Tag: fitness

Fitness Challenge – Take Two!

So when I say “challenge,” I mean this as a challenge to myself. I want to challenge myself to push a little farther, a little harder, and consistently. I want to make myself number one while still making time for everything I have to complete. I want to be healthier. I want to enjoy the holidays and get myself ready for the next chapter of my life – The Family Chapter.

That means I am challenging myself to pick myself up where I fell in Movetober, dust myself off, and get right back at it. That is why this month will be filled with some intense exercising and healthy meals!

My promise to you is that on October 31st, I will post my measurements, weight, and photos to show where I am starting and effective November 1st, I will be pushing myself to do better! Yes, I will be moving at one point during the month, but I will just simply need to factor that in since now I have a plan and am not surprised by changes…

This month, I am also working on my fitness when and where I know I can – at home. While I love going to my smaller gym, getting there after a long day can seem impossible. Plus, getting in a quality full gym workout is not always 100% possible – there are days where time is not on your side. So in lieu of over-promising and under-delivering, I have opted to join the LSF family!

Change is good.

If you don’t know what LSF is, Katie Dunlop is a Certified Personal Trainer in Orange County, California, that I have been following on YouTube for months now. She also has her own website and app that you can follow with easy but effective workouts even when you’re crunched for time.
I found myself really gravitating to her plan because of her story – she was overweight, unhappy with fads, and with a thyroid condition, she opted to take charge of her life and find her happiness. Sounds familiar…

So I paid the 1-month membership, got 7 days free, and downloaded her app. I have previously participated in some of her free workouts and I have to say that they really drum up a sweat!! So I know that I am in for it with her app workouts but I want to continue my journey and improve my health – NO EXCUSES.

If you want to join me on the journey, follow my Instagram at @msbelladaniela. I will post updates and even chat live! I want you all to be a part of this journey and keep me responsible!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried LSF or another workout routine? How do you make time to stay physically active?

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Movetober Challenge – Check-Ins 2 & 3

Yikes. This was NOT the month to start a fitness challenge apparently. Just when I thought it was going to be a smooth month that would allow me the time I needed to focus on school and fitness, one major life-changing moment after another was announced! If you haven’t read my post from last week on my moving announcement, both my husband and I were graciously given opportunities to advance our careers in SoCal. However, that meant we needed to find a place, pack, and move in under a month!

So that being said, my Movetober Challenge was more like a “squeeze exercise in however and whenever possible” challenge. I have been meeting and exceeding my move goal every day (thank you iWatch for keeping me on target) and even made time to actually work out when I could – even if that meant 9 pm at night!

So what is in store for week 04? More of the same! This is crunch time for packing and if you didn’t already know…that IS a work out in and of itself.

But have I seen any improvements to date? YES! So setting my mind to actually work out every day gave me the motivation to meet those daily goals, and even INCREASE them. I took advantage of any opportunity to sneak in a few minutes of exercise whether that was a brisk 15-minute walk during my morning break or doing 7-minute work out challenges at lunch (yep, there is an app for that) or I’ll even sneak in wall-sits for a minute or two when I’m on a conference call!

Yeah, okay so I know you’re saying these are a lot of excuses and what are my results? While the scale hasn’t gone down, it hasn’t gone up either. I have also noticed a lot of non-scale wins like my pants fitting differently or that I was able to finish some workouts (Peloton for the win) without being completely worn out.

I want to still keep pushing myself and working on my physical, mental, and spiritual health. I want to make sure that during this chaotic time, I don’t forget about what is important. I want to make sure I continue to make wise choices and remain positive.

So inquiring minds want to know… What has been your most chaotic time in 2019? How did you overcome those challenges?

Movetober Challenge – Check-In 1

A day late, dollar short…isn’t that how the saying goes? What do they say about 3 days late? Oh man. I failed in my first week in more than one way!

If you can forgive the negligence, this is the first check-in for Movetober and I learned a lot during the first week of the month!

So when you’re traveling, exercising and eating well are immediately pushed to the back of your mind. It’s like your body knows that I left my general zip code so everything important is now historically archived until you return. Needless to say that when I was out of town for 2 days, all attempts at exercising was futile. And if I am going to be perfectly honest, day 3 didn’t happen either because I was mentally and physically drained.

Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t move or meet my calorie-burning goal, at least per my iWatch, but I certainly didn’t adhere to my planned regimen. In fact, I forgot to even pack workout attire -not that it would’ve mattered because I had zero unscheduled/leisure time.

