Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Advocare 24 day challenge: last days & results

I've been compiling this post for a few weeks now. Honestly, I last track of meals and then I started feeling sick, so things kinda went downhill for a bit. Plus, Jacob had that random growth spurt, which threw off our daily schedule (i.e. we were waking up 2-3 hours later than normal, so meals were "off"). But, I'm super happy and proud of my results, so I want to share everything with you...

Days 11-24 are exactly the same. In terms of Advocare products and meal plans, they are exactly the same. I think that's what kinda started wearing on me. Plus, the timing of the MNS Phase products really started affecting me.

In your MNS box, you have 14 packages of pills. Each package contains 4 individually wrapped set of pills. Each set of pills are to be taken at specific times throughout the day- before breakfast, with breakfast and before lunch. The problem with me is, I can't take pills on an empty stomach (which is what you're supposed to do with the "before breakfast" pills and technically the "before lunch" pills). A few days into the MNS Phase, I started getting really nauseous, headaches and overall very grumpy. After the first week of that, I switched to a slightly different schedule and it made a HUGE difference. If you're wondering, upon rising I drank my Spark and had a small helping of fruit (3/4 cup strawberries, banana, etc.) and a few minutes later, took the "before breakfast" pills, then about 10 minutes later I had the meal replacement shake and the "with breakfast" pills (you're supposed to wait 30 minutes between the "before breakfast" pills and the meal replacement shake. Anyways...that really seemed to help. Likewise, for lunch, I took the "before lunch" pills WITH lunch.

I'd rattle off meal plans, but I can't remember them now and most days were quite the same. Here's a sample meal plan:
Mid-morning: rice cake with almond butter and strawberries
Lunch: salad with salmon, tuna or chicken
Mid-afternoon: handful of almonds and prunes
Dinner: grilled chicken with zucchini and sweet potato

Literally, I've had my fair share of grilled chicken, zucchini and sweet potatoes. I think my husband would agree. But, its super easy and delicious. And beautiful...

beautiful summer feast
Once CG started back, I started seriously working out twice per week. I'm talking 60 minutes of intense full-body training. After CG, I get home pretty late and don't feel like eating. So I either have a rice cake with almond butter or nothing at all. The following mornings I often feel the best! So cleansed and healthy. It's an addicting feeling, quite honestly.

So, now for the results....

Overall, I lost 10 pounds. Kinda a bumer, because I was hoping to lose 15, but I'm continuing some of the products and most of the meal plans, so I will continue after the 15 pound goal. My clothes fit so much better (almost loose) and I feel much more confident, sexy and motivated. I want to go out and buy stylish new clothes to show off my bod! I also lost 2 inches around my waist AND 2 inches around my hips. I personally think this is the biggest change, and why my clothes feel so good now. Plus, those nasty saddlebags are nearly gone (ccyyaaaaaa!!!!).

Here's a before and after picture:

I really apologize for the lack of detail and effort in this last post. I was so looking forward to this huge celebration at the end, but getting sick just really put a damper in the whole thing.

If you have any questions or comments, please comment on this post and I will answer as best I can. Good luck!!!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jacob - 14.5 month growth spurt

Goodness! My little bub is going through a crazy growth spurt this week. He's been sleeping so much it's almost alarming, eating everything in sight and has been happy as a clam!

For the past 2 days (right at 14.5 months) he's slept 14+ hours at night PLUS solid daytime naps (2-3 hours). This is so unlike him- he usually sleeps 11 hours at night and 2 hours during the day. 

He's also been eating and drinking a lot. He has always loved his milk, but lately he is GULPING it down! Like a gallon in a week. 

And I have to say, he's been unusually happy this whole time. I can't recall him fussing one single time yesterday. 

Rock on, little man!! Can't wait to see his stats at his 15 month check up. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Advocare 24-day challenge: update

Today was SO MUCH BETTER. Thank goodness!! After talking with my sister, I decided to eat a small breakfast (the same size or smaller than a typical snack) before taking all the morning pills. 

So, my morning went something like this:
8:30- wake, 3/4 cup fresh strawberries and Spark
8:45- "upon rising" pills
9:05- meal replacement shake and "with breakfast" pills

I felt so much better today. No headache, nausea, or dizziness. 

I've always had issues taking medicine on an empty stomach, so I'm thinking that's what was happening with me. 

To say I'm relieved and excited for the next 6 days is an understatement. Can't wait to get back in the saddle and KICK THIS CHALLENGE'S BUTT!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Advocare 24-day challenge: rock bottom?

I've hesitated writing this, mainly because putting it "on paper" makes it real...but I'm struggling, y'all. I'm sitting here choking back cucumber acting like I'm strong and enjoying it, but I'm really not.

