body, goals, health

I’ve got that summertime, summertime fitness

When I started my lapband journey almost 3(!) years ago, I really wasn’t sure where it was going to take me. Oh sure, I knew it would be a tool to help me lose weight and that it was going to be the start of something new. It was going to give me my life back. I went to the insurance mandated therapy appointment and felt confident everything would be fine.

I’ve written about the mental aspects of losing weight and about emotional eating and how it’s affected me. I’ve written about how happy I am to have done the surgery and I still feel that way. Lapband has changed my life but where do I go from here? Truthfully, my weight and health no longer define me. You will notice my laugh or long hair or energy before you will look at my weight. I am a socially acceptable body weight, whatever that really means, and I can shop it any store I want.
So what are my goals? What do I want out of health and fitness? I follow so many health/fitness/wls surgery accounts and it’s really making me look at where I am and what I want. 
do want to work out about 4-5 times a week. A mix of cardio, weights, yoga, and some fun classes like boxing or kickboxing. I think it’s going to be fun to try different forms of cardio, not just the treadmill. I am not a zumba girl because one of my knees is a little bit bum thanks to a high school aerobics class injury (sad to say that’s a true story). I think mixing it up and finding a class could be really fun. I want to continue to see my trainer 2 times a week as well. He’s a great guy and thanks to him, my body is getting toned. 
do not want to take pre or post work outs at this point. I seem to be fine without them at this point. I am not saying I will never try them but I don’t like adding chemicals to my diet. I obviously am keeping my mind open but it’s something I’d like to avoid for now. Depending on the classes I take, I might be able to find a reasonable one and see. 
do want to keep monitoring my sugar intake as well as general eating. I want to make sure I am balancing my body’s needs with some wants. Yes, dessert is okay but not every day/every meal. Finding a food balance that works for me is a goal. I am pretty close but just need to keep going.
do not want to apologize if my life flow means I have wings and cake one night. Yes, I know it is counter productive to my workouts and goals. Yes, I am fully aware I will be doing at least an extra hour or two of cardio to make up for it. When my period comes I want to to eat all the sweet and salty combos I want. I refuse to apologize. Only I can be accountable for the line between healthy balance, indulging, and emotional eating. 
do want to be able to be a comfortable size 8. I am about 8lbs I would guess, away from it. I am not using the scale as much because it tends to get me down. I am using my clothing sizes and how I feel. I am LOVING my thighs these days. So just making sure I can reach and maintain a weight balance would be a HUGE achievement.

do want to have a toned and healthy body in my 30s, 40s, and older. I want to keep investing in my health and we all know it’s much harder the older you get. No impossible but just a lot harder. I want to Marissa Tomei and get better looking with age, Hey, I’m Italian too, it can happen!

What are your health goals? What are the changes you’ve incorporated and love? Who inspires you?
body, health, healthy, paleo, thankful, yoga

The best is yet to come: my 2015 goals!

Well, so much for blogging more during the holidays! Really though, like everyone else, there was just so much going on. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t have any children and work normal hours and still don’t seem to have time for everything I want to do. Thinking about all the things I want to do and need to make time for naturally got me thinking about the upcoming year and the goals I am setting for myself. Since accountability is a grand thing indeed (and sometimes the devil), I am going to post my goals and hope you all can help keep me on track in the upcoming year!

The Goal: Invest in My Health
Normally I might just say I’d like to lose another 20lbs and be done with it but that is not the goal I have anymore. My goal is really and truly to be healthy. To invest in my health. To look at what I am eating and really care about what I am putting in my body and how it will affect my future. So how can I consciously and consistently invest in my health? How much am I willing to give, of myself, of my finances, and of my time? Because that’s really what it comes down to,  the changes that will effect where I go, how I shop, how I feel about myself and so much more.
Step 1: Live 80/20 
One of my favorite things about eating healthy and following a Paleo diet is that it is 80/20. So you try to eat 80% of your meals following the guidelines and then 20% of your meals are whatever you want. By allowing a few meals that aren’t paleo and working with moderation, I am able to be realistic about my food intake and goals. I love the above quote from Bobby Flay because it’s simple but to the point. I don’t need to eat fast food; there is nothing good about it for my body and quite frankly, I don’t enjoy the taste at all. That doesn’t mean I am not going to eat a decadent desert but at least if I am going to eat decadent I will use better quality ingredients than just junk. I want to be able to not let food control my life and over the last two years I have made that change sucessfully. 
Step 2: Don’t beat myself up when I am not perfect. 

