The Scale Says What?!? – A Journey to Better Health


Once upon a time…so all fairy tales begin…however, this is not a fairy tale.  This is my journey to having better health, adding years to my life, increasing my self-worth and maintaining my career. In an effort to share my journey of weight loss with friends and family and people looking for insight to make take their own journey, I am going to blog about it.  I welcome your comments and input as you read my journey.  Thanks for taking it with me.

Let me take you back a few years and give you the background to bring you up-to-speed so you understand the seriousness of my journey.

I think it was 1970 or there about when I realized that not only was I the tallest girl in my class but also the heaviest.  While I maintained friendships and participated in activities, it seemed that I wasn’t quite as coordinated or pretty as other girls in my class.  I was the chunky friend who learned very quickly to take my personality and put it to work winning friends and creating relationships.

Fast forward through many,many years of diets – Jenny Craig, Nutri System, Phen-Phen pills, Physician Weight Loss Program, Weight Watchers (multiple times), fad diets, trainers, gym memberships, more fad diets, and much, much more I am sure.  At some point, I simply lost count of how many ways I had tried to lose weight.

Approximately, 10 – 15 years ago the medical journals started publishing studies that weight and genetics were possibly tied together along with a person’s culture and environment.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs – DUH!  I could simply look at my family and see that genetics played a part in our struggle to keep weight off.  I have always said, that if you lined up all the women in our family and not show our faces, you would quickly see that we were related just by our build – there were very few exceptions to the group.

As I think back over the last 30 years of my life, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to lose weight in some fashion.  However, at some point, I accepted that my weight was my ‘cross to bear’ and ‘accepted’ that I would always be overweight.  I compensated by working hard, being funny (in my strange way) and developing skills like creating amazing relationships with friends, vendors, exhibitors, suppliers, and co-workers.

As I advanced in my career, so did the internal pain of being overweight.  Have you ever tried racing from one side of an exhibit floor to another only to have to stop multiple times to get there?  Or race up a flight of stairs only to be so winded that you couldn’t breathe?  Well, that is where I was about seven years ago when my highest weight hit about 300 or so.  It was at that point I wanted to cry every day.  I was tested and diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome) and was told that my extra weight only added to the side effects – excessive hair growth, menstrual cycles that came and went when they wanted or not at all, but the best was testing positive with testosterone at 4x the level of most women.  Now that is just want every girl wants to learn she has an issue with…not this girl.

Solution?  Put me on pills to slow hair growth, keep sugar production down (which was turning to fat) [and I wasn’t diabetic], an anti-depressant to help with anxiety caused by all of this information and worrying.  Saw an endocrinologist on a regular basis who put me on high blood pressure medications as well.  I hate taking pills so this was not an answer for me.  So I went back to trying diets again, exercising as best as I could with the weight and trying to be normal.  Results?  Lost a few pounds but not enough to get off any of the medications.

It was at that point that I started following the bariatric programs that were being developed. I read with vigor every article I could get my hands on, talked with my doctor about it and thought about having surgery from time to time.  My doctor encouraged me to considered it but also warned that it was so new that all the risks were not known.  As I trusted him, I decided to continue following it and watching as more and more positive results were being reported on people.

So that brings me to 2010 and present day….more info in my next post.

I learned how to cover up my weight. In June 2010, I was about 285#.

Who is the girl in pink? This is me with my dad and step-mom on Labor Day 2011. About 278#.

Ten Tips for Effective Trade Show Managers


When I am asked why I am passionate about my career, I always think about what drives me to go to work every day. Here are my 10 tips that I believe are important to be an effective (and successful) Trade Show Manager (i kept it to 10 – but I have many more that I could add to the list – maybe my next 10!).

  1. Develop and cultivate relationships with the client, exhibitors and vendors. Don’t underestimate the power and importance of relationships.
  2. Create an accurate timeline and show information that can be shared with key stakeholders so that vendors can provide better service and exhibitor know what they need to do pre-, during and post-show. It’s also a great checklist and scorecard for show management.
  3. Be flexible and proactive.
  4. Designate one point of contact for the show to ensure consistent messages – and responses to questions that are asked repeatedly.
  5. Always provide top-notch customer service.
  6. Pick up the phone and have conversations with exhibitors, sponsors and vendors. Conversations can get to the “heart of the matter” much more quickly and provides an opportunity to ” touch” the relationship again.
  7. Engender and encourage trust, trust. trust. Communicate, communicate – and communicate – early and often.
  8. Leverage industry trade organizations to glean best practices; maximize the use of technology to advance the show’s objectives.
  9. Manage with “micro-managing” in other words – let the professionals and your team members do their jobs.
  10. Education – take part in continuing education for the industry – it makes you a better show manager/producer. There’s always something new to learn.

I encourage you to find your top 10 by which you can define success for your show.  They will be the guide that helps you have a successful career!  Happy producing!

What are your tips for being an effective trade show manager?

P.S. These tips were part of an article I authored for Forum Magazine, August 2008!

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The Scales Say What?!?…. A Choice to Make!


Since my last post life took a turn that was not necessarily part of my life plan – I was laid off from a job that I love.  HOWEVER, when life hands us a “bump” in the road, we have a choice to make.  We can either choose to rise above it and move forward OR we can choose to wallow in self-pity and depression.

Prior to having lost my weight, I would have went the route of self-pity, depression, “woe is me” and figured that I was doomed.  That is not to say that I didn’t feel sorry for myself, wish it hadn’t happened, said a few choice words or felt sadness – I did all that and then some!  BUT, the difference this time, for me, was that as a result of having starting the journey of being healthier and happier being well on its way for me – I was able to stay focused on what I needed to do – find a job and keep moving forward.

Just prior to the job loss, I had signed up to be part of Team HOPE, a community-based group of individuals, who were raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  In fact, they were attempting to raise $100,000 to fully fund a blood research grant to help eradicate blood cancers.  By signing on to the team, I was committing to personally raising $1,800 – scary now that I didn’t have a regular income.  It also meant taking on training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.  Something that I had NEVER, EVER done before.  So the choices continued…stay the course, raise the money, support my friends – or drop out and quit.  Oh I thought about the later more times than I can count but…I also had committed to myself that this was the year (2014) that I would identify an exercise that I would enjoy to help me keep the weight off.

Here is how I tackled what seemed impossible:

  • Job front:  I emailed every person I know in my network and sent them my resume along with a short snippet of what I was looking for and asked them to share opportunities with me.  I applied for jobs that didn’t make sense just to put my name out there.  I met with anyone that was recommended either by phone or over coffee.  I listened. Stayed engaged on LinkedIn.
  • Fundraising front:  When you ask people to give to a great cause, it is amazing how generous people are – I did team events, sent personal emails, posted on social media – and gave people a reason to get involved.  My uncle has CMML, a blood leukemia, and a I asked him to “borrow” his story to put a face to my fundraising efforts.  We had to meet a $1,800 minimum by April 14 – scary to say the least – but I met it and exceeded it by more than $500.  As I write this post, I am at $2,378 with one outstanding corporate donation!
  • Race training:  I made myself get out of bed every Saturday, except one, and went to training – cold weather and all.  I scheduled time to train during the week with other teammates.  On the one day that I missed team training, I trained by myself.  Found out quickly that training with the team was more fun.
  • Weight control:  To keep the weight in check and not fall back into bad habits was a challenge for me during this time. I found that it was easier to grab something on the run instead of planning meals which I allowed to happen on certain days ‘just because’ but was quick to put myself back on a protocol of eating more protein than carbs.  I used my Unjury and Body by Vi products to help me stay on track.  I put a few pounds on; however, I was moving much more and didn’t allow the scale to get out of control.

I committed to completing the half marathon with a smile on my face.  What happened was much more.  As I rounded the 12th mile and headed into the finish line all I could do is let the tears roll.  Walking 13.1 miles was and is a HUGE accomplishment for a girl who couldn’t run stairs just 27 months ago without feeling like she was going to have a heart attack.

Here are some fun pictures of the half marathon that will be forever my reminders that I simply need to stay focused and keep moving…


Nike Wall imageTeam ready - Race day