Control Your Mind & Conquer Your Body


You’ve been working hard and seeing some serious results. You start allowing yourself a few more treats…you skip a few days at the gym…you tell yourself you earned it. You still work out and eat fairly well, but as time goes by, you start noticing that your clothes get a little tighter or that some of the pudge around the middle came back. All of a sudden it seems that while you’re still living a somewhat healthy lifestyle the weight is coming back. Now what? How can you avoid this seemingly inevitable slip backwards? Read on!

Research has shown that over 80% of those who lose weight actually gain it back (and then some) within two years. This doesn’t just take a toll mentally, but it also causes our body physical harm. Not only is the extra weight a health risk, but recent studies have linked the gain-lose-gain cycle to potentially life-threatening conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and cancer. Let’s discuss some ways in which you can prevent this from happening.

Get your mind right…and everything else will follow. That’s my number one key to success. That’s my big secret. There are no quick fixes to losing weight. You need to get your head in the game…and keep it there…if you want to maintain weight loss. It’s not easy. We work so hard to take the weight off, so that once a few pounds creep back on, we feel like we just undid everything. That’s not true. Life happens. Maybe we missed a few workouts or deviated from our diet a little, but as long as you keep your mind on the end goal, it won’t matter. Get right back to the gym and to your regular workouts when you can. Be stricter with your diet after those events pass. Everything will eventually fall back into place.

If I’ve learned anything over a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and weight struggles, it’s that deprivation is almost always the root of all evil with weight loss. Taking out the foods that you love will only lead to you binging on them later. I always use this rule of thumb: wait a half hour (or the length of one TV show). If you still want that snack/food, have a little. It will be better than eating twice as much later on. Also, consider having your favorite “unhealthy” snack as a treat rather than a cheat. People will often feel guilty when they think of themselves “cheating” on their new healthier lifestyle. If you look at is as a treat, you will look forward to it and there will be less guilt afterwards. Be sure to control your portions; just because it’s a treat meal doesn’t mean you should go nuts. Indulge a little, but still practice moderation. When in doubt, opt for a healthier version of your favorite “unhealthy” food. Almost everything has a healthy alternative. For example, choose guacamole or salsa rather than queso or another dip. Select frozen yogurt or protein based ice creams instead of the more fattening brands. Try to cook or bake your favorite foods so you can control what goes into it. You can create healthy options which may not be the actual food you are craving, but they are satisfying enough to have the same effect. Get creative! If you genuinely enjoy what you eat, it will make sticking with your plan that much easier.

In addition to diet, you MUST continue working out. It will keep your metabolism moving and keep those extra pounds/inches from creeping back on. Switch up your routine often to avoid plateaus…and boredom. Continue to set goals for yourself, even if you’ve already lost weight and/or accomplished the original goal(s) set for yourself. Setting small goals and switching your routine will keep you motivated and keep you moving.

An often overlooked key to success is the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people – people who will lift you up and keep you motivated. Not everyone will understand your journey and that’s ok – after all, it’s YOUR journey not theirs. However, it’s important to your success to have at least one person standing by your side to provide encouragement, especially on those hard days. This will not only keep you accountable, but it will keep your head in the game.

Besides getting your mind right, it’s also important to get your body right too. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and have him/her check your hormone levels. Your hormones control every aspect of weight loss, including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite, and even your cravings. Your stubborn belly fat may actually be caused by a hormonal imbalance, such as high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA (a hormone of the adrenal glands), high insulin and high cortisol. It’s also important to check on your thyroid. Monitoring these levels will help keep you on track.

Anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight will tell you that the journey never really ends. It will take time and a lot of work, but eventually you will get to a place where you have never felt freer in your whole life. It really is an amazing thing. Keep in mind it took you more than one day to gain the weight so it certainly will take more than one to lose it! As hard as it is, and as bad as it may seem, know that it really WILL be worth it in the end.

Stay strong & stay in the fight 💕

Gina

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No Body is Perfect

“But you don’t look anorexic…” Yet I was. I struggled throughout high school. I was never clinically diagnosed. I didn’t know I had a problem. I was never super skinny or an unhealthy weight.

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It was during National Eating Disorder Awareness week last month that this came to mind. I open up about so much…yet I never really opened up about my own disordered eating. I spent most of my life not even recognizing it as a “real” problem. I always thought that because I wasn’t diagnosed and because I was never underweight…I didn’t have a problem. But I did. I just didn’t know any better. I do now…so I’m sharing my story. Maybe it will help one of you out there to recognize a problem that you don’t even know exists.

