How to Lose 10 Pounds in 1 Month

I am so excited to share my amazing sister-in-law’s story with you today! She is a girl who is gorgeous inside and out but is truly living and experiencing just how much a healthy lifestyle can change your life. She radiates happiness everyday I talk to her now whether on the phone, Google chat, or Facetime so hopefully some of y’all can benefit from the things she learned while making healthy changes in life!

NewYearsEve5_thumb.jpg

Hello readers! For those of you who don’t know me, I am Bo’s little sister, Meg. I’ve made a few appearances in the blog, but now I am here to tell you my own weight loss story.

It’s not one of those “I lost 100 lbs and my life has changed” kind of stories. My weight has always fluctuated and I have spent plenty of time trying to keep it where I want it. But after college, it got pretty out of control. So this is my story about reigning it back in. 

Here I am in July 2012:

I look pretty good if I do say so myself. I had just graduated from UGA and moved to NYC to take on the big bad city.

But here’s me a year later:

Instead of conquering NYC, I ate it.

The stress of moving to a new city and starting a life from scratch clearly did not go well for me. Apparently I thought the best way to adjust was to eat, drink and stop working out. Good solution right?

Luckily, a lot changed between July 2013 and January 2014. I moved into a better apartment (with better roommates), got a promotion and started dating my crush. Life was good but my body still was not.

The weight loss really started in January (where all resolutions begin). My roommate’s brother created a fitness challenge/fundraiser and invited me to participate. Without hesitation, I pledged my dollars, joined to Google doc and threw out everything in my pantry. I was finally motivated to get fit.

The entire month of February I had promised to eat only Paleo friendly foods, workout 6 times a week (for at least 30mins) and not touch alcohol. I still have the Google doc with all the rules. It’s titled “The FML Diet”. No joke – you can click here to see the actual file!

After one month of the challenge I lost 10lbs:

How to lose 20 pounds in 1 months

The workouts weren’t hard at all. I usually exceeded the 30mins limit and the more I worked out, the more I remembered why I enjoy it and the longer I stayed at the gym. I also got into the habit of going to a class once a week (usually SoulCycle, Uplift or Yoga).

So yes, “The FML Diet” worked. But like all crazy diets/month long challenges, It wasn’t going to last unless I learned from it and adapted. I had given up dairy, carbs, alcohol, sugar, all processed foods… pretty much everything except for fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs.

Some of those things I missed (*cough* alcohol). Some of them I, surprisingly, did not. The list depends on the person but here are some of the things I took away from the experience and have integrated into my healthier life:

  • I don’t need diet coke.  In fact I don’t touch it anymore except for during particularly bad hangovers.

  • I don’t need coffee.  I didn’t really miss the caffeine crazed mornings, the afternoon crashes and I sleep SO much better at night without it (which makes it easier to wake up and go to the gym).

  • I do need alcohol. Ok I don’t NEEEED it, but my point is that I’m not going to give it up. I’m just more careful and I don’t use hangovers as an excuse to eat crap.

  • Milk chocolate is dumb.  I’ve always preferred dark chocolate and I don’t know why I ever wasted my time with milk chocolate (with the exception of a few pretzel m&ms).

  • Almond butter is way better than peanut butter.  It just is.

  • Breakfast is awesome. I start every morning with a protein shake, greek yogurt or apple and almond butter. It makes eating a salad for lunch a lot easier.

  • Salads don’t need dressing.  One of my favorite lunches is a simple fresh salad tossed with a little bit of olive oil and salt.

  • Cashews are the best nuts.  Yes, they are expensive and yes they are fatty. But they are filling! I keep them at my desk for emergency situations because a small handful can go a long way.

  • Baking Paleo friendly treats are just as delicious as non-Paleo ones.  You just have to find the right recipes. Some of my favorite desserts have come from this blog. (http://lexiscleankitchen.com/ – thank you Theodora!)

  • Getting out of bed at 6:00am SUCKS.  But the rest of my day will be better if I do it.

All that said, I’m not perfect…

I like beer and pizza, I don’t always make it to the gym, sometimes I need French fries and sometimes a cookie makes my afternoon better. The point is, I know the difference between eating something unhealthy because I’m being lazy or deliberately letting myself enjoy it.

I made a lot of progress during the Paleo challenge but it wasn’t just that one month that got me where I am now. I lost 10lbs during the challenge and have lost 10 more since. I was very aware of how extreme that first month was and deliberately used it to get back into the gym and learn how to reasonably adjust my eating habits.

