Saturday, March 3, 2012

Falling off the Bandwagon.

BIG, FAT, BUMMER. The chocolate won. I made it through 2 days of my 21-day cleanse and the chocolate craving was so intense last night that the "one" tiny piece of chocolate turned into a handful of chocolate animal crackers (soooo tasty!) and before I knew it I had devoured several handfuls of those delicious little creatures that I had to wash it down with a big ol' glass of red wine, poured by dear hubby. Don't you hate it when that happens? He's my enabler! I'm disappointed in myself because I was doing so great. But man, this thing is tough. I got to thinking last night, and maybe I'm just not cut out for restrictive "diets" like I thought. Maybe I should work slowly at improving the small things in my diet, like cutting out sweets and adding more fruits/veggies, since we all know that diets don't work and the whole stinkin' point of this thing is to improve my overall lifestyle. But, hey, I'm human. I'm hoping that by sharing my struggles with others maybe some of you will be encouraged to get back up, brush yourself off, and start again. (Whoa, I'm having Aaliyah flashbacks!) The key is getting back up and not letting one small mistake lead to two or three, then soon you're back to your old unhealthy habits. So today, this moment, I'm starting over. Thanks to Aaliyah for the motivation. ;)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Resolutions Refresher: March is National Nutrition Month!

March 1st. Wow, where have the last 2 months gone?! I swear, between work-work (like, for-pay) and school-work (like, pay-for) I've been swamped. But I've recently gotten back on track to healthy eating, (okay, only this past week -- but we all start somewhere!)  and March 1st kicks off National Nutrition month (i.e. the perfect time to refresh your New Year's Resolutions if you've let them slide). I love me a fresh start, or two. :)

The theme of this year's National Nutrition Month hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is "Get Your Plate in Shape." I like the sound of that. 

So what's the easiest way to do that? Well, for starters, eat off a smaller plate. Seriously, this WORKS. Research shows that we're more likely to eat all the the food we serve ourselves (there's also something about eating of white dishes that makes food look more appealing so we eat more. But that's a post for a different day. I won't tell you to run out and buy all new dishes, unless you're Mrs. Deep-Pockets. In which case, send me a set too!) Anyway, Americans have a serious problem with the see-food diet. As in, we see food, we eat it. But this one trick actually helps you feel less deprived because you can load up your small plate and enjoy fewer calories. If you're hub is 6 feet somethin' and you're only 5'3" it makes no sense to eat the same amount he does, right? So start by swapping out your big dinner plates for that smaller salad plate and see what happens. If you're still hungry, have a piece of fruit or a second helping of veggies. I know this works because I've seen the results of people who have done it!

Another idea: Eat more greens. How much you ask? About 1/4 of your plate. Easy-peasy, right? Dark green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants (like vitamins A, C and K), fiber, and other phytonutrients that are essential to health. The recommendation is 5-9 servings of a combination of fruit and veggies per day, which sounds like a lot until you realize that a serving is as little as 1/2 cup cooked vegetables. Have you measured out a 1/2 cup broccoli lately? It's pretty dang small. I happen to LOOOOOVE broccoli. Try it with some squeezed lemon if you don't like the bitter taste, with a sprinkle of pepper. Or even try throwing some frozen broccoli or spinach in your favorite recipes. You honestly won't even know it's there. This is also a great tip for tricking  getting kids to eat more vegetables! A friend of mine recently told her 3 year old the "green specks" in her zucchini bread were peppermint flakes. Hey, whatever works. I know Green Smoothies are all the rage on the blogosphere right now, so why not hop on the Green bandwagon? Try blending 1/2 banana (frozen or fresh), 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 cup fresh spinach, and 1/2 cup low fat milk with a sprinkle of splenda or stevia for a tasty, nutritious breakfast. Trust me, you can't even taste the spinach. Cross my heart.

When I'm in a veggie rut, I always turn to the web to try something new. Allrecipes, and heck, even Pinterest have great ideas for new veggie recipes. I won't blab on and on about other ways to add more veggies, but I will maybe write another post dedicated to that. 

Just remember, March is National Nutrition Month! Where can you work to "Get Your Plate in Shape?"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3 Day Fruit Flush Part 4: Wrap it Up!

So I'm done with the 3 day Fruit Flush Diet Detox. Wow, that's a mouthful. AND, I'm 3.6 lbs lighter!!! I don't really want to share my stats with the world, but whatev. I started at 145.6 and ended at 142.0 this morning. I'm so excited, this is the lightest I've been since I had baby boy a year ago. I still have about 5 or so lbs to go to be back to my pre-baby weight, but I'm ecstatic. I know most of it is water weight, but without giving you TMI, the cleanse really, umm, cleansed... if you know what I mean.  I see most of the difference in my stomach, it's much flatter today. In fact, I liked the cleanse so much that I'm continuing on with a modified version of the Standard Process 21-day Cleanse!! OMG. Three days ago I never would have considered such a thing. In fact, a friend of mine just finished it and is getting ready to start another round because she liked it so much. I will be reviewing the Standard Process in upcoming posts, so look out for those!

