Saturday, April 30, 2011

Changes 2

I have been keeping up on the blogs of others who are participating in the challenge and seeing the comments on Fabulous Fitness spark team and Facebook page, as well as listening to my body and have decided that I need to tweak the plan a bit to make this a more pleasurable experience, instead of one to be endured!

NEW PLAN: (I will put in bold what is new)

Monday: Cooler 2
lower body workout including lunges, squats, any exercises on pages 26 - 29, 37-39 or 144-146 from the Oxygen Total Summer Body Plan (Bikini Ready in 28 Days).

Tuesday: Cooler 1
cardio only, Hiit or upper body muscles pages 13 - 16, 19 - 23, 40 - 43, 45-51, and 158-160 all have great suggestions of the type of exercises you could do on a Cooler 1 day.

Wednesday: STRIPPED
PUSH AND PULL EXERCISES pgs. 152 - 150 or other circuit type training.

Thursday: Cooler 1
rest day or light cardio

Friday: Stripped
Other lower body day or plyo (Insanity, Chalean Extreme, Turbo Fire, etc)

Saturday: Cooler 1
Cardio, Deck of Cards workout, the 100 workout, or the 99.

Sunday: Cooler 1
Rest day

So, as you can see, I really only added in a Stripped menu plan in the middle of the week. All the workouts listed are 'suggested' examples only. Workout at your current fitness level and push yourself harder on Monday (or the day that you have Cooler 2 menus. Select your Cooler 2 plan to have the most yummy food that you will look forward to having! I select the day that I get to have an Ezekiel English Muffin with some scrambled egg whites, spinach and a smear of greek yogurt on it. On my Stripped days I elect to have a day that begins with eggs or my favorite oatmeal combination to help break up the week of eating blander oatmeal.

I have made some suggestions to some individuals about their meal plans, but let me put a couple general ideas here.

Commitment to change is important. Your level of commitment might be different than mine. You level of clean eating might look different than mine. That is fine. Just move closer to the level of health you want to enjoy. ENJOY! This should not be a torturous thing. There are some things that will be unpleasant in the first week as you withdraw from your dependence on some additives in your foods. If a splash of almond milk in you oatmeal or your coffee make your day . . . keep the splash. It's not going to hinder you. What will hinder you is a feeling of being punished or deprived that then leads to cake or something that you would normally not even have in your plan, but are now temped by because you have nothing pleasurable in your plan. If you need a little flavor in your oatmeal add cinnamon, protein powder, or vanilla. If you feel hungry between meals, remind yourself that it is okay to experience the feeling of being hungry and that a meal time is not far away. If you MUST have something NOW . . . a hard boiled egg or protein shake is not going to kill you or derail you.

I like some of the things I am hearing from some of the people who are participating. It is exciting to see change. I hope you are making some wonderful discovery about the foods that you elect to purchase and prepare for you and your family.

Take the steps today that get you closer to where you want to be.

You select what you want for you. I am just here as a friend to help it not seem so overwhelming for those who are interested. Embrace the parts that apply to you.

Be blessed, be beautiful, be YOU!


Change is inevitable. Things change whether we want them too or not. This past week I had a little 'crisis'. As a result of the training program I am on and the stricter adherence to my clean eating meal plans for the past couple of months, my body is changing rapidly. This past week, I suddenly lost a bit of lower belly fat. I know that sounds desirable, however, that little pooch of belly fat was holding up another little pooch of belly fat and just like an avalanche it all felt the pull of gravity and caved in an unattractive way. For a moment of a couple hours (who's counting) I was inconsolable at the thought that I would have to have reconstructive surgery to repair this. Please hear me, I would not be against someone selecting to have surgery, for some there is no way around it. I am just a big sissy chicken. I hate pain. I hate the thought of going through a healing process. I hate the thought of down time. I hate the thought of a scar (not that sagging skin and stretch marks are better, but they don't hurt). I hate the thought of my body feeling different when my husband touches me. I just don't want to feel different. I like my life, my schedule and yes how my body feels.

So, in typical Carolyn fashion I took some pictures of my lower tummy area from all angles and shared them with my Core 6 (closest support group). As good friends will do, they pointed out what they liked about my upper abs and reminded me how far I have come and that my body had gone through other phases of transition that were not attractive but my body had healed and adjusted over time. I told them I would not make any choices about my body for the next year. I am approaching my two year transformation anniversary. It is June 25 and I am approaching my one year anniversary of when I started writing the bikini blogs.

Wow! Talk about changes! My body had really gone through some dramatic changes in a year. After my tummy crisis a couple days ago, I got up yesterday on my Diva Day, had my MOST favorite oatmeal with coconut, pecans and mango! And then I started getting ready to go to the gym. As I was getting ready to pull my hair back in a ponytail I looked up into the mirror and realize, dang, I thinking I am smaller than I was last week. I didn't take the time to pull out a tape measure, but I did snap a picture.

I then went to the gym and had the most amazing workout!!!! There is hardly anyone there mid morning on a weekday!!! I could set up the machines the way I wanted them and do 4 sets of a complete circuit with out readjusting seats or weights! Near the end of my workout a lady came in who I recognized as having been in the gym working out earlier in the week. I had noticed that she works out hard and told friends that I wanted to get to know her. Well, she walks up to me and says "I saw you working out the other night. You work out like an animal. I tried some of the stuff I saw you doing after you left and I could not!" LOL!!! I love that! I have worked hard. I have challenged myself all along the way to work at the very top of my current ability and take one day every 10 - 14 days to push myself beyond what I think I am capable of doing.

When I left the gym I went to the mall and ended up with 5 new pair of sandals! They were all on sale! Super sales! And I needed a couple pair for a couple different events and to match all the summer dresses and skirts I have gotten recently. On the way home I stopped by the Goodwill to drop off some clothes I cleaned out of my drawers from last summer (size 14 and Large) and to pick up a couple new pair of shorts and tank tops for this year. In March before I went to the Arnold I was wearing a size 10 (size 8 in some dresses) In March I did Cooler 1 for two weeks. A combination of Cooler 1 and Cooler 2 for two weeks and then started the 28 Day Stripped menus with Amy and I am not in the end of week one of our current challenge. The size 10 pants have been loose and I have had to wear a belt, so I knew I needed a size smaller. But, I had no idea I neede TWO sizes smaller!!! I don't know where you live, but I'm pretty sure you could have hear me scream as I pulled on a pair of size 6 shorts! Not just one pair in one brand, several! Liz Claiborne, Anne Klein, Union Bay. I did have to get a size 8 in one pair. I never dreamed.

Do you hear me!

I never dreamed!

This was not the 'vision' I even dream I could attain.

I simply wanted to move closer to healthy and fit.

At each level along the way, I looked at only the next step in front of me or the next overhead branch I wanted to reach. I never said "I will be there!" I don't know what 'there' is, still.

Okay, I am obviously in a talky mood and some of us have a life. There is going to be a CHANGES 2 written that has this weeks meal plan CHANGES in it. Stay tuned girlfriends.
It's coming right up.

Don't be afraid of change
Don't be overwhelmed by the hugeness of a task in front of you
You are capable of far more than you can even imagine

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time for a Diva Day!

I am feeling super fabulous today! The day did not start out that way. I have been getting to bed late, being awakened in the night by thunder storms and power outages, etc. Morning comes too soon. I have bee working out at a new gym which adds 40 minutes to my already long day, but it is worth it.

