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?
fitness, health

emotional eating is so last season

So the last few weeks I have been extremely off track with my eating. I found myself at Buffalo Wild Wings at 11pm eating and putting money into a crane machine even when I knew it might be broken just so I wouldn’t have to go home. When I realized I was there, in the moment, at a place that had caused me to gain so much weight while in an abusive relationship and I hadn’t eaten it in 8 years, I knew I needed help to get back on track. With JoeyWaffles’ brother staying with us, I find I’ve been eating emotionally because I’m unhappy and this is NOT a pattern of behavior I want to fall back into.

When I gained all the weight (80+ lbs) that lapband and health/fitness helped me lose, it was because I was in an incredibly unhappy and abusive relationship for 2 years. Eating was comfort and I lived with an unhealthy eater who made me eat bad stuff at all hours of the day and night. Finding myself back in those patterns, even for a week or two is TERRIFYING. I refuse to let myself go in that direction and I refuse to let someone else put me there. I am in control of my actions and I need to keep myself on track, I am not going to get fat and blame anyone else when I can use my resources to stay on track.

Since I obviously know this is an issue, I am doing my best to stop it in its tracks. I went to my trainer on Friday morning and started crying and was having a rough go of it. Being the amazing guy he is, we didn’t train but instead sat and talked about what was going on. He gave me the advice of seeing a nutritionist who could help me with a more fine tuned diet and just some help and guidelines. He knows some but he is a trainer and not a nutritionist. Everyone on FB and instagram these days is a self proclaimed nutrition expert but I have great insurance with BCBS via my work so I am going to use it and go to an expert. Hopefully I’ll be able to look at where I can improve my diet, curb my sweet tooth, and make sure my body is processing everything correctly. As you can to the left, I still am at a good weight, am smiling, and happy to be proactive about my health and attitude.

Besides the nutritionist, I am also going in for a blood test ordered from my regular doctor who I saw at a checkup a few weeks ago. He wants to make sure all my vitamin levels are good since I haven’t had this tested since I had my lapband done in 2012. Investing in my health means making sure I actually do what the doctor needs me to do and make sure I am taking care of myself.

Max (my personal trainer) and I talked about what workouts I’m currently doing, how many calories I can eat to lose weight and getting tone. So I am making sure I got to the gym at least 4 times a week for 45 minutes of cardio and then also see him one day for weights and toning. Two of the times I do cardio I will add a day each of upper and lower body. I will work with the nutritionist on what to eat while working out. I want to rely on real foods and not protein shakes but maybe that’s a mistake.

While the bad is the eating because I am unhappy, I am just proud of myself for catching this early and changing it. I know having his brother here isn’t the worst but it’s really hard to share a place with someone I have nothing in common with and where every night I don’t know if he’s going to tell me he’s coming back at 7:30 or 9:30. I’ve gotten to the point where I just go out and then he has to come home when I get there, I don’t shorten my plans. It’s only for 2 more weeks about so luckily I can just count the days down.

It’s funny because Instagram can be amazing in this process and sometimes awful. Seeing how many people are busting their ass and working out and seeing results is so inspiring. It shows me that if I keep going and stay dedicated, results will happen and it’s a journey, albeit sometimes a long one. Sometimes it’s totally discouraging to see how many people lost weight naturally and then I feel like a failure with my lapband. Granted I keep my band pretty open right now and don’t have it as restricted as it could be but still. Sometimes it’s just hard to see some seriously jaw dropping transformations. But the thing is, I have to remind myself not to compare myself to anyone because we are all different and on our own journey’s.

Overall Instagram is a huge help and inspiration and I love that we are all on a journey and get to cheer each other on. When girls who look so healthy and lean and gorgeous talk about feeling fat and like they were at 300lbs and show that it can be hard for them, I feel such a kinship and that I’m not alone. It feels like a sisterhood and makes this journey so much easier.

This weekend I was able to get a hold of myself and make good decisions and keep on keeping on. I visited with my beautiful grandma Friday night and had a wonderful time just hanging out. She had a stroke last year and it’s been really hard on her as she was completely mobile before and now has loss of her right arm and leg. Thank goodness she still has her mind, her humor, and her smile. Saturday I treated myself to a great mani/pedi followed by making steak and a pie for JoeyWaffles. His bother is gone until Monday so that relazed me a bunch. Sunday we cleaned up the house some, went to get couples massages, had a quick sushi snack and then ended up at Cooper’s Hawk for a great dinner. The massages from Heavenly Massage were fantastic and I love that they end with a steam shower. Seriously, steam is so good for the pores.

