Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sweet Treats

It's spring break here in the land of bipolar weather patterns we had 4 inches of wet, heavy snow yesterday and tomorrow is forecasted to be sunny and 63. You just never know what it may do from day to day. 

One well loved thing about spring break is that most of the drive in root beer & icecream shops open. We've been known to be ok winter coats and car heater cranking while telling the car hop which of our favorite flavors we would like, shivering the whole way home. It's like a right of passage into spring really. Icecream is not my friend, especially since eliminating dairy, wheat & sugar from my diet. I can't say I crave it at all. If much rather have a grilled cheese sandwich than an icecream cone. 

The other day my oldest was complaining about not having any icecream in the freezer (because he ate the entire half gallon in one sitting last weekend). Being the great mother that I am (cough-cough), I told him I'd whip up a chocolate Shakeology with Greek yogurt and frozen strawberries. Then I decided something lemon sounded good and I started thinking about what I had on hand to make sorbet or some kind of fruit purée. Sorbet has simple syrup in it and with the whole no sugar 21 Day Fix thing, lemon sorbet seemed to be out of the question.

I kept thinking. I had frozen bananas. Frozen strawberries. Frozen blueberries. Fresh lemons and limes. Almond-coconut milk. I really wanted lemon something. I grabbed the food processor and 2 frozen bananas. I grabbed a lemon, seated the whole thing, and squeezed every bit of juice out of it, about 3 tablespoons. I put the juice & zest in with the bananas and added a splash of almond-coconut milk and puréed. I had to stop and chunk my bananas with a spoon at one point and added another smal splash of almond milk. It was so good! Seriously like lemon sorbet without the sugar. And totally 21 Day Fix approved. Half of the contents of the bowl for my purple container for a fruit serving. If I'd had mint I would have garnished with a sprig. My son said it was better than fudge icecream. I had to ask him to repeat himself. Ha! 

The next time you're looking for that little something sweet and don't want to wreck you eating plan, whip up this little beauty. You can thank me later. 


Monday, March 23, 2015

21 Day Fix Extreme Results

Hey everyone! I'm so excited to share my 21 Day Fix Extreme results today! Here are the stats:

Weight: -9 pounds
Waist: -2.5 inches
Hips: -1 inch
Bust: -1.5 inches
Thighs: -1 inch
Calf: +0.5 inch
Biceps: +0.5 inch
Total inches lost: 5.5
Total inches of muscle gained: 1 inch
Pushups on my toes when starting: 2
Pushups on my toes on last day: 20


Let's talk about the plan. 
Food: Yes, the food choices are limited to vegetables, lean proteins, fruits, and healthy fats. All things I love. No wine, no chocolate. Also things I love. But you know what? cutting out the processed wheat, alcohol, dairy, and sugar completely for 3 weeks also eliminated my heartburn and bloating. I chose to eliminate the wheat and dairy for myself, not because the program requires it. Do I know this about my body? Absolutely. What's different about this plan? The containers are an absolute God-send! What a convenient way to pack food and know I have the correct measurements. So easy! Add in my daily Shakeology for a quick and easy post-workout treat and food is taken care of lickety-split. 
The 21 day premise of this program makes it feel doable. Like it's not forever like the traditional 90 day programs. Even better are the results of this 21 day program are like that of a 90 day program. Food doesn't have to be boring. You can make veggies exciting and new just by adding new spices and trying them cooked different ways. I have found I really really like my veggies roasted in the oven or on the grill. So delicious! I also got a spiralizer on Amazon. Talk about fun food prep! My kids love helping with this one. They even ate the zoodles I made for supper. A 15-year old and 11-year old voluntarily eating zoodles just because they look cool works for me. Saves me from having to make something else. It also means I have to share with them! LOL

The Workouts: They're tough. Like minimal modifier tough. If you're new to home exercise programs and haven't worked out for a while you will want to start with the original 21 Day Fix program. The moves aren't crazy hard, just higher impact than the original. Lots of great plyo moves. Autumn really like working lower body and core, which I find a really good thing. As much as I want to say naughty things to her during the workout my legs have toned up nicely as has my core. So many other programs are upper body focused. As much as I LOVE P90X and X3, the focus is on upper body with just one lower body day. But don't let these 30 minute workouts fool you. These workouts are packed with constant movement. 30 second or 1 minute intervals with just a short recovery for 30 whole minutes. You're beat at the end, but you feel so good. Like she says, Hate her today, love her tomorrow. 

I'm so impressed with my results over these 21 Days that I'm doing a second round. I'm going to enjoy a few treats this week on vacation while still enjoying the ease and simplicity of whole foods and the container system. I'll keep working out and jump back into the food plan hard core next week. 

Do you have questions about 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme? Are you interested in losing 10 or more pounds in just 21 days? Leave your email in the comments below for more information or click the 21 Day Fix link on the side bar to visit my site. Let's #EndTheTrend and tackle our health one day at a time. 



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Meatloaf Makeover

We have a delay this morning. It's incredibly foggy with the melting snow and 40+ degree temps we've had this week.  It's finally starting to look and act like March in Indiana. Thank goodness! It's been a long, hard winter once again. I even had the sunroof open on the way home Monday. The sunshine streaming in was glorious. My little guy was right there with me, hands out the top like he'd never felt anything so nice. The music was loud and we sang and laughed all the way home.  Precious memories in the making. I love those kind of days.

