Month: September 2012

Wednesday Weight Check #7

Yesterday’s weigh in results were… not good.

But you know what? I’m not letting me get it down. A number is just a number and I am not going to let it dictate how I feel about myself.

Weigh In #7

While not thrilled with the results, I am honestly feeling so good right now. I ran 7 miles on Saturday at a sub 9:00 minute pace. Below 9 minutes! Me! So that is what I’m trying to focus on, rather than the number on the scale.

For the week ahead, here are my goals:

    • Keep up with planning splurges rather than having unplanned ones.
    • Focus on having a lot of protein at each meal.
    • Try to limit fruit to 3-4 servings/day (it’s getting a little out of hand, especially when I ear most of my activity and all of my weekly points).
    • Track everything.
    • Focus on living healthy, not getting too caught up in the scale.
    • Adjust to working at home! This week I start working from home two days a week, which is going to be challenging/different for me.

Here’s to a great week!

Weekend Kitchen Experiment

This weekend, my big kitchen experiment was with my new crockpot. Into it I threw:

    • 1 diced large onion
    • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 4 ounce can diced green chilis
    • 1 cup chunky salsa

I let it cook on low for 5 hours while I tried to find ways to entertain myself and ignore the delicious smell taking over my apartment. After that time, I took the chicken out, shredded it with two forks, and then put it back in the crockpot on high with the cover off for 1 hour to reduce the cooking liquid. [Half of] the finished product:

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And it is/was DELICIOUS. Moist, flavorful, and a little spicy from the salsa and chilis. Yum!

The entire recipe yielded 10 servings, so I froze half (what is pictured above) and kept half for use this week. It worked out to be 2/3 cup of the shredded chicken mixture per serving, for 4 PointsPlus a pop.

So that is kind of the theme for this week’s menu plan because I tend to only cook 1 or 2 nights during the week, and then use big batches of things I make over the weekends to carry me through the rest.

Here’s what my week is shaping up to look like:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Pumpkin Oatmeal w/cottage cheese + pumpkin pie spice Mexican Chicken Salad w/black beans, corn + cilantro Lentil + Feta Salad Soft boiled eggs w/English muffin, turkey bacon + fruit
Tuesday English muffin w/PB + banana Chicken soft tacos w/corn tortillas + side salad Greek yogurt w/honey crisp apple Black bean and corn quesadilla with cilantro
Wednesday Pumpkin Oatmeal w/cottage cheese + pumpkin pie spice Mexican Chicken Salad w/black beans, corn + cilantro Lentil + Feta Salad Out with friends – Sushi
Thursday Greek yogurt w/ cereal + banana Chicken soft tacos w/corn tortillas + side salad Lentil + Feta Salad Grilled tofu w/sweet potatoes + veggies
Friday Pumpkin Oatmeal w/cottage cheese + pumpkin pie spice Grilled tofu w/sweet potatoes + veggies over greens Greek yogurt w/frozen berries Out for Mexican!

 

And here’s what my week is looking like exercise-wise:

    • Sunday: Ripped in 30 Week 1 + 2 – first time trying this and I loved it! Similar to The Shred but no strength training move is more than 30 seconds and it’s all different moves. Refreshing!
    • Monday: 4 mile run
    • Tuesday: Running Intervals + Weights
    • Wednesday: Rest
    • Thursday: Cross train w/strength training
    • Friday: Rest
    • Saturday: 8 mile run

I’ll do a full update on half marathon training soon since I’m now 1/3 through it, but that’s the plan for this week!

How many nights a week do you cook?

Lots of Firsts

I know the first day of fall isn’t officially until Saturday, but this week has brought a lot of firsts that sure make it feel like fall is already here!

This morning was the first time I saw a temperature starting with a “5” when I went out for my run… plus when I got back home after!

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Today marks the first time I’m using my new crockpot:

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To make maple syrup and dijon and mustard slow cooked pulled pork!!

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I can’t wait until I’m home to eat it for dinner tonight!

Last night was the first night I didn’t turn on my air conditioner since pre-summer. I also didn’t turn it on this morning, while getting ready!

This morning is the first time I’ve had canned pumpkin this season:

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It’s also the first time I’m having oatmeal in I can’t even tell you how long!

And, perhaps most excitingly, today is the first day I’ve been able to comfortably wear my size 10 black dress pants (again) for work without them looking inappropriate!

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YES!!!

Have you had any good firsts this week?

