Glutes

I read this article on bodybuilding.com and wanted to share it with you all. I have always had a “really nice butt” but as I gained weight it was still nice but nowhere near as nice. These are exercises that I do to build those muscles to help pick it back up and round it out again.

How Jen Built Her Booty

how-jen-selter-built-her-booty-header-v2-830x467.jpg

Jen Selter may have the most recognizable posterior on the planet, thanks to her Instagram ‘belfies,’ or butt selfies. Here, she shares her favorite glute routine!
It’s been said that my glutes don’t stop traffic—they shift it into reverse. That sort of glute development doesn’t happen by accident.
Like any body part you want to bring up, your glutes need direct attention, and we’re not just talking about squats, leg curls, and leg presses. Sure, those are great moves to help shape your booty. Yet, I’ve learned that to really accentuate those curves, you need to do more isolation work.
Here I’ve put together my five favorite glute-focused moves in a single routine. But they’re not just any five exercises; these vigorously attack your glutes, leaving your rear with no choice but to fill out that bikini or those jeans in all the right ways.Follow this plan to target your glutes and build a great backside that’ll surely turn heads—and drop a few jaws.

1. Donkey Kick

@jenselter / instagram.com

About This Move
One of my favorites, this is a great way to kick off any glute-specific workout.
Do It Right
  • Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip width.
  • Keeping your right foot flexed and leg bent, extend your right leg and press your heel toward the ceiling until your foot is directly above your butt.
  • Return to the start position.
  • Do one set of 15 reps before switching legs, and you’ll definitely feel it in your glutes.
Notes
The important thing to remember with this exercise is to squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. The rate of descent is also critical; you need a slow negative to really get that burn.
It’s also a key to keep your knee off the ground when coming back to the start position to maintain tension on the glutes.
2. Fire Hydrant
Like any body part you want to bring up, your glutes need direct attention, and we’re not just talking about squats, leg curls, and leg presses.
About This Move
I typically do this movement second in my workout to hit the glutes from a different angle. You’ll notice the different areas this movement targets. It is a great way to ensure your glutes get a great all-around workout.
Do It Right
  • Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width and knees hip-width apart, keeping your working-side foot flexed and knee bent.
  • This time, however, open your right leg out to your side until your inner thigh is parallel with the floor.
  • Squeeze your glutes in the top position, but also make sure your abs get a good squeeze as well. As you return to the start position, keep your knee off the floor to maintain tension on the working muscle.
  • Do just one set. Repeat 15 times for one leg before switching sides.
3. Chair Kick
About This Move
You’ll obviously need a stable chair for this standing move, and my preference is a tall one.
Do It Right
  • Stand with your feet together holding onto the back of the chair at arm’s length for balance. Lean forward slightly and lift your right leg directly behind you, keeping your knee straight but not locked. Squeeze your glutes hard, making sure to keep your hips square to the chair and not rotated, which reduces the focus on the target area.
  • Raise your leg as high as you can, then lower it under control and return to the start position.
  • Do 10 reps on one leg before switching sides.

4. Squat Pulse

@jenselter / instagram.com

About This Move
By now your glutes should be burning like crazy, but throw in this squat pulse to send that to a whole new level. The payoff is definitely worth it.
Do It Right
  • Stand erect with your legs just wider than shoulder width, toes turned slightly out, and your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Squat down and keep your knees in line with your toes, keeping your core tight and back straight. At the bottom of the movement, your thighs should be parallel with the floor; this is where you’ll start the pulses.
  • Rise up and descend no more than about 6 inches, repeating this motion 10-15 times.
  • Do three sets of 10-15 reps and you’ll definitely notice some impressive progress on your backside.
Notes
The trick is to stay in the squat position until the end—it’s definitely not easy. Try to push yourself and don’t stand up until you’re finished.
5. Squat Kick
About This Move
This finisher is a great add-on to a typical squat and you’ll immediately notice how it targets your glutes at the end of a squat.
Do It Right

@jenselter / instagram.com

  • Stand with your feet just outside hip-width apart and your toes slightly turned out.
  • Keeping your arms straight in front of you, slowly descend into a deep squat.
  • Push back up to the top position and in one continuous motion lift one leg directly out to your side as high as you can.
  • Do 10 reps and then switch legs, doing three sets.
Notes
If your knees go past an imaginary line coming up from your toes as you squat, make sure to widen your stance a little bit.
Targeting The Glutes With Cardio
Not all cardio equipment is the same when it comes to working your glutes. To target my rear, I work the Stairmaster and walk on a treadmill set at a fairly steep incline.
Doing one (or both) of these at the end of a glute workout is a great idea. Otherwise, add cardio work on separate days for some extra booty-blasting fun.

