10K a Day

If you work in an office setting (like I do), you probably know just how hard it is to get in the number of recommended steps each day. I park in the farthest possible spot, always take the stairs, get up at least once an hour to stretch my legs, bypass the closest bathroom, workout almost daily, and most days I barely hit 6,000 steps. #Annoying.

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of neck pain, restless legs, and a lot of stiffness. I started looking into it and found out I was dying. Kidding. Never -I repeat, NEVER – plug your symptoms into WebMD. But I was shocked to find studies show that sitting for extended periods of time does the body harm EVEN if you workout daily. And now we have something else to worry about.

This is bad news for those of us who work 8-9 hour days with our butts in a chair. So when my company, who is very supportive of healthy initiatives for employees, decided to host a 6-week fall walking challenge, I quickly formed a team and vowed that we would get in over 10K steps a day.

I honestly didn’t realize how hard that would be.

Walktober

The program had a really cool app that allowed you to log your steps, view your team stats, and check out your team rank (which I may have checked too many times a day). Did you guys know that my top strength in the Gallup Strengthsfinder is Competition? It’s true – I love a good challenge.

20181112_0803281384110406109377933.jpg

Catchy, huh?

Each day there was an opportunity to get one of three leaves – red (for walking at least 6K steps), orange (for walking at least 8K), and gold (for walking at least 10K). The goal was to get at least 30 leaves in any color over 42 days. My goal was to get 42 gold leaves.

My Experience

Yesterday was the last day of the challenge and the sixth week of LIIFT4. With that program, I’ve been doing a lot of lifting and some HIIT for almost two months now. It’s a great program (more on that soon!), but because it involves a lot of weighted moves with my feet planted on the ground, I only get around 1,000 steps a workout if I’m lucky.

Fortunately, my husband and I had a trip to Universal planned for the first weekend of the challenge! We both got in over 20K steps a day that weekend. Hey, where are my platinum leaves??

img_20181005_100727_3395603112588300508877.jpg

Halloween Horror Night had us walking past 1 am. This guy wouldn’t carry me back to the car – do you believe it?!

There were many, many days when I had to supplement my LIIFT4 workouts with extra cardio like Core de Force (MMA) or Country Heat (dance) just to boost my step count. But that also meant I didn’t get a rest day and ended up burning over 900 calories. Mah legs – I couldn’t feel mah legs.

20181112_0807554844055515031182674.jpg

Dance burns a TON of calories, and it’s fun!

Some days I took three laps around my work campus at lunch (6K steps), while listening to an audiobook and silently cheering myself on. Some nights I’d be walking on the treadmill at 10 pm hating my life and the “stupid” challenge.

But, you know what? It got me up and walking – the goal. It also got me to make decisions around step count. Oh, walk around the mall? Yes, I can do that. That will get me at least 2,500 steps. Let’s go!

The Results

My team did okay – we landed in 3rd place out of 21 teams. Okay, not too shabby, but I can’t say I didn’t want to see us take home the trophy: a sponsored lunch for the entire team. Who doesn’t want to be rewarded with food for successfully completing a fitness challenge?

20181112_0811206129487393089498732.jpg

It’s okay – I’ll just continue to eat my own tasty lunch that I prepared myself. I’m not bitter, thank you very much!

I tied for first place with a handful of others in the individual competition, getting 42 gold leaves. I ended each night over 10K, even if just by a few steps. There’s only one prize to go around, so I’m not sure how’ll they’ll split it.

My legs feel more toned, albeit shaky. I feel empowered to keep stepping, even though I sometimes walk like a 99 year old granny. But, you guys, I haven’t taken a full rest day in SIX freakin weeks, so I plan to take full advantage of my three LIIFT4 rest days this week.

Bottom Line: Yes, it’s a challenge to get in 10K steps a day if your job involves a desk, a chair, and a timeclock. But, it’s very possible. I encourage all of you to be more active and go for the gold! And maybe just spread the steps out more throughout the day. Trying to get 6,000 or more steps after work was not my idea of a good time.

 

A Pop of Flavor

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Just Spices. Links are not affiliate and I will not receive a commission for any items purchased from justspices.com. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

When I started to switch up my diet, I looked high and low for affordable spice blends to add variety to staples like chicken, veggies, and eggs. I’m seriously fine eating hard boiled eggs with avocado and cherry tomatoes for breakfast every day of my life, but I figured my husband would like a little variety with his meals– especially when it came to dinner.

img_20181026_085606_2246068484675674766212.jpg

I mean, look at all the colors!