When I drug my tired body out of bed this morning, I felt lean and light so I stepped on the scale. Up. Again. Why? I dunno. Liar. The scale lies. That's all I can say. Whatever, I shrug my shoulders and examine my reflection in the mirror to confirm how I am feeling. My tummy is flatter than ever. I cannot lose anymore body fat in my upper body or ribcage area. My face is looking lean. My rings are swinging around my fingers like hula hoops, so it' not water retention . . . beside, I hardly eat enough sodium to cause fluid retention. Whatever. The scale lies.

While in the shower I review my week thus far. Eating on track. Check. Workout on track. Check. Sodium in check. Check. Water. Check. Anything new? Hmmmm . . . later nights. Check. Disrupted sleep. Check. New workout routine. Check. Increased cardio. Check. Maybe what the scale is telling me is not a lie, maybe it is just a message I don't want to hear . . . I need to honor my body's need for rest, recovery and relaxation. Okay, I hear you! Super Diva Day coming up tomorrow! Friday is my day off!!! Hitting the gym in the morning, then eyebrow getting threaded, and my favorite meal plan tomorrow!!!!! YES!!!!! I love my day off! I run around in a pair of flip flops with my hair in a ponytail and very little make up and a huge pair of sunglasses! I act like I'm a movie star on vacation! LOL! Diva!

Today I put skipped the bee pollen in my oatmeal and added chia seeds! Love this!

here is a link to the benefits of chia

I felt I needed the chia today and will use it again tomorrow, it helps you to be more 'regular' and it has been a couple days since I felt I eliminated well. TMI Hmmmmm, maybe the scales are telling me I'm full of it! LOL!

Recap of my meals today:

Mix of Creamy Buckweat & Muesli cereals
Vanilla protein powder
Splash of almond milk
chia seeds
wheat germ

1/2 Fuji Apple
1 scoop chocolate protein whey

Left over salmon
1/2 sweet potato w/cinnamon
Raw radishes

1/2 Fuji Apple
2 Hard boiled eggs

Grilled Chicken
1/2 Sweet Potato w/cinnamon
Sauteed Green Beans w/garlic and red pepper flake

Night time shake:
1 scoop chocolate casein

*Confession. I was starving today after my afternoon snack. The eggs didn't peel well, half the whites ended up in the trash. My metabolism is sky high right now and I had an overwhelming hunger (not a craving) HUNGER for peanut butter and dark chocolate. I felt like I HAD to have it. Natural peanut butter is clean and I keep it around by the truck load. I usually have one square of dark chocolate with 1 TBSP chunky natural peanut butter on it after a tough workout while I'm making dinner. But, doing this too often can derail my efforts. So, for this challenge I wanted to try to eliminate that. But, that NEED kept knocking. So, when I got home I made myself a small chocolate shake with 1 TBSP of PB2 which is a dehydrated peanut powder. It is made with only peanuts and has less than half the fat of peanut butter, but all the flavor with nothing artificial added. So, did I cheat . . . technically no, my choice was clean. Was it on my plan, no. Do I feel guilt or remorse. No. I fed a hunger before it became a binge and I kept it in moderation.

I am looking forward to my diva day tomorrow! Starting the day off with my FAVORITE menu plan from the Stripped recipes! Funny that on the day I don't do anything with my hair or make up and walk around in yoga clothes all day is the day I feel the prettiest and get the most compliments.

I will leave you with one of my little sayings:

Anything that does not advance me in my quest for my healthiest, strongest life is a hindrance that I have allowed . . . I will not be an obstruction to the purpose I was created for.

Go! Be beautiful! A new day awaits what only you can bring! Serve it up big!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Choosing to be Fabulous!

Every day is a series of choices. The choices that we make either move us closer to our goals, further from them, or in most cases allow us to stay in a space of complacency. We have much more say about our journey than we even acknowledge.

Once we draw awareness to the choices we are given to make in a day, we can consciously make different choices that move us towards a different out come. Maybe you are thinking that a singular choice could not have that much impact. Let's look at a couple different scenarios here.

I have a desk job that requires I stay at my desk area for 8 hours of the day. Studies have shown that people who have sedentary jobs are at an increased risk of heart disease, no matter how much exercise they do in their after work hours. The mere fact that I sit 8 hr. of the day puts me at an increased risk. I already have a family history of heart health issues and I myself have had problems with high blood pressure and borderline cholesterol. So, I am doomed! Right? No. I have choices. I select what I might be able to do to turn statistics in my favor. If I get up for 5 minutes of every hour, I dramatically decrease those risks. If I am active for 5 minutes of every hour, I decrease those risks again. So, every hour of the work day, I get up for 5 minutes. Sometimes I merely stand at the counter and do my paper work. Other times I file. Then there are times that I stand at the counter and do calf raises or just glute squeezes. If I am feeling a little lethargic I go to the bathroom and do 50 quick squats and some wall push ups. These are choices, choices that could save my life, or at very least decrease my risks.

A little less dramatic illustration. Let's say I select to spend 5 minutes of each morning in prayer/meditation/reflection. Because I have made this choice, I feel calm, centered, focused and at peace as I start my day. When I get to work I am smiling and interact in a positive way with clients and work mates. That interaction makes me feel good and makes them feel good. A smiling face gets more compliments, compliments make you feel good, because you feel good, you make better food choices or maybe decide to take a walk after work with a friend. Walking with your friend encourages them to start exercising more frequently. One choice. One choice. It is a ripple effect in your life.

Once the ripple starts, it can and will turn into a tide if you start aiming all choices toward what you want more of in your life. With each choice ask yourself, does this serve me well? Does this move the ripples out toward the place I want to be?

When you challenge your thought process in one area and start realizing some goals, it ripples out into other areas of your life as well. You will wonder in what others areas you have been complacent, settled for less than or undisciplined. If I can plan my meals, schedule my workouts and make all the choices that go into making that happen (shopping, cooking, journaling workouts, etc) then I should be able to show better discipline in other areas of my life as well.

Another strategy I have been using is too look at each purchase, choice, event and ask myself . . . do I need this? Does this enhance my life or complicate it? Does this promote the life I desire or obstruct it? If I could have this or my goal which would I choose?

Today I am choosing to be fabulous! And because only I can make those choices, it shall be so!

Be bold, be brave, be fierce and be fabulous!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 1 of the 28 Day Bikini/Clean Eating Challenge

Hello my fellow clean eaters and want to be clean eaters! I hope you had a fabulous day!!! I have heard a couple 'fun' reports about oatmeal/bee pollen/flaxseed ! LOL!!!! Truthfully I am having that as a combination for the first time tomorrow. I have had oatmeal with bee pollen. And I have had it with flaxseed. I have had it with wheat germ. But not all three together. I have had combinations of two. We shall see. Here are some pointers on your morning oatmeals.

Make your oatmeal first. Then add the 'toppings'

1/4 cup of oats, 3/4 cup water in a 1 QUART glass container in the microwave for 3 minutes. Stir. Add more water if desired (I desire) and return to the microwave for 1 minute.

You will want you oats to be thin (watery) because of the 'toppings' you will be adding.

I also love cinnamon in my oatmeal. Spices and seasonings are totally fine to add to any of your foods, just watch ones that may contain sugar like taco mixes.

Another option with your oatmeal if you are opposed to eating it 'plain' is to put some protein powder in it. You will need to add enough liquid to allow the protein powder to mix in and the protein powder should not be added until after the oatmeal is cooked.

Adding protein powder would take the place of having egg whites with your oatmeal.

My day went super fast and I am feeling super fabulous! I love being on plan. I feel leaner, stronger, more energetic, and get a laser like focus on what I need to do.

I will show pics of my food, instead of words:

Oops! forgot to take a picture of breakfast. It was an Ezekiel English muffin toasted with a smear of Fage greek yogurt, 1 cup of raw spinach, and 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg on it. YUM!!!!! I would workout hard EVERY day if I could have this for breakfast!

