Thursday, March 29, 2012

DVD Review: Totally Ripped Core/Shoe Review

Hey everyone! So, I got Bob's new Ab DVD in the mail about a week and a half ago. This DVD is about 48 minutes long with a warm up and cool down. You only need one set of dumbells for this workout. I'm using 8lb dumbells, but use what you're comfortable with, or if you need to modify, you can use just your own body weight. There is a 45 minute workout and a mini workout. I have not done the mini workout yet, but I will soon!

This isn't one of Bob's normal workouts where you're drenched in a pool of your own sweat by the end of the hour, but you will be feeling your abs for the rest of the day! It not only works your core, but it pushes the limits of your balance as well. I have a crooked spine, so some of these balance moves were very challenging to me. Bob loves to work balance and core together, and since I've been using his DVD's, my balance has greatly improved, but I still have to work to get through these routines. Some moves are very simple, like the crunches and variations of them, and others are deadly, like the side burpees and plank twists at the end. Bob knows just how to push you to your limits and then some. I have done this workout twice and I feel it at the end! I did this workout 15 hours ago, and I still feel my abs! It will really work your core, your balance, and your strength all at the same time. It's a nice DVD to have in between the cardio workouts to break up the week. So...yes! Go out and get this DVD right now!

Next review; Puma running shoes!

You can get these babies here! I bought mine earlier this month and I've got to say...I've fallen in love with them. I've done both outside running (with the ginormous Japanese hills here on our base) and running on the treadmill with them. They are very breathable; I felt the wind blowing around my feet while I was outside! The insides practically molded to my foot. They have amazing support, and have a sort of "spring" to them when you take each step, which launches you to your next stride. I've done regular cardio workouts with them and they are great for that too, but I'm using them just for running since I have other athletic shoes too. I've officially switched from being a Nike Girl to a Puma Girl!

So if you are in the market for new shoes, go with the Puma running shoes! They run true to size! I normally wear a 6, and I ordered a 6 without trying them on and they fit perfectly.

Until next time!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You've Got a Friend in Me!

When I was a fat girl, I didn't have many friends. To say I was anti-social is an understatement. For a while I battled PPD after the birth of my first child, which just made it worse. I had friends, don't get me wrong, but very, very few. I'm talking 2 friends. I lived in the same place for 6 years and had 2 friends. I could count on one hand the people that I actually knew in town. For the first few years of my son's life, I was scared to go outside my home by myself. I forced myself to do it, to go out and be among people, but it was really hard for me. Even just for doctor appointments (which was constantly with my son) and the weekly trips to Walmart, I was so uncomfortable. I hated going anywhere without my husband to hide behind. I was ashamed of myself for looking the way I did. I was afraid of the judgement that people are so harsh with. I will be the first to say that I see it. I see the judging eyes, the internal thought process someone goes through when they see me. It was either "there's another fat girl" look, or they just literally didn't even look at me. Like I turned invisible. No one talked to me unless they bumped into me. I closed myself off other than for these two people in town that I adored (and still do!). They got to see the changes in me throughout my process, and were with me every step of the way.

When I looked like this though

...You can't imagine how hard it was for me to try to make friends. I just wanted to be normal. There was even a person who "knew" me, but didn't even get the chance to get to know me because of the way I looked. She only really saw me after I changed, and that really hurt me. People do that and they don't even realize it. Once I dropped the pounds dropped I suddenly became "visible" to the rest of the world! I wasn't prepared for that.

One of my friends who has been there since the beginning of time! I love you, Heather! Sometimes, friendship defies time zones, moves across country, and around the world. She's been there (literally) through thick and thin! Still loves me for who I am, and that, my dear readers, is rare and hard to find. Hold onto people like that for dear life.

Moving to Okinawa, I had this entire new world opened up to me. It was a fresh start, and for the first time in my adult life, I had more than 2 friends at a time. Right now, I have more than a handful of friends! Thanks to Pinterst, people randomly walk up to me and ask me if I'm "that chick from Pinterest who lost all the weight". Real ice breaker, I'll tell you that. I still tend to be a little anti-social, and I'm working on that. I have an issue with talking to people sometimes, or I revert to my PPD days and want to hide behind my husband. I'm trying very hard though, and I've made a lot of progress since I've been here. I've been in Okinawa for 10 months now, and I have 2 girls who are like sisters to me here, and a big handful of people that I'm really close to.

Here is one of them, Kayti. She inspires me so much! She's pretty much the light of my life. She eats healthy, works out with her kids, and just totally rocks as a mom and wife. It's awesome to have people who have the same kind of lifestyle as I do. That has been so important to keeping me on track, being around people like her who also value healthy living.

What I'm trying to say here is that you should do what I did, and close yourself off to the world. You may just find your own best friend who motivates you and pushes you. I had a friend like that back in North Carolina and she really did wonders for me. I could vent to her while we walked our kiddos around the base. She listened to a lot of crap that I was going through, and she was so supportive. Other than her and another person there, I totally closed myself off. Don't do that. Let people in and let them help you. If you can't find that person, then try online support groups. I have my own online support group on Facebook and they are all amazing women. Find people who make you want to be like them, while you also find yourself.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kick it Up!

