Monday, June 30, 2014

Come On...Let's Get Happy

Recently I tried a new site called Happify.  This site creates science based activities and games that can help you lead a more fulfilling life.  I tried it out and indeed it does.   It is scientifically based to train your brain and help you build skills for lasting happiness.  

It has games and activities that can change your outlook and help you in stressful situations.  It's all about learning strategies to help you feel more satisfied and relaxed.  It is geared towards you and your individual goals.  You can work on building self-confidence, getting to know yourself better, building your inner strengths and conquering negative thoughts.  You choose the track you want to take and there are activities for each one to do.  Not only is it fun, but it really does boost your happy thoughts.  There is also a wonderful community of people that you can connect with who can encourage you in your daily quest to be just a little bit happier.  

Happify Daily  My favorite part was Happify Daily that came straight to my inbox that was full of inspiration to start my day.  All in all, this has been a great experience and I highly recommend it.  It's a great way to learn more about yourself and how to become a more positive person.  You can use it anytime or anywhere - on your computer or your phone.  All it takes is a few minutes each day, and you can form life-changing habits to steer you in the right direction of being happier.

So what are you waiting for?  Don't you want to be a happier, more positive person?  Just go to Happify and try it out!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy National Running Day!

Today is national running day!  It reminds me of my first 5K in August of 2010.  It was Hot Summer Nights in downtown Columbia, and let me tell was HOT!!!!  But it was so much fun.  I have done that race every year since then with the goal of beating my last year's time, and so far I have met that goal.  It's hard to believe I have been running for almost four years now.  It's gone by so fast.  Throughout that time, my interests have changed as far as exercise.  I'm more into weight lifting and strength training, but I still do love to get our there and pound the pavement.

I have done a lot of thought recently about training for another half marathon.  I really would love to tackle a full marathon one day but will definitely need someone to train with me....any takers?  Well, today since it's National Running Day, I have decided to go ahead and get my training plan together for my next half marathon.  I think I will do the Savannah Rock and Roll again in November because hey - that's my favorite so far and it's a great weekend trip.  So...for now I will sign off and get started on putting together my plan.  But first, I'm headed out the door to get in a few miles because that would just be awful not to do it on National Running Day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

#sharesomethinginspiring Week Two

This has been another fabulous week with the Twitter challenge called #sharesomethinginspiring.  It's been a lot of fun to follow my fellow #sweatpink sisters and see all their inspiring posts.  You can still get involved...just follow the challenges each day and don't forget to use #sharesomethinginspiring and #sweatpink and of course tag @LornaJaneActive and @FitApproach.

So here's my recap of the week....

Share something inspiring about a blogger you inspires you.  Well, for me it's without a doubt Ashley Johns from Fierce Forward for Life.  I have been honored to be a part of her Fierce Forward Nation group and have been recently participating in the Sisterhood of the Fierce Traveling Journals.  She has shown me what it's like to be Fierce, not give up and follow my dreams even if they seem impossible.  I even have one of her fabulous Strength bracelets to remind me that I am strong and there is nothing out of my reach.

Share something about a personal accomplishment.  My biggest accomplishment as many know is to be healthy.  In the past three years, I have lost almost a hundred pounds.  I have never felt better, not just physically but mentally too.  It's amazing how much confidence you gain just by being fit and healthy.  And now, I'm on my way to be a certified personal trainer through NASM and have already started helping people reach their goals in my new personal training job.

Share anything that inspires you.  I found this quote here and it really hit home.  So this was my inspiration for the day.

Share something inspiring to anyone who needs it.    I have a fellow Train Dirty Fitness sister Jenna who has become a sweet friend of mine.  She always seems to encourage me when I need it and I just wanted to post something special for her.  Sometimes as moms in our day to day lives, we forget that we are special and beautiful.  I just wanted to remind her that she is too.

