Weight Loss Tips

18 Healthy Tips from My Fit Friends

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On Being Healthy, Notes from my Bestie Squad

I just had an epic girls weekend in Atlanta with my best friends and the trip was an absolute blast!

It was the twins' birthday and my dear friend Michelle (pictured second to the right) just moved to North Carolina so we were thrilled to have her fly down and join the fun. We picked Atlanta because another mutual friend from High School (Courtney) lives there, and let me tell you: being all together again was awesome!!! I can't believe I've known these women for over 15 years!! And yet we continue to pick up right where we left off, never having skipped a beat!

Traveling together and spending a few days in a shared hotel room, it's easy to see the rituals + habits of friends and I couldn't help but notice how healthy my friends have become! With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share the tidbits I gleaned from them with you, alongside some photos of the fun!

What I love is that each of us approach wellness in our own way, and can easily swap/share/learn from each other's different perspectives and knowledge. So, without further ado, some notes on being healthy from my bestie squad!

Atlanta Girls Trip 8
Atlanta Girls Trip 8

Take your Vitamins

Why have I not been taking a multivitamin all my life? I loved the little AM/PM case I saw my girl Ghadah with! She's so organized! There was a lot of discussion about the benefits of B12 as well, not only for energy and stamina but weight loss. This past year I've made big changes to take better care of myself (switching jobs + trying to get healthy again), something as simple as a multivitamin should be at the top of my wellness to do list! (And yours too!)

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Buy Trader Joes Alkaline Water

At a $1.50 a pop, these liters of alkaline water are a steal and they taste delicious (here's a similar brand you can order online)! I have to give the twins credit for this one, I'm hooked, and I've also started using this to make JR's bottles -- here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about the benefits of alkaline water:

Because alkaline water has a higher pH level than does plain tap water, proponents say that it can neutralize acid in your bloodstream, boost your metabolism and help your body absorb nutrients more effectively. Some even say that alkaline water can help prevent disease and slow the aging process.

Always Pack Snacks

My girl Ghadeer always comes prepared with advil, tylenol, tums and pepcid in her purse -- she's like the mom of every girl's trip with all the goodies in her bag! This includes snacks too, but not any ole' snacks, fairly healthy, high-protein, gluten-free snacks like epic all natural meat bars and Scandinavian gummies if you have a sweet tooth!

... And Liquid Gel Tylenol & Advil

The other thing I noticed is that she for all those meds listed above, she goes with the liquid gel caps, which I know are pricer, but so worth it when you've got a headache or cramp and you need something fast-acting!

Skip Sugary Drinks & Just Order a Vodka + Soda Water

My girl Michelle just lost 12 lbs doing a weight loss challenge at Orange Theory Fitness and she looks AMAZING! I even caught her doing a little Vinyasa at the pool one day! (See below.) Her commitment to drinking Vodka Tonic has always impressed me but this trip to modified to Vodka and Soda Water, which has even less calories!!This is such a great choice when you're standing at a bar and don't know what to order, and I swear she must save a billion calories passing on the pineapple, cranberry, syrup mixers that I usually go for!

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Shots > Drinks

So, along those lines - true, drinking isn't really "healthy" in any form, but there's such thing as smarter choices and, well this may not be the best tip there's some food for thought behind the idea that shots are the way to go! They're smaller than regular drinks and therefore not as much room for sugary mixers. They're typically pretty strong (too strong sometimes!) so if you're looking to feel a buzz, this is definitely a faster way to do it than drinking 10 beers! That said, be super careful not to have too many!

Ward Heartburn by Eating First

On our trip to Jamaica, we laughed so hard at how many times we were popping tums throughout the day to ward off reoccurring heartburn, which was likely a result of too much drinking (hello all inclusive). Well, in Atlanta that heartburn reared it's ugly head again a few times and it wasn't until Courtney made a comment about being sure to eat before drinking that a lightbulb went off for a few of us -- was this the cause of all the heartburn? It's hard to say for sure but being on vacation and in a foreign place you don't eat as often as you would at home, then add drinks here and there (also not common at home), it's no wonder we were a little acid-y! Definitely taking the advice to "eat first" on the next trip!

Buy Water Wherever You Go

The twins are so crazy about water, it cracks me up! When we were in Jamaica they were the same way -- always collecting bottles of water wherever we'd go, but I've learned something from this practice: if you grab a bottled water, you drink it! Hey look at that! I can be a little fickle with water at times and typically I don't crave it, but once I start guzzling I realize I needed it! Just making it a practice to grab a bottle when it's offered (most hotels provide at least one in the room and some in the lobby), the result is that I inevitably drink more!

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Split Alcoholic Drinks with Seltzer

This is actually something I suggested we do, and I know for me (a person who loves seltzer water), it worked out great! Instead of pouring a big glass of wine and just drinking that, I would pour half and then add equal parts seltzer water. Experimenting with this I discovered the most divine combination of seltzer and prosecco: Spindrift Grapefruit Seltzer and Grapefruit Secco Rossini (sold at Trader Joes). Please do yourself a favor and try this, this summer!

Atlanta Girls Trip 6
Atlanta Girls Trip 6

Bananas to keep the blues away

So one of my favorite parts of the trip was our quick trip to Trader Joes to stock up on snacks and drinks for the weekend. Of course, nobody can walk into Trader Joes and JUST by drinks, especially when that Olive Oil Popcorn is on display, but you know what else caught our attention? Bananas! The twins swear they ward off the blues and I can see that: there were plenty of times that banana saved me from starvation and held me over until our next meal. Such an easy, healthy snack to have on hand, especially on vacation!

Atlanta Girls Trip 3
Atlanta Girls Trip 3

Schedule Workouts 3 weeks in advance

My friend Michelle has always been a strategic thinker, planning ahead and doing the fast math to get the most bang for her buck! Well, when she mentioned to me that she schedules her Orange Theory workouts 3 weeks in advance, my mouth dropped! I'm lucky if I sign up before midnight the night before! Ugh!! Definitely taking a page from her book and plan ahead!!

Laugh Often

So this one is pretty obvious right? Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies in more ways than most of us truly understand. But laughter? Laughter is good for the soul, and that's what I love about these girl's trips: I find myself laughing SO hard at the silliest things! Sometimes laughing to the point that I can't talk or finish my sentence. I just love that and in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day with work and other stresses, you don't always get a good belly laugh. So thankful for these girls who keep my life LIGHT in the most positive and uplifting way!

Atlanta Girls Trip 4
Atlanta Girls Trip 4

Poop is good, but bring poo-pourri

When you get a bunch of women together the conversation goes all over the place, really! So it should come as no surprise that we touched on the topic of poop every now and then. We had some laughs over celebrating poops for weight loss, and how great/cleansing a good poop is - LOL! That said, four girls in a hotel room and pooppuri is a must! Noted for the nex trip.

Retainers & Night Guards, Oh My!

Seriously guys, dental hygiene and care is so so important!!!! I feel like my braces made a huge impact on my appearance, but I've seen a shift in my teeth since slacking on wearing my retainer. I did bring it to Atlanta and wear it and it was cute, matching with Ghadah who wears a nightguard. Bottomline: whatever your teeth-needs are, tend to them!!

Grab a Liberty Buddy

My friend Courtney ins in the Navy and it was so interesting to hear about her experience in the military - she's really loved it! She shared with us how there's "liberty buddies" assigned at each port to keep an eye on each other and I instantly clung to this idea as a great one for friends on a night out, or on a trip. Have you ever had one too many to drink or found yourself separated from your group at a nightclub? The liberty buddy ensures there's one person (at least) assigned to have your back and make sure you get home safe. Totally love that!

Atlanta Girls Trip 7
Atlanta Girls Trip 7

Skip the Bread

Ghadeer has lost about 15 lbs since the beginning of the year and I just love her approach. It started with elimintaing bread, and when she re-introduced it she noticed her body's reaction: it wasn't a good one! he's been experimenting with going gluten free and at every meal she'd skip the bread. At the airport, two egg breakfast instead of a breakfast sandwhich; at restaurants, a bunless burger or chiken sandwich. I love that she asked this in her order so there was no tempation when her food arrived!

Don't Throw Out the Diet for Vacation

This is where I struggle the most - every occasion, whether it's a birthday or trip or something to celebrate, feels like an opportunity to "treat" myself and throw my diet out the window. I LOVED that my friends stayed commited to their healthy habits on this trip, allowing for a splurge here and there but not completely throwing in the towl.

Treat Yo' Self!

