Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

bilbl_superHow many miles have you logged towards Bella’s Summer Challenge this week?

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope the past week was a good one for you, and you were able to get in lots of fun & fitness.  I left for a teaching conference last Monday – Thursday, but I’m really proud to say that I logged in lots of miles even though I was traveling.  In fact, because we walked around Sacramento so much, I think I got in more miles than I might’ve if I stayed home.  Either way, it was a great week. Here are my totals as of this morning, including this morning’s workout:

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That’s a total of 46 miles in this week!  It was a lot of walking, but also included elliptical, swimming, and a lot of biking this weekend.  As a reminder, the TIU girls say that biking miles should be divided in 3.  So if you biked 12 miles, you’ll count that as 4 miles.  I myself just count the time spent doing the activity to keep the math simple.  So, since I biked for 70 minutes on Saturday, I counted it as 7 miles.

This week I’m going to fit in some fitness classes, something I love but haven’t been doing yet this summer.  In addition, I want to make sure to get in some swimming and biking, along with lots of walking.

What’s your goal this week? What workouts do you have planned to get those miles in?  Feel free to check in below, or message me on Twitter or Instagram.  And don’t forget to use the hashtags: #150bybacktoschool and #BellasSummerChallenge

So far it looks like I’m the only one using any of these hashtags, at least from my search on Instagram this morning:

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Be sure to grab this chart if you’d like a visual way to track your miles.

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bilbl_superThis week I’ll be traveling to Sacramento for a teaching conference until Thursday, but that’s not an excuse not to workout.  The hotel we’re staying in has a fitness center and a pool, and we always walk to/from the convention center and all of the restaurants for our meals, so staying active will be relatively easy.  Since I’m not sure which cardio machines the fitness center will have, I’m just going to put “cardio” on here for now, and will fill in the specifics when I get to the hotel later today. Here’s this week’s plan:
Monday: evening swim
Tuesday: cardio/swimming + TIU: Take Me to the Sea (shoulders/arms/abs)
Wednesday: cardio/swimming + TIU:Daisy Duke Workout (3 rounds)
Thursday: cardio/swimming + TIU:Beach Yoga w/ Karena
Friday: elliptical + long walk w/ Sofi + TIU: Santorini Bikini + TIU:  Sleek & Slender Abs
Saturday: walk w/ Sofi  + TIU: LYB w/ Kettlebells

And don’t forget that I’ve started a little challenge of my own – getting in 150 miles by the time I have to go back to school for my first teacher workday on August 15. I’d love for you to join me.

I post my daily workouts on Instagram, so follow me (or look at the sidebar of this blog) to see what I’m doing!

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bilbl_superHow many miles have you logged towards Bella’s Summer Challenge this week?

So my idea of posting the weekly check in on Sunday kind of went by the wayside this weekend. LOL.  I guess I was having too much fun on Sunday Funday.  In order to keep things consistent from here on out, I think I’m going to move the check in post to Mondays instead.

This week I clocked lots of miles toward the #150bybacktoschool -

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I’m really proud of how many miles I got in this week!  41 miles in one week is awesome (if I do say so myself!), especially considering it was my birthday week.  But I did make a habit of going to workout first thing in the morning most of the days, and on the days I didn’t hit the gym, I did a ton of walking and biking.

This coming week I’m going to be in Sacramento for a teaching conference – I leave later this afternoon and will return on Thursday afternoon.  One thing we do a lot of while we’re there is walk, so I’m pretty confident that I can log plenty of miles.  The hotel we’re staying at also has a pool and a fitness center, so I really have no excuse not to get in some activity.

What’s your goal this week? What workouts do you have planned to get those miles in?  Feel free to check in below, or message me on Twitter or Instagram.  And don’t forget to use the hashtags: #150bybacktoschool and #BellasSummerChallenge  Be sure to grab this chart if you’d like a visual way to track your miles.

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bilbl_superHow many miles have you logged towards Bella’s Summer Challenge this week?

I thought it would be nice to write a check-in post on Sundays because Sunday is a day that ends the week or begins a new week, depending on your perspective.  I spend a lot of time on Sundays reflecting on what I’ve accomplished and planning my workouts for the upcoming week.

