My Final T25 Results

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Yes! I did it! (Or nailed it! as my fellow Shaun T fans would say.) After four months I have completed the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Gamma Hybrid rounds of Focus T25. I am now 6 months postpartum and feeling very fit. Husband and I have now done Insanity twice, the Asylum twice and completed T25…do we get some sort of medal for that? I mean, it’s a serious accomplishment.

6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum
6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum

I love my results from T25. I am stronger , my muscles are more defined, my endurance is way better and I feel good. After a couple of months of T25 we added an extra 5 minutes to our workouts. Shaun T posts an extra 5 minutes to his Facebook everyday and being the loyal followers we are, we do them diligently. I’m also still getting at least 10,000 steps a day (thanks Fitbit!). The more I do, the better I feel and the better I feel the more I want to do. Getting back in to shape has encouraged me to eat healthier, be more active and definitely helps keep my anxiety at bay.

before and after Focus T25!
before and after Focus T25!

Event though I am happy with how I look and love my new muscles, getting back into shape has become so much more than improving my appearance. Being fit involves the health of my body, my mind and my soul. When I began T25 I was 6 weeks postpartum and far from healthy. My blood pressure and hormones have been WAY out of whack since giving birth. I was still suffering with anxiety and panic attacks. Even though I exercised through my entire pregnancy, I had managed to become very weak and lost lots of muscle mass during my hospital stay and recovery. Starting T25 was very difficult. I mostly stuck to the modifications. I felt sick some days. I had trouble catching my breath. I was disappointed in my abilities and knew I had a long road ahead of me.

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Throughout the 4 month program I watched myself grow stronger each week. After a couple of weeks I didn’t need the modifications any longer. After the first month I could complete every move and cardio sequence. Every week got better, and I became happier and more confident as each month passed. Now, I look forward to my workouts. I love being pushed to my limits. I love my body, stretch marks and all, because I love how strong it is. I have been healing my mind, body and soul all along.

Go me!
Go me!

Next on our list? P90X3. We start today and I am excited, but a little apprehensive. I’ve been with Shaun T for sooo long, not sure how I’m going to handle Tony from P90x… stay tuned for my review and results!

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Cheers!

20 Weeks Postpartum Progress

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Guess who finished the Gamma round of Focus T25 yesterday?!? That’s right. Husband, our friend Bella and myself all completed the third month of  T25 and I am still loving it. We have just one month left and then I think I will actually be sad to leave Shaun T and start a new workout program, but I can talk more about that in a month. I’m proud of my progress over the last 4 weeks, and I think a few little changes (plus the ridiculously intense workouts) may have done the trick.

This month has been a little different because we have added 5 extra minutes 5 days a week. Shaun T has been posting 5 minutes of workouts to do in addition to your regular workout on his Facebook page. They are freakin’ nuts. How does one come up with workout moves like the “single arm plank crunches” or the “double heisman to taps”? Most days we workout at 6:30am and do the 5 extra minutes as soon as the T25 workout of the day is over. I’ve got to say it is the greatest way to start your day, although Husband would disagree.

There is something so rewarding in getting your workout done so early. I feel very productive by 7am and ready for the day. For some reason, if we wait until the afternoon to workout, I feel like I can’t get started. I am not, and have never been, a morning person, so if I don’t workout when I get up I take FOREVER to start anything. I tend to do nothing, but feed Luna and drink coffee. At some point I’ll realize The View is on and remember the importance of getting off my butt and doing things. BUT when I workout in the morning I am ready. I drink my coffee while getting ready and manage to do a day’s worth of chores and errands before most people are up in the morning.

Another new thing I’m trying this month is a Fitbit. If you don’t know what a Fitbit is you are seriously missing out! It’s really just a super fancy pedometer, but it connects with an app on your phone and charts how far you walk, how many calories you burn, how many steps you take and how many very active minutes you have during the day. You can also log your sleep and create a food plan. I assumed two things when I got my Fitbit, 1) I was already getting at least 10,000 steps a day and 2) it wouldn’t make a difference if I wore a bracelet telling me how far I walk. I was very very wrong.

