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The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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90 Day Challenge | Vote for Matt – LifeTime WeightLoss

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What You Need to Know Before Quitting the Pill

www.popsugar.com/fitness/What-Happen-My-Body-When-I-Stop-Taking-Birth-Control-Pills-7766267

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Between reports of health complications and more women thinking about IUDs, you might be considering a break from birth control pills. If you’re concerned about what this change will do to your body, here’s some information and advice from a board-certified physician who practices in southern California.

Dear Doctor,

I have been taking birth control pills for 10 years and things have shifted in my personal life and I no longer need to worry about getting pregnant. I want to go off this pill but am worried what will happen to my body and my cycle. Can you tell me what I should expect when I stop taking the pill? Will I gain weight? Will I break out? Will my period be just awful? Also, how long will it take for my hormone levels to return to normal?

— No More Pill For Me

Let me take off my lady doctor cap for a moment and share with all of you that I went through this very same issue last year. After years on the pill, I stopped taking it and will give both some professional and personal advice on this matter with you.

To begin, the birth control pill works by preventing ovulation. Once you stop taking the pill, the hormones are out of your body quickly, usually within a couple of days (this is why women who miss a couple days of pills on birth control have a chance of ovulating and getting pregnant!). Another important point to make is that it does not matter how long you were on the pill, from 10 weeks to 10 months to more than 15 years, your body will still be rid of the hormones within a couple of days!

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Once the hormones are out of your system, your body will begin to start producing hormones to initiate menstrual cycles. Some women will begin to ovulate in a couple of weeks, whereas it may take several months for other women to begin to ovulate. Generally speaking, your body should be back to “normal menstruation mode” within two to three months after stopping the pill. It is important to emphasize that if you had problems with ovulation prior to starting the pill, you may continue to have irregular ovulation/periods after stopping the pill. Most women with normal ovulation/periods prior to starting the pill will continue to have normal ovulation/periods after stopping the pill. But some women who had regular periods prior to starting the pill may have irregular ovulation after stopping the pill. The key point here is that everyone’s experience with ovulation/periods after stopping the pill is different!

There is a condition called post-pill amenorrhea (or lack of menstruation) that can occur after stopping the birth control pill. According to the Mayo Clinic, the reason for lack of menstruation in these women is that the body is just taking longer to produce the hormones necessary for ovulation and menstruation. If you still haven’t had a period after three months, they recommend taking a pregnancy test. It would be prudent to also schedule an appointment with either your primary care physician or gynecologist for evaluation. Some women never get a period after they stop taking the pill because they ovulate and conceive right away after the discontinuation. If you do not want to become pregnant, use another form of contraception such as condoms or a diaphragm.

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Many women take certain birth control pills to regulate their acne. Once you stop using birth control, you may notice an increase in acne on your face or on other parts of your body. When your body’s hormone levels regulate again, the acne can subside in some cases. As far as weight fluctuation is concerned, it has been shown that birth control pills that are higher in estrogen may cause weight gain and water retention. Therefore, your body may adjust after stopping the pill and some weight loss may occur due to a decrease in water retention. Again, each woman’s experience may be different. Case in point, I did gain some weight after I stopped the pill, but it may have been because of other factors due to the stress of trying to conceive, which is why I stopped taking the pill. Many birth control pills are designed especially to help treat exaggerated premenstrual syndromes or, in certain women, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Thus, some women will notice increased breast tenderness and other premenstrual symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and fluctuating emotions.

I’ll finish by telling you more about my experience with stopping birth control. I had regular menstrual cycles before I started the pill, but this was not the case after I stopped the pill. It took approximately two months to get my first period off the pill, and they were very irregular after that (ranging from five weeks to 12 weeks between periods). After seeking consultation with my gynecologist after one year of irregular cycles, I was diagnosed with oligo-ovulation, which basically means I ovulate very infrequently. They could not find any medical cause for this problem after an extensive workup. At first, I felt like something was wrong with me or that I had done something in my lifetime to cause this. But I now realize I am not alone and that there are many women out there going through the same problems I am going through! Hopefully, if any of my readers are going through the same problem as me, they can feel better knowing that there are many women out there (including myself) that are going through it as well!

DrSugar posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

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Your Healthy Breasts From A to Z

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We admit it: We have a love-hate relationship with our breasts. We show em off when they're proud and perky, but freak the second they start to sag. We squeeze them into bras that don't fit, complain if they bob when we jog, and obsess over every little imperfection. But the minute we find a lump or feel a twinge of pain, we realize just how much we want them around—no matter their flaws. That's why we created this A-to-Z Guide to help keep your breasts——and you—healthy.

