New Year, New Healthier US!

Happy New Year and happy blogiversary to this little engine that could. 4 years ago, I started this blog in the hopes that by sharing my story & struggles I could help inspire some of you. I just want to show you that despite every obstacle & hardship, it IS possible.

A lot has changed over the last 4 years. When I started this blog, I was in the middle of my own weight loss journey. I was down 50lbs and starting to really figure it out. Since then, I’ve completed a Spartan race, WipeOut race, 4-week bodybuilding prep (did not actually compete), ran my first 5k – coming in first in my age group, and became a personal trainer. I went from a size 12/14 to a size 2/4 and dropped about 80lbs along the way. This journey saw some incredible highs…and lows. In that WipeOut race, I ended up with a SLAP tear which I didn’t get checked out (and operated on) until 2 years later. I also have had a variety of issues in my personal & professional life, which have caused me to slack on this blog from time to time.

2017 was a year filled with some of the very best…and worst…moments of my entire life. Despite my best intention, I haven’t posted a lot on here…especially recently. Truth is, I’ve had a rough couple of months in my personal life. However, after a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to share with you all. The purpose of this blog was, as I said, to help people, so while I tend to keep my private life private…maybe sharing this can help someone see that they aren’t alone. I will detail everything in an upcoming blog. This past year also saw me recover from major shoulder surgery…only to be set back further. I’ve recently been diagnosed with bulging discs in my neck. This has caused incredible pain to my traps & shoulder…and is likely the cause of the migraines that I get. I don’t need surgery but it’s going to be a long road to get back to normal. Suffice to say, I am happy to begin a new year and hopefully begin a new chapter in this book of life.

I start physical therapy again tomorrow. This injury is a HUGE setback to the intense workouts that I’m accustomed to. So, I’ve decided to begin working on some functional stuff. I’ve had terrible balance throughout my entire life – so I’ll be starting there. I;d like to make my ankles less wobbly & strengthen my core. I can’t lift heavy or run, but I’m determined to figure out a HIIT workout that I CAN do. I will be trying to design a different plan to keep myself motivated.

In addition, I will be hosting a winter “detox” beginning January 15. Unlike a lot of the typical new year cleanses and detoxes, this doesn’t involve any juice or extreme diet. Instead, we will be focused on super clean eating; Detox the body from the holiday goodies…and garbage…that we’ve filled it with and get the new year off to a healthy start with a nice clean slate. I will be posting a shopping list next week to get everyone started. Similar to my last shred, I will post everything that I eat daily. I’m not calling this a shred since I can’t do those type of workouts. However, I will be doing whatever I possibly can and posting that here as well. Anyone interested in joining me on my mission to healthier living, shoot me a message – thefight2befit@gmail.com – and I will try to help you out!

Thanks for following my journey! Let’s make 2018 our best & healthiest year yet!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

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How to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for family get-togethers, office parties, and lots of delicious foods & drinks. It’s a common belief that people pack on the pounds during the holiday season. That isn’t necessarily the case. The truth is, while you may gain a couple of pounds, chances are it won’t be anything significant. The holidays don’t necessarily signify weight gain – but overindulging does, and that can happen at any time of year. The key is learning balance. It’s important to focus your time on loved ones rather than counting calories. You should enjoy yourself and some treats, but there’s no need to be reckless! Here are some tricks to beating the bulge this holiday season:

Don’t skip meals! Often times, people think that if they skip a meal it will give them more calories to use later on. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you’re doing serious damage to your metabolism when you skip meals. Your body will go into starvation mode, and instead of distributing the food the way it should, it turns to fat. Ultimately, you will end up being twice as bloated and feeling worse than if you had just had a small meal or snack prior to your party.

Bring your own healthy dish to the festivities. Let’s face it – time is of the essence this time of year. I’m sure the host will be more than appreciative for the help. Offer to make a healthy side dish or dessert. This will not only be a big help to the host, but it will allow you and your friends &/or family to enjoy the time together and not to worry about what’s on your plates.

If making something isn’t an option, practice portion control. This should be something that’s done all year round, but it’s especially important this time of year. Begin with salad or veggies and be sure to pace yourself by eating slowly before going back for seconds.

That being said, you want to choose your indulgences wisely. No one is saying you can’t have your favorite dessert or your family’s secret, delicious dish. Less is definitely more. Have a little bit of everything you really enjoy and move on. The easiest trick to ensure you won’t overindulge is to load up on water & veggies. That will keep you fuller and keep you from grazing the table.

