Monday, March 4, 2013

Kickin' Weight Loss (literally!) in the Butt

Tracey Lipinski used to be a stay-at-home Mom who always put her children first.  She admittedly put her health last after gaining nearly 100 unwanted pounds.  Discover and see for yourself how determination and patience changed Tracey's life, and body!

We asked Tracey 5 questions to find out how she is kickin' weight loss in the butt.  Here is what she has shared with us:

Q.  What do you think caused/made you allow yourself to gain an unwanted amount of weight?

A.  I have struggled with my weight all my life, gaining and losing definitely on the yo-yo dieting cycle. After having my 2 children my weight had ballooned up to over 220lbs. To date over the past 8 years I have lost over 65 pounds...I honestly try to stay off the scale and haven't weighed myself for quite sometime...I choose to use how I my clothes feel and how I look. I find I get obsessed with the numbers if I use the I do what works for me.

Q. What made you decide to change your life?

A. People ask me all the time.."what clicked for you" ...I don't have an easy answer. I was a stay at home mom when I reached my heaviest weight...pretty much staying in as much as possible. One day i had enough of wasting my life I joined my first was a woman's only so I felt comfortable giving it a try. That first terrifying step in on my first day was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, but also the step I am ever so grateful for taking. The gym had babysitting so it became our daily routine...Monday to Friday my daughter and I would drop off my son at school and we went straight to the gym. Something definitely clicked early on as I became hooked...the changes in my body and my spirit kept me coming back for more. Eight years later I am still hooked and the gym is a huge part of my life.

Q. How did you do it? (in as much or as little detail as you would like, explain exercise, nutrition, schedule alterations, accountability through social media etc.)

A.  I changed my mental focus to a positive one. Began eating a balanced diet and spending as much time as possible in the gym. People Also ask how I stay so focused and determined and loving fitness. I think my trick is that I change up my routine as much as possible and always find ways to challenge myself. I love kickboxing...I have my level 2 certificate my personal training certificate 4years ago...have taught kettlebell and kickboxing classes. I have recently trained to become an rpm instructor at Goodlife. I am teaching every week love the rush of being on stage. That was the second scariest thing I've ever done and again so happy I did.

Q. What advice would you give to those who cannot find the determination/perseverance to achieve successful results like yours?

A.  First piece of advice I can give is...just start!!! Fitness helps me to deal with the regular stresses of life and makes me happy...does it hurt sometimes...oh ya...but that means your body is changing. I've become a role model for my kids, my daughter loves taking boxing classes and can't wait to join the gym with me when she's old son is already and member at my gym.

Another piece of advice...pick something you love and find fun or you won't stick with it, try everything till you find your passion...mine was kickboxing and now has become spinning but still love putting on the gloves when I can.

The most important piece of advice...

Do something everyday that scares you!!! Most people say they are too afraid to start...they are afraid to fail...afraid to do it on their just have to take a deep breath and JUMP IN!!! You will ever regret trying it! You will always regret the feeling of what if I had????

Q. There are so many benefits to being a healthy weight, what is your favourite?

A. The most amazing Benefits of a healthy lifestyle for me is feeling comfortable in my own skin, being a positive healthy role model for my kids, and having the drive to continue to push forward. I still have lofty goals and love the challenge of getting there.

Tracey congratulations on finding confidence and happiness.  She used to hide her "before" picture, but has realized being proud of her accomplishments is far more rewarding than hiding the truth that she is, in my eyes... a true inspiration.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Behind the scenes" to "Showstopper"

Pamela Correia is a working Mom with a part-time business Gimme Some Lip as a mobile make-up artist.  Creating stunning looks for women in fashion, weddings and the every day woman was rewarding to her, but Pamela knew she deserved to do more than just hide behind the scenes.  Read our Q and A with her and find out how she conquered her battle with weight loss and SEE how much she embraces every beautiful curve she confidently struts head to toe!

 Q. Was weight loss always a challenge for you or were you one of those "born slim" and could eat anything, any time?

A.  I was definitely born slim and really could eat anything. I had a hard time putting weight on. I loved the body I had and I always thought that when I got pregnant I would be one of those women who could wear her pre-pregnancy jeans out of the hospital... Not so much. I was 120lbs when I got pregnant and 190lbs when I had my son.

Q. When I asked you for a before took a while to find one that showed more than just your face, why is that?

A.  I went to great lengths to make sure nobody took any pictures of me because I hated the way I looked... I hated looking in the mirror and I hated when people looked at me. You could say I fell into a bit of a depression... I cried all the time. My whole life I could wear a size 2 and suddenly I'm shopping in the plus size section. It was a really hard pill to swallow. My 'before' picture was from September 2011.

