Fitness Friday: Fitness Blunders Pt. 2

Welcome back!

This post kind of continues from last week’s topic. If you remember, I talked about weekend laziness and unhealthy eating habits destroying your hard work during the week. I’m expanding on that concept a little tonight. Another reason you may not be seeing the fitness results you desire is because you’re using a caloric tracker inappropriately. I love to use MyFitnessPal to track what I eat. However, I use it as a reference. It is flawed and should not be used as exact science.

This is where calorie/food trackers get you in trouble. Just because you have a deficit in your caloric total; does not mean you should eat a donut, bowl of ice cream, or any other junk food. The entire purpose of living a healthy lifestyle is to be healthy. Those foods are not healthy…at all. An occasional ice cream or similar treat is fine, especially in social situations. However, you have to be careful about the regularity these situations are popping up. For instance, just because someone brought donuts; doesn’t mean you have to eat them. Or just because there is cake for someone’s birthday; doesn’t mean you have to eat a piece. Just say no. Save that unhealthy treat for your birthday.

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. With that being said, you don’t need to starve yourself either. You have to fuel your body for the exercise part of being healthy. If you do not consume enough calories, your metabolism will slow down. Your body will store fat and breakdown muscle.

Losing weight and being healthy is about WHAT you eat. What are you putting inside your body. There is a huge difference in a 400 calorie meal consisting of a 4 ounce lean meat, a vegetable, and a complex starch and eating 400 calories worth of macaroni and cheese.

Calorie trackers are not 100% accurate. They can easily be off a couple hundred calories. They can be way off if you aren’t correctly measuring and counting everything you consume. If you ate 2 of your kid’s unwanted chicken nuggets; you need to count that. Those have calories!!

I use my calorie tracker loosely. It helps me judge the serving size or portion of a food. If I’m looking at a 200 calorie snack, I can determine the calories in 130 grams of red grapes is about 91. How many grapes equate to 130 grams? Well, depending on the size, about 15-20 grapes. I need about 109 more calories. Almonds are a great source of fat and protein. Measure out 29 grams of raw, unsalted almonds. That equates to about a 1/4 cup and 160 calories. 91 + 160 = 251. That’s over my calories goal. Scale back the grams of grapes, because the almonds are nutritionally better and will keep you satisfied longer between meals. Or I could choose to eat a package of Little Debbie Swiss Roll for 270 calories and be hungry within the hour. You see…your food choices matter. The size of your food choice, healthy or not matters.

Food trackers can help you attain your goal, as long as you are willing to be honest about what you are consuming and the portion you are consuming.

A Full Plate

Suddenly my planner is full of scribbles.

Today was SP’s first day back at pre-school. Actually, she’s in pre-kindergarten! How in the world did that happen?! She had a great first day, playing with old and new friends. I’ve added the many school related activities to my calendar. Last week, SP told Hubby that she wasn’t having fun in gymnastics anymore. He asked her if she wanted to go back, and she said no. Not having her in some sort of extracurricular activity is not an option. She has so much energy to burn. With her sensory disorder, she craves more physical stimulation, like playing on the playground and sports. I enrolled her in a two week trial for karate. Now, my week is filled with gymnastics on Tuesday evenings, karate on Monday and Thursday, and starting next week Wednesday night church activities. I’ve also joined a YMCA in a nearby town to workout. It is cheaper to pay the monthly fee and workout there, with childcare, than to drive back home to run or weight lift with HP. I’m on the road quite a bit.

On top of being the personal chauffeur, I am preparing to lead my small group Bible study coming up. I didn’t realize the powerful message within the book of Ruth. It is so perfect for my season in life too. I cannot wait to share it with others.

