Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2014

Second post of the night. Hey, have to get blogging in before the year ends, right? ;-)

Anyway, 2013 was, for the most part, a good year. Here's what happened (in no particular order):

1) I ran my comeback 5K in May and another in June. I didn't PR in either of
    them, but just having the guts to run again less than a year after a nasty
    knee injury was amazing enough. 

2) I became an aunt in May to an adorable baby boy! He's now seven and a
    half months old, and getting cuter by the day!

3) I got two promotions at work in the span of a month and a half. I started       2013 as a trainer, ended it as a Zone Leader. No intentions to become a
    manager anytime soon, but we'll see what happens.

4) My mom got diagnosed with an autoimmune platelet disorder in May, and
    suffered a stroke as a result. Yes, it sucked, but our family is closer than

5) I met my Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis on General Hospital) in November. She's
    been one of my favs since I started watching the show in 2009! So happy
    I finally got to meet her! 

6) I got out of the "overweight" category in July for the first time in about 20
    years, which led to...

7) Hitting goal and becoming an "After" in September. I'm actually still one 
    pound below my original goal, and have stayed there since. I truly believe
    I can maintain this for life.

So, yeah, that was 2013 in a nutshell. The good outweighed the bad for sure. I'm kind of sad that this year is going, but ready to see what 2014 brings!

Speaking of which, I have only two things that I want to focus on in the new year:

1) Maintain my 101 pound weight loss. The first year is always the hardest, 
    and I want to keep doing what I'm doing and stay an "After."

2) Stop comparing myself to others! This is something I have struggled with
    forever, and just want to be the best ME I can be! I realized that no two 
    stories are exactly alike, and why should I strive to be a second-rate
    version of someone else when I can be a totally kick-ass, one and only
    version of me, right? Enough said.

I seriously can't thank you guys enough for all of your love and support this year! You all rock! I love you all!

Peace, love, and happiness to you all in the new year!

December Goal Recap

This is the first of two posts tonight. I'm having such a thrilling New Year's Eve, can't you tell? ;-)

For those who see my Instagram posts in some capacity (either on Instagram itself or on Facebook and/or Twitter), you may remember me posting this in the beginning of the month:

So, how did I do in December? Well, here it goes...

1) 31 for 31 on the gallon of water drinking! It was tougher some days more
    than others, but I did it! I felt so much better too! Proof that you don't           really need all that sugar crap in your system. Plain water will do you fine.

2) Still tracking! Made it 121 straight days today! This has become a habit           now! I know I'm three months into maintenance, but I still like to see what     I've done. Plus, having friends on MyFitnessPal helps for accountability. ;-)

3) I didn't blog on December 1, but I have every week since. So I'll call this a

4) I rocked this month! I did gain two pounds after a one pound loss, but I
    wound up breaking even. Huge victory for sure!

5) FAIL! I'm in the middle of a move, and haven't had time or energy to put         into soup making. Maybe in February, after we're all settled in the new           house?

Overall, I feel GREAT about everything I did in December! I wasn't perfect, but then again, nobody said I had to be. I know I accomplished more than I did if I DIDN'T set goals at all. Hey, it's all about progress, right?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Three Months After Goal: Yes, It's Still Amazing

Happy Holidays, friends! Hope you all enjoyed the season and that reality hasn't slapped you too hard in the face yet.

Speaking of the holidays, it tends to be carb overload. All sorts of sweets, potatoes and bread at every meal, and if you're like my family, bagels for Christmas breakfast. Yes, I had my share of everything, but for the most part, stayed in control throughout the festivities (minus two brownies on Wednesday).

Sure enough, it all paid off. On Saturday (my three month goal-versary), I weighed in, and I was still sitting at 145. Three months after hitting goal, and I was still there. Pretty awesome, huh?

I'd be lying if I said these last three months were easy. It has been anything but. After a few weeks, I found out that the lowest number I hit (142, three pounds lighter than I am now and four pounds below my original goal) would not be the one my body would want to maintain. I was upset with this, but relized that my body is happy where it is, plus I still look and feel great. I also have spent a good chunk of time figuring out what I needed to do to maintain instead of lose.

I also admit that there are moments where I'm still in a "I really did this?!" frame of mind. People have told me that I will have those moments for some time. It did take me four years (plus some time) to make this happen, and that something this big that took that long will have those kind of moments. I think that I will still be amazed for a long time because the process itself was amazing. I found strength that I didn't know I had, plus made so many awesome friends along this journey.

At the same time, I'm sure that I'll continue to experience hard moments throughout my maintenance journey. The losing part wasn't easy, so the maintenance won't  either. Personally, I think that this process is hard so that anyone who goes through it not only becomes stronger as a result, but is more thankful for what comes out of it. I know I am in more ways than one. I became stronger (both mentally and physically) and so happy with myself for the first time in a long time!

No matter what, I'll always be glad I went through this as well as how I did it. I went slow, but as you can tell, the weight is staying off, and I am confident that it will for a long time.

I'm still going strong after three months and life feels pretty amazing! Best. Feeling. Ever.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Life is All About Balance

One of the many things that I have struggled with since I hit goal was learning that I can enjoy treats and move on.

I think this week I finally took steps in the right direction.

Wednesday night was the holiday party for work. We went to an arcade and ate pizza. I capped my serving at two slices and felt satisfied with that.

Oh, and guess what went in next to the arcade about a month ago? Carlo's Bake Shop! For those of you who have never heard of Carlo's, just watch Cake Boss. You'll see the amazement. Anyway, I was DYING to go to a Carlo's, so I went in on Wednesday night. Oddly, the only pastries that struck my fancy were the cookies. I wasn't in a cupcake mood, and I don't like frosted brownies. I found chocolate chip M&M cookies that were a NORMAL cookie size (not the ginormous ones that most bakeries sell) and got two. I ate one that night and one the next night. Totally worth it. I found that one at a time is plenty. I enjoyed it, didn't want more after that, and moved on.

