Friday, March 20, 2015

Those three little words: Diet, Exercise, Weightloss

This is a very different, and very personal, blog post for me today; however, I have felt strongly for quite some time now that I need to share my experiences when it has come to losing weight, dieting and exercise. Gotta love those three little words, right? Wrong!

Don't you instantly feel like a great weight is pushing you down the second you hear someone utter those words? Or feel immense pressure when you hear how someone just completed their morning workout? Or "so and so" just lost so many pounds and can now fit into the same jeans they wore before baby? Yeah, I used to be one of those people too.

I always wanted to lose weight and go back to how I used to look when my husband first dared lay his eyes on me, but I could never really get the motivation. I was motivated for a short time after I gave birth to each of my children, but I could never lose those last 15-20 pounds. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get any smaller. How did I get so small before I had kids?

I wasn't exactly little miss skinny in middle school....actually, I was quite a little chunk in middle school, and you know what, I used to be ok with that at the time, until my grandpa came to visit one thanksgiving, and upon noticing that I was allotting myself an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, my grandpa whispered to me that "boys don't like girls who eat a lot." I know what you're thinking, what person in their right mind would say that to a 14 year old girl??? The answer is, I don't know, however, I am not here today to tell you my "sob story", but rather to tell you my success story with healthy weightloss along with a healthy diet and daily exercise. Because you know what? I'm over being that low self esteem 14 year old girl.

I know all of you are about ready to click off this blog post because you just don't want to read another person's "success" story. But I am here to tell you that my journey in weightloss and getting fit is far from over. I still have a weightloss goal that I haven't reached and I also have a fitness goal (to run a marathon this October) that I still need to reach.

I am here to show you what I am doing to lose weight and get in shape and how it is working for me. You can try it, it just might work for you, but the first thing I want you to realize before you start, is that what works for me, may not necessarily work for you. Keep your head up, keep trying and find what works for YOU! Every BODY is different, keep looking until you find what works for you!

So the diet I am doing is my own version of the Slim Fast diet, but catered to my tastes and my budget. I actually buy the Costco weightloss shakes instead of the actual Slim Fast shakes, and then my daily diet/exercise schedule goes as follows: (after my schedule, I will share with you some tips that I have learned along my journey...)

Actually, before I show you my daily schedule, let me start off by telling you that I am a calorie counter! It is the ONE major thing that works for me! You'll see why...

Here is my average day:

6:30 AM: Wake up, change into work out clothes, brush my teeth, quietly straighten up the house while everyone sleeps, and then head into our backroom to jump on the treadmill.

7:00 AM: Morning walk, usually I do a 3.5 mph pace for 30 minutes. This is the time I use to get my body going for the day and prepare it for the "big" workout to come. I also read on my kindle during this time, reading helps me to pass the time and not focus so much on how much I don't want to be walking, or how much I would rather be sleeping. It's definitely something that has worked for me. Also during my morning walk I drink a 16.9 oz bottle of water, I have learned in this experience that the more water you drink, the less you retain, believe me, water retention is a big part of the blame for weight gain!

7:30 AM: Wake kids up, get them ready for school, and feed them breakfast. During this time I also "eat" my own breakfast by drinking a Costco weightloss shake.

8:45 AM: Cardio workout, I usually go any where from 60-90 minutes depending on how I am feeling, but no matter how tired I am, I always push myself until at least 60 minutes, this helps my "brain" fitness as well. It takes great determination and discipline to stick to a workout routine and diet, believe me I know how hard it is to keep going when you just want to quit, but I also know that you will NEVER regret not stopping at 30 minutes like you wanted to and going the full 60 minutes.

Here is a little tip I want to throw in now before I forget, this is something that is actually a great motivator for me, as I struggle with bipolar depression. It's a quote from one of my favorite movies: Legally Blonde:

Not only have I been happy to see weightloss, no matter how big or small, I LOVE the natural high I get for exercising! It helps my day go so much more smoothly as opposed to doing no exercise at all. Oh and also during my cardio workout, I drink another 16.9 oz bottle of water. 

If you haven't noticed yet, I also haven't mentioned any toning, my reasons for that are actually my own. See, I have this thing with the scale, I get discouraged REALLY easily if I don't see weightloss after a hard days work of exercising. I also have learned that muscle weighs more than fat, and since I want to see the weightloss before I see definition in my body, I have chosen to do strictly cardio until I hit my goal weight, then I will work on toning, but honestly, having a 6 pack of abs is not high on my priority list, lol.