Share something about your family.  I am adopted and found my birth family about 17 years ago.  Just recently my niece was married in Costa Rica and I made the trip with
my brother and sister.  I love that even though we spent half our lives apart, we have a wonderful relationship now.  I am so blessed to have found them.

Share something inspiring that makes you laugh.  One of my favorite funny fitness posts I see are the ones of the little babies and little toddlers doing fitness things.  This one in particular just made me laugh.  It reminds me that part of the reason I want to be fit and healthy is for my daughter, so I can be a role model for her.

Share something about taking a leap of faith.  Through the past few years, I have had to make a lot of hard decisions.  It's difficult not to just press forward and not look back.  I have learned that I only need to focus on the present - not the past and not the future.  Just one day at a time.  But I also need to take that leap of faith.

Monday, May 26, 2014


 So this week, I have done something new.  I have joined the #ShareSomethingInspiring Twitter Challenge with other Sweat Pink Ambassadors that FitApproach and Lorna Jane have put together. Two ladies will win a $500 Lorna Jane gift card.  Pretty cool, huh?  There are challenges each day and it's pretty fun so far.  You can still join and get a chance to win and have a little fun along the way.  Check out the challenge each day and just hashtag #sharesomethinginspiring and #sweatpink and be sure to tag @LornaJaneActive and @FitApproach.

This has been especially fun for me because there are so many people who have inspired me along my "get healthy" journey.  Here's a little recap of my week.

One of the people who motivates me the most is Crystal with Train Dirty Fitness.  Not only is she fit and fun, but she has the biggest heart ever and goes out of her way to make everyone feel beautiful.  I have followed her for years and just in the past few months gotten to know her on a more personal level and I'm honored to be an ambassador for Train Dirty Fitness.  As I have learned her story and seen her accomplishments, it has motivated and inspired me to reach for that goal of becoming a personal trainer and encouraging other women to be the best they can be and show them that nothing is impossible.

Someone who is near and dear to my heart and one of my biggest inspirations is Mandy, one of my very best friends in the whole world.  She is that person who not just talks the talk but walks the walk.  She doesn't just say what's right, she does it.  I can look to her not just for motivation but as a true example of what you should strive to be.  Mandy loves me unconditionally and has believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and ultimately shown me what it is to be a true friend.  She has helped me realize my dream of helping others and encouraged me to share my story to hopefully be able to inspire others as well.

 And finally the person in my life who makes me smile more than anything else is my darling daughter Emily.  She has a heart of gold and would do anything just to help someone else or show them that she loves them.  I watch her every day and see that she is learning what it means to be humble and do for others as you would have them do for you.  She has the biggest smile and a laugh that is contagious.  Most of all, I just absolutely LOVE being with her just because we have a blast.  My favorite day is Mommy - Emily day.  Not a day goes by that she doesn't make me smile.

This past week has made me stop and think of those things that are most important to me and those people who have touched my life in so many ways.  This #sharesomethinginspiring challenge goes on for a month.  I can't wait to see what the next few weeks bring.  Until then....Donna

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's official....I'm getting certified as a Personal Trainer

A few years ago when I first started losing weight and began to see the small changes in my body and how I felt, I asked a friend of mine who was a personal trainer to help me out.  I began meeting with her twice a week doing HIIT workouts to burn fat and calories.  I continued my running on the other days and occasionally went to the gym to work on the machines.  It was then that I first thought how incredibly cool it would be to be a personal trainer.  Of course at the time, I was still overweight and not in the best of shape and thought this was only a dream.  There was no way that I could ever do that.

Move forward to last year....I had dropped about 80 pounds and several sizes in clothes and began once again working with a personal trainer at my gym.  This time I concentrated on weight lifting and strength training.  I was amazed at the results.  I quickly began to drop inches and see definition in my body.  Again, I thought about becoming a personal trainer.  It was still a bit of a dream that was just out of my reach.