Eating moderately helps me maintain a healthy relationship with food. I don’t break down if I have a brownie, I just make sure I don’t have one with every meal or make sure I hit the gym a little harder. I am not going to be perfect and I am more than okay with that. Perfect means that nothing needs to change and I always want to change, grow, and keep learning. So I am going to recognize there are moments I will fail and will eat something awful. I will not always make it to the gym for as many days as I would like that week. It’s inevitable. What I will strive for is accepting these moments and remembering that Scarlett O’Hara was a badass who never quit and always knew that “after all…tomorrow is another day”. This doesn’t mean that I will think my excuses are valid but it allows me to look at why I made a mistake and learn from it. Maybe I didn’t got to the gym because I was so tired and had to listen to my body. Maybe the reason I am so tired is because of lack of sleep. That lack of sleep causes my body to not function as well as it could and leads to overeating as well. So what I learn is to get more sleep and listen to my body.
Step 3: Be consistent with Paleo
I made mention above about following a Paleo diet. A Paleo diet means not having grains, dairy, or artificial sugar. There are a lot of nuances about it and different people follow different levels, much like there are pescatarians, vegetarians, vegans and so on. I have been pretty bad about following this lately so I need to get back on track. So starting January 2nd I will resume my 80/20 Paleo lifestyle which means: no dairy, processed foods including sugar, no legumes, starches or grains and no alcohol. Instead you eat lean meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and healthy fats, You can check out Nom Nom Paleo for more info! Cooking at home and meal prep is the best tool to stay on track and eat paleo. It also saves money so it’s a triple threat. Plus, watching JoeyWaffles cook, grill, and try new recipes is pretty hot. When I followed Paleo consistently I was leaner, had more energy, and really just overall felt better. It’s little changes that can make a big difference: making my own maple bacon instead of buying the Oscar Meyer version; reading the back of everything I buy so I know what I’m putting in my body; and just staying away from unnecessary foods like Doritos, fast food, and such. I still will have a Reese’s or enjoy a Coke Slurpee but it might be once a week or every few weeks. It makes me feel better when I know I am giving my body good fuel and investing in a better future.

Step 4: Control my food portions 
Sometimes I think like the girl who weighed 80lbs more and feel a compulsion to order a ton of food. I usually remember I am not and start to order like a normal, average, adult. Usually after the fact when it’s too late to change my mind, I remember I have lap band and need to only eat a kids size portion. It’s kind of crazy to think that often, especially going out, a kid’s size portion is really more appropriate for an adult and that we really have huge over sized meals. It’s not even about over eating, it’s really about wasting food and money because I never eat what I think I’m going to and end up wasting it or giving it to JoeyWaffles. That doesn’t work because it means he ends up eating a meal and a half which isn’t good for him either and I want his health to be optimal as well (total Rick word!) So I resolve to order more appropriate sized meals when I do go out and when I am home, use a smaller plate and grab smaller sizes.
Step 5: Use more Young Living Essential Oils in my life
Since getting more into oils and learning a lot from Kristen @ Naturally (un)Balanced, I really want to use more essential oils in my life. There are a lot of oils out there and feel free to do research but this is a great video about the difference between companies and the oils they produce. Thanks to Kristen, I have replaced my toothpaste with Thieves AromaBrite toothepaste, clean my house with a Thieves spray, use lemon oil to get anything stuck with adhesive off, diffuse with eucalyptus and purification for Joey’s asthma, and more. I am just learning and the more that I can replace toxic products with essential, all natural, and organic oils I am all for it. So this year I strive to replace more products, educate myself more on the oils and share my knowledge. Diffusing is so great when I sleep and the epsom salt and Oils baths Kristen recommends are amazing! I also have a roller ball of Stress away that I use when I am feeling…stressed lol
Step 6: Take more Yoga classes
Yoga is amazing. I am so lucky the company I work for offers it once a week thanks to our amazing CEO. Without my work offering it I would have never tried it and found out how truly amazing it is. Everyone is all about weights and I think they have their place but simply adding yoga into my routine has made a huge difference in my muscle definition. Yoga makes your body flexible, stretching alone has so many great benefits and when you add in the peace of mind, it really is something special. Being able to take an hour out of your day and connect with your body and mind is special and often something we neglect. I have a great CorePower Yoga near my house and my goal is go there there a few times a month in addition to my practice at work. The first month of two or even three of doing it I was still unsure if I was doing it right of some of the moves but the great thing about yoga is no one is judging you because they are all in their own state of mind and thinking about themselves (in a good way). I can’t believe how much more flexible I am and how much I enjoy my body after yoga. So treating my body better doesn’t just involve the food I do or don’t put it, but how I use my body as well. As White from America’s Next Top Model once said, “my body is a temple…and my temple wants cheesecake” Mine too girl but sometimes it wants yoga as well so I feed it both!

Steps 7, 8, and 9: Stay Organized, Buy a Meat Cooler, and Keep on smiling!
These are really simple little odds and ends I would like to accomplish. I strive to always stay organized and keep the house clean (enough) and not become a pack rat. JoeyWaffles hates throwing things out but has gotten a lot better so the house is coming together. Along with cleaning I would love to be able to buy into a meat CSA and have a cooler for meat so we only use that. It would be great to know exactly where our meat comes from and have access to quality food all year round. This also includes hitting up the Evanston farmer’s market more. Along with these changes I just want to keep having a happy and positive attitude and keep on keeping on. Life is what you make it and I want to keep on living, loving, laughing, and learning.
I can’t wait to make one of these for 2015!!
So, what are your goals? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2015?
body, cardio, contest, health, healthy, influenster, la fitness, product review, voxbox, working out, yoga

North Shore Sports Bra?

So two days ago I went to the gym after work to get my sweat on. Sexy, right? But hey, the more you sweat the more you…are sweaty. It’s not attractive or enjoyable but it does mean you’re doing something right. So nothing was new about the workout, same gym, same shoes, same-oh, wait…I had NEW AMAZING WORKOUT CLOTHES!

Thanks to Influenster, I received my second #VoxBox and I’ve been so excited ever since they sent me the email saying I qualified for the #VSSportsBra voxbox. In fact here’s me opening up the best mail I’ve received all year (bills are no fun and while i love birthday cards, they’re not from Victoria’s Secret usually lol)

So, long time Victoris’s secret buyer and customer, first time Incredible sports bra wearer. Trying on the new sports bra, let me give you one very helpful hint: unclasp it. Otherwise you will feel silly trying to get it on over your boobs. Once undone, it went on like a dream and held the ladies in. It fit tight and there was no breast jiggles, no movin or shakin. I might not have as big of breasts as I used to but they’re nothing to sneeze about and my 36dd’s were feeling right at home (even though we were at the gym). I put on the knockout long pants, a first for me since I usually work out in shorts or capris but with Chiberia 2.0 lurking around the corner, I am very grateful to have some long workout pants. I also work out in the VS Boyfriend Sports bra which is mint and adorable and great for yoga.

I can’t make any scientific claims as to the how or why of these knockout pants but let me tell you, as evidenced by the pictures above, my butt looks amazing. You have to factor in I have a large and already nice butt but still, these pants held me in and made me look great and feel amazing. There’s nothing like feeling hot when you’re at the gym trying to get hotter and then sweating your butt off. I also have the capri version which are just as great for my booty.

Time to get real for a second and talk about something that might be gross but happens to every active lady. Boob sweat. It’s real and it happens to us everyday. After 45 minutes of intense cardio, I was expecting the usual puddle underneath and in the middle of my bra/bust/whatever you want to call it and to my surprise, there was none. Picture me with my Home Alone face, hands on cheeks, mouth open. No boob sweat? No booty sweat? Even with an incline of 10? I was SOOOO happy and so was my car since when I leave the gym, I don’t change clothes.

My friends were extremely happy to get the 25% off coupons I received and my co-workers too. The prices are reasonable but who doesn’t love a deal? I plan to get another pair of pants and another bra because honestly, I look great, feel good, don’t have boob sweat and I love feeling sexy when I need to get my butt in the gym when I really want to go home and watch my DVR’ed Teen Mom 2…don’t judge me…

So good bye to any ancient nautical sports bras or bras that weren’t on point, good bye boob sweat and hello dry breasts. #sportsbrabreakup

(this is a sponsored blog post. Influenster provided me with complimentary Victoria’s Secret products to test and review as part of a contest)

body, fit, goals, happy, health, healthy

North Shore Healthy!

So I had a really amazing thing happen on Sunday. I went into American Eagle and bought a pair of size 10 shorts. This might not be a big deal to some people and it might even be bad news for others but for me it’s amazing news. If you don’t know me in real life, you don’t that I used to be really heavy. 75lbs heavier to be exact.

I was a skinny kid, average teen (a little on the chubby size but I could fit into abercrombie, the obvious benchmark of late 90’s ‘cool’) and then I hit my 20’s. One bad relationship where I gained 40lbs + and I was just used to being heavier. It never stopped me from dating so I never thought much about being “bigger.

Around 2009/2010 I realized I was not feeling any kind of good about my body. I hated getting dressed, changing outfits 20 times to feel “skinny”. I could never just grab something and go. I started feeling really self conscious and hating to go out. I would be late to events because I felt ugly in every single thing I wore. It didn’t help that food was comfort and fast food was easy, cheap, and delicious. I ate crap, loved sweets, and always ate the free bread at meals along with a desert. I was a Ranch dressing addict and always wanted the potato, not vegetable options. Every choice I made was the unhealthy one and I never thought I ate bad. Sure chicken with broccoli is a great dinner but ranch to dip both in does not a healthy meal make.

My immediate family are all average weight, no obesity, mostly average with a small propensity for chubby at times. My mom works out a bunch, loves pilates and learning about healthy eating. She always offered advice, help, encouragement, and anything she could think of to help me to healthy weight. My Dad had became really fit and what is known in the gay community as a “bear”, working out and watching his diet so he’s a big muscled guy with a goatee. No matter what they were saying to me, until I really felt ugly and unhealthy, nothing stuck in my brain.

Around the time I met Joey, when I felt my worst, I tried a personal trainer. After a few months with little results, I gave up. I was just sick of trying so hard and not seeing results. I finally realized I needed real help to kick start a healthy lifestyle before I turned 30. I just didn’t want to enter the next part of my life heavy and unhappy and unhealthy. I talked to my mom and we started looking into my options. After a long process, we decided that lap-band surgery would be a good option. We looked into Chicago area doctors and found Day One Health.

I can really say that with Dr. Elli and the Day One staff, my life changed. I had my consultation, they handled the insurance and all the paperwork. I waited 6 months, learned healthy eating tips, saw a therapist and got ready for my life change. I did the 2 week liquid diet and had my outpatient surgery. The picture from August 2009 about was about a month after the surgery and 20 lbs down.

Lap band is not a miracle cure. It does not make you skinny by doing nothing. It is a tool but many people don’t use it correctly and only lose a small amount of weight. Some gain it back and some stay stagnate. Lap band is a tool that helps you feel full faster and longer. You can’t drink when you eat and junk food is much easier to digest then healthy food. When I lost the first 20 lbs I was inspired. It made me want to lost more. Over the course of the first year I ate less and ate better, I lost another 25 lbs or so but I still was starting to plateau. Then I realized hey, eating well and working out will get me healthy, toned, and feeling great. Duh Tiffany! I re-activated my LA Fitness membership and started eating Paleo. Through my excellent job I started taking the free Yoga class once a week. I also take CorePowerYoga classes which I love!

Another 25 lbs later and here I am. Toned, happy, healthy and fitting in a size I haven’t seen since I was 15. It feels amazing. It feels good to eat healthy and good. Besides my cheat day s’mores blizzards I don’t eat fast food. I never go to Wendy’s, McDonald’s, BK, etc. When I’m hungry in a pinch I can grab a quick steak or chicken to grill. If I’m out to eat, chicken or salad with lemon and salt for dressing is my go to. I love avocado and eat with with all my meals pretty much. When I want a free ice cream from work, I eat it knowing my workout later needs to be harder/longer. I eat for fuel and taste buds.

Fitting into a pair of shorts that a few years ago wouldn’t have gone up past my knees is huge. I work out 4 days a week, eat well, and love that I have changed my life. I am happy, healthy, and feel great knowing I can grab anything clothes I own, throw it on and leave the house. Did I have a toxic friend or two that didn’t want to help and would constantly try sabotage me, yes. Did I drop them along with the weight? Absolutely. Did it suck really liking someone that I finally understood never had my best interest at heart? Yes but did I gain when I lost (har har har), I sure did. I love investing in myself and my health.

Loving my body isn’t about what other people see, it’s what I see and how I feel. Loving my body is giving it what it NEEDS, not satisfying wants. I love my body and want it to feel great and function well. It’s an investment in my future self. I was fat and it was my own fault and I changed it. Fat isn’t a bad thing but it was unhealthy. I don’t need to be a size 2 and I am still fat to some I’m sure but I know I’m healthy. My next goal to lose more fat % and tone up. I would like to ultimately get down about 15lbs more but it’s really about how my clothes fit and getting toned.

Last years goal: wear a bikini proudly?