Saturday was another example of treating and moving on. I wanted an Auntie Anne's almond pretzel. So what did I do? I got ONE. Just one. Enjoyed every bite, tracked it and moved on. Oh, and I didn't get dip with it either. I call that a win.

Today was I think the prime example of this. I have been craving fries forever. I let myself have them at the basketball game I was at. I enjoyed them and after I was finished, that was it. I didn't want more, I didn't feel deprived, and most of all, I didn't feel guilty. I call this the biggest win of the weekend.

I admit that I thought I wouldn't be able to eat my almond pretzels or fries ever again once I hit goal. I was still struggling with an "all or nothing" mindset. Turns out I was being unrealistic. For this whole maintenance thing to be, well, maintainable, I have to let myself enjoy those kinds of foods every once in awhile. Otherwise, I'm setting myself up for major binging on those foods, which led me to being 246 pounds in the first place. That is not the place I want to go back to at all.

I think that with such treat foods is both in portion control and not feeling guilty about it. I was afraid that I would want ALL the almond pretzels and fries in sight. Turns out that one portion of each was exactly what I needed. No regrets with my decision, just satisfaction.

Honestly, this was something that I needed to figure out for months now, and I think I finally did. Will I be perfect with this? No, and I don't expect to be. As long as I keep in control, and let myself enjoy something every so often, I'll be moving in the right direction. As long as I don't let myself let "treats" turn into "the norm," I'll be in balance, and living a healthy and happy life.

In the end, balance is what life is about. That's all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Working Out Without Gadgets: My Polar-less Week

Do any of you remember what it was like to work out without Fitbits, heart rate monitors, Garmins, or for those of you on Weight Watchers, ActiveLinks?

I do. It was awesome. Working out just to get myself moving, and once I started classes at my gym, have fun!

Then I invested in a Polar and it took away from the fun.

It was great to see how much I was training and felt awesome to see myself hit awesome numbers night in and night out. At the same time, I felt pressure to get to a certain number every time and felt like a failure if I didn't. Yes, I thought 419 calories in a spin class was horrible.

So this week, I decided to throw it back and work out without a Polar.

It came partially out of the thing not working since Sunday. It was also me being tired of feeling pressure to hit a certain number every time. It was that reason that I stopped tracking my Centergy classes. I wanted to focus on how good I felt instead of just a number on a wrist watch.

So, I was Polar-less this whole week. Let me just say it was the best feeling ever! I felt so free and happy in the gym for a change! I was able to focus on how I was feeling during the workouts themselves instead of just a number. I forgot how much of a warrior princess I felt in my Kick class or how strong I felt during the climbs in Ride.

When it comes down to it, isn't just getting up and moving worth a lot more than hitting a certain number every time? This last week made me realize that it is!

My friend Emily posted a question on her Facebook page that asked what our successes were this week. I said mine was working out without the Polar and enjoying it.

This was the response I got from her:

"Good for you, girl! I think that's a great step in making fitness a life-long love and habit. You don't want to feel like you have to hit a certain number each day. JUST LIVE IT

Now that I think about it, that was what I wanted all along. I wanted to just step into the gym or go on a run just to enjoy and live it! When we become to focused on numbers (this goes for just about anything), we tend to lose the real focus of why we're doing what we're doing. As long as we move and enjoy how we're doing it, we're still burning more calories than the people sitting home, eating crap, and watching TV.

In the end, that feeling beats any number on a little wristwatch computer.

I found out that my Polar probably needs a new strap, so I will be without it for at least another week. Honestly, I'm in no rush to get it back. I'm enjoying this whole "Just live it" thing in the gym. When I do start using it again, I'll use it to track, but not make it the focus of the workout. It's nice to know where you are in a workout, but it's also amazing to just live it too.

Do you use any tracking devices during your workout? Do you find it harder to enjoy a workout if you do?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weight Loss and Maintenance: It's NOT a Straight Line

Throughout my four year weight loss journey, and two months into maintenance, I've learned one thing (even if I didn't learn anything else):

This path is not a straight line. In fact, it's anything but that.

Yes, I realize that I am a weight-loss/healthy living blogger who became a success story, but the truth is that there are times when I still don't have everything figured out.

When I was in the "losing" stage, there were times I would plateau, or even gain. Admittedly, I would feel like a failure and like I would never get to goal. Eventually, I would figure things out and get back on a downward track again.

The worst was when I got hurt last summer, gained six pounds in two weeks, and felt beyond miserable. I beat myself up for letting it happen and then realized in a few weeks, I would (slowly) be on the losing track again. Sure enough, I was right. I got back in the gym, eased myself into my normal routine again, and was back on the right track. Okay, maybe it took two months to get back to that pre-injury weight, but I didn't let myself quit!

Maintenance has been kind of the same thing. I've heard that it's harder to maintain than it is to lose. Two months in, and it is so true! I feel like I had a little more frustration in the early stages of maintenance, mostly with trying to find my "footing" as well as what I could realistically maintain.

After nearly a month, and about a three pound gain, I found it. I may have hit a low of 142, but realized that my body did not like that number. It wanted those extra three pounds back. At first, I was frustrated. I busted my ass for an awesome number, and felt like my body was rebelling. I soon found out that it was ME that was rebelling. I realized that my body liked 145, and that going against that was making me miserable.

Long story short, I accepted what my body was telling me, realized that I am still awesome, and that I CAN maintain this for life! I found something that I can work with and what works for me.

