…WHAT TO DO W/ WHAT IT DO: GORUCK Echo vs GORUCK Kids Ruck…

There are various bags that can be found on the GORUCK website. I know that the first question that is running through you mind is… “Why are these bags so darn expensive!??” and the next question may be…”If I decide to get a bag which bag should I get!?”.

Yes, I admit, these GORUCK bags are expensive.  BUT in reality let me break it down for you…

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You can pay $20-$50 for a bag at a typical store. BUT how long will it last you? You will in return burn through SEVERAL of those $20 – $50 bags (because I know I have!) and have to spend more money in the end.  OR You can spend a little more money on a good quality bag and NOT HAVE TO WORRY about the bag failing you.  GORUCK offers a “SCARS Lifetime Guarantee“.

What is SCARS?

It is a way for you to get your bag (and this warranty also applies to various other items that they sell on the site) repaired or replaced if you were to damage it. YES you heard me right… You can get the bag fixed or replaced IF YOU DAMAGE it.  This also applies for regular wear and tear that may occur when you use the bag. GORUCK takes pride in building gear that is made to last through your torturous workouts and training.  How many $20 bag companies offer that kind of warranty!? So is the extra money for a GORUCK bag worth it… YES! Hence why I personally bought a GORUCK bag.

I have had a few questions in regards to the GORUCK ECHO and the GORUCK Kids Ruck.

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As you can visually see, there is some similarity between the two bags BUT there are also a lot of things that are also different.

GORUCK ECHO

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This bag is VERY similar to the GR0, GR1, GR2, and Rucker. It is just a smaller version of those bags.  It has all of the same features at the GR0, GR1 and Rucker. This is a great bag for someone who is small/petite. Or is can be a good day bag and can store all of the things that you need. Yes this bag is the more expensive option (when looking at the Echo or Kids Ruck). BUT you are getting a lot of extra things.  You are getting the padded compartment for your laptap, the padded straps, the molle on the front, and the two internal pockets.  This bag also opens and can be laid down flat.  It also is heavier and thicker than the Kids Ruck. CHECK OUT THIS POST if you are looking for other Ruck options.

GORUCK Kids Ruck

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This ruck comes in various colors.  This ruck is a great day bag and bag for children of ANY age.  There is not a padded internal pocket, there are NOT two internal pockets, BUT it does have the external pocket and the padded straps. The added extra is that the one internal pocket does have Velcro on it so you can attach patches or anything else you would like.

I hope this post helps to answer any questions that someone may have had about these two bags. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

 



…Jennifer’s Journey: The Process…

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The process to actually be able to get surgery is incredibly long. I have been working with the weight loss center for almost an entire year before I was able to meet the surgeon and start to fill out the paperwork for the surgery. At the beginning I had meeting with the nurse practitioner as well as the nutritionist to go over the major changes that would be happening to me. I had to discuss why I wanted to get the surgery and what methods I have used in the past to help with weight loss.

My nutritionist guided me through creating a food repertoire that contained high protein low fat options. I was introduced to protein shakes, kale, and a host of other foods. While meeting with the nutritionist we really went over the fact that this is a lifestyle change. Not just a one time, diet or fad that you may try. I had to make sure that I would be committed to this for the REST OF MY LIFE. Not only did I have to change the way that I eat, but also the frequency as well as adding supplementary vitamins to my diet.

I went from doctor to doctor to get my vitals and insides checked out. They wanted to make sure that my liver was okay and that I would not have an issue with the anesthesia. I had a sleep study done to make sure that my sleep issues would not be a further complication to the surgery. My psych evaluation was done in order to make sure I was doing the surgery for the right reasons. They wanted to make sure that I knew the gravity of the surgery and that once again it was a lifelong change. The surgery was not something that I took lightly and it was not something that I just rushed into. I know that it would have a great impact on the rest of my life.

