So back when I was overweight and “dieting”, Friday’s used to be a mixed bag of emotions. I mean, I loved the day overall, because obviously #weekend 😂, but secretly hated them as well . . Fridays meant that I had no routine for the next few days, and at that point in my life, I needed routine in order to stick with my never-ending yo-yo dieting.
For me, weekends meant that I didn't really workout (I belonged to a gym that was close to work and therefore far from my house) and more (unhealthy) meals and drinks out. I was also a slave to the scale and every Monday morning I would weigh and see that I had gained everything I lost the previous week, sometimes more. 🙄 I would start the week depressed and moody, I’d eat what I thought was healthy (but really wasn’t), “punish” myself by going to the gym for two hours a day until Thursday, when I would became overly exhausted and ditch it completely, and then by Friday, back to binge eating and drinking. I felt like a hamster on a never ending wheel 🐹.
Over the past few years, I can happily say that I have finally gotten off that ugly hamster wheel - but it did take a lot of time and unnecessary sacrifices for me to figure out how to manage my new and current lifestyle. Here are the ways that I stay (mostly) successful:
1.) Eat fat. Ideally more healthy fats and in moderation, of course. But fat is needed in life!
2.) Count Macros instead of calories - trust me. Let me know if you need help with this!
3.) Don't restrict foods - If I don't allow myself chocolate during the week, then come Saturday I overeat it because I know I wont be able to have it for another week. So yes, I have a serving (or 2) of chocolate every day. I just trade it in- if I'm having chocolate (or any dessert), then I may up my protein at dinner or skip the glass of wine. The point is - I eat what I want, I just do it consciously.
4.) Don't ever force yourself to go to the gym or do a workout that you hate. Instead find something that you love so that you get excited about it and look forward to it. Maybe you want to join a sports league or a running club? How about working out at home or doing classes at home at your convince? Get a friend and challenge each other! There are so so so many ways to get and stay active - find something that you love doing!
5.) Drink water! Aim for about 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day. You'll stay fuller, eat less, and be hydrated!
6.) Don't use the gym or your workout as punishment for eating more (or worse) than normal. Tomorrow is a new day, look forward and not behind you.
7.) Ditch the scale and use measurements! I have a great measurement sheet on my resources page, check it out.
7.) Look at the big picture each day, if possible. If you know your going out for a big dinner, then maybe eat a salad for lunch to counteract the dinner macros. If you know you're not going to get a workout in, then lay low on the carbs, etc.
8.) Life happens. Sometimes your day doesn't go as planned, and it's SO important to remember that that is perfectly ok. If you decide last minute to ditch the gym for happy hour with your best friend - thats fine! You need to live your life and you have to enjoy yourself. Just don't throw away the next day or the next week because of that decision. Enjoy yourself, get a good nights sleep and start fresh tomorrow.
All this to say, that I'm finally happy with myself. I've made lifestyle changes and stopped dieting, I've stopped using working out as punishment, I still go out to eat at least twice a week and drink alcohol, I've stopped relying on the scale and in doing all of this, at (ugh) 37 years old, I'm the most in shape, the most confident, and truly the happiest that I've ever been in my life. Oh, and most importantly - I love weekends and the activities, celebrations, and social gatherings that it brings!
Let's just start by saying that I'm a sucker for a good get together. It doesn't matter if it's friends or family, large or small, or anything in between - if I'm invited, I'll show up! Not only that, but you bet your butt that I will be the first person at the snack table and the bar at said party. It's totally doable to celebrate and have some delicious snacks and cocktails, without derailing all your hard work on the fitness and nutrition front. Here are 5 of my tried and true ways for staying fit over the holidays, while still enjoying in some little indulgences along the way:
Sometimes there are days when you don't feel like working out, but you still want to get a calorie burn in. Or maybe your did your workout, but it wasn't "enough" (which is usually my issue) and you want to get your body moving a little more without having to head back to the gym or get your equipment out. Or maybe you're just looking for some extra ways to combat the calories consumed by sneaking bites of your kids halloween candy. Good news - all you have to do is vacuum for about 20 minutes to guiltlessly enjoy one fun sized candy (on average)! A clean house AND chocolate?! Talk about a win-win!
See the list below for some other ways you can get your fitness fix in around the house*!
