Debbie’s “AH HA” Moment Revealed

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Everyone says if you track your food and write down everything you eat, you will be more successful on your weight loss journey. We make a vow to begin “tracking”. And we are sure that this will be the answer to our weight loss success because we all know that we will write down everything that we eat. And since we never want to write down “a bag of M & M’s” or 10 Oreo cookies because someone may see it, we are convinced that this will work for us and the only entries we will see are egg whites, broccoli, chicken, tuna, turkey and all those foods that are “good” for us.

The excitement mounts as we get a brand new notebook for the task, or we add a new app to our phone that will give us the nutritional information of every food out there in the universe and will help us keep track, and we start fresh with our new plan for journaling our food intake.

We all know how happy we were when the first day of school came around and that new notebook looked so fresh and we vowed to write with the same color pen every day and write in our perfect handwriting and keep it looking brand spanking new for the whole semester.  And after the first 2 weeks of school, we couldn’t find the pen, we wrote notes too quickly to be neat, we wrote a note or started doodling on the front cover or we needed a piece of paper to throw out our gum and ripped a sheet out and next thing we knew our beautiful notebook wasn’t looking so good anymore. By the end of the semester, it looked like it had a rougher semester than we did.

When we add a new app to our phone, we are obsessed with that app. We show it to everyone singing its praises and telling anyone who will listen that this is the app that will change our lives.  We spend countless hours trying figure out everything the app can do.  We google everything that may have an impact on our use of that app. And our faces are always in our phones.

The first few days as we are tracking our food, our trackers look perfect. We see entries like this: 3 oz of chicken, broccoli, salad with lite dressing, brown rice, etc. Then we have an oreo cookie and we tell ourselves, I will be honest and write it down so I can see where my downfall began.  I will analyze my feelings and try to figure out why I had to have that cookie. Then you have a second cookie and you convince yourself to write that down also because after all, who wouldn’t have a slip-up of 2 cookies every now and then. The next day, you grab a handful of M & M’s and you hesitate about whether you want to write it down or not because now a pattern is forming of  “cheating” every day and if someone were to look at your tracker, they would see that you have no self control. And it continues and the next thing you know you stop writing it down or using your app.

Well I had an “Ah Ha” moment last night about this. I had had a great day foodwise and had written down everything I had eaten for the last 2 days.  I am involved in a weight loss challenge at the gym I attend and decided to start tracking again.  I arrived home last night after eating dinner out and a gift had arrived. It was my birthday on Monday and I received a beautiful gift from my son and his girlfriend of chocolate covered strawberries. Everyone knows how much I LOVE chocolate covered strawberries. I opened the box and they looked amazing. I knew they were expensive and how much they wanted me to enjoy them so I decided to have one and planned on writing it down. Then I decided to try another one. After all they won’t stay fresh forever.  Well by the time I was finally finished I had eaten 4 of them. I woke up this morning and decided to write it down in my new journal that I began using just for this new challenge. But I also decided to write down what I didn’t eat. For instance, I usually have 2-3 dove bliss dark chocolates a day as a little treat. Well Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t even have one. And I wrote that down. My other son and daughter in law brought me cake pops on Sunday for Valentine’s day and I was really contemplating eating one Monday night and decided against it.  So I wrote that down too. At breakfast Monday morning I skipped the butter on my wholewheat toast and only had one piece.  That was a victory and I wrote it down. We went to dinner at Outback Steakhouse last night and everyone knows how good the bread is there but I didn’t even have one piece. I also skipped the salad there because it comes with the most amazing croutons and I knew I wouldn’t be able to not eat them. So I wrote it down. And you know what?? It felt good. It felt good to see the things I didn’t have and I realized what those things would have cost me not only calorie wise but in my mental attitude.

So from now on along with the foods I am eating I am also going to keep track of the things I turned down in the interest of staying healthy and on track. Those victories are just as important as the victories of the days we don’t slip at all. Write it down. Write down everything you didn’t eat. And it will make you feel so good as you get more and more in control that you will be more excited about writing down what you didn’t eat as opposed to writing down what you did eat.

