Guest Post: Weight Loss

I’m in the middle of studying for finals, so I don’t have a ton of time to blog:(  I thought it would be a good time for Valerie Johnston from Healthline.com to drop some knowledge on y’all.

The Health Effects of Those Experiencing Obesity & Weight Loss

Being overweight, or obese, is a label for a range of weight that is greater than the amount that is typically considered to be healthy for any given height. The term obese can also identify the range of weight that is known to increase the likelihood of specific weight related diseases or other health conditions. For adults, obesity ranges are usually determined by taking the individual’s weight along with their height and calculating the two into the BMI (body mass Index) number. The BMI number is used as an effective tool that helps correlate the amount of body fat held by that individual.

BMI Ranges

As an example, any person that has a calculated BMI of between 25 and 29.9 falls into the category of being overweight. Additionally, anyone that has a calculated BMI of 30 or greater is classified as being obese. While BMI ranges work well for adults, children and teens that are known to be above the normal weight for their age, size, and height follow different labels. Calculated into a child’s BMI range is the natural tendency to accumulate body fat at varying ages in both girls and boys.

Obesity & Weight Loss

Weight loss is often considered to have a positive effect on reducing many of the symptoms and conditions associated with being obese. Although a person may be experiencing obesity, weight loss must be acquired correctly, to ensure the health of the individual as they eliminate excess pounds and inches.

When left untreated, obesity can create a variety of medical diseases that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, gallstones, diabetes, and a variety of other chronic conditions. Obesity is often difficult to treat and is known to have a high relapse rate. More than 95% of every individual that loses weight tends to regain it within the next five years.

Although many diets and medications can help, the treatment for obesity requires something more than a short-term “fix”. It must take a lifelong commitment by developing proper diet habits and following an increased level of physical activity including routine workouts and exercise.

The typical goal of any treatment should be the way to achieve and maintain a much healthier weight, and not necessarily a level of weight loss that appears to be “the ideal”. Studies indicate that even modest weight loss of up to 10% of the initial weight along with a long-term maintenance program, can produce significant health benefits by diminishing the risk of heart disease and diabetes and lowering blood pressure.

A Support System

A support system is essential to guarantee that the person that is overweight can continue on their path of eliminating pounds and inches. Many of the long-term successes of weight loss have been enhanced by a strong support system, advice from the doctor, and following a team of professionals including exercise trainers, psychologists, and dietitians.

Defining a level of obesity is typically based on the information one gathers from professionals or on the Internet. In its very essence though, obesity or being overweight can be classified as any weight that is greater than what is generally considered to be healthy. While it is important to use body fat to store energy, as a shock absorber, and for heat insulation, too much weight can cause chronic conditions that are extremely unhealthy to the individual in the long run.

It is known that in the United States alone, the major population has reached epic proportions of obesity with well over two thirds of all adults being obese or overweight. Even more so, obesity in children has significantly increased. The numbers indicate that near 25% of the total of children in the US are either obese or overweight.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Happy Holiday Squat-athon!

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 7.23.57 PM

I’m sorry that I’m posting this late, you’re just going to have to catch up on squats!  Usually I am a big fan of the chocolate advent calendars to count down to Christmas, but since those aren’t very clean I had to come up with some other ways to gear up for the holidays.  Though I did love that little piece of chocolate every morning, you know that I love squats so much more!  It’s simple, you just do the set amount of squats for that day until Christmas Day.  Think of it as a way to prepare for all of the holiday treats;)  You can do the squats with our without weight, as long as you get them in each day.  I’ve been doing them without weights so that I can practice my form.  If you haven’t really done squats before, this is a great way to perfect your form. Just remember to:

-Keep your knees aligned with your toes

-not let your knees go over your toes

-keep your back straight and your chest up

-push up from your heels

-and keep your core tight!!

I’ll be sharing my other “advent calendar” with you tomorrow:)

Keep me updated on your squat progress! 

Helpful tools…and a milkshake!

