Sunday, September 6, 2015

21 Day Fix Extreme and Shakeology

Over the last few years, I've started to learn a lot about Beachbody.  You've heard of it as they are the company behind P90x and Tony Horton.  That's all I knew at first.  But then I started to hear about Shakeology.

I don't remember why, but I decided to try it back in 2013.  Possibly from reading reviews?  Maybe wanting my P90x results to be better?  Anyways, I bought a month's supply of the Vegan Strawberry.  It was the most disgusting thing I ever tasted.  It was like drinking amoxicillin.  I choked down every last spoonful of that bag because it was so expensive (over $100 for the shakes!).  I seriously drank it over the sink each day in case I puked.

With the rise of social media on Facebook, I started to hear about Beachbody's 21 Day Fix and "new and improved!" tastes of Shakeology.  Not only updated flavors, but also, in addition to the vitamins and minerals in Shakeology, they added probiotics and digestive track cleanser (yup, makes you poop!).

It seemed Beachbody coaches came out of the woodwork.  People at work, people at church, friends of friends.  I'd get random messages in my Facebook account of people asking if I'd like to try Shakeology.  I tried quite a few (vegan chocolate, regular chocolate, vanilla) and they were SO much better than before.  Not the most tasty of choices, but not bad.

In the past year, I joined a couple of summer weight loss Facebook groups, which, at the time, I did not realize where being run by Beachbody coaches.  I grew tired of hearing them tell us how great Shakeology was.  How it curbed their cravings and how they felt amazing.  But the groups were very helpful with giving ideas for exercise or meal plans, so I stayed in them, bypassing the propaganda.

Finally, I got to the point that I heard so much about the 21 Day Fix program that I had to check it out.  People I knew were losing (and keeping off) 15 lbs in 21 days.  Last month, they were doing a promotion that I could get the 21 Day Fix program (workouts, pamphlets, recipe books) for $19.99 with the purchase of Shakeology.  It seemed like a good deal.

I'm a huge Jillian Michaels fan and just completed her 8 week program called Body Shred.  It took me 12 weeks to complete (yes, life happens) and I did not follow her meal plan, and I lost 9 lbs and several inches.  It gave me biceps and calf muscles!  I would highly recommend it.
But I digress, the 21 Day Fix program didn't seem like enough for me.  If I could get my butt kicked for 8 weeks by Jillian, I could do any workout video. That's when I saw the 21 day fix extreme. I watched those videos and I knew I could do them because all of the moves I had seen before in Jillian's workouts.  I knew this was the right one for me.

I splurged and ordered it.
Side note: I was very disappointed with their checkout process (had to submit my order twice to get it to go through and countless times I had to try to submit it) and wrongfully sent "Your items have shipped!" e-mails (three days after that, I got another e-mail saying "Your items will ship soon."  whaaa?!).

The 21 Day Fix Extreme consists of two parts: Shakeology, clean eating diet and the workouts.

I started the Shakeology right away because I was excited to see what it would do.  I should not have taken it a few hours before volleyball, because my stomach was making some WIERD noises while we were playing!  The next day, I got a headache and started to feel funny (like my head was fuzzy, I got a rash on my face (!) and I was tired).  I kept up with it for a few days and I didn't seem to be getting any better.  I wasn't sure if it was the shake mix or if I was getting sick.  I took the Shakeology roughly 7 times over a week and a half, but decided to go three days without and see if I felt better.  I do think I ended up with a cold (runny nose, scratchy throat) so they were possibly related.  Tomorrow, I'm going to try to add Shakeology again (a friend just recommended to me to try half a scoop).

The Workouts
As I mentioned above, I've been working out with the 'tv's toughest trainer' (aka Jillian Michaels) so the first couple of Autumn Calabrese's videos weren't too bad.  She gives you breaks for water!  And tells you it's ok to march in place for just a few seconds!  This was awesome!  Don't get me wrong.  This is no joke, but she is realistic.  I laughed my way through the Extreme Yoga workout (my kids were constantly saying "Mom, you're doing it wrong."  "Mom, you aren't doing anything like they are."). Yoga is not for me.

