The Journey or the Destination?

In an effort to be completely transparent, I need to be honest with both you all and with myself. This weight loss journey is both easy and hard at the same d*mn time, and I know that may not make sense to many.
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Losing weight is so mental and people don’t realize the commitment they need to make with themselves before they even commit to a gym, to a goal or a new diet. Commitment is the hard part, my friends, committing to a change, challenging your relationship with food, being happy with your body in its current state and pushing through even when you don’t think you see results.

My story? I’ve struggled with my weight ever since a young child and these bad habits that I had created over the years only worsened while in college. I would eat chicken fingers, French fries, potato chips, juice/soda and my “veggies” consisted of the piece of lettuce and tomato on my turkey burger. I was very uncomfortable in my body and unhappy looking at myself in the mirror which prompted me to incorporate workouts and healthier eating habits gradually. My largest weight: 220lbs.

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TIP: Creating a support network in the form of friends who had a similar goal and mindset to dedicate themselves to a healthier life made the journey more comfortable. 

While in college I was able to slowly drop a bit of weight and build up endurance while in the gym. I had a trainer who helped me to develop a routine in the gym to maximize the time I spent there doing exercises that would produce the results I wanted.

Great IG pages for different exercises: @6packexercises, @sarahbowmar, @anowaadjah, @workoutroutine, @fancy85fit_ & @squatguide

It wasn’t until I moved to Boston in 2014 where I developed a better relationship with my diet and changed the way I looked at food and looked at what I ate. This was the most pivotal moment in my lifestyle change. Once I started to eat the right foods, I started to notice changes in my body and BOOM, 50lbs gone in less than a year, for a total of 80lbs down. Lowest Weight: 139lbs

 

TIP: Your relationship with your diet is the most critical aspect of weight loss. It’s easy to take shortcuts, but shortcuts don’t last. Think about the reason why we eat, to provide nourishment and energy for our bodies. This reasoning alone should prompt you to eliminate foods from your everyday diet that merely offer ZERO nourishment such as donuts or potato chips. Moderation is fine but let’s look to fuel our bodies.

What does that look like? More whole foods, less processed junk.

IG pages like @shedfatkitchen, @fithealthyrecipes, @how2mealrpep, @cleanfoodcrush & @workweeklunch have fantastic recipes to keep your meals flavorful, exciting yet healthy

After achieving the most significant accomplishment of my life, reaching my “destination” and dropping to a comfortable 145lbs I was in love with my body and had this burning passion for maintaining the new physique. However, like everything in life, there are ups and downs and my down, left the scale 15lbs heavier. Getting knocked off of your “high horse” and facing the facts of life made me realize that this is, in fact, a “healthy lifestyle” journey and that we all are allowed a reset button. That “reset” button is a lot easier for me to access because of the good habits developed along the way, now it’s just to refocus and reprioritize my time.

So often we only see the “WINS” or the ending result of a weight loss journey but my goal is to show the real, and sometimes the real comes with setbacks…for better comebacks.

How Do We Come Back?

  1. Create habits. We are creatures of habit, and it is important we establish a routine so that we begin to feel uncomfortable when we break that routine. Make it a goal to hit the gym at least 4x a week for 45min-1hr.
  2. Make it Fun. Switch up your workouts, go to a class, try new machines, just don’t allow yourself to get bored, or you’ll become disengaged. Sign up for local yoga or Zumba classes. If your wallet allows, get a personal trainer to help you design a program that’s just for you. Workout with a friend!
    To achieve the weight loss initially, I would do 45-60 minutes of cardio (alternating between the treadmill, bike, stair stepper & elliptical) and 30 min of weight lifting (alternating between arm, leg & back day, incorporating abs every other day). I would also do classes from time to time (yoga/Zumba).
  3. You are what you eat. You can’t outwork a bad diet, eating chips, eating candy, cakes, soda, etc. will not give you the results you desire.
    The main proteins that I ate/eat are chicken (baked or grilled), salmon, tuna fish and turkey. I try to incorporate a veggie with every meal (kale in smoothies or an omelet, carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, spinach, etc.). Dark green vegetables are essential.
    Substitutions I make: Sugar=Honey, Milk=Almond Milk, White Bread=Whole Wheat/Multigrain, White Rice=Brown Rice or Quinoa, Pork/Beef=Turkey or Chicken, Soda=Seltzer Water, Sugar-Packed Granola Bars=Homemade oats rolled with peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips
  4. BE DISCIPLINED. Say no to friends if it’s not your cheat day or you need to hit the gym. Make your gym schedule a priority, build that time into your calendar. Don’t give up when results don’t come immediately, it took me 3-4 months to begin to see results and even now I still see that 200lb+ girl, I have to shake those thoughts and remain hungry for results.

