My journey from CAN'T to CAN – one workout at a time.


A Negative Mind Will Never Give You a Positive Life

brian tracy quoteI want you to take a minute and really think about this quote.  REALLY think about it.

I can tell you from experience – truer words were never spoken.  So, what does it mean?  Well, what does it mean to you?  To me, it means what you think, you become.  If you focus on negative things, you’re more likely to have a negative life.  If, on the other hand, you choose to focus on positive things, your life can become positive beyond your wildest imagination.  How do I know?  I’ve experienced this for myself.  This is the foundation for my life change.  Let me explain.

If someone were to ask you to describe yourself using three words, what would they be? For many of you, I’m guessing “fibromyalgia” would be in there somewhere.  I understand. That’s how I used to think.  Used to think.  What if you tried something new?  What if you replaced negative words with positive words?  What would happen then?  How long would it take for you to create a habit of positive self-talk?  How long would it take for that to change your entire way of thinking?

Not as long as you might think.

negative mind

When I started this incredible journey, my three words would have been: fibromyalgia, pain, disgusting.  Yes, really.  I was SO GOOD and negative self-talk. Years of practice, you understand.   Today? It’s tough to pick just 3.  Some of them would be: fit, fighter, determined, hilarious (seriously, I’m hilarious), positive, strong, compassionate, beautiful, and on and on.  So how did this happen?  I made a choice.  And I went through a little program called “The 30 Day Push” by Chalene Johnson. I HIGHLY recommend this if you’re ready to change your mindset and focus on positivity and goals, rather than negativity and obstacles.  Oh, and it’s FREE.


In all of my accomplishments –in completing the Ultimate Reset, Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire – in losing almost 30 pounds and countless inches – in gaining self-confidence and building a positive life – there is one thing I have yet to conquer – I WANT TO HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR MINDSET.   Now, I can’t do it for you, but one of my greatest frustrations is that so many of you STILL insist upon being negative, complaining, and dwelling in your problems.  Don’t you realize that I’VE done this?  Don’t you understand that I’m not any different than you?  Don’t you want to be free from your obstacles – whether it be fibromyalgia or obesity or something else?  Aren’t you tired of living like this?  Well then, why won’t you listen?  Why won’t you try?


Okay, I’m done with my rant now.  My point is this:  YOU ARE POWERFUL, but you don’t know it.  YOU ARE STRONG, but you don’t yet see it.  YOU CAN DO THIS, but you aren’t ready to believe it.  Aside from my goal of continuing my fitness journey with ChaLEAN Extreme, my goal over the next 90 days is to CONVINCE YOU TO TRY.  Change how you think.  Change your reality.  It’s up to you, BUT I’m here to help you get started.


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“No, You Can’t” | “Yes, I CAN”

IMG_3064We’ve all got ‘em.  Those opposing inner voices.  There’s the good one.  The one that believes in you.  Then there’s the naysayer.  The one that thinks you’re a quitter.  When you’ve got something like FM, those voices are always at it.  Especially the naysayer.  Whether you’re walking the dog or just trying to get out of bed, that voice is always trying to get you to give up.  To admit that you just can’t do it.  And, man, how do you shut that thing up???

Well, I wish I could say I have the answer.  But I don’t.  That voice has developed over many years — over a lifetime of experiences — negative and positive.  She has been “trained” to tell you “you can’t do this”.  That voice is still in my head trying to convince me to give up on this journey.  To believe I shouldn’t be doing this.  To go back to being unable to do anything.  And, well, she doesn’t get to win.  Ever.  Again.  Nancy Naysayer already had several years, now it’s time for Polly Positive to get a chance.

So, how do you ignore that voice?

How do you push past the negative images, feelings, words, and beliefs to find your inner strength?  To find the voice inside you that believes you can?  It’s not easy.  And it’s something you have to focus on always.  Like all things, it’s a choice.

  • You choose to believe. 
  • You choose to try. 
  • You choose to hear positive words rather than negative ones. 
  • You choose to motivate yourself.  
  • You choose to overcome.

How do you get through a HIIT workout when you have FM? 