It all began about a week ago when I started getting really terrible headaches right after "breakfast" (I put breakfast in air quotes because I'm not eating breakfast on this phase- I'm drinking a meal replacement shake...more on that later), that essentially lasted ALL DAY. The headaches made me nauseous, weak, tired and downright mean. On a few occasions I've called Josh crying, because I'm just so miserable. I tried switching up the timing of all the pills, meals, snacks, etc. and it really doesn't seem to help. I think it's a combination of not sleeping well (thanks for my husband's sleep walking/talking) and not eating enough. I literally can't even think about eating a salad right now.

This past Friday I had a total meltdown, which lasted all day...again... When Josh got home, I poured myself a giant glass of wine, cried a little, and then proceeded to make the most delicious homemade pizza. I devoured it and, not surprisingly, was in such a great mood. I even woke up Saturday morning feeling good and not guilty. That quickly changed.

On Saturday night (last night), our oven randomly broke, so I was forced to make the hatch green chile burgers and queso I bought at Central Market (which I planned to freeze for next weekend). I felt TERRIBLE last night- guilty, ashamed, bloated, etc. I'm embarrassed because I can't even get through a 24 day challenge! What is wrong with me?! Why do I keep getting these terrible headaches?! I never get headaches! Something has got to give, because right now I am at my breaking point.

I jumped back on the plan this morning (Sunday), and immediately got a headache around 10:30-11. Like I have all week. I plan to discuss this with my sister (my Advocare rep) and will hopefully have a plan for the next 6 days. I just cannot function this way, especially with a 14 month old to care for!

I feel like I've let down so many people, not just myself. But, maybe this post (and subsequent ones) will help someone out there who's dealing with the same issue?! I'll keep you updated.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Recipe - stuffed zucchini

This has been a staple in our house for awhile, but I changed it up a bit this time to make it Advocare-friendly. I like it better this way! Yum!

5 zucchini
1 bell pepper
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped 
2 cans of rotel
1lb ground turkey
1 package low sodium taco seasoning

1) put chopped onion and garlic in large pot on medium heat, sauté for a few minutes 
2) add ground turkey and brown
3) add 2 cans of rotel and simmer
4) while everything is simmering, slice zucchini length-wise and "gut" them (aka hollow out the zucchini with a knife and spoon), then chop the "guts" and add them to the mixture on the stove
5) I like to also take 1 of the zucchinis and slice it width-wise (like little circles, following? :)) and add it to the mixture (to make it healthier)
6) let it all simmer for a few minutes, then stuff the "gutted" squash and throw it on the grill for 15-20 minutes or so.

**This time to change things up, I also cut the top off the bell pepper (as you can see in the above picture), cleaned it out and stuffed it and grilled it- different taste, but still super healthy and yummy!

**Also to make the recipe healthier, I added a sprinkling of quinoa to the pot when it was simmering. Keep in mind it takes quinoa 15 minutes to spiral, so make sure you allow enough time for this to happen, or you'll end up with seeds in your meal- yuck!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Advocare 24 day challenge: days 8-10

Hey y'all! Sooo sorry for the delay on this. Not even sure how the time got away from me, but it did. I finished the cleanse portion of the challenge (first 10 days) and am on to the MNS portion or MAX phase. And guess what? I'm half way through! Yay!

As I did with the previous days, here's a quick Product Overview and my meals plans for days 8-10.

Advocare Product Schedule: Days 8-10.
Upon rising: probiotic restore with 8oz of water, and Spark
Pre-breakfast: fiber drink with 8oz of water
Breakfast: high protein with 2 OmegaPlex and 8oz of water
Mid-morning: snack with 8oz of water
Lunch: veggies/fruits with lean protein and complex carbs and 8oz of water
Mid-afternoon: Spark, snack and 8oz of water
Dinner: lean protein and veggies with 2 OmegaPlex

Day 8: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit
Mid-morning: hand-full of almond and prunes
Lunch: zesty tuna I mentioned previously on 2 cups of salad with a 1/3 cup of quinoa
Mid-afternoon: rice cake with almond butter
Dinner: rice cake with almond butter

Day 9: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: egg white omelet with sautéed mushrooms and onions and fresh spinach, with salsa
Mid-morning: hand-full of almonds and prunes
Lunch: salad with leftover chicken
Mid-afternoon: hand-full of almonds and prunes
Dinner: crockpot fajitas over quinoa

Day 10: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: banana pancakes (recipe)
Mid-morning: handful of almonds
Lunch: salad with leftover fajita chicken
Mid-afternoon: handful of almonds
Dinner: salad at Chipotle...sigh....I total caved, and instantly felt bad about it



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Recipe - banana pancakes

Hi friends! I am so excited to share this recipe with you!!!!!! Breakfast is honestly my favorite meal, but I've been struggling with yummy breakfast ideas on this challenge. I am here to report, these pancakes are delicious and Advocare (and Paleo) approved! Score!