10:00 AM: Before I jump in the shower and wash off all that sweat, I take the time to eat a small 100 calorie snack. I have learned that when I eat every two hours, I don't binge eat when I come to mealtimes. So for my morning snack I usually eat 3 oz. (about 4 berries) of Strawberries and then a reduced fat stick of string cheese. You can choose anything you want though! Just try and stick to 100 calories or less.

12:00 PM: Time for lunch....another Costco shake! (I seriously love them! They taste so good! It's my daily chocolate and sugar allowance :) )

2:00 PM: Another 100 calorie snack, this snack for me is usually a banana (which helps with sore muscles) or wheat thins crackers (which actually really help to hold me over until my next snack) At this time I also drink another 16.9 oz bottle of water.

4:00 PM: Last snack of the day, this is usually lighter, I tend to eat a Yoplait Light yogurt, there are so many different flavors and I can really quench some of my cravings with those yogurts! Like they have strawberry cheesecakes and red velvet cupcake! They really do taste like those desserts and are SOOOOOO good!

6:00 PM: You will never believe me, but I really do eat ANYHTING I want for dinner. I can eat Jimmy John's sandwiches, Pizza Hut pizza (pan crust of course), chocolate chip pancakes, the sky is the limit. So what is the catch? I bet you are thinking I am eating those tasteless nutra-system meals huh? WRONG! I really do eat all those things for my evening meals, the catch is, don't go over 500 calories, that's it. Eat whatever you want! I don't do the gluten free thing, or the vegetarian thing, none of that. I eat whatever I want, I just watch my calories, and you know what? It works for me, it may not work for others, but it works for me. I calorie count, and that's ok. Remember, do what works for YOU! Oh and with my dinner I drink my final 16.9 oz. bottle of water for the night.

Finally, after I have finished my evening meal with my family, (that's another thing, eating whatever you want means you can eat with your family and not covet what they are eating, how nice is that? Just remember, everything in moderation) I do not eat or drink ANYTHING after 7pm at night, it took some getting used to, and some nights are really hard, especially when the hubs gets his 9:00 pm munchies and brings down a bag of potato chips, but discipline and good mental strength is really what gets me through those hard dieting times.

Now I want to share with you some tips to help you get through those hard dieting days, because let's face it, we ALL have them, even those who have success. They all make it look so easy, but I bet if you asked, they would all admit just hard mentally hard the struggle to diet is.

Tip #1: Chew gum! I learned this little trick years ago when I first started dieting after my first baby. I learned often times that I wasn't actually hungry, I learned that I was either bored, or my mouth just wanted something to chew I chew gum. It works wonders!

Tip #2: Take a multivitamin to help with the lack of vitamins you aren't getting with the lack of food you are eating. I take gummy vitamins for women that have added metabolism and energy support, I also take an extra dose of B12 to help with metabolism and energy since I chase around kids all day, I need that added energy.

Tip #3: Stay active! Keep yourself busy! If you get bored, you will most likely eat. Keep your mind off of food by keeping yourself busy. Create something! Clean something! Take your kids to the park! Read a REALLY GOOD book...anything to help you keep your mind off of food.

Tip #4: Don't go below 1,200 calories! I learned this the hard way. When dieting, for women, don't go below 1,200 calories. If you add up my daily calories from above, you will notice that it only adds up to 1,160 calories, and that is ok, cause chances are, I'm going to go over at dinner time lol. But don't go below 1,200 calories, otherwise your body will go into starvation mode and it will try to hold on to those calories instead of letting them go.

Tip #5: Get lots of sleep! Have you ever heard that you lose half the calories you gained during the day while you sleep at night? Well I'm pretty sure it's true! I have learned through my own experience that when you don't get enough sleep, you won't see the weight loss you were hoping for in the morning. Aim for 7-8 hours or more of sleep! Slip in a nap too if you can! I saw my biggest amounts of weightloss when I was able to take a nap. Not to mention, napping will help you to forget about eating food too. :)

Tip #6: If you go over calories, first off IT'S OKAY!!! However, if you refuse to forgive yourself for going over, lace up those running shoes and take a jog around the block a couple of times, it will help you feel better.

Tip #7: Download some apps to your phone to help you keep on track and keep on progressing. I like the RunKeeper app and the Myfitnesspal app. I use them every single day and they have helped me so much in my weightloss endeavor. The RunKeeper app has also helped me with my marathon training. 

Tip #8: As I have mentioned a few times now, remember that it takes time, discipline and A LOT of mental strength. It's not going to be easy but it WILL be worth it!