Did you know that spices can be ridiculously expensive? Because I sure didn’t. Why in the world would someone pay $16.99 for a bottle of salt, pepper, and garlic? I’m not even kidding – it’s really a thing.

Spice Up Your Life

Fortunately, I happened to stumble upon a company called Just Spices (thank you, Instagram!) and magically, all of my bland food problems were solved. Just Spices makes over forty spice blends sourced from many different places around the world. The company is based in Germany and their mission is “to spice up your life.” I think we can all jump on board with that one.

screenshot_20181028-113821_instagram7151921437884344649.jpg

Isn’t the packaging awesome!?

The spices are so reasonably priced, you can easily re-stock your entire spice rack (like I did!) with unique blends such as Sweet Love (with orange peel and cinnamon) and Exotic Rice Seasoning (with lemon peel, ginger, and orange blossoms). They’re even more affordable than making your own blends. Trust me, I’ve tried that too. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

screenshot_20181028-114059_instagram2059012859301928218.jpg

Two of my favorite blends are Chocolate Salt Popcorn Seasoning and Oatmeal Spice Blend – both perfect for adding that extra something to your breakfast. I love the sweet-salty combination the former provides.

It’s National Oatmeal Day

On a brisk fall morning, such as today, nothing satisfies the soul more than a hearty bowl of oatmeal. My go-to recipe used to be a double serving of steel-cut oats with frozen raspberries, dark chocolate morsels, a splash of heavy cream, and sprinkle of sea salt. Say that 5 times fast! While tasty, it was definitely one of the largest carb bombs I’ve eaten, well…ever.

screenshot_20181028-120559_instagram5465583671856098065.jpg

These days I’m living on the lighter side, and oatmeal doesn’t quite fit into paleo/keto-like diets. A whopping 27g of carbs in a serving of plain steel-cut oats? No thanks! Fortunately, there are a lot of good alternatives for the stick-to-your-ribs breakfast.

N’oatmeal uses nuts, (sometimes) flax, chia, and a few other ingredients to create an oatmeal-like hot cereal that’s so delicious you’ll think you’re indulging. There are plenty of recipes on Pinterest and in just about every Paleo cookbook you can find, but I’ve settled on one that I love.

screenshot_20181028-114357_instagram6998878233271395105.jpg

This is sooooo good on a cold day!

My Paleo Chocolate N’oatmeal is hearty and filling and features Just Spices Chocolate Salt Popcorn Seasoning (not just for popcorn, I swear). It’s great for breakfast (or a snack) and takes just minutes to make. If you love that sweet-salty-savory combination, this recipe is for you.

20181028_1236066869031453328519889.png

Visit justspices.com to learn more and make a purchase. You can even get a free sample box with a minimum order of $14 so you can try a variety of spices.

Cheers to flavorful food!

7 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

For the last few years, I’ve been diligently working out and eating healthy. But a few weeks ago I stepped on the scale and was horrified that the number had quickly risen, meaning all the hard work I put into 80 Day Obsession had completely vanished. Instead of feeling discouraged, I felt motivated to get down to a more comfortable weight and to keep it there.

Here are a few reasons why you might not be losing weight:

1. You’re Not Drinking Enough

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. That’s how I feel most days. I’m sure I sound like a drama queen, but I’m really not a fan of water unless it’s really cold and I’m really hot. But as I learned five years ago, dehydration sucks. So does a kidney infection. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to drink at least 64 ounces a day, so that means getting creative.

20180713_1445536983655189196642490.jpg

Love shaking up some limeade in this cup!

Sip herbal tea to reap some of the benefits. Try sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime and teaspoon of stevia, add a few drops of essential oil, or even try it with a little salt. Yes. Salt, lime…and tequila!

2. You’re Not Tracking Your Food

I’m definitely an advocate for tracking every bite and drink you have. Why? Because you need to see if what you eat has any bearing on the scale or how you’re feeling. Does broccoli cause bloat? (It does for me.) Maybe you need to switch to a different veggie, like cucumber. Did your weight increase after that brownie sundae with whipped cream? (Most times one little “cheat” won’t hurt you.) Track everything – even that stray grape or cracker or bite of your kid’s chicken nugget. It all adds ups and most likely, you don’t realize how much you’re actually eating in one day.