When the first month was over, people at work were constantly asking, “are you still doing that Paleo thing?” I always said no because they were referencing the extreme version of the diet but the truth is, most days I am. Mostly because the foods I was eating on the diet taste SO much better than what I was eating before.

I learned that a lot of foods just aren’t worth it. I used to have a hard time resisting pastries in the conference room or bagels in the morning. After week one I did not miss those things at all and realized I was eating them because I was lazy, not because I needed them. I was eating snacks because they were there, not because I was hungry. I learned how to listen to my body and reach for the right snacks, not the convenient ones.

megrusselweightloss

I would love to lose some more weight but I am so happy and confident the way I am now, I have turned my focus to maintaining my healthy lifestyle and keeping up the good habits!

To find out more about Paleo Diet or find some healthy, delicious recipes check out these links:

 

If you have any great Paleo Diet recipes or blogs you’d suggest I follow, let me know as I know that it’s a life change for me, not just a fadingwant more information about this diet  or some of Paleo’s health benefits check out this DailyBurn article or let me know in the comments and I can share the exact file I used!

Follow:

The Marathon: What A True Beast

Hi Healthy Happier Bear readers! I’m Meghan from Little Girl in the Big World! When Ashley asked me to share my story her marathons + moderation series I was excited, because after running Disney on January 13th, I haven’t been able to stop thinking or talking about the marathon! What a true beast it is in the most beautiful way!

My journey to the marathon started indirectly in March 2011 when I started the Couch to 5k Program. I started it just to lost weight, but when I got some encouragement from a co-worker who had run a few marathons, I knew a half marathon was doable for me. If you had told me when I stepped out the door those first few weeks that in less than two years I’d be running a marathon I wouldn’t have believed you for even a second. I hated running for all of my life up to that point!DSC01299

But after running Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon as my first half, I knew that running was something that was going to become a part of me. I could write an entire post (and I probably will at some point) on what running has done for me, and I without question wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. Two of the things that are the most important to me are my relatively new commitment to a healthy lifestyle and my ability to continue pursuing goals that I set for myself even after going to college and grad school and securing a job that I’m happy with.

I’m not sure what it was that made me decide to run the Walt Disney World Marathon, but I think it had something to do with the 20th Anniversary medal and the 20-mile spectacular. I wanted to be a part of an entire event, not just a race. So after getting married in July and then having pretty serious abdominal surgery in August, I decided that I was going to make it happen. The surgery went well enough that I knew I’d be able to train after my six-week recovery period was over (I talked to my doctor, who is a runner, and she said it was fine), so I was able to sign up when the race was at 98% capacity. I just made it, and I was so glad.photo 1

But what came next was training, and this is where my moderation came in. Though I definitely had to moderate social time and other activities in my life, the thing that I had to moderate the most was my mind. It has been my biggest enemy and roadblock on my path to achieving goals. It’s not that I doubt myself or that I don’t think I’m able to do something from the get go, it’s just that while I’m in the process I am constantly questioning if I’m capable of finishing a certain run or a certain workout.

My mind is absolutely what I’ve had to moderate on long runs, tempo runs, and speed sessions, because if I let myself believe the occasional negative thought that would come through my head, I probably would have stopped before I had gotten to the starting line. Because I did most of my training alone, I had ample time to think. And while I sometimes thought about work, friends, things I needed to do, my mind would frequently throw in thoughts like, “your hip is hurting! You should cut this run a few miles short!” or, “you don’t need to run this fast to go the time you want. Just slow down a little bit.” Of course I would also doubt myself sometimes as well. There would be times that runs didn’t go as well as I had hoped or things were harder than they should have been, and the idea that maybe I wouldn’t be able to run 26.2 miles. And that was when my heart had to step in.

