Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is most notably used in the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. But in truth, ALL children experience problem behaviors at some point in their lives - from the “terrible twos” to the rebellious teen years. This blog is designed to provide an overview of ABA and how it can be a useful tool for typically developing children, teenagers, and even your husband;)

My Weight Loss Journey

***This page is moving!  If you would like to follow my journey, you can do so here.***

Bet you didn't know ABA could be used for a diet and fitness plan, huh?  It's all about the reinforcement;)  This page is my accountability for my weight loss journey.  I am still carrying around an extra 8 pounds (on top of the original 12 I needed to lose) after having a baby nearly TWO YEARS AGO!  I added an exercise program (Slim in 6) to my already improved diet (long term eating plan, not short term "diet") on August 20, 2012.  Thanks to Jess Sanford for the inspiration to get moving and eating "clean(er)"!  I have already lost 10 lbs since April by reducing my sugar intake and keeping a food diary.  My current weight is 170 with a BMI of 28.  My goal is 150lbs to meet the "healthy" weight range according to the BMI calculator at WebMD.  It's a bit more expensive to eat fresh (i.e. "clean") foods so I'm also on a coupon kick.  Wish me luck and follow my journey for inspiration! 

Example Meals - While some of these meals aren't completely healthy or "clean" they are healthier and cleaner choices than I've made in the past.  These are choices I can live with forever, not just for a short term "diet".  That's the key!  My MyNetDiary calorie plan is 1779 calories daily at my current weight and mostly sedentary lifestyle.  My personal goal for now is to stay under 60g of sugar daily - still 3x the recommended amount:(  But believe me it's a big deal when my average before I started this journey was around 100g daily.  I am also aiming to consume at least 1 water bottle full (24oz) of water daily.  I know that doesn't even begin to be enough, but considering my diet previously consisted of seriously sweet tea (I am from the south afterall) and before that full calorie soda I figure I'll start small and work my way up.  I have kicked the soda habit some time ago.  I will occasionally drink a 12oz soda (generally no more than once a month) and I have an 8oz glass of sweet tea (with half the amount of sugar - 24 cals, 6g sugar) as a "snack" on occasion (1-2x per week).

*First and foremost COFFEE with 1 tsp sugar, 2 packets sugar substitute, and approximately 2oz Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk (36 cals, 5g sugar) (or with a lighter calorie meal Iced Coffee with 6 oz 2% milk for 100 cals, 12g sugar) with one of the following meals:
  • 6oz Plain Greek yogurt with 1/8 cup homemade granola (oats, coconut oil, honey, crushed almonds, a little wheat flour baked in the oven), fresh fruit, and 1 tsp honey (260 cals, 19g sugar)
  • 1/2c Oatmeal with 1tsp butter, 1tbsp brown raw, and ground cinnamon (224 cals, 10g sugar)
  • 1 Fried or scrambled egg, 2 slices bacon, toast with butter and sugar free jam (291 cals, 2g sugar)
  • Natural peanut butter on whole wheat mini bagel (195 cals, 4g sugar)
  • Whole wheat mini bagel with greek yogurt (instead of cream cheese), honey, granola, and fruit on top (200 cals, 14g sugar)
  • Omelet with 2 eggs, spinach, tomato, cheese, peppers, onion, and mushrooms (334 cals, 5g sugar)
  • Avocado smoothie with silk vanilla light milk, coconut, and fruit of choice (optional protein powder) (345 cals, 17g sugar)
  • Fiber One muffins (blueberry or apple cinnamon) (160 cals, 14g sugar)
  • 3 small pancakes with fruit and 1 tsp each honey topping (360 cals, 26g sugar)
  • Greek Salad with feta cheese, olives, salad peppers, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, real bacon bits, and homemade dressing (light tasting olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and fresh minced garlic) (300 cals, 6g sugar) 
  • Spinach wrap (those green tortilla shells) with leftover meat from dinner, whatever veggies are in the fridge, a little cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing (452 cals, 4g sugar)
  • Homemade brocoli alfredo (300 cals, 5g sugar)
  • Pasta with sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and onion (300 cals, 1g sugar)
  • Whole wheat sandwich bread with slice of avocado, laughing cow cheese spread, and slice of bacon (250 cals, 5g sugar)
  • Homemade trail mix (1tbsp dark chocolate morsels, 10 almonds, 1/8c dried cranberries) (185 cals, 16g sugar)
  • Celery with PB and Raisons (160 cals, 13g sugar)
  • 10 baby Carrots with 2 tbsp Hummus (70 cals, 5g sugar)
  • 4 Whole wheat crackers with 1 tbsp hummus (100 cals, 2g sugar)
  • String cheese (80 cals, 0g sugar)
  • 1/2c Edamame steamed in pods (100 cals, 1g sugar)
  • Frozen yogurt (homemade with plain greek) with fruit and 1 tsp honey (110 cals, 14g sugar)
  • 3/4 c Mixed fruits (whatever is in the fridge) (100 cals, 18g sugar)
  • 1/8 cup Guacamole or 2 tbsp salsa with 12 (or 9 with guacamole) whole grain tortilla chips scoops (145 cals, 1g sugar)
  • Grilled Salmon (olive oil, cracked pepper, and garlic), grilled asparagus (olive oil, cracked pepper, and garlic), and homemade wheat bread with a little butter, mozzarella cheese, and fresh garlic toasted on the grill (550 cals, 5g sugar)
  • Brown rice, mexican corn black beans and peppers with salsa, sour cream, and cheese (390 cals, 3g sugar)
  • Crockpot beef or pork roast (3 oz) with celery, onions, and potatoes, plus carrots (honey, brown sugar, and butter made especially for my husband and daughter) (521 cals, 17g sugar)
  • 3 oz Steak and veggie kabobs (5 cherry tomatoes, 5 red potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and pineapple) (422 cals, 15g sugar)
  • 1 cup Homemade stew (beef roast, corn, tomatoes, lima beans, tomato juice and seasonings) (445 cals, 5g sugar)
  • 4oz Ham or pork chop with mashed butternut squash (brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon) and green beans flavored with Goya ham flavoring (240 cals, 18g sugar)
  • Shrimp or chicken alfredo made with Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (350 cals, 3g sugar)
  • 2 sliced Homemade pizza (wheat crust with butter and garlic crust) (400 cals, 4g sugar)
  • Chili (kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, 97% lean ground beef or turkey, spices)
  • Taco Salad or chicken fajitas with sour cream or guacamole and salsa (460 cals, 4g sugar)
  • Spicy grilled chicken sandwiches (avocado, bacon, chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, jalapenos, and hot wing sauce) on wheat sliced bread (430 cals, 5g sugar)
  • Grilled chicken, homemade mac and cheese (butter and wheat flour base with milk and cheddar cheese), and green beans (300 cals, 3g sugar)
Exercise Diary
Week 1 (Aug 21-27): Started Slim in 6 Start It Up this week.  The first few days of the 25 minute workout got my heart rate up, had me breaking a sweat, my arms were getting tired from the workout, and my abs were sore afterwards.  I participated for 5 days in a row.  By the end of the week I was no longer feeling my heart rate getting into the "weight loss zone" and my abs had recovered, though I was still breaking a sweat during the workout and my arms were still getting tired.  Took two days off from "exercise" due to feverishly cleaning the house.  Apparently that burns a ton of calories!  I also started my MyNetDiary food dairy again after a few months hiatus.  I am tracking my sugar intake as well as calories in and calories out.  Did you know the recommended daily sugar intake is now a mere 20 grams for women, 35 for men, and 12 for children?
Week 2 (Aug 28 - Sept 3): I went back to the Start It Up plan for 1 day and decided I wasn't getting a good workout.  The next day I tried the 45 minute Ramp It Up part of the program and WOW that kicked my butt.  I could only complete the first 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, 5 minutes of the abs, and 2 minutes of stretching/cool down.  I figure 27 minutes of pushing myself was better than 25 minutes of just going along easy.  I haven't been back to the video yet (THREE DAYS)!  I guess I pushed myself too hard too fast.  Even though I have continued to clean the house (I mean DEEP CLEAN the house) I WILL BE back on the wagon today.  I only have 3 more days to get my workouts in this week and I am shooting for 5 workouts per week to start with.  That means I have to get in my workouts everyday for the next three days - on a 3 day weekend while entertaining my toddler AND the husband is out of town!!!  I need to work on some "rewards" for meeting my goals - new workout clothes or shoes maybe???  No weight loss yet but my stamina for exercise is increasing so I'll take that as an improvement. *Yes I DID follow through and get back on the wagon.  Completed the first 20 minutes of Ramp It Up aerobics routine and completed ALL of the ab and stretching/cool down routine!  I even had Lillie watch me and she imitated some of the movements.  I think it's good for her to see me being active.  **Took another day off, but pushed myself to finish ALL of Ramp It Up on my last workout this week.  That was 20 minutes of aerobics, 20 minutes of arms, legs, and abs, and 5 minutes of stretching/cool down.  My daughter and I have gone to the park everyday this week.  We play a "find the color..." game with the map of America on the black top, running to each color and hopping on it.  Lillie LOVES it and it gets our heart rate up for few minutes anyway:)

Week 3 (Sept 4-10): I'm already in the middle of week 3 and I've only completed one workout so far.  That means I have 4 more to go in the next 4 days.  I'm a sucker for putting things off until the last minute.  Of course, I have still been doing a good bit of cleaning and burned about 400 calories on Tuesday just from doing that!  AND (bonus) the scale read 168 today!  168!  That's 2 pounds in the last 2.5 weeks.  Ok, nothing to brag about BUT I've been down to 165 in the last few months and gained back 5 lbs because I stopped keeping my food diary so 2 lbs is a big deal to ME!  6 more pounds until I reach my pre-pregnancy weight!  And let me tell you, this is the easiest "diet" I've ever done.  I'm not starving (1700 calories for goodness sake) and I'm not depriving myself of my favorite foods - making a few minor adjustments and controlling my portions maybe, but not depriving myself.  Seriously, if you aren't already, get yourself a food diary (MyNetDiary).  If you don't have a smart phone, get on the computer.  If you don't have a computer at home, get yourself a paper notebook.  Secondly, just MOVE your tush.  Seriously.  I can't say I've "enjoyed" Slim in 6, but I can tell you that it's a good place to start for someone who is a self-proclaimed sugar addicted couch potato who hasn't done any real exercise in FOREVER!  It starts out slow and you are supposed to "master" the first routine ("Start It Up") before moving on to the next ("Ramp It Up").  There are on screen reminders to breath, watch your form, take a break, and try alternate moves (if you're not ready for the on screen moves).  It's EASY, unless you have bad knees - there are lots of lunges/squats.  Speaking of, I've been doing those all wrong.  Did you know correct form is to stand feet shoulder width apart, back straight, THEN you stick out your butt (i.e. tilt your hips to the wall behind you), and when you squat your knees shouldn't pass your toes.  Do you know HOW EASY a squat is when you make that one adjustment to your form?  Why did noone ever tell me to tilt my hips?  Anyway, during these workouts you are moving constantly.  You are getting your heart rate up then back down a bit - like interval training.  I have yet to need a break during the aerobic portion of either Start It Up or Ramp It Up.  There's 20 minutes of aerobics both in Start It Up and Ramp It Up.  Don't give up!  The first day of Ramp It Up, I gave up on the aerobics at 19ish minutes.  I just couldn't keep going but low and behold there was only 1 more minute - ONE!  I lied before, my arms needed a break!  You move your arms A LOT!  And my arms are W.E.A.K. weak!  No problem, just put your arms on your hips and keep moving.  JUST MOVE YOUR TUSH!  Just try it for 6 weeks.  It's 6 weeks of your life - you CAN commit that long.  I CAN commit that long!  2 lbs y'all!  Even if I only lose 6 lbs it's better than 0.  Besides, 6 lbs in 6 weeks is good, steady, healthy weight loss.  And nevermind the weight, my body is already changing.  I'm excited to take an after shot at the end of this 6 weeks to see the difference.  Until next time...   

Week 4 (Sept 11-17):  This week starts the clean eating and fitness challenge sponsored by my friend Barefoot Fit Jess on Facebook.  So I took all my measurements.  It was a bit daunting but I'm glad I did it.

Neck: 13.5"
Chest: 36"
Bicep: 12.5"
Waist: 32"
Hips: 42"
Thigh: 24.5"
Calf: 16"
Weight: 168lbs
Body fat: 30% (which is less than the high end 33% for acceptable healthy body fat percent for my age as described by
Waist to Hip ratio: 0.76 (which is less than the high end 0.80 for acceptable healthy ratio as described by
Waist to Height ratio: 0.54 (which is slightly higher than the high end 0.50 for acceptable healthy ratio as described by
Body Mass Index: 28 (which is considered overweight, a good bit higher than the high end 24.9 for acceptable healthy BMI as described by
Resting Heart Rate: 72 beats per minute (which is the high end of "just fine" as described by           


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