the regular cups, but the eggs…more PB and less chocolate. And my oldest bought them for me. How could I turn them down? And since the Fix began, I’m finding I don’t beat myself up.
  6. I hate working out at home. I’m enjoying the videos and Autumn is a blast, but I hate doing it at home. Perhaps it’s because I love going to The Hub. I enjoy the equipment and the treadmill and the bike. I know, I’m strange. So, while I will continue the videos on occasion, especially the ab fix, I will go back to the gym.
  7. I lost 2 pounds this past week. Even with my goofs and the day of doing nothing positive. I still feel like I look better and I KNOW I feel better. Today, I did over 7000 steps and 9 flights of stairs and I never once felt winded.
  8. This journey is about so much more than weight. It’s about feeling better. Feeling more confident. Being positive. Feeling like a better mom and wife. Being a more positive coworker. Being a positive therapist. It’s about being the best version of me that I can be.
  9. Finally, I’ve learned that all of these things are worth it. Had I never lost control of my weight, I would have never realized just who I want to be.

I really hope you join me in your own journey. No matter what it is. Have a great night.

I’m human…okay?

Yesterday my coworkers and I went to eat. I ordered a hamburger with bacon…if you know me…I could LIVE on bacon. And I ordered fries. And a Coors Light. And I ate 3 little toast triangles from someone else appetizer. Ugh, I am such a failure. Oh yeah, then I had a chocolate-tini. I’m not even a big chocolate lover, but it sounded good. Plus, it had a ginormous glob of whipped cream.

What. Was. I. Thinking? In my defense, I only ate half the burger and fries. Then I came home, slept for 3 hours, got back up and watched television with Hubs. I didn’t exercise. Not rocking the 21 Day Fix, right?

I should feel horrible. But, I don’t. Why? Because I’m human. I’m not going to drink Shakeology forever (sorry, Stacie). I won’t do the videos forever (again, sorry.) Yes, I will do them, just not daily. And you know what? That is okay. I got up this morning and got on the scales…really dreading the results. Guess what? Exactly the same as Thursday. I’m still down 2 pounds. Could I be down more? Probably, but just losing two makes me happy.

So, this morning, my momma and I went to The Hub. It’s her birthday, but she went anyway. I trekked a mile on the treadmill to get my heart rate up, did about 45 minutes of weight training, then another mile on the treadmill. To cool down, we walked a couple of laps around the track. I got a good sweat and I feel better than ever and even more motivated to keep up the hard work.

Mom and I

While I don’t recommend cheating on the 21 Day Fix, I know myself well enough to know I couldn’t beat myself up. I had to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep moving forward. I feel better already from just one week of this plan. Tomorrow I will get up, drink a shake, and get my Fix on!

Happy weekend everyone!

I can see clearly now…

Day 4 of my 21 Day Fix. Today’s blog is going to be a bit different. I’m going to wax philosophic. Okay, not totally, but I am writing this before I got do my Yoga Fix.

Just now I got changed into my jammies. Yeah, I know it’s only 6 pm, but I am all about comfort. This week has been interesting. I’ve found I absolutely HATE the chocolate Shakeology. I tried it Monday and barely got it down. Granted, I’m not a huge chocolate lover, but didn’t care for it. Today I tried it again, this time with coffee. I didn’t even get half of it down before I started the choke you do before barfing. I didn’t, but I do know chocolate will not be in my rotation. I am not trying to be disrespectful or rude, but honest. Tomorrow is strawberry. Very hopeful it will be my favorite.

So, back to being profound and pensive (or not.) This has been quite a week. Personally and professionally. My oldest is hurting over a breakup (she ended it) this past August. When she realized she wanted to undo what she did, he wasn’t willing to give her another chance. My youngest broke up with her boyfriend last week because he wanted more than she was willing to give. Being a mom of two single teens with hurt hearts, sucks.

Second, it’s almost prom season. And in case you missed the last paragraph, my girls are single. Don’t give me the whole, “oh they can go alone” speech. My youngest is a freshman and can’t go solo and my oldest believes prom is meant to be a date dance.

Third, Veronica will be heading off to college in August. While it’s only January, my heart is already heavy. I’m so excited for what her future holds, but dang, it will be so weird when she heads off. Graduation announcements and invitations, cap and gown, committing to a school…ack, too…much…feels!

Professionally it’s been a bit trying as well. I have the best career there is. But, it can be trying at times. Yesterday it seems everything I did was wrong. I almost ran a doctor over twice in the hallway, then twice walked in on him in an exam room. In my defense, he hadn’t changed the light color, so I assumed it was okay for me to enter, but still…I was embarrassed. Plus, all the referrals crossing my desk for those needing counseling, well, I’m going to be very busy. And working where I do, there are always a million (give or take a few) snacks around that are unhealthy. And the physicians buy lunch regularly. Again, wonderful yet unhealthy.

