Wow, why hello there blog, it sure has been a while! February to be exact. Well, quite a lot has happened since then. I had a healthy baby boy on April 3, 2015, Cullen Bond Dehestani, 6 lbs 11 ounces; and man oh man were people right….your time sure does melt away (along with your heart every time you look at your baby, well except maybe when he’s screeching like a pterodactyl). So needless to say I haven’t had a chance to get back to blog writing for over 6 months but it’s been on my to do list and here we go!
I worked out right up to the day before going into the hospital on April 1 to start the delivery process (I decided to opt for a one week elective early induction offered up to me by my doctor). I met my good friend April for a warm vinyasa flow class on March 31st. This selfie was right at the end of the class, I knew it would be my last workout before Cullen would make his debut so I made it count and we had a nice flow followed by a trip to Starbucks.
At this point (and for a good 4 weeks prior) my feet and hands had swelled to epic proportions. What the?! I thought swelling only happened when pregnant over the steamy summer months, not winter. Um yeah…not so much.
I no longer could fit into my sneakers so begrudgingly went to Marshalls and found a pair of New Balance’s size 10.5 that I could squeeze my swollen tootsies into (sockless and very lightly laced mind you). Yoga was my go to form of exercise in the last month of pregghood as wearing sneakers to workout was not very pleasant. I used yoga blocks under my palms often as it helped alleviate some of the discomfort from the swelling in my hands. I worked up until the day I went into the hospital, taking my last client that morning and then proceeding to Be Styled for a blow out, they even stamped my Be Styled card with a few extra blowout punches (hey, I’m glad some people like to throw us preggos a bone or two now and then). I painted my nails, packed up my bag, and had cake, pictured below (leftover from a “baby shower” party my husband’s coworkers threw for him that afternoon, so no I didn’t eat all of that) and pizza for my last meal before heading on into Brigham and Women’s for our 7pm check in (here is the last selfie before getting the labor and delivery process started)!
Now I am 5 and a half months postpartum and have lost the bulk of the 44lbs I gained, still working on the last 3, the stomach is the last part to return to its’ former self and slowly I see more ab definition as the months go by, I mean come on, when your waist size increases 15 inches it takes a while for that to get back to normal. Here I am at 5 months postpartum. It’s a game of slow and steady.
I cannot express how important it is to continue to exercise and stay active through your pregnancy. It won’t be perfect and there will be days when you feel super tired and sluggish. You will not be able to run as fast, and perhaps have to eventually stop running altogether as your pregnancy progresses, you will worry that you might rip your tight holding on for dear life leggings while in a wide legged straddle stance in yoga class, you won’t be able to do certain exercises, but just keep on keeping on. Move your body at a pace that feels comfortable and listen to YOUR body, not what others around you at the gym or in yoga are doing. If you start to feel over exerted, take a rest, drink water.
Even though you cannot see your abs as you progress along in your pregnancy, thinking they have been swallowed up by the huge beach ball that is your baby belly, they are still there and need to be kept strong, along with the quads, glutes, hamstrings, triceps, biceps, and every other muscle group in your body. Once all the fluid dissipates after your pregnancy, your muscles will begin to emerge once again and you will be so thankful you still have your muscle tone along with the strength you maintained throughout the pregnancy. After having Cullen I was itching to get back to being active asap and was starting to get that icky not feeling like yourself feeling you get when not working out for a few days (my feet became more and more swollen after delivery which I had no idea can happen to some women)! This is a photo of my feet 5 days after giving birth.
Once that gradually subsided, with the help of a diuretic, within about 10 days I could walk more easily (and fit actual shoes onto my feet). I started back with a yoga class 2 ½ weeks postpartum and getting back to running at 3 weeks with a very slow 3.5 miles. I asked my doctor of course first and advise you to always check in with your doctor to make sure it’s ok for you to start back slowly.
Now pregnancy and the weeks that followed it seem like (sort of) a distant memory and I am fully back into my routine. Because I now have a child and time begins to be not so plentiful, there are days I can’t get to that yoga class or class at the gym I’d like to take, but instead I’ll go for a run or walk with him in the jogging stroller or do a short circuit in my living room. There are days when I have no time to get a workout in. But you fit it in when you can and something is better than nothing. My arms are also looking more muscular due to carrying him and all of his baby gear, so that’s an added bonus. You can do what you can do, make the effort to figure out ways to move your body and eat healthy 80% of the time and you will get back to where you were pre-baby. It’s a slow process that I was very inpatient with in the beginning, but trust that your body is an incredible thing that was able to produce and bring a HUMAN BEING into this world, if you can do that then you can certainly get back to being just as fit and strong (and maybe even more so) as you were pre-baby. You’ve got this!