 What did you do this weekend? What are your fitness/health tips to staying on track?

avocado, caveman, food, garlic, health, healthy, paleo, recipe

Now That’s a Mouthful:Paleo Creole Burgers

So I’ve instagrammed about my favorite burger to make at home and wanted to share the recipe with everyone who asks me about it!

To the left is more of a lunch version, with an avocado and tomato salad underneath. This is a really versatile burger and easily customizable! You can always top with a fried egg, peppers, or even bacon! You can make the burgers ahead of time with a weekly meal prep and then just oven warm up for a few minutes while you cook your sides.

Eating paleo is something that is so easy and tasty and this burger is a great example. No sauce or cheese needed, there is so much flavor on it’s own. When you have good meat and seasonings, you have all the flavor you could want and don’t need to disguise anything!

Now That’s a Mouthful: Paleo Creole Burgers

1lb grass fed burger
Tony Chachare’s Creole seasoning
1/4 onion
1/2 avocado
1-2 handfuls of spinach
4-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 lime or some lime juice
Coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

The prep work 

  1. Grab a medium sized mixing bowl and put in all your ground beef
  2. Add one egg
  3. Add creole seasoning to taste. I add a pretty good amount to really enjoy the flavor, like 5-6 shakes
  4. For the garlic, I peel 2-3 cloves and throw in my ninja. You can also just dice it up small with a knife if you don’t have a food processor and feel like getting it dirty. You can also do a few more cloves now for the spinach if you want
  5. Add the 2-3 diced cloves to the bowl with the other ingredients
  6. Mix with your hands which you will have washed before you started cooking and maybe again right now. Mix thoroughly so the egg is mixed and all the meat. (feel free to use a burger press if you’d like)
  7. Add a few more shakes of seasoning if you think there’s not enough, I usually do a shake or two more since I figure, why not?
  8. Shape the burgers into patties. I use make them into a ball or sorts and then squish a little and start rolling them into my hands and shaping
  9. Size will depend on how you portion, for the lap-band I do smaller so I can control the size
  10. Set aside
  11. Cut about the end of your onion off and then cut a 1/2 inch thick slice. If you are making bigger burger, cut onion in half and then cut the slice so you get bigger rings. You really only need a 1/4 of an onion, just to get a nice set of slice to grill
  12. You can also cut the avocado into slices but leave the skin on
Making the magic

  1. Get a medium sized frying pan and set the heat to 5/medium to high heat
  2. Put the burgers in the pan, I usually do 3 at a time if they fit
  3. Burgers have fat so you do NOT need to add any oil
  4. Get a second smaller pan ready so you can cook the spinach simaltaneously
  5. Add a little oil to that pan and put in the rest of the garlic,  set to medium heat
  6. Let the burger get a nice char going and when you think it’s to your liking, flip
  7. Go back to the spinach pan and add in about 2 handfuls of spinach, always add more because it becomes a much smaller portion when cooked
  8. Add a splash of lemon juice 
  9. Go back to the burger and keep the char to your liking. Mine go for a few minutes because I like a good char
  10. Keep the heat at medium , about a 3/4 and cook to your taste. I like a medium rare to medium so I cook it about 5 minutes on each side
  11. Stir spinach until wilted and remove pan from heat
  12. Grab your serving plate and add the spinach to the middle of the plate
  13. Add one of the burgers on
For the onions

  1. You can honestly use the same pan as the spinach or start a new one
  2. Using a medium sized frying pan and pour some coconut oil
  3. Set the stove to a medium heat and let the oil heat up some
  4. Add in the onion and maybe a little seasoning, creole or garlic powder, if you want
  5. Sauté the onions, flipping the onion after a few minutes
  6. Flip again after a few until onions are grilled to your liking. I like mine pretty grilled and a little charred but you can stop sooner
Finishing moves
  1. Add the onions to the top of the burger
  2. Garnish the plate with the avocado
  3. Add lime and garlic salt to taste on the avocado or leave plain
  4. Feel free to add some baked sweet potato fries (recipe coming soon!)

bathing suit, carido, fitness, health, healthy, transformation tuesday, weight loss, working out

Transformation Tuesday

This blog is something that’s not anonymous. My friends, family, co-workers, even my trainer knows it exists. While I don’t put everything in my life on here, everyone who experiences my life, knows this blog is something I really love. I decided I would have transparency and it has not held me back yet from saying what I want but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Whether it’s talking about my Hanes underwear preferences over Victoria’s Secret or just posting recipes I like or the trashy tv I watch, it’s a look into my life, unfiltered.

