I just completed a full week of the Body by Wayne challenge and guess what? I lost 3#s and 2% body fat in 6 days.
What am I doing, you ask? Here are the high level things that have been on point this week for me…
Focused strength training
Wayne has been guiding me each PT session on what strength training to focus on — and then supports, instructs me as I take on whatever challenge he has in store for me. I’m still boxing 3-4x a week as well.
Tracking my food intake
I’m back to square one and need to track my food so I can get real about what I am eating. I started using Fatsecret.com, which like many other programs out there, has a large database of food/nutrition info and counts my calories and calorie breakdown. It has been helping me be more mindful of what I am actually eating – which is key.
Added more protein
Most women don’t eat enough protein – it should be 30% of your total caloric intake for the day. It’s daunting most days, but I am aiming for around 140g of protein each day. To get that much, I am drinking a protein shake as one of my snacks using almond milk. The shake powder has around 20g of protein, and then I’ve been adding Cacao Magic, which is a superfood and protein blend with 10x the antioxidants of green tea, more magnesium than 3 cups of broccoli, and more calcium than a glass of milk. It adds another 10g of protein to my shake and tastes pretty good.
I needed some attention plain and simple. It’s been helpful to have someone else on my team, holding me accountable for the commitment I’ve made and getting excited when I did lose the weight this week. I am usually everyone else’s cheerleader –which is a role I love – but it’s nice to have someone (whether I am paying them or not) to be as invested in my progress as I am.
The good/bad news is there is no one special, outside of the ordinary thing I’ve done this past week to make progress – I’ve been focused, present and excited to take on the challenge of getting back on track. Outside of nutrition, it’s a mental game! And just like with any skill, you have to continually use it to make progress.
This pic is me after my 30 min session with Wayne. I was crushed. Fair to say it was a very long day. I did a 6A intense boxing workout, then worked my day job, and then went in for my PT session (add in parenting duties too!) Wayne didn’t do anything I wasn’t comfortable or unfamiliar with — the focus was strength training – dumb bell arm work, back squats, push ups and a few other things, including a long session of db walking lunges. When I say long — I mean it felt like it was miles. After the session, my muscles twitched for quite some time, i drank a ton of water and I felt the soreness start within minutes. Now that’s a good session.. Wayne said that he could tell I was a ‘worker‘. Truth.
As for my clean eating — I am now on Day Three. The first two days weren’t that big of a deal, but today I woke up with a headache and just feel sluggish and cranky. I am warning everyone that interacts with me that cranky Steph has arrived. Fair warning to them all. I’m not starving, but I am craving sugar and carbs. To combat them, I am drinking water and/or herbal tea whenever I feel the cravings creep up. I am peeing a lot more thanks to that strategy…
Wednesday evening I got out the good ole crockpot and made some Cilantro Lime Chicken, which I figured would last me a few days but my family liked it too –so it only covered me for dinner that evening and lunch the next (because I packaged some up right after it was ready to eat!). I am going to make some more – it was that good!
As I sit here, I can feel the soreness every time I move. It’s not immobilizing or anything but it’s a sign that I worked hard. And although I am bit achey and cranky from this clean eating detox period, I can feel the excitement start to flood back with this challenge – which is a good thing.
My next session is Sunday, so stay tuned…
After sharing my last post, I read this article: I’m a Fit Chubby Girl and I’m Sick of People Telling Me I’m Unhealthy which I thought was relevant and timely. While I see the point she is making, I am not necessarily of the same mindset when it comes to my own health. For me, I don’t want to be the chubby fit girl because I know mine is caused by the nutritional choices I have been making. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a fanatical nut about it all either. It boils down to I am not happy where I currently am and I don’t feel my best. If the author feels she is at her best –more power to her. Healthy living is what matters in the end – not the number on a scale. Keep exercising and moving your body on the regular.
I’ve been struggling lately — struggling to find the motivation and joy in my fitness routine and struggling to stay focused on good nutrition. In fact, the truth is I have all but fallen off the nutritional wagon. It started about two years ago if I am being honest – when I was laid off from my job and I went into a funk. I kept my work out routine up but started to slip and slide down with regards to eating. And although I don’t eat gluten or dairy on the regular, it has been creeping back into my weekly diet. I’ve been frustrated with the lack of interest and attention my fitness instructors seem to display lately as well. One thing I know when it comes to me having a successful workout – I feed off of the energy and attention of my instructors.
