My Whole30 Journey…so far

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Day 20.  I’m 2/3 of the way there.  Pretty damn good for a girl who jumped into this, not actually thinking she could succeed.  Now, let me start off by saying that I was not 100% compliant since I did continue to drink Shakeology, which contains Stevia and Pea protein, which are not Whole30 compliant. But I wasn’t willing to give that up for 30 days and here’s why:

I don’t drink coffee….so my shakes are what get me going in the mornings.

It’s also my multivitamin.  It keeps me healthy.  Which is not something I was willing to risk, in the middle of winter and flu season.

It makes me feel too good to voluntarily give it up…even for just 30 days.

That being said, I may no be getting the FULL benefits of the Whole30.  And some people say I can’t call what I am doing the Whole30, since I am not 100% compliant….so I’m calling it the Whole30-ish.  And that’s good enough for me.  Because here’s the thing.  I didn’t do this for some astronomical change.  I didn’t do this because I have some huge issue that I needed to get to the bottom of.  I did this because I wanted to get back on track with my nutrition and I wanted to prove to myself that I still had some sort of discipline when it came to food. I wanted to sort of restart my system.

So, here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

I am sleeping better.  I’m snacking less.  My sweet tooth has been tamed.  I have the energy to get through my workouts. My mind feels clearer.  I am able to focus better.  I’m only down about 3 lbs, but am def noticing my pants are getting loose.  I’m not craving much.  I’m enjoying healthy foods.  I’m finding new, delicious recipes.  I’m learning to enjoy cooking.  And the most surprising of all – I am not dying for wine!  (<— that one alone is a huge accomplishment for me, since I am a self proclaimed wino!)

Overall, I can’t complain.  I didn’t have too many crazy days where I felt like I was dying, or had severe headaches, or severe cravings.  Again, the Shakeology could have helped with that….but for me, that’s a bonus!

There are a ton of Facebook groups dedicated to the Whole30…but beware.  In a lot of them, you can’t ask if something is compliant, you’re not allowed to post anything that is non-compliant, and don’t you DARE tell anyone that you’ve accidentally (or purposely) eaten something that might not be compliant.  Otherwise?  The groups can be great for recipe ideas, support on those tough days and other random Whole30 things.

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I’ll be back in 10 days to give my final review…including my favorites tips and recipes!

All in all, I think the Whole30 is great for someone who wants to get back on track, clean out their system, improve overall health, figure out what might be ailing them, etc.  If you’re thinking of doing it, I say give it a go!  You might actually surprise yourself!

 

If you can’t stop thinking about it…

Before I actually became a Beachbody coach, I thought about it….all the time.  Once I successfully completed a couple of the programs and had friends asking me what I did to lose the weight, the idea first popped in my head.  It took almost a year for me to actually take the leap.  A year.  There were so many times I went to the coach sign up page, got all the way to the end, and then chickened out right before I hit submit.  Why?  I was afraid.  Afraid of failing, afraid of what people would think, afraid I wasn’t good enough.  I’m not sure what changed a year later.  Maybe the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, or maybe I became less afraid.  But once I finally did it…..finally committed, I knew my fears didn’t matter.  It worked out actually because I did some research and decided what team I wanted to be a part of, instead of just randomly signing up on my own.  I am now a part of the most successful team in all of Beachbody, which gives me access to so many wonderful resources.  There’s no way I could have done this on my own.

The moral of this little short story is….if there is something in your life that you can’t top thinking of, go after it.  There’s a reason this thought or this idea is lingering…..maybe it’s leading you in the direction you need to be headed.

If you can't stop

Tips for Surviving the Weekend

Its Friday and I’m sure your weekend is packed with dinners or lunches out….and of course Super Bowl parties (GO PANTHERS!!).  Weekends are usually when your determination to eat clean will waver. It can be hard when surrounded by delicious appetizers and desserts!  The best way to avoid completely ruining all of your hard work is to eat a healthy snack or meal before you go.  That way you don’t show up starving, which can lead to overeating.  I like football foods way to much to completely forego all of it, so I’ll eat something before I go, and then have a really small serving of what is being offered.   That way I get rid of the craving, without completely ruining my diet.

To keep from having to stress every time you go out in public to a restaurant or an event here are some tips from Tosca Reno’s Stripped book to keep your blood pressure in check!
Planning is best, when you are out you always need a game plan.
1. Develop an “I don’t have to eat it all!” Mindset. Make up your mind before you go that you don’t have to get the most bang for your buck by cleaning your plate. KEEP YOUR GOAL IN MIND.
2. Satisfy hunger only-Don’t Gorge. Eat for the purpose of satisfying your hunger, but no more.
3. Start small and green. Start your meal with a salad, without dressing. Use a spritz of lemon or some balsamic vinegar.
4. Broth is best. When there is no salad option have a broth based soup.
 5. NO BREAD PLEASE! Remember this is not helping you achieve your 10 pound weight loss goal.

6. Clean Cooking techniques rock! Look for entree options featuring steamed or raw veggies and grilled, baked or roasted meats or fish. If they aren’t listed, ask the server to prepare it that way. Oh and don’t always trust the low fat or fat free symbols.
7. Portion control is in. Have a good look at your plate when it arrives. Ask for a doggie bag and split your meal in half.
8. Fletcherize. The practice of chewing each mouthful a min of 25 times. It gives your body a chance to recognize when you are becoming full. (This is very hard to do when you are with kids, because you never know when they have had enough and you will have to leave your meal behind to take the kids out).
9. Zero Tolerance. You want to avoid alcohol because sugar can derail you in the most powerful way. Have sparkling water with lemon or lime slices. (As someone who loves her wine….I’m realistic about this.  If you are going to drink, try to limit it to a drink or two.  And drink smartly….red wine, or vodka with soda water.  Avoid sugary mix drinks and beer)
10. Stop before the end. Think of your plan to shed those pounds, if you can’t resist something sweet ask for a dish of fresh fruit and leave it at that!
If you doubt your ability to resist restaurant offerings then pre-eat! Then when you go to a restaurant or social event you don’t have to worry about what’s on the menu and you can focus on socializing.
If you have to go through a drive through, familiarize yourself with the menu. Never super size and make smart food choices by ordering a grilled chicken salad with olive and vinegar dressing or, low fat balsamic.
One of the most difficult things to manage while following a healthy lifestyle is your social life. You don’t have to become a hermit…just be smart about your choices and most importantly, be prepared!!!

Embrace the Pain

Sore Muscles-Give up or keep going?

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Anytime you start a new workout program, even if you work out regularly, you are bound to feel some soreness the next day.  Since having my second child, it had been a while since I was able to get a solid workout in….until yesterday.  And today, my legs are killing me.  I mean, the having-trouble-walking-down-the-stairs kind of pain. But I love it.  It means that I had a great workout yesterday and my muscles are working on rebuilding themselves.  A lot of people will use that pain as an excuse as to why they can’t workout today.  Instead, do a workout that targets a different part of your body.  If you are using a Beachbody program, they are set up to work different areas daily, so you are not overworking one muscle group.  I did some research about working out and muscle soreness since so many of my customers experience it when they start a new routine.  I figured it would be well worth sharing with all of you as well!  Who isn’t sore from working out at one point or another?  It’s best to know how to handle this discomfort.

It’s common for beginners to experience muscle soreness that lasts for a week or two, just as seasoned exercisers will be sore after a tough work out. Yes, you should keep working out even though you are sore, but there is more to it than that. The only way to avoid muscle soreness is to not workout at all!  And that is certainly not going to get you that body you envision in your mind!

Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout (“the burn”) and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise (such as walking) after your workout. This is why cool-downs are so important, especially for beginners. The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).

The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during a weight-lifting session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two.

This is where rest comes in. You absolutely must rest the muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout. Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off. (This means from lifting, not from all exercise such as cardio). If you don’t let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker.

To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to:
1. Always warm-up for 5-10 minutes and cool-down for at least 5 minutes.

2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity.

3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of “actively recovering” with light exercise, you’ll probably be sore longer.

 There are some great post workout drinks and foods that you can use to help reduce the post muscle soreness and help your body to recovery faster.

The most important meal you eat is the one that you have directly after your workout.  for about an hour after your workout, there’s a window of opportunity when your muscles are literally starving for nutrients. We call this the golden hour. And the meal you eat at this time is the most important for building muscle and replenishing energy sources.

 The first thing your body needs is a nice fresh supply of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are used by your body for making muscles, hormones, neurotransmitters, bones and all sorts of other important things. Exercise depletes critical amino acids and the way you replenish your body’s supply is with protein. That means meat, chicken, eggs, fish or whey protein powder.

The second thing you need is some carbohydrates. Exercise draws upon your body’s stores of glycogen, which is the storage form of sugar. Glycogen waits in the liver and the muscles for a signal that sugar is needed: “Hey, she’s exercising, let’s give her some fuel!” Your body can hold about 1,800 calories of sugar as glycogen, which is plenty to fuel any workout short of a marathon, but athletes do best when their glycogen stores are full, so unless you are on a carb-restricted diet, some slow-burning carbs after working out is a good idea. (Hint: The best carbs are oatmeal, brown rice, grains like quinoa or amaranth, and all vegetables and fruits).

Your muscles need protein for repair and growth, and your body needs some carbs to replenish its glycogen stores. Truth be told, after a hard workout your body is like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors: It’s crying “Feed me!” and it won’t take no for an answer. Remember, right before exercise you have to consider the time it takes to digest food, so you need to go light. But post-workout is the ideal time to have a full meal. So what’s the best meal, or combination of foods, to have post-workout?

Shakeology is a great post workout meal.  It has a perfect combination of protein and carbs along with all the essential amino acids and nutrients your body needs to recovery from the workout you just did.  At least you don’t have to stand there in the kitchen wondering if what you are eating is the right option.  Instead whip up a shake and go!

Chicken and Mixed Vegetables is another great option.  The chicken provides your protein and the vegetables provide carbs and fiber.You can also add half of a sweet potato with the meal and a spoonful of olive oil and/or almonds on the vegetables.

Breakfast Anytime: Egg Omelet with Avocado.  This is my favorite go to meal, whether I workout in the morning or evening.  Eggs are just about the best source of protein you can get.  Mix with as many vegetables as you like for a perfect meal. Serve with avocado for a nice dose of fiber and monounsaturated fat.

The Three S’s: Salmon, Spinach and Sweet Potato.  This is an example of the ideal balanced meal. Wild salmon for protein and omega-3s, spinach for the obscene amount of vitamins and minerals, and a sweet potato for slow-burning carbohydrates. It’s an almost perfect meal. You can add a little olive oil or butter to the sweet potato or even sprinkle it with almonds, but watch your portion size: While these additions are all brimming with health, they’re also high-calorie items.

Bodybuilder’s Delight: Tuna, Brown Rice and Vegetables.  This is probably my husbands favorite go to.  Its easy and it hits all the right notes. You can’t go to a “hard core” gym without seeing a bodybuilder eating this old classic from a Tupperware container. A single can of light tuna canned in water and drained provides 42 grams of high-quality protein for under 200 calories.   Add some brown rice for fiber and carbs, load up with the vegetables and you’re good to go.

You can’t go wrong with any of those five, or variations thereof. They’ll load up your body with the energy needed to refuel and the protein needed to rebuild and repair muscle. Couple them with hard, intense and frequent workouts, and you’ll be on the way to the body of your dreams.

Remember no pain no gain!!!!

What is Clean Eating?

Whenever I tell people I lost weight by eating clean, they always look a little confused and ask what that means.  I’m hoping this post will give a good description of what clean eating is to me.  I think everyone’s idea of clean eating is a little different and thats ok. We alter it to fit our lifestyles a bit.  Clean eating not only helped me to lose weight, but it is also great for maintenance once you goal weight is reached.  I try to stick to it as much as possible, but I do have some little cheats here and there!  This will give you a good idea of what to eat and when.

How to eat clean – Do this year round for steady, healthy weight loss.  But this plan can also be used for maintenance.  Here’s why:  when your body begins to approaching its set point (its genetically predetermined healthy weight) you will find that weight loss will stop or slow.

The occasional treat (glass of wine, piece of chocolate, ect) is permitted in limited amounts.  Unhealthy sugars and fats are not recommended.

What to do:

  • Eat more- eat six small meals each day.
  • Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of rising.
  • Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal
  • Eat sufficient (two to three servings) healthy fats every day.
  • Depend on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  • Use proper portion sizes.
  • Most importantly, PLAN!

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid all over-processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar.
  • Avoid all chemically charge foods.
  • Avoid foods containing preservatives.
  • Avoid artificial sugars.
  • Avoid artificial foods such as processed cheese slices.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Avoid sugar loaded beverages, including colas and juices.
  • Avoid or do your best to limit alcohol intake.
  • Avoid all calorie dense foods containing little or no nutritional value.
  • Avoid super sizing your meals.

What to Eat and How Much:

Complex Carbohydrates from Fruit and Vegetables:
6 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 cupped handful or a piece of fruit such as berries, grapefruit, melon, apples and mangoes.
  • 2 cupped handfuls of vegetables including broth based/vegetable puree soups.

Complex Carbohydrates from whole grains and starchy carbohydrates: 
2-4 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 handful of high-protein, sugar-free cold cereals, such as clean muesli or granola.
  • 1 handful of steel cut oats
  • 1 piece of whole grain bread or wrap (Ezekiel bread is a great, clean option)
  • 1 handful sized serving of sweet potato, yam, banana, corn, carrots or squash

Lean Protein
6 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 cup or handful of dairy products such as low fat soy, almond, hemp, rice, or skim milk, cottage cheese, yogurt cheese or plain fat free sugar free yogurt.
  • 1 handful of raw, unsalted nuts (also a healthy fat)
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural nut butters such as almond or peanut butter (also a healthy fat).
  • 1 palm sized portion of lean meats
  • good quality, sugar and chemical free protein powder (hemp, soy or whey).

Beverages:

  • 2-3 liters per day of fresh water- Water is SOO Important!
  • Clear herbal tea (unsweetened)
  • Black coffee in moderation
  • Green/Black tea

Sweeteners:  Use in moderation.  Avoid Artificial Sweeteners.

  • Agave Nectar 
  • Maple Sugar Flakes
  • Rapadura Sugar

These are some clean eating guidelines.  It’s not to say you have to follow it exactly, but this gives you an idea of what clean eating is all about!

The Basics of Clean Eating

12 Steps to Better Eating- The Mental Side

Lots of people are trying to eat better… trim off some extra pounds gained over the holidays, or get beach-ready for a special vacation or for the summer. Eating better is hard. Many people get frustrated, fall short or give up. Here are some key ways to make your eating better stick.

1. Set Goals: Give yourself clear and realistic goals. Write a list of things you want to change about your diet. Also incorporate goals that you may have regarding your body and plan your diet around those goals. I recommend setting present goals, short term, and long term goals. If you try and do everything all at once you can be overwhelmed and want to quit. Take it one goal at a time if need be, and one day at a time, this isn’t a race. You may also want to write reasons why you want to make a change in your eating habits. You might share your goals with others (like your challenge group buddies 😉 ) who will help you meet them. You can put your goals where others can see them, like on the fridge, or at work to motivate you to work harder. This will also get others behind you and involved in your new routine. As you achieve your goals, check them off. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and add excitement leading to your next goal.

2. Have Realistic expectations- Any diet plan needs to work with you and not against you. You need to be realistic when deciding on a new diet. Your plan needs to work for you and your situation. It needs to fit your schedule and your budget. Be realistic with time, and give yourself extra time to prepare food, or have food pre-packed. Also know that obstacles can and will come into your path from time to time to derail you and your progress, so don’t think that everything will be easy and will just happen. This takes work and it happens to all of us.

3. Be Proactive – Make a list of healthy foods you enjoy, and what foods you can take with you to work, in the car, school, etc. You can create entire menus revolving around where you will be at what time of the day. Never give yourself an excuse to not have something available for you to eat, no matter where you are when you are supposed to have a meal. Always keep healthy foods on hand. If you don’t you will probably eat whatever is available at the time whether it be fast food, office treats, etc. This can throw off a diet plan and get you in the habit of making bad food choices and eating whatever is fast and convenient. Know where you will be at what time of the day, when you are open to cook, to eat, to shop for groceries, and plan accordingly. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

4. Consistency is key – Most people respond well to consistency. Make a plan and stick to it. Try to eat at around the same times daily and keep to the same portion size and caloric intake.. Your body will recognize this pattern and in turn keep your metabolism burning and your energy levels will stay high. You will feel better, and get in a healthy routine. It is easy to sabotage yourself by grabbing nasty snacks to meet uncontrolled cravings. The time you spend on planning and consistency is a true investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

5. Be flexible – Of course, even the best plans fall short at times. Life can sometimes get the best of all of us. Sometimes your eating routines need to change. Where you can, try to plan ahead for these events and have items on hand you can take with you when you’re in a rush or are eating out. Example: Bag of almonds, protein bars and shakes, fresh fruit or veggies. Also educate yourself on nutrition through the internet, books, and magazines. You can use this knowledge to help you improvise and find foods that are compatible with your diet, for example if you are out with friends or stuck with no time to cook. Find items that are less time consuming that you can take with you in a pinch.

6. Don’t be so hard on yourself – Nobody is perfect all the time. If you mess up, miss a few meals, or even have a bad couple of days, just pick yourself up and get back on track. You’re doing this for you and the added stress of not living up to your own expectations can lead to a total diet derailment. Being healthy and eating healthy does not mean you can’t enjoy foods not on your meal plan. So don’t be so hard on yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!

7. Stick with your plan – It takes time to develop healthy behaviors.  It takes 21 days to develop a habit…..so give yourself at least that much time to make it habitual. You will find that everything you initially may have had a hard time doing becomes more effortless and will be a normal part of your day to day life.

8. Have fun – Eating right takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Don’t stress yourself out over small bumps in the road. You have the power to change any negative into a positive, and you have the choice to have a positive outlook regarding any situation you find yourself in. Find fun ways to keep yourself motivated. Find new recipes that you might not have tried before.  Get friends and family involved. Set challenges at home, with friends, or at work to start eating healthier. Take the time to cook. You are making change for the better, so why not make it enjoyable.

9. Give yourself praise – You are not a dog so don’t reward yourself with treats. Realize that changing your eating habits can be a daunting task for anyone. Just think how long you have had your current habits and know that changing those habits will not happen overnight, but with time. Congratulate yourself on any healthy changes you make, you deserve the praise. Praise builds confidence and makes you feel good about the healthy choices you are making, and in turn help keep you on your path to betterment.

10. Don’t rush into this – People always start with the best of intentions and will try and do everything at once. They get overwhelmed and quit before they really even started. Small changes add up and can make a huge difference. Work on one thing at a time and keep adding to it. Before you know it you will have many healthy habits that incorporate together to make a healthy lifestyle and a healthier and happier you.

11. Focus on the journey and not the destination – To live a healthy lifestyle is never easy. In order to enjoy this lifestyle with all the ups and downs, we must enjoy the process and the journey on the way to our destination. Once we hit our destination we immediately look to the next mountain top and we either want more, or worst case scenario we think that we have accomplished all we need to and we relax on all of the things that got us there in the first place. Take pride in small victories along the way, they add up.

12. Measure Success and Set New Goals: Making successful changes means measuring your progress towards your goals and recognizing your accomplishments. As you meet short-term goals, you can plan the next steps with more confidence. Constantly re-strategizing your goals takes long-term visualization. That long-term vision needs to be broken down into doable steps.

 

 Now go out there and start changing your ways!!