Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why Should You Do Weekly Meal Planning?

Why Meal Plan?

Ever since I started my Clean Eating journey in July of 2013, I have been unfailingly making weekly meal plans. Basically, it keeps me on track. And yes, I totally find myself looking at my note on the refrigerator every night to see what's on the dinner menu for the next couple days so that I can prepare appropriately! I would be lost without it. Meats would end up staying frozen or crock pot meals would stay uncooked. And alas, last minute takeout food, pizza or heaping piles of easy spaghetti WOULD be had! I can't imagine how I lived when I didn't enter a day not knowing what I was going to have for dinner. How did I even do that?! I cook most of my meals in 30 minutes or less now. How much time did I used to spend staring at the open freezer or refrigerator trying to contemplate what I could easily cook for dinner?! How many runs to the grocery store during the week would I make to get last minute missing ingredients? How many times per week did I really have tacos or mac n cheese from a box? A lot. Sound familiar? Get in CONTROL! With clean eating and weekly planning, you are in control. And let's face it, we all want to control something, right? Why not make it your diet?!

The first time I sat down to make a meal plan, it took HOURS! It was pretty grueling. I mapped out what my daily calorie consumption would be, sorted through pages and pages of recipes trying to find the appropriate amounts of calories in all my meals, planning them all out to my liking while trying to keep in mind my husband's and toddler's tastes, writing them down, mixing and matching, making the grocery lists.....sheesh! (And yes, I admit, the first time you sit down to create a strict meal plan, your experience might be just like this!) But the very next week I went to do this again, I found it was already easier. I already had a week of clean eating down, found that it didn't completely suck and I was feeling great! I already had some go-to favorite items! So I used them in next week's meal plan. And that cycle continues on and on. Always find new things to try but always have your no fail go-to items every week! Meal planning is A LOT easier now that I have expanded my clean eats recipe mind box and I will continue to make a meal plan, for at least dinner's, every week. Here's a few points you may consider when deciding if making a weekly meal plan is worth the extra effort.

  • Less room for last minute error - When you know what's on the menu every night and you are prepared for it, this lowers the chances of ordering takeout or going out to eat. I gotta tell you, one of the best feelings is when I walk up to my front door after a 9 hour work day and smell the crock pot meal inside that's been simmering since I left that morning - just waiting for me to eat! Now how are you going to say that a delivery pizza is better than that?!
  • Efficient Shopping - You have your list of meals right in front of you when making your grocery shopping list. Just write down what you need for all of your meals/snacks and stick to the list, no impulse buys! When I first started clean eating, my pantry wasn't nearly stocked as it is now. You may find yourself buying more ingredients at first but these will become staples in your kitchen after long. I am now damn proud of my pantry because of this! Come on over and borrow something please, I have it all!
  • Money SAVED - For the above two reasons, you'll save money. Period.
  • Variety - Again, you're in control! You wanna try this spaghetti squash everybody is talking about for the first time? Be my guest and please do, it's delicious and healthy for you! Oh, and what about this Keenwa stuff you've heard about? (That would be Quinoa and also super delicious!) Clean eating in general has widely expanded my tastes in food! Shoot, I even put mushrooms in my beef stroganoff once!!! So mix it up, have fun, try new things and stick to it.
  • Family Involvement - You know my two year old would rather have my clean chicken taco's instead of delivery pizza?! And he will downright throw a fit if I don't give them to him?! I absolutely love it, that's definitely my child. Anyways, involve the fam in your weekly meal planning! My hubby's favorite is meatloaf. He brought home a recipe he found for a veggie turkey meatloaf that we absolutely love now. Ask what they like, what are they in the mood for, what don't they like? Maybe even make a batch of no bake balls with the kiddo's! 
Ok, so how do you start?!

Find your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Your BMR is your resting calorie burn. Let's get all nerdy Science up in here for a second. Seriously, do this when you first start out! This is the amount of calories you should be consuming everyday just to survive without sending your metabolism into starvation mode. Add a couple hundred calories to workout days. Aim to an amount around this number of calories everyday. You'll only have to "count calories" at first. You'll probably be able to eye up calorie contents after a few weeks and you'll have your go-to foods!
          655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

            For example, I weigh 135 lbs, I am 5 foot 4 inches (64 inches) and I am 30 years old. Here is my BMR –
             655 + 587.25 + 300.8 – 30 = 1513.05

Schedule meals/snacks based on your calorie allowances. If you're in one of my challenge groups, you have access to breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that have calorie content included. Or start flexing your Google search muscles - Google "Clean Eating Recipes" and you'll find tons and tons of yummy sounding recipes and a lot of them have nutrition info posted! 

Eat every 2-3 hours to keep metabolism boosted! Yes, you should all day long! A boosted metabolism is a happy metabolism (i.e. a calorie burning metabolism)

CHEAT MEALS! Schedule your cheat meals FIRST. Sometimes our schedule will make it hard to stay on track 24/7 - birthday parties, showers, planned dinner outings, etc. And seriously, you shouldn't have to stay on track 24/7 anyway. I always allow myself two SCHEDULED cheat meals during the week! Then you can go ahead and indulge responsibly at Aunt Thelma's birthday party on Wednesday or choose to have that much needed glass of wine when you're at the hibachi restaurant on Sunday with your in-laws. But you should EARN your cheat meals/treats and never let a cheat meal/treat turn into a cheat day. And don't ever use a cheat meal as an excuse to stuff 5 McChicken's or an entire stuffed crust pizza in your face. Stick to your plan!

