Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Sugar Detox - Final Recap!

Alrighty, the 21 Day Sugar Detox is officially over!!

So what did I eat yesterday?

Pretty much the same things I ate the last 21 days.


I plan my meals Monday-Friday and cook on the weekends, so I am sort of continuing the sugar detox through Friday just by default.

I DID take a little break this weekend in the form of cake balls, chocolate chip cookies, and espresso martinis at the wedding celebration I was attending! I didn't have any crazy backlash from that, but I also tried to keep my break under control. I left the wedding brunch Sunday morning (where I ate on the 21DSD plan except for a slice of honeydew) with a "to go" bag of cake balls and cookies. I ate 2 cookies and 2 cake balls on the drive home and realized how gross I felt.  So when I stopped at the grocery store, I threw the rest away. (sorry Kristin - they were seriously delicious!!!!!)

I hopped right back on plan and made myself a spinach salad with chicken and avocado for dinner! I did notice I had a headache most of Monday - which was either a result of the weather system moving through, or a re-detoxing from the sugar.

My overall thoughts on this program are that it is awesome!! I highly recommend the 21DSD book to anyone. It has some great information on nutrition as a whole, offers 3 levels of detox, and a ton of great recipes.  I even bought the 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook and plan to continue to cook from it even post-detox! (See below for more tips!)

I started out thinking I'd go with the least strict level of the plan, but I ended up somewhere in the middle. I did allow some dairy (full fat - mostly just milk in my coffee and some occasional cheese) and I followed Diana's recommendations for "energy modifications" since I workout at a more intense level.

The biggest thing I've learned from this program is that Paleo people are not crazy - and the Paleo way of eating actually really works for my body.  I used to be like:
(With an eye roll in there, too)

And no - I'm NOT going all Paleo crazy.  I've just realized that the higher fat/protein and lower carb mix works well for me! I'm loving what I'm eating, feeling totally satisfied instead of deprived, eating really clean, and just overall feeling less sluggish. I really hate to label my eating habits as any one type - but maybe now I'm going more of a "clean eating with a Paleo lean" in the way I eat?! Whatever - I just know it works for me!  

The things I missed the most while on the 21DSD were fruit, peanut butter, and sweetener in my coffee.  I didn't miss sugar at all - and I didn't suffer through many cravings. But man, I was DYING for some peanut butter. So naturally, my first official non-21DSD food apple with this AMAZING Sea Salt Caramel Peanut Butter from Blind Spot Nut Butters (who I have a full blog about coming soon!).


My advice for anyone thinking about doing this program is this...
1. Get the book and read it. It's not actually that long - most of the book is recipes! Diana does a great job of explaining the program and the nutrition/science behind it all.

2. PREPARE yourself! Diana lists steps of what to do to prep for the detox program - it's a great tool! But, what I mean is to plan your whole first week of meals, go shopping for the ingredients, and make them all before you start.  That's what made it easy for me.  I had planned 3 meals and 2-3 snacks for every day, so I didn't have to think about what I was going to eat next. 

3. Don't go too hardcore. Seriously - don't be a hero - haha. Pick the level of program that is right for you!

4. If you're an athlete, make the energy modifications.  It made a big difference in how I felt on my runs when I added in the extra carbs and when I didn't.

5. Understand that this is NOT A LIFESTYLE. I know, I am one of those "it's a lifestyle, not a diet" people - but totally a diet.  Well, really it's a diet change. It has a specific purpose.  Diana doesn't advocate eliminating this kind of stuff from your diet forever.  The purpose of the 21DSD is more of a "reset" for your system.  

Check out my other thoughts on the 21DSD - here and here and here!

Get your copy of the book!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sweet & Spicy Latte

Tea is a lifesaver for me a lot of evenings! I want something sweet and filling, but not loaded with calories - and decaf tea is just perfect! There are so many flavors and types out there, I have a cabinet full of tea!

Sweetener Free Sweet & Spicy Latte

1. Brew 1 cup of Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice tea (I have only found this at Target so far!)

2. Warm up 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk.

3. Add the almond milk to the brewed tea with a splash of vanilla extract. (or use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

4. Sprinkle with cinnamon!

I got mine foamy by mixing the milk and tea in a large (4 cup) measuring cup with my immersion blender! I've been using the immersion blender (sometimes called a "stick" blender) to mix my coffee and milk lately. It creates a nice foam and makes it feel more like a "real" latte!

