Ripped in 30 Week 1 Recap and Observations

Hi everyone! Hope your summer workouts are going great and that you’re not falling too off track between parties, vacations and whatever else I didn’t account for!

I’m currently training for a half marathon, but in order to get some strength and hopefully run better, I started doing Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 DVD. Today, I finished the third day of Week 2, so I’m a bit behind in reviewing Week 1. I will go ahead and do that for you now!

If you’re familiar with the 30 Day Shred DVD, the format of Ripped in 30 will be very familiar. It follows the 3-2-1 structure: three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs. Jillian promotes this as a 20-minute workout, but the time for warm up and cool down brings it closer to half an hour or 35 minutes on my heart rate monitor.

(Note: I could not find a full video of Week 1 that didn’t require payment. This teaser will just have to do!)

There is a beginner modifier as well as another exerciser showing the advanced versions of the workout. In Week 1, I was able to do advanced versions of the push-ups for the most part and also got some good reach on my skaters and side lunges. On the squat and press, I used my five-pound dumbbells, and it still felt relatively easy. I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve been running or if my body remembered them from when I did the 30 Day Shred.

As you can see if you know about both DVDs, some of the moves from the 30 Day Shred made their way to Ripped in 30. I also had to butt kicks, the side planks with a hip raise (I cannot do the advanced version; I did the beginner one where you keep one leg extended and one knee on the ground) and crunches. However, I did have a chance to challenge myself with some new moves.

The second cardio circuit included fast feet, a football drill where you lower into squat position and move your feet in place. It was easy enough; I didn’t have a hard time keeping up and am hoping the results will show in my running pace at some point. In the last cardio segment, there were single leg hops. I had difficulty with this move because I’m not too coordinated, and it required moving your arms in tandem with getting your leg off the ground. I mostly just stuck with the beginner version because it was easier for me to follow.

I also struggled with the hollow man, which is similar to a boat pose in yoga. You raise your shoulders and feet off the ground and sit with your hands palm side up. (Jillian explains this as “Give it to God.”) I could feel my abs working but had a hard time holding myself up, which is the same problem I had in yoga when we went into boat. I will have to keep working at this.

I will weigh myself on Thursday, but I will say I weighed in during the first week of workouts. I was down from 201 to 199.6 as a result of running, being more consistent with my food log and trying to drink more water.

Stay tuned to hear how Week 2 went and my results!

What workout DVD is your favorite? Do you do Jillian Michaels’ workouts?


Welcome Back!

So…I did it again. Life got busy, I forgot this blog existed and then one day, I just decided to give it another shot. Blogging can be kind of like starting and re-starting a diet. Some people can stick with it; others give up and need to reboot…a lot.

A lot of things have changed since I was last here, and that took me out of the blogging game. But now I’m ready to go again. However, before I take you back on my journey of health and fitness, here’s what’s happened to me since the last time I saw you all back in January:

-I ended up losing my full-time job as a sports website editor. It hurts a little, but I am looking for what I hope will be a better job and looking into other career options. I’m currently waiting to start a part-time position as a pharmacy tech.

-I lost six pounds after Christmas, taking me down to 194, but have put a few back on from stress of the job search. I’m now back up to 197. I was to 197.4 and was getting stressed that my clothes were starting to feel tight, but I lost a pound this past week, taking me back to 196.7. I have found an accountability partner in a friend of mine who also wants to lose weight, and we have a goal of doing that before the hockey season starts in October.

-I ran my first 5K on Saturday, June 6 and came in at a time of 40:41. After finishing Couch to 5K, I got a beginner 5K training plan on RunKeeper and used that for about 7-8 weeks. My best pace in training was 14:04, and on race day, I hit 13:06! Anyway, now I am hooked on running and will be doing a half marathon in October, as well as another three-mile race on the 4th of July.

So now that’s that done, what can you expect to hear about?

-My half marathon training

-Any new recipes I try to make, whether they turn out good or not

-My progress through the Ripped in 30 workout

And more!

