All about barre-style workouts, what inspires me and tips on healthy eating for life


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5 Questions with…Jaimie Tartis!

Jaimie Tartis is our latest barre n9ne® 60 day challenge success story! After two challenges, Jaimie is down an amazing 22 pounds and 11 inches lost! She shares her story here, about how she went beyond her own expectations and feels like the best version of herself! Congratulations Jaimie for your hard work and dedication, it has definitely paid off!!

Why did you decide to do the barre n9ne challenge (and when did you start)?

I was inspired to join barre n9ne after seeing results a former co-worker posted on Facebook. I had difficulty getting my pregnancy weight off after my second child in 2010. I had changed to a sedentary job and we ordered a LOT of take out! I gained a lot of weight and was at my heaviest I have ever been, 138. I took my first barre n9ne class 2/27/2013 to make sure I liked it before signing up for a challenge. It was such a warm, welcoming environment, nothing I have ever experienced before. I became addicted from the first class! I signed up for the April/May challenge. Between barre classes and following a clean eating diet before starting the challenge, I surprised myself by weighing 135 at the kick off meeting for the April/May challenge.

What were you doing previously (if anything) for fitness?

I was inconsistently going to the gym and using the elliptical.

Did you have any reservations going into the challenge? Or any skepticism?Summer2013

This was my first time doing anything like this, so I was unsure about my goals going into the challenge. I actually set what I thought would be a “realistic” weight and also my “long-term” goal weight. I was worried that I would not be able to follow all the aspects of the challenge, mostly the steps and calories, and that I am only able to take 2 classes a week due to my busy schedule. It was reassuring hearing at the meeting that Tanya and the instructors follow this lifestyle and seeing how amazing they look (and feel!)

What have your results been – both physical and mental?

Since walking into the barre n9ne studio doors 2/27, I am happy to say I have lost 22 lbs in total. I have barre n9ne to thank for everything I have lost. I lost 19lbs and 11 inches total between the April/May and June/July challenges, more than I could have ever hoped for! I am officially at what I thought my “long term” weight was, never thought I would be here this quickly! I feel AMAZING! This has been an incredible journey for myself. For the first time in my life, I am at peace with food and my body. I feel comfortable in my own skin. For years, I have battled with my weight and feeling guilty for eating certain foods. I am amazed at how strong I have become and I have so much more energy!

What was your biggest a-ha moment during the challenge?

My biggest a-ha moment during the challenge was when I had my first weigh in with Tanya. I successfully followed every aspect of the challenge, including not weighing myself in between. I was surprised and motivated by my results; I said to myself that I can do this!

How have your eating habits changed or evolved since embarking on the challenge?

I love food and I LOVE to eat! I notice that my body has grown used to my calorie “number”. I found that I enjoy cooking clean eating recipes and proud to share them. It was very helpful to attend Tanya’s Nutrition Seminar. I faithfully log my calories and plan ahead, especially for a treat or if I know I am going to go out to eat. I love ice cream and now I measure out the portion to the gram on a scale. Most importantly I never feel guilty about it!

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What motivates you to continue the challenge and what advice do you have for anyone embarking on the 60 day challenge?

I am motivated to continue the challenge knowing that I now have the tools to maintain this weight. I truly feel that this is my lifestyle. Going to Barre N9ne is a great way to relieve stress for me. I love that every class is challenging and I can feel myself growing stronger. For anyone embarking on the 60 day challenge, I strongly recommend following all aspects and believing in yourself! I take it one day at a time and break down the aspects like a check list to make sure I meet them daily. I found ways to get my steps in despite my sedentary job. I take the long way to the bathroom or to refill my water. I eat lunch at my desk and go for a walk on my lunch break. I put laundry or dishes away one at a time; you will find ways! I was surprised how successful I was with taking 2 classes a week. I find the 60 day challenge page on Facebook a very useful tool. It’s not always important about what you have lost, but about how you feel!

Bonus question! What is your favorite and least favorite barre n9ne® signature ‘move’ and why?

I would have to say my favorite and least favorite “move” is chair! I would groan inside when the instructor announced it as the next pose. After a few months, I felt incredibly accomplished the first time I was able to fully complete a series (shaking away)!


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Staying ‘focused on fit’ for summer: amp.it.up.