A: Alcohol

The numbers don't lie: Alcohol is to blame for 11% of all breast cancers, according to data from the United Kingdoms Million Women Study. That's because beer, wine, or cocktails—even just one or two drinks a day—hike your risk, and that risk increases with each additional drink. Scientists are still probing the alcohol-cancer connection but, for now, moderation is a must. “If you don't drink, don't start,” says Susan Love, MD, president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and clinical professor of surgery at UCLA. “If you do, three drinks a week or less is probably OK.”

B: Breast-feeding

Yes, babies are more likely to attend college if they nurse, but what's really surprising: Breast-feeding may save your life. Women's Health Initiative data suggests that moms who breast-feed 12 months or more throughout their lives have less heart disease than women who don't nurse. And a new study shows that women with a family history of breast cancer cut their risks of getting the disease before menopause if they breast-feed their kids.

C: Caffeine

You've heard theres a link between caffeine and breast cancer? The truth: About 200 to 300 milligrams of the stimulant per day—the amount in two to three cups of coffee or (strong) tea, an energy drink or two, or about five diet sodas—probably wont hurt you, says Liz Applegate, PhD, director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis. But to be safe, don't overdo it.

D: Dècolletage

There's a simple reason you see freckles, sun spots, and those dreaded vertical wrinkles on your cleavage—youre not using enough sunscreen on the delicate skin there. Baby your bosom with a high SPF, plus a moisturizer, says Amy Taub, MD, a Chicago-area dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Try Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 ($13.99). It offers sun protection and spot-reducing soy.

E: Eat right

Loading up on fruits and veggies and cutting back on fatty meat keep your whole body healthy. But which foods specifically help you fight breast cancer? Recent studies suggest you eat more: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and bok choy. They contain potential cancer-fighting compounds called isothiocyanates. Fish like salmon, tuna, and trout. They're rich in omega-3s and are a healthier protein source than meat. Bell peppers and broccoli They're full of flavonoids, a powerful good-for-you antioxidant. Kefir yogurt Its a yummy source of vitamin D and healthy bacteria (probiotics).

F: Fit

If you're like most women, you're wearing a bra that doesn't fit right. Blame the fact that your bust measurements change at least six times in your adult life. To make sure you're getting the right support, talk to a fitter in a department or lingerie store, or do your own sizing. Elisabeth Squires, author of Boobs: A Guide to Your Girls, swears by Size Me Up!, a doctor-designed system that measures the width of each breast to more accurately determine cup size. 

G: Genes

Most women who get breast cancer don't carry the harmful gene mutations known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who do (roughly 1 in 500) tend to get cancer under age 50 and may have multiple cases of breast and ovarian cancer in the family. Who should be gene-tested? If relatives (sisters or other women on your moms or dads side) have had breast or ovarian cancer, its most helpful for one of them to be tested before you. Testing costs about $3,000, and most insurers don't cover it. If a mutation doesn't show up, your risk is still higher because of your family history. But if your relative has the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, your risk could be elevated even more, and you may want to talk with a genetic counselor about your own test.

H: Hormone therapy

If you're on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), its probably for a good reason: The treatment, usually a combo of estrogen and progesterone, can help relieve hot flashes, irritability, and night sweats. But many researchers are now convinced that using combo HRT for five years or more can double your breast cancer risk, which is why women should use the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Fortunately, studies show that within two years of stopping hormones, your breast cancer risk goes back to normal.

I: Inflammatory breast cancer

If you don't know about IBC, you should. The five-year survival rate of this rare but aggressive disease is about half that of regular breast cancer. Symptoms can include redness and painful swelling around the breast; sometimes the skin feels warm and has the texture of an orange. If you have signs, see your doctor right away.

J: Jiggle

Too much jiggling can make you sag: According to one British study, breasts move during exercise up to 8 vertical inches, adding painful pressure on supporting ligaments. Solution: Make sure your sports bra is up to the job. Small-breasted women usually just need a compression, or “uniboob,” bra. If you're large, try encapsulating styles, which surround each breast separately. Champion makes good low-cost running bras, and sportswear companies like Title Nine even offer special rating systems for each bras support level.

K: Know em well

Take a good look in the mirror—is one breast bigger than the other? (That's typical.) Are your nipples inverted? Does anything look or feel different? You need to know your breasts well so you'll notice any changes during your monthly breast self-exam (BSE), which is an important way to catch abnormalities like lumps or swelling.

