Weight Loss Stalls #What Happened?!

Hello fellow bloggers, writers, sisters, brothers, creators, influencers, or whatever title you go by. Welcome to today’s blog. This topic is on something that I have researched a lot lately because I’ve been going through it. And that is weight loss stalls. Blah.

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. What I’m saying here is based on my own personal experiences and what I have learned from others along the way. *

With that being said, there are many reasons you could be in a weight loss stall and for the purpose of this blog and my scope of knowledge I am solely going to talk about the reasons I know and feel confident writing about.

Now on to the content.

One question to ask yourself is how long you have been dieting? For me personally, I have been dieting since August of 2016. That’s just short of a year now. *Insert loud, obnoxious groan.* In other words, I have been in a caloric deficit for that many months. And looking back, this is a ton of stress on my body. What I’m now looking to do is start a reverse diet. Essentially this means raising my calories to just about maintenance level to give my body a break and get my metabolism up higher. Your body needs variety. If you eat the same amount of calories for too long with no variation, weight loss is likely to slow down and/or stop.

Imagine you’re a college student. You come back January 14th-ish and are ready to start the spring semester. You get through it. Month after month. Then finally in
May you take finals and yessssss you’re done! That after finals feeling is so stinkin’ spectacular.

But what if you weren’t done? What if the day after your last final started 4 new classes? And the whole class/study/no sleep process immediately continued. It would suck. Just writing this sounds miserable.

Well your body is the same way. It needs that summer vacation if you’ve been dieting for too long! So maybe raising your calories for a few weeks and simply appreciating your body and what all is amazing things it does for you is the key. Then after this reverse diet, you can choose to go back to a cut phase (aka caloric deficit).

If this is you I would definitely go online and check out some articles on reverse dieting. It is a very real and magnificent concept. I will post more blogs along my journey to let you know how it goes for me!

Peace.

Con Amor,

Natasha

 

Where Was I?! Life Update and Study Tips

Hey beautiful people.

Just wanted to make a short post and say 1. Yes. I’m alive. *sighs* And 2. I am sorry for the lack of posts over the last 2 weeks. If you don’t already know this I am a college student, server, and I workout 6 days a week. Last week was finals week for 1 of my summer classes and I was so beyond stressed, sleep deprived, and really did not think I was capable of or had time to create a quality post on here…so I was MIA. My apologies! My consistency is back now.

So, to go with the theme here, I’ve decided to post some study tips that definitely have saved me many times.

  1. PRIORITIZE. I know it’s tempting to open your laptop and go straight to YouTube or Netflix…but resist. Making your school’s website your homepage is a good way to help with this. For instance, my school uses Blackboard so every time I open Chrome it’s the first thing I see.
  2. Consistency. Who’s ever crammed for a test before? *95% of world raise hand* It’s daunting and miserable to spend all night frying your brain with equations and graphs. Instead, commit to 30 minutes to 2 hours a day for homework (varies of course with level of course and how many classes/credit hours you are enrolled in). No more last minute “learn it all right before the test” sessions. They hardly ever work anyway.
  3. Listen to relaxing music. Personally, I like the “Nature Sounds Radio” station on Pandora, but any soothing music should work. Some examples are beach sounds, piano music, chimes, thunder sounds, etc.
  4. Take short, frequent breaks. It’s amazing what getting up and stretching can do for you. Magic.
  5. Stay organized. Write everything in a planner. This is how I survived AP courses in high school and how I am currently surviving business school at my university. I also recommend getting a marker board and sticking it in your room, in the kitchen, or even on the fridge. Not only can you keep track of homework due dates and exams, but also grocery lists, appointments, and all the other crazy stuff on your schedule!

Hope this helps guys. Stay positive. Stay true. And do you. I’ll talk to you all soon. Much love.

XO. Con Amor,

Natasha

Do We Overlook the Simple Things in Life?

How many of you have heard the phrase Treat others the way you want to be treated or perhaps Follow your dreams or simply Be honest.

All the time right? I mean our kindergarten teachers taught us this stuff. We hear it now and we’re like whatever in our heads. We know this stuff. No biggie.

