Monday, December 16, 2013

Clean Eating Results

Hello friends and followers!!

I must first apologize for the delay in posting these results!! The last two weeks have been quite crazy, including Thanksgiving and not 1 but 2 trips to Houston! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend and enjoyed some healthy AND unhealthy food! :)

First things first - here is the result of my clean eating challenge, which meant no sugar, gluten, dairy, artificial sweeteners, soy or alcohol for 21 days.

                      11/4               11/14             11/25            Total Loss
Weight           225 lb.           215.4             213.6                 11.4 lb
R. Bicep        15.5 in.            15                 15.1                    0.4 in
Bust               45.5 in.            44                 44                       1.5 in.
Waist              43 in.              43                 41                        2 in.
Hips             46.75 in.          44.5              45.25                   1.5 in.
Butt              49.25 in.           49                48.5                    0.75 in.
R. Thigh        26.5 in.            26                25.5                     1.0 in.
R. Calf          18.7 in.           18.5              18.75                   -.05 in.

That is a total loss of 11.4 lbs and 7.1 inches in 3 weeks. DANG! I also have to give a shout out to Ryan who lost 16.3 lbs and 6.8 inches. Go baby!! :)

These results are extremely interesting to me, and I am glad that I took measurements at 3 different times during the process. If you look at the total, it seems weird that I lost almost 10 pounds in the first 11 days and only 1.8 pounds in the last 10 days. BUT I also lost inches in that time. Or, there are some places where my measurements went up a smidge between the mid-way point and the end. This could be due to a number of factors. I did start working out more heavily in the latter half of the challenge, so I was building muscle. Or it could just be user error (I'm not a professional with measuring tape!). But, I'm very happy with my overall loss. After losing such a massive amount of weight in the first 11 days means that my body was in a little bit of shock in the next 10 days. And since I still lost inches in that time, I'm happy. (Again - I was building muscle in that time frame, which meant I was losing fat, if not necessarily a lot of weight.)

So now - what has been going on since then??

Well, obviously it was Thanksgiving and I would love to say that I was super healthy over that time but . . . I was not. I definitely ate things that I wasn't "supposed" to. But there were also times that I found myself ordering or craving healthy things instead of the crappy things I used to crave. And that was very eye opening. I've always heard people say, "Once you stop eating bad food, your body will stop craving it!" And to be honest - I thought that was a big load of crap. But in actuality, your body's cravings DO change. I won't say that I never crave bad food anymore, but it is happening significantly less. And those cravings are easier to manage; I don't feel as though I MUST eat that food or I will die. It's a pretty amazing thing to notice.

I've also noticed how terrible unhealthy food makes me feel. Yesterday, I was really craving some cheez-its (many of you know I have a small addiction to them.) And I hadn't had them in a long time. So I decided to go pick up a small package of them. And while I was eating them, they were indeed delicious. But for about FOUR HOURS afterward, I felt TERRIBLE. I had a headache, I felt a little nauseous, and I was sweaty. And I found myself thinking, "Are cheez-its really THAT delicious? Are they worth making myself feel this terrible? I don't think they are!" Again, I'm not saying I'll never eat them again. But I'm certainly a lot less likely to eat something that makes me feel physically sick for such a long time.

Ryan and I have been sticking to our diet again for about a week, giving ourselves a cheat day over the weekend. The last time I weighed myself (last Friday I believe) I was at 210.6 which is almost 15 pounds down from my original start weight. I couldn't be happier with our progress over the holiday season. Right now is a REALLY hard time to diet, but by being good when we can, and overindulging when we can't be good, we're still making progress. And I truly believe if I can lose weight in December, I can do it any time of the year!!

I hope to post more often in the future, but with the Christmas holidays coming up (including a Tennessee trip for me!), it may not be possible. So, blogosphere, if I don't see you - MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! And a HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Clean Eating - Day 21!!!

Hello everyone! It's the last day! I honestly can't believe it!!

