|June 25, 2012||What a difference a column mug makes||2 comments|
|June 17, 2012||Zumba Exhilarate: A review||no comments|
|June 07, 2012||Magic beans? Nuh-uh...||no comments|
|May 31, 2012||Make water more awesome||no comments|
|May 29, 2012||Allow me a soapbox, for a moment?||no comments|
|May 27, 2012||Yay for new motivation||no comments|
|May 23, 2012||Ladies only||no comments|
|May 10, 2012||Alternative birthday cake||no comments|
|May 03, 2012||Super-powered water||no comments|
|April 30, 2012||Fabulous 50, and then some||no comments|
For months now, folks have been telling me to get a new column mug since I've dropped 50 pounds. But I've been telling them, "Eh, I look the same. No sense in getting a new one."
But a few weeks ago I asked the lovely DJ photog Deste Lee for a new mug. I didn't look at it until just now, because it's running in tomorrow's paper with my column (about weight loss, actually).
I compared it to some of my old column mugs. I haven't been able to "see" my weight loss – body image issues I guess? – until now. I never took a "before" picture, so I had nothing to compare an "in progress" picture with.
Holy cow, y'all. I'm kinda speechless.
I'm also very thankful this happened today, because I seriously considered giving up on this weight loss thing over the weekend.
Think about it: it took four months to drop 40 pounds. It has taken six, almost seven months, to lose just 14. And I gained a bit last week, which yes I know could be anything from muscle gain to water weight to just silly scale fluctuations, but it really, really got me down. So I hate poorly and didn't work out this weekend, and I thought about giving up.
But this photo has kinda lit the fire up in under me again. With just 20 more pounds to go, surely I can do it – right?
I'm totally gonna kick butt at Zumba when I get home. Yay!
I got the Zumba Exhilarate set for my birthday, and now that I've made it through the entire set, here's my review.
(ps. Here's a website complete with an infomercial-y video about the set. I bought my set through Amazon for around $80).
I tried Zumba for the first time this spring and fell in love with the high-energy, fun dance work-outs. I've been getting bored with treadmills, ellipticals, etc., lately, so this exercise is definitely a breath of fresh air. But I can only make it to one or two classes a week, so I need more options. This set definitely provides several different ways to Zumba, with different styles and workout lengths.
It's a seven-disc set that also comes with Zumba toning sticks (1 1/2 pound weights that sound like maracas), as well as info on stretching, eating healthfully, things like that.
Here's a break-down of each disc:
Step-by-Step: This is a helpful place to start, even if you're familiar with the styles of dance (salsa, merengue, calypso, cumbia, hiphop, belly dance, reggaeton). I've gone through this one once to make sure I'm doing the steps correctly. This won't teach you EVERY step you'll encounter throughout the set, but you'll learn a majority of them. If you're totally new to Zumba, you may want to go through this DVD a couple of times before moving on, just to get the hang of it.
Activate: This is a 45-minute workout that includes all of the moves you learn in Step by Step. It's a wonderfully-paced workout – I had no trouble completing it – and it's a favorite.
Rush: Holy cow, y'all. This one is 20 minutes, and every single second is jam-packed. It's great if you're low on time, but on the other hand, it's SUPER intense. I actually had trouble completing it, and I've never felt too tired to finish a full hour-long class. So this one is definitely something to work toward!
Exhilarate: This is another 45-minute workout, and another favorite of mine. Like Activate, this one is well-paced, so you never get too out of breath and you exercise steadily throughout the DVD. (Ladies – and maybe some gentlemen – this one is hosted by Beto, a Zumba founder. He is, frankly, easy on the eyes, so that makes this one really fun to watch!)
Ripped: This is Zumba toning. I've never been to a Zumba toning class, so this was a nice explainer. I wasn't sure the 1 1/2-pound toning sticks would really help me work out, but they do (especially if you don't do much strength training, and I'm not quite ready for that yet). There's some dancing mixed in with the toning so it never gets boring.
Mix: This is probably my favorite. Along with your regular instructors, there are dancers from all over the world who show you how to move like they do. There was everything from native African dances to the flamenco. I'm not sure how long this DVD is, and it can get really intense in parts, but it's so much fun.
