Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Lifelong Commitment

In 2010 when I was actively losing weight, I would think to myself "I cannot wait until I'm at my goal weight so I can stop!!". Let me tell you all something...there is no finish line. Right now it may seem unrealistic to you, but maintaining your goal weight is just as hard, if not harder, than losing weight. When I surpassed my goal weight, I was almost on a high! I loved it, and loved myself, for  the first time ever! I was afraid to stop working out though. I wanted to maintain my weight and see where my body would naturally stop losing weight. My goal weight was 125lbs, and I made it to 110lbs when I stopped losing and started maintain. You get to this point where you think, "okay, now what?". Now, you move onto other fitness goals.

When I came off that high of losing weight, it was almost depressing. I would step on the scale every Monday to weigh-in, and my number was the same and I didn't have that "YAY!!" moment anymore. I knew what to expect from the scale in the bathroom every morning. I knew I needed to make other fitness goals to stay healthy and to help me move on in my fitness journey. Remember, it's a lifelong commitment!!

My husband was about to leave for Hawaii for a while after the holidays, and I had made some running goals for myself. For Christmas my husband bought me a treadmill to help me meet my goals, and I love it. I use it constantly, at least 3-5 times a week, doing distance runs, sprint intervals, or just jogging an extra mile or two before I get in my Team Bob workout for the day.

I am always making new goals, pushing forward to the next level. I want to see what my body is capable of. I've been running much more than I was last year, and my husband and I almost run at the same pace now! We had a pretty close time when we both ran 4 miles last weekend. My goal for the end of the year is to run a 10K. I'm up to 4.5 miles right now. It will take a lot of training on my part, and I'm up to the challenge.

When you are maintaining weight, it can be very difficult. I've had highs and lows with it since I've started. I've had to deal with going up on the scale by a few pounds because the running and strength training I've been doing has been adding muscle. Not much, but enough to really play with my mind when I step on the scale. There is much less information on how to maintain your weight than there is on how to lose weight! Ultimately, you have to find the right combination for your body, just like when you lose weight. You have to take in the right amount of calories, still eat healthy, and still regularly exercise. I still exercise 6 days a week!

Bottom line; there is no finish line. There is no quitting. If you want to live healthy and fit, you have to earn it. You earn every day of it. Never, ever quit.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Living Fit on Vacation

I'm back from our mini-vacation, and I feel so relaxed and ready to get back to life now. Sometimes we just need that mental break, even if it's just for a couple of days. My family and I stayed in a small cabin on the beach and we had a ton of fun! It was just what we needed after a long 6 months of constant schools, stress, and my husband being gone quite a bit. The Marine Corps can sure be a stressor sometimes!

So, how does one stay on track, or lose weight, while on vacation? It can be done, rest assured. This time last year I was at my parents house for a week or so before we moved to Japan, and I lost 3lbs that week! So yes, it can be done. Even with the pressures of family get-together (pot lucks, BBQ's, etc.), eating out at restaurants, or eating on the go. Then there is the pressure of less time for workouts.

Vacation can be a dieter's worst nightmare! Plain and simple. It can stress you out to get off track, or you spend your vacation wondering if you're going to put back on a pound or two. I have some tips that will help you through this time. With summer quickly coming up, I think this is the perfect time for this post.

I'll merge my last 2 vacations and give you the tips that I stuck by while on vacation.

1. Take your own food. This was essential for me on both vacations. I didn't feel as pressured when we were eating on the go knowing that I had something healthy in my bag I could eat while my boys ate on the go. While we were at the cabin this week, my husband and I went out to the commissary (military grocery store) and stocked up on egg whites, fruit, good lunch meat, pitas, etc. so we could make as many meals at our cabin as we could to make sure we were eating healthy and spending less money on food. You may have to get creative! We sure did...we ended up cooking egg whites on a grill!

There's my hubby, cooking egg whites and pancakes (for our kids) on the grill. Get creative. It pays off.

2. If you're at a restaurant that doesn't have anything healthy, don't stress! So there was a restaurant that my husband wanted to go to right on the beach, but alas...their menu sucked. It was nothing but burgers, fries, and hot dogs. Great for my boys, but me...not so much. I had nothing in my bag to eat, as this was a spur-of-the-moment decision, so I was stuck eating crap food. So I got what I wanted, a cheeseburger, but I cut it in half. Since I'm trying to maintain my weight, I didn't stress too much. If I was trying to lose however, I would have also taken the bun off and not touched the fries. Since I am maintaining my weight, I just cut my portion in half. Later that day, it started storming and we couldn't grill up our dinner, so we ended up having to go to Chilis down the road. I made up for my calories and grease earlier in the day and got a grilled chicken caesar salad (dressing on the side only...which I really didn't touch). There are things you can do when you are stuck, so don't fret! And remember, you ARE on vacation, and you can relax a little bit. You can get right back on track when you get home, just don't go overboard.