Morning Snack:

Fuji Apple, cashews, almonds, cranberries and golden raisins

Spinach salad with chopped turkey patty, almonds, dates and balsamic vinegar

Kiwis and Cashews! This kiwi were a little too tart and I ate them with the skins on which I have done before. However, this time between the tartness and the fuzzy skin I had no texture left on my tongue when I was done! Wow! They need to ripen a bit!

I left work a little early to head to the new gym I am trying out this week and will most likely join to be my secondary gym. Actually it will be my primary gym for my lower body workout nights and when the university gym is closed I will have somewhere to workout. Lower body Boom Boom Pow workout night always makes me hungry! I will post my workout at the bottom of the page.

The strip mall that the gym is in also has a grocery store so I picked up some chicken breast so that i would not have to eat turkey patties again! I really like them, on a thinwhich, but I prefer grilled chicken breast in my salads!

I got home from the gym after 7 pm fired up the grill and prepped my dinner and the chicken breast. I also fired up the bath tub with warm water and epsom salts. Once I had the meats on the grill on low, I slide into the tub for a little soak. Tonight's workout helped to iron out the kinks left by Saturdays workout!

Dinner time:

Bison burger w/red pepper flakes, grilled leeks, brussel sprouts and carrots with cinnamon.

My day was super full and my workout was super exhausting. I devoured dinner. It is time for me to pack my gym bag and my meals for tomorrow! I can't wait to hear about your day!

Boom Boom Pow:
Walking Lunges w/twist 18# medicine ball 4 sets of 15
Hamstring Curls 3 x 12 x 55#
Leg Extensions 3 x 12 x 95#
Smith Machine Plie Squats 3 x 12 x 80#
Smith Machine Closed Leg Chair Squats 3 x 12 x 80#
Free Motion Standing Single Leg Calf Raises 3 x 12 x 90#
Seated Calf Raises 3 x 12 x 65#
Leg Press 1 x 12 x 50, 1 x 12 x 100, 1 x 12 x 150, 1 x 12 x 200
This was my first time using this machine, you lay on your back and the weight is on a sleigh above you. I purposely started light to get a feel for the range of motion and to make sure I could handle the weight. Now that I know I can, I will be heavying up quickly.
Abduction 3 x 12 x 80# (there machine is different than what I am used to and I could not move my usual weight.
Adduction 3 x 12 x 80#
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 12 x 25#DB

Ended my session with three 2 minute wall sits, 30 flying lunges, and a fun little squat rotation on a bosu ball.

I love to do some warrior yoga poses and pigeon stretches after my legs and glutes workout. It just makes everything feel good and I am so pliable at that time.

I hope you had a blessed day!

Day 2 is on it's way! Let's prepare to make it fabulous!

A little post workout picture! Ooooooooooooooooooo! I almost forgot to tell you! I have had to switch shampoos!!! My hair is now so healthy from eating clean that if I use my other shampoo it has too much moisturizer in it and makes my hair feel heavy and look dirty. My hair is now squeaky clean and shiny without moisturizer!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

So it Begins!

The gym bag is packed. The food is made. The schedule is written.

It's go time. Get a good nights sleep, for tomorrow it begins!

All that is left for me to do to prep is to take my measurements and my starting weight.

If your schedule aligns with mine, tomorrow is a POWER day. Lower body blast is the workout. Menus come from the Recharged Cooler 2, Vegan, Family Plan, or Gluten Free Plan. These are your highest carb and calorie plans in the Eat Clean Diet books.

Here is the week preview in snapshot, done by my friend Laura:

so would this summary be correct?

Every week will consist of: 1 Power day + 5 Flow days+ 1 Rhythm day

• Cooler #2 , family meal plan or gluten free plan from Recharged
• Lower body strength training day (squats, lunges, high weight/low reps)

• Cooler #1 from Recharged
• Rest Days
• Recovery days (after power day)
• Cardio only days
• Upper body strength training days
• HiiT days with no strength training

• From Stripped plan
• Active day (i.e. lower body pylo)
• High reps/low weight
• Tempo runs
• kickboxing
• HiiT with weights
• Short cardio—constant motion with elevated heart rates

• Increase portion size of whole grains from ¼ cup to 1/3 or ½ cup
• Double portion of greens and non-starch veggies'

I hope this is helpful to you. I hope that you feel prepared. I hope that you are ready to achieve great things, I know I am!

Let's go!

Menu/Schedule for Week One of the 28 Day Bikini/Eat Clean Challenge

Carolyn’s Week One Menus & Schedule

Monday: POWER:  Lower Body Workout:  Meals from Eat Clean Diet Recharged Cooler 2 Day 4
Breakfast: 1 ezekiel English muffin, spread with yogurt cheese and topped with spinach, tomato and scrambled egg whites. water
Snack: Trail mix (almonds, cashew, dried unsweetened cranberries, raisins): 1 apple. Water
Lunch:  Spinach topped w/grilled chicken, pitted chopped dates, slivered almonds, dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, water.
Snack: 1 sliced orange; 1 handful cashews, water.
Dinner:  Bison burger (since I do not have tenderloin; roasted carrots, brussel sprouts and leeks) water.

Tuesday:  FLOW:  Hiit + Abs  (high intensity interval training)  Menu from Recharged Cooler 1 Day 2
Breakfast: Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Breakfast Cereal (menu says millet), topped with flaxseed and bee pollen (I will add cinnamon).  Scrambled egg whites.  Water.
Snack:  ½ apple; water-packed canned tuna. Water.
Lunch: ½ sweet potatoe; spinach topped with grilled chicken breast, radishes, cucumbers, dash of balsamic vinegar.  Water.
Snack:  water packed tuna, cherry tomatoes. Water.
Dinner:  Roasted turkey breast, ½ sweet potato, steamed asparagus (I will probably grill mine)

Wednesday:  FLOW:  Chest, back and shoulders : Menu from Recharged Cooler 1 Day  Repeat  Tuesdays menu.  I like repetition, it makes preparation easy.  I have been known to live on the same three menus for up to three months. 
Thursday: FLOW:  This is a long cardio session for me 40 – 60 min:  Menu for Recharged Cooler 1 Day 4 to add a little variety!
Breakfast:  Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat Cereal (says cream of wheat), bee pollen and flaxseed; hardboiled egg whites, water.
Snack: ½ pear, protein shake made with water and 1 scoop protein powder.
Lunch:  Bison burger, ½ sweet potato, broccoli, water.
Snack:  Grilled chicken breast; sliced cucumber, radishes, ½ pear. Water.
Dinner:  Baked tilapia, steamed spinach, steamed broccoli, ½ sweet potato, water.

Friday:  RYTHYM:  Second Lower Body Workout.  Menu from Eat Clean Diet Stripped Week 1 Day 1
Breakfast:  Be a Master of Your Frittata recipe (3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, ½ cup each of veggies, starch and protein of my choice.   Mine is usually ½ cup  peppers, mushrooms, onions chopped finely, ½ cup of cooked farro or brown rice, and grilled chicken breast or shrimp.
Snack:  almonds, apple. Water.
Lunch:  Baked Chicken breast sliced onto raw spinach with chopped onion, tomato, black beans and a squeeze of lemon.
Snack:  2 hard-boiled eggs; celery; water.
Dinner:  Roasted turkey breast; steamed broccoli; brown rice; water
Before Bed (if hungry):  4 Scramble egg whites with tomato, herbal tea.
*I will have chocolate casein shake most every night.  I tried going without it a couple nights in a row this past week and I had a horrible time with muscles in my legs, hips and feet cramping up and having spasms.  I need the potassium without all the extra carbs and calories it would take to get more into my diet.