Fast forward to the past three months....I have gotten involved with Train Dirty Fitness created by one of the most amazing women I know...Crystal Honeycutt.  She has inspired me and encouraged me in continuing with my dream of becoming a personal trainer.  Last week, I joined her Bombshell program which is a 36 week program that basically walks you through starting your own brand and becoming a personal trainer.  I have an incredible mentor who has already gone above and beyond to help me every way possible, and I'm already having a blast going through the program.  Today, I registered with NASM to start on my certification.  I am super excited...seriously bouncing off the walls.  In six months and possibly even three, this girl will be a certified personal trainer.  Woohoo!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I'm Fit Possible Ambassador

Since being on this journey of fitness over the past few years, I have developed a passion for sharing my story and inspiring and motivating others.  I would love it if just one person said, "because of you, I didn't give up".  I have grown a great deal in my personal life and my confidence and feelings about myself have changed dramatically.  I have learned to love myself for who I am and I am hoping that by just being me, I can encourage others to be happy with who they are and realize that no we are not all the same and that's okay, for we are all beautiful.

I am so excited to share that I have recently been selected to be an I'm Fit Possible Ambassador.  By being a part of such an amazing community, I can continue to share my story/life an inspire others.  The greatest part is that this group is a little sassy ~ which I absolutely LOVE because hey - anyone who knows me, knows I have a lot of sass.

I love that this community believes that :
Together is BETTER
Being SOCIAL is way cool.
Real stories by real people MATTER
Opinions COUNT
YOU define what's healthy for you.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Since becoming an Ambassador for Train Dirty Fitness, I have been taking part in something called Pink Wednesday.  Crystal from Train Dirty Fitness started Pink Wednesday as something fun that everyone could participate in regardless of age, race, weight, financial status or looks.  It was a way for everyone to feel included and part of the "in crowd".  It is something that I've very much enjoyed and I'm seeing more and more people participate.

Recently, we found out that there was a little girl out there (actually the daughter of my TDF team leader) who had been watching her mom participate in this Pink Wednesday thing and decided to start one of her own at her school.  Each week, she and her friends have been wearing pink each Wednesday for all the girls who don't have a place to belong or fit it.  These kids are taking a stand to show that everyone is #goodenough and Wednesdays they wear pink to prove that everyone belongs.

Below is Reagan's story.  I wanted to honor her on my blog because this little girl proves that ONE person can make a difference...and for her school in Kentucky...SHE was that one person.  

"Back in November, when Mama started doing #pinkwednesday, I did it with her some weeks.  One Friday night, we watched Mean Girls.  I didn't like the way The Plastics treated everyone.  I told Mama that nice girls wear pink too.  The next week, I went to school and told my friends about #pinkwednesday and that we should do it too.

I think #pinkwednesday is a day when girls unite, build friendships, and wear PINK!"  ~Reagan

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sweat Pink Ambassador

Well, it's been a while since I've posted.  With one computer down and working on the other all the time, well time just slips away.  But I do have some exciting news.  I have been accepted to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador.  I'm so very excited.  Being involved with another group of wonderful women who strive to encourage and inspire others is beyond wonderful.  

What is Sweat Pink all about you ask?  Well here is the mission taken straight from

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.
Sweat Pink with us.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Always a Work in Progress...

A work in progress ~ that's what I call myself.  After being on this "fit" journey for three years, it's sometimes hard to see everyday progress.  In the beginning, you drop weight fast and can really see some changes.  The more progress you make, the slower it gets because there is less to lose.  The scale is a funny thing too.  I used to be totally obsessed and weighed myself several times a day.  I would weigh before I went to bed and calculate what I should weigh in the morning.  It was easy to get discouraged because weight can fluctuate for a variety of reasons.  So I started depending on my clothes to tell me what was going on. Sometimes I would lose only a pound or two but still drop a jean size.  Then when I started lifting weights, I even gained a few pounds.  

