It’s the dog days of summer!
Ok, I’ve been dying to say that because our family adopted a new puppy this past weekend. Angel and I drove to Pittsburgh and back for our new little bundle of joy. We haven’t named him yet because we just don’t know what to call him and the family is having a hard time agreeing on what he should be called. I’ll post more pics of him once we figure it out.
I’ve also been fighting Ulcerative Colitis (the reason I went Pescatarian to begin with) this month. It started around July 1st and it’s been a struggle ever since. Then there were my birthday and the July 4th holiday cookouts. The point is, my workout schedule has been thrown completely off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting to gym every few days and my eating habits have pretty much stayed healthy too so I consider this a win all around. But now that things are settling back down, I’m planning to get back to the nitty gritty.
I’ve apparently hit that dreaded plateau. UGH! I’m still weighing in at 190 (down 15 lbs from the day 1 challenge weight of 204.8 and down 38 lbs from where I was in November, 2017). This has been the same for about a week and a half or so. But I’m not discouraged. In fact, I’m still kind of encouraged because while the number on the scale hasn’t really moved, my other numbers are decreasing.
I took my daughter for a bra fitting because she needed an update (growing bodies need constant upkeep in the wardrobe department) and while we were there, they measured me too. I’m officially back in a size 36 bra band (down from a 38 and two months ago I was told I needed a size 40). And my cup size has decreased from a G to a DDD! This is a HUGE triumph! My goal is to be a D or DD sized cup so I am almost there! And hopefully, with continued success I’ll even get back to my coveted 34 band size. This is completely possible too because the sizing specialist said I was really measuring 33 on the bottom of my ribs so a 34 is a very attainable goal. Oh! And I am able to wear regular sports bras and sexy, lace backed bralettes now without looking or feeling like an old woman with saggy breasts draping down to my knees! Hey sexy summer tank tops!! 💁🏽♀️🙋🏽♀️
I am very comfortably wearing a size 12 in bottoms across the board now and the other day, I wore a size 10 jean shorts without my eyes (or tummy) bulging out in horror. Also, my tees are all fitting loosely and have some swing now too. I bought a tee at Lackland AFB when my son graduated from Basic Military Training in May. It was an XL. It’s now hanging on me and even the shoulders are too wide. And my leather biker vest has been cinched all the way in and it too was flapping around my breasts and tummy in the wind last night. The only down side to this is that I sold my size large leather riding jacket and replaced it with a W1X. By the fall, this jacket will be too big to wear anymore and I’ll probably have to spend the money on yet another size Large. I am grateful for this victory but man, the yoyo is really frustrating because quality riding gear ain’t cheap!
My double chin is gone. GONE. And my cheekbones are more prominent now, casting a shadow on the lower half of my face. Thank GOD for that amazing brand of skin care, Urban Skin Rx because the serums are keeping my loosening skin firm and plump. I was really concerned that losing weight would increase the lines on my face and neck but so far, that has not happened. I’ve started using a firming cream on my legs and tummy too. Hopefully it will work and help me to tighten the texture of my body skin. The last thing I want to do is look like a wrinkled old prune when I finally get an acceptable bikini sized body again.
Wednesday, I went shopping in my closet for a dress to wear to a brunch scheduled later this week and I now have several old/new options to choose from again. Dresses I hadn’t worn in almost two years are now back in daily rotation AND I’m not busting out of them OR getting that ‘lovely’ back bulge around my bra anymore. I also have not felt like putting on spanx because they create pressure around my tummy (a serious no no for UC flair up days) and thanks to the exercises I’ve been doing on my abs, I didn’t need them either! I mean, I actually have a shot at getting rid of my mommy belly. That 10.6 pound kid I had 20 years ago will finally be forgiven for ruining my body! lol
All in all, I feel better, even with the digestive issues I’m struggling with. My ankles aren’t swollen anymore and it doesn’t hurt to get up in the middle of the night to take this rascal of a puppy out for a twilight potty break. No more wincing when my feet hit the carpet and I can’t remember the last time my back was out of joint from heavy boobs pulling it in every which direction.
Yup, it’s been pretty amazing. I’m reminding myself every day not to worry about what the scale says because getting healthy is so much more than just dropping pounds. I feel great and energized too. Even the lack of sleep over the last week has not drained me to exhaustion because I have more energy in general.
Onward to week 6!