The hardest part though is having something I really want to say, for a specific group of people, and knowing that on here it’s open to everyone. I have to remember though, the people in my life (family, friends, co-workers) are completely supportive and amazing and they won’t judge me (unless it’s Paul and Alex and I’m throwing a tantrum). So today’s post is an honest, embarrassing, and hard to post but it’s been on my mind.

The weirdest thing about significant weight loss is the mental aspect. No matter how prepared you think you are, there comes a point where you’re thrown for a loop. It all seems so simple as first right? I mean, you just need to lose the weight and everything will be better and you’ll love your body and life will just be peachy. A lot of people find out this isn’t exactly true, that a losing weight isn’t a miracle cure for your problems. But…to be honest, this has actually been surprisingly really true for me up to this point. It wasn’t a miracle cute but things in my life have changed significantly. I have slowly and steadily lost the weight over the last two years. I got an amazing job, fell in love, and have been really happy with the progress my body has made. My life has actually just gotten better and better the more weight I lost.

I’m only 15lbs away from my goal weight and it’s terrifying. Up until this point, I have just been excited to see collar bones, watch my fingers get thinner (so weird!) and drop some pant sizes. Actually five sizes. That’s crazy to me! 85lbs is really a lot to lose but it’s been sp spread put over 2 years, it’s hard to really absorb that I’ve lost that much.

I know I’ve come a long way on the lap-band/weight loss right? I see the photos, my before and after’s but the journey doesn’t sink it sometime. Then, this weekend, I found a photo of myself two years ago in a bikini and was shocked. Jaw dropping shocked. I never saw myself that heavy. When I remember taking that photo, I felt attractive and didn’t care. I was at my favorite place and with one of my favorite people, my Aunt Susan. and we were having an awesome vacation. I felt sassy and sexy and to some extent, I see that I did my best to rock it.

When I see the picture on the left, I am so glad I made the journey back to health. I wonder how I let myself get that way. I don’t feel ugly but I feel so incredibly unhealthy. I can’t believe I lived for years with that weight. I keep looking at my hands, the  way my hips are huge and padded. The way how my “confidant” pose isn’t really so confidant at all.

When I see the the picture on the right, I love how far I’ve come and that I am in much better shape but…I still see all these ways I can improve. I am trying not to be so hard on myself and remember that right now I am still continuing on my journey. It is long and there are ups and down but I have come so far. I love that I am standing straight, feeling sassy, and looking healthy.

I guess just some days I will always feel like the girl on the left. When I was at Target trying on pants this weekend and the size 10’s fit perfect, I was in shock and so happy that they fit but I also could see the flaws in my body in the dressing room. Maybe the answer to that is that dressing rooms clearly have the worst lighting ever which seems counter productive to me buying their clothes. Maybe the answer is, it’s okay if I have days where I feel bad because we all do but to keep on keeping on keeping on.

When people think that Lap-band is the easy way out, I can promise you it’s not. I currently have a personal trainer through LA Fitness to help me in the nest few months, tone my body and make it stronger. I eat unprocessed foods, follow the paleo diet, and try to stay accountable for my choices. Lap-band has been the best tool for me, on my journey, to health. It isn’t for everyone. Maybe for some people it’s just a mental switch to eating right and working out, Maybe some people take the RNY/VSG journey. But whatever path takes us to health, that’s the right one. When you seem someone who’s heavy you don’t know their struggle, so be kind.

