Hi friends. Sorry I haven’t blogged more. I swear i post every single day on my Instagram! Gracekeyxo if you wanna follow!
I have been really enjoying myself. My weight is at 165 lbs and I have only been weighing 2x a month. I am down 170 pounds! My goal weight is still 140. I have work to do but I am so much happier in so many areas of my life!
Exercise is so important to me. I make sure to do something every single day! I also quit drinking. Not permanently or anything, I just realize it was doing more harm than good when it came to weight loss.
I hope everyone is well. I promise some more in depth chats soon. I also want to share a few recipes.
I got the incredible opportunity to do a phone interview with WWE superstar Aariane Andrews aka CAMERON about her ten holiday tips for staying on track. Here are her tips.
It’s ok to over indulge with sweets but add 5-10 minutes of cardio the next day
Add a half-hour to one-hour holiday hike daily; make the incline festive
Make sure to get some circuit training in—burning calories the whole hour of your workout is the most effective
Use heavier weights—like kettle bells (and jingle the jiggle away)
Make sure to do an AB Class—still on board with circuit training… But concentrate on the hardest area to break down… You’ll be away ahead for your spring break bikini body.
Opt for Matcha Green Tea over your daily coffee & cream as its speeds the metabolism and curb cravings
Add 8 grams of fiber daily to your diet to help maintain sugar levels
If you have plans to go to blow-out party, make sure you have solid protein a few hours before
Pick your poison: either the sugary dessert or the exotic cocktail. Don’t go for both!
Remember, there’s always tomorrow to keep your resolutions of optimal fitness & health
Speaking to Ari was great. She was kind and open and honest. Here are some highlights from our interview.
For tip one she talks about how it is okay to overindulge with sweets but to add some extra cardio into your schedule the next day. I asked what her favorite treat to indulge in was and she said chocolate souffle!
She loves to hike/run Runyon Canyon in LA with her girlfriends and spill the tea!
Her favorite form of exercise is circuit training which she does with her personal trainer. Sometimes she will do her own thing and concentrate on heavy lifting.
She loves ab classes and really concentrates working on her stomach. She has a love hate relationship with ab workouts! For someone who doesn’t have access to a gym she recommends bicycle crunches and planks at home to target the ab area.
She has been working on her booty with lunge exercises and squats. She says keep at it and you will get results!
Her favorite kettlebell workout is deadlifts.
She is a tea girl specifically a “soy chai latte” girl. Once in a while she will drink coffee but will mostly go for tea.
She spends half of her time in Orlando and half of her time in LA.
She takes a multi-vitamin to make sure she is getting all of her nutrients in.
If she is going to a holiday party, she will fill up on protein such as steak, chicken, or a protein shake so she doesn’t overindulge once she gets there.
If she has to choose between drinking and eating sweets, she told me that she will go for the cocktail. Even when indulging though she never goes for sugary drinks and instead opts for clear liquor like vodka and club soda.
She tries to not weigh herself around the holidays too much. She tries to find the balance and not get obsessed with scale numbers.
Her goals for 2016 is to not set goals. She is constantly pushing for bigger and better things and works year round to achieve it.
She has a anti-bullying campaign called #wrongnumber which she said was inspired by her fans to create.
Before WWE Ari wanted to be a psychologist and have her own practice. She misses working with autistic children and hopes to bring more awareness to the cause.
She doesn’t get much downtime. She calls herself a Jill of all trades. In her spare time she is building her business and her brand.
I hope sharing these tips with you guys will help you have a BALANCED and amazing holiday!
I have had a ton of questions concerning the low-carb lifestyle and how to get started. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, and I am not a professional low-carber, but I will share with you what I have learned so far.
Before you start this lifestyle you need to do a few things.
1. You must research ketosis. This is SO important to understanding how and why low carbing works. Here is a great link.
2. This is optional, but I strongly suggest buying some ketosis strips to test your ketones level. If you read the above link you will understand what I am talking about. You can buy ketone testing kits at any pharmacy. They cost about 10 dollars for 50 strips. You will not need to test right away, so they are not totally urgent. I waited 5 days after I started before testing.
3. Now we need to read about the induction phase. The link below will let you know everything to get started. Induction lasts for two weeks or longer depending on how you decide to go about your weight loss. Staying in induction for super long periods of time is not healthy for your kidneys. You must decide when is right for you to move on to the next phase. Read the link below.
