Category Archives: weight loss

Turbulence Training

Just because I haven’t been posting as often doesn’t mean that I’m not working toward goals! Today marks the wrap up of week three of a fat loss program I’m doing called Turbulence Training. I wanted to start working out again, but knew I had limited time and honestly – a little bit of a struggle about getting excited about the whole exercise thing as well. It’s way more difficult now to find time to work out and when I do have down time, I usually would rather sleep or catch up on all the stuff that needs to be done at my house!

So – what’s a new mom to do?

I had been searching for a program that wouldn’t take up a lot of my time, but would give me a total body workout. I needed something I could do during my lunch break at work because trying to commit to something in the morning or after work right now just isn’t realistic. I got an email from Dave at PaleoHacks (great email subscription if you are interested in Paleo/Primal stuff!) and he was putting up details about a conversation/interview with Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training and the Home Workout Revolution. So anyway, there are 10,000 workouts associated with these two programs and it’s a little overwhelming. But I ended up buying the Turbulence Training stuff to get started. It’s a digital download and pretty inexpensive. $7 gets you all the material for 21 days and if you like it, you’ll be charged another $37. So whatever, that isn’t  bad considering what I’ve paid for other programs in the past. I just need SOMETHING to help get me back on track.

So this program is cool because it has lots of options. I decided to do the 4 week Fat Loss Program for Women. There are many, many other options but the basic format is circuit training utilizing supersets and then an interval cardio at the end. So the whole workout is about 30-45 minutes (depending on how quickly you can get things set up to move through the sets). So that is pretty good! You do 3 supersets and some of them you do up to 3 times. It’s definitely a total body workout and I can tell that I’m stronger in week three for sure! In week one, just after the warm up circuit I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t possibly make it through a workout like that. And now I’m pushing hard during the warm up and getting faster with the transitions. It feels good to be doing something productive again with my workouts.

I haven’t seen much change in my weight, but I have been measuring and I’ve lost in that area – so I take that as a win. This initial “back in the gym” routine was more about just getting into a healthy pattern again of being active and working on my fitness. I will probably take on another 4 (or maybe even 12!!) week program from Turbulence Training since I have all the materials and resources! And I will probably be lining up some other goals for myself that focus more on my eating (and being better when we do eat out…as that seems to be my main issue!).

I’ll keep you posted on my progress – but if you are looking for a shorter workout that fits into a hectic schedule, or you want to do something at home that takes very little equipment – you should check out TT!

 

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Bulletproof Coffee Review

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I started with a new breakfast approach. I am doing Bulletproof Coffee in the morning. If you haven’t heard about it by now – what rock are you living under? No, I kid. I hadn’t heard of it either until my neighbors enlightened me prior to Thanksgiving. So, I did a little internet research, scouted out thoughts and feelings about it on Facebook – and then ordered some to try it out. I figured a few days of doing anything wasn’t really a great review – so now that i’ve been doing it fairly consistently for a few weeks, it’s time to give you my opinion.

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

bulletproof coffee, upgraded coffee

Bulletproof Coffee Kit I ordered to get me started

Well, Dave Asprey explains it way better on his website, but the basic description would be a really, really, clean cup of coffee. Superior coffee beans that get rid of all those hidden toxins most coffee has when you make it. So, for coffee snobs – this is a good cup of joe. And it’s pricey, too (12 oz for 18.95), so I definitely was hoping I liked it (A LOT). My previous “good coffee” buying experience was more like $12-13 per POUND so this Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee was a stretch for me. But I liked the idea behind it, and I can appreciate special beans, special processing to offer a better, healthier coffee obviously cost more than other typical methods.

So..the coffee beans are just one piece of Bulletproof Coffee. The make it Bulletproof – you need his coffee beans, pasture fed butter and MCT oil. Say, what? I know – it’s weird. I saw a few friends post about putting butter in their coffee and I gagged a bit in my mouthpiece before I did a bit of research. And when I tried it – I have to say: butter is good. I do recommend high quality butter – and pasture fed is best. It’s crazy, I’ve never really spent a lot of money on high quality butter, we usually just get whatever is cheapest. But when I use this pasture fed butter (I buy unsalted Kerrygold), the texture is so different from other butter I’ve used. You can really SEE the difference.

MCT oil is “derived from palm and coconut oil, medium chain triglyceride oil delivers hours of sustained energy (because Upgraded MCT Oil defies storage as body fat). The human brain loves MCT–studies show MCT improves memory and cognition.” (source – Dave Asprey). The idea is to give your body lots of HEALTHY fat, and stop loading up on carbs to fill you up.

