weightloss

My weight loss story…

Some of you may have been following my weight loss journey on Instagram, but if not I will bring you up to speed. In 2011, 4 months after the birth of my 3rd son I was at my heaviest at 193 lbs. I’m ecstatic to say I’ve lost 45 lbs. since then! I think I lost the first 15 lbs. because I just stopped eating EVERYTHING. The next 10 lbs. because I started to eat healthier and the next 20 lbs. I lost working out 6 days a week for 25 minutes (Beachbody’s T25). I have maintained in the last year fluctuating between 145-150 lbs.

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It’s been a tough but rewarding and amazing journey. I have been on a life long diet my ENTIRE life. Always quitting, always gaining it back and always “dieting”. I would have to say the biggest difference this time around was (and is) that I am determined to not give up and truly motivated to be in the best shape I have ever been. I did not start this journey with the idea that this was another diet and I would reach my dream body in 6 months. I knew I had to change my mentality as much as I needed to change my body. This time around it was not a diet, but a lifestyle change and I was going to reach the finish line.

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A lot of people say, if “I” can do it, so can you. Well, I have to jump on that cliché train too. You can do this! I’ve tried so many times to lose weight and who knew the secret was so simple. Completely changing my eating habits and consistent exercise has been my miracle pill. I have to say, I am pretty amazed with myself, yup kinda proud of little ol’ me. I did it very slow, because of course I would have bad days/weeks but I never quit. 30 lbs of it I lost in one year with my good friend, her name is “willpower”. So many times, I found myself passing on pizza or some other carby deliciousness and shock would just come across people’s faces that knew me, that I was just going to sit there and resist it or that I was going to get a salad instead. Too be honest, so was I. But I was not going to give in this time and FOR ONCE I was going to take this weight loss thing serious. Those moments of will power changed my body and my lifestyle.

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So what is my “finish line” you ask? I would say my goal is to “feel” great in a bikini, not necessarily a specific weight because we all know the scale isn’t always the best judge of your body but I think if I reached 135 lbs., I would be at an ideal weight for my body (I’m 5’7″). Then I would feel comfortable gaining weight from muscle and toning. Plus, we all know your breasts are the first to go, so I should probably add some weight in there for a boob job. Ha, I kid…maybe.

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Ok, so I feel like I need to share some things that have gotten better since my weight loss, so those of you out there who are thinking of starting on your own journey can really feel the joy that it has brought me and maybe motivate you to start ASAP! Here are 10 things that have changed since my weight loss…

  1. My attitude – I laugh more, I smile more, I forgive more. When you’re happy you realize life is too short to let the small things get to you.  You live by songs like, “Let it go” or “Hakuna matata”! Ha!
  1. My style – Shopping is sooo fun!!! I dress how I’ve always wished I could dress and man, does it feel great. I don’t stress about having to look at myself in a dressing room mirror. I’m actually taking selfies of myself when I try clothes on! I know, smh

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  1. My sex life – need I say more? Wink, wink… Actually, I will say one more thing, ha! My husband actually told me to cover up the other day, say what?! #swoon #thatssosweet
  1. My time with my kids – I jump in pools with my kids now! It’s sad to say, the thought of doing that before just made me think of people watching me run as my body jiggled in places it shouldn’t and it should have been about having fun with my kids not that. My boys are happy because Mommy is happy!

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  1. My self-esteem – I’ve always felt confident or “pretty” but I’ve never felt healthy or proud of my body. I am proud of my new body, dang it! Yes, it has flaws and no, I don’t look like a Victoria secret model. But I’ve had 3 babies, lost 45 lbs. with this body and I’m finally feeling good about myself. Dare I say, I love ME. Big words for a girl, am I right?
  1. My skin and hair – I take care of myself now. I never realized how little I took care of myself. I wash my face more. I like makeup a little more. My friends can attest to the fact that I get ready fairly quickly for a girl. Well, I might have added an extra 5 minutes… I apologize in advance to everyone.

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  1. My goals – I feel grateful, thankful, for my health, for my husband, for my kids, for another day on this planet, and with gratitude you can conquer the world and dream bigger!
  1. My family eats healthier – So amazing! It’s true what they say that you should lead by example. My kids have asked, “how much protein is in that”, and “could I have chiaseeds”. C’mon that’s pretty priceless!

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  1. My house looks better – I have the energy to work on projects that I’ve been pushing off since we moved here 3 years ago! Pinterest and I bestfriends again.

10. My love of life/living – I feel alive, I’m less tired, less  depressed, more present! Feels good to live in the NOW!

It also feels good to say those things about myself. Yes, you do change, I have changed. When you’re overweight or underweight or depressed or whatever it is that is holding you back, you are not living at 100% and the closer you get to that happy place the closer you get to really loving yourself and those around you. Some people will cheer you on and then there are some that will not “appreciate” your new glow. What ever happens don’t let anyone dull your shine, and do good with your new super power…we are born to live at 100%! We can do it!!!

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Xoxoxo

-Yesenia

@orlandomommy

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Orlando

#believeitornot #imabeliever #ripleys

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There is so much to do in this town, am I right? You can visit Orlando every year and still feel like you’re just scratching the surface. I would even say that as a local resident, I feel the same way. I have lived in the Greater Orlando area for the last 4 years, but on and off for the last 16 years and just last year was the first time I ever took a swan boat ride on Lake Eola! Shocking, I know. But if you’re like me, knocking stuff off your Orlando bucket list makes you happy. So yes, that’s right, I’m about to add another must-do to your list and If you have not had the chance to visit Ripley’s on I-Drive, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, you will have so much fun!

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Few fun facts about the man himself, LeRoy Robert Ripley was born in 1890, just a boy who loved to draw. Entirely self-taught he sold his first cartoon to Life Magazine in 1908. He later dazzled his readers with odd, weird, REAL facts in his cartoons. His empire grew from cartoons, to books, to radio, to tv shows, to museums. In 1949, at 59, while Ripley was taping his 13th TV show, he fell unconscious and died 3 days later (Believe it it or not: He died on May 27th, my birthday.). Ripley traveled to 201 countries all within 35 years. Mr. Ripley was just as fascinating and as interesting as his life work and all the oddities in his collection.

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My boys did NOT want to leave! This “world” that Ripley brought to life for us, of true facts and real people was just too much fun. Real shrunken heads, standing next to the tallest man and wrangling Dinosaurs, is right up their crazy kid alley. To be honest, right up mine as well. I love books or documentaries about how this world we live in is full of wonders, people and destinations that we could never imagine exist.  I think Ripley said it best when he said, “Truth, you know, is really stranger than fiction.”

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Think outside of the box when planning your visit as well.  Walking through with my kids also gave me the idea of what a fun date night, this would be. I’m sure I missed a few fascinating facts, while herding my cattle, I mean children through the museum. So actually taking a few extra minutes to read about these odd items, would be so interesting.  Even though this was my 2nd visit to this particular Ripleys, a 3rd visit and a date night with the World’s Tallest Man doesn’t sound too bad to me.

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My fellow art lovers, you will also ooo and ahhh. There are quite a few pieces, that are unique to this Ripley’s and well, to the world. I’ve actually have had the pleasure of seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. I waited in its Disney-esque lines, worked my way through the crowd till she and I were face to face, and like everyone else in the room, I felt like I could die happy. Ripley’s Orlando has a Mona Lisa too… made of burnt toast that is. No plane tickets necessary (well, if you’re local), no crowds to maneuver through and you can still post your selfie with the Mona Lisa and die happy, well kinda sorta happy. They also have Beyonce made completely out of candy, the Last Supper made of dryer lint and Van Gogh made from nail polish! Seriously, where else can you see this stuff?

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There are so many fun photo opps that I know my social media junkies (myself included) will be in Insta-heaven. The boys and I really loved the life size wax statues of some of their most famous “freaks”, located near the end. We had a blast taking pics with them. Ok fine, I had a little more fun, I guess.

The only thing I’m sad I missed were the famous African Fertility Statues. I totally missed this. Read about them after my visit. Not that I should be touching them, since I have plenty of these little people running around but c’mon, how fun would that have been to REALLY scare my husband! So if you’re thinking of starting a family and want a fertility edge, go rub some of these statues at the Ripley’s in Orlando. But don’t delay, I hear they are going on tour to other Ripley’s Museums starting next year! Hope you can make it out soon, there really is so much more to see and if you do by chance rub one of these fertile myrtles, and it works, I would be honored if you named her after me, thanks in advance! 😉

Thanks to Ripley’s Orlando, you can purchase your discounted tickets here! Also, Florida Residents receive 50% till December 20th!

