Losing Weight During a Weekend Away

I am happy to announce that your girl Toya T is still losing weight. I lost 1.6 lbs this week. This is really a huge feat because of the fact that I took off three days from my diet this past Labor Day weekend. 

Week 6:

From Saturday to Monday, I was in Philadelphia with two of my friends at the Made in America Festival, which is a 2-day music festival sponsored by Budweiser. At first, I thought that I might be able to follow my diet with a few tweaks while I was at the festival: eat my regular healthy breakfast and lunch, drink a minimum of one beer per day, and eat the least fatty meals for dinner while I was at the festival.  I really thought that this was going to work. Or, at least I wanted this plan to work because I did not want to lose my weight-loss momentum from the past 6 weeks. I packed as many healthy snacks as I could carry and brought along a homemade protein shake, since our hotel had a mini fridges in the rooms. 

By noon on Saturday, I realized that it was unrealistic for me to follow my diet during my weekend away. This was my last hoorah before heading back into the classroom and plus I was with my friends. Sticking to my diet felt more like work than a normal healthy life choice.  So, I decided to allow myself three cheat days, not to overindulge on fatty goodness, but to eat and drink when I felt hungry without counting calories (and feeling guilty). To not fall back into bad eating habits or throw away my weight-loss successes, I also decided to jump back into my Super Shred diet at the point that I stopped on the program's weekly meal plan--in this case, it was Days 5, 6, and 7 of Week 2.

During my three cheat days, I made sure to stay active. Luckily, the festival made this very easy because it involved a lot of walking around and standing. I made over 24,000 steps on Saturday alone and burned over 3000 calories (note: this is more than I burn on a regular day eating healthy and working out). 

When I weighed myself on Tuesday, I was surprised to see that I didn't gain any weight. I lost .2 lbs and by Thursday I had lost an additional 1.4 lbs. 

This past weekend was very important moment in my 50 lb weight-loss journey. I learned that I can still eat, drink, and be merry without losing control. Cheat days or cheat meals are good in moderation as long as you stay active and focused on your goals. I am now 12.2 lbs down and determined to lose another 8 lbs by the end of the month. 

Smiles and Lime-a-ritas at Made in America 

3 Tips for Staying Focused During a Long Weight-Loss Journey

In 4 weeks, I have lost 8 lbs with the Super Shred diet and Nike Training Club Lean Fit workout challenge.  **pelvic thrusts** Now I have 42 lbs to go...42 LBS TO GO!!!! Ugh.

Losing that much weight is not going to be easy or quick (unless I max out my credit cards and get liposuction). It is going to take months upon months of working out, dieting, and focus.

To help me keep focused during my weight-loss journey, I am doing the following 3 things:

1. Join Fitness Challenges 

This is very simple. Find a fitness challenge and do it.

  • It helps you develop a regular fitness schedule that is easy to follow and increases with intensity as it progresses.

  • It prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by making you focus on a short-term, achievable fitness goal.

  • If you get your friends or family to join the challenge, it helps you create a fitness support system to keep you motivated to finish.

  • Plus, when you finish, you are fitter and have the sweet satisfaction of completing a fitness goal.

Here's a challenge for you: 

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2. Try New Healthy Recipes 

The internet is wonderful place to find tons and tons of healthy recipes (note: Pinterest is the best site ever to find yummy, healthy recipes).

  • It helps you transition from bad eating habits to good eating habits, by allowing you to eat less calories without feeling deprived.

  • It helps you discover new foods and dishes that you can share with your family and friends and impress them with your culinary skills.

  • If you cook your meals ahead of time, preferably at the beginning of the week, it will help you stay on your diet and give you less excuses for grabbing for "fast fatty foods" (the dreaded 3 F's).

Here's a healthy recipe for you: 

3. Buy Cute Workout Clothes

Just because you are working out and sweating doesn't mean you can't look good while doing it.

