Advice to My Younger Self

I was listening to a podcast just now on regaining weight after losing it. The host asked the guest, if she could go back to a certain age to give advice…. when would she go back to and what advice would she give her younger self… This got me thinking.

I have been overweight since elementary school and have been dieting since that time. That’s one of the “perks” of having older sisters. I was reading Self magazine and admiring tall, thin and lithe bodies like Gabrielle Reese or Veronica Webb since before puberty. I never once thought that I couldn’t look like that if I followed a 1200 calorie plan. I have never liked the way that I look. Never. I have been comparing myself to celebrities and models since the start. When I got my first real crush in college, I started running because I thought that my weight was the only thing holding me back from him liking me. I started running around the track, lost the weight and started putting myself in his line of sight. We never dated. Then I would drink excessively to relax and be more sociable, because men would screw any girl that was there, right? You could blame 90210 and Melrose Place for those ideas. So now, not only was I a problem drinker, but I was eating like crazy to deal with loneliness and shame from drunken escapades. It’s just been a constant cycle of binging and abstinence, never any type of moderation with food or alcohol.

I love to dance which is why I am becoming a certified instructor and teach on the weekends at a church. Dancing allows me to workout every week to stay in some sort of shape and help others stay motivated and in shape. I really don’t like Crossfit, but I like challenging myself. I joined Crossfit to literally whip my body into shape. I loved the results but after being sidelined, I gained some weight back and have been binging ever since. Everything that I do to my body has been to modify the emotions with a substance, get it thinner by starving, making crazy eating rules or exercising until I get injured. I’ve never just loved it for still fucking working. Appreciate it for what it is because it’s as perfect as I’ve allowed it to be. And I should be grateful and I am in this moment.

I have these affirmations on my wall in my kitchen and bathroom that say:

  • I am beautiful
  • I love my body
  • I care about what goes into my body
  • I love myself
  • I care about my body

Is it normal to have to remind yourself of that? Why is my self esteem and self image so distorted? There is no one to blame at this point, but how can I rectify it? I know that finding the answer to this question is the only way to reach a stable and healthy weight. I aspire to love myself and treat my body with TLC. I think it’s time to put my scale away. That’s step #1 for damn sure.

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I’ve changed platforms. You can find my new blog at ——->  Around Your Way Fitness

I will post on the two platforms for a few more posts before heading over there completely. Follow me there

1st Injury and Recovery

Ok. So technically I wasn’t injured doing Crossfit, but I was injured doing a HIIT class at the Crossfit box. I sprained my ankle, mildly, but it got me thinking about what is important in my life. I wasn’t able to teach my dance class on Saturday because I have pain when I put my full weight on my foot. It’s improving with each day and I will be back to 100% by next Saturday.  I fell so deep into the Crossfit and gym buddy culture and mindset, that it’s nice to get a little reprieve, a break from working out. I have been going there  3-5 times per week, and at times taking 2 classes back to back. It was bound to happen.

I got injured in a class that is taught by a coach that isn’t my favorite. Coaches have different personalities and motivation strategies, but this one seems to think that if you say you can’t do it or are struggling, you just aren’t pushing yourself enough. Which is ironic because I usually am out of breath in his class, which is 100% plyometrics, ladder drills and sprints. Plus I paid $225 per month to be there and am taking 7-8 classes per week, believe me I’m trying.

They also all assume that you are trying to get in shape for “the summer” when I’m just trying to get in shape for life. They don’t know that I’ve lost 44lbs so far, so yes I am one of the largest folks in there at a size 14, but I’ve come a distance. Some also don’t pay attention to limitations. But in the end, if you get injured, it’s your fault. Even though folks are screaming at you to go harder, you are supposed to ignore it or tell them that you are having pain. So with that realization…… I’m going to start running my own race and paying attention to what I can and can’t do. I also will only listen to the trainers that I trust. Some trainers see when you are having difficulty and tell you to modify, others tell you to push harder. I’m going to stick to the former teachers from now on.

Can we also talk about peer pressure and gym buddies for a minute? In my previous post, I said you are who you hang out with, BUT if your gym buddy wants to work out 6 days per week, you have to just say no if your body can’t handle it. I’m going back to 4 days a week (S,M,W,TH) and my gym buddies can go together on the days that I can’t.

I started the post saying that I know what is most important now and it’s not working out at the Crossfit gym, it’s my dance class. They were unable to find a substitute for my dance class on Saturday, so due to my decision to take a HIIT class, they were teacherless. The site manager sent me a pic of the ladies dancing to a video of me that one of them recorded in order to practice at home. I am making a difference in these women’s lives, I feel it, and I don’t want to spoil that trying to do suicides sprints and box jumps. This internship, which is over in maybe 3 months, is the top priority for me now and I really need to take care of my body and add more rest to the mix. So I made a new rule, no more HIIT training on Fridays at all so I can be 100% on Saturday.

If I feel OK for the rest of the day, I will return to “the box” tomorrow morning, then rest on Tuesday and then do a double on Wednesday. If my gym buddy says anything, I will just tell her to kick rocks… in the sweetest way possible.

Vegan Weight Loss and Smoothie Recipe

I’m back with a food prep blog. I went to the gym this morning and went hard. A little too hard and have some tightness in my back, either from a deadlift or clean/press. I work for a back doctor, so I know what is going on and tomorrow will be a rest day for sure. Which is great because I need to start goal setting for next year and figuring out what is next in life. Here is the gym pic…

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Too many weights…

Now I am not a perfect person, but one thing I have perfected, is my breakfast. It is easy to get overwhelmed by choices (and  sugar) so I try to have the same thing everyday. I really do and people think it’s weird, but SO many specialists recommend automating 1-2 meals per day for weight loss because it makes life a little easier. For breakfast, I make a simple smoothie.  Since I am in the process of losing weight, I try to intuitively keep my calories down, without actually counting calories.

For instance, my morning smoothie could easily become a calorie bomb. When I started plant-based eating, I would have 2-3 bananas, 4-6 dates and a cup of berries in my smoothie and believe me, it was DELICIOUS. As someone who loves sweets, dates and bananas are a godsend and as someone that loves caffeine, I was bouncing off the walls from the sugar rush. However, after I met with a nutritionist, I realized it was too much sugar and too many unnecessary calories. When you are trying to lose weight, every calorie counts, even as a vegan.

There is a great article in this month’s Women’s Health magazine titled, “Losing Their Veganity”. Many women become vegan to lose weight yet they end up gaining weight so return to eating meat. One nutritionist quoted in the article said that one of her clients was consuming a smoothie bowl for breakfast that was 700 calories after the calculations. Some of us, myself included, follow these folks that are eating 4-5 bananas in a smoothie, but we go to sedentary jobs while they run and bike all over the city. It doesn’t matter if you are eating meat or not, calories count and do not let anyone fool you. If you are gaining weight, you might want to count for a few days or see a nutritionist. And here is my breakfast smoothie!

Vee’s Breakfast Smoothie -~300 cals*

  • 1.5 cups lemon water (3-10 calories depending on where you look. I just juice a lemon and put it in a mason jar and keep adding filtered water so it maintains its lemony goodness. Discard the lemon at the end of the week.)
  • 1 large banana (120 cals, less if smaller)
  • 2 cups kale (66 cals)
  • ~1 cup mixed berries (70+ cals)

*The lemon water cuts the kale’s bitterness and makes it so I don’t need almond milk, peanut butter or any other calorie additive. I usually have an apple as a snack mid morning and am ready to go for lunch at 12pm. My lunch and dinners are usually substantial (rice bowls or pasta) so saving 200 cals in breakfast helps a lot because I sit most of the day. If your job is more active, you could add chia seeds, peanut butter, or even omit the lemon water and use a milk substitute.

I prepare the bags on the weekend. I take one out the night before and put it in the fridge that way it defrosts a little. (I find if I blend straight from freezing, the kale doesn’t blend all the way through). You can change up the berries or the fruit for variety (I added peaches and nectarines in the summer). You can even change up the greens. When I get bored of this, I have some oatmeal for a few days and return to this. Try it!

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Lemon Water
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Packing the bags
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Storing it in the freezer

Lunch Food Prep

I try to keep my food prep as simple as possible. I used to do intricate meals for lunch and dinner and automate my breakfast, but now I just focus on making dinner delicious. According to THE Dr Oz, we should automate as many meals as possible if we are trying to lose weight. That is the entire point of food prep, however so many people that I meet can’t imagine eating the same meal 2 days in a row. I was never like that thankfully, but the quality of my meals have improved from blueberry muffins and bagels daily to kale smoothies.

Lunch

My kitchen is small. Did I say small. It’s tiny, but I will take it since it’s my first solo space. To start my prep, I separate a large can of beans into 5 small containers. Then I divide a tomato, avocado, cucumber and red pepper, I add 1 Tsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 TBSP of Hummus. In the evening, or morning if I am too lazy the night before, I clean about 3 cups of lettuce and throw one of these bowls on top. That is it!

It is a super easy way to stay healthy during the week, you can change the ingredients to whatever you prefer or is local to you, and you can save a lot of money from not ordering takeout at lunch because salads can be really expensive . To make it special, you can throw a TBSP of dried cranberries or candied walnuts and be in salad heaven. I used to add half an avocado to my salads, but now that it’s $3 for one, I just divide it up. I might add some olives next week for some added healthy fat.

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is safe and is in good spirits. It’s hard to stay positive all the time with the state of the world and with challenges, but all we ever really have is this moment. Stay healthy!

Instagram Food Pics?

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I think this is a great idea for weight loss, lifestyle changes and diet improvements. I’m just not sure how my current followers would feel about seeing my food pics all the time. My sister started a second Instagram which has a lot of followers, but some of them are from her main Instagram. When you create a second Instagram account using the same app, your new account is suggested to the followers of your old account. But thinking about it now, I guess there really isn’t anything wrong with it. My weight loss and fitness instructor journey is kind of a side project. I have been a secretive person in regards to my goals and what I do in my spare time, and no I’m not a drug dealer. I’m finding that even as I discuss my veganism with coworkers, I am becoming more articulate and my soundbites are becoming clear and have actual facts. In addition, discussing my goals will give me more accountability because people might ask  how things are going.

Speaking of which… My gym membership is $69.99 per month. I am setting a goal of 4 times per week or else I am cancelling the membership. I have another membership that I had to sign up for (6 months for $75!) in order to do my instructor training, so if I’m unable to follow my schedule, I’m canceling the pricey by the end of October.

Exercise, Inspiration and Excuses

 

My exercise plan is currently all over the place. I try to be semi-consistent, but it is difficult with work and my varying energy levels. I am the type of person that if I wake up and second guess for ANY reason, I cancel. If I have a flashing thought of “What if I sleep in today and watch Criminal Minds and eat cereal instead?”, that is all takes for my plans to derail. I use that as an excuse and I’ve missed many exercise classes and gym sessions . What helps me a lot is listening to motivational videos on YouTube or podcasts such as The Quote of the Day Show.  The best YouTube videos are the compilations of various speakers and I will admit I listen to a Les Brown morning motivation mix pretty much every morning. I posted some of my favorite videos below. I also have some issues with anxiety and I have been treating myself following the rules of Nike… JUST DO IT. Mel Robbins’  5 Second Rule has helped me leave the house when I didn’t want to leave, such as my first day of my exercise instructor training class. I didn’t actually read the book, but I heard her discuss it on The QOTD podcast. It is pretty much a 5 second countdown to get you to do any flipping thing. It’s funny that I want to be an exercise instructor and have anxiety but I know that after my first class, or my first incorrect cue I will be OK. You just have to be OK with laughing at yourself.

Speaking of being a teacher, it requires more stamina than just taking a class because you have to talk while you exercise! Like Beyonce, JLO or Gaga, singing and dancing at the same time requires A LOT of stamina, so I need to up my cardio. My plan is to do 45 minutes of the cardio machine during lunch 4/5  week days with one 60+ minute cardio session on the weekend. I need to do 2 dance classes per week because that is the type of class that I want to do and I want to learn moves, cues and jargon. I plan to do one additional strength class, in addition to my instruction training which should have quite a bit of strength. I will need to increase my food intake if I start losing weight too quickly. 

What about you? Is it easy to talk yourself out a gym session as well or are you the type of person that once it’s on the schedule, it’s getting done?

LINKS

Les Brown’s 15 Minute Morning Motivational Speech

When You Are About To Give Up

What Are You Becoming

RETRAIN YOUR MIND

The Quote of the Day Show

The Princess Bride Motivation?

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This magazine clip is from the October Women’s Health Magazine and they mentioned that it’s the 30 year anniversary of the Princess Bride! OMG!! I’m definitely going to find it in a theater near me. A young Cary Elwes anyone?? The editor’s letter was about how things are only inconceivable because you have never done it before. You just have to take the first step without overthinking it, and without letting the inconceivability of the idea stop you. Just begin. Go for the walk if you want to lose weight or throw out the unhealthy food. If you want to write a book or start researching a topic. Write the blog or sign up for the class. On a smaller scale… call that friend that’s been on your mind or make that doctor’s appointment that you’ve been putting off. Just do it!

Just some motivation before the weekend begins.