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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

That 9 to 5 Life

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

Let me just say this – I never knew what a challenge it would be to work in an office full time and still eat clean, keep fit, and be active. Every time I turn around there is an office party – someone retiring, getting married, having a baby, celebrating a birthday. We also have food for every holiday – even those unofficial ones like National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. And don’t get me started on those vending machines. Twix ice cream bars? Yes, please! Actually, make it two.

All of those little calories we think nothing of – a few pieces of candy here, a slice of cake there – add up. Before you know it, you’ve got that little 9-5 belly.

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That’s where Hello Healthy Box comes in. I can’t say enough positive things about this company and program! It’s solved the “I don’t have time” problem of many a working woman. The box provides you with 4 grab-and-go meals to eat during the workday, taking the guesswork out of meal prep. There’s no tracking or calorie counting. Just add your own dinner, some veggies, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. It’s that simple.

The Program

Each new customer will purchase a starter pack, a 2-week initial supply of food for $198.00 + state tax & ground shipping to your location. Thereafter, you can order in weekly increments. The 2-week supply gets you 56 foods for about $14 per day. Not bad, considering a morning coffee alone will set you back about $5.

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Some of the meals from my first 2 weeks

Each day is pretty simple:

  • Choose 4 packaged foods, spaced throughout the workday
  • Add 2 cups of veggies at lunch
  • Eat a 4 oz serving of protein and 2 cups of veggies for dinner
  • Drink at least 64 oz of water
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Veggies are delish! Who loves my vintage plates??

Helpful Things to Know

  • This IS a diet program. If you follow it as recommended, you can lose 1-3 pounds a week.
  • There are a lot of restrictions for the weight loss phase – no sugar, starchy veggies, grains, wine, processed foods, etc. It’s in line with keto.
  • The program is designed to help you control 80% of your daily food choices.
  • Soups, meals, drinks, etc. come powdered. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting this, but everything is very portable and easy to prepare with just water.
  • You can still eat out and make healthy choices (salad w/ chicken, steak & steamed veggies, etc).
  • Feeling tired and achy at the start is normal because our bodies are so used to being fueled by a sugar rush at all hours of the day.
  • To ensure you’re seeing results, I’d recommend weighing weekly.
  • Always, always consult your doctor to make sure a new diet is safe for you. Meals are high protein, low carb, and low sugar, which could be a shock to your body if you’re not used to them.
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My favorite sloppy joes over spaghetti squash sauteed with bacon. Yum!

This program is for you if you:

  • work in an office setting
  • have a busy schedule
  • don’t have (or don’t care to) meal prep
  • have poor eating habits
  • need something quick to grab on the go
  • want to get healthy but just don’t know where to start
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Most of my meals during the week are eaten right here – at my desk.

Things I Loved

No program is perfect. And I’m sure there will be things I loved that others won’t and vice versa. I’m a pretty picky eater, so I wasn’t a fan of some of the foods. But this is actually built into the plan. The company knows that everyone won’t love everything. In fact, they even mention that customers will usually find 6-10 foods they love and repeat them for the weight loss phase of the program. Fortunately, I was able to find more than 10 things I was happy to eat more than once.

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Cream of chicken soup with a side salad for lunch.

Below are a few other things I really loved:

  • The Welcome Guide is a really helpful blueprint for success with the program. I used it as a quick reference whenever I needed a refresher.
  • I saw a weight reduction right away; I was down 3 lbs in the first 4 days.
  • There’s a great variety. A lot of the food choices were super yummy and easy for me to grab a bar on-the-go or sip soup out of a mug in a meeting.
  • The high-protein / high-fiber foods and eating schedule kept me full between meals.
  • If you’re not crazy about some of the meals, you can swap them.
  • If you’re not satisfied, there’s a 100% Money Back Guarantee (less shipping) within 15 days of purchase.

Things I Wasn’t Crazy About:

Anytime I write a review, it’s important that I share the truth with my readers so you won’t be swayed into trying something without all the facts. One of the toughest things for me was skipping my meal prep. By now you all know that I get a little crazy with Sunday Prep, even going so far as to plan everything out in Excel. It just works for my Type A personality.

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Tomato soup with sauteed veggies.

Below are a few more things that I wasn’t 100% crazy about:

  • Most items don’t have ingredients or nutritional facts on the package, but they are available online.
  • Carrots are not allowed (starchy veggie). They are such an easy and versatile veggie and one of my favorites.
  • I missed adding a mashed banana (fruit not allowed) to my morning oatmeal.
  • I like sweetening my foods with natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and dates, but only artificial sweeteners are allowed.
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Making healthy choices outside of the box – Greek salad from the diner!

My Results

Halfway into week two, I was seeing great results and decided to extend the program another week. It was just too easy to pack my food for the day. During this time, I was “forced” to drink more water, eat more veggies, and resist the urge to grab unhealthy foods during the day. This was definitely helpful because it made me try new spices to flavor veggies, practice more self-control around some of my favorite foods, and gain a new appreciation for healthy dinners. I even bypassed cupcakes and apple cider doughnuts at the office (one of my favorite fall treats!).

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My performance has been on point. I didn’t even need pre-workout!

I was able to pinpoint a few veggies that don’t love me (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower), and I decided to remain decided to eat low carb, and high protein, fat, and veggie after the 21 days.

Overall, I lost 8.2 lbs during the 3 weeks of using Hello Healthy Box and working out 6 days a week. In addition, my energy levels are remaining high throughout the day and I’ve received so many comments about my clear and glowing skin!

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Sometimes I ate these chips for breakfast. Because, yum!

Bottom Line: The program really works if you follow it. It takes the guesswork out of what to eat during the workday and just makes life easier. I would recommend Hello Healthy Box to anyone who has been struggling with their weight and falls into one of the above categories. This may just be the answer you were looking for – it was for me!

Bonus: Use code Snacker25 to get $25 off your first box!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Back to Basics

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission if you purchase from Beachbody via my links. Please do not feel obligated to do so!

Anyone else sick of being sick and tired? Come on, raise your hands.

This time last year I was wrapping up my first round of Shift Shop, a mind-body workout program that would change the way I thought about exercise. I felt AMAZING afterward and even lost over six pounds and nine inches. That’s huge.

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Last year’s results.

Then, like it always does, life happened. I’m not sure how I lost my groove, but I did. Even though I was working out every day, I just wasn’t feeling it. I’d wake up, struggle through whatever program I was doing, and leave the house in a pretty foul mood.

Let That SHI(F)T Go

Last month I came back from vacation with a renewed sense of self, a greater appreciation for life, and a more positive outlook for the future. I was so tired of being jealous of other people’s accomplishments and progress and was looking for a fresh start.

I decided to turn to my good pal Chris Downing, creator of Shift Shop to help me get my groove back. It’s been the one program that produces consistently amazing results for me – when I stick with it. It challenges me to my absolute limits, but always lets me know that “I can do hard things.”

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I guess I really like these leggings…

For those not familiar with the program, the workouts follow a ramp-up schedule, which means each week they increase by time and intensity. The nutrition plan incorporates the Portion Fix containers ass 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.

K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetie)

This year I learned one of the most critical nutrition lessons: don’t let someone else dictate your meal plan. Everyone tells you how you “should do” this or “should try” that. It drives me freakin’ nuts. There’s keto and vegan and gluten-free and paleo…and I could be here all day listing all of the different diets and ways of eating.

Every source says they have the secret. They promise you’ll lose 10 pounds in 10 days or some other crap to get you to buy a book or a program. Meanwhile, on day two, you’re sitting on your couch eating mint chocolate chip ice cream out of the carton with a spoon. I can’t be the only one.

We overcomplicate everything instead of just taking a little time to see what works for us. Here’s how I found the right plan for me.

First, I had to identify the problem. For me, it was snacking at work. I’m a HUGE snacker (as if you couldn’t have guessed by the name). On the weekends I’m lucky if I even get in two full meals. But during the week? I’m scouting the vending machines for peanut m&ms, kettle chips, and pretzels.

Next, I had to understand why I always wanted to stuff my face. Boredom and stress are huge factors with this one, but so is being nutrient deficient. FYI honey nut cheerios is NOT part of a well-balanced breakfast.

