Friday, October 30, 2009

When reality sets in

To start this post: let me just say that the sponsors of Mamavation, Earth Footwear and EA SPORTS Active, are amazing. Thank you for your role in making a difference in the lives of moms everywhere. To have the privilege of representing this mission is incredible.

Also, sending out props to the support of the team behind Mamavation:
Leah Segedie, Chief Mom of Bookieboo
Dr. Lorretta Shughrue, Mamavation Therapist
Mary Ellen Renna, M.D., Mamavation Lead Nutritional Coach
Tracey Mallett, Mamavation Lead Exercise Coach

And, thank you to Smooth Fitness for believing in the Mamavation program enough to support us with a Treadmill donation. Amazing! I can't wait to get started. One of my goals is to run a 5k in Spring. (How perfect is this combination)

When it was announced a week ago that I was going to be one of the next Mamavation Moms in this campaign, my slate was wiped clean. New beginnings. New chances for new choices. I made a vow to a few other mamavation moms that I would never play the victim, and neither would they. So often when you've been faced with tough times and tough challenges, it becomes easy to play "that card." You have my solemn promise that we will go through this journey with our faces to the sunshine, with a positive attitude and an incredible perseverance. This you can count on.

Well, week one is almost in the books. I've honestly spent more time focused on myself this week than I have in months. Crazy how, when forced to recommit that time, we can suddenly find it for ourselves.

It's been a whirlwind of a week. From getting used to exercising again daily to a near complete paradigm shift in thinking of the way I eat - my mind and body are aching. The workouts have been challenging. The meal plan has left me, at times, missing my daily dose of chocolate. But, I am constantly reminded of the fact that I am only cheating myself and all the other moms that want to change their lives - should I fall back on the "same old, same old."

There has been such a tremendous outpouring of support from my local and new online community. It carries with it an incredible sense of responsibility to successfully fulfill the obligations of the program. One person, whom I know was a consistent voter, expressed to me that I held the ability to demonstrate to other moms out there that it "can be done."

I wear my pedometer now almost as if it were a pager. I check it many times a day to gauge my goal. I haven't met the 10,000 step goal as of this posting. I will conquer this feat. It would be easy for me to lie to you all and say that I've done it, or claim a faulty pedometer - but that wouldn't be quite accurate. Sitting behind a desk all day, I just plain haven't met the goal. I have high expectations for my weekend.

I am proud to say I am typing tonight with a brand spanking new (untied) pair of "Ambition" Earth Footwear on my feet. When I walked back in the door about an hour ago, the delivery box was sitting patiently waiting for me. I had to experience the "superpower" of the negative heel technology, so much so in fact, that I haven't even accurately laced them up yet. AND, the other awesome news is that the "career" pair is so awesome looking that it will blend in nicely with any outfit I need to wear to the office. This company has it figured out. Comfort. Style. And amazing effects that will help me help myself.

As cheesy as this sounds...I am so excited to be with you here and I look forward to reconnecting with you again soon. Stay with me, our journey will be rewarding.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tuition: the price you pay for knowledge

I am honored to be selected as one of the Mamavation Moms.

First let me thank the outstanding #Mamavation sponsors: Earth Footwear and EA Sports Active. To be able to place my name alongside yours for this journey is truly an honor. Thank you for the privilege. I promise I will not let you down and I will make your mission, my mission.

Also, the support of the team behind Mamavation:
Leah Segedie, Chief Mom of Bookieboo
Dr. Loretta Shughrue, Mamavation Therapist
Mary Ellen Renna, M.D., Mamavation Lead Nutritional Coach
Tracey Mallett, Mamavation Lead Exercise Coach

Also, the Mamavation finalists and those that were brave enough to submit an application to begin with. The journey is just beginning, not ending. Please stay with us. Together, we are a team. We are linked by a common thread. We are moms. We share the greatest power in the universe, and we also share some of the same struggles and challenges known to mankind. There is a reason why we are all in this same boat together. Grab an oar, it's time we get to shore - I've heard there is a crazy party on the beach somewhere!

To the people that brought me here: Thank you for your vote of confidence in me. Maybe you all saw what took me so long to see? That I needed to take a little more time for myself? Regardless of how long it took me to get here, we made it together and here we are. You have my vow that I will make age 30 the best year of my life and I am so glad you are apart of it! Bring your sense of humor, I have a feeling we are going to need it.

