Healthy For the Holidays?

Coming home for the holidays.

For my holiday weight loss post I figured I’d tell you guys how I dealt with holiday dinners and Christmas parties. People are asking me how did I avoid cheating on my meal plans and diets during this time. Well, For the most part I didn’t!!! I was human and I absolutely love the holidays. Food was a big deal in my house so, up until a year ago, I didn’t hold back when I went back home for the holidays.

I would get home and my grandmother would have food cooking; yams, potato salad, stuffing, fried fish, you name it she was cooking it almost every Sunday from November to December. In my early years, this didn’t help me at all! I would eat until I couldn’t even function (literally). To be honest even when I became a vegetarian I still wasn’t safe because I was still capable of eating everything that didn’t include meat (which was probably even worse for me). It wasn’t until I went vegan that I didn’t pig out on the holidays, but even though I pigged out, I kept 3 rules every time I did!
Rule 1: Do Cardio.
If I over ate a ton of food, I would do an hour of cardio in the gym the same day, whether it was before or after. No it didn’t help me immediately undo what I did, but it did burn the equivalent amount of calories back off & it helped me sweat out a lot of the salt intake.

Rule 2: Do Not Take Food Home!
If I went to a holiday party and there was left over food that everyone says to “take home so it doesn’t go to waste” I was like “hell no.” I said no so that I didn’t continue to cheat on my diet past that point. It’s like once I left that party or left my mothers house I always wanted to go back to mine with a fresh start, so no old food or left overs!

Rule 3: Set A New Year Goal!
If I knew I was wilding out on food from November to December, I would start to prepare mentally for my new year change. I would already have an idea of a meal plan and workout plan I would be starting so when the new year came I could kick it into full gear. I would look up what new classes I wanted to try, one year I did kickboxing, the next year I did yoga and I would focus on making it fun to “change” once it was time to kick a more strict lifestyle into gear.

I personally think by the time the holidays are done, you’ve had your belly full of unhealthy foods so it’s easier to start a plan to lose weight and get fit once January hits. If you think about it calendar wise, there are no real holidays after that with food except maybe Valentine’s Day and Easter! This gives you almost 5 months to lose weight, because we know when the Memorial Day barbecue invite hits thats a definite cheat day! But in the meantime, use those 5 months wisely!

& email stripnfitness@gmail.com for our parties in the new year!!

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Stop Being Fast with Food

How to avoid fast food.

I know it’s easier said than done so let me just explain. The only way I avoided it was to not even step foot into any fast food places for the first two years of my weight loss. So basically, even on my cheat days I would go to more gourmet places to eat. I’m based in New York so let me give you guys examples:

If I wanted a donut, instead of going to dunkin donuts I would go to the Doughnut Plant.
If I wanted a burger, instead of going to McDonald’s I would find a special burger spot like Bare Burger.
If I wanted French fries, I would get sweet potato fries from a spot that usually made them gluten free …
This was only on days I allotted a cheat meal!

It seems very strict but the point was, even when I wanted fast food, I wouldn’t submit to it. When you know your weaknesses, you try your best to reroute them and figure out how to build a resistance against stuff that you will falter to. I was a McDonalds and Wendy’s queen. No one could stop be from getting a number 3 from McDonald’s (I believe it’s still a quarter pounder with cheese, French fries, and soda). If it was going to Wendy’s I was going for the Baconator and there was no stopping me from eating every portion in these meals. The extra calories were everywhere and being 100% consumed, even if my stomach was full half way through my meal. I essentially stretched my stomach because of the taste and the thought that I would be wasting something if I didn’t eat it all. Since I was addicted to these places, I avoided them in order to rid myself of the addiction, if I didn’t I would relapse. Don’t for a second think food is not a drug, it definitely can be if you allow it to. I wasn’t a person who was into alcohol or weed (College was wild so its the exception lmao), I was into food and it was weighing me down in a horrible way.

