“I was always considered the big girl with a pretty face my entire life. From the age of 20 to 30 I gained over 100 pounds dealing with low self-esteem, taking care of two children and not taking care of me.” Cynthia Arnold says her weight never really bothered her, but as a diabetic with high blood pressure, she knew the extra pounds were taking a toll on her body.
One day, the woman who put everyone else first decided she needed to take top priority. “On May 6, 2013 I started to love me,” she admitted. “I dedicated one year to a journey of self-discovery and made a vow to get healthy.” After losing 76 pounds, Cynthia is declaring the journey a complete success, in more ways than one.
More from Cynthia in her own words –
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Binge eating. I would go days without eating and then eat until I was sick. I didn’t know portion control and used food as a comfort zone. When I was sad, angry or depressed, food was my best friend.
How did you lose the weight? I realized that it was going to take discipline to get the rewards I was looking for, so I started out with NO white carbs at all for about a week so my body could detox from the sugar. After that I did no carbs after noon and tried to eat clean. I made sure I shopped the outer edges of the store, didn’t eat too much processed food and did lots of research.
Portland houses the International Test Garden for roses, which basically means there are thousands of different varieties of the fragrant flower planted in a handful of large gardens around town. Thanks to our warmer than usual weather most of these are already in bloom, so earlier this week I decided to organize a picnic among the roses. To start I made a salad topped with strawberries straight out of my garden (those are already in season too!). For the main I made a tasty dish with campanelli noodles, caramelized onions, fresh herbs, goat cheese, and a little bacon. While I thought of this as a fancy pasta dish my boyfriend pointed out that it was really just fancy mac and cheese. Tom-a-toes Tom-ah-toes, people!
This dish was a hit and simple to make, but healthy it is not. For a 1/2 pound serving (which is a small bowl-full) this dish clocks in at 320 calories. Not awful at face value, but when you factor in the dish contains 7 grams of saturated fat and 850 mg of sodium—basically 35% of your recommended daily allowance of each—you can see why this was a meal I definitely needed to burn off, stat! (Here’s a healthy mac and cheese recipe to try, if the craving strikes.)
How could I melt away those 320 surplus calories? (more…)
I know what you’re thinking: Corn Dog? Who over the age of 12 eats those? But just imagine what a “gourmet corn dog” would taste like. Because that’s what they sell at various restaurants here in Portland: All-beef franks wrapped in some sort of locally-sourced corn batter and served with at least one type of fancy mustard. They’re delicious and are meant to be eaten with a fork and knife, because apparently these are upscale corn dogs.
Trust me: This fancy corn dog craze is going to hit restaurants near you soon, so it’s important to be prepared for the high caloric cost of this deep-fried meal-on-a-stick. CalorieCount.com estimates suggest a corn dog is around 250 calories, and while that number seems low to, I will stick with it for the sake of consistency (and to save myself even more guilt).
So what are a few of the ways I could have burned off this 250-calorie corn dog, which was my lunch one hot afternoon last week?
I could have played an afternoon game of croquet for 82 minutes.
I could have spent 70 minutes on a stand up paddle board.
I could have done 26 minutes of an outdoor boot camp class.
I wound up doing the boot camp class. Tis the season!
Ray Allen knows how important it is to have the right mindset when you want to lose serious weight. After dropping almost 60 pounds during a company sponsored weight loss contest, he slowly gained almost all of it back. Now, 50 pounds lighter, Ray says his biggest obstacle was getting out of his own way.
More from Ray in his own words –
My weight struggle began after the Army when poor food choices and not exercising over the course of a few years got the best of me.
In Feb 2012 I realized I needed to make some permanent changes to my lifestyle. My father died of heart disease at age 44 from a massive heart attack. He didn’t take care of himself and one of the contributing factors was his weight. Getting closer to that age, I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.
I lost 50 pounds in 5 months and now I’m slowly gaining weight in the form of muscle instead of fat.
How did you lose the weight? I knew I needed to eat less so I tracked my calories on the website (caloriecount.about.com) This was an invaluable tool. I kept my calories below 1500, but I knew that what I ate was just as important so I gave up sugar, besides what I put in my coffee, and then eliminated anything sweet including cake, donuts, pastries, etc. I also gave up bread, butter, peanut butter (I went through withdrawals) and cheese.
There’s a revolution happening in New York City and across the internet. CeCe Olisa of TheBigGirlBlog.com and self-declared “Plus Size Princess” is teaming up with nutritionist Abra Pappa and trainer Anthony Truly to bring a 6-week fitness and nutrition boot camp to any woman wanting to embrace her body while being healthy and fit.
“I hope that any woman who embraces her body while striving to achieve goals will join us, because that’s a hard balance to strike,” CeCe told us. The program was created after she began working with Abra personally.
“She (CeCe) wanted to be able to share the work that we are doing with her followers so we have launched a 6-week boot camp both live and virtual,” Abra said.
Having live and virtual options means women anywhere can participate in the boot camp. The women eligible for the live version are those in the New York City area who can attend meetings and sessions in person. Other women wanting to participate can do so online. CeCe filmed the workouts to watch online and she and Abra will be hosting Facebook group nutrition sessions where participants can engage and ask questions.
The boot camp is the physical manifestation of the #PSPfit movement. That movement started last November when CeCe was in a fitness and nutrition slump. (more…)