Baby Dehestani has been clocking a decent amount of hours at the gym and in yoga classes during the third tri. Pregnancy isn’t a picnic but I’m making it through, one sweat sesh at a time, and feeling much better because of it!
I have been having some swelling in my hands, feet and ankles along with some hip pain. I get a lot of stares and compliments when working out (like it’s such an anomaly for a pregnant woman to be exercising, what did you think we’d be at home on the couch eating bon bons?) Guess what?, people move out of your way when preggo, so I am able to get my pick of wherever I would like to set up my circuits.
33 weeks and an extra 28lbs has slowed me down a bit but I am happy to report that I do not yet have the “waddle”, although this may be inevitably on its’ way. My advice to pregnant women is to continue being active. There are definitely days I’m feeling tired or achy, but I make myself “just do it” and I’m always glad I did. You will never regret a workout, just slow things down to what feels right in your body. I’ve prohibited myself from taking group classes at the gym because I know my competitive nature, and I could potentially push myself a bit too much. Know your limits and tendencies and work within that throughout your pregnancy.
I’ve had to give up running which I miss dearly. Cramping along with the constant preggers peeing factor did me in. I will be very much looking forward to getting back to running post-baby. Along with being able to get back to the full array of ab exercises and exercises and yoga poses that require you to lie on your stomach. Speaking of yoga, my friend Andrea and I (because of our Starving Yogis blog), were invited to do yoga in the window of Lululemon’s Natick store, a few weeks back. I most likely was the only preggo ever up in that window, there were some poses we didn’t do due to my “condition”, but for the most part we flowed through many traditional poses and rocked it out for an hour. It’s nice to let other women see that hell yeah you can be 8 months pregnant and still get up there in a window in a bright orange tank at a busy mall and be every bit as amazing of a yogi as you were pre-pregnancy.
Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you are any less sexy either! You don’t need to crawl under a rock for 40 weeks, rock what you’re working with. I did some oh la la sexy boudoir maternity photos at Ma Cherie in South Boston and am so happy I did. Will be great to look back at them.
Over these next 7 weeks (or who knows, maybe more, maybe less), I am getting excited and curious to meet the baby. And who knows, my odds of going into labor while training clients, at the gym, or in a yoga class, are pretty good…so fyi, the Brigham is where I’ll be delivering if I need a ride there 😉
Well I am officially over the halfway point of pregnancy, cheers to that! My favorite “maternity” pants have become my Teeki yoga pants which just happen to be made of recycled plastic bottles so at least I am helping out the environment with my purchases, they seem to have an infinite amount of stretch which is a friend of any preggo. I am now at 5 ½ months and have gained 14lbs and added 6 inches to my waist so far. I have separated my workout clothes into piles of “too tight”, “can still squeeze into”, and the “super loose” pile. Thankfully I own A LOT of workout clothing. Here’s me at 14 weeks, 18 weeks, and 22 weeks; growing, growing and a growing!
I am staying active and have not adjusted my eating. My pace has slowed down even more so and I become winded quite quickly. My standard run of 6 miles has been dropped now to 4 – 4 ½ miles. After running this distance I feel the same amount of fatigue and tiredness as running a marathon pre-pregnancy. People aren’t kidding when they say it takes A LOT of energy to grow a baby for 40 weeks!
I attend yoga classes 2 to 3 times a week, at least 1-2 runs and try to get at least one strength training workout in. It is sometimes (mostly all the time) mentally frustrating to not be at my normal level of athleticism (and clothing size), but I take one day at a time and realize this will not be forever. As I progress further along and enter the third trimester, I may need to back off on running and sub in more strength circuits….there really are just not enough Starbucks along my usual running route to accommodate a pee stop every 10 minutes. I have added hot water with lemon to my morning routine and has worked wonders for the pregnancy induced slowing of the digestion system. My blood pressure was dropping very low due to pregnancy but has now leveled out to an acceptable level and I am no longer getting headaches and dizziness that accompanied the low BP.
I purchased a bright orange BOB Revolution jogging stroller over the weekend which has gotten rave reviews from many of my friends, I am very excited for the stroller and to be able to start Baby Dehestani off early with running! On the fur baby front: Zubi is enjoying her time being top our #1 child while she still can. She will always be our “daughter”.
That’s my update at 22 weeks! More to come once I’m into the third trimester!
So, here’s a little insight into my first trimester of pregnancy and my exercising routine. Everyone’s experiences are different and individual but maybe my experience will help other women who are going through the same thing. First off, I successfully completed a traveling burpee mile in my first month of pregnancy, the white board photo of completed burpee mile trips down the Catholic Memorial football field will be framed and hung up in the baby’s nursery!
