Sunday, February 26, 2012

Taking Care of Ourselves; Part 1

I wanted to do something a little different with my next two posts. I want to stress the importance of taking care of ourselves. Not just our bodies and what we put into it, but the importance of taking time to take care of ourselves. When I was at my heaviest, I'll be the first to admit the last thing I thought about was what I looked like. My goal was to keep the spit up from staining my clothes and not run out of newborn diapers. I have noticed that I'm not the only one who was (or is) like this, but we have to learn how to take care of ourselves because we have to learn how to love ourselves.

I hated myself. Hate is a strong word, I know, but I'm dead serious. I hated myself, what I looked like, how I let myself go. I had to learn how to fall in love with ME to really take care of myself. Sounds silly, I know. As mothers especially, we always seem to come in last place. The kids, the house, our spouses, work, it all comes before us. I had to learn how to re-prioritize my life and put myself on that list for the first time in my life. I felt guilty at first, thinking that I shouldn't be worried about me, I had 2 kids who need me. Just this morning my husband wanted to spend time with me, but I got up and laced up my Nike's. He looked at me with puppy dog eyes and said "well, I see that run is high on your list this morning". I felt so guilty, but he's right. My run can only be done at a certain time of day, when my little one is napping, so I had to tell my hubs that we would have to spend time together after he gets home from work. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to get our lives in order. It sucks. But, I reminded him, I am doing this FOR him, and our kids, and myself. I work out so I'll be a hottie for him. I work out so I can chase our kids, and so I can be the person I want to be.

Time management is crucial for being able to do this. I sat down with my daily routine with the kids, and looked at when would be the best time for me to workout, shower, and get ready for my day. I have to re-do this when things like preschool for my kids, or doctor appts, or other things in life come up (which they do all the time). One day a week I meet a really good friend of mine for lunch, so I rearrange my workouts for that too. We have to learn how to still get a workout in and make the most of the 24 hours we are given each day!

Me on a typical day. I always remember the reason why I do this; for that little man right there!

I made extra time to really make myself look pretty after my shower. Trust me, it helps. My newborn would usually be up by then, so what I would do is grab his bouncy seat and put him in my bathroom while I took a shower and got ready. I'd put on music and he'd laugh and bounce while I did my thing. We'd sing songs and play toys too, he loved it. I did my make-up, flat ironed my hair, and made myself pretty even on the days that I wasn't going anywhere. It will make you feel better during this transitional period in your life. It may sound silly now, but please trust me on this, it will do wonders for you in the long run. I promise you. Just going through the act of making yourself pretty even when you don't want to will boost your confidence and make you feel so much better about yourself if you are not used to doing it.

Now, I know most of us busy moms don't have a ton of time to do this, so part 2 of this post will be my favorite, best rated time savers on make-up and hair products. I can take a shower and get pretty in about 40 minutes (which is the longest I've taken).

Be on the lookout for part 2, I'll be making a list of my favorite products!


Thank You

I have been reading some of the replies, comments, and kind words written to me and about me on Pinterest and here on my blog, and I am speechless. To think that I could even help someone, from this computer desk all the way in Japan, just blows my mind. I am so grateful for all of you, my readers, my supporters, and every kind word you've spoken about me.

The past 18 months of my life have been the biggest, the most exciting, and the hardest. They have been full of trials, tribulations, challenges, triumphs, and a lot of love. So much of that is because of people who support me, like my readers here and my friends and family. I never imagined I'd be able to reach out to anyone at all, but thanks to Pinterest, I've been able to reach so many more people and hear their stories. I just want you all to know how much I appreciate every word spoken to me, every word of encouragement, and every person who has ever encouraged me.

I never thought my story would help someone else, but I knew I had to try.

Thank you. It means the world to me.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


Imagine this; it's 3am. I'm feeding my newborn, barely keeping my eyes open. My head keeps bobbing up and down because I have been up every 2 1/2 hours since 9pm for nightly feedings. Husband is on night shift, so he's no help. It's the last feeding at 3am, and I know I have to get back up at 6am to begin my day and know that I have an hour long workout ahead at 9am when my newborn goes down for morning nap. Sometimes I wanted to say WHY ME?! I'd have given anything to just take that time from 9-11:30am and sleep! I'm glad I didn't though. I had a 4 year old to think about too. He'd be up and expecting breakfast at 7am. How was I going to get through the day? How was I going to drag my butt out of bed in a mere 3 hours when I feel like I haven't slept since my 2nd child was born? Then make my way though another just didn't seem possible some days.

That's when I had to rely on my strength. It came from a few places, but most of the time, I'd pray through my son's nightly feedings. I'd sit listening to K-Love on the radio, relying on God to get me through to the next feeding. Just to the next one, then I'd be okay. Then through to the next workout. Then to the next week. My faith grew through this process. I grew through this process.

I also had another source of strength; Bob's book, "Are You Ready?". He really helped me through this book. I got to read about other people who had gone through the same thing I was going through, and seeing how Bob handled their journeys helped me through mine. I felt like if they could do it, then I could.

Here is a link to his book: Click me!

In this book, he explains how to set up a plan for yourself; how to get started, find your BMI, and where you should be. He made it simple for me, and something that I knew I could do. I loved this book, it's still on my Kindle and I still read it often. If you are trying to lose but don't know where to start, I highly recommend this book! Reading about other people struggling made me feel like I knew exactly how they felt, and they kept pushing through. If they can keep pushing, then I could, too.

We all need strength just to make it through to the next day, but we need serious strength to make it through an exercise routine daily. If you make it a priority to get your life in order though, you will be surprised at your own strength. I didn't start out being strong, I started out broken. I started out at the lowest point you can imagine. I crawled my way back up. Just know that if you are at that point, you are not alone, and you can get through it. You can get back up and do what you need to do to make a change in your life. Start small, with just a simple routine, and pretty soon it will become a habit! Then it will become a lifestyle.

With love,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jillian VS Bob Review

Many of us are familiar with The Biggest Loser. At some point int he first 2 weeks, the contestants picked a trainer, Jillian or Bob. Jillian had the rep of being the "tough one" because she yelled, screamed, and cursed at the contestants. Bob was the "nice one", he could connect better with the contestants and get a workout done. He wasn't, and still isn't, one for screaming. Now both Jillian and Bob have their own line of workout DVDs, and I get asked about Jillian's 30-Day Shred multiple times a week. Everyone knows that I am a "Harper Girl", and will be till the day I die, but I have Jillian's 30-Day Shred at home.

In this DVD, Jillian has 3 levels, a warm up and cool down included. I've done all 3 and for someone like me, it's not nearly enough to make me break much of a sweat. If I'm really short on time sometimes I'll throw it in just to mix it up a little, but that is a very rare occasion. I used this DVD many, many times in the past before I lost the bulk of my weight, and it never made my scale budge. And she markets on the TOP of that DVD "Lose up to 20lbs in 30 Days!!". That's actually almost impossible. Even when I was consistently dropping pounds, I lost 8-10lbs at the most a month. All of that without Jillian, I might add.

My honest opinion? Jillian is a marketer. She markets to the stay at home mom crowd, who only have about 20 minutes to workout. As yourself this; is 20 minutes enough to really make a change? Answer; NO. Reality people, 20 minutes is barely a WARM-UP. Reality is harsh. If you want change, you need to put yourself in a pool of your own sweat 4-6 times a week for 45-60 minutes. It doesn't sound fun, but it's reality. That was and still is my reality. As Bob says to the 15-20 minute workouts "are you KIDDING me?!". Ok, I know many of you will not like me after saying that, but I don't want to steer you wrong here! This issues is life and death for some people. It made the difference between healthy and diabetic for me. You have to make time for that hour, whether it's getting up an hour early before your kids, or staying up later, or getting a sitter. If you want it bad enough, you will do what it takes.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Jillian! I think she did a great job on TBL with her teams. It's this DVD that I have issues with. Working out for only 20 minutes will get you nowhere near where you want to be. I still workout for close to an hour a day, 6 times a week, just to maintain my fitness level! If you want to change your life, this DVD isn't for you. It is highly popular, but for the reason that it's only 20 minutes. If you go from completely sedentary lifestyle to working with this, then your scale might budge some, but you won't see any good lasting results with it. It's better than NO workout, but trust me, spend an hour with Bob and his cardio and you will understand why he has been the dark horse of TBL for years. He won't yell at you like Jillian, but he will change your outlook on fitness, food, and how you live your life.