A year ago today, I went from being a cardio junkie to weight lifting obsessed. I was never one to "waste time" lifting weights, as I defined a "hard workout" as one that burned a ton of calories and had me drenched in sweat. I would go to the gym, wander around trying various pieces of weight equipment, and ultimately lose interest after about 5 minutes. So needless to say, it wasn't something I focused on. But last summer was a bit of a changing point- I was finally at my goal weight, but didn't feel good about my body. The number on the scale was reading less than I was before I had my two kids, but yet I couldn't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably. I was honestly ready to throw in the towel and
Deciding to make a changes in your life can be daunting. Especially if the change is going to significantly impact your way of life. But it doesn’t have to be challenging and you don't have to deny yourself a social life. Sometimes it's just as easy as making a few changes in the way you think and/or view food and fitness. Here are some things that keep me motivated:
1.) Take weekly body measurements. Trust me. Don’t rely on the scale alone - ESPECIALLY if you’re starting a weight training program of any kind. This was something that was hard for me to wrap my head around in the beginning, and over the past year I’ve actually GAINED 8lbs, however I lost 11 inches throughout my body and dropped 2 pant sizes. So don't get discouraged by the scale and get yourself a tape measure!
2.) Take full body pictures (in the same outfit), once a month. I say once a month, because any more and you may not see the changes you hope for, and that can be discouraging. Fitness should be a positive experience, so it's important to not set yourself up for unnecessary failures. You could wait longer and take photos every couple months, or even just at the start and finish of a workout program - whatever is easier for you personally. Just try to take them in the same place and in the same outfit, as that's how you can see a true comparison.
I feel like most people are surprised when I tell them that I don't belong to a gym. I also believe that when I tell people that I work out at home, the first thing that comes to mind is Jane Fonda, a step and terry cloth sweatbands... At least that's what I pictured a home workout to be before I made the switch almost 4 years ago. I was always a gym person- during the week, I'd go before work to run on the treadmill and use the equipment and back after work to take a group exercise class or two. Which meant leaving the house at 5:30am and not getting home until close to 7pm. Weekends were the same, I'd wake up, drive the 25 min to the gym, do my thing, shower and drive the 25 minutes back home. If I was doing a group fitness class, I'd have to schedule my day around the class time as well. This was annoying, but 1.) I was single with limited responsibilities (and therefore more time to waste) and 2.) I didn't know there was another option. This schedule might have worked for me in my 20's, but once I got married, had kids, dogs, a house, etc, it just wasn't sustainable.
There is nothing worse (to me) then when I look at my workout calendar and I see that its a yoga day (or pilates, or stretching, or any form of "active rest"). I know, #firstworldproblems.. But really, it sucks. And when I see that it's a Yoga day, I immediately have the inner battle of whether I suck it up and do it, do the yoga and still add on an extra cardio workout, or just ignore it completely - I tend to lean on the side of ignore. I'm a mom of two little kids, I just don't have time to waste on a workout that isn't going to get me drenched in sweat. Which I know is
I jumped on the Intermittent Fasting bandwagon for a few months back in April and although I felt pretty good doing it, I learned that it just wasn't right for me. Prior to trying IF, I counted macros and tracked everything I ate in MyFitnessPal (which is an amazing calorie and exercise tracking app). I had been doing that for a year and since I'm a snacker, tracking calories showed me my problem areas throughout the day and helped me manage my food choices. The only downfall, for me, was actually sitting down and spending time tracking my foods. So with IF becoming popular, it seemed like a great option since really, all I would have to do is track my "windows". For those not familiar with IF, you are allowed to eat whatever you want (but only eating until your full - you can't just bing eat all day) within a set number of hours. I chose to eat from 12pm-6pm so that I could be able to eat lunch and dinner with my family, which means that I couldn't eat from 6pm-12pm the following day (this is knows as 18:6 - 18 hours off, 6 hours on).
I planned for a long time what my blog would look like, what it would be about, topics I'd include and areas that I would address. I thought that was the hard part, that once I had those down, I could just start writing and everything would just fall into place... WRONG! The absolute hardest part is this first blog post. Where do I start? Do I just jump in on a topic? Do I introduce myself? Am I supposed to sugar coat my thoughts or just be blatantly me?
It's a little like being on a blind date..
So let's run with that and pretend we're meeting at a coffee shop.. actually, let's pretend we're at a bar. Blind dates are always better with a little liquid courage. I'll tell you a little about myself, (and feel free to tell me a little about you in the comment section) and we'll move on from there. Here I go:
My name is Nicole and I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my husband, 2 kids, and 2 dogs. I love working out. And when I say "love" I seriously mean it. I would spend 5 hours a day working out if I could, I might pass out of the floor in a sweat induced coma at the end.. but it would be a happy coma. Fitness and health is a lifestyle and I embrace it with open arms, but I also believe in balance. I bake cookies, I drink wine, I don't hesitate to go to parties and restaurants, and I almost ALWAYS order desert.
Caffeine & Cardio is my dream. It's where I can be me and where I can (hopefully) help others to become the best version of themselves. I want you to be my friend, my confidant, my support system and I want to be yours. And I hope you continue to follow along and join me.