The Last 20Lbs – Back from the Dead

Last spring I started writing a chronicle called the “Last 20 Lbs.”  to encourage women to gain  self empowerment by losing weight and getting fit.  Candidly, with a send of humor, sharing my own struggle, through a weekly installment.   It was about taking off twenty pounds of post divorce weight, getting in shape for television and turning a triumphant new chapter in my life now that I’m over the age of 3o something.
The column ran a couple of months and I lost twelve pounds.  I then had a knee injury and a couple of surgeries which required putting the column on pause.  I am now healed up and ready to go again.
Everything was going well, SENSA was keeping me magic powder to sprinkle on my food, and I was training with Scott Bittermen from Emerge Athletics and taking an early morning AM Fittness Groove boot camp class with Ajia and doing a little jogging in between.

I lost 12 pounds, was nearing my goal and feeling good.

Then, a series of disasters happened, including a near death experience.  I injured my knees, really badly, it was actually a re-injury to both knees that were already fragile from ten years of dancing professionally.  As if that was not bad enough, I had an umbilical hernia from a past surgery which needed mending.  The Orthopedist told me to just give myself a rest and try to not do too much, not walk around too much.  Hard to do as a New Yorker on the go.  So I decided to have the surgery on my hernia while I was resting my knees so that everything could heal at once.  I gained all the weight back.  Not being a quitter, the very first day I was cleared for exercise, I went for a jog.

Ten minutes in, I felt a throbbing pain in my left arm. Not a sharp shooting pain, just a fatigued feeling , similar to after working out arms.  My heart was pounding in my throat.  I slowed down and it went away, so I figured it was just from being out of shape from two months of not exercising.

Two days later, I went to my dentist Dr. Goldberg and the palpitations started again.  I told him, he took a listen to my heart and said he could not hear anything wrong but he wanted me to see someone immediately.  That helped save my life.

To make a long story short, four doctors and five days later, (This says volumes about our health care system!) on my birthday, I was finally in for an angiogram.  My EKG, fitness level, young age and female gender had yielded results that were inconclusive.  Even Dr. Coppola at NYU, who I owe my life to, was pretty sure he was going to send me home with some Plavix and call it a day. He told me he was going to give me a local anesthesia and I could watch everything that was happening on the monitor.  “No way!” I exclaimed.  “Please, it’s my birthday, I’m frightened, squeamish and I don’t want to know a thing!  Please, tell your bartender to juice me up and put me out!” Thank G-d for that, because when I woke up Dr. Coppola said, “You had us all fooled.  Your heart is amazing.  Two of your arteries were completely blocked. You’ve been operating on 50% of your heart.  I had to put three stent in.”  Talk about a game changer!  So, for my birthday I received the gift of a new lease on life and hopefully another 40 years to do great things, with my newly detailed heart.  In my case, this was hereditary.  Even at a young age, size 6, strong, reasonably fit and female, heart problems can happen.

At first, I was simply grateful to be alive, but as the adrenaline and pain killers wore off, I just felt sad and mad.  Sad, that my heart is forever changed along with my whole life.  That from now on, I will bruise like a tomato from all the meds I have to now take, wondering if I’ll ever be able to wear a skirt or dress again without people asking me if i’m being abused.  I bruise so easily  now.  I feel like I look like a dalmatian.  Sad and mad over all the stress and challenges that have taken such a tole on me.  Mad and determined to put myself back together again.  I have things I want to do with my life and need feel and look good while doing them.

