Friday, May 31, 2013

Week In Review

I feel very good about this week. I am not sure what it is, but this has been one of my best weeks  I have had on this journey thus far. Yes, it did start of rocky (especially with all of that eating over the Memorial day weekend) but I feel that it is ending on a high note. Without further adieu, here is how I did on my weekly goals.

  • Exercise - I have successfully exercised Monday through Friday!! That is the best that I have done on this journey as well. My motivation came from creating my workout calendar and I wanted to make sure that I was crossing the days off. Each day exercised, leads to another week completed. 
  • Logging everything - my logging was pretty good as well. I logged at least two meals and a snack each day (notice how I said at least, some days I was able to log all 3 meals). Logging my meals helps me stay under my calorie budget but it also shows me if I need to eat more calories to get closer to that goal. 
  • Water - if you follow me on Instagram, you already know that my water intake is getting better. I have been drinking more water each day and although I may not be refilling my CamelBak every few hours, I am drinking the majority of the water that is in there.
  • Limit the amount of sweets eaten - I am proud to say that I only had mint chocolate chip ice cream 2 days this week. For me, that is a huge accomplishment because I love, love, LOVE, mint chocolate chip ice cream. 
I didn't step on the scale at all last week so I am not sure if I gained anything (strong possibility that I did) therefore I am not sure how my weigh in will go this week. If I have a gain, it could mean that I gained last week and am losing some of that this week. On the other hand, if I have a loss, I won't even think of a rationale for that, because I won't need one.

I am more excited to take measurements tomorrow (even if there is no change) than I am to step on the scale but at this point, I am just excited to see what tomorrow will bring.  Hopefully good news, if not, I am still excited about my progress this week, because I definitely feel that I am ending on a very good note.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Polar FT7 Final Thoughts

It has been awhile since I purchased (better yet, upgraded) to the Polar FT7 heart rate monitor and I have to say, I am not disappointed at all.

Having a heart rate monitor pushes me to do more in my workout. It pushes me to workout harder and it also pushes me to burn more calories. The Polar FT7 gives me duration with calories burned, fitness and fat burn minutes as well as maximum and average heart rate readings.

I haven't been to the gym in about 2 weeks, but when I was going the monitor was linking to the machines which was an added bonus. Working out at home with the monitor, using  DVDs, I am able to see what areas I am improving on and what areas still need to be worked on.

At this point in my journey, I am focusing more on calories burned and the calories I am allowed to eat as well as my body measurements versus what is on the scale. Doing that for the last couple of weeks has really left me feeling lighter and healthier.

If you want the basic HRM, calorie counter and display of time in zone, go for the FT4. If you want a step up (and trust me you won't be disappointed) go with the FT7.

Head over to Instagram and check out my workout results while using this monitor. Follow me while you are there so you don't miss any of my workout results. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mind Over Matter

This journey is a struggle. No one said it was going to be easy and I didn't expect it to. But it is beyond hard when you have outside stressors to deal with.

I am a college student, I have hours of work packed on me at any given day but at the same time I have to find a moment or two to take for myself. Creating a workout schedule was helpful in that sense, because when I wake up, I see what exercise I have to do that day and it gives me something to look forward to no matter how much work I have on me.

I have relatives who aren't in the best of health (whether in remission from cancer, suffering from Crohn's or suffering from severe asthma) and I know that in a moment they could be taken from me. At times when that crosses my mind, junk foods used to be the way that I would cope. I would eat a bowl of ice cream, eat anywhere between 4 to 6 Oreo's. There just wasn't a limit to what I would and wouldn't do when it came to food. Now, I replace those food cravings with exercise. When I think "in a moment their lives may end", I immediately back that thought up with "I'm going to make sure I do my best to make them proud of me while they are here".

Some may see it is an issue of mind over matter. You do have to be a strong person to handle what is thrown at you and when I have things thrown at me, I try to stay strong for those around me but behind closed doors I am the weakest person there is.

The same can be said on a weight loss journey. It seems so easy to eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less carbs, drink more water; but it is an issue of mind over matter. You have to get your mind right and everything else that matters will soon fall into place.

It has taken me almost 6 months to be able to drink an entire CamelBak bottle in one day. It's not that water consumption didn't matter to me, my mind just wasn't ready to accept that my body needed more water than it was getting.

I tell myself I am going to avoid sweets but that hasn't happened yet. Why? My mind isn't read for it to happen. The same goes with carbs, I went a day with no carbs then told myself I was going to eat low carb. Prime example. My mind was telling me that my body wasn't ready to abandon carbs all together and my mind was right.

Eating right, exercising, feeling good about yourself, etc. are all issues of mind over matter. They do matter to you, just as they matter to me, but your mind (and mine) has to be in the right state before everything can fall into place.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top Workout Attire Picks

I love to buy workout clothes. I tell my mom everyday that I wish I could wear workout clothes every single day of the week but (sadly) that cannot happen. Therefore, when it comes to workout attire, I have to make sure what I am purchasing will actually work for me.

By saying 'work for me' I mean:

  • They will be long enough for my legs OR have enough room at the ankles (if they are leggings) that I can scrunch them up a little to make them into pants that stop a little higher
  • They must come in capri length as well 
  • They must stretch in the waist (have elastic)
  • They must fit my hips and rear end (I have often been told that I have the largest rear end in the family, not sure how to take that at times; but what I do know, is that there are a lot of clothes I would like to wear, but they do not look good back there)
  • They must allow my body to breath (no velour, nothing so tight my thighs feel constricted, etc.)
  • Above all, I must feel comfortable in them
If I can find workout attire that meets all of my needs, I am all for it. Some places have been hits others have been misses. Two places that actually work for me are Old Navy and JCPenney. 

I am not sure what it is about these two stores, other than the fact that they do make plus size friendly attire (JCP used to do that all the time, now I am having a hard time finding much of anything in there), and their workout sections aren't too shabby either. 