Ps. Don’t miss taking your free photo, like the one below, and email it to yourself during your visit! #ripleys

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Orlando

Goodwill hunting – Back-to-School Shopping!

Someone must have heard of my love of thrift stores because I was asked by the Goodwill Industries of Central Florida to enjoy $25 for each of my boys to go on a back-to-school shopping spree at any of their several Central FL locations. Uh, I said, yes!!

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Goodwills are what they call, “one of the good ones”. They are like the Nordstrom of thrift stores. They are clean, organized and there is always a sale going on. Ha! For instance, anything marked with a certain color tag is 50% off for that day. I love that they not only have a large selection of clothes, but also toys, furniture, decor and more. I love a good deal and I never feel like I’m going to get in trouble when I get home after shopping there, hahaha!

One of the fun parts of our back-to-school shopping/thrifting experience was letting the boys do a little care-free shopping of their own. They picked out a few items that I normally would probably say no to because I’m not about to pay $25 for a Skylander/cartoon shirt. But what do ya know, there happened to be two brand new Skylander shirts in Alec and in Dean’s sizes for $3.99  and $2.99, they were happy, I was happy, everybody won! Thank you, Goodwill!

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We ended up checking out the Waterford and Winter Garden locations. The Waterford location was awesome. Its a fairly new location and the store is large and open and they had a nice fitting room right off the kids department, where the boys enjoyed trying on their “Skylander” shirts. They also have quite a large book department that I will have to come back and check out on my own time and dime. The Winter Garden location is closer to home and I was able to find a few more pieces there and a nice man told me to go check out the Clermont location next, because they have better Kid clothes there, hee hee. So as you can see the people are friendly and willing to help a mother out.

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So how successful was I? Well, I found 19 shirts, 4 shorts and 1 light zipper jacket. Amazing, right!!! I was pretty excited that I everything I picked was in practically new condition and from brands such as… Lacoste, The Children’s Place, Vans, American Apparel, Gymboree, Reebok, Easton, Target Brand and Osh Kosh! Overall, I am pretty thrilled with my haul and all for the price of …

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only $63!!! I still have $12 more to use, but to be honest and I’m a little overwhelmed with all the clothes I bought. Ha! But I do need a few more shorts for the boys, so I will be checking out the Clermont store next (Thanks for the tip, Mr.!!).

I also planned ahead and went through my boys entire closets before doing my #goodwillbacktoschool shopping so I was also pretty excited to be able to make a large donation of clothes, shoes and other items back to the Goodwill. Showing my boys how to donate and to care about others in their community was definitely a big bonus to all the money I saved! Supporting your local Goodwill helps your wallet and creates more local jobs in our community.

GREAT NEWS!!! Thanks to the Goodwill Industries of Central Florida I will also be doing a giveaway of $25 to one of you lucky readers! So please head on over to https://www.facebook.com/orlandomommy for you chance to win!

Read more below on how you can send your kids back to school in style – and help your community at the same time! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4:

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1.     Donate last year’s school clothes to Goodwill.
2.     Pick up some fresh threads for the upcoming school year.
3.     Keep your wallet happy by not spending a lot.
4.     Help create a job for someone in your community.

Donations (and shopping!) equal jobs … and jobs change lives!
· Donating and shopping at Goodwill funds job training and placement programs that help Central Floridians with barriers to employment. This includes people who have disabilities, those with limited work history, military veterans transitioning to civilian jobs and others.
· Every 24 pounds of donations provides one person with services that can help them find meaningful work. Last year alone, Goodwill served nearly 33,000 people in its Job Connection Centers across Central Florida!
· With convenient drop-off sites and dozens of stores in neighborhoods near you, it’s easy to make a donation … and to make a lasting impact in your community. To find a location near you, visit www.goodwillcfl.org.

Donations RESIZED

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Orlando Road Trips

Fun in the Snow at Stone Mountain Park, GA

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I don’t normally play in snow but when I do, I prefer Snow Mountain. True Story.

Thank you so much to Stone Mountain Park  for inviting us to a day of fun in the snow and exploring their awesome park earlier this month. Stone Mountain Park (SMP) is located in Stone Mountain, Georgia, about a 7 hour drive from Orlando. It was an easy drive, well at least that’s what my hubby informed me. The kids held up well with snacks, sandwiches and iPads, and all was calm in the world.

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We had the best time and I absolutely can not rave enough about taking the drive up there. It was better than I had anticipated and absolutely look forward to what Summer at SMP has in store for us. Admission into SMP is $56 for an Annual Pass ($44 for 3+) and $99 for an Annual Plus Pass which includes Snow Mountain and more. Visiting this park more than once a year (even with a 7 hour drive) is easy to do with all their seasonal fun, activities, hiking trails and parks. The beautiful mountain view (photo prop – as I like to call it)  is worth it alone. My camera happy people know what I’m talking about. The Great Barn indoor playground in the winter is a “ball” of fun and the Camp Highland Outpost and Geyser Towers, makes me want to come back this summer so my boys could enjoy them since they were closed. The train ride around SMP was a nice cozy break from the cold and informative for our future hiking plans. We also waited for the enclosed car and it was worth it! Brrrr…

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Of course, being Floridians, our highlight was Snow Mountain. My 3 “snow” balls of energy were in Alaska heaven. We threw snowballs at Targets, tubed down mountains, solo and as a family. I was pretty excited about that. All 5 of us, including my 3 year old were able to enjoy tubing together, that was really special and fun. Even though my littlest one would give a little scream of horror on the way down, he would also yell a scream of delight at the bottom… My brave boy!  The boys built igloos and just played in real snow and I’m not talking about the kind you buy at the mall, people! Not bad for driving 7 hours north from Sunny 80 degree weather. Everyone gets a 2 hour time slot which I love because it keeps the lines short and the area not as crowded. With 3 kids under 8, we really didn’t need more time than that. We chose a later time slot as well, so after our fun in the snow we went right back to our hotel, changed and got warm and cozy. I recommend bringing a change of clothes and shoes if you plan on staying in the park after Snow Mountain if you want to catch the parade and maybe dinner!

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Another highlight, was taking the Skyride to the top of Stone Mountain. The view was amazing and when we got to the top I totally felt as if I had just landed on the moon! It was so great! I told the boys to act like they just conquered the moon in this pic and of course I got, “Whats conquered?”… sigh, lol.  I took so many pics up at the top and next time we go, we plan on hiking up there as a a family.

Our plans are to return this summer and I would definitely say this a must do road trip for all my Orlando families, locals and anyone near and around Georgia. Oh, and the next few days we spent exploring Atlanta, which is only a 30-minute drive away! Visit http://www.stonemountainpark.com for more info and dates.  Good news! Snow Mountain has been extended to 2/23 due to popular demand! Go… now… just go! 🙂

Sidenote: If you’re coming from Orlando a fun stop was the Plantation House Gas Station. We had fun admiring their vintage pumps and yummy store goodies!

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Christmas in Orlando

Christmas with the Rosens!

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“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” – Dr. Seuss

Christmas means a little bit more this year thanks to Rosen Hotels! What a treat for my family and I to be invited to enjoy some of their holiday festivities this year!

The 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Festival was a 2 day event at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel and we had such a great time with the boys. You can never go wrong with reindeers, train rides, candy cane martinis, a balloon artist, a face painter, did I mention martinis? There really was so much more. I could have easily spent all night at the photo booth trying out props (#allme). My boys were a little weary of the live toy soldier and doll (ha!) but warmed up to them pretty quickly. Oh, and I can’t forget, the “Big Guy” and his elf were there too. Bonus – no line! We really enjoyed Rosen’s Winter Wonderland and I have a feeling that this event will be getting better every year and a must do on the Orlando Christmas check list!

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Breakfast with Santa at the Rosen Plaza was exciting! We have never done a breakfast with the man himself and getting “the best seat in the house” was an added perk! Let’s just say we are on a first name basis with Mr. C. and will be getting the Mega Millions winning ticket in my stocking this year. Plus, the rumors are true, Santa has an excellent memory! He remembered our boys from the night before and they were thrilled! Gavin, my 3 year old, asked for a “scary monster sword”, um yeah, no. The breakfast buffet was yummy and my new healthy lifestyle was pleasantly appeased with their healthy food alternatives, yay turkey bacon!

Thank you so much, Rosen Hotels for the invite and look forward to many more memories with you!

Check out http://www.rosenhotels.com/holidays for any future holiday events and also http://www.rosenhotels.com for any of your vacation or staycation needs!

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