Category Archives: Goals

1/01 – 2015 is Here! Resolutions!

New year’s resolutions are stupid. At least that’s what I tell myself when I have weak moments, and then fall off the wagon entirely.

What I love about resolutions is acknowledging that SOMETHING has to be done with bad habits, and at the very least, a promise to myself to change is the bare minimum to jump start the year with some positives.

Hello, 2015.  Your predecessor, 2014, went by super fast, or super slow depending on how many sleepless nights I had incurred between being pregnant and becoming a new mom. Last year, was a defining year. It was filled with so much love, so many new feelings, experiences, and events. I have never felt so whole and fulfilled.

I’m excited to focus on a new me this year. A me that is now a MOM (most awesomest job ever!), and someone who’s even busier than before. Last year, I was on a new adventure that had me completely unfocused on my fitness, yet fully committed to learning how to raise a child. So I slipped last year, and instead of focusing on exactly what I was going to eat, I worried about what I couldn’t eat; instead of worrying about what workout I was going to get in, I worried about all the activities I couldn’t do anymore (there is A LOT of stuff you can do while being pregnant!). I loved going to the gym with a giant belly and do weights. I exercised until I was 30 weeks pregnant. By that point, I was so big that walking any distance, made me feel like my side muscles were pulling to the ground, therefore, I took that time in life to just relax, and enjoy being beautifully pregnant. I had a fantastic pregnancy. I only put on 30 lbs – the recommended amount, which was perfect for my little frame. My baby boy was very precious born at 6lbs 15ozs. He was so perfect when I met him. I feel so blessed to be his mommy.

Today is New Year’s Day. I did not want to waste time so I jump-started my year by resolving to do the following:

(I will forgive myself if I give in, but I will also try my best to document my experience, as I truly believe that documentation reminds me of how hard/easy it was and only gives me more strength to stay strong)

  • Drink a gallon of water each day. I will stock my office/home/car with water, and reset every day with a new gallon jug. In order to drink that much water, I will need to reduce my intake of other fluids such as sodas and teas. I will still continue my single cup of coffee each morning. I will allow myself coconut water and powerade for flavored hydration.
  • Lose 10 lbs in the first month by all means necessary. I have maintained about 10 extra lbs since the birth of my son, and I have no more excuses to eat junk food and sweets. Today I started a modified cabbage soup diet. Unfortunately, the soup as-is is not sustaining. The single thing it’s missing that could make this soup sustaining for future meals is protein. I truly believe in a high protein, low fat, low carb diet. And not diet in the sense of a fad-diet….but a normal every day diet. I made the soup the way the recipe states, but added low sodium chicken stock, low sodium veggie juice and 95% lean ground sirloin for protein. Now, this soup is not missing entire food groups. I plan on consuming this soup every day for the next 7 days – according to diet. Again, this is not sustaining, so I don’t plan on doing this much longer than 7 days, however, my goal is to lose 10lbs in water weight, fat, or whatever, and start 10lbs lighter as my baseline. When I get to that point, all of the focus for a leaner body will be physically obvious. I hate working hard on muscles, and not be able to see them because I’m bloated.
  • Begin a weekly or daily fitness routine and STICK with it. In December, I bought a new client month long membership to a hot yoga place in town, and I have loved every single class I’ve taken! I’ve never loved yoga before, mostly because it’s actually pretty painful when your muscles aren’t warmed up. With bikram, the heat feels amazing, and I feel such an amazing detox with all the sweating. My plan is to start my day off at the gym by packing up the baby at 7:30am, heading in and doing about a 30-45 minute workout. Then meet up with the nanny by 8:30 or 9, and having her take him and then head to work. I like this plan, because it’s a convenient solution, and a routine that works unless the baby has trouble cooperating. I wanted to continue my yoga practice by occasionally doing Hot Yoga on weekends, and make it a treat instead of a routine, since it’s much more expensive than a membership at the gym.
  • Limiting sweets to once a week. This one will be hard. I decided to throw out all junk food and sweets that I have collected over the last 6 months. I am so weak when it comes to ice cream, but I must admit, I haven’t had any in weeks and didn’t even think about it. Until now….gosh.
  • Accountability partner. Scott’s on a mission to lower body fat, and so am I. He and I will work hard to stay focused this year, as he’s got some big events coming up towards the end of the year.
  • Try new fitness plans. I decided to take up yoga and hot yoga for it’s gentle nature. But I want to pick up swimming again, pilates, crossfit, tai chi, rock climbing and muscle plus. I’m excited to just try new things and keep a fitness variety.
  • Hate Pizza, hate pasta, hate fries. I used to HATE these foods, but in the last 6 months, I’ve really just started enjoying them again. I want to hate them again. I hate they way they make me feel, I hate the way they stick to my body. I just want to hate them again.
  • Follow the paleo and whole 360 diet. I learned about some amazing paleo slow cooker recipes that will fit this new me way better. I have done paleo before, not as strict, but I love the results of a leaner body. Also, with a clean diet, I felt so much better each, refreshed, and healthy. I’d definitely like to jump back on that.