For those of you awaiting results, they are coming tomorrow. So please check back to see how things have changed over the last 21 days!

Things that this challenge has taught me:

1. My willpower is a lot stronger than I give it credit for.
2. Saying no to food that other people bring you IS possible, and if you explain, their feelings will not be hurt.
3. Just because I may crave alcohol or food to de-stress or emotionally unwind does not mean it's the only option. It's also FAR from the best option.
4. Eating healthy food means feeling healthy. Period.
5. Eating healthy food does not mean being bored with the food you eat.
6. I have a great support system from all over the country around me at all times.
7. I am physically strong even if I'm not in my best shape.
8. I am proud of where I am, despite that I am not in my best shape.
9. I enjoy helping make other people physically strong.
10. Food CAN change your body all by itself.

I want to explain that last sentence a little more. Though I enjoy working out (most of the time), it doesn't take gym visits to change your body and your life. It CAN happen with just food alone. (See my 1st week's progress if you have doubts.) I never fully believed that would work for me. But it was my head that was getting in my way. I wasn't willing to say no to food that I liked because I thought, "I deserve that." Sometimes, you do deserve a treat. But be careful - that's a slippery slope. First it's occasionally, and then you realize you're eating that unhealthy thing every day. If you keep your willpower strong, food alone can change your body. Set HARD LIMITS for yourself when it comes to "cheating" (though I don't really like that word). And ESPECIALLY if you can't get to the gym, be as strong as you can with your diet.

Here's the hard limits I'm setting for myself: Starting in December, I'm planning to follow this plan 6 days out of the week. I will have 1 "cheat day" each week where I can stray from the diet if I want to. This will last until I go home for Christmas. While there, I will try to eat as well as I can, but I won't go hungry. Then, starting in January, it's back to the 6-day a week plan. I feel like this is a reasonable expectation of myself. It allows me some freedom, without depriving me completely. It's really great to know that I CAN go 3 weeks without any unhealthy foods, but it's unrealistic to think I'll be able to do that all the time.

Also, as we head into the holiday season, have a plan for yourself. Plan to workout if you know food control will be difficult. Or plan yourself food "cheat days' for things like holiday parties or family dinners. And remember, even on those cheat days, food is nothing but fuel for your body. You're not hanging out with your family to eat - you are eating while having quality time with your family. Don't confuse the importance of those two things!

Alright, here's the food log for the LAST DAY!

6:50am - Wake-up

7:30am - Apple Cinnamon Protein Shake

11:30am - Carrot chips. Grandma's Hummus. Grapes. Water.

2:00-3:30pm - Nap (Because it was cold, rainy, and I could)

4:30pm - Homemade Cucumber Chips. Water.

7:30pm - New York Strip steak, seasoned to taste. Roasted Brussels sprouts. Tortilla chips. Sparkling water.

11:45pm - Bedtime!

That's it!! Thank you all for following me through this challenge! I can't wait to see the results! Love, health, and harmony to you all.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clean Eating - Day 20

Hi guys! It's the second to last day!

I want to talk a little bit today about how I've been feeling through this whole process. And it's really very simple - I've been feeling AMAZING.  That's the best word to sum it up. I feel younger. I have more energy. I sleep better. I wake up almost every day feeling rested and ready for the day. I'm generally happier and nicer to people. I just feel amazing.

Some of you know that when I get hungry, I often get shaky and experience a headache. This is typical sign of a blood sugar drop that occurs when you haven't eaten in awhile, but I experience it more intensely than most people. I know I've been tested for diabetes, and thankfully I don't have it. But it seems like my body is more sensitive to those spikes - not only do I have physical reactions, but I get very grumpy and feel sick. It's pretty terrible. I often eat when I'm not hungry if I think I won't be able to eat again for awhile as a "just in case" measure to keep my mean self at bay. And I haven't experienced a single one of these problems since starting this challenge. I get hungry, sure, and sometimes it makes me a little grumpy. But none of my physical symptoms occur. It's one of the best things I've noticed about the diet.

I know I talked about this a little bit at the beginning of the challenge, but I wanted everyone to know it has absolutely continued the entire diet. If any of you have tried to do "cleanses" before, you know you usually feel run down, exhausted, deprived and generally awful. Calorie counting diets often leave you quite hungry at the end of the day, and even lacking some energy if you're not eating enough through the day. But not on this diet.

The only thing I have noticed that when I don't get enough sleep the night before, I will go to sleep early the next day. I've been really trying to listen to my body's signals, and when I'm tired, I usually try to go to sleep. (What an amazing concept!) Sometimes though, it's just not possible. It's not that I get tired more easily, because I truly have more energy throughout the day. But when I get tired at night, I am a lot more aware of it. I know it's time to go to bed. And as long as I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, I feel great  all day long!

Alright - on to the food log:

8:45am - Wake-up

9:30am - Chocolate Coffee Protein Shake

12:30pm - 2 eggs with onions, orange bell peppers and salsa. A small portion of organic blue corn tortilla chips. Water.

2:30-3:45pm - Workout! (see below for details)

4:30pm -  Leftover spaghetti squash with ground turkey and marinara sauce. Water.

6:30pm - Blue corn chips. Salsa. Water.

10:00pm - Carrot sticks. Grandma's Hummus. Plantain Chips. Sparkling water.

12:00am - Bedtime!

Food-wise, today was a weird day. We worked out kind of late in the day because we went to a farmer's market in the morning and got some amazing looking veggies and protein. And since we worked out a little later, we ate at an odd time. Then we went to a concert at 8pm, so we didn't want to eat too much beforehand. When we got out, we hung out at a friends house, and we were a big hungry so we got some snacks from Whole Foods. But just because you're not eating at "standard times" doesn't mean you can't follow your plan!

Workout - Another killer circuit, this one designed by yours truly! Warm-up on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes. I personally walked for 3 minutes, jogged for 2. Get your heart rate up nice and high for as long as is comfortable for you, then bring it down to a more normal level for a bit. Don't stay at that low level too long, though! This is about training your heart to handle high intensity activity, and also training it to recover well. (This is good advice for ANY cardio you ever you do, whether you do weights after it or not!) Now, on to the circuits:

Circuit 1 (repeat 2X with rest in between)
- 15 step ups (each leg), while holding an 8-10 lb. medicine ball or kettlebell overhead
- 15 Bosu ball bicep curls (each arm) 12-15 lb weights.
- 15 Bosu ball squats holding same hand weights
- 15 Bosu ball tricep extensions (each arm), same weight
- 25 Bicycle crunches

**If you don't know what a bosu ball is, it's the blue thing in the gym that's flat on one side and round and squishy on the other side. I place the squishy side down and balance on the flat side, but you can also do it the other way around.

Circuit 2 (repeat 2X with rest in between)
- 30 Russian twists holding 8-10 lb. medicine ball
- 15 wood chops (each side of the body) with medicine ball
- 25 jumping jacks
- 15 deadlifts into overhead press with 12-20 lb. bar (choose based on your fitness level)
- 5 burpees

That's it for today! Stay tuned for the LAST POST of this challenge coming tomorrow! Love health and harmony to you.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Clean Eating - Day 18 & 19

Hello friends! Sorry for the slight slacking on my posts lately. Things have been busy both at my job and at home, so I've gotten a little behind.

 Here in Austin we've recently gotten a BIG cold front come through, and it's been close to freezing temperatures for the last few days. This brings up some interesting thoughts. In the winter, we have the tendency to eat bigger, heavier dishes that leave us feeling warm and satisfied. Salads don't sound quite as delicious as they do in the summer. We want warm food to comfort us, or at least, I do. And guess what - this is ok!!

