Weight Loss Journey -Starting Over Again…Again

Well a lot has happened since my last post in 2017. First, I would like to apologize for the long hiatus. I’ll explain in detail why I took such a long break. I’ll also provide an update on my weight loss journey and reveal a new plan to reach my goals. Spoiler alert, I did not come close to reaching my goal from 2017 until now. Here’s why…

2017

2017 was a rough year. My grandmother, who helped raise me in a lot of ways and who lived within one mile of us for over a decade, began to experience some serious health issues. My mother was the sole caretaker for her for years and things took a turn for the worst in the early part of 2017. Complications from diabetes, along with many other ailments ended my grandmother’s life journey on Memorial Day that year. I still get teary eyed as I think about it. She was 86 years young and we all miss her very much. We look forward to seeing her again in Paradise (Luke 23:43) when Jesus calls her name in the resurrection (John 5:28,29, Revelation 21:3,4). Until then, I find comfort in this time for her to rest peacefully with no pain.

This loss was extremely hard for my mother to deal with and I had to be a strong support for her as she grieved and worked through her anxiety and depression. Needless to say, all of that grief threw my weight loss plans to the side. I ate whatever I needed to be comforted as I worked through my own grief with God’s help (2 Corinthians 1:3,4) .

2018

I thought 2018 would be the fresh new start I needed to get back on track. However, that year was worse than 2017. It was as if the Devil was trying to take me out with one thing after another. First, in January of 2018 my brother dislocated both of his knees (don’t ask how that happened) and I had to take several weeks off of work to take care of him. I honestly tried to keep exercising but I just didn’t have it in me. My brother was in so much pain and discomfort after the surgery on both knees that I got a workout just trying to get him to the bathroom. It was quite an ordeal physically and emotionally and it took a lot of prayer to get through it (1 Peter 5:7). I was also monitoring him to ensure he didn’t get addicted to the opioids that were prescribed. Thankfully, he was able to deal with the pain so he only took them as needed. As he began to heal he took them less and less and finally stopped them all together.

me-when-i-thought-nothing-else-could-go-wrong-just-47592040

 

The next ordeal was taking care of my husband. I noticed in February/March he started vomiting after every meal, even sometimes after drinking a soda or water. He didn’t have any fever, trauma or any other symptoms. After begging him to go to the doctor, I finally found a specialist and scheduled the appointment myself. It turns out he had a mild form of Achalasia which is a rare disorder of the Esophogus. Basically, a pocket formed in his Esophogus that made eating food feel like it was draining slowly into his stomach instead of going down normally. This pocket would expand as he ate and force food to come up. He had to have a Heller Myotomy. This surgical procedure is designed to improve this condition but it includes several side effects and is not a guaranteed cure as there currently is no permanent cure for this condition. After 6 hours of surgery my husband came out okay thank Jehovah.

Blender

His recovery required a liquid diet for 2 weeks and soft foods for another week or two. After a month he was allowed to eat normally. My husband was already thin and stuck to a vegan diet. After those 2 weeks of liquids (soups and smoothies) he lost 20 pounds and some muscle mass. Since then, he’s gained some back but not much and he still vomits here and there. I’m still monitoring him but I’m just grateful he’s alive and functioning well. You would think that I would have lost some weight during this time. However, the stress of his surgery, his mother coming to visit to help me take care of him and preparing liquid meals while still working full-time caused me to eat more and exercise was non-existent to say the least.

study

Work was absolutely crazy at this time and I was studying diligently to acquire a certification that was hard for many people to attain. Some coworkers were studying for years to take this test and were too scared to schedule their exam. I was studying for 3 months and took the plunge. With everything going on I failed the exam by 1 point the first time. I was determined to get this certification by the end of the year so I took some time to regroup and prepare to try again.  The exam stipulates that if you fail you have to wait 3 months to retest. I studied day and night for the entire 3 months. Thankfully, I past the exam the second time around. In addition to this exam I had to recertify as a Notary Public and this requires taking a test as well. I was able to study in a shorter amount of time and past that exam too.

Happy

 

My family mostly lives in Florida and Hurricane Maria was about to hit their area. Several family member evacuated and came to stay with us for a while. My mother and mother-in-law both evacuated to a shelter. Their homes had very little damage and they got through it ok but I was so worried.