I hope to stay around this time and that you’ll follow me too. Let’s get back to work!

Couch to 5K Week 1 Recap


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Hi everyone!

It’s been a bitterly cold week here in Pennsylvania, so most of my exercise has been relegated to the indoors. That’s OK, though; I’m still looking for ways to keep in shape and be on top of my goals. And I’ve just found it with the Couch to 5K app!

For those of you who aren’t runners, Couch to 5K is a training program that helps people get into a running routine. It starts you out with walking and running intervals, and you gradually build up to running a 5K, or 3.1 miles. Lots of people, including some of my family members, have done the program and went on to become addicted to running.

I was a little hesitant about the app, but since I’ve tried running before and failed, I figured getting this handy thing might keep me accountable and motivated.

So did it work?

Sunday of Week 1: It’s still getting dark early, being that it’s January and all, so I had to go out for my run immediately after getting off work at 4:00. I put on a running jacket I got from Wal-Mart, of all places, a long-sleeved workout shirt and a tank top underneath. I also wore my ENERGYbits headband to cover my ears and because my hair barely stays in place with just a ponytail holder.

It was cold, and I was worried I wouldn’t have enough layers, but as I started to move, it was clear three layers was plenty! I heard a good rule of thumb that you have to dress for about 10 degrees warmer when you’re running outside, and once I was doing my intervals, I didn’t feel I’d underdressed at all.

The rough part came when it started lightly raining towards the end of my workout. Needless to say, I tried to walk home as quickly as I could during the cool down portion so I wouldn’t get too cold. I also had another problem when I tried to run too fast and got a side stitch in my right side. I really need work on my pacing.

After my first run. What's a little bit of rain?

After my first run. What’s a little bit of rain?

Calorie burn: 231


Tuesday of Week 1: Way too cold to even consider an outdoor run, so it was off to the gym. I was a little worried about the resolution crowd, but since there was some light snow coming down, the cardio room wasn’t too crowded. I was relieved that it was easy to get a treadmill.

I’m not entirely sure how fast I’m supposed to be going on the treadmill. So I warmed up at 2.5, jogged at 3.5 and walked at 3.0. Seeing as I’m new to this running thing, that was comfortable enough for me. I again tried to move full speed ahead too quickly and got a cramp, but I tried to offset it by drinking water during walking intervals.

Although a lot of runners hate the treadmill (if you’ve ever heard the phrase “dreadmill,” you know what I mean), I didn’t mind it. Maybe it’s because I work from home so any time I get to leave my house is awesome, but I still considered it fine to put on my headphones and go on my merry way. And I still got a sweat, so that to me is a successful workout.


You know what they say... "Pics or it didn't happen!"

You know what they say… “Pics or it didn’t happen!”

Calorie burn: 210


Friday of Week 1: I went back to the treadmill because I was planning on a PiYo class and wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Besides, I figured nothing would be better after a run than going to stretch out and do some downward facing dogs.

The gym crowd picked up a little during my workout, but I was still able to hop on a treadmill.

For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling this workout. I was trying to take it slow to preserve myself for PiYo and ward off the cramps that had gotten to me during my last two runs. I set my treadmill at the same speeds the other day, but didn’t feel like I was really pushing myself. Also, my trainer’s voice on the app wasn’t always chiming in, so I missed some cues about when to pick up with running or walking.

I turned on the app’s GPS, but that doesn’t recognize the treadmill, so it stopped picking up my distance at some point. I think I was too focused with fiddling with my phone and the app settings and not enough on moving. I finished up, re-fueled with a Quest cookies and cream bar and headed off to PiYo to wrap up my workout week, looking forward to Week 2.

Calorie burn: 174; added 281 in PiYo to burn 455 for the day.

I started Week 2 yesterday (once again on the treadmill…I can’t wait to run outside already!), so I will have a recap of that once my three runs are done.

Have a great day everyone!


Have you ever successfully done Couch to 5K? Do you like to run as part of your fitness routine? Why or why not?