3. Don't feel pressured from family and friends when you visit family. This was so hard for me. My family had never seen me "thin" before, and when they saw how much my eating habits had changed they were not excited about it. I didn't eat like I did before, obviously, and I felt like I probably hurt some people's feelings because I didn't stuff myself with food offered to me. I love my family, but I was doing this for myself and didn't want to get off track, even while vacationing. Explain this to your family. Even if they don't listen, they will eventually get the point. I felt bad for passing up all the desserts that they had put so much love into, but I tried to show my love for them in other ways instead.

4. Fitness isn't as hard as you think. You can do jumping jacks, push-ups, lunges, and squats just about anywhere! You don't need a gym to get healthy. I never step foot in a gym the entire time I was getting fit. I'm dead serious. Gyms are just not my thing! When I was visiting family in Florida I tried out new running spots and had a blast with my husband, brother, and cousin running around the Tradition neighborhood! I also took my hand weights and Bob Harper DVDs and my husband and I did them while we were at my parents house. I didn't do as much as I normally would at home, but I kept up my routine as best as I could. My husband went to the local Crossfit class with my brother while I went running. We got to try out new things and found different things that we loved. If you are vacationing in a secluded area like we did this year, try doing a set of 30 of jumping jacks, push ups, and squats. Those can be done anywhere! Again, get creative.

5. Finally, keep hydrated. I know you're busy on vacation, but keeping hydrated is important and it'll keep things moving in your system. Small thing, but important one, too!

Have a great week, everybody!
Remember, comments are <3

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mother's Day

It's the end of April already, and it's almost Mother's Day! Okay, so there are a couple of weeks left, but don't forget! I'm in Japan, so I have to think about this way ahead of time to get our gifts back to our mother's in time before the holiday. I have a trick up my sleeve for our mother's this year, so I'm a little excited to get started on it.

Mother's Day 2007 was a pivotal day for me.

This was me with my now 5 year old son, Josh. We were out at Olive Garden, my favorite place to eat. Oh how I miss that place now that I'm in Japan. We have Macaroni Grill, but I'm not a big fan of that place. It's nothing compared to Olive Garden for me! Anyways, this was my last day before starting Weight Watchers in 2007. This is where is all began for me. My Mother's Day gift to myself was my health. I decided that Mother's Day was the last day of being overweight, unhealthy, and unhappy. It was the best decision I ever made, although I had no idea how long of a journey was ahead of me. I have 2 kids, and this was my first child. I had to go through all of this again after my 2nd pregnancy. When this picture was taken, I was going through my first round of weight loss. I was 210lbs in this picture. My husband was so helpful and supportive. He took me on runs....and can you imagine me at my size RUNNING?! Oh, it was awful. God bless him for doing that for me though. He ate the Weight Watcher dinner I made, and actually liked many of them. We still eat some of them to this day. I got back down to 135lbs eventually, and was back in my size 10/12's before I knew it. But again, that weight was just my "comfortable weight". I never pushed to actually get further than that because I always failed. That is, until I met Bob Harper in 2011 :) (Okay I didn't technically meet him, but I started his program...and mark my words, I will meet that man one day!).

This is me today
A healthy 115lbs! I got to 110lbs, and then recently gained about 5lbs of muscle since this past January. This is also the baby in the first picture. Is this possible?! How did he get so big so fast? I just registered him for Kindergarten, and he is so excited to go. I'm in shock still at the thought of him going. My baby who loves to work out with me is leaving me so soon. We are going to enjoy every last bit of this summer with him before he goes. This summer will be epic for me.

For Mother's Day this year, do something for your health. It's the best gift you can give yourself. I would have made that decision all over again, even if it took me a while to get to where I am today. I am happy, healthy, and living my life to the fullest. What better gift could a mom ask for? This year, I'm asking for a Silhouette machine. Someone pass that along to my husband. HarperGirl needs a Silhouette machine!!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Yum-o Alert!!

Lunch is on!

I tried a pita today, and it was really good! Mine was packed with deli turkey breast, carrots, and baby spinach. Verrrrrry good!

I have a confession to make; I am obsessed with protein bars. I eat them for lunch or dinner, or whenever I want something quick. I'm trying to get out of that habit though, because as my husband says "it's not real food!". My husband finally lost it with me the other day at the kitchen table. He saw me unwrapping one, and flipped out. Instead of what I thought was a healthy meal (I do round out those protein bars, don't worry!), he made me eat lasagna that I cooked for the rest of my family. Not what I considered the best option, but when you're married, you learn how to pick your battles!

So in an effort to make real food, quick and easy, I am playing with different things in the kitchen. It has to be fast though, since I have 2 kids who want lunch at the same time. So since I'm being healthy for life, I need to start making better food choices for myself. It really filled me up, and the pita itself was only 90 calories!

I'll be trying different versions of these too. I plan on trying a chicken one and egg whites one later on this week. I can't wait to get different variations. I won't lie either, I got this idea from Bob Harper, and I was really surprised our commissary here in Okinawa had whole wheat ones!

I also plan on trying hummus. I know what you're thinking "what!? You haven't tried it yet!? Are you nuts!?". I know, I know. I'm late to jump on that. I've got the stuff to make it this week though, so never fear!

I know I have to get off the protein bars though, as much as I love them. I have to make this stick for life. I have to make this work for myself! They are good for losing weight, but now I'm trying to maintain. So please don't think I'm preaching that everyone should do what I did and eat protein bars like crazy (I just loved the taste! They have CHOCOLATE ones, y'all!), it just isn't the best option for you. I'm still learning, too.

Until next time,

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Poll for Monday!

Could everyone take a second to vote on this for me? I'm trying to get a feel for what my readers would like to see! I'll be doing all 3 of these posts, but I'd love to know what you love the most! I have something in the works for later today :)

What would you like to see more of? free polls 

I'm a bit of a Pinterest addict. I know what you're thinking, I've jumped on the bandwagon! Actually, I was on Pinterest before it was cool to be on Pinterest. Seriously. I thought earlier last year that it would be a great tool for teaching ideas if I decided to go back into teaching, then all of a sudden everyone was on Pinterest! I also find it to be a great place for inspiration when I need it. For something like this:

I need to hand this on my wall.
I hope this gives you a little boost for Monday! Who doesn't need a boost for Monday?!

Go out there and make the most of your day!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Experiences

The beach; Two words never put so much fear into my heart! I used to dread going to the beach. Seriously dread it. My "comfortable weight" was around a size 12. Meaning that I wasn't exactly happy with that size, but I was used to it. I knew all the tricks to hiding my true shape, and I knew what flattered my body type. I knew which colors looked best, which clothes to layer to hide my tummy. Comfortable. Except when it came to the beach. I tried it all, cover-ups, wraps, tankinis, boy short cut bottoms, you name it and I tried it.

I didn't feel comfortable to say the least, so I went to the beach looking like this:

This was me in North Carolina over on Camp Lejeune in the summer of 2007.  My son was about 6 months old here, and this was our first time taking him to the beach. As you can see, I am not wearing any sort of swim suit. No way. I wanted to run and hide when we were on the beach, but at the same time I loved being there. It reminded me of Florida, where my parents live (and where I spent my teen and college years before I was married). The beach reminds me of home, friends, and family. My boys and I have had good times on the beach too, but always in a secluded area. We were lucky enough to find a beach over on Topsail Island, NC, while we were stationed at Lejeune and it was always deserted in this one spot. We always went there because I was comfortable there.

Well, summer is creeping up on us once again. This year I'm different. This year, we are taking our first family vacation! It's only for a few days, but that is enough to have me bursting at the seams with excitement! We got a cabin rented for a few nights right on the beach. Normally, I'd have a panic attack at the thought of this. I'm okay with it though now. I know that I am not that same girl, and I won't be looked at the same anymore. I'm not entirely over the moon about the swimsuit part yet, but I'll get through it. I'm still not totally comfortable in a swimsuit, I'm not sure if most women are, but I'll be okay knowing that I did so much work and I'm proud of myself now. I've earned my body.

This is a glimpse of where we'll be at:

Doesn't it look pretty out there? The water is so clear blue! This is me and my littlest today. My husband got the paperwork for renting out the cabin and we stopped to play at the pirate ship playground before we left. I'm obviously not "perfect" by any means, and I still have body image issues, but I'm definitely okay with myself now. I can have fun on my vacation instead of worrying like I would before. I think that is why we honestly have never been on a decent vacation, just my little family. Insecurity was a huge part of who I used to be. I'm still working through it, I'm still trying to accept every flaw I have, but I've come a long way.

I can stand tall and know that I'm the best version of myself that I can be, and for me, that is enough.

Are you getting ready for the beach? Rev up that cardio! If you are not into running, please consider it! It really melts off the pounds and empowers you like no other exercise. Try the Couch to 5K program! Running really helped me get through those last 10lbs to my goal weight, and I really started to love running. I distance run once a week (Sundays) and do sprint HIIT intervals 1-2 times a week.

Tell me how you are getting beach-ready this year! Comments are <3


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Swaps & My Favorite Eats

Guess what I did?