1 ripe banana
2 eggs
Cinnamon (to taste)
Vanilla (to taste)

1) mash up the banana real good in a bowl ((I just used a fork))
2) add the 2 eggs and combine thoroughly
3) add the cinnamon and vanilla to taste (or smell)
4) use plenty of Pam or EVOO on a low-medium heat and pour the batter into the pan ((just like you would with pancake batter)). You'll need to play with the cooking time a bit. I noticed a lower heat for longer worked better to keep the pancakes together. 
5) after they were done, I put a small amount of almond butter on them and rolled them up like a crepe. ENJOY!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Advocare 24 day challenge: days 4-7

Hi guys and HAPPY Pre-Friday!

I'm a little late posting this, but my parents were in town yesterday and today for my sister's last wedding dress fitting! Sooo exciting! It's all coming together and I can't wait for the big day! Yay!

These last 4 days have been so awesome. I feel great- motivated, lean, energized, etc. The list goes on... I'm trying not to jump on the scale every day, but it's really hard when you wake up feeling skinny and tone...I'm so anxious to see how much weight I drop!

Anyways, without further's a quick overview of the Advocare Products for days 4-7, plus my meal plans and a little bit on my workouts.

Advocare Product Schedule: Days 4-7.
Upon rising: probiotic restore with 8oz of water, and Spark
Breakfast: high protein with 2 OmegaPlex and 8oz of water
Mid-morning: snack with 8oz of water
Lunch: veggies/fruits with lean protein and complex carbs and 8oz of water
Mid-afternoon: Spark, snack and 8oz of water
Dinner: lean protein and veggies with 2 OmegaPlex and 8oz of water
Bedtime: herbal cleanse tablets and 8oz of water

Day 4: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit
Mid-morning: rice cake with almond butter and strawberries
Lunch: salad with leftover salsa chicken and a spoon-full of salsa
Mid-afternoon: 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Dinner: crockpot garlic chicken with potatoes and green beans (recipe)

Day 5: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: egg white omelet with fresh spinach and sautéed onions, and salsa
Mid-morning: rice cake with almond butter and strawberries
Lunch: salad with tuna, hazelnuts, cucumbers and cranberries with balsamic
Mid-afternoon: hand-full of almonds
Dinner: leftover chicken and potatoes with steamed veggies

Day 6: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit
Mid-morning: hand-full of almonds and 6 prunes
Lunch: canned tuna with 1 basil leaf, 1/2 an avocado and a splash of lemon juice with a side of steamed veggies
Mid-afternoon: hand-full of almonds and 6 prunes
Dinner: meal replacement shake and rice cake with almond butter ((I had CG this night, and didn't get home until 8:45, so this was sufficient for me))

Day 7: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: egg white omelet with sautéed mushrooms and onions and fresh spinach, with salsa.
Mid-morning: hand-full of almonds
Lunch: Asian salad at Corner Bakery with dressing on the side
Mid-afternoon: banana
Dinner: crockpot turkey meatballs with spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash

Working Out.
This past week has been incredible, to say the least. On day 1, I had NO motivation or energy to workout. I was literally exhausted by 7pm. Slowly though, by day 3, I found more energy. On day 3, which happened to be Saturday, I went for a morning run and felt GREAT- light on my feet and energized. I ran my first run with an average pace of under 10 mins since giving birth! Yes! Then, on day 4 (Sunday), I decided to go for another run in the evening. Again, felt so good. It's such a great feeling to get your running groove back. Camp Gladiator started back this week, so I went to CG on Tuesday evening and felt awesome (once again). It was 105 degrees out, yall, and I still managed to feel awesome. My sister said I even looked better, at the excersizes and just overall.

I plan to do CG twice per week, and shoot for 1 additional run (2 would be great). I'm hoping this blog will keep me accountable.