Saturday:  FLOW:  Cardio, biceps & triceps:  Menu from Eat Clean Diet Recharged Cooler 1 Day 7
Breakfast: Bob’s Red Mill Cream Buckwheat Cereal (cream of wheat on menu), topped with bee pollen and flaxseed . . .I always add cinnamon; hardboiled egg whites. Water.
Snack: ½ apple, proten shake make with water and 1 scoop protein powder. Water.
Lunch: Grilled tuna loin (I will either have tuna fish or salmon) ½ sweet potato; raw sliced radishes. Water.
Snack: hardboiled egg whites, sliced tomatoes; ½ pear. Water
Dinner:  Grilled chicken, ½ sweet potato; steamed sliced zucchini; steamed asparagus. Water.

Sunday:  FLOW:  Day of Rest or light walk with dog. Menu from Eat Clean Diet Recharged Day 5
Breakfast:  Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal (millet), flaxseed and bee pollen; scrambled egg whites. Water.
Snack: ½ apple, water-packed canned tuna, water.
Lunch: Baked tilapia, ½ sweet potato; bok choy and steamed tomatoes. Water
Snack:  Water packed canned tuna, celery sticks, water, ½ apple.
Dinner:  Lean Roast (elk?)  ½ sweet potato; steamed asparagus, steamed green beans. Water.

This is my base plan for the week.  I tried to work it so I didn’t have red meats more than twice in the week.  I think I ended up with bison twice and Sundays menu has roast.  I like the menu with roast on it for Sunday’s dinners.  I put the meat in the crockpot in the morning with potatoes and carrots for my family.  At dinner time I make a veggie pouch with my sweet potato, asparagus and green beans, drizzle just a little olive oil on them and put them on the grill to cook.
I hope this gives you a peek at what your week might look like.  Again, when you look at the menu, if you don’t have chicken, substitute a lean meat that you do have.  I for one will be eating a lot of white fish, tuna and salmon this week because it is what I have on hand.  When you see  millet, cream of wheat, etc.  Use the type of oats or other grain cereal that you have on hand.

Gearing Up for the Week

Here is a check list to help you prepare for the week.
Chicken baked or grilled
Eggs boiled
Veggies cleaned and cut
Brown rice/farro/quinoa cooked
Lunch Box Cleaned and ready
Ice packs in the freezer
Water Bottles cleaned and ready to go
Fruit purchased
Raw nuts on hand
Oatmeal or other whole grain for breakfasts
Flaxseed/bee pollen/herbal teas
Eggs! Make sure you have plenty for boiling and scrambling
Sweet potatoes cooked (I cook up two whole sweet potatoes and cut them in halves to keep in the fridge)
Protein powder on hand
Glass or other reusable containers to pack your meals for your cooler
Workout plan written

Your first day is from Cooler 2 meal plan, the family meal plan, the gluten free meal plan and/or we do have a couple members following the vegan meal plan and I am working on getting a support team together to help navigate them throughout the challenge.

Your day one workout that goes with this menu plan is a vigorous lower body workout. Does it need to be my lower body workout . . . . no! Just make it challenging for YOUR fitness level. Page 37 of the Oxygen book-a-zine has a 15 minute Plyo workouts, that I would add to the end of a lower body workout that looked something like the workout on 144-146.

These are not pictures from the book, just a sample.

Before you even start your workout, make sure you have a written plan. Write in a small notebook or a journal. You want the name of your exercise, the number of repetitions, weights and the number of sets you plan to do already planned before you start. Use the pages 37, 144 – 146 as your guideline. Amy is also publishing what her workout looks like for Monday for those who would like to follow along. I will get a link to her info for you.

Monday is my long set this week: 4 sets of 12 each with a midrange weight
Walking lunges
Squats with the smith machine
Leg Extensions
Leg Curls (hamstring curls)
Seated Leg Press
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
Single Leg Lunges
Standing Calf Raises
Lateral Lunges
Front Push Squats
End with yoga warrior poses, triangle and pigeon poses

Doing hip thrusters here, which are not on the schedule for this Monday, but are on my other lower body night.

Amy has put together a nice 60 min. power playlist for us to use in our workouts. I can always count on Amy to supply me with the best workout music that powers me through a tough set. Add a few of these to your playlist and let me know some of your favorites to workout to.
Name Artist
Fighter Christina Aguilera
Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) Pitbull featuring T-Pain
On The Floor Jennifer Lopez
Club Can't Handle Me [Feat. David Guetta] Flo Rida
Yeah 3x [Clean Version] Chris Brown
Only Girl (In The World) Rihanna
Tonight (I'm Lovin' You) Enrique Iglesias
Rock That Body Black Eyed Peas
Till The World Ends Britney Spears
Hello Martin Solveig - Dragonette
All Fired Up (Single Version) Pat Benatar
Jump [feat. Nelly Furtado Edit] Flo Rida
Boom Boom Pow Black Eyed Peas
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love Usher featuring Pitbull
Raise Your Glass P!nk
SING My Chemical Romance

Not to confuse you, this is not one of the books being reference for this 28 day challenge, but it is a great visual for what we are working towards. A nice high tight strong backside!


Above all else, remember that the choices you make with food on the first day are more important than what you do in the gym. You cannot out exercise a poor nutrition plan. Does that mean you should not exercise . . . hush your mouth! No, I am saying if you can only focus on one at this time . . . focus on your food. Add in the exercise as you can. If you cannot lift weights or do any of the above exercises think about ways that you could hit those lower body muscles at your current fitness level. Walk up stairs? Walk up hills? Do wall sits? Do plies? Squeeze a ball between your knees? Leg lifts? Get creative and let us know what you are doing to challenge yourself! Others will be encouraged! Start where you are and move towards where you want to be.

Live beautifully! You are loved!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What a Different Life!

The 28 Day Challenge will be launching on Monday. In many ways it has already launched for many of you as you have gathered supplies, materials and information. It launched for me almost two years ago. Clean eating is a journey. The further you get into it, the more you get out of it. The more consistent you are in your food selection, the more you will not want to deviate. Know that you are not going to be perfect or that all cravings and temptations are just going to magically disappear.

If this is your first adventure into clean eating I would suggest you focus on adding one new recipe a week and removing one unclean item each week. I would focus on removing either sugar or sodium in the first week. You know which one is most important for you to focus on. It would be sugar for me and I had to quit sugar cold turkey because it was such a trigger food for me that would lead to binges. I also had to be very aggressive in my elimination of sodium containing foods for health reasons. Just those two changes made HUGE differences in my health and wellness. Because I wasn't eating sugar I felt more 'in control' of my food choices. It does take will power when you first start. I will not lie. You have to consciously say I will not eat sugar. If sugar is a big trigger for you, I would encourage you to eliminate all forms of sugar for one week (honey, agave, truvia, etc.) If you will do this for one week you will be amazed at how sweet fruits and berries taste on a cleansed palate. I would put into my diet more spinach, broccoli and asparagus, oats, farro, brown rice, chicken, eggs, fish. Those would be my top foods to include in your meals over the next 28 days.

