Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Going to Pay For That

Everyone...last night was one of those epic failures on the get-fit-or-die-trying journey. Monday night I stayed up so late preparing those HIIT workout videos and loading them onto YouTube and the blog that I ended up getting very little sleep. By the time 5:30 p.m. Tuesday came around, I couldn't imagine going to the gym because I just had zero energy. My eyes felt like they were a million pounds!

I went home and laid down on the couch, determined to not fall asleep so I wouldn't accidentally sleep though The Voice and the new episode of Giuliana and Bill, and let me just tell you...I did not get off that couch except to use the bathroom until 10:00 p.m. when I slumped into my room to catch the final moments of the Giuliana and Bill baby special and finally went to sleep.
Struggling to stay awake for Giuliana and Bill
Oh wait...I did get off the couch one time, but it was just me literally rolling onto the floor so I could the eat the Chinese food T got me for dinner off of the coffee table. Yea...after I had done all this preaching about how high in calories and unhealthy Chinese food is, I made my boyfriend go buy me some because I was too exhausted to cook anything healthy (or find a better take-out option).

So after skipping the gym, eating unhealthy food, and barely moving at all between 5:30p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, I felt pretty terrible. I told y'all I wouldn't sugar coat things on this blog and I won't. I really felt like such a hypocrite.

But then I started to think about what I had done right (which, seriously, few and far between at this point). I only ate half of my meal last night. If this was a year ago, I would have stuffed myself because I didn't have the self-control to stop eating when I knew I was full. What I could have done better, other than obviously opting to eat something else, was put a small portion on a plate and put the leftovers away so they were out of sight, out of mind.

Today I was determined to do better. I had planned to go to lunch with a friend, and we had chosen sushi. YUM! I love sushi so much and I usually order 2 California rolls and rice...which is a lot of food, especially for lunch. To do better, I opted today for only 1 California roll (because I can't eat just the normal raw fish) and rather that rice, I ordered edamame. I tried to eat my roll without any soy sauce, but ended up using just a little tiny dab of the low-sodium version.
Still had lots of salt, which I tried my best to brush off

Only half of this was mine, for the record!
I have to keep remembering that even on the days when I eat poorly and make bad choices, I'm still making better choices than I would have a year ago and I'm slowly learning how to control myself. Now today, I'm going to kick ass and take names at the gym!!

Side note: I really love grapes!Pin It

Monday, April 23, 2012

Progress photo 1 and Weekend Workouts

Too often I spend the entire week eating well and working out just about each day, only to have the weekend come about and put me back a few steps.  I tend to eat worse and, although I have much more time on my hands, workouts get pushed to the side to make room for more naps.

This weekend, however, I made strides in staying on track, especially in the workout-realm. I skipped the gym on Friday and opted to go for a run around the neighborhood instead. Taylor joined me, which made me run the entire way without stopping. I can do a mile fine on the treadmill, but when you add in changes in elevation and the fact that I'm now having to propel myself rather than having the treadmill do it for me, it makes it much more difficult. (I had a picture for this, but I accidentally deleted it from my phone)

Saturday morning my friend, Mackenzie, and I did a take 2 on our early spin class. This time we arrived when the class really was, rather than an hour and a half early. :) 
For the record, I'm really not that ripped...it's the lighting.
If any of you have ever taken a spin class before, you know it's not exactly the most comfortable thing in the world and tends to make your lady bits very sore. However, I would 100% encourage anyone to go to a class. The music is fun and it burns so many calories! You can make it as hard or as easy as you want to, but I feel like if you're going to go to a class (especially at 8:30 a.m. like we did), you might as well put everything into it and turn your resistance up to get a good burn going! 

I continued my workout streak on Sunday by going on another 1 mile run around the neighborhood. I had planned on doing putting in some more mileage, but the sun was really beating down on me, making it pretty miserable. But hey, doing 1 mile is 130 calories more than I would have burned sitting on the couch!

I also experimented with some new foods this weekend! Check out the healthy lunch I had yesterday!

I finally used the quinoa my mom sent me for Easter and tried it out with this cheesy quinoa bites recipe. It wasn't bad, but I think next time I'll go a little easier on the carrots and maybe throw some reduced fat cheddar cheese on top. 

Y'all really need to try this Zucchini and Spinach Fritter recipe from Kat at Living Like the Kings. She had said she was obsessed with them, and after making them, I can see why! I found myself making one, then eating it while another was in the pan, and then eating that one when it was done! I did manage to save a couple for the next day. 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all be waiting for, and the moment I've been dreading...my first set of progress pictures. 

I really would rather not post photos of me in my underwear on the internet, but I feel like it's really important for you all to see that these things I preach about have positively affected my body. Please keep in mind that I have only been seriously exercising for 1 1/2 months and only since about January have I make huge changes in my diet. I still have a very long way to go, and I know that, but it is fulfilling to be able to physically see the change.



The first photo was taken in late November while I was in Ohio for Thanksgiving break.  The second was taken Sunday morning (after I had eaten a peanut butter sandwich, mind you!).  Please look past the lighting changes and the difference in the panties I am wearing, as those things make the progress look much more than it truly is.  As you can see, I've got some serious hips on me, which will never be small, but definitely still need to be slimmed down a bit.. I keep getting reminded by own personal trainer/boyfriend that 
a) the skin on the back of my legs is much smoother than it was before
b) my midsection and hips will be the last place I lose weight (awesome) 
c) I CANNOT SPOT REDUCE FAT! I have to keep doing lots and lots of cardio to remove the fat, and then strength training to tone and lean-up the muscle UNDERNEATH that fat. 


So...now that you've all seen entirely too much of me, I will leave you until another post! 
Enjoy and STAY MOTIVATED!!!!!!!!
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Gym Bag

I've got some goodies in the works for y'all in the form of new easy at-home workouts, so be on the lookout for those!  In the meantime, I wanted to share what I carry with me in my gym bag. It's really not a lot, but for now it's all I need.
First of all, I am completely in love with my gym bag from Nike. I picked it up from the local sports store and am smitten with the bright purple and pink! The best park is inside with the POP of pattern! I know technically the color doesn't matter, but come on...I'm a girl and these things make me happy.

My water bottle from my Aunt...I mean... "Easter Bunny" fits perfectly in the side pocket. I love that this water bottle has a straw so I don't have to tip the bottle upside down and squeeze it to drink (wow, that sounds lazy). I'm not exactly positive where the Easter Bunny found it, but my best guess would be Bed Bath and Beyond.

Tennis shoes can get pretty stinky and dirty and my gym bag has a zippered side-pocket compartment to hold your shoes so you don't get the things IN the gym bag dirty or smellier than they likely already are. Can y'all see that fun pattern peaking out?! Don't you just love it?? The shoes I currently use are a few years old and desperately need to be replaced, but who has the money for that?! They are Nike Lunarlons and they've been great, but man have I worn them out!


This are the usual contents of my bag. 

1. Sports bra - my favorite being my Nike sports bra with light padding on the inside. Nothing make you more self conscious than knowing your girls are at attention and visible through your shirt.

2. Dry-Fit shirt. This particular one I wore during the Disney Princess Half Marathon for my Belle costume! I generally prefer wearing loose-fitting tanks for the extra movement room.

3. Running leggings! These Under Armour ones are great! They are made for running outdoors and kept me so warm in the coolest conditions and did so well with repelling the sweat! They are a tad warm for indoor training, but with only 3 pairs of leggings, I make do with what I have.

