2B or Not 2B?

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission if you purchase from Beachbody via my links. Do not feel obligated to do so. I hope you enjoy the review!
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Gimme all the fruits and veggies!

If I’m honest, this isn’t how I saw this post going. I was really excited about Beachbody’s first nutrition program, 2B Mindset. There was so much hype surrounding it, and the weight loss examples were HUGE. I thought this would be the key to whatever mind/body problem I was hoping to fix (see post from earlier in the month). I even purchased the kit in advance of the actual release, was able to save $10, and gained access to an “exclusive” coach test group.

There are four basic principles to the 2B Mindset: Water First, Veggies Most, Weigh Yourself Daily, Track Everything. That’s it! The secret sauce. The basic formula for weight loss.

And, perhaps the biggest draw to the program (for many) is that working out is extra credit. Yes, you read that right, you don’t have to work out while doing this nutrition program.

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I tried new things – like endive.

Water First – Drink at least half of your body weight each day, including 16 oz before each meal.

Veggies Most – They help keep you full and promote weight loss when added to each meal.

Weigh Yourself Daily – This helps you understand what contributes to weight loss or gain.

Track Everything – Goes hand in hand with the above.

What’s in the 2B Mindset Kit?

For $119* you get 44 videos that explain everything you need to know about the program, a physical program guide, tracker, recipe guide, as well as food lists and meal planning tools. You also get a 30oz plastic water bottle with a reusable straw to make it easier to get your ounces in.

If you have an iPhone or Apple device, you’ll have access to the Beachbody Nutrition app, which makes tracking a breeze. (Sorry my Galaxy peeps!)

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Breakfast: egg & cheese on a homemade bagel w/ a side of mango and strawberry

My Experience

Before I began I took my weight and measurements. Then, over the next two weeks I would:

  • drink more water than I ever wanted too (and pee every 30 minutes like clockwork).
  • eat so many veggies I thought I would burst (cauliflower rice in scrambled eggs, turnip fries, and buckets of cucumber and tomato salad).
  • religiously step on the scale each morning in my birthday suit.
  • diligently track every bite and drink I had (even that stray cracker or grape).

At the end of said time, I was up two pounds and had a bad case of the blues because of it. How could this be if I followed everything? According to plan, I should be down 4 pounds. Or more!

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Did you know purple carrots taste better?

I continued over the next 10 days or so and the strangest things happened. I noticed that when I pigged out on carbs and “bad stuff,” I would weigh less the next day. When I drank less, I felt less bloated. When I didn’t step on the scale every day, I felt more content.

I took a step back and evaluated the last month with the program. I WAS following the guidelines, but I was also working out really hard. Hard, as in burning over 500 and sometimes close to 700 calories per workout. I was using a pre-workout before, BCAAs during, and a post-workout shake after. Since I have a pretty slim build, I have a high confidence that the weight I gained was from muscle thanks to Insanity and weightlifting. But in the moment, when doing a program that sets a hope of a 2 pound weight loss per week, it’s pretty annoying.

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This must go on record as THE smallest brownie I’ve ever eaten.

At this point in my life, I workout 6-7 days a week and meal prep every weekend. I mean, I write about this stuff! Because of this, I found a lot of the videos and the recipes super basic and geared towards the absolute beginner. The recipe book was marketed as “one of the best” I’ll ever buy, but I can’t agree. The tracker was helpful, but I was able to find another that I really liked at my local craft store for $3.99, so I bought two! The water bottle wasn’t for me – it wouldn’t fit in my car’s cup holder and it sweat so much I always had to put it on a napkin.

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Tried a healthier pasta. Look at that protein.

