Transformation Challenge Results

Thank you for following along with me during my two month journey through the Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) Transformation Challenge (TC)!

I worked really hard.

REALLY HARD.

I’m not a competitive person AT ALL. But I enjoy working out and eating well so I focused on being very strict with both. I went into the challenge with a different mindset than any other “competition” I’ve ever participated in. I told myself I was going to win. I scheduled workouts 2-4 weeks in advance. I made a plan. I wrote it down and reviewed it every few days to stay motivated and focused. I limited fun nights out with friends in favor of nights at home with a healthy, home cooked meal and no wine (womp, womp). I traveled to Atlanta for work at the beginning of March, followed by travel to Charleston for my bachelorette party the week after. I scheduled workouts at three different OTF studios in both cities and followed through. I went for a walk in Piedmont Park in Atlanta and during my work conference, went to bed early each night instead of networking with my colleagues. In Charleston, I drink a ton of water and walked as much as I could each day. I ate what I wanted but being such a healthy eater, I didn’t go off the rails too badly.

The awesome OTF location I participated at (Nashville West) had a really fun party on March 31 to recognize everyone in the challenge and announce the winners. We ate healthy snacks and drank champagne! I’m not gonna lie – I was a nervous wreck. I knew winners at other studios that had percentages of weight loss MUCH higher than mine. I wasn’t sure if my bachelorette party in Charleston had derailed my progress and flipped me to the dark side (but, admittedly, it was still worth it!).

So, onto the results! I’m very proud to announce that I was the overall female winner for the OTF Nashville West location! I was among so many amazing ladies that not only lost weight, but improved their workouts and eating habits.

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So what’s next? Wedding Day! Not to worry, I’ve relaxed my super strict eating habits but I’m still following a low carb lifestyle. I have enjoyed some french fries every now and then, though, and I’m loving my glasses of wine again! I got into a great habit of scheduling workouts and that has continued. I am now able to workout at a studio closer to home, which is nice. I made so many new friends during the challenge and look forward to making more friends at OTF Green Hills!

If you’re curious what tools I used to reach my weight loss and TC goals, click here to read my post about them! I might have done the hard work, but I am forever a fan of Jon Acuff 🙂

What are some small goals you can set right now to feel better about yourself?

Attitude can make or break reaching your goals – why not have a great one? – Sus

The Power of a Walk

I absolutely adore a good, outdoor walk. The fresh air always clears my mind and it’s a great opportunity to see things I wouldn’t see from a car!

A few weeks ago, I visited Atlanta to spend time with my brother and attend a work conference. I completed an Orangetheory class in Midtown that Sunday but knew what I wanted to do on Monday instead of an intense workout – take myself for a long walk. I walked to my second favorite park in the South – Piedmont Park (because Sevier Park in Nashville is #1!) – and spent an hour power walking, people watching, listening to my favorite Spotify playlist on my AirPods (they are amazing – I highly recommend a pair), and running stairs (just once!). Trees and flowers were starting to bloom and the grass was turning green. It made for a wonderful morning!

In Nashville, I walk the dogs at least once a day, even if it’s raining. I even enjoy our rainy walks! When walking the dogs, I don’t listen to music or play on my phone, as the walk is about them, not me. Sometimes even walking with the dogs doesn’t cut it, though. I will venture out on my own and walk around the park, my neighborhood, or find a new path with new sights. No matter my physical or emotional state when I head out the front door, I always come home refreshed.

I keep a pair of sneakers in my office in case I need to walk around our business park or take something to the mailbox. A stressful day in front of the computer can wreak havoc on my eyes and head, so a quick walk is usually what the doctor ordered. I have also started wearing some really cute sneaker-like shoes from Allbirds that let me stay on my feet longer without fatigue – and they are really cute.

So, next time you need a break, put on those sneakers and step outside. You may just find it’s the best food for your soul!

What are some ways you can sneak in a quick walk during the day?

