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.

Fit Latina in the Making: Changes?

It’s officially been three weeks since I did my first workout with Ray.

23 days to be exact.

As he was kicking my butt today, he shocked me.  He stopped to tell me that I looked different.  What? I just saw him in person a few days ago…but today I looked different?

I am currently down 12 pounds, and I’ve pretty much worked for 23 days straight so I guess there should be some changes. However, I told myself that I wouldn’t take new measurements until I was officially at my 1 month anniversary.  That will happen on the 18th so I still have a week to make more changes – ha!

I was honestly shocked by his statement because I can’t particularly say that I’ve noticed any changes yet physically. Maybe it’s my current wardrobe that masks the changes. Instead, there are a few key things I have noticed lately:

  1. Ray isn’t messing around anymore. Today’s workout had little breaks and several, several sets. The workouts never seemed to be close to ending.
  2. My stamina is improving. I barely had time to drink water during the workouts these past two days because I was too “busy” completing my sets.
  3. I can climb my flight of stairs easier when lugging stuff.
  4. I don’t think I’ve had a diet coke in over 2 weeks.  The one time I tried to treat myself to one – it just didn’t taste as good.  All I want to drink is water right now (and coffee).
  5. Reducing carbs hasn’t been difficult. Apparently, the things I like to cook are generally low carb (almost paleo). I just needed to be forced to cook more. The bad carbs I was eating were absolutely from baked goods and drive thru meals.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna want some pasta or rice soon so I need to plan for it.
  6. I do still crave a piece of chocolate every now and then, and I haven’t been denying myself a nibble from time to time.  Doing that would make me crazy….so I have my nibble and then I’m satisfied.

So a few good habit changes overall so far…but my attitude at the revved up workouts definitely looks like grumpy cat in my head.

grumpy cat

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!

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