Cardio Works—So Just Do It!!

That's me flexing my developing muscles after a good dose of cardio!

That’s me flexing my developing muscles after a good dose of cardio!

It feels so good to be back—back blogging, back from the plus size department, and more importantly back to a healthier me. But as we all should know this weight loss/healthy living lifestyle is a journey. Nothing happens overnight, that applies to how long it took you to gain that weight and how long it will take you to lose that weight. Rather you want to believe it or not it takes effort, time, and repetition to gain weight!! Let’s face it; it took days of you not counting calories or even considering them, weeks of you saying no to water and yes to flavor, and months of you indulging in trans fattyfast-food restaurants at all hours of the day and night!

And so after a year of putting ALL of your effort towards gratifying your taste buds repetitively, you realize that things aren’t what they used to be and you’ve begun to not like what you see. At that moment you have a choice to make—you could continue on your road to self-destruction or you could really get fed up and not just talk about it, but do something about it! I’ve mentioned in my previous post that everything doesn’t work for everybody so you should find out what works for you. Well there is an exception to that statement and the exception is my final main tip for you to apply on your journey: CARDIO, it works so just do it!! Every tip that I’ve mentioned up to this point have helped me develop better eating habits but my “healthy lifestyle equation” was not complete until I added Cardio to it!!

It’s so important that you get your eating habits under control before you decide that you’re going to exercise or else your efforts will be in vain. What you eat can really help or sabotage your weight loss efforts. If you rarely choose water over flavor before you commit to cardio why would you do it afterwards?? You won’t!! So before you make a decision to begin working out make sure your weight loss equation is not missing a healthy diet!!

In the past I’ve had gym memberships that were short-lived, so when my gym membership ceased to exist so did my exercising. And when we fail to exercise there are some obvious things that happen to the body and some not so obvious things that happen. It is obvious and a known fact that you will gain weight if you don’t work out. And of course there are some quick fixes for that, that involves liposuction or body wraps for instance. But for all of you Quick Fix Advocates, what does these quick fixes  do for your metabolism or your heart or lungs, does it prevent osteoporosis because you are building up muscle, is it a stress reliever, or can it decrease depression?????? The answer is no!!! These quick fixes could never replace exercise even if they tried, because it’s not just about losing weight, even though that is a benefit of it, it’s about the overall health of your entire body. So don’t try to replace exercise because it’s impossible!!!

When I committed to doing cardio I started off going to the track (free of charge) several times a week. Eventually after we moved I was always standing and moving at my new job, not to mention the eight flights of stairs I would go up and down twice a day, at least four times a week. Of course since cardio has many forms I began to lose more weight at this point but I was still missing something, and that something was repetition in the form of an exercise regimen. Well after I received one of the best gifts ever, an ELLIPTICAL, my life and body has never been the same. I practically lived on that thing and it gave me two things that I needed, cardio and a count of the calories I burned during each session. Overtime I began to increase the calories I burned which caused me to lose weight faster.  *Keep in mind that you can’t spot burn fat, the fat will come off wherever it wants to so be patient.

So I encourage you, make sure your healthy lifestyle equation is complete with a healthy diet and cardio. Be patient–it took time to put on the pounds so it will take time, patience, effort, and repetition to get it off. Keep in mind that you don’t need a membership to exercise, buy an elliptical or go to a track. Quick fixes should and could never replace exercise! And finally remember that CARDIO WORKS—SO JUST DO IT!!!

If you have any questions or comments you can post them below I would love to hear from you!

I hope that this tip will help you on your journey to a healthier you! Until next time ;)!

Say No to Trans Fat & Get Your Figure Back!!!

