Diet Pills! – waste of fat or waste of time?

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ImageSince the beginning of the fitness/nutrition journey in my life, I have tried about a dozen of weight loss and exercise methods. Once I have reached my weight goal and learnt how to maintain it, I became curious about “experimenting”! Diet pills was one of those methods that I’ve never really tried since I’ve always believed that nothing can break your fat tissue besides proper eating and exercise. So I decided to try my first diet pills – just to see if it works. Since every diet pill instruction tells you that it works best when you combine it with workouts and a little bit of diet, not too much of course since diet pills are magic, I decided to give it a go!

Excited and impatient I started off with my pills. The label on the package sounded very promising – it was something like: “easy and efficient weight loss, just have this super pill and do some whatever workout and some dieting and you’ll be fine”. Well, sounds easy, right? The pills were absolutely “natural”, with an entire range of ingredients and names that I’ve never heard of but which sounded quite fancy. They were based on some extract from chilli peppers that were supposed to boost my metabolism to unbelievable speeds and nearly evaporate the food  from my stomach, thus preventing it from storing into my belly.

I took all the courage and enthusiasm! I drank those 2 times a day during my breakfast and dinner and went for a workout full of hope and anxiety. I’ve measured myself properly before I swallowed my first pill – I couldn’t allow myself to leave any lost millimeters unobserved!

To make this story short my friends – after an entire month of patience and 60 pills I had my final weigh in! And what did I encounter? Nothing besides an obvious loss of $20 that I’ve invested into them. My weight didn’t move by one gram, and I can very much assure you that I’ve thoroughly respected my diet and workout plan! Another “inconvenience” that I’ve encountered during taking those pills was the burning desire to pee all the time (about 12 times a day). My body was craving for water and I was drinking like a tank. My skin was as dry as an apricot and my hair looked more like a toilet brush. Another disadvantage of always being dehydrated is that you might experience often headaches and dizziness. Do you really need that? One of the other unpleasant side-effects I have encountered were constant sugar cravings that I couldn’t control. Maybe those pills did speed up my digestion by that only made me even more hungry after my meal. 

Was it worth it you will ask me? I would say, definitely not! Not worth your money and your precious time, let alone that disappointed image on your face when you’ll face the reality.

Each person is different in their own way and I’m sure that the side-effects will be different for everyone. If you did take those pills and pursued good exercise and diet and lost a considerable amount of weight – well, I am 99% certain that your weight loss happened due to diet and exercise rather than taking those pills – so congrats on a good food plan and hard work!

To make this article more objective I have consulted with other 3 diet pill amateurs that came to the same conclusion as I did. For all of those 3 diet fans, pills were more of a burden than help.

Look here is my advice to you: Nothing is MORE efficient that investing one hour a few times a week into some solid and undoubtedly efficient – exercise. Keep the money you’ve saved for those pills for some new trendy clothes that you are going to fit once you’ll decide to start exercising.

Once again I’ve proved to myself that there is nothing more helpful for getting your “killer body” than eating healthy and exercising! Forget about those catchy labels like “easy and quick or powerful and natural weight loss!” – there is NO other natural weight loss besides exercise and stop-chewing-all-the-time 🙂

It would be nice to start as of NOW! Summer is almost here!

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How to stay fit during the summer holidays – the HOT GUIDE!

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I have to admit, when I got the idea for this article, I checked about a dozen of similar articles on the net, and what can I say – most of them are rubbish. Rubbish because they are giving you a  general list of things you can’t eat and occasionally, an exercise plan you have to follow. But who cares about this bla bla bla, daily routine that you normally do when you’re on your diet? You’re on a holiday – you want to actually enjoy the food and the sun! Nobody wants to break their mood with calorie calculations and emotional frustrations when they’re on a holiday. So what about some real stuff? I am going to give you some real advice and some helpful tricks. You will be able to have some of the “forbidden” foods, enjoy your nights out and stay fit at the same time. I can’t promise you weight loss, and I must say, the extent of your “staying fit” depends solely on you. I am here to help, so here we go.

Before I rush into telling you all my secrets, I’m going to put you through a test. I want to see your ability to distinguish between low and high calorie meals. So here are 2 types of breakfast: 1) a creamy cafe latte with chocolate chip muffin and 2)  2 sunny-side-up eggs, 3 oven-baked chicken nuggets with 2 slices of grapefruit and ham on the side. Which one, in your opinion, has the most calories? 20 seconds – GO!

ImageDrumroll and …THE RESULTS! Option 1 has about 700 calories, while Option 2 has just 450 calories. Are you surprised? It’s all about the cooking methods and the ingredients used in these foods. This, my friends, are the basics of your summer holiday survival, and if you are aiming at having fun and holding your weight down – let’s start!

The cooking method:

Regardless to whether you stay at a resort where the buffet is usually overloaded with food, or whether you decide to cook together with your friends – this should be the first trick you should make use of. Deep frying, pan frying, any frying is not a good option. Choose for grilled, oven baked, boiled or raw food. Surprisingly, that would already cut down your intake in average by about 200 calories. You can even chose to make some fries and as long as they are oven- baked, they can have a go.

Portion Sizes

This should be your weapon number 2. Whether they are shelves in the supermarket or layers on your international buffet, they are overloaded with food choices. You are on a holiday and it will be hard to eat spinach and  drink carrot smoothies as long as your friends are savoring on desserts and snacks. Therefore, your portion size is of CRUCIAL importance. If it is a portion of chili tacos or a chocolate croissant, try to half the portion. If you’re not able to do that, have your dessert at least one hour after your main meal. If you’re a truly impatient person and you can’t handle waiting, my biggest advice is – don’t fill up your plate with excess of food. Rather fill your plate with only a half of what you think you’re able to eat, and come back for more later if you will need it. It is in fact a psychological factor – people tend to empty their plate regardless to the amount of food that is in it. Your psychological hunger is usually bigger than your real physical hunger. Taking a smaller portion will enable you to eat a smaller amount of food and will give you the chance to decide whether you want to have more or your figure is more important.

Re-think your snacks

I am not saying that holiday is the time of total restrictions and control, however you should keep some rationale behind your food choices. Nobody wants to tackle the depression and frustration of weight-gain after they’ve returned from their holiday, and for this, it is important that you keep some sort of control over your diet. Snacks are a perfect opportunity to diminish your daily calorie intake without too much stress. Instead of having a hot dog or a fat cheese sandwich as an afternoon snack, try to save some space for dinner by having fruit, veggies, yogurt or a few nuts instead. It is a snack – not a meal, so try to take advantage of that and throw something healthy into your stomach.

Water

The weather is on your side! It is already hot outside which is to your benefit. By drinking a lot of water, you will sweat more – which will release the toxins from your body and assure a neat flow of nutrients through your body. People tend to confuse the feeling of thirst with the feeling of hunger and start snacking as soon as they think they feel hungry. In fact, during the hot season it often happens that your body is actually craving for water instead of food. If you’re feeling hungry and dizzy, try water first – doesn’t work? well then have a piece of fruit!

Soft drinks

The consumption of soft drinks (sweet drinks) may disrupt your diet considerably. It is unbelievable how your body can pile up weight just because of the excessive amount of sugar that is present in all those famous sodas as well as in the “light” versions of them.  My advice to you – cut down your calorie intake by around 300 to 400 calories just by drinking amazing, refreshing and natural drinks. Examples of such drinks include: Lemonade (sparkling water with squeezed lemon), ice-cold fresh fruit smoothies (made of plain yogurt and fresh fruit) and even fresh juices mixed with sparkling ice water are a better replacement for the regular soda’s. Just make sure that there is NO additional white-sugar added to your drink.

Chose the right dessert

This should be the last one. I know that the temptations are high when it comes to desserts, and nobody will neglect them especially during a holiday. My only advice is: pick the more “innocent” desserts if I may say. Avoid desserts made solely of butter , cream and excess of sugar. Chose something lighter, for instance jelly desserts, fruity desserts or yogurt-based desserts. And yes, avoid using extra toppings! The absence of chocolate, caramel or chocolate sprinkles will save you at least another 150- 200 calories. If none of these sound appetizing to you, well then you’ll have to miss on the size of your dessert.

Sport, sport, sport

As bad as it sounds, when your diet is suffering, your exercise has to compensate to a certain extent. Try to find fun ways to spend your calories such as swimming for an hour (about 600 calories), playing tennis or volleyball (about 800 calories in 1 hour), or just by going for a jog in the morning/evening (about 600 calories in 1 hour). It is worth the effort since then you can enjoy more of the foods you love without having to blame yourself afterwards. Remember though: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet! I will have to repeat myself and say that you do have to maintain a certain control over your diet and eating everything at once and in big amounts can’t be repaired by any exercise!

I hope this has been helpful and I promise to come up with even more tips on how to stay fit during the season of HOT TEMPTATIONS! Enjoy the sun everyone!

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RAW FOOD DIET review – weight loss and heath benefits!

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Experts believe that besides being the most weight-loss efficient, it is also one of the healthiest diets you can adapt. Raw foodism is more than just about eating raw foods, and there are some main principles that you have to follow.

The main principles of Raw Foodism

This diet is based on the belief that cooking food products on high temperatures destroys their natural enzymes, fiber and vitamins, leaving your food nearly worthless in terms of nutritional value. It was scientifically proved that thermal processing truly diminishes the amount of minerals and vitamins especially concerning fruits and vegetables. Raw foodism only allows foods to be processed at a temperature not higher than 47 degrees Celsius (118 Farenheit). Moreover, this diet implies the consumption of large amounts of fruits and vegetables, which might not be easy for a beginner. Some of the other main products associated with the diet are:

  • nuts
  • dried fruits and vegetables
  • whole-grains
  • seaweed
  • beans
  • soya

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You might have already thought that raw foodists probably don’t eat meat products which is true in most cases. Some of them consume raw eggs, but in their large majority raw foodists are vegans. If you are aiming at adapting to raw foodism, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop eating animal products. You may chose to consume unprocessed cheese or raw meat, however you have to assess the risks in that case.

The main foods that are forbidden by the diet are:

  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • food high in fat and refined sugar content (junk food)

Some of the main equipment used by this diet is usually a variety of blenders, juicers, slicers, peelers and grinders.

The significant health benefits of Raw Foodism:

It is undoubtedly beneficial for your health since your body receives a large amount of nutrients which are processed and assimilated naturally by the organism. There is NO healthier way for your body to receive vitamins and minerals other than from raw foods.  This diet improves the quality of your skin, strengthens your immune system and reduces the risk a considerable amount of vascular and heart diseases.

Raw Foodism and Weight Loss:

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This diet has proved to be one of the most efficient ways to lose and maintain weight over a long term. In fact, it is quite obvious that the consumption of large amounts of fruits and vegetables and lack of fatty and sugary products will facilitate your weight loss. Statistical data shows that 80% of people who adapted Raw Foodism weigh less than people following other diets.

The Risks:

In fact, it all depends on you. Knowing that Raw Foodism implies under-cooking your foods, it is at your own risk to eat raw meat, raw eggs or any other foods that should normally go through thermal processing.  If you decide to refuse eating animal products, you have to make sure that you compensate the lack of proteins and fiber by eating other products allowed by the diet such as: nuts, soya beans, beans, etc. The lack of these natural components in your body can lead to immune deficiencies, exhaust, allergies, etc.

How I make use of Raw Foodism:

I must admit that completely adapting the principles of Raw Foodism is quite challenging in the first place, and might be very time consuming as well as quite expensive for your pocket. Peeling, blending, chopping as well as purchasing raw foods might be as expensive as time taking which is not very convenient nowadays. However, I must admit that this diet implies some health benefits that I cannot neglect. Therefore I decided to lower my meat and processed food consumption to as low as 3 to 4 times a week leaving more space for raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and soya products. I decided to avoid heating my vegetables or fruits, unless I I am using them for  baking once a week.

I have adapted to eating raw fruits and vegetables without adding fat dressings or sweeteners to make them more delicious. I have also rejected drinking coffee and replaced it with leafy green tea. I am still working on my sugar-free recipes for various desserts and I am sure that many foods can avoid the sugar content since they are flavored and delicious enough to be consumed without it.

I believe that adding extra sugar and fat to your food has become a cliche and people stopped appreciating the raw value and taste of the food.