In my case, it's continuing to track, limit the sweets and soups, and keep kicking ass at the gym.

I realize that the process of losing and maintaining that loss doesn't get easier with time. If it did, I'm pretty sure just about anyone could do it. What does get easier is keeping a mindset of not giving up and finding what works.

How about you? Has your path been a windy road like mine?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Currently: November 2013

I've taken a mini break from blogging so I can be awesome and start my quest for world domination. Okay, maybe not the world domination part. Hey, a girl can dream, right? ;-)

In reality, I've been busy with work and spending time in the gym and with my family. So, my blogging has been put aside for a little bit. I hope to fix this soon!

Still, I've been pretty awesome. I'm holding strong in maintenance mode after about a month and a half, and finally learned that a scale doesn't show how awesome I am or how much I've done throughout the last few years. HUGE win!

I know it's almost the middle of the month, but I still decided to do a little post about how my life is going outside of health and fitness, at least a little bit. What's life without a little fun, right?

I found this format on my girl Emily's blog, but it originated from Cassie at Back to Her Roots. So, here goes!

Thinking...about not wanting to go to work tonight for the Bread Bash. Mostly because it will end late and I have work at 5:30 tomorrow morning. =P

Feeling...AMAZING! Still rocking maintenance, and since I let go of my lowest number ever, I feel a little more free and happy! I realized that my low may not be the number I can maintain, but I found something that works for me, and can stick with!

Watching...The Good Wife. Seriously, this is the best show on network TV. It's mostly a legal drama, but does have a bit of politics in it with a pinch of soapiness. I've watched it from the beginning, and it is simply one of the best hours of TV week in and week out. Oh, and the cast (featuring Julianna Margulies as the lead) is amazing. They bring it every scene of every episode. If you're not watching it, get the discs or find it online because it is worth it!

Reading...nothing at the moment. I used to love reading, but can't seem to find/make time for it anymore. =( Maybe I spend too much time watching The Good Wife to read. ;-) Seriously, any book suggestions are welcome!

Excited...about peppermint mochas and red cups at Starbucks! This is my one exception to the "No holiday anything until after Thanksgiving" rule. We all know peppermint is acceptable any time of the year. Plus, the red cups are so cute!

Missing...daylight past 5:00 in the afternoon. Daylight savings time is so overrated. ;-)

Wondering...if the weather will ever make up its mind what it wants to do. It was cold this morning, but nice when I left the gym! Crazy!

Working...like a madwoman! I took the early (5:30-2) shift at work Monday-Friday, and it's a nice shift, but it's a lot of hours! Still, I would rather have that than work at night five days a week, including at least one weekend day. 

Stressed...about nothing at the moment. Strange for me, I know.

Proud...that I finally got my mind and body in the right place for once! I think that I am in control for the first time ever and know that I can maintain this!

Wanting...a skinny peppermint mocha from Starbucks. Maybe I'll go get one later on.

Wishing...that I had off tomorrow. Hey, a girl can dream, right? ;-)

Eating...I just ate Surf Taco for lunch. I went with a chicken burrito that I deconstructed. Took out the filling (chicken, brown rice, black beans, lettuce, and cheese), loaded up on that, and ate about half of the tortilla and chips that came with it. Perfect lunch. =)

Drinking...water. I had an intense workout this morning (50 minute Power class, followed by a 30 minute elliptical run), and am still rehydrating. Water is the best option anyway!

Loving...the current Group Ride release! That is a class I love anyway, but this release emphasizes resistance, and challenges me in a way I never have been before on a spin bike.

That's all from me! Here's to November continuing to be awesome!

How's everything going with you, my friends?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Numbers: They Don't Tell the WHOLE Story!

Happy Sunday, peeps! Another weekend that went as fast as it came. Something needs to be done about this. Any ideas? ;-)

Anyway, last weekend I had some struggles with switching from a "loss" mindset to a "maintenance" mindset. I gained back three pounds in two weeks, and honestly, I felt like a failure. I couldn't even maintain the lowest number I hit for a week, so how was I supposed to go about this for LIFE?

After about a day and a half of this, I decided I had enough of my pity party and grabbed my size 8 skinny jeans (same ones as in the "After" pics). Yup, still fit me perfectly. It was that moment that I realized that how my clothes fit and how I feel OVERALL are worth so much more than a number on the scale. I went back to feeling amazing.

Maintenance may have gotten off to a rocky start, but I feel confident that I'm going in the right direction. I realized that just because you hit a "low" of goal (or in my case, a few pounds less), you won't necessarily stay at a SINGLE number forever. Fluid retention happens (hormones or treat meals, as was the case for me a week or two ago), plus fat might be going away while muscle is being built. It's more like a range to stay in. I decided that if I happen to hit the 142 again, great. If I go a few (1-3) pounds above, great. I don't feel any pressure to get to ONE number any more.

Besides, one number doesn't tell a whole story.

For example, in four years, I...
...went from being borderline MORBIDLY obese to a healthy weight!
...was only able to shop in a few stores, but can shop anywhere now!
...used to hate running, now have completed five 5K's! (Hey, it's a start!)
...hated working out in general, but love it now!
...drank A LOT of soda every day, but now can't stand the stuff.
...hated my body but now LOVE how I look and more importantly how I FEEL!

You get the idea. =)

So, after looking at all this, do you see a single number telling my story? Yeah, I don't either. Numbers are part of the picture, but at the end of the day, they should be taken with a grain of salt. In other words, they're not worth as much as we think they are!

Now that I think about it, I believe that this was the mindset I needed in order to truly get into a maintenance mode. Yeah, I knew about all the numbers and stats, but mentally and emotionally, the light didn't come on for me until last week.

