Monday, August 25, 2014

21 Day Fix -- Round 4 -- Week 1

So I have decided to go back to the fix. It is much easier on this pregnant body. I also love the modifier better when I get further along in my pregnancy. I'm also thinking about switching to Piyo once my belly gets really big but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm excited to see how The 21 Day Fix helps me stay healthy while pregnant.

I have been using the 21 Day Fix meal plan all along. When you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are supposed to add 300-600 calories to your calorie intake once you calculate it per the 21 Day Fix booklet.
15 weeks pregnant

Here is my week in review:
Monday was Total Body Cardio Fix. I love this workout. It was great to get back to the weights. I love the Ab series during round 4. For those who aren't familiar with the 21 Day Fix this workout starts out with a 3 minute warm up. Then it has four rounds two exercises a piece. You do each exercise for 60 seconds and then rest for 20 seconds. You repeat each exercise twice to make up a round. You end with a three minute cool down. For total body cardio you need one set of dumbbells. On day one back in April I started with 5 pound weights. This is such a great all over workout.

Tuesday morning I woke up sore. I remember round 1 week 1 day 2. I went back and pulled out my journal. Here is what I wrote. "Today I woke up so sore. I don't know how I am going to get down on the floor to play with the kids. It is difficult to walk up the stairs. I knew this would be hard and I'd be sore but I don't know if I can keep going." But guess what I pushed through it and I kept going! Today the soreness is much more tolerable.

I stretched throughout the day and then did my Upper Fix. This workout starts with the same warm up as Total Body Cardio and ends with a different cool down as you only really worked arms. Upper Fix is two rounds with five exercises each. Each exercise is repeated twice. You need a light and heavy set of dumbbells for these workouts. On day one back in April I use 5 and 8 pounds as my light and heavy respectively. I love that this workout hits all of your arm muscles. By the end of the workout I felt like I couldn't even lift my arms. My abs were also sore.

Wednesday morning and I work up and was still sore. Again it wasn't as bad as round 1 but it still is hard to walk up and down stairs. From my journal from April I had wrote "It is day 3. I think I'm going to take a break today. I don't think I can do another workout. My muscles are so sore. I've stretched. I tried drinking hot lemon water but nothing seems to help." Later in the day after I had pushed through the Lower Fix workout I wrote "I'm so glad I didn't quit. I'm glad I finished that workout. I feel so much better that I did it. I'm not as sore!" It is definitely mind over matter. Keep going. Your body will only go as far as you let your mind go.

The Lower Fix oh how I have a love hate relationship with you. I had found this quote during week 2 of my first round of the fix and it was so true:
It made me laugh as if you go big and do all the exercises to the best of your ability you will feel like this.

For the lower fix you need a set of heavy and light weights. You mainly use the heavy weights. The light weights are only there if you need to switch out during some exercises. This starts out with the same warm up as Total body cardio and ends with the same cool down as total body cardio. This workout is four rounds, two exercises each round, each exercise is repeated twice. Like Total Body Cardio, you do each exercise for 60 second with 15-20 seconds of rest in between exercises.

My favorite exercise is the fire hydrant. I love how it makes the side of my butt burn. I also know that it helps me lose inches in my hips.  This workout is challenging as there are tons of ten second holds to end the 60 seconds of exercise. When Autumn says get lower I try and get lower, but boy doe it burn!

Thursday I finally woke up not feeling as sore! I love that by completing leg day I actually feel better. Keep moving. Don't stop. It was time for Pilates. I love this active stretch day. This workout is a little different. It starts with a very different warm up. Then there are a few different series that you do. Each series has a varying number of exercises. Some exercises you do for a specific length of time. Others you count reps. The series you do are Abs, High Plank, C, Side, Superman, and Forearm Plank . Then it ends with a similar cool down to total body cardio fix.

My favorite series is the side series. I love working my butt and my hips as this is a trouble area for me. It is the first place I always seem to pack on the pounds. This series makes the side of my booty scream.

Friday started out to be an awesome day. I was feeling great and couldn't wait to get my workout in. I love Cardio Fix. It is one of my go to workouts if I'm somewhere where I don't have weights and want to get a good workout it. Like all the fix workouts it doesn't require a lot of space. IT is fast paced and fun.

