Fitness

Not What I Used to Be

The conditioned air of the locker room, calmed my heated skin as I left the sauna. I, usually, sit in the sauna after my weightlifting class. It is a combination of cardio and weights - emphasis on the weights. I love the class because it is tough. Just when I am about to pass out, I glance at the clock to see if I am close to relief. I am usually just about 15 minutes in. lol. I bear down and grind through. 

The sauna is my reprieve. The heat melts away the soreness in my muscles and the stress in my brain. Barring the the sound effect producing woman who seems to think that grunting while sweating burns more calories, I enjoy my time here. 

The orange glow of the sauna light reminds me of hot summer nights in Chicago.  Street lights in the city produce an unnatural orange-slice phosphorescence so bright it coats the sky and hides the stars. We kids would run down the street, circle the street light, and race back to the porch in a game of 'it'.  The goal was to make it safely to the steps without being touched by the child in hot pursuit. I would run until my breath was lost, only stopping when I had reached the safety of my front porch. My skin glimmered tangerine and wet with sweat. I would sit on my porch steps exhausted and happy. 

Sweating makes me happy. I know that it is the result of hard work that will pay in results given time. I happily left the sauna that day feeling accomplished. I passed by the successive mirror panels and that is when I noticed it. Visible on my form where the lines of muscle definition. I turned to the left side and then to the right - selfies ensued. 

GetFitWFe

Although, I am not where I want to be in my fitness journey, thank God, I am not where I used to be. If I keep running, keep sweating, I will make it to my destination and rest safely there. 


Don't Drink the Milk Or Eat That Cookie

My Get Fit with Fe crew is starting a No Junk Food Challenge om August 1. We have mainly focused on workout challenges but losing weight is a function of both diet and exercise. The challenge is 21 Days of no chips, cakes, and all the fun stuff we eat that has little to know nutritional value. The goal is to lose the haboit of eating non-nutritional food. 

NoJunkFood

The cool thing about diet and exercise is that you have absolute control over both actions. If I lay in bed an extra 30 minutes instead of knocking out my workout early, I made that decision. If I want to forgo cooking and grab a Wendy's value meal, *cue Bobby Brown* it's my prerogative. If it is to be, it is up to me.

The average person burn 100 calories in 15 minutes of brisk walking. An original crispy creme donut has 200 calories. Your daily 30-minute walk takes care of half of your breakfast (because you know you ate more than one lol).

Know the calories on what you eat. If you don't want it on your thighs, then don't put it in your mouth.

Show your age and laugh with me at this clip.

  


Emotional Eating - Suffering In Silence

Men Lie, Women Lie, the Scale Does Not:

I had been losing and gaining the same ten pounds for more than six months. I would lose the weight. Get excited. Treat myself (to food) and gain it all back. I would see the inflated number on the scale get back on track and lose it again. Being at the helm of a fitness accountability group, Get Fit with Fe, I had to lead by example. How can I have a fitness group and not be fit? Instead of getting discouraged, I decided to get real. 

I could out exercise anyone. 2-3 hours in the gym was nothing for me to do. Insanity workouts became a breeze. I could see muscle definition but that number on the scale did not move past go. Had I reached the dreaded PLATEAU? 

Dietsabotage

To be totally honest, my exercise was on point but my diet was not. I would still have my Doritos for dinner days or my pint of ice cream moments. Really, Felicia? To keep it 100, I had no idea of how many calories I was consuming. I ate when I felt like it. The big problem with that strategy - I always felt like eating. I ate when I was feeling good and when I was sad. I have a sedentary day job and I would snack my way through the day. All of this led to one thing - the scale not moving in the right direction.

What is Emotional Eating?

The breaking point came when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago. The nurse says, "Your resting blood pressure is a little high. It was a little high when you were here last time. We can give you meds but we recommend trying a lifestyle change first."

What the what? I would NOT be taking medication for something I could control. First, I had to admit that I was out of control. The past few months have been pretty emotional. I was gearing up to move back north when my plans were suddenly postponed. My relationship(s) - a bit rocky. I ate to cope. My epiphany - I was an emotional eater.

Emotional eating occurs when food is used to manage emotions.

“Sometimes the strongest cravings for food happen when you're at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when you're facing a difficult problem, stress or just looking to keep yourself occupied.” Source

My snacking was driven by my emotions. The times I was in control of them, I was on target with diet and exercise. When my feelings got really hurt or I felt really disappointed, I ate more of the wrong stuff. Salty, fatty snacks, literally, made me feel better. 

The Tools I Used to Get in Control: 

I started journaling my truest, rawest emotions. I realized that I was allowing someone outside of myself and circumstances outside of my control to overwhelm me. Eating was my coping mechanism. Eating as therapy was making me unhealthy. 