Yes, I did have a number I wanted to hit when I was in the process of losing weight. For me, like a lot of other people, that was the "all or nothing" of this journey. However, with enough time, I learned that how my clothes fit, how my body was getting toned, and just how I felt with myself were worth more than that number. Now, I learned that a measly two or three pounds aren't the end of the world. It's more about what my body wants to maintain while loving myself no matter what the number on the scale says.

Besides, don't numbers make us crazy enough in life? ;-)

Have you let a number define your journey at any point? If so, did you let go of the single number and focused on the big picture?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Feeling Frustrated Over Maintenance

Subtitle for this post: Tracy Beating Herself Up Then Learning a Lesson

Hello, friends! I can't believe it's Sunday already! As fast as the weekend comes, it goes that much faster! =P

As you may remember, I hit goal two weeks ago. I actually came four pounds below that number. I was on top of the world, but I admit I kind of felt a feeling of relief too.

Little did I know that major frustration would set in soon after.

In two weeks, I gained three pounds.

I saw a gain of two last week. I just shook it off as hormones (TTOM was about a week and a half ago), and thought I would be back to that awesome number this week.

Nope. In fact, I saw another pound come back. At this point, I wanted to cry. In fact, I admit that I have for the better chunk of the last day and a half. I also felt so angry for letting this happen.

So, now I'm two weeks past hitting goal, and I'm only down 101 pounds. Don't get me wrong, that's still an awesome number, and I still feel amazing, but there was just something...magical (I guess?) about saying I lost 104. Now, I just don't feel like as much of a rockstar. I feel...empty and lost.

Honestly, I should have seen this coming, since I lost so much so fast (six in two weeks, nine in a month), but honestly, I feel like an epic failure. I hit a number two weeks ago and I couldn't even maintain it for that long. Yeah, I guess I'm a loser for that too.

Yes, I know I sound so crazy and ridiculous for making a loss of 101 pounds seem like it's nothing, but I am human, and do let a number on the scale mess with my head. No matter what anyone says, I still let that number mess with my head every so often.

I've been in a funk since yesterday morning, and have cried more than I would like to admit I did. However, I still remind myself (as do others) that I am still pretty amazing.

I must be pretty amazing, because otherwise, would I have done this yesterday?

Nope! In fact, if I wasn't in as good of shape as I am, I wouldn't have the stamina for this! I burned 1023 calories in about two and a half hours. I felt strong and amazing!

Honestly, at the end of the day, that strong and amazing feeling is worth so much more than a measly three pounds, right? Now that I think about it, it is!

Besides, my size 8 skinny jeans from Old Navy still fit. That alone makes me feel pretty great. ;-)

I know that in time, my body will work itself out and I will eventually find a number that is realistic to maintain. Maybe I will get back to the 142. Maybe I'll stay at 145. Maybe it'll be something in between. My body knows best, and fighting it will just make me crazy, like it has for the last two days. Not worth it. It just makes me miserable to be around.

I admit that life at 145 isn't different at all from life at 142. I still feel just as confident in my own skin and am proud of how far I've come.

I realize that maintenance will be hard, and there will be times that I get frustrated, but the goal is to work through it and find what works for me in the long run. Besides, if this was easy, they would call it something else, right?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Back to Basics Recap

Yes, I know Back to Basics has been over for almost a week and a half, but, you know, some awesome stuff (and life) happened, and so this recap got delayed. So, finally, here's my challenge summary!

Below are the links to my recap for each individual week of the challenge:

Week 1: Improving Spaces for Success

Week 2: Tracking

Week 3: Good Health Guidelines

Week 4: Exercise

I had three goals for this challenge:

1) Track, track, TRACK!
2) No sweets Monday-Friday
3) Lose five pounds and finally hit my 100 pound weight loss goal!

I rocked all three goals and am still going strong!

I tracked for the whole month of September and am still tracking. I am now in maintenance mode, but still want to monitor everything. I do best when I see something, so I need to track.

At first, the no-sweets Monday-Friday was killing me, but after the first week, it felt natural. In fact, I think "Treat-End" is going to be sticking around! This girl finally got her sweet tooth under control! =D

Finally...I hit my 100 pound goal! I was actually FOUR pounds under the weight I wanted to hit! I did gain two back last week (stupid hormones), but I'm still under goal. After four long years, I finally became an after!

I seriously can't thank Brooke enough for this challenge! It came along at the right time for me. I was struggling to lose the last five pounds I wanted to hit goal, and just felt kind of stuck. So, I signed up for Back to Basics, set some goals and rocked it in September! Totally awesome feeling!

Well, I couldn't just go into October without wanting to accomplish something, right? So, I set up some new goals for myself.

1) Keep tracking!
2) Stay in goal range. My original goal was 146 pounds, but I went down to 142. I would like to stay in the range of 141-145. Simple enough.
3) Plank-A-Day! I was going strong until the middle of August. I want to get back to it in October! I'm 8-for-8 so far this month!

There you have it. The summary of the challenge that helped me get back to basics and finally become an after. Here's to a rocking October!

Friday, October 4, 2013

I'm an After!

Note: This post is LONG and has several pics. You've all been warned. ;-)

Four years, one month, and three weeks.

That was how long it took me to go from a "Before" to an "After."

My weigh-in day is on Saturday. I did weigh myself the week before, but didn't count it because I was sick. If I hit goal that week, I knew it would be on a fluke, and that the weight would come back.

Boy, was I wrong.

When I weighed in last Saturday, I was at 142. Not only did I hit goal, I blew it out of the water by four pounds. Awesome moment.

Of course, I posted it to Facebook and Twitter right away, and my timelines went a little bonkers in the best way possible. I also shot a text to Meredith, my spin instructor who's become such an awesome friend this last year too. Her response: "Way to go girl!!"

I celebrated by going to the gym for weights and Centergy. Typical me...lol. While I was setting up my Polar, another member came up to me and apparently noticed that I was losing and said how good I looked. Awkwardly awesome, I guess? ;-)

Anyway, my workout was impossible to get through because I wasn't mentally there. Still, I got through and felt awesome after!

One of my rewards for hitting goal was to get my hair cut and re-highlighted. I went that afternoon to get it done. About two hours later, I had three inches less of hair, some new color, and felt even more amazing!

Later that night, I went out to dinner with my dad. I ate chicken fingers and sweet potato fries as my treat meal for the week. After dinner, I went and got fro-yo as my weekly sweet (I cut out sweets Monday-Friday and find that I want less on the weekends). I know you're not supposed to celebrate with food, but I do allow myself one higher calorie meal a week, and enjoyed that meal on Saturday.

Sunday was when I actually took my "After" pictures. As I was getting closer to goal, I decided that I wanted to go to the beach by my house for pictures. What better way to capture that amazingness than with the wind in my hair, sand on my feet, and the water in the background? Plus, I am a Jersey girl, after all! ;-)

It was a beautiful afternoon and my dad got some awesome pics of me! I consider this one to be my "official" after pic:

I also had my dad snap one of me jumping off the sand, mostly to show how excited I was about hitting goal. ;-)
Later that day, I put together a before and after pic and still couldn't believe that I was ever 246 pounds. I don't even know if I could put my feelings into words. I'll just let the pic speak for itself:

Pictures went up, timelines went crazy again. I admit all the love was overwhelming, but so awesome. I went to bed on Sunday night with a warm and fuzzy feeling, as much as I didn't want to go to bed because I didn't want all the excitement to end.

Turns out that wasn't the case.

On Monday night, I went to my usual kickboxing class. When I was getting close to goal, Cassie (my instructor who's also become an awesome friend) asked me if I would be okay with her saying something about me hitting goal. I told her to go for it. Well, she did and made me feel like a rockstar that night. A few other people in class actually came up to me after and said congratulations too. Best feeling ever.

The next night in my spin class, Meredith also said something. Except she didn't tell me she was going to. She just said it in the middle of class, so it came as a nice surprise. So in two nights, two incredible people made me feel like a rockstar. Yeah, I would say that's awesome. =)

I would be lying if I said hitting goal has FULLY sunk in yet. I've told this to a few people and they said that it will in time. Something this big and incredible, no matter how long it took, will take awhile to sink in. Still, no matter what, this will forever be an awesome moment.

I just want to thank you all for your love and support not just this last week but over the last four years! You've been a huge part of this journey, not just for your love and support, but just for letting me share it all with you! You've cheered me on when times were good, let me vent and encouraged me when it got rough. If it wasn't for all of you, I don't know where I would be now. I seriously can't thank you guys enough! If I could hug all of you, I would! You guys are the best!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Back to Basics: Exercise

It's been a very crazy, yet awesome past few days here! If you follow me on any of my social media pages, you probably know that I hit goal on Saturday (and then some)! My total loss is 104 pounds overall. I'll have a post on that soon (still trying to wrap my head around it), but I do have the recap of the final week of the Back to Basics challenge!

The theme for the final week was exercise! I knew I would rock this week because I am almost always on the move!

While getting the week in motion (no pun intended...hehe), Brooke listed the five benefits of exercise to us:

1) Helps lose/maintain weight
2) Reduces stress
3) Strengthens bones and muscles
4) Make a healthy heart and body
5) Boosts energy

Seriously, this list is a huge motivator for wanting to move more! Whenever I have a stressful day at work, nothing cures it like a good kickboxing or spin class! I also know that after my Centergy class I have more energy (not to mention a little more flexibility).

Anyway, this week was aimed not only on traditional exercising (running, workout DVD's, going to the gym, etc), but also getting in more activity in small ways (taking the stairs, walking in place while watching TV, and making a few trips to bring in groceries).

These were Brooke's challenges to us last week:

1) Write out your exercise plan for the week.
2) Find a way to move 10 extra minutes in your day.
3) Set a goal to exercise three times this week.
4) Try a new exercise.

I (mostly) wrote down my exercise plan for the week. I do a lot of classes, so the workouts were mostly set for me. I could have done better with writing down specific plans for when I did weights on my own. Well, nobody's perfect. I have an active job where I'm on my feet most of the day and constantly moving. So, I nailed that one! I worked out five days this week, which is what I usually do, so I rocked that one as well! Unfortunately, I never got to try a new exercise. Cue the sad face.

I knew I would do awesome last week and I did! Was there room for improvement? Absolutely. Did I let the one bad thing outshine all the good I did? No. I spent way too much time doing that on my journey, and it drove me crazy. I let myself look at what I was weak on, how I could fix it, and move on. In this case, it's having a plan for my solo weight training days before I go into the gym.

Now that the challege is over, I have to write a recap now, don't I? ;-) Don't worry, that's coming up! =)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back to Basics: Good Health Guidelines

The theme for last week's Back To Basics challenge was Good Health Guidelines (GHG's).

Also known as the week I snapped. Again.

You may be wondering what exactly are GHG's. In a nutshell, they're the tools that help you maintain a healthy person. You can stay in calories/Points Plus by eating chicken nuggets, cookies, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. However, you won't be healthy or have the tools to maintain a healthy weight.

