Let that SHI(F)T go!

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Anything is possible when you remove the phrase “I can’t” from your vocabulary. I have to admit that I was initially intimidated by SHIFT SHOP. The moves are intense, and the meal plan is pretty strict. I wanted to fully commit myself to a program that is known for getting people great results in record time, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped right in. I’m so glad I did.

This Beachbody workout is for everyone. Whether you’re new to fitness, a seasoned pro, or trying to bust through a weight loss plateau. It’s hard, but trust me, you CAN do this.

SHIFT SHOP is a 21-day program with six working days and either a stretch or rest day on Sunday. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster. Most challengers (including me) will save these for round two.

I stream my workouts right from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. For a low monthly price of $8.25, you can access to ALL the Beachbody programs available (including any future releases). This service is the Holy Grail – the Netflix of Fitness!

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like scrambled egg stuffed sweet potatoes or Icelandic yogurt with berries, pistachios, and cacao nibs. I’m on a yogurt kick lately – I love adding a lot of mix ins to vanilla.

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A delicious mix of white plum, coconut chips, and pistachios!

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot for this, and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends three meals and two snacks, but you can design your own plan. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating three filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you.

There are over 80 recipes designed just for SHIFT SHOP including Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Frittata, Pork & Sweet Potato Kabobs, and Watermelon Heirloom Salad. Yum!

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns in some way. While SHIFT SHOP is really it’s own plan that varies by week, you still use the Portion Fix containers as a guide. A simple formula can help you figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet. This turns out to be plenty of food, but SHIFT SHOP allows for unlimited veggies, so if you’re still hungry, pile on the greens! This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

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Snap peas are seriously the BEST snack. Plus, they satisfy that need for a crunch!

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger, keep you hydrated, and help prevent your muscles from cramping. Both Beachbody Performance Energize and Hydrate are encouraged for ultimate performance.

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I drink this before every workout to push harder and burn more calories.

Equipment

  • Agility Markers – (these can also be printed from BOD)
  • Weights
  • Yoga Mat
  • Towel (for Sunday stretch)
  • PT Sandbag (optional, used for Deluxe workouts)
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Great quality and definitely worth the investment – especially if you love the program.

The Workouts

I love every workout in the SHIFT SHOP and actually look forward to my daily 5 am sweat sesh. The variety is great – there are alternating cardio speed and fat-burning strength workouts for each of the three weeks, all building on the previous week’s sessions.

Week 1 workouts are 25 minutes, Week 2 are 35, and Week 3 are 45. If you get the Deluxe Kit (or have a BOD subscription), bonus workouts are 50 minutes. All are fun and challenging.

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Check out this calorie burn from Speed 45.

There is a modifier for every move, so you don’t have to worry about giving up or falling behind. Remember, remove the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary, and you’ll be capable of amazing things.

Each week ends with a 20-minute stretch or rest day. Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with a 12-minute core workout (15 minutes for the Deluxe). If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, I highly recommend the Relief workout from Core de Force. It can be done each night right before bed – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainer

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He pushes you to do your best and give it your all. An amazing motivational coach – he will have you laughing your behind off (literally).

The Results

SHIFT SHOP works. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent with both workouts and healthy eating. This my favorite program. Overall, I lost 6.4 pounds and 9 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength, definition, and confidence. Nothing compares to feeling comfortable in your own skin.

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My 3-Day Refresh & SHIFT SHOP results.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this program to everyone. Give it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

 

 

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

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

 

My aching back!

When my muscles start screaming, I know they are overworked and need a little TLC. In my earlier days, I would have popped a few Advil and called it a day, but now I rely on natural methods of pain relief. Here are a few things you can do to ease muscle tension and discomfort.

Drink more water

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Don’t like drinking water? Make it into an hourly game or buy fun water bottles like this one!

I think the girls in my challenge groups must be sick of me saying “drink more.” What happens when flowers don’t get enough water? They dry up. What happens when lakes don’t get enough water? They dry up. What happens when your body doesn’t get enough water? You literally dry up – flaky skin, brittle hair, chapped lips, etc. Hydrate your body and your muscles to help increase your energy and prevent muscle cramping.

Stretch

Never underestimate the power of the cool down. I used to hate this so much. Once I was done with the meat of the workout, I was DONE. That meant no extra time to stretch out those muscles I just literally worked to the bone. It hurt, and I quickly learned my lesson. Think of it as your reward for finishing a tough sweat sesh – your muscles and body deserve it. I also recommend stretching or light yoga just before bed to prevent cramping at night.

Eat up post-workout

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I love Icelandic yogurt with berries and pistachios post-workout. It’s a nice treat!

I never miss an opportunity for a snack! After working out, you’ll want something to fuel the day as well as calm inflammation, aid in muscle repair, and improve mental focus. I have a brand of gluten free post-workout bars that I absolutely LOVE, but you can also opt for eggs, a protein shake, grilled chicken, oatmeal, bananas, cottage cheese, berries, or a handful of nuts.

Take a warm bath

Nothing is more soothing than a warm bath with lots of bubbles. Add some Epsom salts and lavender essential oil and take a deep soak. Both help to ease the tension in your muscles and joints.

Rub on some essential oils

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I use these two oils post workout and also diffuse the lavender one throughout the day.

There are a host of oils that are good for post workout – cinnamon bark, wintergreen, and basil (for sore muscles and joints), grapefruit (lessons mental and physical fatigue), lavender (eases muscle tension), and peppermint (clears breathing). Diffuse in the air or rub directly on your skin. For sensitive skin, you’ll want to use a carrier oil or cream. Just mix a drop or two of your essential oil with your carrier and apply. I only use 100% pure essential oils of high quality so I know I’m putting the good stuff in my body.

Try a foam roller

Foam rollers improve flexibility and also help to massage tired, achy muscles. For this reason, it might be painful at first, but after prolonged use, it will feel oh so good! Benefits include the reduced likelihood of injury, better sleep, boosted energy, and soothed muscles aches.

Get some rest

wp-1501720797577.If you’re feeling sore, don’t overdo it. Curl up with a book or find something on Netflix and then get a good 7-8 hours of sleep. Your body needs time to recharge and create energy, so don’t skimp out on those old fashioned zzzs!

How do you relieve your achy muscles?

I’d never do another Whole30 again!

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Whole30 gets a lot of press – good or bad, it’s still attention. Last year I completed my first and only Whole30. After a month without dairy, grains, legumes (including my beloved peanut butter), sugar, alcohol, daily superfood shake, and baked goods, I felt accomplished and proud of myself for completing such a huge feat.

If I’m fully honest, I didn’t experience any of the earth shattering changes that others have. I didn’t lose a ton of weight, the headaches I was experiencing almost daily didn’t decrease, I still wasn’t sleeping well, and I didn’t feel like a completely new person.

In one respect, the Whole30 was a total eye-opener. Prior to starting my month-long journey, I didn’t realize how much sugar and hydrogenated oils were in EVERYTHING. I took many of the “healthy” grocery store items for their full-face value. I never thought that ketchup, bbq sauce, salad dressings, mayo, and even bacon and diced tomatoes would be laden with every form of sugar that you can imagine. I was blind to the fact that what I was putting into my body was actually doing more harm than good. I took “good” food for granted.

On the flip side, I believe that the Whole30 can facilitate an unhealthy relationship with food. Now, I might get a lot of crap for saying this, but hear me out.

Where it went wrong

When I did my first Whole30 in July 2016, I thought it was the greatest idea since sliced (paleo) bread. I followed the rules and when other people were posting Whole30 meals that weren’t quite compliant on Instagram and Facebook, it made me angry. I started buying foods in the spirit of the Whole30. I stocked up on the books and even gave the new cookbook for a Christmas gift. For a good six months, I was a self-appointed Whole30 police officer. After a while, it was giving me so much anxiety, that it got old.

In the last year, I’ve tried to complete a second Whole30 multiple times. I planned menus and grocery lists, I tossed all of the unapproved items from my kitchen, and even set up a 30-day calendar. I was ready. Then, multiple times, it just didn’t happen. I really beat myself up about it. Seriously, how hard is it to START something? Something that I was supposedly obsessed with not too long ago.

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Typical meal prep Sunday.

I turned to Whole30 Facebook groups for support or guidance, but that just made it worse. There is so much cattiness, rule breaking, and unsupportiveness that I found the groups to be the opposite of encouraging. I left each one and decided to find my own way.

After playing with my diet for a couple of months, I realized that I don’t want to cut out so many foods from my diet. I enjoy mixing a spoonful of raw local honey into Icelandic every morning, I love making pancakes for Sunday breakfast, I look forward to sushi date nights and a nice burger with a bun every so often, and I will never miss another National Ice Cream Soda Day! They key isn’t cutting out all the foods that make you happy (unless medically necessary, of course), the key is moderation.

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Anyone else LOVE creamsicles??

Everything in moderation

I’ve finally comfortably settled into a “diet” that seems to work for me: portion-controlled and mostly keto/paleo. What does that mean? I consume around 1,400 calories a day (it’s PLENTY), and eat a diet high in fat and low in carbs and protein – pizza, chocolate, and dessert included! It’s satisfying, it’s yummy, and although it restricts HOW much I pile on my plate, it doesn’t restrict WHAT I can eat. I never go to bed hungry.

How does this work? Well, because I’m not limiting myself, I don’t have crazy cravings for sugar or carbs. In fact, I’ve actually all but eliminated peanut butter (one of my favorite things!), alcohol, and several other unapproved Whole30 items at will – not as a direct result of my Whole30 experience. I’m just making healthier choices and looking at food as fuel.

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A typical breakfast – hella yum!

The 80-20 Rule

No one eats 100% healthy 100% of the time – it’s just not sustainable. A lot of health coaches and fitness-minded individuals practice the 80-20 Rule, which means that you eat 100% healthy for 80% of the time. That other 20%? That’s when you fit in the donuts, chocolate, wine, nachos, cake, ice cream sodas – all the stuff that makes your soul sing. It works because you don’t feel deprived, because you know that you can have your cake and eat it too, and because you won’t feel guilty for indulging a little when out with friends or on the weekends.

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The right size treat.

The (New) Bottom Line

Every once in a while I’m really, really wrong. This was one such time. The Whole30 taught me an important awareness about food that continues to this day, but it also made me a little neurotic. I’m no longer recommending or endorsing the lifestyle. However, I will say that if you are interested in learning about it, check out the book “It Starts with Food” from your local library. Written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, creators of the Whole30, it breaks down the science and why behind the bad foods we put into our bodies. It is relatively easy to understand, even to non-science-y types and will give you a very granular view of the program.

If you have questions about finding a diet or way of eating that is right for you, feel free to contact me. I’d love to help you find a good fit!

 

Grab ’em and go

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What do you grab when you’re in a hurry? If you’re like most people, it’s junk. I can remember walking to the corner store armed with a pocket full of change and a desire to check off everything on my list – Laffy Taffy, Hot Fries, Slim Jims, and Blow Pops. My 10-year-old self was shining in the glory of it. Why? Because it tasted good, was convenient, and the packaging screamed: “EAT ME, NOW!”

Flash forward almost two decades, and I still revel in all things easy and convenient, but I pride myself on making better food choices.

That’s why I love Bricks Bars. The ingredients are clean and sustainable, and the on-the-go packaging suits my busy – at times, hectic – lifestyle.  Great for hiking, biking, traveling. Just throw them in your bag, and you’re good to go.

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Bricks organic meal bars are paleo and soy, gluten, and antibiotic free. The company uses grass-fed meats, and sustainably sourced GMO-free veggies, fruit, and seeds. Now, that’s something I can stand behind.

My favorite is the organic beef, uncured bacon, cranberry, and sunflower seed bar. Such a unique combination of flavors that makes your senses go wild with adventure. There’s something about the salty-sweet blend that gets me every time.

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Runner up is the organic turkey, sweet potato, cranberry, and pumpkin seed bar reminds me of Thanksgiving. Actually, if I’m honest, it reminds me of Willy Wonka’s factory. Anyone remember the 3-course meal in a stick of chewing gum? I always wondered what that would be like. You get the yummy, savory main course, the side dishes, and pie at the close. What nostalgia attached to this!

Don’t just take my word for it. To taste just how delicious these bars really are, head over to bricksbars.com. You can get a variety sample 3-pack of Bricks Bars for $8.99 and FREE shipping.

Happy Snacking!

 

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Bricks. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

#FightForIt

The other day someone mentioned that I was really fit. Of course my first reaction was “who, me?” I’ve never really considered myself fit. Thin, at times, but never fit. I guess, when you think about it, working out regularly will get you there, a nd Icredit Core de Force for getting me there.

This Beachbody workout is for you if you want to work your ass off (literally), want that bikini body, have a lot of pent up anger and need an outlet to release it, enjoy hard work, and/or aren’t afraid of looking like a fool (at first anyway). It’s labeled intermediate, but it’s hard. You really have to work for it to get results – that means no wimpy punches or baby kicks. You need to put in all the effort “until the bell.”

Core de Force lasts 30 days without a rest day. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. The last day of the week is as close as you’ll come to resting – give your body a break with Active Recovery. You’re still working, but you’re loosening up those muscles and preparing for another week of tough work. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster – some of these focus on toning the bum (aka MMA Kick Butt).

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Core de Force. I hate the push-ups, but I love the MMA workouts. Dynamic Strength is my absolute worst enemy – if you take the challenge, you’ll see why. What’s enticing about this program is that it’s only 30 days and you can do anything for a month. You definitely feel like you’re working out, but the trainers are great and help you get through it. There is also a modifier who does – you guessed it! – less intense, but still powerful, versions of the exercises. Routines are upwards of 30 minutes. Some days you’ll have two, which could bring the time up to an hour. It’s really not bad when you plan for it. Even if you don’t usually sweat (like me), you’ll be drenched by the end, and I mean hair soaking wet. It feels good.

You may be wondering why I love it if it sounds so…bad? hard? Well, you get results. Fast. Plus, the workouts really are fun. You have 3-minute rounds where you go all out, a  quick opportunity for a water break in between, and then go full force again. When you’re doing it, you hate yourself, you’re cursing the trainers, and you literally just want it to be over. Then, when it is over, you want more. That’s why I’m currently in my second round.

This is the second program I’ve purchased digitally from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. Now you can purchase a monthly subscription for less than $9 and that gives you access to ALL the Beachbody programs available!

Note: I used to stream on the Amazon Firestick, but have since upgraded to the Apple TV and it was so worth it. The menus are better and so is the display. Highly recommend it. The only downside is that it’s not as portable.

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Watch the move breakdown videos; trust me – they will come in handy.

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like sweet potato hash and eggs. I’m a fan of eating non-traditional breakfasts. Sweet potato chocolate chili, anyone?

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot  for this and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends eating small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating 3 filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you. The included recipe booklet has fun meals such as BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza and Energy Trail Mix.

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns. (NOTE: These will be updating soon to make it a little easier to convert recipes.) It makes it super easy to stay on top of your nutrition as you move through the programs. Use a simple formula to figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet: 4Red (protein), 3Green (veggies), 2Purple (fruits), 2Yellow (carbs), 1Blue (healthy fats), 1Orange (nuts and seeds), and 2Teaspoons (oils). This turns out to be plenty of food, but if you’re still hungry, and a glass of water doesn’t do the trick, add another green or red. This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

The Portion Fix Containers help you eat just the right amount.

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Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Hydrate into your routine.

My favorite way to keep hydrated is with my healthy human water bottle.

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Optional Equipment

  • Yoga Mat / Towel for elbow planks (the first round I got rug burn!)
  • Agility Ladder (Deluxe workouts only)

The Workouts

Workouts are switched up throughout the four weeks. Each varies from 6-12 three-minute rounds. You might not get them down right away, but you will as you repeat them. Again, the move breakdown videos are helpful.

Each week ends with a 21-minute Active Recovery (described above). Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with 5 Minute Core on the Floor and 16-minute Core Kinetics. Both are tough, but will get you where you need to be. If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, there is a Relief workout that can be done each night – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainers

Joel Freeman – Elite personal trainer and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

Jericho McMatthews – Self-proclaimed “fitness chameleon,” new mommy (to the cutest baby!), and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

The Results

Right now this is the newest program (but not for long!) and it has a lot of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. I read a ton of positive reviews online. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. This is my favorite program. I may whine about it, but I still look forward to my workouts every day. Overall, I lost 4.6 pounds and 4 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength and definition. Nothing compares to feeling confident in your own skin.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this to all of my friends and family. Try it out for yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? If you decide it’s not really your thing, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

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Seriously, the comfiest shirt I own!