A few months ago, I received an email from SlimKicker.com about trying out a new product.  The website is an interactive way to track EVERYTHING in your life that is related to fitness.  It makes it easy to stick with your personal fitness plan by having a food, exercise, AND challenge log!  I’ve used a few tracking websites, mostly myfitnesspal.com, but I’ve never had such a simple way to manage all aspects of my fitness.  The layout of everything is pretty easy:

At the top there are links for Nutrition, Body, Challenges, Groups, Friends, and Blog.  So you can also use the site for social media and blogging! I wish I would have known about this earlier because it’s a great way to build a network for your blog.  I don’t usually enter what I eat everyday because I don’t really change my macros.  I just enter everything that I plan to eat for an entire week and use it as a reference.  So once a week, it’s very helpful!  The challenge section is my favorite because you can choose goals that others have submitted or ones that you create yourself.  Right now, my goal is to do a bodyweight exercise a day.  I just started using it, and already I can see that 14% closer to completing my goals! I’ve been doing push-ups like crazy. I even have a little motivational picture to keep me going!  I’m staying strictly clean for the next few months except for 3 or so planned indulgences on holidays.

SlimKicker is planning on launching a physical tracker early next year.  It will be similar to a FitBit and will track activity along with a mobile app to track nutrition.  I’m really excited to receive the tracker, but for now I’ll just utilize the website for all of my fitness needs!  I suggest that you try it out, and add me as a friend, BBBHealthy of course:)

If you follow me on Instagram, @BBBHealthy, then you would have seen my #plantPOWER Chocolate Power Shake!  I love that it’s protein powder free.  It’s perfect for an easy, nutrient-packed snack.

Chocolate Power Shake

-1/2 cup greek yogurt

-1 cup chopped, frozen spinach

-1 tbs. cocoa powder

-1tbs. natural peanut butter

-a couple drops of stevia

-ice

  1. Blend everything together and add ice until it’s the desired consistency!
  2. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or unsweetened coconut

I’ll be posting a dinner recipe tomorrow!

Triumph!

I DID IT!

Not only did I actually complete the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, but I surpassed my goals for myself in doing so!  Like I said in my last post, I was afraid for that run.  Terrified doesn’t even begin to describe how scared I was to overcome those 13.1 miles.  I knew that I could finish it, but I wasn’t sure how much running I’d be able to actually RUN, as opposed to walk:)

I’m proud to say that I did not walk one inch of that course! I told myself that I could make it to mile 4 (because I had done a 7k the week before), but when I got there I was feeling great to I told myself I’d take a walking break at mile 5.  Well when I got to mile 5, Call Me Maybe was playing; and for anyone that knows me, that is my song!  So I just kept going and realized how awesome it would feel if I ran the whole thing.  So I did!  I wish I would have trained because I’m sure that I would have gotten a better time, but for not training at all I’m pretty proud of 2:35:00!  Next year, I’m hitting the pavement hard:)

Heading in to my corral, ready to run!

With my swag at the end:) A Tiffany’s necklace given to me by a very lovely fireman from the SFPD, awesome free stuff, and flowers from my family:)

The necklace!!

What kept me going all day! It’s not about what you do or do not have, it’s about what you’re going to get!

Refueling with ginger quinoa waffles with vanilla agave nectar. I’ve never been so hungry in my life!

Even though my feet, calves, hips, and back hurt, I feel incredible!  Overcoming something that had been looming overhead for so long makes me feel as though I can do anything…like stay up way too late before an 8am class writing a post to inform you about nighttime eating:)

James Wilson’s Body Earned Program introduced me to the bedtime snack and I haven’t looked back!  Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle.  Not only to give you energy for the new day, but because it’s powertime for building muscles.  Studies have shown that protein synthesis (muscle building) slows during sleep, and this may be attributed to a decreased amount of amino acids.  I know that I want to utilize as much time as I can to rebuild my muscles so I eat lean protein with a healthy fat about an hour or so before bed.  No more starving yourself after 8pm!! The protein helps repair your muscles and the healthy fat is digested slowly, basically so the protein sticks around:)  My favorite lately has been a cinnamon omelette with natural peanut butter and a little bit of protein frosting.

