Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Workout Routine-Beginners

I've been asked again and again what workouts I do. Most of you know I'm a huge Bob Harper fan, and I consider him my "trainer". What I do for workouts may not be right for you, though. You have to find what works for your body.

First, you need to figure out what kind of fitness level you are on. When I started out I was at a beginners level, and very overweight. You can visit this website to find out: After I had my son, I was a beginner, level 2.

I started out with this DVD:
This DVD has a maximum weight loss program option, and that is what I did. I followed the 12 week program on the DVD and lost 30 pounds from that alone! It has 3 levels, and by week 9 or so you start doing all 3 levels together, which is about 50 minutes. You only need a set of hand weights; I used 3 pounds and then worked up to 5 pounds. A body band is optional for level 3, but I never had one and just used my dumbells.

Bob has a message that he preaches in his routines that I absolutely love! He tells you in his DVD's that if you want to change your body, you cannot workout for 15 minutes and expect results. You need to put yourself in a pool of sweat 4 to 6 times a week. One of my favorite quotes of his that he says on his Inside Out DVD (while holding plank position for what seems like an eternity!) is "10 minute workout? What is a 10 minute workout? A 10 minute workout is a WARM-UP!". He's absolutely correct, and I've had to experience it to understand that message.

It reminds me of something that happened at Walmart a few weeks ago to me. I was standing in the fitness aisle, admiring the kettle bells that I was itching to buy, when I saw a woman who was a good 200lbs looking at the fitness DVD's with her husband. She had no idea what to get, and they were picking through the lot that Walmart had available. What did she pick up and buy? The Kim Kardashian 10 minute booty DVD. I was so close, SO close to telling her what a mistake she was making, but I have to remember that not everyone wants my advice/help. She is a prime example though of what we tend to go for. Why did she buy that DVD? Because it was only 10 minutes long....and she wants a Kim booty. We cannot workout for 10 minutes and get results. It does not work! Then we get depressed, binge eat, and go right back to where we started.

If you are a beginner, I'm sure you're shaking your head at me reading this now and saying to yourself "there's no way I can work out for an entire hour!" or "I don't have time for that". You can make excuses your entire life, but when will you put all of that aside to finally put yourself first? You MAKE the time to workout. Trust me, I know it's hard. I had a 3 year old (a very active one, at that), newborn, and a husband who worked the night shift when I started out. I had to sacrifice a lot to get this done, but you can make it work if you have the drive and willingness to succeed. If you would have told me 7 months ago that I would be 120lbs and working out an hour a day 6 days a week, I would have told you that you were out of your mind! It's something that you start small and work your way up to.

Remember, as Bob says, "it's only 1 hour of your life!". You have nothing to lose but weight! Level 1 is only 20 minutes. Give it a try today and see where it leads you!

Until next time! Much love! XOXO

Tip: Feeling sluggish today? Working out will make you feel better! Use the "neck up" rule. If your chest is not aching, working out will make you feel better. This is coming from a migraine sufferer. Even with a migraine coming on, I still do a strength workout. It makes me feel better, gets my blood pumping, and energizes my body naturally to get me through the day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Workout Review

I thought it would be cool to do a review of the workouts that I do, just to give you an idea of what kind of routine that I'm doing. I recently got this DVD in the mail from Bob himself (yes, SQUEE!!!!) after he published my weight loss story on his website. This is pre-order only right now on, but it will be out in just a few days! You can purchase it now on his website.

This DVD has 2 workouts; a one-hour cardio session, and a 12 minute glute challenge. Both are AMAZING. I did the full cardio workout yesterday, and it involved a lot of lunges, squats, and classic moves, but with a twist! What I love about Bob is that he can take an ordinary move and make it amazing by adding in more movement. He has a move called the "ass burner" and yes, it's called that for a reason! It's hard, but it will lift your booty up! I can feel it after doing both workouts, my glutes are throbbing. He works core muscles and gets your heart rate up. Just when you think you can't go any more, he tells you that you can and kicks it up again. He keeps your heart rate up the entire time. I think I read a review that said that this workout, when done correctly, can burn more than 550 calories! I know that when I did it, I weighed .5 less immediately on the scale. That's AMAZING people! I haven't had my butt kicked like that in a while, and it was amazing. I'm keeping this one in my rotation, and plan on using it 1-2 times a week along with my Inside Out cardio routine.

Today I went for a run pushing my 2 kids in the jogging stroller with a friend of mine. I got a good burn in my legs from that, and after we came back home I did the 15 minute glute workout on this DVD. I'm so glad I did, but WOW it hurt! It's a lot of lunges, chair poses, and ass burners again. It made my booty feel like it was on fire, but....I know I got a good workout in.

