Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey, and Gravy, and Stuffing.....OH MY!

What a wonderful time of year it is.  The air is cooler and cleaner, the trees are beautiful, and folks tend to be just a little bit kinder to one another!  How thankful I am for thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving kicks off the joy and excitement of family, time off from work/school, and (let's not forget) EATING!!  Everywhere you turn food is all around.  And when I say food, I don't mean grilled chicken and asparagus and protein shakes for dessert.  I am a firm believer in setting yourself for success so I have a recommendation for those on their journey.

To those who have been working hard for a while: don't let this time of year be an excuse to let yourself go.  This is not a free-for-all that you will not have to pay for later.  You have worked so hard... depending on how you decide to eat could really set you back after you have come so far.  On the same hand.  I would recommend deciding what days you will enjoy the goodness of the holidays... example: thanksgiving, weekends in December, Christmas eve and Christmas day.... and eat well the other days and working out extra hard.  The damage will be minimal and you can feel like you are not alone in the corner eating card-board food.  The "splurge" eating will be a nice change.... and come January you will probably welcome the eating better option.  When you change your eating habits you find that the way you feel after a heavy meal full of white flour and sugar leaves you lethargic, heavy, and unsatisfied.  I truly do not enjoy junk food as much as I use to (and I'm thankful!). 

To those who are kinda toying with the idea of making the change to a healthier lifestyle:  This is a hard time of year.  It doesn't mean that it isn't possible, but it will be a true test of your will-power almost immediately.  If you are teetering back and forth over if you want to do it, let me stop you right there and say "DON'T".  If you are already sitting the fence I say WAIT until January.  However, if your mind is made up, and you have a goal in mind, then go forward FULL SPEED AHEAD!  But the beginning is crucial and that means your will power will be tested from the start.

In whatever your decision is this holiday season, it's important to ALWAYS SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS.  Do not sabotage yourself.  Make it a point to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.  Even if it is at home... find 30 minutes and pick 3-4 different exercises and "work hard".  You should be sweating and breathing heavy at the end.  Here is an at home work out you can do on those crazy days....

15 jumping jacks
8 push ups
10 sit-ups
10 squats

Set your timer for 30 minutes, turn on some tunes, and do the entire circuit over and over again until the timer chimes.  The beginning will seem easy, but after round 10 those push ups will start getting harder.  Push thru the burn, you will get your heart-rate at a nice increase, the resistance exercises will be great for your muscles, and the interval training (constant change in exercises. heart rate, and intensity) will be great for weight loss. 

Make up your mind where you are on your fitness lifestyle change.  You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to.  Do not put yourself in a place that will make you feel bad or defeated later.  Be your own BEST ADVOCATE!!  Always set yourself for a success story!!!


Monday, November 7, 2011

So You Don't Think You Are Flexible??

First of all, I would like say, that I know I have been MIA recently.  My family is in the process of moving and it is testing my time management skills.  I have found there are some things I can not control and others that I can.  Some things need to take the back seat while others need to have a little extra TLC.  Those "extra things" have been my boys.  Moving is so hard on little ones, especially ones that like consistency and are creatures of habit, like mine are.  So between trips to the school to have lunch, 2 birthdays, trick or treating, class parties, extra stories at bedtime, and lots of love.... I have had to take a break from my blogging.  I promise I will be back soon, and just in time for TURKEY DAY and CHRISTMAS PARTIES!!  I have LOTS to talk about and words of encouragement for those who think THEY JUST CAN'T DO IT!....

Now...about stretching.  I am not a naturally flexible person.  Yes, I did gymnastics for many years, and YES that doesn't seem to fit the guidelines for one that is suppose to bend on command, but in the last year I have taken on the flexibility challenge.  I started stretching for 10-15 minutes every single day.  Really Really trying to push past the uncomfortable pull from the back of my legs.  I am happy to report it has increased SO MUCH.  I can tell a difference in my Posture, in my exercise ability, and in my performance. 

Stretching helps blood flow and circulation.  Stretching helps decrease the chance of injury.  Stretching helps you FEEL better. 

So HOW is it done???  The best time to get a deep stretch is after a great work out.  Your muscles are very warm and much easier to really get that deeper pull.  As your heart begins to slow down and you are cooling down begin with your arms and shoulders because you can do that while you are walking to cool down.  Before you sit down take the time to stretch your calf muscles by standing against a curb or wall and pressing your foot into the wall.  Follow up with floor stretches.  Allow yourself to take deep breaths and hold each stretch for a minimum of 10-20 seconds a few times each.

Stretch often... Do it while you watch TV or a Movie.  You will FEEL GREAT, and maybe a little sore when you start, but that's okay, and ALWAYS A GOOD SIGN!!!

Once I get situated in my new home I will start doing pictures of these things and make videos of exercises and my stretching routines.  That will be my new year's resolution.... TAKING THE FITMOMMY BLOG TO THE NEXT LEVEL FOR YOU!!! :)


Thursday, October 20, 2011


After having 3 children, there was a time where I was convinced I needed to have surgery to fix certain body parts.  But my tune has changed.  As your body begins to minimize you will begin to shrink all over.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reducing.  This means you can't look at your upper right thigh and say.... I would really really like to drop a few inches right there, and suddenly it evaporates.  It would be nice though.  As we work hard in the gym, the muscle will come... your fat will begin to burn away, and you will begin to minimize all over.  In some places it will happen right away.  Many times it's in the places you are not as concerned about.  This is very normal.  JUST STAY ON TRACK!  Often times we do not give ourselves credit for how far we have come, and want that beach bod after working for a few months on and off.  As you get closer and closer to your goal the importance of your food will make or break you. 

Each one of us wants something different in our weight loss journey.  I was sitting at lunch with a few ladies a week ago and I was telling them about my story, and showed my before picture.  I told them my starting pants size.  One lady said, "If I could just get there, I would be happy!"  Perhaps that is as far as you can wrap your head around and don't think smaller is physically possible.  But I'm telling you that it is possible.  HOWEVER, IT IS POSSIBLE-- ALL IN TIME.... AND IN GREAT EATING!! 

When you turn on the TV and watch the infomercials with the crazy before and after pictures you will see the fine print at the bottom of the page.  It says, results may vary AND that eating played a MAJOR role. 

You must be spot on with your eating and be prepared for the results/loss to not come immediately.  We have stubborn fat that has been there for perhaps a long time.  It will leave... BUT NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT!  So who is going to be stronger???  You.... or YOUR FAT???   I remember beginning my journey with determination, and stepping on the scale for almost a month and not seeing a single drop on the pounds side.  I felt defeated, but hung on only because my support group was there cheering me on and telling me I could do it.  I remember climbing the stair mill and tears rolling down my face because I didn't think I could ever drop weight.  At this time it is very easy to give up.  It is very easy to grab that cookie or french fry, or loaf of bread especially when you feel so defeated.  But I'm telling you that it will come, but it will take a fight!!  Your body thinks you are going to give up.....because let's admit it, you have quit before, BUT NOT THIS TIME!!!

I found this quote and fell in LOVE:


When I help people get on track and they begin to feel pumped about the goal ahead they usually say to me, "Ok, I can do this! I'm going to TRY to be eat well.".... My response is, "You are not going to TRY, you are going to DO it!!"  Life is not going to slow down.  Obstacles are not going away.  Holidays with meals are always around the corner, a vacation may suddenly arise, someone may get sick, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMETHING!  You must push through those times.  There are NO EXCUSES if you want to lose weight... NONE!  Eating well for a few days, or even a week, will not change you.  It must be done for an extended period of time.  It must be done without mess ups.  Every time you give up, the fat just holds on tighter. 

Don't look at the scale over and over again.  Track your inches monthly.  Cut out the bad carbs completely.  Start with a great breakfast that will start your day on the right track with fuel that will energize you.  NO DESSERT.  Make sure you always have a healthy snack handy.  WATCH THAT CARB COUNT!!  Nobody likes to write down what they eat, but until you do you won't realize how much you are consuming (Fat, Carbs, Fiber, Calories).  Minimize your dinner portions and allow your food to digest before you go to bed. 