I suffered from a variation of Anorexia known as Atypical Anorexia. A person suffering from this disorder will have many of the same symptoms as those with Anorexia. The difference is that the person will exhibit those symptoms without weight loss. They are often within or above normal weight range, making their appearance “atypical.” According to the National Eating Disorder Association, a person struggling with Atypical Anorexia may exhibit an extreme fear of being fat or of any weight changes and resort to abnormal eating behaviors such as calorie counting, cutting out certain foods/food groups, avoiding social events and functions that involve food, and more. Many individuals who have Atypical Anorexia may not even realize that they are struggling with a severe and deadly eating disorder, simply due to the weight stigma that surrounds this disease. A person may think, “I am not sick enough to have an eating disorder,” because he/she may be within or above a normal weight range. That’s exactly what happened to me.

My weight struggles began as a child. By the time I entered high school, I weighed in at 180lbs. Teen years are hard for every kid but it was especially hard on me. I watched as all of my friends got boyfriends, went on dates, had their first kiss…while I was left behind. Looking back on it now, I wasn’t all that far behind…but back then it felt like the end of the world. I was bigger than all of my friends. I couldn’t wear the same cute clothes everyone else did. Shopping was my worst nightmare. By sophomore year, I felt lost. I had plenty of friends but I hated myself…and how I looked. I went into a very bad depression. By senior year, after numerous diets failed to make me look how I wanted, I decided to control it myself. I decided that I would eat one thing per day. It started as one meal. It morphed into much worse. It got to the point where I was eating one thing per day – a cracker or a sour gummy worm (if I thought I needed a little sugar). This went on for a while until eventually I made myself sick to my stomach. I remember thinking that night about the day camp that I worked at every summer. Thinking about those little girls who I sometimes babysat…and whom I was a cheerleading coach during camp. I was only 17 but I distinctly remember that being the point where I changed my mindset..somewhat. I decided to start eating again. I didn’t want to set a bad example for those little girls.

While I did begin eating, it wasn’t a lot…probably not nearly what my body actually needed. However, I WAS eating. That fall, I began college at SUNY New Paltz. I got to be away from home and make a lot of new friends on a beautiful campus and town!  That mystique was short lived. A couple of months into my first semester, I developed severe stomach issues (which still plague me today) and ended up having to come home. My weight struggles weren’t over and neither was my poor relationship with food. I was eating but I definitely wasn’t eating well. I looked to celebrities and various articles for guidance but most of them steered me down a bad path. I tried every diet from one my doctor recommended called the “Scarsdale diet” to the South Beach diet, which I only did because Jessica Simpson did it for Dukes of Hazard. The summer before my senior year of college, I LIVED at the gym. I divided my time between the gym and the beach. I commonly refer to that as the skinniest (and best looking) summer of my entire life. It was. I got down to 130lbs, which to date, is the smallest I’ve ever been. While the number was great…nothing else was. I wasn’t eating well. I was partying a lot and compensating with extra time on the treadmill. I always did fasted workouts…even if i was doing strength training. The scale may have been nice to read…but my body didn’t really reflect that number. I wasn’t super toned and I sure wasn’t healthy. That lifestyle caught up with me once I got into a serious relationship and stopped my 2+ hour daily workouts. I put a lot of weight on. I tried to control it and maintain my hard work but because I never changed my lifestyle…it was next to impossible. Over the next few years, I was in and out of jobs and kept myself in an unhealthy relationship. My weight continued to climb as my confidence kept plummeting. By 2010 I was up to 210lbs, my all-time highest weight. I knew it was bad but I had very little motivation and no idea how to change it.

Two years later, I  finally had enough. I was done going through the motions of life. I was watching the Biggest Loser (season 14) and really connected with the contestants. I realized at that moment that I could do it – I could actually turn my life around! I started educating myself properly on nutrition and exercise. I began going to the gym a few days per week. I started out doing mostly cardio but as I learned more, and built more strength, I was able to incorporate weights into my routine. My metabolism is all but broken but after about a year of very hard work I was able to lose a little over 70lbs and go from squeezing into a size 14…to comfortably wearing a size 2/4.

I won’t lie and say that I’m 100% cured. I still struggle with things everyday. I worry that my recent surgery and modified workouts are setting me back. My clothes still fit but I see the scale climbing and my body losing the muscle that I worked so incredibly hard for. I’ve become very busy with my job(s) and while I love what I do and where I am…my diet has not been the best. There are meals that I skip. There are late dinners. It makes me worry…but I don’t let that stop me anymore. My mindset has completely changed. I may have these worries but I don’t let them consume me anymore. If I want to have a beer, a piece of candy, or buffalo wings…I have it. No guilt. I have finally realized something I should’ve realized years ago – life is way too short to spend it at war with yourself…and with food. For the first time in my whole life, I can honestly say I am not just existing…I’m actually living (and loving) life. Things aren’t perfect but I am doing my best to make the most of everyday.

