#WorkoutWednesday | Don't Refer to ME as Dieting!

12:00 AM

I've been intending to do a six month follow-up post to this one, but I never got around to it.  I guess seven months will have to do!  It has indeed been a ride.  I'm currently 31lbs down!  Go me!  Do the happy dance!  Now, let's talk about how I did it:  Lots and lots of cardio!  In the past, I use to hate cardio.  Well... let's clarify:  I use to tell myself that I hate cardio.  It was a mental thing. And one day it just clicked in my mind that if I wanted to burn fat and make the scale move backwards, then I was going to have to do some sort of cardio. I'm not a runner.  I use to be, but I burned my knees and chins out on pounding on pavement.  And I'm not one for the "dreadmill".  So I choose the elliptical trainer to be my new best friend.
I know by now you're looking at the pictures and thinking 70 minutes on the elliptical?  No way! How boring!  But it's not.  Not the way that I do it.  I do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves jumping back and forth between relatively low and extremely high cardiovascular workouts. HIIT takes less time than traditional cardio workouts (even though I stretch mine), and provides the same, if not greater, results, such as raising your metabolic rate and increasing your excess post oxygen consumption. HIIT can be done on any machine that allows you to vary your speed or resistance, including an elliptical.  I played with a lot of programs and then I created one that worked for me.  And I've been asked often how I manage to burn so many calories within one session?  Well, this is how!  And I wear a Sportline pedometer which gives an accurate account of calories burned because it's keeping a real account of my actual heartrate since I'm not in constant contact with the elliptical machine.  I find that when I do NOT engage the arms on the machine that I work my legs and core a lot harder and also raise my heartrate quicker.
Now, when I say I do HIIT, this isn't any of that have a conversation with your workout partner while they're on the next machine.  Or flip through the latest issue of Vogue or InStyle.  Or read the latest New York Times bestseller while on the elliptical.  I move and I move fast!  The only thing I can concentrate on is remembering to breath!
And I also do strengthtraining.  I alternate days between upper and lower body.  A lot of women feel that they may bulk up from lifting weights.  Well, some do!  I feel I needed to have a balance of fat-burning cardio mixed with strengthtraining to get me where I needed to be.  Whether you do cardio on the elliptical, are a runner or a swimmer, your body NEEDS strengthtraining.  I especially do as a woman over 40, because there are so many benefits to strengthtraining: 
  • You will burn more fat than by doing cardio alone. 
  • You will change the shape of your body. 
  • You will boost your metabolism by retaining or building more muscle. 
  • You will increase strength, becoming more functional. 
  • You will build strong bones and combat osteoporosis. 
  • You will improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injury.

Things I've learned:  

You can NOT out exercise a poor diet.  Healthy bodies are made in the kitchen and shaped in the gym!  Let's go back to the title of this post about not referring to me as "dieting".  I don't diet. If you want to diet, you go right ahead.  But I needed to change the way I eat and exercise for life.  I'm 44 years old, pretty much perimenopausal.  I can't tolerate a lot of heavy, fatty foods.  And working out 4-5 days a week is just a normal part of my life now.  I see people saying things like they're going to fall off the wagon for whatever reason (i.e. the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday) and get back on.  Enjoy and bon appétit!  I'm not.  I've worked too hard for a 4,500 calorie and 229 grams of fat meal in a single day!  It's not that serious to me.  And in January, I don't plan to add physical fitness to my New Year's resolution once again.

And going on a "diet" will only result in weight gain.  Lowering your calorie intake excessively will only cause your body to go into starvation mode=slower metabolism.  And all of that deprivation eating will piss you off and cause binge eating.  I see and hear about this so much.  And haven't you seen things that tell you that you can lose 30-40 lbs in a month?!  That scares me.  That's basically water weight and muscle tissue.  I lost an average of 1-2 lbs a week. 

What do I eat?

Whatever I want!  As long as I stay within 1600-1800 calories a day!  You know, within reason!  I don't use meal planning... I just use common sense.  I'm not about to go to Five Guys (Nothing against this company.  Just an example of a bad choice for ME!) and order a bacon cheeseburger (920 calories) and fries (1474 calories)!  I'm not crazy!  Nor am I going on a juice or smoothie cleanse for a week either.  I use the My Fitness Pal app to keep up with what I'm eating.  Well, I used it for months.  I don't use it as much nowadays.  I know what I'm eating and how many calories are in things that I eat often.  The only times I pull it out now is when I'm eating or planning something questionable.