You know the drill…the unofficial start to summer – Memorial Day weekend. Food abounds, cookouts aplenty and oh, the drinks, let’s not forget those. Wine, beer, sangria, the works! Summer is one of those times that really tests willpower and this lifestyle, in a sense, because there are so many more ‘triggers’ to fall off track, more social activity, more vacations and time off away from routine and suddenly, that fit lifestyle slides out the window.

But rather than allow yourself to slide, why not use this unofficial start to summer to amp it up? Re-focus, or focus even more keenly on this fit lifestyle you’ve created for yourself, steps, steps, steps, (and/or runs!), logging your eats and getting those sweatastic classes in.

I remember kicking off my 60 day challenge just about two years ago and thinking Memorial Day weekend would be my first big ‘test’ to whether I could be in a setting filled with temptations, and drinks, and walk away from it successful.

And was I successful? You better believe I was – I had my eye on the prize, inches and pounds lost, and that was not going to change for a cookout, or many cookouts throughout the course of the summer. I found my happy medium of eating foods that would fuel me (lean proteins, veggies, and fruit) and planning for, and allowing myself, the glasses of wine that I wanted far MORE than the potato salad, pasta salad, and chips and dip. I knew those things would taste good in the moment but later? I’d be feeling empty and hungry, even, and not as satisfied, had I stuck with my food plan.

So, as you head into the holiday weekend, and summer, generally, why not use this as a chance to challenge yourself to stick with it – because this is a lifestyle, not a short term ‘diet’ – and even step it up – pun intended – add more steps to your day, tweak your workout schedule, and get creative with the fabulous summer fruits and veggies coming into bloom?

Whether you are officially doing our 60 day challenge, or not, here are some ways to renew your focus on being FIT for summer, because let’s face it, it’s hard to stay motivated, slide 49ff730f6516b366c9d807c295de629ea6f0f1c67b637eac13b28803fea3d6c3into comfort zones or old habits and it feels easier to just stick with the status quo…but instead, why not challenge it head on?

Here are our tips to stay FOCUSED ON FIT for spring!

  • Commit to your number, no if’s and’s or but’s. Even if you aren’t doing the challenge officially, but have in the past, why not follow along ‘virtually?’ Renew your focus on your number, plan ahead, and stick to that number! Don’t ‘count as you go’ and find yourself over your calories, or the reverse, have TOO MANY calories at the end of the day – plan plan plan. That’s truly the key to success – plan ahead, eat when you’re hungry, not out of habit, and keep your body fueled!
  •  Focus on your trouble spots with a little ‘at home’ b9 action. Commit to an extra round of situps, tricep dips on the edge of the couch or on a mat, stretching to loosen and lengthen tight muscles, back dancing to tone that tush…you can do all of these things while you watch TV! Who wants to watch commercials, anyway? 😉
  • Drink more water, stay hydrated! It is amazing what a little extra water can do to keep you more awake, less hungry, staving off the ‘hungry horrors’ and, as we all love to hate them…PMS cravings!
  • Choose. Yes, choose. What do you want more? Wine? Cake? Appetizer? When it comes to cookouts or parties or just a date night out, do your best to choose between everything and pick ONE, and enjoy it to the fullest. I guarantee you’ll feel better and enjoy it more than if you chose all three – the wine, the cake and the appetizer.
  • Amp up your cardio. If you’re a runner, tack on an extra 10 mins to one run a week, if you’re a walker, bump up your steps to 15K, if you’re a swimmer, swim a few extra laps. The key is – stay moving and bump it up! 
  • Switch up the classes you are taking, or take an extra one every other week. Surprise your body with something new! Long & Lean Legs if you usually take Cardio, Cardio if you usually take Fusion! Keep your body guessing and it will keep changing and transforming!

A lifestyle change takes time, but once you really commit to it, and treat it as just that – a lifestyle – it won’t feel like ‘work’ but natural. We encourage you to look at this way, because that is truly what it is, a lifestyle that is achievable, maintainable and natural. And we challenge YOU to stay focused on fit as we head into summer. What do you have to lose but inches, right? See you at the barre!

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Creative ways to stay active and avoid temptation when snowed in!

While most of us are snowed in by Blizzard Nemo, it becomes extremely challenging to not only stay active, but to avoid the temptation to hunker down and eat ‘out of the ordinary,’ so we thought we’d share some fabulous tips and motivation to stay on track when snowed in (and the beauty of these tips is that they transcend beyond just being snowed in, too!). Some of our fabulous 60 day challengers have also been coming up with unique ways to get some steps in, stay active, and avoid temptation!