By Carla Helené Ezell
So technically, this is week 4 and I said I wanted to do my fitness check ins bi-weekly. But since I've actually done my check ins and updates for the last 4 weeks straight, I figured instead, I would just post some thoughts I had about the gym and all the time I've been spending there. So here goes!
I get it. Not everyone comes to the gym to work out. There are other reasons people frequent these spaces that have zero to do with getting in shape or body sculpting. Here are four things I have observed that had to be addressed because... well, you’ll see as you read.
Number 1: Shut the heck up!
Cell phone conversations are for the lobby. Period. Usually gyms have this posted everywhere and with good reason. People don’t want to hear your personal drama while they are working out. It’s rude. When you are exerting yourself on your treadmill run, your adrenaline heightens everything. This includes your volume. While you may sound normal to yourself, you are louder than you think to the people around you. Your loud talking can pull someone right out of their zone. Be courteous. Be kind. Be quiet.
Number 2: Keep it moving!
Aligned with number one, having a full out conversation with your gym buddy between sets is fine but just don’t do it on the machine you aren’t even using anymore. Maybe someone else is waiting for that machine and now, instead of wiping it down and moving along, you’re blocking their progress because you are standing there talking. Stop it. It’s not cute. It’s not okay. It’s really just frustrating AF because now everyone else on the circuit has to adjust to your conversation. Don’t be that person. Save your drama for after your work out or better yet, take it to the locker room. Mmkay? Thanks.
Number 3: Wipe yo isht down!
Wipe down your equipment after every use. I see people jump on a machine, then go to the free weights then jump back on the same machine again. What are they doing? I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t really care, as long as they aren’t bothering me or disrupting my workout flow. But I have a problem when I also see them do this and neglect to wipe their machines down after using them because they’ll be right back. What about the other people in line for that machine behind them? What if I get there before you find your way back over to that leg press? Listen, I do not want your sweaty handprints (or butt prints - ugh GROSS) on the machine when it’s my turn to use it. It’s disgusting. It’s disrespectful. I will report you, you inconsiderate sicko!
Number 4: Don’t be a meat head!
Sure, you’re there to work out. You’re there to get in shape, tone your muscles, get healthy, build bulk, slim down or whatever your personal motives may be for working out. We all have our own agendas at the gym. But I do not want to hear you grunting under the strain of extra weight you are trying to lift because you want to impress the people around you. News flash: no one cares. We aren’t even laughing at you. We are cringing because you are distracting us from our own workout. Shut the heck up, go about your day, sir, and leave us to our own. Thanks.
Bonus Round: This Ain’t Tinder!
I shouldn't even have to say this but here I am saying it anyway because apparently, it needs to be said. Don’t try to pick up the chick on the rowing machine next to you when she is trying to focus on working out. When I go to the gym, I go for a purpose. And that purpose is NOT to find some side piece to have a sweaty, body odor laden gym affair with. I am trying to better myself and improve my quality of living, not become a snack for a muscle brain. Leave. Me. Alone. Don’t stare at me as I work on the ab machine. Don’t watch my boobs bounce when I’m jogging on the treadmill. Don't stand so close behind me I can feel your breath on my neck while I'm refilling my water bottle. Don’t follow me out of the gym into the parking lot to get my number. I’m married. And you’re creeping me out. Most women would be totally creeped out if you followed them out of the gym. We’ve heard too many stories. We’ve had too many experiences with entitled men who think they are God’s gift to our gender and won’t take no for an answer. We get it. You’re the bomb. But please, go blow up someone else’s workout routine and leave us alone!
What are some things you’ve observed in your workout time that drives you nuts? Let’s discuss it in the comments.
It’s crazy how I’ve put off getting back into the gym for so long and now I’m becoming addicted to working out. But that’s how it goes, isn’t it? I wasn’t supposed to be posting another update so soon. I’m really trying to get on a bi-weekly schedule. But man, the results are just so amazing and I’m feeling pretty great so I had to share.
I started out at 204.6. Today I weighed in at 192.8. I started this fitness challenge officially on June 1st. Here is a pic of what I looked like when this journey began.
And below is a photo I took yesterday:
Those jeans are juniors and they are sized 13 from Hollister. The top is a size large but I bought it when I was a size 8/10 (which should still be a medium in most brands) and haven’t been able to wear it for over two years. Also, we did a new head shot session because I dyed my hair red last week and needed to update them. Amazingly enough, my cheekbones were casting a shadow on the lower half of my face. WHAT???? I can’t remember the last time that happened!
