Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pics or it didn't happen: 90 Days

Yes, slightly less big girls do cry. This isn't baseball!
On March 27, 2010 I promised that when I reached 90 days I would post my before and after photos. This wasn't an easy task because my vanity often gets the better of me. Honestly, it wasn't my trite sense of narcissism that held me back from posting full length photos. I just never wanted anyone to know exactly how fat I was. This journey is a lifelong quest for improved health. Thank you for coming along for the ride and, quite possibly, joining me on your own path toward healthfulness.

Now, enjoy the video and pardon the mess.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dress me up!

Every time a birthday approaches -- my own -- I tend to paint a mental picture of how grandiose it will pan out.  As it unfolds, reality doesn't meet the fantasy hopes and dreams. But I manage to turn a year older and deal with the fact that for most people, a birthday is just another day of the year.  Expecting other people to treat my birthday like a national holiday is utter nonsense and it is up to me to make it spectacular even if I am the only one attending the party.

What better ensemble to celebrate, not only the anniversary of my birth (I'll be 45 this August), but also the mid transformation of my body than with an exquisite red dress! I've never owned a red dress other than my junior year, polyester show choir dress.  At least I know red is a color that suits me. When I was younger my modesty stood in the way.  I thought red was an ostentatious hue. As I aged my weight was my excuse. Mislead, I believed such a brilliant tone would make me look bigger. Now, at the risk of being a middle aged cliche, it's within my rights to be fit, fabulous and forty-five!

Red is simply a color. The cut and style must be ideal for my body. I could wear a mu-mu and not deliver the same effect. I have an over sized red, hooded robe that is far and away from being scintillating.  Another factor is price.  My wallet is often 'in the red'. Therefore, couture is out of the question. Yet, there's no reason it can't appear to be a pricey garment.  Naturally, I'll need shoes to complement the stunning dress. Accessories are important.  The dress design selected will have to accommodate wearing a brassiere. So, no strapless or spaghetti strap numbers.  Halters are out, as well.  Also, I'm currently in the plus-size range.  That limits my options greatly since the fashion world thinks heavier women WANT to look like advertising space that can be seen from the space shuttle.  I have curves and want to show them off.  However, my legs are not my best feature.  Just say no to minis.

Why am I giving you my wishes for my birthday red dress?  I want your help, that's why.  I'm not the best judge of attire for myself.  Sincerely, I do not know what really looks good on me.  So, peruse the web and send me your picks for the dress I'll wear on my 45th.  Feel free to accessorize. 

Where will I be going that day? It's possible I might be grocery shopping at Aldi.  Maybe I'll be spotted in the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart -- put that on! It doesn't matter where I go. It's the point that I'm celebrating me.  Perhaps that is a tad narcissistic, but if I don't blow my own party horn, who will?

Post your ideas in the comment section or email me at

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad

Our household was always filled with music.  Whether it be records being played, Mom's lovely voice trickling from the kitchen or Dad blowing the harmonica or strumming his ukulele.  Song was a huge part of my childhood.

Today is Father's Day and I am missing my Dad no less than I did when he passed away in 1999.  Harold Lester Rapier left behind a legacy with his ten children.  I am his youngest daughter.  We had a very special relationship. Of course my other siblings might argue that they were his favorite, but I know deep down I was the one held dearest *snort*.  He always made time to make me feel special amongst the fiery brood of children in the house.  He'd take me to his barbershop on Sundays to help him clean.  Most often I dilly dallied with a broom while he wrote to the Daily Journal's Voice of the People column.  When he had a motorcycle I'd willfully tag along no matter where he went.  He told me I was the perfect riding partner as we went for bum numbing long rides through the countryside.  On the sly he'd invite me to go to The Golden Bear restaurant for ice cream sundaes.

All of those special memories pale in comparison to sitting at our family upright piano with the song book open to the following song.  Dad nor I played piano.  With his trusty ukulele in hand we'd share the piano bench.  I'd sing while he strummed out the tune.  Together we'd say with great emphasis, "quack, quack, quack." He'd sneak in a zerbit** or raspberry on my cheek which would send me into a fit of giggles.

Dad wasn't without flaws. Yet, it's with a full heart that I can recall so many indelibly joyful memories so that the difficult periods are nearly erased. You never truly know what things your children will remember about you when they grow up. Always assume that the most minute, flash in time could be the single most important memory your children think of later in life.

**putting your lips and blowing hard on someone's skin to make a quick, burst of  flatulence sound

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm a walking informercial

Late nights and early mornings provide an assault of infomercials from that steamer sanitizer gadget and hair care products to workout programs guaranteed to get you in the best shape of your life.  In the past, I have been guilty of ordering the weight loss products only to try them a couple of times and when the fat didn't instantly melt away those dvds with all the diet inserts would find a home nestled away with dust bunnies on the back of my book shelf.

Then, as most of you know, I was bitten with the fitness bug.  Basically what that means is that, mentally, I was ready to get in shape, lose weight and be committed to it for a lifetime.  It wasn't until then I began seeing remarkable results.  I had to overcome the pitfall period that usually got the better of me in the past with other diets.  The only way this was accomplished was by having support and encouragement from friends and my online support system of Beachbody.  Initially the weight wasn't coming off and it send shock waves of panic that I might be stuck being obese.  Had I elected to continue my previous typical solo efforts, there is no doubt the proverbial towel would have been thrown in.  Instead of giving up I turned to my Beachbody coach John Hays.  He assured me my body was just going through an initial phase of adjusting to all the good things I was doing to it. Like, eating healthy and working out daily.  Everything I have read says that our bodies are designed to react as if its starving and hold on to fat stores, but it's temporary.  Once the body recognizes what's happening it will react accordingly and reward you with dropped numbers on the scale.  Resistance training helps reduce the likelihood of losing muscle mass and, this is a super bonus, helps you burn calories even at rest.  Cardio burns the fat. You need both. Sorry, kids.  My transformation isn't about a new fad magic pill or easy prepackaged food.  Nor did it require me being in a gym half the day or starving myself of food I truly enjoy.  Through working out 45 minutes six days a week and  making healthy food choices, I have dropped THIRTY POUNDS.  Out of curiosity I turned to my tape measure to get an even clearer picture of my progress (I'm far from my goal yet so much closer).  Total inches lost thus far:
.................................................................... 20.75 inches

Now, that is only from measurements taken before I started on this journey March 27, 2010.  Had every square inch of my body been measured I'm sure the total would be greater.  When I saw my friend Tom for the first time in months it was a welcome relief for him to comment immediately about my weight loss.  A little while later into our visit he said it looked like I lost more than 30 pounds.  I giggled but tried to seem humble at his remark that I looked "tight".  I'm pretty sure I beamed with an ear to ear grin.  Clearly working out even when I don't want to is paying off.  For the record, on those days when I do not feel up to working out is crucial.  Pushing through those lazy days gives me an immense feeling of accomplishment.

When I post updates on Facebook I mention the program currently in use and how I feel when the workout is complete.  The video below will give you an overview of Turbo Jam with Chalene Johnson.  If you think you can't do this, think again.  Modification is acceptable but challenge yourself while listening to your body and you'll be astounded by just how much you can really do.  I'm seventy pounds way from my goal weight.  When I set out on this journey I was 100 pounds (get your jaw off the floor) from my healthy target BMI (Body Mass Index). I wasn't just obese, I was MORBIDLY obese.  Few people would have assumed that about me due to my height.  However, it didn't stop me from pushing play and taking on each move Chalene dished out. Now, I am able to do the moves with higher intensity and fewer modifications.  The trainers who work with Beachbody have a great energy that permeates from the television screen and into the living room.  Never do I feel I'm failing if I hit pause or modify a move so it's comfortable yet still challenging.  When I work out with Tony Horton on Power 90 I cuss at him during power yoga and push ups. I hate it but I do it.  Tony doesn't care that I yell at him.  When I do, it gets me through the rep.  Plus, it helps me breathe! I'm able to push through to the next move.  Go me!

Decide. Commit. Succeed

Keep pushing play!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Loving you is easy

Ya know how you'll be going about your business and not really looking for a song that speaks to you? You hear the introduction and it grabs you. Then, the lyrics start to trickle into your ears and *click*. You'd swear the lyricist knows you better than you know yourself.  So, you hop on the Internet and look for the song to find, as you suspected, that it's by one of your favorite recording artists.  Sarah McLachlan has done it again.  She's recorded some songs that seem to get me.  One in particular really seems to have been written for little ol' me.  I've featured her new release Laws of Illusion in the widget over yonder to the right.  That's the deluxe edition complete with videos.

To make life less complicated and to relieve you of the task of searching for the lyrics or song I speak of today, here you go. It's a simple little diddy.  But in life, sometimes it is the simplest things that give the greatest pleasure.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Tale of Ms Baggy Britches

OK, it's no secret that I'm on a journey to get fit; get healthy; lose weight.  Jeepers! I talk about it ad nauseam. On March 27 I made a commitment to help rid the world of obesity.  Naturally that vow had to start at home. 

Yesterday was one day past laundry day.  That means I had run out of pants to wear to work.  EEK! With that mind, it meant having to wear that one pair of trousers that I dislike.  This particular pair was always just shy of being high-waters. Additionally, they sit just below the natural waistline which, unfortunately at my weight, caused the spectacular cascade of muffin toppery.  Yes, such a lovely look on a 44 year old woman.  In wintery sweater weather it wasn't so bad because bulky cable knits or a jacket covered up the embarrassing feature. Alas, I couldn't call in sick from work or wear jeans because everything else was dirty.  At least I had clean underpants. 

First I was able to pull the pants up without unzipping or unbuttoning.  Then, I noticed the closet tailors had lengthened the legs because the hem was touching the floor.  The crotch seemed a tad low, too.  What the ...? 
Walking and keeping my pants up was a trick.  It's a good thing I wear a lab coat.  Additionally, the white shirt you see in the photo is more proof that eating well and working out 6 days a week rocks!  That sucker looked painted on and couldn't be zipped (yes, it's zipper closure, tailored shirt). As you can see there's room for movement.  The sleeves were once so constrictive that I feared ripping out of it like the Bruce Banner transforming into The Hulk.

The reason I continue to write about my weight loss efforts is to stress the fact that I'm not popping pills or doing anything extraordinary.  It's elementary, my dears.  My diet has done a 180°.  I'm no longer sedentary.  Working out SIX DAYS A WEEK is a huge challenge, but one that I rise above.  Once I hit my stride during a work out, it's smooth sailing.  If I'm dripping with sweat and feeling like there's no end in sight, I kick it up a notch and push myself.  Lost in the moment, I revel in the sense euphoria exercising induces.

Beachbody is due to release the program TURBO FIRE this month.  It's all the buzz around the water cooler and I, amongst thousands of others will be waiting in line to get my copy.  The power of that program will surely push me to where I strive to be.  NINE TIMES the calorie and fat burning of conventional aerobic exercise programs.  WOO! I just raised the bar on my personal fitness goal.  I can't wait to show you the results of that regimen.  Heck, maybe I'll be ready for my bikini pics. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Whether or not you want your birthday acknowledged, it still comes around year after year.  Even after people pass away we tend to celebrate the birth of the loved one.  For me, what it all boils down to is giving thanks that someone I care about was put on this earth and is part of my life.  At work, I buy birthday cards for every employee and pass it around for others to sign.  It's not much, but at least their day isn't overlooked.  One of my co-workers humorously proclaimed herself a BIRTHZILLA.  She celebrates her birthday weeks before and after the actual date.  While I teased her greatly for it, I think to a certain level it is up to us to make sure the world knows we're here another year and the anniversary of our first slap on the ass needs to be glorified. 

June 10th marks a very special birth.  The person who will turn 45 has become one of the dearest people in my life.  He's not a newcomer but his re-entry into my realm has been more meaningful than either of us ever thought possible.  Not in my control, I've missed all of his other birthdays. But not this year.  Even though I can't be there to light his candles and sing to him in the flesh, this year will not pass by without him knowing that, to me, his birthday is an auspicious occasion in the world of Riss.  The care package I sent made it just in the nick of time.  The fates were with me.  Happiest of birthdays, Dearest.  Always. xoxoxox

Now, if you're wondering where to make note of my birthday on your calendar, it's August 11.  I, too, will be 45! Yes, I am comfortable with people making a big deal over it.  I encourage it if it will make you feel better.  Parades and pinatas are not required, but welcome. Once someone at work gave me plastic daisies and Tootsie Rolls from the Dollar Tree after I'd commented that no one had ever given me flowers and candy on my birthday.  That gesture was one of the sweetest things ever and I'll never forget it.

My baby boy will be 16 this August.  I know boys don't usually have the sweet 16 parties that girls plan and salivate over for years prior.  My family threw one for me. It was an incredible source of light I needed after a traumatic summer.  Fortunately, nothing dramatic is foreseen for this summer.  Mancub is excited but laments over not having a thriving pack of friends who'll help him celebrate.  I miss that for him as I had groups of kids I hung around with at school, from childhood, musicals and show choir.

They say age is just a state of mind.  If that's the case, then I'm still a giddy 16 year old girl with slightly used parts.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stoke the Turbo fire that burns, baby, burns!

Excitement is buzzing all over Team Beachbody for a new fitness program that can burn 9X the fat and calories of traditional aerobic programs.  It's called TURBO FIRE⌐. Creator Chalene Johnson has brought us booty shakin', high kicking and punching Turbo Jam (a personal favorite) and ChaLEAN Extreme.  This new fat blasting 10 dvd set consists of 12 workouts guaranteed to melt away the pounds of stubborn weight.  Chalene and her team pick out some of the best music to keep you motivated while the sweat drips down your back. The key component of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It will also contain everything you need to get started toward your ultimate beach body.  Couple this phenomenal program with Shakeology, Team Beachbody Meal Plan (newly updated for Club members) and in no time you'll be calling Goodwill to pick up all your clothes because you'll be shopping for smaller ensembles that show off your head turning physique!

Check out the link for Turbo Fire and sign up to be alerted for it's release.  It's going to be HUGE!  If this program appears to be a bit too much, there are dozens of programs to suit your needs.  However, I urge you to not undersell yourself and your abilities. Am I a little scared? Hell yeah! Four months ago I would have said, "Hell no! I can't do that."  However, I have hit a wall with my workouts.  My belief is that I need more! It's not enough to do the minimum.  Now, I have to push it to the limit.  This is something I know I can do and every day that I do it I'll get a little better.  It would be great if you'd join me in the furnace and BURN, BABY!!

One of the biggest problems I faced in losing weight was lack of motivation (I found that in my head) and having excuses about gyms being too expensive; too far away; too crowded; and mostly, having no direction or guidance once I got there.  Plus, I'm self conscious and bouncing around in front of people held too much potential for humiliation.  Working out at home is ideal, but without all the weight machines and other equipment at my disposal I felt useless.  Most workout dvds I had just didn't come with a plan.  That all changed with Team Beachbody.  I know, I know ... it sounds so easy.  The key is reaching deep inside and finding the true desire to take control of my weight and health.  The next step is finding a support team that has the answers and unique qualities to cover every base in my endeavors.  Beachbody has it all.  People who are already incredibly fit utilize the online facility to achieve their prime fitness levels.  It's not just about being overweight or unfit. (In case some of you out there are saying, "but I don't need to lose weight.")  More and more of my friends are reporting that they have high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and the first thing most of them say is their doctor wrote out a prescription.  Our health is in our own hands and you must take control of it.  Your HMO doesn't give a damn.  Many physicians are too busy to sit down and help you find an ideal eating and exercise regimen.  YOU must do this yourself.  Wouldn't it be nice to not have to take medications with every meal? The side effects of pharmaceuticals scare me enough to never want to depend upon them. Talk about motivational literature.  EEP!! How about just getting out of bed and doing so without feeling your knees are going to buckle under?  Reassess your lifestyle and make a choice to get fit or carry on with an apathetic approach to your own life.

Wow, did I just get bossy?  I'm on fire! Bring it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pure Imagination

Once again I was checking out for MP3 bargains and freebies when the soundtrack to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" soundtrack caught my eye.  Not long ago I was searching high and low for the song "Pure Imagination" after it was used in a commercial for a product I cannot recall.  It's a cute commercial ... for something.  Adorable, child like creatures parading around the city ... not a clue. I do know that I love the song and was at a loss because it wasn't available for legal digital download anywhere that I poked around on the web.  Now it is!! I'm willing to bet my last dollar that the use of the song for the product that does not ring a bell at the moment demanded release of the soundtrack.  According to the information on it was just made available digitally June 1, 2010. 

It was always a wonderful family time at the Rapier household when the movie aired once a year.  Television, if you recall, wasn't like it is today. TBS plays the same movies over and over and over .... and over and over.  ABC Family has aired this movie and the Johnny Depp version so often that the novelty and excitement of it being on is nearly gone. The same goes for The Wizard of Oz. However, I manage to get twinges of excitement deep down when my inner child is released from her cage.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang brings about flutters similarly.  I own it on dvd, but there is simply something to lovely about it being on the telly.