4. Under Armour socks. These socks are nice and snug against your foot and also absorb the moisture so well! 

5. Granny Panties! I just cannot exercise in a thong, nor can I get myself to just not wear undies at all, so I opt for these full-bottomed no-panty-line underwear I got from Wally world. I wouldn't recommend them because they're definitely not made for working out and are too thin for all the sweat, but they don't show panty-lines and I can't afford the $20 per pair of athletic underwear.

6. Travel toothbrush and toothpaste.

7. Tanning Lotion - my gym has a tanning bed and on occasion I feel like laying in it while I'm there, though as you can tell by my clearly-not-tan skin...it's not very often that I do this.

8. Inhaler - I have very mild asthma that will sometimes just sneak up on me, especially if I'm cold while running. This just helps open up my passageways

9. Deodorant - self-explanatory

10. 2 sets of ear buds - The black ones broke and now sound only comes out of one ear, so I have a second pair, but keep the first just in case it breaks too.

11. Small towel to wipe off all the sweat that pours off of me when I kick ass and take names.

What do you keep in your gym bag? What is something you CANNOT go to the gym without? Do you have any recommendations on things I should carry with me?


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Healthy Edamame Fried Rice


I am such a huge fan of Chinese food! I could stuff myself with it, wait an hour, and stuff myself again. Orange chicken or sweet and sour chicken are my favorites, but it's just not the same unless you've got a big helping of fried rice on the side. Now, all these delicious foods from our neighbors on the other side of the world don't exactly help out around the midsection. At a popular Chinese fast food place, there are almost 500 calories in JUST the serving of fried rice you're given! You might be saying to yourself, "Oh but it's so good! It's totally worth it!" NEGATIVE, GHOSTRIDER!

After spending an hour busting my hump at the gym in hopes of a Beyonce-esque body (for those of us with hips that don't lie...Shakira, anyone?), the last thing I want to do is ruin it on one serving of delicious but unhealthy rice.  But sometimes our tastebuds want what they want...so what are we to do?

Enter Skinny Taste

Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE Gina's website? I'm completely obsessed with it and 80% of my meals are from here.  She recently posted a recipe for Asian Edamame Fried Rice. I knew instantly I had to try it, especially after seeing that a cup of it is only about 200 calories. WIN! She swapped out the bleached white rice for it's healthier brown cousin and used mostly egg whites as well as a good oil option, substituted light soy sauce, and of course, the fiber and protein-packed edamame!
Please excuse my gross post-workout look!
I made it last night and Taylor and I both scarfed it down! Okay, so Taylor scarfed, I used chopsticks because a) who doesn't love using chopsticks and b) it make me eat slower, which is something I've always had a problem with. By the time I was done with my bowl, Taylor had eaten 2 and the whole pan was gone. So much for leftovers for my lunch! Curse him and his fast metabolism!

Edamame Fried Rice
Skinnytaste.com 
Servings: 6 • Size: just under 1 cup • Old Points: 4 pt • Points+: 5 pt
Calories: 202 • Fat: 5.8 g • Protein: 8.6 g • Carb: 28.5 g • Fiber: 4.3 g • Sugar: 1.1 g
Sodium: 244.1 mg (without salt)

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked brown rice
2 egg whites, scrambled
1 whole egg, scrambled 
1 tbsp Smart Balance oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced 
5 scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
1/2 cup shredded carrots
cooking spray
1 cup ready-to-eat shelled edamame (I could only find the steamer bags, so I just shelled them myself)
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (Taylor added a bit more to his, but I didn't think it needed it)
salt and fresh pepper to taste

ALMOST a full cup - I was a tad short.

Directions

Whisk eggs and egg whites, season with salt and pepper. In a hot wok (or large skillet, like I used), spray a little oil and cook the eggs. When cooked, remove from pan and set aside.Let the wok get really hot. Add oil and cook onions, scallion whites, carrots and garlic for about 60 seconds, careful not to burn. 

Add brown rice and stir well a few minutes to heat through. Add cooked egg along with soy sauce, scallion greens and edamame, mixing well for about 3-4 minutes.  

This will definitely be making a repeat visit at my house!
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Improvising at 7 a.m.

Last Thursday my friend, Mackenzie, and I were chatting online about working out, trying to lose weight, etc... She was going to be in town from Atlanta for the weekend and somehow she convinced me it would be a great idea to go to a Spin 60 class at 7 a.m. on Saturday. For those of you who have never been to a spin class, yes they are really fun and the music really gets my blood flowing, but lord baby Jesus, the seats are the most uncomfortable inventions ever and they will leave your lady parts bruised and sore for the next few days...especially after jumping into a full 60 minute class!

Regardless, I agreed (though I still think she somehow virtually drugged me to get me to comply). At 6:15 a.m. Saturday morning my "I'm Sexy and I Know It" alarm went off, I grumbled angrily from only 5 hours of sleep thanks to company being over much longer than I had anticipated, and I rolled out of my bed and into my workout clothes. 

When Mackenzie and I both arrived at the gym we noticed it was pretty dark in the building. We walked up to the door and noticed something was not right. After a quick search on my iPhone, we realized Mackenzie had misread the schedule and the class wasn't until 8:30 and the gym didn't even OPEN for another hour!! (I still love you, Mackenzie!)

We had two options. We could a) say "oh well" and go back to our warm beds without getting any exercise, or b) we could improvise and find something else to do at 7 o'clock in the morning and make waking up that early worthwhile..  We chose option B.

The spin class was at the campus gym and it has a big path around it. We decided to go for a walk and ended up moving from the track up the street to campus. It had been awhile since either of us had really spent any time on campus since we've graduated so it was really nice to get to walk around when no one was there. It was beautiful and very peaceful! A month ago I ran a 5k on campus, so we walked that same route and got in just over 3 miles. We didn't try to keep a certain pace, but just getting even that little bit of exercise was worth it. 



So here is my non-professional advice for all you hot mommas (and daddies) out there...sometimes you have to improvise. You can always come up with a backup plan. Say you wanted to go for a bike ride but find out you have a flat tire - go for a walk instead! There is always something else you can do, you just have to avoid letting that lazy demon on your shoulder keeping you from accomplishing something!!
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sometimes It's Just Not Fun

I'm not going to sit here and paint sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies while telling y'all that I just adore working out 24/7 and there is nothing more in the world I would rather do. Yes, 99% of the time, I feel very happy and accomplished after a workout. I'm generally proud of myself for going. However, there are those times where it is just not fun. I'm cranky, tired, and very simply don't feel like it!

Yesterday was one of those days, friends.
My angry face! Glad no one walks in on me at the gym taking pics of myself in the mirror!
I had planned on doing some quick cardio, then focus on my arms and abs. After a 1 mile run on the treadmill, which was much harder than it generally is, I went to do my abs and it wasn't long before I started shaking! I had plenty to eat that day, but maybe my blood sugar level was low? Regardless, everything I usually do at the gym was noticeably harder to complete yesterday. Exhausted and frustrated, I decided to leave after just 40 minutes, when I usually spend at least an hour there.

I have to keep telling myself that at least I went to the gym even though I would have MUCH rather been laying on the couch resting. The workout might not have been the most intense, but it was still a workout!

When I came home, I whipped up the most delicious salad! I knew I wanted to try making a barbecue chicken salad, but was trying to figure out how to deal with all the sugar that generally accompanies barbecue sauce.

Since I wasn't adventurous enough to make my own sauce, I, instead, read the label of every barbecue sauce at the grocery store to find the one with the least amount of sugar. After starting with my favorite, Sweet Baby Ray's, and being astonished that there are 12 grams of sugar in 2 Tablespoons, I was incredibly happy when I finally whittled it down to only 6 grams of sugar in 2 Tablespoons of Weber's original barbecue sauce.

All I did was cut up 2 chicken breasts into bite-sized piece, season them with some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (very little), and grill them up with a bit of olive oil. Once they were nice and grilled, I soaked up the excess oil and mixed it with 2 Tablespoons of the sauce. I had already sliced a zucchini, shredded a carrot, chopped a green pepper, diced a tomato, and drained some black beans and low-sodium corn kernels.

Throw it all together with some green leafy lettuce, and VOILA!! Dinner is served!Pin It

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back in the Saddle and Chinese Chicken Stir Fry

Yesterday after work I headed out to the gym for my first workout in a few days since I was in Atlanta over the Easter holiday. I had all the intentions to go for a run or two while I was away, but of course I took full advantage of any time I had to sleep in while there. (Do as I say, not as I do!)

I knew getting back in the saddle was going to be tough, but with my upcoming weigh-in and re-measurement looming this Saturday, I wanted to be sure I put forth a lot of effort this week so I can avoid disappointment when I hear my 1-month results this weekend.

I pushed through a 2 mile run/walk, though I did much more walking than I had been before the break. I was happy to see this little reminder from the gym taped to my treadmill. I must have read it about 5 times throughout those 2 miles.

After I finished with some leg workouts and a bit more cardio, it was time to head home. I was very excited to make my dinner because the last time I made this recipe, I thought my taste buds had died and gone to heaven. I had put this stir fry in a tortilla wrap which was AMAZEBALLS, but I didn't have any last night, so Taylor and I just ate it out of a bowl, which was still good.

INGREDIENTS:
3 chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 stick celery, chopped
3 skinned and chopped carrots
2 TBSP light soy sauce
3 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS:

Chop up all the veggies and cut the chicken breasts into small, bite sized pieces. 

Season chicken with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside. Heat a skillet on medium heat and pour in your olive oil. Once the olive oil has had a chance to heat up, throw in all your veggies and sautee for about 3 minutes. 

Next add in your chicken, soy sauce, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. 



Cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat, or until your chicken is cooked all completely through. 

The original recipe is from The Skinny Confidential. I changed it up a bit based on what I had available in my kitchen. Feel free to get creative with your veggies and unleash your inner chef! 

Please let me know what you think of this dish if you choose to make it! The flavor of the soy sauce and lemon juice is beyond fantastic and all those veggies just SCREAM healthy, while still providing you with all the flavor and variety you need to feel satisfied. Again, putting this dish in a tortilla is SO good, though you do have to account for the extra calories.

Although I forgot to add up the exact amount of calories, I know it's approximately 170-200 for 1 cup.

Until next time...ENJOY and STAY MOTIVATED!
Motivationnn

P.S. - This weekend I will be posting progress pics (unless I don't have any change in my measurements)...so fair warning!!
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Skinny Jean Success and Stuffed Zucchini!

Today I had a breakthrough! We all have those jeans hanging in our closets that USE to fit, but now we just stare at them longingly in hopes that maybe, just maybe, one day we will magically be that size again. Once in college I even went so far as to staple my motivation jeans to my wall so I saw them every day.

I have 3 stages of motivation jeans. A pair of size 8 regular jeans (I usually have to get the curvy style to accommodate my hips) from last May that became a tad snug and started accentuating my muffin top, A pair of size 8 skinny jeans that I really only wore maybe twice because my thighs have always been too big for them (yet they would fit in the waist...**sigh**), and finally a pair of size 6 jeans from FRESHMAN year in college that I was madly in love with. These last jeans were worn almost every day and broken in in all the right places. They were seriously the most comfortable pair of jeans I've ever owned!

Today I nervously tried on my stage 1 jeans...the size 8 regular jeans from last May. AND THEY FIT! I didn't have to struggle to get them up (although they could still be a tad looser in the thighs), and there is no bulging muffin top! HOORAY!

Of course now I'm afraid to eat anything today for fear my stomach will grow and these jeans will become uncomfortable, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Now to share this delectable stuffed zucchini recipe I found on Pinterest (duh!). I had to make a few changes, but it still tasted fantastic!


Ingredients:
1 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder (of course I didn't have any, so I had to leave this out)
1/2 tomato
1 tsp thyme
2 zucchinis
1/2 onion
Parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
bacon (optional)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400. Wash off the zucchini, then slice them in half length-ways. Spoon out the guts until you end up with boat like shells. Now give the zucchini pulp a good chop, also chop half an onion and 1/2 a tomato while you’re at it. The tomato is really more for color than taste, but if there is too much juice it will make eating your zucchini a mess, so try to get rid of as much of the juice as you can. Sautee the onions in one tbsp olive oil. It’s ok for them to brown a little, and when the onions are almost done, add 1/4 tsp curry powder and cook everything for an additional 30 seconds. No longer or the curry powder will turn bitter.  (of course, I didn't have curry powder, so I'll take the original source's word for it).
Now if you want to stick with a vegetable dish, fine, just leave the bacon out. I personally like the crunch and saltiness it gives, so I cook a few slices and let them drain on a paper towel. Now (in no particular order), add 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, 1 heaping tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt, a good pinch of pepper, the zucchini pulp, the tomato and crumble the bacon in as well.
Lightly grease a baking dish and put the zucchini boats in. Grab a spoon and fill the shells with the mix. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and put them in the preheated oven. Give them about 20 minutes and then turn on the broiler until the top is golden brown. VOILA!
Today I am heading to Atlanta for Easter, so this will be my last post for the week, but I'll return next week! I hope you all have an absolutely fabulous Easter, Passover, or whatever it is you celebrate (or just a fabulous weekend, if this holiday isn't your thing)!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Simple Tricep Arm Workouts

After complaining multiple times about the arm jiggle situation I've got going on (you know...that arm flap most women deal with that makes us feel like we could literally fly if we got a good enough head start), Taylor finally gave me a workout that targets 3 different muscle groups in your upper arms.

First he told me to use our 2 lb weights for these exercises, and I scoffed at him as though he had just insulted my obvious brute strength! I said "2 pounds?! I can do them with at least 5 pounds." He gave me this little grin and told me to go ahead and try it. I grabbed that dumbell and by the end of the first part of the exercise I was done for! This is obviously not a muscle group I use very often. I gave in and used the lighter weights and even those burned by the end of the 3rd set.

I took pictures last night of me completing this workout so you can try it yourself! Make sure you stretch out your muscles after you complete these moves because if you're like me, you'll be feeling a little sore the next day.

Do 3 sets of 20 on each arm. Go right from one arm to the next without stopping to rest (by the time you're done with one arm, the other will be rested enough to go again). Make sure you are keeping your arm straight! Mine tends to move on me, so I will hold it steady with my other hand.

1. Hold your weight in your right hand, with the inside of your wrist facing left
My arm is leaning back a tad in this picture...DON'T DO THAT! 
2. Bend your elbow, bringing the weight back towards your ear in a tomahawk chop motion. Do this 20 times.

3. Bring your arm back to the straight up position and turn your arm so the inside of your wrist is now facing behind you. 
4. Now bend your elbow to complete a reverse curl. Repeat for a set of 20. 
 5. The final move is to bring your arm back to the straight up position and turn your arm so the inside of your wrist is now facing out in front of you. 
 6. Bend your elbow, bringing the weight across your body so the end touches your chest. Make sure you are keeping your upper arm straight and steady. Repeat for a set of 20.

After completing 20 of each move on your right arm, switch to the left and do 20 of each move with that arm. In total, you should do 3 sets of 20 of each move on both arms. 

Let me know if you try this out and how you do!! I try to do these every day, even if I've got an off day from the gym. It is SO easy to do laying down while a commercial is on. 

P.S. Did anyone notice the delicious stuffed zucchini in the background that we had for dinner?? YUM!
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why I Decided to Change My Ways

I have spent 23 years doing minimal exercise and eating generally anything I wanted. 5 slices of pizza for dinner? Yep. Half a roll of cookie dough? Bring it! Large McDonald's french fry? Move out of the way!!

I never spent much time thinking about calories or grams of fat because I wasn't that overweight and honestly, until about my senior year of college I was still in single digit pants sizes. So why did I suddenly decide to hop on the exercise and healthy eating train? Honestly? Pinterest.

Have you ever clicked on the Fitness section and seen pictures like this:
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Pinned Image
I will be able to do this.

After being brainwashed by these tight, toned abs and their equally as tight and toned tush pictures, I gave myself a once over in the mirror and thought to myself, "I can do that." I realized I wasn't giving my body the opportunity to be the best it would be. I could look like those women if I would just care enough to give some effort (okay to look like them, I'd have to give a LOT of effort). It wasn't that I necessarily hated myself, had low self esteem or anything like that. I understand you should love your body for what it is, but the thing is...I didn't know what my body could be...and I wanted to find out.

Then I thought about my body transformation over the past 5 years. I've gone up 2-3 pants sizes in 5 years and completely lost any natural muscle tone and strength I had. I was eating fast food multiple times a week and if I was cooking anything, it was some sort of pasta dish or hamburger helper with the occasional Mexican Night thrown in for good measure. I never ate veggies, rarely went to the fresh produce section of the grocery store, and I drank 2-3 (sometimes 4) diet cokes a day.
Believe it
I had hit a point where I became very unhappy with the way I looked in clothes and the fact that I could rarely find something in the cute boutiques around town that looked as good on my body as it did on the hanger or on other girls. And I was sick of having to buy more and more clothes because the ones from the previous year were too small.

I saw so many motivating photos on Facebook and discovered websites like Gina's Skinny Taste with the most delicious, healthy recipes. I started making a couple a week and before I knew it, I was hooked. I love cooking and I especially love knowing that this scrumptious meal I just made is actually GOOD for me! I can't remember the last time I went to a fast food joint that wasn't Chick Fil A (where I get the chargrilled chicken sandwich and a fruit cup...390 calories). 

Skinny Mozzarella Sticks (click for recipe link)
After I had changed the way I eat, I knew I had to tackle the worst part...exercise. I had tried just going for runs in the mornings before work, but I always talked myself out of going in order to get more sleep. Then I tried going for runs after work, but by that time I just wanted to go home and relax. 
.... get it on!

So...I joined a gym. It took me awhile to decide on one because for the past 4 years, I had access to an AMAZING gym right on campus. Seriously, Georgia Southern has the best Recreational Activity Center with anything and everything available, but I never went. I figured out the reason I never went was because I was intimidated. It was co-ed, always busy, and there were so many machines that I didn't know how to use and I was too shy and embarrassed to ask for help...not to mention it was full of made up girls who you could tell were naturally thin bouncing around on an elliptical for an hour and barely breaking a sweat. Puke.

I settled on joining LOA Fitness for Women. It's a local gym on the other side of town. I fell in love with it almost immediately. First of all, it's an all-women's gym and it's PINK! The whole place is pink and turquoise and you just can't not love that. I also felt very welcome right away. Before I started my own workouts, they scheduled me (as they do all new members) for two 1-hour intro sessions where they take your measurements, weight, body fat % and show you how to use all the machines and write down the suggested weights for you. 

The women at the gym are mostly older than me and it's not super crowded so I am never intimidated. It's a perfect fit. I also went shopping and bought some cute new workout clothes and a fun gym bag which makes it that much more enjoyable to go to the gym.
Fun new purple bag!!
I got myself on a schedule and I've now gotten to the point where going to the gym after work is my favorite part of the day. WHO AM I?! It's only been 3 weeks, but so far I've got a good thing going and I don't plan on reverting back to my old ways.
strength
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