Fit Latina in the Making: The Unwelcome Reminders

This week I’ve been bombarded by devastating health updates for several people in my life. These three incredible women are all fighting a tremendously difficult battle against Stage 4 Breast Cancer.

When I learned about the first person this week, it immediately reminded me of a promise I had made to my friend Deyla who lost her journey to this very diagnosis a little over 2 years ago. I vowed then that I wouldn’t take my “health” for granted.

I remember feeling frustrated with myself for taking my time on this planet lightly. For not doing even half of what I saw her trying to do despite the devastating updates from her doctors that the treatments were not working. She fought every second because she wasn’t done living. She wanted to see her children grow up, she wanted more days with her husband and she wanted to continue laughing with us (her sisters, friends and family). She wasn’t given that privilege.

Deyla has had to inspire us from beyond. My sorority sisters and I are closer than ever and our friendship became stronger when we rallied to support her and her family. We made a promise to each other to not only get together in times of grief. We needed to see each other more regularly, and we have because of Deyla.  She is a part of every gathering, and we know that we should thank her for bringing us all together again.

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But to learn that three new people in my circle have this very same diagnosis is both upsetting and motivating. I can’t work on the research to find a cure, but I can do my part to provide whatever I can that will make a difference.

For now, I need to continue on my path of getting healthier while I find ways to support my coworker, my friend’s aunt and my aunt. These three kind, gentle souls have already given so much to this universe, and I pray that they will have many more years to continue showering this universe with their sweet spirits and loving hearts.

I promise to not take my health for granted so that I can continue to emulate them in my daily life and work.

I see how medical illness impacts families financially every day, so I’m not even going to hesitate in putting this ask out for my aunt Nena. Her family has a Go Fund Account open to help in her fight. Any amount will greatly assist them in focusing on what they should most – time as a family and her treatment. I would be so very grateful for your support.

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Fit Latina in The Making: Admit it…We all have that ONE outfit

As I inch closer to my next mini-target, I’ve found myself evaluating the clothes in my closet. As a woman who has struggled the majority of her life with her weight, I have a closet full of items that fit me at various points of my weight cycle.

Why have I kept them?

Well duh….every single time I started a new year, I told myself I would finally commit to getting fit. So I have many pieces that have moved from apartment to apartment over the years because I was determined to fit in them again. I started every new year thinking I would be in them by the end of that calendar year.

Have some of those items moved on to happier homes? Have many of my favorite (and classic) pieces stayed in my closet? Yes.

Not be excluded from this conversation is my workout gear. I have specific outfits for working out with Ray and other outfits for when I’m in the privacy of my own home and no one will ever see me in them.  These are those skin tight options that let you see what your body is doing and allow you to focus on form over fighting with whether or not your shirt is riding up or if it’s covering your ass.

You know what I mean, don’t you?  These are the outfits I wouldn’t be caught dead in for a class let alone be photographed in them!  Heck no.

And I have these options for everything!  

Coats, pajamas, undergarments, slacks, blouses, dresses, etc.   The madness has got to stop.

So this weekend, I’m going to identify three outfits that I want to wear and feel cute in again. I want to be confident enough to wear them and photographed in them…so you’ll get to see these three outfits one day. I’m going to focus on three areas:

  1. Workout outfit
  2. Formal dress
  3. Work outfit

I want to be comfortable in my own skin and lord knows I have some super cute clothes to do that in. It’s time to set my clothes free!

 

Fit Latina in the Making: We’re Burning my Big Clothes

So I’ve officially reached the 18 pound loss…almost halfway to my 1st goal!  I’ve also had a lot of fun moments recently with clothes that I have in my closet. Many items that were just a little snug are either fitting just right or are actually now loose and it’s AWESOME.

This fashionista could care less what the scale says every morning! I’m much more interested in the clothing and shoes I see in my future.  I know that the number on the scale is an indicator of what some of the clothes will look like but the actual fit of some pieces is what truly motivates me. I want to be able to wear anything in the store that I like – within reason of course.  I am almost 40 and don’t plan on dressing like a 20 year old. I won’t be one of those women – regardless of how hot I get (ha!).

So imagine my giggles when Ray is talking about going shopping when I reach the next 20 pounds. I chuckled because I know I have pieces of clothing in my closet now that will finally fit again.  I happened to mention this to him and he immediately asked:

“When we reach this next target, can we burn your bigger clothes?”

No.  We will not burn them.  I don’t believe in such waste.  However, I will get them out of my House and donate them to a women’s shelter or salvation army.

donate clothes

Doesn’t even need a handshake. It will get done.

Fit Latina in the Making: Am I Dieting?

Since I started this journey, I am constantly answering three questions:

  1. How often do you workout?
  2. What is included in your workouts?
  3. What kind of crazy diet are you on?

So I figured it was time to give you all a little insight in to my new daily life.

How often do I workout?

It blows my mind to even type this now…but the answer is every day. When I first started, there were 30 minute Skype sessions with Ray. As we’ve developed our groove, and I’ve proven trustworthy to do things on my own…I sometimes I only get 15 minutes in if I’m having a crazy day.  I try not to have to do that often, but it’s a relief to know that it isn’t the end of the world if life gets in the way a bit.

But yes…that whole recommended do 30 minutes a day minimum is sort of where I am each morning.

What is included in my workouts?

Everything! When I had my first conversation with Ray, we talked about what I did do physically and what I enjoyed (and hated). We then talked about my space and what I had available. Remember, I’m not going to a gym and doing these workouts, I’m doing these workouts at home.

So on our day one, Ray got to see my baseline and has slowly built up the workouts. He changes them up every day, and we are slowly starting to use everything I have at home. What does this include?  An elliptical, weights, stairs, my own bodyweight, a wall, my kitchen counter, a box fan, door frames, a chair, etc.

He uses anything and everything he can that will continue to push me. I sometimes look at my furniture and wonder what’s going to be used against me next. Ha!

household items

But let’s get serious here. I’m working with a professional who knows when to push me and when to ease up. He also knows how to modify routines so that I can feel successful yet also achieve progress.  I’m slowly realizing that this is key to why this working.

I don’t think I would have been able to get anywhere near where I am right now if he wasn’t a part of this journey. I’d probably still be doing the same few minutes on the elliptical and a workout video that is too hard for me (and then I’d quit for the 100th time).

Am I dieting?

Yes and no. One of my biggest issues for several years now has been the fact that I don’t eat enough.  Yes…you read that right. I supposedly did not eat enough. Not consuming enough energy for your day means your metabolism slows down  to burn calories slowly so you “survive.”

I think I chuckled every time someone said this to me because come on….you don’t get fat from not eating. Well apparently that can be a substantial factor.

When I did decide to finally eat, it would usually be super late and the last thing I would want to do is cook so I would make terrible choices. So the little bit I was consuming was often high fat and loaded with carbs.

That obviously needed to change.

My workouts make me hungry first thing in the morning so I’ve had to become much better at starting with a good breakfast. I then often eat what’s available at work – which often has some good choices. I’m avoiding the available daily sweets and treats which is huge for me as I used to indulge every single afternoon.

I’m also cooking more which means I’m lowering my carb intake overall. I’ve realized that for many years now, my own cooking has gravitated toward more paleo like meals. I’m a bad Latina in that respect – I’m fine not having rice or tortillas with my meals. I don’t often miss them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a great pasta or rice dish, but it’s not something I have to have every day. And since I’m cooking daily now, I avoid the hamburger buns, cookies, sliced bread that I would often have daily. I’m also just snacking better. I pack healthy options and munch when I have an itching to visit the kitchen for a snack of the baked good variety.

Lastly, I can’t forget to mention the water. Before I started working out, I was a girl who was constantly dehydrated. Add the development of adult on-set allergies, and I was a hydrating nightmare. I didn’t take it seriously before, but immediately had to when my muscles started screaming from the lack of water in my system. I now tend to average about 12-14 glasses a day.

Can I still have my Foodie Fun?

The answer is yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will a foodie night have an impact on my weightloss the next day? Of course it will. Is it the end of the world? No!

One not so healthy meal will not impact my overall progress, and that’s an amazing feeling. To know that I can still enjoy one of the things I love most (beautiful, artistic, delicious food) is amazing and encouraging. You don’t stop living because you decide to focus on your health!

Is this the hardest thing I have ever done?

Not really (and don’t hate me for it).

Maybe it’s the fact that I like to cook and enjoy healthy food or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have a spouse or kids to pull my attention from this journey. What I know is that this doesn’t feel insanely hard at all.  It’s challenging and there are days where I cave and have a bite of a cookie/donut/chocolate. But I haven’t had a terribly difficult time completing the workouts or paying more attention to what I eat.

But maybe I was just finally ready. Truly ready.

And then again…it probably has everything to do with making sure I get Ray to vote in 2016!

Fit Latina in the Making: Your Secret Confessions are Motivating Me

I wanted to first thank you for all the love and support about my last post.

It was probably the most difficult post to write, but I knew it needed to be done. I know I’m not the only person in the world with body self-esteem issues and it would be silly to assume that this whole journey would be all comedic posts about the hustle.  Because let’s be honest – this shit is hard and some days are going to be brutal.  If working out and eating healthy were easy, we’d all have perfect bodies.

hard

What is surprising me most about this journey is the many secret confessions from all of you. I get bombarded with Facebook messages, emails, and text messages from friends (and even strangers) who share their struggles, their successes and their fitness secrets. Many of these are things you tell me in confidence because you share that similar embarrassment I feel about where I am right now.

It blows my mind.

Here I am thinking that my current weight is the most embarrassing thing ever and here you are telling me that your more normal sized body gives you the exact same insecurities. What does this tell me?  It’s all about our self-perception!

Now don’t get me wrong, there are obviously health risk factors you have to account for, but the way we beat ourselves down is all about what we perceive as the reality about what constitutes a healthy or beautiful body.

I have plenty of weight to lose.  Lots. If I were to look up my suggested weight for my height, I’d probably get super discouraged.  I’m not entirely focusing on that. I just want to be healthier.  Yes that includes a target number for weight loss, but I may decide I’m happy and strong enough at a weight higher than the suggested medical point.  Who knows!  All I know is that I’m trying my best, and I’m working harder than I ever have at this game called fitness.

What I do know is that I’m not a coach.

I’m really touched that so many of you are reaching out to me to find out my workouts and plan because you are seeing my results and want to have them happen for you.  However, my plan is focused on me…where I’m at…how I live…and what I like to eat. So while it may benefit you to share a similar path, it may not be the perfect path for you.

And believe me, I get it.  Hiring a personal trainer is expensive.  It truly is, and it is one of the reasons why I probably hadn’t ever considered doing it in the past.  However, it really does make a difference when you find someone that matches you and listens to you (and who knows what they are doing). Because then it’s magical.  I have found my fitness unicorn in Ray.  (Hmmmm….I think that’s officially my Halloween costume recommendation for you, Ray. Please make it happen.)

So feel free to pester me with questions about why this is finally sticking and what changes I have made and just start.

Start and start and start again.

It’s taken me over 20 years to finally focus on me, and it didn’t happen over night. There were multiple attempts at getting healthier and multiple fails but this one seems to finally be sticking.

And no, I’m not enjoying one minute of the workouts.  I enjoy the interaction with the Boston strongboy and his accent, but the working out still sucks and the staying away from all the sweets is no fun.  But it’s getting easier and it’s becoming a part of my daily routine AND I’m getting healthier day by day.

Case in point: Today is our one-month anniversary and I’m officially down 15.7 pounds and my stamina is higher which makes me feel good after each workout.  That’s progress!

Fit Latina in the Making: My First True Social Media Insecurity

I know I’ve slowed down a bit lately. You’ve all been great about following this crazy story and I really do get energized and motivated from your comments. So first I’ll start off by saying thank you.

My air conditioning unit died last week, so Charlie cat and I had to commute from my folks’ house in the suburbs of Chicago. How did that impact my posts? Well my daily commute more than doubled, so I had to do my workouts in the evening alone.

And I am super thankful that I have earned the right to tell Ray that I can’t meet with him over Skype on some days. He doesn’t really flinch (I think) when my non-workout world gets in the way because he knows I’ll honor my promise to complete the workout on my own. We’ve hit a nice stride in the trust department.  So thank you for that, Ray!

But yesterday…Ray unknowingly tested my boundaries.

I promised I would always be honest so here it goes. I know this is going to open up a conversation this week which is almost making me not publish this post, but I promised to express my journey in all its pretty, ugly or funny formats. I was going to be truthful because I know there are others who are feeling the same way and I hope it helps you process these types of insecurities faster than I can currently process them.

Yesterday, Ray pushed my comfort zone to a place I wasn’t quite ready to go yet. I’m still not that comfortable with it, but I’m trying to get there.

So what happened? During our workout session, Ray started taking photos of his computer screen. I assumed he was taking snaps to show me my progress some time in the future so I didn’t even think anything of it. I told him jokingly to stop, but I honestly didn’t care because I thought these photos for us.

FOR OUR EYES ONLY

Well imagine my surprise when I’m about to get in to my car and see that I’m tagged on a particular social media platform post. The last thing I expected to see when I opened the app were shots from my morning’s workout!  (You’ll notice I’m not linking the source.) I was both mortified and a bit pissed, and I’m still a bit a mortified.

So I needed to a do a gut check before I responded to anything.

