Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FFF Diva MOment: Laughter through FB Conversation

The following is a Facebook conversation via a friend's FB status with all my friends from my camp ONLY confirming why I love group centered activities. Enjoy!

Facebook Status:
Thanks for bringing the black giant medicine ball today, I'll just call it Mr. BIG from now on. Maybe with enough people Friday we get to use it. ;o) Great workout today!


Me- Oh dear. Maybe I don't want to come Friday. Just kidding! I'll be there!

MD- Yes, great workout! I will bring Mr. BIG on Friday just in case.

LV- Can't wait to hold Mr. Big :-)

JR- We are talking about the weighted workout balls.. aren't we!? :o) wink, wink

MN- LOL! There's lots of Mr. BIG for all of us, we can all share him.


CN- I wanna get me some Mr. Big! I'll try and come Friday. :)

Me- That's the spirit. I hope there is enough to go around. ; )

MD- Oh, there's plenty to go around....we don't call him Mr. BIG for nothing;-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FFF Diva Inspiration: My Brother Paul Anthony

My brother's journey. My brother's words. He is 21 years old and used to weight 330 lbs. I am 25 years old and used to weigh 320 lbs. My sister Leilani is 24 years old and used to weigh 283 lbs. In the last 2 years we have lost almost 300 lbs in total AND COUNTING.

LOL. So on Monday 10.18.10, I went to the Hospital because of chest pain and shoulder pain. It turns out my body is just tired, the chest pain was muscular. The shoulder with the numbness and tingling was because of as pinched nerve.

Anyway the cute girl at the Pharmacy stared at each of my id's for 2 mins each. She asked me what my birthday was and I was like it's on my license and she is like you don't look like your license. [= I actually weigh less than my license I BS ofcourse before. Also, I then showed her my B.O.A. card which I was 12 when I took that picture and that doesn't look like me neither. She was confused.

These scrubs fit flush in April. And no they are not elastic Michael Truong.

I got this as a gift in Junior Year in High School. I could never fit it. Now it's too big [=

My brother recently wrote this on his Facebook:

I am thinking of writing out all my thoughts of being overweight.

Thanks for everyones support!
Especially Steve Vuong, Denndy Nguyen, Michael Truong, and John Ramirez for being my trainers and first line of support at the gym.

I also thank my Sisters, because they lost weight, it gave that so could I mentality.

I learned it doesn't matter if it's hard or easy...being my size it's all going to be hard so I just fcuking do it. [=

I wrote this to him in response:
There are times when I feel unmotivated. You have reinspired me in the best way possible. Thanks for all our late night sibling couch health chats. All 3 of us (Leilani in spirit since she's in Texas) have come such a long way. We used to be HUGE people. Between the three of us we have lost almost 300 lbs in the last 2 yrs. That is a major accomplishment and in the process we have gained mutual respect among each other as siblings. We have been to obesity hell and back. No one will understand that accept us. ♥ you. So proud!

I am such a proud sister. You don't even understand. Although my brother said that my weight loss journey kept HIM going, his weight loss journey has really kept ME going. And for that I am thankful to him.

In health,
<3 FFF Diva Mo

FFF Diva Motivation: Finish the Year Strong

Finish the Year Strong
Pete Williams November 26, 2010

With the end of the year approaching, many people will make New Year’s resolutions while dealing with what can be called the “eating season,” the nine weeks of celebration beginning with Halloween and ending with New Year’s Eve.

Against that backdrop, it can be difficult to focus on resolutions, let alone lifestyle changes or transformations. Maintaining such motivation and building momentum heading into 2011 need not be difficult, says Howard Falco, author of the new book I Am: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are. He recently spoke with How does somebody transition from the habits and routines that may have brought them a degree of success to reach the next level?

Howard Falco: We have to realize that these habits serve a need at some level. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they define us. Even though we say we don’t want to be defined by these behaviors they are serving the real identity that we have of ourselves and hold us back. The way to break through it is from an internal will, which grows with the lack of tolerance for the current behavior. When we cross that threshold and say, ‘This habit isn’t serving me anymore,’ that’s when we take on a new identity and go forward with a new habit or action every day. It may feel strange for a while, but until then we’re going to let that current identity run our lives.
CP: How do we get leverage to make that happen?

HF: The leverage comes from a level of suffering that’s no longer tolerable and not being in the same loop anymore with the same job, relationship or health. You want to take conscious control over the programming of who you are. The idea is to declare a new identity and go out and create that new experience, just as you have your whole life. You’ll automatically take actions that you might have had to force yourself before because it’s now part of who you are. You’ll come to realize how so many others you’ve looked up to have done it. It’s not courage or discipline; it’s a function of who they believe they are and that’s what makes it look so effortless.
CP: But where does the motivation come from?

HF: It comes from a level of tolerance that’s it’s no longer worth it to not make the change. You can live in fear of not having enough money or not finding another job and that will chain you to your current situation. If you believe you’re capable of getting another job and going into that unknown zone of not having a job until the right one shows up, you will be rewarded. You can’t expect it immediately but you have to believe that you can step into that process to manifest it. The same is true with money. If you say, ‘I created money before and I can do it again,’ then it might be a situation where you take a step back. But if you’re willing to take that step back, you will be rewarded with two, three or 10 steps forward.
CP: Sounds easy enough, but how do you overcome procrastination—or even the hurdles of everyday life?

HF: As soon as the procrastination hits, you have to realize you haven’t taken on the new mindset. The purpose of procrastination is to keep you living and feeding your fears so that you don’t take a step. Once you have changed the mindset, you will make that phone call. You will be in the gym every day. You will send out 10 resumes. You will put down the bad foods and you’ll survive. Procrastination reveals where you are still operating out of the old mindset. If you believe you can’t do it, you’ll procrastinate. You’ll say, ‘I don’t have the time to do it,’ which is not true because we all create time when we need to.
CP: How do you reinforce new habits—i.e. New Year’s resolutions—so you can stick to them?

HF: If you put a lot of force and energy into trying to kick a habit, chances are it will be temporary. The true lasting change comes from the inside out via those ‘I am’ statements that define who you are. ‘I am healthy. I am a marathon runner. I am worthy of a management position in my field.’ Once you take these statements on and replace the old ones in your mind, you’ll become the person who goes from running three miles to marathons or reaches that management position.
CP: In your book you talk a lot about the ‘X factor’ in sports. Can you explain that?

HF: That’s what separates the best from the rest even at the elite level. They have the same ability, work ethic and determination but the X factor is the mindset, the identity of who they are and it has such a magical effect in performance. It puts them in the right spot at the right time. They see the puck faster or a serve a step and a half earlier. They say Arnold Palmer used to will the ball into the hole. Putting on the same line, the ball turned for others but for Arnold it dropped. There’s a subtle energy that affects everything when we work on a mindset of strong belief.

About The Author
Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.


I am going to finish the year strong. I already started removing people from my life that create negative energy. I am going to focus on myself. I want to eat healthier. I want to live longer.

My Operation Boot Camp friends have started a challenge for our group: Run 84 miles in January. That's roughly 20-ish miles a week. I know I can do this. I also decided to dedicate myself to 2011 miles of cardio in 2011 to prepare for the 2012 Zombie Apocalypse of course. Hahaha. No seriously.

Anyways, good luck to all of you for the rest of 2010 and I am sure we will have great health accomplishments in 2011!

In health,
<3 FFF Diva Mo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FFF Diva Tiny Buddha Wisdom: Does Life Happen to You?

"Does Life Happen to You?" from
by Declan O’Flaherty

Declan lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is a plasterer, printer, and inventor but most importantly, a thinker. His passion is to constantly work on himself through meditations, mental exercises, visualizations, and affirmations.

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~Shakti

Does your life just happen to you?

Would it be safe to suggest that a lot of people wake up each morning, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch television, go to bed, and repeat the same course of events Monday through Friday without ever being fully conscious of what they’re doing?

The list of events listed above may differ for some people but the point is still the same. Does life just happen to you, or do you consciously plan your days ahead?
Do you live your life on automatic pilot for the most part?

Take an inventory of your daily routines and ask yourself if you are in the same situation emotionally and physically as you were last month, year, or even decade.
It’s very easy to dismiss such a notion of being on auto pilot for a large portion of your life. But if you don’t consciously create your desired outcome for a prosperous, successful, and happy life, then you are not living up to your true potential.

I know we all have certain responsibilities we must attend to on a daily basis, and I am certainly not suggesting we ignore our responsibilities and go chasing our dreams without attending to these first. What I am saying though, is you also have a responsibility to yourself.