I was going through some old pictures recently and have decided that the best way to see progress is through pictures.  It was difficult for me to find some at my heaviest because quite frankly I didn't want any pictures taken.  I was able to find a couple and thought I would post them here since this is after all a journal of sorts of me getting healthy.  The first one has the years written below.  The second one is a two year progress (the first picture being March of 2011 and the second one in my TDFA shirt from yesterday).

I look at these pictures and am very surprised.  It makes a huge difference seeing yourself like that.  It's not a mirror where you're critical about everything but almost a WOW! that's really me feeling.  After putting these together, I've decided I will continue doing this every so often so I can see the progress I'm making.  It still blows my mind the changes that have occurred in my body, not only physically but mentally too.  I am so much more confident than really I ever have been and not only do I look better, but I feel better too.

I don't necessarily have a "goal weight" or a "goal size" to be.  As far as I'm concerned, there's always room for improvement in some form or fashion, whether it's to gain more muscle, run faster or longer or be able to lift more weight.  That's not to say I'm not happy where I am.  When I look at that picture of me from yesterday, I am very pleased with where I am.  I almost have to pinch myself because it's hard for me to believe that's really me.  BUT no matter what, I always want to strive to improve myself.  And that is why I will always be a work in progress.  =)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What motivates you????

It's good to always have a goal ~ something to motivate you and push you to keep going and be your best.  For me, that's my trip to Costa Rica in May.  I want to look my best, be in fabulous shape and yes rock that string bikini.  And just a little secret ~ I've already bought that string bikini.  To be honest, I actually felt pretty good about how it looked.  Of course, there is room for improvement (always is) and I mainly got it to try on periodically to be able to see my progress.  I might even get crazy and buy another one.

I am a visual person so I need more than that goal set before me.  I have this dry erase board in my kitchen with my countdown.  Why do I keep it in my kitchen?  Well, that's where nutrition choices are made and as they always say, abs are made in the kitchen.  This keeps me focused on what lies ahead and makes me think twice before making a poor food choice.  So as of today, I have 78 days or roughly 2 1/2 months.  It's right around the corner ~ and so is summer and I'm gonna rock that bikini like nobody's business.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Wednesdays, we wear PINK!

As a Train Dirty Fitness Ambassador, one of the things I participate in is Pink Wednesday.  What is a TDFA you ask?  A Train Dirty Fitness ambassador is someone who helps spread the vision of TDF which means that we should all have a safe place, free of judgement where we can go for support and that we should empower each other instead of breaking each other down.  It's a place where everyone fits in! 

Pink Wednesday was created by Crystal and what it is all about!  She said, “What started as something fun with my TDFBombshell team and myself because 1. we are girls and 2. I love pink..has actually become something much more than I imagined. On Wednesday’s We Wear Pink is a chance for every woman no matter her age, race, weight, jeans size, hair color, financial status –NO MATTER WHAT– to participate. Unfortunately, there are so many women who spend their time bringing others down that it’s easy for us to never feel “good enough”….well let me be the first to welcome you to #PinkWednesday where everyone is welcome and everyone can participate because on Wednesday’s WE wear pink ♥ xoxo, Crystal”

I am very much a pink lover myself and look forward to each Wednesday when I can support the TDF vision by wearing pink!  =)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Challenge yourself!

I admit it.  I CANNOT do a pull-up.  It is physically impossible.  And hey - I'm not gonna lie...even assisted ones are no fun.  Now, I don't hate them as much as I do burpees, but they are definitely a close second.  At the same time, I think of how wonderful it will be when I can actually do one.  I remember that feeling I had when I went from girl push-ups to "real" ones.  I bet doing my first pull-up will be right up there with excitement.

In talking to some friends about pull-ups, I did get some sound advice I thought I would share.  First of all, it's better to do a pull-up unassisted, the reason being is that it is measurable.  Even if you just hang there or go up a little bit, you know next time if you're doing better.  Whereas with assisted pull-ups, you are never really doing a "real" pull-up.  Therefore, you never really know how much you are improving.  Makes sense that you would want a true measure of your improvement.