Perhaps the thing I’m most excited about is the fact that people outside my inner circle are starting to notice the changes. They say it takes 2 weeks for you to see a difference, 4 weeks for your family and friends to see a difference and 6-8 weeks for the world to notice the changes. It’s been a little over three weeks and I’m ahead of schedule because people who haven’t seen me for a few months are all commenting on the size changes. This makes me even more motivated than I was when I started.
I met with a nutritionist on Tuesday. I’m desperately trying to avoid the normal plateau of every weight loss journey. I figure if I can quadruple the efforts I’m making by eating a healthy, balanced, vitamin packed diet, take the right supplements for what my body needs, keep exercising and keep my digestive issues under control too, I will hopefully be that much closer to my goals.
I’ve still got quite a ways to go but I am cautiously optimistic that I am going to slay this weight loss journey and hit my goals as planned by the end of the year. Fingers crossed and all that jazz! 💋
So I am feeling some amazing affects of this challenge already. While the scale is kinda staying where it was last week (between 194 and 196), I am not overly concerned yet. Here’s why:
Wednesday, I put on a pair of jeans and was a little bit disappointed when I didn’t need a belt for them. All the other jeans I’d been wearing recently were getting too big and they would slide off if I don’t keep pulling them up. What I realized later was that the jeans I was wearing were not size 14 or 16. They were size 12! WHOOP!! I’m officially down a full dress size. I’m wearing shorts and skirts and even dresses I couldn’t wear for over a year! Peep the pic at the bottom of this post! I'm wearing the same shirt I wore for my very first head shots in 2013 when I weighed 155. It is slightly tighter in the tummy but as you can see in the other pics, it's extremely comfortable everywhere else!
Additionally, there are a bunch of tees I couldn’t wear for a while and now… They are size large, which was beyond my reach for such a long time. I’ve been in extra larges and pushing 2x for a minute now. But putting on those size large tees and not having too much of a gut pushing out in the tummy area was beyond amazing. Its like I have a new wardrobe!
I have more energy. I walked up 3 flights of stairs to visit a friend early last week and I was not huffing and puffing as per usual. This felt amazing because not only were we chatting the entire time, I didn’t need to stop and breathe when we arrived at her apartment!
We went jet skiing on Father’s Day down at Ocean City. It was BEAUTIFUL and the water was cold (perfect for the 93+ degrees we were experiencing). The skis they had us on were pretty decent and faster than the ones we used to own years ago. I haven’t been on a jet ski since 1999 (I believe - but don’t quote me). I was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to last the full hour without feeling like death when I got off. But nope. I was not only fine, but could have gone longer. And I wasn’t pussy footing around either. I was gunning it for all she was worth (between the wake of boats and other skis in our loop). Not only did I not fall off but when I hit a massive wave, it didn’t even phase me (well, except for the face full of salt water I swallowed). lol
The point is, I wouldn’t have been able to do that a month ago. I would have been falling off and dead by the end of the hour.
All in all, I am feeling some kinda amazing. These 5 day a week workout schedules are pushing my limits mentally, physically and emotionally. (I originally wanted to commit to doing three days of cardio and two days of strength/weight training. Instead, I've been doing cardio Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and adding strength/weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Saturday are my rest days.) I am committed to doing this challenge because I really wanted to drop down some dress sizes and get into shape. It’s been two and a half full weeks and I can see that it’s working. (They say it takes two weeks for you to see a difference, four weeks for friends to see a difference and six weeks for the world to see a difference.) There’s still a long way to go but dropping down a complete dress size is nothing short of perfection.
Onto week 3! I’ll check back in on week 4 with new pics. 💋
I wasn't going to write this post for another week. I planned to do bi-weekly posts on this challenge, but there are some things I just had to share. I mean, my poor husband's eyes are starting to glaze over when I start gushing about the results I'm seeing already so I know he needs a breather. lol
I started my challenge on June 1st. At the time of writing this post (June 10th), I have lost 10 pounds. TEN POUNDS!
I realize this is the beginning jump from starting any fitness regime, but damn it feels great to see those numbers slowly dropping every time I step on the scale! This morning I weighed in at 194.2. WOW!
My clothes are starting to fit differently. My jeans are all getting loose and I have to wear a belt with them. Speaking of belts, I have dropped a belt hole too. That felt pretty fantastic this morning. I was on the second to last hole and now theres some space and the end of the belt to tuck it into the loop again. YES!!