4. Clean out all the grains and carb loaded products you have hiding in your kitchen. Give them to a friend, throw them away, or just put them out of eyesight.
5. Head to the grocery store. Read labels. Look for meat on sale that you can freeze. For cheese, pick blocks of cheese instead of shredded cheese in bags. Block cheese has 0 carbs and shredded cheese usually has 1. When you only have 20 grams a day, these choices add up. To find out what you can eat, read this.
Eggs, Bacon, Sausage (in a tube not premade), block cheeses, cream cheese, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, chicken breasts, chicken tenderloins, center cut pork loins, ground turkey, ground hamburger, leaner cuts of steak like filet, bacon, canadian bacon, all lettuces, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, whipping cream, shrimp, fish.
6. The morning that you start the low carb plan, WEIGH YOURSELF. I made the mistake of waiting four days so I have no idea how much weight I lost in that time period. If you want to be even more hardcore, do your measurements.
Now you are set. You know how much you weigh. You have your low-carb food. You have your ketosis testing kit. Now you do your job. You eat. You stay under 20 net carbs a day.
Net carbs? Yes those. Basically dietary fiber is not counted towards your final carb count. Example. Say you have a cup of spinach and that has 4 carbs. Well look at the dietary fiber. Pretend that it’s 2 grams. You then take the total carb count (4) and subtract the dietary fiber (2) for your total net carbs. So instead of thinking you ate 4 carbs, in reality you only ate 2. You will get a hang of it. PS- You can also subtract sugar alcohols as well the same way you do with dietary fiber.
Keep track of your carbs in a notebook, on your phone or computer, or use a program like my fitness pal to see how many carbs you are at. Do not go over 20!
It’s really important to get your body into ketosis, so if you are going to do this do it right. Stay away from pasta, donuts, rice, fries, sugar etc. One slip up won’t kill you, but it will throw you off track.
Weigh in as frequently you want. I weigh every few days, but test my ketones levels almost every single day. Find what works for you.
What you can expect- Headaches, upset tummy, weird poops, (sorry there isn’t a really elegant way to type that), and over all yuckyness. HANG IN THERE. This only lasts a few days. Your body will adjust and it will start burning fat in no time.
Tips- There are a ton of low-carb recipes around the web. Start reading. Get ideas. Make a pinterest board of recipes you want to make. Here is mine-
If you have a sweet tooth find some sugar free candy that you like for when those cravings hit. I like to make fresh whipped cream on those nights I want something sweet.
For sweeteners I use Truvia or Stevia. I feel like it’s the most natural sugar replacement out there.
Take it easy on the bacon and sausage. Just because we can have these items, doesn’t mean we can eat them at every single meal in unlimited amounts. Moderation! I try to stick to 4 oz of meats three times a day, and no more than 4 oz of cheese a day. Add in your veggies and healthy fats and you will be good to go.
I have had great success so far. I plan to stay in the induction phase for a few months to come. Good luck on your low carb journey. I hope some of this helps.
Okay blog. My bad. I have totally neglected you. I think I forgot to tell all of my beautiful readers that I have officially made the switch over to the dark side. The low carb lifestyle. For me it’s NOT a diet. It will be a lifestyle. I know that if I go back to breads, sugars, pasta, crap that I will gain back all of the weight. I know all of the risks. I know that my body holds on to carbs like it’s a ten carat diamond. Seriously I can look at pasta and gain 10 pounds.
Why did I decide to go low carb? Simple. Lots of people get results. I decided that with my half marathon coming up that I really needed to shed a few extra pounds to be race ready. I worked my ass off and didn’t lose any weight. I mean a straight perfect month and I GAINED 2 pounds. Muscle? Whatever it still stung. I started low carbing 8 days ago and I swear I have never felt so satisfied in my life. I am eating foods I could have NEVER ate on my regular plan. I am still getting tons of veggies in, and I don’t have to worry about protein, fat, calories, etc. All I have to do is figure out my carbs. It’s so simple.
I am a savory person so this low carbing thing has been SUPER easy for me. I have stuck to under 20 grams of carbs for the past week. I have one more week of 20 carbs or less in the induction phase. After that I will bump it up to 25 etc etc.