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The Surgery

My surgery was originally scheduled for the beginning of August, but they had an opening in their schedule and I was able to get in at the end of June. The day of the surgery I was nervous but excited. I had read everything that I could get my hands on about the surgery and hoped that I had prepared adequately. Some patients talk about a pre operation diet that they have to follow before they go into surgery. Because my surgery was with such short notice (literally 3 days) I did not go through the same “detox” process that a lot of other sleeve patients do.

I would not be able to drive after the surgery so my fiancé and I took an uber to the hospital. I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 8am. For those who know me personally, you know that I am never on time to anything. The uber driver decided to take his sweet, sweet time and the morning traffic did not help us at all. I did not make it to the hospital at my 8am check in, but lucky for me, doctors are always running behind so it did not matter much.

I was in the waiting room with my fiancé for a solid hour before I was called back in the pre operation holding area. Here, I had to change into the lovely hospital gown with compression socks and hairnet. I was supposed to take out every (all 13!) earring that I had as well as any jewelry or other valuable items. Luckily my fiancé, Jessica, was able to sit in the pre operation area with me up until the time of surgery. I had to get a lot of shots and an IV put in (it was the first time that the medical student who put my IV in had done an IV on a real person—Jess was not impressed) so they could more easily administer pain medicine and other fluids. I was introduced to the nurse who would be in surgery with me as well as the anesthesiologist. My main surgeon stopped by as well to say hi before I was wheeled out.

There was quite a back up in the operating room so my surgery was pushed back about an hour and a half. When it was finally time to go back into the OR it was like a scene in a movie. Jess walked with the nurses as they wheeled my bed to the operating room. She held my hand until we reached the doors that said “Authorized Personnel Only.” She gave my hand a squeeze and a kiss before saying goodbye. I was wheeled into the restricted area while Jess stood behind waving at me. (I know, it was literally just like a movie. I wonder if it was someone’s job one day to just sit and watch people go into the OR to get a sense of how loved ones reacted to the situation). Jess then went back to the waiting room to wait for my surgery to conclude. She is definitely a trooper and having a strong and dedicated support structure is CRUCIAL to being successful post surgery.

Once I was in the operation room I once again spoke with the friendly nurse that I had met in the pre operations area that talked me through what was going to happen. It was also her job to make sure that I was fully prepped for the surgery. They gave me some medicine for anxiety and that is the last thing that I remember. Next thing you know, I am opening my eyes and I am lying in the bed in waiting to be moved to a room. I was in the post operation area for hours (literally like three hours) before I was finally assigned to a room. I was wheeled over and got to see Jessica for the first time since surgery. I was still pretty groggy and I could begin to feel the pain in my lower abdomen. At that time all I wanted to do was sleep.

Behind the Scenes

During the gastric sleeve, 80% of your stomach is removed in order to restrict the amount of food and drink that your body can accommodate. The stomach goes from being the size of a fist (which can expand up to 40 times in size) to a small banana. When your stomach is removed, the hormone ghrelin is removed as well. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone.” It is what tells your body that you are hungry and that it is time to eat. With the removal of this hormone you diminish the cravings for food and your body does not get hungry like it used to.

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The surgeon makes six incisions across your abdomen in order to access the stomach. After your stomach is cut to size, it is stapled back together. The doctors double and triple check to make sure that there are no leaks in the stomach, as that would cause many further complications down the line. The stomach is pumped full of CO2 to make sure that it is airtight and it is filled with liquid to make sure there is no drainage. Once that is complete, the surgeons sew you back together and off to recovery you go.

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The typical stay in the hospital is one night after surgery to make sure that there are no leaks and that you are able to tolerate liquids. With your stomach (or pouch as many people so affectionately call it) being so small, it is easy to not intake the required ounces of water that is necessary for full recovery. The stomach is so small that you can only have about 1-2 ounces of food or drink at a time. It is highly discouraged to eat and drink at the same time because the liquids push the food through the pouch too quickly. Your body does not have enough time to absorb the nutrients from the food.

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Every surgery comes with risks, but the sleeve is liked by surgeons and patients because of the relatively low risks and the quick recovery period. I was surprised at how quickly the pain in general went away after the surgery and how independent I was able to be in the hospital as I was trying to recover enough to go home.

