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:

21d7db07-7148-455f-9ba0-8e4f53e50c35
source

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.

giphy
Source

WordPressSig

Advertisement

#UnfluffYourStuff

I’ve been full of words lately. So many words DESCRIBING what I would LIKE to accomplish with very little to no changes being made. Since my last post I’ve basically managed to just barely keep my head above water. Work, kids, blogging (here not HERE.), paid and unpaid side gigs such as Uber and the national board for my sorority have kept me both incredibly busy as well as incredibly lazy.

Lazy? But I do so much! Let me explain. When I get a free moment where my immediate attention is not required, you will likely find me parked on my couch or at my desk at work when really, I should be finding ways to keep it moving. My home is still covered in toys, clothes and random things that need pitching/donating/organizing. My weight is also steadily creeping up because I’m rarely on the couch alone, there’s usually a snack or a beverage other than water in my hand.

So where is this coming from? After almost a week of staying with my brother for Thanksgiving, I watched as he and my sister in law diligently kept their 2 story, 4 bedroom house from becoming the aftermath of a hurricane while they hosted my family of 4, my parents and my aunt. It was astonishing and also a good kick in the gut. They never stop moving, they never stop wiping and putting things away. Things don’t get left out. There’s a place for everything and a handful of minutes after every activity is devoted to keep clutter away. It looks and feels impossible and yet you can tell, that it’s now just a habit. Second nature. Ingrained in their every day. I can’t pretend like I’m capable of such discipline but I know I can at the very least try.

So last night and this morning, despite the rough start today because Monday, I’ve decided to push myself to do more. I put a call out to my peeps that follow my Facebook Page (where I pretty much micro-blog when I’m too busy to write here) and invited them to join in committing to 30 minutes a day of doing WHATEVER will make you feel balanced, whole and accomplished.  Today, a tiny little movement was born that I am calling:

Unfluff Your Stuff

What do I mean by #UnfluffYourStuff? I mean take a moment to just care for yourself and your space. This could mean you do something along the lines of:

  • work out
  • organize a shelf that you’ve been ignoring
  • meditate
  • journal
  • read a chapter in a book
  • prepare a healthful meal
  • clean your fridge
  • check your bank account and credit cards and see if you’re on budget
  • throw out old papers, magazines, junk mail, expired coupons, etc.
  • play with your kids and/or pets

Basically, ignore the really, really tragic and unfortunate things in the world and in your personal life for a moment (easier said than done!) and find a little space for yourself so that you can turn around and be a more balanced and capable person to those who depend on you. You can’t fully give your all to something until you give your all to yourself and your space.

So on a random Monday that is not the “new year!” or “my birthday!” or even the first day of the month, I invite you to just Nike-up and DO IT. #UnfluffYourStuff, whatever your “stuff” happens to be.

Want to join us? I already have a group of 28 people getting in on the this movement. Request to join the closed Facebook group and share what you’re doing, find support, vent and share ideas.

❤ M.

Mustering all the musters

You guys.

I’m a 30 year old do-it-all. I have arrived at the intersection of working full time, raising 2 kids, keeping my marriage awesome, having my own blog and writing twice a month for another, holding a national board position for my sorority and planning next year’s sorority leadership conference.

That’s like…at least 5 google calendars.

Notice how “health and fitness” are not on that list. WHEN WOULD I DO THAT!? Easy there Maria Kang, I don’t need you to chime in, that was a rhetorical question.

When I started writing this blog a few years ago, I thought to myself, I could do this forever! Turns out though, that my subjects have migrated over time and with good reason. I have a very awesome and privileged life these days and I am enjoying it and also surviving it as well as I can. AND I am still unfluffing just maybe not just my weight. The things I cared about 5 years ago (i.e. making lots of money (lol I know right, I work in education, what was I thinking??), being a “cool urban mom” in Chicago, becoming a world-famous blogger with a book deal directly from Tina Fey herself, etc. ) are not my priorities now.

So after shedding all those pounds and, let’s be honest, gaining half of them back due to eating my feelings and inactivity and stress, I can’t adequately discuss healthy/fitness-y anything right now.

