Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meat free..is it the way to be???

I am a southern girl! I love my meat and potatoes. But I figured why not try to go meat free for a week and see if I notice a difference. What better time to do it then while I'm not training? Last week I was talkin with a friend of mine and we both decided to challenge ourselves and not eat meat for the week. After I talked with her I was like OMG, can I really do this? Is this gonna be possible? I immediately emailed another friend who is a vegetarian for some ideas. After getting her reply, I was like well this isn't gonna be so hard after all.  I did some more research, we went to the farmers market and stocked up and veggies, I ate a lot of meat on Sunday for the last time, and here it is Wednesday and I haven't had any meat!
What was the point of this? I needed a way to decrease calories and its really a good cleansing. When working out and training, I used meat as a big source of protein. But there really are other sources of protein besides meat. I am still eating dairy products and veggie protein substitutes. The first day was really hard, I don't think I ate enough protein or drank enough water. Today, I haven't been to the point where I was like I'm really hungry. Just to give you an idea, here is what I ate:
Breakfast - small sweet potato, egg whites, and a banana (I was having some bad muscle twitches so the banana helped)
Snack 1 - whole wheat toast w/nutella and yogurt
Lunch - Bean burrito (beans, cheese, and salsa) and 1/2  Avocado and a peach
Snack 2 - Hummus and Pretzels
Dinner - Minestrone soup(meatless) and a salad with a boiled egg chopped up.

Every meal had some form of protein in it that kept me full. I have also drank almost a gallon of water today. This challenge has been really good so far. I feel better and more energized! Am I going to give meat up completely? NO! But I do think that I am going to switch to just fish, chicken and turkey, have a meat free day at least 1 or 2 days out of the week, and allow myself red meat once a month. There are a lot of things out there that you can eat that are good for you and filling that don't have meat. I'm really glad I did this challenge and cant wait to see how my body reacts as I continue on a limited meat diet!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm not gonna let this get me down..IM A FIGHTER

Well, I must say it has been far to long since my last blog! A lot has happened since I last blogged! I started training for a half marathon 2 weeks ago. I went out for a run on 7/14 before my kickboxing class. It was hot, but it felt so good to be outside running instead of instead on a treadmill. I got just to my one mile mark, when I stepped on a rock and rolled my ankle out!! I thought I had just twisted it and was gonna try and keep going...but I was sadly mistaken. I felt sick to my stomach as I started to try and just walk on it for a minute. Luckily, I was very close to some family friends' house that I managed to get there and call my family. It started to swell up but I got it elevated and put some ice on it right away. The pain was getting much worse though. I called my mom and told her I needed to go to the ER, I thought it may be broken. The crazy thing to this all was that my dad had just been discharged from the ER that morning from a severe asthma attack. So we were gonna be headed back to the ER. My mom watched my daughter for me, and my dad took me to the ER. CRAZINESS!
Good news was it wasn't broken. I was diagnosed with a chip bone fracture and sprang. I was devastated though. They put me in an air cast and on crutches till at least Monday. I went to the orthopaedic on Monday. He said I'd be out of activity for at least 6 to 8 weeks and put me in a walking boot for at least 2 weeks with Physical Therapy. He also informed me I wouldn't be able to run the half marathon! Even more devastation sank in. I wasn't gonna be able to run, and he took my hobby and passion away..working out!
I told Hether, my trainer right away. My biggest fear was gaining weight because I wasn't going to be able to work out. But she said I would have to focus on maintaining my weight. Another heart break because I wanted to reach goal weight by my birthday in August. She gave me a few tips though.
*Lower calories because I wouldn't be working out hard like I had been
*Weight lifting from a chair and ab work
*Water workouts (which are harder then you think)
*This could send your weight loss to new levels
Just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to do anything, my hero rescues me..like always! LOL! She opened my eyes to new things that I could do while injured. I even took on a new challenge. This week, myself and a friend have decided to go without meat. I'll blog more on that tomorrow!
My point to this blog is this: Just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to do anything due to injury, my eyes were opened to a new set of challenges. I couldn't give up, I mean after all..I am a FIGHTER! I have been doing weekly workouts in the pool and some stuff at home to maintain and hopefully further my upper body strength. I have also changed my eating habits again and lowered my calories and eliminated meats this week. I have about 25 pounds left to loose to be at a healthy weight for my height. The last 25 pounds are always hard for anyone to get rid of. Hether told me that this could be what I need to really shake them off and get things movin again. My body is gonna be in total shock when I come back to working out full swing again. Therefore, the pounds are gonna fall right off! Injury isn't always a bad thing I see! I'm a FIGHTER and I'm gonna keep FIGHTING..injury and all!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Balance and Motivation...do you have it?