L: Lumps

The vast majority of breast lumps are benign—and more than 60% of women have fibrocystic, or naturally lumpy, breasts. Still, you should get all lumps and bumps checked, especially if they change. “Women get into trouble when they ignore lumps because they're afraid,” says Joan Bull, MD, director of the Division of Oncology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. The doc may recommend an ultrasound, mammogram, or biopsy to figure out what's up.

M: Mammograms

No one likes having her boobs squeezed flat in what feels like a refrigerator door. But its worth it: Early detection from regular mammograms is estimated to reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by at least 15%, according to a recent research review. Are there any downsides to recommended annual screening mammos? A report in the British Medical Journal suggested they could lead to overdiagnosis—detecting tumors that turn out to be harmless—and unnecessary treatment. But experts insist that the benefits far outweigh the potential costs.

N: Nipples

Smooth or bumpy, inverted or standing at attention on a chilly day, nipples seem to have a mind of their own. Together with the surrounding areola, they even change color during and after pregnancy. Here are some of the most common problems and how to, well, nip em in the bud.

O: Ouch!

About 10% of us have breast pain more than five days a month. Usually the ache (also called mastalgia) goes in cycles, since monthly hormone changes can make breasts extra achy. If the pain is unbearable, try tracking when it hurts most. Then talk to your doctor, and, if you're over 35, consider a mammogram. The doc may recommend pain pills, birth control pills (if you're in your 20s), or possibly evening primrose oil, which might bring relief for some women. Talking to your doc may ease your fears, too, since many women worry that breast pain is always a sign of cancer. It isn't.

P: Plastic surgery

Even in a down economy, boob jobs aren't sagging. But a lesser-known surgery is also on the rise: breast reduction. For top-heavy women, the surgery can bring much-needed relief from back, shoulder, and neck pain. If you want breast surgery—to get bigger or smaller—talk to the doc about scarring, healing time, and final appearance, says John Canady, MD, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Q: Number-one question to ask your doc: “Are my breasts dense?”

Women with dense breasts are five times more likely to develop breast cancer, Dr. Love of UCLA says, although its unclear why. The only way to find out density is after a mammogram—the info is in the results. Bring it up with your doc after the test or have the report mailed to you.

R: Rest 

One more reason to get your sleep: Getting enough zzzs may help protect you from cancer. In a recent study of nearly 24,000 Japanese women, those who slept six hours or less each night were 62% more likely to have breast cancer than the women who slept seven hours. Researchers think that the sleep hormone melatonin seems to regulate the release of estrogen.

S: Soy

Soy contains phytoestrogens, chemicals similar to estrogen. Docs say soy has many benefits, if you get it in natural forms like edamame. But concentrated forms found in supplements may be harmful—especially if youre at high risk for breast cancer, says Applegate, PhD, of UC Davis.

T: Tomosynthesis

Watch for the looming debut of this new digital imaging system, which allows doctors to slice and dice super-clear 3D pictures of the breast, while applying less pressure to your boobs than standard mammos (hooray!). Early research shows the new technique may more accurately spot tumors, especially in very dense breasts.

U: Underwires are dangerous (and other myths)

Relax—, your sexy new number from Victoria's Secret wont give you cancer. Experts say the notion that underwires trap toxins just doesn't hold up. Ditto for antiperspirants, living near power lines, and being hit in the chest. Theres no evidence that any of these things causes breast cancer, Dr. Love of UCLA says.

V: Vaccine

Stimuvax, a vaccine currently in testing, may help women who have inoperable breast cancer live longer. The drug is designed to juice up the immune system so it can kill malignant cells. Its also being eyed for lung, prostate, and colon cancers.

W: Weight

 

Women who gain 55 pounds or more after age 18 have nearly 1 1/2 times the risk of breast cancer compared with those who keep their weight steady. But losing the weight substantially lowers risk as you age.

X: X-Rays

Radiation can cause cancer. That's why doctors say that younger women and girls should avoid unnecessary X-rays (a typical X-ray administers radiation at a higher dose than a mammogram). If your doctor recommends an X-ray for anything, ask how having it will change your treatment plan. If it won't, reconsider.