Today I weighed. I know I shouldn’t already, but I did. And guess what? I’ve lost 2 pounds. Now, whether that is from the 4 days of my Fix or not, I don’t know, but results are results. I was pretty darned excited.

Now back to my jammies. As I changed I caught my reflection in the mirror and I felt my tummy looked a little flatter. Is it in my imagination? Reality and my brain tell me yes that after 4 days my abs can’t possibly be flatter. But that image, whether true or not, made me realize this journey of 2016, this quest for health and well-being, is definitely where I want to be headed.

Anyone can begin a journey like this. Perhaps it’s just walking from your front door to your mailbox. Perhaps it’s preparing for a marathon. Maybe it’s trying to be healthy enough to have chemo or radiation. Whatever your goals…it’s never too late and no goal is too small.

Be the you that you want to see in the mirror.


Legs of steel…

Day 3 of my 21 Day Fix and my legs are made of steel…if steel feels a little bit like a weakened rubber band. The Leg Fix was killer. Yikes! But, I could feel it working and the sweat was pouring.

While I know it’s only day 3, I swear I already feel stronger, more energetic, more motivated, and just all around better. Now, whether that is my mindset or if it is seriously the workout, well, that remains to be seen. But, I can definitely tell you, things are looking up! I’m hoping when I have my first weigh in this weekend, it shows that I’ve lost at least a pound or two. Although, if I haven’t, I will still feel good about my progress because at the very least, I’m working hard.

Yeah, yeah…I’d be bummed to not lose any weight, but hey, weight is nothing but numbers on a scale. To feel better and look better at any weight I obtain is the goal!

So today you get a break. A super short blog. Why? Because it hurts to sit in the computer chair from my buns of steel in the making. Plus I need a shower. And some sleep. And some bacon. Oh wait…can’t have bacon. Well, maybe this weekend I’ll make a couple baked pieces of turkey bacon as a treat.

Maybe I’ll live after all!

Well, here we are…Day 2 of my 21 Day Fix. While I hurt in multiple places, I’m realizing that I’m enjoying the pain. Why? Do I suddenly have some Christian Grey fixation? No! It’s because I know I’m doing something to get me to a better place. And that, my friends, is a great thing.

We live in such a time of instant gratification. Fast food. Cell phones that allow us to have everything at our fingertips. Heck, you can even get married in a drive-through in Las Vegas. But there is one thing that you can’t do instantly. And that is to get in shape. Sure you can have surgery, but even that isn’t a quick fix. And unfortunately, it isn’t always a lifelong change. You have to work to keep the surgery results off. If you want long-lasting results, you must put in the work and dedication.

As I’ve said before, I was always underweight. I thought it would always be easy. Now that I’m finding it isn’t, it’s frustrating. In my 30’s when I gained a few extra pounds, all I had to do was quit when I was full and walk. And cut out that extra beer. But now, doing those things, while my weight is stable, I wasn’t losing. I knew I had to do something. While most everyone has great luck with Weight Watchers, I knew that wasn’t right for me.

Spending lots of extra cash on a trainer, well, with a kid going off to college in the fall, there just isn’t extra money for that frivolous item. I just don’t understand a lot of those diets. When I read about protein and good fats and all, I get confused and frustrated. Why can’t I just eat a pound of bacon a day and get thin?

The 21 Day Fix offered me all the things I would need to begin my healthy journey. Not going to lie…so far, not totally digging the Shakeology. I think with a few more tweaks I will like them more…but, they just aren’t my thing. Yes, I will keep at them, but I feel I must be honest with you. In theory, they’re awesome. They are definitely convenient…but the taste is taking some getting used to.

Sometime ago, I tried Slimfast. Loved the strawberry (which is what I’m having tomorrow, only the Fix variety.) I gained 17 pounds on Slimfast. What. The. Heck! Why was this happening? I mean, everyone in the TV ads got thin, why am I becoming the size of something you would tractor back into the ocean if you found me in the sand? Well, apparently the sleeve of Grandma sammich cookies and Coke I drank every morning had fewer calories than the Slimfast. Since I rarely had lunch (or had a second Slimfast shake), and I cooked a decent meal every night (I grilled all of our meat and there was always a veggie), my doctor said that indeed, the caloric intake had risen from the shakes. Imagine my shock and dismay…and disgust!