Create your grocery list based on your meals/snacks. Easy peasy! You have your meals right there. Go down the list. Write down the ingredients. Boom you're done!

Create a handy weekly meal planner with grocery list attached so you have your list of meals right in front of you at the store! Or you can use this one! I am a stickler about organizing my grocery list by sections. Here, I have done that for you. It was my pleasure. 

You are ready to head off on the clean eating train. Happy Meal Planning!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is a Free Challenge Group?

What is a challenge group?

A challenge group is a private Facebook group meant to help people achieve their nutrition and fitness goals. 

Being in a free challenge group is what started my entire fitness journey. I wanted to lose weight for my wedding and I knew I had to get serious. At some point, you just know that something has to change and you are the one who has to make that change. I heard about this Facebook challenge group and decided to give it a try. What had I to lose besides some extra pounds? That challenge group ended up changing my life! Not to say that a challenge group is guaranteed to change your life but, if you let it, it could happen!

I ended up losing 16 lbs in the 60 day group and had 12 inches taken out of my wedding dress! This group was working for me so I wanted more! I have been in challenge groups or running my own challenge groups since then. 

And you're saying right now - "So what is it????? What do I have to do?!?!?!" You have four responsibilities in a free challenge group. Here's how it works....

Clean Eating - Commit to CLEANING up your diet and eliminating processed foods made with harmful chemicals! Read your ingredient labels. This is the raw and natural way to fuel your body. You should NOT starve yourself to lose weight! You can eat a ton of food in a smarter and healthy way to stay fueled and energized all day long while losing weight. We also focus on proper water intake! This will be a well worth it lifestyle change, NOT a diet! No counting calories. Just natural, unprocessed healthy eating. Everything I've learned about clean eating, I've learned from a challenge group! Shakeology is not required in the free challenge groups but it's definitely going to be a game changer for you if you decide to try it! 

Fitness - If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you! That's basically the mentality in the challenge group. You don't have to do a Beachbody program although I recommend it for maximum results. You could continue to go to the gym, use another home program you own, or even just strap some running shoes on and go for a jog. Whatever you decide to do, you will do at least 30 minutes of CHALLENGING exercise 6 days per week with one rest day. 

Accountability - YOU keep yourself accountable everyday by "checking in" to the Facebook group. What that means is you making a daily post in the group with your activities of the day - what you eat, what exercise you did, how you feel, what you struggled with, your victories that day, any questions that are bugging you....anything that has to do with your personal journey that you want to share! Engagement among the group members is so encouraged! You end up with this awesome group of cheerleaders, many going through the same experiences, all supporting one another. We lift each other up and motivate one another! Another part of starting a challenge group is getting your before and after stats, and keeping track of them along the course of the challenge. We will have bi-weekly Staturday's where we all share our latest victories!  

Free Coaching - You must assign me as your official coach through Team Beachbody! You will create a FREE online profile at This will ensure that you have me as your official coach and I can provide all the valuable tools to you to help you achieve your goals!

What Do You Get From Me?

One on one coaching! We will have a conversation about your health and fitness goals and why you want to accomplish those goals, because the why is even more important than the goal itself! Then we will figure out your biggest struggles and how you can best overcome them. If you are in need of a fitness program, we will find one from the many options that meets your specific needs.

Motivation! I will provide daily motivation and tips in the challenge group that will remind you why you're doing what you're doing and help keep you on track.

Accountability! I'm watching you!!! I will expect your daily posts in the challenge group! Together we will figure out the best way you want me to handle a situation where I find you falling off the wagon.

Clean Eating 101! Food is fuel! That is our mentality. I will lay the foundation you need to completely change the way you see food. You will have access to a clean eating guide, TONS of breakfast lunch and dinner recipes, a grocery list and many different meal plans. All free! 

Challenges within a Challenge! Challenge groups shouldn't be bootcamp! I like to make things fun but it all depends on member involvement! You'll find us having Workout Wednesday's where members are encouraged to post sweaty pics. Or Motivation Monday's where everyone posts motivational images that is meaningful to them. Recipe swap Thursday's everyone posts a different new clean eating recipe that they want to try. In some free challenges, points are awarded for your daily activities that could end up winning you cool prizes!

In challenge groups, you are rewarded every day just for doing the activities you need to do to become healthier and enjoy a happier and more fulfilling life! Whether it's the support, the motivation, the encouragement YOU provide someone else in the group (it could happen!), the accountability, the tips, or just being lifted up each day by a group of like minded people who all want to accomplish the same thing! A motto that always sticks in my challenge groups is simply - Better Together! 

Challenge groups work and I am living proof! And now I want to pay it forward to all of you - to show you that you too can achieve goals you might never dream are possible! Join now FOR FREE and we can start working towards your goals right away! 
Join here ---->