No matter how much weight I’ve lost along the way, I have gained so much more knowledge about myself. I know that even if people treat me different, the only thing that has changed is my outward appearance. That sometimes just being able to write how I feel gets me more motivated to stay on this journey and to remind myself that I am beautiful and smart. We are who we are, no matter the size or shape of us.

day one health, fitness, groceries, grocery store, gym, health, healthy, lapband, meal prep, produce, salmon, work out, working out

How to say bye, bye, bye to weight loss plateaus

(Because who doesn’t need a little N’sync reminder in their day?)

Today I took a half day so I could go get my lap-band fill. Actually an un-fill as it was a little tight. I love going seeing thewonderful staff at Day One Health. Dr Elli has been amazing and is such a great guy. One of the most important things about having the lap-band is the maintenance and listening to your body. When I notice I am eating more than I should and am not able to maintain my portions, I can go in from a fill to make it a little tighter. If it gets too tight due to various reasons (have I traveled, weather, stress, etc) I can go in and get in un-filled, like I did today.

I have lost 25lbs since my last fill and I feel great! Total weight loss is about 85lbs to date. I have about 15lbs to go to my goal weight and this is always the hardest to lose. I have been stuck here a few times and really want to get past this. So what do I do when I’m stuck on the weight loss plateau? Revise and revamp my habits.

Whether you have lap-band or are just trying to live a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight, check out what I am doing to get off the plateau and back on track to weight loss.

1. Make a meal plan. Making a meal plan is great because it helps keep me accountable for what I’m putting in my body and doesn’t let me take the easy way out. It takes away the annoying question of “What am I going to eat for dinner?” and doesn’t leave room for getting off track health or budget wise. It’s not always easy to come up with different things every week and I have to admit, sometimes I like eating the same things over and over so it might be boring to some. Luckily JoeyWaffles and I also like to try new things as well and incorporate them in with our staple meals. Tonight’s dinner was salmon and lemon garlic spinach with avocado. I deviated a little from the menu but that’s okay. It’s about eating at home with simple, delicious, unprocessed meals.

2. Buy things you’ll actually eat. It’s great to get excited about eating well and wanting to 100% change what you’re eating but it’s not going to do you any good if you don’t eat what you buy. I used to put a ton of things in my cart I thought I should be eating and ended up with a huge cart of great food, a lot that went to waste. I would end up throwing out great produce because it never got used since I bought so much. Sometimes I didn’t like it but thought I should be eating it because it was healthy. Now I buy just what’s on my list and try not to deviate. As you can see on the right, these are my groceries for this week. Underneath the island we keep spices which we’ll use on most of the food above it (we even add some cayenne pepper to our smoothies). Remember, don’t buy all the things you think you should be eating, buy what you’ll actually use. Even if you slowly transition your unhealthier foods out for better alternatives, make sure you won’t be causing cravings that can lead to binge eating junk food. If that happens, forgive yourself, get back up and keep on prepping and making healthy changes!

3. Prep your food. This is a great follow up to making a meal plan and going grocery shopping. Once you know what you’re eating, it really helps to get it ready, This is the best defense to eating off your plan or eating something not to good because it’s faster and easier to deal with. JoeyWaffles and I spent Sunday grocery shopping and meal prepping, among other things. Sunday and Monday are usually fish days because we buy it fresh and don’t want it to go bad. We marinate our chicken, steak, even make our burgers ahead of time, so that everything can be cooked as soon as it’s needed. If we’re having chicken for lunch that week we cook it (grill in warmer weather) ahead of time so we can grab it and go. Vegetables are faster to cook so unless it’s for lunch, I usually make them fresh. It’s just as easy though to sautee, steam, or bake them ahead of time. You can make the banana pancakes ahead and they last all week as well. Pair with some cooked chorizo and you’re good to go for breakfast on the go! We even pre-bag our smoothies so we can just dump them in and blend instead of peeling and chopping which can be time consuming. Plus it’s a fun way to spend time together.

4. Hit the gym. Eating well might be 75% of losing weight but it isn’t going to tone my body. No matter how tone you are, being healthy is important. You don’t have to look magazine perfect to be healthy. I know that no matter what the scale says, I need to be heart healthy as well. I just made 2 appointments with my personal trainer and I will be going to yoga tomorrow. I might have to start practically all over again but I don’t care. I will re-start working out and re-gain my muscles and strength. If you fall 7 times, make sure you get up 8. Plus the benefits of exercise are so numerous and affect your mental state as well as physical so it’s really important to do. Finding a balance in my day is hard when there are always so many things to do but meal prep helps with this as well. If I can get home by 7 and throw food in and eat by 7:30 it’s a lot easier then getting home with nothing prepared and then having to start from scratch and eat late. Plus, just getting into the routine of the gym is important, once you’ve made it a habit then you can start switching up your workouts and incorporating weights. Maybe try a new class to keep you motivated!

