AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge–Days 4-7

Similar to my last AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge recap, I want to talk about the food, supplements, and my thoughts from this last period of the challenge. As far as day groupings go on the 24DC, days 1-3, 4-7, 8-10, and 11-24 are some natural groupings as that is when the supplements switch up. I already recapped days 1-3, so this is days 4-7. After day 10, I’ll share my cleanse results (days 1-10), and then I’ll just pop in towards the middle or so of the max phase (11-24) to let you know how things are going. Besides my daily gushing that is. :)

Food

Breakfast

  • 2 ingredient pancakes. That’s seriously all I ate! The two ingredients are just an egg and a banana. I also like to add cinnamon for some added yum. Towards the end of this period I started using egg whites so that I could have a hardboiled egg for a morning snack. I don’t want to have too many full eggs in one day. I like the full egg better though.

2IngredientPancake

Lunch

  • Chicken, butternut squash, and PB. Yes, this is a weird combination, but it was exactly what I was craving. I think I could eat PB with anything! In fact, I’m a little worried that I’m overdoing it on PB and won’t see as many results on this challenge. I’m really striving to eat less, but it’s like my chocolate right now. I’ve totally got issues.

ChickenSquashPB

  • Tone It Up black bean soup. So, so, so, so good. Seriously, go make it! This recipe made so much that I ate this all week. It was so good, that I didn’t even care.

Dinner

  • Fish salad – tilapia, pico, avocado, and romaine/spinach mix. Not my favorite, but I needed a new source of protein.

FishSalad

  • Hummus chicken. I’d never thought to try this before. You bake a chicken breast with hummus on it. It’s actually super good.

HummusChicken

  • Whole Foods bar. A little hot bar, a little cold bar. All good! I love that Whole Food’s puts the ingredients on their deli bar foods, so you can totally tell what works and what doesn’t. One of the things I had and really liked was the Detox Salad. I must recreate this at home since my nearest Whole Foods is an hour away!

WholeFoods

  • Clean turkey sloppy Joe’s with spaghetti squash. This wasn’t that good. It was okay, but I’d just never make it again. Knowing that, I’m not even going to link the recipe that I used. I didn’t even take a picture.

Snacks

My snacks this period were pretty much the same as the prior period. I did include hummus and veggies one day (trying to stay away from the PB) and a homemade apple, carrot, celery juice another day. Juicing is so fun, but such an ordeal to clean up after!

AppleCarrotCeleryJuice

Supplements

The supplements on this part of the challenge are just slightly different than the last part. First, the Fiber Drink is gone. Instead, I took the ProBiotic Restore Ultra in the morning. I really didn’t notice anything different going on with this change.

I did switch a few things up during this period though. Instead of taking the Catalyst right away in the morning, I took it 30 minutes before lunch. This was because I worked out right away in the morning during this period, and the instructions on the bottle say to take it 30 minutes before a workout or meal. I also tried drinking a full Spark yesterday… still not a good idea. I was so Hangry all day!

Exercise

I have been rock, rock, rocking it on the exercise front! I’ve been following the Tone It Up toning schedule for the most part. I’m still modifying to my abilities, but I think I have graduated from the 3 pound weights. They seemed too light yesterday! Hooray!

I’m really proud of myself. Today marks 8 days in a row that I have exercised. It’s also the 7th day that I have exercised upon waking. That’s so awesome for me!

My goal for the remaining days of the cleanse phase – limit the PB (we had a run-in again today) and continue enjoying myself!

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Warning: Some Side Effects

Hello again! Are you sick of me talking about AdvoCare yet? Too bad. :) I’m having a blast, and just want to share.

Today let’s talk about side effects I’ve been noticing since I started this challenge. Some are good, some are bad, and some just are.

  • Energy – I’ve had more energy since starting the challenge. Not everyday, but most days. I have gotten out of bed to hit the treadmill or some other exercise for 5 days in a row now! That is amazing when I didn’t feel like I had enough energy to do that before. I think part of the energy is the excitement I’m feeling for all of this.
Photo Apr 21, 8 07 26 PM

Oh how I wish it still looked like this outside!