It was really heart over mind that got me to the starting line, and ultimately the finish line of the Disney Marathon. My heart wanted to do this to prove to myself that I could. I had set a goal with my heart, and I wasn’t about to physically allow anything to get in my way. Even during the race, it was the continued battle between what I knew was true and what my mind was trying to convince me at the time. Talk about mental games! They are sure to arise during training and especially during a first marathon.725248-1064-0017s

But in the end, I did it! I ran 26.2 miles (in reality I ran 26.61 miles because of all of the weaving), I got the medal I had signed up for, and I became a true running addict. I had pushed myself to a point I would have never thought possible earlier in my life, and I did it all by letting my heart continue to believe that it was all possible. It wasn’t pretty, and the race was pretty warm. I didn’t hit my goal times, but I later learned that I probably shouldn’t have set those anyways.725258-1008-0002s

The marathon is a distance to be respected. My advice to anyone that’s training or looking to run their first would be to believe in yourself and to believe in your training. Your mind will try to convince you that you’re weak or not capable at times, but you are! I wrote a recap of some more details of the actual miles along the way, and I kept all my training on my blog. I’m already planning my fall marathon, and I’m really excited to use everything that I learned in this training cycle and race to improve myself on marathon number 2!

Follow:

Give Yoga A Shot

Hello Healthy, Happier Bear readers!

I’m Danielle, one of Ashley’s fellow Greatist Ambassadors and I blog over at Live, Run, Grow!  In sticking with the Marathons and Moderation theme I thought I’d talk a little bit today about my recent marathon training and how scaling back a bit on the actual running and incorporating yoga into my training really helped me!

I ran my first marathon a little over a year ago.  Being a relatively new runner at the time (I began running in May of 2011 and the marathon was January 2012) I didn’t know much about running, training or incorporating cross training into my program.  I basically downloaded the recommended training plan, put on some sneakers and ran.

My training went great…up to 16 miles.  That’s when everything would start to fall apart.  As soon as I got over 16 miles it felt like someone was stabbing me in the butt (which I later learned was because of a muscle called the piriformis) and the arches of my feet killed!  Every step I took felt like I was stepping on broken glass.  I even called my husband towards the end of my 20 mile run crying telling him I didn’t think I could do this and I didn’t even want to go to the race, I was in too much pain and I’d rather not go than not finish.

Well, I DID go, and I DID finish.  My feet hurt and I was sore for days, but I knew the second I crossed the finish line that it wasn’t my last marathon.

Marathon Finish

Fast forward to the fall of 2012, I was beginning to up my training for my second marathon, but this time I was going for the Walt Disney World Goofy Race and a Half Challenge – that is the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday (and just for good measure I threw in the 5k on Friday!).  I was worried about the long runs after what I had experienced last year and especially worried about having to train with back-to-back long runs to be ready to run a half and full back to back.  On top of that I was starting Yoga Teacher Training and the program ran October through December…exactly the timeframe that I’d be doing my marathon training!

I was really concerned about the effect that 3-4 vinyassa yoga classes a week would have on my running…would my legs be too tired? Would they be sore after a hard class?  Would I have the time to fit in the yoga AND my runs??

The beginning of my training was similar to the previous year, but I was still dreading getting up to those 18 and 20 mile runs.  I really mentally prepared myself for them…I knew what was coming and I was ready this time, pain or not I was determined to tackle those runs without any tears this year!

Well, my 18 miler came (following a 9 miler the day before) and around mile 16 I turned my game face on and waited for the pain to come…but it didn’t!  I was amazed, but didn’t want to get too excited, it was probably just a fluke.  A few weeks later I did 10 miles on a Saturday and then headed out for 20 the next day…NO PAIN!  I got to my house at 20 miles, paused for a minute…and then kept going!

As I ran those extra few miles I began to think about my training this time around and realized that I really hadn’t been experiencing the same aches, pains and soreness I had the last time around.  My foam roller wasn’t getting used quite as much (although it still did get a lot of love!), I didn’t carry around a golf ball to roll the arches of my feet on, and my body didn’t need as many rest days after my long runs.  The difference?  All the yoga I had been doing!

I finished the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge a few weeks ago feeling great and not experiencing any soreness at all!

Goofy Medal Pic Danielle

I even stopped and did some pushups with the green army guys at mile 21!

Marathon Pushups

Because of my experience, I am a true believer of the benefits of yoga for runners and love to be able to share them with others now that I am a certified yoga instructor (I even feature yoga poses for runners on my blog!).

When I began running and started doing some research on training I was surprised to learn that stretching was such a controversial topic!  Many believe that stretching before a run can lead to an injury…and I’m sure for a lot of people this is true.  If you don’t stretch often and your muscles are cold and tight it’s easy to push too far and hurt yourself.  But, if done correctly, incorporating yoga into your regular routine can actually stretch and strengthen the major running muscle groups and help to prevent injury!

