My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Tag Archives: working out

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I have blogged!  This past month has been pretty crazy with more going on at work and prepping for my trip to India!  Yes…that’s right!  In one week, I will be on a plane heading to India with my family.  I’m VERY excited about this trip.  I have been to India four times in the past, but I’m really excited about this trip because I will be meeting a lot of my husband’s family and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and three beautiful nephews are coming as well!  I’ve never traveled to India with them before (I haven’t gone with my husband yet either), so it should be a lot of fun 🙂

How does this all play into my health plan?  Well…the past month’s activities have, unfortunately, cut into my personal journey towards better health.  I haven’t really lost any weight.  I probably gained a little bit, but that’s not even what I care that much about.  I kind of just lost sight of things because…well…life is hard to balance.  The changes I’ve had at work were great for my work life.  However, this came at a cost of not being able to go to The Dailey Method as much because I was now working during the classes I usually attended.  Since I have focused so much on those classes, I didn’t put much of an effort towards doing anything at home.  In terms of food, well…I have definitely tried to keep it up, but let’s just say that I had a lot of dessert at a wedding reception last night!  My will and Paleo decision-making has someone gone down the drain.  One reason I haven’t been beating myself up too much about it is because it will be impossible to live up to my Paleo lifestyle in India.  None of my relatives eat meat, and eating it going to be very central to the trip.  Let’s just say that family in India LOVE to feed you.  I’m going to enjoy this, however, I’m also going to make sure I feel satisfied rather than full.  I also didn’t want to do Paleo for the past few weeks and then totally shock my system when I’m in India when I will inevitably be eating a lot of grains and carbs.

Anywho…one thing this past month has taught me is that balance, while very important, is very hard!  That doesn’t mean I’m giving up though!  I have always said this is a journey.  My weight loss is not going to be perfect, life isn’t perfect.  The great thing about this is all the great lessons I learn about myself in the process.  I am trying to keep a positive outlook, because a positive MIND is what is going to help me with my healthy lifestyle.

In the next week before I head to India, I’m going to eat a “regular” diet with grains, carbs, etc.  I am still going to avoid processed food.  One question I’m going to ask myself is “Am I really hungry?”  I read a lot about this concept from the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.  This is a great book about our hunger signals.  I have noticed that my hunger signals can mean a few things:  I’m thirsty;  I’m bored;  I’m stressed; or I really am hungry.  I’m going to evaluate myself before making these decisions.  I am usually pretty satisfied throughout the day when I start my day by drinking 10 to 20 oz of water and continuing to drink water all day.  So, I think this will be the best way for me to eat this week and while I’m in India as well.

So, there ya have it!  I plan to post that Pre-Made Paleo review I promised a few months ago before I leave!  Sorry for slacking on that.

 

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What can I say?  I’ve been slacking on the blogging.  I’ve been slacking on working out 5 times a week.  I haven’t updated my Pounds and Inches page in 2 months!  I am a slacker!

Hopefully this post will put an end to this 🙂  The good news is that I’ve been losing more pounds and inches.  I realized that working out 5 times a week is really difficult.  I can do it, but I tend to be really tired by the end of the week when I do.  If I’m not in bed by 10:30pm, then it’s really hard for me to wake up early and workout.  While I definitely think I need to not make excuses, there is actually a lot of research that talks about how sleep is more important than working out due to hormonal activity that is tied to appetite.  In fact, losing sleep in order to workout could lead to weight gain because there is a hormonal imbalance which causes us to crave sugary, high-carb foods.  Here’s one article that explains this concept. I know the difference between, “I went to sleep at 11pm and waking up at 5:30am stinks”, and “I have gotten 4 hours a sleep and my eyes are burning”.  I don’t workout if the latter is true.  So this means that lately, I have been working out around 3-4 times a week, and I no longer feel bad about it!  I feel really good, and I’m still losing pounds and inches…which brings me to…

My Pounds and Inches page?  Well, I have to be honest.  After I finished my first Whole30, I went back to my old ways a little bit.  With that, I gained some of my weight back, and I just “got lazy” and didn’t post it.  Yes, I was embarrassed. I was also a little annoyed because, eventually, I started to get back on track and my scale was starting to be really inconsistent, as in, I would weigh myself, and I gained 10 lbs in one day.  Hmmm, not only did I not like the number, but it was clearly ridiculous.  Then I realized that I’m working with a pretty ancient scale, so I decided to order a fancy new one.  This picture is a great example of what I was dealing with before…and after.  My old scale was at my parents house, and they gave it to me…as you can see, I really needed an upgrade!