How do you choose to tackle an intense 20-week fitness challenge when you could barely walk up a flight of stairs just a few months back? 

It’s all the same.  You make a choice.  You either try or you give up.  You either listen to Nancy Naysayer or Polly Positive.  Believe me, I’ve got the “I can’t” voice SCREAMING at me during some of my workouts.  But I also have Chalene Johnson yelling at me to PUSH harderAND I have ME.  I have the person that I choose to be.  I have the person that I am becoming.  I have the will to be healthier than ever and to continue to strive for more.

You’re not alone.  Everyone hears “no, you can’t” – sometimes it’s from within, sometimes it’s from friends or family.  DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THEM.  Only YOU can decide that.  It’s up to you.  Shut down the negative, elevate the positive.  You can do this! ‘Nuff said.


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Recap: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Weeks 1 & 2


Dates: June 3 – June 16

Total Workouts: 12 (6 days a week, one much needed rest day per week)

Total Workout Duration: 570 minutes (aka 9 ½ hours)

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology DAILY; Vegan POWER Diet (that’s what I like to call it)

Unlike how I felt when entering the TurboJam challenge, when I began the TurboFire challenge, I KNEW I could do it.  I knew I would do it.  I also knew it wouldn’t be easy.  With that in mind, I started the challenge in Monday, June 3, 2013.

TF_product_configuration_170x100First Impressions

Well, you start with what’s called the “FireStarter” workout.  This is meant to familiarize you with the combos you’ll see for the next 20 weeks.  Yes, 20 weeks.  So, it would seem as though it would be a “light” workout.  Well, Chalene doesn’t do light workouts.  While it does take things a bit slower to teach you the key moves and it is MUCH lighter than the other TF workouts, it is still very challenging.  At least for me.  Especially considering I had just moved to a high altitude (8600 feet) city only 2 days prior.

My first impression of TurboFire?  Holy crap, this is going to get me in the best shape of my life.

Moving Through Each Workout – Week 1

Even after one day, I was already excited to get up the next morning and tackle another CHALLENGING workout.  I get up at 6 am every day – non-negotiable – and get my workout in before I start my day.  That’s how I start my day and I love it.  I put my workouts in my schedule so it shows up on my phone as well as my MacBook.  That adds a layer of accountability to the process — and something I need on days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

  • Favorite Week 1 Workout: I think the workout that I was the most excited bout in week one was the Low HIIT 20 / Stretch 10 – just because I was SO excited to take on a HIIT workout. (High Intensity Interval Training).  I guess the main reason it was my favorite of week one was I DID IT!  Fire 45 EZ / Stretch 10 was pretty awesome too.
  • Least Favorite Week 1 Workout: Core 20 / Stretch 40.  Okay, seriously, I think I asked Chalene if she was crazy like 6 times during this workout.  Keep in mind, I’ve done yoga for years.  “Stretch 40” is a pseudonym for “I Will Kill You in 40 Minutes”.  Seriously though, I hated it because of how hard it was, but that makes me love it too.  I was sore until Thursday from this (I did it on a Saturday).  I know I will see a great deal of progress each week when I do this workout. And, yes, I will do it each week.

Finishing Up – Week 2

I think one of the most important things about doing a fitness challenge is that you celebrate every success – no matter how small. And, so I celebrated the fact that I finished week 1.  The fact that I did even better than I’d imagined I would. I was ready to tackle week 2!  What was really great about week 2 is that there were already things I couldn’t do in week 1 that I found I was able to do in week 2.  Now that’s progress!!!  Well, she really knows how to start it off – the first workout would be the longest one to date and it was TOUGH!

  • Favorite Week 2 Workout: Fire 45 EZ / Stretch 10.  This is SO MUCH FUN!  The energy is high and I feel motivated the entire time to just keep pushing harder.  Also, the Stretch 10 workout is amazing.  It feels so great after working so hard!
  • Least Favorite Week 2 Workout: Fire 55 EZ / Stretch 10.  Okay, I do love the Fire 45 EZ, but I wasn’t sure if I would survive the 55 minute version.  What I didn’t realize beforehand is that she sneaks in a HIIT about halfway through.  Really about killed me, but I REALLY DID IT.  YAY me.