I’m also planning HP’s first birthday. Yet another event happening that I’m cannot believe is already here. I feel like I just gave birth to him. He is such a big boy too. Monday he had another appointment with his dietitian. It takes four and a half hours to drive to the appointments, and that depends on Atlanta traffic. (There are always accident delays.) The trip takes all day. The appointment fell on SP’s meet the teacher night. Hubby decided to take HP by himself, while SP and I had a girls’ day. We received amazing news too. HP has been considered to have classical PKU, which is the severe type. We’ve been able to keep his levels (relatively) within the 2-6 treatment range. (An assigned number system to keep his phe level within that shows the lowest occurrence of adverse reactions.) All the while continuing to challenge his phe level tolerance. His dietitian is confident that with his growth, phe tolerance, and steady levels; we may be able to classify him as having moderate PKU. This means he could have more food choices and bigger measured portions of higher phe content. For example, he could possibility eat a baked potato with a little margarine and vegan cheese. (Opposed to a quarter of a plain baked potato, without margarine or cheese.) When or if, we decide to allow him to take Kuvan (the only FDA approved drug to help increase phe tolerance in some PKUers), he could have a more relaxed diet consisting of low protein vegan or gluten free meals. He will still be on a medical formula, but possibility not as much. The news doesn’t seem like much, but to me, it gives me hope. I still struggle with him having PKU, the reasoning behind it, and post-partum depression. One of my favorite songs at the moment is Even If by MercyMe. If you are in a season of struggle, this song is a must listen to. I also find hope in Mandisa’s Unfinished.

With all of the above going on, I’ve been playing with my embroidery machine too. I made SP a cute school shirt. I stayed up late last night to work on it. After working on it for 2 hours, on the last step of stitching out the monogram, I noticed the monogrammed was rotated upside down on the shirt. I was so upset! Instead of the machine rotating the entire design, it just rotated the monogram. So, I prepped the my last shirt to try it again in the morning. I went to bed at 11pm. I woke up at 4am to embroider the shirt. Yeah, you read that right. Two needle breaks, ran out of bobbin thread, upper thread break, a whole area of stitches to jump, and ripping out said stitch jump later, the project was completed at the ninth hour of 7am. SP was so proud of her shirt and that made the entire hellish project worth it. I heard her tell Hubby to be careful with her shirt tonight, that “Mama made that shirt special for me!” She has so much love.

When I’m not being crafty, I enjoy reading. I read all sorts of genres; but my favorite is young adult fiction. A friend of a friend needed a third party to review her manuscript for publishing. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I received the manuscript today, and boy, is it a whopper. I will begin that in the morning with my cup of coffee. AHHH, it is so peaceful to read a book and drink coffee.

With all of these things going on, I’m all booked up. You you need me, please take a number and have a seat. In the mean time, here are two memes to fill you with laughter:

Fitness Friday: Fitness Blunders Pt. 1

I'm doing a little Fitness Friday series focusing on fitness blunders. This first one is something that I have struggled with in the past. Here are two hints:

Weekend Cheating. So, you've been working out hard and eating clean on the weekdays; but you fall wayward on the weekends.

I used to be terrible about this! I would lose a couple pounds during the week, eat horribly and nap all weekend. Weekend being Friday through Sunday. Then, gain back what I just lost. It was a vicious cycle that kept me from bettering my health and seeing fitness results. If you find yourself not seeing the results you're expecting; check your weekend habits. Are you still planning one or two workouts on the weekend? I enjoy mixing things up and getting my workout in a non-traditional way. I may go swimming in the pool, dedicating at least 30 minutes to vigorous swimming. I enjoy hiking a nature trail or doing yoga before anyone in the house wakes up. A final thing to remember is that you are having a cheat MEAL, not a cheat WEEKEND. You still need to watch what you are fueling your body with. If it is junk on the weekends, you will feel sluggish for that Monday workout. Remember how to became out of shape…unhealthy eating and little physical activity.
You have to stay strong on the weekends too!

What’s In A Day?

If you want to see my "What did you say" & "Let me tell you something" face, then make a reference regarding stay-at-home moms not doing anything all day.


I've been a SAHM for 5 years now. Nothing is more irritating than someone implying I have a year round vacation in my house, sitting on my butt, watching television, and eating bon bons all day. Oh, and when someone flat out asks me, "What do you do while your kid is in pre-school?" Uh, I don't know, KEEP THE OTHER KID ALIVE?!

Seriously people, at this point, it is just plain rude to make the assumption a SAHM does nothing all day or is uneducated. That is another kicker. The surprised shock on someone's face when they learn I have a college degree. If you want to be punched in the face, make a comment about my degree being "a waste".

