Workout Wednesday

Today we’re switching things up around here and I’m bringing you someone really special. She’s actually my weight loss twin. We’ve both lost 90 pounds! I told you some of my story yesterday, but one of my best friends is going to tell hers today. You see her beautiful face all over my Instagram and loving on my little boy. Now it’s time to hear her amazing work-in-progress and you can cheer her on as we both enter our next weight loss challenge together!

Meet “L”!

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My journey started when I found out I had diabetes at 23 years old. I was in denial for about 6 months and then decided to start “sort of” doing better—like drinking less sodas and adding more water. Well “sort of” didn’t work. I still couldn’t keep my sugar under control and I felt horrible, then something just clicked! I decided I needed to be the healthiest version of myself that I could be. I started eating right but I was NOT about to work out because I was not about that life or sweating.

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After losing my first 30 pounds, I hit a small plateau. I decided maybe I should add some light cardio AT HOME. I added some dance fitness from YouTube because I love to dance and used to be a dancer. This sure did kick start it again. I started losing more and adding more cardio because now I was just having fun! I wanted to add more and had done Zumba in the past with another teacher but never saw any results. I decided to give it another chance. I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a local Zumba class and everyone kept posting with this Wendy person. I was like well heck I’ll message this woman and see what she has to say. She gave me the times and prices and told me that she would be looking forward to myself and my mother coming to Zumba. Well the next Monday night I was there!

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Completely unsure what to expect from this class but totally satisfied. I started out on the back row, sweating my guts out, and completely confused by the choreo but I was determined to get it right!! One class lead to two and two classes lead to 30!! I slowly started moving to the front as I started learning the choreo and was able to keep up better. Where can y’all find me now? Right on the front row, shaking and grooving with the rest of them!

Shortly before starting Zumba, I also decided to add weight training. Now before you say I don’t want to be all muscular, I said that same thing. I am very lucky to work with a group of women that have taught me so much not only about exercise but how the human body works. They taught me that adding weight training and toning to my workout will help my metabolism and will make me leaner and firmer. I thought killing myself on the elliptical or treadmill for an hour at a time was the only way to lose weight and to look better. NOT!

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I started off in my living room (after my dance fitness) with 3 pound weights and I pinned beginner weight exercises (arm, legs, and abs) on Pinterest. I also added some body weight exercises like wall sits, planking, and squats. I started doing those twice a week. After I got my confidence up and strength I added more weight and decided to go to the gym. I started going to lift the free weights they had in there and I started researching more arm exercises that were a little harder. I started slow and worked up. When I could tell the weights were getting easier to push and lift, I added 5 more pounds. I was so intimidated by the machines that I didn’t even touch them. I was afraid I would kill myself or worse break one of the machines! One of my coworkers started going regularly with me and we started trying new exercises we had seen on Pinterest or on Instagram. It really was getting fun now! We decided instead of working our whole body three times a week that we would dedicate a day to each muscle group….for instances Mondays and Thursdays I do arms and back, on Tuesdays we do legs and butt, Wednesday we work on shoulders and abs, and Fridays are a free for all (whatever isn’t killing us from the week). I try to lay off of legs on Zumba days for obvious reasons (I ain’t tryin’ to die!!) We do all of this on our lunch breaks so we typically do 30 minutes of cardio, whether that be treadmill, elliptical, or bicycle, and then 30 minutes of weights.

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I lost over 10% body fat just within months. I can tell a difference in how I feel and how my clothes feel. Over the past two years, I have lost over 90 pounds!!!!! I have very little sagging skin from lifting weights and cardio. I also have managed to keep my sugar under control and have gone from taking 4 pills a day to taking one sometimes none depending on how my sugar is. I’m not saying any of it is easy but I can promise you it is totally worth it. I have more energy now than I did when I was 15. It’s amazing what exercise can do for you.

If you would like to leave a comment on this post to show “L” support, encouragement, and love please do! Feel free to also leave her questions below if you’d like to know more about her weight loss journey as well! 

 

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Transformation Tuesday

We haven’t really talked a lot about weight loss around here. I mean we kinda got off to the wrong foot. I started this pretty, little blog with intentions of talking about life and then everything just got flipped upside down. I’m more than ready to get back on track and talk about fun things.

My beautiful friends and I are kicking off a weight loss challenge next month and I’m leading a toning class before I teach Zumba® fitness. I want to start switching things up for myself and helping others reach their goals. I know the holidays are a difficult time to stay on track and I’m hoping we can help each other stay accountable.

I know many of you don’t know I was a weight loss blogger before I started this blog. Many of you don’t realize I’ve lost 90 pounds since my little boy turned two. I also have a lot of people who come to my Zumba® fitness classes thinking that I may have always been in shape. That is most definitely not the case!

