Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Self-Reflection Sunday

I can’t believe I went a week in between posts! I had been doing good about queuing up 3-4 things I could publish during the week. Sorry. ๐Ÿ™‚

Things you may have missed: I joined a walking club at work with some of my fabulous co-workers (Greg, Kate, Christine, Tyler, Steve, Pat, Jason and Sonia) – our team name is All Your Steps Are Belong To Us….#AYSABTU. Look for it trending all over Twitter. Haha. Also I had my half way mark weigh-in/measurements with Tanya this week. Guess what? In 30 days I am down 13 inches over – THIRTEEN!!! Eff yeah. I also lost 6 pounds. Honestly, I’m more excited about the inches. Pounds will come with time. Can’t wait to see how the end of challenge looks! I’m addicted. ๐Ÿ™‚

After my last post on losing focus and not living in the moment….I spent the weekend busy with work/plans and missed 3 – yes THREE barre n9ne workouts. Insert super sad face here. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Sunday night I got in a funk – and thought about Jess’s post on self-reflection. I decided to read through theย  manifesto and seriously consider where I used to be and where I want to be.

I’ll give you some of the answers I gave myself to the questions above….I’d love to hear yours if you’re so inclined to share!

Where are you living right now – the past, the present or the future? Oh it depends on the day, LOL. I’d say mostly the present…but I do harp a lot on the past (in my head) and I worry a lot about the future. Are the choices I make today setting me up for success in the future? I hope so!

Are you putting parts of your life on hold?ย  Yes. I didn’t even have to think about that one. I’m not dating – or putting myself out there. Part of me wants to and part of me just isn’t ready for rejection based on my size. I was telling a friend just last night all the active things I can’t do – hiking, biking, canoeing….he told me I was making excuses ~ but truthfully I’m just not in shape to do physical activities with my friends. I hope I will be able to do some this summer.I hate that I can’t live the life I want because of poor decisions I made in the past. I wish it was easy to lose weight and hard to gain – instead of the reverse!

What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date? One of my favorite quotes is โ€œIn three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.โ€ That it does. With or without you….life goes on. I think as I turned 30 I realized there was no such thing as perfect and not everything in life was fair. I also hold firm to the belief that everything happens for a reason….even if you can’t see that reason at the time.

What would you do if you cannot fail, if there are absolutely no limitations in money, resources, time or networks? I love this question, because I think about it before I go to bed all the time. What would I do? First and foremost I would buy the company I work for – and clean house. Bring in people who make a difference- promote people who are already doing this and get the whole company aligned for awesomeness. That takes care of career. Onto family – I’d pay off all my debt and my loved ones debt (school loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages) – BAM, fresh starts all around. Then I would travel. See every place in the world I’d ever wanted to go – with friends and family in tow. Paris with Mom and Christine D. (because she speaks French!), Italy girls trip with Jewels, Ash, Kate + company (good wine, good food, good friends), Australia (with my friend O who has been a few times), Spain, Morocco, Bora Bora, Brazil (with my brother), Drive cross country (with Layne!) and see every place and anyplace I could. I would truly become a world-traveler. I would meeting new people ~ explore cultures unlike my own and try things I’ve never tried. But, before I did that I would literally spend 6 months getting myself int0 the most amazing shape I can. Barre classes, Barre luxe sessions, Cardio sweat fests – I’d hire Tanya, Julianna, Jess and Jo as my personal army of trainers! (Ladies, you would be my dream team!).ย  Man I love dreaming about this!

Now, how can I do that within the restraints of my own budget/time/life? I can go to Paris with Mom – I just have to plan it. I can drive partway cross country at some point and I can try new things. Every day. Like today at Whole Foods when I bought Cojita Cheese and Mahi Mahi – just to try!

What is your ideal life? Career? Diet? Self? Look? Life Partner? What are you doing to achieve them? Life? Healthy, happy, successful and fulfilled. Career – honestly as cheesy as it sounds I feel like this vein of work I’m in now is my perfect career. I manage customers, I still have lots of human interaction but I’m still technical and I get to travel but not too much. Diet? One with less “treats” then have currently snuck into my diet! Back to healthy fruits, veggies, leans proteins and only the occasional treat. Look? My current cute face – with a super sexy, sleek bob (dying for this cut once I hit a milestone of 199), wearing funky yet stylish clothes and accessories purchased anywhere but the “plus size section”! (Side rant: why do we call it “Plus”? It’s not something better. Like “Juice PLUS Antioxidants”….I hate the word Plus). Life Partner? Ah, something else I fantasize about a lot. I don’t have a “look” – but I do have things I’m attracted to (light eyes, taller than me, smart as hell, witty, funny, conversational, good hugger) and I would like this person to be health-minded and career driven. I know where I’m going – you’re going to need to get with this if you want to stay! Now for the tough part- what am I doing to achieve those things? Focusing on me – eating my number, getting barre classes in and getting my steps in. Spending my time more wisely – choosing to see/talk to a friend rather than watch TV. Spending time with people I love more. As for what I’m doing to find my life partner…..honestly? Nothing. I need to work on that – when I’m ready. ๐Ÿ™‚

I loved this activity. Next Sunday I might need to chose different questions and see where I’m at.Read through it – I’d love to hear how you felt about certain questions. Oh and if you’re in the mood for a novel this summer that’s a light read, pick up “Coffee and Kung Fu” by Karen Brichoux. One of my favorite books of all times. I will leave you with my favorite quote, one that has stuck with me for nine years.

โ€œThe moment isn’t a piece of time; it’s a question. The moment comes when you look up and see your life stretching out for seventy more years. And there, in front of you, like a giant roadblock, is the question: Is this life good enough for the next seventy years? But maybe that’s the easy question. The next logical question–Can I live like this?–is the killer. Because it isn’t a yes or no kind of question. It’s a do or die kind of question.”


