Friday, June 30, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My Weight Loss Journey: No Secrets...Q/A Time

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July 2010 Weight: 450 lbs  to  May 2017 Weight: 142 lbs

During my weight loss journey, I get some of the routine questions like a daily menu of what I eat to have I had plastic surgery. I share my menus often, but I will answer the plastic surgery up front, NO...If a someone came along and offered to pay for it free and clear, like anyone, I have a whole bunch of skin that I will be happy to say goodbye to! However, like Paul in the Bible, my thorn in the flesh isn't so much a thorn, not that I am trying to work it off, it's a reminder of where I have come and sweet goals I am striving to achieve. 

I know there are many other questions that you have. I have no secrets and have a life of experiences that should have given me plenty of excuses not to have walked this journey. My closest friends could answer for me in telling you that my ultimate reason for success has been my faith, my constant hope and my love for God. The second, would be my son, Garrett, and wanting to be the best caregiver I can be for him and now, my mother. Finally, for myself. I want to be healthy in body, mind and soul.

This is your opportunity to ask me questions and I will either answer here or follow-up with blog posts. I want what I share to be beneficial to your goals regardless what they are. So, let's go...

Hugs, Rita

Thursday, June 29, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

The Gym Experience...Accept the Challenge

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NOT the most flattering photo but then you will get the message of this post...

Repentance is usually a word that is completely associated with a faith based decision. Making the decision to turn from doing wrong to walking right in belief and trust in God and His Son. It also was true for me because I was an addict...a foodaholic. True in ever definition of the word regardless how funny it sounds. I didn't sneak it. I had my own plate. I loved chocolate chip cookies and mocha fraps. People think that because I was large, I gorged myself or was sneaky with food. I loved to eat, bake and cook. However, I see other reasons I ate and some of it was encouraged. Regardless of the reasons, I still had the choice. So the day I woke up and made the changes in my life, I began to build the confidence to gain control of areas in my life that belonged to God and nobody else. 

One of the areas that helped me build confidence was joining a gym. Was it easy to walk in the door? No, not even at weighing in at my goal weight. Was it easy to get on my first piece of equipment? No, I was afraid people were watching me or judging me. Did I think I would be laughed at if I went to a class? Yes, because I was like a puppet on a string and the puppeteer had me wound up tight and when I was in the gym, I felt released, free. 

However, all the myths of what I thought, the preconceived ideas about the gym weren't true. Surprise! Our mind has a way of telling us that we can't do something and our feelings enforce that thought, feed it to the point we won't do whatever it is that our bodies want to do or need to do. When we move the enemy out of the way and allow our body to control what our minds think and do, then we can accomplish anything. I learned this as a runner. My mind would tell me I couldn't make it the first mile, but my body knew it could. I would just move forward, thinking about the finish line and what I would do afterwards. You cannot trust your thoughts or feelings, but you can trust what you know, realizing that this thing will only last a short time and you will be done.

People at the gym go to accomplish their goals for that hour, that day and that time that lead to their bigger goals. They don't pay attention to what you are doing, wearing or even who you are. The difference that I learned is that I could watch how someone used a piece of equipment so that I could use it more effectively. I learned to go backwards on the treadmill by watching and then that person challenged me to try it. A member offered to show me how to use the elliptical the first time I was on it. The staff has been beneficial in showing me proper way to do exercises and suggesting classes to take.  The classes themselves are simply fun. I have learned that it is alright if you need to modify a pose or exercise and the class participants are focused on the instructor and following the instructions, not how you are doing in the class.

Intimidation is something that we have allowed to lead our lives and we should simply repent of the problem and change our behavior. Don't let intimidation rule our lives. Whatever you choose to do, realize that everyone had a starting point and did it for the first time as well. 

In 2015, I had a goal to join a gym, one of my best girlfriends told me of one hiring. I applied. I had no idea how much I would love the gym life and working out. It is life changing. When you workout, more oxygen goes to the brain and you can make better choices and better decisions. I feel so much better after just five-minutes. This gym girl loves her experience. 

Accept the challenge...just get started! 

Hugs, Rita

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs



This weekend, books I read, articles I glanced through, podcasts I listed to all pointed to journaling.  Each said to write down everything from your thoughts to focusing on your strengths to notes from even the book I was reading. Writing things down brings them to the front of your memory just when you need them the most. It helps with retention and even with conversation. I thought these especially were interesting because two of the greatest fears among people today is losing their memory with age and carrying on a conversation with others regardless of age.  Regardless how journaling is defined...It might be worth considering.