I had to work hard to be where I am today. If you’re new and don’t know me, I’ll be happy to show you my before and now pictures. I’ve always struggled with my weight and when I got pregnant with my son, my weight spiraled out of control. I thought that I got a free pass to eat all I wanted because I was eating for two and that the pregnancy weight would just fall off when he was born. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

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I was left with this beautiful boy, but I was a hot mess. I felt depressed, I had weight related health problems, and I chose to ignore all of it. I threw all of my energy into parenting my precious child.

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I was living on the sidelines of our life together. I watched my husband and son play together and I photographed them. I hid behind a camera. I hid behind my son. I didn’t really have any friends because I stayed home with my family. Life was work and home.

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On my son’s second birthday I was tired of feeling sick and tired. I made small changes and let them become a habit. At first, I did not tell anyone. I didn’t want to lose a little and fail. I finally had noticeable changes and it became exciting! I went from wearing a size 16/18 to wearing a size 6/8. After the first 60 pounds, I stalled out and my church started a Zumba® fitness program. Shy me stood in the back corner and tried the very first class. I became instantly addicted.

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Over time I knew I wanted to teach classes, so I became licensed in Zumba® fitness and I actually started teaching at the very place I began taking classes. I absolutely love helping other ladies reach their fitness and weight loss goals.

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But I mostly love being able to not hide behind my little boy. I love being a part of his life instead of sitting on the sidelines of his life taking all of the pictures. I love teaching him how to do things instead of watching my husband do everything. I love having lots of friends instead of just being secluded and insecure in life. I love trying on clothes instead of wearing maternity clothes while I wasn’t even pregnant…

Am I finished?

No way! I have fitness goals now that I am cleared from surgery. I did not gain any weight during my recovery and now that I’m feeling better I want to set new goals.

If you stopped by for fitness or weight loss help today, what do you want to see? And if you don’t mind, take just a quick second to share this post with your friends so we can help others in their own fitness and weight loss journey. It’s easier to lose weight with a friend! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for extra ideas for weight loss help and healthy tips along the way.
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Motivation Monday… And Help With Your Weight Loss Goals!

Alright… Today is Monday and all good, successful eating plans/diets/healthy lifestyles begin on Monday, right?

Well they do for me because today is the day that my sweet husband hit the road with my stepkids and returned them to their other home after a 6 week summer visit. My eating has been….poor/unhealthy/ugly….Okay, it’s been tacos. I’ve eaten a lot of tacos. What?!? I teach Zumba® fitness and I don’t know all of the lyrics so my mind thinks it hears “tacos” sometimes and then I just get hungry.

You may be new here. Well, I’m actually new here too. But I’m not new to this whole healthy living thing. I’m not even new to this whole blogging thing either. You can read all about why I made the switch {HERE}. Once upon a time I lost over 90 pounds and I had a blast doing it. I have a heart that wants to help others lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off. That’s why I teach Zumba® fitness twice a week and why I write. I had to take a step back for a year when my health problems took over my life, you can read about that {HERE}, but I’ve realized that my life feels really empty when I’m not taking care of my body and when I’m not helping others reach their goals too. I’ve mostly kept the weight off, but my eating hasn’t been great. I can honestly tell because I feel run down and sluggish.

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I’ve decided to do a grain free, gluten free trial for health reasons. I figured since we’re going to jump into this thing together we might as well make it fun. I love my pasta and bread, so I am going to need some help sticking with this. What better way to kick this off than starting a DietBet? If you’ve never heard of them, it’s super simple. You have a month to lose 4% of your body weight. Everyone puts a certain amount into the pot and if you lose your 4% at the end you get your money back. If not everyone reaches their goal the extra is split between all of the winners. So you actually get to win money for losing weight!

My DietBet is only $35 to join. As long as you lose your 4%, you get that money right back. You can even win more money by playing! What else is included in that $35? I’m going to be supporting you, helping you, guiding you and showing you how to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ll be sharing tips and recipes as well in the group. I’m a busy wife and mom. I work full time and I teach Zumba® fitness twice a week. I know what it’s like to have a hectic life. I also know what it’s like to have health problems preventing you from losing weight as quickly as others. If you’re also one of those people, I want you to know there is hope and I can offer you support and guidance.

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Make this decision for yourself and your family. You won’t regret any effort put into a healthier lifestyle!

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If you’re ready to sign up for my DietBet beginning next week, just click {HERE}. I’m going to share my meals, progress, and fitness plans as well so check back in. Don’t forget to follow me on all of my social media channels to keep up with our progress!

 

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Parmesan Tomatoes

I’ve got an easy recipe for you today. If you have extra tomatoes from your garden (or your sweet neighbors like I do), you can use them up easily in today’s recipe. The kids will love this one too because it reminds them of pizza.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Wash your tomatoes and pat dry. Slice them in half.