Pre-order this one today for a great workout! This will give you a great workout, even at the modified level. Get your heart rate up and have fun!

Much love! XOXO

PS-I'm loving Bob's socks in this one, too!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I often get asked what I eat everyday. Our schedule here at home is a little different from the normal family because my husband works night shift on a 3 month rotation. We don't have many sit-down dinners together as a family during his night rotation. Right now my husband is working nights, so it's often just my son and I for dinner. This makes cooking easy on me! When I was really working on my food addiction though, my husband was on days, and I had to make family dinners every night. Although my husband was completely on board with me and fully supported me and changing our eating habits, it still was hard to find things that were good for us, and tasted good. Sometimes it's hard to have both! When you go shopping, think about hitting the outer aisles of the store, because it's there where you'll find the foods that are good for you! Think produce, meats, dairy, and frozen. Almost everything in the middle is usually processed foods that will do nothing but give you empty calories.

First, go to and determine your BMI. Here you will find out several things; if you are overweight, what your target weight should be, and health concerns related to your BMI. Do these calculations, they will benefit you! When I started out, my BMI was 39.7, which is morbidly obese (morbidly obese begins at a BMI of 35). My BMI is now at 23, which is in the "normal/healthy" range for my height, but I still want to lower that number for health reasons. It's not about WEIGHT, it's about HEALTH. These are the numbers you need to be concerned about, not the number on the scale.

They say for most women, you need to target about 1200 calories a day. BE MINDFUL of that. Count your calories. Journal them, even. If you bite it, write it. I journaled online and updated with my weigh-ins weekly all through the 6 months, and I still do this. It helps!

I really think about breakfast. I workout in the morning, so I want my breakfast to help power me through my workout. Some of my go-to power foods in the morning are egg whites, turkey bacon, 100 calorie bagel thins (<--very easy when you're pressed for time!), and high-fiber oatmeal. Never, ever skip breakfast.

I usually eat  about an hour after I workout, since I have 2 kids to give lunch to first. For lunch, I usually have a meal replacement bar. My favorite is the Slim Fast meal bar. For a while I was into the Special K meal bars, but as far as taste goes, Slim Fast is the better option. They both have about 200 calories, so that wasn't a big deal. They both had about the same amount of protien and fiber as well, which is something you need to look at when you have a processed food. Make your food work for you! Along with my meal bar, I usually have egg whites (extra protein!), a piece of fruit, or a cup of Progresso soup (light ones only).

I like to have my snack during the early afternoon when I start getting the "before dinner munchies". I usually have string cheese, fruit, or a Slim Fast snack bar if I'm on the run. When I have friut, I like to have apples more than anything. They are fiber-rich, and I can slice them thinly and take my time eating them, tricking my brain into thinking I'm eating more than I really am. This DOES work. Have a snack with you in your bag or purse to aviod going through a drive-thru. I would make excuses in my head to go to McDonalds because I had nothing to eat and I was starving. It's not worth the guilt you'll have afterwards.

Some of my favorite dinners are from! My family loves many of their healthy dishes. They have a section there just for "healthy living", filled with all kinds of great dinners! Some of our personal favorites are taco salad, beef fried rice, better than ever beef enchiladas, and skillet chicken and vegetables. You can look any (or all!) of those up on their site. Very, very good! Watch your portion sizes and you'll be fine! Many times, I would eat what I normally cook for my family and just reduce my portion size. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you cook healthy and use common sense. Do not go overboard, but don't deprive, either. As long as you keep your portion size where it needs to be, you'll be fine. When my husband is working nights, I often just cook something simple; turkey sausage, weight watchers frozen meals, salad with grilled chicken, etc. Think about having a lean meat, vegetable, and small starch.

I have been on Weight Watchers, and their new Points Plus system. I love it, and highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it. I pay $14 a month for their online program, and I have an endless supply of tips, tricks and foods at my fingertips! It is great for anyone who, like me, needs structure.

Food Tip: My food staples include a wide variety of foods, but my favorites are boneless, skinless chicken breasts, mixed greens, frozen broccoli, Slim Fast bars (<--again, a lifesaver when I'm on the go!), Chobani greek yogurt, Progresso soups, and apples. Those are my staples. Changing your eating habits can be difficult, I know how hard it is. But trust me, it is worth it. You will no longer want the garbage you were eating after 3 months of eating differently.

Please, if you have any questions, ask away! I'm here to help!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eating Out

Anyone who has ever been overweight knows the feeling of eyes staring at you while you eat. When I was at my heaviest, I used to hate, and love, eating out. I liked the social aspect of eating out with my friends and family, but I hated that I felt like I was being watched while I ate by the other patrons. I felt like everyone was staring at what I was putting into my mouth and wondering to themselves why I was eating a cheeseburger and not a salad instead. I hated it, and it often made me feel like the insecure little girl I was inside. I would eat my food, without saying much at all. In the end, I didn’t have fun, and I spent big bucks on very unhealthy food that had enough calories in it for a week in just one sitting.