  1. Walk and read. Now is a great time to get to that book you have been wanting to read but never have time to. There’s no time like the present to cozy up to your book…and walk around your house or apartment! Alternate between cozying up under a blanket on the couch and walking around your living room reading your book. You’d be amazed at how many steps you’ll get in!
  2. Tap into your cable’s on-demand feature. There are a number of walking workouts on demand, and you’ll knock off a few thousand steps while you’re at it. There are also tons of cardio dance style workouts on there as well!
  3. Walk the halls. If you live in an apartment and don’t have stairs or longer hallways? Try the hallways outside of your apartment. Genius, right?
  4. Put laundry away…one piece at a time. No, seriously. You tidy up and get those legs moving all at once! Many of our challengers do this all the time!
  5. Have a step-off with a friend. Many of our challengers are doing this all the time! But even if you aren’t currently doing one of our 60 day challenges, you don’t have to! Challenge a friend, a family member or your significant other to a step off. A little healthy competition always helps you go the extra mile (pun intended!)
  6. Have a treadmill? Walk and watch TV. Or, if you are a runner, run a few miles and you’ll knock off some steps that way too, of course.
  7. Say it out loud and you’ll reach your goal. Accountability is huge. Commit to a total step amount, say it out loud, to a friend, on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll feel motivated to reach that goal even more, and may even surprise yourself with how many steps you end up getting in!
  8. Be a kid! Who said adults can’t play in the snow?! If you have children, bundle up, get outside and chase them around. If you don’t have children it is totally acceptable to run/play around in the snow too 🙂 You are bound to work up a sweat and get your steps in at the same time- not to mention a killer thigh workout!
  9. Random acts of kindness. Clear off some neighbors cars, help someone shovel their driveway or walkway. Start shoveling at the opposite end of the driveway/walkway and walk the snow (on the shovel of course!) all the way to the pile you start, then walk back to where you began. Obviously bundle up 🙂 and be careful of slippery ice!

In addition to avoiding the temptation of laying around all day (we do want you to relax, though, so please DO rest up and rejuvinate, too!), it’s also easy to slide into old habits…junk food, extra snacks, drinks etc. The one tip we have here is to treat this day as any other day – be normal, stay on track, and just plan for that treat you know you’ll want, and you won’t feel deprived- you also won’t feel the ‘regret hangover’ the next day after overindulging!

We hope you stay warm and safe as the storm winds down, and we applaud each and every one of you for staying active, focused and determined to live a happy, healthy and fit lifestyle! See you {soon} at the barre!


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Instructor Spotlight – Erica G!

Today, we bring you Erica! She is a long time client turned instructor who has a love for fitness and teaching. By day, Erica is an accountant and by night, of course, a barre n9ne® instructor! Enjoy reading more about her!

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1 – What are your favorite songs to work out to?

Don’t Stop the Party by Pitbull (how can you not dance to that one?? And speaking of dancing, how can you not thigh dance to that one?)

Mercy by Duffy (that song was made for outer thigh work!)

Rum and Raybans by Sean Kingston featuring Cher Lloyd (I just love that song and think Cher Lloyd is adorable)

2 – What’s your favorite food/guilty pleasure?

I love food so this isn’t easy but I would have to say Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered almonds. I eat a few EVERY day. Definitely more than a few on some days. This is a shameless plug for the barre n9ne® nutrition plan because whatever your guilty pleasure is, you can have it if you plan for it!erica

3 – Favorite move to teach? Favorite move to do? (This could be very different answers!)

I love teaching chair…is that evil of me? Mostly because I know how hard it is to support your body weight in that position, which makes it amazingly effective at strengthening legs. I feel complete admiration for the way the women in class tough it out despite their legs shaking like crazy. It takes such determination to keep going when you think you can’t or to get right back into it after taking a break.

My favorite move to do is shoulders with the balls. I love the different combinations that the other instructors come up with! It’s never boring and getting through a long series feels so satisfying! I’m also falling in love with doing push ups now. I NEVER thought I’d say that!

4 – What’s one thing about you that clients may be surprised to know?

erica2My mother’s side of the family is Swedish and I grew up with a lot of those customs. When I was little, I was Saint Lucia for a Swedish Christmas fair and a very sweet elderly artist painted a ridiculously large watercolor painting of me in the costume that hangs over my grandmother’s couch to this day…I couldn’t make this stuff up!

