A MUST READ GYSB® Weight Loss Success Story ~Be Inspired!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a weight loss story (journey) to share. While there are many GYSBers working on being more healthy and fit, not many are willing to share WHILE they are on their journey. People want to share the final results. They want to reveal when everything is “perfect” (in their eyes). But that’s not the point of this movement. When you take a holistic approach to wellness, it’s a lifestyle change, a journey with ebbs and flows that never end, a journey with highs and lows, supporters and foes , it’s a lifetime journey of being committed through it ALL. That’s why I’m so excited to share this Q and A with Lisa Cat, my sister, my friend, Ms Superwoman. Lisa made a commitment to change her life in spite of her challenges/hardships. What she has been able to do is inspiring and motivating so I wanted to make sure I shared it with YOU. It’s short and to the point so don’t tell me you don’t have time to read the blog. #teamGYSB® BABY!


1. When did you decide it was time to change your lifestyle? OR in other words, what was the WHY that made this weight loss non-negotiable?

    I went to my kids school and had trouble getting up the stairs to see their work in the art room. I realized that day that if I didn’t lose the weight my health would decline to the point that I would be unable to participate in the simple joys of being a mother. When I think of my kids having an overweight, unhealthy momma it helps me focus on making the small positive changes that lead to big, lasting results

2. What were the first three things you changed at the beginning of your journey?


    a. Limit the negative!!  I had a lot of toxic people in my life, I knew that I needed to limit their access to me in order to make any changes last. It’s hard to make progress when you’re getting an ear full of negative messages about yourself.

    b. I started moving a little everyday. At the beginning all I could do was walk to the end of my street and back. It wasn’t much, but I was moving and eventually I could walk around the block and then a few blocks and eventually a 5k…

c. Cut back on sweets, sodas and carbs! I’m Italian, we eat pasta and bread in large quantities at least 5 days a week, so reducing carbs seemed crazy, but it was worth it!

3. What would you say to someone who wants to get started but they have so much weight to lose that it seems nearly impossible?


    I know the feeling!! When you weigh over 300 lbs. watching the scale will only frustrate you! I do much better when I watch how my clothes fit rather than the number on scale. If you just keep taking consistent baby steps your health will return and the pounds WILL come off…slow and steady wins the race.


4. What is your diet like these days?


    I eat primarily fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken, nuts, and beans (a slightly modified paleo diet). Also, most days I drink tea instead of coffee or soda. I try to stay away from processed products and buy organics where my budget allows.  I stick to an 85% rule. If I can eat that way 85% of the time then I indulge 15% of my week. I don’t view it as a diet, this is what works for my health and when I start to cheat too much I get tired and achy.


5. What did you eat for breakfast, afternoon snack, lunch, evening snack and dinner today?


Breakfast was scrambled eggs with spinach cooked in coconut oil, a banana for a snack, chicken fajitas without tortillas or cheese, handful of almonds to snack, then a Greek salad with chicken, and a post workout protein shake.


6. Let’s talk a little about exercise? When did you incorporate it? How many days per week and what exercises did/do you do?


    In the beginning it was so hard to exercise!! When you weigh 348 lbs., the smallest movements are strenuous. Joining a gym is intimidating, so finding a starting point is difficult. I promised myself that every day I was capable I would find a way to move!! Now I have increased my workouts to include cardio 4 days a week and strength training 3 days a week. For cardio I jog or swim, and for the strength training I am a part of FunFit where we get together twice a week and encourage each other on our journey. We sweat and smile, leaving happy and coming back a bit sore each time. I also do push ups and/or burpees on my own along with an ab challenge we’re encouraging each other to do every day.


7. What kept/keeps you motivated?


    My health!! I have had so many health challenges; including meningitis, liver and kidney failure, cervical cancer, fibromyalgia and acute asthma, to name a few… I want to be able to keep up with my kids and not be a burden to my family and friends.There are so many ways that being overweight limits your life. I don’t want any limitations!! I want to have a strong, healthy body so I can squeeze all the life out of each day I’m blessed with!!


8. What important advice would you give to someone who is reading this who has yet to start their weight loss journey?

    * Surround yourself with positive people

*Don’t give yourself unrealistic deadlines for pounds lost

*Focus on having a healthy body, not a skinny one

*Learn what emotional triggers cause you to overeat or skip workouts

*Drink a lot of water

*Create healthy sleep patterns

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Bringing Your Visions to Life

At the beginning of each year there is great deal of excitement around New Year resolutions. We all hear people declaring  “THIS IS MY YEAR!!!”  While it’s a nice, positive way to start the year, by March (even February for some) the excitement/commitment/momentum is completely gone. I’ll be the first to admit that I too have found myself in this situation with some of the resolutions I’ve made in the past. For this very reason, I choose to create vision boards. I’m a visual person so it helps for me to SEE what I want for myself. I need words and photos posted where I can look at them everyday. Some of the things on my board are for the year and others are for what I want to accomplish at some point in my life. So, many of the goals I put on my board this year, will also be on the new board I create next year. But what I’ve found is that I am usually quite pleased at the end of each year because a number of goals on my vision board have been actualized.

For example, after my race today,

I looked at my vision board and smiled because I am keeping my

commitment to run/race. Running is not my first love, but I definitely enjoy it. It’s empowering to work hard/train for an event and finally reach the finish line. I feel like a champion every time I cross the line and bend my head down to

receive my medal. It’s truly exhilarating.

Vision boards work well for me.

If you have never made one, I encourage you to give it a try. Hang it up and see how it can help you stay focused. I’m certainly looking forward to bringing more of those words/photos to life this year. Just checked my passport last week. I have the words “Room With A View” up on my board too….Let’s see what I can do 🙂


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A Compassionate Lifestyle

There is something quite beautiful that happens to me when I have an opportunity to bless someone. No matter how big or small the deed, I get a great deal of satisfaction and joy knowing that I’ve added to someone’s happiness, lessened some worry or discomfort or helped someone get one step closer to reaching a goal. I believe being kind and generous is a part of healthy living. In fact, studies have shown that individuals who exhibit altruistic behavior gain an intrinsic reward of personal gratification, which often leads to more compassion for others. A study by the National Institute of Health found that when people give, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure and social connection. It is also believed that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”

In a society where people seem to be more concerned with personal advancement and less interested helping others, we must keep compassion and altruistic behavior high on our list of priorities. Not just because it will make us feel good but more because it’s mutually beneficial for both the giver and the recipient. Feeling compassion is great but it’s just a feeling. So when you have compassion for someone suffering or simply in need of an uplift, and you’re in a position to offer a relief, act on it! The world needs more of us to stop and imagine what it must be like for people who are in distress. Once we become more aware of the needs of others and begin to feel empathic, we will be motivated to help.

I encourage you to find ways in which you and your family can serve in your community. There are many organizations that are in need of volunteers and you can commit to a time frame that works with your schedule. Maybe it’s once a year, quarterly or even one time per month, it doesn’t matter—just open your eyes and get involved. ~GYSB®

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What’s Your Baseline?

Let’s talk about goal setting as it relates to fitness. While it is important to MOVE around as much as you can each week, it is even better when your movements are helping you to achieve a fitness goal. This is especially key for those who have yet to achieve their desired weight loss. Research shows that individuals who exercise with a specific goal in mind tend to achieve greater success than those who just workout with the frame of mind that they will simply “do their best”.  Training and exercise are often used interchangeably. But in my opinion, training means you’re going in to accomplish something. When you train you bring your A+ game. So, I like that word much better. Would you agree that a person is likely to achieve greater success with measurable goals in place? You ever see someone come into the gym and fool around on 6 or 7 different machines without any thought given to what they would do at each station? They may do 3 lat pull downs, get off and do 7 jumping jacks and then move on to spend 9 minutes on the treadmill. All of that random moving around and chit chatting with their neighbor to accomplish what? Not much at all. Train with purpose. Know what it is you have set out to do in each session. I suggest taking a few fitness tests to establish your baseline. For example, how many push-ups can you do in 1 minute? Or, how many jump squats can you perform in one minute? Do you know your mile time (walking/jogging)?  How long can you plank? What size weights do you use during strength training? Remember, it is VERY important to make sure you do not compromise your form. Once your form is compromised, the risk of injury increases significantly. Once you have established your baseline numbers, you have something to reference each month (or every few months). And, the more consistent you are with your fitness, the more you will see an increase in your level of fitness. Seriously, how many people do you know who want to be in the same place year after year? I know not one. Even the ones who speak it with no action behind it still have the desire to grow. What I want for myself AND for ALL OF YOU is to put WORDS and ACTION TOGETHER. Actualize all of the potential that lies within you.

Get Your Sexy Back. GYSB® BABY!

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Balancing Family and Fitness

This week I have been focusing more on my 13 year old son. His dad and I are trying to support him more as a middle school student and all that comes with this stage. It is tough for youth these days. It’s starting to look more like this at my house during the week. At homework time, I’m at the table with him doing MY homework so that we are studying together.  At dinner time, we are sitting at the table eating TOGETHER and (hopefully) talking. So, gone are the days when I come home, drop my bags, make a quick meal for him and then start doing my own thing (working out, talking on the phone, fooling around on the internet etc.).  Yesterday was a long long day. I was without a vehicle, because mine has been in the shop a couple of days, so I was on the bus after work and didn’t get home until after 7:00pm. I prepared dinner and we sat together doing our work until 10:00 and THEN I was able to do my workout. Why am I writing all of this? Because I want you to know that we are ALL busy. We all have things to take care of that are extremely important. While fitness is also a priority to me (and I hope it is for you as well), sometimes I have to be ok with shifting things around. I don’t like working out at 10:00 when I have to be at work the next day BUT I also don’t want to skip my workout. When fitness becomes a part of your lifestyle, you WILL find a way to keep it in your schedule.  I’ve been consistently working out for over 5 years now and I KNOW it has helped me stay sane. Even when I don’t feel like doing the workout, I think back to what it felt like when fitness was not in my daily schedule and I don’t ever want to go back to that.


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Notes By B: Muscles and Feminine..Do They Go Together?

Guest Blogger: Bran Redick, USC graduate, currently teaches nutrition to middle school students at after school enrichment programs in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to teaching, Bran handles social media marketing for businesses centered around health and wellness. Follow her on Twitter @Boobeto Tumblr: http://notesbybr.tumblr.com/search/notes+by+b

Muscles and Feminine..Do They Go Together?

What is it to be a woman? Is it wearing 5 inch heels everyday? Is it the ability to give birth or is much deeper than those two questions?   Many women and men approach me while out and say you have a great butt and nice arms. Even recently, I was out at a local bar and a lady rubbed my butt. She said, “OMG your butt is so perfect. Is it real? Can I touch it?”  I was shocked because for one she already touched it and I thought how much more touchy does she want to get. Anyhow, she proceed to tell me how it was “so firm”.  My inner voice response was “well, I lift weights and sprint a lot, which keeps my legs and butt toned.”  However, the words that actually left my mouth was “umm I workout.”  While I am in the gym it is all business. I am there to lift, sweat and burn lots of calories. My fellow gym patrons, men and women, tell me I work hard and seem serious by my demeanor.  I have no time to chat or play. I come in with a plan. I do not push light weight, for example the 5 or 10 lb dumbbells rarely visits my hands. Instead I use weights that are actually heavy enough for me.  I usually curl 20 lb dumbbells for 12 to 15 reps.  The weight is calculated by this equation: If the last two reps are difficult to complete then that is the correct weight for me.  Ladies if you are doing a bicep curling with 5 lb weights and you feel like you are lifting a pencil then drop that weight and increase your weight by a few pounds.   Most ladies fear if they lift heavy they will form huge muscles and start to look masculine. They think they will change color and bulge like the Hulk. This is impossible! Repeat this statement: that is impossible! I have small toned arms, but I curl heavy weights.  Plenty of women think there is a secret to my arms, but no secret. I eat right, do my cardio and lift moderate to heavy weights.  The only way you would become extremely huge is if you are regularly eating a lot of protein, ingesting male hormones and lift extremely heavy.  The combination of all three will increase your muscle mass.  However, women do not have a large amount of testosterone in their system. Testosterone is the hormone used to help build muscle.  Women have about one tenth the amount of testosterone that is found in men.  Ladies you can relax you are not changing colors or busting out of your skinny jeans. You will still look and feel like a woman-I promise.  Once the gym is complete I put on my stilettos and enjoy the rest of my day. Those women and men who see me in the gym tell me they cannot imagine me being a girly girl. On the other hand, those who only know the girly side of me cannot imagine me bench pressing and doing burpees.  I’m a woman who loves pink, but I’m never EVER afraid to sweat.  In actuality, lifting weights adds to your femininity.  It not only adds a lift to your butt, it gives a sense of confidence like no other. You feel empowered and strong. Ladies do not be afraid of the weights.  Remember use weights that are heavy enough that will allow you to push yourself while keeping good form.  Steer clear of the weights that feel like a number pencil, please!  Once you are done pushing weight you too can strut in your heels with your head high and shoulders back.

~Notes By B


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