The Fat Ballerina

I took dance from the time I was 4 until I was around 13. I remember loving the costumes, the sparkles and the moves my older cousin and her friends had. I wanted to be a cool kid. I wanted to be a dancer. I still have every old costume saved in the attic, and I still have fond memories of those years. I started off taking tap and jazz. I loved jazz, it was funky music I knew from listening to the radio. One year we danced to “Hot Stepper” by Ini Kamoze. Years later I would hear that song at work and bust into choreo. No lie. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here I am (being a ham) dancing to “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. Someday when I reach my goal weight I will buy a yellow polka dot bikini and do a comparison picture!ย  (Please note the “Yeah, I’m awesome” face I’m making. Haha. )

I never took ballet. At the time I think you had to be 12 to start and by then I wasn’t interested. I had moved on from my dreams of being a dancer to wanting to be a doctor (but then I found out blood was involved and that dream fell by the wayside too, LOL). I’ve always held a soft-spot ballet; I’ve seen “The Nutcracker” several times and I find the art form to be one I respect and admire. However, as a 311 pound adult I didn’t think I was cut out to try a ballet workout. I was SO wrong. Being a fat ballerina is totally possible!

I found Jess and Jolene‘s blogs on a whim (I’m really not sure how I stumbled upon them, kismet I guess!). They both mentioned the barre workout at a studio called barre n9ne in Danvers. I was intrigued. I wanted to hear about their 60-day challenge with barre n9ne and was blown away by their progress in the first 30 days!ย  Jolene lost 8.25 inches all around and Jess lost 6! That’s over a foot of loss! Go ladies, go!

This morning I had my very first barre n9ne virtual workout. Literally it was just me, my laptop and my living room. How cool is that?! I expected to be slightly challenged, but I figured as a long-time dancer (and now bellydancer) I could handle this like a pro. I was so, so, SO wrong. I almost died. Ok ok…I didn’t almost die. But it sure felt like I might! Tanya is a *professional* – and she is in excellent shape. We did a full body workout – legs (plies, leg lifts of doom, squats lifting one heel), abs (roll-ups, plank of death etc) along with a bunch of other stuff. My brain is mush. However, I distinctly remember laying on the ground thinking “Dear god are we almost done? I cannot do one more leg lift. It’s been an hour!“. I glanced at the clock – it had been 3 mins. Well…it FELT like an hour!

I can’t wait for the next one. Honestly. I never thought I would say this, but I love getting up before the sun and getting my ass kicked! Wanna join me? All you need is a good internet connection and Skype 5.0 or higher! Sign up here! Wednesday mornings at 6:15am! ๐Ÿ™‚

I asked Jess and Jolene about their experiences with the barre n9ne workouts and I wanted to share their feelings with you guys:


This 60-day challenge has changed me. Infinitely. And we’re only a little bit more than halfway through – and I am so very grateful. I’ve learned (already) to love what my body can do – that it can take on any challenge I ask it to. That I can eat healthfully and wholesomely and still have “fun” – especially on the weekends (my nemesis, or it *was* my nemesis I should say!). That I am stronger than I thought – especially mentally. Some of the movements we’re asked to do in barre n9ne require ridiculous concentration and control – and it hurts (so good). I’ve learned that by closing my eyes when the going gets tough, I can breathe through it and conquer those loonnnnnng sets of never-ending reps. But most of all? I’ve learned to love what I see in the mirror – because I did that. It is the most empowering feeling I’ve ever felt. And I’m grateful.

What I love: All of it. Every single minute of class. These classes are the right balance of intensity with endurance and I always feel so loose and strong and powerful by the end. And I realize that the more classes I do, the more I want to keep taking classes and make this a lifestyle change for me. No more gym. No more spinning. No more kickboxing. JUST Barre N9ne and running. I never in a million years thought I’d say that. I used to love spinning more than anything and now? I couldn’t care less. The results I’ve seen in a month have been incredible and the mix of these classes, with running and eating to ‘my number’ have been the magic combination for me.

What I’ve learned: I’ve learned that you definitely need to love your workout to stick with it. Not to totally compare this to Core Fusion, or the 30-day at-home challenge Jess and I did awhile back, but I look back at that and while I did like the DVDs (and the classes are hands-down, the best, especially with Fred DeVito co-creator, at the helm!), I didn’t love them nearly as much as these workouts. I think barre n9ne is the right mix for me. It’s always different, there are constantly new moves and tweaks to moves we’ve done before to keep my body guessing. I’ve also learned that keep tracking of calories and being held accountable (even if I know it’s just me and Tanya peeking at my journal in FitDay!) has helped me focus and even more think twice before eating something. Am I hungry? Or am I just thirsty? Or bored? Eat to fuel, don’t eat to cover up another emotion or feeling or need.

What I’m surprised by: I’m surprised at how I view food now. I LOVE to eat, don’t get me wrong. But I no longer see food as a driver to happiness…and I think I sort of did equate it with that before. Food is fuel and sure, food makes me happy, but it shouldn’t be a big reason for that. It’s hard for me to explain, but now, when I do choose to go out to dinner (rarely!), I enjoy the company and the glass or two of wine MORE than the food, because I see the food as fuel and not as indulgence. I don’t gravitate towards the middle of the road/semi-bad, I veer towards as healthy as I can be. I look up nutritionals before I go out so I have an idea of my calorie intake and planning ahead for it. Because I view food this way, it doesn’t feel like I am deprived. And honestly, I am eating much of the same foods as I was before, but just with a lot less daily indulgence. It’s cleaner, it’s moderated and I just FEEL better.

Doesn’t it sound totally awesome? I know! ๐Ÿ™‚


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