My Simple Wedding Fitness Plan

Right now I’m really ramping up my diet and exercise in preparation for our January wedding. I don’t want to be trying to lose weight last-minute, so we started really working on a change in lifestyle about a month ago and it seems to be sticking.

You see, when I went shopping for my wedding dress, I was indecisive. I tried on 75+ wedding dresses. You guys, it was fun. I figured I’d wind up with some flattering A-line or something. Instead, I ordered my perfect dress and later found out it’s technically a “sheath” dress. Like literally two layers of fabric. I knew it was curve hugging when I tried it on but somehow the word “sheath” makes things seem so much less forgiving.

So I’m getting in shape.

The truth though? I’m scared I’m going to be one of those girls that gets in super good shape for her wedding and then immediately gains 10 pounds after. It wouldn’t shock me because I struggle to find motivation. Right now, the wedding is that motivation. Hopefully after the wedding, I’ll like how I look enough (or it will have become enough of a habit) that I just keep going with it.

I do not need to lose a drastic amount of weight but in order to be clear about my goals, I’d like to lose about 10lbs. by January. Slow and steady, nothing too crazy.

Here’s what I’m doing now.

My Simple Wedding Fitness Plan | eastandblog.com

1. Daily Workouts

I had not set foot in a gym since we moved to Philadelphia last October. I’m not proud of this but we just never found a good routine since we moved. The good news is, I have a fairly active job and I regularly walk 5 miles in the hospital and climb 30 flights of stairs (thanks iPhone 6 for tracking that for me).

These days we’re hitting the gym every day after work. The goal is to do something. Because if I have any workout mantra it is takeout and Netflix is so much better something is better than nothing.

I’ve been wanting to try Barre workouts but since my gym membership at work is $10 and Barre classes are $185/month (WHHATTT??), I turned to my trusty fitness instructor, YouTube. I go in to the studio area, set up my iPhone with the video, and do my own fitness class.

Here are the videos I’ve been loving:

On days that I don’t do videos, I alternate between cardio machines at the gym. I wear my Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor because it really helps me push myself to keep my heart rate up. I swear I work harder when I’m wearing it.

As we get closer to the wedding, I plan on increasing my cardio and hopefully by then, I’ll be showing a little more toned muscle.

2. Increase my protein and never starve

I usually drink coffee and call it breakfast. I realize this isn’t the best plan and usually by lunchtime, I’m ravenous.

I was recently sent SlimQuik Pure Protein (c/o SlimQuik) and began drinking it right when I get to work (around 9am) and again at about 4pm (an hour and a half before my workout).

The idea is that if I refuel with a little protein, I’m never starving and therefore don’t overeat and have more energy for better workouts. I’m shocked by what a difference it has made, particularly with the boost in energy for my workouts.

Since I’m a vegetarian and I don’t usually make much of an effort to be mindful of my protein, the additional 20 grams of protein are also helpful as I try to build muscle.

As a side note, if you mix the SlimQuik Pure Protein in Vanilla with vanilla soymilk or almond milk, it tastes shockingly like cake batter.

3. Continue my healthy diet but cut back on takeout

I’m not good at diets because I love food and I lack self-control. That said, my regular diet is pretty healthy. I eat a ton of vegetables and rarely eat heavy carb dishes. I’m lucky that the hospital cafeteria offers an abundance of healthy options and every item has the nutritional value listed (they even have bar codes with every item, so you can scan it right in to MyFitnessPal).

Frequently made recipes:

I like to eat a lot of colors because different colors = different nutrients = happy body.

Basically, I’m not changing too much of my diet, though we are trying to keep our takeout habits to once a week.

Foods I cannot resist no matter what:

  • Paneer Makhani from a fabulous indian takeout place in Philly, creatively named Indian Restaurant (not joking).
  • Blue cheese on crackers with honey.
  • Half and Half in my coffee. Because life is too short for skim milk.
  • Real sugar. I don’t do artificial sweeteners. Fear of cancer and stuff.

Overall I try to stick to around 1500 calories a day or less but I don’t count calories every day and on weekends I eat what I want (i.e. freaking huge brunches).