I am on an off week right now. I am not 'on a plan' I am eating clean, but have allowed myself this week to indulge in a few things that I may not have in my menus on a regular basis. Yesterday my husband and I were reminiscing about what a difference there has been in my life, my health and my purpose over these past two years. More than two years ago my weight and blood pressure was soooooo high and my health was seriously so bad that the doctors thought that I had had a cardiovascular event. I was 42, almost 43 at that time. I was scared. I seriously thought I might die, maybe not that day, but in the near future. I had fears of dying at 267 pounds and my boys (21 and 23 at that time) having to carry a coffin with my obese body inside. My boys are only 5'5 and 5'7" and weigh approximately 120 pounds. They are young men with a whole life ahead of them. One is getting ready to graduate from college and get married. I did not want to be that kind of burden to my boys and I didn’t want to miss out of their lives. Then I thought, even if I don’t die now, my health choices are not making my life better, and all my best days are behind me. At some point I am going to be older, injured, or in some way debilitated and someone I love is going to have to help me in and out of the shower or up and down from the toilet. I love people way to much to want to burden them with the consequences of my choices. 267 pounds is a lot to pick up when it falls down.
But, I had a dilemma, I didn’t know how to properly feed my body. I had lived with bulimia for so long (25+ years) that all I knew was diet foods, deprivation and binging. I did not have a healthy relationship with food and did not know how to navigate the grocery store. Grocery shopping became torture. I would spend hours in the store, crying on each isle as I read label after label trying to figure out what I could eat. I felt doomed to a life of bland boring foods and mourned the idea of never eating tasty foods again. I would pray that SOMEONE, ANYONE would just tell me how to properly feed my body. I love to cook, I always have, but I was totally lost in how to make sense of all the mixed information I was receiving about how to lower my blood pressure, lose weight and improve my health. It was a struggle for a long time. Mostly it was a head game. I had to be careful to not let myself think of myself as being deprived in any way or this could trigger a binge. I had to tell myself that my body could not function on substandard fuels, it deserved the best. This was my self-talk to keep me from indulging in the pastries, candies and fried foods that surrounded me daily.
Flash to yesterday. My husband and I are out on the town shopping and going to lunch. I ask him where he would like to have lunch. He says “You pick, you are the one who has to be more selective in your food. I can eat anything”. This has been the case our whole marriage, he can eat anything and it does not gain weight, I can be VERY selective and work very hard and still struggle with my weight. But, I said “No, you pick, we always go where I want to go.” He said “Burgers and Fries would be nice, you okay with that?” I said “Sure, I could do burgers and fries . . . I haven’t had either in a loooooong time and it would not hurt me.” So, I headed the car towards 5 Guys burger joint. At the intersection he said “Let’s go to Houlihands”. I am so glad he did. I honestly I do not look at a burger and fries as a treat any more, I look at as something that I will eat if I must. I just feel so good when I am eating clean. I like the way my rings swing around my fingers like hula hoops and my body mores pain free without inflammation or bloating.
Sometimes in my passion about clean eating and the amazing difference it has made in my life, I can come off as militant and some feel intimidated by that. Know this, I did not start this journey with the benefit of someone walking it before me telling me how to find my way. I did not stumble into the Eat Clean movement until 9 months after I was that crying girl in the grocery store wishing someone would hold my hand and show me how to navigate the isles safely. Once I found Tosca and read her story, I knew I had a friend, an ally who knew some things that I did not know yet. So, I hitched my wagon to her train and have been along for the ride since then. All along the way I have learned new ways to clean up my diet and enjoy a better level of health. My approach may seem overwhelming to some. I am not perfect, but I do desire to learn more and challenge myself to pursue my best health. I also fight for that Carolyn of two years ago. I mentally go through the grocery store holding her hand and say “darling, you can do this and I’m here to help you every step of the way!

Enjoying one of my new dresses for spring! I feel like twirling around in this dress and signing "I feel pretty . . .Oh, so pretty!"

Live beautifully! Be YOU!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Video & Voice

Here is the link to the video I did with the eat clean crew at the Arnold Sports Festival in March.

You will see my picture on the right side of the page. Oh, and for those of you who wanted to see what I look like without make up . . . all I had with me that day was my eyeliner and mascara. I usually smile more, but I was nervous.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Note #2 28 Day Bikini Ready/Clean Eating Challenge

I want to make sure to address any questions about food and how the menus work, before I address the exercise component. There are a couple reasons way. 1. Food is 80% of the equation. You cannot out exercise a poor diet. You may have heard the phrase muscles are made in the kitchen or abs are made in the kitchen. This is true. 2. In general it takes more time to prepare and plan foods than it does to put exercise on your schedule.

After yesterday’s note, I got a few questions and I am trying to be as thorough as possible in giving YOU the tools YOU need to make this plan work for you. I cannot customize a plan for each person. I can teach you how I customize a plan for myself. Everything I am sharing is based on what I have learned and applied on my journey. This is what works for me. I think the same principles will work for you. I can only you teach you the skills you need to use the tools.

Yesterday’s food list was not meant to be all inclusive. It was a general list of the most common lean, clean, healthy foods used on the majority of the recipes and menu plans. I did neglect to include a very important source of lean protein and that is protein powders. It is hard to get enough protein without using protein powder. In general, I have one scoop of protein powder a day. I do not sell any products and I do not get paid to endorse any brand. I can merely tell you what I use and ask you to use your best judgment. I use a protein whey by Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard. I keep rich chocolate and vanilla on hand. I use vanilla usually on the morning that I have a protein smoothie for breakfast or in my oatmeal. Chocolate I mix with water to have with a piece of fruit as a snack a couple hours before I go to the gym.

In clean eating, the focus is on serving size and nutrition, not calorie counting. If you stick to the tenants of the program you will not go over calories, and should be at the proper calorie deficit to lose weight if you are exercising Even though I described some of the menu plans as maintenance plans, if you are new to clean eating or have more weight to lose, you will lose weight.

Here is your food guidelines:

Your serving of proteins is the size of the palm of YOUR hand (not mine, not your husbands). The thickness and surface area of your palm is the amount of lean protein you can have for your main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner). During your snack times just a little lighter, not a half serving , maybe closer to 2/3 of a serving. Protein = Palm (exception is protein powder is a scoop, eggs are 3 whites + 1 whole)

Your serving of starches (clean breads, brown rice, oatmeal, cous cous, , potatoes, clean pasta), should fit in one of YOUR cupped hands. Grains & Starches = Cup it!

Your serving of green veggies is the size of your two hands cupped together.

Your serving of nuts should be able to balance on your flatten palm without stacking them.

Your serving of berries should fit on the palm with just a little scoop shape to it, approx.. 4 medium strawberries, ¼ cup of blueberries.

Your serving of fruits should fit in your palm with your fingers wrapped around it. In most cases it is ½ a fuji or gala apple, ½ a pear, ½ a banana, ½ a mango.

On page 28 of the Recharged book there is a wonderful breakdown of macro-nutrients and lists of protein, starchy carbs, carbs from fruits and veggies and healthy fats. Basically , you will be using this as your ‘exchange list’ When the menu for the day has something on it that you either do not like, cannot afford, or do not have on hand . . . exchange it for another product in that same nutrient source. If the menu calls for lentils, you could use another bean, yams, sweet potatoes or red potatoes. As long as you stay in the nutrient category you are fine.

When you look at the menu for a meal, break it down. Ask yourself “What is the protein source here. What is the carb source here. Where are the fats.” If you do that you will be able to adjust any meal plan to use what you have on hand. I would challenge you though to try new recipes and combinations in the menu plan. You may find a new favorite.

If you have been on a deprivation plan, this may seem like a lot of food to you. Likewise, if you are very active you may find that you are hungry. First, it is okay to eat all the food. It is not okay to EVER skip a meal. It does not matter if you just totally blew it at lunch time, your next meal you eat even if it is just a small portion of the protein serving. Eat a few bites. Second, even though is okay to feel hungry, I don’t want those of you who are training for marathons, triathlons or half marathons to be depleting your glycogen stores. Food and fuel and your body is using it differently. Eating clean makes awesome athletes with just a little adjustment. I want endurance athletes to increase your starch serving. Instead of ¼ cup of dry oatmeal, I would want you to go to 1/3 or even ½. The same with your sweet potatoes. You do not need to increase your fruit serving size, but could double your green veggies. There is no need to increase your protein.