During my studying for my exams, I got some more bad news. My other grandmother (my father’s mother) was in hospice and she didn’t have much time left. I did whatever I could to support that side of the family. However, I also received a letter from our landlord stating that he wanted to renovate the home we were renting and we had 60 days to relocate. I was shocked!!! Shock

I’m sure many of you would agree that moving is one of the hardest most frustrating tasks to complete. Trying to find a place that’s suitable, affordable and in a good location often brought me to tears. I was so stressed out during the later part of 2018 and prayed often for God’s help to manage everything going on. However, I knew that Jehovah God never allows you to be tempted beyond what you can bear and always makes a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) so I took things one day at a time. I created what I call a “Stress Schedule”. I decided when and on what days I would stress about something. It sounds crazy, but it works. Putting your stressors down in writing along with timelines tricked my mind into obeying that schedule. If I was supposed to stress about finding a place to live from 5pm-8pm that day then that’s when I worried about it. After 8pm, I moved on to the next thing I had to do. If you try it let me know how it works for you.

We eventually found a place, moved in November 1st and met our 60 day deadline with a few weeks to spare. My other grandmother was laid to rest shortly before.

2019

So that’s everything I’ve been dealing with. We are now nearing the end of 2019 and as I reflect on this year I’m so grateful I was able to get through all of that. My mind has calmed down from all of the previous activity and I’m focused on my weight loss journey again. I actually gained 5 pounds between 2017 to now which brings me to 170 pounds. I would like to lose 20-25 pounds in the next 6 months. I no longer have the goal of looking like a body builder. I don’t want to be super skinny. I just want to be toned, strong, and healthy.

My Plan

I will be working out at least 5 days a week. This will include the following:

  1. 30 minutes of cardio each day
  2. 30 minutes of strength training 3 days a week
  3. 10 minute intensive ab workouts 2 days a week
  4. At least one HIIT workout a week. Maybe 2 if I can find the strength

I still have my Shaun T and Body Beast videos which are all apart of the BeachBody family. I’ll do those sparingly so as not to hurt myself like I’ve done in the past.

My strength training will include work with strength bands instead of free weights. I’ve hurt myself too many times by picking up or putting down weights incorrectly.

My cardio will be a mixture of my trusty spin bike, jumping rope and running/walking. It all depends on the weather and my level of motivation for the day.

I’m striving to set small goals each month and mini goals each week all of which I’ll share with all of you. My triumphs, failures and frustrations will all be recorded and I hope it can motivate and encourage at least one person.

Until next time.

A Weight Loss Journey – Starting Over Again

After failing miserably last year, I’m starting this journey anew for 2017. A new approach, a renewed drive and more determination than last year. I promised myself that I would be in the best shape of my life by the time I turned 30 years old. Well… 30 has come and is almost gone and I’m staring 31 in the face. This time around I’m making sure I have everything I need to succeed. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.

I keep trying to think about why I’m doing this. I read that its important to know your main motivator so you can reflect on it periodically, especially when you’re tired and discouraged. Do I want to look better than my peers? Do I want to just be healthy? Or am I trying to keep looking good so my husband’s eyes don’t wander? To be honest, I think I’m doing this because I’ve always been told that being overweight is inevitable for me. Big women run in my family, so I was always told that one day soon I won’t fall too far from the family tree. The very thought of that scares me to death and I’m trying to stop bad habits now before my health forces me to do so later. I also want to look good, feel good, and keep my husband’s eyes from wandering.

Methods

My biggest change for this year is that I’m going to be vegan. At least for 30 days. This will jump start my healthy eating journey and allow me to learn new recipes and new ways of cooking old favorites. I’ll be sure to post some of these new creations, once I perfect them. If I perfect them.

For exercise, I’ve purchased a spin bike. This will allow me to do some low impact cardio which will destroy the fat around my mid-section…hopefully. I’ll do an online spin class for 45 minutes 5 days a week.

I will also incorporate weight lifting, alternating between upper body and lower body five days a week. On the weekends, I’ll do a high intensity workout on Saturdays and stretching and Pilates on Sundays. I want to make sure I’m doing something EVERYDAY but varying in intensity so my body doesn’t digress.

I’ll post my progress once a week. Happy exercising and healthy eating!

 

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 8

The word of the day… PROGRESS

I’m happy to say that I’ve successfully worked through the dreaded, uncomfortable, everything on my body hurts, I don’t want to do this anymore phase. It usually lasts a full seven days. Now I’m able to focus on doing each move of my workout with perfect form while striving to increase my endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness. This is actually the fun part. If you can get past the achy and sore muscles, you’ll arrive at this wonderful world I like to call “The Zone”. Now I’m not saying that once you’re in “The Zone” you’ll be able to do a triathlon. I still have to take breaks during my cardio workouts and rest during my strength training, and I don’t do every move perfectly or as fast as they do on the DVD. However, I’m more in tune with my body’s needs and can modify and make adjustments that will benefit my overall fitness. Believe me, you’re not thinking about any of that during your first week when you’re sore from head to toe.

