Monday, October 31, 2011

What's for ME

As October comes to a close, I'm encouraged. There were a couple of snags this month, but I've come to learn -- what's for me is for me. I don't have to force or try to manufacture things. So the business deals that didn't go through. Oh well. People who come in and out of my life. Toodles. I don't want to seem flip about it, but it is what it is. The universe works it all out.

Here's the positive from October:
  • Hosted two successful cooking classes 
  • Delivered my third motivational speech
  • Six weeks into the Fitness Trainer Program
  • Over 13,000 visitors to the blog
  • featured a blog post, "Sugar: Don't be fooled."
  • 325 + FB "likes"
  • Dates booked into March 2012
  • Officially received notice that I'll teach a series of classes beginning January 2012
  • Secured my biggest speaking venue to date for February 2012
  • Working on a super delicious project -- details soon to be announced 
  • I'm healthy, vibrant, and loved                                                                                                                                                              
I don't sweat the small stuff. What's for me is for me. I'm right where I'm suppose to be doing exactly what I should be doing. Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride. Bye-bye, October you were good to me. Looking forward to November.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Not Afraid"

When I look at photos of myself as a morbidly obese woman. I don't really even remember being that person. I don't really know how I became that way. Well, I do. I ate gross, fattening food and no exercise.  What I mean to say, I have no idea how I let it get so out of control. At my heaviest, I weighed a whopping 388 lbs. What I'm sure of,  "I had to go to that place to get to this one." 

America is in trouble. Obesity is an epidemic. There are many contributing factors: crappy inexpensive so-called food, lack of knowledge, lack of exercise. But, I've taken a stand. Today I'm healthier, happier, fitter, and sharing my story in hopes it will help others. I will tell my story to anyone who will listen and those who are not ready to hear it well...

I'm not afraid to publicly share my story. If I can touch and change lives than maybe, just, maybe that's why I went to that place.

From Eminem:

I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid)        
To take a stand (to take a stand)
Everybody (everybody)
Come take my hand (come take my hand)
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just lettin you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel like you've been down the same road (same road)

Yeah, it's been a ride
I guess I had to, go to that place, to get to this one
Now some of you, might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sugar: Don't be fooled

It's in everything. It can be masked under all sorts of names. Let's be clear: Sugar is sugar no matter which name they mask it under. Yes, honey and molasses too.
  • glucose
  • fructose 
  • galactose
  • dextrose
  • honey 
  • molasses
  • brown sugar
  • raw sugar
  • cane juice 
  • beet juice  
  • agave syrup 
  • nectar 
  • apple, grape, or orange juice concentrate
  • confectioner's sugar
  • baker's sugar
  • powdered sugar
Next time you reach for your favorite sauce, condiment, potato chips, or even a beer check the label to see if it has one of the hidden sugars -- my guess, it probably does. The higher up on the list of ingredients typically means that there is a large amount of the ingredient. So that's why on some packages you'll see several different types of sugars listed. Don't be fooled.

This article gives a more in depth look and may be helpful:

Sugar Overload Curbing America's Sweet Tooth

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Food Rules: An Eater's Manual"

Love, love, love this little treasure. I devoured the entire book in about an hour. I swear, this guy took all my thoughts and summed them up perfectly. Ha, ha. Seriously, this little book totally makes the complicated subject of what we should eat -- so simple.

A few of my favorite rules from the book:

Rule 1: "Eat Food..."
Rule 20: "It's not food if it arrived through the car window."
Rule 60: "Treat treats as treats." I know, I've said this before.
Rule 63: "Cook." Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I've been sharing some of my favorites with my cooking classes between preparation. Makes for great food conversation and a little bit of laughter too. Thanks, Mr. Pollan for your simple yet very effective take on food.

I say EVERYONE should own a copy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Healthy Cooking 101: Roasted Vegetables

Yesterday's Healthy Cooking 101 class featuring Roasted Vegetables was my best class to date. Not because there was 27 folks there (surely that helped), but because there was a special warmth in the room.

Two ovens roaring, filled with four different vegetables (Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Roma tomatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes), and the eagerness, oh the eagerness of the participants. They all were hungry. Not just hungry for food, but hungry for knowledge. From the questions that they asked of me, I got the feeling they were tired of the same ol' same. They seemed to be there looking for ways to cook food at home, vegetables even. Ha. Maybe, just maybe, they're tired of .99 Value Menus. Tired of being lured in by convenience. Tired of letting their busy schedules be the reason they cave into the convenience. Perhaps, I'm reading way too much into this, but I tell you those enthusiastic faces made me a little emotional. It was AWESOME, I tell you, AWESOME.

Photos: 2011 © Cari Hachmann

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I Preach

Yesterday's blog post was about my need to prioritize. My battle with obesity and creating, living a healthy life comes with all sorts of twists and turns. So I was thinking about the message I delivered last week. I urged my audience to make adjustments, stay the course, and believe in self. I've been in this situation before when life seems overwhelming and I've always made the necessary adjustments. Folks, I can proudly say I practice what I preach.

Here's the ending snippet of my speech:

I’m asked this question, all the time…What keeps you motivated?

My answer, I want to win. I treat my battle with obesity and challenges in life like a tennis match. For years, my serve was weak and I often left the court on the losing end. But, no longer. Ladies and gentlemen, call me Victor. Because victory is mine.

As I conclude remember:

Hard work, making adjustments, staying the course, and believing in yourself are all key ingredients to being successful.

Like Winston Churchill said: Never, never, never, never, never give up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The other day, my instructor mentioned in class that perhaps we should re-frame our way of thinking. Instead of saying we don't have time to __ we should say I don't make it a priority. She's right. There are only 24 hours in the day. You only have 24 hours. I only have 24 hours. It just comes down to how we choose to spend our hours.

If you're like me when you really want something you find a way to make it happen. You make it a priority. Well, I have quite a list of things I want. So it's been rather challenging to prioritize. Blogging, speaking events, cooking classes, book writing, taking classes in the Fitness Trainer program, and oh yeah, trying to live a better healthier life.  After all, I'm the gal who publicly declared I'd be "Fit by Forty". Ha.

I have good intentions to keep up with my workout schedule, but over the last few weeks it has become less of a priority. Rather than beat myself up about it I focus on the big picture. This folks is life and I'm doing my best to balance it all. Sometimes I have to make adjustments. Currently, I've moved my workouts down a few notches on my priority list. I'm still dialed in on my nutrition, and I figure I do get a workout in, in my Exercise Technique class. Surely, my priorities shift from time-to-time, but the ultimate goal remains the same: To live a happy, fit, healthy life, and sharing my story to help others do the same.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Worthy: Isernio's Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Recently, while grocery shopping I spotted Isernio's Chicken Breakfast Sausage and decided to give them a try. I'm so glad I did. Juicy, flavorful, and a great alternative to pork.  The company is local too - bonus!I paired the links with a cheese and green onion omelette served with fresh tomato, avocado slices and of course a half of grapefruit. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day -- make it count! 

Tip: Cook them all and easily reheat them throughout the week

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food and Your Health

Super-excited to be learning lots in the Fitness Trainer program. My favorite class this quarter "Food and Your Health" is centered around food. Not because we taste or prepare food in the class, but we examine food as it relates to our health.

Food and tapping into my diet has been the hardest piece of the puzzle for me throughout my battle with obesity. I can proudly say, however, I've gotten the piece to fit. I want to share my new found knowledge  because I suspect it's the most challenging piece for others too.

I've long said, we have lost our way when it comes to food. I'm always ranting about the fast food industry, Crap! and processed foods, Grocery Shopping No-Nos. The class, "Food and Your Health" further confirms what I already believed. Food should not come in a package that has a label. Food should eventually rot. Food is not advertised on TV. We received a handout in class "The Seven Criteria for Food Selection." Take a look. Pretty simple, but somehow we've made it, oh so complicated. I hope this helps. I'll share more soon...

Seven Criteria for Food Selection 

from AnneMarie Colbin, CHES

1- Food should be WHOLE, as nature provided it with all their edible parts in tact.  The body is smart and if there are nutrients missing from the food we eat, it is likely we’ll crave what’s missing and try to get them in other ways. Missing nutrients in fragmented foods means you’re missing what was left out.   This means:
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables and Sea Vegetables
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Mussels, Clams, Oysters
  • Small Fowl
  • Whole Milk
  • Full fat yogurt
2- Food should be FRESH and NATURAL/Natural whenever possible not canned and frozen, where oxygen is lost and thereby taste and flavor is lost and 20-80% of nutrients are lost and salt and additives are added to replace flavor. If you want to preserve food, you want to pickle it, ferment it or dry it. Pickled and fermented use friendly bacteria to preserve and dried foods become more nutrient dense.

3-  Food should be REAL, the opposite of fake. We avoid “artificial” sweeteners and “fake” meats. When we use substitutions based on dietary restrictions (removing meat for vegetarians, dairy for vegans) if we need to replace proteins or richness that might be lost, we’ll use other real ingredients to do so.

4-  We use SEASONAL/ LOCAL/ ORGANIC/ NON-GENETICALLY MODIFIED produce. Whenever possible we source ingredients direct from farmers using CSAs (community supported agriculture), greenmarkets, farmstands, and other small local businesses. We aim to cook according to the seasons following the traditional schedule of planting and harvesting.

5- Prepare foods that are in HARMONY WITH TRADITION.  We are inspired by the traditional cuisines of many different parts of the world and recognize that food many times can spark a memory of ones history either via family or travel. We aim to remind our guests of these memories, and inspire new ones through our food.

6-  Food should be BALANCED in flavor, texture, color, and flavor and in the way it makes us feel.

7- Food should be DELICIOUS.  The body is a system of information; taste brings information to the body. If taste isn’t good, normal reaction is the body doesn’t want that anymore, and that is worthy of listening to.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I opened my third motivational speech on Friday by holding up my old jumbo jeans. A baby Rhino could easily fit in those jumbo jeans and oh wee they are heavy. All jokes aside. Those jeans bring back some pretty horrific memories for me. Memories of a lazy, unenthused, unhappy, bitter, person trapped inside of an enormous body. I longed for more, but couldn't find a way out.

I tell you this has been the hardest battle I've ever fought: layers of emotional stuff, 175 lbs., countless inches.  In my speech, I credited hard work, staying the course, making adjustments, believing in myself, and never giving up. All of which have made me successful, but there's more to it. Those are tangible things, it's the intangible, the unexplainable inner strength that propels me. That's the one thing, I can't help others with. I'm currently, taking a Wellness Coaching class and so far after three weeks, the textbooks don't seem to provide the answer either. I say all this to say, I don't really know how I came to find the courage, strength, and determination to battle obesity head on. I can say, however, I'm so much happier for it. I'll never return to that dark, miserable, self-loathing place. I no longer wear those jumbo jeans or any of the emotional baggage. I wish I could give all those who are trapped the magic answer. Flip the switch, but it's something internal. Maybe sharing my story will help others find it too. Meanwhile, I can proudly say, "I use to wear these, but now I wear these."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Touching Lives, Making Connections

I'm so very fortunate to share my weight loss and self-transformation story. It has become so much more than about ME. Never did I imagine the lives I would touch and the connections I would make. I love what I do!

Yesterday, I was the guest speaker at a Senior Health Professional Networking Breakfast. Check out some of the photos:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"To Save Our Lives"

Yesterday, Exercise Technique class was all about the pull-up. For some reason, I was so pumped up during the class session. Maybe because I like to see folks get gritty and limits being pushed. Pulling your own body weight certainly fits the bill.

After watching demonstration after demonstration of all the variations of the pull-up and there were many. I asked my instructor why we do pull-ups. She simply answered, "To Save Our Lives." That's HUGE. Think about it...If you were drowning and a rescue crew threw you a rope...In your current physical condition, could you pull your body up? Hmm...most folks probably couldn't. I know, I couldn't. Gotta go, it's pull-up time.

Check out my classmates in ACTION:

Go, Amiah -- the only female in the class to take on the BIG bar, Kipping Pull-up

My boy, Will hitting the One Arm Pull-Up

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sneaky like that

As I was making my breakfast the other morning I relished how colorful my plate was. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and since I'm on a mission to live healthier -- I make my breakfast count. 

A typical breakfast for me consists of: eggs, spelt toast, vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach or cauliflower) and half of a grapefruit. By starting my morning with veggies and fruit I'm well on my way of getting my recommended servings in for the day. Yup, I'm sneaky like that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PE Flashbacks

It happened. I thought I was beyond it, but there I was in my Exercise Technique class having flashbacks. Flashbacks of being the slowest, last, and fattest girl in PE class.

Flashback #1  Unable to easily sit on the ground, which as an morbidly obese person I couldn't do either. So I  had to grab a stability ball to sit on while the rest of the class sat comfortably on the ground in criss-cross applesauce position.

Flashback #2 As we are doing dynamic warm-ups across the length of the room I'm always one of the last to finish.

Flashback #3 When in small groups I tend to be the one in the group that others coddle.

My fitness level is the best it's ever been -- remember, I'm the girl who graduated high school at 300 lbs.?  So where I am today is really good from where I came from. But since I'm rehabbing a fractured Tibia it makes for a difficult time with some exercises. As much as my heart and my mind say go, go, go. My body after seven months is just not quite ready. I'm sure it's the reason I'm not able to perform at a higher level because I tell you -- I so badly want to. Walking around campus and doing normal activities I manage to do just fine, but some exercises I'm still not able to give my all. It's frustrating.  I try not to allow demons in my head, but every once and a while they show up. Yesterday, they showed up and got the best of me.  I only write about what I truly feel and yesterday I felt like the slowest, last, and fattest girl in PE class.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Out and About

I notice that I move around a lot better now that I'm 170+ lbs. lighter. There were so many things I could't do as an obese person. Some of which I didn't even realize I couldn't do. Things that most people wouldn't even give a second thought about. As an obese person it was an ordeal to just carry my purse. I was unable to get my purse on my shoulder and in a comfortable position -- too much girth. Now-a-days, I carry my purse on my shoulder and it fits right nicely against my body like it should. 

I was headed to class recently and  I really wanted to take a to-go mug of coffee, but in the past carrying a mug, purse, and book bag would be a lot of work for me -- too much girth. Just trying to get around was enough hassle. Never mind carrying extra stuff. Anyhow, I decided I didn't want to face the day without the coffee so I brought along the to-go mug. Surpringsly, toting the coffee mug and other items didn't cause me grief. Instead, I was pleased to be out and about moving around with stuff.

Friday, October 7, 2011


As I gaze around my Wellness Coaching class. I see a room full of white, privileged students. I've been in this situation before when I earned my bachelor's degree from Seattle University.  Back then, however, I didn't really fit in, I was a miserable 388 lbs. I was withdrawn and afraid to speak up in class. The students were running circles around me, intellectually and physically.

No longer. I'm a part of the circle. The only thing separating me now from the others in class, is the color of my brown skin. Otherwise, I'm right there with them. I pack healthful snacks: mini peppers, apples, carrots. I tote a SIGG water bottle. I sport athletic attire too. I'm alert. I ask questions. I'm engaged in thought and in conversation. I'm healthy, fit and the more I think about it, I realize how privileged I am.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Joy of food: Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love the fall for many reasons -- good comfort food is among them. Sure, I eat mostly healthy, but sometimes I just crave a warm, comfort meal. I figure, as long as I'm preparing the food in my kitchen I can control the ingredients and make sure everything is fresh.  So to me that's better than eating out at a restaurant or food from a box.

Last night, I made stuffed bell peppers. Beautiful red, yellow, orange, and green peppers rich colors reminiscent of fall, stuffed with extra-lean ground beef seasoned with basil and thyme, rice, fresh tomatoes, sweet onions, garlic, and a hint of Worcestershire sauce. Lightly topped with bread crumbs and drizzled with butter. Yup, I did it, and I have no regrets.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Perfect, I am not

I am the best me yet, but in no way am I perfect. Beyond my journey to a healthier, fitter lifestyle. I am confronted with every day life and all of it's nuances. I choose to document my journey publicly, however, I do keep my private life, private.  With my name in the spotlight lately, my private life seems to not be so private. I guess, that's just part of it. I will continue sharing my motivation, passion, and zest for healthy living with you. I want to help, encourage, and inspire you. I will continue to do my best to be a better person, but, perfect I am not.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Worthy: Fish oil supplements

The brand I've been using
After reading about the positive benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and realizing that I just don't eat enough fish to reap the benefits. I decided to start taking fish oil supplements. Of course, there are articles and information out there that also discount the benefits of actually taking the supplements, but...What I've noticed so far is: my hair's growing and my complexion is flawless.

Here's a look at some of the long term benefits:
  • Lowers blood triglyceride levels
  • Reduces the risk of heart attack
  • Reduces the risk of dangerous abnormal heart rhythms
  • Reduces the risk of strokes
  • Slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces stiffness and joint tenderness associated with Rheumatoid arthritis
An omega 3 fish oil supplement may also help improve or prevent the following:
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • ADHD
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperactivity
  • Arthritis
When possible I want nutrients to come straight from the source -- food, but in this case chock full of omega-3 fatty acids I feel fish oil supplements are a worthy choice.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just enough

Now-a-days food portions are out of control. We simply overconsume. A kid's meal, for instance, from a restaurant is actually an adult size serving. We have super-sized ourselves to the point of an obesity epidemic. Heavy sigh. Don't get me wrong, I still like to enjoy certain things that are not-catergorized as healthy, but I'm always mindful of the portion.

One of my indulgences is Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream. So creamy and so good. Now, that I'm calorie and health conscious, I was thrilled to see Haagen-Dazs has created a tiny 3.6 ounce carton. What an adorable little package. Every once and a while when I feel like having a little ice cream I reach for one of the itty bitty cartons. I enjoy my ice cream guilt free and I'm always fully satisfied afterwards. 3.6 ounces is just enough.

The Obesity Epidemic is REAL!

The evidence of an epidemic is everywhere.

· Two-thirds, more than 190 million Americans are
overweight or obese.

· Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar
medical burden every year.

· Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years

Source: CBS News