06-24-2014

21 Day Fix Review

So a few weeks ago I posted about being unhappy with myself. I was not happy that I had gained weight, and even less happy that I seemingly lost all motivation to eat healthy or exercise at the intensity that I used to.

During this time, my mom and I had been seeing more and more about 21 Day Fix by BeachBody.

Autumn-Calabrese

I looked up reviews and others who had tried it had good things to say about the program. I wanted something to hold me accountable and get me back on track with my nutrition.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about BeachBody in general, so I was excited to try this. Of course, there were some nay sayers who said “Why don’t you just count your calories/macros” but this seemed much simpler especially for someone who hates counting calories.

I didn’t write about it, and specifically said I’d wait until after I finished the program to document my experience. I wanted to do it on my own and see whether I truly liked it or not before talking about it on here.

PROGRAM OUTLINE

So the program comes with several different containers as well as 2 workout DVDs with 4-5 workouts on each.

What are the containers for? For portioning out your food. I have had major issues with portion control in the past, even while trying to eat healthy. You can easily eat too much “good fat” in a day without even realizing (hello cheese and hummus).

21-day-fix-boxesSource

But you can easily NOT be eating enough veggies and protein as well. I noticed that once I started this program I was eating way more vegetables than I normally do.

In the handbook, there is a calorie calculator depending on how much you weigh. I know those aren’t the most accurate…so I was a bit skeptical of this, but ate in my calorie range (around 1,500 calories) to test it out. With each calorie range, you are given how many of each container you can eat. I was able to eat 3 veggies, 3 fruit, 4 proteins, 1 healthy fats/cheese, 1 seeds, 1 oil, and 2 carbs.

On days that I did two workouts (like running + one of the workout DVDs) I did let myself have another carb or some extra fruit. Occasionally I did eat extra fruit because I’d get hungry after dinner. Fruit won’t kill you ;)

I also love that 3 days a week you can swap out a carb container for something like a glass of wine, or a cookie. It’s not restrictive. And even though I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, I actually didn’t use up many of those days. The first week I didn’t use any!

The book also comes with a few recipes to make your own healthy sweet treats. Like oatmeal cookies or double chocolate brownies. I tried the oatmeal cookies and my whole family loved them.

THE WORKOUTS

The plan comes with a workout DVD. They are pretty good workouts. Here they are:

  • Upper fix
  • Lower fix
  • Cardio fix
  • Dirty 30
  • Pilates fix
  • Yoga fix
  • 10 min. abs

They are pretty good workouts and only 30 minutes. Perfect. I did like the videos but some of them were not challenging enough for me. Sure I was sweating but I felt like I could get a better workout in on my own at the gym. So some days that’s what I did. I think the DVDs are good for those who need accountability when it comes to working out. Plus, it’s only 30 minutes so what is your excuse??

I will say the pilates one is hard! Who know leg circles could burn so much?

You only take about 10-15 second breaks which is another thing I like. Sometimes you go to the gym and don’t realize you’re taking way longer breaks than you should be if your goal is to burn calories. That definitely made it a tougher workout. My first workout was cardio fix and my mom and I were sore for days after that!

RESULTS

Okay so I have never posted progress pictures but wanted to show what you can do in 21 days with eating pretty clean. I’m too embarrassed to show my front view (maybe one day when my “after” pic is a 6 pack lol). Before starting this, I really did feel so bloated and heavy. Weeks of unhealthy eating/eating whatever you please will do that to you. Here’s my back progress pic:

20140623_212306

I’m not proud of this picture, and I have a long way to go to get back to where I used to be, but it’s progress!

I have felt more in control recently with food than in the past couple of months. This program really helped put me back on track, and control my portions better. It also helped that my mom did it with me, as well as my best friend. Accountability and a support group really help!

Speaking of support groups, if you’re planning on trying 21 Day Fix, definitely join a Facebook support group. I’ve found great recipes and tips through them. These are 2 groups that I am a part of.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really liked this program. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first – especially because the containers look so small when you first get the program.

Pros:

  • Helps with portion control. You may be surprised by how much or how little you are eating of certain types of foods!
  • No calorie counting or macro counting.
  • A lot of freedom with what types of food to eat/recipes to create.
  • Not ridiculously strict – you’re allowed 3 “cheats” per week in exchange for a carb container.
  • Surprisingly fills you up (the amount of food you eat).
  • 30 minute workouts are perfect for busy people.
  • At-home workouts that only require a pair of weights or resistance band.
  • Helps with accountability with your food intake.

Cons

  • Workout DVDs may be less challenging for those who are experienced lifters.
  • Booklet does not say how many calories you should eat if you are running AND doing a workout DVD (or other type of workout).