Note: this competition took place before the morning sickness (which for me was really all day nausea) and lethargy set in. These lovely symptoms kicked in the following week. I had heard many of my friends who have babies talk about the nausea and overall tiredness some of them felt while pregnant and well let’s just say you have no idea what they really mean until it happens to you. Fitness is a very big part of my life and I am keeping up with my fitness routine as best as I can.
The first trimester was so tough but I made it through. A constant state of motion sickness is the closest thing I can describe it to. My doctor recommended taking a combo of ginger root capsules, B-6, and Unisom (odd trio but it really seemed to help a bit). My normal pre-pregnancy out for a normal run pace of 9-10 minute miles became 11-12 minute miles on a good day. I would run some and then get too winded to keep going so then would walk a bit and then start up my slow as molasses pace once again, all the while feeling like I could throw up at any given moment. Months of mentally and physically pushing through this was more difficult than any marathon I’ve ever run. For weeks I would say to myself “ugh this is so pathetic, my performance is dragging and this is SO frustrating”. My brain would tell my legs to move faster but they just wouldn’t. But I kept on working out, moving my body, albeit at a tortoises pace. I bagged the hot yoga for the first tri and stuck with unheated yoga. My friends have been great showing me support in my “condition” and slowing down their pace to match mine on partner runs and taking yoga classes that were not 100 degrees with me. Now I am almost to 4 months and feeling a thousand times better. The nausea has dissipated and although still moving much more slowly than pre-pregnancy, I have more energy and plan to continue exercising throughout my pregnancy. Keep doing what you love. Pregnancy is not the time to introduce new exercise elements into your fitness routine. It is a time to maintain your health and fitness, as long as it is safe to do so given your individual pregnancy situation. A great resource for safely exercising before, during and after your pregnancy is obviously your Doctor, but also a book called Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, By James F. Clapp. So ladies, don’t beat yourselves up if you’re athletic performance stats during pregnancy aren’t quite where they used to be, the fact that you are moving your body is so great and you should be proud of yourselves for continuing to live a healthy lifestyle…for you AND for your-baby-on-the-way!
The JFit 360° Face-Off: A night of sibling rivalry, philanthropy, sweat, a mile of burpees and 26.2 around a track
A recap and breakdown of a night we will not forget!
Jay’s take on things:
Certain words and actions are better off separated and never associated with each other; examples are only limited by ones imagination and the few that come to mind for me are eating contests coupled with athletic events such as a 400 meter sprint or beer chugging followed by a gymnastic routine. Of course they hold an abundance of entertainment value for spectators; the participants however would endure much suffering. The same could be said about a Burpee mile/ Marathon around a track challenge. Burpees in and of themselves are a hated exercise by many and only vilified more by turning them into the most ineffective way to cover distance…known as “The Traveling Burpee.” Personally completing a Burpee mile a few years ago I felt there was no challenge I couldn’t complete which led me into this whole mess of running a marathon around a track with little preparation. I openly stated to Jen that I could roll out of bed any day and run a marathon at a pace of 8-minute miles and that it was highly unlikely she could complete a Burpee Mile….well, I was wrong! Jen challenged me to back up my statements and likewise I challenged her, thus the JFit 360° Burpee mile/ Marathon around a track challenge was born.
Having about 6 weeks to train I stopped my usual weight lifting and hit the pavement. Researching what it takes to properly train for a marathon I soon realized “proper training” was out the window! My plan was to run 7 miles twice a week and train in the Harvard Stadium stairs once per week, along with two longer runs of about 11 -14 miles before the challenge. Preserving my overall health was my main focus and overtraining was to be avoided by keeping my runs relatively short. I didn’t want to weaken my body before the challenge and figured if I could get to mile sixteen the last 10 miles would all be mental. My last run before the challenge was 14 miles long and put many doubts in my head; cramping in my calves and just an overall weak feeling in my body made this challenge more daunting and it was only a week away. Over the next week I focused on rest and getting properly hydrated as well as mentally preparing for the wall I was going to have to run through!