I am not employed at either of these retailers or any of their affiliates so I cannot tell you whether or not there are more sizes available, upcoming sales or anything similar in nature. 

Old Navy's prices are pretty reasonable. One look at their website and it shows items ranging from $5.99 -$34.94; JCPenney's Xersion line runs from $8.99 - $23.99 (many of which were on sale). When it comes to regular prices, the clearance rack may become your best friend until things come back to their reasonable sales prices. 

Old Navy attire goes up to a size XXL while JCP's go beyond a 3X. This is one of the things I like most about these products, they come in extended sizes.

Both retailers offer a range of capris (some of which are compression), leggings, running shorts, biking shorts, etc. Tanks, shirts, jackets, etc. 
I have had my Old Navy workout pants for years and they are still holding up as if I had purchased them yesterday. They fit nicely and there is no fading. JCP's quality is similar although some of their capris are on the thin side and if you happen to bend over in the sunlight, be prepared, because people can see what kind (and any design) of underwear you are wearing (I have been there before and trust me it makes you a tad self conscious). If you thighs rub together, as mind do, you may get that annoying area where it looks like tiny balls of fabric on your pants where you thighs are in fact rubbing together (talk about making it obvious) these brands eliminate that. As far as shirts, I don't own any from Old Navy other than tanks; and they are a nice length and allow for a lot of movement. Shirts from JCP are also a nice length and a nice breathable material. 

These are some of the things that I look for when it comes to picking out workout attire and these are the two main places that I have been able to find things that actually work for my body. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Restaurant Picks

I love to eat, that is no surprise. I am actually known for saying "I'm hungry" every 20 minutes or so out of habit. For the longest time, foods were a comfort for me. If it was there I ate it. If I had a taste for it, I would eat it. If it looked pleasing to the eyes, I would eat it. There is very little that I won't try (there are some major exceptions, anything with BBQ sauce is definitely out, anything with coconut (even flavoring) and any kind of box macaroni (I won't say the name brand, but it comes in a blue box and used to have a jingle associated with it) and even with the things that I am willing to try, I used to try them to be "sociable" at times. That has stopped now and I am only eating when I truly am hungry or when I need to. 

Since I love to eat, I also love to go to restaurants. This post is all about some of my favorite restaurant picks. Some will be low in calories and others won't, mainly because when things are eaten in moderation, you can adjust the calories you are eating. 

Ruby Tuesday:
Turkey Burger (801)
Green Beans (45)
Zucchini  (41)
Salad Bar (calories optional)

Red Lobster:
Salmon (250)
Baked Potato (200)
Salad (100)
Cheddar Bay Biscuit (150)

Olive Garden:
Breadstick (150)
Salad (116)
Dinner options vary, they have released a few new menu items (one of which is the Shrimp Penne which is absolutely outstanding) therefore calories options for these are unavailable. Some of my favorites are Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (710), Fettuccine Alfredo (1,220 - I don't eat all of this in one sitting).

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (300)
(Unfortunately they no longer carry my favorite carrot and raisin salad, so I have to fill in with something else)

Double Stack (400)
Value Fries (230)
Small Frosty (320)

These are just a few of the meals that I enjoy (when eating out) but one thing that should be made known is that I typically eat these meals on days that I have exercised and or days that have close to 1000 calories that need to be consumed. Other than that, I just monitor the menu very well. If something has a 'ton' of calories, I only eat half. If I know I have burned enough calories to eat the entire thing, then I will. It just depends on how my day is going. Other than that, I don't neglect myself any of the foods that I want to eat and those I do eat, I enjoy thoroughly. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Goals

This week I have goals that I hope I will finally be able to achieve once and for all.

  • Exercise - I have finally created a workout schedule and I plan to stick to every day of it. I say that now, but don't really have a back up plan in case I miss a day or two. If that does happen, I will have to make some changes then but for right now I plan on sticking to everyday of my schedule. 
  • Logging everything - This weekend I took a break from logging anything. Mainly because I knew the foods that I was going to be eating all weekend were going to be too much for me to log (by too much I mean, I would have had to spend time scrolling through the database just to find what I was looking for then make the necessary changes). 
  • Water - I need to drink more water. That is no surprise and even if I succeed at doing so this week, it needs to be a goal for me every single week. It is something that my body needs and I have to realize that. 
  • Limit the amount of sweets eaten - my freezer currently holds a brand new carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream and knowing myself I will be tempted to consume some every night (whether on an ice cream cone or in a bowl) but I do think that I will be able to limit how many times I scoop out some of that ice cream by focusing on how far I have come and looking back on the places that I don't want to visit anymore. 
Hopefully this week will be different. I have a lot to look forward to on Saturday and I hope that one of those things will be weight loss (not sure how much because I didn't weigh in last week but at this point any loss is better than a gain) because I have come too far to turn back now. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weigh In Day: Workout Calendar

Since I had another week of unexpected days off from working out, I knew I needed to take the time and make a workout schedule. I have postponed my actual stepping on the scale to next week because I wanted to highlight a non-scale victory I had last week (plus the fact that my workout schedule is now available under the 'workout schedule' tab).

For some reason, I have always worn my age in jeans. What does that mean? When I was 16, I was wearing a size 16. When I was 18, I was wearing a size 18 and so forth. The highest jean size I have ever been in is a size 20 (you guessed it, at the age of 20) but all of that changed recently (at least partially changed).

I tend to be a last minute dresser. What does that mean? I think of something I am going to wear, then when the day comes that I want to wear it I have either already worn it or it doesn't fit the way I want it to. That is exactly what happened to me last week.

I have a favorite pair of jeans. Ones that fit absolutely wonderful (I guess you could say that I have worn them out, but doesn't that make for a great pair of pants?). Unfortunately, this particular pair of pants has a rip in the back (while that may be the still for some, it wasn't for me). What makes it even more unfortunate is that I had somewhere to be where a rip in the back of my pants wouldn't have been appropriate. I tried on numerous pairs of pants and they didn't fit the way I wanted them to. My mom suggested I try another pair of pants I have from Old Navy and after I told her they wouldn't fit, I reluctantly tried them on.

The moment of true was fast approaching as I pulled them up and the fit!! Those jeans were a size 18 and I couldn't have been more happier to know that I could wear them. That is what inspired me to come home and continue with week two of the Biggest Loser workout (it was week two because I had already taken a week off, then this week makes the second week off which means I will be starting week three on Monday).

Non-scale victories have really pushed me on this journey, they have inspired me to keep going on this journey and that is one of the reasons why I created a workout calendar. Visually seeing what I have to do (yes have to, I am not giving myself too many options because when I have those I don't succeed as much as I would like to) lets me know that I am steadily working towards my goal. I think it's the fact that I am able to cross things off of the calendar that lets me know I am getting closer to what I have been working towards.

If you want to see what is on my workout schedule, head over to the workout schedule tab and click anywhere on the calendar to get a closer view. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekly Goals to Complete

This week, my one and only goal was to find time to exercise. This week, I didn't even find time to do that. I knew what I was getting myself in to. I knew that it was going to be a pretty busy but I told myself that I wanted to find time for myself. Instead, I had a free time followed by unexpected events which left me with time where I couldn't say much except for "I'm ready to go back to bed".

Starting today, I am taking a new approach to my weekly goals. Instead of this being my usual weekly goals update, it is my weekly goals to complete. From now until next Friday this time, I am giving myself 5 mandatory days of exercise with 2 possible days of rest.

I know that my body has to rest but this is the second week that I have taken off  from exercising and it is also the second week that I didn't intend to take off.

Today it stops!

I have come too far on this journey to go backwards and that is what is keeping my focused. I am ready for a change and need a change to occur so that means I need to get up and do something. There is no reason why I cannot get up in the morning and do a workout, after all I am not leaving my house to do it. So what's the hold up?

There is no hold up. I have just been slacking off a little lately and that means that I have another week to push through coming up. If I keep to my schedule (that I have in my mind at the moment), I should wrap up the remaining 10 weeks of my workout by August 2 (which is two weeks later than it should be) and that is my big goal right now. That is my target date and I don't want it to change.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dealing with Deprivation

Whenever I hear the word diet, I cringe. Mainly because, when I think of a diet, deprivation always comes to mind. For years a diet has always been about what you couldn't have and not what you can have.

A relative of mine did a no carb diet, in 6 months she lost almost 30 pounds. But, do you know how hard it is to give up carbs. Maybe it isn't hard for you but I know I could never do it. When we went to brunch, my relative started with a plate full of bacon and sausage (two things I imagine would send your blood pressure through the roof) and on her next plate, she admitted that she had to eat some carbs because if not she would be eating meat and fruit for the rest of the meal. There are several reasons why I couldn't take on a no carb diet. I will not give up biscuits, rolls, waffles or some form of pasta (although I only eat pasta on occasions), I just couldn't deprive myself of those foods.

I've also heard of vegetarian diets, and I don't even need to list what you cannot have because for me, it all screams deprivation (how could I ever give up meat?!?!).

Raw food diet? - Definitely out.

Vegan diet? - Out as well.

South Beach Diet and Weight Watchers? - Possibility, but I wouldn't count on it (although I do love South Beach Diet's recipe for vegetables and I love my Weight Watchers cookbook).

When I hear diet, I hear deprivation. That is the main reason I always refer to what I am doing, as a journey. A journey can take you so many places (even places that you have been several times before) but there are still things that I have to give up. Essentially, I should be depriving myself of things the further I get into my journey, but I can't bring myself to do that.

Moderation is key and that is what I tell myself. As I lose weight, my calorie budget continues to go down and I am continuously having to modify what I eat, but I don't deprive myself of what I want.

If I want to go to Sonic and have a cheeseburger, I am going to have a cheeseburger. If I want  to go to Wendy's and have a Frosty (which has been my guilty pleasure this entire week and I will probably end up having another one tonight) then I am going to have one. But (here comes the catch) I am going to be thinking about what I can do to burn off those excess calories that I have consumed.

In a way some may see this as more trouble. If I have 1600 calories and I consume a burger that is 1100 that leaves me with an 500 more calories that I can consume. But, what if I still need to eat dinner and I know my dinner is going to be 800 calories. I have to think of a way to burn at least 300 calories just to be able to eat dinner.

The one good thing that comes out of not depriving myself is that I workout more. If I know that I need to burn 300 more calories, then I push myself more in my workout because I have a calorie goal that I am trying to reach.

That is just how I deal with deprivation. By not depriving myself any food that I want, I don't have to worry about overdoing it in the end. If I told myself I couldn't have cake for three weeks and at the end of those three weeks, someone presents me with a cake, I am going to take a bigger slice than I should because I deprived myself of it for so long. But, if I eat cake when I want it, I can go ahead and get it out of my system and that takes care of the cravings.

In the long run, I see myself being more successful by not depriving myself of anything I want because I know that I will make a way to have it and I know that by having it, I will not over do it in the end.  That is the main reason why I don't deprive myself of anything.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Here are some things I have been meaning to post and I hope to get up in the next few days:

  • Restaurant picks (what I pick when I go out to a restaurant)
  • Pounds lost, pounds to go jars / workout calendar
  • Top active wear picks
  • Final thoughts on Polar FT7
  • Staying away from deprivation
And much more, so stick around and bear with me!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DIY Opportunity

With a hectic schedule, I have to either record things on my phone or write them down in an agenda (yes, call me old fashioned if you want). The same goes with workouts. Lately, I have had to take to Twitter to announce that I am working out so I can hold myself accountable to doing something.

I have often seen workout schedules posted everywhere from the internet to Instagram and I have decided to create my own. That way I can see what needs to be done and plan for it. Early morning workouts are beneficial for me because they really set the mood for the rest of my day but at this stage of trying to incorporate more workouts, I may have to double some days up (always allowing myself rest days).