So you make your coffee, blend in butter and MCT oil and you get a frothy coffee that tastes really darn good. No need for creamer, although I admit that I put a packet of stevia in mine because I lean toward the sweet side.

Why should you drink Bulletproof Coffee?

Well, I’m not making any money off telling people to buy expensive coffee, fancy pants butter, or medium chain trigylceride oil. But I will say, for someone who has been a breakfast eater for several years and someone who wakes up HUNGRY, this coffee is a good breakfast. I won’t say that it fills me up until lunch time as some people have told me. But compared to a normal cup of coffee that I would drink alongside a normal breakfast? Yah, it makes those hunger pains go away for a few hours until its time for my morning snack. As PART of a primal (or paleo) diet, it’s a great option for breakfast on the go. Believe me, I’d love to have a giant veggie and meat omelet every morning before work, but with an almost 8 month old and still trying to manage getting to work on time and breastfeeding…I just don’t have time. So the Bulletproof Coffee is a great way to get in healthy fats and it gives me great energy.

I want to talk a bit more about the energy part. I am by no means a morning person. Since I had a baby – I have no choice. I am up around 6am everyday – sometimes earlier, and sometimes 6am is the second time I wake up (or third). So like it or not, I am UP in the mornings. Since I’ve started doing the Bulletproof Coffee – I have noticed a lot of energy in the mornings. I’m just..AWAKE by the time I get to work (I drink my coffee in the car on the way to daycare). I have a noticeable “pep in my step” as I walk into work now. And that is weird for me. But, it’s good! I like a breakfast that fills me up, doesn’t take much time and gives me good energy to help me through the morning at work.

Conclusions

So – in the end, I’ve been pleased with my new breakfast experience. It’s been hard being 100% consistent due to Holiday parties, holiday travel and weekends. But during the normal week – I make my coffee every morning. The first two weeks I did Bulletproof coffee alongside a primal diet – I lost 6 pounds. Then Thanksgiving happened (and 4 turkey day meals in 3 days) and I gained a few of those pounds back. Stupid holiday treats that I just can’t say no to! So I’ll be weighing in again this Friday to see how another week back on plan has done. Hopefully, I’ll be back down to that 6 pounds lost and I can keep moving forward despite Christmas and the New Year. I will say that after eating holiday meals and indulging in my old “wheat/grain filled ways” I am overly full and majorly tired. I end up feeling pretty bad after those meals – so I don’t know why I can’t conquer those cravings once and for all. I feel SO much better when I’m eating primal, but it’s hard to break those wheat/grain eating habits of 30 years. If only everyone around me would just eat the same way – my life would be easier. 🙂 A big goal for me in 2014 will be to move past “eating as a habit” and hopefully I can move toward eating as fuel to do the things I want to do.

 

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Weekend Rewind

Oh, how I wish this were true! Just the opposite though – gotta make every day count toward you goal.

Weekends are always the hardest when you are trying to change your bad eating habits in my opinion. There is something about the lack of schedule and consistency that makes everything more difficult. Having an almost 7 month old definitely gives me SOME routine in the sense that he usually wakes up around the same time and goes to bed around the same time. But really, everything else is up in the air. On the weekends, we had really fallen into the habit of going out for breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday. And I would say it’s pretty simple to eat Primal style for breakfast (bacon and eggs, please!) but it’s always healthier and cheaper to just eat at home. Over the past few months, eating out has just been the norm on weekends. We didn’t buy enough food to cook meals on the weekend and it just was easier to get something while we were out and about.

But the fun has to end, folks. I just can’t eat out every meal on the weekends and expect to be staying on track with my goals. That makes me sad, because I love to eat out. Not that my husband isn’t an amazing cook, but there is just something magical about going out to eat. Sort of like the difference between seeing a really good movie at home or seeing it in a theater. You still walk away thinking it’s a good movie, but the theater experience just was bigger, better, MORE! I have to make peace with eating at home. After the new year, my husband and I are going to pick a month in which we will NOT eat out. I will probably cry a little bit, because it sounds terrible. But sometimes the things that are the hardest to give up are the things you need to give up MOST. And perhaps after not eating out for a month – it will be easier to stay on track with just eating out once a week or whatever.