My resolutions are really simple. I just wanted to set strategies for this new me, and not just make blanket statements like “I wanna lose some weight, stop drinking sodas, eat better, etc…” I really wanted to lay down the roadmap to fitness, like I have before in 2012 and 2013. The best part about all of this is that I have done it before. So the hard work is already done. I just need to follow through.

Ah, I am truly excited for this year. It will be absolutely amazing. A few things on my bucket list that I plan on fulfilling is skydiving, dune buggy chasing, and hitting a new National Park.

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Travel Adventures

Today is a good day to be alive 🙂 Actually, every tomorrow is motivation to do better than we did today. Several events occurred in the past few months.

Entering my 30s
I am so blessed to be alive at 30 years old. I thank God every day for everything I’ve been blessed with. I believe a loving, caring and supportive family is so incredibly important to have on your team especially when waters get rough. I haven’t had the best family experiences growing up, but in the past 10 years I’ve worked my butt off to make sure my family is my top priority and to build meaningful relationships with the people who love me unconditionally.

I entered my 30s with a bang. I set a goal to visit every single state before I turn 30 and was blessed enough to be able to sit on the sandy beaches of Hawaii on January 22nd. All 50 states are crossed off my list. My next decade goal would be to visit all 59 National Parks. The criteria is to go on at least one hike. My husband is on board and he’s going to join me. He also has a goal to run a marathon in every state by the time he’s 50. He’s got 2 down and I’m so excited to root him on each marathon adventure. He’ll join the 50 Marathons in 50 States Club.

I decided to reach these goals about a year ago when I realized I only had 9 states left that I haven’t been to. Since this past summer I’ve been on a traveling surge, galloping across the northeast, northwest, Midwest and Alaska and Hawaii to finish. It has been an incredible journey and I’m so glad I did it.

Some of the places I visited on my travel adventures included Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia Natl Park. What an incredible place. We visited Cadillac Mtn for a 5:30am sunrise.

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After several hikes, we indulged in lunch at Jordan’s Pond House. An incredible restaurant located in a secluded area looking at Bubble Mtn. Then went back to Bar Harbor where we stayed and relaxed in our B&B and ate at a restaurant down the road. We fully indulged in the spectaculars of Maine.

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I also visited New Hampshire and Vermont. Both incredible places.

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My journey also expanded to Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Oregon. As for Alaska and Hawaii, we were able to visit those places because we had flight vouchers from a previous trip to Seattle where they bumped our flights but offered $400 and that made our flights to Ak and Hi half price. We were able to do almost all of the things we wanted without breaking the bank account.

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I’m so thankful to be blessed with beautiful enriching experiences that make life worth living. I don’t think these things just happen to people. I think if you want something you need to go out and reach for it and make it happen.

There’s one more great thing that happened but I need to put it in its own post. 🙂

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Sun, 3/31 – 12 Things Happy People Do Differently

3 Months in….Wow, I can’t believe it.

I’ve definitely changed a lot this year so far. State of mind has become stronger, and I don’t fall into those pits of darkness as much as I did last year. A lot of it has to do with becoming self-dependent, not feeling like I need someone all the time. I have learned to enjoy going to the theater by myself. I’ve had many dinners alone. It’s not so bad. I’ve started new hobbies, such as the cooking and eating mostly whole foods, the new workouts, and I’ve also gotten back into my old hobbies that I used to enjoy but neglected for awhile.

I’ve maintained my successes. All of the fat I’ve lost has stayed gone, and the level of cardio/strength is still there, means I’ve been working out 😉 The good habits of not drinking sodas, eating junk food, or fast food has stayed with me. I still measure, eat a ton of veggies – paleo most of the time, and still enjoy a cheat every now and then.