Why was I mortified and pissed?  Ray wasn’t insulting me. He wasn’t making fun of me. He was actually praising my hard work! He was using my hard work as a source of motivation for me and for all of you who have started following my journey.  I’ve had so many people share that I have somehow become a source of inspiration for them (which still baffles me). The symbolism of his post was to show anyone that they can do this.  The message was that simple and honest, but my emotional reaction to it all rattled me.

I was forced to see the things I didn’t  and don’t want to see – things I have pretended didn’t exist. Heck, isn’t this the reason I haven’t focused on my fitness for the majority of my life?

I don’t want to see the fat rolls.

I don’t want to see myself struggling.

And I REALLY don’t want everyone else to see any of the above!  

I wasn’t ready for my “reality” to be all out there yet.  Why?  It embarrasses me for the same reasons that I keep my weight private – only three people know my starting weight for this journey (only three…and TWO of those individuals are physicians).

I honestly don’t even know if I’ll ever reach a point where I’ll talk freely about the embarrassing scale number or not. All I know now is that talking about it publicly makes me extremely uncomfortable. I mask my insecurities by lovingly calling myself the fat girl or saying that I am extra special because I have so many more areas to love. But this body isn’t something I want to celebrate yet…it’s not what I want to see in the mirror every day.

So as proud as I am about the 30 days of commitment so far, I am still completely insecure about what my body looks like when working out.  So I was really thrown off by having that reality smack me in the face with his post.

Ray was sincerely celebrating my hard work, and it took me a hot minute to understand my insecurities for where they are, and to be okay with this video being out there.

But I still hate watching it. 

I’ve responded to some of the encouraging comments on it, but I seriously cringe every time it pops up in my feed – even more so when others tag me on it again and again. Every single time it’s front in center on my computer or phone, it makes my stomach sink. I’m sure I could ask him to take it down but I won’t. This insecurity…this reality…it’s a part of why I haven’t given up yet.

So I just need to leave it out there and try to accept its purpose and existence.

But it’s hard because it doesn’t really make me feel good watching it – even though it should.

Maybe one day I will feel proud watching it…but I’m SOOO not there yet.

 

 

SPECIAL NOTE: I have no issue with the photos being taken. Ray has my permission to use my name, my progress and my images.  I just wasn’t prepared for the emotional response to this specific type of photo.

 

Fit Latina in the Making: Progress Slow-Down

I know that weight loss goes in spurts and my initial shedding was bound to slow down a bit. Well, it looks like I may have slowed down a bit this week.  Current weight loss total is 12.6 pounds…which is only about 1/2 pound less than last week.

I know, I know….1/2 pound loss is still better than a 1/2 pound gain.

However, I was hoping to not slow down so soon. And maybe I’m not actually slowing down. I did have an usual week on all fronts.

First, my air conditioning unit died during a very hot week in Chicago, so I spent a lot of time not moving in my almost 90 degree apartment while I waited for the AC guys. Two days of just trying to lounge in the hot, humidity means a lot less daily steps.  Then, when we realized I had to get a new unit, I packed up my Charlie-cat and commuted from my parents in the suburbs.  Let’s just say that the work commute almost doubled from my normal week (if not more), so there went more steps.

Did I also maybe take a few more nibbles than I had the first three weeks of not so healthy stuff?  Yes, probably.  Anyone who has ever been a diet knows the story….you do really well at the beginning and then you loosen the reigns a bit because you feel so confident you’re doing everything right, so you take a few extra liberties.

This week, I think I may have indulged a sweet tooth more than I should have, but maybe the few bites I had didn’t really make a different. Maybe this is just part of the process and this is just a mental test. Only time will tell and I’ll recommit to myself to be more mindful!

My workouts are getting harder and I’m officially at a level of soreness that is now pretty noticeable.  I’ve drank more water this past week than I ever have and my muscles are still screaming at me.

So I know I’m still working harder than I ever have in my lifetime. 

I’m not beating myself too much over this slow down because at the end of the day, I’m still in this. A new week is starting, which means I have a whole new week to continue pushing!

reminder

Tomorrow is my 4 week point since starting my first trainer session, so I figured I would retake my measurements this morning.  This is where I was pleasantly surprised.

Since July 18th, I’ve lost 3 inches total  – most significantly off my hips.

I’ve had a few people mention lately that I look different, and I guess this is what they’re seeing!

I’m going to use this as a reminder. Success in this process isn’t always going to be the weightloss number. Sometimes my success lies in other places. For example, when was the last time I worked out for almost an entire month?  Ummmm….NEVER!  And do I now catch myself feeling odd when I have a “rest day”? Absolutely.

So I know that the needle on the scale will keep moving. Even if it moves slowly, I’m happy to see it moving and now that I’ve taken some serious steps already to get me to my goal.