Mamavation Monday ~ Prepare for Thanksgiving!

University of Texas at Tyler Campus
Gorgeous UT Tyler Campus-had fun walking all around it w/ hubby!

Short and sweet this week!

The goods: I ran 3 times last week – one mile each time – Woot woot! Plus I found more dresses that I look good in than I look bad in when I went dress shopping.

The bads: Still  having the same struggles and trip ups as always and still hovering right at where I’ve been stuck, stuck, stuck for basically the past year and 1/2.

 The plan: Right now it’s just to get through the holidays without going *above* my stuck range. Indulging but not over indulging, and not letting the 3 weeks up in Wyoming around Christmas time throw me for a loop.

How are things going in your weight loss world? What are your plans for preparing for the season of treats?!

Nicole Elliott

The Trouble With Texas { Mamavation Monday }

Is all of the food!

Now–I know what you’re thinking, and no, no one *forced* me to eat all the pizza, BBQ, fried chicken, ice cream, and peach cobbler. But when the ppl you’re living with buy and offer it to you on a consistent basis-well let’s just say will power has never been my really strong suite.

Seeing a *lovely* picture of my love handles posted on FB, however, shook me out of my comfort food coma and made me realize that staying up far past midnight, sleeping in late, not working out, and eating above delicious food is not a good combination for pictures or my sanity of mind. So this week we’re getting back into a routine and staying that way!

I actually haven’t gained all that much-I’m still hovering right through 135-138 like always but I can *feel* and see that a lot of that has transitioned from muscle to fat-and with the holidays and my brother’s wedding rapidly approaching I know I need to start good habits now!

So, here I am again-ready for action and needing more support than ever! 🙂

Linking back up with Mamavation!

Nicole Elliott

My First Mamavation Monday

Me and my adorable 21 Month Old

This week I’m back on track after taking a few weeks off for my parents visit and the pre and post crazy that was my life because of it! This is also my very first week being part of the Mamavation Sistas and linking up with them–so if you’re hoping by *thank you and welcome*

I’ve been doing Not So Fat and Slim and Trim posts on my own since 2010. You can read about my weight gain and loss journey when I started and watch my first Slim & Trim Vlog of this year to get up to speed on me and my journey so far.

One thing that I realized that is awesome is that I was 20 lbs over my pre-baby weight when I started–which means that I was able to lose that weight–hurray!!!

The last 10 lbs has just STUCK on though. I keep bouncing up and down and up and down around 135. I’ll get down to 133 when I’m doing good and then slide back up to 138 when I’m not.

Which brings us to today when I weighed in at 138.2 after a few too many Pepsis and a bit too much cheesecake while my parents were here.

I’m still dedicated to getting down to my “skinny pretty” weight of 125 lbs though–and I know I could if I could just stick with it! My major pitfalls are loving to snack and night, especially the sweet stuff, and portion control.

This week I’ll be back on my regular workout plan (3 times a week) and really going to focus on not snacking at night (no food after 8 is my “rule” for myself this week) and keeping track of my food and being accountable through a picture food journal.

I’m really excited to have others to cheer me on and link up with! I look forward to getting to know you all and cheering for you in your health and wellness journeys as well!

UnJunk Your Junk Food ~ (Slim & Trim…late/early)

As you should all be aware of by now I’m on a mission to get slim & trim. These week’s have been a little crazy for me as I’m getting ready for my parents to fly out–so I’m going to tell you about a great book in lieu of my normal post!

For me getting “slim & trim” is more than just about being skinny and attractive (although those are two things I’m super looking forward to) but also about taking charge of my health, energy, and life!

Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks was a great book for me to read–I found it extremely interesting that the same ingredients that this book “blacklists” where nearly identical to the ones that were listed in my Fit Moms for Life book as well. That made me stop and think–hey maybe these guys are all onto something!!

Many of them came to me as no surprise–Aspartame has given me nasty headaches before when I tried to switch to some no calorie drinks a few years ago and I haven’t touched the horrid stuff ever since. I love that in the section of the book they don’t just go, “This is a NO NO list so don’t you eat these ingredients” they actually break it down into WHY an ingredient is a really bad choice. They explain it in simple and clear terms that make a whole lot of sense!

