Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Getting Fit!

Happy Wednesday!  I hope your week is going well my dears.   Since my wedding is 4 short weeks away, I thought I'd do a few more Wedding Wednesday posts to savor these last wedding moments.  Today I thought I'd share a little about my journey towards healthier eating and some tools I've used to help me get in to shape for the big day.
I want to start by saying I am no health expert, and I can only attest to what has worked for me long term.  Having said that, I have consulted with a nutritionist who has created a tailored meal plan for me, so I feel confident in following her advice!  But before I get in to what has worked for me, let me start with where I began at the time of our engagement. 

When Sam and I got engaged last May, I hadn't been to the gym in weeks. I wasn't eating well- often over-indulging in Mexican food, soda, and fro-yo with all the candy toppings (yikes!).  I didn't like the way I looked and wanted to change my lifestyle, but felt overwhelmed with where to start.  Although my weight might have been in the "normal" range, I didn't like the way I looked in pictures and had a high percentage of body fat.  At a height of 5' 2", any bit of extra weight really shows!  

Step 1 To Healthy: Cardio + Resistance Training 

{Pictured above- A Define Body class}

My first step was joining a gym.  I knew that no matter what I ate, I could at least be making some progress if I committed to breaking a sweat a few times a week.  I decided to sign up at Define Body & Mind, a fitness studio here in Houston that offers both high-intensity spin classes and strength and resistance classes utilizing the ballet barre. The combination of class offerings is perfect because the spin (or rev, as they call it) is a high-intensity calorie burner, and the body classes help to tone, elongate, and strengthen your frame.

{Pictured above: A Define rev class}

Throughout the first few months of our engagement, I went regularly to Define and did a mix of the body and rev classes.  However, I did not change my diet at all.  The result?  Not much of a change.  I had more energy from my workouts and generally felt healthier, but I knew if I didn't change my diet the workouts would ultimately be in vain.  

Step 2 to Healthy:  Electronic Food Journal

I decided to visit with a nutritionist who specialized in pescatarian diets (I have been vegetarian since 2009; and added fish back in to my diet in 2011) to discuss how I could improve my eating habits.  After doing my research, I found Melissa Hawthorne, a dietician  with Advice for Eating.  Together, we did a metabolic rate test to see my resting metabolism, discussed my health goals, and set up a meal plan.   Melissa had me eat normally for a few days and record everything I was eating in a journal for her to analyze. Although I thought I was consuming ~1,500 calories a day, I was actually eating closer to 2,000 a day!  We also discovered that my resting metabolism is a bit slower than what is normal for my age, height, and weight, which helped Melissa incorporate the right foods at the right time in to my meal plan.  She also introduced me to the app My Fitness Pal, where you can log in your meals easily and see your progress:

The app (and website) help me stay accountable throughout the day and also help me track my progress and fitness goals:

Step 3 to Healthy: Be Conscious of What You Put in to Your Body

It seems simple enough, doesn't it?!  Well, it wasn't for me.  I hate to cook and love the convenience of grabbing something on the go. With being in school + working + managing my blog, things get crazy!  Thankfully, Melissa understood this and took the time to really sit down with me and go over some healthy choices for food on the go.  She knew I couldn't give up my beloved Starbucks, so recommended I switch from my Grande Java Chip Frappuccino Light to a Tall Nonfat Iced Latte.  At half the calories and 1/4 the sugar, it is a much healthier option yet I still get my caffeine fix.  Melissa also shared several delicious quick and easy recipes for healthy meals at home.  She recommended I invest in Cooking Light's 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Meals and also reference their website for great recipes.  Finding flexible options for fast food while also learning the importance of preparing healthy meals at home has truly helped me feel more in control of my diet. 

Step 4 to Healthy: Find Balance 

No matter how lofty your goals are, health or otherwise, you have to find balance and be patient with yourself.  There are weeks where I think I should've worked out more or that the number on the scale should be less, but ultimately it's a process and you have to be patient.  In addition to setting realistic goals, I also think it is important to treat yourself every once in a while, whether with a mani/pedi or your favorite dessert.  Luckily, the meal plan I have with Melissa allows me to have one cheat meal a week.  This helps keep my cravings at bay and also acts as a reward for a week of healthy eating.  And if you fall off the wagon and indulge for a day, just get back on track the next day and keep moving forward.

I hope you found my tips helpful!  Again, this is what has worked for me and I do not claim to be an expert by any means.  All I can say is I feel healthier and stronger than I have in a long time, and that has to count for something!


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