Tag Archives: 28 Day Fitness Challenge

My Lazy Woman’s Diet

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So, some of you have embarked upon the Hairscapades 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge. And among a variety of goals, one of the most common is to lose excess pounds to improve health issues, energy, and/or self-esteem. As you may know, that is partly what motivated my 28 turned 365 Days of Fitness challenge almost a year ago. I started at 148.5 pounds (I’m 5’1″) with a goal to get back down to my preferred weight of 120 pounds and ultimately, I did reach my goal. So, I often get asked, “Did you have to change your diet?”

Ummm. YES!! LOL!

I have never been a person who lost weight with only diet or exercise. I have to do both. There is no way around it, in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Simple. Truth. You can work out 4 hours a day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as you burn, your weight will remain the same. I can’t tell you how many people I saw in the gym REGULARLY who always looked the same … overweight. And I’m not talking about the folks who only seemed to go to the gym to socialize. I’m talking about the people really breaking a sweat who looked the same year … after year … after year.

So, I’m telling you this now. You can get stronger, you can build more muscle, you can improve your endurance, and you can improve your health with exercise alone. But 80-90% of weight loss is diet. You will not lose weight if you don’t know/understand how much you are eating and how much you are burning. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to look at your diet and figure out how to eat enough to fuel yourself while still creating a calorie deficit. Also, you can’t tone fat and muscle is already toned. So, if you are looking to get tighter, leaner, lose the jiggle or the spare tire … you HAVE to increase muscle mass and lose fat weight.

All that being said, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. But, what I will do is share a very simple food fact and then what works for me.

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THE SIMPLE FOOD FACT

FOOD IS COMPRISED OF THREE SOURCES OF CALORIES ONLY! THREE.

  • FAT (9 cals per gram)
  • CARBOHYDRATES (4 cals per gram)
  • PROTEIN (4 cals per gram

That’s it. There’s nothing else. Most people can readily identify protein and know the difference between lean and fatty cuts. And we know whole fruits and vegetables are mostly low calorie and the good for us carbs (fresh or frozen). So, if it’s not protein or fruits and veggies, it’s fat or carbs and often both (and dairy has all three). Reduce the fats and non-fruit and vegetable carbs and you’ll probably lose weight. Because, seriously, I don’t know anyone who binges on grilled, skinless chicken breast, broccoli, or apples. LOL!! And, even if they did, the damage would probably be minimal to none. Oh, and don’t think I’m saying fruit and veggies are the only good carbs. I co-sign on whole oat oatmeal, rice (particularly brown), white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (my faves).

Okay, so that’s my spiel on that.

Now, on to my diet when I want to lose weight. As some of you may know, I am not a fan of cooking and rely heavily on Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch and dinner when I am “counting calories.” Because of that, I’ve coined my diet, “The Lazy Woman’s Diet” aka “Cooking? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” LMBO!! That being said, this is what it typically looks like

MY LAZY WOMAN’S DIET

  • Breakfast:
    • Green smoothie (1-2 c. kale or spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of frozen sliced strawberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 scoop Vanilla Bean or Strawberry Mousse Nectar Whey Protein Powder), or
    • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked Grapenuts with 1/2 cup blueberries (Dole frozen/thawed) and 1/2 c. plain almond milk
    • A cup of instant coffee w/2 packs of Truvia, 1 tsp Agave and a little powdered skim milk.
  • Snack:
    • Fage yogurt (fruit variety/2% or 0% fat)
    • 9-10 almonds or handful of walnuts (occasionally)
  • Lunch:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish with rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta)
    • 1/2 to 1 c. added frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, sugar snap snow peas, mixed veggies)
    • Piece of fruit
  • Snack: Organic baby food
  • Dinner:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish w/rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) w/added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas)
    • A piece of fruit (occasionally)
  • Post work-out: Nectar Whey Protein Shake (w/banana if after yoga) (I only do this if a regular meal doesn’t immediately follow my work-out)

LCRewardsMy bucket of un-entered Lean Cuisine Rewards Codes. Told ya.