Y: Yoga

To keep “the girls” from sagging, Health expert Sara Ivanhoe, creator of the Yoga on the Edge DVD, recommends this Plank Sequence: Start with hands and knees on a mat, hands directly under shoulders and knees below hips. Firm your abs to support your lower back; extend right leg backward, curl toes and place them and on the ground; repeat with left leg. (Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels.) Hold for 5 full breaths. On an exhale, slowly lower yourself to the floor, keeping your elbows tucked in. Your chest and belly should touch the floor at the same time. On an inhale, push back to lean on your hands and knees; exhale into plank, hold for a full inhale, then exhale and lower again, then up into plank. Repeat 5 times.

Z: Zero!

That's the number of new breast cancer cases we all hope to see in our lifetimes—, and a project launched by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and Avon Foundation for Women may get us there. The Love and Avon Army of Women's mission: Recruit 1 million women to participate in life-saving research. Sign up online at ArmyOfWomen.org.

 

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5 Things Everyone Should Know About Brain Tumors

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Earlier this summer, retired U.S. soccer player Lauren Holiday was sailing through her first pregnancy when suddenly, she began experiencing painful headaches. An MRI revealed a tumor on the right side of the 28-year-old's brain near her orbital socket, the Times-Picayune reports. 

Fortunately, the two-time Olympic gold medalist's growth is benign, operable, and not a risk to Holiday's unborn daughter. She's scheduled to have the tumor removed about six weeks after her delivery.

Though Holiday has a positive prognosis, her story is still scary because she's young and otherwise healthy—elite-athlete-level healthy. But next time you get a piercing headache, don't jump to any conclusions. The ones brought on by brain tumors aren't aren't your average headaches, says John G. Golfinos, MD, chair of the department of neurosurgery and co-director of the Brain Tumor Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. They're persistent, and tend to be worse in the morning and improve throughout the day. “That’s because when people are lying flat, the pressure in the skull and brain goes up, and during the day some of the pressure starts to go away,” he explains. What's more, brain tumor headaches are often associated with nausea and vomiting.

More good news: brain tumors are pretty rare. You have just a 1% chance of developing a malignant brain tumor in your lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. 

Here, Dr. Golfinos reveals more facts to know about brain tumors: 

Not all brain tumors are cancerous

“There’s a whole spectrum and range of outcomes for brain tumors,” says Dr. Golfinos. As in Holiday’s case, some are benign, “which means they grow very slowly in the brain or just outside the brain,” he explains. Others are malignant, grow very quickly, and are incurable.

RELATED: Early Signs of Stroke You Need to Know—Even If You're Young

Even benign tumors can cause major issues

The reason brain tumors can be so risky is that the skull is a thick, confined space: “So anything that grows inside or just outside the brain can take up a lot of room and press on important parts of the brain, causing a lot of problems,” he says. “That’s why we say with brain tumors, it’s not just what type of tumor is it, but where is it.”

The problems can include loss of vision, difficulties with speech, issues understanding language, or weakness on one side of the body. Symptoms can be subtle in the beginning, especially if they're caused by a benign, slow-growing tumor, says Dr. Golfinos. But if you notice any of those changes, it’s a good idea to see your doctor.

RELATED: 5 Times You Really, Seriously Need to Go to the ER

Brain tumors can’t escape your skull

Brain tumors are unique in that they can't spread to other organs, since they don't have the same access to the blood stream that tumors in other parts of the body do, says Dr. Golfinos. “The brain itself is a very privileged part of the body,” he notes. “It's good at keeping things out, but also good at keeping things in.”

Your phone won’t cause a tumor

You may have heard the myth that constantly talking on your cell causes cancer. According to Dr. Golfinos, you have nothing to worry about, since there's no good evidence to suggest this is true. The reality, he says, is that “[w]e really don’t understand what causes brain tumors.”

RELATED: 4 Health Rumors You Seriously Need to Stop Believing

You can't prevent tumors from developing

“Many people ask me if there’s anything they can do to avoid brain tumors,” says Dr. Golfinos. “And right now the answer to that is ‘no.’” That said, to play it safe, Dr. Golfinos recommends avoiding exposure to excess radiation whenever possible (by opting for an MRI over a CT scan for example), especially for anyone under the age of 18. 

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7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate

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Establishing a meditation routine can be difficult. You’re busy! Who has time to breathe, let alone sit and breathe? But if you think the only way you’ll learn how to meditate is with a 25-hour day, think again.

RELATED: How to Meditate (Even If You’re Really Impatient)

Plenty of busy people are making time for meditation. Media guru Arianna Huffington makes it a part of her morning routine. Rapper 50 Cent uses meditation to help him remain positive when faced with negative personalities. And Jerry Seinfeld won’t let anything get between him and his meditation time—he allegedly takes time between TV shoots to get zen.