I hope these informational notes are helpful to you. In the next note I will be discussing how to use the various menus in conjunction with your workout schedule to get the desired results.



Stripping Down a Plan

Stripping Down a Plan

I know everyone is sooooo excited about the 28 Day Challenge!!!  I know I am!   I will be publishing notes and posting them to the team.  To make sure that everyone has access to them, I will post them to Fabulous Fitness Facebook page and on my personal page.  I will also put these notes into my blogs on and  Additionally I will put links to those blogs on the Facebook pages and chat groups that I lead.
I’m sure you would like to know what you will be eating and some of you are new to clean eating.  In a nutshell, clean eating is eating foods that have not been processed.  As you clean up your nutrition you will be eliminating sugar, sugar substitutes, preservatives, additives and excess sodium.  Sea salt is totally clean, just watch your intake.
During the 28 Days, you will have to employ your best focus on your future goals to avoid the desire for immediate gratification.  Question every bite you take.  Is this a living whole food?  You should be able to answer yes to these questions . . .
  1.  Did it grow on a plant (tree, vine, bush, root, etc)?
  2. Did it walk, run, swim or fly?
  3. If I read this label out loud to a four year old, could I pronounce the words and explain what they are in nature?  For instance:  Peanut Butter.  If it is a clean peanut butter it will say the ingredients are PEANUTS!  No sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no additives.
  4. If it comes in a box and has a barcode, it could still be clean if the ingredients say things like oats, flax, corn, wheat, water, etc.  There are a few bread items and crackers that are clean, just read the label.  If you can’t pronounce it, your body does not know what to do with it.

I’m not here to write a specialized plan for each of you.  I am here to teach you how to use these tools to meet your goals.  Each of these notes will discuss different aspects of how I use these programs to reach my goals.  We will be using Eat Clean Diet Recharged Cooler 1 and Cooler 2 plans.  The Eat Clean Recharged Family Meal Plan and The Gluten Free Plan will be used (all in the recharged book).  We will also be using the Eat Clean Diet Stripped menu plans.
I have been asked how the plans are different.  Here is the short answer and I will go into more detail in the next note.
Stripped = Purpose:  28 day plan to eliminate inflammation & bloating caused by dairy  and to help you drop those last 10 lbs.   No dairy, no bread or processed grains of any sort.  Lots of lean meats, green veggies, fresh fruit, berries, nuts and seeds and healthy fats.  Fabulous menu plans and recipes.
Recharged Cooler 1 = This plan is a two week plan to help get you ‘picture ready’ and to make your jeans fit a little looser in a short period.  This is the plan I use when I am travelling because the foods are simplistic and repetitive making it easy to batch cook and use leftovers up.  It is your no frills plan.  There are not ‘recipes’ on cooler one . . .it is Chicken breast, ½  sweet potato, green beans type menu plan.
Recharged Cooler 2 = This is a maintenance plan.  You will get some dairy and some bread products on the days we take menus from this plan.  Clean breads are either fresh baked breads that have all whole ingredients in them or you can purchase Ezekiel bread.  Ezekiel bread is found in the freezer section in the grocery store.
Recharged Family Meal Plan = Also a maintenance plan.  It has some family friendly recipes that follow all the clean eating guidelines.
Recharged Gluten-Free Meal Plan = Also a maintenance plan.  The menus look very similar to the menus in the stripped plan, except it does have dairy.
I hope this answers some questions you may have about the meal plans.  If you want to start doing some shopping to build your pantry and stock your freezer for next week, here is a list of things you may want to get.  (Organic is best, when you can afford it.  Grass fed beef it best, when you can afford it.  When you can’t afford it, just get the leanest best quality foods your money can buy.  Quality is important, but feeding you family is vital)

Lean Ground Beef
Flank Steak
Tuna (canned in water or in a pouch)
White Fish
Chicken Breast
Bison (ground, steaks)
Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds (nuts and seeds should be RAW, not roasted)
Greek Yogurt 0% Fat Plain
Almond milk (plain, unsweetened) Do Not get rice milk, it is nutritionally different than almond milk
Rolled Oats
10 Grain Whole Wheat Cereals Blends  (I like Bob’s Red Mill brand)
Brown Rice and/or Farro
Sweet Potatoes
Natural Peanut Butter
Nonfat cottage cheese
Veggies I always have on hand: zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, kale, raw spinach
Fruits:  apples, pears, strawberries, mango, blueberries, bananas

In the next note or two I will give you the menu ‘schedule’ so you will know what specific fruits and veggies you will need for the first week or two.  I really like repeating the same menu two weeks in a row, it helps me use up leftovers and veggies before they go bad.
I hope you find this useful!  We are here to help you reach your goals!


Stripped to the Finish!

Super quick blog so I can head to the gym and get my Boom Boom Pow workout in tonight before dinner!!!

Starting Weight: 161.4
Current Weight: 153.0
Weight lost: 8.4 lbs.
Bra Band: 33 (32) -1 inch
Bicep: 11.5 (11.0) - .5 inch
Natural Waist: 32 (29.25) - 2.75 inches
Hip: 40.5 (38.25) - 2.25 inches
Thigh: 20.75 (20.5) - .25
Calf: 15 (14.75) - .25
Looks like 7 inches lost! Good month!

Before Stripped Plan vs. 28 days later

This used to be my least favorite angle to be photographed in a bikini and I would cringe when Ruben asked to post them publicly. Now, I think this is my favorite.

I'm liking what I'm seeing here and it encourages me to continue to work towards my best body NOW!!!!

So, what now? This morning was my first meal off plan in 28 days. I had already pre-planned my day and packed my foods the night before. I had an Ezekiel English Muffin with scrambled egg whites, spinach and laughing cow cheese spread and one kiwi.

When my son (24) saw me eating breakfast
he said "I thought your 28 days were over today"

I said "they are"

He said "Then why the hell are you eating THAT"

I replied "because clean eating is my lifestyle, not a 28 day diet".

He just shook his head as he walked away mumbling "whatever". LOL!!!

I am just so pleased with how my body is looking and feeling and I have no desire to stop the momentum that I am feeling. Will I go off 'plan' . . . yes and no . . . I have planned an indulgence for tomorrow night with my hubby, which I PLAN to enjoy! The following day I will pack my cooler as PLANNED and enjoy my clean whole foods.

BTW . . . I was sooooo excited to be able to have some greek yogurt today. I packed some seeds, nuts, dried fruit and 1/2 an apple to chop up and toss in a couple tablespoons of my favorite greek yogurt. It actually did not taste as good to me as I thought it would. As a matter of fact I was thinking "this would taste much better without the yogurt. LOL!!!

Here is a peak of my one year progress, just to show you change can happen at any time and it's NEVER too late!!!

Live beautifully! Be YOU!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

28 Day Stripper Graduate

Well, I don't want to jump the gun. Today is the last day of the plan. I do not 'officially' graduate until I have completed this day. But, if I have not gone off plan in 27 days, I don't think I will be tempted to do so today.

I have been reflecting back to see some of my favorite foods and lessons learned over 28 days. The plan isn't really all that different than what I had been doing, other than I couldn't have greek yogurt or my favorite granola. Breakfast was about 2/3 of what I would have usually eaten for breakfast and I didn't have sweet potatoes nearly as much as I usually do.