With love,
Harper Girl

PS- for more one-on-one help with me, or for daily inspiration, join my Facebook group Homefront Warriors! I have a great group going so far, and I check it daily!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am NOT Photoshoped!

Well, today I had to face something new; being called fake. A fitness group (which is actually a pretty cool group) posted my picture from Pinterest to their site as a motivational thing. There were lots of nice comments, but a lot of really hurtful ones too. I was called a fake, a liar, and "nice try...photshop is a great tool"

::::::::::::The before pic was taken right after I had Jake, at 174.6lbs. The after was when I hit 125. I'm now 110, but I always said that if I made it to 125, I'd take a photo for Bob Harper and submit it. He published my photo & letter (which is why I'm on Pinterest!) and someone found it.:::::::::::::

Ouch. One guy called me "cocky" and said he was surprised I still had a wedding ring on in the "after" photo! What is wrong with these assholes? One guy said my boobs looked "off", so I must have used photoshop.

Really? So here I am, going on record, and stating that I am NOT photoshopped! Please...if I was going to photoshop myself, I'd make my boobs bigger in my after pic. Because seriously, going from a DD to an A cup really sucks. I can't choose where I lose weight. It's part of the process. For the man comparing my jewelry, I am wearing the same jewelry in both pictures, it's actually what I'm wearing now too. It's just my daily jewelry, and it tends to shift. And why wouldn't I still be married? Oh yeah, maybe because I love my husband. Go figure. And I am not "cocky", I'm confident. Learn the difference. The cameras are different in both pictures because my husband got me a new one for my birthday a month before that "after" picture. So what? It's the same room, same me, just a lot smaller. Why the hate? Are you so uncomfortable in your own skin that you have to bring ME down? Get a life, and don't put me down. Guess what? I cut my hair short and it's a different color now, so does that mean it's not me AGAIN? Please. Go look at my progression pictures and then try to talk smack. Better yet, pick up a kettle bell and try to keep up with me! I've got $10 that says you can't ;)

It was really hurtful reading those negative comments about myself, when all I've tried to do is help people through my own experience. So many people are where I was at, and I just want to help. People can be so mean. I'm letting it roll though. The site admin is pretty cool, and I talked to him for a bit tonight. I guess you can't win them all, hu? At least I can have my say here!

So anyways, believe me or not, it's not my concern. But I'm a pretty honest and real person. Which is why I started blogging in the first place. People need to know that doing what I did is absolutely possible! I can't win them all, but I just wanted to clear the air in case anyone else was wondering.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looking Back...

So my brother messaged me early this morning to tell me that he found this little gem of me:

Ouch. I was stunned looking at it. This was me at 210lbs, my heaviest ever. Granted, this is me now...

But still, I think I still see myself as the girl in the first photo. No matter how hard I try, I still see that girl in the mirror and in my mind. I'm trying to get out of that mind-frame. It's much easier said that done. I tell myself I'm worth more than any image, but if I'm truly honest, I think that people treat you how they see you. That was part of the reason I wanted to change in the first place. I was tired of being invisible. I always blended into the crowd, unless someone was trying to point out a fat chick. I never had any fun, for fear of people looking at me and judging me. People DO judge bigger people harshly. Why? I don't know. We are all still people. I am the same girl in both pictures...but the girl in that first picture wouldn't get asked if she needed help at a store, or have doors opened for her, or have people offer to carry her things to her car when she was alone. Nope. Never.

