Personal Health Intiative Training

Archive for May, 2011

I love it!!

You know how Oprah always talks about the “aha moment?” Well, I had my “aha moment” today. This morning when I woke up, I realized that I have totally changed my lifestyle. Yes, over the last four or five months, I have worked diligently to lose weight, get in shape, and get healthy. But for some reason this morning it just clicked. I have made health and fitness an integral part of my life and I love it! I love going online and looking up clean recipes for classic foods. I love to sweat it out at the gym. I love to research information related to nutrition and different workout routines. I love to read stories of other women who have made positive changes in their life and I get excited when I see a woman working towards her fitness goals.

I woke up at 5:00 on a Saturday morning (YES I DID) in order to do my weight routine before Zumba class. We had Zumba class at the park at 8:30 this morning and it was so much fun!! Just indulging in the practice of working out my body and being around other people with so much energy, outside (sand gnats and all!) just made my day. I could be sleeping in like everybody else but I don’t want to, that is the crazy thing. I just love it!! Working out and eating right are high on my priority list, and I no longer let what other people think, influence my decisions.

Everything I do is worked around my workout time. Tomorrow I am going to get up extra early to workout so I can spend some time with my boyfriend. I just have to get it in or I just don’t feel like myself. I plan my meals in advance and leave a little wiggle room for a “just in case” going out meal. Before I go to restaurants, I reasearch the menus to find out what healthy items they have and add them into my daily food log and I don’t mind not one bit. I love my body and I love my commitment to this lifestyle. IT ROCKS!!

I encourage all of you to do the same. It takes 21 days to create a habit, so why don’t you try to live a clean lifestyle for 21 days? Exercise 5-6 days a week, log everything that you eat, eat 5-6 small meals everyday and have a treat meal only ONCE per week or every two weeks, and read at least one fitness magazine during that time from cover to cover. After the 21 days are up…see how you feel. If you then stop after that, evaluate how you feel…I can guarantee you will miss it!! Don’t knock what you haven’t tried. Any behavior can be changed…and I mean ANY!!! We always have a choice!

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”-Plato

Today’s workout

Today’s morning workout. This evening I go to Zumba class to get in some extra cardio! FUN! 🙂

May 23, 2011

The kick your a@#! Workout

(Courtesy of Jillian Michaels, Making the Cut 30 day workout plan).  This is only ONE day. It is a challenging plan but boy do you get results!!

5 circuits each done twice for a total of 10 circuits. Rest is only 30 seconds in between each circuit. Follow with a few minutes of steady state cardio for extra calorie burn.

Circuit 1

  • Wide-grip lat pull-downs(Drop-set, perform one at max weight, drop 1/3 of the weight and perform 6-8 more reps)
  • Underhand grip pull downs (15 reps, then hold at mid-point position till muscle failure)
  • Hamstring curls (15 reps)
  • 60 second treadmill run 6 mph at 12 incline

Circuit 2

  • Terry pulls(Pyramid up with weight for 20, 12, 6-8 reps)
  • Back Kicks with shoulder press (10 reps each leg)
  • Jumping Lunges (20 total)
  • 60 second treadmill run 6 mph at 12 incline

Circuit 3

  • Seated Row(One rep at max weight, drop 1/3 of the weight, then do 6-8 more reps)
  • Step-ups (40 reps)
  • Butt Kicks (60 seconds)

Circuit 4

  • Incline Bicep Curls (10 each arm)
  • Standing Hamstring Curls (10 reps each leg)
  • Plank Pulls (Stability Ball 25 reps)
  • Butt Kicks (60 seconds)

Circuit 5

  • Supermans (hold mid-point position for 20 seconds)
  • Bicycle (25 reps)
  • Plank (hold for 60 seconds)

Keeping it off!

Keeping the weight off!

I have committed myself to a healthy lifestyle that will allow me to keep my weight in the range where I want it. However, I do know that it will take some work and how easy it is to fall back into my old patterns. I have been doing some research on “weight maintenance,” because I refuse to be another statistic and that person who lost it just to gain it all right back again. I found a great article online that discusses the journey of weight maintenance. The authors mention “The National Weight Control Registry” and give valuable tips on how to avoid becoming another yo-yo dieter. Here is some of the information they noted. (

