Thursday, October 31, 2013

On Getting Healthy

It’s never too late to start a New Year’s Resolution, right? Or maybe I’m just really ahead, and I am getting an early start on next year’s resolutions.

This post may be a little all over the place. I just kind of want to put everything down so I can remember my “get healthy” journey. Where I’ve been, and where I hope to go.

First of all, I am not healthy. Yet.

Let’s rewind to the Tamara talking to herself 4.5 months ago.

The charts say I’m overweight…I have intermittent spells of high cholesterol at 26 years old…my loose pants from last year no longer button…I’m embarrassed to wear sleeveless shirts…I’m embarrassed to undress in front of my husband…I’m lazy…I’m tired…I weigh 171 lbs (what?!)…I’m spending too much money on fast food…I want ice cream…I really don’t want to wear a bathing suit to this pool party…I’M JUST NOT HAPPY.

Then I gave myself a pep talk.

Why are you complaining, you are fully capable of doing something! Only you can change you. And you have to want it. No one can want it for you.

So, want it I did. Want it I do.


June 11, 2013 I joined a gym. It’s close to my work, and it’s very affordable. $10 a month? Yes please.

I started going. Sporadically at first. Here and there when I felt like getting up in the morning. Very early might I add. What? I was going to the gym. So what if it was only once a week. And okay maybe I was really intimidated and slacked off. Treadmill here, a few machines there. My biggest fear of working out was not knowing what to do. So I skirted around doing what I thought might help. I wasn’t sore the next day, and I struggled to get into a routine. I was embarrassed to stand around looking for something to do or try a machine I didn’t know how to work. Because people might think I’m hogging something they could be using the right way. I am doing this without a trainer, because it’s just not feasible for me to pay $90 a month for one (at least for the ones at my gym).

Then, my friend Renee told me about this great app, Jefit. We both joined separate gyms (unknowingly) within a week of each other and had been sharing gym woes. When I complained to her that I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, she shared the app. I’m forever grateful!

It has changed my entire outlook. I finally had a plan. I was able to select a women's three day a week program from one of their pre-existing routines, and I LOVE IT. I am so sore after a workout and the following day it’s even hard to squat to sit on the toilet. Which means, it’s working. I follow a ton of fitness folks on Instagram who have Before & After success stories. So many of them harp on the importance of weight lifting to build lean muscle and burn fat. And I have jumped on board. I try to do some form of cardio (like a walk in the neighborhood) on rest days but to be honest, I don’t do much cardio at all. The app is beyond helpful, has everything there for me, and lets me tweak it however I want by selecting new or deleting exercises. The thing I love most about it is that it has a little moving picture of how to actually do each exercise. Hallelujah. Oh, and it’s FREE. Thank you people of Jefit! Thanks to a friend, I finally learned that it’s pronounced JEFF-IT. For the love of all that is holy I couldn’t figure out the correct pronunciation. And now I feel stupid it was that easy.

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A part of my Friday routine. Except I do 3 sets of 12 reps typically.

When I started this journey my sister in law Kim called me with a proposition. But first let me share a success story in itself. I’ve known Kim since 2002, when I started dating her brother. She was a cheerleader in high school and never had weight issues (at least that’s how it appeared to me, an outsider). Then, she started to put on weight and in early 2012 she’d had enough. She started running, like a lot. And eating healthy. And she lost 30 lbs!

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L: At our wedding in September 2009 R: Panama City Beach, Summer 2012

She is my fitness confidant, my motivator and truly an inspiration!

Well, a few months ago she started slipping into some over eating habits and had started to gain a little bit of weight back, which made her sad. After all she’s come so far!

So, she called me with an idea that would help us both. She used to always keep a food diary every day of any particle of food that went in her mouth. She suggested that every day we keep track of everything we eat. Cheating on food was okay (although that does derail us from our goal), but cheating and not telling the other we ate it, was not. I can’t say how much this has helped me in the beginning. Not only could she help me figure out what to eat, but I knew I had to report to her at the end of the day. She wasn’t hard on me even if I’ve had a bad day, but just knowing I’d have to share with her what I ate, made me think three times twice before I take a trip down to the vending machine at 2:00 for a Snickers.

We shared our food diaries for a month or so until that trickled out but by then we were landing on our feet. She’s so supportive of me! I love her to pieces. She’s now kicked her first half marathon’s butt and is signed up for a full marathon at the beginning of 2014! She rocks!

The other app I’ve sworn by through this whole process is the MyFitnessPal program. Another freebie that has made my life much easier. It’s a calorie counting app. I log all of my foods into it either by serving size, barcode scanning, or whatnot. I give myself 1200 calories a day and then of course whatever calories I burn while working out, I get to eat that amount too. I track my exercise through the app by searching for the exercise I did and inputting the time spent and calories burned. The app allows me to track and record my weight as well. And I can follow friends on there too so that’s always nice to know I’m not doing it alone!

I use a calorie counting watch/heart rate monitor by Polar. It’s pretty awesome. The only thing I don’t like is it’s not a GPS/Distance tracker. Just calories + heart rate tracker. I got it from a local place but they sell them online and at sports stores. It’s the Polar FT7.

