Work it Out Wednesday: #BestBodyBootcamp Week 4

It’s a busy Wednesday on this end of the computer screen, so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.  I hope ya’ll won’t hold it against me.

Starting Weight: 150

Current Weight: 144

Favorite Strength Move from Week 4: One Leg Deadlift

Alright, off to tackle my ever growing to-do list. Do you have a favorite strength move? Share it in the comments!


Mama on the Move: Maria

Good morning! I hope each of you has a fantastic Monday. Let’s get the week started off by meeting another fab Mama on the Move: Maria.

maria family


Bio: Hi! I am Maria, a 37yr old married mom of a 3 ½ year old girl. We live in Cadillac MI which is in the northern part of the state. I am a special education teacher and I work with adults with moderate to severe cognitive delays. I have been on my weight loss/healthy living journey since November of 2011. I recently started blogging about my journey over at Thirteen Point One Mom  .

1. What was your turning point moment? Tell me about the moment/moments you realized you needed to make changes?

maria family before

My turning point was when I got on the scale and had reached almost 200lbs. At 5’3 this was just NOT an acceptable weight for me and I knew I had to do something about it. I had gained almost 70lbs when I was pregnant with my daughter and just never got back on track after I had her…my eating was HORRIBLE and I never exercised. I didn’t want to be a bad example for my daughter. I wanted her to see her mom as someone who was healthy, happy and able to participate in all the things she wanted her mom to do with her. I had been a runner/exerciser before (I had even ran in some races when we lived in AZ before moving to MI). So on Thanksgiving of 2011 I went out for my first run in like 4 or 5 years and I haven’t looked back since. In October of 2012 I completed my first ½ marathon.

maria race

2. What was the easiest healthy habit to adopt?

For me the easiest healthy habit had to be learning the portion control. I got a cheap kitchen scale and I started weighing everything. Now I can look at something and know about what size of a serving it is…it has become second nature to me now and was such an eye opener to really see what an appropriate portion is as compared to what I was actually eating. And I have since been able to recognize portions when we go out to eat as well. I try really hard to not eat my entire meal and get a box to take home the rest.

3.The hardest?

It has been so hard to learn to limit my sweets! I have such a sweet tooth as does the husband. And it is so hard to say no when he brings stuff home. He is very supportive but he will cave into his own cravings and if that desert is sitting on the counter, I have a heck of a time walking away without a bite. So I have learned how to make modified versions of sweet treats. There are so many great websites out there with recipes for things like muffins and deserts that won’t break the bank on fat and calories.

4. Tell me about your favorite workouts.

Well I do 99% of my workouts at home. Part of balancing my life is that I get up at the CRACK of dawn to exercise so that I can fit it into my day. I have a bunch of DVDS that I use as well as a treadmill and an elliptical. I love my Bob Harper DVDS…I have a bunch of his stuff. They are fun and hard and I find myself being able to do things I never thought I could do. (Only downfall is that they are an hour and sometimes it takes me too long to get up to fit them in). Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 has been my go to as of late because they are under 30 minutes. I like how she changes it up all the time and each week is different from the next. I also have a Wii Fit and I like the boxing workout and the step aerobics one. The Wii is always fun! This training cycle I am really trying to make more of an effort to fit in strength and cross training. My next half marathon is in the end of May and I would really like to be a stronger runner for this one as the course is flat and fast and I would like to take advantage of the opportunity to take time off of my last race time.

5. Share your favorite healthy meal.

Oh my, there are so many it’s hard to pick just one. I typically go for what is good and easy to make. I don’t have time to cook for hours…the crock pot is my friend. Here are a couple of websites that I go to for recipes:

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. My go to breakfast is a sandwich made with a 100 calorie English muffin, an egg or egg white and some PB2 (greatest alternative to PB in the world!)

