Monday, February 1, 2016

The Clean Eating Challenge - overview, experience, results and what's next!

On January 4th, Tom and I started a Clean Eating Challenge created by the company I've been working for since November. Arbonne calls it "30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond" but the National Group I work within has designed a plan they call "28 Days of Clean Eating"  because they do a few things differently than the general plan.
1. They encourage and guide you in clean eating. (list of foods to avoid, and what to increase in your diet, brand suggestions, meal plans)
2. You eliminate acidic and allergenic foods (gluten, soy, corn, sugar, coffee, vinegar, etc)
3. You supplement your diet with the products in the 30 Days kit. (Protein Shakes, Fiber boost, Energy drinks, Digestive Enzymes/Probiotics/Prebiotic, a 7 Day Cleanse, Herbal Detox tea)) and Fit Chews (instead of candy - if you are junkie like me).  They help a lot!

The 28 Days plan puts you into a Facebook group (or email group if you aren't on facebook, or I can give live support).
The group provides guidance and support through the whole 28 days, plus afterwards (that's the BEYOND part).
In the group you get meal plans, and grocery lists to help you eat clean all week, keep it easy, and stick to a budget.

I want to write a little bit about my experience with it, and my results, and what is next for me!

1. I didn't really exercise during this program. I didn't want to, that's one reason why. BUT in my next program I will. I want to do crunches at the very least. I have a lot of work to do in this post-baby body.  I wanted to see what my results would be if I did it as a real person who just stuck to the plan. and here they are!

Iris took this delightful photo of me. You can see why I wanted to eat better.
The ingredients 
I loved having a meal plan. Before we began Tom and I committed to generally accepting all of the meals suggested by the plan. The Week 1 meals were delicious, and easy to make.  Tom and I tend to be gourmet about our cooking. Every meal involves chopping lots of veggies, sauteing things, making them from scratch. BUT - with this month, I really wanted to keep everything as EASY as possible. Instead of buying fresh bell peppers, I used organic frozen bell peppers. I just tossed them into the pan or crockpot frozen, just to make the whole thing FASTER and EASIER.  For most of our dinners, I opened a few cans or bags of frozen veggies and tossed together deliciousness in just a few minutes.  .

I loved that everything was already Gluten-free, and Dairy-free. I loved that I didn't have to worry about our allergies.  Some recipes (Apple Pie Oatmeal) had cinnamon, and some had almonds, so that was a place I had to pay attention - but I've been working around things like that forever, so it was ok.
It was pretty easy to transition to Clean eating. Drinking a milkshake for breakfast and in the afternoon felt like a total treat. I could still eat Fit Chews (which are the consistency of Salt Water Taffy, but give you a smooth energy boost). Skipping coffee was ok - the Energy Fizz sticks also give a nice smooth energy that I liked having.

the results
People were sharing their experiences on the facebook group. Some people were headachey or grumpy because they were withdrawing from coffee, gluten, dairy, etc. Tom and I have mostly been off of that stuff for a while, so we were okish.  If you do this, I recommend dialing back on the "avoid" list the week before you start to make the first week better.

On Coffee: I like to come downstairs and drink my cup of coffee, black, like my soul. I like how the acid burns in my belly. I like the hit.  I want everyone to leave me alone and I want my fix. Honestly.

But, switching to the fizz sticks changed that. Its a light fruity, refreshing drink. It gives you the energy fix you want, but not the "junkie" feeling who needs the fix. Does that make sense. I think the biggest change for me was that my energy became MUCH much smoother throughout the day. No big swings or crashes, or hyperness (I know you don't believe that I wasn't hyper). It affects my mood and the way I respond to the kids - so this is a big win for me.

Weight loss: I lost 4 lbs the first week!

Week 2:
 Not Clean - I realized a few of our foods from the past week were not clean - hummus had vinegar, salsa had sugar, and some of the Vegan cheese we were eating had potato in it. SO I realized I had to do a better job of reading labels.

Meals were great, shopping was easy because of the shopping list. It became pretty automatic - but with a little more label reading.

Weight loss: 3 lbs.

Week 3: Everyone on the facebook group did the 7 day body cleanse this week. They got re-grumpy as they eliminated, and then they felt better by the end of the week. I really wanted to do it - and I tried to somehow get it into my plan - but I wasn't supposed to try it because I am nursing. I struggled because I wanted to do the whole plan completely, and fully so I could report back here.

But we stuck with the meal plan, and the grocery shopping was easy and focused.

I was getting bored with the shakes - seriously I was just doing plain vanilla and plain chocolate. So I started branching out with shake flavors - Vanilla and Citrus Fizz stick (Dreamscicle), Chocolate and Coconut cream, -Vanilla and allspice (Chai). this helped a lot!  There are tons of recipes on the Arbonne website, and within the group.

Weight loss: 3 lbs

Week 4: SNOWSTORM of DOOM. This week was hard. The hardest so far for me. Snow makes me want to stuff my face and eat junk. I made a lot of hot chocolates and hot vanilla (with protein powder). I made protein powder cupcakes. I made protein powder pancakes. It was all yummy, but NOT junk (what I really really really wanted) I was grumpy.
It is SO exciting to see results!

We also ran out of the Fiber Boost which was something we would add into our shakes, it helps you feel fuller, and we didn't have it.  So I think I was more hungry than normal. In all of this, I ate... a few slices of gluten-free bread, which has potato in it. I also had an inch of coffee, about twice. I sent a message to my sponsor when I "cheated" so that I would be accountable to them.  On the last day, of the clean eating, I had some gluten-free fried food at an Indian Restaurant, and there was potato in it again.  *sigh* I had a few "failures" in the program this week, and I was feeling so unmotivated because of the snow... but I did it.

Weight loss: 2lbs.