I just want to become the person I was meant to be. This “new life” isn’t just eating better – it’s overall health and mental health is very important. It’s a big piece of the puzzle I’m working on. Maintaining high self-esteem will allow me to be strong when those doubting voices come near.

Honesty. I am working on being honest with myself and the people around me. I will never live a peaceful life without honesty.

I found an article online called “12 Things Happy People Do Differently” from MarcAndAngel.com – and I found it quite refreshing and wanted to share it.  Everything in [brackets] are my thoughts on it. 

  1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
  2. Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times. [This is really the difference between a person who has experienced happiness and those who haven’t. Happy people just always think happy – therefore they have no room to not be.]
  3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
  4. Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
  5. Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence. [Friendships should never be expected, demanded, or labeled and compared. They should be appreciated for what they are – the sheer joy of being in someone’s company. The moment you start labeling friends as acquaintances, you set yourself up for a lonely life without friends because you will not allow real friendships to cultivate. Friendships must be cultivated and nurtured. Out of a group of 10 people, the ones that are nurtured will grow and become closer bonds, but if you choose not to nurture all 10, how will you know if one will ever grow?]
  6. Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
  7. Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
  8. Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
  9. Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
  10. Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
  11. Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
  12. Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

I thought these ideas were pretty good – especially for mental health. Onward to next month!

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Fri, 3/1 – The 2nd 30 Days (well, 28) is completed!

Howdy! My name is Vantha, and I’m on a journey to lifelong health and fitness. Read on, if you feel so inclined to learning about me and what this is all about. Thanks!

Drum roll, please…..

Month 2 is over! I’m still here, haven’t lost it or gotten pushed off the bandwagon. I’ve learned so much in the past 2 months about nutrition, my body and how it reacts to certain foods, how to deal with stress and realizing when I use food as a way to relieve the stress (this is bad, but we all do it), and recognizing (and embracing) when I get slightly obsessed with things so that I stay focused on my goals.

The plan is all about “trying new things” to ultimately “develop the personal health blueprint”. I’ve went 29 years of my life not understanding what I eat, and why it makes me feel the way it does, and refusing to spend the “effort” to actually LEARN and STOP the revolving rat race of eating poorly and paying for it. These past two months have been quite enlightening.

My accomplishments for this month:

  • I’ve learned to manage meals “in my control” and meals “out of my control”. For meals in my control, I simply choose to cook my own foods following the Paleo Diet format every time. I generally try to make additional or extra leftovers with plans to eat it for breakfast and lunch. For meals out of my control (friend’s house for dinner, special occasion restaurant, family dinner, etc.), I try to remember what foods do what, and what items I can tolerate. Then decide whether or not I am willing to pay for it. Sometimes, it’s nice to remember the stuff I’ve given up for awhile now tasted like. I miss them sometimes, like bread, rice, and potatoes.
  • I’ve learned to make Paleo sweets. This helps my insatiable sweet tooth. I just recently learned how to make Paleo Ice Cream, so I’m excited to share that! Paleo desserts are not much healthier calorie wise, but the content of the sweets: no gluten, no chemical engineered stuff, no refined sugars or salts, and real and whole food taste enhancers like lemon, coconut flakes, cocoa powder, etc. – those are the contents of Paleo sweets….real food.
  • Going 4 days without a workout stresses me out but I have to know when to quit. I’ve been sick the second half of the month, and slowly getting workouts in every few days, but each time I try to do a real workout, I seem to fall back into being sick, thus never truly healing. Signs my body is telling me, “slow the heck down”. The time in between each workout makes me realize how lethargic I can become, and mostly importantly how it affects my mood. I feel foggier, and somewhat less excited about everything in general. A workout is more than just fitness for the body, it’s fitness for the mind and the relentless desire to be my best all the time.
  • Slowly but surely I am decreasing my intake on artificial sugars and sweeteners. My friend was a catalyst in helping deter me from using artificial sweeteners. Although I hardly consume it much anyways, usually a couple packs for coffee in the morning and the occasional diet coke, she enlightened me on its affects and dependencies, the acidity level of the substance, and how it is processed in the body. Besides the science behind it, I’m more interested in focusing on consuming real whole foods and keeping chemicals out of my body.
  • It’s OK to be obsessed with things that make me happy. I’ve been really obsessed with cooking and researching the Paleo diet. I’ve found it to be a little bit overboard at times, but I like to think of it more as an in depth research paper. It’s helping me develop my personal health blueprint, and teaching me skills that I can use later in life.
  • My previous accomplishments? Yea, I’m still hanging on to them! Yay! Hardly any sodas, most of the time on weekends, fast food is limited, last month I was able to avoid it altogether, this month, I’ve had 1 order of chicken strips from Chickfila. I’m still measuring, still drinking more water than before, eat most mornings, and generally, I’m still discovering new foods. I must say since the discovery of paleo desserts, I may have indulged in more sweets than the previous month. 🙂
  • Life can pass me by very quickly. I know that being too fixed on the small things will never allow me to fully grasp the big picture of this thing, but sometimes a little focus goes a long way. That’s why we wake up to a new day everyday. Each day a new focus and another chance to reflect. 🙂

