Juicing: A road to health and a KICK@SS Immune system


Have you ever woken up in the morning and you’re as tired as the night before? You always feel sluggish, unmotivated, and downright ill with fatigue? Are you the type that gets sick easily?

Well, this is your introduction into “Juicing”. I will try to simplify it here through the story of my friend Ian. I would go watch the free documentary on juicing though-it’s very informative and impactful. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=www.fatsickandnearlydead.com&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is a 2010 American documentary film which follows the 60-day journey of Australian Joe Cross across the United States as he follows a juice fast to regain his health under the care of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Nutrition Research Foundation's Director of Research.[1] Cross and Robert Mac, co-creators of the film, both serve on the Nutrition Research Foundation's Advisory Board.[2][3] Following his fast and the adoption of a plant-based diet, Cross lost 100 pounds and discontinued all medications.[4][5](from wikipedia)

Ian, like most people, was an active athlete through high school and college, he had many injuries, which he would overcome one by one. The older he got, the more those injuries hurt.
After waking up one day, completely exhausted and frustrated about his gradual weight gain, weighing in at 265 at 5’8, a good friend told him to watch the documentary above. He started juicing for 2 meals a day for months. He started out with a mild and easy recipe, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, whey protein and milk.   ...After a few weeks of this, the weight started to come off and Ian started to feel more alive and have quite a bit more energy.(TRUST ME!!!! There is not a MORE efficient way to get this many vegetables and fruits in your system...there are a TON of recipes you will like!! I have a shake board on Pinterest (search Mrs Petri Dish shakes))

A few months later Ian started working hard in the gym and weight training.  Another few months, he added HIIT workouts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-intensity_interval_training) and longer gym sessions. This is Ian’s before and after and how juicing and a balanced diet can help you lose weight.

265lbs
*the first time Ian made me do these I couldn't make it down both flights.
Now we do sets of 15 (double staircase,) with push-ups on each step.

3rd from right, 185lbs, 5'8
Ian trains harder than most anyone I know, and he will do crazy workouts
(pull-ups on a wood tress about 15 ft up)














A "Bulking" story of Logan Bailey (overall calorie intake, diet and workouts included)


The science of “bulking” and/or building muscle is just as important as fat loss.


If you are someone that cannot seem to gain muscle mass or gain any weight at all, you have just as much anxiety about the gym as anyone. Chances are because of your “gazelle-like” frame you have decided to stick to running and/or triathlons where you are easily suited for endurance.

This story is about a young man that at 18, was as skinny and scrawny as they come. He started out using free weights and has slowly built muscle over the last 4 years to become an absolute monster. 

Now he is training for his first competition this year, and he follows training from http://www.schwarzenegger.com/fitness/post/the-basics-of-training-for-size-part-1-split-decisions-over-split-routines



He consumes 3500 calories per day during bulking.
He is currently 205 at 6’2(2014), he started at 150lbs in 2009.

Logan trains on a traditional 5 day split weightlifting schedule with a day for full body mixed in. Taking one day off per week. The order of his body part per day is ; chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs, full-body day and then rest.

He eats clean, packs his six pack cooler http://www.sixpackbags.com/bags/elite-voyager-500-black.html for work every day and has his focus and mindset ready the minute that he walks in the gym.

You have to EAT a ton of food in order to gain muscle like this, it’s not steroids, it’s consuming a ton of food every 2-3 hours. This kind of commitment takes the dedication of food prep. You have to cook on the weekends to be able to afford yourself the proper meal plan during the week.

On a typical day he eats:

Breakfast: 5 eggs + 2 bagels
Mid morning: 8 oz ground beef + 2 oz pasta + pasta sauce
Lunch: protein shake (2 scoops) + 1 can of tuna + 1.5 cups brown rice
Mid-afternoon meal: peanut butter & jelly on wheat
Dinner: 8 oz ground beef+ 2 ounces of pasta + pasta sauce
Before bed/post workout: 2 scoop protein shake

He has ONE cheat meal per week which he has been known to eat an ENTIRE large pizza. This kind of transformation takes consistency and belief in yourself that you can attain 50 lbs of muscle in 4 years. It can be done folks!


How to set yourself up to eat healthy automatically!!!! (refrigerator photo and a description of it's contents)

FOOD PREP is probably one of the most beneficial ways to stay on track.

My refrigerator is well-stocked every Sunday with our foods for the week. These make it eating healthy automatic. There is no excuse when you are organized. If you are saying to yourself right now that you don't have time, you're full of bologna! Everyone has the same amount of time, spend it attaining your dream of being healthy.