If you are concerned about the amount of sodium in my “diet plan” due to the frozen meals, check out this post I did earlier last year about Sodium and Weight Loss.

So that’s it. Wait. No it’s not. One tip that I would give on “dieting” is to not worry about the amount of calories when you start watching what you eat. Think about the QUALITY of the calories instead. Rather than jumping into reducing your calories to 1200-1500 or whatever, just get rid of food that has little to no nutritional value, ESPECIALLY calories that you can’t chew (except green smoothies ;)). Seriously, soda, juice, milk shakes, lattes, etc. … squash them. Replace those empty calories with nutritious ones so that you don’t feel like gnawing off your arm by noon!! Fruits, veggies, low fat/sugar yogurt, whole grain crackers, granola, nuts, brown rice, low fat popcorn, etc. are all options. Get your body adjusted to eating a healthier type of calories. Then, you may find that you are naturally able to reduce your calories because you won’t find yourself overeating whole, healthier foods. And, because you are eating every few hours, you’ll reduce cravings and be able to start cutting back on calories without losing your mind.

WAIT!!

(Who remembers Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures? ;))

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS!! At least, that’s what I believe. As I said the other day on FB, some healthy foods taste great, but I don’t care what anyone says, nothing makes my toes wiggle like buttercream icing!! LOL!! That being said, I believe that we can indulge in our favorite bad foods every now again and still lose weight. It might take a little longer, but it’ll happen. So, enjoy your life along the way ;)! Because this is the thing. You can’t go back to eating the way you did before you lost the weight and expect to keep it off. Therefore, it’s important to learn to eat in a way that you can sustain a lifetime.

Aaaaaaaaand … I’m done!!

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If you have struggled with weight loss, what are the challenges you’ve faced? If you’ve overcome them, what did you do to make a “diet” work for you?

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Ready, Set … GO!!

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Hey ladies!! Just coming on here really quickly to OFFICIALLY kick-off our 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge and to let you know that I created an Event Page of Facebook!! So now you can join the “event,” share updates, progress, pics, workouts, information, links, words of encouragement, inspirational stories, etc. with your co-participants all in one place!! Just click the pic above to go to the page!!

LET’S GET IT!!!

365 Days of Fitness on a Honeymoon

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As many of you know, I have been doing a personal fitness challenge to work out a minimum of 10 minutes every day for 365 Days. Well, those 365 days included my wedding day and 10 day honeymoon from 12/12-12/21/13. And, I am VERY happy to report that I did not miss one day of working out during my honeymoon and am up to day 315 as of yesterday (still have to get in my 10 minutes today). I didn’t post my workouts daily on Instagram as our internet time was limited. But, I did post my workouts on IG, Facebook, and Twitter periodically. So now, just wanted to share those updates here for those who only follow Hairscapades on the blog :).

First things first though. If you remember, one of the reasons that I started a 28 Day Fitness Challenge back on February 18, 2012 was because I said that I refused to get married fat! LOL! Well, I’m happy to say that on December 11, 2013, Day 296, one day prior to my wedding, I achieved my goal weight of 120 pounds!!

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Day289Day 43 v. Day 289

I was so psyched because that was the weight I wanted to achieve for my wedding day and gown!

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Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. As I type this, my chocolate, cookie, cake, and assortment of other high calorie food honeymooning/holiday eating butt weighed in at 128.5 pounds this morning. I’ve also ONLY been doing 10 minute work-outs since I got back from the honeymoon!! BUT, I’m gonna get the eating back together now that the holidays are over and I’ll get back to longer cardio sessions and strength training.

