A top ten list…

Netflix Y’all:

  1. Numb3rs: If you do not know what this show is, it is a crime show about two brothers who work together to solve crimes for the FBI. Why I love it? It is interesting, the characters are great, and it is a crime show with very minimal blood. Look, I work in a hospital and have no real desire to stare at blood and guts in my off time.
  2. Bob’s Burgers: This show might be one of the funniest things I ever watched. Each character is so relatable. Also it makes me feel so much better about being weird.
  3. The Black List: A newer show so only the first two seasons are on but well worth it. This is a little more blood and guts than the first show I mentioned. However, I believe it is done in a good way and not to be over the top. Very suspenseful.
  4. Supernatural: Sam and Dean. There is your reason to watch right there. This show is all about explaining the things that go bump in the night. Also, this is about as into scary movies or tv shows as I get.
  5. Wayne’s World: Okay this is my favorite movie of all time and be ready to listen to be quote it word for word if we watch it together.
  6. Futurama: Another cartoon style show but so funny. It is also a show that was canceled and was brought back which to me says a lot.
  7. Portlandia: I know, I know. Everyone is watching this show right? This is a show I like to watch over and over again and each time I catch something different. Plus again totally a show that encourages you to be weird!
  8. Raising Hope: This show was canceled too soon. Four seasons of great stories, amazing jokes, and the characters that totally steal your heart.
  9. The Addams Family: Again a movie I would say is at the top of my favorite movie list. Please watch it.
  10. Grace and Frankie: This is a Netflix original show. While the center of the show is two relationships going through divorce I can see a lot that applies to life in general. Having friends to support you, being there for your family, and learning that you are valuable on your own and any partner you may have should just add to you not make you.

What are your Netflix top 10? Anything you love and watch over and over? I am sure I could name more, let’s be real I know I could.

My next 30 days y’all

This isn’t a sales pitch.

This isn’t a program.

I am not a nutritionist, a certified trainer, a nurse, or doctor.

I am not pushing any specific shakes, pills, or plans.

What I am doing is taking control of the next 30 days on my own terms and in my own way. The first thing I had to do was log a few days of my eating habits and work outs. Once I did that I was able to look back and review my highs and lows along the way. What worked best and what were food triggers. So for me for the next 30 days I will be doing my own 30 day challenge. My goals are to lose weight, to consistently track my calories and food, and to plan ahead. I will get into the specifics and reasons in a minute. Right now I want to say that the best thing I can do for me is cut out Coke. Southerner plus the word Coke equals all carbonated drinks in case you don’t know.  Root beer and regular Coke were my go to drinks for sure. I do drink a lot of water but certainly I could drink more. My other big food triggers are cheat meals. The problem is if I am on track for a while I feel like I earned a cheat meal and when I decide that on the fly it is not always the best choice and that can make it easy for me to continue making bad choices until I am sick.

So for me these are my goals. I printed this out to put in my planner, where I look daily, to remind me what my goals are.

  1. Weekly Weigh In: I am choosing to weigh in two times once when I wake up at home and once as soon as I get to work. I like to weigh daily to stay focused. I know everyone has opinions on weighing daily, weighing monthly, or even not weighing in at all. I am not in a place I can safely avoid the scale in my opinion. I just work hard not to let the number rule me.
  2. Fitness: What works best for me are, goals and accountability. Pilates has been the most amazing work out and for me going with a friend makes it hard for me to flake out. Also, I made sure to get to know my regular instructor. I know that know if I missed to many days she would notice and I do not want to let her down, my friend down, and more importantly myself.
  3. Log Food and Calories: If you need a target calorie goal set one that is healthy and discuss with a professional. I personally have a goal daily and make sure to log my food to ensure I stick around my calorie goal. It also helps me see that some foods might be high in calories but lack any real nutritional value and makes me consider what I want to eat before I eat it.
  4. No coke: I was a person who six years ago would drink 5 or more cans of diet coke a day. I was having a lot of problems, vitamin deficient, and sick. I gave up all cokes and felt amazing but of course I fell off that wagon. Now I drink Root Beer or regular Coke and though I do not have 5 a day I still have that many in a week sometimes. I can tell it was making me feel off. I had headaches, my skin was dry, and my stomach was in knots. I am currently almost a week of all coke and feeling better. Not perfect but over the hump of the first few days missing that sugar.
  5. Cheat Meal: For me deciding on a cheat meal the day of makes me less likely to keep it together. So my plan now is one cheat meal a week, planned ahead of time, checked out ahead of time, and still log it in my food tracker. For some people they don’t want to know the calories but for me I don’t want one cheat meal to ruin a week of hard work but I also want the chance to enjoy food and live life. It is a fine balance and you have to do what works for you.

