Category: Family

Struggles, Strength and Trust

Brace yourself…this is going to be a long one.  It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything down and there’s a lot on my mind.  Let me pause so you can get a cup of coffee or tea or diet coke before you sit down to read this….

I realized today that I had been holding a lot in.  When I began writing about my journey I said I would be honest and not hold back.  I wanted to open people’s eyes up to the ups, downs, bumps and bruises that all come with the journey to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and deal with everything in between.

So let’s start with the STRUGGLES

My struggles should be affectionately titled, ‘The Diary of a Binge Eater’.  I’ve struggled with binge eating disorder for a long time, even through my weight loss, but more recently it has come on strong.  The quick and dirty on binge eating disorder is that (for me) you will eat and eat and eat (a lot of times the same food) until you are full and then even more full and then until you feel like you want to burst and then you will eat some more.  Binge eaters restrict until we can’t restrict anymore, then binge on food after the restrictions we have put on ourselves is too much.  We eat to numb, to deal with the emotions we don’t really want to deal with, or fill a void.

With the winter months and my depression and anxiety mounting, the binges have come steadily and with the binges so have weight gains.  And for someone who focused 2 years of their life losing weight, weight gains are DEVASTATING.  Yes, I’m a chronic weigher (is that a word?).  While I know I shouldn’t, I weigh myself almost every day.  Yes, I know (I’m trying to be better).  And while I know weight fluctuates, with the binges, I have seen more gains than losses or maintenance and it freaks me the F out.


I was reading something from a fellow binge eater the other day and it was like a light went off in my head.  For two years my goal was to lose weight.  I didn’t know how long it was going to be to get to my goals, but that was my goal.  When I went into maintenance, I no longer had that goal.  I didn’t have my positive reinforcement.  Sure, I made goals that were related to fitness, like finishing a program or lifting heavier, but honestly there is something satisfying about seeing that number on the scale drop.

My other revelation in dealing with my binge eating is that I still have a lot to work on when it comes to my relationship with food.  Tracking calories got me to my goal of losing 140lbs, but it has also caused me to lose my sanity in the process when it comes to thinking about food in a normal way.  I think in calories and I’ve lost a sense of satiety when eating food.  I am having to re-learn how to eat – when I’m hungry, when I’m full and not on a calorie and time table that gets me to a goal of weight loss.

But through these struggles, I am being reminded of the STRENGTH I have gained and to not forget where I started. I’m reminded by myself, but more importantly from my family and friends.  Like, Mike reminding me (multiple times) that I can fit into one pant leg of a pair of pants I used to wear.  That I pushed myself and overcame so many things I never thought I could do to make myself into a new, healthier person.  I have to hold on to that knowledge that I have that strength to continue to move forward in my journey that will always be changing.  To set new goals for myself, non-weight related, like building that strength to overcome my binge eating and develop a healthier relationship with food.

And despite the recent gains, I’ve come a long way.  I looked up my from my desk today and saw a picture of Sam and I from when we went to Disney World right before I started my journey.  So much has changed since then.  Our recent family vacation to Disney World was a whole new experience for me.  Rides were easy, walking all day didn’t hurt, my eating choices (while not perfect) were so much better than vacations past.  The knowledge of the journey is what will also propel me forward.

Sep 2012 to Jan 2015 – Magic Kingdom


Sep 2012 to Jan 2015 – Magic Kingdom

And finally there is TRUST.  I’ve talked about it before, but making the journey to lose weight and continue on with a healthy lifestyle takes a lot of trust.  Trust in myself.  Some days I have that trust or faith or whatever you want to call it; that I can make the right decisions, overcome my struggles, and use that strength to push past them, but other days, I lose it completely.  I lost weight for 2 years, I should trust and KNOW that I know what to do, but sometimes it waivers.  I’m working on trusting myself.  Believing in myself.

So, there you have it.  Life is messy.  Living a healthy lifestyle is not 100%.  No one is perfect and everyone has struggles.  BUT, we have to reflect on the strength that we have inside to push through the walls.  Push through the barriers that we have put up in our minds and trust that we will carry that strength with us to face the next challenge head on whether we fail or succeed.

Here’s the rest of that pic above from Disney with the family.  It was an amazing vacation!




Cooke Family Year in Review

2014 was a pretty good year for the Cooke family!  It’s kind of crazy to think back to everything that happened.

January started off a little rough for us with the nasty cold weather (we made the best of it though by playing in the snow), myself getting shingles, and everyone else in the family being sick.  But February brought a better outlook for us all.  

Having fun in the snow!
Having fun in the snow!

Jobs. When February rolled around big changes came with it (unfortunately snowmageddon stayed a little longer though).  Mike got a job!  And a job he loves, doing what he loves, for a great local company.  After a few years of working retail and being a great stay at home dad, Mike headed into the corporate world.  It brought a lot of changes to our family dynamic, shuffling who goes where and when, but it was a great change we embraced.

Travel. Bring out the suitcases!  We had a lot of fun travels this year!  We took several trips including a short weekend for Mike and I to Gatlinburg, TN with friends, a mini family vacation to Ohio for some fun at Great Wolf Lodge and Kings Island, a road trip for Samantha and I to Oklahoma to see family and old friends and eat lots of yummy food, my first time going to New York City (and all by myself), and our first big family vacation to Indianapolis and Chicago to check out the amazing museums, sights, and a fun surprise seeing friends from long ago.

