I’m not on a diet, but I made changes.

First, I’m not on a diet. I don’t have any food restrictions, and this time I’m not forcing myself to eat a certain calorie limit (to the point it became unhealthy). This time I wanted to get to a healthy weight by having a healthy relationship ship with food that I could maintain…. AND keep a healthy mindset.

So this time I made small changes to my normal food intake for the better. The goal was to eat more nutritious food, food that is going to keep me full till my next meal, food that is going to fuel my body for workouts and gaining muscle!

Here are some of the substitutions and additions I made:

1. VEGGIES!!!

I mean I’m sure we all know that we should be eatting vegetables, it’s part of the four main food groups. All dieticians and doctors advise to eat them. But that didn’t mean that I did before…yikes.

What I wish I knew was how to make veggies delicious: Saute them in olive oil, boil them and ADD spices!!

I mean chicken on its own is super boring, it’s really how you cook and spice it up that makes it good. The same is true with vegetables. It took me a lot of trial and error to figure out what I liked. But you can get there too. Plus it’s a low calorie addition to a meal. I fill up my huge plates completely now.

2. High Protein Foods

I love meat, like my body craves it as a snack. Often times we will have bologna, hot dogs, or left over chicken in the fridge that I munch on like a snack. The way other people do with sweets haha.

I also knew that if I was going to be VERY active I needed enough protein in my diet to help maintain and repair tissue. What I also read is that protein helps reduce cravings and late night snacking (this is where I really struggled before). I would eat highly processed, fatty foods before bed and a lot of it. Since changing my diet, I don’t do that as often (mainly when I didn’t eat right in the day or my period)! This could also be why I crave meat? Since a high protein food helps satiate me rather than a big bag of chips šŸ¤Æ

Some high protein foods that I eat on the regular are: bread (specific kinds), Greek yogurt, eggs, fish (salmon), broccoli, and peas!

2. Substitutions

Another thing I did was make substitions of staples in my meals. That doesn’t mean that I replaced one food for another, but that I found more nutritious options to replace my existing.

Bread. I have bread everyday, probably with about half my meals. And the thought of giving up bread made me sad, so I could never sustain the keto diet. So I replaced my brown dempsters bread with stonemill sourdough rye mulitgrain bread. It has slightly less carbs and sugars. This could be the reason I feel full longer with this bread as sugar is linked to increased appetite.

Eggs. I eat eggs every morning, but I wanted to reduce fat and increase protein so I replaced one egg with two-four egg whites. Which is less or equal the amount of calories but more nutrition!

Rice. I used to eat minute rice because I was all about convenience. Now I have switched to basmati golden rice. The amount of calories per portion is alot better and you feel more satiated.

Milk. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m lactose intolerant like most first nations peoples. I completely cut out cheese, that was hard, because my gut just can’t take it anymore. On occasion I still have fast food with cheese. And my body usually isn’t very happy. But I still want milk for my coffee, so I substituted almond milk. Way less calories for the punch.

The point of this is I made small changes overtime. I don’t do a diet because I know myself, I won’t be able to sustain it and I won’t be happy. I’m making lifestyle changes for the future!

Lastly it’s about balance, previously I was preaching calories in and calories out mythology for losing weight. This method works but it can be a breeding ground for eatting disorders and obsessive behavior.

Now I calculate what my caloric intake should be on this website: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html

I instead eat within the range or sometimes over. No big deal! I’m not trying to stay below a specific number, 1200 calories before or even 900 at my worst šŸ¤¦ā€ā™€ļø, and actually slowing my metabolism. I eat anywhere between 1450 calories to 2100 (+). And I make sure that in those calories I’m getting the nutrition I need. I feel like I’m one step close to tracking my macros (haha) I’ll eventually do the research and figure that out šŸ˜‚

So eatting better and eatting more now…and guess what my body composition has never been better and I’m happier during the process!

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Get off the scale: it’s pure fuckery.