The question you need to ask is whether or not you would respect the decisions you have made in life if nothing had changed in the next 10, 20, or 30 years. No doubt your life will be different in 30 years–but will it be from you taking control or because life just changed (as it does) and you coasted along on automatic pilot.

I have met many people who are not living up to even close to what they are capable of. The worse thing is that they don’t make any effort whatsoever to change their circumstances. They obviously want to have a better life, but it’s as if they’re hoping things will magically get better for them further down the line.

There are also a lot of people who convince themselves that life is so hard and that good things only happen to a select group of people, or that some people are just lucky and life favors some and not others. Fortunately this is not the case at all.
We are all the masters of our own destiny, and if you put the work in you will undoubtedly see positive results.

Changing your life for the better is not about completely changing everything at once. The first step in creating a better life for yourself is to be consciously aware of the direction you are heading.

The choices you make have consequences and the thoughts you entertain affect the choices you make. So the best place to start if you want to change your life is to change your thinking.

When we really and truly take full responsibility for our thoughts and subsequent actions, we can never blame anyone or anything for the way our life is today. It’s not what happens outside that affects our lives; it’s the reaction we have to what happens outside that affects our lives.

Imagine two people looking at any given situation but both have a different reaction to it. How these two people see the event will determine their experience. Thus, the experience creates a different reality in the mind of both people.

That’s how life works: our interpretations and experiences are a direct result of our reactions. If we believe that life is hard, then guess what–it will be.
If we want to change our lives for the better, we need to start with ourselves, and the first step is by controlling our thoughts.

If you haven’t made a conscious effort before to monitor your thoughts then you may not realize that your mind makes up its own stories and you are not in control until you actually take control. I’m going to suggest a powerful exercise that I have used for myself.

For 30 days you must make a conscious effort to challenge your negative thoughts to create a stronger sense of control over your future.
Every time you notice a negative thought, replace it with a more positive perspective.

Whenever you notice that you are doubting yourself, do the same as above and replace with an opposite and positive thought.

A couple of times each day, stop what you are doing and notice how you are feeling; then ask yourself what you were thinking. What you are thinking affects how you’re feeling.

Don’t criticize anybody for any reason, either in person or in your head. This is one of the biggest energy-destroying, negative thought processes a person can have; and almost everybody does it on a day to day basis.

Make a conscious effort every day to praise somebody for even the simplest of things. Just a simple comment to somebody can create their day. Depending on the comment, it can also destroy their day. Words are powerful, and they can change lives.

These exercises help me become more conscious of my mind to get a better understanding of how often it limits me when not monitored. If you stick to this exercise and make the effort to work hard at each step, you will see changes. Our thoughts have no power other than the power we give them.

Your conscious mind couldn’t care less whether you think negative thoughts or positive thoughts, but it makes a huge difference to you and your life. You are not your mind, you are the person who can control what the mind thinks. Take responsibility for your thoughts and then take responsibility for the life you create. One thought, one decision, one action at a time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: "Stay Driven"

"Stay Driven"
By Frank Claps, M.Ed., C.S.C.S.
Her Sports + Fitness

Overweight and inactive, Gina Dyson, 32, thought of herself as fat, slovenly and ugly for most of her life. When you struggle through that mandatory lap around the track in PE, when no one asks you to the prom, when you sit in a pile of empty Hostess wrappers promising yourself it's the last time--feelings of hopelessness grow and grow until its all-consuming.

She tried joining a gym and starting an exercise program, but she just couldn't stick with it. Two years ago things came to a turning point for the university operations manager from Long Beach, California. "I did the most amazing thing. I set a goal for myself."

Dyson signed up for a sprint triathlon and then joined a training group. Crossing the finish line was a milestone that marked a new lifestyle and a completely new way of seeing herself. "With every stroke, pedal and step I started to believe that maybe I was strong, maybe I was worthy, and just maybe, I was beautiful." Dyson has continued competing in triathlons, completing a half Ironman last year and setting her sights for an Ironman in 2008.

Like many women, Dyson initially began exercising to lose weight. But as her motivations changed, exercising became a way of life. What drives her now has more to do with challenging herself and seeing what she's capable of than losing weight. And the best news: Experts say she has a much higher chance of staying active for life because of it.

Beyond Good Looks
While there's nothing wrong with wanting to look better, the problem with using appearance as a primary motivation to exercise is that it doesn't last, researchers say. A 2006 University of Michigan study shows that women who start exercising for body-shape and weight-loss goals alone not only work out less, but also are less likely to stick to it long-term than those who exercise for other reasons.

An appearance-driven motivation, according to Michelle Segar, Ph.D., lead author of the Michigan study, is usually based on cultural pressures to conform to someone else's idea of what's thin or beautiful. "It feels like something you should do and often results in poor long-term adherence. Who needs another should in their lives," says Segar.

And for women whose goal is to achieve some unrealistic body ideal, their efforts usually lead to frustration and then quitting altogether. Some women go to the other extreme: exercising excessively and developing eating disorders and other serious health problems.

"When women discover that wellness, not weight is the key issue, they find long-term satisfaction and enjoyment in exercise," says Margaret Moore, CEO and founder of Wellcoaches Corp., an organization that helps people with motivation issues overcome obstacles toward improving well-being.

Moreover, better body perception develops when women work out for broader reasons of fitness and overall health. If women can view exercise less as an opportunity to look good and more as an opportunity to feel good, this in turn should improve their body satisfaction and self-esteem, concluded researcher Peter Strelan in a 2003 Australian study on women's exercise motivations.

Mental Health
Women who end up turning an exercise program in to a long-term lifestyle usually do so out of what Segar calls autonomous goals: motives originating from within yourself, not from others expectations of how you should look, how fit you should be, or how well you should perform.

Grier McCurdy Mathews, a 41-year-old stay-at-home mom from Marin County, California, says she exercises for the sake of her mental health. I have three little kids. On any given day, I have a tenuous grip on sanity--running regularly helps me keep it.

For many women like Mathews, maintaining mental fitness is as powerful a motivator for staying active as being physically fit. Women are twice as likely to experience depression as men are, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and several studies report that physically active people feel less anxiety and depression than sedentary individuals.

Research points to a possible physiological explanation for this, mainly that exercise may help your body deal with stress more effectively by increasing brain chemicals that help control stress, anxiety and depression, reports the American Psychological Association.

Whatever the reason, the exercise-happiness connection creates lifelong devotees. And with busy lives packed with work and family responsibilities, women say the mood-boosting, stress-reducing effect has much to do with the break exercise gives them from the daily grind. Workouts are time away to do something just for themselves. Los Angeles-based pro triathlete Wendy Ingraham, 43, calls her regular morning run a 45-minute vacation.

Lasting Friendships
Time alone is important. But spending time with others while exercising is probably a stronger motivator for women. Those who regularly work out with friends or join classes or training groups are much more likely to make exercise a lifelong commitment. By creating social networks, women add an extra level of motivation on top of any other that they have, Segar explains. New Orleans nurse Jenn Clement, 32, calls working out "the base of my social life. Some of the most wonderful people I've ever known and my closest friends, including my husband, I've met through training."

Whenever Mathews runs with her girlfriends, she says she benefits from both mental healing and social interaction. "It's time to connect. We share thoughts, fears, ideas, joys, sorrows. It's kind of like mobile therapy."

From Exercising to Training
Sheri Villani, 38, an office manager from Kenosha, Wisconsic, initially started participating in triathlons to lose weight. Four years later and 30 pounds thinner, she says she continues to work out because she absolutely loves training and competing in triathlons.

The competitive fire fuels the active lifestyles of many women, and experts say setting event goals is a strong lifelong motivator for staying fit. Sport psychologist Jenny Susser, Ph.D., of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City believes competition brings meaning to every workout. It provides an excellent format for goal setting, which is an invaluable motivational tool.

Preparing for events motivates women in a number of ways, including the satisfaction of accomplishing specific goals and of seeing progress (achieving faster PRs or completing longer races), the structure and sense of purpose that following a training schedule adds to daily workouts, and the camaraderie and encouragement of training partners and team members.

But Segar notes that not everyone has the same level of competitive drive, and women need to individualize their motivation by making sure their goals are realistic and don't discourage more than they encourage an active lifestyle. "Not every athlete competes to win," says Segar. "For some women simply entering an event can be as powerful a motivator as an Olympic competition," adds Susser.

But, if competition is one of the main motives for physical activity, what happens when time eventually erodes performance gains? Many women adapt by accepting slower PRs, but still enjoy seeing how hard they can push themselves. For some, however, fading PRs, nagging injuries or diminished interest may force a major restructuring of their outlook toward physical activity.

