Friday, November 21, 2014

Dessert group think


Yesterday, my office had our Thanksgiving celebration; a potluck, of course. I brought the veggie and fruit trays, which, to the surprise of no one, went basically untouched next to homemade biscuits and mac and cheese.

I was able to stick to my 24 Day Challenge plan pretty well, filling my plate with turkey, ham, veggies, and a taste of sweet potato casserole. I even turned down the wine. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty solid about my willpower muscle, when one of my coworkers turns to me and goes “I think I want dessert.”

I actually didn’t want dessert. One, because I’m solidly committed to completing this challenge with as few cheats as possible and two, because I was pretty full and honestly had no room for pie.

So, I respond with “The dessert table looked pretty great!” And she immediately counters, asking if I’m going to have any. When I shared that I was going to pass, she looked disappointed and agreed that she probably wouldn’t have any either.

Obviously, I made that trip to the dessert table with her, and indulged in a half of a pumpkin truffle, while she filled her plate with the goodies she wanted.

Women of America, we need to have a conversation about Dessert Group Think.

Why is it that women are incapable of making their own decisions about dessert? Or fried food, for that matter? Why does it seem to be impossible to form our own dessert opinions?

I think a lot of us attach intense emotions, like guilt, to food. And so, we feel less guilty if other people are eating the “bad” foods because more people choosing to indulge automatically makes it okay.

Let’s think about that for a second: the same emotion that is attached to a car accident or missing a friend’s birthday is associated on a daily basis with eating – something you have to do every day. It’s unhealthy, and it’s got to stop.

If we learned to listen to our bodies – rather than obsessing over calories or what other people might think – we’d probably live healthier lives. We’d order what we actually wanted to order and recognize when our body needs vegetables instead of chocolate. Instead, we’re constantly obsessed over that food we can’t have, and we despise broccoli because it’s not a cupcake. And, news flash: broccoli is never going to be a cupcake.

Ya'll. The only person’s hunger/desire you get access to is your own. If you want the piece of pie (or the entire pie), eat it.

Even if you’re the only person at the table who is getting dessert. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making peace with the process

Last week, while on a walk-and-talk with a new friend, we got to talking about our respective websites/blogs and what was stopping us from taking it to the next level. And for me, it was that I was afraid to blog about health and nutrition because I felt like I had failed. And to be honest, blogging about it felt like a joke.

Ya'll, I have fallen off and gotten on to the fitness and nutrition wagon more times than I'd like to admit. And I am beginning to realize that that's okay -- Life happens, and maybe that's part of my story.

Maybe my roller coaster of a fitness journey exists to be able to share -- to let other people know that even people who run marathons or blog about fitness or hashtag all of their nutrition pictures on Instagram struggle to stay on the health bus. 

So, in all honesty and sincerity, here is where I am: 
  1. I run slow. Like, real slow. A 9:30 mile is an accomplishment, and my knees bug me when I run more than three miles. So I signed up for a half marathon -- the only way to get better is to practice.
  2. I already told you how I'm conquering the sugar monster and the freak Sour Patch Kid-fests. It's getting better every day. 
  3. I've got about 15-20 lbs I'd like to lose. And I realized that while I was upset about it, I wasn't actually doing anything about it. So I fixed it, and I jumped into Advocare full on. I'm seeing great results, and am amazed at what can happen when you actually try.
  4. Strength-wise, I haven't lost much! I'm loving working with my trainer, Kelly, and improving on my power lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) every week. Kelly thinks I could be a powerlifter if I wanted to.. I'm not sure yet, but it's certainly fun to think about :)
It's a process, and it's one that lasts a lifetime. Hopefully, wherever you are in this process, my posting helps you to find that wherever you are, right now, is okay. It's okay to love the journey and to make peace with the process, no matter what stage you're in.

That's where I'm at, at least.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The sugar struggle bus

Today is Day 15 of my Advocare 24 Day Challenge. While there have definitely been visible results, I'm waiting until the very end of my challenge to take measurements, weigh myself, and post before and after pictures (I actually haven't decided if I'm posting those pesky before pictures yet), one of the best parts of the challenge is that it's killed my sugar addiction.

Ya'll, I was on the sugar struggle bus.

Like, "Oh, I'd like a snack. Sour Patch Kids sound good," kind of struggle bus. Every day.

It's no wonder I had gained a little bit more than I'd like.

Anyways, thanks to this Challenge, I've reclaimed my adulthood, and probably added about ten years to the life of my teeth.

I figured I'd share some of my favorite easy sweet snacks that curb cravings without killing my (mostly) sugar-free streak. This post is part one, and I'll be sure to post a few of my favorite sweet recipes this week!

Spark: Spark is pretty much adult Kool-Aid. With no sugar. Yes, really. Since having my first Spark, I haven't felt the need to eat any sugary gummy candy (my weakness) OR drink soda. It's filled with vitamins, and, as someone who works a desk job, I can honestly say it keeps me focused through that 2-3PM post-lunch slump. If you want to try it for yourself, you can purchase it here (my favorite flavors are Fruit Punch and Grape!): Try Spark here!

Chocolate Banana Nice Cream: 
I did not invent this recipe, but my Vitamix certainly perfected it :) I honestly think this tastes as good as real ice cream -- but you've got to freeze your bananas once they're ripe! Make sure they're pretty spotty before peeling and freezing.

1 large ripe banana
1 Tbs. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Unsweetened almond milk (to desired consistency)

1. In a Vitamix or blender, blend all ingredients until smooth, adding unsweetened almond milk until desired consistency is reached.
2. Top with whatever toppings you please -- my favorites are sprinkles and chocolate chips!
If you're feeling super fancy, make your own vegan chocolate magic shell! Melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil in the microwave, and add chocolate chips to your desired chocolate level. Pour over nice cream, let harden, and enjoy!

Baked Quest Bars:
The first time I tried a Quest Bar, I thought it was dis. gust. ing. Turns out, the secret is to bake it! Once baked properly, it transforms into a magic protein cookie, best dunked in unsweetened almond milk or topped with pb2.

Chocolate Brownie and Peanut Butter Supreme Quest cookies topped with PB2 and a side of Nice Cream.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Unwrap Quest Bar of choice (I love White Chocolate Raspberry, Peanut Butter Supreme, Vanilla Almond, and Chocolate Brownie).
2. Microwave Quest Bar for 20 seconds.
3. Divide Quest Bar into three parts. Form into balls.
4. Flatten balls of Quest dough onto a greased cookie sheet.
5. Bake at 350 for seven minutes. 
6. Flip cookies and press down to flatten.
7. Bake for an additional two minutes, let cool, enjoy!

What are your favorite sweet treats? If you could "de-junkify" anything, what would it be?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why I picked Advocare

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've seen quite a few new hashtags: #24daychallenge and #advocare being chief among them.

So, yes. I am doing the 24 Day Challenge. Yes, I bought the supplements. Yes, I'm now that crazy chick not drinking a beer with my Georgia Football.

I've actually been curious about Advocare for a little over a year, and, after not liking how my jeans fit for the last time, I bit the bullet and signed up for the 24 Day Challenge once I noticed a friend selling it.

After a week on the challenge, I'm pretty happy with how I'm feeling, eating, and - yes - shrinking. I'm not weighing myself or measuring myself until the end of my challenge because I think the scale is stupid, but I am definitely already noticing changes.

Here's three reasons why I picked Advocare (and why Advocare may be a great pick for you):

1. I'm competitive. As I explained to my distributor, Cari, I feel like I'm competing with the Challenge every day. I feel accomplished when I exceed my water total or turn down the fries I'm not supposed to have. I feel like I'm winning when I prep my meals or kill a tough workout. The nature of the Challenge, as well as the length, makes it a perfect fit for my competitive nature.

2. I needed a kick in the butt, but not a quick fix. While the 24 Day Challenge requires you to adhere to a supplement program, it doesn't promise a get-fit-quick scheme without also changing your diet and incorporating consistent exercise. This forces me to acknowledge and change my habits in order to be successful on this program.

3. The suggested nutrition is solid, and it doesn't require you to starve yourself. This is big. Advocare advocates (that's fun to read out loud) a whole foods, primarily plant-based, non-processed approach to nutrition. I. Love. This. This means the nutrition plan can be tailored if you are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, whatever. It teaches you to eat whole, nutritious foods, a nutrition strategy that is both widely accepted and easy to maintain.

I'm looking forward to posting some of my favorite recipes, observations, and success. Mostly the success part :)