It all depends on how you do it, though. Warm vegetable soup with brown rice? Heck yes. Cheese enchiladas covered in sour cream sauce? Not so much. Pot roast cooked with olive oil and warm veggies? Always. Cream-filled potato soup and steak? Maybe not.

Find ways to cook warm comfort foods you love in a healthier way. For example, try those enchiladas with chicken, corn tortillas and salsa instead. We're planning to make soup soon (not sure what kind, but still very excited), and homemade soup can be extremely nutrient-dense and delicious. (Store bought soup is good in a pinch, but it's usually packed with preservatives.) Plus, soup definitely satisfies that need for a warm filling food. Maybe we'll put it with some warm veggies instead of something cold like a salad.

Or, if you want to eat salad for lunch, pack your meat in a separate container and heat it up before you place it on your salad. That way you get nutritious, yummy AND warm.

There are ALWAYS healthier options that can be JUST AS GOOD as what you were used to eating. Ryan has said over and over again during this challenge, "I'm so impressed with the food." I think he was really expecting to eat chicken and vegetables for every meal. But I was not about to let that happen. If the recipes I've been posting look delicious to you, it's because THEY ARE. We have not been left wanting. As much as I'm looking forward to having some of my old favorite foods on occasion, I'm really wanting to keep eating this way the majority of the time.

Alright, here's the food log:

Day 18:
7:00am- Wake-up

7:30am - Chocolate Banana Coffee Shake

11:30am - Turkey Wraps (see below for recipe). Orange.

4:30pm - Almonds and Grapes.

8:00pm - Turkey with Black Beans. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with cinnamon, salt and pepper.

10:30pm - Bedtime!

Turkey Wraps - ok, we were SUPER impressed by these things, and they're really simple to make for lunch. Take turkey (no preservatives or sugar! Check your labels!), spread hummus of your choice (again - check your label) on turkey. Place carrot sticks and cucumber sticks in middle. Wrap together. And enjoy! You may also choose to wrap all this in a large piece of lettuce, if you like.

Turkey with Black Beans - Cook 8 oz ground turkey on the stovetop over medium heat with 1 diced shallot. Cook until brown. Add 2 tbsp of tomato paste, 1 clove of garlic, 8 oz. black beans, salt, and pepper to taste. Add coconut flour if necessary to thicken the mix. Enjoy!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes - Technically the turkey was supposed to be stuffed into the sweet potatoes, but the sweet potato skins just about fell off when we took them out of the oven. So we had them all scrambled together instead. Still delicious! Roast at 400 until soft. Add salt and cinnamon if you like.

Day 19:
6:30am - Wake-up

7:30am - Berry Blast Protein Shake

11:30am - Leftover turkey with black beans & mashed sweet potatoes. Water.

4:00pm - Mixed berries. Almonds. Iced tea.

7:00pm - Roasted spaghetti squash. Leftover homemade meatballs and marinara sauce (see below for explanation).

10:30pm - Organic blue corn chips. Salsa.

11:30pm - Bedtime!

Homemade meatballs with marinara sauce - We made the meatballs on day 6 (see post for full recipe - the sauce was store bought), and had a ton of meatballs and sauce leftover. So, we decided to freeze some of it and save it for later. We were in a bit of a time crunch on this day because we were going to a concert that started at 8, so we didn't want to cook anything too elaborate. We cooked the spaghetti squash the night before, and defrosted the sauce & meatballs during the day so all we had to do was heat & eat. Easy!

The meal was very filling, but after standing up for the concert for about 2 hours, I was a little hungry when I got home. Hence the late snack. I will say that I did my best not to overeat before bed. I could usually eat chips & salsa pretty much continuously until I'm ready to explode. So I measured out a reasonable amount of salsa for myself, and stopped when it was gone. This is an excellent point - don't eat things out of the jar or bag - it just allows you to eat more than you think you are. Put your chips/sauce/whatever on a plate so you can see how much you're eating.

That's it for now, friends! Keep working and push to the end! Love health and harmony to you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Clean Eating - Day 17

Hello friends!

I've waited to share something, because I've been pondering over it for a couple of days. I mentioned from my post this weekend that I kicked Ryan's BUTT (and my own as well) in the gym. The whole time through the workout, I wasn't really sure how Ryan was feeling about it. He wasn't talking much, and though could see he was definitely getting a workout in, it looked like he was hating every minute of it. But, after we had cooled down and stretched and eaten lunch, he said something that really surprised me. We were talking about the workout, and he said, "You know, I think you might have a future as a physical trainer, if that's something that would interest you."

That was really cool to hear. Though I know I'm not the fittest person in the world, I enjoy working out and challenging myself. I particularly like helping someone do something they didn't they could do before. It's one of the things I loved about teaching music. Seeing someone lift more weight than they thought or run farther than they thought - it's inspiring to see and I love to be a part of it. So - that's really something for me to think about. I'm going to continue to make workouts for Ryan and I to do together on the weekend. And if any of you readers out there want to work out with me, please let me know! If you're not close by, you can certainly take the workouts I post and challenge yourself with them. Let me know how they go for you!

Here's the food log for today. Still going strong into the last few days of this challenge!

6:30am - Wake Up

7:30am - Apple Peach and Cinnamon Protein Shake (Take the apple cinnamon shake recipe and add frozen peaches and a little extra almond milk if needed. It's quite good!)

12:00pm - Grilled shrimp with garlic and spinach. Green beans seasoned to taste. Water.

4:00pm - Almonds, grapes, strawberries. Iced tea.

9:30pm - Hummus and carrot slices. Water.

Today was the day I have my rehearsal until about 9, so I don't get home until 9:30. I was a bit hungry by then, but I didn't want to eat anything too heavy for dinner since I knew I was going to bed soon after. We had some hummus we bought to make with turkey wraps tomorrow, and pre-made carrot slices (also for the turkey wraps), so after making lunch for the next day, I munched on that. Ryan and I found this AMAZING hummus at HEB. It's called Grandma's Hummus with Organic Garbanzo Beans. Ryan doesn't even usually like hummus, but he loved this stuff. It's also at our Natural Grocery Store nearby. So check your local grocery store for this delicious treat! If you can't find this brand, just check any hummus label and make sure you have natural ingredients in there. Hummus is a great natural protein source, especially if you eat it with something healthy like vegetables. But some brands still run the risk of added sugar or preservatives that you just don't need. Honestly - this natural hummus was better than any other packaged hummus I've ever had.

So that was today! Pretty simple but delicious meals for the day. I will say that we are getting a little tired of cooking for evvvvvvery single meal. We haven't been as good this week about planning meals that made more than one portion, so that we could take the leftovers for lunch the next day. But we wanted to try out some new recipes, so that was a decision we made. And luckily - all those meals have been QUITE delicious.

Alright, ya'll, 17 days down and 4 more to go! Love health and harmony to you!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Clean Eating - Day 16

Greetings everyone!

So, in the last two days, despite my will power over the weekend, I have noticed my resolve weakening. Perhaps it's because I am nearing the end of this challenge and I'm starting to imagine all the foods I will soon be able to eat again. (Ryan and I have already planned a celebratory sushi dinner for Monday night. Not completely unhealthy, but also outside our current diet restrictions. There will also be wine!) I have NOT cheated. But I've certainly wanted to, and I know that this weekend will probably be the hardest days of the entire challenge. So close to the end but not quite there yet! I'm focusing on the results I've already seen AND how great I feel to keep myself in check.

On the upside, I've certainly noticed a change in the way my clothes fit. Things that we uncomfortable to wear before are being comfortable again. What a great incentive to keep up the good work! I love clothes, I have way too many, and a large percentage of them don't even fit right now. So knowing that this work will soon put me closer to fitting in to those clothes is keeping me a little sane.