Triangle Forward Bend

This past weekend I even took a workshop with Sage Rountree who is an internationally recognized authority on yoga for athletes.  She’s written several great books on the topic and regularly contributes to Yoga Journal and Runner’s World (keep an eye out for a great pre-run routine from her in February’s Runner’s World!).

One of the interesting things I learned from Sage is that a lot of athlete’s have a type A personalities (of course they do, that’s why they’re so competitive!) and it’s hard for them to take a step back from their usual full speed ahead training and do something like yoga, but in the long run (no pun intended!) it’s often that step back that gives your body the time to recover so that you can continue to move forward!

So, that’s my Marathons + Moderation tip for you – give yoga a shot!  You just may be surprised at the results!

Follow:

26.2 Miles Is Far

Hi! I’m Steph from 321delish! I’ve been following Ashley for some time now, and I finally met her in person at Meghann’s wedding this January. Ashley reached out to me to tell my story for marathons + moderation, and I happily said yes!

I was a college swimmer at a small division III school in Illinois. Working out 20+ hours per week was just normal for me. When I graduated, I did Teach for America in Washington, DC and had little time to get in any kind of workout, which was really frustrating to me. When I was able to find a little bit of “me” time, I just had to do something that got my heart pumping. The thought of going through all the rigamarole to get in the pool for a workout was not appealing, and swimming solo is BORING. So, I strapped on a pair of sneakers and went for a run around DC. I realized that running was actually fun! I loved running around and exploring my new city.

IMG_0227

When things settled down in the spring of my first year of teaching, I joined a kickball team. One night after a few too many rounds of flip cup after our game, a few of my teammates started talking about the Marine Corps marathon. A few minutes later we had all decided to register!

IMG_0208

I had never run a marathon before. I was clueless about what I needed to do to prepare. I just figured that I needed to run. A Lot. I didn’t print out a plan, I didn’t join a running group, I just kind of ran around for a few miles and then kept adding on some mileage every week. Several weeks before the marathon, my kickball buddy said that we should do a long run, so we planned an 18 miler. I’m pretty sure I only ran 15 of it, and even that was a struggle! That was the most mileage I did prior to the marathon. Friends, I do NOT recommend this way of training.

IMG_0180

Marathon day came and I was nervous and excited. I was hoping to run a 4:30, and I thought that was pretty reasonable for me. (Based on what, I’m not exactly sure…) My one kickball friend was super speedy, and I don’t even think I saw him before we started. My other kickball friend had gotten injured, so she was in a different corral than me. So, I was all by myself, but thankfully my parents had come down to cheer me on.

IMG_0188

I felt pretty good for the first half. I remember checking my half split and I was right on target to meet my goal. I saw my parents a few times and had a big smile on my face- I was running a marathon!

Mile 20 took us over the bridge and into VA and here’s where I hit the wall. I remember running through Crystal City thinking, “I could probably walk faster than I’m running…” But I’m stubborn and was too proud to let myself walk.

IMG_0222

6.2 miles later I saw the finish line and I was oh so thankful. That last 10K was miserable, but I had made it to the finish line! I didn’t reach my goal time (I think I came in somewhere around a 4:45) but I was so proud of myself for finishing 26.2 miles of running! Unfortunately, I was too tired to smile for a finish line pic J

IMG_0245

I’m glad I have my “first marathon” experience, but I would not recommend my strategy to anyone. However, I still like running, so I didn’t traumatize myself too badly J I definitely learned a few things about running from that experience, so here’s a few tips for a newbie from a swimmer turned runner turned triathlete:

1) 26.2 miles is a LONG way. I had ZERO concept of just how far a marathon really is. I knew it was a long way, but I figured my recreational running would sufficiently prepare me for the race. Boy, was I wrong! Running a few miles a day, 4 times a week will NOT prepare you for a marathon.

2) Research marathon training plans. Again, I was clueless about what it took to prepare for running a marathon, let alone any distance of running race. I’m a swimmer, not a runner. Ask me what it would take to prepare to swim the 200 IM and I could get you there. Running? Definitely not. Do a little internet search to get some idea of what kinds of mileage is ample prep for a marathon.

3) I am stronger than I think. The marathon is tough on your body and tough on your mind. The summer I was preparing for the race, someone said to me, “You won’t finish the marathon.” When things got tough, I remembered that conversation and didn’t let myself give up. I would not let him be right. And it worked J

Good luck out there first time marathoners! You can do it! Trust me though, the next time around was a far better experience!

How about you? Have you ever trained this way or do you have a strict regimen?

Follow: