Fit Latina in the Making: Will He Vote?!

It’s November 1st ya’ll and that means my time is up.

Last August, I was bamboozled in to making a bet I refused to lose.  If I reached a weight-loss goal of 42 pounds, my trainer extraordinaire, Ray Peleckas, would cast his first official vote of ANY election. Civic responsibility is not something I take lightly, and I vowed to work my ass off to win.

When I first started this journey, the win was my pure motivation. I don’t think I’m a super competitive person, but this prize was far too important to me. It fueled me, and I think Ray knew exactly what he was doing when he came up with this plan.  However, I don’t know if he truly knew just how much it truly motivated me beyond the actual fitness progress I was experiencing.

Because let me be honest….I have spent most of my life as the overweight girl. I had learned to accept my body in whatever shape or size it was most of the time, and I never imagined being able to do what I have now done. Just look at the visual transformation from last November to right now?!  My clothes don’t fit anymore, and I can now see why!


What a difference a year makes!

I’ve learned to eat in a way that doesn’t starve or deprive me of anything. Sure, I might be eating less of some things in general, but I haven’t permanently eliminated a single thing. I’ve managed to fully comprehend what affects my weight-loss targets and trained my body to gain satisfaction from healthier sweet options when I’m craving a special treat.

And I’ve become a bit fearless about working out.

Some workouts are still brutal and some exercises are still super hard, but I give things a shot and modify when necessary. I’ve seen that consistent movement and a gradual push of my limits has lead to progress. I mean, come on…I can do an actual burpee now!  I still hate working out in general, but it’s now just a part of my daily routine.

So am I proud?  Fuck yes!

Am I done?  I wish!

I’m down 42 pounds (which was more than I wanted to reach for my 40th), but why stop there?

My new target will be to try and lose 60 pounds by January 9th.

There is no crazy bet this time (yet) and I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t quite reach it, but I’m going to try my hardest to get there! This Chicago foodie will need to enjoy Thanksgiving and Navidad with her family which equals Tamales and Pozole will be eaten. So I’ll have to be careful up to and around the holidays and treat my family time as cheat days.

Because if you’ve eaten my mom’s food, then you know they NEED TO BE CHEAT DAYS!


The annual holiday tamalada awaits me!

So there you have it…Ray will have to vote this election. I honestly think he would have voted regardless of me reaching my targets because he knows I’ve worked really hard, but it has to feel good to know that this crazy bet worked.

I didn’t have a similar bet with all of you reading this blog, but I do hope you’ll exercise your right as Americans to cast a vote next Tuesday. This is the very foundation on which this country was founded and many groups have fought so that people like me….a woman..a Latina…a daughter of Mexican immigrants…could have the right to vote.

I have voted in every single election (except one because I woke up with the flu) since I was 18. I don’t just preach civic responsibility…I am fully engaged.  Please join me and vote!


Fit Latina in the Making: When Life Hands you Lemons

It’s been an interesting past couple of weeks in my household, and I was honestly at a loss for words. A little over two weeks ago, I received the unwelcome news that my position was being eliminated and was laid off. If you know me well, you know that I loved what I was doing so it was difficult news to receive, and I’m still trying to work things out as I do a little soul searching for what’s next.

Thankfully, I have a few distractions in my life that are helping me keep a healthy focus and fueling me with energy to embark on my new professional adventure.  Because let’s face it…at this point in time, if you haven’t been laid off once in your career, then you haven’t been pushed by fate to keep driving and learning professionally. There is a silver lining in every dark cloud.

I thought I was done going out of my comfort zone when I agreed to work with Ray, but I guess this journey is a part of my training ground for life. I giggle now because the weight loss journey still feels like the most difficult commitment I have had to make.  So am I worried about finding what’s next? Not too much (yet).  I’m more nervous about finding the perfect next phase so I’m going to try and take my time.

For now, let’s continue to push me out of my comfort zone and stay on track with my fitness goals!

I’m super lucky to have friends that have immediately reached out to make sure I’m not freaking out, and have helped me unwind from the shock. There’s been a lot of crazy adventures and it’s too much to post all at once, but I promise you there are fitness stories to share! And I’ll start sharing them this week!

The most important update I can give is where I am on my crazy bet with Ray to convert him in to a voter this election period.

Our ultimate deadline is November 1st and I have a target weight loss goal of 42 pounds.

Am I close? Yes

I reached 35 pounds five days ago, and I’ve lost a few more pounds since then.  I’m going to need to buckle down these next couple of days, but I promise you…


The year that the Chicago Cubs go to the World Series is the year Ray Peleckas will vote! Both of these events will be EPIC and LIFE CHANGING….fate has made it so!


It’s also the first time at the Art Institute of Chicago lions are wearing Cubs gear!


Fit Latina in the Making: First Goal Status Update

I was traveling this weekend and didn’t get to post a very important update!

I’ve realized this past month, that there are a lot more people reading this little blog than I ever thought.  I’ve had people asking me (and asking Ray) if I was going to reach my first goal on October 1st of losing 30 pounds.

I’ve even learned from Ray that some of his other clients are asking him how I’m reaching my targets so quickly? First – let’s keep this real. I have a lot of weight to lose and years of a very sedentary lifestyle. What I’m doing now is making changes happen quickly so my rate of loss isn’t abnormal…it’s just a reflection of how changing my diet and exercise schedule is affecting my health. I’m sure to plateau eventually.  For now, I’ll take this downward weight spiral!

So did I reach my first goal?

The weekend of travel had me super nervous because Ray was being a stickler about the date. I had to send a picture of the scale’s reading on October 1st. I’m used to weighing myself in the mornings in the comfort of my own home and like many people probably do…with very little clothes on!  I mean, let’s be honest here…every pound counts right? So I sure as heck take the clothes off to weigh myself every morning.

I knew the hotel room probably wouldn’t have a scale, so it meant I was going to have to weigh myself in the hotel gym. I obviously didn’t want to get kicked out for indecent exposure, so I was going to have to do this fully clothed.  Would I reach my goal? I was still almost 4 pounds away as of Monday and had had a few plateaus lately so I was nervous.

I spent all week getting very serious about food and limiting my calories. I was going to reach this target. If it meant going a little more extreme, than so be it. I was not about to lose this bet and was going to stop any sort of little indulging.

On September 30th, I got up early and forced myself to go to the gym at the hotel. I stepped on the scale fully clothed and prayed as I moved the bar to see if I was close to my goal. What did the scale say? EXACTLY 30 pounds gone…which meant I was probably beyond my target based on how I was weighing myself at home. So you know I was super motivated to get my workout done that morning, and I did it with a huge smile on my face!


The biggest challenge came that night- the day before my goal day!

I was invited to a reception in DC where I would know the majority of the people. We were celebrating our part in helping President Obama getting elected and that meant champagne and hors d’oeuvres would be a given, and a late night of celebratory drinks would continue in to the next morning.  I was going to have to make some conscious decisions about what I put in my body that night.

I ate zero carbs all day and pre-gamed with a protein bar before the event. I knew that I had limited my calories that day, so I let myself indulge in one glass of champagne at the party, but then I kept to zero carb options and told myself that it didn’t matter how late I would be out…I would be working out the next morning.

After strolling in at 3:30am, my body was screaming in pain as I rolled out of bed to go to the hotel gym. I was dehydrated and exhausted but I had to see if I had reached my goal despite the evening’s shenanigans. I was confident the morning before, but I had butterflies in my stomach as I stepped on the scale.

Imagine the look on my face when the scale said I was 2.5-3 pounds lighter!

32 pounds gone on October 1st?  WHAT?!


I didn’t want to scare you all with a color version of this picture….the dark circles under my eyes and leftover make-up from the night before were quite scary. Ha!

So you know that means…

Ray will be registering to vote this week! 

We both celebrated the progress all day through various text messages, and I took my final day in DC to indulge in a few things.  I had some ice cream (kiddie size) from a fancy gourmet shop AND I had popcorn at the movie theater where we killed some time before out late flight out.

So on to the next phase….42 pounds must be gone by November 1st in order to get Ray to cast his first vote. I won’t be telling him whom to vote for, but I do hope he does his homework and votes in what he believes in. I’m happy to provide resources on why I think he should align his votes with mine…but I won’t judge him for not doing so (at least not too much!).


Fit Latina in the Making: Voter Registration Deadline

We are officially in the home stretch!  One week left to reach my 30 pound target that makes a miracle happen – having Ray submit his information to become a registered voter.

How far away am I from that goal?  THREE POUNDS.

Normally I wouldn’t be nervous about reaching this number, but I’ve had a roller coaster two weeks where I’ll gain two pounds and then lose it back again from one day to the next. Thankfully, the overall trend is still down, but when I’m THIS close to our date…it makes me a little nervous to have this shaky downhill spiral.

But it’s go time and I mean business!

So I’m going to put a laser focus on this week and crush these last three pounds. Thankfully, Ray was in Chicago for the second time and pretty much left me in a state of sheer exhaustion.  I think my arms are broken today – seriously!

However, despite his major fault of not taking civic engagement seriously, I can tell he really wants me to win this crazy bet.  So let’s give him a little heat because he should be voting, but also some kudos for not trying to sabotage me so he can win.