The day I stepped on my new scale by EatSmart (isn’t she a beauty?), I made an interesting discovery.  I was 3 lbs lighter compared to my old scale!  This was great, in a way.  However, I no longer really know how accurate my pounds are on my page since I was using my older scale.  Thankfully, I am also tracking inches lost, and my tape measure is accurate (I think, hehe).  I was trying to think of a way to resolve this since it probably has been somewhat inaccurate the whole time.  I decided to keep this simple and just continue to log my weight and not change my previous weight.  However, I am going to make a notation around 10/4/12, which is around when I bought the new scale.  So, as you can see now, Pounds and Inches is updated 🙂  I have been continue to lose pounds and inches slowly but surely!

So yes, I have been slacking.  I guess, like anything, this blog is going to have its peaks and valleys.  But now it’s time to get back on track!  Even when I’m not writing here, I am always thinking about how this blog makes me accountable to myself and to you!

What’s coming up?  I’m going to blog more about my Pre-Made Paleo experience.  Also, I have a dear friend that is going to write a guest blog, so I’m really excited about that!  Stay tuned 🙂


Thankfully, I have kept to my goal from my last post to attend Dailey Method classes 5 days a week!  However, I definitely did a lot of overindulging the week of and weekend after my birthday.  It is what it is, and, while I’m not happy I did it, it made me realize how far I have come.  Even though I overdid it, I was easily able to get back into the groove of things the following week.  Before, I would have just given up or found another sweet substitute for the sweets I really wanted.  So, that’s that!  I’m back into the Whole30 groove with an occasional indulgence 🙂

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at The Dailey Method about taking your practice to the next level.  It was taught by Natalia, who I remember from when I took my first classes back in 2010.  She has been teaching these classes for three years, and she is great!  She always has a big smile on her face and gives great detailed instruction.  Here is some of her background, taken from The Dailey Method site:

Originally from Puerto Rico, Natalia began training in ballet at age 4. She continued her training throughout high school and into college at the University of Illinois, where she discovered modern dance. She currently lives in Chicago where she dances with the Leopold Group modern dance company and works as a dance teacher, in addition to her work as a fitness instructor. She teaches modern dance at the North Suburban School of Dance, and is a teaching artist for the Joffrey Ballet’s Community Engagement Program. Natalia began taking classes at the Dailey Method in December 2008, and began teaching in March 2009. She is very excited to be a part of the Dailey Method family, and to be doing what she loves!

It was challenging to take pictures from my phone and take notes while trying to participate in the workshop, but I tried my best!  I definitely learned a lot which has helped me this week during classes.  The running “theme” throughout the workshop was the importance of form, especially for the back muscles.  During class, I always hear teachers talking about engaging the rhomboids and serratus anterior muscles in the back…I knew they were muscles in the back, but I didn’t realize how important it is to strengthen them. These muscles pull the shoulder blades/scapula down and back, which helps with opening the chest and gives us better posture. Here’s a great diagram:

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I am definitely a sloucher…when I stand, while I sit (I just corrected myself while typing now, hehe), and also sometimes when at The Dailey Method! I thought I always had my shoulder blades back and down like I am always instructed, but there were a few positions I wasn’t doing so. One of those positions is the plank!  I didn’t realize how much I “slouched” and brought my shoulders forward instead of back with planking.  Natalia talked about how important it is to engaged the back muscles because this works the back instead of being rigid and going into the neck.  When the strain is no longer in the neck, the abdominals work harder as well!  Everything is connected 🙂 Here’s a pictures of Natalia teaching while someone demonstrates a doing a plank with the shoulders in the correct position:

Here is Natalia demonstrating downward dog incorrectly (top) and correctly (bottom).  Here, it is easy to see the difference in the shoulder placement.

Not only does this work the serratus anterior to strengthen your back, but it also strengthens the Achilles, stretches your calves and hamstrings.  Natalia gave a great visual to help make sure your shoulders are in the correct position: Pretend you are opening two jars with your hands without moving them.  It might sound silly, but it worked for me!

I also learned my Low C Curve position can be so hard for me as opposed to High C Curve.  I have a very short torso, so it’s hard for me to reach my thighs without straining my neck when I’m so low to the ground.  I’m really glad I learned this because I was beginning to think something was wrong with me!  I was happy to learn that I am A-OK 🙂

High C Curve (I don’t have a pictures of Low C Curve, but it is where your back is lower, but your shoulder blades are still off the ground. Basically your arms are stretched out more.)

One thing Natalia kept emphasizing throughout the workshop was that all of our bodies are different in terms of shape, flexibility, muscle tightness, etc.  Some positions are easier and harder for some of us than others.  We need to find what works best for us as individuals!  This was a key takeaway for me.  The instructors always say this in class as well.  However, even though I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, it’s hard not to while I see others class do complicated movements while they are holding a plank.  However, when I focus on myself, my form is better, I become stronger, and I get better!

Overall, the workshop was very clarifying and reinforced why I go to The Dailey Method!  Great instruction, impeccable form, and an amazing workout. Period.


My birthday is soon approaching, and it’s making me think about where I really want to be in my life right now in terms of my physical health.  I feel that in the past 6 months, I have made great improvements to my life including being aware and ACCEPTING my eating behaviors (sugar obsession and overeating), working out at The Dailey Method pretty regularly, and transitioning to a Paleo/Whole30 eating lifestyle.

However, in the aftermath of my first Whole30, I have gained a couple pounds back, and I have also started to reduce my workout frequency from 4 days a week minimum to 3 days a week.  Soooo back to where I want to be in my life….I really want to lose some more inches.  Working out 3 days a week, is definitely maintenance mode in my head.  Therefore, I am planning to increase the frequency of my workouts to 5 days a week.  Given my schedule, I think this is a fair and feasible schedule change.  While I don’t plan on being super strict for Whole30, I do plan on following the guidelines for the most part with the occasional indulgence.

I once read that in terms of health, food > sleep > exercise (I think it was on the Whole9 Facebook page).  I feel that sometimes I wasn’t exercising because I wasn’t sleeping as much.  So, I am going to put a change to that!  I plan to be in bed every night by 10:30pm, so I can get up and workout feeling rested.  I really think I’ll notice a difference with this subtle change.  I did a quick Google search about workout frequency (I’m so scientific!), and I came upon this site.  The picture I first saw (below) scared the crap out of me, but I liked the idea of the article.  (No, I don’t want to look like him…not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

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Basically, it talks about the frequency of strength training you need to make different types of changes in your body.  It also emphasizes the importance of muscle recovery.  I love that The Dailey Method has a combination of isometric strength training and low-intensity cardio!  I really feel like I’m getting it all in one class 🙂

Speaking of The Dailey Method, I’m excited to announce that I will be attending a Dailey Method workshop next weekend about taking my practice to the next level!  This should be really great, and I’m looking forward to blogging about it.  Also, I have been struggling with preparing Whole30 meals ahead of time with my work and personal schedules…so I started looking into Pre-Made Paleo meals that I can heat up and eat.  I’m excited to announce that I am going to be receiving some of their meals to review on this blog!  I’m super excited about these upcoming posts, and I hope you are too 🙂

Here are a few questions for you all:

1. Have any of you noticed any changes to your body by increasing the frequency of your workouts?

2. How/when do you manage to make meals ahead of time for yourself and/or your family?

3. Do you believe in or practice “food > sleep > exercise”  in terms of order of importance?  Why or why not?


As you may have read in a previous post, my workout regimen consists of attending The Dailey Method (TDM) classes in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago.  I had attended some of these classes in 2010, and I really enjoyed it.  When people ask me what it is, I say it’s a mixture of pilates (focusing on your core strength and postural alignment), yoga (focusing on breathing, stretching, and lengthening your muscles), and body sculpting (strengthening your muscles).  They work to isolate specific muscles and through repetitions, different positions, and vicious holds, your body will transform.  I typically attend classes 4-5 days a week.

In every class, they work on strengthening your arms, thighs, seat, and core.  Core exercises include planks and abdominal work where you do multiple contractions in a sit-up like position where your shoulders are at different heights relative to the ground (not sure if that makes sense, but that’s the best I can do to describe it).  Basically, your core is definitely worked to the…core 🙂  Here are some pictures to illustrate these different strengthening positions.  The abdominal work photo is what I was trying to explain before.

