workouts you can do at home + losing excess weight

We all have times when making it to the gym isn't a possibility {financially, or time-wise!}, and it would be easier just do a quick workout at home. Luckily we live in the age of streaming video! ;)

Here's a quick arm toning video:

And if Pilates is more your style:

Ah, I love exercise! ;) It makes me feel good {ah, endorphins!}- it keeps me strong and in shape, and it gives me more energy through the week! Exercise is good, but I think it's only part of the health equation.

As a fitness instructor, I am often asked by my class members {and sometimes even strangers at the store}, "What's the best way for me to lose weight? How often should I work out? What should I eat?"

Now I'm not a nutritionist by any means, but I really believe that the way you look is 10% how you exercise and 90% what you eat. And my motto is that you cannot out-exercise your mouth. {unless you're an Olympic athlete. I'll give you that.} :)

So, this is the answer I give to people when they ask me those questions:

If you have a few extra pounds you'd like to lose, your best bet in my experience is to start by cutting out refined carbohydrates altogether. When you refrain from eating calorie-dense, blood-sugar-raising empty carbs I think you will quickly notice a difference in the way your body looks and feels.

Leave behind breads, pastas, cereals, and pre-packaged snacks and your mid-section will suddenly feel much slimmer- I can almost guarantee it!  {Your belly is holding on to those dense carbs and making you bloated as you digest them.} Drink water or tea instead of bubbly drinks and you'll notice you feel much better too... :D

You can easily replace those saturated, man-created carbs with naturally occurring ones like potatoes, oatmeal, quinoa, or rice. Or if you have lower energy needs, eat more slow carbs like beans, lentils, or zucchini.

It's really not about looking a certain way as much as it is understanding the place food has in your heart, and taking care of the body you've been given in your time on this earth.

For me, refined carbs don't make me feel good, and they leave my blood sugar on a roller coaster that isn't fun- one that makes me extremely grumpy when I haven't eaten, not to mention leaves me with extra storage on my hips. ;) They make food control my daily {or hourly} attitude, if that makes sense.

I believe if you want to feel better long-term, you should try to eat only the foods God gave us to eat in some form resembling their natural state. It's a very hard thing to leave behind granola bars and bread and breakfast cereals {trust me, I know!}. But it's so, so good when you do.

Eating real food is great for you, and it allows your body to rid itself of the excess fat storage that it doesn't want to keep. The truth is, your body actually doesn't want to carry extra pounds around any more than your mind does, and when you eat real food, you'll find the weight will start falling off on it's own!

So, anyway, that's the long answer. :)

I know it's such a hard balance to eat healthily without being focused on self-appearance. It's a struggle I think we all face, or at least I know I do. But God is gracious, and patient with our slow-learning selves! :) He gives us the right heart when we seek Him, amen? :D

Give yourself some grace in this area too- try to do what you feel God is leading you to do, not what I or others think you should do. It's between you and the Lord. :)

Do you guys have fitness or food questions today? I'd love to try to answer them! :)

{don't forget to enter the summer survival giveaway before Monday! You can win a $25 gift card or an ebook!}


  1. Hi Jenna! So glad you're making the change!! :D I think you'll feel better! Here is an easy menu I did with ideas and a shopping list: .... maybe that will give you a start? :D I'm hoping to post more soon, but when I went all original food, I listed all my posts here if you have time to browse:

  2. Mandy,

    I used to eat toast every. single. morning! I am really sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time and suspect that blood sugar highs/lows might be contributing to my problem. I'm trying to cut back on carbs, especially simple carbs. I often have eggs and yogurt now instead but need a few other ideas. I need things that are pretty quick to make or can be made ahead. Any suggestions?? Thanks!! :-)

  3. What I great post! This is just what I needed to hear today. And this is the PERFECT time of year to dive in to the bounty God has given us with all the fresh, in season veggies and fruits! Amen! :) Have a great weekend!

  4. Right on target! Thanks for all the great info!!

    Amy @ Sugar and Spice

  5. Mandy - two quick questions -what do you eat when you want something sweet (or if your family do!), and what exercise have you found to be most effective for keeping in shape ?

  6. I eat medjool dates for my sweets and frozen bananas (they taste like ice cream!) and I Love love love kickboxing for the most fun high cardio workout. :) i pretty much enjoy them both on a daily basis! ;p

  7. Such smart, practical advice. And I'm extra grateful for it today as I don't have time for more than a few minutes of exercise. Thanks! Planning on loading up the grocery cart with lots of fresh produce - and ever so thankful I have that choice and the resources to do so!

  8. Hi Mandy-What about whole grain breads and pastas??? still out?? :) what do you suggest to replace them if they've been a huge part of my diet?

  9. Mandy, what do you bring to potluck dinners - would health, cost-effectiveness or making something others like be more important factors?

  10. Hi Ange!

    It depends on if I'm hosting it or not. We have potluck dinner here at our house every other week. Since I'm teaching and getting ready for the guests, I serve something simple and cheap like pinto beans or veggie chili and rice or roasted potatoes or lentils. Whatever I cook I try to make it yummy and something everyone likes and can fill up on. If I'm going to potluck somewhere else and only have to bring one or two dishes, I bring something vegan that I think meat eaters would like too {raw italian casserole or east texas caviar}. :D I try to make all my food very tasty, and I've had so many people comment that they didn't even notice they weren't eating meat! :D

  11. Hi Alana! I'm definitely a believer in eliminating whole wheat pastas and breads. I know it's a strong side to take, but I honestly believe that they aren't much better for you at all- it still comes back to the calorie dense, already processed grains. It's totally my opinion but based on what I've seen on this diet from others, but cutting out whole wheat processed foods makes a *huge* difference in the way you feel.

    I would try to stay away from those styles of foods for a while if you are transitioning away from them- I think it's better to find foods that aren't trying to mimic the original, if you know what I mean? I used to love pasta, and I stopped eating it close to two years ago, and now replace it with julienned squash. But I think switching to veggies for me would have been so hard if I were trying to make something just a good as the thing I love. Does that make sense?

    But that's just me! If you're needing substitutions, lettuce is a great bread and tortilla substitute, and spaghetti squash or julienned zucchini are both awesome, awesome pasta replacements. With salt, they both taste amazing to me!

    I hope that helps! :D Thank you for asking!

  12. Hi Mandy! Thanks for you encouraging attitude and pointing us to the One who can and does change our hearts so that we can glorify Him through our actions and Lifestyles. The timing is fortuitous as my husband and I have finally come to the tentative conclusion that he has a sever gluten intolerance. And I love carbs. So if you have any awesome replacement recipes that you'd like to share for cooking up natural foods for the reluctant converts (me :) and especially my 1yr and 3yr olds ), I would be very appreciative.

    Regarding Exercise, it's been a while and 2 kids ago since I've been any where close to "fit". And every time I exercise, I feel very very sore to the point that I don't have any energy for the rest of the day. Stretching doesn't help. I'm sure I sound really wimpy right now, but I only remember exercises from high school gym with my teacher who used to be step aerobics instructor. So I'm thinking maybe I'm just jumping in with too much high intensity work outs. What's are some good intro level exercises to try? Or if I'm just being wimpy, you can tell me. I can take it. Maybe :). I've tried running/jogging, biking while trailering my two kids behind me and those two are in the killer category, but I can walk and mow the lawn with my push mower without feeling like I'm going to die (and I live in sunny 95F humid Florida.)


  13. I really liked this post. Your blog is always so honest, real, and encouraging. I am actually a Registered Dietitian and feel you did a great job of describing the importance of diet and nutrition for weight loss (not always the case when trainers discuss nutrition). I love reading about your fitness tips.

  14. Hi Mandy! Wonderful post... thank you. After just giving birth to my 5th baby 9 days ago (she's our 7th kiddo, we adopted two babies in the last 2 years...) I'm looking ahead to the weeks to come when I'll begin walking with our kiddos and then begin jumping back into fitness DVDs a few times a week when the time is right. I've had a baby, gotten back into shape, had a baby, gotten back into shape over and over again over the last 11 years. And I was wondering, what are your top postpartum fitness and eating right tips? I'm not exactly as young as I was when I had my first baby, but I feel better than ever this time around! I'd love to hear your best tips for those of us with a new baby in the house. :) Thank you!!!

  15. I am thinking you would love something like Zumba or another dance class! It's low impact, with lots of movement, it makes you sweat, and it's fun for so many. I would do it but I have no rhythm. LOL! Pilates is also good for muscle building, or if you have access to an elliptical those are much easier than running or biking. Running is still the most challenging thing I do, and I exercise 1-2 hours per day! So you aren't being wimpy! :P

  16. Congratulations!! I'm so excited for you! Way to get right back in mama! I will be thinking of some tips asap! :D


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