So I’ve been sitting on this blog post for awhile. I have been noticing changes to my body composition, as I was putting on muscle but the scale wasn’t moving. Let’s talk about that!

Since I have been sharing my fitness journey online, mostly instagram stories, people started to mention that they are noticing changes to my body as well. That told me that people may be ready for this post.

This is my second fitness journey, the first was quite awhile ago and my goal was to lose weight. I broke down weight loss to its bare basics that caloric deficit = weight loss… no matter the nutrition or the loss of muscle along the way. I just wanted to see the scale shrink.

I didn’t want to land in that obsessive behavior again this time on my fitness journey, so I did a lot more research on nutrition and started incorporating small healthy changes to my diet [more on this later]. My goal this time was to be toned, and gain muscle mass.

I started this journey midst the pandemic, because like I alot of people I gained a pandemic 15 pounds. The road wasn’t easy, and I fell off a lot of times. I am an emotional eatter and being stuck at home during a tumultuous time just meant that I was a couch potatoe and ate a bunch of junk . So instead of getting upset that I couldn’t get that under control, I decided to make my goal consistent workouts. So the first few months, I just focused on getting my workout in and working on bettering my form and getting stronger. I would celebrate every day I got up and moved even if I ate bad.

My nutrition was maybe like 50/50 for eating healthy and then days of Mcdonalds/pizza/chips etc. But I built myself consistently to become quite active, even working out twice a day. The extra calories actually became effective for building muscle.

Once I started seeing changes in my body and abilities in my workouts, I stepped on the scale. Absolutely no change….nothing. that was very disheartening but I was perplexed and decided to check my measurements. There it was…my body was changing, inches were being lost but the scale wasn’t moving. I was turning my fat to muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat.

Weight comparison: left 162 and right 171

Just take a peak at these two photos. The left is 162 at the beginning of the year pre-pandemic weight gain. The right is 171 after turning fat into muscle. This was absolutely shocking to me, my measurements were close to before my weight gain but I was ten pounds heavier!! If I just focused on the scale, I would have took a deep dive into depression because I wasn’t seeing results.

But my experience with tracking my weight via scale only and tracking without has taught me the scale is pure fuckery… for the following reasons.

1. Muscle Mass – muscle weighs more than fat. And just because the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t mean you are not showing results as per the photo above.

2. Natural fluctuations – your body naturally varies weight during the day and month. This would throw me for a loop when I was obsessively tracking it daily. You weigh more at night. After a salty or bad meal you’ll see weight gain that will be gone in a day or two. And for women, we gain during our time of the month. I gain two pounds and two inches of bloat around my waist. If I didn’t know this, I could see it being very disheartening for someone tracking their weight only by scale.

3. Mental Health- as I have been demonstrating above…the scale can have negative effects on your mental health and it can become an obsession or even throw your whole day off. Don’t step on the scale. Keep moving towards your goals daily. Its much better to track your results once you start to notice change, as a mood booster that your hard work is paying off. If you dont see results on the scale – check some things i mentioned: are your clothes fitting better? Your measurements better? Have you had a bad meal? Are you carrying bloat? This ALL matters and factors into how you should respond to that number.

With all that being said, some of you have come for the result comparison photos. So here they are!!

Weight loss: 178 to 171 [7 pounds]

Arms: from 13 inches to 12

Chest: no change

Waist: 35 inches to 34

Hips: 44.5 inches to 45 [gained some booty muscle]

Thighs: 26 inches to 24

I’m so proud of how far I’ve come..especially since I didn’t take it all on at once. I just focused on being active even if I couldn’t get my eating under control during a stressful time. The workouts helped with my moods as well. Win win!!

Now that I have my workouts down, I have decided to start my “cut.” Meaning that I will be shedding off the fat around the muscle I have built. This means that my next two months will be focusing on my nutrition. Nutritious meals at least 5/7 days of week. And I will be changing up my workouts as well. No more two a days with weights and cardio, instead it will be a single HIT insanity workout.