I guess what I’m saying, is that on this journey, I’m truly hoping that the shakes don’t make me gain. I wasn’t a healthy eater, for sure, but more so because I didn’t eat half the time until supper. I’m busy at work. If I got a yogurt in the morning, it was a miracle. I figure I will see soon enough if I gain instead of lose. Trust me, I am following this program to a T. You must if you want it to work. If I gain, I will cut out the daily shake and just keep at the exercise portion. Maybe doing the shake every other day or some such. I would definitely talk to my awesome coach. Fingers crossed I don’t have to cross that road.

So, today’s workout was Upper Body Fix. Ahh…LOVED it! I mean, I hurt everywhere. My thighs, my bum, my tummy, my shoulders…well, you get it. But, this exercise disk (except for the circle crunches that hurt my back) was a blast. I felt strong. I felt motivated. I felt sweaty. All the things you want to feel when working out.

I hope you will consider joining me on this journey. Whether it is with this program or something else. Let’s all decide to make 2016 the year of healthy women. As a social worker in oncology and palliative care, I see how important it is to take care of yourself. Mind, body, and spirit.

Life is too short to go unnoticed…make it happen!


May. Be. Dying.

So, today is actually Day 1 of my 21 Day Fix. Yesterday I thought I would jump-start with an awesome workout at The Hub. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I went ahead and did the 10 minute Ab Fix. This morning, I could definitely feel it.

I made a Chocolate Minty Shakeology (um, the recommended amount of peppermint extract was WAY too much for me), but I  was off to a healthy start. Add in a super healthy lunch and a healthy dinner, I was ready for my Day 1 workout. Total Body Cardio Fix.

Well…I’m sore…everywhere. And I do mean…EVERYWHERE! Arms, legs, abs…but, I finished the day nonetheless. I will accomplish something. Perhaps I will have a big weight loss. Perhaps not. But at the very least…I will firm up at least some and I will continue on this journey of being healthy.

Life is too short to take your health for granted. I thought I would always be a Size 2. Now I’m less worried about the numbers and more excited to feel good and healthy and enjoy my life. I have a good one, so may as well live it to the fullest!

See you soon!

I’m not overweight…I have a fat liver, okay?

This blog was first written in my mid-30’s…but has been updated throughout the next decade since I’m now 49. Yikes, that is hard to admit!

All my life I have been underweight. Skinny, even. Twenty pounds underweight at times. at 5’6″, 104 pounds was not attractive, despite hearing how fat I was on a daily basis by someone from my past. Slowly, though, those pounds crept up. I gained to 118…which was an awesome weight (at 24.) I looked much better, thank you very much. I was happy. In fact, that is what I weighed years later when I attracted Hubs. I like to think it was my intellect that drew him in, but I’m sure my tiny waist didn’t hurt!

Then, we (read: I) got pregnant with twins! After 3 miscarriages and a stillbirth, I was elated. I would do anything to shelter these two, tiny lives. But, being super sick, I only gained 31 pounds. And that is NOT a lot of weight when you are carrying two babies. The day I left the hospital, I was in Size 4 jeans with a belt and tucked in shirt.

Yep…I. Was. A Maternal. Goddess.

For the next year or so, I settled in around 128. After childbirth, your wobbly-bits don’t always back the way there did previously. But, that is A-OK! I was loving my body with a little more curve. Then came pregnancy number 6. I only gained 21 pounds this go around and again, I lost most of it post-pregnancy. Yay me! I found my new steady weight was about 135. That would have seemed obese to me in high school. But, here I was in my 30’s. Curvy is where it’s at. Yet, you never get over that desire for the svelte figure of your youth.

Are we really so driven by the numbers on the scale that we forget to see the big picture…which should simply be to be healthy?

Apparently so, because I’ve spent the last 10+ years trying to get down to what I believed to be my ideal weight. It’s my fault. I do love me some fried food. Sweets are not my downfall. But, give me some of my own world famous (in my mind) fried taters or cube steak and gravy, and I will eat until I feel like exploding.

Of course, it didn’t really matter, because I wasn’t fat. I still wore a Size 8 (then 10, then 12, then back to 10) and I looked fairly slim. Okay, my stomach was not washboard, and my arms began to jiggle a smidge. Ooh, and my butt was a bit…how do you say…dimply? But still, I wasn’t obese or anything. Right?

So, imagine my frustration when I began having foot problems. I couldn’t walk first thing in the a.m. If I sat for very long, my gait was that of a lame horse. All kind of gimpy, I was. Well, I knew there had to be something wrong. It wasn’t just excess weight. I went to the doctor. Yessiree, Plantar Fasciitis. Oh, and a bone spur. Yay, it wasn’t my weight! Then the doctor said (drum roll please), “and it will be more aggravated by excess weight.” Wait, excess what? Holy crap, Batman, he must be looking at someone elses chart. I know I’m not skinny, but excess weight? Moi? Hold on there, partner.

