Fitness Tips

Beware of Healthy Labels!

Posted by | Fitness Tips, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Weight Loss Tips | One Comment

Food companies have one job; sell their products.  It is not to guide America to health, if that were the case Twinkies would have gone and actually stayed away a long time ago.

Did you know that food’s packaging is not regulated?  This means the manufacturer can bend any truth to fool you into thinking that what you are buying for your family is healthy just by adding these great “health slogans” to their packages.

What does this mean? If you see these slogans you should beware. Don’t just buy this product blindly,  the only way to know what’s good is to read the label and ingredients!!!

Here are few key things to look for when you see certain “healthy” packaging:

“Made with Whole Grains”

Many companies add in a small amount of whole grains to their product in order to use this label, but that doesn’t mean that is the only type of flour or grain in your food. Turn your attention immediately to the ingredients. The very first ingredient should read “100% Whole grain…” not enriched whole grain, or white flour.

A common item manufacturers are using this label on is bread and cereal.  Just because your Lucky Charms are now made with whole grains does not undue the other unhealthy ingredients in your bowl.  Make sure you read the label after you read the ingredients and check the amount of sugar added to sweeten these whole grains!

“Fat Free”

Items that are fat free, whether it is those that should have fats by definition, think butter, or other processed foods like baked goods and potato chips, are not necessarily better than their fat containing counter part. Turn to the ingredients, see all those big words like xantham gum and sodium benzoate? Those are chemical and artificial additives these products contain to replace the flavor and consistency you still want without the calories.  Even though these are approved by the FDA, studies show that in the long run you are possibly doing damage to your system and organs by introducing these foreign chemicals to your body.  Think about it this way: you can burn calories but you cannot undue damages linked to these “not fat fats” like cancer and insulin resistance(Type II Diabetes).

Fat is not a four letter word. We all need fat, so by cutting out all fats in your diet you may be doing damage too.  Look for Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats in small amounts, these are the good fats that actually help clear out the bad cholesterol in your system.  Do cut out as much saturated fats as possible and all trans fats from your diet.  Main idea: when reading the ingredients of your food you want to be able to pronounce what you are eating.

“Sugar Free”

Just like with “Fat Free” foods read the ingredients! Replacing the sugar in your drinks or food with it’s non-calorie containing counter parts like Sucralose and Aspartame are not good substitutes.  Both of these additives were denied multiple times by the FDA because their unknown and unstudied affects on humans.  No joke, there was very little research done on humans before their approval with the FDA, most was done on lab rats.  Recent studies show they are linked to obesity, Type II diabetes, certain cancers, increased appetite and the list goes on…

Again it is better to eat the calories in moderation than replacing them with these chemicals.

“Gluten Free”

Many people are unaware of what Gluten is.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat.  Some people, not all, are allergic to gluten (celiac disease) or are gluten intolerant meaning their body reacts poorly to gluten and is not able to process it as well as others. Other people who commonly avoid gluten may do it as a remedy for other medical reasons.  For example my lovely mother has Fibromyalgia, after many years of trying to find ways to minimize her pain her doctor suggested she try going gluten free as there has been evidence linked to gluten and Fibromyalgia pain.  It worked and she has been gluten free for almost a year!

Now that you know what gluten is, you can see that “Gluten Free” has nothing to do with the nutritional and caloric value of your food other than saying it does not contain wheat or wheat products.   When you see “gluten free”, and are not on a gluten free diet, read the label and check the ingredients.  If you are getting a high nutritional content (high in fiber, protein and/or vitamins) and have recognizable ingredients then this product is probably a good choice.

“100% natural”

Manufacturers love to bend the truth. When you see 100% natural on a processed food item, like crackers or juice or fruit gummies, it obviously does not mean that product is found in nature.  It only means that the producer started with natural ingredients before processing them.  Processing ingredients strips them of many nutrients they contained originally and probably adds in some not so healthy components to the finished product, so beware.  Again read the label and ingredients.  All natural should be just that.

Being an informed consumer is a very useful weapon against these corporations and manufacturers. Remember your family’s health is of the upmost importance so do your homework and don’t be fooled when you hit the grocery store! 

