50 million pound challenge: Gettin’ my Fit on Deck

Yikes! It’s been a while since the last check-in, uh? How is everyone doing on the fitness and health tip? Are we incorporating more greens? Drinking more water? Making healthier swaps? And uh…I can’t believe we haven’t talked about fitness yet!

Along with changing my diet, I have also been quite the gym rat for the past 2 years. There is a gym right on my condo’s property. It’s free and has treadmills, bikes, and free/machine weights. I used to hit the gym EVERY morning but now I’m going at least 3-5 times a week.

And at the crack of dawn too…

That’s right. I hit the gym at 6:00 in the morning. Because working out after work is SO not an option. But not working out is not an option either. Sheesh!


Even when I don’t head to the gym, I still need to get some kind of work-out in. Yoga is a MUST for me every morning and evening. I’ll go into more detail about that later but in the meantime, try the Sun Salutation here. Another way I get some good cardio and stretching in is by pulling out my Fit Deck cards.

Please tell me y’all have heard about Fit Deck before. No? They rock! They are a customized deck of exercise cards that give you little work-outs to do. I’ve got the Core Blast but they have many other deck options to choose from. So whether you sit at a desk all day, are expecting a baby or a teacher who wants to get your kids to move around a bit, these deck of cards will find a way to get you moving.


Take for example, the Vertical Scissor exercise.

I have a ridiculous obsession with ab work-outs so when I draw my 5-cards a day, this baby always manages to find its way in there. This card not only shows me WHAT this exercise will work out, but it gives me a picture and detailed instructions.

And you can go at your own pace when it comes to reps. 




When it comes to this one, I usually do 5 sets of 10. And then I pass out. The deck also includes information cards that can help you work out certain areas of the body. In this instance, stretching the lower body…







I like to toss them in my travel bag so I don’t make any excuses for not working out. Pretty cool, uh? They start at $9.95 and they even have decks for seniors, kids and for Yoga. Ohh, Mommy…I want that one! Learn more about Fit Deck here.


How are you getting your exercise in?







Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend

Love for Green Smoothies 

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50 million pound challenge: Eat This, Not That…

When I first got serious about changing my eating habits, I almost died.

I’m not kidding.

To go from eating regular butter, sugary jelly and 2% milk to…none of that was ALMOST the death of B. Going cold turkey is hard for anyone. Especially when you don’t consider healthier alternatives.

And then one glorious day I heard about the book Eat This, Not That. It isn’t new. This “No-Diet Weight Loss Solution” book written by the Editor-In-Chief of Men’s Health came out in 2008. I didn’t discover it until a year later and it is changed my life. I’m not even kidding, y’all.

I think this is the most realistic way to begin loosing weight. While most of us KNOW what’s good (green smoothies) and what’s bad (french fries), sometimes it helps to get an idea of what’s “better”.

Here’s an example…

I never want to give up cereal. I’d rather eat healthier cereals. Eat This, Not That displays the stats of various cereals. On the left you eat the “Eat This” and on the right, there’s the “Not That”. The book also gives little tidbits about how to read the labels. Genius!

They do the same thing for your favorite restaurants.

Now don’t get it twisted, sweets. Devouring a doughnut is never the “healthy choice” but if you’re going to take that route, it’s best to go with the one with the least calories and grams of fat. I’d rather eliminate them completely but hey, you gotta be realistic.

And then the book has sections for holidays…

Drinks…

And special circumstances…

I’ve read this book up and down. I’ve got it memorized so well that I know the “healthier” options of  all of the products I pick up at the grocery store. And the same goes for eating out.

This book has really changed my life. I’m thinking it’s the best route to go for those who slowly but surely want to make dietary changes. I also have the Supermarket, Kitchen and Restaurant Survival guides.

You can grab any of these books for less than $15 at your bookstore. I got mine from Amazon.

A fan of these Eat This, Not That? Or not so much?

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend
Green Smoothies are my BFF
Weight Frustrations

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50 million pound challenge: Weight frustrations

I have a confession. You ready?

I am hard on myself. Always have been. I often forget that change takes time. I like immediate results. I am patient while sitting in traffic. I am patient with toddlers. But patient with my own personal goals and achievements? Mega hard.

I recently had a doctor’s appointment and guess what? My freakin’ blood pressure is up yet again. 148/110 to be exact. I find this to be extremely disheartening as I feel like I am forever pushing myself to the limit physically. And when it comes to my diet, I have done a total 360. So why is my BP still through the roof?

My doctor has recommended that try to loose some weight. *insert exaggerated sigh* I felt like I was on the road to just weight maintenance. However, I have got to drop even more weight. Or else I have to get put on meds. Which would literally have to happen over my dead body as any form of non-holistic/herbal medication (OTC or prescribed) freaks me out.

