It’s Okay to Enjoy Tradition

A few people asked me recently if I would celebrate Thanksgiving with a healthy meal instead of following tradition with a more fattening one.

My response: heck no!

I realize there are nutritionists and health buffs out there who will probably cringe at my post, but I think even some of them can appreciate my reasoning for choosing to stick with the traditional meal my family members have enjoyed for generations.

For more than a year, I worked very hard to lose weight, and I succeeded. I also choose to continue my path of healthy eating, and once a week, I enjoy a “free meal” as opposed to a “free day.” I do so because of my metabolism and age. Although my metabolism is in full swing again, I want to keep things that way.

I have no intention of reverting back to my bad eating and drinking habits.

With that being said, however, because of how hard I work every day, I feel it’s okay to enjoy a holiday without worrying about calories, fat, etc. It’s okay to let my belly loose. Granted, that didn’t mean I gorged myself in turkey and ham. I did well and portioned my meal. I even enjoyed a small piece of pecan pie and drank two glasses of wine; however, I topped those glasses off with lots of water.

I never went back for seconds, and I won’t be gorging myself in leftovers tomorrow either. I enjoyed Thanksgiving like everyone else, but maintained control. Not to mention, I just finished a killer hour workout combining Chalene Extreme with Les Mills Combat. I figure I worked off most of what I ate today.

I’m also not ashamed that I’ll be doing it again for Christmas. There’s no way I’m not making tamales and not eating them for Christmas. But again, I’ll make sure I’m not going up a size by the time all is said and done.

Overall, I’m a firm believer that every now and then it’s okay to enjoy life without stressing about scales and measurements. I’m also a firm believer that, if you work hard, you deserve a small break every now and then, as long as you don’t lose sight of what’s important: living healthy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

No Longer Fat: People Pay More Attention

Over the past year, I lost 75 pounds and went from a size 16/18 to a size 2. I did this the healthy and natural way by working out six days a week and eating 5 to 6 healthy meals a day. At 41, I am in the best shape of my life.

During the course of this process, however, I noticed something that I used to dismiss as people overreacting. Often times, overweight people complain they are invisible to others, or thin people discriminate against them because they’re “fat.”

Here are my before and after pictures.
Here are my before and after pictures.

Even when I was overweight, I thought those over the top claims at times. I never felt discriminated against, although sometimes comments from people would cause me to think maybe overweight people weren’t exaggerating.

Overall, I wasn’t happy about being heavy, but I didn’t suffer from self-esteem issues either. I simply chalked it up to bad genes and a slow metabolism, and decided to accept my fate. I am comfortable with who I am on the inside. When I decided to lose weight for the third time in my life, that decision was a matter of health and not looks. It just happens the change in my looks came with it, and I can’t help but notice the change in the way people look at and treat me as a result.

I wish I could say people treat me the same, but they don’t. Even my husband, without meaning anything bad, will say, “I feel like I’m cheating on my wife.” He says I’m like a whole different me, but beyond the weight loss, I’m not. I’m still me. 

Now, I might be overthinking it, but since my transformation, I have had way more male attention and feminine compliments in the last year than in the 12 years I was overweight. At first, the attention added to my feelings of success, but after a time, it saddened me because I feel like maybe there is some merit to the claims of many overweight people.

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, “overweight and obese individuals are vulnerable to negative bias, prejudice and discrimination in many different settings, including the workplace, educational institutions, healthcare facilities and even with interpersonal relationships.”

In my younger, thinner years, I would have scoffed at such statements; however, I recall the times when I would watch my overweight family members and think, “I will never let myself get fat!” It even got to the point to where I voiced it aloud. I can’t help but wonder how bad I made my loved ones feel by saying such things. I remember also saying, “They’re so beautiful…if only they lost a little bit of weight.”

Of course walking in their shoes has opened my eyes. Being on that side of the spectrum, I realize how terrible my judgment, regardless if I meant no harm, had on those I loved. Unfortunately, when overweight people are discriminated against, or made to feel less because of their weight, it leads them to overeat more because of stress or self-disgust. It fails to help them focus on what I learned most this time around with weight loss, and that’s the importance of being healthy.

With all this being said, I realize other factors may be involved with the added attention I appear to be getting as a thin person.