So far I’m enjoying March’s challenges. Not sure exactly what they are yet, but I’ve signed up for my first race of the year, Cooper Bridge River Run in Charleston on April 6th. I’m going to start beefing up my running skills here soon, by the way, have I ever mentioned how much I DESPISE running? Ok, I’ll leave that for another post.

Life’s an adventure and I plan to live.

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Mon, 2/25 – “Practical Paleo” Book has arrived!

Howdy!

So I figure, if I’m going to do this right, I need to know everything I can about Paleolithic eating. Before Paleo, I was consuming easily 300 grams of carbs per day. If I was “seriously” trying to cut carbs, the most I was able to do was roughly 100-150 grams per day. That’s mostly because I didn’t know what foods were carb-friendly, or how to even cut typical carbs out of my diet. I didn’t realize the amount of carbohydrates were in the typical foods I ate.

I can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
It’s true. I couldn’t. I tried. Really hard. I exercised all the time, and still this ridiculous waistband gut was never going to leave this body. I had a “permanent” muffin top that would not go away. Oh and let’s not forget, permanent flab on my triceps and calf-flab (I know this is weird, but it was there. I pinched it all the time.)

My goal is fat-loss.
I worked really hard to keep my weight down, this time I’m going to focus on actual real fat loss. I want to lose fat in areas around my belly and arms, and thighs and shoulders.

Many people have had terrific results with body composition while on the Paleo diet.
Yes, and I honestly believe this is true, because I have seen dramatic fat loss just in the last month of starting this paleolithic diet. It’s a weird way to giving your body more of what it needs than what it wants. I’ve prided myself on how much more protein I’m consuming while sparingly using powders (shakes, etc.) I’m eating nutrient rich foods that are far healthier than any protein shake could be. My grocery cart is full of “whole” foods instead of boxed up, pre-packaged microwaveable junk from the freezer. I’m learning so much about cooking combinations and what items to substitute for the best nutrient-dense output. When your body burns the right nutrients more efficiently, the amount of body fat evens outs and it’ll feel like it doesn’t need to store everything you eat.

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo – a bestseller for Paleo Diets

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle
I ordered this on Sunday, and surely enough, it was on my doorstep by Monday. Thanks Amazon! The best thing about this book are the beautiful photos. I’m a sucker for easy reads and pictures in books. Yea, I know that makes me sound like a 10 year old, but I’m a skimmer, and reading makes me sleepy. Where was I? Oh yea, besides the great layout of the book, I enjoyed reading about the “leaky gut” aka all of the bloating, irritation, gas, acid, sour stomach, sinus infections, and the list goes on. Even if it’s not as “scientific” as some of us would like, it gives me a different perspective on the notion that if I just cut out the problem makers, then I won’t have the problem anymore. The problem is I didn’t know what and why the problem-makers were causing those problems. Sometimes, we need that extra oooooh….to get to the ah ha!  Well, now I know…I know that the strain of foods that are the disrupters (dairy, grains, legumes) are causing a serious disruption in my belly.

Why is it so critical not to disrupt digestion? The ability to fight chronic and even acute, disease states begins in the digestive system (the gut). 60 to 80 percent of the immune system is within the gut. There is immune tissue that follows the entire length of your small intestine. You’ll learn more than you ever thought you needed to know about this in the digestion and leaky gut sections of this book. If your body constantly suffers from digestive irritation, you set the stage for suppressed immune function in all other areas. This can result in a condition as innocuous as seasonal allergies or a problem that is much more aggressive like diverticulitis, eczema, psoriasis, or a number of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.” – Practical Paleo

So despite the nice surprise of getting this book early, I’ve started reading it and getting excited to have a new set of super easy recipes to start my Paleo journey for next month.