Today I am on day three of my challenge and starting to feel good. I think the first few days on any new plan are the hardest. For me right now what is best is to do this with the things that are going to be around me long term. It isn’t likely that I will always have access to specific shakes or programs. Those are great and do work for a lot of people but for me if I do not make the change mentally first all the programs in the world won’t make a difference.

I think the part we tend to forget is that we all have our own goals and reasons for getting healthy. Some people might be focused on shedding pounds, others might want to increase strength, and some people just want to feel better and whatever size they are. I believe it is possible to be healthy at almost any weight. If we do not get healthy mentally the big changes we make to lose weight rarely work out long term. Take time to figure out what you want, don’t rush into anything, and do your research. Not everyone is a runner, weight lifter, or yogi. Personally I am not a fan of organized dancing classes (unless they are in the water). I am not a good dancer, I feel uncomfortable, and my knees always suffer. But if it works for you do it! Make it something you want to do not some sort of punishment.

When it comes to food I always make big plans and huge meal preps and then hate eating the same thing day after day. So for me I need to plan three days at a time and then change it up. That works best for me but some people really enjoy eating the same lunch every day for a week. That is what is great, you can do what you like. Making small changes and focusing on using better quality ingredients and adding in more vegetables is a great place to start. Don’t go from fast food daily to a rigid meal plan if that is going to make it harder for you to focus on your goals. Start by cutting out one or two of your fast food meals a week and replace with something more nutritionally substantial. I had to start by cutting out coke a little at a time. It made it easier for me to let it go and it made the detox so much more bearable.

My goal is to stick to my 30 day goals and then take time to reassess and see what I need to do from that day forward. If I can get through this 30 days my next goal will be 60 days and see what I can do after that. Y’all that is what works for me! What works for you?

If you need an easy reminder print out the picture below and hang it somewhere you will check daily.

30 day challenge

Work it out y’all

So let’s face it, Colorado is healthy and fit. Where I was born and raised…well let’s just say Arkansas really focuses less on being healthy and more on finding the right gravy for your morning biscuit.

So how do you figure out your best work out in a place full of so many options? Try everything! One of my favorite ways to try places out is Groupon. I was able to get a pass for a small, local gym that had Zumba, Body Pump, and more. I paid $20 for 10 classes which is a great deal. Another great resource happened to be free. Since we are new to Colorado we are renting and apartment which means apartment gym. The gym is somewhat small and the machines are certainly not brand new, however it is there. I can think of many apartment gyms I just let sit unused when I could have done a lot more. Free weights, treadmills, and bikes give you many options.

For me Reformer Pilates has been an amazing work out. I feel like I found something I really enjoy and has helped me feel lean and strong. I found out about it through a local blog. That is another way to find out about great work out options. Search for local blog giveaways and see what you can find out.

Lastly, explore the local state parks. Here in Colorado not only are there many to choose from but they all have so many different things to offer. From hiking, to paddle boarding, bike trails, and even skiing and other summer or winter sports, I can’t imagine not finding something in your price range and something you would enjoy.

I know every state park has different options for getting outdoors and getting in some exercise so go check yours out.

A new Yoga studio (to me): CorePower

I went for a free teacher in training class over the weekend and was pretty surprised. While the class was taught by multiple teachers it had a great flow. The studio was clean, large enough for the group to comfortably spread out, and had mirrors on the wall we were facing which made focusing on form easier. I personally brought my own yoga mat, block, and water because that is my preference. However, if you needed those things they had them for your use. Yoga mats and blocks were free and towels were a $1 rental. The women’s locker room was as nice as any spa I have been to. Clean, well lit, showers were available if needed, and at the sink counters were really high quality products to help you out after a good work out. I also was really happy to see that lockers came with locks and keys for free! All you had to do was give them your car key to hold and you could get a lock. Which not everyone would want to do but I had no issue. Though next time I will bring my own lock because I do have one and might as well use it, right?

I would say if anything you need to make sure you are properly hydrated before yoga, dressed properly, and decide if you are open to correction from teachers. During the beginning of class, while we were focused on breathing and eyes closed, we were asked if we would accept corrections during class. That means if your form is off they could walk around and help you get things corrected. Since not everyone wants to be touched they give you that option so you do not feel uncomfortable. The few corrections I got were very kind and did not make my feel uncomfortable at all.

CorePower does your first week free and when they have teacher in training classes those are free. That is a really great way to give the studio a test drive without making a large financial commitment. Prices seem pretty standard for a yoga studio in my city. One class is $20, 5 classes are $95, and so on. They offer an unlimited plan for one month at $190 or three months at $450. For me it is more realistic to buy the 5, 10, or 20 class package deals because they have no expiration date. With the other fitness classes I take yoga would be more of a once a week or every other week option.