Clean Eating Diet
I started this a few days before the exercises (with the cold, I wasn't up for exercising quite yet).  It took me about 4 hours to come up with 3 days of recipes!!  My husband joked that it would take me 21 days to finally get the recipes.  It was tough.  Thanks goodness for the internet!  I started a Pinterest page with recipes and good 21 Day Fix websites. There is so much out there!
I was coming off a 3 week sugar bender.  I had many days in that 3 weeks of over 3,000 calorie days. I was seriously out of control.  I didn't know what to do and this seemed like the best fix.

Day 1: August 31st (following 21 Day Fix diet to a T; no workout; Shakeology)
Day 2: September 1st (following 21 Day Fix diet...more leeway; played volleyball instead of workout; Shakeology) Down 3.4 lbs after 1 day.  Crazy!!  This should have made me want to keep sticking to the plan 100%, but instead made me think it was ok for that glass of wine and potato a restaurant...and it was two glasses of wine.  21 Day Extreme Turkey Chili is DELICIOUS!
Day 3: September 2nd (following 21 Day Fix diet...much more leeway; no workout, Shakeology) Down 1.4 from yesterday.  Holy cow!!  This was amazing!  Ended up eating a hot fudge sundae...but followed the rest of the eating plan 100%
Day 4: September 3rd (following 95% 21 Day Fix diet; Lower Body Extreme workout; Shakeology) Down 1 lb.  I count a reese's peanut butter cup as the reason I'm down 5%.
Day 5: September 4th (following 95% 21 Day Fix diet; Cardio Fix Extreme and 2 mile jog; no Shakeology)   At this point, it's been 4 (complete) days and I'm down 7.4 lbs!  AMAZING!  It's an eye opener of what all the processed stuff causes your body to hang on to.  All of this 7.4 lbs is salt and toxins that got cleared away in just 5 days!  Stupid peanut butter cups.
Day 6: September 5th (following 40% 21 Day Fix diet; ran 4 miles; no Shakeology) Weight was maintained.  I was wondering when it was going to stop dropping so drastically.  Problem today is that I have a pool party to go to and there are lots of desserts.  I resisted for a WHOLE hour before digging in.   What a calorie binge that evening was....
Day 7: September 6th (followed 21 Day Fix diet for breakfast and dinner; no workout; no Shakeology) Gained 2.2 lbs back...tomorrow is going to be worse because I ate movie theater popcorn and a Coke tonight.

That's where I am now.  Shakeology has really cleaned out my digestive track (tmi??), which has helped the weight loss, but I'm not convinced it's doing much else.  When I wasn't on the 21 Day Fix diet and doing Shakeology, it did not curb any cravings nor gave me energy.  I still wanted to sleep at 3pm and 7pm.  It seems, this first week, Shakeology combined with the 21 Day Fix diet is what  works wonders. I have more energy at the end of these 7 days when eating real food.

One week review:
Very tough to find the time to get this up and running. It's a lot of research.  I barely use the containers they sent because I've gotten recipes from he web or the book that comes with it.  One of the coaches I know told me that the best thing she learned through the program is portion control.  That's what I want to take away.

So why am I blogging about this?  Because, in a month, two months, next year, whenever, I want to remind myself that our bodies were made for clean, unprocessed foods.   That I can go a whole day without wanting to take a nap.


Friday, November 14, 2014

10 day challenge - Finished!!

Our 10 day challenge of no processed food (or limited processed food) ended about a week ago.  I based this off of the book/cookbook 100 Days of Real Food.  I wanted to see what happened in the aftermath before I posted about it.