I did the thing I had dreaded for so long. I started to count my calories. I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to assist me. I decided to just log what I ate naturally. The first weekend was difficult. I had the evidence staring me in my face. I routinely ate over 2000 calories a day. When I was working out 2 hrs 4-5 days a week, I did not see the weight gain as I was burning off those calories. The days I slacked off, the weight showed up faithfully.

I started being more faithful in my morning meditation and prayer. In my alone time with God, I started to feel a great sense of peace. God really began to show me how I was contributing to my own unhappiness. I needed to re-focus – first on Him and then my projects. Instead of snacking my way through the work week, I began listening to Psalms on YouTube. I am telling you the peace of God filled me up more than any food could. Feeding on the word of God and prayer made me stronger. I could say no to cravings. I could honestly track my food intake via the app. The scale started to slide down.

I am still a work in progress. My relationships are still challenging. I know how to cope. I pray. I exercise. I refocus. I hustle.

I feel in control. 


I Wanna Be Your Motivation - Weight Loss

I always liken losing weight to a fitness journey. It is a path you chose to take and will be on for life. Daily you take steps toward your goals - plural. The destination is a constantly moving goal line. There will be obstacles and pitfalls. Knowing this going in will better prepare you to handle the challenges along the way. 

I have a pair of jeans that I wear regularly that, once upon a time, hung in my closet for YEARS! Yes, you read that correctly, years. I made my goal to fit into those jeans. To meet that goal I took steps toward it - literally. I began walking. I started walking around my apartment complex. I became stronger, faster, and bored-er. lol I had to up the ante. I found a cool trail with hills, dips, a pond. I started to incorporate jogging. Those pants became to big and had to be worn with a belt. 

Cheers, yeahs!! Right?? 

No. I still have about 50 lbs to lose. I have reached the dreaded plateau. I  began falling back into bad habits - laziness, emotional eating. On top of that, I got a really bad sinus infection, a first in years! I put on those jeans and the his were not as loose as they had once been. 

STOP THE FREAKING PRESSES. Failing to remain consistent - for whatever reason - causes you to lose momentum and even regression. I knew I had to get back to the basics that helped me get into those jeans. I needed to rev up my fitness effort. 

10682201_10203563856485076_1077426173483406461_o

RRRev - Reinforcement, Repetition, Reaching Goals. 

I have a lot going on - book launch, 9 to 5, praise and worship leader, and life navigator. There are a million things that vie for my attention and energy. I am learning that working out, meal prep, and being healthy CANNOT be placed on the back burner. 

Reinforcement - 

I need constant reminders - daily affirmations and inspiration. (re-read prior paragraph). I actual love my scale, some disagree. It is a daily reminder to make smarter choices. I operate a Facebook accountability group, Get Fit with Fe. There have been so many days that I did not feel like working out and the thought of the group compelled me to get off my butt and do the work. 

Repetition - 

 I heard a preacher state, "Success comes from doing what you know is right regardless of how you feel." I would like to add that doing what you know is right over and over and over again, yields results. 

Repetition  is how you build muscle and stamina. Step-by-step and rep-by-rep, my body has changed. This also works in reverse. Chip after chip will get you wider hips. 

Reaching Goals - 

After I got into those jeans, which are kind of out of style now, I needed to set new goals. I had a trainer for a few months. The experience was ambivalent. The trainer did assist me with proper form and how to safely push past my limitations. That became my new goal - workout past the point of discomfort and past the point of exhaustion. As a result, I can run longer, workout harder, and do more. I have built some good muscle definition, too. 

My goal now is not to fit into a pair of jeans. My goal is to be that fit chick who loves working out. I want to be the girl who gets excited about new green smoothie recipes. My goal is a metamorphosis all documented on this blog.

Please share this blog with some one who needs a little motivation. 


100 Days of Clean Eating

My Get Fit With Fe crew and I are starting 100 days of eating clean. Clean eating is eating food as close to natue as possible sans chemicals, preservatives, or artificial sweetners. This does not have to be complicated as it may intially appear. As a general rule - the fewer ingredients, the more clean it is.

Some reservations some people have about Clean Eating:

1. It's too expensive - 

This is only true if you are shopping at an expensive 'organic' specialty shop. I buy frozen fruit and veggies. Bags of rice and beans. 

2. What about snacks - 

Make your own. When I was doing the Daniel Fast, I got creative. I would make baggies of trail mix - raisins, nuts, cinnamon. You can freeze grapes. Got a sweet tooth, eat fruit. Salt cravings - try a sour apple. I eat 'golden delicious' apples with almond butter as a snack. It satisfies my salt craving and I feel really full afterwards. You can also pop old-fashioned popcorn. 

3. How do I shop? What do I buy?

- As a rule, shop the outer edge of the grocery store. The inner aisles contain boxed and canned foods, i.e., processed foods. 

- Do not buy meats in a bag or box. These usually have added chemicals/preservatives. If you can find it on sale, buy organic meats. 

- Dairy - buy organic. If you buy cheese, buy it in block form. The cheese in bags has more ingredients which means more chemicals and additives. 