 

I played myself when I hit my goal weight, I got too comfortable, but I’m hitting reset as I continue on my healthy lifestyle journey.  Have you ever had to reset your goals?

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Workout Playlist

Okay, so does anyone else get hype when their jam comes on mid run, like does that not give you a boost of energy out of nowhere!? For me, when I hear Lose Control by Missy Elliot ft. Ciara my work out turns up a notch or two.

A workout playlist is so important to really setting the mood and energy of your session, I mean, I truly believe that music soothes the soul. Typically, leaving the playlist to shuffle is how I like to let things play out for a slight element of surprise for what songs up next, but I have all high energy songs on my playlist, to keep myself mentally in game time mode. (Definitely weed out any slow paced songs that may slow down your tempo) For times when I’m doing HIIT training, or alternating the intensity of my workout  constantly, I like to set my playlist up so my music matches my pace, it honestly keeps me going.

A lot of people don’t know this, but music actually distracts you from pain, in a sense, that would not be threatening to your body but may slow down your workout, like they say, “no pain, no gain.” To put numbers behind it, these musical distractions can actual increase exertion by about 15%. It also helps to control your negative and positive emotions, based on the song.

The most obvious benefit of music while working out is, music makes you want to move. How often are we in the car or even walking down the street and we hear a beat we like, your body usually responds, it’d be no different in the gym.

Just as important as what you put into your body, be cognizant of what’s going on with your mind. Having the right playlist can bring about so many benefits to your weight loss journey by simply drowning out those, “I want to quit,” thoughts running through your mind while you’re physically running on the treadmill. You’ll be too preoccupied with the charismatic sounds of Drake over some insane beat.

What am I rocking out to during my workouts? Check out my playlist below for ideas on how to get your own playlist started:

Bodak Yellow – Cardi B (sohpistiratchet)

Both- Gucci Mane (ft. Drake)

Anything Beyonce

Finna Get Loose- Puff Daddy

Lose Control- Missy Elliot

Anything Waka Flocka Flame

The New Workout Plan- Kanye West

Party- Chris Brown, Gucci, Usher

Party Up (Up in Here)- DMX

(Almost) Anything Drake

Touch It- Busta Rhymes

Wipe Me Down- Lil Boosie

Anything Lil Wayne

Rolex- Ayo & Teo

Rake It Up -Nicki Minaj

What are you listening to?

 

 

 

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2013/mar/13/running-with-music-for-against

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/why-exercise-workout-music-playlist_n_4173931.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychology-workout-music/

The Battle of the Sports Bras

Finding a great looking sports bra that is also super supportive yet inexpensive may seem impossible. But don’t fret, I’ve decided to take one for the team and give a few different sports bras a spin to see which one works best.
I do want to preface this with, after 80 lbs down, my breast size has gone down tremendously, from a 40DD to a 34C, but this advice can translate to any breast size.
The first thing that I was concerned with was support! When I first started my weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey I would wear a regular bar and pair a flimsy sports bra on top of that and bam….that’s how I found my support.
After becoming more serious with my goals and investing in them, I started to look for a more practical solution, especially because I began to incorporate more running into my daily workout routine.
First step was to visit a few popular chain stores and see what they had to offer!
I outlined below what stores I went to, what bra style I chose, how much the bra was, a link to find the bra and what my findings were on a rating of 1-5. 1 being not good and 5 being AMAZING.
VICTORIA SPORT