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These are just a few of the types of positions I somehow manage to get (and try to stay) into…it ain’t easy.  Even after almost 4 months of taking classes, I am still taught new and challenging variations that work my muscles in a way I didn’t know was possible.  Then of course there are the stretches.  Now, I am very inflexible.  Before I started attending TDM classes, I couldn’t touch my toes, I had lower back pain, and I hunched forward pretty much all the time.   Within 2 weeks of taking classes, there was a noticeable change in my posture.  I started standing taller and my shoulders naturally went backwards rather than forwards.  After about 2 months, I could touch my toes and hold it for a very long time.  I also noticed that I no longer felt much, if any, lower back pain when I was sitting in a chair, driving, or walking.  I can single-handedly attribute this to taking TDM classes.

I also have been amazed at what the classes have been doing for my mind.  First of all, I am prioritizing exercise as a part of my life.  That already puts me in a great mindset where I realize that self-care has to be present before I try to do anything else.  Through breathing, stretching, and strengthening, I leave every TDM class feeling more relaxed, motivated to start my day, and less irritable at those little things that can easily turn into big things.

When I walk into the studio, I am warmly greeted by staff and instructors.  The instructors are amazing.  They help to correct your posture, but they never make you feel not good enough.  They are understanding towards people of all levels, beginners through advanced.  They also explain in detail how to transition into various positions and how to really target specific areas in your body.  Who knew that pushing your foot into the ground in a certain position would work your gluteus maximus?  The tunes are also quite excellent.

So…there you have it.  I love The Dailey Method, and one day, I will be able to hold a plank without going to my knees at all!  If you live in Chicago or near their other locations, I encourage you to try it out!


I started my journey towards healthy living back in February by regularly attending Dailey Method classes. Then I delved into altering my diet. While my goal is to be healthy overall, I knew that weight loss definitely had to be a part of that. I’m happy to report that my clothes are looser, and I generally feel more energetic and less irritable. During this time, I was occasionally weighing myself, but I was trying not to be too obsessive about it because the proof was evident: my clothes actually fit me 🙂 However, I never took exact measurements until recently.

So in an effort to track my progress, I finally took measurements and weighed myself last week on Thursday, May 24. This morning, I did the same thing, and I am hoping to continue to do so on a weekly basis. I made a new page to show my progress based upon the percentage of pounds and inches I have lost. I am happy to say that in a week, I have made some progress! Baby steps right?

Check it out: Pounds and Inches

Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net


As I mentioned in my previous post, I have had various experiences with trying to get in shape. Nothing really stuck, and I just figured that working out just wasn’t my “thing”. I’m just not “one of those people” who worked out…right?

Around February of this year, I started to feel really negative and depressed about my eating habits, lack of exercise, and increasing waistline. I was sitting on my couch after watching Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, which was definitely motivating and inspirational in its own right, and I decided that it was time to literally get moving. Then the “reality” set in. I thought to myself, “I’ve never kept anything up, what makes me think I will this time?”, “I can’t exercise because of my foot”, and, “I’ll just eat really healthy, maybe try juicing, Weight Watchers, or just anything so that I don’t need to workout”.

Then, a recent memory popped into my head. I was having dinner with friends and overheard a friend talking about how she usually gets up early in the morning 2-3 times a week to work out. Then I realized that this friend not only is married, has a full-time job, and a home to maintain, but she also has 3 young kids. So what exactly is my excuse? That I “can’t” get up until 7am every morning because I need sleep? Hmmm…most of the world is able to get up early, so again, what is my excuse?

Then…I had a moment of clarity. I am just looking for excuses when, in reality, I have none! I knew it the whole time, but I just didn’t want to accept it.

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So, I finally came to ACCEPT that I have no excuses besides laziness. I want to look and feel fabulous, but I don’t want to put in any work. So I can either stay that way and pay the consequences, either now or later, or I can do what I CAN do. I have no control over what may happen in the future, but I can control what I do now.

That is how my journey towards healthy living began. I am happy to say that in less than four months I have seen positive results through exercising and eating healthier. These are not just physical changes but also mental changes. I am so much happier after I workout and throughout the day. I’m less irritable and less irritating. I am much more motivated to do work simply because I started my day off right by exercising and eating a healthy breakfast! When I feel sluggish, I drink some water or eat some fruit or nuts instead of going to the vending machine.

Sounds easy, right? HA! Not so much, but re-training habits is definitely hard work. The good news is that it gets easier! Don’t get me wrong, I have cravings for junk food and mornings that I just sleep in and don’t work out. However, I no longer allow those choices to become long-term habits.

Please share your own motivating experiences and/or challenges with keeping up regular exercise and diet. I’d love to hear them!



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