Tip #9: Allow a treat every now and then. If you swear off sugar completely, you are going to cave and binge, once a week, or even once a day, allow yourself a little treat. I actually keep a bag of peanut butter cups in the fridge and everyday while I am making dinner, I allow myself exactly two. It has really helped curb my sugar cravings.

Tip #10: Call a friend! Having a friend to go walking with makes all the difference! It's always so surprising to me how long I have exercised when I go with a friend! Talking to a friend helps take your mind off of just how tired you are!

Tip #11: When you hit the weightloss plateau, EAT MORE! I'm not kidding you. When I did research on the weightloss plateau when I hit it myself, I didn't believe this article when I read it, but after two weeks of sticking in the stupid plateau area, I gave it a try and you know what? It worked! I'm not kidding you! TRY IT!!!

Click here to go to the article.

Tip #12: Tell your family and friends what you are doing and how much it would mean to you if they supported you. Believe me, it makes all the difference. Having my husband not encourage me to eat that cookie sitting on the counter that I keep saying I want, or having him eat his late night snack in the kitchen instead of in the room with me, has helped a ton. His support gives me strength. Find yourself a good support system! 

Tip #13: NO MORE SODA POP! That's all I have to say about that....once I stopped drinking soda, I stopped have problems with losing weight.

Tip #14: I said this earlier, but tone AFTER you hit your weightloss goal, because if you are anything like me, it won't matter that you know that muscle weighs more than fat, all that will matter in the beginning is seeing that number go down on the bathroom scale.

Tip #15: The final tip I have for you, and I learned this from my brother; make sure you are doing this for YOU!!! If you are doing it for someone else, you will never have the motivation you need to accomplish your goals. YOU need to be the biggest priority when it comes to YOUR body and YOUR weightloss goals. Just this once, it needs to be all about YOU! 

Above all, have fun! Laugh at yourself. Go easy on yourself when you don't follow your diet exactly. Forgive yourself for eating those extra cupcakes. Remember that tomorrow is another day and that you can always try again! Never give up! I repeat, NEVER GIVE UP!

Welcome To Zion Mall!!!

Have you heard of the famous Zion Mall from Pinterest? Well if you haven't, now is your chance to learn all about it and maybe even build one for your ward Relief Society. We had our "grand opening" last night to celebrate the 173rd birthday of the Relief Society and it was both a blast and spiritually uplifting! We had one AMAZING presidency and committee who all worked so well together to bring this about for all the wonderful women in our ward. Whoever was the original idea behind this Zion Mall needs two thumbs WAY WAY up for an amazing idea! You can find more ideas that other wards did for their Zion's Mall by going to Pinterest here. Or you can also find it on one of my most favorite websites ever,

So we began our adventure in building this mall over two months ago! Our wonderful event directer, Julie, found this idea, added her own creativity and flare to it (along with the help of her fellow Relief Society presidency members) and the whole thing just took flight! With the amazing committee of volunteers we were able to put together something so amazing, we definitely felt we were "Pinterest Worthy". So I offered to make a blog post all about the amazing stores and the women behind them so we could share it with the world and other ward members so they could maybe create their own Zion Mall someday.

Let's take a tour of the new Zion Mall, shall we?

When "customers" first walked through the doors they were greeted with the Zion Mall sign, and also a chance to enter to win raffle prizes! (We actually have a wonderful lady in our ward who donated ALL of the prizes! She had to have donated over 50+ items! Ranging anywhere from books, to kitchen items, to beauty and heath and fitness products to games and cell phone products! It was quite the sight to see! Our mall director, Julie, actually called out Raffle prize winners periodically through out the night and we got to go over and pick a prize! It was so much fun! 

Also greeting those who entered the building were four posters (made by me, actually), introducing 4 of the 16 General Relief Society presidents our church has had the privilege of having served us over the past 173 years. It was fun for me to put these together and to learn about each one of these ladies. Like, did you know the Emmeline B. Wells was the president who came up with our Relief Society's theme "Charity Never Faileth"? I also learned that I have a distant relative (Amy B. Lyman) who was also a General Relief Society president! How cool is that? I learned so much about the Relief Society before I ever set foot in the mall! What a great perk to being part of the committee!

Now, let's actually enter into the mall itself and take a tour of all of the stores! When you walked in the door, there was a mall map to help guide you along your way, showing you all the stores you could visit and even a Food Court!

The next thing we were greeted with was at our tables...we were given "shopping bags" and "credit cards". These were such a clever idea! I loved how well they came together! The credit card was one of my favorite things I received from that night! 

