New Month and STILL GOING

Firstly, I know that I don’t do a lot of blog posts but if you take the time to read what I have to say, I want to thank you! I use this as a way to hold myself accountable but to let folks know that I struggle and I triumph, I fall down 9 times and get up 10 (shout out to CARDI B!)

With that being said, although I didn’t see all that I wanted to see as far as weight loss in April, it was still an amazing month. I legit set a goal to be more active and I worked out 22(ish) of the 30 days! I’ve never taken the time to count before, but I kept a calendar, wrote down what exercise I did, and how long I did it for. This was a way for me to see how I progressed, what exercises I was doing, and goals that I could make for myself throughout the week.  I even worked out while I was on vacation. Of the 5 days that I was gone, I worked out 3 of those. I was able to find a YMCA in Houston that allowed me to use the facility since I am a member here in Oakland.

There were many non-scale victories: Inches are coming down, more stamina (I can work out for longer and I push through pain, unlike before), I have been trying to meet my Fitbit step goal for a majority of the week, increased my water intake, and still enjoying my meal prep options (I may eat out one meal of the day but for the most part, I stick to what I have).

This month I am working on: parking further so I get more walking in (meet my step goal 5 out of 7 days), switching up the workouts that I am doing (I’ve mainly done Hip-Hop Abs, which is really helping with the midsection), incorporate more strength/weight training, more fruits throughout the day, less sugar, and staying consistent! I would also like to not think too much further than the current month and sometimes the current day because I tend to get overwhelmed in the details of things, creating an unnecessary anxiety that wasn’t there before. I am thinking more and more about accountability partners and a friend discussed a accountability coach that I may look into.

I’d love to hear what is working for other folks!

With love,

Amber ❤

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Didn’t Realize So Much Time Had Passed…

Image result for the struggle is real meme

[Trigger warning ⚠️ ]

I have not been on my blog since 2016?!?!?! Wow! So much has happened in between that I didn’t realize how much time had passed since I wrote about my journey…this is probably going to be a long one so bear with me!

Within the last couple of years, I have changed jobs, gotten licensed in my career field, had and ended a relationship, and experienced bouts of depression that were pretty significant. All the while, my health has taken a backseat and I got (un)comfortably complacent. To be completely transparent, my family has also gone through quite the bout of health issues and I found myself at Kaiser so often in support of them, fighting for them/along side them, and feeling emotionally exhausted that I was no longer focusing on how I could turn my own situation around. It usually takes a health scare within my family in order for me to start doing something about it and the latest one really put things into perspective.

I realized this past week that I have really allowed myself to use my concern and fear for others as a crutch at times too. I shoulda, coulda, woulda done so many things differently but I was starting to feel powerless/hopeless. The other revelation that I had was: I don’t want the same issues happening to me and that if I don’t get it together, I will die! I know that is hella morbid but my issues have not been as apparent as: hypertension, diabetes, etc. doesn’t mean that I am not killing myself ever-so slowly. Instead, at almost 30 years old: my knees hurt (arthritis), I have plantar fasciitis (heel issue), and borderline high blood pressure. I have almost exceeded my highest weight…again. I have been scared to say that aloud for the longest time because it makes it real! How can I be a champion for everyone else but I am an afterthought when it comes to my health? Because I am not putting the same significance of going to the hospital to what I am going through? I do minimize because I want everyone around me to be fine, and I am perceived as the one who can, will, does have their ducks in a row, even to myself.

When I had an emotional moment, where I cried in my car (to my best friend), I realized that something had to change…AGAIN! I have to take my health seriously and not allow myself to become so overwhelmed with the WHOLE picture and take control of the things that I can change.

  1. Soooo…when I learned that there was a person in the Bay who does meal prep for people I was like YAAAAASSSSS, and decided to take advantage of this opportunity. One of the things that I have allowed to be a stumbling block for myself is not wanting to cook weekly. Each day, my schedule looks different and I only have one day of the week off (Saturday), by the time it comes, I am pooped but need to get ready for Sunday (Private Practice). It’s only been two days since I started eating my meals but I am loving what I have tried so far. It is helping me to have 3 meals a day and I can have additional things during the week, going to 5-6 small meals a day.
  2. One of my Sorors is doing another weight loss challenge, which also came right on time. I can now focus on if I lose weight, I may get some coin too! LOL! (Every bit helps). This is a way that I know I have to be accountable to not only myself but to the collective.
  3. I am engaging a Monthly Workout Record, both on paper and through MyFitnessPal/Fitbit
  4. Workout in the mornings that I go in later to work, and workout in the evenings that I leave by 5ish. I am trying to do at least 3-4 days of workouts.
  5. Increase my water intake, 75oz preferably, but I will take what I can get at this point.
  6. DON’T BE SO HARD ON MYSELF!

This is what I am trying for the month and I will allow myself the grace to mess up and pick myself back up! I have a tendency to wallow in what I have done wrong that I don’t show myself any kindness on what has gone right!

I’d be open to feedback and additional suggestions! I have a tendency to fall off on accountability partners but I really do want one!

❤ Amber

Physically back from vacation but mentally, I am still on the beach!

I enjoyed a wonderful vacation to the Western Caribbean: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. It was BEAUTIFUL, on so many levels! The rest that I got was EVERYTHING! With that being said, I have been back almost 3 weeks now and my mind is still trying to adjust getting back to work and not being on the beach! I was getting my entire life! Also within that time, I celebrated my 28th birthday! My goal was to get through this week so that I can start to get back on my grind since I put in so much work before I went on my vacation.

SOOOOOO this is the get back.

I started with meal prep: 10 meals (lunch and dinner for each day of the week), snacks, and figuring out my breakfast (depending on my work/workout schedule). This is always the hardest part for me (and I’ve addressed this before) because it takes up so much damn time! YO, with my family being  here for a majority of the weekend, it was hard to get things done with yelling for the kids to come out of the kitchen, it took twice as long as usual, and my legs/feet/back were starting to feel it. The second thing that I have to plan out is my workout schedule for the week so that I can get this body MOVING! My goal is to have a majority of the week where I am physically active despite my work schedule. Not allowing my energy to be the complete factor in completing this goal (easier said than done considering it’s Sunday and I am not physically doing anything at the moment LOL).I am thinking about water aerobics, Hip Hop Abs and some Zumba (of course).

Let’s see how it goes!

❤ Amber

 

Almost A Year Later…

It has been almost a year since my last post and so much has happened since then!

  1. Gained all of the weight back that originally lost, plus some!
  2. Began a relationship and got extremely comfortable. (Not blaming the relationship, I made the decisions that I made and I am responsible for the late night eating, fatty food consuming, and SWEETS!)
  3. Started working out less
  4. Stopped making my own meals

I took a step back earlier this month after an emergency room visit that required me to step onto the scale. I found that I had reached my heaviest weight…EVER! I was soooo disappointed. I was disappointed with myself, I was disappointed in my choices, and I found myself feeling a bit depressed. (I think that I tried to drown my feelings in ice cream that night). I brought myself back to reality and remembered that I had another cruise coming up on September 4th. With that I also remembered that I had a dress that I bought a while ago and I was determined to get into this dress. I tried it on and guess what…it was helllllla snug. It wouldn’t even zip. I again waned to drown myself in some kind of sweet. But I said…TO HELL WITH THAT! I AM GETTING IN THIS D*** DRESS!

After that emergency room visit, I decided that I was going to cook my own meals, avoid eating fast food as much as possible, and increase workouts…from 1 or 2 days to 6 or 7. I consulted with my brother, Kojuan, and he explained that I should be trying to get at least 30 mins of cardio in a day and that I could eat what I wanted but moderate. His advice was solid and I thank him for being extremely supportive. What kept me in check was that beautiful dress that I was determined to get into. I tried on again in 1.5 weeks, still too snug but it zipped half way. I decided to ramp it up a bit and start Zumba and water aerobics, which gave me cardio and some weights without the stress om my joints. I also started to use Hip Hop Abs with Shaun T and I have to say that I definitely started to see a difference. Other people expressed that they were starting to see a difference too! [TMI WARNING] I started to see a difference and then I started my cycle which blew me all the way up! I was bloated and found myself becoming discouraged (F YOU HORMONES)! I still worked out during that time and when it was over, I saw that I was still in a good place.

Yesterday, as I finished my workout, I stared at my open luggage and I said to myself, “I think it’s time”. I was looking at that beautiful blue dress that I felt I had been working so hard to get in to. I put the dress on, struggling a bit, but enlisted the support of my grandmother to zip me in. For a moment, I was afraid it wasn’t going to but she zipped me in and it was not bulging. I DID IT! I got back into  my dress! It’s still a big snug but it was snug when I bought it but it was more so the dedication to get it done that I was proud of! I share this no to gloat, not even a little bit. This has continuously been my journey: do well, get complacent, get WAY TOO comfy, fall completely off, become my worst critic. It has not been an easy road for me but I know that I also make it difficult for myself and there isn’t a formula that works all of the time. So as we constantly change, there is always a need to adapt. I will keep that in mind as I come up to this cruise and enjoy my hard work both physical and professional as well!

 

Much love,

❤ Amber

Birthday Shenanigans

I legit told myself I would do better the second week and from Tuesday (my birthday) on, I struggled with my eating. Let me tell you that cake was on point and I ate on it all week! I had plenty of alcohol, which creates really bad heartburn and pudge lol. The upside besides enjoying my birthday all week, I did workout everyday but today (Heyyyyy now).

With that being said: I’m back to water, limited-to-no sweets, making sure that I am having meals at home, and lots of veggies and fruit. The one thing that I have been surprised about this time around, I have been enjoying the workouts where usually I get overwhelmed by the amount of things listed. At this point, it has been a joy to get up and get it done because it means that I have working limbs and I am pushing my body out of it’s comfort zone. I am also grateful that I am not doing it alone, others are getting involved with the 40 Days of Beast movement! (What up tho, BEASTS!)

Anyway, I’m keeping it moving both mentally and physically because I feel better and my confidence grows on a daily basis! Let’s do it!

Have a good week all,

Amber

“I been gone for a minute, now I’m back with the jumpoff”

Paying homage to the Queen Bee-Lil’ Kim

But yes…it has been some time since I have found the energy, passion, or desire to work on this journey and some time has passed since I’ve blogged. Since the last published blog, I was able to see my way out of a full-fledged depression on so many levels. Whenever I hit a depression that thick, I lose all momentum in my working out, eating right, exploring my purpose, and I start to question my abilities.

From there, I was able to go on vacation, a cruise to the Bahamas, that was undeniably amazing! I needed to get away from work and some of the personal concerns that I was having…I am so glad that I did. The only downside about the vacation is: I was overly conscious about food, alcohol, and how I would look in certain pieces of clothing. I am pretty sure that I gained 5-10 pounds on food alone! After a while, I let some of that rest and enjoyed myself.

Upon return, I knew that the 40 Days of Beast challenge was coming up and although I was concerned because I was coming off  of vacation, I immediately got into it. This week, I have been able to go food shopping, get a lot of veggies, proteins, and fruit. I have also been extremely conscious of mainly drinking water. I’ve had some sweets throughout the week, but not in abundance. I have gotten up early, everyday, to complete the challenges, go to work, and have at least three meals a day. The one thing that I noticed that I would need to change is my desire to have a complete cheat day versus a meal that I have not cooked over the weekend.  I am usually very hard on myself in places and lax in others, the weekend I am too lax. I will be working on that in the coming week!

I started this challenge with trepidation and now I am feeling positive about what’s to come next.

If you’re curious about the challenge you can follow/check out the following pages:

Instagram-@40DaysofBeast; @lifestylechangingwithAB (which I will be updating more)

Website: http://40daysofbeast.com/

Cravings getting the better of me

The past two weeks, I have not seen any movement on the scale and other than good ol’ mother nature, I have given in to my cravings more than a few times. It is starting to show against all of the effort that I am putting into working out. Working out is being counteracting by sweets, eating fast food or food I had not prepared and I am definitely feeling it. As much as I hate to spend my Sundays doing it, I am going to have to meal prep this week and see if I see results because the constant battle that I am having with myself around it is uncomfortable and exhausting.

I also had another epiphany: I am rewarding myself with food. Emotional eating has been something that has been a comfort for me for quite some time. As a community, we celebrate, we mourn, we vent over our favorite dishes and I get connected to the nostalgia of certain restaurants remembering a space and place that I was inhabited. I do this more often than not. I was in Berkeley (where I attended undergrad) and immediately went to Gypsys (an Italian restaurant that I love so much) and I got the pasta that I always get! It was scrumptious but after, I felt overly full and uncomfortable because I refused to not finish my food (how dare I leave a wonderful dish like that on the table?!?) I know I am not the only person that feels like that lol. Another example, if I am in the North Oakland area, Genova’s Deli is one of my favorite spot to get a sandwich and some clam chowder (mouth drooled a bit when I said that LOL) and when I go there, I have to get all of the above and eat it all at the same time. You get the gist. I decided to combat this with creating a meal plan for the week, we’ll see how this goes.

Monday:

  • Breakfast: spinach, greek yogurt and fruit smoothie
  • Lunch: chicken with brown rice and broccoli
  • Dinner: whole wheat pasta with lemon, olive oil, spinach, and salmon

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: egg white omelet (with spinach and cheese), 2 turkey patties
  • Lunch: Whole wheat pasta with lemon, olive oil, spinach, and salmon
  • Dinner: Chicken with mixed veggies

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Spinach smoothie with greek yogurt, and fruit
  • Lunch: chicken with brown rice and broccoli
  • Dinner: turkey meatballs with whole wheat pasta and pesto

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: egg white omelet, turkey sausage patties
  • Lunch: salmon salad with egg, cheese and crutons
  • Dinner: chicken with sauteed brussel sprouts

Friday:

  • Breakfast/Lunch: conference food
  • Dinner: turkey burger with whole wheat bun (1/2)

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Waffle, bacon
  • Lunch: chicken with spinach salad
  • Dinner: TBD

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: spinach smoothie with greek yogurt and fruit
  • Lunch: turkey burger with whole wheat bun (1/2)
  • Dinner: chicken with sauteed brussel sprouts

*Water or Tea only, snacks of my choosing, and working out at least 5 times.

If there is something that you follow and would like to share, I am definitely interested!

Have a good week all,

Amber

Spending Less Out/Keep On Keeping On

This week has been really good. I worked out 6 days of this week, it was mentioned that my endurance has increased, I was able to successfully complete a elbow plank (for 23secs but did it nonetheless), and I decreased my mile time by 1min and some change. I feel like I worked really hard this week and although I don’t see a lot of movement on the scale, I do see a lot of NSV (non-scale victories). Some not so successful things: I spent quite a bit on food outside, but when I did I made better choices (a light meal instead of high-calorie foods). I did consume quite of bit of sweets (ice cream is my frienemy). And lastly I didn’t consume as much water as I would have liked.

All in all, I had some good days, and I had some challenging days but one thing that made my week was having a conversation with one of my very wonderful friends and we spoke about making smaller goals vs. looking at the overarching picture. That picture can always seem so overwhelming when you get bombarded by the amount of details and all the different kinds of diets, and everyone telling you what to do. At the end of the day, for me, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s just one day at a time, one small goal at a time, and this journey is ongoing. It’s hard, and it doesn’t always feel fun but I will say that when I do get in there and do a training session or a Zumba class or finish a 40 Days of Beast challenge, I feel so good afterward. I also just feel blessed to just be able to move. I remember there were days where my back would hurt so bad that I wouldn’t be able to leave my bed. Days where just going to the bathroom was a task. Although my bones and joints hurt at times, I am still mobile and I can dance until I get too tired to do it. I stretch it out, hit some hot water, and come back the next day. Lastly, I keep reminding myself that if I stop and start again on this journey, it’s ok! There isn’t one way to do it and I won’t be “perfect” at it either.

With that said, this week I would just like to keep on keepin’ on. What does that mean? I just want to keep going on with what I an doing. I don’t have much of a system but to just do it (AIN’T NOTHING TO IT, BUT TO DO IT!) I will keep on with the more water, less sweets, complete my challenges, eat more at home, and just keep on keepin’ on.

Have a good week,

Amber

40 Days of Beast/Decrease Fast Food

This week for the 40 Days of Beast challenge, really kicked my ass! But I will say that I feel like I am starting to see results. It’s an all around workout: arms, core, legs, and cardio. There are times that I feel I can push myself a little harder but I also think how I incorporate Zumba in there so I am still getting an full body workout. I am also working with a personal trainer, who also gives me a full body workout. This week I did not see her but I still did my 40 Days challenge and some Zumba sprinkled in there.

This week, I would like to eat more food at home. Depending on my week, I don’t like to cook much and I also don’t like spending the better part of a day cooking either so I will make a full faith effort to cook more meals at home, which means that I will cook maybe dinner and have enough for lunch the next morning. I’ll be honest, I am already looking like -_- hahaha but I won’t count myself out before I get into the week.

I am taking suggestions (besides meal prep for the week…) on how to better handle how I get through the week :). Also, I am still attempting to drink way more water than juice (although I have had the 100% cranberry juice with no added sugar), limit the sweets, and continue to do my 40 Days of Beast/Zumba/Personal training throughout the week.

Have a good one all,

Amber

Sweets and I/40 Days of Beast

The goal that I set for myself last week was to decrease the amount of sweets that I was consuming on a daily basis and I accomplished that throughout a majority of the week and then there were days that I wasn’t as successful. I am ok with having more good days than bad so I will check that off in the PLUS column lol. One thing I did notice was that instead of drinking a lot of my calories, I drank more water, which is really difficult for me. Cranberry and orange juices are ma FAVES and if I had the choice between that and the water, it’s a DONE DADA…going for the juice but I attempted to only drink a cup of juice, sporadically, then water for the rest. That, I felt successful in doing.

This week, I would like to continue to drink more water, consume less sweets, and do more with this 40 Days of Beast. This is something that I spoke about before but I did not allow myself to get into it like I wanted to so I am doing it now instead. There are set workouts for the day and you are allowed to do additionally work if you choose to but most of the days are intense as it is. I will continue pushing and fighting the good fight…I hope that since you’re reading this, you are doing the same.

Have a great week,

Amber