August 8th finally arrived and with a stroke of luck my good friend and previous Burpee mile partner Christian Elwood decided to join me in running 105 laps around a track. Wearing the shortest shorts (and to boot American Flag shorts) I have ever worn I began running, putting any doubts about not completing this challenge out the window. Listening to Little Wayne Radio on Pandora the first hour and a half was a breeze, and then the chaffing began. The shorts I was wearing began to slowly rub away my inner thigh skin, just below my shrinking man parts. This region began to sting with the salty sweat pouring from my body. “ Expletive it, you knew this stuff would happen so just keep going” I said to myself! Around mile 16 the pain in my feet and legs became a constant thought along with anger toward myself for running my mouth and spawning this challenge. Pretty soon I wasn’t paying attention to the miles just the time, I would tell myself over and over again to just keep running, one more hour to go. The final laps to go in some ways were the most difficult, being so exhausted the last few laps seem to take forever. Eventually finishing I now look back and have a newfound respect for those who run marathons annually and will certainly not being running on a track anytime soon!
Jen’s take on things:
Like most siblings Jay and I are competitive with one another, with lots of things, um actually with everything! We are both very active and athletic, naturally having competitive blood running through our veins! Having run three marathons myself and hearing him say A) that he could pop up out of bed without training and run 26.2 miles because it’s all mental and B) that he thought that I was incapable of completing a traveling burpee mile, riled me up and led me to concoct this challenge.
In my head I thought “come on, it’s only a mile to cover in traveling burpees, I’ve got this”, well you don’t really realize how many burpees you will need to do to cover 1760 yards until you are actually on the football field and each field length is 100 yards…I’ll tell you how many..a whole shi* load! When this challenge first came to fruition, I was telling my friend Andrea about it and she said “I’ll do it with you”. I looked at her and said “really?! Are you insane?” Yop, she is insane and thus our burpee mile dynamic duo was formed. Her friend from CrossFit, Brian, also asked to join in…and then there were THREE! Andrea and I did some training, we completed a ½ mile and felt pretty good. I also did a few training rounds on my own ranging from ¼ mile – ½ mile. By far the most sore of all body parts was my abs. Shins too from all the broad jumps. Jay and I decided to turn this face-off into a charity event and set a goal of raising $1000 for a non-for-profit called Shape Up America, who are leaders in the fight on the epidemic of obesity. We raised $915 and the fundraising link is still open for anyone who would like to make a donation to get us to that $1,000.
Shape Up America has been working on the publication of a new e-book on the prevention of childhood obesity in infancy, Fit from the Start: How to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Infancy, and our fundraising dollars will allow them to create a print version of their new book.
August 8th arrived and the weather was perfect, we had a table filled with fluids and snacks to keep hydrated and energized throughout. We kicked it off feeling fresh and strong.
The hours went by, one hour of burpees, then two, then three….we finished (about 800 or so burpees later) at around 3.5 hours. Myself, Andrea and Brian, all burpee-ing together down the field, chatting, getting little laughs when looking up occasionally and seeing Jay and Christian running by in their booty shorts, marking off each trip down the field on a while board. Our pace definitely started to slow about halfway through, I had to stop doing full push ups at the bottom of my burpees after about 400 pushups, our elbows started to throb and some aches began to set in.
Having partners in this challenge was so beneficial and made it much more tolerable, along with making the time go by more quickly. This really speaks to the motivating power of teammates. We also had some friends who were on the sidelines cheering us on and supporting us which meant a lot to us.
Jay and Christian were still going around the track when we finished our burpees. I decided I felt good enough to run the last mile with Jay, (a few other friends did as well), even though he looked like he wanted to punch anyone who came near him in the face! He also had a random group of high school teens hop in and run the last mile with him. One kid had an American Flag he held up as he ran near Jay cheering him on (not sure why or where he got this from, but it added a great element to the last mile stretch). I have a definite respect for Jay and Christian for A) completing a marathon without much training and B) for doing it AROUND A TRACK! This has to be a very slow (and repetitive) form of agony. We all did it and we did it together! The five of us will not forget that night and the sense of comradery and accomplishment we earned.
Bottom line: You can do anything you set your mind to. Period. Also, I will not be doing another burpee for the full month of August…maybe even September.
I see a lot of women get caught up in constantly comparing themselves against others; “who’s skinnier” “who’s more toned” “who is too muscular” “who has cellulite” “who shouldn’t be wearing that tight dress” or “who has an amazing body but shows off too much skin”, and the list goes on and on. Instead of picking one another apart while at the same time comparing yourself to others, focus on being the absolute best version of YOU that you can be. Be confident and proud of yourself and provide encouragement and a support system for other women in your life. Be genuinely happy for others in their successes versus harboring jealousies and resentments. Be a breeding ground for positivity. Laughing at ourselves when we screw up and then getting right back at it to try again is what makes us human. The more we work on accepting our setbacks and learning and growing from them, along with being openly vulnerable, the more we can begin to banish cattiness and be truly accepting of ourselves and of others.