6. How do you balance motherhood and healthy living?

Oh boy, I’m not sure I do all the time. I just try to be prepared, I always have healthy snacks in my “kid bag” whenever we go somewhere and try and plan our meals at least the night before if not the weekend before the busy week starts. I try and remember that I am a happier more fun loving mom if I get my exercise in first thing, so I try and make an effort to do that. My daughter likes the  jogging stroller so when it’s not winter here in MI I try and take her out with me as much as I can. I think having kids give you a new sense of motivation to be healthy. The husband and I were both over weight kids and we do not want our daughter to have to go down that same path so we really try and set the example for her. I try and make the time to be active with my daughter, walks around the neighborhood, bike rides with her in the seat we have attached to our bikes, playing at the park…all those ways there are to get out and get moving both for her and for myself.

7. Do you have a personal mantra? If so, what is it?

I guess my mantra would be “Don’t give up”. Once I realized that little setbacks were not the end of the world, it opened a whole new door for me. Instead of letting a setback send me to a downward spiral I just pick myself up and move on…it’s so freeing!

8. If you could share just one lesson you’ve learned with other moms, what would it be?

Try not to let the idea of being “the perfect mom/wife/partner” consume you. You will just set yourself up for failure. I recently read an article that reminded me that it is OK to not make all the wonderful crafts you see on Pinterest and that it’s ok that sometimes you let your kid play video games or watch T.V. I think we get so caught up in this day and age of what the “rules” of mommy hood are that we forget to just breathe, love our kids, love our partners and enjoy the moment. My daughter doesn’t have to know all the letters and the sounds they make at 3 years old…no matter what the internet says! Take the time to just enjoy playing princess castle or watching Dora and know that you are doing a great job as a mom.

maria after

Big thanks to Maria for sharing her story. I hope each of you are as inspired by her as I am.  Be sure to show her some love over at her blog.

Product Review: Energy Bits

A few weeks ago, I was sent a sample to try from a company called Energy Bits.  I had been following the company on Twitter for awhile, seen the various other reviews of the product, and was curious.  So I browsed the company’s website, learned a bit more about the product, and then requested a sample.

I have a serious Diet Coke addiction – and use the caffeine to power me thru the afternoon slump at work, workouts, and those days when I haven’t had much sleep.  And while the caffeine in Diet Coke does the trick, I know all the artificial flavors and sweeteners are not good for my body. Energy Bits promised to give me an extra push without putting anything unnatural in my body. The bits are 100% algae.

The sample arrived about 3 days after I requested it. I loved that the company sent the sample as well as a plethora of information about the product.  The bits arrived in a cute little tin that I slipped into my pocketbook so that I would have them on hand when I needed an extra boost of energy.

Tuesday night was a nearly sleepless night for me – I was up every hour on the hour – so by 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, I could feel myself nodding off at my desk. Remembering the bits, I reached for a dose.  I should note that the bits have a somewhat unpleasant smell (but so do vitamins…blech) and a distinct taste. I opted to take the bits with some orange juice to mask the taste.  It worked. There was a hint of the taste but it dissipated quickly.

And my energy levels were much higher afterwards. I was able to power thru the rest of the afternoon, a workout, and a few hours of housework – something I’ve never been able to do when tired. Just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke – I skipped all caffeinated products on Thursday, and took another dose of Energy Bits when the afternoon slump hit. Once again, my energy levels went up and I was able to do all the things I needed to do!

I would definitely recommend Energy Bits to anyone – athletes or otherwise – who is look for a natural way to get an energy boost. If you are interested or want more information, click over to their site for more details.



FTC Disclosure: I received a free sample of energy bits. However, I was not asked to do a review of the product.  I chose to review of my own accord, all opinions and thoughts contained in this post are my own.

Favorite Things Friday: 3 Races I want to Run

Happy Friday!  The weekend is a mere 8 hours of work away – wahoo!  Monday was a holiday for me but instead of making the week seem shorter, it draaaaaaggggggggggggggeeeddd on, so I am excited to have the weekends in my sites.

I have to say running the Zooma Flordia 5K has given me the racing bug.  Sure, I had run three 5K’s prior to Zooma but they had all been in my hometown so there wasn’t  alot of surprise or excitement.  Zooma has me hungering to run a few destinations races and here are the 3 that I have my eye on.

