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bilbl_superThis week is exciting because it’s the start of the ToneItUp Bikini Series!  As you guys know, I love being a member of the TIU community, and use their workout plan as my weekly inspiration.  I recently purchased their Beach Babe 4 Workouts, and I’m really looking forward to trying out some new moves.  Besides the support I get online from the other TIU girls, I also have a standing workout date with my friend Amy on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  We don’t always make it to all the workouts, but it’s nice to have a set plan in place that we try to reach.  And when RDC3 and I see each other on the weekends, we always  try to workout together.  This week my main goal is to use my time as wisely as I can so that I can fit in the workouts and all my other responsibilities.  That seems to be the hardest part for me at this time of the year – fitting in after school grading, keeping up with the house (cleaning, laundry, etc), and making time for working out.  But where I just have to stay organized and MAKE the time.  Here’s this week’s plan:

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Monday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Total Body (x3) + TIU Rock Your Body (Beach Babe 4 workouts)+ walk Sofi
Tuesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Booty +TIU Bikini Bod + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + stair stepper)👯.
Wednesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Arms +HIITY Bitty Bikini + K&K Slay and Toned Arms (Beach Babe 4 workouts) + walk Sofi  👯
Thursday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: + 40 min gym cardio (treadmill + elliptical) + Cardio Yoga (Beach Babe 4 workouts – I’m going to see how I feel after doing the other workouts and then decide on the yoga)
Friday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Total Body + Total Body Tone Up (Beach Babe 4 workouts) + 30 min walk with Sofi
Saturday: AM:  TIU 5 Daily Moves:      + 30 min gym cardio (stair stepper + bike) + Cardio Abs (Beach Babe 4 workouts)+ walk Sofi 👸🏻🤓
Sunday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves:  + 30 min gym cardio (elliptical + row) + TIU Bikini Buns &  Thighs + Legs for Days (Beach Babe 4 workouts) + walk Sofi👸🏻🤓

AM = early morning workout before work
PM = afternoon/evening workout after work
👯 = friend workout
👸🏻🤓 = couple workout with RDC3

Keep me accountable!! 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_superI’m really excited about the workout week ahead just to show myself that I’m not just talking the talk, but that I can *literally* walk the walk, too.  Way back when I was really on my game, I was waking up at 5am to workout before school.  This school year that hasn’t happened, so instead of setting myself up for major disappointment when I fail to stop hitting snooze, I’ve decided to be more realistic in this week’s plan.  Most days of this week, I’m going to workout after work.  Friday will be my only pre-work workout, because I have fun plans with RDC3 on Friday night, and I know I won’t be able to workout after school is over.  I haven’t done my ToneItUp workouts in a really long time, so I’m very excited to get back to those.  Here’s this week’s plan:

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Monday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Booty + TIU Thailand Tush + walk Sofi + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + rowing)
Tuesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Abs + TIU Bikini Abs (x2) + TIU 5 Min Ab Workout + walk Sofi + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + stair stepper)👯. Update: I ended up taking a rest day because I had too much grading I needed to get through. 
Wednesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Balance Ball + TIU Band Workout + 45 min gym cardio (rowing + elliptical) 👯
Thursday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Foam Roller + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + elliptical) Update: I ended up taking a rest day. 
Friday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Booty + Tone HIIT Up video (x2)
Saturday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Arms + TIU Beach Arms DVD + 30 min gym cardio (spin bike) + walk Sofi 👸🏻🤓
Sunday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Total Body Toning + 30 min gym cardio (stair stepper + treadmill) + walk Sofi👸🏻🤓

AM = early morning workout before work
PM = afternoon/evening workout after work
👯 = friend workout
👸🏻🤓 = couple workout with RDC3

Keep me accountable!! 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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-5

Spring has sprung! Which means that the weather is turning warmer, the days are getting longer, and fitting in outdoor activities is a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of renewal, and in the spring of 2016  I’m living my life in full bloom! Now that I’m losing the weight that I’ve re-gained, the pounds I lose this spring are like petals on a flower, making my life just a bit more beautiful. I want to enjoy each day of this season, soaking in the sunshine, blue skies, and happiness. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. My Sunday progress updates will be called Super Spring Weigh-Ins.

