21

I’ve done a lot of different workout & eating programs over the years and when someone asks me, “Which one works?” the honest answer is whichever one you stick to!

I am so in love with this 21 Day Fix program that I feel I have to shout it from the rooftops! So here are 21 reasons why I love it so much:

1- The eating plan is so easy. In the past I’ve spent hours calculating calories of fats, carbs, and proteins, and adding up daily amounts. With this program you do two simple math problems to figure out your calorie range and then look at the chart to see how much of each type of food you can eat in a day.

2- Measuring portions is easy because you simply fill the little plastic containers that are color-coded for each food type.

3- I can follow the food plan and still eat a Paleo-ish diet. Or if someone was a vegetarian, they can still easily follow the food plan.

4- The program also has you drink a protein shake called Shakeology as one of your meals or snacks. I’ve been drinking chocolate and it is a great replacement for a sugary treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

5- You don’t have to give up all sweats and alcohol. You can save up container portions to have a treat or drink every once in awhile.

6- You are not food deprived on this eating plan. There are days where I can’t even get in everything I am supposed to eat.

7- There is an app where you can track your daily intake of food, water, and also your workouts.

8- The workouts are varied every day so you don’t get tired of doing the same ones over and over again.

9- The workouts are all only 30 minutes long. I often dread long workouts, but with these, the time flies by!

10- The workouts are easily to modify. During this past 21 days I’ve fought plantar fasciitis and I also tweaked my old knee injury and I was still able to do something every day.

11- I can do the workouts in the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to spend time driving to a gym or working around a gym class time that doesn’t fit my schedule.

12- Working out at home also means I can wear whatever I want and not worry about what anyone else thinks.

13- The trainer who leads the workouts, Autumn Calabrese, isn’t annoying and doesn’t crack lame jokes. Nothing is worse than a video workout where you have to hear the same dumb stuff said over and over again every time you do the workout.

14- The cost is reasonable. It’s the same price as a yearly membership at a gym like Planet Fitness and the same price as I was paying for one month of Crossfit.

15- The Beachbody on Demand means I can stream it anywhere on any device so I can even do a workout in a hotel room when we are on a trip.

16- The Beachbody on Demand also can give you access to all the other Beachbody workout programs so you can switch it up after the first 21 days.

17- Doing the 21 days in a challenge group means support from a coach as well as camaraderie and encouragement from other challengers who are going through the same program at the same time.

18- The challenge group also helps keep you accountable. You have to login every day and post that you did a workout and drank your shakeology.

19- There is a plethora of resources out there on Youtube, Social Media, and the Beachbody website that can support you.

20- I saw results quickly. I’ve slowly gained 10 pounds over the last 3 years, and in 21 days, I lost 5 of the 10 I have to lose. That’s HALF!

21- That fact that it’s only 21 days that you are committing to seems doable and doesn’t seem daunting.

I’m going to do the 21 day fix program soon and will be starting my challenge group. If you are interested in joining, please let me know!

Water

My family and friends know that 95% of the time I have a water bottle with me. There are two reasons for my obsession with water: 1- I am pretty much always feeling thirsty; 2- I’ve read so many different things over the years that talk about how important it is to consume water. Apparently the excessive intake of liquids in a compulsive manner is known by the name potomania, however, I don’t think I’m at the excessive point.

Interestingly, a study was done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013 in which they analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s 2007 Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey. Out of a sample of 3,397 adults, the researchers found the following:

  • 7 percent of adults reported no daily consumption of drinking water
  • 36 percent of adults reported drinking 1-3 cups of drinking water a day
  • 35 percent of adults reported drinking 4-7 cups of drinking water a day
  • 22 percent of adults reported drinking 8 cups or more a day

(Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php)

This study only measured the intake of pure water and did not include fluids gained from other beverages. The low percentages causes me to draw the conclusion that most people are drinking other beverages rather than water.

If you search the internet you will find a plethora of webpages with list of numerous reasons to drink water. I found a list on WebMD that I feel covers the basics:

  1. Drinking water helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body.
  2. Water can help control calories.
  3. Water helps energize muscles.
  4. Water helps keep skin looking good.
  5. Water helps your kidneys.
  6. Water helps maintain normal bowel function.

For anyone who is interested, I am going to be starting a 5 Day Water Challenge Group on Facebook. What is a water challenge? For 5 days everyone in the group will be focusing on HYDRATION. That means we’ll be drinking 1/2 our body weight in ounces of water each day. I know, it sounds like a lot – BUT its actually the perfect amount we should be drinking each day to stay hydrated!

I’ll be sharing some tips and knowledge each day. It’s the job of the group members to drink their daily allotment of water, share any tips with the group and check in with how they did for the day.

The Challenge will start on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Click Here to find the Facebook Group. More details will be added to the group over the weekend! I hope to see lots of people joining the challenge!

Food

I saw a quote somewhere once that said something about being fit is 20% working out and 80% what you eat. I agree with that idea because when I was a member of a Crossfit gym I witnessed people who came and worked hard every day for years, but still looked the same as they did when they first started. This is all due to diet. I’m not talking about those unhealthy fad diets, but your daily diet or what I will call it from here on out: your eating plan. What do you eat every day?