Journaling Ideas:
Daily Living
Question and Answers
Book Reading 
Thanksgiving (Lists)
Prayers or Praise
(Don't laugh...I have a friend that lists what she wears)
Meetings (Positives/Negatives)
Bible Reading
Last Thoughts of the Day 
(My Small Group Leader has us doing this for a year)
Daily Food Intake
Daily Exercise
Work Experience
Art Journaling
...and there are so many more...write...

Hugs, Rita

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Mirror Selfies...OMyGoodess Y'all!

2010 to 2015

I apologize now! I have only shown this before and after photograph of my mirror selfie prior to losing weight to a few people. I have shown even less the photo of my "run" photograph because I never wear that little of clothing. I am grossed out by the before photo, I will be honest. I had not seen that photo until about a couple of years ago. I was overwhelmed by the reality of my weight. I took several before photos to keep me reminded of what I was about to do, the journey ahead. Weighing 450 pounds and starting my weight loss plan was a huge thing to accomplish. I had a huge fear of failure that has a depth of testimony you can't fathom. For me to excuse you can offer can match one I could have used. I am living proof, you can succeed at anything.

People ask me for a daily menu, what I ate. They ask me for recipes to grocery lists. I am asked how I did it in various forms. I have all that written down, but I want to emphasize being active. I wasn't active when I started my journey and I hope that anyone starting this journey will do so. Walk to the mailbox if that is how you need to begin, but do it.

About August of 2012, someone said, "You need to get active." Being somewhat of an airhead, my core group of friends hate me saying that because labels of the past can keep you from reaching goals, especially this one...regardless, I never thought of getting active, so I was like, "I guess I do."
I had no idea what I wanted to do. My son, Garrett, was playing ball at the time and one of the players told me about a couch to 5k program. I had never done anything outside because I had severe Asthma, totally treated and gone with the weight I had lost, but, again, I wasn't thinking clearly. That night, I signed up for the session beginning a few weeks later. I woke the next morning and, I apologize Bro. Doug, but, I sat straight up in bed and yelled, "What the hell have I done!"
I had spent the money, so I went to the introduction class, got the outfit and fitted for shoes. I thought I was dying the first night and it was like one-eighth of a mile run or something. Seriously! Ten-weeks later, I ran the graduation race, a 5k, coming in like second for my age group or something like that. Now I'm running over thirty miles to date, road and trails, completing half and full marathons. 

Each year, I have set activity goals for myself. Here is an example, small and simple:
2012: Running 5k
2013: Running 10k 
2014: Trail Running
2015: Joining a gym (found out a local gym was hiring and so...) 
2016:  Half and Full Marathons (into 2017)
2017: Triathlon Training 
2018: Triathlon
2019:  Cycling

I look for activities that Garrett and I can do together. Keeping us both active is important to me as an individual and a mom. Weekly, we are active in Special Olympics with bowling, golf, swimming and seasonal sports. Doing things together, builds our relationship and a healthy lifestyle as a whole. There are a thousands excuses for not being active, but with Garrett's physical limitations and safety situations, we have learned ways to modify so that we can workout, run races, be active. 

Creativity sometimes make a huge difference even when it comes to schedules and time. 

Make the choice to change your lifestyle...
one step at a time. 

Hugs, Rita

Monday, June 26, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Fork Fluffy to Faith Focused

 Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs
October 2010 and Maybe 2015

Deciding to lose weight wasn't something I took lightly. I waited and prepared for over six-months. I made sure there was no medical reason I was overweight and got a second opinion. ((Rolling my eyes)) I probably got the second opinion hoping I had yet another excuse NOT to proceed with losing weight. However, there was no health reason other than the obvious...I was fork fluffy. My son, Garrett, says in a low whisper, "Momma was the "F" word, but I won't say it because it will hurt her feelings." Seriously it won't, but Garrett doesn't know any bad words nor will he call someone "fat". Garrett means "fluffy." 

Making the decision, any decision, is hard. I had to make the choice. I alone had to make the choice, I wanted to do it the healthiest way possible and really be focused on living healthy. When I have gotten to a point that I needed help, I get it...yes, even now. 

I went to a concert at my church and prior to the gentleman singing there was a question/answer time. One of the questions he was asked was if he took voice lessons. After forty-years in the business, he replied, "Of course! I even called my voice teacher before coming out here and asked her about a certain part I am singing tonight." We always need something tweaked and there is always someone more experienced who can help us. I have a personal trainer that I may not see often due to my schedule, but I see or talk to her. I weigh in every week. Someone checks my food journal. I see my family doctor for regular check-ups and get blood work.