Now on the other hand, how many times in a day do we complain? How many times do we think we’re undeserving of some bad thing that happens to us? How many times do we deem something unfair? How many times do we crave more? More money, more fame, more friends, more clothes, more devices, more followers…you name it. You see many of us are so caught up in excuses. Excuses for wanting something but not taking the time and energy required to get it. We’re obsessed with the concept of simplicity. We don’t want the stress and inconvenience of problems. But life is always going to have problems. So therefore the goal is not necessarily to make your life easier, but rather to change and adapt the way in which you handle life’s complications.

Instead of getting frantic when something bad happens, instead of going to Doctor Google to look for solutions, instead of complaining to others……I encourage you to take a step back. Breathe. Go back to those sayings we learned when we were five. Ask yourself these questions: How are you treating the people in your life? Are you surrounding yourself with positive people? Are you being honest? Are you occupying your time with activities that are going to push you further? Or are you waisting time watching episodes of Shameless? (And I mean MORE than 5 episodes a day 🙂 )

My point is this. Don’t overthink things and stress yourself out. Stop looking for a magic formula! Because it doesn’t exist. And it never will. Often times the answer is right in front of us. We just need to go back and remember those simple things that we hear all the time but yet do not apply in our lives.

I’m going to leave you guys with a quote my one of my favorite motivational speakers, Les Brown. He says, “You don’t get in life what you want; you get in life what you are.”

Love you all. Have a spectacular day.

Con Amor,

Natasha

 

Dieting and Stress 101

Hey guys! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Today’s entry is on something I’ve been researching and analyzing in my own life a lot the past few days. And that is STRESS. More specifically, what is stress? What effect does it have on your body? How can it effect your weight? And what can we do to reduce it? So let’s dive in today and take a further look at this.

First off, what is stress?

A sucky truth of life. Just kidding. It’s your body’s response to some type of tension, action, or change. That can be psychological, physiological, or most likely a combination of both. We all have it and there’s no eliminating it, but there are certainly healthy ways to manage it.

What effect does it have on your body?

The stress hormone in our body is known as cortisol. It is one of our main adrenal hormones. The key is to regulate these cortisol levels so our bodies can be in good hormonal balance. When our cortisol levels are high (in other words, when we’re under a lot of stress) our bodies get sad, confused, and cannot operate the way they’d like to. This can cause symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, weight gain, cravings, mood swings, headaches, hot flashes, lack of energy, and so much more. Surprisingly, cortisol also plays a role in our digestive system so when we’re under stress bloating, stomach pain, constipation, etc. are also common.

How can cortisol effect your weight?

So we know there is a correlation between high cortisol and weight gain, but how? Well, a couple different ways. First off: cravings. Think about it. What do we do after a long day at work or school? Drink a beer. Go out to Olive Garden. Have a martini. Eat a billion servings of delicious, buttery, heart attack popcorn at the movie theater. Oh yeah. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there and done that. High cortisol=high insulin=low blood sugar=”Give me sugar now!” Next up: metabolism. Digestion can be slowed down with high cortisol levels as well as your body not getting 100% of the vital nutrients out of what you’re consuming. Cortisol also releases glucose into your bloodstream for a quick energy source. This glucose will circulate around and around your body until eventually it is restored as fat, commonly around your stomach. Check out this article from LiveStrong here for more information. More Info

What can we do to reduce cortisol levels?

In other words, how can we reduce stress in our lives? I have come up with a top 5 list that has been very beneficial for me. So here goes:

  1. Wake up and spend 10-30 minutes only on yourself. Don’t check your phone. Don’t start a long conversation with anyone. Don’t look at your to do list or turn on the TV. Focus on you. Perhaps this looks like going on walk or run, journaling, taking a hot shower or a relaxing bubble bath, reading, drawing, etc. Whatever it is, enjoy it and be in the moment. Don’t think about anything else.
  2. Compliment yourself every day. I think it’s easy to get caught up in what society or what other people expect out of you. We get hard on ourselves and sometimes expect perfection. But no one is perfect. We all have our unique features, personalities, hobbies, and desires. So look at yourself in the mirror and say something nice to the person staring at you every day. 🙂
  3. Eat healthy foods. I just don’t think a pizza and McDonalds lifestyle is something that’s going to promote low stress. Agree? I have noticed even when I have a “cheat” meal, I feel unenergized afterwards. I just know what I ate is not something my body truly wanted. Instead, try a salad and make it super fun. And by fun I mean pile it up with all the fruits, nuts, veggies, and seeds you’d like! Throw on some cheese at the end too, of course. You’ll feel amazing afterwards. It’s your body’s way of saying thank you.
  4. Prioritize. Try this. Take a piece of paper and write your name in the middle. Draw a circle around your name. Then on the sides of the paper write what you spend your time doing and the amount of hours it requires in a day. (NOTE: #1 is to write “Sleep, 8 hours.”) Other examples: “School, 5 hours,” “Cook dinner, 30 minutes,” or “Exercise, 1 hour.” Once you’re done going through what you do in a typical day, add up the total # of hours. Is it 15? Or closer to 24? Over 24? If it’s over 24, you definitely have some prioritizing to do (And I do too since I calculated 27.5 hours).
  5. Sleep. Then sleep some more. Lack of sleep is something a lot of people struggle with, including me. I know it’s hard to get in a full 8 hours, but it’s so important for your health. And caffeine is not a substitute! So try turning off your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed (except your phone for the alarm). A sleeping mask, aromatherapy oils/soaps, calming music, or hot tea can also help you get a good night’s rest.

Alright guys. There you have it. Dieting and stress 101. Let me know what you all think about the topic and if there are things you do in your life to help reduce stress that I didn’t mention! Thanks for reading.

XO.

Con Amor,

Natasha

 

 

25 Before 25

Well hello and woah. I just learned this new term. It’s called “25 before 25.” It’s basically the bucket list for younger people. And what type of blog would I be running if I didn’t have a 25 before 25 post?? So here goes. I’ve got 6 years to knock these babies out.

  1. Return to the most wonderful place I have ever been…Puerto Rico.
  2. Graduate from college.
  3. Attain an official personal training certificate.
  4. Have a long conversation with a native Spanish speaker without any difficulty, confusion, or awkwardness.
  5. Try a Grey Goose Martini. I’m sorry guys, but it’s in all the movies. How could I not desire this cute, fun little drink. Oh, and double olives please. Extra dirty.
  6. Take one of those luxurious bikini photos on a beach.
  7. Have a successful, growing YouTube channel.
  8. Fall in l-o-v-e. So cliche. Oh well. What girl doesn’t? 
  9. Get a tattoo. I’m thinking one of an elephant would be dope. Especially if it’s watercolor.
  10. Live in an apartment I love. Someplace to call home. It seems like so many of my living situations have had problems (bugs, mice, bad roommates, sucky landlords, etc.)
  11. Draw a piece of artwork for my home. And I don’t mean a 10 minute doodle. Something that was thought out. A piece with significance and value. Something I’m proud of.
  12. Run a 5K. I want to say half marathon, but that’s a little risky. I’ll save that for my 26th year alive. 🙂
  13. Learn to 110% embrace and love every single roll, blemish, muscle, and scar on my body.
  14. This one should be #1. Deepen my connection with Jesus and follow a Christian lifestyle.
  15. Swim with a dolphin. Because they’re divine, spunky creatures. 
  16. Pet an elephant. Ride an elephant? They’re one of my favorite animals, but I’d like to keep it cruelty free. ❤
  17. Save $20,000. I’m a business major. This goal goes without explanation!
  18. Learn to do makeup on myself. It doesn’t have to be like spectacular, but right now, my “make up routine” is dabbing on concealer with my fingers when I’m tired. 
  19. Get into the habit of reading books more often. It doesn’t have to be every week or anything, but I love books and it’s something I neglect a lot now. 
  20. Continue practing yoga. Such a healthy way to destress and improve flexibility. I never want to stop.
  21. Have at least a couple organizations I donate to faithfully.
  22. Have a 6 pack. At least when flexing! 
  23. Dance at a salsa night. And be shameless at it. I absolutely love Latin American culture. 
  24. Visit LA. So many YouTubers vlog here. And I wanna experience the delicious vegan food, calm beaches, and fun events. 
  25. Help, encourage, and make an impact in as many people’s lives as I can through my online platform. 

Thanks for reading. 🙂 XO

Con Amor,

Natasha

What’s Holding You Back? #followthedream

Mandella

Good evening, wonderful people! Well, I guess good morning for some and good afternoon for some too. Thank you for tuning in and reading another post. You guys really mean a lot to me and I hope what I’m writing is beneficial to at least one person. If so, it’s a success in my eyes.

Today’s topic is on What’s Holding You Back?  I think this topic is super important because we all have dreams and goals. Life is too short to not take advantage of these aspirations and passions. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10, 20, 35, or 65! There’s always time and there’s always hope. I want you guys to take special note of this equation below (I learned in one of my business management classes):

**********SUCCESS = PERSISTENCE + PASSION + TALENT**********

Now ask yourself these questions/take these steps.

  1. What is it that you want? What do you truly desire? What do you think your purpose is on this gorgeous, amazing place called Earth? Whatever that thing is that you’re considering using to answer this question, but you’re not sure because it’s so far fetched..THAT IS IT. That is your answer. So stop second guessing it and be proud that is your goal! On the other hand, if you’re reading these questions and are not sure what is it that you want…that’s perfectly fine too. Don’t rush it. It can take time and energy to find that one thing you want. But once you find it, trust me, you’ll know. Final note: If you’re reading this and thinking something like Oh, I’m not important enough to do this. or I’m fine with where I’m at. or I can’t afford to do what I want. Those are NOT okay answers! You are important. You’re here for a reason. And look back in history. Who is your inspiration? Is it Martin Luther King Jr.? Anne Frank? Nelson Mandela? Or today is it Michelle Obama? Steve Jobs? Ellen? Now ask yourself…do you think these people knew their whole lives how much of an inspiration they would be or what they would one day become? No. They were just average people at one point. People who used the success equation above to conquer their dreams and change the world. And if they can accomplish their dreams, then so can you. And money is not an excuse. Yes, it may be an obstacle, but do not let it hold you back. There are thousands of amazingly successful people in this world who at one point were living paycheck to paycheck. Some were homeless. Some had no clean water. Some had no parents. We’re all given a deck of cards. Some decks may be lucky and some not so much. But you can still win the game no matter what.
  2. Write it down. Comment what it is. Email me what it is. Tell your best friend. Tell a family member. This is the first step in making that dream public. The first step in making that idea a reality. This is going to help keep you accountable and start a vision for your goal. And once you write it down and see it, it feels so good.
  3. Decide what your first step is going to be and DO IT. (Yes, telling someone was technically the first step butttttt it doesn’t sound as cool to say “second” step.) It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, then go to your kitchen (yes, right now) and throw away every Twinkie, brownie, and box of Oreos in sight. If it is to start your own business, get a pen and paper or start a new tab on your computer and start brainstorming potential names for your business. If it is to go back to school, then get online and start searching for schools. Whatever it is, make that first step.
  4. Create an action plan. There are many ways to do this. Maybe you want to start with an end goal and back track from that on what steps you need to take. Maybe you want to do it month by month or week by week. Whatever your tactic, start your plan today. Make that vision even clearer. Set tasks. Set deadlines. Set milestones.
  5. Do something every day to keep working toward that goal. Don’t let it slip. Give it 110%. Remember, PERSISTENCE is part of the equation. Don’t get stuck in your old ways again. Make a change. Make an impact. Don’t be afraid and don’t think about failure. Think about progress and go to sleep every night with an idea of what you’re going to do tomorrow to keep working toward what you want!

Now technically the blog is over…but if you want to know a little more about me and my goal then keep reading. 🙂

*************************************************************************************

 

Just to make this a little more personal…my goal is to be a personal trainer and social media influencer. I’m 19 and have already had more jobs than I can count (probably in the 8-12 range). A couple jobs have worked well for me and I have stayed with them for a year or more. A couple times I’ve had to quit because I moved. But most I quit because I honestly was not happy. I cannot live a lifestyle of getting up unenergized and unhappy because of my occupation.

Of course, I am in college still and I’ve never thought of any of these jobs as being my “end goal,” but they have still taught me a lot about myself. And that is I cannot settle for anything less than extraordinary. I don’t want to live just an “okay” lifestyle. I want to feel purposeful, meaningful, and that I’m making the world a better place.

Therefore I believe creating an online platform is for me. A platform where I can share my thoughts, opinions, beliefs, tips, and lessons learned. I place where I can convey what makes me happy and healthy with the rest of you. As of now my sites will include: WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And I promise I will update you guys when my YouTube channel is launched! Right now I am familiarizing myself with different cameras, editing videos, and uploading.

As for motivation…I have a ton of self-motivation. I want to be the best I can be. But beyond that, I watch other YouTubers because they’re amazing. Preston Smiles, Amanda Bucci, Shameless Maya, BodyBuilding.com (yup it’s a channel name), LaToya Forever, Sarinia Bryant, Mischa Janiec, and PictureFit just to name a few. They have taught me so much and entertain me everyday. I also work in a gym so learning from clients and personal trainers is super beneficial too.

And final thought: How did I come up with my goal? Last summer, when I weighed 216 pounds, I felt miserable. I knew that was not who I was supposed to be. As I exercised and ate healthy food, I felt happier and happier each day. I used YouTube as my base for workouts, knowledge, and advice. I want my platform to help people just like me to achieve their goals. It doesn’t matter if it’s fitness related or not. The success equation is the same! So join me in this journey as we conquer the world. ❤ Love you all!

Con Amor,

Natasha

 

 

 

 

 

Diet or Exercise: Which is More Important?

o-EXERCISE-VS-DIET-FOR-WEIGHT-LOSS-facebook

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog. I hope you all woke up feeling refreshed, revived, and beautiful…because you are. 🙂

Anyway, on to today’s content. One of the most pressing questions in the fitness world: Is dieting or exercising more important for reducing body fat?

For those who want a simple, clear cut answer: “dieting.” However, I would prefer to call this clean eating, healthy eating, good nutrition, fuel food eating, etc. The term diet just has such a negative connotation. A diet seems unfun (…is this even a word?) and temporary. Meanwhile if you think about it as eating food that’s going to allow your body to perform and function at maximum efficiency…”clean eating” seems cooler and long-lasting.

So why is dieting more important? Because you cannot work off a bad diet! (Yes, a select few can but generally and for the purposes of this blog, no you cannot.) Imagine eating pancakes for breakfast everyday, McDonalds for lunch, chips for a snack, and pizza for dinner. And perhaps some ice cream or cinnamon sticks for dessert. This is well over 3000 calories of pure junk. It would take a long time in the gym to work this off every day and honestly most of us don’t have time for that. On top of that, you’re not going to be able to workout at your highest intensity because your body is not getting the essential nutrients it needs to perform optimally. And you may not feel too great eating like this consistently.

On the contrary, if you’re eating a balanced 1500-2000 calories a day and don’t make it to the gym on a regular basis, you’re still going to lose weight and feel good! You’re giving your body what it needs and not overloading it with unhealthy fuel. Of course exercising is a wonderful supplement when you’re eating clean and it will speed up getting those results you want, but at the end of the day you will still lose weight if you change your eating habits without exercising. And this is a great first step.

At the gym I work at a lot of personal trainers actually recommend drinking water as a first step for a lot of clients. Yes, you can still you have your coffee, tea, soda, juice, etc. but as a first step make sure to get your water intake up! I talked earlier on my blog about the gallon jug water challenge, which is awesome but also a bit extreme for some people. To start off, 8 glasses of water a day is sufficient (equivalent to 1/2 gallon).  But if you’re up for the gallon challenge, by all means have at it!

For me personally, I track my nutrition daily on the My Fitness Pal app. It’s a super easy way to track things. They have practically every brand, food, and chain restaurant’s nutrition on there. It will also tell you your daily macros (protein, carbs, and fats). You can even customize your profile and enter in your height, weight, and goal and it will automatically generate a good nutrition plan for you. I use this app religiously. Highly recommend it. (I do not track my once a week cheat meals though haha.)

I also workout 6-7 days a week. Most days are high intensity and 1-2 days will be lower intensity so my body can recover a bit. However, when I started, I only exercised 3 times a week. This is a good level to start at so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Easing into something is the best way to make it a long-term habit. Honestly I workout this much now because I love it! It’s just part of my day. The gym is my second home!

So to conclude, I would definitely recommend focusing more on your nutrition over working out if you’re just starting off or trying to choose between the two. And the best part is when you eat right, you may naturally get the desire to exercise or to just be active because your body will be so happy and energized. Many fitness-ies say results are 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. And I would agree. So go grocery shopping and overload your house with fruits and veggies!

Have a fantabulous day guys. Thanks for reading.

XO. Con Amor,

Natasha