Plan some short walks this week to destress and enjoy Spring! – Sus

 

Resources (click on photos to learn more)

Apple AirPods – I’ve owned numerous headphones throughout the years, as I love listening to music while I run or walk. This best wireless pair I’ve had so far and one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve received (thanks, Michael and Sara!).

 

Allbirds Wool_Runner

Allbirds Wool Runners – My neighbor turned me on to these wonderful shoes in February and I wear them several times a week. You don’t need socks and your feet stay blister (and stink) free.

 

 

Measuring Progress

How do you measure progress?

It’s a tough question to ponder, as it depends on your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, progress could be watching the numbers on the scale decrease or losing inches from your waist. If you want to read 100 books in one year, you might look at how many books you’ve already read.

It’s really easy to get sidetracked from your end goal, get frustrated, and give up completely. The easiest way to remedy this is to set small milestones that you can track. If you do fall off the wagon, you haven’t reversed all the good you’ve done! You dust yourself off and get back on the wagon. Another way to look at progress is to look how far you’ve come NOT how far you still have to go to reach your goal.

How is my progress in reaching my goal? I’m still at the same weight I was two weeks ago. Instead of proclaiming my plan a failure, I think of all the clothes I can fit in now. I think of how much better I look and feel. I may not be losing pounds, but I’m gaining muscle and losing inches. I am running much faster on the treadmill and my push ups and other strength moves are getting easier. I’m using heavier weights. All great accomplishments! But they are usually overlooked when they aren’t necessarily your end goal. That’s why I like to make a goal with an asterisk. Yes, my goal is still to lose XX pounds but the other goals I crush along the way matter, too.

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Don’t lose sight of the other, smaller, but just as meaningful goals. They will help you stay focused, present, and “on the wagon”. Treat them just as you would any other accomplishment – with a reward. You deserve it.

What are some smaller goals you can track along the way to your BIG goal?

Drink more water this week. You body will thank you! – Sus

Are You a Goal Getter?

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These books are MUST haves if you’re serious about achieving your goals!

I’m officially two weeks into my eight week Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) Transformation Challenge (TC). I have two goals – one is to WIN the challenge and the other is to lose a specified amount of weight. I’m the queen of goals – I make them all the time. Goals to lose weight, workout X number of times a week, walk the dogs X number of times a day, eat X number of calories per day…you get the point. I can honestly say I’ve never really reached any of the goals I’ve ever set. Sometimes if I do, I slide back into old habits as soon as I complete my goal.

Sound familiar? Do you fall into the same trap and find yourself FINALLY hoping to achieve something meaningful?

You’ve come to the right place. Back in September, I stumbled upon a fantastic book, FINISH by Jon Acuff. I’ve been following Jon on Facebook and Instagram for a while and when I saw this book pop up on my feed, it sounded like the perfect medicine for what was ailing me. He gets it! He’s one of us, reaching for the moon and hoping for the stars. Setting goals that never get met. After reading his book, I went back through a second time and made pages upon pages of notes. I answered the questions posed in the book and tried to dig deep to see why I had failed in my past goals. I was prepared and ready to try again.

And I failed, once again. But it was different this time. I knew why I failed and I knew what needed to happen to turn things around. Let me explain. In Jon’s book, he sets some rules for setting goals including (but not limited to):

  • create a goal. then cut it in half or give yourself more time. (this is quite the opposite of what other books will tell you. it’s revolutionary.)
  • don’t stop trying if you’re not perfect. keep going. no one is perfect. (if I had a penny for every time I fell off the wagon and let it repeatedly run me over instead of getting back on…)
  • choose what to bomb. it’s gonna happen. plan for it. (I give myself grace if the dogs don’t get walked a few times a week)
  • make them fun!

Wait, what? FUN? If you’re trying to eat healthier or lose weight, how is that FUN? Well, I learned the hard way after trying for decades that my fun element was the missing piece of the puzzle. Thankfully, I found Orangetheory. Although it’s an intense workout and most would hardly call it fun, it’s fun to me. So find YOUR fun. What works for YOU. Not what’s normal or what works for everyone else.

So what am I doing differently? Well, many things I’ve never done before.

  1. Scheduling workouts one month or more in advance (thank you, OTF app!)
  2. Keeping a calendar of workouts, travel, and events that could derail my progress
  3. Holding myself accountable on social media
  4. Writing this blog – even if no one reads it, I have everything in writing so to speak, so I can look back and see what worked and what needs to improve
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Scheduling is KEY for me! The FINISH calendar makes it so simple, I’m sure even my dogs could use it.

Before I knew about OTF and TC, I downloaded the free FINISH workbook and filled it out. Then I ditched it, and created another one with a smaller and more fun goal when I realized I would be competing in TC.

FINALLY, everything was in place.

So – how am I doing? Well, I can’t reveal any numbers in case my competition is reading but I will say that I’m well over halfway to my weight loss goal after only two weeks. It pays to set smaller, more attainable goals! My progress has kept me motivated and there is NO stopping me now!

What element of FUN can you add to complete your goal(s)? Comment below and let’s support each other!

Love yourself this week. – Sus

 

Resources (that I swear by):

The goal getter notebook – each day I quickly and easily record workouts and meals (nothing too specific), write what I’m grateful for, my goal to live live fit, and what I appreciate about my strong body. It’s pretty therapeutic and although I miss a few days here and there, it always welcomes me back.

FINISH by Jon Acuff. The hardcover edition is on sale right now on Amazon – it’s a sign that you need to buy it 🙂

Other Jon Acuff items you’ll love from above –  click here for the free FINISH workbook and here for the FINISH wall calendar (on sale – another sign!).

I also bought an Everlast notebook on Amazon last week. After finding over 10 notebooks (personal and work) in my laptop bag, I knew I had a problem. You write in the Everlast notebook with a special (but easy to find/buy) pen, let the ink dry, then take a photo through the app. It automatically sends it to your cloud folder of choice (you denote one of seven possible locations at the bottom of each page by marking over a specific symbol) and works with Google Drive, Everlast, and other apps, and can also be emailed to you. It’s brilliant and has already saved me TONS of paper.

If you have any resources you would like to share, comment below! We’re all here to help each other. 

Super Bowl Weekend Recap

What a fun weekend! As a huge football fan, I was very impressed with the Super Bowl last night. The game was exciting and kept us on the edges of our seats the whole time! Not to mention Justin Timberlake…he is just so dreamy 🙂 My neighbor joined Mr. Chews and me for the festivities and we indulged in healthy snacks the entire game! And wine. Always wine!

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My new favorite brownie recipe! 

Here’s a rundown of our snacks:

  • Crispy baked wings (buffalo and garlic parmesan) – to crisp them up without frying, pat wings dry, sprinkle with w/ aluminum free (very important) baking powder, bake at 250 for 30 min, then increase temperature to 425 and bake for another 45 minutes. Toss in sauce of choice and enjoy. Crispy and delightful! To reheat, put them under a high broiler until brown, then flip. Add sauce when they’ve crisped up to your likeness.
  • Celery, carrots, and ranch dressing
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Hummus trio w/ veggies
  • Cheese dip w/ low carb tortilla chips (made by cutting up a low carb tortilla and frying in butter)
  • Sweet potato brownies (click for recipe!) – you HAVE to try these. Don’t be scared by the ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, and coconut sugar can be purchased at any grocery store these days. Check my Resources page for my favorites I buy on Amazon! If you have to, you can substitute regular sugar for the coconut sugar but don’t try to substitute regular flour. It won’t work! These aren’t super sweet (how I like them!) so add more sugar if you prefer.

 

Before indulging in snacks and cheering on the Eagles, I participated in my first partner workout at OTF! It was extremely motivating and I can’t wait for the next one. My partner, Brandon, was a first timer and he did a great job. It’s always more fun when you have someone to cheer you on, even if it’s a stranger! Getting a great sweat on early Sunday morning always sets the tone for the day. I swear it’s harder to eat junk after a great workout.

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Next Steps – The weekend was fun but it’s time to get back on track. I have lots of raw veggies leftover from Sunday that will last several days and I took the remaining brownies to work so I don’t eat them all. Always a good start! I’m working out three days this week and two of the classes are at 5am. Eeeeeek! Thankfully, I typically go to bed early anyway but I really hope I don’t oversleep. I will report back! I have several work lunches and events this week at restaurants so I will do my research beforehand. No excuses!

What healthy snacks did you enjoy during the Super Bowl? Comment below!

Have a healthy week! – Sus

OTF – WTF?

OTF – I’ve always been interested in health and fitness. I don’t always workout or eat healthy and I go through phases like most of us do. But I always feel my best when I exercise and eat low carbohydrate foods. I have participated in countless group fitness classes before  and know they’re the best way for me to stick to a plan, especially when I get charged if I don’t show up! So when I had the opportunity to try a free class at Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) with my BFF mid-December 2017 (everyone’s first class is free!), the timing was perfect and I jumped at the chance. The workouts are (mostly) 60 minute workouts filled with high intensity interval training (HIIT) segments including running, rowing, and strength training. They do offer occasional 90 minute and 45 minutes classes (trust me, the 90 minutes classes are LEGIT) for those needing more or less time to sweat. The instructor briefs the class prior to starting and offers alternate workouts for beginners or anyone needed lower impact movements. Everyone wears an OTF-purchased heart rate monitor and television screens in the workout rooms show heart rates, calories burned, and splat points earned by each participant. I won’t go into all the details about splat points but it’s a fun way to gauge the intensity of your workouts.

From now until March 25, I will be referencing OTF more than usual. In keeping with the spirit of the new year, they are offering an 8-week Transformation Challenge (TC). The rules are simple – the male and female at each studio with the highest percentage of weight loss are declared winners. The only stipulations are that you must work out at least three times a week and eat well (no starving yourself or crazy diets). I have never been a competitive person, but it’s funny how an event like a wedding will get one motivated! My mindset right now is that I will win. I’m working out 3-4 days per week (every other day) and following a low carb lifestyle. Oh course, there will be cheat meals and a few days off for my bachelorette party, but that’s life and I plan to enjoy it!

Goal Setting, Life, and Finish – Life is why I have a HUGE 2′ x 3′ calendar in my closet. Late last year, I read Finish by Jon Acuff. The book teaches you how to set goals that are achievable and, most importantly, fun! So when I saw Jon’s calendar, I jumped on it. I schedule workouts and any life events that I need to plan for. I know to schedule out-of-town workouts in advance and watch my eating habits before and after these events. This calendar is a life saver – it’s a no-brainer for anyone that’s a little OCD about planning or organizing. Or anyone with big goals to achieve!

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Scheduling is fun thanks to my wall calendar!

Next Steps for a Healthy Week – The next few days and into the weekend, I will continue with my workout schedule and planning meals. I attend a lot of work-related events that serve food and drinks, so planning for these in advance is key. A splurge is fine as long as the food is terrific and memorable! But I can’t say that many of the meals served at these events are worth the stomachache (rubber chicken, anyone?). While I don’t know exactly what I will be eating at each event, I know that it’s okay to eat only my meat and veggies. I skip the rice, bread, and dessert, and drink water and/or unsweet tea with a little stevia (I keep packets in my purse at all times). Some people will comment about how healthy I’m eating as they are chowing down on chocolate cake but most folks understand, nod, and smile.

What are your tips for staying on plan at events? Comment below!

Stay strong and stay motivated! – Sus

Resources from Today’s Post

Orangetheory Fitness

Finish by Jon Acuff

Weekend Recap

What a weekend! From working out at Orangetheory to brunching at Husk and Mere Bulles, I can’t wait to share my tips for a healthy weekend!

Eats – If you’ve ever eaten at Husk, you know the amazing menu can be challenging to navigate if you’re trying to be healthy. Not so when you know how to order! I started with deviled eggs and ended with a vegetable plate full of cauliflower, radish slaw, cabbage, and grits topped with a poached egg (not low carb but certainly worth a splurge!).

The day after this fabulous meal, Mr. Chews and I met his family for the Sunday brunch buffet at Mere Bulles in Brentwood. It boasts such amazing dishes as biscuits and gravy, french toast, a chocolate fountain, and the best looking hashbrown casserole I’ve ever seen! I ordered an omelet with mushrooms, peppers, onion, and cheese. Paired with bacon, sausage, and a side salad, my meal was a low carb dream. I was so in love with my meal that I didn’t snap a photo!

 

Movement – I attended 60 and 90 minutes classes at Orangetheory on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. And let me just tell you – a 90 minute class sure makes a 60 minute class seem like a walk in the park. I’m so glad I participated in the longer class (offered once a month) and look forward to the next one. If you’re not familiar with Orangetheory, the workout involves High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio and strength training in a group setting. A trainer tells me exactly what to do and when to do it.  No thinking, no debating, no getting frustrated and giving up. It can be intense (and high energy) but there are many alternate workouts for beginners or participants needing lower impact movements. You can even try your first class free! I’m so thankful to my BFF for introducing me to this wonderful fitness family!

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Next Steps for a Healthy Week – I have made a big deal of scheduling my workouts one month in advance. Sometimes I joke that scheduling and rescheduling Orangetheory classes is a second job! But I know without this important step, I will succumb to the snooze button, or stay up later than I should the night before I need to workout. By working out early in the morning, I have no excuse to skip it. No meetings, lunches, or happy hours pop up at 6am! I also keep a larger than life calendar on the wall in my closet to track workouts. It has been a lifesaver! I will post a photo soon and a link where you can purchase one, too.

This week, I will be eating a LOT of soup. 20+ cups of it, to be exact (good thing I love soup). I’m following I Breath I’m Hungry’s  5 Day Keto Soup Diet. I hate using the word “diet” but that’s the name of it. The soup is basically chicken, bacon, and tons of vegetables. After making the soup, I’m going to make my own version that I will share next weekend. Definitely halving the recipe and using sausage instead of bacon!

In the mornings after a workout or dog walk, I will enjoy either Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) or Bulletproof Tea (BPT). What is BPC/BPT, you might ask? For me, it means coffee or tea, 1 Tbsp. MCT oil, 1 Tbsp. heavy cream, and 1 scoop collagen powder. I also sneak in a packet of Truvia, because I can’t stand coffee without it.

Coming soon – A Resources or Favorites page so you can see all of the great supplements, foods, kitchen gadgets, and bloggers that keep me on the straight and narrow!

What are some tips and tricks you implement in your healthy life? Leave a comment below!

Have a healthy week! -Sus

 

Let’s Get the Party Started!

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Cauliflower breadsticks – one of my ALL time favorite low carb recipes. Coming soon!

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to believe January 2018 is coming to an end. Wasn’t it just yesterday when we were all scrambling to come up with resolutions, then backtracked because we remembered we fall off the wagon after 2-3 weeks anyway? Yep. Good old January.

Well, I’m taking a different approach this year and I hope you’ll join me for what is sure to be a fun ride. What you can expect from me:

  • Low carb high fat/keto/paleo recipes (tried and true!)
  • My favorite kitchen gadgets, foods, and supplements
  • Resources to keep you on track with your healthy routines
  • Tips on my favorite workouts and healthy eating habits

If you have any specific topics you would like me to cover, let me know. And shoot me an email if you need an accountability buddy to make it through the year. I’m happy to be your cheerleader!

You are worth it! – Sus