 Do not allow yourself excuses why you messed up, YOU ARE NOT BEING FAIR TO YOURSELF!!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Changing Size

In order to change the size you are now, you MUST change the size of your portions.  Over eating is one of the main causes people's waistlines begin to grow.  We eat far too much, and far too much of the the wrong things.  The size of our stomachs are about the size of our clenched fist.  Go ahead, clench it up and look at it.  That's not very big.  I'd venture to say your portion size is bigger than that??? When we over eat regularly- we stretch out our stomachs and train our bodies to think we need that much food at a sitting.  We have confused ourselves that the time to get up from the table is when we have the feeling of being uncomfortable, and not just satisfied. 

When I speak of portions, I am not merely referring to the amount of fries, cheeseburgers, and oreos.  I am talking about ANYTHING YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH!  Just because it's a "healthy salad" does not mean you eat the size of  a horse trough.  Initially, re-training your body to eat smaller portions can be hard.  Eating will need to be done more frequently this way because your body will burn through the food in your system faster.  This will also help to speed up your metabolism in return.  When we eat such large portions the food sits in our stomachs and our metabolisms have to work overtime to work through it all and process where that energy needs to go.  This is why when we get up from the table after a large meal and feel so tired, it's because our body is putting all of it's focus on metabolising your food. 

Moderation and Balance are keys to MAINTAINING a healthy eating lifestyle.  I saw this online earlier this week and I loved the comparisons to portion control.  Think about this, or should i say 'CHEW ON THIS':

Portion Size Control:

Cheese/Dairy- Size of a matchbox
Pasta- Size of an ice cream scoop
Butter- Size of Postage Stamp
Pancake- Size of a CD
Potato- Size of a Mouse (for your computer)
Fish- Size of Checkbook
Salad Dressing- Size of 1 oz Shot Glass
Meat- Size of IPod Classic
Brown Rice- Size of Baseball
Peanut Butter- Size of Golf Ball
Beans- Size of Light Bulb
Dark Chocolate- Size of Dental Floss Pack
Slice of Cake/ Brownie/ or Cookie- Size of one Post-It Note
Veggies- Size of Two Fist Sizes
Ice Cream- Size of Half a Baseball
Popcorn/ Trail Mix- Size of ONE handful
Chips- 10-12

I think that helps put things in perspective.  Non of us eat healthy ALL the time.  From time to time it's okay to allow yourself some potato chips or ice cream.  However- if we use the chart above you will never get out of control with your intake.  Because even though it's your free day, it does not mean the calories you consume will be 'FREE OF CHARGE'.... to burn one peanut m&m you will need to walk the length of a football field... AND THAT'S JUST ONE! 




Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Drinking Water, Water, and more WATER

Drinking water is one of the main keys to your success, and most people do not drink nearly enough.  It has multiple purposes, and perhaps the more you understand it's vital role the more you will push the fluid.  The water we consume helps keep our liver and kidneys clean.  The cleaner we keep these organs the better they function for you.  Our liver helps convert the fat in our bodies into energy.  Our kidneys help to remove wastes from our blood and act as a filter to our urinary tract.  Our kidneys also help keep our blood pressure regulated.  WOW!!!  Talk about IMPORTANT!!!  (study out and reserch these amazing organs, they do so much!)

So how much water should we be drinking??  If you open books they will say 8/ 8oz glasses a day, but I am going to push the envelope a little bit further.  THAT IS THE MINIMUM ONE SHOULD DRINK IN A DAY!  A GALLON is key to long lasting health and weight loss.  I have heard it all:

1. But water is boring.
2. It doesn't taste very good.
3. It makes me go to the bathroom too much.

There isn't another way around it-- we must have water, and even though you may be functioning right now on little water, it will take it's toll on you down the road. 

We must take care of our bodies now so we may have quality of life later!!

Don't worry folks, I'm not going to leave you without help.  Now that I've made such a big deal about water, it would probably help if I gave some tips and pointers about how to go about drinking THAT MUCH in a day. 

I like to do it in the form of water bottles.  33-36 oz water bottles, to be exact.  It would look pretty funny if u rolled into the grocery store carrying your gallon jug of water for the day and sat it in that front part for babies!!  So, unless you spend most of your time at a gym (where it is pretty common to see folks with a jug) break it up into smaller increments.  You can use any kind of water bottle.  Sometimes I just refill a big bottle (33-36 oz) I picked up at the convenience store.  Sometimes I use cute decorated water bottles... it really doesn't matter.  I try to have 4 of them filled and put in the fridge the night before for convenience.  If it's hot outside you can freeze one or two and let them thaw and drink them later in the day.  (note: don't freeze all of them)

It's important if you are trying to push more fluids that you begin drinking water immediately when you first wake up.  Most people are not thirsty when they wake up... DRINK ANYWAYS!!!  Have a bottle sitting by your bed if you need to and start ASAP!  Don't just sip, or it's going to be a long day of drinking water.  Really really get that water in your body.  We want to set up for success! Try to have 1 1/2 of those big bottles finished before you leave the house in the morning.  You will find that the more you drink first thing, the more thirsty you are.  On days I don't get to my water right away in the morning, the less thirsty I am through the day.

Another idea is to reward yourself.  If you really like to drink other things, then tell yourself you can have a glass of that AFTER you have consumed your gallon of water for the day. 

You may find that you are visiting the restroom more frequently than normal.  This is not a bad thing!  You are cleansing your organs.  You are helping the waste/fat out of your body.  You are promoting a better life down the road. 


*You think drinking 1 gallon of water a day is crazy???  Nah, take it from me... I let my children put underwear on their heads and run around pretending to be WWE entertainment-- So I MUST know what I am talking about!!!! =)

Have a great day everyone!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Changing it Up!!

I am not a "stay put" kind of person.  I prefer change, even though I am a creature of habit and routine.  If I did the same exercise day in and out it would drive me insane, or more importantly, it wouldn't get done!  If you are expected to push forward and to do hard things you have to find what works for you.  After all, you know yourself better than anyone!  I have done almost everything the last 2 yrs that the fitness community offers for exercise.  I get pulled aside almost daily by 2-3 people that ask what I did to change my weight and if it's because I'm a fitness instructor.  To be honest, there was a time where I was teaching 4-6x a week, which meant that the fitness HAD to get done, and while I would say that there are some things that were more effective than others.... I wouldn't blame my loss on any one type of exercise.  

The body is an amazing machine.  It's a SMART machine.  When you do the same thing day in and day out your body will know what to expect, your body will begin to think... "OK, today we are going to eat xx amount of calories and to curl 5 lbs weights 10x- and do 20 sit ups- and 5 push ups- and walk 2 miles."  When you do the same thing your body will begin to prep itself for it, and loss may become more difficult.  This isn't saying that you won't lose weight, but it could take much longer and depending on the intensity of the exercise, it may not be as effective.  Each day try something different, OR, change the way you do that form of exercise.... For Example... have the weight vary each time you go to class, make the step higher in step class, change the position of your feet when you squat, do high reps light weight or heavy weight low reps, try pilates, if you usually do machines-- try the free weights and vice versa.  If you are a treadmill person, never stay put on one speed or change the incline.  Try these things every few minutes.  Your body won't know what to expect from day to day... It will be forced to burn more calories while trying to keep up!  

If you ever watch someone with a trainer, you'll notice that they don't do the same thing each time they meet... it changes up all the time.  The same concept works with your food.  Don't get stuck eating the exact same thing every single day.  Try to be creative.  This will help you to not get bored and go back to old habits. 

If you don't like it, chances are YOU WON'T STICK TO IT!  If you are someone who likes competition (even if it's competition with yourself) look for something that you need to work toward like a 5k, half marathon or triathlon.  Sign up and pay your fee to enter.  This will make you even more accountable.  Tell others what you are doing.  (They may tell you that you are CRAZY or that you won't do it!--And that's okay too!  Prove them wrong when you cross the finish line)

*This morning I found this little guy at the counter helping himself to a sandwich for breakfast.  Cutting a sandwich with a pizza cutter????.... I say Genius!!! BROVO  MR 3 YR OLD!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cardio vs. Resistance

Let's say it's been a busy day.  Everything is being thrown at you and you only have 30 minutes to get exercise in for that day.  Do you do Cardio Training or Resistance Training???? Hmmm....

A very common misconception is that it should be cardio.  While cardio is important, studies have shown time and time again that Resistance is what will help you fight to burn that fat.  The more muscle tissue you build through resistance training the more fat your body will burn.  While resistance training you are IN FACT building that muscle AND burning calories because of the energy you are exerting.  Your heart rate will rise during that exercise. 

RESISTANCE TRAINING: is when your body is working against an opposing force. 

There are many ways you can do this type of training.  You may use your own body weight (example: push-ups)  You may use tightening bands or free weights, or you can use machines at a gym.  All forms are very effective, and it doesn't take very much time in a day.  It can be as simple as incorporating it in while watching a 30 minute sitcom on TV each day. 

Once you have completed your resistance training for the day your body will continue to burn fat and your metabolism will stay at a higher level.  Do your homework and see for yourself.  Studies have shown resistance training is key to getting in better shape.

*Another Important Resistance is learning how to RESIST against sweet treats!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Slow and Steady, Steady and Slow

I was talking to one of my fitness buddies (Miss P) from the gym.  We were talking about the time it takes for REAL weight loss.  The kind of weight loss that sticks.

There's a particular book I read to my boys almost weekly that recounts the story of the tortoise and the hair.  The hair wants to race that slow slow turtle, but in the end, the turtle wins because of the stop and go the rabbit keeps doing.  The boys laugh each time I read that famous line out through the book. 

"Slow and Steady, Steady and Slow... That's the Way To Go!!"

In the end, we all know the turtle wins the race because of his consistent steady dedication.  We don't become overweight overnight.  We don't become overweight in 60 days.  We do it over time and through consistently making poor eating decisions and less active choices.

TIME IS THAT MAGIC PILL... 24HRS/7 DAYS A WEEK/52 WEEKS/ AND 12 MONTHS IN A YEAR.... After you have begun your journey you will suddenly realize one day that you have created new habits.  Without realizing it, you don't have to think about not munching on that unhealthy snack, because you will automatically reach for the apple instead!

*Get out your pirate sword and go to work.... Fight back against poor eating habits.  Tackle the problem head on....ARRRR MAITEY!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Before and After Pictures

Chances are, if you are seaching for ways to get in better shape you are unhappy with where you are and feel that there is need for improvement.  Taking a before picture is probably the last thing you want to do at this point.  But I highly reccomend it!! That funny cat on Alice in Wonderful said something profound to Alice as she was looking for directions-- IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN.  I was adament against before pictures for many many years.  I use to be embarassed for those who posted their before pictures for all to see, but I wasn't thinking with the right mindset.  Perhaps that's why my fitness journey never stuck before and it was more of a yo-yo effort for so long.  But two years ago i decided to take it all and never look back.  I pulled out an old baithing suit i wore in "smaller days" and I called my neighbor.  I didn't want my husband to take the picture, I was too worried!  But my neighbor was moving and I thought it would be perfect.  Even if she told the entire neighborhood in the new state she was in about my before pictures, it wouldn't get back to me, so I felt safe!  So IN ALL MY GLORY I stood up and posed in a small white baithing suit on a cold, rainy, wet day 2 yrs ago.  I was at my lowest mental/highest scale point.  I weighed in at the same lbs I did when I gave birth to my children. 

Here are my stats. (YIKES, I can't believe I'm posting this!)
Keep in mind I am very short... Less than 5ft to be exact.

Weight: 155lbs
Pants Size: 12/14
Dress: 10/11
Body Fat: 35%

I'm taking one for the team everyone!!  I'm putting it all out there in hope that it will help you to understand that I was over weight. 

My journey has been slow.  It has been a process where I have tried to take my time and make the changes that would stay for good.  This was me 9 months later.

Weight: 123lbs
Pant Size: 5/6
Dress: 4/5
Body Fat: 20%

Scale Still Going Down... This Was Taken 6 months after the black baithing suit.

Weight: 117 lbs.
Pants: 4
Dress: 4
Body Fat: 15%


PANTS: 0/2
DRESS: 0/2

The pictures are not edited nor done professionally (obviously, you can see all the shadows).  But I did that on purpose.  I'm not even sucking in or flexing.  It's just raw footage.... I did it, and YOU CAN TOO!!!  Stay focused, never give up on yourself, believe it can be achieved!!!  If you fall (because we all do)... BRUSH OFF YOUR KNEES AND BEGIN AGAIN!!

Taking a picture means accountability.  Taking a picture says I'M ONLY GETTING SMALLER FROM HERE ON OUT!  Taking a picture helps you see how far you have come!!



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Importance of Exercise (Part I - Physcial Benefits)

We are all busy.  As a mom I spend countless hours each day in the car going from point A to point B.  I help in my children's school, I help out in my community, I have a home to take care of, I have meals to prepare, and once my children get home in the afternoon we have homework- ball games- and dinner to think about.  The point is, is that we must make our time count in everything we do so we are not waisting it.  Exercise is the same way. 

Some will naturally find that they love to exercise, but for others it may not be your favorite thing to do.  Hopefully, through time, even if you do not like to exercise you will see the benefits both mentally and physically and begin to crave that release you get when you get up and move, and notice a difference when you haven't done it.  Perhaps the reason you don't like it, is because you haven't found what really fits you and your lifestyle or personality.  There are SO MANY forms of exercise.  There are SO MANY effective work-out regimes out there.  Turn on the TV at any given time and flip through the channels and watch the countless infomercials that show dramatic pictures of before and after shots of women and men who have tried a program and dropped the weight.  The first thing you must realize is that THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT AND TO GET IN SHAPE.  The SECOND thing to realize is that there is NO QUICK FIX.  The THIRD thing to realize is that any of these people that get the great results.... ARE EATING WELL TOO.  Exercise alone will not give you the results you are looking for. 

Why Should We Exercise???  When you exercise you build a stronger body, increase your metabolism, and burn calories.

1. BURN CALORIES- The foods we eat have calories that help fuel our bodies throughout the day.  Different types of food we eat assist our bodies in different ways, and they all have a caloric count.  When we get up and start moving thru exercise our goal is to burn MORE calories than our bodies CONSUME each day.  We try to do that so our bodies have to find STORED calories/energy, through our "excess" in our bodies.  When our bodies start looking for that "stored excess" and using it for energy it begins to disappear from the body as a result, you lose weight or that "stored excess".  This is when the weight loss begins.

2. BUILDING STRONGER BODY (HEART/LUNGS/MIND STRENGTH)- What is the main function of our heart??  To pump blood throughout our bodies.  That blood carries the various nutrients we consume through food, air, and water to the cells in our bodies.  What is the main function of our lungs??  To breath in the air(OXYGEN) around us that we use to live.  When we increase our movement more than what our bodies regularly do through the day(through exercise), our heart-rate increases.  If our heart rate is increasing what can we safely assume??  We can assume the blood is pumping through our bodies at a quicker pace as well.  When our heart starts pumping faster, our breathing increases as well.  Our lungs are requiring MORE OXYGEN.  That increased blood flow travels through our entire bodies including our head.  This blood flow to our brain helps in our thought process and clarity.  Without getting too scientific and losing readers altogether it is important to know that the more effective the blood flow is in our bodies the healthier we are.

3. INCREASED METABOLISM- Our metabolism breaks down what we consume and in-turn feeds it to our bodies in the form of energy.  There are some who genetically have HIGH metabolisms, some with naturally LOWER metabolisms, and most who have NORMAL metabolisms.  However, it is important to realize that there are some that would have normal metabolisms but have been unkind to their bodies and created a LOWER metabolism through their lack of movement and foods they eat.  For those with normal or lower metabolisms HAVE NO FEAR...BECAUSE YOU CAN SPEED UP YOUR METABOLIC RATE.  Do not use the excuse... BUT I HAVE A LOW METABOLISM.  All is not lost.  Through exercise your metabolism will naturally increase because your body will be begging you to feed it quicker to help it function through the day.  When you do so... you have increased your metabolism.

*When you exercise, you are a great example to members of your family.  Children want to be like their parents and cool aunts and uncles.  Create a healthy lifestyle of good eating and exercise so they will want to follow suit.