For A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF EASY whole food recipes please to http://www.100daysofrealfood.com you will want to bookmark this site. Lisa and Kiran spend a ridiculous amount of time working hard to put out new recipes and help people eat a whole food diet. Their research on the subject is far superior to anything that I could tell you.

This is what my refrigerator looks like on a typical Sunday. (There are 3 things I do on Sunday Church, Gym, food prep, PERIOD.)

Now, first and foremost, no one is perfect. You will see some processed items. I will try to explain why. I have two toddlers and a husband that do not need to watch what they eat. so there's that.
(and also keep in mind that I am currently eating a very strict diet to cut fat for my competition-unless you are doing a competition, you will NOT need to eat this strict).
Top shelf: Vitacoco water, egg whites, a bag of cooked chicken made with spicy Mrs. Dash/low sodium. A bag of hardboiled eggs. (yes they are in bags, and yes they should be in environmentally safe tupperware of some sort. They are not and I seem to sleep pretty good at night :)- BUT I am working on my carbon-footprint).
Second shelf: cottage cheese(not accepted for a paleo or whole foods diet). This is specifically for body building. It's is a protein that is called "casein protein" meant that it metabolizes slowly into the body.
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bbinfo.php?page=CaseinProtein This is what I eat at night before bed- two heaping tablespoons.
La Croix sparkling coconut water (simply delicious, I am trying to cut soda out and this is a better substitute than the diet coke :). It's much better with vodka, but I'm not drinking so it'll have to do), celery sticks (kids, husband and I love them- add hummus or pb and they really love them)
First drawer- cheese and hummus and butter. REAL butter. NOT processed
3rd shelf: A container full of sauteed onions and peppers, made with a TINY bit of light oil (coconut or grapeseed) the longer you saute them, the sweeter the natural flavors turn (Cut in large pieces so they aren't so soggy) and eggs, we go through a TON of eggs- try to buy them at a local farmers market.
Vegetable drawer- exactly that. Wash everything and cut it up or "prep" it when you get home, then place in a rubbermaid container with a paper towel- it will keep for 2 weeks.
Bottom drawer- this is where I would normally keep any bad food. Why? Well You are 90% less likely to bend over and get something out of a drawer. SO, if YOU HAVE to stock it for your kids or husband or whomever, hide it from yourself. I have fruit in mine. Also play this same game with yourself in your pantry.

Out of sight, out of mine, unless it's a trigger food, then GET IT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE!

The door:
PB2- thank you Ashley Weaver.
http://www.pb-too.com
My friend told me about this a long time ago- and I am not longer addicted to regular peanut butter. Regular peanut butter has some good stuff in it but just 2 tablespoons can turn your daily caloric intake HAYWIRE. So buy some of this good stuff. It's a powder you mix with water and make your own pb. Unfortunately it's still made with nuts, so you can't send it in your kids lunches to school for nut allergy purposes. It's only 45 calories per 2 tablespoons. Regular pb is 210.
Lemon and lime juice- I hardly EVER use,
next level down: condiments:
WHAT YOU WONT FIND IN MY FRIG:
TYPICALLY condiments are BAD. Period. I mean, really loaded with sugar and sodium. If you read my originally story, you will remember that I am a sodium grabber (a saying I use for people that retain water easily). Most men are NOT affected by sodium. Women, however, are EXTREMELY effected by even the smallest amounts of sodium. Soy sauce- BAD, if you have this item in your house and you use it to cook, please don't. It's terrible for high sodium content. Ketchup- I'm from the Pittsburgh area, I grew up putting HEINZ on everything, sorry folks- it's a diet CRASHER! Dressings are also terrible- it take 2 minutes to make the best dressing you will ever have:
Paleo approved salad dressing:
2/3 oil (I use grape seed, you can use Light olive oil or regular) 1/3 balsamic vinegar (I use Ariston) and then a heaping tablespoon of italian seasoning. Done. DELICIOUS.
Back to my frig:
On my door you will see jalapeƱos, mustards(they are usually ok), salsa and minced garlic.

Then you will see a variety of milks. I buy almond unsweetened for my coffee and my protein shakes
Soy is for my children and my husband likes 1%. This is a big deal, he has drank skim forever ( skim milk is one of the most disgustingly over-processed foods you can put in your body. http://www.undergroundhealth.com/harvard-low-fat-milk/

TIPS:
I have a ton of meals prepped in my freezer as well. Just get organized. If you eat at work every day, you need to pack a lunch (a lean meat and a green vegetable) and two snacks, one for mid-morning and one for mid-afterrnon.
If you do shakes( I have a board of shake recipes on Pinterest- look up Mrs Petri Dish and follow), then all of the fruits that are about to go bad, just clean them, cut them up and throw it in your freezer in ziploc bags to use later for shakes/smoothies.

If you work out of your home it's important to stay away from the kitchen until you can trust yourself to avoid all-day snacking. This is what would kill my diet. I ate really healthy meals and then I would snack all day (after honestly adding up the calories I was eating anywhere from 500-900 CALORIES worth of AIR)(I refer to all foods that don't fuel your body as air- I mean, they don't do anything but screw up your progress).

A lot of this is more of a mind game with yourself than you would care to acknowledge. Most of us eat out of anxiety, boredom and/or stress. Take that out of the equation. Keep a food journal, write down how you feel when you mess up (I know, the guys that are reading this right now are like, YEAH RIGHT!)

But honestly, you have to keep yourself in check. ONLY you can help YOU!













Don't let your past write your future-TIMELINE PHOTOS OF FAT LOSS JOURNEY

Through all of the ups and downs of fat loss and fat gain I have always been grateful for all of the blessings that I do have. I am surrounded by many people that inspire me daily.
Just striving to do better today than yesterday.


breaking up with excuses- Original Blog of My Story









Upbringing:

(this part is boring, humor me, it’s important)
My parents set out to create a well-rounded child. As early as I can remember, my parents had my brother and I in sports of some sort. Basketball, dance, soccer, swimming, you name it. They were very active as well, I remember my dad playing in a mens volleyball league, and playing a lot of softball and baseball, and my mom would have her entire aerobics class over to dance to Debbie Gibson in the backyard on plywood “step” boxes before Rebok came out with their purple and turquoise design. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, she made almost every meal from scratch. RARELY, did we eat fast food or a tv dinner. Everything was cooked. Our typically meal was a starch, a meat, a vegetable and bread and butter. We always had water at mealtime. This was a great base, most kids live in an environment where they have to be re-taught how to eat. My parents rarely let us have snacks, and we didn’t typically eat dessert either.  So I can’t blame them for getting overweight.

I played high school sports, I got a college scholarship to play volleyball at U of Tampa, and turned it down because it was too far away. In high school I was pretty much 165 lbs. I was always pretty much bigger than everyone, but I had a “pretty face” as everyone claimed so I got away with not being a “hot-body”.
two friends of 10+ years from college that are rocks to me!


I ended up going to a great college that was small enough that you knew everybody, but large enough that you could escape from it all if necessary. When you add up the not playing sports 3 hours per day + drinking 5-7 days a week + eating college cafeteria food, it’s bound to be UGLY. I gained the freshman 15, but it was gradual. And then I kept gaining…And I gained it all over, so it wasn’t until I was a junior(graduated in 3 years, so I was also a senior) that I weighed myself. Ouch. The drinking 6 days a week caught up to me.
It was 2000, and I was 5’5 and weighed 200 lbs. Part of my deep mental thoughts were that I was genetically predisposed to not be tiny. Huh, interesting…where did that come from??? You just read up above it wasn’t their fault..(my parents that is). BUT somewhere deep down, that was THE EXCUSE I was telling myself..btw, these are my genetics..

...pretty fat people, huh? Lol. My mom weighed 100 lbs on their wedding day and my dad weighed 140 I think. It’s funny what your mind tells itself over time.

So what did I do? I moved far away (the weight traveled with me unfortunately). And I woke up all by myself 2001 on New Years Day weighing in at 205lbs. Another ouch. Rock bottom. I admit to being super type A. So I new-years-resolutioned-it as I like to call it and made some progress but not a ton. I would walk on the treadmill and try not to eat bad foods, but I was still drinking 5-7(although it was just a glass or two of wine) nights a week. I met a trainer at the gym, asked him to train me, I signed up for a marathon and by January of 2003 (2 years it took people!!) I was back at 160lbs. By the time I ran my marathon I had quit drinking all together and been sober for 9 months-this was entirely a decision based on caloric intake. I met my husband and we were in the early stages of dating. I remember it was hard for me to make it to the gym and not eat bad food because I was “so happy in love”.
Fast forward a few years, we got married, and we got pregnant.


It was now May 2009, I woke up at the hospital ready to deliver at 235lbs. HOW the HECK DID THAT HAPPEN? Well, I admit that my pregnancy was difficult (now I recognize this is an EXCUSE) but I was nauseous all day every day or 16 weeks. I threw up most days, and still felt terrible. I started eating bad because I felt so awful and I was throwing it up so it wasn’t making me gain. By about week 28, I had only gained 9 lbs. Then, something happened that I can’t quite explain. I woke up the day I gave birth at + 65 lbs. So, yeah, you’re thinking, how the HECK did she gain 57 pounds in 12 weeks (3 months)…well I amaze myself too, I’m not real sure. I did lose 30lbs at the hospital so I knew I was a sodium grabber, meaning that I would gain water weight at the drop of any increase in sodium in my body(good to remember,ha!). 235lb ouch…

Going back through photos I can tell you what I weighed in every single photo, my entire life. I have always been obsessed with my own weight..





So the weight loss and hard work begins again, only to find myself pregnant again right after I lost the weight and back up to the EXACT SAME WEIGHT in November of 2011.


At this point I’m OVER losing and gaining weight. I am back to drinking because I am tired, and using that to cope. I’m exhausted, I have two kids, I’m working and the baby is sick all of the time. We were in and out of the Children’s hospital with him with RSV. Our entire household was sick from Dec 1- May. I’m not even joking. My husband was traveling, I was trying to keep it together and I couldn’t. This was the first time I ever REALIZED that I was a people-pleaser. I was getting less than 3 hours of sleep at night, my house was sick and I was trying to raise millions of dollars for work in weeks. Something had to give. Luckily, my husband and I sat down and we decided that we could make it on his income. I worked part-time until October. Still, not losing hardly any weight with the second child.

Probably the most significant day of my adult life, other than child births and marriage.


Sept 3 2012.
9am, I get a call while I am on vacation that a good friend had died. She had been murdered by her ex boyfriend. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH WEIGHTLOSS??? Well I will tell you…
I have always lived my life in smoke-in-mirrors. I have faked TRUE happiness my entire life really. I wasn't depressed, I actually was happy-or at least I thought I was. I people-pleased my way through life, I cared what my parents, friends, coaches, teachers and bosses thought more than WHAT I THOUGHT. HOLY COW. HEAVY stuff..
When Jamie passed away, it really gave me an opportunity to be reborn and start fresh. She was a person that was so happy, and truly lived each day to it’s fullest. That was it, I was done letting everything and everyone control me. 

(At least after the holidays that was). So I postponed my journey to the new year. This was what I looked like- I think around 180 lbs on Christmas Eve 2012.

Over the next 6 months I went on a very deep, dark personal journey. It can't really be raw and full of deep emotion unless you shut out all of the "excess". I quit calling friends, I quit doing-for everyone, I quit visiting people, I quit going out. My husband traveled all of the time, and it was probably for the better, because it gave me A LOT of alone time to process.

It was time to focus on getting me right. 
I joined a new gym. I saw these two guys working out crazy. Burpees, pull-ups, heavy weights. These would be my new bffs. You want results, train with people that look like you want to look! So I waltz up to these super buff guys, and I am homely, no make-up, men’s XL white v-neck on with black pants, every day for a long time.  The guy’s names were Ian and Joe. It turned out that Joe wasn’t always available to workout with Ian, and Ian luckily took my pity-party on. 
Jamie (the friend that passed wanted to do a tough mudder) but passed before we could knock it off our bucket list. There was NO way I was in shape to do one. Ian asked me almost immediately if I would do one with him(ironic that he was crazy enough too!). It seemed like a great fit. We worked our asses off. 90 minute hardcore plyo/weight-training and cardio sprints. When I started lifting heavy, I saw my BODY CHANGE BEFORE MY EYES.

Read that line again. When I started lifting heavy, I saw my body change before my eyes.


All those years of killing myself on cardio machines, and this is what I needed. Thank YOU GOD. We worked very hard until Nov 2. I started juicing(veggies and fruits not what you’re thinking ;)), I started cutting back on drinking to 2-3 days a week. I ate only whole foods. If you don’t cook it, you don’t eat it. I leaned a LOT on my personal trainer and friend, Ryan who kept me in check. You need that one person that you butt heads with that isn’t going to sugar-coat anything. Ryan was my fitness encyclopedia. He is by far the most well-educated fitness person I know. I would run into a lot of roadblocks and he would motivate me and push me through them. Plus, I have known him for 20 years so he knew exactly the type of person I was. I started a neighborhood boot camp that he ran on Sundays because the gym didn’t have daycare on Sundays. You see, I was taking EXCUSES and TURNING them into PLANS.
I started cooking my food for the week on the weekends. I don’t care if you’re a single parent, you work 80 hours or you’re a stay-at-home mom, YOU NEED TO HAVE A FOOD PREP DAY. You need to make the time to change yourself. The amount of time that you dedicate to getting healthy is DIRECTLY proportion to how quickly you achieve the goals that you WANT. 
I saw a ton of results..(this is Ian and I before running our Tough Mudder). www.toughmudder.com

So then another huge mountain to move. Ian’s wife gets a job a few hours away and he moves. UGH. I spent 9 months working out with this guy 1.5 hours a day and he was leaving me. COULD HAVE BEEN AN EXCUSE, but I didn’t let that happen. I started going to the ymca and did a few weeks of my crazy workouts (I will post those at the end). I knew I needed a MALE partner. WHY? A lot of people ask me this. Ian and I talked a lot about it. I think you work a lot harder for the opposite sex. You push each other more, because you really have no idea what they are capable of. Men aren’t gonna say “good job” after you bicep curl 30’s 12 times, they start to expect that you will show them up in the gym.

So, I found a group of guys, “youngins”. I became friends with them and started working out at the same time. This is really all you need, if you know proper form. You need to go to a place where you can be seen, I need to go to a place and work harder every day than the day before to attain the dreams that I wanted. So I NEEDED to hang with athletes..
The “monster” in the middle is Logan. He is a complete sweetheart, he is like my little brother that I never had. He has helped me tremendously, he has taken me from “crossfit” and taught me the in’s and out’s of how you rep, why do super-sets, why do negatives, why you do cardio separate from weight training. Make sure you’re eating enough etc…
He and I decided that we are doing our first fitness competition in 2014. YES, like, ON STAGE, IN A BIKINI. FRIGHTENING! However, what I am truly learning is that you have to step outside of your norm to really see what you're capable of, I never thought I would ever wear a bikini again when I was 235 lbs. And I certainly NEVER would have expected to dream big enough to be confident enough to do it on stage!! (Mine is set for August). I wont go into what that entails(it will be another post), but I already know the diet alone is enough to kill a person that is not MENTALLY FIT!

So that brings me to how I did it all…

FOOD IS ADDICTING:
Fat. Gross. We want it out of our body. It holds us down, makes us lethargic,  the cells LOVE disease. It's REALLY awful. Look at that lean muscle. See how much less room the same pound takes up? Remarkable. Truly remarkable.

The first thing to realize is that we are all addicted to food. Think of your favorite food. You know, the one that if it’s within a 30 step radius in your house, it’s gone. Yeah that one.
Now repeat after me
I (state your name) am a food addict. I am addicted to ___________. I NOW RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS A TRIGGER FOOD. If I eat this particular food, you will find me comatose in a dark alley with cake all over my face…

For real though, my trigger foods change often, birthday cake (no icing, cheez-its, powdered donuts, peanut butter) They are different for everyone. It is your job to take control of these foods. Write them ALL down, make a note in your phone. And be VERY CAREFUL eating these foods. You cannot overcome control of your weight if you eat these foods. Many of the people that I have helped in the last year have had to quit drinking because when they drink they have no control over their trigger foods. You may want to keep this in mind..
I’ll tell you, if you don’t think food is addicting, go on a 5-7 day cleanse. Eating bland, clean approved foods. Then eat your favorite meal. What this process does to your brain is remarkable. I never would have imagined that my “cheat meal” would taste so good, but my brain was triggering off rainbows and unicorns because my body hadn’t had sugar for 9 days. Your body does not need sugar. Your brain wants it, not your body. There is no nutritional value in packaged, processed foods. ZERO. Why do we continue to put these foods in our body that FUEL your body?!?? There are a ton of sources for eating whole foods. Start here. Lisa is the best! http://www.100daysofrealfood.com
You’re ruining your brain, and making yourself weak by eating these foods. BELIEVE ME, I STILL WANT THESE FOODS…


Another day that I realized that food was truly addicting (btw addiction experts say that food addiction is harder to overcome than a crack cocaine addiction-take that one in..) We were driving on the highway and the kids asked if they could go to McDonalds. I looked at my husband and asked if he took them, he said no, did you???? Turns out, they had been 5 months earlier while on a road trip…They remembered. They are 2 and 4. How in the world has McDonalds figured out how to get my beautiful toddlers addicted to their food after less than 5 times eating there?

Ok, now you are aware that you are a food addict.

MENTAL STRENGTH:

The next most important thing to overcome is EXCUSES. Pauline Nordin from the “Fighter Diet” says something that really hits home “You can not achieve success without a strong mind.”

Believe me, easier said than done. Shit, my whole life my brain was blaming perfectly fantastic genetics. You really have to look deep and figure out what your brain is tricking you into thinking. It’s as simple as when you are counting reps, to count from 10-1 instead of 1-10. Truly, re-learning how you talk to yourself internally. I went from “holy shit, I have so FAR TO GO” to focusing on where I have come from(this is REALLY intense if you are a perfectionist-perfectionists have the hardest time with weight because they ALWAYS feel like they failed. IF this is you, acknowledge that!). I also changed whom I associated with, any of my friends that were negative nellies or were excuse-driven had to go. It’s so hard but they are really holding you down from your success!!
 Surround yourself with people that you want to be like.

Along with this strong mental state comes SO MUCH BAGGAGE. I hear ALL of the time, I work too much, I travel for work, I don’t want to take time away from my kids, my children hate the daycare at the gym, I don’t want to take time away from my spouse. There are people out there that are single parents, that work more than you and have their shit together. You have to time manage.  Beyonce has the same 24 hours that you have.

GOD. Here’s a big one. Let me tell you, during my dark soul searching, my faith became so strong, that every day I walk into the gym, I know I will not fail. Actually, I don’t even care if I try something and look silly or fail miserably, the only way to get better is to try it!! The first time I did a handstand push-up I thought I would fall right on my face, but I didn’t J
You think you have faith? How about “God gave you one body. It is your temple.” You need to have a strong, fit, body to be proud of, fueled only with foods that are meant to FUEL it…Weight is a mountain that God can help you move.

Some things that you need to know.
You are worth it. You are worth the 1 hour of daily exercise. You are worth spending more money on groceries because it does cost a little more to eat healthy. (However drop the booze and it wont) J

You need to do it for you, first and foremost. You get one life. Quit being a people-pleaser, or a workaholic, or an unorganized housewife, you deserve to put yourself first when it comes to health. I promise, if you are having issues with blood pressure, DEPRESSION, diabetes, anxiety, joint pain, mental illness; getting healthy WILL benefit you.

GET CONTROL. You have to be honest with yourself. Quit lying to yourself and say you ate healthy because you didn’t eat the last fry OR you worked out so you can eat a dozen donuts. BE HONEST with yourself.

Ryan McElhinny, my personal trainer says, “you can tell your self you worked hard, you can tell yourself you eat healthy, BUT EVERYONE can see what you really do!!!!” If this one doesn't make you think about binge eating while you're doing it, I'm not sure what will!!


Motivation:

Everyone motivates differently.
YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MOTIVATE YOU!!

Over the years different things have worked for me.
WORKOUT PARTNER:
I think when I look back at my successes, not focusing on failures (because we all do), I have seen that when I work out with a friend and associate with people in a similar arena, that works best. The things to be careful of here are being everyone’s constant motivator. If you have a hard time motivating yourself, then you are going to get upset if your workout partner doesn’t show up or falls off the wagon. So when choosing a workout partner, make sure it’s someone that you have the same goals with.

MUSIC: I am extremely motivated by music. I look up famous athletes’ and olympians’ playlists quite often. I am constantly downloading new music if I feel like I am in a rut. I have different playlists for the type of workout I am doing. A cardio workout has many more bpm (beats per minute) than a weightlifting workout, it’s all about tempo.
CLOTHES: This is not just for females!! During my entire process, I would buy a pair of jeans two sizes too small, and try them on every week. And don’t live in yoga pants or dresses (I mean, you men can-HA!).

SEE PEOPLE: Once you tell people that you are trying to lose, it makes you accountable. So after you lose your first 10 lbs, make a date to see someone you haven’t seen, at 20 lbs, another friend..Its great to see people’s response to the new you. This is where you will motivate others, which will keep motivating you.
MEASURE: Measuring with your weight is not the best way to measure.  The best way to measure is by measuring your arms, legs, waist, neck and hips. And body fat. That is the number that you want to go down. I have been at the same body weight for months, but I have dropped 4% of body fat. I also measure myself through clothes weekly. Almost any gym can measure your bodyfat.
A TRAINER: YES. I know this is more money going out the door. But it is an investment in you. A trainer is paid to motivate you. My trainer is awesome, he definitely makes me work and he pushes me when I don’t want to. Keep in mind you need to sign up for at least long enough to hit your goal PLUS AT LEAST a 6-month maintenance phase. It is more important to learn to live at your goal weight and I’ll tell you its probably harder.
CALENDAR: I make a calendar and give myself a happy face or a frownie face for how I ate that day. This helps show long term goals on how you eat. Again, you have to be honest with yourself for this to work. IF you eat French fries, you get that frownie face partner.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES:

The biggest misconception about weight loss, is that you work until you hit your goal and then you’re going to live like that forever. This is not the case.

These are all changes that I have made for the long-term.
1.     I don’t eat after dinner and I try to eat dinner by 7pm.
2.     I drink at least a gallon of water per day
3.     Alcohol is bad. No excuses here. If you drink 7 days a week, cut back at LEAST one day, 3 days, cut to two. Eventually (it took me a year) to cut back to 1/week. Now I don’t drink at all. Maybe a special occasion- but birthdays aren’t special enough if you understand the magnitude here. If you are training hard, binge-drinking (more than 3 drinks in an evening will set your training back 2 WEEKS). I don't know anyone that makes good food choices when they drink.
4.     Lunch should be your largest meal, and if you choose to consume complex carbs, consume them at breakfast or lunch, never dinner
5.     Track food. Every morsel. I use MyFitnessPal. It’s a free app. Weigh all of your food until you understand portions. It has a free scanner that scans everything with a barcode. You are eating way more than you think, believe me. No more heaping tablespoons of peanut butter-yes, you!
6.     Get organized. As I progressed through my journey I realized that my gym clothes helped motivate me. So one night, I ripped everything out of my closet, and folded my “weekend” clothes and hung up my gym clothes.
My refrigerator is also well-stocked every Sunday with our foods for the week. These make it automatic. There is no excuse when you are organized.
7.     Only one cheat meal per week. It’s not a cheat day, it’s a cheat meal. At first, you can do two as long as you continue losing.
8.     It helps to do an hour of stretching or yoga once per week to prevent injury

FOOD:


There are a TON of things that work here. This is just what I chose to do. I have been eating a whole food diet with an exception of some dairy products. I try to stay away from any processed foods. This is an “ideal” situation, obviously there are times when this isn’t possible.

This decision was made for health reasons. If you google preservatives and health side effects you will see a long list of diseases that have been scientifically proven to be caused by our fast food and easy fix diets. I’m not a scientist. I just want to live a long healthy life and feel good. Proper digestion is one of the most crucial factors in weight-loss. That can’t happen if you eat processed foods.

This being said some helpful food hints that I have adopted are below:

Follow GI index for foods. This will help you steer clear of high sugar fruits and vegetables that spike your glucose. You need to keep your metabolism moving, but not have highs or lows.

1.     Eat every 2-3 hours
2.     Eat a protein every time you eat a carb
3.     Eat 5-10 almonds before you get out of bed each morning, this helps your body start your metabolism and it will make sure your body doesn’t store your breakfast as fats.
4.     Mrs. Dash- there is a low-sodium ingredient that you can use to cook with. You have to get rid of all of the sauces, and condiments. They are loaded with sugar and sodium.
5.     Ezekiel or sprouted grain bread only

6.     I don’t do a lot of dairy, I don’t drink milk, I use unsweetened almond milk in my coffee and if I eat cereal, I use it there as well. If you have to drink milk, Drink 2% or whole because it’s processed less than skim or 1%.
7.     Greek plain yogurt can be used in a ton of baking and cooking as a replacement. (ex: sour cream)
8.     I buy groceries Fri/Sat and cook and prep all day Sunday. You will have to prep a little bit mid-week as well on the produce and vegetable side.
9.     If it doesn’t have an expiration date, stay away
10. If you “cook it” in the microwave, stay away- the microwave is used for “reheat’ only
11. Portion control- use a salad plate at first, weigh your portions so you understand what you’re eating. SNACKERS BEWARE!
12. Drink shakes/juice- I have a bunch of shakes pinned on pinterest. My favorite is 1.5 cups water + ½ cup blueberries + ½ cup strawberries + ½ banana + 1 heaping tablespoon of greek yogurt. This is to be used as a snack. It’s super healthy. I throw in a huge handful of spinach, and you can’t even taste it. I use frozen fruit in my smoothies because the consistency is so much more like a milkshake than using ice. This is a great way to eat a ton of nutrients that your body needs to regenerate good cells. This is a HUGE boost to your immune-system overtime.
13.  Fiber and gluten: Always buy whole grain, NOT whole wheat, if you have to eat gluten. I personally, stay away from gluten because I don’t think anyone is meant to digest such an over-processed food such as wheat. I personally use almond flour to cook and bake.

14. The first 4 weeks of any life change are the most crucial. If at all possible go 4 weeks with ZERO sugar and ZERO alcohol. This will reboot your digestive system and your metabolism back to its healthy default. It’s important not to derail during the first four weeks.
15. I also chew gum a lot. Many people will tell you that the aspartame is bad for crashing diets. I personally find that if I am chewing gum or if I brush my teeth after a meal I don’t snack.
16. SLEEP. You must sleep regularly and rest your body. This is something that I have to make myself do. I HATE TO REST. I tend to over-train and get into ruts. You must take a day off once a week. Just watch what you put in your mouth that day. I would NOT suggest that your cheat meal be on an off-day.

Bottom line: Food is fuel. We are creatures that are meant to be active and burn the calories we consume for that day. We are not meant to gorge. Think about this when you eat, eat to fuel your body! Ask yourself the question: "Will this food help me get closer to my goal or further away from my goal?" "Does this food have nutritional value?


Workouts:

Always, get cleared from a doctor before starting any new plan. Even if you hire a trainer, it’s very important to have documented what your starting vitals and blood work is so that you can compare it when you hit your goal. Trust me, if you can lose a substantial amount of weight to get into your BMI zone for height, you shouldn’t be on medications for blood pressure or cholesterol. Now, there are always exceptions to every rule, but the more weight you carry around your middle, the more at risk you are for heart disease.


1.     Get moving: Excuses are made here. No one wants to get on the treadmill and run for 60 minutes every day. So as long as you’re moving and sweating for an hour, it’s more than you were doing sitting on the couch.
2.     I was an athlete growing up, so I was on a mission to workout like one. Of course at 200 pounds I couldn’t do a pull-up to save my life. Start out walking on an incline. If you can only do it for a few minutes, then back the incline down to catch your breath and so on…it will shock your system to do intervals.
3.     Keep changing your workouts. Throughout this process you will get in a rut and need to shock your body. It may be that you are doing HIIT workouts or you are doing Crossfit or you are all you are doing is weight-lifting, you will have to continue to evolve as your new body evolves. Some weeks I do something completely different to throw my body off. It may be just running for an entire week of workouts, or maybe hot yoga…keep shaking it up!
4.     You must lift heavy. Ladies, I did not start seeing the results that I wanted to see until I started lifting. I went from a size 12 at 170 to a size 4 at 160. Being a fit and healthy strong mom for my kids has been the best blessing of the entire process.. put the 5lb weights down in your aerobic classes, if you aren’t seeing changes, you aren’t working hard enough. *make sure you have a certified trainer to show you proper form!!
5.     Get a trainer, even if its JUST to show you proper form, they are a WEALTH of knowledge.

Challenges/REWARDS:


1.     Your goals should be ever-changing
2.     Don’t make your goals strictly weight loss. You will fail miserably.
3.     Don’t reward yourself with food. Many fitness professionals do this, I think it’s a slippery slope for food addiction and long-term health. You really need to keep the focus away from food.
4.     I buy a pair of jeans 2 sizes too small and hang them in my closet front and center. I have the mindset that I’m “coming after those size __’s”
5.     Music- I use music to motivate me so I buy a lot of it
6.     Small challenges- I write small challenges for myself and when I achieve them I will buy a new piece of clothing or a new gym shirt or whatever. It’s got to be fitness related to help get you to your next goal though.
7.     Each week, try on your clothes, each week weigh yourself-at the same time of day, and once a month do your measurements.
8.     Get your body fat percentage done
9.     Set a 12 month goal
10. Focus on where you have come from
11. Don’t talk negative to yourself in your head
12. Take pictures fairly often of yourself in the same outfit


Now, my stats:
Today I currently weigh 149. I am a true size 4. My body fat needs to be done. I have lost over 40 inches in 12 months time. My resting heartbeat is a 52. I am STILL not in my BMI zone, which for my height says I should be between 117-145. I am still in process, there is no "after" picture because I am not done yet. But this is me at these stats.



I can run 90 minutes on a treadmill fairly easily. I can do a 90-minute intense workout with no problems. I can deadlift 205lbs/10 and free squat 225lbs for 10. I can leg press over 1000lbs. I can calve raise the whole stack which is 400lbs. I have never been stronger than I am today. I am proud but not comfortable with where I am. I have a long way to work on the temple that God gave me.



I hope that my before and after pictures have motivated you to get moving. Leave those excuses behind, it’ll take a lot less time to see results.
 
My first goal, getting new photos done. Thank you Lindsay Alexander for taking my pics!
I am no where near done. Next Stop, Bikini competition!!






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