Why 'dancing through life'?
Originally this blog was called Ashley's Staying Active & Maintenance Blog and was intended as an additional resource for my Weight Watchers members. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's a lot of things changed in my life, including my eating and the blog became more about my lifestyle than just weight maintenance. I also wanted the blog to seem accessible to all people - not just those who were trying to lose or maintain their weight.
How have you reconciled your current weight with your state of mind? How did you finally come to terms with your new body vs. your former one?
Oooh interesting question. It took me a long time to actually realize that I had lost 33 lbs. I used to see the same girl in the mirror and I think it's something that happens to a lot of people after they lose weight. We're so accustomed to seeing ourselves in the mirror, probably every day! So it can be challenging to see the day to day changes, even when we've lost a lot of weight.
I found the process of becoming a Weight Watchers leader to be incredibly helpful for my state of mind. My trainer really helped me with this issue and helped me to see that I had changed and that my body was different. For me now, it's a lot about the behavioral changes that I've made. If you had shown me five years ago the way I would be eating and living my life, I would have told you that you had gotten it all wrong and you must be looking at a different person! I'm so proud of all the changes that I've made and the choices that I continue to make each day. Am I perfect? Far from it. But I know that I'm being proactive in helping to create a healthier, stronger me.
What do you eat?
I try to keep things interesting around here. You can check out some of my weekly meal plans or recaps to see some of the things I have for dinner. I LOVE trying new recipes and have a ton of cookbooks in my pantry. Breakfasts usually consist of gluten free cereal with almond milk and berries, smoothies, gluten free toast with nut butter or gluten free hot cereal with almond milk and agave. I try to take my lunch to work at least 4 days each week. I often have leftovers from the previous night or a giant salad. For snacks I like to have larabars, nuts, rice cakes with hummus or nut butter, veggie slices with hummus, berries, or dairy free ice cream.
What do you do to exercise?
I am not a gym person. I know that about myself, so to keep active I like to do a variety of things. I've been taking belly dancing classes for a year now and I love it! It's a great medium intensity workout and I have so much fun that I don't feel like I'm "working out" and actually look forward to my class each week. I try to take other dance classes when I can as well. I also like to practice yoga either in classes or on my own at home. Last summer I enjoyed playing on a softball team. I walk a lot. I go for runs. And on June 8th I'm starting boot camp!
Do you still count Points?
I do! Some weeks I'm definitely better than others, but I do practice what I preach. Counting my Points keeps me accountable and on track with my eating. I've been doing it so long that I know the Points values for a lot of things, but I find that writing it down in my little notebook really helps me to maintain my weight.
How do you get Joey to eat everything you eat?
Joey met me the very week that I joined Weight Watchers, so he has always known me on program! I moved in with him soon after we started dating, and so I started cooking pretty early (which was probably a good thing, since when I moved in all that was in his fridge was a box of leftover phad thai, some vinegar and some ramen noodles in the cupboard!) Joey almost always eats what I eat at home, just usually in a bigger portion than me. I don't cook separate meals. He's been very willing to try new things with me and now enjoys things like curries, tofu shirataki noodles, brown rice pasta and coconut ice cream! Since going gluten free/dairy free/ etc. he has continued to eat whatever I make, but has a few special things in the house that he has on his own (bran, whole wheat flax bread, cheese, sour cream etc.) When we bbq or dine out, we'll order different things or make different versions of the same things (I'll have a veggie burger and he'll have a meat burger) I'm so grateful that he has been so supportive of everything and I know that he is healthier as a result!
I picked up a Hamilton Beach blender last weekend and now I'm really into making smoothies! Here is my recipe of choice so far:
4-5 frozen strawberries
4-5 frozen strawberries
1 Vanilla Weight Watchers Smoothie mix (picked them up in the US)
3/4 c. of low-fat milk
Blend and serve! Awesome in the morning when you don't feel like eating and an easy way to get some fruit and milk servings in!
Not going to lie, I bought these DVDs because they were on sale! I had cancelled my gym membership and was looking for fun DVDs to work out with at home. Carmen Electra has an amazing body and so I figured it would give me something to aspire to!
The Aerobic Striptease DVDs are actually really fun, and Carmen is super cute and knowledgable as the instructor. She's confident, motivating and gives you cute tips for making the routines more sexy. I found Volume 1 very similar to a dance class. There's a dancer's warm up and then a short routine. Carmen breaks everything down into sections and you add on as you go. By the end you've put together a whole routine and to keep things interesting, the DVD also has a feature that allows you to change the music.
Volume 2 is probably my favourite. Carmen brings in Fitness expert and personal trainer Michael Carson to help you get 'Fit to Strip'. The routines work your hips, abs and butt and definitely make you sweat! Michael is a great instructor and I feel like I've had an amazing workout after I do this one. You can customize the routine so you do the whole thing, target specific areas, or work out for a specific length of time.
I recently picked up Volume 4 & 5 - The Lap Dance and Hip Hop. I haven't tried the Lap Dance yet, but hip hop is fun. You feel like doing a dance class, in your house! Again Carmen breaks down the routine into sections and by the end you're doing a whole dance.
I also have In the Bedroom and Vegas Strip. In the Bedroom is great because just as the title suggests, you can do the whole thing in your bedroom! This makes it great for working out in small spaces. Vegas Strip is another routine, broken down into sections. I like having all the DVDs because it allows me to mix and match my workout depending on what I feel like doing and the amount of time I have. Like any DVD, it's the same every time. While you can master the routines, you definitely don't need to have them broken down so thoroughly every time. There is also a Volume 3 which is the Advance Aerobic Striptease, but since I bought them separately, it really looked like much of the same.
Overall I have to say that Fit to Strip is definitely my favourite. It gives me an overall body workout or allows me to target my problem areas. The other DVDs are great for mixing up my workout routine! Carmen is a great instructor as is Michael Carson!
I talked about Jack Canfield's 10 Steps to Success a couple months ago at one of my meetings and I think they are great guidelines for one's weight loss journey as well as life in general!
1.Acknowledge & appreciate the positive past
2.Use positive self talk
3.Acknowledge & build on your strengths
4.Clarify your vision and purpose
5.Set measureable goals and objectives
6.Visualize and affirm your goals and objectives
8.Respond to feedback
10.Celebrate your success
Like many girls my age, I loved the Spice Girls and I'm proud to say that I attended their Reunion tour earlier this year. Ginger Spice was always my favourite, probably because as a grade 8 student I too had red hair (dyed), big boobs and a loud personality. I followed her career beyond her tenure with the Spice Girls, purchasing both of her books (If Only and Geri: Just for the Record) as well as a few of her Cd's from her solo career. With this minor obsession well underway it seemed like a no-brainer to purchase her yoga DVDs.
Geri Yoga and Geribody Yoga are both great yoga DVDs. Geri works with Kay Appleton to provide yoga students with a practice for all levels and stages. Geri provides students with more advanced options and Katy gives the students opportunities to modify the poses to suit their ability. Geri's candid comments about her yoga practice make me laugh out loud while Katy is a lovely, thorough and calm instructor. I find both DVDs useful in my practice, although at times I find them a little bit slow with Katy providing a lot of explanation at the beginning. The pace gets better as you go through the DVD and after awhile you can use the DVD as a guide and continue with your own practice.
Overall I really like this DVD, as a fan of both yoga and Geri!