You don’t have to get fancy for this – the notes app on your phone or a dollar store journal will be fine. But if you are looking for something with an easy to follow outline, I recommend this one.

3. You Have a Desk Job

I’ve been sitting on my ass for going on 8 years now. Landed my first desk job in September 2010 and haven’t looked back. Recently, I did a little research on the correlation between sitting and health. Did you know that even if you live actively outside of your 9 to 5, you are still at risk for health problems including diabetes and heart disease? Not to mention all of the office temptations that lead you to nibble ALL DAY LONG.

img_20170620_144255_997455916819.jpg

Remember last year’s Ice Cream Soda day? My department has food days ALL. THE. TIME.

The best way to combat this 9 to 5 fatigue is by taking breaks. I like to get up at least once an hour and stretch my legs. Walk to the break room, fill up your water bottle, or go outside and soak up the sunshine. I also enjoy taking trips to my library right down the road.

4. You Have a Love Affair with Sugar

Sugar is addicting. It just tastes so, so good. In brownies and ice cream and cake and, well, everything. You eat and then overeat because you’re hooked on the sweet stuff. Sugar is sneaky too. It hides everywhere. The third ingredient in Hidden Valley Ranch is sugar. That’s what makes it so difficult to do a Whole30 or sugar detox – you have to read ALL the labels. Even if it’s something you think wouldn’t or shouldn’t have sugar. Like salad dressing. Watch out for all of those other sugars in disguise too – maple syrup, agave, honey, dextrose, fructose – the list goes on.

I’d recommend that everyone do a Sugar Detox to wean themselves off the bad stuff. It’s only 21 days (the time it takes to foster new habits) and is very realistic and attainable. Otherwise, just read your labels and limit your sugar consumption. Women are only supposed to have 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day; 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons for men. How many are in that pumpkin spice latte you just ordered?

5. You’re Stressed

Oh, good ol’ stress. There are two types – good stressors and bad ones. The bad ones – like feeling anxious about an exam or a typical day at work – can make you demolish a whole pint of Cherry Garcia in one sitting. The good – like a new baby or a raise – also usually result in food celebrations including cake and alcohol (for the latter, of course). Cortisol, the stress hormone, revs up that appetite, making you hungry for junk.

screenshot_20180916-211131_gallery6604516027640400626.jpg

My absolute favorite snack!

To combat stress, try taking a walk, drinking a cup of tea, lighting a candle (not at work), taking a bath (also not at work), or rubbing a drop of lavender essential oil on your temples. When all else fails, make sure you have some healthy snacks to indulge in, like a slice of power seed bread with almond butter and banana. Yum!

6. You’re Not Eating the Right Foods

I thought I was being healthy by swapping out white rice for brown, white pasta for corn and quinoa. Nope! Not for me. I recently learned that while I love carbs, they don’t love me. Just one cup of “healthy” brown rice has 45 grams of carbs. Yikes. It turns out that my body doesn’t even need that many carbs per DAY. Same is true with healthy fat. Avocado, almond butter, coconut milk, cheese – all good in moderation.

Do some experimenting to see what works for you. I notice a HUGE difference in my body when I avoid carb overload – more energy, clarity, and a little ring around my belly disappears. Tracking your food will help with this too (see reason #2).

7. You’ve Lost Sight of Your Goal

Failure happens when you lose sight of your goals. Remember the saying “out of sight out of mind”? It’s true. I’ve learned so much from following Mel Robin’s 5 Second Rule. Get things done when they are top of mind or you just won’t. It’s the same with your goals – when they aren’t top of mind, they just fall by the wayside. Then before you know it, you’re sitting at your desk snacking on peanut M&Ms, wondering how you got 20 pounds overweight. Duh, girl.

20171226_130720942098617.png

Crushing those 2018 goals rn!

If you have a vision board, keep it visible. I just pinned mine to my cubical wall so I can be reminded of where I want to be by New Year’s Eve. You’ve still got 3.5 months to make shit happen. Get on it.

The Bottom Line: If you gained it, you can lose it. Please don’t get discouraged or wait until January 1st to restart. Today is the day to make a change one step at a time. You got this!

