Friday, December 29, 2017

My new Instant Pot!

I am one of the many many people who got an Instant Pot this year.... I got mine over Thanksgiving and actually took it out of the box within a couple days and have been cooking with it. I have even taught my husband how to use it! He has been able to help start dinner, which is wonderful since I got a new job and my work hours and commute have me getting home later. 

So this thing is SO easy to use! Once you figure out the seal and vent nozzle and the millions of buttons, and have a little patience while it vaporizes. Jason also had to figure out the lid. 

Aside from the water test and making some brown rice, the first thing I made was Instant Pot Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili .   

I found the recipe on a place called Once a Month Meals. I had been following them for a few weeks, they are more than just Instant Pot recipes. The idea is you choose 12-15 recipes, build a menu, they give you the grocery list and prep list, and then you assemble 24-30 freezer meals. It's "Once a Month Cooking", a really popular thing for all the working moms. 

The paid for feature of the website ($17/month) gives you access to assembling a menu, getting the grocery list, prep list, labels, ect. Otherwise, you could do what I had done in the past, gather your recipes, make a grocery list of everything needed, try to consolidate the list, tackle the shopping, figure out your prep, make the meals. Once a Month Meals had a Cyber Monday special and I jumped on it! 

I made a mini-menu, 5 recipes (giving me 10 meals) and made: 
  • Chicken Enchilada Lasagna
  • Chicken Parmesan Skillet (Really good!! Jason wasn't a fan though.) 
  • Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
  • Instant Pot Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili (Delicious) 
  • Instant Pot Johnny Marzetti with Cheesy Noodles (SUPER DELICIOUS!!) 

One of the things that slowed me down was precooking the chicken for the enchiladas and chili, and the ground beef for the Johnny Marzetti (which is DELICIOUS!). 

So the next time I assembled a menu of 8 meals. And it was all chop, dump, and bag. No precooking, just had to chop the onions and peppers and open some cans. It was much easier. Once a Month Meals has some prepared menus, and you can add or delete recipes before making your final menu and list. 

Here's a photo of my meals. The plastic containers are 64-ounce containers. They are recommended because freezing the recipes in 64-ounce containers makes it easy to dump a frozen meal into the Instant Pot (6-quart). I don't have to defrost a bag, or even run it under warm water. I chose to freeze everything in ziplock bags *in* the container, and then double bag them. That way once it's frozen in the shape, I can reuse the container to freeze more meals, in the shape of my Instant Pot. 

The labels that come with the paid for feature are helpful. They have room for a date so you know when they were frozen. They labels include cooking instructions. I think the labels could use a little work. Like for Beef Stew, it doesn't tell you how much fluid to add when cooking. You have to look back at the recipe. One small flaw. But as long as you know, you can keep the recipes available. 

The containers take up a little more room than I would like, but once things are frozen I can stack the frozen meals and that helps free up some space. And so far I have made over 20 meals, I still have plenty of Time for Dinner dishes, so we have been eating well since I went back to work. 

My Menu of 8: We've only had three of these of so far. 
  • Instant Pot Apple Pie Pork Chops (Eh, just ok...I'd skip this one again.) 
  • Instant Pot Beef Stew- Dinner (AMAZING!)  
  • Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken 
  • Instant Pot Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken 
  • Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken 
  • Instant Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken (AMAZING) 
  • Instant Pot Pineapple Beef Teriyaki 
  • Instant Pot Ranch Pork Chops

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Join My Accountability Group

To join my next accountability group, fill out the application below! 
I'll get back to you within 24 hours. 


We will START on the 8th of January with our prep week and then on the 15th of January with day 1.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving Turkey

I am 37 years old. And have never cooked a turkey. Until THIS Thanksgiving!! 

And I have to say, the turkey turned out amazing. And I only dropped the bird on the floor once! (No, really, I did.) 

My mom gave me a turkey, or really it was from my sister. Her work gave her a free turkey and it became all mine. So first step, the google. I found these helpful websites in order to get me started. 

Once I figured out the turkey did fit in the (garage fridge's) produce drawer, I knew I just needed bags. I'm really fortunate the Turkey Oven Bags come two in a box too! I put both bags in the produce drawer, and put a 95% defrosted turkey into the drawer Wednesday around noon. 

My brine mix consisted of: 
  • 1 cup of salt (disolved in 4 cups of warm water)
  • 3 more quarts of water (Total Water = 1 Gallon)
  • 2 Tablespoons Peppercorns
  • Dash of Sage
  • Bay Leaves (3)
  • Peels of 1 orange and 2 lemons
I poured this over the turkey, sealed the inner bag, then the outer bag. I also flipped the bird around 10pm since the fluid didn't cover the entire bird. Sure, I could have done the 5-gallon bucket trick, and I had plenty of room in my fridge for it, but the great thing about brining in a bag is that I can throw away the bag. I didn't have to buy a bucket, make room for the bucket, and then clean a bucket. 

My goal was to get the turkey into the oven at 11am on Thanksgiving so I could give it time to cook and eat between 3-4pm. I had to rinse the bird and pull out the extra crap they shoved inside. Before unwrapping my brined bird, I prepared a few things: 

Chopped 2 onions and 4 celery stalks into large pieces
One stick of butter chopped up
Spice Mixture: 
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil, rosemary, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

After the dropping
(Note: the Reynolds Spice Mix called for seasoned salt, however since I brined the turkey in salt, I didn't want to add more salt.)

