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My journey to health… Fear bought me here and habit keeps me here.

I want to share my journey because I believe every healthy transformation can serve as a tool for those individuals that need to make positive changes for their health as well as for those individuals that have already taken the step to improve their health and well-being.

Me & Georgia

Though my story may be similar to others it is also different and unique because it is about my personal journey.  My journey began as a means “to get healthy” because I was trying to reel my hubby in to have the same hope and desire for his own health.

You see, several years ago my husband was faced with having an awful 9 MM kidney stone that was in the shape of a football and because of it’s size and shape the physicians told us it could not be passed without first undergoing a procedure that would somehow crush the stone into several smaller pieces so that it could naturally be passed.  This procedure was scheduled to occur one early morning.  I’ll never forget that morning because it was a terrible stormy, rainy morning.  Prior to leaving the house my husband was instructed to take a little pill called “Cipro” because it was supposed to “calm” him and prepare him for his procedure.  However, as I drove him to the hospital for the scheduled procedure he was in quite a bit of pain, very uncomfortable and nervous.  We were finally sitting at the last light approximately a mile from the hospital when I thought my husband was going to vomit.  I handed him one of those fancy, unused, clean vomit bags from the hospital and to respect his privacy I turned my head to look out my window so that I would not be facing him.  As I was waiting for the light to turn green, all of a sudden my husband violently slammed into me!  Immediately I turned to him and said, “Ouch!!!  What are you doing?” and to my surprise when I looked at him he was completely unconscious and all I could see were the whites of his eyes.  In that moment I was quite a mess – I began yelling his name, “Tim, Tim”, but he didn’t respond.  It was then that I feared the worst and reached his neck to check his pulse and then in an instant he jumped up and said to me, “What is wrong with you?”me.IMG_0155

Needless to say I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions from –  complete shock and scared out of my mind, yet so thankful he was alive.  I asked him what happened and he didn’t seem to know.  He said suddenly everything was going black and then he didn’t remember anything after that.  The crazy thing was that he was no longer in pain or uncomfortable and wasn’t even nervous anymore.  In fact, he seemed to be completely fine, but I was scared sick.  That day he didn’t end up having the procedure because once I told the doctors what had happened in the car they said, “Oh his heart probably just stopped for a few minutes, but we need to check him out”.
Well, as I sat there I began to tell my husband things like: “You need to make changes”, “You need to get healthy”, “You need to stop eating this.. and that”.  Well, something suddenly clicked in my head … and I began to re-think some of that because I began facing the truth…. “Hmm… at 238 pounds who am I to tell him he needs to get healthy?” and then I thought to myself “As the mother and wife in my house I need to be willing to make the change first and then my family will join in”.

CrystalInitially my journey was solely based on “getting healthy”.  Suddenly I was so scared of either of us being unhealthy and the thought of losing my husband frightened me.  Since I was so focused on “health” I wasn’t even thinking about getting skinnier or sexier.  My focus was entirely on getting healthy.  I really think going in with that mindset is what helped me though because I was focused on eating more of the right foods so the weight loss just followed.  In the very beginning I joined Weight Watchers (Points system) for the 2nd time in my life (only this time it actually worked) and my only source of exercise was the Wii Fit, which I really enjoyed.  The first time I started Weight Watchers a year or so earlier it didn’t work and I always believed it was because they didn’t have a mobile app and because of system errors I couldn’t access the Weight Watchers website through my phones web browser so while on the go so by the time I could log my points at home I was always way over my allowed points, but the second time I joined the Weight Watchers points systems I was able to use their mobile app on my phone and found I was able to FINALLY do WW’s on the go (much easier).  In the beginning, I would get frustrated though because I’d buy healthy frozen lunches, but they were 7, 8, or 9 points leaving me little points for breakfast and dinner.  I discovered fruit & veggies are zero points and my journey took a different direction!!  Being a BIG fan (in fact, I believe the biggest fan ☺) of the Biggest Loser I began following some of the contestants and trainers on Twitter.  I loved that Hannah Curlee, Olivia Ward, and Bob Harper tweeted about the foods they ate and I began to follow their example.  Then one night when I was watching my favorite show in the world, BIGGEST LOSER (in case you missed that ☺) I had another major turning point in my journey, as it suddenly dawned on me, ‘Wow these contestants are putting it all out there’!!  And suddenly my journey took another swift turn, I began documenting my journey on the Facebook page that I share with my husband.  I’d document goals met and missed, my actual weight and weigh-in’s, and my various workouts.  At one point, my husband agreed to let me buy a Livestrong Elliptical as our anniversary gift to one another because our Wii Fit broke and I suddenly found the most challenging, but fun workout equipment I’d ever used.  I began dedicating my workouts to various folks battling cancer and other terminal illnesses with a request that our Facebook friends would pray for those battling such terrible diseases.  One of my favorite Facebook statuses was posted on December 3, 2011 and simply stated, “199” because it represented my entry into the One hundredville ☺.  Anyway, I began to believe that if I document everything – successes & failures it may help others.  My original goal was to lose 76 pounds and get to 162 pounds and on October 20, 2012 (a big 484 days after my journey began I surpassed that goal hitting 161.6 pounds ☺).

Anyway, over the course of another 449 days, I lost an additional 29.4 pounds weighing in at 136 pounds.  My entire journey from start to 136 pounds has been a whopping 933 days, but quick or slow – I would NOT change a thing about my journey or my transformation.  I feel that every second and each step has been worth it entirely.  My message to others is, “Yes, you CAN do it!! Trust me – we all have good days and bad days.”  A few suggestions I like to offer to people are as follows:This one YES

1.      Drink more water than you think you need (If you have a smart phone, download an app called “Water Your Body” it determines how much you need to drink based on your weight).
2.      Forget about this being about losing weight and FOCUS on long-term health.  I believe this makes it easier to accept fluctuating weight on the scale.
3.      Get moving – anyway you can, anytime you can.
4.      Get the right amount of lean protein.  Bob Harper says take your weight and divide it by 2 & that’s the amount of grams you need. Example: If one weighs 200 lbs., then he or she should eat 100 grams of Protein.
5.      If you eat too much of something unhealthy.. log it, deal with it, and MOVE ON.  Decide to get back on track with the NEXT thing you eat.. NOT the next day, the next week, and etc.
6.      Fresh fruit & veggies (this will help ensure you get healthy nutrients & fiber your body needs).
7.      Get enough sleep.
8.      DON’T QUIT.

On Thanksgiving in 2013, I ran my first Turkey Trot 5K in 34:09 and on December 31, 2013, I ran another 5K in 36:14.  (Notice: the time for my second 5K was slower, but the point is that I’m NOT giving up.  It’s all a work in progress ☺).  In December 2013, I also finished my studies for an Associate Degree in Accounting with a GPA of 3.31.  That was another huge accomplishment for me because I never really enjoyed school when I was young, but I tackled this project, too.

Me runningNow in my life, my health and fitness goals are to focus on maintenance combined with toning.  I’m alternating my workouts to include a combination of the Elliptical, running outdoors, weight training, circuit training, and aerobics.  Some days it feels like there just aren’t enough days to get these various workout activities in, but I still alternate different workouts because my body needs cardio, stretching, weight training, and strength training.  I generally like to workout at least 30 minutes 4 or 5 days a week.

I’ve done a several “official” 5k’s, the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by MARTIN’S in Richmond, VA on March 29, 2014 and the Marine Corps 10k in Fredericksburg, VA on May 18, 2014.  In May 2014, I also graduated from Liberty University with my Associates Degree in Accounting.  I’m doing the 5k Color Run on September 13, 2014 in Richmond, VA.  It’s been a busy couple of years, but I have no intentions to stop now ☺.  In fact, since I’m so fascinated and passionate about health & fitness I would like to get my Personal Trainer Certification sometime this year.

So, I always tell people “everyone has their own journey, their own story, and that what motivated me and motivates me today may be different from what gets you moving”, but essentially that is what makes everyone’s journey so special.  For me, “Fear bought me to this point” and “Habit keeps me here”.  I jokingly say, “If only my hubby had passed out sooner”, but in reality everything happens in His timing and He knows what is best.  I’m so thankful for the wake-up call God gave us before it was too late. ☺Use this 2

#healthismygame #health4life #health #fit #happy #blessed #alive

Breaking news: we have a winner… or two!!

I used randompicker.com to have a winner selected! This first GIVEAWAY ended on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by 12:00 Noon EST. To see the results click on this link: Congratulations to our first winner: Linda Lee!  I did another drawing immediately after using the same website and our second winner is Samara Epstein Cohen.

Click here for winner information!

Linda Lee and Samara Epstein Cohen please contact via email, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to let me know you are still interested in your **FREE** gift by Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 2:00 PM, EST or another drawing will be held. Thanks!

Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon! The count down is on!!!!

It is so hard to believe that the famous Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon series, which ranks in the top 10 toughest events worldwide, is only a week from today!  Soon we will see if all the hard work and discipline you and I have been putting into training for this race pays off. Well, let me tell you – regardless of how you feel this race goes for you in the end – all the training – the time, the commitment, and the determination WILL pay off! How do I know? I know this because I had the honor of completing this half marathon course last year and I will be honest – it was TOUGH, but it was worth every single second.


As you approach this race do so with positive energy and with the knowledge that you are making history. As you embark on this course remember just like any other race there will be times during this race that you may NOT be able to give 100% because those mountains are no joke and that is “OK”. Remember you have done the training and you are prepared to know instinctively when your body is telling you to “ease up” a bit and when your body is telling you to “kick it into high gear”.


To me, that is the main purpose of training for a major event like this. When we train we learn how our bodies react to certain changes, we learn when our heart or foot does not feel right and we may need to slow it down some, we learn what fuel works for our body and which ones do not, we learn which socks work and which ones don’t and so on. The list is endless. The biggest point though – is you learn “you” and your body. You will know when to push and when to pull back and I encourage you to make sure you do what your body needs. Always, always listen to your body and follow through with what it needs.


So as we get closer to the start line on Saturday, 4/22/2017 I want to also encourage you to take it all in – the sights are quite amazing, the event is unbelievable – everything from the scenery, the volunteers, the spectators (throughout the course). You will come across some lonely signs from time-to-time that have been placed right there just for YOU to encourage you and to motivate you. As the old running rule goes, you know your body and your limits, but I caution you – to twice about indulging in the champagne and other goodies during the run unless you trained for it. (If you are prepared for those goodies and are up to it than by all means have at it – unfortunately I’ve never incorporated those treats within my run so I will not be able to enjoy digesting those amazing delicacies, but I will definitely stop and take pictures because the spectators on this course are amazing and deserve a moment in the spotlight).


Start getting your running list together now and increase your water intake today, too. I actually have a running bag that is always pretty much packed with the usual’s – Band-Aids, Aquaphor, aspirin, icy hot, and etc., but I also have a “running” packing list on my phone – so that I don’t forget the absolute necessities, such as: shoes, sports bra, cellphone, chargers, sunglasses, race fuel, earphones, epipens, socks, and etc. It may seem silly, but life gets busy and I don’t want to miss a thing. So – if you don’t have a list together now, start jotting it down. The run list on my phone is helpful because every time I need it I just uncheck everything and check them off as I pack.


Lastly, race day morning … If you’ve never ran a race this may be helpful – if you have it probably won’t be as much. Most of the times you need to be at the start line early, but the race may not start right away. So here are some tips to help you be comfortable during the wait.

  1. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready that morning & don’t be afraid to use the porta-john. Always better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Remember nothing new that morning. If freebies or other runner gifts are offered to you – take them and save for later.
  3. Make sure you bought your own race fuel. Nothing worse than planning to pick it up at the Expo or local running store and not finding it.
  4. Don’t forget Vaseline or some type of lube before the race.
  5. Pick up an old, oversized sweats or a robe at a thrift store or off a sales rack – so you can stay warm before the race and discard easily. (Oftentimes some localities collect the discarded clothes and donate to homeless shelters). A trash bag or poncho will work to keep you warm and dry, as well.
  6. Stay hydrated.
  7. Smile when you see the camera.
  8. Lastly, embrace the experience.

This will likely be my last “official” blog post before the race, but I would love to give away another piece of Foot Levelers Blue Ridge swag so for anyone that likes, comments, or shares this post between now and Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by 12:00 Noon EST you will be entered into a drawing. A random winner will be selected via randompicker.com. A winner will be announced by Thursday, April 20, 2017 by 8:00 pm EST.

** For an extra entry share your race day tip(s) below.

Make sure you follow me for updates, more chances to win some cool prizes, and some additional information on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or at https://healthismygame.com/.

Feel free to contact me at Crystal@healthismygame.com.


#brm26pt2 #runblueridge



Straight from the good folks at the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon:

“Want Blue Ridge Marathon bragging rights … without having to run the whole 26.2 miles?Now you can with The Blue Ridge Marathon Four-Person Relay! But there is only enough room for 14 teams, so grab your best running buddies and register right away for the race on April 22nd.

The hardest part is deciding who will tackle which section of America’s Toughest Road Marathon. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Runner #1: The leadoff runner will tally 6.2 miles, including Mill Mountain.

Runner #2: The “beast leg” includes 9.1 miles, including the Roanoke Mountain Loop along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Runner #3: The leg includes the notorious Peakwood Mountain; it’s not the longest leg at 6.1 miles, but is pretty darn tough.

Runner #4: The final runner will bring it home with 4.8 miles through South Roanoke neighborhoods and downtown Roanoke.”

Click here for details. 

Follow me for updates, more chances to win some cool prizes, and some additional information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at https://healthismygame.com/.
Feel free to contact me at Crystal@healthismygame.com.
#brm26pt2 #runblueridge 

Making it count – this one is for Samantha Aragones

This past Friday night I learned about a lady who is literally in the fight of her life. As I read through the various posts on Facebook I knew I would be dedicating some miles to her.  I realized that our paths likely crossed at the Historic Half that we both ran this past year and probably countless other races before that, as well. It really makes you think about the battles folks are fighting. In this case, she didn’t find out about her cancer battle until a couple of months after the Historic Half.

Samantha Aragones has literally been on my mind ever since I found out about her. My heart aches for this lady who is a fellow runner and fitness enthusiast who is fighting for her life.  My thoughts drift to her family –  her husband, their three (3) young children, other family members, and friends.  Read more about Samantha and her story here.


This is right after Samantha and a friend finished the Historic Half Marathon.  Samantha is on the right in this picture.

Each run and every workout I set out to do is very important to me, but it always has to be about more than “just me“, or the calories burned, the pace, PR’s, the distance, and etc. – it has to be about so much more – it has to matter.  With that in mind, I ran today’s snow covered 5.07 miles for and in honor of Samantha Aragone. May she feel strength in her fight, and may her family and friends be comforted during this difficult time. May they somehow be at peace and feel God’s loving presence in the midst of their heartache, pain, and suffering.  My thoughts and prayers are with Samantha, her husband, children, and loved ones today.


Join me in lifting Samantha Aragones and her family prayer.  Show them some love today and check out her story by clicking here.

Each person that takes the time to view Samantha Aragones page to read her story and then shares this post by Friday, January 13, 2017 at 11:59pm EST you will be entered into a raffle giveaway for some Foot Levelers Blue Ridge gear. For those of you that dedicate miles (or have already done so) in honor of Samantha Aragone please comment either here, FacebookTwitterInstagram for an extra entry and be sure to use the hashtag #runforSamantha.

A random winner will be selected by randompicker.com and announced Sunday, January 15, 2017.

Make sure you follow me for updates, more chances to win some cool prizes, and some additional information on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or at https://healthismygame.com/.

Feel free to contact me at Crystal@healthismygame.com.


#brm26pt2 #runblueridge #runforSamantha







Foot Levelers Blue Ridge – Just in!!

I just received notification that a new coupon code is available in honor of CyberMonday!  Now is the time to sign up and take advantage of this incredible discount. 

Click here to register and save 20% on either the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, or Double Marathon using discount code CYBERMONBRM. This code expires on Wednesday, November 30, 2016!  Don’t miss out on this amazing deal.  

Breaking News!! Winner Announced!!!!


Here we go again with yet another drawing for our FIRST winner because the first 2 winners never reached out to pick and claim his or her prize!! So once again I used randompicker com again to have a winner selected! This first GIVEAWAY ended on 11/4/2016 at 11:59 PM, EST. To see the results click on this link: Congratulations to our “new” first winner (re-drawn since the original winner never claimed her prize), with the screen name: Janet Kemp!

Click here for winner information!

Janet Kemp please comment on this post on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to let me know you are still interested in your **FREE** gift by Tuesday, 2:00 PM, EST or another drawing will be held. Thanks!

First giveaway (again)!

Hi everyone!! Doing this again because the first winner did not reach out to pick and claim his or her prize!! So I used randompicker com again to have a winner selected! This first GIVEAWAY ended on 11/4/2016 at 11:59 PM, EST. To see the results click on this link:https://www.randompicker.com/protocol/369721×962

Congratulations to our first winner (re-drawn since the original winner never claimed her prize), with the screen name: ruffrtiana! Please get in touch with me within the next 48 hours to claim your prize or we will have to draw again. Thanks so much for your participation.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or at www.healthismygame.com for future posts and contests and email me at crystal@healthismygame.com if you have any questions or ideas for future contests. Also, please share this post with all your friends & family so they don’t miss out either on the fun, games, and prizes.

#runblueridge #brm26pt2