Wednesday Weight Check #6

Another Wednesday Weight Check video with results from yesterday’s weigh in!

Weight Watchers Weigh In #6

Check out to clip to hear what I really struggled with this past week, as well as a summary of what I’ve been doing for activity. As promised in the video, here’s a link to the spreadsheet where I track my activity.

Goals for this week:

    • Plan my splurges better.
    • Track everything that I eat.
    • Keep up with half marathon training.
    • Sleep at least 7 hours per night.
    • Go grocery shopping Thursday or Friday so my fridge is stocked for the weekend!

Also, for your reading pleasure, I came across this article yesterday through the Wall Street Journal about food cravings and found it really interesting, so I wanted to share!

What sorts of foods do you find yourself craving? How do you handle your splurges throughout the week?

Weekend of Twos

This weekend was seriously awesome. There were lots of twos, so I figured I’d just go with it!

First, I had two GREAT runs, for different reasons.

The first was my long run for the week of 6 miles for half marathon training. It was early Saturday morning and the weather was PERFECT. I set out and just felt amazing during the entire run (besides the minimal self-peptalk time during the first mile), and I finished it faster than I’ve ever run before – an 8:46 pace! I doubt I can do it again, but it felt incredible at the end.

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The second run was with my sister yesterday morning in Philly, and we covered 4 miles at a much slower pace. We had a dog and a baby in tow, and man do those two things slow you down! It still felt great, and I love running with my sis, so that’s a win.

Second, this little guy turned two!

Harper

Photo credit goes to Colleen, one of my sister’s close friends!

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For those of you who have been following my blog for a while (read: two years), you might remember that my sister went into preterm labor at just 23 weeks and 1 day. Harper was born at just 1 lb 3 oz, and though it’s been a tough road at times, he’s now a chatty, amazing, and too-smart-for-his-own-good two year old! He truly is a miracle, and he is so awesome.

My two favorite dishes from the party:

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Ricotta, honey, and seasalt bruschetta! My sister Heather made these and they were so simple, but so delicious. The secret she says is with good quality ricotta, and you just spread some on a piece of fresh baguette, drizzle with some honey, and sprinkle a little seasalt to finish it off!

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Annnnnd vegan potato and caramelized onion knishes! These were almost too good because I ate way more than I was planning on, but they were one of the catered dishes from the party and were seriously amazing. I’m sort of glad I don’t have the culinary prowess to make these!

Kid birthday parties are SO fun. Especially where there are Elmo cupcakes!

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Aren’t you impressed? My sister Wendy made them!

The weekend also had two PERFECT weather days.

The run outside and the party took up most of Saturday. Sunday, we got to spend a lot of time at the park in Philly, which was awesome.

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That’s the birthday boy and his big cousin, Claire, who just started kindergarten.

I also got to spend a lot of time with my sister Heather’s two kids – Claire and Ben!

I seriously love being an aunt. It’s funny because growing up, my extended family was never that that close. We would spend holidays together but whenever someone said they were close enough with their cousins to consider them a sibling, I never really got it.

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But now that I am an aunt, and see my sisters kids interact with each other as cousins, I can’t imagine NOT being such a big part of their lives.

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Even if I can’t get everyone in a picture at once successfully.

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Good thing this cutie pie likes to cooperate.

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Love.

What were the 1 or 2 best parts of YOUR weekend?

Wednesday Weight Check #5

Another Wednesday Weight Check video with results from yesterday’s weigh in!

9-11 Weigh In Results

Watch the clip to hear the results and also hear what I’m doing better this time around with losing weight.

Goals for this week:

    • Focus on staying on plan this week so I have extra Points to work with since I’m going out of town Saturday night.
    • Keep up with half marathon training, with a long run of 6 miles this weekend.
    • Focus on eating less processed foods and getting in all my Good Health Guidelines.
    • Be mindful of what I’m putting into my body.
    • Get a lot of sleep – I do so much better when I do!

What is your #1 focus for this week?

Weight Loss Mode Weekly Plan of Attack

As you (hopefully) know, I am really committed to losing weight and getting back to my goal weight, and have been back on track and focused for about a month now. One of the main “secrets” to my success with weight loss is having a plan of action. We do an exercise at the Weight Watchers PowerStart Session called PowerPlans for new members, and during it we take a look at our week and look at different events/things we have coming up. This way we know where to use our extra points (or calories) and also just have an idea of what our week is shaping up like. I do this for myself every single week, and it makes such a difference!

