Sweating Sexy Back: Big Announcement and Workout Plan

Hi Everyone!!!

Today I have a big announcement, but first, I'm sharing my workout plan!

So I am eight weeks into my new life as a healthier me!  I have to tell you, this week has felt good.  All those feelings of self doubt have subsided and I've mixed up my routine a bit.  I'm actually looking forward (sort of) to sharing my official 2 month results next week- photos and all!  I mean let's be honest, I won't really be excited to share photos of myself until I hit my goal, but I am definitely seeing a difference, even if the scale isn't giving me the numbers I had hoped for.

So this week, since people have been asking, I thought I would share a little about my gym routine.  I feel like it's only fair to warn you that while I did consult a doctor, a nutritionist and a personal trainer to come up with a schedule that works for me, I personally am none of those things.  If you are considering starting a new workout routine, it is always a good idea to consult a professional.  Also, it's recommended that everyone get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, so if you are just starting out, start there!

Here's a look at what I try to do every week:

I like to mix things up, so I try to include workout classes I enjoy like kickboxing and yoga and mix up my cardio by getting outside and enjoying the beach!  The variety keeps me motivated to keep going.  My schedule can get really busy and I do miss a day here and there.  I try to remind myself that my health is a priority, so instead of heading home from work and plopping on the couch, I head to the gym.  All my favorite shows will still be there when I get home!

And I'm getting great results.

The days that incorporate weights are toning my muscles and building strength, while switching back and forth between intervals of cardio exercises and weight training is allowing my body to burn more calories! I like to work my way through each type of muscle in the leg and abs/ arms and back by using machines at my gym, but you could easily find exercises that utilize free weights to do this at home!

I "heart" sweating

My cardio only days are building my stamina and melting away fat.  I like to mix it up and get out of the gym when I can.  My favorite thing to do is climb the steep hills to and from the beach in Corona Del Mar. I usually go down and up the hills a total of 6-8 times and take a jog back to my starting point.  You can take a hike, go for a run, go rock climbing, go canoeing, take a kickboxing class, prancersizing, whatever.  Just make sure you are challenging yourself.

Take your workout outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature!

On cardio and stretch days, I'm still burning calories, but giving myself a chance to lengthen and lean my muscles.  I like to do this in classes like yoga or pilates.  My favorite day is Wednesdays when I take a kickboxing class followed by a yoga class.  The combination gets my heart pumping, but then gives me time to relax my mind.  I've found that practicing yoga really helps me feel at peace.  If yoga isn't your thing, you could find a good stretching video or just spend some time in the living room stretching out your major muscle groups.

This is my happy place!

I realize that spending this much time every week at the gym isn't realistic for everyone.  However, I encourage you to find a way to fit activity into your daily life.  Make it a priority and you will see not only the physical, but also the mental benefits!

Okay, BIG announcement time!

I am looking for some real women to join me in sweating sexy back!  Sexy isn't a number on a scale or the size of your waist, it's the way you feel!  Maybe you put on weight after college or baby?  Maybe you have always been thin, but want to get muscular curves?  Maybe you have struggled with weight your whole life?  Maybe you want to get into the best shape of your life?  I am looking for women of any size, that want to make a change and live a healthier, more sexy life, but most importantly, want to share their story and inspire others!

Does that sound like you?  Email me at sweatingsexyback@gmail.com for more details about the Sweating Sexy Back Project if you are interested in being involved!


Have a great week loves!


Sweating Sexy Back: Facing Your Demons

I promised myself when I decided to write about my weight loss journey that I would be ruthlessly honest about everything.  So in keeping my promise, today I am going to share about the mental side of losing weight. The part that people don't like to talk about.  That nasty little voice in your head telling you you're not good enough.

And my little voice is a real bitch.

I have an irrational fear.  Right now it is easy to say that no one loves me because I don't take care of myself.  Because why should someone else love you when you don't love yourself.  But what happens if I hit my goal weight and completely change my lifestyle and still find myself alone.  Then I have nothing to blame for my lovelessness except myself- the core of who I am instead of what my body looks like.  Then, that voice tells me,  it's undeniable proof, that I am in fact unlovable- my biggest fear. Being overweight is a convenient excuse.  A fall back plan.