I’ve followed many different programs in my life when it comes to eating plans from vegetarian to Paleo to eating clean to following a created plan from a book. The one thing I’ve discovered is the same in all these plans is don’t eat junk food and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The same is true for the Beachbody eating plans.

The other thing that is the same is that you need to plan ahead in order to be successful. First, get that junk food out of your house! If you don’t buy you can’t eat it! I used to buy Oreos for a treat for my kids because I dislike Oreos and knew I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. Another critical component of the plan is to have a plan: what are you going to eat for each meal each day of the upcoming week. I tend to eat the same thing every day for a week when it comes to lunches and snacks and have variety in my breakfasts and dinners.

If you are just trying to be healthier, cutting out junk and limiting sugar should be enough, but if you are trying to lose weight then you need to consider portion sizes and cutting out calories. I’ve spent many years of my life diligently counting calories, sometimes even breaking down each food item into calories by carbs, fats, and proteins. Beachbody makes portion control super easy. Those little, plastic, color-coded containers (see photo above) take away all the time consuming math. You still have to do a little bit of math in the beginning to figure out your calorie range and how many of each container you are eating each day, but that is nothing compared to what I used to do.

With all that said, the hardest part of eating healthy is you have to cook. Junk and processed foods are easy to grab and eat, but healthy food that is good for you takes prep and cooking. I wish I had a personal chef, that would make eating right super easy, but like most people I don’t. So it has to become a priority. We won’t be perfect at it all the time, but it needs to be a constant effort to stay on track.

For more tips on food visit this Beachbody blog:  https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/10-tips-to-make-meal-prep-easier

Or my Beachbody website: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/sportymom33

Next Chapter

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I originally started this blog as a way to motivate myself. As you can see from the lack of posts, that didn’t work out so well. I’ve still not given up on my quest to live a happy, healthy and active lifestyle, and therefore I’ve been looking for a new direction.

Over the course of my adult life I’ve been a runner, training for 5Ks and 10Ks, and a triathlete, training for Sprint and Olympic distance races. I’ve gone to a mega-gym and had a personal trainer where I would do days of strength training and days of cardio. I’ve purchased various workout DVDs and the eating plans that come with those. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I own countless books on fitness and healthy eating. And I even joined a Crossfit gym for about a year and a half. All of these things have been great and following them have helped me to not be overweight and sick.

So now, six months after starting this blog and floundering with my fitness and eating habits, I’m making a change. Tomorrow, April 25, 2017, I’m starting the 21 Day Fix program from Beachbody. I’m going to follow both the workout and eating plans and document my journey on social media as well as this blog. I’m also going to start being a Beachbody Coach so I will also be posting things to help inspire others on their own journeys.

Below are links to my Beachbody pages:

New Year

2017

The end of a year and the beginning of a new one is always a good time of year for me. I often spend a lot of time reflecting on the year that is ending and setting goals and making plans for the new year ahead. The fact that my birthday is just a few days before the new year also helps me reflect as I face turning another year older.

2016 was not a great year for me regarding fitness and health. I dealt with several health issues including hormonal issues (aka early menopause), early stage cancer cells that needed to be surgically removed, acid reflux problems, and depression. With fitness, I only worked out 122 days of the year. This was better than the 87 days I worked out in 2015, but I also blew out my ACL in 2015, so this past year should have been better than it was. I also only read 12 books in 2016. I also had my first experience with the “empty nest” syndrome as 2 of my 3 kids were off at college and the high schooler left at home required little of me. Having been a mom since I was 20 years old, I’ve now been struggling with what to do with my free time, which is compounded by depression and being unhappy in my job.

So, as this new year approaches I have several plans/goals:

  • take classes to learn new skills for a future career change
  • use mindfulness strategies to help me cope with work
  • spend time developing hobbies instead of doing mindless, time-sucking stuff on technology (games like candy crush & social media)
  • do something active every day
  • eat less processed foods
  • read 30 books
  • blog 3 times a week or more

So there it is…in writing and on the Internet. All goals worthy of my big life goal of living an active and healthy lifestyle! Happy New Year!

Time

time

Time…the age old issue: never having enough of it! 8 hours a day at work and 8 hours a day sleeping. That leaves me with 8 hours a day for everything else I need to do or want to do. That seems like a lot of time, why doesn’t if feel like a lot of time? Maybe I need to narrow it down more. So of my free 8 hours I use 3 and a half hours preparing meals, eating, getting ready for work, hygiene, and daily chores like dishes. So that leaves me with 4 and a half hours. I use 1 hour for working out, more if I travel to the gym, and a minimum of 30 minutes hanging out with my family. So I end up with 3 hours, which still seems like a lot, but doesn’t feel like it. Weekends would be a whole separate calculation, so I’m just going to focus on week days for now because that is the majority of my life. And I don’t want to “live for the weekend”. I want to find ways to enjoy the weekdays.

So the question I am dealing with right now, is how do I maximize my 3 hours a day to do things I want to do and enjoy doing, so that I fill like I’m living a fulfilled life? So the first thing I did was make a list of things I want to do. Then I paid attention to what I actually do with my time. I found that my phone, with the draw of social media, email, news, and mindless video games, was a huge time suck. Not hours at a time, but minutes here and there that add up. I’ve also discovered that if I look at my phone right before bed, I get sucked into something and end up wasting sleep time by staying up too late on the phone. I noticed that when my husband turns on the TV, I often get sucked into going and sitting with him, even though I have no interest in watching whatever he’s watching.

After this reflective work, I decided to create a plan for myself, with a schedule of sorts to make sure I was doing the things I wanted to do each day. First, when I’m at home after work, I am going to treat my phone as a phone and leave it in the bedroom, where I can hear it if it rings, but I have to walk purposefully into the room to check something else on it. By not having it constantly by my side, I’ll be less likely to pick it up and get sucked into wasting time. When you search time management on the internet, you will see over and over again the idea of a schedule. So my schedule isn’t going to be time bound, but more of an outline of what activity from my list I’m going to do each day. I should be able to spend an hour a day doing an activity and still have time to read and blog, which are also activities I want to do daily.

So that’s the plan going forward for this aspect of my life as I continue to try to live a happy, healthy and active lifestyle!

Books

books

Hi my name is Jenny and I’m a book-oholic. I have bookshelves and bookcases filled with books. Some books I’ve read, but most are books I haven’t read yet. Most of the books I buy at a second hand store, but sometimes I hear about a new book and I have to have it, so Amazon Prime comes in really handy to get it in my hands quickly. I recently did just that, but wasn’t quite finished with the book I was currently reading, so I went to put the new book on the shelf with all my other self-help/health/fitness related books. As you can see from the photo above I have a few. I’ve already read eight of them and two of them I’ve read twice.

I love these kinds of books because they help me to stay focused on my journey. Even though every book is slightly different, they all have the same overall message. Reading books like these all the time is a constant reminder of the things I need to do to live the happy, healthy, and active lifestyle that I want. If anyone reading this has any suggestions on books, please leave the title in the comments. My next read is the new one, No Sweat, which is about the science behind motivation. I can’t wait to get started!

Sugar

sugar

One of my co-workers once told me, “Sugar is the anti-christ.” And I would have to agree! I completely eliminated sugar from my diet when I was in my Paleo phase. For those who don’t know about paleo, the idea is to eat primarily meats and vegetables, and a little fruit. The claim is that our body basically sees processed grains the same as it sees sugar and uses it the same way as well. I was very strict on Paleo for about 60 days and I would read every label and not buy anything with sugar. I even bought a sugar-free ketchup which was also all natural and organic, and it wasn’t half bad (although my kids wouldn’t agree with me). Since then I still greatly limit my sugar consumption, but I’m not as strict and I allow myself an occasional indulgence.

I really feel that the most important thing I gained from the Paleo phase was the firsthand knowledge about the evilness of sugar. Since then I’ve read or watched things that support this claim. There was even one study done, I believe at UC Davis, where they did MRI’s on the brains of people who had just drank a sugary drink and the MRI showed that the brain’s pleasure center lights up the same for sugar or cocaine. That blows my mind! And that’s just one example of the many crazy things scientists are discovering about sugar.

So what can you do to reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet? I know this sounds crazy, but when I was strict Paleo for 60 days, I got to the point where I didn’t crave it anymore. It was like I detoxed my system of it and didn’t want it anymore. Even now when I don’t eat much sugar and I have something sweet, I really don’t enjoy it. It just tastes TOO sweet (definitely not something I thought I would ever say!)

So the first thing I recommend is you’ve got to find a way to stay motivated, so search online for articles about how bad sugar is and also read firsthand experiences of people who have eliminated sugar. The stories of how they feel are almost unbelievable. I follow a page on Facebook called Sugar is Killing Us, which is great because their reminders just pop up in my feed. Second, when you go to the grocery store, DON’T BUY IT! If it’s not in the house you can’t eat it. Avoid the inner isles and read every label. Have kids and don’t want to completely deprive them of a sweet treat once in awhile? Then buy something for them that you don’t like. I used to always buy my kids Oreos because I did not like them so I was then never tempted to eat one. Next, skip dessert, pretty much always. I know that’s a sad thought, but it really is just an extravagance that most of us really just don’t need, not for the sugar and not for the extra calories either. I usually allow myself to have cake on my birthday and then only on a handful of other holidays per year. That’s it. It’s hard to sit and watch everyone else indulge, but that’s where the mental toughness comes in. Use a mantra (see my previous post about mantras), excuse yourself for a bathroom break, or have a piece of fruit. It’s amazing how sweet and delicious fruit tastes when you aren’t eating any sugar. There are even books and programs out there that give you an exact program to follow.

I don’t know who this quote belongs to, but I love it: “Sugar? No thanks, I’m sweet enough already.”