I rubbed the f butter all over the bird and then the spice mixture. I put onions and celery into the cavity, and then called for help. My husband held open the bag and I dropped the bird into it. This was a pivotal learning point for both of us. The Turkey Oven Bag is not strong enough to hold a bird. That bird fell straight through the bag onto the floor. See the mess?

So lesson learned. Attempt #2 to get the bird into the bag went a lot better the second time. I placed the rest of the onions nad celery peices under the turkey, sealed the bag, and it was ready for the oven!

I put some water in the bottom of the roasting pan (the bird is on the rack) to try and keep moisture in the oven. The turkey cooked for 3.5 hours. I started testing the temperature around 3 hours. I also wound up cutting a slit in the bottom to drain the juices the onion/celery/bird had created.

We had a small and lovely Thanksgiving dinner. I also made Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, and steamed sweet potatoes (for the kids). My brother, sister-in-law, and their daughter came and they brought Mac 'n Cheese. And we had rolls! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain!

Did you know the average person gains 7-10 pounds over the holiday season!?

That's 7-10 pounds on top of what you already want to lose. And that extra gain will zap your energy and confidence this holiday season! It’s insane to think about the gluttony that is about to take place!. It is going to drag you down, make you lack energy and tighten that waistline. Do you really want that? 

Whatever your Holiday goals are I want to help!! 
NOTE: You don't have to give up everything you enjoy during the holidays to get results either. Your results will vary on your goals. 
Maybe it would be amazing if you could maintain your fitness, have amazing energy and feel good about the choices you are making!! 

So do you want to lock arms and do this together!?! Because I don’t want you to have to go at this alone!! I want to give you a supportive community to help you stay accountable to yourself! I want to give you budget friendly, family, easy quick clean meals to eat, swaps for foods to keep it healthy and a daily dose of dense nutrition so that you are boosting your immune system during a season where the germs are relentless!!
Other tools include:
🔹 Weekend survival guide 
🔹Travel tips
🔹 snack ideas
🔹Holiday recipes
The group kicks off November 27th and keeps you on track until December 31st!

Fill out the application below to join the group!! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

100 Days of Real Food

With only 53 days left in 2017, I have been moving forward with some changes, mostly in the kitchen.

The past few months have been rough. I've gained some weight. It has made me depressed. And it's a horribly cycle. I feel better when I work out. I start to lose weight. But when I'm depressed I don't work out, and I don't follow my meal plans, and then I start to gain weight, and then I get depressed because I'm gaining weight, and then I don't work out. I'm spending these last few days of the year to get out of the funk and back on track! I have been making lots of changes. 

One of the changes I am making is I joined a group created by the 100 Days of Real Food creator. She put together a 6 week program to eliminate bad foods in your diet, especially anything processed. She has two cook books and I've been scouring them for new recipes and tips and tricks on removing processed foods from our diet. 

- Week 1: Eat more fruits and veggies
- Week 2: No fast food / deep fried foods
- Week 3: 100% whole-grain only
- Week 4: No refined or artificial sweeteners
- Week 5: Nothing artificial
- Week 6: Five ingredient rule

So far some of the favorite recipes I have made is Sheppard's Pie, Chicken Marsala, Chicken & Gnocchi Soup, and I just made Short Ribs! (I'll be posting some new recipes soon!) These are recipes I wouldn't have tried before on the Portion Control Meal plan because they can call for a "heavier" ingredient such as half & half or wine. But in the end, weight loss starts in the kitchen. 

These past three weeks I've been eating a lot less processed foods, I've focused on eating smaller portions, and adding more fruits and vegetables. We have reduced our eating out quite a bit, and by eating less junk, we feel better. I can't way to see what else I'm able to take away from this 6-week food overall. And I look forward to finding more delicious new recipes! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summary of my ShaunT week

I was *super* excited for June. Shaun T was back with all new workouts!! I've completed Insanity and T25. I didn't care for Cize because I do not dance. I just can't coordinate. I move around, I shake things, I step this way, that way... and have no clue what I'm doing.

When Beachbody announced a week of all new Shaun T workouts, I was really excited to change it up! Also, just as I thought, I was getting bored with my current workout. I really do struggle to finish programs. And as excited as I was when I started the Core de Force and Master Hammer and Chisel hybrid program, I was over it. I needed change. 

The seven new workouts are as follows: 
Monday Day 1: Insane Basics (33 mins)
Those new or old to Shaun T's workouts will love the all-out hustle of these INSANITY-inspired moves.
Tuesday Day 2: Pure Cardio 2 - 29 mins
Stay hydrated, because the nonstop movement will leave your body drenched.
Wednesday Day 3: Insane Weights 33 mins
You thought INSANITY was try it with weights.
Thursday Day 4: 25 Abs 28 mins
Focus your mind on your core and the results will come.
Friday Day 5: Ripsanity - 43 mins (Great, the Friday workout is 43 minutes!)
More weights and feeling ripped as Shaun T keeps you focused through these insane moves.
Saturday Day 6: Speed 4.0 - 31 mins
Crazy awesome music and moves using only your body weight will give you a fast-paced push to results.
Sunday Day 7: Dig Deep - 27 mins
You’ve heard it. Now do it. Shaun will help you push yourself harder than you ever thought possible with an array of strength, agility, and cardio training moves.