I was taking a yoga class a couple weeks ago and the instructor said to the class as we held our thumbs to forehead center “think kind thoughts; speak kind words”, this resonated with me and I would expand upon that to “do kind things”. The mantra that surrounds JFit 360° is “fit from every angle”; being fit on the outside and the inside, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We should all strive to have our whole “being” in a constant “fit” state. When I catch myself being catty or judgmental of someone else or of myself, I acknowledge it, stop doing it and move on. Competitiveness can be good, it can drive you to accomplish things you never dreamed were even possible, to push harder to reach your goals. Just make sure what your competing for is helping you reach YOUR dreams rather than just trying to beat someone for the sake of being “better” than them.
Pasta, rice, and bread, three things I thoroughly enjoy eating. However, I decided to embark on a month-long experiment of cutting out these three foods from my diet. Just these three food types, not all carbs. I still consumed things like cereal, crackers, oatmeal, sweets, and alcohol. Not to lose weight per se, but to see if my body would feel any different, change at all, or have any changes in digestion and bloat. My good friend Melissa decided to partner up with me for this adventure of sorts and we kicked it off on April 1st with a bang! Melissa describes her take on our adventure a bit later in this article.
I jotted down my weight and took a before photo and got things started! My very first food metamorphosis came with breakfast. I typically make an egg, cheese, and avocado slice on an English muffin which is a delightful combo of protein, fat and carbs. Since my English muffin was no longer, I would instead have a bowl of Quaker Quick oats oatmeal with some cranberries, sunflower seeds, chia and/or flax seeds and a drizzle of honey; I would also sometimes add a few dark chocolate chips into the mix.
Sometimes I would have an egg with cheese and avocado on these little pistachio/rosemary crisps. I still felt full and satisfied throughout my morning. Lunch was the largest change for me. Usually I am eating lunch in my car on the road in between clients, so I typically pack a peanut butter on raisin bread and a yogurt and some grapes. Easy to pack and eat on the road. I now swapped my sammy for a salad. Usually I would not have any protein on my salad so would have a spoonful of peanut butter mid afternoon. Dinner was also a big change for me as we often have rice as a side. I got used to having two veggies as sides and felt full and content.
For me it was very hard resisting warm rolls while out at restaurants, but I stayed strong and resisted temptation. It helped doing this challenge with Melissa to have an additional layer of accountability and to help one another stay on track (and also to fess up to when we occasionally slipped up (yes we are human and Easter feasts were in April)! Here are some snip its of some of the words of encouragement between Mel and I.
When the cleanse came to an end on April 30th I took my weight and photo. I had lost one pound and saw a bit more definition in my mid section. I felt less bloated and my digestion seemed better. I also felt more full when not eating these types of carbs and never felt that gross overly stuffed feeling post-meal. I did not feel the urge to snack as often between meals, and when I did I would opt for things like oven-roasted pecans that I drizzled with a little melted Brummel Butter, sugar and honey.
A week later, Melissa and I celebrated a successful cleanse reward by having pasta meals in the North End.
It tasted pretty good but wasn’t the wow factor I was expecting and think I would have felt just as satisfied with a big salad topped with a nice piece of grilled salmon. My takeaways from this cleanse that I am now incorporating into my daily diet are:
1) I am more conscious of my bread, rice, and pasta intake and limit them without fully eliminating them.
2) I no longer have a sandwich for lunch and go for a salad.
3) I am able to resist bread at restaurants now much more easily than before, it helps when you tell yourself you want to save room for your entrée rather than filling up on bread before hand.
I am now two weeks post cleanse and have lost another 3lbs just by making these simple carb modifications/choices to my eating habits. I have not altered my fitness regiment at all. The moral of this experiment, from my point of view, is this… A) you can accomplish any challenge you set your mind to and B) it’s OK to have occasional slip ups along the way, life is not an all or nothing dichotomy, just get back up on the saddle and get right back at it, and C) having peer support, a friend to help keep you motivated and to share laughs and experiences along the way, really helps you to stay on track. So, what’s your next challenge going to be?!
That’s my take. Here is Mel’s!
On April 1st I just happened to text Jen, my favorite fitness expert friend, for some advice. I had been working out and losing weight, but looking to accelerate my results, in particular to try to get rid of the belly bulge that seems to linger around. Coincidentally, she was starting a carb cleanse challenge for the month of April: not eating any pasta, rice or bread for the whole month. I was immediately intrigued and agreed to join her. Luckily I already hadn’t had anything off limits that day and was ready to go with a clean slate. She suggested we keep in touch via text and email to keep each other motivated and accountable throughout the month. Unlike me, Jen doesn’t have weight to lose but wanted to cut down on bloat and enjoys a good challenge. It was motivating to know that I had Jen to check in and commiserate with. As the first week passed, Jen and I had a few discussions about the definition of our restricted items and allowed for some compromises. Crackers, for example, were considered OK. Pizza isn’t bread per se but felt like cheating. Even though it was a carb cleanse, sweets were permitted because we didn’t want to eliminate too much at once and set ourselves up for failure.