There are eight GHG's:

1) Fruits and vegetables
2) Lean Protein
3) Non-Fat/Low-Fat dairy
4) Whole Grains
5) Liquids
6) Healthy Oils
7) Multivitamin
8) Limit sodium, sugar, and alcohol

There were two challenges:

1) To find the GHG that was the most difficult to get in and make a goal to hit it 3-4 times
2) Create a meal that knocks out 3-4 GHG's.

I realized the hardest GHG for me would be the vitamin. However, I totally forgot to get a multivitamin on my travels this week. Oops...

As for the meals, this was where I snapped and pretty much lived off of chicken and salad. I was in a week of fear, since I'm so close to goal, and a feeling of fear came over me that I would gain all my weight back. I know I won't, and I worked through that moment, but it just proved that if I stay stressed about it all the time, then I WILL lose control again. So, when I do hit goal, I will still control myself, but not to a point where I lose my mind!

I did manage to limit the sodium last week though, which is a beautiful thing. I don't drink alcohol very often anyway, and my sugar intake has decreased dramatically since I put "Treat-End" in place. I drink about 90-100 oz. of water a day, so that was easy. I only drink fat-free milk anymore, and use low-fat creamer in my morning coffee. As for the whole grain, I eat a lot of that anyway, so that was no problem as well.

Yes, on the outside, last week may have seemed like a fail, and I felt like it was at first. However, I learned that I can't go through maintenance and be a nazi about everything all the time. Otherwise, I will eventually lose control, go back to my old ways, and see 100+ pounds come back. Yes, I will still maintain a healthy diet and exercise, but I will still have a treat once in awhile.

Hope you all have a good rest of the week!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to Basics: Tracking

Hello, cats and kittens! Another Monday, which means the usual "back to work" blahs. However, I have my awesome cardio kickboxing class tonight! Before that though, here's how my last week on Back to Basics went.

Brooke's challenge for us this week was tracking. This was my week to rock it for sure because my main goal for the month is tracking everything. Going into the week, I was perfect for the month. I had tracked every meal, snack, sip of green tea at work, and workout. As a result, I was consistently under my 1610 calorie target every day, and had lost two pounds the first week of the challenge!

This week had four challenges:

1) Track the good, bad, and the ugly.
2) Set a goal to track more than you are at the moment.
3) Find a new way to track if the current way isn't working.
4) Track those bites, licks, and tastes! They add up!

I'm not on a set program (i.e. Weight Watchers), so I use an app on my iPod/phone called MyFitnessPal. It saves foods you eat frequently, lets you save meals, and even has a nifty barcode scanner to enter products. It also lets you adjust your numbers based on your goals (lose one pound, gain a half pound, maintain, etc). It's easy to use, and best of all, it's free! It's the app I've used the longest in my four year journey, and has worked the best, so I'm sticking with it.

This week was mostly great in terms of both my eating and workouts. I had soreness on Tuesday night, so I skipped my full spin class, and kept it to the half and core. I put together a solid hour in the gym versus two of crap. Don't worry, the rest of the week made up for it.

I cut out sweets during the week as part of this challenge, and felt awesome with that all week. I found that smaller portions of my favs (fro-yo and Italian ice) actually satisfied me MORE than larger ones. I think that this was what I needed for a long time. I was taking "moderation" to mean "once a day." No bueno.

However, one thing I did notice was that I tend to eat quite a bit of food at work. I usually go for half salads (most of which are under 300 calories, less than 500 if you include the bread). However, I eat a lot of cream based soup. Granted, it's all I eat for a meal, and it satisfies me, but I could do better. Hey, at least I'm not eating 800+ calorie sandwiches all the time, right? ;-)

For those of you who are wondering, I did splurge a little. I ate pizza on Saturday, because I was out doing laundry and the best pizza place in town was right next door. I capped my serving at two slices. I also ate fro-yo the same night, and even that was small. Craving satisfied, tracked, and moved on.

I weighed in on Saturday, and saw another pound gone! Two weeks of tracking and being part of the Back to Basics challenge led me to a three pound loss! Only two pounds to goal! So close!

This week's challenge is "Good Health Guidelines." I'm feeling strong going into week three!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back to Basics: Improving Spaces

My first week of the Back to Basics challenge rocked! I stayed on track with both no sweets Monday-Friday (Starbucks launched Pumpkin Spice on Tuesday, so I couldn't get it on launch day) and the tracking!

Brooke's challenge to us last week was basically improving our spaces to help us stay on track. She broke it up into three categories (home, kitchen, and work), with three or four challenges in each category, and told us to do two or three of them. 

Here's how it went for me:

Home Space

There were three challenges in this category:

1) Create a space to workout at home.
2) Place motivational quotes or pictures around to see daily.
3) Lay workout clothes out the night before.

I went with the third one in this category. I workout at the gym, and usually throw together my stuff right before I go. Last week, I worked early, and was planning on going to the gym right from work. So, I packed my bag before I went to bed that night. The next morning, I grabbed my duffell and went! So easy! Challenge one complete!

Kitchen Space

There were four challenges in this category:

1) Get rid of or hide trigger foods.
2) Place fruit and other plan friendly foods in a basket or bowl.
3) Put food scale and measuring cups on the counter.
4) Mark foods with Points Plus values.

I did a combination of the first and third ones. I work at Panera, and the closers get to take home a few bagels and pastries at the end of the night. Since I am no longer working at night, I don't get this privilege. Therefore, no bringing home jumbo chocolate chip cookies! This helps me with the no sweets during the week too! 

As for the tools, I have a food scale on my counter, and bought a new measuring cup since the granola I bought has a serving size of 1/3 cup. Strange. They both stay on my counter where I can easily see them and be reminded to use them!

Work Space

There were three challenges here:

1) Store healthy choices in or on your desk.
2) Set a reminder to get up and move.
3) Pack a healthy lunch and snacks.