It is a lot harder to get 10,000 steps in a day than I thought, especially since I spend a lot of time sitting and feeding Luna. Also, being the competitive person that I am, it makes a HUGE difference to see all of my activity documented everyday. Not to mention, Bella and Husband also have one so now we all compete for “most steps”. It’s very addicting. I can’t tell you how often we march in place while talking on the phone, brushing our teeth or watching TV. It has definitely encouraged us to get up and move much more often.

So with T25, an extra 5 minutes and lots of steps, these are the results I’ve seen.

front progress2progress2I’m very happy with my transformation over the last 20 weeks. Only 4 weeks left of T25!

Any suggestions on what workout I should try next?

Cheers!

 

 

Fat Free

As a teenager and young adult I was pretty typical in the sense that I thought I was fat and tried a million different unhealthy strategies to stay skinny. I exercised non-stop, tried a million yo-yo diets, stopped eating altogether at one point and of course, survived on a myriad of “fat-free”, “low-fat” and “sugar-free” products. From what I remember, many teens at that time dieted on these supposedly healthy options. If we only knew what we know now we could have saved ourselves a lot of health problems, money and wasted time.

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In high school, I remember my physics teacher getting really upset about someone eating a fat-free yogurt. She said something to the extent of “None of you should be eating these fat-free foods! They’re terrible for you!” I remember thinking she must be concerned with eating disorders or something. I don’t know why she didn’t take the time to explain herself. In college, I became more and more involved with my health and began actually researching ways to remain thin and healthy. I was shocked when I discovered that things like fake-sugar can not only cause terrible diseases like cancer, but that they have proven to have no effect on weight loss!

I was shocked and appalled that all these food companies had been lying to me for so many years. This just inspired me to dig deeper and learn a lot more about what I’m putting into my body. Thanks to the Internet and the ability to gather and share critical information so easily, I have learned much more about the various disgusting things that most of us eat: fake sugar, fake food colors, preservatives and a ridiculous amount of chemicals. These chemicals are wreaking havoc to our bodies, but it’s so hard, like really hard, to cut them out.

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I’m a mostly healthy eater, but even I have to admit that I love some pretty crappy foods… hot fries, reese’s cups, taco bell, fast food fries and sour gummy worms are all some of my favorite treats. Over the last year, especially since having Luna, I have put in an extra effort to cut out processed fake foods, but damn, it’s hard! Honestly, cutting out fake sugar has been mostly easy. I’d much rather a real sugar product over a fake sugar, or diet, one. The only problem is, fake sugar sneaks into so much stuff.

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I learned the hard way that basically anything that claims to be “sugar-free”, “lite”, “diet”, “fat-free”, “low-fat”, “less sugar” or “zero calories” actually means “full of fake sugar and chemicals to make the product taste better”. I hate that I have to read virtually every food label now, but it’s often the only way to be sure that I’m eating real food and not a bunch of chemically engineered crap. What’s worse is that many food companies do not even have to put all of their ingredients on their labels. They are actually allowed to sneak that shit into their products and not tell us.vodka

Anyways, I’ll step off my soap box for a minute to get to my point. As of lately, I am eating way less processed and frozen foods. I haven’t managed to cut them completely out because come on? Who seriously has the time and money to always eat fresh food? Not me. Since eating more fresh, real, organic food and drinking tons more water I am feeling unbelievably better! I look better, my skin is clearer, my hair is healthier and I am rarely bloated.

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I don’t deprive myself of stuff I crave either. Instead, if cutting carbs, snacks and desserts out of my diet completely, I just find healthier versions. I still eat carbs and chocolate and other things I crave (moderately, of course) and I am not gaining weight….at all. However, weight is not a priority anymore either. I want to be fit and healthy and I want to create healthy habits for my daughter. I think I’m on the right track and I hope to stay on this path for the rest of my very long life!

Cheers!

Postnatal Workout Update

Alright, we did it. We completed the first 5 weeks of Focus T25, the “alpha” round, as it’s called. I have eaten healthier, not exactly healthy all the time, but healthier. In fact, didn’t eat any chips, except while we were in Texas. But, how can anyone go to the land of Tex-Mex and not eat chips and salsa?! They couldn’t and wouldn’t. Actually, we did a great job sticking to our “get healthy” postnatal workout plan except the time spent in Texas. We were on vacation and visiting family so we may have splurged a little when it came to food aannndd we may have missed a couple of workouts. Woops.

Even after having an entire “cheat week” I am still seeing results and feeling stronger. This T25 business is for real. It is an intense workout with zero breaks and I am still sore almost daily, especially after double days! Speaking of double days I’d like to point out this isn’t exactly a 25 minute workout.. Monday through Thursday is a 25 minute workout with a 2 -3 minute cool down. I guess you could skip the cool down if you are really set on only doing 25 minutes. Then, Fridays are “double days”, meaning you do not one, but two of the 25 minute workouts plus both cool downs. So, Fridays are basically an hour. Again, you could just skip the 2nd workout, but it seems silly to do the program, but not do it full out.

t25

Since we have a newborn there have been some challenges added to our daily workout regimen. Sometimes I squeeze in a workout while Luna naps, sometimes she’s happy to watch us from her oscillating chair and sometimes I have to stop halfway through to tend to her and finish the second half later. We often even hold her during the cool-down or while doing some modifications. “Whatever it takes” and “no excuses” are our mottos lately.

My health is better too. I am down from 16 blood pressure pills after having Luna to only 2 a day, and I will hopefully be down to zero in the next month. Yay me! I also feel 90% back to normal.

We still have about 2 months left (the beta and the gamma rounds), but here’s my progress so far:

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1month
First picture is 6 weeks postpartum and second picture is 11 weeks postpartum.

I’m 11 weeks postpartum and I’m proud of my progress and hard-work. I’d like to see my abs tone up, but I think that won’t happen until I really cut out the crap in my diet. Can’t wait to see how strong I am at the end of this program. I hope to be 100% feeling normal, off all my blood pressure medicine, happy and healthy!

Cheers!

Staying Strong, and Why You Should Join Me

Our "flex Friday" photo for Shaun T
Our “flex Friday” photo for Shaun T

We are now three weeks into our T25-eat-healthtier-no-chips-post-partum plan. We have not only stayed on the schedule with Shaun T and T25, but we are doing it with friends a few days a week. I have also been making it a point to get outside and take walks when it’s actually sunny and nice out. AND, I have had zero chips! Yay me! I’m not eating completely healthy all the time, but it’s getting better. I’m even making dinner most nights, which is proof that miracles do happen. (And, I’m not talking frozen pizzas either.)

go team!
go team!
Got our own fitness group!
Got our own fitness group!

 

If you are on in the process of trying to get into  habit of exercising, or maybe you’ve just slacked off lately, I’d like to challenge you to get back to it. Find a friend, family member, or significant other to do it with you or at least hold you accountable. It makes a HUGE difference when you have someone who is depending on you, challenging you and motivating you. Set your alarm, get up and get it done. You will be so glad you did, and here’s why!

1. You will be happier. Take it from a person who battles anxiety, panic and her share of depression… those endorphins do wonders for the mind! Anytime you are feeling down, just get up and get your heart rate going. Sweat a little and I guarantee you feel better and happier. Sometimes just stretching or taking a walk can prevent a panic attack for me.

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Working out with this smiley baby doesn’t hurt either!

2. You will look better. Yeah, yeah, we should work out to have a strong heart, a clear mind and better joints, blah blah blah. You will also have a nice ass, abs, killer legs and cut arms. Seriously, though, exercising gives you confidence and when you are confident and feel good, you look hot. You don’t actually need a six-pack or a cellulite-free bottom to look hot, either.

My body is completely different after having a baby, but I'm super proud of what my body has been through and what it's capable of. I love being strong.
My body is completely different after having a baby, but I’m super proud of what my body has been through and what it’s capable of. I love being strong.

3. You will live longer. For all the reasons listed above…you will be happier, healthier and a better version of yourself. With reduced stress, lower blood pressure and a positive outlook you have a much higher percentage of living longer. So, join me, start a plan, get moving and let me know how you’re feeling!

I want a healthy body so I can keep up with this one once she's mobile!
I want a healthy body so I can keep up with this one once she’s mobile!

I’ll report back in two weeks with our first photos of progress after the first 5 weeks of T25. Happy Saturday!

This was our lovely Saturday morning...a walk around the lake.
This was our lovely Saturday morning…a walk around the lake.

Cheers!

 

 

I’m Sorry Shaun T

Tonight, I will make each of you feel better about yourself. While I did manage to workout this morning…I think I pretty much voided any good it may have done for me. I ate halfway decent through the day with every intention of eating a super healthy dinner tonight, but then…then I asked Husband to make dinner.

We just ate several beer-battered fish crunchy tacos, and because Husband didn’t want to waste the left-over batter we had homemade donuts for dessert. Donuts that were topped with powdered sugar and chocolate-chip ice cream. We did not eat a little of anything. We just ate EVERYTHING and it was damn good.

Husband’s logic is that if it’s homemade it’s healthy. I don’t think Shaun T would agree.

shaun t

After we stuffed our faces, while sitting on the couch and watching Dancing With The Stars, Husband looks at me and says, “Shaun T is going to be sooo mad at us.” We’ve been with Shaun T for so long, done all his workouts, follow him on too many social media outlets and talk about him like we are actually friends…it’s kind of pathetic. We often use Shaun T guilt to motivate each other.

If only that guilt kept us from indulging in the worst possible foods. Eh…I guess we can always do T25 twice tomorrow.

That probably won’t happen.

Cheers!

 

My Postnatal Eating Plan

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I spent way too much time in high school dieting (i.e. starving myself) to “diet” as an adult. Truth is, I grew up and learned how unhealthy I was as a teenager (skinny does not equal healthy) and learned that eating real and healthy food is much better than no food at all. I began eating less fried food and adding way more fruits and veggies to my diet. Then, around 6 years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. Although, a year ago I started eating seafood again. The technical term for that is “pescatarian”, but I feel very douchey anytime I say that word. Basically, I’ve been a mostly healthy eater for a while now.

anti-anxiety

My diet is healthy, but I do not diet…that makes sense, right? Typically, I do not cut foods out of my diet either. I think the phrase, “everything in moderation” is tried and true. So, if I want fries or a dark chocolate bar, I have some. However, I share my fries and I eat the chocolate bar over a few days. I stuck to my regular diet during pregnancy, worked out regularly and gained about 28 pounds. After having Luna, I was sick, did not eat for 5 days, lost 30 pounds WAY too quickly and therefore ate whatever the hell I wanted once I felt better. NOW, I’m back to the regular diet again, but I’m about to do some tweaking.

chocolate

I stopped counting calories and weighing myself after my high school obsession. Instead, I focus on how I feel, look and how my clothes fit. Since, I am breastfeeding I need more calories than the average bear, but I also need to eat healthy because what I eat, she eats. My stomach is much softer than it used to be so I’d like to tighten that up. AND, I want to keep my anxiety at bay. Diet and exercise have a huge effect on stress and anxiety. I need a plan that will help me eat healthy, tone up and ease anxiety.

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Here’s what I’m doing for the next few months (simultaneously with my “prenatal workout plan“.

-First, I am cutting out chips. Why? Because I have no self-control when it comes to chips. I cannot just eat a few. I always eat the entire bag, no matter the size, in one sitting. No good comes from chips, so while I get back into shape, chips are forbidden. (I almost deleted this one.)

-I am eating protein every morning. Studies show that eating protein in the AM can ward off anxiety throughout the day. It gives you more energy and keeps your blood sugar stable. Bring on the eggs!

-I am limiting caffeine. I know caffeine makes you jittery and heightens anxiety, but I am stubborn and do not want to cut it out, like ever. I am a passionate coffee drinker. Coffee is what I think about as I lie my head down at night because I cannot wait to wake up and drink a large hot mug of coffee on the couch. It’s a lovely tradition and one cup in the morning will not put me in a panic.

caffeine

– I am drinking a butt-load of water. Dehydration, even the tiniest bit makes you feel awful and definitely affects your mood. The more water I drink the better I feel, physically and mentally.

-I will start eating more vitamin B. Apparently, this vitamin affects your brains  neurotransmitters which fights anxiety. So, I’ll be adding more cauliflower, salmon, eggs, nuts and leafy greens. BTW, I tried making the trendy Mashed Cauliflower everyone keeps raving about and I failed miserably. I’ll stick to mashed potatoes for now.

-I am going to eat foods with more tryptophan. This is the stuff helps you sleep better…nuts, soy products, eggs, tofu, and fish all have tryptophan and are all a part of my healthy eating plan.

-Sadly, I must eat less dairy. I am lactose-intolerant and this can cause irritability and moodiness. During the pregnancy, I ate way more dairy than I ever do because I craved it like crazy. Now, I am trying really hard to cut it out again, but it is so not easy. How can I eat Mexican food and not eat cheese??? It just isn’t right.

-I am eating more healthy fats and fatty acids. Fatty acids actually have a huge impact on your brain and mood. I will be eating a lot of avocados, fish and raw nuts.

-I am also trying to cut out the majority of processed foods. That crap is just crap that can’t be good for our bodies or our minds. I know I won’t cut them out completely, but I’m making an effort to eat way more real and fresh foods.

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That’s the plan. I’ll still snack on popcorn, get dessert when we go out and share fries with Husband..definitely not depriving myself. After the next few months I think I’ll not only be ready to hit the beach, but I’m also hoping to be in a calmer state of mind. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to cut out the anxiety meds altogether, but that’s not my main concern. I just want to be healthy, happy and a good role model for Luna.

Cheers!

My Postnatal Workout Plan

Like many new Moms, I’m anxious to get back to my normal body again. I LOVED being pregnant, seriously, it made me feel awesome 99% of the time. I felt so beautiful. My skin was clear, my hair was thick and shiny, my nails were long, my anxiety was gone and I don’t know…there’s just something about carrying around a little life inside of you that makes you feel like a badass. I worked very hard to remain fit and healthy during pregnancy too.

Woop, woop! Still working out! It's not easy, but it's worth it!

I worked out 6 days a week. I even created several “10 Minute Prenatal Workouts” here. I ate mostly healthy and was in a great state of mine. Unfortunately, I still had a very difficult delivery and an awful recovery, but it would have been even worse if I hadn’t been so proactive during the pregnancy. I thought I’d be getting back into fighting shape before now, but who could have foreseen such a traumatic first month? Now, at 6 weeks postpartum, I am released and feeling SO much better!

I’m still battling a few health concerns, but I’ll talk more on that another time. For now, let’s talk exercise! I started doing yoga a few times a week a couple of weeks ago, and I even did one day of Insanity with Husband over the weekend…just to test my cardio and get a feel for it again. It was incredibly hard! Yesterday, I officially started Focus T25 by Sean T.

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6 weeks postpartum

Focus T25 is an intense workout that is only 25 minutes a day. I LOVE Sean T and have already completed Insanity and Asylum Volumes 1 & 2, so I figure this is the perfect postpartum workout. It’s challenging, but offers modifications, and I can squeeze it in while Luna naps and still have time to shower. I had a little bit of doubt before starting because 25 minutes just seems too short to get in as good of a workout as Insanity, but after only 2 days I’m sold!

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Six weeks off and all the medication and downtime I’ve had has certainly had its toll. My cardio is horrible! And, holy cow are my legs sore! I love it though, being sore makes me feel like I really did something. I’ve had to do a few modifications, but I don’t think I’ll have to for too long. It’s nice that modifications are even offered.

Husband is doing it with me which helps A LOT. We are very competitive and keep each other motivated. I can’t wait to see our results at the end of the program. (I took pics of him too, but he would be less than happy if I shared them with you.) While Focus T25 will be my main workout, I don’t think it will be the only thing we do. I’m going to try to squeeze in yoga a couple of times a week. Plus, we are just an active family anyways, so hiking, walks around the park and dancing around the house will be happening often, I’m sure.

I’ll update you on our progress every couple of weeks or so. In a couple of days, I’ll be writing about my new healthy eating plan too. I’m going to see how a few changes will affect my anxiety and other health issues over the next few months. Wish me luck!

Cheers!