Another thing I learned that can help strengthen those upper body muscles is something called negatives.  I had never heard of this before, but it's when you use a chair to help you get up to the top and as slowly as you can lower yourself down.  You are getting that upper body workout and strengthening those muscles for the true pull-up.

So what did I do to challenge myself?  I went out and bought a pull-up bar.  The only way to keep getting better is to keep trying and this way I don't have to embarrass myself at the gym, right?  We'll see how it goes, and you better believe I'll be reporting back when I do that first one!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Things I've Learned Along the Way

Throughout my journey, I have talked to a ton of people and learned a great deal of information.  If I could narrow it down to the three most important things, this is what they would be:

  1. The scale is not an accurate measure of progress.   I admit, I have a dip of OCD in me (my close friends might say that's an understatement).  So when it comes to the scale, well I have been known to be a bit obsessive.  There were times that I would weigh myself numerous times a day.  My friends, this is not a healthy way to be and can be very damaging to one's confidence.  Just to give you an idea of how inaccurate the scale is ~ in the past year I have only lost about ten pounds and have recently put back on a few when I started weight training.  However, I have gone down two (almost three) jeans sizes.  The way your clothes fit is the best measurement of all.
  2. Everyone is different ~ what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.  Over the last few years, I have talked to so many people who told me what they thought was the "best" way to lose weight and/or be healthy.  (Weight Watchers, South Beach, Paleo, No Carbs, Low Carbs, Clean Eating and really I could go on and on).  What I have found is that some of these things worked for me and some didn't.  It all depends on the person and the activity they are doing.  For example, if I'm training for a half marathon, clearly I need carbs or I'll never make it to the finish line.  My advice (and hey - you had to know I was going to give some right?) is to listen to what everyone says and then do what's right for you.  I am constantly tweaking my diet and exercise and finding out how different things affect me.  There is no "one best way" for everyone.
  3. You've got to love the exercise you're doing or you won't stick with it.   Let's face it, when it comes to things we don't like, we try and avoid them like the plague.  If you don't like it, then you'll find any excuse not to do it.  But if you find something you truly enjoy, then you'll make every effort to do it.  For me, I LOVE weight training ~ I HATE burpees.  Therefore, you will see me lift weights several times a week.  You will not however see me doing any burpees.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The beginning....

Welcome to day one of my blogging.  Since I've had so many changes in my life, I decided to make one more and start a blog about my fitness journey.  It actually started about three years ago.  I was very overweight and had lots of aches, pains and general health issues.  I had a weekly ritual with one of my BFFs that we called "porching".  Basically, that meant sitting on the back deck drinking wine and eating deliciously unhealthy food.  She had started running a little, and one night she convinced me to do a 5K with her.  I had never done any kind of race before, but it sounded fun and hey you get cool stuff in the swag bags and really fun T-shirts.

So, the adventure started.  I did my first 5K in August of 2010.  We walked - only a slight bit of running and had a finishing time of 41:42.  I had so much fun ~ I was hooked with just one race.  For the next few months, we did at least two, sometimes three races a month.  (I have the biggest collection of race T-shirts).  The more races we did, the less "porching" we did.  I began to make better food choices and exercising a couple times a week.

 After about six months of this, I decided I wanted to try a half marathon.  I don't just take baby steps ~ I take running leaps.  So I signed up with Team in Training and began training for 13.1 miles.  I completed my first half marathon in November of 2011.  I never thought I could have so much fun and be so tired at the same time.  It was an incredible feeling of accomplishment and excitement.

Now, three years later, I have completed four half marathons, have begun a weight training program and weigh 85 pounds less.  It has not been an easy journey, and there have been some bumps along the way.  All in all though, I have enjoyed changing my life and becoming healthier.  I feel better (no more aches and pains) and I look forward to exercising.  My confidence has grown and I have an entirely new outlook on life.  I hope my journey can inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be and not be afraid to take that first step.  I promise it can be a very fun adventure.