Lightweight by Victoria Sport Bra

 

                Lightweight

The name says lightweight, but that’s not how it felt. It wasn’t this exact style because I caught my sports bra during the last semi-annual sale, but it is very similar. I do really enjoy this bra, the support is amazing and it is a very comfortable material. The regular price (non-semi annual) is a bit expensive for me, so this is definitely a splurge or a treat once you reach a milestone. Victoria Secret has a ton of really stylish bras, I am usually more simplistic opting for black or blue bras mainly, but I do intend to purchase another bra. I tried on the zipper front sports bra and it squeezed a bit (yes I had the correct size, one size up was too big) but I felt secured.

4/5 just because of price, but it is Vicky Secrets.

Go-Dry Racerback High Support Sports Bra for Women (Adjustable Closure)

 

                         Go Dry Racerback

Old Navy DID NOT Disappoint!!! Can we talk price, simple yet cute style and support!! I honestly went back and purchased about 5 more of these sports bras because I never had something hug me so tightly  yet let me breathe at the same time! Old Navy has practically everything on sale all of the time, so I highly suggest adding one of these bras to your workout attire.

5/5 for sure….heck 6/5

 

 

WOMEN’S TRAINING

CMMTTD X BRA

 

                         CMMTTD X BRA 

The Adidas bra wasn’t bad. I purchased it at an outlet store so I saved a ton of money off of retail, which was a plus. This bra would have been better for me if the top part of the elastic hadn’t popped off so soon, probably about 3 washes in. If paired with the wrong top I’m basically flashing all of Planet Fitness. Support was there…until band stretched out.

3/5

I did find a pair of running shoes from Adidas that I LOVE and are now my staple. The shoes were originally 65 but randomly went on sale when we got to the outlets and I paid 20! They’re currently on sale on the Adidas website.

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Get them Here: Cloudfoam

Sports Bra Medium support$24.99

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                          HM Medium Support

I honestly purchased this because it was on sale for $5, but I wouldn’t purchase again and honestly barely use it.  This bra gives the ultimate uni-boob which just doesn’t look nice and I feel more squeezed in than supported (again, I was wearing the correct size). The material also wasn’t good for when you are sweating a lot, which if you’re working out hard you’ll be sweating a lot.

1/5

After my sports bra testing I realized that there are a ton of sports bras out there and not all of them offer a ton of support. I gave you guys a condensed review of the bras and stores I tried out but the key takeaways are:

  1. High support are key. Look for bras that offer or state somewhere that they are high support.
  2. You do not have to spend an arm and a leg for quality and/or fashion
  3. Catch these stores on a good sale and rake it up (Nicki M. voice)
  4. Basically buy everything at Old Navy. I purchased a lightweight sports jacket from them, several yoga pants and cute ath-leisure tees that make up the bulk of my workout wardrobe.

#ProgressCheck

Weight Loss Chronicles

September 16, 2014 I took a peek into the forbidden vault…yes, you’re thinking right, the weight loss documentation vault locked away on my iPhone.

I knew either joy and inspiration would come or a feeling of defeat and angst. Which one did I experience? Yes you’re right again…DEVASTATION. Did I not make any progress? Had all my hard work been washed away with the gallons of wine I drank? Was the scale lying to me? Did I just want to see progress in the mirror?

As usual I took to the internet to find tips, tricks, advice, a friend, anything to help.  (See this happens at least once a month where I relapse and get depressed that all of the sacrifices I had been making had gone unnoticed to the scale and my thighs). But this time I found an article, “50 Ways to lose 10 Pounds”, so of course I read it, 10 pounds! I’d love to lose another 10 pounds. The article had sound advice and it got me to thinking, especially #15…START A BLOG, start a blog they say? When would I have the time? Where would I start? Who would even read the blog for goodness sake? ……

Well I did it, I’m doing it and you’re reading it! And I hope you continue to read. I have a passion for helping people and I find that this in turn helps me, I will try different recipes, different workouts, different products, whatever it is and will take advice….tune in and also be on the lookout for other projects!