After reading the book I took to the cupboards to discover just how “nasty” the foods we eat are. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised! It seems that without even really knowing why (before now) I gravitate to more wholesome and low ingredient foods. I’ve never gotten the kids “fancy” high sugar and dye packed to ying-yang breakfast cereal or desserts. Since I cook mostly from scratch (or partially scratch) the yuck is kept down-which is great.

There were still a few big surprises though–I had no idea that peanut butter was chock full of trans fat–sure enough when I went and checked it was, that changed my opinion of it’s “healthy” factor and this past shopping trip I picked up some of the Natural kind!

I will say this book sparked my mind and I was definitely reading ingredients during my last shopping trip more than I ever have before!

Most of the book takes a super popular “junk food” and gives you an equally tasty less “junky” version of it that you can purchase. Brands like Hidden Valley are swapped out for Simply Organic.

The *only* thing I wish is that in addition to all the brand names and info it would have been great to see some great home made junk food options–in fact reading the book mostly made me more determined that if we’re going to eat “junk” it will be cookies that I bake–that way I know and can control exactly what goes in them to an even greater extent!

I’d definitely recommend this book–it was a great and informational read! Be sure to hop on over to Amazon to see what other readers thought as well! Also you can “like” Naturally Savvy on Facebook and follow Natural Savvy on Twitter for more great tips, articles, and everything healthy living!

I received a free copy from Naturally Savvy for my honest review. The opinions, chocolate chip cookies consumed and sweet tooth cravings are my own.

Fit Moms for Life ~ (late Slim & Trim post)

So this has just been one of those weeks where anything resembling a normal schedule has been pretty much chucked out the window–who hears me??!! As a result I’m doing my weekly post several days late–and instead of my normal “check in” I’m going to be sharing this great book I just finished 🙂

In my quest to be “Slim & Trim” I love reading different books and hearing about different philosophies to weight loss. I’m especially interested in anything that talks about getting healthy, losing weight, and KEEPING it off. If it’s geared towards moms well that’s even better! So I was pumped to read Fit Moms for Life and give it a whirl!

I’ll admit that I was a little bit skeptical when I picked up the book and saw Dustin Maher‘s picture on the back–what’s a cute non-married young guy going to have to say about a mom’s body??!! After reading the book and seeing all the before and after pictures of very “real” moms though–I have to say that I’m a believer 🙂

I loved Dustin’s philosophy and approach because it all falls along the lines of many things I’ve always thought. I have never heard of the idea of lifting heavy weights in order to get really fit as a woman–like many of the gals in the book when I think weights I think “bulky” I  can definitely see how it would get you more toned. Also as some one who HATES steady cardio like endless running I loved hearing his philosophy that it doesn’t really do you any favors in the long run!! 🙂

Dustin has some amazing practical advice when it comes to both working out, eating, and mindset. I especially loved his idea of writing out your goals for yourself 10 years from now. That was a great thought for me–because even though I might be able to “get away” with doing little “bad habits” now I know that it won’t always stay that way….and if I continue down that path a pound here and a pound there will add into a whole lot of unattractive and extremely unhealthy body fat!

This book was great–in fact I’m seriously considering purchasing his Fit Moms for Life DVDs…they sound like my kinds of workouts 🙂 In any event I will be buying some heavier weights to use with my current workout DVDs and working on eating better! I thought it was super interesting that both he and another book I’m about to review (Unjunk Your Junk Food) both put the same kinds of ingredients onto the “huge no-no” list. With that kind of re-enforcement I’m definitely re-thinking some of the things I buy!

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Slim & Trim ~ Healthy Again

So the past few weeks have been full of sickness and ick in the Elliott household. We all got the flu which knocked me off of my feet, and then last week Tyler came down with hand, foot, and mouth disease (it’s as lovely as it sounds!)