I will be doing my measurements in the a.m. and posting my before/after pictures for the 28 days, on Monday. Hubby is out of town so pictures will have to wait until my neighbor and friend, Carie (HOTLIKEHUBBY) can come down to take them for me. Funny how she is the only one I would consider allowing to take these pictures when I then post them for all of YOU to see! Something about being 'in person' and posing seems too personal.

What I have learned is that it is a good thing to try new recipes, even ones that you don't think you would like.  I would have been more likely to stick to the 'concept' of the menu without sticking to it exactly, had it not been for the fact that I wanted to give you guys a full fair and accurate report on the plan.   Although I did make a few minor substitutions, I did stick to the plan at each meal of each day . . . other than last Friday when I got stuck in Indy way late in the evening shopping and didn't have enough food on me. I was disappointed to not make it home in time for dinner because it was one of my favorites. . .

Salmon with Sweet and Tangy Pineapple Chutney, farro and sauteed kale!

I made the best substitution I could while driving. I got a tuna wrap from Trader Joe's that had albacore tuna, loads of spinach, tomatoes and egg in it. The wrap was not on my plan (no bread products on the 28 day plan), but it was whole wheat with flaxseed and I tore off all the excess so I only had enough to act as the carrier of the tuna salad. I also had two pineapple spears and a bottle of water.

The next day I was excited because, even though I had missed my favorite dinner, Saturday's lunch is leftovers from Friday night!!! BUT, a friend was in from out of town and wanted to go to lunch. I decided that I would just make the best choices I could with the menu. I ended up ordering two plates of food so I could combine them to get the meal I needed. I got a greek salad (hold the croutons) and a salmon burger platter, hold the potato chips. I used the salmon burger on my salad. The portion was larger than I should have eaten, but tasted delicious!

After these meals I employed a couple 'tricks' I know to help me to release extra fluids and to keep me from feeling puffy. For the next two days I drink lots of water with lemon. I make a big two quart pitcher of water with 1 lemon, 1 cucumber, fresh ginger and fresh mint leafs in it and loads of ice. I drink the whole pitcher in one day (it has to marinate for 4 - 5 hours before you drink it. Ginger and mint both have anti-inflammatory properties to them and help sooth your digestive tract after eating heavy foods. Lemon and cucumber both help with elimination. 'Nuf said.

Had I not been on the Stripped plan, there are a couple more 'tricks' I would employ. Such as eat more potassium the next day by eating almonds, salmon, dried fruits). Every cell in you body has a sodium/potassium gate on it to allow fluids in and out. When you are retaining too much fluids due to high sodium content of food, you need to increase the ratio of potassium to sodium to get the gates to open and release fluids.

During the past 28 days I also learned how very vital my support team is to my accountability and success. I have a core group of 6 (including me 7) who I chat with daily and am accountable to. We check in with each other to share what our workout of the day is, what our goals are for the day and to share our celebrations. It kinda feels like when you were a little kid and you got a gold star on your page and you couldn't wait to go home and show it to your mom. When something good is happening for me, I report to the core 6 first. They are like my sisters and celebrate with me. It also holds me accountable to them. If I tell that that Monday night is my Boom Boom Pow workout and they encourage me to go heavy and give it all I got . . . guess what, it is next to impossible to not what to exceed my goal for that day.

When I started the 28 day plan, I had a dual purpose. One was to prove to myself what could be done with focus. The other was to help Amy (Fitchick75) to have a plan to stay in the best shape possible during her recovery from surgery for an abdominal hernia. I had told her that nutrition was 80% of the equation to keep her body fat down and to keep her from losing muscle mass during her recovery. She could not exercise at all for a couple weeks and that could drive a fitness freak crazy. So, instead of focusing on what she can't do, I wanted her to focus on what she could do. We were accountable to each other every day. We both carried around that book like it was the bible. When I didn't have mine with me and was at the store, I would text Amy and she would give me a list of foods needed for a recipe. She always had the book handy, if I didn't.

We are Strippers!

If you choose to start a plan, whether it is training for something or a meal plan, I encourage you to find an accountability partner who will do THE SAME plan with you. You will be challenged, encouraged and motivated to continue knowing that someone else is doing the exact same thing.

I am working on writing up the plans for the next 28 day challenge and will be explaining how to 'strip down' a plan and make it work for you. Several have joined the challenge on Facebook. I am hoping that each of them will find someone on the team that they can relate to as we post daily what are plan is for the next day and then come back and talk about how we executed that plan. Use the group as a way to figure out what is working and what is not.

I will be posting the challenge information on the Spark Fabulous Fitness team as well. I encourage you to join in on the fun! The next 28 days could change your life!

Live beautifully! Be YOU!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stripping in Style

Amazing day!!! It has been a bit of a rough week, but today was amazing. On Friday I could feel my body was trying to fight off something. I am very sensitive to what my body is telling me and have a funny relationship with it. It talks to me and I try to tune in and listen. I know, weird! But, mine was telling me it needed to be nourished and nurtured with special care on Friday. Since Friday is my day off, I spent most of the afternoon propped up in my bed drinking herbal tea and reading. I even got a nap.

Thankfully, I was able to sleep a full eight hours last night and woke up feeling better than I had in a couple days. As I turned on my computer, I realized that today is the third Saturday of the month . . . the indoor farmers market is open! I can get some locally raised, grass fed, organic meats and eggs! Once I made that realization, it was mission on! I got a warm bowl of oats with berries for breakfast.

I love the way sliced strawberries look like hearts!

I washed my face, pulled my hair back in a ponytail, pulled on my new yoga pants and flip flops and was heading out the door in no time flat to get started with my day.

Had to snap a pic because I felt lean this morning. The scale agreed! 156 this morning!

Just throwing on your clothes and running out the door might be normal for some folks, but I'm a hair and make up girl! But, I can waste too much time doing that on a Saturday and I needed to get some cardio in today as well.

I packed my snack, nuts and fruit to eat while I was shopping. I met the most amazing people there! I meet the local sheep farmers (2). And I found out I like sheep or I guess it's actually called lamb. I had a bite of ground lamb meatballs . . . delicious! I asked the lady for the recipe and she didn't have a copy of it, but showed me the recipe. I pulled out my cell phone and took pictures of the recipe page. I also bought two dozen eggs from her.

The next booth I went to, also had lamb! Their samples were italian sausage. Very delicious! I talked to them for a while. I asked each farmer about how they raised their animals, how they fed them, medicated, processed and handled their meats. I asked them if they had a website I could share or a Facebook Page I could friend and told them that I write blogs, recipes and reviews and would like to give them a mention. One of the ladies just kept staring at me the whole time I was talking about clean eating and why I needed to know everything about the meats. Then just out of the blue she said, "You are beautiful". Totally caught me off balance. I told her how I had used clean eating to lower my blood pressure and to transform my life and that I had lost 111 lbs. in less than 2 yrs. A customer standing nearby heard our conversation and just stopped and said "You are beautiful." Maybe I should go without doing my hair and make up more often! This is working for me! LOL!

After a few more moments of conversation, the lady making the sausage samples said "Do you have a website, phone number or business card. I'd like to talk to you more about what I could do to lose weight and get in the best shape of my life." Hello! I'm feeling like an evangelist here! Everywhere I go I talk about how clean eating has changed my life and it is a message that so many people are hungry to hear! They can't get enough of it.

I'm now feeling ON TOP OF WORLD! I look around to see it the herb lady is there so that I can get some fresh basil and rosemary plants, but she is not there this week. Skip all the bakers and muffin makers. I am heading out the door when I see this jewelry display that has the most unusual jewelry made of reclaimed pocket watches, buckles, charms, etc. I am drawn in! Love jewelry. My eye immediately goes to a necklace that is a pocket watch face that has been filled with gemstones and has lots of turquoise in it. I scan the rest of the jewelry and keep coming back to this piece. It is big, I wonder if it's heavy. I wonder if it would look gaudy? I put it on and look in the mirror, before I can say what I am thinking, another customer says to me . . . only you could pull that off, you are beautiful. Guess who bought a new necklace! LOL!

Out of the market and on to the mall to search out and purchase a cast iron skillet! Score! Two! Both on sale!!! Then to the grocery store to pick up the veggies and fish I needed for this week.

When I got home I put away all the cold stuff, started cooking up some grub in my new skillet!

This is turkey sausage, green peppers, onion, mushrooms and spinach. I added in some cooked farro. Tomorrow morning I will put about a cup of this mixture into a ramekin with 4 egg whites and one whole egg and bake it for my breakfast!

I grabbed a quick bite to eat and was back out the door to do some cardio at the gym.

1/4 cup of cooked farro, 1/2 a cucumber, 5 cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. Yummo!

At the gym I realized I had forgotten my music. I am not a fan of long cardio sessions, but any cardio without music is like torture for me. But, I am a big girl, certainly I can discipline my mind to behave for 40 minutes. I have the new Athleta catalog with me and a clean eating magazine . . . I will just listen to house music and do my thing on the cross trainer. Folk music. Really? In a gym? Please. The most irritating folk music. I can do this. Or maybe not. I jump off the cross trainer before the first song is even half way through. I leave my water bottle and magazine on the trainer, grab my key and ID and run down the hallway, jump in my car and drive the three blocks home to get my iPod. Run back down the hallway and jump back onto the cross trainer. What can I say, I had a rare day that I felt inspired to get my cardio in and didn't want some guys choice in crappy music to blow it for me. 40 minutes on the cross trainer, 20 on the treadmill at a 7.0 incline, ended with some amazing yoga to stretch out my quads, hamstrings and calves.

I felt good! Ran a few more errand in town while I was up and 'running'. Came home to start my dinner and jump in the tub!!!! Checked into facebook to see how my friends were doing and found out that, thanks to some dedicated friends, I am at number 5 in the polls! There are 13 more days in the contest. It is feeling more and more like this is going to happen.

I have been working on some ideas and writing some plans that would help me to reach more people with the good news about clean eating and how we each have the power to make positive change in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. After the trip to the farmers market, I had several lightbulbs flashing off all at once, like paparazzi cameras. What if I put my testimony, before and after pictures, recipes and meal plans into a small spiral bound 'book' (that part I have been working on) . . . but, what if I teamed up with the local growers and sold this book at the farmers market? Do you think people would be interested? I'm getting to be know as the clean eating girl in town. I could think of worse titles!!! LOL!

Give me some feed back. Help me brainstorm this.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Year

2009 I started my weight loss journey, weighing 267 lbs.

By December I had lost 60 lbs.

2010 I was training for my first half marathon

I learned a lot about myself, commitment, dedication and the role diet plays in performance while I was training. The training is the experience you don't want to miss.

Yea, well, don't even ask! LOL!!! I thought you would be able to see some muscles because I could feel them! LOL!!!

Then, in a moment when I was feeling really good about my progress, I took these pictures. I had been working hard for a year, had lost 80 lbs. And I still had so far to go. I am grateful for these pictures though. Because at this point it could have been easy to just be complacent with the progress I had made. I had gone from barely able to exercise with the Wii Fit for 10 minutes a day, to running a half marathon, riding my bike 23 miles on Saturdays and was enjoying a very active life. I was happier and healthier than I had been in years. And 80 lbs. in a year is amazing progress and even though my body is far from idea, it was a heck of a lot better than it had been and I looked 'normal' in clothes.

Then I started feeling a little desperation and felt tempted by all the quick fix headlines on the magazine rack. Lost 10 lbs. by Sunday. Drop a dress size in a week. Eat your favorite foods and lose weight. Lose weight without exercise, etc.

I had been following the clean eating principles in Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Recharged since January 2009. I felt great and was making tremendous progress. I delved back into the books certain that I had missed something that would help me get to the next level. Was there a 'next level' for me? Or was I there? I wasn't sure, but I wanted to find out.

A couple gals that inspired me from Spark were Nancy and Tia. They had amazing physiques and were close to my age. I believe I meet both of them on a clean eating team. I asked both of them TONS of questions and started to believe that maybe, just maybe I, too could have that kind of transformation, with the right information. So, I enlisted the help of Ruben (Flexchef) who had coached Tia and Nancy. Ruben taught me how to lose fat and gain muscle using the clean eating principles I was already enjoying. He introduced me to food combinations I would not have thought of and he taught me that is it never okay to deprive myself of food or skip a meal. This was a huge thing for a girl who had battled with bulimia for over 25 yrs.

In June 2010 (one year after starting my journey), I took this picture as my 'before' picture as I started the next chapter working with Ruben.

Ugh! Really hated having to put on a bikini. I bought the largest and cheapest one I could find. This was not a pleasurable experience, putting on a bikini and allowing a picture to be taken as evidence of my apparent over abundance.

But, each week I got a little more confident in front of the camera as the changes started happening in my physique and how I was feeling.

I was feeling so fabulous! After three months of working with Ruben, I had lost 10 lbs. gained some muscle and confidence, gone from wearing a loose size 14 to a size 10. I also got a thrill out of buying my first size 8 dress and crying in the dressing room because it looked so dang good.

I am grateful to Ruben for the tools that he shared with me for three months that I will continue to use for a lifetime. After three months it was time for me to move on. My goals had changed a little for that time. I was now training for marathon.

November 2010 I ran a full marathon. Man, training discipline and focus! I love the woman I became in the training. Those long runs taught me a lot about perseverance, commitment and focus. Awesome experience. I can't find the photo right now, I will try to come back and add it later.

2011. After the marathon, I noticed some changes in my body composition that I was not pleased with. My body was storing more fat and felt fluffy. I upped my lower body weight training and time in the gym. I started running sprint intervals on the indoor track and using the Cross Trainer for HiiT sessions a couple times a week. Immediately following the marathon I started cutting back carbs and calories since I would not be continuing to run 35 miles a week. Now I needed to get back on plan, the plan I had been using with Ruben that worked so well for me.

I used the principles of clean eating and what I learned from Ruben to start making my own recipes and writing my own meal plans. The results have been amazing! I feel more incredible than ever.

The big kick I needed came with I had the opportunity to meet Tosca Reno at The Arnold Festival in Ohio the beginning of March.

The two weeks leading up to the festival I went on the Cooler 1 plan from the Recharged book. I am so glad I did. It was so easy to follow and worked great with my travel plans (easy to pack foods). I was able to meet someone who had had a major impact on my life. I felt confident, poised and strong.

At the festival I met some amazing role models and I got a signed copy of Eat Clean Diet Stripped. I am currently on day 26 of the 28 day plan! I love, love, love the foods and the variety that I have been introduced to here. It has opened up yet another world to me. I will definitely be continuing some of these recipes! Oh, here is my before and 3 week progress picture for Stripped.

So, I am already planning the next chapter! On April 26, the day after Easter, I will be starting the Oxygen Bikini Ready in 28 Days plan, using the exercises and recipes in it, in combination with menus from Recharged Cooler 1, Recharged Cooler 2 and Stripped. My Facebook Fabulous Fitness team page has an Event set up for those who would like to join and I will be posting the event here on Spark in my Fabulous Fitness team for those who would like to join. The accountability is awesome and you gain momentum from hearing what others are doing. Join it! What do you have to lose.

Oh, THE year . . . 2011 . . . this is the year I claim to be smokin' hot before my 46th birthday in December!