10 miler

1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler –  Described by the RunDisney website as “thrilling  nightime run along the streets haunted by Disney Villians” this run is on the top of my must-run-race list.  Yes, it is a longer distance than I have ever run before.  But I have a game plan that I’ll be sharing when I discuss February goals.  The bonus to this race:  Hubby has agreed to run it with me. And because it’s at Disney, we can take our daughter to the Magic Kingdom for the first time.


2.  The Pi Mile Road Race –  This 5K race happens on the campus of my alma Mater – Georgia Tech. Sponsored by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, the annual Dean George C. Griffin Pi Mile 5K Road Race is one of the longest continually running races in Atlanta. It is named after former Dean of Students, George C. Griffin, in honor of his tenure as a track and cross country coach.  The race founder is alumnus L. McTier “Mac” Anderson, class of 1967.  The first race in 1973 was 3 miles long and was expanded to 3.14 miles after 1975—hence the Pi Mile.  I have wanted to participate in this race since I was a student but neither the time or my abilities have allowed me to run it.  2013 will be the year. The hubby and I are going to postpone our anniversary celebration (which is March 21st) till the weekend of the Pi Mile. We will run the race together and then spend the rest of the weekend touring Atlanta.


3. The Disney Princess Half Marathon – How can you not want to run a race that is described as “Fairytales do come true. One mile at a time. Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend brings women of all ages together to participate in a magical event designed just for them.”  One of my dearest friends Morghan is an avid runner and Orlando native. She has been pestering – uh I mean encouraging me – to train and run this race with her. And in 2014 Morghan will get her wish!

Are there any destination races you are dreaming of running? What about local events? Let me know about them in the comments!

Work it Out Wednesday: Best Body Bootcamp Week 2

Phase 1 of #bestbodybootcamp is officially over and I have to say that I’m loving the progress that I have seen in just two weeks. I am officially down 4 pounds from my starting weight. More importantly, I can see definition in my arms, legs and core that wasn’t there before.

#Bestbodybootcamp really focuses on making the most of your time- so Tina uses interval workouts for the cardio portion. Each of the workouts can be scaled to your ability.  Take last week’s, interval A workout. Tina’s guidelines were:

Warm-up: 5 mins
Increase: 2 mins
Recover: 3 mins
Repeat for 6 intervals
Cool-down: 5 mins

For me that meant, increasing to a 5.5 mph jog and recovering at a 3.5 mph pace. I burned around 350 calories in just 40 minutes.

To sum up Phase 1 of #bestbodybootcamp, I’ll say that the workouts were challenging but doable, short on time but highly effective, and fun! All necessary components of a great workout.

Check next week for my thoughts on the first week of Phase 2.

Over to you- do you prefer steady state cardio or intervals? Why?

Zooma Florida 5K Recap

Late Friday evening, my 3 closest girlfriends and I arrived at The Ritz Carton Amelisa Island for the Zooma Florida Half Marthon and 5K! This was the start to a much-anticipated, much planned for and much-needed girls weekend. After checking in at the front desk, we headed to the race expo and packet pickup. 

Since we were arriving at 7:30 p.m. – the expo was pretty empty which meant packet pickup took a mere 2 minutes and we were able to talk longer to each of the vendors.  The Zooma races are designed to have a “girl’s getaway” feel which carried over to the expo. The expo was small but had a great boutique vibe.  We loaded up our swag bags with samples of Muscle Milks, Hint Fizz sparkling water, and enjoyed chatting with the girls from Handful Bras .

Once we were done at the expo, we headed up to our room, dropped our bags and headed back out for food. We opted to keep things quick, easy, and simple.  Our decision lead us to Zaxby’s were I had a grilled chicken salad.  A quick run to Wal-Mart followed dinner, then we were back at the hotel. While we our snuggled into bed early (10:00 p.m.) we stayed up chatting and laughing until nearly midnight.

The alarm came far too early at 6:00 a.m.  With 4 girls who all had to get ready (yes, we are the girls who put on makeup before a race) we needed the nearly 2.5 hours before the 5K started.  As we got ready, we decided to open the door to our balcony. We thought that a gentle sea breeze would wake us up a bit more. HA! There were no gentle sea breezes blowing – instead the winds were over 20 mph and bitterly cold.  Not the conditions we expected – but we all agreed that this race was just for fun.  Once we were all geared up – it was photo time. 


