Monday, February 16, 2015

21 Day Fix - 42 Days - Plateau

I have now completed Week 6 of the 21 Day Fix Diet. There's been some up and downs (see the previous post.) But I'm not perfect. I can't have 52 good weeks.

What motivates me to continue? I have started and QUIT a lot of previous Beachbody fitness programs. We own the majority of them. P90X, P90X2, Insanity, TurboFire, T25, 10-Minute Trainer, and 21 Day Fix. Usually I miss a workout in the first or second week and get discouraged and quit after a week or two because it's just too hard. And then it's back to all the old habits.

This time? It's different. I feel different about all my reasons. Sure, I want to be skinnier, even skinny people want to be skinnier. But I want to avoid all the health issues and costs that come with health problems. And time. My time is a lot more valuable then sitting in doctor's offices or recovering from a knee surgery or being sick. I just have to commit 30-minutes a day to avoid a lifetime of problems.

The challenge group I'm a part of keeps me going too. Seeing all these other women working hard inspires me to keep going.

My Polar calendar motivates me. I want to fill in all the squares with workouts!! I want to have more more workouts and more calories burned than the week before.

I honestly think that the 21 Day Fix is one of the best Beachbody programs they've released. The workouts are not hard. The meal plan is not hard. Any person of any weight, any age can do these workouts and follow the meal plan. I've heard that the new P90 is also designed for any type of person. I might consider doing that one next. I have 21 more days to go before I make a switch. And even if I switch workout programs, I'm going to stick with the meal plan. I feel a lot better when I'm not eating crap.

The Meal Plan
We're not perfect. Even this past week I was slightly all over the place with a few things -- and our house was hit with colds and stomach bugs. But our eating has drastically changed. We haven't had fast food in over 6 weeks. I've eaten twice at Panera. And we've had a couple cheat meals at good restaurants. For Valentine's Day this year we went out to breakfast. And I had planned a special dinner, but we postponed it to Sunday night. It's still not the healthiest dinner, but we have made healthier decisions since beginning this program 7 weeks ago. We used to eat out once a week and grab fast food 1-3 other times, especially on the weekends. Taco Bell has forgotten who we are by now. I think we ate there every Sunday afternoon.

Success - It's a mess!
The cheat meals are different. I don't cheat with junk either. If I want a cheeseburger, I will go find an amazing cheeseburger. And eat half of it. I have been craving a good cheeseburger - Ruby Tuesday always had one of my favorites. Or Mexican - Taco Bell won't cut it. I want something from a real Mexican restaurant or or even Chipolte. 

My weight hasn't changed since the first round of completing the 21-Day program. So as I wrap up the 42 days of this new lifestyle, I want to continue on. And I want to do better the next 21 days!! No more cheating. Cheat meal, not a cheat day. And no slacking on the workouts. (We did solve the TV problem.... new TV for upstairs, new Blu-Ray player for downstairs.) NO EXCUSES. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Zucchini Cakes (21 Day Fix)

Did you ever eat potato pancakes growing up? I sure miss those!! I found a kinda similar, not really at all, recipe in the form of Zucchini Cakes! They were very good and very filling. 

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smushed/pressed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or any flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • coconut oil
Directions
  1. Grate your zucchini. I used the food processor. EASY. 
  2. Place zucchini in a bowl with the 1 tsp salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then, extract all the water from the zucchini. You can place it in a cheese cloth and squeeze. You can also place it in a colander and press the water out. You want to remove as much water as possible so the cakes form and stick together. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini and remaining ingredients (except the coconut oil)
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan.
  5. Use a 1/4 cup to scoop out the zucchini mixture. Place in pan and "press" down to form a small cake. 
  6. Cook 3-4 minutes, flip over and cook another 3-4 minutes. Cakes should have a golden brown crust. 

You can eat 4 of these to count as 1 Green and 1/4 Yellow (the flour -- if you are being super serious.) You've also got some Teaspoons in there from the Oil. 

Zucchini Cakes & Spaghetti Squash

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grilled London Broil

(This blog post is from April 2014. It's been saved as a draft for a long time. I think I was waiting to post a picture. I want to post it so it's out of my draft file!)

London Broil is a tough cut of meat that requires marinating for more than an hour. So plan ahead! 

Grilled London Broil Marinade
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 8 ounces Apple Juice
Mix the ingredients in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Add 1 or 2 London Broil "steak cuts". Marinate over 4 hours. 12-24 hours is ideal. 

Grill to desired temperature. We use a meat thermometer while grilling in order to make sure my steak is a wonderful medium-rare and the husband's is a medium. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beef and Broccoli (21 Day Fix)

How delicious is Chinese food? And how BAD is it? Very. Very very very bad. I found this recipe on Team Beachbody and decided to change it up a little bit. I find the hardest part of making a good beef and broccoli recipe is the chosen beef. I think it's not so much which type of beef you use - but how you marinate it. It's usually recommended to use Flank Steak - and I agree. However, in "Use what you have", I chose a sirloins steak for this dish. I like this recipe because it incorporates peppers, and I added some extra veggies. It is very filling too!

Healthier Beef and Broccoli
Note - You must marinate the steak 4+ hours. Prepare wisely!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound flank steak, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups snap peas (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp (dry) Ginger
Marinade Ingredients
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Seseme Oil
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp (dry) Ginger or 1 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
  • 8 TBSP Water
  • 2 TBSP Corn Starch
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 1 garlic clove
Directions
  1. Combine the Marinade Ingredients in a ziplock bag. Add the sliced steak to the marinade and place in fridge for 4+ hours. 
  2. Combine the Sauce Ingredients and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add beef; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from skillet, keep warm.
  5. Add broccoli, bell pepper, snap peas, garlic, and ginger to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove broccoli mixture from heat. 
  6. Add Sauce mixture to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, or until thickened.
  7. Return beef and broccoli mixture to skillet; cook, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well mixed and heated. 
Measure out the meat - 1 red container worth, and two cups of broccoli & peppers, and 1/2 cup of snap peas for 1 yellow. The soy sauce mixture counts as 1/2 yellow. Serve with 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice. 

Total count: 2 Greens, 1 Red, 2.5 Yellows. This dish was VERY filling. I was able to get 4 servings out of it. 

If you need less yellows, leave out the snap peas and reduce the rice. You can throw in some shredded carrots to bulk the dish up a little more. 

21 Day Fix - A bad week

So this week (Monday February 2 to Sunday February 8) wasn't the best. It was supposed to be our "Back to Basics" week to rejump our weight loss after a really rough weekend eating an AMAZING dinner Saturday night and horrible eating Sunday between leftovers and the Superbowl. Well, life happened.

The challenge group leader posted something that we all have to remember. I'm only one-month into this journey. And even though I had a rough week, I am one month healthier. I have one month of workouts behind me. I have one month of healthy eating behind me. This is a long journey and I will other bad weeks. It's how I handle the weeks after the bad ones that matters.  

Last Saturday, my company had our (very late) holiday party. We had dinner at Trattoria Marcella and it was amazing. AMAZING. I'm not sure there's enough AMAZINGs to describe this place. If you go - and you must go - get the Toasted Raviolis (T-Ravs), Meatballs or Lasagna, and Tiramisu. And split it with like 3 other people. Best food ever! I can't wait to go back. Like in a year, when my arteries have recovered. 

Sunday we tried to keep it simple with Nacho's for the Superbowl. (And Jason got some wings from Hooters.) I have a healthy and delicious homemade wing recipe, but you have to make like 4-dozen, and it takes a couple hours. But they are really good. I might have to make them again.

So back to the nachos. We did ok, except I ate too many chips. I did make the nachos fairly healthy - aside from the chips. We didn't have any fake cheese - used shredded cheese. I browned some ground beef with seasonings, and then we added lettuce and tomatoes and our homemade salsa. I didn't add Sour Cream! (Big change!) The nachos were very filling.

The workouts this week weren't up to par either. I got in my Monday workout. On Tuesday afternoon I picked up a sick kiddo from daycare and after being puked on and all the clean ups, I didn't get in a workout Tuesday night. We also had calzones from the freezer. Normally I would have had Jason pick up McDonalds, so at least we had a change there! Liam stayed home on Wednesday and while he napped I did get in a workout. I had a migraine Thursday and wasn't able to work out.

Friday night we had tickets to Disney Junior Live, with a dinner beforehand. I was supposed to work out when we got home, but didn't. I got in my Saturday workout and 10K steps. Sunday I slacked a little and just got in the 10k steps with a walk around the neighborhood. It's the first week since the start of the year that I didn't qualify for the "5th Workout of the Week" Vitality* points.

This week, I've planned better. We don't even have junk food in the house to ruin the diet with. For those interested - I have my meal plans posted on my google drive account and they are accessible through the Meal Planning Link at the top of my blog.

The only downfall this week is the Office Potluck. I'm making meatballs and Buffalo Chicken Chili. Someone else is bring Turkey Tacos, chili, there will also be Bacon and Salad. There's also Valentine's Day. We are going out to breakfast at The Original Pancake House. For dinner I plan to make a Sausage & Tortellini dish. It's not the healthiest, but we can at least control our dinner calories.

I'm going to aim to do morning workouts. I know it'll be better to get them out of the way. It's tough because the basement is cold. Additionally, the new TV we bought in December has to be returned. It's an RCA, 40-inch, smart, with DVD player. Well, it doesn't connect to digital cable and you need a converter box (even though it says Digital Tuner.) So I was learning to adjust to still needing two remotes. BUT, the DVD player has been intermittently working and then it's just stopped working. I wanted a smart TV and wanted *ONE* remote. But I still needed two, and well, at this point we are going back to our old TV and DVD player. We'll try to purchase a new smart TV sometime this year. Our upstairs TV has three remotes - TV, DVR/DVD, and ROKU. And we have two in the bedroom - TV/DVD and Amazon Prime. Might as well realize downstairs we'll probably need TV/ROKU and DVD player. OR, maybe we'll move the TV from upstairs downstairs and buy a new TV for the living room. <-- This is the test to see if my husband reads my blogs all the way through. ;-)

Vitality = A program through work where we earn points towards Amazon gift cards and gear (like fitbits and polar items.) It also is a way to reduce our health care costs. We earn points for steps, workouts (when I wear the Polar Heart rate monitor), taking online quizzes, meetings goals set for us, and having our bloodwork completed. We've earned $400 in amazon gift cards since we started in August. And I say we because Jason and I are a team. He earns points too. I also get points for vaccinating Liam, and getting flu shots and going to the dentist.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Greek Marinated Chicken


We wanted to get back to basics this week.... reboot our diet after a rough weekend with amazing food and the Super Bowl snacking. 

This recipe isn't the *healthiest* because of the yogurt. But by using greek yogurt, it can be healthier. You can use plain yogurt - but I don't know how that will turn out. You can serve it with some Tzatini sauce. Mine didn't turn out like this picture (that I swapped from Pinterest.) 

Greek Marinated Chicken  
Ingredients
  • 1 cup greek yogurt 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano 
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 medium lemon zest juice from 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • freshly cracked pepper 
  • 3 to 4 lbs chicken pieces (I used boneless skinless, the picture used skinned and boned. Maybe that's where I went wrong?)
Directions

  1. Combine marinade. 
  2. Place pieces in marinade in gallon ziplock for 3-5 hours. 
  3. Bake 375 45-60 minutes or grill.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hearty Beef Stew - 21 Day Fix

I went searching through the Team Beachbody website and found a recipe for beef stew. I figured I'd give it a try. The only downside to this is the prep + cook time is almost 90 minutes. It takes an hour to cook after you get all your vegetables and meat chopped. Plan accordingly! I prepped it and then worked out while it cooked. 

It's very delicious and feels like a cheat meal! You wouldn't know you are "dieting" when you eat this.

Ingredients:
  • 1½ lb. raw lean beef stew meat, boneless
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 1 (14 oz) can of low-sodium beef broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 14-oz of water (use the beef broth can)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 large red potatoes, cubed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Place beef, onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, hot sauce, 1/2 cup broth, and bay leaf in large stock pot.
2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 60 minutes, adding additional broth as needed.

Yield: 6-8 servings
A two-cup serving counts as 1.5 Green, 1 Yellow, and 1 Red. 
You can serve it with quinoa, but take the serving/container into consideration.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Homemade Hummus

I love hummus. I can eat it with a ton of veggies, lots of pita chips, those little bagel chips.... more pita chips. Since it's ok on the 21 Day Fix, I thought I'd make my own. I found a basic hummus recipe and plan to dress it up with either a roasted pepper or avocado. Or extra garlic. 

Tahini is hard to find. My Walmart doesn't carry it, but Schnucks carried *one* brand in the Ethnic aisle. Luckily it's not too expensive and goes a long way. One $7 jar will make 5-7 hummus recipes. You can make your own and I found a recipe here

Ingredients:
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), reserve liquid
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame butter)
  • Sea salt & Pepper (to taste; optional)
Optional Extras:
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Avocado
  • Extra Garlic

Directions:
  1. Place chickpeas, lemon juice, oil, and garlic in food processor or blender and pulse until chickpeas are mashed.
  2. Optional: Add in the "extra" item you might want to flavor it with. I added one avocado this time. 
  3. Add tahini; pulse for 1 minute. If hummus is too thick, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid. Add salt if desired.

21 Day Fix - 1 Month - Results

I just completed my first month of following the 21 Day Fix eating plan and 3 weeks of almost daily workouts. 

I have lost 11.1 pounds and 8.25 inches! Most of my inches lost were from my waist. And my thighs didn't change at all. *shrug* not too worried about things. I have a few more months of this and few more pounds to lose.

I finally made a Motivation Jar. Or whatever you want to call them. It's a very simple visual to help keep me motivated. I have quite a bit of weight to lose to be in the proper BMI range. I think I can do it this year. I know I'll have some ups and downs and slow weeks, but if I stick with the program I can lose the weight. And this visual reminder will help me stay focused. Move all the marbles. That's the goal. 

I worked out 13+ hours in January over the course of 22 days! That's impressive since I was doing 1 day a week workouts in 2014. So what, *maybe* 52 workouts? Probably not even that....

My goal this week to workout in the morning. Which doesn't seem like the best change to make the day after the Superbowl. But I promised. I'm part of a challenge group on Facebook and a lot of the people work out in the mornings. So by the time I roll out of bed, there's a bunch of posts about their workouts and selfies. The challenge group helps me be accountable!

Here's an image of the workouts I knocked out in January! Go me. :)