Motivation Monday- Do Your Best

Cardio!

“Just do your best!” is one of my personal mottos, adopted during a very challenging time. It’s something we should all remind ourselves of as often as we can. Our best is all we can expect of ourselves because no one is perfect. If we are always striving to do our best, then we focus on that and recognize we are a success because of it.

Unfortunately slip ups happen, and they happen to all of us. They’re inevitable… but the good news is that with the mentality to keep doing your best instead of dwelling on what you did “wrong,” you continue to feel motivated with the knowledge that you will always do your best! It really takes the intense pressure off your shoulders which has the added bonus of letting you enjoy each step of your journey.

One thing to remember though is to keep perspective. Your best varies from moment to moment so your best right now might not be your best tonight or tomorrow. It depends a lot on our state of mind, emotions and things going on around us as well as other factors. So remember to do your best to choose each best option as it comes along. When you slip up, learn from it but put it right behind you and make your next decision a good one, one you’ll feel proud of. That first healthy or productive choice after a slip up is so powerful! It fills you with an earned sense of accomplishment and helps you remember that you can indeed do this!

Always remember to focus on doing your best each day, each moment, and it will get you so far!
~Bonnie~

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Sharing Sunday- More About Me

  
Hi, some of you have read my weight loss story that I posted last Sunday, but I didn’t delve into a whole lot about myself as a person in that post. So here I will tell you a bit about myself. My name is Bonnie and I live in Indiana but am a Californian through and through.

I am a 26-year-old full-time aunt (and a general caregiver to others), and I have recently embarked on pursuing my writing career. It has always been an interest and strong passion of mine… and at the present, I’m working on writing a book about my weight loss journey and hope to have it published in some form or another in a year, but also am aware that it might take longer. I have been working on other writing projects as well, one of which is actually this blog and I have really been enjoying it so far. Sometime in the next year I will be getting cerfification to become a health coach. I’m excited for that as my career because I want to help as many people as I can to live healthy, high quality lives. I’ve experienced firsthand how hard it is to start, and continue, a health journey. So my dream is to help guide individuals to do just that, to arm them with information and encouragement and to be a sounding board as well.

Besides babysitting my brothers two sons full-time, who are 4 and 3, I am the proud aunt of three nephews and two nieces through my sister. They are older, ranging in age from 15 to 10. Now if you do the math, you will realize I’ve been at this aunt thing since I was eleven years old. It has really helped shape me as a person. Being an aunt is something I will always cherish and be proud of. That’s not to say that babysitting my nephews and being around them almost 24-7 isn’t challengin, but it is also endlessly rewarding as well. I can’t get enough of those random cuddles and other moments of love that are so beautiful and sweet. Who can resist the innocent and unconditional love that children give?

Last but certainly not least, I am a Christian. It is relatively new to me, in fact less than three months, even though I grew up in the Church of Christ. It took losing weight and finding myself, as well as a vacation back home to California to find my faith. I’m still trying to figure out what this means for me, but am very committed to doing just that by studying. My parents’ church family, also one I attended for a few years as a child, has become my church family. It is full of warm and genuine people and I feel blessed to be a part of it.

  
~Bonnie~

Steady Saturday- Consistency is Key

“Consistency is key”

We’ve all heard this saying at one point or another. It is certainly cliche but oh so true! The more you steadily work at something, the more progress you will make.

Trust me when I say this: stick with it and your hard work will pay off. I’ve seen this proven in my friends, family, and even myself. Don’t give up and you will see results.

Be persistent, be patient, and trust your process. Keep putting in the effort and doing what you feel is best for you and your life. Be honest with yourself each step of the way and adjust as needed, but always keep moving forward.

Remember that you don’t need to be perfect. In fact, no one is perfect. It may seem that way from the outside watching others, but we don’t know the struggles and inner battles that others face day in and day out. Trust your process only. Everyone’s journeys are different and we all progress at our own rates.

If you are consistent, then you will WIN! You will be successful. You may slip up here and there but that’s okay. Consistently building good habits will get you where you want or need to go.

hiking boots

~Bonnie~

Foodie Friday- A Healthy, Protein Packed Treat

There is a treat that I’ve recently discovered in my search of getting more protein in my daily diet. I had tried Greek yogurt a few times previously, but only ones with the fruit or fruit flavoring already added, and it truly grossed me out. So it kind of put me off of Greek yogurt for a little while.

However, I didn’t give up that easily. I kept getting drawn back to it. One shopping trip I decided to try vanilla/plain Greek yogurt and mix it with my own fresh fruit at home. So I grabbed a four pack and brought it home, determined to make it work somehow. First “recipe” I tried was to mix the Greek yogurt with a whole diced banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter (half a serving). And OH MY, was that tasty! It was so delicious! It really reminded me of banana cream pie with a hint of peanut butter.

  
Due to oral surgery this week and a lack of bananas in the house, I ended up trying the Greek yogurt with just 1 1/2 tablespoons of peanut bugged mixed in… and it still tasted absolutely delicious. So even if you don’t like bananas or are like me and don’t have them in the house at any particular moment, try the Greek yogurt with just peanut butter mixed in.

Protein packed:

Greek yogurt has 12g protein

Peanut butter has 3.5g per tablespoon, half serving

Bananas aren’t a source of protein but have some much needed potassium 
~Bonnie~

Thriving Thursday- the Importance of Water

  
Let me start by saying, I used to be one of those people who absolutely hated water! The only times I would drink it was if I was thirsty and it was the only choice, or if it was super cold. Now in the past year, since I started focusing on my health, I have learned to love water.

It’s recommended that we drink 8-10 eight ounce cups a day to regain what we lose by normal body functions, we’ve all heard the eight cups a day ideal. Other people say to drink half your body weight in ounces. That would mean a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces each day. I say… drink however much works for you and keeps you adequately hydrated. Remember you lose additional water when you sweat so you need to pay attention when you’re exercising and/or on hot or humid days and increase your water intake as needed.

Personally, I’m all for using water flavoring packets or other methods of flavoring your water at first. It helps you get used to the sheer volume of water when you’re not used to drinking that much. Then you can slowly decrease the frequency of using the flavoring, or start infusing your water with fresh fruit and veggies to give it natural flavor. Lemon juice is also a great choice if you like it. I prefer my water to be plain most of the time now but occasionally like flavoring when I want a “treat” to drink.

Drinking water has changed my life in more ways than one. First of all, I rarely feel insanely thirsty anymore because I steadily drink throughout the day and I also feel like my body functions a lot better since I’m hydrated. Another benefit I’ve found is that it’s a great filler when I’m craving something and it’s not time to eat yet. I say to myself, “drink the rest of this bottle before you eat that.” That really helps me day to day.

I have found that I actually crave the water itself. The more I drink it, the more I want of it. The funny part is I started at maybe six cups a day and it was a true struggle, but I learned to drink it whenever I was more thirsty and down as much as I could then, as well as starting as soon as I woke up each day. Now I drink at least 12 cups a day, sometimes as much as 14-16 cups a day. It really amazes me how far I’ve come to love water this much. You can learn to love it too, just remember it takes time and practice.
~Bonnie~

Workout Wednesday- Walking

Walking is a great form of exercise to start out with, low impact and flexible. In fact, it’s how I got started on my own weight loss journey. At first it was just easiest. Since I babysit my now 4 and 3 year old nephews full-time, it was the best form of exercise I could get while I had them. We had just bought a quality double stroller and so I would take them out in that once a day at first, 3-5 times a week. It wasn’t long before I was able to increase my walking.

My suggestion, and what kept me moving forward, is to vary your routes… And to make goals. The goals could be to increase your minutes per mile speed or to increase distance walked at one time. I mostly focused on the latter myself, making a goal almost right away to work up to five miles at once. Then I comprised a plan to slowly increase my distance by half mile every two to three weeks. It worked out pretty well and kept things fresh.

Playing music in headphones on a volume that allows you to both enjoy the music and also to be aware of your surroundings is another good way to keep things fresh. Eventually I worked on making myself an upbeat playlist that kept me motivated and happy during my walks. I didn’t personally listen to music while walking with my nephews though because I spent the time talking to them and keeping them content.

Enjoying the time to yourself if you go on your own, and basking in the “me time” it provides. Admiring nature and observing people and buildings around you. Talking to a friend or your children if you’re walking with others. These are all fun things to do to keep things interesting as well. 

Here are some of the awesome and beautiful pictures I’ve taken on walks recently:

    
 

Tip Tuesday- Put Yourself First

Tip of the week:
Put yourself first

hand heart in sunset

Now I’m not suggesting to you to be selfish, but to put yourself first for at least a small part of each day. Taking care of yourself is so important to your overall health and wellbeing. In order to take care of others, we have to take care of ourselves first. We can’t possibly expect to be our best for everyone else if we’re not at our best, right?

So my tip this week is to set aside a part of the day for yourself to take part in some of your favorite activities, something relaxing or that makes you feel happy. This will spill into other parts of your life. Doing this will help us feel more confident, happier, and more relaxed throughout the day.

This is something that gets better the more you practice it. I’ve by no means perfected it, but I’m still working on it because I have seen how it changes my life each day if I have that time to myself. I don’t always feel like I’m running on fumes. I can better handle daily situations. I have more patience and feel more at peace when I take the time to read, write, exercise by myself (particularly a walk outside!), or some other activity that makes me happy that particular day.

Self-care needs to be a priority of our days so that we can do all of the tasks that we need to do, so that we can be there for our loved ones and be at our best while doing so. If we spread ourselves too thin, especially without taking care of ourselves first, we will come to a point where we can no longer care for others either.

~Bonnie~

Motivation Monday- Keep Moving Forward

What is one of the hardest parts of losing weight?

Keeping that motivation fresh and to keep moving forward no matter what. Yes, you’re going to have challenges and even setbacks, and that’s okay.

night-sport-bike-bicycle

Some tips to keep that motivation fresh in your mind… Think about the reasons you’re losing weight daily! Not just about looks or other visual motivators, but even bigger reasons such as improving your health, starting a family, being there for your children, running races, or just simply being more active.

Always remember, as long as you’re putting in your best effort and moving forward, you are making progress. Don’t stop putting in effort. Take a break if you need to, but get back on track as soon as you can.

Make time for yourself. Do your best. No one expects you to be perfect and taking care of yourself is important so that you can take care of other people and other tasks.

~Bonnie~

My Weight Loss Journey, 120lbs Gone Forever

Before 5/31/14 to now 10/12/15! 120+ pounds gone!
Before 5/31/14 to now 10/12/15!           120+ pounds gone!

Hi everyone, my name is Bonnie and I have created this blog to encourage and inspire others. Here is my story of losing weight, I hope you enjoy reading it. Sorry it’s a bit long but it’s been a long (and rewarding) journey so far.

When I originally started my journey back at the end of May 2014, my intention was just to take a lot of walks and decrease my portion sizes at dinner to lose ten pounds over the summer. However, once I got on the scale and saw how much I weighed, I was shocked. The scale was reading back to me 309 pounds! I immediately signed up on sparkpeople.com because that website had helped me lose weight in the past. I ended up jumping in with both feet, cutting calories in a reasonable way and logging everything I ate as well as taking walks and increasing the time and distance slowly. My mentality right away was that this had to be the last time and I was determined to lose this weight once and for all.

The reasons I want to lose weight right now first started with a vacation I took to my hometown in California in March of last year. I took planes to and from there, and had to ask for seatbelt extenders both ways. It was mortifying. I hadn’t realized how big I was before that. I knew I was overweight, obviously, but never in a million years would I have thought I weighed over three hundred pounds! More embarrassing than the seatbelt extenders was being too big for the seats themselves, I felt like I was invading my neighbors’ spaces and tried to make myself smaller, which was very uncomfortable to say the least. Another reason I wanted to lose is the BIG reason… I want to be a mother someday in the near future and in order to be the best mother I can be, I need to be healthy, happy, and active so I can keep up with them and have experiences that they will remember. I want to be able to be active with my future husband and my children, separately and together, and to take many adventures together!

Some personal obstacles I have pushed through are mainly joint, rib, neck, and back pain. It is suspected I have Hypermobility Syndrome which isn’t commonly known about but I recently found out that more tests need to be run for this. I also started this journey without a gym membership. Due to living with my parents and my brother and his two young sons in a small two bedroom house, I have no privacy as I sleep in the living room. However, I did exercise videos as much as I could such as Leslie Sansone’s walking videos or walking videos off of On Demand in addition to my walking outside. I would use my brother and the boys’ bedroom whenever they were gone or try to get up before dawn to get my videos in. This was especially hard in the winter when there was not much chance of getting outside to walk but I pushed on. I also have depression and anxiety issues which I deal with on a regular basis and only recently was able to get some help through therapy and medication. I’m not ashamed to admit that even working on these issues by myself was too much for me and asking for help was necessary.

Spark People allows me to use the tools and support provided by the other members and also blog almost every day as therapy. Encouraging and supporting other people on the website is good for them as well as me, and I do as much as I can of that. All the support I receive through my friends on there, as well as my mom and other family members, keeps me going. Sometimes my family isn’t so supportive but most of the time they are. I still get the comments like “what would one [insert food item here], hurt?” I have to do what’s right for me and I take comfort in that because in the end, I am responsible and the only one in control of my own choices. I have to keep myself motivated and accountable. The way I do that is through self-talk and pep talks, repeating mantras such as “just do it” and “keep moving forward.” My personal favorite of mine is “just do your best” because that’s all we can expect of ourselves. I constantly remind myself WHY I’m losing this weight.

In the past few months, I have been inspired to do a half marathon and have already registered for it for May 2016. I have had a foot issue setting me back lately but it seems to be clearing up FINALLY and I will be running again soon. I am so excited to do this half marathon, as well as other races I’ve also looked into. It will be a fun experience. Challenging, true, but fun and exciting.

As of mid-October, I have lost 121 pounds. In August, I entered what we call “onederland,” which basically means getting into the ONE hundreds, and now weigh in at 198. It was SO exciting and I had dreamed of that moment from the time I started. It’s so weird because I haven’t weighed under 200 pounds since I was 13-14 years old, and am now 27. And through all of my challenges, both momentary and ongoing challenges, I have this DRIVE to keep moving forward. I am not stopping until I get to my goal of 140-155 pounds. And even when I hit that goal, I will start another journey: maintenance. Right now I am taking it one step at a time and just focusing on the here and now while looking to the future at the same time. It helps me to stay centered when I do that.

I want to finish this story by saying that YOU all have it in you to start or continue your own weight loss or health journeys. Believe in yourselves and do your best. Start small and work your way up.

~Bonnie~