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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Food Friday Round-up

It’s Friday (the 13th!) and I’m back with a round-up of food from the week! As I mentioned earlier, I’m back on Weight Watchers, but I’m determined not to fill my days with bland, boring foods. Here’s a look at what I’ve been eating- and enjoying- this week!

*This does not include snacks throughout the day.

Breakfasts

Scrambled eggs with red bell peppers, spinach, jalapeños, chicken sausage, and cheese in a whole wheat pita. (3 points)

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Cheese omelette with the most delicious fruit! (0 points)

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Scrambled eggs with red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and bok choy with feta in a whole wheat pita. (1 point)

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Lunches

Whole wheat tortilla with baby spinach, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli slaw, feta, and a drizzle of Italian dressing. (4 points)

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Whole wheat tortilla with shredded mozzarella, marinara, and turkey pepperoni. (7 points)

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Whole Foods plate with salmon, roasted broccoli, and a kale and brussels sprouts salad. (4 points)

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Grilled cod on top of two corn tortillas, broccoli slaw, and yellow bell peppers with a splash of teriyaki sauce and served with more of that yummy fruit. (6 points)

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Dinners

Blackened salmon with boiled cauliflower and a caesar salad. (11 points)

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Grilled shrimp, rice with veggies, and veggies stir fried in hoisin sauce. (7 points)

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Lemon chicken with brown spinach rice and spinach. (14 points)

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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!

Compound Exercises- Efficient & Effective

We’re back with another edition of Workout Wednesday!

Today, I want to discuss compound movements and the benefits of lifting heavy weights.

Compound movements work two or more major muscle groups at the same time, essentially meaning, getting more for your buck. Everyone wants their workout to be efficient and effective, so selecting moves to make optimal progress is vital.

Thanks to my friend Eva for the pics!

  1. Thrusters [quads & shoulders]- with the barbell (or dumbbells) in front, squat down and do an overhead press as you come back to standing
  1. Stiff-Leg Deadlifts [hamstrings & back]- with the barbell (or any piece of equipment really), thrust out your butt and hips and lower your upper body parallel to the ground, keeping a slight bend in your knees
  1. KB Swings [all over]- with the kettle bell, stand about shoulder-length about, bend your knees and snap up your hips to swing the kettle bell just above shoulder level
  1. Push-ups [chest, shoulders, triceps, core]- against the wall, on your knees, or in the full position, keep your neck stable as you lean down and bend your arms at a slight angle
  1. Box Jumps [quads, hamstrings, and glutes]- with added elevation or not, bend your knees and drive up and forward and as you land on the platform, squat down for a quiet and steady landing
  1. Hanging Leg Raises [all over core]- hanging from the bar or using the captain’s chair, bring your knees to your chest

In six moves, you get a solid total body workout. Try out these exercises completing 4 sets of 8 reps at a heavy, but manageable weight.

Finish with a round of HIIT cardio, such as jump roping- my current favorite- or sprints on the bike.

 

 

Return to Weight Watchers

After a week of indulgent eating, I knew it was time to get serious about getting back on track, so I signed up for Weight Watchers. It’s what worked for me a few years ago and thankfully, I don’t quite have as much weight to lose, but I still am not feeling my best.

I like the idea of the new plan- many 0 point healthy food options- while carefully selecting the items that do have points. I do best when I’m not eating many processed foods and know when to stop. Sometimes the mind can go a bit blind when it comes to instant gratification, but following a plan definitely helps me to combat that urge!

Since I workout fairly hard 6-days a week, almost every week, eating is my big road-block preventing me from hitting my ultimate goal. Now that I’m back on Weight Watchers, I took some before pictures, something I regretted not doing specifically when I started my 100-pound weight loss journey! It’s not easy showing these pictures.

 

It’s summer, so I’m still going to have an ice cream cone or a beer, but I am going to learn to enjoy the splurge once in awhile, rather than every, or every few days even.

Even though there needs to be some changes made, I’m excited to get back to holding myself accountable and listening more to my body.

One fun thing about being back on the plan is trying and including new and different healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the blog.

Sunday was the first official day, so I enjoyed a veggie-filled (0) two-egg (0) scramble stuffed with red bell peppers, baby spinach, and grape tomatoes. I sprinkled on two tablespoons of low-fat cheddar (0!) and enjoyed a slice of whole wheat bread (1) with a teaspoon worth of butter (2) for a total meal of 3 points. I think one of the hardest changes I need to make is cutting back on butter.

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For lunch, I made an english muffin (4) pizza with a tablespoon of sauce on each side (1), two tablespoons of reduced fat mozzarella (1), and 5 slices of turkey pepperoni (0), for 6 points.

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Dinner came from the grill: scallops (0), steak (4), asparagus (0), and bell pepper (0) and a little olive oil (1), with a small serving of risotto (5).  All of that goodness for 10 points! Managing sauces and all those extras will also be a big change.

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Summer is a great time to get back on track eating-wise because of the option to grill food and not feel compelled to stuff yourself because of the cold and comfort. I hope you all enjoy joining me on this journey!