So week 1 was a wash and when it came to check-in, I was so busy with all of the tasks that normally would’ve been done during my vacation that I was go-go-go from 8:30 AM till I passed out.

Now that I have admitted defeat and confessed, I am back on the bandwagon. I even increased my goal on my iWatch and am trying to wake up earlier to make sure that exercising isn’t forgotten – even when I come home late and exhausted. I am keeping myself honest and realizing that perhaps my goals were a bit more aggressive than what I can actually accomplish. So am I giving up? Nope. But I am going to make sure that I am staying honest and staying committed!

So inquiring minds want to know… Do you prefer at-home workouts or do you go to a gym? What regimen do you use in the gym or at home?

Movetober Challenge

The weather has shifted officially. October is here and we are in the home stretch of 2019. I officially am consuming PSL everything.

So with the holidays quickly approaching, I want to kick myself into high gear and prepare for the inevitable, and absolutely never avoidable (no matter how hard you try), holiday feasting and festivities! So with that being said, starting October 1st, I am starting my own fitness challenge!

Some of you may recall my weight loss from the past year and how I ballooned at 200 pounds after some major challenging life milestones. I was not eating healthy. I had stopped taking care of myself. I then had compounded health issues which kept making matters worse. I was getting depressed. I didn’t want to interact with friends or family. I wanted to burrow my sorrows in junk and then cry about how I viciously kept doing that. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I hated myself.
That is why I harbor so much on getting healthy, being healthy, and that this is a journey and not a race!

So for the month of October, I am renaming it to Movetober and initiating a challenge – GET MOVING! My goal is to hit the minimum of the items on my calendar below. Every week I will do a Sunday check-in starting with the 6th and share results, obstacles, and wins!

If you want to join me, print the workout calendar above, follow me on Instagram, and comment below! I cannot wait to share results with you and make Movetober a success!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you ever participated in a fitness challenge before? What areas do you want to work on – lose weight, gain muscle, maintain?

Amazon Favorites – April

So it is almost June and I am way behind! I had to take a couple of weeks off because of an illness (see last post for more details) but now that I’m back, I need to get on schedule!

Also, I will be rolling out two new series for my IG and blog! First will be my smoothie recipes and menu. I will post more about this during the week, but my smoothies are daily concoctions that I make for myself, my husband, and some of my friends and have seen amazing results! One of my friends has lost over 15 pounds with just the smoothies alone! The second series will be about skincare. I am not a makeup junkie, but I am all about taking care of my skin and my body. Every Sunday will now be Skincare Sunday and I will test and report on different skincare items; some may be first impressions, others may be tried and true.

But on to the Amazon favorites! I will link each product below, or the closest version if it is not currently available. Please please remember that Amazon prices are subject to change! Also, for the sake of transparency, each link is an affiliate link but it does not change the price or cost you anything.

This is one of my favorite investments for my small kitchen! If you know me, you know I love to cook, but sometimes cooking all weekend to meal prep is impossible and cooking every night is simply not going to happen. So purchasing this beauty (even though April’s purchase was a gift because I have 2 at home), has been a lifesaver. It has helped cut down on cooking time, keeps meats moist, and has made sure we eat out less because of “dump and cook” meals! I even make our doggie’s human-grade food every week and they have gotten so much HEALTHIER!
Click here for the 6 quart (currently $69)

Do you have curly hair or hair that tangles often? Have you been using a wide-tooth comb? Do you fear every time you have to detangle? Say no more! That was me too until I found this brush that I could have sworn was a gimmick until I detangled my curly hair – wet AND dry. This brush fits in the contours of your hand so it is easy to hold and with short/long bristles, it easily brushes out even the worst knots. And the best part is that it also massages the scalp without any damage. I barely have any fall out when I detangle too which is night and day from what I would be left with before.
Please do not hesitate and get this! Just keep an eye on the price because I got mine for $9.99 and it is now $16.

Once I started to hit the gym more for muscle building and not just weight loss, I needed something to help protect my neck and shoulders from the barbell and I came across this wonder! For only $12.49, I use this every time I do squats, pelvic thrusts, and any other exercise where the barbell is resting directly on my body. I keep this in my gym bag and clean it after every use. It provides a lot of cushion without disrupting the exercise.
It comes in multiple colors but I bought my black one here.