Cultivating Calm, On Your Time

“I have a really chaotic schedule so I do it whenever I can,” says Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News and the author of the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier. “I don’t freak out if I can’t fit it in but I do think it’s important to do something every day.” Harris has been meditating ever since he experienced a panic attack on air nearly a decade ago.

He credits meditation with helping him control knee-jerk reactions to frustrating situations. Thanks to improved patience, Harris says he’s a better listener and is able to hold shorter, more fruitful meetings. Meditation, he says, is “fighting a lifetime pattern of letting your thoughts lead you by the nose.”

RELATED: The 8 Best Apps for Guided Meditation

Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path, a weekly meditation practice in New York City, says meditation allows her to have more “mental agility” during her day. She’s much more calm when faced with stress, and feels as though she makes better decisions. And science confirms these benefits: your brain will actually change if you stick with meditation, just as your body changes when you exercise regularly. You’ll be rewarded with improved memory and other cognitive benefits.

“Don’t put the pressure on yourself that you have to do it forever,” Harris says. It’s okay if you fall off the wagon for a few weeks, so long as you muster the grit to return to your practice. The power of meditation, he says, is derived from practicing daily. Watch this video for a short meditation exercise from Happify, featuring Harris and Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and author.

So what’s the secret to actually making time for meditation? We asked Harris, Kaplan and David Ngo, a behavioral designer at Stanford University and behavior consultant for The Path, for their best tips on how to actually create a meditation habit.

7 Ways to Start Meditating Today 

1. Type it into your phone calendar
Instead of simply hoping you’ll be able to squeeze in meditation on the fly, try setting aside a specific time for it. “If I carve out time to [meditate], that’s the space for my practice to go,” says Ngo. When you create that space, the habit can grow. But rather than thinking of meditation as another item on your to-do list, think of it as a gift to yourself, says Kaplan.

 2. Do it in the morning
“If you’re starting out and you’re struggling with developing the habit, I do think you should do it first thing [in the morning]” says Kaplan. She meditates right after she brushes her teeth. By doing it right away, she has no excuse. Especially for parents with young kids, doing it before the day gets underway is your best bet for fitting in some “me time,” she says. Kaplan recommends not setting your goals too high in the beginning. “If you can do five minutes, that’s better than nothing.”

RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person

3. Start with one breath
Don’t underestimate the power of small behaviors. By focusing on taking one conscious breath when you have a spare moment, you can pave the way for creating a meditation habit. Ngo says this philosophy comes from BJ Fogg, Ph.D., behavioral scientist and founder of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, who pioneered the idea of creating tiny habits. For example, to create a habit of tidying up at home, you might start by making your bed each morning. A tiny habit should be a behavior that requires little effort and can be performed in less than 30 seconds. “That seed of the habit can then grow into a full-blow tree,” says Ngo.

4. Perform meditation after an existing habit
After you get into your car for your daily commute, try meditating for a few breaths instead of racing to turn on the ignition. Or quiet your mind after you go to the bathroom at work. “The pattern is always after,” says Ngo. “This is called anchoring.” Ngo recommends choosing a daily occurrence or existing activity to remind yourself to meditate.

5. Use headphones
As a TV correspondent, Harris has a packed schedule that involves a fair amount of travel. “People think you have to sit in some position, but that isn’t true,” he says. “There are four ways to do it: walking, standing, sitting or lying down.” No matter how busy life gets, Harris tries to fit in 30 minutes of meditation each day. His secret weapon? Headphones. He puts on a pair to cancel noise when he meditates in airports and on planes. “As long as you’re somewhere that’s reasonably quiet, you’re good,” says Harris. (And if you’re lying down and you fall asleep, that’s ok, he says.)

RELATED: How to Overcome Anxiety, Starting Now

6. Siphon time from superfluous activities
Think about it: Do you really need to hit ‘reply all’ to every email that hits your inbox? “I would have considered myself busy at my last job, but it was just an excuse to procrastinate from what was really important,” says Kaplan. As a successful start-up founder and Emmy award-winning TV reporter, Kaplan says she was writing redundant emails and taking meetings that were unnecessary. “If you’re answering emails you don’t really need to respond to, that would give you 15 minutes,” she says. With that extra time, she suggests finding a quiet park bench to relax, or even sneaking into a hotel lobby for a few minutes.

7. Practice mindfulness when you’ve got time to kill
Resist the urge to scroll through Instagram the moment your friend or dinner date heads to the bathroom. “I think it’s very healthy to have all sorts of moments in the day where you’re just being,” says Kaplan. It’s tempting to use our phones as entertainment during those “black spaces” during the day, but Kaplan recommends pausing and just letting the moment happen instead of gluing yourself to your Facebook feed. Look around, smile at other people and enjoy some momentary calm. While it’s not the same as doing a seated meditation, being fully present during these small moments can help you feel more comfortable confronting the thoughts rattling around in your mind.

This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com

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Rebecca Malone: January 2016 Bodyblitz Winner

 

 

 

 

Being a mother of two and a full-time student, making time for fitness wasn’t easy for Rebecca Malone. But with the support of her family and a rekindled love of the weights room, she’s celebrating the new year with some amazing results.

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When I started this challenge I weighed the most I have ever weighed at any point in my lifetime – including both times when I was pregnant! But losing weight wasn’t my main goal; it was to increase energy and vitality and improve my overall health. My kids were the biggest motivation for me; I wanted to be a positive role model to them and show them that, even if you have setbacks or make mistakes, it is still possible to turn things around with focus, time and effort.

I have always liked eating healthy meals and being physically active but in recent years I have often lacked the energy and motivation to prepare the meals or make it to the gym. My ‘inner voice’ would say, “It’s not worth the effort”, so my new motto is “I am worth the effort”. I found weight training easy to get back into because I love how it makes me feel, but cardio was my biggest challenge. I couldn’t run at the beginning of the challenge because of the pain that it caused to my knees and lower back. Instead I went bike riding as often as I could and over time, as I lost weight, I found that I was able to run again without pain.

The biggest change that I have noticed is that I have more energy and greater clarity of thought. I have also noticed that I have improved digestion, better sleep, increased sex drive, and I feel happier overall.

Hit next to see how she did it!

rebecca-malone-bodyblitz-january

On overcoming challenges:
While completing this challenge I was also studying lab science full time. For safety reasons we’re not allowed to bring any food into the lab room, and sometimes I’d need to stay in the lab room from 9am to 1pm without breaks. The natural temptation after such a long time without food was to eat just about anything regardless of its nutritional value. It didn’t take me long to realise that I needed to adapt and prepare for these days; so whenever I anticipated that we were likely to have an extended lab session, I made sure that I had a little extra food for breakfast.

On workout motivation:
I noticed that there were certain exercises that I did at the gym that made me feel pumped when I got home and for hours afterwards. This feeling kept me motivated and wanting to get back to the gym. My favourite exercise is bent-over rows for my back.

On food swaps:
Apart from the sugar cravings that I experienced for the first five to seven days, transitioning to a healthier eating plan was much easier than I expected. My husband is equally passionate about eating healthy, and my kids were very supportive and willing to try new foods and snacks, so that part was easy. For the most part we all ate the same foods. My oldest son, Isaac, 11, loves roasted Brussels sprouts and Josh, 8, was a big fan of my roasted kale chips, so I included these foods along with a lot of spices to keep things interesting.

On treats:
On Saturday afternoon I would enjoy two pieces of dark chocolate with a warm cup of tea and on Sundays I would treat myself to half a glass of red wine.

On measurements:
During the initial three weeks, my weight loss was consistent but on week four I did all the same things and didn’t lose any weight whatsoever. I felt like I was letting myself down but my naturopath was very encouraging and, in the end, it really wasn’t a big deal. I am very happy with my after measurements and definitely plan to keep going!

On goals:
My long-term goal is to get back to size 10-to-12 clothes, and along the way I intend to have fun being active with my family. I would like to run a faster time than my boys, but I don’t like my chances!

WHAT I ATE:
Breakfast: 1/3 cup muesli, two tbsp yoghurt, 1/3 cup warmed berries and ½ tbsp chia seeds
Morning snack: Two corn thins with avocado and cracked pepper and apple
Lunch: Two hard-boiled eggs and a large salad with baby spinach, lettuce, carrot and beetroot, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice
Afternoon snack: A protein ball or bar
Dinner: Skinless chicken breast served on sweet potato and butternut pumpkin mash, topped with steamed bok choy and green beans.

WHAT I DID:
Monday: 10 to 40 minutes of treadmill cardio
Tuesday: Weight training (upper body)
Wednesday: 10 to 40 minutes of cardio (spin bike or rower)
Thursday: Weight training (lower body)
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Five-kilometre run (outdoors)
Sunday: Core workout and stretches

Congratulations Rebecca! Are you up for the challenge? Kick start your fitness journey with the 12-week challenge.

 

 

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