Mona Collins

Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

{Motivation Monday} You Are What You Eat

In Health Thoughts, Weight Loss on July 29, 2013 at 9:22 PM


So, I’ve been thinking…that I need to do a better job with the food choices that I make. Part of me eats for comfort (popcorn, cupcakes, hot dogs). Another part eats as busy work (salsa, cheese dip, apple slices). And, of course I eat to survive. But, the quote above is true...your body reflects what you eat and don’t eat. In my quest to eat better, today I participated in Meatless Monday. No meat…but lots of dairy.

“Am I giving up one food group to heavy-up on another?”

Carbs Are Not My Friend

In Weight Loss on June 2, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Truffle Butter Popcorn from Bar Louie's.

Truffle Butter Popcorn from Bar Louie’s.

Hi. My name is Mona, and I’m a carb-aholic. I love carbohydrates. I crave them. Popcorn, bread, cakes, cookies, and sugars are my vice. I see them. I smell them and I want to eat them all day, everyday. Some of my other favorite carbohydrates include bagels, potatoes (including french fries), pizza and candy.

I recently realized my love for carbs is more like an addiction. There, I said it. And, as with any recovery program, I’ve accomplished step ONE – admitting that I cannot control my carb intake. I admit it. I also recognize the need for change. Bad carbs do not do the body good. In my mission to lose pounds, I must find a way to overcome my love for carbs.

This leads me to Step TWO – recognizing a higher power that can give strength. I believe that God provide me the strength and courage to overcome by craving. This step reminds me one of my favorite bible verses, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13. He will give me strength to make the right decisions and the motivation to do what needs to be done to lose weight.

I pledge to do the following to live a better life:

  • Eat clean. This includes low carbs, more vegetables and less fried foods.
  • Drink clean. This includes reducing my sugary drink intake and increasing my water intake.
  • Move more. Exercise equals Zumba, walking, running (when I can), Tae-Bo (remember that?), Pilates and more.
  • Observe more. I must really take a look at what I eat each day. Living a healthy life begins within.

I have friends who are holding me accountable. It takes a village!

What are you doing to be a healthier you?

Boot Camp, Week Three

In fitness, Weight Loss on July 18, 2011 at 9:35 PM

Week Three is over. This week we stepped up our fitness and incorporated weights. I also learned what “burnout” really means as it applies to an exercise. It’s not fun, but highly effective. What is it? Well, try this: do an individual exercise move once (a jumping jack); then repeat the move a second time by doing it twice. On the third count, do the move three times; and it continues on until 10. We did three cycles of burnouts. I did the math…165 cobra pushups — 3 burnouts, 55 pushups each cycle. I had no idea I was capable of doing 165 of ANYTHING!

The cobra pushup


I must admit that the cobra pushups are one of my favorite exercises. The coffin sit-up counts as a least favorite. However, Instructor Bashay seems to be in love with them. We do coffin sit-ups almost everyday. What are coffin sit-ups? Don’t ask! Another thing that happened this week — RAIN!! The rain dancing in my office and cursing the ever-looming clouds seemed to pay off just in time to cancel class that day! Make up session was Saturday morning at 6 a.m. When Bashay asked if I planned to attend the Saturday session, my honest answer was, “it depends on how much fun I have Friday night. In other words, see you on Monday!”

In other news, my “dependable” and “skinny girl” jeans are now baggy! But, I’m afraid to buy new a new pair. I don’t know why. One day soon I will break down and go shopping (for new jeans).

Talk to you next week. Two more weeks left. Sad face 😦


Boot Camp, Week Two

In fitness, Weight Loss on July 12, 2011 at 6:20 PM

I chose to eat a lot over the 4th of July holiday weekend. I feasted on fried chicken, barbecue ribs, potato chips, birthday cake, gummi bears, potato salad and Red Bull. Everything tasted great! Thanks to my family in Kansas City who prepared the meals and the drinks. HOWEVER, I had to answer to “fitness” when I returned to Boot Camp on Wednesday. The heat was blazing and “fitness” was not my friend.

In the name of “fitness” the boot camp class ran, jumped, squatted and crunched our way to agony. When was the last time you jumped rope for 2 minutes without stopping? Yea, me either; but I tried. I still believe that having shorter limbs is a disadvantage when it comes to some things; jumping rope is one of them.

Despite the hot weather and the new exercises, we endured the challenge and survived another week. To my surprise, I didn’t gain any weight over the holiday! I didn’t lose any either, but I’ll take it. As Instructor Bashay says everyday, “It’s all about FITNESS!”