Ever since I can remember I have had a problem feeling loved by others.  It's hard for me to feel valuable unless I am producing something of worth and unless I am getting adequate attention.  Call it only child syndrome or the side effects of an unconventional childhood.  When I have love, I become debilitated with the fear of losing it. I've been trying to work through these issues over the last couple years weeks.  It's almost as if with every pound lost it unveils the issues a little more.

Holding a copy of the divorce papers in my hand, my lifelong fears were realized.  I was unlovable.  Those papers said so.  It confirmed to me what I, and that nasty little voice, had always expected.

Ever since,  even though I have had another serious relationship come and go, I struggle with the feeling that I am just unlovable.  Even though I have spent hours in therapy talking about my feelings and learning how to build myself up on my own, there are days where I just can't understand why I don't have that one person to love me.  I desperately want to feel loved, but equally desperate is my fear of losing it again.  This paradox has kept me from dating anyone in the last 11 months. But the easy excuse is that no one has been interested because I am overweight and don't fit the California standard.

But food has always loved me.  It has always been there whenever the rest of the world forgot about me. It has always made me feel good when things get hard.  It has always dulled the pain, until I look in the mirror. I know that I use food to help me cope.  I know it's an addiction.  I know I have to break the cycle, and that's what I am trying to do. That's why I decided to change. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that I love myself. That's what I am working on.

Right now, I am in the thick of it.  I'm trying to be honest with myself about where these feeling come from. When I want to stop for a bag of deep fried disgusting, I have to verbally tell myself that I deserve better.  I have to remind myself, that I deserve to be loved, even if only by myself.  I practice being proud of myself.   It seems a little weird that I have to practice being proud, but I do.  It's always been easy for me to be someone elses biggest fan, but not my own. So that's what I am learning.  Every day I am learning more about health, nutrition, exercise and most importantly loving myself.

We all struggle with a nasty little voice, but I am here to tell you that you don't have to listen to her anymore. You can drown her out with your Ipod on the treadmill and you can shut her up with self appreciation.  I'm working on practicing what I preach.  Everyone who has ever gained a significant amount of weight has to face their demons eventually.

To achieve lasting healthy weight loss, I think you have to be willing to face that nasty little voice telling you "you aren't good enough", "you don't deserve to be healthy", "you are a failure", "nobody cares about you" and "what if". Because you are good enough.  You do deserve to be healthy and more importantly, happy.  You are only a failure if you choose to be.  People care about you and you need to care about yourself most.  And stop asking what if, instead, ask why not!

Welp, that was a long, cathartic post, and if you've made it this far, thank you.  Thank you for allowing my computer screen to be my therapist today.  Thank you for supporting me in this journey to healthier me (both physically and mentally).  Thank you for being my support system and my cheerleader and please know, that I am here to give that support right back, should you need it!


The Time You Have (In Jelly Beans)

Saw this video today at a work training and I thought it was worth sharing.  It got me thinking about how I spend my jelly beans.  I'm pretty happy with the picture my beans create.

How do you spend yours?

What are you going to do today?


When Songs Say It For You

Do you ever feel like the right song can speak for you?  Or that the perfect lyrics, allow you to understand your feelings more clearly?  I get like that sometimes, but not usually from songs from Broadway musicals.

In college I was in a sorority.  At the end of four years, as we were about to graduate, we had a tradition called senior songs.  Each senior would choose a song that wrapped up what their time in Tri Delta meant to them.  Then the rest of the chapter would guess who's song was who's.  It was never hard to guess because usually the girl who's song it was, was elegantly shedding a single tear or, if they were like me, sobbing like a baby.

"It well may be, that we will never meet again in this lifetime, so let me say before we part.  So much of me is made of what I learned from you.  You'll be with me like a hand print on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end,  I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend... Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good."  

These were the words that so perfectly described those four years for me.  Wicked, still one of my favorite plays, gave me the words I couldn't give myself.

Today I was running. Running with a strange sense of determination.  Something within me has been different lately.   And once again Wicked gave me the words I needed.

"Something has changed within me. Something is not the same.  I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game. Too late for second guessing. Too late to go back to sleep. It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap.  It's time I try defying gravity...

I'm through accepting limits cause someone says they're so.  Some things I can not change, but till I try I'll never know."

I know I am not green or a witch, but for whatever reason my stride got a little faster while I was defying my own gravity.  Defying the invisible (but in many ways visible) weight that has held me back from reaching my health and fitness goals.  Defying that voice in my head that has so many times before told me I couldn't do it, or I wasn't good enough.  My stride got faster, a smile spread across my face and if I hadn't been surrounded by handsome gym goers, I probably would have broken out into song with Idena Menzel.