We can never un-eat what we ate. Not writing it down or tossing in the towel on your goal to track won’t negate the calories. So learn to celebrate the little victories each day …in this case, the things you didn’t eat.

Did you skip a dessert? Do you usually eat 6 cookies but you stopped at 5?  Did you remove the bun from your burger?  Did you go to your room to watch tv instead of eating a bag of chips on the couch?

Whatever your small food successes may be, they are yours and you deserve to pat yourself on the back!

Taking the time to recognize that you are making progress will help lift your self-confidence. Of course, still celebrate the good food you did eat, the pounds that may be coming off and the other significant milestones in your health journey.

But remember, It’s in those small personal victories, that sometimes only you know, that when celebrated will boost your self-esteem

JeanMarie Rinaldi, The Life Lessons Gained with Pregnancy Weight

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A few things I learned while I was pregnant 

Ever since I was little I knew that I was supposed to be a mom. Whenever some one asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up it was always a teacher or a mom. Flash forward 20 something years and I discover I’m pregnant! Obviously I was filled with a ton of emotions: excited-wahoo! my time had finally come; nervous-crap, am I going to be a good mom; happy-omg this is all I ever wanted; and scared- wait, what the hell do I do now?

As I went to my 8 week check up praying that the baby would be healthy and I would hear a heart beat, I had a ton of questions that I wanted to ask my doctor. The main questions… Can I still go to barre class?! And How many calories should I be eating?! Those of you that know me know that I love working out and for the most part (aside from the occasional cupcake, chocolate covered strawberry or my latest candy obsession) eat pretty healthy! My doctor explained to me that the goal was to gain 2-4 pounds every month. “Remember” he said, “whatever you gain is going to go towards the baby and you are the one who has to push out that baby not me!” Hmmmm Good point I thought! He also said that whatever exercise I did before I was pregnant I was allowed to do while I was pregnant until I felt like I couldn’t anymore. SCORE!! 4-5 barre classes a week it is!

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The first trimester was hard. I was tired more than I usually was, I felt some of my clothes starting to get tight and my little A cup boobs went to a B overnight (most of you are thinking that’s really not that big but when you are an A your whole life it feels a little weird. My husband wanted me to embrace them and was hoping they would stay after our son came….spoiler alert… They are slowly back to an A). I pushed through the first trimester keeping with my barre schedule and eating healthy. I was doing great. The second trimester came and I was filled with a ton of emotions I wasn’t expecting. Epiphany moment: I did not like being pregnant. For some one who has weighed the same weight for most of her adult life, give or take a pound or two, this constant weight gain and change in my body was not working for me. I knew the end result was going to be amazing but the 9 month journey to get there was one I didn’t expect. How could I not like this when all I ever wanted my whole life was for this moment. The guilt set in but I continued throughout my pregnancy with these emotions and my constant need for barre class. I had a lot of people telling me they couldn’t believe I was still going to barre 9 months pregnant and of course the always present question; are you sure you should still be getting up at 5 am 4 days a week. My answer was yes every time.

I definitely think the lifestyle I lead for those 9 months lead me to a healthy pregnancy ( I gained 36 pounds), a fairly easy labor (8 hours of labor from start to finish and I pushed for 20 minutes . . . Don’t get me wrong the epidural helped!) and a great postpartum recovery ( it has been one month since I gave birth and I have 8 more pounds to go to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight).

So that’s my story, why am I telling you this?! My sister (the Monday dieter) kept asking me to write a guest blog about how to have a healthy pregnancy. I don’t really think I am an expert in this…. at least enough to write a blog and give my advice/opinion but then I did some thinking. While I was going through all those emotions for 9 months I would have definitely liked to go on Pinterest or another form of social media and read a blog about some one’s pregnancy journey. I would have found comfort in knowing some one else was thinking or feeling the same way I was so I made a list of things I think helped me and that I would have liked to know when I started this journey! I hope they help you have a healthy pregnancy!