On top of avoiding these things, I became a Netflix documentary junkie. If you ever want to think twice about eating certain things, watch the true life behind how it’s made and how bad it is for you. A Few that will definitely make you think twice about these places and how your food is made:

“Supersize Me”
“Food, Inc.”
“Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead”
“We Feed the World”
“Forks Over Knives”

In the present day, I’m not so strict with my fast food habits, but that’s because I am a Vegan. I still hardly go to chain restaurants to eat my cheat meals because they’re supposed to be special and planned meals, not to mention most of it is not vegan. I always want them to be made with love and preparation in a similar way I treat my body. Educating myself on how my food was made and what I was ingesting also helped me to make the right decisions with what I cared to eat for the long term.

Although I learned how to taper off from fast food, it became a bit of a challenge dealing with my boyfriend and what he loved to eat when I met him. My guy was a McDonald’s, White Castle, Wendy’s Lover. He would hardly drink water or anything healthy for the most part. He lived a fast lifestyle in entertainment so I understood the constant drift to “easier and faster options.” I remember the first time I went food shopping for his apartment and I purchase Organic Eggs and Organic Milk he asked me “Why would you get that, it might taste different and now I can’t eat my cereal.” First of all he shouldn’t have been eating cereal for breakfast Every morning as a grown ass man, aside from the fact that its not usually the healthiest option, but I let him rock and simply said “Just Try It.” The next morning I made him eggs with Tea that had the milk in it and he somehow forgot it was organic. This proved to me that people just avoid things they don’t know about and that it NORMAL. If you have a spouse or a significant other that wont workout with you SO WHAT! make your changes, lose some weight and when they see your progress they will want help. If they don’t want to eat healthy with you than trick them or don’t give them too many options when you have control. If you get to choose where to eat dinner, choose a healthier place. If you get to go grocery shopping, instead of getting his 5 snacks he likes, get 1 and then have him try a new healthier snack or two. Don’t confuse loving someone for allowing them to hurt themselves and their future health, you are helping them in the long run. Also, when your partner is your partner in crime they should be willing to make life style changes with you for the better! Its safe to say now my man loves everything organic, including me lol.

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I’m Back!

I’m back & I’m sorry I’ve been away a bit, not because I’ve been discouraged, but I’m working on some awesome things to put out so I can help people who struggled with weight physically and mentally like I did. I still look in the mirror and think I’m fat at times, thankfully my boyfriend reassures me I am insane & “better not lose anymore weight.” So I had to ask myself when are you done with weight loss, health and fitness? For me, I will never be done with healthy eating. I am currently a vegan and it took me about 4-5 years of a health, fitness and weight loss lifestyle to get to the point I am at now. I know I will never be done with fitness, something about seeing at lease one ab and the line in my leg when I flex puts a smile on my face (believe me it took a while). However, everyone should come to an endpoint when it comes to weightloss. Now that I am 145lbs at a height of 5’8, I am 100% healthy. I had to take a few weeks to congratulate myself and say “you did it.” Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and make a forceful goal of when you are there! when you reach that goal don’t hesitate to be 100% in love with yourself and what you have built but embrace it at the same time and enjoy it. I am growing out of my insecurities, growing out of being the fat girl, growing out of being the tom boy and growing into being a Can Do Woman who made herself who she is with a $10.00 a month gym membership and a big ass dream. Stay tuned for what I have coming, not only have I started training With women who have the same goals I did, I’m working on some vegan dinner tasting parties, some fitness parties for those specifically looking to lose weight and much more. The best thing you can do is love yourself how you are now, how you wish to be and how you will grow to become. Don’t you ever tell yourself you can’t! Next time I’ll tell you exactly why you can!

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Shedding more

Time went on and even though I was on a mission to get to my ultimate goal weight of 145lbs (where I realized I just reached this week, we will get back to that) I would always see-saw even with my diet and workouts. I would read things about moderation and how quick diet tricks do the works so I tried quite a few. I tried a juice cleanse, I tried the salad diet, I tried the tea diet, I tried Herbal Life, and I also tried a body building diet, all of which didn’t work for me and I can tell you why.

A Quick fix is just that, it’s quick. When you go to the store to get super glue for your heel to stick back together you know it won’t last that long, just enough for you to look good when wearing them for the night (okay maybe two nights). Eventually it will break and either you find a newer more durable pair or you take that shoe to a shoe maker to get it fixed properly. Understand that quick diets don’t stick because it takes a while to get into a habit forming mode of which you stick to. It took me three months straight of clean eating to kind of sort of get the hang of it, and even then I still had no clue what I was doing, I just knew it worked. As I learned though, I knew I would relapse unless I stuck to something long term and made myself a more long term goal rather than “I am going to lose 10lbs in two months.”

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Race Ex-Change

During the eight weeks I definitely indulged in things other than healthy food and the gym. I really focused on my last year of college, trying my best to juggle school and two jobs, as well as all my bills. I was noticing the change in my body invited a change in the type of people that would talk to me, and when I say people I mean guys.

I’m a biracial woman who grew up with a white father and a black mother, however white men never really spoke to me on a level of “dating.” I had dated black, Indian, even the mean ex boyfriend was Japanese (random I know) but, I had grown to assume I was still too big in size for the “majority” race. I didn’t know if this was me putting them on a pedestal or just admitting that our society as a whole was not as advanced as I was raised to believe. My mother was born in Jamaica and my father was born in Germany so they raised me to not really look at race when it came to love, for me love was just what it is … Love. Going from a size 33 to a size 28 in pants, I started to get looks from the others (white men) and I couldn’t figure out the root of it. I didn’t know if it was an accomplishment or an insult.

It really sucks that people are taught to stay with their own kind, college showed me that when they sell you a “gentrified school” it really was just a bunch of ethnicities creating circles of their own race right next to each other on campus. I went to Temple University at first and I chose it because it was one of the most ethnically diverse schools around. In retrospect I somewhat regret turning down my admittance to Howard University because I didn’t want to limit myself to a HBCU to be fair to my father (my mother was livid of course).When I walked into parties at Temple as the overweight mixed girl it was either the all black affair, all white affair, or all Asian affair. I remember getting invited to one party by my Indian friend on campus and walking in to discover I was the only person there that didn’t “look Indian,” that’s how I knew I couldn’t stay at Temple.

Now fast forward 4 years later, I was just beginning to understand that I always fit in mentally with every race, but did not fit up to their standards physically (no matter what race). I don’t hold it against anyone anymore, my boyfriend now who is my biggest supporter is a white man (irony I know) But it took me a while to understand this race ex-change as well. I was going through so many emotions by trying to lose weight, losing friends, losing relationships and gaining what seemed to be faker ones, to add a change in race recognition was just another load to deal with. So, In my last year of college I took up a minor in African Political studies.I really wanted to know why America was the way it was outside of my house hold and family upbringing. I felt like people were angry and unwilling to mix with each other. I wanted to get it before it got me and to be honest learning about African American History was one of the best ways to get it!

I studied not only the origins but specifically the civil rights movement, the transition of slavery and the backlash other races received when defending anyone outside of their own. I came to the conclusion that people are just misinformed and not open to learning about the people they come across on a daily basis. We will read about someone in the news and make an assumption before we figure out the background details of the story. Much like myself and my new found ugly duckling turned swan appearance. People were seeing me as the resting bitch faced light skinned girl and not the wholesome overweight light skinned girl anymore, all because I looked different. So telling my story was the only way to get people to understand that sometimes weight loss changes how you look but not who you are, it changes how people treat you and interpret you, but most of all it changes your ability to go after your goals because most people don’t care about how you are as much as they do who you are or what you are once you do.

How I was: confused and depressed

Who I was: now a fit light skinned attractive girl

What I was: a college educated person that was easy to talk to.

So as I satisfied the who’s and what’s, I had to make my “how” content on my own and focusing on myself during the #60daysofsexy was doing just that.

Photo: Me going off to college vs. Me ending college image.jpeg

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Be a Foodie with Groceries

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So step one was how to shop for the things I needed to get started. I googled an insane amount about blood types and the substitutions to replace the foods I currently had in my diet. For instance: I was a Granola and yogurt type of person, but I wasn’t a 1/2 cup of granola to 1 cup of yogurt type of person if you know what I mean. I would actually eat at least double that in the morning along with my coffee and just chalk it up as fuel for my workout later. For lunch I would do half a roasted seasoned chicken (grease included) with sauteed broccoli (salt included). This I would also say “I need my protein and a little fat so let I’m going to eat all of this (including the skin) and I can work it off later.” For dinner I would usually eat snacks rather than a whole meal because I went to night school until 10pm at night. This included a ton of almonds or cashews and then 8oz of grilled chicken with broccoli and bread. Sometimes I would even go to whole foods and kill their hot salad bar charging me $10.00 or more per day. I lived a fast life so the whole “putting my food in my bag before I fail” thing was very difficult for me to do. Not only was I wasting money but, I was forcing myself to workout more than I needed to in order to make up for the calories I still couldn’t cut out. My schedule was weighing on me It would go something like this:

Work: 8am-4pm           Gym: 4:15pm-5:30pm               School: 5:45pm-10:00pm

Or

Work: 8am-4pm          School: 4:30pm-9:30pm          Gym: 10pm-11:30pm

By the end of my days I was exhausted and only wanted my bed but I did this for five out of seven days a week. It was either I figured out how to bring my meals with me or keep wasting my money. So, at 160lbs I went to work on my next 5lbs of weight loss with a goal of having to go to the gym one less day a week and taking my calories from 1800+ to 1500-1600 a day.

I know it’s weird but losing the first half of weight is way easier than losing the second half. So I anticipated a much longer time frame for the rest of my weight loss, my body always hit a weight and stayed there for a while (which frustrated me) but I wanted the loss to stick this time, so there was no quick diets or shortcuts anymore. My first Sunday was a trip to the grocery store and I was not really a whole foods girl as much as I was a C-town girl. Im going to tell you guys what I once ate and what I used to replace those foods instead. You can find any of these things at ANY supermarket, although at first it was difficult for me to do so in my Lower East Side of Manhattan hood.

  1. Sugar –> Stevia
  2. Any Seasoning –> Mrs. Dash Seasoning
  3. Cheese –> Avocados
  4. Cows Milk –> Almond Milk
  5. White Bread –> Flax Seed Roll Ups 
  6. Mayonnaise –> Hummus
  7. Dipping Sauces –> Hummus
  8. Granola –> Raw Almonds & Dried Cranberries
  9. Granola –> Fiber One Cereal
  10. ketchup –> Hot Sauce
  11. Cereal –> Oatmeal
  12. Creamy Dressing –> Balsamic Dressing
  13. Chicken –> Chicken Breast
  14. Turkey –> Lean Ground Turkey Meat
  15. Fish –> Salmon 
  16. Flour –> flax seed meal 
  17. Whole Eggs –> Egg Whites 
  18. Yogurt –> Chia Seeds + Almond Milk 
  19. Candies –> Fruits 
  20. White Potatoes –> Sweet Potatoes

Any time I ate, I made sure to add a cup of one green vegetable to my meal and seasoned it with Mrs. Dash. Instead of using breads, I started to figure out how to get full from the lack of carbs. I really wanted to learn what foods kept you fuller and whether this list was true to what I had researched it to be.

My ultimate goal at the end of this was to be 155lbs, but I was dying for my stomach to get flatter. I had three stretch marks already near my belly button from the first chunk of my weight loss and I needed more success scars lol. I wanted to push to see if I could get abs, if My breasts could go from a D cup to a C cup and most of all if I could have a nice good sized firm ass (I came from a flatly). I think every woman (regardless of what we say) wants the Coke bottle shape, wants to be able to wear crop tops and get the “wow she’s in shape” stares, and wants to go into a fitting room to try too many things on only to come out of that same fitting room with everything fitting too well as the problem, rather than nothing fitting right at all. I was determined to be better than who I had been my whole life, so I was dedicated to making #60daysofsexy my bible for the next sixty days. All I needed was a new and improved meal plan using all the replacement kitchen foods I purchased. It was time to look up recipes and figure out how to make basic foods fun, for that I followed Kevin Curry also known as @Fitmencook.