EXERCISE: Today I did the exact same workout I put together last Wed.
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10 reps / 10 mins / 3 sets of workouts
Set a time for 3 rounds, 10 mins long, with 35 seconds between eat round and do as many rounds as you can per set. This one gets really tiring and your competing against yourself and not everyone else.

FOOD: Can’t quite remember much
Bfast: Banana peanut butter roll up
Lunch: Pad Thai (only ate half)
Dinner: Sweets – gluten-free blondie and paleo muffins, maybe some chicken breast

 

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Sat, 2/16 – Paleo is my new best friend & Muscle-up attempts!

Paleo is my new pal. I’m enjoying all the benefits of the caveman diet, without the usual stresses of other diets. Trying new diets for me was a way to make nutrition fit me and my lifestyle. I was never a big fan of breads…or milk…or cheese…so why was it part of my usual diet when 1) I didn’t like it enough to want to eat it, but I still made recipes that had it, 2) I always connected it to the chronic problems, and lastly, without those ingredients, cooking has been so easy!

My meals are 50/50 meat and veggies. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I even bring a pitcher of water to the dining table, because as I am eating this delicious paleo meal, I am also consuming 2 to 3 glasses of water in one sitting. It’s like a snowball effect of good healthy eating habits. I’m eating more veggies, more lean proteins, and more water.

Other diets made me hungry all the time. I read from ThePaleoDiet.com that “Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables represent the main carbohydrate source and will provide for 35-45 % of your daily calories. Almost all of these foods have low glycemic indices that are slowly digested and absorbed, and won’t spike blood sugar levels.” My husband, who is in the medical field, explained to me that the your brain can only use sugars as it primary nutrient source, so when you constantly provide your body sugars for it to use, it will never use the proteins or fat consumed thus causes you to hold onto those nutrients, turn them into fat and only burn the sugars. But when your body is used to always receiving a high level of sugars, you will feel lethargic every time your levels dip. A.K.A. sugar crashes. You still need sugars, obviously, but you can get them from fruits and vegetables instead.

Paleo diet focuses on energy sustaining nutrients like proteins and fats. You’d be surprised how much more fats you consume than other diets, however, you are still losing weight because the typical carb consumption significantly decreases. It’s incredible to see fat from parts of my body that I’ve been holding on to for pretty much all my life is starting to come off.

I can’t follow Paleo 100%. It’s just not possible, but I’d like to try it when I can. Sometimes, I need to use salt or sugar when I cook. Sometimes, I can’t avoid peanut butter. There are strict rules to Paleo, but I try my best and I’m still seeing results. I have the occasional ice cream cone, the occasional bite of a food item with bread, or some rice. But the idea for me is to try my best.

So far, I am 16 days into paleo. I have trimmed up around my belly and back, and also my tricep areas! Woohoo! I can’t wait to make my 1 year anniversary post.

On to my Muscle-Ups! Well, I haven’t been able to do one yet. But I’m working on it. I attempted several times to just get one. I even moved to different pull bars to try this seemingly easy thing.

I can’t figure out what muscles I need to strengthen to be able to do one, but I’ve been told that I need stronger back muscles, also to work on explosiveness because that’s what you need to power yourself up.

This video shows what it’s supposed to look like:

My Saturday Morning Workout

30 mins of Zumba

Strength
8 Lat raise
8 Upright row
8 Shoulder press
4 chest fly at 95lbs
10 pull-ups
10 attempts at muscle ups
5 pike push-ups
20 tricep press

8 min ab set
20/10 tabata 16 rounds
Crunch
Plank shoulder slaps
Bicycles
Suicide planks
Top hat
Elbow to knee each side
Bananas
Supermans
Downward dog
Back stretch
Side plank
Other side plank
Leg raise
Elevated crunch

FOOD
Bfast – 2 eggs over easy on top of a bed of sauteed onions, spinach, and garlic. super yum!

Snack – Banana and navel orange

Lunch – Cilantro Chicken with Portobello Mushroom and Spinach Sautee

Dinner – Leftover Cilantro chicken and Paleo Pancakes

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10 Things I learned to help me not SABOTAGE my new diet.

I travel quite a bit. Personally and professionally. I’m a routine person who can adapt well to situations. But I’ve gotten pretty good at creating routines in my travels so that not much is a surprise.

I get up at the same time each morning. I try to go to bed around the same hour each night. These routines aren’t just routines – they are proactive measures that allow me to keep control of each moment so that I don’t get blindsided by inconveniences that sabotage goals and plans.