I don’t even know HOW to loose more weight. It looks like I will have to consult with a professional. I’m not happy about it but I want to live a long and healthy life and will do whatever it takes.

This news is also another reminder to me…that keeping weight off is a lifestyle. It doesn’t end and for the most of us, it will be quite the challenge. Don’t let it discourage you. Continue doing what you have to do be healthy without being so hard on yourself. Yes, I work out 5-6 times a week. But it will be a snowy day in Florida before I turn down creme brulee. While most of my physical/dietary needs have changed, my love for desserts has not. And I’m okay with that. It is all about balance.

At the end of the day, I know that my high blood pressure is probably because of genetics. Not being in control of my health frustrates but I can’t let it stop me.

Hang in there, fam! We can do this!

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend
Green Smoothies are my BFF

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Fat and Fit??


Look at that….I’ve been doing a whole bunch of writing about healthy foods and smoothies but I have yet to talk about fitness! And that’s crazy considering fitness takes up a great chunk of my life.

The title of this post was inspired by A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss. It was there where I saw this video.


So yeah…the Wii Fit STILL says I’m overweight. My BMI is 30.1. I work out 5-7 times a week and have a diet that is 50% raw vegetables. Could it be that I am too fat and fit? Er uh…where do I begin with this?

Working out is important. And it’s one of those things that I always knew but ignored. For most of my life, I always made excuses for why I didn’t want to work out.

Hit the jump to continue…

“I don’t have time.”

I don’t want to mess up my hair.”

“I hate sweating.”

“But I fell down on my knee when I was 6 and it still hurts.”

All excuses for why I didn’t want to work-out. I was never an athlete. I was the typical kid in that I spent a lot of time outside running around, swimming and riding my bike but I was never on any team. In 10th grade I tried out for the volleyball team and gave up the 2nd day of conditioning. What a punk, right?

But now you can’t stop me from working out. And I’m tellin’ y’all…if I can do it, anyone can. Many ask what my motivation was. What finally got me to be a regular in the gym. It’s very simple.

High blood pressure. 
Diabetes.

While I don’t have the latter, people in my family do. My blood pressure was in the 140’s when I was only 22 years old. The thought of being put on medication scared the devil out of me. I knew changes had to be made. Changes that I probably wouldn’t like. Here’s how to do it…

1. Set a goal for yourself. Be it a dress size, weight or a challenge. Find  a realistic goal to look forward to. It was always easier for me to work-out when I knew I was working towards something I really wanted. I continue to do this every time I work-out too. If I am running outside, I always look at a marker (be it a tree or sign) and I push myself until I get to that marker. It is never easy but congratulating yourself on that little accomplishment does wonders for your self-esteem.


2. Have a support system. This is SO important. And they don’t always have to be people in your immediate life. Join social networking sites for those in the same position as you. Follow your favorite nutritionists or work-out folx on Twitter. Having the support of others really kept me going on those days when I felt like giving up.


3. Realize that it takes time. If you aren’t used to working out, don’t expect for it to be easy the first two weeks that you do it. It takes time for your body to adjust. And it is really more mental than anything. I FORCED myself to work-out every day for a month. After that month, going 4-5 times a week seemed easier.

4. Do not let yourself make excuses. I know, easier said than done, right? Personally, I feel awful on days that I don’t work out when I know I’m supposed to. Even if I can’t make it to the gym, I try to jump on the Wii Fit, jump rope, do some yoga or at least eat lighter that day. If being active is what you seek, make time for it. We make time for everything else, right? If you are a TV watcher, do lunges and squats during commercials. If you work at a desk all day, do mini-ab work-outs. The more conscious you are of working out, the fewer excuses you will make.


5. Tell yourself you can do it! This sound super lame but it really works. Positive thinking goes a long way. Especially when being conscious about health and fitness. Stop obsessing over what you used to look like. Stop fantasizing over having a body like your favorite celebrity. You are already beautiful. Tell yourself this and keeping reminding yourself that being healthy is way more important than how you look on the outside.

I’m no professional. I just want to be healthy. Not skinny. But healthy. Some confuse my active working out for wanting to be small. I have long accepted the fact that I will not be a size 2. Or 6. It is not in my genetic make-up. Where I’m from women are “thick”. Thick is fine but healthy is better.

I challenge you all to work-out to the best of your ability.  Work it out! If you have any tips or ideas, please share them!

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend
Green Smoothies are my BFF

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Green smoothies are my BFF


I can’t tell y’all how many emails I get about green smoothies. I am SO glad to see this yummy drink become more and more popular. So here it is….the All About Green Smoothies post.

Q: What made you want to start drinking green smoothies?
A: During the summer of 2009 I wanted to try something new diet-wise. I really wanted to start falling in love with vegetables again and incorporate them more in my diet. Sooo…I went on a raw food diet and loved it. I read about green smoothies and fell in love. I love that they are cheap, portable, easy to make, delicious AND provide me more than the daily recommended amount of greens I need.

Q: What makes these things so healthy for you?
A: You’re kidding, right? Green smoothies are nothing but fruits and vegetables–the two kinds of food that most of us don’t eat enough of. I could talk all day about how the health benefits of green smoothies, but this article sums it all up!

Q: Wait…you mean it has vegetables in it? Eww! That means it tastes gross, right?
A: Nope. Thanks to naturally sweet fruits, you really can’t even taste the greens. Some people get turned off by the green color and I don’t know why. Green is beautiful!

Q: How often can you drink them?
A: I drink at least 40 oz of green smoothie a day. My body literally craves them. I put them in washable bottles and sip them in between meals. They are also excellent for breakfast, after a work-out and as a dessert. Oh…and I love them as energy boosters.

Q: Do you need a super pricey and amazingly awesome blender like a VitaMix?
A: Heck no! All of my blenders have been under $50. I’ve gone through 3 in about a year so I should probably invest in a top of the line blender. However…my cheap-self won’t allow me to make the purchase. :( No worries. My current Black & Decker Cyclone is holdin’ it down!

See how it got its name?

Q: How do you make a green smoothie?
A: I knew you’d ask that!

First, do know that there are no rules to making these babies. No measuring is needed. Mix this and add that and you’ve got a green smoothie .Ice and water are the foundation to my green smoothies. Not to mention without them you’ll be drinking what tastes like pureed grass. Trust me on this. And of course you need GREENS. Like kale, for example.


Kale is typically used as a garnish but when blended it provides an insane amount of Vitamin K. I use this and spinach the most. You can also use lettuce, parsley and chard. I tried collard greens once but I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. *gags*

And then you need fruits!


I ALWAYS add a banana in my smoothies. They seem to do the best job at cutting the veggie taste. Be creative with your fruits. You can use anything in fresh or frozen form. Very rarely do I purchase expensive behind fruits from grocery stores. I like to support fresh fruit markets and go to one every Sunday after church. However, because of the season my market is on hiatus and I’m left to buying fruits from the grocery store. Do you need organic fruits? I guess it’s a personal thing. I always get organic apples because apples are more prone to getting zapped with pesticides with their permeable skin and all. But when it comes to bananas, berries, etc…I say my grace and move on.

Got milk?


I don’t add any milks to my smoothies unless I am making them for a dessert or want a little something special. Rice milk is a rarity for me. I LOVE almond milk but apparently so does everyone else in the world because it is always out of stock when I want it. Coconut milk=heaven. But fatty heaven and for that I only add it in smoothies every now and then. Feel free to use any kind of milk you like. I avoid cow’s and soy milk because they both are no bueño on my tummy.

Where da sugar at?


Adding a bit of sweetness to smoothies is also a rarity. Sometimes the fruits don’t provide enough and this is where additives come in. I only add a bit of raw cane sugar, honey, stevia or agave nectar. Maple syrup works well too but be careful….it is high in calories.

Flavor enhancements?


Some add whey and hemp protein to their smoothies. I haven’t tried either yet but I LOVE cinnamon and ginger. I also add a few drops of Vanilla extract in a smoothie if I really want a nice treat.

A blender full of green smoothie is enough to last me the whole day.


If I am detoxing, I double my intake of green smoothie and drink them in lieu of breakfast and lunch. The great thing about green smoothies is that they can last for a good 2-3 days in the fridge.

That’s it, y’all!

Some of my favorite random recipes include:

Sliced apples (super refreshing)
Strawberries
Banana
Kale

Avocado
Pineapple
Spinach
Coconut milk
Banana
….tastes like a green piña colada. Yum!

Blueberries
Strawberries
Kale/spinach
Pineapple
Almond milk
….full of antioxidants and GREAT for after work-outs.

Happy blending!

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Water Water is my friend…


Let’s rap about water.

Do you drink enough?

Or are you stuck on sodas and high fructose juices? Would you rather drink coffee or a mixed drink than water? Pull yourself together, sister. Water is your friend. You NEED it. And not just when you’re thirsty.

I drink a little over a gallon of water a day.


It’s as if my body craves it. I mean, at any minute of the day…you can find me drinking from some bottle.


Purchasing water bottles can be expensive so I installed a filter in my kitchen. I fill up a gallon of water each day to take with me to work. That gallon sits at my desk and by the end of the day, it’s empty.

And in case you didn’t know, here are some important reasons why you SHOULD drink water:

  • Water can help flush out those nasty toxins in the body. Every few days I add either fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to my water. Both are great at detoxifying.
  • Water helps food digest properly. You know that yucky feeling in your tummy when you’ve eaten too much food and hours later you STILL feel a bloated mess? Um yeah…that’s constipation. Water can clear that up!
  • Water is good for the skin! And Lord knows I need as much help with clear skin as possible….
  • Water can aid in weight loss. Try replacing water with coffee, alcoholic beverages and sweet drinks for week and see what happens. Unlike all of those drinks, water has ZERO calories, ZERO fat and ZERO sugar.
  • Water makes for a better work-out. This is so true! I find that when I’m not drinking any water at all before and during my work-outs, I am more sluggish and tiresome. (source)

While experts say we are SUPPOSED to drink 8 glasses (or 8 ounces) of water a day, I think just making sure that you aren’t dehydrated is enough. However, if you’re on a weight loss journey, I think it’s important to keep track of everything. Even water. I keep my water in water bottles with numbers on them.

That way I can know for sure that I’ve had enough to drink in days I don’t drink from my gallon. Between my water and liquid heaven that is this….

I’m good! I’ve never been a coffee (yuck) or alcohol drinker so drinking only water and green smoothies works for me. On the weekends I’ll splurge a bit and drink a Shirley Temple (I’m such a kid, ha!) or sweet tea.

But at the end of the day, it’s water that keeps me feeling good. If you haven’t made friends with water, start incorporating more glasses of it in your daily schedule. If you need help, put an alarm on your watch or in your phone to remind you to drink more.

Any avid water drinkers out there?

I’m going to be posting about fitness the next few Challenge posts. You ready? Let me know what y’all think about these posts. Are they helpful? Don’t hesitate to send me any emails at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com if you have any suggestions or questions!

Until next time….

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Portion sizes


Hello there, weight loosin’ and maintainin’ mamas! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in. How is everyone doing? I hope y’all didn’t fall off track with Thanksgiving feasts and all. I purposely worked out like mad the week before Turkey Day because I knew I wanted to indulge. Just a bit.

But now I’m back on my regular routine and not doin’ as much snacking as I was during the holiday. Once upon a time I was a snack machine. I could easily eat a huge bag of chips or a box of cereal in one sitting. And it wasn’t because I was hungry, but because the food was just….there. It’s easy to be heavy snacker when you don’t eat in small portions. Since realizing this, I now put all of my snacks in small containers.


1 cup of cereal as a snack is more than enough, right? But if I took the box to work with me….there ain’t no tellin’ how much I would eat. I do the same with my beverages.

This ensures that I get enough of my green smoothie intake. I drink about 32 ounces of green smoothie a day and about the same in water. Yummers!

I challenge you to think about portion sizes. If you get a sandwich for lunch, try eating one half now and the other half in an hour or so. Put your snacks in baggies or little containers so that you don’t over-indulge and consume calories that you don’t need.

Make sense?

And oh…I totally haven’t weighed myself in quite some time so I don’t know how much I’ve lost. But who cares….I feel great!!

Hang in there, y’all. Eat well, work-out and keep telling yourself how beautiful you are.

Until next time…

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: I’m no size 6. But I don’t care.


I have never been smaller than a size 12 in my adult years. And I’ve never really had a problem with this either. My thighs have always rubbed together and I still felt attractive. I could never be a runway model but that’s never bothered me. The photo you see is of a slightly larger B. I was loved by friends and family but most importantly—I loved myself.

It wasn’t until I visited the doctor my senior year of college and he told me he was concerned about my high blood pressure, that I began to worry. A few more visits confirmed that I indeed had dangerously high blood pressure for someone my age. My systolic reading (top number) wavered between 140 and 145. This was not a good look for a 22 year old…or anyone for that matter.

And so to the World of Weight Loss I went. I went from a size 16 to a size 12 solely on monitoring what I ate and became BFFs with the gym. My blood pressure has consistently stayed normal and physically, I feel great. I am far from skinny but I am in shape and healthy!

….even though I’m not a size 6. And even though I’ll probably never wear a bikini. But I’m okay with that. I don’t look at numbers. I don’t own a scale and don’t don’t cringe at clothes that have double digits. I never really feel fat (unless I’ve over-indulged) and I can honestly say that I love my body; flaws, flub and all. According to the Body Mass Index calculator (stoopid calculator doesn’t even consider muscle mass), I am obese. But when I look in the mirror, I don’t see that. And I certainly don’t feel that way when I’m running my miles in the morning. I’m not even desirous of being a size 10 or 8…and let’s be honest, a 6 for me is a joke.

As we continue to press forward for healthier bodies and lifestyles, know that your beauty outshines what size you are and how much you weigh. It is a work in progress to get to a healthy weight–but in the meantime, don’t let these numbers make you feel bad. You are beautiful no matter what.

Slightly larger (but STILL happy) me.

Do yourself a favor and toss your scale out of the window.

But be sure to open the window first. :)

I love, y’all! Hang in there! Feel free to drop me any suggestions you may have. See you at next week’s check-in!