Planting milestones for 2015

Almost two weeks into the fabulous NEW YEAR and I’ve discovered that oh yeah, I’m still me.

It’s like when you get married. Or have a birthday with a zero at the end. And everyone’s like, “Do you feel different??”

Well – I’m still me. Disorganized. Like beer. Love sugar. Need to think a little more highly of myself. And other vaguely endearing traits. But traits that aren’t winning me a kick ass new body so far this year.

That is, after all, what I’ve decided my goal is for 2015: to be, like, uber fit. Yes, the scale will always haunt me and I’ll keep standing on the damn thing (aka I want to lose 50 lbs) but overall, the idea is that I get FIT. Reduce fat, increase muscle. Look awesome. Be strong.

Measurables? Erg. Yes. This is the hard part.

Well, let’s start with some milestones. January: weekend in the mountains full of winter sports, including snowshoeing (yep – another trip out to Skoki Lodge, but this time only one night, so that’s 11 kilometres, 2 mountain passes and a bunch of elevation times two.  Just enough time in between to eat and get a good nights sleep).

May: trail racing! The trail racing season will kick off in the Spring and I’m already signed up for a 10K, with a few others in the pipeline. June: Epic (oh yes, very epic) National Three Peaks Challenge = flying to the UK with my girls to hike the highest tippity-top mountains in each Scotland, Wales and Britain…all in 24 hours. WOOT.

July: Running a half-mara, trail style in the mountains, Powderface. Hiking the West Coast Trail with my most awesome blood relatives who are dear enough to put up with me and give me rides to all the very best trailheads. August: More Rocky Mountain hiking and a half-mara road race in Van, Seawheeze.

Oh, and I did sign up for some online “run 2,015 miles in 2015” thing, too. But they’re PURPOSEFUL miles, not just all my FitBit steps.  Let’s just say, I’m currently a little behind on that goal.

Did you catch all that blank space? Sort of between February and May? That’s gonna require some serious training….However, my KNEE (and I’m so sorry that I’m going to go on and on about this to the point of boredom) is killing me.  The doctor says to go get orthotics and new runners.  Apparently my issues are due to the fact that my feet turn in.  The rehab guru gave me 10+ boring but important exercises to do to strengthen the glutes.  Apparently my issues are due to the glutes not firing…putting pressure on other parts of my legs.  Soo.. being a good girl I’m just doing it all.

new shooze

I need my knee back so that I can walk, run and hike.

I suppose in many ways getting an injury is beneficial. It gives the opportunity to learn more about your body and be more careful. It’s also upping the ante right now, making nutrition my #1 star, not sweaty workouts.  Insert sad face = I LOVE sweaty workouts.

The shock of going back to work (no more 8-hours-a-night) has made me all lethargic.  Last week, I only made dinner once, and left the family to fend for themselves.  We all ate poorly.  One day, I think I ate nothing but carbs. It was so weird.

With that top of mind, on the verge of a new week, I decided to ensure that THIS week was not going to be a nutrition disaster.  Today was BEAUTIFUL out = sun + blue sky. I was dying to go for a snowshoe or over to the winter festival…but I promised myself that I would go shopping (Costco!) and prep meals for the week.

Meal prep January 2015

Now, this meal prep actually took me HOURS. The sun set and I was still prepping!!! Maybe it’s because it was my first time to really do it on a grand scale?? I hope this gets shorter…!  I made 5 lunches + snacks for myself based on the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, then a set of grab + go snacks for the boys for lunch or after school. Then, I started in on the meal prep for suppers. I posted the menu on the family blackboard, so I’m sticking to it.

MON – Shredded chicken tacos & salad
TUE – Shepherd’s pie & broccoli on the side
WED – Caribbean beef stew
THU – Turkey quinoa taco bake & salad
FRI – Pasta w/Sicilian meatballs & Caesar salad

All of these have healthy and not-as-healthy options. I’ll go heavy on the greens and light on the optional carbs on most of these for myself.

The good news is that in this process I re-discovered what was in the depths of the freezer, and another goal is to use up what we have before buying new stuff.

Now, it’s like, bedtime, and no snowshoeing, no frolicking outdoors…etc.  Sigh. But I think I did the responsible thing… Until next time, some snowshoe shots from LAST week 🙂  Have a fabulous week out there!

Snowshoe awesomesauce

 

Detox Day 3: 3-Day Refresh

I had to go to work on Day 3.