Fitness Concert: It's exactly what you think it is: it's a concert with hundreds of folks Zumba'ing. It's 60 minutes and, again, well-paced. The cool thing is you get to see all of these Zumba'ers who were at a Zumba convention back in 2010. The men and women there are of literally every size, every shape, every color, every age.
A nice feature in most of the DVDs is the "Learn It!" and "Feel It!" options. If you're still learning the choreography, you can watch the workout with instructor's cues and encouragement (that's the "Learn It!" option). Or, you can just listen to the music (that's the "Feel It!" option).
The one complaint I have is attached to a compliment, so I'm not sure how much of a complaint it is: the exercises, dancers, sets, lighting, they all look good. They almost look like music videos. That's awesome, but at the same time, sometimes the way they're edited (usually towards the end of the workouts) you can't see how the instructors are moving very well. When I couldn't tell what the step was, I'd substitute some basic move and keep time with the music.
All in all, it's a great set. If you want to try Zumba at home before heading to class, this is a great way to learn the basics. Or if you're like me and want more than just a class or two a week, this set is terrific.
First off, the good news in the form of two pairs of jeans:
– When I was in college (think early 2000s), capri pants were in style. I couldn't find any I liked, so I bought two cheap pairs of jeans, cut them off and ka-boom, capris. I'd been at the Journal for only a little while before the smaller of the two pairs didn't fit anymore. I hung them up on the wall as motivation to lose the extra weight, but it didn't work. Probably about a year or so ago I took them down off the wall, feeling like I could never lose the weight. Well. I found them again a few weeks ago and tried them on, and they're wayy too big! I forgot what size they were, but they were a juniors' 15. Yeah. Too big. But it feels good to finally say I can fit back in them, and then some.
– Speaking of sizes, I've been in a weird limbo lately. I have two pairs of size 10 jeans, one being way too big and the other being almost too small. So I went to the store yesterday to see if I could find another size 10 that fit "just right"... and walked out with a size 8. Yes, I know, they're cut large for an 8, but they fit just right. Yay!
Alright, on to the point of this post.
If you've ever lost any weight, you've probably had folks ask you, "So, what are you doing?" or "How are you doing it?"
It seems like I've had a ton of folks ask me this lately, and when I give them the answer – "eating better and exercising," or something to that effect – with some folks, it's like I'm breaking their heart. I can see the disappointment in their eyes that I didn't say, geez, I sold my cow for three magic beans and ka-boom I've dropped 50 pounds. It's weird. I think people expect me to say I took a magic pill or sold my soul to the devil or something. Nope. I work out, I eat better, that sort of thing. That's also why it takes a while, if I even progress at all for a week (or more), but I think that's also why I feel better, healthier.
No sir. No magic beans here.
I'm happy with water just as it is, but sometimes it needs to be spruced up a bit.
Enter the Rove Infuser, a 20-ounce cold drink travel tumbler that is now my new bff.
Ya know those plastic, reusable travel cups you see everywhere now? This one has an infuser in the middle, so you can fill it with herbs or fruits which will give your cold water a fresh flavor. It keeps the water cold and doesn't sweat.
I picked mine up at Bed Bath and Beyond in Tupelo last night (it costs just under $10). I tried it this morning with strawberries and blueberries and it made the water so delicious. I'm gonna stop by the store at lunch to get more fruit and some herbs, like mint, to try new flavor combinations.
(If I'd thought about it, I would've taken a picture – sorry! And I can't seem to find a picture online, even on the company website. But I found mine toward the back of the store, in the kitchen section, and they had both pink and green ones. Mine's pink!)
I got the idea to look for something like this from this cool fitness blog, A Daily Dose of Fit. This blogger wrote about an infuser she got from the Papered Chef that allows you to put ingredients into bigger things like stews or large pitchers of beverages. I like that mine is a tumbler but I wouldn't mind having this big infuser too!
I'm off to buy some fruit!
This morning I came across this excellent column from Jezebel, called "Being Mean to Fat People is Pointless." (click the title to read it)
(apologies of curse words get your roos in a wad, because there are a few in it – but it is so worth your time, regardless)
If you're overweight, read it. If you know someone overweight, read it.
For years I took for granted what good friends I have. We laugh at our own mistakes or just us being goofy – never at the expense of others. But lately, outside my circle or with complete strangers, I've heard people laugh at, be mean toward and openly use derogatory words toward others. I guess I've been lucky enough to be friends with such good people – and I have enough sense to stay away from most websites' comments sections, where hatred and pure meanness grows like kudzu – and I guess I've been naive, but this behavior has really shocked me. I actually believed bigoted language was going the way of the dinosaur because I didn't know anyone who used it. I've gone months without hearing the "n" word or the "f" word – until lately, and this just plain breaks my heart.
Unfortunately, these folks have made me see otherwise. But just because it happens doesn't mean I have to listen to it, watch someone be subjected to it or put up with it.
This column deals with how overweight people are treated, and in my weight loss journey I've really seen how people treat me differently with 50 less pounds on my body. I won't lie: people are nicer. Guys hit on me more. I get more compliments. And I hate it. What, I wasn't worthy of your kindness before? I wasn't pretty before? I accessorized exactly the same way before, but it wasn't "cute" when I was more overweight? What sense does that make?
Let me say this, too: I know I'm sounding preachy here, but I feel I can write this post with confidence because I've been there. I've been the mean girl. But I also stopped myself, realized how absolutely ashamed of myself I was. I knew better, and I promised myself I'd never behave that way again. It didn't take much effort. I just swore I'd never try to make myself feel better by making someone else feel worse.
I'm sure I'm sounding super preachy this morning, but really, I've had enough.
I'm not even asking people to be kind to one another. I'm just saying, be civil. Think before you speak or act. Put your ego aside and consider about how what you're about to say or do will make someone else feel.
You've heard the saying before, right? It takes no time it all to put on weight, but it seems like it takes forever to take it off.
In late July it'll be a year since I started this weight loss plan. I've made a lot of progress but I still have a way to go. Thank goodness, some fresh motivation just came my way.
After basically a week of not being able to hit the gym (last week was one of the craziest work schedules I think I've ever had), I am SO READY to get back on track.
I'll let y'all know how those Zumba DVDs are after I've burned through a few of them. It's an 7-disc set, and last night I perfected my moves with the Step by Step DVD that breaks each of the steps down. I'm excited to get to use the Zumba Toning Sticks – basically two "weights" (they're really lightweight) that sound like maracas. Whee!
Here's to losing the rest of these 25 pounds!
WARNING: This post is, as the title says, for women only. If you’re a guy, you may want to turn away now.
I’ve debated whether or not to write about this topic since I started this blog, but it’s a big issue in my weight loss, so I felt I needed to share it. So, I hope this isn’t too TMI or anything.
Let’s talk about the week I like to call Shark Week.
Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.
Let’s get real here: for me, and for a lot of women I know, Shark Week isn’t actually just a week. There’s a solid week of pain and feeling tired right before it arrives, then the actual event itself, and then a few days of feeling kinda bad.
It happens – no big deal, right? It is, for me, when it comes to weight loss.
When it comes time for Shark Week, I become incredibly fatigued – exhausted, tired, sleepy, there aren’t enough words to describe it – and I am usually in some pretty bad pain. Not only that, but I crave everything that’s bad for me, especially fried foods and sweets. And I want to eat as much of this junk food as possible. I promise, it’s almost like I feel better after I give in to these cravings, whether it’s a bite of chocolate or a french fry.
And thanks to the exhaustion and pain, the last place I want to be is the gym. Even thinking about moving my legs to walk makes me tired.
BUT – I will say this – if you are experiencing PMS-type pains, working out will actually relieve them. If you can get past the initial pain, working out will feel better for your aches and pains than any medicine (too bad the effects aren’t long-term!).
So, what’s the answer? How do you keep up a decent energy level and stay away from junk food? I don’t know.
Midol helps a little, and any caffeinated drink only wakes me up a little bit. I’ve learned that I can have a small amount of whatever I’m craving, and that usually satisfies the craving. But the tiredness? I’m at a loss on that one.
I get frustrated because it always seems to hit about the time I’m doing really well in terms of working out and eating healthfully, so I feel like I’m getting nowhere, or even gaining weight, during Shark Week. It is so incredibly frustrating, but it’s Mother Nature. What can you do?
If anyone has any tips to beat the Shark Week blues, holler!
My birthday was Sunday. I have to admit, I was baaaad.
I didn't go to the gym for the entire week leading up to my birthday, and I ate poorly. Boy, am I paying for it now. I've never felt so sluggish and overall awful. I may have had some fun times while I was gym-less (quick trip to Memphis for Beale St. Music Fest and shopping, and lots of sitting around watching TV), but I've never missed the gym so much. And ugh, eating junk food may taste good while you eat it, but it makes you feel so bad for daaaaaays. Even though I've been back on the healthy train for a few days, I'm still feeling tired and run down.
My mom tried to keep me in line on my birthday, though, with a very cool alternative cake. She knows my favorite fruit is watermelon, so she cut a watermelon in slices, stacked the slices and ka-boom, a watermelon "cake." She even topped it with a candle that played music, and she had Avengers plates and napkins. (why yes, I am a geek) If you or someone you know is trying to lose weight, try something different like a watermelon cake instead of a sugary, bad-for-you actual cake. It's pretty awesome.
Water has always been my drink of choice, and lately I've found two super-powered kinds that go above and beyond basic hydration.
The first: La Croix.
La Croix is lightly-flavored carbonated water. It's not sweetened, so you don't have to worry about sugar or even artificial sweeteners. Because it's not sweet, the taste may throw you a bit at first – it's a bit odd at first to drink something lime, lemon, berry or coconut flavored that's not sweet. But it is SO GOOD – especially the lime, which is my current favorite. The carbonation makes it feel like a soda, but it's not. It's actually healthy.
La Croix can be found at both Kroger locations in Tupelo, and the Gloster St. Walmart.
The second: Avitae.
Avitae is caffeinated water. I know, I know, caffeine isn't all that healthy and you shouldn't drink much of it, but every once in a while you need a kick, and Avitae most definitely provides that. It is not flavored but instead comes in two doses: 90 mg (with a red label; about the same amount of caffeine in coffee) and 45 mg (with an orange label; about the same amount of caffeine in a diet soda).
The caffeine in the water is natural, and because that's all that's in there, your body breaks it down faster. I can't tell much of a caffeine rush when I drink sodas or coffee, but holy cow, I do with Avitae. Unless you just drink a whole lot of caffeine, I warn you not to drink a whole lot of Avitae quickly. I've drank the two doses either together or back to back and have almost made myself sick. Just one dose by itself is plenty, trust me.
The only place I've found Avitae is Papa V's in Tupelo.
As of Saturday, I've lost 51 pounds.
Like any other milestone I've reached in this weight loss journey, that fact kinda blows my mind. At the same time, it's so easy for me to follow that accomplishment by saying, "Oh, but it took nine months," or "Oh, but most of that weight was lost in the first five months, and you've only lost 10 in the last four months..." that kind of thing.
But I'm trying really hard not to listen to the Debbie Downer in my head and keep on my positive path.
My doc says I need to lose 75 total, so I'm two-thirds of the way there. I can't believe I'm THISCLOSE to my goal!
With my birthday around the corner (next Monday!), this just makes this birthday even sweeter.
So here I am, at 51 pounds. It feels pretty awesome. Work outs feel amazing, not exhausting. I could live at the gym if only I had every hour of every day to myself. I don't miss junk food that tastes bad or makes me sick.
Now I've gotta lose these remaining 24 pounds.
Fifty pounds is kind of a big deal, and when I originally set out with this plan, I said I'd buy myself a really awesome reward for losing 50 pounds. My main ideas were a manicure and pedicure (something I give myself at home all the time, but never splurge to have them done at a salon), or a massage, or my favorite expensive (for my budget) make-up.
I kind of accidentally spent my reward money last night, on new workout clothes. I didn't mean to spend so much, but I really needed new workout pants – I've been XL's since day one, and the ones I bought last night were medium's. The new pants, shorts and other necessary workout clothes fit so much better and make it way easier to work out in.
So I guess I'll save the big gifts – mani/pedi, Make Up Forever, etc. – for the next milestones. But right now, I'm sitting pretty at 51.