Feeling Fashionable & Fit

Having spent most of my time the last thirteen years hiding behind oversized clothes, living in gym clothes and now basic black at Macy’s a couple of days a week, having the opportunity to dress-up and go out the last several weeks has been so much fun!  Granted almost all of the occasions have been related to graduation, but it was kind of nice to put on a little confidence, step out of my comfort zone into some high heels and while wearing fashionable yet still age & occasion appropriate attire.

All of this dressing up to go out is not a new concept to me, but it is one I left behind years ago when I put on all my weight.  It’s a real struggle to not see the old me in the mirror and look at all the positive changes that have occurred in this life!

 I've come a long way..... a very long way.
The old me not so long ago. I’ve come a long way….. a very long way.

Finding the right outfit to wear is often a challenge for any of us, but accepting that challenge and stepping out of our comfort zone can be fun too! Slowly I am learning to see the new me in the mirror and trust my choices when it comes to dressing up.

You see, weight loss is more than a physical journey, it is also an emotional one. Sometimes it’s easy to reach those physical goals, but the emotional ones are a wee bit harder. I am chiseling away at those each and everyday!

c55a1fc87f474aa2c65c57b325b521ce

For the first time in a long time I felt completely confident in my choices and didn’t feel like I had to hide behind black or oversized clothes.

11351136_10153529521742868_2514276811963886631_n

The first event on our agenda of activities was Graduation Sunday at our church.  After a lovely service that focused on guiding our young people down the right path and creating a spiritual legacy while honoring all of the seniors, we enjoyed a fabulous BBQ luncheon.  For this special day I wore a dress by Michael Kors for Macy’s and a fun pair of strapy heels by Steve Madden.

seniorsunday

My girls were giving me a hard time over the purchase of such a trendy pair of shoes, but they completed this simple outfit and added just a bit of contrasting color to my very blue dress.  A simple strand of pearls and my outfit was complete.

Madden Girl

Graduation was our second big event out.  I wore an orange “shirt” dress by Sandra Darren for this evening out.  I loved the dress for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s thin so the harsh southern humidity & stickiness wasn’t amplified  by my attire.  Secondly, it’s loose, so at the end of the day when the swelling from my surgery is really bad, it’s not so obvious.

parents

The Southern humidity was very much an issue for my hair!

You can’t see them in the picture, but I wore a pair of black wedges with the dress as graduation was originally scheduled to be on the football field and we were going to be doing a lot of walking.

FrancoSarto

Our final event out was actually just a simple spring evening in the park.  While our teenagers were enjoying time with their cousins, Audley and I were enjoying a few moments for ourselves.  Falls Park in Greenville is an absolutely beautiful location for families as well as couples.  My sister snapped this picture for us because every picture we have lately is from the gym!

Date night in the gym....

Date night in the gym….

Up until very recently, this would have totally been an occasion in which I would have worn yoga pants and an over-sized shirt, so imagine my husbands delight when I climbed into his truck dress-up for our stroll in the park!

strollinthepark

This brown and black empire waisted sundress is from Soma Intimates.  They are the sister company of White House/Black Market and have a lovely and simple line of casual wear.  I wore a pair of brown sparkly flip-flops for walking through the park and accessorized with a pair of Jessica Simpson Sunglasses.

I tell you, it’s an awesome feeling stepping out of my comfort zone!

One of the best things about stepping out of that comfort zone was that I didn’t have to spend a fortune in order to look put-together for any of these events.  The Michael Kors dress was purchased at Macy’s using my employee discount, Macy money, & a really good coupon and cost about $30 (originally $140).  The Steve Madden shoes were found at DSW on the clearance rack for $15.00.  The orange shirt dress was about $25 on sale at Belk.   My Franco Sarto black wedges were a full-priced ($54.00) but worthwhile purchase as I can wear them with a multitude of outfits. My dress sundress from Soma was just $22.00 & the Jessica Simpson sunglasses were $12 from TJ Maxx.

I love the challenge of finding a good deal on my clothes, especially since I am still losing weight and hopefully won’t be wearing them long!

Dress-up or Dress-down?  Which do you prefer?

9BC920CC6823471E78F010232F661C22

Fit Friday: Power Up with Breakfast

Who out there is a meal skipper?

Oh I’m going there today, but don’t tune me out!

For most of my life I have battled weight issues which hit their peak just two years ago.  If you’ve followed me for a while you know I took the bull by the horns and took control of my life, my weight and most importantly, my health!

At my biggest and a more recent picture

At my biggest and a more recent picture

Now 105 pounds down (just 35 to go!!), Type II diabetes free, with lower cholesterol and blood pressure, I feel better at 42 than I did at 30!  It sounds crazy I know, but that’s the way it truly is!

In fact I’m feeling so much better that I am training for a triathalon in the coming year!

In this fit journey of mine, one thing I have learned is that while food was the more than half the reason I was so unhealthy, food was also 75% of the journey to better health.

WHAAAAT?!?!

I’ll post it again, Food is the solution.