Check back in a couple months with me. See if I have been able to stick to nutritious meals, which admittedly will be hard for me. See if I am able to stick to the Insanity Workout program, because historically I haven’t been able to. This will be a true test for me…these next few months.

I would really appreciate any support and encouragement!

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2020 Fitness Journal: Month 1

Last blog post we talked about the breaking point to starting back on a healthy lifestyle to lose weight. I stated that I would keep you updated so you can watch my progress, instead of just seeing my results at the end. So today’s post is journal-ling the ups and downs of the first month of 2020 and how it’s going!!

I have been keeping myself accountable with a two different methods:

  1. Tracking my workouts and my food within Samsung Health

This has helped tremendously to ensure I am getting enough nutrition at a caloric deficit. I do not adhere to any specific weight loss diets… I eat carbs, I eat fat, and I eat meat although I have definitely cut down on my consumption of specific types of meat.

It has also helped me to ensure I am burning enough calories throughout the day. I have a goal of an additional 750 calories a day to be burned by physical activity. I track my heart rate to ensure I am within my optimal calorie burning range for my age.

2. Tracking my daily and monthly goals within an agenda

Each morning and before bed I track what I need to get done tomorrow: which workouts, which errands etc. Then at the end of the day, I review again to see what I have accomplished. It helps to feel proud to cross off those daily small goals each day. To see your week fill up with goals made – it is definitely a continuous motivator for me.

I also set monthly goals for myself. In January my goals were: workout 6 days a week, cut back on alcohol consumption [non-nutritional calories that you just don’t need], blog/insta my fitness journey. Having monthly goals helps keep my eye set for the future, so if i have a bad day and I dont make my daily goals….it’s ok because I am still working towards a monthly goal. One day cannot break me.

So that begs the question: HOW IS IT GOING?!

I have hit 2 of the three goals. I have definitely cut back on my alcohol consumption. Switching a night cap to a wind down routine to help me get to sleep. I worked out 14/31 days – with an allotted 4 days of rest that means I made about 52% of my goal. Not exactly the greatest…. but what is funny is my mind set was SO MUCH better. I felt good, I felt I was making progress; hitting goals! That has ultimately stopped my inevitable falling off and giving up!

I will say that I got the flu in January and as I have asthma, I tend to go done down for a minimum of two weeks. There was a week where I couldn’t even get out of bed… the weakness and the fever had me faint as soon as I stood up. And because I didn’t have the energy to cook – I was also ordering in Junk Food [haha oops]. That being sad, when I started to feel better I craved healthy meals and gym time. GREAT news – my body was starting to ask for my healthy changes rather than craving for chips and an exhausted lay down on the couch.

Lastly, i have definitely been keeping accountable through my insta/blogging. Everyday I make sure to story my daily fitness journey on instagram, and it’s helped keep my daily routine fun!

My new goal for February is CONSISTENCY.

  • Workout more days than January [ I didn’t want to put a number on it… because I knew myself and I would over stress about not hitting it. SO what’s the next best thing, compete with yourself. Just do better than January]
  • Less alcohol consumption than January [Keeping with the same motif and competing with my previous self. I previously had goals to cut out alcohol consumption entirely, and as soon as a weekend came around or I had a hard day at work and fell off. I immediately failed. This time, I’m setting small goals that lead to a larger goal]
  • More Blog Posts I have more fitness presence on instagram as it’s a quick and easy method. But I want to be consistent here on the blog as well!

Overall thoughts? I haven’t fallen off my 2020 new years resolutions, to the contrary I feel MORE motivated then I did when I started. Working out is like a drug…honestly… it has such an addictive positive effect on your life. Next Month is going to be even better – LET’S GET IT!!!!

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Breaking Point: Weight loss

Not my first rodeo

They say you have to hit rock bottom before you change a behaviour or start a change in lifestyle. This isn’t the first time that I started a weight loss journey. The first time, I believe I was 21, and decided enough was enough.