After this weekend, I’m pretty proud of myself. We ate out for breakfast on Saturday and had dinner at home with some friends. Both breakfast and dinner were on track with our primal habits. On Sunday, I had some raw walnuts for breakfast and we met friends out for lunch. This was going to be my “cheat meal.” But instead of going ALL OUT on my cheat, I just cheated a little bit. We went to a barbeque place, so getting meat was pretty simple. I ordered pulled pork and a side salad and sweet potato fries. I didn’t eat the texas toast that came along with it. So my cheat were the fries (I can eat sweet potatoes but I should probably not eat fried things in general!) and the southwestern dressing probably wasn’t the best either. But I didn’t have a large portion of it. Our eating mates ordered fried pickles for an appetizer which is my FAVORITE app from this place. But I didn’t have a single one. Just for that alone I should get a prize!! I also had 1 beer which was a cheat. After I had it, I immediately felt congested. Crazy, huh?

But the rest of the weekend? Totally on track. I felt like I was less snacky and in general, less hungry this weekend than normal. We ate 2 meals each day vs. 3 and I felt fine. This week is going to be super challenging since we have TWO Thanksgiving dinners to attend. I haven’t decided what I’ll do yet about staying Primal. But I think my overall goal for both meals is to not indulge in giant portions of anything that isn’t Primal. Just have a taste of something if it’s not on track vs making it the main event. I hope I have good news to report back next week.

For my first week back on Primal, I am down 4.5 pounds from my starting weight. Now this week, weighing sounds like a scary thing since we’ll be going through a major holiday! So we’ll see how I survive. But in the end, moderation is the biggest takeaway here, not perfection…because perfection ISN’T real life.

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Primal Progress such as NOT eating a cookie

Well, I know it’s only 3 days in to being back on Primal track. But the first few weeks of any new challenge is the hardest, so I thought checking in would be a good idea.

Overall, i’m feeling good. I haven’t had too many cravings – but I know it’s only been three days! I will say that I’m so much more aware of how temptation is everywhere. I went to a meeting on Monday and what did they have? Sodas (UGH I wanted a free diet coke sooo.bad.), cookies (work cookies are MY FAVORITE. As in, I want to steal them and eat more later). And brownies (just stab me).

I maintained total control. I was all “in your face, cookies. I don’t need you!

And I didn’t. I brought my water and focused on the content of the meeting, not on how good those cookies and brownies looked that everyone else was eating. I am not everyone else right now, I am a woman on a mission. And the only thing that will come between me and my goals…is me, right? (cue cheers from the crowd!)

I often hesitate to make any final decisions because I like to be open to changing things up, I like flexibility and the option to change my mind (hello fellow Perceivers for my MBTI folk). So making a hard and fast decision to go back to Primal eating is a challenge in itself. I’m really glad we built in the cheat day because knowing myself – I would probably crumble apart the first time I screwed up and throw in the towel. But life isn’t all or nothing, although I think we are all guilty of acting like it is sometimes.

I’m going into this new challenge with the idea that it’s going to be HARD. I’m not going to get to eat cookies everyday (I might need counseling about this). There will be some weeks where more than one fun event happens and I’ll have to  choose which thing will be my cheat and find a way to stay on track at the other one. In the end, there will be times I screw up and accidentally have a bite of cake that someone brought in before I realize the error of my ways. But that is okay. There have been a lot of things in my life this past year that have been way more challenging than this (like figuring out how to take care of a newborn) and I can figure it out.

I really wish I just didn’t care about food so much. I envy people who can really view food as just “energy” or “fuel” vs. an opportunity to experience food because it’s so delicious. It seems like changing up what you eat wouldn’t be such a big deal if I could get to that place. I remember when I was doing the Primal eating consistently last year and I definitely got to the place where I enjoyed foods differently. Like today I snacked on organic raw walnuts. Me from 2 years ago would have thrown up in her mouth a little at that idea.

But I like them now…I just needed to give myself the chance to try them. So I know that with this challenge, there is also great opportunity to discover new things about what I like and what I’m capable of (apparently NOT ending a sentence in a preposition is NOT on that list).

So as I head into the last half of this week – I’m feeling optimistic. And maybe I’m not so scared of the scale on Friday!

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Back to my Primal Ways

Today is my first day back “on a plan.” I’ve been stewing about what to do for the past month or so. I think part of meeting health goals (or really any type of goal) is best served by knowing what type of person you are and then coming up with a game plan that meshes well with your personality type. I am a pretty laid back person, but when it comes to health and fitness – I know that I need a regimen. Something to put on the calendar, a schedule – a guide. Books to read ABOUT the plan. You get the point. This is in severe contrast to my actual personality and it took me awhile to figure that out about myself.