This was a tricky category for me. I work in a restaurant, and get discounted meals when I work. I did make good choices though! I'm on my feet for most of the day, so I didn't need any movement reminders!

I think this challenge was something I needed, and it seemed to come at the right time! I did awesome last week, and hope that the momentum keeps going this week. The challenge for this week is tracking, which is one of my goals for the month!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Back to Basics in September!

Hello, friends and readers! September has arrived, and with that comes back to school, cooler weather, and in the case of myself and many others, a return to basics!

The amazing Brooke of Brooke: Not on a Diet started this challenge, and I saw the link for it on Emily's Facebook page. Both women are at different stages in their own journeys, but have struggled lately as well. In fact, Brooke and Emily came up with this challenge together. After seeing the link on Emily's page, I signed up. I hit a mini-plateau over the last few weeks, and decided this was the push I needed.

The challenge is Weight Watchers centered (as both Brooke and Emily are WW members), but is also open to non-members as well, as the topics (tracking, exercising, etc.) are good for everyone to work on. The group is over 200 people strong, and it's amazing to see everyone rooting each other on!

Brooke asked us to write down a goal for ourselves and a reward for completing that goal during the challenge. I managed to come up with three (two originally, and adding a third in a few days ago):

1) Track everything! I have been slacking in this regard, and I want to be
    more mindful of what I eat.
2) No sweet treats during the week. I am putting "Treat-End" into place. No
    cookies, fro-yo, brownies, etc. Monday-Friday. I tend to eat something
    sweet once a day, and want to make the treats just that: treats.
3) FINALLY hit my goal of 100 pounds lost! I mean, it's been just over four
    years. I want to be an "After!"

My reward for the first two goals is buying myself season 1 of Perception on DVD. It's one of my fav shows, and I would love to rewatch from the beginning. As for my reward for hitting goal...still working on it!

Here's to getting Back to Basics and making goals happen in September!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Questions and Answers

I went back to work after nearly a week off last Sunday, and I already need another week off. This week was so crazy, with the big audit at work last Monday. Well, we're not failures, but we're still losers. I spent a good chunk of the week feeling like I let everyone down, and wishing I could just crawl into a ball forever. Ugh...

Well, that's why the gym was invented, right?

Anyway, I'm feeling down tonight, so I decided to do a Friend Makin' Monday post to try and cheer myself up. =)
friend makin mondays
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
 Questions and Answers
1.  What is a typical weekday like for you?  Work in the morning, gym later in the day, followed by dinner and sleeping. At least that will be the case as of Wednesday, when I go back to working at 5:30 in the morning.
2.  Name one song that never fails to make you happy and one song that you always listen to when you’re sad.  Happy song- "Pound the Alarm" by Nicki Minaj. It makes me just want to get up and move! Sad song- "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. It's actually one of my fav songs, and I actually ran to it, but I also tend to put it on when I'm in a blah mood.
3.  Did you watch the VMA’s last night?  No, I didn't get home from work until almost 10. =P
4.  Share at least two talents that you possess. Sandwich making and spinning for (almost) 90 minutes in one shot. I'm a Panera zone leader who loves spinning!
5.  Share one thing that you wish you had the confidence to do. Date. I'm 28, still single, and feel like no one will look at me (I'm kind of plain) or want to be with me because I still live with the parents and don't have a "real" job.
6. Tell us about one insecurity that people might be surprised that you have. I'm afraid to make mistakes. I feel like one mistake makes me look like a total idiot, and that no one will want me to do anything.
7.  If you could be the CEO of any company, which one would you choose to lead? Probably a mass clothing retailer, so I can be the first to get the latest fashions! My top two choices would be Gap (Old Navy is part of them) or American Eagle.
8. List at least three hobbies that make you happy.  I love to workout, shop, and be a fangirl.
9.  Is there someone in your life that you wish you could say “I love you” to?  No. =(
10.  Share one cool thing that happened over the weekend. I didn't do much but work this weekend, but I did have an awesome class at the gym yesterday with one of my fav instructors. =)

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Monday, friends!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

28 and Feelin' Great!

It's been awhile since I did a regular post, so I decided to take advantage of some downtime, and put up something not Friend Makin' Monday or Foodie Pen Pals related. ;-)

My birthday was on Wednesday, and other than a spin class, I had no idea what the day held in store. I took off from work, so I had one less thing to worry about that day.

Yes, you read that right. I went to a spin class on my birthday. What? It's my favorite way to cross-train (besides kickboxing, which my gym doesn't offer on Wednesdays...bummer), plus I had to burn off what I would be eating later, right? ;-)

Anyway, I went to spin, which was a totally different class than I was used to (instructor and format), but it felt so good at the same time. My Polar didn't record the workout (fail), but I still felt amazing when it was over. 

My parents both had doctor's appointments that afternoon (all is fine with both, so happy there), which left me free to relax and hang out with my sis and two and a half month old nephew. =)

One of the things I really wanted to do on my birthday was go to the beach. The weather looked very on and off, and I wasn't sure if it would happen. Thankfully, the sun came out, and I was able to hit the sand! It was a gorgeous afternoon and there was practically no one in sight! I took my headphones with me, but ended up not wearing them. I kind of just wanted to zone out with the sound of the water and my feet in the sand. 

Let's face it, no beach day is complete without a selfie and name in the sand. ;-)

Clouds rolled in after about two and a half hours, so I took that as a sign to go home, shower, and get ready for my birthday dinner with my parents.

The only thing I wanted for my birthday was dinner at Houlihan's, so that's where my parents took me.

Dinner was the ultimate cheat meal. I ate a half rack of baby back ribs, fries, a cup of baked potato soup, and part of a brownie sundae. You might be wondering what I washed all of that down with. The answer is simple: a pint of Sam Adams Summer Ale.