Back to the title of this post. What's that all about, right? Knowledge is power. We've all heard that saying. Why? Because it's true.

My Grandpa Clyde always said that tuition is the price you pay for knowledge. Tuition can be anything that leads you to the greater learning experience. It becomes an analogy for the action of discovery. So, in my mamavation scenario this is how I see it unfolding:

The knowledge or discovery I am seeking is positive state of mind and personal health. The action or the price I am willing to pay is this journey through the Mamavation campaign. What better school of education than the resources found in Leah Segedie's program. I cannot think of a better place to pay tuition in my quest for knowledge.

This is an unbelievable opportunity I have been given. And one that I will not take lightly.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On Angel’s Wings

On my drive to work this morning I was thinking about why being the next #Mamavation Mom is going to make a difference in the lives of my children. Of course, the standard thoughts came first. A healthy mom can be more active with her kids, right? It became clear that the old saying, “when you have your health, you have everything” is true. I am three weeks into this new year of age 30 and I am feeling stronger than I have in months.

My mind began wandering to a time much different in my life – back when I hit a turning point. It was February 2005. My 14-year-old sister, Ashley, was fading fast from a serious heart condition she had been plagued with since birth. That girl was wise beyond her years and had come to be my sounding board and reality check when I started to take things for granted. She had this way of never quitting, never giving up, never complaining. If I could be one-fraction of one-percent more like that child – I would be a much better person.

It was Valentine’s Day weekend and I had just found out I was pregnant with baby #2. I was at my dad and (step-mom) Ava’s home for Ashley’s baptism, and I remember crawling on the edge of Ashley’s bed as we waited for others to arrive for her special day. As she lay still, trying not to exert too much energy, I saw a flash of what had to have been pain sweep through her eyes. Trying to change the subject – I asked her what she wanted this baby to be, “a boy or a girl.” She flashed me a smile, and said, “Alyssa, I only want a girl this time.”

My little sister died one week later on February 20, 2005, a few minutes after midnight. My daughter, Kennedy was born in September of 2005. If fate had anything to do with it, I know that is why she is a girl. Shortly after her birth, I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. There came a point during these days, I thought my parents may have a small meltdown. However, as a family we made it through.

In reflection…

After witnessing my parents go through losing a child, it became so very real to me that there is no greater love on this earth than the love we have for our children. My three children are my legacy.

My daughter Kennedy and I have a very special bond. I know at times Ashley lives in her. Kennedy helped me get through a very tough time in my life. It was the passing of my sister that created a change in me. I began to give more of my time and talent to serving others. I realized that life is too short to not make the most of every second of every day. That was the lesson I learned from a 14-year-old girl.

I was reminded of that powerful lesson this morning. Now, it’s my time. I am ready to become the next Mamavation Mom. Let’s do this…together.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making the Top Five

I knew today would be...could be a life changing day. I woke up with a sense of anticipation about 3:00 this morning and instantly I grabbed my BlackBerry, parked right near my pillow. I flipped open the case to find 24 Twitter messages waiting for me. 24! I started scrolling down, only to have the trackball get stuck. (Not now, I thought).

OH YES! I have made the finals of the #Mamavation campaign!

However, this is where the hard work begins. There is no turning back now. I am honored and humbled to be a part of the final five Mamavation moms. These moms are the best-in-class in the country. I am thrilled to be a part of this challenge and hope the votes allow me to move forward in my journey.

You can support me by casting your vote now through October 22nd at http://www.mamavation.com/

The best is yet to come.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And look at her now...



This is what Leah Segedie looks like now! This picture was taken by @secretagentmama at Type A a couple of weeks ago. Look at how amazing she looks now after all that hard #mamavation work!

More About Leah:
Leah Segedie
Chief Mom of Operations
Bookieboo Fitness Hangout for Moms
Mamavation
Bookieboo Rave Reviews & Giveaways
Serenity Now
Moms Rock the Economy

Meet Leah, My Mamavation Inspiration!



My name is Leah Segedie, Creator of Bookieboo & Mamavation and this is my story.
Years ago I was a mess. My BMI was 40.8, which is obese to say the least. I hid from people. I hid from the outside world. I hid from life. My father was dying of cancer, I had a newborn baby, and I ate myself into oblivion. That was how I dealt with stress.