Everyone should find something that works for them, but I just wanted to share what I do.  

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49 comments

  1. You are an inspiration and I love reading about your positive attitude to your health! You're absolutely right, being healthy is the marriage of good food and good exercise. You look absolutely amazing and I bet you feel fantastic too!

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    1. OMG Julia, I do! I feel like I have brand new knees! Thanks!

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  2. You go, girl! Thank you for sharing your routine.

    Rose in SV

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  3. Congratulations! You are an inspiration. I lost 30 lbs about 9 years ago and it felt so good. Healthy food choices and exercise are the key. It's really a lifestyle change. I have gained 15 lbs back and doing pretty good with the nutrition but don't have the energy/time for the gym. BUT I know I have to do it. I just have to make the time in my schedule. You have def given me motivation.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your routine Erica! It's definitely inspiring! And you look amazing (you've always looked amazing, but 'fit' looks fabulous on you too!) I just decided to commit to a consistent daily workout routine about 3 months ago, and I think our approach sounds very similar! Good to know you've seen such awesome results. Keep it up!

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  5. You look great! I'm new-ish to your blog so I never knew that you'd even gained weight!! Thanks for the real talk and sharing what works for you. I want the instant solution but I know that doesn't work. Thanks for being the voice of reason!!! Dang that turtle always wins in the end! ;)

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    1. The hare will run out of steam, but the turtle always wins! Thanks Sassafras!

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  6. Fantastic! I agree, it's all about making this a normal, health, everyday lifestyle-- not some random deprivation "diet". After a lifetime of being very overweight myself, I evaluated my eating habits, changed them and added exercise (I run-- slow as a snail, but enjoy it!). I lost weight, but feel like that loss was more a side effect to a healthier overall life. It's been about 3 yrs plus since I dropped over 80lbs.

    And you know what you need to do... integrate your fab healthy active life with sewing! Have you made any activewear yet?! Custom fit cute printed tights and tops and shorts... I make my own and get soo many questions about 'where can I buy those?'

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    1. Wow Kathy, 80 lbs is amazing! I have been thinking of activewear. I'm looking for the "dri-fit" fabric that the retailers use. Thanks!

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  7. You're doing great!!! I have the same philosophy on exercise and diet.

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    1. Thanks Trudy! It works!

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  8. Great story...I'm just curious what app (??) you're using to create the three pics in one images I see on your Instagram feed.

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    1. Mary Beth, it's PicsArt. Thanks!

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  9. Thank you for sharing this!!! I try to think like this too, not really diet but a life style change. Though I probably splurge more than you....

    So inspiring to see real people getting out there, working hard and having great results!

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  10. Erica, bang-on you are an inspiration. I was just reviewing my gym schedule this morning and realised I haven't been visiting as much as I should. With a full time work, and 2 kids on different activities, I need a solid plan and stop making excuses. I know understand how to schedule my activities even if it's just for 3 days a week. Thanks for sharing your plans, YOU ROCK!

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    1. When I first started out, my gym schedule was all over the place. I got it in where I could. Sometimes I would be in there at 11 pm! Now I bit the bullet and go at 5 am and get it over with. Thanks Aminat!

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  11. I have been waiting for this post for 6, no, 7 months! I love seeing your instagram pics, but I usually can't see the actual calories burned in the pedometer. I had no idea the difference between the machine and the actual would be so great! Your approach to fitness makes sends and could totally work for me if I could just get into that habit of going to the gym daily. How did/do you manage to be that committed? Weight loss, health, and the way your clothes fit you lately are all great motivators, but how do you actually drag yourself to the gym almost EVERY morning? What time do you go to bed? Do you live close to the gym (I'm only 2 blocks, so I can't use that excuse!). I would love to read about what it takes mentally to get into shape.

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    1. Do most people have an option of NOT going to work? Or not getting up in the morning to take their kids to school? I put going to the gym on the same level. It's simply something I have to do at least 4 times a week. Also when I use to *think* I didn't have time to go to the gym. I realized how much time I was wasting reading blogs and sitting on Instagram and Pinterest. Two hours would fly by.

      Thanks Grace!

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    2. That is such a good point about pinterest and instagram and other time suckers.

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  12. Great post. I have followed your weight lost journey since you started and you are an inspiration to me when it comes to working out. I work out not for loosing weight but just to keep fit, tone and tighten. I have completed changed my diet since the start of this year, 98% of the time I eat healthy. I am 50 now and I need to keep my body in the best shape that I possibly can. Keep up the good work Erica! You look fabulous and I am sure your journey is an inspiration to others.