Have your workouts gotten stale?

Never fear, it happens! For the past 2 weeks I've been doing an experiment. One of the biggest issues I get asked about on this blog is finding the time to workout. I live by a "no excuses" policy. If there is no time, I will MAKE time. I have been lucky enough to have a couple of hours open when my youngest son, who is now 19 months, takes a morning nap. Not everyone has this luxury, and my son is starting to get out of the morning nap stage. I figured this would be the perfect time to put this experiment into action!

For the past 2 weeks I have been getting up at 5:45am to workout before my kids get up for the day. Yes, you read that right. That is early for me, WAY early. My kids get up around 7am. I have been getting up and from the treadmill, or from my living room floor, I have been watching the sun rise every morning here in Okinawa. The first week was hard, I won't even lie. There were times I had to set 3-4 different alarms about 5 minutes apart from each other. I slept in some of my workout gear, laid out the rest of my clothes and sneakers, and put them on first thing after my alarm went off. I got my water, my phone that hold all of my music (thanks, Steve Jobs!), and headed downstairs to start my day. I found that I actually like this new routine, and I'm going to keep it! It's hard to get up this early, but rewarding too. I have more time in the morning to relax with my kids, get work done, or run errands. It can be done people, no excuses!

Here is another thing I started doing this week; I picked up heaver weights.

Say hello to my new friends. I bought a pair of 8's and 10's this week. I've been doing a workout for about a year now of Bob's that I love, but it's gotten way too easy for me. My 5lb weights just don't do it for me anymore. Today I switched my 5's for 8's and WOW what a difference! I haven't struggled like that through a workout in a very, very long time. My muscles are sore still, and it's mid-day here right now. It was just the kick I needed, and the best part is that I get to keep my same workouts! I have done this once before, switching from 3lb weights to 5's. It's almost like a kick-start and my muscles feel it every time and react well to it. If your workouts are getting stale, please do this! It will add a whole new dynamic to your workout.

Also, a review for this workout will be coming soon!

Stay tuned for this review! I am so excited to get it in the mail next week! I have a feeling that this will be killer. I have a 10 minute ab workout of Bob's and it is so hard! My abs feel it all day from that 10 minutes, so I can't imagine what his 1 hour ab routine will be like! Yikes!!

Until next time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Q&A with HarperGirl::Answers

Yesterday I had this huge post with all of your questions and answers to them all. I finished it, and got to editing when I hit a wrong button and it all disappeared, and I had to just walk away from the computer. I hope I can still answer your questions as well as I did yesterday.

Q: Jennifer and Lauren ask "How do you stay motivated??"

A: I am no different than any of you, I swear. I am just a normal mother and wife, with a million things to do during the day and the last thing I want to do is workout. During last year when I was losing weight, I did a lot of little things that kept my mind where it should be. Please remember, I really am just like the rest of you! When my alarm goes off at 5:45AM to let me know that it's time to get my workout in (before my kids get up), all I want to do is hit the snooze button. Who wants to get up that early to work out? I still do it though. I get up, put my sneakers on, and drag my ass downstairs to get through another workout. I was committed though, and I still am. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay focused:

-Pick a time to workout everyday and stick to that schedule. Once you get into a routine of working out at the same time everyday, you will just do it.
-When I would weigh in every week, I would write down my weight and how much I lost and listed my numbers in a row so I could see the difference. If I ever had a bad week, it really helped me to see that I was still making progress. It was a great motivator.
-I had Bob's picture and workout schedule on my fridge. Seriously, if that doesn't motivate a person to pick a healthy snack, I don't know what will.
-Sleep in your workout clothes if you don't wear tight-fitting or compression gear. I would sleep in my tank and shorts, and lay out my sneakers, socks and sports bra on the dresser. Then when I got up, I'd put the shoes and bra on, and then there was no going back upstairs. I was ready for my workout when the time came.
-Plan out your workouts at least a week ahead so you know what to expect the next day.
-Bob's book was a great way to help me stay motivated during my down time.
-Biggest Loser was also a good "down time" motivator.

Best of luck to you ladies!

Q: Hillary asks "Do you have any stretch marks? I know from having my baby I got them all over. If you do have any how do you stay confident and push bast them?"

A: Oh yes...I have them. I think most average mothers do!

This was me, pregnant with our first child in 2007, and I was 8 weeks still from birth. I was 220lbs, give or take, in this photo.

This is me during my 2nd pregnancy in 2010, and I was about 165lbs here.

So needless to say...yes I have stretchmarks. Between pregnancy and serious weight gain, it was bound to happen. I can't do anything but accept them as part of me now. I hate them most of the time, but I also know that I got 2 beautiful kids from those stretchmarks, and that is what I focus on. I can cover them pretty well, and I can still wear really cute 2 piece swimsuits. My husband loves every part of me and has no issues with them, so I just hold my head up and remember what really matters. Look at the big picture, and not at your imperfections :)

Q: Foodie Girl asks "I read what motivated you to start getting healthier, but did you have a lot of support?"

