Healthy Happy and Sweaty

Fitness Journey of an empty nest mom and wife trying to balance a healthy lifestyle with a busy life!


1 Comment

Me? An Inspiration?

I keep being told that I am an inspiration and that my fitness journey inspires people. And that’s great I guess, but I don’t know that I deserve that many accolades. When I think of someone who inspires me, it’s not a 40 something year old wife and mom who managed to let herself become obese and decided to change the course of her life. Someone who changes other peoples lives, and works for the greater good of the world, now that’s an inspiration.

But it keeps coming up – random Facebook messages from people who have seen my posts on the Sweatmood page, or who have seen my before/after pics there. I have people at the gym telling me they joined because of me. It’s one thing when it’s a friend of mine, but still a little odd coming from a stranger. I really don’t know what to think about it, I know it’s a compliment, but I am still not sure I deserve it.

 

before and after

My before and after pics – or should I say before and during 😉

And to be honest, every person I see at the gym or when I do a run inspires me, because they are all out there, doing something to make their lives better. Making that decision is not easy, so I congratulate, respect and admire everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to make time for their health.

I was told today that if nothing else, I was an inspiration to the old me – that 40 something year old obese wife and mom who suddenly turned around and had gained 100 pounds since high school – and If my story can inspire people, that is great! I hope that it inspires them to make the mental decision to make their lives better. I still question whether or not I am deserving of the title “inspiration” but if my story helps one person make the choice to change their own lives, then I will wear that mantle.

Perhaps I am looking at inspiration the wrong way. Maybe inspiring one person is just as important as inspiring the world, maybe by inspiring one person, it will change someone’s life and work towards the greater good of the world. I never set out to change the life of anyone but me, but if someone else is happier and healthier because of me, that is a good thing right?

FullSizeRender 2

I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable being labeled an inspiration – I am just a woman on a mission in my head.  Maybe I need to add proving to other people that anyone can do this to my list of things I want to accomplish on this journey, that and feeling comfortable in a bathing suit on vacation 😉

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Why I love my freezer

AKA – meal prep on a Sunday night after being out of town for the weekend…

My husband and I had a great weekend! We drove down the California coast to visit our youngest daughter at her college in Southern California, saw a play that she stage managed at her school, spent a morning with her in Disneyland, and then headed back home. It was nice to get away and just have some fun for the weekend!

The only problem with going away for the weekend is that my usual Sunday afternoon meal prep couldn’t happen…kinda hard to get lunches and snack ready for the week from the freeway. This is why I love my freezer! Often when I am meal prepping, I will make some items that make more than one or two portions.

Two of my favorites are Turkey Meatloaf Muffins and Asian Turkey Meatballs. The meatloaf muffins make 4 servings – 8 muffins worth, and the Asian meatballs make 6 servings – 24 meatballs total. I take the extras and stick them in my freezer just for situations like this weekend. The recipes are easy, and it is so convenient to just pull a pre-packaged portion out of the freezer and add some brown rice and put it in the fridge to defrost. I usually add a salad as well, but those only take a minute to prepare.

Here are the recipes – Enjoy! They don’t photograph well, but they are yummy!

Asian Turkey Meatballs – adapted slightly from Just a Taste 

IMG_3044

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup blackberry preserves

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500ºF and spray a mini-muffin pan or baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the milk and Panko breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the ground chicken, scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and egg to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Use your hands to mix the ingredients just until combined.
  4. Shape the meat mixture into balls using about 3 tablespoons of meat per meatball. You should get approximately 24 meatballs
  5. Place the shaped meatballs into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, whisk together the hoisin sauce and blackberry jam in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  7. Place meatballs on a cooling rack and brush glaze on top.
  8. When completely cool, package and freeze any potion that you will not be using immediately.

 

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins – adapted slightly from Bodyrock 

FullSizeRender (2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients mixing well.
  3. Pack mixture into each of the muffin tin slots.
  4. Bake muffins for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 165
  5. Let cool completely, then package up what you will not be eating immediately and freeze.

