Monday, February 24, 2014

21 Day Fix Week 2 Meal Plan and Week 1 Review

Oh do I hate when I am wrong.

I went into this 21 Day Fix with thinking that it was going to be easy. I mean Autumn is cute, bubbly and adorable....what was she going to do to me? I spent January working out with Tony Horton (and P90X3) I spent last spring with Shaun T (Insanity) and this fall and winter lifting heavy with Chalene (Chalean Extreme) so a little 30 minute total body workout. I got this. I may even need to do doubles from the start because I am so-o-o above this. Ha!

Let me tell you that I haven't been able to walk all week. (And I did not start with doubles.) I am seriously the best way possible. (That's what I get for thinking I was in shape and totally ready for this program!) I did push it when I could and there were some times I had to drop to the modifier too. My abs are no where near as strong as say my shoulders or legs (and I have some problems with my wrists so a lot of plank work and I am toast!)

As for the containers....I will tell you the first few days I was starving. I was wonder people lost a ton of weight on this program. They starved it off. (So I drank a lot of tea in the mid-afternoon those first few days!)

But after Day 2, I was good. Good to the point where I was kind of forcing myself eat my containers. And I haven't been perfect about getting all of my containers in each day. As I sit here and write this I still have a purple and half a green container I can nosh on if I want. (Which the fact that I could still have a snack right now is very reassuring. It makes me want one less. Go figure.) So the containers are kind of awesome. They hold a lot of food....seriously. I had a mini-freak out when I got them and saw how small they were but once I filled them and dumped them onto a plate. I was amazed.

And I do love the fact that I get to bust out my favorite sharpie highlighters and color code my meal plan. (I have a highlighter/color coding addiction.) So the whole planning thing is right up my alley. It actually makes me WANT to meal plan (which for me is huge. Sitting down and making the meal plan is where I really struggle.)

I am really looking forward to week 2. The workouts are good. I won't say they are my favorite (I am still partial to Chalene Johnson and my Chalean Extreme and TurboFire hybrid.) I like lifting heavier weights and not doing as many reps as I can in a minute, but struggling to get to 8 or 10. But I do know it is good for me to mix it up. Muscle confusion is a good thing. And this is a great program for that. 30 minutes and done. (And I am loving the pilates that is thrown
in there.)

Here is my meal plan for week 2 (which making it this week was so much easier than last week!)

I do eat A LOT of eggs. The red container is my struggle. I try to avoid meat. It just isn't my thing. I also don't do soy. And since beans and quinoa (my go to sources for protein) are considered yellow containers, I just keep putting eggs in the red container. (I am either going to turn into an egg after these 21 days or start to hate them.) I think on this program there is going to be one container that is a struggle for everyone. It may be blue (if you love cheese!) or yellow (which I am so shocked that I am not in carb withdrawal!) I have learned that I do tend to eat mostly fruit and complex carbs (like beans and quinoa). I also learned that I thought I ate a lot of veggies but in reality, I was not eating near as many as I should. The containers really make me focus on my food groups, which I love. As of right now, I this is something I can adopt for a lifetime. And I can't wait!

If you would like to join me in this challenge or any other one, please message me or comment below.
I would love to have you!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

21 Day Fix Week One Meal Plan (and why I put P90X3 on hold for now)

Week 3 of P90X3 was a major challenge for me. I got sick so I didn't meal plan. And then we were getting ready to a conference so I didn't meal plan and just ended up eating what we had so we didn't come home to a fridge full of gross. And I diligently packed my X3 DVDs. And they sat on the dresser in the hotel room for an entire week.

While away, we indulged. A lot. But we were also crazy busy and walking everywhere (which really helps.) I came home pretty much on par with where I was when I left. Except when I came home I had something waiting for me. Yep....The 21 Day Fix.

Now this program is huge. It sold out in 3 days. I didn't want to be the person who couldn't answer my challengers' questions. I wanted to be able to give my honest opinion and struggle through figuring out a brand new program with them. (And I was geeked about the idea of color coded containers. My self diagnosed OCD kicked in and I started making color coded meal plans immediately.) So I am afraid that my poor P90X3 dvd's will continue to collect dust. At least for the next 21 days.

Here is my meal plan for week one of the 21 Day Fix. Now I struggled with this quite a bit. I try to eat a mostly plant based diet (with local eggs from happy chickens and occasionally some fish) but if you are not happy eating soy based vegan protein then this will be a challenge. The red container is now my nemesis. But since my husband was home for most of the week, I made his carnivorous appetite happy and made some things with local grass fed meats.

Now this week wasn't perfect. I was missing some red containers for sure. And I know I need to work on variety...but variety is hard when you are cooking for one and a half! So that is something I am going to work on in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Patience with Joy (and stepping WAY outside my comfort zone!)

I do a Bible study each week with Community Bible Study and I am a children's teacher so that means I do my study on Wednesdays and on Thursdays I spend my morning with the youth. As part of our Wednesday mornings, everyone is asked to sign up for a week and prepare a devotional around a specific theme.  This year our theme was prayer. We were to read through some prayers in the Bible and prepare something to share.

I have spent quite a few years in this study (not this specific class but with CBS in general) and in the past I always avoided giving my devotion. I would "forget" to sign up or sign up for a day I knew a conflict would arise. I was terrified to share a teeny tiny 3-5 minute devotion when I had no problem getting in front of a group of kids and speaking. I didn't want the grown ups to judge me.

Since this year has been about forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I did it. And it was great. Or my group of 30 some women loved it and told me it was great (yay God for giving me the right words to speak...because I literally threw it together the morning I read it.) And then a month later I was approached about sharing this in an opening on a Thursday morning potentially in front of hundreds of women. Ummm....excuse me?

Luckily, leading up to today, we were traveling and crazy busy. I had no time to get nervous. I was even okay this morning, until I was walking up the steps to the podium (taking deep cleansing breaths on the way.) But,  I did it. Slightly awkwardly towards the end as my voice got a little shaky, I lost my place and kind of just ended.  What are you going to do? It is what it is. So here is what I shared this morning.

Colossians 1: 9-12

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks[a] to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

For endurance and patience with joy.

And God loves to test my patience.

I shared with the teens over the course of studying Esther that I am not a patient person. I actually had to take a personality assessment when I worked for American Eagle (on the retail side) and scored lowest in patience….which for them was great. I had a high sense of urgency. I would get things done now because waiting around for stuff made me (and still makes me) a little bit (okay a whole lot of) crazy.

 Now I don’t work retail anymore and haven’t for some years but that high sense of urgency hasn’t left me. I want things to happen now. I want to make a plan and carry it out…no time to waste. How productive can I be….how much can I squeeze into a day? If it was feasible I would schedule every hour so that efficiency was maximized. I feel the need to accomplish the things on my to do list and add more to my plate all the time. I need to be important. I need to be needed. I need everyone to know they can count on me to get it done. (And that's a whole other work in progress.)

But God wants me to be patient. And not just patient….patient with joy.

And the irony here is that I married a man whose job is pretty dependent on the weather and what is available. John works for a company that paints bridges. And bridges don’t move. You have to go to them. And we never know where the next job will be…or what state will vote to have it’s funds distributed so that bridge repair and maintenance gets a cut of it. (hint Pennsylvania doesn’t do this often…..) And then we talk about what is available. (and I don’t get to make a plan yet…at least out loud.) And then there are pre-bid meetings. (and no…I don’t get to make a plan yet.) And then there is the bidding process (no plan) and then there is the matter of awarding the job to someone. And even if we don’t get the job, I don’t get to make a plan yet. Because contractors default all the time. Or challenge the bidding process. So a lot of times it gets awarded to the second or third bidder…’s a waiting game.

 Patient with joy.

And then….even when we get the job and seems like we are ready to figure out a plan for my life and how we are going to juggle this (moving, staying – some sort of schedule for the year) They go into contract negotiations with the state and the start date gets pushed back.

I usually don’t get to make a plan until a week or two before (and that’s if I am lucky….) because his job often depends on the weather as well.

And even once we have the job, I never really know when he is coming home for the “winter off season” and when he is leaving again because of the weather. He came home exceptionally late this year and just left again (typically he doesn’t leave until mid-March) because unlike here, the weather there is unseasonably warm.

And we are entering the season of bidding new jobs and trying to figure out what may happen in the next year or two.

God still wants me to be patient and patient with joy.

So even though I do not know what the next few months will bring….in reality none of us do. Things happen all the time that can uproot us…jobs are lost, family members are lost, we have to move, or start over in something….change happens. It is an inevitable part of growth and life.

I just have the a little sneak peek over the next hill…the knowledge that it’s definitely coming for us sooner than it does for many others and anticipation that comes with it. And with that anticipation I have to remember to be patient with joy. Enjoy the moments we have in the place that we are. Live in that moment because I don’t know where we will be going next.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Doubting Spouse and Shakeology (and how I knew I was right the whole time)

shakeology, weight loss, shakeology transformation, clean eating, eat real foodI have a pretty awesome husband (don't tell him I said that though... he will never let me live it down! Haha!) around last year at this time he knew I was unhappy. He knew I was struggling with being a stay at home mom, his travel schedule and my weight. So when I bought Insanity and then a few weeks later decided to join a challenge group, he didn't bat an eye (other than to say that I better stick with it.) When he found out that Shakeology was a requirement for the group and what the price point was, he gave me a look and said that I really better stick with it and if it really delivers on all of it's promises then it would be worth it (which I am pretty sure he said to appease me). He knew I needed a change, that I needed something. And it was that decision that has lead me to where I am right now.

Now for him, it took a little longer. He knew I was getting results, working my booty off, eating right and attributing my new Shakeology addiction for the decrease in my stomach problems and asthma symptoms. He really didn't get on board until late July, very late July, like the last few days of July late. Once he started to notice the benefits, he really and truly became my biggest fan (not that he wasn't already, I just think he was sick of hearing me talk about how much I loved everything about what I was doing.) Even now, he won't more than a day or two without a shake. He can feel the difference in his energy levels. It has also reduced his cravings and reduced that mid-afternoon crash he used to get everyday.  For both of us it has aided in weight loss but even more than that it has kept us from getting sick as often. John has lost about 25 pounds. Like many of us, his weight would fluctuate but stay around a certain number, relatively speaking. Now that number is about 15 pounds lower continually. All of this without any added exercise (even though I harp on him about that too. I am really pushing to get him on the P90X3 bandwagon -- I mean 30 minutes, he can totally do that!)

shakeology, weight loss, shakeology transformation, clean eating, eat real food

The pictures above and below were taken over a year apart. The reality was that we both were not really all about jumping in front of the camera. But I was that size until I started with Insanity in March of 2013. I just avoided cameras. That may be one of the only family pictures of us from that year. (And how sad is that. Avoiding taking pictures with my daughter because I was unhappy with myself. I am so glad I have learned that lesson and moved forward!) In the picture on the left, I had been on Shakeology for about 6 months and had completed Insanity and Turbofire. John on the other hand had been on Shakeology about 3 months and hadn't added any exercise to his life. (Figures! Men. Sometimes I swear if they breathe differently they lose weight while us ladies are shedding blood, sweat and tears!)

shakeology, weight loss, shakeology transformation, clean eating, eat real food

For more information on Shakeology and to hear more about my experience click here. (And trust me it is not all puppies dancing through rainbows.) And always if I can help in anyway please don't hesitate to contact me.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Casserole (and how using what you have can turn into amazing!)

I've been playing a game lately that has really challenged me creatively. It's called use up all the food in your freezer and garage (I have squash hanging out in the garage from my farm share this fall. Thanks to the freezing winter we've had, it has all kept really well! And a ton of soup frozen in my freezer.) I don't want to wait until summer to try and get through this stuff. If we are being honest here, soup in the summer is kind of awful! And I want to make the most of what I have -- less clutter, less storage of stuff. I am adopting a use it up or donate it to someone who can use it mantra this year. And it starts with my freezer (and helps lower my grocery bill!)

Last nights dinner was made with spaghetti squash from the garage, spaghetti sauce from the pantry (yes I use jarred spaghetti sauce - total cheater and a little bit lazy) and some frozen ground beef from a half a cow my mom bought and had butchered this fall. (But you could totally leave out the meat and serve this as a side dish too!) Using-up-what-I-have success! Of course the cheese and other veggies I grabbed at the store. Here's what I did:


1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 lb ground meat (I used ground beef but turkey would work too!)
1 sm onion, chopped

1 tsp dried basil1 tomato, chopped1 pepper, diced1 carrot, shredded1 c feta cheese2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I also reserved a little bit for on top!) 16 ounces tomato sauce1/4 c chopped parsley (used dried)

1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Coat a 13" x 9" baking dish and a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place the squash, cut side down, on the sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. With a fork, scrape the squash strands into a large bowl.

2. MEANWHILE, warm the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Cook the ground meat until cooked through. Drain and place cooked meat in bowl. 

3.  Add the onion and basil. (Add a little more oil if necessary.) Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add remaining veggies. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is dry.

4. ADD the feta cheese, mozzarella, parsley, sauce and veggie mixture to the bowl with the squash. Stir to mix. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bread crumbs.

5. BAKE for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

You can also top it with some fresh grated parmesan cheese for a little zing! Yay dinner! 
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