But I can tell you how I’ve shed the excess weight and baggage of always doubting myself. And the fear that I’m not doing this whole parenting thing right. And that even though I’m not where I would love to be physically, I still feel pretty awesome and my kids think my belly fat is cool which is all the validation I need.

pufam
insert pic of amazing childrenz

But I really-and I will emphasize this- really need to get my sh*t together. Sonia Sotomayor (my Puerto Rican SHE-RO) did not get to the supreme court by writing appointments down on post its that flew away in the wind. I am going through an organization crisis and I’m trying to find the best system for me that works. So far I’ve come up with a combination of Bullet Journaling and color-coded Google calendars. Both are great and super handy…when I remember to LOOK at them…and pay attention and update them and what not.

I’ve never been a list person though. I don’t get excited about color-coded, tabbed, highlighted things. And well…as an event planner full time that’s…well that’s my downfall! I love what I do and I like the process of planning it’s just the extreme details I really need to focus in on a little better.

I will say that this rambling of a post has me thinking about expanding my topics beyond things I eat out of jars and how I like to pack my gym bag. Unfluffing is a verb that can be applied to all things LIFE. Got a corner full of clutter like I do? BAM!

clutterstruggle

Let’s unfluff it. Kids a little too wrapped up in getting new toys after a streak of getting new school things and being spoiled by family members? UNFLUFF THAT ATTITUDE. Let’s bring it back home to simpler things in life together. Let’s unfluff all the stuff.

Are you dealing with something that you KNOW is getting to be more complicated than it needs to be? It could be your weight. It could be your out of control, overgrown wardrobe. It could be your diet. If could be your calendar situation like mine. Have you recently successfully unfluffed something in your life? Tell me all about it!

❤ M.

Whoa Mama!

Oh hai. Wait….let’s just get this out of the way….

single-tumbleweed-o

Yup. That’s pretty much how it’s been around here lately. Sorry kids, what can I say? There’s not much additional brain space left when growing a human. I’ve been busy trying not to fall asleep in the middle of the day and making sure I’m eating enough produce, dairy/calcium-heavy foods and whole grains. Plus I clean when I can, make baby to-do lists, pick out cloth diapers for our registry (yeah, we’re going to try cloth this time!) and try to keep my feet on the ground as my time as a mother of one is quickly coming to a close.

Health-wise, things have been great, I’ve only gained 16 lbs total and I have only 9 weeks to go! This means I’ll be within my recommended weight gain range (even if I gain a pound a week from here on out, which is normal in the last tri) thanks to tracking and daily guidelines I try hard to follow. You know the usual: 3-5 veggies, 2-4 fruits, 3 servings of dairy, 3ish servings of whole grain. That alone has kept me crazy busy, I find it really challenging to stay on top of these goals. I’m still struggling most days, especially since I grew out of enjoying the taste of a glass of milk. Luckily, almond milk makes a good substitute but still…by the end of the day, if I haven’t met my daily health goals I’m usually too full or too tired for anything else. It also doesn’t help that staying on top of healthy cooking has also been tough, pasta and meat sauce is just.so.much.easier.

The reality is that there will more than likely be more days like that from here on out. Energy-wise, I’m back to first trimester-like symptoms. This kid is growing so fast and I’m getting more and more uncomfortable that sleep is sometimes rough and I’m just exhausted all over again. I’m also having stronger cravings lately. Mostly for sweets and I’ve had to really try and curb those or come up with substitutes like these awesome blueberry yogurt muffins I made for my cake cravings I was having last month! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve given in a lot more lately (like this wicked carrot cake craving i’m having) but luckily, my ability to have just one serving and/or get over something after a taste still lingers from my weight loss days. So even if you put a whole cake in front of me and tell me to have at it, chances are I’ll be good after a slice or two (over 2 days, not all at once!).

My days of binge-eating have been over for a while now, even more so now that I just don’t have the room for both a baby and a super full stomach. And now that I’ve been reaping the benefits of a healthier pregnancy, I have even less of a reason to get crazy and let myself go these last few weeks. Seriously, by this time last pregnancy, I was not making any intentional decisions and went for ice cream and pizza most days for the last two weeks. I won’t be doing that this time. If I even want to go there, I’ll probably switch to frozen yogurt instead because I love me some toppings and it meets my daily requirement of low-fat dairy, huzzah!

Here’s the latest pregnant lady pic of me!