Weekly Weigh-In: 2015 Starting Point


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Happy Friday everybody!

The other day I hopped on the scale to see where I would be starting 2015. Without further ado…

I weighed in at 200.4 pounds with a BMI of 35.51. So, needless to say there’s work to be done. However, I got my time of the month this week (ladies, you’ll know what I mean), so I think that might have skewed the number a bit.

I have eaten in a deficit most of the week (except Tuesday), so I’m aiming to be under my calorie goal as much as possible and make good choices.

I decided to partner with a friend on My Fitness Pal and set a goal. We’re hoping to lose 15 pounds in five months, which is my 30th birthday. We wanted to set up something realistic and with not too high of a number so we don’t get overwhelmed, so this is the perfect place to start.

I will weigh in every week, except for that monthly time, and post the results here, along with a progress photo. I’ll also share with you what went right and what went not-so-right. After all, nobody is perfect.

So here is evidence of my starting point:

Front view of me at my current weight (200.4 pounds)

Front view of me at my current weight (200.4 pounds)


Side view of my current weight



Today, I am hitting the gym to finish Week 1 of Couch to 5K on the treadmill, and then I am doing a PiYo class. (Pilates and yoga blend, for the uninitiated.)

I will talk to you all next week! My next weigh-in will be Friday, the 16th, so I have time to lose the water weight from my period.

Have a great day!

What is your starting weight for 2015, if you feel comfortable sharing it? Are you looking to lose weight for any upcoming milestones?

Finding Your Motivation


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Happy 2015 everyone! I hope you had time to enjoy your holiday indulgences and enjoy your family’s company. I got back to business with working out and eating right on January 2 (I still had a New Year’s Day meal to get through), and I’m ready to start the year anew! Are you?

Since today marks the day where so many of us go back to work or school, I thought it was important to write about motivation.

Why are you on this journey?

Why are you on this journey?

We all have had a moment that makes us look in the mirror, or even within ourselves, and decide “That’s it! I’m going to change once and for all! I want to lose this weight, eat healthy and look great!” This eventually becomes our motivation for our journey to better health and fitness.

My motivation came back in February of 2013 when I had the urge to pull out my as-yet-unused Wii Fit and see where I stood. At the time, I knew I was making some unhealthy eating choices and getting too heavy. I was wearing a size 18 or 20 in jeans, depending on the brand and style. I decided that it was time to get serious about my health or face repercussions down the road.

I got on the Wii board and saw my weight was almost 219 pounds. At my height, 5’3”, that’s considered obese. I was stunned as my avatar blew up and the Wii went on to explain some of the health problems I would be at risk for if things didn’t change (among them: heart disease and diabetes). I know it might sound strange, to have your motivation come from a video game, but it did the job for me.

When I filled out my profile on My Fitness Pal, I had similar motivations to a lot of people: to buy clothes in a smaller size, to feel confident when I saw myself in a mirror and to put my life in a positive direction. Nearly two years later, I still want to be happier with who I am, but some of my motivations have changed, and I’ve even added to them over time.

-I want to try distance running, and I’m hoping to enter a half marathon later this year. Running is one of those things that isn’t as hard on you when you’re not as heavy.

-I want to make progress in my fitness and take on other challenges. For example, when I went to my first few yoga classes, my form had to be corrected frequently and I had trouble holding down dog. Now I can stay in a down dog with ease and I am working on holding a plank. I also recently tried the 30 Day Shred again, and while it’s a brutal workout, it’s still easier than it was when I was still over 200 pounds.

-Two years ago, I wanted to be skinny. I still think it would be nice to be wearing a size 10 or 12 instead of a 16, but now I just want to feel fit and like I can take on most things. I’ll be happy even if I never have a six pack or a “hard” body. That said, I still incorporate strength training where necessary and would like to try New Rules of Lifting for Women some time.