I used to live my life by the seat of my pants and let whatever happen, happen. Didn’t prepare each day. If I was late to work, I was just late to work. That life left me broke each week, made me unreliable, and quite frankly, emotionally and physically, drained and unhappy.

Don’t allow unplanned inconveniences sabotage your dieting goals. I’m not dieting just to diet or lose weight. I’m trying new types of “diets” to see which one works for me.

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What I have learned these past few weeks between my travels, is that:

1) When I need to eat, I HAVE TO EAT. And if I don’t eat, it’s going to be bad until I eat.

2) As long as I can “control” breakfast, I can “deal” with modifications to lunch or dinner.

3) Pack breakfast and snacks – even if I have to get on a 5 hour flight, I will bring bananas and packs of peanut butter. If you are a protein person, pack your powder and make sure you have enough for the length of time you are there.

4) Pack a water bottle – I consume 3 times as much water than I normally would if a water bottle was handy every time I needed a sip.

5) If I snack when I’m hungry, I can ward off manic hunger when the right food is not available. Short story – I was driving all night long trying to get some good time on the road in, next thing I knew it was 9:30pm. In small rural towns, most restaurants are closed even chain restaurants. I was so pissed off that it got so late (11:30pm!) and I got manic hungry (by this hour), that the ONLY place open was TACO HELL. I was livid that I passed exit after exit and ended up eating a disgusting (but tasty!) chalupa and nachos. Then the next day, I was bloated, gassy, had acid reflux, gall bladder trouble, and a sour stomach for probably 2 days. NEVER AGAIN.

6) Eat HUNGER SUSTAINING FOODS – like nuts, meats, eggs, etc. because they are filled with proteins that take awhile for your body to burn through. Carbs will make you hungry all day long and quite frankly, I HATE being hungry all the time because it’s a nuisance to get MANIC HUNGRY every couple of hours and NEED to feed myself. And that’s what sugar and carbs will do to you. It gives you overwhelming pleasure and satisfaction, yet it doesn’t last except in your thunder thighs, muffin top and love handles. 😉

7) Clean eats mean – No processed anything. If someone had to put it together in a pretty package, it’s probably not that clean. So when you are at the gas station and looking for a snack…head directly to the fresh fruit stand, and grab a banana.

8) Staying at a hotel with a continental breakfast? 🙂 Last hotel I stayed at, I stole 4 bananas, 6 packets of peanut butter, and 6 plastic knives.

9) Don’t put up with bad food. Just because it’s FREE doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I hate wasting good food, but if it’s not good for me, I will chuck it without hesitation.

10) You are not a DOG. So don’t “treat” yourself with food. Rewards should be complementary. For example, I got myself a day at the salon about 3 weeks into January’s 30 Day Challenge. I also buy new gym clothes for the winter season, and my husband bought me a pair of Nike FREE cross-training shoes for my birthday.

 

Overall, the theme is to plan your meals in some sort of fashion when traveling. I pack bananas in my suitcase. I also pack a jar of nut butter, sometimes I’ll even pack full on prepared meals in a cooler…but I’ll do anything to avoid manic hunger.

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I PR’d my chest flys!

I am going to make this short story long. Last night I was doing machine chest flys for the first time of 2013 and the last time I remember being able to do a set of those with no more than 40lbs and probably 8 reps. 1 set. And I do not like machines because they reduce stabilization or stabilizer muscles which really needs to be worked on.

After all of these HIIT workouts these past several weeks and home workouts and usually push-ups are all I do for chest, I can’t believe I was able to push out 120lbs for chest flys!

I felt since I’ve only been doing body weight that there was NO WAY I could increase my weights on this machine! I felt stronger from these workouts but I was sure I’ve gotten weaker because I haven’t increased weights anywhere in my workouts.

But I’m so proud because that means all of those body weight workouts: push-ups, pull-ups, core strengtheners all paid off!

One of my vanity goals is to have a strong back with defined muscles. I’m hopeful that if I keep it up, they will finally show!

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2012 was the year I learned how to exercise. 2013 is the year I learn how to eat.

2012 was the year I learned how to exercise. 2013 is the year I learn how to eat. My ultimate goal is to learn how to be healthy for the rest of my life and find out what works for me. So in case you didn’t notice, the last two posts were Paleo recipes. I saw them and got so excited I just reblogged it without explaining it first. First off, I want to start out with my reasons for learning about nutrition, and that starts with my childhood.

