Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons Learned & Tools that Taught

Happy New Year, everyone! Hopefully you're waking up feeling afresh and ready to tackle any fitness goals you may have decided on for 2012. =) I'm currently enroute from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and wanted to take a moment here at Suvarnabhumi Int'l Airport to update LaFemmeFITalle starting with my first guest blogger, Kristy. 

Kristy is a dear friend of mine I've known since high school. We've traveled abroad together, partied together, and have even worked out together- You may recall my post about rafting this past summer up in Pennsylvania. Well, Kristy was along for that ride and we had a BLAST! 

Without further adieu, please enjoy Kristy's story of (weight) loss and triumph. It's sure to inspire all of us as we resolve to a healthier new year. 
When my good friend, Ms. Laci, asked me to do this guest blog, I wanted to knock it out of the park! I wanted to do something different... something fun… but then I remembered; it's about being HEALTHY, not just cool and innovative ways to keep it interesting (which is a BIG part - but maybe a little down the line for some people).  For those of you who are starting a New Year resolution or who may have fallen off the workout bandwagon, this one is for you.  

At the bottom of the blog is my TOP TEN TIPS to jump start your weight loss and how to learn that part of being healthy is changing your LIFESTYLE.  That took me a while to figure out - but I did.  The proof is in the pudding and the tips are for real.   It's something that is embarrassing to reveal, even on here where the following isn't my own but I'm still putting me out there.  That is always scary. So, what better place to do it for the first time than on a friends blog that’s all about fitness and health!   
I, like many of you, refused to take pics so this is as good as it gets)

In December 2006, I was at my grandmother's house for Christmas and stepped on her scale.. It was BAD (deep man voice that makes it sound REALLLLY bad).  It was the highest I have ever weighed.   In that moment I decided I was done.  Done being uncomfortable. Done hating clothes.  Done breaking out.  Done being tired.  Done not caring.  I was DONE.   

The first thing I did was cut the crap.  I knew what I was eating was crap.  I started cooking-   eating chicken, chicken and more chicken.  I had green beans and corn and broccoli and wheat bread.  I started slowly changing my lifestyleIn 8 months I lost 20 lbs.   

When you are heavy or eat crappy, the first bit goes the fastest.  I felt good, maintained for a while then I STEPPED. IT. UP. First up, working out.  I started with speed walking then once I could do that, I started running.  At first 30 mins, 3 times per week… then 45 minutes, 3 times per week.  Over the next two years I s.l.o.w.l.y did it.  A pound or two a week.  Be realistic; FAST weight loss means FAST weight gain!   I wanted this to be gone forever!  

Since 2009, I have maintained my weight and learned that even though that number didn’t get bigger when I stopped working out for a while, my body changed.  Having small goals of 5 pounds by my trip to Europe or 10 lbs before I was a bridesmaid help keep me on track – but if it didn’t happen it was OK.  It’s a process.  I would go through spurts but overall I learned with working out, I can maintain and eat things I want to.  But then something happened; the opportunities came and I noticed my appetite for all things bad had changed.   I had done it.  I made the LIFESTYLE CHANGE

Right before March 2009, I felt so good! I had reached my goal. So I did something I have always wanted to do: I donated to Locks of Love. I did it- I cut off all my hair and suddenly I felt a sense of freedom. Gone now was my shield from the world. It was the one thing I was complimented on. Not my clothes and not my shoes and not my body. Losing weight helped me see I was beautiful outside as well as in.didn't feel the need to hide anymore. I donated 13 inches and have never felt better.   

A few months ago I reached my "it's never gonna happen but still in the back of my mind goal" goal.  After 5 years I lost 54 lbs!   I now want to lose about  15 lbs more lbs but its really not a numbers game anymore because I am happy with ME.  For the first time in a long time.   