Check in next week to hear about my time in the hospital, the infamous Nurse Jackie, and things that I was totally unprepared for after the surgery.



…prAna’s & Organic Valley Fall Campaign…

As you look on social media you will be able to see Back To School pictures, hashtags, and post.  This also is a sign that Summer is coming to an end and Fall is quickly approaching. Fall fashion is honestly one of my favorite fashion seasons and I was excited to see some major brands get behind the Fall Fashion movement.

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prAna is a clothing company.  They thrive on creating versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day.

 

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Organic Valley is company that provides products that are dairy produced with no added hormones, antibiotics or toxic pesticides. They take pride in offering produce that is grown the organic way, with none of the toxins or synthetic fertilizers. They also offer cheese that was made by farmers and artisans who care about the environment, the animals and all of their customers. It gets even better… they even employ LOCAL farmers in YOUR area to help with the production of their products! Check out their website and it will tell you where the closest farm is to you! (Now that is pretty darn cool!)

So why am I telling you about prAna & Organic Valley? Because they have teamed up to create the Fall Campaign! prAna is getting ready to kick out their new Fall Collection and Organic Valley is teaming up with them for the #weirdworkout Campaign! The best part is that YOU can benefit from this partnership! Head on over to THIS WEBSITE (Click here to be directed to the website) for your chance to win $300 worth of prAna gear and a 2-months supply of Organic Fuel.  The contest is going on NOW until August 31st! So go sign up TODAY! 

After you enter the contest go HERE and print off some money saving coupons for Organic Valley products!

And yessss I know what you are thinking… ‘I never win anything” or “What is the point in participating because I know I will not win”. WRONG! They are choosing TEN people to win the prize so… what do you have to lose!

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…Ten Exercise Machines That Offer Exceptional Cardio Workouts…

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Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio for short, has a plethora of benefits. Cardio is good for your whole body, helping to prevent heart problems, manage your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. It’s also a proven way to relieve stress and boost brainpower.

One of the main selling points of cardio is how much it can assist in burning fat. Even doing a few 30-minute cardio workouts a week can boost weight loss, when combined with a healthy diet. With such extensive benefits, there’s really no reason not to do some cardio.

These exercise machines offer great cardio workouts for boosting health and burning fat. While they are available in many gyms, you can also buy your own to get a good home workout.

Treadmill

The original and the most popular cardio machine. Treadmills are appreciated for their simplicity- all you need to do is get on, start and run! Modern electric treadmills offer a range of controls for your workout. You can raise the speed for a more heart-pumping workout. Increasing the incline is also an effective way to get a better workout at lower speeds.

It depends on the level of incline and speed you use, but you could potentially burn a few hundred calories in a 30-minute treadmill workout. The only real drawback of the treadmill is it can feel limiting. If you’re happy to run on a small patch of rubber, you might be happier to be out running in nature.

Elliptical Machine

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Elliptical machines, also known as cross-trainers, are a relatively new entry to the cardio machine market. They were first introduced by the Precor company in 1995 and have since become one of the trendiest machines for cardio workouts.

Ellipticals work both your upper and lower body, as you push and pull on handles while you run. They have fewer controls than some other cardio machines, but generally offer different levels of tension. You generate the workout yourself with how fast you use your arms and legs. You can choose to give yourself a fast-paced, fat-burning sprint or a slow walking marathon.

Elliptical machines are a favorite for many cardio enthusiasts. If you’re in the market for one, it’s worth looking at an Elliptical Machines Review.

Climbing Machine

Workouts on climbing machines can be absolutely exhausting. You use both your arms and legs to replicate the motion of climbing, making it an excellent upper and lower body workout. Most climbing machines use pedals and handles. The Jacob’s Ladder is an interesting alternative, on which you climb up a revolving ladder.

Exercise Bike

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Exercise bikes (also referred to as stationary bikes) are another popular cardio machine available in all gyms. The name says it all- these are simply bikes without wheels. You pedal while you hold onto handles which can measure your heart rate and let you know how much fat you’re burning.

