Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Advocare 24 Day Challenge - Days 10-14

Two weeks in, over half the way there and I'm not even wishing it was over. Booya!

Day ten was the last day of the cleanse phase (I was pretty happy to be rid of that fiber drink) and we've (my team and I, I do not have multiple personalities) since moved into the max phase. Basically the cleanse was getting our bodies ready for this portion of the challenge, cleaning us up and preparing for maximum nutrient absorption.

 Here are the products that are included in the max phase-

1. Spark energy drink for energy and mental focus. Not gonna lie, I'm super pumped that this is included. I think I will drink this every day for the rest of my life.

2. Meal replacement shakes for breakfast ( I switched it up and had one for lunch instead. Whoa, rebel). These are great. They have 220 calories, a one to one carb/protein ratio, twenty-four grams of protein and twenty-six vitamins and minerals. They are surprisingly tasty and slightly thick, so it doesn't just taste like flavored water. Totally quaffable.

3. MNS Max 3. MNS stands for metabolic nutrition system. Every day you take four little packets of supplements ( I thought the packs kind of looked like condoms and was like "whoa, freaky phase!", but they were just pills), one packet thirty minutes before breakfast, two packets with breakfast and one packet thirty minutes before lunch. These supplements fill in nutritional gaps and provide core nutrition that you aren't getting from diet. Also, they boost your metabolism and include probiotics, appetite control and added energy.

4. Omegaplex  omega 3 fatty acid supplement ( same as before) for all of our fatty acid needs.

I've only been taking these new products for four days and I already feel a difference. With all of my nutritional requirements being met, I really think my body is finally preforming optimally. In order to take advantage of this, I have really been ramping up my workouts. I'm trying to get at least half an hour of cardio every day, plus some sort of weight training and at minimum, fifty-five pushups or one-hundred and fifty crunches, alternating days. So far, so good.  I can almost see "She-ra: Princess of Power" abs! I have abandoned my hopes of completing the Turbo Fire advanced cardio month during the challenge. I've already completed it once, a few months ago, and since I'm working out every day, I really need to change it up and throw in some variety.

This weekend I went for two different park runs and they were super rad. Both parks offered gravel trails ( I hate running on asphalt or cement because its just too hard on my joints) and about a five mile jog if I ran around them twice.

The first was Crown Hill park and wildlife preserve in Lakewood. I really like this trail ( I used only the dirt paths around the perimeter) mainly because it is fairly secluded and I didn't really come across more than a few other people (on a Saturday!) during my entire run. It gave me time to think and really enjoy my surroundings. Also this park borders a cemetery on one side and, while I don't usually get the heebie-jeebies around cemeteries, this one inspired me to run a little faster, to be the best I can be before I end up in one of those. Dark... maybe, but it got the job done. I was really pleased with averaging an eight minute, thirty second mile for the entire jog.

The second was the ever popular, Wash Park jogging trail, which is a completely different experience. The park is surrounded by "Wash Park Mansions" and I really like daydreaming about living in one while I jog. I don't usually run here though, because the place is always crawling with people and I'm not a big fan of crowds (especially stinky, sweaty ones). But I decided to brave them anyway and I'm really glad I did. Turns out I perform better out of my comfort zone. I get something that I like to call "extreme passing anxiety" when I'm jogging around a lot of people. When I think I may have to pass someone, I tail them for a while to make sure that their pace really is too slow for me and that there is no doubt in my mind that I can run faster than them. If the pass is absolutely necessary, I make sure to sprint for a long time so they aren't annoyed that I passed them (or staring at my jiggly butt).* I know, I'm insane, but have come to embrace this and move on with life. Anyway, this particular brand of anxiety really improved my speed (it felt like I was passing everybody and therefor, sprinting for a good portion of the time) and I ran faster by a whole fifteen seconds a mile. Maybe I should get out of my comfort zone more often!

*I have never actually seen my butt while running, but have always assumed that it isn't pretty.

Okay, enough of the longest blog entry in the world! Onto the Highs and Lows!

Low points-

1. I am weak and had an egg-roll on day eleven. Horrors!

2. Everyday I am ridiculously sore from too many pushups and crunches. Meh, who needs to bend anyway?!

3. Finding toddler clothes at the army surplus store and thinking about all of those poor baby soldiers...

High points-

Food! Its all food!

1.  Amazing coconut, berry oatmeal.

Use light coconut milk instead of water when you're boiling your oatmeal.
Toss in some blueberries and raspberries while it cooks.
Garnish with fresh berries, dried coconut and lime zest
Squeeze a little lime juice on top and drizzle with honey (optional)

My whole family loved it and the boys won't stop asking for it

2. Mexican stuffed peppers with quinoa and black beans.

I added some chipotle in adobo to the filling and I used locally roasted hatch chiles instead of canned. The "cheese" is actually vegan, almond, jalapeno cheese and it was surprisingly melty and delicious. We had these for dinner one night, but it seems like the leftovers just get better by the day. You should definitely make this and eat it all week!

3. And my favorite, Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs.

This is the best thing I have eaten so far during the challenge. It comes from the magazine "Whole Living". My mother in law got me a subscription to it a few years back and it is an awesome publication with lots of tips on healthy living.
I added some garlic powder to the squash before I topped it with everything else and of course I squirted the whole thing with sriracha (it was begging for it), but other than those minor additions, this recipe is perfectly delectable as is. I am without a doubt, making this again. Soon.

If you are still reading and haven't fallen asleep yet, I commend you. Pat yourself on the back. You have officially* read the longest blog entry ever and the record book people will probably be contacting you shortly :)

*not at all official

Friday, September 21, 2012

Advocare 24 Day Challenge - Days 6-9

Wow, the time is flying! I can't believe that I've already been doing this for over a week! Once again, I know I said that I would write every day, but believe it or not, my cleanse life isn't all that exciting. I do not want to risk my posts being comparable to a boring piece of  lint (as opposed to those really exciting pieces of lint), so I'll do my best to keep it moderately interesting.  Anyway, after over a week of cleansing, I feel amazing! Like "best day of my life" amazing ( as previously stated, I have done nothing exciting enough to merit this) and I can only assume that it is because my newly purified body is trying to tell me something. I have been completely energized and motivated, finishing projects all over the place. My broken lamp isn't broken anymore and now it looks like this...

Also, I have an incredibly clear head which has allowed plenty of time to think and problem solve.  All in all, I would say that I am experiencing a deep sense of well being and healthfulness. One of my biggest revelations was finding out that I truly love my new purpose and that I am wholeheartedly choosing to pursue it. My husband, Jason, loves to fantasize about winning the lottery and it is a regular topic of discussion in our house. While discussing what we would do with our massive fortune (not to worry, giant bouncy houses and hot fudge sundae bars are always included), I realized that even if I was completely financially independent, I would still sell Advocare products. I truly feel that more than anything else I have ever done for a job, this has the potential to help people. To really change lives for the better. These products work. They help people to achieve health and fitness goals that once seemed unattainable. After 9 days on the cleanse, I feel like I could take on any adversary. I WILL achieve my goals and nothing can stop me. Imagine if I could give that feeling to everyone. When people feel well, they live well. And not to mention, anything that can truly focus this scatter brain, is nothing short of remarkable (thank you spark)! So everyone keep your fingers crossed that I will win the lottery and then you are all invited to my health retreat. A tranquil lodge in the mountains where you can cleanse in peace. Enjoy healthy food and then learn how to prepare it. Take fitness classes tailored to your personal needs. Curl up by a giant fire and read an amazing book.  Hike or snowshoe in the great outdoors and then finish the day in a relaxing spa. Man, I wish. Keep your fingers crossed...

Because I have been feeling so great, I can't help telling anyone and everyone, who will listen, about the challenge. Yes, I'm that annoying girl. But, no one has told me to buzz off as of yet, so I just keep on talking. My liquor store guy seemed kind of interested last week when I told him about it, so today when I had some time to kill ( in between cleaning my oven and running to get lamp fixing supplies. Like I said... lots of energy)  I took a quick walk over to chat him up. He is super excited about my journey and his wife would really like for him to be healthier (she believes that a cleanse will help him to produce a male heir, which seems a little far fetched if you ask me. But who am I to crush her dreams?)  He wants to see my results before he gets on board and goes all in. I wasn't exactly sure how to show him, but I just improvised and took him to the gun show.  I'm kind of embarrassed about this. But, whatever, I'm quirky. This is essentially what he saw...