This week I’m pleased with my progress toward the #150bybacktoschool.

2014-06-28 12.45.03 These miles include yesterday’s Giant Race 5K, lots of neighborhood walks with Sofi, and an elliptical session.  I have to admit, I did let myself start my mornings slooooowly this week, and didn’t get in as many workouts at the gym as I usually do.  But I think every once in awhile it’s okay to have more of a milder week, especially considering all the events I’ve been able to enjoy this week.

I have tons of celebrations planned for the upcoming week, too, but I’m determined to get in stronger workouts and to log more miles.  I’m going to get back to C25K, do a spin class or two, hit the elliptical, swim, and of  course, walk with Sofi. I’m giving myself the goal of getting 24 miles in this week.

What’s your goal this week? What workouts do you have planned to get those miles in?  Feel free to check in below, or message me on Twitter or Instagram.  And don’t forget to use the hashtags: #150bybacktoschool and #BellasSummerChallenge  Be sure to grab this chart if you’d like a visual way to track your miles.

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bilbl_superHappy Sunday morning!   My weekend has been really fun so far.  Yesterday I participated in the Giant Race 5K with my friend Di, and we had the best time walking and chatting.  We liked it so much that we decided that next year, we’re going to run the 5-miler.

The race started early – at 7:30am, which was good because it meant we avoided the heat and had the rest of our Saturday to ourselves.  I really think the race shirts were adorable, don’t you?  That’s the SJ Giants’ mascot, Gigante.

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Of course I made us take a pre-race selfie

The course itself was really flat for the most part, although there was one small incline. I definitely think that next year I’d appreciate the challenge of running the 5-mile race.  One really cool aspect of this race was that the finish line took us onto the ballpark green.

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For a while I’d been questioning whether or not I wanted to continue participating in 5Ks.  Whether I wanted to run them, walk them, or just skip them altogether.  When I was doing my own run/walk intervals, I found myself nervous every time it was time to run, so I told myself maybe I should just walk 5Ks from now on.  But every since I’ve re-started C25K, I’ve actually enjoyed the running segments.  The difference is that I’ve slowed myself down and just focused on improving my breathing.  Yesterday’s 5K was fun, but not challenging enough for me. So I’ve decided that in the future, if I find a 5K that I want to participate in, I’m going to run it.  (Hopefully I still feel this way after the MOOnlight 5K I have coming up on July 12, which will be the first 5K I run all the way through).


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We’ve hit the time in the summer that is both a blessing and a curse for me.  A blessing because celebrating special events with friends and family is always fun.  A curse because these memory-making events always come with indulgent foods and drinks. Still, I feel lucky to have so much to celebrate over the course of these two weeks:

  • Italian Heritage Night at the SF Giants (Tuesday night)
  • My dad’s birthday (Wednesday night)
  • A Silpada party (last night)
  • Impromptu BBQ w/ my parents (tonight)
  • SJ Giants baseball game (tomorrow night)
  • Dinner out with a friend for my birthday (Tuesday)
  • My birthday (next Wednesday)
  • 4th of July
  • My friend’s annual 5th of July party

At each of these events, I’m going to make the best choices possible.  For example, Wednesday night at my dad’s birthday dinner, which we had at a local bocce court and restaurant, I ordered steamed clams and mussels in a white wine/tomato/garlic broth.  Healthy and very delicious, but we also had red wine. Which is fine, and wouldn’t affect my weight loss, except that I had a beer at the Giants game the night before, and I had cucumber sangria at my party last night.  See what I mean?  None of these choices alone are bad; but together they make it hard to lose weight.

Which is honestly why I didn’t weigh in on Wednesday.  I’d had an Italian sausage (no bun), beer, and a bit of kettle corn the night before at the game, and I knew it would put me up on the scale, even if it is just water weight.

Now I’m not saying that during this next week and a half I’m going to throw everything out the window and eat with wild abandon while lazing around at home inactive. That’s just not me anymore.  I’m still making good choices, I’m still eating small portions, and I’m still working out as much as ever.  But at this point in my weight loss journey, indulging a bit and working out equals maintaining my weight, not losing. 

