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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

In early January, one of my best guy friends and I were chatting about my weight loss progress. He texted me afterward and said, "You seem much happier when you are fit. Yet, things get in the way, and you get comfy and resort to things that take you away from happiness. Try and remind yourself that this is a way of life. You always go back to working out and eating right to find happiness. So don't stop. Make it a priority. Always. It's healthier for your brain and body."

I love him for being so honest with me. He has always told me like it is even if the truth hurts my feelings. This time was no different. He didn't hurt my feelings though because he is 100% correct. He has seen me at my best, my worst, and everything in between. He is the one who taught me how to spend time with myself to get to know who I really am as a person.

Essentially, he was responsible for how I defined myself nearly four years ago. Back then, I was spending at least four days a week in the gym, was eating a clean diet, and I was happy.

And then...I fell into a relationship with my soon-to-be-ex and I got "comfy". I stopped going to the gym and I stopped following my diet. I was in "relationship mode" with someone who wasn't on the same health and fitness page I was.

The first mistake I made was thinking I could stray from working out and be OK. The second mistake I made was thinking I could stray from my diet and be OK. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand.

Granted, I couldn't exercise after I got sick in February 2015 until my doctors cleared me 7 months later, but I could have certainly been eating properly.

Instead, I wasn't holding myself accountable and I allowed myself to use my relationship and my health as an excuse to go rogue and it took me away from my happiness.

Working out has become my number one priority. I have said it time and time again, and I'll continue saying it...the gym is my happy place. It has become a place of solitude for me. I do my best thinking and sometimes my worst overthinking there but I know I can always count on feeling on top of the world when I walk out after a good workout.

Eating according to my goals is priority number two. A good workout does nothing for me if I am fueling my body with crap. For the most part, I eat fairly clean. I allow myself indulgences when I know I am going to burn it off in the gym the same day.

After I received that message from my friend, I realized that in order to maintain my weight loss once I have reached my goal, I had to make sure that I have a plan in place that is sustainable and that includes making sure the people in my life are supportive of my eating habits and fitness goals.

Being healthy is a way of life for me and I will not give that up again.

Can't stop. Won't stop. For anyone!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Patience, Persistence, and Accountability

I returned home from my business trip to California last Friday and I was a hot mess. I cried the entire three-hour plane ride home and I cried all the way home from the airport. I just wanted to get home so I could change my clothes and get to the gym.

The woes of life on the road can be tough when trying to eat healthy. Not gonna lie...The first night I was in California, one of my best girlfriends had a Mardi Gras party and that was centered around a ton of Cajun food (I am also still wondering how I, the Canadian, was put in charge of frying up the Boudin Balls) and a lot of alcohol was served (I only had 4 shots of Patron, 3 shots of Fireball, and three Jell-O shots...I promise I will never drink like that again...ugh).

Over the course of the week, I ate at Red Robin twice (clucks and onion rings), ate at my favorite steakhouse twice (salad, nachos, ribeye, green beans, and one night...skillet apple pie with the most delicious butter bourbon sauce...GASP!, and I ate at my favorite hole in the wall Mexican joint because they have the best carne asada quesadillas on earth. Now, I can't eat much in one sitting but's safe to say, I indulged at least once a day.

I did have my favorite protein shake at least twice a day at snack time, I had oatmeal for breakfast, and I worked out four of the six nights I was there.

As soon as I got home, I changed my clothes, fed my animals, and made my way to the gym (aka, my happy place).

The next morning, after my morning workout, I stepped on the scale to see if I had done any damage to the number while in California. Even after indulging in my favorite restaurants, I was shocked to see I had lost FIVE pounds.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I needed a break from work so I took this week off to focus on myself, my mind, and to make peace in my heart.

The only time I checked my work email or thought about work was to simply delete the junk mail.

OK, I lied. I had to shoot a video Monday morning and I may have replied to a few quick questions from my Inbox BUT I did not read or do anything that required me to put much effort into thinking about work.

I spent my days going to the gym, shopping (groceries for the most part), writing, taking long hot baths, and listening to music versus plopping down on the couch and watching television.

I've been doing two-a-days at the gym all week. Each day, by the end of my second workout, I rowed 26,000 meters (today, I only did 25,000...slacker) and climbed between 300-400 flights of stairs.

These two-a-days have been paying off because I have lost another five pounds since Monday.

That is a total of 10 pounds in two weeks and a grand total of 45 pounds since October.

Every morning, at the same time, I weigh in to check my progress. In case you are wondering, I do not get frustrated with myself (or my scale for that matter) if the number is the same as it was the day before, or even the day before that. I know I am putting in the effort. If it stays the same for more than two weeks, then I look at my diet and workout regimen and adjust accordingly.

Because of my success, I get approached several times a week at the gym by various members telling me how inspiring and motivating I am to them and then they proceed to ask questions. Of which I am both humbled and honored.

Usually, the first question is...How do you do it?

After joking that it is "one bloody step at a time on the darn StairMaster", my response is always, patience, persistence, and accountability.

You HAVE to call bullshit on yourself and hold yourself accountable for what you eat and the persistence you put into your workouts. You can't expect a great loss if you don't put in a great effort.

You also have to be patient. If you are trying to lose the 50 pounds you gained over a will not come off overnight. It takes four weeks for you to see a difference in your own body, eight weeks for your friends, and twelve weeks for everyone else. It takes time people. I know most people are searching for that instant gratification and you want the validation from others. It is going to take at least THREE months before they will notice.

Have patience, hold yourself accountable, and be persistent. That's the key to success.

The second question I usually get asked is...Do you eat? (not, "What do you eat?", but "DO YOU EAT??)

Ummm...helllloooo...I freakin' LOVE food. Yes, I eat. I just follow a strict diet when I am at home. I don't eat out often when I am not traveling because I like to know what I am putting in my body.

Examples of what I eat are:

I always start my morning with a protein shake that has no less than 50 grams of protein (my new favorite protein is ProtiZyme by Metabolic) and for whatever reason I also eat a spoonful of fresh ground, all natural peanut butter. Then I choose one of the following:
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with a little milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I usually eat 3/4 cup to 1 cup.
  • Two eggs (scrambled) or egg beaters with a little bit of shredded cheese.
  • Hard boiled egg.
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (my favorite is Fage) with a tablespoon of honey or agave.
  • Shredded chicken with a little shredded cheese (heated until warm and gooey) with a tablespoon of sour cream and a tablespoon or two of Pico de Gallo or a good chucky salsa.
  • Grilled chicken breast (spiced) with a spring mix salad (light on the dressing). I love to change up the flavor of my chicken with different spices (Fajita, Spicy Aloha, Greek, Garlic & Peppercorn, etc.).
  • Spaghetti sauce with ground beef (hold the pasta for the most part)
  • Grilled salmon (my FAV) with smoked basmati rice
  • Grilled beef and veggie skewers with Chimichurri
  • Grilled skirt steak over a bed of spring mix
  • Grilled jumbo shrimp
 Note: I love to grill. No oils, great flavor, and it doesn't heat up the house during the summer.
I eat snacks twice a day (two hours after breakfast and two hours after lunch) and it's usually always one of the following:
  • Protein shake (no less than 50 grams of protein)
  • Mini Babybel Light cheese
  • Orange
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Quest Protein Bar (my Fav is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough)
I eat pretty clean and don't eat a lot of carbs during the day. I try to eat most of them in the morning. Everyone is different, this is just works for me.

NOTE: Complex carbs are the delivery vehicle for protein so don't skip out on them.

Other Notes

I was eating WAY too much fruit and had to cut that down. Natural or not, there is so much sugar in fruit.

I also drink TONS of water. At a minimum you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces, every day (if you are working out or working in the heat, you need to add at least 16 more ounces to that).

My daily protein intake is 1 gram of protein per pound of my target weight.

Do I eat junk food? Occasionally. I LOVE popcorn and I LOVE hot chocolate. I am a sucker for both. If you ever need to apologize to me for anything, bring hot chocolate or popcorn and I'll instantly forgive you.

The third most popular question asked can you row for so long? HA! I row for at least an hour a day. Lately, it's been one hour and five minutes. This week it was that times two since I have been doing two-a-days.

I cannot explain how I can row for so long but I will tell you that it took me a few weeks to build up my endurance. I just put on some good music and get into a zone. The first and last 2,000 meters are always the longest.

Again, I had to have patience with myself and my body to get to where I am at today.

I cannot wait to see where I am at six months from now.

I got this!

P.S. - I have said this before and I'll keep saying it until the end of time but I absolutely LOVE my Anytime Fitness gym. The members are so welcoming and awesome. Each and every day is the same as the first for me. I am magnetically drawn in through the doors and I leave so much happier.

Tonight, I was caught on camera rowing again.

Dawn Wagner (aka "The Row Master") putting a session in with Kanda Sanders. Awesome job ladies - you rock!!!
Posted by Anytime Fitness - Katy, TX on Thursday, February 18, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Problem with Being Superwoman

Despite having Superwoman powers, I am human and can only take so much pressure.

My inner motivational speaker is trying to tell me to “suck it up bitch” but I have reached the point where even as I type this, I have crocodile tears rolling down my cheeks. And, I am currently in flight…with a stranger sitting beside me who is probably wondering how the heck he ended up sitting next to the crazy lady on the plane. Poor guy.

Lately, I have been extremely overwhelmed with various emotions.




Life in general.

All of the above are weighing heavy on my mind right now.

I have no doubt that I was created to inspire and motivate others and I will continue to figure out what I am supposed to do with my “purpose”.

I have been waiting for a “Captain Obvious” sign but I haven’t seen it yet.

I am not a patient person. I am learning though. I am learning to let things happen as they are supposed to and not force them.

That has been a hard lesson to learn in my weight loss journey. To be patient.

When people start a new diet or plan to get fit, they expect instant results.

We didn’t gain our weight overnight so we cannot expect it to come off overnight.

Patience is the key to weight loss success.

That and holding yourself accountable.

Yes, I can workout 1.5 hours a day. Climb 200 flights of stairs. Row 20,000 meters.

But none of that matters if I go home and down a bag of chips or consume handfuls of chocolate chips.

My inner motivational speaker screamed, “CUT THE SHIT, DAWN”.

When I started back at the gym four months ago, I had to stop lying to myself about my eating habits.

I started holding myself accountable.

Patience and accountability is what has helped me lose 39 pounds over the past four months.

I have to use this same way of thinking about all of the emotions I have been bottling up. I know I didn’t bottle all of them up at once and even though I may be able to pour them all out at the same time, I still have to clean up the mess.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a very strong woman.

I am determined.

I am persistent.

I push though and persevere.

If I want something, I’m not afraid to go after it.

I am not afraid to speak up or offer my opinion.

I don't let anyone stand in my way.

I am the girl who, despite wanting to fall down on the ground kicking and screaming, will look you dead in the eye and with a smile on my face will tell you that everything is good.

Once upon a time, someone called me selfish. I think I am the least selfish person I know.

I am the girl who is there for everyone when no one else is.

I am the girl who will answer the phone at 2:43 in the morning when a friend needs to talk. Or needs a ride. Or just needs someone to listen.

I am the girl who holds people together when they are falling apart.

I am Superwoman.

Cook, bake, fix something, build something, put a bandaid on it, you name it…I’m there for everyone.

The problem I face by being this strong, independent woman is I don’t have anyone who can hold me together when I am the one falling apart.

Not because I don’t have friends or family that care because I have many.

I just don’t like to bother people with my issues.

I would rather push my own problems aside and help others with theirs.

Even though I wear my heart on my sleeve, I don’t want others to see that I have a weak side.

All I know is right now, I feel like I am falling apart.

I am not depressed.

I do not need counseling.

I wake up every day and I choose to be happy. Because, I believe that it IS a choice.

I just need a break.

I need to refocus my energy.

Starting the moment I land, I am officially on vacation. I am taking one of the six weeks of vacation I have stockpiled and I am going to focus on ME.

I will hang up my Superwoman cape for a few days.

I will go to the gym twice a day to burn off excess emotions (and let me tell you…a good workout is one of THE best ways to lift your spirits and kill whatever negative energy you may have flowing through your bloodstream).

I will NOT feel sorry for myself BUT I will allow myself to cry if the tears start to flow.

I will work on my book.

I will focus on my goals.

I will focus on being patient.

I will continue to hold myself accountable.

Life’s kryptonite has temporarily weakened my powers but I have no doubt that after this week is over, I will be back stronger than ever before and my cape will have new colors.

I got this.

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