Is Working Out Really Worth It?

This is a question that people have asked me personally and I felt the need to address it. While participating in a post on a weight loss support group that I belong to, a woman sent me a message saying that I should just lose all of the fat that I would like to by diet alone because exercising at this point is not going to do me much good because I still have another 35lbs to lose. I was dumbfounded as I read and reread this sentence. I could not understand why a person would try and discourage another person from exercise while trying to lose weight. So I took this opportunity to break it down to her.

Exercise is good for everyone……. I will say it again EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE!

The point when trying to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit and two ways to do so are to (1) cut calories and eat healthier foods and (2) EXERCISE! I explained to her that cardiovascular exercises will help burn calories during the workout and that weight training will not only increase your heart rate and burn calories while doing so, but it will also burn calories once you are finished exercising. She still did not want to hear it, so I continued to explain to her that losing weight by diet alone would only end up creating a smaller version of my jiggly self which I was not after. She informed me that women only put on .5 of weight per month, therefore I would not be toned up by the time I lost all of the weight I am striving to lose. In an attempt to educate her I told her how losing weight without resistance training leads to not only the loss of fat but muscle as also; I was then told to lift weights after I lose fat to tone up. At this time, I told her to have a great day and backed away from the conversation.

I was not able to comprehend why someone would put up a defense as to why a person shouldn’t exercise while trying to lose weight but I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing since it’s working for me so yes it is worth it!

What’s for Lunch?

This morning I got up earlier than usual, I had enough time to shampoo and braid my hair which is a lengthy task so that gives you an idea of just how early I got up. With all of that extra time,  I decided to make turkey sliders for lunch today and I wanted to share the recipe with you.

 

imgres.jpg   (This is not my picture but it looks just like this, I forgot to take one this morning =)

Ingredients:

Sauce:

Plain Greek Yogurt             2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice       dill weed

minced garlic       1 pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate

Hamburger:

Jennie-O ground turkey       raw spinach       blue cheese         yellow onion fresh garlic

fresh garlic         salt        pepper         extra virgin olive oil

Mince garlic and onion and sautee in a pan with spinach

Mix garlic, onions, and spinach in with the ground turkey then add salt and pepper; continue to mix.

scoop 1 oz of meat and make a hamburger patty

put blue cheese on top and cover with another hamburger patty

cook as you normally would, I use a George Foreman Grill because it’s easy to cleanup

I use Kings Hawaiian Sweet rolls for bun (I know not the healthiest choice but they are so tasty!) I dress with my greek yogurt sauce and enjoy!

 

 

More Weight Lifting

I found more information to follow up with my previous post about women and weight lifting. This article is from Bodybuilding.com and these are the rules that I follow. I love the information given and I hope it helps someone else along their jourmey.

Women’s Strength Training: Your Guide To A Sexy & Fit Body!

Since you know that lifting pink dumbbells isn’t going to get you a lean, sexy and fit body, let’s discuss what you should be doing in the gym. Find out more.

Thankfully there are more women strength training now than ever before. The days of aerobics, sweating to the oldies and wearing leotards are long and gone.

With that said, it’s still a fact that most women don’t strength train properly. The gyms are filled with women who pick up nothing heavier than a pink dumbbell. They think if they pick up some real weight that they’ll wake up the next morning looking like a linebacker in the NFL.

I have seen this day after day while working in the gym. The women will make their way back to the weight room and they’ll proceed to do dumbbell curls and triceps kickbacks with the puny pink dumbbells.

Most women never pick up enough weight to get a great training effect. If you’re one of those women who think you’ll get big and bulky from lifting weights, you need to dismiss that myth right now.

I have trained dozens of women and had them lifting hard and heavy, and that type of strength training had only improved their physiques. I had a lady who won the Mrs. Kentucky pageant (not a figure or bodybuilding competition) squatting her body weight and doing chin-ups.

Training With Heavy Weights

So here’s the main point of this article: training heavy with the right exercises is the proper way to strength train and it will get you the best aesthetic results. Period.

Since you now know that lifting pink dumbbells isn’t going to get you a lean, sexy and fit body, let’s discuss what you should be doing in the gym.

1. Strength Train With The Proper Exercises

The best exercises to use are big, compound movements that recruit a lot of muscle mass. Here are some examples:

Lower Body

Upper Body Horizontal Pushing

Upper Body Vertical Pressing

Upper Body Vertical Pulling

Upper Body Horizontal Pulling

Core Exercises

If you spent the rest of your strength training career using nothing but the exercises listed above, you would build a lean and sexy body no questions asked.

You would also build a better body at a faster rate than if you used isolation exercises and machines.

2. Strength Train With The Proper Intensity

This goes back to talking about how most women never use enough weight. Without intensity you simply won’t get a great training effect. So, what is the proper intensity?

I can’t give you a number because everyone’s strength levels are different. This is the best way that I can explain it: if you’re going to do a set of eight reps, then that last rep should be tough and you should be able to complete one more rep (maybe two) but absolutely no more.

If you do eight reps on a set of squats but you know you could have done 12 or more, that is not intensity. You need to finish your sets knowing you could have done one absolutely no more than two more reps. It is that intensity that will actually challenge your muscles and help you build a lean and fit body.

To lift with even more intensity, you simply train in a lower rep range. Example: sets of five reps. To lift with less intensity, you simply train in a higher rep range. Example: sets of 12 reps. I’ll tie all of this together later.

3. Strength Train With The Proper Splits

 

The typical gym trainee should only be using one of two training splits: total body workouts (which aren’t a split at all) or upper/lower splits in which they train upper body one day and lower body the next. These two training splits are the only two the typical gym trainee with ever need.

These splits will allow you to train your muscles with enough frequency. Plus, you will be stimulating a lot of muscle mass each training session so your metabolism with be elevated longer. Furthermore, these two splits will help you build a lean and sexy body much faster than any other split. I’ll provide examples later.

4. Strength Train Wisely

By this statement I am referring to using your time wisely. The only time I recommend doing straight sets (meaning you do all the prescribed sets and reps for one exercise before moving on to the next) is on lower body days.

After a hard set of squats or deadlifts you won’t feel like doing anything except resting (or maybe doing some calf raises). In the case of total body workouts or upper/lower splits, you can pair or group exercises together. This will allow you to get more work done in less time; that is always a good thing.

Sample Training Programs

Now that you know the four main principles to strength train properly, let’s tie this all together to reveal how your training in the gym should look.

Option 1: Total Body Workout

Option 1: Total Body Workout (High Intensity)
Print
1
Barbell Deadlift

4 sets, 6 Reps (60 sec. rest)

2
Dumbbell Bench Press

4 sets, 6 Reps (60 sec. rest)

3
One-Arm Dumbbell Row

4 sets, 6 Reps (60 sec. rest)

Option 1: Total Body Workout (Low Intensity)
Print
1
Barbell Squat

3 sets, 12 Reps (75 sec. rest)

2
Pushups

3 sets, 12 Reps (75 sec. rest)

3
Chin-Up

3 sets, 12 Reps (75 sec. rest)

Option 2: Upper/Lower Split

Option 2: Upper/Lower Split (Day 1)
Print
1
Barbell Squat

4 sets, 6 Reps

2
Barbell Deadlift

4 sets, 6 Reps

3
Split Squats

4 sets, 6 Reps

4
Plank
3 sets, 30 Sec.

 

 

 

The typical gym trainee should only be using one of two training splits: total body workouts (which aren’t a split at all) or upper/lower splits in which they train upper body one day and lower body the next. These two training splits are the only two the typical gym trainee with ever need.

These splits will allow you to train your muscles with enough frequency. Plus, you will be stimulating a lot of muscle mass each training session so your metabolism with be elevated longer. Furthermore, these two splits will help you build a lean and sexy body much faster than any other split. I’ll provide examples later.

4. Strength Train Wisely

By this statement I am referring to using your time wisely. The only time I recommend doing straight sets (meaning you do all the prescribed sets and reps for one exercise before moving on to the next) is on lower body days.

After a hard set of squats or deadlifts you won’t feel like doing anything except resting (or maybe doing some calf raises). In the case of total body workouts or upper/lower splits, you can pair or group exercises together. This will allow you to get more work done in less time; that is always a good thing.

Sample Training Programs

Now that you know the four main principles to strength train properly, let’s tie this all together to reveal how your training in the gym should look.

Option 1: Total Body Workout

Option 1: Total Body Workout (High Intensity)
Print
1
Barbell Deadlift
4 sets, 6 Reps (60 sec. rest)

2
Dumbbell Bench Press
4 sets, 6 Reps (60 sec. rest)

3
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
4 sets, 6 Reps (60 sec. rest)

Option 1: Total Body Workout (Low Intensity)
Print
1
Barbell Squat
3 sets, 12 Reps (75 sec. rest)

2
Pushups
3 sets, 12 Reps (75 sec. rest)

3
Chin-Up
3 sets, 12 Reps (75 sec. rest)

Option 2: Upper/Lower Split

Option 2: Upper/Lower Split (Day 1)
Print
1
Barbell Squat
4 sets, 6 Reps

2
Barbell Deadlift
4 sets, 6 Reps

3
Split Squats
4 sets, 6 Reps

4
Plank
3 sets, 30 Sec.

Option 2: Upper/Lower Split (Day 2)
Print
1
Pushups
3 sets, 10 Reps

2
Seated Cable Rows
3 sets, 12 Reps

3
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
3 sets, 8 Reps

4
Chin-Up
3 sets, 10 Reps

Note: Day three (lower body) and day four (upper body) should consist of different exercises and can be in a different rep range.

The above workouts are to give you an idea of how to spend your training time wisely. The exercises used in the examples are big, compound movements that “give you the biggest bang for your buck.” Your training should mimic that setup.

Keep your training simple. Just focus on using the best exercises and train in different rep ranges. Do not spend all of your time training in a high rep range. It will greatly benefit your body if you train in a lower rep range as well.

Now that you know how to strength train properly, take this new knowledge to the gym and start building a lean and sexy body.

 

Reference

http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/womens-strength-training-guide.html

Women and Weight Lifting

images.jpgWomen often times are intimidated by weight training and have this fear of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. First, let me say there is no way for a woman to look manly when weight training unless she is using some sort of enhancer; our bodies simply don’t make that much testosterone. I started lifting weights when I first started this process and they have helped me make a significant amount of progress over the past 7 months. Actually, when I go to the gym my main focus is pumping iron. I usually do anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes of cardio before I hit the weights. Throughout my journey, I have done an endless amount of research on why weight training is so effective and I’m going to give you everything from multiple sources in a nutshell.

MORE EFFECTIVE FAT LOSS

Think weightlifting only benefits those who want shirt-ripping arms? Think again.Although many people consider weightlifting only a means to add size, when contrasted head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories.The huge advantage to weight training is your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise.

Curves
As you build muscle, your body begins to take a nice hourglass shape. Though endurance exercise can help you lose weight, that weight comes in the form of both fat and muscle tissue.If you’re losing both fat and muscle, you can lose those lovely curves as well. Strength training can help create and sustain them.

Boost your metabolism

The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

MORE MUSCLE, MORE CALORIE EXPENDITURE

As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions from a simple blink to a heavy squat contribute to how many calories you burn in a given day. Sitting burns fewer calories than standing; standing burns fewer than walking, and walking burns fewer than strength training.The more muscle contractions you experience during a day, the more calories you’ll burn. If you have more lean muscle mass, you’ll have more muscle contractions and thus burn more calories.

INCREASED ENERGY

As noted above, resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train. A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favorably affect energy balance and fat oxidation.2 Rather than reaching for that early afternoon cup of coffee, grab a barbell.

BONE HEALTH

As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

You’ll Boost Your Flexibility

Ignore that super ripped guy fumbling in yoga class for just a minute. Researchers from the University of North Dakota pitted static stretches against strength-training exercises and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen. The key word here is “full-range,” notes Sinkler. If you can’t complete the full motion—going all the way up and all the way down—with a given weight, you may need to use a lighter dumbbell and work up to it

Fights Depression

You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help alleviate depression, and weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training. Many women find that regular strength training, in conjunction with psychological treatment, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.

Defend Against Diabetes

In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking diabetes medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood, which can reduce complications from diabetes or even help prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place.

 

Resources

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/8-reasons-women-should-lift-weights.html

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/lose-weight/build-strength/benefits-strength-training/?page=4

https://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/fitness/10-reasons-women-need-lift-weights

 

So, I’m Vibin’!

CLICHE!!!!  Right? Vibes and energy is all the . . . renewed rave, isn’t it? (renewed, right?  Was it not inspired by hippies?  I don’t know, I’m not much of a cultural history expert . . . anyway. . .)   We always talk about positive vibes only; feeling positive energy. As corny and fake as it may sound, it’s real!!  The problem is, we limit its power.  Curious to know why this was on my mind?  One of my BFFs, Candi!  She and I were talking about the woes of weight loss, nutrition, blah blah blaaaaaah and then she reminded me:  vibes and energy!!