And that’s really all I’ve got in terms of cons. I really loved it. One tip would be to not actually eat out of the containers. They’re not the sturdiest things in the world, so I’d just use them to measure and put my food in other containers if I needed to pack a lunch bag.

So there you have it folks…my 21 Day Fix review. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is looking to get back on track with nutrition and also does not enjoy calorie counting/tracking. I really do hate that. Once the 21 days are up, they offer a maintenance calorie calculator so you can alter your intake (for maintenance) or you can continue if you still want to lose some weight/bodyfat.

I think that once the 21 days are up, you’ll also have a better idea of how to eat on your own. You won’t need to rely on the containers as much. That’s where I’m at right now! I’m still continuing the plan even though I’ve had a few treats since then. I’m traveling to Paraguay on Thursday so my goal is to eat healthy until then!

Okay, my long @$$ post is over now ;)

Please let me know if you have any questions at all! I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts on my experience.

Have you tried any BeachBody programs?

Do you count/track calories?

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

06-28-2013

My Favorite Healthy Recipes

Happy Friday everyone! One more week until 4th of July weekend! Who’s got any exciting/fun plans?

Today, I wanted to write about my favorite recipes that I have blogged about individually before, but you may have missed. A lot of recipes I have posted are things I make on a regular basis and love to eat…so why not share? :)

Let’s jump right into it!

{Protein Pancakes}

As you know, I made this recently and LOVE it. SO fluffy and delicious.

{Taco Salad}

This is a weekly staple for us and so quick & easy to make. You can add so many different toppings and try to make your own Chipotle burrito bowl ;)

{Chicken Mozzarella with Spinach & Chickpeas}

Another staple…and another quick one to make. It’s delicious with the cheese melted on top and with spinach or mixed greens. I had this yesterday actually, but had cannelini beans instead of chickpeas…you could use whatever you want as toppings!

{Green Smoothie}

This is my go-to smoothie recipe. I use water or almond milk, spinach or kale, whatever fruit I have, and almond butter. Soooo delicious and creamy!

{Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf}

I actually haven’t made this in a while but I need to start again! A great, healthy variation to normal meatloaf.

Do you have a favorite recipe? A go-to? Please share, I love trying new recipes!

Follow Reach Your Peak:

03-22-2013

Taco Salad Recipe

Taco salad is my new favorite recipe. During Whole30, I have eaten it multiple times for dinner and lunch. It is so good!

Also, it is so easy and quick to make. Here’s what I used for 4 people:

Ingredients:

1 pack of natural ground turkey or chicken OR buy chicken and make it into ground chicken yourself

Lettuce (I use mixed greens)

1/2 avocado per person (My family usually each does this on their own because my sister and brother hate avocados)

Natural salsa

Side: sweet potato

Directions:

1) Saute onions first, add in ground poultry once the onions are browned. Add in garlic and spices if you want as well. I use basil and oregano.

2) Add in chopped tomatoes to give the meat a little bit of juice. Simmer for 5-10 minutes

3) Add the meat onto a bed of lettuce (and I add in olive oil and balsamic vinegar).

4) Cut up avocado and add in along with 2 tablespoons of salsa.

Done!

Let me know if you end up trying this. I love it!

03-17-2013

Whole30 Week 2 Recap

Already halfway through the 30 day challenge…can’t believe it, time actually went by quickly! Still feeling great and not feeling any cravings. Though last night I did have a dream I ate pizza and ice cream LOL, but the book did say sometimes you may have dreams about foods you miss :-P

Here’s my week 2 update:

Day 8

Meal 1: 2 hard boiled eggs, cashews

Meal 2: salad with ground turkey and tomato sauce + grapes

Meal 3: one egg

Meal 4: chicken with sweet potato, tomato sauce with peppers, onions and crushed tomatoes

Day 9

Meal 1: three egg omelette with mushroom, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2: apple with almond butter

Meal 3: salad with tuna, 1/2 avocado

Meal 4: hard boiled egg, banana (thought I was going to have my long run this day but it was cancelled)

Meal 5: wild caught salmon with sweet potato

Day 10

Meal 1: 2 hard boiled eggs with salad, 4-5 strawberries

Meal 2: salad with chicken, 1/2 avocado, tomato, cucumber, sweet potato

Meal 3: apple with almond butter

Meal 4: 1/2 banana, cashews (before my 9 mile run)

Meal 5: taco salad, sweet potato (will post recipe this week because it is SO good!) Here’s a picture:

Day 11

Meal 1: 3 hardboiled eggs, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2: tuna with mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, 1 banana

Meal 3: chicken, tomato sauce, cauliflower rice

Day 12

Meal 1: 2 chicken sausage, 1/2 avocado, handful grapes

Meal 2: mixed greens, three hardboiled eggs, apple with almond butter

Meal 3: 1/2 can of tuna (post workout)

Meal 4: sweet potato and leek soup

Day 13

*May have had too much almond butter today but I was hungry and we haven’t gone grocery shopping for other snacks!

Meal 1: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 chicken sausage, 1 banana with almond butter

Meal 2: tuna with mixed green salad (strawberries mixed in)

Meal 3: taco salad again…because it is so delicious

Meal 4: banana with almond butter

Day 14 (today so far)

Meal 1: 3 egg omelet with mushrooms

Meal 2: chicken, tomato/tomato sauce, spaghetti squash

 

Half down, half to go!

Anyone have paleo/whole30 recipe suggestions for me? =)

03-13-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Can’t believe it’s already mid-March…where has the time gone?! At least it’s almost spring…

Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe? Feel free to share it with me =)

03-09-2013

Whole30 Week 1 Recap

I did it! 1 week of 100% Whole30! (well, minus tomorrow but I wanted to write this post today).

It was actually way easier than I expected. The only thing I got cravings for was cereal in the afternoon sometimes. I think it’s easier for me than for my mom because I had pretty much cut out grains and dairy before starting this challenge, so my body was pretty much used to it. Here is what I ate this week for those who are interested!

Day 1

Meal 1: 3 scrambled eggs with mushrooms

Meal 2: mixed greens, tuna, sliced strawberries, 1/2 avocado salad

Meal 3: I don’t remember if I had a meal between lunch and dinner…but if I did it may have been a larabar

Meal 4: spaghetti squash chicken alfredo

Day 2

Meal 1: 3 scrambled eggs with mushrooms

Meal 2: 1 apple with almond butter

Meal 3: spaghetti squash chicken alfredo leftovers

Meal 4: chicken sausage, larabar (pre 8 mile run)

Meal 5: tuna with broccoli (post 8 mile run)

Meal 6: balsamic chicken with spices and sweet potato

Day 3

Meal 1: 2 hardboiled eggs, 1 chicken sausage, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2: mixed greens, tuna, almonds, 1/2 avocado

Meal 3: grapes and cashews (pre workout)

Meal 4: chicken burgers with watercress salad

Day 5

Meal 1: 2 chicken sausage, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2: chicken leftovers with mixed greens

Meal 3: grapes, cashews

Meal 4: chicken, organic tomato sauce, cauliflower rice (recipe coming soon!)

Day 6:

Meal 1: 2 chicken sausage, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2: chicken + cauliflower rice leftovers

Meal 3: 2 hardboiled eggs, 1/2 larabar (pre workout)

Meal 4: other 1/2 larabar (post workout)

Meal 5: beef with mushrooms, mixed green salad with tomatoes and 1/2 avocado, 4 strawberries post-dinner

Day 7 (today so far)

Meal 1: 2 eggs, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2: chicken with crushed tomatoes, peppers, onions, tomato sauce

 

Overall, this week has been great and I have been feeling great. Some meals are repetitive throughout my week but I’m ok with that. I like being in a routine. I try to switch it up sometimes for breakfast at least (well, with eggs and chicken sausage). But I love finding new dinner recipes to try out…we’ll see what I can make this upcoming week!

Question for those who have done Whole30 and also been endurance training: How do you fuel for long runs? I’ve read raisins are good, and dried fruit. Help!

03-04-2013

“It Starts With Food” Book Review + Whole30 Update

So as some of you know, last week I said I would start Whole30. I only had information from their website and figured I’d try it out. Well, it was a major fail because I wasn’t fully prepared or invested. I knew I wanted to read the book that goes over Whole30 first. So I decided to buy It Starts With Food (Only 10 bucks on your nook or kindle!).

I love the book. It gets right into the science behind your food choices, and how it affects your body and hormones. There are so many things food can play a role in, such as sleeping issues, skin issues, digestive issues, and more. I highly recommend anyone interested in the science behind food to pick up this book. They give a lot of analogies too so it’s not too “science-y.”

Starting today, I am doing Whole30. The book went over a lot of great stuff that really motivated me. I had a delicious mushroom and egg omelette this morning, and had some tuna, mixed greens, strawberries, and avocado for lunch. I know 30 days will be hard, but as the book says, it’s a reset for your body and your hormones. I can’t wait to see how I feel at the end of the 30 days!

For those of you who told me you have tried Whole30, what are some of your favorite recipes?

02-26-2013

Beef & Veggie Stir Fry

IMG_3775This was a totally spur of the moment meal. I needed to make something that was “Whole30 compliant” so I figured I could do a stir fry with a bunch of veggies I had in the fridge. Here are my ingredients (minus the radishes I didn’t end up using):

IMG_3772

I put the beef in the pot first and browned it. Then I added in the mushrooms:

IMG_3773After that, I added in the crushed tomatoes, garlic, celery, and sweet peppers. I let those simmer for a while before adding in the broccoli last. IMG_3774

I used crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce because of all the added ingredients found in tomato sauce. I definitely plan on making some homemade tomato sauce this weekend!

This whole process probably took me 30-40 minutes. So easy! Here’s the full recipe/steps (which served 4 people):

Ingredients:

2 packets of beef squares

8-9 sweet peppers

1 stalk of celery

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

1 container of crushed tomatoes

1 head of broccoli

1 pack of chopped mushrooms

Steps:

1) Brown the beef. When it is basically almost done, add in the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook/simmer for a few minutes. Add garlic and stir.

2) Add crushed tomatoes, peppers, and celery. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

3) Add broccoli. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes (until broccoli is cooked to your liking) before serving.

Enjoy!

Feel free to let me know if you try this!

What are your favorite quick-and-easy dinner recipes?

02-26-2013

Trying the Whole30 Challenge!

The past few weeks I have not been good with my nutrition. I seem to have lost motivation and stopped tracking what I was eating. For the most part I still ate well, probably 60/40 ratio as opposed to 80/20. Though I will admit to having one too many cookies this weekend…

Anyway, I knew I needed a fresh start. I have “gone paleo” before and saw great results both physically and mentally. Which is why I am doing the Whole30 Challenge. For 30 days, I will eat only health, whole, nutritious fruits, and stay away from grains, legumes and dairy. I actually don’t eat much of those anyway because I have a sensitive stomach…so this shouldn’t be too hard! My sweet tooth is what will get me ;)

Yesterday was Day 1. I ate perfectly! I am hoping I can keep this up for 30 days without any cheats as they mention, and then continue to eat healthy after the 30 days are over. I really felt I needed to reset myself and recapture my goal. I know eating healthier, and eating only whole foods will help me achieve my goals, and also help me have more energy for all of the activity I do.

Each week I will post a recap of what I ate as meals in case you’re curious! As an example, here is what I ate yesterday:

Meal 1: 2 eggs + kale and 1/2 a banana smoothie + green tea

Meal 2: 2 turkey sausage links + a ton of mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, and tomatoes

Meal 3: celery, tomatoes…other 1/2 of banana and handful of cashews. (Ran out of eggs)

Meal 4: Beef stir fry with a ton of veggies. I’ll be posting this recipe later today!

Not bad at all. On workout days I plan on adding an extra meal, since the plan advises you have a pre and post workout meal. I usually don’t have a post-workout meal, as I just wait for dinner, but this will help me get in the habit of replenishing protein and carbs after workouts.

Have you tried the Whole30 challenge? Or done something similar like paleo/primal? Please share some meal ideas!

01-28-2013

Trader Joe’s Haul

I finally went to Trader Joe’s! And it was awesome. I used to love Whole Foods but I am definitely making the switch over to Trader Joe’s now. While Whole Foods has more options (like a deli, meat/butcher, etc), Trader Joe’s wins in overall value. Things are much cheaper at TJ’s and some items I found were less than even at my normal grocery store. #winning

I wanted to share with you all what I picked up. I didn’t get a ton of stuff, but a few things to get me through the week. Here they are:

photo 1Above there is some Ezekiel bread, all-natural, hormone-free chicken, turkey bacon, mushrooms, and all-natural turkey breast slices. I made a delicious collard wrap with my turkey slices for lunch today which I can’t wait to eat. For dinner, I made some chicken stew in the crockpot.

IMG_8939

Here we got a pineapple, eggplant (because I have only had it like…once…and keep hearing how good it is), onions, and a pomegranate to try eating as a snack.

IMG_0265Lastly, I picked up some avocados, tomatoes, fresh apples, and organic, grass-fed beef. While grass-fed beef is a bit pricey, my mom and I decided it’s worth the investment so we’re not eating meat with a bunch of hormones and other added stuff in it. In order to save money, we will be eating 1-2 meatless dishes a week (which is also healthier too!).

I can’t wait to eat delicious, clean meals this week. As I wrote this morning, I was frustrated last week with my lack of progress, and wasn’t eating that great. I’m ready to get back into it this week because being healthy is much more than just looking good on the outside.

Do you shop at Trader Joe’s? What are your favorite grocery store items you HAVE to pick up each time? Mine are bananas!