 

 

 


1 Comment

The Scale May Change, But the Brain Doesn’t Always Follow…

Losing 40 pounds has not been an easy feat. Restricting my diet, exercising every free evening and sometimes twice every weekend, and counting calories has resulted in some amazing physical changes. But one thing you don’t think about when you start a fitness journey is the mental/emotional aspect.   Yes, your body is changing, but that doesn’t mean that your brain and heart follow…

Even though I know the numbers on my clothes have gone down, and I know that the scale has gone down, when I look in the mirror, I still see that bigger girl who was there when I began this journey in October. She is not only what I see, often she gets into my head as well.

12894406_10154032990604727_1541129517_o

Kari and I drenched after the 5K – we earned those beers!

Recently I did a 5K with my trainer. It was a miserable rainy day for a 5K, and somewhere in the middle of it, I kinda gave up, The next day I realized that somewhere in the back of my head the old me was saying “You’re crazy, you can’t do this” and I let her get to me. Yes, there were parts of that course that were safer to walk due to mud or congestion, but I should have ran more, and I know I could have, but for some reason she got to me, and I don’t know if it was fear of success or what, but I didn’t push it.. I feel like I not only let myself down, but my trainer as well…

During the 5K, Kari asked me how I felt when I saw someone bigger than me, and that question kinda stuck with me . A big part of me still sees myself as that big girl out there pushing herself for some insane reason, and that part of me is sure that she is who other people see when they see me.  Another part of me applauds anyone who is out there pushing themselves to get healthier, and wants to tell them – you can do it look at me, I did – it’s not easy, it takes a lot of work and dedication but you are on the right track! A small part of me says woo hoo, that’s not you anymore, but that part is very small and is probably the littlest part of what I say and what I think.

I also can’t seem to buy clothes that fit my new body. I gravitate towards clothes that cover me up, or as my daughter says “look like a sack”.   But I just don’t see myself as someone who can wear something else. Yes, I do have clothes that fit, but with very few exceptions, they are not form fitting, and my daughter is probably right, not flattering.

It dawned on me this week, that when I am working out, I hear the words “Eyes on you” directed to me at least three times a workout. And it also dawned on my why I hear it, I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror, so my eyes are looking down all of the time – I don’t want to see that girl in the mirror looking back at me, all I see is the old me, and I don’t like looking at her.

She doesn’t like getting her picture taken either. Or standing up straight. In fact that girl in my head would rather you didn’t notice her at all. I am constantly getting told to stand up straight – not just in pictures, but in general. And please don’t compliment her, she doesn’t know how to take it. I am not used to getting compliments, so I am never quite sure what to say or how to react. Usually some self deprecating statement or I just stand there like an idiot, I really need to learn how to take a compliment, sounds crazy but it’s not an easy thing for me…

I wish I could get past the insecurity of being heavy, and I am trying. Being able to buy smaller sizes helps, looking at the pile of plus size clothes in my room that I need to get rid of helps, but there is still a little part of me that thinks “Maybe you shouldn’t get rid of them, what if you gain it all back?”

I never expected that a physical change would require an emotional and mental readjustment. I am not sure how to handle it, or what to do to silence the girl inside my head, but as with the rest of this journey, I am sure I will sort it out, and eventually the outside me and the inside me will come to some sort of understanding, and maybe even get along. Until then, I am just going to have to try to shut the negative bitch in my head up until she can get on board with the rest of me.

 

 


Leave a comment

Non Scale Victories

Since I started this journey in October, I have lost a total of 40 pounds – it’s crazy! But I started thinking about everything that amazes me that has nothing to do with the scale. Yes, I am buying smaller clothes, yes I am no longer medically overweight, but what about the little things that aren’t as tangible as the number on the scale or the label on my clothes? So here are a few things I consider non scale victories – ways that my body is changing, accomplishments I have made that are not reflected by the number on the scale.

I have always had this crazy need to participate in 5k’s, 10k’s and half marathons. It’s crazy because I actually hate running, but I think I like competing against myself. I can look at my time from a previous race, and compare it to the one I just finished. In January, I did the Star Wars Rebel Challenge at Disneyland – a 10k on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday. My crazy trainer Kari told me she wanted me to take 15 minutes off of my half marathon time. My last half had been in August and I finished in 3:38 – a personal record for me, I thought there was no possible way to knock 15 minutes off of that time, I figured I would just try and beat my last time and go from there. When I got to mile 9 and looked at my watch, I realized that if I pushed myself, I COULD DO IT! Those last few miles were tough, not gonna lie, but I did it! I crossed that finish line at exactly 3:23 – PR for me and challenge accepted and beat! Since January, I have done two 5k’s and one 10k, with a time of 13 per mile on all of them.  I have another 10k coming up in April, hoping to get a 12:45 average on that one, and my personal goal for my next half marathon is 3:18, trying to take 5 minutes off of each one from here on out, and to maintain at least a 13 minute mile on 5 and 10k’s. Yes, I realize 13 minutes per mile is not fast, but for me, it’s huge!

FullSizeRender (2)

Another non scale victory that I love is the feeling at the end of a workout. When I first started at Sweatmood, I literally cried in my car on the way home. I was done, could barely walk, and was drained both physically and emotionally at the end of a workout. With time, it got better. I have gotten stronger, my endurance is better and now rather than feeling exhausted at the end of a workout, I feel strong, powerful and ready to take on the world! Each time I lift a heavier weight, every time that push up on my toes gets a little closer to being right, every time I complain about burpees just because I can – not because they really suck – I know that I am becoming physically stronger, and that cannot be judged by a scale.

The victories go past the gym too. A full day of walking around San Francisco or Disneyland is not the exhausting thing it used to be. I take the stairs now whenever I can and don’t feel winded when I get to the top. Being able to have the stamina now to go on an adventure without being exhausted by noon is great – Dear Husband, be prepared, we are going back to the Pt. Reyes lighthouse, those 308 stairs are not going to kill me this time!

FullSizeRender (1)

A happy (pun intended) by-product of this journey is also my overall attitude. I am happier, I usually feel more confident (more on that in a future post), I have more energy overall, I sleep better and in general I am in a much better state of mind than I was before committing myself to this. None of these can be measured by stepping on a scale.

While I have been fortunate with the scale, there are still those weeks where it doesn’t reflect what I think I have done. That’s when I have to take a step back and evaluate all of the small victories that the number on the scale can’t show. Your physical health is so much more than a number on the scale, as is your mental health! And in many ways, these are just as important, if not more important, than a number.

XOXO

 

 


Leave a comment

The Struggle is Real

So, no recipes, no organization tips in this post.  Today, I am feeling thoughtful, so thought I would share some of what has been going through this head of mine since I committed to this weight loss journey on October 12th.

Let me recap a little, for those of you who don’t know me personally or know my struggles with weight over the past 20 or more years. I used to be skinny, I mean really skinny. I was 5’8″ and 118 pounds when I graduated high school way back when in 1989. When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, I gained 50 pounds, most of which I never lost. In 1995, when I became pregnant with my youngest daughter, I gained even more weight.

For years, my weight was around 160, not too bad for my height, but then I slowly put on more and more weight until in January 2014, I was at my highest weight of 218 pounds – a full 100 pounds in 25 years…not good. My blood pressure was so high my doctor put me on medication, my blood sugar was in pre-diabetic range and something had to change. This body, these health problems, they were not me, and were not who I wanted to be. I was still somewhat active – 2 Komen 60 day walks, a few half marathons and 5Ks here and there – but nothing consistent at all. I had been on a up and down roller coaster with weight, sometimes getting as low as 180, then going right back up. Something had to give!

In August of 2014, I bought a GroupOn for a boot camp, hoping that maybe it would be something I could stick with, even if just for a month. Well, the boot camp changed my life. One of the instructors, Kari, was amazing. The other ones not so much, but Kari was great!

I was running a half marathon that month, and who was up on a bridge shouting encouragement to me but Kari. She was there to cheer on another friend, but saw me and cheered me on too. At the end of that month, I was disappointed to learn that the boot camp I was going to was moving back to outdoor only, not my cup of tea, but Kari told me to be patient as she was opening her own studio.

Kari opened Sweatmood in late September 2014 and I was right there ready to sign up. Since then I have been working out consistently 3-4 days a week, and feeling good! In August 2015, I ran the same half marathon and took 21 minutes off my time – with no running training, just working out at Sweatmood.

 

I started seeing immediate changes in my health after I began working out consistently. By January of 2015, I was completely off my blood pressure medication, and my weight was down to 204, progress was being made! My clothes size had changed, I actually wore a bathing suit for the first time in God knows how long in May. But by October of 2015, my weight had not changed enough to make any kind of difference.

I knew it was time to make some big, scary, changes.  My first thought was that I must have a thyroid problem or something, so I went in to my doctors office for blood work, just to check. When I told Kari this, she made me an offer – if my blood work came back normal, would I try her weight loss plan for 2 weeks and see if it made a difference. I had nothing to lose, so I said yes.

You guessed it, my blood work all came back normal. And a deal is a deal, so we picked the date of Monday, October 12th for me to start my two weeks. Ugh, I was not sure how I was going to do this! Logging everything I ate, no wine with dinner, sticking to her prescribed calorie count – I was truly afraid I was going to be miserable. Eating the same thing for breakfast everyday? Making lunches to bring with to work instead of going out with my coworkers, this was going to truly suck! But I was committed to changing myself, so with a starting weight of 202.4 on October 12th, I jumped in head first.

However, my results were immediate! I lost 5 pounds the first week! Not normal, but after the initial shock wore off, I began to lose at a healthy rate of 2-3 pounds a week, and by December 21, I was down to 177.6 – close enough to call it 25 pounds and be happy.

Well then Christmas happened – wine, mimosas, cheeses, rich foods, not watching my calories as closely as I should, and sure enough, I gained a pound when I stepped on the scale this morning, 178.6. I had worked out 4 times last week, and really thought I was doing pretty well – I mean think about all the fudge and cookies and cake I didn’t eat!! But it had caught up with me, and while 1 pound is only a minor set back, it is still frustrating.

That being said, I am still committed, I still have my goal weight set at 150, and I am still determined to get there. This whole weight loss journey is a struggle. And a huge commitment, mostly of time, but mental as well. I have discovered some keys that I think will benefit anyone who is trying to lose weight:

  • Find a workout program you like. It sounds simple enough, but it’s really not. For me Sweatmood has made all of the difference – the trainers, the other members, the music, the workout style – all suit me, and my style. All of the trainers are great, the other members are supportive, all fitness levels can walk in and everyone will work with you. Personally, this was important, I never felt like a fat ass who couldn’t keep up, because even when I couldn’t (and sometimes still can’t) I am surrounded by people telling me I can do it. And I always surprise myself and can. For someone else, you may find that individual workout suits you better, where you are left alone to do your own thing, or maybe it’s in the pool, or at a Zumba class, or even one on one with a personal trainer.  Maybe for you it’s a workout video in the privacy of your own home. It’s different for everyone, but once you find it, you know it. And once it becomes a habit, it’s awesome! Now, if I don’t work out for a couple of days, I feel it not only physically but mentally.
  • Schedule your workouts. Sounds simple enough, but think of the other things you schedule – work meetings, doctors appointments, sports and play dates for your kids – treat your workouts the same way. I schedule my workouts at the beginning of the month, looking at what other meetings and social events I have, and never ever ever schedule less than 3 workouts a week. I used to feel bad telling someone I couldn’t do something because I was working out, but don’t anymore. All of us spend so much time doing for others, we are entitled to a few hours a week for ourselves.
  • Tracking calories is key! It can be tedious, but watching what you put into your body and seeing how your body reacts is so helpful to know what will be successful for you. Talk to a weight loss specialist, or your doctor, discuss what your personal caloric intake should be, it’s different for everyone.
  • Meal Prep is not just a trend on Pinterest, it is a valuable tool for weight loss. Yes, it takes a few hours out of my Sundays, but it is so much easier just to grab breakfast, lunch and snacks on my way out the door. I have also saved a ton of money by not eating out for lunch! Meal Prep can be as involved or as simple as you like, for me, I get bored eating the same thing everyday, so mine tends to be a little more involved, but if eating the same thing for lunch everyday wouldn’t bore me, I could be done in an hour. Yesterday I think I spent 3 hours but in that time I made 3 lunches, prepped 3 days worth of snacks (gotta love a short work week) and made 9 dinners – 3 for the week and 6 in the freezer. So really, not a bad investment of time when you think about it.
  • Know that you are going to mess up from time to time. We are only human after all, and that party or chance meeting with friends is going to happen, and you are going to slip up. Instead of getting down or yourself, learn from it and move forward – it happened, you can’t change it, you can either dwell on it or learn from it.
  • Working on your weight loss and health does not mean you can’t have a life! It took about a month of being super strict, but I am now at a point where I can go out with friends and have a glass of wine, I can go out to dinner with my husband and not freak out. Just be smart about it – don’t order the garlic fries or mozzarella sticks, skip the fried calamari – make smart choices and keep things in moderation. And after my weigh in this morning, I would say don’t do all of those things 3 days in a row or it will backfire 😉

So there are my thoughts this morning, and what I have learned so far in this journey, just had to get it off my chest today.

Today is just another step on this journey, 1 pound is frustrating, but not irreversible damage. Time to keep moving forward!

XOXO for now!

 


Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Meal Prep

Meal Prep – it sounds daunting, and like it would take up way too much time, but with a little organization and planning, it can go very smoothly!

First step – decide what you are going to make! I actually start an email to myself, with ideas for what I want to make, divided into lunches and dinners, it’s pretty simple:

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 8.29.21 AM

Links to recipes I have saved on Pinterest, or the names of recipes I have at home, any side dishes I need to make like brown rice or mason jar side salads – it’s all in one place now, which helps with making a shopping list as well as cooking on Sunday. Personally, as I am watching my calorie intake, I also put each recipe into the recipe feature on My Fitness Pal to see what the calorie content is, some recipes I keep, some I don’t bother after seeing the calories per serving.

I do try to make my list organized, for instance, if I am going to go make one salmon dish for lunches, I am going to make 2 – as I cut the prepackaged filets in half, AND I can cook two lunches together.

IMG_2098

Another thing I try to do, as I am only cooking for two, is to pick recipes that will make two meals, and put one in the freezer.

IMG_2094

Second step – make your grocery list. My husband I use a great app called Wunderlist– it’s shareable lists! We have a grocery store, Costco, Target & Trader Joe’s list and we can both add items to any of the lists. It makes life so easy, if he is going to Costco, he can grab what I need, and if I am going to Trader Joe’s I can get what he needs. I look at each recipe, check my pantry, freezer and fridge to see

Step 3 – go shopping. I usually go after my Saturday morning Sweatmood Boot Camp and Fitnessworkout – workout and go straight to the store. I am not hungry, it’s usually around 10:30 am, so the store isn’t too crowded, and I get in and out. Key to grocery shopping – STICK TO YOUR LIST! Don’t let yourself be distracted by sales and displays, it will not only save you money, but will also help insure that you don’t come home with those chips and cookies that you know you really don’t need.

The last step, cook! As my husband and I usually try to keep Sunday’s free for doing things around the house, like laundry, cleaning and all that other fun stuff, I set aside Sunday afternoons for cooking. I go in my kitchen, crank up some music, and just do it! It usually doesn’t take more than a couple of hours from start to finish, and I have 5 lunches, 5 or more dinners and have no guilt about spending the rest of the weekend in my recliner clearing off the DVR.