It’s all added up to a perfect storm of frustration and lack of motivation and here’s the brutal truth: a 25+ weight gain over the past two years. My friends say “no way”, “you can’t tell” and other words of support when I share my weight gain frustrations but I see it. And it’s hard to reconcile because of how active I am. I know it boils down to my lack of focus on nutrition. I do eat well overall, those salads I eat during lunch are real- I am a sugar addict and a carb snacker. Evenings are the worst for me…
Add the lack of nutritional focus with the lessening motivation to really hit the workouts and training hard, it’s not going to end well…
I need help
When I feel I need some help and guidance, I seek it out. So, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met with a personal trainer, Body by Wayne, yesterday. I was nervous because I have never worked one on one with anyone. It forces you to be very honest about where you are. I never step on a scale and yesterday I had to. We spent about 20-30 minutes talking about goals, my fitness & nutrition history and where I should be. Then I did a 20 minute fitness assessment so he could assess exactly where I was fitness wise. It included bench press, push ups, core work, and balance exercises. Afterwards, he said was very impressed, which was a relief because I have been working out for almost 8 years straight now!
It was clear after this first session, Wayne knows his stuff. This is his career and understands it’s a combo of cardio, strength and nutrition that will get the job done. When it was over, he printed out sample nutrition plans for me to follow and other information. He approached it like we will do this together, if I am game- we are a team.
So, what now?
I agreed to take him up on his one week free Wayne Challenge which includes 3 free workout sessions. I also agreed to eating clean for the week, which means keeping a food diary. He also gave me his rate sheet that offers different options and costs for training. So, starting today I am doing the Wayne Challenge. This morning at 6a, to kick it off, he sent me a Facebook message reminding me to plan for my meals today. Ahh, accountability!
So there it is — the truth. The journey to be more fit and healthier is never going to be easy – life seems to get in the way. It really is a pain in the ass to be healthy when it’s so much easier to just go with the flow – but I’m not happy with where I am and it’s up to me to change it.
Stay tuned as I continue to share my Body by Wayne Challenge experience…
I was trying to figure out what really bothered me about the latest Kim Kardashian instagram image. It’s her body, so what do I care if she wants to show it to the world. But yet, it still bothered me. Then I read something posted by Pink today on Twitter that captured what I was feeling:
“Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their ‘magic’ that they were born with, that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much ‘attention’ or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don’t need that kind of attention. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention, you will feel something called pride and self respect.” -Pink
It is absolutely her right to show her body off and be proud. I just can’t help but think about what happens when her ‘looks’ stop getting her attention. What happens then? More plastic surgery, treatments, perfect lighting to keep up the facade? I would imagine that when your fame and career all stem from how you look – you get wrapped up and it consumes you.
When I saw her IG posts, I didn’t stop and say oh, i wish I was just like her. Quite the opposite actually, It bothered me. It felt cheap, unnecessary and an over the top cry for attention. It also angered me – my teen daughter sees images like that all over the place now and in her still forming mind, she begins to think that’s worthy of attention and worthy of emulation.
It makes parenting that much harder…
- What’s wrong with the American diet? More than half our calories come from ‘ultra-processed’ foods
- The Water Diet: Can you lose weight just by drinking more water?
Last week was my birthday. It was an awesome day that started off with a good 530A workout. I try to always exercise on the big day as a way to thank my body for hanging in there. Of course, I took a nap when I got home because waking up before 5a is just not OK. I woke up to a wonderful homemade breakfast. HB made me a feast fit for the health conscious queen that I am, including gluten free toast with an owl design made out of fruit. It was awesome and yummy.
In the evening, my friend Mandy invited me to go into DC and check out a panel discussing Behind the Scenes of the Walking Dead. And yes, Andrew Lincoln was there! It was really awesome to hear more about how the show is made —Greg Nicotero, executive producer, director, and special effects makeup supervisor talked about the process to create the zombies. It was clear listening to him how much he was born to do what he does. It fascinates me to listen to people who from an early age found something they are passionate about and get to do that thing every day as a career.
The next evening, Scotty and I enjoyed a steak dinner at DC Prime. It was so amazingly delicious and we came home to cut into my yearly Carvel Birthday cake with the kiddos.
It was a lovely weekend that ended with a super bowl party over at a friends house with friends that have been in my life for over 20 years. Coincidentally, this past weekend I came across this article: ‘I have lived over half of my life’ : Writer Miranda Sawyer on the quiet desperation of a midlife crisis. I had never thought about my age in this way, but thanks to this writer, I have spent more time than I care to admit thinking about it. It’s scary in some ways – to think that half of my life has been lived but on the other hand, I have had a ton of great experiences and lessons and it has led me to the life I lead now – which is pretty damn good. (see birthday weekend as an example.) She makes some good observations that I can certainly relate to although not necessarily because I agree or it’s been my own personal experience.
It also speaks to something that has been on my mind – quite a few of my friends are splitting up. They are separating, divorcing, up and moving across the country – doing some reflecting on where they are in their lives and deciding it’s not where they want to be anymore. For some, it was a long time coming and best for everyone involved. For others, it hit them like a sucker punch. They were not ready for the life shock that hit them – and are now trying to recover. There is something about hitting middle age. We are not the same people that we were in our twenties (at least I hope we are not), and the things that some people chose during their younger years are not the right things for who they are now. There is no right/wrong about it – even though I know it happens, it still causes a bit of a pit in my stomach.
Watch This (and Laugh)
It’s been quite a ride the past week or so for me… With the Jonas blizzard and a bunch of other crap going on, I am finding it hard to breathe. I am feeling anxious and restless. I know it’s due to stress, but man it’s hard to deal with. My to do list is getting longer and I am starting to feel like I can’t keep up. And I have asked for help, but sometimes getting help means more work for me.
I am trying to remain calm and remember to take each day as it comes — but man, I would like a break from ‘adulting’ please. When I start to feel this way, I also remember it’s February. Right around this time every year I find myself in a funk. Lack of sunshine, Seasonal Affective Disorder, stinks! I have to start using my Light Therapy Lamp again so I can ensure I get enough Vitamin D.
Speaking of Vitamin D, a friend of mine recently asked me if I knew anything about Vitamin D. I didn’t really know, so I did some research. Here’s what I found…
According to this blog: DO YOU NEED TO TAKE VITAMIN D?
Skin type affects how much sun you need. Generally speaking, paler skin types tend to produce more Vitamin D and darker skin types tend to produce less. A fair skinned person might only need 10 minutes of exposure around noon while someone that is darker could need up to 2 hours of exposure .”
The climate you live in will likely determine whether or not you can get enough Vitamin D through sun exposure alone
Just taking a Vitamin D supplement won’t always fix the problem. Vitamin D and calcium exist in balance. More Vitamin D is produced when calcium is low to increase absorption, and through a negative feedback loop, the body suppresses Vitamin D production when calcium levels are high.
So, you need to get your Vitamin D levels checked to see if you really need to supplement, however I tell everyone to go get a sun lamp if you live in an area where the amount of sunlight varies depending on the season. I feel better after using it consistently and it’s not just in my head.
“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” ― David McCullough Jr.
I’ve been thinking about how much simpler life was when I was a kid. We didn’t have the constant barrage of distractions and choices were limited. If we were sitting on a train or travelling somewhere, what did you do? You slept, talked to someone, played some sort of game or simply got lost in your own thoughts. Now, our choices are endless for almost everything. It has created some wonderful opportunities, but it also has a lot of disadvantages.
Someone recently asked me why I think the world seems angrier and less tolerant. You could argue that the world isn’t any worse, we are just getting information from more sources so we are getting more of a full picture of whatever is going on. I don’t know, but if people have always been this angry, that’s pretty sad.
We are so connected that we don’t stop and just take it all in. I traveled into DC this week for work and while my co-worker and I were walking to the Library of Congress, I was stopping to take it in. I mean – it’s awesomely cool to walk around the monuments and recognize the history. I was snapping pics and just enjoying it even though it was cold and we were late to the meeting (through no fault of our own). I think it was annoying my co-worker, but you know what? People all over the world dream of seeing these buildings and being here. It was not going to kill us to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the view…
Watch This (and Laugh)
It’s January, which means we are all being bombarded with lots of articles about how to get healthier, more fit, which diet works best etc… Keep in mind that new research suggests that there is no one diet approach that fits all. A few months ago, Science Daily published ‘Healthy’ foods differ by individual that highlighted that we all metabolize food differently and a personalized approach is what will work best long term for anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellness. I’m sure that most people don’t need research to prove that -we have seen it personally.
“Ever wonder why that diet didn’t work? A new study tracking the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week suggests that even if we all ate the same meal, how it’s metabolized would differ from one person to another. The findings demonstrate the power of personalized nutrition in helping people identify which foods can help or hinder their health goals.”
I see it each and every day – I have a ton of friends who eat like crap but don’t gain a pound and it seems that I can’t eat a cookie without putting on a pound. It is what it is -and in order for me to maintain a certain level of health and wellness, I need to be very mindful of what I eat. It sucks but it is what it is. You can’t change genetics.
Related articles about the same study:
- This diet study upends everything we thought we knew about ‘healthy’ food
- Foods May Affect Each Person’s Blood Sugar Differently, Study Suggests
Now, let’s be clear though, this study doesn’t mean you can eat all the crap you want if your body metabolizes it quickly and be uber healthy. Eating processed, high in sugar foods are not good for anyone no matter who you are, so a solid foundation of whole, natural foods is still key for long term health and wellness. You can’t be at your best if you eat crap food. You may be one of those ‘lucky ones’ who doesn’t gain weight when you eat crap, but you won’t healthy and at peak performance where it counts.
- Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food: Researchers asked if one diet could be crowned best in terms of health outcomes. If diet is a set of rigid principles, the answer is a decisive no. In terms of broader guidelines, it’s a decisive yes.