Well as you can see my blogs have been lacking the couple of weeks. Life for me has been crazy! Between being a single mom and keeping up with a 2 year old , working full time, preparing for my personal trainer certification, and preparing to go back to school, I don't know where I have found time to breathe! LOL! With this being said, I have had a hard time fitting my 6 days of working out in. Its been more like 4 days a week. I hear so often, I don't have time work out or I'm just so tired when I get home or I have to do this or that. Working out is a big key in losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You really have to find what motivates you to work out. For me, I know it is and has been a big part in my weight loss. Its also a stress reliever and allows me to get away for some me time.
As mom's and women in general, we always need that me time. So why not have some me time every day that is going to be beneficial to your health? Working out should be fun! Having a 2 year old, it can be hard to find an extra hour in the day to get away and go run or get to the gym. I am very fortunate to have the relationship that I do with my trainer (www.hethercrawford.com) in that she allows me to bring Ryleigh to our sessions. We have one on one sessions every week and Ryleigh goes to those sessions with me. She works out with me and Hether even uses her as a workout tool for me (pure torture is what I call that..she weighs 33 pounds!) Hether offers classes that I attend twice a week and she offers FREE childcare. Not many place do this so this is one of the MANY benefits to attending Hether's classes (class schedule can be found at www.hethercrawford.com) I also have a YMCA membership where they offer childcare and Ryleigh LOVES going there to play with the other kids. So there are many resources out there that will allow us moms to get that me time in and workout!
The I'm so tired excuse doesn't work for me when it comes to working out. There is at least one part in your day where you are the most energetic. Take that time and use an hour of it to get that workout in. If you're working out on a regular basis, your body is going to be adjusted to that and it will actually give you more energy to get up and get movin. I'm not necessarily a morning person, so I'm not one to wake up at 5am and head to the gym. I like to work out around 8 or 9 am and in the evening around 7 or 8pm. You have to find what works for you. This is where planning ahead comes into play.
It really helps to find a balance in your life and know at the beginning of the week what your schedule is going to be like. That means sitting down and actually planning ahead, another key to weight loss and healthy living. I sit down every week and plan my meals and workouts. I know what days, times, and classes I'm going to take every week.
In order to achieve your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle, finding balance in your schedule to work out and figuring out what motivates you to workout are 2 keys to success. Working out should become apart of your daily living and lifestyle! I challenge you to sit down and actually schedule your daily workouts. Put them on paper so you can see every day at this time I have a workout scheduled. I'll leave you with 2 quotes I found and have come to love!
"It's a lifestyle - train like there's no finish line." -Unknown
"If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse." -Unknown

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer time distractions...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I started my weekend kind of early, hence the lack of blog after Wednesday. But now I'm back and ready to share something Ive been struggling with... SUMMER TIME DISTRACTIONS!
A lot of people say they gain weight in the winter months..not so for me! I gain mine in the summer! There's a couple reasons for this.
*I would much rather be by the pool then sweating in the gym
*I love ice cream
*I like having cookouts during the summer
*I enjoy a nice cold beer on a hot summer night
*I have been easily distracted by the male attention I have been getting when I go out with friends.
So how do I fix all of these and not be so distracted??? I have a goal set to accomplish by the end of August. I'm a month behind now on that goal because of these distractions and enjoying the summer. So its time to kick these distractions in the butt!
*Although the pool is nice, I have to remember that I need a good workout before I can have fun. So I've committed to waking up early before the pool to get my workout in. I cant go to the pool until I get my workout in!
*I love my ice cream, but have been indulging to often. I'm gonna swap ice cream for frozen yogurt, and only allow it as a treat on the weekend.
*Im still gonna have my cookouts, but I'm gonna switch my hamburgers to chicken and salmon. I even have a recipe for clean eating BBQ sauce!
*Beer....well as much as I love it, its empty calories. Instead of having several on the weekends and throughout the week, I'm going to limit myself to one, if any at all. And it will only be for a special occasion.
*Male attention..well I cant help that I get it..lol..but I recently was with someone who didn't fully support my weight loss. He kept telling me I was fine and didn't need to loose anymore weight, that I was gonna be too skinny. I couldn't be with someone who didn't support me in my weight loss goals. We ate foods that I haven't in forever. I felt awful and ran down because of the toxins I was putting in my body. So needless to say I have refocused my attention and updated my list of qualifications for men in my life...fitness support is pretty high on the list now. :)
Distractions happen to everyone. But the most important thing to do is to keep focused and if you get distracted, refocus. Writing all of this down and being able to see it daily helps me so much. It holds me accountable and reminds me that I have a goal that I have to reach. I also know that my trainer is going to be holding me accountable and pushing me in our workouts. No more distractions! I'm refocused and ready to reach this goal!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NO CHINESE FOR ME!

Getting to my blog late tonight...it has been a crazy day at work. Today is my long day at work, so I'm here from 8am to 9pm. On days like today, I really have to plan. I have to take breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was very tempting to not order Chinese with the girls today since it ranks high on my favorite food list! :) But I didnt order it! YAY GO ME! Today is another hard day for a workout, but I plan on running a few miles when I get home. People always tell me im crazy to run so late, but it feels good! And its very relaxing! Looking forward to my workouts tomorrow. Gonna hit the Y in the mornin and going to Hotbox tomorrow (scared for that one, but Hether suggested it!) Here was the food plan today:

Breakfast - Egg white on an english muffin topped with salsa
Snack - Yogurt
Lunch - Tuna sandwhich on whole wheat bread and an apple
Snack - Pretzels and Hummus
Dinner - Boiled Shrimp w/ lite cocktail sauce and vegetable mix

Another pretty boring day as far as food goes. I'm gonna try and make some yummy things tomorrow for the weekend, so be lookin out for that! Have a great night :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2 for Tuesday!

What is up with all this rain??? I woke up this morning with a major headache, that I went to bed with last night. So needless to say I camped out on the couch watchin Dora and Diego with Ryleigh most of the day. I had hoped to go to the gym this morning, but my headache was not givin up! So I have plans to do a workout tonight that Hether, my trainer blogged this week. Its a circuit training that can be done in the comfort of your home! Here's the circuit and the plan for doing it. You can check more of her blogs out at www.hethercrawford.com

Do everything in this list in a row 25 times with only a 10 second break in between:
Jog in place (30 seconds to warm up)
Jumping Jacks
High knees (right, left=one)
Mountain Climbers (right, left=one)
Squat Jumps
Skaters
Burpees (with a jump at the end)
Jump Rope (slowing down)
Jog in place (slowly for 30 seconds to cool down)
Keep moving slowly (walk around) until your heart rate comes all the way back down to normal.
(You can repeat this circuit as many times as you want – I suggest three times through, but just getting through it once is enough! Do not include the cool down until you have completed it the number of times through you determine.)
This challenge does need to be completed all at once everyday, but should only take around 5-15 minutes. This is a great way to keep yourself moving all week.  It’s a quick little blast of hard core calorie burning that will rev up your metabolism! We can all do this every day…Ready, Set, GO!

Here is what I ate today..not to exciting, as I wasn't feeling well most of the day.
Breakfast: Whole wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter
Snack 1: 3 pieces of deli ham
Lunch: left over enchilada
Snack 2: Apple
Dinner: Whole wheat spaghetti with all natural, no sugar added Ragu sauce and a small salad with Newmans Own All Natural Light Italian Dressing (THIS STUFF IS SOOOO GOOD!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

A walk in my shoes...

I get a lot of emails from people asking me what I eat and what kind of exercise I do. I promised a fellow reader that I would blog what eat every day and what kind of workouts I do. My trainer is out of town this week, so my workouts will be adjusted accordingly. In these blogs, I will also include recipes to the foods that I make. Hope you enjoy this journey of a walk in my shoes!

Monday: Mondays are a low calorie day for me because I spend most of my day at the pool. Its usually a rest day as far as a workout goes because we wake up, get dressed and head straight to the pool. When we leave the pool, I head straight home to get ready for work. So, as you can see theres not much time for a workout, unless you count the chasing my 2 year old around the pool like I did today..LOL! :) As far as food goes, I still eat my 5 to 6 meals a day, I just keep them rather low calorie since I'm not working out. Here is what I ate today:

Breakfast: 1 cup of cheerios with half a banana and milk
Snack 1: Nutrigrain bar
Lunch: Ham and cheese wrap, pretzels, and an apple
Snack 2: Pretzels and hummus
Dinner: Homemade clean eating enchiladas, beans, and cantaloupe. (I haven't had dinner yet but I packed it and brought it with me.)

Recipe number 1: Clean eating enchiladas
8 whole wheat tortillas
3 cups of shredded chicken ( I used about 8 pretty large chicken tenders)
1 16oz organic tomato sauce
1 4 oz can diced chilies
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Sea Salt
Pepper
Hot Sauce ( I use Franks)
Low Fat Shredded Cheese
2 Garlic Cloves ( I used the already minced garlic in a jar)

Preheat over to 350. Boil your chicken until done. Once done, shred chicken and put in a skillet with chilis, 1 1/2 tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp of franks hot sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix all of this together and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
While that's cooking, in a separate pot, mix together tomato sauce, 1 tsp of chili powder, 2 garlic gloves (if using the already minced kind, I put about 2 tablespoons in), a dash of salt and pepper. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.
Once the chicken and sauce is done, put just enough sauce in the bottom of your pan that the enchiladas are going to be cooked in to cover it. Fill your tortillas with the chicken mixture and roll them and place them in the pan rolled side down. Top with the remaining sauce and lightly top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. ENJOY!

There are about 350 calories in 1 enchilada pair it with some black beans and corn and you have a wonderful, filling dinner.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mirror mirror on the wall...whos the prettiest of them all???

Ive been thinking about the subject of this blog for a couple of weeks. Its something that I'm still tryin got get used too and never got before losing the weight. ATTENTION! With all the weight I have lost, I am getting a lot more attention from people.
When I weighed 250 pounds, I was very self conscious, had no confidence in myself, wore baggy clothing in attempt to hide my fat body, never got attention from men, or any compliments on how I looked. I never remember being called pretty, hot, gorgeous, or beautiful.
Now I am overwhelmed with compliments and attention. I know you're saying, "Ashley, how can you be overwhelmed with compliments and attention?" But I'm not used to being in the spotlight. Just the other Sunday, I was standing in the cafe at church and someone who has watched me grow up, said they had to do a double take because they didn't know it was me. They saw my daughter, but didn't realize it was me standing there with her. I love when this happens, but it still throws me off! People are always telling me how good I look and how far I've come. And yes, at times it is very overwhelming.
I was speaking with my Pastors wife, Sue Ann Cordell, who happens to have an amazing and inspirational blog (http://shineworthy.wordpress.com/), she said , "Ashley, you are such an inspiration to so many. There are people out there that are watching what you do and reading your blog and you dont even know it." WOW! No pressure or anything! HAHA! As I walked away from this conversation, I was very inspired and filled with a lot of joy.
For so long, I looked down on myself and was never confident. I was always the fat girl in my group of friends and hated to go out with them. But now, I'm a pretty girl and I have a confidence that I never thought I would. I can actually look in the mirror and say, "Ashley! You look HOT!" I take pride in the fact that I am helping others reach their goals. It is still new for me to go out with friends and have guys come up to me or look at me and wink. I still look around at my friends like is he winking at me..LOL! I have worked so hard to get where I am, and I am finally accepting that I am no longer the fat girl. I am a beautiful girl with a wonderful personality that loves helping others!
Hether (www.hethercrawford.com) , my trainer, recently wrote a blog that really hit home with me. It really helped me discover that the attention I get is something I deserve and I should be proud of myself. I'm going to post it here because I don't think I could explain it any better. ENJOY!