Be realistic with time. This is another big one. Do your best to keep up with exercise – just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference physically AND mentally. This can be walking around the mall or walking when you first wake up in the morning – every little bit counts and will even serve as a great stress reliever.

Above all, focus on what’s truly important this time of year. If you do eat too much or don’t get as much time to exercise, be kind to yourself – you’re doing your best. Don’t feel guilty – just do better the next day. Life is short – don’t waste precious time agonizing over an extra serving of pie or an extra glass of egg nog. Spend that time with your loved ones; you’ll be happier for it in the long run.

Happy holidays to you & yours!

-Gina

Turning a Setback into a Comeback

img_0451Happy holidays everyone!! I am a little over 2 months post-op and I’m feeling great!! Slowly but surely I’m getting back to normalcy. My pain is almost non-existent and I have been using real weights in physical therapy!! I’m amazed by how quickly I’ve been able to bounce back…and how little pain I experience daily.

Now that I have a semi-normal routine again, here’s how it goes: Mondays and Thursdays is physical therapy. Each session lasts about 45 minutes, during which time I start with the arm bike then proceed on to more fun activities 🙂  I usually start with the seated row followed by lat pulldowns. As of this week, I’m up to 50lbs on the row – which is more than ever before! For the pulldowns, I’m typically at 40lbs but on a good day we go a little heavier. After 3 sets of 10 on both machines, I move along to use the TRX bands which I use for two exercises – The T and The Y.


I always hated TRX and with my current situation, it’s that much worse. Still, I do what I’m told so as to get back to doing what I love on my own. After the TRX (and a healthy dose of complaining), I head over to the tables where get stretched and do a few sets of dumbbell exercises. These include side raises, shoulder extension, and external rotation. Then I stand up to do jumping jacks…without jumping but with weights. My weights for all of these exercises range from 7lbs down to 3, depending on my pain tolerance (which my therapist gauges from the faces I make, since I rarely complain about the weight itself). I also do a swimming exercise, which I must say, is probably one of the most miserable things I’ve done yet. However, like everything else I’m sure a month from now I will sing a different tune. I drop to the floor for a few rounds of shoulder push-ups (or cat-cow) followed by plank to push-up. Lastly, is the VERY best part – ICE!


Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been cleared for any cardio that I desire…so I’ve been taking advantage of that by doing it on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Last week, I also got cleared to begin doing bicep curls and tricep pushdowns on my own! Since all of this is happening, I have begun the process of meal prepping so as to keep my diet in check. I haven’t weighed myself but the transformation I’ve seen in just a couple weeks is crazy!

It’s not perfect but it’s some serious progress! I am SO much further along in my recovery than I ever dreamed. So while I’m not where I wanna be….this is a DAMN good start! The biggest struggle for me thus far has been overcoming the mental aspect. I’ve been out of commission, workout wise, for several months. Seeing how my metabolism works, I know that if I don’t workout I will gain weight. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. I worked really hard to get where I am and have been working tirelessly to build a career based on helping others do the same. Seeing myself slide backwards wasn’t pretty but I made it through. As with everything else, whatever struggle or hardship we face often makes us stronger in the end. So rather than dwell on the negatives, I’m taking my setback and using it to form my biggest comeback yet! If you are facing any obstacle, I challenge you to do the same. After all, pain is temporary…but quitting lasts forever.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

 

Everything You Go Through, Grows You

Good grief, where has the year gone?!? The holidays are finally over….and so is the year. I’ve spent the last month like most…busy with shopping, get-togethers, family, etc. In this time, my routine was completely knocked off track. Sure, I worked out when I could…but my diet was another story. If only clean eating could include cookies….

I must’ve been a good girl this year because Santa treated me really well. My broken magic bullet was replaced….and I got a new laptop! I even got a new arm band to accompany the new phone that I finally got myself. So now that my life has been upgraded and replenished…there are no more excuses for me to make.

Merry Christmas to me :)

Merry Christmas to me!

Anyway, that’s my little update. On to other business.

I got to thinking about all I’ve accomplished over the last two years of this journey…but most especially this year. I got myself down to a size 2…which I’ve decided doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve become super focused on building muscle and the more muscle I build in my legs and booty, the less comfortable jeans become. Who needs jeans when you can rock leggings anyway?They are not only more comfortable but they make your butt look good too 😉

Not only did I make many physical changes, I made a lot of changes to benefit me mentally and by doing so, I’ve become the happiest that I’ve ever been. I’ve spent so many years miserable..and the last decade was particularly hard on me. I’ve gone back and forth with whether or not to share personal stories on this blog–but this is my story and my journey. While it’s fitness driven., a weight loss journey is much more mental than it ever is physical. Until you overcome your inner demons, you won’t truly conquer your physical ones. That being said….here it goes.

The last decade of my life was spent in a pretty bad place. I graduated college with a dream to becoming a NY Yankees broadcaster (we see how well that turned out…) In addition to floundering in the “real world”, I was in an abusive relationship (mostly verbal but there were some physical episodes.) I was also surrounded by a lot of drama and a lot of negative people. I would go to the bar and get myself black-out drunk. I thought I was just having fun but looking back on it, I was probably trying to mask everything going on in my life.

I decided to this story with you all because it was one of the the biggest hurdles that I’ve had to climb in recent years. There was a lot of verbal abuse and manipulation over those years, which really did a number on my brain. I made a decision two years ago, in the midst of that break up, to get my life back. And so my journey began…and I have never looked back. As the saying goes: everything you go through, grows you. I was one of the lucky ones to get out and I took many lessons away from that experience. You don’t truly know who you are until you go through something horrible. I became much stronger and learned a lot about who I really was during that time…and I’ve learned much more since.

As this year comes to a close, I am in the best shape of my life….physically and mentally. I have gotten rid of the negative people and influences in my life and I’m a better person as a result. The only thing missing is to make my career dreams a reality. Stay tuned for more on that and on how to stick to your resolutions later this week!

My year of progress

We all have our own personal journey and I thank you all for letting me share mine with you this past year. I hope that by sharing my stories, some of you have been inspired and maybe even a little bit motivated. I want you all to see that no matter what obstacle you face, it IS possible! I’ve had to work EXTREMELY hard for everything that I have…and this coming year may be the hardest yet. I will tell myself what I tell all of you—Nothing worth having comes easy!

I wish you all a very safe and happy new year!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Back to Basics

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is keeping warm in this ridiculously cold weather that we’ve been having!

I’m finally starting to get back on my feet after being sick for almost two weeks. I had vertigo for most of last week. If you’ve never had it, consider yourself lucky–it’s a very annoying illness. You don’t feel sick in the conventional way–you just get incredibly dizzy for no reason…which also makes you nauseous. Vertigo can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days to even a few weeks. Lucky for me, mine was gone by Sunday. However, to treat the vertigo, I was told to buy motion sickness pills.  I was so sick, I didn’t care what was in the pills or what else they could potentially cause—I just wanted to stop being dizzy. So while the dizziness dissipated, I had new issues come Sunday night. Turns out one of the side effects of these pills is that they mess your stomach up…bad. Having stomach issues already, this was a recipe for disaster…and unfortunately one that I’m still battling as I write this.

Whenever my stomach issues (IBS in particular) flare up, I notice a pattern with myself. The longer the stomach issues drag on, the worse I feel mentally. I worked really hard to lose weight and get myself in good shape but during these lovely times, I can’t really workout. Sure I could lift weights or do leg work—but I can’t do the cardio which will get my mind right. Without that, what’s the point? That go hard or go home mentality really bites me sometimes.

I started this blog in the hopes of helping others who may have similar struggles and show anyone that they can do it too. I know that not every day is going to be perfect on this journey and that things happen. We get sick, we get busy…life just happens. The important thing is how you bounce back. I still have moments where where I slip back into negative thinking. When my stomach is blown up and I feel crappy, I tend to think that I look like a cow. Deep down though, I know that once I am able to work out again that feeling will go away. Thankfully, I have surrounded myself with some great (and patient) people who remind me of this and talk me off a ledge when it’s needed.

IMG_7860My game plan is get back to the gym (or maybe even run outside if the weather warms up a little) this weekend. As far as my diet, I think I’m going back to basics. I’m going to start using MyFitnessPal again to keep me accountable. Since I want to lose some more weight and lean out, I want to do some research on reverse dieting and IIFYM. With the holidays quickly approaching, I need to get back on track with everything. I will share my findings with you all as soon as I can.

Stay tuned for a healthy Thanksgiving recipe, to be posted this weekend 🙂

Until then – stay strong, stay warm, and stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com