In addition to my stance, I have changed my clothing style since losing weight. Unfortunately, clothes designers think that because people are overweight, they want to look frumpy. That has changed somewhat over the years, but it was hard going into a store and finding trendy clothes for thick women. It’s almost as if there’s some hidden code that says if you’re thin, you get cute and fashionable. If you’re not, you get what I like to call “The Nana Look.” Granted, I am a nana (grandma), but a young one at that, and I’m not ready to look like one. I found that the more weight I lost, the cuter the clothes. So yes, my style has changed.

On the other side, there are quite a few overweight people who are confident enough to fight for style, but when people are overweight and self-conscious, they tend to go for the frumpy clothes because everything else makes them “look fat.” It’s either that, or they don’t have the patience to shop because nothing fits right, so they just pick what they know will work. 

I also realize that when we lose weight, we walk taller, prouder. I didn’t suffer from self-esteem overall, but being healthy definitely has done something to my gait. I feel strong and full of energy, where before I did not. I often would get sick, or the added weight burdened my bad left leg. For those of you who don’t know, I was in a serious motorcycle accident at 15 (see that story here). Anyways, by getting fit, I no longer have the painful spasms I used to in my leg, and I can now wear shoes with heels again. Heels have a way of making women stand tall as well.

When people are overweight, self-esteem does become an issue, so people look down rather than up. They slouch and try to hide what they view as shameful. There are a few thick people who could care less and stand tall and proud; but sadly, most overweight people don’t. They subconsciously feel people are looking at them and judging, which is sometimes the case. Not to mention, feeling poor because of health issues adds to that.

Weight also makes people look older. I have a friend who, when I was overweight, would tell me I didn’t look my age. He said I looked older. My husband is 8.5 years older than I am, and he would say I look older than my husband. I don’t think this friend meant disrespect, but that’s never something people, especially women, want to hear. Since losing weight, I have people telling me I look like I’m in my 30s rather than in my 40s. I’m not going to lie; that feels good. But telling people they look old can be viewed as a form of discrimination.

Now that I have experienced both sides of the obesity debate, I understand why heavy people feel they are discriminated against. But I also understand the importance of being healthy. Regardless, there is a right and wrong way to tackle the issue of obesity; focusing on the physical is definitely the wrong way.

When people see me today, they tell me it’s like they’re seeing a whole different me. I look so different. I agree with that, but only because I’m healthier and stronger. We all want self improvement whether we’re fat or thin, black, brown, white, etc. To go about encouraging one another to achieve self-improvement, we must do so in a positive rather than negative way. 

I’m not saying we have to tiptoe around the topic because of hurting people’s feelings. I’m simply saying there’s a right and wrong way to address the importance of losing weight. Prime example, when people who are struggling with weight ask me about my weight loss, I focus on the health benefits and how it has changed the way I feel, not just the way I look. I hope that by showing, people will say, “Hey, she lost weight and feels great! I want to feel the same!”

The good news is people can with the right motivation.

 

Still Going Strong on My Weight Loss Journey

It’s been some time since I have posted on my blog. I’ve been so busy writing the news that I’ve had little time to engage in my own personal writing. Of course, the little time I do have I devote to my novel.

Anyways, I’m back, and the last time I posted, I had a good foothold into my weight loss journey. A journey I decided to share with you all. I’m happy to say that almost a year later, and two weeks before my 41st birthday, I’m in the best shape and health of my life. I’ve lost 60 pounds, and I’m 7 pounds away from my first initial goal. After I meet that first goal, I plan on going about an extra 10 pounds.

However, my journey is far from over.

When I decided to make this change in my life, I knew it had to be for good. Losing weight can’t be a temporary process. Eating healthy and exercise must be a life-long commitment. That’s not an easy choice to make, especially if you’re like me and love all the fattening things like french fries, Mexican food, and everything salty that tastes good.

Through my journey, I’ve learned food still tastes good without all the fat. I simply had to make up my mind and be accepting of that fact. It’s simple; if I were to go back to eating the way I did, all my hard work would be for nothing and I’d just gain everything back.

Since making my life change, I am running for the first time since my motorcycle accident at the age of 15. I’m getting ready to run my first 5k this weekend. I can’t say I’ll win, but just to be able to run again and participate is the most amazing feeling.

In addition to my target weight goal, I plan on focusing on losing body fat. I want to be lean, muscular, and strong for the remainder of my days.

This is a before picture.
This is a before picture.