It was a Monday.

It was a little bit of a drag. I got to smell all sorts of delish lunches being warmed up in the kitchen. Lunchtime was over in 30 seconds for me (slurp, crunch, done) so I went for a walk.

Lots of energy again today – efficient, effective, etc. Crazy how despite the vague feeling of hunger, I was sharper and more aware of a lot of things, if that makes sense. I prioritized, got things done, had some clarity and vision on other topics. Hm.

When I got home, the family was all in the kitchen making their dinners, and I was blending mine. My love affair with food was on hiatus essentially. Food plays so much more of a role than just “fuel” for me. Hard to break that train of thought.

Monday was super hot in the city again, and despite going to bed at a reasonable hour, I couldn’t sleep. By 1:00 am I shuffled downstairs where it was much cooler. And because it was past midnight (3 days done in my books), I ate a wrap with ham in it. I was SO HUNGRY.

Fast forward to the next morning – for (ta-dah) —–> the RESULTS!

I was down 5.5 lbs and 2 inches from my waist. Feeling lighter on my toes MENTALLY, above all.  Was the junk in my system slowing my brain down?

Would I recommend this refresh?  Ya.  I’d do it again, I think, maybe after Christmas or a holiday.  It really re-sets you. It was an annoyance for me though.  It showed me what a huge role (beyond just being fuel) that food plays in my life. I’m slightly obsessive.

I think my biggest take away is “What am I going to eat next?”  It’s not the pizza or the gooey brownie from the Italian Centre (you know, the one where you literally feel the sugar coursing through your veins = so good) that I was kinda secretly planning on. Instead, I’m feeling very careful in my decisions.

The next day, I spent 15 minutes in Sobey’s staring at the Greek yogurt section debating whether or not I wanted to add dairy back in after the refresh.  I did buy a container (I love it to pieces) but then I didn’t enjoy it as much.  I just felt like it wasn’t right. (Is it possible to be brainwashed by vegetables in three short days?)

Now two days later, I know for sure that I’m going to give dairy a break, remove all processed meats from my diet (so long, deli ham!) and keep my coffee treats to green tea treats.  (Not terribly excited about this, but it just feels right – does that make sense?)  The hardest part is not knowing what to replace things with.  I need to check my protein lists again, review my carb options, get some recipes…so that I’m better prepared.

And that’s the 3-Day Refresh!  Give it a go. You can buy it here with a 30-day supply of Shakeology so you can maintain your kick start results: 3-Day Refresh challenge pack.  Or you can just buy the three day kit on its own here: 3-Day Refresh base kit.

Would love to hear if you do this detox – post your story and results!

Or if you’ve done other detoxes, what were they like?

21 Day Fix review

21 Day Fix is an at-home workout and meal portioning program by trainer (and bikini competitor!) Autumn Calabrese, who promises that you can lose up to 15 lbs in just three weeks, or your money back. (Everyone loves a good money-back guarantee, yes?)

Why I love it
In brief – it taught me proper portion sizes and got me working out daily.

My results
With the 21 Day Fix I lost 5.5 inches and 7.5 lbs in three weeks.

Who will benefit
The 21 Day Fix is a very basic regime of workouts and healthy eating. If you want to…

  • Kick start an epic weight loss journey
  • Get off a weight loss plateau
  • Gain better shape and muscle tone
  • Learn portion control
  • Lose a few pounds and tighten up before a holiday or special event
  • Create healthy habits that will last a lifetime
  • Change up your workout routine with short, 30-minute pops

What’s the scoop?
The Fix comes with a Getting Started guide and a set of seven 30-minute DVD workouts. You receive coloured boxes of varying proportions which all correspond to food categories:

  • Green – veggies
  • Purple – fruit
  • Red – protein
  • Yellow – carbs
  • Blue – healthy fats
  • Orange – seeds, dressings
  • Plus “teaspoons” – oils

Work out your caloric needs through the formula provided in the guide (all based on your current weight), and then you’ll know how many coloured boxes you need per day.  You’re encouraged to drink loads of water, and you can still have your daily dose of caffeine through coffee and tea.  Treats like wine, trail mix, dark chocolate can be worked into the plan, but not in huge quantities.  The guide also provides lists of food for each coloured box, and a few recipes.

You don’t have to eat bulgur and broccoli every day.  I even had a pizza last night using pita bread for the crust, tomato sauce, cheese, ham, peppers and onions…all portioned to fit in the boxes.  You can eat what you want, as long as it fits in those boxes! I was not hungry on this program. If anything, there were days I struggled to eat all that was allocated to me! AND – I was not perfect. There was an incident with a tub of coconut Greek yogurt that shall not be brought up again…

The workout DVDs are only 30 minutes each = no excuses!  The workout schedule assigns specific workouts to each day of the week.

  • Total Body Cardio Fix – cardio conditioning from top to bottom
  • Upper Fix – fab workout for the arms and abs
  • Lower Fix – legs and calves, lunging and stuff
  • Pilates Fix – harder than it sounds, man. Wait until you “mix the bowl.”
  • Cardio Fix – heart rate is on! Work those compound moves.
  • Dirty 30 – a little bit of everything
  • Yoga Fix – wonderful stretching after a hard week

The program has a few bonus materials, such as Autumn’s 30 minute PLYO workout (jumping!) + a 10-minute ab workout, a 3-day fix eating plan for gotta-look-good events (reunion? Photo shoot?), and a Shakeology shaker cup for making shakes.

Pros:

  • I learned to eyeball portion sizes much more accurately.  I know now when I’m going overboard on something. And you get to eat real food: no food in a box, no low-cal diet foods…only real, whole foods = clean eating.
  • The workouts are only 30 minutes, and the sequence day after day works over your whole body for clearly defined results. Each workout has a modifier – if you can’t do the full range, there are alternatives demo’d nicely.
  • Autumn reviews each move before she does it.  There is no quick-change flow from one to another, she ensures that you keep your form so that you max that particular exercise. This means a lot to me – there are gym classes and workout DVDs where I stare at the screen trying to see how they do it, and by the time I figure it out, they move on.
  • This is a long-term weight loss & fitness program! Totally sustainable.

Cons:

  • Stretch times post-workout were not very long; I’d suggest adding your own.
  • You do need to have a yoga mat and a set of light/heavy weights or a resistance band to maximize the workouts. Sold separately! (I suppose this isn’t a HUGE con, but if you went into this budget minded you’d need to splash out a little extra if you didn’t already have these things.)
  • The promise of losing up to 15 lbs is somewhat accurate. If you are going from overweight couch potato to 21 Day Fix, you probably will lose upwards of that amount, no problem. If you’re already fairly fit, you will probably see inches lost, but you won’t have 15 lbs fall off immediately.

Shakeology is a “daily dose of dense nutrition” and is a highly recommended but optional part of the 21 Day Fix. It is a meal replacement shake. Now, it took me three months before I even told anyone I was using this stuff, because in my mind replacing a meal with a supplement was weird.  Well, Shakeo is chock full of superfoods, gives me more energy and kills my cravings.  I love it.  Sometimes I use it for breakfast, other times as a post-workout refresher.  I suggest you use it with the 21 Day Fix (once a day) but that’s completely optional.

Overall, in my challenge group, two of my challengers lost more than 15 lbs each in three weeks. The remaining challengers averaged 2.5 lbs a week.  All great results when the scale heads south!

I love this program enough that I’m doing another round. Like I said, it’s more a lifestyle than a one-off. I would recommend this to everyone, it’s that flexible and sustainable.

Here are my final stats after Round 1 from Day 0 -> Day 21:     

Weight:    207.5 lbs -> 200 lbs
Chest:       41 inches -> 41 inches
R Arm:     13.5 inches -> 13 inches
L. Arm:    13.5 inches -> 13 inches
Waist:       43.5 inches -> 41.5 inches
Hips:         48 inches -> 46.5 inches
R. Thigh:  25 inches -> 24.5 inches
L. Thigh:  25 inches -> 24.5 inches

If you want to pick up the 21 Day Fix, here is the challenge pack link with Shakeology @ $160 USD, and here is the base kit program without Shakeology @ $59.85 USD.  I’ll be here to cheer you on!  Would love to hear your experiences with 21 Day Fix, or field any questions you’ve got – feel free to post below.

Day Twenty-One – (Time flies when you’re having fun)

Last day of the 21 Day Fix!

(Round ONE!)

I’m easing into my last day of the 21 Day Fix feeling pretty awesome.

I had a great breakfast (eggs, toast, Greek yogurt, blueberries and strawberries), caught up on some email, did a few chores, then will get my Yoga Fix done for the day.  It’s not quite lunch time here, and the rain is pounding down outside.  All around good times…

I’ve now lost 7.5 lbs in total.  I’ll post my weight and measurements tomorrow for the “final” results.

I really like the meal plan and the workouts. Never have I been so consistent in working out than with this program. Even when I was training for my 25K run, I would fudge days and put it off.  With the 21 Day Fix, I can say to myself “it’s only 30 minutes” and it can be done at home. No driving, no packing up stuff, no changing/showering at the gym…it’s been so easy to get it done.

And with that, I feel pretty accomplished. It’s almost easy to succeed, if that makes sense. You are totally set up for success with the way the program is organized.

Here are some food pix of meals I’ve made with the 21 Day Fix portioning. Like I’ve said before, there are LOTS of food options, but I’m a creature of habit and often eat the same things over and over…

chicken pasta 21 day Choc PB banana Shakeo butterscotch yogurt mango butterscotch

parfaitShay salad 21 butterscotchYogurt parfait butterscotch

Day Three – 21 Day Fix (Score!)

Alright, alright, alright!  Day 3 on the Fix is A-OK.

Weighing in with 2.5 lbs lost.  Crazy, right? In three days? That’s the unofficial stance so far. That could’ve just been the flushing of the salt, toxins, or whatever. Stay tuned for further weight updates.

I accidentally skewed yesterday’s meals to leave me with 3 green boxes, 2 red and a teaspoon for dinner.  At first, I was at a loss.  That’s a lot of GREEN in one sitting.  So, I ended up having a massive salad and using extra virgin olive oil and a spice rub (“free”) on the accompanying steak. Not too shabby!

The difference between my meal and the family’s that night was their big, juicy Caesar salad (croutons! parm!  bacon!) to go with the steak.  Their dessert was a half cup of Greek yogurt, raspberries and a biscuit.

I’m going to try as much as possible to align what I’m eating with what I prepare for my husband and the boys.  Because making two meals is silly.  And going to the grocery store and buying a cartload of good stuff supplemented by boxed cereal, frozen fries, goldfish crackers, fatty dressings/dips etc. is simply not logical nor cool nor cheap. Why would I purposely feed junk to the people I love?

Pushback? Yep!  It takes a while to implement change like that.  They all have voices…they know what they like and aren’t afraid to make it clear when they DON’T like something.  So, I’m weaning them off a few things and adding in better choices, sneaky-like.  I’m also doing some plating/portioning in the kitchen before the food hits the table, so there’s no free for all on say, the desserts or the higher-calorie mashed potatoes.  This way, we can all be a little healthier.

As for the DVDs with trainer Autumn Calabrese, it’s all good.  Some exercises really do push my comfort level, while other ones are juuuust right enough to make me feel I’m getting it.  I’m using 5lbs as my light weights and 10 lbs as my heavy weights.  I also have ankle weights, but have not been badass enough to wear those yet.  I do wake up in the morning with overall muscle soreness, but not to the point where it’s painful – just a reminder that I found some new muscles the day before!

I will say that the 30 minute workouts don’t give a lot of time to stretch at the end. Add in your own stretching post-workout to make sure everything is good in muscle-ville.

WHAT I ATE

DAY TWO
Breakfast: 2 eggs & rye toast, olive oil
Snack AM: Greek yogurt & pecans, cinnamon
Lunch: salad (baby kale, mixed berries, sunflower seeds, goat cheese); tuna + rye crackers
Snack PM: peanut butter on rye cracker, banana
Dinner: salad (baby kale, red pepper, tomato, onion, shredded broccoli/carrot/cabbage) + steak, olive oil

DAY THREE
Breakfast: 2 eggs & rye toast, olive oil
Snack AM: Red pepper hummus & rye crackers
Lunch: salad (baby kale, red pepper, tomato, onion, shredded broccoli/carrot/cabbage, sunflower seeds); Greek yogurt & mixed berries, cinnamon
Snack PM: peanut butter on rye cracker, banana
Dinner: whole wheat pita stuffed with ham, baby kale, tomato, onion, shredded broccoli/carrot/cabbage, with snap peas and and red pepper on the side
Post-tennis evening snack: Chocolate Shakeo with baby kale in it (blended – didn’t taste it)

Yep – I kinda am a routine girl.  Not a lot changing up really.  The highlight of my day still is deciding what to put in the blue box. LOVE the blue box. Hummus? Cheese? Guac? Nuts?  My entire meal day revolves around what goes in the blue box…

The FB challenge group has been great for food ideas, mind you. All sorts of stuff  posted that I wouldn’t have ever considered.  Might have to try a few new things over the next couple of days.

Day One – 21 Day Fix (Feelin’ groovy)

Day One – 21 Day Fix! It’s here!  I’m stoked!

Was a great day overall. I do miss salt and sugar a bit…and that might rear it’s ugly head over the next week.  Love my salt. Love. Salt. Didn’t realise it until it was gone.

Here is Day One in review…

“I don’t have time to exercise”

The food planning has been such an integral part of prepping for the 21 Day Fix, that I hadn’t given too much thought to the workouts.  After all, our guru – Autumn Calabrese – makes it easy with all these bite-sized, intense regimes that we’ll do every day for the next 21 days.  The daily workouts are only 30 minutes.  30 minutes.  That’s a sitcom.  That’s a casserole in the oven.  That’s a “I’m just gonna check my Facebook.”

I figured the only way for me to complete the workouts would be to get it out of the way first thing in the morning.  If I leave it to the evening, I can find 101 reasons NOT to do it. So, awake at 5:00 but finally rolling out at 5:20 am, I donned workout clothes, and pushed PLAY.  Sweat for the whole 30 minutes and kicked back a litre of water.  Done like dinner. Off like a prom dress. You get it.

“I’m not sure I can do these kinds of workouts”

Being day one, and a Monday, my intro to Autumn Calabrese was with the Total Body Cardio Fix.  The 21 Day Fix comes with exact instructions of which workouts to do each day. And yep – even the warm up winded me.  We did a whole whack of cardio oriented sets accompanied by weights – your choice of heavy, light or none.

But the bestest ever part?  The workouts do have a modifier – a lovely lady named Kat. Kat does all the same exercises but provides a modified version of the moves.  Whether you’ve got an injury, hangover, medical restriction or are just not up to the full movement, this “modifier” is outrageously helpful.

I’m really proud to say that I didn’t need to follow Kat for the majority of the workout, but there were a couple of times I gratefully adjusted my movements. And one time I just looked at the screen and was like, whhaaaa? The “Surrender” set threw me completely. WAY harder than it looked and I put a towel under my knees to cushion them.  My knees already make a delightful grinding sound when I go up stairs, so I’m always cautious.

Just a note: I have all sorts of participants in my challenge group, and those who are careful when it comes to anything high impact include someone with a previous injury, someone 65+, and someone over 200 lbs.  I’ll let you know how everyone does.

I love that there is a countdown clock on the screen for both the sets and for the whole 30 minutes. So, when you think you’re gonna die, you can check how much longer you’ve gotta hold on. Maybe because it was 5:30 in the morning and sleepy, but this workout seemed to go really quickly.

“I’m going to be hungry”

I chased the workout with strawberry Shakeology (water and ice). Normally I dress up my Shakeology so much you’d never recognize it: almond milk, frozen fruit, etc.  Today – straight up ice and water. I’m saving my fruit to eat, not to drink on this program.

For all my “plan your meals!” and “shop ahead!” mantra-ing, I totally didn’t write a thing down. It was all floating around in my head, and by 6:30 am I was shoveling food into the coloured boxes to measure it, then tossing it in a travel container to take to work.  My lunch bag was truck stop impressive in size.  I did feel like I was eating all day, mind you. I’ve never been a morning/afternoon snack person at all so the constant food intake may take a bit to get used to. The only time I started to get hungry was on the way home from work.

Right now I feel great. Might be a bit achy tomorrow – haha. The first day of school is always fun…

WHAT I ATE
Breakfast: strawberry Shakeo
Snack AM: hummus + whole wheat pita
Lunch: salad (spinach, veggies, pumpkin seeds) + baked chicken; Greek yogurt + blueberries
Snack PM: peanut butter on rye cracker
Dinner: pasta dish (rotini*, cherry tomato, spinach, garlic, fresh basil, EVOO) with a sprinkle of mozza; fruit salad + Greek yogurt

*The pasta was NOT WHOLE WHEAT. I didn’t clue in until I pretty much ate it all.  Will purchase the appropriate wheaty pasta for next time.

Done! Full! Made it through Day One!