Sunday, November 27, 2016

Could the 21 Day Fix be the Fix For Me?

Mini confession here... I have to admit to being somewhat food and nutrition obsessed.

For the past few weeks I have been making an attempt to work with IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros - to come up with a food plan that I can follow and use to knock off a couple of pounds of fluff.  I have been strength training 3 times per week and also walking a lot.  

I have not had a great deal of success... I have had a few mini losses and a few mini gains and what I find is that all I think about is food, to make sure I am hitting my numbers. I think it is not really mentally healthy. 

So, I have decided to change gears.  

I bought the 21 Day Fix when it was first released a couple of years ago, and although I do like some of the workouts, I never really gave the colored-container food plan an honest trial. I read it through, decided it was too restrictive and put the colored containers away in my cupboard.

This past week I saw that my BeachBody Coach is running a Holiday Challenge group and I jumped right in. I have been assembling the tools and information I need to follow the 21 Day Fix food plan and I am ready... mentally ready too.

Yes, I know that nuts and seeds and healthy oils and nut butters are limited.  Yes, I know that I cannot have cheese and avocado on the same day.  Insert sad face here... but on the positive side... I no longer drink wine so that will make it much easier.  I know that if I am hungry I can fill up on raw veggies... going over my GREEN container count for the day is not a serious infraction and will be my back up plan.

Colored containers?  

Yes, there is a set of cute colored containers with lids, and each color represents and different food group and they are all different sizes.  According to the formula suggested, I calculated my food allotment by container.

GREEN holds about 1 cup and is for vegetables. I am allowed 3 each day.
RED holds about 3/4 cup and is for protein. I am allowed 4 each day.
PURPLE holds about 1 cup and is for fruit. I am allowed 2 each day.
YELLOW holds about 1/2 cup and is for beans and grains and potatoes.  I am allowed 2 each day.
BLUE holds about 1/3 cup and is for cheese, avocado, nuts and hummus. I am allowed 1 per day.
ORANGE holds about 2 Tbs and is for seeds and olives and chopped nuts. I am allowed 1 per day.
I am also to have 2 tsp of healthy oils or nut butters.

All totalled, it is supposed to come to between 1200 and 1499 calories per day... which certainly is in the range of where I was with IIFYM and with Weight Watchers too.

But looking at it, it doesn't seem like very much food to a girl who can put away 3 cups of spinach and greens at lunch in a salad!  And who can toss back a handful of almonds in a flash.  Which is probably why I am struggling with those few pounds in the first place, right?

But I am committed, and I am going to do it.  Here is what I am planning for the week:
  • each morning I am going to write myself a food plan for the day according to my schedule of activities for the day.  
  • I am going to up my workout game this week and do 4 strength workouts M, W, Th, F using the 21 Day Fix DVDs and my Reebok Kettlebell workouts.
  • I plan to run today.
  • I am going to track my food intake on my colored charts as well as in My Fitness Pal to see what I am actually consuming.
  • If I am truly hungry, I will eat veggies/fruit to get me through to the next planned meal.  And being somewhat rebellious, I am not going to use the GREEN containers to count my leafy greens... baby Spring mix or spinach, only the other veggies that I eat.
And I intend to report back my progress... what was planned vs. what actually happened.

Here goes... wish me well!

Do you follow a particular food plan?

Do you have any experience with the 21 Day Fix?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rechargeable Knuckle Lights Review

This product is something I have been wishing for... Rechargeable Knuckle Lights.  I eagerly read the press release that arrived in my email and then contacted them right away.  I am so happy that they sent me a pair of the new rechargeable lights to try out and review.  Honestly, I really love them!

I first became familiar with Knuckle Lights about 3 years ago, and published a review of them at that time. You can read my review about the original product here, if you like.

I have been faithfully using those Knuckle Lights every time I venture outside in the dark... whether to walk or to run... no matter how far I have to go.  We live in an urban area and sometimes the traffic seems to pay little attention to people on foot.  And the first rule of safety, I am sure, is to SEE and BE SEEN.  Knucke Lights certainly take care of me that way!

And with the new, improved version... they look after me even better.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

These new Rechargeable Knucke Lights shine much brighter than the originals.  And, they have an extra wide beam that moves with your hands so it illuminates the entire area in front of you as you move.

When you first take them out of the package, they need to be plugged into the battery charging station and fully charged before first use.  This dock has both a wall unit and a USB unit for charging.