Today, I still have a love/hate relationship with eating out. I hate that I’m tempted by all the really delicious looking food on the menu, but I love being social. I love that I’m strong enough to say “no” to that food! I know some of you are asking “so, what do you eat then?”, and I’ll answer that! It depends on where I am, honestly. My family likes Ruby Tuesdays, and it’s a place where I feel like I can eat and not be too tempted. I love their salad bar, and honestly who doesn’t like those croutons at the end? I fill up on a big salad, and then order the vegetarian pasta for my dinner (and I’ve never been able to eat the entire thing!). Ruby Tuesdays, along with many other restaurants, have healthier menu options if you look hard enough. Sometimes they have little symbols by then, or some places even have calorie counts on them beside the dish. My husband is a big appetizer lover, which is where I would often blow my entire week of “dieting”. He loves everything from stuffed peppers to mozzarella sticks (my personal favorite). For a while we would not order them, but now he can order them and I’ll treat myself to ONE. I won’t have the entire thing or split a whole order with him; I’ll have just one, shove them away, and color on the placemat with my son. I often order grilled chicken salads when I go out to eat or light dishes and eat just half of the order. Save yourself the calories, and money, by bringing half the order home for the next day!

Red Robin's Apple Harvest Salad, my personal favorite right now!

Here is my biggest tip for eating out; decide what you are going to order BEFORE you leave your home. If you don’t know what they have, look it up online! Most places have the menu online, along with nutritional information. You will instantly know how many calories you are going to eat, or save yourself, by looking it up ahead of time. At Olive Garden, I know I can have the endless soup and salad, along with JUST ONE breadstick. Be strong, and tell yourself NO, even if you think you want something. You can say no! You are strong enough, even with a food addiction, to control what you are going to eat. You are the only one in control of your life and your eating habits. Take control of your life today! Go out, be social, but HAVE A PLAN.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Food Addiction

My name is Mandy, and I am a food addict.

When I was able to say those words aloud, I knew I was on my way to recovery. Admitting an addiction is not easy, especially with food. Many of us don't even realize that we have an unhealthy relationship with food until it's too late. I've often referred to my food addiction as my "ex-boyfriend". Hear me out, because this does make sense! When you're addicted to food, and an emotional eater like myself, food is often your comfort. When I had a fight with a friend, or my husband, I'd run to the pantry. That food didn't judge me, it loved me as much as I loved it! I formed a relationship with food that was unhealthy, like a toxic ex-boyfriend that I couldn't let go of. It was always there when I needed it, but yet, always had a consequence.

I had to do a lot of soul searching to uncover the true reasons behind WHY I was eating. Why did I start eating my feelings at a young age? Why did I never stop? What is keeping me from it now? Those were all questions I had to really ask myself and be honest in their answers. It was a harsh reality that I had to face. I'll be honest; I cried a lot of tears through this process. It was very emotional for me to have to examine the hardest parts of my life. I had to dig down deep and face problems head on, rather than bury my feelings with food. I remember telling my husband one time when I was upset and wanted to reach for food, that I felt like I was wanting to go back with my "ex-boyfriend" in the pantry. I missed it! I wanted my old comforts back. It's hard, by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

 Something happened though when I was recovering from my food addiction; I was finding out who I really was, and finding my own inner strength. I was strong enough to face my problems head on! I didn't have to hide behind my food addiction or be shy anymore. With every push-up, shoulder press, and squat that I did, I was physically becoming stronger every day. The "Inside Out" method taught me the inner strength to match it. This is ESSENTIAL for success, and I cannot stress that enough. You have to break down as a person and find yourself through this process, or it will not work as a long-term fix. I am your classic yo-yo dieter, but no longer am I worried about gaining back the weight because I have the mental tools to go along with the plan. 

If you are not willing to strip yourself down mentally, then you are not ready and should stop immediately. If you are ready, truly ready, to lose the weight for good, then you will be willing to do anything that you have to. That is the point where I was, desperate and feeling isolated, where I had to pick up and drag myself along until I made it back to the top. 

Look at how you eat. Are you eating because you're upset, tired, bored, angry, or happy? Are you eating because you are really hungry? What kind of foods are you eating? Look at trigger foods. Watch what you reach for when you're upset. For me, it was chocolate and sweets that I wanted when I was feeling overwhelmed or anxious. How often are you eating?

