Jul 24, 2014

3 Day Refresh Results!

So, for the past 3 days, I have been doing the 3 Day Refresh in order to reset myself physically and mentally for healthier eating across the board.

Why did I need this?  Well, I will illustrate it for you perfectly.  During the week, I was eating awesome! Then on the weekends it would all go to hell in a greasy hand-basket.  I wasn't eating badly for ALL meals, but there would always seem to be one that was really inappropriate for a person saying they are trying to live a healthier lifestyle.  I give you exhibit A:

This is the greasy empty Red Robin plate from last Saturday's meal of a barbecue cheeseburger.  Instead of getting my usual side salad with my sandwich, I got a side of onion rings.  As you can see, all that was left was the grease on the plate, utensils, and the little wooden stick...which I may have eaten too for extra fiber if there had been extra barbecue sauce on it.  Well, not really, but...

I needed to get rid of my constant craving for the "bad stuff."  This was not going to be easy, but it is only 3 days, and it needed to be done.  Sorry, greasy Red Robin plate...

So, for the past 3 days, I have been eating stuff like this instead...

Vanilla Fresh shake with strawberries blended in and a bowl of carrots with hummus

Cucumbers, tomatoes, and hummus with cherries for dessert

Roasted Broccoli with Tomatoes

Spinach Salad with Olive Oil and Vinegar

I also had Shakeology for breakfast and a Fiber Sweep drink during the mid-morning.

I am going to be honest about the drinks.  I usually drink Shakeology made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a banana.  Making it with water was certainly an adjustment.  Also, I decided to forego the banana, because I was only allowed to blend half of it into the shake.  I found it more satisfying to drink the shake and have my bowl of cherries with it.  

The fiber drink is...interesting.  It tastes waaaay better than the fiber drink I had to drink with the Advocare Cleanse last summer. It is still,however, grainy.  I did not take a picture of it, because I did not have time.  As SOON as I stirred up that sucker, I chugged it down.  

The Vanilla Fresh shake isn't BAD.  It is just bland.  When you are blending it up, it kind of smells like vanilla cake.  Ummm, well, it does not TASTE like it.  Again, it does not taste bad.  It just isn't incredibly flavorful. I recommend making it with cold water.  You can add in fruit too, but I honestly preferred it without...especially since there is no fruit allowed at dinner time.

Drinking a lot of water was a huge adjustment for me.  I try to drink my water, but all the liquid required for the refresh when you figure in all the shakes and fiber drinks, plus the amount of water (half of your body weight in ounces), I was making very frequent trips to the ladies.  I was worried that the fiber drink would cause other bathroom issues, but it did not at all.  I just constantly had to tinkle. ;o)

So, besides the drinks, frequent bathroom visits, and eating a lot of rabbit food, did I get anything out of it?

The answer is, YES!!

 I lost 6.2 pounds in 3 DAYS!!!  

I took my measurements and lost a total of 4 inches.

So, yeah, I am thrilled with the results!  It also did something really important for me, which was put my eating back on track.  I realized after having such a restricted diet for the past few days, that meat is what I really need to feel full and satisfied with a meal.  I used to think it was bread or pasta or rice.  Nope!  I never once found myself craving a bowl of pasta.  I wanted a big hunk of chicken!  I would stare at my salad at night and whimper and think, "This would be PERFECT if I only had some grilled chicken."  That is a big revelation for me.  I don't NEED an over abundance of carbs. 

Also, after working so hard these past few days, there is no WAY I am going back to eating like I was.  I wanna keep that scale going down.  I don't want all of this to be for nothing!

I am a Beachbody coach, but these results and opinions are real.  I purchased this program out of pocket and am under no incentive to give any certain kind of review.  If feel that this is something that you would like to try, however, please let me know and I would be happy to help!

Now, excuse me while I go have some breakfast...which will be a whole roasted chicken.  (Kidding!) Gonna have some Shakeology --- only with my milk and banana though.  :)   Happy Thursday!

Jul 22, 2014

Why does food matter so much?

As I mentioned in Friday's post, I am currently taking on the 3 Day Refresh.  Basically, it is a 3 day cleanse where you have to drink 4 drinks (including Shakeology, Vanilla Fresh  (a vanilla protein drink you drink at lunch and dinner) and Fiber Sweep (a fiber drink).  The regular food that you eat during the day consists of fruit, veggies, and a limited amount of healthy fat.  That's it.  It is quite an adjustment.