I hope this helps. I'll check back in after day 10, when the cleanse portion ends and the max phase starts. Wish me luck!! xoxo


Monday, August 5, 2013

Jacob - 14 months

Age: 14 months
Height: 32.5" -- just a guess, we don't go back to the pedi until 15mo.
Weight: 25.5lbs -- just a guess, we don't go back to the pedi until 15mo.
Milestones: I can tell he's starting to master skills that he's been practicing for months- he can successfully stack all the rings on his ring stacker, and he can pop up all the bugs on his bug pop-up toy. He's been babbling for quite some time, but he's starting to say some words- "mama", "dada", "da" (dog) and "duck." He's starting to get more frustrated with his lack of communication skills, so I'm trying to work with him on that. He's climbing ALL OVER EVERYTHING, and its truly terrifying. He will literally stand on window sills to get onto beds, or climb on the side chair to reach the iHome (he loves listening to music).
Sleep: He's still sleeping 11-12 hours at night (generally 8-7/8) and taking 2 naps per day. He generally takes two 1-hour naps (at 10:30 and 3). I thought he was trying to drop to 1 nap, but he's definitely not ready for that yet.
Eating: He's still drinking about 16oz of cow's milk each day, with 3 meals and 1 snack. He's a pretty good eater, and I've really enjoyed watching him try new things. Our major issue at meal times is that he doesn't want to sit still long enough- he'd rather be down running around.
Clothes size: 18 months - 2T
Diaper size: Size 5 Cruisers
Best Moment: I really enjoyed celebrating my birthday and our wedding anniversary with our little nugget this year. Celebrations have definitely changed, but I am so in love with our new life as a family.
Worst Moment: He went through another Wonder Week this month, so he was pretty clingy and fussy, but we all survived! Ha!
Favorite toy: He really loves the broom I bought him, his lawn mower and various pots/pans/utensils.
Teeth: 6 total- top 4 and bottom 2. He's working on the next bottom 2 and a few molars.
Looking forward to: We don't have anything huge planned for this month, just preparing for our upcoming vacation in early September and my sister's bridal shower in mid-September.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Recipe - crockpot garlic chicken with potatoes and green beans

I've made this recipe countless times and love it- it's easy, delicious and healthy. BUT it requires the oven to be on for an HOUR. And that just ain't happening in Texas in August. My kitchen literally wouldn't cool down until 10pm if I did that. So I decided to try it out in the crockpot today and I actually like it better! Once again, crockpot for the WIN!

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
Pound (or so) fingerling potatoes
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Chicken broth

1) Place half of your chopped onion (so 1/4 of an onion...following?) on the bottom of the crockpot, cover with chicken broth.
2) Then place chicken, potatoes and green beans in- in that order. 
3) Them put the remaining chopped onion and garlic on top and drizzle with EVOO (maybe 3 tbsp.)
4) Cook on HIGH for 5 hours. ENJOY!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Advocare 24 day challenge: days 1-3

Hi everyone, and Happy Saturday!

I've been compiling this post for you since Thursday, as I'm going to try and group posts with the Advocare products I'm taking. As you know, I started the Advocare 24-day challenge on Thursday, August 1, and I'm already starting to feel changes. I'll definitely do a recap post at the end, with before/after pictures and weight loss totals, etc. I'm so excited to see the end results!

Anyways...below is a General Food Overview for the entire challenge, plus a quick Product Summary for days 1-3, along with my Meal Plans for all 3 days. I'll continue to do this throughout the 24 days.

General Food Overview.
The general daily food recommendations are 3-4 servings of protein (4-6oz/serving), 6-8 servings of fruits/vegetables (1 cup raw or cooked OR 2 cups leafy greens/serving) and half your body weight in ounces of water (i.e. 150lbs/2=75lbs, so 75oz of water/day). They also recommend eliminating salt, sugar, alcohol, processed foods and white flour.

I found these salad dressings/marinades by Walden Farms, that I definitely do not feel bad using! And dare I say- they're even good?!

I marinade my tuna steaks in the sesame ginger one, and I've been using the honey dijon one or balsamic vinegar as salad dressings. I just put fresh cracked black pepper on my chicken, and I've been happy with that so far. I'm sure I'll have to come up with something new later.

Advocare Product Schedule: Days 1-3.
Upon rising: Spark ((they recommend taking it with 8oz of water, but I prefer it with 16oz of water))
Pre-breakfast: fiber drink ((again, they recommend this to be taken with 8oz of water, but I've been advised to take it with 4oz of water plus 4oz LITE orange juice. Lite is so important to avoid unnecessary sodium and sugar. I got the Kroger brand LITE orange juice- it has 40 calories, 10mg of sodium and 9g of sugars per 8oz.))
Breakfast: high protein with 2 OmegaPlex and 8oz of water
Mid-morning: snack with 8oz of water
Lunch: veggies/fruits with lean protein and complex carbs and 8oz of water
Mid-afternoon: Spark, snack and 8oz of water
Dinner: lean protein and veggies with 3-4 OmegaPlex and 8oz of water
Bedtime: Herbal Cleanse Tablets and 8oz of water