  • Having cute workout clothes takes the UGH out of working out by giving you the same feeling as getting dressed up for a night out.

  • They tend to be form-fitting, which is a GOOD thing. Wearing oversized and baggy workout clothes make you look frumpy and larger than you really are, skewing your body image. Wearing cute, form-fitting workout clothes provides much-needed support for your jiggly parts and allows you to check your form and make sure you are correctly performing exercises, decreasing injuries and maximizing workout benefits.

  • Plus, it helps show off your new developing fit body.

Here's some cute workout clothes options for you: 

Low-end Activewear Brand: Everlast (sold at Sears)

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High-end Activewear: Fabletics (sold at Fabletics.com )

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The Scale and My Body Disagree

I have completed another week of my weight loss journey. And, after eating a meal plan consisting of 2 meals and 4 snacks per day and working out 6 days a week, I proud to announce I lost .2 lbs. That is right! I said .2 lbs.

At first, I felt a bit discouraged after I stepped off the scale this morning. All that work and not even a full pound down. Ugh! But, then I remembered that the scale is not the only measurement of my weight loss progress. The fact that I was able to comfortably fit into some of my favorite clothes this past week without feeling like Kim K's pregnant feet stuffed into tight shoes (never forget!!!) is the best proof of my progress. Plus, my brutally honest mother actually told me that I looked like I lost weight, specifically that my backside was less wide (i.e., West Indian mom's way of saying you lost weight in a good way).

Despite the scale disagreeing with my body, I am pushing forward on my weight loss journey stronger and more determined.

In honor of my small victory, I have posted another brief video of your girl Toya T sweating it out in the gym. This workout is part of Nike Training Club's "Controlled Blast" 45-minute workout.

My 3 Favorite Healthy Recipes (That Have Kept Me from Running to Shake Shack)

healthy food

(Bad) eating got me into this mess and (good) eating is going to get me out...

The thing that I find the hardest about losing weight is the food, or specifically the type of food, you have to eat to lose the pounds. Am I the only that imagines eating bowls of leaves and twigs when you hear the word "diet"?  ***Shudders***

My first week on the Super Shred diet I was craving burgers and fries, which sadly I was eating every week. Driving by my favorite burger spot made me angry, hungry, and sad. Fortunately, the Super Shred diet allows me to eat a bunch of my favorite foods, either in smaller quantities or in lower calorie versions.

Here are three of my favorite healthy recipes (that have kept me from running to Shake Shack):


The Chocolate Razzy Smoothie

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

  • 4 tablespoons fat-free vanilla yogurt

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

  • 1/3 cup fat-free or low-fat milk (highly suggest: light almond milk)

  • 3 ice cubes

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. 

Total Time: 5 minutes 

Servings: 1

Under 200 Calories 


Applesauce Muffins

  • 2 cups Cheerios cereal

  • 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup applesauce

  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk (or light almond milk)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup fat-free egg product

  • 1/2 cup raisins, if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.

  2. Crush cereal. In large bowl, stir together cereal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

  3. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Total Time: 35 minutes 

Servings: 12

150 Calories 


Salmon Baked in Foil

  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1/2 salmon (about 1-1/2 pounds), with or without skin (remove before eating)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, white wine vinegar, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.

  3. Lay the salmon on a double sheet of foil on top of a baking sheet.

  4. Fold all 4 sides of the foil up and pour the honey mixture evenly over the salmon.

  5. Seal the foil by folding it as though you are wrapping a present. Place the salmon in the oven.

  6. Cook until the salmon is just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Take care not to overcook the salmon.

  7. Unwrap the salmon from the foil, cut into pieces and serve hot or at room temperature.

Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 

154 Calories 

Running for Weight Loss

In my last post, I promised that I would discuss the running app that I have been using to help me lose weight. I discovered the Running for Weight Loss app a few weeks ago as an ad on the MyFitnessPal app, which is an online diet and exercise journal. To be honest, I do not like running. But, when I saw that I could possibly lose 35 lbs in 8 weeks using this training program, I decided to try it out.