I do think that at least 3 of the 4 principles are useful for losing weight or just being healthy in general. 1) It’s so important to drink more water, as I learned almost five years ago when I had a kidney infection that nearly killed me. 2) Who couldn’t benefit from eating more veggies? And seasoned just the right way, they really are delicious! 3) As for the tracking, it’s so helpful to write down what you eat and when because little things add up and before you know it, you’ve eaten a brownie sundae, bowl of nachos, and half a pizza by Sunday afternoon. As for the scale, if you absolutely must weigh yourself daily, might I recommend one that tracks body weight composition? Like this one. If the overall number is going to either increase or remain the same , it would be so much more beneficial to see body fat percentage decrease.

Why didn’t it work for me?

This 28-year old version of me is very fitness-minded. When I miss a workout, it hurts. When I’m interrupted during a workout, it annoys the hell out of me. When I set the day with a great calorie burn and a soaked through sports bra, I’m in my glory. Right now my focus is on toning my body and building muscle – in other words, gaining weight.

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This tea is delicious. A nice stand-in for dessert.

 

Bottom Line: I don’t regret my decision to return the kit after giving it a fair chance, and I do appreciate Beachbody’s return policy. I’d recommend 2B Mindset to someone new to nutrition and getting healthy, someone with a considerable amount of weight to lose, or someone who hates working out. If you have a basic nutrition foundation, regularly meal prep, or have access to Google, I’d say you could skip out and save yourself some cash.

 

* Price current as of 7/14/18, does not include tax or shipping, and is subject to change at any time. Visit teambeachbody.com for current rates.

My C25K Journey – Week 3

Just after a run in 90 degree weather. Yikes!

Week 3 is officially over! Even though I created a kick-ass playlist, I’ve found myself running in silence and really relishing the me time. I must admit that I enjoy running.

30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, 8 weeks total

Week 3 Routine

Start with a 5-minute warmup. Jog for 90 seconds, walk for 90, jog for 3 minutes, walk for 3. Repeat. Finally, savor a 5-minute cooldown.

Last week I ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. What is up with this “fall” weather? It hit 90 degrees over the weekend, and I had no choice but to get that run in. I remarked to a friend that I could literally cut the air with a knife – it was that thick and gross.

You can probably guess that I’m not a summer person. I love the cool, crisp autumn air. The crunch of the leaves underfoot as I jog. The dewy air that leaves droplets of moisture on the grass in the early morning.

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Forgot to log my workout, but my Fitbit caught half of it!

I’ve been practicing better breathing techniques as I progress through the C25K program, and as a result have felt less winded. However, I’ve been experiencing some pain in my shins and the balls of my feet – and it makes me wonder if I’ll be able to keep up with a 20-minute jog. Only time will tell. At least the next few workouts aren’t intimidating anymore.

Click here to see how Week 2 went!

Real smooth 

How much would you pay for a high-quality, organic smoothie? I usually cringe when visiting my local diner and have to fork over $5.99 for a small berry blend. A once-in-a-while treat is okay, but if I were to have one everyday it would cost about $40 a week, which ends up being over $2,000 a year. Ouch! That’s money that could be saved or better spent elsewhere.

Daily Harvest is a smoothie service that delivers fresh super-food blends right to your door. Smoothies come in pre-portioned packages and you don’t have to do any prep. Just add the contents with milk or water to the blender, blend on high for 30 seconds, and enjoy. It’s that easy.

There are 14 different flavor blends for every taste. All ingredients are picked at peak season and flash frozen to retain nutrients. I was most excited about the Cacao+Avocado Power Smoothie and ColdBrew+Almond Energizer Smoothie.

Pick Your Plan

The subscription is very flexible and there is no commitment – skip a week or cancel any time.

  • 6 smoothies per week – $7.99 per smoothie
  • 12 smoothies per week – $7.49 per smoothie
  • 24 smoothies per month – $6.99 per smoothie

Refer a Friend

The company has a pretty sweet referral system: for every friend that joins through your unique link, you (and said friend) get two free smoothies applied to your next shipment. You can track your referral history right on the website.

