Why I Bet On My Weight Loss

Why I Bet On My Weight Loss

This year I decided to bet on my weight loss using HealthyWage and this is why…..

If you were to go to any social platform and scroll back through the last year of my photos, you would probably label me as “a little overweight” or “chubby” or “thick” (in large because I never post photos of my whole body). 

But, I bet that based on what you can find you wouldn’t guess, going back to January of last year (2017) that I weighed around 240 pounds.

Now, before you go further (or click off) this post isn’t anti body-positivity, nor am what I’m about to say “fat shaming”.  This is just how I feel, what I thought (think) and the health issues that led me to bet on my weight loss.  Know that if you’re overweight or obese or thicc or whatever- I love you all the same. Got it?  Cool back to the regular programing…

I’m just going to keep it real.  My weight is something that I’ve always tied my self-worth to. So, as my public following grew, so did my insecurity with my weight. 

Everything kind of came to a head (the first time), when I took the advice of my 50,000 and some Instagram followers and created a Youtube channel.   

I decided to do this during Vlogoween (in October) where vloggers post one video a day for the entire month in celebration of Halloween.  Since I love the bizarre and weird it seemed like a perfect time to get started.

So, I made one “scary” (and silly) video a day for the month of October and loved the process (although the videos are freaking cringy). I also loved connecting with some of my Instagram followers and finding new people on Youtube as well.

However, Youtube is video and video is not as friendly as a well-angled shot.

Needless to say that was the moment that I realized how much I hated how much I looked and wanted to do something about it.

So I made some weight loss goals.  I’d lost weight before, but I always gained it back, so for 2017 I wanted to just drop 40 pounds and keep it off for a few months.

I actually succeed at that goal really quickly.  I lost the 40 pounds between January 1st and March 31st of 2017 and kept it off for the rest of the year.

For the most part I couldn’t find photos of my whole body (because I purposely didn’t take them) but here’s a not-so good one from January of 2017. Obviously I’m a style ICON people!

Here’s one from Disney World (I’m in the middle) in August of 2017 after losing 40 pounds. Once again, I’m a style icon people- that shirt is HIGH quality Ross material.

After losing 40 pounds I felt like I was at a much healthier size for myself.  Not just based on how I looked, but I physically was feeling really strong (hello there Crossfit).

Even though I still wasn’t comfortable taking full body photos. I thought I needed to work more on my body positivity and confidence than on losing weight.

However, this train of thought was derailed when my mom started having some serious health issues related to her heart. 

My mom had us fairly young, so she’s not that old, nor was she that overweight, nor did she eat what would be consider the “SAD” diet.

But, weight loss was the one thing they told her *might* work before getting into pills, surgeries and other intense treatments.

Long story short, my mom started losing weight and her symptoms pretty  much disappeared.  Which is crazy because the symptoms were crazy.

When she started all of this she actually found Healthywage and decided to try it because as she said, “if I have to lose weight I might as well be paid for it!”.

Watching her go through her health struggles made me realize that I needed to keep going forward with my journey as well.  Loving your body is important regardless of the size you are, but it’s also important to prioritize your health.

So that’s why I decided to bet on my weight.  If you’re curious about that…here’s the info.

HealthyWage

Healthywage is a platform where you bet actual money on your weight loss.

I know betting money on weight loss sounds a little crazy, I thought so too, but after reading about it and seeing my mom have success with betting on her health, I decided to give it a go, because like my mom said, I might as well get paid for losing the weight I need to lose.

In addition to that, HealthyWage forced me to stop saying “tomorrow”, it’s easy to put off working on your health until “tomorrow”, but you can’t do that when you’re under time constraints and money is at risk. This was a huge external motivator for me!

In fact, I can now say without a doubt that HealthyWage is the sole reason I’m down 15 pounds this year already.  If I hadn’t done it, I’m not sure I would have pulled myself into gear yet (which is hard to admit, especially since my mom’s health should provide me with so much motivation).

Check Out Healthywage here!

How does it work?

Basically you bet whatever you want and there are various payouts depending on the amount and length of your bet. Healthywage has a calculator that you can play around with to see how much you can win from varying bets.  You can check that out here.