It wasn’t until my father died that I finally woke up to what I was doing to myself. I didn’t want to be ashamed anymore about who I was. I didn’t want my children to learn my bad habits. I didn’t want to be the fat mom that couldn’t keep up with her kids. I didn’t want to be overweight anymore. I had been overweight my entire life, but obese after giving birth. I had NEVER been successful losing weight in the past and fitness people annoyed the you-know-what out of me. They always seemed so chipper and perfect and that was NOT me.

The one thing my father taught me was to solve problems instead of thinking too much. I said to myself, “get up off your butt and STOP victimizing yourself!” and that is what I did. I got up and started walking with the baby every day. I cut out the soda, even though all I drank was Diet Coke. And that was my beginning. Small steps. Those small steps turned into bigger ones and slowly the weight came off.
Over the period of almost four years, I have lost over 160 lbs. Wow, can I say that again? I’ve lost over 160 lbs! Sometimes that number is unbelievable even to me. After my first child, I lost 104 lbs. and then had to do it all over again with my second having lost over 60 lbs. But I NEVER concentrated on the big numbers and that is why I think I was so successful.

How did I do this? Well, you aren’t going to like my response, but it’s the truth. I changed my lifestyle. I went from sitting on my bum everyday to being more active. I went from eating processed junk everyday to a cleaner diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. I changed my outlook on food and on life. My soul is different.
I’m still not perfect. (And thank God!...perfection is BORING!) I’m misunderstood at times, but I’ve been given the opportunity now to support and inspire other moms to change their lives. When they say do what you love to do and it will never feel like work, they are right. I’m the creator of the Mamavation campaign. And Mamavation is my way of helping other moms take back their life like I did.

What is Mamavation? Mamavation is a social media weight loss experiment. We set two moms up with a professional fitness team and support them as they lose weight and bring home healthy habits to their family. The team is comprised of a celebrity fitness coach, Tracey Mallett, a real doctor to oversee the diet, Dr. Mary Ellen Renna, a lifestyle coach, Tonya Leigh Williams, and an entire cheerleading squad for encouragement. The campaign plays out on several social media platforms: Bookieboo, Twitter, Mamavation and MomTV. The moms are put through the ringer during the process. Not only are they put through an intense fitness/diet program, but they become the faces of the campaign in the blogosphere. They post, tweet, and vlog about their experiences to inspire others to make the same changes. Because that is what this program is about—supporting one another.

Mamavation also has a great sponsor, Earth Footwear. Earth Footwear sends the Mamavation Moms two pairs of shoes so they can burn more calories with every step. The moms also receive additional swag based on their weight loss goals and compliance with the program. Nice perk for hard work and dedication.

If you would like to learn more about Mamavation, check out the site. You can support the program by attending the Mamavation twitter party launch on October 22nd from 5-8pm PST/8-11pm EST and tweeting support to the Mamavation family by using #mamavation. I’d also encourage you to stop by the site and vote for your favorite mom between October 15th and 22nd. The Mamavation Mom positions are based on democracy and that means YOU. They need YOUR vote! The next two Mamavation Moms will be announced during the launch party and you can congratulate them as soon as they hear. Make sure to RSVP for the party and enter the giveaway.

There are also additional ways you can get involved. You can join the Mamavation family! There are numerous women who are trying to change their lives OR already live a healthy lifestyle and want to inspire others to do so. Anyone who is supportive of healthy families is encouraged to join us daily on twitter by encouraging one another, joining us on Bookieboo, and on MomTV on Monday nights at 7pm PST/10pm EST.
Every child deserves a healthy environment and role model. You can help me inspire moms over the internet and change lives forever! I would love to see you there!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Katie Rocks!




This is my gal, Katie. She is my number one supporter!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Mamavation Video Application

Alyssa: September 2009



This photo was taken upon my return to the office, after Chiari Malformation decompression surgery. (September 2009).

Alyssa: September 2008


This is me, right before I found out I was pregnant with baby #3 (September 2008).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The story behind the story

Let’s take a glance at the last fiscal year (09/2008-9/2009) in the life of Alyssa Becthold.
(Since my birthday is in September, I’m using that as the beginning of the year, for this blog's purpose.) As I reflect on the year that was age 29, I would almost feel sorry for this person, had she not been myself. However, life never slowed down long enough for me to get too worked up (or give up) over the course of recent events. I just literally learned to roll with it.

