Featured Fit Friends Friday: Andrea (Dre) from Renewed Me

It’s Friday again! Who doesn’t like that? And since taking a month off from blogging just a bit ago, I am sort of late getting back into Featured Fit Friends Friday. And yeah, I haven’t even posted my weekly update this week. Please forgive me. Things are a little busy! But I’ve got someone I would like for you to meet! She has been a supportive friend on Twitter, and she has definitely been successful in getting healthy! She’s so inspiring to me, she will surely be to you too!
Name: Andrea (Dre)
Blog: Renewed Me
From: San Francisco Bay Area—born and raised :)

Why did you start blogging? What is the goal/purpose of your blog?
My very first blog ever, was a way for me to cope with the passing of my Mom.  It was on a different site than where I blog now and allowed me to “vent” whatever I was feeling.  I eventually evolved into (what I identify as) a mind/body health blog.  It’s a written record of my journey/story and hopefully a learning tool for others also going thru or thinking about going thru a transition to a healthy lifestyle.  If I help/touch even one person, that’s success in my mind.

How did you come up with your blog name?
Haha…well I realized that I was renewed.  Losing my Mom was more than just losing my parent and best friend.  My whole life was thrown out of whack and nothing was “normal” any more.  I initially was in search of “going back to normal” but I soon realized that what I defined as “normal” was no longer accurate in my life.  So the “renew” part came from that.  The “gratitude” also stemmed from something similar.  Right after my Mom’s passing I experienced most bad days with some good moments.  I realized that if I wanted to flip flop that I needed to identify and express my gratitude for anything and everything I DID have in my life—from waking up each morning to sunny days.  In the beginning it was searching for even the smallest things to get thru.  On harder days, identifying things was challenging but worth it.  Both represent a positive and healthy mental lifestyle which contributes to my physical health.

When not blogging, what do you do?
I’m an executive admin and health coach.  I’m currently back in school (I just completed my Master’s degree in August) earning my HHC (Holistic Health Coach) certification.

I’m an artist, although I don’t paint or draw as much as I used to primarily due to lack of space in my apartment.  I love working out whether that’s spinning in a class, running, lifting weights, boxing, walking/hiking with friends/family, etc.  Being in a long distance relationship (at the moment) this also helps keep me focused and “sane” during times of missing him.

I used to coach and ref volleyball but had to stop when I started grad school.  I LOVE to cook—it’s a very healing process for me, love is an important ingredient in my cooking—and share with friends and family all the time.  Making my favorite foods healthy is my new passion—love pizza, cookies, lasagna but NOT the calories!

Are you attending (have you attended) any blogger conferences?
I haven’t yet—although I’ve had people encourage me to do so, especially lately.  While in school I hardly travelled at all but now that I’m done I’m looking at going to one of two next year.  I’d go to both but I’m travelling for one of my half marathons next year so I’m trying to keep myself in budget. :)

Have you met up in person with anyone you’ve met through your blog or other social media?
It’s funny, aside from my close friends most of the people I know via social media are on the East Coast and I’ve yet to make my way out there, so no not yet.  But I keep in close contact with a group of them.  I’d say Twitter is my most distant form of social media so if I connect with someone there and want to keep in closer contact; we connect via FB and email.  I have a good size group that I connect there with and we regularly “talk.”  I look forward to meeting all in the near future!

What things have learned from blogging that you would like to share with other bloggers?
Less is more.  By that I mean, don’t blog daily if that’s not something that is realistic for you.  Quality of content is better than quantity—in my opinion.  Blogging for the sake of posting isn’t as significant and impactful to your readers as a well thought-out/meaningful post.  If it doesn’t have any meaning or significance for you it won’t for your readers.

What is your favorite fitness activity?
I have two—Boxing and running.  Both have great mental benefits for me.

Have you always been an active person, or is health/fitness something you found later in life?
I was an athlete until college but I was never the stereotypical athletic body type.  I was always the “big girl” and can recall a number of coaches telling me I needed to lose weight.  From college until about three years ago I was pretty inactive aside from wake up, go to work, go out with friend, and go home.

What’s your favorite fitness gear?
My FitBit, my Everlast Boxing gloves, my Brooks running shoes, and a SparklySoul Inc headband!

When did you start running?
Well I started with just walking, because at 345lbs that was about all I could do.  But as the weight came off and walking became easier I started to push myself and move with the music I’d be listening to.

How many races, if any, have you run?
Oh gosh…since 2009 (when I did my first) about 10.

What was your favorite race?
I’m a big SF Giants fan so The Giants Race.  The crowd is energetic, the course is beautiful, and you finish in the park!  Plus that was the very first race I ever did so now when I run it every year it’s like my celebratory “anniversary” race. J  But I’ll never forget the feeling of my first Half Marathon either!

Do you struggle with your weight?
Every day…honestly, there isn’t something that doesn’t factor into my overall journey on a daily basis.  Whether it’s I’m bored and find myself getting up to snack, had a long day at work and really don’t want to go work out, the weather is gloomy and so I just want to stay in on the couch, or it’s late in the evening and I find myself hovering in the kitchen….or my favorite driving home after my workout and all the eateries calling my name!  LOL But overall they seem minimal and not worth being deterred from my bigger goal.

I’ve tried more than once—can’t even tell you how many times—to lose weight and get healthy.  But this is the first time I’ve been successful.  My first time was with my mom when I was a senior in HS and I joined WeightWatchers® with her.

Since 2009 when I started I’ve shed 134lbs (I still have a little bit more to go).

What is your eating philosophy?
For me personally, it’s portion control.  No matter what I eat that’s the main thing.  I do my best to eat as healthy as possible—meaning lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, unprocessed food, etc.  But every now and again I enjoy a “treat” like my local/favorite pizzeria or a cupcake.  I don’t restrict myself from anything.  I think that’s unrealistic for most of us.  When I first started WW I can remember my dad wanting to go to Wendy’s that night for food—I’m talking this was my first week on the program—but that’s life!  I looked up in eTools™ for my best options and that’s what I ordered.  Now I’m more choosey.  If I don’t want to eat out like that I don’t.  My refrigerator and pantry are stocked with healthy natural foods, by CHOICE.  I’ve gotten cleaner as time has gone on; my palate has changed, so has my digestive system.  If I eat something and my body doesn’t like it, it doesn’t stay in my body long b/c it naturally rejects it.  For example, I get “hang overs” from too much ‘bad’ carbs in my system and I really feel like I have a hangover from a night out of drinking.

Oh, and WATER…LOTS OF WATER!  And that’s coming from a former Diet Coke addict.

Favorite snack:  Turkey roll ups—I tend to crave lean protein a lot.  Like my Shakeology® as well.

Favorite breakfast:  My usual is a hard-boiled egg, crispy turkey bacon, and a slice of whole grain toast.

Favorite lunch:  I love creating my own wraps—they tend to be lower in calories and just as yummy.  I’ve done a whole wheat wrap with chicken breast, arugula, creamy goat cheese spread (TJs), and sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil).

Favorite dinner:  FiberGourmet® penne pasta with cooked ground turkey and kale.  I just kinda threw it together one night and when I tasted it I blew myself away.  So simple, filling, and tasty!  I have the recipe somewhere.

Favorite sites/blogs you like to get recipes from on the internet?
Mostly Pinterest nowadays…I can find multiple at one time.  Love @tjstestkitchen’s posts.

Favorite blogs in general?
@WeightChica (her blog is currently under construction but I look forward to her relaunch!)

Do you use any smart phone apps that you find helpful?
MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Pocket Yoga, FitBit

Are you a product or fitness ambassador?
After using the Beach Body products for a while, I recently became a BB Coach.  But over the last three years I’ve incorporated a number of tools in my regimen so I’d like to think I’m an “ambassador” for 24 Hour Fitness as well—lol, my home away from home!

Are there any other tips/advice/achievements you would like to share?
If you want to see change you have to make CHANGES in your life.  You won’t see changes if you keep doing what you’ve been doing the way you’ve been doing them all these years.  Change your vocabulary.  You’d be surprised how much that impacts your success/failure.  “I can’t” in regards to my ability, no longer exists in mine.

Besides her blog, you can also find Dre here:

I hope you enjoyed getting to know the fabulous Andrea! You can also check out other Featured Fit Friends Friday bloggers here. If you would like to be featured on Fit Friends Friday or know someone who would, contact me!

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