  1. Eat when you are hungry, not because you are pregnant – everyone thinks, ‘I can eat what I want because I am eating for 2’ but actually you are eating for yourself and maybe half another person and really that little person just needs some nutrients so they can grow and form healthy inside you. If you are hungry eat if you aren’t pass up on that extra plate of fries or those chicken fingers late night at the diner. Keep a few extra snacks in your bag so if you do get hungry you have something handy and don’t overindulge. Some of my favorites: a snack size bag of animal crackers or goldfish, an apple or a kind bar
  2. Find a work out buddy- going to the gym is definitely easier when you have some one else holding you accountable. My sister and I would set our gym schedule for the week on Sundays. We made it an outing, I would pick her up at 5:45, am that is, be at the gym by 6 am and sitting in Starbucks catching up on each other’s lives by 7:15. We had a routine and I looked forward to those 2 hours with her to bond and check in on what was going on in each other’s lives.
  3. Have a good support system, and make sure you tell them what you need – cliche mushy moment…. I have an amazing husband. He tells me I am beautiful at least once a day and he is constantly showing me he loves me in many different ways. Unfortunately when your body is constantly changing at that fast of a rate and your hormones are that high those comments don’t necessarily work anymore. Voice what you need and how you need him or her to handle you for the next 9 months.
  4. Let your cravings be a part of your life, not take over your life – everytime you go out while you are pregnant you get the same question- so tell me, what are you craving?? Some people crave one thing their whole pregnancy and some crave a bunch of different things. I think one of my bigger cravings was pancakes. It is very easy to eat pancakes every morning, Especially when they taste so good! I made pancakes a treat. Every Sunday in the summer – my family (all 10 of us) would wake up, go to church and then go to our favorite breakfast spot jaysons in LBI. I Looked forward  to those Sundays with the family laughing, talking and satisfying my cravings of pancakes. It was my treat for eating good the whole week. Towards the end I let myself have that chocolate chip cookie I craved every night for dessert. But make sure you stop after one.
  5. Take time to rest – it is ok to take a day or two or even a week off from working out and reset your body. You are better off resting so you can get back on your schedule rather then tiring yourself out and then giving up on the whole working out thing all together
  6. Embrace your bump- if you want to rock a skin tight shirt or little black dress go ahead! Embrace it!

Andrew Romanella

crop The alarm goes off. It’s Saturday at 7am. I ask myself why the hell are you getting up this early on a Saturday? Before I can even fully open my eyes it hits me, all of this is for Barre class for your sister’s birthday. Barre class I say to myself. Why the hell am I up a 7am for something called Barre? Which in my experience is spelled with 3 letters not 5 and is meant only for the female population.

So I climb out of bed, unhappy and annoyed that my sister is for lack of better words ruining my weekend life for a glorified ballet class. I put on my clothes, pour my coffee and head out the door ready to conquer the Barre (or Bar for you normal spelling Americans) having no idea what I just got myself into.

My girlfriend and I pull into the back parking lot to what looks like an abandoned building scratching our heads in amazement in how this place was even found. After a solid 5-minute search for the right abandoned doorway we find an elevator. Having zero clue where we are and no contact to the inside world (no cell phones in Barre class) we decided to take a shot and jump in.

Much like a movie with a trap door or closet to a foreign land, the elevator stops on the 3rd floor and opens to a floor in which you never thought existed. A receptionist greets you, asked for your name and looks you up and down asking herself what this hairy, bearded creature is doing at the Barre (without alcohol of course). At that moment I should have known, run Andrew, run as far as you can.

The classroom is a perfect rectangle with mirrors and a ballet bar surrounding the entire room. There is anywhere from 15-25 people in the class with 1 really amped up instructor. Each person is given a matte, 2 different sized weighted balls and a workout ring. You are required to wear socks that have grip on the bottom so you don’t slide all over while performing your moves.

The scene is set, 5 guys, 15 experience Barre women and 1 amped up instructor ready to dominate the glutes of each individual male who walked through the door. The class starts off with what is considered a warm up in the Barre world, the beginning of the end for every muscle on my body located below my waist band.

Much like every guy challenged to a workout competition by their older sister, I started out on fire. Moving my body up and down, side to side, pulsing on the toes, level 1, level 10, it didn’t matter I was determined to dominate ever human within a 10-mile radius of this Barre. 5 minutes goes by, okay the legs are feeling good. 7 minutes, okay Rocky is neck and neck with me, Kris is sweating gallons and Rich and Sean are holding their own, I GOT THIS BABY! 10 minutes and I’m feeling good. F this barre! I can do this shit in my sleep…………………That was of course until we did the last 50 minutes of the class.

