Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recent Happenings - Plus Weigh-in!

My four week challenge of not weighing in was a complete success! Over the 4 weeks of just focusing on being healthy i managed to dance my way down 5.5lbs. The following week, i was down another 1.3lbs so i'm almost 7lbs down over 5 weeks time. It's a Valentine's day miracle! Well, not really, it's because i said no to chocolate on Valentine's day. Self-control people!

Which brings us to another weigh in tomorrow, we'll see how that one goes! My new goal is to be down 10lbs and a dress size by April 6th. Holiday weight be gone.

So speaking of Valentine's day. This year instead of doing the traditional binge on sweets and grease or pasta we had a healthy dinner of sushi. Way to stay on plan! I'm super proud of hubby and i for having a great 6 weeks in the eating department. We still have a ways to go to get us back where we were before my pregnancy with the twins but we are well on our way.

I started Weight Watchers back this week. SO happy about that. I adore Weight Watchers. It really seems to help simplify things for me and takes the guesswork out of which foods are good to eat. 5 points for those potato chips or 0 points for that bowl of pineapple? HELLO easy decisions.

I'm also starting a new workout routine of every other day now. My workouts are getting harder and my muscles are getting more sore every time so my body needs the time off to recover. It will be interesting. I'm so stuck on having to workout every single day that it feels like i'm cheating to take a day off.

Non fitness related news -

My kids are wild and crazy and i'm pretty sure i will never sleep again!

People always ask me how i do it and how i find the time and they assume my kids are nice and calm, play to themselves, sleep when they are supposed to.


Not even a little bit.

I'm tired. I am ALWAYS tired. I am ALWAYS busy. My monsters (twins) do not take care of themselves, nor are they ever quiet. They are the biggest challenge i have ever faced. Losing 100lbs was easier. Giving up chocolate would be easier. Shaving my head and getting a tattoo on my face...




The twins still do not sleep through the night, the are opinionated, loud, and rambunctious. This mama was not made to handle rough and tumble boys! They are starting to talk, but still not able to which upsets them that we don't always understand their wants and needs. They are teething canines (finally their last teeth!), they are running a mile a minute, and showing more personality every day. It's very obvious that D will be the ringleader of everyone and will take roll as the bossy older brother - even of L. J is adorable, and loving, but when he's unhappy, everyone within a mile radius knows. J is also quite the womanizer and has been stopped numerous times trying to run off with pretty women of his liking.

L is finally through the "terrible 2's &3's" and is amazingly smart. No argument can be won against her because she will logically explain how she is right and you are wrong. She is also an amazing big sister, and mommy's helper. I can only hope that the monsters grow up to be as great a kid as she is.

Together they are all a massive handful. I'm glad they are all so close together in age, they are all best friends already, but they are tough. Most days i am begging for bedtime by 5pm, somewhere around the time that i'm trying to cook dinner while D is hanging off my leg screaming, J is trying to stick his hand in the hot oven, and L is running around the room in circles acting like she's on fire, but i wouldn't have it any other way.

So how do i do it?

I'll get back to you on that in about five years!

For now, Eat, sleep, breathe, laugh, love, enjoy, repeat!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

There Is No Magic Number

One of my friends posted a link to a fantastic article that kind of goes along with my "Food" entry from yesterday. I covered some basic rules for eating and weight loss, but i didn't include information about the dreaded weight loss plateau. You are just starting out or need a refresher course? Great, then that entry is perfect for you! Been at it a while and stuck? Maybe this one is better.

5 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight is an article on Beachbody's Website (found via the Turbofire FB page and my awesome friend Sam) that covers some pretty awesome basics of plateaus. What really hit home to me though was the 5th reason which touches on eating more to lose more.

When you are losing weight, do you allow yourself cheat days? Cheat meals? How often?

Do you stick to the perfect 1200 calories every single day? Ok fine, but do you workout on top of that? Consistently eating only 1200 calories a day and working out on top of that without eating any calories back seems like a great idea in the beginning, but not so much when your body gets used to it and plateaus. Why? Because you are starving it. Your body needs a minimum of 1200 calories a day, if you are burning 500 calories a day, then you need to make sure you are eating some healthy foods to make up for that loss to keep you around the 1200 mark in the very least.

That's not to say that every day you can walk on the treadmill for an hour and go out and binge eat, but your body needs change and it needs you to keep it moving and guessing.

This article says to eat MORE calories to lose weight, and it's hard for any of us to wrap our heads around that, but it's true. I'm a firm believer in cheat days and calorie cycling. I still have plateaus but i can work my way out of them a lot easier with higher calorie days. A normal week for me includes 1 high calorie day, 1 medium/high calorie day, 3 medium/normal calorie days, and 2 low calorie days. My cheat day obviously being the higher calorie day and my lowest calorie day is near the end of my week when i take a day off from working out.

That's a lot of words to simply state -  DON'T STARVE YOURSELF! You will not lose weight that way long term, you will not keep that little bit of weight off, and you will not like the person you see in the mirror. No matter what you have come to believe "1200" is not the magic, problem-solving number that we all make it out to be.


Great movie

But...don't do this ;-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Rules To Live By - Food

This is the BIG one. Honestly probably the most simple topic of all, yet so in depth that i have been avoiding it. Most doctors and trainers will tell you that in weight loss, food is 80% of the battle, so here we are.

Simple rule of weight loss - Calories in, Calories out.

Simple rule of weight loss - You are what you eat.

Simple rule of weight loss - Abs are made in the kitchen.

Simple rule of weight loss - Weight loss isn't found in a bottle.

Simple rule of weight loss - Fads DIE, as they should.

In this entry, i'm not going to talk about WHAT to eat, as that is different for everyone. We all know we should eat more veggies, lean protein, stay away from fast food and sugar. Basic knowledge! So i'm not going to give you a shopping list and have you go get everything on it to last you a week then leave you lost. I'm going to teach you how to shop the right way for you and your family.

Calories in, Calories out -

SIMPLE. Burn what you eat. That slice of pizza you want so bad? You can have it, but do you know how many hours in the gym you are going to have to log to rid your body of it? Lots. It's not about depriving yourself of foods you love. It's about learning to eat healthier versions of them, and understanding that you have to be willing to put in the effort to burn those calories off later.

You are what you eat -

Think it's just a funny saying? A myth? One of those funny facebook ecards of a slice of pizza with legs running around a track?

No. It's truth. It's not meant in a mean way, or a way to belittle anyone, but let's be honest about something... how do you feel after throwing back that value meal from Burger King? I bet you don't feel like going out an running a marathon. I bet you don't even feel like getting up off your couch. Food is all about providing fuel for your body. You wouldn't pour sugar in your car's gas tank and expect it to run, so why put crap in your body then complain that you don't feel great?

I usually have my cheat days on the weekend (it varies between Saturday or Sunday), and let me tell you, if i overdo it then i KNOW and i don't just know right then, i usually know it for hours, and even going in to the next day. Getting up and lacing on my running shoes the morning after eating poorly is one of the hardest things ever.

Abs are made in the kitchen -

This is a new one for me. I never really heard this until i joined a bunch of fitness sites and pages on facebook. Many women ask how they can get rid of that little pooch they don't like, the mommy belly, the flabby skin, and the big answer is always "Abs are made in the kitchen". You can't expect to do 1000 crunches a day, eat fatty foods, and have a 6 pack. It doesn't work that way. You need to get that layer of fat off your abs so you can see them in all their washboard glory (saying this to myself here, those abs are in there SOMEWHERE!). Eat clean (Definition here), lay off the processed food, stick to doing your grocery shopping in the perimeters of the grocery store. Build those abs!

Weight loss isn't found in a bottle -

It's not. Simple. I don't care what those bottles claim. "It's safe, it's only to boost my metabolism!", "But it has natural products in it!", "All those people in the infomercials said it works!", "My friends doctor says it's ok!". Don't listen. If it's not a vitamin, not prescribed by your doctor, and it has stuff in it you can't pronounce, don't take it. Plus all the metabolism boosting in the world isn't going to make you loose weight if you don't use all the energy to burn calories!

Fads Die -

We have all heard of those popular fad diets that go around. I won't mention the names because that just seems mean and wrong, but are you really willing to throw your money at something that is going to make you starve yourself for weeks on end to lose weight? Know what that's called? Starving yourself to lose weight. The pills and fads have nothing to do with it. What "fads" do i like?

I don't like to call them fads, but if you do feel you need help then there are some great options out there for you that still focus on healthy eating and not fads.

Weight watchers -

I love weight watchers. I would still be going to meetings if i hadn't moved farther away from meeting locations. I love that they teach you how to wisely use your points (calories) to make it from day to day without feeling deprived. What else do i love? They teach you that it's ok to slip up. Picking up the kids late from soccer practice, having a girls night out? It's ok, just choose something within your points and move on. It doesn't always have to be a salad.

Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem -

I have no problem with these. They teach you healthy eating and potion control. Plain and simple.

Paleo -

Pretty much on track with clean eating. I honestly can't see anything wrong with this "fad".

That's it. No pills, no real fads, no quick promises. All three of those fads have the same thing in common, healthy eating.

Everyone wants a quick fix and thinks there is a secret. There is no secret, the "quick fix" is right under your nose.

Eat more veggies. There are tons, there has to be something out there you will like!
Eat fruit instead of cakes and cookies.
Eat more protein to fill you up longer.
Eat whole grains instead of starchy, bleached out, white grains.
Shop the perimeters of the store, stay far away from the aisles.
Don't drink your calories. Water, Water, Water.
Don't skip breakfast, it won't help you lose weight.
Don't deprive yourself of treats.
Find substitutes for your favorite foods that will taste just as good.
Count your calories (or points, or fat grams, whatever you choose), ALWAYS.
Measure your food.
Eat all the colors of the rainbow, the more colorful your meal is the more healthy it is! (and i'm not talking about ketchup, pickles, and mustard!)
Most of all, enjoy the food you are eating. Healthy eating does not have to be boring and bland, make it exciting and you are more likely to stick to it!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just Dance 4 - Review

5 hours.

That's how long i have played this game since Monday, and that is not even including today! I love it, seriously. As much as i loved Just Dance 3, i love this one 100x more. My husband says he really can't see a huge difference in the two but i can. To me, it is worlds different, and super addicting!

So far, here's what i see that is different -

Just Sweat and Just Dance are two completely different categories now, there aren't just sweat points that you can earn, it's a whole new system. You get to choose whole new routines that keep you moving nonstop. My major complaint about the last game was that i would have to stop and choose my next song, so my heart rate was coming down while doing so but this one keeps you moving. Not only are there routines but each one has a theme, there's cheer camp (set to punk rock music), latin dance (world music), and even a kickboxing/martial arts routine. It also chooses your next song based on your intensity. AWESOME. It shows you if you are losing steam or heating up, i love this feature and it really helps me push myself to see how far i can go. Then you get to choose how long your workout will be, 10 - 45 minutes long, and at the very end you get a cool down portion of stretching. They are finally getting that people are using these games for weight loss and have incorporated all these features to help.

The new features don't stop there, that's just how the Just Sweat portion of the game differs from the last game. There are tons of new songs, obviously, and the routines are harder. You also have different goals on every song, not just getting gold moves, it wants you to perfect the dance. This is cool because it's more like a game, it's something to work toward so it keeps you coming back.

This game has also added something called "Mojo" points. You receive points for every song you finish, and points for completing goals. Once you level up with these points, you unlock new features, sometimes even whole new dance routines.

You can buy songs. I love this, love it. When you think you are getting bored with the game, but still want to play it, you can just download more songs for it. I have the wii version and wii points aren't all that expensive so i love it. No need for a whole new game when you are getting bored, just a new song to perfect.

So what's the best part about this game? It's addicting, it's FUN, and it will make you drip in sweat if you want it to. You will laugh at yourself through some routines, and feel like a rockstar while doing others. You will want to workout, without even realizing you are working out, and you will definitely 100% not be bored.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Recent Diva Happenings

I finally feel like i am 100% back on track. I'm still having battles with my fast good addiction but i'm caring about it and being mindful, i'm actively trying to avoid it and that's what matters. I'm starting to get my workout addiction back and i'm loving it. I think it has to do with all the new workouts and workout gear i received over the holidays, i'm no longer bored with the same old routine!

I finally got sick of weighing in on my wii, and since it was being a little wonky anyways i ordered my first "big girl" scale. It reads quite a bit different from my wii, and not in the good direction, but it's a new start and i'm ok with that. I love how consistent it is and can't wait to put it to good use on weekly weigh ins when i start those back again. Right now i'm in the middle of a 4 week jumpstart challenge to focus on health and not the number on the scale so i won't be weighing myself for another two weeks. After this challenge though, it's on to finish what i started and lose the last 30lbs.

I also started a vitamin regimen, something long over due, and have been feeling way better since then. Unfortunately, even though i did it all the healthy way, losing 100lbs in that first year, and then getting pregnant with twins right away really drained my body and vitamins are necessary for me now. Thanks to vitamins though, i now have energy to get off the couch and workout daily, and they are making these long Chicago winters a little more bearable.

My charting is in full swing. Thought i was joking?? No way ;-)
(PS - I can't draw a straight line, even with a ruler, my husband had to do this for me because i kept messing them up!) 

I have three right now, all spread out over my dining room table. It's hard to eat something bad when you have a bright pink chart staring at you and you know you will have to write it down if you eat it!

I also started my new workouts. I'm in love so far. I received 2 new Jillian Michaels dvd workouts for Christmas and the new Just Dance 4. I have full reviews coming up of them soon, but so far i'm loving them.

I have way more in depth stuff to talk about, but i will save it for another entry. Here's to 2013 being goal year!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reach For The Sparkly Stars

Happy New Year!

We are back from our Holiday travels finally, and brought back with us the flu. Not the - Lose 10lbs overnight while praying to the porcelain gods - flu but the - I feel like a mac truck rolled over me and i'm coughing up a lung while hallucinating that there are pink bunnies in the room with me - flu. Ah, fun!

Due to this i'm sure i have gained an easy 10lbs. I'm unable to workout, and fast food has become a go to lately. Regardless, it's a new year, and time to reach my goals! So while sick i am figuring out my plan on how i'm going to lose the remainder of my weight (along with that brand new 10lbs, ugh). So out comes my trusty notebook and pen, my poster board, markers, and star stickers. Oh yes, i am a crazy planner. You don't get this far without being crazy prepared and organized! I make lists for everything, if i make a list for it, it gets done. If i don't make a list for it, i will talk about how i need to make a list for it or it won't get done. Drives my Husband absolutely crazy. When i pull out my pen and paper, he practically has to hold himself back from rolling his eyes.

Other than the list, there is...


You know $#!t has gotten real when the chart comes out. If you visited my old apartment, you probably saw my chart hanging behind my back door, in all it's sparkly star glory. That chart showed countless hours of workouts and good eating, a star for every glass of water, and a star for every day i didn't drink a soda. It also showed a 13lb loss over a 5 week timespan.


Well assuming this nasty flu is letting up by Monday. There will be a new chart on the wall, and lists all over the kitchen. The food scale will be dusted off, and wrappers will be coming off of all the new workouts i got for Christmas.

Operation Goal: 2013 full steam ahead!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Rules To Live By: Workouts

I think a lot of us want to start losing weight and think -

“I HAVE to go to the gym”
“I HAVE to workout 3 hours a day”
“I HAVE to lift heavy, or start running” 

It’s simply not true, at all.

Everyone asks me what I do, what workouts I like. Honestly, I like them all, but for me it comes down to three things.

1) Did I burn calories?

Yes? Ok then I like it.

2) Did I sweat/Am I sore?

Yes? Ok then I LOVE it.

3) Am I able to do it in a short amount of time?

Yes? It’s the perfect workout.

That’s it. I’m really not super picky otherwise. I will try anything.

That being said, I do have my favorites but let’s talk about how I started out.

When I started working out, I was almost 300lbs and had never stepped foot in a gym before in my life. I had a 5 month old baby at home, so I needed to be able to workout at home during nap times but had no idea where to start. I had a workout buddy, and she agreed to send me some of her favorite workouts to try but while I was waiting I had to do something. My family had given my husband and I a Wii Fit for the previous Christmas. We had used it but I was pregnant most of the time we owned it so I hadn’t bothered with it in a real fitness way. That first night though, I was determined to do something, so I pulled out my wii fit and got to it. Just 20 minutes of Wii Fit and I was sweating, and it felt amazing. It was nothing too hardcore, just getting up off the couch and getting me to move around. 20 minutes of a game, that was it to get me started and everything grew from there.

Later that week I received dvd’s in the mail from my friend, and couldn’t wait to try them out. She had sent me so much! Stuff I had heard of, stuff I hadn’t, stuff that scared me, easy stuff, hard stuff, you name it! It was a weight loss goldmine. I put the first one in and tried it right away with no hesitation. It was Zumba and it was instant love. I found out through this that I have a love for dance workouts, they are the perfect cardio.

The next day I tried one of the workouts that scared me. Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. I tried it, and I never looked back. It is still my #1 favorite workout, and I feel it still gives me better results than any other workout I have ever tried. I started doing it with no hand weights whatsoever and gradually moved up to holding mostly empty soda bottles, then 2lb hand weights. I remember buying that first set of hand weights, my best friend made fun of me, saying I definitely needed heavier weights, then she came over and tried the Shred herself and she no longer made fun. That workout is no joke, and only 20 minutes! To this day, 3 years later, I still alternate 3lb and 5lb hand weights on this workout.

After really getting into working out, I asked for EA Sports Active for the Wii and I loved it! It was a little frustrating with all the leg bands and movement tracking, but it was amazing how much of a workout that video game could give me. Plus it had a dance section for cardio, which turned into my favorite move. This is also the first time I attempted running. It was indoor running, and running in place, but it was still hard and I was winded.

Everybody has to start somewhere.

Many Dvd’s and games followed, I have posted about a lot of them on here. I also started feeling more fit and gaining more confidence. I finally decided to try out the gym.

That’s right, probably 6 months into my journey before I stepped foot in a gym.

It was a nice change of pace, and thanks to the Couch to 5k program I was soon running on the treadmill, getting stronger every day. I also started setting myself a walking goal weekly, and breaking it down into smaller daily goals. My normal goal was 12-15 miles a week, starting out small on Sunday and always ending with a 5 mile walk on Thursday night, before my weigh in. There were evenings that I walked into the night, walked in the pouring rain and cold, and those weeks were my best weight loss weeks. Even if I dropped everything else, and only walked, those were the best weeks. Never underestimate the power of simple walking.

Eventually we moved, and I lost access to my gym. It was a sad day because I had gotten so used to being able to visit the gym or pool as soon as my husband got home from work, but I kept moving on and found more videos and games to help me lose weight without getting bored.  2 Months after the move, our twin surprise pregnancy came along. Refusing to let pregnancy stop me, I worked out for half my pregnancy (until the doctors would no longer let me), and the end result was being only 15lbs over my normal weight when I got home from the delivery.

Moral of all of this? No matter how many ups and downs I’ve had, I have never let anything stop me. I never used excuses -

“I’m 300lbs, I can’t do that!” – Yes, you can.

“I’m pregnant, I don’t need to workout” – Yes, you do.

“I can’t afford the gym”
 - Tons of workouts on youtube, google them.

“I don’t have any equipment” – Do you have water bottles, or an empty milk jug? Then fill them with water and you have all the equipment you need!

 I wanted this, and I made it happen. Just me, and my body, my dvd player, and my dinky little 2lb hand weights, my wii, my yoga mat, and running in place. Making just 30 minutes a day count, because you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to make miracles happen. Working out at 1am because that’s when the baby was asleep, altering workouts due to injury, pregnancy, walking in the rain and cold. Everything was me, because I wanted it. You just have to want it.

To this day these are my favorite at home workouts and programs -

Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred (Level 3 is my favorite), Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (I have not tried any of her newer workouts)
Bob Harper – Pure Burn, Super Strength, Yoga for the warrior, Kettlebell workout
EA Sports Active Wii
Wii Fit Plus (especially free run and advanced or free step)
Just Dance
Couch to 5k
100 Pushup Challenge
200 Squat Challenge
200 Sit up Challenge