Last but not least: just do it -- treat yourself! Order that massage, splurge on an expensive candle or body wash and just treat yourself! You desserve it! I know, pesonally, I have a tough time with this. I overanalyze the cost and expectations of others but man, it felt so good to let my hair down for a few days and just have a good time! Life is hectic but you gotta stop and smell the roses sometimes, you know? Can you tell I was living it up? Good. Cause I did! :)

Atlanta Girls Trip 2
Atlanta Girls Trip 2

Alright, so, there you have it!

Some easy, applicable tips from women, just like you, trying to maintain their best self and live well!

What are some of your wellness rituals? 

Do you try to emulate the behavior of healthy friends? Who inspires you to be healthier? 

Weight Loss Competition: Lessons Learned

Last Sunday, July 27th, marked the finish of an 8-week weight loss challenge I hosted among friends. I got the idea when I noticed during various visits with almost all my friends that we were all striving for the same thing: to lose a little weight. I figured why not band together, and help each other achieve that goal? I sent out an email, got a few people onboard, and we started right at summer's peak in June. The challenge was a huge success! At least three of the 10 girls involved lost more than 5 lbs! I lost 7 and my friend Michelle took home the winnings with a whopping 10 lb loss! Way to go Michelle! Everyone raved about the camaraderie and support. As the host, I was extremely pleased. This was also one of the first-ever challenges I've participated in that I was successful in sticking it out. Usually, I throw in the towel after an off day or start to slack in the end, but this time - for the reasons listed below - I stuck with it, and that makes me proud! Here's a few lessons learned.

The scale fluctuates. Boy does it, ever! When you weigh yourself for several weeks at various times you begin to see just why the scale shouldn't matter. During the second to last week of the challenge it appeared as if I put back on 2 lbs I had just lost. Rather than get discouraged and throw in the towel, I stuck with it and wouldn't you know, a week later, I was back down, minus another pound!

Don't give up, even when you slip-up.Almost everyone took a vacation during the challenge and we all experienced Fourth of July - in all its BBQ glory! I think all of us indulged a little more than we would have liked but what mattered was that we didn't stop there!

Don't give up even when you slip-up for long periods of time. To be honest, I was THIS CLOSE to throwing in the towel the second-to-last week. I had just returned from Florida and I thought there was no hope of actually winning the challenge. The girls encouraged me to extend our deadline an extra week and that was just the motivation I needed to get back on track! Even though I had a few off days (when I was thinking about quitting), I got back on track and ended up finishing strong.

It's OK to enjoy vacation! One of the girls shared this article about why you don't need to worry about what you eat on vacation. In my opinion, you've got to live a little! Just because you're actively trying to lose weight doesn't mean you have to make yourself miserable.

If you are really worried about what you might eat on vacation, check out this other article that was shared, on how to stay on track during vacation.

Believe in yourself. If you don't believe you can, then you won't. Period.

Visualize Your Goals: Seriously visualization is EVERYTHING. Halfway through the competition I tried on a few bathing suits - I squinted my eyes a bit in the dressing room and snapped a few pictures. I'm not exactly where I want to be but I can almost *see* it happening in the mirror. See is believing, friends!

Share your troubles: Sadly, two of the girls lost their dogs during the competition. As a pet owner, I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for them and I have no doubt it completely threw off their focus and routine. I think having a place to share the sorrow, receive some encouragement and talk through why they didn't want to stress eat during such an emotional time was helpful. If you're going through a tough time (and it's affecting your health; which it probably is!) reach out to someone and tell them!

Try new exercises: I went to hot yoga and zumba in an attempt to switch things up and I think that made a big difference! Even though I love CrossFit and it will always be my *favorite* type of workout, you have to jolt your body into change sometimes. The other girls agree and did all sorts of exercise from running to body pump to Jillian DVDs! Naomi (below) even went to the Washingtonian Fit Fest and tried three different workouts in one day!

My friend Naomi at the Washingtonian Fit Fest
My friend Naomi at the Washingtonian Fit Fest

Looking good, girl!

Experiment with new foods: I absolutely love that we used our shared forum to share our favorite brand of healthy chips or trail mix. I learned about a lot of alternatives to traditional chips, like these from Snikiddy:

EatYourVegetables
EatYourVegetables

Share healthy recipes. Recipe sharing is a fun and easy way to switch up the same old healthy foods you might be used to. We all tend to go with what we know but branching out can help keep things tasty! There were a lot of crockpot and spaghetti squash recipes flying around, and I shared this favorite of mine: ground turkey stuffed bell peppers.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed Bell Peppers

Push yourself to workout, even when you don't want to. There were several occasions that I didn't want to workout but seeing the other girls in the group wake up at 5 am or go to an 8 pm workout to squeeze it in motivated me to get to the gym, too. Despite being reluctant, I always felt great (and grateful!) after a workout.

Get into a habit. Along those same lines, I noticed that it was a lot easier to go workout the day after I'd worked out. On the other hand, going after a few off days was HARD!

If you can get to the gym, go and then go again tomorrow!

Workout whenever you can.Even 10 minutes of ab work, like planks in your office, are helpful. Move more as much as possible!

OfficePlank
OfficePlank

Have a little friendly competition every now and then. During the challenge one of my CrossFit friends dared the other CrossFitters to try to beat her time for the day's workout. I didn't feel like going to the gym that night - it was a running WOD - but that little competitive push got me there and guess what? I beat her! Woo hoo!

Have some food rules:One of the rules of the challenge of not to eat anything with more than 20 grams of sugar. I think this is an excellent rule of thumb! (You could even make it 10 or 15 grams of sugar.) This encouraged everyone to check the label, do research, and just generally be more leery of the food they were consuming. Food rules like this can cause real awareness and change!

Log your food. We also had to keep a food log but this really helped keep me on track! I log everything in MyFitnessPal and that were a number of occasions that wanted to keep snacking after dinner, but didn't because I knew (from my food log) I'd had enough!

Always meal prep. ALWAYS meal prep! Get to the grocery store on Sunday and prepare a few things for the week. Even a mini-prep is better than no prep at all.

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Fruits_Veggies

Stay away from fast food.There was a lot of information sharing about the Naked Juice and Subway scandals. Usually fast food is not the healthiest option. If you're on a mission to get healthy, one of the first things you can do is vow to stay away from fast food! 

Take lots of post workout selfies -Hey! You deserve it!

My hot yoga face.

Hot Yoga
Hot Yoga

Remember that muscles weighs more than fat and 5 lbs lost is nothing to sneer at! 

MuscleWeighsMorethanFat
MuscleWeighsMorethanFat

Soak it in when those endorphins hit. And they always hit after CrossFit workout!

Hi say hello to my fellow CrossFit chicas!

CrossFitSelfie
CrossFitSelfie

Drink A LOT of water. Whatever you have to do to get it in, get it in!

Hydrate
Hydrate

And, finally, strive to love yourself more and know that your weight is not your worth. 

LoveYourself
LoveYourself

Read the full details about our Weight Loss Competition here.

Have you ever participated in a weight loss challenge? 

What advice would you give someone trying to lose weight? 

Frequently Asked Questions - My Weight Loss Story

And some never-before-seen engagement photos! Recently I received some questions about my weight loss story. I wish I would have blogged about weight loss prior to our wedding - when I first started losing weight! - but I was a bride back then so blogging was usually more focused on invitation meltdowns, bridesmaid drama, florals... you know, the usual! :)

Losing weight has been a journey for me anyway, though. It never started or ended with the wedding; I've dealt with it my whole life. I think something finally did click before our wedding, but even since then, my weight has fluctuated. I'm a work in progress! Here's a little more background that I hope will paint a broader picture.

How long was your engagement? It was a year and a half. I got engaged in October 2009 and was married in April 2011.

How much did you weigh before you got married? I weighed in around 165 when I first started working with a personal trainer. I didn't consider myself big because I was closer to 180 just a few years prior, but I did know I wanted to shed a few pounds. The photos in this post were taken in November 2009, just a month or so after Aaron proposed.

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2014-07-10_0001

How much do you weigh when you got married? By the time I got married I was close to 145 lbs.

How much do you weigh now? I fluctuate but nowadays I tend to hover around 155; this is after the initial post-wedding gain of about 15 lbs. YES! You read that right - I gained back a lot of the weight I lost prior to the wedding, but I think that's pretty normal.

Are you still trying to lose weight? I do want to lose a few pounds but I'm not nearly as obsessed with the scale as I used to be. CrossFit has really changed my perspective of my body. I try to focus on celebrating non-scale victories, like overcoming the fear of doing handstands, or getting stronger. I've also seen my body change in ways that don't translate over to weighing less, like seeing my bicep develop and my traps rise. All of this has helped me realize the scale isn't nearly as important as how I feel.

What did you eat in the months leading up to your wedding? My trainer put me on a pretty basic meal plan that included a lot of chicken, sweet potatoes, fish, and vegetables. It wasn't very exciting but I tried to stick to it. Of course I had slip-ups... I mean, I was engaged well over a year, but it was also during my engagement that I began eating clean on a more consistent basis.

