Thursday, February 24, 2011

Body Challenge Check-in #1

I'm well on my way to getting the body that I want and the healthier lifestyle that I deserve.  When I programmed my goals in the My Fitness Pal App, it placed me on a 1400 calorie/day plan.   This way I can monitor what I eat and how many calories I take in and how many calories I burn during any given cardio activity.  It's a tedious job having to enter all that information each time but once an original meal or food is entered, it will automatically pop up if I have to enter it again.

 At the rate of this program I'm targeted to lose 2 pounds per week and then accompanied with cardio exercise that'll probably add an extra pound per week.  Now, as I said, my priority is not on weight loss, it's about physical fitness so while counting pounds isn't the focus, it is an integral part of my show in progress at this time.  As I build lean muscle, the weight loss will slow because as we already know, muscle weighs more than fat.

It's been 3 weeks since I've started the challenge and I've dropped 6 pounds so far.  My brother and sis-in-law came by over the weekend and they both noted that I've noticeably lost weight--how about that for a mood booster!  Although yesterday, I did eat 3 iced oatmeal cookies and it probably cost me that 6th pound but it sure was good going down! *smile*

Also what I'm not doing is dieting.  I'm still eating what I want but sensibly by keeping my sugar and carb intake lower than usual.  This means cutting back on the cookies (not usually a problem until  a week before "that time of the month") and leaving out the breads and pasta (my weakness) at times when it's possible.

I didn't take pics of most of my meals but here are a few that I took with my phone whenever it crossed my mind.

BBQ Chicken with Brown Rice and Mixed Veggies

Small Salad and Tomato Soup

Wheat Tortilla with Turkey Breast, Spinach, Romaine, Red peppers & Tomato

Veggie Stirfry with rice and Chicken Teriyaki

This was Chief's plate by the way, I only had one piece of fish, no rice and more veggies.  Same amount of shrimp though :-)

Also, I'll update you on how my back looks tonight...I forgot to take the pic yesterday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Big Chop Anniversary

My First Year Wearing My Hair Natural...

Though I've been natural (relaxer free) for 3 years (as of next month to be exact), I didn't wear my hair as a natural until February 2010 when I decided to do the big chop and get rid of my heat "trained" hair.  I'd been getting blow outs every two to three weeks without fail and I loved the straight look.  I was dead set on not giving up on them either.  That is, until one day when my co-friend who'd been natural for over 10 years convinced me to "just try it."

I did bantu knot outs for about 6 months because by curl pattern had been loosened so much that two strand twist outs didn't look right.  Dealing with my tightly curly hair and my loose curly hair became just as much a task as dealing with relaxed and natural hair so I decided to just chop it off and start the heck over after 20 full months of growing my hair out.

Out of that came alot of flack from family members and some friends. "Why did you cut your pretty hair, it was so long, now its all short, what are you going to do to it now, it's not sexy anymore."

Really?  No, like for real, REALLY?  So only straight and long hair was sexy?  I beg to differ.

I admit that I almost fed into all of that nonsense and started to wondered why my natural hair wasn't flowing like pocahantas or at least Alicia Keys..LOL!  I was mad that I'd cut it for a while but then I resolved to learn how to deal with and master my own hair and started looking for products to keep it happy and  healthy.

With learning how to care for my hair properly and getting it to do what I wanted it to came acceptance of my texture.  No, my hair wasn't like Alicia Keys & no my hair isn't like Kelis...but guess what?  It's just as beautiful and I'm HAPPY with MY hair and I love it because its part of me.  Happy One Year fully natural to my Cloud!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Trading It All In

I believe there's a moment in every woman's life where all she wants to do is feel and look pretty.  Not for the aesthetic benefit of others but solely for herself. 

I, for one, like to look good and be comfortable.  I've been having a blast wearing nothing but heels (I promise I will share more of that with you in the future when I buy a new camera) but there are days where I just don't feel like it.  Staying true to the rules of this project is the name of the game and I've vowed to give up my sneakers but I realize now that I was a girl with a one track mind.