Overall: Weeks 1 and 2

Closing comments: I DID IT.  That’s really all.  I started week 3 this morning and I’m already excited for my workout tomorrow.  I’m killing it – one workout at a time.  Thank you Chalene Johnson! 


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Slide1How do you define yourself?  If you had to pinpoint the one (or two) thing(s) that make you so very you, what would it be?

I suppose this connects to the previous post (Workout Moments of Enlightenment).  I suppose this also connects to the feeling that many of the people I know or have known seem to want to box me in or fit me into a specific definition.  Sometimes, it’s as if they want me to be limited in my abilities still or have a specific set of guidelines by which I operate.  Well, the thing is, I believe we are constantly evolving.  At least those of us with self-awareness and a desire to be the absolute best person we can be.  So, how can we remain the same?  How can we always be defined as X when we are evolving into Y?

I know it must be tough for loved ones when you see a person you care for struggling with some illness or condition.  In fact, I really do know – my mother has Multiple Sclerosis.  But what I’ve noticed as I’ve taken back my life and decreased my FM symptoms dramatically is that there are times when loved ones fall back on your previous limitations.  For example, before my transformation I couldn’t carry much of anything and felt a bit like an invalid at times.  Now, my strength has grown dramatically and I’ll basically carry anything I can.  I’ll do anything I can.  Sometimes, I’m asked “Why are you carrying that?” or Why are you doing that?” My answer? “Because I can.”  So I suppose even throughout my evolution(s), one label remains.  One word will always define me: fighter. 

Today, during my workout, I was amazed at a new achievement.  As usual, it might not seem like much to most people.  But, to me, it was thrilling.  What I’m noticing day after day is that I really am eradicating “Can’t” from my vocabulary.  I can remember when I was unable to do this specific thing on one of the TurboFire workouts and I said “I’m not able to do that yet” – YET.  And what happened?  Now I can.  That’s a fighter for ya.  I just thought, hey maybe I should try this again and see if I can do it yet.  And there you go.  Sometimes you just have to keep trying.  Try every day until can’t becomes can.  It’s a pretty remarkable feeling.

So think about it.  How do you define yourself?  Do you let others define you?  Take control – you own this.  You set the rules.  Make it positive.  Make it empowering.  Define yourself in a way that motivates you to do better; to be better.

There are no excuses.  Just try.  Just give it your all.  And you just might be surprised.


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Workout Moments of Enlightenment

Sometimes, mid-workout, you hear something you’ve heard a thousand times but for some reason – today – it just resonates with you.  And, today I was doing a TurboFire workout with Chalene Johnson.  For those of you who are unaware, she is basically amazing.  She says exactly what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.  She knows when to say “push yourself”and when to say “you’re doing great!” So today, I had one of those moments.  I’d heard it before, but today I thought “I need to write about this”.  So I am.   Here is what she said:

“Never give yourself negative labels.  Give yourself labels that are positive.

Seems simple, right? Well think about it. Really think about it.  How often do you give yourself negative labels? Me? I used to live in a perpetual state of negative label-dom.  Fat. Stupid. Worthless. Not good enough. Weak. A lot of them were learned; drilled into my subconscious by a less than great parent until I started to believe they were true. But, they’re not true. None of them. And that’s one of the many things I’ve realized throughout this process.

One of my biggest labels? One of the things that has been hanging over my head, negatively impacting my life for years? Fibromyalgia. When you say “I have fibromyalgia” it really is just a simple fact. But when it becomes all that you are, it’s a label. A very negative one at that. In years past, saying “I have fibromyalgia” was the equivalent of saying “I’m weak”, “I’m a quitter”, or “I’m just not good enough.”  Today when I say it, I’m saying “I’m a fighter”, “I can”, and “I am good enough”.

Some labels you can’t change. Some labels you choose. Choose positive ones. Force the ones you can’t change to become positive ones.

Never give yourself negative labels. You are good enough. You can do this. You are worth fighting for.


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Jammed: Me: 1 – Fibromyalgia: 0

On May 19, 2013, I reached a major milestone in this journey of mine.  I won’t say I “finished” anything, because I am far from done.  In fact, I plan to keep on pushing for the rest of my life.  The milestone?  I completed a Beachbody Fitness Challenge, which to most might not seem like that big of a deal.  But to me, it meant everything.  When you have fibromyalgia, you’re not “supposed” to be able to do those things.  And, realistically, I wouldn’t have been able to a year ago.  Even 6 months ago.  That’s really what the journey’s all about.  Never giving up.  Keep on trying until you can.

Turbo Jam: Day 1 March 25, 2013turbo_jam_logo

The first time I pushed play on Day one of my challenge, I was really hoping I could get through it.  I wanted to believe, but I still had that dreaded word: “CAN’T” hanging over my head.  That’s why I kept the journey private until now.  Aside from family and one close friend, no one knew I had taken this challenge.  I didn’t know if I could do it.  So, I pushed play.  And I did it.  And on day 2, I pushed play again.  And did it.  Day 3, pushed play; did it.  Well, you get the picture.

Turbo Jam: Through the Challenge

Somehow, I moved through the challenge, not really realizing just how amazing it was.  “It” being what I was in the midst of accomplishing.  When I would stop just for a second to reflect on it, I was astonished.  I was doing something I never thought I would ever be able to do.  I was paving the way for a future filled with possibilities.  Hiking, tennis, maybe even running!  Anything was possible.  Or at least it was becoming possible.

After about a week and a half, I was moving out of the modified workout (low impact) into the regular workout.  You know, the kind regular people do!  How was that possible???  Well, I guess maybe it always was.  I was adding weighted gloves, resistance bands and – OMG – jumping!  What?  Okay, so maybe those of you in perfect health don’t really get the big-deal-ness of this, but trust me it’s a big deal.  To put it in perspective, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs before – both from excruciating pain and from complete exhaustion.

photo-23I DID IT!

Not that I’m excited or anything.  On Sunday, May 19th, I completed the last workout of my Turbo Jam challenge. Seriously.  I freakin’ did it.  And I gave that workout everything I had.  110% all the way baby!  Immediately following my workout, I was elated. I felt a sense of pride I’d never felt before.  I accomplished something so huge that it was hard to even comprehend just how much it changed my life.  When I sat down on my bed to reflect on what I’d just done, I wept.  I just wept.  Happy tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of pride.  Tears of possibility.  Tears of knowing that I can.  Tears of knowing I would keep going forever. Because I can.

What Did Turbo Jam Do for Me?

What didn’t it do for IMG_2752me?  Seriously.  Here are a few things Turbo Jam has done for me.  I know the list will grow when I start TurboFire® (which I will on June 3rd – don’t tell anyone, but I kind of already started – I couldn’t wait!).  On with my list:

  1. I can hike now!  Okay, really, there was no way in hell I could hike before.  I could barely walk my dog.  But now, I CAN HIKE.  In fact, I’ve even made it to the peak of a mountain.  Not a huge mountain, but a mountain nonetheless and that’s a major accomplishment.
  2. I’m happy.  Yep, working out really does improve your mood.  I’m so happy I think I irritate my family. I know I work James’ nerves.  But I know he loves it.
  3. I feel good about myself.  When I took the “before” pictures at the beginning of my challenge, I was not happy.  I look super pissed in the photos because I did not want that camera pointed at me!  AHHHH!  But I’m so glad I have those to reflect on as proof of what I’ve achieved.
  4. Fibromyalgia has become smaller.  As I pushed through the pain in the first few workouts, FM was becoming less of a force in my life.  I was taking control.  I was becoming the force that drives my life.  Sounds crazy, but up until then it was FM.  My symptoms are less prominent and almost non-existent.  I have energy.  I feel great.
  5. CAN’T became CAN.  Simple as that.  Now when I think of something challenging, I think “I wonder if I could do that”; before it would have been an immediate “Can’t do that”.
  6. I could go on.  Turbo Jam changed everything.

Every day I pushed play, I was kicking FM’s ass.  I was making it smaller.  This is my journey.  And FM doesn’t get to win.

There are no excuses.  Just try.  Just give it your all.  And you just might be surprised.


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