Amy and I were nearly twins and it was totally unplanned. One of the things I loved most about our gear were the shirts we had printed to wear. They have our group name (Country Bumpkin Runners) and nicknames on the heart crest and our favorite bible verse on the back. We got lots of compliments on them during the race.


Around 8:00 we started making our way down to the course. The 5K course as an out and back right on the beach. We intended to jog for a bit to warm up but with the wind blowing so hard, we were getting blasted with sand.  So instead we huddled up and tried to stay warm.

Promptly at 8:30 the race got underway. My knee felt good, my legs were loose, and for a few minutes I thought I might PR.  But about the mile mark, my chest started burning and my energy levels bottomed out. I should mention that for the first half of the 5K, we were running directly into the wind.   I kept running but mentally I wanted to quit.  It hurt to breathe and my pace was slowing with every step.  As the turnaround point came into view, I saw my girl Marcy.  She too was struggling. We walked for a bit and decided that we’d run 3/1 intervals on the way back.  We jogged to the turn around and suddenly we felt like we were flying.  We ran our intervals and slowly began to pass other runners.  In seemingly no time the finish line came into view, and just like that we crossed.  Marcy with a time of 39:30 and me with a time of 39:45.

Amy and Lane finished a few minutes later. And we all complained about running in the wind as we sipped our post-race water and nibbled our post-race bananas.  We stood on the beach watching a few more runners come in and then headed up to the post-race party.  We stretched out on yoga mats from Muscle Milk, sampled Barefoot Wines, and enjoyed a lovely brunch on the lawn behind the Ritz Carlton. There was a band playing, recovery yoga happening, and free post-race massages from the Spa at the Ritz Carlton. 

The atmosphere at the Zooma Florida 5K and Half Marathon was nothing short of amazing.  All I ever saw were smiles, all I ever heard were words of encouragement and support, and everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives.


So the Zooma Florida 5K was not my fastest race ever but I’d have to say it was definitely the funniest!

Have you ever ran in unexpected conditions on a race day?  Anybody ever run into 20+mph winds?

Mama on the Move: Elisha

Today I have the privilege of sharing an amazing guest post from Elisha – the witty, wonderful, and smart woman and mother behind “My Thunder Thighs”.  Elisha and I met at Fitbloggin last September. I had no idea who she was – and she had certainly never heard of me or my fledling blog. But she introduced herself, started asking me questions about myself, made a quip  about her curvy bottom half, aand by the end of the weekend, a friendship had been formed.  One of things that I adore most about Elisha is her straightforward approach to life… she openly shows her personal struggles, her faults and failures without making excuses or justifications.  I asked Elisha to share with ya’ll how she handles making the healthier choices when her family doesn’t.  I believe her words will inspire you….

By way of introduction, let me start out by making you feel a little better about yourself: I’m 32, 100 pounds overweight, divorced, in debt, and I live with my parents. (You’re welcome.)

I have got a couple of things going for me though. For instance, I am Mommy to the World’s Cutest, Smartest, Bestest 4-year-old. I have a job that I actually like, which pays me enough to cover my bills. And I am determined to change my life for the better, no matter the obstacles set before me.

One of the biggest obstacles I face, ironically, is my generally supportive family. You see, while they all want me to achieve my goals and be happy, they don’t always agree with me on how that’s done. And they’re nowhere near healthy. There’s a reason I wore a size 16 in junior high, and it has something to do with a steady diet of frozen french fries, Hamburger Helper, and tuna noodle casserole.

Not that I blame my being overweight on my parents, because I don’t, exactly. After all, I have an older brother who was served the same meals that I was, and he’s slim and muscular (grumble grumble grumble), so there’s got to be more to it than the food. But let’s face it, the constant availability of unhealthy food can be challenging.

My parents’ diet hasn’t changed much in the years since I was a teenager, except maybe they eat more fast food than they used to. And me, with a history of going on every diet under the sun–for about 3 hours–I’m trying to build healthy habits for myself and my young daughter, and even for my parents. I’ve finally managed to shift my mindset from “What diet will help me lose the most weight?” to “What is the healthiest, most sustainable, and most pleasurable way for me and my family to eat?” Believe me, it took a long time to get to this point, but now that I’m here, I’m not letting go.