  • Gas – yes, gas. I know this one is from switching up my eats do foods that are healthier and have more fiber. It’s a very unfortunate side effect, but one I know will go away as my body adjusts. For now, I’m just holding it all in. :) Toot joke!
  • Raging hunger – My hunger has been crazy lately! Before this challenge I was just eating breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner, and snacks after dinner. Some snacks before dinner too. Now I feel so hungry that I eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Okay, some days I feel like I can skip a snack, but days like today I am just ready to eat.all.the.food. I can blame today on drinking a full Spark instead of half, but I think the rest is just due to getting less calories from these healthier foods. Makes sense.

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  • Trips to the bathroom – Since I’m now drinking 100+ ounces of water, I have been making a lot of trips to the bathroom. This really isn’t a bad thing since I get more steps in a day by visiting the bathroom more.
  • Joy – I’ve found so much joy and excitement from this challenge so far. I really needed something to look forward to and get me excited about day-to-day lately. I’d been feeling so low and blue, but this has brought me out of that funk. I’ve found my lost love for cooking healthy meals and planning exercises. It’s nice to have those back.

That last bullet point reminds me that I need to find something to keep my joy intact after this challenge is over. I’ve done so much introspection these last few months, and I’ve come to realized that I am just super bored with my life. During the week, work keeps me pretty busy, but I am finding myself just bored silly in the afternoons when I get done earlier with work and the evenings after work. I think that’s why I’ve been having so much fun with AdvoCare – it’s fun to cook and chat with my husband while I do so. It fills up time with fun things. I need more fun things! So help me out…

What are some hobbies you enjoy in your free time? What do you do in the evening?

I need more than just reading and watching TV. Those are enjoyable, but they get really boring after a while.

Thanks in advance, ya’ll!

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Treat Yourself Tuesday – Best Soup

Another Treat Yourself Tuesday! Check out Becky’s blog for my TYT fun.

How did I treat myself this week? So much of it is just rolled up in this first one:

  • Duh. I started the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge last Thursday. Major treat. All of the delicious food I’ve eaten and all of the exercise I’ve gotten.

Besides that, I only have one other treat this week.

It looks seriously disgusting, but this is the best black bean soup I’ve ever had. It might ever rival for my favorite soup ever. Go make this soup! I had it for lunch yesterday and debated having it for a snack later that day. Yes, it’s twice a day good.

To make it easier for you, I’ve even copied and pasted the recipe pic from their site:

Best.soup.

Yep, short and sweet Treat Yourself Tuesday. Trust me, I felt like this whole week has been a treat. Love AdvoCare so far!!

And a little shout out to my coworkers Mackenzie and Conor, because I’m working with them right now. (It’s lunchtime, so this is totally legit to be doing while working. :))

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge–Days 1-3

Oh weekend, how I love you!

Let’s chat about how I’m doing on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. I’ve been having an absolute blast. Is that weird? I just find it all so exciting. Since I’ve gotten through the first 3 days, which are sort of grouped together in the 24DC as the supplements taken are the same, I figured it would be a great time to recap things for you. I really want to show you what I’ve been eating, the supplements taken, the exercise I’ve gotten, and what I think about it all. So let’s dive right in!

Food

Breakfasts

I’ve kept breakfast pretty simple since it was somewhat rushed in the first two days because of work. Those days I had Tone It Up egg white “muffins”, which I made with just tomatoes, spinach, and green peppers – no mushrooms.

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Yesterday I had a bit more time so I made seasoned egg whites (Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute was used) and a small banana. Still very simple!

Dinners

Since I’m all about leftovers for lunch, I’m hopping over lunch to talk about dinner first. I’ve had a lot of fun finding recipes for dinner. Here are two that I’ve made so far.

  • Beef and broccoli stir fry – without the soba noodles (quinoa instead), whole wheat flour (natural corn starch instead), or soy sauce (aminos instead)
  • Naked chicken no-parmesan over spinach (I followed the whole recipe for my husband, but left off all the cheese for me)

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  • Chipotle salad with chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, and guac – no dressing. This is my usual at Chipotle anyway, so it’s nice that it fits on the 24DC. I did notice that I was puffy yesterday morning after having this for dinner on Friday. Likely from all of the sodium. Gross.
  • Sirloin steak and green beans. I wasn’t planning on having beef twice this week, but we didn’t pick a restaurant with many great options for me. It was between this steak and a salad. I was hangry and craving meat. Steak it was! A sirloin is actually one of the leanest cuts of steak (round steak, what I used in the beef and broccoli, is another one of the leanest cuts), so it’s not the worst decision I could have made. And, dude, go with your cravings as much as possible.

There are four listed here because I made a clean dinner on Wednesday before my 24DC started so that I could have leftovers for lunch on Thursday.

Lunch

Back to lunch! Pretty much all leftovers.

  • Leftover beef and broccoli over quinoa

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  • Leftover naked chicken no-parm over spaghetti squash

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  • Leftover spaghetti squash with spinach, tomato sauce, and a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger. It was not pretty at all, so I didn’t take a picture.

Snacks

Let’s not forget about snacks! Here are the snacks I’ve enjoyed so far:

  • Small apple and hardboiled egg
  • Small banana
  • Carrots and celery with natural PB
  • Larabar

So much good and clean food! I tell you, it hasn’t even felt like a challenge to eat this way. Okay, being around people eating bar food on Friday and drinking beer and wine (oh, wine!) on Saturday evening was tough, but I don’t regret it in the least.

Supplements

I talked a little bit about the supplements and timing of them in my last post about the 24DC, but here are more details and my thoughts.

Spark

I bought the fruit punch and mango strawberry Spark flavors. I love the fruit punch, and the mango strawberry is also good, but the fruit punch is way better. On the first day I made the mistake of having half of the Spark in the morning and half in the afternoon. I did this so that I would have energy after my long drive back home to work out. Yeah, that was a mistake. I was way too caffeinated to sleep very well. Since then I’ve stuck with half of the Spark in the morning and all has been good.

Catalyst

I’ve been taking three Catalyst in the morning with my Spark. According to Becky, Catalyst is supposed to be like “liposuction in a bottle”. Um, sign me up! I haven’t felt anything after taking this, so I don’t have many other thoughts yet.

Fiber Drink

The Fiber Drink is interesting. I’ve heard people talk about how gross it is, so I bought the peaches & cream flavor since it’s supposed to be more palatable. I actually don’t mind it at all! It’s definitely a textured drink, but that doesn’t really bother me. Maybe because I’ve had a lot of smoothies in my life and juiced? The Fiber Drink is also supposed to clean you right out. My BIL has said to be sure you are near a bathroom when drinking this, because you’re immediately gonna have to go. Maybe a little TMI? Oh but I’m going to go further! I haven’t had this issue when taking the Fiber Drink. I was actually worried since I hadn’t “gone” in the first two days. That all changed when I woke up yesterday. ;) And now the world knows I poop.

OmegaPlex

I’ve been taking two OmegaPlex with breakfast (except for day 1 when I forgot) and dinner. OmegaPlex is a omega-3 fatty acid supplement, so it’s great for cardiovascular health. No fish oily taste here!

Herbal Cleanse Caplets

Finally, I’ve been taking three herbal cleanse caplets before bedtime. The Herbal Cleanse Caplets are just what they sound like – caplets to cleanse your body of impurities while you sleep. I haven’t really noticed any side effects of this. A good thing!

For more information on the supplements, check them out on Becky’s AdvoCare page.

Exercise

I’ve gotten into the Tone It Up workout schedule this past week. If you have seen any of my Twitter posts that include #HolidayHunny, that’s to check-in for doing their workout. Sometimes I just like following a schedule, and other times I hate it. Right now I’m all about it. At first I was doing all of my working out in the evening, but I switched to the morning on Friday and Saturday. Now, I want to try doing 30 minutes of walking or walk/running in the morning before work and strength training in the evening. I want to think of the morning exercise not as a workout, but as a way to just wake up and get my blood flowing in the morning. Then it doesn’t feel like I’m doing two workouts a day.

I’ve also adjusted the Tone It Up schedule to my current fitness level. Read: Very low. Where the schedule says to go through the strength training two to three times, I have been doing one. I was actually sore just going through once, so I know that is good for my current fitness level. I’ve also really decreased the weight so that I either don’t use any weights or just three pound dumbbells. Since I want to increase my fitness levels, it’s important to start back very low and slow. That way I won’t burn out or pull a muscle and can stick with it. Sticking with it is always the hardest part for me, so this is key!

So that’s been the first three days! I’m excited to see what the next three weeks bring. I’m hoping for more good food, more energy, more exercise, and more fun!

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How To Entertain Yourself In The Car

TGIF!! For some reason it doesn’t really feel like Friday to me. But it is. Thank God!

Since I’ve been spending a lot of time in the car lately, I thought of a great topic to talk about. And it just so happens that I can link up with Katie’s Friday Favorites for this. Are you ready?

Here are my favorite ways to entertain myself during long car trips:

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I wish these were my daily wheels. Car rides wouldn’t seem so awful then, right? Nope, just my rental from Key West last March.

  1. Radio shows. I have a few I enjoy. If you are in MN, I like 101.3 KDWB’s The Dave Ryan Show for the morning and MyTalk 107.1’s Lori & Julia in the afternoon. Dave Ryan and company can keep me entertained all the way to work, no problem.
  2. Podcasts. I change these up all of the time. Here are my current favorite podcasts (not in order):
  3. Audiobooks. No, I don’t mean books on CD or tape. I download audiobooks to my phone and listen to them through my phone speaker. That’s how I listen to podcasts as well. I can’t wait until I get a new car that has bluetooth audio. Until then, I’m wearing out my phone’s speaker. :) Okay, so do I buy audiobooks, cuz that could get pricey? Nope! I get them from my library. If you’re in Central MN, Great River Regional Library has online content where you can download digital books (I do for my Kindle!) or audiobooks. It’s life changing!
  4. Phone a friend. When in doubt, it’s time to call someone and chat for a while. I did this last night in fact. I swear my longest conversations with my husband are also in my car! That’s the only time I really talk to my dad for very long either. All my relationships are kept up in my vehicle. :)
  5. Take a break. If you’ve already done all of the above, it’s time to get out of that car for a while! I like to find somewhere scenic along the way and take a break.

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Really taken on a break from a long drive. From Grand Marais, MN to home… 5 hours… break needed!!

I’ll be back later this weekend to share a recap of my first few days on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. It’s only Day 2, but I’ve been having a lot of fun!

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AdvoCare 24DC Day 1

It’s my AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge day 1!!! I know I said in my last post that I was going to start on Wednesday, but my package didn’t end up coming until then. That means I started today. Hooray! Since I’m writing this at lunchtime, I don’t have much to share. I can share the schedule of what I’m eating and supplementing though. Here’s the schedule for the first three days:

  • Wake-up – drink 1/2 Spark with water (I’m doing half since I’m caffeine sensitive) + Catalyst
  • 15-30 minutes later – drink Fiber Drink + more water
  • 30 minutes later – Breakfast + OmegaPlex (I forgot the OmegaPlex this morning! That’s okay – it’s kind of optional in the morning)
  • Morning snack
  • Lunch
  • Mid-afternoon snack + optional 1/2 Spark (I’ll see where my energy is at)
  • Dinner + OmegaPlex
  • Bedtime – Herbal Cleanse Tablets + water

Throughout the day I am supposed to drink 100 ounces of water. Um… so far that doesn’t seem to be a problem! I’m like a camel! I had 40 ounces gone before I left my house this morning. That required two bathroom breaks on the 2 hour drive down to my client. :)

As for food, I will share more with you as I go along. For now, the suggested meal structures so closely follow the Tone It Up nutrition plan, that I’ve been using that to get meal ideas. It’s funny that the biggest thing I was looking forward to in this challenge is eating whole, healthy foods. Just shows you how crappy I’ve been eating lately and my need for healthier foods in my life. That’s the thing most people dread about the challenge!

Not much else to share today. Today and tomorrow are my busiest work days of the week. Monday was a snow day, Tuesday was a work at home day, yesterday was a busy half-day at a client (dentist in the AM), and now I am finally down in Northfield (2 hours SE of home) for a client today and tomorrow. I’m driving back and forth since I try to limit my overnight travel. It’s a brutal drive, but so worth it to be home.

See y’all tomorrow!

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Mother Nature Does Not TYT

Hello my friends! Are you ready for another version of Treat Yourself Tuesday?! First, go check out Becky’s treats. I’ll wait.

You back? I think I did a pretty good job of treating myself in the last week. Let’s take a look!

I watched the CMAs… the whole thing and not just the performances on YouTube the next day. This is seriously a treat for me! I usually don’t watch it since my husband isn’t into it, and just watch the performances on YouTube the next day. Not this time! This time I watched the whole thing and loved every minute of it! The hubs fell asleep sometime towards the end. ;)

I went out to dinner with friends… twice! Last Tuesday evening we met up with friends for drinks and dinner, and then I met up with friends again on Friday evening for happy hour + food. Both were fun, although Friday was a bit boring since I wasn’t drinking. Why do I find it so hard to come up with conversation when I’m not drinking, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem when I am drinking?! Something to figure out.

I got my hair done.

I really wish I would have noticed my wanky eyebrow before keeping this picture. It drives me nuts. Yo girl, your eyebrows need a trim!

I did a little shopping. After getting my hair done I popped into Macy’s and bought some adorable baby clothes for my cousin’s baby. We’re going to have a baby shower for him in December, so I needed to buy a gift. It’s a bit overwhelming since there are so many cute things! I settled on four outfits though. I didn’t just buy baby clothes though; I also bought a sleeveless top for myself to continue my new choice of styling myself. It was on clearance at New York & Company, so it’s a win-win! I’ll take a picture sometime while wearing it. I’m too lazy right now. ;)

I ordered the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. It should be showing up at my house sometime this evening. I.am.so.excited!! I’m starting my challenge tomorrow instead of on Thursday. Which is even more perfect since I will be done the day before my husband’s birthday instead of right on it. Woo to the hoo!

I’ve been exercising!!! Haha okay, it’s only the second day in a row, but I feel good about it. Also, hello hamstrings! And triceps! Them suckers are sore.

I think those are all my treats from the week. How Mother Nature didn’t treat me:

SnowDepth

and

Forecast

Ugh. She needs to get with Treat Yourself Tuesday.

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Snow Day

Happy snow day! That’s right, it’s a snow day here in MN. I was so annoyed yesterday knowing that I might not make it to my client today, but now I’m just embracing it. Well… now I am. I still wasn’t this morning. Although we didn’t get much snow overnight, it was snowing like mad when I woke up and expected to get 12-16 inches throughout the day. My plans for the day were to stop in our local office to get my new work laptop (yay!) and then drive 1.5 hours NW to a client in a small town. I did the first part, and then attempted the second part. I got about a mile down the freeway before I realized what a stupid decision I was making. Even if I got safely to my client, the brunt of this snowstorm was yet to come during the day. The freeway was already a mess, and who knows what the county highway would look like that I would need to take to my client. I drove the few miles to the next St. Cloud exit and went home. Smartest decision of my day! Now I can work from my couch and even take part of the day off if I want to (oh I do!!). Just to give you an idea of what it looks like here right now, here’s a picture out my front window at 10am today:

SnowDay

Gross, right? Especially since the snow from last winter melted not quite 6 months ago. Why do I live here still?! That’s right… because I have a house that isn’t worth as much as what I paid for it, because all of our family is here, and because our nice-paying jobs are here. *sigh* Thanks for the reminder.

After talking with a friend over the weekend about AdvoCare, I realized that a lot of people outside of the blogging community might not know much, if anything, about it. Well, if that’s you, let’s change that! First of all, I’ve been spelling it wrong this whole time. See, even I’m a dunce! I hadn’t been capitalizing that “C”. I’ve got it now! Okay, I’m pretty much going to regurgitate some information from the 24 Day Challenge website, so check it out if you want even more details.

  • First, AdvoCare itself is a health and wellness company that provides meal replacements and health supplements through distributors (my distributor is Becky)
  • The 24 Day Challenge (24DC from here on out) is a period of supplementation and nutrition focus that AdvoCare has designed to help people jumpstart their health goals
  • The 24DC has two phases – the cleanse phase and the max phase
  • The cleanse phase, days 1-10 of the 24DC, is the period where you cleanse your body in a natural way using clean foods and natural AdvoCare supplements
  • The max phase, days 11-24 of the 24DC, is the period where you dial in the nutrition and add a different mix of supplements for maximum results
  • Both phases involve eating very clean – no processed foods or added sugars. I’ve noticed some discrepancies between materials when it comes to dairy and whole grains. I’m hoping the materials in my order will clear things up a bit, otherwise I will be asking Becky about it.

Doesn’t some of this sound like programs I’ve done before? Whole 30/Paleo come to mind as well as Tone It Up. Actually, I noticed the 24DC sounds so similar to the Tone It Up meal plans, that I dusted off my copy of the TIU meal plan to help me out. Might as well use something else that I paid good money for!

I’ll give you more in-depth details of meals and supplements once I start my 24DC. I just wanted to give you an overview so that you can figure out what the heck I’m talking about. I’m just really excited for my order to come and get started!

Here’s where I want to mention intuitive eating a bit. Obviously I will be avoiding some foods while on the 24DC. I don’t see that as an issue for me to continue trying to practice intuitive eating. Emphasis on trying here – it hasn’t been going well. Obviously, intuitive eating means not labeling foods as good or bad. I still don’t want to label, but I am well aware that foods aren’t inherently good or bad, but there are healthier and unhealthier choices. This challenge is all about ignoring the unhealthier choices for a while. When this is all over, the unhealthier choices can be made again, but I don’t want to make them so often. I mean, you should see all of the Halloween candy I’ve still been chowing on. My face is breaking out right now for a reason! I’ll keep coming back to this topic because I want to keep exploring intuitive eating, eating whole “clean” foods, and how this all works together.

Back to my snow day! I feel like I should use the opportunity to get some house cleaning done, but I really don’t want to. I think I’ll read a book and ignore my work to-do list for a while instead. It also looks like I will have to do all of the indoor house chores this week anyway since B will be blowing snow. This was the week I wanted to get him more involved with the house cleaning too! Darn it.

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Big, Huge News

It’s the weekend!! It’s deer hunting weekend too, so I get the whole weekend all to myself! I wanted to do girly things, but it seems that everyone is busy. That’s okay. I have managed to get my hair cut and do a little shopping. Good stuff. Like my hair?

Haircut

I couldn’t get a very good picture of it while walking in the mall, but I told my stylist that I would fit right in down in Texas today. She managed to give me some big hair. Now I must put it, and the gallon of hairspray, to good use and go out this evening. What to do?

On to my big, huge news. I ordered an Advocare 24 Day Challenge today! I’ve been interested in it since reading Becky’s reviews, but was hesitant to sign up because of the cost and the whole intuitive eating thing. Well, this morning I decided now is a perfect time to do it. No, I didn’t just get more money (I did get a raise tho!), but I am taking a little time off from drinking right now. That seems to be one of the hardest parts of the 24 Day Challenge, so I feel like it’s the perfect time to make good use of my alcohol-free lifestyle.

I have a bunch of other reasons that I ordered and things I hope to get out of the challenge. Here are the top three that stick out in my mind right now.

  1. Weight loss. Plain and simple. I’ve been struggling so much. I feel this can really give me that jump start I need. Did I mention we may likely be going to Cancun in February? I would just like to wear some of my nice summer clothes by then. I also would like to fit comfortably in my winter coat. It’s a bit snug. I’m still a smokin hot lady, but I want to be at a healthy weight and able to wear the majority of clothes in my closet. Remind me later to blog about intuitive eating + this challenge.
  2. Relearning about healthy eating. I feel like I’ve forgotten what is healthy and good for you lately. I know I’ve been making some good choices, but it also seems like I could use more of a kick to eat healther.
  3. Participating in something. This is kind of a weird one. I need to be striving towards something or participating in something, otherwise I feel pretty dull and stagnant in life. I’ve felt a lot like that lately. I decided earlier this week that I want to start running again, but I also feel like adding this challenge will give me something exciting to look forward to and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Because I’m not too thrilled with my work life right now, I definitely need more reasons!

This also gives me a reason to keep up with my blogging streak! I definitely want to openly and honestly share my experience with you. So stay tuned for more about this new challenge! Oh, and that other challenge I’m doing… the 12 Week Health Transformation. That’s still happening, and I feel these will mesh well together.

Time for a very late lunch over here. I love Saturdays!

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Chili Mac & Dressing Myself

Happy Thursday! We’re almost to the weekend! I know yesterday I said I was enjoying this week and didn’t want it to end, but then I realized it’s almost the weekend, so I might as well get excited for it. Excited for what, I haven’t decided yet. My husband is going to be deer hunting, and I thought I had a baby shower to go to on Saturday, but that’s changed now. The hubs is still hunting, but now no baby shower. I want to get out of the house, enjoy some girl time, maybe catch up with my dad and nephew, and also clean our house. That sounds like a plan, but I haven’t talked to any of my girlfriends about girl time or my dad about visiting. I haven’t even scheduled the hair appointment I need to have this weekend! I promise to get on all of this yet today. ;)

Did you watch the CMAs last night? I had been looking forward to it all week. If that’s sad, I really don’t care. I wanted Miranda Lambert to win all of the awards. I think I have a sight girl crush on her. Her and Blake Shelton can do no wrong. I think I told my husband like 20 times that they are country’s power couple and the new Tim and Faith. I’m such a nerd.

Prior to watching the CMAs I made some tasty dinner. The hubs and I had been texting about dinner during the day and settled on chili mac. I was pretty sure I had all of the ingredients on hand, but I found out I didn’t have tomato sauce. The search was on for a recipe that didn’t call for tomato sauce. I found one – Iowa Girl Eats’ Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese.

ChiliMac

I pretty much followed all of the instructions with a few substitutes. Here is the original recipe with my comments:

Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1lb lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped I always have frozen diced onion in my freezer, so I used 1/2 cup of that
2 cloves garlic, minced I used 2 teapoons of freeze dried chopped garlic
salt & pepper
1-15oz can petite diced tomatoes, slightly drained I used Red Gold diced tomatoes with chili peppers (I’m totally Red Gold biased now!)
1-6oz can tomato paste
1–15oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed I used black beans
4 cups low-sodium beef broth I used make-your-own beef stock powder plus water. I also probably only used 3 cups. I like chunky rather than brothy.
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried cilantro I didn’t have any of this so I just skipped it. I don’t usually recommend that, but there were enough other flavors here that it was just fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
2 cups large elbow macaroni, dry
2 cups shredded 2% milk reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese My husband didn’t buy reduced-fat, so we had regular sharp cheddar cheese
Toppings; shredded cheese, green onions, parsley, crushed tortilla chips, hot sauce No toppings added! Instead, we used Fritos Scoops to eat. Love Scoops.

Directions:

  1. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic to a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt & pepper then cook beef until no longer pink. Drain then return to the skillet.
  2. Add petite diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, beef broth, and spices to the skillet. Bring to a boil then add macaroni noodles and place a lid on top. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente (do not overcook,) stirring once. Add cheese then stir until smooth. Let dish sit off the heat and thicken for 10 minutes before serving. Since I didn’t use as much of the broth, I only let mine thicken for about 5 minutes.

I definitely recommend you make this! It’s delicious. Plus I have a crap ton of leftovers to have for lunch tomorrow (more hibachi leftovers for today) and over the weekend. Win, win, win!

Something else I did last night? Thought more about how wearing outfits that I think are nice looking give me more confidence. I’ve liked the outfits I’ve worn this week, and I’ve really felt good about myself because I know my clothes look nice. I have a secret board on Pinterest that I made a while ago where I’ve pinned outfits that I like and can put together something similar with clothes I already have. This is really helpful when you want to revamp your woardrobe, but don’t really want to go buy new clothes. I’m working on saving money right now, so I know I don’t want to buy new pieces, but I want to continue feeling awesome about my look. So last night I went back to Pinterest, deleted pins from my secret board that would use clothes that no longer fit or I don’t like anymore, and searched for new plus-size outfits that I like.

Yes, I’m plus-size. I’ve said it before, but I still feel little scary nerves everytime I admit it. Plus-size is beautiful! I will never ever be stick thin, and I am totally okay with that. I love having boobs and a booty… I would like the other areas to be a bit smaller though. :) More of that another time as I keep thinking about this body love issue…

Okay, back to my outfits! Here’s an example of what I pinned for inspiration on what I am wearing today (original source):

Shades of blue for work #plus_size_fashion

 

The inspiration was the open sweater and tank-like top underneath. I have so many sweaters that I don’t wear because they are a little too tight to button right now. I hate button gaps! I never thought about just wearing them unbuttoned. Here is what I’m wearing today:

OTD

 

Now, I’m not saying I’m any sort of fashionista, but I felt pretty good for putting together such a basic, yet feel-good outfit. I even got a compliment on my top!

You totally can’t tell in the picture above, but I waited until I got home to take the photo. I’m already in my sweatpants! It’s also why the lighting is bad – there’s no natural light by my bathroom today since there’s not a window in my bathroom and it’s gloomy outside.

I’m home early since I had therapy today. Time to read for a while before the hubs comes home!

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