Q. When did you come to realization you were going to do something about how you feel and look, and what kept you driven to continue and succeed?

A.  My boyfriend and I decided after 9 years of being together we were finally going to get married and that was it. That's when I had enough of the crying and the self-hating so I purposely bought a wedding dress that was WAY to small for me. (Yes I was one of 'those girls') When I first got it in August 2011 I couldn't even get it up over my thighs. In the meantime, I saw a WagJag deal for this Zumba class... I had never done anything like this before and was kind of shy and nervous about it. After polling my FB friends and hearing that they all loved Zumba I decided to give it a go. After my first class, I knew right away that this was something I wanted to keep doing. I felt SO good after my class. I have never sweat so much in my life and it felt amazing. During class there were moments when I was dead tired and felt like I couldn't do one more salsa step but I just kept thinking of my dress and I was filled with a whole new motivation and pushed myself further and further. I quit smoking, I started to really eat better and as much as I wanted to avoid stepping on that horrible thing called a scale, I did and started seeing the numbers dropping. My sister who was also my maid of honour came over once a month and helped me step into my dress, and slowly it inched up more and more. All the while, I kept on with my Zumba classes and eating better. My wedding was in April 2012 and by March it finally fit me... I cried because of how much I accomplished and because of how proud I was of myself for doing it. When I started Zumba, I weighed about 175lbs. Now I'm at a much happier 142lbs. I am going to keep going because I would love to lose just a few more. My goal is 135 and I'll keep pushing until I get there. I can't wait for Zumba tonight!!

Q. what is your favourite workout and why?

A.  Zumba is definitely my favourite workout because not only is it a class where I can have fun and feel good, but there's this amazing instructor who pushes you to keep going without you realizing that she's pushing you. You're pretty much forced (It's a good thing!!) to keep going, you're dripping sweat and before you know it, it's time to stretch. Fastest hour ever... I swear! I've started running too, but it's not as much fun! Thank you Carol for taking the 'work' out of the workout.

Q. Many women have a goal of being "thin". But in your current picture your confidence in your body shows us you are completely embracing what society would label a "curvy" body. What would you like to tell women who hate their "curves"?

A.  I love my curvy body. I used to want to be 'skinny' so I would be attractive. Let me tell you something ladies... Being attractive has nothing to do with the shape of your body and everything to do with your attitude towards it. I've had two kids and I love the body that I have because of my boys. Embrace your body because it's the only one you have!! I've even started modelling... One campaign I'm part of is called 'Curves R Back' and it's dedicated to making every woman of every size feel beautiful in the skin they're in, because after all, every woman deserves to be happy about herself. There's a quote floating around that I love..."Confidence will make you happier than any diet ever will." and it's so true!

Here is Pam "before"...yes...come closer to the screen...she really did do a great job of hiding what she wanted to! ;)

...and here is Pamela today.  "Thin is out, strong is in" ladies!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This Motivational Mama knows what she wants and gets it!

Julie Harkies became a mother of 4 last year, and with that also came close to weighing nearly 200 lbs.  Julie had registered for our Best Health Contest and stated she had joined the challenge because "I NEED to get fit!!!"

After the contest had ended, Julie contacted me and asked for her "before" picture and stats and said "I can't believe I looked like that!"  Well we caught up with Julie and I have to say...I can't believe she looked like that either compared to how she looks now. 
Here's our Q and A with Julie:

Q.  You joined my weight loss contest, but unfortunately didn't make the top three. A lot of Moms; and people in general could relate to wanting something...but not having enough motivation to follow through. Could you identify what your "roadblock" was, how you justified within yourself why this is happening and if you think it was a valid "excuse" at the time.

A.  I don’t think it was lack of motivation that hindered me from losing the weight I wanted. Looking back, and what I know now, I would have to say that my lack of knowledge about food and nutrition is what stopped me from winning and losing the amount of weight I wanted during the contest. I did manage to lose some 20 odd pounds but I had a lot to lose after having my fourth baby. And to be honest those 20lbs were a struggle and very frustrating to lose. Even in the year that followed I gained back 10 of those 20lbs without being able to lose anymore of the close to 50 that I needed to. And it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I thought I was eating all the right foods and exercising to burn the calories that I needed to.

Q. What was your most vital focus in achieving weight loss success.

A.  After 32 years, I have now come to understand that food is a major part  of well being and the key factor in weight loss. Not exercise, that I was always taught and thought was the way to lose weight. I don’t like to exercise just like most people and found it extremely hard to fit in once I started having children. In March of this year I came across a book called “wheat belly” and it has changed my life. Basically, I eat no processed foods now, am eating lower carb and sugar, higher fat. I started this way of eating and shed 30lbs in 3 months not starving myself or feeling deprived or even exercising! I was and really still am shocked that it was that easy because it never had been for me to lose weight my whole life. It works for me and I feel fantastic, better than I have in a decade. With this being said I still find ways to be active with my family like biking, tennis etc. because it is important for your health to be active but I no longer stress about fitting in that workout and guilty when I cannot. It is a very liberating feeling.  

Q. What is your favourite workout and why?

A.  To be quite honest, your Zumba classes Carol are my favorite work out if I have to exercise. J To me it doesn’t feel like exercise because it is so much fun and yet it is a great workout. I always leave with a sweat- drenched shirt and hair! Thank-you!!

Q. Tell us about this marathon you will be running soon and how you trained for it. Was it something on your "goals to achieve list"?

A.  On September 22nd I will be running a 100km relay from Caledon to Blue Mountain with a group of inspirational women. At the beginning of this year I made resolutions like many do and one of them was to run a 5K. It’s just something I have wanted to do, a type of “bucket list” thing for me. I had never run before but wanted to challenge myself physically to see what I could achieve. As I was searching for a local race, Rachel Manuel of Dufferin Mompreneurs posted a link for the Sears Great Canadian Run here in Toronto and it caught my eye. The reason I chose this one in particular was the cause we are going to be running for, to end children’s cancer. This cause is very important on its own but I found I connected with it because I have four beautiful girls of my own and couldn’t imagine fighting with this life threatening disease. I have trained hard over the summer building up and pushing myself to run 5k a few times a week. We, as a team, have also been doing various fundraising all over Orangeville and further up North to help raise our team goal of $6,500.00. I am very proud of our team and am excited to be a part of such an event. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause please visit the following link to make a donation. Thank-you!!

Q. On the are the owner of Sugar Mommy Cakes making custom cakes and do you manage to kick butt in gorgeous and delicious cakes AND achieving weight loss at the same time?!!

A.  I am actually taking a step back from the cake/dessert making. I love it but I have come to realize that it wasn’t working for me. I am still making my creations but at my leisure as a hobby. J If I could say one thing to anyone trying to lose weight is find what’s right for you. Not everyone is made the same and we all require something different. Make your goals realistic and don’t stress. Stress doesn’t do you good, physically or mentally. You CAN do it and you’re worth it!!!
~Also, read Wheat Belly. Seriously, I bet you learn something. I recommend it to everyone wanting to lose weight or not. 

On the left is Julie on June 8th, 2011, and on the right is Julie today, rockin' her old favourite jeans...from high school!!  Julie you are radiant.  Congratulations on feeling great, looking stunning, and a longer, healthier future.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Julie is STILL a motivational Momma...

Does the name Julie Heath sound familiar?  If so it is because Julie was one of our "Best Health Contest" winners just a little over a year ago.  (Click here for her post-win blog)

Julie has a full time job as a Communications Operator for a Fire Department, while she was on maternity leave with her daughter, she made her joy of photography a part time income doing maternity and newborn sessions, however her real "hobby" was spending priceless time with her daughter...who really WAS so much fun!  (I watched her grow right before my eyes as Julie and baby attended a few of the pre and post natal classes Lullaby Divas has to offer.)

So we caught up with Julie and boy does she have some great news to share!  Here's our Q and A with our Motivational Momma Julie Heath:

Q.  Being one of my top 3 finalists in my weight loss contest last year you obviously had drive and focus..what kept you going?
A:  Now that I look back, I think my drive and focus came from wanting to be in good shape to be able to play and keep up with my little girl. I also was planning to have a second baby later in the year, so I wanted to be in better shape going in to that pregnancy. Lastly though....I was ashamed of how badly I had let myself go just in the span of that one year!!! I knew I needed to do better for myself.
Q:  I remember how heart broken you were that you didn't win the contest overall. Despite feeling discouraged about that...what inspired you to continue on your weight loss journey?

A:  Well, I had a goal of hitting 135lbs which I hadn't seen since I left the military in 2000. I was in peak physical shape at that time in my life (but I was also that's something!), and I wanted to get back to there again. Despite not having met that goal or come in first place, I continued doing what I was doing because my work and lifestyle allowed for it by just making a couple of sacrifices. Looking back on the challenge I had a rough start trying to get the scale to show any results. I know now that my diet still needed alot of work, and I still struggle every day to make healthy choices for me and my family. It's a lot of work to structure meals properly and healthily, but its my job as a mom to make sure we all eat well!
Q: What is your favourite type of exercise and why?

A:  Swimming is for sure my new favorite, but it's not very convenient. Jogging was my favorite however I wasn't able to do alot of it because of some knee problems post-partum. The one thing I did absolutely love to do is the Nike Training Videos on my iPhone. At work or home I was able to get in either a short or long high intensity workout, and then add in a strength workout of my choosing (and making sure I rotated through all the big muscle groups). If you aren't dripping sweat by the end of one of these aren't doing it right!! 
Q:  So you've shared with me that you've hit a little "bump" in your weight loss journey and actually gained a few pounds! Could you share with everyone What happened?

A:   The little "bump" is baby number 2 just 3 weeks away from due! So, I've gained a few pounds back. I don't know if it's just how pregnancies go, but so far this one is totally different than my first one. For my 1st child, I had gained a whopping 59lbs by delivery day, and the weight was generally spread out everywhere....thighs, butt, stomach, upper arms...pleasant indeed! But for this one, I have a basketball baby! She's all up front, and due to some serious balanced eating in the last trimester because of some unexpected "hiccups" along the road, I have only put on 25lbs so far. I'm just hoping that this time my overall shape after delivery isn't that far off of what it was before delivery! Either way....I'm ready to put in the work to get to where I want to be, and I've learned so much in the last 2yrs that now I know how to get there right!
Q:  Last but not least...with this now being your second pregnancy, what advice from your own personal experience could you give other Moms that want to lose weight after baby that need to find motivation to follow through?

A:  Initially I didn't let my extra weight bother me, but when it started interfering with things I wanted to do (play sports) or especially with things I wanted to do with my daughter (taking her to swimming lessons for example), that's when I decided to do something for myself. I needed to actually see it in a picture before I realized where I was in terms of my own body. I didn't necessarily feel bad about my physique at the time, I just wasn't ready to focus on myself yet. That came later when I realized how much of my muscle tone and endurance/stamina I had lost since I had gotten pregnant. I wanted to be able to do the things I had done before baby, and I was very determined to get back to there with my baby there to help me of course! I love all classes that allow you to bring baby with you or even involve baby in the exercises also!!! So...advice....I'd say this: to anyone looking for the motivation to follow through is don't just do it for yourself!!! Do it for you, and do it for baby too! Be someone they can look up to when it comes to physical health, and don't just be another statistic. These kids are going to learn about physical health and nutrition from us, so how can we be a role model if we're not willing to practice what we preach ourselves. I am going to pick right back up again where I left off before getting pregnant with number#2, 'cause i'm going to have to be twice as fast to keep up with two of them!!!

Julie and her beautiful family...weeks away from delivery! We wish you all the best with your new addition on the way! We would love to hear more from you in the near future.  


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I went through a divorce about 10 years ago...

Yes...I was married to the sun. (Got ya didn't I?!!)  I was a child that could spend ALL DAY out in the sun.  The heat never bothered me...the sun hardly ever burnt me.  But approximately 10 years ago when I first of all realized a natural sun kissed colour looked great, and I was pregnant with my first child; the sun didn't love me anymore.  I used to think it wasn't pretty to be "bronzed".  Most of my friends were caucasian and some of my friends who were cultured, thought that the lighter your skin was, the prettier you looked.  Having my own strong mind and maturing; I realized how ignorant it was to think that my skin tone would define my beauty. 

I realized my sun's relationship with me started to grow sour when I would be out in the sun for an outdoor swim and I would come back inside and itchy.  I thought it was just pregnancy.  But after I had my first child and the summer sun would give me a very uncomfortable rash even after pregnancy I knew it was over.  After visiting different doctors at different times I finally believed I was allergic to the sun.  "How does that happen?"  I thought to myself.  The answer I would always get is your hormones change.  Whether with age, or going through pregnancy, hormones change and you never know what's going to happen next.  The fortunate but odd thing is that I NEVER get it on my face.  And about 2 years ago when we vacationed in Cuba..I did not get it on my arms.  The next year I did have a mild reaction on my arms though.

After many uncomfortable experiences year after year, creams, ointments, medications and home remedies...I have come up with a few things that work for me to make my experiences in the sun as comfortable as possible so that I can enjoy lasting memories with my sun-loving children:

1.  If at all possible, cover up.  If it's not too hot, I will wear pants, sometimes long sleeves to protect my sun from re-acting.  I will even wear pants to the beach sometimes over my bathing suit to give my skin a break from the direct contact with the sun.

2.  Wear sun block.  I used to try tanning oils and lotions.  The oils made the reaction so much worse and the tanning lotion didn't do much of anything.  The sun block helps to make the reaction a little milder.

3.  Take an antihistamine.  Whether this works or not, I cannot quite confirm but I do like to take an antihistamine (Reactine or Benadryl etc.) to help with the discomfort of the reaction.  I personally do think it helps with the itching.

4.  Zinc up!  The last time my skin reacted I took a jar of Desitin (yes...the diaper rash cream) and spread it on all over the affected areas.  I looked like a complete goof but I do think it helped soothe the discomfort and stop the itch.  For your own ego...please do not go out in public like this. LOL

5.  Last but not least...we all know when you scratch an itch, it gets worse.  This is a stinky solution and a suggestion from my Mommy which I never wanted to use but tried it out of desperation; rub the itchy areas with apple cider vinegar.  I sounds SO silly, but it really did work for me.  It will sting a little...and sometimes a lot...but the sting makes you not want to, or need to scratch.  Apple cider vinegar works for more than just this though, after seeing how well it worked for me, whether it is a bug bite, rash, or any itch on openly exposed skin, it stops the itch for both myself and my kids.  Dont knock it unless you try it!  ;)

So if you ever see me wearing big baggy jogging pants in the summer, you know why!  :D

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Love and Exercise: Nutrition and training for couples

My husband and I both enjoy being active.  More specifically we both enjoy weight training.  Other than that he's a sports buff and team player, and I'm more into dance and martial arts.

Sharing our interest in weight training, we also share a nutritious, balanced meal plan so similar, yet very different.  How can that be?  The difference is; I have a goal to lose weight, and he has a goal to gain more muscle mass.

Regardless of what your goal is, you must maintain optimum nutrition and stay well hydrated.  Consume lean cuts of meat and/or good protein sources, as much vegetables as you can handle, brown sources of carbs, fruit, and very low consumption of sugar in both solid and liquid form.

Here is where the meal plan differs: 
Those who are trying to gain muscle mass should consume larger servings of lean protein sources.  And if they have a really high metabolism they can even consume a little bit more of everything. ( I would suggest working with a trained fitness professional to assess what each person as an individual should consume.)  If you are trying to gain weight you can be a lot more lenient with your nutrition luckily...but if lean muscle gain is your MUST increase your lean protein intake.

For those trying to lose body fat, unfortunately we need to be much more precise with our nutrition consumption.  Carbs; even if brown, should be limited.  Even fruits as they do contain complex sugars. Even though our body requires complex sugars, having too much of it will slow your body's ability to break down fat because the body will then have to break down the sugar first and in turn store the fat.  A serving of protein can still be eaten with every meal.  The only thing that I would allow you to eat without limitations is raw or steamed vegetables.

Simply put, what an individual should consume while trying to transform their body should be the same whether trying to gain or lose weight.  The only thing that should vary is the size of the portions/servings.

For more information on measuring portions and what a serving is click here.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

"Thin is out, strong is in."

I have chosen these six words as Lullaby Divas' motto. 

Back when I was growing up, and realizing how taunting body image can be amongst peers, fellow dancers, television, magazines, and even visiting family I haven't seen in a while who would in the most naive way comment loudly, "Oh wow Carol you have gotten chubby!"...I wanted to be thin. 

I wanted a flat stomach, a small waist, thin arms, long legs, and thighs that didn't touch...just like all my thin friends, and the girls in dance, on tv, and in the magazines.  As I grew older and realized that I was not only unhappy with my body...but not feeling healthy, I knew it was time to stop dwelling on how much I hate myself, but I was determined to find a way to love myself. 

I tried out for the elementary school volleyball team with my friends.  I was horrible! LOL...but I made the team.  I must have been the best of the worst. ;)  The feeling of being active and part of a team was fun.  I then asked to join soccer just like my brothers have been doing for years.  I finally concluded I am not a team player. (I was just as horrible at soccer...let's not even mention basketball during gym class!)  But I loved how energized I felt after running that field.  My love for activity from then flourished.  I started to enjoy challenging my body, and trying more and more different kinds of activity felt so empowering. 

I began to lose weight which was ultimately my goal, but I was able to realize that not a goal.  I more importantly realized that just because someone is thin, does not mean they are healthy.  I wanted to be strong.  I wanted to feel revitalized.  I was thriving with energy and was loving trying different ways of using it. 

Consider what shape your body is and be realistic with your own expectations when setting goals for yourself.  Some ladies are born slim and want to gain weight, others want to lose weight.  Think about what your body may need if you're not happy with it.  And if you are unsure you can always consult with your doctor or a personal trainer or fitness professional in your area.

Not everyone can be thin...but everyone can be strong.

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