I didn’t even weigh myself at the beginning of this process ( I know so stupid). In 4 days though I have lost 6.6 pounds. My body is producing ketones and I am feeling good. When I first started I will be honest I did have some upset stomach issues and headaches. All is well now and I will continue on my low carb path.
This isn’t for everyone! It’s really working for me though and I love it. My husband is doing it with me as well.
Sorry I didn’t let you guys in on my new lifestyle. I promise there will be tons of new low carb recipes, and for you non low carbers a ton of other stuff. I want us all to be able to support each other no matter what kind of food we are eating!
Hello lovelies. Sorry I haven’t blogged recently. Sometimes the blogging is hot, sometimes it’s cold. You know how it is.
It has been absolutely beautiful weather here in the Florida Keys. Tons of gusty wind and lower temps. We went 3 or 4 days with no air conditioner which is a blessing for October.
As you can see the cats were DYING to get outside.
I did my 6 mile run this past Saturday. It was uhm.. really slow. I had the worst pace EVER. Seriously. I made the mistake of drinking 4 cups of light roasted coffee, drinking 36 oz of tri pep, and only eating 1/2 a lara bar. Each mile I could feel the sun beating down on me and it was HARD! Thank god I had 70 oz of water in my camelbak, and a few stashed starbursts to help get me through. This weekend I have 7 miles to do. I am determined to have a steady pace and take a much better route with less direct sun. Also? Yeah food. I am going to eat some before I go! 🙂 This is all a huge learning experience for me. It’s exciting. The rest of my training has been pretty spot on. If my legs are too tired or sore on the day of a run, I just adjust my training schedule. I like having a plan, but not feeling too upset or guilty if I have to rearrange that plan. It all gets done!
Look at this baby deer go!
After that hell run we decided to go crabbing the next day. To our surprise we were successful! We caught about a dozen and a half. Crabbing is hard work. You have to walk through silty water, or back and forth between lines. After you catch it you have to clean them and cook them. It’s a process!
Cleaned blue crab ready to be cooked. This style is called Jersey style. You put the crabs on ice, let them fall asleep, and gently tear their shells off. Sounds barbaric right? It’s actually the most humane way to kill them. Instead of throwing them into a pot of boiling water, we are putting them to sleep on ice and killing them with no pain. Makes me sleep better at night 🙂 Not to mention the crabs get cooked with NO guts and the results are amazing clean white fresh tasting meat. Yum.
This is what I call a yellow fatty. You can tell he is heavy and has a ton of meat because his shell is yellow and not white. White crabs have recently molted or are in the process of molting. This guy was FULL of meat. Good eating.
All cooked and ready to eat. Did we sit around and have a feast after our 5 hours of work? Nope. We put the crab into ziplock bags to save it for the future. I do this every single year. Hopefully I will end up with ten pounds of crab meat at the end of the season. Hint- by leaving the crab meat in the shells you are actually preserving the meat in the freezer. I used to pick all of the meat down but found that it would get ice crystals in it immediately. Leave the shells on!
There was some pool time that happened. It was actually freezing!
And a nice cruise to Marathon Florida.
Gotta love those colors.
Bolthouse was kind enough to send me these juices to review. Yum. I will report back to you on these soon!
Well that is what I have been up to. Nothing too exciting. I hope everyone has a nice Halloween. What are you dressing up as? What are your kids dressing up as?
How many sports bras do you own? A ton? Hardly any? I own about ten sports bras. Some of them are worn and stretchy, some are too small, some have no support, and some are just plain uncomfortable. I don’t think I have ever spent more than ten dollars on a sports bra. Maybe that is why I am left with horrible options! When I started running just this past month I discovered I needed a really good bra. I was sick of having to wear TWO bras for support. A bra should do it’s job–make the girls stay in place! I was determined to find the right bra for me!
Luckily I got the opportunity to review some workout clothes from Marika Fitness. Marika was founded back in 1982. They make contemporary fitness apparel. I got to review one top, one bra, and one pair of workout pants. Let’s start with the bra shall we.
I knew I needed something with a lot of support so I chose this bra-
The high Impact Sports Bra. They make high impact bras in all sorts of styles, but I really liked the simplicity of this bra. The description. “Finally a sport bra that does just what it says! The bra features removable cup pads for added uplift and support, adjustable side hooks, ventilation power mesh at racer back, coolmax lined to help you keep dry. This bra is perfect; especially for the bigger cup size, it will give you support for that kickbox class”. Now when I saw the price of 50 dollars I was thinking this bra better cradle my girls with ease! Seriously I am that cheapskate who REFUSES to spend money on good quality things. I would rather spend ten dollars and have it collapse. I am so glad I tried this bra out. I will never go back to the cheapsies sports bras!
The first thing I noticed was the material. It was so soft and seemed breathable. On to the cups. The removable cups just seemed straight up fancy to me! The back of the bra has a super soft mesh with a cute keyhole like back. Lastly, there are adjustable straps on the sides. The color was beautiful. It does come in a ton of other colors also. So now I had this fancy sports bra. Time to try her out! I slipped it on and really liked how soft it felt on my skin. I did a few jumping jacks. You won’t believe this. NO BOUNCING CHESTICLES. I don’t know about you guys, but with having a bigger chest even the easiest exercises are hard and make me feel silly doing them. This bra kept me in place. Miracle. I decided to take myself on a jog. I braced myself waiting for this bra to totally fail me once I got into full motion. However, it did the opposite. Everything stayed in place. Nothing rubbed me the wrong way. I was literally free to run and not feel self conscious. After a few miles I came home. What I really love about the bra, BESIDES the amazing ability to keep me in place, was that the back of the bra let me breathe a bit. The mesh material helped keep me cooler. Love. Absolutely love. I can’t believe all of these years I have been throwing money down the toilet buying cheap bras that don’t work for me.This bra may cost 50 dollars, but running free and not worrying about the girls? Priceless. Rating 9 out of 10. Ps- It’s really awkward trying to come up with nicknames for the chest.
Marika Magic – Plus Tummy Control Capri.Since I live in the Florida Keys, I have pretty much warm weather year around. I don’t like showing off my thighs, and leggings or pants are way too hot. I am a workout in capris kind of chick. Always have and always will be. I was overwhelmed with the many choices of capris that I could choose from. Marika has a huge selection! I decided to check out their “plus” size section and found these comfy looking pants. First of all, props to Marika for giving us bigger girls options! The selection wasn’t huge, but you can tell that they obviously care and support all sizes of women. Fantastic. The pants description is this. Great capri pant is now available in Plus sizes; features a 4″ inner power mesh waistband for tummy control. Tummy control? Yes please.
The pants are soft and well made. You can easily do a workout in these pants as well as wear them out to do errands. I am totally that girl doing errands in workout pants! The tummy control is just a thicker strip of material on top, It doesn’t like take ten pounds off of you or anything, but it offers some support for sure.They felt good during my workout and didn’t ride up too far. Rating 8/10.
Balance – Cool Factor Long Sleeve Burnout Tunic. I seriously spent like twenty minutes trying to pick out the perfect top. I saw about fifteen that I was in love with. I ended up going with this long sleeve tunic for a few reasons. It’s lightweight, it has kangaroo pockets, and I am obsessed with the burnout look. It’s perfect for layering while running. I paired this tunic with a white tank top and it ended up being super cute. I was so impressed with the softness and quality of this top. It’s perfect for working out. Who doesn’t love to look cute AND get fit?! Oh and one more thing about the kangaroo pockets. PERFECT. My iphone has never been happier during a run! Rating 9/10.
Final thoughts. If you are going for comfort, style, and durability in workout clothes I would certainly recommend Marika for your needs. Their customer service is professional, polite, and attentive. I got my order in just a few days.
Ladies don’t keep buying those crappy cheap bras that don’t support you. I promise this is an investment for your chest that you will NOT regret! I believe in this bra so much that Marika is going to give one of YOU a high impact sports bra! A 50.00 dollar value.
1. Like Marika Fitness on Facebook and tell them I sent you! Link directly below.
Newsflash. Everyone has enjoyed a nice ice cold soda at some point in their life. Lots of sugar, bubbles, and memories. Yum. I just can’t consume the 140 calories, 40 grams of carbs, and 4o grams of sugar though. Not anymore since I have been living a healthier life. I have however found a wonderful replacement for those times I really feel like I could use some carbonated goodness.
There is no room for sugary drinks and artificial sweeteners in our daily life. Cut them all out. Zevia is the zero calorie soda with no artificial sweeteners. This stevia soda, available in 15 delicious flavors is the natural pop you and your family crave. The smarter version of diet soda, Zevia is the leading natural alternative that tastes great. Sweetened with stevia. no chemicals, and so many flavors? Awesome.
I am such a fan of these sodas. They make me feel all sorts of happy inside with NO real soda guilt. My favorites are cream soda, cola, strawberry, and root beer.
The root beer has this amazing ginger beer flavor. The cream soda is just how you would imagine it. Sweet and light. The cola tastes more like pepsi than coke and is very refreshing. The strawberry is so sweet. It’s like dessert.
Because I love Zevia so much they want to give FIVE of my READERS a six pack for free! How awesome is that?! I am going to make this super easy. Just leave me a comment telling me that you would like to try Zevia and what your favorite flavor is. I will select five of you next week to share the goods with! Good luck!
Mid-August is flying towards us, and I’m greeting it with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m looking forward to the end of hot and sticky days; on the other hand, the end of summer means saying goodbye to kayaking, swimming, and eating nothing but ripe fruit for dinner. As a result, this month becomes this weird, in-between territory, caught somewhere between sandals and new school supplies.
To deal with this, I’ve decided to embark on some mini-upgrades, ways to take advantage of these last hot days while looking forward to autumn. You know, like filling up the last page of a notebook before cracking open a fresh new one (pro tip, y’all—whether you are in school or not, you NEED new pens and planners for fitness/diet tracking…best feeling ever!)
First up is my exercise routine. The most consistent workout, the one I do all summer, is to go on long hikes with my dogs. I hike so much, in fact, that sometimes I feel like it’s not even a challenge anymore. I had to find a way to make it more of a work-out, so I added hiking poles. Now, I’ll admit they probably look kind of dorky, but no joke: they really work out your abs and arms, turning a leg-centric workout into more of a whole-body challenge. There are a range of fancy-pants poles out there, but the ones I use are under twenty bucks, from Champion, and they do just fine. Make sure to adjust the height of your poles so they hit roughly at armpit level—then grab some water and hit the trail. For an extra burn, throw a kettle bell into a sturdy backpack as you hike with your poles.
Ok, so green monsters are ubiquitous at this point. Whether you are just making green juice or doing a whole-foods smoothie, they can get a little snooze-fest. But they are so good for you, and so easy to do, that I wanted to just jazz them up a little. So I scoured my kitchen for different ingredients and hit upon a magic formula:
*Frozen baby kale—this is kind of life changing, people. Still super nutritious, but incredibly easy. Just plop half the bag in your blender as your base.
*Coconut butter—just a tablespoon adds sweet and creamy goodness, plus healthy fats.
*Cacao powder—this stuff makes your smoothie feel decadent, but it’s packed full of antioxidants.
*Green tea—you can use any kind you want, but I’m partial to this Zhena’s Gypsy Tea in Mojito Mint. We all know green tea is a super food, and a quick splash of brewed tea will add antioxidant rich flavor to your smoothie.
*The secret ingredient—fresh mint! I don’t even care what kind of green monster you are making; fresh mint will infuse it with a fresh, sweet flavor and make your drink a zillion times better.
Your skin might be feeling a little weather-beaten right now. I’ve been into finding natural solutions to soothe and revive a sun ravaged complexion. Most of you are probably familiar with the oil-cleansing method—if not, the basic philosophy is to find an oil that works for you, (grape seed, jojoba, coconut, castor) massage it into your skin, let it hang out for a bit, then gently steam your face with hot water and wipe away the oil with a washcloth. It sounds crazy, but for most skin types, oil-cleansing provides a gentle and effective way to cleanse and heal. I’ve been using it for months now, and have really noticed an improvement in my skin. It’s super easy to make your own oil mix and bottle it, but an easy upgrade I’ve been using are the new oil Boosts from Seventh Generation. There is a whole product range, to treat everything from acne to wrinkles, and you can either cleanse with the oil or add a few drops to your facial lotion. They smell delicious, are very pampering, and couldn’t be easier.
Another upgrade that feels super luxurious is a simple honey mask: ideally, you’ll use raw Manuka honey for this, but it is kind of pricey, so you can also just go for regular organic honey. Just wash your face, slather on some honey, and relax for 10 to 30 minutes. After you rinse, your skin will feel clean, soft and smooth.
These quick upgrades have been helping me start transitioning from summer to fall. What are you guys doing to say goodbye, summer and hello, autumn?
Amity is a writer and a professor at York college.