We made it.
Our family survived our first, full Phoenix summer.
And, all I can say is — WOW. That desert heat is no joke!
“It was so mild,” you tell me…… “We got off easy,” they say. All I know is that even with its ample sunshine, September 2014 will henceforth be remembered as a deep, dark, cranky time in my heart. THIS was yours truly. (Click on that. Do it. You’ll thank me.)
My response to Scorcher Summer and Fake Fall was admittedly less than healthy, both mentally and physically. Prrrrreeeetty much every day during nap time (FINE…… also after the toddler’s bed time.), I transformed into a motionless blob that lay on the couch, savoring ice cream and watching TiVo, hoping against hope to maybe not sweat for 3 whole minutes.
The gym was overcrowded. The car: 140 degrees. The Great Outdoors? Uninhabitable. And, to my horror, my waistline was talking by October 1st. YIKES.
Insert: Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix.
First of all, know that I’m not a Beachbody affiliate or salesperson or coach or anything fancy. I’m just a normal mom who needed a fresh kick in her slowly expanding booty. I’ve always been active and enjoyed fitness, but this summer was a whole new beast in my world and as it turned out, Blue Bell had it out for me… The 21 Day Fix was just what I needed to slay the dragon and get back on track.
What is it?
60 bucks. 7 different workouts. Common sense healthy eating + foolproof portion control. Combined with a little renewed self control and a must-have iPhone app (“21 Day Fit Tracker”), and what can I say? It worked for me.
* 30 minutes, start to finish, including warm-up and cool-down.
* The instructor, Autumn, ranks better than average for “degree of irritating,” as DVD instructors go.
* The moves are relatively basic and can be ramped up in difficulty or scaled back for beginners.
* 2 sets of hand weights (1 heavy, 1 light) and a yoga mat are all you need.
* Each move is executed for 60 seconds with a 20 second rest between sets. 1 minute is a long time for some of these moves, but it’s an at-your-own-pace-just-don’t-stop-moving approach. No excuses!
(Anyone else’s weenie dog get in the way of their yoga sesh??)
This is where the rubber meets the road…. and also where, I believe, the biggest impact is made. Very few people can out-exercise a crummy diet, but even when it comes to healthy eating, it can be hard to know what to eat and how much. The 21 Day Fix takes out all of the guesswork. It targets our tendency toward what’s known as “healthy overeating” — or generally choosing the right foods, but unknowingly blowing it when it comes to portion sizes!
The kit comes with 1 color-coded container for each food class (protein, fruit, veggies, starches, healthy fats, etc), and the handbook tells you how many of each container you can consume in a day as well as a long list of approved foods per container. Your job? Pack your containers full and eat good food. Lots of it.
Then do yourself a favor and use the app I mentioned to track your containers, water intake and workout calendar. It’s portion control for dummies, which is exactly what I needed.
Let’s get real:
Week #1, I admit: I felt hungry. I think this was mostly ice cream withdrawals and not real deal hunger, but whatever. I was antsy to munch… Thanks to my hub and the S.O.S. text support of some kind friends, I stood strong and by week 2 this was largely improved. Thank goodness. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
But when the day came (and you knew it would come) that my cold-treat craving really kicked into overdrive, two things saved me. 1) frozen grapes and 2) these beauties. 60 calories of ice cold refreshment. BAM.
…And if we’re REALLY being real, I’ll tell you about the one. single. solitary. time. that I indulged in a leeeeeettle bit of ice cream these 3 weeks. It was date night. One of us drew a line in the sand; the other didn’t. But I’m not naming names. (Mikel.)
In all seriousness:
After a short 3 weeks, the end result was encouraging. While the number on the scale didn’t change drastically, my body changed. I gained muscle, lost inches and most importantly — I feel much better! At the risk of sounding like an infomercial: my clothes fit, I sleep better, and my energy level is improved. It’s nice knowing that the process can be repeated any time, and portion control is a life-long lesson I can carry forward.
At the end of the day, it’s a massive blessing to have a body that does pretty much anything you ask of it, and this feeling renewed my commitment to caring for mine. Taking stock of my health and sticking to my commitment means I have more energy to be the wife, mom and friend I want to be, and this season I’m giving thanks for that, above all!
For those interested, below are a few of my very favorite 21 Fix meal ideas and the containers they count toward:
Post-workout recovery drink:
* Orgain protein powder (chocolate, from Costco). Beachbody would prefer if you’d drink their Shakeology, but I opted for this.
* My favorite is: 2 rounded scoops protein powder, a dash of cinnamon, 1tsp natural peanut butter, half a banana, 4 oz vanilla almond or soy milk, 8 oz cold water, ice chips // Blend together and enjoy! (1 red, 0.5 purple, 0.5 yellow, 1 tsp)
* 2 egg omelet with tomatoes, fresh spinach and salsa (1 red, 1 green)
* steel-cut oats with a small scoop of unsweetened applesauce + cinnamon, top with walnuts or pecans (1 yellow, 1 blue)
* 1 slice whole wheat toast topped with mashed avocado, turkey, 1 over-medium egg and salsa + side of fruit (1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 red, 1 purple)
* fresh spinach and lettuce salad with all kinds of yummy stuff… I switch it up every day! (turkey, pulled chicken, salmon, tuna, roasted cauliflower, asparagus tips, shredded carrots, sweet peppers, sunflower seeds…….. the list goes on.) Top with oil and vinegar — or even a low-cal balsamic vinaigrette. (2-3 green, 1-2 orange, 1 red)
* fat-free or 1% greek yogurt + drizzle of honey and grapes (sliced in half), topped with pecans or toasted almonds (1 red, 1 purple, 1 blue)
* fat-free cottage cheese + pumpkin pie spice and a sprinkle of Stevia (1 red)
* 1 tsp natural peanut butter + apple slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon (1 purple, 1 tsp)
* (for the time-crunched): rotisserie chicken, brown rice, roasted veggies of your choosing, fresh fruit (1 red, 1 yellow, 1-2 green, 1 purple)
* Grilled Salmon with lemon wedges (exactly as this recipe directs), couscous, 10 spears grilled asparagus, fresh fruit (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green, 1 purple)
* Turkey Patties (SO EASY. Combine 1lb ground turkey, 1 egg, a palmful of rolled oats or crushed whole wheat crackers, 2 Tbsp onion powder, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, salt and pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Form into 6 patties. Grill or pan fry until 165 degrees.) Serve over a bed of fresh spinach. Top with sauteed mushrooms OR salsa and sliced avocado. Baked sweet potato fries and fresh fruit. (1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 purple, 1 blue if avocado)
* Pulled chicken lettuce wraps (cook 2-4 chicken breasts in crock pot — LOW setting — all day with salt, pepper, onion and garlic. Shred chicken, allowing to re-absorb any juices. Roll in romaine lettuce leaves with hummus, plain Greek yogurt, snap peas, shredded carrots, sweet peppers and anything else you can think of to stuff in there) (1 red, 1 blue, 1-2 green)
If you’ve tried the 21 Day Fix or have questions or recipes, I would love to hear from you! Comment or email. I hope you’re encouraged and maybe even inspired. Good luck!