I broke 100 miles! This counter started Jan 1st, 2012. I am way excited about this! So if you've read my previous posts then you know that I've never really been a "runner". Running is my weakness, which is why I do it. I love to do things that challenge me and push me outside the box. I love to see what my body can do when I hit a wall. These are not all distance runs on my counter, some are sprint intervals, HIIT's, or 5K's. So don't take my time into consideration. But look at how many calories I've burned! Just from running! Not even counting all the Bob workouts I've done :) Sweeeet!

Okay so onto other things. This month I've been doing "swaps". I've cut out all soda in my house. I don't drink it, but my husband does. We've successfully gotten rid of it! We've replaced it with citrus tea, which is tea with lemons and oranges sliced up in it. Mmmmm!

Here is another swap I have:

Apple chips! We all have that "one food", right? That one we know isn't healthy but we portion it out just so we can still have it. Mine is tortilla chips and homemade salsa! I traded my tortilla chips for apple chips! I love them. Just slice an apple really thin, paper thin, and put them on a (greased) cookie sheet. Spray the apples lightly with cooking spray, and top with a touch of cinnamon & sugar. Just a little bit will do! Bake at 225 for 1 hour & 45 minutes, or until they are golden brown. They come out crispy! Very yummy! My favorite snack, and my husband steals them all the time from me. My favorite afternoon "down time" activity is my bowl of apple chips and reading a good book.

A swap for my boys:

Instead of snacking on cookies, they are snacking on frozen yogurt bites. Which are exactly what they sound like! Just some parchment paper, your favorite yogurt and a Ziploc bag is all that's needed. Pop 'em in the freezer for a couple of hours and they are good to go! My kids love these on a warm day, or just as a regular snack. I love giving them yogurt bites rather than a cookie or some other processed junk.

My last swap of the month:

I started eating eggs in the morning. I used to just eat a mini bagel, but that isn't enough for my body. Now I have at least 1 egg, plus a fruit, protein shake, or small grain like a mini bagel. Making this swap really benefited me. I wasn't getting hungry at 11am anymore. Big changes for me! Plus I'm getting in more protein!

So these are my favorite eats of the month! I hope making some small changes to your routine will help you as well!

Until next week,

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Team Bob Club & Strength Training

I am so excited about this new feature from Bob; his own personal fit club! Please, take a look at this video here, and watch what the workouts look like! He will be doing live workouts 3 times a week, have message boards available, lots of new recipes, and a fitness journal. I preregistered, and my name on there is (duh!) HarperGirl. If you sign up, you'll have to find me! It's not up yet, it's only available to register. It opens on the 3rd of April!!!

You can go to to sign up! It's only $9.95 a month, and I think it's totally worth it for everything you get, especially 3 NEW workouts every week! I am so excited!

So I wanted to blog about something else. This is what I've been doing every morning for an hour:

See the palm tree through the morning sunlight? I've been greeting the Okinawa sun with a workout everyday. My body is getting adjusted to waking up super early. Today is Sunday and although I could sleep in a bit today, my body was alert by 6:15am. Such a bummer for a Sunday. Today is the one day a week I go running outside while my husband stays home with our boys. I get to go running and clear my head, make hard decisions, or just think about what I'm going to make for dinner that night. It's like my own personal time to myself, which is rare as a mom of 2 busy boys and with a husband in the Marine Corps. But my husband is great about letting me have that time to myself every Sunday like clockwork.

This week something pretty cool happened to me. I blogged earlier this month about how I've been using heavier weights to give myself a little extra boost. Well, I think it's paying off. My weight has been up by a few pounds for a few months (since I started running more times a week) from what I concluded was muscle from the hills here that I've been running. I was praying that it was muscle. Today, I know it is! I noticed this happening

in my arms....and that was NOT there before! Okay, it's small, but it IS there! Something that when I was 210lbs I never would have dreamed of! Then later that same day, I was brushing my teeth at the sink in my standard tank & boy shorts combo. My husband was laying on the bed and, from behind. Now, I know most of you don't know my husband well, but we have a very honest marriage and relationship with each other, and we don't say things unless we really mean it. He looks at me and says "wow! Look at the muscles in your legs! You have real muscle definition showing!"!! How excited was I to hear that?! Words can not express it. I've been working towards this for what seems like forever. It was a great moment for me on my fitness journey.

Basic point here: picking up heavier weights really does make a difference! I'm really getting into them too, my body is adjusting. It's hard at first, I will admit, to get used to it. Some moves, like rows, are very difficult still for me. I am coming along though, and it's like my workouts are brand new to me again the way I struggle through them. Heavier weights are amazing! It's shocked my body, and I love it!

I bought some powdered protein this week too, and I'll be trying out new recipes with them this month. I'll review the good ones for you here!

Also, starting Monday in my group, Homefront Warriors, we are going to be doing a squat challenge! If you'd like to get into all the action, please click here!!  We love new members!

Till next time,

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