Credit: Brittany Carlson/Wikimedia Commons Credit: Brittany Carlson/Wikimedia Commons

So I mentioned that I'm the clumsiest woman in America, right? My first Zumba class proved it.

I've been hearing for years how great Zumba is, with friends who swear it's the best workout and others who even teach Zumba classes. My two left feet and I made it though 15 minutes of a 45 minutes class.

I just couldn't get it — everyone else made it look so easy, and there I was in the back corner tripping over myself. What is a kick-ball-change, anyhow?

 

I walked out. And I was mad. Not at anyone else. Just at myself.

When I decided to start this project, I vowed not to quit. I can't count the number of times I've started diets, joined (and paid for) gyms but never went, made excuses to justify being lazy and stayed on the couch.

This time, I promised myself it would be different. And here I was, quitting the first time it got hard.

Well, I may have left the class but I stayed at the gym. Frustrated, I got on a treadmill and made myself keep going.

It wasn't a wasted night — I ran/jogged a mile in 17 minutes, six minutes faster than the week before.

Maybe I'll try Zumba again when I gain some confidence, but maybe I won't. There's nothing that says we all have to love the same workout. Maybe I'll keep running instead.

Meantime, I've been back to spin class — the second time was easier, and I feel such a sense of accomplishment afterward. And I've fallen in love with the BareFit class, which uses small weighs and resistance band to build strength, flexibility, and balance.

By the way, NYHRC is still looking for participants for the "Fit to Say I Do" program, a 10-week series of classes that combines cardio interval training with Barre Method techniques. The classes will start on March 1, with a second session in April and May.

For more information, click here or contact the club's group fitness director at gfdirector@nyhrc.com

You are what you eat

New York Health & Racquet Club Nutrition Program Director Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN  Credit: NYHRC New York Health & Racquet Club Nutrition Program Director Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Credit: NYHRC

I've known for years that my diet needed a major overhaul, and that my sugar intake was a problem. Until now, I ate what I wanted when I wanted, without keeping track of calories, fat, or nutrients.

For the last few weeks, I've been logging my food and exercise with the MyFitnessPal website and app and paying much closer attention to what I'm eating.

For example, breakfast used to consist of a bunch of Dunkin' Donuts munchkins and a large iced coffee — regardless of the fact that each donut hole packs 70 calories and 4 grams of fat. That adds up fast! I was eating at least 500 calories a day at breakfast alone. I didn't eat an actual lunch very often (also not a good idea) but snacked throughout the day.

So what am I doing instead? I haven't eliminated Dunkin altogether, but it turns out their egg white and turkey sausage wrap has only 150 calories — along with 10 grams of protein, something the donut holes definitely didn't include. Switching from whole milk to skim also saves calories and fat. This means I'm starting my day with about 200 calories instead of 500 or more.

At lunch time, I'm making a concerted effort to eat, choosing salads with minimal dressing (Trader Joe's has some really tasty ones that I can just grab and go). Snacks have switched from chips, cookies, and candy to carrots (with or without hummus), fresh fruit, and nuts.

I won't say I don't miss the sweet stuff — I DO — but I have more energy and feel less draggy in the afternoon.

NYHRC Nutrition Program Director Alanna Cabrero says it's a good start, but had lots of helpful suggestions, including cooking large quantities and then dividing them into portions. Making oatmeal or hard boiled eggs ahead of time will help me grab something even healthier for breakfast, instead of processed foods.

If I'm going a long time between lunch and the gym, I need to have a snack. Alanna calls it "hugging" my workout: Eating something small about an hour beforehand to give me energy, and after to recover.

Alanna's Shopping List:
Non-starchy veggies: Peppers (orange and yellow are sweetener), onions, greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc.), broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans
Low-fat Greek yogurt (no added fruit)
Frozen or fresh fruit (blackberries and raspberries are higher in fiber, but a variety is always good)
Sesame butter
Kombucha
Pistachios with shell
Almonds or walnuts
Eggs (organic/free range)
Oatmeal (old-fashioned, no additional flavors)
Chia seeds
Spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg)
Herbal teas (peppermint, floral, cinnamon, etc. are naturally sweet)
Stevia or Agave nectar instead of Splenda

Breakfast:
Greek yogurt + ½ cup of fruit + 1 Tbsp. of crushed nuts or 1 tsp. of chia seeds (Optional: ½-1 tsp. of Agave)
¾ cup of spiced oatmeal (cooked) + ½ cup of fruit + 1 Tbsp. of crushed nuts or 1 tsp. of chia seeds (Optional: ½-1 tsp. of Agave)
1 piece of bread (at least 3 grams of fiber) + 1 egg + ½ cup of low fat cottage cheese + small fruit (fist-sized)

Snacks:
Small fruit with 1 tsp. of nut butter
1 cup of low-fat milk + 1 Tbsp. with unsweetened cacao
KIND bar (half)
20 pistachios + small fruit
(For more snack ideas, click here)

Drinks:
Use less Splenda in coffee, replacing it with Agave or Stevia
Drink less coffee
Dilute Crystal Light
Add herbal teas (including iced)
Try seltzer with a slice of orange or fresh mint

Progress Report


I'm happy to report that things continue to move in the right direction. That wedding dress is going to need some alterations!

Starting Stats
Weight (Jan. 29): 209.5 pounds
Body Mass Index (BMI): 36
Chest (Dec. 28): 48 inches
Waist: 41 inches
Hips: 48.5 inches

Current Stats (as of Feb. 11)
Weight: 199 pounds (10.5 lost!)
BMI: 34.2
Chest: 46 inches
Waist 40.75 inches
Hips: 45.75 inches

Amanda Art is Metro’s social media manager. Over the next few months, track her weight loss progress as she readies for her May 3 wedding. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @NYNewsgirl.

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