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

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

In an instant!

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Birthday present from my mom!

Last year I kept hearing about the Instant Pot and how amazing it was. “Cook pulled pork in record time!” “Hottest kitchen item around!” “You need to buy this NOW!” I did a little research and was, at first, a bit turned off by the hefty price tag. Then I started to see all of the amazing foods that could be cooked in the pressure cooker, and all of the time saved by using it, and knew I had to have it.

When my mom surprised me with the Instant Pot for my birthday, I was ecstatic. Seriously an amazing gift for a cook (or want to be cook)! I used it that day. And I’ve used it every week since.

It’s taken me a while to actually write up a review because I wanted to make sure I covered everything. I had a lot of questions in the beginning and if you’re on the fence about the purchase, I’m sure you have a ton too.

Below you’ll find some of the basics.

Pronunciation

Instant Pot, not Instapot – for some reason I keep seeing that one floating out there. Two words – okay?

Who is it for?

This product is good for people with 9-5 jobs, those who want to meal prep but just don’t have the time, people who hate cooking, people who love cooking, people who love gadgets. On second thought, this product is good for people.

Is it worth the money?

I get this ALL the time. If you look at the Instant Pot as just a cooking tool, it seems hella expensive. Retail price for the 6 qt 7-in-1 (IP-DUO60) is $99.99, albeit a step down from last year’s going rate of $129.99.

But, in essence, you’re not just buying a cooking tool. You’re getting a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, and warmer complete with a sauté/browning feature, neatly packaged into one item. That’s big. As much as I love my Crock-Pot, I haven’t used it once since getting the Instant Pot.

Instead of wondering if it’s worth the money, think about how much your time is worth. If this device can cut cook time by 50 or even 75 percent, would it help you out? Would you be more inclined to cook?

What does it do?

Literally, everything described above. It cooks good meals in record time – think 7 minutes for easy-peel hard boiled eggs, 35-minute shredded chicken, 15-minute chili. If you’ve made your own bone broth, you know it can take 24-48 hours on the stove top and 8+ hours in the slow cooker. With the Instant Pot, you can have it in two.

What are all those buttons?

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Ha. There are a lot of controls and that can be intimidating. You typically won’t use all of them. On any given day I tend to use the bottom 8 and the – + buttons because they really cover everything. The Soup, Rice, etc. just take the guesswork out of manual programming.

  • High Pressure – most meals are cooked on this setting
  • Manual – I make most of my dishes in this setting because I get to control the time (and have found that some recipes require more or less than recommended)
  • Timer – changes the input so you can adjust the time for manual cooking
  • Less & More – adjust the time needed for a particular dish
  • Keep Warm/Cancel – stops the cooking and keeps your dish warm until you’re ready/shuts off the Instant Pot entirely
  • Sauté – a good feature to brown meat before adding the rest of the ingredients to the pot
  • The other buttons are not used as frequently, but I would like to include a video of how and when to use them.

How much liquid do you need?

Rule of thumb is 1-2 cups of liquid for every recipe. So, if you are cooking two chicken breasts, 1 cup of chicken broth (or water) would be sufficient. Add more if you want extra juice. The nice thing about the Instant Pot is that liquid under pressure does not evaporate – if you start out with 1 cup, you’ll end up with 1 cup.

Is it safe?

This isn’t your grandmother’s pressure cooker. You know, the one that used rattle, whistle, and shake like it was going to explode? Now, that was scary.

There are 10 proven safety mechanisms including lid close detection (unit will beep and not start until the lid is properly fastened and locked) and high-temperature warning (pressure will not build up in the pot if there is not enough liquid or moisture).

After reading through your user manual and seeing how it works, you should feel completely comfortable using it.

Note: It is important to only use/buy items and accessories that are manufactured and tested by Instant Pot. In particular, the sealing rings have been tested and passed UL, FDA, and LFGB safety tests. The same cannot be said about 3rd party companies/products.

Does it really cook that fast?