Health. This year also was the year of discovery when it came to our health.  For myself, I reached several milestones on my mission to shed the pounds and get healthy, including hitting -140lbs lost, celebrating 2 years on my journey, and logging into MyFitnessPal for 500 consecutive days.  I also started to refocus my goals and why I was getting healthy, paying less attention to the scale (when I willed myself to, it’s hard!) and more attention to the new body I was living in; making it stronger through new workout programs, learning to maintain, and finding a love for lifting weights. And how can I forget winning $500 from Beachbody for my accomplishments!


Health-wise, I also learned why my body was freaking out on me at times after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It was like I finally had an answer to what had been happening to me recently and in the past with my weight gains, losses, anxiety, depression, hair loss, etc.  Then the kiddo got checked out for her allergies and we finally had answers to her constant coughing and breathing issues.

Speaking of the kiddo, she GREW!  I’m not talking just taller, because she definitely did that, but mentally too.  She began writing, A LOT.  In full sentences!  She started reading, EVERYTHING!  She learned sign language and Spanish and basically ran circles around Mike and I (sass and all).  This year, Sammo found a best friend, began dance, and continues to grow into a smart, sweet, colorful, caring, little girl.

2015. What does 2015 hold for the Cooke family?  Definitely one amazing trip to Disney World, Samantha starting kindergarten, more goals to be set and accomplished, 10 years of marriage for Mike and I, and so much more!


Happy New Year to all our friends and family!

Getting Healthy: Piyo

Well…it’s been awhile.  Life kind of happens and I forget about this thing called blogging.  But, I recently finished a new workout program that I HAVE to share with you.  Now, I love HIIT workouts and I love lifting weights, but Piyo by Chalene Johnson, is none of that.  And it’s awesomeness.  It’s about toning, building strength, and using your body without impact to define the muscles that you have.


When I started Piyo, I’m not going to lie, I was a little skeptical. I was used to jumping up and down like a crazy woman with Shaun T and well a program that touted you were going to burn a ton of calories doing pilates, yoga and body strength exercises sounded a little too good to be true.  But the first time I tried the workouts aptly named Sweat and Drench and came out at the end of the workouts looking like a hot mess, I knew I had found a good workout.

What I really loved about Piyo was no impact.  After doing multiple workouts with a lot of impact, going to a workout that had none felt amazing for my body.  Also, building strength in muscles that I had used, but not really targeted and worked in my other workouts was amazing to see how they were more defined and toned by the end.  Piyo is a 2 month program and I loved every minute of it.

So, here are my Piyo results:



I lost about 7 lbs total on the program, but losing wasn’t really a goal.  Slimming down in the waist line was the biggest improvement I saw as well as a lot more definition in my arms and legs.  Lean and strong!

p.s. You must excuse the craziness across my stomach in the afters….that would be where I burned my stomach like an idiot because I thought it would be a good idea to cook with hot oil in my underwear.  Truly a doh! moment on my part.

Click here to buy Piyo

Getting Healthy: 2 Years Ago

Two years ago I started a journey.  It started with a wake up call or one serious kick in the pants from the universe, whatever you want to call it, and now, two years later, it has turned into not just a straight path to lose weight, but a journey with its ups and downs, turns, bumps, bruises, sweat, tears, and so many other things I can’t put into words.

I quickly learned that losing weight is not just about losing weight.  It’s about changing your mindset.  Building an inner strength in yourself to propel yourself forward into a new life.

To use that strength to push through when you have no motivation to get up and workout.  To pass on the sweets some days, but to also have the confidence to know that a piece a cake one day isn’t going to ruin everything you’ve been working towards.  It’s about living your life, a new, healthier life for yourself and those around you.

In 2 years I’ve lost 140lbs.  I’m just now starting to realize the gravity of how I have changed my life forever.

If I had a chance to talk to the Tracy in 2012 who thought the task was impossible I would have told her to believe in herself a little more and to trust herself.  To know that the strength mentally and physically would grow each day and a new person would emerge that has confidence to take on new crazier workouts, push herself farther and test her willpower more each day.

I’m now in what I believe is the hardest part of my journey…maintenance.  Or basically “living my life” after losing 140lbs.  It boils down to trusting myself.  Trusting that I know what to do to maintain my lifestyle.  Knowing that I started out thinking I could never, EVER do a workout like Insanity but DID and trusting in my abilities to take on any workout now.  And trusting myself on what to eat, how much to eat and when.

insanity to piyo front
From Insanity to T25 to 30 Day Shred to Body Revolution to Piyo

I’ve learned now that a lot of weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is about trusting yourself.  Building that confidence and inner strength to keep moving forward despite the trips and falls.  To pick yourself up,  dust yourself off and keep moving forward because amazing things will happen if you do.

2 Years of Progress:


Duck Ride

We recently went on a little mini-family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH.  We love Great Wolf because it has everything packaged in one location and the kiddo has a TON of fun.


On our way home we stopped in Newport, KY, ate lunch on the river at the Claddagh Irish Pub (one of Mike’s and my favorites), walked on the Purple People Bridge, then took Sam on her first ever Duck Ride!  At first she wasn’t sure about the duck noise makers, but by the end she was the only one left quacking at everyone we passed.  Needless to say, she loved it.