For example, you know how there are certain positive things that happen routinely and you’re confident about it? Like, knowing where to park at the mall because you’re bound to get that good space, or knowing the flow of traffic on the freeway and confidently avoiding spending more time on your commute than necessary? We put those confident, positive vibes into the atmosphere and they rarely let us down.  Often times, we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. We need to learn to train ourselves to apply this to everything in life.  Including weight loss!!!

Today I ate clean and had a positive, productive day, although I’m still sick.  Bummer, right?!  I honestly believe that my vibes kept me honest and clean.  I told myself that I wasn’t going to put up with another day of set back and I meant it and it was a rewarding feeling.  Now, the challenge is consistency and CONVINCING yourself this this is valid and that it works!!  I’m considering doing a weekly “vibe” update.  I want to challenge myself to “Vibe it out” for a month.  Feel free to do the same.  We should exchange results weekly.  Go in with positive energy and confidence for success and make a habit of this. . . then look at your success rate

Vibin’ with love,

Adriane.

Carb-less BLT

 

This is one of my quick go-to lunches

images.jpg

  • 1/4 c. green onion, fresh, organic
  • 1/4 c. alfalfa sprouts, fresh, organic
  • 1 slc. tomatoes, red, fresh, organic
  • 3 slc. bacon, uncured, nitrate-free, organic, pastured
  • 1 collard greens, fresh, organic
  • 1 whole avocado, fresh, organic

Bake the bacon In the oven, spread the avocado onto a rinsed and dried collard green leaf. Add on sprouts, tomatoes lettuce and onion. top with the bacon and roll up the wrap as you would a tortilla, cut in half and enjoy!

Danielle’s Story

me

8 years ago I had a beautiful baby girl; this is the start of when my struggle with weight began. I was 5’2  and 136 pounds when I found out I was pregnant. My pregnancy was normal and I barely gained any weight until the last 6 weeks averaging 7-10 lbs a week. I went into the hospital at 190 lbs, after 26 hours of labor on a Pitocin drip and birthing a 7 lb infant I left the hospital at 202 lbs. How could this be? Unbeknownst to me, synthetic hormones are not my friend. 8 weeks after my c-section I had an IUD inserted which contained progesterone; over the years I slowly crept up to 256 lbs. I tried all types of weight loss methods, attending boot camp classes, eating a strict 1400 calorie a day diet, weight watchers, teas, you name it I tried it and nothing worked so I gave up. I began to suffer from depression which dropped my motivation down to zero. I had accepted being fat for the rest of my life. Fast forward to 2016, I had my IUD removed and once that happened I lost 18 lbs within 4 weeks. My doctor informed me that I can no longer use any forms of hormonal birth control due to the way my body reacts to it which is extreme weight gain. Since June 26, 2016 to date I have lost a total of 50 lbs with little effort. I began working out 1-2 days a week in October 2016 and have been able to see steady changes in my body since then. I am using this forum to not only document my weight loss journey but to support my friend and hopefully inspire someone else who needs encouragement.

Seafood Anyone?!?

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Garlic and herbs provide the most tantalizing aroma throughout the house.  Poor hubby.  He’ll be missing out as he can’t enjoy seafood . . .

So, I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve been slacking in the “exercise” department.  With poor timing, then getting sick, I feel like I just can’t win and it gets stressful.   However, I’ve been maintaining my healthy eating lifestyle.  I’ve still managed to come down a few lbs because abs are made in the kitchen, right?  Forgive me in advanced for my photo quality . . . my cam kinda sucks lol.  SO, anyway, for lunch I decided to make and share  another excellent recipe:  MUSSELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (The sharing part was decided at the last second. So no photo instructions 😦 but at least I remembered the finished product, right?)

For calorie counters, this recipe is only about ~180 calories for 4oz of mussels!!!!!!  For macro followers, this recipe has about 10g of carbs, 6g of fat, and a WHOPPING 27g of protein!!!!!!!!!!  Who knew?!  I surely didn’t until reading the nutrition facts!!!  Don’t believe me?!  Just look for yourself . . .