I have to say, looking back at my pictures from when I was heavy, I’m amazed at how much I have changed. I look younger without the weight. I actually feel younger without the weight. I never realized how limited I was being heavy, and I know I never want to feel that way again.

So it’s time to push forward. Pretty soon, I will be wearing those size 5 pants, and I will be basking in the glory of my new wardrobe. My reward for all my hard work is not only a nice new wardrobe, but I’m also getting a Bowflex Max Trainer 7. Now that I’ve built up my stamina, it’s time to move on to more intense training. With the Max Trainer 7 and taking on some harder workouts like Insanity, I’ll be saying bye bye to all my body fat in no time.

Now that will be the ultimate birthday present to me.

Five Tips To Healthy Eating

When I attempted to lose weight in the past, I would eat very little, and the food and drinks I did partake of were not always healthy. Sometimes, I would eat scrambled eggs in the morning, a salad for dinner, and something simple for dinner. I also refused to give up Coke for years. Coke and Pepsi, in fact, were my weakness, and up until almost 14 weeks ago, I drank about two to three sodas a day. Even when I adopted the Body For Life program during my third attempt at weight loss, I kept with soda. Granted, I drank diet soda, but that’s just as bad.

In addition to engaging in poor eating and dieting habits, I used to believe, as many people do, that there’s a special secret to losing weight, and I either had to eat less meat, eat nothing but salads and fruits, or have no sweets; and pretty much I had to avoid all the foods I love. Any time I looked at diet books or plans, the foods in there looked beyond enticing. There were things in these plans I had never even heard of, nor would I eat them. I mean come on; I’m Mexican and Native American, and we don’t eat things like Brussel Bean Sprout Pie. Heck, I’ve never even tried a sweet potato.

Overall, my ideas of eating healthy didn’t coincide with the health experts, so I figured why not minimize my intake and enjoy the things I love? Although I had the minimize part right, I had everything else wrong, including what I thought I needed to adopt as a “diet.”

However, the Body of Life program changed all that, and I learned the secret to eating; the same secret companies like Nutri System and Jenny Craig make millions of dollars off of. I also learned that this secret is no secret at all, and with a little digging and a little effort, people can avoid paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year to adopt a healthy eating menu, and they can still enjoy many of the foods they love, including dessert (within reason). Today, I’m going to share that with you for free and provide you with the steps to changing over to a healthier menu. The same menu that has me losing 1-2 pounds every week. I’ll also throw in a recipe at the bottom, and share more with each post.

Healthy Eating Tip Number One: Balance Your Portions

When you eat your meals, you want to portion your food. Using these tools can help.

Okay, the days of thinking that you can’t eat protein or carbs are over. You need both to maintain a healthy body. Where people go wrong is they eat too much of one or the other, or in some cases, too much of both. A healthy meal should consist of a protein, a carbohydrate, and a vegetable. However, adding a fruit in place of a veggie works best for your morning meal.

For instance, for breakfast, I will eat a blueberry whole wheat waffle (carb) with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter (protein), a banana, and a cup of cappuccino or coffee. This is one of my favorite meals of the day because I love the taste, and peanut butter is rich in monounsaturated fats, can prevent heart disease, and is less likely to be stored as fat. Also, make sure to replace regular peanut butter with natural peanut butter. It’s healthier and tastes as good as Jiff, at least in my opinion.

As for lunch, I might eat a turkey sandwich with a small salad or with an orange. Occasionally, if I have salt craving, I’ll eat baked chips. I will look at the labeling and make sure to stay at the serving per calorie level, or reduce that number. Usually though, I go with an orange because I like to eat 3-5 fruits a day. I also purchase the 99 percent fat-free deli meat and I use 2 percent cheese or fat-free cheese. I’m not a sauce person, so I use no sauces, and I top my sandwich with lettuce and two pickles. I also use wheat bread, whole wheat rounds, or multi-grain bread. If you want to use sauce, you can do so, but make sure to go light and stick with reduced sodium, low-fat, or fat-free whenever possible. 

Also, I will occasionally allow myself a 7-Up or a Sprite. Although that’s not the best, these drinks have no caffeine and I avoid craving Coke and Pepsi. If you can keep soda out all together, I say do it; however, if you’re like me and soda was the main staple in your meal for most of your life, these two drinks, or reduced sugar pink lemonade (another favorite), helps with that.

When it comes to dinner, I like to have my meat, so I’ll eat a pork chop grilled (all fat removed) in the oven and have a nice baked potato sprinkled with fat-free or 2 percent cheese and one or two sprays of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I will also have one cup of salad topped with broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Instead of croutons, I use slivered almonds, and I top it with a tablespoon of fat-free Italian. To drink, I’ll have water or Gatorade.

Now some of you may be thinking, how are you drinking things that are sweet like coffee, Gatorade, 7-Up, and tea? It’s simple. I drink between 8-10 glasses of water a day, so I need a little break from all that water. I also don’t drink all of these in one day. I will alternate days and drink a Gatorade one day, or tea the next. 

Healthy Eating Tip Number Two: Eat Five or Six Balanced Meals a Day

Shakeology pic
Shakeology is an ingredient that provides tons of vitamins and nutrients and can act as a snack or replace a meal.

When I first learned I had to eat six meals a day with the Body For Life program, I had to double blink. Who in the heck can eat six meals a day? I thought. Well, I learned it wasn’t difficult. What I explained above includes my three main meals, and the portions I eat aren’t big. Plus, I make sure to eat lean meats, fish, shrimp, and boneless and skinless chicken. I eat a cup or less than that for a carb, and usually my vegetable amounts to a cup or less as well. I also never eat seconds. That’s always a no-no in healthy eating. To avoid seconds, that’s where the five or six healthy meals come in.

Therefore, in addition to my three main meals, I will eat a Special K or Nature Valley Protein bar with up to 10 grams of protein. These bars can be found in the cereal section or in the health section of any grocery store, and you can’t miss the word “Protein” on the front of the boxes. My second snack is either a Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt, or a protein shake. Although I prefer Shakeology through Team Beachbody, you can use any protein powder. I also like to use EAS Protein Powder, and that’s what my son uses. At the same time I started my healthy regime, he started his own and has packed on over 20 pounds of muscle. The first week of our program, I went on the internet and found the shakes we would both like, and have stuck with them since. If you want to learn more about Shakeology, click here.

For my final meal of the day, I’ll either have a peeled and chopped apple mixed in fat-free vanilla or plain yogurt topped with a small amount of walnuts and cinnamon. This acts as a great dessert and my grandkids love it too. However, since it’s been really hot, I enjoy yogurt bars. They’re not ice cream, but they feel like it because they’re frozen on a stick, and the ones I eat consist of 80 to 90 calories depending on the bar and brand. The two brands that I love, and my grandkids love, are Yasso Mint Chocolate Chip Yogurt Bars or Outshine Blueberry and Strawberry Yogurt Bars.

As you can see, this gives me six meals a day. However, each week my calorie intake number decreases with the more weight I drop. This week, that number is 1,543 calories plus the number of calories I burn from exercise. I use the BMR App on MyFitnessPal.com to calculate my intake. Additionally, that’s another thing I like about my Fitbit Charge. It automatically links to MyFitnessPal.com and calculates my intake number with my calories burned. Prime example, for today, I had an additional 458 burned calories from my daily activities added. The system will take my current goal and add the additional workout calories (See the image below). Therefore, I was able to eat a calorie intake of 2001. 

MyFitnessPal.com works with Fitbit Charge to tally target calorie intake.
MyFitnessPal.com works with Fitbit Charge to tally target calorie intake.

Also, when my calorie intake number lowers, I have to adjust my meal intake, which means eventually l’ll go down to five small meals a day rather than six. I have actually started doing that now on certain days if I know I’m going to eat something higher in calories. 

Healthy Eating Tip Number Three: Stop Frying

Avoid fried foods and bake, grill, and broil instead.
Avoid fried foods and bake, grill, and broil instead.

Another important step in eating healthy is to stop frying. I don’t need to spend too much time on this because it’s not rocket science. Fried food may taste better, but it’s not better for your body. I know that may be hard, especially if you’re used to eating fried chicken, french fries, fried chicken tenders, and well, you get the point. Instead of frying all the time, season your protein and those potatoes that you want to make fries out of and put them in the oven instead. I love oven-baked fries. They may not taste as good as fried, but the make a healthy carb when all the grease and sodium aren’t part of the equation. Also, when you do need to cook something in the pan, use Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of vegetable or canola oil.

You can even enjoy things like popcorn as long as you avoid dousing it in butter and tons of sodium. In this case, it’s all about mindset. If you think you’ll hate it because it’s not fried and it’s not the same, you will.

Healthy Eating Tip Number Four: Drink Suggestions

Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day does the body good.
Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day does the body good.

I don’t have to reiterate that soda and drinks that contain tons of sugar and those empty calories do the body bad. As I stated previously, if you were a Coke addict (soda that is), and you feel the shakes coming on, drink a Sprite or a 7-Up. I’m not talking about a Thirstbuster either. I’m talking about portions, as with everything. Additionally, if you’re a coffee and tea drinker like I am, you can enjoy those drinks as well, as long as you don’t use fattening creamer and tons of sugar. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to drink your coffee black with no sugar and your tea unsweetened. Some people will, but I wouldn’t drink those things that way, so I won’t lie and say I do. I will usually choose one of those in the day. If I drink a 7-Up at lunch, I won’t drink tea at dinner. I always drink coffee in the morning, so that’s a definite. If I use anything to sweeten it, I use low-fat or fat-free milk (a small amount) and Splenda.

Beyond these drinks, the most important drink is H2O. Since my health change, I drink between 9 to 10 glasses a day, and the water has done amazing things for my complexion and body. I no longer go without having a water bottle in my hand. Granted, I will drink my coffee, and have another non-water drink during the day, but overall, water takes precedence. That’s my primary love, and every health expert will tell you drinking lots of H2O is the way to go all day every day. Health professionals prefer that to be the only drink you take in, but again, I’m talking to you from a reality standpoint. I’d rather you do what I do and not cave to Coke and Pepsi because you can get burned out drinking nothing but water. Sadly, Coke products cause a lot of people to falter in their healthy eating and drinking lifestyles.

Healthy Eating Tip Number Five: Enjoy a Free Day or a Free Meal

Enjoying a free meal or a free day once a week is okay when adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Enjoying a free meal or a free day once a week is okay when adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Many people think that once they begin eating healthy, they never get to enjoy the meals they love. Well, that’s also a myth. Because you work so hard during the week, you get a free day. Now, that doesn’t mean you go to McDonald’s and order three Quarter Pounders topped with tons of mayo and mustard, or drink five sodas. Instead, you eat something you enjoy, and with all things, portion yourself.

In my case, because of my slow metabolism, I don’t do a whole free day as some people do. I do one free meal a week. This works for me because I cure my craves for the fattening food I miss, and I don’t feel bad afterward because I know I will resume my normal routine immediately after. I also adjust my meal intake on that day. Instead of eating five or six small meals, I’ll eat three or four, or I’ll replace one of my main meals with Shakeology. That way, I don’t mess up all the hard work I achieved during the week. That approach has worked well.

It’s All In The Mind

Choosing to eat healthy is a mindset.
Choosing to eat healthy is a mindset.

Ever since I started eating and cooking healthy, my kids, grandkids, and husband have also started eating healthy. Of course, I cook, so they really have no say so unless they cook their own food, which they will do sometimes; but like me, my kids feel healthier for eating the food I cook, and they enjoy it. Granted, they do miss the fattening foods I normally made, but with the free meal a week, they don’t complain too much. Additionally, my mom cooks the meals they love, so if they’re not in the mood for my healthy meals, they can always go to Grandma. Overall though, since the meals I make all contain protein, a carb, and a veggie or fruit, they have no problem with it. I still flavor my meats, and the many recipes I have work well.

One thing I can say, healthy eating costs a little more money, and it takes more time to prepare. You can’t laze your way out of cooking by buying pre-packaged food. Everything you eat is fresh. Also, buying organic foods, which I suggest because of the chemicals on many foods, costs a bit more.

However, if you’re willing to spend money on diet pills, a gym contract, or invest in a diet plan like Nutri System, why not spend that money instead on healthy food and save yourself the added expense? Your life is an investment, and investments take money and time to improve, and if you’re determined and serious about this investment, you’ll succeed.

Since I began my investment, I have lost 27 pounds. If I stay true to the two-pound loss by Monday’s weigh in, that number will be 28 pounds in 13 weeks. Even though I still have a ways to go, I feel the best I’ve felt since my early 20s. I think that says a lot for a 40-year-old mother and grandmother. 