If you are on Instagram you can follow me at BBBHealthy to see more of my meals!

Cinnamon Omelette

-4 egg whites

-tsp of vanilla extract

-a couple drops of stevia extract

-A LOT of cinnamon (I probably use 2 tbs, but I really love it!)

-1tbs almond milk

-1 tbs natural peanut butter

-Toppings: protein frosting, coconut, nuts, cocoa nibs, whatever you want!

  1. Spray a small pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat
  2. In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients until combined. Be sure to whip plenty of air in there for fluffy eggs!
  3. Pour egg mixture in to the pan and cook, using a spatula to push the edges away from the pan every so often
  4. Flip when mostly cooked
  5. Place a tbs of natural peanut butter on one side and fold it over
  6. Let the peanut butter melt a litte and you’re done!
  7. Top with protein frosting (protein powder mixed with almond milk or water) and unsweetened coconut

Do you eat before bed? Share your thoughts!

A Teeny, Tiny Confession

I’m postponing Insanity. I know, I said that I wasn’t a quitter, but I realized that it’s just not the right time for me to dive in to this program.  Logistically,

-I live in the top floor of my building so I can’t be bouncing around all the time

-I’m already paying for a gym membership through my tuition

And I also had a mini-revelation:

I LOVE lifting weights.  I say it all of the time, but it really is just so much fun to me.  I remembered a post I did during the summer, you can read it here, where I listed everything that I love about this lifestyle.  Reading over those reasons really got me motivated, and reminded me how at home I feel at the gym.  It’s my happy place and I am not ready to go without it for 60 whole days!  So for now, I’ll be pushing back my Insanity start date until June (so I don’t have to buy a summer gym membership), and I want you to hold me to that!

I feel a little bad for only completing one day, but I don’t regret it at all!  I was so happy to put on my gloves and pick up a dumbbell!  I’m going to do Jamie Eason’s 12 week fat burning program (I’m a program freak) with my mom.  It seems like I’ve learned a lot about building muscle, and I’m excited to learn how to lean out safely so that I keep my muscle!

I’ll keep you updated:)  Let me know if you’re doing any type of exercise plan!

Also, if you follow me on Instagram @BBBhealthy, you would have seen my post about the best sandwich ever! I promised you the recipe, and here it is:

Cinnamon Apple Melt

-2 pieces of Ezekial or whole grain bread

-1 tbs. natural peanut butter

-1/2 of a medium apple

-cinnamon

  1. Cut the apple in to cubes and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste
  2. Microwave the apples for about 30 seconds, or until warm and soft
  3. Spread the peanut butter on the bread and lightly toast
  4. Top the pb bread with apples and enjoy!

I’m a cinnamon addict so i also put a little on the bread before toasting:)

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back on Monday probably.  I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Sunday, wish me luck!

Guest Post: Get Up and MOVE!

Happy Thursday! It’s my Friday, so I’m happy!  I’ll be doing Insanity Day 2 later today, can’t wait:)

A few weeks ago I got an email from Jim Rollince, Head of the Creative Writing Department at Gym Source.  They are behind awesome gym equipment such as Power Plate and Stairmaster Machines.  It’s a great honor to have him guest post on my blog!

Staying Fit and Having a Blast Doing It!

Along with diet, a proper dose of exercise is immensely good for the body. Physical activity keeps all of the body’s systems and organs in tip-top shape, ensuring strength, stamina, and longevity. In fact, according to an article written by the University of Maryland Medical Center, inactivity is one of the foremost causes of heart disease.

Even if you are one of so many out there who have not always taken great care, much damage is reversible. Even the coziest of couch potatoes can train to be a formidable machine. The important part is to get active now.

Many people struggle with just getting started, and eventually staying on regimen. And believe it or not, we all have those days, and that’s fine. But there are two important concepts to keep in mind that shatter these barriers, and they are ridiculously simple. First – do things that are fun! If you enjoy whatever is getting your heart pumping, you are much more likely to re-engage in the activity. Second – remember that as long the activity is strenuous enough to raise your heart rate, it can be considered “exercise.”

To help you with a few ideas, we have comprised a list of some great indoor and outdoor, traditional and non-traditional activities that are sure to get you moving and hopefully smiling at the same time. Here we go!

 

Traditional Ideas

-Go swimming. Water activities are great for stress relief and exercise. There are countless ways in which the water can give the perfect amount of movement resistance while simultaneously ensuring that you have no fear of over-heating due to effort.

-Go to the gym, or bring it to you. The world of equipment today is enormous. Options include treadmills, ellipticals, free-weights, and all other types of commercial and home gym equipment. Add in some music and your favorite workout drink and have a ball.

-Get involved with a local sport. Whether it be basketball, baseball, football, or even badminton, there is nothing like the feeling of being part of a team. If there are no local sports you want to play, organizing your own isn’t very hard at all.

 

Non-Traditional Ideas

-Try a little more “extreme sport.” Skiing, paintball, wrestling, and hiking are just a few possibilities.

-For those interested in history and outdoor exploration, metal detecting can be a great release. In the woods, a field, or along the beach, you will be active walking, exploring, and hopefully doing a little digging for treasure.

-Try laser-tag. The thrill of the hunt and ducking and dodging all of those incoming laser beams will have you sweating.

-Play a video game. Yes, playing video games these days can involve plenty of physical activity. Try Wii fitness games or similar games for the Xbox Kinnect.

Whatever you do, have fun with it. Remember that exercise isn’t just about pumping iron and gritting your teeth. And as you proceed with your “physical entertainment”, you will feel the difference in your mental and physical state. It’s your life, after all – enjoy all of it. And staying fit and active is one fabulous way to do just that.

Insanity: Day 1

 

 

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

 

Well I’m over that crap!  Today I started the 60-day Insanity program from Beachbody.  It made me feel so out of shape!  I’ve been trying to fight insanity the past few months by trying different meal plans, but haven’t really made any progress.  So I’m drastically changing my plan and am going to cardio-kill myself with these videos.  The first day was a 20 minute fit test.  It went by pretty quickly, but it was rally hard!  A girl at the gym (I wrote the workout down and did it in the group exercise room) saw me doing the warm-up and asked if she could join in.  She had just finished the 1st day (3 times, not sure why) and it was nice to have someone to commiserate with!  I spent most of the time trying to convince her that I really am in shape though:)

 

The meal plan is the most exciting part.  I’ll still be eating 6 meals per day, but my calorie count has gone WAY up!:)))))  I think I’ve been under-eating because today I noticed that I wasn’t hungry until the 3 hour mark.  The past month or so I’ve been hungry before the 2 hour mark!  It’s really great to finally be able to know what my body has been telling me: EAT MORE, LESS OFTEN. The meal suggestions that come with Insanity aren’t as clean as I’m used to so I’ve had to change things up a little bit.  Overall, I’m sticking close to this plan!

 

I”m hoping that the next 60 days will help me lean out so I can go back to lifting weights and building muscle.  I’ll admit, I did a couple sets of bicep curls just because I missed it!  I took a week off after finishing the Body Earned program, and that’s a VERY long time for me to not workout/be at the gym.  I’m a gym rat and always will be:)  However, the intensity of Insanity made me realize why people do this in the privacy of their own home, it’s not a good look to be out of breath after 3 minutes!

 

I love to lift and cannot wait to be back in the weight room.  My calluses are already disappearing:(  I feel as though I’ve already committed myself to this program, and I’m not one to quit, so I’m going to see out the 60 days and then go back to what I love.

 

Wish me luck on day 2!

 

Do you prefer group exercise or a solo weightlifting session?  Leave a comment!

Can 4-letter words involve an apostrophe?

Sorry I haven’t been very successful with the blogging lately!  “The Thing”, as we call my departure from VA, is rapidly approaching and I haven’t been at a computer much.  Still finding time to hit the gym, of course:) 

Today I endured James’s Week 6 Day 3 leg workout, and I felt so accomplished as I hobbled out of the gym!  I recently read an article about a ten year-old girl who can squat twice her body weight.  I usually only squat about 50lbs (less than half of my body weight) and realized that I was slacking!  Usually it’s because I can’t really lift more than 60 over my head without looking like I’m seizing, but this morning I conquered the squat rack!  I busted out 3 set of 15 squats at 95lb. and I was dying! Luckily, it was so early that there was no one there to see me stuggling to stand. You know how much I love squats, but it was slow going at 6:00am and my motivation was definitely low.  About half way through the 2nd set, I was maybe a little stuck in the squat position and thought “I can’t get up.”

OH HELL NO.

What I really couldn’t tolerate was that I had said can’t.  For the few of you who have been to the gym with me, you know that word is like saying “Voldemort” to muggle-me (though there is still some possibility that my acceptance letter owl was hit by a car, I’m still holding out hope).  I learned long ago that can’t would never again be a part of my vocabulary.  I danced ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and whatever else I could fit in, with the same teacher for quite a few years and who drilled quite a few helpful life lessons in to my brain.

The first came about while the class was stretching: we’d put one leg up on the wall behind us, and do a standing split. Well, to be honest, my splits sucked.  I had no muscle, so I had “the shakes”, and had to stand up on that wall for 5 minutes while he pulled my foot towards my head.  Sort of hard to picture, but think of something pretzel-like.  At one point, I said the dreaded word and he pulled me up and said:

“No.  You CAN do anything, but if you won’t then that’s your head’s fault.  Don’t blame your body for something your mind is too lazy to do.”

 

It really stuck with me, and I am always happy to tell someone how dumb their mind is being about something:)  Today, it was my own mind that was being an idiot.  It was a pretty motivational moment for myself and the weighted bar I was holding, and I eventually returned to my normal height to bust out 1 and a half more sets!  The point is, don’t doubt yourself because if you don’t think you can do it, then why would anyone else?

 

Have a good Thirsty Thursday and drink of lots water!! I’m at 40 oz., share how much you’ve had today!

 

P.s. Words to Avoid (updated): Skinny, can’t

 

 

Thirsty Thursday and Squats!

Hope your Thirsty Thursday has been more successful than mine!  Work is still crazy so I’ve been trying to chug these little mini water bottles, but it’s hard to keep them on hand while I’m running around making sure everyone else is hydrated:)  So far I’m at 60oz, where are you?My 4:50am wake-up call was not very welcome, and around noon I needed coffee.  Not my favorite, but taking a nap at my desk isn’t really my boss’s favorite so I had no choice!

Week 5’s workouts are pretty fun, but I’ve really been pushing myself to lift heavier lately and it’s making me so tired!  I’m always a stickler for form (I’ll redo a whole set if I think that my form was off), but lately I’ve been extra cautious to keep my back straight or fully extend my arms because I don’t want my hard work to result in injury.  Or worse, lack of progress! Gasp!

I’ve found that there is one, extremely important, exercise that people have the most difficulty with.

THE SQUAT.

I love squats.  Squats, squats, squats, squats, squats, everyyyybodyyyy!  Squats are definitely my favorite exercise, and it’s taken me a long time to be able to do them correctly.  I love how they are also an incredible core exercise (compound ftw!), and they make me feel strong, the many different variations, the cardio-squats, everything! I even love how sore they make me! I’ve also attempted (and succeeded in some cases) to teach some of my friends how to do a squat correctly.  Well what I should have been doing is showing them THIS video!

This little exercise (pushing a medicine ball out while you squat) is great because it helps you overcome that hardest part of the squat: letting your hips go back.  I’ve had this described to me in many ways-you’re sitting down, you’re mooning someone, you’re making a table top with your quads-they are all great analogies, but it’s hard to put all of the different motions together.

  1.  Keep your back straight! This doesn’t mean it has to be perpendicular to the ground, but it shouldn’t be curved or rounded.
  2. Don’t let your knees go past your toes.  This is possibly the trickiest part because we want to go as low as possible, but it’s difficult to allow your hips to move back far enough to go low.
  3. Keep your knees in line with your toes.  So when your knees bend, then should move in the same direction that your toes are pointing.
  4. Chin up! It’s never a good idea to look straight at the ground when doing a squat, but don’t overextend your neck either.  Keep your neck and shoulders loose while you let your core and lower body do the work!
  5. The ultimate goal is to be able to squat all the way down and lift yourself back up, with perfect form of course:) It’s a lot harder than it seems, especially with a barbell across your shoulders!

 

 

Amanda Latona-She is a prime example of the miracle of squats!

I hope this little intro in to squats helps those who are intimidated by the gym!  The squat rack is your friend, and don’t be afraid to jump on the leg press to ease yourself in:)

My Take On Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer

Monday. Eh.

Today started off pretty well; I woke up at 5am to go to the gym, but because of a storm it was still pretty dark outside.  Do you know how easy it is to convince yourself that a zombie apocalypse had occurred and you’re the only human left on earth?!  So the dark and creepy walk was no fun, but I did get in an awesome workout and I’m really feeling it right now.  Every single muscle in my body burns!  Anyone get in a good workout yet today?

Anyways, I’ve had a few people come to me saying that they’d like to start Jamie Eason’s program and I want to give my thoughts on it.

LiveFit is AMAZING.  Not only is Jamie Eason just wonderful (I’m a little obsessed with how cute she is), but I think that it is a perfect starting point for those who want to get serious about taking control of their body, as long as you stick to the plan strictly.  Don’t just half-a$$ do it because you don’t want to change your eating habits or exercise routine.  It’s a FREE 12-week program that outlines your daily meal plan, workouts, and supplements.  That being said, it is not a diet plan.  It’s called LiveFit because it is a lifestyle that you continue to maintain even after the 12 weeks.  While it is probably going to be a change for those who decide to do it, it is also relatively easy to make most of the transitions.

For example, everyone seems to be stuck on the “no cardio” part of the first month.  No, it’s not a typo, do not do cardio during phase 1! Jamie goes in to detail about this and explains that doing cardio (especially before a workout, like I used to do) will not only burn the muscle that you do have, but will also deplete your energy.  If you think about it, it does make a lot of sense.  If you run excessively every day and then lift weights moderately after, then maybe (BIG maybe) you’ll lose some weight, but what do you expect to be underneath that fat?  Nothing if you don’t lift!  Cardio will come later in the program after you’ve built up some muscle, don’t worry:)

I also get the impression that some of you may not be interested in the meal plan aspect of this program.  Well then don’t even waste your time with the workouts. If you are planning on working your body to the ground at the gym and then not fueling it properly, then email me so I can set you straight!  It’s not that this is a super intense, all or nothing, take it or leave it, bodybuilding program, I just want to see you succeed and be the best version of yourself!

When I finally got to Phase 3 of the program, I found it extremely difficult to maintain the workouts and meal plans.  It requires almost two hours of gym time including cardio and the carb cycling (eating more carbs on some days, less on others) made me feel tired and I became less motivated for the long workouts.  I, personally, don’t plan to do phase 3 again, but would be happy to repeat phases 1& 2.  However, I did complete the entire trainer because it’s really important to me finish what I’ve started:)

If you’re all set and ready to go, you’ve got your food prepped, your supplements in your shaker, and workouts written down then I just want to say good luck!!  I hope that you decide to make a change for the better and lead a healthier lifestyle with Jamie’s help!