The Body Remembers

So I’m back to sort of working out on the regular again, I’m on week 2, attempt 5 for 2016 and everything hurts.

My facebook feed creeped on my life so well that I recently clicked on and downloaded an app called Running for Weight Loss (not an affiliate link, just sharing the information). Basically, it’s like Couch to 5K but 8 weeks long and it works in sprint intervals here and there which I found out the hard way this morning. It’s very pushy on getting you to sign up for the premium version so if you’re a cheapskate on a budget, just keep closing out of that and go back to watching The Goodwife like me. I just completed day 3 of that, can you tell?

my body is crying through my pores (1)
My body is crying through my pores

 

The one thing I can’t stop thinking about lately as I’m easing back into wanting to run [read: walk very briskly] is how much my body remembers and embraces the movement. Back in 2012 when I started Couch to 5K, the first 3 weeks made me feel like I was going to die or at least pass out in the street. I really didn’t enjoy it much, there was no “runner’s high” and if I did the workout on the treadmill, my “running speed” was never faster than a 4.2 max [insert your chortle-snort-giggle here].

But just in the last month or so, not only has the running part been easy to pick back up, my initial speed is higher too. This morning, I was able to break a 5.0 on the treadmill, which again, is not fast but 3 years ago, I would have been this guy if I had even tried it:

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It’s insane to me how well the body remembers what I’m capable of. This moment I’m having now that I’m getting back into the gym and into running again reminds me of the vast difference between the labor and birth of my first child compared to my second. With my first, I labored for over 16 hours and had to push for 2 hours mainly because I’d never done this before and I was figuring most of it out. With my son, I barely had time to process that I was in labor, everything went so quickly, my body was so ready that after only 5 hours of labor and 2 pushes and I was holding him in one arm and sharing a sandwich with my husband with the other.

Muscle memory is real. It’s the reason I can get on a bike and balance it after over a decade of riding one. It’s why I can get through these workouts with relative ease even though I’m up 40 pounds since 2014. And it’s why I tell my husband if we were to have a third child, it will likely be a default home or office birth if it goes any faster than our last birth.

It’s an empowering feeling to know that yes, I can do this. I can pick running back up. I can push my body to do the work that fitness demands. Hell, I can even challenge myself to do more than I’ve ever done before if this continues to feel as good and as easy as it does right now. I’m thinking about lifting weights finally! I am that cocky confident right now and this runner’s high has me feeling like I want to be one of those crossfit tire flippers all of a sudden. I know this feeling might not last but for now, I will take this really huge dose of motivation and run with it! Pun Intended.

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Things That Are Awesome Right Now

*whoooosh*

That’s me blowin’ the dust off this blog. I know, I know. I got more content comin’ atcha in the next few weeks don’t worry. Shout out to those still reading this bad boy! You rock my socks.

So here are some things that are awesome right now:

1. My latest before and after picture showing about a 44 pound weight loss!

beforeafter
finally made me a watermark! no steal my photos crazy diet pillz people…

2. This meme that captures my fitness life right now in a digital nutshell

runmeme

3. My latest fitness plan: 4 weeks of 10K training! Using my favorite 30 day plan calendar. I’m 6 days in and it’s rough but I always like having a plan!

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The countdown is on! I’m less than a month away from the Chicago’s Perfect 10 race! 6.2 glorious miles along Chicago lakefront starting at Navy Pier! I hope I can run the whole thing but if not, I’ll be happy just to finish. It’ll be my first spinny medal…”oooooo”…after that, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next but I have a few ideas I’ll be happy to share once I knock this bad boy out of the way.

So those are a few of my awesome things right now. How about you? What’s your latest non-scale victory or overall plan for awesome?

❤ M.

Introducing: Scale-Less Septemeber!

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have noticed that I’ve started a new challenge: Brooke Not On A Diet’s Back To Basics Challenge! This challenge, put together by the incredible Brooke Birmingham is meant to get us all back to the very basics of weight loss and fitness. Each week, Brooke will introduce a new topic that will help us focus on getting back to basics. This week, it’s Improving Spaces (a topic borrowed from the Weight Watchers 360 plan). I’m happy to say that I’ve pretty much done all of the steps she includes in her post over the last year or so, especially improving my work space. In case you missed it, here’s a picture of my snack drawer and standing desk!

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Also, I work out at work Monday-Friday every week, so I would say that work is where the magic mostly happens!