The Blends

Cacao+Avocado (Power)

Ingredients: zucchini, avocado, raw pumpkin seed, date, cacao, coconut oil, pea protein, vanilla bean, pink Himalayan sea salt.

Review: I was super excited to try this one, but was quickly disappointed. I needed about two times as much milk to blend it and even after blending for two minutes, the drink was anything but smooth. With all of the extra liquid, the smoothie didn’t fit back into the cup provided (not a big deal, but worth mentioning). The pumpkin seeds made it very gritty and hard to drink. The taste was just okay – I can’t really say it tasted like the advertised “chocolate pudding.” I ended up putting a little sweetener in it, because otherwise I would have poured it right down the drain. Definitely not my cup of tea. But, on the bright side, it did keep me full for hours.

Cold Brew+Almond (Energizer)

Ingredients: cold brew coffee, raw almond, banana, cacao, coconut oil, green coffee beans, vanilla bean, pink Himalayan sea salt.

Review: What can I say? It was difficult to blend – I added almond milk and extra cold brew – and it was still “chunky” after two minutes of blending. I tasted, added a bit of sweetener, and tasted again. Blech. Brought it to work, was able to force about 1/4 of it down and then gave up. The banana was so overpowering and didn’t sit well in my stomach. If you have to force yourself to eat or drink something that doesn’t really agree with you – just don’t.

Strawberry+Peach (Reviver)

Ingredients: strawberry, banana, peach, raspberry, goji berri, oats, flax.

Review: I thought I would throw this one in for good measure – it was really yummy. Refreshing and just sweet enough. I blended it with strawberry sparkling water for two minutes and it was perfectly smooth. It kept me full for about four hours. I like the addition of the oats. Simple ingredients and an easy DIY.

First order came with these magnets!

Bottom Line

It was nice to try, but I won’t be continuing the service.

I’m not cheap, but I do love a good deal (but, then again, who doesn’t!?). I have to admit that when I saw these prices, my first reaction was “hell no.” But, with a little research I found a 50% off coupon to use on the first order, which made it doable.

There is no way I could justify or even advocate for spending even the lowest price of $167.76 for 24 smoothies a month. The thought actually hurts. Yes – it saves time and makes busy mornings a little easier. But that is really the only benefit I can see. And to me, the drawback of the price outweighs everything else.

You could easily factor smoothie prep into your weekly meal prepping. Just chop up your fruits, veggies, and extras and seal them in small individual plastic freezer bags. You will be good to go in the mornings for a fraction of the price. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind the 30 extra minutes it takes to slice and dice some bananas and strawberries if it could save me over $40 per week!

If you want to check it out for yourself, visit daily-harvest.com. It doesn’t hurt to try anything once. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Just keep swimming 

I’ve had good days, I’ve had bad days, and I’ve had days where running to the nearest bridge feels like the best (and sometimes only) option. As many of you know, I’ve been suffering from chronic headaches and debilitating migraines for about ten years. For the past year or so they’ve been so intense that it makes it hard to get out of the bed in the morning, and once I do, my energy for the day slowly starts to dissipate. By the time I get home from work, around 5:45pm, I’m shot – I have almost no desire to cook, shower, or do anything other than crawl into bed.

I’m otherwise healthy, I live an active lifestyle, eat very well, don’t smoke, rarely drink (how can I will all of these medications?), have 20/20 vision, and a clean MRI. And yet I still suffer from the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life – my headaches trump the kidney infection by a landslide. The worst part is that on the outside, I look normal and healthy. I look younger than 26. I look like I should be full of life. And because of that, people make assumptions that I’m just moody, unsocial, or suffering from a chronic case of resting bitch face.

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook called the Spoon Theory and that was a huge eye-opener. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, I urge you to read this post, which explains it in full. But the basic premise is that you start the day with a certain number of spoons and each task you do, even brushing your hair, costs you one spoon. By the end of the day you might have 10 things to do, but you only have two spoons left. You have to make a choice, a sacrifice, because you just don’t have enough spoons. You can also think of this in terms of energy or battery power – the only way to recharge is to get a good night’s sleep. You only get more spoons or battery power in the morning when you wake up. It doesn’t matter if you have lupus, back pain, Lyme Disease, headaches, or something else. This is what it’s like to live in chronic pain.

One of my doctors recently asked if I was depressed. Depression, she explained, can be the underlying cause of many unexplained headaches. Hmm. I would say that I have a touch of depression, but only as a result of feeling like the walking dead almost every day. It’s hard to feel happy when you are consumed with pain. It’s hard to get people to understand what it’s like to never feel 100%. Fifteen minutes of washing dishes exhausts me. A 30-minute workout leaves me lying on the floor to regroup before mustering up the strength to take a cold shower, and even then, sometimes only a bath will do because standing takes more energy. Energy that I don’t have. It sucks. And a lot of people just don’t get it.

Up until a few days ago, my daily routine involved taking a cocktail of medications (pictured above) before bed. Something for sleep, pain, blood pressure, and a muscle relaxer. My poor liver.

The other night I was lying in bed, nursing one of the worst headaches I’ve had in a while. Nothing, not even my trusty bff Excedrin, was helping me get through it. It reminded me why I started blogging about food, exercise, and healthy habits: I want to let people know that they are not alone. I want to help them find products and a lifestyle that works for them. I want to heal myself and help others heal themselves through good food. And maybe, just maybe, sharing a piece of my own journey could inspire of help someone suffering from one ailment or another.

So, if you’re struggling, know that you aren’t alone. And know that I get it. Because sometimes just knowing that can make a world of difference.

Snippet: Amaranth – green or grain?

Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been Amaranth – friend or foe? Either way, it’s both. 

It took a bit of research to get to the bottom of things, but here’s the explanation:

  • Amaranth is a leaf vegetable that is nutritiously similar to spinach or Swiss chard. Full of calcium, niacin, carotene, Vitamin C, and more. The plant is pretty too (see above). Verdict – Paleo Friendly
  • To be precise, amaranth isn’t a grain, it’s a seed produced by the flowering part of the plant. And those little seeds are packed with potassium, Vitamins B and E, zinc, and protein. But, it’s also carb-dense and can be found in forms such as flour and cereal. Verdict – Not Paleo 

I’ve only tried the leaves – sauté them just like Spanish with some garlic and olive oil. Highly recommended – both for taste and nutrition value. 

Push Play

Can you believe that it’s already mid-June? Summer is just around the corner. Seriously, where has the time gone?

If you’re like me you’re probably panicking about fitting into last year’s swimsuit – who am I kidding? Try last week’s jeans! I’ve slacked a bit on my health and fitness game, but hey, nobody’s perfect and it happens. It may be because I can’t get enough kettle cooked salt and vinegar chips, but it happens.

My fiancé and I (yes, fiancé now!) are going away for his 27th birthday this August. We’ll be spending 8 days soaking up the sun in Miami Beach and drinking butterbeer at Universal Studios. So I definitely need to do a little work to get back in shape – so I can look great at the beach and double up on the butter beers, duh…

I wish I could tell you that there was a skinny pill that gave you the perfect body overnight, but I can’t. Although, if you find one, let me know!

One workout program I can really advocate for is Beachbody’s Hammer & Chisel. I’m in week two of eight as I write this. You get real results in record time, but as my coach told me, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

In short, the program runs for 56 days (or 8 weeks, whichever sounds more appealing) wth Thursdays as your rest day (so basically 48 days), and you use containers to portion food for the duration. If you’re familiar with the 21 Day Fix, you’re one step ahead because it follows the same container breakdown.

You use weights, your body weight, and resistance to slim down, tone up, and build muscle. It really works. This is NOT a beginner workout. It’s not easy, but it is enjoyable. At one point I was waking up around 4:30am to get the workouts in (totally not ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do).