My back no longer pulls out of alignment when I bend over. That used to be very painful and annoying too. I was always limping because it hurt to walk. I didn't realize how much I had adjusted to this way of living until I realized I wasn't doing it anymore! No more twisting as hard as I could to try and get everything back into place. Nope. I'm feeling kinda great!
My shoulders are no longer knotted up either. I realize that exercise is a great stress reliever but this outward result is a real God-send! I mean, I used to be a ball of knots and lumps all across my back but that has all changed. I can lift my shoulders to my ears without any pain. AND I can turn my head all the way to the sides without pain too. What an amazing feeling to be able to see almost behind me again since I can turn all the way. I feel like a safer driver now! lol
My feet and ankles are not swollen anymore. I have always had a problem with weak and swollen ankles. I had injuries when I was a child that ended my Olympic dreams and left me hobbling for months. Those injuries never fully healed correctly. While I can walk and even run, the swelling always crept up and lingered for what felt like forever. Doctors say it's poor circulation. Fair enough. But since I've been exercising regularly, I have not been dealing with this problem at all. And my first steps in the morning are no longer painful. No more limping to the bathroom when I wake up in the middle of the night. What a relief!!
I've kicked my caffeine addiction. I guess drinking all that water (approximately 80 oz a day) has really had some great benefits after all! I wake up mentally clear and ready to go in the mornings now. No more grogginess or drowsy yawning throughout the day either. And while my sleeping habits are mostly the same (waking up at 4 am every single day, only to doze off again at 5 am and then have to be up at 7:30 am to take my daughter to school), I wake up more refreshed and rested. What a huge plus!
My double chin is getting smaller and my cheekbones are starting to pop back out again too! My face doesn't look quite as round as it did a couple of weeks ago and my chin is more pronounced. Finally!
Lastly, I have more energy throughout the day. I don't feel winded walking up a flight of stairs now and I can feel the power in my legs as I take each step toward the top! Overall, I feel better. My days are more productive until bedtime now because I don't need an afternoon nap anymore. That in itself has been worth it!
All in all, I am super happy with the results I'm seeing. I feel pretty great and my mood is even improved. I can't wait to see what changes happen in the next week so I can share them with you! Boom! 💋
Here I am, way too many pounds over weight. UGH! How did this happen? I was a child and teenage athlete and today, at 43 years old, I find myself sluggish and... FAT!
There, I said it. I've never been so big in my entire life and I am completely appalled and depressed about it. I mean, when I was in my mid-thirties, I walked 8 hours a day in the scorching heat and subzero temperatures for my job. It was truly tedious but in the middle of that extremely stressful time, I dropped down from a size 10 to a size 6! So I KNOW it can be done!
Today I am a size 14 (pushing a 16) and that is just unacceptable. Utterly. So on June 1st, I started a new challenge. As one door closes (my Urban Skin Rx 30 Day Skin Care Challenge), another opens. Side note: 2018 seems to be the year of change for me in ways I didn't even see coming. Self love means self improvement and I am so here for it!
So my goals are as follows:
Current clothing size: 14/16 Goal clothing size: 8/10
Current bra size: 38G Goal bra size: 36D
Current weight: 204 Goal weight: 150ish
I do realize that numbers are not the end all, be all of weight loss and fitness. Muscle weighs more than fat does and I hope to lose fat and replace it with lean muscle. Therefore, the numbers are negotiable. I just want to look and feel better than I do now. I want to be able to wear some of the dope clothes that have been hiding under a pile in my room for 3 years.
How will I do this? Well, I’ve already started back at the gym. I plan to do cardio at least three times a week and light weight training twice a week. I have also modified my diet. I became a pescatarian at the beginning of the year and that has helped me to drop 24 pounds since I had surgery in January (uterine fibroids are no joke, son - but at least I don't look 7 months pregnant anymore so that's a win).
I will be posting bi-weekly updates throughout the rest of the year. Today is week zero. I will also be sharing some recipes I’ve picked up along my journey and some pics too because the best motivation is constant progress.
So here goes! Let’s do this, man!!
My name is Carla Helené. I am a cheeky naturalista, serial entrepreneur, speaker, educator and self love advocate who encourages women to embrace their truth, love themselves and make margaritas out of life’s lemons. Is there a recipe for this? I’m not sure I but I know we can figure it out together.
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