The “Cheat Meal”

Another week, another 2 pounds down. Feeling strong!

One thing to keep in mind about Weight Watchers or healthy eating in general, is that it’s not so much a temporary fix. I know people like quick fixes to lose weight fast, but sustainable weight loss requires a lifetime of choices.

This weekend, I went to the beach with family and had an indulgent meal followed by an ice cream. I don’t eat that way every day, but once a week makes a big difference in my perspective.

Eating real food with few fake or shady ingredients is important, but if you enjoy something, it should never be off limits. You just have to learn how to eat them in moderation. Easier said then done, but do something long enough, it does become habit.

Just like I need a rest day once a week, I also need a meal or two where I’m not counting calories or points, or wondering the ratio between carbs, proteins, and fats. Sometimes that meal turns into a week of meals, but know it’s never too late to return to healthier ways. Being super restrictive leads to resentment, which blocks success.

I don’t know if we should label anything the “cheat meal” because ice cream for me is just as important to my diet as baby spinach. I eat a lot more baby spinach per week, but it keeps me determined and successful. Referring to something as cheating provides further negative connotation to food, which our society does not need. We need to stop shaming people based on their habits, but try to promote better habits. Eating, for me at least, is an enjoyable part of life, whether it’s breakfast in the middle of a hectic morning or Thanksgiving dinner. I enjoy it now more than I did when I was obese and eating a lot more. Part of that is I’ve come to like cooking, but another part of it is coming to accept the fact that we need food to live.

I’m not a proponent of many diets, fasts, or cleanses (although different things work for different people). Learning to eat real food most of the time just has better lasting effects and makes you feel better inside, which is most important.

Keep being you!

Week 1 WW

I’m a week back into Weight Watchers and feeling strong! So far, I’m down 6 pounds!

I know that is a big number, but the first week or two will always jumpstart you. There were definitely some changes that needed to be made to my diet.

The biggest change I’ve undergone thus far is cutting back on the carbs. I still eat and enjoy whole wheat pasta, bread, and brown rice, but not as much and not for every meal. I grew accustomed to having two slices of toast at breakfast especially, but now I eat one piece or have a whole wheat pita or tortilla instead. I’m particularly careful to measure how much I’m eating to keep me honest. Carbs are comfort, but they are also necessary for the body to function, so I refuse to abandon them!

A specific carb I’ve cut down on using is butter. I love butter, particularly on top of carbs and inside dishes to make them taste so much better. Not using it as frequently has helped me become more creative with spices in dishes, but also helps me make better choices, for instance, peanut butter is a better alternative to butter on my toast in the morning because it has more nutrients and substance.

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The biggest benefit has been a lack of bloating. I would sometimes go to bed feeling gross or overly stuffed, not thinking that I’ve eaten too much more than I should until that point. I already eat a ton of veggies, but I’ve upped my in take, hello breakfast scrambles, and my tummy has improved overall.

My energy levels have also improved. I don’t feel as tired when the alarm rings at 4:30 in the morning and my workouts feel better fueled. I’m excited to see how much easier my running gets as I continue to shed pounds, including speed and endurance.

It’s also important for me to remember how far I’ve come from 7 years ago now when I was 100 pounds heavier to see how far I’ve come.

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Guest Perspective: Shonna

Every so often, I’m going to incorporate stories of friends and colleagues and whoever wants to be included to share on the blog. While I like to think my own 100-pound weight loss can be inspiring to many, it’s so important to hear from different voices, as everyone faces unique obstacles and challenges throughout their lives.

I met my friend Shonna working at my current gym where I do personal training. She is a group exercise instructor of several different classes- hello Zumba and strength training- a passionate exerciser, and has a great fitness backstory she agreed to share.

Thank you, Shonna, for visiting GMMCA!

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When did you start exercising? Why? What did you do?
I remember doing tapes and television workouts when I was a little kid (Mousercise and Sweating to the Oldies were my favorites). I played sports a little and took dance lessons, but it was all pretty casual. After high school, I would join a gym and maybe walk on the treadmill or use the elliptical and machines, but I didn’t really have a plan or know what I was doing. I got way more into fitness around 2005 when I worked in the corporate world with a team that was really physically fit. We had a gym in our building and after a lot of convincing, I went to my first Spin class with my coworkers. I was surprised to see that it wasn’t scary at all! From there, I started running, worked with a trainer, and went to more classes.  In 2007, I became a Spin instructor and after being laid off from that corporate job, learned to teach more classes.
How has your routine and philosophy changed over the years?
I’ve become more comfortable with taking risks and trying new things! I really feel like you need to step out of your comfort zone because you never know how much you can do. I’ve also learned that while I love teaching, I need to set aside time for my own personal workouts and goals.
What does healthy living mean to you?
It’s an investment in my future. I have been through some health scares that were out of my control.  I want to be in control of everything I can to keep myself mobile and healthy and living a full life for as long as possible!
Are their any words of advice you’d offer to your younger self starting out on your journey?
Don’t be afraid! The gym, classes, trainers, running groups… they are not as scary as you think. You just need to find what works for you. I feel like some classes or organizations really have a bad reputation, but we are honestly here to help you. I know I try to make my classes as welcoming as possible for all levels and most instructors I know do the same. We all started somewhere!
What inspired you to become a fitness instructor? What do you love/hate most about it?
I was taking Spin twice a week in the gym at my office. They were looking for another instructor and I figured I was going anyhow, might be some good extra money.
I love seeing people achieve things they didn’t think they could. That could be anything from getting in the door in the first place to lifting a heavier weight than they thought possible.
I don’t really hate anything about it in general- but I don’t love when people come in with a closed mind or a negative attitude. It doesn’t happen that often, though!
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out?
Find something you love to do and it won’t be a chore! If you are a social person, go to a class or join a group. If you like to keep to yourself, find a trainer to design a program just for you.
What’s your favorite exercise?
Right now, I love my CrossFit class because it’s different every day. I’m really lucky to have excellent coaches and a dedicated class full of really supportive people at many levels.
You only have half an hour to exercise, what do you do?
Ah! Some HIIT training! A good mix of cardio and strength.
What are you most proud of in regards to your health journey?
I’ve been up and down in weight over the years. Right now, I’m up more than I would like, but I still get out there and work hard. Sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for that.
What are some challenges you’ve faced over the years?
It’s always the “diet” for me. I got to my goal weight in 2012 and was a vegan. It worked so well for me until I suddenly started experiencing  some frustrating things like gaining back weight and feeling exhausted all of the time. The next year, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and later with thyroid cancer. After a complete thryoidectomy and radioactive iodine treatment (and a full recovery!!!) the vegan diet didn’t work for me anymore. I’m still struggling to figure out what works for me after all of this.
Any healthy eating tips you want to share?
It’s not a one size fits all situation! I feel like the one thing we can all agree on is eat whole foods as much as possible, but after that, it’s so individual!

daily living

My typical Monday post is a recap of the weekend, but I don’t often post anything regarding the rest of the week except for food and exercise. Now that I’m back to personal training, my day is more chaotic, in a good way.

On Monday, I had one client, so I had a leisurely breakfast in the morning of my favorite pancakes before heading to the gym to train. After, I fit in my own workout. By the time I got back home, it was time for a lunch of leftovers. I’m still getting used to my sporadic routine and I have a hard time enjoying leisure time for myself when it’s in the middle of the day, but I did watch an episode of The West Wing and do some reading, while also spending ample time with Simba, who wanted my full attention.

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Then it was back to the gym to work a shift at the front desk. By the time I got home, I was ready for dinner and bed.

Tuesday was a different day than normal as I had to drive into the city for a training opportunity. We finished after lunch time, so I fit in a quick workout of all the exercises that required equipment before driving home to check in on the kitten, finish up some body weight training, then head out on a run. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and writing then had a client after dinner. Pretty much by the time I got home, I was ready for bed because Wednesdays are one of my 5am call times!

The hardest part of waking up early for me are the few moments after the alarm went off and now not wanting to leave a cuddly kitten behind, particularly when he’s meowing at me because he wants to be patted.

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Duty calls though, so I grabbed all my stuff I had organized the night before and got to work. After finishing up with my clients, I fit in my own workout of strength training and a session on the elliptical before heading home for lunch! Leftovers are my favorite lunch because it requires minimal preparation, especially when you’re already hungry! I typed up this post, among other little chores around the house, then headed back to work to train.

It can feel hectic sometimes, but I’m happy to be back and doing what I think I was meant to do! Am I sorry most of my pictures lately are of my kitten? No, I am not.

We’re more than halfway through the week!

in the moment

Life can feel a little hectic when coming back from vacation, starting up a new job, and trying to settle into a new routine. My work ethic is being tested by a little guy named Simba who requires a lot of playtime attention that I’m happy to provide, BUT he also doesn’t like me to be on any kind of screen. Attention must always be focused on him, according to him.

I mean…

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He enjoys sitting and walking on my laptop keyboard and one time, I swear it, he typed out the word “purr!” He’ll also hit my hand until I put the phone down and he sits on it, same with my iPad. I guess he’s helping me live in the moment.

crazy cat lady

I can’t deny it. My kitten has taken over my world. He’s a cute, rambunctious little guy and I can already tell he’ll be trouble in the best of ways. On Friday night, we had a pal’s night in and relaxed watching The West Wing and playing with fake mice.

Samba likes to stretch out wherever I am.

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On Saturday, I worked in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon before heading out for a run.

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That night, I hung out with my friend Molly, and of course, this little guy.

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Sunday morning, I found myself hanging off the end of the bed and the kitten curled up in the middle of the bed, under the covers, save for his head where it was resting on my pillow. This is my world now.

That afternoon, we had a family BBQ and lots of relaxing before heading to the track for a run. After, I found my new phone screensaver.

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I might be crazy, but isn’t he cute?

living in the moment

On Fridays, I usually post a collection of food pictures for the week, but I didn’t take any. This week was all about living in the moment.

I’m popping in today to wish you all a wonderful weekend, to thank you for reading, and to promote the wisdom and wonderfulness of staying in the moment.

Why? Because it’s an important thing to remember. Also? Because I don’t have anything else planned for this post.

Happy weekend!