Believing in Yourself and Finding What Works for You

I started a new workout plan about a month ago.  It’s amazing!  And it’s a lifting program.  I’ve been wanting to do a weightlifting program for ages, but for some reason I kept holding myself back.  I’d go back to the same old routines, start one up and a week in I’d get bored.  Finally, I said: “Fuck it, I need to do the program that I want to do and not let what’s in my head stop me.”  


The thing that I have learned over the last few years is if you want to be consistent with exercise, you don’t necessarily have to be consistent with WHAT you are doing; you just have to find what you like to do.  And DO IT!  There are those people that will always do the same workout day in and day out and be perfectly content.  I am NOT one of those people.  I’ve stopped and started plenty of workouts.  

But don’t get frustrated with the process of finding the right one for you.  For me, finding the right workout program has been to find one that has an end point.  Two months, three months, even 30 days, whatever it is, I have an end in sight and that becomes my goal – complete every workout within that program (even if it takes a little longer than the prescribed time frame given).  

And listen to yourself, listen to your friends.  This is where your support network or even the girl in the checkout line who just came from a workout (I’m not afraid to go grocery shopping looking a hot mess after a workout) can help you figure out the right program.  I’ve scoured the internet, read up on different programs and picked some losers and winners based on my support system and their advice.  

Don’t give up on finding the right exercise routine for you if the first one or even tenth one doesn’t work out.  Remember, you’re still getting in the exercise while you find the right one.  

And here’s something else I have learned along the way…actually, let’s back up.  I’ve been listening to a podcast recently during my lifting sessions and I heard this quote and it spoke volumes to me:  


The thing is we hold ourselves back so much when it comes to improving upon oneself.  It’s time to stop.  Remember way back in the day when I did the workout program Insanity?  I almost never started the program.  A program that I ultimately believe propelled me into the remainder of my journey to lose weight.  Why was I scared to start?  Because I didn’t believe I could do it.  I didn’t believe that I could be amazing.  That I was STRONG.  

Belief in yourself can change the course of a goal from failure to achievement.

So, whether it’s Insanity, Strong Curves, yoga, running, Shaun T, or Jillian Michaels, there is a program that is right for you.  Believe in yourself and the strength that you have and get out there!

Being Honest and Going Back to Basics

Let’s start off with the fact that I’ve probably drafted about 5 different blog entries over the past 2 months but never finished a single one. The thing is, I haven’t completely found my rhythm yet with the new job, new city, new way of life and well, its hard folks.

And with all that is hard in life, my weight has crept up and that is what I am going to talk to you about today. And here is another hard part…being honest. Being honest with all of you. And especially being honest with myself and what I have gotten myself into. What is it that our moms used to always say to us?  Honesty is the best policy? When I started writing about my weight loss journey in the beginning, what did I say?

BE HONEST!  Honesty is the key to losing weight. Especially being honest with yourself and well, I kind of chose to ignore myself over the last few months.

Sure I can give the excuse of moving across the country, trying all the new foods (and I’m talking ALL. THE. FOOD), and starting a new job, but if I get down to it, I wasn’t being honest with myself. I knew what I was doing. I CHOSE to ignore what my mind was telling me.

So, here I am, up 25lbs from 6 months ago and mad at myself. I’ve been through despair, and pity, and now I’m just plain mad. I started this year off with a resolution to be more mindful, yet I completely threw that out the window on day 2 and said F*** it. Being mindful, to me, includes being honest with yourself. And I was none of the above. But with that anger, I’m taking that fire and putting it back into what I know. Round 2, one could say. I’m going back to the basics.

Or in the wise words of several friends and my ever patient husband, “You know what to do Tracy” and I’ll add in a “Duh!”

So, I’m tracking my food, finding an exercise plan that I LOVE (Piyo Round 2!), and adding in a heaping dose of mindfulness. Listening to my body, my mind AND those around me.

excuse the super weird look on my face while I try holding side plank during piyo

I know, I know. I said I didn’t want to track my food again, but when you veer away from the tracks so far you start heading the wrong way, you have to re-route and start back over. This time tracking is different. I’m not setting out a plan and eating every last morsel planned, full or hungry. I’m eating when I’m hungry and ONLY when I’m hungry. This may mean that breakfast comes at 6:15 or at 9:30. It may mean that I have only snacks all day or a big meal at lunch and not much for dinner. I’m being mindful and listening to what my body wants, but within the limits of a calorie restriction.

The lesson learned, time and time again is maintenance is hard. Losing the weight is not an end point. You hear it, but do you really hear it? The maintenance phase after losing is like a dirty little secret that everyone sort of talks about, but doesn’t really want to let you in on when it comes to losing. You want to lose and get to that goal, but then what? Its trial and error and well I may have made a few more errors than I wanted to over the past few months, but here I am now. Being honest with myself. And most importantly all of you. Correcting course and going back to the basics. Remember, it’s a journey with ups and downs but never give up on yourself.


Whoa 2015, Did That Really Just Happen?

Let me start off by saying, 2015 flew by…like did that all just really happen?  December 31st and honestly the last month and a half snuck up on all of the Cooke family and since its pretty much been FOREVER since I posted anything, I thought what better a time to write, but to recap Year 2015 now that it is almost in the books!

Well we started the year off with a BANG when we took our big trip to Disney World.  It honestly feels like years ago that it happened, but it was just January.  There were princesses and castles, riding Space Mountain (2 or 3 times – the kiddo loved it, mommy not so much), and a Magical time for everyone!  And let’s not forget Samantha’s amazing time dancing with Belle.


Not only did we go to Disney World, but we visited Great Wolf Lodge in OH, not once, but twice.  Getting pampered and having fun at story times.  Sam and I ventured our way up to the top of the St. Louis arch on our way to Kansas City, Tulsa, and Yukon to visit cousins, family and friends.


Then our biggest trip of all was all the way to Seattle, WA to find a place to live as we made our trek across the US in pursuit of a new job for me!


But before I go into all of the insanity of picking up our lives and moving across the country from Lexington, KY to Seattle, WA…let’s talk more about the kiddo.

The kid did a lot for 2015….she graduated from preschool and headed to Kindergarten.  We already knew she was a smarty pants but she blew them out of the water at school with her reading and writing skills!


Not only did she excel academically, Sam proved she could do anything if she put her mind to it and ran her first 5K in the Color Run.  There was a little whining along the way, but overall we had an amazing time!  Then she also danced in her first dance recital with her best friend Hadley and wowed the crowd!



So back to the whole moving across the country thing…yeah, that happened.  After accepting a position at one of the world’s biggest companies in a dream position, we packed it all up and moved us (including 2 cats) to Seattle (Issaquah), WA!  It’s put our lives in a whirlwind and we are not settled yet, but we’ve been able to celebrate the holiday season together and start to make a new home, in an amazing city!  (And the best part, Mike got to keep his job and work remotely from home!)

But there was even more for 2015 and the Cooke family.  Mike and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary!  It doesn’t seem like 10 years when we ran off to Vegas and got married at the Little White Wedding chapel, but here we are!

216720_1045994426599_4643_nAnd speaking of those 2 up there, we look a lot different now.  Sometimes I forget that not everyone has been through the journey with us to becoming healthier (and smaller) people, so it still blows me away when someone asks us how we did it.  While our journeys were both different, we got there and happy that we did!


2016 promises to be amazing – new home, new job, new school, new traditions!  Happy New Year!

Anniversary of Change

Today is a special day. It’s always been a special day. A day of celebration for one of my greatest and oldest friend’s birthday. And now the 3rd anniversary of my wake up call to change my life.


I went for a run this morning.  I needed a change in my workouts and I thought, change is hard.  Period.  End of sentence.  I honestly detest change.

I grew up in the same house my entire life, I knew the same bedroom until I was eighteen. One of my first big “changes” in my life was moving away for college and I mentally fought it tooth and nail. Each time there is change in my life my body, brain and everything from my head to toes says, “No, thank you!”


But here’s the thing…since making the change to become a healthier person those 3 years ago I’ve learned to overcome that overwhelming sense to fight change.

Embrace the change.

Don’t believe for one second that it isn’t hard to fight because my mind and body still go against change as much as it can, but deep, way deep down, I’ve now learned that taking that leap of whatever you want to call it to make the change is almost always worth it. Sure you will trip up, you will have your ups and downs, but if you set the goals you want to achieve and stay the course you will get there.  As I listened to Shaun T’s podcast this morning, he said,

You have to TRUST & BELIEVE in yourself that you can do whatever you decide to do!


I don’t always win the fight either.  For me, I’ve learned that along the path to change, to achieve a goal, you have to be flexible. You have to “go with the flow” and make adjustments along the way. But that’s what change is all about. A lot of times if we think of the little changes along the way instead of the one giant mountain of change we are about to face it makes it a little easier to overcome that overwhelming urge to run away screaming and go cry in the corner.

We’ve had some big changes in our family lately and probably many more to come, but one of the most important ones was Sammo heading to kindergarten.  It was huge.  For me, for her, for Mike.  It’s changed our schedules, what we have to accomplish at night and in the morning, but one thing I am so impressed with is how Sam takes it all in strides.

She embraces the changes head on.  She loves the idea of a new adventure ahead.


So on this 3rd anniversary of an always day of celebration I ask you to take the leap. Commit to one change. One small goal. You never know how one small change can turn into a 140 other changes to get you to a healthier, happier you.

The Mind of a Binge Eater

You all know I love me some Shaun T.  Well after finishing up Insanity Max 30, I couldn’t just walk away from Shaun T and all the positive energy and motivation he brings, so now that I’ve started running again, I’ve been listening to his podcast, Define Your Life on my runs.


If you get a chance to listen to just one of his podcasts, it will make you think, give you motivation and make you want to go that much further in your life…not just your workouts.  Shaun was talking about being honest, sharing something hard in your life to help motivate and inspire others from the struggles you experienced.  Just as we ourselves learn from those struggles.  And it got me thinking….

A few months ago after beginning the journey to become an intuitive/mindful eater, I had a really bad binge day.  I started feeling like I was losing control and instead of stuffing one more piece of food in my mouth, I started to write down what was going through my crazy brain.

My hope in sharing this, as Shaun so inspired me, is that I can help others who suffer with Binge Eating Disorder know that they are not alone.


This is probably the most personal thing I have ever shared on here, but I’ve been struggling more lately and finding what I had written down reminded me to keep going forward.  And as I have found, the more honest you are with yourself and those around you, the stronger you become as you let go of the “weight” of what is going on in your head.  So here it goes:

The thoughts of a binge eater….

The urge to binge is so strong.  My stomach aches from overeating.  “Indulging.”  The more my stomach hurts, the more my desire to binge grows.  My mind is racing.  Maybe I need to go for a run.  Maybe I need to just succumb to the urges.  Maybe just a cup of tea.  I decided on the tea although I really want to binge.  The inner war won’t stop.  I don’t want to run but only to “slow” the calories.  But that’s the diet mentality creeping in.  I’m nervous.  I’m starting a new workout program tomorrow.  Who do I want to impress though really? That’s why I’m nervous.  I don’t have to “report” any results though.  I only have to compete against myself.  Be better than I was the day before.  I’m a work in progress.  I don’t like the feeling of overeating.  My sides ache.  I feel like the food is still in my throat.  I have to listen to my hunger cues and fullness cues.  I don’t even like the taste of half the things I ate today.  I don’t like the frosting on the cookies.  The cheezits tasted good but left my stomach and throat feeling bitter.  The donut did the same.  It tasted good but at what cost?  The dinner was awesome and the fruit at lunch was good.  Have I really changed that much?  I desire all of these foods but then I eat them and they make me feel awful.  How do I know what I want?  I guess that’s part of the process.  Right?  I have to keep trying more things I haven’t had in awhile.  Then there is the urge to check myself in the mirror nonstop.  I want to weigh myself.  I have to accept my body the way it is.  It has done so many amazing things.  It finished Insanity.  At 250lbs!  That was 70lbs heavier than now!  70lbs Tracy!  You could do 0 of one move when you started back then but you kept trying.  You just kept going forward.  This body is so strong.  You can lift your daughter with ease.  Run up and down stairs.  Run!  You can run!!!  You don’t get out of breath going up the hill at work when so many others do.  Have faith in the body you have.  This is just a bump in the road to becoming an intuitive eater.  its a process.  Just like losing the weight…

So, there it is.  Just don’t forget you are not alone.  We always think we are going through things alone, but we’re not.  Write it down, work through it, call a friend, blog about it.  Learn from your struggles.  Turn them into positive energy to make you move a little further ahead.

I’m going to keep on running, moving forward, learning from my struggles, and reminding myself that it’s a journey, not a set end point.  There are always the ups and downs, there are always hard days, but there always great days, amazing days, days where I feel like I could run a marathon, do a 100 pushups…and I have to take the energy from those days and the energy from my struggles and propel me forward in life.

10933721_10206216926278591_8363157082338175270_nSo, I’m going to put on my neon yellow glasses and keep running for now!


Insanity Max 30: A Mental Fitness Test

I finished Insanity Max 30 today.  Holy crap I actually finished it.  This program is not for the faint of heart, breath, you name it.

I just need to stop and say, HELL YES, I FINISHED INSANITY MAX 30!!!!

I’m good…  But honestly people, I thought Insanity was hard, but this is hands down the hardest workout program I have ever done.  Physically.  And most importantly, Mentally.



When Shaun T announced that Insanity Max 30 was coming out, I was ready for the challenge.  The original Insanity was one of my first fitness goals I set when I began to lose the weight.  Accomplishing that goal was a huge milestone for me and now after so many other fitness programs, going back to an Insanity program was another big step in my fitness journey.

I’m not going to make this post about weight or inches lost.  Insanity Max 30, while you can lose weight and inches, is about so much more.  This is the most mentally challenging fitness program that I have ever done.  The premise of Insanity is to go all out until you “max out”.  Maxing out is you literally want to die, can’t move, can’t take a breath, falling on the floor, can’t keep form, you get it.  When I put in the first video on day 1, I maxed out at just over 3 minutes.

At that point I thought I had lost my f-ing mind.  I was cussing Shaun T up like no other.  But I maxed out, wrote down my time, picked myself up, ‘found my life’ as Shaun says and kept on.

I kept on for all 60 days.  By the end of each month I was able to double my time.  Each day I challenged myself.  I told myself I would go 30 seconds more.  Or 10 seconds more than the workout the week before.  Whatever I thought I could get to.  Then each workout I would get to that time that I had to beat and have to tell myself to keep going.  To make it to that goal I had set myself.  Some days I did it, some days I didn’t, but each day I didn’t stop.



And each day, I physically and mentally got stronger in this program.  And through my struggles to get myself right in the head with my eating, this program and Shaun T’s motivation have helped me to persevere.  And end each workout looking like a hot mess.