With that being said, I will let you ponder these tips. I have a lovely eye of round roast in the oven surrounded by carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, and corn. It’s perfect for this rainy Saturday. If you think you’re in the mood for a roast, here’s the recipe:

Eye of Round Roast

Items you’ll need

Eye of round roast (choose the size that will feed your family)

5 stalks of celery 

Carrots (I usually buy the peeled baby carrots ready to go)

5 red potatoes

1/2 of a white onion sliced

optional: corn on the cob (I add both for my family, but I choose either a corn or a potato since they are both carbs)

Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season your roast with tenderizer and whatever you like to use to flavor your meet. Keep in mind though of your sodium intake, so DO NOT over salt. The vegetables will give your roast more flavor. Peel the celery and chop into pieces; cut the red potatoes into halves; add in the carrots, onion, and corn on the cob cut into halves. Add water to cover the bottom of roast and veggies. I usually add extra water because my family loves the extra juice. Cover the roast with aluminum foil and place in the oven to cook. Expected cooking time is roughly two to two and a half hours. Serve and enjoy.

 

It’s All in the Mind: Choosing to Make the Change

MyFitness1
MyFitnessPal is a great tool to use for tracking calorie intake and exercise.

When my husband Esau, who works away from home 15 days at a time in the oil field, came home this past Wednesday morning, he took one look at me and said, “Wow, Love! You look…wow! I can see the difference!”

Suffice it to say, I felt the heat creep into my cheeks; I stood a little taller, and I tried not to puff my chest out with pride. My husband is 48 years old and has a fit and toned build because of his years playing sports and his job. He also takes care of himself, so his compliment left me feeling positive and happy the rest of the day.

The compliments continued to my surprise.

Yesterday, Esau paid me another complement and said, “You know Brandy–I have never seen you this serious or determined with your weight loss, and I have to say I’m proud at how you’re going about things. Whatever you’re doing is working well, so I hope you keep it up.”

“Of course, I’ll keep it up,” I responded, but the comments didn’t stop there.

Again, this morning, as I dressed for work and put on my smaller-sized jeans that I haven’t fit in for about nine years, Esau stared up at me from the bed and said, “I can’t get over how amazing you look, Babe. I have to ask, when you get to your target weight, are you going to stop doing what you’re doing, or will you continue?”

At first, I almost felt offended with his question, but after thinking about it a few moments, I realized why he asked. It wasn’t that he doubted me; however, in the past, I would lose weight and then I would return to my poor eating and drinking habits that would erase all the work I put into my weight loss. So instead of getting angry, I told him what I had told myself the day I decided to make this change.

“Originally, when I decided to do this, I looked at all the things I did wrong in the past,” I told him. “First, I lost weight back then because of looks rather than health. I also didn’t lose weight correctly, nor did I ever feel that my weight loss had to do with a life change. This time I know will be different because my mindset is different. In fact, when I started, I told you I wanted to go down to 150, but why stop there? Why not go down to 130 or 135? From there, I also want to continue to tone and become the fittest I have been in my entire life, so in answer to your question, I definitely will continue with this life change.”

After Esau heard me out, asked a few more questions, and verified the determination in my tone and in my eyes, he knew I meant what I said, so he had to end with, “Oh hell! Now I’m going to have to worry about all the guys hitting on you.” His comment, although silly, let me know he believed in me.

A few moments later, I continued to think about our discussion as I drove to work. I recalled all the times I said I was okay with who I was and if I wanted to lose weight I could. However, that was the problem: I used the word “if” and I never considered life after the weight loss. Not to mention, I would say, “Oh, I’ll drink this Coke today, and make up for it tomorrow; or, I would wait last minute to exercise and make an excuse for why I would wait until the next day.

Those words and excuses are elements of failure in weight loss.

More Than The Words

Fitbit image
The Fitbit comes with an app that tracks all the important health information needed to track health and fitness daily.

The day I decided to make my health change, I thought of an article I read years ago. A woman, who lost over 100 pounds, shared her weight-loss story, and she said what prompted her success, along with keeping the weight off, was mindset. I remember her saying, “When you think about your future, think of yourself the way you will be, not the way you want to be. Don’t make excuses, and don’t use words like, ‘Well I think I can,’ or ‘I maybe can work out tomorrow.’ If you’re going to do this, you have to know it and just do it.”

So that’s what I did. I just did it. I said to myself, “Brandy, you will change your lifestyle; you will lose weight; and you will keep it off this time.”