For the record, I enjoyed every bite and had no guilt. Calories don't count (much) on your birthday, right? ;-)

The rest of the night was quiet, much like the day. I chilled out and watched the Yankees and Necessary Roughness. Perfect end to a perfect day. 

So far, 28 has been, well, great! I hope the rest of my year is too! =)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Friend Makin' Monday: My Community

Happy Birthday Week to Me! My birthday is on Wednesday, and my plans of going to the beach may not happen, due to pending rain. =/ I must be the only person crazy enough to workout on my birthday though, since I'm planning on going to spin class. Hey, I have to justify my annual baby back ribs and brownie sundae somehow, right? ;-) Anyway, on to this week's Friend Makin' Monday post!
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com, so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
My Community
1. Where were you born? Did you grow up there? I've lived in New Jersey my whole life, but moved from Elizabeth to Middletown when I was 11.
2. Tell us about your favorite spot in your city. The local bayside beach that's a block from my house.
3. Do you volunteer for any organizations? If so, will you tell us about it? I don't. =(
4. Tell us about your favorite local restaurant. My favorite area restaurant is in one of the other local towns (Red Bank). It's called Surf Taco, and has awesome food (Teriyaki chicken taco FTW!) and is very reasonably priced.
5. Has your city ever experienced tragedy?  If so, how did it recover? Hurricane Sandy hit parts of my town hard. My area was fine, but others weren't so lucky. I still see rebuilding even after nine months.
6. Share at least one unique thing about your neighborhood. I'm a block from the beach. Doesn't get better than that.
7. If you could do one small thing to change your community, what would you do? Create adult fitness programs in the community! I feel like everything is aimed for kids!
8. The Powerball is currently up to 400 million dollars. Would you move to a different place if you won? I would move to a different part of town, mostly for a bigger house with a pool, but I would stay in Jersey for sure. I can't imagine living anywhere else.
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals: July 2013

I was supposed to write this yesterday, but I lost motivation to do much of anything after work. Blah. So, here is my Foodie Pen Pals post for July!

My box for July comes from Sierra of C'Mon Fatso. After exchanging e-mails, I had all this waiting for me on a hot weekday afternoon.

As you can see, most of it was chocolate, which sadly melted on its way to me. =( However, thanks to my refrigerator, it hardened up soon enough, and I was able to enjoy it!

Full breakdown of the box:

  • Cinnamon almonds. Otherwise known as the best non-chocolate treat ever.
  • Nutella on the go. I love hazelnuts, but have never been a big fan of Nutella. Guess I like my hazelnuts and chocolate separate.
  • Bug Bites Organic Chocolate (Milk and Dark). Perfect size for when a craving strikes. Or when you want to make a s'more. ;-)
  • Peanut Butter and Co. packets in Smooth and Dark Chocolate. I love the Dark Chocolate, and you can never go wrong with creamy.
  • Chocolove Milk Chocolate. You can never go wrong with milk chocolate. Ever.
  • Chocolove Toffee and Almond in Milk Chocolate. Another delicious treat.
  • TCHO Pure Notes Dark Chocolate with subtle "Nutty" notes. The "Nutty" actually has hints of espresso with roasted nut undertones. Chocolate and coffee? LOVE!
  • A copy of Julie and Julia. I loved the movie, but never got to read the book. Guess I have no excuse anymore, right? ;-)
For more information about Foodie Pen Pals, and how you can sign up for August, be sure to check out Lindsay's page over at The Lean Green Bean! Happy eating! =)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Friend Makin' Mondays: Ten Things That Make Me Happy

Crazy week this week! I actually had a 37 hour week (picked up a total of nine hours-WIN!), plus put in my usual 8 hours in the gym, including trying a new class (Centergy, which is basically yoga and Pilates in one class) and went to a party for work! Whew! Thankfully, I get a break, as I'm off tomorrow. Heading to the gym in a bit, but first, a Friend Makin' Monday post!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

10 Things That Make Me Happy

1) My two and a half month old nephew Hayden. I seriously love this little guy to bits. =)

2) Working out, especially kickboxing and spinning. 

3) Sparkly Soul headbands. I own 13, and am still adding to my collection!

4) The Good Wife. Seriously, if you have not watched this show, get the DVD's and start watching from the beginning. Best show on network TV.

5) Fro-yo. I have a horrible sweet tooth, even after losing over 90 pounds. I keep it in check though! Just one treat a week.

6) Baked potato soup. I work at Panera, and we serve it twice a week. However, anytime I go out to another restaurant and if they have baked potato soup, I will order it for sure!

7) The Fitblog/Fitbloggin' community! I went to the conference for the first time in 2012, and just felt so welcome from the moment I arrived. I was heartbroken when I couldn't go this year (a $9/hour job only goes so far), but the awesome Susan at FoodFoodBodyBody (Twitter @FoodieMcBody) was willing to send postcards to those who weren't able to attend this year's conference. Of course, I wanted one! It was such a sweet idea!

8) Music of just about any kind. I'm not a huge fan of rap or heavy metal, and am not the biggest country lover, but I dig just about anything else. Lately, I've been on a classic rock kick.

9) Clothes! I think this automatically comes with weight loss, but I still love shopping for new clothes. I'm planning on buying a pair of Lululemon capris either this week or next week as a birthday/90 pound loss present to myself. Expensive yes, but so worth the hard work!

10) Iced coffee. More specifically, iced lattes. My personal fav? Starbucks Skinny Vanilla.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Take time to get to know someone new this week, leave a few comments and come back and link up in the comments at All the Weigh! Happy Monday, friends!