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Hello everyone, welcome back!! Today I wanted to shed light on a figure transforming ingredient that many people are totally unaware of. I avoid this ingredient like a plague and I advise you to do the same!! Let’s just say that this particular ingredient does not have your best interest at HEART. As a matter of fact this ingredient works directly against your heart, waist, and shape. This ingredient will contribute to excess body fat and heart disease, so it should be evaded at ALL COST! Now I know you’re wondering what ingredient is that Big and Bad that it could sabotage your weight loss efforts, clog your arteries thus contributing to heart disease. Introducing your number 1 fat enemy Trans Fat aka partially hydrogenated oil. Weight loss tip #3 to apply on your journey is avoid Trans fat!

In life there are good fats (monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated) and bad fats (Saturated) but the baddest of them all is trans fat. So what is trans fat exactly and why is it so bad?! Well for starters it’s a man-made fat and it’s found in many of the foods we should avoid. Any fat that made its debut in Crisco should really send a red flag to anyone. The intentions of man when they created this fat was not for the greater good of society but instead was for the greater good of their pockets!!! That’s because trans fat was used to increase the shelf life of their products all the while decreasing humans life span. This horrible fat makes all of these things possible in part by the fact that when consumed it increases your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowers your good cholesterol levels (HDL); and it’s the only fat that does that! So man really screwed up on this one to say the very least, and it’s our body’s that are paying the price for it!

On top of everything else trans fat has been proven to cause fat to be stored in your abdomen which explains so much!! Now I’m convinced that I had my fair share of trans fat because outwardly I had everything to prove it; the sagging sides (love handles), friction thighs to the point that I couldn’t wear shorts when I went running/or walking because it BURNED like heck!! My priority was taste so I could care less what was in the food as long as it tasted good everything else was irrelevant. For peace sake I didn’t even know the differences between the fats, in my head all fats were the same. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one oblivious to the facts behind the fats so I’m glad that I have the opportunity to tell you that there is a DIFFERENCE, a huge difference!! Yes this fat is bad for your shape but more importantly it’s bad for your health.

So how can you avoid this FIGURE TRANSFORMING FAT?? Well first you have to read the nutrition label on everything before you buy it to make sure that it says 0 grams of trans fat.

But don’t stop there because it can list 0 grams of trans fat and still have trans fat in small amounts depending on how many servings you eat. So take it a step further and read the ingredients list and scan it for trans fat or its alias name partially hydrogenated oils. That scanning is necessary because if a serving of food has 0.5 grams of trans fat or less it doesn’t have to be listed in the Nutrition Facts because it’s a seemingly small amount; but you must keep in mind that the facts is based on a single serving. If you eat two or three servings in a day you just ate 1-2 grams of trans fat which is not good.

When you go out to eat ask to see the restaurants Nutritional Guide so that you can be certain that what you’re eating is free of trans fat because your health is worth more than those few seconds of taste.

Therefore I URGE you to avoid trans fat for the benefit of your health and your figure. You can do this by reading the nutrition facts, scanning the ingredients list for trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils because it’s the same thing, and when out to eat request to see their Nutritional Guide. I guarantee you will get your figure back if you say no to trans fat and live a healthy lifestyle.

Be sure to complete the poll below and if you have any questions or comments be sure to post them as well! If you would like more information on trans fat please visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp .

I hope that this tip will help you on your journey to a healthier you! Until next time 😉

Do Yourself a Favor, Choose Water over Flavor

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Welcome back everyone! Today I wanted to share with you a tip for losing weight that tends to be over looked or just plain forgotten about. Some people get so caught up in wanting to lose weight that they forget about the basics. The basics involve what you’re drinking. If you’ve incorporated my previous weight loss tip (Calorie Counting) you’ve already begun to realize that 8 ounces of some drinks are not worth HUNDREDS of CALORIES! So if you want a natural way to increase your metabolism and regulate your appetite, thus causing you to lose weight, DRINK WATER (allaboutwater.org, 2004)! Making water your drink of choice will benefit your weight and your overall health! Rather you’re on a journey to weight loss or trying to maintain your weight, by applying this tip your body will surely reap the benefits! So let’s begin!