Cardio Fix is set up exactly like Total Body Cardio Fix/ The only addition is that there is a bonus round. I remember week 1 on The Fix getting to the burpees and thinking I would never be able to do them. Today I not only did them but added the pushup to make them harder! If this is your own first week on The 21 Day Fix just keep pushing. You can do it.

Saturday we decided to surprise the girls and take them to the Pittsburgh Zoo. We already had to travel to Pittsburgh as B&C's Godfather was retiring and we had his dinner to celebrate. We decided to make it a family day. I packed our lunches and snacks. We also got up a little early to finish our workout before we left.

Dirty 30 is also a favorite of mine. This is a great total body workout that is good to do anywhere where you have weights. I love the side planks at the end. I am still shocked that I can do these. These seemed so far out of reach on week one and now I can power through them. This workout is set up exactly like Cardio Fix.

Sunday is Yoga day. I love the stretch this gives you. I also love that is stretches every part of your body. It leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for another week.

After spending this week on the 21 Day Fix I know why it is my favorite. I like Autumn Calabrese. She is a natural encourager. She gives you just enough tough love to keep you going. She motivates you to do you best without being like  drill sergeant. I think that is why she is my favorite out of the three trainers workouts that I have.

I have a 21 Day Fix group starting September 1. If you are interested in joining please message me. The first 2 people to buy challenge packs from me before Saturday (August 30th) at midnight will receive a $20 amazon gift card.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Zucchini Bread

I have had an excess in zucchini so I decided to make zucchini bread. I had no clue how I was going to make it healthy. Most breads I know use white flour and sugar. I figured I could try to substitute some ingredients to make it healthier. Here was my final product.
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
2.5 cups zucchini shredded (about 2 medium zucchinis)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp. real vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, and Cinnamon in a Medium Mixing Bowl.
3. Add Eggs, Apple Sauce and Vanilla to your stand mixer bowl.
4. Beat until mixed
5. Slowly add mixed dried ingredients.
6. Once adequately mixed, slowly add the zucchini until thoroughly incorporated
7. Grease a loaf pan
8. Add mixture to the greased loaf pan
9. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
10. Let cool for about 15 minutes and then flip pan over to remove loaf.
I hope you enjoy this zucchini bread as much as our family did. I made two loaves and wrapped one in foil and froze it for a later date. This is a great morning snack. Hope you a have blessed day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This pass weekend I made ribs on Sunday. They were so yummy. I got the ribs from SAMS club on sale.

For the Sauce
1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
 1 teaspoon molasses
2 tsp Hickory liquid smoke
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

1. Put all ingredients in a medium sauce pan
2. Bring to a boil stirring frequently
3. Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes until thick

2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp Onion Powder
2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 150.
2. Mix the Garlic Powder, Onion Powder and Coconut Sugar together in a small bowl.
3.  Line a baking sheet with foil. Make sure the foil is long enough to complete encompass the ribs.
4. Rub both sides of the ribs with the dry rub.
5. Put sauce on both sides of the ribs
6. Place ribs in the foil and add the rest of the sauce
7. Fold foil completely around the ribs. Make sure the pack in entirely sealed and there are no holes.
8. Place cookie sheet with foil packed ribs in the oven for 3.5 hours
9. Remove from oven
10. Transfer foil packet to a grill heated to medium high heat
11. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes
12. Remove from heat
13. Open up packet gently as there will be steam
14. Cut ribs and enjoy.

The girls eat these up. The five of us ate the entire rack above except for one rib. I cannot wait to make these again. Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Turkey Meatballs

I was hungry for some good old fashioned meatballs the other day. I didn't know how to go about making them clean so here was my attempt at it. I usually used a ton of Italian seasoned bread crumbs. These were one of the first things to leave my pantry as they had a ton of salt and some ingredients I couldn't even pronounce. Here was the finished product:
2 pounds ground turkey
2 eggs
2 coves garlic
2 Tbsp. minced onion
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
2-4 slices Ezekiel bread

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Toast the slices of Ezekiel bread
3. Put the toasted bread in the food processor and make the bread crumbs
4. Mix all the ingredients together
5. Roll into whatever size ball you want
6. Place a wire rack on top of a standard sized cookie pan
7. Spray rack with cooking spray
8. Place meatballs on the rack
9. Bake for 30 minutes

One night we made meatball sandwiches with these. We used Ezekiel English Muffins as the bread. We used my homemade pizza sauce as the sauce. Then we added onions and peppers as the vegetable. I added a little cheese to the top and put in the oven on broil for a few minutes to melt.

