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!

Inward Development

I had a rough day at work today due to a conflict with a coworker. I left work really worked up and upset. When I got home I wanted to just sit on the couch with a glass of wine and veg out in order to let go of that emotional turmoil from work.

But then I thought about this 21 Day Fix program I am doing and how I’m only on Day 8. And the thought of quitting and not making it to day 21 got my competitive juices revving, so I got up and forced myself to do the workout.  Now that I’m done, I definitely feel better, but I still couldn’t get the issues from the day at work out of my mind. So I spent a few minutes reflecting on why I was so upset. And this led my mind to remember a situation from over 10 years ago when I also had an issue with a co-worker. I remembered that I had been reading a book back then that helped me deal with that issue. So I went to the bookshelf and pulled out the book.

The book is “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle. One of the big ideas from the book is the issue of our egos which is our identification with ourselves or as he puts it “the illusory sense of self” (p.27). He goes on to talk about how that voice in our head is what we identify with as who we are, which includes the “incessant steam of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it” (p. 59). His claim is that we have to be aware of this thinking and not be “unconscious” in order to awaken to our life’s purpose.

The section that I needed today was on Complaining and Resentment. Tolle says, “Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in” (p. 61). When this complaining has to do with other people, you then apply negative labels to them, which is your ego’s need to be right. Resentment is the emotion that goes along with complaining. The same is true coming from the person you are in conflict with and you therefore see their ego as their identity. He says non-reaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways of going beyond the ego in yourself and recognizing someone’s behavior as coming from the ego. When this happens you realize that it’s not personal and your compulsion to react will no longer be there. Another person will “become an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego” (p. 63).

Rereading this section of the book, helped me get over the conflict of the day and let go of my personal feelings. I was able to step back and realize that it’s not me, that it is the co-workers ego. And now I’m not going to waste another minute of my life dwelling on it.

I guess the overall message in this post that I’m hoping to convey is that a huge part of living a happy, healthy and active life is that inward personal development. I don’t think very many people ever truly master that inner junk, but you have to keep working on it and not giving up on it just the same as you do for the physical stuff.

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

21 Day Fix

Day One of the 21 Day Fix is in the books! Feeling super motivated to crush these 21 days!

The workout was harder than I expected with some movements that I’ve never really done before with weights, so that was great to be working muscles in different and new ways. I burned 304 calories during the 30 minutes, which is just under the 340 I burned yesterday in 30 minutes doing a 2 mile run with a walking cool down. During the workout the time didn’t feel like it was dragging so that is always a plus when working out.

My food felt a little off because I’m still waiting for the color coordinated portion containers to arrive in the mail, so I had to do some guessing on portion sizes. I felt like I hardly ate anything, but still was really full all day. My eating is also a little off because I’m on Spring Break this week and getting up later than usual which means I ate my first meal later than I would on a work day.

I’m excited to have a program with structure to follow. I’ve done well in the past with structured programs, so I hope to be able to eventually turn this into a way of life.

Next Chapter

File_000

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:

Journaling

journal

I have kept a daily journal consistently since 2006. Each year I buy a planner/calendar and record stuff. What I record has varied over the years: workouts, calorie counts, water and alcohol consumption, books read, or I just wrote about feelings and events like you would in a diary. Some years I have been really consistent in writing or recording every day and some years I haven’t done as well.

I recently spent some time going back through my journals and I was able to pull some data from them. Looking over the yearly data I was able to identify patterns. Every year for the past 11 years, January has been my most consistent month for working out as well as the hardest month for me at work. 2012 was my best year of working out and the last two years (15 & 16) have been two of my three worst years for working out.

In my last post I mentioned an article about 18 Habits of Highly Successful People and interestingly enough, habit #2 is journaling. This article cites research that says a recent study showed that journaling about thoughts and feelings helped college students deal with stressful situations. Personally I feel that journaling is like venting. I often feel better after getting my thoughts and emotions out on paper. After journaling, I can then let those feelings go and move on to other things.

If you Google “journaling” tons of great resources will come up. I found an article The Health Benefits of Journaling that also cites research that shows health benefits from journaling such as strengthening immune cells and decreasing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Also in this day and age, there are TONS of unique and cool journals that you can buy to make journal easier and more fun. While I just use a regular At-a-Glance Monthly/Weekly planner from Staples, I have family members who use Start Planners or Erin Condren Planners. Or you could do something with a word processing program like GoogleDocs or Microsoft Word. There really is something for everybody out there. And I’m sure there are even journal apps available!

So if you’ve never tried journaling, I highly recommend it! I have found that it can actually be kind of addictive to want to write down good things every day!

Self-Talk

thoughtsinhead

Everywhere you look in the self-help world you hear a lot about the “talk” or “voices” in your head. There are all kinds of strategies and books out there that attempt to help you get that noise in your head under control. In a previous post I’ve mentioned how using mantras has helped me in the past.

Today I read an article called 18 Habits of Highly Successful People by Shana Lebowitz. The very first habit listed is “They Talk to Themselves,” but it was not what I expected. Apparently there is research that says when you talk to yourself you should use the third-person instead of the first-person. So rather than saying to yourself “I can do this!” you should say “Jenny (or insert your own name), you can do this!” The research shows that talking to yourself in this way can reduce stress or help you see stressful situations as challenging instead of stressful.

When I first read this and thought about addressing myself in the third-person, I almost laughed. Seems so silly to talk to yourself that way! But being on the never ending quest of finding ways to improve my life, I decided to have an open mind and give it a try. Keep in mind that I’ve only tried this for one day so far, but after one day I didn’t see or feel a difference as a result of talking to myself in this new way. As I found myself struggling with various issues today, I used the new talk with my mantras. I don’t feel that the refocus I gained from the mantras was any different than it would have been had I still been using the first-person. I used two mantras today and the first one was already in the third-person: “Focus on how you want to feel.” And the second one was: “I can and I will” which became “You can and you will.” With the one I changed, I felt like it actually lost that self-empowering and determined feel that it has in it’s original version.

So in conclusion, I will continue to try this different way of talking to myself because I know just one day of trying something isn’t enough. And I look forward to investigating the other 17 habits of highly successful people from the article.

 

Research Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/talk-to-yourself-to-deal-with-stress-2015-6

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-should-talk-to-yourself-more-2014-7

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!