Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Workout Wishlist.

Balance ball
I have a few workout dvd's that suggest using these and I am dying to get one. Any suggestions for a good one to look into?

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Metldown
I love this DVD! I am tired of borrowing it from the library, haha. I need other yoga dvds! Preferably for beginners.

Yoga Mat
I picked this one randomly. I have hardwood floors. I NEED a mat! Suggest something better?

Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones
This is one of my favorites, and I need it in my collection! I have had this out from the library for over a month now.

Bob Harper: Kettlebell Cardio Shred
Interested in kettlebell... this dvd sounded like the best one

I don't know which kettlbell to look into. Is this one any good?

The Biggest loser Fitness Program
I LOVE this book. Words cannot express how awesome it is.

Master Your Metabolism Cookbook
Another book I am tired of borrowing from the library.

Master Your Metabolism
This book changed my life. No lie! If you haven't read it, go. NOW!

It's really funny when you look at this list because the dvd's are all from trainers who were on The Biggest Loser, same with the books. I have never seen that show once. I stumbled across Jillian Michaels thanks to my dad of all people. He had the 30 Day Shred DVD lying around and I liked it so much that it got me back into exercising. Anyone have any other suggestions?

I really want a good heart rate monitor that also is a calorie counter. So few of them are rated well, though. Any thoughts?


I went clothes shopping today with plans on getting a pair of workout pants & a new skirt. I grabbed 3 sizes, unsure of where I would fall... None of them fit. I tried on one more size, FOUR sizes smaller than I am used to, and they fit PERFECTLY! Not only did I beat my goal of being down 3 full pants sizes by July 4th, but I lost an additional size on top of that! I am so excited. I even got two new shirts in a smaller size, too!


Words cannot express how content I am with my progress thus far. I can't wait until my birthday in November, I wonder what an additional few months will do to me! I hope they are as kind as the last two have been!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why is sleep so important when trying to lose weight?

I have had trouble with falling asleep my whole life. I've been a night owl since I was a kid, and my body just never got used to going to bed before midnight, usually much later than that. When I was in high school, I suffered from really awful insomnia that would keep me up for days on end. Seriously. I hardly ever slept! Looking back on that time, I realize that I gained 60 pounds in one year - the year when I was told I suffered from insomnia. I was 17. This is when my weight troubles began. I remember weighing myself on new years eve and thinking I only had 20 pounds to lose, and the following new years I weighed myself again and was shocked to see I had to lose over 85 pounds to get to my goal weight. Ouch. 60 pounds in ONE YEAR.

Why did I gain so much weight so fast? It's really simple, and I wish I had known this back then, because my life could be a lot easier right now.

When you don't get enough sleep, your body is low on energy and it causes your brain to believe you NEED sugary foods for that instant rush on energy.  Your body will also have more trouble processing glucose which can lead to gaining weight. If you're having trouble sleeping, your body also is producing higher levels of cortisol & slows your metabolism down to a stop. As if THAT wasn't enough, your body will most likely be too tired to exercise, leading to weight gain.

"It's a no-brainer that sleep is important. There's nothing like a good night's rest to make you feel rejuvenated, energetic and ready for your day. Not to mention that research has shown that a lack of sleep increases the risk of diabetes, obesity and injuries.  Now there's a new study out furthering the cause for getting a solid 6-8 hours of sleep a night. According to the October 5 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, not getting enough sleep may inhibit fat loss in dieters.

In the study, dieters were divided into two groups: those who got about 8 hours of sleep and those who only got about 5 hours of sleep. While both groups lost the same amount of weight on a calorie-controlled diet, the amount of fat they lost was dependent on how much sleep they had. The group who got a full night's sleep had weight loss that consisted of 50 percent or more from fat, while the reduced sleep group had only one-fourth of their weight loss from fat, according to the study.

It's well researched that when sleep is restricted, levels of ghrelin go up and leptin levels go down. Ghrelin is a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure, while leptin controls appetite. So when you don't get enough sleep, it's a whole lot easier for your dieting willpower to go right out the window. It's actually hormonal. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't getting enough sleep, which is probably playing a role in the obesity epidemic." Taken from here.

How much sleep should you shoot for a night? As close to 7 to 9 hours as possible. You don't want to sleep too much, but you need to make sure you're shooting for 8 for weight loss.

What can you do to make sure you get more sleep each night?
- Exercise! Even if it's just walking for 20 minutes a day, it will go a long way.
- Try establishing a bedtime. I know it sounds silly, but your body will get used to going to bed at the same time each night & fall into a pattern.
- Cut out as much caffeine as possible from your diet, preferably completely. If you can't do that, at least stop having caffeinated beverages at least 4 hours before bed.
- Make your room very dark. Get an eye mask.
- Avoid naps.

Good luck and happy resting!


So glad today is a rest day, as I overdid it yesterday. I did wake up by 9:30, but I wasn't able to get out of bed until after 1pm. Oops... I am taking it easy today & possibly not even bothering with the Nordic Track. I really need a REAL rest day.

I'm going to the pool now with the kids and I plan on just relaxing in the water, no real swimming intended. I will get in the water and play with the kids, but you can forget about me doing ANY exercising in that pool today! I hurt all over, which I find odd since I really only worked my abs hard last night.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today's workout consisted of...

- Spent over 4 hours in the pool today.
I did a few laps, but mostly did aerobic exercises in the water when I wasn't busy playing with the kids.

- 4 miles on the Nordic Track.
Over 1200 calories burned, might I add, in less than an hour, to boot! According to the Nordic Track I burned 1200, but according to this calculator here, I burned almost 1500. Nice :) BTW that calculator is wonderful for almost every exercise you can think of! Random: I sooo want one of these.

- 150 regular crunches
I am kind of looking forward to my break tomorrow from crunches :)

- 50 reverse crunches
Mhm, done & done.

- 50 bicycle crunches
Ouch, these bad boys hurt.

- 20 REAL push ups
Did it, and it wasn't easy. I've never been able to do REAL pushups before! This was definitely the hardest part of my whole workout.

- 30 Day Shred
Done. I only did Level 1 because I didn't see a need to go all out since I did so much other exercising besides the DVD.

Other accomplishments for the day:
- Took my vitamins & supplements
Fish Oil, Super B complex, Chromium, Multi vitamin

- Consumed 120 ounces of water
I have started tracking my water & this is the most I've had since tracking began last week.

- Woke up at 9 & will be in bed by 1:30
No problem, I am exhausted! Andrew is working late tonight so I am not waiting up for him. I am taking a shower and headed off to dreamland. Looking forward to a solid 8 hours of sleep & getting up at a respectable time tomorrow!

- No soda.
Easyyyy! I do sometimes miss soda, but when I think about what is more important, health or soda, well - soda always loses.

In addition to all of those things, I also was very careful about what I ate. I wasn't nearly as hungry because of all the water I was drinking, but I forced myself to eat one thing, even if it was just some fruit or a piece of cheese or something, every 3 hours. I didn't go crazy at dinner time, and I haven't had any late night snacks, either. I'm proud!

I am looking forward to an easy day tomorrow. I only need to do 4 miles+ on the Nordic Track. I am taking a break from all other exercises tomorrow. All my goals & accomplishments are still going to HOPEFULLY be fulfilled, but so far so good!

How important are rest days between workouts and cool downs after workouts?

Are cool downs really important?

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I love doing the 30 Day Shred DVD. The first few times I used this dvd, I did the cool down afterwards. It hurt my back and my legs, so I stopped trying the cool down.

I was reading something interesting in The Biggest Loser's Fitness Program last night about how important cool downs really are & I decided to give them another chance. The cool down is just as important as the warm up. Do you ever workout without doing a warm up first? I know I don't!

A cool down brings your body back down to it's pre-exercise state. A cool down serves multiple purposes but the most important things a cool down does is it reduces your pulse to it's pre-exercise state and in addition to that, a cool down returns the blood to your heart in the proper amounts so it can expel the lactic acid (a chemical result of muscular fatigue) from your muscles. Signs of an improper cool down are dizziness, nausea, & an overall feeling of exhaustion.

In short: always try to do a cool down after any exercise.

Should I allow resting days in between my workouts?

Another thing you may have noticed is I am trying to do crunches on a daily basis, a minimum of 100 of them. After doing some research on rest days and their importance, I am going to shoot for 250 crunches a day 3- times a week instead of daily. Not a good idea to work out the same muscles so often! Kind of stinks, I love doing crunches.

If you are doing weight lifting or strength training in your workouts, you need to give your muscles a chance to regroup. When you're working out, you're ripping your muscles to shreds, literally. The resting period is when your muscle rebuilds & comes back stronger, appearing more toned than before. You also need to rest in order to give your body a chance to replenish energy stores as well.

It is believed by many that you should work out certain muscle groups only on certain days. An example of a suitable workout routine can be found here. I may try this schedule for myself this week! Not necessarily those exercises, but I like the general idea for the muscles worked on those days.
Do you need to take rest days from cardio as well as strength training?

No, you don't really need rest days from cardio. 6 days a week is considered reasonable for cardio, but if you're comfortable doing it daily, go for it. The thing you need to remember is that you should have one day a week that is a true rest day from all forms of exercise. It will help you avoid getting burned out!

Motivational Monday!

Happy Monday, everyone! 

Here are some motivational quotes to get the week off on the right foot:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
- Mark Twain

Who aims at excellence will be above mediocrity; who aims at mediocrity will be far short of it.
- Burmese Saying

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before.
- Polybius

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
- Arthur C. Clarke

You cannot plow a field by
turning it over in your mind.
- Author Unknown

"The first step to becoming is to will it. 
- Mother Teresa

My new goals for this week are as follows:
150 regular crunches every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
50 bicycle crunches every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
50 reverse crunches every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
30 Day Shred (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
4 miles a day on the Nordic Track 5-7 times 
Wake up by 9:30 every day & Go to bed by 1:30 at least 5 times this week (I am a notorious night owl, so I'm trying to break this habit slowly by easing into an early wake up time)
Drink 100 ounces or more of water daily
Take my vitamins & supplements daily
No soda

To take this list one step further, I also made an entire workout itinerary for the week for the rest of my body and even wrote down what workouts I would do each day and for what muscle groups. I am very organized and together this week, so I'm hoping this attitude carries over into the rest of the week! My workout itinerary isn't going to be a part of my goals list, because there are over 15 different exercises to name. The ones I listed on my goals list are the ones I am the most excited to follow through with.

I am aiming a bit higher than I did last week because I am trying to meet my goal of dropping one dress size by July 4th. I don't know how many of these I will be able to accomplish, but I am hoping to meet all of them. Realistically though, I'll be happy if I can stick to 7 out of the 9 goals I have set for myself. 

This morning I took my measurements for the first time in a while. I am proud to say that since beginning my exercise regimen, I have lost 9.5 inches IN MY WAIST alone! I've lost 4 inches total from my arms, too. Grand total for inches lost is 31 inches from all over my body. I am so proud!

I'd also like to report that all my workout pants are too big. They keep slipping off. 3 out of the 5 pairs of workout pants are from 2009, when I had lost over 30 pounds. I am so happy! I have to tie them up with hair ties, hahaha! Andrew will get me 2 new pairs next week, he says. I don't want to get too many new clothes because I am hoping the loss continues.

“You see things and say ‘Why?’ but I dream things and say ‘Why not?’”
- George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kicking my own butt.

I have been doing great this weekend with working out! I went 9 miles on the Nordic Track today. I did 200 crunches, this time I mixed it up more than usual. I've mastered reverse crunches, oblique crunches, bicycle crunches, and torso twists. It's really starting to show, too. I put on my bathing suit for the first time in almost a week and I couldn't believe how much more loose it was in the belly area! I did get compliments at the pool from a few friends, too. In addition to those things, I also did the 30 Day Shred, and tried out a new DVD called Crunch: Belly, Butt & Thighs Boot Camp. I did arm exercises in addition to all of these things, too. I feel great & I can't even believe the difference between my body this week versus last week. It's amazing. I love feeling AND seeing the results all at once, you know?

People who haven't seen me in a few months will be shocked the next time we meet, guaranteed.

I also am really pleased to say that my father complimented me on how well I've been doing. He's not much for compliments. He says I am inspiring him to want to work out, too! When I told Laurin that he said that to me, she admitted that I was her inspiration for working out again! I can't believe how many people I'm motivating to better their lives through exercise! So happy!

I made a list of goals for the week which I will share tomorrow at some point. I hope you had a great weekend and have an even better week!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Did we reach our goals this week?

- No more fast food, even at the drive in. I don't mind splurging every now and then, but I want to go one full week without ANY fast food, just to prove I can do it.
Nope, I didn't make it. I went to the drive in on Monday night and had mozzarella sticks. Grrr. Oh well, better luck next week! It could have been worse though, right? I only had one fast food item this week instead of, say, 5. I'm pleased with this.

- Drink nothing but water and drink LOTS of it. I always behave & follow this, except on the days I go to the drive in. I had maybe half a cup of soda from Andrew on Saturday night & I paid the price with a horrible migraine. I am NOT making that mistake again. After going almost 2 weeks with no soda & nothing but water, I ruined it & paid the price.
Except for ONE gulp of coffee yesterday when my headache was really bad, I did hold true to this. I never drink coffee, but I figured the caffeine might help with the headache a bit. Can taking a sip of coffee for my headache really be held against me? I haaate coffee, yuck. I am going to go ahead and say I stuck with this. I've been averaging over 100 ounces a day OR MORE of water!

- Walk/Run 21 miles. It doesn't matter if it's from the Nordic Track, or from walking or running outside, I want to do this. Easy, 3 miles a day. I have been going above and beyond this lately, but I am trying a new system this week and seeing how it works for me.
SO CLOSE! I made it to 18 miles. I only did that over 3 days because I wasn't feeling well this week. It could be worse. Shooting for 21 miles again next week!

- Implement my new system of 15 minutes of intense walking or running on the Nordic Track followed by 10 minutes of strength training. Repeat as many times as able. No more marathon walking without strength training included. 
On the 3 days I used the Nordic Track, I did this and it felt great.

- Continue doing 100 crunches in a row each day. 
Pfft! I am up to over 100 crunches a day, and today I did 200! I have NOT missed a single day of crunches!

It could be better, but it could be worse. I completed 3 out of 5 of my goals. The best part about this is that I completed most of my goals even though I was having a really rough week. If I can do that on a bad week, imagine what i can do on a good week! I am so excited & happy. 

Now to think of what to add to this list for next week. Any ideas?

A little healthy competition.

My friend Laurin recently restarted her workout regimen with her personal trainer & has begun her new low carb diet. I had been in a bit of a slump, as I am sure you noticed. Knowing she was working out too gave me the motivation to start up again! I never completely stopped, but now I'm at it full force again. We were texting this afternoon and she said she was hopping on the elliptical for an hour. I decided to do the Nordic Track. I did 3 miles, and then did a bunch of arm and ab exercises, 200 crunches total! I did 3 more miles and then finished everything off with some more leg exercises.

I've been feeling horrible the last 24 hours with what I describe as an ice pick headache. Ouch. Working out at first was making the throbbing worse, but I am glad I stuck with it. Less than an hour after beginning, the headache stopped entirely. I feel great now.

I am so glad Laurin is doing this with me. She can help keep me accountable, keep me on my toes, and we can remind/push each other to do everything to the best we possibly can.

I had another friend in 2009 that I joined a gym with. We were really good about going quite a few times a week, and I think we motivated each other to keep going. I moved away, and she found out she was pregnant. Working out together ended, and I slowly began putting the weight back on. Up until that point, I never pushed myself as hard as I did when Alyssia and I were exercising together, so I am really glad Laurin is joining me! Luckily, I've built up quite a bit of stamina and I know much more efficient ways of exercising than I did in 2009. Here's hoping Laurin and I can lose 167 pounds together!

Do you have a workout buddy?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Food ABC's.

A is for Apple, what’s your favorite variety?
I love almost every apple I can find, but when I'm picking them, I tend to go for Pink Lady apples.
B: is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?
I am hopelessly in love with garlic bread topped with cheeses.

C: is for Cereal what is your favorite kind currently (just one!)
Honey Nut Cheerios.

D: is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?
E: is for Eggs, how would you like yours prepared?
Not a fan of eggs.
F: is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?
Jell-O Chocolate Pudding.
G: is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours at?
  Stop & Shop, BJ's, Target, Wal Mart & Market Basket. There certain things I love that I can only find at those stores. Grocery shopping is an all day event, haha.
H: is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?
I: is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
I am boring, I want chocolate ice cream with caramel on top. Mmmm.
J: is for Jams or Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?
Not really, no.
K: is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product?
I tried this cereal once and it was amazing. I need to buy some. Honey Almond Flax.
L: is for Lunch, what was yours today?
I had an apple. I wasn't feeling very hungry this afternoon. Had a horrible headache.
M: is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
Popcorn, but only if it's burned!
N: is for nutrients, do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?
Carbs. I am bad, I know.
O: is for oil, what kind do you like to use?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
P: is for protein, how do you get yours?
I am a fan of nuts lately. It's a new thing from back when I tried to be vegan (failed! :( very sad about that)
Q: is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?
With cinnamon and strawberries!
R: is for roasting, what is your favorite thing to roast?
S: is for sandwich, what’s your favorite kind?
Maybe I need to grow up, but I still love Peanut Butter & Fluff!
T: is for travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?
Not very well, but I'm getting better. I pack snacks and fruits and veggies for long trips. 
U: is for unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?
I am not sure that I like anything overly weird.
V: is for vitamins, what kind do you take?
Multi, Chromium, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Super B Complex, etc.
W: is for wasabi, yay or nay?
Not a fan.
X: is for XRAY. if we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
3 apples, some strawberries, a salad, a rice krispie treat, some pasta, and 5 french fries.
Y: is for youth, what food reminds you of your childhood?
Pancakes & cupcakes.
Z: is for zucchini, how do you prepare it?
Like this! I can't find teh exact recipe for how my grandfather made it, but that's pretty close. Love it. Need to make some myself.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beliefs vs. Thoughts.

"One of the most important things to know about the mind and reality is the difference between thoughts and beliefs. The difference between a thought and a belief is that you may have thousands of thoughts going through your mind but none of them have any power except those that are beliefs. A belief is a thought that you make real, or accept as true. Choosing to make a thought real or not is a decision under the very power of the will.
It is important to understand that is not our thinking that creates our circumstances, but the emotion that is attached to our thoughts. Thoughts become things but not all thoughts become things, only the thoughts that are accompanied with strong feelings and emotion.
Thought is first a conscious suggestion, then it becomes a subconscious memory, working day and night. This is what operates the law of attraction, because the laws of attraction and repulsion are entirely subconscious. Thoughts may be conscious to start with, but they are subconscious as soon as they are set in motion. Now suppose I did not say I was poor, but came into the world with an unconscious thought of poverty. So long as that thought operated, I would be poor. I might not have understood the Law, but it would have been working all the time.
The subconscious mind is the seat of emotion and the storehouse of memory, therefore memory is tied to emotion. Emotion is energy in motion. The more emotion a thought has, the more it is able to move things. Weak thoughts have little emotion. Strong thoughts have much emotion."

There are 4 questions my counselor asked me to answer as many times as I could and as honestly as I could, and here they are.
How Do I Feel About Myself?
I am a failure. I am never good enough. I let everyone down. I am worthless. I'm a bitch. I am ugly and I will always be ugly.

How Do I Feel About Others?
I can't trust anyone. Friends will always turn their back. Everyone is out for their own best interest. I am just a stepping stone to something better. No one believes me so why should I believe them? Everyone lies to me.

How Do I Feel About the Future?
Bleak. Scared. Worried. 

What is Your Slogan or Motto for Life?
"Life is no way to treat an animal." The good news is, it ends eventually.

This is a pretty sad, depressing list. But every answer is true. I answered each question with the first few things that popped into my head. I guess I am a really depressed person. I know this sounds weird, but I'm a really happy person trapped inside the shell of a super depressed person. I WANT nothing more than to be genuinely happy. I just don't feel like I deserve it. And, I hate to say it, but I believe that until I lose the weight, no one will ever love me & I will never be happy. This exercise could help me in a lot of ways, both emotionally and physically, if I let it.

I'm supposed to break some of my answers down into more rational terms. Words like everyone/everybody/always/never are irrational.

How Do I Feel About Myself?
- I am a failure.
I've never tried to do much with my life because I am so scared of failing. But if I never try, I will never accomplish anything. I need to try.
- I am never good enough.
I have messed up here and there, but for the most part, I come through for my family & friends. 
- I let everyone down.
I don't know why I wrote this... I just feel so worthless sometimes because I had so much potential and it was squandered. I can recover from this though, I know I can. 
- I am worthless. 
- I'm a bitch.
I think that I feel so awful about not meeting my potential that I let it ruin my day, year, whatever. I take my anger towards myself out on others. 
-I am ugly and I will always be ugly.

How Do I Feel About Others?
- I can't trust anyone. 
I have trouble trusting most people, but that doesn't mean that no one deserves to be trusted. Not everyone is out to get me or hurt me. 
- Friends will always turn their back. 
Just because this was true in high school, it doesn't mean it's true now. Surprisingly, I've made peace with almost everyone from high school. It's time to let this go. 
- Everyone is out for their own best interest. 
This is human nature, and I really truly do believe it, but it's not something I should hold against anyone.
- I am just a stepping stone to something better. 
I believe that people don't usually like me, that they are just trying to get what they want/need from me, and that's it. Who knows if it's really true... I know I am not trying to use everyone I meet, so my guess is that I'm just a bit paranoid due to some pretty horrible prior experiences.
- No one believes me so why should I believe them? Everyone lies to me. 
Not everyone is lying 100% of the time. I need to be more trusting. Innocent until proven guilty, instead of guilty until proven guilty. If I am looking for faults, I will find them. If I am searching for the good, I will see it.

How Do I Feel About the Future?
- Bleak. Scared. Worried. 
I can change this if I TRY.

What is Your Slogan or Motto for Life?
- "Life is no way to treat an animal."- Kurt Vonnegut
I really wonder sometimes if this world is worth all the hassle and pain it puts us through. But are we making our lives miserable all on our own, or are we letting a bad situation win? There is good in EVERYTHING, you just need to want to see it.
- Life: The good news is, it ends eventually.
:( I don't even have words for this one. 

I am glad I found this list online and was able to recreate the exercise my counselor wanted me to do. I wish I had the entire worksheet & all of the additional stuff she asked me to do, but this is a good baseline. I now have a better idea of what I truly believe, and I can now try and escape this horrible mindset. 
Attitude is everything.
I suggest everyone sit down and answer these questions about themselves, you never know what might come up....

Composure regained.

I am deeply sorry for the outburst yesterday. I felt horrible and needed to vent. It could have been done privately, but I am glad I posted it here. It's a reminder of the mindset I never want to let myself slip into ever again. I am not sure why I let everything add up & make me miserable. I couldn't even tell you. But it's over now, it's gone, it's done, & I am ready for a new day.

I didn't do too bad, if you think about it. I splurged a little. Had a few chocolate chip cookies, but not the whole box. I did have a bit of ice cream today, but just one ice cream bar, not two. I had popcorn yesterday, but I split it with the kids and my friends dog. I made a frozen pizza, but only had 3 small slices, and the kids had the rest. Things could have been a lot worse.

Even at my weakest point - yesterday - I still exercised & consumed over 100 ounces of water. It wasn't much exercise, but I did my crunches & I did the 30 Day Shred. Can I just mention that I now do 120 crunches a day followed by 20 regular sit ups? It's amazing to feel myself getting stronger. I really need to give myself credit.

Lately I'm really focused on back exercises and anything that can strengthen my core. I've always had a weak back and I felt that building up some of the muscle might help. I even took a picture of my back a few weeks back and another picture today and the difference is amazing. I can wear my swimsuit with a bit more confidence now.

Even though this whole week has been difficult, I am glad it happened. It taught me that I can't let emotions rule me anymore, and that I've worked far too hard and improved too much to allow myself to backslide so much. My mindset has changed, and I am ready to take on everything. No more moping, no more whining, just action. I always tell my kids that talk is cheap and actions mean everything. Anyone can SAY they will do something, but the follow through is what really matters. I'm really getting on board with that now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I am not sure what it is that is making me feel like such crap, but I have been in an awful mood ever since Sunday. I hurt my back and haven't been working out as much as I wanted to this week. Money has been tight because we overdid it on Father's Day, so now we can't get my weekly fruits & veggies. I'm just depressed, what's the point in exercising if I can't eat right?

I'm depressed because I should be working. I feel so useless. It's not right that Andrew works so much and I stay home and go to the pool and play with the kids. I am not contributing. I know I help by watching the kids but... I hate feeling this way. I want to get my head straight so I can get a job, and I know that part of what will help is me losing weight. But I just ... lost the motivation. I don't know where this slump came from, but I hate it. Things are great between Andrew and I, probably the best they have ever been. We are so happy lately, it's crazy. Maybe the guilt is coming from there? I have no idea. I just wish I got to spend more time with him, wish his kids knew him better... I wish I could have given him a real gift for Father's Day instead of just making a collage of pictures of our children....

Money is so tight I had to reschedule my therapy today for next Wednesday. I drove there and rescheduled in person & explained the situation. Totally embarrassing. I am not happy because I was really looking forward to this appointment, I felt like we were right on the verge of something big. I'm so disappointed I need to wait another week.... On top of that, I lost the list of questions and my answers that I spent 3 hours typing up. Because I share this computer, I didn't save the list. I suck, I suck. I suck.

Don't even get me started on the credit card fiasco I had to deal with today.....

I want to eat nothing but garbage. I went shopping today and picked up a pizza, french fries, cookies, and crackers. I haven't picked up stuff like this in ages. I actually am eating one of the cookies right now with chocolate milk. I suck, I suck, I suck.

I wish I wasn't such a mess. I wish I could start what I finish. I wish I was someone else. Fuck looking like garbage, fuck losing 1 or 2 pounds a week after HOURS of effort, and FUCK THIS DEPRESSION.

I am sorry for the language, I am just a mess right now. Over what? Who freaking knows. What happened to the most motivated girl ever with the bright outlook? Lost and gone? Hopefully not forever.


Monday, June 20, 2011

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Motivational Monday

Today I am starting a new weekly feature called Motivational Monday. I'm going to list quotes, my plans for the week, and challenge you to do your very best. At the end of the week I will review & see how I've done. Hopefully some of your participate in this and we can all review together!

Here are some quotes to get you going this week!

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
- William James

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.   
- Thomas Jefferson

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
- Franklin Roosevelt

I absolutely LOVE all three of these quotes. Definitely found some good ones today. Hope they lift your spirits and get you ready for another great week!

What are my plans for the week? Simple.
- No more fast food, even at the drive in. I don't mind splurging every now and then, but I want to go one full week without ANY fast food, just to prove I can do it. 
- Drink nothing but water and drink LOTS of it. I always behave & follow this, except on the days I go to the drive in. I had maybe half a cup of soda from Andrew on Saturday night & I paid the price with a horrible migraine. I am NOT making that mistake again. After going almost 2 weeks with no soda & nothing but water, I ruined it & paid the price. 
- Walk/Run 21 miles. It doesn't matter if it's from the Nordic Track, or from walking or running outside, I want to do this. Easy, 3 miles a day. I have been going above and beyond this lately, but I am trying a new system this week and seeing how it works for me.
- Implement my new system of 15 minutes of intense walking or running on the Nordic Track followed by 10 minutes of strength training. Repeat as many times as able. No more marathon walking without strength training included. 
- Continue doing 100 crunches in a row each day. 

Sounds easy enough, right? I'm not so worried about the physical aspect of these goals as much as I am worried about the food part. I am going to the drive in tonight, again, and also this weekend to see Cars. That's two more times the temptation will be there for soda and fast food & I will have to say no. It's not hard for me to say no, don't get me wrong, but I usually only pack a few things due to limited space in the car, and we're usually there from 6pm until 2am. That's a long time to just be snacking on fruits, veggies, etc. I give in because I get bored, and because my kids and Andrew are eating the stuff I miss. 

New motivation idea: think of one thing I'd like to accomplish in the near future!
- Wear a dress & really OWN it, you know what I mean?

I think now would be a good time to list some things I've accomplished that I couldn't claim a few months ago. Since I've begun dieting and exercising, I have:
- had fewer than 5 panic attacks a month.
- have insane amounts of energy.
- really begun to reconnect with my friends & family in a healthy way. My attitude is totally different!
- not had a real argument with my boyfriend in over a MONTH. This is a record, we have always been a bit rocky. I can't believe how much more healthy and happy our relationship is now vs. even just a few weeks back! 
- accomplished things I didn't think I could, like doing 100 crunches straight, alternating between walking and running 10 miles straight, etc. 
- dropped almost 3 full dress sizes!
- lost somewhere around 20 inches from all over my body.

I think I've deserved a pat on the back, don't you?

What are some of YOUR goals for the week? Share them here and I will call you out on it later in the week to see if you measured up!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A nice, relaxing weekdend!

Sometimes it's really nice to just let yourself have a relaxing weekend where you don't worry about work out schedules. I had a great time with my family these last two days. I am not letting the fact that I haven't exercised since Friday get me down. I am just enjoying the time with my boyfriend& kids. He works so much that it's rare we get to spend this much time together. This was his FIRST Father's Day off from work in the entire time I've known him!

Not sure if there are any daddy's who read this, but Happy Father's Day!

Anyway, I will kick start my work out starting tomorrow.
The only thing I've done since Friday night is 100 crunches a day on both Saturday and today. At least that's something!
I've been watching what I'm eating & drinking nothing but water.
Tomorrow morning I am getting up early and getting a few miles in for the week, following that up with some strength training.

But like I said, today is all about relaxation. I am going to go spend some time with my kids & my own father now. Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, June 17, 2011

100 crunch challenge completed!

The other day I challenged myself to complete 100 crunches straight by the end of June. I succeeded tonight! I even ended up doing an additional 40 reverse crunches afterward! I am so proud. I've decided I am going to keep right on doing this, even though I still have a lot of fat to burn off before results will really be apparent.

"Crunches, sit-ups, the plank and other core exercises primarily serve to tone, develop and define core muscles, including upper and lower abdominals. It's logical to think that they could make your entire stomach hard and big, by extension, but since those muscles are underlying and covered by fat, that's not the case. If you are slim, by contrast, those muscles will be located closer to the outer layer of your skin and the movements may help tighten and harden your midsection." Taken from here.

What do you think - should I keep doing the crunches or wait until I've lost another 30+ pounds? I am about 70 pounds away from my goal. I think I need to keep doing the crunches. It can't hurt, right?

I make sure that I not only do regular crunches, but I also do reverse crunches, oblique crunches, & bicycle crunches.

My new plan for the next week is really simple. I am going to do 20 minutes of intense walking/running, and then follow it up with some strength training. I will alternate back and forth for 80 minutes. I'm really concerned with getting my arms back to a respectable size & my belly, but I know lifting weights & doing crunches isn't enough. I need to make sure I am burning the fat off as I am toning my muscles in order to see the best results.

I screwed up a lot with my diet today. I did eat lots of fruit, but I also had a movie day/ mini celebration for my daughter's kindergarten play which involved quite a few sugar cookies & almost a full bag of popcorn. Ouch. It's okay though, I can learn from this. I won't let myself go as overboard as I did today. One interesting thing is instead of making multiple bags of sugar cookies like I used to, I only made one bag. We ended up with just under 30 cookies. The kids each had about 6 or 7. Laurin & I had the rest. Oops... Really sad thing is that's a lot less than we used to eat, haha!

I am working on that exercise I mentioned in a previous post, where I answer those 4 questions from my counselor.... It's a lot more difficult than I would have expected. I will post it on Monday, maybe sooner if I am not too busy this weekend. We'll see. It is Father's Day weekend, after all & I am hoping to make it a good one for Andrew. As far as the blog is concerned, I am making no guarantees.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


You know the challenge I mentioned yesterday with the crunches? Last night I did 54 & had to stop. Today I made it up to 75! It's getting easier & easier! Andrew, my boyfriend, said I might as well make it 200 at the rate I'm going. We'll see ;)

I think it's funny/cute how concerned my friends are with me over-doing the exercising. I wish people understood that 90% of what I do is walking/running! It's not hard, and I don't think walking every day could be bad for anyone. I do devote at least half an hour a day to workout dvd's & occasionally a bit of strength training on the side. The crunch challenge is just something new to keep me motivated & see what I am really capable of.

Don't worry so much, people! I'm fine.

My counselor gave me tons of homework today, and I'm thinking I might share it on the blog. I have to answer these 4 questions with the first things that pop into my head & then try to rationalize the answers. I had her laughing her butt off earlier. One question was, "What is your motto or slogan on how you feel about life?" I laughed and said that, "Kurt Vonnegut said it best! Life is no way to treat an animal." She laughed but looked very concerned after. Oops?

Anyway, I think it might be kind of fun to share with all of you. It's kind obviously going to be really personal but I think it's going to help a lot. She says if I can be  honest and upfront with my feelings life will be easier. If life is easier, the weight will come of easier, too. It's all connected. Strong mind, strong body.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was watching Cars with the kids tonight after already walking a few miles so I decided it was crunch time. Literally.

I am trying to get to 100 crunches straight by the end of June. Tonight I got to 54 & had to stop. I wonder if I can do this? I used to do 200+ crunches a day in 2004! I want to get to that point again. Of course, in 2004, I wasn't trying to do all 200 at once, I did all sorts of different crunches over the span of a lengthy workout.

I know that physically, the crunches won't do much good since I have so much weight I need to lose. You won't see abs through belly fat, after all. It's more of an ego boost for me. Just knowing I can do it would mean a lot to me. The next thing I want to work on is REAL push ups, but that will take a while.

My kids.

I know most of my blogs are about me & what I am doing to get in shape, and the occasional blog packed with healthy tips, but today it's time for something different. You have probably noticed by now that I am big into preaching about motivation& how important it is to stay motivated. There is nothing more motivating for me than my children.

Let's start with Jackie.
She's not *mine* in the truest sense of the word, but she certainly feels like my own child. I've been with Andrew, her father, since she was only 22 months old. I taught her how to walk, talk, and read. She kind of knew how to walk when I met her, but only with support. After 2 months with me she was walking on her own with ease & even going up & down the stairs by herself!
She taught me the importance of patience and also how amazing & rewarding persistence can be. She was diagnosed with autism back in 2009. Jackie isn't a "typical" kid, she's got a lot stacked against her. She had developmental delays since birth, and it's been very hard for her to lead a, um, "normal" life. She has trouble paying attention & staying focused, and quite a bit of sensory issues as well.
She's a burn victim. You'd never guess by looking at her that over 60% of her body was once scalded by hot water (including half of her face). Poor baby spent 2 weeks at Shriners hospital in Boston recovering. Had to have a few skin grafts, too. She healed up great! You really can't even tell except for on her left hand and foot where the skin grafts are.
I hate using words like normal and typical, but as anyone who knows someone with autism knows, kids who've been diagnosed are anything but. Not in a bad way, necessarily, but life with Jackie is definitely different!

She has an amazing sense of humor, she loves to dance, is obsessed with leaves & sticks, and is a big fan of cats. She's got the most beautiful blue eyes in the world & they are framed quite nicely by hair the color of chocolate. She loves fairies, especially Tinkerbell. Her favorite toy is her V-Reader. She is learning how to read this year & doing a nice job with it. She tends to forget if we don't practice every night so we have to stay right on top of it & repeat, repeat, repeat.
Jackie lives with us full time. Her mom lives out of state. She's been such an inspiration to me and to many people who have met her. Already, she is blowing right passed the expectations of doctors, not just for how she healed up after her accident, but with everything she has been able to achieve since receiving her diagnosis in October of 2009. She is a special little girl & possesses two rare gifts for a child her age: extreme patience with others & never wanting to give up.

Now, Xander.
Xander is my pride and joy. I hope I don't sound like a jerk for saying that, but I mean no offense to Jackie by saying that. Some people have made me feel guilty for having such a strong bond with Xander & for having a strained bond with Jackie. Any step mother in my situation would probably feel the same way as I do though, and it's only natural. I LOVE both of these kids with all my heart, I just feel closer to Xander. Him being a part of me for 42 weeks might have something to do with it.
I have learned so much since becoming a mommy on November 6th, 2007. My life wasn't really heading anywhere before I found out I was pregnant. I was a train wreck. My depression & anxiety issues were on the verge of consuming me, and I wasn't too interested in making anything of my life. All I wanted to do was party. I drank almost every night. I'm not proud of it, but it's true.
Xander gave me focus, purpose. My life is still a mess, not going to lie. The good news is that I rarely drink anymore, maybe a dozen times since he was born - and that doesn't mean I've gotten drunk that much, I am counting each night I've drank here. Now, I am all about fixing my life & making things better instead of destroying everything. I recently sought out counseling & I am being treated for panic disorder. I am hoping to get that straightened out in the next few months so that maybe I can go to school next spring & help these kids live the lives they deserve - full of opportunities and happiness.
Xander makes me so happy, and gives me so much love it's unreal. He is my best friend.

These kids are my world. I am going to keep trying to be the mom they need. They are my main motivation in every aspect of my life. I will reach my goals & I will be the healthiest, best mommy I can be for them.

Reward system for working out?

I have been doing pretty good in the last 24 hours with exercising. I did around 8 miles between yesterday & today. I even used the 30 Day Shred twice, and two other DVD's. I also cleaned up the kitchen, bathroom, and living room yesterday and believe me, that was no fun. Cleaning my house should definitely be considered a workout.

After being sick all week, it took a lot of effort to get moving, let me tell you!

I've decided that I will only allow myself computer time (something I generally don't even get that much of, believe it or not) if I've earned it by working out. This is probably one of my better ideas since this is actually getting me moving! I love going online & checking cnn, facebook, and my blog. I really look forward to it every day, in fact! Now I have to earn the chance to do so, and I think it's fantastic.

From now on, I will only come on the computer if I have walked at least 2 miles, have done something with my workout DVD's, or have had one fruit or vegetable. I need to do at least 2 out of those 3 things in order to come online.

Do you reward yourself with something for working out?

Monday, June 13, 2011

I am not a fan of Mondays.

I am not sure if today has been horrible because of the fact that I had such a great weekend & it's over now, or if it's because I haven't worked out in a week. Whatever it is, I feel horrible. Learning that I gained not 1 pound but 3 pounds certainly didn't help. Good news is that I had lost 27 pounds as of last week & never updated the scale on the top of my blog to reflect the loss, so it still says 24 down.

I am not thrilled with gaining 3 pounds, but with as sick as I've been, I'm not surprised. I didn't exercise more than two or three times last week, I was barely eating & when I was eating, it was only once or twice a day. I don't think I had more than 5 piece of fruit last week. Ugh. I was too sick to cook a few days last week & Andrew got me fast food. On my trip to Rhode Island on Saturday we had nothing but fast food. At the drive in on Sunday, I had fast food. I did not drink any soda though, so I'm glad to say I have been completely caffeine free for a week+ now.

One interesting thing I learned is this: because I hardly eat fast food anymore, when I do, I can FEEL how horrible it is for my body. I actually felt sick after eating Taco Bell last week. It's the only fast food I can even stomach.... All I had were cheese roll-ups & cheesy fiesta potatoes (hush, I know, I know)  but I actually felt my body running differently almost immediately after consuming that crap. I am pretty sure I have kicked my love of fast food! I used to be a french fry addict & also loved cheeseburgers & chicken nuggets. Now I don't eat meat much (as in less than once a week, most of the time I eat none at all) so that's not an issue. French fries absolutely disgust me now. So, yaaaay.

I am trying to turn this crappy week around and learn from it, though. I am never letting myself go more than 2 days without exercising again. I am going to be better about eating ever 3 or 4 hours from now on, sick or not. I am even thinking of setting timers on my phone to remind me to eat something to keep myself going.

So, anyone wondering how I feel after one week of not working out much? Horrible! My energy is gone, my positive attitude has disappeared, and I am just down right miserable. I even had a panic attack on Saturday.

Getting myself in the mood to exercise was impossible. I just crawled out of bed today and forced myself to walk a few miles on the Nordic Track. I really took it easy & only did 4 miles in 56 minutes. But it's something! I am planning to start the 30 Day Shred again tonight, too. I even picked up 5 new DVD's today to get me motivated. One new DVD a day should keep me interested.

Learn from my mistake - work through your sickness, even if all you do is go for a walk each day. Don't let your cold rule your whole life, like I did. I gained weight, I feel gross, and I have to get used to exercising all over again. Not good.

I know that once I get back into the swing of things, it will come easy. I am just dreading what these workout DVD's are going to do to my body after a week of barely doing anything except sleep.

By the way - what on earth happened to my blog while I was gone? On Thursday I was flipping out and so excited to reach 1000 hits and now I have almost 1800 & I haven't posted since Friday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weight Loss Motivation.

I've said many times that the most important part of weight loss is motivation. Without it, you're not going to get very far. This post is all about ways to keep yourself motivated and help you reach all your goals. This is the big one, guys, the post I've been working on for a while now.

Buy a notebook & document EVERYTHING.

Go out & buy a notebook specifically to document your current weight & measurements, long & short term weight loss goals, your time spent exercising each day, a food diary complete with calories, whatever you want that may help you lose weight. Use this notebook daily and jot down everything. Keep a record of your energy level before and after workouts, notice that on days you don't work out or eat right how different you feel. This is a really awesome tool that will help more than you can ever realize right now. It will be amazing when you're a few months in and see a huge difference in your weight, energy level, and stamina.


In my journal, I like to make a list of 3 little goals I would like to achieve for the week. They could be small goals, for example: this week I have been sick, so I'm shooting for 15 miles walked by the end of the week, 80 ounces of water a day, & getting plenty of rest. Last week, my goals involved using the 30DS every day, walking a few miles a day, and no late night snacking. If you do a great job & are able to meet & beat your goals, reward yourself somehow. It could be something simple like watching a movie you haven't seen in ages, or going out with your loved ones. Maybe a treat of some sort, in moderation of course!

Make a short term goal list, like mentioned above, and a long term goal list. My long term goal is 3 months. By the end of 3 months, I want to be able to ...... fill in the blank with whatever you want! Keep it REALISTIC! Don't force yourself into too much too soon, you'll burn out. Small, manageable goals are less daunting and more likely to be reached. I am keeping my long term goals to myself, and I read the list daily. Every 3 months, I come up with a new list. It's really easy.

I know all of this sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not. Once you get going, you'll get really pumped and not want to stop any of these things! You WILL need to change your thought process a little and forget about your defeatist attitude, if you have one. You need to turn every negative situation around into a positive one. If something happens that's stressful and you go on a snacking rampage, instead of getting upset about it - learn from it! Learn not to let your emotions rule your stomach. Go out and go for an extra long walk & clear your head. As lame as it sounds, think happy thoughts. It really does help.

Make lists.

A great thing to put in your notebook is a list of pro's and cons of losing weight. This may sound a bit silly, because what cons are there to losing weight? That's kind of the point. You need to see that the only thing stopping you is YOURSELF. I am going to share with you the list I created. It's a bit personal, and I may feel a bit awkward about people who know me in person reading it, but it's something I need to share.

- I will be healthy.
- Confidence!
- I won't feel awkward in public
- I can wear what I want when I want
- No more hoodies in 90 degree weather to cover up my arms
- I will be able to run around and play with them without being in severe pain or having to quit abruptly
- I will see the kids grow up & create their own families
- I will have the strength and courage to know I can do whatever I set my mind to
- I can carry what I have learned from this experience into different aspects of my life
- Everything will become a bit easier
- Losing weight will alleviate a lot of stress, and I will finally be able to relax
- Relaxing might lead to me not being so snippy
- Better relationship with Andrew?
- Sex with the lights on! Haven't done this in years. Seriously.
- I am really looking forward to having nice arms again. I know that sounds silly, but it has been a very long time.
-SKIRTS! I love skirts & dresses, and have always loved them secretly but I never told anyone. I look forward to being able to pull them off again in the future.
- Once I reach my goal, I get a tattoo & a lip piercing!

- Buying a whole new wardrobe with little money
- Buying more expensive foods, like organic fruits & veggies may not be easy with our budget
- I am honestly kind of worried I might turn into a stuck up bitch
- I will need to forget years of bad habits and maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan all my life & that sounds a bit daunting
- I will have to find a new way to deal with emotional distress rather than eating
- I will need to learn how to cook

If you look at the CONS list, it's not so much cons to losing weight, but hurdles I will have to learn how to jump over in order to meet my goals. There is really no reason to avoid trying to lose weight. No reason at all! Make this list & post it somewhere you can see it every day. It doesn't have to be in a common area if things are too personal, but it is preferred. If you alert everyone around you of your attempts and they can see it on paper, they will be more supportive and also help to keep you on track with everything.

In addition to this list, create a list of the consequences you will face by NOT meeting your goals, or by giving up.

Create a "vision collage" of your future.

I know this might sound stupid, but I've been working on mine for a few days now and it's kind of fun. You surf the internet for pictures of what you want to achieve, of how you'll reward yourself, of anything that might motivate you.
As you can see, I included positive quotes, pictures of nice bodies -- although I don't really expect results like that. It would be nice to have the confidence to pull things like that off, though!
You'll notice I included a tag from a shirt, it's size Medium. I haven't been in a medium since 2004!
I also put a picture of someone doing pushups, someone with really toned arms.
I even put a bit of humor in there with the first picture. the one of the dinosaur because I am sadly just like my 3 year old son with my dinosaur obsession so this picture is PERFECT!
The picture of me with blonde hair and the piercings, that's the weight I want to reach again along with the piercings I plan to reward myself with.
The picture of the tombstone with the words "everything was beautiful & nothing hurt" is from Kurt Vonnegut, and it's the tattoo I am going to reward myself with.

I printed this out and I have put one in my bedroom, in my car, in the kitchen, and also in the living room. I won't forget to my goals at all if I keep this collage handy! Definitely an awesome and FUN motivational tool. I am creating another vision collage with pictures from a magazine when I have the time. It's a bit more fun than using paint to make your collage, but at least with the internet I can look up pictures for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I could possibly want up there.

Use your local library!

There are tons of other great ways to get yourself motivated.
Books are great! Dieting, weight loss, cook books, inspirational books, etc. Try out any and everything from your local library and see if anything there helps you out. I picked up a few cook books from the library & plan to teach myself how to make delicious and HEALTHY meals with them. If I find a cookbook I really like, I am going to reward myself by buying it in a week or two.

Workout DVD's are amazing motivators, too! I am not sure if every library has a DVD section on exercise videos or not, but mine does. I have checked out quite a few of their DVD's and even discovered some new interests that way. Everyone knows I am a fan of Jillian Michaels. I have five of her DVD's and I love them all. 30DS is by far, my favorite. I also enjoy Ripped in 30, though it is more challenging. You want to get DVD's by someone who you know can motivate you. I love 30DS and RI30 because they have time limits, 30 days. You can choose to follow them, or not, but I find that knowing 30 days from now I will have some great results is a great way to keep me moving.


Don't take my word on all the stuff I post in this blog. Go out and do your own research! Google is the best invention in the world, ever. Hands down. Okay. maybe not quite the BEST thing ever, but damn close. I use google every day to look up motivational stories, inspiring quotes, & weight loss tips. I've gotten a lot of really great information from the internet but it shouldn't stop there. I also use my local library regularly and check out any books I can find on weight loss or exercise to get more ideas.

I really hope some of this helps you as much as it has helped me!

Leslie Sansone - Walk Off Even More Weight

Leslie Sansone - Walk Off Even More Weight

I picked up this DVD over a year ago on clearance at target. I think it was 15 dollars, marked down to 5 or so. I was so excited to buy it, but hadn't quite finished packing up for my move & decided to wait until I was settled in at my new apartment. The DVD got packed away and forgotten about until a month ago. Oops! Better late than never, right?

Let's get down to business. The DVD comes with a 2 pound adjustable weighted belt. At first I was really skeptical about whether or not an extra 2 pounds could really help a workout, but no longer. This belt is amazing! I've even used it while doing other exercises and I think it might be one of my favorite things in addition to my ankle and wrist weights.

All I can say after using this DVD a few times is this : what an amazing find! I didn't really think walking could ever FEEL like a real workout, but this DVD proves me wrong. The weighted belt is great. I use 5 pound weights in addition to the belt & even tried it with ankle weights. I really felt it afterwards, in a good way.

The DVD has two different 2 mile walks and a quick 5 minute Express walk. Each of the 2 main walks take less than 30 minutes. One of the 2 mile walks is at a decent pace, while the other one is definitely more fast paced. I like to use the 5 minute Express walk, and follow it up with the fast paced walk. I haven't been up to much exercise this week so I've been popping in this DVD when I was able. Sadly, the last few times I've been sticking with the slower of the two walks. I am sure by next week I will be back up to the faster walk!

This is a fun, quick DVD. I am looking forward to getting more by Leslie in the near future.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Exercise, finally!

I went into the pool today for 2 hours+ & walked 3 miles last night. It feels good to be a bit more active again, but my god - getting back into the swing of things is going to be tough. I didn't realize how much a 4 day break would throw me off balance! I'm not exercising, so I'm not drinking as much water, or eating as healthy. I even had a milkshake today and I tend to avoid milk that isn't organic or soy like the plague. Oh well, I can tell I'm feeling better. Half a week for a break isn't so ridiculous if it's really needed.

I got my vitamins today, which I am thrilled about. Love those BOGO sales! I got Chromium Picolinate, Super B Complex, & some Vitamin D. I haven't even been taking my vitamins this week, except for vitamin C & echinacea. My throat has hurt too much to swallow so many horse pills. Today was the first day since Saturday that I had little to no signs of a sore throat. Starting my vitamin regimen up again tomorrow!

Anyway, I have a really great blog coming up, it's a bit different from anything you've seen me do so far & that's why I am so excited. I am not sure how long it will take to throw together, but maybe by mid week I can post it.

BTW, WOW! I am only a few views away from hitting 1000. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Losing weight with PCOS

For those of you who don't know what PCOS is, let me tell you. "Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman's female sex hormones. This hormone imbalance may cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, and other problems." taken from the link above.

I never really knew until today that it is believed to be much more difficult for women who suffer from PCOS to lose weight than it is for other people. In fact, about half of the women diagnosed with PCOS are obese.

It's nice to know that the cards are stacked in my favor for losing weight. Not.

If you have PCOS, a change of even just 10% of your body weight is said to bring your period back to normal. Maybe losing 24 pounds is why I am getting my period again? If you are suffering from PCOS and are able to lose weight, it's best to keep right on trying. The exercise is good for you & it helps reduce other symptoms.

It's suggested that you follow a diet consisting of mostly fruits & veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Baking & broiling food is the preferred method - avoid frying. Butter should be used sparingly. It also doesn't hurt to eliminate as much as much simple sugars as you possibly can.

Sounds an awful lot like following a regular, healthy diet, doesn't it?

There are a few other things to be prepared to do if you are tyring to lose weight while dealing with PCOS. Eat a healthy diet like the one mentioned above, get plenty of sleep, be as active as possible, and quit smoking. I have done all of these things.

In addition to that, I'm reading about this medication that is usually used to treat diabetics. Women with PCOS tend to have insulin resistance, which can cause them to have issues with their weight. The drug is called Metformin & it seems to have pretty good reviews & many women have positive things to say about it. If I am ever lucky enough to have health insurance, I might look into this.

Do you suffer from PCOS?

Yep, I'm still sick.

I've been sick since Sunday and my workouts are definitely suffering because of it. I'm barely eating because I can't taste or smell anything, and I have no energy to get out of bed, let alone workout. Last night I walked 3 miles. This is horrible! As soon as my lungs are able, I plan to start doing heavy cardio again and picking up with my videos. I am sad to say I haven't done the 30DS since Monday.

As for barely eating - let me clarify. I am eating every 3 hours, but only a few small fruits or veggies like grapes, strawberries, carrots, or broccoli. I am not eating real meals. I am eating enough to keep my body going, but only the bare minimum. Not on purpose, it just hurts! On top of that, my throat has been too sore to drink too much water, so I'm down to about 1.5 liters a day. Ouch.

I wonder how poorly this will affect my measurements in two weeks? Do you think it's wrong that I am taking so much time off, or is it okay because I legitimately do need it? I just don't want this to be mistaken for laziness or for not caring. I DO care, I love the results I've achieved this far and I want to continue. Last night, I could barely walk at a pace of 3 mph. I usually keep it between 5-7 mph. I am so drained! Even though the pace is slow, I think I need to keep up walking - if only a few miles a day until I am better. Just to have the peace of mind and knowing I'm not letting this cold defeat me.

Oh, on top of the chest cold, I got my period today. TMI? skip this whole section, then. I have PCOS & get my period very randomly. This is the first period I've had since March, and it's awful. The pain is almost unbearable. I usually don't have any pain with my period but this is just awful. This just happened today.. typically my period only lasts for 2 days or so but the thought of this going on for 48 more hours makes me want to just die. I am thinking walking will help the cramping, but oh god... I don't want to. haha.

Anyway, I want all of  you to work out extra hard for me this week, okay? I can't believe how much I miss it! I am so bored sitting on the couch. I don't know how many more times I can play with play doh or color in coloring books with the kids before my head explodes, hahaha.  Not to say I don't enjoy doing those things, but that's ALL I've really done since the weekend! Getting a bit boring. I miss the pool, the fresh air, going on walks, working up a sweat. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weight loss myths.

Think you know everything about weight loss? I suggest you take this quiz! I actually was wrong on one of the questions, which was a shock. The question was about eating at night. Oh well, good to know!

I am not mentioning a thing in here about diet pills because we all know they are a waste of time. They may give you results initially, but not in a healthy way! STAY AWAY!

Myth #1: Muscle weighs more than fat.
This drives me absolutely nuts when I hear people saying it. I seriously want to slap people who go around saying that muscle weighs more than fat. That is simply NOT TRUE! One pound of muscle and one pound of fat are - you guessed it - ONE POUND. The problem is, fat takes up more room & muscle is lean. Check out this link to see what I mean!

Myth # 2: Skipping meals will help jump start weight loss.
Oh boy, you couldn't be more wrong! Skipping meals is what got me in the predicament I am currently in! You see, when you don't eat frequently, you are slowing your metabolism down & forcing your body into "starvation mode" and your body will keep the fat and burn off muscle instead. Ouch. You also tend to overeat at your next meal or snack heavily on things you shouldn't.

Myth # 3: If I watch what I eat, I don't need to exercise.
This is NOT the case! Exercise is definitely very important to weight loss, as is watching what you're eating. Doing one of the two alone is not going to be nearly as effective as combining them. You need to burn off over 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat, do you realize that? How on earth are you going to lose weight if all you are doing is counting calories? Counting calories does not help you burn them. On the other side of things, exercise alone isn't enough. If you go to the gym three hours a day but then hit up the McDonalds drive thru later on, you're just making things worse for yourself. You NEED to watch what you're eating AND exercise. I'll say it again: combine exercise & a healthy diet to see maximum results!

Myth #4: Never eat at night, it turns into fat!
I never believed this one entirely, but I thought it made more sense to eat during the day so you had a better chance of burning calories off.. I feel really dumb now. Calories don't have watches. What you need to do is make healthy choices after dinner. Opt for fruits or veggies, that's what I do! I cut out late night snacking on chips & ice cream & chocolate and traded it in for apples, broccoli, etc. Health snacks! The trick is to eat less, and eat healthier.

Myth #5 This has low fat & no sugar? I'll eat more!
This is something that a lot of people mess up on. They think that if something is low fat or has no sugar, they can pig out on it. Not true. Low fat doesn't mean no calories.

Myth #6: If I lift weights, I'll bulk up! 
No, no, no. Lifting weights will not turn you into a bodybuilder. Strength training should already be a regular part of your exercise plan (at least 2-3 times a week) because we all (should) know that these activities will lead to building muscle and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. The only way you will bulk up is if you're really trying to by doing intense training. The heaviest weight I own (besides the adjustable one) is 10 lbs, which is more than enough for most exercises.

Myth #7: I have to give up my favorite snacks & desserts to lose weight.
Anything is fine in moderation! Depriving yourself of the things you love to eat will only make you miserable and more likely to fail. Allow yourself a small incentive a few times a week, but make sure you keep it small. Portion control is key!

Myth #8: Aerobics are better than strength training. 
True, you'll burn more fat during an aerobic exercise, but the benefits from aerobics end shortly after exercising. Strength training, however, keeps your metabolism alive long after the workout is over. Look at it this way; weight training is like a salary, whereas aerobics is the bonus. (Taken from here, click!)

Myth #9: My perfect weight is whatever the height & weight chart says it is. 
Again, this is totally wrong. Everyone has a different body type & shape. Genetics play a role, as does your metabolism. I am big boned, for example. I am 5'8" and so I "should" weigh around 146. HA! I have always been bigger than other people, even when I was thin, I still weighed more than most of my female friends. When I got down to 170, I looked stick thin and emaciated, so surely I would look awful at 146. Everyone is different.

Not enough myths debunked for you? Well here is another quiz you can take. I think I handled most of the bigger myths here, but don't worry - I'll add more from time to time!

Motivational quotes for today:

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

They can because they think they can.
- Virgil
You are the handicap you must face. You are the one who must choose your place.
- James Lane Allen
What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.
- Hecato, Greek philosopher