 The worst part is that now I have to go back at the end of the challenge and do this again. So I am changing my workout plan. Initially I just wanted to complete the entire month of advanced cardio in Turbo Fire with the weighted gloves. And so far I'm right on track to complete all 48 classes in the 24 days of the challenge.  However, it is now clear that I definitely need to add some more upper body workouts throughout and maybe some pushups for good measure. I really don't want to disappoint him :)

Okay, enough of my silliness. Lets talk highs and lows!

Low points - 

1. Its official, I'm addicted to sugar. Giving up coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, bread, cheese... no problem. Giving up sweets... yikes. To combat this I have been allowing myself one luna bar every night for dessert. It's not exactly cleanse friendly, but I figure its better than rubbing chocolate cake all over my face.

2. Making my mom special raspberry, chocolate truffles and not being able to eat them (okay, I ate one and they were delicious. Maybe i should move this to the high points list...).

And happily, that is all I can think of for low points. It's been a great couple days!

High Points _

1. After one week I'm down 2.5 pounds. Which is big for me because I've been stuck on a plateau for a while now. And my team has all lost weight as well! We rock!

2. I found a giant box of seaweed snacks at costco for only $10. Then I discovered that all of the little people I take care of (including my own) love to eat them almost as much as I do! Win!

3. Eggplant and chick pea stew over black sticky rice with quinoa. It was super easy. Just put it in the crock pot and go find something better to do. My house smelled amazing all day.

 All right fun lovers, I'm off to re-finish some cabinets... not really, but if you have some that need finishing, I just watched a very informative youtube video on it. It's a real gem :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

24 Day Challenge- Days 2 through 5

Sometimes I'm a slacker. Okay, so I know I said that I would write everyday and I haven't. I'm sorry.

The cleanse portion of the challenge is just going so well, it's keeping me extremely busy. I've had so much energy (it might be nervous energy from not smoking, but we'll just call it energy) these past few days its like a cleaning, organizing, laundry folding tornado has taken over the house. Really, its awesome. Also my workouts have been getting progressively longer and more hard core. I have been able to use my weighted gloves during every cardio session ( watch out would be attackers, if I see you on the street I am now able to punch you into oblivion) and I seriously jumped 6 feet (probably more like 1) into the air during plyometrics.

This weekend, cleansing had some serious challenges, but also many triumphs. One of the biggest challenges was overcoming crazy torrential mood swings. Now,  I need to be clear,  I'm not sure that these are caused by the cleanse or just my general state of  female-ness. But, regardless, they were insane. In a matter of minutes I could go from thinking "I'm so energized! I will clean the entire world. I love everyone!" to " I will kill someone for just the chocolate on their breath! Nothing is good! I hate everyone!". Fortunately I was able to maintain some level of control, and of course, my house is fairly weapon free because small children reside here. There were no serious injuries and I think my marriage is still a go.

My boys were staying at the Grandparents (smart because they got to avoid their slightly insane mother) and my perfect Saturday looked like this - wake up early, clean the entire house and enjoy a full 24 hours of organization and spotlessness. Stuff my face with seaweed snacks (they are amazing) and read the "Hunger Games" series until I fall into a lavender scented slumber.

My husband vetoed the entire plan. Poop on a stick! So instead we went hiking in Boulder (which I have never done!) and it was perfect. I was kind of worried for him venturing into the wilderness, alone with a woman who wanted to pluck out his eyeballs every other minute. Lucky for him, Chautauqua park in Boulder is a very popular place for hikers and there were lots of people on the trail. We hiked to the "Royal Arch" which was about two miles away from our parked car and we gained about three million feet in elevation. No, I'm not really sure what the elevation gain was, but the hike felt like we were climbing a secret (despite the masses of people), wooded staircase up to an archway into the sun. And I felt fine! I felt great! I could have hiked to the sun a thousand times! This cleanse is awesome!

Afterwards we went to Garbanzo's Mediterranean grill (another place that I have never been) and cleanse or no, that place is delicious. I had the chicken kabob plate without rice and extra vegetables instead. It came with hummus and pita (which I gave to my starving husband) and the most amazing ginger green tea ever. Everything tasted super fresh and I think it may have been the best hummus I've ever had. I mean "rub it all over my body" good. Jason decided that if he had to, he could totally eat there every day and I agreed with him (this is rare and should be celebrated. We are married after all). It really was a great day and I learned to accept that your first idea may not always be your best idea.