Which I’m fine with – until July 6th.  I’ve decided that I’m perfectly happy to maintain my weight loss for the next week or so.  I’m actually really happy with the way I look and feel right now.  I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished and enjoy seeing the person who looks back at me in the mirror.  But I still weigh more than I’d like to, so I’m not quite ready to call this my goal weight.  Not just yet.

So beginning on July 6th I’m going to get back to my weight loss mode.  I want to drop another 30 pounds, and while I know it’s going to be a lot harder to do it now that I’m at this weight, I know I can do anything I put my mind to.  Those 30 pounds aren’t going to come off in just one summer, but I can lose 1/3 – 1/2 of them if I get back to being a bit stricter with my food choices.

Which is not to say that I can’t have fun this summer, but I want to keep my ultimate goal in mind. My journey isn’t over just yet, and I’m excited to continue on with it after this brief rest stop.

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bilbl_superI had so much fun challenging myself to the Tone It Up #150bysummer goal (I exceeded it by 5 miles and logged 155 miles) that I didn’t want to see it end right when summer is just starting.

For me, summer is the time that I get in lots of daily workouts, because:

  • it’s something I can do by myself or with friends
  • it gets me outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather
  • it’s very inexpensive
  • it fills my time off in a very productive way
  • I love the way I feel while/after I’m working out

This morning on FB, Kandis TIU, who is a huge supporter of the entire TIU Community, made an adorable chart for tracking our cardio miles. She purposely made it blank at the top so that we could edit it and use it for our own purposes.  So, I thought I’d put out a summer challenge that we can all do together.

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Bella’s Summer Challenge: #150byBacktoSchool

The way the TIU miles work is simple.  If you can count miles, like when you’re walking or running, do that. If you’re biking, you’re supposed to divide your mileage by 3 (so if you biked for 12 miles, you’d only count 4 miles into your totals). If you’re doing a class or some other form of cardio, 1 mile = 10 minutes of intense cardio.

Since I was able to do 155 miles in the 8 weeks of the Bikini Series (and that was with me taking about a week and a half off), I figured we should all be able to log 150 miles in the 8 weeks between now and the time I go back to school, August 15th (my first teacher workday). I’ll be using Instagram/Twitter to keep myself accountable, using the hashtags: #150byBacktoSchool and #BellasSummerChallenge. Be sure to tag me @bellablogger on Instagram or Twitter so that I can see how well you’re doing.  And because I love incentives, I’ll be doing a small giveaway for the people who log the most miles/check in often.

Use the chart above and mark off your miles each day, along with a pic of you doing the activity, and a cool quote, if you’d like.  My favorite apps to jazz up photos are Rhonna Designs, A Beautiful Mess, and InstaPic Frames. I’ll post my favorites each week on this blog, along with my totals so far so that we can encourage each other.

Are you in?

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bilbl_superThis is the first full week of summer!  Even though the #TIU #bikiniseries is over, I’m planning to kick my workouts into high gear this week.  The great thing about Tone It Up is that the weekly workout schedules don’t stop.  I’ll be following their toning plan throughout the summer, and beyond.  Here’s this week’s plan:
Monday: C25K, W5D3 (which includes running for 20 straight minutes!) + Vinyasa Yoga in the late afternoon.***
Tuesday: stair workout with a teacher friend + TIU new toning (coming out early Tuesday afternoon)
Wednesday: C25K, W6D1 + Warm Yoga Flow + TIU: Bridal Babe Workout + Honeymoon Ready Routine
Thursday: Hot Tapas Yoga (similar to Bikram)+ TIU: HIIT the Beach 2 (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Friday: Hot Tapas Yoga + C25K, W6D2 + TIU: Daisy Duke Workout (3 rounds) + TIU: Hula Booty (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Saturday: Giant 5K w/ Di  (walking) + TIU: Cowabunga

***Today, TIU had the suggestion of going to a yoga class this afternoon, or doing one of their yoga routines. I’m so thankful that they suggested this, because I remembered that I had 19 yoga classes that I’d purchased last summer and were about to expire July 31st.  So, you’re going to see yoga on my schedule several times a week from now until then.