Eating

In terms of food, I’m sort of disappointed to say that I think the special formula for me personally to lose weight is for me to eat just SOME of the activity points that I earn, and none of the weeklies. Now, I earn a ton of activity points, so I’m getting somewhere between 50 and 60 per week, and when I have about 20 of those leftover, I tend to have the most success on the scale. This is new for me, because I used to be able to eat all my weeklies PLUS my activities and still lose, but that’s just not doing it for my body anymore.

This may have something to do with the free fruit, because I do eat A LOT of fruit – probably about 4 (and sometimes more) servings a day. I usually have 1-2 pieces with breakfast, one with lunch, one with my afternoon snack, and one serving after dinner. But I absolutely love fruit and know that it’s good for me and not something I abuse, so I don’t want to cut back on it for now.

All that said, here’s my menu plan for this week (though some changes are made below the plan):

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, sliced banana out to Nooshi – planning on sushi + seaweed salad* cottage cheese + sliced green pepper, clementines Grilled tofu, sauteed spinach, baked sweet potato**
Tuesday Toasted english muffin w/cottage cheese + banana Lentil + Feta Salad String Cheese + green grapes Homemade refried bean + cheese burrito
Wednesday 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, sliced banana Homemade refried bean + cheese burrito cottage cheese w/clementines Making dinner w/ Erika
Thursday Toasted english muffin w/cottage cheese + banana Lentil + Feta Salad string cheese w/clementines Grilled Hamsteak w/veggies + brown rice
Friday 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, sliced banana leftover grilled ham + veggies cottage cheese w/red bell pepper TBD – movie night!

Just to be totally clear, in general, I do eat more than what is written above. I eat at least my 30 PointsPlus per day, and tend to shoot to have 5-7 for breakfast, 7-8 for lunch, 2-4 for an afternoon snack, and the rest (11 – 16) for dinner/dessert. I normally workout after work, so I’ll have a snack like a smoothie, a corn tortilla with turkey and cheese, or a glass of milk while I get dinner ready, but it just depends on how my evenings play out.

Also, these menu plans DO NOT always turn out as planned. Case in point – yesterday.

* = So that was the plan, but what did I end up getting instead? Grilled shrimp vermicelli, which is actually a pretty healthy option in general. But, it came with a fried spring roll (not written on the menu – weird) and about 2 cups of vermicelli noodles. I was planning to try to only eat about 1 cup of the noodles and for a second thought about not eating the fried spring roll, but it was just so delicious I kept eating and eating. In the end, I ate the entire plate, and calculated the PointsPlus value at 20! Twenty! Crazy, especially since I picked something on the healthy side. That said, I didn’t freak out about it, and really really enjoyed the meal, so in the end it was worth it.

** = Because of the point above, dinner ended up being a lot lighter since I was only working with 5 pts+. I had a smoothie when I first got home from work (4 pts+) and then two grilled 97% fat free Hebrew National Franks (2 pts+), a string cheese (1 pt+) plus some frozen mango after soccer. I only ended up going over my points by 2 for the day and even went to bed satisfied. Win!

Activity

With the PowerPlans session, we also look at our week in terms of where we can fit in activity, but this isn’t as much of problem for me. I’ve been really good about making time for exercise consistently for over 2 months, and am feeling REALLY good in that department. I’ve been working out about 5 times a week at the gym or outside, plus taking a 30ish minute walk over lunch to get a little more movement in during the day on weekdays. Also, I signed up for a recreation soccer league which will have games once a week that started last night (and was SO FUN and such a great workout!), so I am pretty excited to be doing something fun, social, AND active all at once.

Here’s a look at my plan of action for this week, activity wise:

    • Sunday: Color Run 5k (more like 2.5 miles)
    • Monday: Soccer (!!)
    • Tuesday: 3.5 mile run outside + weights
    • Wednesday: Speedwork (3 miles of intervals)
    • Thursday: cross train
    • Friday: rest
    • Saturday: 6 mile run

Which would you say comes easier for you – being active or eating well?

For me at the moment, it’s definitely the activity that has been coming easier, but it hasn’t always been that way!

Color Run 5k Race Recap

Yesterday I participated in the “happiest race on Earth” also known as the Color Run 5k. I will say it was super fun and definitely the most unique race experience I’ve ever had, and this was race number 23 so I feel qualified to make such a statement.