Yes, I am sure there probably are SAHMs that do not accomplish as much as they could during the day. Yet, if at the end of the day, the kids are still alive; then the SAHM did her job. In all seriousness, being a SAHM isn't a walk in the park. It isn't all fun and games. Some SAHMs make it look better than others, or enjoy it more than others. It is a fact that being a SAHM can be isolating, frustrating, and exhausting.

My SAHM routine is ever changing. During the summer, I do have more "down time" than during the school year. I am able to schedule fun activities, camps, and regulate my time better. However, as soon as school starts, I can only juggle so many activities and squeeze in so many last minute appointments. For a little taste of my average day during the school year, I've compiled a rough schedule. This doesn't include sick days that require pediatrician appointments, special holiday events, or anything of that nature. Those things require extra time from my schedule to cook, clean, make costumes, and be present for the activity.

Everyday at 5 am, my alarm rudely interrupts my sweet slumber. I respond like so:

Unless I need to be showered and presentable, I throw on some workout clothes, put my hair up, and have some time for a devotional, reading, blogging, something DVR'd, or quiet cleaning. By 6 am, I am meal planning, calculating, and prepping for my son, preparing 3 different breakfasts and lunches. I pack my daughter's (SP) lunch and check her book bag to make sure she has everything needed for school. If I'm going to be out for lunch, I pack my son's foods and medical formula; and my own snacks and lunch. Then it is complete chaos after I wake the kids. Some mornings my daughter will have a great sensory day. She'll wake right up, dress herself, and wait on me to wash/compress her eyes (to prevent stys) and do her hair. Unfortunately, not every morning is a good sensory morning. Those mornings take more time to instruct her to get out of bed, calm her down, dress her, fight with her to wash her eyes, and do her hair. Those mornings are full of tears and stress. I send my daughter downstairs to begin eating her breakfast. I wake my son, change his diaper, dress him, and comb his hair. Then I feed him and myself. We go back upstairs to brush teeth and change another diaper. It is at this time I am nearing my departure time and running around making sure I have everything loaded in the car, make sure SP is wearing socks and shoes, and load the kids into the car to drive the 30 minutes to pre-school. After I've dropped SP off, I hope to join a local gym with childcare. (Let's hope they can instill come confidence in me to drop my son (HP) in childcare to workout for an hour.) If not, I will be driving right back home to go for a run or lift weights in my garage while HP takes a mid-morning snooze. Depending on the day, SP may stay an extra hour at school for a lunch program. I still have a 30 minute drive ahead of me, one way. I pick SP up from school, go back home for lunch and a nap, or just a nap. Nap is about 2.5-3 hours, depending on the day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I wake them up early for evening activities.
During nap time, I eat lunch, shower, tackle my cleaning list, work on my blog, plan a weekly menu, make a grocery list, organize coupons for list, or prepare for my study group on Wednesdays. Basically, I do quiet things. Occasionally I will lay down for 30-45 minutes to calm a headache or energize for evening activities. That doesn't happen often.
Tuesday is gymnastics. I wake the kids from nap early, get them ready, pack the diaper bag for HP, and suffer through traffic. SP has her 1 hour class; then we sit in traffic/drive for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. (Yesterday, it took me 50 minutes to get home.) Hubby comes home to begin supper (or I already prepared it during nap time), measure HP's formula/food, start laundry, empty dishwasher, prepare coffee pot, or anything that I might have neglected over the weekend. We have to bathe the kids, brush teeth, wash/compress SP's eyes, feed HP, tuck in HP, read a devotion with SP, lay out SP's clothes for the next day, and tuck in SP. It's around 8-8:30 pm. We're exhausted, but finish up cleaning the kitchen, folding/hanging laundry, or pay bills. Often we watch a tv show while doing stuff. I try to be in bed by 10-10:30pm.
On Wednesdays, we will begin going to several church functions. I wake the kids up early from nap to attend said church functions until 8pm. I try to have HP's meals totally prepped, measured, and calculated along with his formula for Hubby. SP has a Jesus and Me program she attends, HP is hanging out with his favorite nursery snugglers, I help in the kitchen for Wed night supper, gather the kids for supper, feed HP his specially prepared meal, take HP back to nursery with SP, and lead or attend a small study group. During this time, Hubby comes to pick the kids up from nursery, goes home to eat, and do the bedtime routines by himself. I will get home right as the kids go to bed. We will help each other tie up loose ends until bedtime. I'm not sure how this will affect my blogging. I will probably have to change my blog night.
Thursday and Friday will be "open" days. I use that word loosely. Those are the days I keep my normal routine stated above, but use the entire nap time to do anything I haven't been able to do before. Also, I know I can use those afternoons to cut nap time short to be somewhere, like an appointment.

Now that you roughly know my daily routine, you can understand why I become incredibly irritated at the lazy SAHM opinion. This same viewpoint is common among employers. While working, I witnessed several SAHMs' applications and resumes being passed over based on them being "unemployed" for several years. I am anything but lazy or uneducated; I simply hold a job that doesn't receive monetary compensation. Let's go ahead and accept that SAHMs are intelligent, hard working, and deserve respect.

Fitness Friday: My Weight Loss Journey

This is me in July 2013. I'm 2 months post-partum and weighing around 210 pounds. I was miserable! I remember walking a 1/4 mile trail to the beach and felt like I was dying. At this point, I knew I needed to change my lifestyle.

This is me in August of 2013. A month later, and I had already gained more weight. I was about 215ish. There was no lifestyle changing going on. I was still in my maternity clothes and quickly out growing them. My self esteem and body image had plummeted. I no longer wanted pictures taken of me. Then, it hit me. Like a light bulb turning on, for my daughter's sake, I needed to lose weight. I was constantly sick. Having issues with vomiting, GI issues, feeling faint, extreme fatigue, and passing out. I was afraid I was going to be diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes. So, September 1, 2013, I began eliminating foods out of my diets. No more soft drinks, candies, chips, boxed meals, fast foods, and limited sweet tea. I began drinking water and walking the neighborhood. I found getting out of the house 2-3 times a day uplifted my mood. Plus, before our daughter was born, my in laws bought us a BOB stroller to help encourage us to live a healthier lifestyle. I didn't want to disappoint them by not using it.

December 2013 rolls around. I've kept up the diet and exercise! I've lost 15 pounds and sitting at 200 pounds. I wanted to join a local gym to include a variety of workouts. The Hubby was unsure. One, we did not have the money. Two, in the past, I would quit in a month or two. I told him it was all I wanted for Christmas. He didn't seem convinced at all. Thankfully, the gym had an amazing Christmas special going on and he bought me a membership. Honestly, I was terrified of going. I saw all the other women taking the classes, fitter than me. After one of the classes, where I thought I was having a serious heart attack, the trainer who showed me around during sign up approached me. (LA is not only the best fitness trainer ever, but the kindest too.) She encouraged me, praised me, and gave me the gift of courage. I found myself eager to come back each day to try another class. A group of ladies befriended me and encouraged me. We even had gym socials at their houses. Next thing I know, I'm taking a secret boot camp class, cycle class, muscle class, and yoga.

This is at one of the April 2014 socials. I had lost another 15 pounds! I found myself eliminating more things from my diet, like desserts. I began combating my emotional eating habits. I was gaining confidence back. I finally threw away the maternity clothes. There were days where I would go to the gym in the morning and go on walks/jogs in the evening. My healthier habits even rubbed off on my husband. He began eating healthier and running around the neighborhood while I was at the gym. Of course, he dropped weight like it was nothing. I was still having GI issues and low energy levels though. We were also in a transitional point in our lives. We were moving to Savannah, Ga.

In June, we moved to Savannah, This picture was taken in July 2014. I missed my gym and friends back home. I couldn't find anything similar. Plus, I needed a gym with childcare. There was nothing for me. We lived in an apartment complex with a tiny fitness area. During the morning, I was go for walks all over the complex and make round after round. Then, I branched out to a near by neighborhood. I began doing more running. In the evenings, after Hubby came home, I would use the tiny fitness area. I found that I had hit a plateau. I wasn't losing or gaining. At this point, my weekend eating habits were killing my weekday healthy eating and exercising. I was stuck at 160 pounds. I was so discouraged at this point. I tried working out at the local Y that had childcare, but after a few unsatisfactory experiences of creepers staring during the classes and childcare being severely lacking, I quit. Then, I tried out a month long trial at another fitness gym. They were a mix of Crossfit and Sports fitness. Within 3 weeks I injuries my left knee (Yep, the one that still gives me trouble!) and couldn't finish. By this time I had lost some more weight and was at 150. We moved from the apartment and into a house in a Hugh neighborhood. That's when I began really running. My first run was to the park at 2.5 miles away. I didn't think I was going to make it back. I now regularly run that 4 mile loop for a "quick" run. My daughter was showing signs that she was ready for socialization in a classroom setting. That opened 4 hours up for me in the mornings. I wanted to get back into horses. I found a trainer (who just had her 3rd baby a few days ago!), a horse, and began English riding lessons. She encouraged me to think about learning how to jump and joining the local show circuit. It was a dream I always wanted to accomplish. At that point I discussed it with Hubby and he agreed. I also joined a new gym to get into the proper physical condition. I didn't want to have points knocked off for losing my form because I wasn't able to keep up physically. The only thing was, the gym intimidated me. I didn't know the first thing about about using the machines or weights. I hired a trainer, went through two of them, and then found my gym swolemate, L. She educated me on all sorts of techniques, diet, and gave me the confidence I needed. I also dropped weight. Not just pounds on the scale, but I was losing fat and gaining muscle. My horse trainer was shocked to see me each week. I cleaned my diet up and began measuring my foods to control my portions, kicked sweets to the curb, and tracked my macros. Each week when I would do a weigh in, my weight decreased.

This is at my 10 year high school reunion in September 2015. I weighed 135. I hadn't been that weight since high school/freshman in college. I continued to workout and make each day better. I knew I only had a few months left until I had to register for the jumper circuit.

December 2015, I hit my goal of 130 and had about 18% body fat. At this point in training, I was focused on cutting that fat percentage down. By January, I noticed my fat percent wasn't decreasing at all, even with harder workouts and dieting. I realized I missed a menstrual cycle for December and (so far) January. Sure enough, I was pregnant. My dreams shattered. I knew I wanted to stay in shape during the pregnancy. That's exactly what I did. I ate healthy and still worked out. I quit the gym and riding horses.

This is me 3 months post-partum in December 2016. I was struggling with anxiety and depression here. I'm talking seriously struggling. I began taking Zoloft the week of this photo. I weighed 150.

This is a few weeks later during Christmas. I weighed 160, in a matter of weeks. I continued the Zoloft into January, weighing at 175. I couldn't take the weight gain any longer. I quit the Zoloft. (I am still eating healthy and gradually increasing the intensity of my workouts as my post-partum body would let me.)

This is March of 2017. My weight had peaked at 180, before finally making a slow decline. My metabolism was incredibly slow. In this picture, I was back to 160. I continued to workout in my garage and run the neighborhood. I stuck to my diet and began eliminating foods that had crept their way back into my life. I had began to emotionally eat again. Something I had fought to hard to stop.

This is my most current picture in July 2017 on vacation. In 4 months, I was able to reach 145 pounds. Each week since my weight has slowly decreased by a half pound or so. This isn't where I want to be physically. I want to lose more body fat and gain more muscle. I don't think I will be able to train with the intensity as before. My new normal with my kids won't allow that. However, I am making strides in the right direction with continuing my fitness and dieting. I am healthier than the 215 pound me.

So, why am I sharing this with you? To encourage and motivate you. Maybe you are struggling in your fitness journey at the moment. That's ok, just don't give up on yourself. Set a smaller goal and crush it. You can do this!

A New Normal


I did something totally out of my norm today. A few weeks ago, I saw an advertisement on a training session to lead a small group class at a Christian store. I've played with the idea of becoming more involved in church and helping out by teaching Sunday School class every now and then. You know, dip your toe in it…make sure you have what it takes to lead a class of adults older than you. Sadly, the only two times the store was offering the class; I couldn't attend because someone had to watch the kids during the day. As a stay-at-home mom; that's kinda in the job description. I thought, "Hey, I'm sure there are plenty of videos and podcasts on leading a small group." Spoiler alert….there are. I've watched a few, soaked in the info. Then, I saw in the church announcements, the church needed a few small group leaders for Wednesday nights. There was going to be a meeting about it tonight. I was already planning on taking my daughter to church on Wednesday evenings to attend a super cool "Jesus and Me" program. All last year she overheard a few of her friends talking about going. She really wanted to attend this year.

Now I've never led a small group or any kind of church group, ever. Totally inexperienced. I've attended several of them though. I figured I would volunteer my time to be an assistant to one of the regular leaders.

Nope. I didn't dip my toe in at all…I fell in.

I am a new small group leader for Wednesday nights.

I'm super excited…but super scared. This is so unlike me!! I'm so unqualified. I have that feeling like you've fluffed your resume a little too much and now you find yourself in a job way over your head. Yeah…. (I was totally honest and told them I've never led a group before. So I was perfectly ok being someone's assistant.) They are taking the phrase "have a little faith" to a whole other level.

I will be teaching a 7 week study on the book of Ruth. Get this, when I was a college gal at Auburn University. I became a sister of an amazing professional agriculture sorority, Sigma Alpha. This was a time in my life when I had ambitions and heavily involved in the sorority, my Ag major, and student job. I made incredible life long bonds with some extraordinary girls, several I still keep in contact. The sorority valued the book of Ruth for the example of Ruth's loyalty to Naomi when Ruth could have washed her hands of Naomi. This speaks to me. I'm finding a spark within me that I haven't had since training to ride horses nearly two years ago.

I can't help but to think of my loyalty to my family. In the darkest period of post-partum depression, I thought about running away from my duties as a mother and wife. I honestly felt I wasn't qualified or worthy enough to take care of my children, especially my son. My depressed state told me they would be better off without me. Yet, my bond of loyalty kept me here. I couldn't break my vow of loyalty to my husband as a wife, my unspoken vow of loyalty as a mother. So, as Ruth stood by Naomi's side; I continued to battle my depression and fight for my children and husband. I continue to fight.

God has led me to this step in my life for a reason. God always has a plan for us, even if we do not understand it and it scares us. I don't know what will come of this study group. Yet, I feel like God has plans for it. Why else would I feel so moved to do something so against my normal state?

I will obviously be blogging about this experience. I'm going to trust Carrie Underwood and let Jesus take the wheel on this one.

Fitness Friday: “Losing Weight 101”

Surprise! It's a Fitness Friday post!

So often I see the question, in many forms, on how to lose weight. Here is a suggestion, let's think of it as losing fat…not weight. As someone who has lost 80+ pounds, gained 45 pounds back in pregnancy and post-partum depression, and lost 30ish pounds of that; I know a thing or two on losing weight vs losing fat. My main goal with my Fitness Friday posts are to educate, encourage, and motivate people to live a healthier lifestyle. I hope this post does that for you. I am not a personal trainer or nutritionist either.

As I've said before, the first step to losing fat is to determine your goals. My goal was to be healthier for my family. When I began my weight/fat loss journey, nearly 4 years ago, it was to keep up with my daughter. I was 5'2" and over 210 pounds. I went on a beach vacation in July with my husband and 4 month old daughter. I couldn't find a bathing suit to fit me. I was still wearing maternity clothes because I couldn't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, not that those were small sizes. I was miserable! It took me another month to change my mindset on losing weight. I cannot determine my exact weight when I began my weight/fat loss journey; because the last time I weighed 210 was before the vacation. I didn't begin working out until nearly September. I could've easily weighed 215-220 by that time.

These two pictures show my weight/fat loss journey in a nutshell. The first is me in August 2013, still in my maternity clothes and probably weighing in 215-220#. (I decorate cakes and cupcakes as a hobby! I've figured out I don't have to eat them too.) The second picture of me is in July 2017. There is at least a 65 pound difference. Now, I regularly run 10k's around my neighborhood pushing the kids in the double BOB and weight lifting in the garage. Something I never imagined for myself. Next Friday, I will post a series of photos showing my entire weight/fat loss journey for you.

So, back to determining goals. Your goal will influence your nutritional standards, workouts, and lifestyle. Because my goal isn't to be a fitness model, I keep a 75/25 percent healthy eating to unhealthy eating ratio. When I was training to show horses, I kept an 85/15 ratio. My goal also determines my workout type. I try to run 3 days a week and lift weights for 3 days. Obviously, my mom schedule and weather patterns determine if I actually accomplish that. Some weeks I lift more than I run. Guess what? That determines my nutritional intake, aka, diet. So, if you want a fitness model body; be prepared to eat a 4oz baked chicken breast, quarter cup of brown rice, and half cup of steamed broccoli with 3 protein shakes thrown in throughout the day, and vitamin/workout supplements. Also, you'll need to stay in the gym weight lifting for 2 hrs twice a day. My best advice is to keep it manageable with your lifestyle. I'm a stay-at-home mom with a squat rack, a few kettle bells, a few free weights, a double BOB stroller, and two kids with unbelievably high energy levels.

Which brings me to my second step to losing weight/fat, determine your diet. Now, some people decide to restrict themselves to a zero carb, zero sugar, zero fat, gluten-free, vegan, living off of purified oxygen only diet. (Sarcasm in that last bit) Very few people can maintain a restrictive diet. My son has phenylketonuria, which requires him to maintain an extremely restricted diet from the phenylalanine protein. I measure and record all of his food, including his medical formula and medical foods. I find, not even a metabolic genetic disorder that can permanently damage your brain and nervous system is motivation enough for many PKUers to stay on diet. It is hard! You need to figure out a diet that you can maintain for your weight/fat loss goals. I have several friends that studied nutrition. They always tell me diet fads do not work long term. So, if your goal is to lose 15-30 pounds for a short time period, go ahead with a fad diet. However, as soon as you stop that fad diet, you will gain the weight back, plus some. Also, all of those weight loss gimmick wraps, pills, and drinks…*spoiler alert*….DO NOT WORK! As soon as you stop using them, you will gain weight. If you are going to replace a "meal", it should be a snack…with a protein shake. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner needs to be an actual meal. Studies have shown eating 5-7 small meals a day helps you lose weight/fat and keep it off. What you consume during those meals also determine that. Quit the processed foods! Drink water! Switch simple carbs and sugar to complex ones. I eat carbs! I just make sure they come in a nutritional form, like sweet potatoes, red potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta or bread, fruits, and other vegetables. If I lift weights, I keep a low carb, high protein diet for that day. If I run a 10k, I keep a higher complex carb, moderate protein day. Here is the key: EVERYTHING IN MODERATION! For my body to properly process, I do keep a lower carb diet than most people need. Unfortunately, I have IBS and even complex carbs will trigger a torture session with my gastrointestinal system. Simple changes like eating whole wheat bread instead of white bread or drinking water instead of soft drinks; makes a difference. People give potatoes a bad reputation, but think of what people put on the potato…butter, cheese, salt, bacon, ranch dressing, and/or sour cream. All of that adds up in sugar, fats, salts, and carbs. Some people complain that they eat salads and don't lose weight. Well, what are you putting on that low nutritional iceburg lettuce salad? Ranch or some creamy dressing (much more than the 2 tablespoon serving size), cheese, bacon, and other high fat, high salt, high caloric additions. Those add up! When I eat a salad, it's a kale/spinach/chard mix (high in iron, fiber, and other vitamins), topped with a lean protein (chicken, salmon, shrimp, steak), seldom with cheese (unless I need the fat), cucumber, tomato, and an oil based dressing of 1-2 tablespoons. My salad keeps me fuller longer with nutrients. But I don't follow a strict Vegan, Gluten free, Paleo/Caveman, Keto, yada yada diet. I might have a vegan meal, a paleo meal, etc. throughout my week to give my tastebuds a new sensation.

Back to the weight loss "potions". I have an awesome product that will guarantee you a 4 pound weight loss in 2 days. All I need is a low monthly payment of $50 for 5 years to tell you! Just kidding! I will save you money and tell you anyway. Go lick/eat raw chicken. You will have food poisoning so bad, you will lose 4 pounds of water and poop weight in two days. Y'all, those weight loss pills, shakes, and drinks usually allows weight loss through diarrhea, water (urine) loss, or starvation because you don't want to eat anything that will make you poop again. You aren't losing real fat and gaining muscle through those products.

Again, fitness models rely on vitamin stacks for energy and to meet their bodies nutritional demands that their diet doesn't meet. I stick to unprocessed, whole foods and do not require a vitamin stack. However, I found out after I took Zoloft for my PPD/A; my metabolism slowed and my weight shot up. I gained 35 pounds during pregnancy (the recommended amount), after delivery I lost 15 pounds (that stayed off until I began Zoloft). At two months post-partum, I began Zoloft for two months. I gained 25 pounds in those two months. I still maintained a healthy diet and exercised. So, I quit taking Zoloft. (It wasn't helping my depression or anxiety either.) My weight gain stopped, but wouldn't go back down. I decided to take a thermogenic fat burner by NLA for Her (Shred Her). It is vitamin based, not chemical, and for a temporary time period. After you take a bottle (two month supply), you are to discontinue using it for a time period. Also, I take NLA for Her multivitamin and probiotic. (Bodybuilding.com had a great sale on NLA supplements not long ago.) After my workouts, I drink NLA for Her Aminos too. I'm not endorsed by NLA; but I do enjoy a sale and great tasting products. The aminos help repair your muscles after a workout. Recently, I wanted to cut down on my coffee intake and afternoon nap dependency; and began using NLA for Her's thermogenic chews. I use them as a pre-workout energy supplement. I also drink a protein shake as a mid-morning snack or mid-afternoon snack, depending if it's a cardio or weight day. It is Prozein Synthesis at Nutrashop. It's low in carbs and great tasting. For snacks, I will eat a half of a FitJoy bar too.
Honestly, if you only run on the treadmill 3 days a week for 3 miles; you probably don't need a pre-workout chew or amino drink afterwards. For regular weight lifting and cardio, you definitely need an amino to help muscle repair. Pre-workout really depends on your energy level. You don't need either to lose weight or fat.
I would suggest for you to download a calorie tracker app too. I use MyFitnessPal. It syncs with my FitBit and RunKeeper app. Plus, I find that the app has a vast index of foods and its easy to create a recipe. My biggest issue is portion control. The app has allowed me to judge how much of a food I actually need in a meal. I can track my nutrients and macros (carb to fat to protein ratio).

Now for my third step, determine your exercise.

Your exercise choices contribute to your nutritional needs and weight loss. If all you do is cardio, you won't have much muscle definition. You will have fat pockets on your body. Cardio burns fat, but not the same as muscle building exercises like weight lifting. If you do a combo, like Crossfit or HIIT, your body build will be lean and muscular. If you just lift heavy weights, your body build will be bulky and muscular (because you are building muscle). I don't do Crossfit, because many times you aren't focused on correct posture and movements while competing on best time. That will get you injuries. I do some of the same moves that you will find in Crossfit, but in a slower, controlled manner for correct form. HIIT isn't a good workout for me, because I have knee issues. I stick to correct form and a moderate pace to keep me winded. Although I might do a boot camp style class on occasion, I'm the slow and steady turtle. Haha!

For example (above is not me), when this person was 127#, she most likely ate semi-healthy and did cardio. At 136#, she most likely changed her diet to include more healthy foods and incorporated weight lifting in her exercise. While she weighs more, she has muscle definition. This is the difference between weight loss and fat loss.

Let's recap this: to lose weight/fat you must…
1.) Determine your fitness goals to focus on workout style and diet.
2.) Make realistic and healthy nutritional changes.
3.) Stay away from fad diets and gimmicky weight loss products.
4.) Determine your workout style for weight loss vs fat loss.
5.) Be kind to yourself. You will plateau and eat an unhealthy meal or two. But don't allow it to stop you from your goal.