How do you keep yourself on track if you’ve hit a weight plateau? Hope these tips help.
 I’d love to hear what you do!

health, healthy, paleo, soy, starbucks, water

Why Starbucks and I are going on a break

Investing in my health means being honest with myself about what I put in my body. As I ordered my Starbucks Grande Caramel Macciato on Sunday for my “cheat day” I had to wonder what choices I’m making for myself. Sure, Starbucks is delicious but not any kind of investment in my health or my wallet for that matter!

1. The truth about “sugar free” syrup So first things first about going to Starbucks, they advertise making their drinks more healthy (less calories, sugars, carbs) by ordering them “skinny”. This means using sugar free syrup and skim milk. It really surprises me to see on Instagram that a lot of my weight loss/bariatric friends post their favorite Starbucks drinks which include up to 10 pumps of SF syrup. Say what? Now, I promise you I am not judging anyone with what they order or where they chose to save calories or whatnot. What is really concerning is how society makes SF seem so tempting and makes us think we are making better choices.

Still with me or just think I am secretly judging you? Hopefully you’re still reading and giving me a chance! So it was only a year and a half or so ago that I really understood why SF products weren’t for me. My favorite Starbucks drink was a grande skinny caramel macciato, SF syrup and skim milk and I loved it. I thought it was an obviously better solution to the calories in the more sugary drinks and I could still enjoy a caffeine pick me up.

So why is SF bad? Isn’t better to have no calories or carbs? That’s a good point but don’t you wonder what’s in there? Chemicals. That’s what’s in there. Chemicals that are not good for the body. In fact, they often increase your appetite for sugar because the brain still thinks it’s getting sugar, I think The Skinny Confidential’s post on Starbucks sums it up perfectly. You can also check out this article on Starbucks SF syrup. So that means no skinny lattes for me.

2. Soy milk I love ordering a cinnamon dolce latte with soy because I don’t have dairy (paleo) if I can avoid it and I like the added vanilla flavor. That right there is a problem because what makes the vanilla flavor are chemicals, which obviously are just as bad as ordering SF syrup. Foodbabe posted a great article on Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Lattes which went pretty viral and changed a lot of people’s minds about ordering them. Once I read her article, I never ordered one again. But it really should have sunk in more about what is in their soy. Carrageenan is scary and when you start reading about it, it definitely makes me rethink my ordering. Really, this makes me rethink soy in general.

3. High amount of sugar and carbs. If I could just drink black coffee life would be great. Granted I would still have to worry about the pesticides that apparently are contained in the actual Starbucks coffee (and other places) I’m sure but I don’t know how extreme I am yet so I would probably still drink it. Since I love sweetness and my favorite drink is a grande cinnamon dolce latte, I am getting 260 calories with 44g carbs and 38g sugar. Love ya Starbucks but that is not worth the work I’d have to do at the gym to make up for it.

4. The cost. Let’s face it, I don’t need to pay for bad nutrition even though I love the baristas and the way the coffee tastes. I would rather go to a CorePower class or two or buy something cute than waste money for empty calories. With everything in my life I want to buy and the money I would love to save for retirement and whatnot, I just don’t need to spend money on a want like this, when it’s definitely not a need.

So, until I can learn to love an unsweetened coffee and deal with adding some organic stevia, which I don’t really enjoy, I am going on a break. My wallet and body will thank me. I can always grab a tea if necessary and add some of my own honey if I want something warm. Plus, I really need to make sure I drink even more water because when my lapband is tighter I am less thirsty for some reason. This doesn’t mean I will never have Starbucks but it will truly become a treat for me. I will instead be using my Life Factory water bottle more, adding some cucumber and enjoying the hydrated and healthy life. Plus, if I am really missing coffee in my life I will try The Sweaty Bettys Bulletproof coffee that she has been drinking and enjoying and that I’ve seen on some paleo sites.