By minute 20 I don’t think I could remember my name (much like a regular B-A-R). My legs were shaking so much you would have thought there was an earthquake where I was standing. Every time I heard, pulse, pulse, come on just 1 more time, I thought about opening the 3rd story abandoned window and launching myself to the bottom. Anything was better than another pulse, another hip thrust or another stability hold.

By minutes 35-40 it was all downhill. Sweating like I just jumped out of the pool. Trying everything mentally to get through the pain saying in my head, “Come on Andrew your pregnant sister is doing better than you” “Don’t fail….there is a 45 year old women making you look like you’ve never touched a dumbbell.”

It was nearly impossible. With every movement, every change, the pain worse and worse. The entire time watching in amazement of all 15 women in there doing movements without a groan or what look like a single ounce of sweat. How are they doing that? Are they hurting like I am? Is Kris going to make it? All questions that I didn’t have the answer too or had a second to think about

FINALLY, minute 55. We are almost there.  Only core left. Yes I say to myself just get through the core and then we are done. Regaining some energy, my brother and I decided to end it on the highest level. Jumping jack pushups with a hold. Thinking we could dominate those we bang set 1. Okay, good shit we are back baby ready to finish. And then we did number 2. “Terrible idea!” I say to myself, “What the F was I thinking?” “F’ck Rocky is doing them too so now I really cant stop”

1 minute left the instructor says, FINALLY a light at the end of the tunnel. 30 seconds, lets gooooooooo, 15, I’m going to need a real bar after this, just gotta finish 10, 9,8, come on baby you got this. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, you got 1 more just finish, 2, 1 And at that moment summed up the feelings of every male in that room then when the clock struck 0 and the class finished. Everyone dropped, laying in their own pool of sweat when my Rocky screamed out, “IS IT OVER??”

After a well-deserved and warranted laugh from every female in the room, yes Rock the torture is over. You can go home now and attempt to walk normally, sit on the toilet comfortably or even begin to think about walking up and down a set of stairs.

I bench over 200 pounds, go to the gym 5 days a week and have been obsessed with working out for 8 straight years and never once did I think one of the hardest workouts of my life would be barre class.

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Marla Chicky, Wellness Coach + Body “Cheerleader”

0216432c-118f-4e5b-9411-95fc3c70aed6So is your “Food Hangover” feeling extra guilt ridden this Monday morning?

Take a deep breath, gorgeous, Thanksgiving dinner is over.  Even though fitting into your Little Black Dress, or prized skinny jeans, now seems like an impossible feat without the presence of bulging love handles.  (‘Ugh, I so didn’t need that slice of apple pie + whip’)

I recently read a statistic that sited two-thirds of women struggle with disordered eating.  Sounds like a resounding majority.  To me, this was deeply saddening to read, but oddly, equally comforting.

As a wellness coach for a nutritional cleansing company, I have the utmost pleasure of coaching women on the road to their most gorgeous selves.  Yet, so much of the journey does not necessarily seem to be around the food itself.

Dropping 10 pounds does not seem to equal Victoria’s Secret Angel body confidence.  Or Jake Gyllenhaal look-a-like’s lining up outside your apartment door with roses.

Yes, the holidays seem to be coupled with the notion that you are inevitably going to pack them on,  no shot in avoiding it.  Seriously babe, you’re doomed to go up a dress size.

So body hang-ups kick into high gear with dropping temperatures—and baggy sweaters get pulled out of our closets along with renaming winter ‘sweat pants season’.  Clearly there’s no longer summer time pressure to rock a crop-top and Abercrombie jean shorts.

Still, there has to be a better way to combat the seasonal binging/restricting cycle.

As the self-proclaimed “Body Cheerleader”, and someone who has lost over 20 pounds in the last year—going from zero physical activity, to running 2-3 miles a day, I’m right there with you beauties!  The struggle remains real as stretch marks, for me included, even post weight-loss.

