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Here's my solution for healthy snacks/more veggies without much prep. I'm a single mom and a teacher so I'm always chasing life. Splurge and buy the hothouse cucumbers that come individually wrapped in plastic - a quick rinse, slice, and you're good to go. Sugar snap peas come in a little plastic bag at my store - a quick rinse and that's it. Lately they have mini sweet peppers - again, just a rinse. Then either use a healthy ranch dressing of your choice or use a packet of dip mix & a healthy sour cream. Tasty with hardly any prep.


I agree with all thoughts you shared Carmen. I would only add that you drink more water starting now. It is so very good for your health and you will be amazed at how much better you will feel. Good Luck - please keep us updated on your progress. We will share this journey with you.


Oh those first steps are BY FAR the hardest! I managed to get up to 200lbs with my last child. I finally lost 20 of those "extra" lbs & although I have twice that many left to go the DIFFERENCE I felt at 20lbs motivates me to go on. More energy. Feel healthier.

I LOVE Carmens advice to pick ONE area of your diet to change. What a great idea. I did a major overhaul but was able to succeed only because my husband was also eating the same. We did a modified carb diet- essentially cut out all junk food, white breads etc. Changing your eating habits is HUGE. Adding exercise really works wonders.

I had my husband take pictures of me. I hate to say it but I hate the way I look at this weight. (Dont worry, I love myself dearly, but hate the visual reminders of how I've let myself go lol) It's probably the best motivator for me.

Visit the doctor and get GOOD SHOES. Take it slow whatever you start with.

I know many others have much better advice than I. GOOD LUCK, YOU CAN DO IT!!

Christine X.

Seriously: buy, read, and LIVE "The Runner's Handbook" by Bob Glover. $12.21 on Amazon, and surely at your local bookstore. It's the classic, and for good reason. Remember how you consulted "what to expect when you're expecting" a million times whilst preggers? This is that book for starting to run.

You will need a sport watch and good shoes. Go to an actual running shoe store. Tell the dude you are ready to start, and they will WATCH YOU RUN A FEW YARDS, OR LOOK AT THE SOLES OF YOUR WORN SHOES OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, AND find the perfect shoe for you. That is their job. Don't feel weird about it, or feel weird about it and do it anyway.

Find someone to commit to the program with you, NOT SOMEONE WHO WILL SABOTAGE YOU OR LET YOU SABOTAGE YOURSELF. Sometimes, friends are not the best choices!

With one foot in front of the other, AND CONSTANCY, you WILL be running a 5k sometime this fall. Really. And, if you keep with it, a 10k by the end of the year. AT LEAST.

If I can, so can YOU! Yes you can! WE are all in this together.


This is a very simple trick that I have found helpful. Ladies, and the men who also help around the home. Think about how many hours we spend running around the house- up and down the stairs, running to the kitchen, to the kids rooms, to the laundry, out to the garage, and so on and so on. Now, if you were out on the walking trail, would you be wearing your slippers? Certainly not. Invest in "good" slippers, not the pink frillies that your kids buy you at Christmas, which also have their place. Or even have "indoor sneakers." Running around in bare feet all day doing all this is hard on the feet and thus hard on the legs and the back. Tis a small thing, but it's a good thing.


I really feel for the writer of that letter. Earlier this year, I reluctantly weighed myself and realized that I was the same weight that I had been on the day I had given birth to my youngest child, 2 and a half years ago! I found a program online, www.livefitrevolution.com, made a commitment, and stuck with it (for once!). I started the program on April 19th, and as of last Monday (I only weigh in on Mondays), I was down forty pounds! The program is free, and very structured nutritionally. Alysia Gadson is the trainer behind the program - she is Shay from The Biggest Loser's kettlebell coach. She is so accessible if you have questions or concerns, and genuinely wants to help. I suggest your writer do the other suggestions (definitely see a doctor, and get GOOD shoes from the running store, and drink lots of water), but maybe also check out LiveFit - it's working for me!

Jennifer Joyner

First, I want to say that you were exactly right to contact Carmen about this...she knows so much about exercise and living a healthy life. And reading her post just reiterated that point for me--she knows exactly what advice to give. But I want to reach out to you because I've been exactly where you are. For a long time I was 250, 270, 290. And then I really let things get out of control and I got all the way up to 336. I developed hypertension and Type 2 diabetets. Doctors were threatening to put me on daily insulin shots. I honestly felt like I was going to die. I finally found the answwer that worked for me...and I do believe that there is a different answer for everyone. But I'd be happy to talk to you about it. Email me at jjoyner@wral.com if you feel comfortable. If not, juts know that I wish you well and I hope and pray you find your way to good health and happiness!!


Kudos to you for recognizing the need for change! I'm struggling to lose 50lbs and am down 15 so far. I have to say that between Carmen and www.shrinkingjeans.net I finally feel like I have a support system of amazing peope who are either on the same journey or who have been on it and who can relate. Find yourself a support network - it really does make a huge difference. Good luck!


I 100% agree with all of the above and I would add a couple of things.

1 - Lower your expectations and set a realistic month-end goal. If your goal is to lose 100 pounds and compete in a triathalon, you'll only become discouraged. How about this....."By the end of this month, I will be down 5 pounds, I will only be drinking water during the day, and I will be able to walk 3 blocks."

2 - Can you get the kids involved? "We've been working on our math for 45 minutes, so now we're going on a 15 minute Mental Health Walk!" They (and you!) need the break to refresh their minds and you need the exercise. No one says you have to dedicate 90 solid minutes a day to exercise. You CAN break it up into 15 minute pieces!

3 - Running is awesome, but probably not a good idea right now. If you push too hard, you could end up with an injury. Can you get a stationery bike? Can you get to a pool? Those are both good exercises that won't put too much extra stress on your body.

4 - Be patient with yourself.

Good luck! We'd all love to hear about your progress.


your reader? sounds like me. I'm over 250 lbs now and I'm miserable in pain constantly. I've given up on ever being healthy let alone thin. I wish I had money for a personal trainer!! If you ever decide to go into that line of work, I'd be first in line. You are INSPIRING in every way.


I agree with what has been said above and Carmen's advice is wonderful. Take it one day at a time. Like Carmen I used to run all the time. However, these days I just combine walking with jogging and still feel great. Begin by walking and set small goals for yourself. Also, I feel it is very important to stretch. Especially with the pains that you describe. I think that it is very normal to feel those little pains at the end of a long day, especially as we get older. However, doing some good stretching exercises everyday should help with this, it does for me. Ask your doctor for some good ones for you. You can do this!


Everystep forward is a step. Little pieces make up the big picture. 5lbs +5lbs and next thing you know it's 15lbs. :)

A Simple Twist of Faith

Walking is great place to start. Like Carmen, I LOVE to run, however I cannot run every day. I have injured myself several times and now use an elliptical. I love it, it is parked in front of my TV in the living room and the deal is when I watch TV, I ride the elliptical.


I totally agree with Carmen. Take a look at your food choices. Add in more veggies and fruits. Don't force yourself to eat salad every single day, you'll grow bored and it's too easy to slip into bad eating habits that way. Good tennies should definitely be a high priority. I made the mistake of trying to save money a few months ago (And I should have known better, but I think it's a Mom thing.) and now have plantar fasciitis. Also, variety-when you work out. Walk one way one day but not the exact same route the next day. And I know this isn't necessary for everyone, but music when you walk, run, work out. It helps life your spirit, distracts from watching a clock and an upbeat tempo helps you walk farther. *G* Best wishes!

Ouida Gabriel

I am so glad you shared this as well as the comments. What a great blessing!

Ouida Gabriel


All the above advice is fantastic.

I would also add that at around 100 lbs overweight, I have found a gentle yoga class amazingly helpful for stretching, posture and relaxation. You don't need to share all the philosophy to benefit from the postures, and it is non-competitive within the class, which isn't always the case in other exercise classes.If a class is difficult with family responsibilities, try a dvd (Amazon as always have a huge selection), or a book. There are also books (and probably dvds) available for yoga for the bigger body eg Big Yoga by Meera Patricia Kerr.

Good luck with your journey. Please let us know how you get on. I for one feel motivated in mine by your honesty and determination.

Emily C

I think she should get the kids involved! One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to teach the kids everything they need to live happy lives; nutrition and exercise included.

Start by taking short walks with them, or if you have little ones walk around the playground while they play.

I found cutting out all sweet beverages (juice included) made a big difference for me. It may be that there's a habit there she needs to work on that would lower daily caloric intake, like eating all the kid's leftovers.

You could also check out Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live, (diseaseproof.com) although that may be difficult to commit to you never really need to count calories.

Amy W

From someone who lost 60 pounds taking up running, I know starting small works! Walk, just as Carmen says, small at first. Run as you can (just as Carmen says, you come first...).

I work full time, have a myriad of other responsibilities, and only have 2 kids, but I fit running in when I can. 3 miles here, get up at 5am to get 6 miles in there, I do what I can.

I now have 2 half marathons under my belt and am training for my third half and a full marathon (eek!!). Am I fast? NO FREAKING WAY. I am not even middle of the pack, but I am out there. And you will be too!


I love all the comments so far. I, too, am working on a big weight loss. I would also love to be a runner. But for now I am walking. I love, love, love to walk. Especially when I get to go alone :) Good luck, and remember, one step at a time!


I love reading these comments!!! Carmen you have some AWESOME followers.

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About Me

  • Carmen Staicer is a whirlwind of energy and execution who rarely sleeps and loves coffee and happens to have six outstanding awesome kids. A concentration of asthma, food allergies, spectrum disorders and learning disabilities means that she has learned more than she ever thought possible and knows less than she ever could imagine. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, boxing (she has her Black Belt in Muay Thai), rowing, sleeping, exploring coffee shops, homeless ministry, photography, and cooking.