I confronted my first test only two days later when I had dinner plans with some friends at a sushi restaurant. Normally I would have gone right for the maki rolls, but luckily the menu was expansive. We ended up having a spicy seafood appetizer, and I ordered a grilled veggie and seafood dish and was perfectly content without maki. Then another few days later I went along with my husband’s craving for one of our favorite local Italian restaurants. I watched with envy as he enjoyed a homemade fusilli dish, but did truly enjoy my salad with grilled shrimp. OK, I had ONE fusilli. Literally one! That hardly counts as cheating.
The second week of this challenge I wanted to really step up my game. I decided I would eliminate all sweets and crackers. Crackers are tough for me because they serve largely as an accompaniment for cheese, my favorite food in the world. I figured I was killing two birds with one stone on that one. It was during this week that I really started to see some material results. Combined with varied exercise including Spinning classes, playing squash, and weight training, I was noticing a real difference in the way I looked and felt. I had a lot more energy and liked the way clothes were fitting. This progress was very motivating and surprisingly I did not feel deprived. I think that gradually restricting foods rather than going immediately on a highly modified diet helped with the ability to acclimate to the changes.
I also found I was enjoying having some different options with meal planning and dining out. Dinners at home were typically grilled lean protein with a side of veggies and many dinners out were salads with grilled meat or seafood. I was impressed with my improvisation skills, including one day when I forgot my usual egg and fruit for breakfast and ended up pulling the turkey bacon and egg off of a Starbucks sandwich. At our work café, I started asking for the protein topping from whatever the sandwich of the day was on top of my veggie-loaded salad bar selection. Eating lots of greens kept me feeling full, as did drinking copious amounts of water. And wine. (Just kidding! I do love my wine though.) I was even able to resist some very delicious looking birthday cake on two separate occasions, and made it through a baby shower that had a a smorgasbord of tempting treats with just a bite of some frosting from an éclair. I learned having a tiny little taste of something was sometimes enough to quiet that voice of temptation. Other times I really didn’t feel the temptation at all.
During the third week, Easter rolled around and delicious little egg shaped candies started appearing around my house. My “no sweets” addition to the challenge gradually disappeared in a peanut butter and chocolate induced haze. For the bread, rice and pasta, I stayed true to the challenge until the end. Well, except for one cheat. I had dinner with a client at a seafood place and couldn’t resist a baked stuffed lobster (loaded with bread crumbs) and some delicious cornbread. The following day I felt lethargic and bloated, and had a headache. I think I would have felt fine if I had eaten in moderation, but I really got carried away and over ate. After confessing the binge to Jen and dealing with the carb hangover, I felt confident that I could make it through the rest of the challenge without incident. Jen had also cheated a little too, so it was a consolation that I wasn’t the only one taking a bit of a fall off the wagon. I did manage to make it through the entire month without pizza, which was quite a feat since pizza tends to be my go-to “I don’t feel like cooking” dinner.
As of May 1 I had lost 9 lbs and 2 inches off my waist. I have a way to go toward my weight loss and fitness goals, but this challenge motivated me on that journey in many surprising ways. There were lessons about moderation, discipline, and the power of peer support. And about the many delicious and nutritious things to eat that can replace the empty white carbs that tend to creep in and fill up our caloric intake. I am planning to continue restricting these foods even after my fitness goals have been accomplished. Of course, indulging in moderation will always be a part of what I see as a healthy lifestyle.
No, not THAT kind of stripper! This is a 10-day cleanse called STRIP, developed by my friend and nutritionist, Julie Starr-Wood, of JSW Nutrition. We’ve all heard the word cleanse and it instills fear in many of us. Days upon days of liquid diets, endless juicing, fasting, not to mention bad breath and gassiness. Well, do not be weary of this cleanse, my hubby Amir made it through and this blog chronicles his journey. I tried to be a supportive wife and went along with many of the changes in Amir’s diet for these ten days, however I did not partake in abstaining from coffee and alcohol; I am reserving this form of torture for the days of pregnancy!
Some of the foods this cleanse prohibited were alcohol, refined sugar, caffeine, junk food, bread, pasta, white rice, meats (chicken could be introduced towards the latter portion of the cleanse), certain types of fish were permitted throughout the entire cleanse. A lot of veggies and some fruits were allowed, as well as some grains.