I have a list of DIY items pertaining to fitness and working out that I can't wait to try (some of which I have already mentioned on this blog) so if I am able to create a workout calendar, that is one additional thing that I can use to my benefit and maybe it will inspire me to workout.

I always think that if I have something to do that takes up a greater portion of my day, I won't have time to do anything else. I have to change my way of thinking. If I have enough time to sit through a 2 hour lifetime movie, then I have more than enough time to get in a workout, that is what I have to constantly tell myself.

Essentially, I have to make time for what I want. I want to workout, so I have to make time to do just that. No excuses, no what if this or what if that, just settle down and do what needs to be done.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dealing with Sweat

I do not like to sweat, but I do enjoy working out. Unfortunately for me, those two things go hand in hand. In one of the gyms I go to, their machines have built in fans. In the other gym (the one I frequent most often) that only have two ceiling fans so you know there is a ton of sweating going on. One of the best products I have found to handle some of that sweat has been Reebok Active-Dry Workout Towels. They are a microfiber towel which is designed to absorb moisture as soon as it hits the towel.

One of the things that I have noticed with this towel is that after a while (meaning, after a lot of sweating) they tend to get a little damp. So, on my days where it is strictly an hour or more of cardio and I am sweating like it's 1000 degrees outside, my towel does get a little damp. Maybe that is because the material isn't thick (although it is supposed to be absorbing), I have no idea why it doesn't absorb every drop of sweat but I don't expect it to.

Some may say if you dress lighter or in less layers, that can help. I disagree with that because no matter how many layers I have on, I know I am getting in a good workout with I start to sweat. You can imagine how relieved I was when one of my gyms (of course it is the one I frequent less often) has plenty of washcloths available for use (they do wash them by the load). Since my other gym doesn't offer anything like that, the Reebok towels (or washcloths from home) work well.

This is just one of the products that you can purchase or you can use something you already own, like a wash cloth or hand towel, both of which are inexpensive ways (if you have some to spare) of dealing with sweat; but it was a product I felt was worth mentioning here.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekly Goals

I don't have a long list of goals for this week and that is because I don't think I could handle a long list and added stress on my plate. This week, I am keeping it simple. I am not denying myself anything nor am I judging myself on what I do or do not achieve.

This week, my one and only goal is finding time to exercise. For the next 9 weeks, my schedule will be hectic but I know this is just another stepping stone on my journey, its a reason for me to give up and say that I don't have time. That is the main reason, I am making this my one and only goal.

That exercise can come in the form of The Biggest Loser's Cardio Max or Power Sculpt or it can come in the form of me going to the gym. At this point, I don't think the gym will fit into my schedule for the first two weeks, so I will be relying on at home workouts. I did pickup The Biggest Loser's Power Sculpt workout and I am still trying to figure out whether or not I want to start that in conjunction with Cardio Max, like it is recommended or if I want to finish the remaining 4 weeks of cardio max and then start 6 weeks of Power Sculpt. That decision is still up in the air.

Maybe focusing on one goal will be better for me. Maybe focusing on one goal won't benefit me at all. In the end, I am going to create a workout schedule for both workouts, put it somewhere for me to see and actually focus on completing those workouts, with built in rest days.

I have said all along on this journey that I was going to take time for myself and I am finally getting around to doing just that.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Weigh In Day

"I feel stronger" ....those are the words that ran through my mind all night. This morning when I stepped on the scale, I realized why the words were running through my mind.

Today's weigh-in resulted in a 0.4 ounce gain. Some people may get discouraged to see that but I don't (don't get me wrong, there are times when I do feel let down, mainly by myself, because I have gained something, but in the end I look at how far I have come), mainly because I do feel stronger and I feel that this slight gain is a result of adding in some muscle. Also since I didn't weigh in at all last week I don't know if it is actually a gain or a  loss.

I do believe this workout is doing something for my body because I do feel stronger and I feel as if my body is getting smaller. That may all be in my mind but as long as I keep telling myself that, I know that it will be true one day.

Total loss this week: +0.4 pounds
Total loss for the month: 0.8 pounds
Total loss since the start of this journey: 16 pounds

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week In Review

This was a breakthrough week for me. I wasn't sure what to expect when I took a week off from exercising last week and watching what I ate, especially since I knew it was going to take me sometime to get back into my "normal" (or what had become my normal) routine.

I gave myself 4 goals this week, which meant I was at risk for not achieving 4 goals. My first goal was to keep desserts under control. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, my sweet tooth has been high control and I have been giving in to it because I knew if I didn't have a"small" dessert, I would overdo it in the long run. This week I told myself that I wasn't going to have dessert until my birthday and each day I had dessert, I told myself the same thing for the rest of the week. One of the things I realized is that having dessert isn't going to kill me, especially when I am having things that are either low in calorie or I have enough calories to spare. In my mind, saying that I am not going to eat something means more than saying I am going to eat it, but watch how many calories I am consuming. Looking at the calendar, even if I started my no sweets adventure tomorrow I would still be getting in enough days to see how much of a difference it makes. One thing I can say is that I will never truly give up sweets, I may only take a break from them every once in a while.

My second goal was to get more water into my system. I can say that this week was a pretty good week for my water consumption. I am not sure what it was about this week, but water has been my beverage of choice. I haven't had a diet Dr. Pepper all week, which I am proud of.

My third goals was getting in more exercise and I definitely did that this week. I was able to get back into my gym twice this week, which is always an amazing feeling. But an even more amazing feeling is being able to workout in general. I hate the pre-workout feeling, where I am dragging myself around; but once I get into my workout I feel like a beast and end up loving the post-workout feeling. I finished day 12 of the Biggest Loser workout today which means I will be moving on to the next level, weeks 3-4.

