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!

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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?!

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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:

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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!

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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?!

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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!

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

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Fit Latina in the Making: Side Lunge Leg Raises (Yowsers!)

I knew it was only a matter of time before I found another exercise that I could equate with the burpee.  It’s a move I saw Ray film for a future month’s session of Bodyburn. I can’t even remember what it’s called because as he’s describing how he wants me to set up, I exclaimed: “Are we doing that one exercise I saw you do?!”

He just smirked back at me and shook his head affirming that I was about to do a round of these awful exercises.  When done in superhuman form, they look like this:

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Let’s just say my leg NEVER made it as high as Ray’s, and I slowed down as I pushed through to complete all 40 reps per leg.  But just like everything else we do, I completed all 80 of these side lunge leg raises (what I’m calling this evil move) and was a bit shocked that I was able to do it.

The best part was the fitness realization I had in between sets. 

I would sit back on my knees to rest up my legs, and I realized I wasn’t in any sort of pain. In the past, I used to feel a lot of strain if I sat on my knees like that. It was not a position I could sit in long, let alone get up and move around easily after spending some time in that position.  Apparently, that issue is now gone (like a few others in my life) and that helps fuel my motivation to keep going at this.

 

 

Fit Latina in the Making: How I Now Cope with Stress

If you’ve been following my blog (or know me personally), you know I’m not a person who let’s stress take over their emotions often. However, I’m human and some situations can sometimes make me forget how to manage the emotions best because the universe can suck and really hand you some curveballs.

I have consciously made a decision to work in a field where my job is to help provide comfort and care to families of medically fragile children. Thankfully, most of my days are filled with happiness and celebrations for the milestones achieved by the incredible medical team that is taking care of these very special families. But there are days that are awful, days that are sad and days that can make you very mad at the universe. It’s a part of what I do, and I’ve learned to manage those days well.

However, nothing can really prepare you for hearing the news that the person who is sick is someone who you care about and I had a weekend the other day where I received the news that it wasn’t just one person but it was three devastating diagnoses. I found my anger building slowly all weekend.  It conjured up a lot of emotions and memories of a friend who lost her battle to this disease 2 years ago. How I chose to deal with that surge of sadness and anger surprised me.

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As most people probably do, I would often turn to a source of comfort to try and lessen the sting. This would often translate in to a tasty dessert, a crazy delicious but not healthy meal or an alcoholic beverage. But I didn’t want any of these this time around. I was mad and knew that if I went my normal route, I would be even more pissed that I had also affected my weight loss progress.

So I turned to my favorite hobby. I walked around my house looking for a craft project I could complete. This is no small fete in the craft wasteland of my second bedroom. I have LOADS of supplies and several unfinished projects. Each would take too much time and I just needed to shake this off.

I knew that I had a workout to complete on my own, so I reached out to Ray to find out what he wanted me to work on. You can imagine my frustration when he said he was giving me the night off to rest my joints! I mean it was almost comical that I found myself upset that I didn’t even have a workout to do. I needed something else to be pissed about, and I realized I wanted that to be some sort of evil exercise.

So I took matters in to my own hands and I got on the treadmill. While it made me sweat, it didn’t help me shake off the emotional baggage so I did something I never thought I would do on my own….BURPEES!

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I made myself do 1, then 2, then 3….until I reached 15. I was pissed as I got down on the floor each time and eventually just started to channel my anger on completing the number I had set in my head. I used my frustration to power me through my most hated exercise and it felt good. When I finished the 15, I had to take some time to catch my breath and then I realized what I had just done.

All I could do was giggle because the whole thing was so ludicrous but yet so right. I have three women in my life who are fighting for their lives, so it’s only fair that I do the same and not take for granted that I have an opportunity here to give myself the best chance at a long life. My few minutes of discomfort will never compare to their journey but it finally let me shake off the rut I had found myself in so that I could instead focus on how I wanted to support them.

At the end of the day, my anger was stupid. I won’t negate that I have a right to feel angry or sad but their battle is not about me, and I will not be a good source of comfort to them if I let my emotions make me feel like the universe is being unfair to me.  I am able bodied and “healthy” enough to do what I can to support them. However, I just may need to knock out a few burpees from time to time because cancer fucking sucks.

 

 

Fit Latina in the Making: “OMG. Aren’t you the Girl from Chicago?”

This weekend, I had the painful pleasure of taking my first trip out to Boston to work out at the Club with Ray and his team. They rebranded and refurbished the studio so I had quite the introduction to what a Bodyburn session is truly like. Let’s just say this, I don’t normally like classes, but I can definitely see the appeal of this place. The atmosphere and energy of the participants and instructors was not like something I had ever experienced.

First – the instructors are insane. They are fun, their bodies are sick and they know how to encourage you when you feel you can’t do one second more. I mean, look at this crazy bunch of beautiful people!

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I arrived on Friday and was immediately put to work. Yup, I somehow became the weekend’s unpaid intern – ha! I helped put the finishing touches on a few things and had the chance to finally meet the team. I haven’t laughed this hard in quite some time.  I was immediately at ease, welcomed with lots of hugs and knew that I had to set aside any nerves about my first class the next day.

So there I am watching as the first class comes in. I was scoping out everyone’s fitness level visually and starting to psych myself out about having to stand next to people who I perceived to be more fit for an entire class. But I’m from the Midwest, so I often smile at people to acknowledge them when I make eye contact. Imagine my surprise when one of those persons gets this strange look on their face and immediately comes up to me saying:

“Oh my God.  You’re her, right?  The girl from the blog?  From Chicago?”

I burst in to a huge smile and laughed as I affirmed that it was in fact me. This happened SEVERAL times the entire weekend and never stopped surprising me. These complete strangers were reading my blog and following my story.  What?!

I heard words of encouragement and learned that some of them had started back up at the gym because of my story. To say that I was humbled is an understatement. I’m just trying to make healthy changes in my life and have decided to share my journey because it keeps me accountable. I didn’t expect to truly be inspiring others – especially people who had never met me!

So I quickly told myself to put the nerves away and anxiously watched the first class wrap up.  There was a DJ blasting tunes for the Bodyburn class and my best friend was going to follow me from station to station (she was going to be my “buddy” but had hurt her back the day before and needed to rest). Once my class officially started, I didn’t have a chance to even stress about whether or not I could keep up with my classmates. There was new equipment and frequent changes from cardio to strength. I just had to focus and keep moving.

And I did it.  Every single exercise.

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Was it hard?  Yes!  My body started to remind me very quickly that these were new exercises and that my muscles were not used to it but I was able to do almost all of it without a ton of modification. There were two machines that I had a little trouble with and one of the push up exercises had to be done on my knees, but I didn’t stop moving. I was a hot, sweaty, exhausted but happy mess at the end of class.

Do I think I would have been able to do this class a month ago?  Yes. How do I know this? I saw that there were various fitness levels in each session and the instructors were there to help anyone that needed a little help. I even had the honor of seeing an 80 year old woman show up to take the class cold turkey.

She kicked ass and I watched in pure amazement.

I remember smiling and thinking that I would like to be her in 40 years and that means I just need to keep at this.

But first…I’m really hoping some of my skype sessions turn in to the dance party I witnessed this weekend because I couldn’t stop laughing at Ray dancing away as he watched his team run the show and the class participants getting the work done. You could tell he was proud of what was happening and he deserved to be that happy. It was an incredible weekend and a sign of the fun that will follow. And no…I’m not saying working out is fun. I’m just saying the Bodyburn by Ray is a fun place 🙂

And of course I had to put my crafty skills to use for this first trip out east by making myself a custom shirt to wear. I’ll keep practicing my Baaaahston accent while I continue with the workouts.

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Fit Latina in the Making: Answering the Tough Questions

During one of our sessions last week, Ray really made me pause and reflect on a pretty tough question:

When did I decide that I was going to be okay with being fat?

I realize in typing this that it’s hard to understand the way the question was delivered, but it was a genuine kind question. Ray even prefaced it with a “I just want to fully understand because I know it will help me coach others.”

I think my commitment and progress these past two months has shown him the type of person I am in most areas of my life – goal focused, driven and consistent. The fact that I hadn’t put this type of energy on myself was probably now more surprising because he’s gotten to know me better.

But I still had to answer the question. When did that mental switch happen?

I couldn’t answer it right away.  I knew there had to be a moment where I just decided this was my body’s fate. The chubby, fat, obese girl who loves fashion and make-up and is the best cheerleader for any fitness event (just not ever a participant)!

So I decided to go back and look at some pictures to see if the visuals would help me pinpoint the when or the why.

I came across some hysterical flashbacks!

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I realized I really was the chubby girl for quite a long time.  Yes, I had weight to lose, but I didn’t start crossing in to the obese category until I became an official adult.  When I got my first job.

And realizing that sort of blew my mind. I was clearly prioritizing things differently and most of it did not involve moving my body. I focused on professional achievements, learning how to manage my finances and just figuring out every day adult shit.

At some point along the way, I obviously decided that my growing waistband was just part of whom I was meant to be. Was I happy about that?  Of course not! Did I think I could really do much about it?  Not really.

I honestly thought that all my repeat efforts had been enough work and that my lack of success was a sign that I couldn’t reach the vision of the girl I saw in my head. So I settled.

Thankfully, I have a few amazing people in my life who don’t let me settle and know that with the right strategy, I can be forced to reassess my current situation. I’ve clearly now realized that I am capable of making this change if I just put the focus where it needs to be, stay on task to reach my goals and maintain consistency.

Those three steps have worked for me in every other aspect of my life so I’m not going to fix what’s not broken. Tried and true….here we come!

 

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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