Starting Weight 2012: 217 lbs.

Goal: 50 lbs down

Today’s Weight: 25lbs down (192-195) My weight always fluctuates 3lbs.
Btw if anyone is interested in checking out the article follow this link http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/50-ways-lose-10-pounds?s=16

Black Women, Their Hair and, The Gym

 

Image result for cartoon black women with natural hairYou might think that I am joking or even exaggerating but…..there are hundreds, probably even thousands, of black women who refuse to work out because of the negative impact it will have on their hair. Now, before you call these women crazy you have to understand the complex relationship women have with their hair, especially black women. Our hair comes in all shapes, sizes, textures, lengths etc. and all present their own challenges and their own beauty. We invest hours and hundreds of dollars on products, styles, pieces, etc. to achieve a certain look and it is quite concerning that this could all be for not. But I urge you, black women, like you do with most things….find a way to make it happen.

Black women are the most obese group in the U.S. and it is a problem! These stats are found on http://stateofobesity.org/disparities/ and obviously there are a few cultural things that need to be factored in such as diet, income…which affects diet, “thick trend” and so many other things, but let’s not make excuses and avoid finding or creating solutions.

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Personally, when first starting out on my weight loss journey, I would skip the gym after a fresh perm or press and curl for fear of “sweating it out”. These skipped gym dates led to zero weight loss, so as cute as my hair may have been….I was still overweight. My example may be extreme, but that’s pretty much my character/life…I went natural, “big chop”, and cut it all off. After my “big chop” and the decreased manipulation of my hair and need to maintain that, my relationship with the gym changed. I really started working out and working out hard without fear of sweating out my straightened hair. I wore braids, wigs and twists and more wigs which allowed my hair to be in a protective style pretty much for two years straight. While this isn’t an advertisement to persuade everyone to “go natural” this is a call for everyone to find out a way to make the gym and your hair coexist and to do it fast! I have friends who have perms who just “wrap their up” in scarves or pin curls and friends who just rock a pony tail who don’t let their hair situation keep them in the overweight/obese category. If you have to do more protective styling, braids or use different products, make it work. Just don’t allow something as silly, because quite frankly it is silly, as messing up your hair style allow you to have health issues or to remain unhealthy.

If you’re wondering how my relationship with my hair has been over these past two years while losing/maintaining my weight, you wouldn’t believe it. I’ve always had a lot of hair and it grows at a pretty fast rate, but I’ve seen tremendous growth, so much so that it’s a lot longer and healthier than pre-big chop. Despite seeing growth after a cut on the regular, the foods that I’ve been incorporating as a part of my healthy lifestyle change have aided in healthy hair. Isn’t it funny how life works? HA! But in all seriousness, the different foods I had added to my diet, such as Greek yogurt, helped to provide some of the nutrients my body needed and wanted and the results were strong, healthy hair. Your body needs so many nutrients and fats to properly function and so often we don’t get them, but when choosing a healthier life style and changing up your diet you slowly begin to incorporate those things. Such as avocados, fish, and more fruits and vegetables which provide natural sources of vitamin C and essential fatty acids which aid in healthy hair, growth and retention. (source: http://www.foodmatters.com/article/11-foods-and-natural-remedies-for-healthy-hair-growth)

Everything in life comes full circle, if you’re good to your body, your body will be good to you. Do not allow fear or lack of knowledge of hair care to allow you to defer your healthy lifestyle change. Don’t allow the little things to prevent you from changing your life and developing healthy habits.

You can maintain healthy hair and a steady workout schedule!

fit black woman

Have more questions? Or have a success story? Email kalynflournoy@gmail.com

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I do not own rights to all photos on my blog and am not trying to portray as such! Photos were either taken by me, for me, or taken from varying media sites.

 

Set Your Goals and CRUSH Them and then Set Goals Again

So often people say they want to lose weight, give a halfhearted effort to do so and give up after not achieving immediate results. I’m here to tell you two things, two things I’ve been saying since the beginning of this blog and that I will continue to say until the end of time:

 

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  1. This is a healthy LIFESTYLE change, it will not happen overnight, not in a week or even in a month. This change is something that you are going to have to consciously work at every single day. And any day that you may have a setback, you work at it again the very next day. Losing weight is no easy feat but once you reach your goals it could quite possibly be the most rewarding experience you’ll ever feel because of the many benefits. One simply being the fact that you’re going to look hot and feel amazing.
  2. You have to, let me reiterate, HAVE TO set SMART goals and then CRUSH those SMART goals. I’ve stated in previous blogs what exactly a SMART goal is, but I will re-explain here.
    1. A SMART goal is something that is
        1. Specifici.e. I want to lose 10lbs
        2. Measurable…i.e. You can measure losing 10lbs by having a starting weight and subtracting each pound that you will lose
        3. Attainablei.e. I want to lose 10lbs in 3 months. This is something that is physically achievable.
        4. Realistic or Relevanti.e. I will work out x amount of times a week to lose 10 lbs.
        5.  Time boundi.e. I want to lose 10 lbs in 3 months

       

    2. What I find so often is people just state their goal as, “I want to lose weight.” But with a SMART goal it’ll look more like, I want to lose 10 lbs in 3 months by exercising at least 3 times a week for 1 hour each day. I will also meal prep every Sunday for the entire week to help with healthy eating. I will start on January 1 and will measure through March 1.
    3. This may seem like a bit much, but I guarantee you, when you’re working towards something, a specific goal, it becomes much easier and much more likely that you will reach your goal. This is because of the fact that you set a deadline, instead of an open ended “hope” and you know EXACTLY what you’re working towards, again instead of open-endedness.

Again, losing weight is not easy, especially in the beginning of your journey but you have to go about your goal in a SMART way. Set your goal and once you reach your goal, adjust it and keep pushing forward. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to lose weight or different things that motivate them, so always tailor your goal to you and adjust your goal as your needs/wants/preferences change. And don’t become stagnant or content, continue to grow and challenge yourself…remember there’s levels to this healthy lifestyle journey.

goal-setting

 

Stuffed Chicken and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Eating the same thing over and over again can get increasingly tiring, boring and can make cheating more likely with unhealthy more desirable foods.  This is why I always look for creative recipes for fun meals and fun snacks. It is true that we eat to nourish the body, not for pleasure, but why not enjoy healthy, tasty meals that provide the daily nutrition we need?

The meal that I just had for dinner was absolutely delicious!

I made spinach and mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts with roasted brussel sprouts. I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from shows like Master Chef, which, with this meal I could be a pretty tough contender. I will describe the dish below, but I encourage everyone to add your own flare spice and use common sense for cooking times, because I pretty much winged this recipe…and it was banging!

Ingredients:

I started with organic, free range chicken breasts, 5 of them, a package of organic spinach, 8 oz low fat mozzarella cheese, package of frozen brussel sprouts and a cabinet of seasonings/oils.

Recipe:

Clean chicken first and foremost. Heat oven at 400 degrees. Get baking dish and rub with olive oil. Place cleaned chicken in dish and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, making sure to lightly coat each chicken with olive oil.

Cut small slits into the chicken and after cleaning spinach, stuff the chicken with both that and slices of mozzarella (don’t cut mozzarella too thick, if you get shredded mozzarella that works as well). Once chicken is stuffed, add oregano and more black pepper then place into oven for about 40 minutes. Make sure the chicken is no longer pink before indulging.

On a separate pan, again lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add frozen brussel sprouts and sprinkle with more salt, pepper and garlic salt, making sure to coat each brussel sprout. Place in oven for same amount of time as chicken, making sure to get a brownish color from sprouts.

Once done, take out of oven and enjoy!! I was not always a fan of brussel sprouts but these were delicious to me and a great pair for the chicken!

 

Stuffed Chicken and Brussel Sprouts

I always check out Pinterest for fun and healthy recipe ideas, ranging from breakfast bakes, lettuce wraps, snacks, dinner ideas or fun detox drinks!

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