Plant Power!

Hi! I’m Tonya Sitko.  I used to weigh 270 pounds!  I had been overweight my entire life.  Once I met Jimi, he told me about his plant-based diet and a book called “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  I read the book, and everything just clicked in place.  The book suggested eating “clean” for 30 days.  I tried it, and I’ve never looked back.  Today, one year later, I’m 141 pounds in a size 4.  My weight loss has been ALL diet.  Check out my blog to see how I did it! 


A New Beginning

You’ll notice some changes over the next few weeks.  I will be taking down this site (basically rerouting it to a free site on wordpress.com).  I’ll be re-publishing some older articles with my current view of things – I’ve learned a lot about my body over the last two years.

We are no longer vegan.  Both of us had switched to a vegan diet for different reasons.  I’m certainly not supportive of animal cruelty in any case, but I’m not ready to label myself as anything.  In hindsight, I should have said that I switched to a plant-based diet.  Being labeled as “vegan” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  I don’t want to get caught up in all that.  I’ve been through enough drama in my life without adding more.  That being said, I met some absolutely wonderful vegan people who are THE BEST.

The new blog will focus on my journey through life – Jimi was never really the blogger.  So this one will be mainly from my point of view.  How I deal with a husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, a job, hobbies, eating semi-healthy, and working out.  It’s tough some times!

Got Mood Swings?

Disclaimer:  I’m going to get personal about some womanly stuff.  Guys should read at your own risk!

My husband recently posted about his experience with soy products.  Because we eat the same things, my soy consumption has gone WAY down.  But first let me back up.  Before I lost so much weight, I had irregular periods all of my life.  I could never plan anything around them because they might occur anywhere from 25-42 days apart.  As soon as I started losing weight from switching to a plant-based (and clean) diet, my periods became regular.  And I don’t just mean close to 28 days…I mean I know to the day when they will start.  That’s awesome!!! I can actually plan things for once.  I also noticed that I was much more emotional.  I attributed that to regular periods.  When I say emotional, it’s an understatement.  I would cry at every single movie we watched including horror movies! Commercials got me, stories on Facebook, everything…I was an emotional basket case the week before my period.

Fast forward to our cutback on soy (specifically tofu). it’s been about 2 months, and my emotions are dramatically different.  I no longer feel like I’m hitching a ride into crazy-town the week before my period.  It’s like I’m normal again.  I’m not planning on ditching soy completely because…well let’s face it…me and tofu have a “thing” going on together lol.  Tofu sandwiches are awesome – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  However, I do plan on limiting my consumption.

Trust me.  I was one of those people who just shook my head at those who were anti-soy, but now I realize…it really did affect me, and I didn’t even know.  My suggestion is to know your body, look for changes, and pay attention.  Your body will let you know when something isn’t quite right – you just have to be willing to investigate and find out what’s going on.

It’s been a while…

Good morning, everyone!  I just wanted to catch everyone up on what’s been going on with me, and hopefully get into some regular updates.

First, you will start to notice some changes to our site over the next several months.  I will no longer claim to be vegan.  That doesn’t mean anything has changed – I just won’t be using that label any longer.  I’ve had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people who do use the term vegan.  These folks are compassionate and just downright awesome to be around.  However, as with anything else, I’ve also met “online only” some horrible people – people who choose to abuse, criticize, and spread hate in the name of veganism.  Just like I don’t understand people who murder for the sake of religion, I don’t understand that as well.  I have also discovered that many people who eat the typical western diet look at me strangely when I use the term vegan.  They think I don’t shave my legs or armpits (I do), they think I smoke pot (I don’t), or they think I’m a hippie (I’m not).  I don’t want people to dismiss my weight loss success because they THINK I’m a weirdo.  Okay, maybe I am a little strange, but that’s always been the case lol. I believe in a plant-based diet – it has turned my life around.

Second, I haven’t been posting a lot of updates.  I apologize – life just keeps getting in the way of my blog.  I have met my weight loss goals in that I’m a healthy weight.  My new goal has been to get toned and leaner than before.  That’s hard to do! I’m working on it, and I’ll keep posting my struggles and what works for me.  Hopefully, it will help you too.

Thanks for reading!

Starting a 6-week challenge

I’m in the 5th day of a 6-week challenge to transform my body.  It’s a competition offered by bodybuilding.com.  Even if I don’t actually win the contest, I will definitely win with results I see from my body.  I’ve already dropped 3 pounds.  If you are already a member on BodySpace, add me – my username is tsitko.  Wish me luck!

Hi, My Name is Tonya…

And I’m addicted to sugar!  It’s been a while since I let my sugar addiction get the best of me, but it happened.  When I was WAY overweight, I had issues with willpower and self-control.  Basically, I didn’t have any self-control.  I wanted to lose weight, and I would get mad at myself for eating things I knew I shouldn’t, but I would still eat it.  I was the type of person that had to put dishwashing detergent on top of the food to keep me from eating it…even if it was in the garbage can!  I know…nasty…BUT I’m betting some of you have been there before too.  By the way, I still do this.  If I’m tempted by something in the house, it’s not just enough to throw it away…I must make it so that I will NOT go back after it.

Lots of people joke about being addicted to caffeine (coke, Mt. Dew, etc), but they might actually be addicted to the sugar instead.  I tested this by substituting sodas with water and then taking a caffeine pill (like Excedrin) to “get my fix”.  I still wanted the soda…desperately.  I knew then that I had a problem with sugar.  The weird thing is that I never would have considered myself a big “sweets” person.  I didn’t have to have dessert or anything like that, and I didn’t eat candy all the time either, but I was definitely addicted to sodas, AND I was also addicted to things that acted like sugar in my body. Did you know that there are all kinds of things that spike your insulin and give you that sugar-high?  Things like potatoes, corn, white bread, flour tortillas, white rice, and more!

Lately, I let myself slowly start eating more of these types of things, and before I knew it, I was back in the addiction cycle.  I can only tell you what works for me in breaking the cycle..maybe these steps would work for you as well:

  • Start drinking a probiotic drink (like Kombucha).  The vinegar base helps you break down the sugar in your blood.  Basically, it helps your body deal with it.
  • Get rid of the triggers.  I had to clean out the cabinets – no chips, chocolate, ice cream, marshmallows, popcorn.  I don’t plan on giving these up forever, but I have to keep them out of sight until I break the addiction.  Then, I can introduce them again in moderation.
  • Drink plenty of water.  Water helps flush out the body, and it makes you feel full.
  • Eat lots of fiber and protein.  These things make you feel fuller longer.
  • Check your labels.  Lots of food these days have hidden sugars (High frustose corn syrup is not only sugar, it’s just bad for you).  If you didn’t already know, most main stream bread and ketchup has sugar in it!  If you see more than 5 grams of sugar per serving, don’t eat it – at least not until you break your addiction.  Even then, be careful – sugar is addictive.  If you do eat it, limit your serving to something that is equivalent to 5 grams of sugar or less.

If you’re not losing weight like you think you should or you just feel bad, look at your diet, and be honest with yourself.  You might be addicted to sugar too!

My New Running Buddy

No181409_10200817493827392_714538988_nw that all the kids go to school less than 2 miles from where we live, I don’t have to get up very early.  Since I’m not a morning person, this works out well for me :)  The problem is that I NEED to run in the morning.  It just starts the day off right.  How do I force myself to get up when I don’t have to?  Well, I found a unique solution.

Meet “Tink”, my new running buddy.  She needs me to get up early (so she can go potty), and I think we are going to do well together!  The point of this post is that sometimes you have to make yourself do things you don’t really want to do to meet the goals you really want to meet.  I’m sure that I will eventually love those morning runs with Tink, but first she has to go to obedience school!

Getting ready for swimsuit season!

How many of you totally freak out the first time you put on your swimsuit for the summer?  I’ve heard of this phenomena, but never really had that problem.  I hated how I looked in pretty much everything. This year is my first year of maintaining my weight loss.  During last year’s swimsuit season, I was still losing weight.  As a result, I bought fairly cheap swimsuits.  This year I bought a cute swimsuit that I absolutely love! And I didn’t have to have to altered! (Big girls sometimes have to have their straps on their swimsuit shortened to keep their “assets” lifted…I’m just saying)

Last year I was very self-conscious due to the excessive skin I had from the rapid weight loss.  Most of that skin has tightened up thanks to a healthy diet and a little exercise.

My goal for this swimsuit season is develop a consistency in clean eating and how I workout.  I firmly believe that’s the way to get healthy.  Just because I eat a vegan diet, doesn’t mean junk food is not available.  Oreos, Spicy Chili Doritos, and even some marshmallows are all vegan – but that doesn’t mean they are amenable to the swimsuit season.

One week at a time…

My heart goes out to all of those affected by the explosions during the Boston Marathon.  I didn’t have any personal friends in the race, but I knew of many people who ran this year.   I heard a few people died, multiple people were injured, and I’m sure almost everyone felt a mixture of anger, frustration, disappointment, grief, and sadness.  Why is the world like it is?  How do we fix it?

One step at a time.  It just slapped me in the face.  We fix it one step at a time. One voice at a time.  One decision to change.  We can change our bodies.  We can change our lives.  We can do almost anything…even run a marathon…one step at a time.

I started thinking about my running goals and how I’m not even close to being on track to run a marathon.  But last week was a good week.  I worked out almost every day.  I have people who love me.  I have people I love.  I have friends who care.  It was a good week.  I’ll take it and be happy about it.  I’ll keep reminding myself…just focus on one week at a time.

Get Pumped!!

I got back on the workout wagon this week.  I’ve worked out 4 out of the last 5 days this week.  I started taking Body Pump at my local gym, and I really like it.  One thing I would like to add – just in case this happens to you – I also gained weight this week…not much but a pound or two.  I was like, WHAT??? And then I remembered that it sometimes happens.  I don’t think I’ve built enough muscle to equate to that weight gain (okay, I know I haven’t).  My guess is that I made up for my increased activity by eating more!

Don’t forget to eat more when you work out.  If you try to stick to a reduced eating plan while increasing cardio or strength training, you will likely run out of energy and get frustrated.  The goal is to make healthy habits stick for life!  You can do it!!