Have you tried yoga? Corepwer Yoga? What did you think? Pros/Cons?

Meal Prep Madness

For me having the same thing every day is not a good way to stay on plan. If you can, Great! Do it and stick to it. For me what works is having options. I plan my grocery list and meal plan for two weeks at a time. I make sure I do have my staples like apples, bananas, berries, greek yogurt, protein options, and vegetables that are in season. I plan five dinners for each week because I will have left overs and I know we will go out to dinner once on the weekend. I also plan a few different lunch options that are easy to throw together the night before.

Typically at night I get my breakfast and lunch together, get my gym clothes packed up, wash out any water bottle I am taking for the day, and lastly plan my work clothes. This means two things. One, that I can sleep in a little later in the morning and who doesn’t love that. Two that when I do get up and going it takes me less than 20 minutes to get dressed, gather my things, and walk out the door. For me that is what works.  The best thing you can do is figure out a routine for getting ready for the next day that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Here is a sample menu plan for one week:

Dinners-

Chicken baked in the oven, steamed vegetables, and baked red potatoes

Ground turkey tacos in lettuce wraps, homemade guacamole, cucumbers, and Quest protein chips

One pan dinner: Kale or spinach, red potatoes diced, tomatoes, onion, and ground turkey

Soup (low sodium chicken noodle or tomato from Trader Joe’s) and whole wheat grilled cheese

Steak, steamed broccoli, steamed green beans, and small green salad

Quinoa, chicken, and fresh veggies (typically cucumbers, carrots, and a little homemade sour cream ranch dip)

Lunches-

Homemade grown up lunchable: Sliced mozzarella, carrots, cucumbers, hummus, and Quest protein chips

Whole wheat turkey sandwich with provolone, fresh baby spinach, vegan mayo (because I like that best) and mustard with an apple

Homemade guacamole, Quest protein chips, turkey and cheese roll ups

Turkey pepperoni, sliced Colby jack, celery with pb, and a banana

Big salad with mix greens, sliced lunch meat, tomatoes, cucumber, and some purple cabbage

Snacks-

Fruit, Cheese Sticks, low or no salt mix nuts, protein bars or meal replacement bars, greek yogurt

Breakfast-(Typically I alternate between a few things)

Greek Yogurt with berries

Eggs and Bacon (I make this ahead of time and pre package)

Apple with peanut butter

Breakfast burrito with whole wheat tortilla (made at home, wrapped up, and frozen so I can just heat it up as needed)

Figure out what works for you. What do you enjoy? Can you make a large amount of food and portion it out for a few days? Do you need pre made meals?

Good luck y’all!

Product Reviews: A mix bag!

So instead of doing a few separate posts I wanted to do one product(s) review for all my recently tried out fitness products.

Clothing: Old Navy Active (Plus) I used to love Old Navy, I would searching through the clearance rack and check out every single thing that was in my size. Then for a while I just was not into the quality of the product. So, for about three years I kind of put them on my back burner. Recently though I was given some Old Navy gift cards and thought it would be a good way to shop and not spend my own money. Ha! I did not look at the clothing for work or casual but only the active wear clothing. I bought a couple of tops. They are muscle tee style (meaning sleeveless) but the part I loved was the high neck. Sounds weird right? In a normal tank top the neck line is scoop and for me a little low cut. Personally I am not at the gym to show off my goodies and while a normal t-shirt is nice it can get hot. These muscle tee’s are made from the wicking/active dry fabric, have a t-shirt style neck line, and have no sleeves. For me that is a win win!

WalMart- I get it. Not everyone wants to shop at WalMart. Growing up in Arkansas I thought nothing about running into WalMart for food, drinks, clothes, gifts, everything. But, in Colorado I have found mix reviews. So from this Arkansas girl here is my review. WalMart has some really sure cute workout clothes if you are anything UNDER plus size. If you are plus size it is hit or miss. I generally find the online shop to be better but that doesn’t mean I can’t find deals in store. Recently they had yoga pants for $9 that were Danskin brand. They had legging style yoga pants, Capri legging, Capri straight leg, and boot cut style yoga pants. They even had average and tall sizes! For $9 it is almost impossible to go wrong. The quality surprised me though. Well made, good stitching (important to check that out folks), and were active dry material. I got the straight leg capri yoga pants and love them. They are great for yoga, pilates, cardio, and just about all my gym time.