In addition to my fitness goals, I’m also more motivated to eat healthy. Right now, I’m trying to cut back on soda. I’ve noticed when I drink water, I feel more full and not as tired. If I lapse and drink a soda between meals, I can temporarily feel awake, but I’m also starving and not as focused. I want to make better food choices because it makes me feel empowered to go for, say, something from my NatureBox subscription instead of Oreos, or to skip the fries at a restaurant. No one said it’s easy, but doing it once makes it easier to learn how to form a habit.

Have a great week, and I hope you all achieve your goals in the New Year!

What motivated you to start getting healthy? Have your motivations stayed the same, or have they changed over time?

New Year’s Goals or New Year’s Resolutions?


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My inspiration for today’s post comes from the My Fitness Pal blog, which recently wrote their own post on how to stop giving up on your resolutions so early in the new year.

Now, I am guilty of doing this in the past, so no shame if you are too. Let’s imagine:

You wake up on January 1 and you think to yourself “It’s a new year! Everything’s going to be different! I’m going to lose weight/eat healthier/cut back on my soda intake/(insert your other goals here)!”

Next thing you know, it’s the second week of January and not much has changed. In fact, after one mistake, you find yourself still stuck in all the old habits you had last year and resolved to change.

If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of this cycle quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had goals of some sort and stalled out. Then, it seemed like months had flown by and I was no closer to achieving anything than I was when I talked about all the new things I was going to do.

So if all of this sounds familiar, and you really want 2015 to be the year you lose that extra 20 pounds, overhaul your diet or sign up for a 5K, here are some things I’m putting into practice that you can try too:

Think of goals instead of resolutions. In my experience, resolutions are broader, but you can break down goals into smaller, more focused steps.

For example, I want to watch my diet more in 2015, especially when it comes to making better choices at restaurants. I may resolve to do an extra workout on days when I know I’m going out to eat, or I might look on a restaurant website ahead of time for their nutrition information. I might also decide to drink more water that day or eat lighter. That works better than saying “I’m going to eat healthy.” I’m just breaking it down into a smaller, more manageable goal, as there’s not one right way to have a better diet.

Don’t try to tackle everything all at once. Take it one goal at a time.

A couple months ago, I saw talk on Twitter that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon was coming to Brooklyn. I love New York City, so I was drawn to the idea of a fun race in one of my favorite places in the world. Sounds awesome…except I haven’t run too much in the past. However, rather than jump directly into a half-marathon training plan, I’ll first do Couch 2 5K, hopefully get into a local 5K or similar short run and then start getting ready for the Brooklyn race.

Try finding an accountability partner. Recently, one of my friends on MFP was lamenting about how she’d put some weight back on, and I felt I could relate to her struggles about trying to lose. We talked through a couple of messages and then agreed to be each other’s partner through our health and fitness journeys.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we tell each other everything about our days. For us, it means commenting on each other’s statuses and sending PMs when times are tough, or even just to chat. I just messaged her yesterday to talk about Christmas and any health and fitness presents we got. Having a friend who’s in a similar place as you—or even someone who’s accomplished one of the goals on your list—can be a great way to build a support system, especially with social media so prevalent these days.

Hopefully, these ideas help you achieve your goals in 2015 and not give up on your resolutions by January 31.

What are some of your goals for the New Year? How will you go about achieving them?



What’s Behind the List?

Now that you know a little bit about me, I wanted to tell you what motivated me to get this blog going. So, let’s not waste any more time:

Where it All Began

I have had an interest in health and fitness since February of 2013. I decided I wanted to start working out, so I pulled out my Wii Fit board and hopped on to weigh myself. The next thing I knew, I was staring at my weight, 218.9, and a graphic that told me I was obese.

From November 2012, about three months before I got started.

From November 2012, about three months before I got started.

I was floored. I knew I had bad eating habits and that I thought nothing of eating cupcakes and regular soda in one setting. I knew that I loved going out to dinner and having a tasty sandwich with French fries, and usually an appetizer or dessert. But honestly, seeing that number and my BMI was a wake-up call. I didn’t want to live my old life any longer.