I mentioned to my husband today about how all my life, I’ve been spoiled with good-for-me food and didn’t know it. My mom is a fantastic cook. She makes the most delicious meals with so much flavor, and she never uses frozen or canned vegetables. If the produce wasn’t available, she wouldn’t make it. Unfortunately, the only real cooking that I may have inherited from her is how to stir-fry (and I stir-fry A LOT!) [What I failed to pay attention to were the ingredients she used…the different types of veggies (outside of the carrot, celery, potato sort)…the different types of spices like lemongrass (which I was always embarrassed about eating because it was a smelly stalk and my friends would say it stinks), tamarind, tumeric, kaffir lime leaves, galangal ginger… ] But it’s never too late to learn.

Back to what I was saying about me not knowing how I was spoiled…  Because my mom cooked all of our meals every day with the exception of cereal after school – we ate really good meals that were healthy, filled with vegetables (she always told me to eat more vegetables than anything, so I have a strong love for veggies!) and no weird processed stuff was used when she cooked. I was a very active kid. I played outside a lot, and I never had that “winded” feeling. I was an aspiring gymnast, so my dad put up uneven bars in my backyard that I could do flips and twirls on. I practiced tumbling, cartwheels, splits, pullups & all those other gymnast things with no trouble as a pre-teen.

It wasn’t until I got my first job at 16 and started buying food on my own (mostly fast food because it was what I saw on TV) that I started to realize I was growing a belly, and then I started growing saggy triceps, and the lean muscles that were there (which I was always a lean gal, not slender, but not chunky either) were simply soft. I began to grow self-conscious of my appearance, and not to mention teen acne didn’t help either. But I was still very active. I played tennis all 4 years of high school (2 hour practices 5 days a week!),  and golf 3 years, and in between seasons I practiced both sports on my own.

 

Why was I getting fat? I was tired all the time. Always needed mid-day naps. Used to pass out in class. I never connected the newly found love for fast-food or the lack of mom’s food to these symptoms. Not to mention, I always had an allergy to milk and dairy products. I always had a bad reflux and gastroenteritis problem (so does my Dad). Severe acid leaks in my stomach which caused me to regurgitate greasy, fatty, and acidic foods EVERY time.  It wasn’t easy living with these problems to begin with, and I ended up putting on 35lbs at my highest weight of 150lbs. (I know it’s not a lot of weight compared to others, but I’m only 5’2″, and for me, and my level of activity, it was insane.)

I was active. I shouldn’t have put on this much weight and still be as active as I was. It just didn’t equate to the weight gain. My reflux and gastroenteritis got so bad after I “THOUGHT I WAS EATING HEALTHY” that it was flaring up all the time and keeping me up every night vomiting acid and feeling like I was having a heart attack. If you’ve ever had really bad reflux you would understand how it feels. It literally feels like what a patient who had a heart attack would describe a heart attack. So the first time I had this “heart attack”, I was incredibly worried. I remember that I ate roast beef earlier that night, probably just an hour before the attack.

Right – the roast beef nearly killed me. Roast beef is supposed to be a normal food. It’s not processed. My friend made it in a crock pot. Come to find out she put half a stick of butter in the sauce/gravy, and heavily salted the veggies and beef, and she also buttered the bread we ate with it.

My point is, I thought I was eating healthy. I found out much later after a few more “attacks” later on that year that I might have experienced gall stones trying to pass and getting stuck along the way. I even went to the doc for an ultrasound of the gallbladder. Probably because I checked on it early enough and I’m still young and active enough, there’s not a “problem” with my gallbladder. I’m sure that if I continued my bad eating habits, I would have some irreversible damage by now.

After these events (I was 26 by this time), I was starting to realize that I can’t handle greasy food, because these eruptions or flares happen very quickly. Then I started to realize cheese did the same thing. I always had a sensitivity to milk and have not been able to eat cereal since sometime in high school or college. I also notice a sensitivity to breads – I don’t think I have a celiac sensitivity but I did notice that I have never like breads. I’ve always preferred other carbs instead and typically rice, but that just may be because I’m Asian. Generally breads always made me feel kinda funny, full and bloated.

So, I’m on a mission – some reasons are vain but the main reason is that I NEED to know what’s ok to eat, what my body can handle, and what it needs. The next post I’ll talk about the Paleo Diet and what it entails.

 

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The first 30 days, completed!

It feels weird. But I am excited to say that I’ve stuck with something for 30 days. I actually started on the 5th, due to my traveling, I wanted to start when I was able to prep meals and workout on a normal basis.

So far, I am very proud of the accomplishments that I’ve made. It has not been easy these past few weeks. I did have a few moments of weakness, and they were trying moments. I did give in to candy a few times, I did skip a workout when my muscles felt too sore, I did eat at restaurants where I couldn’t control what was put in it or the nutritional content, I did eat ice cream (4 times), I did eat over 2000 calories (a few times), and I did beat myself up for it.

But I can’t succeed without failing. Sides, knowing and experiencing the difficult times is what makes this journey so much more worth it.

I spent pretty much all of 2012 trying to see if I could get in the habit of working out regularly, educate myself on how to exercise, what exercises were right for me, and how hard I can push myself. Overall, I succeeded. I even forced myself to learn how to swim and run, so I did a 10k in March, an 8k in July, a sprint triathlon on Labor Day, a half-marathon relay at the end of September, then a Tough Mudder in October. Every single time I had to run those races, I thought to myself, “Why the heck did I subject myself to this??” Because it is always painful and hard and extremely difficult while I’m doing it, but after I’m done, I can add it to my list of accomplishments, and in the end, those miserable moments are the affirmations of this journey I’m on.

I’m a firm believer, that if you don’t write it down or draw it out – the plan & progress – then you have no idea where you are, or where you are supposed to be going. Change requires more than an epiphany, or desire. It requires balls, really big ones to MOTIVATE you to get off the couch. But what happens after you “Get Motivated”?

When I was finally motivated to go to the gym regularly, I didn’t have anyone to tell me how to exercise, or what I should do, and what each machine did, or even how to use it . So each day I’d go in feeling like I was trespassing into this “cool club” that I paid for but was uninvited. I didn’t know anyone, and so I always went for the safe machine – the treadmill. So like a bunch of others that go to the gym, I did the hamster wheel for 20 minutes at 3.5 mph and left. And that was my workout.

So that was depressing…  I just didn’t have a plan. But most importantly, I didn’t know how to plan.

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One day, my friend talked me into trying out an abs class at 7:30pm. Nervous at the time, but didn’t want to appear that way, I said “yep, sure” very quickly.

I recognize this moment as the catalyst for the accomplishments in 2012. Since then, I’ve loved group fitness classes because they simply are “personal training in a group setting”. I learned all kinds of new exercises, why they are important, and how the smallest and most simple exercises can do a lot especially if you are tight on space and time. And best part – I got pretty lean!

So for 2013 – I want to continue my journey and focus in the kitchen. I’m proud of my accomplishments and failures this past 30 days. I’ve learned so much about food, calories, nutrition content, and the most important thing – I can not make anyone accountable for me. Food is a social thing, and if we constantly eat without knowing what we are eating, we will continue that vicious cycle of “I workout all the time, I just don’t understand why I can’t lose any weight.”

In an effort to celebrate the first 30 days of 2013, here are my accomplishments:

  • I had 1 diet soda (12oz) per week since I started this plan
  • I fix most of my sugar cravings from artificial sweeteners in my coffee, flavored water, peanutbutter, almond milk,  fruit and oatmeal
  • I found out that my carb intake was in the steady weight gain range of 200+ grams per day, so I am on a mission to find ways to cut carbs
  • I have not eaten any fast food this entire month 🙂
  • I know how to eyeball cups, half cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, and more
  • I discovered zero carb Miracle Noodles
  • When I cook, I only portion out 3-5oz of meat, and double up on the fillers – veggies and zero calorie noodles
  • I am now used to eating in the morning
  • I can say NO to restaurant foods without feeling guilty about hurting my friends feelings
  • I found some FAVORITE foods!
  • I learned new recipes!
  • I drink an incredible amount more water since I stopped drinking sodas
  • My digestive system is always in check – and man that feels good!
  • Most importantly, I’m doing this for myself, and I’m setting good examples for others…so my good habits are starting be absorbed by my husband, family and friends, which is nice that this journey is social
  • I am also creating my own workout routines and involving others to join me, which makes me really happy because I never had that kind of help and support

Overall, I’m excited to see what I will accomplish the next 30 days. I hope everyone who reads this blog feels compelled to try a new workout or a new recipe.

Thanks!

Love,
Vantha

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