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Pour 1/2 teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on each tomato half. Sprinkle oregano on top.

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Add 1/8 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese to each tomato.
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Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy! My crew loved these tomatoes. My husband normally does not eat cooked tomatoes, but he loved these. My youngest commented that they tasted a lot like pizza.

It’s quick, easy and puts all of those extra tomatoes to good use!

If you don’t mind, take a moment to share this post on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest for me. I’d really appreciate you sharing it for me.

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Time Out Tuesday

This week has already been so much fun! I’ll slow down for just a moment to catch you up. Monday night’s Zumba® fitness class was one of my most favorite. The ladies suggested songs during the day and we threw together a great playlist. When I checked my calorie burn for the class, I was stunned. I haven’t seen anywhere close to this in a really long time! I was actually energized enough to keep going for a few more songs, but I’m pretty sure the rest of the group would have killed me.

 

Instead we went to the store to pick up kayaks for my stepkids! I ordered them a few weeks ago and they finally arrived before our vacation. I’m pretty sure these will get plenty of use this summer. Now everyone has their own to play around in.

Actually loading them into the truck and getting them home ourselves was the tricky part. We had zero help, we had one strap and two ropes. Not a fabulous combination, but we made it work.

Apparently we had a Peeping Tom at dinner one evening as well. This guy at the restaurant proceeded to peer over our shoulders during our meal the entire time so we snapped a selfie with him….several times until he stopped. We couldn’t stop laughing!

This is my favorite place to have lunch. My front porch is peaceful and quiet most of the time until all of my people follow me outside. I come out here to watch cars drive by and deer eat in the field. It’s one of my favorite places to drink coffee too.

I rescued a baby bird from the parking lot at work this weekend. He wasn’t doing well at all and I had no idea where his nest was. I tried my best to stick him in a nice, shady safe place but he had none of that. As soon as I sat him down, he followed me. We tried three different times and he would not stop hopping after me. So I took him home and we read about how to rescue a baby bird. In the process my six year old fell in love. It was a hard, fast, head over heels type of love. And within 24 hours the bird just didn’t survive and I was left with a heartbroken child who didn’t understand. He cried, drew pictures of the bird in Heaven, and then cried some more. My husband and I spent time hugging him, talking him through it and just trying to help him understand the trauma this bird had been through. The little boy who didn’t bat an eye at a dead chicken we’ve raised from a chick for months on Friday apparently lost it over a baby bird he’d known less than 24 hours. Children work in mysterious ways.

I work at a marina and our waters are beautiful this time of year. I am so fortunate to wake up and see this view every day. I must admit that it really doesn’t get old and I can always find the beauty in this place after spending 24 years around here.


This week is all about projects and getting things in order around our house. My to-do list is a mile long and I’m crossing things off. It just feels good to get the opportunity to do that. I’m fairly sure my list keeps growing though. Isn’t that the way it works?

Your Turn! 

  • What are you working on this week? 
  • How many calories are you burning in an hour? 
  • How are you tracking your calorie burn? 
  • Is your to-do list growing like mine???? 
  • Any kiddos getting emotional? 

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Motivation Monday

So I’m getting pumped up for the week. Coffee in hand, music going, and FitBit charged. All I need now is my Zumba® fitness class tonight and I’m all set. Monday mornings can sometimes be the best ’cause I see my favorite girls. Then sometimes they really drag out because all I want to do is get to class and see all of my buddies. All of my energy keys up and the struggle is real.

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Luckily I get to surround myself with music while I work. I have the strangest taste in music. It ranges from pop to country to Christian to rap to Latin based music. You name it, it’s in my playlist. Right now, these are running through my head and I cannot seem to get them out. But then again I really don’t want to.

This morning I woke up a little early and taught my 6 year old how to make scrambled eggs. I taught him how to crack an egg and how to check for shells. The first was a disaster, but the second was perfection. I realized I don’t want him to be the kid that eats cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t want him to grow into a teenager who doesn’t know how to cook for himself. We ate our breakfast together in silence this morning, just me and him and it was actually quite nice.

Mondays are always a time to start fresh. You have a chance to renew your goals and refocus for the week.

Now it’s time for you to share… 

  • What do you want to work on this week? 
  • What’s your favorite song in your playlist right now? 
  • What did you eat for breakfast? 

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Foodie Friday 

I’ve got a house full of hungry kids this summer and I unfortunately cannot go all out healthy on them without a full rebellion. I have one that wants to eat ramen noodles every single day, the other wants to eat pure sugar, and the third would gladly survive on Lunchables every meal. Sadly for them, that’s not going to work for me. Luckily if you put a healthy meal in front of them they will eat it. My husband prefers a greasy, nasty hamburger but will eat well if it’s in front of him too.