To learn more about eating disorders and what you can do, check out my article with The Arena: http://thearenafitness.com/no-body-is-perfect/

If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek help. Encourage open dialogue with the people in your life…especially children/teens. Let’s break the silence on this horrible epidemic. Let’s Fight to be Fit together.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

2016 Health & Fitness Expo

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This past weekend, I attended the annual Health & Fitness Expo at Metlife Stadium…and it was bigger & better than ever before!! In fact, this collage doesn’t even begin to justify how amazing it truly was.

As usual some of the NY Giants, past and present, were on hand for the weekend’s festivities. Fans were able to walk the field, kick a field goal, run the ball, tour the locker room, see the championship trophies, and even meet some of the players. Truly a priceless experience for any football fan, young or old.

For the fitness buffs on hand, there were so many different classes…for all different skill sets. Everything from zumba to grit and much more in between. They even some classes geared towards children. Former Giant and fitness guru, Steve Weatherford, was on hand again this year for both days of the event. Weatherford is truly the nicest guy you will ever meet. He goes out of his way to make sure he is making everyone happy – whether it’s with a motivational speech or by taking countless pictures with fans. Last year, I was able to catch him just walking on the field…and the photo I got isn’t the best. So this year, I decided to wait on an actual line and do things the right way. The result was priceless.

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Living the dream…Super Bowl ring included 😉

Besides the football fan experience, the best part of this expo, for me, is to be able to meet so many people throughout the fitness industry. I love talking to people and hearing their stories and their perspective. We can all learn something…so why not learn from one another?! You can also learn about different products and companies…which as a fitness coach, is extremely beneficial. I’d like to know what products my clients are using…and exactly what it is that they are putting in their bodies.

I got to test out some of the products too. That famous “tea” which is all over Instagram…I have no idea why anyone would pay for something so vile. It’s truly disgusting. You want to detox??? Eat clean and go sweat it out. Stop the madness people. Seriously. Another thing I saw was that stomach wrap. Ladies…I realize you want flat stomachs and small waists but go to the gym. There is no need to harm your insides wearing a contraption that won’t make you lose weight. Will it make you sweat? Probably…but that’s about it. You will end up doing more harm than good in the long run. Also seen….Isotonix. I have heard people say that they use their shakes so I went over to see what the fuss was about. The man promoting this spoke of his a lifestyle, which consisted of drinking a shake for breakfast and dinner…AND eating extremely unhealthy at lunch. Really?! I can go on and on about shakes but the bottom line is this – they won’t work long term. You and I both know you will not live on them…so once the food comes back…so will the weight. It’s not only an unhealthy way of living…it’s extremely unrealistic for sustainable weight loss.

It wasn’t all bad though. I got some awesome & healthy samples of things such as almonds, apple slices, and sugar free chocolate covered cranberries! I was able to learn more about Nature’s Own vitamins and was given an entire book detailing every one of their supplements. I also met a lady named Susan, who works with a supplement company called ID Life. She was not only extremely sweet…she was realistic about the products. She gave me her own experience with the products and explained how it can be applied to real life. She also gave me some samples, which I will be testing out and reviewing in the weeks to come…so stay tuned!

 

As always, this expo went down as another amazing experience filled with lots of networking and football fun. If you are in the NY/NJ area, you should definitely make plans to attend next year’s extravaganza. Every year it gets bigger & better! Next year, I am hoping to be part of the expo & perhaps have my own table where I can offer advice & coaching to the masses! A girl can dream…and with this expo the possibilities are endless and the experiences are priceless.

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Until next year!!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

6-Week Summertime Shred

HERE WE GO!!! Every year I create a challenge for myself…and this year is no exception. Join me as I get summertime fine with this 6-week shred!

The original plan for this 6-week shred was to happen a bit closer to summer. However, with an upcoming trip to Florida fast approaching I figure there is no time like the present. Besides, better to get into good habits now rather than wait until its beach time anyway. Everyday I will document my meals, using MyFitnessPal as well as all workouts.

The workout plan that I will be using for this round is taken from Bodybuilding.com and is based upon the 30-Days to a Fitness Model Body plan that Kelsey Byers created. I will be adapting the workouts to last an additional two weeks…and to not further injure this bum shoulder.