I still have David Bowie on my mind – It was clear that he was born to be an artist and it showed in everything he did. What an amazing talent the world has lost…
I have to get something off my chest – What is up with “Girl Push ups” aka GPUs? First off, there is no such thing as a girl push-up (a push up but you are on your knees). For those that automatically do these type of push ups without even attempting a standard push up – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANY STRONGER or ANY BETTER AT PUSH UPS! Stop doing them this way. It irks me to see and it irks me more when trainers don’t correct or encourage people to do them the correct way. There are modifications that can be done that will get you stronger and are not ‘girl push ups’. I can’t tell you how many times I look around my boxing class and I am one of the very few women who are actually doing a true push up.
When you get a chance read this “Girl Push-ups” Aren’t a Thing. If you don’t have time, here are some key points to realize:
“Many people don’t realize that the push-up requires more than just the chest and arms. It also activates the shoulders, upper back, abdominals, lower back, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Your body needs to maintain a plank position throughout the movement, requiring a straight and tightened core from neck to toes. Push-ups are awesome for full-body development and everyone who has the right moving parts should do them.”
How do you train for Push Ups?
“To train for push-ups, you need to do push-ups or a movement so truly analogous that there is no practical, functional difference other than the resistance experienced by your body. This means that you need to force your core into a tight, steady plank while experiencing resistance on your chest/arms and moving between contracted/extended arm positions.”
I am constantly urging my friends to do modified push ups instead of on their knees. It means that they change the angle or widen their legs as they are going down. If they insist on doing knee assisted push ups, I give them a disappointed look and then challenge them to do as many modified push ups as possible before going to their knees. They will NOT get any better at push ups doing GPUs – period, end of STORY!
As a side note: where did this idea that girls can’t do real push ups come from? Is it from the same urban legend creator as the girls can’t do Pull Ups myth? I can do both and know many other women out there who bust the hell out of both of those myths! We need to rethink how we encourage people to do push ups. I wonder if knee assisted pull ups (GPUs) are how young girls are encouraged to approach push ups day to day. I am going to ask around and see if this is the case and then share information about the modifications that should be encouraged instead. It only takes one person to start a ripple of change…
Here’s another great write up about Why Knee Push Ups Won’t Make You Any Stronger that includes alternative movements that will get you stronger and on your way to being able to do a full proper push up.
We decided to adopt a puppy. We have been thinking about it for a while – and the kids are at an age where they can help at least a little with him. So, without further ado – Meet StormTrooper aka Trooper. He’s a 5 month old White German Shepherd and full of energy. He calms down nicely though and seems to be scared of everything around him which is a bit of a bummer. I am hoping it’s the new surroundings and he needs time to warm up. Almost everyone that has seen him, has shared that German Shepherds were their favorite dog growing up, and they make good family dogs. I’m going to enroll him in training in January which should help. He’s super smart and already sits and fetches – and we are training him to sit and wait at feeding time. We figured with the kids out of school for a few weeks, it would be a good time to get used to him being a part of the family. It will be interesting to see how he’s going to be next week when we all go back to our regularly scheduled routine and he will be alone for a block of time during the day.
Post Holiday Reset
Let’s talk about the holidays shall we? I have been out of control eating. I consciously know that I shouldn’t be shoving 80 bazillion cookies in my body, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The past few days I have been getting back on track though – becoming more mindful of what I am choosing and my plan is to start eating according to the Whole 30 approach in January.
The Whole30 program is a good option for those looking for a way to do a healthy reset or discover what food sensitivities you may have. For those interested in learning more about it, here are some great Whole30-related resources, compliments of Melissa Joulwan, author of the Well Fed book series, including 4 weeks of food plans, no recipe required meal ideas, motivational tips, and more.
One of the great things about doing the 30 day program is you can break your sugar habit if you follow the program religiously. It’s not easy, but craving sugar is one of the biggest issues for most people. Once you break that, which makes the first 10 or so days of this program the most challenging, you will begin to feel completely amazing. Your skin, your hair will look healthier. You will sleep better, wake up feeling better. Food will taste better. The list of benefits goes on and on.
In the coming year, I am going to spend more time working on my flexibility and mobility. I can feel the tightness in my shoulders and neck and have been having issues with my lower back. Nothing serious but I am smart enough to know it’s only takes an off balance move or a quick jerk and I could be feeling more than tightness. I started rolling out my shoulders and back with a Lacrosse ball after my boxing sessions. I have been introducing some friends to the painful joy of myofascial release after my sessions to. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t realize how important and effective it can be. I know many people use a foam roller, but I have found that using a Lacrosse Ball gives you a deeper roll out which is what my tired, tight muscles need.
- The Best Tool for a Deeper Self-Massage
- Hurts So Good: A Beginner’s Guide Self-Myofascial/Trigger Point Release