What I have come to realize is the element of self-love is paramount, and the road for perfection is one we need to take an alternate route from.

I use to print out pictures of girls with the “perfect” bodies (Petite, hour glass waist, thin legs, and big you know what’s J) and hang them all over my fridge if I was tempted to snack.  They’ve since been ripped down and replaced with hot pink affirmation Post-Its.

So let’s make a pact to end the guilt surrounding indulgences this holiday season.  If you drank the real eggnog instead of my signature ‘Skinny’ recipe, FORGIVE yourself.  It happens!

The pressure we place on ourselves to look a certain way is a useless self-inflicted heavy burden to carry, and an unnecessary one at best.

Just know that if you find yourself eating all of Santa’s cookies (and milk), or depriving yourself completely … you’re not alone, and never will be.

Dig deep and find what your triggers are, accept yourself for where you are right now, and realize tomorrow is always a new day.

Happy Holidays, gorgeous!

Big hugs from your cheerleader,

Marla Chicky

Body Cheerleader (1)

Mommy-To-Be: Becky’s Story

21890Hollywood portrays pregnant women as raging, sobbing, irrational creatures who eat everything in sight and occasionally solve crimes in North Dakota. Some of this is true and some of it….actually it’s all true, even the crime solving (“Fargo” is based on a true story).

There are some women who embrace pregnancy as a chance to shove everything they can down their gullets. They indulge all their wildest cravings and fatty food delight without a care in the world. I love these women and applaud every milkshake and chicken leg! And then on the flip, there are the women I have seen in Los Angeles where I live, who are strict and only eat the most healthy, nutrient rich foods full of all the things that will make the baby smart, strong, sensitive, kind, funny and destined to be President or at least win an Oscar.
My heart wants me to be the latter of the two of these two, but the rest of me is like “cake and peanut butter and hamburgers and fries and cake and nachos!”.  I guess this shouldn’t come as any surprise to me. I’ve been in a love/hate relationship with food since I was 10 years old. Always chubby, I dieted all my life until about 5 years ago when I started to go to therapy for what I soon discovered was disordered eating, a condition that plagues nearly two-thirds of women today. The cycle of depravation and binging had repeated itself so many times in my life and at my highest weight ever, it clearly wasn’t doing me any favors.
I discovered new ways of looking at food and dealing with my emotions that didn’t involve cheese and cookies. Eventually I felt good about going back on Weight Watchers with additional therapy (these food issues run deep). When I got engaged, I really struggled with the idea of weight loss for the wedding. I wanted to for pictures, but at the same time I resented it. I compromised and I concentrated on getting into shape. And I have to say, I looked good on my wedding day.
Over the last year, I gained some weight. Post wedding let down, then the holidays and then one injury after another that sidelined me from the gym. So I am not at a great weight to start this journey.
So, I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around the idea of HAVING to gain weight. And how could I not be scared of the scale going up when my whole life I have been told to fear the scale and the higher numbers and the bigger pants and the “wobbly bits”. But now all of the sudden I’m supposed to LOVE all that? I cannot make that switch in my brain. Not as quickly as I need to, at least.
At 14 weeks, I am just showing a little bit, so I just look fatter, I don’t look pregnant. I have the urge to tell passing strangers “I’m not fat!! I’m pregnant!”.  And I envy the women who love their pregnant bodies, although I am discovering that those ladies are fewer and more far between that we are led to believe. But the thing I struggle with the most is food. What do I eat? Do I indulge the Hollywood stereotype in me? Or do I go with the Hollywood reality around me of green juice drinking preggos who workout with vigor until they are 9 months pregnant?
I’d love to have an answer right now, but life and pregnancy is a very messy ordeal that sometimes doesn’t present you with answers at the moment you need them. I suppose what most people would say the answer is to have some will power. I guess I would say to those people, imagine the most tired, sore, sad, angry and bloated you’ve ever felt. Now imagine feeling like that for weeks on end and knowing at the end of it  all your life will change forever….now which would you like… a piece of cake or a salad?
So usually an article like this would have a picture attached with a photo of me in a mirror showing off my adorable baby bump. And I tried, ladies and gentlemen, I tried. But every outfit made me feel more and more terrible. Every angle only accentuated every non-cute bump. Eventually, I fell into a pile of tears on the bathroom floor.I could have posted a picture of that, but it wasn’t a pretty sight. I can promise you this though, I am working on loving this journey and part of that will be eventually be me being able to post a preggo picture.  Deal? Deal.