Regular exercise bikes usually have controls to change the pedal resistance and see your workout stats. Another common form is the spin bike. Spin bikes are smaller exercise bikes without electronics. They use a weighted flywheel for you to generate your own level of resistance. Spinning is hugely popular for workout classes.

Recumbent Bike

An offshoot of the exercise bike. Recumbent bikes offer all the same features with the key difference being the position. You lean back in a chair with a backrest and have handles at the side of you. These can be better for your back, although the workouts can be less intense.

The fact you can lean back and use nothing but your legs makes recumbent bikes ideal for reading or using your phone while you work out.

Stair Climbers

If you’ve ever sprinted up a long flight of stairs, you know how easy it is to break a sweat doing it. Now imagine sprinting up a never-ending escalator.

That’s the general concept behind stair climbers. They provide a grueling fat-burning workout while also toning your legs.

The problem with stair climbers (or stair machines) is they require a lot of power and cost a lot. This means it isn’t practical to get one for home use, but if there’s one at your gym it’s well worth using!

Stepping Machine

Stepping machines are similar to stair machines, and often referred to by the same name. The difference is that instead of a revolving stairwell, they use stepping pedals with varying levels of resistance.

You can also get portable steppers without handles. These are good for home workouts. While you might not get as much of a cardio workout, they can burn a few extra calories while you tone your legs.

Rowing Machine

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Rowing machines offer one of the most complete cardio workouts in the sense they put your whole body to work. Pulling back on the handle pumps your lats and contracts your biceps while pushing away from the pedals works your glutes and quads. Your core is also used throughout to keep a straight posture.

Rowing is the best way to get cardio while working all muscle groups. The technique is important, so make sure you practice the right form for rowing.

Airdyne Bike

Airdyne bikes are like a mixture of exercise bikes and elliptical machines, as you push and pull the handles while pedaling. These can be perfect for a heart-pumping workout. It’s even possible to burn 87 calories in a minute! Airdyne bikes create more resistance the harder you pedal. If you’re looking for a challenging workout, they’re a great alternative to a regular stationary bike.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts

Alright, so this last one isn’t an exercise machine. But it is an effective cardio-boosting method you can use with any kind of cardio machine.

High-Intensity Interval Training workouts involve alternating between slow and fast paces while doing cardio. For example, you might walk on a treadmill for a minute, sprint at a high speed for 30 seconds then repeat the cycle for 20 minutes.

Interval training is hailed for its range of benefits. You can burn more fat, prevent muscle breakdown and even boost your metabolism in a much shorter workout. You can apply HIIT to all kinds of cardio. If you want a cheap workout, you can even do interval training with a jump rope!



Infinite Life Fitness Recipe: Chocolate and Cinnamon Breakfast Bites…

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There are a few ways that you can make this, but I decided to make mine in a unique way.

This is a GREAT breakfast option for those who need to grab food and GO in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • I tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 scoop protein or 1 pack or 1/4 cup (*** PLEASE be aware that different protein powders will produce different results. For this Recipe I used the Advocare Vanilla Meal Replacement Shake***
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of oat flour
  • 1/4 cup of Chocolate peanut butter (BUT you can use regular peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup of whole oats
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

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You can MAKE your own oat flour! All you need is rolled oats and a food processor OR blender.  Put a few cups of rolled oat into the food processor/blender and mix it until it becomes fine like “Flour”. You can also purchase it BUT I just decided to make my own.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and a bowl.  Contents in bowl will start to clump together BUT it will not be a paste or batter.  You will want to grab small amounts of the mixture and roll them into small balls (about the size of a ping pong ball). Stick them in the freezer (Leave them in the freezer LONGER FOR BEST RESULTS! I stuck mine in the freezer overnight but around 4 hours should be good enough) and then enjoy.

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Like I stated in the video, I also dipped my breakfast bites with Greek Yogurt! You can use 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt and drizzle about 1 tbsp of honey to make a dip. You can also find caramel, chocolate, or other flavors at your local store and use those prepackaged yogurts to dip your bites.

