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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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8_Reasons_You're_Regaining_Weight_11.15.15Or, to be more accurate, REgain!!

Now, let’s not overreact.  I haven’t completely blown everything that I worked so hard for.  I’ve still lost over 100 pounds; 115 to be exact.  Which is a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself.  One that I’m very proud of.  Anyone who sees me walking down the street wouldn’t think, “oh, she’s got such a pretty face, but….”  They might think I’ve got an overly big booty, but they wouldn’t categorize me as fat in any way.  I’m still wearing size 12 pants and large tops, which puts me below the national average.

A pic of RDC3 and me in Half Moon Bay, taken on Monday, April 4, 2016

A pic of RDC3 and me in Half Moon Bay, taken on Monday, April 4, 2016

But let’s also be honest.

  • I could tell I was gaining weight when some of my smaller workout tops started to be a bit too tight to comfortably  wear to the gym.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when the size 10 jeans I was so proud of fitting into no longer zipped up and I had to go buy some size 12s.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when I would see those “last year on this day” posts on FB and notice that my face was so much thinner in the then than in the now.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when I saw selfies that I took and noticed my collar bones weren’t quite sticking out as much as they once did.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when my hair stylist stopped asking me how much more weight I’d lost, as she had done at every appointment since my VSG surgery.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when I looked in the mirror and saw my face getting rounder.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when my mom mentioned something at Christmas.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when my #TBT pics started showing my face looking bigger now instead of then:

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    June 2015 vs March 2016

So while I “could tell I was gaining weight” for quite some time, I didn’t want to actually face the music, get on the scale, and see exactly how much I’d gained.  Because that would be a scary reality.

But scary or not, I told myself that I am someone who faces her fears head-on.  In fact, I am someone who is afraid of very few things in this life.  But let me confirm that re-gaining weight is definitely one of my major fears.  So last Saturday I asked RDC3 to change the battery in my scale.  (You see, the scale had needed a replacement battery for several months.  I went out and bought the batteries, but couldn’t seem to drum up the courage to actually put them in the scale, because that would mean I had no excuse not to just step on it and see what it said).  It took me until Sunday morning to summon the courage to actually get on the scale, though.

And when I did, I saw a number that I was so sure I’d never see on my scale again.  I saw a “2” as the first number.  The last time I’d gotten on the scale was months and months ago.  Maybe back in October or so. It said 190 lbs, and that number was scary enough, let me tell you. But last Sunday I saw 201 lbs looking back at me, and I felt my heart sink.  Not only that, but tears welled up in my eyes, and I actually started to cry.  So much of my personality is about being as close to “perfect” as I can be.  And while I know in my head that nothing and no one is ever perfect, it is an idea so deeply ingrained in me that it is always painful to accept when I’m feeling very “unperfect.”  And seeing 201 on that scale was about as “unperfect” as I have felt in a very long time.

A huge part is feeling that I’ve disappointed so many people. Everyone who has shown me so much support and encouragement in my weight loss journey. I’ve been feeling like a fraud, which, for someone who lives her life “out loud” like I do, is one of the worst feelings imaginable. I want to be someone other people admire, not another statistic who regains weight.

It brought up so many worries for me.  Would I just keep on going up and up and up and hit my highest weight again?  Would RDC3 still love me if he knew how much I weighed?  Would I be able to lose the weight AGAIN?

After he consoled me, and RDC3 and I started to talk, I realized: that by stepping on the scale I was ensuring that no, I would never again get to my highest weight; that he loves me for who I am on the inside, and although he wants me to be healthy so that we can have a long life together, he’s not worried about a number on a scale, and he is completely attracted to the way I look, extra lbs and all***; and yes, I WILL be able to lose the weight again because I am a fighter.

***While I did come clean with RDC3 and told him that I’d gained 31 pounds, I didn’t tell him the exact number on the scale.  He knows about my blog, though, so he will see it on here, which will make me feel like I’ve completely come clean with him.  I know that he won’t judge me about seeing 201 on the scale, because that’s not how he is.

How did I regain 30 pounds?  The sweet answer is that it is “love weight” now that I have RDC3 in my life.  We are always out and about and a lot of the time that also means eating out.  But let’s be honest, he or our relationship is not the reason I regained weight.  In fact, I was already regaining a bit by the time I met him last May.  My lowest recorded weight ever was 167 at some point in late 2014/early 2015.  Last May 13, 2015 (3 days before my first date with RDC3) I weighed in on MFP at 177, which is a 10-lb gain.  And I know it slowly crept up from there.  Sure, going out to eat more often was a part of that regain.  But an even bigger part was that I stopped:

  • planning and prepping healthy meals where I weighed and measured everything, opting instead to buy pre-made salads from TJs, many of which had a protein-to-calorie ratio that was way off from what I know helps me lose weight.
  • logging my meals into MyFitnessPal
  • working out consistently, or even working out at all.  There were many weeks in the past 11 months where I didn’t work out even one day of the week, let alone the 5-6 times that I was doing when I was really on my game
  • drinking enough water

Basically, I stopped doing all the things I know that I should be doing in order to lose weight.

RDC3 was very concerned that he’d “been a bad influence on me” because I’ve regained this weight in the time that we’ve been together.  But I told him that actually, that isn’t true. I’d been out of my routine and gaining weight even before we met each other, it just hadn’t really shown up yet on the scale or in the way my clothes fit.  And none of that had anything to do with him.  Because we live 40 miles away from each other and have opposite work schedules, he and I are only able to see each other on the weekends, so I have no excuse for why I wasn’t doing what I should have been during the week.  And RDC3 is someone who doesn’t feel settled and at peace with himself if he doesn’t work out, so he works out really consistently, at least 3-4 times a week.  We even belong to the same gym, and he’s always asking me to go with him when we’re together on the weekends.  He has also gained about 25 lbs since we’ve started dating, and he’s not happy with where he is on the scale, so he’s so supportive of any efforts towards a healthier lifestyle.  No, this weight gain is all my fault.

But the good news is, it’s also all in my control to start losing weight again.  And that’s the kind of power that I thrive off of.

This past week I’ve been off for spring break, and while I haven’t gone full force into weight loss mode, I have made some small, yet significant, changes.  I’ve been starting my mornings with protein shakes 4 out of the past 7 days.  I’ve been a lot more active, getting in hikes, walks, and a trip to the gym.  Until I got a pretty bad cold, that is.  But still, I was on a good roll.  I’ve also been cooking low carb, high protein dinners which I’ve been really enjoying (have you seen them on IG?).  I’ve also been drinking lots more water.   Those are the ways that I lost weight before, and those are the ways that I’m going to lose weight again.

My plan is simple:

  1. plan, prep, and eat high protein, low carb, low calorie meals
  2. because life is meant to be enjoyed, make those meals taste good and avoid food ruts
  3. indulge on the weekends, but only in moderation – one meal, a few cocktails, not 2 days of craziness
  4. log everything into MFP
  5. workout 5 days a week, at a minimum.  Not only is RDC3 a member of my gym, but so is Tinkerbell and another great friend of mine, plus I don’t mind working out alone.  I love my ToneItUp community on social media, which inspires the heck out of me.  And now that the weather is going to be getting better and the days are lighter longer, I can get activity in doing things I love, like riding my bike.
  6. drink more water.  I’ve been so negligent about this prior to this past week that I am going to be happy with 6-8 glasses a day, even though I know I should drink 8-10.  A little at a time.
  7. weigh in weekly. To keep myself accountable, RDC3 and I are going to weigh in and tell each other the results every Sunday.  I’ll also write a blog post about it. (I’ve really missed writing my weekly weigh-in posts).

I’m not kidding myself into thinking that these 7 steps are going to be easy-peasy, because they’re not.  They are simple, but they take enormous effort and energy.  This time weight loss isn’t going to be the main focus of my life as it has been in the past, because I have an amazing man in my life and all of the experiences that come with being in love. It will be a priority, because I also know in my heart that weight loss is still important to me, so I will do whatever it takes to make it fit into my new life so that it can happen.

I know how good I feel when I eat right, workout regularly, and start to see results.  I love all of the positive reinforcement I get from living a healthy lifestyle.  I want that back, and I know that I can do it again.

By writing all of this out, I’ve already taken a huge leap.

Remember Oprah’s cover photo a few years ago?

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As she might say, “Honeychild, I know where you were, where you want to be, and what you’re going through.”

And just like Oprah finally “came clean” on the cover of her nationwide magazine, I’m finally “coming clean” here on my blog.

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Every year I find a mantra that I try to live by for the year.

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I was in the last stage of my weight loss journey, with only about 20 pounds to go to reach my ultimate goal weight.  Then life happened (fabulous, wonderful, incredible things happened, don’t get me wrong), and I regained 30 pounds. Not in my plan, but it happened.

So true to Bella form, I’m ready to dust myself off and get back to what I KNOW I can do.  To prove to myself that my incredible weight loss wasn’t just a fluke.  That it really is a lifestyle.

  • I have proven to myself  before that I am stronger than any obstacle in my path.
  • I have proven to myself before that I can accomplish amazing things when I set my mind to them.
  • I have proven to myself before that I am worth the tremendous effort it takes. Every single bit of it:
    • every minute spent planning healthy meals
    • every trip to the grocery store for healthy food
    • every meal logged into MyFitnessPal
    • every ounce of sweat in my workouts
    • every  time I hold my breath right before I step on the scale
  • I have proven to myself before that I can make weight loss a priority in my life.  This time it won’t be my main priority, because my life is so much fuller now than it ever was before (which I’m incredibly grateful for), so this will be a very new aspect of this journey.
  • I have proven to myself before that I can reach my dreams.

And since I’ve proven all of this before, I CAN do it again.  I WILL do it again, and then some!

So it’s ok that I now have 50 pounds to get to my ultimate goal weight.  I am confident that I will get there.  And who knows?  Maybe the reality check of gaining weight when I got too lackadaisical will be the kick in the booty that I need to get all the way there. No, strike that.  Not “maybe,” it is the inspiration I need to get myself all the way there.

I’m ready.

 

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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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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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