Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

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


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.


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:



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”


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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My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don’t eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.” ~Jamie Oliver

Today’s quote comes straight from Jamie Oliver’s food philosophy on his website.  The reason I chose it is because I decided to bring my healthy eating lifestyle into my classroom.

My students (11th graders) recently wrote an editorial essay on Childhood/Teen Obesity, and I provided them with several articles talking about Michelle Obama’s campaign, statistics about childhood obesity, etc.  My colleague and I chose the prompt because it was timely and we are both committed to living healthy lifestyles.  My colleague is the epitome of a health nut – he eats lean, works out all the time, and probably has not an ounce of fat on his body.  I find it awesome that he and I both care so much about this topic, even though we’re on different sides of the spectrum when it comes to body weight.  It just goes to show that anyone, at any weight, can take control of their health and make it a priority. The prompt asked them to come up with some solutions that they and their school could make to help solve this problem.  I told them that this topic is obviously near and dear to my heart (since I’m obese), and I wanted to make sure that they were all armed with the knowledge to prevent the obesity epidemic from growing, since they are the future of our country.  They took my words to heart and wrote some very eloquent, insightful essays.  I was amazed at how much the students had to say, and that very few of them were judgmental.

To take things a step further and to entice them to bring this information into real world practice, I offered a 3-tiered extra credit opportunity.  Here’s how it worked:

To earn up to 10 points:

  1. Go to Jamie Oliver’s website (see link) and sign the petition. (Make sure you read it before you sign it).  Print  the page to show proof that you signed it.
  2. Log into one of the discussions on the message boards on his site and add a thoughtful comment to the discussion.

To earn up to 15 points:

  1. Watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC on March 26th @ 10pm (see link).
  2. Write at least a 1/2 page response to the show, including your thoughts on his ideas and proposals.

To earn up to 30 points:

  1. Go to one of the food/recipe websites (see attached links).***
  2. Find a healthy, nutritious meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) that is low in fat and calories.
  3. Print the recipe (to be turned in later).
  4. Cook the meal for your friends or family.
  5. Take photos of yourself cooking and eating the meal as “proof” that you made the meal.
  6. Turn in both the recipe and the photos (you can email them to me) to get credit.

***I gave them Jamie Oliver’s “Recipease”, the Food Network Healthy Eating, and Eat Better America.

  • Those who have a C- (70%) or less in class can do all 3.
  • Those with a B- (80%) or less can choose 2.
  • Those with an A or B can choose 1 of these to do.

I was so happy that so many of my students chose to do the cooking challenge.  Many of them did it the night after I posted the extra credit option, and shared lots of fun recipes.  I got one email from a mother of twin boys who are both in my class, thanking me for creating this assignment.  She thought the information was terrific, but liked the fact that she didn’t have to cook dinner for two nights that week even better.  Another set of girls in my class decided to do this together and were planning on making an night of it – three of them were going to cook a meal, a side, and a dessert together, then watch movies and have a sleep over.  How fun!  The assignment is due on Tuesday, so we’ll see how many more students make food for their family and friends.  A side benefit to this assignment is that I get a ton of new recipes to look at.  🙂

I’ve watched both episodes of the Food Revolution show, and I have a newfound respect for what Jamie Oliver is trying to do.  It is never easy to bring change to people’s lives, especially when you’re telling them that the way they’ve been doing things is going to kill them.  (Seriously, I was shocked when I saw the lunch ladies serving pizza to the children for breakfast.  Breakfast!!!)  I’ve always thought Jamie was a good chef, but he really seems to have a calling to make sure that America gets healthier.  I admire him for that and hope that his message of healthy eating spreads like wildfire.

If you haven’t seen the show and would like to catch up, you can go here.  It’s definitely set on my DVR, because I’m really enjoying it. Here’s the preview…

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