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    1. Lucy, you look great for 50 and Happy Belated Birthday!

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  13. Congratulations! I am always impressed when someone has the will power to do the work to lose weight. Wishing you luck with the rest of your journey.

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  14. Such a great inspiration you are (any wonder that you mentor me and don't even know it lol!). Your progress is amazing but what's more is the complete mental control you have. It's more than inspiring. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!

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    1. So humbling that you see me as a mentor! Thanks so much Divamazon!

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  15. I did the Daniel 21 day Fast during Lent. I felt so good completing this because I wanted to see if I could really be that disciplined. I lost 15 pounds. That was nice but there is no way I could live on just veggies, fruit and water. I already have a green smoothie most weekdays for breakfast, so in September I swore off all diets, got back in the gym 5-6 days per week and got the same results by life style change. And the added bonus, by getting on the elliptical at least 3 times per week my hip bursitis doesn't bother me at all anymore! I totally agree with you, a healthy lifestyle beats dieting PERIOD!

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  16. Good for you onefromphilly!

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  17. Woohoo!!! You must have one happy and healthy heart!! The fab body is just icing on the cake!

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    1. I know it sure does feel better when I take the stairs these days! Thanks Ines!

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  18. Way to go lady!! The fight switches up as time goes on.. it now becomes harder to keep the muscle than it is to keep the weight off. Weight training is totally necessary no matter if you do bulk up just a tad bit.

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    1. I'm learning that! Thanks Andrea!

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  19. Loved reading this post! You are so right about not being able to tolerate a lot of fried/fatty foods any longer, that is so me. :-(. I actually feel better though by cutting foods out like that (about 95% of the time). I was a cardio maniac, but now I have started switching to mainly strength training and my body is finally transforming. I do love dance classes and the elliptical though.

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    1. Never would've thought in a million years that I would LOVE the elliptical. Thanks Levone!

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  20. Totally agree with the weight training.

    It gives you different goals to aim for. Instead of how much weight have I lost and how many inches have I lost? you can ask much can I lift and how many reps can I do?!

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    1. I totally agree Miss J!

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  21. You've always been such an inspiration because of the gorgeous garments you create. I don't ever see anything on your blog (& I've followed it for a few years!) that I think, yuck. :) You know style. I just wanted to say congratulations on taking back your health! You're right about scheduling the time. You don't just "find" the time. You have to make the time. It needs to be non-negotiable in your life. And yeah, I see that muscle in that well-toned arm of yours! Keep up the great work!

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    1. LOL @ Yuck! Thanks SmileDog Stitches!

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  22. Hello Erika, thanks for your motivational post for people like me who want to lose weight and do not know how. Just this week I bought an elliptical machine and are very good for the knees do not hurt as they did with other sports. I am just getting to know the machine and your post came at a perfect time. I would to know how many times a week you use the elliptical machine and how many minutes. My machine has many training programs but I have still not used this because I trained only with some programs that I have found on youtube and yesterday in 44 minutes i burned 401 calories. It is so incredible to see how quickly the physical condition is improving and just using the elliptical machine. My first training was last Sunday and I could train only 5 minutes and yesterday i trained 44 minutes with 2 short breaks to drink water. I would like to reading more of your posts about sport and your healthy lifestyle. Congratulations and thank you again.

    Greetings from Germany ;o)

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  23. Thanks for all the inspiration! I love lifting, too. It’s such a great activity for women.

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  24. Let me just say ditto to all the other comments! Erica, you know I'm a fan and I have to say it again - why are you not supa famous? Congratulations on your lifestyle changes!

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  25. Erica! You look fabulous as always.... but I do wonder about all the gorgeous garments you've made before your weight-loss. Do you have a lot of alterations to make? Is that a priority for you? Or does everything just fit better now? How are you going to change your old wardrobe to fit now that your body has been changed by all your hard work? I am in a sewing funk lately because I am worried something I sew now won't fit in a few months-- I'm also mid healthy-lifestyle-bootcamp! Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated xoxox

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  26. I'm a lifelong heavy lifter and buy supplements to fill every last nutritional hole I can think of, and then some. It gives digestive support and is always full of natural energy.

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  27. Thanks so much for the insight! I have a personal goal to lose as I approach 40 in less than a year and half! You are such an inspiration!!!!

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