From post 1, I mentioned a few things I wanted to achieve:
1) have more energy at 7pm

  • No more nappy time for me!  I had a great amount of energy from 5pm - 7pm (my witching hours).  Luckily this helped me keep going when I had all of the food to make for lunches and any prep for the next day.
2) see if my oldest son's allergies lessen 

  • I didn't really notice anything, but we are also into freeze weather here, so his allergies are at a minimum anyway.  I didn't take the season into consideration.
3) see if my middle son's digestive issues get better

  • They improved slightly, but didn't go away.  My guess is that they would have disappeared if we would have kept going.
4) lose a few pounds for the Jillian Michael's DietBet I am in

  • I did!  I was down to the lowest number I have seen in 4 years!  This gave me a $35 payback!! I noticed my pants fit better. do we keep moving forward in a world that doesn't slow down?

I can not continue as we did for 10 days.  I was tired of all of my time being taken up by cooking and baking.  As a mom who works outside of the house and has children in sports, I have to come up with  quicker items.  Lisa from 100 Days of Real Food posted some quick meals and I did find that same macaroni at Meijer to have during busy evenings (hello basketball season!), but I need more than 4.

I wish I would have taken a picture of all of the food we had in the basement that I brought up that we couldn't eat during the 10 days.  I got a sick feeling in my stomach that I was now feeding my children this stuff, so I gave some of it to our church kitchen.

Things I've learned/new things I'm doing:

  1. The food you eat really does make a difference in your skin, your health, your attitude.  I had a small rash on my arm that went away during this 10 days and my skin cleared up as well.
  2. We are going to be a maple syrup family from now on and will leave Mrs. Buttersworth on the store shelves.
  3. Will look for recipes that sweeten with maple syrup or honey instead of sugar (but will not cut out sugar entirely).  We made a great batch of peanut butter cookies (similar recipe) that were very creamy/fluffy last night.  AND delicious!
  4. Will buy organic milk (including butter, cheese and yogurt) and organic fruits/veggies that are the Dirty Dozen. My jury is still out on organic peanut butter.  If it fits my budget, then I will, otherwise I will stick to normal peanut butter with just peanuts as the ingredients.
  5. When available, grass fed beef and pork.  At Meijer, I can not find grass fed ham or bacon, so I opted for Nitrate free.  That's a step in the right direction, right?
  6. Read ingredient labels.  I'd really like to say that I'll only buy things with 5 ingredients or less (like I found an amazing Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa at Meijer! 5 ingredients!) , but I need to be real with myself too.  I couldn't find 5 ingredient bread at Meijer, so I settled on some that were 100% whole wheat.  Triscuits had only a few ingredients so those landed in my cart :)
  7. Buy 100% whole wheat when I can.  This last grocery shopping trip I found some bread, pretzels and noodles.
  8. Stay away from artificial colors and flavors.  This really narrowed down what cereal I could buy my kids.  I was able to pick up Chex (corn and rice) and Cheerios.  My kids groaned when they saw what I bought.  Any advice on good cereals for the kids would be greatly appreciated!  I wish they would have liked the granola we made.
My first shopping trip after these 10 days took awhile longer than usual because I read all of the ingredient labels of everything I was purchasing and considering purchasing.  Once I get a good base of the items I can purchase, shopping will be a lot easier.  I'm also going to be planning my meals on the weekend and preparing things then as well, but I won't let it consume me and I won't feel guilty when I can't cook wholesome meals.

One of the most important things that I've learned from this time is that the food I'm buying counts as my vote.  Am I voting for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Organic 100% whole wheat macaroni and cheese?  I think that's a powerful message.  

My kids and I have all had a little diarrhea since stopping this, but I kind of expected it.  We didn't stop this cold turkey, as I knew there was going to be some backlash, but my kids are now accepting food from friends at school which definitely isn't helping.  I'm not going to make them stop.  I'm going to educate them and teach them balance.  Yes, we can go get Steak and Shake milkshakes every now and again, but we'll balance that with bananas and cucumbers as snacks for that day.

All in all, I'm a convert to better food because I saw the health benefits.  Still figuring out how I can make that work with our busy lifestyle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 day challenge - Day 9 - Are we there yet?