I have to go. Boot camp starts in 10 minutes. I’ve got to get my mind right! It’s over 100 degrees right now.


Boot Camp, Week One

In Weight Loss on July 2, 2011 at 5:42 PM

I’m at it again. I purchased a Boot Camp session through Groupon and class started Monday. Running, Crunches and Lunges…oh my! The good news is that half of the class members in this session are my friends. We made a commitment to help each other during our fitness journey. Okay…now to the good part, I mean bad part.

Working out is hard work. It’s been a while since I trained hardcore like this. Running a mile each day. Hundreds of sit-ups. Four different types of plank positions. Mountain climbers. Wall sits – hate these. As I grimace in anguish, I understand that doing this will lead to a healthier…ME!

So, here are the TOP 3 Things I’ve learned in Boot Camp THIS WEEK:

1. Running is fundamental, or should I say MOSTLY mental. We start each boot camp class by running a mile (or at least a long distance). I run, mostly walk, the route each day. I’m learning to run and I can tell that I’m out of practice. I used to do Couch to 5K three days a week. Those days are over. I’m struggling to get my mind right and put my best effort forth with running. Maybe it’s the weather. Running in 95 degrees is no joke!

2. Having the right kind of exercise mat is KEY. Can you say sore knees? I chose cheaply and purchased a thinner mat at Target. Needless to say, over the weekend I plan to invest more for a thicker mat. A bought lesson is the best lesson. My knees will thank me!

3. I used to LOVE my legs…until I had to HOLD THEM UP [during an exercise]. Legs are made to walk on and stand on. Legs were meant to hold us upright…not in Boot Camp. One exercise we tried [or did] this week involved laying on your back and holding your legs up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Simple. NOT! I grunted in agony as Instructor Bashay ever so politely said [repeatedly], “You’re just holding up your legs. That’s all.” If you don’t believe me, try it. Lay down and hold up your legs for 3 minutes.


My view at Boot Camp while doing my 100 sit-ups each day, also known as the Eastern side of the Clinton Museum

Through it all, I endured the challenges and lost a few pounds and inches. Getting in shape is mostly mental. Changing your thoughts can go a long way. I will continue to show up for boot camp with a made-up mind AND a bottle of cold water.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Continuing Education

In Weight Loss on June 23, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Every now and then, we must step away from the office…and learn something!

“When was the last time you..took the time…to learn?”

Continuing Education - Learn Something New

Dancing Shoes and Tennis Rackets

In Victories, Weight Loss on January 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Ok, let me first extend a sincere apology for my extended absence from this blog. It’s been longer than normal since my last post.  So, without further delay; here’s the update…

Couch to 5K Running:

My running program is on hold at the moment. The cold temperatures and a new morning schedule have put a damper on the running. I miss it dearly and look forward to picking it up again soon.

In the meantime, I’ve taken up a few new exercise options. And, for the record…I love them!!

women's jazz dance shoes

My dance shoes look exactly like this!


1. Dancing, a la Dancing with the Stars-styleI purchased four dancing lessons from Arthur Murray Dance Studio via Groupon (if you aren’t on Groupon, get there now!). My teacher, Ray, is very nice and understanding. My hope was to learn new dance moves and build up my confidence. Here’s the deal: dancing is way more intimate than I ever remembered. In three lessons, I’ve learned to Salsa, Rumba, Waltz and Tango. I really like it. I mean, I REALLY like it. I am learning to trust and to “let the man lead.” The group dance lesson was the most interesting. Dancing with three strange men [only met them at the beginning of class] was quite a challenge. I am eager to finish my last lesson this week. The next big decision is whether to CONTINUE ON.


women's tennis racket

I love my pink racket! It looks similar to this one.

2. TennisOkay, I must admit that in a former life [or maybe future life] I AM Serena Williams. In an attempt to make my “other lives” come true, I purchased tennis lessons from the Burns Park Tennis Center via Groupon (love them!). My class started this past Saturday. With my pink racket in hand and matching pink tennis balls in a bag, I arrived on time ready to go! So I thought. After the first five minutes, I realized that my name is Ramona and I’m NOT Serena. After learning how to hold the tennis racket correctly, I was ready to actually hit the ball. Yes, I’m in the Beginners Class. The first trick I learned was to say the number ONE out loud as you aim the racket to hit the ball. It works. Try it  next time. When I didn’t say “one” I was less likely to make contact with the ball. Derrick, the Tennis Instructor, explained it as hand-eye coordination. The class lasted an hour, and by the end I was hitting the ball over the net with a full swing-through and better aim (goal: keep the ball in the right court).