The day started the same as any other race with a wakeup call far too early for a Sunday of 6:45am. I laid out all my gear the night before to make the morning easy on me.

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    • Race t-shirt
    • Bib w/safety pins
    • Color Run Headband
    • Socks
    • Old running sneaks
    • Sunglasses

Plus, special for this race:

    • Flipflops
    • A change of clothes
    • a garbage bag for all my clothes post-race
    • a ziplock for my phone

I quickly got geared up:

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Made a quick pre-race mini-meal of an english muffin toasted with smashed banana:

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And then I was out the door to meet my friends. I drove the 25 minutes from home to the site of the race with these ladies:

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Me, Lianne, Jess, and Amy.

The ride itself was easy peasy, and the race logistics were very smooth for such a big race. We hung around and waited for our other friends to meet us, and before too long the 7 of us running the race were together at last.

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Jess, Lianne, Amber, Me, Elena, Caroline, and Amy.

We headed to the start and MAN it was crowded.

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I thought the Color Run handled the logistics of the race REALLY well. The race wasn’t timed, it was just for fun, so they let groups of people go every 5-10 minutes. This allowed us to get off without a hitch and, besides a few small aprts of the course, to avoid overcrowding.

The weather itself was PERFECT and the scenery along the harbor was beautiful.

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Our pack in action:

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Before too long, we spotted the first color area. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but it basically consisted of volunteers standing on both sides of the color area, holding clear plastic bottles that might be used for condiments otherwise, with chalky paint in them. They squirted out the paint as the runners went by, so your clothes got covered. Each of the color stops along the race was a different color, so the first one was yellow, the second red, the third orange, and the last one blue. I might have made that order up.

But here’s a close up of the orange color stop:

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Since the paint was powdered, it got all up into the air and you had to be careful not to breath too much while running through. One of my friends was lucky enough to have the paint squirted DIRECTLY INTO HER MOUTH by one of the volunteers, but that luckily didn’t happen to me.

Since the run wasn’t timed, it was just a really chill run and wasn’t too stressful. It was supposed to be a 5k and I didn’t clock it or anything, but I think it was more like 2.5 miles rather than 3.1 judging by how fast we were running/how much time it took/how long I felt like I was running for.  Before long, we spotted the finish line and were done!

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Paint covered, but it wasn’t so bad yet.

As part of your race packet, they give you packs of the powdered paint to toss in the air after the race. We spotted a group congregating across the way and saw the powered paint clouding the area above them, so over there we went.

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This part was just ridic. If you go to spectate a color run OR you run and don’t want to breathe in/get covered in paint, I’d say avoid this part. It was nutso.

Action shot of Lianne and I:

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After that whole thing, that is when we were all COVERED in paint.

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And what’s a fun run with a group without a jumping picture at the end?

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No fun at all.

So, would I do it again?

Totally. I think if you’re looking for a low pressure race, this is the one you should do. A few of my friends who did it don’t love running, but loved this race and said they had so much fun. When I suggested we do more 5ks together, I got a few sideways glances that told me not to get my hopes up.

What’s the most unique race you’ve ever done? Does a race like this sound like something you’d do?

Wednesday Weight Check #4

Hi guys! I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s post from Matt. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, I suggest you take a minute to do so because it’s pretty powerful stuff. I’m looking for more submissions for the In Her/His Words series, so if you’d like to share your story, please email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com.

Without further ado, here’s my weigh in video with yesterday’s results.

I wish I had more of a say in the still shot shown above…

I am pleased with the movement on the scale, though of course I wish it was more. These are THE HARDEST pounds I’ve ever lost – and trust me, I’ve lost (and gained) many, many pounds in my lifetime. It’s frustrating, but I know the only thing I can do is keep on trucking.

One thing that is really good is that I feel completely in control. I haven’t had any out of control eating in weeks and it’s not even something that is tempting me, which I think is a good sign that I am feeding my body what it needs, honoring my cravings, and making smart decisions about fueling.

My goals for the next week are:

    • Eat less processed foods (minus the Salted Caramel Smoothies I bought yesterday…)
    • Eat more protein (switching out pop/baked chips for cottage cheese at lunch, eating a bigger serving of Greek yogurt at breakfast, etc)
    • Keep on going with mindful eating and being active

If I do all these things, I hope to be reunited with the 170s at this time next week!

Tell me… what are you most proud of from this past week?