7:00am - Wake up

7:15-7:35am - Yoga (see the workout on Youtube here: )

7:45am - Chocolate Banana Coffee Shake

12:00am - Grilled Flank Steak, seasoned to taste. Over salad with spinach, onions, tomatoes and leftover sauteed zucchini and squash from the night before (see day 15 post for recipe). Homemade olive oil and lemon dressing. Iced tea sweetened with stevia.

5:00pm - Naval orange and almonds. Water.

7:30pm - Grilled salmon seasoned to taste. Grilled asparagus with olive oil and lemon seasoning. Water.

10:00pm - Organic blue corn tortilla chips. Salsa. Water.

I also walked to the bus today and took my usual lunchtime walk. The yoga was a nice kickstart to my day, helping to stretch out my sore muscles and get me awake for the day. This routine might have been short, but it certainly was challenging. If you're looking to try yoga, there are about a million youtube videos you can test out. It's a great workout to do at home if you don't have anywhere else to workout! Or check out a local yoga studio in your area - Groupon and Livingsocial usually have a good deal somewhere nearby!

That's all for today, friends. Only a few days left of this challenge, but you can bet I won't stop posting! Love, health and harmony to you!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Clean Eating - Day 15

We are in the LAST WEEK of this challenge!! We're almost at the finish line!! And if there's one thing I learned from competitive sports as a kid - you always have to push the hardest when you're near the finish line.

This week we are trying to focus on eating more vegetables. We're still trying to work out and stick to the diet. But it seemed like last week we ate a lot of very heavy meals that were mostly protein. So this week we're making sure we get plenty of veggies with our lunch & dinner. Breakfast is still shakes, and fruit is still our snack. I'm hoping that focusing on this will allow me to feel fuller after eating less calorie meals. Even though we're not "counting calories," if you don't eat in a balanced way, the weight still won't come off like you want it to. Try adding just one serving of veggies to your lunch and dinner and see how you feel! I promise you will feel fuller and more satisfied at the end of your meal!

6:25am - Rise and Shine!

6:45am - Chocolate Banana Coffee Protein Shake

7:00-7:30am - Workout (see below for details)

8:20am - Cashew Cookie Larabar. Water.

11:30am - Leftover Pork Curry. Water.

12:00-12:20pm - Lunchtime Walk

4:00pm - Strawberries, grapes, and almonds. Sparkling water.

7:30pm - Stuffed bell peppers (see below for recipe). Roasted zucchini and yellow squash (see below for recipe). Water.

Stuffed Bell Peppers - Boil water and preheat oven to 350. Slice top off bell pepper (we used orange ones). Remove seeds. Boil pepper(s) in water for 3 minutes. On stovetop, cook 4 oz. ground turkey with 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 clove garlic, 2 tbsp. diced mushrooms and Italian seasoning. When turkey is done, place filling inside bottom of bell pepper. Place top on pepper and put in roasting pan. Cook for 20 minutes in oven. This makes one pepper - expand the recipe if needed.

Roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash - Slice veggies as you like. Cook on stovetop in covered pan over medium heat in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, italian seasoning and fresh squeezed lemon. Veggies are done when they start to become transparent.

Workout - 15 minutes on the treadmill. Walk for 2.5 minutes, run for 1.5 minutes. Repeat. 20 reps tricep pulldowns, 40 lbs. weight. 20 reps bicep curls, 30 lbs. weight. 30 kettlebell halos with 15 lb. weight. 15 upright rows with 15 lb. weight. 30 crunches on stability ball. 30 angle crunches on stability ball. 15 chest press with 2 10 lb. weights. 15 chest flys with 2 10 lb. weights. 15 rows with 20 lb. weight. 5 minutes on stationary bike starting with high resistance and decreasing with each minute. Stretch.

**Notice that I put cardio before my weights again. My time was limited, but I think I used it well. If you have a plan, you can accomplish a lot in just a 30-minute workout! I got cardio and all upper body muscles done!

That's all for today! Love health and harmony to you!