Day 1: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: oatmeal with frozen fruit ((I put the frozen fruit at the bottom of the oatmeal and cook it all together, helps thaw out the fruit and makes the oatmeal taste extra yummy! On the cleanse, you're really supposed to limit your dairy intake. I general drink 16oz of milk per day plus cheese and yogurt, so eliminating it completely was a bit of a shock. I plan to make my oatmeal with milk and will drink a small amount with dinner.))
Mid-morning snack: rice cake (lightly salted) with almond butter and strawberries
Lunch: salad with tuna steak, dried cranberries and hazelnuts with balsamic vinegar dressing
Mid-afternoon snack: whole cucumber and a handful of prunes
Dinner: grilled chicken breast with long grain rice and grilled zucchini

Day 2: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: egg white omelet with fresh spinach and salsa
Mid-morning snack: rice cake with almond butter and strawberries
Lunch: salad with chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots and almonds with balsamic vinegar dressing
Mid-afternoon snack: avocado with salsa
Dinner: crockpot salsa chicken over leftover rice and avocado (recipe)

Day 3: Meal Plan.
Breakfast: egg white omelet with fresh spinach and sauteed mushrooms and onions, and salsa
Mid-morning snack: 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Lunch: salad with leftover salsa chicken and a spoon-full of salsa
Mid-afternoon snack: greek yogurt with granola and fresh berries
Dinner: spaghetti with ground turkey and mushrooms on (a small amount of) whole wheat noodles (plus a healthy-sized side salad)

Random Tips.
One: meal plan. meal plan. meal plan.- I cannot stress this enough. You do not want 8pm to roll around, and not have anything to eat. That is the quickest way to fall off your plan, and into a cheeseburger. I made this menu (bottom right) from a magnetic plastic frame from Hobby Lobby and I update it every week with breakfast, lunch and dinner. That way, I have no excuse to "forget" what we're supposed to eat or "forget" what food we have.
Two: put out all the Advocare products that you will be using for that week or day. I have all the cleanse products out on my counter, easily accessible to me. I also put a little motivation note on the box (only 10 days) to help me through it.
Three: print out this timeline and highlight all the Advocare products. As you're plowing through your day, it can be very easy to forget products and overlook them on this sheet. Highlight them, so you can't do that.

**These tips are obviously meant for people that work at home or stay home, so if you're normal and actually work in an office- I would recommend preparing your breakfast and lunch as best you can the night before, and putting all the products for the day in your work bag ahead of time. Do not rely on your morning-self to meal prep and remember all the products you need.**

If you have any questions, please shoot them my way. I'm happy to help however I can!

The products change during the next 4 days, so I'll post again on Wednesday with more info/details.

Friday, August 2, 2013

DIY monogram tutorial

I've always been obsessed with monograms, but just recently I've really started to cave to the obsession. I think it all started with having a baby, and wanting his little name on all his little clothes. Now I'm obsessed with Josh and I's monogram.

I stumbled upon this gem today while surfing Pinterest and am determined to do this.

First task- make our monogram in jumbo letters. I found a company that makes wooden monograms, but it was going to be like $45 for the size I want! Uh, no. But then, I found this awesome DIY monogram tutorial. Seriously in love. I've already made like 15 monograms- our monogram, my monogram, Jacob's monogram, different colors...hell- I might have made monograms for our dogs.

Anyways...I'm going to try and make that Pinterest project over the weekend. If I succeed, I'll post a tutorial. We're in desperate need for something large like that over our bed, but I haven't found curtains that I like yet, and I'm thinking I'll want to use the curtain material as the background. Oh well. We'll see how it goes. This was really a post about that awesome DIY monogram tutorial.

Happy Friday!

A boy and his dog

I just love this video so much, I had to share it. Welcome to my every day!

Recipe - crockpot salsa chicken

This recipe is actually 2 different recipes that I've made separately, but now have morphed into 1 recipe ((which I happen to like more than the others)).

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
28oz can of rotel
15oz can pinto beans (low sodium)
15oz can black beans (low sodium)
1 packet of taco seasoning (low sodium)
1lb bag frozen corn

1) place chicken breasts at the bottom of the crockpot
2) layer remaining items on top- rotel, drained beans, taco seasoning and corn
3) cook on high for 5-7 hours (the longer the better)
4) when you're ready to eat, shred the chicken and serve on tortillas and ENJOY!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Advocare 24 day challenge: here we go!!

Hi everyone. Happy August!

Today is DAY ONE of my 24 day challenge! I can do this. I'm as prepared and ready as I'll ever be. Follow me in the upcoming month as I tackle this challenge!