My mother is, for the most part, supportive of my efforts. Granted, she’s still serving my daughter (and herself) microwave chicken nuggets with ranch dressing for lunch, but she always says, “Good job!” when I tell her I’ve lost a pound or two. My father generally falls on the side of simply ignoring whatever it is I’m doing, or not noticing at all, as long as he likes the taste of what’s on his plate.

Sometimes, though, the conversation goes more like, “Almond milk? I bet you paid more for that than for real milk, and it probably tastes gross,” or, “What kind of stupid diet doesn’t let you to eat beans?” More recently, it’s been, “I talked to your trainer, and I’m taking over. Go run up the hill and then bring in some firewood, then you can pay me instead.”

I stopped trying to explain things long ago. Arguing with their chosen way of life only makes it more likely that they will argue with mine.

But, as I said, I am determined, and I am therefore finding ways to deal with a kitchen full of junk food, and even with argumentative parents. Right now, I am doing the Whole30 Program, which is by far the most restrictive diet I have ever undertaken. No grains, no sugar, no dairy, no legumes, no random additives, no white potatoes, no alcohol. Strangely, it’s also been the easiest, and I think part of that is because I stopped trying to fight with my parents’ diet.

There are a couple of things that have made sticking with my decision to healthify my life easier. I have been doing most of the cooking, which isn’t exactly new (my mom never did like to cook), but it allows me to control what goes into our foods. Sometimes I will fix a different side for me, or an additional side for them. For example, the other night I made spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce, spaghetti squash for me, and conventional spaghetti noodles for them. They had some garlic toast with their meal, and I did not. On a different night, I made homemade potato wedges, using white potatoes for them and a sweet potato for me. They had a cheeseburger on a bun, while I had a hamburger wrapped in lettuce.

Also, I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes over the past couple of weeks. In my family, if it tastes good, they’ll eat it, even if it is healthy. Since I’m doing the cooking anyway, I’m making an effort to make delicious meals that all of us will enjoy. We were all fighting over Whole30-compliant leftovers the other day, so that strategy has proven effective.

Sometimes it still comes down to me eating a salad while they’re eating cheese and crackers (one of The Old Me’s favorite snacks). Sometimes they eat chocolate or ice cream or cookies, and I don’t. And you know what? That sucks. I won’t lie. Sometimes it’s really inconvenient for me to fix two separate meals. It’s frustrating to say, “Hey Mom, can you watch my kid for an hour so I can go to the gym?” and have her roll her eyes in response. Sometimes it’s really stinking hard to live with people who do not share your goals, especially if they do not always approve of your methods.

But I know I’m getting a lot further by making an effort to accommodate them, by not asking them to change, than I ever got by trying to convince them to see things my way. Proof: a few days ago, my mom called me at work to ask if I was allowed to have BBQ sauce on my “special diet.” She was going to put some chicken in the crock pot, but didn’t want to douse it all in the sauce if I wouldn’t be able to eat it. I don’t recall my mother ever being so considerate of my dietary concerns before. I thanked her profusely for checking with me, and then proceeded to tweet about it and exclaim to my boss what had just transpired, it was such an event. (For the record, no, I can’t have BBQ sauce on Whole30, at least not the processed kind she was referring to. I told her to simply leave a few pieces of chicken out for me and I would cook for myself. She ended up making a different meal, and using a seasoning mix that contained sugar–which she had no way of knowing, as I had mixed it up months prior–so I couldn’t eat it anyway. Still, small victories. I am giving her credit for that one.)

So yes, it is an effort, and yes, it is inconvenient. Yes, following a healthy diet and lifestyle would be easier if we weren’t exposed to unhealthy food at all, and if everyone we encountered was following the exact same diet as we are.

No matter how supportive our families are, we can’t get around it, and we can’t escape the challenge. It makes no difference what our circumstances are; it’s not going to be easy. Easy got us disordered eating.

We’re changing our lives, and that’s going to take some hard work.