Anyhoo, yesterday wasn't so bad either except that I was HUNGRY STARVING all day. I did actually cave and decided to start my modified version of Standard Process a day early so that I could have the salmon and salad I ordered for lunch yesterday. (Hey, I never claimed to be perfect). But I stuck to fruit the rest of day, and had steamed veggies plus 3 oz of chicken for dinner. This MAY have affected my results a little, but I don't care. I was HUNGRY. However, I was commenting to hub how much energy I had. I was surprised because I didn't get that afternoon slump I usually get, nor the massive sweets craving. I met with a partner to talk shop and ended up having a decaf coffee with cinnamon so that may have helped the sweet tooth part, but my energy was pretty stable the whole day. Impressive. 

Check back soon for a breakdown of how I will be modifying the strict Standard Process cleanse for a 21-day diet clean-up! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

3 Day Fruit Flush Part 3: Day 2 Review!

It's Monday. I'm so glad I started this thing on a Sunday. Next time I would recommend starting over a weekend so you only have to endure one day of torture  in the real world. :) Really though, it's not that bad. I woke up this morning and wasn't even hungry. I did feel slightly bloated but I think that's because I definitely did not drink all the recommended water yesterday in between my shakes. I was supposed to have 8 oz of water one hour after each shake, and as much as I wanted the rest of the day. But I didn't drink that much. Oops. 

I'm trying to keep this as interesting as possible for those of you who are following me, so this doesn't become a boring public food journal. But I figure if you're thinking about trying the Fruit Flush Detox, then it helps to see what someone else ate to give you a better idea of whether this might be something you want to try. 

Day 2 consists of one serving (about 100 calories worth) of fruit every 2 hours. Yesssss. I'm soooo happy to chew something today after yesterday's shake fiesta! Then dinner is the same as Day 1, a raw veggie salad with 3-6 oz of protein plus lemon/olive oil. The lemon+olive oil mixture is actually really good with some cracked pepper, kinda fresh tasting. Mmmm. I may just continue to use this in place of salad dressing in the future. 

Honestly, the hardest part so far is packing all my fruit for work since I work out of my car, plus I wouldn't call myself the most organized person on the planet. I don't have an office to go to where I can use the fridge, and there are certain fruits I can't STAND eating unless they're cold. Thank goodness I already tote an ice chest around for work, so I just crammed some fruit in there to keep it crisp. Shhhh, don't tell. 

Day 2 Diary
7:30 am: 1/2 cup (ish) fresh raspberries. I didn't even mind that I was making toast for hub and little guy. And trust me when I say this, my name is Stacy, and I'm a carboholic. Seriously. This was a big step for me. So proud! 

9:30 am: My lunch with a customer called to cancel and I must say I'm actually kinda glad. I'm not sure if I have the willpower to sit through lunch watching everyone else eat fried rice or enchiladas, or whatever other deliciousness I wouldn't be able have. It might make me want to jab their eyes out with chopsticks. So I devoured my 5 large strawberries in the privacy of my car. Yum.

11:30: Banana or apple, banana or apple? Oh my, the decisions are killing me. I went with the banana. Easier to eat on the road. Actually, they're both pretty easy. Note to self to pack more bananas and apples daily. 

1:30: 1 medium apple. This is when it started getting hard. I was reallllllly craving a cookie, or a pastry, or hell, even some peanut butter on my damn apple. I headed to sbux to get coffee for an office I was visiting, and opted for a hot herbal mint tea (decaf and no sweetener). Not sure if that's allowed, but I wanted it. 

4:00 pm: 1 small blood orange. By now, the massive sweets craving has passed. Funny, you would think that with all the fruit I'm eating I wouldn't want JUNK sugar. But I guess that's what eating too much toxic food for too long will do to you. 

6:30 pm: Same spinach salad as last night (red bells, carrots, cucumber, olive oil+lemon, cracked pepper), topped with one black bean burger. (BTW, I had never tried these frozen black bean burgers by Morningstar. Sooooo good.) I actually had a second one since I was kinda hungry and the rules called for a protein shake after dinner if needed. With 12 grams of protein each, I'm sure these qualify. ;) And after a quick calculation, my calorie intake for today was probably around 1000, even with the 2 black bean burgers. Pretty low. 

