Summer Shred – COMPLETE!

…and thus concludes my 6-week summer shred!

April 2017 >> Now

It wasn’t perfect by any means. Despite a serious lack of cardio along with Cinco de Mayo & birthday shenanigans, I managed to see really good results.

Summer Shred, Day 1 (April 2017)

Current look!

My plan is to continue this “shred” throughout the summer, while incorporating some treats along the way. I wanted to make this realistic this go-around. Last time, I was doing 2-a-day workouts and eating 1,200 calories a day…which consisted mostly of tilapia, egg whites, and a lot of boring foods. I was miserable by the end and the binge that followed reflected that. This time, I restricted my sweets and lessened my carbs…but that was it. No crazy strict diet was necessary. I lost the weight that I gained post-surgery and regained a lot of my muscle back. I also got much leaner, losing over 10% body fat in just 6 weeks time! Keeping my diet in check really helped make up for my inconsistent workouts. While the workouts weren’t what I initially planned, I did as much as life would allow. Life doesn’t always go the way that we plan so it’s important to always have a back-up plan in motion.

I say it all the time but the key to losing weight…and keeping it off…is making it work for YOU. You can follow a strict diet & do crazy workouts but at the end of the day if it doesn’t work for your lifestyle or body, it will not stick! Trust me. I’ve done it all. I went from an overweight adolescent, to disordered eating in high school and college, to very heavy throughout most of my 20s…and now here we are. It’s still a struggle every single day. This never gets easier – and anyone who says it does is lying. However, your will power becomes stronger. The food noise – that guilt you feel after having a drink or fattening food/sweet – gets quieter. You start seeing results. You do what it takes to never get back to that unhappy place. You eventually decide you never want to look or feel like that again. No slip-ups, injuries, health issues, or life mishaps interfere. One day it all clicks and you gain freedom (&a confidence) in your own skin.

Before my Shred (2/2017) >>Now 

I will continue to post about my modified shred diet & workout regimen in the coming weeks. I’m also currently working together with my gym to create beginner workout videos that anyone can do anywhere! Look out for those gems coming to YouTube soon! Stick with me and I will help get you on the path to being confident in your own skin. It won’t be easy…but I promise it WILL be worth it.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

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.

L-R: High school >> College >> Now


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

Fighting to be Fit…3 Years later!!

 

I’m about a week late but…Happy 3-year Blogiversary to all of us!! Thank you all for your continued support as we Fight to be Fit!

I had big plans for this little blog last year but life had different ideas. 2016 was a rough year for most of us…and I was no exception. I suffered a major setback with my health, in the form of severe chronic fatigue and the reappearance of my PCOS symptoms. On top of that, my shoulder finally gave out on me & I had no choice but to undergo surgery. It’s been a really long road…but I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

For starters, I’m officially 3-months post op! Although I still have pain, I’m 1000% better than I was before. My range of motion isn’t perfect but it’s definitely improved. I’m finally able to raise my arms above my head without pain, which is something I haven’t been able to do in over two years! Despite my progress, I get in my head a lot. I think about how hard I worked and where I was before this injury happened. My workouts have resumed but they are nothing like they once were. It’s a huge adjustment mentally but I’m trying my very best to focus on the positives. I may not be able to lift heavy or do the exercises I once loved, but I will be able to soon. Deep down I know that if I push myself too far too soon, I will only make matters worse…and set myself back even further.

As far as my health goes, I have good and bad days. My chronic fatigue has gotten much better, which I believe is due in large part to a supplement called Adrenal Restore. That shit is magic. I wrote a whole review about it last year…and everything still holds true today. My PCOS symptoms have been horrible. I’ve developed pretty debilitating migraines, which sent me to the ER earlier in the year. All things considered though, that’s been mostly under control and since that episode have rarely happened.

The surgery mixed with my health issues definitely set me back with my weight loss. I gained back a good 20lbs over the last year….and it definitely wasn’t muscle. I went from weighing over 200lbs to getting myself ripped to something in the middle.

I won’t pretend that I’m happy about the setbacks or that I’m proud of where I’m at. However, despite my physical setbacks I learned that mentally I’m stronger than ever. Sure I have bad days like everyone else…but rather than get discouraged by the bad I’m using it as motivation. I know if I keep working hard and stick to a (mostly) clean diet, I will see great results. Hell, I’m already seeing some drastic improvements!