Now that the Bikini Series is over, I thought I’d start a little challenge of my own – getting in 150 miles by the time I have to go back to school for my first teacher workday on August 15. I’d love for you to join me.

I post my daily workouts on Instagram, so follow me (or look at the sidebar of this blog) to see what I’m doing!

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Today marks thirteen months since my VSG surgery, and it’s also Friday, so it’s really a cause for celebration.  I was really interested to see my measurements today, since I skipped measuring last month and because I know I’ve gone down a size in my clothes.












-0.75 inch












-0.5 inch




-1 inch



25 -0.5 inch









I’m happy with this progress, although I did think I might see bigger changes between the two months.  Still, I’m so happy knowing that I’ve gone down a size in both pants and tops.


I have on different pants in the photo from today, but the top is the same. The photos on the left were actually taken for the Tone It Up #bikiniseries on April 29, 2014 and the ones on the right were taken today, June 20, 2014.

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Even though the two photos are slightly off in angle, I can see a difference in my abs and in my hips/thighs.

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My body is turned slightly in the photo on the right, but I do think I can see more of definition in my midsection. (Part of the problem is that the pants I’m wearing on the right fit me a lot more snugly than the ones on the left, so it’s a bit deceiving).

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Again, the angle is off between the two photos, but I think my butt looks smaller in the photo on the right.

And just for good measure, I thought I’d include a great comparison picture, my driver’s license.  The “before” was taken 4 years ago, and the one on the right was taken yesterday, right after I got out of the DMV.  Quite a difference, right?  And that wasn’t even me at my heaviest on the right.  Wow!

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I look forward to seeing what I can achieve over the next month. Thanks for sharing my 13-month surgiversary with me!


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It’s summertime! Which means that school is out, my schedule is my own, and I’m footloose and fancy free.  Summer means the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and I can kick my workouts (and my weight loss!) into high gear.  I have less than 30 pounds to go to reach my ultimate weight loss goal, and I plan to lose quite a bit of that this summer. But this summer is about so much more than losing weight; it’s about living my new life.  I worked so hard for this new, healthy body, and I want to spend this summer doing a lot of the things I only dreamed of doing when I was at my heaviest.  That means riding rollercoasters, running in 5Ks, trying new water sports, wearing styles (and sizes!) of clothes that I could never wear before.  I want to LIVE every moment of this summer to the fullest. I’ve moved my weigh-ins to Wednesdays as a way to check in midweek. My Wednesday progress updates will be called Sensational Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 55  has been wonderful! Even though it’s summer vacation, and I haven’t had to go into work, I have been really busy each day.  I’m hoping that things will slow down a little bit, so that I have more time to spend relaxing.  Still, staying busy and active is a great way to stay on track, so I’m not complaining.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 179.6, which is a loss of 0.4 pounds this week***,and a loss of 97.4 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 135.4 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 29.6 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m in the 170s!!!  Just barely, but hey, I’ll take it! Especially after having a stall in my weight loss that lasted 6 weeks.  ***I have the stars by this week’s weight loss because I actually lost 6.2 pounds from June 8 to June 15 because I’d gained 5 pounds of water weight during the last two weeks of school when things got crazy and I stopped working out for a week and wasn’t making the best food choices.  I knew the weight would come off quickly, and it did.  And it got me down to the 170s.  But since my last reported weight on this blog was 180, I’m going to keep it simple and say that I’ve lost 0.4 this week.  (I have it all documented on MFP for accuracy).  Another reason I have the stars by my weight this morning is that I’ve been fairly constipated this week even though I’ve been drinking plenty of water.  I know it’s because I got out of my habit of taking the fiber supplement, and I need to get back to it, ASAP, because I don’t like this feeling.  So I’m guessing that I’ve actually lost more weight than the scale showed this morning, but I want to go with what the actual numbers were, so that’s what I’m reporting.