For my own personal goals this month, I wanted to work on focusing on my healthy eating and fitness. For this challenge, Brooke set up a private Facebook group and that is where I have outlined my two biggest goals:

1. Get into the next size down in clothes

2. Go SCALE-LESS for all of September and keep track of my progress by taking my measurements instead

the-no-scale-diet-challenge

The second goal has been well received in the #WWBTB group! Since I posted my idea to go scale-less this morning, I’ve had 6 others get in on it too. Imagine NOT stepping on a scale for an entire month while still keeping up the same amount of fitness and healthy eating that has helped me be successful! I can’t wait to see what the results will be. And even if the scale doesn’t move much, as long as I’m getting workouts and nutrition in, it will be a successful month either way!

So no more weigh-in’s for the rest of the month! My last one was for this morning to end my Diet Bet. I didn’t win, I was 2 lbs short but the good news is that I lost 7 lbs since the initial weigh-in of the bet so I really can’t complain!

❤ M.

FitBloggin13: “I Am Powerful Beyond All Measure”

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my new Bama+Ry necklace! (click for link)

I can’t even…I don’t even….the words…they just….

Ok. Focus, Mariana.

Let me just start off by saying that as a blogger/social media user it is so easy to write and post and like and retweet and quote and share and “interact” while still feeling somwhat disconnected from my readers. This is why my experience at Fitbloggin was so special. All of these people who I have interacted with over the internet were in front of me, talking to me, hugging me, smiling at me, laughing with me and sweating with me. For the first time since the launch of Project Unfluff I felt a deeper connection not only to my fellow fitbloggers but to all of you and to this blog.

So many awesome things went down at FB13 that I’m having a hard time putting it into words so instead, I’m going to choose to focus on the one activity that completely blew my mind and has made an impact on me in a way I never expected.

Meet Particia Moreno of IntenSati. She was our fitness instructor on Friday morning for the Cardio Class sponsored by Reebok. For a full recap of the class, check out the Live Blog as written by Renisha James of Renewed Fitness.

Here was my experience: I felt like I had gone to church and came out feeling renewed like I had just had a spiritual experience. Before I get into that, let’s take a step back. You might be surprised to learn that when I was in high school I was a very devout Catholic. I went to mass every Sunday, went to weekly youth ministry events, attended retreats, Catholic teen conferences and mission trips. Although, I am not a practicing Catholic today for a variety of reasons that I will never get into on this blog, those experiences absolutely shaped my outlook on life, my spirituality and my belief that there is something bigger than us out there. I remember several occasions in which I had very moving spiritual experiences that brought me to tears and in one case, made me laugh uncontrollably. Those experiences left me feeling at peace and recharged with fresh energy and hope. To my absolute surprise, this was one of those moments too and it happened in a fitness class instead of in a church.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I started to feel that shift in my soul and that warmth in my heart, it was probably after the 10th time of repeating after Patricia when she told us to chant:

“I am powerful beyond measure.”

“I am stronger than I seem.”‘

“I am enough. I am enough”

“I am done complaining, I am now celebrating. I aspire to be all I can be and now I believe I will succeed.”

All of this while throwing punches and kicks. I went from thinking “Yeah, I’m a bad ass! Look at me punch!” to “Holy crap, I really am enough, this shit is deep.” And that’s when the tears started pooling in the corner of my eyes and for a moment I really thought I was going to lose it and have yet another “Let Go and Let God” moment like back in my more religious days. It was then that I took a second to grab a sip of water and try to collect myself because I honestly had no idea what was going to happen to me next if I kept that up. I knew that I wanted to keep going and I jumped right back in with butterflies in my stomach and a little skip to my heart. I couldn’t believe how powerful this class had become and I felt as though everyone around me felt the same way.

The energy in the huge banquet hall we were in was incredible, all of us were feeling it. On Saturday, I would hear about how those in the hallway who heard the chanting coming from us stopped in to see what was going on and were blown away by how intensely focused all of us doing the workout seemed. They felt it too, this woman up on stage is doing something special to the people in this room. Once the workout was over, I would say at least half of us bum-rushed Patricia for a picture, a hug and to thank her for the incredible experience. More than one fitblogger was so moved, they had clearly made it past the point I feared I would get to and were overcome by tears and emotions.

Patricia Moreno: Life Changer-er-er

Nothing compares to the feeling of realizing for the first time or, in my case, being reminded that we are all enough. And this is a theme that was present in all aspects of FB13. We are enough, we are strong, we are powerful and we should be celebrating how far we have come and how much more we will accomplish. Regardless of where each one of us are in our journeys, we have been brave enough to share it with the world and we are stronger now than when we first started out.

I made some new friends this weekend, ate some incredible food, torched some serious calories (3700!) and learned some new things about blogging I never knew before. I also was starstruck by those that inspired me to launch my blog in the first place!

I will definitely go back again, hopefully every year from now until the end of time! And now it’s time for a photo recap!

Let’s talk about how funky Portland is!

This guy at the Farmer’s Market

The food in Portland is indescribable. Let’s just say that in PDX, it’s cool to eat locally grown, organic and naturally raised produce and meats. I’ve never tasted fresher foods at every meal like I did in Portland! I would go back just for that! Also, the VooDoo donuts were tasty but my sweet tooth is not what it used to be so I wouldn’t wait more than 20-30 minutes in line to try one. On my last day, they said the wait would be an hour and a half so I jumped on a bus to their second location and got donuts within 15 minutes. Those were for mancakes, not me!

Om nom nom nom

There was also some serious fitness going in the course of 3 days! I did Bootcamp (where we made the local news!), Yoga, jogging, Zumba, Reebok Cardio, JumpSport and a 5K! Buh-bye calories!

Me on a JumpSport Trampoline!
Closing Day FitBloggin Fun Run 5K Before and After

The only thing I did not try was the CrossFit WOD and that’s because felt like I was going to die  had to complete my own Live Blog for the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) led by Karen C L Anderson.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures but when I remembered to whip out my camera, it was to take pictures of the bloggers I enjoyed meeting oh so much!

Top Left: Meredith from merbear.net; Top Right: Kelly from nothankstocake.com; Bottom Left: Margo Porras from nachomamasblog.com; Bottom Right: Brooke from brookenotonadiet.com

All in all, it was the time of my life! I would do it again in a heartbeat and if any of you want to talk more about it, feel free to reach out to me! Now back to real life. Humph!

❤ M.

Oh! and stay tuned for a post on all the swizz-ag! Hint: there might be a giveaway involved!

Weekly Weigh-In: Say Whaaaaat???

I have A LOT to discuss tonight! Let’s start with last week and work our way up. So as you probably recall, last week’s weigh-in was…for lack of a better term, crap. Although granted, Brooke from Brooke Not On A Diet reminded me that a loss is a loss and mine was probably the equivalent of a stick of butter so I really can’t be so down. But alas, that WI did bring me down a bit and I was feeling pretty discouraged and a bit burnt out for the rest of the week. Just yesterday, David from Single Dad Becoming Rad was just checking in to see how my nutrition and fitness was going and I pretty much confessed that my fitness is what’s keeping my progress afloat these days. I haven’t gone crazy and binged on unhealthy stuff but I’ve been getting tired of tracking and a little less mindful of my eats. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for 5 months now and I have tracked everyday. I’m le tired of that but it’s such an engrained habit now that I’m afraid that if I don’t track, I’ll get irresponsible and make mindless choices. I’m considering challenging myself to go a week without tracking just to see how I do but I’ll wait until after my diet bet is over.

There have been loads of victories this past week too! First and most obvious, how about my weigh-in!?

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Wow! I haven’t lost that much in a week since last month and I will attribute this loss to the lunch time workouts I got in at work last week and my effort to stand at my work desk as much as possible throughout the day (I’m going on 5 days now!). Additionally, although I felt icky yesterday, I still managed to make it through my workout. My RunKeeper assignment was to run 2.5 miles so off I went to my new favorite park for a run after work and although I made it to the park by jogging I struggled with the wind since there are no buildings to break it up in the park. I was still hurtin’ from Saturday’s run and I wasn’t feeling my best either but I did manage to run all the way home once I hit buildings. After getting home for some hydration and dinner, I took a long Epsom salt bath to ease the pain in my legs and detox whatever ick was trying to stick around in my body. I hit the hay still sweating the toxins out (icky I know) and woke up feeling so much better! Seriously, try an Epsom salt detox bath whenever you are sore or feel sickness coming on, it does wonders! Here’s a link for a how-to detox bath.

Today only made this new week better. I went to work in a dress I bought 4 years ago but never wore because it was always too tight. When I bought it, I planned to work my way into it but as it turns out, it took me 4 years to get here. Regardless, I felt like a champ and I think I looked great, check it:

Blurry picture! I mean "action shot"
Blurry picture! I mean “action shot”

I finally made it to a WW meeting today after only going to weigh-in the last 3 weeks.  I’ve been booked around lunch time on my meeting days the last few weeks but today, I finally made it to a meeting and what a day to be able to go! It turned out to be a Mariana party because I got to celebrate 3 huge milestones: another 5 lb loss, losing more than 25 lbs total and losing at least 10% of my starting weight! I got two very important tokens today to mark my accomplishments and I am so excited! Check out my WW BLANG BLANG!

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This was timely too as today’s topic was about anchors or symbols/items that remind us why we are working so hard to lose weight and get healthy. Examples of anchors might be a belt you get to tighten over time as you lose, the before picture that made you realize it’s time to change, tokens reminding you of your successes (like my new blang!) or, in my case, clothes that you hope to fit into again someday. This morning, that dress was my anchor, I’ve tried it on at least 3 times since I began this journey but today was the first time I felt good about leaving the house in it. Now and moving forward, it’s my 10% keychain and 25 lbs ring on my keys that will remind me how far I’ve come and to keep pushing forward.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about all the stuff I needed to talk about today! Tomorrow is another exciting day, I get to do my first weigh-in as a Single Dad Becoming Rad Featured Follower! I’ve been a part of the FB group for over a week now and everyone has been really supportive and so inspirational! We weigh-in once a month, work to increase our running pace time and set health goals. Also, each month David works really hard to do a giveaway too so like his page if you want to get in on that! This month, he’s giving away two free entries for the Warrior Dash and two free entries for the Color Run! Last month it was a Kindle sooo…there’s some good stuff goin’ on there!

Alright I’m tired. It’s been an exciting day and I am fired up and ready to make it this best week ever! What are you doing to rock it out this week??

❤ M.

Weekly Weigh-In: By the seat of my (loose) pants.

maryPhew! I cut it close this week! If you’ve followed my four previous weigh-ins you might have noticed how although I have lost every week since late February, my pace has slowed down and I’m pretty sure last week was my final week of trying to get away with after dinner snacking and some questionable meal choices. The week after I started training for my June 5K, my weight loss jumped up and I was voraciously hungry all day everyday. I went way beyond my points these last few weeks and I’ve gotten away with it but now that I’m running at least 3 days a week if not more, I think my metabolism and my body have gotten used to the cardio increase and I need to start cracking back down on my food choices.

It’s a good thing my support system is literally growing everyday! Along with Gwynspiration for Weight Loss’ 3 Month Healthy Habits Challenge that I have been doing for almost 3 weeks now, I am also now a Featured Follower for Single Dad Becoming Rad which is a support and challenge group for weight loss and increased endurance. AND I signed up for my very first DietBet! I’m doing A Merry Life’s Spring Diet Bet. If I lose 4% of my current body weight in 4 weeks, starting April 20th, I get to split the pot with all other winners! Talk about a huge amount of motivation!

Between my continued 5K training and adding strength training back in, I think I can be successful. As long as I’m also disciplined in the kitchen too! In other words, today’s post weigh-in french fries were my last for a while. At least the ketchup was organic?? Yesss???? Ok, ok fine.

just look at that though...mmmm...i mean NO! no. (image source: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/what-are-french-fries.htm)
just look at that though…mmmm…i mean NO! no. (image source: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/what-are-french-fries.htm)

❤ M.

Week 1 Wrap Up: Gwyn’s 3 Month Healthy Habits Challenge

Yesterday was the conclusion of my first week doing Gwynspiration for Weight Loss‘ 3 month Healthy Habits Challenge! Much like Gwyn’s previous challenge, this week featured the foundation of healthy habits such as drinking 64 oz of water a day (or more if you go by the body weight/2 rule like me), eating  your 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies, posting daily affirmations in our facebook group, as well as earning extra points for maintaining or losing weight, exercising and completing the weekly mini-challenges.

This week’s challenge was to plan out all meals for the week and share at least one day of planning with the group, in your journal, with your peers, etc. This is very easy for me since last week we did Fresh 20 (a recipe planning service I rave about all the time, check out my review here), so my lunches and dinners were covered. Having been on weight watchers for 5 months now, I have a pretty routine set of breakfasts I rotate throughout the week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are my C25K days so I have eggs and usually ham too. Last week, I planned on egg, ham and cheese breakfast sandwiches. I found a great low-carb whole whet bread (only 1 P+ a slice!). These kept me full and full of energy for the better part of the morning. On less active days, I planned on oatmeal with blueberries and almond milk. I also have my 12 cup travel tumbler of coffee everyday with sweetened creamer. Yeah, yeah I know, but remember there are just things that make me happy that I don’t want to give up.

Here is what a  Gwynspiration Healthy Habits Points Chart Looks Like:

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Luckily, I do most of these things already because of WW but the mini-challenges and aiming for extra points for extra activity are the things that keep me on my toes and thinking of new ways to challenge myself. Up next for this week: swapping recipe with the group and trying 2 of those posted recipes. It’s a good thing mancakes and I practically live in the kitchen! Here’s to the rest of the challenge! Since it’s a longer one, I’ll do a one month wrap up next.

How will you challenge yourself this week?

❤ M.

Taking Up Less Space (And Finally: 30 Day Shred Wrap Up!)

better than

This past week I started to notice something: I’m taking up a little less space than I used to. Living in a congested city like Chicago, space can be rather limited in places like public transportation, popular attractions and even the teeny tiny bonus half bathroom you might manage to score in your two flat you pay an arm and a leg for. This past week, Chicago Public School students were back from Spring Break and thus my very spacious bus and train rides were no more. Teenagers were back in droves, riding my beloved #80 bus and red line, taking up every inch of space with their morning naps, overloaded backpacks and last minute homework sessions. On Thursday morning I squirmed my way to the back of the bus to the only seat left between two very sleepy adolescent boys. Since I started commuting to work in late October, I have dreaded these sandwich seats because they usually meant having to squeeze in between people, making it abundantly clear that I took up a lot of space. As I approached this seat on Thursday, feeling as though I was back in high school once again, I braced myself for another embarrassing squeeze. Well, well, whadayaknow? I slid right in like a toddler covered in baby oil! There was very little maneuvering and overall awkwardness and I wished very badly that I could have high fived one of those boys but that would have been like totes uncool, amiright?

And then there was the park. Due to the awesome weather that finally showed up this week, we went to the park twice this weekend with babycakes. To my utter delight, I was able to get on a swing without feeling it pinch the outside of my thighs (you know what I’m talking about ladies). I also managed to get down the slide without getting stuck because of my width. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been able to go down a slide like that? At least least junior of undergrad (read: 8 years ago people!). It was after this that I realized: holy goodness, I’m taking up less space! Hooo yeah!

One of the many things I have struggled with the most in my obesity (<– um, I don’t like that at all! never typing that out again…) has been the fact that maneuvering in and out of tight, crowded spaces is not only difficult, it can be down right embarrassing. Not that I was embarrassed about my overall existence, more like “hey buddy, I don’t really WANT to rub my enormous chest/butt/belly all over you but in order for me to get off this train, that’s what’s gonna have to happen. I’m not too thrilled either.” On the one hand, I’ve always been an advocate for body appreciation. On the other hand, when size of airplane/concert hall/bus seats don’t practice body appreciation too, things are just plain uncomfortable and unpleasant. So I’ve given in to all the anti-fluffy spaces out there (you win this time southwest airlines!) and I have to say, I can’t complain.

And now the moment you’ve all more than likely some of you have been waiting for: the results from my 30 Day Shred challenge! Ok, so I dropped the ball on this challenge because somewhere between day 27 and day 30 I lost interest and about 3 weeks went by before the last workout.

I started this challenge very strong! I did Level 1 and 2 almost every day, 10 days for each level. If I took a break, it was because I was probably woken up by toddler illness/nightmares or too sore to function. When I reached Level 3, I was not only thrilled to have made it that far, I was also impressed that I didn’t find it that much more difficult than Level 2…until the lower back pain started. The thing I loved about Level 3 was that the workouts were much more slow and steady (and there was a lot of lying down, yesssss!). But these slow and steady moves took a toll on my lower back as they are designed to work the abs and the back for an overall stronger core. This is what slowed me down greatly and created a lot of lag time in between workouts and eventually, I brought back heavy cardio which jump started bigger losses at the weigh-ins again and I just kind of set 30DS aside. This week however, I picked it back up one more time so that I could FINALLY complete the last workout. And so here I finally am, a belated graduate of 30 Day Shred! Below are my results but please note that after I completed about 25 days, I switched back to cardio so a few extra pounds may be attributed to that!