Anywho, back to 365 Days of Fitness on a Honeymoon …

Now, you may think that it would be very challenging to continue working out daily on a honeymoon and a cruise ship. However, I looked at it this way. There is less of an excuse to not work out on vacation then there is when you are working 8+ hour days and doing all of the work required to maintain a household. I mean, shoot. You’re resting and relaxing on a vacation!! You don’t have to go to work. You don’t have to cook. You don’t have to clean. People are doing those things for you!! So, ten minutes of exercise a day is nothing and TOTALLY doable!! #noexuses

So, I knew all along that I would at least do that and brought several DVDs with me to ensure that I could exercise in our room if all else failed. But, awesomely enough, the gym was 2 short flights of stairs immediately above my deck!!

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And, I felt so great from the extra calories (I was restricting to achieve my goal weight, but now all bets were off ;)), I was killing it with the workouts on most days!! That being said, here is a recap of Days 1-10 of my honeymoon and Days 297-306 of 365 Days of Fitness!

Day 1/297 (Wedding Day at 9:50 pm): Treadmill 3.8 mph (12 min)

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How I really felt.

20131212_220819Can you say TIRED? #howthemightyhavefallen LOL!!

Day 2/298: Treadmill run @ 1% incline (10 min @ 5, 10 min @ 5.2, 10 min @ 5.5, 10 min @ 5.7 mph) 5 min warm-up, 5 min @ 3.8 mph, 5 min cool down (55 min total).

Day 3/299: Stationary bike (35 min); 3×12 captain’s chair bent knee leg raises; 3×12 weighted ab crunches; 30 reps side crunches on Swiss ball (R and L); 15 reps crunches on Swiss ball; 5 sets of 16 rep kettlebell swing variations.

Day 4/300: Yoga (55 min) (They offered yoga classes 3 days of the trip for $12 each! I took advantage of it twice) + about 30 minutes of ice skating!

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Day 5/301: Treadmill run 5.7 mph for 20 min and 6 mph for 5 min (accidentally hit emergency stop after warm-up) (36 min)

365onHoneymoon6“Where’s Weusi?” Also was a milestone day for 365 Days of the Word :).

Day 6/302: Stationary bike (25 min in am) + stretching session w/some arm balance and inversion practice (40 min in pm).

Day 7/303: Zip Lining with a 10 min downhill walk + Abs of Steel (10 min), because Wei said the walking for the zip line didn’t count! 😛 LOL!!

Day 8/304: Treadmill run @ 1% incline (10 min @ 5.2 mph, 10 min @ 5.5 mph, 5 min @ 5.7 mph, 5 min @ 6 mph, 5 min at 6.3 mph, 10 min at 3.8 mph w/progressive incline 2-8% grade) 5 min warm-up & cool down (60 min total)

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Day 9/Day 305: Yoga (50 min)

Day 10/Day 306: The Biggest Loser Cardio Max Week 3-4 program (40 min)

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So, that’s 365 Days of Fitness on a honeymoon!! Not bad, right? Soooo … I was thinking of posting a 28 Day/10 Minutes a Day Challenge for 2014 for you guys! I think 365 Days is a lot to bite off at first and could discourage some from even giving it a try. But, 28 Days, the way I started, is a great entree and I could post some tips. I would be doing it at the same time, of course, as my 365 Days doesn’t end until February 17th. And, I was thinking of starting the 28 Days (4 weeks) on Sunday, January 5th. So waddaya think?

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WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN A 28 DAY/10 MINUTES A DAY FITNESS CHALLENGE FROM JANUARY 5TH TO FEBRUARY 1ST 2014? 

365 Days of Fitness

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As many of you may know, I started a personal fitness challenge back in February. I was the heaviest I had been in my life, wasn’t fitting the vast majority of my clothes, eating horribly, inactive, tired, and pretty miserable. So, I needed a major jump start to get back into a regular exercise routine, which always gets me on track with my diet, in order to lose the excess weight that had put me over a healthy BMI. But, I also knew I needed something to do something that would push me past that 2-3 mark where it’s easy to fall off the wagon again.