The workouts alternate between specific muscle groups each day, varying the weight and reps with each week. It also incorporates a lot of cardio. Now, as I posted on my Instagram account (@FinallyFit23) not so long ago, I will be aiming to run a race before the year ends. In order to keep with that mission as well as this training plan, I will be doing fasted cardio 5 days of the week, barring the two days when I have to be at work for 6 a.m. On those two days, I will incorporate a different type of cardio routine into my daily plan. No matter what, there will be two-a-days happening from here on out.

As far as diet goes, I will be making it a lot more strict but no where near what it was the last time I did this. No fish for breakfast for this girl! I have been practicing flexible dieting a lot and I believe that there is a way to be just as shredded without making yourself gag first thing in the morning. Personally, I like to have certain things at certain times of the day. Call me crazy but chicken or fish first thing in the morning just doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my life NOT eating breakfast…but even though our body has no idea what time of day it actually is…I know. And it’s something I can’t bring myself to do. To each is own. I will be having my normal meals, at their normal times, but I will be limiting my dairy considerably as well as my sugar – God help us all.

Jokes aside, I am very excited to be embarking on a new challenge. I invite you all to join me on the quest to become summertime fine! I am offering free meal plans and workouts to anyone who wants to participate. Shoot me an email at the address below for more details. Let’s make the summer of 2016 the sexiest summer yet!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

2015 NY Giants Health & Fitness Expo

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Another year…another PHENOMENAL Health & Fitness expo. The annual event took place last weekend (June 27-28) at Metlife Stadium. I attended last year’s expo and while that was great…this one was even better.

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I attended on Sunday and my first mission was to meet NY Giants punter and fitness guru, Steve Weatherford. I knew from Instagram that he would be at the expo beginning at 9am to host a yoga class. Since I had no interest in that, my plan was to get there right after. So, I walked into the stadium around 10 and made a bee-line for the field. Participants of the expo get to walk on the very field that the NY giants play on. I must say, as lifelong Giants fan, that’s a very cool experience! Anyway, I made my way to the field and asked several people where I could find Weatherford. Then he appeared…on his segway. He signed autographs, took pictures, and chatted up the fans. He even went to get his Superbowl ring to let a child pose with. I finally got my chance to meet him next. I wanted to ask him questions for this blog but he didn’t really seem interested, as he was in a rush to catch a flight back to his adorable kids. He did say his motivation comes from “living the dream” and no one can argue that.

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After that, I headed to the locker room. Another very cool feature of this expo is that fans can tour the locker room and see how their favorite players spend the season. You can even walk onto the field in the same spot and touch the same sign that the Giants touch before every game!

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Geeking out in front of my favorite player’s locker!

Next up I decided to make my way around to see what vendors were there and who I could network with. I met a very sweet lady who runs a company called Eat 2 Elite. She started her company after years of creating healthy meals to feed her athlete son. She makes all of the food herself and has some pretty enticing options to choose from.

I continued on, watched several demos and made my way past several other vendors before taking part in my annual BMI/body fat screening.

Now…I know that I do weigh slightly more and that I haven’t done nearly as much cardio as last year. However these machines do not account for muscle mass. They punch in your weight and height and determine (very inaccurately) that you are fat. I was pretty devastated after I got my reading…especially knowing how hard I work. But that’s just it. I know I work hard. The scale is just a number…and while you need that number for these readings…the number doesn’t reflect my muscle mass or my year of progress in the gym. I’m sure I could lose a few pounds but they really made me feel like crap…unnecessarily.

After my reading I decided to cheer myself up and take a little tour of the Legacy Suite. There you will find signed footballs, trophies, and much more.

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I stopped to sit for a bit and I bumped into my Biggest Loser friend, Pam Geil. I have spoken at great length about what The Biggest Loser has done for my journey. Well, Pam was on the season that started it all…and she was one of my biggest inspirations. I always get excited when I see her and she actually remembers me. We talked for a while about life…and all about our injuries and setbacks. She asked me to stay as she was going to be going on stage to speak…so of course I did.

During her talk, she was asked how she maintains and keeps a healthy lifestyle. She explained that being on the show doesn’t keep the weight off; she struggles with it…and works at it…everyday. She added that one of the biggest misconceptions people have is about cheat meals. “Everyone has a bad meal or a cheat meal but that doesn’t mean you have to blow the whole day,” she said, “Every day and every meal is a new beginning. You can’t give up.”

Since I have been struggling with an injury recently, I asked her to shine some light on how she stays motivated through injuries. “It can be really hard to stay motivated, especially when you’re in chronic pain or you don’t feel good,” she said, “I think it’s really good to look back at old pictures. Remember where you are and how far you’ve come.” She added that since her own injury, some weight has come back on. While that can be frustrating she pushes forward, knowing that she never wants to be that person again.