The second night I served these with whole wheat spaghetti noodles and homemade spaghetti sauce.

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family did.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Transformation Tuesday -- Courtney Pawlak

I am excited to feature Courtney Pawlak on my blog today. Courtney was a participant just like in my first challenge group. This was her second group as she started in mid February and this group started at the beginning of April. That group will always be special to me as we were a talkative bunch and constantly shared successes and failures with one another. It was such a supportive group and many of us remain workout partners together today.

Here is my interview with Courtney:
Tell us a little about yourself :
I am a mother of 2 and a 5th grade teacher. Both of these jobs keep me very busy.

Why did you decide to do a Beachbody program?
I decided to try the 21 day fix when it came out because my eating was out of control. (A half a bag of chips/night was the norm!) I was at a point where it was buy bigger pants or do something about it. When the 21 day fix arrived I was afraid because the containers looked so small.

What was the thing that surprised you the most?
I was surprised by how much food it actually was. I was never hungry. And it totally transformed the way I ate. It wasn't unusual for me to go days without fruits or vegetables. On good days maybe I had one serving. Now I have 2 fruits/day and 2-3 veggies/day! I moved on to t25 and continue to make progress everyday. Both t25 and the 21 day fix are excellent programs.

What would you tell others that are thinking about these programs? 
If you are thinking about trying a Beachbody program I encourage you to go for it. The programs are designed to help you succeed. Your coach will be there to motivate you on days you feel like quitting. I never imagined that I would ever feel and look as good as I do now in my mid 30s.

Now here are her amazing results.

She has lost an amazing 43 inches and 29 lbs since mid February. Congratulations Courtney and here is to your continued success!

T25 is on sale until the end of August. You get this amazing program at an amazing price. I'd love to have you join me for my next challenge group and get results like Courtney.

Monday, August 18, 2014

T25 Beta Week 5

I'm happy to say that I made it through week 5 of T25 Beta and the ten weeks of T25! I'm so excited to measure myself this evening and see my results. I know that I only gained 0.5 pound in the 10 weeks on T25 (Please remember my goal was not weight loss as I am currently 14 weeks pregnant). This means my total weight loss for T25 was 5 pounds.

I saw my doctor on Thursday of last week and he couldn't believe how great I looked. He isn't one to stress over weight, but he said that I should keep on doing what I was doing for a healthy pregnancy.
14 weeks pregnant

 Here is my week in review:
Monday was Rip't Circuit. This work out seems the easiest out of the bunch to me. I even upped my weight this week.

Tuesday was Core Cardio. I was already having some round ligament pain this week and then after this workout my abs were sore. I loved the soreness though as I knew I was working.

Wednesday was Rip't Circuit again. I love the dead lifts in this. I love the way they strengthen my back which I know will help me in labor.

Thursday was Dynamic Core. The Superman series is getting a little more challenging with my expanding midsection but I still love this workout.

Friday we were in Pittsburgh for a wedding so I didn't want to have to lug my weights with me so I ended up doing the 21 Day Fix Cardio Fix and the Pilates Fix instead of Rip't circuit and Speed 2.0. It had been such a long time doing these two favorites that I forgot how challenging the Cardio Fix used to be for me. I powered through it even doing the burpees with the pushups! I was actually a little sore Friday night as I was using different muscles than I was used to.

Saturday was a rest day. I did end up swimming laps in the hotel pool for 30 minutes. I was usually swimming with one of the girls riding on my back. It was a fun family time.

Sunday I did the Yoga Fix. I definitely needed the stretch. My quads were tight again.

As many know I went shopping last week for a dress for Saturday's wedding. In the past I hated shopping. Nothing ever fit right. I had a hard time choosing. In the end I looked awesome in a great clack dress that was a size 6. I wore a size 8 in high school so I cannot ever remember being a size 6!
On tap for this week is going back to the 21 Day Fix. I've loved the last ten weeks of T25. I need something that is a little less intense.T25 did exactly what I wanted it to do. It helped me reach my goal weight and then stay healthy through my first trimester. Now the Fix will help me to continue down the road to a healthy pregnancy. Here is the week at a glance.

I wanted to finish with a trip down memory lane. I found an old picture of me in a purse that I wanted to take to the wedding this weekend. It was my ID from the first day of graduate school in 2002.
I was 22. I was shocked at how fat my face looked. I still cannot believe how much I've transformed my life in the last 12 years. Here is a picture from yesterday.
I'm so thankful for Beachbody and coaching. I'm happy that I get to help others make the right decision to get themselves healthy. I'm also happy that I'm teaching my daughters what healthy living really is. Hope everyone has a great week.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why limit your sodium?

One of the main rules for clean eating is no added salt. This simply means that if salt is listed as one of the ingredients you shouldn't purchase it. it also means that you can cook with some salt but shouldn't add more salt when putting your portion on your plate.

Salt is made up of Sodium and Chloride. The sodium is the portion of the salt that has all the negative side effects when eaten in large quantities. The dietary guidelines actually say that your sodium intake should be no more than 2300 mg per day for the general population. If you are overweight or have heart problems or are over the age of 51 you should decrease you intake even further. This number is usually no more than 1500 mg per day. Most Americans injest over 3400 mg per day. Remember your risk of hypertension increases with age so that is why you should decrease your sodium intake the older you get.

You cannot completely cut salt out of your diet. Your body needs sodium to do all it's vital functions. You need to be getting sodium from somewhere. Salt helps maintain the water/fluid in our blood cells. It is also used to transmit information in our nerves and muscles. Sodium is used to help the absorption of certain nutrients from the small intestines. Our bodies cannot make sodium so we need to get it from out food.

Salt does not contribute to actual weight gain but the sodium can cause your body to retain water which will make the number on the scale higher. This also leaves you feeling bloated. The more salt you inject the more you drink. If you like to drink soda instead of water then you are increasing your weight gain and salt intake even more by quenching your thirst.

One of the main reasons to decrease salt intake is that a 2013 study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that excessive salt intake could be to blame for 1 in 10 US deaths and 2.3 million deaths worldwide in 2010. This is definitely not a new idea. Salt intake has long been related to high blood pressure.

One of the main ways we can decrease our sodium intake is by switching from processed foods to unprocessed foods. It is estimated that 80% of an Americans sodium intake comes from processed foods.

Are you saying that you cannot give up adding salt to your plate? Try it for one month. After about 21 days your taste buds will readjust and won't miss the added salt. Once you cut back on the high sodium processed foods you'll start to notice you wont add as much as you don't even miss it.

Now there also is a good salt and a bad salt. Did you know that Sea salt is better for you than regular table salt? Sea salt contains over 80 nutrients while regular table salt includes extra ingredients like aluminum that can be harmful .

I hope this post gives you something to think about. I'm not a medical professional but do have a Masters degree in Bioengineering. this is just my opinion but I think the research speaks for itself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beach Packing and Making Friends

We've been doing a lot of days at the beach lately as it has finally been warm enough. Just because we are going to the beach doesn't mean clean eating goes out the window.  Instead of purchasing food we always pack. Here is what our lunch looked like one day:

For the girls: A snack consisting of olives. Lunch consisting of PB2 and sugar free jelly on a whole wheat tortilla, air popped popcorn, and an apple. For me a morning snack of apples with cinnamon and lunch consisting of peppers, hummus, olives, a piece of Ezekiel bread and chicken. Of course we took lots of water to drink. The lunch bag was empty when we came home. They ate everything!

Sometime I wish I could be like my 4 year old. She can strike up a conversation with someone, know all about them and then become best friends with them in about ten minutes. One day it was a little boy from Shaler, the next it was a little girl from Mount Lebanon.

They are so cute in the things they come up with. A asked the little boy his name. When he told it to her she said "I guess I can play with you now as we were officially introduced." It was hilarious!

What is the funniest thing your kid has ever said to a playmate?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August Specials

I cannot believe it is August already. The summer is going way too fast. I got A’s first school supply list in the mail the other day and I just stood there and cried. She is growing up too quickly. I wish I could freeze time.

We are in full end of summer mood. There are lots of programs on special this month.
The first is T25. This is the program I am currently doing. This is a 10 week programs that has two cycles. The first is alpha and last five weeks and the second is beta and last five weeks. The workouts vary from week to week. There is lots of variety and I never get bored. Each workout is only 25 minutes long so you can finish the workout quickly. The challenge pack is a great deal.

The second program on sale for this month is   10 minute trainer. This comes in both an English and Spanish version. This program is designed with one thing in mind: better results in less time. It was created by Tony Horton who has also created programs P90X, P90X2, and P90X3. In just 10 minutes he'll give you the body you want. In 10 Minute Trainer, Tony put his most effective moves into a series of power-packed total-body workouts. His breakthrough Super Stacking Technique combines fat-burning cardio, body toning and sculpting, and ab moves, adding resistance bands for even faster results. In just 10 minutes of Tony's Super Stacking you can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of jogging. With 10 Minute Trainer. This program is just $10 with the purchase of your Shakeology!
The third program on sale is Brazil Butt Lift. This program is great. A friend did this program and she was excited to lose two pants sizes in the sixty days. The program is easy enough for anyone to do. This program uses five workouts. It even has a quick 10 minute workout to do on the days you are short on time. You can do the six day rapid start and lose up to 6 pounds in those six days!
The last special this month is Body Beast. This program comes in a few different forms with different supplements and equipment. Contact me to discuss the different packages and pricing. For men you can pack on ten pounds of muscle in 60 days. Women you can tone your body without looking like a body builder. The base package comes with 12 workouts and the meal plan. A supplements in the kits are all natural and will definitely boost your results. Here is results from a fellow coach. As you can see he definitely defined his muscles!

So, as you can see, it is a pretty big month!  If your interest is peaked with any of these offers, then I strongly encourage you take action this month!  The price WILL increase with all of these products in September.

I have two groups starting soon. The first is an any workout group that will start on September 8th. You must purchase your challenge pack by 8/31 and friend me on Facebook to be a part of this group. The second starts September 1st and is a 21 day fix specific group. You must purchase your challenge pack before 8/24.
I'm looking forward to working with a new set of challengers. Each group has brought a different perspective and I love to see how each person transforms their thinking over the course of the challenge. I hope to hear from you soon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

T25 Beta Week 4 Review

I cannot believe we are completed with week 4 of Beta and only have one more week to go! This is crazy. Ten weeks of Focus T25 have flown by. I cannot wait to see my updated stats. I know I wont be able to count my waist measurement being pregnant but I do know my arms and legs are a different shape an I haven't gained any weight this pregnancy yet.

13 weeks pregnant and finally starting to show a little

Here is my week 4 in review:

I started on Monday with Rip't circuit. I think my favorite exercise of this workout is now the 5 second Ab series. You hold the C position for five second, then do a right butterfly crunch and then a left butterfly crunch for five seconds. Then you do a seated reverse crunch for five seconds and then do the v up for 5 seconds. This series left my abs screaming.

On Tuesday we did Dynamic Core. My favorite exercise of this workout has to be the plank walk squats. These are a challenge for me as every time I stand up to do my squat I need to not do it quickly or I get dizzy, but I can still do them and love them! I also love the floor Ab work on this workout. This really challenges me and I'm still having trouble keeping my legs completely straight when doing the V up but I know I am getting stronger everyday.

Wednesday was Core Cardio. This is by far my hardest workout of the Beta Round. In the middle there is this lunge series. My quads and hamstrings start to burn and it is so hard to finish it. By the end when I get to the plank series I am so happy to be off my feet and on the ground. It is such a great all body workout that focuses on the core.

Thursday was Dynamic Core again. Today it seemed a little harder than Tuesday as my Abs were sore from being used the last two days but I persevered and got it done.

Friday was Speed 2.0. This is my absolute favorite workout. It makes me sweat! I would do this workout everyday if I could! Since we were spending the day a family on Friday I didn't do the doubles.

Saturday I did Pilates Fix from the 21 Day Fix as I wanted something to stretch my muscles out but still do work.

Sunday I did Yoga Fix from the 21 Day Fix.

All in all I had a great week 4 of the Beta cycle. My nutrition wasn't this best this week. I kept having strange cravings and did succumb to ice cream twice. My weight has held steady so I'm not worried, but know that I cannot cheat like that every week.

Here is a look ahead to week 5 Beta Cycle:
Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pantry Items for Clean Eating

I often get asked what is in my pantry for clean eating. What are some of my go to items? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Steel Cut Oats: You can eat these with berries for breakfast. You can mix them with yogurt for snack. You can use them on chicken or pork as a crust for dinner. There are very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.

2. Nuts: Nuts are high in protein and make a great snack. You need to be careful on the portion control with these though. If I purchase nuts I bag them in individual portion sizes and then I can only pull out one bag a day. If I don't I'd eat the entire container in one day.

3. Quinoa: This is actually a seed. It is easy to cook and very versatile. You can add chicken and some type of greens to it (ie. cooked kale) and add some spices and have a hearty dinner. You can eat it stand alone to.
4. Beans: I always have black beans, pinto beans, canelli beans, kidney beans, and Garbanzo beans in the pantry. These can be added to brown rice or corn for a Mexican meal. I can mix all the beans together and make my Mexican bean and corn salad (see the clean eating recipes page on my blog for the recipe). You can eat them alone.
5. Tea: I love a cup of tea in the morning. I also love to have a ice tea in the evening. I use mostly herbal teas. I do however have a decaf cup of tea every once in awhile. One of my favorite decaf teas is the decaf chai from Wegmans. My favorite herbals are all from Tazo.

6. Condiments: Ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, and vinegars are the next thing in my pantry. I use Wegmans organic Ketchup, Wegmans Organic Yellow Mustard and Wegmans Organic Spicy Brown Mustard. I love all three to add a small amount of flavor without a ton of calories, salt or sugar. I use these to enhance dressings too. I usually have balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and white vinegar in my pantry. Besides using these in dressing I use these to enhance the flavors of noodles or rice.

7. Oils: I love keeping both Olive Oil and Coconut Oil. I use a little bit of olive oil in cooking chicken or to make quinoa a little creamy. I use coconut oil in baking. I also love using sesame oil when making Chinese or thai food.

8. Whole Wheat Flour: Whole wheat flour is awesome to use for baking. I used it this week to make whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat pizza crust and zucchini bread.
9. Diced Tomatoes: These are great to make a simple sauce. They are also good to help steam any vegetable. Make sure if you are purchasing these in a can though that you purchase the low sodium type. I's excited for my garden to ripen so that I can can a lot of the fresh ones.

10. Dried Fruit: These are great to add to oatmeal or salads. One word of caution is that they are more compact so make sure to watch you portion! Also they can contain a lot of sugar. So make sure when purchasing you get the varieties that have no added sugar.

 This is my top ten. What are other things that are in your pantry for clean eating that you consider must haves? This by all means isn't a comprehensive list. Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vacation and Clean Eating

With the summer rapidly coming to a close most families are trying to get in those last vacations before school starts. I've been getting many questions about how to plan for clean eating while on vacation and tips to share on packing before a trip.

So what are some of the must dos before going on any vacation if you want to stay on your clean eating plan.

1. Check out restaurant menus before you go out: Let's face it. The world today has many restaurant choices and many put their nutritional information on their website. Before you go out sit down with the menu and plan out what you are going to order. This will save you from sitting in a restaurant while you are hungry and trying to make a decision. In the end when you are hungry you will always pick the first thing that looks appealing to you on the menu and it probably won't be the most healthy.

2. Make sure you are eating many small meals a day: Instead of just eating three big meals (ie. breakfast, lunch and dinner) eat five to six small meals a day. Food is fuel. You never want your blood sugar to drop. Have you ever noticed that if you choose the Disney Dining Plan option they build in so many snacks per day. They do this so that they can keep you at the park longer as you will continue to feel good as blood sugar will remain consistent through out the day if you space these out. Most people will eat breakfast around 7, have a snack at 10, lunch around 12:30 or 1, snack at 4, and then dinner around 6 or 7.

3. Drink your water: One of the other big things is mistaking hunger for thirst. Doctors recommend that you drink have your body weight in ounces each day. This means that is you weigh 140 lbs you should be drinking 70 ounces of water each day. This is especially important if you are going somewhere hot and sunny where you will be sweating a lot. Make sure you increase your water intake even more in this case. Also if you are doing a lot more activity than you are used to up the water intake.

4. Carry snacks in your carry on or in a backpack/briefcase for when you cannot find a good choice: I remember being at conferences and there not being many good choices for snack food. You could pick up a hot soft pretzel or tacos or candy bars but nothing that was healthy. Pack some fruit from the breakfast buffet from the hotel in your back pack for later in the day. Purchase bags of nuts or bulk granola before you leave for you trip and place it in individual proportioned baggies for your entire trip. Another easy go to to put in your carry on is oatmeal. Just add water and you have a good meal.

5. Alcohol: With any conference trip and some fun trips you know you will be doing dinner with clients or friends. Skip the alcohol. This will just add additional empty calories. Really want a drink? Then use this as your cheat meal for the week.

6. Exercise: Plan what you are going to do for exercise before you leave. Maybe you take you laptop and DVDS and exercise in your hotel room or the hotel gym. Maybe you plan out a trail to run on. Just make sure if you are used to exercising you continue to exercise. You body and digestive system will thank you.

I hope that these tips help you as you plan your end of the summer vacations. I wish you all a great last few weeks of summer before school starts.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yoga With Phonics Review

Today I wanted to switch things up a little bit and do a review on a product that I purchased for A for Christmas in 2011. The product is called Yoga with Phonics:
At the time I was looking for something simple to do with her that: 1. would help her learn her letters and the sounds they made and 2. helped get us moving.

I found this DVD at Amazon ( The reviews were good soI order it. Little did I know that during the snowy winter months when it was too cold to go outside or on rainy days this would be something we'd do every day.

B and C will even walk downstairs after waking up and will see that it is raining out and will ask if we can play As yoga now.

Why I love this DVD? It is simple. It goes through all 26 letters of the alphabet. It starts with a basic stretch and breathing and then goes through the letters from A to Z. It shows the letter and tells the sound it makes. The consonants it has a catchy little tune putting the consonants with the vowels.
A in mountain

The yoga pose are easy enough for 2, 3 and 4 year olds to do, but some require practice. For example one is a tripod head stand. Another called the Eagle pose requires them to balance on one leg. Others require them to jump with two feet. Yet other require them to hop or balance on one foot.
A and C in bow pose
This is a great beginners yoga tape for kids. It gets them moving, teaches them their letters and the sounds they make and makes me laugh. It even has allowed them to do the Beachbody workout Piyo with me when I do it as they already know most of the moves just from doing this tape. I'd definitely recommend this to any one with small kids.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Workout and Pregnancy

One of the most common question I get lately is "Aren't you sad you lost all the weight just to gain it back?" I can honestly say I am not. I know that in April when I started this I was at 172. This wasn't my heaviest but I knew it wasn't healthy. I also knew that if I didn't control my weigh that I'd balloon back up to 210 where I started in January of 2012. I knew my energy level was low. I knew that I wasn't eating correctly and it was effecting my ability to play with my kids.

Yes over the last four months I lost 28 pounds. Yes I made it to my goal weight of 144. But now I am gaining weight, but for a very different reason. I am growing a little human being inside of me. One of God's miracles is forming right in my womb.
13 weeks today at the zoo

Over the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy I have managed to not gain a single pound. Yes I've missed a few workouts. Yes I've had a few splurge days with eating/cravings. But I know that I can jump right back onto my healthy lifestyle and feel the best I ever have. I know that over the next 27 weeks I will gain 25 or more pounds and I am OK with that. The outcome is worth it.

healthy pregnancy weight gain chart

I also know that my body shape it changing. Last night at the MOPS steering team meeting a friend pointed out that I was finally looking like I was pregnant. I have the start of a baby bump forming. This is so exciting!

I also know that gaining the weight isn't because I'm trying to drown myself in food. It isn't because I am eating because I'm stressed, bored, tired, or angry. I'm fueling my body with healthy items. I know I'm filling my stomach with foods that are good for my baby and not the crap I used to eat.
fullness of stomach with same calories of different foods
I also know that once the baby is born I will be able to lose the weight with some hard work and dedication. Because I've done it over the last four months I know that I can do it again. I know that I will be at my ultimate goal weight within six months of giving birth.
So am I upset to have lost the weight just to gain it back? Not at all! I started out in a healthy BMI this pregnancy and plan to have a healthy pregnancy the Lord willing.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

T25 Week 3 Review

What another awesome week we had here. This week I had a hard time fitting my workouts in. We had a packed schedule and many nights we were out of the house until later than usual so my bed time was all messed up. I still managed to hit play everyday. It didn't stop me, but some days it was a test of wills.