Available in multiple colors and sizes, I have bought this blanket 3 times over -once as a gift and twice for our master and guest beds. Every time someone stays over or we crash for the night during the summer months, this blanket is amazing! It is light weight but still warm enough that when the AC is blasting, you are not cold. It has a little waffle design on there so it is aesthetically pleasing while being functional. It is not warm enough for winter but we use it during spring, summer, and fall without any issues! It is great quality and washes easily in the washing machine and can be dried as well.
Each size and color is a different price, but I bought this one for the guest bed for $35.99.

Another item I have on Subscribe & Save is this collagen powder! This is a new addition to my daily protein smoothies that I make to help my bones, my skin, my hair, and joints. It is unflavored and will mix easily in any smoothie or shake. All you need is a scoop (included) and it makes a world of a difference. It is easy to digest too so there is no need to take 6 tablets or try and drink a flavored concoction. I purchase one every month.
You can give this a try too by purchasing it here.

So tell me… have you tried any of these products? What is your opinion? Are you using something that I should try? Comment below!

Health: Weight Loss Check-In

I sincerely wanted to share an update on my health journey. There have been a number of changes just within the past couple of weeks!

First and foremost, while I loved OrangeTheory, the schedule wasn’t ideal for my workdays and I guess the word got out because the classes were always packed! Therefore I had to terminate that membership…for now. And since CycleBar started to become more like SoulCycle: The Teenie Bob edition, that member was also cancelled.

But locally we have a full fledged gym, similar to LA Fitness if you have seen those. I was fortunate enough to get a discount because of where I work and signed up myself and the hubster. This was one of the best moves we have made! We can go on our schedule and spend as much or as little time as we want. We can do cardio or machines or weights or participate in classes or swim… And even though we don’t have a trainer, YouTube has become a great way to educate oneself on exercises and regimens!

But more importantly than how I exercise is what I am eating. They say weight loss is 80-90% diet and 10-20% exercise and I believe it! I am not doing a fad diet or signed up for a coaching program or drinking detox anything. I am eating cleaner, more vegetarian and making myself my own smoothie every weekday!

I will update you more on the smoothies and new items that I introduced into my diet in my next post but I wanted to leave you all with photographic evidence that what I am doing is working!

In just my face alone my hair is more radiant, my skin is clear, and the shape of my face has slimmed down a lot! And before you try and call my bluff, these are both done with the same filter and in natural sunlight and yes I am wearing makeup in both photos. These are one year apart almost to the day and you can now see my cheekbones again and my jawline whereas before my face was more round that oval.

It isn’t easy and there are some days I look in the mirror and want to say it doesn’t matter or it’s not enough but that defeating behavior is what got me to balloon in weight in the first place. Down almost 25 pounds in a healthy way without giving up my vices or taking medication is arduous but doable.

And the best part is when I step on the scale, which is just one indicator in my health journey, and can say I hit my first milestone and each day gets better. And my support system has also made each workout or shedded pound that much more rewarding.

So here is to the next phase of the journey! Please let me know if you are interested is being a part of the journey too.

Healthy Journey – You Are What You Eat

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend of mine and she asked me an interesting question which started a 30+ minute conversation and then got me thinking that maybe I should make a post about this… We chatted about how I am working on my health and losing weight and regaining my life back. She was very happy for me and asked me what I changed in my diet to support the weight loss because it is common knowledge that weight loss and fitness is more than just exercise and it in fact starts in the kitchen!

While there is more to my fitness journey than food, like supplements and vitamins, no one wants to read a 20-page blog post (I’ll save that for my dissertation). Below is a view into what my diet consists of and why.

Breakfast

This is always drilled into us as the most important meal of the day and the skipping this is detrimental. Well, I have to admit that breakfast is almost never on the table (ha, literally) for me -weekdays or weekends. I usually wake up around 6:30am during the weekdays (and that is after hitting snooze a few times) and have to get ready for work and out the door in a little over an hour (yep, I push it close). So sitting down to have toast or cereal or oatmeal…none of that is on my morning list of things to do. So long as I have a few minutes to have my coffee and grab the headlines, I am good to go.

Now you could say I should wake up at 6:00am and make time for a meal but beyond time, I am also simply not hungry. I do not want, nor find the need, to consume calories when I am not hungry. It is almost like eating just for the sheer fact of eating and that is not at all necessary. In fact, the days that I eat breakfast like when I am on a vacation or at a conference, I feel sluggish and bloated.