4. Stay hydrated

Two liters a day, minimum. Usually closer to three. All I drink is coffee, water, and wine.

5. Don’t forget my daily multi-vitamin

Can we be vain here for a second? I only take vitamins to try to make my hair grow faster. And since I’m hoping for long, luscious wave by the wedding, I basically need vitamins (and a miracle).

Now help a girl out: do you have any tips for getting in shape? If you’re a YouTube fitness video fan like me, what’s your favorite?

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You Probably Don’t Know…

Cactus in the Window

1. I am required to wear a black blazer every day to work. I used to think black blazers were a fun, versatile clothing item but now I kind of hate them.

2. I think the whole “oh my gosh let me see your ring!” and me sticking out my hand thing is super awkward.

3. I’m absurdly ticklish. Pedicures are torture.

4. After months of trying to improve my Instagram and striving for those perfect (staged) photos, I finally realized that it needed it to reflect my real life more. So I’m working on that. I discovered the photo editing app Enlight and have been using it on my recent Instagram photos and I think its editing capabilities make regular life look a lot more awesome. See the photo above and check out my Instagram.

5. The hardest part of wedding planning is family related stuff that I can’t share on the blog. The wedding details are easy. The family stuff? Not so much.

6. I started Blog Brighter because I felt weird just talking about myself all the time on this blog. I wanted to write, just not about me.

7. I have a jingle for almost everything. I wrote N and Archie their own theme songs and I sing them all the time. N never complains about this because his includes the phrase “handsome man” a lot.

8. I have really terrible hearing. It sometimes really embarrasses me because I have to ask people to repeat things a lot or I turn my head to listen with just my right ear (cause it’s better than my left).

Helene in Between

3 TV Shows to Stream this Summer

Thank goodness spring weather puts everyone in a good mood (especially me) because otherwise I’d be suffering from a mild depression now that we’re deprived of new episodes of our favorite tv shows.

Every year around May as I watch all the season finales I wonder, but what will I watch? This usually means that summer is our time to find new (old) tv shows we love via streaming services and watch all the episodes, get “caught up”, and then become a regular viewer in the fall.

Here are some we’ve found recently that I’d recommend.

Best TV Shows Available Amazon Prime and Netflix

Transparent

Amazon Prime Original Series

Where do I even begin with how much I loved this show? The show is about a Los Angeles family and their lives as they each discover that their father Mort is transgender and is now Maura. Sometimes the pain on Maura’s face (played by Jeffrey Tambor) was so raw, so brutal, that I’m unsure how anyone could watch the show and not feel for her. I cried multiple times but since it’s technically a dramady, it also has plenty of laughs. The entire show was just so real.

The best way I can describe it is that it made me feel all the feels the way Parenthood did but more adult content mixed in.

I feel like this show is a shining example of how television shows (or movies) can do good in the world by using fictional stories to bring light to real issues, real people. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. Everyone deserves that.

Grace and Frankie

Netflix original series

When their law partner husbands come out as long time lovers, Grace and Frankie are shocked. These two former rivals could not be more different. Grace (played by Jane Fonda) is a high-maintenance, former cosmetics mogul. Frankie (played by Lily Tomlin) is an artistic hippie.

The two never really liked each other, though they are forced to realize that they need each other to get through this difficult time in their lives.

This show has just the right amount of serious with funny. I love the chemistry between Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I enjoyed the evolution of their friendship as the episodes went on. I also loved Sol, played by Sam Waterston (from The Newsroom and Law and Order).

Extant

CBS, available on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming

Why didn’t I watch this sooner!? Extant came out last summer with 13 episodes. Halle Berry is the main character in this Steven Spielberg produced sci-fi drama. Yup, I love sci-fi.

Molly (Halle Berry) returns home after a 13 month solo mission to space. As the show progresses, details come out about strange events that took place in space. Almost every episode has an oh-my-gosh moment and after the first episode, I was hooked. The next season comes out this July and I can’t wait to watch.

Do you have any recommendations for shows that are available via streaming services? Please share!

The Last Five and the Next

Five years ago (almost exactly) I sat on the big, L-shaped couch in my sorority house next to all of the seniors (seniors get the couch, duh). At our very last meeting, each senior got to say a few words and then share with everyone what their post-college plans were.

I remember feeling fairly confident in my answer. I have no idea why, because I had about $370 and no actual plan.

I said something like this:

I was moving across the country. I was putting everything in the trunk of my Honda Accord and driving from California to Maine. After a summer spent as a camp counselor in mid-coast Maine, I would move to Boston to start grad school. I’d get my Masters in Education and become a 4th grade teacher. I’d live in Boston.

I wanted it to be true. At the time, it’s exactly what I wanted.

The next five years looked nothing like that. I did become a camp counselor and spent one last summer as a kid, horsing around, doing art projects, and teaching some kids how to canoe.

But somehow months later I wound up in a cubicle and later, in a city I thought I hated (Philadelphia) that I now love.

I sometimes wonder if I’m going to be as off on my predictions for the next five years as I was for the last. Will we stay in Philly, buy a house, and keep living life here? That’s what I want to happen. That’s what I’m fairly sure may happen. But since I was so wrong about the last five years, I’d feel silly pretending that I had any solid plan for the next five. I wonder how much control we really have. I like to think I’m a “make your own destiny” kind of person but I’ve also had life shuffle my cards and re-deal my hand too many times to feel like that’s true.

I think about what I said on that couch fairly often. What if it had happened? And then I can’t shake how much I love my life here and I’m so ridiculously glad I was wrong.

I guess you can file this under “it’s funny how life works out”. Nadine at 22 had no freaking clue what she was doing. Most days, Nadine at 27 still doesn’t.

I’d love to hear what you thought you were going to do after college and what you actually wound up doing. Maybe it will let the new grads amongst us take a deep breath and remember that they can still change their minds 47 more times about what they want to do with their lives.

And now a special summer surprise…

Sunglasses Stitch Fix

Today I have teamed up with a few fellow bloggers to giveaway a gift card for “Sunglasses” and “Stitch Fix” ($250 value). Summer is here and who wouldn’t love a new pair of shades and outfit?! You can enter below in the rafflecopter, GOOD LUCK!!! hosts

Simply Clarke | Lipgloss & Crayons | Very Busy Mama | CommuniKait | East &

Uncustomary Art | Munchkins and the Military | What You Make It | Southern Beauty Guide

Satarah’s Song | Pretty & Sassy | The Petite Diaries | Seeking Sunshine

Fitness & Frills | Sweet Catastrophe | Two Miracles | Haven Way

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Weekend Time Machine

college

This weekend I essentially got in a time machine and went back to 2007. I woke up Sunday morning in a twin bed in a dorm room scattered with Nattie Lights (which apparently someone bought for nostalgic reasons..??), to music blaring and a throbbing headache. Because 5 year college reunions are the perfect place to act like you’re 19 all over again.

On Friday we went down to Richmond, Virginia for N’s 5 year college reunion. I was going to post something about how “oh my gosh it’s been 5 years” or “nothing has changed but everything has changed” but then we just had too much freaking fun and I really can’t believe how much it was just like being in college again (only at a college I didn’t go to).

What’s pretty amusing about putting lots of 27-year-old guys back in their dorm rooms is that they instantly revert back to the good ole’ days.

Suddenly you look around and there is a packed dorm room with blaring music and everyone is dancing and you realize that there is a doctor (like a real freaking doctor) holding the beer bong, there’s a CEO turning up the Top Gun soundtrack, a lawyer is attempting to climb up through a ceiling tile (?), and the girl who works at a children’s hospital has turned in to a bit of a noodle (oh wait, that was me).

Then someone interrupts the raging dance party to yell – COPS. Everyone shushes and laughs and then keeps dancing. Because you know what? Campus police are way nicer to drunk 27 year olds in dorms than they are to 19 year olds. One quick “hey guys, can you turn down the music a bit?” and we just kept on going.

And suddenly it occurs to you….HAHA WHO LET US BE GROWN UPS?!

p.s. I realize that it’s mid-day Tuesday and I’m just now talking about the weekend but hey, I’m not 19 anymore and Monday was brutal.