20140305-204800.jpg
Whoa Mama. 31+ weeks

I realize I missed out on supplying you with a steady stream of these but never fear, your compilation is here!

From top left to bottom right: 13 weeks, 14 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 31 weeks
From top left to bottom right: 13 weeks, 14 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 31 weeks

I’m going to try and write a little more from here on out, I’m thinking of adding a “Dear Diary” section in an effort to capture more of my daily happenings in life but let’s be real, once this baby comes out, I can’t guarantee anything and the tumbleweeds might come back for a while or at least until I start unfluffing once again! Either way, I’m here, I’m doing great and I’m loving life.

❤ M.

Year in Review: 2013

It’s been over 3 weeks since my last post. I know because my life is lived in weeks these days as I tick off the time left until the arrival of Baby Dos (18 to go! Well over halfway there). As I reflect on this last year, I’m blown away by the huge amount of changes I experienced in just 365 days. Although my committment to improve my health by losing weight and upping my nutrition efforts started last November of 2012, the most dramatic changes didn’t take effect until 2013. Here are my biggest achievements I accomplished this year:

1. Joined Weight Watchers and learned what real portions should look like and how to manage my hunger with balanced meals and good hydration.

First WW milestones: 25 lbs lost and 10% body weight lost
First WW milestones: 25 lbs lost and 10% body weight lost

2. Lost over 40 pounds before getting pregnant (which is almost halfway to my goal of losing 82 lbs!)

beforeafter

3. Lowered my cholesterol by 40 points! BMI dropped by 8 points and overall, the physical I had in late May 2013 showed vast improvements.

lower

4. Dropped 2 dress sizes and I am out of plus sizes in most stores, including maternity! (this is a huge one for me!)

First pair of maternity pants from 1st pregnancy vs. new, non-plus sized maternity jeans.
First pair of maternity pants from 1st pregnancy vs. new, non-plus sized maternity jeans.

5. Attended FitBloggin’ 13 where I met the coolest Fitbloggers on the planet, explored Portland, OR, met great vendors and live blogged a session.

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
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
Om nom nom nom
Om nom nom nom

photo (23)

Me on a JumpSport Trampoline!
Me on a JumpSport Trampoline!

6. Fell in love with exercise, particularly running. I ran my very first 5K race (ran the whole thing!) and attempted a 10K.

20130616-190509.jpg
My first 5K: Color Run Chicago!
20130908-193147.jpg
Pretty Muddy Run 5K
photo (32)
Not Fast Just Fabulous Virtual 5K (first run while pregnant)
I wasn't kidding about this bump, y'all.
Perfect 10K Chicago
Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in.
Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in (icing that sore knee after 10K!)

So. To say the least, it was an epic year! And I’ve rewarded myself with a much-needed vacation these last 2 weeks. I’ve done nothing but soak up the sun and ocean with my family in Puerto Rico, sleep in, and hold my little family close during our time off before we go back to our hectic lives as full-time employees and parents. 2014 has nothing but exciting new things in store for Casa Unfluff including the birth of our second child and a much healthier postpartum transition to look forward to. Oh! And did I mention, it’s a boy this time? Yup! We can’t wait to meet him in May.

IMG_3274
Hola from Puerto Rico!
IMG_3340
Measuring my belly
Our little announcement
Our little announcement
Couldn't resist these outifts. He's gonna have so much swag!
Couldn’t resist these outfits. He’s gonna have so much swag!

Until then, it’s back to the hard work of staying healthy and fit while I continue to grow this little guy and prepare for my time off for most of the summer. What are you looking forward to in 2014??

❤ M.

Race Recaps: Chicago’s Perfect 10K and Team Fabulous 5K

My, my…I’ve been busy! After a hiatus from running, I got 15K in this past week! Not that I recommend going about it that way because today is my first day of not being sore in about 5 days.