Measurement totals: I lost....
ONE inch in my bust.
THREE inches in my waist at my belly button.
FOUR inches in the two inches below my belly button (WOO HOO!)
ONE inch in my hips (I think they got bigger since Gianna)
ONE inch in my thigh. AND I lost
THREE inches from my big fat arm (bicep).

I am solidly in my pre-pregnancy pants! I now fit into about 8 more pairs of pants. I am SO happy about this. It is so sad to not have any clothes that fit.

I lost 12 pounds.
I hope my brother doesn't see this. He'd be so embarrassed. And yes, I am holding in my stomach in BOTH of these photos. BOTH. 

I am have never NOT eaten sugar (candy, chocolate, junk) for a month before!!!!
I didn't crave it, because I got to have shakes and fit chews and chocolate and vanilla deliciousness. My cravings never got ahead of me in those regards because they were satisfied.
I didn't eat it for Iris' birthday, our 10 year wedding anniversary, and not even during that darn snowstorm of doom.

I am SO proud of myself, and I can't believe how "easy" it was to lose this weight.
I have done Weight Watchers and I find that I spend all of my time obsessing about food and how I can eat more candybars if I eat enough salad.
I have used running to lose weight, and I am always hungry, I run more, eat more... I am always hungry when I run.

I felt that I could eat if I was hungry, and if I wasn't hungry - I didn't want to eat. I wasn't eating because I was exhausted or tired, because of the fizz sticks and fit chews - they really evened out that part of my stress eating.

Dinners were hearty and substantial, easy to make and yummy to eat. Some of them were so big that we had tons of leftovers. They weren't expensive to make.

Overall we went about $100 over on our meal budget, but we pretty much do this every month, we probably should up our budget. The snow helped too.

The kids liked many of the meals, but not all of them. That's also pretty standard.

Pizza night was a win! 
I am going to eat mostly clean for the next week and a half and then I will be starting another Clean Eating Challenge on Ash Wednesday........

We are doing "A Lenten Journey to Healthy Living and Beyond"  That's right. FYI: Arbonne is NOT a Christian Organization - However, we run our individual businesses the way we we see fit and there are a whole bunch of us in the Nation who are Christian and want to lead a Lenten version of the 30 days program. I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!! why? Because I am going to co-lead it.

Seriously, if you are still reading this, and you know me, you know that I've always loved health (a BS in Exercise Science and a MS in Public Health don't lie)  and I have always loved my faith and I ALWAYS have dreamed of this intersection.  I didn't start Arbonne to sell face masks and shampoo. I started Arbonne to bring GOOD to people, to BLESS others, to share HEALTH and GOOD products, and a GREAT company.

I feel so blessed that on Ash Wednesday, we are going to start a program that incorporates the Clean Eating Program, Daily Devotions, and a Weekly Pray-in where we can share the intentions we are praying for!

If you are interested in learning more about the the Lenten Journey, or a non-religious Clean Eating Challenge, I'd love to tell you more about it all. Feel free to ask any questions! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chicago- millennium park & Picasso

Today we took the bus to Daley Square to check out Picasso's dragon

And a special street

Then we headed to Millenium park. 

We played at Maggie Daley park. It was super fun. There were a lot of people and it was just me with the three kids. I wouldve stayed longer but i was worried about loaig the kids (and you know how casual i am about watching my children...

Then we walked along the riverwalk  we swam in the hotel pool. Then we... Idk... we havent done it yet! The night is young! 

Chicago- James and Shedd

IWe met up with Uncle James at the Shedd Aquarium. 

It was fun! 

Clark saw a piranah. He is learning about them in his reading group at school. 

Look. Its a clarks clownfish. Specifically, the black and white striped one on the far right. 

We found a Penguin playground and the kids even discovered costumes! 

And we fiund a submarine. Clark got to control a robotic arm. 

And Gianna was enchanted with the fish. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chicago- Day 1

On our first day in Chicago, the kids and i set out to find food. We couldnt find a decent breakfast so we just had gluten-free cupcakes from Trader Joes. I have no regrets. Overall we walked 3-4 miles and they had the energy for it anddidn't  complain. These children are awesome! 

We walked the Magnificent Mile. We saw the John Hancock building up close. We also saw the old Watertower. Iris loves that it looked like a castle. Clark said he liked the Culture of Chicago. Weve been talking about the difference between old and new buildings. Old ones are fancy, and new ones boring and square. 

We checked out the retail at Water Tower Plaza mall. The Lego Store 

They had an American Girl with my look, designed by a "Veronica" 

Clark finally got to spend his commission. Each week, he earns $1 by doing work around the home. He saved up his money, and after tithing and saving 10% each, he had almost $10. He was very excited to pick out a special treat at Hershey's Chocolate World!  Im very proud of him for being so patient and deferring gratification for ao long! 
Both kids said "chocolate is my middle name" 

Gianna's Baptism

Gianna was baptized August 8th.  Her God parents were Dave and Mary Singleton.  Grandma was able to fly up for it, she was the lector, and she sang part of the reading ,"SHEMA, ISRAEL!" which means listen!  Annie Schaffner was our lovely cantor for the litany of saints, it's, and the song "come to the water" which has been sung at all of the baptism of our children.  Fr. Agustin Lopez was our priest, and Deacon Frank Salatto also came. The deacon baptized Clark and Iris.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summer Recap: Sibling Love

After Nana left, we were on our own for a month. 
I spent my days trying to rest. We also went to the pool for Pre-team, to the theater for $1 Summer Movies, and to the Bowling Alley for free bowling.  I didn't do a good job of resting, but I had a good recovery.  Beyond these things, this is what I did the most: 

Dress up Gianna, 

 Pose her with her siblings

and Daddy. 
Introduce her to our friends. This is Annie.

and savor her baby sweetness.