In my journey, I am being sponsored by different trainers, classes, supplements and healthy snack companies.
Current Sponsors:
Gennaro  Ferra, former Mr. Australia
AM fitness Groove with Ajia as a group  class
Escape Water
Ugi Fittness
I will start by taking a photo of me “before” and end with a number of pounds lost, and an “after” photo.
 So I’m back in the ring, getting back  in shape, down to fighting weight.  Fit, firm and fabulous. Nothing else will do.
To help me do this…
SENSA, I am going back to sprinkling!  Thank you SENSA!
Escape 9.2 alkaline water from A virgin source in the Caribbean.  Our bodies are mostly water, so obviously the better quality water you drink, the better quality your health will be.   Thank you Escape!
Ugi, which is a new piece of exercise equipment, nutrition plan, and video series allowing a person to get a full body workout without needing slots of space or fancy gym equipment.  Thank you Ugi!
Former Mr Australia, Gennaro Ferra, has offered some of his time to train me along with other fitness experts who are taking interest in my project and are getting ready to come on board.  Thank you Gennaro!
So far, after cutting out wheat, carbs, sugar getting on the elliptical, taking walks and drinking plenty of water I have already started to see a difference.  Three pounds in two weeks, without starving or living in the gym, just making small changes and easing back in to a steady exercise routine.

I will highlight my experience with each expert who steps in with their expertise, equipment, time, water, health food, supplement etc.  To all of you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

This new reinstatement of “The Last 20 Lbs” is because I wanted to share with my readers my challenges, which hopefully are relatable.  The quest for health and fitness is on going, even when there are setbacks.  The healthier we are, the better our quality of life.  But the bottom line is you can’t quit.


The Last 20 Lbs Part 9

It has been about a month since my last post.

The demands of our lives can sideswipe our best laid plans.  I step on the scale and I am ashamed, appalled and aggravated with myself.  Losing weight is a challenge.   It requires full time diligence.   That can be hard to do when you are trying to live a “balanced life”.

It is safe to say the result you yield is in direct proportion to the effort you put in.  I know, that is very frustrating.  I wish I could take off for a month to some secluded fat camp with a private trainer 4 hours a day, planned prepared meals and lots of support and no distractions, a la “The Biggest Loser”.  But life, with career, and social calander do not usually allow for such luxuries in our real life reality.

What is important is that we do not give up.  When we start to slip we must get back on track, not throw in the towel.  That is why I have signed up to take AM Fitness Groove (a 6:30 am bootcamp style workout) with trainer Ajia Max.

This is the second week of class and even though I have not yet lost any weight I certainly feel firmer!

A group class is a great, affordable way to be held accountable by others.

I am certainly the oldest most out of shape person in the class and my competitive nature and pride has me doing my very best.  So much so that last week I pushed my joints a little too hard and now have to modify parts of the workout for my injuries. (as we get older there are frequently more “dings” to work around.  This is the part that is most psychologically hard for me.   Decades ago, in my 20’s when I taught, choreographed and performed professionally as a dancer I was slim, toned and in general, made of steel.   Now at 40 there is wear and tear from past injuries and other factors like a slower metabolism, and the fact that  I no longer workout for a living to contend with.  Did I mention I am the oldest, slowest, most out of shape person in the class?   The important thing is too check your ego at the door and just keep going!

I have never been a morning person, but having to get up supper early for class has added a couple of hours to my day in which to be productive! An added bonus!



The Last 20 Lbs Part 8

The Last 20 Lbs Part 8

I’m 12 pounds lighter and feeling great. I’ve become girly again. Getting dressed has become fun again. The weight loss has impacted other areas of my life as well. I’ve become social again, feel like going to events, mingling and shaking hands with restored confidence and repaired self esteem. Great for my health, terrific for my looks, good for business. It’s win, win, win!

But life is never easy. The six weeks that Scott had agreed to train me for has come to an end, and as we know, talented people are always in demand.

I did not manage to lose 20lbs in six weeks, but in a manner slow, sane and steady, lost 12lbs without starving or stressing.

Although I’ll admit I’m a little anxious about how my progress will be now that I’m on my own. There is something about having someone to check in with for support, guidance and accountability that really helps in this process.

Tip: Share your goals with someone supportive and ask them if they would be willing to have you checking with them, or even better, find a someone in your life who would also like to lose some weight and do it together.

I intend to keep eating right, sprinkling SENSA and exercising until, I reach my weight and fitness goals. It’s important that fitness is part of your healthy lifestyle journey and not just a goal on your check list in order to have staying power.

Tip: Make small changes gradually so you can have the power to conquer one small, lasting change over time rather than a crash and burn quick fix.

Try to do whatever you can during the day to make the right choices. Even if you fail in one area, like not going to the gym because your work schedule does not permit, that does not mean that the whole day has to be a wash. Drink another glass of water, take the stairs, walk around the block fast on your break, do some abs before going to bed.
All the little things you do and positive choices you make consistently do add up.

Don’t stress, do your best!

The Last 20 Lbs Part 7

Life is a balancing act.  Sometimes our schedules, due to work and other outside forces disrupt our routine. For people trying to get back in shape, upheaval can mean that wieght and Fittness goals are not met for the week which can lead to frustration that can lead to disaster.  Don’t give up!

Last week, I was walking on air because I had hit the 11 pound marker. Then came two weeks of unending days, deadlines, production and meetings that resulted in no further weight loss for the week, and minimal exercise.  At least I didn’t gain any weight back.  Learning to maintain a weight is also an important skill to relearn.

To make matters worse, my schedule and Scott’s did not coordinate and I only managed to see him once this week.  However, as always I got a great workout that had all the muscles I clearly don’t use often begging for mercy.

Scott was very reassuring and supportive. It’s not the time to get frustriaghted and quit.  It’s the time to regroup and stay the course!

It’s taking longer than I thought it would but it is happening and I am looking and feeling better, so more of the same will be even more wonderful.

Scott is a great trainer, knowledgable, talented,  kind, and supportive.  I’m so lucky and grateful.  If you are trying to get in shape for swimsuit weather that is just around the corner, I highly recommend calling Scott at Emerge Athletics.  Tell him Sam sent you.

The Last 20 Lbs Part 6


I’ve lost 9 pounds!

Last week, I was frustrated because I had plateaud at 8 pounds. Although I was feeling better, it’s always frustrating to be doing all the right things and not seeing an immediate result. But a few workouts with Scott, some jogging in-between, a hectic work schedule, some fruits & vegetables, and lots of work later… and the scale is moving again.

I told Scott of my frustration about hitting a plateau, and he told me not to worry, we just needed to change up the routine. He was right. The interval training, and working on exercises that I have not done in a long-long time, resulted in sore muscles I forgot I even had.

And bang.

I lost another pound.

I’m feeling great. Stronger, more energized, and looking better. There’s still a long way to go — eleven more pounds — but the best part is that I’m feeling happier and back in control. I’m feeling girly again. I went dress shopping last weekend and bought something fun. The kind of dress I never thought I’d wear again: short, stretchy, clingy, and very sexy. It’s not perfect on me yet, but just to know that this fab new dress is hanging in my closet has added a whole new layer of motivation.

If I’m feeling this good having lost 9 pounds, I can’t imagine how great it’s going to feel when I’m a newer yet older-and-wiser version of my original self.

Stay tuned to see what happens. Can I get to my goal weight before I start filming?

I’ll keep eating sensibly, sprinkling SENSA, and working out with Scott Bittermen from Emerge Athletics.

The Last 20 Lbs Part 5

The Muppet BandAids Band AidsAll great battles have their setbacks. The battle to lose my divorce weight is no different.

So far I had been averaging a loss of 2 lbs a week. I was excited to do a little kickboxing because A) It’s such a awesome total body workout, and B) I love throwing punches at my trainer Scott.

I was doing some strength training exercises, when Scott told me to jump up to the handle bars and do some pull ups (yes, I laughed too. I have no upper body strength). So I jumped up and… BAM! $!#%!! Banged my knee into a protruding piece of steel. The cut was not too bad, but the painful bruise to my knee cap had me seeing stars.



Scott administered first aid, with lots of ice, and said the good news was that giving my knee time to heal would finally force me to rest my shoulder.

A terrible pit fall, with so little time left to achieve my goal.  But I refuse to give in.

The Last 20 Lbs Part 4

Yesterday started out tough.  I woke feeling tired, puffy and frustrated. the numbers on the scale wouldn’t seem to budge and all I could think was that  time was running out and I was failing. I have not touched a drop of alcahol in two weeks. I have even managed to fight of chocolate cravings so don’t my skinny jeans fit yet!

I called Scott and told him I was having a bad day. He called me back and offered to train me that night at 8pm. 8pm?  I can’t remember the last time I worked out that late.  But beggars can’t be choosers and I am willing to do whatever it takes to take the weight off. I agreed.

Scott was very supportive and he gave me a blast of a workout! Kickboxing! A total body workout  and a great way to blow off a little steam. Then we did some yoga to cool down. I left floating!

I slept so well and woke up this morning, energized, calm and centered. I want to feel like this every morning. Best of all. I lost another pound!

For lunch today I sautéed, asparagus, brocklie, grape tomatoes and garlick with a drizzle of live oil, a splash of white wine and fresh hewith that I tosses with whole weat pasta and mini langoustineo tails. (shrimp works too) I arranged my plate sprinkled it with SENSA  and sat down to enjoy lunch.

Today is a good day.

The Last 20 Lbs – Part 3

Great news! I’ve lost 5 Lbs!

Today, February 23rd is also the first day that I am adding SENSA Weight-Loss System to my program curtesy of SENSA.

Just the encouragement I need!

Today I am a little stiff and a little tired but happy!

This afternoon I am going to make some cabbage and vegetable soup with fresh vegetables.

– Tip: For those of you that would like to do the cabbage and vegetable soup diet but your also cooking for someone, make some whole west or lentil pasta separately and put them in his soup.
Now you are both happy : )

Scott Bitterman’s recipe for Vegetable Soup

Stew 4 large tomatoes (boil until skin starts peeling) and let cool.
Squeeze tomatoes into soup pot. This will be the base.

1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
1/2 clove garlic sliced very thin
2 chopped celery sticks
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped branch of scallion
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh basil
(Optional. One cup chopped spinach)

Add enough water to cover the ingredients completely. Cook over medium flame for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. The vegetables aside from the tomatoes should be partially softened but still have some crunch. Don’t overcook as this will release too many nutrients from the vegetables.

Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cream

Stir and let sit for another 5 minutes.

This is a low calorie and nutrient dense meal which is quick and easy to make and reheat.
It takes the same amount of time to prepare whether you make one serving or ten so do the work once once and make enough to last throughout the week.

This recipe is not too far off from the original cabbage soup recipe that we all know and hate minus the broccoli and the table spoon of cream. I will add my own brand of magic to this by also using fresh herbs including parsley and perhaps another soup worthy veg.

The Last 20 Lbs – Part 2

Wow what a week! A Battle of will and belief.

The week started with stepping on the scale Monday morning 2/20 with the scale telling me I had gained all I thought I had lost last Friday when I came to the end of week one.

With only 5 more weeks to lose 20Lbs I felt I had already lost the battle and I had barely started.

Was I about to humiliate myself publicly? Would I ever feel like myself again? Had it become impossible to lose weight? Was something wrong with me?

I called Scott and told him how I was feeling. I was so upset I think I made him uncomfortable.
He told me that his plan had me in a priming faze that would lead to faster results in the competing weeks.

Don’t look at the scale. Concentrate on how your body will be looking and feeling.

I reluctantly agreed, knowing that a sane person would agree with him.
Still, I was demoralized. But then I realized, with 6 weeks of diet and exercise was bound to have some positive effect. Even if I lose I win! no failure is not an option.

Then Scott told me that if I was going to be number obsessed, I was to cut out my wine allowance all together. No alcohol. Also, I would go vegetarian for a week. I agreed.

Yesterday was workout #4 with Scott and he killed me. I loved it!
– Dynamic stretching
– Intervals on the treadmill (that had me sucking wind)
– Jump rope
– Plank, sideways plank
– Kickboxing (big fun!)

The rest of the day was a a blur. I was taking part in an event I had helped plan and Promote and the whole day into the rest of the evening is a blur. I was so busy I didn’t even notice that was starving when all was said and done around 9pm

It’s so important to be able to eat at regular intervals to keep from wanting to eat everything in path.

Ate leftover vegetables from lunch, an Asian pear and thought about all the things I need to do.

Scott’s right, I do need to learn to relax.

Relax, it’s win win!

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