In my house I’m known as the Water Police, Water Girl, have you drunk enough water today Stalker! But I wasn’t always this way; as a matter of fact I was quite the contrary! Drinking water was not what I did because at times it would take me to get to the point of severe dehydration just to sip on some water! You would think that after drinking a liquid laxative, in order to lose weight, that I would resort to drinking water but no I would much rather drink sprite (probably because it was clear..lol)! I have No Doubt that my late night trips to grab a banana shake from Checkers and all the other calorie filled drinks I consumed helped make me the person you see in the picture above.

Obviously I was really ignorant to the role that water played in my body, and how it accounts for over half of our body weight, and what that actually meant. So to put this in perspective, our body has an account, similar to a bank account, but instead of it being filled with money it’s filled with water. If water is taken out of our body’s account it needs to be replaced or replenished, and if our account is in the negative we will become dehydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, every day we lose water through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements, so in order for our bodies to function properly, we must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water (2011). So don’t get so caught up in loving flavor that you forget that your body NEEDS water!

Increasing my water intake to a gallon a day was one of the first things I did in order to lose weight; this lasted for about a week because that was an EXTREME commitment. So instead I strived for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day and I made note of each glass I drank. So by not drinking my calories I took in fewer calories (weight loss) and I had more calories for food. Now, I find it helpful to have a water filter in order to have constant access to water at home and to have bottles of water for me to take on-the-go.

Initially, drinking water may feel like a chore but if you stick to it, it will become a regular part of your lifestyle! Obviously the extra trips to the bathroom will take some getting used to, but that’s just one way God designed our bodies to flush out toxins and waste products.

So I encourage you to drink more water, keep your water account full, and consider buying a water filter to help you do this. The benefits are immense, so do yourself a favor and choose water over flavor!

Be sure to complete the poll below and if you have any questions or comments be sure to post them as well!

I hope that this tip will help you on your journey to a healthier you!  Until next time 😉

References

All about water .org (2004). 10 Reasons to drink water. Retrieved from http://www.allaboutwater.org/drink-water.html

Mayo Clinic. (2011). Water: How much should you drink every day? Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283

Conquering Calorie Counting

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(That’s a portion of my current recommended calorie intake to the left and to the right is me towards the beginning of my weight loss journey).

Welcome back fellow bloggers, family, friends, and complete strangers! Today I wanted to share a tip with you that opened my eyes and put me on the right track to weight loss: CALORIE COUNTING!!! Now BEWARE, this task is not for the unmotivated person who wants to think themselves smaller, but on the contrary will require discipline & stick-to-itiveness, and as a result, your eyes will be opened and your mouth will begin to close a lot more! Regardless of where you are in your journey to a healthier you, by applying this tip you will definitely reap the benefits! If you are someone who doesn’t know where to start I recommend calorie counting as your first step. So let’s begin!!

Initially I was completely oblivious to the science behind food, and how if eaten in excess could be your worst enemy. I mean I was in total denial that my late night trips to Burger King and Checkers would cause me to check my chin at the door because after a while it was completely GONE!!! The foods that I once requested to be adorned with extra toppings were sending me straight to the plus size department in a heartbeat!! No wonder why I avoided shopping and spandex & jogging pants became my new best friend, because everything else just wasn’t flattering. Going shopping during these transitional times can either encourage you to lose weight or discourage you even more.

So after coming to grips that my “love handles” were really distorting my figure and contributed to my classification as an apple shape (meaning I had more fat in the midsection than I needed, rather than a pear shape). I knew that I had to change how much I ate and what I ate. And what better way to do that besides counting calories!

Calorie counting was a foreign language to me that I was determined to learn. I discovered that calories is just energy, derived from energy-yielding nutrients like carbs, fat, and protein. So as you know energy was meant to be spent or burned, kind of like money. If you don’t burn enough energy through exercise you will begin to store energy, and ultimately if you store more than you burn, you will inevitably begin to gain weight. Likewise, if you burn more calories than you take in you will begin to lose weight. So I knew that I needed to burn more and eat less.