I hope you liked this article and it has made you re-think your food choices. Cheers!

Get rid of that LAST bit of fat – My 20 Day Challenge!

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ImageThe Prehistory – How I came to this

I’ve been on a holiday for the past 2 weeks where I loosened my control over the food I ate and my daily regimen. Yesterday, 2 weeks later, I hopped on the scale to encounter the terrifying news – I’ve gained 2.1 kg (around 5 Ibs). I must admit though, during this holiday there was junk food, there was alcohol and lack of sleep – basically all the things I’ve been so strongly encouraging you NOT to do! Well guess what – they proved to be right! For once again I realized that losing any bit of control over my adapted lifestyle will slap me in the face straight away. 

Something has snapped in me – I am just as frustrated as determined! Determined to lose these 2.1 kg (5 Ibs) back and do some awesome preparation for the summer. It’s not even the scale “shift” that gives me that spirit, it’s just the lack of motivation and some goals lately. 

THE 20 DAY CHALLENGE – Ultimate Trimming!

I am going to call this 20 day challenge “THE ULTIMATE TRIMMING” where I am going to pursue a 1500 daily calorie intake and a challenging exercise regimen (5 days a week).

I am going to compile my meal plan for every 5 days of my challenge after which I am going to weigh in and inform you on my progress. 20 days – 4 weigh ins, 4 – meal plans and 480 hours to make a change!  Are you in the same boat with me? Are you tired of those last stubborn few pounds that won’t get off you? Join me – and just get what you want!

I know I’ve been posting against meal plans and diet programs – but this is slightly different. You are free to exercise as much as you want and introduce changes to the food options that I will be  offering you. However, don’t deviate too much. I’ve been working on this meal plan during the last night, which was – my last sleepless night for the coming 20 days at least!

Let’s get this going. I tried making the menu not very difficult in terms of food preparation and in terms of calorie intake.

Day 1 (1500 calories, 7 hours of sleep and 60 min of exercise)

Breakfast (8 am): 100 grams of oatmeal (boiled in skinny milk) and a cup of green tea (1/2 teaspoon of sugar) – 450 calories

Snack (11 pm): a cup of fresh fruit salad (kiwi, melon, green apple and orange) and a cup of green tea – 170 calories

Lunch (2 pm): one Caesar salad (egg, chicken filet, salad leafs and natural cheese), 1 whole-wheat toast – 500 calories

Dinner (5 pm): chicken bouillon and a cup of chopped vegetables (tomato, cabbage, cucumber and bell-pepper), 1 whole-wheat toast – 220 calories

Workout (6.30 pm) – 60 min of workout  – about 900 calories loss

Evening snack (8 pm) – 150 ml of plain yogurt and 2 carrots – 110 calories.

Day 2 (1500 calories, 7 hours of sleep and 60 min of exercise)

Breakfast (8 am): 2 low-calorie pancakes (check recipe here: https://galinabella.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/low-calorie-pancakes-with-interesting-flavors/) and a cup of green tea (1/2 teaspoon of sugar) – 420 calories

Snack (11 pm): a cup of fresh fruit salad (kiwi, melon, green apple and orange) and a cup of green tea – 170 calories 

Lunch (2 pm): any type of fish with baked vegetables (bake your veggies together with the fish), 1 whole wheat toast and an apple – 500 calories

Dinner (5 pm): a club sandwich (whole-wheat toast, ham, natural cheese, cucumber, tomato, hard-boiled egg) – 300 calories

Workout (6.30 pm) – 60 min of workout  – about 900 calories loss

Evening snack (8 pm) – 200 ml of plain yogurt – 115 calories

Day 3 (1500 calories, 7 hours of sleep and 60 min of exercise)

Breakfast (8 am): a club sandwich (whole-wheat bread, ham, natural cheese, cucumber, tomato, hard-boiled egg), one toast with reduced sugar jam, one cup of green tea (1/2 spoon of sugar) – 440 calories

Snack (11 am): one orange and one apple, a cup of green tea – 180 calories

Lunch (2 pm):  1 cup of creamy soup (any of your preference), 1 whole-wheat toast, 1 TINY dessert (muffin, or any reduced sugar cake) – 500 calories

Dinner (5 pm): 250 ml of plain yogurt and vegetables (cucumber, tomato, bell pepper) – 200 calories

Workout (6.30 pm) – 60 min of workout  – about 900 calories loss

Evening snack (8 pm): 15 pieces of raw nuts (any except peanuts) and 1 carrot – 130 calories

The 4th and the 5th day of my challenge will have the same meal plan as the 1st and the 2nd day of my plan. This is due to the fact that I don’t want to make it complicated both for myself and for you. I am also taking into consideration the financial matters, therefore it will be easier to repeat the meals once every 3 days instead of stuffing your fridge with various food items. 

And of course, variations are allowed. For more healthy snack suggestions please see my other article: https://galinabella.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/some-healthy-snacks-you-can-have-during-your-diet/ 

This will guide you through the healthy snacks you can have in case you don’t like the ones I’m offering you here. 

Starting today and looking forward to my first weigh in! GOOD-LUCK EVERYONE!

All fitness, beauty and nutrition bloggers out here – A brave call!

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As I have been surfing for hours through the endless spaces of wordpress for more inspiration – it hit me! This might be either surprisingly interesting or utterly stupid, but here is my call: I want to give all the fitness, beauty and diet fans out here a chance to spread the word!

As my inspiration escalated, I realized that my articles aren’t enough to provide people with as much detailed information as they might need in order to proceed with their diet, exercising routine or just achieve their personal goals. I have good knowledge on certain aspects of fitness, nutrition and beauty, but I’m not able to know everything – therefore I need YOUR HELP!

I decided to create an online community where each one of you could share their experiences, expertise and achievements regardless to whether it is about fitness, nutrition or beauty. Are you passionate about exercising at the gym or running and you think you’ve got some efficient workout plans? – share them! Or your biggest interest is eating healthy foods and creating delicious recipes which you are proud of? – share them too! We are here because we like to share your own achievements, receiving positive and supportive feedback and keep improving ourselves.

Therefore I have created a community where everyone can link to their wordpress articles and post about the topics they love the most. Post anything you like: photos, articles, achievements, as well as comment and share as long as its about the topics mentioned in the side-bar (there are quite a lot of them). If you’re interested, like me on my official Facebook page community: https://www.facebook.com/fitandnut

I am alone in this at the moment, but I want to spread the word! I want to create an information platform linked to your wordpress that will inspire all of us and enrich our knowledge! If you think I am talking sense and you find this interesting, just join me 🙂

Thank you for reading this through! *Sigh* – this was tough for me!

How FAST do you gain FAT after overeating? Interesting facts

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This question has been bothering me for ages, especially after I ate a bag of chips or returned after one of my family’s gatherings. I have been through these painful feelings of guilt and dissapointment because of overeating, and I wanted to figure out how bad does it affect my diet in the short term. I am sure I am not alone wondering about it, so I decided to make an investigation on this topic and share my knowledge with you. I will also speak from my own experience since after 1.5 year of dieting, eating healthy and exercising, I’ve observed some patterns of weight gain and loss in my body and how my weight is affected by ocasional overeating.

Let’s start with the basics: 1 Ib (approx 0.5 kg) of fat has about 3500 calories. So in theory, if you eat 3500 calories MORE than your daily norm, you will gain 1 Ib (aprox 0.5 kg) of fat. This is not exactly true due to a few reasons:

1. Your fat gain depends on the speed of your metabolism (which is something dictated by your genes)
2. Some of this weight will be “water weight” since all the food contains liquids in it
3. The amount of fat gain will very likely depend on the type of food you ate
4. The amount of fat gain depends on the activities you performed after you ate

Now let’s dive into more detail about this. The first 2 factors that I’ve mentioned are significantly influencing the speed and amount of your weight gain, however, I would say that the most important factor is the 3rd one, namely: the type of food you’ve consumed.
For instance if you overate 3500 calories of fruit salad, it is less likely to store as 1 extra Ib (0.5 kg) of fat tissue in your body simply because fruits have a lower sugar content and are fat-free. Therefore, your body is less likely to react vigorously to this calorie excess which, in the end results in less FAT gain. Fruits have a considerable amount of fluids which means that your weight gain will mostly consist of WATER rather than FAT tissue. This principle generally applies to overeating healthy foods that are high in fluid content and low in fat and sugar content. Your body will most likely deposit some fat tissue, purely as a result of overeating; however the visible weight gain will become observable much later. Another positive aspect behind overeating healthy foods is that you are able to get rid of the gained weight right on the next day. If you are very concerned about your weight gain, an intensive workout and a stricter diet during the next day is going to rescue you from fat gain.

Things are slightly different when it comes to junk food or fast food. If you ate a 3500 calorie excess of greasy and fatty food products that are rich in added sugar content, you are more likely to deposit pure fat on your body as a result. This kind of food will boost the sugar content in your blood to a much higher level than after fruits, which creates a considerable energy excess in your body. Since you are not able to spend this amount of excess energy in a short period of time it will result in fat gain within just a few minutes after you ate your meal. Obviously, it is way more difficult to get rid of this pure fat gain especially if your overeating stretches over a longer period of time. It will require regular exercising and strict dieting in order to bring your weight down again. On the other hand if this savage junk food overeating happens very seldom to you, your weight is likely to recover within the next few days.

My own experience
Speaking from my own experience, I concluded for myself a long time ago that if I am madly craving for food, I rather overeat with healthy products. It does happen sometimes that I can overeat 1000-1500 calories during a certain event, and if it is mostly healthy food that I ate – my weight is hardly affected by it. If it does happen that I lose control and stuff myself with a 1500 – 2000 junk food calorie excess (and that my friends, happens too), I will require 4 to 5 days of strict dieting and exercise in order to get back to my comfortable weight. Yes, that’s what giving in to my temptations normally costs me – I always keep that in mind before making my food choice.

The 4th factor that I’ve mentioned is just as important as the 3rd one. If you overate a considerable amount of calories, I strongly suggest at least going for a walk. It will improve your digestion and it will diminish the amount of fat that you will pile up. Laying on the couch with a full stomach or, even worse, going to bed is only going to aggravate things.
Going to bed right after your meal is generally not very beneficial for your diet. If you’re feeling hungry and tired – make a choice. Go to sleep without eating, or eat without going to sleep – simple. Even if you’ve consumed a regular amount of calories, going to sleep right after eating is more likely to facilitate your weight gain.

I hope this has been helpful! My advice: think, think and think again before you eat!

How I SHAPE UP for summer – Workout plan!

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I guess this is the time of the year when most of us start their preparations for summer – I’m not an exception. I am going to tell you what my weekly workout plan is and how it works out for me. During the last 2 weeks I’ve been on a holiday and gained 1kg (2.4 pounds) which I am planning to get rid off the coming weeks.

I know this is going to be tough since my BMI (Body Mass Index) rate is 19.4 – which is quite low. If you want to join me, you can start off by computing your own BMI here: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm. LET’S SHAPE UP TOGETHER!

My other goal is to lower my body fat percentage and replace it with muscles – so weight loss is not my primary goal, but rather trimming and getting firm muscles for the beach. So here is what I do for that:

I exercise 5 to 6 days a week and my workouts last about 65 minutes.

The first 10 minutes of my workout
Warm up by running on the same spot for 1 min
Start lifting my knees higher for 1 min
Run sideways back and forwards for 3 min
Stretching my arms and legs and bend over in different directions for another 5 min

The next 40 minutes of my workout
Slowly start running until I warm up enough to reach my comfortable speed.
I usually run about 10.5 km/h which is quite fast. Yesterday I managed to run 10.01 km in about 57 min.
I have a GPS system on my phone that tracks my workouts. This is how my results in terms of kilometers, calories and speed looked like:
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The last 15 min of my workout

– 4 sets of 10 squats
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– 4 sets of 10 side squats
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– 4 sets of 10 lunge
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– 2 times half push-ups each for 20 seconds
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– 2 sets of 10 push-ups
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End of workout
At the end I do some light stretching and so my workout is over.

This is quite intense but also very effective. This workout trains both your upper-body and lower-body and is combined with cardio which is most efficient in fat-burning. You can also chose to perform smaller sets of exercises, for instance sets of 8 or 6 and run for 25-30 min for the start.

YOU CAN DO IT! GOOD LUCK!