As far as keeping carbs at bay (my fourth goal), that was on the back burner this week. Every time I looked I was eating a ham biscuits and pasta salad and I am not ashamed to say that because it certainly was good. This week, I have consumed more carbs that I can remember, but I also worked harder in my workouts, so I am not so worried about it.

With that being said, I am not sure what my weigh in day will bring, especially since I didn't weigh myself last week, I have nothing to compare to. On one hand if I have lost weight then I will be happy, but if I have gained weight, I will attribute that to building up a little muscle. Either way, I feel very comfortable at this point in my journey because it seems as if everything is finally coming together.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

No Sweets?

I don't think I could ever cut sweets out of my lifestyle entirely. Yes, I say that I will try, but trying is simply all I can do. I have told myself each day this week that I was going to cut sweets out of my diet until my birthday. I am getting closer to my birthday, yet still eating sweets.

So, today, I have made a vow to myself, one I hope that I can keep if my will power stays strong. I am making a vow to avoid sweets for the next 15 days. If I can do this, I will be avoiding sweets from May 17 to May 31.

If I can do this, it will be another notch in my weight loss goals belt, which I would be proud of. If I cannot last 15 days, it won't be the end of the world, it will just be a turning point in this journey. A turning point that gets me in right direction.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Polar FT7 Review

I was skeptical when it came to purchasing my first heart rate monitor. I knew what I wanted, but I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to come off of close to $100. In the end, I did and I purchased the Polar FT4. I immediately fell in love. Not only were the machines at the gym giving me either too few or too many calories burned they couldn't give me the most accurate results like I wanted.

The Polar FT4 was definitely an investment but it was worth it to have your calories burned, heart rate, etc. all in one place. I loved my Polar FT4 so much that it got mixed in with some clothes and made its way into my washing machine. I thought it was the end of my exercise world. I left it alone for a day then tried it the following day and it was a little sketchy when it came to picking up, but it did work. In the end, I knew I had a warranty on it and I sent it back to be fixed or replaced.

In my case, I was sent a gift card to replace my product (or choose another product of my liking) and I decided to go with the Polar FT7. I stood in the middle of the school section in the store for what seemed like an hour trying to determine if I wanted the FT7 or FT4 again, and what color I wanted it in. I knew when I walked into the store that I wanted the FT7 so I don't know what took me so long to make my mind up.

I am so glad I upgraded to the FT7 because I knew that one day I would want it and it didn't make sense to purchase two heart rate monitors in two consecutive years. Some of the big differences that I have noticed between the FT4 and FT7 are basically the amount of information you are provided with.

The FT4 seems to be your basic model, calories burned, heart rate, zone, etc.; while the FT7 gives you calories burned, heart rate, time in fitness and fat burn zone, etc. Both models are great in their own ways. The FT4 was perfect for me until it hoped into my washing machine and the FT7 is just a step up from my previous model.

Either way, either model, I am happy because this is a great addition to any workout program, no matter where you are in your workout program. If you want a basic model with some great features, go with the FT4. If you want a step up from the FT4, go with the FT7. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

Head over to Instagram to see some photos of my workout results using the FT7. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Biggest Loser Workout Update

As you may (or may not know) I have been doing the Biggest Loser workout for 2 weeks (I took last week off) and although I once told myself that I was going to start the workout over, I decided to keep going with it because in order to be successful, I can't stop and go, I have to stay consistent. 

A couple things that I have noticed that have improved since doing this workout are my push-ups and lunges.  I could never do a "correct" push up. By correct my coaches always told us to stay level and go down, instead, I would raise and lower my shoulders while my butt stayed in the air (I became known for my new push-up). Lunges have always been a problem for me because my knees have been through so much, especially my right knee. I have fallen on it (from 5 or 6 feet in the air), fell on it walking up steps (I know, how do you fall walking up steps), taken softballs to the knee, etc. At this point, any overexerting of my knee beyond the ordinary equals pain.  Therefore, I try to take it easy when it comes to lunges and this workout has helped me slowly get back into lunges. Today I was able to do about 5 on each leg, which is a big accomplishment for me. 

Although I have only been doing this particular workout for 2 weeks, I have begun to see some major improvements on what I can do physically. At the beginning of the workout it seems the 30 minutes (how long weeks 1-2 last) will never get here but once I do get started, it seems as if the 30 minutes flew by. I guess time really does fly when you are having fun. That plus the fact that I upgraded to the Polar FT7 recently (review coming up soon), reminds me that I can accomplish my weight loss goals because I am being motivated more and more each day.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Goals

I am finally keeping my eye on the prize. Yes, it is taking me a little longer than I would have expected (or liked for that matter) to get back into working out but I am finally going back to the gym after a week off and  that is because my body is telling me I need to go. Either way, I have to set some new goals for myself to keep me focused.

  • Keep desserts under control - I don't know why, but I have been having this recurring thing for mint chocolate chip ice cream all last week, it's like I can't get enough of it. But, since my birthday is right around the corner, I am challenging myself to give up sweets until that day. 
  • Water, water, water - I need to drink water like I have been walking through the desert. Today I have managed to take down two bottles which is pretty good for someone like me.
  • Exercise - I need to get back in the swing of things and get back in the exercise game. I am moving slower on exercise than I would like, but I am getting there. After all, slow and steady wins the race.
  • Keep the carbs at bay - I did pretty good with this for a while, but with big event occurring over the past two weeks, I have been eating some things I told myself I wasn't going to eat. Instead of beating myself up about it, I realize my problem and I am addressing it.

These are my main goals that I want to focus on this week. Yes, they are very repetitive of goals that I have had in the past and they will continue to be repetitive until they become a habit and I no longer have to list them as goals (you would think that would be encouragement enough). The good thing is, I haven't given up on this journey and I still have my eye on the prize.

If you want to see how I am doing on this journey, follow me on Twitter and Instagram to see tweets and exercise results pictures.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mom

Today I celebrate and honor the best mom in the world. I am blessed to have had all of these years with my mom, especially since there are people who have lost their mothers and don't have these opportunities. My mother has been one of my biggest supporters and biggest critics and I am thankful for that.