Food: Quest Protein chips. Yum y’all. Listen, carbs are my most favorite thing in the world. If I am going to over eat something then chances are it is carb based or even worse a chip or French fry. The Quest Protein chips come in multiple flavors including plain, salt and vinegar, BBQ, cheddar and sour cream, sour cream and onion, and I am sure I am missing something else. The thing is there are options. I can use the plain ones with guacamole or salsa, have others with a sandwich, or even use them as a great part of my before or after workout routine. They are crunchy, tasty, and can be bought as singles or in a box of multiples. At GNC they run approximately $17 for 8 or just over $2 for a single bag. Yes it isn’t cheap for chips, I get that. However in my case it is cheaper to spend money buying something like this than ten bags of regular chips. A serving is one bag and they are a decent size. For one serving you get 120 calories, 5grams of Carbs, 21grams of Protein, and 150grams of sodium. If you have looked at the back of a bag of ‘normal’ chips you would be hard pressed to find similar claims.

Water Bottles: Nalgene Bottles, Bubba Brand mugs, and Tervis Tumbler cups are my three go to brands. All of them, in my opinion, make a great product. I like BPA free plastic and while most of them I end up needing to hand wash instead of run through the dish washer, I would rather have a quality product I have to take care of than something cheap that ends up in the trash.

Accessories: Yes, I said accessories. I am a woman who has had long hair, short hair, every color, so may styles so making sure I can keep my hair out of my face has always been an issue. A long time ago I started wearing bandanas instead of expensive work out headbands. I can wear them in multiple styles, they are very affordable, and they come in any color and pattern you could possible want. I wash them as needed and they hold up really well. I have had a few name brand work out headbands that required hand washing and air drying and even with that they did not last long and stretched out fast. So while I might be willing to hand wash my water bottles because they last I am not going to hand wash headbands that wear out in a month. Another thing I really enjoy are my Sony around the ear headphones. For years the only headphones I liked were the Apple headphones, especially the new ones. They sat in my ear well, I could wear them during a workout, and they were pretty affordable. The thing is though they were tangled just about as soon as you took them out of the package and they were white for about a day before they got dingy. I thought after my last pair went out I would look for something different. I am super weird about my ears so I was not sure if I would like the around the ear style of headphones but the Sony pair I bought are adjustable and don’t make me feel like something is in my ear. They do not have any buttons on the cord, meaning sweat can’t ruin them. Even better they are $20 from Target! I have read a LOT of mix reviews about these headphones but for me they work. Sony has multiple options so I suggest checking them out.

What are some of the products you can’t live without?

Family Update y’all

Let’s just get right into it. If you are at the gym because you have a significant amount of LBS to lose then there are some things you should be doing.

  1. Get over yourself. Not to sound harsh at all, seriously. The first thing a lot of us do is look around the room and start to compare our bodies to the bodies around us. Everyone is at the gym for their own reasons and chances are they are more worried about themselves than they are checking you out. Not to say you would get some snobby folks who are quick to pass judgement. I just focus on my own gym plan for the day and shut out everyone else.
  2. Be prepared. I know we don’t all have a lot of money to buy the top of the line work out gear. That is ok! You can go to WalMart, Old Navy, and watch for sales at outlets. You need a good pair of shoes, a wicking pair of yoga or work out pants, a wicking shirt, a wicking sports bra, and I like to have a few white hand towels. I like the wicking fabrics because they draw moisture away from the skin and help keep me from breakouts and from feeling gross. The hand towels are great because personally I know how clean they are and if I want to wipe my face off or even hide the time section of my cardio machine I can do it. Also, keeping them all white means I can bleach as needed. Kmart, Walmart, and Sears all have affordable options for pedometers and even heart rate monitors.
  3. Take advantage of deals. Sign up for group on living social. Look around at gyms and clubs that offer discounted rates/free weeks. It can be a really good way to see if a place works for you (a gym should be a place where you can work and that works well for your needs). Taking up a yoga place on a free week is a great way to figure out what you are looking for. I am in a large city where things are far from cheap but I was able to get a Groupon for ten fitness classes at a local gym for $20.00. That was a massive savings and a great way for me to try a new place and a new style of exercise.
  4. Make sure you’re eating enough and eating what you need. I think before I started working out I never worried I was eating enough! Ha! But, when you are working out you need to make sure you are getting enough nutrients to sustain the work out and to make sure your body doesn’t go into survival mode. If you do not eat enough then your body will hold on to every bit of fuel because it fears you aren’t going to fuel it later. For me having snacks on hand has been a big help. I try and keep an apple, a meal replacement or protein bar, and a cheese stick or mix nuts with me. Planning ahead is the biggest key in your health and fitness journey.

Above all else you have to make sure you are prepared. Most days are not going to be easy, most days in the beginning you will want to skip out and go home for a nap, a lot of days you may think of any small excuse not to show up to get that work out in. Having my gym bag packed, my food prepared, and my water bottle with me are some of the best ways I have found to stay on track and reach my goals.