So, I set a goal for myself to exercise just 10 minutes a day for 28 consecutive days.

“10 minutes. That’s it?” That’s right. 10 measly minutes. I thought, “How can I make an excuse to not take 10 minutes in a 24 hour day to exercise?”  So I knew that, with such a minimal commitment, I should be able to get back into a regular exercise routine. I also knew that, instead of trying to workout after work, when I was mentally and physically exhausted (i.e. full of excuses and unmotivated), I had to start working out in the morning. That way, I would capitalize on the motivation that was always there when I woke up (“Today is the day! I’m working out today!!”), but always inevitably waned over the course of the day (“I’m so tired. Tomorrow. I’ll start tomorrow.”).

And now …

I T ‘ S    1 0 0    D A Y S    L A T E R!!!

That’s right. As of today, I have worked out a minimum of 10 minutes every day for 100 days in a row. I incorporate a variety of exercises (e.g. running, walking, HIIT, kettlebell, stretching, abdominal work, hot yoga, calisthenics, aerobics) and exercise about 30 minutes most days of the week. And, I’ve lost 19.5 pounds, completed a 9 week C25K training program, competed in my first 5K, and achieved new poses in hot yoga. So, about a week or so ago, I decided I was going to keep going. “Why stop at 100 days?” I thought. I still have another 9.5 pounds that I want to lose to reach my goal weight of 120 and am signed up for the Warrior’s Dash (a 5K obstacle course) on August 3rd. But, more importantly, I have been on a roller coaster with exercise, diet and my weight for the last 10 years and I need to break the cycle. From the age of 19-30/31, I worked out consistently and maintained a weight between 120-130. However, over the subsequent 10 years, I got into this pattern of 6 months on, 6 months off, which progressed in the last couple of years to 6 months on, 1 year or more off and higher and higher numbers on the scale :(.

So, this 365 Days of Fitness Challenge is to break that cycle. It’s to TRULY get back on the path wellness and consistently taking care of myself. I’m not a young chickie anymore and this yo-yoing is detrimental to my health and I know it. This is about far more than how I look (though that’s definitely a big bonus ;). It’s about how I feel and the quality of life I want for me and Wei as we continue to grow older. I believe in moderation in most things. So, I’m trying to eat and exercise in a way that I can sustain in the long-term, rather than in a way that exhausts me, makes me dread working out or restricts what I eat so much that I ca’t indulge every now and again.

PB_oreo_browniesOh yeah. I made these last week. Ate one. It was gooood.

That being said, this 365 Day Challenge is something that I am doing for myself. It is my own personal goal. It started one day, 10 minutes, at a time and it will continue that way. So, sorry … you’re going to be stuck with these health and fitness posts/updates for a while ;). And, I am not saying that anyone has to do this with me (though you are welcome to join me if you want ;)). But, if you have been looking for a way to “get back in the game,” why not set a goal for yourself, join a challenge, do something to hold yourself (or get others to hold you ;)) accountable?!? All it takes is a few minutes a day … one day at a time. You’ve got nothing to lose (except maybe some excess weight ;)) and everything to gain!!

#FITFORLIFE

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Have you been on a roller coaster with your health/fitness/weight? How did/are you break(ing) the cycle?

Progress and Stepping It Up!

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Okay, sorry. Another fitness post. I know. Promise, there will be a hair one soon. But, I just had to share my progress!! So, hope that you don’t mind!! I’m down to about 130/131 pounds (varies when I step on the scale ;)) from my starting point of 148.5 back on 2/18/13!! And, my dedication and consistency  (can’t even call it hard work as I’ve exercised a LOT harder in the past – 2 hours a day 5-6 days a week + 100% clean eating) are really paying off!!

weigh-in (5-12-13)Got off, got back on and it said 131.5. Go figure.

Now, I will say this, I lose weight on my upper body far more quickly than my lower body. So, the last 10 or so pounds that I want to lose is mostly on my lower half and I pulled out the big guns last week to help me lose it!