So what do I have? I have my coffee with almond milk and agave, along with a few vitamins that I can take on an empty stomach, and I’m good to go. I gave up dairy milk about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back though I do consume dairy-based cheese and ice cream so this is not due to an lactose intolerance. I just simply did not like the taste of dairy milk nor did I like the treatment of cows to get said milk but that is for another day. I use agave over stevia or sugar or any other sweetener for a few reasons. Agave is a natural sweetener from the blue agave cactus so if you have ever had tequila, you’ve basically had agave. It has a lower glycemic rating than sugar and because it is liquid, it will mix better in hot or cold beverages. It has a slight earthy taste by itself but once mixed with my coffee, it cannot be tasted. I have tried stevia and have not liked the taste or aftertaste so I stopped testing the 1385 variations I found in the grocery stores. I don’t like other sugar alternatives because of the chemical compounds and eventual breakdown (equal and sweet-n-low have been linked to unsafe levels chlorine once dissolved).

Morning Snack

If I start to feel hungry, I will grab a handful of raw or roasted, unsalted almonds. Almonds are low in fat and have been recently linked to heart health when consumed on an empty stomach because it acts similar to fiber in pushing out that gunk. I may also have a banana to help with my potassium intake and my very small sweet tooth.

Lunch

This is always the heaviest meal of the day for me because I know I am going to be able to burn it throughout the day. I will make sure that I take the time to eat my meal too because a lot of times we are rushing through the day and scarf down whatever is available. I bring food from home that I cooked earlier in the week whenever possible and will make sure it is balanced with some sort of starch and some protein; when I have a salad, I will make sure to have a protein like tuna or chicken and a few crackers. This will keep me going throughout the day without feeling hungry. I also make sure to portion out my food and will usually only take one small individual-sized Pyrex with my whole lunch. Quick to heat and easy to eat.

Afternoon Snack 

When I feel a 3pm-dip coming on, I always have some sort of snack on hand that is not a candy. bar, a donut, or some other heavy food. Again, I tend to turn to a handful of almonds, a piece of fruit, or dark-chocolate raisins. Sometimes on the weekends, I will have some string cheese and a few crackers since I know dinner will most likely be late. If it is going to be a long day, I may snack on a protein bar or a granola bar as well. I will also have a detox tea without sugar or honey -this just helps keep my tummy full and regular without bloat or gas.

Dinner

First rule for me is that I will not eat a heavy dinner. Second, 7pm is my cutoff. Why? Because I know I need to be in bed by 10pm and sleeping by 10:30pm — sleep is one of the other BIG weight loss and healthy actions for the body and I need at least 8 hours. So when I do eat, I tend to have a like protein like chicken or fish and always have to have some sort of vegetable -salad, corn, asparagus, broccoli…

When I do workout, because of my work schedule, it happens to be at 6 or 6:30 in the evening so when I do eat “dinner” it is always after 7pm. When that is the case, my “dinner” is almost always the same –a good-sized bowl of greek yogurt with granola that I buy at Sprouts or Whole Foods and I will add chia seeds and flax. The chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein while the flax is a fiber-source; the yogurt is full of enzymes that help regulate my digestive tract as well as, for women, help with our lady parts; the granola serves also as a fiber and expands in the stomach to help me reach that “full” feeling and not feel deprived. Sometimes I may change things up and add a few shakes of my “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning from Trader Joe’s or a little honey for a hint of sweetness.

Dessert

Never ever deprive yourself of something because that is when you will fall off the wagon and spiral. Now I do not tend to have a sweet tooth but when I want something sweet, I have yogurt ice cream bars in my freezer which surprisingly are delicious (coffee flavored of course) or some fruit -cherries, watermelon, figs and peaches are my favorite when in season.

Water

Now this is what I like to call my secret weapon since I refuse to count calories, cut carbs, or heaven forbid drink those disgusting and useless shakes. Water is the staple for our bodies since we are over 70% water and every organ and system needs water to sustain operation. I actually have an app on my phone that reminds me to consume more water so on my days when I have horse-blinders on and forgot to even eat, I will always remember to drink my water. I drink over 100 ounces of water a day and when I have a workout day, that is the bare minimum.

When I feel adventurous and have the time, I like to add some flavor to my water by adding fruit or herbs. This helps keep things different, adds some vitamins and minerals, and serves as motivation to drink more. It is amazing how adding a few strawberries to your bottle will make you want more water.

Water also helps keep me feeling full so I will always drink a glass before a meal and I will have at least one glass during my meal, whatever that may be.

Miscellaneous

As I mentioned before, I do not and will not deprive myself of the things I enjoy just to shed a few pounds faster because when you have a “cheat day” or a special occasion, you are essentially counteracting everything you do on your other days and may even feel depressed which is detrimental to the success of the journey.

So when I want a beer or some wine, I will consume it in moderation and will make sure to balance it out with my meal, my workout, and my water consumption. For example, if I have a bottle of beer with dinner, I will have a glass of water as well. If I have some popcorn or chips, I will make sure that I will go an extra 10 minutes or take a small walk. If I have some tempting gelato or pizza, the next day will be a salad and few extra ounces of water.

I also have to mention that I will not turn to meal supplements like SlimFast or shakes that promise to help you lose weight. I have done more than enough research and those are all a part of fad diets. I do have protein powder in my kitchen and protein bars at my desk at work. I will admit that I have tried quite a gambit of shakes and meal replacements in my day and they are not effective, especially long term. Yes, you may feel better the first few days, but the longer you deprive yourself, the worse it gets and the harder it is to stay on track. Also, if you want the vitamins and minerals that these powder drinks offer, you may want to look at actual vitamins that your body, based on your needs, will actually help.

So tell me, what diet have you tried that has helped you? What is your daily food regimen?

Healthy Journey – Currently In Progress!

I want to preface that this is the first post of many regarding my fitness journey, but this is not the only thing my blog is about — there will be plenty of other goodies coming up!

Some of you may know that 2017 was a tumultuous year for me and my family. I started a new job with a very long commute, I got married, I postponed my honeymoon, I moved back in with my parents (and husband!), I survived my first hurricane with no power for a week, I relocated across the country in 4.5 days, I started a new job, and ultimately I had to give up some of my independence. So with all of that, the number one thing that took a back burner was my personal health!

I have always had some health issues and the past few years have been particularly problematic with medications and treatments. Those led to other issues and weight fluctuations which doctors wanted to start additional tests, treatments, and medications. Then I started a position that was extremely stressful which taught me just how taxing stress is on one’s overall health! Fast forward a couple of months and I am now driving across the country with my husband, two dogs, and a trailer which needless to say was QUITE stressful in itself.

Before I knew it, I stepped on a scale at my doctor’s office and hit 200 pounds. I had my blood work done and my stats were not at all ideal. It was at the point that I was gaining 1-2 pounds per week. My clothes no longer fit. I couldn’t sleep. I felt sluggish. I sat all day at my desk at work. I couldn’t wear anything other than flats and by time I got home, my feet were twice their normal size. Then I tried to take off my wedding band and it wouldn’t budge. That is when I lost it. I literally sat on the floor of my bedroom and cried. And cried. And then I decided I had enough. Enough medications, enough testing, enough doctor appointments, enough feeling sorry for myself, enough putting myself second.

So my husband and I, on April 13th, 2018, took measurements of our bodies as well as photos and decided that we were going to put ourselves first. He opted to use the gym in our complex and I enrolled at CycleBar to start spinning. Somewhere between sweating like I was in a sauna and being yelled at by the coach (she is amazing), I started to feel like me again – I found me.

Two months after starting spin, I decreased my 4x a week attendance to 2x a week and introduced Orange Theory Fitness. In the two months I had lost 16 pounds and wanted to start getting some of my strength back. So I opted to start going to Orange Theory 2x a week and push myself well outside of my comfort zone every time, but I know this is an uphill battle. In fact on July 7th I was able to jog on a treadmill for the first time in almost a decade!

Now I know that a lot of people say this but I really do not like to post photos of myself, especially in a bikini, especially when I was at my worst, but if I can prove to inspire just one person to get up, I know that this will be worth it. Ladies and gentlemen…the scale may not reflect the changes my body has undergone these past 3 months, but my non-weight victories are clear!

It is only the beginning, but through continuous physical activity, saying “yes” when my body wanted to say “heck no”, making some dietary changes (more about this in a future post), and wanting more out of my life, my health journey is clearly underway.

Now tell me… what health goals do you have? What questions do you have on exercise regimens? Comment below!