This would work with any kind of milk/tea or milk/coffee mixture!  This morning I did coffee with 2 oz of whole milk and a teaspoon of honey - blended with the immersion blender and sprinkled cinnamon on top!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Best Version of Yourself

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent some time this weekend in the DC area for my college roommate's wedding celebration! Kristin and Justin got married in June and had a small, family only, ceremony in DC. They threw a FAB party this weekend to celebrate! It was great because a lot of people had Monday off, Justin was finished his MBA, and January tends to be a less busy month anyway. We had a blast!  Here are some pictures of the event, and then there's some updated progress on me! :) 
(ready to celebrate!)

(The happy couple)

(Kellie and I with the parents of the bride - some of the sweetest people I know!)

(the end of the night - still smiling but our feet HURT!)

So...a progress update...
I took the photo on the left on Thursday last week. 85 pounds lost. I took the picture to remind me that I'm not the girl on the right anymore. On Thursday, when I got to the gym, I did NOT want to go in. I was EXHAUSTED. We were 4 days into our first 5 day week of school since before Thanksgiving, I was on day 7 straight of tough workouts, and I was beat. The girl on the right would've gotten a baked good and coffee from Starbucks, gone home, and spent the whole evening on the couch.

But I'm not her anymore.

Instead, I went into the gym, started working out and had a killer workout! I came home to healthy dinner, and felt 100 times better!

A lot of times when I post progress pictures, people comment things like "you were beautiful before, but..." and I know what they're trying to say.  However, the progress photos for me are about so much more than just the outside appearance.  A few episodes ago on The Biggest Loser, one of the contestants was talking to his wife via Skype. He was telling her how he was sorry for not giving her the best version of himself the first 9 years of their marriage, and how he felt like he'd found his best self now that he'd gotten in shape. He was talking about how hard it was to love another person when you aren't the best version of yourself.

I happened to be watching this particular episode with my BFF, Michelle, and I looked at her and said "Maybe that's why it's been 4 years since Isaac died and I'm still single - because I wasn't yet the best version of myself."

That doesn't mean I was a bad person before or anything!!! I'm still equally loved by God - no matter what I weigh.  But this version of me - this girl who runs and lifts and cooks healthy food and LOVES LIFE - this is the BEST VERSION OF MYSELF

This person is who God intended me to be. 
He did NOT intend for me to live in shame over my weight.  
He did NOT intend for me to live in fear of doing things because I was too fat.  
He did NOT intend for me to live a life of indulgence in unhealthy food and habits.  

He intended for me to treat my body like a temple. 
He intended for me to practice self-control.
God intended for me to live in VICTORY and FREEDOM and JOY! 

This gal - she slapped on some sassy dancing shoes and a fancy dress on Saturday night and took her BEST SELF to a party - and loved every minute of it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beautiful DC miles!

Happy MLK Day! We had off school today, which was great since I spent some time in DC this weekend for a fabulous wedding celebration! (and had a GREAT run there, too!)

This week was a tough one!! I did some great (hard) workouts, and by rest day on Friday, my body was so ready to NOT exercise!
On Saturday, I ran a snowy 5K race with the York Road Runners Winter Series. Along with thousands of other runners, I ran those miles in honor of a fellow runner who was killed by a drunk driver on her regular morning run. (read more about Meg here) We had a fresh inch of snow on the ground and this race runs on a gravel and pot hole filled road - it was treacherous! But the funny thing is, I "took it easy" and came in with a time of 29:26. Last year at this same race, I ran full out - as hard as I could - and was 29:46. I love seeing that in a year's time, "easy" is a totally different standard!

After the 5k, I headed to Arlington, VA for my college roommate's wedding celebration (more on that later). In true runner geek style, I was PUMPED to run my long run in DC and mapped out a route before I left!
I ran across the Key Bridge from Arlington to Georgetown.
Then down along the path by the Potomac around the Georgetown Waterfront.
I continued along the paved trail beside the Rock Creek Parkway (waving hello to the Kennedy Center as I went by!)
Then, I circled around the Lincoln Memorial...
...and up the side of the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument!

I ran down Constitution Avenue, around the Lincoln Memorial, and across the Arlington Memorial Bridge - where I picked up the Mt. Vernon trail.  I finished the last 2 miles on the trail back into Arlington!

It was absolutely gorgeous out, and despite a tough run Saturday morning (balancing in snow!) and being up dancing in heels until almost midnight the night before, I felt GREAT this whole run!