Week 1 of losing my regain found me slowly getting back on track after that painful reality check of last week’s weigh in when I saw 201.0 on the scale; a number I thought I’d never see again.  But sometimes a shock to the system is exactly what it takes to get me moving in the right direction. I was on spring break this week, so I had the time to make some slight, yet significant changes: I went on a hike and worked out at the gym with RDC3, I got in over 10,000 steps on trips to Half Moon Bay (with RDC3 and my parents) and Carmel (with RDC3 and Sofi).  I made a grocery run, prepared healthier meals, and had a general sense of things getting back into place.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 199.2, which is a loss of 1.8 pounds this week! I’ve lost a total of 77.8 lbs since surgery and 115.8 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 49.2 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really happy with this week’s loss.  The first pound came off right away when I did my daily weigh-in on Monday; the other 0.8 came off a little at a time as the week continued.  Not only did I lose almost 2 pounds without any huge changes to my diet and exercise, but I’m gratefully back in ONEDERLAND.  I will never get out of it again!

Today I had an NSV when I texted RDC3 for our Sunday weight loss accountability update.  We’ve both gained weight since we’ve been together, so we’ve decided that enough is enough and it’s time to get serious about getting these pounds off.  He’s as committed to living a healthy lifestyle as I am, which is so nice. This is a whole new experience for me, because while I’ve had lots of great female friends who are weight loss buddies, I’ve never shared the weight loss journey with a boyfriend before.  That’s where the milestone comes in.  I’ve never, ever shared my actual weight with someone I was dating before.  EVER.  Even last week when I had that fateful weigh-in, I told RDC3 how much I’d gained, but not the actual number on the scale.  Today when I texted him my update, I told him the number.  Gulp!  He knew what it meant to me to be able to feel safe in sharing that with him, and he was so supportive.  He cheered on the fact that I’d lost 1.8 lbs, and didn’t make it a big deal about the 201.  Which means absolutely everything to me.  As he said, “we should be able to share everything with each other.”  And I couldn’t agree more.  That’s one of the many reasons I know that this is IT!

Phew! This week has been quite productive, when I look back at everything.  I faced the scale, made some easy changes, saw weight loss results, shared my weight with my boyfriend, and made lots of updates on my blog.  Progress!!

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

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Everyday Bellina{Tap, tap…is this thing on?}

It seems that my last several posts, of which there have been far too few, have all started the same way: “It’s been so long since my last post. I’ve been….”  And while that’s still true, I don’t want to make a bunch of excuses for why my posting has been so sparse.  Instead, I think I’ll just give an update.

Life has been amazing.  I’m blessed in so many ways.

Let’s begin with the love life, shall we? As I posted earlier, I met a truly fantastic person, RDC3.  The update is that I am madly and deeply in love with him, and happily, the feelings are mutual.  Yes, the “L” word has been spoken out loud. Without planning it that way, we said it to each other for the first time very late at night/early in the morning on our 6-month anniversary. We were having a very deep conversation, as we often do late at night on Sundays, and we both expressed how we were feeling.  I’ll never forget it.  (Truth be told, I’d told RDC3 that I loved him a couple of months earlier, but this was the first time he’d actually said it out loud to me.  I knew how he felt because of his actions and the way he looked at me, but it’s a whole other thing to hear those words spoken for the first time, you know?).  I definitely think saying it to each other with such honest emotion took our relationship to another level.  There are so many details that I could share, but I’ve made the decision that I want to keep our relationship private.  Which is odd for someone like me who likes to detail so much of my life.  But our relationship is so special to me that I don’t want to put it all out there for the world to read about.  Of course I’ll highlight our most important milestones, or fabulous things we do together, but the intimate details are going to stay just that, intimate.

Work has been going really well.  I’m loving being back in the classroom! I’m teaching the same American Lit honors and yearbook classes I used to, and this year I have a new sophomore English class that I’m really enjoying.  I was actually really worried about the 10th-graders, because I’d heard that they were “freshmen without fear.”  But my particular students are sweet and very friendly, and I’m so glad that I’m teaching those two classes.  They’re actually a ton of fun because they’re more mature than freshmen, but not as stressed out as the juniors.  I’m really enjoying teaching the new curriculum, but it is a lot of work to create brand new lessons and pacing for this class.  So I am looking forward to next year, when I don’t have to do quite so much work for that class.  I’m very proud of myself for the way that I’ve been able to keep up with the grading this year.  Especially considering that I now balance a social life with my working life.

The one thing that has really slipped is my fitness.  In terms of my weight, I’ve gained about 7-10 pounds (it varies) of “love” weight.  Mostly due to the fact that I’ve hardly been working out.  Thankfully, my sleeve (VSG) keeps me in control in terms of the portions I eat.  No matter how decadent the dinner we eat might be, I’m still able to keep things in moderation because I don’t eat that much of any one thing.  My workouts have suffered, not because of RDC3, but because of my teaching schedule.  I haven’t been very motivated to wake up by 4:45am so that I can workout, get ready, and make it to school by 7:30am.  But that has to change because I don’t like the lack of muscle tone that I’m noticing in my body.  I was doing so well, and I want to get back to that.  In fact, I want to surpass where I was.

In terms of my future with this blog, I want to be a lot more active than I have been in the past 7 months.  (Geez writing 2 posts in that time would be an improvement).  I won’t make any certain commitment to how often I’ll be writing, because I don’t want to disappoint myself (or anyone else) by not meeting that commitment.  And I won’t be writing much (if at all) about my relationship.  But I do want to continue to motivate myself and others by writing about returning to my workout routine, my weight loss, and my determination to reach my goals.

{In the mean time, if it’s been a while since I’ve posted something on this blog, check out my Instagram account – I post on there almost daily}.

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Now that I’m finally coming up for air after a week of celebrating, I wanted to make sure to capture just how special my birthday was this year.  I’ve written before about how my parents always made my birthday like my own private holiday, and this year was no exception.

The birthday festivities started on Monday, with a dinner at my friend Tinkerbell’s house.  She made really delicious food and gave me a “fun in the sun” gift bag filled with lots of goodies that I’m going to enjoy using all summer long.

Next up was a birthday dinner with my parents and sister on Wednesday night.  We went to an Italian restaurant that we enjoy, and had great food.  Afterward we went back to my parents’ house where I opened presents.  They were all really generous, and bought me everything I’d wanted from my Amazon wishlist, including a new  blender, a beautiful ring, a pretty turquoise and silver necklace, and car wash certificates, to name a few. I know just how lucky I am to have this family.

Thursday, my actual birthday, was one of the best days of recent memory.  I woke up, enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee, perused social media and saw all of the fun birthday wishes, and took Sofi on a long walk.  All leading up to spending the day with RDC3.  That’s what I was most looking forward to because I knew we were going to have an amazing time, as we always do when he and I are together.  No matter what we do, I always have the best time with him because he makes everything so special.  And is there really anything better than spending time with someone you’re crazy about?

For so long, I wanted to share my life with someone, and now that I have this amazing man in my life, it makes all the years that I was alone worth it.  He is definitely worth the wait, and I’m so grateful that fate stepped in and put him in my life.  As independent as I am, I have to admit that I’m a person who enjoys being part of a couple.  But not just with anyone – it takes a very special someone to spark this in me and RDC3 definitely has.  I don’t want to gush, but the relationship we’re forging is really more than I could have ever dreamed of.

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Our day started with him surprising me with a bag from Chanel.  I wasn’t expecting any sort of present from him because he’d just taken me to the opera (that post will be coming soon) the week before, and I’d told him that that was more than enough of a birthday present.  So when he presented me with a beautifully decorated gift bag from Chanel, which he’d gone up to SF to buy at their boutique so that they would wrap it with all the trimmings, I was floored.  He bought me a beautiful bottle of Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, which has a light, fresh fragrance that is sure to become my new signature scent.  Every time I wear it, I’ll definitely think of him and how thoughtful he is to go out of his way to buy this for me.  Not just the expense of the present, which is significant, but the fact that he went all the way to SF to buy it at the boutique so that they’d wrap it up in such pretty packaging.  He definitely knows how to make me feel special.  The card that he wrote which accompanied the gift is something I’ll also treasure.  RDC3 always claims that he’s not great with words, but the things he wrote in that card definitely made my heart smile.