Okay, now for the highs and lows of the past few days.

Low points -

1. Going to a bar and not drinking but being surrounded by people who are for four hours. I really like all of these people, but I will refrain from that scene until I can booze it up again. A girl has only so much willpower.

2. This pumpkin apple soup. It looks delicious, but be warned. It is not. Not even sriracha could save it.

pumpkin apple soup

3.  Having so much nervous energy that I nibbled my fingernails to extinction. Although, I'm not sure this should be on the low points list because at least now I can't claw anyone's eyes out when I'm experiencing one of those amazing mood swings :)

High points -

1. Smelling amazing everyday now that I have been able to finally give up smoking.

2. Doing fire drills with "my" two year-olds and getting baby high fives.

3. These Thai inspired turkey meatball lettuce wraps. Super easy, super healthy, super gone because I ate them all :) Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini-Meatball Lettuce Wraps
 I'm feeling good and hoping you are too. Now go eat some chocolate. I know I would if I could...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Advocare 24 Day Challenge- Day One

In one year I have been able to lose 33 pounds (all of my baby weight accumulated during my two pregnancies).  It wasn't easy. I am not, nor have I ever been one of those girls that can maintain a decent physique eating whatever I want and calling a walk around the block to redbox, exercise (bitches). So please don't hate me.* It took constant diligence in noting and tracking everything I put into this big mouth ( I used the loseit app), along with a continued workout plan, maintaining six days of exercise every week (I love Turbo Fire, though I am finally getting bored with it after a year of sweating with Chalene).

 * My best friend maintains that if I succeed in my battle against the evil bundt, people are sure to hate me. I can get over that :)

So after all of that work, 33 pounds and 4 pant sizes how can I still be unsatisfied? Well, first off, I'm an American and it just kind of comes with the territory. Secondly, I still wouldn't feel comfortable grocery shopping in a bikini ( I don't think I would ever actually do this, but I would like to at least have the option). But, mainly, and most importantly, I just want to be really healthy and fit. I want to be the best I can be. At 31 years of age, I know that I have never achieved that and I figure now is as good a time as any.

To achieve my goals I have set up a two-part plan. Help yourself and help others while you're at it. My first step was to start taking Advocare products to increase the effectiveness of my workouts. Previously I was taking one ninth of the suggested daily dose of hydroxy cut and that was making me really sick. I think that company is horribly irresponsible. If one pill before a workout could make me so violently ill and grumpy (raging bitch) imagine what nine would do ( I'm imagining a bald, bug eyed monster screaming at bunny rabbits)!* So any way, I started taking Advocare Spark instead, and it has been amazing! I feel great and my calorie burns have significantly increased ( I track that with a heart rate monitor). And that brings me to the title of my first blog.

* I have nothing against bald people. In fact, I usually find them attractive. I just don't think it would be a good look for me.

The 24 day challenge is a bundle of Advocare products that you take for... 24 days. The first ten days are a cleanse. You get to drink Spark, which makes me happy (previous cleanses that I have done allowed for no caffeine or energy drinks and I have a super hard time with that. Raging bitch.) You also take a fiber drink, an herbal cleanse pill, an omega three supplement and pro-biotics. A clean diet ( fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins) is recommended for maximum results and you should drink lots of water. Easy enough. The second phase of the challenge ramps up your metabolism, helps you build muscle, fills you with nutrients and includes new products (we'll get to those later, since this is already a billion words long).

Today was my first day and it was awesome! I feel great. I have energy and I am beyond excited.        

Low points were as follows- 1. Taking before photos ( who ever likes that part?)
                                            2. Excitedly telling the cashier at the store about my cleanse and having him ask                                            "How many times have you pooped today?" in front of a whole line of people.
                                            3. Changing diapers (but I do that every day so it doesn't really count)

High points were as follows- 1. Crushing the Fire 60 workout and feeling really strong
                                            2. Rice cake with hummus, jalapenos, smoked salmon and hot sauce
                                            3. Talking with my team ( there are seven of us doing it together) and                                                 joking about the fiber drink.
                                            4. Writing this blog entry

I'm probably going to write every day, so I hope it's not annoying. But let's face it... I can't drink booze for 24 days so what else am I going to do :)