Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#4MChallenge & Secret Giveaway Contents!

Hey girls hey! I know I said I'd post earlier but yeah...that didn't happen. Here I am though. And I've got two things to tell you about. First, if you live under a rock and haven't heard about the #4MChallenge, let me fill you in.

Kara came up with this awesome idea for the last month of Operation Red Bikini, involving the infamous Ms. Michaels. I love me some Jill (yeah, I call her that. We're BFF's). Where do I sign up?! Not only are Kara and I participating but some of my favorite blog girls are too: Leigh Ann, Kate, Kara, Kristie and Meredith are all in on it, and I think you should join in too! All you have to do is pick up a Jillian Michael's work out DVD of your choice and do it daily. Then, when you're done, blog about your experience and results.  Win win. Her DVD's are pretty cheap, and you still have a day to pick one up. Get on it, girl!

Speaking of Operation Red Bikini, remember that one day only secret giveaway I did? Well Kate at Not Your Typical Jersey Girl finally received her package so I can share what was in it. It wasn't anything crazy big, just a little care package of some of my favorite things, with a little summer-inspiration thrown in. It included:

1. A wristlet in one of my favorite summer colors, mustard (which oddly enough  makes me want a corndog..)

2. Neon pink nail polish and lip gloss, because I mean, it's nearly summer and you need some hot pink

3. Watermelon scented lotion. This stuff smells divine. Glad I gave it away because I probably would've eaten it if not. Kidding.  Not really kidding. 

4. A Think Thin bar, one of my favorite protein bars. I keep atleast 2 of these in my purse for emergencies. They cure the hangry.

5. Spark. Another necessity. For those of you who did the Advocare cleanse, you know. For those of you who haven't, you're missing out. Contact Kelly, now!

6. Quest bar, my new favorite protein bar. NO sugar, gluten free and low in calories (for a  protein bar). Heat these babies up for 12 seconds and thank me later. I'll give you a moment.

7. Tan Towel, for in between spray tans or to get you through the seemingly endless winter up north.

8. My favorite mascara, Colossal Lashes by Maybelline. I've said it before and I'll say it 200 more times. Having worked at a makeup counter in the past, I still think this mascara trumps a lot of expensive mascaras out there. I have two at all times. For emergencies, right?

Tune in later this week for a post on how to eat healthy/clean in a house with a hungry man who can eat over 1,000 more calories than you. Nobody said life was fair! But it's possible. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend at the Beach and Clean Eating Plans

This is my 100th post! Blogging has seriously changed my life--and my weight loss journey, and I have no intentions of stopping now :)

This weekend, as most of you know, S and I spent Thursday night through Sunday at the beach. It was our one year wedding anniversary on Saturday and we spent it in the same town we got engaged. It was a great weekend with alot of laughs and memories, and boy I love that man of mine!

Sidenote: I am a horrible wife and apparently made up a conversation in my head that we decided not to do gifts since we were spending money on a trip. S got me a little something so I quickly scrambled to get him something. My amazing husband did his research and found out year one's anniversary gift is paper. Since it was just something small, he thoughtfully bought me two magazines and Jillian Michael's book to read on the beach! That man knows me well, and he scored major brownie points for that one..

And uhhh..remember that post I did on IG about eating healthy at the beach? Did it happen? Well, about 20%, sure. I ate boiled eggs, grapes (made the Pinterest recipe mixing grapes and jello powder...FAIL) and a protein bar on the beach. What did I eat for dinners though? Lord, you don't even want to know. This happened:
(Photo posted with S's full cooperation..)

And this happened:

And I won't go into details about the rest. It was all bad. I drank a ton of water and swam and did some walking. Am I gonna let it get me down, no. Do I wish I had done better? Of course. I am proud to say, though, that I weigh 30 pounds less than I did last time we visited this beach. I even wore a bikini, and felt mostly comfortable about it. This is a definite first. Big big step.

Thank you Jesus for a new day! We got home around lunchtime today and unpacked before heading out to get groceries for the week. Starting tomorrow AM, S and I are eating clean 100% of the time, with one scheduled cheat meal per week. We have been eating clean some of the time, with way more than one cheat meal mixed in. I researched, planned and prepped, and will follow a strict meal plan throughout the week. I've followed this plan before and it's worked for me TREMENDOUSLY. This is the gist of it:

M1: 3 tablespoons liquid egg whites & 1 serving complex carb

M2: Fruit and 1 tbsp. Natural PB or small serving diced potatoes mixed with egg whites and salsa.

M3: 1 serving protein, 1 small serving complex carb, vegetable

M4: Quest bar or fruit with PB if I don't have it for M2

M5: 1 serving protein, unlimited vegetables

M6: If I am up for 3 hours after my last meal, I'll have eggwhites
       (Normally I'm not lol...)

These are the things I'll alternate:
Proteins-grilled chicken, ground turkey, fish, shrimp, lean beef (on occasion)
Complex carbs- quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, Ezekiel bread, potatoes (in moderation)
Fruit-apples, bananas (in moderation), fresh pineapple
Vegetables-green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, etc.

I'll be posting a ton more photos of what I eat on Instagram and posting recipes as I try them. This week's cheat meal is already planned, because my brothers are coming into town and they're having a huge crawfish boil. Can't pass up crawfish, but I can pass up drinking and all the carby goodness that comes with the crawfish. 

Operation Red Bikini ends next month...who's ready? Tomorrow, I'll post some info about an ORB Jillian Michael's challenge for next month with a bunch of hot mamas. Stay tuned!

And even though I'm back from paradise and now in the real world, coming home hasn't been all that bad. This arrived:

And our littlest neighbor kind of missed us.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eating Healthy on Vacay & Bikiniiiiis

So I really thought last week's ORB giveaway would be a big fail, considering that no one knew what was in it but me. Apparently though, ya'll like surprises. So many people entered to win, and the fabulous Kate at was the lucky winner! So now that it's in the mail, look for a post on what was in it as soon as it arrives on her doorstep!

Now, I've talked a lot about my beach trip lately because I am supa excited. I love a good beach trip and this one has a special meaning. Saturday will be our 1 year wedding anniversary! Hooray...what a crazy, busy, fun and incredibly fast year it's been. I am so looking forward to spending a long weekend away with my lover boy.

The last time I went to the beach I weighed 204 pounds. We got engaged on that trip. I am excited to go back to the beach, weighing a lot less, even if I'm not exactly where I want to be. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous to gain 4+ pounds from liquor and bad food choices, though. I should say, I am not a big drinker at all. I drink maybe once a month, and it's a glass of wine or two. Beach trips are a little different though. I might drink a bottle of wine a day, (whoa nah!)... I am going to be realistic and say I won't be eating chicken breasts and vegetables for dinner. I'm going to allow myself to live a little and eat something good. This being said, I want my eating to be as healthy as possible all day long, so that my cheats at night don't ruin my hard work thus far and my Operation Red Bikini goal.

I asked ya'll on IG for some healthy beach snack ideas and boy did you deliver. I got so many suggestions! I needed all the help I could get because my past beach snacks have included Lunchables and chips and dip. For real. Here are the great ideas you had:

  • Fruit (cherries, pineapple, watermelon and a ton of you suggested frozen grapes)
  • Fresh salsa
  • Cheese (someone suggested pepperjack with fresh pineapple!...can you say yum!?)
  • Turkey pepperoni chips
  • Nuts
  • Edamame
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzel chips, carrots or celery with hummus
  • Popcorn 
  • String cheese
  • Boiled eggs
  • Spinach dip made with fat free Greek yogurt, using Knorr brand veggie dip mix

All of these sound so good! We are doing our shopping once we get to our destination so I have an ongoing list of things we'll need. So many of these made that list, thanks to all of you:) 
I feel prepared and I'm not gonna sweat it if I eat a cheeseburger and drink some wine. It's vacation! 

I'm getting in another session with my trainer tomorrow, since we're leaving right after work on Thursday. Today we worked legs so I'm pretty sure I won't be able to walk tomorrow. Any takers on pushing me in my wheelchair? 

In other vacation-related news...bathing suits. I am in fact bringing the red bikini but I won't be taking any photos in it. Sorry world (be glad I'm doing you all a favor...) I ordered two other bikinis to wear and decided I'd keep the one I liked the most. Problem is I can't decide! These are the two I have:

 (minimizes bust, which I love, and the print is more my style..will leave a hellish tan line, though; wearing with a solid black bottom)

 (not crazy about the print but the top fits really well)


You will eventually see me in one of these suits as part of my "before", after I make some more changes.  

Awwwwwww shit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

ORB GIVEAWAY: One day only!

What do you think this is, lady? A sidewalk sale?

Today I’m doing things a little differently! I’m doing a quick Operation Red Bikini giveaway. You have till midnight to enter, so enter NOW.

But what do we win, you ask? Um. I can’t tell you.

All week I planned to take photos of all the stuff I was putting in the giveaway then I realized..what’s the fun in that? I much rather a good surprise. It’ll be even greater when it shows up on the winner’s doorstep! You’ll wanna rip that baby open.

So you want us to enter a giveaway for something we are clueless about? Yes. Trust me, it’s good stuff.

A cute summer accessory
Some of my favorite beauty products
Some of my favorite weight loss tools/foods..Yes, girrrl, food!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter now! I’ll contact the winner via email tomorrow and  your prize will be mailed Monday AM. This is the last giveaway before the BIG #operationredbikini prize. It’s fast approaching yall. 
Stay tuned to mine and Leigh Ann’s blogs for deets on the contents soon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa

Good afternoon ladies. I posted this photo yesterday on Instagram and tons of you wanted the recipe. It was a definite winner. My husband loved it, even though he will typically eat anything. The recipe called for chicken breasts and all we had (that wasn’t frozen) were boneless skinless chicken thighs so I used that. I’d definitely use breasts next time but this worked. 

I found the recipe on Half Baked Harvest, but adjusted it a little. Her recipe is fantastic, I just did it Kassie-style, and dirtied up my whole kitchen.

 Buffalo Chicken Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
  • 4 green onions chopped, save half for garnish
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Put 2 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, add 1 cup quinoa. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently. Remove from heat when all water is absorbed. 

While quinoa is going, cook broccoli in saucepan with nonstick spray. Your broccoli won’t be soft, you just want to toast it up a bit. Here’s where I ventured away from the recipe.  I added my carrots and cabbage to the pan and cooked them down a bit so they weren’t raw. They still had a little crunch but it wasn’t as noticeable. I would do it this way next time.

After veggies are cooked to your liking, remove from pan and set aside.  Add more non stick spray and cook chicken till no longer pink. I cut one in half to be sure.   

While chicken is cooking, mix hot sauce and olive oil. I used ¼ cup of olive oil, as opposed to her half cup. I also used garlic powder in the place of her seasoned salt. 

Once chicken is completely cooked, add half of sauce mixture and cook for a few additional minutes till chicken absorbs most of the sauce. Then, add all vegetables, green onions and quinoa. Mix well. Add bleu cheese on top and additional green onions, if you choose. My husband loves bleu cheese so cutting it out was not an option. I also think it helps in cutting the overwhelming hot sauce taste.

I’ve made recipes before with hot sauce/buffalo sauce and they were entirely too overwhelming, and I LOVE buffalo sauce. This recipe was not overwhelming.  It was just as good as it looks. Because buffalo sauce is high in sodium, I wouldn’t make it weekly, but it’s definitely in the rotation! Hope you enjoy. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Can I get a recap?!

Good..afternoon people. I am a little late posting today but I figured I'd get a quickie in on my lunch break. Oh my.

This weekend was great, to say the least. We got in couple time, family time and friend time. Sounds like a win to me.

Friday night was low key because knew we'd have a long day Saturday. It was my nephew's birthday so we took a little roadtrip to go to his Ninja Turtle party! I hadn't seen my brother in a year so it was so good to see him and his family. His wife is due in June so I'll have a third nephew very soon.
The weather was gorgeous and the company was great. The kids had a fun jump and we sat under a huge tree in their yard for a couple of hours. Such a good day.

After that, we did a little exploring and went to Bass Pro Shop for the first time. Man heaven. I'm not gonna lie though, I wanted to buy a few things. We left empty handed but it was a good way to kill some time. We had dinner there, and I had my first buffalo burger. Have to say, it was pretty good. This was my planned out cheat meal for the weekend and it was so worth it. I may have cheated again, but more on that later.

Oh and Sunday, this happened:

I was never one to freak out about cutting my hair. It gets so long that I can't do anything with it, it falls out like crazy, and just looks nasty most of the time. I also wash it about once a week, and with my intense workouts, I can't be that nasty. It was just easier so I got my little cousin who's in cosmetology school to chop it for me. I also wasn't afraid because my hair grows like crazy. I cut it shoulder length a year ago and it was already as long as it was. By December I'll have long hair again, so don't panic! lol

After I did that, we shopped for the week and I returned a dress. Then, we had dinner with good friends we hadn't seen in a while and I had my second cheat of the weekend. Oops. I have been Saint-like all week with food so I'm not too worried about it. I'm back to my clean eating today so it isn't going to ruin all my work. I'm also chugging water like it's going out of style, which is I think why I'm not up any weight today.

We booked a long beach weekend for the end of the month. I am okay with the fact that I am not ready for that red bikini just yet. We are planning a longer beach vacation in September and I know I'll be ready then. I'm still wearing that bikini this time though, you just won't see pictures of it and I might have to consume a bottle of wine before the fine beach patrons get a glimpse..

Friday, April 12, 2013

All the money I've spent so far.

First, let me say, this post is ALL matter of opinion. I am not putting down a program/method that worked for you, or saying it doesn’t work for anyone. There are just some things that didn’t work for me personally, or weren’t worth the money in my opinion. That being said, here it is.

The first “diet” I ever paid money to follow was Weight Watchers. I had seen my mom follow it and lose weight successfully on it while I was in high school. I gained 20 pounds after graduation and was feeling so uncomfortable in my clothes. I signed up for a meeting and loved it. I lost 19 pounds in 5 months, slow and steady. Then I went to Italy for close to a month and put WW on “hold”.  Eventually I cancelled my membership and packed the weight back on. I signed up 3-4 more times but never had success again. I don’t personally love the new program, and got to the point where the accountability of weighing in in front of someone didn’t motivate me. I wanted a cheeseburger a lot more than I cared if someone I barely knew made a face because I was up a pound.  I also had better results when I lived in a small town and everyone in the meetings knew my name. I moved toward the end of the first time I was a member and my weight loss slowed down. I had a hard time find a leader I liked, and knew no one in any of the meetings I attended. I began weighing in then leaving because I didn’t get anything from the meetings. I will say, though, that this is the most affordable, flexible diet I’ve done.

(Me, in Italy, right after I lost the 19 pounds)

Next was Atkins. I think I did this one for a grand total of two weeks. I got a free starter kit in the mail (you can sign up for it on their website) and the bars weren’t too bad. After a while though, I started to feel gross. Eating tons of meat and vegetables was fine, but I don’t trust a “diet” that allows you to eat all the butter, fat, and even pork rinds you want. (not even kidding. they recommend it as a snack!) I lost 2-3 pounds in the 2 weeks I did it, and spent way too much money on overpriced, loaded with fat and sugar bars and a few nasty tasting shakes.

Ideal Protein was by far the most expensive. I’m sure it’s the most scientifically studied. I’m sure it works. I started it the week after we got engaged because I was at my heaviest, and I wanted to lose weight for the wedding. I had, at that point, gained all my WW weight back, plus alot more.

Taken the week before I started Ideal Protein, at my heaviest)

 I lost 8 pounds in 3 months. It was no way to live, in my opinion.  They provide (for a hefty price) three snacks a day, and you eat salad for lunch and protein/veg for dinner. Seems easy enough but it was torture for me. It made me grumpy and hungry. ALL THE TIME. The friend I started with ended up losing a large amount of weight but it was entirely too expensive and restrictive for me. Not for 8 pounds. Sorry.

Then there was the time I paid a nutritionist $150 to tell me less than I already knew. I’m not knocking nutritionists, by any means. I just frankly don’t think she knew (or maybe cared) what she was talking about. She gave me “sample meal plans” that basically said stuff like Lunch: vegetable, protein, carb. No ideas, no recipes, no measurements. I asked how many calories she thought I should be taking in. She answered with “Listen to your body. If you’re hungry, eat more. If you’re not, don’t.” Okay lady. I didn’t get this way by being hungry. She also provided a list of healthy items from local restaurants. Thanks, but I think I knew “chicken breast, broccoli, salad with no dressing” was a low calorie option at the majority of them.  I guess this would be a good option for someone who was just starting out with a healthy lifestyle and had no idea where to begin. I knew these things already. I needed more solid info. Numbers. Never again. Not her anyway.

By far the easiest to stick to and cheapest plan has been using Myfitnesspal and working out. Duh. How did you not know that already? It just seemed too easy. No way that would work. Then why would people spend an arm and a leg to lose tons of weight at once (little did I know…)

People complain about the price of fresh, healthy food, but honestly, it’s saved me money. Fast food costs a lot more. So does paying for meetings. So does paying for protein bars and meal replacement shakes that tastes like the inside of my running shoe. Yes, it’s been slow progress, but it’s flexible and liveable. I need to know if I go to the beach and drink a little too much or eat French fries a few times, I may be a week behind in my progress but I’m not out $120 bucks for one week of products. I am counting my calories, I am working out hard. I am noticing changes. The most money I’m spending right now is for groceries and a trainer, but you know what, to me, I’m worth it. 

All that money spent on fast food, so not worth it. This plan works for me, and I’m sticking to it. Forever.

(Oh and...Tune in next week for another ORB Giveaway!..Hint: a few of my favorite things.)