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I’m making such better food choices now too. I don’t see myself ever being an extreme “healthy” eater, but I know what’s involved in making healthier choices and lifestyle changes. I’m finally realizing too that I actually want to make good choices.

Between a combination of the gym and my food diary sharing, I feel like I’m on track to a better me. I’m changing, inside as well as on the outside. And I wanted to share. And write it all down so if I start to slack, I’ll read what four-months-ago-Tamara was feeling. And how I don’t want to be her anymore.

I wake up Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:25 AM. I’m at the gym by 6:00 and then it’s on. I love being in the weight room too! I finally grew some balls and got over my fear of being the girl in the “men” area. Psh, I have every right to be there as they do. I’ve even caught myself noting that I lift more than some of them. Score!


Here’s some ramblings of what my eating habits are…remember, I try to stay within my calorie allowance! But it’s not the end of the world if I don’t…just do better the next day!

I typically eat a turkey sandwich for lunch which consists of whole grain bread + publix turkey (one serving) + mustard. It’s all about serving sizes people! Get a food scale, and use it. Then I’ll have crackers or chips (again, 1 serving) and usually a pickle. 0-5 calories and I love them! I drink lots of water. I don’t deprive myself. If I want cookies, I eat cookies. But I’ll eat one serving. I used to sit down and eat 6 or 7 of them if I had a cookie craving. Now I eat the serving size.

For dinners I don’t do anything special. I don’t like to cook. And we don’t do a lot of planned meals. So I just find whatever. Turkey wrap with shredded cheese and plain greek yogurt (use as a sour cream substitute) + hot sauce is my jam. I snack on grits a lot. Again, with hot sauce (0 cals!). I’m addicted to Starbucks frappucinos so I started getting the Café Vanilla Frappucino LIGHT and it’s changed my world. It’s not nearly as good as the regular, but it’s still pretty darn good and nearly half the calories of the regular. A grande light is only 180 calories! For breakfast I mostly eat a plain greek yogurt + strawberry Mio + plain Special K (all mixed together).

If I’ve got a sweet tooth, I’ve been making this cookie dough greek yogurt recipe I found on Pinterest.

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt - add 1 tbsp nut butter, 1 tbsp sweetener, 1 tbsp mini chips, and 1/4 tsp vanilla to Greek yogurt. SO GOOD!


I use Truvia for sweetner.

I know the calories I’m eating aren’t the best, but they’re better than what I used to eat. And right now I am taking it one step at a time and focusing on calories, and eating as many healthy ones as I can. Eventually we’ll see if I can focus on cutting back on sugars and sodium!

Now for several before/progress and along the way pictures! I’m officially down 20.8 lbs as of today! That’s over 4.5 months. June 11, 2013 to October 31, 2013. I don’t love the before pictures but I’m proud of how far I’ve come! Nothing motivates you like seeing progress. I still hope to lose another 10-15 and then tone up tight!

I bought this one pair of Nike Pro shorts to be my progress shorts. The beginning picture (well, the after too) isn’t so cute but I hope to look smokin’ in them eventually!


SW (starting weight): 171.2 // CW (current weight): 150.4 //GW (goal weight): 135-140






I’m flexing my legs in this last one because I’m proud of my growing quads!

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Love seeing my hammies grow too.

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I’m moving up and onward. And stronger and leaner. And healthier!

Wish me luck.

I haven’t been compensated in any way by Jefit, I just wanted to share an app that has helped me so much!

If I’m doing something that you see will be detrimental to my goal, please share! Like I said, I’m training myself here and I really have no clue.


  1. You are doing such an awesome job! You seriously just motivated me to finally get my butt in gear. I couldn't wait for you to write this post. I always feel like I have no idea where to start and like I need someone to hold my hand and remind me that what I'm doing now (nothing) is lazy. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I just know you'll reach your goal!

  2. Wow girl...keep up the great work!! You should be SO proud of have made such a transformation already!!! Thanks for being open about your journey...I'll be here for it all with you. :)

  3. Wow Tamara you are an inspiration to me and probably many others as well!! I eat well but my exercise is lacking since I started working all the time. I look forward to getting back to the gym in about a month once I quit my job and our new place will have a kid friendly gym... yay!!! and can say boo-tay :) You look great ans thanks for sharing your journey and all the tips for getting there I am def. going to get the app and try my hand at the "man" side of the gym :)

  4. Wow, your before and after pics are inspirational! I can totally relate to not knowing where to start at the gym and feeling like everyone's staring at you. I started telling myself that me being there was the first step and it's something to be proud of. I don't know if your hubby likes the gym, but I know that when my fiance and I go to the gym together, we both stay longer and have a better workout. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you SO much for your sweet words! Yes, it's defniitely intimidating but I'm so glad I got over it and just went for it. He does like the gym but unfortunately he doesn't like getting up as early as I do! HAHA :) PS - Love your blog!!

  5. How tall are you? Your progress pictures are incredibly inspiring.

    1. Hi Kasey! I'm 5'5" :) Thank you!

  6. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Idea to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 15 Pounds in Only 21 Days!



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