Tag Archives: weight loss

What is The 21 Day Fix? Does it really work?

The 21 Day fix is a workout routine combined with a portion control system that have been optimized and made super simple for anyone to follow. For starters, the workouts are 7 days per week for 3 weeks and only 30 minutes long. The daily workouts include: upper/lower body, cardio, yoga and Pilates. Workouts are broken down into 60 second intervals. You can do ANYTHING for 60 seconds. And of course there is a modifier. If you find you are having a hard time, just modify. It gets easier, promise. And now for the good stuff, the portion control system. Autumn Calabrese designed a color coded container system. Each container is a different color and size. The color is specific to the type of food like veggies for green or proteins for red. And the size is perfect for exactly one portion of that food. If you are allowed one protein, you fill the red container and that is your portion, easy peasy. Below is a list of approved foods for each colored container and there is even an ap available for your phone called "The  21 Day Fix Tracker" that I absolutely suggest yo download for 99 cents. It spells out what can go in each container as well. When on the Fix, your allotted containers depends on your weight and varies from 1,200 - 2,300 calories. Once you know exactly what your calorie intake will be, you can distribute your containers throughout the day and design a meal plan as you choose. I strongly suggest you shoot for 5-6 meals. And be proactive, don't just start checking off the containers as you eat them. Sit down and make a meal plan. This may take a little time up front but will actually save you money. I have cut my grocery bill in half, yes in HALF following the fix. I don't over buy anything and my portions are so much smaller. Here is an example meal plan to give you an idea of what a typical day can look like.   The next big thing you have to do is put the food on a plate. DO NOT eat right out of the container. Yes they are cute and convenient but the whole point of the portion control system is to train yourself what a normal portion looks like. So use the containers to measure and then arrange the food on a plate. This really helps train your brain so that when you are in a situation where you do not have your containers or are not on the fix, you have a good idea of how much food you should put on your plate. So follow this rule, MEASURE AND POUR. put on plate Want to take the fix to the next level, add Shakeology. Shakeology is your daily dose of dense nutrition and the healthiest meal of the day. And best of all it only accounts for one red container. That's right, just ONE!!!!!! Unlesss you add milk then it adds a yellow. Shakeology comes in 6 flavors and is loaded with everything you are missing. So make the commitment to yourself and give it a shot. With the Empty Bag policy, you have nothing to lose. Lastly, reap the rewards of all your hard work. These are true 21 day results from The 21 Day Fix. What more can be said, the Fix works. And it works because it masters and simplifies the hardest part of any diet program, THE DIET. The fix is not like other programs that severely restrict calories or have you eating only hot sauce and lemon juice or whatever all those other CRAZY diet fads are. You are eating real food and often. You are not hungry and you get in a killer workout that does not kill you. If you are looking for a starter program, this is it. I personally use it and strongly endorse it because it works.

I fell off the wagon and gained back 20 lbs, ugh

I think it is time that I be honest with myself and embrace the fact that I have totally made every excuse for not following my diet and skipping my exercises. I worked so hard for a year to lose 40 lbs and reverse my PCOS.  I got down to 135 lbs which may be high for some but with my muscular 5'6 frame was a perfect weight. I never felt better in my whole life. Here is my original transformation results at about 140 lbs: Then the excuses started..... I sold my house and moved into a rental property until we could find something to buy. Anyone who has every sold a house knows that finding the perfect buyer for your house and the perfect house to buy at the same time and have both escrows close smoothly is very hard. The sun, moon, and stars have to align.....lol. Anyways, life kind of went crazy from that point. We found a great rental but it was not HOME. My husbands health tanked which we later discovered was adrenal fatigue (from abusing pre-workout, don't do it). And of course there is always work and having too much fun trying out all the restaurants in the new town we moved into. So yes blah blah blah, I had tons of excuses to abuse my body and here I am back to 153 lbs. Actually I got as high as 160 a month ago and that is when I really felt like crap about myself. Check it out: These photos I took the night I got home from my Hawaiian vacation in September almost exactly a month ago. I saw 162 on the scale!!!!! I almost cried. How did I let this happen? I mean seriously? The weight just slowly but surely crept on and voila, now my pants don't fit. I can actually pinpoint the exact things that got me back to this point: 1 - Alcohol!!! I got right back to the habit of having too much fun and drinking when quite honestly, there was no need. Check out my article on booze and how is sabotages your weight loss. 2 - Carbs!!! The second I moved down the street to an amazing Mexican Food restaurant, I made a weekly habit of over eating the chips and salsa which are my weakness and this just grew into eating excess carbs daily. 3 - Sugar!!! I started off by rewarding myself for a good job moving and getting through escrow with my favorite Reeses Pieces and before I know it, I was buying all kinds of sweets regularly and after a few weeks, I was right back to having crazy sweet cravings. I am sure my insulin resistance started coming back at this point. 4 - Quit working out!!!!! This hurt me the most because my workouts help with my energy and as I lost muscle, the fat started caking on. I traded those muscular curves for a more dumpling type of curve. Not cool!!! Enough feeling sorry for myself, I have been getting back into my routine and started a program called The 21 Day Fix. I chose this program because the workouts are only 30 minutes long and it comes with a portion control system which is key to dropping the weight. I don't plan to take a year to lose the weight when I know it can be done in a few months. So as of today I am at 153 which is already much better and I plan to be back into my size 4 jeans by Christmas. I will post my full transformation #2 after I complete the program. I just think it is an important step to admit that I am to blame for where I am BUT that I can get back to where I was. For any of you that are really beating yourself up, STOP!!!! Just decide right now to move the slight edge in the opposite direction and every day you will inch your way closer and closer to your goal. I know when I started my first transformation at 174 lbs I didn't know what I was capable of but I wanted it bad and just did what needed to be done every day. Before I knew it, I blew past my original goal of 160 lbs and then 150 lbs and even 140 lbs to end up at 135. NEVER in a million years would I have thought I could get to that weight. Well having started my second transformation, I know this time that I absolutely CAN and have. So never give up. I did it and will do it again. You can do it too. In it together, be the change. Ciao, Jenn If you would like to hear my full story and original transformation, here you go. If you would like to join me in doing The 21 Day Fix, then send me a friend request on facebook and I will get you the details.

Is Alcohol Sabotaging Your Weight loss??

  alcohol As someone that has suffered from Alcoholism for many years, I have experienced first hand the role alcohol plays with weight loss or lack thereof. The biggest mistake dieters make in regards to alcohol is to either have "just one glass" of wine daily or to only drink on weekends but be soooooo good during the week. Well sorry, that does not help you get results, at least not at a good healthy pace. Let me explain why. Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. Under normal conditions, your body gets energy from calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is present. When you drink alcohol, it gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion. When the body is focused on processing alcohol, its not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage (FAT). So in short, it is not the calories of the alcohol that make you fat, but all the crap that you eat with it. And we all know how hard it is to resist salty greasy food when you are drinking. So now you understand why you can't lose weight while drinking on the weekends but what about the 5 days during the week when you are "Good"? Let me explain what happens there. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation. Your bodies natural defense to this severe dehydration is to retain water. I can guarantee that after a night of drinking, you notice a gain up to 4 pounds the next day. However, on days that you really over do it, you will wake up all dehydrated, feeling skinny with a severe hangover from binge drinking. But later in the day after you start drinking water you will see the excess weight which will stick with you for the 2 days that follow. It takes the body up to 3 days to recover from a binger and during this recovery period, you WILL NOT LOSE FAT! Your body is simply not primed to focus on burning calories from fat when it is working to repair the damage from drinking. So as you can see, if you are a "WEEKEND DRINKER", that means that you are not losing weight:
  1. Friday - Saturday while drinking. In fact you store fat during these days.
  2. Sunday - Tuesday while your body is recovering.
This means that you have Wednesday - Thursday to actually get some successful fat calorie burning. Likely most of this calorie burning is simply working off the calories stored during the weekend. It is easy to see how this cycle sabotages any weight loss. This is a perfectly fine lifestyle for someone that is maintaining their weight as long as they are cautious about food calories and continue to workout but for someone trying to actually lose weight, fat chance!!! Sorry but its the truth and I lived it for YEARS. I am an expert of this cycle. In fact I drank many weekdays also in my past. And my weight just continued to rise until I topped off at 174 pounds and finally had enough. For those of you that are serious about dropping fat and getting healthy, kick the booze, at last for a few months. Don't fall into the skinny margarita trap. If you want to see my own story and results Here You Go.  

Summer Slim Down Online Fitness Group Starting Soon

Challenge Post Summer is upon us and its time to start my first official Summer Slim Down Fitness Group starting June 2nd. In this group I help you with meal planning/prep and keep you moving, literally. Participation is completely online in a secret Facebook group and your workouts are done in the privacy of your own home, but they must be done!!!! No ladies left behind! If you are truly READY, send me a friend request on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jenngraham57) and message me for details.

Good protein sources for vegetarians

Vegetarians run a high risk of low iron due to the fact that they do not consume animal meat which is a primary source of protein. So for those of you doing a vegetarian diet or lifestyle, here are some great sources of protein: 1. Beans and Lentils - They are the cheapest source of protein. So whether you prefer kidney, garbanzo, white, black, or pinto beans, buy lots of cans of beans, rinse and drain them to remove 40% of the sodium, and use them in everything.
  • White beans taste awesome in pasta
  • Garbanzo or edamame in stir-fries
  • Black beans and pinto in burritios, tacos and quesadillas
  • Lentils or kidney are great in salads and whole grain pita lunches.
To avoid toxins found in metal canned foods, buy an organic grand, look for frozen beans, or buy dried ones and cook them yourself. 2. Nuts and Seeds - Nuts contain 3 to 7 grams of protein per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type (peanuts and pine nuts have the most). Seeds have 2-5 grams per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type. As far as nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts are all good vegetarian protein sources. Sprinkle them on everything from salads to yogurt. As far as seeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are great sources of protein. Perhaps try a seed butter on toast with jelly. I prefer jalapeno jelly. I like a little spice. 3. Chia seeds have some protein, not as much as nuts or legumes, but they have high nutritional value. They are an incredible source of fiber with nearly 11 grams of fiber in a single ounce. That is 1/2 your daily value of fiber. They contain 18% of your daily calcium requirement, which is more that triple the amount you get from a serving of milk. And they have no flavor so you can add a tablespoon to almost anything. Throw them in the blender with a shake or mix them in with some rice. They won't alter the flavor of anything you eat. 4. Tofu and Tempeh - Tofu has 8 grams of protein per serving while Tempeh has 18 grams per serving. Literally, use tofu in place of chicken in any recipe. You can make a burger with it or use it in chili or seasoned or broiled into a high-protein crouton on a salad. But look for organic products to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organism). If you are not a fan of the texture of soy or tempeh, you can try soy in the form of soy milk which has 8 grams of protein per glass. Do not make soy your main source of protein though because too much can cause issues with hormones in your body for both women and men. Aim for one serving of soy per day maximum. 5. Hemp - Hemp seeds contain 6 grams of protein per ounce and hemp milk has  2 grams per cup. So if you are freaked out by the potential affects on your hormones by soy, then hemp products are the next best choice. Hemp is sold as a dairy alternative or as seeds and is one of the very few plants proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids. These acids are necessary to build muscle and create more protein. The fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp milk also boost your immune system. 6. Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per egg. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value which is a measure of how well it supports your body's protein needs of any food, including beef. The yolks contain vitamin B12. 7. Greek Yogurt has 15 - 20 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. All dairy sources are good sources of protein but Greek Yogurt contains the same amount of protein as a three ounce serving of lean meat. So top that off with a handful of nuts and you will get a large amount of your daily protein in a single meal. 8. Avocados contain 4 grams of protein per avocado. All veggies contain between 1 - 2 grams of protein per cup but avocados (which are technically a fruit) but avocados contain twice that. The protein in avocado also contains all nine essential amino acids. The same acids your body needs to build muscle. 9. Pseudograins - These are actually seeds that are cooked and served like grains. Some wonderful pseudograins include quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and wild rice. Pseudograins are a great alternative for people that have an intolerance to the gluten in wheat, barley and rye. However whole grains contain decent amounts of protein, wheat providing the highest plant based protein of any food. If you decide to eat corn, choose blue over the yellow and white because it has 30% more protein.   So as you can see there are lots of options and alternatives to get appropriate amounts of protein in the diet when following a vegetarian lifestyle.  

What is Eating Clean?

eat clean1 Eating clean means to consume food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. By eating foods in their natural state, you remove a lot of exposure to toxins that are used in processed foods. Most important to recognize about eating clean is that it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation. This leads to an improved life one meal at a time. If you follow these methods, you are on track to looking and feeling like a better version of yourself: 1 - Eat lots of Plants - Eat fruits and vegetables in their natural form or as close to it as possible. Preferably in the form which they were harvested. This means lettuce simply chopped and fruit freshly picked. However for some vegetables, you may steam or cook to change the texture if that makes them more palatable. For instance, I love broccoli but just like it a little softer so I steam it. It is still close to its natural form and actually it has been proven that steaming your vegetables breaks down the cell wall of the plant cells and makes it easier for your body to absorb the naturally occurring nutrients. Just don't over cook the veggies because then you do the opposite and destroy the nutrients. I like to steam until they veggies are bright green. If they are turning yellow, you cooked them too long. 2 - Include Meats - If possible get your meat from a butcher and not processed. If you want ground meat, buy it an ask the butcher to grind it for you. That way you know there are no mystery ingredients in your ground meat. Try to incorporate different types of meat like chicken, turkey, fish, etc. And limit your red meat to one day per week. Avoid canned or processed meat of all kinds and this includes: canned tuna, spam, and lunch meat (unless cut at a deli from a larger cut of unprocessed meat). 3 - Enjoy Grains - You NEED carbs so don't listen to people that do crash diets and are "carborexic" for weeks on end. Yes they lose weight but they put it all back on when they start eating carbs again. That type of diet is not a lifestyle and not sustainable. Eat grains that are "whole" and have not been broken down. Some great forms of grains to eat are: quinoa, Brown rice, Barley, Millet, Farro, Buckwheat, Kamut, Amaranth, and Oats. Follow a general rule that "white" is processed. The reason grains are processed is to remove the part of the grain with the shorter shelf life and leave the parts that will sustain longer. This is how companies have cut back on losing product because it has gone bad. Companies know it has less health benefit after being processed but it has a greater financial benefit for them. And make sure when you buy whole grain that it is really whole grain. This leads to my next point.... food label 4 - Read Labels - A company is allowed to call a product "whole grain" as long as the main ingredient is truly whole grain. So as long as the bread is 51% whole grain, they slap it on the label. So read the ingredient list. The ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. If the second ingredient is a non-whole grain, don't buy it because it is not a true "whole grain". 5 - Eat Fewer Ingredients - Read labels and try and buy foods that have fewer than 6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And make sure you can recognize and pronounce all of the ingredients. Companies like to add fillers to save money and they are generally loaded with sugar. 6 - Eat 5-6 small meals per day - Eating multiple smaller meals helps to maintain a good glucose level in your body and prevents sugar spikes. Granted, this is assuming you are eating foods that are not loaded with sugar. Regarding sugar..... 7 - Keep sugar in check - You are allowed to eat naturally occurring sugar (fruit for instance) but keep a limit on it. Fruit is 100% natural and also loaded with sugar. Limit yourself to 3 servings of fruit per day. Also be mindful that grains are a form of sugar. The grain is broken down into sugar in your body and then is used for energy. If sugar is not used, it is stored.....we know how that goes. Try and consume most of your grains and fruit before 2 pm so your body has an opportunity to break down the sugar before you go to bed. I think the French really got it right by making lunch their biggest meal of the day. Keep dinner lite, mostly protein and veggies. 8 - Drink your share of water - Your body NEEDS water to function properly. In fact, water is the most important thing you put in your body every day. There is no point in eating clean food unless you are going to give your body the water it needs to function and make the good food (fuel) you put into your body work to provide energy. To calculate how much water you should drink daily, take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. The result is the number of ounces of water you need to consume daily. In Conclusion This may be very overwhelming if you are new to eating clean but don't let that stop you from making the good and necessary changes to reclaim your health. Just baby step your way along. Start by cutting out fast food while adding more meat which, yes, you need to cook. Sorry, you need to figure that out. Then start removing boxed foods from your diet. Then lastly, remove foods from the dairy section of the grocery store. This will be the hardest step but dairy is VERY processed. But if you cannot give it up 100% then at least choose harder cheeses and low sugar varieties. But for those of you that are 100% ready to eat clean, I like to follow the rule of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. All the fresh food with be in the perimeter in the produce section and meat department. You can do this. Your body will thank you for it.   I used the principles of Clean Eating and Exercise to lose 40 lbs and naturally reverse my PCOS. So I know it can be done. See how I did it.

Challengers dropping serious inches

Heather transformation I love when my challengers are so proud of their progress in my Challenge Group that they start posting pictures on their facebook walls. This proud momma has finally ditched her baby belly and is totally ready for summer. She even bought a new bikini which she wanted to show off in this picture. It is these results and seeing how happy and accomplished my challengers feel after they see what they have done for themselves that keep me going as a Beachbody Coach. I help people reach their goals and dreams. What could feel better?

Nut flour Tortillas (chips, bread, pizza crust)

After making these, you can just change the cooking time for your liking as to consistency, they hold together as sandwhich thins, can be baked crispy for chips, can bake them a little less so they are flexible to make sandwhiches, or you can make a pizza crust with it     Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups of Almond Flour
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 Tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead like a dough
  3. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or use a nonstick one and roll out the dough as think or thick as you like (You will have to adjust cooking time for your desired thickness, you can tell when its done by touching it and seeing if its to your liking)
  4. I made mine about 1/8 inch thick and baked it for 8 minutes and it was perfect
  5. Enjoy on many things just leave me some comments on what you use them for
*******You can just use this recipe as a base, Add spices, herbs, or any flavors you want. Get inventive and get out of your box a little, who is scared of a little flavor?*********  

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

This is a great way to change up a family favorite. squash Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hr 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 cup almond meal 1 tbsp paprika 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp sea sald 2 eggs, lightly beaten olive oil cooking spray 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 lb), cut in half 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese 1 3/4 cups spaghetti sauce (optional homemade)

DIRECTIONS

1 - Preheat oven to 375

2 - Filet chicken breasts so you have breasts that are about 1/2 inch thick.

3 - Place squash, cut sides up, in microwaveable dish. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave on High 25 minutes or until fork-tender. Using a fork, scrape flesh from squash. Keep warm.

4 - Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F. Spray large baking dish with cooking spray.

5 - In shallow dish, combine almond meal, 1/4 cup of cheese, and all the seasonings.

6 - In a bowl, beat eggs with a fork. (Optional to use applesauce instead of eggs)

7 - Dredge each filet chicken in egg (or applesauce). Then coat both sides of chicken with almond spice dry mixture. Place in sprayed baking dish. Spoon about 2 tablespoons spaghetti sauce onto each chicken breast and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

8 - Bake 25 minutes until chicken is golden brown or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160°F and the juices run clear.

9 - Meanwhile, heat remaining spaghetti sauce in medium saucepan over medium heat. Serve with the chicken and spaghetti squash.