(and I was geeking out thinking about how the next time I ran some of these roads it would be for the Rock 'N Roll USA Half Marathon!!)

This week's workouts...

Outdoor Boot Camp

Strength program + 3.5 miles (which accidentally turned out to be all hills)

35 minute tempo run

Strength program


5k Race

7.5 miles

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Eat More!!

It's Wednesday! That means it's time for my "Wednesday Weigh In" and "What I Ate Wednesday"! I don't always post my weigh ins, but I do them every Wednesday morning! I'm sharing today's weigh in because I FINALLY hit another "round number" - 85 pounds lost!


Another reason I wanted to share this week's weigh in is to discuss this concept:
 My trainer friend and boot camp instructor, Jeremy, has been talking about this for a few days and I recently witnessed it in my own weight loss. Mindy, my trainer at the gym, calculated that I should be eating around 1800 calories a day. The "gold standard" of weight loss that you typically read about is 1200 calories a day. After hearing that number, it's tough to wrap your brain around the fact that eating SIX HUNDRED more calories a day will actually help you LOSE weight. 

Well, I can attest to the fact that IT WORKS. I've been sitting at around 170 pounds now for MONTHS. I've toyed with tracking really strictly, changing up my exercise, not focusing on the scale, not tracking, cleaning up eating, not cleaning up eating - and it hasn't worked. But, on January 1st (at 171 pounds), I started the 21 Day Sugar Detox and started tracking my food to meet an 1800 calorie a day goal. 

And guess what?

I'm now down to 164.6 - the lowest weight I've ever weighed. 

So, clearly, there's something to this whole "eat more - weigh less" concept.  There's a lot of science mumbo jumbo surrounding this, but it pretty much comes down to: your body needs fuel.  I workout 6 days a week and I'm a teacher, so I'm on my feet most of the day.  My body typically burns about 2500-2800 calories in a day.  By cutting to 1200 calories, I wasn't giving myself enough fuel. My body responding by hanging on to the last 20 pounds for dear life!  Once I started fueling properly, my body responded. 

Eating 1800 calories a day also allows me to eat more high quality food. When I was trying to stick to 1200 calories, I was choosing foods that were less nutrient dense. There was no way I'd be spending 40 calories on whole milk in my coffee! Now, however, I have used the extra 600 calories to add foods like avocado, coconut oil, full fat dairy, and extra protein into my diet.  These foods are not only full of good things, but they also keep me really satisfied!

Do some research.  Use a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator (like this one) to find out how many calories you're truly burning.  For example, my BMR is 1400 calories. That means that if I did nothing but rest all day long, my body would need 1400 calories to function. Factor in my job and my workouts, and 1200 calories is definitely not enough! 

So, if the scale is stuck for you - try increasing your calorie intake for a few weeks and see if that makes the difference!

Here's a round-up of my meals for WIAW! Most of the recipes are from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book, but if they're available on the web - I linked them!

(I used 2 pancakes to make a breakfast sandwich - and it rocked my socks off! No hunger!!)
1 egg
1 tbsp almond butter
coffee with whole milk

1/4 avocado
carrot chips
Sugar Detox Crackers

Pumpkin Muffin (I ate half before I remembered a pic - haha!)
Tazo Zen Green Tea

Protein Shake - I blended ahead of time and stored in the fridge in my blender bottle
1 cup SoDelicious unsweetened coconut milk
1 green banana
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 scoops Tera's Plain Whey Protein Powder

Sugar Detox Asian Meatballs
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Sauteed with: 1/2 tsp red curry powder, 1 clove garlic, minced ginger, and 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk

Yogi Ginger Tea
Sugar Detox Granny Smith Apple Crumble

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Back! (Half)Marathon Monday Returns

Training for my 3rd half marathon started last week, so "(half)Marathon Monday" is back! I do this mostly to help myself keep track of my training, so I won't be offended if you find this boring and totally skip it! My 3rd half is going to be a return to Washington, DC to run the Rock 'N Roll USA Half Marathon in March. I'm super excited to run this race again - it's a great course and it will be neat to beat my previous time and know what to expect a little more this time around. 

Last year, the forecast for race day was cool and rainy - and it really intimidated me. They were also forecasting rain when I ran Baltimore in October, so I decided this year to just train it. Unless there are dangerous weather conditions (like a thunderstorm, ice, or a major blizzard) - if my training plan says run, I will be running.


With that attitude, I did my 6 miles in the rain on Saturday.  It was 50*, which felt positively tropical compared to my Tuesday run in 11*! I did wait to head out until it wasn't a torrential downpour and just a regular rain. I figured it downpoured mid-run, I'd be okay with that, but it was stupid to start out soaking wet if I didn't have to.  The 6 miles were good, though I think I am feeling the effects of the lower carb sugar detox. 

The run for this weekend is 7 miles. I also happen to be going to DC for a wedding celebration, and DC has great running paths! I mapped out a 7 mile run that will run a small segment of the half marathon course, around some monuments, and along the Potomac. It might be cold - but the scenery will be great!

This week's workouts:

Strength Program
3 mile run
Strength Program
Speedwork - 6x400s @ 7.5MPH on the treadmill

rest day
3 mile run
6 mile long run
Yoga (active rest day)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Thoughts

As I shared yesterday, I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through Diane Sanfilippo's "21 Day Sugar Detox"! I thought I'd share some information and my thoughts on the program so far in case anyone else has been looking at giving something like this a try as well!

What is the 21DSD?
"The 21-Day Sugar Detox is a clear-cut, effective, whole-foods-based nutrition action plan that will reset your body and your habits! By focusing on quality protein, healthy fats, and good carbs, this program will help you change not only the foods you eat, but also your habits around food, and even the way your palate reacts to sweet foods." (taken from the 21DSD website)

Why are you doing the 21DSD?
As I mentioned yesterday, when I found myself on my 8th iced sugar cookie of the day before Christmas, I realized I had a problem.  While I had been maintaining my workouts and eating healthy meals, I found myself snacking way too frequently on sugary holiday treats.  I needed a "reset" for my system! After reading reviews of the 21DSD on a few blogs, I decided to get myself a copy of the book and look into it.  When I realized the program wasn't some crazy "eat only spinach for 21 days" kind of program, and that it actually wouldn't change my diet that drastically, I decided to give it a shot!

What kinds of foods can you NOT eat?
If you know anything about the Paleo lifestyle, the 21DSD is very similar. The program does offer 3 different levels that vary in their restrictiveness. In all levels you can not have ANY sugar or sweeteners - that includes all kinds of sugar, honey, syrup, molasses, and artificial sweeteners (including my beloved Stevia). You also have no refined carbs (think chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, etc.). The plan also limits certain grains (including all gluten), beans, most fruits, and dairy products (depending on the level you choose).

What kind of foods can you eat?
You can eat lots of good food!! Seriously - I have tried a bunch of the recipes in the book so far and they've all been really easy and really delicious. Some plans have you making these crazy complicated things, but Diana does a great job of providing simple foods that still pack a lot of flavor. Basically, the plan includes protein, vegetables (with some limits when it comes to starchy veggies), full fat dairy (if you choose the levels that allow that), some grains (quinoa, rice, and a few others are allowed in limited amounts on some levels), limited fruit (either 1 green banana, 1 green apple, or 1 grapefruit per day), and also most nuts and seeds.  For a sample of what I am eating in a day, see this post!

What's been your experience so far?
Days 3 and 4 were the toughest for me.  On day 3 I felt lightheaded, foggy, and had a little bit of a headache most of the day. I chose to run a 5 mile race on day 4 of the program - not the smartest - and I noticed that it was one of the toughest runs I've had in awhile.  Otherwise, I'm really not (knock on wood) struggling with this at all so far! I haven't had a lot of sugary cravings (with the exception of really wanting a jelly donut for a few days - strange) and haven't felt bad at all.  In fact, I've felt more full and satisfied on this program than I've felt in a long time!

What benefits have there been so far?
Like I just said, I feel full and satisfied on this program. I'm not hungry all the time. The first week, I actually lost 3 pounds! I finally hit 165 on the scale - and I've been hovering around 167-169 for awhile now. Also, I've never played around much with my macros (carbs/protein/fat) and their percentages. I'm finding that my body seems to be loving this ration of higher fat and protein. I am sleeping better, feeling better, and eating some really delicious foods!

How do you fuel for workouts?
One of the things I was most worried about entering these 21 days was fueling for workouts - and specifically for longer runs. On my long runs, once they get over an hour (which is about 7 miles or more), I take fuel with me - dates and dried apricots, both of which are not allowed on the 21DSD. The purpose of fuel during a run is to provide your body with quick energy, so something with a higher sugar content is ideal. I planned to do the 21DSD before I got to my 7+ mile runs in my training plan, so I won't actually have to worry about it.  However, the 21DSD does have a section on energy modifications. Diana gives athletes some extra carbs!! So, on the days that I'm running a little more, I add an extra half cup of mashed sweet potatoes to my food to give me that boost. Otherwise, the plan already provides plenty of energy in the form of good fats and protein!

Overall, I'm loving this so far! The recipes in the book have all been so good that I know I'll make them again, even if I'm not on the 21DSD. It's a totally manageable plan without any crazy restrictions, pills, powders, or potions. In fact, you can't have any of those powders or potions on the plan at all - haha! I'll let you know my final results somewhere around January 21st!

Anyone else doing or have done something like this? Any other questions you guys have about the 21DSD?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WIAW - Sugar Detoxing!

Hello and happy Wednesday from chilly PA!

Like much of the country, we've been experiencing some super cold temps this week! But don't worry, that didn't stop me from getting in my training run yesterday! I put on plenty of layers, including duct tape over the toes of my shoes (helps keep the toes toasty so the wind doesn't get in!), and headed out in the afternoon.  The sun was shining, and it was cold out but I was plenty warm in my layers!

Today is Day 8 for me of the "21 Day Sugar Detox" (21DSD)! I'm not normally one to stick with these types of programs for very long, but I'm having no trouble with this one so far! The 21DSD is along the lines of a Paleo, lower carb/higher protein program. It addresses sugar and carb cravings - why we get them, and how we can get rid of them.

I'm an advocate of just eating clean, and not following specific programs, but I needed this program in my life! When I found myself on my EIGHTH iced sugar cookie in one day, I knew I needed a change. I'm going to post a little more about the 21DSD, my thoughts on the plan, my feelings before/during the plan, and stuff later this week. Check back with me!

Today, however, is WIAW - What I Ate Wednesday!  So here's a day in the life of the Sugar Detox! (all recipes are in the 21 Day Sugar Detox book)

Broccoli Herb Egg Cups
Root Vegetable Hash
1/2 Avocado (sprinkled with cumin and garlic salt)
Coffee with whole milk

Spaghetti Squash
Turkey Marinara Sauce
Steamed Broccoli

Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs (these are AMAZING)
Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

AM/PM Snack
1 oz Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
1 oz Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds
1 green apple
(I split this snack in half and had half of it in the morning and half of it in the afternoon)

Almond Butter Cups

Another challenge I'm taking on during January is the 30 Day Yoga Challenge at ! Each day, they share a 15-20 minute yoga video. My "Fab Five" running friends are all doing it (thanks Laura for getting us started!) so we text each other to check in! It's been great having some yoga back in my life, and the videos are well done and easy to follow!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The 2014 word is...

Here we go 2014! So, as with the past few years, it's time to choose the "word of the year".  2010 was "rollercoaster", 2011 was "renew", 2012 was "stronger", 2013 was "focus".

Before I look ahead to 2014, let's take a look back at 2013, shall we? The word "focus" was perfect! My focus really shifted in 2013. My #1 goal for the year started out as "lose 100 pounds by June 1st". I'll be honest - I actually totally forgot I made that goal until just now when I went back to last year's post!! See? A shift in focus. So, I didn't hit 100 pounds yet.  But - I did lose 15 pounds this year, 10 inches, and 10% body fat. I got stronger, I got faster, I made new friends, and I had a lot of great new experiences!

The "health and fitness" highlights of 2013 were...
1. Hiking the Rocky Mountains at 8,000+ feet - and having NO trouble with my breathing! Thank you distance running!
2. Finally cracking the sub 30 minute 5K and then the sub 60 minute 10K!
3. Running my first and second half marathons.
4. Conquering all 10 miles of the Men's Health Urbanathlon

I spent the last week of 2013 visiting my parents in Florida, and couldn't resist a side-by-side comparison of my time in Florida during the same week in 2011!

I wasn't sure if I was going to do the "word of the year" for 2014. I hadn't really thought about it much until one word jumped out at me, and I knew it had to be the word! So 2014 will be the year of....
  The dictionary defines fierce as "showing a heartfelt or powerful intensity", with synonyms such as "relentless, aggressive, strong".
This year - I will be FIERCE!  
I will pursue my goals relentlessly and with aggressive intensity.

And what better way to kick off a FIERCE year then with a race?! The local "Resolution Run" was a fun (and cold) way to ring in 2014 with exactly the spirit I want to continue through the entire year!