My Prego Cardio Workout

Posted by | Fitness Tips, How To, pregnancy workouts, prenatal fitness, prenatal workouts, Real Success Stories, Uncategorized, workout, workouts | No Comments

Staying active and healthy is a huge concern of mine, and should be yours, throughout my pregnancy.  Experts suggest at least 30 minutes of physical activity A DAY for expecting moms.  Exercise and staying active can ease pregnancy symptoms, quicken and ease your little one’s delivery, and is actually healthy for you and the babe!

**Please note that I was and have remained very active before and throughout my pregnancy. I work out for health benefits for me and my baby, not to lose weight or burn extra calories!!  You should always consult your OB before starting any sort of exercise program or routines.  I am not a doctor and what is okay for me may not be in you and your baby’s best interest so please please talk to your doctor before you workout. If you are cleared be sure to drink plenty of water and add extra calories, depending on your trimester, to be sure your babe is getting all the nutrients it needs.**

Here in good old Louisiana, it is already 90+ degrees outside with humidity that will make even the straightest hair frizz like Curly Sue. That being said, I try and get my workouts in before 8:30 or hit up the gym to avoid over heating.  Luckily, or sadly depending on your view-point, I am up at 5 working with clients most mornings so I usually am able to get my workout in before it gets too hot out so I can enjoy the buggy  great outdoors.

Many of you have been asking for an example of a workout that I do so here it is, this is actually what I did this morning.

Not Pregnant? Pregnant but not at the same level? No problem, you can mix this workout up by adjusting the intensity of your jog to a run or sprint, adding more or less jogging time and recovery time, and more or different plyos in between jogging/running segments to adjust for your skill level.

25 minute cardio/plyometric workout:

Equipment: Stop watch and a killer play list to jam to.

  • Warm up: Walk/slow jog. I usually go 2-3 minutes to make sure my muscles are nice and warmed up.
  • The Main Event:  Jog 3 minutes.  Keep stop watch running for the rest of the workout without pressing stop, even if you have to rest
  • Complete Front lunge walk, 20 total steps; 10/each leg
  • Walk remaining time until 5 minute mark, make sure you are breathing deep and recovering from jog
  • Jog 3 more minutes
  • Complete 12 tricep dips (I use the curb to do these on) and 10 push ups
  • Walk remaining time until 10 minute mark,  again make sure you are breathing deep and recovering from jog
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Complete 15 squats
  • Walk remaining time until 15 minute mark
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Stop and while walking complete small arm circles 30 seconds one direction, then switch and immediately do the opposite direction with no rest 30 more seconds
  • Walk remaining time until 20 minute mark
  • Cool Down: Walk until you have recovered your breath fully, STRETCH!! (2-3 minutes)

Pregnant or not make sure to drink plenty of water before and after working out! If you are prego make sure you are adjusting your calorie intake to account for the calories you are burning to ensure you are continuing to give your babe the nutrition it needs to keep growing!

Like this workout?? Let me know by liking, sharing or commenting below and I can continue to add more like this on my blog!

Excuses Are Like Baby Bumps…

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Excuses are everywhere and everyone has them, even me!

Many of you may have noticed a lack in my posts on my Facebook, twitter, blog and every other social media I use as a way to promote health and happiness.  Don’t think I have forgotten about you all or that I have quit my beloved job of personal training and health advice.  No, I have gone into the dark hole many women call their first trimester of pregnancy! Yes I am happy to announce my husband and I are expecting our first-born!

I am finally into my 2nd trimester and have reclaimed my humanity. I felt like a zombie the last 10 weeks. I literally could fall asleep standing up! But instead of pushing through I used my pregnancy as an excuse to lack on my health and my job, not with my individual clients they still got their butt’s whipped in the gym, no but with all of you. And for that I apologize. I will no longer use this pregnancy as an excuse to get out of things, including eating well!

Seriously, I need to stop the damsel in distress act and realize that this is a reality for the next 5+ months. I will be tired, cranky, and HUNGRY. But I need to keep in mind that this process is not just about me; it’s about my baby, family and career. And staying healthy and at my best for them is what is important.