5 – What do you love the most about teaching at barre n9ne®?

Finally getting to know the women that I have been taking classes with for so long! It’s been really nice to talk to some of the clients who started before me and the newer clients. Knowing how far they have come in terms of fitness or what their personal goals are makes it so nice to lead a class for them. I am so grateful for the chance to be a part of this amazing and inspiring group!


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Tips for staying within your number, out of your routine

This time of year brings upon travel, lack of routine, and stress. Jolene can relate, which is why we decided to have her guest post today on our blog on this topic. Her full time job requires travel- and not just to CT or NY where the time zone is the same, but to LA, Texas and the like. So not only does traveling in general throw a curve ball to someone who is trying to eat healthy and plan ahead, but the time change doesn’t help much either. Read below for some tips on how to stay turn to your health and fitness goals, even on the road.

Tanya

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As my job requires a fair amount of travel, and I also love to travel in my spare time (and feel so grateful to have the opportunity TO travel quite a bit!), I wanted to share some tips I’ve mentally collected as I travel, for business, and for pleasure. As I was going through the inaugural 60 day challenge, one of my biggest fears was how on earth I was going to stay in my number, fitting in workouts and steps, and focused on continuing the lifestyle I was cultivating for myself. (I started my job about 6 months before the challenge began) But as I’ve continued in this lifestyle for the past year and a half, I’m always amazed at how much easier and more ingrained it becomes, especially when I travel.  Because let’s face it, when you have all of the tools (hello barre n9ne® classes!), the access to the right foods and control over your schedule and meals, it’s relatively easy to stay on track…especially when you then compare that to traveling, where all of that routine is stripped away bare.

So here are my tips for staying in your number when you’re traveling,  or otherwise out of your (controllable!) routine (a lot of these tips also apply to when you’re out to dinner with coworkers etc, where you have less ability to control your food).

Restaurants should be a luxury, not an ‘everyday’ thing. But when restaurants become an everyday thing because you are traveling and have zero access to homecooked meals…look at restaurants and dining out as a ‘necessary evil’ and as I’ve said in a prior post, ‘be normal.’ It may be tempting to look at the menu, and going into it, having every intention of bypassing the bread, the appetizers and the sauce-laden entrees, but then, once amid the social atmosphere of your coworkers, you decide to choose a heavier than planned for entree.  Instead, switch your focus and think of this meal as a necessity. You aren’t going out to dinner because of your choice to do so (where, when I go out to dinner, I go rarely, and take that occasion to pick one of my favorite restaurants, and really enjoy it, for the experience and atmosphere, combined with a good, real-food meal), you are doing it because you have to. So, if you were at home and making dinner for yourself, would you make the sauce-laden curried rice and beef dish or would you go for the piece of grilled chicken or steak with light vegetables and a salad, maybe a baked potato? You’d probably go for the latter, or at least I would, so switch your focus and choose smartly. And save that perhaps heavier meal for a time when you truly want to, and plan ahead for it.

Be prepared. When flying (or driving or any sort of travel where you’re hours away from your destination, with at least one meal to contend with), be prepared. It sounds ‘no-duh’ but it truly goes hand in hand with the above tip, if you plan ahead and ‘be normal’ – would you really go somewhere where you know you’ll be away from your own food options without packing something sensible? Probably not. So do the same here. Pack fruit (apples, bananas, pears are good options with lots of fiber), 90 calorie peanut butter packets, 100 calorie nuts, even packets of oatmeal that you can make easily with hot water. Pack Healthy Bites (if you’re me!) for a quick 50-calorie pick me up that will surprise you with how long it sticks with you. You’ll more easily bypass the snack tray on your flight, filled with empty calories – Fritos, chips and cookies – and be more satisfied, longer, with your own options. This is one of the only times I also suggest an energy bar as a meal replacement, if you’re traveling through a meal. Choose one that has real ingredients listed first (or the only things listed!), that has anywhere from 170-230 cals and 10-15 grams of protein for the most staying power. Kind, Simply Bar, Larabar (these have less protein, however, more fiber!), and some of the Zone Perfect bars (natural varieties) are some of the options I go for most. When you get to the airport, scope out a snack stand that has yogurt, and choose an all natural, organic, or Greek yogurt style. These pack protein, fiber and calcium that will also sustain you longer. And soon enough you’ll realize you just endured a long flight without a) blowing your calories on empty snacks or b) being forced to choose higher calorie breakfast or lunch options at the airport or drive through because you have no other option (other than starve…and who wants to do that?!).

