I Hate This Part Right Here.

Bonus points if that made you sing a Pussycat Dolls song when you read it.

If you have been following (or even just reading occasionally since I started this blog, you may remember it all started with 30 Day Updates.

Every 30 days (or so), I posted a photo of myself in my under-stuff so that I could track my weight loss journey.

The main reason I did this? Purely for accountability, and to give myself a reason to KEEP. ON. GOING.

Alas, shit happens.

Here I am, 5 1/2 years later and the amount of life changes I’ve faced in that time is kind of mind-boggling to me. On top of changing jobs approximately 5 times, moving 3 (or was it 4?) times, beginning a serious relationship, a really weird and blurry 18 month old period where I worked upwards of 90 hours per week without sleep….I don’t really have any concrete excuses for what happened.

All I know is life got crazy, life got hard, and here I am trying to get back to the lowest weight I ever hit: 198 pounds. Or at least somewhere close to it, kinda sorta. Really, I just want to feel as amazing as I did then. I want to be able to do everything my body could do then, again.

You may have seen my most recent post about Whole30 and how since I discovered and tried it last August, I’ve made a lot of changes for the better.

Although I feel those differences, I was really struggling to physically see any changes. So I thought to myself, “Why don’t you start back at the beginning?”

When I began my first round of Whole30 on August 13th, 2016 I had Sean take a photo of me to compare to throughout my process. I actually felt so great and was so happy that my scale moved 13 pounds….I forgot the photo.

So, I took a new photo today before leaving home for work, and begrudgingly pulled up the old one for comparison.

I wasn’t looking forward to making this collage…but I am glad I did. Not only was it important to me to see the difference, but I thought it might be helpful to those who are trying Whole30 or struggling through these types of situations to see that my story and experience are real.

And so, Sondra in her underwear photos have returned.

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August 13, 2016 and January 12, 2017

And so, thats where I’m at. It’s not perfection, and it probably never will be. But I’m ok with that.

How do you track your progress? Does the visual make you feel more accomplished, or do you prefer to track by weight and measurements? I wanna know!

Until next time!

See Sondra Sign-off-stacked

 

Besides What You See….

Ok, confession: I love musicals.

Like, obsessively, ridiculously love musicals.

Like, when I drive home at 5 am in the morning from my night shifts, I’ll turn off the radio and sing songs from Funny Girl or The Sound of Music, or Frozen to keep me entertained and awake.

My mom introduced me to The Sound of Music when I was about 5 years old, and it’s still one of my very favorite stories and musicals of all time!

This post was inspired by the song Maria sings:

“Strength doesn’t lie in numbers
Strength doesn’t lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up — Wake Up!

It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone

I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides what you see I have confidence in me!”

I have always loved those lines, but as I learned to love myself over the years, it dawned on me how this little musical affirmation makes such a difference for me!

People remark on my confidence pretty frequently, and it always surprises me. In my ideal world, we would all be confident and ambitious people, who wake up ready to kick ass, and take names! “Can’t,” “won’t,” “shouldn’t” and other hesitant words would be abolished from our vocabularies, and we’d put our big girl (or boy) panties on and MAKE. THINGS. HAPPEN.

But, alas, we are only human. we aren’t sure if we can pull off a certain look, quit a job to chase our dreams, or maybe even make rent next month. The list goes on, and on!

I really value the fact that people see me as a strong, and confident person. I am those things. But rest assured, I have bad days, financial problems, personal struggles, and insecurities too! I tend to be more vulnerable and candid with these things, because I think it’s very important for people to know that someone with a past like mine-filled with emotional abuse, physical abuse, homelessness, and other various struggles- is surviving merely because of a choice. Maybe even because I live in a world that assumes those things will break me, or make me weak.

I am a LOT of things…but weak is generally only used to describe me when cookies are involved (no shame).

I genuinely believe that confidence is something I put on every day. It’s that coat of mascara to make you look a little more awake, or that statement necklace you use to punch up a basic ensemble. It’s the finishing touch to make you feel a little more…complete. And if you do this everyday, soon, it becomes second nature, and you find yourself walking taller, smiling at more strangers, and smiling to yourself because you feel wonderful.

Because you feel like a powerful, wonderful YOU.

Life has issued me many challenges, and I face more and more of them everyday. But knowing that you have those beautiful, strong qualities inside you makes it a bit better. Take a minute each day to “put your confidence on,” and I promise you’ll see some really positive changes. I am at the point now where I feel confident just because I wear matching bra and panty sets (thank you, OCD!).

You deserve to be treated like the amazing person you are. But you have to lead by example, and show the world what you deserve. It starts with you! And if it’s a corny
“Sound of Music” verse (or a Lil’ Wayne freestyle, which also works wonders for me, as well), then SO BE IT!

Sometimes, you just have to fake it until you make it. And that is perfectly fine, if it helps you build that confidence in yourself. Own it, rock it, and SHOW THEM HOW AMAZING YOU ARE!

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Photo: Bing Images

I’m always here in your corner. 🙂

‘Til Next Time! Have a great week!

SeeSondraSignaturePRINT

The #GoVoxBox Reveal!

Hey Everyone,

I am so excited to share my new goodies with you all. I am a member of a website called Influenster, where you take surveys and review products. By connecting your social media outlets to your Influenster account, you can get “status” for sharing things with others. I recently was qualified for the #GoVoxBox with an over health and fitness theme, and couldn’t wait to share all the goodies that came inside!

First Look!

First Look!

 

Each VoxBox comes with a card detailing the products and gives Social Media handles to use to share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Typically, these cards go over the retail value of the products, as well!