In His Words: Matthew’s Story

“If you don’t change your life, you will die early Matthew.”  Could there be a more powerful statement in your life at age 27?  My name is Matt Frates and I once heard that from my doctor after a medical scare shortly after my 27th birthday.  Being forced to process my own mortality at a time when I was supposed to be in my prime was, and still is to this day, the largest pill I have ever had to swallow.  I had to deal with the fact that I was not invincible, and the destructive lifestyle I unconsciously chose to live would have dire consequences on my future.

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The next day I received a work email about a session of Weight Watchers starting the following week.  That, my friends, was “the sign.”  It was time to get my life together.

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For all of you readers out there, whether you have lost weight or have yet to take that plunge, we all will have that moment where we are ready, and boy do you have to be.  I marched into that WW meeting ready to take on the world, thinking about how I needed to lose this weight to be in the place I should be.  I signed up, I paid, and I stepped on the scale.  BAM!  I was slapped in the face with the true reality.  I weighed 312 pounds.  Come again?  I will spell it out; three hundred and twelve pounds!  I was embarrassed and I was scared, but I was motivated.  I wasn’t there for anyone but myself.  I was ready to do whatever it took to change my life and my lifestyle, NOT to go on a diet.

That day, February 25, 2010, was the start of the rest of my new life.

Making life changes is never easy and I started by going home and throwing away all the food I had in my apartment.  It was time to start fresh.  I bought all new food, made menus, and stuck to the plan.  The first week I lost 6.2lbs and the following week 2.9lbs.  I was on a roll.  I began exercising five days a week, tracking all of my food, yet still enjoying life.  Throughout 2010 I lost close to 50 pounds by sticking to my points and exercising vigorously.  My exercise involved massive amounts of cardio, which included the elliptical, the stationary bike, and rowing machine.  I loved seeing the amount of calories burned at the end of a gym session. The day when I hit 1000 calories burned I thought was the best accomplishment of my life.  I was set for life right?  Or so I thought.

In mid-June of 2010 I received a phone call from a good friend asking me if I had heard of an event called the Warrior Dash.  I had not, but upon checking it out, I saw that it was a 5k (3.1 miles) with obstacles.  I knew I hated running but the concept sounded like so much fun.  Starting in July I began to get my butt on the treadmill and attempt to run.  It was ugly for sure, but I made it to the point where I could run about 2 miles of the 5K distance.  The event was in Amish country Pennsylvania and it was a blast!

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What is significant about this story is the fact that I finished in 49 minutes when I had expected to finish in well over an hour.  I felt so good about myself and what I had done that I began to think I could do it again.  You know what I found out?  I actually enjoyed running!  I did my first 5K on Thanksgiving of that year and then my first 10K two weeks later and it became official, I was hooked.

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Since then, my journey through weight loss has taken on a completely different meaning.  No longer was it just about the weight or even about the food.  It became about something so much deeper.    Running, not food, became my new passion, my new addiction.  It filled my body, my mind, and my heart with something food never could.  All the mindless eating I had done to satiate the repressed and misunderstood emotions I was carrying around could never have given me what the sport of running has over the last two years.

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Over that time I have competed in 19 races, including five half marathons and a Tough Mudder. On October 7, 2012 I will run my 20th and most challenging race to date, the Chicago Marathon.  The marathon and its 26.2 miles will be a microcosm of my journey through weight loss.  It will be long, it will be difficult, but ultimately it will end with a feeling of satisfaction that nothing else can give.  It will not be the end of this journey, just steps into another phase of it.

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As I sit here writing the conclusion to my story I thought of three powerful thoughts that have kept me so successful over the years.  The first tip I can give is never look at losing weight as a diet.  The word diet implies deprivation and carries a negative connotation with it.  Think of it as the start of the rest of your life because this is about changing your lifestyle. The second tip I can give is to always remember that satisfying your mental appetite is just as important, if not more, than satisfying your physical appetite. Weight loss is not a sprint it is a marathon.  That may sound cliché but it’s true.  Many of us know emotional eating all too well and it does not go away once we are ready to change our lives.  Just be aware of the mental aspect of weight loss because it will be there through the bad times AND the good times.  Lastly, and most importantly, never doubt yourself.  If my story can teach one thing it is that ANYTHING is possible.  When I started I never thought I would have become the person I am.  That desire, that sense of purpose is in all of you.  Some of you may have found it and for some it may be dormant, but it is there.  Always believe … always.  Good luck to you all on your journeys and thank you for taking the time to hear about mine.

Yours in health,
Matt