Recognizing today’s blessings 

I sit here looking out my living room window at the beautiful day it is and am thinking of the many ways I am blessed.

I get to live in a beautiful home on beautiful property, I have a hard working husband  who goes above and beyond every single day to make sure that I and the kids are taken care of. I have great kids who I love so much and are showing me every single day that they are growing into mature adults who can hold their own and don’t always need me picking up the pieces (even though I always will😉), I have a grandson on the way that I can’t wait to meet, Mark and I have made changes to ensure a healthier lifestyle, we both come from great families, we may not have a ton of friends but we have a handful of really amazing ones that we can count on through thick and thin, day or night, our sick dog is getting better every day. The list is really endless. Things could certainly be worse.

I think about all the little things…Mark and I thank God every day from the biggest to the littlest. It’s  all about living a life of thankfulness, because none of us are truly worthy when you look at the big picture. We live in a self centered, selfish, me-me-me world. Just imagine- what if you woke up tomorrow and had only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? That is a wake up call for me…

Happy Sunday- you are blessed-be a blessing to someone today!

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Advocare Phase 1 meals- Days 6-10~~Part 2

Continued….

***DAY 6***

BREAKFAST: Scrambled eggs (me-2, Mark-3) with green pepper, cabbage and tomato and a fruit smoothie

SNACK: Me: cantaloupe, Mark: Dark cocoa almonds

LUNCH:

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Whole grain wrap (me-1, Mark-2) with lean roast turkey, tomato, cabbage, shredded carrots.

SNACK: Me: almonds Mark: string cheese

DINNER:

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venison for Mark and a lean beef pattie for me, steamed summer squash and green beans

SNACK: Mark had air popped popcorn with zero calorie spray butter, I didn’t have a snack.

***DAY 7***

BREAKFAST: Mark had venison and 2 hard boiled eggs and some sweet potato , I had two hard boiled eggs and a rice cake, and we both had fruit smoothies.

SNACK: I had almonds and Mark had whole grain crackers

LUNCH: Lean chicken sandwich on whole grain oat nut bread with lettuce and tomato

SNACK: Mark had an apple and I had almonds

DINNER: Mark had venison steak, I had a lean turkey burger, we both had a salad with lettuce, tomato, green beans, and kidney beans. Mark had fat free thousand island and I had salsa.

SNACK:

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Mark and homemade granola bars I made ( oats, raw honey and PB2 (powdered peanut butter)- these only have 49 calories per bar how I made them.

***DAY 8***

BREAKFAST: I had 2 hard boiled eggs and a rice cake, Mark had 3 eggs with portobello mushrooms, kidney beans, spinach and tomato, we both had fruit smoothies.

SNACK: I had cantaloupe and Mark had roasted soybeans.( he told me I didn’t ever have to buy them again😛)

LUNCH: spinach and greens with albacore white tuna, beans and hard boiled egg. (This was kind of dry…not the best meal I ever made) Mark had an extra Spark drink at lunch today. Said his butt was dragging a little and needed some pep. He said it helped a lot.

SNACK: I had cantaloupe and Mark had whole grain crackers with peanut butter.

DINNER:

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lean grilled pork, cabbage fried rice ( I modified the recipe I found to make it work for us- cabbage, shredded carrot, whole grain brown rice and onion sautéed in a little olive oil) and steamed broccoli.

SNACK: Mark had a homemade granola bar

***DAY 9***

BREAKFAST:

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I had 2 hard boiled eggs and a rice cake, Mark had sweet potato hash with Canadian bacon and three poached eggs, we both had a fruit smoothie.

SNACK: I had an orange, Mark had pistachios

LUNCH: creole stew – Mark had an extra Spark today also.

SNACK: I had  whole grain crackers and roasted nuts, Mark had a granola bar and roasted nuts.( we musta been snacky today)

DINNER: cod with red potato,and a mixed green salad with cabbage, carrots and tomato

SNACK: Mark had dark cocoa almonds and I didn’t have a snack

***DAY 10***

BREAKFAST: oatmeal with craisins, I used a bit of agave for sweetener and Mark used a bit of raw honey. ( I like oatmeal with tons of brown sugar…TONS….this was not good. Very bland, but we choked it down. I had one hard boiled egg and Mark had three. We both had a fruit smoothie

SNACK: I had a rice cake and Mark had almonds

LUNCH:

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I’m just saying….this meal I could eat EVERY day! It tasted soooooo good!  We both had chicken rice bowls made with whole grain brown rice, steamed broccoli, summer squash and carrots. I sautéed the chicken in a little olive oil and a tiny, tiny bit ( maybe 1/2 tsp) of soy sauce to give it a bit of flavor. I don’t have the low sodium soy right now so I had to improvise.