- Drink water or tea.  

Grocery List -

Vegetables -

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Mixed Veggies

Meats/Seafood

  • Chicken
  • Steak/Beef
  • Poultry
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey (if ground, look at ingredients)

Dairy

  • Organic Milk (I drink Almond Milk)
  • Eggs
  • Cheese (on the block and grate it at home).
  • Yogurt - plain and add fruit to it.

Grains

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Nuts

Fruits

  • Frozen fruit (I make smoothies!)
  • Apples, bananas, grapes, lemons, whatever you like
  • Dried fruit
  • Avocados

Seasonings

  • Salt, pepper, dried spices.
  • Lawry's Seasoning Salt usually has MSG. Try to avoid MSG. 

 Here is sample list from Successfully Fit:

  Clean Eating Grocer List


Exercise Your Way Around the Country

I have been wanting to go on vacation for a while. I decided not to put it off any longer. 

Below is a fitness map of the United States of America. One miute if exercise represents a mile on the map. You begin at your city. If you want to go to New York, then you must exercise (tracked in minutes) your way to your destination. When you get there, upload a picture of yourself in your city. You won't actually be in New York but you can upload a picture of you with a fake Empire State Building. 

Get it? Let's go! Click the link: THE MAP

Map

 


Fitting Into My Pants: Small Victories

I need a belt. 

This may sound like an odd, trivial statement but my pants are too loose. These are the same pants, two years ago, that hung in my closet with the tag still on them because I could not fit them past my thighs. I was to obstinate to return them. I REFUSED to buy the next size bigger. I have been having this experience a lot lately - pants, undies, jackets. I am the incredible shrinking woman. My clothes are my evidence. 

I had become frustrated by the pounds on the scale not diminishing as quickly as I wanted them to. This can be a bit discouraging but there are other victories to be celebrated outside of the dreaded scale. 

281524386

I had purchased this super cute blue jacket with polka dots. It was supposed to go with my red pants and stilettos. I was all psyched to try this new color blocking, mixed pattern thing. I stuck my arm in one sleeve and it got stuck. The arms of the jacket were too snug. I was so bummed. Fast forward a year later. Me and my Get Fit With Fe group are in the middle of the 30-Day Push-ups Challenge. I look into my closet Monday and thought, What the heck. I stick my arm into the sleeve  of that polka dot jacket and it fits. I get excited. I test the other arm and YES!!!!!! The jacket fits!

I got so amped I cranked my push-ups to 100 even when the challenged called for 75. I have been doing 100 push-ups since. Think I will do 100 push-ups every night until my arms get that Michelle Obama definition. 

Let's celebrate small victories. 


Confession: I Need More Discipline

Discipline is the difference between starting a goal and crossing the finish line. It is the putting of one foot in front of the other no matter the time it takes. It is the mechanism that allows you to do what you need to do regardless of how you feel.

The word discipline probably conjures up some childhood memories of punishment or deprivation. When I see the word discipline, I have the sudden urge to hide all of the belts in the house. A less harsh word is consistency. To get the physique you want, the health you want, you must eat healthy and exercise consistently.

Back in undergrad, 3 friends decided to do Jenny Craig together. They ate their pre-packaged meals and exercised consistently. Each lost significant weight. Those boxed meals for college students were not cheap. When they stopped eating out of those pre-packaged boxes, the weight came back plus some.

I myself have played the weight loss yo-yo game. Even now, I have gained and loss the same 5 lbs. Why? Not being disciplined, um, consistent. I can work out until the cows come home. My discipline issue is diet. I MUST MEAL PLAN. If I fail to plan, that is the week, I have planned to fail. If I do not, I fall back to those bad food habits. My Achilles being snacking.

Sophiapetrillo

Picture this - in my Sophia Petrillo voice - I come in from a hard day at work and stifling traffic. After, I change from my work clothes and settle in, I am looking for nourishment. The choice – find food, prep, cook, and then eat or grab a bag of chips and crash on the sofa. I was a bag of chips/sofa kind of chick for a minute. I would tell myself that I am working out and that would counter the caloric count of whatever snack I was substituting for dinner. I would even eat less for breakfast and lunch to accommodate such a diet. There was only one problem – I never lost more weight. I was stuck in this 5lbs yo-yo for months until I realized that I had to break up with the junk. To do this required me to use some good old-fashioned discipline. Going to the grocery store and buying fresh/frozen produce and not buying overly-processed foods. I also had to cook and EAT my own meals. I do this on the weekends to and store in containers in the fridge.  

One of my Recipes - Gluten Free Enchiladas

 

Following that line of discipline for just a few days rid me of those 5lbs I had been struggling to lose. Doing the right thing on a consistent basis led to success. Conversely, the lack of discipline is the precursor to failure. This goes beyond diet. Having discipline in life is necessary to finish college, save for a house, give up smoking, or become a better version of you.

In what area of your life do you need more discipline?