Find great deals with

As you can see, Groupon has made a positive impact on my life. In addition to the purchases mentioned above, I recently bought four Boot Camp Fitness classes at D1 Fitness in Little Rock. Each day I open my Groupon email with utter anticipation of the great deals that await. Each Groupon purchase is discounted by at least 50%.

As I close, I would like to say that I’ve conquered my weight loss plateau. In the last month I’ve lost EIGHT POUNDS. And, since I’ve started the blog I’m down 10 pounds. Eating more fruit and portion control is helping. Thanks to Weight Watchers Points Plus program.

“What fun fitness ideas have you tried to stay active? Share your thoughts below.”


I will post more often. I promise!

Update: Keep on Moving

In Victories, Weight Loss on November 21, 2010 at 10:53 PM

It’s been about 8 weeks since I started the Couch to 5K Running program. I am taking my time and progressing to new levels at my own pace. I am writing to report that I have not only advanced to level 3, but I’ve mastered that level and moved on the Week 4. This level is definitely a challenge. It requires you to run for 5 minutes straight twice during the daily program!


a pair of running shoes

One step at a time.


I found one of the tricks to success. I choose to think of running as a mind game. If you think you can do it, you are probably right. I had successfully talked myself out of moving to Week 3; but once I changed my thoughts I was able to move on. With Week 4, I am constantly telling myself I can go another minute. I am not a natural runner. Running for me is a chore. However, I continue to wake up every other morning and hit the pavement. It’s becoming automatic. I’m afraid that if I slack off for too long I will be gone from the program forever. The goal is to keep moving.

In the process, I have found great friends who encourage me on Facebook and Twitter. Their words mean a lot…more than they will ever know. It is comforting to know that all my hard work and dedication is not in vain. I’ve even inspired a few people to get moving as well!

My next challenge is to find a good iPhone app that tracks your run. I’ve tried MapMyRun and RunKeeper, but they are not working so well. Pass along any suggestions you may have.

What are you waiting for? Get up. Get out. Get moving.

So You Think You Can Run?

In Weight Loss on October 25, 2010 at 6:18 PM

In a previous post, I mentioned the Couch 2 5K Running program as a resource for online… Since that time, I’ve been actively using the program and enjoying the time I’ve spent running. In the month that I’ve been ‘running’ there have been struggles [getting up early] and challenges [the Koehler Hill is no joke!] and setbacks [rain and pains]. Each week of the program takes you to a different level. However,  I’ve chosen to remain at Week 2 for three weeks. After this week, I plan to move on. My Sister-in-Law told me that Week 3 is the first big hurdle to overcome [in the program]. Yea, I’m not ready yet.

clip art of running shoes

Happy #TweetFeet with the C25K Program!

I’m positive that my hesitation in moving on to Week 3 is more mental than physical. The mind is a powerful thing. I’ve talked myself INTO staying at Week 2 while simultaneously talking myself OUT of the Week 3 challenge. Bethenny Frankel talks about food noise, but I believe I’ve experienced “exercise noise.” Henry Ford said it best:

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. “

That statement is so true it hurts sometimes. Over the past few years  I’ve become keenly aware of the words that people say [including myself]. People so easily “talk” situations and things into existence. I’m not speaking on a spiritual level per se, but rather a level about what you believe to be true. Another appropriate quote comes to mind:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Our thoughts are part of the foundation of our existence. What you think you can do…or can’t do…is reality.

Want to change your life, your situation, your future? Change your thoughts!

As I close, I will continue with the running program and will  [as promised] provide periodic updates. What’s on your mind? How do you handle the “noise” in your life?

One Fourth of What You Eat Keeps You Alive

In Aha Moment, Weight Loss on October 10, 2010 at 8:10 PM

“1/4 of what you eat keeps you alive; ¾ of what you eat keeps the DOCTOR alive.”

Think about it. This is such a true statement. What are we really eating and how is it affecting our bodies? I attended a Maximized Living Makeover Workshop presented by Dr. Traci Bishop of the Natural State Health Center.

Maximized Living logo

I entered this workshop with doubt and skepticism regarding the Maximized Living program. I’m still working my way through the “Cruise Ship or Nursing Home” book, and my thoughts waiver often (just being honest). I am struggling with losing weight, and it’s hard when there are so many items of information tossed your way each day – low fat, no carbs, fat flush, maximized living, weight watchers, etc. So, YES, negative thoughts were swirling in my mind as the workshop started.