Now before you all think this is just for all my prego ladies out there lets remember we all face easy outs and excuses 24/7! “My head hurts”, “My house needs to be cleaned”, “I am too tired to cook diner tonight”…the list goes on and on. Making healthy choices both for our bodies and our careers needs to be a daily thing we work on.  We all, especially me, need to recommit to a lifestyle of thinking of the long-term and of others.  So here is my new pledge!!! I will be a normal person the next 5 months, I will eat healthy (obvs I can cheat a little) and I will be productive!  What’s yours???

Throw Back Video: Buns Of Steel

Posted by | Fitness Funny, Fitness Tips, Motivation!!, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Tips | No Comments

Yes people, dust off your VHS player and let’s get down on some Buns Of Steel!

If you are like me and I suppose the rest of modern America, I do not own a VHS player anymore but not to fret just head on over to the dollar bin at Wal-Mart or Best Buy and pick up the new DVD version of this amazing classic! And don’t worry it still has the awesome eighties packaging and is the exact same video.

Great Leg and Hip workout

This baby was actually a gift from one of my clients who said she saw it and couldn’t resist buying it. Too bad for her it KILLED me and I can’t wait to start using some of the moves good old Greg Smithey came up with on her!  So to all my clients please look at this man and thank him for your new fab booty.

Buns of Steel

I am very serious about this workout being a killer! The cardio warmup involves your arms the ENTIRE time and they were definitely feeling the burn by the time we were ready to begin the “real” workout.  The next part of the workout is obviously all buns, mainly focusing on your hips and those abductors and adductors that shape them.  It was killer and Greg was a cheesey  great motivator reminding us that “we are going to impress people coming and going”, and to “keep squeezing all that fat right out of our hips”.

The length of each move was what was really hard about this workout.  Imagine an hour-long Pilates class doing only about 5 moves over and over, it burns deep and in places I never knew existed after a while.  I wanted to give up but instead I decided to just people watch all of the class members in the background to keep me distracted.  The eighties were not the best in the way of exercise gear. Not only are there high cut leotards but they wear spandex under them and then a different color underwear over them.  Add in leg warmers and the occasional fannie pack and the only thing I can say is best people watching I’ve done in a while.  Here is my favorite girl, she had it all and then some!:

Great leg workout

Please notice the belt and the amazeballs headband over the perm mixed with leg warmers and those fresh reebok hightops.  I die.

Moral of the story is trying some of these classics could be a great way to mix up your workouts and give you new old ideas for fashion and exercises.

Stick To Your Resolution!

Posted by | Fitness Tips, How To, New Year Weight Loss, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Tips | No Comments

How To Pick A Resolution That You Can STICK TO!

It is the last day of 2012 and I know many of you are now looking ahead to the new year wondering what you can do to improve your life, your relationships, and most importantly yourself! The sad thing is less than 15% of people who make resolutions actually stick to them! Not to worry, you can be that 15%!! You just need to pick your resolution carefully so you can stick it harder than a McKayla Maroney Vault.

Stick to Weight-loss

A huge mistake people make when setting their resolutions is they are not realistic. If you are 100lbs overweight making your resolution to lose the entire 100 lbs is setting yourself up for failure.  Start small and realistic, something that you can accomplish in a shorter amount of time like 30lbs (which is still a HUGE weight-loss).  That way you can start to see your progress towards your end goal faster which will keep you motivated! Once you reach your goal set another, there is no rule that states there can only be one resolution a year!!!

Another way to stick with your resolution is to make a game plan within your resolution.  Instead of saying you are going to lose weight this year try this; I am going to lose weight by working out ___ times a week.  Making your resolution quantitative can be that extra push that can get you to the gym.  If its Friday and you haven’t worked out the amount of times you set as your goal, you can push through and get in those workouts before the week is up!

Now that you have your resolution, set yourself up for success.  Start a log, write your goal out and set up your game plan. You want to make sure you know exactly how you are going to attain your goal.  If your goal has to do with eating healthier, go through your kitchen and toss the junk and replace it with some healthy options.  If you want to start exercising go join a gym or book me a trainer.  Making your lifestyle changes as easy as possible is what you want to do, the fewer excuses you have the more likely you will be able to keep your resolution!

“Believe in yourself and you are halfway there!”

Happy New Year!!! Cheers!!

-Amy

Avoiding Fad Diets

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Diets Are Not Made Equal! Follow These Tips To Ensure A Succesful Diet!

We have all done it, in fact according to a new study 80% of all 10-year-old girls have.  I’m talking about dieting.  But with all the options out there how are we all still struggling with our weight?  The sad truth is that the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, and the way they keep making money is keeping you as a customer. This means that most diets are not made to keep the weight off (if you do lose any weight). Not only is dieting, especially crash dieting, harmful to your body but it can cause us to become irritable, tired, and if they fail disappointed and depressed.

successful weight loss tips

Don’t feel hopeless about your weight-loss! There are programs out there that work, you just need to pick the right one!  Below are few red flags you can look for so if your diet includes the following, I would highly suggest you researching another program!

1.Seceret Ingredients/Miracle Results

There is no such thing as a secret fat burning miracle! No raspberry extract thing, no magic pill. No matter how bad we want it, it just doesn’t exist, sorry to burst your bubble.  Most of these pills or cleanse drinks cost big money and promise 1-5lbs weight loss a week.  These are all big red flags. Trust me if these worked everyone would be on them so save your money and run (literally) the other way!

2. Fasting

Here is my problem with fasting; there are no long-term results from starving yourself and you can cause serious damage to your metabolism in the process.  If you are serious about successful weight loss than look for a long-term plan!  Drinking only “lemonade” for 10 days(if you can make it that long) surely will cause you to drop a few pounds but what happens when those 10 days are up? I can guarantee that your first meal will be a huge and unhealthy one followed by another and another. Also, the damage you have done to your metabolism is huge.  When you fast, or even just eat a very small amount, your body goes into starvation mode.  This is a survival technique we all have; your body will store anything you put in it to help protect it against starving to death.  When you starve yourself you are actually training your body to store fat reserves instead of burning them, which is what you want when you are trying to lose weight.  So bottom line fasting is not a good option if you are serious about your weight loss.  Amy’s Tip: Look for programs that teach healthy habits that can guide you long-term.

3. Diet Food

Most People know that diet soda is not good for you, so why is everyone so convinced that diet or lite food is any better??  Diets that include all processed food should be a HUGE red flag.  These are full of chemicals and highly processed ingredients with little nutritional value.  When trying to lose weight you want the most bang for your buck when you eat, in other words you want to feel the fullest on fewer calories.  To do this you will want to fill up on complex carbs (especially fiber) and protein, not chemicals.  Food like Jimmy Dean Sausage’s breakfast sandwiches may only be 300 calories but you can bet that you will not benefit nutritionally from most of those calories and will probably be hungry in an hour or so. Amy’s tip: Eat as naturally as possible and when you do go for food that is pre-made READ YOUR LABELS and make the most of your calories.

4. Heavy Restrictions

If I am told I can’t have something, I will want it immediately.   For me, and most people, heavy restrictions like only being able to eat fruits and veggies for days is very very hard to do.  When you are about to go on a diet that involves restrictions, like the 17 Day Diet, most people will end up bingeing just as they would on a fast which will lead to weight gain.  This is not a long-term solution and once again you will probably gain the weight back once you are through with the diet as it does not teach you healthy habits to live a normal life with.

 

Moral of the story; there is no easy way out.  To lose weight you will have to change what/how you eat and you will have to change your sedentary lifestyle. My main tip when finding the diet program that is right for you is to do your research; learn about what is healthy for your body, ask a professional like a nutritionist, dietician, or certified personal trainer for advice.  Make sure you are checking sources when you read about a new diet, anyone can write a book but is yours written by a health professional? You want a long-term options that teach you healthy habits, like eating 4-6 small meals a day or eating balanced, nutrient dense meals.  Also look for programs that keep healthy habits positive and exciting, the diet industry wants to keep you heavy and so they make being healthy look expensive, miserable and hard but trust me it’s not!  Fresh, healthy food is delicious you just need the right recipe.  Working out is stress relieving and endorphin producing, you just have to find the right routine, class, or trainer for yourself. As I talked about in my last blog, keep a positive attitude and stay confident in yourself.  You are stronger than you think!

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”-Chinese Proverb

Log It!

Posted by | Fitness Tips, Motivation!!, Weight Loss Tips | One Comment

Track Your Journey To Make Sure You See Every Success You Earn!

This single action was the spark I needed to continue and be succesful in my weight loss journey.  Logging your every move will help you to stay committed to your weight loss plan.  When you have to write down that you ate a whole cake or that you did not do any exercise that week, it may be hard and disappointing but that guilt may be just what you needed! I know its hard for everyone to admit when they have done something wrong or that they aren’t perfect but keeping yourself accountable is HUGE a part of this whole journey.  Only when we realize that it is our own doing that we are in the position of being over-weight or unhappy in life can we begin to take it upon ourselves to change!

My weight-loss started to really stick when I started “Bringing Sexy Back 2011”,  my excercise calendar I hung in my kitchen, yes in my kitchen where everyone could see!  I would write each day what I did as far as excercise that day.  Seeing a blank day would drive me nuts and everyone who saw it would be like, “Hmm…Looks like you’re doing great Am but what happened on Tuesday and Wednesday, no work out??”.  I became determined to keep up my workout habits so instead of inconsistency people would see how committed I was to working out!

Don’t just stop at food and exercise as your log, log your progress! Every two weeks log your weight and measurements. Weight is not as good a measure of progress as measurements are.  You will find that sometimes you start losing inches before weight, and going down a size is something to be excited about!! Log your mile time, log your push up count. Log everything and anything you can think of. Take before pictures and retake them every two weeks in the same clothes. The more you log the more evidence you will have that YOU ARE IMPROVING!!! Sometimes we lose track of how far we have actually come because we forget how bad we really were. weight-loss

Change is scary because sometimes we are afraid of failure.  That’s okay. Learn to celebrate your small success! Those small victories, like running a whole mile without walking or going a whole week without cheating on your diet, are the starts to your big goals! That’s what your log should be about, not the guilt of messing up but the excitement of success!

Believe in yourself!

-Amy

Be HOT This Halloween

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Follow This Quick at home Workout 3-4 Days A Week To Go From Flab To Fab for Your Costume!

Trick or Treat!! It’s that time of year where girls can dress scandalously and the guys can go shirtless to parties.  We are now less than three weeks from Halloween and unless you are planning on being a pumpkin, you may want to start thinking about slimming down and toning up to look your best in your Halloween costume! Now I know you are thinking 3 weeks is not a lot of time to do any major work, but trust me it is! Follow my quick workout once a day, 3-4 days a week and you will see results before the pumpkins on your porch go bad!

The trick is to go through the exercises in order and then repeat them 2-3 times for 2-3 sets.  The treat will be you looking HOT for Halloween!

Exercise 1: Lateral Arm Raises (12 repetitions)

How To: Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart with a soft knee and your arms down at your sides. Hold onto light hand weights or cans if you don’t have weights available. With your arms straight, raise your arms out by your sides to shoulder level and lower back down.

Exercise 2: Over head shoulder Press with Squat (12 reps)

How To: Start with your arms bent and hands, holding weights, are right by your ears. Squat down and on your way up raise your hands over head.  Lower hands back to ears and squat down.

Exercise 3: Forward lunge with bicep curls (10 reps on each side)

How To: Start with your legs together and arms down at either side, palms facing out with weights or cans in hand. Lunge forward with one leg and curls hands up to shoulders. Push back and return feet and arms to the starting position.  Repeat on the other leg.

Exercise 4: Plank (45 second hold)

How To: Get into a push up position on your elbows.  Pull your belly button to your back and squeeze your hinny!

Exercise 5: Hill Climbers (60 seconds)

How To: Get into a push up position. Pull one knee at a time in toward your chest and then place foot back on ground, repeat with other foot. Try and “climb” as fast as you can while maintaining a flat back push up position.

This fast, full body workout will get you into shape fast and only take 15-20 minutes out of your busy schedule! Repeat this routine 3-4 times a week and make sure to stretch!! You will be taking that costume from frumpy to sexy in no time! You may just want to wear some lingerie and animal ears and call it a day!

Good Luck with your workouts!!

-Amy

We All Need a Little Thinspiration

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Places To Find That Motivation To Get Going, Or To Stay Going.

With such great networking sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Pintrest, and blogs galore we have no excuse to lose our fitness spark.  Whether it’s a motivating picture of a super fit 6 pack, a new workout, or a healthy recipe there are endless options and ways to stay motivated when it comes to getting fit and healthy.  Here are just a few favorites of mine that help me on my rainy days:

reasonstobefit.tumblr.com

Fitness Motivation

Reasonstobefit is just that; some great reasons to not give up or to get going.  Reasons are placed over motivating postcards of hot fitness babes, healthy food, or other pictures from your fav TV shows or movies.  Some reasons are serious and others are a little more light-hearted including funny pop culture references. You can read other’s reasons to keep going or even create and submit your own! This site changes almost daily so it’s great to check back on a regular basis and still get the thinspiration you need!

amrapstyle.com

motivation for workouts

It’s crazy how some new cute workout clothes can get me excited to hit the gym and show them off! Tracie, a self-proclaimed workout clothes aholic, brings you a daily outfit from headbands to shoes to watches and unique kick-ass shirts, and tells you exactly where you can get it! With sayings like “Do these squats make my butt look big?” on your shirt how can you not get excited to go and get your sweat on??

Skinnytaste.com

healthy recipes

Skinnytaste.com has amazing recipes that, just as the title would have you expect, are actually healthy for you!! There are tons of options to give you that much needed pick me up from the healthy eating blues you can sometimes fall into.  The recipes include nutritional values and servings sizes which make it super easy to stay on track and have a delicious meal! With the holidays coming up and football parties galore I would definitely make sure you save this page to your favorites!

Looking for more motivation?? I am always on the look out and make sure to pin any new blogs or tmblrs I come across to the Amy Williams Fitness Pintrest account. Be sure to start following our pins by clicking here and hit follow!!!

-Amy

Breaking the Fat Bank

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Are You Treating Your Body Like A No Limit Credit Card or A Savings Account? Weight-loss tips

Lets be honest, our society is all about the bigger and better. Most people are in debt over buying things they just can’t afford.  Maybe their fav celeb or athlete had it, or they thought it would make them feel better, like in my case, a pair of really beautiful shoes only can.  Any way you spin it, people are over stretching their budgets and getting in way too deep.  And whether or not we’d like to admit it, this same kind of selfish and momentary thinking is happening in other places than our bank accounts. You guessed it people, I’m talking about our body!

We all have said it, “I don’t care how fattening what I eat is, I want it so I am going to have it!!” Next time you start to say this, stop for a moment and think of what you are actually doing.  What else have you had today? Have you exercised today? If so how much? Think of the calories you burn vs. the calories you take in as your account balance.  If you continue to spend (eat poorly) and you’re not making any deposits (burning calories or eating healthy) how can you not expect to get into the red with your weight?

I don’t care what your genetics are or what your age is, this accountability-type of thinking will lead to a successful weight-loss plan.  When you stop thinking about The Jones’, who in our case are Tom Brady and Giselle, and instead think about what you can be doing differently to solve your problems and I promise you will start to see improvements.

Like all things in life, it’s all about a balance that works for you. For example, I may have one or two meals a week with the hubby in which we have some less than healthy items like pizza or cheese burgers.  The reason I am not breaking my bank, or splitting my pants for that matter, is because I try to make healthy choices for my other meals and I make sure to hit the gym a few times a week.  Please note that I am not trying to lose a significant amount of weight right now either, I want to maintain.  You need a balance that works for your body and your weight loss goals.

If your goal is weight loss, you would want to make sure your savings(Calorie burning and healthy eating) is much higher than the spending.  Try saving up and only spending on one thing for that week, like a great desert one night.  Knowing that you get to have that splurge once a week may make saving up for it easier.  Think of it as you are trying to save up for that amazing dress for a party and so you skip going to the movies or cook at home instead of eating out.  The outcome is you get that dress and will be looking fab at the party! Who cares about that movie you missed?

When we start to look at weight loss in a different way, like balancing a check book, it may start to look like an attainable feat.  Just take it day by day. Keep a daily balance by writing it down in a log, I called mine “Bringing Sexy Back 2011” when I was going through my weight loss journey (Gotta keep it fun right? #ILoveJT).  Just remember if you go out of balance one day it doesn’t mean your week or month is ruined, let it go, learn from it, and move on!

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.-Wayne Gretzky

-Amy