2/3 of the way there!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

3 Day Fruit Flush Part 2: Done with Day One!!

A couple things I forgot to mention in Part 1 were the items you're not supposed to consume during the 3 Day Fruit Flush Detox. Here they are: NO caffeine, NO sugar/sweeteners, NO dairy, NO grains, NO canned foods. I think the no caffeine rule may be the hardest part for me! I actually cheated already (I know, I KNOW) and had one cup of black coffee this morning before my first shake. The Fruit Flush also recommends not working out during the diet, but we'll see whether I adhere to that rule. Depends on how I feel as we get groovin'.

So today's menu looks something like this:

10:30 am - protein shake #1
12:30 pm - protein shake #2
2:30 pm - protein shake #3
4:30 pm- protein shake #4
6:30 pm - raw spinach salad (cucumbers, carrots, bell pepper) with chicken, avocado, lemon+olive oil 

Day 1 Fruit Flush Review
10:45 am: starting to get pretty hungry since I've been up for a couple hours working on homework blogging, and I already cheated with my one cup of black coffee. I usually drink it with a splenda so I did give up something I'm not supposed to be having! I really like these Body by Vi shakes that I get from my friend, Amy, so I'm using them as my "protein" shake, even though they are more of a meal replacement. I usually blend the powder with milk and fruit, or milk/juice or even just milk, so mixing with water was quite a change for me. To be honest, I stuck the whole glass in the fridge for a few minutes to chill after I took the first sip because I knew I couldn't drink it at room temp. Then I added ice cubes. It was actually not bad. Anyhoo, first shake down and I'm back to  finishing a paper for my masters program. Better get crackin' because hub will be on his way home with the little guy in a couple hours and I want this shiz done so I can spend some time with my boys!

1:00 pm: Time to have another shake. I'm actually pretty darn hungry right now, mixing those Vi Shakes with water just ain't cuttin' it. But it's one day. I can DO THIS. I just made the shake with ice cubes this time, I was too hungry to stick it the fridge to chill. Now I'm off to down 2 huge glasses of water to see if that helps curb my appetite. I've consumed only 180 calories the whole day so far! :/ Looks like I probably won't be working out today. Thank goodness I have this paper I'm working on to keep me distracted. And I think I'm getting a headache. 

3:00 pm: Actually it was about 3:15 before I remembered it was time for a shake. I am hungry though, and Shake 3 is not nearly as exciting. I was pretty tempted to sneak just one teensy piece of fruit. But I didn't! I'm pretty amazed at my self-control. BTW, my belly never looks this flat in the afternoon, just sayin. 

5:00 pm: Hub and little guy are on their way home! So excited to see them. I may pass on this shake and go straight to dinner. I'm over the shakes. 

6:30 pm: Decided to get a workout in, that's what The Firm Express does to you! It's so fast, and so effective, you can't make up any excuses. Even I have 20 minutes. 

7:00 pm: OMG. I've never been so excited to eat a salad in my life. I was too lazy to grill a chicken breast so I just plopped some tuna on my spinach, carrots, red bells, cucumber, then spritzed some olive oil with my Misto. Add a drizzle of lemon, and viola! Delish. Seriously, though, I'm not even that hungry. Weird. 

Hey, I'm 1/3 of the way through this thing. I got this. 

The Firm Express: Review of Cycle 1 - Ignite

(Video courtesy of YouTube: this is 10 minute "Pump it Up")

This past week I started The Firm Express: Get Thin in 30. I have used The Firm for YEARS as a great strength and cardio home workout (hello, fanny lifter!) but haven't really used them much since their newer stuff came out. I know this isn't a brand new workout, but I finally got around to buying it. I have dabbled with Zumba (super fun, but I don't think it would change my body that much, plus I'm just not a dancy-dance person). I've tried Insanity and quit after a week because it was just too dang hard at this point in my fitness and I really wasn't enjoying it. If there's one thing I've learned about myself since becoming a mom a year ago, it's that if I have 30 minutes to an hour of ME time, I better dang well be doing something I enjoy! Hence the reason I'm not running anymore either. I've always had a love/hate relationship with running, and right now it's more on the hate side. Not because it's hard, but because it's soooo....freaking....boring. Which is why I ultimately bought myself The Firm Express. Actually, hubby kinda convinced me when he said, "Why don't you do your Firm videos, those always worked for you?" So OF COURSE, I had to rush off and buy the new (short!) ones, which I'm loving. 