What's the first thing that runs through the mind when someone says meatloaf and mashed potatoes? Comfort food. Warm. Grandma's house on a snow day. Honestly it's not a terribly unhealthy meal. As I eliminate foods that don't agree with me so well, there had to be a way to keep meatloaf and mashed potatoes! I still use beef, but only because we raise our own. We've made it with ground turkey and it's ok too. The issue comes with the sugar and the binder. My go to binder has always been cracker crumbs or Panko bread crumbs and I have always used ketchup on top. My boys used to eat ketchup like it was a side dish. I've done a ton of research on different recipes and, in true fashion, have melded them into one that suits me.

Mini Meatloaf is great because it's easy to pack in lunches or to grab as a snack. You can even make it fancy by placing tomato slices on top of each one half way through cooking, just be sure to have a pan underneath the muffin tin to catch juices. And if you aren't a fan of Rotel you can substitute a cup of mild salsa. We like things a little spicy around here, but my guys like either way. Enjoy!



Monday, March 9, 2015

Toughness

Tough: adjective; tougher, toughest, toughness
 1) Strong and durable, not easily cut
 2) Not brittle or tender
 3) Difficult to masticate, such as food
 4) Of viscous consistency, as liquid or semiliquid matter
 5) capable of great endurance; sturdy; hardy
 6) not easily influenced, as a person; unyielding; stubborn, 
 7) hardened, incorrigible 

I've spent a good deal of time thinking on this descriptor in the last few days. To me it is one of the utmost compliments one can give another. Toughness is more than just lifting a big number on the weight bench. Toughness is more than overcoming a tough obstacle. Toughness is using what you have to not only better yourself, but to empower those around you to be the best they can be as well.

Jay Bilas wrote a wonderful piece on toughness a while back. I wish I had permission to reprint it, but I did include the link here (JayBilas on Toughness) for you. It's one of my favorite written works. Yes, it is clearly referencing basketball, however it so clearly refers to life situations as well. I find myself referring to ever so often, especially when I feel defeated and in need of encouragement. I reread this over the weekend after a particularly draining week.  It becomes so easy to feel sorry for oneself; to become overwhelmed by all of the things in life that don't go the way we planned.

What does it mean to be tough? At what point do our burdens become hinderances instead of empowerments? At what point do we stand up and say enough is enough and make changes to be better; to be stronger; to be more than we are? At some point we have to swallow pride and accept that things we are doing are not helping ourselves or those around us. If we truly want to be better we must change. Change is tough. Toughness makes us stronger. It makes us better. It makes us successful. Is there anything more sought after than success? Isn't it the pinnacle of our careers, be it athletically, academically, or in our work careers? A championship; a 4.0 GPA and letters after our name; a promotion and a big paycheck.

There's actually been quite a bit of academic study done on toughness, known as "grit" in academia circles. Some of the world's most successful people exhibit a good deal of grit. Some of them attribute this toughness to rough childhoods, parent's lost jobs, abusive situations, or any number of things that caused them to never give up despite circumstances and obstacles. As I've studied these people and others who possess similar personality traits, I'm struck by a fairly consistent set of rules that come with finding success.

1) High Expectations: Tough, gritty people set goals and follow through to the end. There may be smaller goals on the way to the larger goal, but the big picture is always in sight. They don't let the actions or attitudes of others lower their personal expectations.

2) The Past Doesn't Dictate Future Performance: Even when something doesn't go as planned, it does not mean future endeavors will fail as well. Persistence is key. They don't dwell on failures but learn from them and move on.

3) Successful People Are Constantly Learning: Personal and professional development is critical to keeping up with things around you and exercising your brain. Learning can also be a way to recharge.

4) Celebrate The Successes of Others:  Surrounding yourself with other successful hard working people improves everything. Positivity often breeds productivity. Resentment harbors anger and mistrust.

5) Tough=Confident: Grittiness brings with it a belief in oneself and of the vision in mind. Don't take no for an answer when confident in the final outcome being accomplished.

6) Rest & Recharge: Successful people know how to work hard and don't quit until a job is done; however they also recognize when they need to take a break. As Stephen Covey says in Habit 7 of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Sharpening the Saw is one of the most critical pieces of success. Whether that's meditation, a workout, a vacation or weekend away every now and then, that brief bit of solitude is what gets us through difficult situations.

7) Saying "Yes" When They Really Mean "NO": If it doesn't help get to the end result, benefit you or your family in some way, say no. Most importantly, not getting involved in situations that are outside of control or you have no ability to impact. Just say no.

8) Count The Blessings In Life Every Day: Not all successful people are spiritual, but most believe in a higher power in our universe. Be thankful for those Blessings in life. Successful and tough people know those blessings may not always be there.






Friday, March 6, 2015

Truth


Let's be honest. You can't get healthy until you are honest with yourself about your habits. Case in point: I have been working on cleaning up my food choices and healthy habits since, well, forever, but hard core since last May. I cut sugar, processed stuff, most gluten and had some success. More recently I added a few things in just trying to get enough calories to fuel my workouts. To be completely honest, I was tracking most of my food. I was working out most days in a week at a mostly high intensity. I still wasn't seeing the results I wanted. The fluff wasn't leaving despite the heavy lifting, despite the increased veggies and less sugar. But when you aren't completely honest with yourself, you can't ever clear those speed bumps keeping you from your pinnacle. 

21 Day Fix Extreme has brought me more success in just 5 days than in 6 weeks of just working out and eating a little better was doing for me. Yes, the workouts are more intense but the game changer has been the containers. Having the specific portion containers to gain perspective of how much is one serving has really brought things together for me. I have more than enough food in a day. No, there's no wine or chocolate in this version, but it's only 21 days.  Just 3 little weeks. I can do that! Plus I have friends doing it with me. Even more reason to follow through.


I understand why people have had so much success with the original 21 Day Fix program, and now with the Extreme program. I can't wait to compare my beginning pictures to my ending pictures. This one is a complete Game Changer!