Yesterday, I felt like I wanted to be this girl:

I was just pissed because I could not eat anything.  It really got to me.  Of course, because of all the liquid I was drinking, I was also running to the restroom what seemed like every 20 minutes and had withdrawal headaches (probably from carbs or sugar).  The odd thing is that I didn't think I ate a lot of either one of those things.

Today, I woke up and while I would still love to sink my teeth into a juicy steak or chicken breast (I love meat.), I feel a lot better.  I have gotten to sit back and think about why I let food dictate my mood for the day.  It is so silly, really.  There are so many other things in my life that are going so awesome right now...better than they have been in a loooog time.  Why do I give food that power?

I wish I knew the answer to that question.  I just know that the next time I find myself feeling that way, I am going to focus on the things in my life that bring me joy and that actually MATTER.  I just hope I can get to the place where food is nourishment and not a reward or a way to make me feel better on a bad day.  

This is a short entry, but I just had to write it down because I know I am not the only one who has this relationship with food.   It is a complicated one, for sure.  This is definitely something that I am going to have to work on in order to get to where I want to be.

Anyway, I am plugging along with the refresh.  I will post my results on Thursday!

Jul 18, 2014

It's Friiiiiday!

First of all, I would like to congratulate the winner of this week's Spartan Race free registration giveaway, Alejandra! I had the pleasure of chatting with her briefly last night and this will not be her first race. She has completed another race and was so impressed by the camaraderie of fellow participants, race workers, and volunteers, that she became hooked.  After talking to her, I think that I may have to raise this up on my fitness bucket list.  Again, congratulations, Alejandra and good luck on your race!

If you didn't win and still want to register for a race, you can still get a 10% discount on any race!  Just enter the code SPARTANBLOGGER at checkout.

In other news...

I start the 3 Day Refresh on Monday!

If you are unaware of what the 3 Day Refresh is, it really is what it says it is.  It is a 3 day cleanse.  It is definitely the answer to breaking through a weight loss plateau and resetting not only your system, but also your mindset.  If you have kind of been in a rut with eating healthy, this really can help you get on back on track.  After seeing the results of some of my friends and Beachbody teammates, I am SO EXCITED to get started with this!  I mean, it is only 3 days!  I will keep you posted on how things are going.  I have done some longer cleanses in the past, and while it helped with my eating habits, I lost no weight or inches.  It was really depressing.  I am hoping that this is what I have been looking for!

Check out these results!  Jess at Operation Skinny Jeans, my friend and coach, had the same luck as me on longer cleanses, and had awesome result with the Refresh.  Check out how she did! (She gave me permission to use her 3 Day Refresh result pics.)

photo courtesy of Operation Skinny Jeans

photo courtesy of Operation Skinny Jeans

photo courtesy of Operation Skinny Jeans

She lost a little over 5 pounds in 3 days and is keeping it off!  I think that is just awesome!  I will be sharing my results as well and really hope they are as great.  If you have questions about the 3 Day Refresh, just let me know!  I would be happy to help!

Jul 17, 2014

Food Challenges

Yesterday, I was catching up on reading some of my favorite blogs, and I came across an entry that really kinda slapped me across the face...in a good way.  Skinny Meg wrote an entry a couple days ago which basically outlined how we ALL have challenges.  We all have limited time, temptations, etc.  The bottom line is that if we want to get healthier, we have to pull up our big girl panties and commit and DO IT.  I just sat there and thought, "She is so right!"  It was just what I needed to see this week.

Then, I started thinking about my biggest challenge -- food.  It used to be exercise, but I have really managed to work it into my routine...whether it is during the school year when I am crazy busy with work or during the summer when I have a lot more spare time.  I have just come to the realization that no progress is going to be made without exercise, so I schedule it into my day as sort of a non-negotiable.  Are there days where I am exhausted and don't feel like it?  Yes! I have gotten to the point where I do it anyway though...because I have realized that I feel much worse when I don't.  Are there days where there are extenuating circumstances and I cannot exercise because I don't get home from work until 9:00?  Yes! But those days are few and far between.  So, I guess what I am taking a lot of words to say, is that I really feel like I have managed the exercise challenge (yay!).  The food part is harder.

Food is complicated.  There are several reasons why it is harder. One of the biggest is the temptations.  You could plan a healthy day, for example, and someone puts enough fresh donuts in the break room to feed a small village.  That is rough.  There are definitely days where I have eaten a donut.  I have just had to train myself to walk away.  I could list reasons that the food part is harder for days.  I wanted to focus on one in particular that I (and I am sure many of you) deal with daily...cooking dinner at home when I have a house full of picky eaters.

Let me give you the rundown of what I am dealing with (perhaps you will be able to relate):

Tim (the husband) - He is a picky eater.  As a matter of fact, he pretty much turns his nose up and the vast majority of fresh fruits and vegetables.  The only fresh fruits he will eat are bananas and watermelon.  The only fresh vegetables he will eat are corn, potatoes (both starches), and the occasional tomato.

Aidan (9 year old) - He has had food issues since being a toddler, but has gotten much better.  He has a mild form of autism (PDD-NOS), so he is really sensitive to things like smells and textures.  He also depends heavily on routine.  So, in order to make weekday eating less stressful, we pretty much have set menu. Then, he knows what to expect and eats better.  It is just one of those things...  If there are days where the menu may change, he has to have fair warning or meltdown mode begins.

Darcy (4 year old)-  She is the least picky of the group and will typically try most foods.  The only foods I cannot get her to eat are spaghetti and pizza (The funny thing is that when I was pregnant with her, I had an extreme aversion to these foods).

Because of the picky nature of the majority of the household, it is hard for me to eat the way I want because it is a huge pain to cook two separate meals.  I have, however, found a way to make things more manageable.

Here are some examples of how I make it work:

Monday night is taco night.  This one is simple.  I make the taco meat with extra lean ground beef.  Instead of using lots of toppings and shells, I make a taco salad with lots of lettuce and pico de gallo.  I just use a sprinkle of cheese and pass on things like sour cream.  I crumble up one taco shell  for some crunch.  On occasion (if I feel like I have the calories), I will add a small amount of refried beans to the salad.

Tuesday is chicken nugget and macaroni and cheese night.  I do not do either one of those, so I am making a separate meal.  It is EASY though.  While I am cooking the other foods, I prep some green giant broccoli with cheese sauce (very low calorie) and a bag of Steamfresh brown rice.  I have actually gotten my four year old to start eating the brown rice (yes!) instead of the macaroni.  I am still working on the broccoli. ANYWAY, I layer a serving of the brown rice with a serving of the broccoli and cheese.  Then, I open a can of chunk light tuna and add some of that to the top and season with pepper. It makes a kind of "tuna casserole."  It takes only about 10 minutes to prep and I can easily make it in the microwave while I am cooking for the rest of the family. 

Wednesday is spaghetti night!  I have decided to stay away from pasta (trigger food), so I have found an easy way around it.  I start out by making a meat sauce for the entire family.  I typically use extra lean ground beef and an organic jarred sauce.  I honestly like the Meijer Organics selections.  They are affordable and very good.  While the meat sauce is simmering, I julienne a zucchini in order to make "noodles."  I take the pile of little zucchini noodles and toss it with about a cup of the meat sauce and put it in a tiny casserole dish.  (I have a couple awesome individual serving size dishes.)  I then top with some mozzerella cheese and put it in a oven preheated to 350.  While the zucchini baked spaghetti is baking, I put water on to boil for the regular pasta that everyone else is going to eat.  By the time their pasta is finished cooking and plated up, mine is all ready to come out of the oven.  It is so good too!

I was a little heavy on the cheese for this one...but what can I say? PMS got the best of me.

Thursday night is pizza night.  I have found that during the work week, Thursday is the toughest night.  So, we typically eat out.  I have learned that I need to avoid pizza and breadsticks at all cost.  I simply cannot control myself.  So, I schedule my Thursday workout to take place while the rest of the family is chowing down on pizza.  Once the kids are in bed, I treat myself to a salad from Panera or Chipotle.  I have to say, it is nice to eat one meal a week where I can do so without any interruptions.  

Friday nights are a toss up (and Aidan knows this).  We will usually eat leftovers from the week or do something simple like grilling burgers or chicken.  

Saturdays usually mean dinner out.  I just know where we are going ahead of time and plan accordingly.  I usually tell my husband what I am going to order, so if I decide to try and change my mind to something less healthy, he knows.  He would never call me out on it, but I KNOW HE KNOWS.  

Sundays I make a bigger dinner, but it always includes meat and a vegetable side.  This one is easy for me to manage, because I have a lot more time to prep the meal.  I usually go for a crockpot option.

This has turned out to be a REALLY LONG blog entry.  I am sorry about that.  I just wanted to give some meal prep ideas for those of you who have limited time and a family who isn't exactly on your food plan.  I am gradually trying to work these foods into my kids' diet.  It just takes time.  I do know for sure, however, that seeing me eat this way is something they are noticing.  I mean, I consider it a victory that one of my daughter's favorite foods is salad.  

What about you?  How do you manage healthy eating with picky eaters at home?

Jul 15, 2014

Be a Spartan!

As I have mentioned before, I have only ran walked one 5K ever.  I just didn't train as hard as I should have.

These past few months, I have really started to up my fitness game.  Things have firmed up.  I am starting to see actual muscles in my arms.  I am getting stronger.  I feel SO strong, that I got cocky a couple weeks ago and agreed to complete a half with my aunt in May 2015.  I was starting to wonder if I was truly crazy, but I realized that being a little afraid is sometimes a good thing.  Being afraid of something like this simply means that you have presented yourself with a challenge.  In the fitness world, I have learned that if you are not challenged, you go nowhere.

Sooo, I have decided to stop with this fear nonsense and take challenges head on.  I mean, even if I am not the definition of success with my endeavor, I can still say that I was there and that I tried.  I mean, saying "I ran and walked a half marathon."  sounds a lot better than "Yeah, I decided not to even try the marathon, because I know there is no way in hell I could run that far."

Just as I was having this dialogue running through my head, I received an e-mail from Dan - a representative from the Spartan Race.

The Spartan Race is the very definition of a challenge!  The cool part though is that there are different levels of the race --  sprint, super, and beast.  Less experienced competitors can participate in the sprint race, while those who are more hardcore in their training could tackle the beast race.  This run is no joke!  I mean, did you see the competitors running through FIRE??!!  Wow!

For those of you who are locals, there is an Ohio race this fall on October 4th!  If you live in Ohio, definitely checkout the website so that you can register you and your team.  Unfortunately, I have a prior engagement that weekend (a certain little cutie's 5th birthday party), but this would be such a cool opportunity and a very cool thing to complete with a team of friends.

Now, Dan is being very generous!  He gave me a coupon code for 10% off your race registration!  How awesome!  So, if you and your team decide to register, just enter SPARTANBLOGGER at checkout and you are all set!  This code works with ANY open heat race -- not just the Ohio one.

In addition to that, Dan is giving away one FREE registration to any race!!  Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a free registration to any Spartan Race of your choice!  The winner will be announced on Thursday of this week.

This race really defines challenging to me.  That's why I know that sometime in the future I will be competing. I know I have to, because trudging through mud and fire is DEFINITELY out of my comfort zone.  Comfort zones are nice, but isn't cool when you can break out for a little while?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jul 14, 2014

Thank You Letter to My Coach

Sometimes certain people in life deserve a "thank you."  Today, I would like to write an open letter to my coach, Jess.

Dear Jess,

Today, I would like to say "thank you."  Even those words do not seem adequate enough for what you have given me...

I started reading your blog a couple years ago.  As a blogger, your successes inspired me.  I would log on to my computer each day and eagerly read your words for the day.  I never dreamed that you would one day mean so much more to me than a writer at the other end of a daily blog post.

You have written and talked to me a lot about through your coaching wanting to change lives...wanting to help others.  I don't know how many of those you coach have given you feedback, but you have changed mine.  How, you may wonder?  Well, I will tell you.

I have been fortunate enough to have support in my life.  Throughout my lifetime struggle with weight loss, people have TRIED to be supportive, but they just did not get it.  You get it.   Through your one on one talks with me and posts online, you have given me one of the greatest gifts a person can receive -- confidence.  Confidence is something I have lacked (almost completely) for the duration of my 35 years here on Earth.  Growing up so uncomfortable in your own skin can do that to a person, I guess.

Thanks to you, I now see that there is a beautiful person here -- inside and out.  Thanks to you, I am buying clothes that I would have never bought before.  Clothes used to be something I would buy to hide underneath.  Now, I buy things that are pretty and stylish because I DESERVE to do that.  I should not be ashamed and hide.  I can be overweight and still be sexy.  Thanks to you, I felt hot in my swim suit during my beach vacation.   Thanks to you, I am wearing shorts and short sleeved t-shirts this summer.  Thanks to you, I know that there are beautiful things about me and that feeling ashamed is not an option.

Thanks to you, I am pushing my body to places that I never thought it could go.  I am working out on a daily basis.  I am doing workouts that I would previously watch on infomercials and long to do....but a person my size and fitness would never be able to get 5 minutes into without having to stop.  WRONG.  You gave me the confidence to understand that I can do this.  Thanks to you I am now stronger and more athletic than I have ever been in my entire life.  I am also learning how to forgive myself and push forward after a bad day. I have learned that quitting is never an option.

You took me on as a coach on your team...something I feel privileged to be a part of...mostly because I want to do for others what you have done for me.  I honestly don't care about the monetary side of things.  I want to help people.  Even though I have not exactly been successful yet -- in that I don't exactly have a long list of clients or a high ranking, you continue to be supportive and cheer me on.  That means the world.  I just hope to inspire others the way you have inspired me.

You live in Colorado.  I live in Ohio.  We aren't exactly able to go get coffee on a regular basis.  But, when we meet up in Nashville next summer, the coffee (or, hell, a whole dinner) is on me. Then, we can workout together to burn it off...haha.  

I consider you a dear friend as well as a role model.

Thank you for giving me the pieces to the puzzle that have been missing for a long time.



Jul 2, 2014

Then and Now

Yesterday, I posted this picture on my Finding Courtney site as well as on Instagram.

The picture was for Transformation Tuesday.  I have never posted anything for that before.  You see, I have started and restarted my journey towards being healthier so many times, I felt like I didn't HAVE a worthy Transformation Tuesday picture yet.  Then, I was flipping through a photo album and I found the first picture. I was in shock.  WHOA!  Was this really me?  This is a picture of me when Aidan was just a few months born back in 2005.  It was taken at his christening.  I saw more and more pictures from that day and realized that I HAVE actually come far.  I mean, I have stopped and restarted so many times I have lost count.  I do think, however, that each time, I have learned something new.

There is something that has been missing though and I think that was confidence.  I was going through the motions of whatever diet and exercise plan I was doing at the time, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I wasn't going to finish or I just felt like I wasn't strong enough or something.  While I still lack confidence in areas, my confidence levels have increased exponentially.  I think it is because of the additional support I have now that I did not have then and the 100 other times.

While I still have a long way to go, I am really pleased with the person I see looking back at me in that 2nd picture.  Sure...there are like 10 years between the first and second picture, but progress was made, and I am proud of that.

Just wanted to put in a plug for a 5 Day Clean Eating group that I am putting together.  If you have ever been curious about clean eating or not sure where to get started, this is an excellent place to start.  A stigma with clean eating is that it is too expensive to do.  That isn't true!  There are ways to do it, that can actually SAVE you money at the store.  If you haven't already begun clean eating, I know you will find that you will feel like a new person!

The 5 Day plan will begin on July 14th and last until July 18th.  This is what you will get from me:

  • A 5 Day Clean Meal eating plan
  • A comprehensive grocery list.
  • Free coaching, support and accountability.
  • A week’s supply of superfood nutrition shake Shakeology.
  • A jumpstart into a healthier lifestyle.
The only cost is the $20 that it costs to purchase the Shakeology sampler pack.  

Why Shakeology, you may ask?  Well, the answer is simple.  Shakeology is filled FULL of nutrients that you would normally never get in your daily diet.  I cannot even describe to you how much better I feel since I have started drinking it.  I have more energy and my weight loss has started to take off again.

If you are interested in joining this 5 Day Challenge, please e-mail me or leave me a comment here.  I will then send you the invite on Facebook and make sure you get purchasing information!

I hope you will join me!


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