It all started as I found myself expecting my third (whoops!) child, in a high-risk scenario. As a sufferer of a brain condition called Chiari Malformation, my doctors had told me that Baby #3 would have to be delivered without conventional pain medincines, like an epidural. That in and of itself would be enough to scare the socks off any mother that has previously delivered children with an epidural!

Throw in about six hospitalizations and extra doctor visits for treatments for crazy pregnancy issues, a demanding career as a PR professional in an advertising agency setting, major home construction/renovation, two other children under the age of 5, active volunteering for 13 charity events/non-profit organizations, a husband in law enforcement, starting up a new family business on the side, and an exasperated brain condition…it became almost comedic.

So, it should come at no surprise that my son was nearly born in the car in March 2009. (Note that I made it inside the hospital, but not even a Tylenol to dull the edge.) Why? Because that is my infamous luck! He was healthy and I survived, so home we went!

Shortly after his birth, my brain condition worsened and I was faced with surgery to fix the problem. Two weeks before surgery (July 4, 2009) my porch swing collapsed to the surface, fracturing my foot beneath. Hobbling about, I underwent Chiari Malformation decompression surgery on July 28, 2009.

I underwent a six-week medical leave, got my bearings ahead of me, registered the older children for school and away back to work I came (sporting a new, glamorous haircut) in September 2009. At the end of it all, I celebrated my coveted 30th birthday! A milestone that seemed to dwarf in comparison to the rest.

The story beneath the story, I am about 25 pounds heavier than I need to be.

I’ve decided that after a really tough year, I’m ready to make age 30 more about first chances…and second chances to do it right the first time.

More about my pursuit of health and overall positive well being.

More about a clear mind with a focused spirit.

More about ME, finally.

Insert October 2009. That’s where #Mamavation comes in.

A co-worker led me to the Mamavation.com website and the new weight loss/social media challenge. Since I desire to lose weight (and be motivated doing it) and I live and breathe PR and social media, the stars aligned and I am fully engaged and ready to participate!

Here’s a bit about #Mamavation from @bookieboo’s Mamavation website:
Mamavation is a social experiment and weight loss campaign on twitter. Mamavation, like motivation, is an opportunity for moms to change their lives together. In hope that they will create a healthy lifestyle for their families.

Although the program is about support, there are two moms, Mamavation Moms that are put through the ringer. They are given a professional fitness plan and diet plan created by a doctor. They are also given access to coaching and lifestyle direction support. The Mamavation Moms are supported across Bookieboo and Twitter by a Cheerleading Squad comprised of moms, and get perks, such as Earth Footwear, Tracey Mallett DVDs, Tae Bo DVDs, and various other products.

The Mamavation Moms will also be expected to adopt a "fit" friend. This person has to be a fit individual who is also a mom. Someone who can check in with them daily to see how they are doing and keep them motivated. (If you would like to be considered as a fit friend, contact @bookieboo.)

The campaign will unfold on Bookieboo where the Mamavation moms will keep a daily food/exercise journal. They will appear on MomTV every Monday at 7pm PST/10pm EST. They will also be part of the Mamavation group on Bookieboo, where they will encourage the entire membership. The Mamavation moms will also be expected to post about their Mamavation experience on their own blogs every week. They also available on twitter to talk about their experiences and inspire everyone they contact. And they will vlog, oh yes, they will vlog. The Mamavation Moms will do 2 vlogs every week chronicling their journey losing weight. You can see those vlogs on MomTV.

How will the moms be chosen? Good question. The Mamavation Moms will come from Twitter. Applications are being accepted October 1st thru 14th. Then 4 moms will be chosen, along with a "follow-along" mom, a total of 5 moms. Voting will commence from Oct. 15-22nd. Each of the five moms will have to ignite their own campaigns to get votes. The Mamavation Mom will be announced on October 22nd with a kick-ass twitter party, #mamavation. We hope you will support us by stopping back soon and posting our twitter party banner on your site. The Mamavation campaign will end on December 9th.

During the campaign, we would love to have your support. Tweet the Mamavation Moms with encouragement. Let them know you support them as they go through this process. It's going to be the beginning of a new life for them, so they will need all the love and support they can get. You can also come join us on MomTV every Monday.