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Archive for April, 2012


The first month of 3…

Monday, April 30th, 2012

So here we are – the last day of April, 2012. It has been an eventful month here at home and included such milestones as my son’s 18th birthday and I have to admit that is one that has spun me for a loop. I am far too young to have an 18 year old – especially when nursing a 4 month old! It is kind of funny though and both my boys are happy, healthy and prospering – what more could a mother want?

As for me, it is the end of my first month with my new weight loss and fitness goal. Starting off the month of April, I wanted to lose 5% of my post baby body fat, 12 inches and depending on muscle gain that would equate into a 15lb loss. I started off the month weighing in at 179lbs and 29% body fat. Higher than I wanted at 3 months post partum but not surprising as I had spent 3 months on bedrest before baby and after my c-section wasn’t as physically active afterwards as I should have been. Before fertility treatments began in 2010, I weighed 167lbs andΒ  25% body fat and as I explained earlier, I intentionally kept my BF higher to assist with fertility treatments but now I no longer have that excuse!

I set a 3 month timeline for my goal – a little less aggressive than I would usually do but considering that I am still nursing and tired, I figured that a slow, steady, conservative pace is much more sustainable even though I know I could do it faster. Believe it or not, I am inately a lazy person and very very aware of my limitations. The other reason why I am choosing a slower pace is that I don’t want to sacrifice my lifestyle – something that I highly recommend everyone consider when setting a weight loss or fitness goal. Now that pregnancy is over and baby Ivan is sleeping for longer stretches, mommy is enjoying a glass of her favorite wines in the evening – I am also not 100% committed to regular cardio workouts over and above our fitness class schedule, my life is just too bust as it is – so instead of saying I will and making excuses or feeling guilty when I don’t – I just set more realistic and honest goals and timelines – much more satisfying all around.

So that is how we got here – to the end of month 1 with 2 more months to go. Doing weights and measures this morning, I was actually a bit nervous because that last week or so have been a struggle for me. Sleep training Ivan and rescheduling my hours at the store have left me struggling with limited sleep and when I am tired – I get hungry!!Β  Even though I know better, I am human and don’t always follow my own advice – even healthy snacks can be detrimental to a weight loss program when eaten in excess and I have to admit a few days of excess! So what did the scale and measuring tape tell me this morning? Well…

168lbs and 26% body fat! That is a loss of 12lbs and 3% body fat in my first month! More than 50% of my original goal! On top of that, when taking my overall measurements into consideration and measuring my waist, hips, belly and thighs (we won’t consider chest as I am nursing), I have also lost a whopping 6 inches overall. Half way there! I have to admit that I am pretty excited about these results, They are just enough motivation to show that my plan and my program are working the way that I want them to! The bad news is that my results slowed a great deal in the last half of the month compared to the first half – which means I have to kick up my effort a notch! Like I am always saying to my clients – weight loss is not magic, it is math.


If you want faster results, you need more effort. If you don’t want to increase effort, you have to be satisfied with slower results, it is just the way the numbers work, there is no way around it!

So what is my plan for May?? Well, we have added two more fitness classes to our schedule – a single evening boot camp and an InfuZion class for toning and strength. That gives me one full cardio class a week with step aerobics in which I will be increasing my intensity with a higher step and a little more effort – this is the class to do it because my class participants are amazingly advanced and know our routines as well as me – we can all give 110% and I know they can not only keep up, but push me to go harder! Three boot camp classes a week give great opportunities for interval and strength training although my focus is less on me and more on my class so I know I will need to add at least 1 private workout a week to increase my results (Thankfully I have a friend who will be pushing my lazy ass to go for a weekly run with her – yuck! I hate running!). So that is my fitness plan for the next month – I have to increase my activity – no way around it! In the meantime I will be continuing to watch my intake – eating regular snacks and meals (3 + 3) making low fat, low sugar selections whenever possible and planning my treats!

I do have to give a shout out to my amazingly supportive husband who is taking my dedication to this goal very seriously! Sharing in the grocery shopping has always been a challenge for us because our way of food selection has always been very different – he focuses on price and taste, I tend to shop for nutrition and quality but over the past few weeks he has come home having intentionally purchased skinless chicken, fat free frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, whole wheat bread instead of his usually rye and way less bacon than I usually see! On top of this which is amazing, he is encouraging and supportive and even came down into the fitness studio one day to time me in a fitness challenge workout (no he didn’t participate but maybe next time πŸ˜‰ )

I cannot express enough how important it is for you or anyone who is serious about changing their lifestyle or reaching a specific weight loss or fitness goal to have a support team. You need to share your goals, engage people in the process, share your challenges, successes, doubts and triumphs! No one lives in a vacuum – sustainable weight loss, a sustainable lifestyle depends upon exactly that – a change in your life and no one can do it alone. The more you share, the more you ask for help, the better chance for success you have!

So…. since I have come so far so fast, I have decided to change my goal and challenge myself a little bit. I couldn’t easily just coast along, but that isn’t like me. If something is easy – I don’t want it so here goes. Originally I wanted to end up after 3 months at 25% Body Fat, 165lbs and a loss of 12 inches. 5%, 12″, 14lbs right… which would leave me needing to lose only 2%BF, 4lbs and 6″ in the next two months – easy peasy! So let’s strive for higher… My new goal, just like starting all over is to lose another 4% BF dropping me to 22%, 10″ more and depending on muscle gain, would equal a drop of about 9lbs. Can I do it? Of course I can! Will I do it? Well, the more I share, the more I stay focused, the better my chances will be so when you see me don’t be afraid to ask how things are going or to slap the ice cream from my hand…

I am off to update the lipstick on my mirror. How are you doing?

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Two weeks down…

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Well it has been two weeks since I made the decision to get off my ass and start following my own advice to get back into shape, ok, get into better shape than before I had Baby Ivan 4 months ago (today! Happy 1/3 birthday Ivan!). I decided that the best way to shed the few extra pounds, trim the extra body fat and build the muscle I need to get into my ideal physical shape was to actually treat myself like a client and work through the process with myself, just like I do with them, so that is what I have been doing!

For the past two weeks I have been focusing on the basics – just like I start any new client with – 3 small meals, 3 regular snacks and cutting out the crap. Pretty simple huh? Actually it was. The first thing I did after blogging about my goals – and yes I do encourage my clients to talk about their goals, their plan, their program with anyone who will listen – why? Because the more you talk about it – the more real it becomes, the more a part of your every day routine and the more support you get. It also works as great motivation because we are often to willing to let ourselves down when giving up on a goal but when we know others are watching (especially when we stake our professional reputation on it), we are more likely to wade through the tough days and stay focused on the prize at the end. So yep, I blogged about my goals – I even wrote my goal on our bathroom mirror in lipstick so I could see it every day – my husband also can see it so it reminds him of what I am doing and he can help! And if you don’t think your significant other helps or hurts you in weight loss – you are nuts because they have so much to do with it – it is scary! Most of the time they don’t even know they are doing it, but bringing home treats, eating your favorites in front of you, suggesting fast food or take out and so forth are sabotaging behaviors that are incredibly helpful if they just quit doing them so if by asking them to support you and reminding them of your goal constantly cuts out even one of those behaviors – you are further along than you ever would be on your own!

So my goals set and shared with the world and my husband, I started making a few changes. Normally I don’t recommend a vigorous work out program for new clients – we have to build towards that but since I was starting at a level that already included regular exercise, I chose to increase my intensity, during my workouts. The benefit of these new and improved routines is that my boot camp and step aerobics classes are getting more creative and energetic work outs from me – and even though they are complaining about the work – they sure can’t argue the results πŸ˜‰ . I do have to admit that the one area I have fallen down in over the past two weeks is that I had planned on adding additional workouts to my 3-times a week schedule – including some individual muscle building and body sculpting routines on my own. These never happened. I won’t bore you with my excuses but like I would tell my clients – the only acceptable response to ‘Why didn’t you work out like you were supposed to?” is “Because I didn’t want to!” And when it comes down to it – excuses aside, that is exactly why I didn’t do more in the past two weeks and didn’t hold to that part of my goal, I just didn’t want to get off my ass. Over the next two weeks as I creep towards my first plateau, that HAS to change! So if you see me on the street – ask my how my extra work outs are going – THAT will motivate me because the only thing I hate worse than exercise is losing credibility!