          KRISTY'S TOP TEN "Back to Basic" TIPS:  
  • Get a good play list for running/walking.
    - Get songs with fast beats for running.  Test a few while working out since you really don’t know what kind of pace you need till you are doing it.  If I didn’t have "Major Tom" by the Shiny Toy Guns I wouldn’t have made it the last 5 min stretches on those crappy days you just don’t want to do anything.   
  • Cut out whites!
    - White bread, pasta, cheese, and mayo.  I weaned my way into taking coffee black.  Trust me, its not forever but its helps for the initial boost.  (now I don’t even like mayo and eat everything whole wheat)
  • Always go with Whole wheat vs. Multi Grain. 
    - They can throw a splash of several grains in something but you want to make sure you have all the nutrients you can get. The WHOLE grain.  
  • Fiber is good! 
    - Grab a box of fiber bars ( my fave is Kellogg's FiberPlus Chocolate Chip)  and have a stash in your car or purse so when you get hungry out you have something to snack on instead of stopping in for fast food.  
  • If you must have fast food go CHICK-FIL-A! (if you're fortunate enough to have one in the neighborhood...)
    - Grab a Char Grilled Sandwich (3 g of fat & 270 cal) - No fries.  And don’t be fooled; that Honey Mustard sauce they give you has 6 grams of fat in it.  Say NO THANKS and if a sauce is a necessity ask for their fat free honey mustard sauce.  * Ignore the funny looks, you are better then that!
  • Weight loss is cutting the fat. Healthy is eating nutritiously.  
    - At first cut the fat… maintain by knowing its ok to eat healthy fat.  Hummus and Peanut Butter for example.  
  • Take the stairs!
    - Every little bit helps.  Skip the escalators, elevators, close parking spots and  WALK.  If you have avoided and looked for stairs but still cant find them sprint. Get in the left hand lane, pass those lazies and treat the escalators as stair climbers.  
  • Don’t keep junk food on hand!
    - "Duh!" -right?  WRONG.  When someone give you home made treats or you get to get a taste of something you haven't in a while it gets tricky.  Eat it!  Yup, I said it. Eat it!   Just PORTION CONTROL.  Eat a little get you TASTE (not fill) and toss the rest - or donate to hungry friend or neighbor.  But get it gone ASAP!  Don’t make it harder then it already is.  I love baking, so I make cupcakes/cakes/pumpkin bread (yum!) have me a slice and pass my sweets along! 
  • Have quick healthy snack available.
    - Apples.  Oranges.  Grapes.   If you are hungry for too long you will find that cracker or piece of bread to snack on and add extra calories that are unnecessary.
  • And last but not least - BE HAPPY!!!
    - Don't kill yourself to loose a pound or to fit into a dress.  If you want chocolate - eat some (... preferably dark), but don’t overindulge.  Its about taking the power back.   If you want a burger, do some research - bison burgers are lean.   

Your Cheat Sheet: 
*Cut the crap.*FAST weight loss means FAST weight gain!*You are beautiful outside as well as in.*Lose some lbs then maintain for a few months.  Teach your body the weight it's going to be.*When you stop working out even though the number doesn’t change or get bigger your body does.*It's the little things that count;  the first time I could sit and hold my knees to my chest.*I can maintain my weight and splurge on bad foods by working out and maintaining a lifestyle of healthy - (and actually enjoying it!) *Changing your BODY doesn't change YOU.


              Hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday - Now, Tis the season of WEIGHT LOSS!   ;)

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Merry Workout

Hey everyone! With Hanukkah already in full swing and Christmas just around the corner, I thought I'd share a festive holiday activity that allows you to spend time with your best buds AND get your sweat on a little. 

         Introducing the time-honored holiday tradition of ICE-SKATING!

My fellow Lifestyle+Charity gals plus my good friends R and I spent two hours last night at Central Park's Trump Wollman Skating Rink and it was a blast! There are just too few things in life that can make you feel like a kid again but this outdoor activity is definitely included!

R & I. So darn cute!

Some of us were, ahem, more comfortable out on the ice than others.... Hey, I say, if you can just get out there and try it you're already ahead of the game. 

Whether  a part of the group that ventured no further than two feet from the wall or one of those people out there trying new tricks (I managed to do several fast spins around in a circle... Next year, I'll try jumping! ... Maybe.) we all had a wonderful time skating, laughing, and acting like children together. For most of us, it was the last time to hang out as a group before heading all over the country to visit family. 
In total, we spent about an hour and a half out on the ice, so at my weight (126 pounds), I burned approximately 635 calories- Niiiiiice. Of course, I rewarded myself with a hot cocoa  directly afterwards. ;) 

So, if you're in the market for a fun activity to get your heart racing but still manage to smile at the same time, , I strongly urge you to try your hand at ice-skating this year. And if you're in the NYC-area, check out Central Park's Trump Wollman Rink, Rockefellar Center's Ice Skating Rink, or Bryant Park's Citi Pond.

What are some of your favorite holiday-oriented fitness activities? I DEFINITELY have skiing and snowboarding to try this year! I've never attempted either and I think it's about time.  

Also, in the spirit of this wonderful holiday season where we are all so fortunate, check out for some great ways to give back to others all year long!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fun Announcement!

Hey Everyone!

I hope this latest post finds you well. I just wanted to let you guys know that you're in for a treat very soon. :)

At the end of the month, I have the AMAZING opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia to volunteer and explore for about three weeks with my best friend, M. We will spend two weeks volunteering with Buddhist monks in Thailand before embarking on a trek across Vietnam and Cambodia. I cannot tell you how excited I am or how grateful I am that we will be taking this trip of a lifetime.

M & me earlier this week when I visited Atlanta. :)

While there, I will definitely still be engaging in exercise routines and plan to share them with you but it may be difficult for me to update in real-time here on LaFemmeFITalle. (I'm still pinning down the details on my internet accessibility.) No worries, though, because I have enlisted the help of some incredibly talented writers/health enthusiasts whose posts I know you will enjoy in my absence. In fact, I've already received a couple of them for editing and I loved 'em so just trust me on this.

I wanted to take this moment to invite YOU to submit a post for LaFemmeFITalle. Unfortunately, I don't know you all personally but if you're reading LaFemmeFITalle than I know we must have a lot in common and I'd be honored to give you a platform for you to voice your health and fitness ideas. So please, email me at if you think this is something you'd be interested in doing. If you are interested but not sure what your topic would be, please still contact me and we can brainstorm together! (Note: All posts will need to be completed and emailed to me by Friday, December 23rd.)

                               I look forward to hearing from you all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reality Check

I think I'm getting old. 

But lemmie start at the beginning. I remember when I was little, riding on the multi-colored merry go-round for hours at a time at Gonzales Park in Jacksonville Beach, FL and training myself to not get dizzy like the other kids (I was a bit competitive). My friends and I would take turns jumping of the swings and measuring who went the farthest and I even broke my arm once after rollerblading down a "bumpy" slide; I actually did it twice successfully before taking my monster fall. Not my shining moment but I did look pretty snazzy in my hot pink cast and, better yet, my BFF (... at the time) had one of her own from falling off her bike two weeks later. But I digress.

I'm getting old. I've come to this conclusion after taking a Trampoline Yoga class a few days ago. Now, don't get too excited because, so far in the class, the trampoline has not come into play much. What dominated the one-hour class I took at Shen Tao Studio in Midtown was stretching. All different ways- forwards, backwards, to the side, this way, that way, faster, slower... At FIRST it was relaxing but soon, I realized I was becoming nauseated every time I reversed the direction of my stretch.

... Seriously?

When did I get so frickin' sensitive?! Of course, I bought a five class package so I have to go back. In this case, though, it's not just about the money I've already spent...
Pictured are the trampolines we moved around on and the stretching contraptions that made me feel so sick. Ugh.

I don't know if this is a quarter-life crisis thing (I am 26) or if I'm imagining it but I refuse to go down without a fight. If it's mind over matter, I will flip and stretch and twist until it becomes natural because I whole-heartedly believe you're only as old as you feel! Besides, my teacher (whose name I forget but was incredibly nice as was the owner) told me it was normal for adults to feel how I did and that with just a little more practice, it'd be no big deal anymore.

So commiserate with me, please! What types of activities did you do as a kid and find, as an adult, don't come to you so easily anymore? Do you feel like fighting it or is it just one of those things you accept?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Caffeinated Cookies

This week I got on a baking kick- Woohoo! 

There is one minor issue with my "kick", though: I don't love sweets. Nah, I'm definitely more of a salty or spicy type of girl but I do love baking. So, full of holiday cheer and in the giving spirit, I gave away my treats to my roommate, H's, co-workers and visiting family (my roomie doesn't like sweets very much either). I hear they went over rather well with her colleagues and I'm glad I could supply them with the caffeine and sugar necessary to get through another long work day! :) Check 'em out.... 

Espresso Crinkles:

4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, divided (I used half this amount)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoons of salt
5 1/4 teaspoons canola oil (I used apple sauce instead)
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used 1 1/4)
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
large egg whites 


  • 1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine oil and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until chocolate melts, stirring constantly. Add espresso granules to pan; stir until blended. Remove from heat. Pour chocolate mixture into a large bowl; cool 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla. Add egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring gently just until combined. Cover; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • 3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dredge balls in remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar; place balls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until tops are cracked and almost set. Cool cookies on pan 2 minutes or until set; remove from pan. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

My Call on These: 
Well even though I don't love sweets, I did try them and they were good! If you like coffee (Oh, how I do!) and/or rich desserts, I think you'll like these. 

Now you know I didn't create this recipe on my own- I only tweaked it a bit to take out some of the excess sugar and calories. Here's a link to the original: