Eating Clean: Don’t Buy Crappy Food

I recently had a friend suggest that I use this blog to show how easy it can actually be to do this ‘clean eating thing’.  This assumes a couple of things about the way that I do my grocery shopping, so I am going to start there and work my way up to the kind of meal planning that I do.  The first step for ‘eating clean’ for me consists of not buying crap.  That sounds fairly simple, but avoiding crappy food at the supermarket is more difficult than it may seem.

If you take a look at the back of most standard ‘low-fat’ foods, you are likely to find some ingredients that would surprise you or just ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  One of the main principles behind clean eating that is a little bit difficult to wrap your head around at first is that you will being eating some foods that are higher in fat- like bacon- and you will not be eating some low fat items, like baked potato chips. It is not so much the caloric intake as the fact that some foods can be formed naturally and others come from a lab.

Here is a typical baked potato chip ingredient list:

Ingredient Lists: Get Used to Reading Them

Ingredient Lists: Get Used to Reading Them

Notice any issues that would keep this food off of the clean eating list?  Here are some easy tips that have helped me decipher food labels:

  • If you can’t pronounce it (easily)- don’t eat it- most clean eating food will be easily pronounceable
  • Sugar and Dairy are not your friends- eat in very limited amounts or not at all
  • The fewer ingredients, the better.  The above ingredient list has 16 ingredients, with a nice ambiguous ‘Natural Flavors’ thrown in as well, there is no telling what that actually is- unless you call the company.  Generally, if it is possible to stick to 3 to 6 ingredients, you have a far better chance that it will be clean eating approved.
  • If it says enriched- you are better off leaving it at the grocery store
  • If in doubt- google it!  Seriously, most information about clean eating is out there in droves, as long as you can figure out what method you are looking at, you’ll be fine.

One of the most important things to remember with all of this is that it is a process. There is a huge learning curb and it may take you awhile to learn not to buy crap.  There will probably even be times when you do, but by far the easiest way to start out eating clean is to throw out all the crap- get some good, nutritionally solid foods (think veggies, fruits, meat, whole grains) and start from there.  I promise- it gets easier after the first week and exponentially easier after the first month or so- you just have to get past the hump.

Want to check out how I felt after my first trek into the paleo world?  Take a look here.

*Note: I am not a nutritionist, these are just my feelings and suggestions for learning how to follow a ‘clean eating’ plan.  Please consult a physician before making any drastic changes to your food or exercise regiment.*

Working Out With Injuries: My Story

Most people have been injured at some point in time, whether it is a broken bone, a pulled muscle or some sprained ligaments.  There are definitely times when the injury is so severe that there is no way to work out or that it is against the advice of medical professionals to do so.  So- what do you do after the injury has healed enough that you can actually work out? Below are some of the things that I have found work best for me.

*Note: I am not a medical professional, please seek advice from a medical professional before beginning any exercise regimen.  This is merely my advice and experience with working out post injury.*

1.) Take it slow.

It seems like this would be the most logical thing in the world, but if you were previously used to being able to do 60 minute workout sessions, you may find that after an injury that you are not able to do anywhere near this.  That high impact workouts are all but banned and that you are overcompensating with your good limb.  Being someone who has probably done more damage to their body than good when rehabing from an injury- take my advice and take it slow.  The results may take longer, but you will not do more damage to your body.

2.) Wear your braces (if applicable).

The Ankle Brace that Makes It Possible

The Ankle Brace that Makes It Possible

Another ‘I have learned this the hard way’ moment and I took of my brace before my ankle was ready.  I started with T25 Alpha and towards the end of that, I was pleased that I could actually do the workouts without the brace.  Then I decided to head on to T25 Beta, without the brace, this was a BAD idea.  I did not roll my ankle, but I put more strain on it than I should, so after a week- I was back in the brace and I haven’t taken it off since.  Do I want to be able to workout without it?  Yes, but my general experience says that it will probably be years before my ankle is strong enough.  This is not the first time I have tried to heal a messed up ankle and my right ankle took around 4 years, at this rate- I’ve got another 2.5 years to go.  So- if you have a joint that you’ve injured and is not strong enough to do the work by itself- wear the brace and wean yourself off when you decide it is time for it to go.  I would rather take the ‘slow and steady’ method than do what I did this last time and find myself back to being very dependent on it when I workout.

3.) Listen to your body.

When trying to get back into shape, there are times when your entire body will be sore- but soreness for those of us with a previous injury can be scary.  So take a moment and listen to your body when this happens.  Is it just a bit more soreness because you have neglected to use that joint due to injury?  Or have you truly aggravated the injury?  Only you can know the answer to this.  I have done both and I have worked out through both.  Is that smart?  Not necessarily.  The one thing that I have really learned is that I have to be able to do the exercises without overcompensating. If I cannot do that, I need to either take the impact down or take a break.  None of this is work re-injuring yourself or making things worse by injuring your ‘good’ side.  Listen to what your body says and be able to admit that sometimes you need a break.

I could go on and on  about this, about different ways that people and research suggest that you go back to working out after an injury.  These are just three steps that work for me, if you have been injured you may have different things that work for you.

Interested in finding out more about my fitness journey and would you like some help with your own?  Feel free to hit me up here.

Drum Roll Please…I am Now a Coach!

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As I promised in my recent post- I have a bit of an announcement to make- I have decided to take a dive into Beachbody coaching!  So what does that mean for all of my wonderful readers here?  Well- there will definitely be more fitness posts in the future- there is no running away from that with this decision and it also means that I will be doing a lot more research into health and fitness as well.

It also means that I can be an easy point of contact for anyone else who would like to start a Beachbody fitness journey of their own.  For my friends on facebook, it is likely to mean that there will be a few more photos on their walls of some awesome offers- but what it really means to me is that I get to help you.  Yes you, whoever you are, reading this right now.  Maybe you just want to build muscle or maybe you need to work on your nutrition or maybe you just need something different.  I am here you be your coaching shoulder to cry on through all of this and the best part about all of it is- I’ve been there too.  It’s not easy, it’s not quick- but it is so very worth it in the end.  It’s all about one simple thing for me- building my best body and I’d love to help you build yours.

So where can you go to find out about this stuff?  Here’s a few places to start:

My Beachbody page

My Shakeology page

My Ultimate Reset page

And most importantly- My Facebook page! This is where I’ll be doing most of my daily posts and encouragement.

Feel free to contact me through any of these pages to find out more about what I’m trying to do and who I am trying to help all of you be.  Until then- I hope you are finding your way on your journey without too many bumps in the road.

Fitness Challenge: 30 Day Shred

Wow- there is a part of me that can’t believe that 30 days has passed and there is another part of me that is so thankful that this is over.  Don’t get me wrong, 30 Day Shred is a good program, but it is not the kind of program that I see myself doing in the long run.  Partially because doing the same thing every day for 5 to 6 days burns out your muscles and partially because I find Jillian Michael’s to be a bit annoying. Let’s stick to the same thing for 5 days part of it though.  I have an ankle injury from awhile back that still bothers me and there was a week when my ankle took a fairly solid beating.  So while Jillian does get results, the consistent beating on certain muscle groups is not good for someone with a continuing injury.

However, with Jillian, I was able to maintain a much better diet than on any of the other programs.  That might be because I had already done the 30-day clean eating challenge and that just kind of continued on into this month.  Frankly, I don’t see it permanently ending any time soon and right now I am on a weekend off, where I am eating the not so good stuff in my fridge to try to get rid of it.  The practical Southerner in me can’t just throw it away- so it’ll be eaten and then not bought again any time soon.

So the best part of these posts- the results:

Week 1

End of Week 1- 30 Day Shred

End of Week 1- 30 Day Shred

 

Beginning of 30 Day Shred Measurements:

Chest: 36.75

Waist: 30.5

Hips: 38.75

Thigh: 20.25

Upper Arm: 11.75

Pounds Left to Lose: 30

Pounds lost: 15

End of Week 4- 30 Day Shred

End of Week 4- 30 Day Shred

End of 30 Day Shred Measurements

Chest: 35.5

Waist: 30

Hips: 39.25

Thigh: 20.25

Upper Arm: 11.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 28

Pounds lost: 17

Inches Lost: 1.5

So, I do no have as many unintended consequences this time, as I did with the other challenges that I worked on.  It seems that the biggest unintended consequence is having an opportunity to help others try to reach their own fitness goals.  Not necessarily something I thought that would happen, but something that is definitely worth it.

Also- if you read this- look out for an announcement sometime in the next few days- good things are coming on my fitness journey and I want to help some others along the way.

3 Weeks On- 1 Week Off: My Clean Eating Challenge

For 3 of the last 4 weeks, I religiously stuck to a clean eating regime- minus a couple days for various events that I had to attend and I could not order something that fit the clean eating challenge bill.  Before I get into it too much further- here is what the clean eating consisted of: whole grains, meat, fruits, veggies and most nuts (besides peanuts) were considered fine.  The big no-no’s were non-whole grain carbs and dairy products.  I found that these were actually things that I did not miss all that much and instead found substitutes with good flavor to help me out.

I will say that my coach, Angie, warned me about some of the adverse effects of this sudden switch.  There were days when I woke up nauseated and just pushed through my morning workout.  But after all the being tired and cranky was done, I felt much better and found that I actually enjoyed cooking this stuff most nights.  I will say that I had one magic ingredient that got me through most of this: sweet potatoes.

I ate them for breakfast:

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I ate them mashed:

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I ate them in a hash:

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I ate them as fries:

26 july 011

Long story short- I ate a lot of sweet potatoes and I really enjoyed them.  It made the whole idea of whole eating easier when I figured out that I could substitute something like sweet potatoes for more than half of the carbs I’d usually eat.  It also was a lot of fun to see how creative I could be with the food options that I had.  After awhile- that was the main thing I focused on.  That and trying to make my food as yummy as possible.

As it has been repeatedly pointed out during this journey by people have been doing this a lot longer than me- nutrition makes up for far more with weight loss than working out does.  Some people can get their nutrition straight and then start working out- I am not one of those people.  So this whole eating thing came at a very good time and although I didn’t see any groundbreaking results from it- it gives me an idea of what I really should focus on and do with this whole nutrition thing.

One other note- I also learned that I cannot maintain this permanently- hence the 3 weeks on 1 week off thing- that’s the plan I have for this and with a little bit of determination, I’m sure I can do it.

Did you miss my latest workout post?  Take a look here.

Fitness Challenge: T25 Gamma

14 weeks.  That is how long you pledge to work out if you want to go through all of the T25 workouts that are available.  14 weeks.  The challenge set of T25 is only 10 weeks long, but at that point- why not go the whole way?  At least that was my philosophy when I signed up for 4 more weeks of fitness.

I’m not going to say that all of this was easy- there were definitely several days when the temptation to not press play in the morning weighed heavily on my mind.  There were days when sleeping for the extra 25 minutes would have been greatly appreciated.  Although the temptation was there- the drive to actually make this change and keep it was stronger.  I know that I am not the only person out there that has made the yearly new years resolution to lose weight, get in shape and eat better.  I also know that I am not the only one that has failed miserably at it year after year- so what made this year different?

I got out of the military.  It’s a sad but true statement- walking way from the military and having time to focus on myself was one of the best things that I could do. That and being happy with my job has made it much easier to deal with the fitness setbacks and other things that have come along the way.  The real proof though is in the pictures.  Let’s face it- I can talk about change all I want, but isn’t there some saying about a picture being worth 1000 words?

 

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Beginning of T25 Alpha Series Measurements: 

Chest: 41

Waist: 34

Hips: 42

Thigh: 23

Upper Arm: 13.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 39

Pounds lost: 6

 

End of Gamma

End of Gamma

End of T25 Gamma Series Measurements: 

Chest: 36.75

Waist: 30.5

Hips: 38.75

Thigh: 20.25

Upper Arm: 11.75

Pounds Left to Lose: 30

Pounds lost: 15

Total Inches lost: 15.5

I feel like I need to emphasize something here- yes I lost 15.5 inches overall and although I only lost 9 pounds throughout the 14 weeks, the shifting around of muscle is why and I’m not really going to complain about that.

Unintended Consequences

So, throughout writing about this journey- this has become my favorite section to write.  It’s the way that this journey has shown up in other areas of my life that I didn’t really expect it to.  Firstly- my self-confidence is tons better, I’ve never had the highest but towards the end of my military time it was hitting a low.  So it’s good to feel good in my skin again.  Secondly- I’m happy with where I am in life.  There are so many things I want to do in my life, but many of them are things I can’t really control.  I can’t control when I’ll find a good man to marry, can’t control how people act towards me- but this fitness thing- it is something I can control and I like that.

Well- that’s all I have for Gamma.  Look out for a post next week where I talk about finishing up my 30 day eat clean challenge.  Also- if any of you want more information about T25 or just some fitness inspiration in general feel free to hit my coach, Angie, up here.

Fitness Challenge: T25 Beta

Over the last ten weeks a lot of things have changed. First, I’d like to go with the ones that are actually completely attributed to T25 and then there are the others that come along as unintended consequences of this journey.  The direct feedback for Beta is that it was great, but there were also some issues that I had with Beta along the way.

The last week of Alpha, I was able to take off my ankle brace and do the workouts without a problem.  I thought that I would be able to continue the same thing with Beta, but I was wrong about that.  After the first few days I went back to the brace and had to take a couple weeks building my ankle back up again.  At this point, I’m fairly sure that I’ll be in the ankle brace for this sort of stuff for a lot longer with anything that is remotely high impact.

The second thing that I learned during Beta, was that there is absolutely no shame in doing the modifications.  I thought at the beginning ‘oh yeah, I made it through Alpha- I’ll have no problem doing the full version’.  Ugh, no.  Not even close to the case, the modifications were needed, but as with Alpha, I found myself doing them less and less as the weeks went on.

Let’s look at the before and after photos.  As well as the results.

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Beginning of T25 Challenge

Chest: 41

Waist: 34

Hips: 42

Thigh: 23

Upper Arm: 13.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 39

Pounds lost: 6

End of Week 10 Day 5

End of Week 10 Day 5

End of Challenge Results: 

Chest: 3

Waist: 2.5

Hips: 2

Thigh: 2

Upper Arm: 1.5

Total Inches Lost: 11

Pounds Left to Lose: 32

Pounds lost: 13

I definitely did not have as drastic of results with Beta as I did with Alpha, but I also had a couple of horrible nutrition weeks in there, what with Memorial Day, a birthday, a retirement and a couple other things thrown in the mix.  I will not blame it all on that, since most of it was actually my choice, but that also helps me point out the fact that me and my nutrition need to have a real heart to heart.  That is something that will be worked on in the next month as I try to deal with an eating clean plan for 30 days that my fitness coach, Angie, brought me into.

Unintended Consequences

There are not as many gushing unintended consequences as last time, but they are still there.  Most of the people who knew me from before all of this are still very encouraging and say nice things, but now that they know I’m sticking with it- it isn’t as much as before.  (Which is honestly fine as that gets awkward sometimes, depending on the person.) Many of them come from my own self-confidence getting better throughout all this.  Other parts of it are just the fact that my clothes fit better or that I have gone back down into some of the clothes that I had lying around but hadn’t been able to put on in awhile.  Also- it just feels good to do something for me.  It’s a lot of work, but it is something I need to do and a few months ago- I probably couldn’t have said that.

What’s Next? 

As I wrote a few paragraphs up, I’ll be starting a clean eating challenge come Monday- we’ll see how this goes and if I can really stick with it.  I also just started the Gamma program of T25- so there’ll definitely be one more T25 post in the future.

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