Yes. And maybe not. I don’t want you to get discouraged here, but I have to be honest. Many of the recipes don’t account for the time it takes to pressurize the chamber. So, while hard boiled eggs only take 7 minutes to cook, there is an extra 10-15 minutes of pressure time that must be factored in.

But the unit is amazing and will cook a lot of your slow cooker favorites (think pulled pork) in record time.

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So easy to peel – I wanted to cry tears of joy!

How do you clean it?

It’s easy to clean out the Instant Pot. Just remove the stainless steel cooking pot, scrub with hot soapy water and dry. Clean the lid with a damp cloth or sponge, then remove the inner flexible sealing ring and clean in hot soapy water. The cooking pot and sealing ring can also be placed in the dishwasher. I always wipe down the surface of the unit when done in case there are any spills.

Note: After the first use the bottom of my pot was stained. I scrubbed and scrubbed, but couldn’t get it back to its original state. This has not affected cooking in any way but is worth mentioning in case you experience something similar. If this really bugs you, you can purchase a new pot for around $34 on Amazon.

What items and accessories are available?

There are a number of different accessories made especially for the Instant Pot, including sealing rings, cookbooks, tempered glass lids, silicone safety mitts, etc.

Check out Amazon for a full listing and to purchase.

Why I like it

The Instant Pot is very helpful to me when I’m meal prepping on the weekends and if – no, when – I forget to take the meat out of the freezer before I leave for work.

I’ve never been able to cook anything so fast, so good, and so tender. The meat falls off the bone and shreds easily, meals are more flavorful, and there are so many fun recipes online or you can easily adapt your own. Check Pinterest for ideas. Some of my favorites include Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole and Crack Chicken by Adventures of a Nurse.

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Thanks to the Instant Pot’s growing popularity, there are now several cookbooks specifically for pressure-cooking. My favorite it is Paleo Cooking with Your Instant Pot by Jennifer Robins, one of my favorite girl bosses. Her recipes are easy to follow and taste great.

Besides the normal slow cooker favorites, you can make all sorts of dishes including soup, bread, cheesecake, yogurt, and rice pudding. It’s really a lot of fun!

Bottom Line

This is one of the best investments you can make – and THE best investment for your kitchen. The Instant Pot is a HUGE time saver. That fact, alone, should have you running to Amazon (figuratively, or course) and buying one for you and a friend. If you use it regularly, and you will, it will quickly pay for itself. If you still have hesitations and are uneasy about the price, Amazon has two big sales where you may be able to snag one for a lower price – Prime Day and Black Friday. Be on the lookout!

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Chili in the making!

 

Please Note: This post is not sponsored by Instant Pot and I am not affiliated with the company in any way. I also do not receive any compensation from the Amazon links included above. All opinions are my own.  

The Weight Loss Equation 

Did you know that there’s a pill you can take before bed that shrinks your waist by a few inches before morning? No? Well, that’s because it doesn’t exist (yet, anyway). Losing weight and keeping it off takes work. The equation is simple, but the process isn’t always easy.

Healthy Eating + Exercise = A Healthier You

I used to think that I could work out 3-5 days a week and keep eating crap. Then, when I didn’t see any movement on the scale I would get discouraged and give up. That’s the cycle most of us fall into. One day of bad eating or a missed workout isn’t going to do damage, but if it becomes a habit, it will. Like so, one good day of working out and eating clean won’t produce change.  It’s like Darren Hardy describes in his book The Compound Effect, small movements or actions over time will add up.

Make Healthy Choices

I love pizza and wish I could eat it every day. I still enjoy it, but in moderation. Instead of four slices, I’ll have 1-2 (depending on the size) with a side salad. Eat lean protein, healthy fat, good carbs, veggies, and minimal fruit. I don’t follow a specific diet or base my daily meals off the food pyramid. I’m mostly paleo, like the idea of the Whole30 plate structure, severely limit processed junk, and use portion control containers to make sure I’m not overdoing it. I don’t recommend one eating program over the next – I think you should do what’s right for your body and your lifestyle. I will say that I’m totally against smoking and any other unhealthy habits that cause bodily harm. Do yourself a favor and keep it clean!

Know Your Triggers

Are there foods that you love so much that you just can’t stop eating them once you get started? I feel that way about sour patch kids (a processed food exception!), kettle corn, and black cherries, to name a few. You might be thinking, “Whoa, wait a minute, cherries are healthy.” And they are – in moderation. But they are a food with no breaks for me, which means I can easily eat a full bag. And that can pack in over 300 calories, 52 grams of sugar, and 76 carbohydrates. Even though they are rich in vitamins and minerals, natural foods can be dangerous too. When possible, I do best when I limit trigger foods, because I know I really can’t get away with eating just one.

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These are the 21 Day Fix Portion Control Containers I use to get the right amounts!

Eat Slowly

It takes about 20 minutes for us to feel full (unless you’re me because I have the stomach of a dog and can eat for days. Second dinner, anyone?) Sit down to eat and chew slowly. It’s not a race and you don’t have to be the first one finished.

Eat The Correct Portions

When you go out to eat, your meal is generally not just one portion. That’s why most of us end up taking the leftovers home for another time. When you prepare and serve your own food, stick to the recommended serving sizes on the packaging. It really does make a world of difference because the serving sizes are usually much less than we would expect.

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This is a serving of fruit – 1 cup.

Stop Eating When You’re Full

Remember when your mom used to make you clean your plate? Well, you’re not 6 anymore. Don’t feel guilty about stopping when you’re full. You don’t have to toss the food – save it for the next day’s lunch.

Burn More Calories Than You Consume

I don’t advocate counting calories, because 150 calories of ice cream and 150 of grilled chicken will NOT get you the same results. So, sometimes it’s pointless. But I recently started plugging my daily meals and snacks into my Fitbit App and man was I stunned. Maybe horrified is a better word. What I thought was a a relatively healthy breakfast – lemon poppy seed muffin and a strawberry sunshine smoothie – turned into an 810 calorie breakfast. I think my reaction was “Holy Shit.” I didn’t count my calories for about a month after that experience. And then I decided to change how I was eating. Muffins = not good for me because they are loaded with carbs and sugar and don’t keep me full. My daily intake now is about 1,200 calories of predominately paleo (and healthy) foods. See what works for your body and run with it.

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Calories burned after a kick-ass MMA inspired workout.

Drink Water

I can’t say it enough. I even wrote a post about it last year. Water is good for everything – your skin, muscle soreness and recovery, your kidneys, the list goes on. Get a water bottle you like and drink up. I really like my Healthy Human water bottle because it keeps my water cold for hours and even overnight.

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This is my LIFESAVER. Without it, I wouldn’t get in my daily ounces.

Move Your Body

When you have a desk job, it isn’t always easy to get moving. I typically get 9,000-11,000 steps in per day, but I’m always on the move (I’ll save that for another post). You can easily add a few steps by walking to the break room to refill your water bottle or taking a trip to the farthest bathroom. When driving to a destination, don’t wait for a front row spot to open up. Park at a distance and take a leisurely stroll. Window shop!

Find A Workout You Love*

I used to hate working out. I don’t enjoy anything that causes me to be in pain – like bikini waxes (*shudders*). I stumbled upon a dance workout that is super fun and I love it! It’s good to mix it up and include cardio, weight lifting, yoga, HIIT, and others. You want to be motivated enough to workout at least 5 days a week. If one program doesn’t work, try another, and keep trying until you find your fit.

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Photo is the property of Beachbody, LLC.

Ditch The Scale

I’m serious. I weigh more now than I did in college, but I’m in better shape. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. Focus on the non-scale victories. Do your pants fit better? Can you see that definition in your arms? Are you sleeping better? Do you have fewer cravings? The list of benefits goes on and on.

Reward Yourself, But Not With Food

I used to let myself have ice cream or candy after a workout because I thought I deserved it. Now that sounds completely ridiculous to me. Today I prefer a sudsy shower or bubbly bath. You shower every day after your workout (I would hope!), so why not make it something to really look forward to? I have sugar scrubs, rich lathers, and a nice cream to put on after. I save the baths for when my muscles are sore and drop in a bath bomb, some Epsom salts, or a scented bubble bar. Candles are a nice touch too!

To recap, there is no special pill, miracle cream, or pixie dust that will make you a size 2. It just takes consistency, persistence, motivation, and willpower. Keep it up and you’ll see results before you know it.

*Visit teambeachbody.com/KPfitMiss for more information on workout programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach!