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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Rules To Live By: Motivation & Mindset

I love Pinterest. Period.

When it first came about and someone invited me, i had no desire to visit the site. It was confusing to me, and honestly i'm a pretty busy lady, i don't need yet another online addiction to spend way too much time on. Time went on, i had some insomniac nights, and i started getting in to it. Lately it has served as a good weight loss resource for me. I get in a slump, or get bored with my workout routine and new ideas are right there at my fingertips. Tired of the same old recipes? Easy, look on pinterest. New workout gear? Pinterest. Motivation? Pinterest. Easy as that.

Today i repinned something from a friend and it got me to thinking about how many people ask me for help and ideas. I constantly have people asking how i have lost the weight, and honestly i never know how to answer them. Hard work and dedication? Sweating my butt off at the gym? Drink water? All those things are true, but in reality it's way more than that and so hard to explain at the drop of a hat. I actually started this blog in the first place so that when someone asked me those questions i could direct them here, and have yet to really make a post on it. Unfortunately (for all of you) if i put it all in one place, it would be way too much reading, so i will break it up in parts to make it easier.

Here is part one - Motivation and Mindset                  *You can find part 2 here*

In order to lose weight, you have to want it. You can't lose weight and get lasting results just because your friend wants to lose weight and wants you to go to the gym with her. You won't lose weight because your Mom/Brother/Doctor/Friend tells you to. You have to do it for you, you have to really want it, and most importantly you have to believe that you can do it. I tried losing weight a thousand times before, but i gave up a week into it. Why? Because i didn't want to work for it, i didn't want to change my habits, and honestly i was pretty ok with myself. This time was different, it was like a light bulb went on over my head and i just knew it was going to happen. I remember the exact moment, where i was, and what i was doing when i finally realized that i COULD do this and started believing in myself.

In order to have success, you also have to figure out why you want to lose weight in the first place. Like me, have you been obese your entire life? Are you generally unhealthy and worried about medical issues? Do you just want to look hot in a bikini? All are valid, you just have to find your motivation, get your head in the right place, set your mind to something, and do it.

My reasons for starting - 

1) I wanted to teach Loralei (and now D & J) how to be healthy. I didn't want her to be the kid getting teased about her weight, or missing out on activities because her parents were too out of shape and unhealthy to play with her.

2) I wanted to be healthy for myself. I didn't want to have to worry about diabetes and heart problems at a young age, like so many of my family members have.

3) I wanted to be able to go shopping with my friends without having to ask them to stop in the plus size store for me. My friends could spend all day shopping from store to store, and i always came in at the end, having only one store to choose items from. I hated it. I just wanted to be average. At the time i couldn't even wear boots (my calves were too large), or normal size bracelets. Do you know how humiliating it is to have to shop for a plus size bracelet?

4) I hated my wedding photos. You have all heard this before. I don't hate the photos, i hate ME in the photos. The one day i was supposed to be at my most beautiful and i was at rock bottom. Looking at those photos is still pure motivation daily.

5) I wanted to look HOT. I did not want to look good for being a mom. I did not want to look normal. I did not want to be skinny. I want to be hot, toned, healthy, and fabulous. Period.

I had a huge mental battle to get to where i am. I had to figure out every single reason for why i wanted to lose weight and recite them to myself daily to keep me going. I'm always asked if i can bottle my motivation, well here it is. Those 5 things are my motivation. I might lose my way from time to time, but then i see those reasons for starting, and i get back on track. Motivation is the hardest part, if you have that, you can have everything.


Mels <3

Monday, November 12, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Red Potatoes and Root Vegetables

In my previous recipe blog i mentioned Tilapia and Roasted Red Potatoes. While i'm still working on my Thanksgiving recipes to get up here, i wanted to share the potato recipe. It's very simple and adds a little something different to dinner, i can imagine this served up with some spicy sliced sausage tossed in for a whole "one-pot" meal.

Roasted Red Potatoes and Root Vegetables

Ingredients list:

2lbs Small Red Potatoes 

8 Small Baby Turnips
1 Cup Baby Carrots
1tsp Minced Garlic
2tbls Olive Oil
2-3tbls Dry Onion Soup Mix
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh Parsley as Garnish

Wash and cube potatoes and turnips, pat dry.
Toss potatoes, turnips, and carrots in the olive oil and garlic.
Sprinkle onion soup mix, salt, and pepper over the top.

Place all in shallow baking sheet and bake in 425 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until fork tender and slightly brown. Remove from oven and add parsley or other fresh herbs right before serving.

As a substitute you can also do one medium onion and 8oz baby bella mushrooms instead of the turnips and carrots. Just as yummy!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Recipe: Tilapia in Lemon & White Wine Sauce

When i was pregnant with the twins, i was in the hospital.

A lot.

The downside for many people in the hospital is the food. I was very fortunate that my hospital had some pretty amazing food and i got to choose from a menu for every single meal. I can't even tell you the amount of times i had to eat there, but i know that after i got familiar with the menu i had one thing every single night for dinner.

Tilapia in a butter/dill sauce, with these little roasted red potatoes. YUM.

When i finally delivered the twins and got to go home, i was a little bit sad because i enjoyed the food so much. I decided to try to come up with my own version and was pretty successful. Here is my take on the hospital tilapia.

Ingredients needed:

4-6 Small Tilapia Filets
2 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 TBLS Butter or Margarine (i use "I Can't believe it's not butter" spray instead, around 6-10 sprays or as much as you need)

1/4 TSP Minced Garlic
Zest of one Lemon
Juice of Two Lemons (or lime if you prefer)
1/3 Cup of your favorite white wine
Chopped dill and parsley to garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
Season tilapia with salt and pepper, place in pan.
Spray butter spray over the tilapia (or melt butter in pan with the oil, your choice)
Add minced garlic to the pan.
Sear tilapia until lightly brown on both sides.
When fish is almost done, add the white wine and lemon zest/juice.
Let everything cook together for about 2 minutes to cook the alcohol off, then add your fresh herbs and serve.

Super simple. Maybe 5 -7 minutes of cook time and less than 5 minutes of prep time. Serve with roasted red potatoes and root vegetables (Recipe Here! ) for a complete meal.


Thanksgiving Musings

I'm currently in the middle of "No-Weigh November" and quite honestly it scares me a bit. I heavily rely on my scale to tell me where i am and how i am doing on the weight loss front. My scale is my best friend and worst enemy at times. Currently it's a little bit of both. I see my weight stall for weeks on end sometimes and it winds up frustrating me, only sending me running straight to the ice cream aisle at the grocery store. I'm at the point in my weight loss where i am having to be really strict with myself and teach my body how to be healthy, without that number on the scale to guide me or frustrate me.

That being said, my next weigh in will be the day before Thanksgiving so hopefully there will be a nice change by then. I know what i am hoping for but i will keep the number to myself right now.

Onto Thanksgiving prep. I'm trying to find ways to keep the holiday and healthy and still as delicious as possible. So far i don't have any specific recipes but i do have some ideas that i plan to try and follow.

Wild Rice Stuffing instead of typical stuffing
Whole Grain Stuffing

Parsnips along with Mashed Potatoes
Creamy herb cheeses in Mashed Potatoes instead of all the salt/butter/sour cream

Spraying the turkey with a low fat olive oil spray instead of all the butter

Quinoa as a side dish instead of typical pasta dishes

Making my own whole grain rolls and bread

This list will get bigger, those are just a few small ideas. I'm trying to gather things and try them out next week. As usual i will be following my rule of using leaner meats, whole grains and brown pastas, and lowfat dairy on that day. The small things have made all the difference in my lifestyle change over the years.

As for No-Weigh November. I'm working out every single day this month. I will make that scale move. This plateau will not get the best of me. I haven't stopped before, why would i stop now?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another Page for the Scrapbook

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love having photos done. I feel the same way about our yearly family photos that most women feel about their wedding day.

That is, in the weight loss sense.

You know that sense of urgency women feel to look their best and be their thinnest on their wedding day? They just *have* to fit into that wedding gown perfectly. I never felt that. I happily walked down the aisle in my size 24/26 dress, as a matter of fact i GAINED weight before my wedding, and not just 5lbs. That is part of what motivated me to lose weight in the first place, seeing my 250lb self in that big, fluffy, white dress. Those photos are plastered all over my home, and i'm not proud of them. I pretty much hate myself in them, i hate that at the time, i saw nothing wrong with the way i looked, i thought i was perfectly healthy.

Now, every time our family photos come up, i feel like i'm getting kind of a redo on my wedding day. I see it as my biggest push of the year to do the best i can, give all i can give, and ultimately go into being happy with the knowledge that i have done my absolute best for my health lately.

This year was no different. I worked my butt off last month, cut out all my crap eating, worked out at least once a day, drank all the water i should be drinking and then some, took my vitamins, took fantastic care of my skin, and got the sleep i so desperately needed. I treated my body like a temple, like it deserves to be treated. It was a tough month no doubt but the end result was a loss of 7lbs in October and being able to go down a size in dresses and shirts. One step closer to goal!

Our photos were Sunday (With the amazing Brianne and i can't wait to see the end result. We started getting our photos done with Brianne after i had lost my first 10lbs so her photos tell a story every year and i treasure them.

I can't wait until one day, i reach goal, have my wedding dress altered and step back out to have a "Trash the dress" shoot. To finally give me peace about the size 24 dress i walked down the aisle in. For now, i will be happy with my yearly photos, something to add to my weight loss timeline. 20 more pounds to go...

After our photos on Sunday