WW Problem: Going Out to Eat

In my second week of Weight Watchers, I’m down 1 pound.

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I knew I wasn’t going to lose another 6 pounds because that would be a lot after one week of changes. This is more consistent with what a person should aim to lose weekly. Also, I indulged in some pizza and Chinese food this weekend, not a weight loss winning combination, however delicious.

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My workouts have been consistent. I stick to a six-day plan, 3 days of strength training with harder, shorter bursts of cardio like jump roping and spinning, with 3 days of running.

I’m trying to be better about cooking at home on the weekends more often. This is difficult when it’s busy and I’m out and about. I’m pretty good at identifying what’s good to eat on menus, but I always find the healthy stuff is better when I make it myself.

Salads for instance! I went to a restaurant Friday night with my parents and because I wanted some chips and salsa, opted for a grilled shrimp salad. There were five tiny shrimps, lettuce, tomato, and a bunch of onions (blech!). It’s disappointing when you get something unsatisfying for a meal, particularly when you’re paying for it!

On Saturday, my friend and I split a small pizza with a large salad for lunch and then split some Chinese food dishes for dinner. The food itself is indulgent, but we also tried to manage the portions. Still, I want to try to stick to one indulgence on the weekends- at least in one day!

I also went out to eat on Sunday afternoon, which Weight Watchers builds into the plan, but I counted all my extra points for Saturday and didn’t want to go too crazy. I had a salad with grilled shrimp (much better this time) with a cup of soup and one roll because hey, it’s Bertucci’s and their rolls are amazing. I only had a small bite on Sunday for dinner because it was filling though.

I think the important mental note to take away when you’re trying to eat better or following something like Weight Watchers is that healthy living is something you want to be doing consistently. If you like to go out to eat, do so, but also learn to choose those indulgent favorites as a treat, rather than the norm. One meal does not a diet break, but if you view these changes as temporary, your mind will set back to old habits.

Plus, cooking at home can be fun!

Daily Things

I thought I’d give a- probably mundane- rundown of my daily routine. Three days a week, I open up at the gym, so my alarm clock blares at 4:35am. When it’s being unkind, I’ll roll over and see I only have three minutes left to sleep. There is no kind when you have to wake up before 5am, although I have gotten used to it to an extent.

On these days, I get ready very quickly, really just feeding Simba and throwing my breakfast together. I typically work until 1pm and fit in my own workout. If I time my coffee and snacks appropriately, and slept well the night before, I will be motivated to complete an intense workout. If none of the aforementioned happens, then I will go through the motions. Most days, I’m awake enough to put myself through a tough workout, even though my first thought in the morning is I will definitely nap. (I never nap).

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My workouts on MWF are strength training based, sometimes total body, other days split by muscle group- functional and heavy lifting depending on my mood. This part, core included, will take 45-50 minutes. After, I fit in 15-25 minutes of cardio- cycling, arc trainer, and/or jump roping with intervals included.

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Once I leave, it’s lunch time! I try to stick to lean proteins and veggie-heavy dishes, including salads and stir fries, but other times, I’ll have leftovers. Being back on Weight Watchers means my lunches main source of carbs are veggies and fruits.

Before I shower, I spend some quality time with Simba. He’s still only one and loves being chased, so I try to do this as often as possible. The dude loves his friskies, so he can use the exercise too. Although, half the time when I run at him, he throws himself down and demands pats.

He demands pats most of the day and will follow me around, but when I settle down at my computer for writing time, he does settle down to sit in front of the window or under my desk. Right now, he’s actually yelling at me for attention.

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The rest of the night is spent meal prepping, reading, and watching TV or the Red Sox. Of course, Fridays are a little different.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I get to sleep in a little longer. I never thought a 6:45am wake-up time would be indulging in sleep. These mornings, I hop out of bed, chug water, and hit the pavement for a run. Sometimes I’ll run straight through for about 3 miles, other times I’ll alternate between running and walking. I get to have a nice, leisurely breakfast before heading to work.

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On Tuesdays, I’m done early, so I follow a similar routine to Mondays and Wednesdays. I work a split shift on Thursdays, so in-between, I’ll meal prep, play with Simba, and write.

For Saturday and Sunday, I choose one day to run and the other to rest, depending on my schedule.

What’s your daily routine look like?

All About Stretching

One part of exercise that is not my expertise is stretching. I do not do it enough. I’m big enough of a woman and personal trainer to admit this. I do urge my clients to do this, especially when they come in talking about lower back pain and other various aches. Stretching is important to keeping the body limber because whether you’re sitting, standing, or a mixture of both all day, odds are, your body is feeling some kind of pain. This appears only to worsen as you age.

When to Stretch?

At the end of your workout! The best way to warm-up the body to prepare for an exercise routine is to start moving. I’ll dive further into this in another post, but take 5-10 minutes at the beginning to jump on the treadmill, a bike, or loosen up with some jumping jacks or squats. Get that body moving through a dynamic- movement- stretching period.

Once you’ve made your way through your cardio and/or your strength training, take another 5-15 minutes and stretch. The body will be nice and warmed up and ready to relax after all it just endured.

Why Stretch?

Stretching helps alleviate all those aches and pains. The body, as does the mind, tackles a multitude of obstacles during the day that leads to soreness and strain, especially if you add a workout on top of it. The muscle is tight and needs to unclench. Another excellent way to do this is by foam rolling, which I can get into further at another time.

Stretching also helps the body get better. The way strength training works is the effort breaks down the muscle and rest helps it repair, allowing the muscles to strengthen. It helps the blood to flow better and prevents injuries.

My Favorite Stretches

As you can see, I was able to complete these stretches in the comfort of my own home, crazy cat and dog included!

Biceps and Triceps

Back and Chest

Shoulders

Quads

Hamstrings

Hips

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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Fun Weekend Things

Welcome back from the weekend! I hope it treated you right and that Monday is doing the same.

My weekend started early Friday afternoon when I got off work and headed to a local amusement park with my mom. I’m not a huge daredevil in real life, but I do love a thrilling roller coaster!

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On Saturday, I started my day with this egg roll-up stuffed with scrambled eggs, bell peppers, mozzarella, and turkey pepperoni for a total of 3 points.

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I spent a good chunk of the day reading a mystery I couldn’t put down! For once, I wasn’t disappointed by the ending and it was a solid page-turner. I did tear myself away to fit in a great workout I was really feeling.

Doing a lot of barbell work, I focused on heavy weights 3 sets of 10 reps and did 100 jumps on the jump rope after each exercise. 5 upper body exercises, 5 lower body, and 2 core, which totaled to 1200 jumps! I enjoyed mixing the strength and cardio because it kept things moving and didn’t feel tedious. I also worked up a good sweat.

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For lunch, I heated up some chicken and veggie potstickers with lots of veggies- bell peppers, broccoli slaw, and bok choy- with a touch of hoisin sauce. Altogether, the meal was 7 points.

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I headed down to the park to meet up with my sister and her family and spent some quality baby time. She was feeling the not-so-hot weather and promptly napped.

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By dinner time, I was hungry! I grilled up chicken and veggies and splurged with some whole wheat pasta. I mixed everything with a lighter alfredo sauce and a sprinkling of cheese for a total of 13 points!

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Since it’s the weekend and I had most of my weekly points remaining, I very much savored some ice cream, while watching a movie- Table 19- which didn’t get great reviews but was free on HBO. I actually thought it was cute.

Sunday morning started with a cheese omelette, piece of toast, and raspberries.

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Then it was time for a muggy run! 3.1 solid miles of sweat.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent celebrating my Grandma’s birthday. It was nice to spend time with family and celebrate the day.

Happy birthday, Grandma!

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!