Get on a (revised) schedule. For me, when I travel, it’s typically cross-country and across three time zones. Where suddenly, I’m thrown into a limbo of hunger at the ‘wrong’ times – immediately when I wake up (because my body things it is breakfast, which I typically eat around 9 am), yet it is only 6 am, to lunchtime cravings at all of 9 am Pacific time (when it feels like noon!). And suddenly, you’re faced with figuring out how to quell your hunger cues, while balancing the fact that you have three extra hours in your day to contend with, and your meals are all thrown off. The best advice I can give is to try and ‘get on schedule’ with whatever time zone you are in, as fast as possible. For me, that means spacing our my breakfast as slowly as possible so I am not starving by the time lunchtime rolls around (feeling like 3 pm in my brain!), while also balancing out my calories so I’m not ‘out’ of calories by mid-afternoon. Instead of one ‘bigger’ breakfast of my go-to oatmeal that I enjoy at home, I’ll instead eat a two-step smaller breakfast, essentially half my calories for breakfast at around 7 am Pacific time, and the other half around 9 am Pacific time, so I quell my hunger but also ‘get on schedule’ with the time zone I am in. This usually means a yogurt or nuts or a banana and peanut butter around 7, and an energy bar or packet of 100 calorie unsweetened oatmeal with peanut butter (about half the calories of my typical oatmeal goodness made at home).

When traveling or out of your routine, and out of your control, don’t let that become your excuse for not eating ‘normally’empower yourself by being prepared and choosing wisely, and staying within your number when traveling or out to dinner with coworkers etc., won’t be nearly as difficult as you may think.


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On mindfulness.

We have such an awesome group of instructors at barre n9ne®, which I am forever grateful for. Although I love writing blog posts, I know that you don’t just want to hear from me all the time 🙂  I am delighted that Jolene decided to write a post on mindful eating today. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
– Tanya
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As we approach the eating holiday season, there are naturally treats galore to tempt, tempt, tempt. And rather than feel like you are heading into the holidays either feeling deprived, ‘battling the food log’ or feel the urge to throw caution to the wind, I thought I would share some food for thought (pun semi-intended!) to help you get into a good mindset as you dive into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and every party or gathering you attend this holiday season.

Use the food log as a tool and a guide. For those that use a food log, and count calories (and even for those that don’t!), this sounds simple, but it is easy to see the log as ‘the enemy’ or something you are a slave to, but ultimately, it is your secret weapon to get you through the holidays without feeling deprived, with the ability to enjoy that glass or two of wine, or that special pie your Gram always makes on Christmas Eve.  “Back load’ your log on days that you have a holiday party. Eat a lighter breakfast and lunch, but choose fueling options, like cottage cheese with strawberries, or Greek yogurt with fresh pineapple, both super high in protein, fiber and calcium, that will keep you fuller longer. Using your best judgement, plan your evening’s food options. Focus on vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, and use sauces and cheeses more sparingly. Or, if you are like me, you’d rather forgo the bread or the mashed potatoes in favor of a glass or two of wine. You’ll be surprised how little you miss the ‘usual’ staple items, like mashed potatoes when you are fueled up on lean proteins and vegetables that will keep you feeling satisfied.

Listen to your internal cues. Eat slowly, savor the food you are enjoying but more importantly, focus on the conversations, the family and friends you rarely get to see, and the food becomes a natural backdrop, vs. the center of attention. For me, I naturally eat more freely at my own family’s homes, and when it is at an acquaintance’s home, tend to eat less, being more reserved. My trick when at a family’s home for dinner is to pretend that I AM at an acquaintance’s home for a party, and that intuitively makes me eat less, and focus much more on the people around me. And I stop, gauge whether I am truly still hungry or if that bowl of chips is tricking me into feeling hungry (when I know that bowl of chips won’t actually satisfy me at all!).

Enjoy the food you are eating and be at peace with your choices. When you are at peace with what you are eating, and are focused primarily on foods that fuel and sustain you, with a ‘dash’ of those things you MOST want (again, for me, that would be a glass or two of wine!), you will become more mindful, naturally of your eats. And feel less struggle and internal battles against food.  It takes time, it takes a lot of practice, and a boatload of patience, but when you really step back and think about the food choices you are making and if they’ll successfully fill you up and energize you, you’ll naturally veer towards those foods again and again.

Lastly, be ‘normal.’ This one may sound weird, but the advice I always give myself when I am making food choices is to simply eat normally. What would I eat on a normal day that doesn’t include a meal out or a dinner party. Would I eat an appetizer at home on a normal evening, plus a roll, plus dessert and a half bottle of wine? Probably not. So why do that at a dinner party or dining out? Choose the one thing that you would NOT eat normally (say, that delicious piece of bread at Not Your Average Joe’s that clocks in at 200 calories) but really enjoy, and plan for it. But if you wouldn’t go all out at home on a regular basis, why do that when out of your ‘food routine?’

We hope these tips help you as you focus on the holidays ahead, while also balancing the enjoyment and magic of the holidays, and staying focused on your 60 day challenge journey, or your lifestyle change that you’ve embarked on, to live a healthy, happy, fit life.

Cheers,

Jolene


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5 Questions with…Rebecca McCabe!

Our  5 Questions’ series continues! Meet Rebecca McCabe. She is a 60-day challenger in our Andover location and we chose to feature her for a few reasons!

First, she has seen AMAZING results in such a brief amount of time doing the barre n9ne® 60 Day Challenge. She began on June 1, 2012 and has lost 12.4 pounds and 13.75 inches! She has a completely new mindset and outlook on her healthy, fit, and happy lifestyle! She, like some of our new challengers when they first start out, was wary of actually eating *more* calories than she previously had been. She worried about gaining weight.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s truly the opposite! Fuel your body with real, wholesome foods, stay active (10,000+ steps a day!) and work up a sweat in any of our fabulous barre n9ne® studio classes, and the inches and pounds will literally come off.

Rebecca is a gleaming example of this! We are so proud of her, for trusting us, the approach, and going full-force into the challenge, seeing amazing results and realizing she can have things like PEANUT BUTTER again! Congratulations Rebecca!

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Why did you decide to do the barre n9ne challenge (and when did you start)? 

I started the 60 Day Challenge in June, about a month after I started to take classes in Andover and I never imagining the impact it would have on my life.  After my first class in Andover, I knew I was in love with barre.  I’ve danced all my life, and these classes were right up my alley. I’ve tried countless times to lose weight, sometimes with success and sometimes not.  I would definitely categorize myself as a yo-yo dieter: always being on a diet, or “starting my diet tomorrow.”  As I learned about the challenge, it just seemed so different from anything I’d ever tried, a life changing experience, not just a 60-day experience.  Seeing as my previous attempts at losing weight had failed, I had no doubt that I wanted to give this a try.

What were you doing previously (if anything) for fitness?

My main form of fitness prior to the challenge was dance; dancing once a week for about an hour and a half (my favorite hour and half of the week)!  An hour and a half of dance is great, but exercising once a week, I know just doesn’t cut it!

I was also an on again, off again runner.  I would start to run for 2-3 weeks everyday, then I’d get bored and stop for a long time.  My expectation was that running would help me lose weight, and when I didn’t see results, I would just stop.  I didn’t really have any real goals with running; I was just running without a purpose.

I had a mentality of “all or nothing.” I would work out really hard (everyday), and track calories (1,000/day).  However, the minute I stopped doing one thing, I would give up entirely, in large part to the fact that my exercise and calorie regime was completely unrealistic and unsustainable.

Did you have any reservations going into the challenge? Or any skepticism?

I remember being in the meeting for the first challenge as Tanya was going over the program.  I believe she said: I’ll start with the easiest step of the challenge and lead to the hardest.  The first three steps seemed like they were going to be challenging, but I wouldn’t say I was skeptical.  I recognize that they were all very essential parts of a successful lifestyle, and would help me attain the changes I was looking to make.  The 4th step however gave me many reservations:

  • STEP 1: 64 oz of water….PLAIN WATER! I am someone who NEVER EVER consumed PLAIN water.  I have endless packages of various Crystal Light packs stocked in my pantry because I used them all the time, even carrying them in my purse to restaurants.  The very thought of having to drink 64 oz. of this bland substance, seemed like an impossible mission….and this was supposed to be the easiest part?  I had some reservations about my ability to complete this task, but I completely understood the rationale.  With determination I knew it could be done!
  • STEP 2: Take 10,000 steps/day! I actually thought that this part of the challenge would be easy for me.  I’m a physical therapist at a hospital, so I figured I’m moving around for a good portion of the day, so that’s not too bad…..but after putting my fitbit (pedometer) on for a day, I quickly learned that 10,000 steps/day is a lot more than I had anticipated. I realized how much of the day I spent sitting down for one reason or another.  This too was going to be a challenge that I knew would just require me becoming more aware of how much I was moving, and making an effort to get up and about more.
  • STEP 3: No artificial sweeteners. Well, aside from the 4 packs a day of Crystal Light that I was consuming, I knew that this part of the challenge would NOT be a problem for me.  I’m not a coffee or tea drinker, so the only thing that I had to really get rid of the the crystal light, and if I have to drink 64 oz. of plain water, then there would be no need for artificial sweeteners.
  • STEP 4: STICK TO YOUR NUMBER!!!!  And this is where I had all my skepticism.  When I first started this challenge I was eating 1,000-1,100 calories/day.  I had “dieted” before (in college) eating 1,000 calories/day and lost a lot of weight, which I later gained back.  Leading up to the challenge I was back to “dieting.”  I had lost 6 pounds in 1 month, eating at this number!  So, in the back of mind I contemplated not changing my number, not even addressing how much I was eating, just sticking to STEPS 1 – 3, while eating 1,000 calories/day, figuring I’d definitely have success. It’s such a hard concept to grasp: eat more, and lose more.  I just thought I was the exception…. “yes, everyone else can eat their number, but I’ve done this for so long now (eating low calories) that my body’s just used to it, and that if I try to eat more, my body will want to store it!” I was convinced that this would never work for me. I did in the end decide to discuss my number with the staff, who gave me a number, a number that was a complete compromise, because my reservations about eating high calories was so big.  About a week into the challenge, as I started becoming more active on the facebook page it became clear to me that I really needed to take the full plunge, and give this challenge my all.  Why put all the effort into most of the challenge, if I wasn’t going give it 100%!

What have your results been – both physical and mental?

Physically:

During my first challenge I lost 10 pounds, and 11.75 inches, fitting into clothes I’d never thought I’d get back into.  Less then a year ago I was digging through my closet trying to find something to wear for a job interview, and none of my nice clothes fit.  Today, I put those same clothes on, and not only can I get them over my hips, but they are now falling off!

Mentally:

I wouldn’t say that I’m a new person, I’m just a better me.  Somewhere on these journey, I’ve become more confident, happy, and developed the mentality that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!  This challenge has quite literally changed my life: the way I feel, how I eat and look at food.  I went from being a “dieter” to being a healthy person! I started as someone who didn’t enjoy going out because of how I looked, and now I’m someone who enjoys being out and about and can hold my head high, and with confidence in who I’ve become.

What was your biggest a-ha moment during the challenge?

I’ve had a couple of a-ha moments!  First, was probably when I saw my family for the first time since starting the challenge (about 5 weeks into it).  Their first comments being “where did all of you go!”  It was that moment, combined with my half-way point weigh-in (2 days later), that provided me with the “a-ha”…eating more really can make you lose more.  I was beaming inside, and couldn’t get over that feeling of success; that feeling that make these positive life changes were all worth it.

My second a-ha moment was going out to lunch at Cheesecake Factory.  Going out to eat was something that I’d dreaded, thinking I was going to watch my family eat pasta, or a burger, with fries, while I would be munching on a bowl of lettuce with dressing on the side.  So, when I opened my menu, I was pleasantly surprised to find a section that offered lighter options…..that didn’t just include salads.  I scanned the page, and found “Margherita Flatbread Pizza.”  I absolutely could not believe that this was even an option for me.  I had my doubts about how big this would actually be, or if would taste good……but let me tell you it was absolutely PERFECT! For 330 calories (330 calories I never would allow myself when eating 1,000 calories/day), it was by far the BEST pizza I have ever had.  This is the moment when I realized that eating out isn’t something to dread, but something to enjoy and share with great company.

How have your eating habits changed or evolved since embarking on the challenge?

Without a doubt, the biggest change I’ve experienced throughout this challenge has been my eating habits.  Prior to this challenge my meals consisted of having cereal for breakfast, a sandwich, granola bar and 100- calorie pack for lunch, and pasta or a lean cuisine for dinner, and lots of after dinner sugar free/fat free snacks.  I was consuming foods because they were low in calories, never looking at what was in these foods to make them so “low-calorie”.  The only vegetables that I ate were onions, and sometimes bell peppers (because I decided I didn’t like them) and I had never EVER had fish!

Since this challenge began, the foods I have tried and meals I have made are endless.  There wouldn’t be enough time or space for me to tell you everything I’ve tried, but I’ll give a few (unlikely) foods that I think you should definitely try, if you haven’t already: tilapia, eggplant, quinoa, and my favorite – SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Now I LOVE grocery shopping! I love piling up my shopping cart with fresh produce and exploring the aisles for new healthy options.  I’ve been amazed to learn how much processing goes into so many foods.  One of the most eye-opening experiences I had was when I encountered peanut butter with NO CALORIES! With everything I’ve learned thus far, all I could do was laugh.  I thought to myself, there is absolutely NO WAY for this to be good for me…..and quickly realized that the old me would have jumped on the opportunity to have a no calorie peanut butter, not thinking twice about what was being put into it.  One of my favorite parts of this challenge (other than experimenting with lots of new foods), has been the addition of REAL PEANUT BUTTER into my diet! Because I was eating so few calories before, real peanut butter was never an option (high calories, but lots of nutrients)…..now I think everything tastes better with a little P.B.

I also try to use my weekend to plan my meals for the week, usually making a different dinner each night.  It gives me something to look forward to every night, instead of coming home to a small little TV dinner.  It’s also more enjoyable to eat, because I know how much time and effort I spent putting everything together.

Lastly, dessert is something that I absolutely love, and would never go without. Thanks to the barre n9ne® banana peanut butter ice cream, dessert is both delicious and nutritious.

What motivates you to continue the challenge and what advice do you have for anyone embarking on the 60 day challenge?

What motivates me to keep going…..WHAT DOESN’T?!  I love the classes, I feel better about myself, I love that nothing gets easier, but I’m still getting stronger, I love the people that I’ve met, and I love how much my life has changed for the better.  What motivates me is that I still have “a-ha” moments, that I’m still growing as a person, and I continue to be challenged each day through class, making the right food choices, getting all those steps in, and drinking that water.

Since embarking on this challenge, I decided I wanted to complete a half-marathon.  It’s always been something I put on the back burner, but never really gone for it. So, TODAY, while I was running around the lake, going on my longest run (ever), I just thought to myself, anything is possible.  It’s not that running is a part of the challenge, but I feel that since starting this challenge, I’ve gained this mentality that literally anything is possible, if you put in the effort.  When I started this challenge, I thought it would be impossible to drink the water, walk 10,000 everyday, eat “real” food, but I’ve done it.  I LOVE that this challenge has made me feel that nothing is impossible, and that’s what keeps me going back for more!

Advice:

My best advice would be to embrace this challenge with open arms.  If you’re skeptical (as I was at first), I’m telling you, just give it a try!  These instructors are all great, and knowledgable….utilize their knowledge and TRUST them.  If something’s not working for you, let them help you. To me, this challenge is a community of wonderful people all striving to make changes in our lives for the better! This challenge is the best gift that you could give to yourself: believe in yourself!

Some helpful tips that have worked for me: planning makes all the difference in the world! If you are able to determine ahead of time what your schedule will be like the next day(s) you’ll know when you need to fit in some extra time for walking, so you’re not walking in circles around your house at 11:45pm (unless that’s what you like to do), or making sure you have snacks on hand. Planning can get you excited about what your next day/week has to offer.

NO ONE SAID IT WOULD BE EASY, THEY SAID IT WOULD BE WORTH IT!

Bonus question! What is your favorite and least favorite barre n9ne® signature ‘move’ and why?

I have a love – hate relationship with the side-lying leg lifts (for the side swoop) – they are SO painful, but I LOVE the challenge, and they always leave me SORE (in a good way)!

I just want to finish by saying THANK YOU to this amazing barre n9ne® staff!  This challenge has without a doubt changed by life for the better.  I’ve learned so much about a true healthy lifestyle and feel like I’ve grown so much as a person.  The wonderful B9 staff has been incredible; they are so helpful, encouraging and motivating.  There aren’t enough positive words to describe the impact this challenge has had on me.  Anyone who talks to me for more than 5 minutes, knows about barre n9ne®…….it has become such an integral part of who I am.  I look forward to completing this challenge, and many more to come!

Rebecca’s amazing results!!

Rebecca ‘barren9ne’ing’ it on her way to work – bring on CHAIR!