The first store I was greeted by when I first walked in was Journey's Shoes, look at how amazing this sister did on her store front! She took a refrigerator box and turned it into a window display, then she even had her husband remove their den door off the hinges from their own home to make the front doors to her store! How clever is that!? (psst, this store was actually my favorite, yet, all of them were so fantastic!) This was also one of our "featured stores" in which the "store manager" spoke to all the women about the "shoes" that fit others, may not fit us, that what works for us is what is best for us. Her words were truly inspiring! 

The next store I had the pleasure of "shopping" at, was The Pantry. This store was FULL of wonderful information on Emergency Planning and Food Storage, the "store owner" had gone to great lengths to get emergency plans straight from our local police departments website and made copies for everyone! I took nearly every single pamphlet she had to offer! She had information on being prepared for Thunder and Lightning Storms, checking your Smoke detectors and having fire extinguishers in your homes, a checklist for a "home hazard hunt", information on Disaster Psychology, what to do in the event of an earthquake, how to be prepared if the power goes out, having a 72-hour kit in your home, Winter preparedness, Motor Vehicle preparedness, Food & Water emergency storage, First Aid education, Fire Safety preparedness, Heat Wave preparedness, and Family Disaster Planning. She even had everything you could need to start doing your family genealogy! Talk about being prepared! She had it ALL! 

The next store was one of the cutest ideas! Build And Bear Your Testimony! This was actually another one of our "featured" stores, in which the "store manager" came and spoke to us about building and bearing our testimonies, he had a wonderful handout and it was a truly spiritually uplifting experience to hear from him.

Next up on the mall map was the GAP outlet. This was actually the store that I "owned". The theme of mine was to "close the GAP between you and your Heavenly Father", therefore, my store was actually "closed" I had a couple of handouts though, a magnet to hang on your fridge to remind you to "close the GAP" and also a bookmark with an inspiring quote on how to build a better relationship with your Heavenly Father by Pres. Uchtdorf. 

The next store (another on of my favorites, partially because I chose to break my diet last night, just for this event) was Mission Fields Cookies! The store owner spotlighted our ward's current serving Missionaries and provided some delicious chocolate chip and white chocolate chip cookies! They were divine! Such a creative idea! Don't ya think?

Next stop: the Food Court! A great group of Relief Society ladies worked together to put together a Taco Salad Bar, complete with ALL the fixings (including homemade tortilla taco shell bowls) and of course a birthday cake! The food was delicious and I ate up every single bite of what they had to serve! Thank you ladies for all of your time and hard work and effort, I was very well fed as I'm sure we all were! 

After the tasty Food Court was a store called "Joys R Us" this was our third featured store and the speaker that went along with it gave SOOOOOO many ideas on how to find Joy in the Journey of our lives. She came up with ideas on everything from date nights, to girls night out, to have friends to exercise and talk with, and spending time with your family and your children. She gave us all some great ideas and I can't wait to do some of them with my own family, children and friends! 

After Joys R Us came Kneaders Bakery!!! This store owner had some VERY taste cookies, along with handouts and ideas for handouts to remind us of Visiting Teaching and things we could take to our sisters that we do visit teach to help them feel special and know that we are there for them whenever they need us! 

Next on our mall route was "Focus Eye Center" which helped us all to focus on our Family History! What a fun and creative idea! I love the little window that she added! And those were some nice sunglasses! I almost took a pair for myself, lol.

One of the main focal points of the entire mall was the next stop on our mall map, the Megaplex Theater! The owner of this "store" did an INCREDIBLE job! She really went all out! 
She did everything from movie posters, to the giant movie screen to an actual popcorn machine for us to have popcorn and a partition to walk through! She really let loose on this place and we all got to benefit from its awesomeness! (BTW, these pictures do not even begin to show just how HUGE this theater was! It was GINORMOUS!)

The final store on the map was the Sprint store... "Sprint To Serve". This too was a favorite of mine, she had some amazing ideas for random acts of kindness towards others and our family members, and also she had printed out a talk for everyone by Pres. Uchtdorf entitled "You Are My Hands". the talk was all about being disciples of Jesus Christ and support those around us rather than condemning them. It was a truly inspired store! 

Throughout the evening we all got to shop, be physically fed by the Food Court and a few booths, be spiritually fed by our three inspired speakers, and take home some amazing finds to help us better ourselves and our lives. Thank you again to all the AMAZING and talented people who put this together, it was a group effort and it was well worth that effort by the end of the night. We all appreciated the hard work that was put into this, and hopfeully for those of you who are reading this, you have been inspired to put together your own Zion Mall for your ward's Relief Society. Best of luck in your future construction of your mall if you choose to do so! It truly is worth the time and effort spent!