1. Pre-workout breakfast smoothie (see this article on the importance of fueling up before a work out).

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I had not been eating before my morning workouts. I would just have a cup of coffee and hit the basement with my water bottle. I have always hated the feeling of a full stomach when working out and didn’t feel I had the time needed to allow a breakfast to digest properly before working out (30-60 minutes). However, given that I’d begun running for longer periods and wanted to improve my performance all around, I knew I needed to start fueling up. Enter the quick digesting, pre-workout breakfast green smoothie!! I knew I wanted oatmeal in my smoothie, so I did some research and cobbled together the following recipe from a few that I found online.

Pre-workout Breakfast Green Smoothie

1 c. fresh spinach, kale or collard greens (omega 3s/magnesium)
1/2 frozen banana (simple carb/potassium)
1/4 c. frozen strawberries (simple carb/potassium)
1/4 cup ground oatmeal (the NutriBullet mill does this in SECONDS!!) (complex carb/fiber/magnesium)
1 scoop Nectar Vanilla Bean Torte OR Strawberry Mousse protein Powder
3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c. water

2. My new NordicTrack C700 treadmill (3 week nightmare that it was to get it :().

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3. My Delfin Spa Bio-Ceramic Anti-Cellulite shorts (I have 3 pair).

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They beat the Zaggora in my opinion as you don’t feel the sweat until you remove them.
With Zaggora, the sweat drips out of the legs as you work out! Ewwwwww!!!

4. Green Coffee Bean Extract (purchased a LivingSocial deal after watching a Dr. Oz segment on its effectiveness).

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To see the Dr. Oz segment, click here. There are 5 clips total, but the last 4 are very short.

I know the first two things will work, as they are tried and true for me. But, the coffee bean extract is the unknown. I first learned about green coffee bean extract back in November and ordered some online. But, within seconds of placing my order, I realized that I may have been scammed. The source was an unauthorized Dr. Oz Facebook page and there were some forced internet pages, so I cancelled my order AND my credit card. Then, I did more research and found that green coffee bean extract is legit, that Dr. Oz doesn’t endorse any particular brand, but he does provide strict guidelines for buying an authentic product (part 5 of video series): 1. Must be pure (zero fillers, zero binders, zero artificial ingredients) √, 2. Must contain at least 45% chlorogenic acids √, 3. Must say Svetol® or GCA √.  He also indicated that the capsules can range in size from 200 to 800 mg, which is fine. Anywho, the studies and his experiment showed that this product enables people to lose up to 2 pounds a week without changing anything in their diet or exercise routine!!

So, when I saw the LivingSocial deal for The Official GreenCoffeeBean Extract brand ($29 for a 3 month supply) and checked out the site to validate the “must haves,” I decided to try again. The pills arrived last Friday and I started taking them that very night. Since Saturday, I have taken them twice a day, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner. The pills have less caffeine than 1/2 a cup of coffee and, so far, I haven’t experienced any jitters, sleeplessness or side effects. I’m hoping that with continued daily workouts and eating cleanly, I’ll see some great results over the next few weeks and will be able to show you some lean and mean legs too ;)! You know that I’ll keep you guys posted!!

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What big guns do you pull out of your arsenal when trying to lose those last 10 lbs?

I Did That!!

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Last week was marked with achievement for me as it relates to my ongoing personal fitness goals!! It began the Sunday before last when I was able to do side crow for the first time ever in hot yoga!!!

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“OMGosh! OMGosh! I can’t believe I’m doing this!!”

And, I didn’t do it just once; I did it THREE times!!! I was able to do it on both sides during practice and then my bestie/yoga buddy take this pic of me doing it again after class ended!! Okay … so, I haven’t been able to do it since … but, I now know that I can do it and can do it again!! I also tried scorpion (assisted against the wall and with my arms strapped around my elbows) for the first time! And, it was pretty good for a first try!! Woot Woot!!

So, at the end of yoga, my bestie tells me about this Superhero 5K in Morristown the following Saturday. She knew I finished C25K (she was 5 weeks in and we were talking about signing up for the Morristown Warriors Dash). She is also well aware of my love of comics/cartoons and knew this would be right up my alley. How fitting would it be that my first 5K in life be superhero themed?!?! So, when I got home, I looked it up and saw that the 5K was not only fun, but to raise money to bring clean water to Africa and Central America. Superhero-themed and for a good cause? Sign me up and call me Batman!!

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Oh! How could I forget?! Part of the reason this came up was because of a belated birthday gift from my buddy Fernando! Batsocks!!

And so, this past Saturday, I ran my first ever 5K!! And, I did not walk once!!

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Let me tell you, those hills are a b@#$!! LOL!! But, I am very pleased to say that I ran it in 34:40.92 minutes, which was an  11:09 mph pace! So, this is right about on par with the 5.5 mph pace I’ve been running on the treadmill! And, I was came in 114th place out of 498 women!!! Woot Woot squared!! LOL! My goal is to be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes or less … but one day at a time :).

So yeah … great week for me personal fitness challenge wise :)! And, as of yesterday, I’m 3 months/84 days into this working out for at least 10 minutes every day!! When I started this, I was just trying to get past the 3 week hurdle. I am totally ecstatic that I’ve come this far and don’t see myself stopping now!

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Have you recently accomplished a health and/or fitness goal? Dish!!

May 2013 Photo A Day #CurlyAndFit Challenge by Lexi With The Curls!

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As most of you know, I’ve been on a fitness journey since February (2/18/13 to be exact). It started with a personal 28 Day Health & Fitness Challenge, where I committed to working out a minimum of 10 minutes every day for 28 days in a row.  Today was day 74. WOOT WOOT!! LOL! In that time, I also completed the 9 week C25K program and have continued running with plans to start the 6 week 10K program next week. I started my personal challenge weighing in at … 148.5 pounds *shudder.* At 5’1″, that was WAY over a healthy BMI. I was very uncomfortable in my own skin, was busting my “fat” clothes at the seam, was experiencing skin and hair issues, and was very unhappy with myself and how I let myself go.

As of today, I have lost 15.5 pounds and feel soooo much better as I’ve taken care of a lot of things that had gotten out of control. So, in order to continue to stay motivated and consistent so that I can drop the additional 13 pounds that I want to lose, I joined another Instagram Photo A Day Challenge!! This time, it’s a Fitness Challenge for May. And, I gotta say, I’m kinda psyched (hence, why I’m sharing ;))!! I’ll continue my personal challenge to work out a minimum of 10 minutes a day, every day, but I’ll participate in the Photo Challenge concurrently. It’ll be nice to do this with others and to follow their progress as well! Plus, there are some pretty awesome prizes involved!!

Anywho, the challenge started yesterday. I just joined today, but am now up to date with my Day 1 and Day 2 photos! Check it out … ummm … but don’t look too closely at those body shots!!

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Ughh … You ever feel like you look so much heavier in pictures than you look in the mirror?!

Day 1: Starting Point + Goals

Starting Point: 133 lbs
Goals: 1. Lose another 5-8 lbs by the end of the month.
2. Continue to work out every day.
3. Continue running by starting 10K training.

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Day 2: Sweat 

So, if you’re interested in joining the challenge and want to learn more, head on over to LexiWiththeCurls.com and check out the details here. And, don’t forget check me out @Hairscapades on Instagram if you want to see daily updates!! Check out #CurlyAndFit to see ALL of the challenge photos to get inspired and motivated (if you need it ;))!!

Let’s get it ladies! 

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So, you know I gotta ask … who else is with me?!?!

Oh, and if you’re joining, post your IG handle in the comments!
(Don’t forget, if your profile is private, we can’t see or comment on your photos!)