My success with 21 Day Fix: Round 3

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2/20/16 Valentine’s day party in my favorite high school dance dress

February 15, 2016.  152.8 lbs.  Day 1 of Round three.  Between rounds 2 & 3 I took a week off so that I could join the beginning of a challenge group after Valentine’s day.  In that short break I did ease up a little with the food, but definitely kept up the exercising and didn’t go too crazy because I didn’t want to undo all my hard work.  I also did the 3 Day Refresh to detox before the party, the results of which I posted previously.  I felt lighter and leaner and ready to take on this round, with the extra challenge of not letting my social activities this month rob me of my success.  Last fall with the holiday season I started with good habits and ended with bad ones, but with my newfound disciplines I found myself craving less junk and feeling better when I got back on track after an indulgent meal.  It’s not that I said no to everything unhealthy- I had once a week where I had a few things (like mimosas and waffles at brunch) where I ate things that were definitely not in the plan, but this time I ate them in moderation and planned when I was going to indulge and when I was going to buckle down and choose healthy, nutritious food.

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This round was where I could really tell a difference with my strength.  I was starting to use 10 lb weights!  I was hardly modifying the poses!  I made it from one pushup at a time to 21 pushups!  I could do 15 burpees in a minute and kiss my knees during stretches!  The compound work of the last two rounds was paying off wonderfully and I could feel it in my body.  I lost 6 pounds this round and made it past a mental block; you see, I had made it to 148 lbs with exercise twice in recent memory, both times the result of hard work but also with both times being interrupted by a pregnancy.  We are done having kids now, but that idea of being at 148 lbs and having something interrupt my progress was stressing me out.  In the 3rd week when I weighed in at 146.8 lbs I was so happy I almost cried!  I kept writing down my scale numbers thinking I had them mixed up- I was so used to recording 164 that 146 felt like an error- but considering all the clothes I had to put in the donation box, all the positive comments from people who could definitely see the changes now and seeing a new body in the mirror everyday, I knew the changes were true and mine.  All my effort was paying off and I was closer every day to my goal.

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My 21 Day Fix changes

(What’s next, you ask?  Well, I decided to join Tony Horton and go 22 Minute Hard Corps…)

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My success with 21 Day Fix: Round 2

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1/18/16 Little black college dress

January 18, 2016.  161.4 lbs.  Day 1 of Round 2.  Instead of giving myself a week off I jumped straight into round 2.  I mean, I was already prepping my meals and found ways to fit exercise into my schedule so why stop?  Plus, I was so excited by my results that I felt I had to keep going while the motivation was there!  I made some gourmet meals this time around, stuffed bell peppers, bun-less bison burgers, a big batch of caramelized onions…yum!  Being on the 21 Day Fix is about eating the right foods in the right amount, not about starving yourself or eating plain food.  If you’re going to make a lifestyle change, you need to find healthy recipes you want to make over and over again and create “new backups,” those easy recipes you can whip out when you don’t feel like cooking anything fancy.  Baked chicken (With lemons and balsamic vinegar) and steamed veggies; poached eggs on zoodles (zucchini noodles), stir fry bowls, Mexican bowls, etc.  Those have become my new backup meals.

I also started getting stronger.  My 6 lb weights were feeling easy.  I could do 14 burpees in a minute.  I could do more pushups and my flexibility was improving.  I also knew that February was around the corner, and I was motivated to wear a dress from high school that *almost* fit again for a fancy party the week after Valentine’s day.  Though I had healthy cookies on week 2 and a big container of lasagna as my cheat meal on week 3, I kept up the regimen of container portions and my exercise.  On days when I had time I’d throw in the extra ten minute ab workout and sometimes do double workouts- when my schedule permitted.  Overall however, I did find myself more active, even if it was just shoveling snow during our crazy blizzard.

 

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Another change this round was that I started drinking Shakeology.  I got the variety pack of chocolate, vanilla and cafe latte so I could vary the flavors.  My favorite way to drink it still is to blend it with blueberries and almond milk.  I add other things and sometimes just shake with water and go, but to me it is nice when it reminds me of a Starbucks frappuccino.  I would highly recommend checking it out and purchasing it here.  Because I had been leaving a red protein container empty several times a week and all of a sudden started adding in a nutrient dense drink, I gained half a pound that week, though one my body adjusted I started losing again rather quickly. (I went from gaining half a pound in a week to losing 2 pounds in half a week- bodies are interesting that way.)  My energy levels did keep increasing with the Shakeology addition, and I can tell my concentration is better on the days I drink it.

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Round 2 before and after results

Though my results were not as dramatic this time around scale wise, I lost 5 pounds and made it into the 150 range!  This was as low scale-wise as I had made it post children before bouncing back up the scale, but this time I was fitter, had a better routine, and a motivational coach and accountability group to keep my fire to succeed alive.  I also decided to take the plunge and become a coach myself so others could benefit from my journey and I could use my effervescent personality to inspire others.  There was no turning back now.  My clothes fit better, I had lost so many inches that people were starting to notice my change and I was getting a nice endorphin release of happiness everyday.  Life was changing for the better now that I was taking care of me.

(To be continued…on to Round 3!)

Foodie Friday: Stir-Fry Bowls

Sometimes, when I need a simple meal (especially when I know I’ll be busy this week) I use this system to create a stir fry bowl.  You can find great recipes to make authentic stir fry, and I’m not claiming that this is one of them, but I am giving you a good blueprint to make quick, delicious meals that can be easily made in large quantities to feed you for days with a variety of options to keep you from getting bored.  You can be as creative or as mundane as you want, and it can be as simple as what is in your fridge and pantry or as elaborate as purchasing several different finishing oils and exotic vegetables from the grocery store.   Continue reading “Foodie Friday: Stir-Fry Bowls”

The Madness of March

March is upon us!  Spring is ALMOST here!  I LOVE being outside and being more active when the weather warms up.  It’s like awakening from a state of sleep for me, and I’m finally ready to shed off winter and enjoy what spring has to offer.  With that in mind, I wanted to share two Facebook Challenge Groups I’m going to be starting on MARCH 15 to energize and encourage others who want to use the spring to “spring into good health.”

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21 Day Fix Challenge Group

     This is the program that I have been doing consistently since December 20th, 2015.  Though I purchased it in the summer of last year, I was not consistent with it until after Christmas, when I looked at my holiday photos and held my holiday belly and realized I had had enough.  I was tired of feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and unattractive.  Most of all, I was tired of feeling out of control of my eating habits.  People can be beautiful and confident at any size-I strongly believe that- however how you FEEL on the inside is what matters and I needed to change my lifestyle to change how I FELT.  The weight loss for me was a bonus side effect of getting healthy.  That’s what this program is.  Simple tools for getting healthy.  Portion control containers + clean eating + 30 minute exercise + support= the best you possible!

      The challenge group I’m setting up through Facebook will add the support, motivation and accountability aspect of the program into place.  You can eat from your kitchen, practice at home, and check in with others trying to get healthy and lose weight from the comfort of your computer.  This was the key piece for me.  With two little kids and my choir schedule, I don’t have time for the gym, and I prefer to exercise at home.  I am NOT good however at staying on track without someone to vent to and someone to encourage me.  If you need that too, send me your contact information here or find me on Facebook through the link on the side of the blog and I’ll get you started in the group.  Once you purchase the program on my Beachbody website, I’ll be your coach for life and help you through any of the programs to get you as fit as you’re willing to get.

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March Madness Fitness Challenge Group

     This challenge group is my FREE March fitness group, based on the basketball competition that has enthralled millions all over the U.S.  Technically, you don’t have to be a fan of basketball to play, but I’m sure it will make it more enjoyable.  Here are the rules to the game:

  1. Pick one team at beginning of challenge. If that team loses, you are allowed to pick another team to keep up with the fitness, however you will be ineligible for the grand prize.
  2. Each sports team is designated a certain fitness routine and recommended reps. As your team plays, do the fitness reps for your team and the team they are playing that evening.  You may choose to do the recommended reps or challenge yourself to do one rep for each goal scored in the game.
  3. Post pictures, videos or comments (each one gives you a participation point) about the game on the Facebook group to gain eligibility to win the participation prizes.
  4. You can do more fitness reps for other games outside of your team choice for participation points (i.e. the more games you watch/do workouts for the more points towards the participation prizes).
  5. The challenge group is FREE, however if you do decide to place an order for Shakeology before or during the challenge then you will be eligible to win the bigger prizes.
  6. The person with the most participation points will win a free custom Beachbody t-shirt.  The person who ordered Shakeology with the most participation points will win a free custom Beachbody t-shirt and other Beachbody swag.  If a person who ordered Shakeology chooses a team at the beginning and that team wins March Madness then they will win the grand prize, a free custom t-shirt and a free basic Beachbody program of their choice!

 

Again, send me your contact information via this blog or on Facebook and I’ll set you up in the Facebook group.  Both begin on March 15th and you are welcome to join both!  Start building your summer body this spring and regain your health with some fun programs together with fun people!

Healthy Brunch at Home

“Healthy brunch?”  You may say, “Is there such a thing?”  Why, yes, there is.  As much as I love a bottomless mimosa brunch at those swanky D.C. eateries I enjoy, my wallet-and my waistline- can’t afford such a thing every weekend.  So, sometimes I have to get creative and make some gourmet looking yet tasty breakfasts at home.  Here are some brunch ideas (all 21 Day Fix approved) that are easy to make on those weekend mornings you just feel like staying in. Continue reading “Healthy Brunch at Home”

8 Fun Ways to Workout with Kids

Whether you have little kids yourself, in your family, or you occasionally babysit them, you have the perfect opportunity to add some extra fitness to your routine.  Kids are like new phones; their batteries are extra long lasting, they have so many features that it takes you forever to learn them all and when you do they upgrade to the newest model and you have to start all over again.  Luckily, in my experience most children in the toddler/preschool/early elementary range like two things: 1) playing make believe and 2) silly adults.  With these two things you can get your exercise in and entertain children (particularly necessary on a rainy winter day like today) in the process.  My kids like when I show them my yoga moves, and there are definitely some that can be done together, but these animal inspired fitness moves are a little more cardio and much more silly.

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Make your best chicken face, flap your elbows, and hop from foot to foot, making sure your knees stay high and your abdominals are tucked in.

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After practicing your roar and sharpening your claws, stalk your prey and jump into a squat, like you are sitting in a chair, with your knees tracking behind your toes.

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Stand with your feet wide and turned out, chest up and abdominals pulled in, knees behind toes and squat down to put your fingers on the ground.  Hop around returning to this position.

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This variation on a sumo squat is a great workout for your quadriceps.  Stand in the same position as the frog hop, but keep your back straight and walk around like this, possibly chasing the kids you threaten to tickle with your crab claws.

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This balance move possibly comes after you’ve been flying around the room after the kids, like when they won’t put their clothes on.  Perch for as long as you can on one leg and then switch, provided the kids don’t come by and knock you over.

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When you’re too tired of cardio and too inflexible for bow pose, a nice fish curl helps to stretch your back out.  You can add some arm workout by crawling away on your stomach as they run over to climb on your back.

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Sleeping snake is a nice stretch to make the kids think you’re not paying attention until they get near and then you can strike, catching them with the element of surprise.  They’ll never see it coming.

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This is the pose that best describes the end of a long day of “animal” wrangling.  Usually I’ve been tackled by my two enough that this is exactly how I feel.

Whether you fully channel your inner animal or just use these moves to invite your children to play, you can always engage in the play of children to get some extra workouts in.  In the big scheme of things, it’s the play they’ll remember.

Foodie Friday: guilt free tuna salad

Growing up, one of my comfort foods was a tuna salad sandwich.  You probably know the kind.  A can of tuna, heap of mayonnaise and diced dill pickles on white bread.  When people think of tuna salad sandwich, that is most likely the image in their head.  Some people hate it, but others- like me- love it.  When I became an adult, there were times when I’d want a tuna melt, so I’d make that sandwich (except on whole wheat to make it a tad healthier) melted with cheddar in a panini press.  Yum!  Except, not healthy.

Tuna, by itself, is very healthy.  It’s low in fat and high in protein, an excellent source of omega-3’s, vitamin D and selenium.  Because I like to add fish to my diet, I wanted to find a way to make healthy options for tuna consumption and create a new comfort food.  Since no one in my household but me likes pickles, we never have them around anymore and mayo is not calorie efficient in my weight loss efforts (even when I make my own from scratch).  After some searching online I found a healthy Tuscan Tuna Salad recipe from Epicurious that I used as my base.  Nowadays, I create my own depending on what I have in the house at the time, and I’ll give you the fundamentals on how to create your own stellar tuna salad.      Continue reading “Foodie Friday: guilt free tuna salad”

Tex Mex Casserole (21 Day Fix approved)

Being a Texan and living far away from the border means that I don’t get all the Tex Mex food that I love.  Don’t get me wrong- there are many good places that can be found, but the searching process is much more intricate.  Also being half-Mexican, I am lucky in that I gained some wonderfully authentic Mexican recipes from my late abuela.  However, sometimes I’m in the mood for some quick and Tex Mex like tacos, enchiladas, or fajitas.  This casserole is a little bit of everything and is healthy to boot!   Continue reading “Tex Mex Casserole (21 Day Fix approved)”

3 Day Refresh: lighten up

After finishing the 3 Day Refresh, I feel…lighter.  I lost 1.8 lbs during the 3 days, but more surprisingly, I lost an inch in my chest, waist and hips, plus at least half an inch in my arms and thighs.  I went through the program step by step, eating berries or apple with my Shakeology in the morning, the mid morning fiber sweep, a salad with my vanilla shake at lunch, hummus and veggies and tea during the afternoon, and a side of veggies with my dinner vanilla shake.  Plus, LOTS of water throughout the day.  Seriously, I had a 64 oz container filled with water that I drank and refilled many times over the last 3 days.  Here are opinions, comments and recommendations of using this specific detox.

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My 64 oz water buddy

Continue reading “3 Day Refresh: lighten up”

Foodie Friday: Sweet, Healthy Valentine’s Treats

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and with it the temptation for sweets, treats, and all things decadent.  While I’m a fan of decadence, in moderation, it’s gotten me in trouble in the past.  I don’t know if you can relate to mindlessly eating everything in one of those giant Russell Stover heart shaped boxes within a matter of days..well, I can and it isn’t pretty.  For those of you for whom the sweet side of the day isn’t a terrible temptation, enjoy a giant heart with my blessing.  For others who, like me, would rather feed themselves and their loved ones something a little more healthy yet still tasty, I have a few recipes below to satisfy a sweet tooth and still tell your loved ones that you care.

Strawberry Heart Cinnamon Toast     1 serving

1 slice whole grain bread

1 strawberry

1 tsp peanut or almond butter

1 tsp honey

sprinkle of cinnamon

To make the strawberry hearts: With the top still on, slice the strawberry vertically from top to bottom.  Once it is sliced in half, make a small “V” shape to cut out the leaves.  Once the “V” is cut, round out the top points to make it fully heart shaped.  Then, slice the strawberry heart vertically again to make it thinner and gain another, smaller heart.

Toast the bread in the toaster.  Spread the peanut butter on the toast.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the peanut butter.  Cover with strawberry hearts.  Drizzle with honey.

My kids like it just like this, but I like to toast it again in my toaster oven at 375° for 3-4 min.

Apple Pie Cups     12 servings

1 pack won ton wrappers

2 large apples, shredded or diced finely

2 Tbs melted coconut oil

2-3 Tbs honey or maple syrup (depending on how sweet you prefer)

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (you can also add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, allspice, or cloves)

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400°.  In a medium bowl add diced apples, coconut oil, honey, spices and salt.  Stir until well mixed.  Set aside.  In a well greased muffin tin place one won ton wrapper in each cup and push down to line the muffin cup, careful not to break it.  Scoop the apple filling into each cup.  Bake for 10 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Let cool for a few minutes before carefully pulling each won ton out of the muffin tin.

Coco-Cocoa Fruit Smoothie     2 ten-twelve ounce servings

1 cup coconut milk (the full fat kind, preferably organic)

1 banana

3 strawberries (plus a couple for decoration if desired)

2 Tbs protein powder* (I use a hemp powder to add protein and omega 3’s to my kid’s smoothies)

1 Tbs cocoa powder

1 Tbs honey or sweetener of choice (or to taste)

1 cup ice

*optional

Blend in blender until thick and creamy.  Garnish with strawberry hearts if desired.

 

**Bonus**

 

Check out the Team Beachbody website if you want more ideas for clean eating treats.  I for one plan to make these chocolate Fudge Avocado Brownies on Sunday for my Valentine’s Day treat.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!