On Thursday, I remembered that I signed up for Not Fast Just Fabulous‘ Virtual 5K benefiting the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a non-profit that provides support, rehabilitation and access for athletes with physical challenges. So hit the gym for a lunch time run. It took me forever to finish, a symptom of my lack of keeping up with my running stamina. All I was hoping for was that I finished in under an hour and I did (in 56 minutes).

photo (32)

This was a pretty strong indicator of how my 10K would go on Saturday. Several months ago, a friend of mine proposed that we try out a 10K together. I was all for it until I took this little test that let me know I’d be completely wiped out for the next 3 months. And wiped out I was! I signed up for the Chicago’s Perfect 10K and within a week or so I was dealing with first trimester exhaustion and nausea and I set aside pretty much all fitness. I had gone into it with a 30 day plan to get my mileage and strength up but I could barely get out of bed for work most mornings, much less a run. Fortunately, these two races happened as soon I was feeling normal again but unlike my last pregnancy, I’m much bigger much sooner this time and I’ve just had to roll with it the best that I could.

I wasn't kidding about this bump, y'all.
I wasn’t kidding about this bump, y’all.

So I finished this bad boy in under 2 hours (look at that! 2 of my 5K’s put together!) and I was hurtin’ for certain until yesterday afternoon. My nutritionist warned me that running while pregnant could be risky since my joints and ligaments are more malleable and more likely to be injured under a lot of pressure and strain. Boy, my hips were hurting by around mile 4.5 and by the end of Saturday night, my knee was throbbing and stiff. I’ve since then iced and heated everything plus rested and hydrated (and ate all the things too) and I feel like myself again!

Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in.
Hey nutritionist lady, I got my veggies in.

I’m really glad I went through with these runs. I had a moment as I was nearing the finish line of my 10K on Saturday when I started to get really emotional. I thought about my last pregnancy, where I was in my life then and how I would have never in a million years considered doing something like this on a normal day, much less pregnant. I was near tears as I crossed the finish line and realized I just did something huge. I ran/walked 6.2 miles along the lake with the Chicago skyline in the background, one of my biggest fitness accomplishments to date at a time when I could have easily excused myself from such a challenge. Let’s just say, it took everything not to burst out in tears!

My frieeeeends!
My frieeeeends!

As for the race itself, I really enjoyed it! We started at Navy Pier and ran along the lake front path until we reached the museum campus and started the turn by running around Grant Park. Sadly, I took no pictures of the gorgeous Chicago scenery, I really couldn’t stop or I’d never start again! It was the perfect day for a race though, mid 50’s, no clouds in the sky, plenty of sunshine. It was wonderful! My only complaint is that the run back was along the lower lake front path and the cement was severely damaged making it a dangerous path for those that needed to stay to the right. I couldn’t really run along this part if I wanted to, I was too nervous I’d twist my ankle with my floppy ligaments and all. One thing I will say is that trying to run to the end of Navy Pier is like a mind game! You keep thinking you’re close and then there’s like a mile and a half left. You get to the first big ship that’s docked on the water along the pier and think, yeah! almost there! Crap! Half a mile left! So that part was pretty grueling but I probably would have felt that way no matter where I was running. I just reeeeally wanted to finish and this picture was that exact thought crossing my mind:

Am I there yet?
Am I there yet?

All in all, I’m really friggin’ proud of myself! Holy cow, I did a 10K! I did a 10K while pregnant! I think it’s safe to say I’ve arrived on the other side of “would never do it” to “challenge accepted!”. And now I’m a 10K finisher and I know I can only go up from here 😉

photo (37)
I really need to use the mirror that’s not in the bathroom…also, the sink doubles nicely as a baby bump shelf.
photo (36)
Finishers!

❤ M.

The Idea of Self-Compassion

Have I told you how much I love the blog A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss? Erika Nicole Kendall kills it talking about everything under the sun from body image to race and culture, sex to weight loss, politics to media, class to fitness and clean eating. I came across this hugely profound post about Self-Compassion and Weight Loss. Wow. It really hit home. Check out a few of my favorite parts:

“The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.”

Excerpted from Self-Compassion: A Key Factor In Weight Loss | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

And this too:

“I will admit, though, that I think there’s something missing from this entire conversation: people feel an inability to exercise restraint with food because, more often than not, they’re dealing with processed foods that alter their ability to “eat just one.” The fact that I couldn’t control myself when it came to certain foods was something that’d cause me to beat myself up a little bit, too. I can admit that.

See? That’s an example of self-compassion. My admitting that I wouldn’t have been able to control myself or lose my weight if I were still around processed foods? That’s me being compassionate to myself, being sympathetic to my shortcomings… instead of acting like my shortcomings don’t have to be acknowledged because some mystical mental power should exist to save me (and then calling myself an idiot, a loser and a failure for not being able to tap into it.)”