For starters I had to determine my goal weight or how much weight I wanted to lose. After putting that information into a calorie counter I was given my daily recommended calorie intake that would allow me to reach my goal in a certain period of time. That was the easy part; the hard part was actually following through.

I was forced to actually look at the calories in everything I ate, from my Little Debbie brownies to my glass of juice. As a result I had to decide, is this snack/beverage actually worth the calories??? Many times it wasn’t, so certain snacks and soft drinks automatically fell by the waist-side. This technique is truly an eye opener and helps put in perspective why it can be so easy to gain weight.

I had to write down everything I ate and subtract it from my daily calorie intake. Thankfully now, this process is much easier because of free apps like MyFitnessPal, which is made specifically for this purpose, and calories can be calculated by scanning the bar code with your phone’s camera. In addition, calorie counting helped me to space out my meals so that I wouldn’t spend all my calories in one place, which is so easy to do unfortunately. 😦

So I encourage you, especially if you want to lose weight to find out your recommended daily calorie intake by downloading an app or using an online tool, read the nutrition facts label on everything before you eat it, balance your “calorie checkbook,” and watch some weight fall off!! In order for this tip to be more effective I do recommend that you make healthy food choices with your allotted calories and that you engage in physical activities.

I hope that this tip will help you on your journey to a healthier you! Until next time 😉

My Journey to a Healthier Me

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Growing up, my sister and I took turns being out of shape and overweight. One year I was slim and she was the opposite, next year she was slim and I was far from it! For most of high school I was in great shape, due to all of the cardio I was getting from having to catch the bus to and from school. Eventually, the cons of having to ride public transportation in Detroit, and its surrounding cities, outweighed the pros, so I insisted on driving, and the WAIST was HISTORY.
 Yes I drove my waist away!!  Now of course I don’t attribute the disappearance of my waist solely to my new form of mobility, there were other factors that played a role in it.
As an employee at the time of a far from healthy restaurant, I frequently ate there once or twice during a shift, not to mention dessert. I would eat at fast food restaurants at all hours of the night. I never exercised, and even when I did I would reward myself with a NY Steak, loaded mashed potatoes, and dessert, so needless to say it was all in vain. And as a result I grew out of all the clothes that I once loved and splurged on, and was forced to give it to whom else but my sister, who of course was slim at the time!
Quite frankly I had the want without the drive. I wanted to look good in my clothes but not enough to do something about it. This went on for about a year until I began to try different ways to lose weight. I tried exercise stomach belts that contracted the muscles in my stomach, but all the while I was still eating unhealthy foods. I tried water pills and liquid laxatives and lost some weight but often experienced dehydration because I wasn’t replenishing the water I was losing. I looked into liposuction and quick fixes that didn’t result in lifestyle changes, so any results would’ve been short-lived.
My journey to become a healthier me began when my eyes were opened to the truth while taking a Nutrition course. If it wasn’t for this class I wouldn’t have known how unhealthy fast food restaurants are, or how to read nutritional guides and its importance, as well as the importance of counting calories, and knowing your BMI (Body Mass Index). As a result of taking this course I learned all of those things and more, so I began to apply them.
Instead of pricing liposuction on the internet I found out my recommended calorie intake in order to reach my goal weight. I began to count calories by reading the nutrition facts label. I began to drink a gallon of water a day and recording both what I ate and how much water I drank on a piece of paper. I planned out my meals so that I knew what & how much I was eating, and the time I was going to eat it.
Finally, I went walking 3-5 days out of the week and ultimately eliminated fast food from my diet. Then slowly but surely my waist began to come back around. However it took at least a year’s worth of lifestyle changes. I had to get motivated and stay motivated! During that year and even now I apply the same never-failing principles which will ultimately be the monthly tips that I will share to get you on, or keep you on your journey, to a healthier you!