Below is a screenshot of what the calculator looks like.  Now, you will need to make a free account to see the exact amount you’ll win, because it’s based on your exact information, but this can give you an estimate.

Both my mom and I found that we won the most (even though we weighted different amounts) bidding $1000 total (you can bid all at once or pay monthly). I don’t know if this is best across the board, but it was best for us. The Healthywage calculator does show you your best return as well.  We didn’t base our bets on this because it’s based on the best money to win ratio, not the most you can make.

Also note that you can bet whatever you want! There’s no need to bet $1000 to participate!

I personally did end up doing the full $1000.  Which is terrifying, but also extremely motivating. Had I bet $20, I wouldn’t have had the same level of incentives.  $1000 is a lot of money for me (and I’ll win a lot) so that’s keeping me going even on day I don’t want to!

My payout if when I hit my goal will be $2,900, so I’ll make $1,900 doing something I planned on doing anyways. Depending on how much you need to lose, the prize money can be up to $10,000!

Besides doing the individual big weight loss challenge, I’m also currently enrolled in 7 different 6% body fat weight loss challenges and a team challenge with my mom all through HeallthyWage.  These challenges are a little different because they don’t guarantee a “win” amount. You just put $20 in a month for three months and everyone who hits their goal gets a cut of the pot.  The thing about the jackpot challenges is that you don’t know how much (if anything) you’ll win, but you are guaranteed to get at least your $60 back.

Just two of several options

HealthyWage allows you to do up to 10 challenges at a time, which is pretty cool because I’m losing weight anyways, (or I lose $1,000) so I can’t lose the smaller challenges! If I don’t win them, I’d be on track to lose the entire $1,000, so while I might not win a ton, I’ll win a little here and there doing that as well.

One of the deciding factors for me doing Healthywage was the fact that these types of programs have actually been studied and shown to increase the success rate of you reaching your goal. So far, that’s been very accurate for me.

With that being said, if you’re someone who isn’t motivated by monetary loss, this is probably not the right fit for you.

What About DietBet?

If you’ve heard of DietBet you might be wondering why I’m using HealthyWage instead.  The reason is simple.  DietBet only has the option to bid into smaller jackpots that get split between winners. The two jackpot options with DietBet are 4%weight loss in 4 weeks or 10% in 6 months. So the options are pretty limited for what you can bid on and the return is not that great.

DietBet’s options, the maintain option (which I think is very cool is not yet available).

If you only have a few pounds to lose, I would do a combination of the 4% (or 6%) challenge with DietBet and a 6% challenge with HealthyWage (might as well get both payouts for the same amount of work!).  As someone who has a lot to lose, I’m using DietBet with HealthyWage as another way to make little bits of money here and there throughout my weight loss journey, but if you can only afford to put money in one place, you’ll win a lot more with HealthyWage.

Also, a note about money:  If your car needed to be fixed for you to go to work you’d make sure you’d get the money right? Even if it was $1000. What about your body though? If a $60 or $100 bet is motivating for you, great! But it that amount isn’t going to hold you to your goal, would a higher amount like $1000?  If so, wouldn’t it be worth it to give up Hulu or Netflix for your bet each month so you would stay on track?  That’s how I’ve been looking at the money I’ve been pouring into these bet programs.  As an investment for my health and my future that’s worth budgeting for.

Now that we’ve talked a bit about betting on weight loss, I want to quickly share with you how I’m going to hit my goals.  Because yes, it would be foolish to put that amount of money on the line and not have a plan!

What I’m Doing To Ensure I Make My Goal

The main thing I’m focusing on to ensure I lose the right amount of weight is diet. 

I tried Keto after reading Tools of The Titans by Tim Ferris (a great book you should definitely read!). Although I didn’t count my calories closely I lost a lot of weight just by adding in lots of healthy fats and reducing carbs. This is how I lost 40 pounds in three months in 2017 and it’s how I’m planning on losing 60 in 2018.

The way Keto works, is that it switches the body from running on Carbohydrates to running on Ketones which are produced by fat.  Because your body is running off of fats instead of sugar, you’ll lose weight much easier ( at least in my experience) than on a diet that simply restricts calories.

The science behind Keto is not only solid, but it’s shown to have some great health benefits besides just weight loss.  I honestly felt the best I ever have on a “diet” doing Keto, which I didn’t realize until I stopped it to “maintain” my weight.

If you’re interested in Keto (especially for weight loss) definitely look into it! It’s been a great change for me.  One resource that’s really good is Healthful Pursuits.  She has a podcast that has a ton of info on going Keto.

If you’re interested in buying a program to get started I would highly recommend her 30 day bundle and also her meal plans.

Other Keto Resources I Recommend:

Just because I know I’ll be asked this question later if I don’t include these….

If you’re busy and on the go, also check out the Keto Box, which is a subscription box of Keto snacks that regularly come to your house. This is great if you’re not very good at cooking and meal prep (like me).

I also recommend Perfect Keto’s MCT Oils and Powders.

You can read about the science behind MTC Oil here!

Besides, going Keto, I’ve also added in exercise to my life.

I decided to go with a Tabata for exercise because studies show it’s the best at keeping your metabolism stable during weight loss.Tabata is a form of high interval intensity training and the idea behind it is that you work out at your maximum capacity for just 4 minutes a day.  Tabata has been around for a long time and studies have shown that it is more effective for overall health than 1 hour of moderate work out every day. I did a lot of digging into the research, and while I won’t present it all here, it’s definitely worth looking into if you’re prone to making excuses about not having time when it comes to working out (like I do). Or, if you’re concerned about your metabolism getting slower from weight loss (keto also helps with this).

Currently I’ve been using whatever workouts I can find on Youtube, but I’m considering buying a program, because there aren’t a lot of options.

So, that’s why I’m betting on my weight loss and how I’m making sure I win.  If you have questions about betting on weight loss, Keto or Tabata, leave me a comment down below and I’ll try to answer them.

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Kitchen Essentials for the Average Girl

Kitchen Essentials for the Average Girl

As someone who isn’t in the kitchen much I was absolutely astounded when I moved away from home at all the kitchen equipment you need. Also, during that same time period, I acquired a lot of items I didn’t end up using… like ever.  So I thought I would give you my list of kitchen essentials for the average not-so-kitchen savvy millennial.

Prep Tools:

Grater: A normal cheese grater is great for most people, but you can also get a microplate grater if you like hard cheeses or citrus zest.  I ironically do a lot of zesting, so I have both types of graters.

Salad Tongs:  I have a miniature set of spring loaded tongs.  They’re perfect for me because I don’t often have company over…. and let’s be real, if I don’t have company I’m likely to get bagged salad and eat the salad straight out of the bag.  No tongs required.  However, if you think you’ll use tongs there are a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from.

Spoons: You’re going to use a lot of spoons so feel free to pick out several different kinds and sizes.  Maybe throw a spatula in here or there too. If you plan on storing them in some sort of cute on-the-counter-container look for ones that match the aesthetic of your home or apartment.

Measuring Cups & Spoons: As someone who measures her food out daily, I use these more than anything in my kitchen.  However they’re also great for a little thing called recipes.

Colander:  Us basic folk call this a strainer and it’s perfect for separating the macaroni from the water after you boil it.  My most used colander is a smaller hand-held one which is perfect to wash a few strawberries or drain a small amount of pasta.

Chopping Stuff

Big Knife:  This is also known as a Chef’s knife, and it’s one of the items you want to splurge on if you will actually be cooking. Your Chef’s knife should be 8”-10” and as sharp as possible (watch those fingers).

Paring Knife:  The little guy, this knife is great for doing things like cutting the stems off of strawberries. I use my paring knife daily and it’s my go-to primarily because I’m clumsy.

Serrated Knife: This is your bread knife. It works best to cut bread and tomatoes, but it’s the most overall useful knife.  It’s a good one to get if you can afford it, if not, put it on a to-get list and wait it out. Worst case scenario, you’ll buy a tomato and it will get partially mushed as you cut it.

Note: If you spend anything more than a few dollars on a knife make sure you go into a knife store and try holding them and seeing if you actually like them.  A $200 kitchen knife that looks pretty but is too heavy is a silly investment.

Cutting Boards:  Pick boards you can put in the dishwasher and thoroughly sanitize.

Cooking

Sheet Tray:  Get at least one full-sized metal sheet tray to bake cookies and other foods like vegetables and meats on.

Frying Pan:  Eggs are a staple in my life, I couldn’t live without my frying pan.  It’s also great for sautéing vegetables of cooking fish.

Pots:  Get at least one small pot and one big pot for boiling water, or making soups, stews and sauces.  You can also get a cast iron Dutch oven which is a pot that can be used in the oven or in the stove top.

Instapot and/or Crock Pot:  If you want to make meals fast or make them ahead of time these are some optional, yet handy devices to have.  Once again, they’re on the higher price range so make sure you’re actually going to use them before you buy them.

That’s it! If you’re brand new to your own kitchen this list should help you outfit it properly to start cooking.  You might be surprised at the number of things you can make yourself at home and the amount of money you can save!

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Essentials for Your Office Bag, Gym Bag and Carry-on

Essentials for Your Office Bag, Gym Bag and Carry-on

I might not be the epitome of organized, but I have managed to organize a large part of my life into different bags. I have my office bag and gym bag that I carry around on the daily.  Then, I have my suitcase ready to go at a moment’s notice, a handbag for any evenings during the week, and a separate bag for weekends. With so many activities and variety to life it’s important to keep necessities and essentials on hand and easily accessible. Especially, when you’re a bit scattered like I can be. The easiest way to do this is to have well-thought out bags packed with everything you need to live life on the go.

What Bags I Recommend:

Carry-on: Samsonite Aspire Xlite Expandable Upright 20 inch

Gym Bag: Charli Backpack Black

Office bag: Fossil Emma Laptop Bag

 

The Bag Essentials

Work Bag Essentials

Wallet: Obviously this will have to be moved from bag to bag as needed, but this is probably the primary place you’ll need it.

Laptop: For many of us, work can be done flexibly from many locations.

Concealer & Nail Polish: If you don’t have time to go home and freshen up before important meetings, a little concealer can go a long way.  On the same note, nail polish often chips at the most inconvenient times.  Keep some polish in your bag to touch up chipped areas just in case.

Keys: Having a designated spot in your bag for keys is much like having one in your house.  It helps if you’re forgetful or prone to set them down somewhere and lose them. Simply throw them in the right pocket or area of your bag every time and you won’t be locked out of your car and house at the end of the day.

Business Cards:  Most people don’t do business cards anymore, but If you do, this is the place to keep them.

Extra shoes:  Flats are fairly small and can be added to any bag to give your feet a break if needed.

Tide Stick:  I’m not going to lie, these often aren’t enough for my gigantic messes, but they help! Honestly, if you’re just prone to the occasional spill it will probably be perfect for you.

Sunglasses: My eyes are so sensitive I wear sunnies even with grey skies (they’re bright too).  I keep a pair of sunglasses in both my car and in my workbag so I’m always prepared.

Mints:  Perfect for when gum isn’t (read this as-“when your breath smells like lunch, but you can’t be chomping gum in front of a client”).

Gum:  Perfect for times when you can chomp.

Toothbrush and Paste: A lot of people have travel sized toothbrushes and paste in their bag, I carry around full-sized so they last longer, because honestly I’m a big forgetful and not likely to put a new small toothpaste in my bag before the old runs out.

Floss:  To get the salad out of your teeth after lunch.

Compact Mirror: To see the salad in your teeth after lunch.

Cell Phone: Thankfully, most bags are equipped with pockets just for your phone. This can be a great place to put them while you work. Especially if your outfit isn’t really made for things to be in the pockets. #firstworldproblems.

Extra Charger: For Obvious reasons.

Pen and Paper:  I’m always jotting down thought, ideas, brainstorms, and to-do lists.  I work best in the real world rather than using my phone or computer.

Gym Bag Essentials

Workout Clothes: If you don’t go home between work and working out you’ll need to pack your clothes the night before. Typically I pack a shirt, or tank top, sports bra, pants, light workout jacket, and socks.

Your Gym Shoes: I do Crossfit, so I need to at least have basic running shoes to complete the workout.  If I forget my shoes I’m up a creek without a paddle.

Extra Socks:  For when you sweat or bleed through your first ones.

Music: If you work out solo, having your favorite music is essential.

Blender Bottle: Getting those nutrients in after your workout is vital.  Wait until you get home and you’ll have literally missed a window of opportunity.

Protein Powder: Let me say it loud for the people in the back “Protein powder will not make you manly”.  All that hard work at the gym will go to waste if you don’t properly fuel your body.

Water Bottle: For obvious reasons.

Miniature First Aid Kit: Gym injuries happen, keep some basics like band aids and Neosporin in your bag.

Hair Ties: I always forget these, so having extras is a must.

Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Shower Shoes and a Towel:  Only if you take showers at the gym.

Deodorant: Just in case.

FucoProtein Bars:  If you get hungry on your way home, pick a high quality protein bar.

Essential Oil Spray:  I like to take my shower at home, so between home and the gym I’ll use a post-workout essential oil spray like Refresh to kill the bacteria on my skin from sweating.

Carry-on Essentials

Pen & Paper: What better time to brainstorm or make lists for the next week.

Healthy snacks: Try to find these in the airport, it’s possible, but difficult.

Toothbrush & Paste:  Need I explain this?

Basic Medications like Advil or Ibuprofen.

Charger For Your Phone.

iPad: Books, movies, music, magazines or even work right at your fingertips.

A physical book or magazine.  I may or may not have packed 3 large novels when I flew to Australia.  There’s nothing quite like a physical book sometimes.

Gum.

Hand Sanitizer.

Baby wipes or “sanitary wipes” if you want to pay more for the same thing.

Scarf and light wool sweater if you’re going somewhere even slightly cold.

Chapstick or lip salve.

Hair brush

Lotion: For some reason air travel makes my skin extra dry.  If you have this issue consider adding lotion to your repertoire.

Makeup:  If you’re off the plane straight into an event of business meeting, packing some makeup will allow you to do touch ups before you land.

Rollerball perfume to get rid of the plane funk smells.

Headphones for the iPad or your phone or whatever other devices you have.

Passport holder.  If you need to take your passport on your adventure a holder can help keep things organized.

Jewelry Organizer: If you often pack jewelry you might have noticed that it can seem impossible to get it somewhere without it getting tangled.  A jewelry organizer can really help with this!

Camera: If you use a camera, instead of your phone for photos, make sure to pack it.

Copies of your documents.  Especially if you’re traveling internationally it can be smart to have copies of all your documents ready to go.  You can also upload digital copies and have them available on your phone or ipad.

Wool socks: My sister has been known to only wear socks on the plane. She designates one sturdy pair of thick wool socks and lounges in comfort. Honestly, after trying this it is pretty comfortable!

Money Belt: If you’re traveling internationally it won’t hurt to throw a money belt into your carry on in case you feel a need to use it.  I won’t lie, I used mine when I was in Egypt every day.  It let me keep my passport, travel documents and money on my person at all times in a conspicuous way.

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How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

If you’ve been following along at all you’ll know that I recently decided to make a fashion resolution.  Needless to say, I’ve been spending a bit of time evaluating my style and figuring out what I want to wear because to be honest, I’m a pretty casual person who doesn’t like to be bothered with uncomfortable outfits. So, when I heard about the idea of a capsule wardrobe I was intrigued.

While many people have embraced the idea of the capsule wardrobe and the term has been around since the 19070’s, but the expert of our time who re-coined the term is Caroline the author of Unfancy. This is a blog where she talks about the concept of her capsule wardrobe which includes wearing the same 37 pieces for three months at a time. Now, obviously this idea was intriguing to me because it melds convince and style into one goal! After Caroline’s three months she does add new pieces to her rotation, but in the mean time she has created a completely stress free and cheap way to get dressed.

Capsule Wardrobe:

Caroline’s definition of a capsule wardrobe is “It’s a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you completely LOVE to wear”.  To expand on that definition, it’s a wardrobe that is complete with shoes, outerwear, dresses, bottoms and tops that are rotated out every three months.

Caroline sorts her capsules by seasons and occasions and broke down her capsule into 37 items so that she would have 2 jackets/coats, 15 tops, 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 2 dresses.

Why Try The Capsule Wardrobe?

A lot of us have too much in our closets to start with and then we go shopping on top of it.  In fact, I have tons of close I’ll never wear and I only wear a handful on a regular basis.  What a shame right?  So, instead of buying more or (if you’re like me) worrying about what to buy more of, you can sort your clothes into wearable piles and know exactly what you’re going to wear for that month! In addition to that, you don’t buy clothes during your three month periods, so you’ll save money if you’re an impulse clothing shopper!

In addition to that having the outfits pre-designed means that you’ll never look at your capsule and not have something to wear.  For me the capsule wardrobe is energy and time saved for things that matter like writing posts, making videos and spending time with my friends and family. BUT at the same time I’ll be meeting my fashion resolution of dressing nice this year.

How To Build Your Capsule Wardrobe:

Start by picking out your 9 shoes.  Obviously it depends on your lifestyle, but Caroline sorts hers into 3 flats, 3 heels, and 3 boots. Within those pairs of three she has a casual pair, a statement pair and an in-between pair

Then she picks out her 9 bottoms and 15 tops. For the bottoms she splits everything up into threes such as pants, slacks and skirts.  The tops are sometimes split up into threes, such as tank fops, vests, t-shits, button up shirts, and sweaters, but not always.

Last, she leaves room for jackets and dresses which she breaks down depending on the season and potential events.

Getting Started

Even if picking out nine pairs of shoes is easy, it might not be so easy when you look at your entire closet and are forced to make clothing choices for the next three months.  This is why it’s important to start the process by cleaning out your closet.  Basically you’re going to want to empty your closet and sort your emptied clothes into piles by “Love it”, “Maybe”, “Nope”, and “Seasonal”.   Once you have your clothes sorted, stop shopping for a time.  This will give you an idea of what clothes you really need to buy.  Last, get rid of the clothes you won’t use! It’s silly to keep them around, however if you are a bit afraid of throwing them out, try storing them elsewhere while you do your capsule and then get rid of them if you don’t miss them after several months. You can also buy new pieces after you stop shopping for a while that help you complete your wardrobe.

Obviously, this system isn’t designed to limit you and make your life more frustrating, so modify it however you like including adding in more pieces.  Make it work for you!  This should be a fun time that teaches you new things about yourself and your closet, not one that stresses you out or makes you hate your clothes.

Just an Experiment or Long Term?

If you’re really unhappy with your current closet situation, try it for a year (a full 4 capsule seasons) and see what you think. If you’re happy with your current closet situation, perhaps just try it once just to mix up your life and try something new.

I’m excited to try this system out because I desperately need help in the fashion department right now and I think it will give me a way to be stylish without over thinking it.  What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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Homemade Honey and Lemon Face Mask

Homemade Honey and Lemon Face Mask

As someone who’s suffered from cystic acne for around 15 years I never really knew the importance of proper skin care, but now I’m trying to play catch up. Needless to say, it’s really important to take good care of your skin as a young adult. However, money can also often be tight, so instead of getting fancy facials you can try a homemade face mask.

This mask made of lemon and honey is especially useful because lemons have BHA’s and AHA’s which will help with discoloration, acne, blackheads and even to remove dead skin cells. Honey on the other hand is a great natural antioxidant and it has antibacterial properties.

To get started you’ll need to make your face mask which is super easy. Simply mix one tablespoon of the honey and one tablespoon of lemon juice together into a bowl. It might be easiest to do this with a whisk.

 

Next, you’ll want to open your pores. The easiest way to do this is to boil water, pour it into a bowl and stand above it being careful not to burn yourself if it’s too hot. After a few minutes your pores should be open and ready to go.

Now, just take your honey and lemon mixture and apply it all over your face and leave it for 15-30 minutes. Lemon can be a little harsh if you have super sensitive skin, so be aware of that! When you’re done just rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Organic lemon juice or the juice of ½ a lemon.
1 tbsp. Organic raw (preferably Manuka) honey

That’s it! Go forth and have great skin!

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