I lost 23 pounds in 2013, but put five back on at Christmas last year. However, it didn’t quickly come off and I never really re-connected with my success to lose 23 more pounds, or an even bigger number. Despite my disappointment with not losing more, I did maintain and haven’t hit the 200s again, except for brief water weight gain.


“It’s Not a Diet; It’s a Lifestyle”

A few things happened while I was maintaining that made me want to try again at making better food choices and getting the scale to go down.

Back in May, I started working at a sports nutrition company. The people that worked there have an interest in health and fitness without pushing anything too restrictive, such as excessive exercise or cutting out numerous types of food. While I doubt I will ever be obsessed with fitness, per se, I knew I wanted to get more invested in taking care of myself and being a good example for my company.

I also had heard stories of how my sisters and dad had taken up running and were participating in various races, from the 5K to the half marathon. I tried running before but couldn’t seem to get into it despite my presence in Twitter chats on the topic and my work at the nutrition company. However, that changed when I heard about the Run Rock ‘n’ Roll races that have music along the route and are held all over the country. Immediately, I thought, “I want to do that!” and now want to invest in my health in the best way possible to be ready for such a challenge.

One of my goals for this year! (AmandaD_TX, Flickr Creative Commons)

One of my goals for this year! (AmandaD_TX, Flickr Creative Commons)

My sister made a training plan for me, which I’ll be starting in 2015, and one of her pieces of advice was, “No excuses; you can make time.” It clicked in me that taking care of myself would have to be my life, and that’s how I want to set out in this journey.


What Can You Expect?

This is a chronicle of my experiences, both the positives and the negatives. I’m not going to hesitate to talk about a day where I didn’t make a good food choice or if I didn’t get in a workout because I had a crazy busy day. I will, however, play up my accomplishments just as much. Nobody wants all doom and gloom, right? That said, I’m not a clean eater or a Paleo junkie or a vegetarian/vegan. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the wrong place. I practice everything in moderation.

You can expect my tips, but these are based on my life and experiences. I am not a doctor, dietitian, personal trainer or any of those fancy titles. If you need advice that I cannot provide here, please seek out a healthcare professional.

I am not primarily here to make money, although that doesn’t hurt! I’m here because I like to write, have always wanted to have my own blog and I want to make new friends along the way. I hope you’ll stick around for the ride, and if you want to follow along, just type in your e-mail in the box on the right-hand side.

Let’s get healthy together!

Starting my To-Do List: All About Me

Hi there! I’m Ali, and welcome to the Healthy To-Do List. This is my blog about weight loss, health, fitness and whatever else I discover along the journey to get the scale creeping downward.



I had my health and fitness wake-up call in February of 2013 when I hopped on my Wii Fit and discovered that my weight was not where I wanted it to be. But more on that in another post. I started going seriously ahead and lost 23 pounds. I regained confidence and started to feel better about my body and who I was.

2014 has not been the year more weight has melted off, though. I mostly maintained or yo-yoed between the same 2-3 pounds due to stress, a crazy busy schedule and feeling depressed. However, I want 2015 to be a rocking year, as I’m turning 30 and would like to get even more comfortable in my own skin, doing things I’ve never done before. I’m writing this post in December, but I’m trying to re-right the ship now so I don’t have to on January 1, 2015. I don’t know about you, but I find those New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to keep…

I named by blog Healthy To-Do List because I am busy! I work two jobs, live in a house with three animals and I have season tickets to my favorite hockey team. With all that going on, it can be hard to eat healthy, and I tend to grab the quickest unhealthy snack available. However, I know it’s mind over matter and I’m ready to be more conscious of my choices.

When people are looking to lose weight, two of the suggestions made is to schedule your workouts and plan your meals ahead of time, so that also inspired my blog name. It’s just another thing to pack into fast-paced weeks!

I hope you’ll subscribe, read along and check out blogs by some of my other favorite health and fitness personalities. Let’s cross off some accomplishments and ideas and go through this journey together!