Being the tomboy that I am, when someone mentioned sneakers, I'd think about Nike Huaraches, Foamposites (taking it back to 1999), AirMax 360s & Jordans.  I'd never even thought about all the choices I'd have in fashion sneakers  though in the past, I'd looked at them plenty of times.

This past friday was a chill day (a.k.a no heels for this girl) and in the past, I'd have worn my huaraches with a pair of sweatpants, a fitted tee and a cute jean jacket--but honey, those days are over.  I recently snagged a pair of cute coach sneakers (courtesy of Chief's observant and giving nature as he saw me eyeballing them in Macy's) and I paired them with a casual shirt and a pair of skinnys.

So at the end of December, included in my yearly clothing donation bag were my Nike Dunks, 360s, a pair of Jordans I no longer wear and a few others.  I had second thoughts about my Dunks so I took them out as we were making a drop off to The Salvation Army.  LOVE those!

And although I will be making my way over to Fleet Feet to find a great part of running/exercise shoes, it's officially official:  I've traded in all my boyish sneakers for some cute fashion sneakers and now, I've got my eye on these.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Movie Pick of the Month: City of God

Cidade de Deus (City of God) seems to get alot of praise from everyone I know that has seen it and with good reason. This movie is possibly one of the best crime dramas I have ever seen.  I saw this movie for the first time in 2004 and have watched it 3 more times since.  When the opportunity presents itself, I tell everyone I know about this movie because it is a must see!

This epic is based on true events and characters who live in the poverty stricken slums of Rio de Janiero where the drug dealers run the town.

The story is told by one of the main characters, Rocket, a young man who struggles to to take a different path than his older brother and his friends that got caught up in the gang wars by pursuing a career in photography.  Rocket gets his big break when the local newspaper realizes that Rocket could possibly get the inside scoop on his opposite in the movie, Lil' Ze--a young man who rose to run the slums in the 1970s.
Not only is this movie captivating but the characters are endearing with wildy convincing performances. 
City of God has many times been compared to the likes other great crime dramas, namely, Good Fellas but at the same time it manages to maintain it's uniqueness.

And as a warning, this movie is not for the easily disturbed at heart as it's violent from beginning to end involving teens and young children.

The movie was originally made in Portugese and was also made in other languges but not in English so it has subtitles but don't let that deter you.  From the frist 5 minutes, you'll be captivated by the story not even realizing you're reading the entire time.

5/5 Stars

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

While I'm off to celebrate this day with the two greatest loves of my life, I want to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day.  Even if you don't have anyone special in your life (as in an S/O), take this time to show yourself some appreciation and love.  As they say, you can not love anyone unless you first love yourself.

Happy Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let A Man Be A Man

As a young woman living on my own, I had become quite accustomed to doing things for myself.  To include, changing tires (yes, honey), moving heavy furniture, taking a trunk-full of groceries in the house in one trip and helping friends move.  Notably, one of my best friends and I moved her entire apartment--couches and all--by ourselves.  She-woman?  Not hardly.  I was just a girl that had grown used to "doing what I gotta do".

I was the exact type to never wait on a man to do anything.  I was not only the Destiny's Child type of "independent woman" but I was the physical type as well; ready to haul a heavy load at go and I remained that way for years.  That is, until I met Chief. 

One day after loading a heap of groceries into the house--which he had expected to do all by himself, he noted out loud that dating me was almost like dating a guy; I liked sports, drank beer from the bottle and I didn't mind helping with the heavy lifting.  I was almost offended but before I could respond he said, "...but you have a sexy side too.  You're cool enough to hang out with the boys but you're all woman and can walk your ass off in a pair of heels."  Nice save, eh?

As time went on though, I guess that side of me was coming out a little more frequently than he cared for and to be honest, for me as well but it was second nature--I almost couldn't help it.

He admonished me once for hauling a heavy box in the house from the car:

Chief: Why did you bring that in the house when I said I was going to get it?

Me:  But I had it.  It's in the house now--less work for you.

Chief:  Vee, I told you to just let me do it. *walks away shaking his head*

In my mind I wondered what the heck the big deal was; I was able to grab the box so I grabbed it.  No big deal, right?  Wrong

Sometimes "independent" women fail to realize that it's in a man's nature to want to bear the heavy load and be the protector of their women and domain.  Making it my life's mission to never be labeled as the "damsel in distress" or a weakling, I interfered with that.  I also failed to realize that not doing the heavy lifting doesn't automatically qualify me as such.  It took a while for me to get it but I've learned that although I have the capability to do many things on my own, it's ok to be a delicate flower.  It's always best to just let a man be a man.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Make up Look

I'd been playing around alot with my 26 Combo Palette from Coastal Scents and I finally found the courage to share more looks with you.  I may do another look for Valentines day but here's my latest creation.  What do you think?

 Products Used:

26 Shadow/Blush combo  from Coastal Scents


NYX Liquid Liner
Mayebelline Line Express - Black
Maybelline Volume Express - Black

Brushes Used Are ALL by Sigma:
Eye Shading - E55
Medium Angled Shading - E70
Pencil - E30
Tapered Blending - E45
Angled Contour/Blush - F40

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick - My Mahogany
Sephora Lip Gloss - Sugar Coat

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reality Check

I thought that taking my "before" pictures would be fun but as I type this, I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry.  I'd cry for the shame I'm about to bring upon myself by posting these pictures but then again I guess I'd laugh and smile because this mere image is now only a temporary reality.

I'd cry for the fact that looking in the mirror everyday, I never saw the love handles ready to give birth to muffin top or the dimples taking up residence in my thighs.  All I saw when I looked in the mirror-- the only things I saw--were a yummie bustline and a fuller behind than I've ever had before.  I realize now that I'd ignored everything else that came along with my post-baby body.

Taking these pictures has definitely proved to give me a glimpse of what my body really looks like.  So I'll smile at the fact that now is the time to do something about it. So here's to my most recent reality check and in my most intimidating voice I'll say to you, "Don't be laughin!":

The Stats

Bust:  36.5in./36D
Waist: 32.5in.
Hips: 43.5in.
Thighs: 25in.
Weight: 185 (Normal weight for a woman my age/height = 140-167)
Height: 5'10" (Added to give you an idea of what a healthy weight SHOULD be for me)
BMI: 25.8 (Ideally, BMI is between 18.5 - 24.9)

The Starting Point

 This is the heaviest and most out of shape I've ever been in my life.  I started not to post the back view but I'm going for complete transparency here.  Maybe this will serve as inspiration for others that have been wanting to get out there to just do it.  I'm putting it all out there. (ie. "Don't be laughin!")

As you can see, my belly doesn't hang over the front but it's tipping the sides and ready to spill. My back..UGH! it speaks for itself.
And clearly I wouldn't be putting this out there if I wasn't going to handle my business.  I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone by showing these pics but I'm fed up and I'm not ashamed.  I'm ready to do something about it!

The Workout

Monday:  20-30 minutes cardio + squats, lunges and sit ups
Tuesday: 20 minutes light cardio + rest
Wednesday: 1 Hour Zumba Class
Thursday: 20 minute light cardio + rest
Friday: 20-30 minutes cardio + smash downs, push-ups and dumbbell curls 
Saturday & Sundays will be reserved for total rest. 

*I also plan to get my hands on Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred DVD but I'll order that after we've settled in to our new home.

The Diet Plan

This part will be pretty simple.  I'll increase my intake of fruits and veggies and cook more low calorie meals. Focus on complex carbs such as whole grains and oatmeal, etc.  No fried foods which I don't eat much of anyway.  And of course, no Chips Ahoy. 

I will however allow myself a "cheat" day but it's yet to be determined how I'll deal with those. 

So that's it  for now.   I will also make a post every once in a while logging my thoughts and/or activities on any particular day that I deem appropriate and of course update with pics.   This challenge is not so much about losing weigh (that would be a total fail anyway because I love to eat) but more about changing my diet and habits in order to lead a healthier lifestyle and get in--and stay--shape.  As I look to build lean muscle, I am more focuses on measurements as opposed to weight. Why?  Because muscle weighs more than fat.

The Problem Areas

Inner Thigh
Borderline Muffin Top
Oh yeah and those lil biscuits baking on my back..UGH!

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