There are things you need that will make 
the journey a bit easier:
* A blank notebook and pen. Divide the notebook into sections to record your weight and measurements, food intake, exercise journaling, gratitude list, notes. Accountability.
* Workout clothes. Shorts, leggins, shirt, socks, all moisture wick. For the girls, go to a top rated sporting goods store, preferably a running shop, get fitted for a sports bra! You want the sisters properly stabilized for workouts. For the guys, band-aids will be your best friend, pardon me, for your nipples or when you run, workout, they will chap and bleed, cover them (you will thank me later). 
* Shoes. Be fitted for great running shoes. "Oh, but I'm not going to run unless something is chasing me!" Well, let me tell y'all, regardless if I am working out, walking to yoga, running, walking or swinging my leg at coffee with friends,,,or if something is chasing me, I want happy feet! Take care of your feet and they will take care of you. Get fitted for tennis shoes at a specialty shop.
* Watches. I will be the first to tell you that I know nothing about fashion. My girlfriends and mentors furnish my closet and tell me what to wear. I don't like to shop and I don't know much about jewelry. However, I will say that having a great watch for the exercise experience may not be fashionable, but it is one thing I won't go without. I wear my running watch 24/7. It does my heart rate, sleep to my actual workouts. Accountability. 
* Calendar. Schedule time to get active from the beginning. Make sure everyone, from your family to your co-workers, know that these are the times you won't be available to them. Take your lunch hour or put the kids to bed an hour earlier. Workout as a family. My favorite gyms has a great childcare facility. I wish I had gotten active the day I started my journey. I just didn't think of it until almost two-years later ((SMH)).

One last bit of encouragement before signing off...

 Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Focus on the positive, speak truth, lift the smile,
love at all times. In Him you can do all things!

Hugs, Rita

Sunday, June 25, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Rockin' It Healthy with Weight Loss

Summer 2007 to Fall 2016

As I was looking for a photograph in my collection, I found a before and after photo of me. Most would notice the obvious, the weight loss. However, I noticed the smile. The facial difference from almost ten-years ago is tremendously different. Happiness. Joy.

Regardless what you are experiencing, going through, living, one thing I know without a shadow of doubt, I am living proof you can change your path to one plumb line with the Word. It's a choice, yours, mine. Taking what life brings isn't easy, especially when it's something out of your control, but what you do with it and how you handle it is in your control.

Living healthy, eating and exercise, is a choice too. When I began my journey in 2011, I only did one thing, I gave up sodas for thirty-days to see if I could do it. Then I took another step after that accomplishment, then another. I never said I wanted to lose fifty pounds or one-hundred; I started with five pound goals. Beginning at 450 pounds and today weighing in at 142, is an accomplishment, but what is bigger is maintaining it for the past two years.

Here are some simple tips for weight-loss newbies:

* Set small goals. For weight loss, set five pound goals rather than fifty to hundred pound losses.
* Have rewards for yourself when you hit big milestone weight losses that don't include food.
* New to exercise? Burdened by the experience? Walk to the door. Walk to the driveway. Walk to the mailbox. Then double it day or each week.
* Can't sleep at night? Go to the local all night department store, leave your wallet in the car, and walk the large open area of the store continuously. If someone says something to you, invite them to walk with you. Security will love checking the store while y'all walk.
* Journal, journal, journal every bite, lick, taste that goes in your mouith! BLT it! I preach this all the time! To this day, I take pictures I write it down. I log into two websites. Accountability.
* Take a before photo because you will wish you had!
* Pray, Praise and Prepare your mind by being in the Word. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Not a faith person, then let me show you how. This will get you through when you momma says, "One little bite won't hurt you." When your mother-in-law says, "Girl, you are looking this." Co-workers have that social with all that food you know looks better on their thighs than yours. Get your God on instead of gluttony. 

Hugs, Rita
Saturday, June 24, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Happiness to Joy begins with Love.

Downtown Hartselle, Alabama

Friendships. Family. Fellowship. I have thought a lot about these three areas of my life this past week, thankful and grateful. I have also came face to face with the road ahead in areas of fellowship, especially in my church, that I need to work harder. Everywhere we look there are people who need our friendship, your love, want you as family, crave some fellowship. It's up to you and up to me to take the time, schedule the time, make it spontaneous, do whatever we can to love. We are commanded to love. Regardless. No excuses. Happiness to Joy begins with Love. 

Hugs, Rita
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