November 2016 >> December 2016


Being on a weight loss journey really teaches you the art of patience…and about yourself. We are all much stronger than we know and it’s not until we are truly put to the test that we realize our full potential. That being said, I won’t make any elusive promises or grand gestures as we go into our 4th year. My goal is simple: continue to inspire all of you reading and give you all hope that no matter how hard life gets or what obstacles you face, it IS possible. After all, nothing worth having comes easy 🙂

Let’s all continue this Fight to be Fit together throughout 2017…& beyond!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

 

Finding Strength through Struggle

“Never let any disappointment in life define who you are.”

I recently saw this quote on social media and it really stuck with me. Lately, I’ve been going through a really tough time and despite my best efforts, I’ve let the stress from my personal and professional life really get the best of me. It’s really gotten me to a point where I never feel well and my workouts suffer. This time last year, I finished a very strict challenge that I gave myself. The result had me in the best shape of my whole life. This year…is an entirely different ball game.

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Birthday girl last year vs. this year

I love to work out. I love how it makes me feel. However, I’ve been in such a rut lately that my workouts haven’t been consistent and my diet, while mostly healthy, has also been hit or miss. As a result, even my blogging has suffered.

This year, my plan was to exercise just as hard and eat clean but not be AS strict as I was last year. I wanted to see if I could look how I did by living normally. I also wanted to make sure to not lose all of the muscle that I built during the winter. BUT I never gave myself that chance. Quite frankly, even when I did the Whole30 diet, things didn’t go well. I blamed the diet but I really do think that my stomach has been such a mess from the stress, no diet will be able to fix it right now. Sometimes you have to fix your situation before anything else can fall into place. I’m learning more and more that some of my stomach issues are, in fact, stress-related.

My birthday is this weekend and with it also comes 10 years since I graduated college. My life is nothing like I expected it to be 10 years ago…and maybe that’s another part of my rut. I’ve worked so hard to transform my life and make changes to better myself but many things are still lacking. I had a very clear plan for myself….for much of my life…and it just hasn’t happened. I know they say you have to take control of your own destiny…but I’ve found that every time I make a plan, it somehow fails me. I guess the saying that we plan and God laughs must be true…and if so, I’m sure I’ve had him cracking up for years.

Despite years of disappointment, I am going to attempt to reboot myself….again. With a new found (and somewhat unexpected) freedom in my professional life, I would like to explore the possibility of turning my passion for fitness into a full-fledged career. My original career plan of sports broadcasting may not have worked out…but maybe that wasn’t what I was meant to do. I have always loved helping/teaching others and I would love nothing more than to take all of the knowledge that I’ve built up over the last few years and use it to help others in their own journeys. In the coming weeks, I will be exploring every avenue possible to pursue just that. My first course of action will likely be to get my personal trainer certification…but we shall see. With everything happening in my personal life, I’m thinking that having the flexible schedule that comes with being a fitness coach/trainer would be amazing.

Some things happen in life that we can’t control. However, I’ve learned that its better to keep moving and live life rather than dwell on the negatives and let life pass you by. I may not look how I want to look on my birthday…or be where I expected to be when I graduated 10 years ago…but that’s life. I fully intend on enjoying this weekend and, above all, getting the relaxation that I so desperately need. It’s time to make the best of what I have and find strength from my struggles. I know that it will all be worth it in the end. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

A Healthy Alternative to a Dinnertime Classic

Tonight I was in a bit of a food rut. I purposely ran my stock low since I was supposed to begin the Whole 30 Diet this week. However, with an upcoming road trip to Philadelphia I decided to postpone the diet by one week. That, combined with the neverending snow (resulting in my inability to get to my favorite supermarket), has my stockpile running crazy low. I got tired of soup and carb-heavy dishes so I walked up to my local supermarket with a mission to find a protein. Since they are a neighborhood store they tend to be overpriced but I figured at the very least I could always just get a rotisserie chicken and use leftovers for lunch and whatnot. Boy was I surprised at what I found. Turkey cutlets…for a good price! Turkey cutlets are RARELY inexpensive so I tend to not buy them as often as I would like but I definitely lucked out tonight. I got a pack, which was about a pound, for only $2.99! I usually grill my cutlets but tonight I wanted them breaded so I came up with a healthier alternative to a fried classic. Instead of drowning the cutlets in oil, I only drizzled enough to barely coat the pan. I did have to drizzle the pan twice, since the cutlets had to be cooked in batches however, it was still a very small amount and significantly less than what you would normally use for cutlets. I also cut down some calories by only using an egg white rather than the whole egg. The result was a lighter, very tasty dinner. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my latest culinary creation….Enjoy! 🙂

Turkey Cutlets

20150204_191058-1

  • One pack of turkey cutlets
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • ground sage
  • black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • paprika
  • olive oil

-Lightly whisk one egg white in a bowl. On a separate plate, mix together all dry ingredients. Set both aside.

-Drizzle olive oil in a grill pan and set heat to medium high.

-While pan heats, begin dredging the cutlets in egg wash and breadcrumbs. Once coated, place the cutlets in the grill pan. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side.

Serve alongside your favorite veggies or with a salad. I served mine with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and string beans. Super simple, super fast, and best of all…healthy! Bon Appetit everyone 🙂

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Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

#TryDry – Dove Dry Spray Product Review

I’ve been a part of Influenster for a while now and they have some pretty great products. Recently, they have sent me things to review on this blog. The latest? This new Dry Spray deodorant from Dove.

I was really excited to receive a Dove product, as I am an avid user of their products. However, this made me hesitant because I’ve never been one to use spray deodorants. Quite frankly, I don’t trust that something that goes on wet will actually keep me dry. Well….this spray proved me wrong.

The spray goes on in a thin layer and is dry within seconds. It also doesn’t leave any marks on your clothing (see picture below.) I decided since I was hitting the gym hard today, I would put this spray to the test…and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. If I’m being completely honest…it worked even better than my regular stick deodorant.

PhotoGrid_1421527092281

I highly recommend this product. Whether you’re putting in hard work at the gym or at the office, this product will work wonders. Go check it out! 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

thefight2befit@gmail.com

Winter Blues

motivation 2

The funny thing about being on a journey is that it never really ends. There honestly is no finish line to this…every day you just get stronger and continue to grow from your experiences.

I’ve been put to the test lately, as I’ve been suffering with some PCOS issues as well as a very bad flareup for my IBS. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also battling with a freezing cold northeast winter. Now, I don’t know about you but I’m very susceptible to getting sick. So, in an attempt to not get myself deathly ill, my workout routine has been completely thrown off. All of this has given me a terrible case of the winter blues and I’ve spent most of this week feeling good and sorry for myself.

I don’t remember the last time that I had a hard workout. Sure, I’ve been keeping up with my strength training…but cardio has become like a foreign word to me. With my non-existent metabolism if I don’t workout, I will get fat. It’s a proven fact that regardless of my diet, without cardio I will gain weight. Being super paranoid about getting sick has led me to scale back my workouts…which means little to no cardio and big issues for my mental state.

Now, I know that cold weather is (sadly) part of life. I can’t spend the rest of winter being so bitter and miserable. I’ve worked way too hard and come to far for that. Besides, why be so miserable about something I can’t even control? That being said, I’ve come up with a preliminary winterized routine to keep myself in-check and keep me from going batty.

Beginning tomorrow, I will be doing hardcore cardio on weekends. This is because I can get to the gym during the day when it is typically (slightly) warmer. Since I work all day during the week, those days will be reserved for strength training. I will utilize DVDs and workout videos on days where it (God forbid) snows. If it happens to be warmer on any given weekday, I will take advantage and do a harder workout.

I’ve also decided to get my diet in check. I said I wanted to begin the IIFYM stuff but I need to get things working right again. My IBS has been horrible lately so I really want to get that under control and the best way I know how is to eat super clean and strict again. Trainer Bob (Harper) from Biggest Loser has been posting about a 30-day diet that he’s currently following. I looked into it and it seems like what I did last spring, just a little more strict. It’s the Whole30 diet and I will be starting that in a couple of weeks (beginning of February.)

With a bad stomach and a ruined routine, I’ve really been tested. This has all really done a number on me mentally. It’s really hard to see the “new you” when you are all swollen and aren’t working out. Hopefully with the new diet and a new workout plan, I can start feeling more like myself again.

It can be really hard to see the light at the end of tunnel when there’s so much darkness in front of you. This journey never ends and things happen in life that can’t be controlled but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last two years it’s this: the bigger the obstacle, the sweeter the reward once it’s overcome. Always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
thefight2befit@gmail.com