Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!
This series features inspirational stories from admirable women.  IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.


Today, I’m so happy to have a post from the lovely Maribel@Stroller Adventures.  I met Maribel at Bloggy Boot Camp Vegas and as an active member of the So Cal Lady Bloggers, she’s given me a ton of support as this blog has developed.  Maribel recently moved from Northern California to Costa Rica(!) with her husband and two children.  Along with many trials and tribulations that come along with moving to a new country, Maribel has been blogging about her weight loss journey.  I love Maribel’s spirit and passion to make a life long change for her health and I know you need to hear her story.  Sooo, haaave you met Maribel?


My weight loss journey began in June 2012 (after 11 years of not paying much attention to my weight), I felt it was finally time I set myself up for success with my traditional new year’s resolution. To jump start my weight loss, I participated in a blogger based weight loss program in which I documented my progress and shared all about it, the good and the bad. It was a challenge to change my lifestyle but not impossible. Thankfully I had my family and friends support, not only did they cheer me on and celebrate my accomplishments but they also supported me when I felt I could no longer continue.


After 6 months in December 2012, I had lost a total of 23 lbs and 25.5 inches and I had gone from a tight size 22 in jeans to a comfortable size 16. I was proud of my accomplishment, but knew I had to continue my journey. I did not set an ultimate goal, mostly because I felt that I didn’t want to setup myself for failure however I knew I wanted to be able to shop in the regular size department.
2013 – Quite A Year


The first few months of 2013 were intense, my family and I were about to go through another major change in our life: moving from Northern California to Costa Rica. Throughout this tough time, I continued to exercise daily and eat balanced meals but there were days that were a “no brainer” and days that I “ate my emotions”.  However, by March, I had managed to lose 3 more pounds along with 5 more inches. The month of April was extremely busy with out town trips and events preparing us for our move at the end of May, due to all the stress I was going through I decided to be a bit more relaxed –  If I was tired I wouldn’t exercise as I did before and if I was out and about, I didn’t worry about packing a healthy snack in my handbag. In May, with most of our home packed for the move, we began to eat outside of the house more often.


On June 1 our moving day had finally arrived, we jumped on the plane and flew to Costa Rica. As you can imagine, that weekend was a whirlwind of emotions!  In fact, we spent the first month in our new country being extremely busy and full of emotions. We were mostly busy with house, car and school hunting all month long (not to mention we were living in a hotel). Cooking was an option (but not for every day) as we were out and about most of the time. Finally, in July we moved into our new home and 2 weeks later our belongings arrived and we finished settling into our new home and life finally having our kitchen setup and ready to get back on track.
Settled Into A New Country.  Now, It’s Me Time.


It had been 3 months since I had weighed myself and looking at pictures of myself I could definitely see I had gained a bit. How much? I didn’t know. Finally, I worked up the courage to weigh myself and I had gained 7 pounds! I could not believe how much those 3 months had cost me in my weight loss journey. I used this as my turning point, I began looking at gyms to see if one caught my attention enough for me to enroll but their hours did not work with my schedule so I began working out at home.  I used my Pinterest as a guide for routines to do and workout DVD’s I brought with me from the US.  I was really happy when my neighbor invited me for walks in mid-August!  We began walking 2 – 3 times a week and these walks were great not only because was I exercising but I was also getting to know my new area in the best possible way.
At the end of September, my neighbor and I began walking 4-5 times a week, for nearly 2- 3 miles a day!  Walking in the area we live in is not as easy as it sounds.  Most streets do not have sidewalks and it is as if you are walking off-road. We are very close to some mountains so our walks are very hilly.  Added to the fact that drivers in Costa Rica don’t respect pedestrians that much, you end up with an interesting walk to say the least – you need to be 110% alert at all times!  Needless to say, I don’t get the chance listen to music on my earphones too often.


One of the issues I have with walking in Costa Rica, is my fear of wildlife.   We’ve had neighbors find pit vipers while on walks or outside their homes and although the only one we’ve seen so far was dead, I refused to walk alone out of fear. In the month of October I overcame my fear (as my walking partner became busy and couldn’t join me any longer) and started taking my walks alone.  I even went as far as walking under tree – which believe it or not was a big accomplishment!
A Runner Is Born!
I decided to push my limits even further after reading a post on Melissa’s blog by Chris Lam about how running beginner loops in LA got Chris ready to run a marathon!  This post truly set the tone for me and inspired me to begin running again.  When I realized that the community I live in is loop-like, I resurrected my lifetime dream of running.  Previously, I never managed to run for more than a minute. Last year when I ran for an entire minute without losing my breath, I felt accomplished but that was it. I stopped because I felt I was not making any progress at all.
3 weeks ago when I finally ran for over 3 minutes without gasping for air, I was so excited and proud of myself that I ran every day that week.  By the end of the second week of November, I managed to run 6 minutes! Yes, 6 minutes, non stop!  Now that I’m at 6 minutes, I run outside my loop and around the block.
I don’t run fast, I’m just working on controlling my breath and increasing the length of time I run. I’ve managed to run uphill, downhill – this one is a bit scary for me because of all the hills, I fear falling flat on my face – and I’ve managed to keep a rhythm when I run (using music as my tempo).
I still walk but I’ve increased my total distance from a little over 2 miles to anywhere from 3 – 5 miles and I’m proud to say that my legs are finally showing it!  I can see muscle definition on my calves and my thighs are finally shrinking (slowly, but they are). My waist is also getting smaller and I am loving how I feel.


It Isn’t Always Easy.

Sticking to a routine and my healthier lifestyle has gotten easier, but I still have days where I need to put in that extra effort. I remember a couple of months ago when I started to log what I eat daily on an app.  I know that if I eat the same amounts and foods I’ll remain within my calorie intake limit but there are just some days when I am very hungry, I need to eat even if I go over my calorie intake limit.

Lessons Learned:

Keeping a balance allows me to listen to my body and being flexible with it, I now know that one healthy meal will not make me lose weight. I have to eat healthy daily and exercise. I’ve also learned that one “bad” meal will not impact all my hard work for the week. I need balance to make this a permanent change in my life – not too strict and not too relaxed about it.  Just staying in the middle.

I’ve also learned that the scale does not dictate how I look or feel, because even though I’m 3 pounds close to the weight I was back in Spring my clothes fit looser and more comfortably. I am noticing changes in the way my jeans fit even after being washed and those inches are not necessarily reflected on my scale.

Changing my lifestyle has impacted my weight loss and my feelings, I find that when I work out I am just happier.  I smile throughout the day.  Now I even enjoy shopping, in addition to going on my walks/runs.


**If you want to get to know Maribel even better, connect with her via her blog, Facebook PageTwitter, Pinterest, Google+ and/or Instagram.