I’m working on making better switches for me and compromising with them. At least dinner has to be decent at our house. I’ve tried the whole healthy living thing with them, forcing it on them. And it’s pretty much miserable on all of us. It’s not reality.

I have two stepchildren that do not live with us full time and they are not used to living this way. It’s not fair to completely shock their bodies like that. So I decided to make healthier substitutions. If we have spaghetti, I make it healthier. Instead of hamburger meat, I use lean venison or ground turkey. I add diced onion, bell pepper and tomato to sneak in extra veggies. Instead of regular spaghetti noodles, I substitute whole wheat noodles. It’s not a complete shock for anyone and still delicious food for everyone.

Even though the rest of my crew is eating their own way for other meals doesn’t mean I can’t make better choices. I have had a huge oatmeal craving lately. I decided to give this a try and it isn’t bad at all.

I’m also a huge fan of yogurt! I have a hard time getting in enough protein throughout my day and I am working towards increasing that. My eating has been terrible over the past month or so and I am slowly jumping back on track. I admit that I was really pushing too hard for so long and then I took a very long break to allow myself to heal. I went really extreme with a low fat, low carb, almost no food diet and that was just really extreme. For the past year I have taken the time to focus on what my body really needs and how to fuel it better. I’m still learning.

I love cottage cheese and thought I would try these. They’re okay, but I think it’s a little too sweet for me. I think I’ll just stick to my Mayfield brand without the pineapple. If it was fresh pineapple, it would have been awesome. Live and learn, I suppose.

This week one of my besties did a Throwback Thursday and I played along. Before we knew it many of our ZUMBA divas jumped in. I was so inspired by their transformations and thrilled with their progress. It motivates me to keep reaching for my goals. I’ve been on this journey for such a long time and I have had several set backs. Sometimes my health issues get in the way, sometimes I lose sight of the goal, sometimes I just lose hope, sometimes I just want tacos! So it might just take me a little longer to get there, but I will. I think I’m okay with that. And I’m okay with where I’m at right now.

 

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What I’m Doing Wednesday

Good Wednesday morning, friends!

There’s probably nothing better than sitting on my patio, drinking a warm cup of coffee, watching the day begin. I may have a slight obsession with coffee, coffee cups, and all things caffeine related. There may possibly be a ban on Tervis cups and new pj’s at my house by my husband. And then again I may possibly be sneaking them in when he’s not looking. I can neither confirm nor deny these things.

And I am fairly sure this is my next cup… You can find it {HERE}.

We are planning a big camping vacation this year and I am stocking up our camper with all new essentials. I got a big shipment in this week and I cannot wait to set everything up. My husband and I decided it was time to take our camper and travel some. This whole thing is new to us. For our whole relationship we’ve rented a lot and stayed in one place. This will be totally different, but very exciting. I cannot wait to unpack these boxes!

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I’ve been sticking to my goals for the month so far and I’m eating at home more. It’s possibly because I have five people at my house this summer. It saves a lot of money. So I figure I win all the way around. My quick and easy breakfast has been a toasted English muffin with melted Gouda cheese and turkey sausage. We are normally running out the door carrying one in the mornings.

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I have also found my new theme shirt for the month. Maybe even my whole life. I saw it and knew it was meant to be mine.

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This week has been all kinds of crazy and fun. We’ve done fireworks, stayed up way past our bedtime, and possibly eaten way too many awesome things.

So let’s hear it:

  • What are you doing this Wednesday?
  • Any special quotes on your favorite coffee cup?
  • What’s your go-to quick healthy breakfast?

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No Pressure

What I’ve noticed over the past couple of days, is that there is a lot of freedom in writing when no one else realizes you have a blog. It’s actually very inspiring. I can sit down at night once again and just type for the fun of it. There’s no pressure.

And then there’s no pressure in losing weight if no one knows you’re doing it, right?

When I first started my weight loss journey, I told NO ONE. Mostly out of fear of failure. Many of us do that. We don’t want to tell our friends and family that we failed to lose the weight again. I get it. I’ve been there.

Taking the pressure off and just doing things for the simple joy and to see if we can accomplish them is quite motivating. I have considered a monthly challenge just to see what I can do without pressure and without anyone else watching.

My goals for this month will be:

  1. Drink more water each day.
  2. Prepare meals at home for my family.
  3. Find ways to fit more activity into my days.

I plan to start small and update you at the end of the month. I stay super busy during the summer so picking my top three will make a big difference for me. I’m also going to do a before and after picture for later. I don’t have a huge amount to lose, but we do have an August vacation planned and I’d like to slim down some for that!

 

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