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See?!  Dieting can be so awesome!  So anyway.  Here’s the recipe

 

Ingredients:

4 oz mussels

1 cup of water from boiled mussels

1 8oz can of diced tomatoes

1/2 stick of butter

1 head of garlic (you know I love my garlic)- chopped

1 small onion-chopped

3 tbsp parsley

3 tbsp basil

 

Directions: (prepare mussels properly before boiling.  Remove beard, wash, etc)

Boil the mussels for 3-5 minutes until mussels open.  Retain 8oz of water.  In a large pan or dutch oven, add all ingredients until warm. Pour into your fav dish and enjoy!!!

A piece of baguette or perhaps pasta (squid ink would be my choice) would go GREAT with this dish.  However . . . the way carbs and my hormones are set up . . .

So if you all try this recipe, please let me know what you think.  I look forward to your responses.

Love,

Adriane XO

Fighting Winter Blues- J.A. Allen

It would be fair to say that occasionally, I suffer from depression. It seems to be a common thread among some writers. I don’t talk about it often, simply because it isn’t the looming monster a few of my friends and family members face. But around this time of year—every year—it sneaks up on me: a […]

via Fighting Winter Blues — J. A. Allen

100 Calorie Snacks

I found a list of 88 low-calorie snacks on Pinterest and I would like to share a few with you guys. All of these are under 100 calories

Frozen Grapes

28 grapes (about 1 scant cup), placed in the freezer for 2+ hours

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Honeyed Yogurt

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt with 1 dash cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey

One of my Faves! Grilled Pineapple

2 1/4-inch thick pineapple rounds (3 1/2-inch diameter), grilled (or sautéed) for 2 minutes or until golden

Nuts ‘n’ Berries

2/3 cup blueberries sprinkled with 1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Cinnamon Applesauce

1 cup unsweetened applesauce, sprinkled with cinnamon

Baked Apple

1 small apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 sprinkle cinnamon, baked until tender

Apple Chips

1/2 cup unsweetened, such as Bare Snacks

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Cucumber Salad

1 sliced large cucumber tossed with 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

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Pistachios

25 kernels

Cheese and Crackers

5 Kashi Original 7 Grain crackers with 1 part-skim mozzarella cheese stick

Dijon Pretzels

2 pretzel rods with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Shrimp Cocktail

8 large shrimp with 2 tablespoons classic cocktail sauce

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Mental Health & Weightloss

Image result for depression I have suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember dating back to my early teens. I started taking sleeping pills that were prescribed by my pediatrician at 13 years old when I watched my grandmother wither away from esophageal cancer. I didn’t know how to express what was wrong with me but I knew it wasn’t normal.

Image result for depressionA few years later 6 weeks before graduating from high school my grandfather lost his battle with lung cancer. This is when the depression really kicked in. Although I was still going to school every day I felt defeated and was so disappointed that he did not live long enough to see me graduate. The years following the depression came and went. I would be okay for a while but then BAM! Here it is again. This has gone on for all of my adult life and it has had an effect on my weight loss in so many different ways. In 2014 I separated from my husband and we divorced in 2015. Throughout this process I kept a strong face; I did not have time to fall apart because I had to take care of my daughter. This past summer every emotion that I did not deal with came crashing down on me and I had a nervous breakdown. I went through increased levels of anxiety, changes in my appetite, depersonalization, isolation, the inability to concentrate, insomnia, mood swings, rapid thinking and a lot more. All I did was go to work and go home to sleep even though I had trouble sleeping. Some days I wouldn’t eat and barely drink. I would have no motivation to do anything besides lay around the house; no one knew what I was going through except my supervisor, Latasha. To others, I was normal because they didn’t know what was going on behind the doors of my home. I went to my doctor to ask for a behavioral health referral. Three weeks later I was able to see a therapist and nurse practitioner. I worked through my grief in therapy for a few months and during that time I was able to focus on myself and I went back to doing something that I absolutely love which is tennis. At this time the weight began coming off a little more quickly and I played until it became so cold outside that I could no longer stand it. This brought a great amount of joy to my days, I would get off work, pick my daughter up and head to the courts 2-3 days a week. My friends would sometimes join me on the courts and eventually at the gym. From September-December I lost a total of 17 lbs and my confidence was boosted tremendously. I have been working fervently ever since to stay on track; during the month of December, I was able to drop another 10lbs. I was off track that month so I really don’t know how I did it but I’m happy I did. Today, 15 days into the new year and I am 205. I remember seeing this number 8 years ago and slowly watching it creep higher and higher; but not this time.

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