In summary, I loved Monday and Tuesday's workouts. I wasn't crazy about mixing weights and Shaun T's cardio workout. I don't like jumping and trying to get back into weight form. I thought that workout would be great in a program where you have time to repeat it and master the moves, but it was a little difficult for a one-week game changer. I wasn't feeling Thursday. I was also exhausted, both physically and mentally and really struggled to make myself finish. Although I didn't give it 100% (and not even 90%), I finished Thursday. I promised myself Friday I would give it 110%. And I did. Ripsanity was HARD. I couldn't lift my arms for some of the moves he had us do on Saturday! I powered through Saturday and Sunday and felt amazing I had finished all 7 days! I hadn't done 7 days in a row in a couple weeks. 

What I loved most though? That I DID IT. 
7 Workouts in a Row - Burned almost 3,000 calories!! 

So now what? 

Well, ShaunT week became ShaunT month!! There's two hybrid calendars available. One is available on Beachbody On Demand and the other on ShaunT's website. If you still want to do just a ShaunT week -- all seven of those workouts are still available and you can check it. (Need access to Beachbody On Demand? Contact me for details!) 

I'm not diving right into ShaunT month though. I already had planned to complete a 3 Day Refresh. My nutrition has still been a little unstructured, especially on the weekends. I am two weeks away from a Florida vacation where my nutrition will be the last thing on my mind. So Jason and I are cleansing our bodies, in a healthy way, and will make the most of these last two weeks before vacation. 

While I don't plan to overly splurge on vacation, there will be ice cream. There will be alcohol. There will be carbs and more carbs. But it's only 1 week. I'll still drink Shakeology. I plan to work out at least 3 times. I'll eat a couple fruits and some veggies too. 

After vacation? Shift Shop. And I will be focusing 110% on my own Shift during that time. Until then I'm going to relax a little, eat right, keep exercising, and enjoy my vacation. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Workout Summary

Below is a copy of screenshots from the Polar App I use for working out. I have really worked my butt off.... we finished up the 21 Day Ultimate Reset on April 16. I started doing the 21 Day Fix and knocked out my three weeks of workouts. 

Then I moved on to the Master Hammer & Chisel and Core de Force mashup. And then... I puttered out. At the start of week 5. Which confirms what I've known most of this year - I cannot commit to a workout program for more than 3-4 weeks. I lose my motivation to keep following the plan. 

So as I start to get run down, and tired, I look back at everything I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED. 
Look at all these workouts over 6 weeks!! I kicked butt, I worked hard. 

So while this week I have faltered at both workouts (just not putting the effort into it) and nutrition (it was another stressful week and I'm struggling so I emotionally eat crap). And now, while I hate being the example that you can't out exercise a bad diet, NOW is the time I make changes and start focusing on the nutrition. 

This coming week, starting Monday June 12th, is ShaunT week. What's that mean? Shaun T. is the creator of Insanity, T25 Focus, Hip Hop Abs, and Cize. He's a great motivator when working out! He tells you how it is - it SUCKS. But you can do it! And when you think you can't do it? Do one more burpee! So there are 7 new workouts coming to Beachbody on Demand (BOD). BOD is the way you stream programs, either to a smartphone or we use a Roku stick in the basement. (And sometimes the app on the iPad at the same time!) And it's FREE!!! You can fill out the form below to get more information on how to join me. 

So now we're planning for this week. I follow the 21 Day Fix Portion Control Meal plan, I get 4 veggies, 3 fruits, 4 proteins, 3 carbs, 1 fat, 1 dressing, and 4 teaspoons. The Portions I get are based on my weight, activity level, and program I'm doing. I'll also be able to use the Beachbody Performance Line and the extras I'll drink won't count. Jason is following the Body Beast Portion Control Plan and has to eat 10 carbs! It's a little insane - a lot of rice and beans for him this week. 

my plan this week
Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks are easy. I'll be doing burrito bowls for lunch. 
Monday & Wednesday Dinner: 2 Cups of Stir Fry veggies w/ baked salmon, and brown rice. I have an asian dressing I'll use on the veggies, and cook them in 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. 
Tuesday & Friday Dinner: Crockpot Chicken, Brocolli, Asparagus, and probably Peas. 
Wednesday Dinner: 2 Cups of Veggies/Asparagus, Grilled Steak, Sweet Potato

Mostly for my use, but here's the ingredients needed for a couple things. 

Crockpot Garlic Chicken: 
  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 2 cups Chicken broth or chicken stock - just enough to halfway cover chicken, unsalted
  • 3 Coves of garlic
Stir Fry Veggies: 
  • 1½ tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ½ medium carrot, cut into thin diagonal slices
  • ¼ cup broccoli florets
  • ¼ medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • ¼ medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced
  • 1½ tsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
Ginger Sesame Miso Dressing 
  • 2 Tbsp. miso paste
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup water

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Meal Planning Sucks

I'll just put it out there - meal planning sucks. It's hard work, for one person. Try having two people in doing two different programs and in two different calorie brackets.

I'm in the 1,500-1,800 calorie bracket since I'm trying to lose weight. Jason is trying to bulk up and he's in the 2,600 to 2,800 calorie bracket.

That means I get: 
  • 4 Greens (Veggies)
  • 3 Purples (Fruits)
  • 4 Reds (Proteins)
  • 3 Yellows (Carbs)
  • 1 Blue (Cheese/Avocado)
  • 1 Orange (Dressing)
  • 4 tsps (Nut Butters/oil)

Jason is supposed to have:
  • 5 Greens (Veggies)
  • 7 Purples (Fruits)
  • 5 Reds (Proteins)
  • 10 Yellows (Carbs)
  • 1 Blue (Cheese/Avocado)
  • 1 Orange (Dressing)
  • 5 tsps (Nut Butters/oil)
I struggle to just get in 4 veggies and 3 fruits throughout the day. Look at all the food Jason is supposed to be eating! Looks like he needs to eat rice and beans for breakfast!

Beachbody offers a LOT of example meal plans to choose from. They try to cover all the various calorie levels, meal plans for vegetarians, no-cook, little cook, easy prep... they have a huge variety! And you don't have to be a card carrying member to look them. I chose this meal plan for the week. 

Since it  was a 4-day work week and I can't eat yogurt, I made some modifications.

I also switched the breakfast and snack because I rely on my blender to make my shake, and I wasn't going to hand mix the spinach, or frozen peaches. I wound up doing the same meals for two days -- and it was simple and easy to follow.
Day 1 I had:
  • Chocolate Shakeology with blueberries & spinach
  • Chia Seed "Pudding" with Peaches
  • White Bean & Tuna Fish Salad
  • Apple w/ Almond Butter, 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Peppers, Tomatoes, Rice & Beans with Rotisserie Chicken - I heated this in the skillet even though it was supposed to be cold. It was good and I'll do it again. 
Day 1 I also had a mini Jilly's cupcake - leftover from the weekend, and some bites of Halo Top ice cream. I didn't work out either. I went to bed by 8pm because I've been exhausted. Benjamin wasn't sleeping well and it was starting to catch up with me. 

I repeated this for Day 3 except I chose not to have the chia seed pudding and instead had a piece of whole grain toast. I missed it and it seemed more filling and more enjoyable. Food might be fuel, but I want to enjoy the fuel. I also didn't like that my Salad Dressing was only supposed to be lemon juice or oil. I made my own homemade salad dressing and was able to use that as my "orange" instead of chia seeds.

Days 2 and 4 I had:
  • Vanilla Shakeology with peaches & almond butter
  • Piece of toast (didn't have any more fruit)
  • Caesar Salad with Rotisserie Chicken
  • Apple, 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl 
I really liked the Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl and plan to make that again in the future. Since I didn't do the cottage cheese, I made sure to double up on protein at dinner. 

Take Aways:
  • When modifying, you still have to double check it all. I wound up over doing my "Orange" because of the chia seeds and homemade dressing I did. 
  • It's ok to try new things - I turned my nose up at the Chocolate Shakeology, Blueberry, and Spinach morning shake, but it was actually ok! Day 3 I did Vanilla instead of Chocolate and it was much better. 
  • I'm a cheater! As long as I don't expect to actually lose weight, sure, eat whatever I want! 
  • You cannot work off a bad diet. 
  • Eating real food (and not crap) made me feel great! I've been pretty good at avoiding processed food, and while it was only four days, I felt a lot better about the food I did eat. 

I'm getting ready for Shaun T week June 12 - 18. Jason plans to double his workouts (he's still working on BodyBeast). I expect some major sweat sessions and will be preparing a strict meal plan for it. Originally we were going to do a 3 Day Refresh June 9 through the 11, but we have a personal obligation the 9th and will need to be more focused on something else that day. We will be doing the 3 Day Refresh the 19th, 20th, and 21st instead. 

If you don't have Beachbody on Demand, now is the time to sign up! Shaun Week June 12th and only one month later a brand new program is being released - Shift Shop. New trainer Chris Downing has put together a 3-week program with meal plan that will transform your body. I've been watching my friends in the test group have amazing results and am *super* jealous that they got access to the program 9 weeks before the rest of us! Jason and I will be taking part, and it'll be the perfect July program for us after our Florida vacation. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Stay Motivated

It's been a couple of rough weekends!!! I manage to keep my nutrition on point during the week and I kill my 7 workouts, and then the weekend comes around and I undo all my hard work.

So what changes have I made to stay committed and focused? Mostly by writing it all down. Everywhere. My workout schedule is posted in my bedroom, on the fridge, in the workout area, and at work. I mark off each day with an X, and it's my countdown to my vacation! I'm working my butt off to get to vacation.

How do you stay motivated? Here's some tips to keep on track, keep focused, and keep going! 

*After figuring out WHAT you want to accomplish, you’ve got to find your WHY’s.
  • Set weekly goals and visualize the outcome.
  • Don’t beat yourself up for a missed goal—it happens.
  • Take breaks when you’re feeling burned out.