So because of all of that my workout routine got chucked out the window for the past two weeks. Today was the first day I am finally feeling *almost* normal, so I jumped back in with Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred it’s amazing how taking two weeks off sets you back!!! I have been able to keep the weight down though, amazingly! I have been good with eating lately though, so I know that was what helped! I weighed in today at 134.2 — and was even with the Easter treats yesterday! 😉 So this week is all about getting back on track. I’m still keeping up my “Gem Jar” idea and this week’s goals are these:

  • Workout 3 Times (did one already this morning, woot)
  • NO food after 8 at night (help keep from noshing the rest of the Easter Candy all down)
  • Take a picture of *everything* before I eat it and upload it to my FB group (big motivation to NOT eat 20 Easter candies in one sitting)

Did Easter throw you off track? How are you doing in your weightloss and wellness goals? I’d love to hear!

4 Tips for Getting in Shape for the Spring ~ Slim & Trim Post

So not too much to report this week because last Wednesday I came down with a nasty flu bug that pretty much knocked me off my feet the rest of the week. I was hoping to be back to normal by today so I could start doing Yoga again at least but nope–I’m still feeling icky so I don’t want to push it. I figure the best thing I can do is let me body rest so that I can finish recovering fully, then I can jump back in full force!

The good news is that since nothing tasted good last week I managed to still lose 1 lb from not eating much! So now I’m down to 134–yey! Hoping to keep going down down down!

One cool thing from this week is I made these awesome no bake energy bites that I found on Pinterest. They are tasty and healthy so I’ve been using them for my sweet fix dessert since I started to be able to taste things again. The kiddos love them for dessert too 🙂

Since I don’t have too much this week I thought I’d share this guest post–I thought she has a lot of good info and ideas!