After the gift, we were on our way to Half Moon Bay, at my request.  There’s a beach right near El Grenada called Pillar Point that has to be my very favorite place on earth.  It has huge boulders that reach all the way out to the middle of the ocean, and lots of fishermen and surfers go there.  Not too many tourists, although it’s right by an RV park.  I discovered it by accident about 20 years ago, and ever since, it’s held a really special place in my heart.  Whenever I was having a bad day and just needed to clear my head, I’d drive there with my notebook and write about whatever was going on. I loved hearing the crash of the waves and seeing the inevitable fog roll in and realize how small my problems were in comparison to the immensity of the ocean.  The ocean is such a source of comfort and power for me, and I love spending time at this place, just thinking about life.  I hadn’t been since losing my weight, and I’d never taken someone special there before, so it meant a lot that we were going there together.

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Climbing the rocks is always a bit daunting for me, but I found that it was quite a bit easier for me this time around than ever before.  Just another example of how much my weight loss has positively impacted my life.  RDC3 and I found  the perfect spot, and we each took to our own rocks to take in the scene.  I really liked that we were able to be there together, but each enjoy it in our own separate ways.

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After a time, I asked RDC3 to join me on my rock so that we could sit there quietly and take everything in together.  Sitting on the rock with him, sharing with him how special it was for me to have him there with me in that moment and in my life in general meant so much. He told me something incredibly touching (which I’m going to keep between the two of us), and again my heart swelled with happiness.  I got a bit teary eyed thinking about how lucky I am to have this amazing person in my life.

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View through the sun roof as we were driving on Hwy 1

View through the sun roof as we were driving on Hwy 1

Next up we were driving up Highway 1, on our way to SF to the Cliff House for dinner.  I’d never been, although I’d passed by it many times while I lived in San Fran.  RDC3’s father used to take him there to celebrate special occasions, so the restaurant had a lot of sentimental value for him, making it all the more meaningful that he wanted to bring me there for my birthday.  RDC3 had requested a window table, which is the only way to go at this restaurant.  The views are breathtaking!

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We decided on a great bottle of red, which I completely loved, as you can tell.

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This is a really expensive restaurant; definitely something for special occasions.  The menu is limited, but the food is truly delicious.  I ordered the lamb chops and RDC3 got the duck. We thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, the food, and the entire experience.

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After dinner, I wanted to walk along Ocean Beach.  It was so hauntingly beautiful that I just couldn’t resist going in.  Whenever I’m by the ocean, I always have to at least dip my feet into the water, but this night I was feeling so happy, that I waded out a bit further, even though I had my jeans on and it was freezing outside.  Oddly enough, the water was fairly warm (for an SF ocean), so I started getting a bit more daring. 

 

Even I didn’t expect a huge wave to crash up and hit my jeans all the way up to my thighs!  RDC3 looked like he wasn’t quite sure what to do with this crazy girl who was completely soaked, yet laughing at it all.  In that moment I was just so grateful and happy.

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I can honestly say that this has been the best birthday I’ve had in the past 20 years, maybe ever.  It has everything to do with the people in my life making me feel so loved and cherished.  I am so blessed to have all of these people in my life, and I will never forget July 2, 2015.  It was a day to remember forever.

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bilbl_superOn Sunday, June 14th my sister, 3 friends, and I got up super early and drove up to San Francisco’s Presidio area to participate in the inaugural Mermaid Series Tour de San Francisco bike ride.  I was so excited to take part in this ride because I’ve participated in Mermaid Series events a few times in the past, and appreciated how organized and fun they are. Plus, I love riding my bike, and who better to do it with than my sister and my 3 BFFs?  Not to mention, I’ve never ridden my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, so that would be exciting, too.

We’d signed up for the 7-mile ride, choosing the more conservative mileage since this was our first attempt.  I kept thinking we should’ve signed up for the 13-miler, but once I saw the hills involved in that leg of the ride, I’m so glad we stuck with the shorter distance.

Since it was 6:30am when we left my house, the ride up to the City was smooth and easy.  Hardly any other crazies on the road at that time of the morning on a Sunday.  We even found a primo parking area, which made the start of the race really nice.

Of course we had to stop and take some pre-race photos to capture the moment.

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Geared up and ready to ride!

Geared up and ready to ride!

It was a foggy morning, which is usual at Crissy Field in the morning, but it was the perfect temperature for the bike ride.  As we made our approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, we all took photos to capture the beauty all around us.

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As we turned that corner, we realized what they meant by a “medium-sized hill.”  I guess the Mermaid Series is all about the art of understatement, because the hill was quite steep.  I rode it almost all the way to the top, but eventually had to get off my bike and walk.  One of my goals for next year’s ride (because my friends and I all plan on doing this ride again next year) is to make it up the hill all the way without getting off to walk.

Once we hit a really scenic area right before we’d get on the Bridge, we all stopped to take photos again.

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I love this pic of my sister and me and our

I love this pic of my sister and me and our “dueling” bikes.

Now it was time to get on the Bridge and ride. The wind was blowing, the fog was rolling, the cars were speeding by, and other bikers kept saying, “on your left,” but despite these obstacles, I was truly awed at the fact that I was riding my bike on this magnificent bridge.  There really is nothing else like it anywhere.

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The journey toward Sausalito was tough – my legs were pumping and we were fighting the elements, including that brutal wind, which offered a ton of resistance.  There was also a very steady incline the entire time.  All of this didn’t phase me, though, because if I have one thing going for me with these big thighs it’s that they’re strong and powerful.

We made it to the Sausalito side and found another opportunity to take a water break and snap a few more photos.

My sis and I, happy that we made it across.

My sis and I

When one of your friends is 6 feet tall and you're only 5'3

When one of your friends is 6 feet tall and you’re only 5’3″, taking a selfie is tough business.

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Luckily, we found two nice sisters who were willing to take a proper group photo for us. I love this photo so much, and have made it my cover photo on FB.

Inspired that we’d made it halfway across the Bridge, we knew heading back to the end would be much easier. Not only was the wind on our side this way, but we also had a steady decline on the way back, too.  I had my bike on the highest gear and my had on the break almost the entire way back.  The only harrowing part was the cross traffic of bikers, and the “expert” riders who were also trying to pass in a very narrow space.  Since this wasn’t a race, but just a ride, I’m not sure what the need was to pass with so little room.  Not to mention that most of these people weren’t even taking part in the ride.  I guess people like speed.  I’m not one to talk – I’m highly competitive and prefer going as fast as possible, most of the time.

I got away from most of the “traffic” so that I could take a few more action shots and a quick video.

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The entire time I was riding to the finish line, I just kept thinking about how happy I was to share this experience with these awesome ladies.  And about how far I’d come – at my heaviest weight I might have been able to make the 7-miles, but I know I would’ve been so much slower and very sore for days afterward.  And I would have been ultra concerned with how my big butt looked on that cruiser.  I can honestly say this thought didn’t even cross my mind once during the ride.  I know I still have a big booty, but I’m proud of it, and all of my curves.  Doing these kinds of events always solidifies for me how much I’ve accomplished in my weight loss and fitness goals.

Once we hit the finish line, which we crossed as a 5-pack, we triumphed over our achievement.  You can’t miss those huge smiles on our faces at a job well done.

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I cannot say enough about what a great time we had on this ride.  It was scenic, challenging, and so much fun.  If you have the chance to do a Mermaid Series race, ride, or swim, I highly recommend it.  My sister, friends, and I all said we’re looking forward to making this an annual adventure. Can’t wait!

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Getting Real

Before I get into my joining in on the ToneItUp Bikini Series again this year, I thought I should take a moment to get real.  It’s been quite some time since I updated my weight on this blog (or even on MFP, for that matter).  I’ve mentioned in a previous post that throughout the fall and winter, my workouts and eating had been a bit sporadic.  I did workouts some days, but nothing extremely consistent, as I had been.  I ate pretty well, but did let more carbs and “snacks” creep into my diet, especially as the holidays approached.  And I gained about 13 pounds from my lowest weight of 170, meaning that on Sunday, April 12th I weighed in at 183.0.  I wasn’t overly surprised by this gain; my clothes had started to fit a bit snugger and my face didn’t look as thin as it had in late summer.  At the same time, I know that in my pre-WLS days not eating great and not working out for 6 months would have netted a gain of much more than 13 pounds.  Which is why I’m so grateful for this VSG tool.  It helps to keep me in line with my portion sizes and helps me make sure that things don’t ever get totally out of control.  13 pounds I can deal with.

TIU Bikini Series

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Thanks to @toningupcoco for creating this awesome image!

ToneItUp is at it again – helping people get “bikini ready” in the 8 weeks before summer.  Since this is their 5th year of the Bikini Series, they decided to kick things off a bit earlier, so this year’s Bikini Series will end on June 6th.  Just like last year, I decided to join in on the fun, and immediately signed up for the Bikini Series.  Unlike last year, I’ve become a full-fledged member of the TIUTeam this year.  I bought the TIU Nutrition Program, which includes 1000s of recipes and meal ideas.  Once you buy the Nutrition Program, you’re a member for life; you’re never charged more and you get seasonal additions to the plan. This year for the 5th Bikini Series, they came out with an 8-week meal plan, making it that much easier to follow the TIU suggested meals.  They even included a grocery list and meal prep guide.  With all this built in organization and healthy eating, I just couldn’t wait to start on April 12th.

To prepare, I hit Sprouts and Trader Joe’s on Saturday, and spent some time meal prepping so that I’d be ready to start my day on Sunday with all the foods I needed for the early part of the day.

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Then I spent a few hours on Sunday prepping food for the rest of the week.  I’m really enjoying the recipes they suggested, and have been liking trying some new ingredients like shredded coconut and almond flour, trying new meals like chia pudding, and eating a bit more calories than I’m used to.  Since their meals are all based around clean, whole foods, upping the calories hasn’t been departmental to my weight loss.  I have had to cut the portion sizes to fit my post-WLS tummy, but that’s been pretty simple.  At this point, almost 2 years post-op, I know how much I can eat in one sitting.  (So, instead of eating 6oz of mahi mahi, I eat 4oz). I love how colorful and full of flavor the meals are, and I’m eating a ton of fruits and veggies.  The recipes themselves are all pretty easy to make, which is a plus.

Here’s an example of a typical day of food on the Bikini Series 8-Week Meal Plan:

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Breakfast: Blueberry Zest muffins, strawberries, and 1/2 protein shake (I added this in lieu of almond milk because it has more protein)
Snack: apple and hard-boiled egg
Lunch: Spinach, tuna w/ wasabi mayo (this is another one of my own meals, not strictly on the plan, but within most of their guidelines)
Snack: Berry Bright Chia Pudding
Dinner: Chili in a Bowl w/1/4 avocado

Bikini Series Goals

Another thing I really like about the Tone It Up approach is that it’s not just about food and working out (although those are super-important!), it’s also about the mindset you have.  They suggested setting goals to accomplish throughout the Bikini Series:

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I’m really proud of the fact that this week, I woke up and did my “bootycalls” (morning workouts) all 5 days before work!  It wasn’t always easy, but I made it happen, and I really do think my day went better because I got the workout in early and felt so energized.  I also love creating the photo collages I put up on IG every morning, like this one I did today:

IMG_3687 As you can see, I’m already well on my goal of hitting 100 miles  by summer! I’m doing so well on this goal that I may increase it to 150 miles by summer – I want to wait another week and see how many I log after two weeks before I make the switch.

TIU Team

Another huge part of the Tone It Up philosophy is women supporting and encouraging each other.  Last year I started following tons of other TIU girls on IG, liking and commenting on their photos.  This year I decided to amp it up a bit by joining two new groups on FB dedicated to TIU.  One is a general TIU Bikini Series group that has people from all over the world in it.  It’s been a fun place to share ideas, ask questions, and get encouragement.  I also joined a more local TIU group on FB for other TIU girls who live in the South SF Bay Area.  This is the group I’m most excited about because it’s full of other women who live in my area.  We’ve already scheduled a few meetups, one of which is happening next Thursday at a spinning studio that I’ve never been to.  I can’t wait to meet some new friends who share my interest in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Progress Photos – “Before”

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Lots of the TIU ladies were nervous about posting their “before” photos online, but I wasn’t.  These aren’t my before photos – you guys know that I started this weight loss journey at my all-time heaviest weight of 315.  I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished since then, so these photos are a badge of honor to me.  And I just can’t wait to see how much slimmer I look in my “after” photos at the end of the 8 weeks.

Oh, and another point of inspiration – this morning when I weighed myself I was already down 1.4 lbs since Sunday, weighing in at 181.6.  Not bad for 5 days.  Especially considering that I increased my calories from an average of 900/day to about 1200/day.

Wrapping It Up

I’m thrilled with the choice I made to join the Bikini Series again this year, and I’m really looking forward to all of the positive things that will come of it.

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