While I was at it, we talked about my general feeling of blah. I’m tired. And thirsty. And lethargic. And now I’m depressed about this excess weight you mentioned. ooh, and my blood pressure is high. I know I’m older (I know, it was a shock to me, too), but I shouldn’t feel as if I’m falling apart all the time.

Well, multiple vials of blood later, I could walk most of the time without agony. Then came the call. “Um, Mrs. Francis?” Yep, that’s me. “Your blood tests came back abnormal and we’d like you to come in.” Okay, when? “This week?” No can do, Nurse Ratchet, I’ve got work…and a meeting. “How about Monday?” Let’s see…what about Thursday. I’m off half a day, so this will be easier. “Okay. You won’t cancel, will you?” Well gee, if you’re gonna make me think I’m dying, then no. I promise. Thursday it is.

I headed to the doctor expecting nothing. In the past few years I had been diagnosed with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Epstein Barr, Multiple Sclerosis, and arthritis in my hips (the only one that ended up being true). I definitely felt like I had this one in the bag.

“Hey Kristin, how’s it going,” asked Dr. Weeble (not his real name, but very appropriate.) I just want to say first and foremost, doc, that I am in love with Naprosyn. It’s awesome. “Well, that’s good. Let’s see, you do not have diabetes. Your sugar and two month sugar are normal. Your liver enzymes are elevated a bit. (I already knew this because after my slight (total) high-speed come-apart, Nurse Ratchet told me.) “It’s more than likely just Fatty Liver Disease (what the heck? Is this really a thing?), but we want to check it out.” And, they weren’t just elevated. They were awful. So, what does that mean, doc? “We’re going to get some more labs and an ultrasound of your liver.”

Off I go to the land of Needles R Us with order in hand. One stick and 143 vials later (yes, I exaggerate, a bit), I go home. And did I tell you the best (read: worst) news? I can not longer take Naprosyn (the best drug alive) because it metabolizes through the…yep, you guessed it, the liver. Sheesh, this is just not my day.

I go back a week or so later to find out the results of the new labs and my ultrasound prior to heading on vacation. This was going to be a breeze and I was going to celebrate all over the Caribbean. “Hey Kristin.” Is that how he always greets me? “Well, your ultrasound showed fatty tumors on your liver. It sounds worse than it is, probably. I’m still sure it is Fatty Liver Disease, but I want you to see a specialist. He’ll run a bunch of exotic tests to confirm it is FLD. Your gall bladder was fine (I won’t be in a few years) and I don’t see any blockages. Your pancreas is 3 mm, which isn’t really considered enlarged, but something they will also check out. I’m also going to start you on Lisinopril (can’t take it, makes me cough) to get your blood pressure in check. You need to try to lose some weight (there he said it). That will help with your liver and your feet.” That’s all well and good, but how the *bleep* am I supposed to work out with my feet flipping hurting me?

Before the original blog was finished, I stopped writing it. So, here is the ending.

My feet are great. A few steroid shots and they have stopped hurting. I have fatty liver disease. And NASH. I think it stands for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Will they go away? Nope. Can I keep them from getting worse? Yep. How? Losing weight and getting healthy. My blood pressure is still high, but doing better. I have high cholesterol. But, it is also improving. My now comfortable (for my body only, not for me) is around 168. Somehow, I’m a solid Size 10. I look thinner than I am, which is both great and sucky.

But, I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I’ve been married for 18 years. I have a 17-year-old daughter going off to college next year (I am so not ready to talk about it) and a 15-year-old daughter who is a freshman. I have a career I adore. Plus, I still write. Despite all that, though…I want to be a better me. I want to look and feel better. I want to walk across the parking lot without getting winded. And these things are improving. I’ve lost 8 pounds since November (you do the math of what my weight was when I started). I’m walking over 3000 steps a day (as measured by my Christmas Fitbit). I go to The Hub (our local community owned gym). I Swerk It (app) at home.

But, thanks to my good friend, Stacie, I am beginning my 21 day journey. I will be living, breathing, and blogging about my 21 Day Fix. In fact, tonight I jump started with 2 miles on the bike, 1/2 mile on the treadmill, plus a full circuit of machines. Then I finished it up with 10 minute ab fix. Tomorrow I start my shakes and portion control. Will I blog daily? Probably not. I won’t post before photos until I have after photos. Hey, I have some pride. The main reason for this blog is to hold myself accountable and to maybe motivate someone else to get up off their butt and work towards a new tomorrow.

Happy fitness, y’all!