Just think of “The Zone” as your first milestone, a reward, if you will, for being consistent in your routine. The next milestone is being able to run a mile, or complete a workout without stopping, or whatever your next goal will be.

I remember reading somewhere that setting small goals will help you stay consistent. Telling yourself that “I’m going to finish my workout in its entirety”, or “I’m going to stick to my diet today” will help you to stay focus and will motivate you to do more to reach these goals. Be sure to reward yourself and before you know it you’ve gone a full week, then a month and then 3 months and so on.

For more ways to stay consistent with your workout check out this link: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/4-ways-to-stay-consistent-with-your-workouts/

My Workouts and Goals for the Day

I can honestly say that I’ve never worked out consistently for an entire week, so my goal was to keep the momentum going. It was a very hectic day at work in addition to a long, dreary, gloomy, rainy day. I wanted to just come home, eat, and curl up on the couch. But I was so proud of myself for sticking to my workouts last week that I didn’t want to disappoint myself today.

I got up at 5:40AM and did strength training that focused on my legs. This is by far one of the hardest Body Beast DVDs in the series… so far anyway.

For my cardio I had to do T25 cardio and I must say that both of these workouts, although challenging, were 10 times more enjoyable, no doubt because I was in “The Zone”. My performance was so much better, which means my body is getting stronger and that means I’m building muscle and that means I’m burning fat and ultimately losing weight.

What Not To Do

I’ve been trying to stop looking at the mirror so much, like a shapely butt and six-pack abs are just going to appear one day in the mirror. This is a gradual process, so now that I’m in ‘The Zone” I’m just going to focus on performance for a while and once I’ve completed 4 weeks I’ll be able to actually SEE some changes.

I read on Pinterest that is take 4 weeks for you to see a difference, it takes 8 weeks for others to see a difference and it takes 12 weeks for the world to see a difference. So remember… be patient.

#body-beast, #cardio, #endurance, #exercise-2, #strength-training, #t25, #workout

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 5,6 and 7

Hello everyone! I know I haven’t been posting over the last couple of days. I want you all to know that I haven’t quit. I’ve still  been sticking to my workouts and my diet, I’ve just been so tired when I get home from work that I fall right asleep after making dinner. Here’s a recap of the last couple of days.

Day 5

Day 5 was on Friday. For my strength training I had to focus on shoulders, which is a body part that I can honestly say I’ve never focused on in my entire life. It was a nice workout. It got my heart rate up, a nice sweat going and I learned that as you workout your shoulders it can make your arms look more shapely and toned so I’ll definitely continue to make this a staple in my strength training.

During my work day there was a lot of free food available after a conference and of course that food included lots of pasta. I have to say that I gave in. I ate some chicken and broccoli pasta and one stuffed shell and it was DELICIOUS! I switched my “cheat day” from Saturday to Friday, to justify my actions. I don’t really eat that much on the weekends anyway so I made it work. I also ate a light dinner to make sure I didn’t go over my caloric intake for the day.

There’s nothing wrong with a little cheating every now and then. The key is to not go too crazy and to make sure you cut back in other areas so everything balances out by the end of the day.

For my cardio I had the Lower Focus DVD of the T25 series. This is literally a whole lot of squats, lunges, more squats, more lunges and a few more squats just in case your butt and legs weren’t in enough pain. The best part about this workout is that you’re dripping in sweat after the first 10 minutes. It really gets your heart rate up without a lot of jumping around.

I was so happy by the end of the day because according to the Body Beast schedule I got to rest from strength training on Saturday and only had to worry about my T25 workout.

Day 6

Day 6 was Saturday and I was happy that I only had to workout once. I had the T25 cardio workout, which once again, get’s the heart rate going and works your entire body. It was nice because I had a very light breakfast, a light lunch and a lot of vegetables for dinner so it was a very good day. I did cheat a little bit by eating a little mac n cheese but only in moderation.

Day 7

Today I got to rest from T25 and only had to work Chest and Triceps for my strength training. I’ve come full circle, completing all of the workouts for the week and the majority for both the T25 and Body Beast series, at least for the next couple of weeks until I move on to phase II.

Lesson’s Learned

After completing a full week, and not allowing myself to skip any workouts, I’ve learned that (1) you can work through soreness. Over my last few posts all I did was complain about soreness, but as I pressed on I worked through it and now I have a light amount of soreness but nothing compared to the last couple of days. I feel a lot better, a little stronger and my endurance has improved. Also, waking up early has slowly become a habit. I’m usually wide awake at 5:00am and have gotten to the point where I actually look forward to my workout… sort of.

(2) Sleep is vitally important and is not something you’ll have to work hard to incorporate into a routine. As you workout more your body is going to force you to go to sleep. You’ll be so tired that you’ll look forward to going to bed like no other time in your life. Before I started this journey, 11:00PM was when I started thinking about going to bed, now if I’m not in bed by 10:00PM I’m fast asleep on the couch.

(3) Eating better makes you feel better. I haven’t had any fried foods, no sugary drinks or snacks, no bread, a lot more water and vegetables, more fruit and I’ve been taking my vitamins regularly. I feel so much more clear headed, my sleep is better, I have more energy, working out is a little easier, my endurance during my workouts is better and I’ve noticed that as more and more people in my office are starting to get sick, I’ve been able to avoid what’s going around, no doubt because my immune system is stronger. You literally are what you eat.

(4) Bad foods are not as appetizing. I thought that the longer you stay away from bad foods, once you finally get a hold of them you would enjoy them more than ever. That wasn’t my experience. Eating that pasta on my cheat day tasted good, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be and it wasn’t because of the way the food was prepared. I felt guilty, knowing that this cheese was going to set me back a little bit. I couldn’t really enjoy it, which is ok. It kept me from going overboard. But going forward I know I won’t be satisfied with any “cheat foods” until 4 months from now when I’ve reached my goals and I can really celebrate.

For now, I’m happy I was able to complete a full week of workouts, while sticking to my diet. This all may seem overwhelming at first, but if you take it one day at a time, one meal at a time and one workout at a time, you’ll be in shape before you know it. Look at the soreness as a prerequisite. Once you work through it and pass the test everything after that, while still being challenging, won’t be painful and you can begin the satisfying process of watching your body change for the better.

#body-beast, #eating-better, #shaun-t, #t25, #weight-loss-2, #working-out

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 4

It’s Day 4 and the soreness hasn’t subsided.  According to Men’s Fitness there are 5 ways you can combat muscle soreness:

  1. Drink plenty of water (rehydrating gives your muscles what they need to recover)
  2. Massage – Massage rollers or handheld massage devices work well
  3. Compression – Wearing compression clothing (helps with circulation)
  4. Sleep (8-9 hours is recommended to help you muscles repair and recover fully)
  5. Eating plenty of protein throughout the day (small portions rather than one large portion after your workout is recommended)

The only thing from that list I’ve been doing is drinking plenty of water and sleeping. I’m trying to eat more protein but my choices are limited due to my diet. I’ve been taking steaming hot showers/baths and stretching and that’s been getting me through so far. That and a little old school Tiger Balm.

Workouts

This morning I did Beast Cardio which incorporates fast past weight lifting with jumping, squats, lunges and plank work. I was dripping in sweat and it was only 30 minutes. It’s very tiring. I was so tired when I was done that I got back in the bed to get some more sleep. The schedule required me to do Beast Abs as well and that was very hard. My core is not that strong so I look forward to seeing my progress as I work to complete this program.

In the afternoon I had to do Ab Intervals on the T25 series. That also mixes in a lot of cardio so you burn a good 250-300 calories within that 25 minutes. Once again I was sweating puddles.

Diet

I haven’t eaten much today. I’ve notice that as I watch my portion sizes, eating smaller meals throughout the day, and eating high fiber natural carbs like potatoes and apples, I’ve noticed a real difference in my appetite. I’m not as hungry and my cravings for certain foods have started to decrease. Eating almonds, whole fruit and filling foods like oatmeal really keep you sustained throughout the day and give you more energy.

Now, if only I could get rid of this muscle soreness…

#body-beast, #diet, #exercise-2, #muscle-soreness, #shaun-t, #t25, #weight-loss-2, #workout

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 3

The word of the day is SORENESS!

I am so sore!!! I was way too tired to doing anything last night, so once again, I’m completing yesterday’s post this morning.

Yesterday my strength training focused on Back and Biceps. It was a pretty long workout (about 50 minutes) and it was very challenging. With completing Chest and Triceps on day 1, Legs on Day 2 and Back and Biceps on Day 3, every muscle in my body is officially out of commission. Every part of my body hurts. I get out of chairs like I’m 80 years old and I’m still walking around like I’ve been in a car accident.

To top it all off I had to complete Total Body Circuit, which is one of the hardest workouts on the T25 series, for my cardio. I completely butchered that workout. I could barely keep up and was in pain for the first 15 minutes until my body warmed up enough to ease some of the soreness.

Someone in the office brought donuts to work so the smell of Dunkin was all over the office and followed me around like a shadow. I stayed strong by thinking about the calories and fat that would completely ruin the progress I’ve made over the last couple of days and I’m proud of myself for sticking to my diet.

Nutrition

Still working on my sodium. It was a lot better yesterday because I’m a lot more conscious of the need to watch it. I’ve also learned that I need to increase my protein since I’m doing weight training in addition to cardio. Since egg yolks have some much cholesterol, I’m going to focus on egg whites and skinless chicken breast to reach the amount of protein I need for the day.

Rest

When they say rest is important it is very important. I usually go to bed around 11pm or later. Now, I’m thinking about bed at 9:30 and I’m definitely in bed by 10:30 at the latest.

Benefits So Far

My sleep has improved greatly. I used to toss and turn at night. Now, as soon as my head hits the pillow I’m out like a light until 5:00am.

If you have problems with regularity this workout regimen is for you. Although you’ll be sore going to the bathroom, the actual act of a bowel movement will be no problem for you. I’m sure the combination of the diet, all the water that you drink, in addition to the exercise, helps your body release anything unwanted with ease.

 

 

 

#better-sleep, #diet, #exercise-2, #regularity, #weight-loss-2

Food Lovers Weight Loss Journey – Day 2

I was literally so tired last night that I couldn’t write a post, which is why I’m posting this morning.

Working out is so easy when all you have to do is workout. But when you throw your real job, house cleaning, cooking for the family, Bible study and other meetings into the mix, it gets harder and harder everyday to stick to your resolve and your schedule.

I woke up a little later (around 6:00am) to do my strength training. The focus was legs and I’m feeling it from the waist down. My calves, thighs and butt are so sore! I’m walking around like I’ve been in a car accident and I have to take a deep breath before I go up the stairs. It hurts to stand or walk, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lay down and it even hurts to go to the bathroom. But somehow I was able to work through the soreness and gear up for my cardio workout.

After work I had to get ready for Bible Study so I ate a healthy snack (Life cereal), changed clothes and was out the door. I didn’t get home until 9:45pm but I didn’t want to miss any workouts, keeping my promise to get through this week without any slip ups. I popped in the T25 Speed 1.0 DVD. This cardio is intense but is mixed in with stretching for a brief cool down throughout the workout. I’m happy to say that I’ve done this in the past and stumbled and bumbled through it, but this time I was able to keep going without stopping which is an absolute first. That means my endurance is increasing which is a good thing.

Cravings

Let’s talk about cravings. I’ve gone two full days with no bread, cheese, desserts, sugary drinks (I’ve only been drinking water and almond milk), pork, beef, turkey, or sliced deli meats. I WANT SOME FETTUCCINE ALFREDO, GARLIC BREAD AND PEACH MANGO TEA!!! I WANT SOME LASAGNA WITH A LOT OF RICOTTA CHEESE!!! AND I WANT SOME CUPCAKES!!! I digress. I try not to think about what I can’t eat but focus on what I can. I successfully stuck to my diet. I had my oatmeal, had a nice low-fat chicken salad wrap and some vegetable soup, a banana, an apple, some almonds and some cereal. I was never hungry throughout the day which is very important. Don’t let yourself get hungry! Hunger pains will weaken your resolve.

If you want some more tips to curb your cravings, check out this link: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/28/health/dailyburn-how-to-stop-food-cravings/

For me, I’ve found that whenever I’m craving something I shouldn’t eat I reach for a few almonds. They seem to curb not only the craving but my appetite as well. Drinking plenty of water helps too. You’re usually too full to eat anything.

Nutrition

In logging my foods, I’ve confirmed that I need to take a good multi-vitamin to ensure I get all of the nutrients needed to reach my goals. I’ve started taking Alive. For some reason I always opt for liquid vitamins as I feel they are absorbed better than pills. This isn’t backed by any research, it’s just how I feel. So I take half a cap full of Alive in the morning. WARNING: This stuff is disgustingly nasty. I mean it’s worse than any cough medicine you’ve ever tried. But I feel like its effective so I keep taking it.

Alive

The MyFitness App has also shown me that I don’t get a regular amount of iron every day. So I’ve started taking iron supplements.

Iron

Actually, I’ve been taking these for a while now (about 2 months) and I’ve never experienced the constipation and stomach troubles that regular iron supplements cause. Also, my energy levels are a lot better.

All in all it’s been a challenging couple of days but as Frederick Douglas said “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”. I look forward to reaping the rewards of my hard work and diligence.

 

 

#body-beast, #diet, #exercise-2, #exercise-goals, #losing-weight, #shaun-t, #weight-loss-2