I was the queen of skipping meals.  You know, give up the calories for breakfast, my stomach will shrink so I won’t eat so much later, yada, yada, yada……

usually that meant I tripled my calorie intake before the day was up, I had absolutely NO energy in the mornings which lead to me sleeping half the day away after the kiddos went to school and by nightfall I was absolutely starving and would binge eat even as late as midnight!

So, I had to learn to eat breakfast.

I felt like I was being force-fed at first, but now I cannot go a day without breakfast!

My go-to meal for breakfast is quick easy and honestly extremely flavorful.  It kicks my day off giving me the energy I need to focus on getting things accomplished and keeps me full until lunch time which means I am not grazing on junk from the cabinets.

Simple enough,  egg whites and oatmeal (while not the most attractive meal) is absolutely the best breakfast for fueling up your body for the day!

This one pan dish (that makes ONE serving) is five ingredients and can be altered in so many ways.

This one pan dish (that makes ONE serving) is five ingredients and can be altered in so many ways.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup McCanns Irish Oatmeal

1/2 cup water

4 egg whites (or 1/2 cup liquid whites)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (or fruit like peaches or berries if you aren’t a fan of chocolate)

1 Tablespoon Stevia

Whisk together all the ingredients and cook on medium-high heat 5 minutes until the oatmeal has a custard like texture.

Serve immediately.

That’s it.

Easy-Peasy.

Breakfast to keep you full  and fueled up throughout the morning.

proteinoatmeal

Sometimes, if I am going to be working out in the morning (I’m doing two-a-days three times a week) I add a little extra protein.  Instead of cocoa powder, I add a heaping scoop of protein powder to my oatmeal and an extra tablespoon or two of water.

proteinpowder

I like a scoop of this in a cup of coffee after a workout for recovery as well.

Besides keeping hunger at bay, why else should you eat breakfast in the morning?  Here are several really great reasons that I give my clients when they are just starting with me at the gym:

1.  Breakfast skipping has been linked to being overweight.  I know when I skip a meal, I’m generally going to overeat later in the day or graze more because all I can think about is food.  In fact, you may be so hungry by lunch it’s almost guaranteed that you will make poorer decisions regarding food options.

  2.  Protein is essential for developing and maintaining lean muscle.  Healthy lean muscle keeps us looking toned and will burn fat around the clock, even when we are at rest.  Another benefit of protein in the morning is it will help keep you feeling full longer.  Your body burns carbs (cereal) like sugar, so our body uses it up a whole lot faster, which is why you need to balance your carb with protein!

3.  If you skip breakfast, it’s possible that you could be going up to 12 hours or longer without any food. By this point, your muscles need more glycogen, for energy. The longer you go without eating, the more glycogen your muscles use, and the less energy you have. Skipping breakfast is seems to be common among those who have sedentary lifestyles, according to MayoClinic.com. To keep your energy level high, eat a healthy breakfast each day.

4.  When you’re hungry, not only do you feel the physical effects, such as stomach growling or aching, headaches or feeling weak, but it can have mental effects as well. Hunger affects your mood, concentration and alertness, which can slow you down when you’re trying to tackle your to-do list. Eating a healthy breakfast that combines whole grains, lean protein and sometimes a little fruit helps improve your concentration and focus, allowing you to stay productive through lunch.

5.   It sets a good example for your children or grandchildren.  Kids and adolescents especially need a healthy breakfast, according to the American Dietetic Association. Zipping through the drive-thru for a coffee and doughnut on the way to school does not set the right example. Sit down with the kiddos and have a scrambled egg and a whole grain waffle or piece of toast, and model healthy behaviors. Your kids will not only get on the path to a healthy lifestyle, but also have better concentration, coordination and problem-solving skills when they are at school, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Fitness Friday

What’s your favorite morning meal, and how does it generally affect your day?

9BC920CC6823471E78F010232F661C22

Fit Friday: The Flywheel Experience

So many times I’m asked what all I do for my workouts.  It’s been awhile since I put together a Fitness Friday post that I thought I would share one of my favorite workouts today: Spinning.

Fitness Friday

While I lost almost all of my weight with weight training and diet, I have found myself rather bored in the gym lately.  Variety is one thing that can make or break a fitness routine, so I decided it was time to change things up a little and add a bit of cardio.  What I have discovered is that hidden inside this woman is a cardio junkie looking for the next adventure!

But, let me clarify, I still love to lift & weight train, just not everyday now.

Repping out Curtsy Lunges for leg day

Repping out Curtsy Lunges for leg day

Spinning or indoor cycling as it is also known is an exercise class that focuses on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity, and recovery using a stationary bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting.

There are spin classes and studios popping up everywhere (including the gym where I work and train), but Flywheel Sports has become mine and the Mister’s destination for a good workout.  The Flywheel concept was originally from New York and a break off from the ever popular Soul Cycle studio.  Now Flywheel Sports can be found in many areas from Atlanta to LA, with a studio in Charlotte.  We love to spend time in Charlotte on the weekends so working out there is a welcome break from the gym where I spend so much of my time.

Audley and I took out first spin class back in June and have been hooked ever since!

You buy credits and book your classes online either through the web or an app downloaded to your phone.  When you book you class you can choose your bike, so if you want to be in the front of the class (not me!) you can.  You can also hide out in the back of the class as you learn the basics of this new adventure.

It’s really simple to do.

When you enter the Flywheel Studio, you check in on the computers in the foyer and pick up your shoes from the cubby that is also your bike number (the first time you register on Flywheel you will give them your shoes size).

There are four computers set up for you to check-in on and your shoes for the class will be in the cubb below.

There are four computers set up for you to check-in on and your shoes for the class will be in the cubby below.

Shoes for spinning are absolutely necessary as they latch onto the bike pedal and keep your foot from slipping off as you are spinning 100 mph!

Shoes for spinning are absolutely necessary as they latch onto the bike pedal and keep your foot from slipping off as you are spinning 100 mph!

The spin room is set up in an arena atmosphere with all of the bikes facing the front of mirrored lined walls.  There is a bike for the instructor set up as well as all of the equipment to control the awesome tunes that will motivate, pump and carry you through your workout.  After everyone is set up with their bike (they have plenty of help to get you going), the lights are dimmed which will definitely help get you  in the zone for the intense hour ahead.

Arena style spin studio

Arena style spin studio

Each bike is set up for you to control as well as keep progress throughout the class.

The blue torque knob increases or decreases the intensity of the ride as if you were going up and down hills.  To the lest is the panel that lets you know how you are doing.

The blue torque knob increases or decreases the intensity of the ride as if you were going up and down hills. To the lest is the panel that lets you know how you are doing.

I love the intensity (without stupidity) and challenge of the workout.  Each class is 45-60 minutes and the intensity begins the moment you first turn the pedal.  The music for each class is pick to match the rhythm of each hill, sprint and decline of the ride.  Recently Flywheel Charlotte was doing rides to mimic the stages of the Tour de France.

Talk about challenging!

Le Tour de Fly chalkboard

Le Tour de Fly chalkboard

Throughout the class, the instructor will tell you how to adjust your bike for the maximum ride and workout.  As a beginner, you can lag a little behind until you are ready to tackle the class head on.  No one judges you as they are too involved in their own workout.

If you are competitive with yourself or even with others, this type of class is perfect for you.  You can keep your stats to yourself or you can have them published on a torque-board in the room using your nickname and see how you compare to others in the room.  I haven’t reached that stage yet, but I love seeing my results improve after each session.

Dressing for spin is easy.  You want comfortable, but tighter fitting clothes.  You don’t want to catch your attire on the bike during a ride!  I usually stick to Nike dri-fit crop pants and a tank top.

Here’s what you get in each class: a certified and totally energetic instructor, super awesome music with a beat to get your heart pumping, a high intensity ride, a light arm and shoulder workout, the opportunity to burn 800-1000 calories in one class, and the satisfaction of accomplishing something that two years ago was impossible.

postworkout_edited-1

Flywheel is by far the sweatiest and most intense cardio workout I have ever been through.  If you do not like to sweat I wouldn’t recommend this for you at all, but if you are up for challenging yourself and competing with others this is the place for you!  It’s a blast to do alone or with a friend.

Check them out here for a location near you and get to spinning!

9BC920CC6823471E78F010232F661C22

Please Be Patient With Me!

Where to begin?
I’m really not sure, but with the lack of blogging going on here I have obviously been a little preoccupied.
As summer turned to fall (and it feels like winter here in South Carolina!), I also changed seasons.  
It actually began when I finished a professional certification class to earn my Personal Training cert.
Then I got a wild hair and traded in my mini-van. 
For the first time in fifteen years I am driving a cute little car.
And I love it.
But then came the biggest change of all.
I left my cozy world of being a stay-at-home-mom and for the first time in seventeen years, I am working full-time outside the home.
And I am loving my job as a personal trainer.
But in between work we have had our plates full with color guard, the end of swim season (& beginning of wrestling), a couple of weekend get-aways to watch NASCAR, a trip home for Homecoming at mine & Audley’s alma mater and Audley traveling five days a week for work.
Band Competition …. Top scores across the board!
Regional Swim meet
Off to the races at Talladega!
Homecoming … out with my best friend from high school
So now I am learning to balance work and home, single parenting during the week, traveling on the weekends, and finding time for me.
And poor Madeline with it being her off season for sports is my little tag-along.  She’s getting plenty of workouts in the gym during the week, though!
So I am asking you to please be patient as I get my act together and continue traveling through this new season of life!
I do have an apple butter recipe to share with you.

And before watching the guard perform at regionals in Atlanta on Saturday Momma & I are hitting up the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain.

And I have a super healthy and absolutely delicious bread recipe just perfect for autumn.

And believe it or not we are all decked out for Halloween here.
IF the swim banquet ends early tonight, I’ll have that apple butter recipe up tomorrow.  I’ve got it all made, I just have to tell you how to do it!
Have a fabulous Thursday!