The only way to make it work is to decide that you are worth the effort. You are worth the extra time it takes to cook an extra dish, or a separate meal, or a new recipe. You are worth turning down the ice cream. You are worth standing up for yourself, even if that means accommodating others. You are worth being healthy, whatever that means for you.

You change your life by deciding, by believing, by knowing that you are worth changing.

And you are.

Didn’t I tell ya’ll Elisha was awesome?  Ya’ll show her some love by clicking over to her blog!

Favorite Things Friday: Blog Posts You MUST Read

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be sitting at my desk furiously working and counting down to 5:00 p.m.  I love each and every weekend but I’m looking forward to the upcoming one even more because it’s the weekend of the….

ZoomRUN 5K and Half-Marathon

That’s right – tonight I and 3 of my closest girlfriends will be loading up in an SUV and heading to sunny Amelia Island, FL to enjoy a mocktail party, yoga, shopping…or yeah and a 5K race.  We’ve reserved a room at The Ritz Carlton, so we’ll have 48 glorious hours of pretending we are rich, famous, and carefree women. 🙂

So while I keep one eye on my work and one eye on the clock, why don’t ya’ll click the links below and read 4 blog posts that spoke to me this week.

1. Life of a Binge Eater – It Starts Slow:  The ever funny, totally cute, and inspiring Emily shares with us her experiences with binge eating. In this eloquent post, Emily outlines how her disorder started slow and grew. She shares some advice on how to determine if you are headed towards BED.

2. Four Steps to Becoming an Early Bird:  Mizfit shares her advice on how to adopt the habit of becoming a morning exerciser.

3.  A $49,286.25 Gift: Robbie the witty, somewhat sarcastic, and all around bada$$ behind Fat Girl vs. World shares about the gift that her recent surgery has afforded her and challenges each of us to make every moment count.NOW!

4. Brat: Krissie talks about getting out of her own way so that she can have the things she really wants.

Any blog posts that I missed? Leave them in the comments and I’ll check them out on Sunday afternoon!

Work it Out Wednesday: Best Body Bootcamp Week 1

Good morning!  I hope this Wednesday morning finds you enjoying a beautiful day.  I am sitting here at my computer, sipping on piping hot cup of coffee, and savoring the silence.  My days are often hectic, busy, and LOUD so I really cherish the few moments of quiet each morning before the day really gets start.

So last Monday, Tina  launched Round 4 of her famous #BestBodyBootcamp.  And boy did week 1 kick my butt….  But before we get to that, let’s take a look at my official starting point.

start of bootcamp

My offical starting weight was 150. I wanted to take measurements but time got away from me. I will take measurements today and share them next week.  Bootcamp is 8 weeks long, so my goal is to lose 8 pounds brining me to a finishing weight of 142.

Now, let’s talk about the workouts.  Can you say challenging?  Each week, Tina gives the participants 3 weight workout and 2 cardio workouts, with the option of adding a 3rd cardio workout in if you are feeling up to it.  For the first phase (each bootcamp is broken into 4 2-week phases), the weight workouts were comprised of 2 full body + cardio circuit workouts and a core + cardio circuit.  The cardio workouts were 2 interval workouts that are scaleable to each person’s fitness level.

Since I am babying my knee right now, I opted to use the treadmill and walk for my interval workouts.  Following Tina’s guidelines, I managed to burn close to 250 calories in a mere 40 minutes – just walking.  That’s pretty good.  And by week’s end, every muscle group in my body was sore – indicating that I had been challenged.

While the workouts repeat in the first and second week of each phase, Tina makes minor tweaks – like changing the lifting count – which keeps your body guessing and alleviates boredom.  And just about the time, you think you’ve got it ….BAM…..a new phase starts along with new workouts.

Okay, so can you tell I’m a fan of #BestBodyBootcamp??  If working up a good sweat and having sore muscles wasn’t motivation enough, I have dropped 2 lbs in the first week of bootcamp.  WOW!

Well, I hear my daughter calling which means it’s time for cartoons and cuddles.  I’ll catch ya later.

So tell me, have you every done Tina’s #bestbodybootcamp?  What workout are you loving this week?