Ray gives off this super tough exterior, but he’s a big ole softy and I love it. He knows how to have fun but can be really intense about his work (hence his success and that of his clients).  The scary intensity has not come my way yet as I haven’t done anything to make him use it against me – thank goodness! Instead, I get trainer mode Ray and then this silliness when we aren’t training:


This man is wearing my poncho because the restaurant was freezing – ha!

But let’s talk progress.  Obviously, the scale is showing me that the work I’m putting in and the better eating is making a huge difference for my weight, but what about my actual fitness level?

I’ve definitely gotten stronger.

I’ve doubled my dumbbell weight and now find the 5 pounds seem like nothing…until I have to use them for 50 reps. However, it does feel good to be completing reps with the heavier weight when I know I could have never done that two months ago.

My form is also getting better.

I’m more flexible…I can easily do toe touches…I can hold planks longer.  I mean look at this squat!


And my confidence in my physical appearance is growing. I see the changes, and I really like what’s happening. I’m even starting to not get annoyed when I see pics or videos of me working out.  What?!


I feel good and apparently it’s showing in everything I do. People tell me I look happier and that I have a glow about me now. And you know what? I’m not only happy, I’m proud of myself!


And don’t forget to register to vote!  The registration deadline is quickly approaching!  You can do that here.



Fit Latina in the Making: The Day My Training Became A Civic Engagement Project

So it finally happened.  The crazy man that has pushed me daily, via Skype, arrived in Chicago.  I know I’ve spoken to Ray daily since July 18th, but I still found myself getting nervous about meeting him.  That quickly dissipated when we met up at Nordstrom downtown.

He had been informed by my BFF about my make-up love affair and had walked around a bit trying to find me before texting me. When he finally found me, I got a huge bear hug and then we went on our first “date” – i.e. feeding him. I had had a protein bar because we were meeting up with friends for a super late dinner.  Any nerves I had quickly went away as the usual teasing came out (he was shocked at how short my 5ft 2in was in real life), and we just proceeded to get to know more about each other.

Since his arrival on Thursday, I don’t think I realized just how much time we would spend in my car this weekend. Good ole Chicago traffic made sure we had plenty of time to talk about all sorts of things.  We truly talked about anything and everything!  Ray’s had a lot of  time to tap in to my passion points, my nerdiness and my core values.

So imagine my surprise when this brilliant man turned my weight loss goals in to a civic engagement project.

Yes, you read that right – Civic Engagement.

If you know me personally, you know that I am a die hard Democrat who is actively engaged in the political process. I’ve worked in politics and the US government and nothing gets me more riled-up than learning that someone isn’t participating in the political process at all.

I am a woman of color who is standing on the shoulders of thousands of pioneers who sacrificed their lives to give me the opportunity to vote…to have equal rights…to be the person I am today.  I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants who came to this country to give their children every incredible opportunity they could in life.  My sister and I have had adventures that no one could even imagine being our story, and it’s because our parents made the difficult decision to leave everything they knew to come to Chicago. I don’t take any of their sacrifice lightly…I can’t.

So when Ray confessed that he had never even registered to vote (EVER), I was shocked but mostly truly disappointed. We talked about his decision to not engage politically, and I obviously expressed my disbelief that he would take this privilege for granted.

And that’s when he got me.  His most brilliant move to date.

In our time together, Ray has learned a lot about me and quickly assessed that this is a hot spot for me. And let’s be fair to Ray here a bit….he probably has the exact same disappointment for folks who never work out because they should care about their health.

I get that…I hear that…and well, I’m currently doing something about that.

So we made a deal I REFUSE to lose.

Ray obviously thinks it’s really important that I blow my weight loss targets out of the water. I, obviously, think it’s super important that he register to vote and participate in the general election this year.  So how do we bring together our passions collectively? Well Ray upped the stakes and made a new deal with me.

If I lose 30 pounds by October 1st, he will register to vote.

If I lose 42 pounds by November 1st, he will actually vote.

Winning this bet is more important to me than any weight loss goal. As I learn to develop better habits physically through his training, I hope that my determination and hard work will make him actually start to want to learn a little more about why he should be politically engaged.

Now…do I want him to vote along my party affiliation?  Absolutely but I can’t demand that. I want him to research the candidates, get informed, and vote according to his beliefs and value system. I’m happy to help influence and educate from the Democratic perspective, of course, but I just want him to see and exercise the value of his vote.

So I like to think yesterday’s conversation put us on equal footing. We are going to help change each other’s lives for the better by working on this “side” project of teaching Nubia to make better choices physically.

Go Team!