Jul 30, 2014

Vega Protein

I have written before about how I try to avoid dairy. I just feel better without it. When I was vegan (two years ago), I read that we are the only mammal that drinks another mammal’s milk. That thought has never left my mind. Every now and then I indulge in frozen yogurt, but for the most part I don’t consume any dairy. I constantly hear from others, “I don’t know how you live without cheese.” Honestly, I really don’t miss it anymore. There is life after cheese.

When it comes to protein powders, I do use whey protein and plant based protein. My favorite plant based protein is Vega Sport. Vega also makes regular protein powders but those only have 15 grams of protein. I prefer the Vega Sport because it has 25 grams of protein. Vega Sport also includes 5,000 milligrams of BCAAs and 5,000 milligrams of Glutamine, which assist in the repairing and building of lean muscle.

This is the perfect protein for anyone who suffers from allergies of any kind. Vega contains no artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors and it is dairy, gluten and soy free.

I prefer the vanilla flavor. But that’s just me. If I am craving chocolate, I can always add cocoa powder. Or if I want peanut butter and chocolate, I add cocoa powder and PB2. Yummy! And if I want something fruity, I add fruit. Vanilla is always the most versatile.

Recently, I have been blending my Vega Sport with water and ice. It’s perfect after a sweat filled workout!

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Jul 21, 2014

Twelve Week Progress

Twelve weeks ago I was really struggling. I was going through a funk in my weight loss journey. My boyfriend and I had just moved from Temecula, pretty much the town where I grew up. My parents went from being two minutes away to an hour and a half away. I was really excited for this new chapter of our lives to begin but I just couldn’t get myself to focus on my body one hundred percent.

I decided to give the Whole 30 a shot. I had nothing to lose and I was desperate to kick my sugar cravings. I didn’t want to need dessert every night any longer. I learned so much in those thirty days, about food and about myself. I learned that I can survive without bread and the sun will rise again even if I didn’t have froyo the night before. And I am happy to report that I can now drink black coffee without cringing. I felt like the Whole 30 really helped me jump start my weight loss journey again and I would recommend it to anyone who is in need of a re-boot.

While on the Whole 30, I didn’t work out for probably the first twenty days. I wanted to see what clean food would do to my body. I am actually really glad I did that because I saw huge improvements.

When I was ready to begin working out again I knew I needed help. I always know what to do when I go to the gym with my boyfriend because he guides me and we usually do the same workouts together. But he was recently promoted to a Store Manager position and he’s been working twelve hour days, sometimes seven days a week. So I knew if I was going to do this, I couldn’t rely on us going to the gym together five days a week. I reached out to Shaun and Becky of YourFitnessJourney.org. I actually worked with them on my eating plan last summer but I only stuck with it for a month, something I really regret. Anyways, this time I signed up for their training package because I was still on the Whole 30 and I felt like my diet was pretty good.

With their guidance, I began lifting weights five days a week and I spent at least six days a week in the gym. I went from feeling lost and clueless to feeling very confident while lifting weights.

Let me tell you, my diet was another story. When I finished the Whole 30 I wanted to re-introduce all the foods I had removed. I tried to count calories and macros but I know for a fact that I splurged way too many times. I was still seeing results but not as fast as I had hoped. And the scale refused to go down. At first I thought I was just stuck. I had been fluctuating between the same four to six pounds since December of 2012, so I thought for sure that that was the weight I was meant to be at. I thought I could lose inches but it seemed as if the pounds were here to stay.

About a month ago, Shaun asked me if I wanted to try their meal plan. He wanted to help me get my weight down. I told him that I felt like I was okay on my own but if the scale didn’t move, I ‘d add it on the next month. Well, two weeks went by and in those two weeks I really regretted not adding the meal plan so I emailed them and Becky said they’d send it over immediately. These two are so amazing! Not only do they know what they’re doing but they always respond right away and they are always there for support.

I received my meal plan last Sunday and I ended up not starting it until Tuesday because of some things that had happened over the weekend that kept me from shopping and prepping my food. From Tuesday to Sunday I lost 4.2 pounds and I am now under those four to six pounds that I had been stuck in.  I am so excited to see where I will be a month from now and I really wish I would have signed up for their meal plan right when I finished the Whole 30. BUT we learn as we go.

Basically what I’m trying to get at here is, it’s OKAY to ask for help. It’s OKAY to need someone to hold you accountable. I’ll be honest, most days the fact that I have trainers in Virginia waiting for my weight and photos once a week keeps me from eating Birthday Cake Ice Cream from Cold Stone. (I also have a great accountability buddy up in Seattle who I text when I’m tempted to eat anything off plan. She always talks me down from ledge.) This journey isn’t easy and if you need someone to guide you, find that someone.

Below are some Then and Now photos. Photos on the left was taken on April 26th 2014, Day 1 of the Whole 30. Photos on the right were taken yesterday, July 20th.

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Jul 16, 2014

Wardrobe Boutique

I came across Wardrobe Boutique through Instagram. I loved the idea of a monogrammed workout tank so I was interested right away. After looking around on their website, I noticed they made a couple items with a dumbbell design and I requested for that to be on my tank as well. Little did I know that Sarah-Grace with Wardrobe Boutique would create this whole new tank for me! I may have squeeled a little bit when it opened my mail on Monday. 

Sarah-Grace even enclosed a Thank You note. So personal. I'm not sure if she meant to do this but my tank matches the color scheme for my blog. It's perfect!

If you are interested in one of these tanks, I would recommend heading over to Wardrobe Boutique right now because they are on sale for $12 until midnight tomorrow night (July 17th). That includes shipping!!!

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Jul 10, 2014

Have you been lifting weights?

Today someone asked me, “Have you been losing weight?” I laughed and said, “I really don’t know because I don’t weigh myself.”

This really got me thinking. What if I don’t want to lose weight? What if my goal is to gain muscle and slim down? Why do we care so much about a number?

We need to come together and make a change. Instead of asking ‘Have you lost weight?’ let’s ask ‘Have you been lifting weights?’ I can guarantee this will make the other person feel more confident. It will let them know that it’s obvious they are looking stronger.

I think we are at the point where everyone knows the advantages weight lifting brings, so let’s start to put more emphasis on weights, rather than weight.

I have never disclosed my weight on my blog or on any form of social media for this very reason. I don’t feel like it’s necessary. From August of 2010 to February 2012, I lost seventy-two pounds. Since then I have gained back twenty to twenty-five of those pounds (depending on the day). It has taken a long time for me to accept the fact that I may never get back down to that weight. I’m trying to train myself, as well, that the number does not matter.

Here is my proof. Would you believe me if I told you I weigh twenty pounds more in the photo on the right?

Well, I do. The photo on the left was taken in 2012, when I was at my lowest. The BIG difference here is not weight but weights.

I have a feeling I will have to come back and read my own words in times of doubt.

Rather than stepping on the scale, I highly recommend taking progress pictures, take measurements and go off of how your clothes fit. And let’s start asking, ‘Have you been lifting weights?’

Oh, and if you don't lift already, what are you waiting for? 

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Jul 7, 2014

This Is Why I Sprint

You all know I used to be a cardio junkie, right? Yeah, I used to walk in the door at the gym and make a bee line for the elliptical. Then in 2012 I slowly started running. I did a 5K race and then a 4 miler and in October of last year, I ran a half marathon. 

2014 brought on a major romance between me and weight lifting. My obsession with cardio was pushed aside and I began to spend all my time with dumbbells and cables. 

Unfortunately, I still need cardio in my life. I would still like to slim down and the best way to do that is with a combination of cardio, strength training and good nutrition. 

For about six weeks, I was back on the elliptical every morning. Trying my hardest to break a sweat. I didn't feel like I was being challenged. I wanted to push myself more so I began doing some research.

I found that sprints are a great form of exercise. I decided to give them a chance and I am so glad I did! It's been about two weeks now and I've already upped my speed three times. I am also drenched every time I walk off the treadmill. 

I read that sprints build endurance and they improve speed. I've already noticed that. Three weeks ago, when I tried to jog, I would have to walk after five minutes. Today, after my sprints, I was able to run for ten minutes straight. I probably could have kept going but I had been on the treadmill for an hour, I was dripping in sweat and I was STARVING! I'll try pushing myself even harder tomorrow. 

If you’re like me and you tend to get comfortable in the gym, I urge you to mix it up and try something new!