She has supported me when I didn't think I could succeed at something. She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams; even when I went from wanting to be a nurse to wanting to work as a liaison in law enforcement to wanting to work with the American Cancer Society.  When I think things are a good idea, and my mom doesn't, she isn't afraid to voice her opinion and although I may not like it (99% of the time I don't), I know in the end that she is looking out for my best interest, regardless of what happens.

There are plenty of times when I think I know everything and I am wrong about that. There have been plenty of times when I have caused her worry or concern,  but those times never prevented her from loving me. If anything, those are the times when her love was the strongest. No matter what, my mom has stood by my side through thick and thin and I am beyond thankful for that. At times when I don't have faith in myself, her faith doubles.

My mom has given me so much in life and without that love and patience, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have any of the things that I have been blessed with if it wasn't for her. My mom would go to the ends of the earth to make sure I was taken care of (no matter how old I am) and I respect her more than words can ever express.

My mom has also been my biggest supporter on this weight loss journey. She doesn't know that I have started a weight loss blog (no one does for that matter) but she is one of the reasons that I started it. She has taught me the importance of standing on my own two feet and actually doing something that I want to do, something that inspires me and that is exactly what I am doing now. At times I can be stubborn on this weight loss journey but my mother has never given up hopes for my success. Instead, she continues to help me by cutting out calories when we can and working out with me when she can.

 I don't tell my mom how much I love her, but I do. I can't imagine life without my mother nor do I want to have to imagine that. I pray that one day I can be half the mother to my (future) daughter, that my mother is to me. I also pray that my daughter will see that she comes from a long line of women who can do anything they want. Above all, I pray for the day that I can see my mother hold my daughter in her arms and love her endlessly like she has done me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weigh In Day: Measurements

I knew on Monday that today was going to be the day that I updated my measurements, especially since I didn't do it last week like I wanted to.  Since I gave myself a break this week, it is also fitting to give myself a break from the scales today. On this journey, I expect that my measurements will fluctuate like my weight will fluctuate, but the only way to know what is going on, is to update them.  On to the measurements now.

Final Measurements for April
Neck - 15
Bust - 45
Chest - 39 1/2
Waist - 44
Hips - 50
Thighs - 28
Calves - 15 1/2
Upper Arm - 14
Forearm - 10

Beginning Measurements for May
Neck - 14 3/4
Bust - 45
Chest - 39 1/2
Waist - 44
Hips - 50
Thighs - 27 1/2
Calves - 16 (left) 15 1/2 (right)
Upper Arm - 14
Forearm - 11

Some areas saw a decrease in inches, some saw an increase; but that's just how it goes on a weight loss journey. Check under the progress tab for all of the measurement you may have missed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Week In Review

Looking back on this week, it was my first full week off from exercising. I never thought that I would say that  (since being on this journey) but hey, that's how it is. I have been so lazy this week and since I was without my Polar FT4 (I use this as an excuse for everything this week) I didn't want to do much of anything.

I look at this as both a negative and a positive. For the negative, I let myself down on my weight loss journey. I stopped doing what I said I wasn't going to stop doing, and that was exercise, for an entire week. My eating wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst either. Looking on the positive side, I was desperately in need of a break from the semester. A break where I didn't do anything all week but relax and watch television.

My spring semesters are always so stressful and leave me lacking so much energy by the end of May. This time was no surprise, I was burned out when school finished and I knew that if I was going to be successful on the rest of this journey, I needed the break. Part of me feels bad for taking a break but the other part of me knows that if I didn't take a break I would have burned out in the end.

Because I took the week off, none of my goals were met (which is slowly starting to be a recurring thing for most of them) but I know that giving myself this week off, helps me focus on the weeks ahead. It helps me get my mind back in focus. I know that next week I have to kick it up several notches and I am ready for that. But I really don't think I would have been ready without taking this break.

Next week, the gloves come off; no matter what comes my way, I have to get back in the game and focus on what I am working towards and that is a healthier me.

I am ready to do this.

I will do this.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Test

I have never been a strong test taker. Not through elementary, middle or high schools and definitely not through college. Yet, aside from my test taking abilities, my grades have always been exceptional (I am not saying that to toot my own horn), but once thing I have realized is that this weight loss journey is just like a test.

I started this journey at the beginning of the semester (in January) and just like when starting a college class, the semester comes to an end (in May) and you start a new one or you take summer break. If I had to look back and grade myself on this ultimate test (which at the moment has four components), this is how things would go:

  • Eating better - 'C' - I give myself a C because I could (and still can) do a lot better. I have made a lot of changes to what I eat; mainly swapping regular pork sausage / bacon with turkey sausage and turkey bacon, more turkey burgers, egg substitute, wheat breads, etc. I have made the changes that I felt needed to be changed but at the same time, I know I can do a lot better than what I am doing.
  • Exercise - 'B-' - I give myself a B- on my exercise because I don't exercise as much as I would want to but I really kicked it up a notch this year and started to exercise in general. Joining a gym was a big thing for me (although going to the gym on campus is included in tuition and additional fees). I have also tried my fair share of at home workouts and finally found one that will work for me, which also serves as additional motivation on this journey. 
  • Water Intake - 'C' - There is no question as to why this gets a grade of C. I know I can drink more water during the day, I just don't. It's not because I don't like water, it is because I am not always in the mood to drink what my body actually needs. 
  • Starting this journey - 'A' - I give myself an A for this because it took a lot on my part to even start this journey once again. I have started and failed in the past (by saying I failed, I mean I gained the weight that I lost back) and to start again was a big step for me.
This is just the beginning for me and I have a while to "improve my grades" on this weight loss journey but it will take some time, longer than I would hope, but I have to be patient. In the end this is just a test, I may not always get the grades that I want but I can still pass with hard work and dedication. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I knew that in order for me to be successful on this journey, I would have to stay motivated. When I started this journey, I definitely did have motivation, but for the last 6 days my exercise motivation has ceased to exist.

In my defense (not sure if I can use this in my defense) last Thursday was an unexpected rest day, mainly because I had two exams and was getting stuff together for my cousins wedding and I was away from home from 6am until 3:30pm then again from 5:40pm to 11pm. But, I was all for doing my workout at 11pm when I did get home but I also knew I had to be up the next morning to finish more stuff so I told myself I would have my one and only rest day of the week. Friday was the same thing (final touches) and my rational was "hey, you've been out all day running around, you can take a break" and I did take a break. Saturday, exercise wasn't even an option, because I once again told myself that "today, every thing is coming together and you will be on your feet all day today" so I had yet another rest day.  Sunday through today my bed has been calling me and so have those lifetime movies which meant I haven't done a thing but eat. In my defense again, they haven't all been high calorie foods, mainly fruit (although those low calorie foods can soon add up).

So where is my motivation?

I don't know where it is, but it is slowly coming back today. I love doing the biggest loser workout but I have been in a rut since my Polar FT4 has been away from me and I think that (believe it or not) that is the reason I haven't been motivated to jump back on the workout train. On the other hand, I made it before without my Polar and I shall make it again (until I have a new one or upgrade to the FT7).

So today, I am back to doing the Biggest Loser workout because my entire reason for being on this journey was to become a better me and I can't do that by sitting on the bed, watching lifetime movies and eating. My body is telling me that it is ready to work harder than ever for what I want, I just have to get up and listen to it; I have to motivate myself.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Swimsuit Competitions

Lately on Instagram swimsuit competitions have been on the rise. I say on the rise because two of the individuals I follow are either currently training or preparing to train for a competition in the upcoming months. Earlier I wrote a post about plus size beauty pageants where I discussed my thoughts on what seems to be a non-existent society of beauty pageants for plus sized women.

Well, since swimsuit competitions are on the rise for women who are willing to wear a bikini, where are swimsuit pageants for curvier women. Notice, I said swimsuit pageants and not competitions because to me, competitions equal judgment, but that is what they are all about.

If one was to compete in a bikini competition, this is what they would have to go through (this information is based on the NPC bikini division).

  • Competitors will be judged on their appearance in a two-piece swimsuit, while wearing high heels and jewelry. 
  • Competitors will walk onstage to perform their model walk which consists of a front stance, a back stance and another front stance (all in 10 seconds)
  • Competitors will be judged on their balance, shape, complexion, skin tone, poise and overall presentation. 
Now I am not condemning anyone from competing in these competitions, if that is what you like to do and have the courage to go through that, then I applaud you. I am not sure if I would have a change of thought if I had a "bikini body", would I want to compete in one of these events to show how far I have come? Maybe. I just don't know if I could put myself through that rigorous training and then stand in front of a group of people to be judged based on my appearance.

On the other hand, when did complexion and skin tone determine when a woman was beautiful? For someone who is self conscious about their skin, that can be a real insult. From my nose up is one complexion (a lighter one) and from my nose down is a darker complexion. My face hasn't always been like this, in recent years I believe I have had a reaction to some sort of medication that has left me like this. As the days go on, I do get self conscious about my face, but what if I suffered that all over my body and I wanted to enter one of these competitions, then what? Would I automatically face some sort of penalty because I didn't have a smooth complexion (if I was suffering this somewhere on my body)?

Where are pageants that embrace women's bodies? Where are the plus size swimsuit pageants that highlight women's work when it comes to losing weight, or maintaining the weight that they are comfortable with. Maybe I am looking too far into these swimsuit pageants and blowing them out of proportion but it would be nice to see more of these events with women who have more curves.

Thinking about swimsuit competitions makes me think about swimsuits for plus size women in general. It takes me a few swimsuits before I find one that suits my body (by that I mean one that doesn't leave everything hanging out for the eye to see). One thing I am happy to see is that more plus size swimsuits are on the market, although many of them appear online versus in store, it still seems that makers are expanding their lines to fit more women, even if society condemns us for being a larger size.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Exercise Calories

Whoever said losing weight was easy was telling a lie. It is far from easy and requires you to work hard and dedicate yourself to what you are working towards. This entire time I have been telling myself that I am working towards a healthier me and that is my goal. Yes, I am still focusing on that number I want to see but in the process I am trying to find myself and discover what does and doesn't work for me.

I want to feel good about myself in the process of this journey but I know it is going to take a lot of work. At this point on my journey, I wish I could say I have lost 30 or more pounds but I do have the honor of saying I have lost 16, which is definitely an accomplishment for me on this journey.

I know that there are things that I still have to work on and there are sacrifices that I have to make, but I don't have to do it all at once. I suppose you could say losing weight is frustrating. I take that back, it is frustrating, plain and simple.  You have to get in the right frame of mind and if you aren't ready to do such, then you won't successful when it comes to losing weight.

I am not saying that to discourage anyone who is reading this from following their weight loss dreams, but one thing I realized prior to this year is that no matter how much I told myself I was ready to lose weight, I wasn't. I focused too much on what society thought I should look like and that is why my goal was never attainable and that is why I failed over and over again.

Last year when I started a weight loss journey (with the help of LoseIt!) I was able to lose 30 pounds from January to April, just by watching what I ate. This year I have only lost 16 in the same amount of time. It makes me wonder what is wrong with me? What am I doing differently this year than I did last year?

One thing I have yet to get under control is whether or not I should eat back my exercise calories. I try not to mainly because I have eaten all of my calories for the day and those exercise ones are just a cushion. But, that is the only thing that I am doing differently; this time around I am exercising, whereas I wasn't last year.

Maybe that is the reason that I haven't dropped those additional 14 pounds that I dropped last year. Maybe I have been eating too many or too few calories (especially when it comes to my exercise calories) or maybe I haven't been accurately measuring everything that I have consumed (prior to last week I rarely logged condiments or drinks). It's small calories that really add up and some of the foods and drinks you would think wouldn't have a lot of calories actually do, and it can be really surprising.

I don't know what is different this year than last year other than the exercise calories. I am doing the same thing, yet everything is happening in slow motion, really slow motion. In the end, I can say that my exercise calories are the biggest thing bothering me on this weight loss journey, do I eat them or don't I eat them; that is the main question that I haven't been able to answer.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Catching Up (Biggest Loser Workout, Weekly Goals and more)

This past week had been hectic for me. The last day of school was Tuesday, which was followed by two exams (with two papers due) on Thursday, which was followed by preparations for a wedding on Thursday and Friday which was followed by the wedding on Saturday. School really wore me out but preparing for the wedding took my mind off of everything that had been going on.

Another thing that helped me was the Biggest Loser workout. I started the workout on Friday April 26 and it has really been challenging me to dig deeper and push myself to get more out of the workout. I am still on level one, which is fine because I have yet to master all of the moves. Lunges have always been difficult for me because of one of my knees so the two weeks on level one is beneficial for me because I know I have another week to get more than 4 lunges completed. I am slowly getting better on my push ups, which is a definite accomplishment because those have always been hard for me. So far this workout is working for me and it gives me something to look forward to because it is only 30 minutes (at the moment). In the end, I may go ahead and send it back so I can avoid problems int he future, and with sending it back I may or may not upgrade to the FT7 (just a thought, not too sure).

One of the biggest helps when doing my workouts have been my Polar FT4 HRM. But, my chest strap and sensor managed to get their way into the washing machine yesterday and wouldn't work. Today I took the battery out and it seems that it is working okay but I am really upset that I may have to replace it. But hopefully my taking the battery out and wiping it down will allow it to work again, that still doesn't take away from me being upset that it happened.

This weeks goals are identical to last weeks because I had success with those goals.

  • Log everything - Before it goes in my mouth, it will be logged, this is the only way I can be accountable for everything that I eat or drink. 
  • Exercise - School is finally over (for now) and I have more time to exercise and that is what I am going to do. My goal is to exercise at least 5 days out of the week (that include weekends) and I know I can make that happen. 
  • Focus on clean eating / cut out junk foods - I have an addiction to mint chocolate chip ice cream and no mater how many calories I do or do not have I will not be cutting that out of my system (last Thursday and Friday were the first times I had mint chocolate chip ice cream in weeks) but my goal is to keep my ice cream intake to one or two days a week, no more. I am still monitoring my carbohydrate intake and trying to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into my meals. 

This is everything that I have been meaning to put up on the blog this week and I am thankful for today to do that.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weigh In Day

This week I have been focusing on eating only foods that I could log into LoseIt!. I logged everything, from low calorie drinks to condiments. It takes a lot of time to log everything but after a while it does become a habit and is easy to maintain. That is why I owe today's results from the scale to my entire week.

Today's weigh in revealed a 1.2 pound loss, talk about excited!! I wasn't sure what to expect because my last two days of eating have been kind of off schedule, but seeing that loss has motivated me to get back on the right track, which means; more clean eating, more exercise and more water.

Since starting the Biggest Loser workout I will take measurements next week to see how they compare when the 6 weeks are over.

Total loss this week: 1.2 pounds
Total loss for the month: 1.2 pounds
Total loss since the start of this journey: 16.4 pounds

Friday, May 3, 2013

Monthly Goals

My May monthly goals are pretty straightforward.
  • Since starting the Biggest Loser workout (which runs 6 weeks) I have enjoyed it enough to know that my biggest goal for the month of May is to workout at least 5 days out of the week. If I have a day or so off, that is fine because my body needs to rest.
  • I would like to drop at least 4 pounds, that is a pound a week and if I stick to "clean eating", water intake and exercise, I should be able to achieve it. Focusing on those three things can also help me when it comes to losing inches, which I hope will occur this month.
  • Junk foods in something I want to cut out as well, no sweets for at least 5 days out of the week, instead my goal is to supplement those sweets with fruits.
  • Logging foods everyday is something that I know will keep me accountable on this journey and for the past week it has helped me to see every single thing that is going in my mouth and how many calories they hold.
While these may not seem like a lot of goals they are big to me because they are things that I have yet to accomplish on this journey and by giving myself a month to get the done, I should be okay. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Month in Review

Although yesterday was May 1, I didn't even pay attention to the date. I guess I was buried under all of that school work and didn't know what was going on in the world around me, let alone the date. The good in all of this, is that I took two of my hardest exams yet today and that means I no longer have to worry about them. Now, on to the purpose of this post.

Looking back at April, it started out ROUGH and I put that in all capitals for a reason, I gained 4.8 (yes you read correctly, a whopping 4.8) pounds. Now of course that gain came after a substantial loss so although I was pretty bummed at first, I stepped back and evaluated what I had or hadn't been doing. After all, that gain came after a substantial loss and I never have two of those in consecutive weeks.

In the end I came back from that and lost 3 pounds the following week, but gained 0.8 pounds the next week, which when I look at it (the average), it equals what I should have been losing in the first place.

Exercise wise, things really picked up at the end of the month. It was the first time I stayed on the ski climber (I think that is what I saw on the machine that I call the other elliptical) for an hour burning over 600 calories. That is also the same day I started the Biggest Loser workout. Although things got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the month, they picked up at the end of the month.

I am not sure how much "clean eating" I did over the course of the month but I never it was enough to help me drop those unwanted pounds.

Although April wasn't exactly the weight loss achievement month I wanted it to me, it was a month that I shouldn't complain about because it got me 30 steps closer to my goal.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Here is what is on its way to this blog:

  • Month in review (April)
  • Monthly goals (May)
  • Overall reaction to week one of the Biggest Loser workout
These are just the first few topics planned, but of course, there will be more to come. Stick around and enjoy.