The Attention Monster

4 May
Over the past year I have helped several obese clients reach their weight loss goals. I love watching people totally transform themselves inside and out. Seeing someone who has been dealing with the bondage of weight for so long finally be free to live is truly amazing! Lately, I have realized that even though these people have reached their goal weight, our work is not done.  There are still fears to overcome, challenges to face, and mental breakthroughs to be made now they have a brand new body! The most common issue I see after a dramatic weight loss is attention.  I call it the “attention monster”.  
At first, the attention is really fun and exciting.  People around you are seeing you transform before their eyes!  Everywhere you go people are telling you how great you look, and asking you how you are doing it. The attention starts to fuel your efforts.  You try harder knowing people are watching and noticing your hard work. But after a while, the attention may start to overwhelm you.
You may be getting attention from the opposite sex that you are not used to. And for some, this attention starts to build your confidence, lifting your self-confidence. You start holding your head up high, knowing that your hard wok is paying off. But for others, this attention causes you to retreat, and in some cases even sabotage your own efforts!
As you reach your goals, everyone is watching what you eat, and bombarding you with questions and compliments. You experience extreme guilt if you slip up on your nutrition. You over train trying to please those around you.  Maybe your friends/family don’t know how to deal with all this new attention either.  They may become angry or distant. They may even become jealous of the time you are spending on yourself. Will you lose your friends or significant other? You may be used to living in the background, and this new found attention scares you (and those closest to you).  How do you deal with it?
First and foremost you MUST know that you are worth it!  You deserve to live free from the bondage of the weight that was holding you down. You have worked hard to transform into this new person.  Those people that truly love you will be there for you and support you.  It may take them a while to get used to this new person you have become, but give them time, and they will realize that you are still the same person they have always loved.  You have to have patience with your friends and family.  Remember, they are dealing with the change too! Use this as an opportunity to pay it forward.  Everyone will have questions. Help those you love transform themselves too!
What about attention from strangers and the opposite sex?  Maybe you’ve never had attention like this before.  Your afraid you’ll fall for that first person who finds you attractive. Or maybe your afraid you’ll never know if someone really likes you for the right reasons. Have confidence in yourself! You are worthy of attention. You are worth holding out for. You didn’t change your body overnight, and you’re not going to find that special someone over night.   Again, KNOW that you are beautiful!  Work on changing your self-talk. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful.  Practice taking compliments gracefully. Instead of lowering your head and mumbling, hold your head high and say thank you! True beauty, from the inside out, is going to attract people. Take time to get to know new people. This is a great opportunity to build new relationships!
If you are already in a relationship, you may be fearing how your significant other will deal with all the attention from the opposite sex. Have patience with them. Reassure them of your commitment to the relationship. Find new and exciting things to do together that you could have never done in your old body. Have fun together!
What happens when the attention slows down? You’ve been at your goal weight for a while, and all of sudden you notice that you aren’t getting the constant praise.  There is no longer astonishment when you walk into a room. People are used to the new you.  Pull out old pictures and journals.  Remember how far you have come!  The reward is looking at you in the mirror.  You are healthy and confident!
Remember – YOU ARE WORTH IT! Open yourself up to the possibilities around you! Remember how far you’ve come.  Be confident in your abilities. Accept praise for your success.  And pay it forward!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you care about your children?

I LOVE MY DAUGHTER!!! She is my motivation for everything I do! When I had her, I made the decision that I was not going to be a mom that couldn't run with her child. I wanted to be able to practice sports with her and keep her active. She was my motivation for losing weight.
I grew up in a family where being overweight was the norm. Good eating habits were not enforced and eating out was common. My mother worked part time at a bakery on Saturdays. A normal Saturday for me would be going to the bakery in the mornin with my dad and getting a cupcake and chocolate milk for breakfast. I also looked forward to when my mom came home because I knew she would bring left over goodies home! When I had my daughter, I vowed that I would make healthy choices for not only myself, but for her as well. Childhood obesity is on the rise. It has tripled in the past 30 years. The state of TN actually has the 4th highest percentage for obese children. This breaks my heart to know that we as parents are at fault for this. Our children are like sponges, they do what we do. If we're eating Big Macs and drinking cokes everyday, our children are gonna do the same thing!
My dad bought my daughter and I a Nashville Shores pass this year. I cant tell you how many families I see there that really need help. Number 1, they're allowing their daughters to wear bathing suits that are inappropriate for their size. But again, our children are sponges, they're only doing what their parents are doing. Number 2, they're letting their small children guzzle down COKES and MT DEW! I mean, Nashville Shores doesn't have the healthiest drink selection, but giving your children coke and mt dew is a huge mistake. Its nothing but sugar that is turning into fat!
I'm not saying I'm a perfect mom and my child eats the healthiest foods every day, but for the most part she does. Ryleigh loves broccoli, carrots and hummus, salad, apples, bananas, strawberries, fish, and chicken. When we go somewhere to eat, she actually asks for broccoli and squeals when the salad comes out! The servers are shocked, I couldn't be more proud though! She does get occasional treats of chicken nuggets and french fries when shes with her MiMi or Papa, but its on occasion. I am proud to say that my daughter sees the healthy food choices I make and follows them. The other day she actually went in the refrigerator and pulled out some carrots and hummus that she wanted for a snack! I was SOOO PROUD!
Not only does she watch what I eat, she also watches me work out and even works out with me! I care about my daughter and her well being. I want her to be healthy. I don't want her to have a childhood of growing up overweight with a lack of self confidence like I did. If you love and care about your children, make healthy choices for them! Show them that eating clean and healthy is fun and good! Get active with them. Go outside and run, find a mommy and me class to do together. Some of the YMCA's actually offer family Zumba! Being healthy and active is fun, especially with the whole family! I've attached some pictures from me boxing with my daughter and a video of boot camp with her!

GO MOMMY GO!

ATTA GIRL!

I WON! I WON!!

Time to stretch!


videoBoot Camp Together:)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You want me to do what?!?!

Today was my one on one session with Hether (www.hethercrawford.com), my personal trainer. I knew I was in for a treat when she said, "I woke up this mornin, and said Ashley's gonna work hard today!" I feared for my body! LOL! At the beginning of every month we talk about what goals I have. This month I had target areas that needed work, to include my arms and thighs. So we've been doing a lot of weight lifting and strength training. The morning started out pretty hard with a lot of cardio, calisthenics and weight lifting. Next thing I knew Hether had drug the boxing bag out to the floor and said, "I want you to flip this all the way down and back." YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT??? This bag is 70 pounds, and I was supposed to flip it down a soccer field and back! YOU HAVE LOST YOUR MIND! It was really hard! As I was flipping it, some thoughts came over me..this bag weighs 70 pounds, that's 5 pounds shy of what I have lost! I proved a couple of things to myself with doing this task.
*How in the world did I drag 70 + extra pounds around on me?
*Ashley, look how strong you are!
*Ashley, look how far you've come!
*Ashley, you're doing this and you're not quitting!
When I weighed 250 pounds, there was no way I would have been able to flip a 70 pound bag down a soccer field and back. In fact had she told me to do it, I would have said "I CANT!" It feels so good that I can now! It also felt good to know that I am 75 pounds down and haven't given up yet! I'm still going. Flipping that bag up and down a field showed me that I have come a long way and have really increased my strength. My trainer knows how to push me and knows what I need at the right times. I had become quite comfortable in my workouts, and today I was pushed out of my comfort zone into doing something that challenged me and showed me how strong I am. I am attaching a video of me flipping this bag. In the background you can hear my biggest cheerleaders (my daughter and Hether) cheerin me on! Without those 2 always pushing me and giving me that extra bit of encouragement, I wouldn't be able to keep going! Today I said this and am going to stand by it, "GOODBYE 75 POUNDS AND DON'T COME BACK!!!"



video

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A "TASTE" of Summer

Summer is really here! This hot weather makes for hard workouts outside, but I LOVE sweating..I know yall think I'm crazy, but it lets me know I'm working hard! Summertime is a really hard time for me to loose weight. Between cookouts, birthday parties, and ice cream, my self control is really tried. This summer I have set a goal to reach my goal weight by my birthday (August 26th). I'm really having to step my game up in order to reach that goal. With that being said, I'm having to make modifications to what I eat at cookouts and not keeping ice cream in my freezer.
I love "tropical, fruity" desserts in the summer. I thought I would share a recipe with you that helps me curb my sweets and ice cream craving. My mother started making this after she had her gastric bypass surgery because sugary desserts upset her stomach, so this was a yummy and perfect substitute. I have to warn you this isn't completely clean, but its low in calories and a nice treat!

Orange Fluff

1 8 oz Tub of Sugar Free Cool-Whip
1 Box of Sugar Free Cheesecake Jello Pudding Mix
1 Can of Mandarin Oranges in Mandarin Orange Juice
1 Can or Crushed Pineapple in Pineapple Juice

Mix the pudding mix and cool-whip together. Drain the juice off the oranges and pineapple (I leave a little in there) Refrigerate it and enjoy. This make about 8 1/2 cup servings. This dessert has 104 calories per 1/2 cup serving! This is by far my favorite summer time dessert. ENJOY!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vending Machine Entertainment

I recently took on a new job where I am confined to a desk. I am the receptionist at Nelson Mazda, so its very rare for me to be able to get up and leave my desk. Its a very laid back job. I answer the phone, do some filing, greet customers, make temp tags, and do some cashier work. I'm able to be on the Internet, read, and do things of that such at my desk, but at times it can be boring. In my former fatty days, I would keep myself busy by eating. (refer back to my very first blog and when I mentioned working in the call center for Suntrust)
Things have changed since then! I was actually just on facebook talking to a friend and said, "Man, I'm hungry! Think I'll go blog!" I couldn't actually be hungry, I just ate dinner. I knew I was bored, so I decided to blog! Funny how your ways change as your lifestyle changes. Had it been a year ago, I would have went to the vending machine and found something to "entertain myself". There are times where I give in to my boredom, but not at the vending machines expense. Here's some of my tricks:

*I don't keep change on me. Most of the time my daughter takes it out of my wallet for her piggy bank:)
*I always keep gum with me. Gum is a distraction and you actually burn calories while chewing it!
*I come prepared with healthy snacks. (carrots/celery and hummus, apples, grapes, bananas, almonds, fiber one bars, oats and honey bars, hard boiled eggs, peanut/almond butter, my version of trail mix)

These 3 things are what help me get through my days at the desk! I don't have to entertain myself with food, and I certainly don't have to do it at the expense of the vending machine!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What does that scale say???

I hope everyone had a GREAT Memorial Day weekend. I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter and got a nice tan..errr burn! LOL! Now its time to get back to the basics and back to eating clean and working out!
About 2 months ago I handed over my scales to my trainer, Hether (www.hethercrawford.com). Now I know all of you are saying, "Ashley, why did you do that when you're trying to loose weight? You cant track your progress if you don't have a scale." I had an addiction and it was a bad one. I had an addiction to my scale. Every morning and every night and sometimes more than that, I would weigh myself. I would literally get right out of the bed, strip down to my birthday suit, and run to the scale. This is how I started my day and what set the tone of how my day was going to go. It wasn't always positive and there were days I beat myself up all day because I had gained or I hadn't lost. One day it finally clicked! I finally got what Hether had been trying to teach me. Its not always about the numbers. Its about how you feel and the progress you're making.
As of Sunday I have lost 75 pounds since I started my weight loss journey. I have had a lot of set backs. I have had months of not losing anything, and I have had some weeks of gaining weight. But I feel GREAT! I have dropped from a pants size 22 to a size 11/12 and sometimes size 10. I dropped from a 2X shirt and dress to a size Medium. I can even shop in the juniors department now! When I got rid of the scales I quit worrying about the numbers. I was more focused on eating clean and exercising. I know that if I focus on what I'm putting in my body and the exercise that I do daily, the numbers will drop.
I now only weigh in once a week with Hether. This month I am challenging myself to only weigh in 2 times a month. The first day of the month and the last. I shouldn't let the number on the scale determine what I eat or how many times I workout during the week. I do still have a goal weight in mind, and I think everyone should. I have reached the ending point of my weight loss journey. Im to a point where my body wont drop 6 pounds a week. I'm lucky if I drop 2 pounds in a week. So I'm more focused on increasing my strength and toning areas that need work.
I want to challenge you this week! If you have a scale addiction, find someone that will help you break it. Give them your scale and set one day a week, preferably a Sunday or Monday, that you can go weigh in with them. Focus on molding your lifestyle around clean eating and an exercise routine! Focus on how you feel and the progress you are making! Good Luck and have a GREAT week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I DID IT!!! I RAN MY FIRST 5K!!!

I DID IT!!! I RAN MY FIRST 5K TODAY!!! I started training 2 months ago for it and set a goal of 35 minutes. I completed it under what my goal was in exactly 32 minutes! We had a great turn out for this event supporting the Second Harvest Food Bank! I want to especially thank my trainer, Hether Crawford (www.hethercrawford.com) for helping to get me ready for the 5k! She also put on this event and did an awesome job!!! Here's a few pictures from the day:

Before the run:)


AFTER THE RUN! I DID IT!!

Im number 4! 32 minutes!!!


Me and my trainer, Hether Crawford! SHES THE BEST!

Another one of us! It was an awesome day! Perfect weather and all! Thank you again Hether!

Friday, May 27, 2011

This girl can run!!!

I never thought I would ever see the day where I would become a runner. Because I was always fat, I HATED to run. I couldn't even run 1 minute without stoppin to catch my breath! 2 months ago, Hether my trainer from hethercrawford.com, started me on a training program to prepare me for the 5k that my church was hosting. The 5k is in support of the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. All proceeds are going to the food bank! HOW AWESOME! When I looked at the plan it was broken up into running intervals. I had never heard of this before. The plan is the Couch to 5k program. I recommend this program to anyone who wants to start running! Hether and I went running a couple weeks ago and she kept telling me how proud she was of me. She was like you really are a runner, you have perfect form and everything! ME A RUNNER! Who would have thought that a former 250 pounder would be running today! I had asthma growing up and would always need my inhaler and sometimes breathing machine before, during and after running and any type of exercise. I haven't used my inhaler or breathing machine in almost a year and a half. I am proud to say that I LOVE running! In honor of running my first 5k tomorrow, I thought I would share the play list I came up with. I listen to all kinds of music so theres a little of everything in there!

I Gotta Get Through This - Daniel Bedingfield
Rock and Roll All Nite - Kiss
Sure Thing - Miguel
Shut up and Drive - Rihanna
No Hands - Waka Flocka Flame
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Firework - Katy Perry
All of the Lights - Kanye West
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Whip My Hair - Willow Smith
S&M - Rihanna
Baby - Justin Bieber
Its My Life - Bon Jovi
Stronger - Kanye West

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Pick Me Up's...YUMMY!

I have always loved to cook and bake, but it was always stuff that was unhealthy. Hether, my trainer, (Check her site out at www.hethercrawford.com) referred me to a website that is now my favorite! www.thegraciouspantry.com
A lot of what I cook comes from here. Its full of clean eating recipes that are really good. I love protein bars because they are so easy to take with you and have as a post workout snack or an in between snack. I stumbled upon a recipe on thegraciouspantry.com and did some tweeks to it to make my own.

Peanut Butter Pick Me Up's
2 cups of whole wheat quick oats
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup of almond butter
1/2 cup raw agave (a natural sweetener, it can be found out Kroger or Publix)
1/2 unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (can be found at Kroger)
1 cup of vanilla protein powder (I used the Biggest Loser Brand)
1 tbsp of cinnamon
3 tbsp of flax seeds (can be found at Kroger in the organic section)
2 1/2 tbsp of semi sweet chocolate chips (I would have preferred dark chocolate chips, but I got the wrong ones)

Step 1: Roast the oats on a flat baking sheet on 350 for about 15 minutes
Step 2: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well while oats are roasting
Step 3: Once the oats are cooled down, mix them in with the rest of the ingredients
Step 4: Spread mixture in a cake baking sheet and bake on 350 for about 18 minutes
Step 5: Cool down, cut, and ENJOY!

I got about 20 bars out of this because I didn't cut them that big. I ate one after my run yesterday and was surprised that it kept me satisfied till dinner. I was also full of energy too! They have just enough sweetness that it was able to satisfy my sweet craving too! :) You can also freeze these to keep them longer. ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Does what I eat really impact my day?

I proved another theory to be true last week... Does what I eat really impact my day? YES IT DOES. Last week I went to go and turn in some paperwork for school and passed a Captain D's. I have to admit, this is my favorite fast food place. I LOVE their fish, hush puppies, and tarter sauce! Because I didn't prepare for being out most of the day, and because I had the attitude last week of, I dont care I want it, I stopped at Captain D's and it was SOOOO GOOD! I knew that I had 2 really hard workouts ahead of me. My 3 mile run, which would be the hardest one yet and my cardio class with my trainer. Why did I just eat this mess???
I made it through my run and actually felt great. I actually got a second wind out of no where when doing my last interval. Cardio class was a different story! I felt horrible through the whole thing and like I wasn't able to give it my all. I'm strong and hit pretty hard. This particular night, my balance was off and my punches were weak. I couldn't get enough water after class. I'm sure this was due to all the sodium in the Captain D's I ate for lunch. When class was done, someone looked at me and said Ashley, you dont look so good. All I could say was, "Yea it was a hard class."
Food is fuel for your body. Captain D's isn't exactly what I should have fueled my body with for 2 hard workouts. What you eat really does impact how your day goes. I was loaded up on carbs, sodium, and nasty fried food. It was no wonder I felt like I had been ran over by a semi truck after it was all said and done. Today I did things a lot differently because I got back on the right track. This morning I had my personal training session and we boxed! MY FAVORITE! I also ran 3 miles this afternoon and it was longer intervals today. Here is what I ate today:
Breakfast: Egg white Breakfast Burrito (egg whites, green peppers, onion, light shredded low fat cheese, and trader joes salsa on a whole wheat tortilla)
Snack: Banana and hummus with rice crackers
Lunch: Left over shrimp stir fry and brown rice (shrimp, mixed stir fry veggies, garlic powder, pepper, olive oil and brown rice.)
Snack: Homemade protein bar (recipe coming soon)

Haven't had dinner yet but I made some yummy, clean catfish with corn relish from the Clean Eating Magazine. I FEEL GREAT TODAY! I am not tired and to be honest, I feel like I could run 3 more miles. I ate some great clean meals today that gave me good fuel for my body! FOOD IS FUEL FOR YOUR BODY! What you eat has a lot of impact on your day and how you feel throughout the day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I work out every day..why am I not losing weight???

Do you often ask yourself, " I work out every day, why am I not losing weight?" I have had to ask myself this several times...and most recently, this week. I work out at high impact levels 5 to 6 times a week. Last week I gained a pound and sadly I did the same this week. What did I do wrong? I was working out and even switched my work out up some in hopes of throwing my body off. When I sat down and looked at what I had eaten this week, I wanted to cry. I would be embarrassed to show anyone my food journal from the past week.
I really fell off the right path I was on the past two weeks. There are times where I fall back into old ways and have the attitude of I don't care what I eat..I want it, so I'm gonna eat it! I was reminded this past weekend by someone I was speaking with of the attitude I used to have. She said, "Ashley, I remember when we were at a function and you were eating something and said I don't care about what I eat, I'm fat and always will be." WOW! DID I REALLY SAY THAT? HOW EMBARRASSING! What kind of attitude is that to have about myself and about food in general.
When I walked away from this conversation, I realized that I had fallen back into this attitude the past two weeks. I had been keeping up with my workouts because that's what I love, but I had lost my passion for eating clean. This is where the math lesson my trainer gave me came back into play. Losing weight is an 80/20 road. 80% of your journey is nutrition and what you put into your body, 20% is your exercise and what you put out of your body. I had gained weight because of what I was putting into my body. The moral of this story: Even though you work out every day and work hard at it, you still have to be cautious of what you eat. Keeping a journal and counting calories is the best way to see this.
I have learned another lesson all over again, and unfortunately it has been at the cost of 2 pounds. I am well into my weight loss journey and never stop learning. Losing weight is a daily struggle and its something I fight with every day. My goal is now in reach of me, but I am at the hardest part in my journey. I am so thankful to have a wonderful trainer that is always there pushing me and helps me get back up to keep fighting. I am really back on track and cant wait to see the results this week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before and still going...

Some of you have asked what I looked like at 250 pounds..I meant to post a picture with my first blog. So I thought I'd do that today. These pictures are proof that weight loss can be done the normal way, through healthy eating and exercising. I look at those pictures in awe! How did I allow myself to get to 250 pounds??But then I look at myself today and say WOAH! YOU'RE SMOKIN HOT ASHLEY! I still have not hit goal weight but I'm approaching it and fast!!! When I hit goal weight theres gonna be a celebration like no other!!! So here they are! YIKES!!!

This is at my heaviest. 250 pounds.
This was in 2010. I was still over 200 pounds.
This was April 17th, 2011. Well under 200 pounds and SMOKIN HOT!

TO BE CONTINUED....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Struggles...

Well life is finally starting to not be so crazy..so I actually have time to blog every day. As I posted in my last blog, I resigned from my position as a Medical Assistant and I also resigned from Red Lobster. I am really goin to miss working with everyone at Red Lobster but I know if I want to truly focus and succeed in school, I cant do it all. I am now working 2nd shift at Nelson Mazda which is a lot different then the typical 8-5 job I had before. My body is really thrown off and so am I. HAHA!
I did a 2 week no sugar challenge a couple weeks ago. Last week was the first week I could have sugar in 2 weeks. Boy did I take advantage of it. Because I was going through so many changes with the job last week and was having some personal issues, I had a rough week. I used food as my comfort and stress relief. I didn't get to work out like I wanted too and was eating nothing but junk! When I went to weigh in on Sunday, my poor decisions showed. I gained a pound! I haven't gained weight in awhile. I either loose or don't loose at all. I was crushed and beat myself up, but I knew what I had done and how to fix it.
We all go through downfalls. Food is truly and addiction and it is a battle I fight every day. I have a major sweet tooth. Ice cream, cheesecake, brownies, and krispy kreme donuts are my biggest weakness'. And I admit I had ALL of that and more last week. Going through the no sugar challenge made me realize a lot of things. You cant deprive yourself from the things you love. When you do, you're going to binge and fall straight into the week I had last week. It's okay to have a treat every now and then, just don't over do it.
So now that I got that out..I'm sure you're wondering what I'm doing to get back on track..I am journaling all of my food and tracking every workout I do. At the end of the week I'll share it with a friend and my trainer. Accountability is a key success point in loosing weight. Working this new schedule is really different and I'm having to adjust my workouts and rely more on the gym and my own workouts instead of with my trainer. This is a big challenge for me, but one that I'm up for.
My trainer once told me, "Just because you have had one bad day, doesn't mean you have to have a bad week." Its not to late to get back on track if you have fallen off this week! Good Luck and have a GREAT rest of the week!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Are you really doing that???

I have been slackin on the blog the past few days but all due to good reasons! A few weeks ago I began a running program with my trainer. We were running and she said, "Ashley, I really see a future as a personal trainer for you." My first thought was, "Yea okay Hether. I'm still overweight and not an athlete. I cant be a personal trainer. I wont have any clients!"  But I just smiled and was like hmm somethin to think about. After we ran we went for a boxing session. At the end of the boxing session, as I feel like I'm about to pass out she goes "you've moved from a beginner, to advanced, and now on to an athlete." ME???? Was she talkin to me? An Athlete???
After this conversation I began to research the field. The very next day I got a call from one of my best friends who had passed her personal trainer certification. She said, "Ashley, have you considered personal training as a career? You'd be great at it because you have such an awesome story and you can relate to your clients." Okay that was two people in one week. I again did some research and started praying. I prayed that if this was the direction that God wanted me to go I would go! I needed some doors opened and resources for me to make this work though. Fast Forward to today:
As of today I am resigning from my position as a Medical Assistant and have accepted a night job to allow me to go to school full time. I will start school this summer at Vol State for the Physical Therapy Assistant program. This summer I am going to be studying to take my personal trainer certification exam! My family thinks I'm crazy and this is just another wild fantasy that I have dreamed up. But they're wrong! This has become my passion and I really want to help people!
When I started praying about this, everything started falling right into place. I wondered how I was going to be able to go to school and work full time and who was going to watch Ryleigh while I went to school. All of my prayers were answered. I was offered a night job that is going to allow me to do homework when time allows and a friend who lives right across the street is going to watch Ryleigh until my parents can get to her. I am so excited that I'm going to be able to be home with Ryleigh during the day as well!
A year and a half ago I would have never thought that I'd be getting ready to become a personal trainer! But yes IM REALLY DOING THIS! Thanks to a good friend who has pushed me all the way, I now know where I'm supposed to go and what my purpose is in life. I truly want to pay it forward and help those who are struggling with loosing weight like I did. Had it not been for Hether pushing me, Id still weight 250 pounds and probably more! I cant wait to see what my new career holds!
LOOK OUT NASHVILLE, YOU'RE ABOUT TO GET A HOT NEW TRAINER!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Goals

Its a new week and a 2nd chance to get on track! The weather is supposed to be great this week! I am so excited about some of the goals I have set for myself. This is another big thing that has helped me succeed in my weight loss journey. Every Sunday I sit down and try to think of a few things that I can accomplish throughout the week. Here's some of my goals for the week:

1. Run every day. I am training for a 5K at the end of May and am to the point where I feel really strong in my running and need to push myself harder.
2. I have been working really hard on strengthening my core as my trainer advised me that it helps improves running times. I am devoting at least 15 minutes a day every day this week to some ab/core work.
3. I just came off of a 2 week no sugar challenge. Meaning none of my foods had any sugar in them. No honey, brown sugar, regular sugar, agave, etc. It felt so good to succeed in a challenge that was so hard! You really don't know how much of your food has sugar in it till you give it up. This week I am working hard to adapt more to the lifestyle of no sugar and find more foods and meals that I can make that don't have sugar in them.

What are some of your goals this week??? This really is an important part of achieving your weight loss goals. I hope all of you have a great week! I would love to see some of you at the classes I take. I attend a cardio kickboxing class tonight at 7pm in the old Super Pets building in Antioch. Your first class is free! And its a sure way to burn a lot of calories and get your week off to a great start!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weight Loss Journey

Well here I am about to do something very scary! I have never shared my struggles of losing weight with anyone...So many people have asked, "Ashley, how did you do it?" "How do you not give up? " The truth is I have given up before. But somehow I always find my way back to where I need to be. So here goes nothin...
I was raised in a family where obesity was the norm. When I found out I was pregnant in August of 2008, I knew I had to make a change and break the cycle of obesity that ran in my family. I wanted to be able to run with my daughter and I didn’t want her to have a fat mom. In August of 2009 I weighed in at 250 pounds and was wearing a size 22 comfortably and 20 if I sucked in. I broke down and knew I had to do something. I went to the store and started out doin what a lot of people do who start trying to lose weight..I bought lean cuisines, weight watcher meals, and 100 calorie packaged foods. At the time I didn’t know anything else. I had seen other people have success with it so surely I could. I joined a gym and started working out. The weight started to come off, but it wasn’t long before I hit a point where I gave up and turned back to food for my comfort.
 I started Medical Assisting School in October of 2009. Shortly after I started school my world hit rock bottom. My parents told me they were splitting up and getting a divorce. As if working full time, going to school full time, and being a single mom to an infant wasn’t stressful enough, now I had to deal with my parents getting a divorce! I immediately fell back into my old ways and turned to food for comfort. I was eating McDonald’s chicken biscuits and sweet tea for breakfast, lean cuisines and diet mt dew for lunch, and whatever fast food was in the area around my school for dinner. The weight was no longer coming off. I needed an intervention and fast!
I began talking with my mentor and now personal trainer. I needed help and knew she could help me. She gave me advice and introduced me to clean eating.  I started cooking all of my food and quit eating out. Got rid of the sweet teas, diet mt dews, 100 calorie snacks, and lean cuisines. I began working out on my dinner breaks from school and even went after school sometimes. The weight loss had really kicked back into gear and I was finally on the right path. I was doing things the right way and the weight was gonna stay off this time! Don’t get me wrong, even with the help of a friend and clean eating I still struggled. Through all the stress I was going through, I wanted to turn to ice cream and cheesecake (my weaknesses) But I turned to working out and rewarded myself with a treat here and there.
When I started MA school, I wore a size 2XL. When I graduated in June of 2010, I wore a size L/XL. I didn’t have to shop in the plus size section for my work uniforms. This was the first time since middle school I didn’t have to shop in the plus size section. Growing up I was always the fat girl in my group of friends. Now I get called skinny!!!  I actually had a friend that told me I was too skinny to hang out with her! She was joking of course, but that felt so good to hear! I am now proud to say that I wear a size Medium and have dropped to a size 12 and sometimes size 10 pants! I still haven’t reached my goal weight, but I have come so far from where I was! I can run, do sit ups and have endurance for exercise like never before! My journey has been hard, and there are still struggles every day..but I am on the right track and am not given up until I reach my goal