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There weren’t any classes that I was interested in this year but there was a NASCAR race car. Since I love cars and I’m a big Nascar fan, this is yet another incredible feature of this expo for me. I posed for a picture and happily got into the car for the simulated race experience that was offered.

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All in all, this was another fantastic experience. The weather may have been crappy but that sure didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit. Next year, I think I will inquire about volunteering so that I can be an even bigger part of this amazing expo.

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If you know of any health or fitness expos being held in the NY tri-state area, please let me know! For those of you not in this area, definitely look into the expos that are being held where you live. They are an amazing opportunity to learn about the industry, meet some great people, and just have a fitness-themed family fun day 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Dreams DO Come True!

If you would’ve told me a couple of years ago that my life would be this amazing, I would’ve laughed in your face. I can’t believe how much good can come in such a short time!

The Biggest Loser was my motivation on this journey and continues to inspire me. Today I was featured on their website!! I can’t begin to describe how grateful and honored I am.

Here’s a sneak peek at the feature 😉

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“There was a time in my life when I was truly miserable. After letting health issues, toxic friendships, and an abusive relationship take over my life I decided enough was enough. I took control of my life…and my destiny…a little over two years ago and I haven’t looked back. At my heaviest, I weighed in at 210 lbs and wore a size 14. Today, I am over 70 lbs lighter and wear a size 2/4. Along with dropping weight (in pounds and with negative, toxic people), I have also freed myself of a lifelong obsession with the scale. Instead, I have become more focused with how I look and feel rather than what number the scale says.

The best part of this journey has been finding myself again. I spent so many years miserable that I lost myself. It has been truly amazing getting the real me back! I still struggle with various health issues and some mental roadblocks but at the end of the day I am the strongest, healthiest, and happiest that I have ever been in my whole adult life. The Biggest Loser continues to teach me that you can do all the physical transforming in the world but if you don’t overcome the mental demons you will never truly succeed. I am forever grateful to the Biggest Loser and to my gym, Planet Fitness, for guiding me on this journey.”

To read the rest of my story, check out my amazing feature on the Biggest Loser RunBlog: http://www.biggestloserrunwalk.com/runblog/inspiration-ginas-story/

Dreams really do come true! Work hard and always remember…nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!
-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Transforming From the Inside Out

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Happy Friday everyone!  Last night was the season finale of The Biggest Loser and it left me extra inspired.

The contestants always come so far…not just in the weight loss but in life. The changes that occur in such a short amount of time is nothing short of amazing.

I got to thinking about how much the show really has taught me. This whole journey isn’t just about weight loss…it’s about getting your life back and taking control of your own happiness. I’m realizing more and more each day that I’m not the same girl that I used to be.

Earlier this week we were hit with a big snowstorm…which derailed my precious gym time. The old me would have used that as an excuse to stay home and veg out in front of the tv. Not anymore. I definitely used the shoveling to my advantage and I also made sure to use my time indoors for some killer at-home workouts. No more excuses.

I was truly miserable for so long that I didn’t know what it meant to be happy. I went from being a depressed teenager to an unhappy young adult who partied her way through sadness. That insecurity also landed me in an abusive relationship, which lasted most of my twenties. It also lead me to some very toxic friendships. I was so unhappy and insecure that I clung to the wrong people for way too long…and for all the wrong reasons.

A little over two years ago, I found the Biggest Loser and decided enough was enough. I started working out and eating right. As I lost the physical weight, I also started dropping the dead weight…in the form of the negative people in my life. As time went on I grew stronger…not just physically but mentally.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to see you succeed. While I do have some incredible people in my life, I’ve also lost some “friends” along the way. They say that misery loves company; now that I’m truly happy in most aspects of my life, some people have disappeared. It’s sad how life can be sometimes, but its taught me who my real friends are. I’ve always said that I’d rather have a handful of genuine people than surround myself with a huge group of phonies. I’m too old for the nonsense – nowadays it’s most definitely quality over quantity. You either have my back no matter what or don’t even bother.

I am forever grateful to the Biggest Loser for teaching me that you need to transform yourself from the inside out. You can’t truly succeed with a physical transformation until you conquer your inner demons. Everyday I learn something new about myself…and in doing so, I’m becoming a better person. I feel lucky to have the support of true friends, a loving family, and the best boyfriend a girl could ever ask for. I’ve lost a lot of weight but most importantly, I’ve gained my life back.

No matter how much you may struggle, it IS possible. Don’t let any type of negativity weigh you down. Love yourself enough to respect yourself. That may seem easier said than done but I’m living proof that against all odds, you can overcome obstacles and achieve any goal you set. It won’t be easy but always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com