What motivated you? I really loved Oxygen magazine at the time! I loved the recipes they featured. I discovered the egg white casserole from them, and tried almond butter for the first time after seeing a mention of it in Oxygen. It's a great resource for clean eating.

I also had a very tight-knit workout group. I went to the gym 2-3 times a week with two ladies that I worked with. The three of us pitched in and got a personal trainer, which was a lot more affordable than hiring a personal trainer for one-on-one sessions, which I would not have been able to afford. The trainer and my gym buddies kept me accountable! Sometimes I didn't feel like going to the gym but knowing all of us were schlepping there together was a huge motivator.

The wedding probably had something to do with it too. :)

How did you stick to your diet? At the time I was living by myself so I had full control over the food that was within reach and I was adamant not to have anything nearby that would sabotage my progress. I vividly remember my brother coming to stay for a few nights and bringing his own food - I inspected his bags and made him throw out some hershey's chocolate syrup! He thought I was crazy!

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2014-07-10_0002

What were your workout prior to the wedding? Like I mentioned I worked out with a personal trainer 2-3 times per week. She put a lot of emphasis on weight training, which to be honest, I mostly hated! She also had us do some body weight stuff like push-ups and assisted pull-ups, but it was up to us to do our own cardio. (Except on occasion when she'd make us run the stairs!) Prior to getting with her I had started running for the first time in my life. I ran a 5k, then a 10k, then two 10 milers. By the time I started working out with her running was a part of my routine so I usually opted to do that for cardio, or get on the elliptical (on occasion).

What was your post-wedding plan? I didn't have one which was probably a big part of my problem! I moved in with my fiancΓ© and started eating gobs of ice cream after dinner! Lol! (You know, the love chub set in!) I realized pretty quickly that I was reverting back to some old habits but luckily, I still had my gym buddies and still enjoyed running. I set the goal to run a marathon that year and - believe it or not! - I did it! In November 2011, I ran the Philadelphia marathon in about 5 hours and 30 minutes. I certainly wasn't fast, but I was resilient! To this day I am very proud of that accomplishment.

Running was definitely very good for me post-wedding. It takes a lot to push yourself to run those long miles but it didn't do much for me in terms of weight loss or strength gain. I actually gained weight during training because I got into carb loading and rewarding myself with whatever my heart desired after long weekend runs! (Hey, I deserved it right?) It wasn't until I joined CrossFit in June 2013 that I started to see real change in my body -- this time, for good!

Did you gain weight after the wedding? Like I mentioned above, I did but I think that's pretty normal and certainly nothing to be ashamed about. I would like to blog more about my experience and have some thoughtful discussion here about why that happens; I think part of it is having too much emphasis on just one day and losing the bigger perspective. What I didn't do after the wedding was give up working out or learning to eat better, all of which I think has helped me keep the weight off.

What's your goals right now? My goal at this point is to get better at CrossFit. I can't do a strict pull-up or a handstand push-up, and I'm not comfortable with rope climbs or toes-to-bar. There's so much room for improvement! I also want to continue to refine my diet and if I can, lose some belly fat. I'm actually really happy with my body but I still struggle with the appearance of my stomach. Is it crazy to want CrossFit abs?? Cause I want 'em. :)

I'm fortunate in that my husband has gotten into fitness now as well (via CrossFit). I never imagined we'd both be fitness enthusiasts but we are and it's really working to our advantage. We've been meal planning and prepping together, tracking our macros (protein, carb, and fat intake via MyFitnessPal) and just generally being more conciseness about the food we eat. It's AWESOME to have a partner in this and I'm so blessed to have that. It's also shaping my goals somewhat because if he wants to eat better than automatically, I eat better! It's kind of awesome! (Oh, and in case you're wondering... he wants a six pack, too but I'm hoping to beat him too it!)

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2014-07-10_0004

What's your advice for brides? Obviously I have a lot of advice for brides which is why I run a bridal-fitness blog! But, if I had to boil it down I'd suggest finding a partner in this. Whether it's your fiancΓ©, a coworker, or friend from afar, having accountability and support is so, so important. If you're looking to lose weight I'd also stress that you pay close attention to your diet. At least in my experience it's held that it's 30 percent gym and 70 percent diet.

Now tell me about your weight loss story!

Have you always been on a weight loss journey?

Did you weight fluctuate around major life events, like your wedding or engagement? 

These photos are from Kelly Mihalcoe. We had two sets of engagement photos because I didn't love the first set. These photos are actually from our second session but they've never been shared publicly because I decided to use the photos from the initial one.  You can see those on Weddingbee.  

My New FitBit Flex & 5 Ways to Walk More Throughout the Day

Making the Most of Your FitBit.png

Hey guys! Today I'm going to talk about the FitBit Flex. I just got one last week and already, I'm loving it! This little gadget is easy, fun to use and it's really doing the trick to make me move more!

When I setup the Fitbit, it automatically set my daily target to 10,000 steps, which is recommended by the American Heart Association. Can you believe I thought getting 10,000 steps a day would be easy? I've since learned it's not! And if I'm going to do it, I've got to vehemently resist society's sedentary lifestyle--driving to work and sitting at a desk all day-- and get moving!

FitBitFlex-1
FitBitFlex-1

The FitBit is a great motivator, though! Just the other night I was waiting for Aaron to finish looking around REI (his favorite store, my least favorite) and when I double tapped my FitBit and saw that I was still several bars from reaching my daily goal, I decided I'd walk around the store to wait, not sit! I started walking laps around the store aisles and even though I might have looked a little crazy, I got an instant burst of energy and it wasn't long before I achieved another bar closer to my goal (which is an awesome feeling, btw)!

The flashing LED lights are probably my favorite feature (it makes checking my progress so easy!), but I'm also incredibly impressed with the battery life on this little guy-- it's amazing! I only charged it 60% the day I got it and it's been going strong for four days! (That's more than I can say for my cell phone!) Here are a few other things I love:

// It's waterproof: I can wear it in the shower or if I go swimming! I love that I don't have to think about it at all! I can hardly feel it on my wrist and I can wear it anywhere!

// There's two bands: Right now I'm wearing the smaller of the two bands around my wrist but it came with another band that is slightly bigger that can be worn around the ankle. I'm just so glad I don't have to wrap anything around my body and be uncomfortable. I can totally handle an anklet or wristlet!

// It syncs with my smartphone: It syncs with my computer and my smartphone! I can open the app anytime and see my friend's activity and my own stats: how many calories I've burned, steps I've taken, even sleep patterns! The app even has a really clean interface, too, which I love, and did I mention it has the ability to with MyFitnessPal too?

// There's a silent alarm: The wristband vibrates to alert me of alarms I've set, whether it's to wake up in the morning or remind me to make a call! I love having an alarm that's not connected to my phone, but still close by at all times!

// It's like a game: Have you heard the phrase Gameify? It's a word used to describe a unique way to get people intrigued. The idea is that if you gameify something, i.e., make it fun and like a game, people are more likely to use it. Well, there's definitely a gaming element to the FitBit (an easy one - I just double tap my wrist - that's it!) and I LOVE IT!

Alright, so, as much as I love this device and think that it makes moving a lot more fun, it still takes dedication do get going! Here are some things I'm doing to walk more throughout the day and make the most of my FitBit!

FitBit
FitBit

When you have to go to the bathroom, walk to the furthest one.

I used to think working in a big building was annoying because the bathroom isn't right outside my office. But, since getting the FitBit, I'm now walking to an even further bathroom! I take the elevator down to the first floor, walk the length of the building to the bathroom and then back! It really helps add a few steps throughout the day!

Park further away.

I used to love getting the closest spot to wherever I'm going, but now I realize the value in a few extra steps. Again, I work in a big building with a big parking lot and it's not such a bad thing to have to walk further!

Treat your pup and go for a longer walk.

Now that it's nicer outside, I don't mind taking a long walk with my pup, which is great for him and me! I can get so many more steps just taking a longer walk in the morning or evening with him, when I'm already walking him anyway!

Setup walking dates.

My hubby doesn't love this idea but going for a walk (sans cell phones) is a great way to connect and catch-up! Especially during the spring, it's nice to get out in nature and enjoy each other's company.

When you're idle, walk (or squat!), don't sit.

I often find myself waiting, whether it's to go into a meeting, for my coffee to brew, or for my husband to finish shopping at REI... I've decided to pace, walk in circles, or squat! (Squatting through the day is good for you!) You'd be surprised how many extra steps you can get in when you'd otherwise just be standing around. So, now, even if I'm in a store, I'll walk around in circles or up and down the aisles. I might look crazy but I'm burning calories. :)

Do you have a FitBit or FitBit Flex?