However, after learning some shocking statistics, I started to realize the horrible truth of the above quote. We are what we eat? Literally. A few facts that shocked me into reality:

**75% of the world’s prescription drugs are consumed in the United States

**You can go 1 month without food. You can go days without water. You can go minutes with air. You CANNOT go ONE SECOND without nerve supply!

**Canola Oil is not vegetable oil. It stands for “Canadian Oil, Low Acid.” Who knew?!

The five essentials of Maximized Living

The discussion focused on the 5 Essential areas of maximized Living:

  1. Maximized Mind – You have to get your mind right, and eliminate the noise (stinking thinking) that
  2. Maximized Nervous Supply – The nervous system is the essence of how well your body is functioning and healing. It’s the missing link in healthcare today.
  3. Maximized Nutrition – Nutrition is an integral part of health, wellbeing, and longevity.
  4. Maximized Oxygen and Lean Muscle – Motion is life. Maximized Living has developed a cutting edge exercise program that literally takes only minutes a day!
  5. Minimized Toxins – Your body must detoxify. It must be purified to function properly

I learned about the importance of healing your body from the inside by removing toxins, avoiding bad food (processed food, high fructose corn syrup, sugars), eating good foods (vegetables, grass-fed meat, raw nuts, etc), and more focused exercise.

The first step is to have an action plan. Write down a goal as if it was already achieved. My goal:

As of December 31, 2010, I have achieved my goal of being 20 pounds lighter.

I will achieve this goal by believing in myself, eating the right foods and moving more. What are you health goals for the next 10 weeks? Who and what do you want to be by the December 31?

Wordless Wednesday: Motivation

In Weight Loss on October 6, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Motivated to Move and Lose.

My weekly Weight Watchers meeting is a time for me to connect with like-minded individuals. At the last meeting I won the prize – a fancy pedometer. I’m ready to track my points and steps. I will keep you posted!

5 Online Tools for Foodies on a Mission

In Weight Loss on September 26, 2010 at 11:46 PM

Social networks are taking over the world! I confess, social networking pays my bills; but social networks are also a great tool to connect with others and learn new information. As the world continues to migrate online, I started to think about what online tools are available for Foodies, like me, who are struggling to drop pounds while still satisfying the palette. This thought lead to this list:

Five Online Tools for Foodies on a Mission (eating to lose)

The tools below I have used (or plan to use) in my quest to lose weight and eat healthy.

Find healthy recipes at – I’m on the weight watchers program and occasionally venture to the website for tips and information. The most valuable thing [to me] is the email newsletter. It is sent weekly (sometimes more) and always offers great information and links to recipes online.

Dottie’s Weight Loss Zone – This nifty website is a great tool to access how many calories and Weight Watcher points are in the foods/meals/entrees at popular restaurants and food chains. For instance: Chik-Fil-A Nuggets (6 oz) have 400 calories, 17 fat grams, and 1 gram of Fiber which equals 9 Weight Watcher points! A word of caution: not all menu items are listed and not all restaurants are listed. However, it’s still a great tool and very eye-opening.

Couch 2 5K, the 9-week running programCouch to 5K – I heard about this iPhone app almost a year ago. I downloaded it earlier this year. It has taken me over 7 months to get the motivation to try it out…soon. I have heard mixed reviews; and frankly, I’ve talked myself out of using the app several times. It is my goal [I’m putting it in writing and online for the world to see] that I will give the C25K iPhone app a try this week. I will blog my thoughts later.

Whole Foods RecipesWhole Foods Recipes – When I lived in NYC, I shopped at Whole Foods at least once a week, sometimes more. I really loved that grocery store. Since being in Arkansas, I’ve taken to using the website for information more than shopping at the Little Rock store location. The website and iPhone app have great recipes that promote healthy eating and offer a variety of dietary options – dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, etc.

Recipes by Bethenny – This site has great recipes that are low fat and tasty. Bethenny is a natural food chef to the [Hollywood] stars. Try the Low Fat Mock-A-Mole recipe. You won’t be disappointed.

Losing weight is all about decisions. Decisions are based on research and education. Online tools are making it easier to have healthy options at your finger tips (literally).

What are your favorite online resources for living a healthier lifestyle? Share your thoughts below.

