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Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

I always love going shopping, but I especially love it when I find great deals and hit new NSVs in the process.

Today I was shopping at Target, and some maxi skirts caught my eye.  The $15 price tag was too good to pass up. Normally maxi anything doesn’t fit me because they’re always really long on my 5″3′ frame.  But because there’s nothing as easy-breezy as throwing on a maxi skirt and a tank on a warm summer day, I figured I’d give them a go.  Here’s where the NSV comes in – I picked out a couple of Larges in patterns I liked, held the hanger up to my waist, saw that it wasn’t dragging on the ground, and bought them – without trying them on!  I was that confident that they’d fit.

When I got home, I immediately tried the skirts on, and was pleasantly surprised that they weren’t the least bit snug.  They hugged my curves well, but were very flowy and not even a little bit tight.  In the pictures I took, I don’t even have a shaper on, which is a bit of an NSV in itself.  (Although I might wear a shaper under the skirt when I really wear it out, just to avoid any jiggling when I walk).

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(Forgive the hair in these pics – it’s raining here today, and I’d been running around).

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Even though these both have horizontal stripes, I think they’re pretty flattering on.  And I love that they’re short enough for me to wear flip flops if I want to.  Although I could see dressing the outfit up with some strappy wedges that I have, too.  The tank is also new and has a really pretty weave to it (which I know you can’t see in these pics).

The best NSV was when RC3 and I were walking around Union Square in SF on Saturday and decided to go inside Banana Republic’s flagship store.  I love the classic, sophisticated style of the clothes at Banana Republic, but for years only window shopped because I could never fit into them.  And I guess I sort of forgot about the store in this past year, even though I’m down to a size that they actually carry.  So when RC3 suggested that we go inside and look around a bit, I was excited to see what they had.

We happened upon the sale section, and one dress immediately caught my eye – it was a black and white abstract floral pattern and cut in my favorite 50s style.  I loved the shape of it, and the fact that when I held the hanger up to myself, it wasn’t too short.  (I’m still really self-conscious about the flub on my knees and thighs). The dress hits just a “tidge” below my knees, which is my favorite length.  It was originally $119, but on sale half off, so I got it for $65, tax and all.  Don’t you just love a great deal wrapped in a Banana Republic bag?  I know I do!

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I went to the dressing room to try on the 12, and I was thrilled when I zipped it up and it fit.  Not only did it fit, but it looked really good.  It flatters my small waist, and allows enough room for my ample hips.  It looks so cute on, and I cannot wait to wear it.

Speaking of which, RC3 said that he’d seen that The Marriage of Figaro is coming to SF Opera, and asked if I’d want to go.  Would I?!  Of course!!  Neither of us has ever been to the opera before, and the SF Opera house is truly spectacular.  Plus, this opera has such a light, fun storyline. My sister took a music appreciate class in college, and studied many of Mozart’s operas, and she said it is by far, her favorite.  How romantic will it be to go to the opera for the first time with RC3, getting all dolled up?  I’m definitely wearing this dress!

Now I just have to find some awesome heels to go with it… which will be another NSV. 😉

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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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Every year I find a mantra that I try to live by for the year. I’d seen this quote a few times, and it just spoke to me.

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Now that I’m on the last leg of my weight loss journey, I’ve found that it’s all about doing the small things every day that make a big difference in the long run. It’s not about major lifestyle changes because I’ve already set a healthy life in place.

This year it’s about reminding myself that every single day…

  • each step I take is a choice
  • each step I take shows my true intentions
  • each step I take becomes incorporated into the person I am
  • each step I take moves me through the world in a positive direction
  • each step I take matters
  • each step I take brings me closer to my goals

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Goals – they help keep me focused, give me something to shoot for, and offer me so much motivation.  Writing goals down makes me accountable and putting them out there in the world helps them come to fruition.

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We’re a quarter of the way into 2015, but I’ve finally decided what my 2015 goals are going to be.  Like last year, I’m going to keep it simple so that I don’t overwhelm myself with too many grandiose plans and lose focus on what’s most important to me.  Many of these goals are very similar to the ones I set for myself last year, and with good reason – they were important to me and I want to continue working on them.

  1. Reach my goal weight of 150 pounds. I have approximately 20 pounds to go to reach this goal, so reaching this milestone in 2015 is completely realistic.  For my height of 5″3′, tables and charts say I should weigh no more than 140, but I don’t live my life by those.  I go with what I think will look best on my body, which is curvy and solid.  150 pounds will be perfect, I think.
  2. Get out and enjoy a social life. This means seeing friends regularly, dating, going on day trips, and getting out of the house more. Going to dinner, seeing movies, attending plays, seeing local concerts.  Seeing and being seen.  I did a great job with this last year – there were more Sunday Fundays than ever before, and I want to continue to live life outloud and enjoy myself.
  3. Keep dating.  This one is a big one for me because although I really tried to put myself out there with online dating (joining Match.com and eHarmony, I didn’t have much luck in the love department.  I’m not really sure why, but I’m not going to dwell on what has already happened, I’m just going to look forward to meeting great new guys this year.  And hopefully, one of them will be my “someone.”
  4. Continue having adventures in fitness.   This year I want to continue finding new ways to enjoy fitness.  Now that I’m a full-fledged member of TIU, I’ve joined a couple of new groups on FB, one of which is for TIU girls in my local area.  We have some fitness meetups planned, and I’m looking forward to trying new things (and enjoying some of the ones I already love).
  5. Read more books.  I’ve challenged myself to read 30 books in 2015, and I’m already off to a great start!  I joined an online book club that has lots of fascinating books lined up.  Those, coupled with my own “to read” library will insure that I’ve always got a great book to enjoy.  I joined Audible.com so that the memoirs that I’ve chosen to read can be read to me in the author’s own voice.  Since I do a lot of driving these days, I enjoy being able to dive into a good book while I’m in the car.
  6. Tap into my creative side.  In the past I wasn’t great with this goal, but this year I’ve already made strong progress.  I’m on Instagram almost daily, creating fun collages of photos, setting backgrounds, and adding text to photos.  I love taking pictures and documenting my daily life.  I’ve also decided to use Project Life as a way to “scrapbook” my weight loss journey.  I love the simplicity of Becky Higgins’ format – one of the main reasons I didn’t ever finish my old scrapbooking project was because the whole thing was just overwhelming.  She’s taken a lot of the stress out of scrapbooking, and I’m looking forward to documenting quite a bit of my life this year.  I’ve also joined a Listers Gotta List group, which has fun prompts for every day of each month.  It’s an easy way for me to jot down my thoughts, use some cute washi tape, and get a bit creative.

There you have it – 6 goals for the new year.  6 priorities for 2015.  I can’t wait to see how much I accomplish!
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Happy Superbowl Sunday! As a football fan, I look forward to watching the Superbowl each year, even when my 49ers aren’t in it.  As a 49ers fan, I hope the Seahawks lose, but I’m not really rooting for the Patriots, either.  Either way, I know it’s going to be a good game, and it will be fun to watch the ads, the halftime show, and some really great football.  Plus, I love hanging out with my parents, who are huge football fans, too.  It should be a great afternoon.

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Weekly Workout Schedule

bilbl_superIt’s been so long since I’ve posted a weekly schedule on the blog, although I have been pretty consistent with weekly workouts.  Every Sunday morning, I log into ToneItUp.com to see what workouts they have planned for the week.  Then I log everything into my iCal so that the workouts are locked in as appointments, eliminating excuses.  With my work schedule, all of my workouts start at 5am.  It used to be so difficult for me to wake up that early, but once I realized that I’m usually way too tired to workout after work, I just made morning workouts a priority.  Some mornings it doesn’t happen, and then I do try my best to fit in an afternoon/evening workout, but on the whole, I really like starting my day with a workout.  It’s invigorating, boosts my energy, and just puts me in a positive mindset for the day.

Here’s this week’s plan.  All workouts are from the TIU Weekly Workout Schedule:

Monday: Love Your Body w/ HIIT + Bikini Abs + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 1
TuesdayCupid Cardio + Bikini Yoga + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 2
Wednesday: +StairMill Workout + Love Your Body Routine + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 3
Thursday: 2 miles of cardio (elliptical) + Love Your Arms & Abs + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 4
Friday: **Jump Your Heart Out Workout + Love Your Total Body 2 + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 5
Saturday: Body Combat (24 Hour Fitness) + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 6
Sunday: ^Sunday Runday (5K incline treadmill walk) + Bloglilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 7

  • **Since I’m not really coordinated with a real jump rope, I’m going to do “virtual jump rope” where I mimic the movements with my arms/legs.
  • + I’ll hit the gym for this workout so that I can use the stair stepper machine.  All the other cardio (unless noted) will be done at home on my elliptical.
  • Saturday’s challenge was to go to a group exercise class.  Since I love the Body Combat class at 24 Hour Fitness, and haven’t gone in so long, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.
  • ^I’ve decided that for now, running really isn’t for me.  My knees have been acting up a bit (lots of cracking and a bit of pain here and there), so for the SundayRunday I’m going to walk at an incline at a 4.0 mph pace on the treadmill for 3 miles.

One of my fitness friends on Facebook posted this Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge, which I’m really excited to complete this month. I already logged each of the day’s moves into iCal, so I’m all ready to do each of the moves everyday.  In looking at the schedule, I know I’ll be able to do all of the moves, and I like the way it slowly increases the moves as the month progresses.  And who doesn’t love a rounder, firmer butt?!

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As always, I post my workouts everyday on Instagram, so be sure to keep me accountable.

Have a SundayFunday, and I’ll see you in my next blog!!

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Talk about spoiled! Driving with the top down on a sunny, 70-degree day in January!

Talk about spoiled! Driving with the top down on a sunny, 70-degree day in January!

Happy Sunday!  I seem to begin every new blog post this way lately…it’s been far too long since my last post.  To be honest, I really don’t know why.  My new position as a new teacher advisor does make my work day a bit longer than when I was teaching, but I also don’t have any grading, so that’s not really it.  I think I’ve just gotten out of the habit.  When something exciting or fun happens, my first thought is “I’ll put it on Instagram” rather than, “I’ll write a blog post.”  Maybe it’s just that my interaction with social media has changed?  In any case, I do still love writing and getting my thoughts out, and I would like to blog more often in 2015.  Anything would be better than what I’ve been doing in the last 6 months, right?

Romance Update – Currently there’s nothing on the horizon in terms of dating.  Since my last update, I’ve gone on a few dates.  A few of them were promising, but then things just sort of fell apart.  It seems to be the norm with online dating that people just kind of disappear.  Things are going well, we’re texting or talking daily, we may go on a date or two, text and talk less frequently, and then it’s just radio silence.  It gets really disappointing.  As much as I really want to meet someone and get into a relationship, this whole process is very frustrating.  Right now I’m on a bit of a break because I just wasn’t seeing many people who interest me.  When I’m out and about, watching football or enjoying a meal with friends, I don’t get approached by guys.  Maybe it’s too intimidating to come up to a group, or maybe I’m just not giving off the approachable vibe.  Friends in person or on social media tell me how pretty I am (without trying to sound conceited), and I’ve lost all this weight and I look so much healthier, so why is it that I can’t seem to meet someone?  I’m not giving up, but it’s hard not to lose hope.

Fitness Update – Just like blogging, I haven’t been in the gym much in these last 4-5 months, but that doesn’t mean my fitness routine has gone totally out the window.  4-5 times a week I workout at home. Cardio is either jumping on my home elliptical or doing a HIIT routine.  For toning, I’ve been following the plan that ToneItUp.com puts out every Sunday.  I really enjoy their workouts because they’re easy to do and I notice a difference in the way my body looks and feels when I do them regularly.  But I do miss going to the gym because there is a better variety of equipment there. Plus, seeing other people pushing themselves really motivates me.  So I want to start going to the gym to workout or take classes at least twice a week moving forward.

Weight Update – I’m pleased to say that I’m at my lowest weight to date – 170.0.  I’m soooooo close to getting into the 160s!!  I know that if I just stick to eating protein and veggies, limiting starches like rice, potatoes, and bread to midday meals most days, I will reach the next weight category soon.  Moving forward, my plan is to continue doing what I know how to do – prepare flavorful, healthy meals and keep indulgences to once or twice a week.

Remembering Why I Love Blogging Update – Two weeks ago I participated in the SF Hot Chocolate 5K, and as my cousin, her friends, and I were waiting for the race to start, a woman came up to me and said, “Do you have a blog?”  When I said yes, she introduced herself as a longtime blog reader.  I was stunned that someone who reads my blog recognized me on that dark, early morning and took the time to say hello.  She said some other really heartwarming things, and it put me in such a great mood.  It also made me feel very guilty about the infrequency of my blog posts lately.

Body Consciousness Update – As I’ve written about so much in the past, even though I’m so proud of how my body has transformed with my weight loss, I’m also very self-conscious of the way my body looks.  Lots of loose skin that will never tighten up or show muscle tone not matter how many squats and lunges I perform.  I was talking with a male friend recently, and he really gave me a pep talk that helped me change the way I think about my body.  He and I got into a long, deep conversation, and he told me that the way I feel about myself is really all in my head.  When I explained my fears about someone seeing me naked and getting an unpleasant surprise because the way I look in clothes is so much better than without, he said I was crazy.  He told me that anyone who sees me has a very good idea of how I look, and that the loose skin that bothers me so much isn’t something that would put most guys off; at least not someone who is worth getting that intimate with.  He told me that I have a beautiful body, and his sincerity with the entire discussion assured me that he wasn’t just staying things to make me feel better.  He also said that I really need to get over this insecurity, because he’s sure that it spills over into the way I interact with the men I’m dating, and that it’s been holding me back in a major way. I can’t disagree with him.  Ever since our conversation last Sunday, I’ve been doing my best to reframe the way I think about my body.  You guys know how determined I can be, and I’ve decided to channel that determination into this new appreciation of how I look right now.

So that’s what’s been going on.  I hope you’ve all been doing well, and if you’ve read this far, I want to thank you for continuing to support me, despite my long absences.

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December

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  I spent mine meeting with friends, proctoring the SAT,  beginning to decorate for Christmas (I’m going to put up a tree this year), and enjoying Sunday Funday (although the 49ers dismal loss to the Raiders yesterday dashed their playoff hopes, so it wasn’t THAT fun, obviously).

After spending a week following the Fit Girl’s Guide 28-Day Challenge, I realized on Friday afternoon that it just wasn’t realistic for me at this time of year.  You guys probably figured that out when you read my post about it, but it took me a little longer.  I enjoyed the food on the meal plan, but as I mentioned in my meal prep post, I like a little more variety than it offered, especially at dinner.  The plan was very well-balanced and included clean, healthy foods, and I have already decided that the sweet potato street tacos are going into my regular repertoire because there were delicious.  I also loved the supportive community I found on Instagram, whose daily posts offered motivation and inspiration.  And I did lose weight – 1.6 pounds after just 4 days on the plan, which was great.

But when I looked at the reality of this season, and of my life in general right now, I realized that the challenge wasn’t something I wanted to continue.  In general, my life is very social, meeting with friends and going out to eat at least once or twice during the week.  The holidays bring even more social occasions, and after giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I didn’t want to give up those opportunities. So I’ve decided I’m taking myself out of the challenge.

Which doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my goal of losing weight this season.  Far from it.  I know how to plan and cook great meals, and make healthy choices even when eating out.  I also know how important it is to me to workout – the calorie burn is a key to losing weight, but beyond that, I love the way my body feels when I’m active daily.  Even those crazy sore muscles two days after a hard workout. Which means that I can lose weight and enjoy the social fun of the season. If you think about it, that’s the ultimate challenge, isn’t it?  I know I can do it.

So here’s the plan for the remainder of December:

  • Go back to my high-protein food plan.  For me that means my daily protein grams should be 10% of my overall caloric intake.  (If I eat 900 calories, I should have 90g of protein). Some of you may balk at “only” eating 900-1000 calories in a day, but remember, I’m a WLS patient, and even when I eat out I can’t consume the same amount of food that someone with a normal stomach can.  So for the rest of my life, I’ll never really eat more than 1200 calories in a day, if I’m eating healthy. (Obviously those calories can go much higher if I’m eating crap). Back to my food plan – Besides the protein, I like to include veggies at each meal.  Carbs like rice or wraps aren’t completely out of the question, but I’m going to limit them to one meal per day.  So if I have a wrap for lunch, I’ll eat a “lean and green” meal at dinner.  If I have rice with dinner, lunch will be a salad or other protein/veggie combo. I bought the ToneItUp Nutrition Program during their Cyber Monday deals, and I’m looking forward to trying some new, healthy recipes from that guide.
  • Cardio + TIU toning 5-6 days a week.  This one will be a bit of a challenge because I tend to be great at it for 3-4 days, but then the week continues, I get more tired, and my workouts fall to the wayside.  At this point in my weight loss journey, I know that my body responds quickly to workouts.  When I’m consistent I lose weight; when I let them slide, I maintain.  This fact is going to spur me on during those afternoons/evenings when I start getting lazy and want to “negotiate” reasons why it’s ok to skip the day’s workout. No skipping workouts this season!
  • Limit my alcohol intake.  In general, I only have alcohol 1-2 times a week, when I’m out with friends.  I plan to continue this during the holidays.  Someday when I’m in maintenance, I foresee having a daily glass of wine (if I’m so inclined), but while I’m still trying to lose weight, I only want to imbibe when I’m with friends and family in a social setting.  I’ll use baths and working out as a way to unwind from a long day when I’m by myself.
  • Continue being active on social media.  That means logging everything in MyFitnessPal daily.  Checking in on Instagram with my workout pics. And writing/reading blogs.  I love the support and inspiration I get on MFP and Instagram, which is why it’s a daily part of my life.  If you’d like to add me as a friend and/or follow me on IG, please do.  And leave your IG name in the comments, because I’d love to start following you, too. In terms of blogging, I know I’ve gotten less consistent with writing these past 6 months.  I guess because I only like to write when there’s something interesting to say.  And because I am so active on IG, that seems to have replaced the quick daily posts I used to write.  Maybe I’m evolving as a blogger?  I will still blog on here regularly, and read your blogs as often as I can.
  • Enjoy the season. Even though this isn’t necessarily going to help me with my weight loss goals, it will make me happy, which is all part of leading a healthy life.  This year I want to: go ice skating, enjoy the decorations at Christmas in the Park, send Christmas cards, sit by cozy fires, listen to holiday music, light glowing candles, watch my favorite holiday movies, and wrap presents.

Those are my goals for December – completely doable and realistic.  Wish me luck!

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