STRIP also consisted of drinking lots of fluids throughout the day, which Amir isn’t accustomed to. He commented about having to pee “ALL THE TIME”, I snickered and replied “welcome to my world”! For those of you who know me, know I rarely am seen without a bottle of water in hand!
So let’s start at Day 1 of the cleanse. Amir had just returned from a week of traveling abroad for work. Jetlagged and after a week of eating out while traveling, he was ready to start up the STRIP. He got on the scale and we recorded his weight as a baseline. He had the unfortunate timing of this first week of STRIPping coinciding with Restaurant Week and having dinner reservations almost every night of the week. That evening we hit up the grocery store with his list in hand and went at it!
Then it was home to the kitchen where he prepped A LOT of food that evening for the week ahead of his breakfasts and lunches. He whipped up a tray of quiche that he baked, added in eggs, spinach, bell peppers, basil, and mushrooms. No cheese, as cheese and all dairy products were not STRIP-approved. He had this for breakfast everyday with a side of black beans.
Some of the other delish meals we had at home included, our at-home STRIP-approved version of Legal Sea Food’s “Bang Bang Cauliflower”. We coated the cauliflower pieces in a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and tossed them in a mixture of chia and flax seeds, which we then cooked in our wok. This was a “bang bang” of delectable in our mouths.
Once chicken was able to be integrated into STRIP towards the last few days of the cleanse, we whipped up a ginger chicken stir-fry which we served over brown rice. We cooked it in our wok (if you don’t have a wok, something is wrong with you, GET ONE), and used a ginger & garlic infused canola stir-fry oil which cheated a bit from the EVOO, but besides that this meal was fully STRIP-approved and fully AMAZING!
Salads. We ate a lot of salads. Most of our salads we would add grilled salmon on top of. These are two lunch salads, one had sweet potatoes added, both featured black beans.
The Friday night of the STRIP we went out to dinner and drinks with some of Amir’s college buddies (and more specifically, fraternity brothers). If ever there was a true STRIP test of willpower, THIS was it! I was so impressed, Amir only drank sparkling waters with a splash of cran and we both went with salads for our meals.
Recap, Recap, Recap
To recap, Amir never complained of feeling hungry, tired, or weak at any point throughout the cleanse. Nor did he have headaches or was gassy (at least no more gassy than normal!) He said he was getting a bit tired of eating salmon a lot. There were other fish types permitted but he likes the taste of salmon the most.
He stuck to the cleanse 95% of the time, along with working out regularly. He fell off the wagon one night during dinner at the Capital Grille with co-workers; while he did muster up enough will power to order salmon instead of filet, he was unable to resist the dessert tray and a glass of wine.
Besides this slip up, he was VERY dedicated! He said that he had more energy and felt great. He lost a total of 5lbs. He printed off the recipe packet that Julie provided him as part of the STRIP program, along with the allowed foods, and he plans to use them for future meals. He is sticking with his exercise routine so far (music to my trainer’ ears!), and eating more thoughtfully, making more healthy food choices and thinking more about portions. The first day after STRIP ended, he ate a larger lunch (and not that healthy) than he had been used to while STRIPping, and told me that evening that he felt “gross and bloated” from it.
As a close observer of someone following a cleanse, I can truthfully say that STRIP is a very practical, do-able cleanse that with the right food prep and dedication, anyone could follow and stick to. What I like about this cleanse is that you do not feel too deprived, nor do you feel starving and lacking in energy, because all the foods you are eating are filled with nutrients and “good” fuel for your body. It also helps you hone in on your dedication and willpower skills. Being dedicated helps you in so many facets of your life, bring dedication to the choices you make in the foods you put into your body, willpower to stick to your fitness routine, all of these help you to be a stronger person, mentally and physically!
You can contact Julie through her website JSW Nutrition if you are interested in STRIPping yourself!
I was in City Sports the other day and saw some Under Armour seamless running undies that when I picked up the box to look at the size…it read “one size fits all”. Huh? Kim Kardashian and I are both fitting into these drawers? Most likely not. I bought them because they were on mega sale and hoped for the best. But really, bodies come in all shapes and sizes so how can something fit everyone? This got me thinking, often times in the fitness world, workout and diet fads are marketed with a one size fits all mentality. Just like one size fits all clothing is silly and nonsensical, fitness cannot be one size fits all. Depending on your specific fitness goals, fitness level, past and current injuries, lifestyle, preferences, caloric needs, body type, etc., you need a fitness plan that is specific to YOU and your needs.