Each VoxBox comes with a card detailing the products and gives Social Media handles to use to share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Typically, these cards go over the retail value of the products, as well!

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The Vitamin Shoppe "Next Step" Weight Management Program goodies!

The Vitamin Shoppe “Next Step” Weight Management Program goodies!

I generally have very mixed emotions about The Vitamin Shoppe, simply because on the 3 occasions Sean has taken me there to look at supplements, everyone acts too busy to help us or answer questions about which of the millions may be suitable for us. However, I was very excited to see that they have this new Weight Management line, and I can’t wait to try the shake flavors and see if they are tasty enough to make this a regular part of my life!

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Along with the Next Step shakes, there is a shaker bottle too! I love that the shaker mechanism shape is that of a jack! I can’t wait to put this baby to use! Plus it’s a super fun color!

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème in Lavender and Chamomile

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème in Lavender and Chamomile

I am a big lavender fan, and I am excited to try Aqua Spa Relax products. I’ll be using this after my shower tonight…. lavender is supposed to aid sleep!

Blue Diamond Fruit Flavored Almonds in Blueberry

Blue Diamond Fruit Flavored Almonds in Blueberry

I have tried flavored Blue Diamond Almonds before, but they were toffee flavored. I can’t wait to rip these open after my workout tomorrow as a sweet snack!

PROFOOT Triad Orthotics

PROFOOT Triad Orthotics

YAY!!! Athletic orthotics that are affordable, easy to fit in multiple styles, and not completely bulky and weird looking! I am trying these babies out during my workout tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see if they help my stability! They are “3 zone, everyday orthotics clinically proven to relieve knee, leg, and back pain when worn in your favorite shoes.”

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock

I love the pedi-rock concept! This is way less gross than the PED-egg craze, and it’s pretty cool that it can be used wet or dry. This will definitely save me the extra $5 for the callus remover add-on during my salon pedicures. 🙂

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

So, the cool thing about these tampons is that they are designed to neutralize odors for ultimate freshness. Girls who run marathons, go hiking, participate in extreme sports…. they are BAD ASS. But they are still girls… they have periods too. Staying fresh when you do high octane activity is a must!

Müller Greek Coupon for one FREE Müller Greek product up to $1.49

Müller Greek Coupon for one FREE Müller Greek product up to $1.49

I love, love LOVE Müller Corner Greek yogurt! There is one with little dark chocolate flecks and cherry compote…. and I’m not generally crazy about black cherries or dark chocolate…. but it’s SO good. I think it’s awesome that this product is getting some more exposure. The low fat yogurt with fun toppings or fruit really making eating healthy more enjoyable!

So, as you can see, this box is full of goodies to help make a healthy lifestyle even more enjoyable! I will gradually share more about these products as I use them, and I can’t wait to find some new favorite items in the process (PROFOOT orthotics are only $10.49 a pair! Can you imagine how much more inclined to be to support your feet at a great price like that?)!

What are your favorite items for a healthy lifestyle? And if you’ve tried any of these, I want to hear YOUR thoughts!

More later!

SeeSondraSignaturePRINT

 

 

Guest Post: Staying Motivated to Work Out with Sara Upton

Staying Motivated to Work Out

With Guest Blogger: Sara Upton

For the past few years now, I’ve been trying to lose weight. And you know what I’ve found? It’s really hard. I wish it was difficult just for me, but I know this isn’t the case. I’ve spoken to plenty of people who also struggle to shed the pounds. Especially since, in the society we live in, there are countless advertisements for junk food bombarding us every day–messages goading us to ignore healthy foods in favor of a treat or for the sake of convenience.

If avoiding the fatty foods wasn’t a big enough problem, there’s the fact that regular exercise has to be part of the plan when it comes to getting slim. And it’s the exercise part that I find the hardest to maintain. I can refuse to eat fast food or keep candy around my house. I can avoid cooking with a deep fryer and drink water instead of soda. But it’s establishing and a maintaining a regular workout routine that has posed the greatest challenge for me. What it comes down to really isn’t so much a problem with getting active–it’s finding the motivation to maintain an exercise plan.

I’ve gotten a lot better at staying motivated in recent months, so it’s not as big of a problem as it used to be (though it is still bothersome). I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned in overcoming motivational hurdles, in hopes that you’ll be able to use this information in your own journey of living a healthier life.

Join a gym.

Ever since I joined my gym, I’ve found it easier to work out regularly. There’s something about exercising around other people–even if I’m not in a class–that makes my workouts better. I also like the various pieces of equipment in gyms, so my visits can have some variation. Some gyms throughout America include Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness.

Get the right tools.

One tool I personally use is a sleep and activity tracker by Jawbone called UP. According to Verizon Wireless, “Users barely remember they have it on while the smart accessory tracks their daily activities, providing data to help them set and achieve fitness goals.” So if you want to see how much you’re sleeping or view how far you’ve walked throughout the day, this could be a good tool for you.

Have a vision statement.

What are the one or two primary reasons why you want to lose weight? Maybe it’s so you can have the energy to play with your grandkids one day. Maybe it’s so you can be fit enough to run a marathon. Or maybe you just want to feel better in your everyday routine. Whatever your reason, write it down and put it in a place where you can see it every day. I’ve found this helps me stay focused and disciplined.

Exercise with a friend.

Having a friend come along with me when I go for a run or head to the gym makes the experience much better. Plus, I have someone to hold me accountable when I start to sway from my focus. I’ve found exercising with a friend also helps them to stay motivated in their workout routine, too.

These are a few ways I stay motivated, and I wish I could say it’s always a breeze to get up and go work out. I have found, however, that following these tips makes it easier to get in shape.