So I’ve been hesitant to commit to a plan because I feel like my life no longer revolves around me, and that makes sticking to any sort of personal schedule really difficult impossible. As I’ve  been reflecting on things I’ve done in the past and what worked, what didn’t work – what I hated and all that fun stuff, I kept on arriving back at the Primal inspired eating habits I took on right before I got pregnant. The first few weeks were not fun, but once I got past all the carb and sugar cravings, I felt really good. I wasn’t starving all the time. I got to eat good things, even if they were different from what I had eaten in the past. But making a decision to give up grains/wheat is a big one. It’s not something I was ready to do right away after returning to it again – all my cravings are in full effect and the idea of not eating sandwiches and bread sticks seems really terrible and hard.

Then I remembered that when I was eating Primal – I stopped having those cravings and it wasn’t so bad. And I gave myself one cheat meal a week so if I felt like I HAD to indulge (like say….my birthday cake or something!) – I had the option to do so and I could plan for it. It really all boils down to just committing to something. For me. I realized over the past few weeks that I’ve stopped making any decisions for ME since I’ve become a mom. And now I understand all those moms I would see on What Not To Wear who had gained weight and lost touch with their own sense of individuality. I can totally see how that happens now. It’s easy to lose sight of your own goals and interests when you have someone else 100% dependent on you to live.

And that decided things for me. I can’t give up on me…on my goals and my own personal sense of happiness. Being healthy, or at least working toward that goal was a big part of who I was pre-baby. And I have to find that part of myself again. Instead of waiting for some “return to normal life” switch to flip on (not going to happen), I just have to jump in and figure it out as I go. I’ve done Primal before, I can do it again.

So today is a new day. A new start. This is my first decision for me that I’ve made in awhile and I think it’s a good one. Today is our return to Primal eating in an effort to be healthier and have more energy for my ever more difficult to juggle schedule. I think starting with an eating habit makeover is easier than trying to find time to work out right now, so this is at least a start! And as research shows – diet alone can be a major impact on weight loss and exercise is bonus points. I want those bonus points, but not making it my focus right now.

My first goal is to lose the baby weight I’m still carrying around. I forgot to get on the scale this morning to having a starting point – but my estimate is somewhere between 10-12 pounds. And then once I’m there, I’ll set my next goal! As usual, I start my fitness and healthy eating plans at terrible times – like holiday season. I guess I like a challenge!

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Meal Planning – You can do this!

I’m proud to say that despite having a new baby in the house, my hubby and I have maintained our “make meals for the week in advance” schedule. We usually hit up the grocery as a family on Saturday or Sunday morning with our list in hand. We prepare lunches for both of us for 4 days and get ingredients for dinners as well for 4 nights. We also plan out what we’ll eat for  breakfast and make sure to have that prepped and ready, too.

If you are having trouble staying on track with whatever health goal you have and you AREN’T pre-planning your meals – my advice would be to start now! Even if your excuse is that your schedule is too hectic – I would argue that taking a few minutes to pre-select your meals, hit the grocery store ONCE and get all the goods and spending a few hours in the kitchen one day a week would help you have MORE time during the week. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend deciding what to eat on the day of before work. I would open my fridge and stare at the contents, look in the panty for any sign of something decent…and then struggle to think of anything  I could put together with what I had already. This often ended in frustration and I would just get something “out” which was typically unhealthy and more expensive than bringing food from home.

We have been doing this “meals in advance” thing for almost 4 years and we have definitely seen savings in terms of calories and dollars. And of course, time. If you aren’t a chef in the kitchen – there are so many resources for quick and easy meals available on the internet. Your meals don’t have to be gourmet!

Have I convinced you yet?

To get started you have to follow some rules:

1) Pre-select the meals. Check out some websites (eatingwell.com & cookinglight.com are 2 of my favs, as well as paleomg.com if you are looking for wheat free ideas) and select FOUR meals to make. You’ll pick 2 lunch style options and 2 dinner options.

  • You’ll be eating each meal twice which helps with the excuse of not wanting to buy a meal for just one person – because you’ll always be eating it twice. OR I guess if you don’t mind repetition – you could just pick 2 meals and eat them all 4 times instead (this would only work if you are doing this solo though)!
  • We give ourselves one lunch out and one dinner out each week so that we can still be social or attend work events that are over lunch/dinner, etc.
  • Make sure you consider your circumstances for lunch – do you have a fridge at work, a microwave? Toaster oven? Pick meals that will be easy to eat at work.

2) Make a LIST with all the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe BEFORE you set foot in the grocery store. Pick recipes that use the same ingredients to save even more money. So say you are going to make steak tacos and want to do a home made pizza – you could use the same cheese and vegetables for both. See?

3) This must be said: STICK TO THE LIST WHEN YOU SHOP. DO NOT VENTURE FROM THE LIST!