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Shakes are just TOO easy.

Then, I had to build more satisfying meals. I decided to modify the Shift Shop meal plan to create something easier, affordable, and more sustainable.

My Secret Sauce

  • 4 substantial meals, instead of the suggested 6
  • All food eaten between 9 am and 7 pm (most days, anyway)
  • Purple (fruit) and yellow (carb) containers are limited to one per day, eaten before noon
  • Dairy limited as much as possible (some yogurt and cheese okay)

Here’s an example of a menu that keeps me FULL all day:

Meal 1: protein shake w/ veggies & fruit
Meal 2: two hard-boiled eggs, 1/2 sweet potato, cucumber & tomato salad
Meal 3: kale salad w/ tuna, and summer vinaigrette
Meal 4: chicken stir fry

The Power of Habit

It takes 21 days to form a habit, and it helps to have a set routine that you can commit to daily.

Each day I wake up between 5:00 and 5:10 am, shake up my pre-workout, and head downstairs to the gym. Depending on the length of my workout, I’ll have anywhere from 30-60 minutes to spend reading, meditating, or praying, while sipping my pre-workout. Then it’s time to bang out my workout, foam roll, shower, and get ready for the day.

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My daily devotional.

I absolutely love my routine and the quiet of it all. It helps me set good intentions for the day, and it’s something I can repeat daily.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes you just need to take a step back, assess where you are in life, and make some positive and lasting changes. When you arrive at a peaceful and grateful state, everything just feels…better. Of course, life will always have its ups and downs, but we’ll be in a better place to handle challenges. We only get one life, and it’s better when we’re happy.

If you’re interested in trying Shift Shop, click here.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

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.

Obsessed – Phase 3

It’s all fun and games until it’s not fun anymore. These last four weeks have been pretty tough to say the least. But I’ve been looking forward to writing this post because I need to tell you that I was wrong. Hey, it happens. I was wrong when I thought I was falling in love with 80 Day Obsession. When I thought it was my new favorite program. Well, after almost 80 days, I can honestly tell you, this one is NOT for me.

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Awesome calorie burn doing Country Heat!

I realized this at the beginning of Phase 3. I wasn’t passionate enough to want to wake up early and get it done. I struggled through every workout, every move. I just wasn’t feelin’ it. So I ended up switching to a combination of SHIFT SHOP, Core de Force, A Little Obsessed and Country Heat. I can dance my heart out – almost 700 calories – and still want more. In fact, I’ve been consistently working out for an hour by doubling up on the above programs. These four get me excited about fitness. They are my obsession.

Why am I telling you I failed?

I’m writing this for the people who feel like they have to push through, so that they can say they finished. It’s okay to give up (if that’s what you want to call it). It’s okay to say “this isn’t for me” and move on. I gave it a fair chance. Most people love 80 Day or say they do. Not me. And you don’t have to either. 22 Minute Hard Corps wasn’t for me, but I have a friend who does it EVERY DAY. To each their own. Country Heat is my #1, but I have a friend who can’t stand country music. To. Each. Their. Own.

So, yeah, I wanted to be better than ever in Phase 3. It didn’t happen with 80 Day, but it happened with workouts in general. I don’t feel like I gave up, because I’m still working out 6-7 days a week. I don’t feel like I gave up because I’m still doing hard things. I don’t feel like I gave up because I still wake up at 5 am and push through when I really don’t want to. Essentially, I am better.

Nutrition

There were two Refeed Days in this phase – that’s an opportunity to pad your diet with a few extra carbs. It’s by no means a cheat day. I really deviated from the eating plan during this phase by cutting out some of the fruits and veggies and including wo new supplements from GHOST . If you want more information on the eating plan, check out my Phase 1 post.

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GHOST supplements are fun and effective.

Weekly Obsession

While I may not be crazy about this program, I still think this show is the highlight of 80 Day. It was fun learning about how the crew pics out their outfits and seeing their progress over the last few weeks. They should definitely do this for each new program that launches. Joel Freeman – I’m talking to you!

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These Weight Watchers approved 2-ingredient bagels are soooo good!

Equipment

  • Weights
  • Resistance Loops
  • Sliders
  • Yoga Mat (optional, but encouraged if you work out on hard surfaces)
  • Towel (for all that sweat!)

The Workouts

We work out six days a week, and Sunday is a rest day with the option to do a Roll & Release or Stretch & Release workout. Or, if you’re like me and can’t sit still, you’ll use this as an opportunity to dance and belt out some tunes with the other side of Autumn in Country Heat. (Still true.)

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Trail mix is an easy to grab post-workout snack.

There is no music in the background, but there are designated playlists on Spotify that you can stream during your workout. I choose to do without, but I heard she had some pretty interesting music for the booty workouts.

Mondays – AAA

Arms, Abs, and Ass was okay. I loved some of the moves (Bridge Pullovers) and hated others (Camel Bicep Curl). It kept me engaged for the time, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. Very different from the previous two phases.

Tuesdays – Cardio Flow

Cardio Flow grew on me a bit. We were back to four reps, which was nice. What wasn’t were the eight rounds of everything at the end. Surprise!

Wednesdays – Legs

I liked this day the best. Some of the moves were a little complicated – I’m not that coordinated during the day, but at 5 am? Forget it. I’m still proud of myself for lifting 20s. I never imagined that I’d be strong enough for that, and counting. I wish all of the Phase 3 workouts had been this good.

Thursdays – Total Body Core

Well, this one wasn’t horrible either. ½ Turkish Get Up to Push-Up – this move was crazy. I was feeling it all over when this routine was finished.

Fridays – Cardio Core

Cardio Core was tough, but I liked it more this phase. It challenged my body and I love that. I love proving to myself just how strong I really am. I still think you feel the burn from this one two days later. Beware.

Saturdays – Booty

I was NOT feeling Booty day this phase, no sir. My balance was off, my bands rolled up, and it just wasn’t fun for me. I was disappointed that this ended up being the Saturday workout because I always have more time to dedicate on the weekends.

The Trainer

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of Country Heat, the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix extreme, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, author of the Fixate cookbook and cohost of Fixate on BOD. Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! While I love many of her other programs, I found her a bit too chatty and distracting during Phase 3.

The Results – Phase 3

I see definition and booty gains. On the one hand, I can fit into a skirt that has been sadly hanging in the back of my closet for half a decade now, just waiting for me. On the other, I can’t fit into my everyday jeans. Go figure. I think my body is just re-proportioning.

I gained about 3 lbs of muscle and feel more solid in my thighs and arms. Toned. It’s nice and makes me want to work harder for more muscle gains – something I was always afraid of in the past.

Maybe I didn’t stick with 80 Day, but I’m proud of myself for pushing myself and working out harder than I ever have before. I hope that this inspires others to do what works for them, not get sucked into the current hype or program of the moment.

I’ve been on this fitness journey for years now, but I’ve never felt so comfortable and confident in my abilities. I’m strong, and I got this. So do you – no matter what program or exercises you’re doing.

 

 

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 Disclaimer for more information.)

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

Go GHOST

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored in part by GHOST. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker Successful. All opinions are my own. Links are not affiliate links, just links to specific pages on ghostlifestyle.com.

This year I began a search for the perfect workout supplements to complement my new intense workout schedule. I’ve been putting my body through the ringer with hours of cardio and resistance training each week, and there have been days when I feel as stiff as the Tin Man. I knew it was time to fuel my body with some good-for-you supplements.20180326_1609461346354529271089403.png

While there are many, many types to choose from, I decided to stick with pre- and post-workout energy and recovery. And so the search commenced for the best-tasting drinks that would also oil my joints.

Enter GHOST

GHOST supplements stand out on the shelves, and for good reason. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, judge away because the products taste as awesome and intriguing as the containers look.

Full Disclosure

GHOST prides themselves on their Full Disclosure label, which provides the dose and detail of each ingredient. You know what you’re getting every time, without the B.S. That’s something I can get behind.

Pre-Workout

My first sip of the GHOST LEGEND x WARHEADS Watermelon pre-workout was a blast from the past. When I say that this tastes exactly like the sour candy, I mean it. And, there’s nothing like shocking your tastebuds (and body) into a 5 am workout. Pucker Up!20180326_1609222881165771260261167.png

The first time I tried it I was AWAKE for hours. I felt like what I can only imagine my 18-month-old Jack Russel feels when she’s excited. Burned over 700 calories dancing around my gym and could have worked out longer if I had time. Yes, it really was that good AND effective.20180321_063456469741297519503781.jpg

My stamina and energy levels soar after using this pre-workout, which is my new go-to liquid (rose) gold. I love that the flavor is so far out of the box than the typical lemon. You can mix a scoop into 6 or 8 oz of water, or 4 oz if you want more of a sour taste. I’ll let you guess how I roll.

Each serving has only five calories, and contains 4g L-Citrulline (for heart and blood vessel health), 2g Beta Alanine (for increased performance), and 202mg Caffeine (for an energy boost), among other good things.

Other flavors include fruit punch, blue raspberry, and WARHEADS Black Cherry, which will be next on my list.

Post-Workout

Post-workout recovery has become increasingly important to me. I’ve always shied away from whey protein because I’m lactose intolerant, but recently learned that whey is one of the best proteins for muscle recovery. So I did a little digging and realized that whey protein isolate contains less than 1% lactose, and can usually be tolerated by individuals with an intolerance.

Enter GHOST Whey

The product gets all 25+G of its protein from Whey Protein Isolate, Concentrate, and Hydrolysate. It also contains lactase, which is an enzyme that helps to break down lactose. I’ve been able to tolerate this blend and find it a lot easier to digest than pea or other plant-based proteins. It also tastes a hell of a lot better. One serving of the Cereal Milk flavor contains 130 calories, and only 4g carbs and 2g sugars. It’s also soy and gluten free.

The powder easily mixes with water or almond milk with just a few shakes. No ball needed. No clumps or residue. No B.S.

Whoever thought of putting the scoop on a little shelf at the top of the container was a genius! I hate digging for the scoop before that first use. And, somehow, it is ALWAYS at the bottom. This right here would give even a bad-tasting protein at least two stars. (This goes for the pre-workout as well.)

Cereal Milk

Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about because I can honestly say I love the taste. Cereal Milk is vanilla ice cream meets Cap’n Crunch Cereal. I would know because I spent many a Saturday morning slurping the leftover milk from a big bowl of this golden deliciousness. Cap’n Crunch FTW – minus all the sugary crap, for sure.

It’s sweet, but after drinking in the morning, keeps any cravings at bay. The rich and creamy texture is perfect for sipping (or chugging) post workout. And it doesn’t get super frothy after shaking. Win, win, win.20180326_1609036110824171415482097.png

Fruity Cereal Milk

I went ahead and purchased Fruity Cereal Milk too because Fruity Pebbles just happens to be my one of my favorites. And, while I still use them as an occasional topping for donuts, I don’t usually indulge in a whole bowl. I have yet to try this one, but I have high hopes!

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Don’t they look delish?!

Other flavors include Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Toaster Pastry, and Peanut Butter Cereal Milk, which will be next on my list.

Rewards

I love loyalty programs because nothing shows customer appreciation more than free stuff!

Create a free account on GHOST’s site and earn points by sharing on social media, making purchases, referring friends, and more. Then choose between points or cash when making a purchase online.20180326_1612559191923736815319164.png

Super shoppers (Gold members) are rewarded with perks like free shipping on all purchases, birthday coupons, and VIP access to exclusive events.

What are you waiting for? Sign up today.

Buy in Store

Not into buying online? That’s okay. You can also purchase products at a GNC near you. Each item also comes with a unique code to enter on GHOST’s site and redeem loyalty point. I like this option because you can forgo shipping charges and leave the store with product in hand.

The Bottom Line: I recommend these supplements to everyone, especially the pre-workout. If you want results, GHOST will give you the boost you need. If you’re looking for a yummy shake that will hold you over for a few hours, here it is. Great tasting and effective. It doesn’t get more real than that.20180326_1608041424233641042396359.png

To purchase one of the above supplements or to check out GHOST’s entire line of supplements and gear, visit them online.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before trying any new supplement.

**GHOST’s warning label states that their products are only intended for healthy adults. Please take caution and I encourage you to research the company (like I did) prior to purchasing.

Thanks!