The Firm Express workout is based on a 30 day rotation of 12 videos (3 each week) for 4 weeks, plus an additional 10 minute Pump it Up video that has a cardio segment and an abs segment. So you really only work out 3 days per week on the beginner rotation (which I'm following to ease into it). The new workouts are based on HIIT with 8 seconds of "bursts" followed by 12 seconds of recovery. When I was doing my research on this, I was like, "8 seconds? Bah. That can't work." But then I watched some of their new workouts on YouTube and thought, "Wow, those 8 seconds look like a good workout." After trying the first few videos in the rotation, called the Ignite Cycle, which includes a Cycle 1 Sculpt, Cycle 1 Cardio, and Cycle 1 Cardio+Sculpt (all in 20 minutes!) I have been very impressed. As a longtime Firm user, I haven't had much trouble following the moves (super targeted cueing and efficient non-dancy moves, which I appreciate). However, I know some reviews have stated that if you're new to The Firm you might find the instructors move too quickly through the steps to get a grasp of them. But I love the fresh look of the set, the super fit instructors who cue well, and the combination of strength/cardio/plyometrics. I am not one to go to the gym to do weights on a machine or prance around in front of a bunch of sweaty dudes, so I've always liked The Firm's classic approach to weights and cardio. 

The 10-minute "Pump it Up" DVD is a great enhancement to add additional (hard!) minutes to your workout (check out the clip above). I got a VERY good workout by adding it the Sculpt DVD, and was sore for 2 days! 

My only concern with jumping into weights again while still having a few pounds (5-10) to lose is that I may build muscle before I burn the fat off, but we'll see what happens. I plan to upgrade to the Beginner 2 rotation I found on Facebook, or just add an extra day or two of the straight cardio DVD when I feel ready. 

Check back next week for my review of Cycle 2: Accelerate!

3 Day Fruit Flush Part 1: Will I Survive?

A couple years ago I stumbled upon Jay Robb's 3-Day Fruit Flush Cleanse, that supposedly allows you to lose up to 9 pounds in just 3 days! I've never been able to commit to any sort of restrictive diet (with the exception of the 2 weeks I tried Atkins back in 2002), so I thought 3 days might be doable. Most cleanses I've read about are long (21 days! Who am I kidding?) or extremely restrictive (lemonade for 2 weeks?!). But with the Fruit Flush I get to eat fruit for 3 days and lose weight? Let's give this thing a shot. 

I decided to give it a try because I just recently recommitted to working out again with the Firm Express, who offers a 4 day diet kick-start, but I wanted more of a cleanse than just a jump-start on my diet. I know how to eat for health and weight loss, it's just a matter of committing to it. I felt the need for a cleanse of toxins and impurities to really prepare me for a diet overhaul. 

The interesting thing about the 3 Day Fruit Flush is that Jay Robb touts it as a cleanse you can do once a week for 12 weeks, or 1-2 times a month, forever. I like the idea of incorporating a healthy cleanse into my lifestyle on a regular basis, or for those times I need a tune-up. The other thing that sold me on the Fruit Flush is the fact that you do get to consume one meal of raw veggies and protein (!) on days 2 and 3, so you can spare your body's lean muscle mass during the cleanse. Read on for details!

3 Day Fruit Flush Basics:
You can go to Jay Robb's website to download a $5 e-book (or hard copy) of the Fruit Flush "rules." It's an easy read, about 50 pages, that explains his theory behind the flush, including improvements in skin, attitude, and weight loss in just 3 days. (We'll see about that Mr. Robb). But it is cheaper than that bottle of Cab I'll be giving up, so here we go. Basically, day one is protein shakes every 2 hours (a total of 4) followed by a dinner of raw veggies (as much as you like!) plus a protein of your choice, with a little lemon and olive oil. I can totally do this. Days 2 and 3 consist of one serving of fruits every 2 hours, followed by the same dinner of raw veggies plus protein. How bad can it be?

Fruit Flush Shopping List
So with my list in hand, off to the grocery store I went to stock up on fruits and veggies. The challenging part for me is that I eat lunch out with customers almost EVERY day, so it might be kind of odd that I'm passing up a meal for fruit. Oh well, it's only 3 days. All the more reason to be prepared. Here's my list:

bananas (yum!)
red bell pepper
oranges (blah)
tomato (yuck)

This isn't sounding so bad, right?

The only things I didn't need to buy were olive oil and protein powder. Robb recommends using organic everything, plus a protein powder that doesn't contain any additives like sucralose, casein, etc. but I was not about to buy a new protein powder for 3 days. So I went with my Body by Vi shakes (love them -- as much as one can love protein shakes) and whatever olive oil I had on hand. I also didn't buy organic produce because I don't feel the benefits outweigh the cost (my hub works in the ag industry and this is a heated topic in our home), but you can certainly do all-organic if you choose. 

Stay tuned for my daily reviews in Part 2 and Part 3, I have high hopes!