One Pound Lost

In Victories, Weight Loss on September 19, 2010 at 6:43 PM

One pound lost is the same pound gain…such is my life the past six weeks on Weight Watchers. Yes, this is frustrating…more than you can imagine. It’s difficult to know that you worked to lose weight only to see an increase. And, I know I should celebrate the non-scale victories, such as:

  • Making it to the meeting on Saturday morning
  • Choosing healthy options while fantasizing about the “good stuff”
  • Educating myself on how to thread healthy living into everyday life

However, we are culture who tends to put more emphasis on the negative things in life. This is evident in my disappointment and frustration over this ONE POUND. You will be happy to know that I’m moving on to a new week. I will take it one day at a time and one page at a time.

Cruise Ship or Nursing Home bookAfter my visit with the chiropractor, I left with new reading material. I am now reading a small book titled Cruise Ship or Nursing Home? The Road to a Maximized Life. In the book you will learn to:

* Remove the toxins that prevent your from losing weight.
* Attack the hidden causes of disease before it’s too late.
* Gain 10x’s more energy and zest.
* Get in the best shape of your life in only 12 minutes / wk.
* Overcome diseases of the new millennium.
* Take action against the Toxic Top 5 that are making the inside of your house much more polluted than outside the house.

Sun Princess Cruise Ship on the horizon

Sun Princess Cruise Ship

nursing home

Nursing Home

As I read the book, I will share my thoughts here. So, which will you choose…cruise ship or nursing home? Share your thoughts below.

Let Me Eat Cake…Lemon Cake!

In Health Thoughts, Weight Loss on September 8, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Okay, this is getting a bit out of hand. I’ve realized that cake is consuming my life. You see, it’s my favorite dessert…and it makes me feel good. To be more specific LEMON CAKE loves me and I love it back. This leads me to my question for today:

Is it bad that someone has their cake and eats it too, literally?

lemon cake

Hmm. Hmm. Good. (photo courtesy of

My first thought is that yes, hell yes, you can have your cake and it it too. Cake is my favorite [in my best Will Ferrell in Elf, The Movie voice]! But, herein lies the problem…eating the whole cake is a problem. A slice of cake can be comforting and a nice complement to a fantastic dinner. However, overindulgence is the enemy.Think gluttony.

In the spirit of weight loss, I would like to mention moderation. This co-signature on moderation is more for me than for you, my readers. I have to constantly remind myself that just because it’s on your plate doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. Now, if I could train myself, as Bethenny Frankel suggests, to taste everything and eat nothing.

Her book, Naturally Thin, talks about the “taste everything, eat nothing” as her mantra. It’s basically the idea that a few bites of a lot of decadent things is the best way to eat rich, delicious food without feeling deprived.

I have this book and am reading it sparingly. However, I kind of understand her logic. It’s not based on depriving your body but satisfying it with small tastes of all the great food before you. As you can see I’m totally Team Bethenny [take that Jill Zarin]. I have all three of her books and the workout DVD. I can see how her yoga regimen keeps the body in shape.

There you have it…How often do you have your cake and eat it too? What is your must-have food? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

French Fries Are My Friend…and That’s a Problem

In Aha Moment, Weight Loss on August 29, 2010 at 4:05 AM
gourmet french fries

Hello French Fries, my friend and confidante

Yes, I’m addicted to fries. There. I said it. But, what does it mean? NO, I’m not in a 12-step program…officially. Essentially, I had an Aha Moment (a la “O” Magazine) last night. There was a moment where the skies opened, the thunder rolled [in my mind], and I realized that food had become my addiction. I use the word addiction to convey the seriousness of the situation. It may be a bit harsh, but addiction seems like the right word.

Prior to last night I was in denial about my relationship with food. I knew I weighed MORE THAN the average, but didn’t dwell on the fact that my size was not normal. However, after buying clothes in a bigger size last month and the humiliating fact that my newest (and favorite) pair of shoes were now hurting every toe I own; I really started to evaluate things.

And…yes, I’m an addict. Food is my friend, my confidant, my counselor, my BFF…my partner in crime. If I have a problem, I eat. Hurting? Have a meal. Happy? Let’s eat! Eating is a hobby.

So, here’s my attempt at STEP ONE

“I admit that I have become powerless over food and my life [with food] has become almost unmanageable.” Thank you.

I’m going to let this last statement marinate for a bit. Carry on.


This blog will serve as an outlet (both serious and humorous) as I navigate the choppy waters of weight loss, living and learning in the South. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments (and recipes) as I travel along a healthier path.

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