Exercise

I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More!

I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More

I lost 100 pounds! I lost more than my youngest kid weighs. It’s an amazing feeling, but it hasn’t been easy. I fought for every ounce I lost, scolded myself for every pound I re-gained, and celebrated every single step I took toward achieving my goal. During this process, I dealt with countless obstacles and it would have been so easy for me to give up. I even did for a little while. When I first began my journey, I weighed in at 278.6 pounds and had type 2 diabetes. But, y’all already know that. Right now, I’m 178.6 pounds and in no danger of being diabetic!

According to the Lose It! app, it took me 23 months and 16 days to achieve my goal of losing 100 pounds. Not too bad considering that I stopped trying for quite a few months and was limited on physical activity due to having a hysterectomy. Once I was released, it was on! I may have lost 100 pounds but I’ve gained so much more from this journey!

Love, Acceptance & Patience

Before I began, and even during, this journey, I didn’t love or accept myself and you can forget about having patience with myself. I didn’t hate myself but I wasn’t pleased at all. Each time I looked in the mirror or caught a glimpse of myself elsewhere, I would cringe and automatically focus on my flaws. My face was fat, my belly stuck out further than my boobs, etc.

Throughout this journey, somewhere, and I can’t pinpoint where, I fell in love with myself. I learned to accept myself for who I am and not worry about what I’m not. My patience was severely tested each time the scale didn’t move or someone would poke fun at me for measuring my food. I learned that I had to wait for my body to catch, which it always did. And, for those who poked fun at me, who’s laughing now, huh?

Perfect Does NOT Exist

For a type A person like me, perfection is always the end-result. Well, forget about it because that shit doesn’t exist. Repeat after me: there’s NO such thing as perfect! If you wait for all conditions to be perfect to start, you’ll never start anything. Life isn’t perfect – there’s highs and lows and in-betweens and you gotta learn to roll with it. Enjoy the good moments, learn from the not-so-good moments, and chill out in the in-betweens.

I’m Capable

I’ve learned that I’m more than capable to achieving anything I set my mind to. My body is capable of working hard and doing more than I ever thought possible. I’m capable of making changes and sticking with them. I’m capable of walking away from food when it doesn’t serve me in a positive way. I’m capable of processing my emotions without using food for comfort. The point is, I’m capable!

Strength, Confidence & Determination

I cannot begin to articulate just how strong, confident, and determined I feel now. It’s amazing to feel this way about myself and I’m enjoying every second of it. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’ve already come so far. My confidence is through the roof these days and that’s taking some getting used to. I’ve always been somewhat determined and everyone tells me they wish they had my strength, but I don’t remember the last time I truly felt strong and determined. I’ve never felt it like I feel it now, I can tell you that.

I used to give up fairly easily when things weren’t going the way I thought they should go. But, one quote has changed my mindset for the better:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore and I’m much happier because of it!

Food Isn’t Evil

I’ve never thought of food as evil, but I’ve had many other thoughts about it in the past. I’ve learned that I don’t have to give up the food I enjoy to achieve my goals. It all comes to moderation! I still get my iced coffee from Dunkin’ but I get a small or medium instead of a large. You notice I said “a”? I only get one when I used to get multiple. I try to stick to no more than 2 Dunkin’ runs per week. I don’t feel deprived of something I enjoy but it’s not enough to wreck all the work I’ve done.

I no longer run to the chips or cookies or cakes when I’m upset, which is much less often these days. I’ve actually started craving healthy foods, like celery. Who the hell craves celery?! I know that’s what you’re thinking. But, I do. I’ve gained so much more knowledge about food and nutrition and getting healthy the proper way that it no longer bothers me when junk food is brought into the house. I’m just like, “eh, whatever” and I keep it moving.

What’s Next?

I’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time and this still isn’t my stop. I’ve set a new goal of 160 pounds and I’ve added strength training to my routine. I currently walk 3.25 miles most mornings and workout with weights after that. I wake up at 5 am every day so I can get an early start on my walk to beat the heat. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t (it’s very hot and humid here). I’ll evaluate things again once I hit 160 and go from there. I’m not aiming for a specific number on the scale; I’m aiming for what makes me happy and healthy.

Lost 100 Pounds But Gained So Much More

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4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

It’s officially summer and, for me, that means BBQs, seafood feasts, pool days, and late nights playing cards. How many BBQs have you attended where healthy food was abundant? Yeah, me either. But, all is not lost. There are ways for you to stay on track during the summer and some of them are much easier than you think!

BYOF

That’s right…bring your own food. Don’t feel bad about this either! Back in April and May, we had birthday parties for my niece and nephew. I brought my own food to each one of the parties and I stayed on track. It wasn’t without some ribbing from the family, but I was able to stay on track while celebrating so it was a win-win for me. In the end, that’s all that matters. My sister hosts an annual BBQ every July and I always bring a covered dish. Last year, I brought cole slaw made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and some healthy apple won-tons.

Even if the BBQ isn’t a bring your favorite dish kind of thing, it’s still best to bring something that you can eat. Even if you’re the only one eating it. Make up a turkey burger patty before leaving and be sure you have your choice of bread to eat it on. There are a ton of recipes online for you to review to make BBQ staples in a healthier way. Do some research and experiment with a few things before the BBQ.

Plan Ahead

Ok, y’all know that planning was going to be included in here somewhere. If you’re a person who schedules a cheat day, it’s important for you to know what’s coming your way. Even if you don’t schedule a cheat day, you should still plan ahead for summer events. By planning ahead, you can adjust your meals accordingly leading up to the event so that your body is better prepared to handle what’s about to happen.

Buy Local

Buying local is going to help you stay on track with your weight loss and your budget. Produce stands pop up practically everywhere so take full advantage of them! Not only is it a great way to support your local farmers, you also get some of the freshest produce available while saving money! Many local farmers don’t use all the crap that’s put on food when it hits the grocery store. How many times have you bought something you thought was ripe only to learn it wasn’t? That’s because, at some point, it was sprayed with a chemical to change the color to make it look ripe.

Soak Up Vitamin D

I try to plan at least 1 pool day a week with family and/or friends. This usually means BBQ’ing burgers and hot dogs and everything else we can find. Instead of indulging in that, I opt for fresh fruit and some grilled veggies…maybe a turkey or veggie burger. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to absorb nutrients we need from foods. It’s advised that we spend no more than 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen in order to get the most out of the sun. Set a time if you have to and then be sure to apply your sunscreen. I opt for SPF 50 by Coppertone Sport because it protects my skin if I sweat.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest so make sure you do just that! You don’t have to blow it all because of a BBQ or a get together with friends and/or family. Just be sure to plan ahead for such events and do your best to work toward your goals each day. I’d love to know what your go-to “secrets” are for staying on track for the summer so feel free to comment below.

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3 Benefits of Meal Planning

Meal planning is different than meal prepping….try not to confuse the two. Meal planning is simply the act of planning what meals you’re going to prepare for the week ahead. Meal prepping, on the other hand, is the act of actually putting those meals together and freezing them so you don’t have to cook all week. See the difference? I don’t generally meal prep because I don’t like wasting food. It never fails, as soon as I’ve prepped my meals, I’m not in the mood for what I’ve prepped and I end up throwing it in the trash. Now that I’ve filled you in on the difference, it’s time to dive into the three benefits of meal planning.

Saves Time

Who doesn’t want to save time when it’s such a precious commodity?! I’m all about saving myself as much time as I possibly can! I sit down each week, usually on Saturday, and plan out our meals ahead of time. I make my grocery list based on the meals we’re having, adding the staples, of course, and head out to the grocery store.

How does this save time? I don’t have to think about dinner for the next week. All I have to do is take out the meat so it thaws and cook it. I’m not trying to figure out dinner every day and then have someone tell me they’re not in the mood for whatever I’ve taken out to cook. It also saves time in the grocery store because I know exactly what I need to buy. If I don’t need anything on an aisle, I don’t go down that aisle! My goal is to get in, get what I gotta get, and get out.

Saves Money

Because my list is specific to dinners for the next week, I don’t buy stuff I don’t need, which means I’m saving money! I only buy enough to get us through that meal plan (ok, maybe some extra snacks for the kid) so I’m not totally shocked when I get through self-checkout and see the total. Meal planning also saves me money because we’re not ordering out because no one could decide or agree on what to have for dinner.

If you’re having salad or other dishes that call for fresh ingredients, do not buy these too far ahead of time because they’ll go bad before you get to use them.

It’s Healthy

When you plan your meals ahead of time, you know exactly what you’re making so you can make a healthier version. There’s no guessing as to what’s in the dish because you made it yourself. For example, last night we tried a Pinterest pesto chicken crock pot recipe. Only the chicken and pesto had to cook in the crock pot and I can eat that. However, it calls for cooked pasta to be added at the end. Well, I cooked regular pasta for the guys and whole grain pasta for myself. I know exactly what was in my dinner last night because I measured it and made it.

Meal planning also gives you the added benefit of being able to make dishes healthier for you. If your family loves a certain dish and it’s always on your menu, take some time to research ways you can make it better for you. I bet you could make it healthier and your family wouldn’t even notice! I get the whole family involved in meal planning because they eat here, too.

Weekly Meal PlanDo you want to start meal planning but don’t know where to start? My weekly meal planner printable will help you get started. On the left are the days of the week for you to write down your menu. The right is a shopping list; only use this list for the items you need to complete your meal plan first, then add everything else you may need. I keep this in my Filofax and take it with me when I head out to the grocery store. It’s a great way to get started and help keep you going.

I don’t follow this plan to the letter; sometimes I jump around depending on everyone’s mood but we always eat meals that have been planned ahead of time. Enter your email address below to download this free weekly meal planner today!

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YOU Are Responsible for Your Motivation

YOU Are Responsible for Your Motivation

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me how I stay motivated with my weight loss. I don’t have a secret or magical will power. I have pure motivation to stay the course. Why? Because I want to be healthy; because I want to come off my meds; because I want to have more choices in clothes. If you want it, you’ll make it happen – it’s just that simple!

Starting out, I wasn’t as motivated as I am today. Like everything, it comes in time. There are still days that I’m not motivated at all but I still get up and do it anyway. Why? Because I know I’m going to feel better when it’s done. There are days I just want to kick back and binge watch Netflix and chow down on chips. Do I do that? Of course not! Why? Because it’s not conducive to my goal.

How Can I Stay Motivated?

Motivation is as unique as you and I. What motivates me may not motivate you and vice versa. So, it’s important for you to understand your why (and this doesn’t just pertain to weight loss). First thing’s first – you need to determine your goal. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down what you want to achieve. Got it? Ok, now it’s time to move on to understanding your why. Why do you want to achieve (your goal here)? List realistic, relevant reasons you want to achieve your goal.

Now that you know your goal and your why, break it down into bite-sized pieces so it’s easier to digest. When I first started my weight loss journey, I wanted to lose 100 pounds. Well, that’s a big ass goal and it overwhelmed me each time I thought about it. But, I broke it down into 20 pound increments because that’s way more manageable. Once you have your goal broken down into smaller pieces, you need to make a plan for how you’re going to achieve each piece. Write it all down on paper because you’re more likely to succeed that way and get to work!

What to Do When Motivation Wanes

Your motivation is going to ebb and flow and that’s natural. The only advice I have for this is don’t get too comfortable! Nothing good ever came from your comfort zone and it’s sure as hell not going to start now. We tend to get complacent when we become slightly satisfied. Right now, I’m happier with my weight than I’ve been in a long time and it would be so easy for me to just work on maintaining it. But, that’s not what I want in the end. I need to lose more weight and I’m not going to do that by just maintaining. It’s during these times that you’re going to start coming up with “reasons” not to do this or not to do that.

Do It Anyway

I don’t care if you want to do it or not, if you need to do it, it gets done. It’s summer vacation and I don’t want to still get up at 6 am, but I do it anyway. I don’t want to work when I’d rather be lounging in the pool, but I do it anyway. So, whatever your goal is, do it anyway! You’re not going to achieve it if you stop working for it.

Hold Yourself Responsible

What it all comes down to is that you’re the only person responsible for your motivation. There’s not one other person in my life who wants my weight loss more than I do. How can I hold those people responsible for my motivation? I can’t! They’re supportive, yes, but not responsible for making sure I get up and workout every day or log every single thing I eat. That’s all on me. Your goals are on you, and you alone, to achieve.

You’re more empowered than you give yourself credit for and it’s high time you realize it. Don’t give your power away to other people or things. Own that shit and do it like only you can! It’s time to depend on yourself and stop making excuses for why you “can’t” do this or that. Just think – all the time you’ve spent making excuses, you could’ve achieved your goal already. That sucks, doesn’t it? But, better late than ever so get to it!

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Brace Yourself: There is NO Quick Fix

Brace Yourself - There is NO Quick Fix

I’ve been on every fad diet imaginable over the years and there’s one thing they all have in common – THEY DON’T WORK! How many of you have bought into diet pills or other “guaranteed” methods of weight loss? If you raised your hand, the next fact is going to surprise you. Americans spend over $60 billion a year on weight loss products. $60 billion! And you thought eating healthy food was expensive.

I don’t care what any of these products say, there is NO quick fix for weight loss! You have to put in the work, which is why so many people fail at weight loss. We get lazy and look for a miracle pill that’s going to melt the fat away. No matter where you look, you’re never going to find it. Stop spending your hard earned money on fad diets and invest in YOURSELF. How do you do that?

You start by realizing that you DESERVE to take time for yourself. Your health should be your top priority and these fad diets are wreaking havoc on your health. Diet pills, for example, aren’t good for your heart and can increase your blood pressure. When you yo-yo diet, you lose fat and muscle, but, when you re-gain the weight, you actually gain more. Stop doing this to yourself!

Instead of wasting your money on fly-by-night fads, invest in a good pair of running/walking shoes and budget more for groceries so you can buy healthy foods. Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Yep, you read that right. On July 27, 2015, I was 278 pounds and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was put on metformin and lost more than 60 pounds in 6 months (weight loss is a side effect of the medication). At my 6 month check up, I was taken off the metformin and, within a year, I gained back all but 20 pounds. Why? Because I didn’t fully commit to changing my lifestyle.

It all starts with committing to making a change and always following through. That’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but it’s the one thing that will literally save your life. Trust me – I know. As of February 1, I’ve fully committed myself to getting healthy. At my last visit with the doctor, I was 259 pounds. I’m currently 196 pounds and I feel amazing!

There’s been no medication, no fad diets, no strict programs, no special food. It’s just been me, my Skechers GoRun shoes, my FitBit, the Lose It app, lots of lean protein, and all the fruits and veggies I can get.

Brace Yourself There is NO Quick FIx

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The Importance of Being Intentional

The Importance of Being Intentional: Why Goal Setting is Important

Each and every one of us has goals we want to achieve. What good are goals if you never follow through to achieve them? Those aren’t goals; they’re dreams. Goals are things to work hard to achieve to make your life better. It’s important to be intention when setting your goals so that you’re more likely to achieve them.

How to Be Intentional

Be realistic. Don’t set goals so high you’ll never reach them. That’s a form of self-sabotage and you’re not going to do that. Even if you think your goals are too small, so what. We all have to start somewhere! For example, when I first began my weight loss journey (again), my goals were to drink 2 bottles of water each day and get 5,000 steps per day. Those are small goals to me now, but, back then, they were huge!

Write them Down. To make your goals more concrete, you should write them down. Keep the paper somewhere you can see it regularly, like the fridge or your desk. I like to type my goals out in my Notes app and share them to Instagram. Why? Because sharing them with others makes me want to work hard to achieve them.

Plan Ahead. I can’t stress the importance of planning enough! It will help hold you accountable and keep you on track. Use a calendar or a daily planner to help you plan for the week ahead in case you could get thrown off course. If one of your goals is to exercise 3 days per week, take a look at your calendar to see what the best 3 days are. There’s no need to be caught off guard!

Tell Others. Nothing makes you want to follow through more than knowing others are watching you. Let me be clear – you’re not telling others about your goals so that you achieve them for those people. You’re telling others to help hold you accountable to yourself. This helps you set goals that you’re more likely to achieve.

Being intentional when setting your goals helps set you up for success. Don’t even think about setting a goal that you know you can’t or won’t achieve; it’s not worth the disappointment.

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Morning Exercise Increases Productivity

Morning Exercise Increases Productivity

It’s no secret that exercise is good for your physical and mental health. But, did you know that exercise increases productivity? Many people don’t look at it like that, mainly because it’s squeezed in where you can fit it, but it’s true. If you want to be more productive, exercise first!

How Exercise Increases Productivity

If you’ve ever exercised in your life, you know that it increases your energy and boosts your mood. Well, both of those correspond to your productivity. When your energy is high and your mood is good, you’re much more likely to get more done.

I know you’ve heard the saying, “a body in motion stays in motion”, right? Of course you have! When you exercise in the morning, you’re much more likely to stay in motion during the day. While your colleagues are struggling to get started in the morning, you’ve hit the ground running.

Exercise also increases your capacity for getting things done. If you need to work late, want to play with the kids, or need more time to focus on your business, exercise will help you get it all done.

This one is my absolute favorite – exercise inspires creativity. It’s true! Why do I like this one so much? Well, my brain is often overloaded with different things for work and home, not unlike the rest of you. I find myself thinking about things too long and getting nowhere. I go on a 2-mile walk every morning and I’ve noticed that my overthinking has decreased. Why? Because I’m able to work through these thoughts and come up with better ideas while I’m exercising.

By now you should be convinced that morning exercise increases productivity. You probably want to know how to become the person who exercises in the morning, right? Yeah you do!

How Can I Start Exercising in the Morning?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it – you’re changing a habit and that’s hard. You need to make sure you’re able to fully commit to this change or you won’t be able to stick with it. I’m not a morning person, never have been, but I always exercise in the morning because it’s important to me. So, even if you’re like me, you can become someone who exercises in the morning fairly easily. Here’s how!

1. Change your bedtime – go to bed earlier because you’ll be getting up earlier. There are times when I have to take melatonin to help me get to sleep so I can wake up without feeling groggy.
2. Be realistic – don’t set your sights on getting up at 4 am to workout at 5 am. That’s biting off way more than you can chew. Set realistic goals for yourself.
3. Get ready to be disappointed – yep, that’s right. You’re going to be disappointed because life happens but it’s ok. If you were planning to walk/run outdoors and woke up to rain, what are you going to do? You can’t control Mother Nature.
4. Let’s make a deal – I make deals with myself all the time; I can watch this show on the DVR when that is done. These days, I don’t drink a Dunkin’ coffee unless I’ve walked first. If you’re a coffee addict like me, that can be your deal. If you’re not a coffee junkie, replace coffee with whatever gets you going.
5. Crank it up – nothing is more motivating to me than music so make sure you’ve got a badass playlist ready to go.

So now you know that morning exercises increases productivity and you’re armed with 5 tips on how to workout in the morning. What more do you need to get started? Let’s do this!

How Exercise Increases Productivity

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