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You can make these several different ways! You can use regular peanut butter with cinnamon. You can use other spices, you can use other types of nut butter, you can pretty much get as creative as you would like!



Jennifer’s Journey: My History

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My first blog post provided a bit of information about myself as well as the reason why I wanted to blog for the site. This next post is a bit longer, but as a history nerd (I do teach 8th grade Social Studies) I think that it is important to know someone’s history in order to understand how they became the person they are today.

About a year ago I was fortunate enough to get engaged to the love of my life. Around that time I was making some pretty big changes in my life. I just graduated from a Master’s Degree program and was about to start my first year of teaching. One day I took a look at myself and realized that this change that I was doing needed to be reflected in every aspect of my life.

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I have always been fat for as long as I could remember. I am very blunt and brutally honest about it because why sugarcoat it? In elementary school, I was the big girl who wore boys clothes all of the time. Even with my rapidly developing body, I was always the biggest person in my class. I didn’t have soft curves, but round lumps and rolls that continued to grow, no matter what I did. My mom made sure that I was very active in a variety of things. I had academic camps, played tennis, basketball, and golf, and acted in the local children’s theater. Towards the end of elementary school and into middle school I began to largely focus on Tennis. I loved being on the court. It was such a whirlwind feeling for me that I felt at home. I played at least 5 days a week with additional practice, private lessons, and tournaments regularly. Even then I was on the heavier side. I would walk onto the court and have people make fun of me, “Look at that fat girl. Who does she think she is? This is going to be a really easy match.” Little did they know that I was blessed with an ace serve by Jesus himself and they would end up losing miserably, to the fat girl. I never really got over that and it was something that I always had replaying in the back of my mind my entire life.

Fast forward to high school. I was still putting on weight and trying to navigate the horror that is high school. By this time I had become more of an academic. I still did play tennis from time to time, but my main sport was marching band. I was also very active in numerous clubs and organizations around campus. As an academic I was nominated constantly for some type of award or honor at the school and throughout the city. I was always embarrassed to be nominated for such awards because of the dreaded ceremonies that came along with it. At these ceremonies, one was expected to dress in “professional wear” in order to receive their award. As a bigger girl, this always posed a problem. There was very little in the way of options in the “juniors plus size” section at stores. Also, due to my rapid development that had come with a few curves by, this time, my chest size was waaaaaay beyond that of a junior. I would then have to go to the small upstairs section and look at the “old woman’s clothes” in order to find something to wear. The clothes always came with built-in shoulder pads and were in horrible prints. I always tried to stick to a neutral solid color, but there were never any guarantees. I hated these awards ceremonies because as my classmates went to get their awards in their age appropriate dresses and skirts, here I was in my ill-fitting grandmother style dress. Time and time again, ceremony after ceremony, I was nominated and I had to bite the bullet and “just find something” that would work.

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Dating never really interested me and I was not concerned with my weight in that manner. I did have the fleeting moments when dancing in the basement of Tri-Kap or the AAm (both dorms on my alma mater’s campus) that maybe I would have more people dance with me if I was skinnier, or prettier, or a host of other things. Looking back I realized that those parties were jokes and I had ample fun dancing with my friends and was lucky to not be harassed or receive any unwanted attention. My diet at college was that of a typical college aged student—junk, fried food, and midnight pizza. My weight fluctuated up and down. I went to the gym and I started eating salads. I had a paper due. I binge ate pizza and ice cream and started the process all over again. My weight was something that I had lived with so long that it was just as much a part of me as my name or where I came from.

There were a few instances in college that made me cringe, but as I said, I was fairly comfortable with who I was. Anytime I wrote an Op-Ed piece or was interviewed for something in the newspaper the Internet trolls would inevitably point out my weight and say that it was the cornerstone for all of my problems. Maybe if I just weren’t so fat then my peers would speak to me outside of the classroom. Maybe if I weren’t so fat, I would be presented with better-paying job opportunities on campus or I would get better grades. Most of the stuff sounded completely and utterly ridiculous and I looked at it just as that. Yes, many times I wished there was a magic pill I could take to help me lose weight. Yes, I thought about starving myself or purging after eating a meal. It never manifested, but they were definitively things on my mind.

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Fast forward to more recent times and my life today. Kids are some of the most brutally rude (there is definitely a difference between being honest and being rude, they haven’t mastered it yet) people I ever met. Whenever a student wanted to insult me in the classroom, they would inevitably point out something with my weight. As if that was the worst insult that I had ever heard and as if I was going to go running from the classroom, tears streaming down my face, because of their comments. Because I had 25 years of being me, in my body, I always had a snarky comeback (you either laugh about it or come after the person—figuratively speaking—that has always been my ultimate defense mechanism) to say to them. But, I also knew that it was something that I needed to bring up to my students because I had both female and male students who I could tell struggled with their weight and were made fun of because of those things. I tried to have many candid conversations with my students about this issue. How much they absorbed, who knows, they are 8th graders. I hope that they will one day realize that there is so much more to a person than a number that may pop up one day on a scale.

When I began to see my last primary care provider (moving to Boston, I cycled through plenty) she recommended that I begin to work with the Center for Weight Control at St. Elizabeth’s hospital. At first, when she brought up bariatrics, I heard geriatrics (an old people’s doctor) and was utterly appalled. After we fixed the word miscommunication, I felt a heavy burden on my shoulders. I had struggled with my weight my entire life. I had tried personal trainers and diets and counting calories and not eating. I honestly wanted to be healthy for not only me but also my fiancé and my future children. My mother died when she was young and I did not want my children to worry about me struggling through that same kind of trauma. I decided to go check it out, what would it hurt? If I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to go back.

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Almost one year later and I got the gastric sleeve surgery done. The choice for surgery was not one that I made lightly. Along with lots of soul searching and personal meditation, I also had to meet with teams of doctors and nurses and all kinds of other people in order to even begin the process for surgery. I had to meet with nutritionists to make sure that my eating habits were where they needed to be. I definitely had to make some major changes to my diet, but having someone who has studied this and creating an individualized plan for me was so very beneficial to me. I had to meet with my shrink to make sure that I was doing this for the right reasons. Some people do the surgery in order to fit others ideas of who they should be. I have no set weight in mind. I don’t care if I’m a size 20 or a size 2. I want to be healthy and happy in my body so that I can pass along all of my amazingness to the next generation. I had to meet with the anesthesiologist, a sleep specialist, and a neurologist, while having an EKG and barium swallow along with an unscheduled mammogram done. It has been a long road, but one that is well worth it.

Now what? I am out of surgery, I spent two days in the hospital (one day extra due to nausea and lack of fluids), but now I am back home. It has been slow going. I am working on getting enough protein and water while being stuck on a liquid only diet. I can only have a few ounces of food at a time and I have to make my meals last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size. I have to walk in order to get my body to heal the stitches and rest so that it can do the work properly. I will have to take antacids and multivitamins for the rest of my life. Every. Single. Day. In hindsight, multivitamins are better than shots and amputations any day of the week.

At the end of the day, I am happy to say that I am using surgery as a tool, not a get out of jail free card. For people who think I took the easy way out by having surgery how about you go through it first and recover and then tell me if it was worth it. But honestly, I could care less if you agree with it or not. Some people have fast metabolisms; some people are into steroids; I chose to do a healthy alternative to help make me the person both inside and outside who I want to be. So if you want to follow me through my journey great! If you don’t great! Either way, I am working to be a healthier and happier me. I am looking forward to the changes and preparing for the good and the bad. I know that it will not be smooth sailing all of the time, but I am dedicated to making this workout. Whatever I want to do, I make it happen, so watch out!



…What To Look For In Your Workout…

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When you are choosing between workouts, it can be tough figuring out what you should be going for. The truth is, there are so many on the market these days, that it is a real challenge just sifting through them. With that in mind, it is a good idea to get rid of the ones which are obviously no good. And the quickest way to do that is to know what it is that you are really looking for in your workouts. This is the kind of thing where no two people will have the same opinion. However, there are some common ideas which the majority of people will share. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key attributes you should be looking for in your workout. Bear these in mind when you are trying to decide between two or more workout regimes.

Predictable Results

No two people are the same, and exercise affects every individual differently from the next. However, that is not to say that it is entirely sporadic. To tell the truth, when you are looking for a good workout, you should aim for something which is able to offer you predictable results. Again, you can never know for certain what effect a workout will have on you until you try it. The best you can do is go on appraisals and your better instinct. This way, you can go for something which is more likely to offer clear-cut results, which you can measure over time. That way, you can be far more certain of continued success with your workout.

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A Learning Curve

Depending on what kind of exercise regime you go for, there will always be some kind of learning curve. That is to say, there is almost always something new to learn. Either this will be something for your mind to grasp, or for your muscles memory to get used to. Whatever it is, make sure that it is a learning curve that you can handle. There are many different types of workout out there, and the fact is that some might be far too steep for you. It is always a sound idea to thoroughly research them first. Otherwise, you might find yourself straining needlessly.

Value For Money

This is something that is, for some reason, routinely overlooked. However, it is just as important here as it is with anything else. The fact is, when you hand your money over, you want to know that you are getting your money’s worth. This can be difficult to know straight off the bat, so you should look for clear signs. Try to avoid those which ask for refresh fees for DVDs, as they are often a rip off. Take a look at this info about max workouts for an example of the kind of workout scheme to avoid.

Good Use Of Time

Let’s not forget that other essential commodity, time. The fact is, you will be spending probably a fair amount of time on this new workout. As such, you should do everything you can to ensure that it is going to be worth your while. Again, this can be difficult to work out straight away. But it is worth looking into before you hand any money over. Look at previous reviews of the same product to get a good idea.

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Wait, you did what?!?

My name is Jennifer and I have had the opportunity to know Stephanie for my entire life (literally for all 25 years, she is my big sister you know). I have always struggled with my weight and never seemed to be able to get it under control no matter how much dieting or exercise I did.

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About a year ago I decided to start working with the Center for Weight Control at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston, MA. This was one of the best and scariest decisions of my life. At the Center, they specialize in various bariatric surgeries for people struggling with weight loss. After many hours of soul searching and research, I decided to go through with the surgery. I had the gastric sleeve operation on July 25, 2016. This surgery consists of removing a large part of the stomach (about 80% of it) and creating a food pouch that is the size of a small banana.

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I am still at the very early stages of recovery, but I wanted to document this monumental event in my life. I have asked Stephanie if I could chronicle my weight loss journey on her blog as she has a wide readership and provides excellent sources of recipes and workouts that are fit for anyone.

I know that there are many people out there who struggle with the “traditional” forms of weight loss. I want you to know that you are not alone and that there are options for you. Yes, I did get weight loss surgery. No, I did not take the easy way out. It has been a complete lifestyle change. It took me a lot of time to decide that this was the right path for me. Weight loss surgery is not an automatic fix to every weight issue that I have. Instead, it is another tool that can be used to help you reach your ideal weight. I hope you will follow my journey as I try to navigate through the world with a different outlook on food and nutrition. I am also working with trainer Stephanie in order to incorporate workouts into my routine that will aid with the speed and consistency of my weight loss. If you have any questions for me specifically or about the surgery in general feel free to post in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

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Check back to her some background about my struggles with weight and the process that you go through in order to prepare for the surgery.

~Jennifer~

Follow Jennifer’s story HERE on Infinite Life Fitness. You can also follow her on Instagram @jen_n_juice13



…Infinite Life Fitness Recipe: FroYo Bites…

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Seeing as there are only a few weeks left of summer (insert cheering from parents who have had to stay home with kids all summer) it can get hard to find health and fun treats for the family to enjoy.  I do my best to try to find treats that will be healthy, affordable, and fun for every member of the family to help create.

For this recipe I decided to make FroYo bites.  This is a simple, easy, and tasty treat that can be enjoyed by all members of the family!


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Any flavor of Greek yogurt that you like. (you can even use plain unfloavored Greek Yogurt).
  • 1/2 cup Fresh fruit/berries
  • 1/2 cup Granola crumbs (you can even use graham cracker crust)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl mix the granola, honey, and coconut oil. This will make the granola clump together
  • In cupcake paper (you can use actual paper of silicon cups) pack in a thin layer of the granola/honey/coconut oil mix.
  • Once you create a small base layer dollop on top of the layer your favorite flavor of Greek Yogurt.
  • This is where you can get creative! You can mix in nuts, chocolate chips, fruit, berries, or pretty much anything you want into or on top of your Greek yogurt.
  • Fill your FroYo cup to the top (making sure that it DOES NOT overflow).
  • Place your FroYo cups in the freezer and freeze for about 4 hours (sometimes it does not take as long and sometimes it will take longer! I froze mine over night to make sure they would freeze completely.)
  • Once frozen peel the treats out of the cupcake wrapping.
  • ENJOY!!

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Like I stated above you can get as creative as you would like with this treat! And, it is quick, not very messy, and great to allow kids to help you make.  You can make a whole batch of them and everyone can have their very own unique FroYo Bite.

As a disclaimer: YOU WANT TO WATCH WHAT YOU ADD TO YOUR FROYO BITES! If you add a ton of sugar and added things, it can quickly decrease the health value of this snack. You will also want to use GREEK YOGURT. I tried making this treat with regular yogurt. Yes it was good, BUT having the thick consistency that Greek Yogurt offers makes the treat better (in my opinion).  

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REMEMBER TO REMOVE THE CUPCAKE WRAPPING BEFORE YOU EAT IT. You do not want to get a mouthful of paper/plastic/rubber while trying to enjoy these treats.



…Building Muscle Is About Being Smart, Not Just Strong…

It is sometimes said that the brain is the most powerful muscle in your body. This isn’t quite accurate, as the brain is not really a muscle. Part of it is, but for the most part it is made of other organic matter. But the saying does have a point. You can take all of your physical stamina and throw it at getting fitter. But if you don’t work smart as well as working hard, then your efforts will be half as effective as they could be.

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Credit: Wikipedia

If you really want to get the most from your workout regime, it is not enough simply to spend every spare moment in the gym. Your body gets stronger from exercise and diet. We all know this. But think of your body for one moment as a building. Do bricks, mortar and all the other supplies you have make a house? Does standing six builders next to all of the supplies make a house? No, and without a plan, it will never be a house.

What you need, then, if you want to get stronger is a plan. Enthusiasm and stamina are going to be useful, but you also need to learn how to gain muscle. Without the involvement of your brain, you’re never going to get there.

  1. Schedule Your Workouts

There is a certain culture that seems to set itself around being in the gym whenever there is a spare moment. Working through the pain is seen as a sign of commitment and toughness. However, this is not working smart and it won’t help you reach your goal. Planning your workouts for when you will get the most out of them will get better results.

  1. Eat Smart, Build Nutrients

Any muscle-gain regime will depend on getting a lot of calories – there is a certain amount you need just to maintain your current size. To really build muscle you need to get more than that – in some cases a lot more. While this does allow you to eat some fast food, you need to make sure you’re eating the right things. Protein is an absolute essential, so foods like chicken and eggs are key.

  1. Build To An End Goal

Flying out of the blocks and doing everything at once is not the way to go here. Building muscle depends on doing things in stages. Set yourself goals along the way and work to them, then elevate what you are doing. The steadier the build, the more efficient the results will be.

  1. Don’t Just Work Through Pain

It’s fair to say there will be some physical discomfort as you go about getting bigger. There’s really no avoiding it, and so you have to work through some pain. But if you are feeling sore for a long time, or a sudden acute pain strikes, don’t work through it. It’s likely you’ve injured yourself, and working the muscle more is only going to aggravate it. Rehab it, eat well, get some rest and only then should you go back into the gym.

We all know the feeling of wanting to prove ourselves. It’s a natural human impulse. But if you prove yourself smart, then it’s going to be a shorter and more rewarding road to proving yourself strong.

 



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