30 Day Shred Results (plus some extra cardio)

Start Date: February 4, 2013

End Date: April 4, 2013

Weight Lost -10 lbs
Dress Size Change – 1 size
Waist -2 inches
Hips -1.75 inches
Bust -3 inches
Right Arm +0.5 inches
Right Thigh -0.2 inches
Total Inches Lost 7.45 inches

And of course pictures. Not TOO much of a difference but I did drop a size so I’m happy! Sorry for the weird angles/faces. (lefts are before, rights are after)

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Well there you have it people! Jillian Michaels’ hips don’t lie! She’s a wizard of all things weight loss! Seriously, it was probably around day 20, end of Level 2 when I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and said: WHOA. My body was different, the shape had changed and suddenly everything just fit differently. Not only that, my first workout in the gym after being away for over a month was incredible! My fitness level had improved so much after 30DS that I was adding more resistance, speed and incline on the elliptical, stair master and treadmill. This will more than likely be my winter/rainy day/shape-targeting go-to plan! Seriously, this thing produces results, ya gotta try it Unfluffers! If you want even more proof, check out this tumblr that posts 30 DS results from others who have tried it!

What have you tried that made a huge difference in your fitness level and/or body shape? Please share, I’m dying to know!

Nighty-night! ❤

Who Me? Oh This Old Thang?

I had an awesome Easter weekend! Eating-wise not so much but I will get to that in a moment. About a month ago, while I was participating in a healthy habits challenge, I came across a great affirmation that is finally ringing true in my life:

keep going

Mancakes, babycakes and I went to Milwaukee this weekend which is where mancakes’ immediate family and lifelong friends live. I hadn’t been there in about a month and the reactions from my partner’s friends when they saw me this weekend were priceless! I got so many compliments on how great I looked, questions about how much weight I lost and what I’ve been doing. I have to say, aside from mancakes’ compliments and adorable attempts at flirting when we were dating, I’ve never received so many compliments on my appearance ever…well aside from like prom and my wedding day. I mean I was wearing jeans and a sweater so I call that a successful day o’ compliments.

Anyway, I’m not here to brag about how others see me. The point I want to make is that all of this work I’ve been putting in since November is finally starting to show. It’s as if I’ve been painting a mural one blob of color at a time and now all of the blobs have come together and taken shape into something that not only makes sense but can be seen from a distance! Woo!

So now for the “Keep Going” part. Tomorrow I begin Project Unfluff’s Couch to 5K Challenge along with my other challenges this month. I’m ready because although I have had some great weigh-ins these last few weeks, I have been dealing with my surge in hunger rather poorly (I’m looking at you Cool Ranch tacos…) and I need to get that together before it catches up with me. My overall goals for these next few months are to:

1. Increase my fitness level by combining cardio and strength training

2. Increase my running stamina

3. Eat cleaner meals and stay on top of my hunger

4. Kick lots and lots of ass.

Well, I’d say that’ll do, that’ll do just fine.

G’night Unfluffers!

❤ M.

Weekly Weigh-In!!

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The line on my weight tracker chart keeps going down, down, down. I attribute my bigger losses these last few weeks to the addition of pure cardio back into my weekly work outs. These last 6 weeks or so were spent in my living room with Jillian doing the 30 Day Shred. Although this was a great work out that helped me lose weight and inches, I wasn’t getting an intense enough burn from the 30 min/day work outs. Two weeks ago, however, I started going back to the gym for cardio and wow how it’s made a difference! I am back to bringing my heart rate way up and sweating like crazy and I’m pushing my body harder too!

In turn, I am also soooo freakin’ hungry! I know I’m probably just adjusting to the added exercise so it’s probably temporary. I don’t mind giving into these cravings (within reason) since everyone knows, a fed and watered Mariana is a happy, healthier-feeling Mariana. So I’m definitely keeping the cardio routine up! Yes, I am aware that strength training is also important and I plan on incorporating that in at least 2 days a week but I really like the results and the little high I get from the cardio. Speaking of which, who’s up for a new challenge!? I know I am!

Here are the 3 Challenges I will be doing for the next 3 months, all of them simultaneously!

My Couch to 5K Challenge that Anyone Can Join!

Gwyspiration for Weight Loss’ 3 Month Challenge

A Merry Life’s Diet Bet

Ooooo I am so excited to be so motivated! Everywhere I turn BOOM! Challenge! Boom! Support group! Boom competitors! Knowing me, this smells like a recipe for success. Please feel free to join me for any or all of these!