Start of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred Challenge!

I am starting a new fitness challenge. It’s an old one, as the video was released in 2008. But, the reviews on Amazon are very promising!

I have used this video in the past, but not consistently. Now, I plan to take the 30 day challenge and see what results I get.

Now, I do plan to alter it a little. I’m not going to exercise on Sundays, so the plan will take me a little longer. My start date was yesterday, May 10, and the end date is June 13.

In addition, I am not going to eat any sweets (with the one exception being Mother’s day).

I think this is very doable -it’s only 20 minutes of exercise a day. I am excited to see how this turns out!

Here are my before pictures:

Here are my measurements:

  • Weight: 144.4 lbs
  • Jeans Size: 6
  • Arms: 12″
  • Waist: 30.25″
  • Stomach: 34.75″
  • Hips: 39.5″
  • Thighs: 24″

I will show updates on day 10, day 20, and finally day 30. Wish me luck!

Losing The Weight


So, I realize I haven’t updated on my weight loss progress. And, I wanted to let you know that I have lost 43 of the 50 pounds that I wanted to lose! I started this weight-loss goal New Year’s Day in 2014. I’d say that was a pretty successful New Year’s Resolution. I am determined to lose the last 7 pounds, which I will write about in a future post. But today I wanted to talk about how I lost the weight.

Love Yourself Now. –No, really! I’d say this was pretty much my biggest aid in losing weight. All of my other previous attempts at losing weight ultimately ended because I didn’t believe in myself. I was unkind to myself, and over-demanding. And enough was never enough. So, I worked really hard during this whole process of being kind to myself. If I didn’t exercise that day, I didn’t beat myself up over it. I told myself that it was okay, and that I would do better tomorrow. And I did. It is so easy for us -especially women -to fall into patterns of verbal self-abuse. But it is so damaging! Instead of using constructive criticism (Well, that didn’t go so well today. I think maybe I can do this tomorrow instead), we often use destructive criticism that ends up derailing weight-loss efforts entirely. Trash talking myself didn’t help, so I had to say, Stop it, Dana! And, an amazing thing happened from my efforts. Now, as I look back at photos of myself at my highest weight, I don’t cringe or hate the old me. I feel compassion. I wish I could go back and tell her that it was going to be okay, and that she was worth just as much then as now. Yes physical health is important. But so are mental and emotional health. I don’t think it is a crime to have healthy self-esteem even at an unhealthy weight. In fact, like I said, I think building this self-esteem is crucial towards successful and long-term weight loss. I’m actually thinking of writing a book on the subject.

Focus on Small Actions and Building Habits –One of the biggest reasons why diets and exercise programs fail is that they are often too extreme to start with. I knew this about myself, so I started making small changes. I had one less slice of pizza, one less cookie. I added one extra serving of vegetables, and so on. It was actually hard, because a lot of people were telling me that I was doing it wrong. But, I persevered, and found that it worked. I slowly brought my portions down to a normal size. And, I did something similar with exercise. I started with 5 minutes of exercise a day –a ridiculously easy amount that I knew I could do –and then slowly increased it. Next thing I knew, I had a lot of healthy habits that were easy to maintain.

Use Mindless Eating To Your Advantage –Often eating while watching movies or TV is demonized as being the reason why America is so fat. And maybe it is part of the reason. But for me, I thought, what if I can turn this into a good thing? So, I started using this time as a time to eat sliced up vegetables, and to drink more water. Since I wasn’t really tasting what I was eating anyways, it helped me to add more healthy food into my day, without making it a big deal.

Get Up When You Fall –This was also huge for me. I had started weight loss efforts last January, and was doing pretty well. But then, around March, my habits started to fall through. I thought I had ruined my chances for success, and felt discouraged. But, I decided to regroup. I figured out what had not worked for me, and I re-designed my weight-loss goals. And, because I got back up, I was able to accomplish so much. If I had given up, I would have only lost about ten pounds (and I might have gained it all back). But, I went on to lose another 33. So, if you’ve fallen off the wagon from your New Year’s Resolution already, don’t worry! You can still get back on track!

Think Up, Not Down –For me, I found it so much easier to cheer myself on by thinking about weight lost differently. Instead of thinking, “Okay, I have 47 more pounds to lose,” I thought, “Hey, look, I already lost 3 pounds! Go me!” I thinking focusing on what we have already achieved helps bring added motivation. Big goals come with delayed gratitification, and one of the best ways to bring instant gratification is focus on the positive of what we are doing now, and what we have already done. Of course, now that I’m close to the finish line, it’s encouraging to think, “Wow, I only have 7 more pounds to lose. I can totally do that. I’m almost there!”

Well, I hope my words were encouraging and uplifting. If you managed to get anything out of this post, I hope it is that we need to love ourselves right here, right now. Life is too short to spend it hating ourselves. So love yourself, and watch as your goals become easier to reach!

Weight Loss Tools


“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~Ayn Rand

Day 5 is called the “Helpful Post.” Basically, I was asked to write something or share something that would help me readers. This post was actually pretty hard for me. What do I have that would help others? Yes, I could talk more about my book, or how to write a book, but somehow it didn’t feel right. As I thought about it, I decided that I want to share one of the tools that helped me lose weight. It’s calledSparkPeople, and it is a free website that gives tools to help you lose weight. It includes basics like a food and exercise diary, weight recorder, and mini exercise videos. But what I really loved about the website were all the opportunities connect to other people losing weight, and the encouragement I found there. Also, this site isn’t about extremism, or burning yourself out in 6 weeks. It encourages you to make small, good decisions, and to make them consistently. I used this tool to lose 35 pounds, and I really love it. If you are looking for something to help your reach your health goals -one that is realistic and effective -I would really suggest Spark People.

I guess I would also like to give my own personal words of inspiration. I believe really strong that we as women can reach our goals. So often those around will discourage us, telling us that it isn’t realistic to reach for them. They may be well meaning, but in the end, only you can decide whether a goal is worth reaching for. Whether it be weight loss, another area of wellness improvement, or in other areas such as creativity or talent development or whatever it is that you want to accomplish, I believe that you can do it. I’m here to cheer you on!

In the comments, if you have goals or dreams you want to share, please do!

A Summery Jean Skirt


Here is my outift post for the week! I wanted to wear something compatible with the Texas heat, so I went with my blue patterned t-shirt, and jean skirt, and a pair of flats. It’s comfy, but it still looks cute, which I like. Today was one of  those days where I looked at my outfit, and realized that every single item happened to be a gift! The jean skirt and the t-shirt came from Patty, my mom-in-law, and my flats were given to me as part of my bridesmaid outfit for my sister Kelly’s wedding. 🙂 And my pearl set, complete with earrings, bracelet and necklace were an anniversary gift from Ben!

My Outfit Deconstructed:

  • Black Flats – $14.99, Kmart (gift)
  • Rewind Flared Jean Skirt -$3 at Santa Barbara thrift store (gift)
  • Blue and White Graphic T-Shirt -$2 at Walmart (gift)
  • Pearl Jewelry Set -$26 at Walmart (gift)

And, that’s about it for this week. I just wanted to share my modest outfit, and show that casual wear doesn’t have to be sloppy. 🙂 And, wow! I’m just so happy with losing 35 pounds! I think I’m going to stay at this weight, and work on weight training to add a little more tone. Life is good!

Weight Loss Update!



Life has been a little crazy lately, what with my move to Texas, and starting a new job. That being said, I’ve been making time for one of my rediscovered passions –biking. When I was a kid, I remember loving to ride on my bike all over the neighborhood. But, as I got older, I stopped riding it for whatever reason. There’s an ad by Huffy that I love. It says, “Adulthood is the bully that stole your bike. Take it back!”

Thanks to a free bike, I have now taken up the habit again. There’s something about the wind on your face as it rushes past you (or rather you rush past it), the feeling of your legs moving, and watching as the road disappears much faster than if you were on your own two feet. Of course, riding a bike isn’t always as fun as it was in my youth. Ben and I went on a 25 mile bike ride last week –a ride that took two hours, and almost every ounce of my energy. By the time we were done, my thighs were throbbing, and I was in the throes of hatred for my bike. And yet, today, I can’t wait for my next bike ride.

It definitely helps that I’ve upgraded my bike. My brand new, awesome bike is comfortable, and makes for much smoother riding. The back shocks make my ride much less bumpy, and I love that it’s a 21 speed. It’s definitely nice that the gears aren’t rusty, and can transition with greater ease.

If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you may have noticed that I am in the process of trying to lose weight. It’s been slow going –that is, until I started bicycling. I’m now down 18 pounds, which is fantastic!

It may seem strange that biking can increase my love for fashion, but it has. While I’ve always loved fashion, I’ve been more of a window shopper than an active participant. Cute clothes just aren’t that appealing when I feel overweight. I’m much more likely to reach for a tube of lipstick or a bottle of lotion than a new pair of jeans when I feel fat. But, as I’m seeing the weight come off, I feel more and more confident in myself, and comfortable with my body. Suddenly, I’m eyeing that new dress, that new shirt with excitement, rather than wistful longing.

I think the actual act of riding has made a huge difference as well. As I speed down bike trails surrounded by woods, I feel more connected to the world around me –and to my own body. I feel less at odds with myself, and happier with myself as a person.

So while I have focused primarily on beauty products on this blog, you are about to see a major shift. There will be more outfit posts as I continue to lose weight. Also, there will be a much bigger emphasis on wellness. I think beauty and fashion were meant to be offshoots of a much bigger issue –self-esteem.

And when it comes down to it, in this blog, I guess you would say my main goal (or even my mission) –is to share my journey in improving my self-esteem, and to help other women to do the same!

Hot Pink And Roses


I haven’t done an outfit post in a while, so I figured I’d update! Here’s a picture of me in one my newer shirts. It’s hot pink, has a fun graphic rose print and is lots of fun. It’s actually a thrifted shirt! I have it paired with my gray jeans, black flats, and turquoise jewelry. This is a fun, casual look for me. I wore my leopard print purse with it, because I was in a hurry, but I should have gone with the black back. Oh well! The bag doesn’t stay on my shoulder all day anyway.

(The flash kind of whited out my face a little, but my hair looks great!)


Through eating less, and exercising more (you know, the standard formula), I really am losing weight! I’m a little too scared to step on the scale, but I can tell by the way my clothes are fitting me –that my “normal” clothes are getting baggy, and my “small” clothes are starting to fit –that weight loss is happening. I hope that I will continue to lose weight as the summer continues. There’s a wedding coming up in August, and I want to look fantastic!

Update: I got on the scale, and it turns out that I’ve lost 15 pounds since the beginning of the year! Woohoo!

Trying A Healthy Challenge


So, for the past 2 weeks, I have been preparing for a healthy challenge that’s going on in my mom’s area. I had the spreadsheet to start, and the challenge officially starts on Monday. So far, it’s been a great experience, and I can see myself living healthier and feeling happier. I’ve already lost a couple of pounds the first week, and I haven’t even checked for this week. I like this challenge, because it focuses more on just diet and exercise -it also focuses on spirituality and personal development. The challenge only costs $10, but you have the support of others working towards the same goal, and it really doesn’t cost that much to start.

I think taking care of myself, and loving myself is one of the best ways to feel glamorous. To me, wellness is inseparable from beauty and fashion. Now, I’m not just talking about how you look on the outside here. When I eat healthier, sleep enough, and take time for myself, I feel more connected to myself, more willing to reach out, and well, more beautiful overall. There’s something about treating myself and my body with self-respect that just can’t be duplicated.

I’ve also really enjoyed working towards my personal goal. So far, I’ve tried cleaning my house as my personal goal. It’s nice reminding myself to clean. But, I think I’m going to work on my journal compilation project that I started years ago. I think it would be great to have my entire personal history in one volume. Part of this project will be to turn this blog into a book, as it’s definitely an important part of my life. That being said, just writing in my journal daily has helped me to manage my emotions better, and to feel happier about who I am as a person.

I intend to keep you updated on my progress in this healthy challenge, along with my other regular beauty and fashion posts. And who knows? Maybe this will help me to lose those extra pounds, and find myself. 🙂

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year, and what are you doing to work towards your goals? I’d love to hear from you. 🙂