My rock bottom at that point in my life was that I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted to wear anymore. In addition, I stumbled upon some articles discussing BMI and its broad indication of whether you are at an unhealthy weight or not. Now i know that BMI is actually not very accurate, as it does not take into account the amount of muscle on the body but at that time when I received a BMI that was overweight – I knew I had to do something about it.

Breaking Point in my 30s

It’s very interesting in hind sight what was my breaking point in my thirties compared to my breaking point in my twenties. It really shows a different mind-set. I kept putting on the pounds specifically in my 30th year, and I was very self aware of this fact, but was “helpless” to do anything about it. I would just constantly complain to my man “I really need to lose weight,” “I need to start working out,” “we have to stop ordering junk food, if I ask for it – tell me no!”

I tried the previous breaking point mind sets to get myself motivated, you can’t fit any of your wardrobe! But I got super comfortable in just stretchy jeans and an over-sized sweater and was loving the fact that I didn’t have to care about my outfit. What about checking my BMI? Nope…that didn’t work either. I knew that my BMI said that I was overweight, but I could also see the outlines of the muscles that I have built over the years still peaking through the buildup of fat. This gave me false confidence that it wasn’t as bad as the numbers say… PLUS I had gotten alot more confident in my own skin since I hit my 30s. Evidenced by the fact that I was more willing to show off my body at it’s heaviest even compared to when I was at my smallest. There is a sense of self assurance that comes with maturity.

I needed a new motivation to get started! I tried, you need to get healthy as it’s only going to get harder as you age. Nothing. I tried, setting specific goals for myself. But then I just got all caught up in the numbers and felt myself going through an emotional rollercoaster because the weight wasn’t coming off like it did in my 20s. Nope- Scratch that idea. So then what’s going to make it happen?! It was actually the realization that I was uncomfortable in my own body which seems contradictive to the point that I just made above that I had more confidence. But, it wasn’t uncomfortable in my own skin on an emotional level. But I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin physically. BOOM. That hit it home for me. Why am I carrying around this extra weight when I can’t move the way I want. Even when I sit down, my rolls in my stomach will dictate my comfort level.

My breaking point was almost like that feeling you have when you get a cold, and you can’t remember what it felt like when you weren’t sick and had constant sinus pressure and a cough that hasn’t taken over your life. I had that same feeling…I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be fit. When I could run/jump/hike at a high pace with ease without feeling out of breath. When the endorphins of a workout would wash over your body. The ease of which you would fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed! The confidence in your body not at an aesthetic level but a confidence in its movement, that it had your back with whatever you needed to do. When sitting on the couch had nothing to do with how your stomach felt….

How I got started

So now that i had the motivation, the driving force of the reason I’m doing this. I created a goal for myself, small ones so I didn’t feel overwhelmed. And this time, I didn’t want them to be about my weight in terms of numbers. Instead I wanted to focus on the numbers that matter, what is my daily intake for healthy food choices. Am i getting enough nutrition? Am I keeping my calories in check? Am I burning enough calories throughout the day to burn fat? These were the numbers I would focus on this time, whether they came off fast or slow. Progress is Progress.

Follow Along

That being sad, I thought it would be cool to story/blog my way through this weightloss journey. As most fitness people only detail their journey AFTER success. Instead I wanted to showcase a transparent look from start to continued process [there is no end to a healthy lifestyle]. You can follow my blog here for upcoming detailed posts, or you can follow my day to day on my instagram.

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Wen Trial & Review

I decided to give Wen Hair Care a try.

and this is my first day review.

I will be using it for a month to see if I can get some genuine improvement in the life of my hair.

BUT. Wen does promise that you will see an improvement in one use.

So read below for what I noticed.

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Workout Words of Encouragement

We all have those days when we want to say “F*** it” to the workout.

Take that one day off and just RELAX.

I mean we’ve already made so many results…we deserve it right?!