SNACK: I had an orange and Mark had  2 hard boiled eggs. He also opted for an additional Spark.

DINNER:

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I had a lean beef pattie and salad with tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. Mark had a meatless burger which consisted of two halves of a big portobello mushroom for the “bun” stuffed with lettuce, tomato a hard poached egg, a little mustard and a tiny bit of low fat cheese. Mark also had sweet potato bites that were topped with avocado and a TINY bit of bacos. 15 calories each how I made them.

SNACK: Mark had two homemade granola bars.

This concluded our ten day cleanse phase. Have you ever known a “cleanse” to allow you to eat SO much food???

On this plan you do not count calories but as I said I wanted to keep track for my own personal reasons. On day 7 we started giving Mark a bit more protein with his meals and upped his calories a bit. He was feeling sluggish some days and needed an extra Spark drink. So we thought that we would up his protien a bit. What happened when we did this is he stayed at his 8 lb weight loss for the last three days of this phase. He didn’t lose any more and didn’t gain any. The morning of day 11 entering our next phase, the max phase he decided that he wants to go back to what we did at first. I wondered the same thing. It’s good to know how his system works. Once he hits his goal we can switch things up to maintain. It’s all a process.

For me the issues continue to be and probably will be for the rest of my life…irregularity. I’ve consumed more probiotics in this ten days than you can imagine and the best I can tell is that my body is about a day behind on getting rid of what it’s supposed to. I will continue pushing on. Stay tuned for the next update on how it is all going in the max phase!

 

 

Advocare phase 1 meals- Days 1-5~~Part 1

Here is what Mark and I ate during days 1-5 on our phase 1 cleanse with Advocare. You will notice we ate ALOT, and still lost weight!

Anytime you see “fruit smoothie” it is always made the same: half a blender full of ice, two servings of fruit ( one for each of us) two tablespoons of chia/flax blend, and enough orange juice to make it mix well ( usually half a cup)These were very low calorie healthy smoothies.  Some flavors we did were strawberry-banana, pineapple-honeydew,  Orange-pineapple, strawberry-orange-banana, raspberry-honeydew-pineapple, tried one with cantaloupe and we didn’t care for that.

Also, when you see meat portions mine are 4 ounces and Marks are 6 unless stated otherwise. Each day we had various supplements we took also.

***DAY 1***

Breakfast:  Me: 2 hard boiled eggs, a rice cake & a fruit smoothie.  Mark:2 poached eggs over sweet potato hash (diced sweet potato, Diced onion, a little olive oil, and I added  venison for extra protien) & a fruit smoothie

Snack: Both: 1 oz. Pistachios

Lunch: Both: Salad greens, Cherry tomatoes, Chopped celery, Black beans, and chicken

Snack: Me: rice cake, Mark: pistachios

Dinner:

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Salmon, steamed peas, steamed summer squash

Snack: Me: none Mark: whole grain crackers with peanut butter

***DAY 2***

Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs (Me:2, Mark:3), 1 piece Oatnut whole grain bread with 1 tsp peanut butter, fruit smoothie.

Snack: whole grain crackers

Lunch:

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2 romaine leaves stuffed with albacore all white tuna, chopped celery, tomatoes. Mark used 2 T fat free thousand island dressing and I used 1T mayo

Snack: Me: rice cake, Mark: whole grain crackers with peanut butter.

Dinner: 2 steamer potatoes, sliced cucumbers, Mark had 6 oz venison steak and I had a 4 oz lean beef pattie.

Snack: almonds for both

***DAY 3***

Breakfast: Me: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 steamer potato, fruit smoothie, Mark: 4 ounce venison, 2 steamers, 2 hard boiled eggs, fruit smoothie.

Snack: Me: honeydew Mark: 2 low fat string cheese

Lunch: chicken creole stew ( made with chicken, black beans, celery, onion, pepper, tomatoes)

Snack: Me: rice cake Mark: whole grain crackers

Dinner: lowfat, lean roast turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato.

No snacks tonight

***DAY 4***

Breakfast: Me: 2 egg omelette with Canadian bacon, Mark: 3 egg omelette with venison, both had tomato, pepper, onion & cabbage, and a fruit smoothie.

Snack: Both: Apple

Lunch: salad with roasted turkey, hard boiled egg, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and peas. Mark used fat free thousand island and I used salsa.

Snack: Me: almonds Mark: hard boiled egg

Dinner: steamed cod, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Snack:  Banana ice cream (frozen bananas in a food processor with cinnamon) FYI: I will NEVER make this again, it was disgusting!

***Day 5 ***

Breakfast: Poached eggs (me 1, Mark 3), whole grain English muffin, Canadian bacon and a fruit smoothie.

Snack: Me:  cantaloupe Mark: pistachios

Lunch: Taco chili (made with kidney beans, lean ground turkey, peppers, onions, tomatoes, green chiles, flax/chia blend, also had sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

Snack: Both : whole grain crackers

Dinner:

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Lean grilled steak, 1/2 baked sweet potato for Mark, rice cake for me, and grilled asparagus.

Snack:  Mark had a small bowl of air popped popcorn with zero calorie spray butter. I didn’t have a snack.

Coming next : Part 2- Days 6-10

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Phase 1 of our Advocare 24 day challenge 

On March 10 Mark and I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. We decided it was time for change. I’m going to let you know how the first phase of it went.

The first 10 days is phase 1, the cleansing phase. The program is designed that when you wake up you take a drink called Spark, this is basically your jump start, energy drink to get your day going. You’re not allowed coffee for this phase so it replaces that, if coffee is your wake up call that is. We got two flavors, orange and fruit punch. They are both delicious! What we noticed the very first day only is that mid morning we both got a tad shaky, but it subsided. That was the only day we felt that. I believe it has about 2 1/2 times the caffeine content as a Mt. Dew, so that explains it! What we love about it is that there are no spikes-no highs or lows-just a constant steady energy throughout the day. You can have up to three daily if you need them. We usually only do the morning one, although once now Mark has had another at lunchtime because he is so busy and was feeling tired.

Also in the morning you also drink a fiber drink. It’s pretty thick! It’s like the pulpiest Orange juice ever x 10, and if you don’t drink it down it will start to solidify. It’s not pleasant-but doesn’t kill ya either! We did the citrus flavor. Follow that with a couple glasses of water and then it’s on to breakfast.

All breakfast meals in this phase consist of a protien, complex carb and fruit. You also have the option of doing a meal replacement shake. We did breakfasts because we work at home and have the luxury of being able to do that. (Plus I LOVE to cook!) I will do another post of the meals I made in this phase.

A few hours after breakfast is snack time. Then a few hours after that is lunch. Lunch options in this phase are a protien, vegetable and a complex carb. A few hours after that is snack time, followed by a few hours after that dinner. Dinner is a protien, vegetable and an optional complex carb if you need it, and at this time you take your Omegas.  You are also allowed a snack a few hours after dinner if you need it. At bedtime you take herbal cleanse caplets. Also as far as water intake they recommend you take your weight and divide by 2 and that is the amount of ounces of water per day you should consume at a minimum.

There are a few add ons to this program is you choose, but we opted for just the basics for now. The program switches things up on some days where some days you do the fiber drink but then some days you do a probiotic pill. Some days you do both. About midway through this cleanse phase Mark did opt to get one of the add ons that supported fat loss but not muscle loss. That is pretty important for him as he works his tail off all day! I also ended up getting extra probiotics.

Now…to tell you what we think, what we felt, what we did.

First thing…Mark is used to getting up and having a big bowl of cereal only for breakfast each morning. So now that I am up with him making a real breakfast he is eating like a king! For me, that parts been a little tough. I am so unhealthy and do things so completely wrong! I am the one who wakes up, makes a pot (or two) of coffee and that is what I live on until about 2-3 in the afternoon, then I devour everything in sight. This is the time of day that no food is safe in our house. So this eating every two hours business was for the birds as far as I was concerned because I simply am not used to eating so many times a day. Also, definitely not used to that much water a day. Mark drinks tons of water so I wasn’t concerned about him not getting enough. For me, I had to fill a pitcher up in the fridge with my minimum requirement and just make sure it was gone by the end of the day. I also had reminders set on my phone to eat, snack, drink water…or I never would have remembered.

I honestly feel like I am eating to gain weight rather than lose. We are both losing…and although it never made sense to me that eating a lot of small meals a day would help you lose weight I now KNOW it to be true! I never ate if I wasn’t hungry, and when I did eat, I never ate very much. A birds portion.(unless it was candy and chips)So I always thought to myself “Man…I don’t hardly eat…I should be skinny as a rail!” Well, what I’ve learned is that I basically killed my metabolism,  most days put my body in starvation mode where it didn’t know when it was gonna get food so it held on to every bit I gave it.

My biggest challenge at first was portion sizes for Mark. He’s a big guy and I just always figured I needed to give him LOTS of food! A normal weekend breakfast here would be a huge plate of homemade hash browns topped with fried onions and bacon and melted cheddar cheese , a couple of fried eggs and a few pieces of toast! Wash it down with a Mt. Dew! Ho-lee-balls!!!!! Needless to say that changed!

Both of us feel like we are definitely getting enough to eat, that we aren’t starving hungry all day, and that so far everything I have made has really tasted great! Except for one nights treat which was “mock ice cream” made with frozen bananas. NOT doing that again!

Going into this challenge Marks schedule had been very hectic, sleep schedule was off, days and nights mixed up, so there were a few days where he just didn’t have the spunk he thought he needed and was a little off. So it’s hard to really say he feels “amazing” because his body is still trying to get back on a normal schedule again. Overall he feels really good though. A few times he has thought he was really hungry-Despite the meals and snacks. I won’t say starving, because we are both far from that. What I learned though is that he simply needed a bit more calories throughout his day than what he was getting. You don’t have to count calories on this plan at all but I started a journal at the beginning and write every single thing we at, the portion size and calorie count. I did this only for my own peace of mind. If it really worked I could look back and see what we did…if it didn’t I would look back and say, “ahhh…that’s why.” What I learned is that although I was following the portion sizes and meal plan to a T, he was really only getting about 1500 calories each day. A man his size should be taking in almost 2000 to LOSE weight! Add in his huge activity level and should probably get more than that. Most of the time he never felt hungry but it sure explains his sluggishness on some days! After speaking with advisors we upped his protien some and added things like an extra boiled egg or two at snacks and that has helped a lot.

My issues are the same as when I do any cleanse. Irregularity. Doesn’t make sense right? The whole idea in a cleanse is to CLEAN YOU OUT!  Well I’ve done cleanses before and the last one(not to get too personal here) was so unproductive that I went 9 days with no results! This one showed me a few challenges also. But with the help of advisors once again I learned if I upped my probiotics and tried drinking my Spark HOT, it may help. So after revising my regimen, it worked! I honestly think that my body is so used to being mistreated that it goes into shock when I start trying to do something right! I averaged about 12-1300 calories a day and most days felt like was choking down my food just to finish my portions. I’ve since modified my diet a bit and have found a happy medium.

As far as exercise, Mark is always sooo active. He’s constantly on the move, which made me wonder why he wasn’t in better shape than he was. It just comes back to what and how much we were putting in our bodies. I, on the other hand….am a slug. I don’t exercise at all in the winter and the rest of the year I like to walk a little and really love to ride bike. Our driveway is half of a mile one way so I have no excuse. To be honest through this entire first phase the only exercise I really did was two days in a row I went shed hunting ( for dropped deer antlers) with Mark, about 2 1/2 hours one day and a little less the next). So I know my results could have been even better had I got off my hind end! (That and if things were “moving” properly the entire time!)

We also overcame an obstacle where one day we had to take our dog for an emergency vet visit. (Not so emergency I couldn’t pack our days meals) With a little preparation I packed a cooler with our morning and afternoon snacks, extra water and stuff for our lunch. We weren’t sure how long the day would be. We had come so far to not want to screw it up by having to skip snacks or meals or have to eat out and make unhealthy choices. So obstacle 1-overcome!

We did take beginning weights, measurements and also the dreaded “before” pictures. I swear if anyone gets hold of my iPhone I will flip if they see my before pics! There is importance in not worrying so much what the numbers on the scale say compared to how you actually feel, how your clothes fit, etc.

It sure does help that Mark and I are doing this together and that we actually WANT to change! This could be so hard if one of us wasn’t on board! Also helps tremendously that we are both home and are able to make it work so easily. We have a grandson coming this June and I expect many more to come, so we definitely want to be able to be active and healthy and enjoy those little ones for a long time to come!

At the end of our cleansing phase we saw pretty decent results. Mark lost 8 lbs and I lost 5. Why do men always seem to lose easier? So today is day 11 and we enter the max phase. Wish us luck!

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