The beauty of this world and everyone in it is that we are all different. Cookie cutter imagery is boring and contrived. Let’s remember this if feeling frustrated because you don’t have the body measurements of Sophia Vergara. Be the best version of YOU that you can be. A fitness routine that is geared towards you and your needs is what’s going to keep you sticking with it for a healthy and happy self! And p.s., those undies did not fit, shocker 😉
People are always surprised when they see how “normal” I eat; being a personal trainer and all. Things like eating dessert, bread, bacon, and having cream and sugar in my coffee. Yes, I eat all of these things; and not once a year…regularly. Along with my fair share of fruits, veggies and lean proteins of course. I work out hard and am very consistent about it. My philosophy is that life is too short to deprive yourself. Food is amazingly delicious. Wine too. It’s never a good thing to tell yourself “I will never eat a bagel” or “I will never eat ice cream”. Eat it, savor the flavor, and move on. Have a solid fitness routine in place and execute on it. No excuses. Put those bacon calories to good use as energy during your workout.
I was away on vacation last week in Puerto Rico celebrating my two-year wedding anniversary. My husband and I soaked up sunshine, wedding memories, the vibrant Puerto Rican culture, drinks, and A LOT of delicious meals. We were also active. We went running, walking, we even went spelunking in bat caves. The theme is balance, not deprivation.
Here is a chronicle of some of the wonderful meals we enjoyed throughout our trip:
A local couple that we met while chilling at a bar the first afternoon we arrived in San Juan, told us that some of the best food they’ve had is a humble strip of 50 or so food shacks (they also call them kiosks) in the town of Luquillo, a small town a little under an hour drive from San Juan. When we visited Luquillo we were staying at the Gran Meliá Resort in Rio Grande, which is only a short 10 minute drive.
The first day we had lunch at El Jefe Burger Shack. Stray cats roaming around the restaurant and very modest tables and chairs. Graffiti on the ceilings and walls made for some interesting decor. The bright blue ocean is the gorgeous view that runs all along the backside of the strip of kiosks. We waited just about an hour and man oh man was it worth the wait. Freshly made burger patties and handcut fries there are to die for.
The next day we decided to go back to the food kiosks for another culinary delight. We ate at Vejigante. The root vegetable stew was my fave part of the meal (maybe my favorite meal of the trip!) Amir had some scrumptious ribs, topped with grilled onions. We also shared mofongo (a fried plantain-based dish from Puerto Rico made with fried green plantains mashed together in a pilón, which is a wooden mortar). We ended our lunch by sharing a delightful flan.
The last day of our trip, there was a farmers market right next to our hotel in San Juan. We first saw it being set up during our run that morning. Thank goodness we revved up our metabolisms with that run, because little did we know, the farmers market would have A LOT of tasty eats in store for us that day! We headed over to the farmers market a little after 1pm and my husband talked me into trying Lechón, which is a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal. A vegetarian’s worst nightmare. It was served alongside yellow rice and beans. WOW, I was blown away at how succulent and flavorful the meat tasted. I drew the line of adventurism at the blood sausage, which a local couple we were chatting with in line purchased for my husband and I to try. It is a sausage that is filled with a mixture of blood and rice. I couldn’t do it. My hubby tasted it…brave!
Then we moved onto mini tacos. There are actually three tacos here, pork, beef, and crab. After this we walked. A very long walk. Just under 2 hrs. Then moved onto some fro yo to cool us down from the San Juan heat.
Another great meal experience we had was at La B de Burro in San Juan. The outdoor seating area is a wrestling ring. And there is a sign that advertises tacos. Who wouldn’t want to eat tacos while seated inside a purple wrestling ring in Puerto Rico?! We spotted this place on another run, and decided we would go back the following day for lunch. Our runs proved very advantageous in the scouting of our meal journey!
We had an evening flight out of San Juan and had minimal dinner options in our terminal. Where did we eat you ask? Carl’s Jr. My first time at one. There aren’t any near me at home, but I recall seeing Carl’s Jr.’s offerings frequently listed in health/fitness magazines in those “Eat This/Not That” articles; clearly showing up in the “Not That” category. I pulled up the nutritional info to make an informed choice and opted for chicken tenders and a small fry. For dessert, I had the coconut ginger cookies that I had bought at the farmers market earlier that day.
Now I am back home. I gained a couple of pounds, but you know what; it was worth every last bit of beans and rice =) Hitting my workouts hard and not feeling bad about all the eating last week. I did not eat dessert after lunch today, or have a sangria with my lunch. Nor did I consume any Carl’s Jr. But if I did, I would just keep on being active. Moving my body and sweating at least once a day. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it; Personal Trainers are human too! Eat. Drink. Move. Sweat. And be Merry.