I'm ready to call it quits.  I even talked with my husband about stopping after 8 days.  That's good enough right?  Then I thought "It's just 2 more days.  Easy."  It's not.  And here's why:
This journey brought down my weight some so now I'm a contender in the DietBet I joined.  I had lost hope a week ago because there was no way I could drop 6 lbs that quickly.  Well, I did, and then I gained 2 back, but this morning I'm .2 away.  Today's the last day so they'll give me until tomorrow to weigh in.  I've tracked calories today for a total of 1,609.  I did not have time to exercise, so I hope it's enough.
The other issue is my hormones today.  Usually I'd be making tons of trips to the cupboards so I'm angry that I can't.  When, in actuality, it's probably best.

Seriously though, I'm tired of making all of the food. Yes, my kids have helped, but really, whose making it?  Breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for 5 people.  There has been SO many dishes.  I don't want to be responsible anymore.  I want to come home from work and go read in my bed!  But people are hungry!  And I want some more time in my day.  It's usually past 9pm when I'm finished with everything.  I've planned my meals ahead, but they still take time to prepare.

I do feel fantastic though.  I have a ton of energy and my pants fit much nicer.  Tomorrow will be a much easier day because I can eat more than one muffin :)

Yesterday, I made 2 more loafs of Every Day bread that I used to make sandwiches for today's lunch.  I don't know how to get my bread to rise up.  They were small sandwiches :)
I put in a chicken in the crock pot for dinner tonight.  I'm planning to make chicken stock with the chicken extras tomorrow morning.  I've never done that before and it's going to be SO much cheaper than buying it at the store!  I like to use chicken stock/broth when making rice.  It gives it a nice flavor.  I use it instead of water.

2 days ago we made waffles before bed to refrigerate for the next couple of mornings.
I think it's one of the kids' favorite foods.

Things I learned:
1.  I cheated.  The Twix was too loud yesterday so I ate it...and some of it's friends.  
2.  People get weak, then they throw away the candy wrappers and continue on
3.  Chicken stock sounds so EASY to make!

Monday, November 3, 2014

10 day challenge - Day 7......again.....feeling the pull of the Twix

The pull is strong with the Twix today.

I have eaten 2 extra blueberry muffins and a peanut butter "breakfast" bar (aka cookie).  I just want the Twix.

10 day challenge - weekend & Day 7

We categorize meals in our house now between likes and not liked.  Meals from this weekend:

Kid approved:
waffles (the kids can not get enough of these!)
scrambled eggs with toast
Eggs in basket
teriyaki salmon and brown rice - C liked, the others didn't
100% whole grain noodles topped with butter and parmesan cheese and parmesan broccoli

Kid not approved:
pizzas - not sure if it's because I didn't read ahead and let the dough rise first, but we kids weren't a fan

More often than not, kids are liking what they are helping to make.  Hud can't believe that B didn't like the pumpkin muffins he baked.  Hud really liked those muffins and was actually happy when the other kids didn't like them.

We did a lot of cooking this weekend, and I nibbled on a lot of the stuff we made (ok, I really didn't nibble, I tried full size helpings outside of my normal meals!). This was evident on the scale Monday morning because I was up a couple of pounds!  We also attended a Halloween party (I planned ahead and brought in apples, oranges and grapes) that I partook in a beer (they say in moderation!) and popcorn.

We made Raspberry Lemon muffins (but made them blueberry lemon) for Monday and some Chicken Noodle soup since I had a feverish child.  We also made a 3 ingredient "breakfast" bar, but it's really a cookie!  Now you see my weight gain!  I'm not picking the salads out of the book :)  I want to enjoy this journey.

The temptation of the Halloween candy wasn't hard this weekend because we were so busy (did a LOT of raking leaves), but it is hard today.  As I mentioned above, I'm home with a feverish child (well, he's doing a ton better now) and the pull to downstairs (that's where we are hiding the candy) is very strong.  I've walked to the door 4 times already thinking "It doesn't matter, it's just 2 small twixs."  and then I start thinking about how I miss crunchy things.  The crunch of an apple isn't doing it for me.  3 more days Allison.  STAY STRONG!

Things I learned:
1.  No matter what, I eat more (and gain weight) on weekends
2.  Allowing myself 0 of something will make me want it more
3. Homemade bread is so delicious

Friday, October 31, 2014

10 day challenge - Day 5 - Children's Halloween Parties - halfway!

We are running low on breakfast ideas.  I had tried overnight chocolate oats with the kids, shredded wheat with granola, and Quaker slow cook oats and nothing really pleases them.  My husband ended up waking up early and scrambling them eggs.  Our waffle maker was planned to be delivered today, so we had more ideas soon. I took the last overnight oats.
I understand now, why you should eat these within a day or two.  These were so soggy and mushy!!  Blah!  I must have made this 4 days ago.

After my leftover macaroni casserole, I headed to the kids' Halloween parties.  I dropped off my youngest two's goodie bags and reminded them to only eat fruits and vegetables from the party table. My oldest son's party was a success.  He dug into his goodie bag and got himself some fruit and popcorn from the snack table.  He asked if he could have some apple cider.  I looked at the ingredients and saw sodium benzoate.  Not something I have in my kitchen, so I told him no.  I don't know what it is, but I know it isn't real food.  He had a bag that he filled with the Halloween treats, candies and chocolates that his classmates had given him.  Side note:  Why do kids hand out candy to kids during a classroom party?  We all know the kids are going trick or treating later and they'll get plenty of it then!  When we were leaving, he asked if he could take some of the 'fresher' snacks (aka donuts, cookies) home to put in the freezer.  I purposefully froze them all together so they'll taste nasty in 5 days (yes!  We are halfway!).  We stopped by Hud's room first to get him, and he didn't know he had more food in his goodie bag (long story), so he got 2 of the chocolates that we had brought in and watched the other kids eat there plates full of donuts, candy corn, and cookies!  What an amazing kid!!  He did have some apple cider, but I couldn't fault him for that.  He did eat from his goodie bag on the ride home.
B is who I was worried about.  He's a loose cannon and I can see him just devouring everything in site.  He surprised me.  He had his goodies and that was it.  I have some AMAZING kids!

When we got home, the postal worker had delivered our waffle maker, so we decided on waffles and apples for dinner.

I could tell the willpower had taken a toll on Hud.  He had a break down before we left for trick or treating and I almost decided not to go.  I knew it wasn't fair for B (C was at a friend's house), but we can't eat the candy anyway!  I decided I would have regretted the decision later, so we went.  After a few minutes of walking and treating, Hud started saying something, and then stopped and laughed.  He said "Mom, I almost asked if we could have a piece of this, but I know we can't."  On the other hand, B asked about every 10 houses "Can we have a piece now?"

When we got home, my self control was wavering.  I *needed* to get that chocolate out of my site.  I had the kids sort theres, pick 12 pieces and the rest we divide up for Operation Christmas Child and the soldiers.  Again, no issues with that (did I mention my kids are amazing?).  I put the candy in the basement and we made some hot chocolate (yes, you can have that with YOUR real food challenge!  See here for the chocolate sauce recipe.  Warm up some milk and mix together.  Not as chocolatey as I would have liked, but it was a good first try).

At the beginning of this journey (a long 5 days ago), I wanted to achieve:
1) have more energy at 7pm
2) see if my oldest son's allergies lesson
3) see if my middle son's digestive issues get better
4) lose a few pounds for the Jillian Michael's DietBet I am in

So let's see how far we've come so far.
1) Yes!  I have more energy in the evenings.  Except today, but that's from getting 4 hours of sleep.
2)  Hard to tell.  He has had some terrible bloody noses the last few days.
3)  After seeing a pair of underwear from today, this seems to still be a problem.
4)  Holy cow peeps!  I've lost 6 lbs so far!  This morning I woke up my husband and told him to go weigh himself because I couldn't believe my eyes.  I haven't seen these numbers in 5 years!  My husband guessed he was down a couple.

Things I learned:
1.  Do NOT eat overnight oats that have been made more than 2 days ago. Ever.
2.  Kids have self control
3.  Moms have very little self control around their favorite candy bar
4.  My kids are amazing

10 day challenge - Day 4 - dinner FAIL!

Things were going so smooth.....

We needed a semi-fast meal for today's dinner due to soccer practice at 6.  Our macaroni and cheese recipe (this is a similar recipe) took less than 20 minutes and I was excited to try it.  I went to Meijer ahead of time to find 2.5 cups of organic cheddar cheese.  HOLY EXPENSIVE!  I found a bag of 1.5 for $4.99, so I grabbed two, but will be looking for cheaper options elsewhere.

I read the ingredients in the recipe and saw "1 1/2 cups uncooked whole-grain pasta, such as elbow macaroni or penne" and I stopped reading figuring it was telling me about other types of pasta to use.  After the casserole was cooked (and slightly cooled), I scooped out a small part for each of the kids plate and a larger portion for mine.  I dug right in!  It was crunchy....

I grabbed the book and finished reading that portion "...cooked according to the package directions".  Why in the world would it say uncooked whole-grain pasta and then, in the same line, say to cook it! Very frustrating, but completely my fault.  I cooked it for 10 minutes longer, and it was a titch better, but the kids wouldn't touch it.  I had lost their interest and trust.  We had 5 minutes until C had to leave for practice, so we ended up with apples with peanut butter and applesauce.

With Halloween the next day, the next step was making treats.  I have been asked by multiple people why I did this around Halloween time.  Well, if it wasn't Halloween, then it would have been something else.  It would have been birthday parties, or classroom parties, or work conferences.  The only time that is the right time is now.

I found 2 recipes from the 100 Days of Real Food book that I was going to make.  One was a popcorn and almond/cashew mix (think Cracker Jack) and a 4 ingredient peanut butter cup recipe (similar recipe here).  I would be setting my kids up for failure if I sent my kids into the the Halloween war zone with no ammunition.  Hud and B were VERY excited to help with the peanut butter cups.  As you can see from the picture, we used an unsweetened cacao bar.  Just like when you and I were kids, the thought of a chocolate bar was tempting, so you had to try it!!  He said "Mmmm!" <pause> "MOM!  I NEED TO SPIT THIS OUT!!".  Luckily I was ready for it.

These were so simple to make.  Hud was humming with pleasure when he was licking the spoon!  By that time, it was ready for bed (the kids, not me.  I had more ammunition to make).  I made 2 batches of the "Cracker Jack" popcorn (one with almonds, one with cashews), followed by the 5 lunches we needed for tomorrow.  I was stuck with the left over mac n cheese.

At this point, I was ready to be done, but I still had prep work to do for C's party.  Making and grocery shopping for real food is tough.  It's not easy.  It's not going to get you into bed at 10pm the day before a children's holiday party.  BUT, it will make you feel better and will detox your body of sodium and toxins (aka bloat).

Each of the kids got a bag with 2 chocolates (the rest were brought in for Hud's classroom party), a bag of "Cracker Jacks" (the rest was brought in for B's classroom party), cut up apple, and a Vitamin Water.  I was officially helping in C's classroom, so I brought in a store bought bag of popcorn (only contained 3 ingredients!), Ghost Poop (aka mini-marshmallows - this I thought was a cute idea.  Even though C couldn't have any, it was fun to bring in), and an orange/apple/grape pumpkin.  It wasn't exactly like the picture, but if my Facebook friends can see a face, then I was good!

I laid in bed wide awake until past 2am.  My mind was racing to make sure I had everything planned and figured out.  Cross your fingers that the parties go well!

Things I've learned:
1.  Read the entire recipe first.  Including all parts of a line.
2.  Always have a backup plan for food
3.  Chocolate is fantastic