If you get your fitness and nutrition on point, you are bound to be happier with your appearance and your health in just two short months. The time is going to pass anyway – might as well put it to good use.

Cost

  • Program – $89.95 + s&h
  • Program & Shakeology – $180 + s&h
  • Program & Performance Pack – $180 + s&h

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take your measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (keep reading for details).

Nutrition 

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like avocado toast or eggs. (For info on Shakeology, check out my honest review.)

Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. The program comes with a recipe booklet with dishes such as almond crusted chicken and berry quinoa parfait. I love the strawberry pb oatmeal from the 21 Day Fix booklet. Anything with pb has my vote.

Use a simple formula to figure out your container breakdown. Here’s mine: 4R (protein), 3G (veggies), 2P (fruits), 2Y (carbs), 1B (healthy fats), 1O (nuts and seeds), 2tsp (oils). This turns out to be PLENTY of food. But, if you are still hungry, and a glass of water doesn’t do the trick, add another green or red.

About that water, make sure you are drinking plenty throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will help cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated during intense workouts.

Equipment

  • A set of weights – light, medium, and heavy. You will be increasing weight as the workouts progress.
  • A workout bench or stability ball. FYI the ball is harder. (I’m using a combination of The Step and a ball in place of the bench and it’s working out fine.)
  • Resistance band or a towel.
  • Chin-up bar or bands with door attachment kit.
  • Yoga mat (optional, but good for some of the ground workouts).

Make sure you also have a good pair of sneakers that offer support and comfort. I was able to snag these up at Dick’s Sporting Goods for a great price – talk about motivation. And they have memory foam, so all of my jumps are super cushy!

The Workouts

When do you like working out? I prefer the morning so I can get it done and get on with my day. If I had to wait until I came home from work I just wouldn’t do it. It may suck and it may take a lot of self bribery (if I get up now I’ll buy that $25 lipstick I’ve been wanting from Sephora), but no one’s ever regreted a good workout.

These workouts are INTENSE – it’s worth saying again and I’d be lying if I told you otherwise. But if I can do them, anyone can do them. You’ll work up a good sweat. You might want to quit. Don’t.

Times range from 24 minutes to 45 and once or twice a week there will be an extra 10-minute ab workout on top. You will get stronger every day, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get through 5 minutes without taking a break. The workouts are HARD. Take breaks when you need to, but finish them.

The Trainers

Sagi Kalev – Body Builder, Master Professional Trainer, and creator of Body Beast

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer and creator of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME

The Results

You can definitely expect to look and feel more toned. My butt took a good hit with this one, so no complaints on my end. This is the only program that kept me engaged, gave me great results, and made me come back for a second round. I can’t recommend it enough. But, if it doesn’t work for you, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less shipping and handling).

So, don’t wait until the day before you leave for vacation to wish you had started months ago. Push play today!

 

***I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

 

 

Snippet: Rhubarb Goodness

Rhubarb is fun, versatile, and a bit intimidating. I never really imagined cooking with it up until a few days ago. Ever since I heard that you had to “be careful” when preparing the plant, I thought it was on the same level as a Japanese Blowfish – perilous and oh so poisonous. It turns out that you just can’t eat the leaves, but the stalks are all things good!

I bought a bunch last week and in my search for recipes, came across an entire website dedicated to the vegetable: The Rhubarb Compendium

You can make breads, salads, cakes, sauces, muffins, jams, candies, and SO MUCH MORE! I highly recommend checking out this site, if for nothing else, to become more educated with rhubarb facts and information to impress your friends. 

Yesterday I had the fabulous idea of topping a cream cheese frosted chocolate cupcake with candied rhubarb (just toss 1/4″ slices in sugar, bake in a buttered dish for 30 mins, and let cool – see pic above). It was deliciously sweet and tart. 

Try this recipe or create your own, but don’t pass up this super yummy veggie!