So in addition to eating more regularly and increasing the effort I put into my exercise routines, the biggest change that I have made to my routine is to actually put more thought into what I am eating. I started out, just like any client – by writing down everything I ate. A food intake diary to be reviewed by your nutritionist is a great way to keep junk out of your mouth and off your hips. The funny thing is that I couldn’t quite keep up with itΒ  knowing that it wasn’t going to be reviewed by anyone but me – so instead I just started putting more and more thought into what I ate. Every time I go to grab a snack I ask myself – what would my clients think about this if they saw me eat it? I’ll tell you – that is a huge eye opener! My greatest success was making it through the entire Easter weekend without eating a single chocolate because usually I eat morer than the kids! Actually Sera still has a bag full of bunny treats and mommy hasn’t had a single one! Yeah me! Two days after Easter though, when I could literally hear the chocolate calling me from the other room, I sat down at my computer and developed a recipe for my own homemade chocolate bar – a low sugar, low fat, high fiber, high protein treat that would curb my cravings and OMG they are soooo good! I took the extras to the store all week and gave them away fro free – I have had so many people ask me if they could buy them that I am seriously thinking of packaging and selling them along with a few of my other healthy treats – Butterfly Bars – how much fun would that be? Stay tuned to learn more about THAT new project πŸ™‚

So along with doing great things, I also did some pretty stupid bonehead things – just like anyone else, I am human and cannot stay focused forever. My theory is that everything should be in moderation and you should never be or feel deprived in a weight loss program or you are doomed to fail. As soon as you feel like you are ‘dieting’ or ‘can’t’ have something, it is no longer a lifestyle change you can sustain so I always tell my clients that it isn’t about saying no, it’s about moderation and balance. Except that just like anyone else, I sometimes have trouble drawing the line between balance and excess. Just like this past weekend. Eighteen degrees on a Saturday was screaming for the first bonfire of the year – especially since we had so many branches and excess wood from our recent landscaping job that needed to be cleaned up – and when you have a bonfire with a 6 year old in the house you know what is for dinner – yep, a weiner roast! Now normally you would never catch me eating a hot dog except in support of a charity group having a BBQ fundraiser, but there is something about roasting dogs over an open flame that just can’t be ignored so yep – I had 2! I must admit though that I was very very proud of my husband when he said that he didn’t bother buying marshmallows – if we don’t have them I can’t eat them! Gotta love that man! Unfortunately, since I was working all that day, I have a couple of bottles of milk expressed and ready to go for little Mr. Ivan so instead of just having a glass of wine in the evening, I felt that I could have a couple out by the fire since I didn’t have to nurse – and after my last feeding of the night I did just that, had a couple and maybe even a couple more. So much for moderation – but my head the next morning was a reminder of why 1 or 2 is always better than 3 or 4 or even 5!I also have to admit that there is still some of my left over chocolate bar in the fridge – no matter how healthy it is, nothing is good for you if you eat a whole pan so please come over for a visit and try some – before I eat it all!

Anyways, back on topic again… two weeks into my 3-moth goal of losing 15lbs, 5% body fat and 12″ and the results are in….

9lbs, 2%BF and 4.5″

***Happy Dance***

Now before I get too excited, I have to revert to my self-counseling and remind myself that the beginning of any program always gets the fastest and best results – and then you plateau. In order to break through the plateaus you have to continue to make changes so the next two weeks will see me…

– continue to increase intensity and work to my 80% max whenever I can

– add 1 toning class per week (InfuZion)

– add at least 1 individual muscle building workout

– continue to watch my diet, 3 small meals, 3 snacks a day

– no more than one glass of wine before bed, no matter how great the vintage πŸ˜‰

– no processed meat, bonfire or not

So that is my plan to stay on track and continue to see great results! My husband promised me a shopping trip for new clothes when I reach my goal – and you know there is no greater motivation for me than shopping – especially with his credit card! πŸ˜‰

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Practice what you Preach

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

So I have a confession to make… I don’t always do as I tell others to do when it comes to nutrition and healthy lifestyle – especially not in the last few month. Yep, I admit it – I am human! I have all of the same excuses as everyone else – I just had a baby after 3 months of bedrest,Β  I had a c-section, I am tired and when I am tired I crave things I shouldn’t be eating. Yes these reasons are true, but they are still excuses and because of these excuses, for the first time in a very long time I looked at myself naked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. So, it is time to treat myself like a client – the worst client I could ever have – but a client none the less and get off my ass and do something about it. I can’t tell others not to complain unless they are willing to change if I myself am not able and willing to do the same – so here goes!

As of Tuesday April 3, I am 13 pounds and 3%BF larger than I was before the baby. I wish I could really truly use him as an excuse, but I can’t because the truth is, most of that I gained after his birth! The last few months have been a whirlwind of midnight feedings, diaper changes, returning to work with very little sleep and eating like crap. Even starting fitness classes again at 5 weeks postpartum didn’t help because my heart wasn’t really in those workouts for myself, I told myself that I was just too tired to put in much effort so I coached and cheer leaded more than participated. Yep, I admit it, my name is Michelle and I am a slacker!

So I sat down at my computer yesterday after spending some time in the mall on the weekend trying on clothes – usually a great passion of mine, but this time, there was no joy in my reflection. I sat down and took my own measurements (179lbs and 29% BF) and created some goals for myself. Before Ivan was born, I always – intentionally- kept my body fat percentage at 25% in order to better aid the fertility treatments, and as you know at my age (37), a health body fat is between 20% and 30%. I stayed right in the middle but now have started to creep to places I shouldn’t be. So my first goal is this – a loss of 5% BF, 12 inches total around my waist, belly, hips and thighs (I am still nursing so my chest doesn’t count) – this would amount to approximately a 15 pound loss depending on muscle mass. So that is it – that is my goal and as I have said to every client I have ever had, a goal without a time line is just a dream so my timeline is… 12 weeks, 3 months – by the end of June. There you have it, my personal weight loss and fitness goal – set in the exact same manner I always coach my clients on. Can I do it? Of course! Will? Yes! Especially now that I have put it out there in the universe for everyone to see and staked my professional integrity on it! Damn right I will do it!

So how exactly am I going to accomplish this goal? Well, treating myself as my own worst client, I sat down and figured out my base metabolic rate – this is the amount of calories I would need to consume in a day to stay exactly the same size, doing the exact same thing. My base metabolic calorie consumption is approximately 2500 calories a day – this is a calculation derived at by calculating body mass, composition, activity level and the fact that I am a nursing mom. In order to reach my weight loss goal, I will need to consume just under 2000 calories a day, continue my current activity and when I hit that inevitable plateau, bust through it with accelerated fitness training or another drop in calories. Because I will still be breastfeeding, a drop in calories is not recommended so an increase in activity it will be!

Now it seems simple to just drop your calorie consumption and if that is all that mattered, it would be – but you have to remember that those 2000 calories need to be well balanced, with 55% being complex carbs, 25% being protein and 20% being fat. we also have to ensure that there is a balance of vitamins and minerals and a consistent energy source throughout the day. This may sound complicated and for some, it can be which is why they come to see someone like me in the first place, finding these balances is what I do for my clients every day, and everyone is different.

So what did my first day (Tuesday April 3) look like? Well it started at 5:30am with a glass of milk and a cup of chocolate flavoured ovaltine mixed with water along with my postnatal multi-vitamin. 6;30am saw a boot camp class with 25 solid minutes of cardio training along with strength building and flexibility components. Breakfast at 8:30am consisted of a homemade chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie (see next week’s newsletter for the recipe). I actually skipped my morning snack (slap hand) because I lost track of time but enjoyed a tuna salad sandwich for lunch – made with fat free mayo, an entire can of tuna, onions and lettuce on whole wheat bread – no butter or margarine of course! My afternoon snack was about 3 cups of raw carrots and celery along with 1/4 cup of homemade cucumber-dill dip (see next week’s newsletter for recipe). Throughout the day I drank plenty of fluids – hot decaffeinated coffee and tea – black of course!

My evening was a rush of mis-scheduled events so I grabbed a quick sandwich for dinner – two fried eggs (fried with no margarine or spray on my new ceramic non-stick pans) with 1/2 tomato, a slice of cheese and whole wheat bread. My treat for the day was a cocktail later on of vodka and diet-cranberry and my bedtime snack (an hour before bed) was a bowl of raisin bran cereal with 1% milk. My total calorie consumption for the day was 1800 with 46% coming from carbs, 24% from protein, 23% from fat and 7% from alcohol. Not perfect, but pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

So day one is done and day two is on its way. What is my biggest challenge for week #1? Losing all will power through Easter weekend because I am a HUGE candy fiend and we will be having a family birthday dinner with my in-laws. My plan for overcoming this challenge? First of all, not to buy Sera any of MY favorite treats. We usually limit the amount of candy anyway, but I will be sure to find things she likes and I don’t this weekend! My other solution is to get my husband on board, supporting my goal so that when y will power starts to fade, he is there to bolster me up! I have also written my goals in lipstick in huge writing on our bathroom mirror so that every morning, I can get and stay focused on my goal so that every decision I make is based on that!

Wish me luck! Happy Easter!


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