On those days, the guiltĀ later almost seems worth the hour you get to be a couch potato!

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My Skin Care Products: for acne prone skin

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[ Jewels of yours Tassel Necklace , Aveeno Moisturizer, Neutrogena Cleansing Wipes, Proactiv Refining Mask, Almay Smart Shade, Target Bag ]

My Must-HaveĀ SkincareĀ Products

If I’m going anywhere I definitely need a cute bag, a go with everything necklace, and my skin care products!

I have suffered from acne ever since puberty hit. I’ve tried every different kind of skin care products.

I’ve even seeked out help from my doctor.

what I’ve found:

Some products dry out your skin, some leave it feeling like there is gunk on top of your skin.

It’s taken me 25 years and I have finally found products that I like.

I still have breakouts whether flared from stress, ‘that time of the month,’ or a few too many cheat days on the diet.

The products above help manage my skin- and make it look its best!

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Weight Loss Success- Month of August

So as you know…I’ve been trying to take off that extra poundage I’ve found lately.

The month of August has been a success.

I’ve lost 4 pounds.

I know that doesn’t seem like a lot. But for a person with my BMI it is!

I had been unhappy with how little I’ve lost.

Until people started to ask: “have you lost weight?”

I would just brush it off…and say not really.

BUT…

Come on Natasha- 4 pounds is really good!

Be Proud!

A healthy BMI for a female of my height:

18.5-24.9

Even with the extra poundage.. I was at a healthy BMI of 23.9

With four pounds lost I am now at:

23.2

Looking for your BMI:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

They say that healthy weight loss is between 1-2 pounds a week.

I did 1 pound a week.

That’s without exercise- I’ve only been watching what I’ve been eating lately.

You can check out how I eatĀ here!

Check out the difference 4 pounds makes!

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You can really notice the weight loss in my face.

But if I want my toned arms/legs/ and butt back…

I need to get my butt in gear- and exercise!

I need to listen to my own advice and MAKE THE TIME!

So Let’s check in at the end of September and let’s see where I am there!

How is your fitness journey going?!

I would love to hear! šŸ™‚

i pound

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The Struggle is Real- Eating Habits

You’ve all heard it: losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise

I don’t know if the stats are that exact. All I know is..you can’t out exercise a bad diet.

Trust me- I’ve tried.

If I can just have this whole bag of chips with dip.. I promise I’ll work out an extra hour tomorrow.

It wasn’t until I took control of what I was eating that I started to see legitimate results.

And it was so encouraging!

….

After I hit my goal weight..I started to treat myself nutritionally to some bad habits thinking:

“I can eat a little more treatsĀ if I keep the same workout regime and I’ll maintain.”

Guess what I didn’t keep up with the workouts.

And coupled with the increasedĀ nutritional intake.

The scale was quick to remind me what works and what doesn’t

….

junk food

Then before I knew it I was in my familiar cycle again:

bad eating…feel bad about weight..and in turn eating bad to feel better.

It is a vicious cycle.

And I know I’m not the only one on this merry go around of hell.

It’s the curse of the yo-yo’er – of the stress eater!

….

the struggle

The struggle to eat better is real.

Eating better is not only hard to do because we crave greasy and sugary goodness.

But it even costs more.

I bought fruits and veggies yesterday for a week.

I also bought a weeks worth of kraft dinner for my roommate.

Total cost: $100.00

The cost of the kraft dinner? $5.00

Preservatives are cheap because it costs less to manufacture the food, and it shelves longer.

If it shelves longer- it also sets up shop on your sweet tokus as well šŸ˜‰

Remember that.

….

I’ve been trying to exercise my way back to my ideal weight.

It isn’t working- smarten up baby T.

That’s why this month…my nutrition will be changing.

So lets check in at the end of August- and see the results that NUTRITION and EXERCISE can do.

If I preach- I must do.

No one is an exemption.

Just remember- you are not alone.

We are all going through the struggle.

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