Excerpted from Self-Compassion: A Key Factor In Weight Loss | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

Whoa. Look at that! You see how profound this language is? Imagine instead of beating yourself up for something you ate or did/didn’t do, you have a real conversation with yourself about what went wrong, why it happened, forgiving yourself and moving on. Forgiving yourself and moving on. Much like you would with someone you love and truly care about. Imagine that, treating yourself the same way you treat and care for others. That is powerful and that can go a really long way.

I’ve been there, sometimes I go back to that place where I feel guilty and beat myself up. But then I think about where I am today compared to where I was before I started this journey and I realize that I’ve made it this far because I chose to practice self-compassion instead. I started making healthier choices because I finally started engaging in self-care. When I fall off the wagon, I’m realizing it’s because I switched over to practicing willpower and failing instead of self-compassion and feeling cared for.

Does make sense? I sure hope so!

Cuz this post needed a picture.
Cuz this post needed a picture.

Anywho, how about another blog shout out? Thanks to Brooke from Brooke Not On A Diet for hosting the Back To Basics Challenge in September. I practiced a few of Brooke’s basic rules to healthy living and weight loss and I felt great! To be honest, I only lost a pound this month after practicing Scale-Less September and weighing in for the first time this morning. It’s not much but I’m ok with it and this was certainly one of those “do what you can” months in which I spent at least 2 weeks fighting off feelings of yuckiness and fatigue due to some harsh allergies and an uptick in some of my vitamin deficiencies (super low Vitamin D and low in Iron). I started up my Vitamin D and Iron supplements a little over a week ago and those have helped bring my energy back up so it’s back to the gym I go! Yesterday I got in a 2 mile run on the treadmill and today I got in 30 minutes of walking at lunch. I’m hoping to get back the cardio group classes at lunch starting tomorrow. I’m glad to be getting back to it!

What are your goals for October?

Observations As of Late

Hey kids. I know I’ve been pretty MIA lately and I apologize. I have had a very busy and eventful social life lately that has kept me from being able to be alone with my thoughts about healthy living and eating these days. The truth is, it seems my immune system has decided to slow me down lately and I’ve had to take it easy this last week or so. It could be a combination of a cold and new allergens permeating my sinuses but I have had low energy and have needed to rest more than anything. So I’ve been listening to my body and taking her cues and taking it easy. My daily workouts last week were daily walks during my lunch hour and I did manage to get to the gym once and actually ran on the treadmill. Surprisingly, however, I didn’t feel as completely renewed and awesome as I usually do after a workout and that all led to my taking a sick day on Thursday when I woke up feeling horrible.

All of this is to say that I’m doing quite well despite feeling so icky lately. I’m not ignoring the signs my body is sending and today is actually the first day in quite a few where I can say I woke up feeling energized so I’m happy about that. Eating hasn’t been nutritionally great but I have noticed a few things this past week that are sure-fire signs that I’m a changed woman!

1. I don’t feel much like grazing throughout the day anymore: I used to be such a huge snacker but nowadays, I’ve been pretty content with 3 meals a day and nothing in between besides water or tea. That’s a huge change for me compared to where I was last year when I always felt like a bottomless pit without a good excuse to be (read: I wasn’t exercising). This leads me to my next observation:

2. I don’t get hung up on food anymore: Not every meal HAS to be this monumental event of colors, flavors and tastes. Sure, I would love it if every meal was like that but if I’m just having oatmeal today or a sandwich for lunch, I’m cool with it as long as my hunger is satiated and I can keep functioning normally. In other words, eating is no longer an emotional event for me. This. is. huge.

3. My mind has slowed its obsession over my weight: I constantly thought about weight loss. My mind was a run on sentence of “Calories in, calories out. Need to work out. Did I pack enough vegetables? Did I eat enough fruit today? My daughter needs new shoes. Forgot to call the dentist. When will I run again? I hope I lost more weight this week. What will I do if I didn’t lose weight?” It was exhausting and at times, scary obsessive.  I know that weight management and healthy eating is a lifestyle but when you’re in the process of losing a lot of weight before you go into maintenance mode, these thoughts are ever present and they can consume you. Now that I’ve opted for a simpler approach to get to my goals and also, I chose to practice Scale-Less September, I’m feeling less obsessed and more action-oriented. It’s like I’ve crossed over to another realm where I am actively making better choices because I enjoy them not just because I’m trying to lose weight.

So that’s where I’m at right now and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I am going to start getting back into the gym this week, especially since this week on Brooke Not On A Diet’s Back to Basics challenge, we are to focus on incorporating more exercise into our day. Perfect timing since I really need to get my rear in gear again! What are you going to challenge yourself to get back into this week? What have you observed has changed for you throughout your journey to a healthier life?

❤ M.

Suggestion Box: Simple Rules

simpleDo you abide by some unwritten rules that have become habits in your weight loss/fitness journey? I do. I realized just the other day, that in less than a year, I do things completely different than I ever did before and my little “rules” are now second nature. Here are some of mine:

1. Never just stand on an escalator: with the exception of the people who don’t know the unwritten rules of escalator use ( stand on the right, walk on the left) and unintentionally block my way, I never just stand on an escalator anymore. I always walk up the steps (unless I have my kiddo with me). There’s no reason to just stand there if you’re able-bodied, the escalator is already putting you at an advantage over stairs, throw in the extra steps!

2. Never leave the house without a snack: I try to pack all my food for the day when I head out to work but if I plan on eating lunch out or it’s the weekend, I at the very least bring a healthy snack along for hunger attacks. A piece of fruit or a cheese stick is my saving grace when I’m not sure how soon I will be able to grab a meal.

3. Make fitness work for Y.O.U.: I used to get up at 5 a.m. to run. At that time, it was easy to do because it was new to me, I was excited to push myself and it was early spring and not hot. Now, I’m further along in my fitness and running is still great but not in this heat. Plus, because it’s not as exciting to me now, I can’t drag myself out of bed at 5 a.m. right now, so I don’t. Instead, I pack a gym bag every day and I work out at work. I don’t have to get up earlier nor do I have to leave the house after dinner for a workout. I pack it into my day, I get my hour in and I go back to work and that’s what works for me. If I hadn’t chosen to join the gym at work, I probably wouldn’t be working out at all right now.

4. Unless it’s alcohol, don’t pay for a drink at a restaurant: Water, water, water. At home, soda is a special occasion drink. We only keep water and crystal light or mio at home. Other beverages you’ll find at Casa Unfluff are coffee, tea, milk, almond milk and the occasional beer and/or wine. That’s it.

5. Don’t work out or eat something you really don’t want to if the thought physically repulses you: your body is trying to tell you something if the run you planned makes your eyes well up with tears. If the 8th salad you packed for lunch this week sounds like the grossest thing ever today, go out for something new, save the salad for tomorrow. Sometimes you just need a reset/rest day, so take it and push yourself tomorrow. Better than burning out entirely and waking up 3 days later after a Krispy Kreme and nacho bender.(that’s just an example, I am not speaking from experience but it sounds delicious.)

6. Take pictures: If you feel awesome today, take a picture. I have loads of selfies the world doesn’t know about but I like that I can look back and see the days that I felt and looked amazing. I especially like comparing those to my awkward, I-don’t-feel-awesome-just-fluffy-and-unhealthy pictures. Exhibit A:

1693_1079548430933_5871_n
My “please don’t photograph me face”- 41 lbs ago
3 weeks go, werkin' it.
3 weeks ago, werkin’ it.

7. Be honest with yourself: If you track food or points then do it right and don’t lie to yourself. Not including something in your food log doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. So fess up to myfitensspal (follow me at ProjectUnfluff!)/weight watchers/lose it/food journal and move on with your life.*

_______________________________________________________________________

These little guidelines change from time to time but the point is, it’s ok to set up your very own ground rules. Only you know what your limits are as well as where and when you can push yourself beyond those limits. Don’t make yourself eat kale if you hate it in every way shape or form. If you hate running, then don’t run! Find something else that works for you that you enjoy and makes you feel good. There is no joy or benefit in making yourself do things you loathe, you’ll only give yourself reasons to cheat, slack or worse: quit.

This was a cathartic post to write, Unfluffers. Lately, I’ve been trying to take the pressure off of myself. It’s really hard to go 100% in healthy eating, fitness and all other life things everyday. So I’ve started to really focus on the things that matter (like these ground rules) just to take some of the heat off of myself. If I make it through at least half of these each day, I am happy. You can’t imagine how much better I feel already!