Am I different? Somewhat. But I am still the same Mandy that I always was. Other than my lifestyle changes, I make almost all the same choices I would have back then, my interests are still the same, and I have all the same people in my life other than my new friends at this base. I am treated differently though, and sometimes that makes me angry. Angry that people judge. Angry that people chose to not see me or associate with me. Angry that society has the world thinking that size 0 is the best.

You know what the best is? Being fit. No, I'm serious. Whatever size you are at, if you are FIT, you are at your best health. We are beautiful at every size, and there is so much more to all of us than our weight. It's sad that sometimes people don't see that, and that society puts so much emphasis on image. It makes us treat others, and ourselves, differently. But, remember that you are worthy, beautiful, and amazing no matter what size you are! We are all people, we are all the same.

Until next time,


Monday, February 6, 2012

Skinny Mom; I'm Famous!

Skinny Mom Article on Me!

WOW! I'm famous! Okay, maybe not famous, but still, I'm very humbled. This just made my day!

Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I was just lucky enough to be featured and blessed enough to share.

I'm so excited!

HarperGirl AKA Mandy

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mandy's Motivation One Year Later

Recently I was asked what motivates me. I'm lacking motivation lately, although I'm still working out. I've been in a mood since I splurged on my birthday dinner this past week. If you know me, you know that I very rarely splurge. Don't get me wrong, I'll have a treat every now and then, but I don't go all out like I did on my birthday! It was nice, but I felt guilty about 2 hours later! haha! I can't help it. Plus, my body just isn't used to eating like that anymore, and I was sick the rest of the night from the grease and terrible foods I just consumed.

So, back to my topic. There are so many things that motivate me.

1. Smaller clothes
2. Being able to run around outside with my kiddos
3. Getting "that look" from my hubby
4. Sharing new experiences I couldn't have had unless I was physically fit
5. Signing up for my first 5K! SQUEE!
6. Being a little more outgoing
7. Feeling like the person I was meant to be. My inside matches my outside now.
8. Having a better marriage from losing my insecurity
9. Making new friends (who didn't know the "old me")
10. Looking back at my fat pictures and remembering how far I've come
11. Better sex! Yes...I said it.
12. Trying out new things in the kitchen
13. Finding new hobbies (eating is no longer a hobby!)

14. Going to the beach and not covering up!
15. Being FIT and not just skinny
16. Helping other people on their weight loss journey
17. Being CURVY and not "fat-curvy"
18. Seeing my hip bones
19. Buying clothes without trying them on

20. Guessing my size/weight
21. No longer being ashamed of myself
22. Being the mommy of 2 kids under 5 years old and looking better than I did in high school!
23. Rocking my gorgeous ball gown at the Marine Corps Ball this past fall

24. Being proud of myself for not quitting
25. Hearing how proud my husband is of me
26. Runners high!
27. Reading my letter from Bob Harper
28. Working towards new fitness goals
29. Being the one others turn to when they need help with their weight loss problems
30. Setting a good example for my kids
31. Trying new foods when we go out to eat that are healthy
32. Being who I am, versus trying to be who I wanted
33. Being comfortable in my own skin
34. Being really happy for the first time in my entire life
35. Meeting other people who share the same goals I have
36. Knowing that not only will I NOT give up, but I can't! Other people depend on me.
37. Never taking another picture like this ever again (I'm in the blue):

38. Hearing that others are inspired by me! ME!
39. Feeling my rock-hard ab muscles!
40. Sleeping better at night
41. Being able to go out to eat without feeling like everyone is staring at me
42. Not just taking pictures, but being IN them...and liking it :)
43. Not being the "fat friend" anymore
44. Being in control of my body
45. Knowing what I want out of life, and knowing who I am
46. Reinventing myself!
47. Banishing the fear I've had for years.

That's my list for now, although I may add to it. I think of new ones randomly throughout the day!

Until next entry...stay fit, stay strong!

HarperGirl AKA Mandy

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