It’s (Almost) Fall, Y’all

This is usually one of my featured posts for October, but I’m really over the hot and humid Summer weather. Gimme all the hoodies, boots, apple crisp, jack-o lanterns, crunchy leaf piles – you name it! I’m so ready.

If you haven’t already guessed, autumn is my favorite season. Most of all, I love that you can walk from the front door to the car without breaking into a sweat. It’s one of the best times to get out and get moving. And what better way to do that, than to check out some of the area’s best haunted attractions.

My husband and I started a tradition of visiting different haunted houses/hayrides each weekend from late September through the end of October. This will be our SIXTH year. Not only is it a crazy good time, but between the scares, belly laughs, and trekking through cornfields and woods, it’s also a pretty awesome way to burn some calories and squeeze in a few thousand extra steps. Gotta make room for the apple crisp and cider doughnuts at the end!

In my experience, PA is good for haunts – they are perfectly creepy, gory, and even downright funny. Actors are allowed to touch you in the sense that they can poke, prod, run fingers through hair, and in some cases, put you in a cage or jump up on a wagon and drag you off. Call me crazy, but I think these things add to the suspense, fear, and entertainment, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Tips

  • Plan Ahead – We (well, I) like to map out our haunts in early September so we have a clear action plan. Some of the places we travel to are over 3 hours away (this is serious stuff!). If you don’t want to drive 6 hours or more round trip, check out some local hotels and make a weekend getaway out of it.
  • Visit Early – Most attractions are open the last two weekends of September, which is actually the perfect time to go. Lines are short and you can get by with paying for the base ticket instead of upgrading (see below).
  • Dress in Layers – Fall weather is unpredictable. Remember the time it snowed on Halloween? It’s always a good idea to wear pants if you will be in a wooded area (deer ticks). Two years ago we needed hand and foot warmers because the wagon ride was so cold. Last year I worked up a sweat in a t-shirt. Just check the weather before you go.
  • Wear Proper Footwear – This shouldn’t have to be said, but still – don’t wear flip-flops, sandals, or heels because…duh. Choose something that will support your feet while walking on uneven ground. Boots or sneakers are always good options.
  • Splurge for the VIP Pass – When it comes to haunted attractions (and amusement parks), I really believe in going all-out. You might spend $25 or more per person for a VIP ticket, but that will allow you to skip the lines and go first. Why is this a big deal? Believe it or not, you could be waiting in line for hours before you even get to go through one attraction. That just sucks the fun right out of everything. Do yourself a favor – get this pass and you can do the royalty wave to everyone else as you board your wagon.

NY/PA Attractions

#6 – The Barn of Terror

20171001_101758134949643.png

Photo property of The Barn of Terror

My Rating: 1.5 Stars

Location: Lake Katrine, NY

Cost: CASH ONLY – ATM on site

  • $33 per person (2017 price)

Theme: Creepy Farm Family

Duration: About 60 minutes

Review: I kept waiting for something to happen and it just didn’t. First you walk through an 8-room barn and silo, then you take a bus down to a corn maze. The barn was dark and the costumes were pretty cheap and mostly looked the same – bloody hockey mask and black robe. The corn maze was so boring I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Truly disappointing that the space is there, but the creativity isn’t. After 16 years in business (this year), you would think there would be more excitement.

Bottom Line: Don’t waste your time. Regardless of the stellar reviews on Facebook, this “haunt” is not worth your time or money. The only reason it gets 1.5 stars is that I got quite a few steps in thanks to the corn maze.

#5 – Headless Horseman

screenshot_20180904-200758_gallery6238666109513099554.jpg

My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Location: Ulster Park, NY

Cost: Prices cheaper online.

  • $45.90 + tax – Online Ticket
  • $49.95 + tax – On-site Ticket
  • $25 extra for Scream Pass (aka VIP badge of honor)
  • Special discount for opening night

Theme: The Hollow

Duration: 2.5-3 hours (depending on wait times)

Review: There are 10 attractions (including a hayride, corn maze, and several haunted houses) and a little “village” of gift shops and cafes, which makes for a full evening. All guests must go through a bag check / metal detector after purchasing tickets. Keep this in mind because that line gets long fast and all ticket holders are considered equal until you pass through the gates. The hayride theme changes slightly every year, but the other attractions are pretty much “fixed.” Once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. Last year we went on opening night back in September and were disappointed that the company didn’t take advantage of their 25th year in business to do something special for the guests. It was like any other year with the ridiculously long lines and predictable haunts.