❤ M.

*If you want to learn more about tracking, check out Brooke Not On Diet’s Back to Basics post on tracking. 

Weekly Weigh-In Post: Things Have Stalled

This morning, as I was putting together my lunch I remembered something Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders said earlier this week on her Facebook Page (which you should check out and like!):

Untitled

And that’s when it finally clicked in my brain: you, miss lady, have not been measuring and/or watching your portion sizes! I’ve been off of Weight Watchers since early July and apparently I went ahead and threw some very effective habits away along with my membership. This last month or so has been a whirlwind of road trips and stay-cations and visits from friends and bbq’s and outings. And all of that was also happening when I was doing WW but back then, my progress did not stall the way it has these last few weeks. Sure, summer can take its toll on a weight loss routine but I know better than to blame summer fun for weight gain. My portion sizes lately have been out of control. Even though I’m still exercising the same amount, I have somehow shifted back to eating until the walls of my stomach ache as opposed to sticking to correct portion sizes and giving myself time to feel full.

So I pulled out my measuring cups and spoons this morning and got right back to work. I felt really silly that I have been trying to convince myself lately that my body has just stalled, that I might be hitting a plateau. That would only be true if everything that helped me lose 37 lbs in the first place was exactly the same today. And it’s not, I’ve been slacka-lackin’ and part of me wants to blame being away from WW but the other part knows that WW, MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, etc. all make you track portion sizes and I think I have been under tracking and not really owning up to the actual amount of calories I’ve been taking in.

It’s not easy being on top of every bite you take. After a while all that tracking can get exhausting. And much like the summer mindset, I’ve just been wanting to be more laid back but in all honesty, I still want to lose another 40 pounds and I’m not going to get there with the same habits that made me obese in the first place. Sure, it’s normal to experience a period of no progress but I need to be real with myself (and with you, my readers) right now:

1. I really have no excuse because I’m not particularly busy right now so I need to take advantage of this time.

2. Casa Unfluff would like add another little babycakes to our family in the near future and in preparation for that and for the time it will take to lose weight after another pregnancy in the future, I want to get down in weight as much as possible now. I don’t want to have as much work to do to lose the baby weight next time around! (side note: I’m weirdly excited about really reaping the benefits of the calorie burn from nursing next time around! That was an underutilized weight loss gold mine did not take full advantage of in the 10 months I nursed my daughter.)

3. It will only get harder to lose weight and keep it off as I get older so while I still have 2 years of my 20’s left, I might as well kick major ass now so I can work on maintaining a healthier weight instead of struggling more and more to get there.

So I’m hoping that this is the last of my teeter-totter dance with the scale. I know it will happen here and there but I’m ready for the scale to start going down again and stay down!

MemeCenter_1376597741603_8

Some great things about this past week? How about the fact that my Diet Betters are doing awesome!? As a group of 9, 2 weeks in, we’ve lost a total of 20 lbs and counting! That’s pretty flippin’ awesome. I can’t wait to see how far this little group goes. Also, check out my progress pic:

1174533_10102915600664713_1737515423_n

I really dig that I have less face fluff. Going back to having only one chin and also having a smaller chest (TMI but I don’t care!) are two huge aesthetic goals that I have. I’m glad I posted this picture today because it keeps me focused and affirms that what I’m doing is noticeable and I’m transforming even if the scale tells me otherwise. The new haircut doesn’t hurt either… 😉

And finally, shout out to mancakes! He’s one of the betters that has lost weight AND he has done a fantastic job with meal planning and cooking this week! Here are the things we’ve had this week:

Monday Dinner: Skillet Mexican Zucchini

Tuesday Dinner: Pizza Night (we had a sitter and got to go to the movies!)

Wednesday Breakfast: Homemade fresh peach compote for pancakes

Wednesday Dinner: Baked Eggplant Boats with Sausage

Tonight’s Dinner: Naked Turkey Bruschetta Burgers 

All of those have been nothing short of amazing! Nice job, mancakes!

That’s all for this week’s weigh-in! I got a new Suggestion Box coming soon that will be all about Meal Planning!

❤ M.