12 weeks pregnant and still going strong

On Monday I completed core cardio. While I was doing this workout I didn't think I was doing much of anything this week despite actually doing the moves more perfectly and more reps. However later in the evening my abs hurt so bad. I went to turn to take laundry from the washer to the dryer and my abs ached. It was a great ache. I love the feel of progress.

On Tuesday was upper fix. I can actually say I miss my weight training from the 21 Day Fix. While I have changed my body composition and still have managed to lose inches while on T25 I feel like my upper body strength isn't as great as it was with the 21 Day Fix.   That is why I love this work out. I love being able to use the weights. I bumped up my weights from last week. The hip ups that work on my triceps are my favorite.

On Wednesday was Speed 2.0. I love the repetitive nature of the workout. I love the rounds and how it repeats. I wish this workout was on the schedule more. This is the workout that makes me sweat the hardest.

On Thursday was Rip'T Circuit. I still am at a crossroads with this workout. I don't feel like it gives me a good of a workout as its alpha round partner Total Body Cardio. Maybe I need to master some of the moves or bump my weights up. We will see as in week 5 we get to do this workout three times.

On Friday I didn't do doubles. I just did Dynamic core. Every time we get tot he side planks I remember day 6 when trying to complete Dirty 30 from the 21 Day Fix and not being able to do this even in the modified position. Now it is easy! I cannot believe how far I've come in four months.

On Saturday was a rest day from T25, but was anything but rest. Brian was in an all day softball tournament. We traveled between two fields. It was a crazy day, but lots of fun. I even packed lunch and snacks so we didn't get too far off of track. I ended up falling asleep on the couch at 7:30, woke up enough to go to bed and then didn't wake up till almost 9 the next day. Yep I'm pregnant.

Yesterday was stretch. I did 21 Day Fix Yoga again. My ever expanding mid section is making certain balance moves from the T25 Stretch hard to do.

All in all it was a great week. Here is a look to week 5:
I'm not doing a meal plan this week. Brian may be taking a few days off which means we will head to the river. If we do then the order in which we eat things will change and it is easier to just have that flexibility built in from the beginning of the week. We've now been doing this for so long we don't really need the meal plan to tell us when and what to eat. Our bodies have definitely gotten use to the healthy food and the way we are eating.

Hope you have a blessed week.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stake our Tomato Plants

Our garden is getting so big. We've been eating the green beans and peas from it. We've also been eating the blueberries and strawberries everyday. The peppers are getting bigger. The tomato plants were getting huge and they needed staked.

Last year we purchased those round wire stakes. The plants got so heavy that they just collapsed. This year we decided to engineer something for ourselves.

Here is the basics of what we did.
First let me comment on how awesome my self watering planters are. Brian made these for me the first Mother's Day we were in this house. I absolutely love them. They don't need watered very often and keep the plants well watered from below.
We made a structure above the tomato plants. We used 2x1. We placed the main structure right down the center of the planter. Then we placed shorter 2x1s perpendicular to create crossbeams over the plants.
Next I used string with so flexible tape to string the plants up. We've been using this for a week now and it has been working awesome. The plants love having so much room to grow. Pus the flexible tape allows the plant to grow and we can just continue to stake up the new growth every week.

I cannot wait to have fresh tomatoes soon. We have many cherry tomatoes that are getting close. The romas need some time to get bigger. Our beefsteaks also need some more time to grow. We are praying for so hot sunny weather to allow all our produce to ripen.

What is your favorite thing to grow in your garden? Hope you all have a blessed day.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mexican Bean and Corn Salad

So I cannot seem to find a recipe for a bean and corn salad I like so I decided to combine a few and see what happened. The result was a yummy salad that the whole family enjoyed.
1 15 Oz Can Black Beans
1 15 Oz Can Cannellini Beans
1 15 Oz Can Kidney Beans
1 15 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes Drained
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
1 Orange Bell Pepper Diced
1/2 Med Red Onion Diced Finely
2 Cups Frozen Corn Rinsed with Cold Water and Drained
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Salt
3 Cloves Garlic Diced Finely
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro Roughly Chopped
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Chili Powder
Frank's Red Hot to Taste

1. Mix all ingredients
2. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

I could just eat the entire container of this. It is that good. I hope your family loves this easy summer salad as much as mine did. Have a blessed day readers.