Long-term strategies from successful losers

Take a look at some major weight loss maintenance strategies used by people who are enrolled in The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). The National Weight Control Registry began in 1993, and it is a database of thousands of people who have successfully maintained weight loss. It is the largest database of its kind. With so many weight loss methods available, and so few who keep the weight off, you should study the strategies used in these success stories. To enroll in the NWCR, you must have lost at least 30 lbs. and have maintained that loss for at least one year. Of note, however, is that the actual numbers for the participants are far better. Their average weight loss is actually about 66 pounds, and most participants have maintained the loss for more than five-and-a-half years! In addition, the great majority of the subjects experienced many prior repeated failures at dieting. In fact, the average participant had previously lost and regained an average of 270 pounds during repeated attempts at dieting before discovering the real strategies that permanent weight loss entails! These people obviously have some good ideas to share about what finally helped them to become masters at weight control. To date, the researchers have learned a few things: A great majority of the participants reported that a trigger led to their final decision to take off the weight once and for all. Many reported the onset of a medical or emotional problem as the trigger. Others reported seeing themselves in the mirror or in a photograph as the trigger. Compared to previous weight loss attempts, the following list contains what works for them now:

• 82% are more committed to making behavioral changes

 • 81% exercise more

• 63% use different dietary approaches

• 89% changed both their eating and physical activity

• Approximately 55% of the participants used a formal weight loss program to lose their weight, and about 45% did it on their own.

 • Most report that their average fat intake was at or below the recommended 30% of calories daily.

 • Most participants eat regular meals, including occasional meals at restaurants. On average, they eat five times a day and most meals are prepared and eaten at home.

• They exercise regularly, moderate to high-intensity. On average, the calories they expend exercising each week equate to walking 28 miles. Most burn more than 2,000 calories a week through exercise!

• Almost half were overweight before age 11, and another 25 percent were overweight before age 18. (This debunks the old myth that it’s impossible to lose weight if you’ve been overweight since childhood or if you have “heavy” genes).

• More than 70 percent of the people have at least one overweight parent. These people have genes that pre-dispose them to being overweight, but they still succeeded in losing weight.

 • Very few used Popular Diets, and only four percent used weight loss medication.

 • 42% say it’s easier to maintain weight than to lose it.

 • 95% say that the overall quality of their lives has improved, and 92% report that their energy level has also improved.

Registry participants offer these weight loss/weight maintenance tips:

• Learn to eat in a way that you can live with for the rest of your life.

• If you watch what you eat 90% of the time, the other 10% is not a problem.

 • Take it slow if you don’t want the pounds to return again.

• Decide on what you need, and do only what works for you.

• Continue to set small goals to work towards your big goal.

• Find support from a friend, a group, or even create your own group. • Know what your food triggers are and what your alternative non-eating options are when you get cravings.

• Make exercise a priority and a scheduled appointment, not an option.

• Be sure the exercise you choose is something you enjoy.

The take home message is that most of these people have been highly creative and persistent about finding and applying what works for them. You must learn constantly about what works for you and develop your own personal tricks. The key to successful weight maintenance is putting these ideas into action.

And then some…!

Well, I finally did it! I have officially reached my weight goal. When I got on the scale this morning I really did not expect to see the numbers that showed up on the screen. Not only did I reach my goal, I surpassed the number I was shooting for by 4 lbs! Wow, I never thought it would happen like that. I have worked EXTREMELY hard to get to where I am now. It has been difficult. I will not lie to you and say that it was easy and I never got down on myself. I went through many emotions from January up to this point. There were weeks when I binged on cookies and cake and felt guilty afterwards. There were days when I did not workout knowing full well that I should have. There were days when someone would make a negative comment and I actually took it in as if it were true and doubted myself. I realized that anytime something negative happened, I would go eat, get depressed and get close to almost giving up. There were weeks when I did not lose weight and there were weeks when I gained weight. There were days when I told myself I hated working out, I hated my body, or I was not good enough. There were days when I questioned all that I had set out to do. But you know what?…I thank God for those days. The down days were exactly what I needed to get over myself and out of my rut. The rough times made me stronger and now that I have EXCEEDED my goal, I realize that if it were not for the tough days, I would not appreciate all that I have accomplished.

After I was down and out from not completing my goal of running a marathon, I almost gave up on living a fit lifestyle. I wanted that 26.2 sticker on my car but my body would just not allow me to do it! I finally went to therapy and have done everything the doctor told me to do. I am stronger and know for sure that I am in the best shape of my life now. One day I will get that 26.2 sticker on my car but my focus has changed so much. I incorporate healthy eating with a well-rounded approach to fitness and I have fun by changing up my routine on the regular. I understand that variety is what will keep me in this thing for the long-term. My mental state has caught up with my physical state which was the connection that was lost for all of those years.

If I can get to this point in my life, anyone can. I have never been a confident person. As a child, I was very shy and sheltered. I never had the courage to step out of my comfort zone and live out my full potential. My concerns were centered on what everyone else wanted for me. “What will they think…,” I don’t know, I guess I am just tired of always being on the brink of success but never really giving it my all. Well, this is what happens when you go all out! You actually get what you want! Who would have guessed it! LoL!

So now what? Now that I have surpassed my goal, I have already set a few more in my mind though I have not written them down yet. It is important to keep setting goals for yourself so you can stay on track. I’m not going to lie…I still have a little concern about maintaining my current state but as soon as I finish this post, I am on to researching and reading about how to maintain my fitness level. Now is not the time to slack off. One more thing…for those of you who told me not to lose anymore weight…BOOYAH in your face!! LoL! (Sorry I couldn’t resist). LOL!! All of you out there who have a goal, you better go for it! Get up and go get what YOU want…not what anyone else wants for you.

“When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible.” – Nido Qubein

“Big goals get big results. No goals get no results or somebody else’s results.”         -Mark Hansen 

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” – Denis Waitley

Not a cheat meal cheesecake!

If you love the taste of your protein powder and cheesecake, I have good news for you! I found a recipe for a clean version of cheesecake! You can make it with or without a pie crust but I used one (reduced fat) because the amount I am eating is not much to be concerned about. Follow the steps below for a mouth-watering, guilty free dessert:

You will need

2 scoops of whey protein powder (I used chocolate flavor)

2 cups of low-fat cottage cheese (I used Friendship no salt added, low-fat cottage cheese)

1 cup of fat-free milk

2 envelopes of non flavored gelatin

1. Boil the milk in the microwave

2. Dissolve gelatin in the milk

3. Combine cottage cheese, whey, and an alternative sweetener to the milk

4. Blend till creamy and then pour into a pie crust or ramekins if you are not using a crust

5. Chill for one hour and enjoy!

I cut my pie into 8 pieces to help me eat an appropriate serving size. Any remaining pie, I put in the freezer and will munch on throughout the coming weeks. Maybe, one or two slices per weekend.

Built for the road ahead

Now is the time for you to decide which road you will take. You have reached the fork and are asking yourself, “Do I take the road less traveled or the one that is worn by the footprints of everyone else?” The road less traveled will have many unknown stops along the way, many hills for you to climb, and some of these hills will seem to never end. You will reach a few plateaus and these are the times you will want to give up.

You will take a few steps back and must decide to either keep going forward or fall back to the beginning. Many thoughts will cross through your mind, “Why am I doing this?” “This is too hard,” “I am all alone,” “I want to give up.” Don’t worry; if you stay on the road less traveled you will eventually come to the end which is your final goal. There is no set time for this journey and no guarantee that it will be easy. To prepare for the road ahead you must carry with you a very strong will, persistence, patience, attitude, and faith.

You might be the only person traveling on the road and wonder where everyone is at. Don’t focus on everyone else, it will only distract you. Keep your eyes on the prize and fight for your dreams. Until you decide to take the road less traveled, you will always be stuck, spinning your wheels going nowhere fast. Do not limit yourself by what you think you can’t do. Believe that you can do anything you set your mind to.

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”-Bruce Lee

A bandwagon that is OK to jump on!

Listen up ladies! Normally, I don’t advocate following every trend that comes out, but there is one trend we are seeing more of now that I want you to follow! Weight loss is the new trend for black women and we are seeing many of our beautiful stars following suit. Once you reach a healthy weight, you will have a big boost in confidence, energy, and less risk for cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and a host of other diseases. These women are perfect examples to follow! Forget what the crowd says, thick is not cute!

Jennifer Hudson was successful with the weight watchers program. Her voice is better than ever!

Raven Symone has been a star since she was 4 years old. We watched her grow up and now she is a sophisticated woman.

Jill Scott is a talented singer and actress and is now more health conscious than ever!

Carbs are not the enemy

Carbs are not the enemy! When most of us hear the word “carbs” we cringe and think about bread, pasta, and rice. However, vegetables and fruits are carbs that are good for you to eat at every meal. Check out this video that explains the best time to eat starchy carbs like potatoes and bread and some other tips that might help you control your heavy carb intake. If you are eating bread at every meal you might want to reevaluate your meal plans. You don’t have to eliminate bread, pasta, and rice, just be smart about the way you eat these starches.


(From Fitness Magazine)

Stay satisfied and on track to lose weight with these healthy, energizing snacks. Each is just 150 calories or less.

Best Morning Booster: Mocha Yogurt Parfait

Mix 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee with 6 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt until coffee is dissolved. Spoon half the mixture into a bowl and add 1/3 cup sliced strawberries. Top with remaining yogurt, and garnish with 1 tablespoon low-fat granola. (150 calories)

Why we love it:

  • Granola provides a healthy dose of glucose (aka fuel) to help jump-start your morning.
  • Calcium-rich foods increase fat loss. One study found that people who ate yogurt three times a day lost up to 22 percent more weight than those who ate none.

Best Stress Buster: Hummus and Red Pepper Bites

Spread 2 tablespoons hummus evenly over 5 whole-grain crackers. Top with 2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper and a pinch of dried oregano. (150 calories)

Why we love it:

  • Red bell peppers contain vitamin C, which has been shown to help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • It’s best to steer clear of coffee and soda if you’re having a hectic day. Caffeine triggers your body to pump out adrenaline, which can make you feel jittery and agitated.

Best Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Superfood Trail Mix

Combine 1 tablespoon each dried cherries, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, and roasted soy nuts with 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips in a ziplock bag; mix. (150 calories)

Why we love it:

  • For steady, long-lasting energy, choose snacks with a mix of protein and fiber. String cheese and grapes is another smart combo, as is low-fat cottage cheese topped with fruit.
  • Soy nuts have more protein and fewer calories (just 126 calories an ounce) than most tree nuts.

Best Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Superfood Trail Mix

Combine 1 tablespoon each dried cherries, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, and roasted soy nuts with 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips in a ziplock bag; mix. (150 calories)

Why we love it:

  • For steady, long-lasting energy, choose snacks with a mix of protein and fiber. String cheese and grapes is another smart combo, as is low-fat cottage cheese topped with fruit.
  • Soy nuts have more protein and fewer calories (just 126 calories an ounce) than most tree nuts.

Best Post-Workout Refuel: Blueberry-Pineapple Protein Shake

Combine 1 cup low-fat milk, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, and 1/4 cup frozen pineapple in a blender; puree until smooth. (140 calories)

Why we love it:

  • The protein and carbs in milk help repair muscles and replenish cells’ energy stores after a workout. Eat dairy within 45 minutes of exercising, when the recovery process is at its peak.
  • Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory compound, which may reduce post-workout pain.

Best Nighttime Snack: Pear and Almond Butter English Muffin

Top 1/2 toasted whole-grain English muffin with 2 teaspoons almond butter and slices of 1/4 pear. Sprinkle with a pinch of ground cinnamon. (150 calories)

Why we love it:

  • The carbs in English muffins may help you get to sleep more quickly, according to recent research. This may be because they help boost levels of the sleep-inducing hormone serotonin.
  • Avoid fatty and spicy snacks at night; they may upset your sleep cycle.

The simple things

Every now and then you have to take a minute to stop and enjoy the little things in life. I gave myself permission today to take a break. I train very hard everyday but today I listened to my body and rested. Our bodies have their own way of letting us know when to chill out. Rest is just as important as exercise. If we don’t listen, our bodies will shut down before they let us die. I was honestly tired and decided to sleep in as long as I could today. Of course my cat woke me up like he always does when he is hungry or wants to go outside. I got up and fed him and then went back to sleep. It felt soooo good! Tomorrow I will be right back on it even harder and stronger!

Today is a rainy day. Rainy days are always perfect for sleeping in and curling up with a good book. I already slept in so I plan to get into a new book I am reading later on and boy I can’t wait! I went to the grocery store and while I was there I started evaluating the past couple of weeks. I noticed that I have been eating too many processed foods…protein bars, crackers (although they were organic, healthy crackers) etc…I decided to fill my cart with nothing but fruits, vegetables, meats, and whole grain bread. I always keep track of what I eat and have been doing good at staying in my calorie range and carb, fat and protein percentages, but I refuse to fall into the typical “diet’ pattern of eating “diet” processed foods.

On this rainy day, I am making the decision to go back to the basic, simple way of eating for at least this coming week. No artificial sweeteners in my tea, no pre-workout protein bars, or energy drinks, no fancy chewing gum or candy (look at your chewing gum labels that are sugar-free, if they say Aspartame is one of the ingredients, throw them away! A good alternative is Trident cinnamon sugar-free gum because it is flavored with Xylitol…a natural non-harmful sweetener. Trident does make other gum that has Aspartame so make sure you are chewing the cinnamon flavor). I will call this my “fast” from the chemically altered food. My goal for this coming week is to eat all REAL food. My body could use the detox. If you find yourself slipping into the chemically processed trap, take a step back and re-evaluate your eating habits. Your body will appreciate it!

On a side note, while I was in the grocery store, I saw the cover of Ebony magazine, the music edition, and I did not recognize the person on the front. It was Jill Scott and she looks lovely! I always thought she was a pretty woman but she is even more lovely now that she has slimmed down. Kudos to her for taking care of her health!! Another great example for black women out there. You see more and more people are realizing how extra weight contributes to disease and it is NOT okay to be overweight! You go girl!

Let me add one more thing. Just because you are skinny does not mean you are healthy. Ever heard of the term, “skinny fat?” Plenty of skinny people have health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. You have to eat right to be healthy. A skinny person can have a higher percentage of fat on their bodies which makes them unhealthy. A person that is larger can be healthy if they have more lean muscle. I just wanted to point that out for those of you who think I only focus on weight and looks. It’s not about that. It’s about health!

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