A: The answer is...sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I had a few good friends, my husband, and my family who all supported me, but on a daily basis I was alone a lot throughout my journey. My husband worked the night shift through much of that year, my parents were 5 states away, and I didn't see my friends all the time because of my workout schedule. I did have one really amazing friend, I'll call her K, who would come over several times a week and we'd take out the jogging strollers and walk/jog around the base I lived on. It was great to do that and helped me much more than she realizes! Much of the time though, I had to be my own support system. I relied on God, my kids, and my husband to get me through that time. It's not easy, and I won't sugarcoat that at all. Sometimes all I wanted was to talk to someone who had to lose as much weight as I did about the entire situation, and no one in my family understood that or what it was like for me going through all of this. It plays on your emotions and can really bring you down if you let it. But from someone who has been there, let me tell you, don't. Learn how to be your own cheerleader! Do things that make you happy, and once others see how happy you are, they will come around. You'll meet new people on this journey. You can reach out to others going through the same thing. I also have a group on Facebook, Homefront Warriors, and we have a great support group there if you need it. I'm rooting for you, Foodie Girl!

Q: KatiBug asks "My questions is how did you lose the last 15 or 20 pounds?"

-Step up your workouts. I added in running and that melted the pounds away. I started with 1.5 miles and a year later I'm up to 4.5 miles. Slow and steady, but it got the job done.
-Get new workout DVDs if you workout at home like I do. Try strength training if you don't already use any. Bob has a "super strength" DVD and that is amazing!
-Go up in your weights. I switched from 3lbs to 5lb dumbells and a 10lb kettle bell.
-Make sure you get your water in
-Don't calorie deprive, you will not get your metabolism running enough and you won't lose any weight.
-Keep pushing through even if the scale isn't moving just yet. Never, ever quit! Just step up your game.
-Reverse your workout schedule.
-Make sure you are getting enough water, did I say that yet? I'm saying it again! Water, water, water! 

Best of luck to you and let me know how it goes!

I hope I answered everyone's questions! If you have a question let me know and I will do my best to get back to you!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Q&A with HarperGirl

I get asked questions often. Some questions I get asked a lot, others not so much. I've been interviewed twice for fitness blogs, where I went in depth with people.

I want to ask you, my readers, what you want to know! I will answer as many questions as I can. So please please please, comment below and ask me what you want to know! How can I help you on your weight loss journey?

Ask me anything about my journey. What got me started, what my favorite meal is, why I love Bob Harper, how I mentally got through this, what my life is like now...ANYthing.

I'll make a seperate post with the Q&A's when I get a bunch of questions to answer!

Come on, you know you want to ;)


Part 2: HarperGirl's Beatuy Picks

So you've just completed your workout, and you need to get into the shower and get ready as quick as you can to get on with your day. You want to look great, right? Of course you do! So here are my top beauty pics for looking great everyday (yes, EVERY day), even if it's just to take your kids to school.

First, Aveeno Positively Radiant face lotion. I love this product. There is sunscreen in it, so I tend to put it on my face if I'm going running outside. It's great for your skin, especially sensitive skin like mine. When I get out of the shower, I put this on my face first under my powder.

My next favorite product is Bare Minerals. It makes my skin look great! I've been using this for about 5 years now, and I'll never go back to a liquid foundation again. It's quick and easy, and I know I'll always look my best with it!

Next up, Coastal Scents eyeshadow! After I'm done with my skin, I move onto my eyes. I love to play up my eyes! My eyes change color a lot, so I get to play around with my eyeshadow all the time. For a normal everyday look, I use browns and neutrals. If I'm going out, I might choose something a little more bold. I can't stand eyeshadow that either creases or rubs off mid-day. I don't have time to reapply all the time. This pallet is amazing! They are available through Amazon, and are all under $20! I've had mine for 5 months now, and I still love it.

Moving onto's the Izunami 450 Tourmaline Ionic Ceramic Flat Iron! I found this gem through Amazon. It makes my hair shiny and silky. I get through my hair quickly with this flat iron, about 10 minutes. I divide my hair into 2 sections, top and bottom, and this iron will curl under or flip out. It will make gorgeous curls, or make your hair silky straight.

Nails are a big thing for me. I used to be a nail biter until last year. Yes, that long!! Terrible habit that I broke last year. I noticed that throughout my workouts, my nails would chip constantly working with weights. I found that Essie nail polish stays looking great and doesn't chip when I workout. Even with Bobs killer Kettle Bell workouts, my nails never chip :) Essie also dries very quickly, so I can apply and get my son out of the crib just a minute later.

Last comes a scent that I recently found, Twirl by Kate Spade. This scent is light, but beautiful. One thing I love about this is that is stays for a long time. My hubby can still smell it on my skin when he gets home from work. He's also a big fan of this airy perfume as well!

All of these products can be found at! So please, look up these great products and make sure you take out time today to look your best. Do something small for youself today :)


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