4 Tips for Getting in Shape for the Spring

Spring Fever is right around the corner! You know that feeling where it gets a little warmer, the sun starts shining brighter and while outside you close your eyes, take a deep breath and welcome it! Crocuses are popping up from the soil, the snow is melting away and so should your fat deposits that have been accumulating and storing as if you were a hibernating grizzly bear during an extra long winter slumber.
That being said there are a couple universal rules that all walks of life can do to help tone up, shed body fat  Here are my four no fail sure fire tips for Springing into Fitness
1. The biggest lesson I have ever learned in my life: Your best bet to shock your body into change is to do an 8 week stint of High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT training consists of upper and lower body movements at the same time with Isometric or holding contractions in static electricity in the muscle fiber and Plyometric exercises which are explosive movements in between every two exercise combos. For example: Bicep Hammer Curl with Plie Squats then Alternating Side to Side Lunges with Upright Rows then a Plyometric Jump Squat. A workout like this should be done 4-6 days a week depending on how much body fat you are looking/needing to lose. 45 minutes tops! Workouts that are hyperexplosive get the job done.
2.Eat six small meals a day! Never say the word DIET… Food is nourishment and fuel for an active lifestyle and if you follow the 80/20 rule meaning 80% of the time eat what I am going to show you and then 20 % eat some nachos or have a cocktail…do not  beat yourself up over it. Eating every three hours makes sure your body is always working to metabolize. Thus burning calories. I like to use the analogy of making a fire. If you are making a fire you feed the fire kindling and some news paper or brush and that usually ensures a bright burning fire that you can add larger items to like the occasional log.  It is the same with your body. Most people starve themselves until dinner time and drink coffee to keep themselves going until the eat a dinner the size of Manhattan, then go to bed with all that junk just waiting to be stored as body fat. How is that ever going to work for you? Exactly…it never will! Adapting the twigs and newspaper idea for your body as you would starting a fire is the way to go. Always have some kind of a protein at every meal. It doesn’t always have to be food you chew…it can be a shake. You can also get protein from legumes like hummus or nut protein like raw almonds or all natural peanut butter as well. Tapering your starchy carbs off as the day comes to an end is also going to really help you shed that body fat because your body does not need carbs at night for energy. Just protein for repairing muscles and fibrous carbs like green veggies.  
Sample Meal Plan
Meal One at 7 am~ Greek Fritata with an Ezekiel Bread English Muffin with coffee with 2 Truvia and a splash of So Delicous Coconut Creamer (comes in three flavors, Hazlenut, French Vanilla and Regular)
Meal Two at 10 am~ 1 cup of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, one or combo of all) with Muscle Milk Lite Vanilla Latte It is tasty, has mono and poly saturated fat which studies have shown help burn fat and is lactose free for those who have milk issues.
Meal Three at 12/1pm~ 1/2 of a cup (cooked) of Tricolor Quinoa, 1 cup of greens (broccoli, asparagus, or my favorite recipe right now, green beans, I love haricovert …the baby string beans with pine nuts and dill with some type of protein whether it is chicken, steak or fish, or if you are a vegetarian Veggie Patch Makes wonderful meatless meatballs and veggie burgers.
Meal Four at 4pm~ 2 tablespoons of Tribe Hummus, they have a plethora of amazing flavors from Mediterranean style to Cilantro Chimmichurri with 1 cup of green veggies. My fave mix is broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumbers, celery. No carrots and no tomatoes…too sugary for that time of day.
Meal Five at 6/7pm~baked haddock or cod fish around 4-6 oz with 2 cups of KB’s green beans. No starches at night…no pasta, bread rice potatoes of any kind and certainly not fruit.
Meal Six at 9 pm~some kind of Protein. I love Muscle Milk Lite Cookies N Cream Ice Cream.
3.Cardio: HIIT on the treadmill.
Warm up for 5 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline. Then 3.5 MPH at a 15 Incline…hold on for dear life it’s going to get really real right now! Do this for 2 minutes. Recover at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline for 1 minute Then walk side to side first starting on your less dominant side step together step together at 1.8 MPH at a 5 Incline. 1 minute on each side. Then recover at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline. Sprint at 6.0 MPH at a 5 Incline for 2 minutes then recover at 3.0MPH at 0 Incline…that is always going to be your recovery zone. Then to finish the round you will walk backwards at 2.0 MPH at a 7 Incline for 2 minutes. You will repeat this for either a half an hour 45 minutes or an entire hour depending on what your goals are for body fat burn. You are getting a full blown all around leg workout without the boredom of just blankly staring into space.
4. To find  the recipes for food, products and juice .

About the author: Katie Boyd, star of Style network’s hit show, Wicked Fit, which takes place in her gym, The Miss Fit Club , is taking women to a new level of fitness and feeling good with exercise and strategic nutrition tips and so they can reach their goal of becoming fit and healthy in 2012 .  
Boyd, a personal fitness trainer and certified nutritionist, says, “You can go out and have a life and still be fit for Spring. It’s about getting your thinking in shape for success and know choosing  in favor of being healthy and happy with yourself.”

Slim & Trim Monday ~ Back on Track

So as you know last week I decided to employ a little desicion making rewarding….and the result was…..

I stepped on the scale today to see 135 (Woot woot!!)

Last week wasn’t perfect and there were a few days I didn’t get any “gems” but just the fact that each day I had the choice seemed to greatly help! What is even more encouraging is the fact that I wasn’t even all that “great” We ate out yesterday (fast food) and I even had chocolate almost every day last week, just in moderation and before 8.

This week I’m upping the anti just a little. I’ll continue to get a gem for each time I work out, but for the food I have to take a picture before I eat anything and no eating after 8 in order to get a gem each day. Hopefully this will be the little extra bump that will *finally* get me under the 135 mark!

How is your week going? What goals do you have and how are you reaching them?

Slim & Trim Monday ~ If at first you don’t succeed…

Try try again! Cliche but true! As I said going into this year–all the various things I’ve decided to achieve this year are goals–not resolutions. Because by resolution standard weighing in at 137.2 this morning would have caused my resolution to be tanked and me to throw in the towel.

But instead I’m sticking with the cliche. Though last week was one of those weeks where good intentions and routine get tossed aside by the craziness that is sometimes life, I did take it to brainstorm about just WHY my goals weren’t quite working or sticking, and why I’ve been so “stuck stuck stuck”.

The internet is a great place to find all kinds of resources. You can learn healthy living with this Guide to Healthcare Schools.  Through some reading and some brainstorming of other places online, I came up with what I think my problems are.

I think the biggest problem is that I’ve been trying to eat the elephant all at once–or maybe rather a whole plateful at a time. But when it really comes down to it weight loss, wellness, and health–like so many other things in life–are really made up of a thousand individual decisions that I make every day. One cookie or brownie after 8 at night won’t destroy me–but a continual pattern of nighttime snacking, every night, leads to dismal results. I was trying to break my BIG goals into achievable ones by instating my monthly goals. But the problem was 2 weeks in to the month I’d slip up, life would happen, or I’d cave–and then I’d throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater–since that month was toast anyways!

Amber’s Jar

Then I had an idea–a little silly, perhaps a tad childish, but it just might work!

Growing up we had a “bean jar”. Anytime we did good, some extra, etc we got to choose one bean and put it in the jar. When it was full we’d get to choose a reward. I recently made a jar for Amber along the same premise. Except for beans we’ve been using pretty blue gems. I started it when Bob began getting underway, and she started having various problems–from waking up crying at night to not listening as well, etc. As soon as I started using her gem jar to reward good behavior she started sleeping through the night again–hurray! She’s decided she wants a trip to the zoo once she fills it all the way up.

So I thought–why not make myself a “gem jar”? That way with each day I’m rewarded (or not rewarded) for the choices I make *that* day. I also decided to break things down into weekly goals that determine whether or not I get “gems” that day. For example–this week I will get a gem for each time I work out, and each day I don’t eat *anything* past 8 at night. I want to start out nice and slow. Baby steps are the way to success since every time I try to jump all the way in I end up floundering!

And my reward? A facial! It’s something I’ve always wanted but never gotten–my favorite kinds of gifts are pampering type ones! There are so many great spa places around here I’m sure I could find an affordable one on Groupon–and what an exciting reward that will be! 😀

So here’s to grabbing back onto the wagon, swinging myself up, and wrenching myself down so I don’t fall off again!!!!

((P.S. So far it’s working…I totally had my normal night noshing craving at 8….but I’m calmly sipping my ice water instead of gorging on something sweet. Hurrays! Wish me luck for the next 6 days!))

Slim & Trim Monday ~ Stuck

The other day I heard Tyler screaming “Stuck stuck STUCK!!!!!” I ran over to find him like this–wedged into our chair. It’s a pretty common word in his vocabularly, haha!

The not so funny part is that I feel like Tyler. When it comes to my weight I keep yo-yo-ing up and down up and down. I feel like sitting down, yelling STUCK STUCK STUCK….and then eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Because, shoot, if I’m going to be stuck I might as well!

Now, don’t worry–I WON’T do that, I just want to! I weighed in again today at 136. It seems like since I hit the mid 130s my body is going “ok, this is where you’re going to stay so get comfortable.” And while I’m “ok” with that number–I know it’s not my best. I know it’s not where I COULD get if I was to just buckle down and do my best to get UN stuck. I could argue that it’s just from the muscle I’m gaining, and it might be partly that, but I still have chunky arms and my love handle–so that argument could only go so far, haha.

I’m still working out 3 times a week. I want to increase it to four, but my life is just SO full of everything right now finding the time is definitely tricky. I am going to try though. But it’s definitely the food that keeps tripping me up. I know I need to keep track of my food through pictures (which helps me control my intake and portions) and I need to quit snacking late at night. I’ll go all day long and have just my 3 meals and one healthy snack in the afternoon. But then when 8-10 pm hits I get to craving some sweet and/or crunchy. And it’s just all down hill from there–because not only am I caving I’m caving at the worst possible time.

So I’m looking for some help! What do you do when you’re “stuck stuck stuck”? How do you get jolted out of a plateau and back on track?

I have a few ideas of what I’ll try for this next week, but would love to hear from you if you have any tips!