There are indicators on the dock that glow RED when the light unit is not fully charged.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

And then the indicator turns GREEN when the light unit is ready to use.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

The dock has built in overcharge protection.  This means that the light units can be stored on the dock and plugged in at all times. There is not danger of overcharging and damaging the batteries.  Very convenient. And it means they will be ready to go whenever you want to use them.

Along with walking and running in the dark, these handy light units can be used in other ways.  The Captain has discovered that one works very nicely when he is out on our deck using the barbecue. And when he is finished with it, he places it back on the dock.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

And a short time later is is completely recharged and ready to use again.

The light units are made to be worn on the front of your hands and they have adjustable silicone straps which means you can wear them over gloves and mittens.

Rechargeable Knucke Lights

And they are fully waterproof... the unit is completely sealed... which is a real bonus for me because where I live it pretty much rains all Winter!

The lights have 3 different settings.  You can easily cycle through them with a press of your thumb on that button on the top of the unit.  There is a very bright beam, and a low beam and also a blinker. Just hold the button down for a couple of seconds to turn the light off altogether.  

I will warn you now not to look into the light when you turn it on!  That bright beam is VERY bright.

And the lights are long lasting.  The battery charge is good for 4 hours on bright, 8 hours on low and 14 hours on blink.  Lots of charge there for long runs and walks.

I should also tell you that this is an American made product. The company is based in Oregon and was founded by Dan Hopkins who is a runner himself.

I hope you will have a look at the Knuckle Lights Facebook page  because they have a sale on right now. But you have to act fast.  There is a code on today's post to use as at checkout in order to receive a 10%  discount on a pair of Rechargeable Knuckle Lights.

How do you stay safe when outside in the dark?

Has the time change affected your routine?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Wrapping up October

It is the end of October... the month has flown by!  I have lots of  fun things to share with you today so am going to jump right in.

First on the fitness front...

We finished up 12 weeks of Metabolic Prime workouts in the middle of the month and I have been looking for a new program to take us to the end of the year.  Not wanting to lose the gains I have made on in both muscle definition and strength I have been using a variety of methods to maintain.

Normally my strength workouts have been on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I have been keeping to those days.

The first week I did a very short tabata style workout.  I started out with a good warmup and then did 10 squats followed by 10 pushups... repeated those moves 5 times... and then did a good stretch.  Not a lot but tough enough.  And of course I walked several miles each day.

This past week I got out some old workout DVDs and used them on M, W, and F.  And there was a lot more walking, and a run. There are some tough elements to a few of these older routines and it was fun to revisit them.

And new in my kitchen...

I am a huge fan of vegan protein powders but some of the recipes I have developed in my kitchen seem to work better with a whey powder.  I spent quite a bit of time looking for a new one that I could purchase locally and came up with a Canadian brand called LeanFit. It tastes good, and has a nutritional profile that I am fairly happy with.  I bought a tub of the vanilla and of the chocolate.

I found this recipe for Mint Avocado Protein Mousse on their web site this week and found it intriguing enough to try.  I made it for my afternoon snack and because it makes 2 servings, shared it with The Captain. We both loved it!  I would never had thought to put peppermint and avocado together myself but it works. I am going to be making it again and will try it with chocolate next time.

Another fresh product find...

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I received a box of coconut oil products to sample from a company called Skinny & Co.

There are several different products here... all coconut oil based... and they serve a great variety of applications. Along with all of the health benefits of eating coconut oil, there are a zillion ways it can be used topically...  skin cleansing and moisturizing, makeup removal, hair conditioning, shaving cream, after sun care, just to name a few.

One of these jars contains a brown sugar scrub... it is a terrific exfoliator and they claim that it can also be added to coffee or tea as a sweetener!  Nope, I haven't tried it yet, but I am going to!

There is also a peppermint flavored oil for pulling.... now I have been oil pulling several times a week for a couple of months now and am a huge proponent of this practice. I swear my teeth have gotten considerably whiter and less stained since I first started. It makes my teeth feel smooth and really clean.  I found this peppermint flavor in the oil a bit off-putting at first but I am getting used to it.  It is a good way for newcomers to the practice to enjoy it, I think.

And my food plan...

For a long time, I used carb cycling and intermittent fasting to work on staying lean.  But I am always looking to try new things and lately I have been using IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros.  It took me a few iterations to come up with a set of macro numbers - grams of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats - that I can live with comfortably. Yes, it is a lot of work.  Yes, I am a numbers geek and like to do the math.  But I am happy with the results I am seeing on the scale and in the way my clothes fit. I feel like I work hard in the gym and pounding the pavement so I might just as well support that with good fuel.  And yes, I can make room for treats!

When I carb cycled, I couldn't eat a lot of my favorite dishes because you aren't supposed to eat carbs and fats on the same day so I was beginning to feel a bit deprived, which is never good. With IIFYM I can have whatever I want as long as the numbers work. I really like that aspect.

And coming up...

I have also signed up for a 21 Day Holiday Countdown Challenge with Lauren from The Bikini Experiment.  I did one of her challenges a while back and found it helped me stay on track so I eagerly joined this one when she announced it... it starts October 31st so if you are interested, you can check it out for yourself.

So, how did October go for you?  Anything new on your plate or in your workout bag?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Changes and Celebrations

I am in celebration mode today.

Why, you ask?

I have just completed the final workout in my 12 week Metabolic Prime series... These workouts are so much harder than the first one put out by Jade Teta called Metabolic Aftershock.  And I am celebrating because they are finished!  and that I did them ALL... faithfully every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the past 12 weeks.  And now it is time to take a break for a week and look for something different or new to start on the following week.  Hurray!

And... last night I worked my last meeting for Weight Watchers Canada.  Although I really enjoyed welcoming and weighing my meeting members each week, and I am totally behind the program, it was just time for me to leave and return to being a member myself.  Yes, I still will follow the program in conjunction with IIFYM and look forward to any changes that they roll out at the end of the year... the traditional time to tweak the current program or introduce a new one.

How am I celebrating?

Well, after lunch today, The Captain and I are heading to my favorite Starbucks and I am going to thoroughly enjoy a ginormous, whipcream-covered spicy latte of some sort.  Will fill you in on those deets after it happens.


Enjoying my Grande Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte... extra shot of espresso, no whip!


Hope you are having a wonderful Friday wherever you are... anything special coming up this weekend?

Any ideas as to a good strength training program for me to consider?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Welcoming October

October!  How did that happen already?

I have been letting myself get pulled in way too many directions lately and fell like I am barely keeping up.

Running has taken a bit of a back seat.  Sundays have become more about catching up than running.   I intend to fix that this month... so much to tell you about... let's get started.

First, I have decided to leave my part time work with Weight Watchers. I have been a meeting room receptionist and have loved greeting members at the scale a few times each week, for about 4 years now.  And I have also been doing 24/7 chat sessions with members online a few hours each week, for over a years.  It is time to wind it all down and retire completely.  I have enjoyed the work but actually find it quite emotionally draining to be honest.  By mid-October I will be happily unemployed.

We are going to be volunteering later this week at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon expo, handing out race shirts to entrants.  This will be our 5th year volunteering, and our 4th in this capacity. It is a relatively small expo compared to larger races but I love the atmosphere.  And we get a good quality shirt in exchange... win win.

I have been wearing a new Tommie Copper elbow sleeve quite a bit lately.  It is a great comfort after we play tennis.  I wish I had it when I was golfing 4 times a week!  Watch for a real review coming up.

I have also been testing some products that I received from Skinny & Co.  There is a peppermint flavored pulling oil, a brown sugar scrub, and some other coconut oil skin care products.  I will do a more comprehensive review after I have been using all of these products for a few weeks.

On the workout front, I have been faithfully doing following the Metabolic Prime timetable for the past 10 weeks... 2 weeks to go and I will be glad to see it done. Early morning workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday have been really good and good for me, I know... I have built some leg muscle that is showing quite nicely and also some upper body muscle... delts and shoulders... but I am getting kinda bored and after 12 weeks will look for something new to tackle with my strength/resistance workouts.

As for my food plan, I am still following the Weight Watchers Smart Points guidelines... but I have also started using IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros) along with that. I admit to being a numbers geek and all of this detail appeals to me.  I love the journalling and have purchased some lovely colored felt-tipped pens to help with that aspect.  I have given up carb cycling for now as it has kept me from eating some of my favorite meals and I don't think deprivation or the feeling of deprivation does anyone very much good!

I have been cooking up a storm. Made a huge batch of chili and and also a batch of a roasted kabocha squash and red pepper soup.. lots in the freezer for quick meals. Gotta love that.

So... another week coming up and I have lots on the calendar... The Captain is currently painting a couple of feature walls in our living and dining area, and then we are heading out for walk. It is a lovely Fall day and I want to enjoy it.

How about you?  What is on your agenda for October?