What are your favorite features?

How do you get in extra movement throughout the day?

Please note that FitforaBrideBlog.com participates in select affiliate advertising programs. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on the site or any related social media platforms, FitforaBrideBlog.com may make a commission from that click and/or purchase. All opinions are my own, and all brands featured represent what I personally like and support.  

Navigating Diets & Finding a Weight Loss Method that Works for You

Hi guys! Sorry for being quieter than usual lately! As you can see, I've been making a few changes around here. We now have a static homepage - www.fitforabrideblog.com - that will soon link my shop and bootcamp! Eek! There are a few other tweaks on the way, so please bear with me! This website is a constant work in progress!  So, lately, I've been feeling more and more confused when I think about how I want to approach weight loss and advise others on weight loss. There's so many diets and methods out there, and having experimented with quite a few myself, I tend to overcomplicate the process in my mind, and stall actually getting started... sound familiar?

FUNDAMENTALS
FUNDAMENTALS

Having this realization, I decided to nail down the things that have always worked to help me lose weight in the past, and, surprisingly, they're quite simple! No diet restrictions, no memberships, or expensive proteins or pills, just 5 fundamentals! 1. Get Motivated - Whether it's an upcoming event (ahem, like a wedding!) or just another summer season, I need something to get me motivated. An upcoming trip is good motivator and so is an upcoming anniversary of some kind (my 3 year wedding anniversary is in April). I also get motivated by taking a before picture of myself, making visual reminders (like below), reading about health, searching crossfit and weight loss on Instagram, trying new workouts, and combining forces with others. There's so many awesome ways to get motivated - it' just a matter of tapping in! In the past, I've used challenges to motivate me, too, but I've often fallen way off the bandwagon at the end of the challenge and gained back all the weight I lost while on it. I read this word of caution about Paleo Challenges and "Clean Eating" Programs and could totally relate! In my opinion, a challenge might motivate you, but it won't sustain you.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 1.36.07 PM
Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 1.36.07 PM

2. Change it up - Just like I constantly need motivation, my body needs constant change; this is especially true with workouts. If you've been doing the same workout or same type of workout for the last 6 months and you haven't seen any changes (and you're looking for change), you need to switch things up! Try something new, whether it be the workout itself or even the time of day you're working out. Challenge yourself! I love the quote "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you!" So true! I think that's why CrossFit has been so beneficial.

Challenge-Change
Challenge-Change

Change is also the reason why strict diets that only allow for certain foods or meals don't really work for me. I've received meal plans that were the same two day's worth of meals repeated for an entire month! No thanks! I like to use those meal plans as a guide, but ulitimately, I need there will be a lot more variety in my own diet. I like to experiment! The key is experimenting with healthy foods, not new flavors of oreos!

2. Meal prep and log your food - These are big. Huge. Majorly important fundamentals to weight loss in my book. I do so much better when I think about what to eat ahead of time and then log as I go. While a diet might work to outline WHAT you eat, I find that just being prepared and watching it WHILE I eat is a much more effective and long term.

Meal Prep
Meal Prep

4. Have some accountability - I'm always thinking about new ways to incorporate some accountability into my life because I do my worse when I go unchecked for several days and weeks at a time. That's one reason why I think programs like Weight Watchers and other weekly weigh-in programs are great. Not because they focus on your weight (I don't think that's good), but because they add an element of accountability. I mean, cause, let's face it, how easy is it to ignore what we don't want to deal with? Too easy!

5. Get into a routine - Even though I like to change things up and try new workouts and recipes, my routine - with work, working out, sleeping, and meal prepping - always directly translates into whether I have a good or bad week in terms of weight loss.  If I don't go to bed at a decent hour, I'm traveling a lot, or bogged down with lots of obligations one weekend, it's easy for me to get off track. And then it's easier to stay off track than to refocus! I know it's important to be healthy on the go, but it's hard for me! I do much better when I have a set schedule and stick to it!

If you're navigating lots of diets and not sure where you should begin, it might help to brainstorm the simple solutions that worked for you in the past! I wouldn't be surprised if we had some in common - most people agree that tracking food and having some accountability helps!

And, here's an idea! Let's help each other! Beginning in March there will be weekly challenges that reinforce these simple weight loss fundamentals. One week you might be challenged to track your meals, or prep your breakfast for the week! You might be challenged to change up your workout and go for a run outside, or try a CrossFit class! I'll publish the Get Motivated March calendar tomorrow, and all the challenges will be typed into each day!

Get-Motivated
Get-Motivated

There will be a new calendar and a new set of challenges in April! I'm really hoping these challenges motivate us to stop stalling and do what we know we ought to! Who's with me??

Do you overthink healthy sometimes?

Do you go back and forth about how to go about losing weight?

How to Make Working Out Part of Your Routine

"To workout or not to workout. That is a dumb question!"

how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine
how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine

If you know me, you know I workout fairly regularly. I've gotten into the habit of going to gym at least 3-4 times a week and I'm proud of that - especially not having any sort of fitness background, and being a generally lazy person (just being honest here - I love the vegging out on the couch as much as the next girl!).

Of course, going to the gym isn't always easy, and in fact, often times I don't feel like going. But, it always holds true that when I do go, I'm always so glad that I did.

I put together a small list of ideas to help those of you trying to get (back) into a routine. These things have helped me TREMENDOUSLY and I know they'll help you.

1. Get a buddy.

Funny story - when I first started getting into the gym, I got on Craigslist (yes - Craigslist - it's actually kind of creepy) to find a workout buddy, and guess what? I did! My first workout partner was a girl named Claire and let me tell ya, we were dedicated! Sometimes we met TWICE a day at the gym (morning and after work). Claire got me running - for the first time ever, and let me work out with her and her trainer. Claire and I eventually parted ways (weddings, jobs, babies, you know how it goes) but it wasn't long after that I started working out with coworkers. I started off going running with one guy, and then, two girls joined the same gym and three of us eventually all chipped in to get a personal trainer!

2. Get a Personal Trainer.

That same personal trainer was the one who got me in tip-top shape for my wedding day! (Personal trainers are a great resource if you DON'T have a gym buddy.) Below is a picture of the personal trainer I have at my work gym. His name is Larry but we call him Scary Larry because of his crazy workouts!

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IMG_6990

I think the convenience of a work gym makes a huge difference, but to be honest, I wouldn't go as often as I do if it wasn't for this girl, Karlye! She keeps me dedicated! We try to go at least twice a week to workout with Scary Larry.

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IMG_6264

There's also my hubby who keeps me going to crossfit. There are so many nights after work, when I just want to go home, but I know he's pumped and ready for Crossfit, so I go! (Again, it's the buddy system. Refer to #1)

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IMG_9614

I swear gym buddies make the biggest difference!

3. Do workouts that make you happy!

I've gotten to a point where I don't particularily enjoy traditional weight lifting or using weight machines in the gym. I've never really enjoyed weight lifting (until I started CrossFit and began doing Olympic lifts), so if I'm going to the gym after work, it's more than likely going to be to go to a class, do some running, or come up with a routine using my workout sticks. I'm not going to force myself to do something I don't enjoy. If I did force myself, chances are I'd half-ass it or quit really early on. Hate running? (Or, like most people, cardio in general?) Then try weight lifting at the gym - everyone's different. I really like this beginner's guide for weight lifting.

how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine
how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine

4. Change at work for an after-work sweat fest, or sleep in your clothes to workout first thing.

It sounds silly but it's so true! Once you're dressed, you're practically out the door. Of course this isn't a sure thing (what is?), but you're one step closer. This has really worked for me lately. I used to workout at lunch and going after work has been HARD. Around 4 or 4:30, I'm thinking of ways to bail out. But then, I get dressed and voila, suddenly, I feel like going. Suddenly, I AM GOING.

how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine
how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine

5. Challenge yourself.

I love a good challenge, especially one that helps me get into a habit bootcamp style. If you're trying to get into the habit of getting to the gym, challenge yourself to go 4 days a week next week. But like REALLY challenge yourself, don't just say it and then not do it. Declare it and then actually follow through.

how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine
how-to-make-workout-out-a-routine

This is me challenging myself to do a pull-up. Even with a band they're hard!

6. Track your progress.

I love Streaks for tracking my progress sticking to an everyday goal. I've been using it to hold myself accoubtable for practicing handstands and eating paleo. If you've set a challenge to go to the gym 3 times a week throughout January (read above), find someway to track your progress. I'm a huge fan of visual motivators - try making a calendar out of sticky notes like I did, or any of these tactics to stay inspired.

What tactics do you use to get to the gym?

Is going to the gym part of your routine?