Since I said the words, I have lived by them, and I have yet to falter in 13 weeks. If I even feel close to second guessing myself, I do as this woman said and imagine myself as I will be when I am done with this hard work. 

Beyond the words though, I also made a specific plan for myself, which I continue to do weekly; plus, I keep track of everything related to my exercise program, and I hold myself accountable.

Making The Plan

IMG_0438
The Fitbit Journal helps keep track of daily routine and eating habits.

Along with the sayings, I had to put my words into action. Before I started, I looked into Garcinia Gambogia, which I spoke about in my previous post. I also went to Target and invested in a Fitbit Journal. I also purchased a new weight scale because the one I had was old and didn’t give the same reading twice. I also got online at Teambeachbody.com, a website I have been a part of for many years, but hadn’t utilized, and signed up for its Beachbody on Demand program.

Luckily for me, since I have worked out for many years, I own a nice regime of workout videos and an older model Bowflex. However, I invested in more. Because I know I tend to get bored easy sticking to one workout, I made sure I had enough to choose from so I can’t use that as an excuse. I also went and bought heavier free weights, hand gloves, weighted hand gloves, a workout mat, and protein powder.

I also signed up for a new coach on Teambeachbody.com who happened to be very interactive with her people. Before, I used to think I didn’t need to answer to anyone or hold myself accountable because I wasn’t like those people who give up after a day or two and need others to stay on track. Instead of looking at things like that this time, however, I decided to join this coach, Johanna, and her Facebook groups and challenges to hold myself accountable, which has worked out great.

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It takes time, but entering food items helps keep track of daily calorie intake.

Next, I learned about MyFitnessPal.com, which helps me keep track of my exercise, the calories I burn, and the calories I take in. Before, I used to think keeping track of my calories too much work, and I still do now; however, I now know it’s worth it, and by keeping track, I keep myself accountable. In addition to tracking my exercise and calories, I can keep track of my progress on both Myfitness.com and Teambeachbody.com. I update my weight and measurements every Monday.

The only thing I didn’t have when I started my new program was a reliable tracker, and Lord knows, there are many apps and trinkets out there. It took me about three weeks before I finally chose to go with the Fitbit Charger, which I find completely worth the cost. It tracks my steps, heart rate, distance, total calories burned, stairs climbed, active minutes, workout minutes and calories burned from that workout, current stats and goals, and sleep patterns. It then calculates all that information and syncs it into a nice application I can access on my computer, iPad, and iPhone. It also links to Myfitnesspal.com account, so I don’t have to input my workouts anymore. It also tracks the calories burned and all that good stuff for me. 

Finally, I invested in a few workout outfits, a comfortable pair of Asics and Asics socks, and I hit the ground running, literally. Well, I did have to open up my Fitbit Journal, take my initial measurements, take my before photos, plan my small six meals a day for the week, go shopping, and then I was ready to go.

Yes, It’s A Lot of Work

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The Fitbit Charger tracks heart rate and important information during exercize routines.

Okay, so after reading all this, I imagine my readers going, “That’s just too much for me. I don’t need to do all that.” Here’s the thing; I used to say the same thing, and that’s why I failed. In order to lose weight and to keep the weight off, we have to put in the work, stick with it, and continue to maintain the changes we make with no questions asked. 

Every day, I write down the workouts I do, what I ate, how I felt about my workout, how many cups of water I drank, and my sleep hours in my Fitbit Journal; and I spend about 15 minutes in the evenings, prior to going to sleep, transferring this information into Myfitnesspal.com to make sure the six meals I ate for the day, along with my drink intake, does exceed my daily goal. That goal goes down weekly with each pound I lose, and at the end of the week, I have to document my accountability. I have to explain what I did well, and what I didn’t do so well. I also have to document if I met my goals and what award I get for doing so; I also get to write a few lines and journal about my week’s fitness overall and how I need to improve the following week. 

Overall, as I continue to lose my 1-2 pounds per week and spend the extra time holding myself accountable, I keep the mental vision of the person I will be in my near future. In that future, I will be a 130 to 135 pounds. I will look and feel good. I will not make any excuses to keep from eating healthy or exercising. Instead, I will be healthy, and I will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that I am here and healthy for my husband, my kids, and my grandkids. That alone is my ultimate reward.