Its quite common for athletes to drop out of regular exercise when the competitive fires go out, notes Moore. To stay healthy and active for as long as possible, athletes driven primarily by performance gains or competitive desires eventually need to focus on the other things they value about being physically active.

"One must dig deeper to find a more lasting and meaningful purpose for taking good care of physical fitness and well-being," says Moore.

Frank Claps is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and Wellness coach who operates Fitness For Any Body, a personal training service in Lehigh Valley, Penn. Too learn more about Wellness coaching, visit


Lately in the last 6 months I have been at a loss of motivation. While trying to get myself to eat cleaner and healthier while exercising and having a life, it's been busy with school, and family, and other obligations as well. What's my point? This article spoke to me because the one person who was bringing me down was MYSELF. I always focus on a number and larger goal versus smaller more attainable goals. A goal shouldn't be just a number. A goal can be an activity too!

My next goal: PR my running mile time at Operation Boot Camp
My current PR mile time is 12:07. Time to break that sucker!

In health,
<3 FFF Diva Mo

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FFF Diva Reflection: "Reward Myself with Stuff, Not Food" System

Mo's "Reward myself with stuff, not food" System: THE STORY

I had a really great ♥ to ♥ with my Operation Boot Camp instructor Melody this morning after camp. She asked me a really honest question: "What do you reward yourself with?" My answer: "Ummm food." Mel responded: "It's time to reward yourself differently. For example I reward myself with pedicures. Don't let your reward force you to take a step backwards in your progress."

Mo's "Reward myself with stuff, not food" System: THE REWARD

I lost 10 lbs. since last month and kept it off (even during the holiday!). As a reward I finally bought myself a runner's Garmin GPS watch to track my speed and mileage. My reward for the next 10 lbs. loss: a brand new pair of running shoes. "Success belongs to those who want it and believe it." Boy do I believe it!

Garmin - Forerunner 305 GPS: "Maximize your workout productivity with this GPS training wristwatch that allows you to keep track of your calories burned and workout pace."

Following a rigorous exercise plan is not a problem for me. Following a clean eating plan and pre-planning my caloric intake for the day/week HUGE PROBLEM for me. Finally I got it under SOME control this past month and survived the first holiday with lbs. lost, not lbs. gained. However, I need to keep this gravy train going and it's going to be with actual activity or item rewards instead of food rewards!

Last month: 258 lbs.
Today 12/15: 248 lbs.

Next 5 reward goals (10 lbs. less):
238 = New pair of running shoes
228 = New pair of running pants
218 = A full body massage
208 = Mini training package of sessions with a personal gym trainer
198 = My 1st tattoo celebrating my weight loss when I hit under 200 lbs. for the first time since I was 18 years old. I turn 26 this coming March.

Overall goal weight is 145 lbs., however I am NOT even going to think of that number. Small steps. I am going to think: "MO, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET UNDER 200 lbs.? NOW DO IT." And YOU can DO IT too. I believe in you.

<3 FFF Diva Mo

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FFF Diva Update: Take Me or Leave Me

"Take Me or Leave Me" from the Broadway Musical RENT

"Take me for what I am, who I was meant to be. And if you give a damn, take me baby or leave me." -Maureen from RENT, 1996

Usually I write an end of the year re-cap when it's the ACTUAL end of the year, but I figure since it's December already then it's close enough. = )

2010 you have definitely been a year of many UPS and many DOWNS, but ALL were life lessons to keep me moving forward. Here are some selected highlights:

January 2010
*Ran 5K Run for the Homeless in Fremont, CA = first race of the year!
*Decided I would take running more seriously by running at least 20 miles a week (around 1,000 miles by the end of the year was the goal)

February 2010
*Ran 10K Valentine's Day Run in Campbell, CA
*Actually celebrated V-Day with a young man I was dating
*I was no longer single, thus ending my 3 year relationship drought

March 2010
*Got a horrible chest cold that restricted me from any exercise for two weeks before my first marathon
*Completed my first full marathon (Los Angeles Marathon) on my 25th birthday (March 21st) with my sister Leilani
*One week after my birthday my boyfriend broke up with me

April 2010
*Ran the Santa Cruz 10K Race with my sister (1st race with rain!)
*Got featured in the "Camper Spotlight" section of the national Operation Boot Camp website blog
*Celebrated one year with Operation Boot Camp (1 year as a participant!)

May 2010
*Left my job at the Youth Leadership Institute after 4 years to finally finish my MBA graduate degree
*Was unemployed for the first time in my adult life
*Had no health insurance, until the Health Care Bill passed (now coverage until 26)
*Celebrated my one year anniversary of my first competitive running race: 5K Marin Human Race

June 2010
*Got hired at a law firm as a receptionist
*Worked weekends at Bath and Body Works
*Got hired to do Poltical Organizing for June elections
*Got elected to be Vice-President of Membership for the Silicon Valley Young Democrats

July 2010
*Ran the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz/Capitola with the Ladies of OBC
*Became certified in CPR/AED/First Aid for Child/Infant/Adult

August 2010
*Rallied, organized, and worked it for Young Dems everywhere
*Started my 2nd to last semester of my MBA graduate studies
*Officiated a friend's wedding on a beach bluff in beautiful Half Moon Bay

September 2010
*A once in a lifetime opportunity came twice, but it wasn't meant to be
*Started my position of Secretary for the Dominican Alumni Board of Directors
*Ran the Run Until the End of Summer 10K Race with my Operation Boot Camp family (they literally helped me cross the finish line--I was so dehydrated that day)

October 2010
*Attended the California Governor's Debate at Dominican University of California (my alma mater)
*Completed my first full month at Operation Boot Camp with perfect attendance
*Completed my first Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon AND PR'ed it for a Tiffany & Co. necklace
*Completed my first 5K obstacle filled race called the Warrior Dash in full costume dress up as Thing 2 from Dr. Suess
*Started dating again

November 2010
*Survived Black Friday retail hell
*Survived 3 Thanksgiving events and didn't throw up! I ate relatively well.
*Ran the Morgan Hill 1/2 Marathon even though I was out sick from school, work, and exercise the week leading up to it
*Finally told the truth on my food log

December 2010
*Back in my OBC and running element
*Back to working out at the gym every weekday
*Back to stretching & foam rolling everyday

What will 2011 bring? I don't know. But I do know that it's easier for me to motivate other people to succeed and in the end I sabotage myself by making excuses and doing shortcuts. I always compared my weight loss to other people's weight loss. Totally drove me nuts. I always lied on my food log. I have been in my 250s for the last three years and even though I am stronger, more fit, and can run (unlike before), I am still FAT. I will no longer be comparing myself to others. I will no longer cut myself short. I will push myself 10% harder. I will continue cleaner eating, consistent exericse, and know that even if I had a bad day tomorrow would be a new slate. No more emotional eating, no more excuses, just success! Don't get me wrong, I have come a long way in my weight loss journey, but I could have been there already and for that I feel like a failure, a fake, and a phony. But on the other hand I now have the tools, knowledge, and experience of what TO DO and what NOT TO DO when it comes to living a healther lifestyle.


Take me or leave me,
<3 FFF Diva Mo

Monday, December 6, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: 9 Reasons Your Body Thinks its Hungry

9 Reasons Your Body Thinks It's Hungry
By Brynn Mannino, Woman's Day
Thu, Dec 02, 2010

A staggering 63 percent of Americans are overweight. The most common cause? We eat more food than we need—and we're all guilty of doing it: mindlessly munching on a bag of pretzels during a reality TV marathon or treating ourselves to a second helping when the first was plenty. But boredom and indulgence aside, why else are we reaching for a snack when we should feel full? Some of it can be blamed on habit, while other triggers have more to do with our body's hunger signals. Check out the list below to find out the most common overeating pitfalls and simple solutions for avoiding these traps.

1. You didn't get enough sleep last night.
Lack of rest stimulates two faux hunger triggers: energy deficiency, to which our natural reaction is to nourish our bodies, and appetite hormone confusion. "When our bodies are drained, levels of leptin—a hormone produced by our fat cells that controls our appetite—decrease, while levels of gherlin—a hormone produced by our stomach that stimulates our appetite—increase," explains American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Karen Ansel, RD. That's two hormones working against you. "Getting eight hours of sleep a night is the easiest thing you can do to prevent overeating." If you do fall short on zzz's, be sure to load up on nourishing, naturally energizing foods—such as fresh fruit, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins—throughout the day to help your body feel satisfied.

2. You're taking medication that causes hunger as a side effect.
If you felt ravenous the last time you were taking an antibiotic to tame an allergic reaction, joint inflammation, acne or a bad cold, the medicine may be to blame. "Medication that contains mild steroids, like prednisone, a corticosteroid, ramp up hunger big time," says Milton Stokes, RD, owner of One Source Nutrition, LLC. "If you've already eaten a normal-size meal, ignore the drug-inflated hunger," says Stokes. Instead, try an oral fix like chewing gum, sipping warm coffee or brushing your teeth, he suggests. If you're on long-term steroid therapy, consult a dietitian to devise an eating plan that will help you feel more satisfied throughout the treatment.

3. You're thirsty or dehydrated.
The symptoms of dehydration (sleepiness, low energy) closely mimic those of being overly hungry, which may lead you to think you need food to increase your energy level, explains Sandon. When you're thirsty, your mouth becomes dry, a symptom that eating will temporarily relieve, notes Sandon. She suggests drinking a tall glass of water or cup of herbal tea before eating and waiting for your body's hunger signals to adjust (about 10 minutes). "Doing so could save hundreds of calories."

4. It's "mealtime."
As creatures of habit, we tend to eat on autopilot. While some regularity is encouraged so that you don't become overly hungry, which could lead to bingeing, it's also important to listen to hunger signals, says Ansel. "Next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself: 'Am I really hungry?' If the answer is 'no,' either eat a smaller portion or put off the meal for an hour—though no longer than that," suggests Ansel. This also applies to situations you associate with eating, like flying. "We've been conditioned to associate an airplane ride with eating," Ansel says. The solution: "Pay attention to timing," recommends Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, assistant professor of nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern. "Know how long the flight is and plan satisfying meals around it." Also, take advantage of the free (hydrating) beverages, she adds, as the enclosed space leads to hunger-causing dehydration.

5. You just worked out.
We are conditioned to feed ourselves after exercising. And, after a particularly strenuous exercise session like a spinning class or interval-training workout, we tend to feel ravenous. But that doesn't mean your body needs extra calories. "It means your body needs a specific kind of nourishment," says Marissa Lippert, RD, a nutrition consultant and dietitian in New York City. Opt for roasted chicken or other lean meats (protein will replenish your muscles) and brown rice or other whole grains (complex carbohydrates take a while to break down) to help your body recover faster and fend off hunger longer.

6. Not enough time has passed since you finished your meal.
You've just eaten lunch only to wonder: "Why am I still hungry?" Before you assume you didn't eat enough, consider that maybe you ate too quickly. "Appetite hormones need time to tell your brain you're full," explains Sandon. To prevent post-meal hunger pangs, keep these pointers in mind: Eat slowly, putting down your fork between bites; choose flavorful and satisfying foods; and include a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates in every meal. If you're still hungry, try sucking on a mint to ward off your cravings.

7. The women around you are eating.
A joint study out of Duke University and Arizona State University found that women tend to mirror other women's eating habits. "When one overdoes it, the rest often follow along," Ansel confirms. To avoid this copycat effect, Lippert suggests taking a quick minute to reassess your own eating habits—or, if all else fails, grabbing a pal and evacuating the scene of the food. A more permanent fix? Be the one who sets a healthy example for your girlfriends to follow. Their waistlines will thank you! "Just as obesity is contagious, so are healthy habits," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet.

8. You smell or see food.
"We tend to eat with our senses more than our stomachs," says Ansel. When we smell or see food—even if it's in a photo, advertisement or TV show—our mouths water, which stimulates our appetite. Onset factors can include smelling a batch of cupcakes baking, seeing snack food laid out on the counter or watching a cooking show. The clear-cut solution: "Out of sight, out of mind." Leave the room, hide the candy jar, turn off the TV—and the craving to eat will likely subside, says Ansel.

9. You're stressed out.
"Studies show that when people recognize they're stressed, they are more likely to turn to high-fat, salty or sugary foods," says Sandon. "These foods both are comforting and feel good in the mouth," she adds. But it's not all about emotional eating. Sandon notes that your body's chemical reaction to stress could also cause hunger pangs. "Increased levels of the stress hormones cortisol and insulin may be associated with triggering appetite." Either way, appetite control boils down to decision-making. Before reaching for the ice cream tub, try quickly clearing your mind.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FFF Diva Advice: On Second Chances

From my favorite website:

“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down but the staying down.” -Mary Pickford

We’re never out of the game until we decide we are. Even if circumstances don’t appear to work in our favor, even if we have an uphill climb, even if we’ve fallen, we can get up and keep going until we choose to stop.

Happiness is in the going itself–the choice to keep doing what we love, even when disappointments and hurt pride make it challenging to give up.

Until the day we stop breathing we have limitless chances in life.

If one approach isn’t working, we can try something new. If we don’t have enough support, we can reach out and ask for help. And if something doesn’t feel right, we can wipe the slate clean and start all over in a completely new way.

We set the rules. We get to choose who to be and what to do from day to day–but we have to believe that we deserve and can create happiness.

How can you create happiness today by empowering yourself to keep going?

Monday, November 22, 2010

FFF Diva Song of the MOment: "Christmas is All Around"

"Christmas is All Around" by Billy Mack from the movie Love Actually

I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
Christmas is all around me
and so the feeling grows

It's written in the wind
It's everywhere I go
So if you really love Christmas
C'mon and let it snow

You know I love Christmas
I always will
My mind's made up
The way that I feel
There's no beginning
There'll be no end
Cuz on Christmas
You can depend

You gave your presents to me
And I gave mine to you
I need Santa beside me
In everything I do

You know I love Christmas
I always will
My mind's made up
The way that I feel
There's no beginning
There'll be no end
Cuz on Christmas
You can depend

Cuz on Christmas
You can depend

It's written on the wind
It's everywhere I go
So if you really love me
C'mon and let it show
C'mon and let it show
So if you really love
C'mon and let it
If you really love me
C'mon and let it
Now if you really love me
C'mon and let it show

Friday, November 12, 2010

FFF Diva Accomplishment: Morgan Hill 1/2 Marathon 11.7.10

The Inaugural Morgan Hill Full and 1/2 Marathon was sold out with 1,000 racers. I ran with some fantastic ladies of Operation Boot Camp! This race was the first time in a week that I was back to cardio or ANY type of running after a week of chest congestion and a double ear infection. Dumb move--should have walked. In the end had to walk 5 miles of the race, but after a major hill ran the rest of the way. Ended with a 3:39:45 finish time, and my previous PR for a 1/2 marathon was the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon a couple weeks back at 3:28:17. I know next time I can do better! Below are some photos:

Below is an email from one of my Operation Boot Camp Instructors regarding INTENSITY:

good morning campers! I hope you all enjoyed the extra sleep on Monday. It will be awesome having a bit more light in the morning now as well! Congrats to the half marathon runners this weekend - Mo, Lakshmi, Alex, Karen, and Julie. We had the privilege of running a beautiful course through the countryside of morgan hill - lots of trees and vineyards. I was gorgeous! Great workout and good fun together. Running 13 miles is DEFINITELY outside of my comfort zone - which is precisely why I do it :) We have to train our weaknesses. And the satisfaction of finishing something so daunting, is fantastic!

When you are working out, ask yourself if you are comfortable. If so, you probably aren't pushing yourself enough! Intensity is, in my opinion, the biggest factor MISSING from most people's workouts. Why? Cause it doesn't feel good during an intense workout - it feels good after. And it feels good to be fitter!! The "talk test" is super useful. If you are running during Long Run, and you are having a full easy conversation with your fellow camper, you aren't pushing enough! You should be able to talk, but it should be a bit labored and require some effort. Something like "...ya...I love long favorite at 6am 4...miles....with" with some gasps of air between words would be perfect! If you get through a set of 10 pushups, and rep 10 felt like rep 5, maybe it's time to add an inch of depth! These are the changes in intensity that will keep you progressing and not let your body become comfortable in your routine. Routine is the enemy! That is why our workouts are so varied at camp. Who wants to do the same workout every day anyways?!?
Keep up the good work this week campers. We have some short weeks ahead, so do your very best to get to camp every day.

FFF Diva Advice: 5 Things I want you to do TODAY for your health

I received an email from one of my instructors at Operation Boot Camp that had some grrrreeeeaaaat advice that I just had share!

5 Things I want you to do TODAY for your health:

1) Eat more green veggies. Carrots and beets are good too for sure...but green veggies need to be a staple for us. Think broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, collard greens, asparagus... No they aren't the tastiest things on the planet. Eat them anyways. It's a fallacy that everything we eat needs to taste good.

2) Get more sleep. Whether its getting to bed 1/2 hr earlier or making it a priority to get a small nap midday, it will help your health, period. Sleeping is like recharging your battery. Think you're good cause you've trained your body to function on 5 hrs? I would argue that your performance would be even BETTER with more shut-eye. Not to mention the fact that hormonally, lack of sleep stimulates fat storage.

3) Squat instead of sit. Like we did at yoga today. Get low, and get back up using your legs, not your back. We have comfy chairs, couches, desk chairs...and bad backs!! Learn to squat with good form. Then learn to squat deep. Then find ways throughout your day to squat (seriously, not that hard..) and then do it. You know those sticks that older people use to grab stuff off the floor that they've dropped? Ok, let's try to put off using those as LONG as possible.

4) Laugh more. I don't mean this tritely at all. Laughter is scientifically proven to literally "turn up" our immune system via stimulating T cells and antibody immunoglobulins which attack dysfunctional cells and respiratory infections! It reduces at least 4 hormones known to be associated with the stress response, such as cortisol and epinephrine. Doctors recommend laughter for cancer patients- and not just to help them feel better! It actually stimulates healing. Plus guys, it's free and there are no negative side effects!!

5) Spend a little more money on experiences with people you love, and a little less on material things. It's a good reminder, especially this time of year. No one can ever take away the awesome memory you have of that time you almost died laughing with your best friends on that trip to _____ (fill in the blank). It doesn't even have to be expensive. Go anywhere- just go with people you love and have fun. It's shown that people have more lasting positive impact from special experiences than from our stuff. Our stuff is gonna go out of style, get dented, get outdated....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

FFF Diva Quote of the Day: Self-Belief

"Each time I think about who I am - I look forward to the person that I am becoming." -A fellow Tweeter named Eleesha (you can follow her on Twitter @Eleesha)

Awesome. Inspiring. Win.

FFF Diva Life MO-ments: A Time for Reflection

Maybe I should have gotten that flu shot after all. Haha. Sigh.

I have been bed ridden since Tuesday. For someone who lives a busy lifestyle like me, it's actually not so fun. Long story short I thought I could hack the world with one day of rest but that kicked my ass: I ended up with a double ear infection, chest congestion, and a high fever that just broke early this AM. It's the afternoon and I am starting to feel okay, but it's only after hours of napping on and off throughout the day. I am nowhere near to perfect, but it's an eye opener about making sure I take care of myself. I run myself ragged more than once and to be forced to be homebound from grad school, work, the gym, and Operation Boot Camp really reminds me: HEY MO SLOW DOWN! Anyways the last time I was bed ridden like this was back in March when I had to stop all exercise and training for two weeks right before my LA Marathon race. Sigh.

Anyways...I will spend my time at home resting, reflecting, meal planning, reading, blogging, and writing my novel. Yup novel. I am participating in something fun that happens every November: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 50,000 words in 30 days. It's a doozy, it's about my crazy weight loss journey and everything else touched by it. I'll keep you posted. I promise.

But shhhhh, don't tell my doctor but I am signed up to run the Morgan Hill 1/2 Marathon this Sunday. Don't worry, if I still feel off I'll just walk it. It's only 13.1 miles. ; )

Ok, maybe the whole "Do as I say, don't do as I do" would be applicable in this scenario. My bad. I'll try.

<3 FFF Diva Mo

Monday, October 25, 2010

FFF Diva Inspiration: "My 120 lb Journey..."

Inspirational! I am so inspired. Time to kick it into high gear! I gained 124 lbs in 4 years. Since then: I lost about 100 lbs in 1 1/2 years, then gained 50 lbs back in less than 6 months, then took about another year to lose the weight I gained back and them some. May 2011 will be my 4 year anniversary since I starte...d my weight loss journey and I have 45 lbs left to go until under 200 lbs (my original starting college weight was 196 lbs). When I walk across that stage in May for my MBA degree I plan to be under 200 lbs. In less than a year since May '09 I did my first 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, & full marathon, but I still haven't shaken off my last 45 lbs. I am a marathoner, but man my running times would improve if I lost another 50 lbs. NOW is the time. No more excuses.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FFF Diva MOment: Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in San Francisco 10.17.2010

On Sunday, October 17, 2010 I completed the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in San Francisco (13.1 miles). I originally was signed up for the marathon (26.2 miles) but was diverted to the 1/2 marathon or else I wouldn't count as an official finisher, but it's ok. I finished 13.1 miles of hilly San Francisco in my personal record 1/2 marathon time 3:28:15. Last 1/2 marathon was the October 2009 San Jose Rock and Roll which was a flat course at 3:45:25. I am signed up to run my next 1/2 marathon for November 7: the Morgan Hill 1/2 Marathon with my Operation Boot Camp family.

Special Shout-outs:

Karen-You are like a sister to me! Thanks for the drive to SF and back! Thanks for the MO-tivational posters and cheering me & Alex on! You braved wind and rain and stayed to cheer not only us but the other 19,998 runners out there on that course!

Jill-Thanks for being the cool MOM-friend. I know I made up that word. I can't believe you came AND on mile 10 jumped into the race with jeans on! Thanks for running with me for the last 3 miles before you got kicked out for not having a race bib. I mean escorted off the route, LOL. Also, thanks for lending me your Garmin! I need one of those suckers!

Rahul-Alex's husband you might be, but you will always be a friend to me! Thanks for being so supportive not only with your lovely wife, but me, and the rest of OBC. You are the man!

Ate Lisa-My running buddy for weeks and months. Thanks for always keeping me on my toes, literally. Congrats on your 1/2 marathon race cousin!

Leilani, Audra, Wilson, and B-Thanks for being my "in there in spirit" supporters. It meant a lot!

HOT FIREFIGHTER DUDE-Thanks for giving me my Tiffany & Co. necklace in a wrapped blue box. Also, thanks for wearing the tuxedo! ; )

Operation Boot Camp family-There are no words. You are my constant motivation to keep pushing harder. AND the constant reminder that it's important to properly train for a long endurance race or you might lose a toe nail. FOAM ROLLING SAVES LIVES!

Alex-WE DID IT! You are a friend, confidant, but more importantly inspiration that things will get better. Congrats on your first marathon UNDER 5 HOURS! Awesome! I <3 you.

Last special thanks to my FB family and blogging friends: Stay motivated. Stay healthy. Stay you.

"I RUN TO BE" was the motto this year at the NWM 2010 but I run because I can. I run because I want to live. I run to be healthy.

<3 FFF Diva Mo

FFF Diva Advice: Words of Wisdom from Operation Boot Camp

Morning! If you are anything like me, some mornings you might wake up wondering how you got coerced to dress at 5am and head out into the foggy, damp park in the pitch black. My friends think I'm nuts...and while I am a bit crazy for sure, they are the ones missing out!! Bottom line is you will NEVER regret a workout. Don't forget how lucky we are to be able to walk, run, sweat, and move our bodies. It's a huge blessing - never take it for granted!

Some reminders: Speaking of our friends thinking we are crazy, Tomorrow is Bring a Friend Day! If you know someone you will be bringing out, do shoot me their emails so I can drop them a note. Please try to get your friends to camp by 5:45 at the very latest so that we can get their waiver signed and start the workout on time. This Saturday Preview workout and Runner's Workshop is at 8:15 - bring your friends again! The Grad Party is next Thursday night, the 28th. If you did not receive the Evite, please let me know.

While enjoying my coffee this AM, I did a little research for us :) Here are a few nutritional thoughts....

The Starbuck's Yogurt Parfait has 300 calories (ok, not bad for a breakfast or mini-meal) but packs 39grams of sugar!! To put that in reference, a full size Snickers bar (no not the mini halloween size!) has 29 grams of sugar! There are certainly worse things to eat at starbucks than the yogurt parfait (pretty much any scone or cookie will make the parfait look much better!) but still not a great choice at all. Cutting our sugar addiction doesn't mean simply cutting the candy and doughnuts. Watch out for granola, granola bars, sweetened yogurt, bagels....etc.
Ok, so you are at Starbucks and in addition to needing the morning caffeine kick, you are starving, and didn't have time to make breakfast. better options:

--> Lowfat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich with 330 calories, 20 calories from protein and only 5 grams of sugar. Downside: 820 mg of sodium (we are supposed to consume around 1500 mg daily, and no more than 2000!)

-->Protein Plate with 330 calories, 540 mg sodium, 16 grams protein, 15 grams sugar (mostly from fruit). toss the yolk from the egg and cut some cholesterol and calories too!

-->Oatmeal with 140 calories (but of course the toppings of nuts and raisins will add sugar and calories!) and 5 grams of protein. We recommend you sprinkle some nuts and raisins, no sugar, and add 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder

With the vast nutritional info available online these days, in addition to the law that restaurants with over 3 franchises HAVE to supply nutritional info, we do not have to be in the dark about what we are eating anymore. However, keep in mind that although restaurants are legally required to provide this info, they are NOT monitored as to their analysis of their foods. It is safe to say that many of the calorie counts are HIGHER than shown. Ugh...right? Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is the key to change!!

-Melody Miser and the Bootcamp Staff

FFF Diva Quote of the Day: Marilyn Monroe

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." — Marilyn Monroe

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FFF Diva New Saying: "When it rains, dance around in it."

I really dislike the saying "When it rains, it pours," mainly because it's pretty true 99.9% of the time. My new saying: "When it rains, dance around in it." Everyday is a gift, even when there is a dark cloud you just have to look harder for the silver lining.

Lately I have been running into many dark clouds. However, my positive self wants to keep pushing forward. That is the power of improvemnt, challenge, and happiness.

This positive outlook can also be applied to weight loss too. For example, I have been caught time and time again saying "I am too old. I am too fat. I am run too slow." However, why do I say such negative things, even when I am exercising at the same time? I need to push negativity out of the window and draw in more positive energies. Postive energy can only attract other positive energy. Right?

Something for you to chew on,
FFF Diva Mo

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: 7 Sleep-Stealing Foods to Stay Away From

7 Sleep-Stealing Foods to Stay Away
by, on Tue Sep 7, 2010

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, your dinner could be to blame. Our esteemed panel of nutritionists and dieticians list out seven foods that keep you up past your bedtime.

You've known this guy for years. He's gotten you through countless all-nighters and pepped you up for that 8 a.m. Monday morning presentation. But did you know that caffeine isn't actually giving your body any energy? "Though caffeine does provide us with that feeling of alertness, it's just a stimulant," says Michelle Dudash, registered dietician, chef, and freelancer writer. Related: 10 Products to Bring You to a Happy Place

Aged Cheese
If a nap is in your future, steer clear of Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, and other hard cheeses (basically, all the yummy smelly ones!). The high levels of the amino acid tyramine are known to keep you up. Related: 33 Healthy Foods to Fight Off Aging

Spicy Foods
Hot tamale! Those hot wings may taste damn good during the football game, but they aren't going to feel so great come bedtime — especially if you're prone to heartburn, since lying down only amps up its side. Make sure you eat your favorite hot foods early enough in the day to prevent a sleepless night later.

Processed or Smoked Meats
Leave this one on the deli counter. Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC, says processed meats contain high levels of tyramine and makes the brain release a chemical that makes us feel alert. These meats also aren't the healthiest ones to munch on either, sleep patterns aside.

Which Celeb Do You Sleep Like?

Even though it's a depressant, alcohol will, oddly enough, keep you up at night. "Many people use alcohol to help them relax, but it actually prevents your body from entering the deep stages of sleep," says Pasquella. Although you may fall asleep, you won't feel very well-rested in the morning.

Milk Chocolate
The average milk chocolate bar contains tyrosine, which is converted into dopamine — a stimulant, says Pasquella. This causes alertness and restlessness, which can keep you up at night. Related: Answers from Our Chill Out Expert

Ginseng Tea
Herbal teas are great for sleeping, but steer clear of ginseng. It's been shown to act as a stimulant, and though some tea drinkers don't feel any effects from the tea, others experience insomnia and hypertension. If you might fall in this category, avoid drinking it several hours before bed, recommends Pasquella.

You've known this guy for years. He's gotten you through countless all-nighters and pepped you up for that 8 a.m. Monday morning presentation. But did you know that caffeine isn't actually giving your body any energy? "Though caffeine does provide us with that feeling of alertness, it's just a stimulant," says Michelle Dudash, registered dietician, chef, and freelancer writer. Related: 10 Products to Bring You to a Happy Place

Aged Cheese
If a nap is in your future, steer clear of Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, and other hard cheeses (basically, all the yummy smelly ones!). The high levels of the amino acid tyramine are known to keep you up. Related: 33 Healthy Foods to Fight Off Aging

Spicy Foods
Hot tamale! Those hot wings may taste damn good during the football game, but they aren't going to feel so great come bedtime — especially if you're prone to heartburn, since lying down only amps up its side. Make sure you eat your favorite hot foods early enough in the day to prevent a sleepless night later.

Processed or Smoked Meats
Leave this one on the deli counter. Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC, says processed meats contain high levels of tyramine and makes the brain release a chemical that makes us feel alert. These meats also aren't the healthiest ones to munch on either, sleep patterns aside.

Even though it's a depressant, alcohol will, oddly enough, keep you up at night. "Many people use alcohol to help them relax, but it actually prevents your body from entering the deep stages of sleep," says Pasquella. Although you may fall asleep, you won't feel very well-rested in the morning.

Milk Chocolate
The average milk chocolate bar contains tyrosine, which is converted into dopamine — a stimulant, says Pasquella. This causes alertness and restlessness, which can keep you up at night. Related: Answers from Our Chill Out Expert

Ginseng Tea
Herbal teas are great for sleeping, but steer clear of ginseng. It's been shown to act as a stimulant, and though some tea drinkers don't feel any effects from the tea, others experience insomnia and hypertension. If you might fall in this category, avoid drinking it several hours before bed, recommends Pasquella.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FFF Diva Mo: Markers of Accomplishment (Can't stop the MO-mentum now!)

There have been many times during my weight loss journey that I just wanted to settle. For example: "Hey Mo! You used to be 320 lbs at age 22 & have Sleep Apnea! Even though you have been going back & forth in the 250s lbs that's good enough at 25years old and you don't have Sleep Apnea anymore!" This time I am going to put my foot down and say HELL NO! I started my weight loss journey at 320 lbs back in 2007:

Finally in May 2007 I joined a gym, got a trainer, started eating healthy, and dropped almost 96 lbs in the first year and a half. The first time I hit my 250s was during March 2008 on my first Mexican cruise with friends:

Since March 2008 until today September 2010 I have yo-yoed between 252 lbs - 283 lbs respectively. In Summer 2009 I was in my 280s lbs again and so to change it up I left personal training and decided to join an outdoor cardio boot camp instead called Operation Boot Camp. It changed my life. I ran my first 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon all in less than a year & before my 25th birthday (March 2010). Although in December 2009 I was finally 239 lbs, today my weight has crept back up to 249 lbs (yo-yo'ing between 245-255 lbs respectively in the last 2 months):

My Operation Boot Camp Family have changed my life for the better. They are my support system. They are my motivation. They are my inspiration to keep going. I have great instructors like my old personal trainer Ronny, and OBC Ladies (Jill, Karen, Missy, Lakshmi, Sophie, and Chrissie just to name a few), and of course my idol Melody (Ronny's wife) who has the most awesome arms you have ever seen. I drool everyday for them. These folks are my friends & they understand what I am going through--especially since we work out at Hellyer Park together M-F at 6 AM in the morning. EVERYDAY. Below is a photo of our most recent race together. Run Until the End of Summer 5K/10K in San Jose, CA:

OBC Back of the Bus Crew:

Although I have been losing & gaining & losing & gaining over the year I realized that there are many ways to track weight loss progress. It's not just the number on the scale! Why? Because muscle weighs more than fat! Duh! That's why it's important to do a Hydrostatic water dunk (see fat % and lean muscle % breakdown), measure inches with a tape measure, see pant sizes, and also how your cardio exercise has improved (running, swimming, etc.). With that is my last photo for today's entry:

I haven't bought a ring since 2007 (size 10). On Saturday I broke down and bought this ring and it was a size 7! I almost died. Although my weight loss journeys has its ups and downs it's small reminders such as my new size 7 ring, that I never want to be 320 lbs. again. NEVER, EVER AGAIN!

It is my hope that my journey can keep you motivated, excited, and inspired to either start a healthier journey of your own or to refocus your journey to your end goal(s) whatever they may be. As for me, although I have come a long way I still have another 100 lbs to go but this time I won't care how long it takes me, because I know I am doing it right--the healthy way--one step at a time--one mile at a time--one day at a time. I hope you do too!

All the best,
FFF Diva Mo

FFF Diva Ridiculous News: Goodbye High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hello Corn Sugar

Goodbye High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hello Corn Sugar (Signed, Corn Industry)

EMILY FREDRIX | 09/14/10 04:47 PM |

NEW YORK — The makers of high fructose corn syrup want to sweeten its image with a new name: corn sugar.

The Corn Refiners Association applied Tuesday to the federal government for permission to use the name on food labels. The group hopes a new name will ease confusion about the sweetener, which is used in soft drinks, bread, cereal and other products.

Americans' consumption of corn syrup has fallen to a 20-year low on consumer concerns that it is more harmful or more likely to cause obesity than ordinary sugar, perceptions for which there is little scientific evidence.

However, some scientists have linked consumption of full-calorie soda – the vast majority of which is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup – to obesity.

The Food and Drug Administration could take two years to decide on the name, but that's not stopping the industry from using the term now in advertising.

There's a new online marketing campaign at and on television. Two new commercials try to alleviate shopper confusion, showing people who say they now understand that "whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference. Sugar is sugar."

Renaming products has succeeded before. For example, low eurcic acid rapeseed oil became much more popular after becoming "canola oil" in 1988. Prunes tried to shed a stodgy image by becoming "dried plums" in 2000.

The new name would help people understand the sweetener, said Audrae Erickson, president of the Washington-based group.

"It has been highly disparaged and highly misunderstood," she said. She declined to say how much the campaign costs.

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are nutritionally the same, and there's no evidence that the sweetener is any worse for the body than sugar, said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The bottom line is people should consume less of all sugars, Jacobson said.

"Soda pop sweetened with sugar is every bit as conducive to obesity as soda pop sweetened with high fructose corn syrup," he said.

The American Medical Association says there's not enough evidence yet to restrict the use of high fructose corn syrup, although it wants more research.

Still, Americans increasingly are blaming high fructose corn syrup and avoiding it. First lady Michelle Obama has said she does not want her daughters eating it.

Parents such as Joan Leib scan ingredient labels and will not buy anything with it. The mother of two in Somerville, Mass., has been avoiding the sweetener for about a year to reduce sweeteners in her family's diet.

"I found it in things that you would never think needed it, or should have it," said Leib, 36. "I found it in jars of pickles, in English muffins and bread. Why do we need extra sweeteners?"

Many companies are responding by removing it from their products. Last month, Sara Lee switched to sugar in two of its breads. Gatorade, Snapple and Hunt's Ketchup very publicly switched to sugar in the past two years.

The average American ate 35.7 pounds of high fructose corn syrup last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's down 21 percent from 45.4 pounds 10 years before.

Cane and beet sugar, meanwhile, have hovered around 44 pounds per person per year since the mid-1980s, after falling rapidly in the 1970s, when high fructose corn syrup – a cheaper alternative to sugar – gained favor with soft drink makers.

With sales falling in the U.S., the industry is growing in emerging markets like Mexico, and revenue has been steady at $3 billion to $4 billion a year, said Credit Suisse senior analyst Robert Moskow. There are five manufacturers in the U.S.: Archer Daniels Midland Inc., Corn Products International, Cargill, Roquette America, and Tate & Lyle.

Corn refiners say their new name better describes the sweetener.

"The name 'corn sugar' more accurately reflects the source of the food (corn), identifies the basic nature of the food (a sugar), and discloses the food's function (a sweetener)," the petition said.

Will shoppers swallow the new name?

The public is skeptical, so the move will be met with criticism, said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

"This isn't all that much different from any of the negative brands trying to embrace new brand names," he said, adding the change is similar to what ValuJet – whose name was tarnished by a deadly crash in 1996 – did when it bought AirTran's fleet and took on its name.

"They're not saying this is a healthy vitamin, or health product," he said. "They're just trying to move away from the negative associations."

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Wow. Just wow. Does the corn industry think that we are a bunch of idiots?! Just because you change your name from something scary and ominous as "high fructose corn syrup" to short and sweet "corn sugar" does not mean your product is any less healthy. This is just as bad as those positive TV ads the corn industry ran a couple years ago about how wonderful high fructose corn syrup is.

Just in case you missed the ads:

My friend Kristin and I share the same sentiments. She and I are on a very similar weight loss journey. I will end my blog post with a perfect reflection from her:

"So now they are tricking us into being obese? I'm ready to put down my marriage equality protests signs and start protesting unhealthy food. The fact that I almost tipped the scale at 300lbs (from eating crap like that) terrifies me. I have friends that are way bigger than that and they just don't get it. When are people going to wake up? : / Thank God, we did!!"

Thank God we did.

All the best,
FFF Diva Mo.

Monday, September 13, 2010

FFF Diva Music Video of the Day: The Egg Song

There is an actual cartoon show based on the adventures of eggs. True story for reals. Their opening theme song reminds me 1) to actually eat eggs 2) that Asians like myself are creative, but still odd.

FFF Diva Mo

FFF Diva Motivation: Just 10 Challenge

With the help of, Dr. Oz has created the Just 10 bracelet, a tangible reminder that you're taking the first step toward a healthier life. Losing just 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk for a stroke, ward off dementia, lower your risk for uterine and breast cancer, and lower your cholesterol up to 10%. And these are only some of the benefits. and are teaming up to give you something tangible to wear as a daily reminder that you're worth it. The bracelet has "Just 10" on it so you can let everyone know that you're taking the steps toward a healthier life. Anyone can wear it, and YOU can have one for FREE!

When people ask why you wear it, you can tell them the importance losing "Just 10" pounds has on your health. Register for your bracelet today!

FFF Diva Useful Advice: Fast & Healthy Home Cooking

The Diet Detective: Fast and Healthy Home Cooking
By Charles Stuart Platkin

Eating out is certainly convenient, especially with our busy lives. But there are ways to make cooking at home less time-consuming and more feasible for even the busiest people. Here are a few tips for making faster food at home.

Batch Cooking and Other Ideas

Cook and Freeze: One of the most effective ways to ensure that you always have a healthy meal on hand at home is to cook several meals at once. For instance, "Cook pork chops or chicken in huge batches, freeze on cookie sheets and then store in the freezer in a sealed container with waxed paper between the pieces. Take out only as many pieces as you need, spray both sides with no-stick spray, place them in a cold oven, set it to 425 degrees, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning 10 minutes before done," says Antoinette Kuritz, a San Diego-based home cooking expert and mom.

Minimize Cleanup: Do all your major cooking the day before your regular housecleaning day. That way, you won't have to clean the kitchen twice, adds Kuritz.

Here are a few more ideas to help you get started.

Form a Cooking Co-op: "Ask three friends if they'd like to form a cooking co-op. Each person prepares dinner one night a week for all four families. You get four great meals and only one night in the kitchen," says Janet Peterson, author of Family Dinners: Easy Ways to Feed Your Kids and Get Them Talking at the Table (Gibbs Smith, 2006).

Have a Food Party: To make batch cooking a fun event and to share recipes to keep meals interesting, invite a friend or two over to cook batch meals together, or cook in your own kitchens and swap vacuum-sealed meals later, says Alicia Ross, co-author of Cheap. Fast. Good! (Workman 2005).

Make Theme Meals: To take the effort out of deciding what's for dinner, create a theme for each night of the week. For example, Monday can be soup night; Tuesday, taco night; Wednesday, salad bar, etc., suggests Carrie Hanna, the author of Florida's Backyard (Authorhouse, 2002).

Make Extra: As an alternative to cooking entire meals ahead, just double or triple up on some basic building blocks that will speed you through future meals. Browning batches of ground beef and onions, poaching or grilling chicken and baking potatoes ahead of time are easy ways to cut down on meal prep time, says Ross.

Post the Menu: Plan weeknight meals in advance and post them (so there is no, "What's for dinner?" when you get home). That way you shop once a week and get everyone on board, says Peggy Katalinich, food director for Family Circle magazine.

Cooking Out/Dining In: They're springing up all over the country, with names such as Dinner by Design (, Dream Dinners ( and Dinners Ready (

These are basically storefront kitchens where you can prepare an entire week's worth of meals in one session. They do the planning, shopping and chopping and provide everything you need to prepare healthy, delicious meals. Dinners Ready even has a chef and nutritionist on staff. People assemble their meals in the store, which is set up like a home economics class, then take them home, freeze and cook as needed. That way you know you have all the ingredients, your meals are portion-controlled, you can pick what's healthiest--and there isn't any cleanup.


There are so many quick-and-easy cookbooks available that you would think nobody eats dinner out. Just take a peak on and you'll find a host of books, including:

•Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes by Rachael Ray (Paperback, Clarkson Potter 2005)
•Weight Watchers Make It in Minutes: Easy Recipes in 15, 20, and 30 Minutes by Weight Watchers (Paperback, Wiley 2001)
•American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook: More Than 200 Healthful Recipes You Can Make in Minutes by American Heart Association (Paperback, Clarkson Potter, 2001)
•Cooking Light Superfast Suppers: Speedy Solutions for Dinner Dilemmas, by Cooking Light magazine, Anne C. Cain and Anne C. Chappell, editors. (Hardcover, Oxmoor 2003)
•Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook by Weight Watchers (Ring-bound, Wiley 2006)
Store It

"Oxygen is not a friend to food," says Chef Kirk Bachmann, vice president of education for Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America, "and freezing food that is not protected from oxygen will cause it to dry out." Refrigerators and freezers are actually cold dehumidifiers. One of the easiest ways to protect your food is to put it in a plastic bag with a zipper closing. They come in a variety of sizes you can use for different quantities.

You'll need storage containers in different sizes. Or, if you want to get fancy, you could invest in a sealing machine.

"I use a vacuum sealer to freeze my food, but plastic wrap works just fine. A vacuum sealer removes air and traps moisture in the product, avoiding freezer burn. When you're wrapping food to be frozen, do it tightly and avoid air pockets. Chicken, pork and shrimp freeze well, but I avoid freezing fish, although there are some exceptions to the rule," says Chef John Greeley of the famed 21 Club in New York.

Which foods don't freeze well? "Foods with low moisture content, such as baked goods, tend to get stale or become dry and brittle when they freeze," says Cordon Blue's Bachmann. "For example, frozen bread has a much shorter shelf life when it's defrosted. You can, however, freeze solid foods in broths or sauces relatively easily and still maintain the texture of the food."

"Stews, soups, chili and spaghetti sauce freeze extremely well. Starchy foods like potatoes, turnips, pasta, dumplings and rice tend to become mushy when frozen because the water crystals expand during the freezing process and tear apart the delicate, papery walls of the grains," says Bachmann.

"Make sure to organize your freezer and keep a list of what's in there. A full freezer is a wonderful thing--but not if you forget what you've prepared and leave it until it gets freezer burned," says Kuritz.

"Also, keep in mind that the faster food freezes, the better chance you have of maintaining quality," adds Bachmann. And allow space between frozen items so that cold air can circulate around them.

CHARLES STUART PLATKIN is a nutrition and public health advocate, author of the bestseller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), The Diet Detective's Count Down (Simon & Schuster, 2007) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at

Copyright 2007 by Charles Stuart Platkin

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

FFF Diva Quote of the Day: Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

"Dance like the photo's not being tagged, Love like you've never been unfriended, Tweet like nobody's following." -Anonymous

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: 25 Best Nutrition Secrets

25 Best Nutrition Secrets
By David Zinczenko
Men's Health
Sep 02, 2010

Sarah Palin is on a diet. So is Barack Obama, Glenn Beck, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Peyton Manning, the pitching staff of the Texas Rangers, all the judges on America’s Got Talent, and the entire cast of Glee. In fact, from Chris Rock to Kid Rock to The Rock, everyone you can name is on a diet.

And so are you.

How can I be so sure? Because a “diet” isn’t something you go on and go off of, like a prescription. A diet is what you eat, day in and day out, whether you planned to eat that way or not. So when people ask me what kind of “diet” they should follow, I always tell them to follow the one they’re already on—the way you like to eat is the way you should eat. In researching the Eat This, Not That! book series and seeing people lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more effortlessly, I've learned that if you want to make big changes to your health, forget about following somebody else’s diet. Just make a bunch of little changes to the diet you’re already following. Believe me, it’s the best way to get results. Below, I’ve listed the 25 best new nutritional tweaks you can make that will improve the way you look and feel—fast and forever!

1. Drink a second cup of coffee. It might lower your risk of adult-onset diabetes, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

2. Keep serving dishes off the table. Researchers have found that when people are served individual plates, as opposed to empty plates with a platter of food in the middle of the table, they eat up to 35 percent less!

3. Think before you drink. The average person drinks more than 400 calories a day--double what he or she used to--and alone gets around 10 teaspoons of added sugar every single day from soft drinks. Swap out sweetened teas and sodas for no-cal drinks and you could lose up to 40 pounds in a single year! (To see more proof of how wayward beverages can utterly destroy your diet, check out the 20 Worst Drinks in America. Many of these drinks contain more than a day's worth of calories, sugar and fat!)

4. Practice total recall. British scientists found that people who thought about their last meal before snacking ate 30 percent fewer calories that those who didn't stop to think. The theory: Remembering what you had for lunch might remind you of how satiating the food was, which then makes you less likely to binge on your afternoon snack.

5. Eat protein at every meal. Dieters who eat the most protein tend to lose more weight while feeling less deprived than those who eat the least protein. It appears that protein is the best nutrient for jumpstarting your metabolism, squashing your appetite, and helping you eat less at subsequent meals.

6. Choose whole-grain bread. Eating whole grains (versus refined-grain or white bread) has been linked to lower risks of cancer and heart disease.

7. Think fish. Consuming two 4- to 6-ounce servings of oily fish a week will sharpen your mind. Among the best: salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and trout. They're high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's. Study participants who had high blood levels of DHA also performed better on noverbal reasoning tests and showed better mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary than those with lower levels.

8. Sign up for weight-loss e-mails. Daily e-mails (or tweets) that contain weight-loss advice remind you of your goals and help you drop pounds, researchers from Canada found. We're partial to our own Eat This, Not That! newsletter, and to the instant weight-loss secrets you'll get when you follow me on Twitter here.

9. Cut portions by a quarter. Pennsylvania State University researchers discovered that by simply reducing meal portions 25 percent, people ate 10 percent fewer calories—without feeling any hungrier. Serving yourself? Think about what looks like a reasonable portion, then take at least one-quarter less than that. (By the way, studies show today's restaurant servings are 2 to 5 times bigger than what the government recommends!)

10. Turn off the TV. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts found that people who watch TV during a meal consume, on average, 288 more calories than those who don't eat with the tube on.

11. Put your fork down when you chew. Or take a sip of water between each bite—eating slowly can boost levels of two hormones that make you feel fuller, Greek researchers found.

12. Choose rye (not wheat) bread for breakfast toast. Swedish researchers found that rye eaters were more full 8 hours after breakfast than wheat-bread eaters, thanks to rye's high fiber content and minimal effect on blood sugar. As a result you'll want to snack less and eat less for lunch.
13. Eat a handful of fruit and vegetables a day. In one study, people who ate four or five servings scored higher on cognitive tests than those who consumed less than one serving. (Remember: Salad isn't always the healthy choice. Check out 20 Salads Worse Than a Whopper to see what I mean. You'll be shocked.)

14. Sip green tea. It might help you build a strong skeleton, say researchers in China, and help protect you from broken bones when you're older. And one study found that it helps fight bad breath, too.

15. Work out before lunch or dinner. Doing so will make the meals you eat right afterward more filling, according to British researchers—meaning you'll eat fewer calories throughout the day.

16. Hung over? Choose asparagus. When South Korean researchers exposed a group of human liver cells to asparagus extract, it suppressed free radicals and more than doubled the activity of two enzymes that metabolize alcohol. That means you'll feel like yourself again twice as quickly.

17. Sleep 8 hours a night. Too much or too little shut-eye can add extra pounds, say Wake Forest University researchers. Not there yet? Try these 7 simple strategies for longer, deeper sleep.

18 Discover miso soup. Brown wakame seaweed (used in miso soup) can help lower your blood pressure, especially if your levels are already high, say researchers at the University of North Carolina.

19. Drink two glasses of milk daily. People who drink the most milk have about a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease than people who drink the least. (I recommend nonfat or 1 percent milk.)

20. Take a zinc supplement. Just 15 milligrams of zinc a day (the amount found in a Centrum Ultra multivitamin, for example) will motivate your immune cells to produce more of a protein that fights off bacterial infections.

21. Go ahead, eat your favorite foods. Good eating doesn't need to be about deprivation—it's about making smart choices. Why eat a 1,000-calorie cheeseburger if a 500-calorie burger will satisfy you just the same? The bottom line: Eat foods that you enjoy, just not too much of them.

22. Choose foods with the fewest ingredients. There are now more than 3,000 ingredients on the FDA's list of safe food additives—and any of these preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colorings and flavor enhancers could end up on your plate. Do you really know what these chemicals will do to your waistline or health? Of course not. Here's a rule of thumb: If a 7-year-old can't pronounce it, you don't want to eat it.

23. Snack on popcorn. In a 2009 study, people who ate 1 cup of microwave popcorn 30 minutes before lunch consumed 105 fewer calories at the meal. Just choose the kind without butter.

24. Or snack on walnuts. Eating a handful of walnuts each day may boost your HDL (good) cholesterol fastest, while lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

25. Scramble your breakfast. People who ate eggs in the morning instead of a bagel consumed 264 fewer calories the rest of the day, according to a Saint Louis University study. That’s because protein is more filling than carbs.

Bonus Tip: Don't let all of your hard work go down the drain: Avoid this shocking list of the 20 Scariest Food Creations of 2010!
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