After an hour on the treadmill. You can’t tell from this photo but I was dripping in sweat!

I sent my dad a video of me doing my sprints and this was the response I got.
I hope to look back on these videos in a few weeks and see how much I’ve improved. Thanks for my wonderful boyfriend for being my videographer.

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Jul 2, 2014

Hard Days Happen

I had a really bad food day yesterday. This happens every now and then. I’ll be on point with my eating plan for a few weeks and then one day I’ll just go crazy. Well, that was yesterday for me.

It started around lunch time. It was a really stressful day at work and I think I let that get to me. I really wanted fast food. My co-worker was eating KFC in the break room and I wanted some fried chicken really bad. I was craving Jack in the Box. The fat girl in me loves their tacos! But I never let her have them. I was proud of myself for not going out to eat. I made a turkey wrap for myself with hummus, baby greens and tomato. And then I made my way over to the vending machine. I thought, ‘Well, it’ll be okay if I eat some chips.’ The only ones in there were Cheetos. I can not even remember the last time I’ve eaten Cheetos but they were delicious with my wrap. As soon as I finished them I felt disgusting! My stomach was killing me and I felt sluggish and I regretted eating them.

Then when I got home I ate peanut butter. Not just the recommended serving size of 2 tablespoons. No, I probably ate 6 tablespoons. Why?! I have no idea. I couldn’t stop myself.

Then I ate dinner. Steak and veggies. I thought I was done for the night. Nope. After dinner I ate a bag of my boyfriend’s Brownie Brittle. Only 120 calories for the bag but still.

Finally I cut myself off. I felt awful. Not just physically but emotionally because I felt like I let myself down. I work so hard in the gym and I was just so mad at myself for blowing it on junk food.

The good news is that I tracked what I ate on MyFitnessPal to hold myself accountable. The bad news is that my macros were way off. But I knew they would be.

I wanted to share this with you all because this is real life. This isn’t a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle change and some days are going to be great and some days are going to be a struggle.

I didn’t let yesterday affect today. I still woke up at 4:20 and went to the gym and did sprints. I walked in and crawled out. I ate a lot better today because I reminded myself of how yesterday left me feeling. When I have days like yesterday I have to remind myself how far I’ve come and that I can’t give up.

Same pants. 3 year difference.

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Jul 1, 2014

Six Week Progress

It’s been about six weeks now since I started really lifting weights. Before then I would only lift weights if my boyfriend was with me. With our different work schedules, that only happened maybe once or twice a week. I was always afraid to go into the “men’s” section by myself. I don’t refer to it as the “men’s” section anymore, by the way.

I’m at that point now where I’m addicted. Yesterday morning before my boyfriend left for work I was telling him how sore I was. I told him, “My legs are sore, my back is sore and my shoulders are sore. I wonder what I should work out today.” He made a gesture that meant sleep. I asked, “Rest?” He said, “Yes.” I just laughed and said, “I can’t!” I totally believe in rest days! And I used to jump at any reason to skip the gym. But now I like to save my rest days for later in the week. 

Heck yes I went to the gym in my Heisenberg shirt!

I can honestly say that once you get into a routine, it becomes so much more difficult to give up. My alarm goes off at 4:20 every morning and now my body is used to that. I literally jump out of bed and throw my cute gym clothes on. I even style my hair real quick too. It may sound weird but those things make me feel good when I’m there. And you have to feel good when you are at the gym. If I went in there with baggy clothes on and frumpy hair, I may not put as much of my heart into it. Maybe that’s just me.

I have a lot of people make comments to me like ‘I don’t know how you do it’ or ‘I can’t see how you make it to the gym five days a week’. I have no explanation for that. I just do it. I don’t allow myself to make excuses anymore. And like I’ve said before, once you start seeing results, it becomes addicting. I love finding new muscles and feeling strong. It’s an amazing feeling!  

I try to be consistent with things but I usually end up not following through. Remember how proud I was of myself for finishing the Whole 30? It was amazing that I actually finished something! So if I can keep up with my workouts so can you! It's very do-able. Make yourself a priority and start now. It's not selfish. It's necessary.

Photo on the left was taken six weeks ago.
Photo on the right was taken this past Sunday.

I am so incredibly proud of my arms!

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