4) Pick a day, afternoon, night, morning (whatever) to prepare your meals. We always make our lunches in advance and put them in 1 serving containers so in the morning it’s a quick grab and go before work. Over the past year we’ve gone back and forth between making dinners in advance and waiting till the night of to make the dinner. It all depends on your schedule. But knowing what you are going to have for dinner and already having all the ingredients will save you tons of time and energy night of!

  • One thing we’ll do is do any prep work that might need to happen for dinner in advance. I’ll use the taco example again (we love tacos) – you could do that as a dinner but you could make the taco meat/veggies in advance so you just have to heat it up and crisp up the taco shells. Throw some beans on the side and you’ve got a meal.

Pyrex Storage Set from Amazon $25

One thing that really helps with this approach is to invest in some decent containers to store your portioned lunches/dinners. We use glass pyrex containers and we have a variety of sizes (small and large rectangles, different sizes of bowls, etc). Make sure whatever you get has lids that seal effectively to keep your food yummy.

The bottom line is that everyone is busy – but scheduling in time to eat healthy (or just to eat within a budget) is do-able. If we can do it in a family where we both work full time and have a new baby, you can do it, too! Start small – maybe just prepare lunches in advance and see how it goes!

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Life Lemons & Making Lemonade

 

It’s been 9 weeks since I had major surgery. I’m feeling a lot better in terms of the incision healing. My swelling is gone, and if you were to see me out and about – you probably wouldn’t guess that I just had a baby you would probably just think I needed to lose some weight.

Over the last 5-6 years, even though I’ve always been technically overweight, I still was muscular and athletic. I was strong and always felt like I was “working on it.” I felt capable of trying new workouts, even if I wasn’t always the best in the class. I had more energy, my metabolism was off the charts.

I miss that person desperately. It feels like I’ve lost my dearest friend and I look at myself in the mirror and I’m not sure I really recognize this person I’ve become. I know that I birthed a child and that no one expects me to just snap back immediately to that person I was a year ago. But for me, it’s tough. I got the green light to work out moderately again at my postpartum check up around week 6. I was so excited to try and start incorporating some exercise again. And it was like the evil villain heard the news and decided to snatch my joy. I woke up  soon after with incredible pain in my knees. It hurt to walk, it hurt to move my knee joint, it hurt to go up/down stairs, it hurt to try and kneel or squat (try giving your baby a bath without kneeling/squatting!). Everything hurt. I thought it would pass – it was just some crazy after effect of the relaxin hormone/chemical (not sure what it is exactly) in my body passing through. *sigh*

But here we are, starting on week 10 and I’m still in a lot of pain. I’ve tried massage and chiropractor, I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve tried walking more, walking less. I’ve tried stretching, heating pad, icing it – elevating my legs, I’ve tried monster size ibuprofen. I have an appointment with an acupuncturist scheduled. I’m out of ideas. I’ve heard from some others in the same boat as me, but it seems like no one has any cures other than just time. And I guess I’m impatient, I feel like knee pain impacts everything else. You sort of need your knees to do almost anything active..particularly when I’m taking care of my baby all day long in a house with 2 sets of stairs.

So I complain about this only to tell you that if I can’t really exercise right now, I can’t use that as an excuse to spiral out of control. I have to control the things I CAN control and wait for my body to fully recover from pregnancy and surgery, even if it is taking way longer than I imagined to just be able to walk without pain.

July Detox!

So my hubby and I are doing a bit of a detox this month. I’m not going on a diet – don’t worry – I know that is unsafe while breastfeeding. But I can do something about what I’m putting in my body. We are cutting out all fast food and working toward no processed foods. I think these are hard to avoid 100% of the time, but we are going to try to be at 90% unprocessed this month. If i buy something that is in a package – I can at least pick items that are as natural as possible. I can totally do that!

We are going to reduce our eat out meals – 1 lunch/1 dinner out during the week and I know we will have to work hard to get our weekend eating out adventures under control, but we can do it. When I do eat out, I can make better choices.

And at the end of this month – I know I will feel better because I’ll be DOING something about my health instead of just waiting to feel better to get started.

Life isn’t always how you plan it, and having a baby has big a big lesson in “control” and how much I don’t have control over a lot of things in my life like my schedule! But that doesn’t mean I should throw away everything I’ve worked for over the years – I just need to find comfort in the things I can control and rock it.

I’m not putting a weight loss goal on this monthly detox – because I’ve lost about 35 pounds already and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to lose the last 10 until I stop breastfeeding. But if I do – then great! But my goals are to feel better, and to feel like I’m doing SOMETHING about my health since I can’t exercise like I want to yet.

I’m feeling very “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” right now. So I’m just going to go with it and see what happens!

 

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