Bottom Line: If you live in or around the Hudson Valley, it’s worth it at least once. Otherwise, meh.

#4 – Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride

My Rating: 3 Stars

Location: Glen Mills, PA

Cost:

  • $43 –  Combo – General admission to all three events
  • $79.50 – VIP Combo – Front of the line privileges to all three events
  • $104.50 – Super VIP Combo – Front of the line privileges to all three events, PLUS: VIP parking, hot dog, popcorn, soft drink, and t-shirt

Theme: The Walking Dead Meets Prehistoric Times

Duration: 90 minutes (minimum)

Review: There were zombies, there were dinosaurs. There were also spiders, snakes, and clowns. A scare for everyone. It was just okay. We went on a weekend in September – there weren’t any lines so we were able to get by on just the base ticket. There were only three attractions – hayride, corn maze, and haunted house. The theme was a bit odd, but the special effects were pretty cool. I love Psycho and A&E’s Bates Motel series, but there was little connection to both. I think the majority of my disappointment stems from just wanting more.

Bottom Line: If you’re in the area, I would recommend checking it out for a fun evening. But if you have to drive over an hour, I’d say skip it.

#3 – Pure Terror Scream Park

20171001_101540100887532.png

My Rating: 4 Stars

Location: Monroe, NY

Cost: CASH ONLY. Prices cheaper on-site.

  • $45.25 – Online General Admission
  • $68.69 – Online VIP Admission

Theme: Clowns

Duration: 90 minutes (minimum)

Review: There were clowns. Lots of clowns. There were also spiders and very dark places. A scare for everyone, really. After I got over the frustration of finding the place, parking, and waiting in line, it was fun. We went on opening night so it was cheaper and there were fewer people. There are six haunted houses that are seriously awesome. One group is admitted at a time, which causes a really long wait in line, but a better experience once you’re actually inside. The makeup and special effects were so good that it was hard to tell real person from prop. I love that they incorporated the 2017 release of IT into one of the houses – very nice touch! Last year was our first visit, but according to the website, the content is freshened up each year. This will definitely be an annual trip!

Bottom Line: Don’t wait – add this to your list.

#2 Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

screenshot_20180904-200306_instagram6085521967672083984.jpg

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Location: Spring City, PA

Cost: Online tickets have varying service charges

  • $20 – Individual Attraction Tickets
  • $35-45 – Combo Pass – General admission to 3 haunted attractions
  • $49 – Super Combo Pass – General admission to 4 haunted attractions
  • $78 – Pennhurst VIP Pass – Front of the line privileges to all 4 haunted attractions

Theme: Insane Asylum

Duration: Approx. 2 hours

Review: This place is really cool because it used to be a real asylum. The original buildings have been re-purposed to create a haunted insane asylum, catacombs, and more. There isn’t a hayride, but you won’t be disappointed by the 3 main attractions: Pennhurst Asylum, The Morgue (new for 2018), and Containment Tunnels. The Mayflower After Dark is a self-guided tour of an original campus building. There are creepy clowns and walking dead, but the real terror here is the idea of the insane asylum and the horrible things that were probably done there. That and the fact that you spend a lot of time walking in near darkness and through strobe lights. While you are waiting on the lines, you may or may not be terrorized by the cast members. Luckily, the VIP pass will help you avoid this. I (we) can’t wait to visit again this year!

Bottom Line: You’ve gotta go! This one will be on your list for years to come.

 #1 Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Attraction

My Rating: 5 Stars

Location: Scranton, PA

Cost: CASH ONLY – ATM on-site; Online tickets have a $2.75 service charge

  • $35-45– General Admission
  • $70 – VIP Package
  • $25 VIP Upgrade (on-site ONLY)
  • $3 – Parking

Theme: All Things Creepy

Duration: 75-90 minutes (minimum)

Review: There are 4 attractions including a hayride, dark forest walk-through, pitch-black indoor walk-through, and zombie maze. There are hillbillies, spiders, zombies, government officials (scariest of all). The Grim Reaper and Michael Myers even make appearances out in the woods. There’s also something really cool that happens during the hayride, but you’ll have to just take my word for it because saying too much would just ruin it. The combination of so many different attractions and a super long and enjoyable hayride makes this my (our) number one choice. The first time we did this, we were laughing, we were screaming, we were having so much fun. We wanted to do it again. Last year we made a special trip on Friday, October 13th – right after we got hitched!!

Bottom Line: Make the trip. I don’t care if you’re in California, Florida, or Toronto. It’s worth it.

I hope you go and have a great. I’d love to know if I’m missing out on any good ones 🙂

Happy (Almost) Fall!

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!
img_20180519_154353_5186624120176444188569.jpg

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.

20180505_2043176499947865104485569.jpg

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!)

img_20180523_103859_7178902723583060702056.jpg

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!

20180508_1103083855293054019158449.jpg

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.

20180516_1515568067337795782712484.jpg

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.

20180507_1306316199833114861404344.jpg

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.

img_20180514_125224_9588897453669673584175.jpg

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.

Motivation 2.0

When you’re little, no one tells you how hard adulting really is. You think it will be about having money, staying up late, and eating ice cream for breakfast. They don’t say that your paycheck will be laughable, that you’ll live for naps, and that ice cream for breakfast is out of necessity, not pleasure.I always thought adults were super motivated to go to work and come home to raise their families. Then I became one. And most days I have as much motivation as a high school senior in June. None. Whatsoever.20180319_1750081693936423.pngEvery night I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. with high hopes that one day I’ll be able to stick with it. Still, 95% of the time I hit snooze or shut the alarm off, and before I know it, it’s practically time to leave for work. Whoops!

So, how do you find motivation?

The 5 Second Rule

If you haven’t heard of the book The 5 Second Rule, here’s the one-liner rule that author Mel Robins gives:

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds, or your brain will kill the idea.”

20180319_1740541646501122.png

A nice Audible pick!

While it may not be a life-shattering revelation, the 5-4-3-2-1 approach has gotten me up and out of bed on many occasions. It’s even gotten me to speak up in meetings, tell friends how much they mean to me, and work through a few of my other struggles.

It’s something to consider if you need an extra push to make things happen.

The will to work out

I usually lack motivation when it comes to working out. Yes. Seriously. It’s a constant struggle to leave my warm bed, change into my workout clothes, and tiptoe down into my basement gym which is a solid 57 degrees.

img_20180319_064126_8261759063216.jpg

This morning’s badass-ness 😉

Motivation is fluid, which means that it can be hard to keep the momentum because different things drive us all at different times. I know, personally, that some days my motivation is abundant and I can accomplish my entire task list and then some. Today – for instance, I woke up ON TIME, worked out for about an hour, burned over 500 calories, and got in over 4,000 steps before 7 am. Other days, just getting out of bed or washing my hair feels like an accomplishment.

Where does motivation come from?

For me, it comes from a desire to be my healthiest self AND to look great for my upcoming trips to California and Miami. That last reason might be a little superficial, but it’s a strong one.

In order to stick with a goal, you have to find something that – even on your darkest of days – will keep you moving.

Here’ are a few ideas. If you’re motivated by:

Challenge – play a game to be better than you were the day before.

Food – treat yourself to your favorite meal after you complete a big task (like purging your garage of junk).

Money – set aside some dough after every workout and buy yourself something fun when you’ve finished a program or month’s work of workouts.

Likes – if you’re into social media (like really, really into it), post about your progress and rack up those likes!

Just do it

In the end, take a lesson from Nike and just get it done. On the days when you don’t want to get out of bed – and there will be plenty – 5-4-3-2-1 it and move! Especially when you really don’t want to.

Cheers!

 

Finding the Balance: Self Care

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to start out this series. There are so many great topics on finding the balance that they almost compete with each other. Then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks in my intestines.

This morning I woke up at 5 am, changed into my gym clothes, got some water, and headed down to the basement to bust out my 61-minute workout. Everything was going great until about 10 minutes in when I started to feel queasy. I pressed pause. Tried again. Tapped out at 16 minutes.

20180302_1043541278248895.jpg

This. Never. Happens. This is how I know I’m sick. So, after much internal debate, I called out for the first time in almost two years at my job. Time for a little self-care.

Feeling Stressed

I’ve been feeling very stressed lately – at home and work. Its never ending – there is ALWAYS something to be worried or uneasy about. Even when I’m having a good time on the weekend, I’m reminded of what’s to come on Monday.

If you’ve read any of my Sugar Detox posts, you know that I haven’t been feeling well since I started cutting the crap out of my diet – ironic, right? Even after two months, nothing has leveled out. I went through extensive allergy and blood testing that cost over $800 and I’m no closer to finding out the cause of my discomfort. Talk about frustration.

Last week I talked about not having the time to fit it all in. Well, I think I peaked yesterday. It got to a point where I just couldn’t manage – it was like someone dropped all my marbles and I couldn’t pick them up fast enough before they rolled off into the unknown. Before bed, my mind was dissecting the day, and I went to sleep pretty sick to my stomach about all of my tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities. Not good.

Fun Ways to Self-Care

How often do you stop and do things for yourself? I think the only two things I consistently do for myself are read, work out, and pray/meditate each morning. And oddly enough, working out stresses my body out more.

Here are a few ideas – they are by no means a complete list – but they can help get you started finding the balance in your everyday.

Color

Adult coloring books are so fun! I thought it was great when they first became popular because here I was finishing up my old Disney or Barbie books, when I could have been fancying up a page of curse words. Bull shit, am I right? If that’s not your cup of tea, there are mild versions of flowers, landscapes, houses, cats – you name it. Just get yourself a pack of crayons, markers, or colored pencils and have at it. You don’t even have to stay in the lines 😉

img_20170612_222313_8371104102853.jpg

Read

Okay, so maybe reading isn’t fun for everyone, but I read over 50 books last year, so it’s definitely entertaining for me. The thing is, you could read about ANYTHING. If you can think it, someone has probably written about it. I’m a crime fiction or PD girl, usually, but I also enjoy a little chick lit – Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, and Liane Moriarty. Curl up with a book, a cuppa, (I read a lot of Aussie lit!), a blanket, and get lost in another world. Somehow Sophie’s books always make me feel better about myself. Win!

img_20170215_141434_3001750524832.jpg

This is a must-read for EVERYONE.

Exercise

Now, I don’t expect everyone to wake up before the sun and bang out an hour-long workout. I won’t impose my antics on you. Exercise comes in many forms – long walks on the beach, chasing a toddler on a mission, trip to the dog park, line dancing, club dancing, watching dirty dancing (kidding) – you get the idea. It doesn’t have to feel like work, but exercise is shown to make people happy, so why wouldn’t you at least try? Don’t believe me? Take a lesson from Elle Woods.

Craft

Do you crochet? Bake? Needlepoint? Arrange flowers? Sew buttons? If it relaxes you, find time to do it every day. If you get upset that your version doesn’t look like the Pinterest version, this one might not be for you. Shop on Etsy instead.

img_20170423_160708_648385328974.jpg

My happy place is in the kitchen. These are Pinterest inspired.

Bathe

Hot tub. Pool. Beach. Bathtub. Pick the one that interests you and take a trip – even if it’s just ten paces away to the next room. Nothing beats a good soak, especially if there are BUBBLES! Pour yourself a glass of wine (or sparkling juice!), play some soothing tunes, and light a candle. As an added bonus, throw in some Epsom salts, essential oils, or a fun bath bomb. Ahhh the relaxation.

20171013_172028136136463.png

Halloween Special bubble bar from LUSH. So many suds!

Uh, note: I wouldn’t recommend any of the above for anything but a tub 😉

Take a Happiness Challenge

I’m on day 99 of my second #100HappyDays Challenge. The main idea is to post a picture on social media of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days. Is it possible? Well, I can attest that all days won’t be happy. In fact, some will be downright miserable. But, if you can find something good – just one little thing – in each day, your life will be a little bit brighter. I’d recommend you at least try it. Its fun to look for a piece of happiness each day and it’s nice to look back on those moments after the challenge has ended.

img_20170522_183645_679815373557.jpg

My inspiration.

Do Yoga / Meditate / Pray

This really could be its own topic. Matter of fact, it might be (Gucci Mane voice). I’ll leave the good stuff for another day, but if you’re into quiet time, you might want to investigate the power of prayer, meditation, and yoga. They do wonders for the body and soul.

img_20170328_075534_6261364146432.jpg

Don’t lose sight of you

You can still take care of others and do things for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish. Quite the opposite, actually. It helps you do everything a little bit better because you’re you at your best. I feel like I should start reciting a Dr. Seuss poem right now!

How do you relax? How do you take care of yourself? I want to know!

Check out the first post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance at work.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS