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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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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 more than a quarter of the way into 2016, and I’m ready to post what my 2016 goals are going to be.  Last year I was able to check some really important goals off my list, so this year’s list is going to stay nice and simple.

  1. Lose the weight I’ve regained.  In the past year, I’ve gained about 30 pounds for a myriad of reasons.  My main goal for 2016 is to lose these 30 pounds and get closer to reaching my ultimate goal weight of weighing 150 pounds.
  2. Travel, near and far, with RDC3.  My boyfriend and I love to get out and explore new places, old favorites, and anywhere in between.  Since the start of 2016, we’ve already been to Vegas for his birthday, attended Swan Lake (my first time!), gone to Land’s End in SF, taken Sofi to her favorite dog-friendly beach in Aptos, spent the day in Half Moon Bay with my parents to get fresh crab, and explored Carmel during my spring break in April.  This year I’d also like to visit Calistoga to do a sip & cycle, go to LA to explore the art scene, and hit the snow in Tahoe.  I’m sure we’ll do many other fun and exciting things throughout this year, and I can’t wait to experience each one.
  3. Continue having adventures in fitness.   This year I want to continue finding new ways to enjoy fitness. One of my main ones for 2016 that I’d love to check off is zip lining! I’ve discovered that they do it right in my own backyard, in the Santa Cruz mountains, so I think this goal will be more than reachable this year.
  4. Read more books.  I know this seems like a strange goal for someone who loves to read and who teaches English for a living.  But oddly enough, I don’t have as much time to read as one would think.  Which is why I have to set this goal and MAKE the time to read.  I’ve challenged myself to read 26 books in 2016, and I’m going to have to get a move on if I want to reach this goal.  I’m continuing to read with  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.
  5. 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, and the fact that RDC3 is a photographer really helps me get inspired with my shots.  Last year I discovered  Project Life, and although I didn’t do much more than buy lots of cute packages, I do want to use it as a way to “scrapbook” my life – both my weight loss journey and my adventures with RDC3.  Another creative outlet for me has been getting more involved in using my Erin Condren planner as more than just a place to put my daily lesson plans.  The planner community is strong on social media, and I’ve gotten lots of inspiration.  Plus, using my planner more combines creativity with my love of organization.

There you have it – 5 goals and priorities for 2016.  I can’t wait to see how much I accomplish!
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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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December

 

I meant to post this last night, when I was doing my food prep for Week 1 of the Fit Girl’s Guide Winterwonderland Challenge, but I had a lot going on and the time escaped me.

One of the main things I really appreciate about the Fit Girls Guide is that they provide a super organized grocery list for each week, organized by area of the store. That’s how I make my own lists, so this really appeals to my OCD side.  The other thing I like is that the meal plans are developed to get the most out of each item on the list, for virtually no food waste.  As someone who throws away more food than I’d like to admit, I’m happy that I’ll be able to cut down on this.

Even though the list was really organized and clear, I still spent over an hour at Trader Joe’s.  Partially because everyone and their brother seemed to be stocking up for the work week and partially because there were a lot of items on the list.  Here’s my haul, which I tried to divide into food groups:

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I had some items in stock already, so not every single thing I’ll be eating this week is here, but it gives you an idea.

Now that I had the groceries, it was time to meal prep.

photo 5 (1) Week 1 breakfasts actually call for Cherry Pie fridge oats, but since I’m not a fan of frozen cherries, I decided to go with a mixed berry medley.  These are the overnight oats that I love.  Oatmeal, chia seeds, almond milk, almond butter, honey, Greek yogurt, and the frozen berries.  I really enjoyed these this morning and liked the not-too-sweet taste that the 1 tsp of honey added.  I usually put protein powder in my overnight oats, but this version had a really clean, hearty flavor that I preferred.  And the stats aren’t too bad, either: 285 calories, 19g protein, 36g carbs, 7g fiber, 8g fat.

Next up were the lunches – chicken & veggie power bowls.  Because I’m someone who needs variety in all things (life, exercise, food) I made sure to make a few of the suggested variations on the traditional bowl.  I also cut down the quantities to make it more post-wls friendly. Also, instead of steaming the kale, I decided to sautee it with onions, garlic, and a tiny splash of olive oil.  I’m not eating as many snacks as they suggest on the plan (because I just can’t fit that much food into my post-vsg tummy), so I figured a bit more healthy fat in my day would be just fine. Plus I know it’s going to taste fantastic. I’ve never made anything like this for lunch, so I’m excited to try them and see how I like them.

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From left to right:

Pasta Primavera Bowl: less than a cup of sauteed kale w/ onions, 2.5 oz of lemon chicken, 1/3 cup of whole wheat pasta, 1/2 roasted zucchini, 1/2 cup roasted crimini mushrooms, 2T marinara sauce, 2T mozzarella cheese.

Faux-otle Bowl: less than a cup of sauteed kale w/ onions, 2.5 oz of lemon chicken, 1/4 cup black beans, 2T mozzarella, 1 oz roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup brown rice, 2T hot salsa (on the side).

Traditional Power Bowl: less than a cup of sauteed kale w/ onions, 2.5 oz of lemon chicken, 1/4 cup black beans,  1/4 cup brown rice, 1/2 roasted zucchini, 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash.

 

Last up, I hard boiled eggs that I’ll have for snacks this week, par-steamed the sweet potatoes for tonight’s “street tacos,” and chopped up a few other veggie for lunches and  the pita pizza dinners I’ll alternate throughout the week.  I’ve never done meal prep quite like this, but I actually really enjoyed it.  I’m  glad I decided to add the variety to the power bowls, because I know myself, and I can’t eat the same thing for 7 days straight at lunch.

Since the dinners aren’t make-ahead, I’ll post pictures of those on IG and make sure to write a post with a photos from both meals later this week.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous to start this plan, because it’s less protein and more carbs that I’m “supposed” to eat.   But I decided to take a chance and try it out because it’s super healthy, completely clean, very well balanced, and seems really satisfying.  Plus, I’m far enough along from my wls that I can eat a bit more normally (albeit much less).

Here’s to the start of a great week, and a fantastic month.

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summer

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 64 was quite a whirlwind, evidenced by the fact that I skipped reporting on Week 63 last week (I actually didn’t have a loss during Week 63), and missed my usual weigh-in report this Wednesday.  Nevertheless, this week was an amazing one for so many reasons.  I started a new job, was getting used to an entirely new schedule, enjoyed a great Trombone Shorty concert on Wednesday, and spent time with friends at the Italian Festa yesterday.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 175.2, which is a loss of 2.2 pounds this week, and a loss of 101.8 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 139.8 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 25.2 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really excited with my weight loss progress this week, because my schedule was such a drastic change from what I’ve been used to.  Not only are my lazy days of summer gone, but this new position has me running around to 5 different campuses, scheduling multiple meetings a day, and working longer hours in the office than I would as a teacher.  I tried my best to wake up at 5am to get workouts in before work, but wasn’t able to any of the days.  Still, I packed my gym bag and went after work a few times, even though I was dog-tired.  I also took the time on Monday night to prep meals for the week, making sure I stayed on track.  I’m really proud of my commitment to my health in the face of all these extra responsibilities.

To set myself up for success this week, I’m going to meal prep tonight.  Breakfasts are easy – my protein shakes are simple to make and help me keep my protein intake high.  Lunches that I’ve been loving are salads made of spinach paired with all sorts of protein – tuna, chicken, and shrimp.  Dinners this week will be a nice combo of protein,  veggies, and complex carbs: lentils with turkey meatballs and spinach, mahi mahi burgers and zoodles, and chicken with summer squash.

I’m still going to give it my best to get up and workout before I head into work, but I am also ok with my backup plan of hitting the gym after work.  The gym is on my way home, so it makes it convenient to stop in before I get too relaxed.  Plus, working out after work is a great way to switch gears from work mode to relaxation mode.  I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to workout in the mornings these first few weeks, until I get used to my new schedule.  As long as I get my workouts in, that’s all that really matters.

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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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summer

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 62 was another great one. I got in good, solid workouts all week…that is until I went to a SJ Giants game on Saturday night and got hit in the ankle with a stray ball.  Ouch!  It immediately bruised and swelled up, prompting two unplanned rest days on Sunday and Monday.  Thankfully, yesterday I was able to get in a good sweat session on the stationary bike, and I even took Sofi for a quick walk around the neighborhood last night, so I’m on the mend.  The highlight of the week – the highlight of the summer – was riding roller coasters at Santa Cruz Boardwalk. The week was also filled with fun with friends & family – lunches, a shopping splurge, a picnic at a free summer concert, and a movie with my dad.

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

When I weighed in this morning, I was 177.4, which is a loss of 1 pound this week, and a loss of 99.6 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 137.6 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 27.4 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m actually really happy with my loss this week because my ankle is still pretty swollen, which may mean I’m retaining a bit of water.  Either way, it’s a loss during a week where I enjoyed lots of great food and didn’t get to work out as hard as I would’ve hoped the past few days. Still, I’m really glad that I’m seeing numbers on the scale that I haven’t seen since my early 20’s.  My body is looking fit, lean, and strong.  Even my thighs, which are my major problem zone, are showing improvement. I’m at such a great place in this journey, and even though the progress is slow, I’m proud that I am still making progress.

One week from today I’ll be at a professional development day for the new school year, followed by another on Thursday, and then the first required teacher workday at my school.  Which means I have one week left of summer vacation!  This summer has really flown by.  I’ve had a great, relaxing, rejuvenating summer.  There wasn’t a “wow” trip, but it was filled lots of other little moments that I’ll relish.  Almost-daily morning workouts with Tinkerbell to begin the day in a fantastic way, dates that gave me butterflies, tending to my beautiful flowers in my garden, loud laughter over drinks with the girls, fun bike rides all around the neighborhood, quiet talks with best friends, picnics at our weekly music concerts in the neighborhood, fun with my nieces (including a Zia and me day), shopping trips splurging on new items, tons of time with Sofi, and lots of time spent driving the Beetle with the top down, and lots of meals shared with the people I care about most.  I did every single thing on my #createyoursummer list (except that Hawaiian-themed party), which makes me immensely happy. I really lived life, got out and got social, and made each moment count. So many fun memories that will carry me through those crazy days of the coming school year.  One of the things I’m planning to do over the next week is to print out a bunch of the hundreds of pictures I snapped this summer to put them up in my classroom.  The kids love seeing the photos, and I do, too.  It’s a way to carry the magic of the summer throughout the rest of the year.

My goal for this week is to make the most of it.  To enjoy every minute and create more memories to add to my summer collection.  2014-06-21 07.44.31

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

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