If you think you may have an unhealthy relationship with food, go to this site and find out more about food addiction:

Tip of the day: What helped me rid myself of my "toxic ex-boyfriend" was finding another activity to replace eating. For Christmas my husband bought me a Kindle because I love to read. I now read books even more than I used to (which was a lot before!), and I read about weight loss a lot. There are so many books about weight loss and emotional eating. If I feel like I need food for comfort, I reach for my Kindle and play a game or read a book. Replace the activity of eating with another activity! At first it will be hard, but you will get used to it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Turning Point

I had a few requests to post about the day I decided to lose weight. For me it wasn't just one day inparticular, it was a series of events that lit the fire under my ass and got me on this journey. My relationship with my husband wasn't what I wanted it to be, and that really was hard for me to face. I knew that it stemmed directly from the low self esteem that I was suffering from. I was terrified of him leaving me or being with someone else because I didn't feel like I deserved him. Then one night, I turned on The Biggest Loser on TV, and it was the first episode of season 10. There was a man talking about why he was so big, and all I heard him say was "I am the product of an emotional eater". His mother was an emotional eater, and that passed down to him. She died in her late 40's from obesity related illnesses. Then one day, my husband came home to tell me something important; he had orders to Japan. In May of 2011, our family would be moving to Okinawa for 3 years. Okinawa is a small island off of mainland Japan, and everything there is centered around the water. What was I going to do...stay inside for 3 years because I was huge? Heck no! That was it, I decided. I was done.

I decided that my kids were not going to suffer because I made bad choices in my life. It wasn't fair to them. If anything, I would become healthy for them and teach them the things they needed to learn in order to live a long, healthy life. I didn't want to be the mom with diabetes who hides indoors everyday. If not for myself or my marriage, I had to do this for my kids.

There are many reasons we want to lose weight, ultimately though we have to do it for ourselves or we'll just go back to old habits. I knew that deep down I wanted this for myself along with all of the other reasons I listed. I've always wanted it, and it's always been out of reach for me until now. I believe that once we decide to go through this, we also go through a series of emotions. I was angry, then depressed, then angry again, and then determination took over. Motivation will get you started on this journey, but it will not keep you going; routine will.

Quick Tip: Want a great way to get your butt into gear in the morning? Have your workout clothes handy! Set them out the night before, or do what I do and sleep in a tank and yoga pants! Throw on some sneakers and you're ready to go in the morning!

Next Topic: Food Addiction


Hi everyone! Some of you are friends of mine from years and years before, some of you are new, and maybe some of you have come across my blog randomly. Either way, welcome!

I want to post a little about myself and how I got started on this journey. This is a journey thats about 4 years in the making for me. I've been overweight my entire life, but it was just recently that I "got it" and figured out how to lose weight and keep it off. Some would say that I'm obsessed with weight loss and working out, and yes, they are right! But if you want to become healthy and fit, I think it's something that has to happen. I was a chubby kid all through school, but I was never "obese" until I had my first child in 2007. At that point, I was 210 pounds.

Yes, that was me. This is what you call the "wake-up call". I hated how I looked, how I felt, and everything else about myself. I dropped the weight though, and got down to my pre-pregnancy weight. In 2009 I suffered a miscarriage though, and my weight went right back up to 150. I was a mess emotionally, and then I found out that I was pregnant 3 weeks later with our second child. After I had Jacob, I was back up to 175 again. I felt like I was right back where I started. I wasn't confident, I had no drive, and I was always just so tired. Most of all though, I was just tired of myself. I had never been lower than a size 10 in my teenage years, and all through my adult life. At that point, I was a size 18. Was I ever going to get to a size where I was happy?

One day I decided that I was going to get back on that wagon, no matter what it took. I decided that I had enough of myself. My marriage wasn't what I wanted it to me, and that was because I had no life in me anymore. I was going to fix myself somehow. I started working out to the Bootcamp DVD from Bob Harper's collection. Doing the maximum results program got me going, and I really started losing weight right away. I changed my eating habits drastically, and I stuck with it as much as I could. I started seeing an improvement in everything from my streghth to my endurance. By week 12, around Thankgiving, I was back around a size 10 again. I didn't want to stop there though, and decided it was time to really step it up. I picked up Bob Harpers Inside Out DVD's and since then I've dropped another 20+ pounds and now I'm down to a size 6. I submitted my story to Bob Harper, and he published it and posted my pictures. That was one of the best days of my life!

This is me now! 123lbs and hoping to make it to 115.

The key here though is INSIDE OUT. You have to change internal thinking to get to where you want to go. It's not about how hard you work out, it's about your relationships with food and yourself. This is what I'll be talking about a lot through this blog, because that was really the turning point for me and something I think that people really struggle with.

Until next time!

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