Nicolette’s Story

11828619_495045947319397_3920333755730942786_nCHECKOUT MONDAY DIETER’S INTERVIEW WITH NICOLETTE

MD: What was the moment you decided to make a change?

Nicolette: I was tired of looking like crap—not feeling comfortable in certain clothes or the way I looked in pictures – Pictures embarrassed me the most. Especially in my bathing suit when I was with others. Or even when I was wearing sleeveless shirts I hated the way my arms looked– I was always so hard on myself for that. But I just got tired of telling myself tomorrow or next week  – I was tired of telling myself I’m okay when deep down emotionally I was not at all with myself. I realized how crappy I felt, I wasn’t used to this feeling and I knew it had something to do with my diet – actually I knew it had everything to do with my diet. I grew up very athletic, I played competitive volleyball since I was 11 and all through college. My team was top in the state and we made it to the state championships every year.  Volleyball was my entire life, traveling all over the east coast every weekend and practices every night after school. Eating in high school didn’t really affect me,(my young metabolism also played a role) my diet was good and it was on track. I also didn’t have a lot of time to just go binge, I ate well with my team and with my family every day. It was in college where things fell of track—but we all also want that college experience of letting go of what was in the past or what you were. A time for change is how I looked at it. I went away to school and that was that… Weekends consisted of eating what I wanted, oh and also during the week I ate what I wanted. My “healthy choices” then are foods I wouldn’t go near now 4 years later. Freshmen year, even playing a sport for my school I gained 30 pounds. It was scary.

MD: How did you get started?

Nicolette: I started going to gym again, I started being very disciplined with myself, I started making a change in my diet. I cut out carbs and I stopped eating past 7pm every day. I started feeling better, Less bloated, full of energy. I also noticed that I lost 5 pounds too! I was so happy. But I was very hard on myself too and nothing was good enough so I kept going. I wasn’t playing volleyball anymore- I didn’t have a hobby to keep up with, and I didn’t have an “outlet” any more. That is why lifting/yoga/running has now become my new therapy. Every day I make it a goal to go to the gym and I set a goal during the day of what I am going to accomplish. Doing this for myself everyday is reflected in how I feel- in the most positive way.

MD: You made a bold decision that you wanted to be strong, not skinny….BIG DIFFERENCE! Why?

Nicolette: I think this stronger build look is just about the challenges you choose – the goals you set for yourself. I find it amazing the ability for a female to complete and lift and train as hard as men do. Its beautiful–I used to just run every day and that was that, or do the elliptical for an hour and be done with the gym… but as the days went on I was getting bored—I wanted to set the bar higher – I wanted to challenge myself in a way I never would have, even years ago.  There is always more you can do—ways you can make a difference. I found this out by lifting, and getting stronger everyday

MD: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself?

Nicolette: Be mindful in the moment, every rep, every minute- just be mindful of it and know that it is getting you closer to where you want to be. It is okay to be tired, or sore or in pain- you’re making a difference.

MD: Do you agree with this statement: “A Healthy outside starts on the inside?”

Nicolette: Yes- I agree completely— you need to make the changes mentally in order to be where you want to be physically. It is all in your head first—the results and where you want to be on the outside is all inside

MD: What’s your advice for anyone reading who wants to get healthy on the inside?

Nicolette: “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”

MD: Ok, Nicolette…from the strongest girl I know…does muscle weigh more than fat?!

Nicolette: Yes! I absolutely think muscle weighs more than fat. In choosing strong, I was scared to gain the weight back that I lost. The last month I noticed the scale was getting higher and higher but I do not look like I am gaining weight. I gain a pound or two every week. It’s definitely a mental battle. You need to remind yourself you are working hard, you are pushing yourself, you are fulfilling your goal, the scale plays a game with you.

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If you want to continue to follow Nicolette’s journey follow her on Instagram: @niccfit_