While I want to be a skinny mini (what girl doesn't?), I don't actually see that as a realistic goal. However, what I do plan is to be a good example to my sons. I want them to see us working out and know that's it's normal. I want to lower my cholesterol and keep it out of medication range. And most importantly, I want to eliminate my risk of Type II Diabetes. I might not ever be able to do that, I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies, both my parents have it, I am considered "obese". I'm kinda screwed. BUT, if I can eat right and exercise, I will keep my blood sugars at a decent level and not be diagnosed and require medication. 

My short term goals are to keep working out and feel good. My workouts, while having a physical benefit, are mostly a mental benefit. Working out actually helps my anxiety and depression the most. It's the endorphins. They make me happy. :)  

I had some short term goals about being below 200 pounds by May 1st (didn't happen) and fitting in a certain dress by June 3 (not going to happen.) But I am NOT beating myself up. I could have been there had my nutrition been on track, and it wasn't. But I have been happy and content. And the dress, eh, I might not ever fit in that dress, it was pre-babies and my body has changed. 

I'm on a strict 8-week workout, but I listen to my body and have taken a Rest Day once a week. My knees are really hurting and I might have to switch a workout (Hammer Power) if it shows up again in the next few weeks. 

*Post Your Goals - Tell everyone about your Goals 
Posting your short-term daily goals in a place where you automatically see them each day will help you to stay focused, motivated, and committed to staying on task. You can post them on your bathroom mirror, or like me, I keep my workout calendar with vacation countdown in multiple places. I also keep my goals on a huge whiteboard in my bedroom.

Share your goals with your friends and family. Let your spouse know what your goal is -- they can help you stay committed. Talk about them on Facebook so your friends can encourage you and then you are accountable!

Join a Challenge Group! It's daily motivation seeing other women working out and eating right and helps me stay motivated to keep up with them. :)

* Prepare Daily for “What-Ifs”
Before your day begins, ask yourself if there are any challenges that may interfere with your daily goals. For example, what if you get invited to a last-minute lunch meeting? What if your child asks you to read one more book at bedtime but you need to go work out? What if you’re going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday? For each what-if, make a plan to cope with the challenge while still staying committed to your fitness and nutrition. Of course, there are plenty of uncontrollable distractions, but strategizing on how to cope with your most common challenges will set you up to deal with anything that happens during you day.

Right now both Jason and I work out in the evenings, and on Friday nights we discuss when we'll get in our weekend workouts. Whether it's going to be in the morning, afternoon, or evening depending on our plans.

Some things can be planned and saved as your cheat meal. We have a wedding this weekend and I know it'll be my cheat. While I was doing the Ultimate Reset, in order to stay 100% true to my commitment, I turned down a couple free lunch opportunities. And this girl doesn't turn down free lunch. Meal planning and knowing you schedule (and friend's birthdays) is important to staying on track. And if you're invited out to lunch, do your best! 

Journal Your Effort
There is no doubt that tracking your nutrition and fitness improves your chances of achieving your goals. But I also recommend keeping a diary in which you answer the following question each day: Did I exert every ounce of effort to achieving my goals today? If your answer is yes, great! If your answer is no, write down one thing you can do tomorrow to be better than you were today.

I've been journaling for over a year. Sometimes I write down my emotions, sometimes I write about my exercising or nutrition. I found the best accountability I had recently was when I did a photo log of everything I ate. I felt a lot more accountable since I was posting my food.

Writing my blog is therapy for me too - I don't really do it for my readers, I do it so I can see how far I have come! It's also why we do before and after pictures, taking measurements - it's the best way to see how your effort is paying off!

So write it down. For yourself or for others. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

21 Day Fix Extreme Summary

After coming off the Ultimate Refresh, I wanted to focus on getting my butt to the basement to work out. I didn't want to gain weight after all the hard work I put into completing the UR.

I'm really proud of myself - I managed to accomplish 19 workouts in 21 days! 
My nutrition was 80/20, and I had good and bad days.

And I lost 1.4 pounds. And NO inches (in total). 

Wow. What a reward for all my hard work. 

Can you feel my eye roll? My sarcasm? Because WHAT THE HELL???? I just... I can't... I blogged my past three weeks, I discussed my "bad" days, nothing was out of control wild, and I really did burn my butt off. So yea, I'm angry!!!! But I'm NOT going to let this affect my future plan. We all have setbacks during our fitness journeys. This one is mine. I did lose another pound, and my clothes are looser and I've moved into smaller pants. So I'm really serious when I say this won't affect me. It actually motivates me to work a little harder! To really focus on the meal aspect since I obviously have the workout part down!

I wanted to mix up the workouts while sticking with the overall theme of each day (Cardio or Arm or Legs). I tried all the extra workouts that are available on Beachbody On Demand. I really liked the ABC Extreme. The Dirty Dozen was a sweat fest, and if you want a death defying workout, try the Fix Challenge. I had to keep pausing it and letting my heart rate come back down. 

During the second week my right knee started to give me trouble so I had to do a little more modifying and go easy on it during lunges. Even though I'm not seeing the numbers change much, I'm still happy with what I accomplished. 

Moving forward, my goals are to have enjoy a cheat meal once a week, and something I really want, like an Gryo or Sushi. I have 55 days until vacation. I want to make sure I get in my 55 days of workouts and eat well.

I started an 8 week program on Sunday. A mix of Core De Force and Master's Hammer and Chisel. It's my countdown to vacation, and the mix will keep me motivated to stick with the workouts.

One of the goals I didn't meet (yet) is to be under 200 pounds by May 1. I'm very very close. I also have a wedding to attend on June 3 and I have this amazing dress hanging in my closest that I want to wear. If the dress doesn't fit I'll be ok, I have other dresses, but I'd like to fit back into *this* dress.

My goals for the coming weeks:
  • 6 workouts in 7 days. (I might need a rest day and will play it by ear)
  • Burn 300+ calories per workout
  • Lay off the tortillas (I'm currently having some issues.)
  • Write down my meal plan. On paper!! (I've been winging it...) 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Setting Weekly Goals - Sticking to Weekly Goals

My 5 goals this week. I thought I'd keep it simple. If I can stick with these on a daily basis, I will get results where I really really really want them (the scale.) 
  • 7 Workouts (Monday through Sunday)
  • Burn 400+ calories for at least 5 of those workouts
  • Stay within my "Yellows". (I overdid it a few days last week.) 
  • One cheat meal - Saturday night. 
  • No cheese this week. None. Zero, Zilch. 
Day Count: 
X/21 - Day X of the 21 Day Fix
X/42 - Day X since starting the Ultimate Reset. 

I will start my day count over on Sunday May 6th as I begin my 8 week program AND it happens to be my countdown to vacation! 

On Sunday I made 5 burrito bowls for my lunches: 1 Red of Chicken, 2 Yellows of Brown Rice/Black Beans, 1.5 Greens of Peppers & Onions.

Monday May 1 (Day 15/21; 36/42) After making some not so wise decisions over the weekend (yet again!), the scale showed me some redemption this morning. So that motivated to really stick with it. Even after a really horrible night's sleep, I stuck with my meal plan today. And I got in my calorie burning workout. And then I ate a little Halo Top ice cream. The peanut butter one is amazing!!! AND at only 80 calories a serving, with 5 grams of protein, it's like eating an egg... with a sprinkle of stevia. 

Tuesday May 2 (Day 16/21; 37/42) - One of the reasons I wanted to complete the Ultimate Reset was to get back to basics. Get away from junk food and bad eating habits. While some things I would probably still devour if placed in from me (M&Ms), I don't crave them. And I know those things are bad for me. But the lack of cravings is still with me. And it's all mental - it's not a true craving of needing to eat. I notice it mostly at work. I'm not wondering aimlessly looking for processed crap. The Halo Top ice cream really did satisfy me.

Today was another great day - meal plan on point! Workout was Upper Fix and before starting I did Day 2 of the Monthly Motivator. Afterwards, I hit the treadmill and then completed some more mountain climbers to reach my 400 calorie goal. 

Wednesday May 3 (Day 17/21; 38/42) - Woke up with big plans. And Benjamin had a fever. Nooooo!! Mostly because of work. I have a lot of reports due this week, and everything was in final edits. I stayed home with Benjamin until 10 so Jason could have his 8am meeting, then I headed into work. I was starving and even took two lunches. I ate first lunch at 10:30am. I never ate my second lunch - I ate it for dinner around 5:30pm. I took a rest day, mostly because as soon as the boys got to bed I cracked the laptop open again to get some more work done. Usually I would feel guilty, but I've been working really hard with staying on point with food and fitness, focusing at work, and everything going on at home; so I actually don't have time to waste feeling guilty for missing a workout. This is part of New Me too, not beating myself up over missing a workout. I'm juggling a lot and getting done what I can get done. 

Thursday May 4 (Day 18/21; 39/42) - Fever free this morning! I got into work and stayed 100% focused. I was secretly sad my coworker didn't bring the donuts he mentioned. But also really happy because I would have eaten one (or two). This is one of the weeks it would be really hard to resist. I've been struggling to avoid stopping at Starbucks since my sleep has been lacking.

My food was on point today and I got in a 400 calorie workout - 21 Day Fix Lower Fix. My right knee has been aching during leg day, so I toned it down to the less strenuous leg workout today.  

Friday May 5 (Day 19/21; 40/42) - I was woken at 3am today. Benjamin was coughing a lot and had a fever. I stayed home with him. He slept from 5am to 8:30am and I got in my workout (Cardio Core Extreme!) and got some work completed. I still wanted to do one more read thru of the big reports that were going out today. And I'm glad I did because there were some little errors. I then ran into work. AND THERE WERE DONUTS. And I had no willpower. I was hungry when I got there, and two donuts later... well... yea... 

Then for an afternoon "snack" I had some leftover pizza that was hanging out in our fridge. Being home is the hardest way for me to maintain my diet. We don't usually have temptations even... just was a bad day overall. But I didn't let that kill my evening. After a healthy dinner (steak and asparagus), I walked on the treadmill for an hour to keep myself moving. 

Saturday May 6 (Day 20/21; 41/42) - Another weekend. I will not mess this up. I will not mess this up. I will not mess this up. I need to write on my arm in sharpee "DON'T MESS UP!!" Important realization -- you can't blow your diet in your sleep. So take a nap! 

My cheat meal
I completed the 21 Day Fix Extreme "Fix Challenge" workout during the afternoon. (Another good reason to workout later in the afternoon? Don't want to eat junk before it!) It was a challenge and blew my mind how hard it was! 

The weekends are the hardest and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired from eating crap during them. I did super well on Saturday - Shakeology, Panera Lunch, dinner at home. My cheat was Time For Dinner enchiladas with rice, and broccoli. The enchiladas had cheese. I added the broccoli to get some green in me. And my true cheat -- a dollop of Daisy (sour cream.) I haven't had sour cream in a long long time. Overall I felt really good about my Saturday.

Sunday May 7 (Day 21/21; 42/42), Day 1/55 - Today I am making more changes. I completed the 21 Day Fix/Extreme (will post my results later this week) and plan to push myself and challenge myself these next 8 weeks. I am fed up. I've constantly yo-yo-ed with my workouts and nutrition. So I'm done with that. The Ultimate Reset was my jump start. Then 3 weeks of the 21 Day Fix (and I accomplished 19 workouts!). Now I'm going to really really challenge myself with 55 straight days of working out and following nutrition. It's time to make this a permanent lifestyle change. 

Overall - how did I do sticking to my five goals? 

  • 7 Workouts (Monday through Sunday) - I completed 7 workouts in 7 days, since I did the double on Friday after skipping Wednesday. 
  • Burn 400+ calories for at least 5 of those workouts - Check!! And this makes me feel really good. It wasn't a huge goal to meet, but I did succeed and 6 of my workouts were actually 400 calorie burners. 
  • Stay within my "Yellows". (I overdid it a few days last week.) -- Except from the donut fail, I did very really with sticking with my allocated yellows.
  • One cheat meal - Saturday night. I enjoyed the enchilada meal. It felt indulgent and was a healthier choice than going out to eat. 
  • No cheese this week. None. Zero, Zilch. This was a lot harder for me to handle. I used to add cheese to my lunch Burrito Bowls (no longer do), or enjoy a sprinkle of cheese on a few things. There was cheese in the Pasta Primavera I ate for lunch on Wednesday. And I sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on my dinner one night too. The cheese on the pizza, and then the enchiladas on Saturday night. However, I used to eat a LOT of cheese. I would be making Liam a mini pizza or quesadilla and I would eat a handful of cheese. Or two. So I have gotten away from that habit. It's about the little baby steps to help me lead a healthier lifestyle. I don't think I could ever go 100% cheese free, but I am working on making small changes so cheese isn't a "food group" in my daily meal plan. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Skillet Pasta Primavera

WOW. I love this dish. So much that I have decided before eating it that I would be making it again. 

And it's only a two pot dish. Super quick and easy. I recommend having everything diced and prepped before turning the heat on the skillet (get your water boiling while chopping veggies.)

I chose to use Red Lentil Spiral pasta. I really liked it. You could make this dish vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I chose chicken broth because I had it available. 

 Skillet Pasta Primavera
4 servings
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ½” half moons
  • ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 (8oz) pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan, optional
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the colander. Add the pasta and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add flour and stir until onions are coated. Add broth and stir until thickened. Add peas, tomatoes, cooked zucchini and asparagus, pasta, and Parmesan. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
I added chicken sausage to mine. I diced it up and threw it in the pot to cook. I would recommend grilling some sausages to go with this dish. I *love* the Sam's Club chicken sausages. My favorite is the Mozzarella & Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

2 Weeks Post Ultimate Reset - Days 29-35

My plan is track my progress for three full weeks following the reset. I am also working out and will complete the 21 Day Fix Extreme. Week 1 went extremely well, workout wise. As previously mentioned I started slipping food wise at the end of the week.

I'm concentrating this week on staying on track. Which seems impossible after the busy weekend I had! I wasn't able to prep the way I needed too. Luckily I have some backup frozen items that help!

Day 29 - Monday. My lack of sleep (thanks to a 6-month old kiddo) can really affect my eating habits. On the way to work I wanted to hit every drive thru I could. Get caffeine and breakfast sandwiches. But I didn't. I drank my Shakeology. I had avocado toast as a snack, which was delicious but still too many blues. So then I started getting down on myself for eating more than a blue container worth of avocado. And if you don't know the Portion Control Container system, me talking about colors means nothing. I was tired all day. An afternoon apple perked me up!! It probably didn't help that I had pasta with my lunch. Dinner was a salad from Crushed Red. Husband and I met up with an old friend from college.

After we got home, it took forever to get Benjamin to bed. It was 8:30 when he was finally out. I did *not* want to work out. BUT, I looked at my Challenge Group and saw all these amazing women that pressed play today. I knew if they found time in their busy lives, I can take 30 minutes and still be in bed before 9:30. So I knocked out my workout and got to bed. Benjamin woke at 1am. Not cool. Was only up about 20 minutes. He hasn't been sleeping through the night lately. Growth spurt, some teeth are coming in. I am trying very hard to not fall into old habits like eating to stay awake. And I'm trying to avoid coffee as a pick me up (so far I've been without for over a month.)

Day 30 - Tuesday. I'm still trying to find time to meal prep and figure out how I'm going to get Benjamin to bed by 6pm. I had grand plans for this weeks meals -- Stuffed Peppers, Pasta Primavera, and Chicken Parmesan, I don't know what the hell I was thinking!!

I pulled out some 21 Day Fix Chili for lunch and that was perfect. We had veggie tacos for dinner. Benjamin is still struggling with bedtime, but he managed to be asleep by 7pm. While cleaning up dinner I made stuffed peppers for Wednesday's dinner. I got in my Upper Fix Extreme workout, burned over 300 calories. Finished cleaning up the kitchen, washed all the baby bottles, and got to bed.

Day 31 - Wednesday.  Today is the work potluck!! I made veggie tacos using the Southwest Veggie Taco recipe from the Ultimate Reset and some grilled veggies. We had an early Cinco de Mayo celebration, since most everyone went with a mexican theme. We also had fruit and veggies. And not too many sweets, which was perfect. I enjoyed my mexican meal, and stuffed peppers for dinner later. I am starting to enjoy most of the Pilates workout. I call it "fancy stretching" and it's a great recovery. It's not a calorie burner, so I walked on the treadmill to get to 300 calories. 

Day 32 - Thursday. To sum it up, I made good choices. I worked out. I'm tired though. Tired of writing. Tired of doing photo collages. I did make an amazing dinner. Pasta Primavera. I loved it and can't wait to make it again!  

I am NOT tired of working out. Or eating right. Or thinking ahead and meal planning. 

I know every choice I make today will affect my physical health later. And that keeps me motivated to keep going. 
Day 33 - Friday. YEA FRIDAY!!! I SURVIVED THE WEEK!!! And my reward? A very rainy weekend. Grrrrrr... However, I have no plans, except to stay on track this weekend. I have two new recipes to try - Asian Meatballs and a Clean Chicken Parmesan. I'll grab 1 or 2 freezer meals to get us through this week, add in some veggies, and the meal plan is done! Lots of fresh fruits and veggies too.

Today was a great day. I got in shakeology, a fruit/toast snack, stuffed pepper for lunch, skipped an afternoon snack but did drink some tea, and had more pasta primavera for dinner. Then I knocked out Cardio Core Remix and burned 500 calories.

Day 34 - Saturday. It won't stop raining. I had a really good day though. Jason and Liam helped with grocery shopping and I got the Asian Meatballs prepped. I was planning on working out while the neighbors were over for a play date, and then prepping a new Chicken Parmesan recipe, but we lost power from 3pm-5pm. Totally killed my plans! Not to self - when it's supposed to rain all day, get the workout done early!

We wound up eating at Pasta House. I did well.... Oh, except I have no control when they put warm little loaves of bread in front of me. Those four loaves had no chance! I ate a small salad and small cannelloni. Delicious! I wasn't stuffed and didn't order dessert to go (like Old Me would).

I planned to work out when I got home but with getting the boys to bed, and overall exhaustion, I didn't. I headed to bed at 9pm.

Day 35 - Sunday. STOP RAINING. We've gotten over 5 inches these past few days. Made more plans with the neighbor kids. Seriously, they saved our weekend, and I'm pretty sure we saved theirs! After we knocked out early morning sweat sessions, we finished grocery shopping and had them over for a movie. We had pizza for lunch (not the best choice...) and I prepped my burrito bowls and a healthy Chicken Parmesan for dinner. 

I had a goal to be at 200 pounds by May 1st. Since completing the Ultimate Refresh, I've gained 1-2 pounds back. (Depends on the day/time I weigh myself.) And it kinda sucks, but I'm ok. I know that it's not supposed to be about the number on the scale. I tell myself that all the time, BUT I want to see that number go down. Especially when I work so hard. I do see a lot of changes in my body, so I will keep doing what I'm doing and the scale will eventually change.

And then I discovered HALO TOP ice cream. So I will probably never ever lose another pound again. Look it up, find it, buy it (the peanut butter is amazing), and you'll thank me. Or hate me. I hate myself just a weeeee bit right now. :)

My goals this week:

  • 7 Workouts (Monday through Sunday)
  • Burn 400+ calories for at least 5 of those workouts
  • Stay within my "Yellows". (I overdid it a few days this past week.) 
  • One cheat meal - Saturday night. 
  • No cheese this week. None. Zero, Zilch. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

May Motivator - Monthly Workout Calendar

My company puts out monthly calendar called a Motivator that are related to health and fitness. I actually help make them and thought I would share this one with everyone. I plan to do this in additional to my workout! Contact me if you want a copy of it! (It's a little hard to read and I'll be happy to share the PDF version with you)

It's three simple exercises that require NO equipment. You repeat the three exercises a couple times, and start increasing the number of times you do each exercise. If this is all you do you'll have some incredible arms and shoulders by the end of May!!
I'm finishing up my third week of 21 Day Fix Extreme May 1 through 7. And I'm going to overlap on May 7 and start a new 8 week workout, a mash up of two programs available on Beachbody On Demand, Core de Force and Master's Hammer & Chisel. I have completed MHC before but have no idea what CDF entails. I'm excited for the mix of something I know and something new. A fellow coach came up with this schedule. 

I'm excited for the mashup and very excited because the 8 weeks is my countdown to vacation! I normally would start a program on a Monday, but I didn't want to be worried about getting in that one last workout before packing up two kiddos and flying to Florida. I'm already taking the extra vacation day to pack! And truthfully I'll start packing the weekend before, making sure we have everything we need!