The Running for Weight Loss app is a unique running program designed specifically for weight loss. The program features six 8-week interval plans of walking, running, and sprinting intervals, with three levels of difficulty. It also has audio instructions and encouragement, GPS map of your run, daily weight-loss tips, and detailed records of every workout and your overall progress. 

This week I completed week 3 of the program and so far I am really happy with my progress. I am running longer and faster than week 1, day 1. Plus, I am burning over 400 calories in 39 minutes. Hopefully, with the Running for Weight Loss app,  I will be down 35 lbs by the end of week 8. 

***App is available on the AppStore, Google Play, and Amazon Apps.***

I Lost 4.2 lbs in aWeek on the SuperShred Diet

My first week of trying to figure out how to lose 50 lbs is completed. And, I am happy to share that I lost 4.2 lbs. Yay!!! **pelvic thrust** 

FRONT VIEW                              

   SIDE VIEW

Honestly, this week was not easy. I WAS SO HUNGRY the first 3 days of Week One.  It felt like my stomach was going to open up, grow teeth, and chew off someone's arms (like in the 1982 horror film The Thing). As I stated in an earlier post, I have no problem working out, despite the fact that I hate working out. My problem is food, or more specifically (eating) fatty (delicious) food. To help me refocus my eating habits, and my appetite, I am using "Super Shred: The Big Results Diet: 4 Weeks, 20 Pounds" by Dr. Ian Smith.

I chose this diet because it allows me to eat food, drink liquor (albeit a limited quantity), and lose weight in a short period of time. Plus, I have successfully lost weight using two of Dr. Smith's other diet books ("The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You'll Ever Need" and "Extreme Fat Smash Diet: With More Than 75 Recipes"). I have tried the Super Shred diet before but I don't think I ever completed. This time I am determined to complete it, and I am using a few other health tips to help me slim down.

To supercharge my weight loss, I have started drinking a flat belly detox drink, which consists of grapefruit juice, honey, and apple cider vinegar. It is suggested to drink a cup of this mix 2x a day for 14 days. But because I do not like the taste of grapefruit juice, I have been trying to drink at least once a day with lunch or dinner. 

I definitely suggest trying out this drink, since each of its ingredients have their own weight-loss and health benefits. Grapefruit is a fat-burning food that improves blood flow and helps your body metabolize sugar. Honey is a simple sugar (much healthier than processed or refined sugar), filled with vitamins and nutrients that boosts and revs up your metabolism. Apple cider vinegar helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, which prevents sugar from being stored as fat, and clean out your system (check out its many many health benefits here). 

I have also started drinking 66 ounces of water a day. This has not been too hard for me, since I developed a love for water from my Fat Smash diet days. Plus, it has been hot as hades outside.   Water has been shown to have significant weight-loss benefits. It keeps you hydrated during workouts and it helps to stave off hunger by making you fill fuller faster. The fuller you feel, the less food will eat to fill your belly. Health experts suggest you drink half of your body weight in water (in ounces) to reap the hunger-busting benefits; for example, a 135 lbs woman should be drinking 67 ounces of water (or a little more than 8 glasses of water a day). I tried doing that, but it was very, very, very hard due to my actual weight, which is way more than 135 lbs. I want to lose weight, not drink a large aquarium of water a day. It is bad enough that drinking tons of water makes you have to urinate several times a day. I feel like my 88 year old granny due to the amount of runs to the bathroom I have to make a day. I truly believe that 66 ounces is best. It is doable and satisfies the 8 glasses of water a day that is suggested by most physicians. For an extra health boost, I mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the 32 ounces of water in my trusty Columbia water bottle. 

Paired with my Nike Training Club 7-week Lean Fit workout plan and 8-week Running for Weight Loss plan (which I will discuss in a later post), the Super Shred diet is helping me get closer to my 50 lb weight loss goal without starving myself or joining the cast of The Biggest Loser.   

Getting Lean Fit with the Nike Training Club App

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To help me get lean and fit, I am using the Nike Training Club app (available for iPhone and Android). The app is FREE and loaded with 100+ workouts, featuring clear audio and visual guidance throughout each workout and plans that focus on getting either lean, stronger, or toned.

I have been using this app since 2012 and I love it because when I am not indulging in fatty goodness and avoiding the gym, it has helped me get my body toned, lean, and fit. I especially like the 6-week Get Lean Fit workout plan, which include a mixture of running, cardio, light weights, pilates, and yoga. The workout plans adjust daily, increasing and decreasing the intensity of the workouts based on how challenging you found the previous workout.

To get an idea of the type of exercises done in this workout program, I have posted a short clip of me doing the "Go, Rest, Repeat" workout. Please do not laugh at my gym attire or my sweaty body. I workout in the "Women Only" room at my gym, so that I can sweat, curse, and look crazy in relative privacy.

Have you tried the Nike Training Club app?

Figuring Out How to Lose Weight in my 30s

Hello, my name is Toya T and I am obese. Yes, I said it...OBESE!!! I never thought that I would ever use that word to describe myself. But, after my most recent physical exam in June, I saw the dreaded five-letter word written in my health summary, and I almost had a stroke.

 I will admit that I have gained some weight over the past two years. Okay, full disclosure. I gained 50 lbs since 2014. Ugh!! Regardless of that number, I wouldn't have described myself as obese. Overweight? Yes. Thick and juicy? Yes. Obese and a potential contestant of The Biggest Loser? NO! 

Ugh! How did I get here? I was not a "fat" kid or teenager. For most of my life, I was what I would describe as petite thick---that is, short, small-waisted, and thick-thighed. Like most young adults, I gained weight in college, about 10 lbs during my sophomore; however, I easily lost the weight by taking biweekly African dance, tap, and ballet classes and stepping weekly with my college step team. Then I gained 20 lbs during the first two years of my PhD program. I was the biggest I had ever been, and I realized that I actually had to make some lifestyle changes to shed the pounds. I joined my local YMCA, worked with a personal trainer to develop monthly workout plans, and changed my eating habits with the aid of

The Fat Smash Diet by Dr. Ian Smith (of Celebrity Fit Club fame). In the first 11 days, I saw big results; I lost 11 lbs. Within a year, I lost the rest of the weight and kept it off until five years ago.

2014

2016

The past five years my weight has yo-yoed up and down; my body has gone between being fit and trim to its current state of round and juicy. Interestingly, despite overweight (and now obese), I have bene generally healthy. According to my most recent physical, my glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels are within a healthy range. So, my main health concern has been, and is, my weight.

First off, I know that the number on the scale can be deceptive, since muscle weighs more than fat. I have been very fit and trim, 145 lbs, and a size 8 (my ideal size). I have learned that it is definitely about how you feel, how you fit in your clothes, and how good (you feel) you look naked. Right now, I don't feel good about my body in and out of  clothes. All of my favorite outfits fit very tight on me---and not in the good way.

Summer 2014

Summer 2016

In public, I have blamed my weight gain on the fatty goodness of Shake Shack (and its proximity to my job and home), my love of food and drink, stress of finishing my Phd program and emotional eating, my sheer hate of working out (especially when it is cold), and the winter of 2015 aka Snowmaggedon 2015 (which is when I gained the majority of the weight from eating and being trapped in doors by the 100 inches of snow). But, honestly my bad eating is to blame. I can push myself to work out regularly, especially if I have a very detailed workout plan set out for me with a definite beginning and ending (e.g., a 4-week summer sexy workout plan or a 30-day squat and abs challenge). What I have trouble with is keeping my love of fatty foods in check. Once I start eating something I like, it is hard for me to stop until the dish is clean. Put me in front of a Chicago deep dish pizza from Giordano's, and I will devour it in one sitting, no matter how much my brain tells me to save some for later.

Now, for the rest of the summer, I am challenging myself to get my eating back on a healthy plan and get my body back in my favorite outfits. This week I started a 4-week shred diet to detox and refocus my eating habits and a 7-week slim fit workout plan to lose the pounds. I will update you all each week on my progress and if you are interested in joining me on my 50 lb weight loss journey, I will share the tools, recipes, and health tips I am utilizing.

3 Fitness Tools to Help You Lose Weight and Get in Shape

Are you trying to lose weight and get in shape?

To reach my body goals, I am utilizing some fitness tools that have helped me lose weight and get in shape in the past.

  1. 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by JJ Smith 

I first learned of the "10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse" from my Zumba instructor. She lost more than 10 lbs after completely her first 10 days of the cleanse. She looked healthy and significantly smaller. Soon after she told me about the book, I bought the book immediately (available at amazon.com for $10.99 kindle/ $9.59 paperback).   

The book provides a shopping list, recipes, and detailed instructions for the 10-day cleanse, along with suggestions for getting the best results. It also offers advice on how to continue to lose weight and maintain good health afterwards.

There are two versions of the cleanse---the full cleanse (which includes drinking 3 smoothies as your daily meals) and the partial cleanse (which includes drinking 2 smoothies a day for breakfast and lunch and eating a healthy meal for dinner). I recently completed the partial cleanse and lost about 5 lbs (with some cheats). Honestly, the first few days of this cleanse is rough, and the author tells you that you may experience fatigue, hunger pains, irritability, and other side effects while your body goes through the detox process. But, it definitely is very useful for developing, or redeveloping, healthy eating habits.  

2. Nike Training Club App

Nike Training Club is hands down the BEST FITNESS APP!!! My very fit and toned BFF told me about this app about 4 or 5 years ago and it has been my go-to fitness tool to get in shape. Plus, this app is FREE (available for download in the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Androids) !!

Designed specifically for women, this app provides more than 85 instructor-narrated fitness routines—basically it's an audio-only exercise video you can play from your phone. It tracks your progress and rewards efforts with custom workouts created by Nike’s professionals, pro athletes and celebrities such as Glee star Lea Michele, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, and personal trainer Ary Nunez, who trains Rihanna. You can also create playlists to go along with your workouts, and, if ever you don't understand what the instructor is talking about, you can click into a video.

Since February, I have been working my way through the Get Lean program, which is designed to burn fat and lose inches with 3 - 6 workouts per week and yoga to energize you. The program offers three levels---beginner, intermediate, and advanced---and each level lasts 4 weeks. I am currently in the middle of week 1 of the advanced level, having completed the beginner and intermediate levels. The workouts have been kicking my butt, but I have seen results. My stamina and energy has increased, my legs, butt, and arms are more toned, and the pot in my belly has gotten shrunk with each week. I feel stronger and more energized. 

3. MyFitnessPal App 

MyFitnessPal makes losing weight a little bit easier. Studies have shown that there are many weight loss benefits to keeping a diary of the food you eat, the water you drink, and the activities you do. MyFitnessPal allows you to log your meals, water consumption, and workouts/activities easily and quickly. It also syncs with popular fitness apps like Fitbit (which I also use in my fitness journey). Plus, the app is free (available for download in the App Store for iPhones, the Marketplace for Windows phones, and Google Play for Android phones) !!

Bonus:

C9 Champion Power Core Compression Racerback Sports Bra ($16.99 at Target)

A good sports bra is also extremely important in losing weight. I got this sports bra for free from Influenster to review and I have used it every week since it arrived in my mailbox. The C9 Champion Sports Bra provides medium support and a compressive fit. Wicking fabric stretches to move with you and dries fast to keep you cool. The sports bra gives me great support during my NTC workouts.  

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