Defy your personal gravity.  Challenge yourself.  Do the things you never dreamed you could do! (And if you need a song to run to, I recommend Defying Gravity from the Wicked soundtrack.)


Sweating Sexy Back: Self Doubt and Busy Schedules

So I have been putting off writing this post all day.  I guess you could say I am frustrated.  

First off, I am still feeling disappointed in my weight loss rate.  I feel like I am working really hard every day and seeing minimal difference. Don't get me wrong, there is a difference, it's just not the difference that reality TV lead me to believe I would see after 6 weeks. Why can't life be like The Biggest Loser?  

Frustration about my weight tends to lead me to fixating on the other negative things in life.  I get down on myself.  And the tough questions start rolling in.

Why am I so hard to love?
Is it because I am overweight or worse, is it because I am just unlovable? 
Am I going the right direction in my career?  
Am I a good friend or do I let people down? 
Am I good person?  

And after all these questions, I usually find my answers at the bottom of a tub of mashed potatoes or the bottom of a McDonald's bag.  Ironic, since those things are what caused this whole line of self doubt in the first place.  That's why I usually fail at this whole weight loss thing.  This is where the cycle always begins, but not this time. 

I know, in my logical, positive mind that most of those questions aren't even valid.  But when negativity grabs hold, it's not always easy to shake.  I'm trying to pull my best Florence and the Machine though and "shake it off, shake it off".

One thing I did learn from all those weight loss shows is that there is always a reason for the weight and more often than not, it's because the person doesn't value themselves enough.  Something has happened that has caused them to doubt themselves and settle for the life their food addiction and sub-sequential fat suit has given them.   I know those questions don't come from logic, but instead from things that have happened that I am still trying to process. (This post is already getting too long, so I think I will save the real deep thoughts for next week.)

So this week, as my life begins to go into crazy mode, (The next 7 weeks include 3 one day trips to LA and/or San Diego, 6 major work events, a conference in D.C., a weekend in Santa Barbara and of course Tequila Sunrise in Flagstaff) it's important that I put my workouts into overdrive and over plan for healthy eating.  Since my time management is going to be crucial over the next month and a half, I have set up a very strict schedule for myself.  I've always thrived under pressure, so all of this chaos will probably be good for me, but I can't help but be a little worried.  

Will all of this travel derail my healthy eating?  

Will I be able to fit in all the workouts?

So I put the question out to you all.  How do you stay on track when you are on the go? 


Excuse Me, Do You Validate?

You know how they say, "Everything happens for a reason"?  Well, I think we can all agree that at times, it's hard to imagine what the reason could be.   All the struggles and heartache serves a purpose. It's like you parked your car in a pay lot, but with validation you get to park for free.  The trouble is, you can't seem to find anything to buy to get that coveted validation stamp.

Sometimes the purpose is clear right away,  some purposes become obvious after a few weeks or months, some don't make sense for years and still others take an entire lifetime to show their necessity.   I cant tell you how much I appreciate that moment that a situations purpose becomes validated. That moment that I think to myself, "Oooooo so that's why that happened!"

Today wasn't a particularly hard day, but I left work frustrated.  Most of my frustration came from not being able to complete my prioritized task list.  What can I say, I get a rush from checking all the boxes on my list by the end of the day.  I felt like I had let people down (whether that was true or not) and that I didn't have the rock star day I had set out to have.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to be efficient and when efficiency falls victim to necessity, I get unhappy.  So anyway, I left work with a little attitude about how my day had gone.  I was eager to get home, play with my puppy-faced roommate, eat and go to bed, but then life gave me a validation stamp.

I got a message from a friend.  My friends relationship had taken a turn for the worst and she was looking for advice. I called her back and she told me she was getting a divorce.  It was his choice, not hers. She said she wasn't sure how to cope. She said she had had enough people tell her "everything will work itself out.  His loss, someone else will be lucky to have you". A lot of cliche lines that don't make sense to a broken heart. She was tired of people telling her everything happens for a reason and she just needed to know the truth.

Was she going to be able to handle getting divorced?

I took a deep breathe and said, "Of course you are going to get through it, but it is going to suck and it's probably going to suck for a long time. At least that's my truth. Heart breaks take time, honesty, tears, some ice cream and good friends to heal.  And it doesn't happen right away.  If you are anything like me, it will be the most painful thing you've ever encountered, but you will get through it.  You will eventually feel whole again and that chaotic mess of emotions that you're experiencing will subside too. But that takes time, a lot of time and, well, that sucks."

There was a long pause on the other end of the phone.  I was sure I had been too honest when I heard an exhausted "thank you".  She said it was nice that she didn't have to be okay yet.  That she didn't have to see the bright side just yet and that someone could admit to her that what she was going to was pretty "sucky". We talked for nearly an hour about the ups and downs of the dramatic life change that is divorce and when I hung up the phone I had a familiar feeling.

This wasn't the first time that someone had reached out to me during relationship struggles, since my divorce. And each time I have responded in a similar manner.  Each time, after the conversation is over, the same feeling fills me up.  I don't quite know what to call the feeling because no word really seems right.  I don't want to say pride, but I am proud that my experiences have allowed me to give support and guidance to people I care about.  I don't want to say validation because it seems selfish that other people's misfortunes could somehow validate my own.  My consequential wisdom was earned not by choice, but somehow, I am glad that my past has given me the opportunity to help people navigate their own rocky paths- validate their feelings in some way.

Don't get me wrong, I consider myself an optimist, but sometimes, the positive is in allowing yourself to feel and work through the negative.  And sometimes even though the blatant truth seems cruel to acknowledge, it may be all that person really wants to hear.  Be honest. Be brave. Be kind.


The Ending Is Gonna Suck, But The Middle Will Be Pretty Great

Beginnings are my favorite. I get so excited at the promise of a new beginning. Beginnings hold endless amounts of adventure. And the right beginning could be the start of something wonderful.

I've been waiting for a certain beginning and, if I'm being honest, my patience is wearing thin. I'm waiting for that one special beginning. The one that every girl waits for. The beginning of the life she'll share with someone really extraordinarily special. I had some pretty good starts up to this point, but each of them came with an ending.  Each ending came with a lesson. I have to believe those lessons helped me become a better, stronger person.   The lesson that continues to ring true though is a simple one.   Treat every day like it's just the beginning.  Live a life full of "chapter one" excitement, and I don't think you can go wrong.

I guess today I am just feeling excited for the promise of a new beginning. Even if that beginning is just a new day! Happy Monday loves!


Sweating Sexy Back: My Juicing Adventure

Over Labor Day Weekend I took advantage of all the sales and went out and bought myself a juicer.  I had planned to try a juicing cleanse later in the month, but my excitement and lack of patience took me straight to the fruits and vegetables stand (and then to target to get a big measuring cup, and then to the dollar store to get travel cups for my daily juices).  Juicing is not as expensive as you might think!  The ingredients ended up costing me about $54 for the 5 days.  I went to Growers Direct to get all the produce.

 I decided to follow the Reboot with Joe plan from Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (It's available on Netflix).  Monday night, I spent three hours with my roommates making all of our juices for the day.  I blame the kale and being a beginner for the ridiculous amount of time it took us to make 5 drinks each. That said, I was happy with the juicer I chose to purchase- a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer express.  However, I would recommend to anyone buying a juicer for themselves, make sure it has two speeds.  Mine was a good price for a juicing newbie!

On the plan,  I start the day with my warm water and lemon, then followed it up with an "orange juice" not to be confused with OJ.  My favorite is Carrot, Apple and lemon.

yields 1 drink

Coconut water and I are not the best of friends, so I only made it through half of my serving before deciding to save the rest for the next day (and then never drank the stuff again).

Lunch is a "green juice", which I struggled with.  I could only choke down about half of it.  Some people love the green juice, but my gag reflexes were on high alert!

The mid afternoon drink is a "red" of "orange juice" My favorite recipe is definitely the watermelon, lime and basil! It was so great, I couldn't help but wonder what it would taste like with vodka. By this time, I was surprised that I wasn't hungry.  Although, I felt like I hadn't stopped drinking for long enough to get hungry.

yields 1.5-2 drinks

At dinner time,you are suppose to have another green juice.  This one disagreed with me worse than the last.

After dinner you get a dessert of a "red" or "purple juice".  These ones were delicious, but sometimes were almost too sweet.  The purple juice include things like peaches, sweet potatoes and blueberries.

For day 2-5 I decided that it was in my best interest to switch to colorful salads for lunch and dinner .  I didn't read to do this anywhere, but I wanted to make sure I was getting all the same servings of veggies, even though I was chewing them instead of sipping them.  I'd be lying if I said, I never wanted to eat more, but that was my head talking, not my body.  I never once felt weak or tired. In fact, I would say I felt like I had more energy.  Warning: if you are a caffeine junky, you will probably feel like crap the first few days.

So, after 5 days of juicing 3x a day and eating huge veggie salads, here are my results:
  • I have lost 5 pounds this week.  
  • My skin feels super soft.  
  • My face began to break out in the beginning, but now it is looking really clear.  
  • I've had plenty of energy.  
  • My stomach is significantly flatter.
  • I just feel really good!
Because of all this, I have decided to make juicing a part of my life.  I am going to continue to at least drink two juices a day, which will give me three servings of vegetables and four servings of fruits per day.  Also, since I have gone 5 days without any animal byproducts, I have decided to limit my animal byproduct intake to 3-4 times a week.  This means I will be eating a mostly plant based diet.   

Have any of you tried juicing?  What are your favorite recipes? Please share!


Sweating Sexy Back- Stat Update

I've gotta be honest.  This is by far the hardest I have ever worked to lose weight.  This is the most consistent I have ever been with making healthy choices, instead of being on crazy diets.  This is the most commitment I have ever given to the gym.  But yet, I'm not getting the results I want and that is frustrating.

Some of my workouts captured on Instagram- Follow me at happilyeverashley

Maybe I have an unrealistic expectation of weight loss.  I mean I watch shows like The Biggest Loser, and those contestants, some only a little heavier than me (but admittedly shorter) lose a minimum of nine pounds in the first week.  I guess that is not realistic when you can't devote your day to working out.  Part of why I loved the HCG diet was that I could see the results every morning on the scale.  I lost 12 pounds in the first week on that diet!  But that was a diet- and I am looking for a lifestyle change.  Ugh, like I said, I think I have some unrealistic expectations.
A few of my Instgram meals! 
Green beans and spinach and ricotta stuffed chicken, shrimp stir fry, steak with roasted asparagus and potatoes, 
Lots of protein shakes and water. Follow me at happilyeverashley

In the first 2 weeks, I lost 8 pounds.  I was happy with 8 pounds in two weeks.  I mean it wasn't quite the Biggest Loser style performance I had envisioned when I set out to lose the weight, but it was okay.  Then over the last two weeks, I only lost one pound.  which brings my total to nine pounds in a month- and that is disappointing.  Any health professional will tell you losing an average of 2 pounds a week is a healthy, consistent weight loss.  So I am doing my best to not feel the slightest bit defeated.

I know I should be happy that I have lost weight,  but I guess I just thought the first month would look different.  I thought month one would a least be in the teens.  Alas, patience has never been my thing. CLICK HERE to read the beginning of my Sweating Sexy Back journey and HERE to read all of the Sweating Sexy Back posts!

Here's what a nine pound weight loss looks like:

My plan to sweat sexy back was always meant to be a progression of steps.  In month one I accomplished the following:
-Eliminated soda from my diet
-Increased water consumption to 100 ounces a day
-Cut out fast food, fried food and most processed foods
-Started working out again and made it to the gym 22 days out of 30.
-Lost 16.25 inches
-Lost 9 pounds

To keep things moving and to keep improving the way I treat my body, in September, I have some big things planned.  My goals for this month are:
-Do a 5-day juice cleanse to "reboot" my system and get more fruits and veggies.
-Limit meat and animal byproduct consumption to 3-4 meals a week.
-Cut out all remaining processed foods.
-Start doing my cardio in the AM and strength training/classes at night.
-Go to bed earlier to get up earlier.

This month is going to be a month of adventure for me because meat has always been the centerpiece for my meals.  I've always described myself as a meat and potatoes girl.  That is definitely about to change with most of my meals being comprised of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.  This will probably be the most drastic change in my eating habits I have ever made, but after all the research I have been doing, documentaries I've been watching and consulting I have gotten from friends in nutrition, my gut tell me (ha ha) that this is a healthy lifestyle choice for me.

I want to stress that I am not on a diet, but rather changing my diet, habits and routine.  I also want to stress that anyone considering these types of lifestyle changes or others for themselves should do their research, talk to their doctor and make the health choices that are right for them.

Here's hoping for continued success in September!