I’m really happy with the way I’ve been eating.  It’s nice to have so many more choices of fruits and veggies during the summer, and of course, I love being able to grill my proteins every night.  Eating in the summer is just so much easier – I just naturally make lighter, healthier choices, even when going out.  For example, I joined Tinkerbell and her hubby for happy hour at The Fish Market on Monday evening, and enjoyed some delicious oysters on the half shell.  I know raw oysters aren’t everyone’s thing, but to me they are the essence of summertime – fresh, light, and salty.  Yum!  I also enjoyed a couple of pieces of sushi along with most of a small fish taco along with some wine.  Light bites that were highly enjoyable yet totally within my food budget.  I love being able to go out socially, but not overindulge. The same thing happened with our Father’s Day BBQ – we planned a menu that worked well for the way I like to eat, and it was really delicious.  What are your favorite, healthy summer meals?

Exercising has been fantastic.  Most mornings I’ve been meeting Tinkerbell to workout at 7 or 7:30, which is a great way to start the day.  It’s early enough to give me the rest of the day to do whatever I need to, but not crack-of-dawn early like I was doing during the school year. I also met up with a co-worker, and she and I have plans to do a stair workout on Friday. While I enjoy working out alone, it’s definitely fun to meet up with friends and catch up while getting the workout in. I’ve been keeping the variety in my workouts by doing spinning, elliptical, C25K, walks with Sofi, and of course, the ToneItUp toning workouts. This coming week I want to take a few more fitness classes, like Body Combat, and work in some yoga sessions, too.

I have two NSVs to share, both of which are really exciting!  A while ago I was talking with Scale Warfare, who had VSG surgery about two years before I did.  I was telling her about how the jiggliness of my thighs was making it really difficult to buy comfy yoga pants.  Sure, I could fit into smaller sizes, but a lot of the thinner, summer-friendly yoga pants weren’t working with all the extra wiggle I had going on now that I’d lost so much weight and had the excess skin in my thighs.  She suggested that I try Victoria’s Secret yoga pants, because while they were thin and light, they were also fairly good at ‘sucking it all in.’ So a couple of weeks ago I when they were having a sale, I went on the site and ordered VS Most-Loved Yoga Crops in a size Large! I wasn’t sure A.) if they would fit and B.) how they would look if I could get them on.  They came in the mail yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more pleased! They fit great, really hold things in, and are still really light and comfy.  If loose skin/jiggly thighs are at all an issue for you, I’d highly recommend them.


The 2nd NSV is something I’m super proud of.  This morning I tackled C25K, Week 5, Day 2, which includes a 5 min. walking warmup, 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of brisk walking, 8 minutes of running, and a 5 minute cool down.  And I did it!! I’ve started C25K two other times – once when I was way too heavy to run and then more recently after my surgery.  The first time, I was repeating the weeks two times, and I couldn’t make it to running more than 90 seconds at a time, because my poor body just couldn’t do it.  The second time, I stopped at Week 5; I just couldn’t run for 5 minutes in a row.  I could do 3 or even 4, but not 5.  So today when I was running for 8 whole minutes without stopping, and feeling really strong in my run, I amazed myself!  The key, besides being at my lightest weight in the past 20-something years, is that I’m taking the runs very slowly.  I’m at a 4.3mph run, which is just fine by me if it means that I can run for that duration and feel good.  I did move it up to 4.5mph with two minutes to go and felt good, and then “sprinted” up to 5.omph the last 30 seconds, just to see if I could.  And I did!  5.0mph isn’t a pace I can sustain right now, but it is kind cool that I can keep up with it for a very short duration.  This is all so exciting! I will say I’m a bit nervous about Friday’s run: 20 minutes of straight jogging!! But I know I can do it if I just keep my mind positive and my breathing steady. Plus, it’s right on track with my goal of running the entire MOOnlight 5K on July 12th.

Today’s quote is perfect.  It speaks to this person I’ve become – the woman who is unafraid of challenges in every aspect of her life, which finally also includes weight loss and fitness.  I have created a wonderful, vibrant life for myself, and it’s so exciting to be living it to the fullest.

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Until Wednesday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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